Imágenes de páginas

The American Revolution produced a very good example:

Hark! hark! the trumpet sounds,
O'er seas and solid grounds,
Who for King George doth stand,
Their ruin is at hand,
The acts of Parliament,
I hate their cursed intent,
The Tories of the day,
They soon will sneak away,
Who non-resistance hold,
May they for slaves be sold,

On Mansfield, North, and Bute,
Confusion and dispute,

To North and British lord

I wish a block and cord,

The din of war's alarms,
Doth call us all to arms;
Their honors soon will shine,
Who with the Congress join;
In them I much delight,
Who with the Congress fight;
They are my daily toast,
Who independence boast;
They have my hand and heart,
Who act a Whiggish part;
May daily blessings pour,
On Congress evermore;

May honors still be done,
To General Washington.

During the civil war, at the time of McClellan's nomination for the Presidency, a number of administration papers published the following ingenious burlesque on the Democratic platform, which they held to be an attempt to straddle every question, and a bid for the votes of all parties:

[blocks in formation]

Read crosswise, gives a satirical presentation of the sentiments of the Democratic platform, but when split in the middle the left-hand column represents the extreme "Copperhead” and the right-hand the extreme "Abolitionist" sentiment.

Hitherto we have confined ourselves to political and religious squibs. Here are a couple of peaceful, secular compositions, the first resolving itself into a satire on woman and marriage, and the second, read in any manner you choose, persistently reiterating the lover's praise of his mistress:


The man must lead a happy life
Who is directed by his wife
Adam could find no solid peace
Until he saw a woman's face
In all the female hearts appear
Truth, darling of a heart sincere,
What tongue is able to unfold
The worth in woman, we behold,
Cursed be the foolish man, I say,
Who will not yield to woman's sway

Who's free from matrimonial chains,
Is sure to suffer for his pains.
When Eve was given for a mate,
Adam was in a happy state.
Hypocrisy, deceit, and pride,
Ne'er known in woman to reside.
The falsehoods that in woman dwell,
Is almost imperceptible.
Who changes from his single life,
Is free from quarrelling and strife.

[blocks in formation]

Charles Wesley is credited with the following "Musical Creed:"

[blocks in formation]

A less literary, but still ingenious, form of equivocation is illustrated by the story of the Milwaukee merchant who, during the civil war, drew on the wall of his store a negro's head, and beneath the legend,—

Dis Union Foreber.

Another stock story relates that during the Presidential campaign of 1872 a non-committal editor sought to propitiate all parties by placing at the head of his editorial column the ticket "Grand ―n, allowing his subscribers a choice of interpretation between Grant and Wilson and Greeley and Brown. (It is added that an ardent Republican subscriber advised him to "Go to the ant, thou sluggard!") Lippincott's Magazine called attention to the fact that this editor was a probably unconscious plagiarist from the French army officer who at a mess-meeting gave the toast,— "Gentlemen, I drink to a thing which-an object thatwith it at once. It begins with an R and ends with an E."


Bah! I will out

Capital!" whispered a young lieutenant of Bordeaux promotion.


proposes the République, without offending the old fogies by saying the word." "Nonsense! He means the Radicale," replied another.


'Upon my word," said a third, as he lifted his glass, "our friend must mean la Royauté."

[ocr errors]

"I see !” cried a one-legged veteran of Fröschweiler : we drink to la Revanche."

So the whole party drank the toast heartily, each interpreting it to his liking. Jew that Shakespeare drew. An anecdote which persistently recurs, with much embroidery of detail added by each successive reporter, made its first appearance, so far as known, in J. T. Kirkman's "Life of Macklin" (1799), vol. i. p. 264. Shylock, it will be remembered, had been degraded to a comic 49

[ocr errors]


character on the English stage, but Macklin restored the text and played Shylock as a serious part. The biographer continues,―

In the dumb action of the trial scene he was amazingly descriptive, and through the whole displayed such unequal merit as justly entitled him to that very comprehensive, though concise, compliment paid to him by Mr. Pope, who sat in the stage-box on the third night of the reproduction, and who emphatically exclaimed,

This is the Jew

That Shakespeare drew!

The book is ill written, as may be seen from the above, and no authorities are cited. The anonymous author of a somewhat better biography, "Memoirs of Macklin" (1804), does not mention the story of the couplet, which is presumptive evidence that it was then discredited. In 1812 it reappears in the "Biographia Dramatica,” vol. i. p. 469, in this cautious form :

On the 14th of February, 1741, Macklin established his fame as an actor in the character of Shylock in the "Merchant of Venice." Macklin's performance of this character so

forcibly struck a gentleman in the pit that he, as it were involuntarily, exclaimed,—

This is the Jew
That Shakespeare drew!

