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Sketches by Boz > Scenes, 02: The Streets - Night

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Tristram Shandy Dear Pickwickians,

here is the thread on "The Streets - Night"!


Tristram Shandy The harmonic meeting that is described in some detail in this Sketch might foreshadow the singer in Bleak House, whose presence ennobles the inquest on Nemo's death. These harmonic meetings seem to have be open to men only.

Again, Dickens skilfully counter-balances the more humourous account of the harmonic meeting with the scene of the poverty-stricken single mother, who only reaps scorn and derision for her efforts at singing in order to earn some money.

This was his way of making people aware of the social ills around them.


message 3: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Dickens tells us of how the more musical members of the city take themselves to a "harmonic meeting". I looked up harmonic meeting and found it was a gathering of people to sing held in the upper room of a public house. In this sketch the songs mentioned are "My Heart's In The Highlands", "The Brave Old Oak" and "Fly, fly from the world my Bessie with me". None of these songs were familiar to me so I looked them up. Here they are:

My Heart's In The Highlands
Robert Burns

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.


The Brave Old Oak
Henry Fothergill Chorley (1808–1872)

A SONG to the oak, the brave old oak,
Who hath ruled in the greenwood long;
Here ’s health and renown to his broad green crown,
And his fifty arms so strong.
There ’s fear in his frown when the sun goes down,
And the fire in the west fades out;
And he showeth his might on a wild midnight,
When the storm through his branches shout.

Then here ’s to the oak, the brave old oak,
Who stands in his pride alone;
And still flourish he, a hale green tree,
When a hundred years are gone!

In the days of old, when the spring with cold
Had brightened his branches gray,
Through the grass at his feet crept maidens sweet,
To gather the dew of May.
And on that day to the rebeck gay
They frolicked with lovesome swains;
They are gone, they are dead, in the churchyard laid,
But the tree it still remains.

Then here ’s, etc.

He saw the rare times when the Christmas chimes
Were a merry sound to hear,
When the squire’s wide hall and the cottage small
Were filled with good English cheer.
Now gold hath the sway we all obey,
And a ruthless king is he;
But he never shall send our ancient friend
To be tossed on the stormy sea.

Then here ’s to the oak, the brave old oak,
Who stands in his pride alone;
And still flourish he, a hale green tree,
When a hundred years are gone!



Fly from the World, O Bessie, to Me.
Copyright, 1898, by John J. Hagan.
Poetry by Thomas Moore. Melody by John J. Hagan.

Fly from the world, O Bessy, to me.
Thou wilt never find any sincerer;
I'll give up the world, O Bessy, for thee;
I can never meet any that's dearer.
Then tell me no more, with a tear and a sigh,
That our loves will be censured by many;
All, all have their follies, and who will deny
That ours is the sweetest of any.

Chorus.
Then tell me no more, with a tear and a sigh,
That our love will be censured by many,
All, all have their follies, and who will deny
That ours Is the sweetest of any.

When your lips have met mine in communion so sweet,
Have you felt as if virtue forbid it?
Have we felt as if heaven denied them to meet?
No, rather 'twas heaven that did it.
So innocent, love, is the Joy we then sip,
So little of wrong there is in It
That I wish all my errors were lodged on your lip,
And I'll kiss them away in a minute.- Chorus.



message 4: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim I enjoy the description of London at the beginning of this scene:

"But the streets of London, to be beheld in the very height of their glory, should be seen on a dark, dull, murky winter's night, when there is just enough damp gently stealing down to make the pavement greasy, without cleansing it of any of its impurities; and when the heavy lazy mist, which hangs over every object, makes the gas-lamps look brighter, and the brilliantly-lighted shops more splendid, from the contrast they present to the darkness around. All the people who are at home on such a night as this, seem disposed to make themselves as snug and comfortable as possible; and the passengers in the streets have excellent reason to envy the fortunate individuals who are seated by their own firesides."

I love winter and I love the dark and this description is wonderful for me.


Tristram Shandy I would not go so far as to say I loved winter, but I love sitting at home on a winter night and looking outside. I like films that play in winter, though, e.g. "Fargo" or "A Simple Plan". And still, even at the risk of sounding grumpy, in London there would not have been too much snow - remember A Christmas Carol - because of the pollution.


message 6: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Tristram wrote: "I would not go so far as to say I loved winter, but I love sitting at home on a winter night and looking outside. I like films that play in winter, though, e.g. "Fargo" or "A Simple Plan". And stil..."

Well, I would go that far.....I love winter. :-}


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