Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

“Sir, did you tell-?" (relating the affair).
“Yes, sir, I did ; and if i'ts worth your care,
'Twas Mr. Such-a-one, he told it me ;
But, by-the-bye, 'twas two black crows—not three.”

“Resolved to trace so wond'rous an event,
Quick to the third our virtuoso went.
"Sir,”—and so forth—“Why, yes, the thing is fact
Though in regard to number not exact ;
It was not two black crows, 'twas only one ;
The truth of that, you may depend upon,
The gentleman himself told me the case.
“Where may I find him ?” “Why in,—"(such a place)

6

6

66

Away he goes, and having found him out,
“Sir, be so good as to resolve a doubt.”
Then to his last informant he referr'd,
And begg'd to know, if true what he had heard ;
“Did

you, sir, throw up a black crow ?! “Not I.”
“Bless me! how people propagate a lie !
Black crows have been thrown up, three, two, and one;
And here, I find, all comes at last to none !
Did you say nothing of a crow at all ?”
“Crow—crow--perhaps I might—now I recall
The matter over. “And pray, sir, what was’t ”
“Why, I was horrid sick, and at the last
I did throw up, and told my neighbours so,
Something that was—as black, sir, as a crow.

XX.THE OYSTER.

Two comrades, as grave authors say,

WO comrades, as grave authors say, “Neighbors and friends, refer to me

(But in what chapter, page, or line, This doughty matter in dispute, Ye critics, if ye please, define)

I'll soon decide the important suit, Had found an oyster in their way.

And finish all without a fee.

[ocr errors]

Contest and foul debate arose,

"Give me the oyster then--'tis well—!! Both viewed at once with greedy eyes, He opens it, and at one sup

Both challeng'd the delicious prize, Gulps the contested trifle up, And high words soon improved to blows. And, smiling, gives to each a shell.

a

Actions on actions hence succeed, ''Henceforth let foolish discord cease, Each hero's obstinately stout,

Your oyster's good as e'er was eat; Green bags and parchment fly about, I thank you for my dainty treat; Pleadings are drawn, and Counsel feed. And bless you both! go live in peace !''

The lawyer of the place, good man !

Whose kind and charitable heart,

In human ills still bore a part, Thrice shook his head, and thus began :

Ye men of England and of Wales,

From this learn common sense ; Nor thrust your neighbours into jails

For every slight offence.

Banish those vermin of debate

That on your substance feed :
The knaves who now are served in plate,

Would starve--if fools agreed.

XXI.-THE HAUNCH OF VENISON.

[ocr errors]

T Number One dwelt Captain Drew,

George Benson dwelt at Number Two
(The street we'll not now mention)
The latter stunned the King's Bench bar,
The former being lamed in war,

Lived snug upon a pension.

!

Tom Blewit knew them both-than he
None deeper in the mystery

Of culinary knowledge ;
From turtle soup to Stilton cheese,
Apt student, taking his degrees

In Cookery's High College.

Benson to dine invited Tom :
Proud of an invitation from

A host who “spread" so nicely, Tom answered, ere the ink was dry, “Extremely happy--come on Fri

Day next, at six precisely."

Blewit, with expectation fraught,
Drove up at six, each savory thought

Ideal turbot rich in;
But ere he reach'd the winning post

He saw a haunch of venison roast
Down in the next-door kitchen.

" Hey! zounds! what's this? a haunch at Drew's?
I must drop in ; I can't refuse :

To pass were downright treason :
To cut Ned Benson's not quite staunch ;
But the provocative—a haunch!

Zounds! it's the first this season."

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

You see your dinner, Tom,” Drew cried.
"No, but I don't though," Tom replied:

" It smoked below.” "What !” Venison--
A haunch." “Oh! true, it is not mine :
My neighbor has some friends to dine."

Your neighbor! who?" George Benson.”

" His chimney smoked; the scene to change,
I let him have

my kitchen range,
While his was newly polished.

The venison you observed below
Went home just half an hour ago ;
I
guess

it's now demolished.

" Tom, why that look of doubtful dread ?
Come, help yourself to salt and bread,

Don't sit with hands and knees up ;
But dine, for once, of Irish stew,
And read the Dog and Shadow' through,

When next you open Æsop."

XXII.-THE JESTER CONDEMNED TO DEATH.

,

JAMES SMITH. Ö NE of the King's of Scanderoon, a Royal Jester, had in his train a gross buf

foon, who used to pester the Court with tricks inopportune, venting on the highest folks his scurvy pleasantries and hoaxes. It needs some sense to play the fool, which wholesome rule occurred not to our jackanapes; who consequently found his freaks led to innumerable scrapes, and quite as many kicks and tweaks, which only seemed to make him faster try the patience of his master.