It has been said that this gentleman was Mr. Pope, and that he meant his panegyric on Macklin as a satire against Lord Lansdowne.

In 1853, the anecdote, trailing clouds of glory, comes out in this fashion: On the third night of representation all eyes were directed to the stage-box, where sat a little deformed man; and whilst others watched his gestures, as if to learn his opinion of the performers, he was gazing intently upon Shylock, and as the actor panted, in broken accents of rage, and sorrow, and avarice, "Go, Tubal, fee me an officer; bespeak him a fortnight before. I will have the heart of him, if he forfeit; for were he out of Venice, I can make what merchandise I will. Go, Tubal, and meet me at our synagogue; go, good Tubal; at our synagogue, Tubal," the little man was seen to rise, and, leaning from the box as Macklin passed it, he whispered,—

This is the Jew

That Shakespeare drew.

The speaker was Alexander Pope, and, in that age, from his judgment in criticism there was no appeal.-Irish Quarterly Review (December, 1853).

Now, it is doubtful whether Pope was in London at all when Macklin brought out Shylock. That he was in Bath on February 4, 1741, is evidenced by a letter of that date to Warburton. But, even if he had returned to London, it is unlikely that he was at the theatre (certainly he was not in the pit). His health had been ailing since 1739, when he described himself as "sleepy and stupid enough" in the evenings. "My eyes fail, and the hours when most people indulge in company, I am tired, and find the labor of the past day suf ficient to weigh me down, so I hide myself in bed, as a bird in the nest, much about the same time, and rise and chirp in the morning."

Jew's eye, Worth a. This expression is supposed to have arisen out of the practice of torturing the Jews to exact money. Drawing teeth or plucking out an eye was frequently resorted to if the demand was not complied with. The threatened member could be ransomed only by paying the sum exacted. King John, having required a rich Jew of Bristol to pay him ten thousand marks, when the demand was resisted ordered that one of the Jew's teeth should be tugged out every day till the money was forthcoming. The sufferer endured seven days before he would give in, which when he did, John jestingly observed, “ A Jew's eye may be a quick revenue, but Jews' teeth give the richer harvest." According to serious philology, however, Jew's eye is simply a corruption of the Italian gioia (a “jewel").

Shakespeare puns upon the word when he makes Launcelot say,—

[blocks in formation]

Jingo-Jingoism. In the Basque language the word "Jingo" means God, and is a common form of adjuration. Possibly the English caught the oath "by Jingo!" from the Basque sailors. But Halliwell derives the word from a corruption of St. Gingoulph. The word " Jingoism" has acquired a new meaning in British politics since 1877. At the height of the anti-Russian excitement, when Lord Beaconsfield, the Premier, was determined to protect Turkey from Russia, and Gladstone was advocating non-interference, a song became very popular in the English music-halls, the refrain of which was,

We don't want to fight, but, by Jingo, if we do,

We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too.

"Jingo" was derisively cast as a nickname at the warlike party, and was proudly accepted by them. The term has ever since been applied to those who pander to popular favor by noisy advocacy of popular measures. The following parody of the song appeared in the Pall Mall Gazette:

We don't want to fight, but, by Jingo, if we do,

We've Protestant and Catholic, Turk, infidel, and Jew;

We've "God" and " Mammon," "Allah," "Buddha," "Brahma," and "Vishnu :" We've collared all the deities, so what can Russia do?

Chance has given currency to a word which possibly may one day become as widely known and as respectable as the name of Whig or Tory,-the word jingo. An English traveller abroad is said to have been not long ago asked the question, " Mais qu'est-ce que c'est donc, monsieur, que ce Jingo?" His own ideas on the matter not being very clearly defined, he made answer, with elusive playfulness, that it was Mr. Gladstone's familiar spirit. The epithet is now used by Liberal speakers, even by the most moderate and eminent of them, as a convenient missile to fling at their opponents, and by Radicals it is applied freely, and one may say indiscriminately, to all who desire to maintain the honor and integrity of the British empire. If we turn to that celebrated refrain which has given currency to the word, and which will be remembered longer than many verses of greater lyrical value, we can find nothing more in it than the expression of a modest firmness and self-reliance. It breathes defence, not defiance. It affirms that we have no desire for war, but that should war arise we have the means to face it. This temperate affirmation is clinched with an oath, reprehensible, indeed, and by no means refined, but far less objectionable than many other such words that we unfortunately hear even from the Liberal workingman when we walk the streets.Saturday Review (1880).

