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Daphne, like many another fair,
To whom connubial ties are horrid,
Memento sprouting on his forehead.
For bays did ancient bards compete,
Gather'd on Pindus or Parnassiis ;
And that's the reason they surpass us.
One wreath thus twines the heads about,
Whose brains have brighten'd all our sconces,
'Cause they themselves were royal dunces.
Men fight in these degenerate days
For crowns of gold, not laurel fillets;
Must have them in the grate for billets.
Laureates we have (for cash and sack)
Of all calibers and diameters,
They give us lachrymosę hexameters,
And that illustrious leaf for which
Folks wrote and wrestled, sung and bluster'd;
And dainty flavour to our custard !
"Le présent est gros de l'avenir."-LEIBNITZ.
" Trou rascal Beadel, hold thy bloody hand;" let her escape; I make no charge against that gypsy, whose eye flashes like lightning through the dark clouds of hair that thou hast shaken over her brow : if the wenches of the laundry choose to hang my shirts upon a hedge, she is as free to gather them as to pluck
It may be a weakness, but I have had such a sneaking kindness for gipsies ever since I read, when a boy, the Adventures of Bampfylde Moore Carew, that I have more than once felt a temptation to desert from school and join their encampment, as we passed it in our way to the bathing-place. Beneath a few scattered trees, that formed the entrance to a dark grove, their principal tent was usually planted ; before it was poised upon three sticks the mysterious cauldron, (the blue smoke losing itself amid the trees,) and around it were huddled those counterparts of the Jewish miracle, the Arabs of Europe, whose swarı looks, shadowy elf-locks, and dark glittering eyes, awakened impressions that combined the romantic and the awful; while the lazy luxury of their wood wandering life found congenial sympathies in that love of idleness, bird's-nesting, and vagabondage, which, if I may judge by myself, is inherent in ail boys. Even the lean Rosinante that was tethered behind them, the panniered donkey browsing thistles a little farther back, the implements of the tinker's trade, that, faintly glimmering amid the foliage, assumed the sublimity of warlike spoil, and the copper coloured imps of children flitting athwart the umbrageous depths of the grove-all combined to strike upon that organ of vagrancy which must have been strungly developed upon my juvenile skull, although the vigilance of ushers and schoolmasters fortunately preserved me from following its impulse. But I would not
put into circumscription and confine” any one of these “native burghers of the wood," even though he had subjected me to the imputation of being a perfect Descamisado : he shall not be fain to hug the whipping post, because he has been too intimate with my hen-roost, nor shall he be made to supply the place of the duck whom he has inveigled from my horse-pond ; and if my housedog chase him undieted from the pantry door, his
canine teeth shall assuredly forget their cunning for the remainder of that day. Civilization has rendered the surface of society so monotonous and Quaker like, that it was quite refreshing to stumble upon any thing so original, wild, and picturesque, as a nomadic tribe disavowing the social compact, acknowledging no government, claiming a knowledge of futurity, making a public profession of idleness and of living upon the community, as if they were the nobility of low life, and exhibiting in their fine sun-burnt physiognomies decisive evidence of their Oriental origin. It was like encountering a Salvator Rosa after poring over views of Turnham Green and Battersea Rise.
Cleopatra was a Gipsy, and the females of the tribe are generally so beautiful, that one might fancy them to be lineally descended from that kingfascinating brunette ; but as to the men, it must be confessed that they marvellously lack the assistance of the turban and the scimitar ; for our mean, tame, prosaic vestments do but ill assimilate with the wildness of their looks and the poetical license of their lives. A hat is a sad extinguisher of the romantic ; coats and waistcoats are the types of a well ordered nation of quiet shopkeepers, rather than of free rovers, chiromancers, and professors of palmistry; while our lower garments, or ineffables, sit but awkwardly upon--"an outlandish people calling themselves Egyptians, using no craft nor feat of merchandise, who have come into this realm, and gone from shire to shire and place to place in great companies, and used great, subtle, and crafty means to deceive the people,” for thus are they described in a statute of Henry the Eighth. In spite, however, of their uncongenial attire, I found so many attractions in their propinquity, so much association connected with their haunts and purlieus, that I once fixed my residence at Norwood, then invested with a moral, or at least an imaginative beauty, by their frequent ap
parition amid its shades: but their descents, like angel visits, soon became a few and far between;" they were at last routed out, (to use the irreverent phraseology of the journals,) and Norwood being instantly desecrated into a vulgar eminence sprinkled with civic villas and cockney cottages, I struck my tent like the Gipsies, and bade it a long adieu.
They toil not, neither do they spin ;” and why should they, when the ingenious rogues can live upon the future hopes of mankind, if they have not convenient and ready access to their present possessions ? Poor human nature, unwilling to submit to that
“ Blindness to the future, wisely given That none might know the secrets hid by Heaven," is perpetually struggling to
peep through the blanket of the dark," and obtain a glimpse of futurity. Innumerable proofs of the utter impossibility of success, regularly reiterated in every succeeding age, have given a new direction to its development, without eradicating a delusion that seems to be inherent in the constitution of our minds. Prophecies and predictions are so interwoven with our religion, that we easily fall into the mistake of supposing that they may be made influential upon the ordinary occurrences of life, not perceiving that we are arguing from the exception instead of the rule which has been laid down for the moral government of the universe. Many of those who lend themselves to this superstition would revolt from the idea of being deemed Fatalists and Necessitarians ; yet to this result, or to its own refutation, a belief in any sort of fortune-telling must inevitably tend; for if we cannot, with all our efforts, avoid that future doom of which we have a foreknowledge, we admit the doctrine of fatalism ; and if we can, we prove the fallacy of the prediction. To establish the futility of divination is, however, so much more easy than
to abolish its influence, that it may be questioned whether the sturdiest disbeliever in profession be not sometimes a convert in his practice. An event foretold by our own minds when in the irrational state of sleep, or, in other words, a dream, is certainly much less likely to be confirmed than an oracle regularly delivered by the established seers or necromancers ; yet which of us ever dreampt that a certain number in the lottery was drawn a capital prize, without buying it or wishing to buy it, or at least noting it down in our pocket book, that we might compare the result with the mysterious revelation?' Hundreds of tickets are purchased every year upon the faith of this somnolent inspiration : if one at last succeeds, it is trumpeted through the town with all the goggle-eyed credulity of gossips and gudgeons ; nothing is said of the innumerable failures ; and men of otherwise good sense fall into the most fantastical fooleries and chimæras in the hope of discovering the lucky number by which they may enrich themselves in the next rotation of the wheel. By a singular perversion of reason, we use the most preposterous diligence to reduce to a certainty that which is essentially, and in its very nature, a matter of hazard, as if a game of chance could be otherwise than what it is! Dice, cards, and numbers, being infinitely precaricus in the combinations, are precisely the elements from which they would construct a system of regular succession. Montaigne exclaims-“ Oh! que celui qui fagoterait habilement une amas de toutes les âneries de l'humaine sapience dirait merveilles !" Such would be the wonders recorded by him who should collect and publish all the puerile and frivolous superstitions of gamesters.
In the earlier stages of the world, it would seem as if nations could not be governed and kept in awe without some quackery of this sort. The Roman commonwealth, founded on a pretended miracle, and