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gentlemen, is Balliol College, one of the very holdest in the huniversity, and famous for the herudition of its scholars. The 'ead of Balliol College is called the Master. The present Master of Balliol is the celebrated Professor Benjamin Jowett, Regius Professor of Greek. Those are Professor Jowett's study. windows, and there" (here the ruffian would stoop down, take up a handful of gravel and throw it against the panes, bringing poor Jowett, livid with fury, to the window), "ladies and gentlemen, is Professor Benjamin Jowett himself." In one of his "Roundabout Papers" Thackeray makes a humorous protest against the social miseries that are entailed upon famous men. He complains that he does his comic business with the greatest pains, seriousness, and trouble. It is his profession. Why cannot he leave that profession behind him when he goes out into society? “If you ask Mr. Blondin to tea," he says, "you don't have a rope stretched from your garret-window to the opposite side of the square and request Monsieur to take his tea out on the centre of the rope."
Perhaps lions should take some concerted action to do no roaring in private life. Indeed, by a wise provision of nature, many of them are unable to roar except in print. Like his African brethren, your literary lion is a very tame animal outside of his native jungle.
There is a familiar story of Francis Jeffrey's first meeting with Talleyrand. By his own request he had been seated next to the famous statesman at dinner. It was a proud moment, and one from which he had hoped to carry away imperishable memories. The only remark that Talleyrand made was, À propos of your cock-a-leekie soup, M. Jeffrey, do you take it with prunes or without ?"
Recently a London lady was taken down to dinner by a famous actor. She was in ecstasies. "I have met him at last," she thought; "he is the funniest actor in London, and he is going to talk to me for at least an hour and a half. How lucky I am!" But the soup was disposed of, and then the fish and the entrées, and still the funniest man in London had not uttered a word. Suddenly his eyes fell on his wife, who sat opposite. Then he turned to his companion. "It has been a long time coming," she thought, "but it has come," and she prepared to receive the joke.
"Do you see that dress on my wife?" asked the comedian.
"Well, it cost nine pounds." And not another syllable did he utter.
Another lady who was taken down by Tennyson suffered an equal disappointment, after equal preliminary expectation. The only utterance which the Laureate let fall was the unpoetical remark, "I like my mutton cut in
Dr. Buckley tells a story of how years ago he followed Tennyson, who was with his wife and family, through the South Kensington Museum for two hours and a half, hoping to hear him speak. At last he made signs as if he were about to do so. Hoping to hear some notable criticism, the doctor listened intently, and this is what he heard:
"You take care of the children, while I go and get some beer."
A young woman in Cambridge one day saw Longfellow and Lowell strolling a little ahead of her. She had often wished to know what poets talked about when they were together, so she quickened her pace. Just before she overtook them a little child came along. That seemed to give Lowell an idea. The young woman pricked up her ears.
"What are little girls made of?" said Lowell to Longfellow.
The reply was equally brilliant :
"Sugar and spice and all that's nice;
It is a curious, and from the point of view of the lion a really distressing feature of the lion-hunter's character that he cares very little for the work of his professed idol. The author of a gushing series of letters to the Duke of Wellington which have recently made their appearance had never heard of the battle of Waterloo. The actor finds that his admirers have never seen him on the stage, the author that they have never read his works. A rich German recently gave a dinner in honor of a famous poet. After dinner the guests begged the poet to read some of his verses. He agreed, after much apologetic modesty. But the host was now observed to show great uneasi ness. When a copy of Herr M's poems were called for he was obliged to confess that he had not one in his house. There was great consternation and much suppressed laughter. But the host was equal to the occasion. He sent out and got a copy, not at the bookseller's, however, but at a circulating library.
Lion sermon, a sermon preached annually on October 16, at St. Catherine Cree Church in London, commemorative of the escape of Sir John Gayer, Lord Mayor of London, 1646-47, from a lion in the deserts of Arabia. This is in accordance with the terms of his will, dated December 19, 1648, leaving a bequest of two hundred pounds to the church.
