Thursday, January 13, 2011


Tree-Felling at St. John's College, Oxford

Anonymous, On the Burser [sic] of St. John's-College, Oxon, cutting down a fine Row of Trees, in A Collection of Epigrams (London: J. Walthoe, 1727), unpaginated, Epigram LXIV:
Indulgent Nature to each kind bestows
A secret instinct to discern its foes:
The goose, a silly bird, yet shuns the fox;
Lambs fly from wolves; and sailors steer from rocks.
This rogue the gallows, as his fate, foresees,
And bears the like antipathy to Trees.
The bursar was Dr. Abel Evans (1679-1737). The epigram has been attributed to Dr. Charles Tadlow (1660-1716) and to Dr. George Conyers (1669-1726): see Richard W.H. Nash, Notes and Queries (6th Series, III, May 28, 1881) 436. If by Tadlow, it was tit for tat. Here is Evans' epigram on the corpulent Tadlow:
When Tadlow treads the streets, the paviors cry,
"God bless you, Sir!" and lay their rammers by.


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