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his own word, that this was not a preconcerted expression, but it burst involuntarily from his lips while meditating on the vastness of the subject. So pleased was my uncle himself with the thought, he declared, he felt at that moment all the grandeur of Shakspeare himself. Having thus fortified himself with old trunks, ballads, songs, and newspapers, he began to compare the passages of Shakspeare with their contents, with the most ardent and persevering industry. His conjectural emendations of certain passages of Shakspeare from such respectable documents are in the highest degree both plausible and ingenious. These alterations he has left in his papers behind him, and he has carefully referred to the trunk, ballad, or newspaper, that authorizes his reading. Sincerely do I lament that he did not live to finish the plan which he had laboured so assiduously to accomplish and publish an entire new edition of Shakspeare so corrected and amended. That the public may judge of his competency for that arduous office, I shall select from his venerable manuscripts certain passages so amended and the authority on which such amendment were made. Hamlet says,
""Tis conscience that makes cowards of us all."
This reading my uncle Jehosophat very properly rejected, because
"Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just,
Shakspeare, he observes, here intimates that conscience must be corrupt before its possessor is made a coward by it, which is not intimated in the line above quoted; and it was one of my uncle's high peculiarities always to take a line of Shakspeare by itself, and never to consider its connexion with precedent or subsequent lines when he sought for a meaning. He rendered the passage thus,
"""Tis conscience that makes cowherds of us all."
This alteration he made on the authority of an old print which inclosed a stick of sugarcandy that a child of his was at that time greedily devouring. The lines of the old ballad found on that invaluable paper which I have ever since carefully preserved were these,
"Conscience can make a cowherd smile
How peculiarly, exclaims my philosophic uncle in a note, are the most important things discovered! Who could be enabled to trace without this explanation the connexion between a line of Shakspeare and a roll of sugar candy. I will to give another of my uncle Johosophat's emendations. Shakspeare is made to say,
"How now, Hecate, you look angrily."
Nonsense exclaims my uncle Shadow in his marginal comment, it should be rendered
"How now he-cat, you look angrily."
This emendation he thought warranted by a reference to the play itself. In the very first scene we are presented with a " rat without a tail," and likewise with the "mewing of a brindled cat;" now why the cat should be in this plight or the rat does not appear in our ordinary lections. But my uncle supposes that this brindled cat (no other than the he-cat spoken of above) looked angrily because he had devoured only a moiety of the rat (the tail), and having an appetite for more looked indignant as cats do in such cases. This accounts for the mewing of the cat also. That this was the ancient habit of this house-animal is evident from a venerable authority no less than the old New England Primer, where it is stated that
"The cat does play
But such emendations are too precious to be bountifully scattered; and which, by being done may injure the sale of the meditated volume of my uncle's Shakspeare, now contemplated to be published.
BULLS OR BLUNDERS, FAMILIAR TO THE ANCIENTS. THE Confidence with which an endless variety of blunders have been attributed, as positive matters of fact, to the Irish, and, the almost exclusive appropriation of what are called blunders, to that people, while they divert the million, have been viewed with contempt by the wise few, who well know that such things are the growth of every soil, and by the learned, who have authority for saying, that they have been known in all ages. A Platonic philosopher, who flourished in the fifth century, has left behind him VOL. III. 2 P
many of those uttered in his time, which are now found printed in jest books and newspapers, as spick and span-new bulls, lately or a few days ago, uttered by some Irishman. A few of them, translated from the Greek, are laid before our readers.
EGYPTIAN BULLS, OF FOURTEEN HUNDRED YEARS OLD.
A silly fellow, endeavouring to swim, was nearly drowned, upon which he swore, that he never would venture into the water again till he could swim.
A foolish fellow, visiting a sick man, inquired about his health. The man could not answer him. At this he became angry, and said: "I hope soon to be sick myself, and then I won't answer you.”
A foolish fellow, wishing to teach his horse to live upon little, gave him no food at all. The horse, of course, died of hunger. "I have met with a great loss," said the fool; "for just as I had taught him to live without food, he died."
A foolish fellow, having a house for sale, carried a brick, taken from it, as a specimen.
A foolish fellow, wishing to see how he looked when asleep, shut his eyes, and put a looking-glass to his face.
