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THE PHILOSOPHER'S SCALES.

109

A Riddle.

'T was in heaven pronounced, and 't was muttered in hell,
And echo caught faintly the sound as it fell;
On the confines of earth 't was permitted to rest,
And the depths of the ocean its presence confessed.
'T will be found in the sphere when 't is riven asunder,
Be seen in the lightning and heard in the thunder.
'T was allotted to man with his earliest breath,
Attends him at birth, and awaits him in death,
Presides o'er his happiness, honor, and health,
Is the prop of his house, and the end of his wealth.
In the heaps of the miser 't is hoarded with care,
But is sure to be lost on his prodigal heir.
It begins every hope, every wish it must bound,
With the husbandman toils, and with monarchs is crowned.
Without it the soldier, the seaman, may roam;
But woe to the wretch who expels it from home!
In the whispers of conscience its voice will be found,
Nor e'en in the whirlwind of passion be drowned.
'T will not soften the heart; but, though deaf be the ear,
It will make it acutely and instantly hear.
Yet in shade let it rest, like a delicate flower,
Ah! breathe on it softly—it dies in an hour.

CATHERINE FANSHAWE.

The Philosopher's Scales.

A MONK, when his rites sacerdotal were o'er,
In the depths of his cell with its stone-covered floor,
Resigning to thought his chimerical brain,
Once formed the contrivance we now shall explain;
But whether by magic's or alchemy's powers
We know not; indeed, 't is no business of ours.

Perhaps it was only by patience and care,
At last, that he brought his invention to bear.

years stole

In youth ’t was projected, but

away,
And ere 't was complete he was wrinkled and gray;
But success is secure, unless energy fails;
And at length he produced the Philosopher's Scales.

“What were they?" you ask. You shall presently see;
These scales were not made to weigh sugar and tea.
O no; for such properties wondrous had they,
That qualities, feelings, and thoughts they could weigh,
Together with articles small or immense,
From mountains or planets to atoms of sense.

Naught was there so bulky but there it would lay,
And naught so ethereal but there it would stay,
And naught so reluctant but in it must go:
All which some examples more clearly will show.

The first thing he weighed was the head of Voltaire,
Which retained all the wit that had ever been there.
As a weight, he threw in a torn scrap of a leaf,
Containing the prayer of the penitent thief;
When the skull rose aloft with so sudden a spell
That it bounced like a ball on the roof of the cell.

One time he put in Alexander the Great,
With a garment that Dorcas had made for a weight;
And though clad in armor from sandals to crown,
The hero rose up, and the garment went down.

A long row of alms-houses, amply endowed
By a well-esteemed Pharisee, busy and proud,
Next loaded one scale; while the other was pressed
By those mites the poor widow dropped into the chest;
Up flew the endowment, not weighing an ounce,
And down, down the farthing-worth came with a bounce.

By further experiments (no matter how)
He found that ten chariots weighed less than one plough;

A MODEST WIT.

111

A sword with gilt trapping rose up in the scale,
Though balanced by only a ten-penny nail;
A shield and a helmet, a buckler and spear,
Weighed less than a widow's uncrystallized tear.

A lord and a lady went up at full sail,
When a bee chanced to light on the opposite scale;
Ten doctors, ten lawyers, two courtiers, one earl,
Ten counselors' wigs, full of powder and curl,
All heaped in one balance and swinging from thence,
Weighed less than a few grains of candor and sense;
A first-water diamond, with brilliants begirt,
Than one good potato just washed from the dirt;
Yet not mountains of silver and gold could suffice
One pearl to outweigh,—'t was the Pearl of Great Price.

Last of all, the whole world was bowled in at the grate,
With the soul of a beggar to serve for a weight,
When the former sprang up with so strong a rebuff
That it made a vast rent and escaped at the roof !
When balanced in air, it ascended on high,
And sailed up aloft, a balloon in the sky;
While the scale with the soul in 't so mightily fell
That it jerked the philosopher out of his cell.

JANE TAYLOR.

a Modest uit.

A SUPERCILIOUS nabob of the East

Haughty, being great-purse-proud, being rich-
A governor, or general, at the least,

I have forgotten which-
Had in his family a humble youth,

Who went from England in his patron's suite,
An unassuming boy, in truth

A lad of decent parts, and good repute.

This youth had sense and spirit;

But yet with all his sense,

Excessive diffidence Obscured his merit.

One day, at table, flushed with pride and wine,

His honor, proudly free, severely merry, Conceived it would be vastly fine

To crack a joke upon his secretary.

“Young man,” he said, “ by what art, craft, or trade,

Did your good father gain a livelihood ? ”— “He was a saddler, sir,” Modestus said,

And in his time was reckon'd good.”

66

“A saddler, eh! and taught you Greek,

Instead of teaching you to sew! Pray, why did not your father make

A saddler, sir, of you?"

Each parasite, then, as in duty bound,
The joke applauded, and the laugh went round.

At length Modestus, bowing low,
Said (craving pardon, if too free he made),

“Sir, by your leave, I fain would know Your father's trade!"

“My father's trade! by heaven, that 's too bad!
My father's trade? Why, blockhead, are you mad ?
My father, sir, did never stoop so low-
He was a gentleman, I'd have you know.”

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“Excuse the liberty I take,"

Modestus said, with archness on his brow, "Pray, why did not your father make A gentleman of you ?”

SELLECK OSBORNE. SAINT PATRICK.

113

Saint Patrick.

St. Patrick was a gentleman,

Who came of decent people;
He built a church in Dublin town,

And on it put a steeple.
His father was a Gallagher ;

His mother was a Brady;
His aunt was an O'Shaughnessy,

His uncle an O'Grady.
So, success attend St. Patrick's fist,

For he 's a saint so clever;
Oh! he gave the snakes and toads a twist,

And bothered them forever!

The Wicklow hills are very high,

And so 's the hill of Howth, sir; But there 's a hill, much bigger still,

Much higher nor them both, sir: ’T was on the top of this high hill

St. Patrick preached his sarmint That drove the frogs into the bogs,

And banished all the varmint.

There's not a mile in Ireland's isle

Where dirty varmin musters,
But where he put his dear fore-foot,

And murdered them in clusters.
The toads went pop, the frogs went hop,

Slap-dash into the water;
And the snakes committed suicide

To save themselves from slaughter.

Nine hundred thousand reptiles blue

He charmed with sweet discourses, And dined on them at Killaloe

In soups and second courses.

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