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To the grave polar bears sitting round on the ice,
All shortening their grace, to be in for a slice;
Or, if he found nobody else there to pother,
Why, one of his legs would just trip up the other,
For there's nothing we read of in torture's inven-

tions, Like a well-meaning dunce, with the best of in


A terrible fellow to meet in society, Not the toast that he buttered was ever so dry at

tea; There he'd sit at the table and stir in his sugar, Crouching close for a spring, all the while, like a

cougar; Be sure of your facts, of your measures and weights, Of your time-he's as fond as an Arab of dates;You'll be telling, perhaps, in your comical way, Of something you've seen in the course of the day ; And, just as you're tapering out the conclusion, You venture an ill-fated classic allusion,The girls have all got their laughs ready, when,

whack ! The cougar comes down on your thunderstruck

back! You had left out a comma,—your Greek's put in

joint, And pointed at cost of your story's whole point. In the course of the evening, you venture on

certain Soft speeches to Anne, in the shade of the curtain ; You tell her your heart can be likened to one

flower, “And that, oh most charming of women, 's the sun

flower, Which turns ”_here a clear nasal voice, to your


From outside the curtain, says “ that's all an error.” As for him, he's—no matter, he never grew tender, Sitting after a ball, with his feet on the fender, Shaping somebody's sweet features out of cigar

smoke, (Though he'd willingly grant you that such doings

are smoke ;) All women he damns with mutabile semper, And if ever he felt something like love's distemper, 'Twas towards a young lady who spoke ancient

Mexican, And assisted her father in making a lexicon ; Though I recollect hearing him get quite ferocious About Mary Clausum, the mistress of Grotius, Or something of that sort,—but, no more to bore

ye With character-painting, I'll turn to my story. Now, Apollo, who finds it convenient some

times To get his court clear of the makers of rhymes, The

genus, I think it is called, irritabile, Every one of whom thinks himself treated most

shabbily, And nurses a—what is it ?-immedicabile, Which keeps him at boiling-point, hot for a quarrel, As bitter as wormwood, and sourer than sorrel, If any poor devil but look at a laurel ;-Apollo, I say, being sick of their rioting, (Though he sometimes acknowledged their verse

had a quieting Effect after dinner, and seemed to suggest a Retreat to the shrine of a tranquil siesta,) Kept our Hero at hand, who, by means of a bray, Which he gave to the life, drove the rabble away; And if that wouldn't do, he was sure to succeed, If he took his review out and offered to read;


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Or, failing in plans of this milder description,
He would ask for their aid to get up a subscrip-

Considering that authorship wasn't a rich craft,
To print the “American drama of Witchcraft.”
Stay, I'll read you a scene,”—but he hardly

began, Ere Apollo shrieked “Help!” and the authors all And once, when these purgatives acted with less

spirit, And the desperate case asked a remedy desperate, He drew from his pocket a foolscap epistle, As calmly as if 'twere a nine-barrelled pistol, And threatened them all with the judgment to

come, Of “A wandering Star's first impressions of Rome.” “ Stop ! stop!” with their hands o'er their ears

screamed the Muses, “ He may go off and murder himself, if he chooses, 'Twas a means self-defence only sanctioned his

trying, 'Tis mere massacre now that the enemy's flying; If he's forced to 't again, and we happen to be

there, Give us each a large handkerchief soaked in strong


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I called this a “ Fable for Critics ;” you think

it's More like a display of my rhythmical trinkets ; My plot, like an icicle, 's slender and slippery, Every moment more slender, and likely to slip

awry, And the reader unwilling in loco desipere, Is free to jump over as much of my frippery As he fancies, and, if he's a provident skipper, he



May have an Odyssean sway of the gales,
And get safe into port, ere his patience all fails ;
Moreover, although 'tis a slender return
For your toil and expense, yet my paper will burn,
And, if you have manfully struggled thus far with

me, You may e'en twist me up, and just light your

cigar with me : If too angry for that, you can tear me in pieces, And my membra disjecta consign to the breezes, A fate like great Ratzau's, whom one of those

bores, Who beflead with bad verses poor Louis Quatorze, Describes, (the first verse somehow ends with

victoire,) As dispersant partout et ses membres et sa gloire; Or, if I were over-desirous of earning A repute among noodles for classical learning, I could pick you a score of allusions, I wis, As new as the jests of Didaskalos tis ; Better still, I could make out a good solid list From recondite authors who do not exist, But that would be naughty : at least, I could twist Something out of Absyrtus, or turn your inquiries After Milton's prose 'metaphor, drawn from OsiBut, as Cicero says he won't say this or that, (A fetch, I must say, most transparent and flat,) After saying whate'er he could possibly think of,— I simply will state that I pause on the brink of A mire, ankle-deep, of deliberate confusion, Made up of old jumbles of classic allusion, So, when you were thinking yourselves to be

pitied, Just conceive how much harder your teeth you'd

have gritted, An 'twere not for the dulness I've kindly omitted.




I'd apologize here for my many digressions, Were it not that I'm certain to trip into fresh

ones, ('Tis so hard to escape if you get in their mesh

once ;) Just reflect, if you please, how 'tis said by Hora

tius, That Mæonides nods now and then, and, my gra

cious! It certainly does look a little bit ominous When he gets under way with ton d'apameibome(Here a something occurs which I'll just clap a

rhyme to, And say it myself, ere a Zoilus have time to,Any author a nap like Van Winkle's may take, If he only contrive to keep readers awake, But he'll very soon find himself laid on the shelf, If they fall a nodding when he nods himself.) Once for all, to return, and to stay, will I,

nill IWhen Phæbus expressed his desire for a lily, Our hero, whose homeopathic sagacity With an ocean of zeal mixed his drop of capacity, Set off for the garden as fast as the wind, (Or, to take a comparison more to my mind, As a sound politician leaves conscience behind,) And leaped the low fence, as a party hack jumps O’er his principles, when something else turns up

trumps. He was gone a long time, and Apollo mean

while, Went over some sonnets of his with a file, For of all compositions, he thought that the son



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