On the Spot
When [John] Dryden was a boy at Westminster school, he was put, with others to write a copy of verses on the miracle of the conversion of water into wine. Being a great truant, he had not time to compose his verses; and, when brought up, he had only made one line of Latin, and two of English:
Vidct et erubit lympha pudica Deum!
Tho modest water, awed by power divine.
Beheld its God, and blushed itself to wine;
which so pleased the master, that, instead of being angry, he said it was a presage of future greatness and gave the youth a crown on this occasion.
— Frederick Saunders, A Festive of Song, 1874
For thee the vagrant waters weep,
Which gently glide, or softly creep
In murmurs to the sea:
The winds that o’er my island blow
Bear on their balmy wings my woe,
And, sighing, call for thee!
— John Hughes, An Opera of Calypso and Telemachus, 1712
Lonely and sadly passeth the day,
Waiting and watching the dear one away:
Slowly the shadows fall, evening is nigh.
No one to look for — can we but sigh?
— A. B. P., Godey’s Magazine, Vol. 84, May 1872
Book of Nature
A young barrister, intending to be very eloquent, observed, “Such principles as these, my Lord, are written in the Book of Nature.” “What page, sir?” said Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough.
— Rural Repository, Vol. 26, November 24, 1849