The same man, having got a cask of wine, sealed it up. His servant, however, made a hole in the bottom, and by that means stole part of the wine. The master was astonished to find the wine diminished, while the seals remained unbroken. A friend advised him to examine the bottom of the vessel. "Why you silly fellow," answered he, "the bottom part is safe; it is the upper part only that has been stolen."
A silly fellow, seeing some sparrows on a tree, came slily and shook the tree; opening his bosom at the same time, in expectation that the birds would fall into it.
The same foolish fellow, meeting another foolish fellow, said, "I was told that you were dead.”—“You see (said the other) that can't be; for here I am."—" Yes, yes, (replied the first) but the man who told me so, is much more to be relied upon than you.”
A silly fellow having been told that a crow would live two hundred years, said, he would try one, and satisfy himself whether this
was true or not.
Being overtaken in a storm, and perceiving that every body on board was looking about for some means of safety, he laid hold on an anchor.
Meeting a man, whose twin-brother had lately died; "pray (said he) is it you, or your brother, that is dead?”
Upon the point of making a voyage, attended by his servants, he expressed a desire of making his will; and, perceiving his servants were apprehensive of danger, he desired them not to be uneasy, for he had left all of them their freedom.
Having occasion to cross a river, he went into the boat on horseback; observing, that he was in great haste.
Being in want of necessaries, he sold his books; about which time he writes to his father, and desires his congratulations, for that his books had already begun to afford him nourishment.
His son having gone into the army, previously to a battle, promised to bring off the head of one of the enemy. "You may return (said he) without a head, provided you do but come back safe and sound."
Having received a letter from a friend, desiring him to purchase some books, and having neglected it till it was too late, he excused himself, by saying, "You wrote to me, respecting the purchase of some books, but I never received your letter."
HIEROCLES, from whose "FACETIE," the above bulls are extracted, was a philosopher of Alexandria, and lived about the year of our Lord 485. It is singular, that Mr. and Miss Edgeworth (the joint authors of the Essay on Irish Bulls) should either not have known, or not have noticed, this strong proof, that many a blunder had been charged upon the Irish nation very unjustly.
FRENCH AND ENGLISH WOMEN.
AN English woman, unless she possesses strength of mind, a good understanding, a right idea of honour and virtue, and is likewise under the influence of a man of sense, who knows the world, and moreover how to govern the actions of his wife, will return home from the continent of Europe a coxcomb, both in dress and manners, and at least her morals corrupted, if not her person.
English women, in endeavouring to imitate the French and Italian women, have in general overshot their mark.* We see
* Should the superiority of the morals of the English women be questioned, certainly their superiority in decency of manners are indisputable, and this superiority is more conspicuous in women of a certain age, than in
now very little of the amiable bashfulness which was formerly their distinguishing characteristic. They do not consider that a French woman can use those freedoms with impunity, in her own country, which would stamp even her as a courtesan, if she was guilty of the same indecencies in England. Then how much worse does it appear in the naturally reserved English women, who throw off that native diffidence and modesty, for which they once were thought superior to the females of every other nation under the sun, and were admired by all foreigners. The truth is, a French woman knows how far to go, and the English woman knows not where to stop. The only reason that can be assigned for this difference is, the former will indulge herself with going great lengths in gallantry without at all indangering her heart; as for the most part, the French females are as much strangers to the finer feelings, as they are to sentiment; but the generality of the latter, who, on the contrary, possess exquisite sensibility, are always in danger of falling, whenever they permit too far, even those sort of innocent freedoms which are liable to make an impression on their heart. The person of an English woman is never in danger unless her heart is.
OBSERVATIONS ON PASSION.
By a French Author.
In every country in the world, mankind are more or less subject to passion, and its effects vary according to the climate and custom of the people. At Japan, for instance, a man rips open his own body in the presence of his adversary, who is obliged to do the same, on the pain of being looked upon as a coward. In Italy, a man poniards his enemy; this is much more convenient. In Spain, they plunge their swords into each other, with a degree of gravity enough to make a man expire with laughter. In France, they
the younger part of the sex. Englishmen have a sort of national regard for propriety, which deters a female from lingering on the confines of gallantry, when age has warned her to withdraw. But in France, antique dowagers, and faded spinsters, are all gay, laughing, rouged and indecent: so that, abating the subtraction of teeth, and admission of wrinkles, the disparity between ONE score and FOUR is not so great.
Gay rainbow silks their mellow charms enfold,