« 前へ次へ »
“Father, come, I’ll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye.” I am sorry to say this is a very indecent, though, it must be confessed, a ludicrous allusion to the burial service: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed in a moment—in the twinkling of an eye.” * Like one well-studied in a sad ostent To please his grandam.” There are two kinds of sense (besides the five) one is denominated common sense, the second nonsense. Our commentators universally prefer the latter, and therefore never dream of explaining a passage by so slight a difference from the text as the following:
is fond of this kind of writing: thus, in the Taming of the Shrew, “ the oats have eaten the horses;” and indeed it is an excellent device, to give prose an air of blank verse. For example: “ Three men thrust themselves into a hole” would be downright and obviously prose, almost to the hero of Moliere, who had spoken in that style all his life without knowing it. But the expression becomes truely grand inverted thus:
Into a hole three men thrust themselves.
“But, tho’ I am a daughter to his blood I am not to his manners.”
How ridiculous ! Shakspeare had in his mind's eye the Salique law, which debars women from the rights of inheritance. Jessica, therefore, bitterly complains, in allusion to this,
But, tho’ I am a daughter to his blood
I am not to his manors.
“The hyrcanian deserts and the vasty wilds,” . . • The word vasty grows obsolete; I propose substituting “nasty.” It is true that this may injure the sense, but the metre is well preserved. I question whether hyrcanian is not corrupted from Hesperian, and whether our bard did not allude to desserts gathered from the gardens of the Hesperides. But this I am not quite clear about. At all events, some deviation from the text should be introduced. -, - . “Portia, adieu !” I never could, with certainty, comprehend the signification of this till i had read that facetious work of M,
THE KISS; OR, MoHAMASIM THE Ass DRIVER, .
IT was the custom of Mohamasim
to rise with the sun, and drive his "
asses through the streets of Bagdad. All the world is aware that the milk of those animals is a sovereign remedy against stupidity. Mohamasim, therefore, grew tolerably rich, for there was not a citizen who did not persuade his neighbour that he stood in woful need of the remedy. Twenty years did he pass in this uninterrupted course, without a murmur, and without a wish. He had heard all speak with enthusiasm, of the pleasures of variety; yet heard with indifference. To him, that was most grateful which was most easy; and, though not supernaturally wise, he had discernment sufficient to discover that most things become easy by perpetual recurrence. 'Tis a piteous truth, that, be our inclinations howsoever unaspiring and inoffensive, they are equally subject to opposition with the most turbulent and ambitious. We may
as well expect to live for ever, as to be for ever fortunate. Life is at best but like the beard of Hamlet's father, a sable silvered. Even the humble existence of Mohamasim, it seems, was to be checkered with trouble; for, one day, as the sultan passed by, the poor fellow, seized with a fit of coughing, wiped his mouth with his sleeve. Unfortunately, by the laws of the Ottomans, it is a capital crime to wipe your mouth in the supreme presence; but the sultan, who then reigned, having an uncommon portion of humanity and forgiveness, ordered the punishment to be mitigated to a thousand lashes. Now, as Mohamasim could have no claim to feeling, for he was an ass driver, a thousand lashes was a mere flea-bite to him; even the courtiers, a kind of personage renowned for compassion and fine feeling, did not deny the justice and lenity of the sentence; for what crime could be more atrocious than to wipe one’s mouth in the presence of a being who wore red morocco slippers? Punishments are bestowed in Turkey with somewhat more alacrity than rewards are given in England. Mohamasim was stripped with summary celerity, and had received a
dozen tolerably smart applications to
his shoulders, when the sultan ordered the executioner to stop. The executioner, having lent his sovereign money, cared not an iota for his commands, so proceeded. The truth was, that having run up a score with Mohamasim, for milk, he bore him inveterate animosity; for there is nothing so merciless as ingratitude. Stay your hand, said the vizier, but still he proceeded. Stay your hand, exclaimed the courtiers unanimously; but still he proceeded. Dog, said the sultan, enraged, stay thy hand, or thou shalt be hanged, like the coffin of Mohammed, between earth and heaven. As the man had no violent inclination to be hung, he withheld at last, and Mohamasim had the satisfaction of hearing him told to go about his business. Mohamasim, said the sultan, if thou hast not contrived, before one revolution of the moon, to kiss the princess Roxalinda, thou shalt receive the rest. Commander of the Faithful, said Mohamasim, rubbing his shoulders, thy will is indisputable; mankind are thy slaves; thou speakest and art obeyed, nay, more than obeyed. Dust of my feet, replied the sultan, tamper not with my patience; choose, or this moment is thy last. Let me consider, said Mohamasim, with a playfulness he could not conquer; shall I now have nine hundred and sixty more of these pretty, agreeable, jocose lashes, or a kiss of the princess? Why, truly, I believe Ishall prefer the kiss, if it be merely for the sake of variety. The sultan smiled, and left him. Well, said the ass driver, when alone, can this be rejection; can this be choice; or receive nine hundred Vol. v. R
