« AnteriorContinuar »
breakfast. It was thoroughly Oxonian, cums - really it is a capital burand would have done credit to a prize lesque.” “ Burlesque," said the essayist of Alma Mater. He gave a Oxonian, with affected gravity and summary of an imaginary history of wounded dignity, holding himself upriddles, gravely descanted upon their and he had purposely dressed in black, historical importance, the part they all but a white waistcoat, and had not played in oracular responses, and forgotten his white kid gloves—“burtheir influence in private families ; lesque, indeed! I appeal to the prewas eloquent upon Edipus, his fate, sent judicious assembly, or assemblage and of the Sphynx.
rather, of honest hearts and smiling and “ The Theban monster that proposed
beauteous faces, if the gentleman who Her riddle, and him who solved it not,
has, as I think, and I perceive you devoured ;
think, improperly interrupted me, has That once found out and solved, for grief solved my riddle. Treating, then, this and spite
unseemly interruption as it deserves, Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep."
I come to my Peroration.” He shortly
recapitulated, and thus addressed I will not trouble you with his learned us, with his band upon his heart :disquisition, nor take you in his travel “Ladies and gentlemen, I have scarcefrom Egypt to Greece, and I know ly touched upon the delicate subject, not where. He exbibited the whole the object of this meeting. I am conheathen mythology as a phantasma- fident you will understand me, when goria of riddles, questioned the muses I compare this happy, this truly pbilof Herodotus, and authors that you anthropic scheme of our friend to a and I, Easebius, never knew, or have bell—to the bell which, I trust, with forgotten. In short, he proved that its parochial voice, will proclaim in its the world would never have been the cheeriest notes a general Reconciliaworld it is, but for the ancient riddle. tion. It is indeed like a bell, for it He was critical also upon some very has the same requirements, without poor ones of antiquity-upon their which bells must be mute. It equally trifling nature, how under the Romans requires good metal. Ladies and they were deteriorated from their gentlemen, it shall be of silver ) yes, ancient dignity ; was severe upon silver, bountifully supplied by the Virgil's “Dic quibus in terris;" passed generous owner of this honourable on to their moral effect, and proved mansion. It is like a bell too, for it, that we owe to the riddle our very as a bell, requires a clapper; and I see virtues, and finally our liberties ; before me many ready to supply that strenuously insisted that we should want. It must also have a rope, not lose sight of the fact that all the which we will endeavour to make, to world is still a riddle, as is every- weave, and to twist. It will also require thing in it. The great riddle is life. a good hand to pull it; and where He would have us again, as we would shall we find one more fit for the work value the blessings we enjoy, restore than this (and here the sly fellow took the honour it has lost from the deca- my hand and exhibited it), which, dence of time, or the base and mali- let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, cious plain-speaking of the present receives its pulsation from the best of very vulgar age, to the riddle, and not hearts ?” to leave it as we have done to the Ralph Rhymer sat down amidst practice of our wretched politicians, “unbounded applause,” which was both in and out of Parliament, and to speedily followed by such unextinguishthose ministers who are practically able laughter as arose among the gods but trifling enigmas, incapable of solv- when Vulcan handed about the aming anything themselves, or of doing brosia of celestial Reconciliation. anything which can be rationally solved When seriousness was restored, a by any one else. At this part of the few specimens of our intended colessay the Doctor put bis handkerchief lection were read, and we each went to his mouth, but it would not do; he to prepare more. broke out into a hearty laugh, and Some days have passed, Eusebius, cried “Bravo —fit for any stage since the reading of our Oxonian's and platform, institutions and athen- essay. We have been very busy, and
having called in the aid of the doc- monly put for the letters U and I; tor's curate, I am enabled to send you and if there be any other words used, some portion of our collection, and I the sound of which would express hope you will dignify it with the title what the spelling would fail to do; of a "Florilegium," although I should all this was required before we comnot wonder if you thought it fitter for menced our task. And now, Eusebius, a " Hortus siccus."
