Imagens das páginas

whose names are constantly written down alphabetically, and who serve to exonerate the wooden spoon, in part, from the ignominy of the day; and these undergo various appropriated epithets according to eir accidental number. I have known them thus severally characterised. If there was only one of these, he was a Bion, who carried all bis learning about him, without the slightest inconvenience ; if there were two, they were inevitably dubbed the Scipios, Damon and Pythias, Hercules and Atlas, Castor and Pollux ; it three, they were, ad libitum, tbe three Graces, or the three Furies, or the tbree Magi, or Noah, Daniel, and Job; if seven, what epithets more obvious than the seven wise men, or the seven wonders of the world ? if nine, they were the nine unfortunate suitors of the Muses; if twelve, they became the twelve apostles ; if thirteen, either they deserved a round dezen, or, like Americans, should bear thirteen stripes on their coat and arms, C. &c. lastly, all these worthies are styled, in addition to such and similar notable distinctions, constant quantities, and martyrs.

I have happily preserved the copy of an irregular ode, written in congratulation of those seape-goats of literature who had at length scrambled through the pales and discipline of the Senate-house with out being ptucked, and miraculously obtained the title of A. B. This ode was circulated round the university at degree-time; and, as it possesses the merit of humorous originality, I shall here, with your permission, Sir, lay it before your readers,


Post tot naufragia tutis.
Thriee happy ye, through toils and dangers past,

Who rest upon that peaceful shore,

Where all your fagging is no more,
And gain the long-expected port at last;
Yours are the sweet, the ravishing delights,

To doze and snore upon your noon-tide beds :
No chapel bell your peaceful sleep affrights,

No problems trouble now your empty Heads.
Yet, if the heavenly Muse is not mistakeo,

And poets say the Muse can rightly guessin

I fear, full many of you must confess,
That ye have barely sav'd your bacon.
Amidst the problematic war,

Where dire equations frown in dread array,

Ye never strove to find the arduous way
To where proud Granta's honours shine afar,
Within that dreadful mansion have ye stood,

Where moderators glare, with looks uncivil,
How often have ye d-mn'd their souls, their blood,

And wish'd all mathematics at the devil!
But, ah! what terrors, on that fatal day,

Your souls appall’d, when to your stupid gaze

Appear'd the biquadratic's darken'd maze,
And problems rang'd in horrible array !
Hard was the tark, I ween, the la! our great,

To the wish'd port to find your uncouth way:
How did ye toil, and fags, and fume, and fret,

And what the bashful Muse would blush to say.

But, now your painful tremors all are o'er,

Cloth'd in the glories of a full-sleev'd gown,

Ye strut majestically up and down,

And now ye fagg, and now ye fear, no more! I shall now advert to your correspondent's epistle ; and must en. treat indulgence if I trespass a little on your patience, and that of your readers, for the sake of greater perspicuity. And, ist: a Harry; or errant Sopb, I understand to be, either a person four-and-twenty years of age, and of an infirm state of health, who is permit ed to dine with the fellows, and to wear a plain, black, full-sleeved gown; or else he is one who, having kept all the terms by statute required previous to his law-act, is boc ipso facto entitled to wear the same garment, and, thenceforth, ranks as batchelor by courtesy.

A Cambridge Fellow-Commoner is equivalent to a GentlemanCommoner at Oxford ; and is any young man of liberal parentage, or in affluent circumstances, who desires to elude part of the college discipline, to dine with the fellows, to drink wine in the combinationroom, and in all respects to be what in private schools and seminaries is called, a parlour cat, or parlour boarder. The fellow-commoners of Trinity College wear blue gowns, with silver tassels in their trencher-caps, and silver lace on their gowns ; those of all the other colleges wear gold tassels in their caps, and gold lace on black gowns. It may not, perhaps, be unentertaining or irrelevant to quote the authority of a severe but just satyrist upon this head. The elegant writer of POMPEY THE LITTLE [chap. xii, book 2.] speaking of his hero's young master, says,

“ He was admitted in the rank of a Fellow-commoner, which, according to the definition given by a member of the university in a court of justice, is one who sits at the same table with, and enjoys the conversation of the fellows. It differs from what is called a Gentleman-commoner at Oxford, not only in the name, but also in the greater privileges and licences indulged io the members of this order; who do not only enjoy the conversation of the fellows, but likewise a full liberty of enjoying their own imaginations in every thing. For, as tutors and governors of colleges have usually pretty sagacious noses after preferment, they think it impolitic to cross the inclinations of young gentlemen who are heirs to great estates, and from whom they expect benefices and dignities hereafter, as rewards for their want of care of them while they were under their protection. Thence it comes to pass, that pupil's of this rank are excused from all public exercises, and allowed to absent themselves at pleasure from the private lectures in their tutor's rooms as often as they have made a party for hunting, or an engagement at the tennis court, or are not well recovered from their evening's debauch. And whilst a poor unhappy soph, of no fortune, is often expelled for the most trivial offences, or merely to humour the capricious resentment of his tutor, who happens to dislike his face; young noblemen, and he rs of great estates, may commit any illegalities, and, if they please, overturn a college with impunity."