In perpetuation of an ancient custom annually celebrated at St. Catherine Cree Church, in Leadenhall Street, the Rev. W. M. Whittemore, D.D., rector, on Saturday preached what is termed the "Lion" sermon. The preacher, in the course of his remarks, alluded to the fact that about two hundred and fifty years ago upon that very day Sir John Gayer, a citizen of London, who afterwards became Lord Mayor, was in the deserts of Arabia upon business which required his own personal attention. By some means he became detached from the caravan, and while quite alone and unarmed he was much alarmed at seeing a lion approaching him. Scarcely knowing what to do, he fell upon his knees and asked the Lord to deliver him from his perilous position. The lion looked at him savagely, but upon seeing him in this position, after a few moments, walked away in an opposite direction. The merchant on rising from his knees made a solemn vow that upon his safe return home he would commemorate this providential deliverance by some benevolent act. Upon reaching England he accordingly left a sum of money to provide for this sermon every year, in addition to a bequest to the parish church of his native town,-Plymouth. The rector further mentioned that Sir John Gayer, in consequence of his loyal attachment to King Charles I, was ordered by Cromwell's Parliament to pay a fine of £500, a considerable sum at that time, and that in default of payment he was committed to the Tower. In the British Museum might be seen a copy of his petition to Parliament asking not for mercy, but for justice. He ultimately obtained his freedom, and soon afterwards died. Considerable interest was displayed in the service, and it was understood that some descendants of Sir John Gayer were among the congregation.-London Citizen, October 18, 1886
Lion's provider, a humble friend who plays into the hands of an important personage to show him to best advantage, a foil or butt for another's wit, and who feeds on the leavings. The simile is drawn from the jackal, who is supposed to serve the lion much the same as the dog serves the sportman, and who yells to advertise his lord that prey is close at hand.
Lions, Seeing the. Formerly there was a menagerie in the Tower of London in which lions were kept; it was discontinued about 1815. During these earlier times of comparative simplicity, when a stranger visited the city for the first time he would of course be taken to see the lions, and on his return to the country it was usual to ask him whether he had seen the lions. This is the origin of the phrase. The transition from real lions to figurative ones-i.e., all remarkable sights or personages-was easy, and the term is still used in this sense. Now, however, the lions are more frequently understood to be the people who are supposed to add lustre and interest by their presence at a social gathering, from their position or accomplishments.
In America the phrase is "to see the elephant," with a humorous allusion to the sometimes sad experience of sight-seeing country-cousins with all manner of sharpers who lie in wait for them in the large cities.
Lion's share,-i.e., all or nearly all; derived from Esop's fable of the tion, who, when the spoil of a joint hunt of a number of beasts was being divided, claimed one quarter in right of his prerogative, one for his superior courage, one for his dam and cubs, "and as for the fourth, let who will dare dispute it with me.'
Lipograms (Gr. λɛinw, “I leave"), a form of literary trifling in which the author carefully excluded from his composition some letter or letters of the alphabet. A good story is told of Jami, the Persian critic, which seems applicable to all these useless tours de force. A certain poet had read him a copy of verses, but Jami seemed unmoved. "You will at least allow it to be curious," said the author, slightly nettled, "for you will observe that the letter A does not occur in it from beginning to end." To which Jami replied, "It would have been a great improvement had you left out also all the other letters."
The most gigantic lipograms on record are two Greek poems produced by a certain Tryphiodorus in those early centuries of our era during which the world, or the greater part of it, seems to have been in a state of blue mould for want of work,-the one a kind of Iliad in twenty-four books, each excluding absolutely the letter of the alphabet marking its own number; the other an Odyssey composed on the same principles.
"It must have been very pleasant," says Addison, in his "Spectator," No. 59, "to have seen this poet avoiding the reprobate letter as much as another would a false quantity, and making his escape from it, through the different Greek dialects, when he was presented with it in any particular syllable; for the most apt and elegant word in the whole language was rejected, like a diamond with a flaw in it, if it appeared blemished with the wrong letter."
Nevertheless, Tryphiodorus might have claimed that he was kept in countenance by no meaner precedent than that of Pindar, who, according to Athenæus, wrote an ode from which the letter Sigma was carefully excluded. And in the Middle Ages he found numerous imitators. There was Gordianus Fulgentius, who congratulated himself on the fact that he had produced a wonderful work,-"De Ætate Mundi et Hominis," and so it was, for in the chapter on Adam he excluded the letter A; from that on Abel, the letter B; from that on Cain, the letter C, and so on through twenty-three chapters. There was Gregorio Leti, who presented to the Academy of Humorists at Rome a discourse entitled "The Exiled R," because the letter R was omitted throughout. There was Lope de Vega, among whose voluminous works are five novels each of which avoids some particular vowel. And to come down to more recent times, there is the famous "Pièce sans A," written in 1816 by one Ronden, which was acted at the Théâtre des Variétés, Paris. The public thronged to see this tour de force. The curtain rose. Duval entered from one wing, Mengozzi from the opposite side of the stage. The first words the latter uttered were,—
Ah, monsieur! vous voilà.
The whole audience roared with laughter at this curious beginning of a piece without A. The laugh gave the prompter time to set the actor right. He corrected himself with,—
Eh, monsieur! vous voici.
So goes the story. To which there is only one objection,—namely, that nothing like the sentence quoted is to be found in the published piece. To be sure, it contains others very like it. The author may have made an alteration in proof. He confesses, by the way, in his preface, that the performance was not suffered to proceed to the end.
