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"But now I think on't, 'twould be mighty hard,
"If merit such as thine met no reward:
"To show how much I logic love, in course
"I'll make thee master of a chesnut horse."
"A horse! (quoth Tom) blood, pedigree, and paces!
O, what a dash I'll cut at Epsom races!"
Tom dreamt all night of boots and leather breeches,
Of hunting caps, and leaping rails and ditches;
Rose the next morn an hour before the lark,
Dragg'd his old uncle, fasting, to the park;
Bridle in hand, each vale he scours across,
To find out something like a chesnut horse.
But no such animal the meadow cropt:
At length beneath a tree Sir Peter stopt,
Caught at a branch and shook it, when down fell
A fine horse chesnut, in its prickly shell.
66 There, Tom, take that!" "Well, sir, and what beside?"
"Why, since you're booted, saddle it and ride."
"Ride what! a chesnut, sir?" "Of course,
"For I can prove that chesnut is a horse:
"Not by the doubtful, fusty, musty rules
"Of Locke or Bacon, antiquated fools!
"Nor old Malebranche, blind pilot into knowledge!
"But by the laws of wit and Eton College:
"For since you've proved it, and I don't deny
"That a pie John's the same as a John vie;
"Why then it follows, as a thing of course,
"That a horse chesnut is a chesnut horse."
As Thomas was cudgell'd one day by his wife,
He took to the street, and fled for his life:
Tom's three dearest friends came by in the squabble,
And saved him at once from the shrew and the rabble,
Then ventured to give him some sober advice.
But Tom is a person of honour so nice,
Too wise to take counsel, too proud to take warning,
That he sent to all three a challenge next morning,
Three duels he fought, thrice he ventured his life,
Went home-and was cudgell'd again by his wife.
THE THREE BLACK CROWS.
Tale!-that will raise the question, I suppose,
What can the meaning be of three black crows?
It is a London story, you must know,
And happen'd, as they say, some time ago:
The meaning of it custom would suppress,
Till at the end-but come, nevertheless,
Though it may vary from the use of old,
To tell the moral till the tale be told,
We'll give a hint, for once, how to apply
The meaning first, and hang the tale thereby.
People full oft are put into a pother,
For want of understanding one another;
And strange amusing stories creep about,
That come to nothing if you trace them out;
Lies of the day, or month perhaps, or year,
That serve their purpose, and then disappear;
From which, meanwhile, disputes of ev'ry size,
That is to say, misunderstandings, rise;
The springs of ill, from bickering up to battle,
From wars and tumults down to tittle-tattle.
Such as, for instance-for we need not roam
Far off to find them, but come nearer home;-
Such as befal, by sudden misdivining,
On cuts, on coals, on boxes, and on signing.
It may, at least it should, correct a zeal,
That hurts the public or the private weal,
By eager giving of too rash assent,
To note how meanings, that were never meant,
Will fly about like so many black crows,
Of that same breed of which the story goes.
Two honest tradesmen meeting in the Strand,
One took the other briskly by the hand; "Hark ye," said he, "tis an odd story this, "About the crows!" "I don't know what it is," Replied his friend. "No! I'm surprised at that, "Where I come from it is the common chat: "But you shall hear; an odd affair indeed! "And that it happen'd they are all agreed: "Not to detain you from a thing so strange, "A gentleman that lives not far from 'Change,
"This week, in short, as all the Alley knows,
Taking a puke, has thrown up three black crows.
"Impossible!" "Nay, but it's really true;
"I have it from good hands, and so may you."
"From whose, I pray ?" So having named the man,
Straight to inquire his curious comrade ran,
"Sir, did you tell" (relating the affair)
"Yes, sir, I did; and if it's worth your care,
"Ask Mr. Such-a-one, he told it me;
"But, by the bye, 'twas two black crows, not three."
Resolved to trace so wond'rous an event,
Whip to the third our virtuoso went.
"Sir," and so forth-"Why yes; the thing is fact,
"Though in regard to number not exact;
"It was not two black crows, 'twas only one;
"The truth of that you may depend upon.
"The gentleman himself told me the case.
"Where may I find him?" " Why, in such a place.”
Away goes he, and having found him out,
"Sir, be so good as to resolve a doubt."
Then to his last informant he referr'd,
And begg'd to know, if true what he had heard;
"Did you, sir, throw up a black crow ?"
"Bless me! how people propagate a lie!
"Black crows have been thrown up, three, two, and one;
"And here, I find, all comes at last to none!
"Did you say nothing of a crow at all!"
"Crow-crow-perhaps I might,-now I recall
"The matter over !" "And pray, sir, what was't?"
66 Why, I was horrid sick, and at the last
"I did throw up, and told my neighbour so,
"Something that was-as black, sir, as a crow ?"
T'other day, John Trot thus nicely did intend
To draw a secret from his honest friend-
"Come, Tom," said he, " now tell me; on my life,
"If you tell me, I'll only tell my wife!"
"Oh, no," said Tom" if to your wife you show it, "I'm sure and certain all the world will know it!"
THE BREWER AND NEGRO.
A Brewer, in a country town,
Had got a monstrous reputation;
No other beer but his went down-
The hosts of the surrounding station
Carving his name upon their mugs,
And painting it on every shutter;
And though some envious folks would utter
Hints that its flavour came from drugs,
Others maintain'd 'twas no such matter,
But owing to his monstrous vat,
At least as corpulent as that
At Heidelberg-and, some said, fatter.
His foreman was a lusty black,
An honest fellow;
But one who had an ugly knack
Of tasting samples as he brew'd,
Till he was stupified and mellow.
One day, in this top-heavy mood,
Having to cross the vat aforesaid,
Just then with boiling beer supplied,
O'ercome with giddiness and qualms, he
Reel'd-fell in-and nothing more was said,
But in his favourite liquor died,
Like Clarence in his butt of Malmsey.
In all directions round about
The negro absentee was sought,
But as no human noddle thought
That our fat black was now Brown Stout,
They settled that the negro had left.
The place for debt, or crime, or theft.
Meanwhile the beer was, day by day,
Drawn into casks and sent away,
Until the lees flowed thick and thicker, When, lo! outstretched upon the ground, Once more their missing friend they found, As they had often done before-in liquor. "See!" cried his moralizing master,
"I always knew the fellow drank hard,
"And prophesied some sad disaster;
"His fate should other tipplers strike-
"Poor Mungo! there he welters, like
"A toast at bottom of a tankard."
Next morn, a publican, whose tap
Had helped to drain the vat so dry,
Not having heard of the mishap,
Came to demand a fresh supply;
Protesting strongly that the last
All previous specimens surpass'd,
Possessing a much richer gusto
Than formerly it ever used to,
And begging, as a special favour,
Some more of the exact same flavour.
"Zounds!" cried the brewer, "that's a task
"More difficult to grant than ask.
"Most gladly would I give the smack
"Of the last beer to the ensuing,
"But where am I to find a Black,
"To boil him down at every brewing ?"
WILLIAM TELL'S SPEECH.
Ye crags and peaks, I'm with you once again!
I hold to you the hands you first beheld,
To show they still are free. Methinks I hear
A spirit in your echoes answer me,
And bid your tenant welcome to his home
Again! O sacred forms, how proud you look!
How high you lift your heads into the sky!
How huge you are! how mighty, and how free!
Ye are the things that tower, that shine-whose smile
Makes glad-whose frown is terrible-whose forms,
Robed or unrobed, do all the impress wear
Of awe divine. Ye guards of liberty,
I'm with you once again !I call to you
With all my voice!I hold my hands to you,
To show they still are free. I rush to you,
As though I could embrace you!