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MARCUS CURTIUS, THE HONEST LAWYER.
A LAY OF ANCIENT ROME. For this exquisite bit of humour, we are indebted to the Salem Herald, an American newspaper, where it appeared signed, “Edgar Allen.” Can it be the production of Edgar Allan Poe? if so, it forms a striking contrast to “The Raven.” Wilt hear how Marcus Curtius, that lawyer true and bold, Died bravely for his country in the brave days of old ? How by Justinian's Institutes and his green baize bag he
swore, That the only honest lawyer could live in Rome no more? Oh, none could be more honest, in life and death, than he Who cheated but the sexton, and saved the burial fee.
The lawyers in the Forum are squabbling loud and long,
wrong; Begowned, bewigged, bewildered, each judge the clamour
hears, And Justice, blind already, would fain have stopp'd her
ears. As now the wordy contest grew botter still and hotter, The desks, the books, the benches, began to quake and
totter; And they heard a sound like thunder, a horrid, dreary
sound, As though all the powers of evil danced the polka under
ground. The lawyers through their spectacles look'd with a stony
glare, And the crier stammer'd out, “O yes !" and whisper'd
through a prayer. Some of the judges fainted, and there for dead they lay; And the jury snatch'd their solidi, and fleetly ran away. And now-0 sight of wonder!—with a stifling smell of sulphEr, in the middle Forum, there gaped a hideous gulf: A gulf as black as midnight, or * best Japan,” I trow, And a voice came howling, hissing up, like a thousand
whirlwinds now: VOL. v.
" This gulf will close-no never! till in Rome the rarest
thing, The rarest and most wondrous, a sacrifice you bring." O! great was the lamenting when these fearful facts were
known, The mothers weep and wring their hands, the grandames
groan, “ Ochone;". And the little boys no longer their flying hoops pursue, Nor chaunt of “Ole Virginny," as they were wont to do.
And the men in moody silence pace slowly to and fro,
advised “Let's try and fill the hole up with stones macadamised." And they listen'd to his counsel, and with shovel and with
spade, They adjourn'd unto the Forum, and aside their togas laid. And then all in their shirt-sleeves they work'd with might
and mainPatrician and Plebeian alike they work'd in vain. For though a thousand cart-loads into the gulf they threw, Instead of getting shallower it deep and deeper grew. And now a frenzied client who had lost his all that day, Seized “Selwyn's Nisi Prius” from the book-shelf where
it lay : And in the hole he dash'd it, with a howl of maniac glee, And wish'd all law and lawyers at the bottom of the sea. And, fired by his example, the crowd seized, one by one, On“ Chitty," and on “Starky," and on “Coke on Little
On Bacon's whole Abridgment, with tooth and nail they
fell, And where they wish'd those authors, 'twere not polite to
In vain the poor librarian, while tears ran down his cheek, Strove to bend them from their purposenot a word they'd
hear him speak. And the ven'rable Chief Justice, like Lord Mansfield at the
fire, Not caring to remonstrate, thought it prudent to retire. So they rifled all the library of ev'ry book they saw, Yet the gulf but yawned the wider for all that dose of
Then from that mix'd assembly a seedy-looking gent
“ My name is Marcus Curtius! a Roman knight am I,-
cursed, And for wool to fill the cushion, he must take to fleecing
first. Then Lehold in me, O Romans! what the oracle demands, The thing in Rome that's rarest, a lawyer with clean hands. A truly honest lawyer, with a feeling tender soul, Which, witness this my garment–a tongue's in ev'ry hole. For the good of thee, my country, I die a true-blue Tory, For 'Dulce et decorum, est pro patria mori !'' He said, and on the lawyers he turn'd a kindling eye, As away on all sides slinking, not one dared make reply. Then smiling sad but calmly, he cried, “Good Charon,
bark! I'm too poor to pay the obolus for crossing in your bark; But I know that you will trust me; so now, my friends,
“good bye, I'll trouble not the coroner, a natural death I die; A natural death for Curtius, who might have been so
rich, But he was an honest lawyer, so he perish'd in a ditch.”
He said, and threw a summerset into that dreary vat-
hat; Down went the brimless beaver full many a fathom deep, And the women took hysterics, and the men began to
weep. When they dash'd away the tear-drops, and look'd abroad
again, Where that gulf had late been yawning, there lay a level
And they rear'd a marble tombstone on the spot where he
had died, And, in letters carved and gilded, was inscribed on either
And with weeping and lamenting still is the story told,
THE PEN AND THE PRESS.
YOUNG genius walk'd out by the mountains and streams,
But its magical use he discover'd not yet,
Young genius went forth on his rambles once more,
The pen and the press, blest alliance ! combined
By Thomas BUCHANAN Read, a poet of America.
Sings and sighs alternately;
Like a stream, her melody.
Tend'rest buds and blossoms teem;
Hazy splendours of a dream.