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We know not any original Irish blunder superior to this, unless it be that which lord Orford pronounced to be the best bull that he ever heard.
“I hate that woman," said a gentleman, looking at one who had been his nurse, “ I hate that woman, for she changed me at nurse.”
Lord Orford particularly admires this bull, because in the confusion of the blunderer's ideas he is not clear even of his personal identity. Philosophers will not perhaps be so ready as his lordship has been to call this a blunder of the first magnitude. Those who have never been initiated into the mysteries of metaphysics may have the presumptuous ignorance to fancy that they understand what is meant by the common words 1, or me ; but the able metaphysician knows better than lord Orford's changeling how to prove, to our satisfaction, that we know nothing of the matter.
“Personal identity,” says Locke, “ consists not in the identity of substance, but in the identity of consciousness, wherein Socrates and the present mayor of Quinborough agree they are the same person : if the same Socrates, sleeping and waking, do not partake of the same consciousness, Socrates waking and sleeping is not the same person; and to punish Socrates waking for what sleeping Socrates thought, and waking Socrates was never conscious of, would be no more of right than to punish one twin for what his brother twin did, whereof he knew nothing, because their outsides are so like that they could
not be distinguished; for such twins have been seen.
We may presume that our Hibernian's consciousness could not retrograde to the time when he was changed at nurse ; consequently there was no continuity of identity between the infant and the man who expressed his hatred of the nurse for perpetrating the fraud. At all events, the confusion of identity which excited lord Orford's admiration in our Hibernian is by no means unprecedented in France, England, or ancient Greece, and consequently it cannot be an instance of national idiosyncracy, or an Irish bull. We find a similar blunder in Spain, in the time of Cervantes :
“Pray tell me, squire,” says the duchess, in Don Quixote, “is not your master the person whose history is printed under the name of the sage Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, who professes himself the admirer of one Dulcinea del Toboso ?”
“ The very same, my lady,” answered Sancho; “and I myself am that very squire of his, who is mentioned, or ought to be mentioned, in that history, unless they have changed me in the cradle.”
In Moliere's Amphitrion there is a dialogue between Mercure and Sosie evidently taken from the attic Lucian. Sosie being completely puzzled out of his personal identity, if not out of his senses, says literally, “of my being myself I begin to doubt in good
* Locke's Essay concerning the Human Understanding, fifteenth edit. vol. i. p. 292.
earnest; yet when I feel myself, and when I recollect myself, it seems to me that I am I.” *
We see that the puzzle about identity proves at last to be of Grecian origin. It is really edifying to observe how those things which have long been objects of popular admiration shrink and fade when exposed to the light of strict examination. An experienced critic proposed that a work should be written to inquire into the pretensions of modern writers to original invention, to trace their thefts, and to restore the property to the ancient owners. Such a work would require powers and erudition beyond what can be expected from any ordinary individual; the labour must be shared amongst numbers, and we are proud to assist in ascertaining the rightful property even of bulls and blunders ; though without pretending, like some literary blood-hounds, to follow up a plagiarism, where common sagacity is at a fault.
“ De moi je commence à douter tout de bon.
Pourtant quand je me tâte, et quand je me rapelle,
We presume that we have successfully disputed the claims imposed upon the public, in behalf of certain spurious, alien blunders, pretending to be native, original Irish bulls ; and we shall now with pleasure proceed to examine those which have better titles to notice. Even nonsense ceases to be worthy of attention and public favour, unless it be original.
“Dear lady Emily," says Miss Allscrip, in the excellent comedy of the Heiress—“Dear lady Emily, don't you dote
upon folly ? ” “ To ecstacy!” replies her ladyship; “I only despair of seeing it well kept up."
We flatter ourselves “ there is no great danger of that,” for we have the Irish newspapers before us, where, no doubt, we shall find a fresh harvest of indigenous absurdity ripe for the sickle.
The first advertisement that meets our eye mising.
It is the late proclamation of an Irish mayor, in which we are informed, that certain business is to be transacted in that city “ every Monday (Easter Sunday only excepted).” This seems rather an unnecessary exception ; but it is not an inadvertency,
caused by any hurry of business in his worship; it is deliberately copied from a precedent, set in England, by a baronet formerly well known in parliament, who, in the preamble to a bill, proposed that certain regulations should take place “ on every Monday (Tuesday excepted).” We fear, also, that an English mayor has been known to blunder. Some years ago the mayor of a capital English city published a proclamation and advertisement, previous to the races,
“ that no gentleman will be allowed to ride on the course, but the horses that are to run.” A mayor's blundering proclamation is not, however, worth half so much in the eye of ridicule as a lord lieutenant's.
“ A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn.”
A bull on the throne is worth twice as much as a bull in the chair.
By the lord lieutenant and council of Ireland.
“ A proclamation.
* * * *
“ Whereas the greatest economy is necessary in the consumption of all species of grain, and, especially, in the consumption of potatoes, &c.
« Given at the council chamber in Dublin.”
This is the first time we have been informed, by authority, that potatoes are a species of grain ; but we must accede to this new botanical arrangement, when published under such splendid auspices. The assertion, certainly, is not made in distinct terms;