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telligent critic immediately perceives that it has the same sort of merit ascribed to ups with. What our hero dig. nifies with the name of his bread-earner is the knife with which, by scraping shoes, he earned his bread. Pope's ingenious critic, Mr. Warton, bestows judicious praise upon the art with which this poet, in the Rape of the Lock, has used many “periphrases and uncommon expressions,” to avoid mentioning the name of scissors, which would sound too vulgar for epic dignity-fatal engine, forfex, meeting points, &c. Though the metonymy of bread-earner for a shoeblack's knife may not equal these in elegance, it perhaps surpasses them in ingenuity.
I gives it him up to Lamprey in the bread-basket.*
Homer is happy in his description of wounds, but this surpasses him in the characteristic choice of circumstance. Up to Lamprey gives us at once a complete idea of the length, breadth, and thickness of the wound, without the assistance of the coroner. It reminds us of a passage in Virgil
“Cervice orantis capulo tenus abdidit ensem."
“Up to the hilt his shining falchion sheathed.” Let us now compare the Irish shoeblack's metaphorical language with the sober slang of an English blackguard, who, fortunately for the fairness of the comparison, was placed somewhat in similar circumstances.
Lord Mansfield, examining a man who was a witness in the court of King's Bench, asked him what he knew of the defendant.
“Oh, my lord, I knew him. I was up to him."
"Up to him!" says his lordship; "what do you mean by being up to him ?”
“ Mean, my lord! why I was down upon him.”
“ Up to him, and down upon him!” says his lordship, turning to Counsellor Dunning; “ what does the fellow mean?"
Why, I mean, my lord, as deep as he thought himself, I stagged him.”
“I cannot conceive, friend,” says his lordship, “what you mean by this sort of language; I do not under. stand it."
“Not understand it !" rejcined the fellow, with sur. prise : “ Lord, what a flat you must be .."
* The stomach.
Though he undervalued Lord Mansfield, this man does not seem to have been a very bright genius. In his cant words, “p to him, down upon him, stagged him," there are no metaphors; and we confess ourselves to be as great flats as his lordship, for we do not understand this sort of language.
“True, no meaning puzzles more than wit,"
as we may see in another English example. Proverbs have been called the wisdom of nations, therefore it is fair to have recourse to them in estimating national abilities. Now there is an old English proverb, “Tenterten steeple is the cause of Goodwin sands."
“ This proverb,” says Mr. Ray, “is used when an absurd and ridiculous reason is given of any thing in question: an account of the original whereof I find in one of Bishop Latimer's sermons in these words : •Mr. Moore was once sent with commission into Kent to try out, if it might be, what was the cause of Goodwin's sands, and the shelf which stopped up Sandwich haven. Thither cometh Mr. Moore, and calleth all the country before him, such as were thought to be men of experience, and men that could, of all likelihood, best satisfy him of the matter concerning the stopping of Sandwich haven. Among the rest came in before hiin an old man with a white head, and one that was thought to be little less than a hundred years old. When Mr. Moore saw this aged man, he thought it expedient to hear him say his mind in this matter (for being so old a man, it was likely that he knew the most in that presence or company); so Mr. Moore called this old aged man unto him, and said, “Father,' said he, tell nie, if you can, what is the cause of the great arising of the sands and shelves hereabout this haven, which stop it up so that no ships can arrive here. You are the oldest man I can espy in all the company, so that if any man can tell any cause of it, you, of all likelihood, can say most to it, or, at leastwise, more than any man here assembled.'
“ • Yea, forsooth, good Mr. Moore,' quoth this old man, for I am well-righ a hundred years old, and no man here in this company any thing bear my age.'
“« Well, then,' quoth Mr. Moore, ‘how say you to this matter? What think you to be the cause of these she!ves and sands which stop up Sandwich haven?'
**Forsooth, sir,' quoth he, 'I am an old man; I think that Tenterten steeple is the cause of Goodwin's sands. For I am an old man, sir,' quoth he; I may remember the buildings of Tenterten steeple, and I may remember when there was no steeple at all there ; and before that Tenterten, or Totterden, steeple was in building, there was no manner of talking of any flats or sands that stopped up the haven, and therefore I think that Tenterten steeple is the cause of the decay and destroying of Sandwich haven.'"*_Thus far the bishop.
