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THE COMET.

AN ASTRONOMICAL ANECDOTE.

“ I cannot fill up a blank better than with a short history of this selfsame Starling."

STERNE'S SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY.

AMONGST professors of astronomy,
Adepts in the celestial economy,

The name of Herschel's very often cited :
And justly so, for he is hand and glove
With ev'ry bright intelligence above ;
Indeed, it was his custom so to stop,
Watching the stars upon the house's top,

That once upon a time he got be-knighted

In his observatory thus coquetting

With Venus — or with Juno gone astray,
All sublunary matters quite forgetting
In his flirtations with the winking stars,
Acting the spy — it might be upon Mars —

A new André ;
Or, like a Tom of Coventry, sly peeping,

At Dian sleeping;

Or ogling thro' his glass

Some heavenly lass Tripping with pails along the Milky Way; Or looking at that Wain of Charles the Mar

tyr's :Thus he was sitting, watchman of the sky, When lo! a something with a tail of flame

Made him exclaim, My stars !” — he always puts that stress on my

My stars and garters ! ”

“A comet, sure as I'm alive! A noble one as I should wish to view ; It can't be Halley's though, that is not due

Till eighteen thirty-five. Magnificent ! — how fine his fiery trail ! Zounds ! 'tis a pity, though he comes unsought — Unasked — unreckoned,— in no human thought

He ought — he ought — he ought

To have been caught
With scientific salt upon his tail !”

“I looked no more for it, I do declare,

Than the Great Bear!

As sure as Tycho Brahe is dead

It really entered in my head,

No more than Berenice's Hair !” Thus musing, Heaven's Grand Inquisitor Sat gazing on the uninvited visiter

Till John, the serving-man, came to the upper Regions, with “ Please your Honour, come to

supper.”

“ Supper ! good John, to-night I shall not sup Except on that phenomenon – look up !” “Not sup!” cried John, thinking with consterna

tion That supping on a star must be starvation,

Or ev'n to batten On Ignes Fatui would never fatten. His visage seemed to say,— that very odd is,But still his master the same tune ran on, “I can't come down,-go to the parlour, John, And say I'm supping with the heavenly bodies.”

“ The heavenly bodies !” echoed John, “ Ahem!” His mind still full of famishing alarms, “ 'Zooks, if your Honour sups with them, In helping, somebody must make long arms !” He thought his master's stomach was in danger, But still in the same tone replied the Knight,

“Go down, John, go, I have no appetite, Say I'm engaged with a celestial stranger.”— Quoth John, not much au fait in such affairs, “ Wouldn't the stranger take a bit down stairs ?

“No," said the master, smiling, and no wonder,

At such a blunder, “ The stranger is not quite the thing you think, He wants no meat or drink,

And one may doubt quite reasonably whether

He has a mouth, Seeing his head and tail are joined together, Behold him,- there he is, John, in the South.”

John looked up with his portentous eyes,
Each rolling like a marble in its socket.
At last the fiery tadpole spies,
And, full of Vauxhall reminiscence, cries,

“ A rare good rocket !”

“ A what! A rocket, John! Far from it!

What you behold, John, is a comet;
One of those most eccentric things

That in all ages
Have puzzled sages

And frightened kings ;
With fear of change that flaming meteor, John,
Perplexes sovereigns, throughout its range”-

“ Do he?” cried John ;

“Well, let him flare on, I haven't got no sovereigns to change ! ”

[blocks in formation]

POMPEY'S GHOST.

A PATHETIC BALLAD.

“ Skins may differ, but affection
Dwells in white and black the same.”

COWPER.

’T was twelve o'clock, not twelve at night,

But twelve o'clock at noon ;
Because the sun was shining bright

And not the silver moon.
A proper time for friends to call,

Or Pots, or Penny Post ;
When, lo! as Phoebe sat at work,

She saw her Pompey's Ghost !

Now, when a female has a call

From people that are dead;
Like Paris ladies, she receives

Her visitors in bed.
But Pompey's spirit would not come

Like spirits that are white,
Because he was a Blackamoor,

And would n't show at night!

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