I have transcribed this animated quotation from a note in p. 38 of Poems, written by the Rev. Dr. Dodd, and printed by Dryden Leach, 1767. The Doctor subjoins, N. B. Let it be acknowledged, our author is rather too severe."

Gentlemen-commoners of Oxford, what say ye? Is this description inapplicable to you? Is the resemblance only perceivable at Granta

A pensioner is equivalent to an Oxford commoner; and is, generally, a person of genteel fortune and good expectancy, who wishes to pass through the usual routine of coliegiate exercises, without any indulgence, without any pecuniary emolument, without enviable distinctions, or singular obsequiousness. He, in every respect, resembles the oppidant of Eton school. A sizar, sisar, or sizer, equivalent to the Oxonian servitor, is commonly of mean and poor extraction, and one who comes to college to better bis circumstances, and to gain a comfortable livelihood, by means of his literary acquirements. He is very much like the scbolurs at Westminster, Eton, MerchantTaylors, Charter House, St. Paul's, &c. &c. who are on the founs dation"; and is, in a manner, the balf-boarder in private academies.

The name was derived from the menial seivices in which he was occasionally engaged; being, in former days, compelled [as the Winchester students still shamefully continue to be] to transport the plates, dishes, sizes, and platters, to and from the tables of his superiors. Dr. Dodd, in the work above-mentioned, p. 29, says, a size of bread is half a half-penny “ roll.” In general, a size is a small plateful of any eatable; and, at dinner, to size is to order for yourself any little luxury that may chance to tempt you in addition to the general fare, for which you are expected to pay the cook at the end of the term. This word was plainly in vogue in Shakspeare's time. In his Lear, Act II. Scene 4, p. 569, Malone's edition, we have,

'Tis not in thee

to scant my sizes." A sizar, in short, was the fellows' trencherman.

Kit Smart, the poet, ludicrously alludes to this disgraceful practice, in his admirable tripos upon

Yawning." He concludes thus,
Haud aliter Socium esuriens Sizator edacem
Dum videt, appositusque cibus frustratur hiantem
Dentibus infrendens, nequicquam brachia tendit
Sedulus officiosa, dapes removere paratus.
Olii nunquam exempta fimes, quin frustra suprema
Devoret, et'peritura immani ingurgitet ore:
Tum demum jubet auferri; nudata capaci

Ossa sonant, lugubre sonant, allisa catino. The Rev. Mr. Fawkes elegantly translates this passage in the fol, lowing lines:

Thus a lean Sizar views, with gaze aghast,
The hungry tutor at his noon's repast;
In vain he grinds his teeth — his grudging eye,
And visage sharp, keen appetite imply ;
Oft he attempts, officions, to convey
The lessening relics of the meal-away--
In vain- no morsel scapes the greedy jaw,
All, all is gorg'd in magisterial maw;
Till, at the last, observant of his word,
Tbe lamentable waiter clears the board :
And inly-murmuring miserably groans,
To see the empty dish, and hear the sounding bones.



[ocr errors]

When the Cambridge Tripos originated, the three learned gentlemen of Christ's, Clare, and Jesus, can best inform us. Perhaps it arose cotemporary with the Oxonian celebrated Terre Filius, which was abolished on account of its abusive and licentious tendency. The last writer of Terre-Filius gives this description of it, in the first number of a work periodically published under that title :

“ It has, till of late (says he), been a custom, from time immemorial, for one of our family to mount the rostrur at Oxford, at certain seasons, and divert an innumerable croud of spectators, who flocked thither to hear him from all parts, with a merry oration in the fescennine manner, interspersed with secret history, raillery, and sarcasm, as the occasions of the times supplied him with matter.”

