The Don's Dilemma
The Gentleman's Magazine, LXVI (November 1796), p. 949
Incidit in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim.
The Spaniard, always in the wrong,
Spurr'd at a pinch, moves ne'er the brisker;
Slow as the ass of Buridan long,
Till flashing cannons singe his whisker.
Drags on his solemn dull career,
'Midst ev'ry call for animation;
Fearless profess'd, when pall'd with fear,
And blundring out of mere vexation.
Now, rous'd at length by many a shock,
He views his follies drawn at full;
First peck'd at by the Gaulish Cock,
Then goaded by the British Bull.
2. Jean Buridan, French philosopher, and rector of the University of Paris, 1328- 1340. To him was attributed the example of an ass dying of hunger between two equal amounts of food; actually, he uses the example of a dog in commentary on Aristotle's De Caelo.
3. [Author's note]: "See the Gazette account, Nov. 19, of the engagement between Capt. Bowen, of the Terpsichore, 32 guns, 6-pounders, and Don Thomas Ayalde, of the Mahonesa, of 26 guns, 12-pounders, and 8 of 6 pounders, with cohorns, swivels, &c. steering for Carthagena, but sent to Gibraltar."