« السابقةمتابعة »
who may he be? I am sure I
“Say you so, gentle Reader ?
the fact that a man who was born some two hundred and fifty years ago should be forgotten. Well I wot that William Churne is not the only one who is in that predicament. And yet my name has had a better chance of being remembered than that of many of my cotemporaries, who, in their day, were more illustrious than ever I was; for it has been wedded, look you, to immortal verse. Doctor Corbet, Bishop of Norwich,—the wittie Bishop,' as King James the First was wont to call him -conferred on me the title of Registrar-General to the Fairies. Have you never read his • Fairies' Farewell’? They say, indeed, that his poems, like many better things, are little read now-a-days; but you will find it among the ballads collected by a congenial spirit (a prelate likewise), Bishop Percy of Dromore. His “Reliques of Antient Poetry, you are surely conversant withal ? But stay, I see you have forgotten the passage, which my vanity, perhaps, has preserved in my memory for so many years.
speaks of me in connection with those merry elves, whom he supposes to have taken their final farewell of that land, which, since their presence was withdrawn, has deserved the name of merry England no longer :
“Now, they have left our quarters ;
A registrar they have,
A man both wise and grave.
By one that I could name,
To William for the same.
Give laud and praises due,
And pray ye for his noddle,
Were lost if it were addle.'
There, gentle reader, that was the way in which the Bishop-Poet spake of me.
I warrant you, my cheeks tingle still as I repeat the lines.”
“ Indeed? cheeks that blushed for the first time two centuries and a half ago, must, I should think, have nearly blushed their last by this time. I cannot read your riddle. You would not have us believe, would you, that a man who was born in the sixteenth century, was story-telling in the nineteenth ? I fear you must be story-telling in more senses than one, or else that the event so much deprecated by the Bishop of Norwich, hath befallen you, and that the noddle' is 'addle.'»
“Ah, gentle reader, is it even so ? Can think of no other solution of the difficulty ? I fear me that you have a larger share of the unbelief of this dull, plodding, unimaginative, money-getting, money-loving nineteenth century, than of the humour, and simplicity, and romance of the seventeenth."
“Come then, I will hazard a solution.
? Can you What if the fairies, whose official you have admitted yourself to be, carried you off some moonlight night, two hundred years ago, and hid you for that space in their secret chambers, amid the recesses of the
hills ?” “Hush! hush! kind reader; speak not so loudly. You know not who may be listening. However, I do not say but that it may be even as you suppose. Perhaps, while time and change have worked their will on others, I have been exempted from their influence.” " How ?
What ? Can such things be? Dear Sir, how much I should like to make your acquaintance. Two hundred and fifty years old! Why, your face must be a wilderness of wrinkles ! And your dress, how strange and antiquated must be its cut! Are you not greatly incommoded, as you walk the streets, by the curiosity of the populace?”