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But, brother sinner, do explain
How 'tis that you are not in pain ?
What power hath worked a wonder for your toes ?
Whilst I, just like a snail, am crawling,
Now swearing, now on saints devoutly bawling,
Whilst not a rascal comes to ease my woes ! “How is't that you can like a greyhound go,
As merry as if nought had happened, burn ye?" Why,” cried the other, grinning, you must know That, just before I ventured on my journey,
To walk a little more at ease
I took the liberty to boil my peas.”
THE SAILOR-BOY AT PRAYERS. A GREAT Law Chief whom God nor, demon scares, Compelled to kneel and pray, who swore his prayers ;
The devil behind him pleased and grinning,
Patting the angry lawyer on the shoulder,
Declaring nought was ever bolder,
Admiring such a novel mode of sinning :-
Like this, a subject would be reckoned rare,
Which proves what blood-game infidels can dare ;
Which to my memory brings a fact,
Which nothing but an English tar would act.
In ships of war, on Sundays, prayers are given ;
For, though so wicked, sailors think of heaven,
Particularly in a storm;
Where, if they find no brandy to get drunk,
Their souls are in a miserable funk.
Then vow they to the Almighty to reform,
If in his goodness only once, once more,
He'll suffer them to clap a foot on shore.
In calıs, indeed, or gentle airs,
They ne'er on week-days pester Heaven with prayers ;
For 'tis amongst the Jacks a common saying,
“ Where there's no danger, there's no need of praying."
One Sunday morning all were met
To hear the parson preach and pray ;
All but a boy, who, willing to forget
That prayers were handing out, had stolen away;
And, thinking praying but a useless task,
Had crawled, to take a nap, into a cask.
The boy was soon found missing, and full soon
The boatswain's cat sagacious smelt him out ;
Gave him a clawing to some tune-
This cat's a cousin-germane to the knout.
“Come out, you skulking dog," the boatswain cried,
“ And save your damned young sinful soul !”.
He then the moral-mending cat applied,
And turned him like a badger from his hole.
Sulky the boy marched on, and did not mind him,
Although the boatswain flogging kept behind him :
“Flog,” cried the boy, “flog-curse me, flog away!
I'll go, but mind-God damn me if I'll pray!”
BOZZY AND PIOZZI ; OR, THE BRITISH BIOGRAPHERS.
A PAIR OF TOWN ECLOGUES.
THE ARGUMENT. On the death of Dr. Johnson, a number of people, ambitious of being distinguished from the mute part of their species, set about relating and printing stories and bon-mots of that celebrated moralist.-Amongst the most zealous, though not the most enlightened, appeared Mr. Boswell and Madame Piozzi, the hero and heroine of our Eclogues. They are supposed to have in contemplation the Life of Johnson ; and, to prove their biographical abilities, appeal to Sir John Hawkins for his decision on their respective merits, by quotations from their printed anecdotes of the Doctor. -Sir John hears them with uncommon patience, and determines very properly on the pretensions of the contending parties.
WHEN Johnson sought (as Shakspeare says) that bourn
From whence, alas ! no travellers return,-
In humbler English, when the Doctor died, —
Apollo whin red, and the Muses cried ;
Parnassus moped for days, in business slack,
And like a hearse the hill was hung with black.
Minerva, sighing for her favourite son,
Pronounced, with lengthened face, the world undone ;
Her owl, too, hooted in so loud a style
That people might have heard the bird a mile.
Jove wiped his eyes so red, and told his wife
He ne'er made Johnson's equal in his life ;
And that 'twould be a long time first, if ever,
His art could form a fellow half so clever.
Venus, of all the little Loves the dam,
With all the Graces, sobbed for brother Sam :
Such were the heavenly howlings for his death
As if Dame Nature had resigned her breath.
Nor less sonorous was the grief, I ween,
Amidst the natives of our earthly scene :
From beggars to the great who hold the helm,
One Johnso-mania raged through all the realm.
“Who” (cried the world)“can match his prose or rhyme ?
O'er wits of modern days he towers sublime !
An oak, wide spreading o'er the shrubs below,
That round his roots with puny foliage blow;
A pyramid, amidst some barren waste,
That frowns o'er huts, the sport of every blast :
A mighty Atlas, whose aspiring head
O'er distant regions casts an awful shade.
By kings and vagabonds his tales are told,
And every sentence glows, a grain of gold !
Blest who his philosophic phiz can take,
Catch even his weaknesses-his noddle's shake,
The lengthened lip of scorn, the forehead's scowl,
The louring eye's contempt and bear-like growl !
In vain the critics vent their toothless rage :
Mere sprats, that venture war with whales to wage !
Unmoved he stands, and feels their force no more
Than some huge rock amidst the watery roar,
That calmly bears the tumults of the deep,
And howling tempests that as well might sleep.”
