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IX. — THE POET AND THE CHEMIST.
THERE was a chemist once, who had a mighty faith in the elixir vitæ; and, though unflattered by the dimmest glimpse of success, he still kept groping and grubbing in his dark vocation, stupidly hoping to find the art of changing metals, and guineas coin from pans and kettles, by mystery of transmutation, ,
A starving poet took occasion to seek this conjuror's abode, — not with encomiastic ode, or laudatory dedication, but with an offer to impart, for twenty pounds, the secret art, which should procure, without the pain of metals, chemistry, and fire, what he so long had sought in vain, and gratify his heart's desire.
The money paid, our bard was hurried to the philosopher's sanctorum ; who, somewhat sublimized, and flurried out of his chemical decorum, crowed, capered, giggled, seemed to spurn his crucibles, retort, and furnace, and cried, as he secured the door, and carefully put to the shutter, “ Now, now, the secret I implore! Out with it — speak — discover utter!" With
grave and solemn look, the poet cried : " List - 0, list! for thus I show it: - let this plain truth those ingrates strike, who still, though blessed, new blessings crave: all have what we like, simply by liking what we have."
That we may
X. - LODGINGS FOR SINGLE GENTLEMEN. Who has e'er been in London, that overgrown place, Has seen “ lodgings to let ” stare him full in the face. Some are good, and let dearly; while some, 't is well known Are so dear, and so bad, they are best let alone. Will Waddle, whose temper was studious and lonely, Hired lodgings that took single gentlemen only ; But Will was so fat, he appeared like a tun, Or like two single gentlemen rolled into one. He entered his rooms, and to bed he retreated ; But, all the night long, he felt fevered and heated ; And, though heavy to weigh as a score of fat sheep, He was not, by any means, heavy to sleep. Next night ’t was the same ! — and the next ! and the next! He perspired like an ox; he was nervous and vexed ; Week after week, till, by weekly succession, His weakly condition was past all expression.
In six months his acquaintance began much to doubt him ; For his skin “ like a lady's loose gown” hung about him. He sent for a doctor, and cried, like a ninny,
I've lost many pounds — make me well — there's a guinea.” The doctor looked wise : “ A slow fever,” he said ; Prescribed sudorifics, -- and going to bed.
Sudorifics in bed,” exclaimed Will, “ are humbugs !
your bed is immediately — over my oven. “The oven!” says Will. — Says the host, “Why this passion? In that excellent bed died three people of fashion. Why so crusty, good sir?” “Zounds!” cried Will, in a taking, “Who would not be crusty, with half a year's baking ?” Will paid for his rooms :
- cried the host, with a sneer, Well, I see you ’ve been going away half a year."
Friend, we can't well agree ; — yet no quarrel,” Will said , “But I'd rather not perish, while you make your bread.”
Mr. ORATOR Puff had two tones in his voice,
The one squeaking thus, and the other down so;
O! O! Orator Puff,
But he still talked away, spite of coughs and of frowns,
0!0! Orator Puff,
One voice for an orator's surely enough. Reeling homewards, one evening, top-heavy with gin,
And rehearsing his speech on the weight of the crown, He tripped near a saw-pit
, and tumbled right in, Sinking fund” the last words as his noddle came down.
O! O! Orator Puff,
One voice for an orator's surely enough.
Help you out !” said a Paddy, who passed ; "what a bother ! Why, there's two of you there; can't you help one another ?”
O! O! Orator Puff,
XII. — THE NEWCASTLE APOTHECARY.
A MEMBER of the Æsculapian line lived at Newcastle-uponTyne : no man could better gild a pill, or make a bill, or mix a draught, or bleed, or blister; or draw a tooth out of
head; or chatter scandal by your bed; or spread a plaster. His fame full six miles round the country ran; in short, in reputation he was solus : all the old women called him " a fine man!” His name was Bolus.
Benjamin Bolus, though in trade (which oftentimes will genius fetter), read works of fancy, it is said, and cultivated the « belles lettres." *
Bolus loved verse ; and took so much delight in 't, all his prescriptions he resolved to write in 't. No opportunity he e'er let pass of writing the directions on his labels in dapper couplets, like Gay’s Fables, or, rather, like the lines in Hudibras.
He had a patient lying at death's door, some three miles from the town, — it might be four, — to whom, one evening, Bolus sent an article - in pharmacy that's called cathartical : and on the label of the stuff he wrote this verse, which one would think was clear enough, and terse,
- When taken,
To be well shaken."
* In both these French words the s is unsounded.
Next morning early Bolus rose, and to the patients house he goes, upon his pad, who a vile trick of stumbling had : but he arrived, and gave a tap, between a single and a double rap. The servant lets him in, with dismal face, long as a courtier's out of place, - portending some disaster. John's countenance as rueful looked and grim, as if the apothecary had physicked him, and not his master.
Well, how's the patient ?” Bolus said. John shook his head. - Indeed !-hum! - ha !— that's very odd !– He took the draught?”—John gave a nod. Well ? — how? — what then ? --- speak out, you dunce!" . Why, then," says John,
we shook him once.". « Shook him ! how ? how ?” friend Bolus stammered out. —“We jolted him about.”
“What! shake the patient, man ! — why, that won't do.” “No, sir,” quoth John, “and so we gave him two."
Two shakes ! 0, luckless verse! 'T would make the patient worse !” " It did so, sir, and so a third we tried.” -“Well, and what then ?” Then, sir, my master died !”
XIII. – THE REMOVAL.
A NERVOUS old gentleman, tired of trade,-
• Agreed !" said the pair ; " that will make us amends." “ Then come to my house, and let us part friends : You shall dine ; and we 'll drink on this joyful occasion, That each may live long in his new habitation.” He gave the two blacksmiths a sumptuous regale ; He spared not provisions, his wine, nor his ale; So much was he pleased with the thought that each guest Would take from him noise, and restore him to rest. “ And now,” said he, “ tell me, where mean you to move ? I hope to some spot where your trade will improve.”
Why, sir,” replied one, with a grin on his phiz, “ Tom Forge moves to my shop, and I move to his !'
XIV. - THE RETORT.
Sitting with guests at table, all quite merry, -
To crack a joke upon his secretary. · Young man,” said he, “ by what art, craft, or trade,
Did your good father earn his livelihood ? " “ He was a saddler, sir,” the young man said,
“ And in his line was always reckoned good.” “ A saddler, eh ? and had you stuffed with Greek,
Instead of teaching you like him to do!
A saddler, too, of you?”
Said (craving pardon if too free he made),
Your father's trade.”
My father's trade! Why, blockhead, art thou mad ? My father, sir, was never brought so low. He was a gentleman, I'd have you
know !” “ Indeed! excuse the liberty I take;
But, if your story 's true,