Abbildungen der Seite
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

neighbour,” says he, “never trouble your head, you may do what you will with your part of the barn, but I will set mine on fire.”

the BoAR's HEAD TAver N.

As I honour all established usages of my brethren of the quill, I thought it but proper to contribute my mite of homage to the memory of Shakspeare, our illustrious bard. I was for some time, however, sorely puzzled in what way I should discharge this duty. I found myself anticipated in every attempt at a new reading. Every doubtful line had been explained a dozen different ways, and perplexed beyond the reach of elucidation; and, as to fine passages, they had been amply praised by previous admirers ; nay, so completely had the bard of late been overlarded with panegyric by a great German critic, that it was difficult now to find even a fault that had not been argued into a beauty. In this perplexity, I was one morning turning over his pages, when I casually opened upon the comic scenes of Henry IV., and was, in a moment, completely lost in the madcap revelry of the Boar's Head Tavern. So vividly and naturally are these scenes of humour depicted, and with such force mnd consistency are the characters sustained, that they become mingled up in the mind with the facts and personages of real life. To few readers does it occur, that these are all ideal creations of a poet's brain, and that, in sober truth, no such knot of merry roysters ever enlivened the dull neighbourhood of Eastcheap. For my part, I love to give myself up to the illusions of poetry. A hero of fiction, that never existed, is just as valuable to me as a hero of history that existed a thousand years since; and, if I may be excused such an insensibility to the coinmon ties of human nature, I would not give up fat Jack for half the great men of ancient chronicle. What have the heroes of yore done for me, or men like me They have conquered countries, of which I do not enjoy an acre ; or they have gained laurels of which I do not inherit a leaf;

or they have furnished exampics of hair-brained

prowess, which I have neither the opportunity nor ,

the inclinatiou to follow. But old Jack Falstafi : kind Jack Falstaff sweet Jack Falstaff has enlarged the boundaries of human enjoyment; he has ndded vast regions of wit and good humour, in which the poorest man may revel; and has bequeated a never-failing inheritance of jolly laughter, to make mankind merrier to the latest posterity. X thought suddenly struck me ; “I will make a pilgrimage to Eastcheap,” said I, closing the book, “ and see if the old Boar’s Head Tavern still exists. Who knows but I may light upon some legendary traces of Dame Quickly and her guests : at any rate, there will be a kindred pleasure in treading the halls once vocal with their mirth, to that the toper enjoys in smelling the empty cask once filled with gencrous wine.” The resolution was no sooner formed than put in execution. I for bear to treat of the various adventures and wonders I encountered in my travels : of the haunted regions of Cock-lane ; of the faded glories of Little Britain and the parts adjacent; what perils I ran at Cateaton-street and Old Jewry; of the renowned Guildhall and its two stunted giants, the pride and wonder of the city, and the terror of all unlucky urchins; and how I visited London Stone, and struck my staff upon it, in imitation of that arch-rebel, Jack Cade. Let it suffice to say, that I at length arrived in merry Eastcheap, that ancient region of wit and wassail, where the very names of the streets relished of good cheer, as Pudding-lane bears testimony even at the present day. For Eastcheap, says old Stow, “ was always famous for its convivial doings. The cookes cried hot ribbes of beef rosted, pies well baked, and other victuels; there was clattering of pewter pots, harpe, pipe, and saw trie.” Alas! how sadly is the scene changed since the roaring days of Falstaff and old Stow ! the madcap royster has given place to the plodding tradesman ; the clattering of pots, and the sound of “harpc and saw trie,” to the din of carts and the accursed dinging of the

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

When the Prince of Orange came over at the time of the Revolution, five of the seven bishops that were sent to the Tower declared for his highness, and the two others would not come into measures; upon which Mr. Dryden said, “That the seven golden candlesticks were sent to be assayed in the Tower, and five of them proved to be prince's metal.” ox. The MARRIAGE OF MISS LITTLE. A Lady remarkably short in stature, Thrice happy Toys-I think him so ; For mark the poet's song— “Man wants but little here below, Nor wants that little tong.”