and sixty lashes from the heavy hand of that unmerciful scoundrel, or kiss the princess Roxalinda, the most angelick of mortals; the darling of the universe? Am I awake?— It would have puzzled Merlin himself to determine how long he would have soliloquized in interrogations, had he not been interrupted by the melodious remonstrances of his animals; but no sooner did the well known sounds salute his ears, than he started as from a trance, and, running to embrace his companions, profaned the very lips with which he was to kiss the princess. Never did scene exhibit more pathos on the one side, or more indifference on the other. The truth is, that asses are not remarkable for tenderness. As he quitted the animals, the difficulty of obtaining an interview with the princess, for the first time, occurred to him. Mirthful and thoughtless, he never dreamed of obstacles till he tumbled over them. It was not till now that he suspected the sultan, in giving him his choice, had condescended to be facetious, and that, in fact, his shoulders were doomed to be flayed as inevitably, as though Gravity herself held the lash. In the name of the prophet, said he, where, when, and how shall I behold the princess Roxalinda? What hast thou to do with her, said a neighbour, slapping him with friendly freedom on the shoulder? Before I proceed, it were not amiss to observe upon the dissimilitude of customs in different nations. In Turkey, you prove the strength of your friendship by raising a tumour upon your neighbour's shoulder. Lapland, being intolerably frigid, the inhabitants greet each other with an amicable squeeze by the nose, remarkably conducive to a more general circulation of the blood. The Dutch, of proverbial phlegm, usually apply a bamboo of some ten or twelve inches in circumference to each other's posteriors; a practice, say they, which, while it de
that their "QDuB" answers exactly to our “Aye,” except that it is pronounced and spelled differently, and varies altogether in signification. But to return: “What hast thou to do with the princess Roxalinda?” Do with her, said Mohamasim, chuckling, why I lie under the disagreeable necessity of kissing her. What! Mohamasim, the ass-driver kiss the princess | kiss your asses, you idiot. I have, said Mohamasim. Yes, and when thou shalt have surmounted yonder walls, escaped the vigilance of five hundred eunuchs, and explored thy way through inextricable avenues, thou shalt kiss Roxalinda. In melancholy mood did Mohamasim one moment contemplate the walls, and the next placed his hand instinctively upon his shoulders. Oh Roxalindal exclaimed he, among the multitude of thy admirers, who more urgently needs, who more ardently desires a kiss, than Mohamasim the ass-driver. Then did his rustick imagination dwell upon her various beauties; her shape so delicate, so majestick; her motion so magnificent; her apparel so lofty, and her feathers so waving; her sweiling bosom—neque eas ut foeminis pendiculas, sed quales virginibus globosas—and her lips rosy, and pouting like the cherry. As he proceeded towards the pa
lace, so disordered were his senses, he thought the walls increased in height as he approached; his heart misgave him as he surveyed them; no friendly inequality for the hand to grasp, or the wearied foot to rest upon. Could I but make a beginning, said he, half my difficulties were vanquished. So Archimedes could have turned the earth, had he but possessed a second to hold his apparatus.
He now endeavoured to scale the walls, but every effort decreased his strength and his hopes; and, had he not fallen asleep in the midst of his perplexities, he had perhaps exerted himself into madness; but even from balmy sleep he gathered no relief; he dreamed of nothing but the princess. Now he beheld her pressing her ripe lips in mockery against an inaccessible window; and now placing his hand upon the summit of the wall, he leaped over it with as much facility and as much contempt as Remus over those of infant Rome. When he awoke, his faculties were less circumscribed, and his patience had acquired renewed energy; he imagined and rejected scheme after scheme; but, instead of regretting their impracticability, he lay on his back in mute amaze at the inexhaustibility of his own invention. At length he determined. If, said he, Mohamasim has any affection for the shoulders of Mohamasim, he must cease to be Mohamasim. Philosophers and Persian physicians are above all men respected in Turkey; rise up then, good Mohamasim, a philosopher, he said, and sprang from the ground; his heart dilated with hope as he hastened to his hut. He secured his doors, and proceeded to the habitation of a renowned sage, to obtain some information how to proceed. Arrived, he acquainted his host with his story, and his intentions, and petitioned for his assistance; but petitioning was not sufficient, he was compelled to pay for it.