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Thus would I live, with no dull pedants curs'd;
Sure, of all blockheads, scholars are the worst.
Back to your universities, ye fools,
And dangle arguments on strings in schools:
Those schools which universities they call,
'Twere well for England were there none at all.
With ease that loss the nation might sustain,
Supply'd by Goodman's-fields and Drury-lane.
Oxford and Cambridge are not worth one farthing,
Compar'd to Haymarket and Covent-garden:
Quit those, ye British youth, and follow these,
Turn players all, and take your 'squire's degrees.
Boast not your incomes now, as heretofore,
Ye book-learn'd seats! the theatres have more:
Ye stiff-rump'd heads of colleges, be dumb;
A single eunuch gets a larger sum.
Have some of you three hundred by the year ?
Booth, Rich, and Cibber, twice three thousand clear.
Should Oxford to her sister Cambridge join
A year's rack-rent and arbitrary fine,
Thence not one winter's charge would be defray'd,
For play-house, opera, ball, and masquerade.
Glad I congratulate the judging age,
The players are the world, the world the stage.
I am a politician too, and hate,
Of any party, ministers of state:
I'm for an act, that he, who sev'n whole years
Has serv'd his king and country, lose his ears.
Thus from my birth I'm qualified, you find.
To give the laws of taste to human kind.
Mine are the gallant schemes of politesse,
For books and buildings, politics and dress.
This is true taste, and whoso likes it not,
Is blockhead, coxcomb, puppy, fool, and sot.
BORN 1688.-DIED 1745.
William Meston was born in the parish of Midmar, in Aberdeenshire. He received a liberal education at the Marischal College of Aberdeen, and was for some time one of the teachers in the High School of that city. He removed from that situation to be preceptor to the young Earl of Marshal, and to his brother, who was afterwards the celebrated Marshal Keith, and by the interest of the family was appointed professor of philosophy in the Marischal College. On the breaking out of the rebellion of 1715, he followed the fortunes of his misguided patrons, who made him governor of Dunotter Castle. After the battle of Sherrif-Muir, till the act of indemnity was passed, he lurked with a few fugitive associates, for whose amusement he wrote several of the burlesque poenis to which he gave the title of Mother Grim's Tales. Not being restored to his professorship, he lived for some time on the hospitality of the Countess of Marshal, and after her death established an academy successively at Elgin, Turiff, Montrose, and Perth, in all of which
places he failed, apparently from habits of careless expense and conviviality. The Countess of Elgin supported him during the decline of his latter days, till he removed to Aberdeen, where he died of a languishing distémper. He is said to have been a man of wit and pleasantry in conversation, and of considerable attainments in classical and mathe. matical knowledge.
AN IRISH TALE.
From Mother Grim's Tales.
Sages and moralists can show
Many misfortunes here below;
A truth which no one ever miss'd,
Though neither sage nor moralist.
Yet all the troubles notwithstanding,
Which fate or fortune has a hand in,
Fools to themselves will more create,
In spite of fortune and of fate.
Thus oft are dreaming wretches seen,
Tortur'd with vapours and with spleen,
Transform'd, at least in their own eyes,
To China, glass, or mutton pies;
Others will to themselves appear
Stone dead as Will the Conqueror.
There liv'd a gentleman, possoss'd
Of all that mortals reckon best;
A seat well chosen, wholesome air,
With gardens and with prospect fair ;
His land from debt and jointure free,
His money never in South Sea ;
His health of body firm and good,
Though past the hey-day of his blood;
His consort fair, and good, and kind,
His children rising to his mind;
His friends ingenuous and sincere,
His honour, nay, his conscience, clear:
He wanted nought of human bliss
But power to taste his happiness.
Too near, alas! this great man's hall,
A merry Cobbler had a stall;
An arch old wag as e'er you knew,
With breeches red and jerkin blue;
Cheerful at working as at play,
He sung and whistled life away.
When rising morning glads the sky,
Clear as the
lark on high;
When evening shades the landscape veil,
Late warbling as the nightingale.
Though pence came slow, and trade was ill,
Yet still he sung, and whistled still ;
Though patch'd his garb, and coarse his fare,
He laugh’d and cast away old care.
The rich man view'd with discontent
His tatter'd neighbour's merriment;
With envy grudg'd, and pin'd to see
A beggar pleasanter than he ;
And by degrees to hate began
Th' intolerable happy man,
Who haunted him like any sprite,
From morn to eve, by day and night.
It chanc'd as once in bed he lay,
When dreams are true, at break of day,
He heard the Cobbler at his sport,
And on a sudden to cut short.
Whether his morning draught he took,
Or warming whiff of morning smoke,
The squire suspected, being shrewd,
This silence boded him no good;
And 'cause he nothing saw or heard,
A Machiavelian plot he fear'd.
Straight circumstances crowded plain,
To vex and plague his jealous brain;
Trembling, in panic dread he lies,
With gaping mouth and staring eyes ;
And straining, lustful, both his ears,
He soon persuades himself he hears
One skip and caper up the stairs ;
Sees the door open quick, and knew
His dreaded foe in red and blue;
Who, with a running jump, he thought,
Leapt plumb directly down his throat,
Laden with tackle of his stall,
Last, ends and hammer, strap and awl.
No sooner down, than, with a jerk,
He fell to music and to work.