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Now, Time, the impostor, was at his old tricks,
faithful Hans Beudix vouchsafe to impart The trouble that inwardly preys on your heart !"“Alas, my good Beudix, the Emperor's Grace Has made thy poor master's a pitiful case ! He has given me three pestilent cob-nuts to crack, Would puzzle Old Nick, with his dam at his back! “For the first,—when array'd in his costliest robe, On his throne, with his crown, and his sceptre and globe, Must I, the most luckless of prelates on earth, Compute, to a farthing, his Highness's worth! “ The problem he, secondly, deign'd to propound, Is, how long it would take him to ride the world round? And this, to a minute, without more or less;--He said, 'twas a trifle, quite easy to guess ! “ And, last, he expects me to tell him his thought, When next to his Highness's presence I'm brought; And, whatever it be, it must prove a delusion, Some error in judgment, or optic illusion ! “ And unless I these precious conundrums explain, He swears I shall ne'er see my abbey again: And he'll have me paraded all over the land, On the back of an ass, with his tail in my
hand !" “What, no more?" quoth Hans Beudix-" Then write
me an ape, If I don't get your Reverence out of this scrape.
Just lend me your mantle, your crozier, and mitre,
globe, Thus address'd him," Thou wisest of prelates on
earth, Resolve, to a farthing, how much I am worth !" “For thirty rix-dollars the Saviour was sold, And, with all your gay trappings of purple and gold, Twenty-nine is your price:—you'll not take it amiss, If I judge that your value must fall short of his !" “So, so!" thought his Highness; “ the priest has me
there! I own, my Lord Abbot, the answer is fair.Did greatness e'er swallow so bitter a pill ? But like it or not, I must swallow it still ! " And, now for a question your learning shall probe:How long would it take me to ride round the globe ? To a minute compute it, without more or less; You'll easily solve it, my lord, as I guess !"“ If your Highness will please just to get on your horse, With the rise of the sun, and pursue the sun's course, Keeping always beside him, a million to one, ,But in two dozen hours the whole business is done!" “Are you there, my old fox, with your ifs and your
ans? But I need not remind you, they're not pots and pans,
Else tinkers would starve (as I learnt from my nurse); Still the answer shall pass, for it might have been worse. “ And now for the poser-mind what you're about : For the donkey's at band, and shall straight be led out. What think I, that's false ?- Tell me that, if you can; Here you
shall not come off with an if or an an." “If I read not your thought, you may fry me for bacon ;In which thought, my dear liege, you are shrewdly mis
taken ! You think me the Abbot-but I as you'll find, With all due submission, am--Beudix, his hind !" • What the do! Art thou not the Abbot of Lintz? By my troth, thou hast fairly outwitted thy prince! 'Tis the cowl makes the monk, as I've heard people say; So I dub thee Lord Abbot from this very day. ~ For the former incumbent, an indolent sot ! On Dapple's bare withers, please God, he shall trot; For his office, Hans Beudix is fitter by half ; And here I invest thee with ring and with staff.” “ Under favour, great sir, I can handle a crook, But, alas ! I'm no very great hand at my I ne'er went to school, and no Latin have I— Not so much as you'd write on the wing of a fly!" “ Is it so, my good fellow? Then, more is the pity: So, bethink thee of some other thing that may
ye. Thy wit hath well pleased me; and it shall go hard, If Hans's sagacity miss its reward.” “ If such the condition, the boon that I ask Will prove
to your highness no difficult task: To your favour again, on my knees I implore, That your highness will please my good lord to re
store.”The sovereign replied, "As I hope in God's grace, The heart of Hans Beudix is in its right place. Thy master, for me, shall his mitre enjoy, And long may he wear it.-So, tell him, old boy."
AN AUTHOR'S POCKET-BOOK.
DURING one of my rambles last week I found a curious old pocket-book secured by an humble piece of tape, which from its contents appeared to have been the Vade Mecum of some unfortunate Garreteer. I make use of the word Garreteer here according to the meaning which has been given of it by an English lexicographer—" a mean author ;' though I am conscious of the absurdity of Entick's definition, for many, who live in garrets, can neither read nor write. Convinced that this pocket-book contained the chief part of his Fancy's treasure, I felt very much for its late owner's loss, and heartily wished it was possible to restore it! but this I judged to be impracticable : for I guessed if I advertised it, the owner would be either ashamed to acknowledge it; or (which is more probable), not to be able to defray the expense of an advertisement. I therefore endeavoured to overcome all serious reflections, and reap some benefit from what I had found.
This pocket-book, I own, has led me into many secrets relative to dramatists—one part was appropriated to-Thoughts for characters,—another to names,--another to plots and incidents, another to jokes,-another to sentiments, temporary allusions, &c.&c.-in short, any one with the least docility might with such an assistant be capable of producing a modern play, whether tragedy, comedy, opera, farce, spectacle, pantomime, or all united.
By thoughts for characters I perceived that a favourite word was sometimes sufficient to constitute one-for instance-“Mr. Wiseacre is to foretel every thing that was told.”—This put me in mind of the fore-seeing gentleman in the “ Belle's Stratagem,” which is a plagiary upon Congreve's Foresight. I say plagiary, Mr. Editor, as I adhere to the old words and despise the new ones, plagiarism and plagiarist, invented, I believe, by the author of the “Critic," though not to be found
in his father's dictionary. Certain cants or phrases 'were other characteristics—these reminded me of “that's your sort”—“that accounts for it'-"
my spouse and I”-“what do you think of that, eh?” Contradictory or paradoxical characters I perceived to be dramatic beauties-viz.—"an honest thief,” kind assassin,” and “ a tender-hearted murderer.”
I was very much diverted with the thoughts on names. Titles I find are given to remarkable characters. A Baron is generally a villain—a Lord a seducer or fop, and a Baronet--some stupid old fellow. The names of the inferior dramatis persone are direct indications of their professions or intentions
for instance, Mr. Buckram is a tailor--Mr. Quirk a pettifogger-Mr. Hammer a carpenter-Mr. Folio a bookseller-Mr. Thoughtful a student-Mr. Project a schemer, &c. &c. We must suppose the godfathers and godmothers of those respective persons most wonderfully anticipated their future vocations and ideas, when they bestowed on them names so very applicable! I know that in ancient times they gave names which accorded with the most remarkable events at the birth, or with the predicted faculties of the child; but, according to dramatists, the present is a wiser age.
One hint it seems is sufficient for a plot, but two at the most, which constitutes a double plot. -- If any droll incident occurs to the fancy, no matter how foreign to the general subject, it may be introduced in any place
-this accounts for the several unconnected scenes with which modern plays abound.
The valuable jokes contained in this pocket-book were in my opinion-miserable puns. Some applied to the very names in the piece-"Mr. Tempest, you are never calm ;"_" Mr. Egotist, you annoy my ears with your I I, (i. e. eyes). Among these jokes were hints for equivoque scenes-an apothecary was to be suddenly mistaken for a painter—but if suddenly, how is it possible that the audience should know * Who's Who?" -When there is no preparation for equivoques, I always tremble for the author's jokęs.