A Horse Chesnut and a
PRICE ONE PENNY.
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An Eton stripling, training for the law,
A dunce at syntax-but a dab at taw,
One happy Chrismas laid upon the shelf,
His cap, and gown, and store of learned pelf,
With all the deathless bards of Greece and Rome,
To spend a fortnight at his uncle's home.
Arriv'd, and pass'd the usual How-d'ye-do's,
Inquiries of old friends, and college news.
"Well, Tom, the road-What saw you worth discerning?
And how goes study, boy?-What are you learning?"
"Oh! logic, sir; but not the common rules
Of Locke and Bacon-antiquated fools!
'Tis wit and wranglers logic! Thus d'ye see
I'd prove at once, as plain as A, B, C,
That an eel-pie's a pigeon!-To deny it,
Would be to swear black's white."-"Come, let's try it."
"An eel-pie is a pie fish."-" Agreed."
"A fish pie may be a jack-pie." " Well, proceed."
"A jack-pie must be a john-pie-thus it's done,
For every john-pie must be a pi-geon!"
"Bravo!" Sir Peter cried, "logic for ever!
That beats my grandmother, she was clever,
But hold, my boy! it surely is too hard,
That wit and learning should have no reward;
To-morrow, for a stroll, the park we'll cross,
And there I'll give thee, boy, a chesnut horse,"
"A horse!" quoth Tom-" blood, pedigree, and paces!
Oh! what a dash I'll cut at Epsom races!"-
To bed he went, and wept for downright sorrow,
To think the night must pass before the morrow,
Dreamt of his boots and spurs, and leather breeches,
His hunting whips, and leaping rails and ditches:
Left his warm rest an hour before the lark,
Dragg'd his old uncle fasting through the park.
Bridle in hand, each vale he scours of course,
To find out something like a chesnut horse;
But no such animal the meadow cropt;
At length, beneath a tree, Sir Peter stopt,
Who reach'd and shook a bough, when down there fell,
A fine horse chesnut in its prickly shell.
"There, Tom take that!"-"Well, sir, and what beside?"
"Why, since you're booted, saddle it, and ride!"
"Ride what!-A chesnut?"-" Ay, come, get across,
I tell you, Tom, that chesnut is a horse!
And all the horse you'll get, for I can show,
As clear as sunshine, that 'tis really so.
Not by the musty, fusty, worn-out rules
Of Locke or Bacon-addle-headed fools!
All maxims but the wrangler's I disown,
And stick to one sound argument-your own,
Since you have proved to me, I don't deny,
That a pie-john's the same as a john-pie;
What follows, then, but, as a thing of course,
That a horse chestnut is a chestnut horse."
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Saturday, January 28,1871.
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Date of publication:
1871 shelfmark: L.C.1269(172a)
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