take your easy-chair, read, and give You will observe that a few things your wise brains a little rest from the were agreed upon before we com whirl of your philosophies, and recremenced our labours. We were to ate them in these flowery labyrinths; ignore charades, enigmas, rebuses, and you may puzzle your neighbours and id genus omne, and know nothing by handing over to them the task but the word riddle; that, in writ- of solution, and you will probably ing them, we were to consider sound, give them quite as good an occupaas it is proposed that they should be tion as they had before, and at least at least first read aloud ;
equally innocent. Vive Valeque. quently that you and I may be com
A. Q. S.
You ought to have received this win a prize. But he is so little letter, my dear Eusebius, long ago: proud of his manufacture, that he by mistake it was put aside with other says he shall henceforth consider papers and not sent. I have, there- Davus a wiser man than (Edipus. fore, now an opportunity of adding The distribution of prizes pleased the solutions, made by the Riddling every one—at least all professed to Committee, to be read after the busi- be pleased. The worst gueaser was ness of the meeting. Rhymer, I sus- Sophy Single, but she contrived to pect, was the chief composer. I also drop her winnings into other's bashave to tell you that the Family kets. The delay has at least spared Junction Party went off satisfactorily: your brain an irritation quite useless “coit amicitia," and I hope not " malè to such a philosopher as you are ; sarta.” I took Rhymer with me to but, as you have many neighbours, our old friend Meanwell's ever hospi- and families who are none, you may table mansion. He was busiest among withhold as long as you please the sothe guests, and contrived, by his sly lutions, to give wholesome exercise to whispered helps, that every one should their wits. Yours ever, A. Q. S.
PREFATORY AND APOLOGETICAL.
Two foolish suitors chose, with worldly eyes,
That outward lead may hold the nobler prize.
Learn-wisdom may be found where none appears;
Are only mirthful to consenting ears.
For outward grace, or gold or silver thread,
Precious as Portia in the urn of lead.
1. Most given by nature to be low,
By art I'm well conducted,
And strangely I'm constructed.
There stands a five betwixt 'em;
My being so hath fixed 'em.
But more-I stand for one (if you
My head and tail dissever)
I'm found in yellow, white, and red,
5. (Nor more be said upon that head ;) I'm often in the papers found,
My two first letters show the man, Then make more noise than all around.
So do my five-to whose last three
Are owing many a plot and plan
Of wisdom, wit, and knavery.
My four first would exhort in vain
If their three last should be dead letters;
My five last all the world contain, 3.
And even bind the sea in fetters. I'm in the highest circles known,
I'm quite at home in letters six, And in the lowest noted,
To friendship warm, to coldness hateful; And trusted,--for my truth is shown
And still th’inconstant heart I fix, Whenever I am quoted.
That without me would be ungrateful. I sailed around the world with Cook, Who wholly did engross me;
6. And though advised, what pains he took In every point to cross me.
My first is of most ancient date, Though much at sea, no fight I've seen,
My second of to-day; Kept mostly under hatches;
My first my second rules, and bids
It By land in battles I have been,
pass away. And still can show my scratches.
Yet so that where my first is not,
My second cannot be;
My second is both long and short,
And in my first's degree.
My first, although it never stirs,
Rises perhaps, but never sits-
My first had never feet; but once,
Tis said, was known to stand ;
And by that act, my second won,
Brought blessings on the land.
My whole is a most precious thing,
Yet often vilely spent, -
And e'en though thrown away, returns I know how to be civil.
To give your heart content.
The greatest contrasts mark my first
"Tis praised, abused, the best, the worst; One wears, indeed, a sombre hue,
Preferred before the good and great, Yet is no less a knave, sir;
Yet with the beggar at your gate. Tho' ever holding up to view
At Court admitted-oft with fear What minds you of your grave, sir. Lest it should reach a monarch's ear; I'm armed like Hercules, and mean
Yet courts of law it much frequents To be no vain pretender;
In search of flaws and precedents, And tho' a captive to no queen,
Good, vicious, false, and true-in brief, I make all hearts surrender.
