He cursed him in eating, he cursed him in drinking,
He cursed him.in coughing, in sneezing, in winking;
He cursed him in sitting, in standing, in lying;
He cursed him in walking, in riding, in flying,

He cursed him living, he cursed him dying !
Never was heard such a terrible curse!

But what gave rise

To no little surprise,
Nobody seem'd one penny the worse !

The day was gone,

The night came on,
The monks and the friars they search'd till dawn;

When the sacristan saw,

On crumpled claw,
Come limping a poor little lame Jackdaw!

No longer gay,

As on yesterday;
His feathers all seem'd to be turn'd the wrong way;-
His pinions droop'd—he could hardly stand,
His head was as bald as the palm of your hand;

His eye so dim,

So wasted each limb, That, heedless of grammar, they all cried, “ THAT'S HIM!— That's the scamp that has done this scandalous thing! That's the thief that has got my Lord Cardinal's Ring!”

The poor little Jackdaw,

When the monks he saw,
Feebly gave vent to the ghost of a caw;
And turn'd his bald head, as much as to say,
“ Pray, be so good as to walk this way!”

Slower and slower

He limp'd on before,
Till they came to the back of the belfry door,

Where the first thing they saw,

'Midst the sticks and the straw,
Was the RING in the nest of that little Jackdaw!
Then the great Lord Cardinal call’d for his book,
And off that terrible curse he took;

The mute expression

Served in lieu of confession,
And, being thus coupled with full restitution,
The Jackdaw got plenáry absolution !

-When those words were heard,
That poor little bird

Was so changed in a moment, 'twas really absurd.

He grew sleek, and fat;

In addition to that,
A fresh crop of feathers came thick as a mat!

His tail waggled more

Even than before;
But no longer it wagg’d with an impudent air,
No longer he perch'd on the Cardinal's chair.

He hopp'd now about

With a gait devout;
At Matins, at Vespers, he never was out;
And, so far from any more pilfering deeds,
He always seem'd telling the Confessor's beads.
If any one lied, or if any one swore,-
Or slumber'd in prayer-time and happen'd to snore,

That good Jackdaw

Would give a great “Caw!"
As much as to say, “Don't do so any more!"
While many remark’d, as his manners they saw,
That they never had known such a pious Jackdaw !”

He long lived the pride

Of that country side,
And at last in the odour of sanctity died;

When as words were too faint

His merits to paint,
The Conclave determined to make him a Saint;
And on newly-made Saints and Popes, as you know,
It's the custom at Rome new names to bestow,
So they canonized him by the name of Jim Crow!

.From the Ingoldsby Legends.


SiR PERTINAX. EGERTON. Sir P. Charles, I have often told you, and now again I tell you, once for aw, that the manæuvres of pliability are as necessary to rise in the world as wrangling and logical subtlety are to rise at the bar: why, you see, sir, I have acquired a noble fortune, a princely fortune and how do you think I raised it?

Eger. Doubtless, sir, by your abilities.

Sir P. Doubtless, sir, you are a blockhead: nae, sir, I'll tell you how I raised it:-sir, I raised it—by booing—[Bows very low]—by booing: sir, I never could stand straight in the presence of a great mon, but always booed, and booed, and booed—as it were by instinct.

Eger. How do you mean by instinct, sir?

Sir P. How do I mean by instinct !--Why, sir, I mean by -by-by the instinct of interest, sir, which is the universal instinct of mankind. Sir, it is wonderful to think what a cordial, what an amicable--nay, what an infallible influence booing has upon the pride and vanity of human nature. Charles, answer me sincerely, have you a mind to be convinced of the force of my doctrine by example and demonstration ?

Eger. Certainly, sir.

Sir P. Then, sir, as the greatest favour I can confer upon you, I'll give you a short sketch of the stages of my booing, as an excitement, and a landmark to boo by, and as an infallible nostrum, for a man of the world to rise in the world.

Eger. Sir, I shall be proud to profit by your experience.

Sir P. Vary weel, sir; sit ye down then, sit you down here. -[They sit]-And now, sir, you must recall to your thoughts, that your grandfather was a man whose penurious income of captain's half-pay was the sum total of his fortune; and, sir, aw my provision fra him was a modicum of Latin, an expertness in arithmetic, and a short system of worldly counsel; the principal ingredients of which were, a persevering industry, a rigid economy, a smooth tongue, a pliability of temper, and a constant attention to make every mon well pleased with himself.

Eger. Very prudent advice, sir.

Sir P. Therefore, sir, I lay it before you. Now, sir, with these materials I set out, a raw-boned stripling fra the North, to try my fortune with them here, in the Sooth; and my first step in the world was a beggarly clerkship in Sawney Gordon's counting house, here in the city of London, which you'll say afforded but a barren sort of prospect.

