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Ode to the Wig of Father Boscovich,
THE CELEBRATED ASTRONOMER.
With awe I look on that peruke,
Where Learning is a lodger,
Had worn it once, dear Roger !
Appeared, no doubt, those locks,
To deck thy“ knowledge-box.”
Whole hours each blessed morning,
Thee frizzing and adorning.
To catch us men like fishes!
Vain dreams, and futile wishes!
Full many a lover's quarrel ;
'Tis circled with a laurel!
Of whims, and tricks, and fancies,
Vastly their worth enhances.
Matted, entangled, thick!
OF ROGER BOSCOVICH!
2 ficta Coma Hogeri Boscobichii.
Forsitan illicium, curaque fæminea,
Grande mei nuper gestamen facta Rogeri,
Novisti an sortis fata secunda tuæ ?
Sperâstine istud laudis contingere culmen,
Mortalesque inter tàm fore conspicua ?
Sed toti suêrunt turpiter ire dies ;
mille modos futile pergit opus.
Esto sacerdotis, non muliebris, honos !
Ut fieres vafras cassis ad insidias !
Vidisti et cæcus quidquid ineptit amor!
Dum gravis in cirros insilit ira tuos.
Esses ut tegmen fraudibus atque dolis,
Tale ministerium fata dedêre tibi;
Unguenta, et pulvis vel nive candidior.
Sis impexa licèt, sis licèt horridula,
Quod tantum foveas ambitiosa caput!
There is extant
of Cordara a further la. mentation on the sale of this wig, after Boscovich's death, to a Jew broker
“ Venduta, o caso perfido e reo!
Per quindici bajocchi, ad un Hebreo !" from whom it was purchased by a farmer, and ultimately fixed on a pole, in a cabbage-garden, to fright the birds, “per spaventar gli uccelli."-But I feel drowsy to-night, and cannot pursue the subject. Molly! bring my night-cap!
THE SONGS OF ITALY.
“Sed neque Medorum, sylvæ ditissima, terra,
VIRG. Georg. II.
We've met with glees " from the Chinese !" translations " from the
Persian ;" Sanscrit we've had, from Hydrabad, Sir William Jones's version. We've also seen in a magazine) nice jawbreakers “from Schiller ;" And “tales” by folks, who gives us“ jokes,” omitting “ from Joe
Miller." Of plain broad Scotch a neat hotch-potch Hogg sends us from the
Highlands ; There are songs too " from the Hindù,” and “ from the Sandwich
Islands." 'Tis deemed most wise to patronise Munchausen, Goëthe, Ossian ; To make a stand for “fatherland,” or some other land of Goshen. Since we must laud things from abroad, and smile on foreign capers, The land for me is Italy, with her SONGS “ from the Prout Papers.”
THERE has arisen in England a remarkable predilection for the literature of the continent. The great annual fair at Leipsic is drawing more and more the attention of our booksellers ; to the detriment of “the Row.” Nor are our historians and poets, our artists in the novel-making line (male and female), our humble cobblers at the dramatic buskin, and our industrious hodmen from the sister island who contribute to build cyclopædias, the only labouring poor thrown out of employment; but even our brothers in poverty and genius, the old English ballad-singers, blind-fiddlers, and pipers, have been compelled to give place to the barrel. organ, a mere piece of machinery, which has superseded industry and talent. The old national claimants on public generosity, sailors with wooden legs and broken-down « match-venders,” have given way to Polish “ Counts” and Bavarian “ broom-girls.” Bulwer thought himself a lucky dog, a few weeks ago, to have got a day's work on a political pamphlet,—that being part of the craft which no foreigner has yet monopolised. The job was soon done ; though 'twas but a sorry hít, after all. He is now engaged on a pathetic romaunt of real life, the “ Last Days of Grub Street."
Matters must have gone hard with Tom Moore, since we learn with deep feelings of compassion that he is driven to compile a “ History of Ireland." Theodore Hook, determined to make hay while the sun shines, has taken the “ Bull” by the horns : we are to have three vols. 8vo. of “rost bif.”* Theodore! hast thou never ruminated the axiom-
“ Un diner réchauffé ne valut jamais rien ?” Tom Campbell, hopeless of giving to public taste any other save a foreign direction, has gone to Algiers, determined on exploring the recondite literature of the Bedouins. He has made surprising progress in the dialects of Fez, Tunis, and Mauritania ; and, like Ovid among the Scythians
“ Jam didici Geticè Sarmaticèque loqui.” He
may venture too far into the interior, and some barbarian prince may detain him as a laureate. We may hear of his being 6 bound in Morocco."
This taste for foreign belles lettres is subject to variation and vicissitude. The gorgeous imaginings of Oriental fancy, of which the “ Arabian Nights," and the elegant Eclogues of Collins, were the dawn, have had their day: the sun of the East has gone down, in the western tale of the “ Fireworshippers." A surfeit is the most infallible cure; we recollect the voracity with which “ Lalla Rookh”. was at first devoured, and the subsequent disrelish for that most lusci
* The projected republication of these facetiæ has not taken place, though announced at the time in two volumes post 8vo. Albany Fonblanque subsequently reprinted his articles from the “Examiner.”
ous volume. There is an end to the popularity once enjoyed by camels, houris, bulbuls, silver bells, silver veils, cinnamon groves, variegated lamps, and such other stock items as made up the Oriental show-box. This leads to a melancholy train of thought: we detect ourselves “ wandering in dreams to that period of our school-days when Tom was in high feather,
“ And oft when alone, at the close of the year,
Are the roses still sweet by the calm Bendemeer ?” He has tried his hand at Upper Canada and Lower Egyptand spent some “Evenings in Greece ;” but “ disastrous twilight” and the “ chain of silence” (whatever that ornament may be) now hangs over him.
“Horæ Sinicæ" found favour in the “barbarian eye;" Viscount Kingsborough has been smitten with the brunette muses of Mexico. Lord Byron once set up “Hebrew Melodies," and had a season of it; but Murray was soon compelled to hang the noble poet's Jew's-harp on the willows of modern Babylon. We recollect when there was a rage for German and High Dutch poetry. The classics of Greece and Rome, with their legitimate descendants, those of France, Italy, and England, were flung aside for the writers of Scandinavia and the poets of the Danube. Tired of nectar and ambrosia, my public sat down to a platter of sauerkraut with Kant, Goethe, and Klopstock. The chimeras of transcendental and transrhenane philosophers found admirers !—'twas the reign of the nightmare
“ Omnigenûmque Deùm monstra, et latrator Anubis,
Æneid VIII, But latterly Teutonic authors are at a discount; and, in spite of the German confederacy of quacks and dunces, common sense has resumed its empire. Not that we object to foreign literature, provided we get productions of genius and taste. The Romans in their palmiest days of conquest gave a place in the Pantheon to the gods of each province they had added to their empire ; but they took care to select the most graceful and godlike of tliese foreign deities, eschewing what was too ugly to figure in company with