Favours the plunder'd and the thief. * Off with his head"--of Buckingham
Is truth itseli-a very lie,'Twas said; so mine dissever,
Loud-tongued, and silent in the eye,
The lover's charm. O lady fair,
Yet should my first your lover make, 4.
My second be, or second take Have you my first, in perfect state ?
Precedence first, then drop behind, You've no bad speculation;
And the two things be one combined'Tis silent, yet is thought to speak
Accept the promise of his tender, Is keen in observation.
And to his heart your heart surrender. My second's a commanding air,
My first it keepeth under;
8. That oft denoted thunder.
My first is beauteous, and to pride gives birth; My whole is suited to a hair
My second is the meanest thing on earth; Both to my first and second;
Though one most vile, the other precious Without it would the gentlest she
reckond, A barefaced jade be reckond.
My first owes all its being to my second;
My whole the theme of Grub Street bards
12. no bride,
Cut off my head-look in your glass, Yet few the weddings she does not provide ;
Oh! what complexion, red and white ; A mantua-maker, yet doth ne'er a pin stir,
I make your sparkling eyes surpass And will for ever be a noted spinster.
The precious ray of diamond bright
Your lips to redden with delight. 9.
Cut off my tail-my head repair, My first, by help of needle fine, you cross all Now take it, Chloe, to thy breast; o'er and o'er,
Though it will double all thy care, 'Tis blue, green, yellow, red, and white, and
And thou but give it half that nest, black, I think no more;
Thy fondest love it will attest. My second is what all men are, and one alone was not;
Cut off at once both head and tail, What most would have-a fool, the wise, the
Behold a word which shows the will, sober, and the sot;
What many wish to do, and fail, Yourself, if you're a gentleman, king, beggar,
Of those who spare, and those who kill, orphan, heir:
In war, peace, arms, in arts, and skill. My whole is changeful as the wind, it is both Restore, dear maid, the severed parts, here and there,
The change declares what I would do And ranges all the world, and takes new man
Around your very heart of hearts; ners everywhere;
If Hymen would but let me woo;'Tis hot, 'tis cold, 'tis wet, 'tis dry; fish, flesh, And you and I were one, not two.
fowl, love and treason Are in it, and are not in it, and so is rhyme and reason.
There are two words that you and I
Make bold and loud, or soft and slyIn me three cities on Italian ground
Both mischievous-and oft we go Their origin and first beginning found ;
Together set 'gainst friend or foe-
For when there's any danger, you
And keep my legs for surer work.
14. The sun is my father, the moon is
my mother, Yet strange I resemble nor one nor the other;
I am certainly very handsome, and ought
to be married, for the birds on St Valentine's For though nearest a blaze, yet I never en
Day are not more given to pair than I am. lighten,
And many a lady offers me her hand-beNor cheer,--nay, my mother has taught me
sides, I have received several love-letters; to frighten; But I'm nearest of kin to what birthless con
but, alas! one too many, and that has de
stroyed all my affection. Since then I have sisted
been on and off with many-have even gone Long ages before both my parents existed ;
to the altar-and have there been cast off at Full grown at my birth, in mid age I de
a moment's warning ; the very priest has recrease,
fused to unite me. Yet, still, all seek a And am biggest again just before my decease.
match for me, hold out their arms to receive I run to all lengths, and scarce ever stand
me, and yet I am single. Though a point in the mountains, the valleys
Seen and unseen by mortal eyes
Cut off my head-my flight so fleet,
Remove two letters of my name, I'm true, and I'm false, I'm in nature and I fly at kings with deadly aim, art
Yet take no democratic side. Show all turns of the head, but not one of the To courtly persons close allied
To be above them all, my pride. I'm poor to a proverb, such charms often grace Fair dame, my honour high thou knowest,
As when I touch thy hand thou showest; Men lose all they have in the world to em. When cut by thee, oh then I'm lowest.