The prolix pertinacity with which this old aged man adheres to the opinion that he had formed, without any intelligible reason, is characteristic of an English peasant; but however absurd his mode of judging may be, and however confused and incongruous his ideas, his species of absurdity surely bears no resemblance to an Hibernian blunder. We cannot even suspect it to be possible that a man of this slow, circumspect character could be in any danger of making an Irish bull; and we congratulate the English peasantry and populace, as a body, upon their possessing that temper which
“ Wisely rests content with sober sense,
Even the slang of English pickpockets and coiners is, as we may see in Colquhoun's View of the Metropolis, free from all seducing mixture of wit and humour. What Englishman would ever have thought of calling persons in the pillory the babes in the wood? This is a common cant phrase among Dublin reprobates. Undoubtedly such phrases tend to lessen the power of shame and the effect of punishment, and a witty road will lead numbers to the gallows. English morality is not in so much danger as Irish manners must be from these humorous talents in their knights of industry. If, nevertheless, there be frequent executions for capital crimes in England, we must account for this in the words of the old Lord Chief Justice Fortescue: “More men,” says his lordship, “ are hanged in Englonde in one year than in Fraunce in seven, because the English have better hartes; the Scotchmenne likewise never dare rob, but only
* This ancient old man, we fear, was more knave than fool. History in forms us that the Bishop of Rochester had directed the revenue appropriated for keeping Goodwin harbour in repair to the purpose of building a steeple. Vide Fuller's Worthies of England, page 65.
commit larcenies.” At all events, the phlegmatic temper of Englonde secures her from making bulls. The propensity to this species of blunder exists in minds of a totally different cast ; in those who are quick and enthusiastic, who are confounded by the rapidity and force with which undisciplined multitudes of ideas crowd for utterance. Persons of such intellectual characters are apt to make elisions in speaking, which, they trust, the capacities of their audience will supply : passing rapidly over a long chain of thought, they sometimes forget the intermediate links, and no one but those of equally rapid habits can follow them successfully.
We hope that the evidence of the Dublin shoeblack has, in some degree, tended to prove our minor, that the Irish are disposed to use figurative language: we shall not, however, rest our cause on a single evidence, however respectable ; but before we summon our other witnesses, we beg to relieve the reader's attention, which must have been fatigued by such a chapter of criticism. They shall now have the tale of a mendicant. A specimen of city rhetoric is given in the shoeblack; the country mendicant's eloquence is of a totally different species.
THE HIBERNIAN MENDICANT.
Perhaps the reader may wish to see as well as hear the petitioner. At first view you might have taken him for a Spaniard. He was tall; and if he had been a gentlenian, you would have said there was an air of dignity in his figure. He seemed very old, yet he appeared more worn by sorrow than by time. Leaning upon a thick oaken stick as he took off his hat to ask for alms, his white hair was blown by the wind.
“ Health and long life to you !" said he. “Give an old man something to help to bury him. He is past his labour, and cannot trouble this world long any way.”
He held his hat towards us, with nothing importunate in his manner, but rather with a look of confidence in us, mixed with habitual resignation. His thanks were, “Heaven bless you !-Long life and success to you! to you and yours! and may you never want a friend, as I do."
The last words were spoken low. He laid his hand upon his heart as he bowed to us, and walked slowly away. We called him back; and upon our questioning him further, he gave the following account of himself
: * I was bred and bom-but no niatter where such a one as I was bred and born, no more than where I may die and be buried; I, that have neither son, nor daughter, nor kin, nor friend, on the wide earth, to mourn over my grave when I am laid in it, as I soon must. Well! when it pleases God to take me, I shall never be missed out of this world, so much as by a dog; and why should I ! Having never in my time done good to any but evil-which I have lived to repent me of, many's the long day and night, and ever shall while I have sense and reason left. In my youthful days God was too good to me: I had friends, and a little home of my own to go to—a pretty spot of land for a farm as you could see, with a snug cabin, and every thing complete, and all to be mine; for I was the only one my father and mother had, and accordingly was made much of, too much; for I grew headstrong upon it, and high, and thought nothing of any man, and little of any woman, but one. That one I surely did think of; and well worth thinking of she was. Beauty, they say, is all fancy; but she was a girl every man might fancy. Never was one more sought after. She was then just in her prime, and full of life and spirits; but nothing light in her behaviour-quite modest-yet obliging. She was too good for me to be thinking of, no doubt; but 'faint heart never won fair lady,' so I made bold to speak to Rose, for that was her name, and after a world of pains, I began to gain upon her good liking, but couldn't get her to say more than that she never seen the man she should fancy so well. This was a great deal from her, for she was coy and proud-like, as she had a good right to be; and, be. sides being young, loved her little innocent pleasure, and could not easy be brought to give up her sway. No fauit of hers: but all very natural. "Well! I always considered she never would have held out so long, nor have been so stiff with me, had it not been for an old aunt Honour of hers-God rest her soul! One should
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