Слике страница

held the office of Poetry Professor at Oxford, that, when one wished to find him, being absconded, as was his wont, in some obscure alehouse, he was counselled to traverse the city with a drum and fife, the sound of which inspiring music would be sure to draw the Doctor from his retirement into the street. We are all more or less bitten with this martial insanity. Nescio quâ dulcedine

...cunctos ducit. I confess to some infection of that itch myself. When I see a Brigadier-General maintaining his insecure elevation in the saddle under the severe fire of the training-field, and when I remember that some military enthusiasts, through haste, inexperience, or an over-desire to lend reality to those fictitious combats, will sometimes discharge their ramrods, I cannot but admire, while I deplore, the mistaken devotion of those heroic officers. Semel insanivimus omnes. I was myself, during the late war with Great Britain, chaplain of a regiment, which was fortunately never called to active military duty. I mention this circumstance with regret rather than pride. Had I been summoned to actual warfare, I trust that I might have been strengthened to bear myself after the manner of that reverend father in our New England Israel, Dr. Benjamin Colman, who, as we are told in Turell's life of him, when the vessel in which he had taken passage for England was attacked by a French privateer, “ fought like a philosopher and a Christian,.....and prayed all the while he charged and fired.” As this note is already long, I shall not here enter upon a discussion of the question, whether Christians may lawfully be soldiers. I think it sufficiently evident, that, during the first two centuries of the Christian era, at least, the two professions were esteemed incompatible. Consult Jortin on this head.-H. W.]

No. IV.




[The ingenious reader will at once understand that no such speech as the following was ever totidem verbis pronounced. But there are simpler and less guarded wits, for the satisfying of which such an explanation may be needful. For there are certain invisible lines, which as Truth successively overpasses, she becomes Untruth to one and another of us, as a large river, flowing from one kingdom into another, sometimes takes a new name, albeit the waters undergo no change, how small

There is, moreover, a truth of fiction more veracious than the truth of fact, as that of the Poet, which represents to us things and events as they ought to be, rather than servilely copies them as they are imperfectly imaged in the crooked and smoky glass of our mundane affairs. It is this which makes the speech of Antonius, though originally spoken in no wider a forum than the brain of Shakspeare, more historically valuable than that other which Appian has reported, by as much as the understanding of the Englishman was more comprehensive than that of the Alexandrian. Mr. Biglow, in the present instance, has only made use of a license assumed by all the historians of antiquity, who put into the mouths of various characters such words as seem to them most fitting to the occasion and to the speaker. If it be objected that no such oration could ever have been delivered, I answer, that there are few assemblages for speech-making which do not better deserve the title of Parliamentum Indoctorum than did the sixth Parliament of Henry the Fourth, and that men still continue to have as much faith in the Oracle of Fools as ever Pantagruel had. Howell, in his letters, recounts a merry tale of a certain ambassador of Queen Elizabeth, who, having written two letters, one to her Majesty and the other to his wife, directed them at cross-purposes, so that the Queen was beducked and bedeared and requested to send a change of hose, and the wife was beprincessed and otherwise unwontedly besuperlatived, till the one feared for the wits of her ambassador, and the other for those of her husband. In like manner it may be presumed that our speaker has misdirected some of his thoughts, and given to the whole theatre what he would have wished to confide only to a select auditory at the back of the curtain. For it is seldom that we can get any frank utterance from men, who address, for the most part, a Buncombe either in this world or the next. As for their audiences, it may be truly said of our people, that they enjoy one political institution in common with the ancient Athenians: I mean a certain profitless kind of ostracism, wherewith, nevertheless, they seem hitherto well enough content. For in Presidential elections, and other affairs of the sort, whereas I observe that the oysters fall to the lot of comparatively few, the shells (such as the privileges of voting as they are told to do by the ostrivori aforesaid, and of huzzaing at public meetings) are very liberally distributed among the people, as being their prescriptive and quite sufficient portion.

The occasion of the speech is supposed to be Mr. Pal frey's refusal to vote for the Whig candidate for the Speakership.-H. W.]

agin him?

No ? Hez he? He haint, though? Wut ? Voted Ef the bird of our country could ketch him, she'd

skin him ; I seem's though I see her, with wrath in each quill, Like a chancery lawyer, afilin' her bill, An' grindin' her talents ez sharp ez all nater, To pounce like a writ on the back o’the traitor. Forgive me, my friends, ef I seem to be het, But a crisis like this must with vigor be met; Wen an Arnold the star-spangled banner be

stains, Holl Fourth o’ Julys seem to bile in my veins. Who ever'd ha' thought sech a pisonous rig Would be run by a chap thet wuz chose fer a

Wig? “ We knowed wut his principles wuz 'fore we sent

him ” ? Wut wuz ther in them from this vote to prevent

him ? A marciful Providunce fashioned us holler ()'

purpose thet we might our principles swaller; It can hold any quantity on 'em, the belly can, An' bring 'em up ready fer use like the pelican, Or more like the kangaroo, who (wich is stranger) Puts her family into her pouch wen there's dan

ger. Aint principle precious ? then, who's goin' to use

it Wen there's resk o' some chap's gittin' up to abuse

it? I can't tell the wy on't, but nothin' is so sure


Ez thet principle kind o'gits spiled by exposure; A man thet lets all sorts o' folks git a sight on't Ough' to hev it all took right away, every mite

on't ; Ef he can't keep it all to himself wen it's wise to, He aint one it's fit to trust nothin' so nice to.


Besides, ther's a wonderful power in latitude
To shift a man's morril relations an' attitude;
Some flossifers think thet a fakkilty's granted
The minnit it's proved to be thoroughly wanted,
Thet a change o' demand makes a change o' con-

dition, An' thet everythin’'s nothin' except by position; Ez, fer instance, thet rubber-trees fust begun

bearin' Wen p’litikle conshunces come into wearin',Thet the fears of a monkey, whose holt chanced

to fail, Drawed the vertibry out to a prehensile tail ; So, wen one's chose to Congriss, ez soon ez he's

in it, A collar grows right round his neck in a minnit, An' sartin it is thet a man cannot be strict In bein' himself, wen he gits to the Deestrict,

* The speaker is of a different mind from Tully, who, in his recently discovered tractate De Republicâ, tells us,-Nec vero habere virtutem satis est, quasi artem aliquam, nisi utare, and from our Milton, who says,—“I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.Areop. He had taken the words out of the Roman's mouth, without knowing it, and might well exclaim with Austin (if a saint's name may stand sponsor for a curse,) Pereant qui ante nos nostra dixerint!-H. W.

« ПретходнаНастави »