No lands have I, in breadth or length, But I fly from them all quite as fast as they Yet in the game-laws is my strength; chase me.
With every pack, whene'er they meet, So small, in a nutshell I love to remain, You find me, and I'm seldom beat. n I'm too large for the world to con Without me, much is lost-to win me
They strive in vain, who are within me.
Though one, not always one, in name, A Proteus, in changing position and shape, As noticed by the trump of Fame;
It reaches the Pole, and it doubles the Cape. One name assumed—I'm jewelled bright, 'Tis proud, and 'tis humble, as peacock and One marks me stoutest in the fight;
daw, Though proud as Tory, Peer, or Whig, Is clothed in purple, or lying in straw. One name, I own, is infra dig.
Capricious and sly, it all colours can showAgain I change my reputation,
Nor Cupid himself has more strings to his And win all hearts by the mutation;
bow. Thus in three parts to find me out,
You love it so well, my dear Chloe, this The first may give much room for doubt; minute But step by step, and sure and slow,
Your tongue, head, and heart, are set on it, Follow that second, and you'll know.
or in it. The third's a guide-but will escape, By changing colours, face, and shape;
19. But oft uncallid, will come to hand,
My first and second are so fond a pair, And then is mostly at command.
That where one is, you'll find the other there. And with his blind eye in the middle, Indeed, so much united, that each one A cyclop may with ease be led;
Without the other's lost, or quite undone. And show that spot will serve good stead Both given to dress, and going thus together, To teach you how to solve the riddle.
My first is better dressed for foulest weather,
And yet my second is a perfect beau; 16.
Nor lags behind, how fast soe'er they go! My dawn of life was fair to view,
Yet, should my first sole arbitress review Joy came with each succeeding morrow,
And change her state, inclin'd to buckle to, Until, alas! I met with you;
My second on that instant will deny, You turn'd my every joy to sorrow.
Refuse the knot, and shun the marriage tie. Enchanter fell, behold thy deeds;
Nay, though he seemed to love the very My lily-roseate face is clouded,
ground, The flowers I wore are now but weeds,
is not to be found.
That my first treads on,
And yet it is the property of nobody.
21. For such there were, 'tis said, I wot;
My first is negative, And yet before that time, good Madam,
My second too often positive; I stood in very front of Adam.
If you have them in their double capacity, And when all creatures to him came,
You are more than man;
You will certainly be none.
22. And ever I, as in the past,
Altho' I'm short, yet none stood higher; As long as there's a world, shall last;
Reversed, I'm but a poor black Friar. And wheresoe'er is man and speech Shall I be heard, my voice shall reach.
23. Then, pray, what wretched days were those, When I was not, as men suppose ?
I was in our First Parents' guilt,
But not with Noah in the flood 18.
With Cain, when on the earth he spilt
His brother Abel's righteous blood. My first is the last of a long race of kings; My second, oh, that is the strangest of things!
In sin I was, when sin began : For 'tis up in the air, and 'tis down in the In love I live not, but in strife ; sea,
Yet, strange to say, I'm not in man, It crawls on the ground, and 'tis over the
Nor angel-but in every wife. tree.
I'm not in man, nor in man's breath, My whole is ubiquitous, all the world over, Yet in his every ill, and evil ; From New York to Liverpool--Paris to In life pursue him, and in death, Dover
Torment with widow, wife, or devil. Is at Petersburg, Berlin, at Rome, and Vienna;
24. Perhaps was with Ceres's daughter at Enna. For as still in remembrance of Enna's soft I'm great, I'm small, I'm high, I'm lowbowers,
All secrets learn, yet nothing know. It has the same love and attraction to Tho' full of wit, most bright and burnishd, flowers;
In th' upper storey badly furnishd