Imagens das páginas

Mr. Editor, that “ black patches used to be worn,” as the Spectator says, “ by ladies to hide moles and other defects of the countenance." Now, I have consulted several great linguists of the present day respecting this passage, and although one held the opinion that the “ patch" was intended to hide the butcher's nose on account of its extreme ugliness, yet the rest agreed with the profound Snapp-youup in the definition which he gives to “ black patch”, (see Prolegomena to his works Reisch, Lips. 1743,) viz., “a nigeriferous teguminity, used as a sanative plaister for some injury which the olfactory organs have received." This clear explanation, of course, decides the question. The pathos of the fifth verse is exquisite, and so affected by it was a friend of mine, that when he had read the second line he immediately ran home and ordered some pork chops which were hanging in his pantry to be taken down and reverently buried. The manner of the discovery of this rich and ancient curiosity was as follows:--The cook of St. John's College was searching for a fryingpan in an old cupboard, where happening to find these verses, inscribed “Lines to a Pig,” he became greatly enraged, and “wondered how any one could have the impudence to make game of as good a College as ever walked'-(for you must know, the members of St. John's College are facetiously called “ pigs' at Cambridge)—and was about indignantly to thrust it into the fire, when my friend Frank Trump, (who was coming to order broiled bones and devilled kidneys for nine,) called out “Hollo, Cookey, what have you got there ?? The precious document was handed to him-a tear was seen to trickle out of the corner of his left eye, as he finished reading itand, in a tremulous voice, he ordered the cook to send the Poem up with the broiled bones and devilled kidneys, for the instruction of his nine friends.

“ Ruin seize thee! Ruthless Pig,

In dunghills dirty thou dost dig,

Snuffing thy way, and grunting loud,
And of thy curled tail thou seemest very proud.

“ Nathless I love thee! porker sweet!

For thou art jolly stuff to eat,

Especially when we have apple-sauce,
And thy crisp cracklings carved through perforce.

“ Oh! grunt not! grunt not! piggy dear!

Thou little think'st thy butcher's here,

Yet here he comes adown the Close
With slaughter in his eye, and black patch on his nose.

“ Ah! thou must die ! my hapless Pig!

No more thy graceful snout shall dig

No more thy happy grunt be heard
But desolate thy sty, and pensive all thy herd.

“ Alas! how young art thou to fall !

Without a hearse or funeral pall,

But eftsoons to be cooked is thy dread doom,
And in some glutton's maw to find an early tomb."


Haml.-Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a Camel !
Pol.-By the Mass, and 'tis like a Camel indeed.
Haml.-Methinks it's like a Weazel.
Pol. It is backed like a Weazel.
Haml.Or like a Whale ?
Pol.-Very like a Whale.

HAMLET. It is truly astonishing what an amount of business has been transacted with the six and twenty letters of our alphabet! A few vowels and consonants, put in circulation as the medium of thought, have sufficed for the wants of generations. There is some magic in them surely : for never were mortals pushed into a quagmire or immcrsed in a difficulty from which they could not extricate themselves by the manufacture of a few words and sentences. Two persons, for in. stance, feel very solicitous to “ exchange shots," with the view of putting each other to death as neatly as possible; but both are aware that there is a peremptory little Injunction against Killing in the Divine Tables, and that moreover the Law of the Land has undertaken to see that murderers shall be hanged. How shall they act to prevent any disappointment? The difficulty is to gild homicide, so that it shall become not only permissible, but fashionable, gentlemanly, meritorious, and soforth-a decent reputable practice, in which men of refinement and breeding may engage without stooping to the vulgarity of fisty-cuffs. Oh! nothing more easy! Get the hornbook : pick out half a dozen letters-say honou r—and then we have a magical combination which paralyzes the force of law, both human and divine! Write down those letters, place them over VI in the Decalogue, and none can see the handwriting of God through the scrawl of man! Indeed you may build anything with words : you may run up a System or a Constitution in a few hours, by the help of a dictionary. The alphabet is worth all the swords, bayonets, and cannon-balls which have been the staple manufacture of our globe for so long a period. A hint or an argument in lead or steel will find its way through a man's body, without affecting his opinions; but a dexterous arrangement of vowels and consonants will penetrate to his judgment, and convince or cajole it at the pleasure of the operator. You may bowl a man down like a ninepin—that is, his understanding—with a compact little dissertation composed of 50 measures of words to 1 of sense ; you may prostrate many a strong citadel of opinion by raising a tempest of vocables, and battering it with no tougher materials than impalpable Words. The alphabet is our modern magician's staff; when wielded by master-hands it has fired nations; it has shaken empires; it has plucked the sting of tyranny from the dragon-forms which have made this earth their lair, and its sons their victims; it has struck the triple crown from the head of the Spiritual Oppressor, and rescued Conscience from its most deadly adversaries; and now it forms an impregnable bulwark to stay the encroachments of despotism, and an irresistible weaponkeener than steel, more trenchant than the sword-to hew down the corruptions which impede man's march to the goal for which he is aiming.

