THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS ANDOTHER SHORT PIECES
THEBATTLE OF THE BOOKS
AMEDITATION UPON A BROOMSTICK
PREDICTIONSFOR THE YEAR 1708
THEACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE FIRST OF MR. BICKERSTAFF'S PREDICTIONS.BAUCISAND PHILEMON
THEFIRST HE WROTE OCT. 171727
THESECOND PRAYER WAS WRITTEN NOV. 61727
THEBEASTS' CONFESSION (1732)
HINTSTOWARDS AN ESSAY ON CONVERSATION
THOUGHTSON VARIOUS SUBJECTS
SATIRE isa sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discovereverybody'sface but their own; which is the chief reason for thatkindreception it meets with in the worldand that so very few areoffendedwith it. Butif it should happen otherwisethe dangeris notgreat; and I have learned from long experience never toapprehendmischief from those understandings I have been able toprovoke: for anger and furythough they add strength to thesinews ofthe bodyyet are found to relax those of the mindandto renderall its efforts feeble and impotent.
There is abrain that will endure but one scumming; let the ownergather itwith discretionand manage his little stock withhusbandry;butof all thingslet him beware of bringing it underthe lashof his bettersbecause that will make it all bubble upintoimpertinenceand he will find no new supply. Wit withoutknowledgebeing a sort of creamwhich gathers in a night to thetopandby a skilful hand may be soon whipped into froth; but oncescummedawaywhat appears underneath will be fit for nothing butto bethrown to the hogs.
WHOEVERexamineswith due circumspectioninto the annual recordsof timewill find it remarked that War is the child of PrideandPride thedaughter of Riches:- the former of which assertions maybe soongrantedbut one cannot so easily subscribe to the latter;for Prideis nearly related to Beggary and Wanteither by fatheror motherand sometimes by both: andto speak naturallyit veryseldomhappens among men to fall out when all have enough;invasionsusually travelling from north to souththat is to sayfrompoverty to plenty. The most ancient and natural grounds ofquarrelsare lust and avarice; whichthough we may allow to bebrethrenor collateral branches of prideare certainly the issuesof want. Forto speak in the phrase of writers upon politicswemayobserve in the republic of dogswhich in its original seems tobe aninstitution of the manythat the whole state is ever in theprofoundestpeace after a full meal; and that civil broils ariseamong themwhen it happens for one great bone to be seized on bysomeleading dogwho either divides it among the fewand then itfalls toan oligarchyor keeps it to himselfand then it runs upto atyranny. The same reasoning also holds place among them inthosedissensions we behold upon a turgescency in any of theirfemales. For the right of possession lying in common (it beingimpossibleto establish a property in so delicate a case)jealousiesand suspicions do so aboundthat the whole commonwealthof thatstreet is reduced to a manifest state of warof everycitizenagainst every citizentill some one of more courageconductor fortune than the rest seizes and enjoys the prize: upon whichnaturally arises plenty of heart-burningand envyandsnarlingagainst the happy dog. Againif we look upon any oftheserepublics engaged in a foreign wareither of invasion ordefencewe shall find the same reasoning will serve as to thegroundsand occasions of each; and that poverty or wantin somedegree orother (whether real or in opinionwhich makes noalterationin the case)has a great shareas well as prideonthe partof the aggressor.
Nowwhoever will please to take this schemeand either reduce oradapt itto an intellectual state or commonwealth of learningwillsoondiscover the first ground of disagreement between the twogreatparties at this time in armsand may form just conclusionsupon themerits of either cause. But the issue or events of thiswar arenot so easy to conjecture at; for the present quarrel is soinflamedby the warm heads of either factionand the pretensionssomewhereor other so exorbitantas not to admit the leastoverturesof accommodation. This quarrel first beganas I haveheard itaffirmed by an old dweller in the neighbourhoodabout asmall spotof groundlying and being upon one of the two tops ofthe hillParnassus; the highest and largest of which hadit seemsbeen timeout of mind in quiet possession of certain tenantscalled theAncients; and the other was held by the Moderns. Butthesedisliking their present stationsent certain ambassadors totheAncientscomplaining of a great nuisance; how the height ofthat partof Parnassus quite spoiled the prospect of theirsespeciallytowards the east; and thereforeto avoid a warofferedthem thechoice of this alternativeeither that the Ancients wouldplease toremove themselves and their effects down to the lowersummitwhich the Moderns would graciously surrender to themandadvanceinto their place; or else the said Ancients will give leaveto theModerns to come with shovels and mattocksand level thesaid hillas low as they shall think it convenient. To which theAncientsmade answerhow little they expected such a message asthis froma colony whom they had admittedout of their own freegracetoso near a neighbourhood. Thatas to their own seatthey wereaborigines of itand therefore to talk with them of aremoval orsurrender was a language they did not understand. Thatif theheight of the hill on their side shortened the prospect oftheModernsit was a disadvantage they could not help; but desiredthem toconsider whether that injury (if it be any) were notlargelyrecompensed by the shade and shelter it afforded them. That as tothe levelling or digging downit was either folly orignoranceto propose it if they did or did not know how that sideof thehill was an entire rockwhich would break their tools andheartswithout any damage to itself. That they would thereforeadvise theModerns rather to raise their own side of the hill thandream ofpulling down that of the Ancients; to the former of whichthey wouldnot only give licencebut also largely contribute. Allthis wasrejected by the Moderns with much indignationwho stillinsistedupon one of the two expedients; and so this differencebroke outinto a long and obstinate warmaintained on the one partbyresolutionand by the courage of certain leaders and allies;butonthe otherby the greatness of their numberupon alldefeatsaffording continual recruits. In this quarrel wholerivuletsof ink have been exhaustedand the virulence of bothpartiesenormously augmented. Nowit must be here understoodthat inkis the great missive weapon in all battles of the learnedwhichconveyed through a sort of engine called a quillinfinitenumbers ofthese are darted at the enemy by the valiant on eachsidewithequal skill and violenceas if it were an engagement ofporcupines. This malignant liquor was compoundedby the engineerwhoinvented itof two ingredientswhich aregall and copperas;by itsbitterness and venom to suitin some degreeas well as tofomentthe genius of the combatants. And as the Greciansafteranengagementwhen they could not agree about the victorywerewont toset up trophies on both sidesthe beaten party beingcontent tobe at the same expenseto keep itself in countenance (alaudableand ancient customhappily revived of late in the art ofwar)sothe learnedafter a sharp and bloody disputedoon bothsideshang out their trophies toowhichever comes by the worst. Thesetrophies have largely inscribed on them the merits of thecause; afull impartial account of such a Battleand how thevictoryfell clearly to the party that set them up. They are knownto theworld under several names; as disputesargumentsrejoindersbrief considerationsanswersrepliesremarksreflectionsobjectionsconfutations. For a very few days theyare fixedup all in public placeseither by themselves or theirrepresentativesfor passengers to gaze at; whence the chiefest andlargestare removed to certain magazines they call librariesthereto remainin a quarter purposely assigned themand thenceforthbegin tobe called books of controversy.
In thesebooks is wonderfully instilled and preserved the spirit ofeachwarrior while he is alive; and after his death his soultransmigratesthither to inform them. Thisat leastis the morecommonopinion; but I believe it is with libraries as with othercemeterieswhere some philosophers affirm that a certain spiritwhich theycall BRUTUM HOMINIShovers over the monumenttill thebody iscorrupted and turns to dust or to wormsbut then vanishesordissolves; sowe may saya restless spirit haunts over everybooktilldust or worms have seized upon it - which to some mayhappen ina few daysbut to others later - and thereforebooks ofcontroversybeingof all othershaunted by the most disorderlyspiritshave always been confined in a separate lodge from therestandfor fear of a mutual violence against each otherit wasthoughtprudent by our ancestors to bind them to the peace withstrongiron chains. Of which invention the original occasion wasthis: When the works of Scotus first came outthey were carriedto acertain libraryand had lodgings appointed them; but thisauthor wasno sooner settled than he went to visit his masterAristotleand there both concerted together to seize Plato by mainforceandturn him out from his ancient station among the divineswhere hehad peaceably dwelt near eight hundred years. The attemptsucceededand the two usurpers have reigned ever since in hisstead;butto maintain quiet for the futureit was decreed thatallpolemics of the larger size should be hold fast with a chain.
By thisexpedientthe public peace of libraries might certainlyhave beenpreserved if a new species of controversial books had notarisen oflate yearsinstinct with a more malignant spiritfromthe warabove mentioned between the learned about the higher summitofParnassus.
When thesebooks were first admitted into the public librariesIrememberto have saidupon occasionto several persons concernedhow I wassure they would create broils wherever they cameunlessa world ofcare were taken; and therefore I advised that thechampionsof each side should be coupled togetheror otherwisemixedthatlike the blending of contrary poisonstheir malignitymight beemployed among themselves. And it seems I was neither anillprophet nor an ill counsellor; for it was nothing else but theneglect ofthis caution which gave occasion to the terrible fightthathappened on Friday last between the Ancient and Modern Booksin theKing's library. Nowbecause the talk of this battle is sofresh ineverybody's mouthand the expectation of the town sogreat tobe informed in the particularsIbeing possessed of allqualificationsrequisite in an historianand retained by neitherpartyhave resolved to comply with the urgent importunity of myfriendsby writing down a full impartial account thereof.
Theguardian of the regal librarya person of great valourbutchieflyrenowned for his humanityhad been a fierce champion fortheModernsandin an engagement upon Parnassushad vowed withhis ownhands to knock down two of the ancient chiefs who guarded asmall passon the superior rockbutendeavouring to climb upwascruellyobstructed by his own unhappy weight and tendency towardshiscentrea quality to which those of the Modern party areextremelysubject; forbeing light-headedthey haveinspeculationa wonderful agilityand conceive nothing too high forthem tomountbutin reducing to practicediscover a mightypressureabout their posteriors and their heels. Having thusfailed inhis designthe disappointed champion bore a cruelrancour tothe Ancientswhich he resolved to gratify by showingall marksof his favour to the books of their adversariesandlodgingthem in the fairest apartments; whenat the same timewhateverbook had the boldness to own itself for an advocate of theAncientswas buried alive in some obscure cornerand threatenedupon theleast displeasureto be turned out of doors. Besidesitsohappened that about this time there was a strange confusion ofplaceamong all the books in the libraryfor which several reasonswereassigned. Some imputed it to a great heap of learned dustwhich aperverse wind blew off from a shelf of Moderns into thekeeper'seyes. Others affirmed he had a humour to pick the wormsout of theschoolmenand swallow them fresh and fastingwhereofsome fellupon his spleenand some climbed up into his headtothe greatperturbation of both. And lastlyothers maintainedthatbywalking much in the dark about the libraryhe had quitelost thesituation of it out of his head; and thereforeinreplacinghis bookshe was apt to mistake and clap Descartes nexttoAristotlepoor Plato had got between Hobbes and the Seven WiseMastersand Virgil was hemmed in with Dryden on one side andWither onthe other.
Meanwhilethose books that were advocates for the Modernschoseout onefrom among them to make a progress through the wholelibraryexamine the number and strength of their partyandconcerttheir affairs. This messenger performed all things veryindustriouslyand brought back with him a list of their forcesinallfiftythousandconsisting chiefly of light-horseheavy-armedfootandmercenaries; whereof the foot were in general but sorrilyarmed andworse clad; their horses largebut extremely out of caseand heart;howeversome fewby trading among the Ancientshadfurnishedthemselves tolerably enough.
Whilethings were in this fermentdiscord grew extremely high; hotwordspassed on both sidesand ill blood was plentifully bred. Here asolitary Ancientsqueezed up among a whole shelf ofModernsoffered fairly to dispute the caseand to prove bymanifestreason that the priority was due to them from longpossessionand in regard of their prudenceantiquityandabovealltheirgreat merits toward the Moderns. But these denied thepremisesand seemed very much to wonder how the Ancients couldpretend toinsist upon their antiquitywhen it was so plain (ifthey wentto that) that the Moderns were much the more ancient ofthe two. As for any obligations they owed to the Ancientstheyrenouncedthem all. "It is true" said they"we areinformed somefew of ourparty have been so mean as to borrow their subsistencefrom youbut the restinfinitely the greater number (andespeciallywe French and English)were so far from stooping to sobase anexamplethat there never passedtill this very hoursixwordsbetween us. For our horses were of our own breedingourarms ofour own forgingand our clothes of our own cutting out andsewing." Plato was by chance up on the next shelfand observingthose thatspoke to be in the ragged plight mentioned a while agotheirjades lean and founderedtheir weapons of rotten woodtheirarmourrustyand nothing but rags underneathhe laughed loudandin hispleasant way sworeby -he believed them.
NowtheModerns had not proceeded in their late negotiation withsecrecyenough to escape the notice of the enemy. For thoseadvocateswho had begun the quarrelby setting first on foot thedispute ofprecedencytalked so loud of coming to a battlethatSirWilliam Temple happened to overhear themand gave immediateintelligenceto the Ancientswho thereupon drew up their scatteredtroopstogetherresolving to act upon the defensive; upon whichseveral ofthe Moderns fled over to their partyand among the restTemplehimself. This Templehaving been educated and longconversedamong the Ancientswasof all the Modernstheirgreatestfavouriteand became their greatest champion.
Thingswere at this crisis when a material accident fell out. Forupon thehighest corner of a large windowthere dwelt a certainspiderswollen up to the first magnitude by the destruction ofinfinitenumbers of flieswhose spoils lay scattered before thegates ofhis palacelike human bones before the cave of somegiant. The avenues to his castle were guarded with turnpikes andpalisadoesall after the modern way of fortification. After youhad passedseveral courts you came to the centrewherein you mightbehold theconstable himself in his own lodgingswhich had windowsfrontingto each avenueand ports to sally out upon all occasionsof prey ordefence. In this mansion he had for some time dwelt inpeace andplentywithout danger to his person by swallows fromaboveorto his palace by brooms from below; when it was thepleasureof fortune to conduct thither a wandering beeto whosecuriositya broken pane in the glass had discovered itselfand inhe wentwhereexpatiating a whilehe at last happened to alightupon oneof the outward walls of the spider's citadel; whichyieldingto the unequal weightsunk down to the very foundation. Thrice heendeavoured to force his passageand thrice the centreshook. The spider withinfeeling the terrible convulsionsupposedat first that nature was approaching to her finaldissolutionor else that Beelzebubwith all his legionswas cometo revengethe death of many thousands of his subjects whom hisenemy hadslain and devoured. Howeverhe at length valiantlyresolvedto issue forth and meet his fate. Meanwhile the bee hadacquittedhimself of his toilsandposted securely at somedistancewas employed in cleansing his wingsand disengaging themfrom theragged remnants of the cobweb. By this time the spiderwasadventured outwhenbeholding the chasmsthe ruinsanddilapidationsof his fortresshe was very near at his wit's end;he stormedand swore like a madmanand swelled till he was readyto burst. At lengthcasting his eye upon the beeand wiselygatheringcauses from events (for they know each other by sight)"Aplague split you" said he; "is it youwith a vengeancethathave madethis litter here; could not you look before youand bed-d? Do you think I have nothing else to do (in the devil's name)but tomend and repair after you?" "Good wordsfriend"said thebeehaving now pruned himselfand being disposed to droll; "I'llgive youmy hand and word to come near your kennel no more; I wasnever insuch a confounded pickle since I was born." "Sirrah"repliedthe spider"if it were not for breaking an old custom inourfamilynever to stir abroad against an enemyI should comeand teachyou better manners." "I pray have patience"said thebee"oryou'll spend your substanceandfor aught I seeyou maystand inneed of it alltowards the repair of your house." "Roguerogue" replied the spider"yet methinks you should havemorerespect to a person whom all the world allows to be so muchyourbetters." "By my troth" said the bee"thecomparison willamount toa very good jestand you will do me a favour to let meknow thereasons that all the world is pleased to use in so hopefuladispute." At this the spiderhaving swelled himself intothesize andposture of a disputantbegan his argument in the truespirit ofcontroversywith resolution to be heartily scurrilousand angryto urge on his own reasons without the least regard totheanswers or objections of his oppositeand fully predeterminedin hismind against all conviction.
"Notto disparage myself" said he"by the comparison with sucharascalwhat art thou but a vagabond without house or homewithoutstock orinheritance? born to no possession of your ownbut a pairof wingsand a drone-pipe. Your livelihood is a universal plunderuponnature; a freebooter over fields and gardens; andfor thesake ofstealingwill rob a nettle as easily as a violet. WhereasI am adomestic animalfurnished with a native stock withinmyself. This large castle (to show my improvements in themathematics)is all built with my own handsand the materialsextractedaltogether out of my own person."
"I amglad" answered the bee"to hear you grant at least that Iam comehonestly by my wings and my voice; for thenit seemsI amobliged toHeaven alone for my flights and my music; and Providencewouldnever have bestowed on me two such gifts without designingthem forthe noblest ends. I visitindeedall the flowers andblossomsof the field and gardenbut whatever I collect thenceenrichesmyself without the least injury to their beautytheirsmellortheir taste. Nowfor you and your skill in architectureand othermathematicsI have little to say: in that building ofyoursthere mightfor aught I knowhave been labour and methodenough;butby woeful experience for us bothit is too plain thematerialsare naught; and I hope you will henceforth take warningandconsider duration and matteras well as method and art. Youboastindeedof being obliged to no other creaturebut ofdrawingand spinning out all from yourself; that is to sayif wemay judgeof the liquor in the vessel by what issues outyoupossess agood plentiful store of dirt and poison in your breast;andthough I would by no means lesson or disparage your genuinestock ofeitheryet I doubt you are somewhat obligedfor anincreaseof bothto a little foreign assistance. Your inherentportion ofdirt does not fall of acquisitionsby sweepings exhaledfrombelow; and one insect furnishes you with a share of poison todestroyanother. So thatin shortthe question comes all tothis: whether is the nobler being of the twothat whichby alazycontemplation of four inches roundby an overweening pridefeedingand engendering on itselfturns all into excrement andvenomproducing nothing at all but flybane and a cobweb; or thatwhichbya universal rangewith long searchmuch studytruejudgmentand distinction of thingsbrings home honey and wax."
