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King. You are right. But what am I to do?

Miller. You may do what you please. You are twelve miles from Nottingham, and all the way through this thick wood; but if you are resolved upon going thither to-night, I will put you in the road, and direct you the best I can; or if you will accept of such poor entertainment as a miller can give, you shall be welcome to stay all night, and in the morning I will go with you myself.

King. And cannot you go with me to-night?

Miller. I would not go with you to-night, if you were the king himself. King. Then I must


I think. (Enter a courtier, in haste.) Courtier. Ah! is your majesty safe? We have hunted the forest over to find you.

Miller. How are you the king ? (Kneels.) Your majesty will pardon the ill-usage you have received. (The King draws his sword.) His majesty surely will not kill a servant for doing his duty too faithfully.

King. No, my good fellow. So far from having anything to pardon, I am much your debtor. I cannot but think so good and honest a man will make a worthy and honorable knight. Rise, Sir John Cockle, and receive this sword as a badge of knighthood, and a pledge of my protection; and to support your nobility, and in some measure requite you for the pleasure you have done us, a thousand crowns a year shall be your revenue.


By the side of the sea in a cottage obscure,
There lip'd an old fellow named Charlot Boncoeur,
Who was free to his neighbor and good to the poor,

Catching fish was his trade,
And all people said,

That mischief to nothing but fish he designed,
To all people else he was candid and kind.
One day as he went to the brink of the lake,
Persuading the fishes their dinner to take,
(The last he intended they ever should make)
While his hooks he employ'd to their sorrow and woe,
A grunting he heard in the waters below;
And casting his eyes to the bottom, (for here
We'll suppose that the water was perfectly clear)
He saw on the bed of the liquid profound
An unfortunate wight, who was drowning, or drowned.
That the man to the surface once more might ascend,
He took up his pole, with a hook at the end,

And to it he fell,

And managed so well,
That soon to the margin the carcase was drawn,
And who should it be but his old neighbor JOHN !

Now, some how or other, it popp'd in his head, That in spite of his drowning, the man was not dead, And while he was thinking what means to devise That his friend might recover and open his

eyes, He saw with vexation and sorrow, no doubt, That, in lugging him up, he had put one eye outHowever, convinced, from what he had heard, That John might be living, for aught that appeared ; To his cottage he took him, and there had him bled, Rubb’d, rolld on a barrel, and then put to bed ; So in less than week (to his praise be it said) In less than a week, the man was as sound (Excepting the loss of his eye and the wound) As if in his life he had never been drowned.

But when John had begun to travel about, He was sadly chagrined that his eye was put out, And forgetting what service his neighbor had done him, Went off to a lawyer, and clapt a writ on him :

Talked much of the value of what he had lost,
That Charlot must pay all the damage and cost,
And if with such sentence he would not comply,
He swore he would have his identical eye.

That Charlot was vexed, we hardly need say, Yet he urged what he could in a moderate way, Declared to the judges, by way of defence, " That the action was wrought without malice prepense; That his conscience excused him for what he had done; That fortune was only to blame—and that John Might have thought himself happy (when death was so nigh) To purchase his life with the loss of an eyeThat the loss of an eye is a serious affair Was certain—and yet he'd be bold to declare, That the man who can show but one eye in his head, Is better by far than a man that is dead."

In answer to all the defendant's fine pleading,
John said “He had never yet found in his reading,
A people, or nation, or senator sage,
Or a law, or a custom, in whatever age,
Permitting (unpunished) by force or surprise
One neighbor to put out his next neighbor's eyes.”

The lawyers and judges were all at a stand
Which way to conclude on the matter in hand,
'Till a half-witted fellow, who chanced to be there,
Undertook to decide on this weighty affair ;
And cry'd “ Can you doubt in a case that's so plain?
Be guided by me, and you'll ne'er doubt again :
The plea of the plaintiff rests wholly on this ;
In fishing him up he takes it amiss,
That Charlot maneuvred with so little skill,
So awkwardly fumbled and managed so ill,
And thus with his bungling to ruin John's look,
And put out an eye with the point of his hook-

Well, now, my lord judges, attend my decree,
Straightway let the plaintiff be thrown in the sea,
Aud, after reposing awliile on the buttom,
If he get out alone from where Charlot got him,
Safe, sound, and undamaged---wly, then it is my sentence
That Charlot be punished and brought to repentance.
But if, after gasping and flouncing about,
He drowns in the water, and fails getting out,
Why, then, it is justice, it must be confest,
That Charlot forth with be discharged from arrest,
Absolved from all punishment due to the wound,
And paid in the bargain, 'cause John was not drowned."

The audience was struck with a world of surprise,
To find that a fool could give counsel so wise.
The judges themselves the sentence espoused,
And freely consented that John should be soused.

John, finding that matters had took a wrong turn, Not waiting to see if the court would adjourn, Sneaked out of the house, with a hiss of disgrace, In dread-lest the sentence should quickly take place. Grown pliant at last, his cause he withdrewHis plea was so bad and his friends were so few; It was needless, he thought on the cast of a die To venture his life for the sake of an eye, And concluded 't was better to give up the suit, Than risk the one left, and be smothered to boot.


In the lott'ry of life, lest dame fortune beguile,

This great truth we should ever premise,
That altho' the bright goddess may simper and smile,

She has always—two blanks to a prize!

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