Now the Cambridge Tripos was, probably, in old time, delivered like the Terræ-Filius, from a tripod, a three-legged-stool, or rostrum, jn humble imitation of the Delphic oracle. That it is of great antiquity cannot be doubted; and that, in the year 1626, it very much resembled the Terre-Filius, as above described, will appear manifest from the Cambridge statute, "" De tollendis ineptiis in publicis disputationibus ;" enacted, at that time, in order to repress the encreasing asperity and impertinence of those annual productions. The statute runs thus:

“ Cum statutis Academiæ cautum sit, ut modestiam ordini suo convenientem omnes omnibus in locis colant: eamque majores nostri precipuè in publicis comitiis ita observârunt, ut philosophi quæstiones suas tractarent seriò, prævaricatores veritatem philosophicam quà poterant contradicendi subtilitate eluderent, Tripodes sua quæsita ingeniosè et appositè defenderent, gestibus autem bistrionicis, Aagitiosis facetiis et ineptiis pueriles risus captare nuperrimi fæculi malitiosum sit inventum : ad antiquam 'Academia modestiam & gravitatem restaurandam & in posterum retinendam, dominus Procancellarius & Præpositi Collegiorum sic prædictum statutun interpretantur, & interpretando decernunt; ut prævaricatores, Tripodes, aliique omnes disputantes veterem Academiæ formam & consuetudinem in publicis disputationibus observent, & ab hoc ridiculo morionum usu impudentiá prorsus abstineant : neque leges, statuta vel ordinationes Academiæ ; neque facultatum, linguarum, aut artium professiones ; neque magistratus, professores, aut graduatos cujuscunque tituli aut nominis, salutationibus mimicis, gesticulationibus ridiculis, jocis scurrilibus, dicteriis malitiosis perstringere aut illudere præsumant, &c. &c.'!

The Jesuits, are the inhabitants of Jesus College; the Christians, those of Christ's ; the fobnian bogs were originally remarkable, on account of the squalid figures and low habits of the students, and especially of the sizars, of Saint Jobn's College; Catharine-Puritans, inhabitants' of Catbarine Hall; so punningly called from xalasze. They are also yclept Catharine-doves, for the same reason ; doves being emblems of purity.' Hence perhaps we derive the epithet of a plucked puritan." Trinity bull-dog's, from their ferocious deportment, in consequence of peculiar immunities attached to their college, and of their reinarkable dress. I am yet to learn the etymology of Sidney-owls, and of Clare-ball greyhounds : although I have frequently heard the young men of Sidney College, and of Clare-ball

, thus comically and invariably characterised.

Smart, who was himself of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and consequently well versed in the appellations incidental to each society, adverts partly to these distinctions in a ballad, written at college in

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the year 1741, intituled, The pretty Bar-keeper of the Mitre. I beg leave to transcribe the seventh and eighth stanızas ;

Her snuff-box if the nymph pullid out,

Each Johnian in responsive airs
Fed with the tickling dust bis snout,

With all the politesse of bears.
Dropt she her fan beneath her hoop,
Ev'n siake stuck Clarians strove to stoop.
The sons of culinary Kays,

Smoking from the eternal treat,
Lost in extatic transport gaze,

As though the fair was good to eat;
Ev'n gloomiest Kings men, pleas'd awhile,

Grin borribly a ghastly smile.
Having engrossed so much of your valuable Miscellany, I shall
conclude for the present; proposing, should these lucubrations prove
acceptable, to notice the other passages in your correspondent's letter
at the next opportunity.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]



TN the volume of Philosophical transactions just published, is a

relation of a spontaneous fire which took place in the arsenal at Madrid, and occasioned considerable alarm, from an idea that some incendiary had attempted the destruction of that important building.

-A piece of coarse cotton cloth, which was shut up in a box, was found partly reduced to tinder; it appeared to have been moistened with linseed oil, was much heated, and the wood of the box was discoloured, as from burning. On examination it was discovered, that a bottle of linseed oil which had stood on the box had been broken during the night; and it occurred to a gentleman who accidentally visited the arsenal that he had read, that cotton soaked in linseed oil would take fire without the aid of any inflamed matter : and it was presumed the present combustion had been produced by the oil passing into the box, and uniting with the cotton. To determine this point, some of the same kind of cloth was wetted with linseed oil, and shut up closely in a box, which in about three hours began to smoke. On opening it the cloth was found in a state similar to that discovered in the arsenal, and, on its being exposed to the air, broke out into a flame.

ON THE EFFECTS OF ICE BY EXPANSION, WHEN a tract of ice in strong masses is spread over the ground, and otherwise continues to be formed underneath, where there is not room for its expansion, as in the Glaciers of Switzerland, the ice

« AnteriorContinuar »