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« The Petition of a very innocent, useful, and
much-abused person, to that grave Reformer,
the Rev. Simon Olive-branch, “ Humbly showeth,
u That your petitioner has most seriously to complain of divers abuses and outrages, which he humbly conceives it is within your province to chastise. He will begin, however, with stating his claims and pretensions, and then proceed to enumerate the instances in which his merits are despised, and his rights trampled under foot.
“ That your petitioner is the healthiest, floridest, and comeliest of twelve brothers; and is the father of thirty children; all of whom have been well brought up, and preserve their posts and execute their functions with unfailing order and punctuality.
“ Your petitioner's exemplary mildness of temper should give him a peculiar claim to the attention of one of the Olive-branch family, as sympathy of character generally begets mutual kindness. He can plead, besides, that he has known your whole race these many centuries; and can carry his personal recollection back to anecdotes and facts concerning them, much beyond the compass of your mother's records, ancient as they are. He pursed your great-grandfather on his lap, when he was yet unable to walk; and gave him a nosegay before he could lisp out tobacco-stopper. He has the honour of informing you, that he brought into the world a great-grandson of Shem, who was the son of Noah, &c.: that this great-grandson of Shem attached a considerable number of followers to himself, by reason of his pacific qualities, and settled on the borders of
the Euphrates, where, it is said, he planted the first Olive; for that which the dove brought to the ark was only a branch of the wild species."
is youngest son was named 1799-y or Olive-branch; and with him the race of Olive-branches properly began. That your petitioner has ever looked with great attection on this goodly race, and has always received particular honours at their hands. That he humbly hopes, therefore, that the last of this ancient family will not refuse to listen to his requisitions, which are founded on such just pretensions.
“ That he has also great merits to plead, independent of his connections with the house of Olivebranch. That he is the only even-tempered character out of twelve brothers, the rest being all either too warm and passionate, or too cold and severe; and the one, especially, who was born just before him, is so fretful and fickle, that there is no knowing what to do with him, not to mention that he has a malignant pleasure in making fools of his majesty's subjects. That, besides the negative merit of preserving his temper in the midst of such examples, he and his thirty sons are employed in the active office of dressing out our general mother the Earth, and promoting her fruitfulness and abundance.
“ That your petitioner is not only prodigal of his benefits and kindnesses to man, but may claim, in a very high degree, the merit of impartiality in the distribution of them, holding all ranks in the same estimation, and oftentimes drying up the tears of the wretched, and creating a sunshine in his thoughts. That his thirty sons too, who join him in this humble petition, are always occupied, whenever their turn comes round, in spreading joy and love and beauty and abundance, over the face of the earth. Ever studious of the honour of their family, they are tainted with
no mean jealousy of each other's abilities; and one brother is continually improving upon the work of the other. It is also an extraordinary peculiarity belonging to them, that they are mature in proportion to their youth; and the youngest of them all is the ripest and forwardest. Sometimes, when your petitioner has finished his own task, he observes one of them flying over the commons and wastes, to hang every furze-bush he can meet, with golden baskets. Others are seen successively employed in clustering the lilac, perfuming the violet, forging the yellow chain of the liburnum, hooding the sweet-pea, and variegating the daisy. Another will employ himself in sweeping the train of his green garment over the meads and lawns, and leave impressed upon their surface a glossy-verdure. This undertakes, as his charge, the painting of the almond blossom; while his next brother is occupied as musician to the grove, and teaches to the lark its matins, and its vespers to the nightingale.
“ Your petitioner trusts he need not enlarge upon his merits with the love-sick part of mankind: the influence of his family in propitiating the fair objects of their vows, and in lending an irresistible persuasion to their addresses, is so evident, as to challenge even human ingratitude to deny it.
“ Your petitioner has now only to state the topics of his complaint, which he will do as briefly as possible, not caring to expatiate upon matters so clear and striking.
“ 1st, The greatest part of those who used to do him honour at their rural seats, are now so disrespectful as to remain in town during his anniversary.
« 2d, That he is even unable to enforce the attendance of the country folks, who are so brutal as to prefer the beasts over Exeter 'Change to his lambs and his nightingales.
“ 3d, That the people of London and the neighbourhood are pleased with insulting him, by putting some of the best clothes his wardrobe contains, upon the backs of chimney-sweepers.
“ 4th, A great many old ladies have abused him beyond measure, and called him dull and stupid, for no other reason than because he has robbed them of a party at Whist or Cassino.
“ 5th, Some of the same faction attempted his life not a week ago, by shutting out the sun, and lighting up candles before six.- N.B. This is a desperate gang of old oftenders, who have frequently attempted to murder Time, your petitioner's father, and have obliged him to go armed with a scythe.
“ 6th, Some young ladies, lately arrived in town from Gloucestershire, to whom your petitioner gave a copy of his receipt for colouring the rose, and bleaching the lily, have lately been using a wretched mixture, they call the Turkish Wash.
“ 7th, Some young fortune-hunters, at Bath, the other day, found a resemblance for your petitioner in old Mrs. D. who has not a tooth in her head.
“8th, A large party at Faro was made, on the evening of his anniversary, at a great house in Piccadilly; and the cards were flying about, while his herald, the Cuckoo, whom he had sent out some days before with his own invitations, was in the neighbourhood of Hyde-Park.
“ 9th, The sentiments which your petitioner used to inspire, are now called romantic; and he verily believes that if he were himself to court a lady arrayed in his mantle of lilies, and breathing out his love-like ambrosia, he should be treated with disdain unless he could show her a carriage with a couple of handsome footmen behind it.
“ Your petitioner forbears to bring forward a variety of charges, as weighty as those he has already produced; trusting that these will be amply sufficient to induce you to take his case into your most serious consideration: in which confidence your petitioner will ever pray for your happiness while living, and will strew his choicest flowers on the tombs of your ancient mother and yourself, when it shall please Providence to give to the wornis the remnant of the Olive-branch family.
“ May-w'Y." I shall conclude with a letter from poor Eugenio to his Amelia, containing a little poem not unsuitable to the subject of this paper. My dearest Love,
My little vista in the wood begins to look delightful:— I have just made a seat in it which is to be sacred to you, when you deign to pay it a visit; and the woodbine seems to make haste to grow about it, as if it were preparing to receive no vulgar guest. Yesterday evening, as I sat in your little temple, I tried to fill up the vacancy your absence always leaves in my mind, by writing a few verses to a Bee that was playing around me, by way of present to you on this first day of May; a day which I know ,you
love to see honoured.
VERSES TO THE BEE. “ Daughter of Spring, that ply'st thy mazy fight,
• Telling a love-tale to the list ning air, “ Wherever buds of balmy breath invite,
“ Borne on thy busy wings of gossamer!