Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/499

This page needs to be proofread.

io s. XIL NOV. 20, 1909.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


poems, which Lockhart reviewed in The Quarterly, and in one copy of that magazine which was sent to the author the following lines appeared by way of epitaph : Here lies the peerless paper lord, Lord Peter Who broke the laws of God and man and metre.

It may be explained that in Scotland a Lord of Session is called a " paper " Lord, the title being merely one of courtesy. The joke of course lay in the fact that Robertson thought the lines were in every copy of that issue of The Quarterly, much to his indigna- tion and annoyance. He was too good a fellow, however, not to appreciate the pleasantry when he fully understood the facts. He was, indeed, a constant butt for Lockhart 's wit, but Lockhart had a real affection for his genial comrade at the Bar, as the following less-known verses testify : Oh ! Petrus, Pedro, Peter, which you will,

Long, long thy radiant destiny fulfil.

igh Paid down in fees for thy deep legal lore :

Bright be thy wit, and bright the golden ore

Bright be thy claret, brisk be thy champagne ; Thy whisky punch a vast exhaustless main, With thee disporting on its joyous shore, Of that glad spirit quaffing ever more ; Keen be thy stomach, potent thy digestion, And long thy lectures on " the general question " ; While young and old swell out the genial strain We ne'er shall look upon his like again.

J. B. P.

The epigram on the Petre or Peter who is described by N. M. as " breaking the laws of God and man and metre " does not relate to a member of either of those families. Its subject was a Scottish judge, Patrick Robertson, Lord Robertson, playfully " called by the endearing Scottish diminutive Peter," and its author was J. G. Lockhart.

Robertson dabbled in poetry. A volume by him entitled ' Leaves from a Journal, and other Fragments in Verse,' was printed in 1845. It was criticized in The Quarterly Review, vol. Ixxvi. (1845), pp. 424-9. To a single copy of this number, which was duly sent to the author, the epigram which is inquired for was appended in print by Lockhart. This deluded Lord Robertson into the belief that it appeared in the whole impression of the review, and caused much amusement among his friends. The lines are quoted in Mrs. Gordon's ' Christopher North,' ii. 94, and in B. W. Crombie's

  • Modern Athenians,' p. 73.


See 8 S. vii. 367, 454, 493, and Mrs. Gordon's * Memoir of Prof. Wilson ' (ii. 94) there referred to. ST. SWITHIN.

N. M. is no doubt thinking of the epigram, or epitaph, written by Lockhart on Patrick Robertson, Lord Robertson, commonly called " Peter." For details of his life see the ' D.N.B.,' in which, however, the reference to ' Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk ' (by Lockhart) is misleading and erroneous.

T. F. D.

The lines were the commencement of an epitaph written by Lockhart upon the Scotch judge called, according to the Scotch custom, Lord Robertson. Lock- hart's joke is narrated by Dr. John Brown in his essay * In Clear Dream and Solemn Vision,' included in a collection entitled ' John Leech, and other Papers,' published by Douglas of Edinburgh in 1882. The passage is :

" I dare say most of us know the trick played him [Robertson] by his old chum, John Lockhart, when reviewing his friend's trashy ' Gleams of Thought ' in The Quarterly, how he made the printer put into the copy for the poet this epitaph : Here lies that peerless paper-lord, Lord Peter, Who broke the laws of God, and man, and metre. There were eight or ten more lines, but Peter destroyed them in his wrath.


[The author of ' Rab and his Friends ' would seem to have attributed the cause of the epitaph to the wrong volume, as Robertson's ' Gleams of Thought was not published until 1847, while the epitaph, MR. COURTNEY states, appeared in The. Quarterly in 1845. MR. THOMAS BAYNE and MR. WALTER SCOTT also thanked for replies. ]

DICKENS : SHAKESPEABE : " WOODBINE " (10 S. xii. 281, 333). NEL MEZZO refers to the frequent mention in Parkinson's 'Para- dise ' of the honeysuckle as " woodbinde," and also to the fact that the name " wood- bine " was formerly especially given to the clematis or " traveller's joy." In this connexion the following quotation from Parkinson, although not really in point, may have a pleasant interest :

"The Honisucle that groweth wilde in euery hedge, although it be very sweete, yet doe I not bring it into my garden, but let it rest in his pwne place, to serue their senses who trauell by it, or haue no garden."

He almost calls the honeysuckle " the traveller's joy."

Hares in his ' Glossary,' after ' quoting, under " eglantine," the passage from Milton's ' L' Allegro,' and saying that, as the name has sometimes been erroneously given to the honeysuckle, Milton may have so under- stood it, adds : "If not, he must have meant the wildrose " (otherwise the dog- rose, Rosa canina). In two or three die-