« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
manna,--or, rather, fat and lean (if it must be so) so blended and running into each other, that both together make but one ambrosian result, or common substance.
Behold him, while he is "doing”-it seemeth rather a refreshing warmth, than a scorching heat, that he is so passive to. How equably he twirleth round the string! Now he is just done. To see the extreme sensibility of that tender age! he hath wept out his pretty eyes—radiant jellies—shooting stars.
See him in the dish, his second cradle, how meek he lieth!—wouldst thou have had this innocent grow up to the grossness and indocility which too often accompany maturer swinehood? Ten to one he would have proved a glutton, a sloven, an obstinate, disagreeable animal—wallowing in all manner of filthy conversation,—from these sins he is happily snatched away,
Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade,
Death came with timely carehis memory is odoriferous,-no clown curseth, while his stomach half rejecteth, the rank bacon,no coal-heaver bolteth him in reeking sausages,he hath a fair sepulcher in the grateful stomach of the judicious epicure,—and for such a tomb might be content to die.
He is the best of sapors. Pineapple is great. She is indeed almost too transcendent-a delight, if not sinful, yet so like to sinning that really a tender conscienced person would do well to pausetoo ravishing for mortal taste, she woundeth and excoriateth the lips that approach her-like lovers' kisses she biteth—she is a pleasure bordering on pain from the fierceness and insanity of her relishbut she stoppeth at the palateshe meddleth not with the appetite—and the coarsest hunger might barter her consistently for a mutton chop.
6. From Coleridge's Epitaph on an Infant.
Pig–let me speak his praise—is no less provocative of the appetite, than he is satisfactory to the criticalness of the censorious palate. The strong man may batten on him, and the weakling refuseth not his mild juices.
Unlike to mankind's mixed characters, a bundle of virtues and vices, inexplicably intertwisted, and not to be unraveled without hazard, he is-good throughout. No part of him is better or worse than another. He helpeth, as far as his little means extend, all around. He is the least envious of banquets. He is all neighbor's fare.
I am one of those, who freely and ungrudgingly impart a share of the good things of this life which fall to their lot (few as mine are in this kind) to a friend. I protest I take as great an interest in my friend's pleasures, his relishes, and proper satisfactions, as in mine own. “Presents,” I often say, "endear Absents." Hares, pheasants, partridges, snipes, barn-door chickens (those “tame villatic fowl,”) capons, plovers, brawn, barrels of oysters, I dispense as freely as I receive them. I love to taste them, as it were, upon the tongue of my friend. But a stop must be put somewhere. One would not, like Lear, "give everything." I make my stand upon pig. Methinks it is an ingratitude to the Giver of all good flavors, to extra-domiciliate, or send out of the house, slightingly, a blessing so particularly adapted, predestined, I may say, to my individual palate—it argues an insensibility.
I remember a touch of conscience of this kind at school. My good old aunt, who never pårted from me at the end of a holiday without stuffing a sweetmeat, or some nice thing, into my pocket, had dismissed me one evening with a smoking plum cake fresh from the oven. In my way to school (it was over London bridge) a grayheaded old beggar saluted me (I have no doubt, at this time of day, that he was a counterfeit). I had no pence to console him with, and in the vanity of self-denial, and the very coxcombry of charity, schoolboy-like, I made him a present of—the whole cake! I walked on a little, buoyed up, as one is on such occasions, with a sweet soothing of self-satisfaction; but before I had got to the end of the bridge, my better feelings returned, and I burst into tears, thinking how ungrateful I had been to my good aunt, to go and give her good gift away to a stranger that I had never seen before, and who might be a bad man for aught I knew; and then I thought of the pleasure my aunt would be taking in thinking that I-I myself, and not another-would eat her nice cake,and what should I say to her the next time I saw her,-how naughty I was to part with her pretty present !-and the odor of that spicy cake came back upon my recollection, and the pleasure and the curiosity I had taken in seeing her make it, and her joy when she sent it to the oven, and how disappointed she would feel that I had never had a bit of it in my mouth at last,—and I blamed my impertinent spirit of alms-giving, and out-of-place hypocrisy of goodness; and above all I wished never to see the face again of that insidious, good-fornothing, old gray imposter.
Our ancestors were nice in their method of sacrificing these tender victims. We read of pigs whipped to death with something of a shock, as we hear of any other obsolete custom. The age of discipline is gone by, or it would be curious to inquire (in a philosophical light merely) what effect this process might have towards intenerating and dulcifying a substance, naturally so mild and dulcet as the flesh of young pigs. It looks like refining a violet. Yet we should be cautious, while we condemn the inhumanity, how we censure the wisdom of the practice. It might impart a gusto.
I remember an hypothesis, argued upon by the young students, when I was at St. Omer's, and maintained with much learning and pleasantry on both sides. “Whether, supposing that the flavor of a pig who obtained his death by whipping (per flagellationem extremam,') super-added a pleasure upon the palate of a man more intense than any possible suffering we can conceive in the animal, is man justified in using that method of putting the animal to death?" I forget the decision.
His sauce should be considered. Decidedly, a few bread-crumbs done up with his liver and brains, and a dash of mild sage. But banish, dear Mrs. Cook, I beseech you, the whole onion tribe. Barbecue your whole hogs to your palate, steep them in shallots, stuff them out with plantations of the rank and guilty garlic; you cannot poison them, or make them stronger than they are,—but consider, he is a weakling—a flower.
7. Per flagellationem extremam means by a terrible beating.
THE PRAISE OF CHIMNEY
By CHARLES LAMB LIKE to meet a sweep-understand me—not a grown sweeper,-old chimney sweepers are by no means attractive,—but one of those tender novices, blooming through their first nigritude, the maternal washings not yet effaced
from the cheek,—such as come forth with the dawn, or somewhat earlier, with their little professional notes sounding like the peep peep of a young sparrow; or liker to the matin lark should I pronounce them, in their aerial ascents not seldom anticipating the sunrise?
I have a kindly yearning toward these dim specks -poor blots—innocent blacknesses—I reverence these young Africans of our own growth—these almost clergy imps, who sport their cloth' without assumption; and from their little pulpits (the tops of chimneys), in the nipping air of a December morning, preach a lesson of patience to mankind.
When a child, what a mysterious pleasure it was to witness their operation! to see a chit no bigger than one's self, enter, one knew not by what process, into what seemed the fauces Averni," to pursue him
1. Distinctive dress of the clergy. The "sweeps" are boys who clean the chimneys.
2. Fauces Averni means throat of the lower world. Avernus was a lake in Italy whose waters it was believed poisoned the birds