But stop—where are you running to, Sir,-eh? What has this stupid dissertation upon the power of words to do with the Public ? You are quite right, my dear Sir, as you always are, I have no doubt. It is very kind of you to pull me up when galloping away like an unbroken colt of Araby. I thought, indeed, that it had some slight relation to the subject when I began; but really, I must confess I don't exactly—that is, not exactly (you know)-remember what it is, just now. Dear me, how stupid—I am certain, I had an idea of some analogy or other-yes, quite positive—where has it flown? Poor fellow, you are in a pretty quandary now! What a ninny to follow a Will-o'-the-Wisp into this miserable bog! Well, it is of no use to flounder about: wait patiently till the lost idea returns to the bereaved subject. * * * * * * Oh there !-yes that is it; welcome, thou truant phantom of a conception, “ Come let me clutch thee!" And now, compassionate reader, I am prepared with a filmy reason for my little treatise on Words. I want to inquire whether this phrase-THE PUBLIC-is one of those alphabetical combinations which possess an inherent potency of meaning, or whether it is a mere verbal phantasm to be numbered amongst the many empty sounds which haunt the pages of our Dictionary? There is a clever analogy for you! I shall float out of the bog triumphantly now! You see my little introductory flourish was more relevant to the subject than an inquiry as to the specific gravity of the moon would have been. It is necessary to ask whether the “ Public" is an article or an articulation. If the former, is it a definite or an indefinite article? Is he, she or it, masculine, feminine or neuter? Is it man or monster. Is it herbivorous, graminivorous, carnivorous, or omnivorous. If an animal, has he his complement of limbs-a re. spectable head, a proportioned body, and a presentable tail ? Every person is talking about the public; every paper is writing about it ; the senator is prattling for it with his tongue; the soldier fighting with his sword; the shoemaker stitching with his needle; each hoping to recommed himself to the favour or secure the patronage of the “ Public.” At sea, and on the land, down in the mines, and up in the Air-iel, the Sons of Earth are labouring for the benefit of the Public; and in Westminster, it is well-known, that a Sacred Band of political heroes has undertaken the onerous task of providing for the public welfare, and frequently devotes the midnight hours to the manufacture of laws and orations for the public gratification. What is he then? Why really I shouldn't know what to say, but happily in this dilemma my eye falls upon that elephantine production of the great Leviathan of English Literature—the Dictionary of Doctor Samuel Johnson. Perhaps some solution may be obtained from the fine old lexicographer. What a refuge for the distressed is this wonderful production! “Oh, the Public?" says the oracle of verbs and substantives, “ the public is the general body of mankind, or of a state, or nation.” Thank you, doctor, I will carefully commit this definition to memory, and now take a stroll in the street to make a practical application of your wisdom. Ah, here is a Tea-warehouse, for the sale of British leaves, grown on British hedges, and preserved