Thisdispute was managed with such eagernessclamourand warmththat thetwo parties of booksin arms belowstood silent a whilewaiting insuspense what would be the issue; which was not longundetermined: for the beegrown impatient at so much loss oftimefledstraight away to a bed of roseswithout looking for areplyandleft the spiderlike an oratorcollected in himselfand justprepared to burst out.
Ithappened upon this emergency that AEsop broke silence first. Hehad beenof late most barbarously treated by a strange effect oftheregent's humanitywho had torn off his title-pagesorelydefacedone half of his leavesand chained him fast among a shelfofModerns. Wheresoon discovering how high the quarrel waslikely toproceedhe tried all his artsand turned himself to athousandforms. At lengthin the borrowed shape of an asstheregentmistook him for a Modern; by which means he had time andopportunityto escape to the Ancientsjust when the spider and thebee wereentering into their contest; to which he gave hisattentionwith a world of pleasureandwhen it was endedsworein theloudest key that in all his life he had never known twocasessoparallel and adapt to each other as that in the windowand thisupon the shelves. "The disputants" said he"haveadmirablymanaged the dispute between themhave taken in the fullstrengthof all that is to be said on both sidesand exhausted thesubstanceof every argument PRO and CON. It is but to adjust thereasoningsof both to the present quarrelthen to compare andapply thelabours and fruits of eachas the bee has learnedlydeducedthemand we shall find the conclusion fall plain and closeupon theModerns and us. For praygentlemenwas ever anything somodern asthe spider in his airhis turnsand his paradoxes? heargues inthe behalf of youhis brethrenand himselfwith manyboastingsof his native stock and great genius; that he spins andspitswholly from himselfand scorns to own any obligation orassistancefrom without. Then he displays to you his great skillinarchitecture and improvement in the mathematics. To all thisthe beeas an advocate retained by usthe Ancientsthinks fit toanswerthatif one may judge of the great genius or inventions oftheModerns by what they have producedyou will hardly havecountenanceto bear you out in boasting of either. Erect yourschemeswith as much method and skill as you please; yetif thematerialsbe nothing but dirtspun out of your own entrails (theguts ofmodern brains)the edifice will conclude at last in acobweb;the duration of whichlike that of other spiders' websmay beimputed to their being forgottenor neglectedor hid in acorner. For anything else of genuine that the Moderns may pretendtoIcannot recollect; unless it be a large vein of wrangling andsatiremuch of a nature and substance with the spiders' poison;whichhowever they pretend to spit wholly out of themselvesisimprovedby the same artsby feeding upon the insects and verminof theage. As for usthe Ancientswe are content with the beeto pretendto nothing of our own beyond our wings and our voice: that is tosayour flights and our language. For the restwhateverwe have got has been by infinite labour and searchandrangingthrough every corner of nature; the difference isthatinstead ofdirt and poisonwe have rather chosen to till our hiveswith honeyand wax; thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest ofthingswhich are sweetness and light."
It iswonderful to conceive the tumult arisen among the books uponthe closeof this long descant of AEsop: both parties took thehintandheightened their animosities so on a suddenthat theyresolvedit should come to a battle. Immediately the two mainbodieswithdrewunder their several ensignsto the farther partsof thelibraryand there entered into cabals and consults upon thepresentemergency. The Moderns were in very warm debates upon thechoice oftheir leaders; and nothing less than the fear impendingfrom theirenemies could have kept them from mutinies upon thisoccasion. The difference was greatest among the horsewhere everyprivatetrooper pretended to the chief commandfrom Tasso andMilton toDryden and Wither. The light-horse were commanded byCowley andDespreaux. There came the bowmen under their valiantleadersDescartesGassendiand Hobbes; whose strength was suchthat theycould shoot their arrows beyond the atmospherenever tofall downagainbut turnlike that of Evanderinto meteors; orlike thecannon-ballinto stars. Paracelsus brought a squadron ofstinkpot-flingersfrom the snowy mountains of Rhaetia. There camea vastbody of dragoonsof different nationsunder the leading ofHarveytheir great aga: part armed with scythesthe weapons ofdeath;part with lances and long knivesall steeped in poison;part shotbullets of a most malignant natureand used whitepowderwhich infallibly killed without report. There came severalbodies ofheavy-armed footall mercenariesunder the ensigns ofGuicciardiniDavilaPolydore VergilBuchananMarianaCamdenandothers. The engineers were commanded by Regiomontanus andWilkins. The rest was a confused multitudeled by ScotusAquinasand Bellarmine; of mighty bulk and staturebut withouteitherarmscourageor discipline. In the last place cameinfiniteswarms of calonesa disorderly rout led by L'Estrange;rogues andragamuffinsthat follow the camp for nothing but theplunderall without coats to cover them.
The armyof the Ancients was much fewer in number; Homer led thehorseandPindar the light-horse; Euclid was chief engineer; PlatoandAristotle commanded the bowmen; Herodotus and Livy the foot;Hippocratesthe dragoons; the alliesled by Vossius and Templebrought upthe rear.
All thingsviolently tending to a decisive battleFamewho muchfrequentedand had a large apartment formerly assigned her in theregallibraryfled up straight to Jupiterto whom she delivered afaithfulaccount of all that passed between the two parties below;for amongthe gods she always tells truth. Jovein great concernconvokes acouncil in the Milky Way. The senate assembledhedeclaresthe occasion of convening them; a bloody battle justimpendentbetween two mighty armies of ancient and moderncreaturescalled bookswherein the celestial interest was but toodeeplyconcerned. Momusthe patron of the Modernsmade anexcellentspeech in their favourwhich was answered by Pallastheprotectressof the Ancients. The assembly was divided in theiraffections;when Jupiter commanded the Book of Fate to be laidbeforehim. Immediately were brought by Mercury three largevolumes infoliocontaining memoirs of all things pastpresentand tocome. The clasps were of silver double giltthe covers ofcelestialturkey leatherand the paper such as here on earth mightpassalmost for vellum. Jupiterhaving silently read the decreewouldcommunicate the import to nonebut presently shut up thebook.
Withoutthe doors of this assembly there attended a vast number oflightnimble godsmenial servants to Jupiter: those are hisministeringinstruments in all affairs below. They travel in acaravanmore or less togetherand are fastened to each other likea link ofgalley-slavesby a light chainwhich passes from themtoJupiter's great toe: and yetin receiving or delivering amessagethey may never approach above the lowest step of histhronewhere he and they whisper to each other through a largehollowtrunk. These deities are called by mortal men accidents orevents;but the gods call them second causes. Jupiter havingdeliveredhis message to a certain number of these divinitiestheyflewimmediately down to the pinnacle of the regal libraryandconsultinga few minutesentered unseenand disposed the partiesaccordingto their orders.
MeanwhileMomusfearing the worstand calling to mind an ancientprophecywhich bore no very good face to his children the Modernsbent hisflight to the region of a malignant deity calledCriticism. She dwelt on the top of a snowy mountain in NovaZembla;there Momus found her extended in her denupon the spoilsofnumberless volumeshalf devoured. At her right hand satIgnoranceher father and husbandblind with age; at her leftPridehermotherdressing her up in the scraps of paper herselfhad torn. There was Opinionher sisterlight of foothood-winkedand head-strongyet giddy and perpetually turning. Abouther playedher childrenNoise and ImpudenceDulness and VanityPositivenessPedantryand Ill-manners. The goddess herself hadclaws likea cat; her headand earsand voice resembled those ofan ass;her teeth fallen out beforeher eyes turned inwardas ifshe lookedonly upon herself; her diet was the overflowing of herown gall;her spleen was so large as to stand prominentlike a dugof thefirst rate; nor wanted excrescences in form of teatsatwhich acrew of ugly monsters were greedily sucking; andwhat iswonderfulto conceivethe bulk of spleen increased faster than thesuckingcould diminish it. "Goddess" said Momus"canyou sitidly herewhile our devout worshippersthe Modernsare thisminuteentering into a cruel battleand perhaps now lying underthe swordsof their enemies? who then hereafter will ever sacrificeor buildaltars to our divinities? Hastethereforeto theBritishIsleandif possibleprevent their destruction; while Imakefactions among the godsand gain them over to our party."
Momushaving thus delivered himselfstayed not for an answerbutleft thegoddess to her own resentment. Up she rose in a rageandas itis the form on such occasionsbegan a soliloquy: "Itis I"(said she) "who give wisdom to infants and idiots; by mechildrengrow wiser than their parentsby me beaux becomepoliticiansand schoolboys judges of philosophy; by me sophistersdebate andconclude upon the depths of knowledge; and coffee-housewitsinstinct by mecan correct an author's styleand displayhisminutest errorswithout understanding a syllable of his matteror hislanguage; by me striplings spend their judgmentas they dotheirestatebefore it comes into their hands. It is I who havedeposedwit and knowledge from their empire over poetryandadvancedmyself in their stead. And shall a few upstart Ancientsdare tooppose me? But comemy aged parentand youmy childrendearandthoumy beauteous sister; let us ascend my chariotandhaste toassist our devout Modernswho are now sacrificing to us ahecatombas I perceive by that grateful smell which from thencereaches mynostrils."
Thegoddess and her trainhaving mounted the chariotwhich wasdrawn bytame geeseflew over infinite regionsshedding herinfluencein due placestill at length she arrived at her belovedisland ofBritain; but in hovering over its metropoliswhatblessingsdid she not let fall upon her seminaries of Gresham andCovent-garden! And now she reached the fatal plain of St. James'slibraryat what time the two armies were upon the point to engage;whereentering with all her caravan unseenand landing upon acase ofshelvesnow desertbut once inhabited by a colony ofvirtuososshe stayed awhile to observe the posture of both armies.
But herethe tender cares of a mother began to fill her thoughtsand movein her breast: for at the head of a troup of Modernbowmen shecast her eyes upon her son Wottonto whom the fates hadassigned avery short thread. Wottona young herowhom anunknownfather of mortal race begot by stolen embraces with thisgoddess. He was the darling of his mother above all her childrenand sheresolved to go and comfort him. But firstaccording tothe goodold custom of deitiesshe cast about to change her shapefor fearthe divinity of her countenance might dazzle his mortalsight andovercharge the rest of his senses. She thereforegatheredup her person into an octavo compass: her body grow whiteand aridand split in pieces with dryness; the thick turned intopasteboardand the thin into paper; upon which her parents andchildrenartfully strewed a black juiceor decoction of gall andsootinform of letters: her headand voiceand spleenkepttheirprimitive form; and that which before was a cover of skin didstillcontinue so. In this guise she marched on towards theModernsindistinguishable in shape and dress from the divineBentleyWotton's dearest friend. "Brave Wotton" said thegoddess"why do our troops stand idle hereto spend their presentvigour andopportunity of the day? awaylet us haste to thegeneralsand advise to give the onset immediately." Having spokethusshetook the ugliest of her monstersfull glutted from herspleenand flung it invisibly into his mouthwhichflyingstraightup into his headsqueezed out his eye-ballsgave him adistortedlookand half-overturned his brain. Then she privatelyorderedtwo of her beloved childrenDulness and Ill-mannersclosely toattend his person in all encounters. Having thusaccoutredhimshe vanished in a mistand the hero perceived itwas thegoddess his mother.
Thedestined hour of fate being now arrivedthe fight began;whereofbefore I dare adventure to make a particular descriptionI mustafter the example of other authorspetition for a hundredtonguesand mouthsand handsand penswhich would all be toolittle toperform so immense a work. Saygoddessthat presidestoverhistorywho it was that first advanced in the field ofbattle! Paracelsusat the head of his dragoonsobserving Galenin theadverse wingdarted his javelin with a mighty forcewhichthe braveAncient received upon his shieldthe point breaking inthe secondfold . . . HIC PAUCA. . . .DESUNT
They borethe wounded aga on their shields to hischariot .. .DESUNT . ..NONNULLA.. . .
ThenAristotleobserving Bacon advance with a furious miendrewhis bow tothe headand let fly his arrowwhich missed thevaliantModern and went whizzing over his head; but Descartes ithit; thesteel point quickly found a defect in his head-piece; itpiercedthe leather and the pasteboardand went in at his righteye. The torture of the pain whirled the valiant bow-man roundtilldeathlike a star of superior influencedrew him into hisown vortexINGENS HIATUS . . . .HIC IN MS.. . . .. .. . when Homer appeared at the head of the cavalrymountedon afurious horsewith difficulty managed by the rider himselfbut whichno other mortal durst approach; he rode among the enemy'sranksandbore down all before him. Saygoddesswhom he slewfirst andwhom he slew last! FirstGondibert advanced againsthimcladin heavy armour and mounted on a staid sober geldingnotso famedfor his speed as his docility in kneeling whenever hisriderwould mount or alight. He had made a vow to Pallas that hewouldnever leave the field till he had spoiled Homer of hisarmour: madmanwho had never once seen the wearernor understoodhisstrength! Him Homer overthrewhorse and manto the groundthere tobe trampled and choked in the dirt. Then with a longspear heslew Denhama stout Modernwho from his father's sidederivedhis lineage from Apollobut his mother was of mortal race. He felland bit the earth. The celestial part Apollo tookandmade it astar; but the terrestrial lay wallowing upon the ground. Then Homerslew Sam Wesley with a kick of his horse's heel; he tookPerraultby mighty force out of his saddlethen hurled him atFontenellewith the same blow dashing out both their brains.
On theleft wing of the horse Virgil appearedin shining armourcompletelyfitted to his body; he was mounted on a dapple-greysteedtheslowness of whose pace was an effect of the highestmettle andvigour. He cast his eye on the adverse wingwith adesire tofind an object worthy of his valourwhen behold upon asorrelgelding of a monstrous size appeared a foeissuing fromamong thethickest of the enemy's squadrons; but his speed was lessthan hisnoise; for his horseold and leanspent the dregs of hisstrengthin a high trotwhichthough it made slow advancesyetcaused aloud clashing of his armourterrible to hear. The twocavaliershad now approached within the throw of a lancewhen thestrangerdesired a parleyandlifting up the visor of his helmeta facehardly appeared from within whichafter a pausewas knownfor thatof the renowned Dryden. The brave Ancient suddenlystartedas one possessed with surprise and disappointmenttogether;for the helmet was nine times too large for the headwhichappeared situate far in the hinder parteven like the ladyin alobsteror like a mouse under a canopy of stateor like ashrivelledbeau from within the penthouse of a modern periwig; andthe voicewas suited to the visagesounding weak and remote. Drydenina long haranguesoothed up the good Ancient; called himfatherandby a large deduction of genealogiesmade it plainlyappearthat they were nearly related. Then he humbly proposed anexchangeof armouras a lasting mark of hospitality between them. Virgilconsented (for the goddess Diffidence came unseenand casta mistbefore his eyes)though his was of gold and cost a hundredbeevesthe other's but of rusty iron. Howeverthis glitteringarmourbecame the Modern yet worsen than his own. Then they agreedtoexchange horses; butwhen it came to the trialDryden wasafraid andutterly unable to mount. . . ALTER HIATUS. . . . INMS.
Lucanappeared upon a fiery horse of admirable shapebutheadstrongbearing the rider where he list over the field; he madea mightyslaughter among the enemy's horse; which destruction tostopBlackmorea famous Modern (but one of the mercenaries)strenuouslyopposed himselfand darted his javelin with a stronghandwhichfalling short of its markstruck deep in the earth. Then Lucanthrew a lance; but AEsculapius came unseen and turnedoff thepoint. "Brave Modern" said Lucan"I perceivesome godprotectsyoufor never did my arm so deceive me before: but whatmortal cancontend with a god? Thereforelet us fight no longerbutpresent gifts to each other." Lucan then bestowed on theModern apair of spursand Blackmore gave Lucan a bridle. . . .PAUCADESUNT. . . .. . . .
Creech: but the goddess Dulness took a cloudformed into theshape ofHoracearmed and mountedand placed in a flying posturebeforehim. Glad was the cavalier to begin a combat with a flyingfoeandpursued the imagethreatening aloud; till at last it ledhim to thepeaceful bower of his fatherOglebyby whom he wasdisarmedand assigned to his repose.
ThenPindar slew -and - and Oldhamand -and Afra the Amazonlight offoot; never advancing in a direct linebut wheeling withincredibleagility and forcehe made a terrible slaughter amongtheenemy's light-horse. Him when Cowley observedhis generousheartburnt within himand he advanced against the fierce Ancientimitatinghis addresshis paceand careeras well as the vigourof hishorse and his own skill would allow. When the two cavaliershadapproached within the length of three javelinsfirst Cowleythrew alancewhich missed Pindarandpassing into the enemy'sranksfell ineffectual to the ground. Then Pindar darted ajavelin solarge and weightythat scarce a dozen Cavaliersascavaliersare in our degenerate dayscould raise it from theground;yet he threw it with easeand it wentby an unerringhandsinging through the air; nor could the Modern have avoidedpresentdeath if he had not luckily opposed the shield that hadbeen givenhim by Venus. And now both heroes drew their swords;but theModern was so aghast and disordered that he knew not wherehe was;his shield dropped from his hands; thrice he fledandthrice hecould not escape. At last he turnedand lifting up hishand inthe posture of a suppliant"Godlike Pindar" said he"sparemy lifeand possess my horsewith these armsbeside theransomwhich my friends will give when they hear I am alive andyourprisoner." "Dog!" said Pindar"let yourransom stay withyourfriends; but your carcase shall be left for the fowls of theair andthe beasts of the field." With that he raised his swordandwitha mighty strokecleft the wretched Modern in twaintheswordpursuing the blow; and one half lay panting on the groundtobe trod inpieces by the horses' feet; the other half was borne bythefrighted steed through the field. This Venus tookwashed itseventimes in ambrosiathen struck it thrice with a sprig ofamaranth;upon which the leather grow round and softand theleavesturned into feathersandbeing gilded beforecontinuedgildedstill; so it became a doveand she harnessed it to herchariot. .. .. . . .HIATUS VALDE DE-. . . .FLENDUS IN MS.
