+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

well as serpents having a head at each end;
but they seem to have been abandoned as
mere hieroglyphics or chemical essences at an
early period. The wolf was a very mysterious
beast in days of yore, lending his shape to
witches and wizards, who found pleasure in
roaming about in his skin. Whoever came
upon a wolf unawares, and was seen first In the first
by the animal, became immediately dumb: as
many a classic poet has told us, without
mentioning Virgil himself. This was brought
about perhaps on the same principles as
those which made the shadow of the hyena
fatal to the voices of dogs. Pliny is the
authority for dogs always losing their voices
under its influence.

If there are still such creatures as gryphons,
who were said to guard mines of gold, we
have a chance now of being able to describe
them accurately, from the observation of those
naturalists who visit California and Melbourne.
Fuseli, in one of his singular pictures,
represented one weknow not from what
authoritypursuing an Arimaspian, in
illustration of a line of Milton. Both the
actors in his drama are sufficiently hideous,
and it would be difficult to decide upon the
species of either. To judge by the long legs of
the felonious Arimaspian, who had stolen
some gold and been found out by the
gryphon, that native had no occasion for the
leaden soles to his boots which were necessary
to the pigmies to prevent those little beings
of a foot high from being carried off in a high
wind,  When mounted on partridges and
engaged in battle against their enemies the
cranes, this small folk must have presented
an animated microscopic appearance. I
thought we had caught a pigmy at last in our
late Aztec visitors, but it appears that
Central America has since repudiated them as
her sons; we shall, therefore, probably seek
for specimens of the race in vain, except in
the dog-drawn caravan of my artful friend
the self-asserted possessor of the
ultra-splendid badger which is responsible for these


THE gentleman who writes himself on the
titlepage to his books:—

F.A.S., F.B.S , F.C.S., F.D 8, F.E.S , F.F.S., F.G.S., F.H.S.,
      Corresponding Member of the Learned Societies
        of Agra, Delhi, Algiers, Cape Town, Portsmouth,
           Port Essington and Walla-walla; V.P. of the
               Shetland Oratorical Society, and of the
                     Manx Cat Club, Member of the
                     Pedlington Galaxy Association,
                              the Pansophisticon,
                                     &c &c. &C.
                                       &c. &c.
                                       Author of
  A Treatise upon Hic, Hæc, Hoc; the History of Horum
                             &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c.

is not directly pointed at in any of the
remarks here following. It is no new thing for
authors and others to ask themselves, how
shall I carry weight with the public? "What
shall I do to be esteemed? And ever since the
first barrel of ink was brewed, such problems
have been solved in sundry ways, so that
there is nothing foolish that has not been
doneperhaps, too, that is not being done
for love of praise.

In the first place, how is an orator,
philosopher, or poet, who thinks more of the
applause he wants than of the work that is to
get it,—how is such a poor fellow to know even
so much as in what direction he shall turn
his face? Are the select few to be courted,
or the vulgar many? Which gives the verdict
of praise most to be desired? Jean de la
Serre wrote such a tragedy upon Sir Thomas
More that Cardinal Richelieu never was
present at the representation of it without weeping
like an infant; yet the million declared
"More " a bore, and lauded as the best play
that was ever written Corneille's Cid, in
conspiracy against which drama Richelieu spent
a month of his great power as a minister,
because he took it to be a stupidity which, as
a man of taste, he ought to crush. "More " is
no more, and the world still pays to the Cid
assiduous attention.

The great Cæsar himself, says Macrobius,
admired so extremely a comedian named
Laberius that he invited him by offers of
large sums to Rome. There he put him into
competition with the people's favourite
Publius Syrus. In spite of the emperor, the
people crowned their man, and the imperial
patron was forced to say, " Laberius, although
I like you the best, Syrus has beaten you."
Louis the Fourteenth did not say a
word over the first hearing of one of Molière's
best comedies. The public thought he did not
like it, and all the next morning nothing was
to be heard but bandied criticism of it as poor
stuff, and such inanity that really if Monsieur
Molière did not make a great change in his
recent manner he would never hold his ground
with men of taste. At dinner the king held
his hand out to the poet and said that he had
enjoyed his comedy beyond expression. In the
afternoon every soul was charmed with the
wit of the new play. The most discriminating
general public that ever was, only accepted
cordially ten or twelve out of a hundred of
the works of Æschylus, and forsook him
altogether for a new writer; the same public five
times declared Pindar conquered by a woman
who was in their eyes a tenth muse, and in his
eyes a pig. In what direction then is the
fame-hunter to look? The man who works out
matter that is in him is in no perplexity for
him nature has made provision; but the man
whose labour is but to procure something
whether fame or moneythat he has not, by
what arts is he to make provision for himself?
He generally uses quackery, and in what
degree he uses it, or of what kind it is, and to
what class of minds it is addressed, must
depend on taste and temperament and upon
other things.