[ocr errors]

King Charles II. being in company with Lord Rochester and others of the nobility, Killigrew, the jester, came in. “Now,” said the king, “we shall hear of our faults.”—“No, faith,” said Killigrew, “I don't care to trouble my head with that which all the town talks of.”


When Lord Jefferies, before he was a judge, was one day pleading at the bar, he called out to a witness against his client, “Hark! you fellow in the leathern doublet, what have you for swearing " To which the witness replied, “Faith, sir, if you have no more for lying, than I have for swearing, you might e'en wear a leathern doublet too.


Judge Jefferies one day told an old fellow with a long beard, that he supposed he had a conscience as long as his beard. “ Does your lordship,” replied the old man,“ measure consciences by beards? If so, your lordship has none at all.”


Mead's not dead then, you say, only sleeping a

little ; Why, egad sir, you’ve hit it off there to a tittle; Yet, friend, his awaking I very much doubt, Pluto knows who he's got, and will ne'er let him


Cler ICA I, W is DOM.

A nobleman one day asked a bishop, why lic conferred orders on so many blockheads “Oh, my lord,” said he, “it is better the ground should be ploughed by asses than lie quite untilled.”

[ocr errors][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

continued; on being asked the reason, holiness replied, “that the fish was now caught.”

“What is the reason that you use me thus * I lov'd you ever, but 'tis no matter; Let Hercules himself do what he may, The cat will mew, the dog will have his day. Stimulated by a desire to excel, he entered so much into the quarrel, as to throw him out of the words, and he spoke it thus—“I lov'd you ever— but it is no matter—let Hercules himself do what he may—the dog will mew—no that is the cat— the cat will, no the dog will mew—no that’s wrong—the cat will bark—no that's the dog—the dog will mew—no that's the cat—the cat will—no the dog—the cat — the dog — Pshaw Pho its something about me wing and barking, but as I hope to be saved, ladies and gentlemen, linow nothing more about it.”

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

A certain cardinal had uniformly a net placed upon his table at dinner, in token of humility, and allusive to the trade of his father, who had been a fisherinan. As soon as the cardinal arrived at the Pontificate, this ceremony was dis‘‘ his

[blocks in formation]


Although this artist could paint portraits, yet he had a great antipathy to the employment. The Duke of Norfolk going to his house, with a desire of engaging him to paint his portrait, inet a man coming down the stairs with two pails of whitewash. The duke, taking him for a bricklayer's labourer, asked him if Mr. Barry was within 2 “I am Mr. Barry,” replied the other, bluntly. His grace, recovering from his surprise, explained the object of his visit. “Not I,” said the artist, “go to that fellow in Cavendish-square, (meaning Romney) he'll paint your face for you.”


A German professor had collected a valuable cabinet of curiosities, which he highly prized, one morning a friend came to tell him a very unpleasant circumstance, that he had seen a man get by a ladder into a window of the Professor's house“ Into which window 2° cried the philosopher. “I am sorry to say,” replied his friend, “it was your daughter’s.”—“O man,” said the other, “you almost frightened me ! I thought it had been into my cabinet.”

DeAN swift's cult Ate. I march'd three miles thro' scorching sand, With zeal in heart, and notes in hand; I rode four more to greet St. Mary ; Using four legs, when two were weary. To three fair virgins I did tie men, In the close bands of pleasing Hymen; I dipt two babes in holy water, And purify'd their mothers after. Within an hour and eke an half, I preach'd three congregations deaf, Which, thund'ring out with lungs long-winded, I chopt so fast, that few there minded. My emblem the laborious sun, Saw all these mighty labours done, Before one race of his was run. All this perform'd by Robert Hewitt : What mortal else cou’d c'er go through it?

« ZurückWeiter »