THEEPISODE OF BENTLEY AND WOTTON.
Day beingfar spentand the numerous forces of the Moderns halfincliningto a retreatthere issued forthfrom a squadron oftheirheavy-armed foota captain whose name was Bentleythe mostdeformedof all the Moderns; tallbut without shape or comeliness;largebutwithout strength or proportion. His armour was patchedup of athousand incoherent piecesand the sound of itas hemarchedwas loud and drylike that made by the fall of a sheet ofleadwhich an Etesian wind blows suddenly down from the roof ofsomesteeple. His helmet was of old rusty ironbut the vizor wasbrasswhichtainted by his breathcorrupted into copperasnorwantedgall from the same fountainso thatwhenever provoked byanger orlabouran atramentous qualityof most malignant naturewas seento distil from his lips. In his right hand he grasped aflailand(that he might never be unprovided of an offensiveweapon) avessel full of ordure in his left. Thus completelyarmedheadvanced with a slow and heavy pace where the Modernchiefswere holding a consult upon the sum of thingswhoas hecameonwardslaughed to behold his crooked leg and humpedshoulderwhich his boot and armourvainly endeavouring to hidewereforced to comply with and expose. The generals made use ofhim forhis talent of railingwhichkept within governmentprovedfrequently of great service to their causebutat othertimesdidmore mischief than good; forat the least touch ofoffenceand often without any at allhe wouldlike a woundedelephantconvert it against his leaders. Suchat this juncturewas thedisposition of Bentleygrieved to see the enemy prevailanddissatisfied with everybody's conduct but his own. He humblygave theModern generals to understand that he conceivedwithgreatsubmissionthey were all a pack of roguesand foolsandconfoundedlogger-headsand illiterate whelpsand nonsensicalscoundrels;thatif himself had been constituted generalthosepresumptuousdogsthe Ancientswould long before this have beenbeaten outof the field. "You" said he"sit here idlebut whenIor anyother valiant Modern kill an enemyyou are sure to seizethespoil. But I will not march one foot against the foe till youall swearto me that whomever I take or killhis arms I shallquietlypossess." Bentley having spoken thusScaligerbestowinghim a sourlook"Miscreant prater!" said he"eloquent only inthine owneyesthou railest without witor truthor discretion. Themalignity of thy temper perverteth nature; thy learning makesthee morebarbarous; thy study of humanity more inhuman; thyconverseamong poets more grovellingmiryand dull. All arts ofcivilisingothers render thee rude and untractable; courts havetaughtthee ill mannersand polite conversation has finished theea pedant. Besidesa greater coward burdeneth not the army. Butneverdespond; I pass my wordwhatever spoil thou takest shallcertainlybe thy own; though I hope that vile carcase will firstbecome aprey to kites and worms."
Bentleydurst not replybuthalf choked with spleen and ragewithdrewin full resolution of performing some great achievement. With himfor his aid and companionhe took his beloved Wottonresolvingby policy or surprise to attempt some neglected quarterof theAncients' army. They began their march over carcases oftheirslaughtered friends; then to the right of their own forces;thenwheeled northwardtill they came to Aldrovandus's tombwhichtheypassed on the side of the declining sun. And now theyarrivedwith feartoward the enemy's out-guardslooking aboutif haplythey might spy the quarters of the woundedor somestragglingsleepersunarmed and remote from the rest. As when twomongrelcurswhom native greediness and domestic want provoke andjoin inpartnershipthough fearfulnightly to invade the folds ofsome richgraziertheywith tails depressed and lolling tonguescreep softand slow. Meanwhile the conscious moonnow in herzenithontheir guilty heads darts perpendicular rays; nor darethey barkthough much provoked at her refulgent visagewhetherseen inpuddle by reflection or in sphere direct; but one surveysthe regionroundwhile the other scouts the plainif haply todiscoverat distance from the flocksome carcase half devouredthe refuseof gorged wolves or ominous ravens. So marched thislovelyloving pair of friendsnor with less fear andcircumspectionwhen at a distance they might perceive two shiningsuits ofarmour hanging upon an oakand the owners not far off ina profoundsleep. The two friends drew lotsand the pursuing ofthisadventure fell to Bentley; on he wentand in his vanConfusionand Amazewhile Horror and Affright brought up the rear. As he camenearbehold two heroes of the Ancient armyPhalarisand AEsoplay fast asleep. Bentley would fain have despatchedthem bothandstealing closeaimed his flail at Phalaris'sbreast;but then the goddess Affrightinterposingcaught theModern inher icy armsand dragged him from the danger sheforesaw;both the dormant heroes happened to turn at the sameinstantthough soundly sleepingand busy in a dream. ForPhalariswas just that minute dreaming how a most vile poetasterhadlampooned himand how he had got him roaring in his bull. AndAEsopdreamed that as he and the Ancient were lying on the grounda wild assbroke looseran abouttrampling and kicking in theirfaces. Bentleyleaving the two heroes asleepseized on boththeirarmoursand withdrew in quest of his darling Wotton.
Hein themeantimehad wandered long in search of someenterprisetill at length he arrived at a small rivulet thatissuedfrom a fountain hard bycalledin the language of mortalmenHelicon. Here he stoppedandparched with thirstresolvedto allayit in this limpid stream. Thrice with profane hands heessayed toraise the water to his lipsand thrice it slipped allthroughhis fingers. Then he stopped prone on his breastbuterehis mouthhad kissed the liquid crystalApollo cameand in thechannelheld his shield betwixt the Modern and the fountainsothat hedrew up nothing but mud. Foralthough no fountain onearth cancompare with the clearness of Heliconyet there lies atbottom athick sediment of slime and mud; for so Apollo begged ofJupiteras a punishment to those who durst attempt to taste itwithunhallowed lipsand for a lesson to all not to draw too deepor farfrom the spring.
At thefountain-head Wotton discerned two heroes; the one he couldnotdistinguishbut the other was soon known for Templegeneralof theallies to the Ancients. His back was turnedand he wasemployedin drinking large draughts in his helmet from thefountainwhere he had withdrawn himself to rest from the toils ofthe war. Wottonobserving himwith quaking knees and tremblinghandsspoke thus to himself: O that I could kill this destroyerof ourarmywhat renown should I purchase among the chiefs! but toissue outagainst himman against manshield against shieldandlanceagainst lancewhat Modern of us dare? for he fights like agodandPallas or Apollo are ever at his elbow. ButO mother! ifwhat Famereports be truethat I am the son of so great a goddessgrant meto hit Temple with this lancethat the stroke may sendhim tohelland that I may return in safety and triumphladenwith hisspoils. The first part of this prayer the gods granted attheintercession of his mother and of Momus; but the restby aperversewind sent from Fatewas scattered in the air. ThenWottongrasped his lanceandbrandishing it thrice over his headdarted itwith all his might; the goddesshis motherat the sametimeadding strength to his arm. Away the lance went hizzingandreachedeven to the belt of the averted Ancientupon whichlightlygrazingit fell to the ground. Temple neither felt theweapontouch him nor heard it fall: and Wotton might have escapedto hisarmywith the honour of having remitted his lance againstso great aleader unrevenged; but Apolloenraged that a javelinflung bythe assistance of so foul a goddess should pollute hisfountainput on the shape of -and softly came to young Boylewho thenaccompanied Temple: he pointed first to the lancethento thedistant Modern that flung itand commanded the young heroto takeimmediate revenge. Boyleclad in a suit of armour whichhad beengiven him by all the godsimmediately advanced againstthetrembling foewho now fled before him. As a young lion in theLibyanplainsor Araby desertsent by his aged sire to hunt forpreyorhealthor exercisehe scours alongwishing to meet sometiger fromthe mountainsor a furious boar; if chance a wild asswithbrayings importuneaffronts his earthe generous beastthoughloathing to distain his claws with blood so vileyetmuchprovokedat the offensive noisewhich Echofoolish nymphlikeherill-judging sexrepeats much louderand with more delightthanPhilomela's songhe vindicates the honour of the forestandhunts thenoisy long-eared animal. So Wotton fledso Boylepursued. But Wottonheavy-armedand slow of footbegan to slackhiscoursewhen his lover Bentley appearedreturning laden withthe spoilsof the two sleeping Ancients. Boyle observed him welland soondiscovering the helmet and shield of Phalaris his friendboth whichhe had lately with his own hands new polished and giltragesparkled in his eyesandleaving his pursuit after Wottonhefuriously rushed on against this new approacher. Fain would heberevenged on both; but both now fled different ways: andas awoman in alittle house that gets a painful livelihood by spinningif chanceher geese be scattered o'er the commonshe courses roundthe plainfrom side to sidecompelling here and there thestragglersto the flock; they cackle loudand flutter o'er thechampaign;so Boyle pursuedso fled this pair of friends: findingat lengththeir flight was vainthey bravely joinedand drewthemselvesin phalanx. First Bentley threw a spear with all hisforcehoping to pierce the enemy's breast; but Pallas came unseenand in theair took off the pointand clapped on one of leadwhichafter a dead bang against the enemy's shieldfell bluntedto theground. Then Boyleobserving well his timetook up alance ofwondrous length and sharpness; andas this pair offriendscompactedstood close side by sidehe wheeled him to therightandwith unusual forcedarted the weapon. Bentley saw hisfateapproachand flanking down his arms close to his ribshopingto savehis bodyin went the pointpassing through arm and sidenorstopped or spent its force till it had also pierced the valiantWottonwhogoing to sustain his dying friendshared his fate. As when askilful cook has trussed a brace of woodcockshe withironskewer pierces the tender sides of boththeir legs and wingsclosepinioned to the rib; so was this pair of friends transfixedtill downthey felljoined in their livesjoined in their deaths;so closelyjoined that Charon would mistake them both for oneandwaft themover Styx for half his fare. Farewellbelovedlovingpair; fewequals have you left behind: and happy and immortalshall youbeif all my wit and eloquence can make you.
And now. .. .
ACCORDINGTO THE STYLE AND MANNER OF THE HON. ROBERT BOYLE'SMEDITATIONS.
THISsingle stickwhich you now behold ingloriously lying in thatneglectedcornerI once knew in a flourishing state in a forest. It wasfull of sapfull of leavesand full of boughs; but now invain doesthe busy art of man pretend to vie with natureby tyingthatwithered bundle of twigs to its sapless trunk; it is now atbest butthe reverse of what it wasa tree turned upside-downthebrancheson the earthand the root in the air; it is now handledby everydirty wenchcondemned to do her drudgeryandby acapriciouskind of fatedestined to make other things cleanandbe nastyitself; at lengthworn to the stumps in the service ofthe maidsit is either thrown out of doors or condemned to thelast use -of kindling a fire. When I behold this I sighedandsaidwithin myself"Surely mortal man is a broomstick!" Naturesent himinto the world strong and lustyin a thriving conditionwearinghis own hair on his headthe proper branches of thisreasoningvegetabletill the axe of intemperance has lopped offhis greenboughsand left him a withered trunk; he then flies toartandputs on a periwigvaluing himself upon an unnaturalbundle ofhairsall covered with powderthat never grew on hishead; butnow should this our broomstick pretend to enter thesceneproud of those birchen spoils it never boreand all coveredwith dustthrough the sweepings of the finest lady's chamberweshould beapt to ridicule and despise its vanity. Partial judgesthat weare of our own excellenciesand other men's defaults!
But abroomstickperhaps you will sayis an emblem of a treestandingon its head; and pray what is a man but a topsy-turvycreaturehis animal faculties perpetually mounted on his rationalhis headwhere his heels should begrovelling on the earth? Andyetwithall his faultshe sets up to be a universal reformer andcorrectorof abusesa remover of grievancesrakes into everyslut'scorner of naturebringing hidden corruptions to the lightand raisesa mighty dust where there was none beforesharingdeeply allthe while in the very same pollutions he pretends tosweepaway. His last days are spent in slavery to womenandgenerallythe least deserving; tillworn to the stumpslike hisbrotherbesomhe is either kicked out of doorsor made use of tokindleflames for others to warm themselves by.
WHEREINTHE MONTHAND DAY OF THE MONTH ARE SET DOWNTHE PERSONSNAMEDANDTHE GREAT ACTIONS AND EVENTS OF NEXT YEAR PARTICULARLYRELATED ASWILL COME TO PASS.
WRITTEN TOPREVENT THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND FROM BEING FARTHER IMPOSEDON BYVULGAR ALMANACK-MAKERS.
I HAVElong considered the gross abuse of astrology in thiskingdomand upon debating the matter with myselfI could notpossiblylay the fault upon the artbut upon those gross impostorswho set upto be the artists. I know several learned men havecontendedthat the whole is a cheat; that it is absurd andridiculousto imagine the stars can have any influence at all uponhumanactionsthoughtsor inclinations; and whoever has not benthisstudies that way may be excused for thinking sowhen he seesin howwretched a manner that noble art is treated by a few meanilliteratetraders between us and the starswho import a yearlystock ofnonsenseliesfollyand impertinencewhich they offerto theworld as genuine from the planetsthough they descend fromno greatera height than their own brains.
I intendin a short time to publish a large and rational defence ofthis artand therefore shall say no more in its justification atpresentthan that it hath been in all ages defended by many learnedmenandamong the rest by Socrates himselfwhom I look upon asundoubtedlythe wisest of uninspired mortals: to which if we addthat thosewho have condemned this artthough otherwise learnedhavingbeen such as either did not apply their studies this wayorat leastdid not succeed in their applicationstheir testimonywill notbe of much weight to its disadvantagesince they areliable tothe common objection of condemning what they did notunderstand.
Nor am Iat all offendedor think it an injury to the artwhen Isee thecommon dealers in itthe students in astrologythePhilomathsand the rest of that tribetreated by wise men withthe utmostscorn and contempt; but rather wonderwhen I observegentlemenin the countryrich enough to serve the nation inParliamentporing in Partridge's Almanack to find out the eventsof theyear at home and abroadnot daring to propose a hunting-match tillGadbury or he have fixed the weather.
I willallow either of the two I have mentionedor any other ofthefraternityto he not only astrologersbut conjurers tooif Ido notproduce a hundred instances in all their almanacks toconvinceany reasonable man that they do not so much as understandcommongrammar and syntax; that they are not able to spell any wordout of theusual roadnor even in their prefaces write commonsense orintelligible English. Then for their observations andpredictionsthey are such as will equally suit any age or countryin theworld. "This month a certain great person. will bethreatenedwith death or sickness." This the newspapers will tellthem; forthere we find at the end of the year that no month passeswithoutthe death of some person of note; and it would be hard ifit shouldbe otherwisewhen there are at least two thousandpersons ofnote in this kingdommany of them oldand thealmanack-makerhas the liberty of choosing the sickliest season ofthe yearwhere lie may fix his prediction. Again"This month aneminentclergyman will be preferred;" of which there may be somehundredshalf of them with one foot in the grave. Then "such aplanet insuch a house shows great machinationsplotsandconspiraciesthat may in time be brought to light:" after whichif we hearof any discoverythe astrologer gets the honour; ifnothisprediction still stands good. And at last"God preserveKingWilliam from all his open and secret enemiesAmen." Whenifthe Kingshould happen to have diedthe astrologer plainlyforetoldit; otherwise it passes but for the pious ejaculation of aloyalsubject; though it unluckily happened in some of theiralmanacksthat poor King William was prayed for many months afterhe wasdeadbecause it fell out that he died about the beginningof theyear.
To mentionno more of their impertinent predictions: what have weto do withtheir advertisements about pills and drink for disease?or theirmutual quarrels in verse and prose of Whig and Torywherewiththe stars have little to do?
Havinglong observed and lamented theseand a hundred other abusesof thisarttoo tedious to repeatI resolved to proceed in a newwaywhichI doubt not will be to the general satisfaction of thekingdom. I can this year produce but a specimen of what I designfor thefuturehaving employed most part of my time in adjustingandcorrecting the calculations I made some years pastbecause Iwouldoffer nothing to the world of which I am not as fullysatisfiedas that I am now alive. For these two last years I havenot failedin above one or two particularsand those of no verygreatmoment. I exactly foretold the miscarriage at Toulonwithall itsparticularsand the loss of Admiral Shovelthough I wasmistakenas to the dayplacing that accident about thirty-sixhourssooner than it happened; but upon reviewing my schemesIquicklyfound the cause of that error. I likewise foretold theBattle ofAlmanza to the very day and hourwith the lose on bothsidesandthe consequences thereof. All which I showed to somefriendsmany months before they happened - that isI gave thempaperssealed upto open at such a timeafter which they were atliberty toread them; and there they found my predictions true ineveryarticleexcept one or two very minute.
As for thefew following predictions I now offer the worldIforbore topublish them till I had perused the several almanacksfor theyear we are now entered on. I find them all in the usualstrainand I beg the reader will compare their manner with mine. And here Imake bold to tell the world that I lay the whole creditof my artupon the truth of these predictions; and I will becontentthat Partridgeand the rest of his clanmay hoot me for acheat andimpostor if I fail in any single particular of moment. Ibelieveany man who reads this paper will look upon me to be atleast aperson of as much honesty and understanding as a commonmaker ofalmanacks. I do not lurk in the dark; 1 am not whollyunknown inthe world; I have set my name at lengthto be a mark ofinfamy tomankindif they shall find I deceive them.
In onething I must desire to be forgiventhat I talk moresparinglyof home affairs. As it will be imprudence to discoversecrets ofStateso it would be dangerous to my person; but insmallermattersand that are not of public consequenceI shall bevery free;and the truth of my conjectures will as much appear fromthose asthe others. As for the most signal events abroadinFranceFlandersItalyand SpainI shall make no scruple topredictthem in plain terms. Some of them are of importanceand Ihope Ishall seldom mistake the day they will happen; therefore Ithink goodto inform the reader that I all along make use of theOld Styleobserved in Englandwhich I desire he will compare withthat ofthe newspapers at the time they relate the actions Imention.
I must addone word more. I know it hath been the opinion ofseveral ofthe learnedwho think well enough of the true art ofastrologythat the stars do only inclineand not force theactions orwills of menand thereforehowever I may proceed byrightrulesyet I cannot in prudence so confidently assure theeventswill follow exactly as I predict them.
