Page images
[ocr errors]

We follow'd such in, and they brought us a carte
Of the ices ('twould pose you to learn it by heart),
So I glanced down the column of "Glaces et Sorbets,"
And begg'd them to give me an ice "framboisée,"
While Pa, having ponder'd and changed a good deal,
Cried "Waiter!" and pointed to "à la Vanille."
In an instant I gazed on a conical mass,
Half pallid like Inkle, half dark like his lass :
And as Yarico never yet doated on Inkle

As I upon Ice, it was gone in a twinkle.
But Pa, with a face that denoted disaster,

Swore his tasted of putty, of paint, sticking-plaster;

And after repeated attempts and frustration,

Made it over to me with an ejaculation.

The walks were now cramm'd, and I wish'd to renew
Our stroll-but he gave me a snappish Pho! pho!
And said he was tired, though I fancy the loss
Of his ice, not fatigue, made him grumpy and cross;
And 'twas doubly provoking, for just at that minute
Lieutenant O'Fagan had "stipt from his dinnett,"
And joining our party, was quoting Lord Byron,
Admiring my bonnet, and calling me syren!

We went to the Gallery, Jenny, to see
The pictures-and thither our countrymen flee
To determine their bets. It's the fourth of a mile,
Which point causes daily disputes, and you'd smile
To hear them contesting how soon they could walk it,
Laying wagers, and straightway proceeding to stalk it.
Captain Strut of the Fourth was twelve minutes, and then
Lieutenant O'Fagan performed it in ten ;

But Sir Philip O'Stridle accomplish'd the task

In nine, without effort. I ventured to ask

What he thought of the pictures," The pictures? that's prime! "Who'll be staring at signs when he's posting 'gainst time? Here's an answer at once, if a foreigner starts

An Idea that we're not getting on in the Arts.

[ocr errors]

Our countrymen flock, though they seldom have got any Taste for Museums, or lectures, or botany,

To the Jardin des Plantes-not for rational feasts,
But to flutter the birds and to worry the beasts:
And these ('tis a fact that we all must agree to)
Cut out ours in the Tower, and extinguish Polito.
Yet though on the whole they so greatly surpass us,
They haven't that big-headed brute, the Bonassus.
That's a point where we beat them, but even on this one
They come very near in a beast call'd the Bison.

The old one-eyed Bear I shall never forget,
Who some time ago, being rather sharp-set,
Pick'd the bones of a hypochondriacal Gaul,
Who by way of a suicide jump'd in his stall.

Whose taste was the worst-whose the frightfullest wish-
The man's for his death, or the bear's for his dish?

But a truce to the Gardens, and bear with the swivel-eye,

For Pa has just enter'd to take me to Tivoli.

"Pauline! my new. bonnet!" Well, nobody knows
How I joy that 'twas "doublé en couleur de rose."
Quick! give me my shawl-where's my best bib and tucker?
Lud!-like my own ruff, I am all in a pucker!

Pa calls me I'm coming"- -so Jenny, you see

I can only subscribe my initials,

M. B.


My Oberon, what visions have I seen-
Methought I was enamour'd of an Ass!


Procul este profani! Avant ye witlings, who with gibes and jeers would turn my honest conceptions into mockery. I address not ye; no, nor the poor human butts on whom ye break your poorer jests, "though by your smiling ye seem to think so." I had no such stuff in my thoughts as bipeds, not even those who wear the head of BOTTOм; but as the times are critical, and equivocation might undo us, it may be well also to premise that though my references be altogether quadrupedal, they mount not to those golden Asses (not of Apuleius, I dare aver,) which are placed upon royal tables, and whose panniers laden with salt (assuredly not Attic) minister stimulants to the palates of kings and courtiers. No-my paper means what it professes it is dedicated to donkeys, Jerusalem poneys, &c., but who have no patronymic right to be termed any thing but Asses.

Every association connected with this most interesting animal is classical, venerable, hallowed. At the feast of the goddess Vesta, who was preserved by the braying of an Ass from the attacks of the Lampsacan god, that animal was solemnly crowned; and in an old Calendar still extant the following note is written

against the month of June: "Festum Vestæ-Asinus coronatur." As we know that many of our customs are derived from Pagan institutions, is it not probable that the crowning of our Laureates originated in this su perstition? The Gnostics worshipped this long-eared deity. In the precincts of the Holy Land, though not invested with idolatrous honour, the Ass was held in high respect and reverence; and I know not any contrast of fate more affecting, and reverse of grandeur, even including that of the Jewish nation itself, more absolute and wretched, than the present doom of this outcast quadruped with its former lot in Palestine, where, as the use of horses was prohibited, the Ass was the royal beast, whose covering was cloth of gold, whose housings were studded with the carbuncle and the pearl, and whose provender was showered down into royal mangers. Deborah, addressing her song to the rulers of Israel, exclaims-" Speak, ye that ride on white Asses, ye that sit in judgment." Jair of Gilead, we are told, had thirty sons, who rode upon as many Asses, and commanded in thirty cities; and the holy writer, wishing to exalt the grandeur of Abdon, one of the judges of Israel, proclaims that he had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode upon seventy Asses. According to a tradition of the Jewish Rabbins, one of the ten privileged creatures formed by God at the end of the sixth day, was the identical beast bestrode by Balaam, the same that Abraham loaded with wood for the sacrifice of Isaac, which Moses long after employed to transport his wife and son across the desert, and which, still existing in the

depths of some unknown and impenetrable wilderness, will continue to be miraculously fed and guarded until the advent of their pretended Messiah, when he will mount upon its back and ride forth to conquer all the nations of the earth.

But, leaving these reveries, must we not admit, unless we join Maimonides and Gregory of Nyssa in considering the whole story a vision or allegory, that the animal whereof we write is the same that, on the flowery banks of Euphrates, saw the Angel of the Lord standing before it with a drawn sword, turned aside thrice into the path of the vineyard, and, when smitten for crushing its master's foot against a wall, was miraculously endued with speech that it might rebuke its infatuated rider? When the priests and elders looked forth from the towers and temples and walls of Hierosolyma towards the valley beneath, where the multitude were filling the air with Hosannas, and spreading palm-branches before the Saviour of the world, who was destined to overthrow the Sophists of Athens and the Pagan Pontiffs of allconquering Rome, they beheld him riding upon—an Ass. Reader! if thou hast been more fortunate than he who now addresses thee, and hast been enabled to pick up a little book of Heinsius entitled, "Laus Asini," I counsel thee to lay it next thy heart, for it disserts of most long-eared matter, and is rich in asinine reminiscences. Doubtless thou hast passed the Pons Asinorum of the mathematicians-thou hast laughed at the punishment inflicted by Apollo upon the Phrygian king-thou hast feasted on the third Dialogue of

« PreviousContinue »