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MARCUS CURTIUS, THE HONEST LAWYER.
A LAY OF ANCIENT HOME.
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 Bo, 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
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
As now the wordy contest grew hotter still and hotter,
totter; And they heard a sound like thunder, a horrid, dreary
sound, As though all the powers of evil danced the polka under
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—O sight of wonder!—with a stifling smell of sulph-
"This gulf will close—no never! till in Some the rarest
tiling, 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,
woe; And the Fathers of the City—the Aldermen and Mayor— Are met in solemn council, with a grave and puzzled air.
Then uprises Lucius Cimber, a grocer proud was he,
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 main— Patrician 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 deaper 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 wishid 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 Littleton." On Bacon's whole Abridgment, with tooth and nail they
fell, And where they wish'd those authors, 'twere not polite to tell.
In vain the poor librarian, while tears ran down his cheek, Strove to bend them from their purpose—not 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,—
And eke a learned counsellor, but, alas! I cannot lie!
I've gone upon the Circuit,—there came no briefs to me;
I ne'er address'd a jury, ne'er pocketed a fee.
Alas! mistaken parents, to bind me to the law!
I have no natural cunning to make or find a flaw.
He who'd sit upon a woolsack must be ne'er with conscience
cursed, And for wool to fill the cushion, he must take to fleecing
first. Then behold 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,
hark! 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— Head-foremost, like a thunder-bolt down went the brimless
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
&ere. iHartus. CurthiB . Ij>es.
jFone. &ome. a. sacrifice .
And with weeping and lamenting still is the story told, How Curtius kick'd the bucket in the brave days of old.
THE PEN AND THE PRESS.
Young genins walk'd out by the mountains and streams,
But its magical use he discover'd not yet,
Till he dipp'd its bright lips in a fountain of jet;
And, oh! what a glorious thing it became,
For it spoke to the world in a language of flame;
While its master wrote on like a being inspired,
Till the hearts of the millions were melted or fired;
It came as a boon and a blessing to men,
The peaceful, the pure, the victorious pen!
Young genius went forth on his rambles once more,
The vast sunless caverns of earth to explore;
He search'd the rude rock, and with rapture he found
A substance unknown, which he brought from the ground;
He fused it with fire, and rejoiced at the change,
As he moulded the ore into characters strange,
Till his thoughts and his efforts were crown'd with success,
For an engine uprose, and he call'd it the press.
The pen and the press, blest alliance! combined
Sings a maiden by a river,
Sings and sighs alternately;
Like a stream, her melody.
Tend'rest buds and blossoms teem;
Hazy splendours of a dream.