Job. Sheridan's definition of a political job is as pat to-day as ever : he says, "Whenever any emolument, profit, salary, or honor is conferred on any person not deserving it, that is a job; if from private friendship, personal attachment, or any view except the interest of the public, any one is appointed to any public office, . . . that is a job." To which may be added, legislation obtained to procure some private end or profit. An amusing etymology of the word job is that of Southey, who derives it from the Job of the Bible:

For a job in the working or operative sense is evidently something which it requires patience to perform, in the physical and moral sense, as when, for example, in the language of the vulgar, a personal hurt or misfortune is called a bad job, it is something which it requires patience to support; and in the political sense it is something which it requires patience in the public to endure; and in all these senses the origin of the word may be traced to Job, who is the proverbial exemplar of this virtue.-The Doctor, ch. cxv.

Job's Turkey, As poor as. Judge Haliburton, author of "Sam Slick," popularized the interesting facts that Job's turkey had but one feather in his tail, and had to lean against the fence to gobble. Obviously, the reference is to the deplorable indigence to which Job was reduced when delivered over to Satan. The fact that Job couldn't have a turkey (for the bird is a native of America) was probably not present to the mind of the originator of the expression. The English “As lazy as Ludlam's dog, which had to lean against the fence to bark," seems to have been in Haliburton's mind, and possibly the Indian proverb "I am as poor as a turkey in summer," recorded by C. Jennings in "The Eggs of British Birds," p. 7, and thus explained by him: "At some seasons of the year, from their excessive wanderings and from

scarcity of food, turkeys, in a wild state, become extremely thin. This circumstance has given rise to a proverb in the Indian language." Jennings asserts that he heard the proverb from "an Omawhaw."

Jockey of Norfolk, a sobriquet applied to Sir John Howard, a stanch adherent to the house of York and of Richard III. He was noted alike for the magnificence of his household and for the high offices held by him. He accompanied Richard to Bosworth Field, and entered the fight notwithstanding the friendly warning which was posted on his tent the night preceding the battle:

Jockey of Norfolk, be not too bold,

For Dickon, thy master, is bought and sold.

He paid the penalty for his fidelity with his life, being among those who were left dead on the field.

Jocking wi' deeficulty. The origin of this phrase is (unauthoritatively) said to be as follows. A Scotch editor, wishing to enliven the columns of his journal, looked round him, and at last discovered what he wanted in the person of a funny sub-editor. He then boasted himself in the society of his friends, saying, "I have found in my new sub-editor a young man just overflowing with natural wit and humor. Jocks just pour freely from his lips. Now, this is a grand thing for the paper, because, for my part, I confess that I jock wi' deeficulty."

John-a-dreams, a lackadaisical fellow, always in a brown study and half asleep :

[blocks in formation]

John Company, an Anglo-Indian term for the Honorable East India Company, which personified itself to the Hindoo imagination as a mythical being, neither man nor woman, kept especially busy visiting calamities on the heads of all who doubted its actual existence.

Johnny Rebs, a sobriquet given by the soldiers of the Union armies to the Confederates during the late war of the Rebellion: said to have originated in a colloquy between pickets,-the Confederate picket objecting to being dubbed by the Union soldier as a "Johnny Bull," in allusion to the counte nance given by Great Britain to the cause of the seceding States.

Johnny's upset the coach! This was the phrase which Lord Derby used in a conversation with Sir James Graham on the rejection of the Reform Bill, mainly drawn up by Lord John Russell (1831). The Grey ministry resigned, appealed to the country, and obtained a large majority, by which the bill was finally passed in 1832.

Jones. Davy Jones's Locker, a nautical term for the depths of the ocean,-i.e., the graves of those that perish at sea. It has been suggested that Jones is a corruption of Jonas, who lived for three days in the whale's belly, and that once having turned the prophet into a Welshman it followed naturally that he should be given the name of the Welshman's patron saint, David, the commonest of all patronymics in Wales. Bishop Andrews in one of his sermons alludes to the expression "He hath beene where Ionas was” as being said “of any that hath beene in extreme perill.” (NinetySix Sermons, p. 515, folio.)

« AnteriorContinuar »