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Lucian, wherein he relates his adventures after being converted into an Ass by a sorceress-and hast been enraptured with Apuleius's most exquisite and imaginative expansion of this fiction; and if thou canst still deny that the Ass who is now passing thy door, instead of being loaded with sand and cabbages, bears a rich freightage of sacred, classical, and scientific associations and conceits, I tell thee thou art duller "than the fat weed that rots itself at ease on Lethe's wharf," and meritest thyself that appellation which limits all thy ideas of the passing quadruped.
Poor, shaggy, half-starved, mauled and maltreated beast! when I behold thee
"Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
Fallen from thy high estate”
and, alas, too often "weltering in thy blood!" and yet bearing thine insults and torments with a resignation, a fortitude, a heroism, that would do honour to a Stoic philosopher, I am not content with the poet's exclamation" I love the patient meekness of thy face," but feel tempted to transform the common whereon I encounter thee into the greensward of the fairies, that I may say with Titania
"Come, lie thee down upon this flowery bed,
And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head,
The reader will say that I am full of my subject; and, pleading guilty to the charge, I confess that I know no sound more affecting, more pathetic, than
the braying of an Ass," startling the night's dull ear." It seems a sense of intolerable wrong," an outpouring of long accumulated griefs, the delivery of an agonized soul, the hysteric of exhausted patience; and, while the sides distend as if the heart were bursting, and the deep-closing sigh sends its appealing breath up to Heaven, I have sometimes followed it, and found delight in imagining that there might not only be reason for the poor Indian's hope—
"Who thinks, admitted to yon equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company”—
but that these long-eared innocents may be rewarded for their endurance in some garden of paradisaical thistles-some Eden of perpetual pasture-some Elysium of clover.
What a poor compound is humanity, and how ridiculous, as well as ungrateful, is its pride, when we see beauty and nobility converting this despised beast into a species of parent, and receiving its milk into their veins as the sole means of health or existence! I have never beheld this unconscious wet-nurse of the wealthy standing at the doors of our proud mansions, without sending my imagination not only up-stairs, where the pale sons and daughters of sickness were reclining upon their luxurious sofas, but into the sheds and penthouses of Knightsbridge or Petty France, where their four-footed foster-brothers and sisters, compelled, like the hairy Esau, to exchange their birthright for a mess of pottage, were porrecting their long ears at every sound, and en
deavouring to snuff the return of their teeming mothers, in the mingled impatience of defrauded appetite and disappointed affection. No substance is so poor in stimulants for present thought, but that it may be rendered pregnant in its past concoction and future decomposition; and as I have sometimes gazed upon this foal-purloined milk, frothing into a tumbler, I have traced it backwards to the earth when it was grass, and to the skies when it was rain; and following its forward destiny, I have fancied it converted into the bloom of beauty's cheek, or the sparkle of its eye, or by a still more subtle sublimation refecting and inspiring the brain until it finally evaporate in dazzling coruscations of wit. We are all compounds of the same matter, and should therefore learn to sympathise with all its organizations.
Although my subject, that I might be strictly asinary, has led me to a grave and serious treatment, it is not unfertile in more trivial suggestions. In England, where cruelty to animals of all kinds has attained its maximum, this Paria of the quadrupeds endures so large a share of outrage that I have sometimes imagined there must be a special Tophet reserved for its drivers; and as I once fell into conversation with an individual of that class, I endeavoured to explain to him the doctrine of the metempsychosis, insisting on the probability that he would one day be an Ass himself, and receive exactly such usage as he bestowed. Being assured, in answer to his inquiry whether there was any thing "about that there" in the Bible, that there was grave warranty for the
belief, he appeared staggered, mused a while, and then exclaimed, “Vell, Sir, there's von thing, if it's ever so true-I never hits mine over the head ;". -a circumstance which so reconciled him to the doctrine of Pythagoras, that he let fall a heavy blow upon his beast's crupper, and disappeared. If the Ass be not entitled to rank as an esquire, Cervantes makes him at least a squire-bearer, whereas the squire himself is only a shield-bearer; aad our long-eared hero was formally dubbed a gentleman by King Charles. A Mayor of Rochester, just at the commencement of an elaborate address to that Monarch, was accompanied by the loud braying of an Ass, when his Majesty exclaimed, "One at a time, Gentlemen, one at a time." A common tradition attributes the black line, or cross, upon the shoulders of this animal to the blow inflicted by Balaam; in allusion to which a witling, who had been irreverently sneering at the miracles in the presence of Dr. Parr, said triumphantly, "Well, Doctor, what say you to the story of Balaam's Ass, and the cross upon its shoulders ?"—" Why, Sir," replied the Doctor, " I say, that if you had a little more of the Cross, and a great deal less of the Ass, it would be much better for you." A singer once complaining to Sheridan that himself and his brother (both of whom were deemed simpletons) had been ordered to take Ass's milk, but that, on account of its expensiveness, he hardly knew what they should do.-" Do?" cried Sheridan, "why apply to one another, to be sure." Gentle reader, whether of that sex whose limbs hang together against the ribs of this forlorn animal,
from a side-saddle, or of that more ponderous gender that doth bestride his narrow back like a Colossus, if in thy summer jaunts to Margate or Brighton thou dost make him minister to thy pleasures, toiling through the sun and dust to bear thee to cake-smelling bowers, and tea-dispensing shades, O, bethink thee of his regal stalls in Palestine, and grudge him not the thistle by the way-sides: recall his silken housings, and have pity on his gored and ragged sides remember his glorious burden in the valley of Cedron, and respect his present wretchedness: muse upon the fate of Balaam, and cast away thy staff.
The Auctioneer and the Lawyer.
A CITY Auctioneer, one Samuel Stubbs,
Did with his mallet, which (see Bryant's
For Samuel knock'd down houses, churches,
Tore the first tree he laid his hand to.
He ought, in reason, to have raised his own
Lot by knocking others' down;
And had he been content with shaking
His hammer and his hand, and taking