Strong, 'midst the Rambler's cronies, was the rage
To fill, with Sam's bon-mots and tales, the page :
Mere flies, that buzzed around his setting ray,
And bore a splendour on their wings away.
Thus round his orb the pygmy planets run,
And catch their little lustre from the sun.
At length, rushed forth two candidates for fame,-
A Scotchman one, and one a London dame :
That, by the emphatic Johnson, christened Bozzy ;
This, by the bishop's license, Dame Piozzi ;
Whose widowed name, by topers loved, was Thrale,
Bright in the annals of election-ale :
A name, by marriage, that gave up the ghost,
In poor Pédocchio no, Piozzi-lost !
Each seized, with ardour wild, the grey goose-quill :
Each sat, to work the intellectual mill,
That pecks of bran so coarse began to pour
To one small solitary grain of flour.
Forth rushed to light their books--but who should say
Which bore the palm of anecdote away?
This to decide, the rival wits agreed
Before Sir John their tales and jokes to read;
And let the knight's opinion in the strife
Declare the properest pen to write Sam's life.
Sir John, renowned for musical ? palavers1 The author was nearly committing a blunder. Fortunate indeed was his recollection, as Pedocchio signifies, in the Italian language, that most contemptible of all animals, a louse.
The prince, the king, the emperor of quavers ;
Sharp in solfeggi, as the sharpest needle ;
Great in the noble art of tweedle-tweedle ;
Of Music's college formed to be a fellow,
Fit for Mus. D. or Mastro di Capella ;
Whose volume, though it here and there offends,
Boasts German merit-makes by bulk amends.
Superior, frowning o'er octavo wits,
High-placed, the venerable quarto sits, -
And duodecimos, ignoble scum,
Poor prostitutes to every vulgar thumb,-
Whilst, undefiled by literary rage,
He bears a spotless leaf from age to age.
Like schoolboys, lo! before a two-armed chair
That held the knight wise-judging, stood the pair.
Or like two ponies on the sporting-ground,
Prepared to gallop when the drum should sound,
The couple ranged—for victory both as keen
As for a tottering bishopric a dean,
Or patriot Burke for giving glorious bastings
To that intolerable fellow Hastings.
Thus with their songs contended Virgil's swains,
And made the valleys vocal with their strains,
Before some greybeard swain, whose judgment ripe
Gave goats for prizes to the prettiest pipe.
Alternately in anecdotes go on;
But first begin you, madam,” cried Sir John.-
The thankful dame low curt’sied to the chair,
And thus, for victory panting, read the Fair :
Sam Johnson was of Michael Johnson born,
Whose shop of books did Lichfield town adorn:
Wrong-headed, stubborn as a haltered ram ;
In short, the model of our Hero Sam ;
Inclined to madness, too--for, when his shop
Fell down, for want of cash to buy a prop,
For fear the thieves might steal the vanished store,
He duly went each night, and locked the door !
Whilst Johnson was in Edinburgh, my wife,
To please his palate, studied for her life ;
With every rarity she filled her house,
And gave the doctor, for his dinner, grouse.
Dear Doctor Johnson was in size an ox;
And from his uncle Andrew learned to box,-
A man to wrestlers and to bruisers dear,
Who kept the ring in Smithfield a whole year.
At supper, rose a dialogue on witches,
When Crosbie said there could not be such bitches
And that 'twas blasphemy to think such hags
Could stir up storms, and on their broomstick nags
Gallop along the air with wondrous pace,
And boldly fly in God Almighty's face.
But Johnson answered him, “ There might be witches-
Nought proved the non-existence of the bitches.”
When Thrale, as nimble as a boy at school,
Jumped, though fatigued with hunting, o'er a stool,
The Doctor, proud the same grand feat to do,
His powers exerted, and jumped over too.
And, though he might a broken back bewail,
He scorned to be eclipsed by Mr. Thrale.
BOZZY. At Ulinish, our friend, to pass the time, Regaled us with his knowledges sublime : Showed that all sorts of learning filled his nob, And that in butchery he could bear a bob. He sagely told us of the different feat Employed to kill the animals we eat. “An ox,” says he, “in country and in town, Is by the butchers constantly knocked down; As for that lesser animal, a calf, The knock is really not so strong by half ; The beast is only stunned : but, as for goats, And sheep, and lambs—the butchers cut their throats. Those fellows only want to keep them quiet, Not choosing that the brutes should breed a riot.”
When Johnson was a child, and swallowed pap,
'Twas in his mother's old maid Catharine's lap.
There, whilst he sat, he took in wondrous learning ;
For much his bowels were for knowledge yearning ;
There heard the story which we Britons brag on,
The story of St. George and eke the Dragon.
When Foote his leg by some misfortune broke,
Says I to Johnson, all by way of joke,
“Sam, Sir, in Paragraph, will soon be clever,
And take off Peter better now than ever.”