I hope Ihave maturely considered this objectionwhich in somecases isof no little weight. For example: a man mayby theinfluenceof an over-ruling planetbe disposed or inclined tolustrageor avariceand yet by the force of reason overcomethat badinfluence; and this was the case of Socrates. But as thegreatevents of the world usually depend upon numbers of menitcannot beexpected they should all unite to cross theirinclinationsfrom pursuing a general design wherein theyunanimouslyagree. Besidesthe influence of the stars reaches tomanyactions and events which are not any way in the power ofreasonassicknessdeathand what we commonly call accidentswith manymoreneedless to repeat.
But now itis time to proceed to my predictionswhich I have beguntocalculate from the time that the sun enters into Aries. Andthis Itake to be properly the beginning of the natural year. Ipursuethem to the time that he enters Libraor somewhat morewhich isthe busy period of the year. The remainder I have not yetadjustedupon account of several impediments needless here tomention. BesidesI must remind the reader again that this is buta specimenof what I design in succeeding years to treat more atlargeifI may have liberty and encouragement.
My firstprediction is but a trifleyet I will mention itto showhowignorant those sottish pretenders to astrology are in their ownconcerns. It relates to Partridgethe almanack-maker. I haveconsultedthe stars of his nativity by my own rulesand find hewillinfallibly die upon the 29th of March nextabout eleven atnightofa raging fever; therefore I advise him to consider of itand settlehis affairs in time.
The monthof APRIL will be observable for the death of many greatpersons. On the 4th will die the Cardinal de NoaillesArchbishopof Paris;on the 11ththe young Prince of Asturiasson to theDuke ofAnjou; on the 14tha great peer of this realm will die athiscountry house; on the 19than old layman of great fame forlearningand on the 23rdan eminent goldsmith in Lombard Street. I couldmention othersboth at home and abroadif I did notconsiderit is of very little use or instruction to the readerorto theworld.
As topublic affairs: On the 7th of this month there will be aninsurrectionin Dauphinyoccasioned by the oppressions of thepeoplewhich will not be quieted in some months.
On the15th will be a violent storm on the south-east coast ofFrancewhich will destroy many of their shipsand some in theveryharbour.
The 11thwill be famous for the revolt of a whole province orkingdomexcepting one cityby which the affairs of a certainprince inthe Alliance will take a better face.
MAYagainst common conjectureswill be no very busy month inEuropebut very signal for the death of the Dauphinwhich willhappen onthe 7thafter a short fit of sicknessand grievoustormentswith the strangury. He dies less lamented by the Courtthan thekingdom.
On the 9tha Marshal of France will break his leg by a fall fromhishorse. I have not been able to discover whether he will thendie ornot.
On the11th will begin a most important siegewhich the eyes ofall Europewill be upon: I cannot be more particularfor inrelatingaffairs that so nearly concern the Confederatesandconsequentlythis kingdomI am forced to confine myself forseveralreasons very obvious to the reader.
On the15th news will arrive of a very surprising eventthan whichnothingcould be more unexpected.
On the19th three noble ladies of this kingdom willagainst allexpectationprove with childto the great joy of their husbands.
On the23rd a famous buffoon of the playhouse will die a ridiculousdeathsuitable to his vocation.
JUNE. This month will be distinguished at home by the utterdispersingof those ridiculous deluded enthusiasts commonly calledtheProphetsoccasioned chiefly by seeing the time come that manyof theirprophecies should be fulfilledand then findingthemselvesdeceived by contrary events. It is indeed to be admiredhow anydeceiver can be so weak to foretell things near at handwhen avery few months must of necessity discover the impostor toall theworld; in this point less prudent than common almanack-makerswho are so wise to wonder in generalsand talk dubiouslyand leaveto the reader the business of interpreting.
On the 1stof this month a French general will be killed by arandomshot of a cannon-ball.
On the 6tha fire will break out in the suburbs of Pariswhichwilldestroy above a thousand housesand seems to be theforebodingof what will happento the surprise of all Europeabout theend of the following month.
On the10th a great battle will be foughtwhich will begin at fourof theclock in the afternoonand last till nine at night withgreatobstinacybut no very decisive event. I shall not name theplaceforthe reasons aforesaidbut the commanders on each leftwing willbe killed. I see bonfires and hear the noise of guns fora victory.
On the14th there will be a false report of the French king'sdeath.
On the20th Cardinal Portocarero will die of a dysenterywithgreatsuspicion of poisonbut the report of his intention torevolt toKing Charles will prove false.
JULY. The 6th of this month a certain general willby a gloriousactionrecover the reputation he lost by former misfortunes.
On the12th a great commander will die a prisoner in the hands ofhisenemies.
On the14th a shameful discovery will be made of a French Jesuitgivingpoison to a great foreign general; and when he is put to thetorturewill make wonderful discoveries.
In shortthis will prove a month of great actionif I might haveliberty torelate the particulars.
At homethe death of an old famous senator will happen on the 15that hiscountry houseworn with age and diseases.
But thatwhich will make this month memorable to all posterity isthe deathof the French kingLouis the Fourteenthafter a week'ssicknessat Marliwhich will happen on the 29thabout six o'clockin theevening. It seems to be an effect of the gout in hisstomachfollowed by a flux. And in three days after MonsieurChamillardwill follow his masterdying suddenly of an apoplexy.
In thismonth likewise an ambassador will die in Londonbut Icannotassign the day.
AUGUST. The affairs of France will seem to suffer no change for awhileunder the Duke of Burgundy's administration; but the geniusthatanimated the whole machine being gonewill be the cause ofmightyturns and revolutions in the following year. The new kingmakes yetlittle change either in the army or the Ministrybut thelibelsagainst his grandfatherthat fly about his very Courtgivehimuneasiness.
I see anexpress in mighty hastewith joy and wonder in his looksarrivingby break of day on the 26th of this monthhavingtravelledin three days a prodigious journey by land and sea. Intheevening I hear bells and gunsand see the blazing of athousandbonfires.
A youngadmiral of noble birth does likewise this month gainimmortalhonour by a great achievement.
Theaffairs of Poland are this month entirely settled; Augustusresignshis pretensions which he had again taken up for some time: Stanislausis peaceably possessed of the throneand the King ofSwedendeclares for the emperor.
I cannotomit one particular accident here at home: that near theend ofthis month much mischief will be done at Bartholomew Fair bythe fallof a booth.
SEPTEMBER. This month begins with a very surprising fit of frostyweatherwhich will last near twelve days.
The Popehaving long languished last monththe swellings in hislegsbreakingand the flesh mortifyingwill die on the 11thinstant;and in three weeks' timeafter a mighty contestbesucceededby a cardinal of the Imperial factionbut native ofTuscanywho is now about sixty-one years old.
The Frencharmy acts now wholly on the defensivestronglyfortifiedin their trenchesand the young French king sendsoverturesfor a treaty of peace by the Duke of Mantua; whichbecause itis a matter of State that concerns us here at homeIshallspeak no farther of it.
I shalladd but one prediction moreand that in mystical termswhichshall be included in a verse out of Virgil -
ALTER ERITJAM TETHYSET ALTERA QUAE VEHAT ARGODELECTOSHEROAS.
Upon the25th day of this monththe fulfilling of this predictionwill bemanifest to everybody.
This isthe farthest I have proceeded in my calculations for thepresentyear. I do not pretend that these are all the great eventswhich willhappen in this periodbut that those I have set downwillinfallibly come to pass. It will perhaps still be objectedwhy I havenot spoken more particularly of affairs at homeor ofthesuccess of our armies abroadwhich I mightand could verylargelyhave done; but those in power have wisely discouraged menfrommeddling in public concernsand I was resolved by no means togive theleast offence. This I will venture to saythat it willbe aglorious campaign for the Allieswherein the English forcesboth bysea and landwill have their full share of honour; thatHerMajesty Queen Anne will continue in health and prosperity; andthat noill accident will arrive to any in the chief Ministry.
As to theparticular events I have mentionedthe readers may judgeby thefulfilling of themwhether I am on the level with commonastrologerswhowith an old paltry cantand a few pothooks forplanetsto amuse the vulgarhavein my opiniontoo long beensufferedto abuse the world. But an honest physician ought not tobedespised because there are such things as mountebanks. I hope Ihave someshare of reputationwhich I would not willingly forfeitfor afrolic or humour; and I believe no gentleman who reads thispaper willlook upon it to be of the same cast or mould with thecommonscribblers that are every day hawked about. My fortune hasplaced meabove the little regard of scribbling for a few pencewhich Ineither value nor want; thereforelet no wise man toohastilycondemn this essayintended for a good designtocultivateand improve an ancient art long in disgraceby havingfalleninto mean and unskilful hands. A little time will determinewhether Ihave deceived others or myself; and I think it is no veryunreasonablerequest that men would please to suspend theirjudgmentstill then. I was once of the opinion with those whodespiseall predictions from the starstill in the year 1686 a manof qualityshowed mewritten in his albumthat the most learnedastronomerCaptain H-assured himhe would never believeanythingof the stars' influence if there were not a greatrevolutionin England in the year 1688. Since that time I began tohave otherthoughtsand after eighteen years' diligent study andapplicationI think I have no reason to repent of my pains. Ishalldetain the reader no longer than to let him know that theaccount Idesign to give of next year's events shall take in theprincipalaffairs that happen in Europe; and if I be denied theliberty ofoffering it to my own countryI shall appeal to thelearnedworldby publishing it in Latinand giving order to haveit printedin Holland.
BEING ANACCOUNT OF THE DEATH OF MR. PARTRIDGETHEALMANACK-MAKERUPON THE 29TH INSTANT.IN ALETTER TO A PERSON OF HONOUR; WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1708.
MY LORD-In obedience to your lordship's commandsas well as tosatisfy myown curiosityI have for some days past inquiredconstantlyafter Partridge the almanack-makerof whom it wasforetoldin Mr. Bickerstaff's predictionspublished about a monthagothathe should die the 29th instantabout eleven at nightofa ragingfever. I had some sort of knowledge of him when I wasemployedin the Revenuebecause he used every year to present mewith hisalmanackas he did other gentlemenupon the score ofsomelittle gratuity we gave him. I saw him accidentally once ortwiceabout ten days before he diedand observed he began verymuch todroop and languishthough I hear his friends did not seemtoapprehend him in any danger. About two or three days ago hegrew illwas confined first to his chamberand in a few hoursafter tohis bedwhere Dr. Case and Mrs. Kirleus were sent fortovisit andto prescribe to him. Upon this intelligence I sentthriceevery day one servant or other to inquire after his health;andyesterdayabout four in the afternoonword was brought methat hewas past hopes; upon whichI prevailed with myself to goand seehimpartly out of commiserationand I confesspartly outofcuriosity. He knew me very wellseemed surprised at mycondescensionand made me compliments upon it as well as he couldin thecondition he was. The people about him said he had been forsome timedelirious; but when I saw himhe had his understandingas well asever I knewand spoke strong and heartywithout anyseeminguneasiness or constraint. After I had told him how sorry Iwas to seehim in those melancholy circumstancesand said someothercivilities suitable to the occasionI desired him to tell mefreely andingenuouslywhether the predictions Mr. Bickerstaff hadpublishedrelating to his death had not too much affected andworked onhis imagination. He confessed he had often had it in hisheadbutnever with much apprehensiontill about a fortnightbefore;since which time it had the perpetual possession of hismind andthoughtsand he did verily believe was the true naturalcause ofhis present distemper: "For" said he"I amthoroughlypersuadedand I think I have very good reasonsthat Mr.Bickerstaffspoke altogether by guessand knew no more what willhappenthis year than I did myself." I told him his discoursesurprisedmeand I would be glad he were in a state of health tobe able totell me what reason he had to be convinced of Mr.Bickerstaff'signorance. He replied"I am a poorignorantfollowbred to a mean tradeyet I have sense enough to know thatallpretences of foretelling by astrology are deceitsfor thismanifestreasonbecause the wise and the learnedwho can onlyknowwhether there be any truth in this sciencedo all unanimouslyagree tolaugh at and despise it; and none but the poor ignorantvulgargive it any creditand that only upon the word of suchsillywretches as I and my fellowswho can hardly write or read." I thenasked him why he had not calculated his own nativityto seewhether itagreed with Bickerstaff's predictionat which he shookhis headand said"Ohsirthis is no time for jestingbut forrepentingthose fooleriesas I do now from the very bottom of myheart." "By what I can gather from you" said I"theobservationsandpredictions you printed with your almanacks were mereimpositionson the people." He replied"If it were otherwise Ishouldhave the less to answer for. We have a common form for allthosethings; as to foretelling the weatherwe never meddle withthatbutleave it to the printerwho takes it out of any oldalmanackas he thinks fit; the rest was my own inventionto makemyalmanack sellhaving a wife to maintainand no other way toget mybread; for mending old shoes is a poor livelihood; and"added hesighing"I wish I may not have done more mischief by myphysicthan my astrology; though I had some good receipts from mygrandmotherand my own compositions were such as I thought couldat leastdo no hurt."
I had someother discourse with himwhich now I cannot call tomind; andI fear I have already tired your lordship. I shall onlyadd onecircumstancethat on his death-bed he declared himself aNonconformistand had a fanatic preacher to be his spiritualguide. After half an hour's conversation I took my leavebeinghalfstifled by the closeness of the room. I imagined he could nothold outlongand therefore withdrew to a little coffee-house hardbyleaving a servant at the house with orders to come immediatelyand tellmeas nearly as he couldthe minute when Partridgeshouldexpirewhich was not above two hours afterwhenlookingupon mywatchI found it to be above five minutes after seven; bywhich itis clear that Mr. Bickerstaff was mistaken almost fourhours inhis calculation. In the other circumstances he was exactenough. Butwhether he has not been the cause of this poor man'sdeathaswell as the predictormay be very reasonably disputed. Howeverit must be confessed the matter is odd enoughwhether weshouldendeavour to account for it by chanceor the effect ofimagination. For my own partthough I believe no man has lessfaith inthese mattersyet I shall wait with some impatienceandnotwithout some expectationthe fulfilling of Mr. Bickerstaff'ssecondpredictionthat the Cardinal do Noailles is to die upon the4th ofApriland if that should be verified as exactly as this ofpoorPartridgeI must own I should be wholly surprisedand at alossandshould infallibly expect the accomplishment of all therest.
IN ancienttimesas story tellsThe saintswould often leave their cellsAnd strollaboutbut hide their qualityTo trygood people's hospitality.Ithappened on a winter nightAs authorsof the legend writeTwobrother hermitssaints by tradeTakingtheir tour in masqueradeDisguisedin tattered habitswentTo a smallvillage down in Kent;Whereinthe strollers' canting strainTheybegged from door to door in vain;Triedevery tone might pity winBut not asoul would let them in.Ourwandering saints in woeful stateTreated atthis ungodly rateHavingthrough all the village passedTo a smallcottage came at lastWheredwelt a good honest old yeomanCalledinthe neighbourhoodPhilemonWho kindlydid these saints inviteIn hispoor hut to pass the night;And thenthe hospitable SireBid goodyBaucis mend the fire;While hefrom out the chimney tookA flitchof bacon off the hookAnd freelyfrom the fattest sideCut outlarge slices to be fried;Thenstepped aside to fetch 'em drinkFilled alarge jug up to the brinkAnd saw itfairly twice go round;Yet (whatis wonderful) they found'Twasstill replenished to the topAs if theyne'er had touched a dropThe goodold couple were amazedAnd oftenon each other gazed;For bothwere frightened to the heartAnd justbegan to cry- What art!Thensoftly turned aside to viewWhetherthe lights were burning blue.The gentlepilgrims soon aware on'tTold 'emtheir callingand their errant;"Goodfolksyou need not be afraidWe are butsaints" the hermits said;"Nohurt shall come to you or yours;Butforthat pack of churlish boorsNot fit tolive on Christian groundThey andtheir houses shall be drowned;Whilst youshall see your cottage riseAnd grow achurch before your eyes."Theyscarce had spoke; when fair and softThe roofbegan to mount aloft;Aloft roseevery beam and rafterThe heavywall climbed slowly after.Thechimney widenedand grew higherBecame asteeple with a spire.The kettleto the top was hoistAnd therestood fastened to a joist;But withthe upside downto showItsinclination for below.In vain;for a superior forceApplied atbottomstops its coarseDoomedever in suspense to dwell'Tis nowno kettlebut a bell.A woodenjackwhich had almostLostbydisusethe art to roastA suddenalteration feelsIncreasedby new intestine wheels;And whatexalts the wonder moreThe numbermade the motion slower.The flyerthough 't had leaden feetTurnedround so quickyou scarce could see 't;Butslackened by some secret powerNow hardlymoves an inch an hour.The jackand chimney near alliedHad neverleft each other's side;Thechimney to a steeple grownThe jackwould not be left alone;But upagainst the steeple rearedBecame aclockand still adhered;And stillits love to household caresBy ashrill voice at noon declaresWarningthe cook-maid not to burnThat roastmeat which it cannot turn.Thegroaning chair began to crawlLike ahuge snail along the wall;Therestuck aloft in public view;And withsmall change a pulpit grew.Theporringersthat in a rowHung highand made a glittering showTo a lessnoble substance changedWere nowbut leathern buckets ranged.Theballads pasted on the wallOf Joan ofFranceand English MollFairRosamondand Robin HoodThe LittleChildren in the WoodNow seemedto look abundance betterImprovedin picturesizeand letter;And highin order placeddescribeTheheraldry of every tribe.A bedsteadof the antique modeCompact oftimbermany a loadSuch asour ancestors did useWasmetamorphosed into pews:Whichstill their ancient nature keepBy lodgingfolks disposed to sleep.Thecottageby such feats as theseGrown to achurch by just degreesThehermits then desired their hostTo ask forwhat he fancied most.Philemonhaving paused a whileReturned'em thanks in homely style;Then said"My house is grown so fineMethinks Istill would call it mine:I'm oldand fain would live at easeMake methe Parsonif you please."He spokeand presently he feelsHisgrazier's coat fall down his heels;He seesyet hardly can believeAbout eacharm a pudding sleeve;Hiswaistcoat to a cassock grewAnd bothassumed a sable hue;But beingoldcontinued justAsthread-bareand as full of dust.His talkwas now of tithes and dues;He smokedhis pipe and read the news;Knew howto preach old sermons nextVamped inthe preface and the text;Atchristenings well could act his partAnd hadthe service all by heart;Wishedwomen might have children fastAndthought whose sow had farrowed lastAgainstDissenters would repineAnd stoodup firm for Right divine.Found hishead filled with many a systemButclassic authors- he ne'er missed 'em.Thushaving furbished up a parsonDameBaucis next they played their farce on.Instead ofhome-spun coifs were seenGoodpinners edg'd with colberteen;Herpetticoat transformed apaceBecameblack satin flounced with lace.PlainGoody would no longer down'TwasMadamin her grogram gown.Philemonwas in great surpriseAnd hardlycould believe his eyesAmazed tosee her look so prim;And sheadmired as much at him.Thushappy in their change of lifeWereseveral years this man and wife;When on adaywhich proved their lastDiscoursingo'er old stories pastThey wentby chance amidst their talkTo thechurch yard to take a walk;WhenBaucis hastily cried out"MydearI see your forehead sprout!""Sprout"quoth the man"what's this you tell us?I hope youdon't believe me jealousBut yetmethinksI feel it true;Andreallyyours is budding too -Nay- nowI cannot stir my foot;It feelsas if 'twere taking root."Descriptionwould but tire my Muse;In shortthey both were turned to Yews.OldGoodman Dobson of the greenRemembershe the trees has seen;He'll talkof them from noon till nightAnd goeswith folks to show the sight;OnSundaysafter evening prayerHe gathersall the parish therePoints outthe place of either Yew:HereBaucisthere Philemon grewTill oncea parson of our townTo mendhis barncut Baucis down;At which'tis hard to be believedHow muchthe other tree was grievedGrowscrubbydied a-topwas stunted:So thenext parson stubbed and burnt it.
