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This no extraordinary fact is,
at length clearly ascertained to have written the lives of two, other illustrious Jacks, viz. JACK THE GIANT-KILLER, and JACK HickATHRIFT; and although we can at this day authentically enumerate no other subjects whom his Muse has immortalized besides himself, his cat, and a venerable cotemporary matron, Mistress Joan Cole, yet certain erudite peripatetic philosophers (who are wont to lecture gratis upon questions of similar importance in the shop of Mr. Tho. Paine, bookseller, at the Mews Gate) scruple not to attribute to his pen the terse and masterly epitaph on a descendant of the great Tom Thumb, who had figured as a subaltern sheriff's officer in the county of Stafford :
Here lies Tom THUMB,
“ Come, Tom, come!” It is not indeed to be denied, that those sagacious “ friends” of Jack the Second, at whose “ intercession” he has been induced to offer himself for the vacant chair of Vice President of the Society of Arts (see a printed circular Address to the several Members of that society, dated December 30, 1800, and subscribed, John Holliday), are desirous of decorating their favourite author with this additional wreath of glory, maintaining, that from his professional habits and pursuits, he is more likely to have been conversant with the merits, and interested in the fate of the deceased practitioner, than his proto-type, and rival biographer, Jack Sprat, or Jack the First; and appealing, in support of their hypothesis, to the internal evidence of the epitaph itself, which they aver to be conceived and indited with the very same
That goes to constitute a dunce,
Pindaric boldness and spirit which Jack the Second so happily arrogates to himself in his advertisement of the British Oak before-mentioned.
When, however, we regard the respective merits of each of these Literary Phænomena in the aggregate, and candidly consider “ quare sibi nectat uterque coronam," it is presumed that no one will be so rash as to attempt to decide, at least within the present century, whether the palm of pre-eminence belongs to Jack the First or to Jack the Second, but will leave a point of such vast moment, as an inexhaustible fund of controversy for the learned, till the commencement, or rather till the close, of the Millennium.
To have started so grand an argument is a sufficient honour for the writer of this note, whose enthusiastic admiration of Jack Sprat and his Cat, and of Jack Holliday and his British Oak, can only be equalled by the veneration which the latter professes for the British Nisus and Euryalus, Anglicè, Lords St. Vincent and Nelson, (see British Oak, p. 40,) and who, not to be sparing of sauce for such a SUPERFINE BRACE of Jacks, will wind up his eulogy in the words of a poet far inferior to either of them.
Felices AMBO! si quid mea carmina possint,
Whose erudition appertains
Hence school-boys scout the birchen tree: That weed of aristocracy,
Ut pueris olim dant crustula blandi
Hor. Sat. 1. VOL. II.
So many ages misapplied,
* The late Dr. Samuel Johnson.
“ There is now less flogging in our great schools than for. merly, but then less is learned there: so that what the boys get at ONE END they lose at THE OTHER."
Boswell, Life of Johnson, 8vo. Vol. II. p. 285. + Nunc Athletarum studiis.
Hor. E. lib. ii. Ep. 1.
While at each other hurl defiance
* These appellations of our modern pugilists assimilate more happily with the sounding names of Homer's warriors than those of Justice Shallow's juvenile associate champions : “ There was I, and little John Doit of Staffordshire, and black “ George Bare, and Francis Pickbone, and Will Squele a “ Cotswold man.-You had not four such swinge-bucklers in all the inns of court again."
Shakspeare, Hen. IV.