Page images

A lawyer, bailiff-born and old, will sometimes cheat
The gaping, greedy raven, and his purse deplete;
And Corarus will laugh at Nasica's defeat.


I find that this author has a good deal to say about law and lawyers. “Cerberus, forensis erat causidicus," has been thus translated : “Sure Cerberus a lawyer first must be, Whose clam'rous mouth would open for a fee; But since whene'er he wrangld, still he had Three specious reasons for the noise he made, To please his client, to inform the court, And to gain riches for his own support, – Therefore he's doom'd in hell three heads to bear, And in his mouth three howling tongues to wear, That the loud eloquence he once could boast, To his own interest, but his client's cost, Might now be turn’d to dreadful howls and yelps, The snarling language of illiterate whelps; And tho' on earth no other bribe but gold Would make the pleader for his client scold, Yet now in hell a greasy sop must be,

Instead of coin, the growling puppy's fee.” In his First Satire, one of the characters, having had his coat stolen, is advised to resort to law to recover

[merged small][ocr errors]

“ Law bears the name, but money has the power:
The cause is bad whene'er the client's poor.
Those strict-life’d men that seem above our world,
Are oft too modest to resist our gold,
So judgment, like our other wares, is sold;
And the grave knight that nods upon the laws,
Wak'd by a bribe, smiles, and approves the cause."

But he is afraid of the law, and is “clear for buying it, though we know it to be our own, and rather recover the treasure with a little money than embroil ourselves in an uncertain suit."

Chaucer described a lawyer as one of the Canterbury
Pilgrims :-

“A Sergeant of the Lawe, ware and wise,
That often hadde yben at the paruis,'
Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
Discrete he was, and of gret reverence:
He semed swiche,2 his wordes were so wise,
Justice he was ful often in assise,
By patent, and by pleine commissioun;
For his science, and for his high renoun,
Of fees and robes had he many on.
So grete a pourchasour was nowher non.
All was fee simple to him in effect,
His pourchasing might not ben in suspect.
No wher so besy a man as he ther n'as,
And yet he semed besier than he was.
In termes hadde he cas and domes 3 alle,
That fro the time of king Will. weren falle.
Therto he coude endite, and make a thing,
Ther coude no wighte pinche 4 at his writing.
And every statute coude he plaine by rote.
He rode but homely in a medlee cote,
Girt with a seint 5 of silk, with barres smale.
Of his array tell I no lenger tale.”


What a vivid description ! especially the touch,"seemed busier than he was.'

[ocr errors]

i Parvis, church portico.

2 Such.

3 Opinions,

4 Find flaw.

5 Girdle.


“The voyce of the laste Trumpet, blowen by the seventh Angel (as is mentioned in the eleventh of the Apocalips), callying al estate of men to the ryght path of theyr vocation; wherein are conteyned xii lessons to twelve severall estats of men ; which, if they learne and folowe, al shall be wel, and nothing amis,” is a book printed in London in 1550, and so scarce that I have never been able to find a copy in this country, and have become acquainted with it only by seeing a copy quoted in an old catalogue at fifteen pounds, and some extracts cited in Brydges' Restituta. The lessons are addressed respectively to beggars, servants, yeomen, lewd priests, scholars, learned men, physicians, lawyers, merchants, gentlemen, magistrates, and women. The following is a portion of “The Lawiar's Lesson:

“Nowe come hither, thou manne of Lawe,
And marcke what I shall to the saye;
For I intend the for to drawe
Out of thy most ungodly waye.
Thy calling is good and godly,
If thou wouldste walke theren aryght;
But thou art so passying gredy,
That God's fear is out of thy syght.
Thou desirest so to be alofte,
That thy desyre can have no staye:
Thou hast forgotten to go soft,
Thou art so hasty on thy way.
But now I call the to repent,
And thy gredines to forsake;
For God's wrath is agaynst the bent,
If thou wilt not my warnyng take.

Fyrst, call unto thy memorye
For what cause the Laws wer fyrst made;
And then apply the busily
To the same ende to use thy trade.
The Lawes were made, undoubtedly, .
That al such men as are oppreste,
Myght in the same fynde remedy,
And leade their lyves in quiet reste.
Dost thou then walke in thy callyng ?
When for to vexe the innocent
Thou wilt stande at a barre, ballyng,
Wyth all the craft thou canst invente.

saye ballyng — for better name
To have it cannot be worthye;
When lyke a beast, without al shame,
Thou wilt do wrong to get money."


dedicated the following sonnet to Chancellor Egerton :



“Most humbly shewes to thy great worthiness
(Great moderator of our Britain lawes),
The muses abject (subject of distress)
How long wrong-vext, in a not needless cause,
Not at the King's Bench, but the Penny-less,
By one, I Want (the son of simpleness):
Unable more to greaze the scraping paws
Of his Attorney Shift, or oil the jaws
Of his (dear) counsell, Sergeant Pensiveness,
He is compell'd, in forma pauperis,
To plead himself, and shew his little) law
In the free court of thy mild courtesies.

Please it, therefore, an Injunction grant,
To stay the Suit between himself and Want.

For thee and thine, for ay,
So he and his shall pray.”

B. N.

These initials, probably those of Nicholas Breton, are subscribed to the prefatory address of a singular book entitled, “I Would, and Would Not,” published in London in 1614. An idea of the author's plan, as well as his style, may be conveyed by the following stanzas applicable to our subject :“I would I were a man of such deepe wit,

As might discerne the depth of every cause; That wheresoere I did in Judgement sit,

I might be held a Note-booke in the Lawes.
My braine might seeme a kinde of miracle,

And every word I spake an Oracle.
And yet I would not; for then, woe were me,

I should be troubled with a world of Cases:
Both rich and poore would then my Clients be,

Some with their pleasing, some with piteous faces; And when the Rich had left their briberie,

I should not rest for Forma Pauperie.


FRANCIS QUARLES, In “Emblems Divine and Moral," speaking of the "golden age," says, —

“ There was no client then to wait
The leisure of his long-tail'd advocate;
The talion law was in request,
And chanc'ry courts were kept in every breast;

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »