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LETTERS OF MYTHOLOGUS."

66

1794.]

999

it embitters my last moments to think that I must patiently submit to be kicked by the heel of an ass. "This is venomous enough," quoth my friend; "but it is no business of mine; let Dr. Kipling take it up if he pleases." "Dr. Kipling!" hastily interrupted I. "Ay, Dr. Kipling," answered he; "who can mistake it? Mr. Frend, for he is plainly typified by the dying lion, would have been easy if any decent man had been his prosecutor; but he laments that he is expelled at the instance of such an animal as Dr. Kipling."

The third letter has this conclusion:

209

It is now time to take leave of Bacchus and his Orgies. However, by divine permission, and the aid of Tooke's Pantheon, I can send you, if you want them, some similar stories, full as authentic, and I hope as diverting, as the Arabian nights; at least they have one quality in common,—they are Oriental tales. Whenever you can spare a column from religion, politics, the national debt, the king's bathing, and other matters in which the salvation of the public is concerned, I may perhaps trouble you with an explication of some other points of pagan theology, as they were (I will not say believed or understood, but) professed by the ancients.

MYTHOLOGUS.

No other papers of the kind were, however, made public.

Kidd says that Porson's mind, when he wrote these papers, must have been overclouded. For this remark there is no foundation. Porson's powers, when they were published, were in full vigour and energy; and they were written, or at least much of the portion of them relating to Bacchus, as early, according to Dr. Johnstone's testimony, as 1790.

The "Hymn to, the Creator, by a new-made Peer," a contribution to the "Morning Chronicle" of the same

P

period, is supposed to be Porson's. We give the first

six stanzas of it.

Hail, gracious Sire, to thee belong
My morning pray'r, my evening song;
My heart and soul are thine:
Inspire me, while I chant thy praise
In zealous though in feeble lays,

And show thy power divine.

Late, while I lay a senseless mass,
As dull as peasant, ox, or ass,
Unworthy note and name,
Methought thy fiat reached mine ear,
"Let Mr. Scrub become a peer,”
And Scrub a peer became.

Of such a change in Nature's laws
What pow'r could be th' efficient cause,
Inferior to a god?

All public virtue, private worth,
Conspicuous talents, splendid birth,
Attend the sovereign's nod.

I'm now a member of that court
That settles, in the last resort,

The business of the nation;
Where, since I'm kick'd upstairs by thee,
I'll clearly prove my pedigree
As old as the creation.

But not omnipotence alone
Adorns the owner of a throne;

His attributes pass counting;
Of justice, when he hangs poor knaves,
Of mercy, when rich rogues he saves,
He's rightly called the fountain.

In part of payment for thy favours,
I'll tender thee my best endeavours,
If haply thou shalt need 'em ;

1794.]

66

MISERIES OF KINGSHIP."

Nor shall I grudge thy shirt to air,
For all the bed-room lords declare
Thy service perfect freedom.*

We have also little doubt that the "Miseries of Kingship," a translation from Maphæus, which appeared in the "Morning Chronicle " about the same time, was the production of Porson. The words in italics are substitutes for others of too little delicacy in the original.

MR. EDITOR,

Having lately seen an extract on the Miseries of Kingship, from Maphæus's additional canto to the Æneid, by one of your contemporaries, who, I dare say, thought he had found a mare's nest of recondite literature, I send you the whole passage, with the translation, which, I hope you will think with me, conveys the true spirit of the original.

Tunc sic illacrymans rex alto corde Latinus
Verba dabat: Quantos humana negotia motus,
Alternasque vices miscent! Quo turbine fertur
Vita hominum! O fragilis damnosa superbia sceptri!
O furor! O nimium dominandi innata cupido,
Mortalis quò cæca vehis? Quò, gloria, tantis
Inflatos transfers animos quæsita periclis?

Quot tecum insidias, quot mortes, quanta malorum
Magnorum tormenta geris! Quot tela, quot enses
Ante oculos (si cernis) habes! Heu dulce venenum,
Et mundi lethalis honos! Heu tristia regni
Munera, quæ haud parvo constent, et grandia rerum
Pondera, quæ nunquam placidam permittere pacem,
Nec requiem conferre queant! Heu sortis acerbæ
Et miseræ regale decus, magnoque timori
Suppositos regum casus, pacique negatos!

211

Latinus then, with leaking eyes,
Proceeded thus to sermonise:

Spirit of the Public Journals for 1797, p. 250.

What clouds of ills, with whirlwinds surly,
Make human life a hurly-burly!
One while we're raised to highest pitch,
Now headlong thrown into a ditch!
Confound a sceptre! He who takes it,
A million to a farthing breaks it.
Unhappy Love-rule, murd'rous hag,
Whither dost thou blind mortals drag?
"Tis thou to battle eggest kings,

As well as louts to wrestling rings;

What slaughters, blood, and wounds, and quarrels,
These heroes undertake for laurels !
Fantastic plant, that's chiefly found
To flourish in romantic ground;
In short, this glory, that men greet,
Is but a vapour and a cheat.

Nor need folks envy us, God knows,
Our drums, and trumpets, and fine clothes;
We've cause sufficient to abhor 'em,

We pay so cursed dearly for 'em :
Abroad we must not walk alone,
Or else we're pinn'd within the throne;
While our state-nurses guard us there,
As children in the baby's chair,

And fill our heads with ghosts and sprites,
That will not let us sleep a-nights.

Such is our envied royal lot,

The blessed bargain kings have got.

The style of a letter "On the Duties of GentlemenSoldiers," inserted in the same paper, manifestly indicates it to be Porson's.

To all the British Dealers in Blood and Slaughter who are under the rank of Ensign.

[Dr. Gisborne having published a book intituled “The Duties of Gentlemen," this letter was to supply his omission of the duties of gentlemen-soldiers.]

* Spirit of the Public Journals for 1797, p. 403.

1794.]

"DUTIES OF GENTLEMEN-SOLDIERS."

213

SOLDIERS, GENTLEMEN, HEROES,

For such you are, whatever was your former station or employment in life. He who was yesterday the ninth part of a man, by becoming a soldier to-day has multiplied his existence by at least three times three. Yet, hard fate! the integer of to-day is much more liable to be destroyed than the paltry fraction of yesterday. But what is that to your employers, you know? The more danger, the more honour; needs must when the devil drives. If you were till now the veriest wretches in nature; if you had been just excused from hanging, on condition you should enter into the army; if you had your choice from a justice of peace, whether you would be tried for felony or go for a soldier, and, in consequence of this obliging offer, freely chose to enlist; if your ankles were still galled with the irons of the prison; if, after a short confinement for perjury, you had gone into court again, in order to swear away an innocent man's life; in short, if you were the lowest, basest, most despicable of mankind, in your former occupation, you are now become, by a wonderful transformation, Gentlemen and Men of Honour.

But, that I may proceed with all possible method and clearness in my discourse, I shall first give you a definition of that most important and distinguished character, a soldier. A soldier, then, is a Yahoo, hired to kill in cold blood as many of his own species as he possibly can, who never did him any injury. From this definition necessarily flows a high sense of dignity. Your honour is your most precious possession, and of that it becomes you to be chary. You are the disposers of the world; the umpires of all differences; the defenders of the Defender of the Faith. But why do I say defenders of the Defender of the Faith? You are the defenders of the faith itself. It rests upon you to reinstate the empire of God, of religion, and of humanity, by means which God and Nature (and, I may add, the King of Corsica) have put into your hands. If you will promote this godly work with all your might, though your sins were deeper than scarlet, yet shall they become whiter than snow; in short, you have nothing to do but to submit your lives to the

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