LOGICIANShave but ill definedAsrationalthe human kind;Reasonthey saybelongs to manBut letthem prove itif they can.WiseAristotle and SmiglesiusByratiocinations speciousHavestrove to prove with great precisionWithdefinition and divisionHOMO ESTRATIONE PRAEDITUM;Butformy soulI cannot credit 'em.And mustin spite of themmaintainThat manand all his ways are vain;And thatthis boasted lord of natureIs both aweak and erring creature.Thatinstinct is a surer guideThanreason-boasting mortals pride;Andthatbrute beasts are far before 'emDEUS ESTANIMA BRUTORUM.Whoeverknew an honest bruteAt law hisneighbour prosecuteBringaction for assault and batteryOr friendbeguile with lies and flattery?O'erplains they ramble unconfinedNopolitics disturb their mind;They eattheir mealsand take their sportNor knowwho's in or out at court.They neverto the levee goTo treatas dearest friend a foe;They neverimportune his graceNor evercringe to men in place;Norundertake a dirty jobNor drawthe quill to write for Bob.Fraughtwith invective they ne'er goTo folksat Paternoster Row:No judgesfiddlersdancing-mastersNopickpocketsor poetastersAre knownto honest quadrupeds:No singlebrute his fellows leads.Brutesnever meet in bloody frayNor cuteach others' throats for pay.Of beastsit is confessedthe apeComesnearest us in human shape;Like manhe imitates each fashionAnd maliceis his ruling passion:Butbothin malice and grimacesA courtierany ape surpasses.Behold himhumbly cringing waitUpon theminister of state;View himsoon afterto inferiorsAping theconduct of superiors:Hepromiseswith equal airAnd toperform takes equal care.Hein histurnfinds imitatorsAt courtthe porterslacqueyswaitersTheirmasters' manners still contractAndfootmenlordsand dukes can act.Thusatthe courtboth great and smallBehavealikefor all ape all.
THE lifeof man to representAnd turnit all to ridiculeWit did apuppet-show inventWhere thechief actor is a fool.
The godsof old were logs of woodAndworship was to puppets paid;In anticdress the idol stoodAndpriests and people bowed the head.
No wonderthenif art beganThe simplevotaries to frameTo shapein timber foolish manAndconsecrate the block to fame.
From hencepoetic fancy learnedThat treesmight rise from human formsThe bodyto a trunk be turnedAndbranches issue from the arms.
ThusDaedalus and Ovid tooThat man'sa blockhead have confessedPowel andStretch the hint pursue;Life isthe farcethe world a jest.
The samegreat truth South Sea hath provedOn thatfamed theatrethe allyWherethousands by directors movedAre nowsad monuments of folly.
What Momuswas of old to JoveThe sameharlequin is now;The formerwas buffoon aboveThe latteris a Punch below.
Thisfleeting scene is but a stageWherevarious images appearIndifferent parts of youth and ageAlike theprince and peasant share.
Some drawour eyes by being greatFalse pompconceals mere wood withinAndlegislators rang'd in stateAre oftbut wisdom in machine.
A stockmay chance to wear a crownAnd timberas a lord take placeA statuemay put on a frownAnd cheatus with a thinking face.
Others areblindly led awayAnd madeto act for ends unknownBy themere spring of wires they playAnd speakin language not their own.
Too oftalas! a scolding wifeUsurps ajolly fellow's throneAnd manydrink the cup of lifeMix'd andembittered by a Joan.
In shortwhatever men pursueOfpleasurefollywaror loveThismimic-race brings all to viewAlike theydressthey talkthey move.
Go ongreat Stretchwith artful handMortals toplease and to derideAnd whendeath breaks thy vital bandThou shaltput on a puppet's pride.
Thou shaltin puny wood be shownThy imageshall preserve thy fameAges tocome thy worth shall ownPoint atthy limbsand tell thy name.
Tell Tomhe draws a farce in vainBefore helooks in nature's glass;Punscannot form a witty sceneNorpedantry for humour pass.
To makemen act as senseless woodAndchatter in a mystic strainIs a mereforce on flesh and bloodAnd showssome error in the brain.
He thatwould thus refine on theeAnd turnthy stage into a schoolThe jestof Punch will ever beAnd standconfessed the greater fool.
THEshepherds and the nymphs were seenPleadingbefore the Cyprian Queen.Thecounsel for the fair beganAccusingthe false creatureman.The briefwith weighty crimes was chargedOn whichthe pleader much enlarged:That Cupidnow has lost his artOr bluntsthe point of every dart;His altarnow no longer smokes;Hismother's aid no youth invokes -Thistempts free-thinkers to refineAnd bringin doubt their powers divineNow loveis dwindled to intrigueAndmarriage grown a money-league.Whichcrimes aforesaid (with her leave)Were (ashe humbly did conceive)Againstour Sovereign Lady's peaceAgainstthe statutes in that caseAgainsther dignity and crown:Thenprayed an answer and sat down.
The nymphswith scorn beheld their foes:When thedefendant's counsel roseAndwhatno lawyer ever lackedWithimpudence owned all the fact.Butwhatthe gentlest heart would vexLaid allthe fault on t'other sex.Thatmodern love is no such thingAs whatthose ancient poets sing;A firecelestialchasterefinedConceivedand kindled in the mindWhichhaving found an equal flameUnitesand both become the sameIndifferent breasts together burnTogetherboth to ashes turn.But womennow feel no such fireAnd onlyknow the gross desire;Theirpassions move in lower spheresWhere'ercaprice or folly steers.A dogaparrotor an apeOr someworse brute in human shapeEngrossthe fancies of the fairThe fewsoft moments they can spareFromvisits to receive and payFromscandalpoliticsand playFrom fansand flouncesand brocadesFromequipage and park-paradesFrom allthe thousand female toysFrom everytrifle that employsThe out orinside of their headsBetweentheir toilets and their beds.In a dullstreamwhichmoving slowYou hardlysee the current flowIf a smallbreeze obstructs the courseIt whirlsabout for want of forceAnd in itsnarrow circle gathersNothingbut chaffand strawsand feathers:Thecurrent of a female mindStopsthusand turns with every wind;Thuswhirling roundtogether drawsFoolsfopsand rakesfor chaff and straws.Hence weconcludeno women's heartsAre won byvirtuewitand parts;Nor arethe men of sense to blameForbreasts incapable of flame:The faultmust on the nymphs be placedGrown socorrupted in their taste.Thepleader having spoke his bestHadwitness ready to attestWho fairlycould on oath deposeWhenquestions on the fact aroseThat everyarticle was true;NORFURTHER THOSE DEPONENTS KNEW:Thereforehe humbly would insistThe billmight be with costs dismissed.The causeappeared of so much weightThat Venusfrom the judgment-seatDesiredthem not to talk so loudElse shemust interpose a cloud:For if theheavenly folk should knowThesepleadings in the Courts belowThatmortals here disdain to loveShe ne'ercould show her face above.For godstheir bettersare too wiseTo valuethat which men despise."Andthen" said she"my son and IMuststroll in air 'twixt earth and sky:Or elseshut out from heaven and earthFly to theseamy place of birth;There livewith daggled mermaids pentAnd keepon fish perpetual Lent."But sincethe case appeared so niceShethought it best to take advice.The Musesby their king's permissionThoughfoes to loveattend the sessionAnd on theright hand took their placesIn order;on the leftthe Graces:To whomshe might her doubts proposeOn allemergencies that rose.The Musesoft were seen to frown;The Graceshalf ashamed look down;And 'twasobservedthere were but fewOf eithersexamong the crewWhom sheor her assessors knew.Thegoddess soon began to seeThingswere not ripe for a decreeAnd saidshe must consult her booksThelovers' FletasBractonsCokes.First to adapper clerk she beckonedTo turn toOvidbook the second;She thenreferred them to a placeIn Virgil(VIDE Dido's case);As forTibullus's reportsThey neverpassed for law in Courts:ForCowley's briefand pleas of WallerStilltheir authority is smaller.There wason both sides much to say;She'd hearthe cause another day;And so shedidand then a thirdShe heardit - there she kept her word;But withrejoinders and repliesLongbillsand answersstuffed with liesDemurimparlanceand essoignTheparties ne'er could issue join:Forsixteen years the cause was spunAnd thenstood where it first begun.Nowgentle Cliosing or sayWhat Venusmeant by this delay.Thegoddessmuch perplexed in mindTo see herempire thus declinedWhen firstthis grand debate aroseAbove herwisdom to composeConceiveda project in her headTo workher ends; whichif it spedWould showthe merits of the causeFar betterthan consulting laws.In a gladhour Lucina's aidProducedon earth a wondrous maidOn whomthe queen of love was bentTo try anew experiment.She threwher law-books on the shelfAnd thusdebated with herself:-"Sincemen allege they ne'er can findThosebeauties in a female mindWhichraise a flame that will endureFor everuncorrupt and pure;If 'tiswith reason they complainThisinfant shall restore my reign.I'llsearch where every virtue dwellsFromCourts inclusive down to cells.Whatpreachers talkor sages writeThese Iwill gather and uniteAndrepresent them to mankindCollectedin that infant's mind."This saidshe plucks in heaven's high bowersA sprig ofAmaranthine flowersIn nectarthrice infuses baysThreetimes refined in Titan's rays:Then callsthe Graces to her aidAndsprinkles thrice the now-born maid.Fromwhence the tender skin assumesAsweetness above all perfumes;Fromwhence a cleanliness remainsIncapableof outward stains;Fromwhence that decency of mindSo lovelyin a female kind.Where notone careless thought intrudesLessmodest than the speech of prudes;Wherenever blush was called in aidThespurious virtue in a maidA virtuebut at second-hand;They blushbecause they understand.The Gracesnext would act their partAnd showbut little of their art;Their workwas half already doneThe childwith native beauty shoneTheoutward form no help required:Eachbreathing on her thriceinspiredThatgentlesoftengaging airWhich inold times adorned the fairAnd said"Vanessa be the nameBy whichthou shalt be known to fame;Vanessaby the gods enrolled:Her nameon earth - shall not be told."But stillthe work was not completeWhen Venusthought on a deceit:Drawn byher dovesaway she fliesAnd findsout Pallas in the skies:DearPallasI have been this mornTo see alovely infant born:A boy inyonder isle belowSo like myown without his bowBy beautycould your heart be wonYou'dswear it is Apollo's son;But itshall ne'er be saida childSo hopefulhas by me been spoiled;I haveenough besides to spareAnd givehim wholly to your care.Wisdom'sabove suspecting wiles;The queenof learning gravely smilesDown fromOlympus comes with joyMistakesVanessa for a boy;Then sowswithin her tender mindSeeds longunknown to womankind;For manlybosoms chiefly fitThe seedsof knowledgejudgmentwitHer soulwas suddenly enduedWithjusticetruthand fortitude;Withhonourwhich no breath can stainWhichmalice must attack in vain:With openheart and bounteous hand:But Pallashere was at a stand;She knowin our degenerate daysBarevirtue could not live on praiseThat meatmust be with money bought:Shethereforeupon second thoughtInfusedyet as it were by stealthSome smallregard for state and wealth:Of whichas she grew up there stayedA tincturein the prudent maid:Shemanaged her estate with careYet likedthree footmen to her chairBut lesthe should neglect his studiesLike ayoung heirthe thrifty goddess(For fearyoung master should be spoiled)Would usehim like a younger child;Andafterlong computingfound'Twouldcome to just five thousand pound.The Queenof Love was pleased and proudTo weVanessa thus endowed;Shedoubted not but such a dameThroughevery breast would dart a flame;That everyrich and lordly swainWith pridewould drag about her chain;Thatscholars would forsake their booksTo studybright Vanessa's looks:As sheadvanced that womankindWould byher model form their mindAnd alltheir conduct would be triedBy herasan unerring guide.Offendingdaughters oft would hearVanessa'spraise rung in their ear:MissBettywhen she does a faultLets fallher knifeor spills the saltWill thusbe by her mother chid"'Tiswhat Vanessa never did."Thus bythe nymphs and swains adoredMy powershall be again restoredAnd happylovers bless my reign -So Venushopedbut hoped in vain.For whenin time the martial maidFound outthe trick that Venus playedShe shakesher helmshe knits her browsAnd firedwith indignationvowsTo-morrowere the setting sunShe'd allundo that she had done.But in thepoets we may findAwholesome lawtime out of mindHad beenconfirmed by Fate's decree;That godsof whatso'er degreeResume notwhat themselves have givenOr anybrother-god in Heaven;Whichkeeps the peace among the godsOr theymust always be at odds.AndPallasif she broke the lawsMust yieldher foe the stronger cause;A shame toone so much adoredForWisdomat Jove's council-board.Besidesshe feared the queen of loveWould meetwith better friends above.And thoughshe must with grief reflectTo see amortal virgin deck'dWithgraces hitherto unknownTo femalebreastsexcept her ownYet shewould act as best becameA goddessof unspotted fame;She knewby augury divineVenuswould fail in her design:Shestudied well the pointand foundHer foe'sconclusions were not soundFrompremises erroneous broughtAndtherefore the deduction's noughtAnd musthave contrary effectsTo whather treacherous foe expects.In properseason Pallas meetsThe queenof lovewhom thus she greets(For Godswe are by Homer toldCan incelestial language scold)"PerfidiousGoddess! but in vainYou formedthis project in your brainA projectfor thy talents fitWith muchdeceitand little wit;Thou hastas thou shalt quickly seeDeceivedthyself instead of me;For howcan heavenly wisdom proveAninstrument to earthly love?Know'stthou not yet that men commenceThyvotariesfor want of sense?Nor shallVanessa be the themeTo managethy abortive scheme;She'llprove the greatest of thy foesAnd yet Iscorn to interposeBut usingneither skill nor forceLeave allthings to their natural course."Thegoddess thus pronounced her doomWhenloVanessa in her bloomAdvancedlike Atalanta's starBut rarelyseenand seen from far:In a newworld with caution steppedWatchedall the company she keptWellknowing from the books she readWhatdangerous paths young virgins tread;Wouldseldom at the park appearNor sawthe play-house twice a year;Yet notincuriouswas inclinedTo knowthe converse of mankind.Firstissued from perfumers' shopsA crowd offashionable fops;They likedher how she liked the play?Then toldthe tattle of the dayA duelfought last night at twoAbout alady - you know who;Mentioneda new ItaliancomeEitherfrom Muscovy or Rome;Gave hintsof who and who's together;Then fellto talking of the weather:Last nightwas so extremely fineThe ladieswalked till after nine.Then insoft voiceand speech absurdWithnonsense every second wordWithfustian from exploded playsTheycelebrate her beauty's praiseRun o'ertheir cant of stupid liesAnd tellthe murders of her eyes.Withsilent scorn Vanessa satScarcelist'ning to their idle chat;Furtherthan sometimes by a frownWhen theygrew pertto pull them down.At lastshe spitefully was bentTo trytheir wisdom's full extent;And saidshe valued nothing lessThantitlesfigureshapeand dress;That meritshould be chiefly placedInjudgmentknowledgewitand taste;And theseshe offered to disputeAlonedistinguished man from brute:Thatpresent times have no pretenceTo virtuein the noble senseBy Greeksand Romans understoodTo perishfor our country's good.She namedthe ancient heroes roundExplainedfor what they were renowned;Then spokewith censureor applauseOf foreigncustomsritesand laws;Throughnature and through art she rangedAndgracefully her subject changed:In vain;her hearers had no shareIn all shespokeexcept to stare.Theirjudgment was upon the whole -That lady is the dullest soul -Thentipped their forehead in a jeerAs whoshould say - she wants it here;She may behandsomeyoungand richBut nonewill burn her for a witch.A partynext of glittering damesFrom roundthe purlieus of St. JamesCameearlyout of pure goodwillTo see thegirl in deshabille.Theirclamour 'lighting from their chairsGrewlouderall the way up stairs;Atentrance loudestwhere they foundThe roomwith volumes littered roundVanessaheld Montaigneand readWhilstMrs. Susan combed her head:Theycalled for tea and chocolateAnd fellinto their usual chatDiscoursingwith important faceOnribbonsfansand glovesand lace:Showedpatterns just from India broughtAndgravely asked her what she thoughtWhetherthe red or green were bestAnd whatthey cost? Vanessa guessedAs cameinto her fancy firstNamed halfthe ratesand liked the worst.To scandalnext - What awkward thingWas thatlast Sundayin the ring?I'm sorryMopsa breaks so fast;I said herface would never lastCorinnawith that youthful airIs thirtyand a bit to spare.Herfondness for a certain earlBeganwhen I was but a girl.Phylliswho but a month agoWasmarried to the Tunbridge beauI sawcoquetting t'other nightIn publicwith that odious knight.Theyrallied next Vanessa's dress;That gownwas made for old Queen Bess.Dearmadamlet me set your head;Don't youintend to put on red?Apetticoat without a hoop!Sureyouare not ashamed to stoop;Withhandsome garters at your kneesNo matterwhat a fellow sees.Filledwith disdainwith rage inflamedBoth ofherself and sex ashamedThe nymphstood silent out of spiteNor wouldvouchsafe to set them right.Away thefair detractors wentAnd gaveby turnstheir censures vent.She's notso handsome in my eyes:For witIwonder where it lies.She's fairand cleanand that's the most;But whyproclaim her for a toast?A babyfaceno lifeno airsBut whatshe learnt at country fairs.Scarceknows what difference is betweenRichFlanders laceand Colberteen.I'llundertake my little NancyInflounces has a better fancy.With allher witI would not askHerjudgmenthow to buy a mask.We beggedher but to patch her faceShe neverhit one proper place;Whichevery girl at five years oldCan do assoon as she is told.I ownthat out-of-fashion stuffBecomesthe creature well enough.The girlmight passif we could get herTo knowthe world a little better.