to let “um rosin up him fuddlestick!” These deductions are practical, if not poetical; but these are but the emanations from the brain of one—hundreds of other commentators differ from his view.
The most erudite linguists are excessively puzzled as to the nation whose peculiar language has been resorted to for these singular and unequalled introductions. The
has been given up in despair. The nearest solution was that of an eminent arithmetician, who conjectured from the word too (Anglice, two)—and the use of the four cyphers—those immediately following the T and L—that they were intended to convey some notion of the personal property of Giles Scroggins or Molly Brown (he never made up his mind which of the two); and merely wanted the following marks to render them plain:—
T—oo (two)—either shillings or pence—and L—oo: no pounds!
This may or may not be right, but the research and ingenuity deserve the immortality we now confer upon it. The other line, the
“Whack! fol-de-riddle lol-de-day!”
has, perhaps, given rise to far more controversy, with certainly less tangible and satisfactory results.
The scene of the poem not being expressly stated in the original or early black-letter translation, many persons—whose love of country prompted their wishes—have endeavoured to attach a nationality to these gordian knots of erudition. An Hibernian gentleman of immense research—the celebrated “Darby Kelly”—has openly asserted the whole affair to be decidedly of Milesian origin: and, amid a vast number of corroborative circumstances, strenuously insists upon the solidity of his premises and deductions by triumphantly exclaiming, “What, or who but an Irish poet and an Irish hero, would commence a matter of so much consequence with the soul-stirring “whack!” adopted by the great author, and put into the mouth of his chosen hero?” Others again have supposed—which is also far more improbable—that much of the obscurity of the above passage has its origin from simple mis-spelling on the part of the poet’s amanuensis—he taking the literal dictation, forgetting the sublime author was suffering from a cold in the head, which rendered the words in sound—
“Riddle lol the lay;”
whereas they would otherwise have been pronounced—
“Riddle—all the day”—
that being an absolute and positive allusion to the agricultural pursuits of Giles Scroggins, he being generally employed by his more wealthy master—a great agrarian of those times—in the manly though somewhat fatiguing occupation of “riddling all the day:” an occupation which—like this article—was to be frequently resumed.
* * * * *
A NEW THEORY OF POCKETS.
s. the small bag inserted into
clothes.—WALKER (a new edition, by Hookey).