« PreviousContinue »
The Scholar was vers'd in all magical arts,
Most famous was he throughout College: To the Red Sea full many an unquiet ghost, To repose with King Pharoah and his mighty host,
He had sent, through his powerful knowledge.
To this Scholar so learn'd, the Master he went,
And, as lowly he bent with submission, Told the freaks of the Ghost, and the horrible frights That prevented his household from resting o'nights,
And offer'd this humble petition:
“That he, the said Scholar, in wisdom so wise,
Would the mischievous fiend lay in fetters; And send him, in torments for ever to dwell, To the nethermost pit of the nethermost hell,
For destroying the sleep of his betters." ;
The Scholar, so vers'd in all mystical lore,
Told the Master his pray'r should be granted ; Then ordered his horse to be saddled with speed, And, perch'd on the back of the cream-colourd steed,
Trotted off to the house that was haunted.
He enter'd the doors at the fall o'the night
The trees of the forest ’gan shiver; The hoarse raven croak’d, and blue burnt the light, The owl loudly shriek’d, and, pale with affright,
The servants like aspins did quiver.
is “Bring some turnips and milk!" the Scholar he cry'd,
In a voice like the echoing thunder
They brought him some turnips, and suet beside, lichtplastSome milk and a spoon, and his motions they ey’d, nomie Quite lost in conjecture and wonder.
He took up the turnips and peeld off the skin,
Put them into a pot that was boiling;
In a hurry, for they were a-spoiling.
He mash'd up the turnips with butter and milk;
The hail at the casemert 'gan clatter;
Ask'd the maid for a small wooden platter.
He mash'd up the turnips with butter and milk
The storm came on thicker and faster:
Tearing up by the roots lath and plaster.
He mash'd up the turnips with butter and milk
The mess would have ravish'd a glutton;
In the form of a Boil'D SCRAG OF Mutton.
“ Ho! ho!" said the Ghost, “what art doing below?"
The Scholar look'd up in a twinkling, “The times are too bad to afford any meat, So, to render my turnips more pleasant to eat,
A few grains of pepper I'm sprinkling."
Then he caught up a fork, and the Mutton he seiz'd,
And sous'd it at once in the platter; Threw o'er it some salt, and a spoonful of fat, And before the poor Ghost could tell what he was at, He was gone!-like a mouse down the throat of a cat,
And this is the whole of the matter*!
The idea of this tale was derived from the following re. lation, which the writer met with in a miscellaneous volume entitled The GLEANER. The relation itself is professed to have been extracted from a work called, Jackson's State of the Defunct, p. 97.
“ An acquaintance of mine, an Oxford scholar, hath to my " certain knowledge and belief, cured many disorders, and laid the ghosts of many disturbed people, when no other person could do them. In a village where I lived, I do know that there was a great house, a mansion-house, haunted by a spirit that turned itself into a thousand shapes and forms, but gene. rally came in the figure of a boiled scrag of mutton, and had baffled and defied the learned men of both universities; but this being told to my friend, who was a descendant and relation of the learned Friar Bacon, he undertook to lay it, and that. even without his books; and it was done in this manner: he ordered some water to be put into a clean skillet, that was new, and never been on the fire. When the water boiled, he. himself pulled off his hat and shoes, and then took seven tur. nips, which he pared with a small penknife that had been
" A house which changes so often its inhabitants is not a palace, but a caravansery.”
It was my first intention, my honourable friends, when I was introduced into this house, to have read to you a learned treatise, in which, according to the custom of the literary world, I should have set out with a discourse on architecture, for the sake of saying something, in the sequel, of my own house. I should have cited the habitation of the Troglodites, the ark of Noah, the tower of Babel, the temple of Solomon, the palace of Semiramis, and all the renowned edifices of ancient and modern history. I had even taken down the titles
of more than a hundred volumes, which I considered as la mine, out which I should have extracted all my eru.
dition. To be brief, I might possibly have produced a most learned dissertation, if I had not reflected what a pitiful figure my house would have made, brought upon the canvas along with the palace of Semiramis or
rubbed and whetted on a loadstone, and put them into the water. When they were boiled, he ordered some butter to be melted in a new-glazed earthen pipkin, and then mashed the turnips in it. Just as this was finished, I myself saw the ghost, in the form of a boiled scrag of mutton, peep in at the window, which I gave him notice of, and he stuck his fork into him, and soused both him and the turnips into a pewter dish, and eat both up. And the house was ever after quiet and still. Now this I should not have believed, or thought true, but I stood by, and saw the whole ceremony performed !!!"
the church of St. Peter; and if my vanity had not been humbled by the recollection of the caverns of the Troge lodites, and the conviction that our habitations at best are but gaudy and commodious tombs. In my discourse I compared the system of the sciences to the timberwork of my house; philosophy to the tower of Babel, where the workmen could not understand each other; theology to a house without foundation; medicine to the architecture of the Troglodites, who labour under ground concealed from human eyes. I had even filled two sheets of my work, and carried on my comparisons without interruption, when I happened to hear the following dialogue between a mechanic and his man, who were at work in the adjoining chamber:
“This is a fine house," said the master, “ and well
“ True,” replied the man; “ especially compared with that which will be the last abode of him who built it.”
“ But, at least, in that,” rejoined the master, “a man is at rest."
I threw down my pen: the few words I had heard furnished an ample field for reflection.—Yes, it is but too true, said I to myself, that our projects and desires, when we consider what our last GREAT COAT, (as the Abbé Voisenon used to call his coffin), infallibly must be, are much too vast and too eager. But should we for this. be content, like monks, to dwell in cells, contemplate only death's heads, and recite nothing but memento moris? The Creator adorns the tomb of man with flowers, and his very coffin exhibits the colour that is the symbol of hope. Why then should not I adorn