Some sin, at last, beyond all measure, incurred the desperate displeasure of his serene and raging Highness: whether he twitched his most revered and sacred beard, or had intruded on the quietness of the studio, or let fly an epigram at royalty, none knows : his sin was an occult one; but records tell us that the Sultan, meaning to terrify the knave, exclaimedro? Tis time to stop that breath: thy doom is sealed :-presumptuous slave! thou stand'st condemned to certain death. Silence, base rebel !--no replying !--but such is my indulgence still, that, of my own free grace and will, I leave to thee the mode of dying."

Thy royal will be done—'tis just,” replied the wretch, and kissed the dust ; “ since, my last moments to assuage, your Majesty's humane decree has deigned to leave the choice to me, I'll die, so please you, of old age.”'

XXIII.-THE WELL OF ST. KEYNE.

SOUTHEY.

Aw

WELL there is in the west country, and a clearer one never was seen ,

there is not a wife in the west country, but has heard of the Well of St. Keyne. An oak and an Elm-tree stand beside, and behind does an ash-tree grow, and a willow from the bank above droops to the water below.

A traveller came to the Well of St. Keyne ; joyfully he drew nigh, for from cock-crow he had been travelling, and there was not a cloud in the sky. He drank of the water so cool and clear, for thirsty and hot. was te: and he sat down upon the bank, under the willow-tree.

There came a man from the neighboring town, at the Well to fill his pail; on the Well-side he rested it, and he bade the stranger hail. “Now, art thou a bachelor, stranger ?" quoth he, "for, an' if thou hast a wife, the happiest draught thou hast drunk this day, that ever thou didst in thy life. Or has thy good woman -if one thou hast-ever here in Cornwall been? for, 'an if she have, I'll venture my life she has drunk of the well of St. Keyne.” "I have left a good woman who never was here,o' the stranger he made reply ; “ but that my draught should be better for that, I pray you answer me why.” “St. Keyne,” quoth the Cornishman, “many a time drank of this crystal well, and before the angel summoned her, she laid on the water a spell : If the husband, of this gifted Well shall drink before his wife, a happy man henceforth is he, for he shall be master for life. But if the wife should drink of it first,-heaven help the husband then !”—The stranger stooped to the Well of St. Keyne, and drank of the water again. " You drank of the Well, I warrant, betimes ?” he to the Cornish-man said : but the Cornish-man smiled as the stranger spake, and sheepishly shook his head. “ I hastened as soon as the wedding was done, and left my wife in the porch: but i'faith! she had been wiser than I, for she took a bottle to church.”

[ocr errors]

XXIV.-NOSE AND EYES.

COWPER.

BETWEEN Nose and Eyes a strange contest arose,

a ,
The spectacles set them unhappily wrong:
The point in dispute was, as all the world knows,

To which the said spectacles ought to belong.

So Tongue was the lawyer, and argued the cause

With a great deal of skill, and a wig full of learning ;
While Chief Baron Ear sat to balance the laws,

So famed for his talent in nicely discerning,

"In behalf of the Nose, it will quickly appear,

“And your lordship," he said, "will undoubtedly find, “That the nose has had spectacles always in wear

Which amounts to pessession, time out of mind.“

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Then, holding the spectacles up to the court,

Your lordship observes, they are made with a straddle As wide as the ridge of the Nose is; in short,

“Design’d to sit close to it, just like a saddle.

· Again, would your lordship a moment suppose

"('Tis a case that has happen'd, and may be again)

That the visage or countenance had not a Nose,

Pray who would, or who could, wear spectacles then.

On the whole it appears, and my argument shows,

“With a reasoning the court will never condemn,
“That the spectacles plainly were made for the Nose,”

" And the nose was as plainly intended for them."

Then shifting his side, (as a lawyer knows how,)

He pleaded again in behalf of the Eyes ;
But what were his arguments few people know,

For the court did not think they were equally wise.

So his lordship decreed, with a grave solemn tone,

Decisive and clear, without one if or but,
That, whenever the nose put his spectacles on-

By daylight or candlelight-Eyes should be shut !

[blocks in formation]

TH

,

HE boy stood on the back-yard fence, whence all but him had fled ;

The flames that lit his father's barn shone just above the shed.
One bunch of crackers in his hand, two others in his hat,
With piteous accents loud he cried, “I never thought of that!"
A bunch of crackers to the tail of one small dog he'd tied ;
The dog in anguish sought the barn, and ’mid its ruins died.
The sparks flew wide and red and hot, they lit upon that brat ;
They fired the crackers in his hand, and e'en those in his hat.
Then came a burst of rattling sound-the boy! Where was he gone ?
Ask of the winds that far around strewed bits of meat and bone,
And scraps of clothes, and balls, and tops, and nails, and hooks, and yarn-
The relics of that dreadful boy that burned his father's barn.

« PoprzedniaDalej »