Eger. It was not a very fertile one indeed, sir.

Sir P. The reverse, the reverse. Weel, sir, seeing myself in this unprofitable situation, I reflected deeply; I cast about my thoughts morning, noon, and night;- and marked every man and every mode of prosperity; at last I concluded that a matrimonial adventure, prudently conducted, would be the readiest gait I could gang for the bettering of my condition, and accordingly I set aboot it. Now, sir, in this pursuit, beauty !--ah! beauty often struck my een, and played about my heart; and fluttered, and beat, and knocked, and knocked; but the devil an entrance I ever let it get: for I observed, sir, that beauty is, generally, a-proud, vain, saucy, expensive, impertinent sort of a commodity.

Eger. Very justly observed.

Sir P. And therefore, sir, I left it for prodigals and coxcombs, that could afford to pay for it; and, in its stead, sir, mark !—I looked out for an ancient, weel-jointured, superannuated dowager; a consumptive, toothless, phythisicky, wealthy widow; or a shrivelled, cadaverous piece of deformity, in the shape of an izzard, or an appersi-and-or, in short, ainy thing, ainy thing that had the siller—the siller—for that, sir, was the north-star of my affections. Do you take me, sir? was nae that right?

Eger. O doubtless, doubtless, sir.

Sir P. Now, sir, where do you think I ganged to look for this woman with the siller?nae till court, nae till playhouses or assemblies—nae, sir, I ganged till the kirk, till the Anabaptist, Independent, Bradlonian, and Muggletonian meetings; till the morning and evening service of churches and chapels of ease, and till the midnight, melting, conciliating love-feasts of the Methodists; and there, sir, at last I fell upon an old, slighted antiquated, musty maiden, that looked--ha, ha, ha! she looked just like a skeleton in a surgeon's glass case. Now, sir, this miserable object was religiously angry with herself and all the world; 'had nae comfort but in metaphysical visions and supernatural deliriums—ha, ha, ha! Sir, she was as mad-as mad as a Bedlamite.

Eger. Not improbable, sir: there are numbers of poor creatures in the same condition.

Sir P. Oh, numbers, numbers. Now, sir, this cracked creature used to pray, and sing, and sigh, and groan, and weep, and wail, and gnash her teeth, constantly, morning and evening, at the Tabernacle at Moorfields; and, as soon as I found she had the siller, aha! guid traith, I plumped me down upon my knees, close by her-cheek by jowl_and prayed, and sighed, and sung, and groaned, and gnashed my teeth as vehemently as she could do for the life of her; ay, and turned up the whites of mine een, till the strings awmost cracked again. I watched her motions, handed her till her chair, waited on her home, got most religiously intimate with her in week-married her in a fortnight, buried her in a month; hed the siller, and with a deep suit of mourning, a melan

port, a sorrowful visage, and a joyful heart, I began the I again; and this, sir, was the first boo—that is, the first effectual boo—I ever made till the vanity of human nature.[Rises. Now, sir, do you understand this doctrine?

Eger. Perfectly well, sir.

Sir P. Ay, but was it not right? was it not, ingenious, and weel hit off?

Eger. Certainly, sir; extremely well.

Sir P. My next boo, sir, was till your ain mother, whom I ran away with fra the boarding-school: by the interest of whose family I got a guid smart place in the Treasury; and, sir, my very next step was intill parliament; the which I entered with as ardent and determined an ambition as ever agitated the heart of Cæsar himself. Sir, I booed, and watched, and hearkened, and ran aboot, backwards and forwards, and attended and dangled upon the then great mon, till I got intill the very bowels of his confidence, and then, sir, I wriggled and wrought, and wriggled, till I wriggled myself among the vary thick of them; ha! I got my snack of the clothing, the foraging, the contracts, the lottery tickets, and aw the political bonuses: till at length, sir, I became a much wealthier mon than one-half of the golden calves I had been so long a booing to: and was nae that booing to some purpose:-Charles Macklin.

[merged small][ocr errors]

To paint the passion's force, and mark it well,
The proper action nature's self will tell:
No pleasing powers distortions e'er express,
And nicer judgment always loathes excess.
In sock or buskin, who o'erleaps the bounds,
Disgusts our reason, and the taste confounds.

The word and action should conjointly suit,
But acting words is labour too minute.
Grimace will ever lead the judgment wrong;
While sober humour marks the impression strong.

. 11.
But let the gen'rous actor still forbear
To copy features with a mimic's care!
'Tis a poor skill, which every fool can reach,
A vile stage custom, “honour'd in the breach.”
When I behold a wretch, of talents mean,
Drag private foibles on the public scene,

« 上一页继续 »