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ON FOUR COMIC CHARACTEES.
fortable ; but, it is curious to observe, that Don Quixote is unable to suppress a reference to his position as a gentleman, while my uncle Toby thinks exclusively of the convenience of his faithful adherent. Both servants are disposed to decline availing themselves of their master's kindness, Trim from pure respect, and Sancho Panza with characteristic selfishness and vulgar cunning, because, he thinks he shall enjoy himself better in taking his meals alone :
My uncle Toby was one evening getting his supper, with Trim sitting behind him at a small sideboard, --I say, sitting,for, in consideration of the Corporal's lame knee (which sometimes gave him exquisite pain) when my uncle Toby dined or supped alone, he would never suffer the Corporal to and the
poor fellow's veneration for his master was such, that, with a proper artillery, my uncle Toby could have taken Dendermond itself, with less trouble than he was able to gain this point over him ; for many a time when my uncle Toby supposed the Corporals leg was at rest, he would look back, and detect him standing behind him with the most dutifal respect. This bred more little squabbles betwixt them, than all other causes for five-and-twenty years together.”
Let us contrast the above with the account of Don Quixote's condescension to his squire in the goatherd's hut. Perhaps in a finer dwelling and in a finer company he would have been less obliging:
“ The knight sat down, and Sancho remained standing to serve the cup, which was of horn. His master, seeing him thus stationed, said to him: . That you may see, Sancho, the intrinsic worth of knight-errantry, and how fair a prospect its meanest retainers have of speedily gaining the respect and esteem of the world, my will is, that you sit here by my side, and in company with these good folks, and that you be one and the same thing with me, who am your master and natural lord ; that you eat from off my plate, and drink of the same cup in which I drink : for the same may be said of knight-errantry, which is said of love, that it makes all things equal.' 'I give you my most hearty thanks, sir,' said Sancho ;- but let me tell your worship, that, provided I have victuals enough, I can eat as well, or better, standing, and alone by myself, than if I were seated close by an emperor. And farther, to tell you the truth, what I eat in my corner, without compliments or ceremonies, though it were nothing but bread and an onion, relishes better than turkeys at other folks' tables, where I am forced to chew leisurely, drink little, wipe my mouth often,
neither sneeze nor cough when I have a mind, nor do other things, which I may do being alone and at liberty. So that, good sir, as to these honours your worship is pleased to confer upon me, as a menial servant, and hanger-on of knight-errantry, being squire to your worship, be pleased to convert them into something of more use and profit to me; for, though I place them to account, as received in full, I renounce them from this time forward to the end of the world.'”
The humour and pathos of Sterne are too well known and too highly appreciated to require the aid of criticism to enforce his merit.
The breezy cliff, the softly-swelling hill,
THE LADY TO HER BIRD*.
Gay minstrel-bird! Those prison bars
Ne'er check thy song, nor chill thy breast;
No wildering visions haunt thy rest.
With vain regrets and idle fears
Alas! a darker doom is mine,
A dower 'tis well thou dost not share :
At pleasures past or coming care ;
Thy little panting breast may thrill,
With some fantastic ill.
Sweet bird! The gift of one who gave
A dearer boon,-his own true heart,
If thou couldst mimic sorrow's part ;
* These verses were written to illustrate an engraving in the Bengal Annual.
TO A LADY ON HER BIRTH-DAY.
I will not hail thy natal day
I will not wish its glad return,
Thou knowest that in my secret soul
If then amidst the formal crowd
When thou no more deceit canst brook,