in British Canisters: there is a bill in the window and a huge placard at the door, inviting The Public to slep in, and try their six-shilling tea." Is the man a lunatic? Ask the Public to STEP IN? What, my good Sir, the Public get through such a door as That? The general body of mankind” squeeze itself through an aperture six feet in height by four in breadth! Do you fancy the Corpus of a State could cram itself into such a mousetrap as your Depôt of real (British) Souchong? And then to ask it to try your article, as if you had a province in your back premises, and a thousand stacks of Tealeaves ready for instant delivery! What do you mean by the Public, pray? Either you or the great lexicographer is in error, for it is plain you can never engage to make tea for the “ general body" of the State, and much less for the general body of mankind. However here is another shop, from whose banner we learn that the owner has invented a new species of waterproof, which he assures “the Public” will preserve the wearer from all the calamities of weatherkeep out storms and tempests-and protect him from cataracts, waterspouts, and deluges. Oh, the public wears a waterproof does be? How many acres of cloth then have you ready? The general body of mankind will require a tolerable superfices of woollen or cotton fabric to cover it effectually ? Oh, I see your whole stock would not carpet a parlour, and the hands in your employ do not exceed the amazing number of three, including the one who is just going to dinner, and the two who are fencing with their measuring-rods. And yet you are prepared to execute an order for equipping the gigantic body of the Public with an impenetrable jacket! And lo, again ! bottles blue and red inform us in symbolical language that we have reached a manufactory of pills, blisters, draughts, and other tormenting contrivances for keeping the human tabernacle in repair. What saith the man of medicine about the Public ? He recommends HIM to devour a few of his GRAND-CURE-EVERY-TUING-IN-AN-HOUR PILLS ! What, our friend takes pills then ? They must surely be little globes to suit the “general body of mankind." Let us enter. "A Box of Pills, please, Sir, for the Public.” “ There Sir-capital things-cure everything in no time!" And forthwith he produces a shaving, cunningly fashioned into a receptacle for a few globules of unctuous. looking paste. One expected to see a sphere or an oblate spheroid of some yards in diameter, or a pile of balls worthy of the tremendous ca. pacity of the “ general body," and finds instead that this House of Pills would not furnish a single specimen of greater dimensions than an or. dinary apple. Well, after scouring a whole street, it would seem that this strange creature, the public, devoureth every species of food from potted cat to aldermanic turtle : he drinketh all manner of beverages, refreshing his palate with street-soup as well as wines of the most ancient vintage : he taketh pills; is often afilicted, with the gout : regaleth his nostrils with snuff; puffeth cigars-a faggot of Havannahs at a time, it is presumed-he weareth trowsers and arrayeth himself in Cashmere and Kerseymere after an extraordinary fashion : he is charitable, humane, and impartial as we are told; men rely upon his generosity and swear by his justice; he is ubiquitous; he is expected to read a tailor's list of prices in the City and adjudicate upon a delicate affair in the West-end on the same day; he is pre

sented with “excellent accommodations” at Dover at the very moment that he is entreated to "taste our ale” by a Man of Spirit at Dublin! In short he is the most incongruous, intangible, incomprehensible monster that ever lived.

It is worthy of remark in these monomanical days, when a touch or so of insanity is becoming quite fashionable, and the " semel. insanivimus-omnes” principle may go far to license the picking bodies of their spirits, and more horrible still-pockets of handkerchiefs and purses, that men have been known to take a lunatic freak into their pates, and imagine that they, themselves, constituted this mysterious animal, the Public! All the world has heard of the trio of Tailors in Tooley-street, who blandly informed Heaven and Earth what were the sentiments of the British Nation, without taking a single suffrage beyond their board; as if the millions of human vesicles, of which that nation consisted, had been suddenly condensed into three ponderous drops of tailorific life! Once upon a time, however, a certain Monarch became more decidedly monomaniac than the pleasant trio above-mentioned, and asserted with royal pompousness, that he-a man of no extraordinary bulk, but capable of getting through a gate-way like other mortals—was actually a WHOLE ŠTATE in himself! L'etat c'est moi,said the royal frog in his inflation ;--not merely the “general body," as the fine old lexicographer requires for the Public, but head, arms, legs, tail and talons, of the great Leviathan of France ! May it please your Majestyyour successors found that there was another “moi" in France, made of the sternest stuff, and possessing a fiery volcanic nature, which but awaited the final act of compression to rouse it into terrible activity. You swallowed shoals to make your“ moi," but in the person of poor “ sainted” Louis your Royalty was swallowed up by a greater fish still. If your Majesty could have glanced down the avenue of years, you might have seen your throne vacant, your dynasty unseated, and your unhappy successor incarcerated in the Temple, whilst millions of living atoms, who had learnt that they could act as well as suffer, were raging and storming around in all the fury of long-suppressed passion and protracted misery. How could your Majesty think that twenty millions, perhaps, of human hearts could pulsate within your straitened breast?

Men are more modest now, and content themselves with a claim to be considered as part of the great indefinite Public ; but of that share they are proud enough. Every drunken dustman glides at once into a “cloud-compelling Jove," when he forgets his cart and considers that he is inducted into the corpus of the monster. As a limb of the wonderful creature, he becomes obstreperously valiant, and passes sentence upon every candidate for public favour with the gravity of a black-cap Judge. If he be the smallest possible morsel, he volunteers a roar which would lead you to infer that he was a Numidian lion of the first quality. When pursuing his usual employ. ment, perhaps, be sneaks along with an air of native humility, which seems to say, that he would not lay claim to a spoonful of the atmospheric fluid if you are disposed to keep it all yourself; but transfer him to some public assembly, and the meek enduring creature is suddenly transformed into a bellowing despot. See him in the front

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