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Dr. De la Cour of Cork, having one day to reprove a counsel, rather unlearned in the law, told him he was a counsellor of necessity. "Necessity!" exclaimed the briefless barrister, "what do you mean by that?" "Why," replied the doctor," you know necessity has no law."
THERE once was an Emperor (so says my story),
Not so fond of his ease as he was of his glory:
Dwelt near him an Abbot, who (rightly enough,
To my fancy), deem'd glory but flatulent stuff.
The first was a warrior, nursed in the field,
And had oft, for a pillow, made use of his shield :-
On black bread and water contented to dine,
'Twas seldom he tasted a drop of good wine.
Such a life had ill suited the man of the gown;—
For he always reposed on the softest of down:
Like the full moon his face, as became his vocation,
Which betray'd but few symptoms of mortification!
Why, or wherefore, I know not, but leave you to judge,
The Emperor owed our good Abbot a grudge;
So, returning one day from his usual ride,
Reclined in his arbour the priest he espied:-
And, checking his barb, in his fullest career,
He accosted the servant of Christ with a sneer,-
"Holy father, how fare ye? Those quellers of sin,
Long fasts, I perceive, do not make a man thin!
* This is nearly a translation of a Ballad of Burger's.
"Since your life must be dull, and your pastimes are few,
You will thank me for finding you something to do.—
Your worship's vast learning we all of us know;
Nay, 'tis rumour'd, Sir Priest, you can hear the grass
“That such talents should rust, were a pity, indeed!
So I give you three exquisite riddles to read:
To each of my questions (as surely you can, sir),
At the end of three months, you will find the true
"With my crown on my head, in my costliest robe,
When I sit on my throne, with my sceptre and globe,
Resolve me, most learned of prelates on earth,
How much, to a farthing, thy emperor's worth?
"The problem I next to your wisdom propound
Is, how long it would take one to ride the world round?
To a minute compute it, without more or less;
For this is a trifle you'll easily guess!
"And then I expect you to tell me my thought,
When next to my presence, Lord Abbot, you're brought;
And, whatever it be, it must prove a delusion,—
Some error in judgment, or optic illusion!
"Now, unless you shall answer these questions, I ween,
Your lordship the last of your abbey has seen;
And I'll have you paraded all over the land,
On the back of an ass, with his tail in your hand!"-
Off gallop'd the autocrat, laughing outright,
And left the good man in a sorrowful plight :-
Alarm'd and confounded, his anguish was such,
That no thief on his trial e'er trembled as much!
In vain he appeal'd to both Weimar and Gotha,
But they could not assist him a single iota;
And, though he had fee'd all the faculties round him,
The faculties left him as wise as they found him.
Now, Time, the impostor, was at his old tricks, Turning hours into days, and then days into weeks; Then weeks into months,-till the term was at hand, Assign'd by the despot's capricious command!
With musing, and fretting, ground down to the bone, He wander'd about in the fields, all alone;
And, in one of these rambles, when most at a loss, On his shepherd, Hans Beudix, he happen'd to cross.
"Lord Abbot," cried Hans, "I guess all is not right!
Why so clouded that brow, which, till late, was so bright?
To your 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!
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 !
"The problem hé, 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 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,
And you'll find that old Beudix may still bite the biter!
"It is true,-in book-learning I'm not very far gone,
Not a whit do I know of your heathenish jargon ;·
But old mother Nature has given me that,
Which the greatest of scholars can't always come at !”-
My Lord Abbot's countenance rose as he spoke,
And to Beudix he handed his mitre and cloak;
Who, arm'd with the crozier, repair'd to the court,
Assuming his master's right reverend port.-
The Emperor, clad in his costliest robe, On his throne, with his crown, and his sceptre, and 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 hand, 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 mistaken!
You think me the Abbot-but I as you'll find,
With all due submission, am-Beudix, his hind!"
"What the d-l! 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 book;
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 fit 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 restore."
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."