(TO KNOWTHE WORLD! a modern phraseForvisitsombreballsand plays.)Thustothe world's perpetual shameThe queenof beauty lost her aimToo latewith grief she understoodPallas haddone more harm than good;For greatexamples are but vainWhereignorance begets disdain.Bothsexesarmed with guilt and spiteAgainstVanessa's power unite;To copyher few nymphs aspired;Hervirtues fewer swains admired;So starsbeyond a certain heightGivemortals neither heat nor light.Yet someof either sexendowedWith giftssuperior to the crowdWithvirtueknowledgetasteand witShecondescended to admit;Withpleasing arts she could reduceMen'stalents to their proper use;And withaddress each genius holdTo thatwherein it most excelled;Thusmaking others' wisdom knownCouldplease them and improve her own.A modestyouth said something newShe placedit in the strongest view.All humbleworth she strove to raise;Would notbe praisedyet loved to praise.Thelearned met with free approachAlthoughthey came not in a coach.Someclergy too she would allowNorquarreled at their awkward bow.But thiswas for Cadenus' sake;A gownmanof a different make.WhomPallasonce Vanessa's tutorHad fixedon for her coadjutor.But Cupidfull of mischieflongsTovindicate his mother's wrongs.On Pallasall attempts are vain;One way heknows to give her pain;Vows onVanessa's heart to takeDuevengeancefor her patron's sake.Thoseearly seeds by Venus sownIn spiteof Pallasnow were grown;And Cupidhoped they would improveBy timeand ripen into love.The boymade use of all his craftIn vaindischarging many a shaftPointed atcolonelslordsand beaux;Cadenuswarded off the blowsForplacing still some book betwixtThe dartswere in the cover fixedOr oftenblunted and recoiledOnPlutarch's morals struckwere spoiled.The queenof wisdom could foreseeBut notprevent the Fates decree;And humancaution tries in vainTo breakthat adamantine chain.Vanessathough by Pallas taughtBy loveinvulnerable thoughtSearchingin books for wisdom's aidWasinthe very searchbetrayed.Cupidthough all his darts were lostYet stillresolved to spare no cost;He couldnot answer to his fameThetriumphs of that stubborn dameA nymph sohard to be subduedWhoneither was coquette nor prude.I findsays heshe wants a doctorBoth toadore herand instruct her:I'll giveher what she most admiresAmongthose venerable sires.Cadenus isa subject fitGrown oldin politics and wit;Caressedby Ministers of StateOf halfmankind the dread and hate.Whate'ervexations love attendShe needno rivals apprehendHer sexwith universal voiceMust laughat her capricious choice.Cadenusmany things had writVanessamuch esteemed his witAnd calledfor his poetic works!Meantimethe boy in secret lurks.And whilethe book was in her handThe urchinfrom his private standTook aimand shot with all his strengthA dart ofsuch prodigious lengthIt piercedthe feeble volume throughAnd deeptransfixed her bosom too.Somelinesmore moving than the restStruck tothe point that pierced her breast;Andbornedirectly to the heartWith painsunknownincreased her smart.Vanessanot in years a scoreDreams ofa gown of forty-four;Imaginarycharms can findIn eyeswith reading almost blind;Cadenusnow no more appearsDeclinedin healthadvanced in years.Shefancies music in his tongueNorfarther looksbut thinks him young.Whatmariner is not afraidTo venturein a ship decayed?Whatplanter will attempt to yokeA saplingwith a falling oak?As yearsincreaseshe brighter shinesCadenuswith each day declinesAnd hemust fall a prey to TimeWhile shecontinues in her prime.Cadenuscommon forms apartIn everyscene had kept his heart;Had sighedand languishedvowed and writForpastimeor to show his wit;But timeand booksand State affairsHadspoiled his fashionable airsHe nowcould praiseesteemapproveButunderstood not what was love.Hisconduct might have made him styledA fatherand the nymph his child.Thatinnocent delight he tookTo see thevirgin mind her bookWas butthe master's secret joyIn schoolto hear the finest boy.Herknowledge with her fancy grewShe hourlypressed for something new;Ideas cameinto her mindSo facthis lessons lagged behind;Shereasonedwithout plodding longNor evergave her judgment wrong.But now asudden change was wroughtShe mindsno longer what he taught.Cadenuswas amazed to findSuch marksof a distracted mind;For thoughshe seemed to listen moreTo all hespokethan e'er before.He foundher thoughts would absent rangeYetguessed not whence could spring the change.And firsthe modestly conjecturesHis pupilmight be tired with lecturesWhichhelped to mortify his prideYet gavehim not the heart to chide;But in amild dejected strainAt last heventured to complain:Saidsheshould be no longer teasedMight haveher freedom when she pleased;Was nowconvinced he acted wrongTo hideher from the world so longAnd indull studies to engageOne of hertender sex and age.That everynymph with envy ownedHow shemight shine in the GRANDE-MONDEAnd everyshepherd was undoneTo see hercloistered like a nun.This was avisionary schemeHe wakedand found it but a dream;A projectfar above his skillFor Naturemust be Nature still.If she wasbolder than becameA scholarto a courtly dameShe mightexcuse a man of letters;Thustutors often treat their bettersAnd sincehis talk offensive grewHe came totake his last adieu.Vanessafilled with just disdainWouldstill her dignity maintainInstructedfrom her early yearsTo scornthe art of female tears.Had heemployed his time so longTo teachher what was right or wrongYet couldsuch notions entertainThat allhis lectures were in vain?She ownedthe wand'ring of her thoughtsBut hemust answer for her faults.She wellrememberedto her costThat allhis lessons were not lost.Two maximsshe could still produceAnd sadexperience taught her use;Thatvirtuepleased by being shownKnowsnothing which it dare not own;Can makeus without fear discloseOur inmostsecrets to our foes;Thatcommon forms were not designedDirectorsto a noble mind.Nowsaidthe nymphI'll let you seeMy actionswith your rules agreeThat I canvulgar forms despiseAnd haveno secrets to disguise.I knew bywhat you said and writHowdangerous things were men of wit;Youcautioned me against their charmsBut nevergave me equal arms;Yourlessons found the weakest partAimed atthe headbut reached the heart.Cadenusfelt within him riseShamedisappointmentguiltsurprise.He knownot how to reconcileSuchlanguagewith her usual style:And yether words were so expressedHe couldnot hope she spoke in jest.Histhoughts had wholly been confinedTo formand cultivate her mind.He hardlyknewtill he was toldWhetherthe nymph were young or old;Had mether in a public placeWithoutdistinguishing her faceMuch lesscould his declining ageVanessa'searliest thoughts engage.And if heryouth indifference metHis personmust contempt begetOr granther passion be sincereHow shallhis innocence be clear?Appearanceswere all so strongThe worldmust think him in the wrong;Would sayhe made a treach'rous use.Of wittoflatter and seduce;The townwould swear he had betrayedBy magicspellsthe harmless maid;And everybeau would have his jokesThatscholars were like other folks;That whenPlatonic flights were overThe tutorturned a mortal lover.So tenderof the young and fair;It showeda true paternal care -Fivethousand guineas in her purse;The doctormight have fancied worst-Hardly atlength he silence brokeAndfaltered every word he spoke;Interpretingher complaisanceJust as aman sans consequence.Sherallied wellhe always knew;Her mannernow was something new;And whatshe spoke was in an airAs seriousas a tragic player.But thosewho aim at ridiculeShould fixupon some certain ruleWhichfairly hints they are in jestElse hemust enter his protest;For let aman be ne'er so wiseHe may becaught with sober lies;A sciencewhich he never taughtAndto befreewas dearly bought;Fortakeit in its proper light'Tis justwhat coxcombs call a bite.But not todwell on things minuteVanessafinished the disputeBroughtweighty arguments to proveThatreason was her guide in love.Shethought he had himself describedHisdoctrines when she fist imbibed;What hehad planted now was grownHisvirtues she might call her own;As heapprovesas he dislikesLove orcontempt her fancy strikes.Self-lovein nature rooted fastAttends usfirstand leaves us last:Why shelikes himadmire not at herShe lovesherselfand that's the matter.How washer tutor wont to praiseThegeniuses of ancient days!(Thoseauthors he so oft had namedForlearningwitand wisdom famed).Was struckwith loveesteemand aweForpersons whom he never saw.SupposeCadenus flourished thenHe mustadore such God-like men.If oneshort volume could compriseAll thatwas wittylearnedand wiseHow wouldit be esteemedand readAlthoughthe writer long were dead?If such anauthor were aliveHow allwould for his friendship strive;And comein crowds to see his face?And thisshe takes to be her case.Cadenusanswers every endThe bookthe authorand the friendThe utmosther desires will reachIs but tolearn what he can teach;Hisconverse is a system fitAlone tofill up all her wit;Whileev'ry passion of her mindIn him iscentred and confined.Love canwith speech inspire a muteAnd taughtVanessa to dispute.Thistopicnever touched beforeDisplayedher eloquence the more:Herknowledgewith such pains acquiredBy thisnew passion grew inspired.Throughthis she made all objects passWhich gavea tincture o'er the mass;As riversthough they bend and twineStill tothe sea their course incline;Orasphilosopherswho findSomefav'rite system to their mindIn everypoint to make it fitWill forceall nature to submit.Cadenuswho could ne'er suspectHislessons would have such effectOr be soartfully appliedInsensiblycame on her side;It was anunforeseen eventThingstook a turn he never meant.Whoe'erexcels in what we prizeAppears ahero to our eyes;Each girlwhen pleased with what is taughtWill havethe teacher in her thought.When missdelights in her spinnetA fiddlermay a fortune get;Ablockheadwith melodious voiceInboarding-schools can have his choice;And oftthe dancing-master's artClimbsfrom the toe to touch the heart.Inlearning let a nymph delightThe pedantgets a mistress by't.Cadenusto his grief and shameCouldscarce oppose Vanessa's flame;But thoughher arguments were strongAt leastcould hardly with them wrong.Howe'er itcamehe could not tellButsureshe never talked so well.His pridebegan to interposePreferredbefore a crowd of beauxSo brighta nymph to come unsoughtSuchwonder by his merit wrought;'Tis meritmust with her prevailHe neverknow her judgment fail.She notedall she ever readAnd had amost discerning head.'Tis anold maxim in the schoolsThatvanity's the food of fools;Yet nowand then your men of witWillcondescend to take a bit.So whenCadenus could not hideHe choseto justify his pride;Construingthe passion she had shownMuch toher praisemore to his own.Nature inhim had merit placedIn heramost judicious taste.Lovehitherto a transient guestNe'er heldpossession in his breast;So longattending at the gateDisdain'dto enter in so late.Lovewhydo we one passion call?When 'tisa compound of them all;Where hotand coldwhere sharp and sweetIn alltheir equipages meet;Wherepleasures mixed with pains appearSorrowwith joyand hope with fear.Whereinhis dignity and ageForbidCadenus to engage.Butfriendship in its greatest heightAconstantrational delightOnvirtue's basis fixed to lastWhenlove's allurements long are past;Whichgently warmsbut cannot burn;He gladlyoffers in return;His wantof passion will redeemWithgratituderespectesteem;With thatdevotion we bestowWhengoddesses appear below.While thusCadenus entertainsVanessa inexalted strainsThe nymphin sober words intreatsA trucewith all sublime conceits.For whysuch rapturesflightsand fanciesTo her whodurst not read romances;In loftystyle to make repliesWhich hehad taught her to despise?But whenher tutor will affectDevotiondutyand respectHe fairlyabdicates his throneThegovernment is now her own;He has aforfeiture incurredShe vowsto take him at his wordAnd hopeshe will not take it strangeIf bothshould now their stations changeThe nymphwill have her turnto beThe tutor;and the pupil he:Though shealready can discernHerscholar is not apt to learn;Or wantscapacity to reachThescience she designs to teach;Whereinhis genius was belowThe skillof every common beau;Whothough he cannot spellis wiseEnough toread a lady's eyes?And willeach accidental glanceInterpretfor a kind advance.But whatsuccess Vanessa metIs to theworld a secret yet;Whetherthe nymphto please her swainTalks in ahigh romantic strain;Or whetherhe at last descendsTo likewith less seraphic ends;Or tocompound the bus'nesswhetherTheytemper love and books together;Must neverto mankind be toldNor shallthe conscious muse unfold.Meantimethe mournful queen of loveLed but aweary life above.Sheventures now to leave the skiesGrown byVanessa's conduct wise.For thoughby one perverse eventPallas hadcrossed her first intentThough herdesign was not obtainedYet hadshe much experience gained;Andbythe project vainly triedCouldbetter now the cause decide.She gavedue notice that both partiesCORAMREGINA PROX' DIE MARTISShould attheir peril without failCome andappearand save their bail.All metand silence thrice proclaimedOne lawyerto each side was named.The judgediscovered in her faceResentmentsfor her late disgrace;Andfullof angershameand griefDirectedthem to mind their brief;Nor spendtheir time to show their readingShe'd havea summary proceeding.Shegathered under every headThe sum ofwhat each lawyer said;Gave herown reasons last; and thenDecreedthe cause against the men.Butin aweighty case like thisTo showshe did not judge amissWhich eviltongues might else reportShe made aspeech in open court;Whereinshe grievously complains"Howshe was cheated by the swains."On whosepetition (humbly showingThat womenwere not worth the wooingAnd thatunless the sex would mendThe raceof lovers soon must end);"Shewas at Lord knows what expenseTo form anymph of wit and sense;A modelfor her sex designedWho nevercould one lover findShe sawher favour was misplaced;Thefollows had a wretched taste;She needsmust tell them to their faceThey werea senselessstupid race;And wereshe to begin againShe'dstudy to reform the men;Or addsome grains of folly moreTo womenthan they had before.To putthem on an equal foot;And thisor nothing elsewould do't.This mighttheir mutual fancy strikeSinceevery being loves its like.But nowrepenting what was doneShe leftall business to her son;She putsthe world in his possessionAnd lethim use it at discretion."The crierwas ordered to dismissThe courtso made his last O yes!Thegoddess would no longer waitBut risingfrom her chair of stateLeft allbelow at six and sevenHarnessedher dovesand flew to Heaven.
STELLAthis day is thirty-four(We shan'tdispute a year or more)HoweverStellabe not troubledAlthoughthy size and years are doubledSincefirst I saw thee at sixteenThebrightest virgin on the green.So littleis thy form declined;Made up solargely in thy mind.Ohwouldit please the gods to splitThybeautysizeand yearsand witNo agecould furnish out a pairOf nymphsso gracefulwiseand fair:With halfthe lustre of your eyesWith halfyour wityour yearsand size.And thenbefore it grew too lateHow shouldI beg of gentle fate(Thateither nymph might lack her swain)To splitmy worship too in twain.
ALLtravellers at first inclineWhere'erthey see the fairest sign;And ifthey find the chambers neatAnd likethe liquor and the meatWill callagain and recommendThe AngelInn to every friendWhatthough the painting grows decayedThe housewill never lose its trade:Naythough the treach'rous tapster ThomasHangs anew angel two doors from usAs fine asdaubers' hands can make itIn hopesthat strangers may mistake itWe thinkit both a shame and sinTo quitthe true old Angel Inn.Nowthisis Stella's case in factAn angel'sfacea little cracked(Couldpoetsor could painters fixHow angelslook atthirty-six):This drewus in at firstto findIn such aform an angel's mind;And everyvirtue now suppliesThefainting rays of Stella's eyes.Seeather leveecrowding swainsWhomStella freely entertainsWithbreedinghumourwitand sense;And putsthem but to small expense;Their mindso plentifully fillsAnd makessuch reasonable billsSo littlegets for what she givesWe reallywonder how she lives!And hadher stock been lessno doubtShe musthave long ago run out.Then whocan think we'll quit the placeWhen Dollhangs out a newer face;Or stopand light at Cloe's HeadWithscraps and leavings to be fed.Then Cloestill go on to prateOfthirty-sixand thirty-eight;Pursueyour trade of scandal pickingYour hintsthat Stella is no chicken.Yourinnuendoes when you tell usThatStella loves to talk with fellows;And let mewarn you to believeA truthfor which your soul should grieve:Thatshould you live to see the dayWhenStella's locksmust all be greyWhen agemust print a furrowed traceOn everyfeature of her face;Though youand all your senseless tribeCould artor timeor nature bribeTo makeyou look like beauty's queenAnd holdfor ever at fifteen;No bloomof youth can ever blindThe cracksand wrinkles of your mind;All men ofsense will pass your doorAnd crowdto Stella's at fourscore.
