Though Shakspeare asks us, “What’s in a name?”
(As if cognomens were much the same),
There’s really a very great scope in it.
A name?—why, wasn’t there Doctor Dodd,
That servant at once of Mammon and God,
Who found four thousand pounds and odd,
A prison—a cart—and a rope in it?
A name?—if the party had a voice,
What mortal would be a Bugg by choice?
As a Hogg, a Grubb, or a Chubb rejoice?
Or any such nauseous blazon?
Not to mention many a vulgar name,
That would make a door-plate blush for shame,
If door-plates were not so brazen!
A name?—it has more than nominal worth,
And belongs to good or bad luck at birth—
As dames of a certain degree know.
In spite of his Page’s hat and hose,
His Page’s jacket, and buttons in rows,
Bob only sounds like a page in prose
Till turn’d into Rupertino.
Now to christen the infant Kilmansegg,
For days and days it was quite a plague,
To hunt the list in the Lexicon:
And scores were tried, like coin, by the ring,
Ere names were found just the proper thing
For a minor rich as a Mexican.
Then cards were sent, the presence to beg
Of all the kin of Kilmansegg,
White, yellow, and brown relations:
Brothers, Wardens of City Halls,
And Uncles—rich as three Golden Balls
From taking pledges of nations.
Nephews, whom Fortune seem’d to bewitch,
Rising in life like rockets—
Nieces, whose dowries knew no hitch—
Aunts, as certain of dying rich
As candles in golden sockets—
Cousins German and Cousins’ sons,
All thriving and opulent—some had tons
Of Kentish hops in their pockets!
For money had stuck to the race through life
(As it did to the bushel when cash so rife
Posed Ali Baba’s brother’s wife)—
And down to the Cousins and Coz-lings,
The fortunate brood of the Kilmanseggs,
As if they had come out of golden eggs,
Were all as wealthy as “Goslings.”
It would fill a Court Gazette to name
What East and West End people came
To the rite of Christianity:
The lofty Lord, and the titled Dame,
All di’monds, plumes, and urbanity:
His Lordship the May’r with his golden chain,
And two Gold Sticks, and the Sheriffs twain,
Nine foreign Counts, and other great men
With their orders and stars, to help “M. or N.”
To renounce all pomp and vanity.
To paint the maternal Kilmansegg
The pen of an Eastern Poet would beg,
And need an elaborate sonnet;
How she sparkled with gems whenever she stirr’d,
And her head niddle-noddled at every word,
And seem’d so happy, a Paradise Bird
Had nidificated upon it.
And Sir Jacob the Father strutted and bow’d,
And smiled to himself, and laugh’d aloud,
To think of his heiress and daughter—
And then in his pockets he made a grope,
And then, in the fulness of joy and hope,
Seem’d washing his hands with invisible soap
In imperceptible water.
He had roll’d in money like pigs in mud.
Till it scem’d to have entered into his blood
By some occult projection:
And his cheeks instead of a healthy hue,
As yellow as any guinea grew,
Making the common phrase seem true,
About a rich complexion.
And now came the nurse, and during a pause,
Her dead-leaf satin would fitly cause
A very autumnal rustle—
So full of figure, so full of fuss,
As she carried about the babe to buss,
She seem’d to be nothing but bustle.
A wealthy Nabob was Godpapa,
And an Indian Begum was Godmamma,
Whose jewels a Queen might covet—
And the Priest was a Vicar, and Dean withal
Of that Temple we see with a Golden Ball,
And a Golden Cross above it.
The Font was a bowl of American gold,
Won by Raleigh in days of old,
In spite of Spanish bravado;
And the Book of Pray’r was so overrun
With gilt devices, it shone in the sun
Like a copy—a presentation one—
Of Humboldt’s “El Dorada.”
Gold! and gold! and nothing but gold!
The same auriferous shine behold
Wherever the eye could settle!
On the walls—the sideboard—the ceiling-sky—
On the gorgeous footmen standing by,
In coats to delight a miner’s eye
With seams of the precious metal.
Gold! and gold! and besides the gold,
The very robe of the infant told
A tale of wealth in every fold,
It lapp’d her like a vapor!
So fine! so thin! the mind at a loss
Could compare it to nothing except a cross
Of cobweb with bank-note paper.
Then her pearls—’twas a perfect sight, forsooth,
To see them, like “the dew of her youth,”
In such a plentiful sprinkle.
Meanwhile, the Vicar read through the form,
And gave her another, not overwarm,
That made her little eyes twinkle.
Then the babe was cross’d and bless’d amain!
But instead of the Kate, or Ann, or Jane,
Which the humbler female endorses—
Instead of one name, as some people prefix,
Kilmansegg went at the tails of six,
Like a carriage of state with its horses.
Oh, then the kisses she got and hugs!
The golden mugs and the golden jugs
That lent fresh rays to the midges!
The golden knives, and the golden spoons,
The gems that sparkled like fairy boons,
It was one of the Kilmansegg’s own saloons,
But looked like Rundell and Bridge’s!
Gold! and gold! the new and the old!
The company ate and drank from gold,
They revell’d, they sang, and were merry;
And one of the Gold Sticks rose from his chair,
And toasted “the Lass with the golden hair”
In a bumper of Golden Sherry.
Gold! still gold! it rained on the nurse,
Who—unlike Danäe—was none the worse!
There was nothing but guineas glistening!
Fifty were given to Doctor James,
For calling the little Baby names,
And for saying, Amen!
The Clerk had ten,
And that was the end of the Christening.