|Tighe haunts Hairy-Faced Dick|
I have been fretting about my narrative poetry challenge. Plus it's almost Halloween. I put the two together and found the perfect solution--The Ingoldsby Legends!
The Ingoldsby Legends is a sort of miscellaneous collection of poetry, myth, ghost story, and legend, most of it told in a humorous style. They were written by "Thomas Ingoldsby" (really a Victorian clergyman named Barham) and published in magazines, and were so popular that they were collected and published. It's the sort of book that was hugely popular and well-known a century ago, but no one reads it now unless they are a little weird like me. When I was a kid, I used to see it mentioned in books by E. Nesbit and wonder what it was, so I bought an old copy when I got the chance.
The stories and poetry are funny, but of course very, very Victorian. I got tired of the poems pretty quickly when I first read it. But there are lots of good legends and stuff about Hands of Glory and whatnot.
So, to combine my challenge with some spooky Halloween reading, I chose three poems.
The Legend of Hamilton Tighe was a good one. In a shipboard battle, Hairy-Faced Dick kills young Hamilton Tighe, who then proceeds to haunt him and anyone else who profited from the death.
I expected The Witches' Frolic to be fun, but instead it was rather tedious. It is really very long--a good 13 pages--and describes a witches' party, but not very amusingly.
The Jackdaw of Rheims involved a jackdaw who stole the ring of a great Lord Cardinal of the Church. The Cardinal curses the unknown thief, and soon the poor beleaguered jackdaw shows up, repenting of his crime. Ever after he is the most reverent of birds.