A GREATBOTTLE OF WINELONG BURIEDBEING THAT DAY DUG UP. 1722.
Resolvedmy annual verse to payBy dutyboundon Stella's day;Furnishedwith paperpensand inkI gravelysat me down to think:I bit mynailsand scratched my headBut foundmy wit and fancy fled;Orifwith more than usual painA thoughtcame slowly from my brainIt cost meLord knows how much timeTo shapeit into sense and rhyme;Andwhatwas yet a greater curseLong-thinkingmade my fancy worseForsakenby th' inspiring nineI waitedat Apollo's shrine;I told himwhat the world would saIf Stellawere unsung to-day;How Ishould hide my head for shameWhen boththe Jacks and Robin came;How Fordwould frownhow Jim would leerHow Sh-rthe rogue would sneerAnd swearit does not always followThatSEMEL'N ANNO RIDET Apollo.I haveassured them twenty timesThatPhoebus helped me in my rhymesPhoebusinspired me from aboveAnd he andI were hand and glove.Butfinding me so dull and dry sinceThey'llcall it all poetic licence.And when Ibrag of aid divineThinkEusden's right as good as mine.Nor do Iask for Stella's sake;'Tis myown credit lies at stake.And Stellawill be sungwhile ICan onlybe a stander by.Apollohaving thought a littleReturnedthis answer to a tittle.Tho' youshould live like old MethusalemI furnishhintsand you should use all 'emYou yearlysing as she grows oldYou'dleave her virtues half untold.But to saytruthsuch dulness reignsThroughthe whole set of Irish Deans;I'm dailystunned with such a medleyDean W-Dean D-land Dean S-;That letwhat Dean soever comeMy ordersareI'm not at home;And ifyour voice had not been loudYou musthave passed among the crowd.Butnowyour danger to preventYou mustapply to Mrs. BrentFor sheas priestessknows the ritesWhereinthe God of Earth delights.Firstnine ways lookinglet her standWith anold poker in her hand;Let herdescribe a circle roundInSaunder's cellar on the groundA spadelet prudent Archy holdAnd withdiscretion dig the mould;Let Stellalook with watchful eyeRebeceaFordand Grattons by.Behold thebottlewhere it liesWith neckelated tow'rds the skies!The god ofwindsand god of fireDid to itswondrous birth conspire;AndBacchus for the poet's usePoured ina strong inspiring juice:See! asyou raise it from its tombIt dragsbehind a spacious wombAnd in thespacious womb containsAsovereign med'cine for the brains.You'llfind it soonif fate consents;If notathousand Mrs. BrentsTenthousand Archys arm'd with spadesMay dig invain to Pluto's shades.Fromthence a plenteous draught infuseAnd boldlythen invoke the muse(But firstlet Robert on his kneesWithcaution drain it from the lees);The musewill at your call appearWithStella's praise to crown the year.
As when abeauteous nymph decaysWe sayshe's past her dancing days;So poetslose their feet by timeAnd can nolonger dance in rhyme.Yourannual bard had rather choseTocelebrate your birth in prose;Yet merryfolks who want by chanceA pair tomake a country danceCall theold housekeeperand get herTo fill aplacefor want of better;WhileSheridan is off the hooksAnd friendDelany at his booksThatStella may avoid disgraceOnce morethe Dean supplies their place.Beauty andwittoo sad a truthHavealways been confined to youth;The god ofwitand beauty's queenHetwenty-oneand she fifteen;No poetever sweetly sung.Unless hewere like Phoebusyoung;Nor evernymph inspired to rhymeUnlesslike Venus in her prime.Atfifty-sixif this be trueAm I apoet fit for you;Or at theage of forty-threeAre you asubject fit for me?Adieubright witand radiant eyes;You mustbe graveand I be wise.Our fatein vain we would opposeBut I'llbe still your friend in prose;Esteem andfriendship to expressWill notrequire poetic dress;And if themuse deny her aidTo havethem sungthey may be said.ButStella saywhat evil tongueReportsyou are no longer young?That Timesits with his scythe to mowWhere erstsat Cupid with his bow;That halfyour locks are turned to grey;I'll ne'erbelieve a word they say.'Tis truebut let it not be knownMy eyesare somewhat dimish grown;Fornaturealways in the rightTo yourdecays adapts my sightAndwrinkles undistinguished passFor I'mashamed to use a glass;And till Isee them with these eyesWhoeversays you have themlies.No lengthof time can make you quitHonour andvirtuesense and witThus youmay still be young to meWhile Ican better hear than see:Ohne'ermay fortune show her spiteTo make medeafand mend my sight.
THIS daywhate'er the Fates decreeShallstill be kept with joy by me;This daythenlet us not be toldThat youare sickand I grown oldNor thinkon our approaching illsAnd talkof spectacles and pills;To-morrowwill be time enoughTo hearsuch mortifying stuff.Yetsincefrom reason may be broughtA betterand more pleasing thoughtWhich canin spite of all decaysSupport afew remaining days:From notthe gravest of divinesAccept foronce some serious lines.Althoughwe now can form no moreLongschemes of lifeas heretofore;Yet youwhile time is running fastCan lookwith joy on what is past.Werefuture happiness and painA merecontrivance of the brainAsAtheists argueto enticeAnd fittheir proselytes for vice(The onlycomfort they proposeTo havecompanions in their woes).Grant thisthe caseyet sure 'tis hardThatvirtuestyled its own rewardAnd by allsages understoodTo be thechief of human goodShouldactingdieor leave behindSomelasting pleasure in the mind.Which byremembrance will assuageGriefsicknesspovertyand age;Andstrongly shoot a radiant dartTo shinethrough life's declining part.SayStellafeel you no contentReflectingon a life well spent;Yourskilful hand employed to saveDespairingwretches from the grave;And thensupporting with your storeThose whomyou dragged from death before?SoProvidence on mortals waitsPreservingwhat it first createsYougenerous boldness to defendAninnocent and absent friend;Thatcourage which can make you justTo merithumbled in the dust;Thedetestation you expressFor vicein all its glittering dress:Thatpatience under to torturing painWherestubborn stoics would complain.Must theselike empty shadows passOr formsreflected from a glass?Or merechimaeras in the mindThat flyand leave no marks behind?Does notthe body thrive and growBy food oftwenty years ago?Andhadit not been still suppliedIt must athousand times have died.Thenwhowith reason can maintainThat noeffects of food remain?Andisnot virtue in mankindThenutriment that feeds the mind?Upheld byeach good action pastAnd stillcontinued by the last:Thenwhowith reason can pretendThat alleffects of virtue end?BelievemeStellawhen you showThat truecontempt for things belowNor prizeyour life for other endsThanmerely to oblige your friendsYourformer actions claim their partAnd jointo fortify your heart. Forvirtue in her daily raceLikeJanusbears a double face.Look backwith joy where she has goneAndtherefore goes with courage on.She atyour sickly couch will waitAnd guideyou to a better state.O thenwhatever heav'n intendsTake pityon your pitying friends;Nor letyour ills affect your mindTo fancythey can be unkind;Mesurelymeyou ought to spareWho gladlywould your sufferings share;Or give myscrap of life to youAnd thinkit far beneath your due;You towhose care so oft I oweThat I'malive to tell you so.
VISITINGME IN MY SICKNESSOCTOBER1727.
PALLASobserving Stella's witWas morethan for her sex was fit;And thather beautysoon or lateMightbreed confusion in the state;In highconcern for human kindFixedhonour in her infant mind.But (notin wranglings to engageWith sucha stupid vicious age)If honourI would here defineIt answersfaith in things divine.As naturallife the body warmsAndscholars teachthe soul informs;So honouranimates the wholeAnd is thespirit of the soul.Thosenumerous virtues which the tribeOf tediousmoralists describeAnd bysuch various titles callTruehonour comprehends them all.Letmelancholy rule supremeCholerpresideor bloodor phlegm.It makesno difference in the case.Nor iscomplexion honour's place.Butlestwe should for honour takeThedrunken quarrels of a rakeOr thinkit seated in a scarOr on aproud triumphal carOr in thepayment of a debtWe losewith sharpers at piquet;Orwhen awhore in her vocationKeepspunctual to an assignation;Or that onwhich his lordship swearsWhenvulgar knaves would lose their ears:LetStella's fair example preachA lessonshe alone can teach.In pointsof honour to be triedAllpassions must be laid aside;Ask noadvicebut think aloneSupposethe question not your own;How shallI act? is not the caseBut howwould Brutus in my place;In such acause would Cato bleed;And howwould Socrates proceed?Drive allobjections from your mindElse yourelapse to human kind;Ambitionavariceand lustAndfactious rageand breach of trustAndflattery tipped with nauseous fleerAnd guiltand shameand servile fearEnvyandcrueltyand prideWill inyour tainted heart preside.Heroes andheroines of oldBy honouronly were enrolledAmongtheir brethren in the skiesTo which(though late) shall Stella rise.Tenthousand oaths upon recordAre not sosacred as her word;The worldshall in its atoms endEre Stellacan deceive a friend.By honourseated in her breastShe stilldetermines what is best;Whatindignation in her mindAgainstenslavers of mankind!Base kingsand ministers of stateEternalobjects of her hate.She thinksthat Nature ne'er designedCourage toman alone confined;Cancowardice her sex adornWhich mostexposes ours to scorn;Shewonders where the charm appearsInFlorimel's affected fears;For Stellanever learned the artAt propertimes to scream and start;Nor callsup all the house at nightAnd swearsshe saw a thing in white.Doll neverflies to cut her laceOr throwcold water in her faceBecauseshe heard a sudden drumOr foundan earwig in a plum.Herhearers are amazed from whenceProceedsthat fund of wit and sense;Whichthough her modesty would shroudBreakslike the sun behind a cloudWhilegracefulness its art concealsAnd yetthrough every motion steals.SayStellawas Prometheus blindAndforming youmistook your kind?No; 'twasfor you alone he stoleThe firethat forms a manly soul;Thentocomplete it every wayHe mouldedit with female clayTo thatyou owe the nobler flameTo thisthe beauty of your frame.How wouldingratitude delight?And howwould censure glut her spite?If Ishould Stella's kindness hideInsilenceor forget with prideWhen on mysickly couch I layImpatientboth of night and dayLamentingin unmanly strainsCalledevery power to ease my painsThenStella ran to my reliefWithcheerful face and inward grief;And thoughby Heaven's severe decreeShesuffers hourly more than meNo cruelmaster could requireFromslaves employed for daily hireWhatStella by her friendship warmedWithvigour and delight performed.My sinkingspirits now suppliesWithcordials in her hands and eyesNow with asoft and silent treadUnheardshe moves about my bed.I see hertaste each nauseous draughtAnd soobligingly am caught:I blessthe hand from whence they cameNor daredistort my face for shame.Bestpattern of true friends bewareYou paytoo dearly for your care;If whileyour tenderness securesMy lifeit must endanger yours.For such afool was never foundWho pulleda palace to the groundOnly tohave the ruins madeMaterialsfor a house decayed.
MOSTmerciful Fatheraccept our humblest prayers in behalf of thisThylanguishing servant; forgive the sinsthe frailtiesandinfirmitiesof her life past. Accept the good deeds she hath donein such amanner thatat whatever time Thou shalt please to callhershemay be received into everlasting habitations. Give hergrace tocontinue sincerely thankful to Thee for the many favoursThou hastbestowed upon herthe ability and inclination andpracticeto do goodand those virtues which have procured theesteem andlove of her friendsand a most unspotted name in theworld. O GodThou dispensest Thy blessings and Thy punishmentsas itbecometh infinite justice and mercy; and since it was Thypleasureto afflict her with a longconstantweakly state ofhealthmake her truly sensible that it was for very wise endsandwaslargely made up to her in other blessingsmore valuable andlesscommon. Continue to herO Lordthat firmness and constancyof mindwherewith Thou hast most graciously endowed hertogetherwith thatcontempt of worldly things and vanities that she hathshown inthe whole conduct of her life. O All-powerful Beingtheleastmotion of whose Will can create or destroy a worldpity usthemournful friends of Thy distressed servantwho sink under theweight ofher present conditionand the fear of losing the mostvaluableof our friends; restore her to usO Lordif it be ThygraciousWillor inspire us with constancy and resignation tosupportourselves under so heavy an affliction. Restore herOLordforthe sake of those poorwho by losing her will bedesolateand those sickwho will not only want her bountybuther careand tending; or elsein Thy mercyraise up some other inher placewith equal disposition and better abilities. LessenOLordwebeseech theeher bodily painsor give her a doublestrengthof mind to support them. And if Thou wilt soon take hertoThyselfturn our thoughts rather upon that felicity which wehope sheshall enjoythan upon that unspeakable loss we shallendure. Let her memory be ever dear unto usand the example ofher manyvirtuesas far as human infirmity will admitourconstantimitation. AcceptO Lordthese prayers poured from theverybottom of our heartsin Thy mercyand for the merits of ourblessedSaviour. AMEN.
O MERCIFULFatherwho never afflictest Thy children but for theirown goodand with justiceover which Thy mercy always prevailetheither toturn them to repentanceor to punish them in the presentlifeinorder to reward them in a better; take pitywe beseechTheeuponthis Thy poor afflicted servantlanguishing so long andsogrievously under the weight of Thy Hand. Give her strengthOLordtosupport her weaknessand patience to endure her painswithoutrepining at Thy correction. Forgive every rash andinconsiderateexpression which her anguish may at any time forcefrom hertonguewhile her heart continueth in an entire submissionto ThyWill. Suppress in herO Lordall eager desires of lifeand lessonher fears of deathby inspiring into her an humble yetassuredhope of Thy mercy. Give her a sincere repentance for allhertransgressions and omissionsand a firm resolution to pass theremainderof her life in endeavouring to her utmost to observe allthyprecepts. We beseech Thee likewise to compose her thoughtsandpreserve to her the use of her memory and reason during thecourse ofher sickness. Give her a true conception of the vanityfollyandinsignificancy of all human things; and strengthen herso as tobeget in her a sincere love of Thee in the midst of hersufferings. Accept and impute all her good deedsand forgive herall thoseoffences against Theewhich she hath sincerely repentedoforthrough the frailty of memory hath forgot. And nowO Lordwe turn toThee in behalf of ourselvesand the rest of hersorrowfulfriends. Let not our grief afflict her mindand therebyhave anill effect on her present distemper. Forgive the sorrowandweakness of those among us who sink under the grief and terrorof losingso dear and useful a friend. Accept and pardon our mostearnestprayers and wishes for her longer continuance in this evilworldtodo what Thou art pleased to call Thy serviceand is onlyherbounden duty; that she may be still a comfort to usand to allotherswho will want the benefit of her conversationher adviceher goodofficesor her charity. And since Thou hast promisedthat wheretwo or three are gathered together in Thy NameThouwilt be inthe midst of them to grant their requestO GraciousLordgrant to us who are here met in Thy Namethat thoserequestswhich in the utmost sincerity and earnestness of ourhearts wehave now made in behalf of this Thy distressed servantand ofourselvesmay effectually be answered; through the meritsof JesusChrist our Lord. AMEN
WHENbeasts could speak (the learned sayThey stillcan do so every day)It seemsthey had religion thenAs much asnow we find in men.Ithappened when a plague broke out(Whichtherefore made them more devout)The kingof brutes (to make it plainOfquadrupeds I only mean)Byproclamation gave commandThat everysubject in the landShould tothe priest confess their sins;And thusthe pious wolf begins:GoodfatherI must own with shameThatoften I have been to blame:I mustconfesson Friday lastWretchthat I wasI broke my fast:But I defythe basest tongueTo prove Idid my neighbour wrong;Or everwent to seek my foodBy rapinetheftor thirst of blood.
The assapproaching nextconfessedThat inhis heart he loved a jest:A wag hewashe needs must ownAnd couldnot let a dunce alone:Sometimeshis friend he would not spareAnd mightperhaps be too severe:But yetthe worst that could be saidHe was awit both born and bred;Andif itbe a sin or shameNaturealone must bear the blame:One faulthe hathis sorry for'tHis earsare half a foot too short;Whichcould he to the standard bringHe'd showhis face before the king:Thenforhis voicethere's none disputesThat he'sthe nightingale of brutes.
The swinewith contrite heart allowedHis shapeand beauty made him proud:In dietwas perhaps too niceButgluttony was ne'er his vice:In everyturn of life contentAnd meeklytook what fortune sent:Enquirethrough all the parish roundA betterneighbour ne'er was found:Hisvigilance might seine displease;'Tis truehe hated sloth like pease.
The mimicape began his chatterHow eviltongues his life bespatter:Much ofthe cens'ring world complainedWho saidhis gravity was feigned:Indeedthe strictness of his moralsEngagedhim in a hundred quarrels:He sawand he was grieved to see'tHis zealwas sometimes indiscreet:He foundhis virtues too severeFor ourcorrupted times to bear:Yetsucha lewd licentious ageMight wellexcuse a stoic's rage.
The goatadvanced with decent pace:And firstexcused his youthful face;Forgivenessbeggedthat he appeared('Twasnature's fault) without a beard.'Tis truehe was not much inclinedTofondness for the female kind;Notashis enemies objectFromchance or natural defect;Not by hisfrigid constitutionButthrough a pious resolution;For he hadmade a holy vowOfchastityas monks do now;Which heresolved to keep for ever henceAsstrictlytooas doth his reverence.
Apply thetaleand you shall findHow justit suits with human kind.Somefaults we own: butcan you guess?Why? -virtue's carried to excess;Wherewithour vanity endows usThoughneither foe nor friend allows us.
The lawyerswearsyou may rely on'tHe neversqueezed a needy client:And thishe makes his constant ruleFor whichhis brethren call him fool;Hisconscience always was so niceHe freelygave the poor advice;By whichhe losthe may affirmA hundredfees last Easter term.Whileothers of the learned robeWouldbreak the patience of a Job;No pleaderat the bar could matchHisdiligence and quick despatch;Ne'er kepta causehe well may boastAbove aterm or two at most.
