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LETTERS OF MYTHOLOGUS."
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:
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.
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
period, is supposed to be Porson's. We give the first
six stanzas of it.
Hail, gracious Sire, to thee belong
And show thy power divine.
Late, while I lay a senseless mass,
Of such a change in Nature's laws
All public virtue, private worth,
I'm now a member of that court
The business of the nation;
But not omnipotence alone
His attributes pass counting;
In part of payment for thy favours,
MISERIES OF KINGSHIP."
Nor shall I grudge thy shirt to air,
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.
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
Quot tecum insidias, quot mortes, quanta malorum
Latinus then, with leaking eyes,
Spirit of the Public Journals for 1797, p. 250.
What clouds of ills, with whirlwinds surly,
As well as louts to wrestling rings;
What slaughters, blood, and wounds, and quarrels,
Nor need folks envy us, God knows,
We pay so cursed dearly for 'em :
And fill our heads with ghosts and sprites,
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.
"DUTIES OF GENTLEMEN-SOLDIERS."
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