From all and various these portentous literary trifles we only pray to be
delivered. Our citations shall be taken from the fugitive pieces, which, though easier to make, are easier to read. To appreciate them at their full value it is well to keep in mind the following table of the relative proportions in which the various letters of the alphabet are used:
It follows, therefore, that the letter E must be the most nearly indispensable letter in the alphabet. That it is not absolutely indispensable is shown by the following, written, as the author says, with ease without e's:
Here is another.
THE FATE OF NASSAN.
Not work of man, nor sport of child,
Lax grow his joints, limbs toil in vain,
Poor wight! why didst thou quit that plain?
Vainly for succor Nassan calls.
Know, Zillah, that thy Nassan falls;
But prowling wolf and fox may joy
To quarry on thy Arab boy.
But this example not merely excludes the letter E. It
has a further and singular merit. Each stanza contains every letter of the alphabet except E:
A jovial swain should not complain
Of any buxom fair,
Who mocks his pain and thinks it gain
To quiz his awkward air.
Quixotic boys who look for joys
A lass annoys with trivial toys,
A jovial swain may rack his brain,
To quiz is vain, for 'tis most plain
The following verses contain every letter except S :
COME, LOVE, Come.
Oh! come to-night; for naught can charm
The heather-bell hath mildly flung
Then come, love, come.
To-night the liquid wave hath not-
Do breathe, and laugh, and home it there.
To-night! to-night! my gentle one,
To greet the bee, at evening light,
Then come, love, come.
A prose example is furnished by Lord Holland. He was led to essay it in 1824 by reading in D'Israeli's "Curiosities" an account of Lope de Vega's no-vowel novels. It is a still more difficult feat than any yet recorded, as all the vowels save E are excluded.
Men were never perfect; yet the three brethren Veres were ever esteemed, respected, revered, even when the rest, whether the select few, whether the mere herd, were left neglected.
The eldest's vessels seek the deep, stem the element, get pence; the keen Peter, when free, wedded Hester Green,―the slender, stern, severe, erect Hester Green. The next, clever Ned, less dependent, wedded sweet Ellen Heber. Stephen, ere he met the gentle Eve, never felt tenderness; he kept kennels, bred steeds, rested where the deer fed, went where green trees, where fresh breezes greeted sleep. There he met the meek, the gentle Eve; she tended her sheep, she ever neglected self; she never heeded pelf, yet she heeded the shepherds even less. Nevertheless, her cheek reddened when she met Stephen; yet decent reserve, meek respect, tempered her speech, even when she showed tenderness. Stephen felt the sweet effect: he felt he erred when he fled the sex, yet felt he defenceless when Eve seemed tender. She, he reflects, never deserved neglect; she never vented spleen; he esteems her gentleness, her endless deserts; he reverences her steps; he greets her:
"Tell me whence these meek, these gentle sheep,-whence the yet meeker, the gentler shepherdess?"
"Well bred, we were eke better fed, ere we went where reckless men seek fleeces. There we were fleeced. Need then rendered me shepherdess, need renders me sempstress. See me tend the sheep, see me sew the wretched shreds. Eve's need preserves the steers, preserves the sheep; Eve's needle mends her dresses, hems her sheets; Eve feeds the geese; Eve preserves the cheese."
Her speech melted Stephen, yet he nevertheless esteems, reveres her. He bent the knee where her feet pressed the green; he blessed, he begged, he pressed her.
Sweet, sweet Eve, let me wed thee; be led where Hester Green, where Ellen Heber, where the brethren Vere dwell. Free cheer greets thee there; Ellen's glees sweeten the refreshment; there severer Hester's decent reserve checks heedless jests. Be led there, sweet Eve!"
"Never! we well remember the Seer. We went where he dwells-we entered the cellwe begged the decree,
Where, whenever, when, 'twere well
Eve be wedded? Eld Seer, tell.
He rendered the decree; see here the sentence decreed!" Then she presented Stephen the Seer's decree. The verses were these:
Ere the green reed be red,
The terms perplexed Stephen, yet he jeered the terms; he resented the senseless credence. "Seers never err." Then he repented, knelt, wheedled, wept. Eve sees Stephen kneel; she relents, yet frets when she remembers the Seer's decree. Her dress redeems her. These were the events:
Her well-kempt tresses fell; sedges, reeds, bedecked them. The reeds fell, the edges met her cheeks; her cheeks bled. She presses the green sedge where her cheek bleeds. Red then bedewed the green reed, the green reed then speckled her red cheek. The red cheek seems green, the green reed seems red. These were e'en the terms the Eld Seer decreed Stephen Vere.
HERE ENDETH THE LEGEND.
An ingenious trifler furnishes Notes and Queries with the following series of verses, each containing only one vowel: