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(As green-sick damosels for husbands do ;)
He'd run it o'er and o'er with greedy view,
His rich museum of dimensions fair,
There stood a tripod of the Pythian maid;
Fast by the window did a table stand,
There gums and amber found beneath the line,
Or cowled monk lean, feeble, and unfed ;
A scribbling dunce in sacred laurel clad,
Seeks painted trifles and fantastic joys, And eagerly pursues imaginary toys.
STANZAS FOR MUSIC.
Oh there's still enough of joy for me
In this they call the world of sorrow,
The few that care forgetful leaves us ?
Will clouded brows bring quiet bosoms?
She frowns alike on all above us ;
Bring with it music's softest measure ; Bring love-inspiring woman here,
And let us give this hour to pleasure.
A CHAPTER ON DUNS.
Sir, remember my bill.–ARBUTHNOr.
A Dun has ever been to me an object of intense interest. From my earliest youth, ab ineunte adolescentia, metaphorical hot water' has been my habitual element, in which all the world knows that duns are as plentiful as whales in the Arctic seas, or herrings in the bay of Chesapeake. As I have enjoyed the greatest facilities of observation and experiment on these animals, I may, without vanity, pretend to some acquaintance with their natural history, and think myself well qualified to write a dissertation on them. Dun? unde derivatur ? Johnson says from dunan (Saxon) to clamour. In this etymology I can by no means coincide. All duns are not vociferous, as I trust I shall be able to demonstrate in the sequel. This Johnson ought to have known from his own experience; but probably he had been assailed by a rattle-dun a little before he came to this word in his dictionary, and so was induced to adopt this suspicious derivation. I reject it, however, from its want of general applicability, and humbly propose two ingenious etymologies of my own. Dun, from dúvanas, possum, because a dun does his best, fait tout son possible to get his money; or, from the adjective expressive of the colours so called. I confess I am strongly prepossessed in favour of the latter conjecture by what Newton says on the subject : his words are. We are not to expect a strong and full white, such as is that of paper ; but some dusky, obscure one, such as might arise from a mixture of light and darkness, or from white and black, that is a dun.' Now this I take to be a complete description of the animal and his habits, as well as of the colour. We are not to expect a strong and full white' which applies to that part of a dun which, in zoological science, is usually termed the bill. This, as Sir Isaac well observes, is never completely white, but always marked with dark characters, and it often assumes a dusky hue, the result of neglect, or too frequent pecking. What the umquhile master of the mint says of the mixture of white and black expresses the dun to the very life; who always gives us every thing in black and white. In fact, the whole description completely tallies with all we know of the habits and characters of duns in general. The terms • dusky' and ' obscure express the gloomy looks and tenebrose demeanour of the dun, and the mixture of light and darkness marks the wavering, undecided character, the infirmity of purpose, which we often observe in these beings; a sort of insipid medium between saint and devil; a composition neither · fish, flesh, nor good red-herring;'--so much for etymology.
The Dun, or Flagitator,' is a genus of the division Adhærentia, class Dammalia, order Boreana; this animal bears some resemblance to the human form, and possesses the faculty of speech, but not that of reason. The generic characters are :-bill length more or less ; incisors remarkably sharp; claws perfectly retractile, as in the true carnivora, and capable of the most wonderful tenacity; face of great longitudinal extension; sight very acute. Many of the individuals of the different species are furnished with long red tails.
The first species which I shall notice is the Rattle-dun, or Flagitator Clamitans. This is a most pestiferous animal, but more noisy and troublesome than really dangerous. It is an inhabitant of all climates ; but I think it abounds more in France and Ireland than in this country. The mode of this animal's attack is by the voice. Its clamours are dreadful, and sometimes produce the most violent effect on weak nerves. The best way, when attacked by it, is to remain quiet, and offer it no opposition. It will soon exhaust itself by its own vociferation. If irritated by resistance, it will continue screaming for hours together, in the most horrible manner. The females of this species are far more numerous than the males, and infinitely more formidable.
The next species is the Flagitator Prolixus, or Long-winded Dun. This differs from the last specific variety, in being much less loud and noisy, but infinitely more tedious and persevering in its gabble. This animal deals in prosing narratives of immeasurable length and dulness. When it once begins, it is next to impossible to stop, or even interrupt it; it literally drowns its victims in a shower of talk, as the Pole-cat smothers its pursuers in a shower of another kind. For my own part, I cannot recommend any more effectual defence against a dun of this kind than patience, and cotton for the ears. The evil gives way only to this remedy, as gout is said to yield only to patience and flannel. Interruption only prolongs the nuisance. N. B. This animal sports a prodigiously long tail.
The Flagitator Mutus, or Silent Dun, unlike the two last species, speaks very little. But he makes up for this by the most truculent stare and ominous scowl that can be well imagined. Terror seems seated on his brow, and dark unutterable ponderings. He is not, however, so danger. ous as at first sight might be supposed. His gloomy and fearful aspect is more generally indicative of constitutional surliness, and a sort of phlegmatic discontent at insolvency, than any settled ill-design, or deep rooted malevolence. The appearance of a dun of this kind, occasions at first, some very uncomfortable sensations, but custom, soon teaches us to regard him without uneasiness. Like King Log, he causes at first a most terrible fright, but after a while is apt to grow contemptible. The only danger, indeed, to be apprehended, is, that we should become too careless about him, and neglect all salutary precautions. For in spite of his usual quietism, his latent ferocity will at times break out, and incite him to peck most fatally with his bill. England is the native country of this species, though it is often found elsewhere.
The Flagilator Subridens, or Smiling Dun, is quite opposite to the last in external character. The countenance is invariably dressed in smiles, and melting compliments flow from the tongue like manna ; an acute observer can, however, easily discover the smile of this dun to be nothing but the risus sardonicus, which Johnson somewhere admirably defines to be ' a distortion of the risible muscles, without any corresponding hilarity of the heart. This animal is by far the most dangerous of the whole tribe, and ought to be shunned like a pestilence. He smiles amiably at the very moment he is about to play you the most scurvy tricks. A dun of this species entered my room one morning when I was sick in bed; and after condoling with me on the state of my health, and expressing the most ardent wishes for my recovery, dragged me out of bed, with the assistance of two other animals of the genus bailiff, and hurried me away to a loathsome den at some distance, to the manifest peril of my life. From this hole I did not escape for many days, nor without very considerable loss of blood, from the bite of a sanguivorous animal, which bears a very strong analogy to the Vampire-bat of the West Indies.
Another species is the Flagitator Tenax, or Adhesive Dun. This animal fastens on his unlucky victim, and sticks to him so closely, as to require the utmost violence to effect a separation. When you meet with a dun of this kind abroad, he seizes you by the skirt of the coat, or some other part of your dress, and generally accompanies you wherever you are going, uttering a sort of low inarticulate growl, in which you occasionally distinguish the words · long due,' 'hard times,' 'much credit,' &c. &c. &c. If you receive a visit from him at your own house, you may think yourself fortunate if he leaves you within four hours. There are many ways, however, by which you may shake off these troublesome animals. You may sometimes leave them in the channel with good effect, when they attack you in the street; this may be done apparently without intention, while you seem to evade a jostling passenger on the other side. A friend, more good-natured than Fuscus Aristius, may sometimes preserve you, by carrying you off by main force. An excellent method is, to rush with your appendage into a thick crowd, or cross the street mid an impetuous torrent of carts and coaches ; you are sure to lose him by this means, and it is ten to one if he does not break his neck in attempting to follow you. If you see him before he fastens on you, you may drive headlong against him, and push him down, without stopping to make an apology: this you will find a most effective application of the medical maxim, • Veniente occurrite morbo.' When he has actually seized you, you may feign sickness, run into a shop, and call for cold water, or begin to foam at the mouth like a mad-dog. Your persecutor will be off immediately. A mode near akin to this is to pretend that you are just recovered from a typhus fever, or other contagious disease; just landed from the West Indies, where you left the yellow fever at its height; or that you have brought over the plague in your breeches-pocket from Malta or. Constantinople. If a dun of this tribe should enter your house, there are various modes by which he may be dislodged. You may smoke him out, as people do bugs, by heaping your fire with green wood. If it be in winter you may starve him out with cold, by keeping him in a room without fire; or (as Dean Swift once served a shoemaker) you may lock him up for some hours in your garden; or else you may place him in a strong draught of air, so that he shall infallibly catch the acute rheumatism, or some worse disorder. Menou, the French general, of Egyptian celebrity, once flung an animal of this kind out of a window at Naples; but I can scarcely recommend the adoption of this plan in England; it might be dangerous. Besides, the result of such an experiment could never be calculated upon with sufficient precision; and while you intended only a simple sprain, or slight dislocation, you might peradventure accomplish a compound fracture. Should this creature creep in on you after dinner, you may, if you like, make him drunk, and then have him removed by an arbitrary habeas corpus.' If he comes to breakfast, infuse an opiate into his tea; or still better, a brisk cathartic. For my own part, I declare for the latter method; it was always pursued with great success by a general officer of my acquaintance, who was profoundly versed in the habits and character of the Flagitator.
N. B. Most of the plans recommended with this species, may be successfully followed with the others.
The last species which I shall notice is the “Insinuator,' or Dun by Implication. This dun never makes a direct attack. He hovers gracefully around his prey in a multiplicity of concentric circles, describing the