Thecringing knavewho seeks a placeWithoutsuccessthus tells his case:Why shouldhe longer mince the matter?He failedbecause he could not flatter:He had notlearned to turn his coatNor for aparty give his vote.His crimehe quickly understood;Toozealous for the nation's good:He foundthe ministers resent itYet couldnot for his heart repent it.
Thechaplain vows he cannot fawnThough itwould raise him to the lawn:He passedhis hours among his books;You findit in his meagre looks:He mightif he were worldly-wisePrefermentgetand spare his eyes:But ownedhe had a stubborn spiritThat madehim trust alone in merit:Would riseby merit to promotion;Alas! amere chimeric notion.
Thedoctorif you will believe himConfesseda sinand God forgive him:Called upat midnightran to saveA blindold beggar from the grave:Butseehow Satan spreads his snares;He quiteforgot to say his prayers.He cannothelp itfor his heartSometimesto act the parson's partQuotesfrom the Bible many a sentenceThat moveshis patients to repentance:Andwhenhis medicines do no goodSupportstheir minds with heavenly food.At whichhowever well intendedHe hearsthe clergy are offended;And grownso bold behind his backTo callhim hypocrite and quack.In his ownchurch he keeps a seat;Says gracebefore and after meat;And callswithout affecting airsHishousehold twice a day to prayers.He shunsapothecaries' shops;And hatesto cram the sick with slops:He scornsto make his art a tradeNor bribesmy lady's favourite maid.Oldnurse-keepers would never hireTorecommend him to the Squire;Whichotherswhom he will not nameHave oftenpractised to their shame.
Thestatesman tells you with a sneerHis faultis to be too sincere;Andhaving no sinister endsIs apt todisoblige his friends.Thenation's goodhis Master's gloryWithoutregard to Whig or ToryWere allthe schemes he had in view;Yet he wasseconded by few:Thoughsome had spread a thousand lies'Twas hedefeated the Excise.'Twasknownthough he had borne aspersionThatstanding troops were his aversion:Hispractice wasin every stationTo servethe kingand please the nation.Thoughhard to find in every caseThefittest man to fill a place:Hispromises he ne'er forgotBut tookmemorials on the spot:Hisenemiesfor want of charitySaid heaffected popularity:'Tis truethe people understoodThat allhe did was for their good;Their kindaffections he has tried;No love islost on either side.He came tocourt with fortune clearWhich nowhe runs out every year;Mustatthe rate that he goes onInevitablybe undone.Oh! if hisMajesty would pleaseTo givehim but a writ of easeWouldgrant him license to retireAs it hathlong been his desireBy fairaccounts it would be foundHe'spoorer by ten thousand pound.He ownsand hopes it is no sinHe ne'erwas partial to his kin;He thoughtit base for men in stationsTo crowdthe court with their relations:Hiscountry was his dearest motherAnd everyvirtuous man his brother:Throughmodesty or awkward shame(For whichhe owns himself to blame)He foundthe wisest men he couldWithoutrespect to friends or blood;Nor neveracts on private viewsWhen hehath liberty to choose.
Thesharper swore he hated playExcept topass an hour away:And wellhe might; for to his costBy want ofskillhe always lost.He heardthere was a club of cheatsWho hadcontrived a thousand feats;Couldchange the stockor cog a dyeAnd thusdeceive the sharpest eye:No wonderhow his fortune sunkHisbrothers fleece him when he's drunk.
I own themoral not exact;Besidesthe tale is false in fact;And soabsurdthatcould I raise upFromfields Elysianfabling AEsop;I wouldaccuse him to his faceForlibelling the four-foot race.Creaturesof every kind but oursWellcomprehend their natural powers;While wewhom reason ought to swayMistakeour talents every day:The asswas never known so stupidTo act thepart of Tray or Cupid;Nor leapsupon his master's lapThere tobe strokedand fed with pap:As AEsopwould the world persuade;He betterunderstands his trade:Nor comeswhene'er his lady whistlesButcarries loadsand feeds on thistles;Ourauthor's meaningI presumeisA creatureBIPES ET IMPLUMIS;Whereinthe moralist designedAcompliment on human-kind:Forherehe ownsthat now and thenBeasts maydegenerate into men.
WRITTEN INTHE YEAR 1708.
I AM verysensible what a weakness and presumption it is to reasonagainstthe general humour and disposition of the world. Irememberit was with great justiceand a due regard to thefreedomboth of the public and the pressforbidden upon severalpenaltiesto writeor discourseor lay wagers against the - evenbefore itwas confirmed by Parliament; because that was looked uponas adesign to oppose the current of the peoplewhichbesides thefolly ofitis a manifest breach of the fundamental lawthatmakes thismajority of opinions the voice of God. In like mannerand forthe very same reasonsit may perhaps be neither safe norprudent toargue against the abolishing of Christianityat ajuncturewhen all parties seem so unanimously determined upon thepointaswe cannot but allow from their actionstheir discoursesand theirwritings. HoweverI know not howwhether from theaffectationof singularityor the perverseness of human naturebut so itunhappily falls outthat I cannot be entirely of thisopinion. Naythough I were sure an order were issued for myimmediateprosecution by the Attorney-GeneralI should stillconfessthat in the present posture of our affairs at home orabroadIdo not yet see the absolute necessity of extirpating theChristianreligion from among us.
Thisperhaps may appear too great a paradox even for our wise andpaxodoxicalage to endure; therefore I shall handle it with alltendernessand with the utmost deference to that great andprofoundmajority which is of another sentiment.
And yetthe curious may please to observehow much the genius of anation isliable to alter in half an age. I have heard it affirmedforcertain by some very odd peoplethat the contrary opinion waseven intheir memories as much in vogue as the other is now; andthat aproject for the abolishing of Christianity would then haveappearedas singularand been thought as absurdas it would be atthis timeto write or discourse in its defence.
ThereforeI freely ownthat all appearances are against me. Thesystem ofthe Gospelafter the fate of other systemsis generallyantiquatedand explodedand the mass or body of the common peopleamong whomit seems to have had its latest creditare now grown asmuchashamed of it as their betters; opinionslike fashionsalwaysdescending from those of quality to the middle sortandthence tothe vulgarwhere at length they are dropped and vanish.
But here Iwould not be mistakenand must therefore be so bold asto borrowa distinction from the writers on the other sidewhenthey makea difference betwixt nominal and real Trinitarians. Ihope noreader imagines me so weak to stand up in the defence ofrealChristianitysuch as used in primitive times (if we maybelievethe authors of those ages) to have an influence upon men'sbelief andactions. To offer at the restoring of thatwouldindeed bea wild project: it would be to dig up foundations; todestroy atone blow all the witand half the learning of thekingdom;to break the entire frame and constitution of things; toruintradeextinguish arts and scienceswith the professors ofthem; inshortto turn our courtsexchangesand shops intodeserts;and would be full as absurd as the proposal of Horacewhere headvises the Romansall in a bodyto leave their cityand seek anew seat in some remote part of the worldby way of acure forthe corruption of their manners.
ThereforeI think this caution was in itself altogether unnecessary(which Ihave inserted only to prevent all possibility ofcavilling)since every candid reader will easily understand mydiscourseto be intended only in defence of nominal Christianitythe otherhaving been for some time wholly laid aside by generalconsentas utterly inconsistent with all our present schemes ofwealth andpower.
But why weshould therefore cut off the name and title ofChristiansalthough the general opinion and resolution be soviolentfor itI confess I cannot (with submission) apprehend theconsequencenecessary. Howeversince the undertakers propose suchwonderfuladvantages to the nation by this projectand advancemanyplausible objections against the system of ChristianityIshallbriefly consider the strength of bothfairly allow themtheirgreatest weightand offer such answers as I think mostreasonable. After which I will beg leave to show whatinconveniencesmay possibly happen by such an innovationin thepresentposture of our affairs.
Firstonegreat advantage proposed by the abolishing ofChristianityisthat it would very much enlarge and establishliberty ofconsciencethat great bulwark of our nationand of theProtestantreligionwhich is still too much limited bypriestcraftnotwithstanding all the good intentions of thelegislatureas we have lately found by a severe instance. For itisconfidently reportedthat two young gentlemen of real hopesbrightwitand profound judgmentwhoupon a thorough examinationof causesand effectsand by the mere force of natural abilitieswithoutthe least tincture of learninghaving made a discoverythat therewas no Godand generously communicating their thoughtsfor thegood of the publicwere some time agoby an unparalleledseverityand upon I know not what obsolete lawbroke forblasphemy. And as it has been wisely observedif persecution oncebeginsnoman alive knows how far it may reachor where it willend.
In answerto all whichwith deference to wiser judgmentsI thinkthisrather shows the necessity of a nominal religion among us. Great witslove to be free with the highest objects; and if theycannot beallowed a god to revile or renouncethey will speak evilofdignitiesabuse the governmentand reflect upon the ministrywhich I amsure few will deny to be of much more perniciousconsequenceaccording to the saying of TiberiusDEORUM OFFENSADIISCUROE. As to the particular fact relatedI think it is notfair toargue from one instanceperhaps another cannot beproduced: yet (to the comfort of all those who may be apprehensiveofpersecution) blasphemy we know is freely spoke a million oftimes inevery coffee-house and tavernor wherever else goodcompanymeet. It must be allowedindeedthat to break an Englishfree-bornofficer only for blasphemy wasto speak the gentlest ofsuch anactiona very high strain of absolute power. Little canbe said inexcuse for the general; perhaps he was afraid it mightgiveoffence to the alliesamong whomfor aught we knowit maybe thecustom of the country to believe a God. But if he arguedas somehave doneupon a mistaken principlethat an officer whois guiltyof speaking blasphemy maysome time or otherproceed sofar as toraise a mutinythe consequence is by no means to beadmitted: for surely the commander of an English army is like tobe but illobeyed whose soldiers fear and reverence him as littleas they doa Deity.
It isfurther objected against the Gospel system that it obligesmen to thebelief of things too difficult for Freethinkersandsuch whohave shook off the prejudices that usually cling to aconfinededucation. To which I answerthat men should be cautioushow theyraise objections which reflect upon the wisdom of thenation. Is not everybody freely allowed to believe whatever hepleasesand to publish his belief to the world whenever he thinksfitespecially if it serves to strengthen the party which is intheright? Would any indifferent foreignerwho should read thetrumperylately written by AsgilTindalTolandCowardand fortymoreimagine the Gospel to be our rule of faithand to beconfirmedby Parliaments? Does any man either believeor say hebelievesor desire to have it thought that he says he believesonesyllable of the matter? And is any man worse received uponthatscoreor does he find his want of nominal faith adisadvantageto him in the pursuit of any civil or militaryemployment? What if there be an old dormant statute or two againsthimarethey not now obsoleteto a degreethat Empson and Dudleythemselvesif they were now alivewould find it impossible to putthem inexecution?
It islikewise urgedthat there areby computationin thiskingdomabove ten thousand parsonswhose revenuesadded to thoseof mylords the bishopswould suffice to maintain at least twohundredyoung gentlemen of wit and pleasureand free-thinkingenemies topriestcraftnarrow principlespedantryandprejudiceswho might be an ornament to the court and town: andthenagainso a great number of able [bodied] divines might be arecruit toour fleet and armies. This indeed appears to be aconsiderationof some weight; but thenon the other sideseveralthingsdeserve to be considered likewise: asfirstwhether itmay not bethought necessary that in certain tracts of countrylike whatwe call parishesthere should be one man at least ofabilitiesto read and write. Then it seems a wrong computationthat therevenues of the Church throughout this island would belargeenough to maintain two hundred young gentlemenor even halfthatnumberafter the present refined way of livingthat istoallow eachof them such a rent asin the modern form of speechwould makethem easy. But still there is in this project a greatermischiefbehind; and we ought to beware of the woman's follywhokilled thehen that every morning laid her a golden egg. Forpraywhat wouldbecome of the race of men in the next ageif we hadnothing totrust to beside the scrofulous consumptive productionfurnishedby our men of wit and pleasurewhenhaving squanderedaway theirvigourhealthand estatesthey are forcedby somedisagreeablemarriageto piece up their broken fortunesandentailrottenness and politeness on their posterity? Nowhere aretenthousand persons reducedby the wise regulations of HenryVIII.tothe necessity of a low dietand moderate exercisewhoare theonly great restorers of our breedwithout which the nationwould inan age or two become one great hospital.
Anotheradvantage proposed by the abolishing of Christianity is theclear gainof one day in sevenwhich is now entirely lostandconsequentlythe kingdom one seventh less considerable in tradebusinessand pleasure; besides the loss to the public of so manystatelystructures now in the hands of the clergywhich might beconvertedinto play-housesexchangesmarket-housescommondormitoriesand other public edifices.
I hope Ishall be forgiven a hard word if I call this a perfectcavil. I readily own there hath been an old customtime out ofmindforpeople to assemble in the churches every Sundayand thatshops arestill frequently shutin orderas it is conceivedtopreservethe memory of that ancient practice; but how this canprove ahindrance to business or pleasure is hard to imagine. Whatif the menof pleasure are forcedone day in the weekto game athomeinstead of the chocolate-house? Are not the taverns andcoffee-housesopen? Can there be a more convenient season fortaking adose of physic? Is not that the chief day for traders tosum up theaccounts of the weekand for lawyers to prepare theirbriefs? But I would fain know how it can be pretended that thechurchesare misapplied? Where are more appointments andrendezvousesof gallantry? Where more care to appear in theforemostboxwith greater advantage of dress? Where more meetingsforbusiness? Where more bargains driven of all sorts? Andwhereso manyconveniences or incitements to sleep?
There isone advantage greater than any of the foregoingproposedby theabolishing of Christianitythat it will utterly extinguishpartiesamong usby removing those factious distinctions of highand lowchurchof Whig and ToryPresbyterian and Church ofEnglandwhich are now so many mutual clogs upon publicproceedingsand are apt to prefer the gratifying themselves ordepressingtheir adversaries before the most important interest ofthe State.
I confessif it were certain that so great an advantage wouldredound tothe nation by this expedientI would submitand besilent;but will any man saythat if the wordswhoringdrinkingcheatinglyingstealingwereby Act of Parliamentejected outof theEnglish tongue and dictionarieswe should all awake nextmorningchaste and temperatehonest and justand lovers of truth? Is this afair consequence? Or if the physicians would forbid ustopronounce the words poxgoutrheumatismand stonewould thatexpedientserve like so many talismen to destroy the diseasesthemselves? Are party and faction rooted in men's hearts no deeperthanphrases borrowed from religionor founded upon no firmerprinciples? And is our language so poor that we cannot find otherterms toexpress them? Are envyprideavariceand ambition suchillnomenclatorsthat they cannot furnish appellations for theirowners? Will not heydukes and mamalukesmandarins and patshawsor anyother words formed at pleasureserve to distinguish thosewho are inthe ministry from others who would be in it if theycould? Whatfor instanceis easier than to vary the form ofspeechand instead of the word churchmake it a question inpoliticswhether the monument be in danger? Because religion wasnearest athand to furnish a few convenient phrasesis ourinventionso barren we can find no other? Supposefor argumentsakethatthe Tories favoured Margaritathe WhigsMrs. Toftsand theTrimmersValentiniwould not MargaritiansToftiansandValentiniansbe very tolerable marks of distinction? The PrasiniandVenititwo most virulent factions in Italybeganif Irememberrightby a distinction of colours in ribbonswhich wemight dowith as good a grace about the dignity of the blue and thegreenandserve as properly to divide the Courtthe Parliamentand thekingdom between themas any terms of art whatsoeverborrowedfrom religion. And therefore I think there is littleforce inthis objection against Christianityor prospect of sogreat anadvantage as is proposed in the abolishing of it.
It isagain objectedas a very absurdridiculous customthat aset of menshould be sufferedmuch less employed and hiredtobawl oneday in seven against the lawfulness of those methods mostin usetowards the pursuit of greatnessrichesand pleasurewhich arethe constant practice of all men alive on the other six. But thisobjection isI thinka little unworthy so refined an ageas ours. Let us argue this matter calmly. I appeal to the breastof anypolite Free-thinkerwhetherin the pursuit of gratifying apre-dominantpassionhe hath not always felt a wonderfulincitementby reflecting it was a thing forbidden; and thereforewe seeinorder to cultivate this testthe wisdom of the nationhath takenspecial care that the ladies should be furnished withprohibitedsilksand the men with prohibited wine. And indeed itwere to bewished that some other prohibitions were promotedinorder toimprove the pleasures of the townwhichfor want of suchexpedientsbegin alreadyas I am toldto flag and grow languidgiving waydaily to cruel inroads from the spleen.
'Tislikewise proposedas a great advantage to the publicthat ifwe oncediscard the system of the Gospelall religion will ofcourse bebanished for everand consequently along with it thosegrievousprejudices of education whichunder the names ofconsciencehonourjusticeand the likeare so apt to disturbthe peaceof human mindsand the notions whereof are so hard to beeradicatedby right reason or free-thinkingsometimes during thewholecourse of our lives.
Here firstI observe how difficult it is to get rid of a phrasewhich theworld has once grown fond ofthough the occasion thatfirstproduced it be entirely taken away. For some years pastifa man hadbut an ill-favoured nosethe deep thinkers of the agewouldsome way or other contrive to impute the cause to theprejudiceof his education. From this fountain were said to bederivedall our foolish notions of justicepietylove of ourcountry;all our opinions of God or a future stateheavenhelland thelike; and there might formerly perhaps have been somepretencefor this charge. But so effectual care hath been sincetaken toremove those prejudicesby an entire change in themethods ofeducationthat (with honour I mention it to our politeinnovators)the young gentlemenwho are now on the sceneseem tohave notthe least tincture left of those infusionsor string ofthoseweedsand by consequence the reason for abolishing nominalChristianityupon that pretext is wholly ceased.
For therestit may perhaps admit a controversywhether thebanishingall notions of religion whatsoever would be inconvenientfor thevulgar. Not that I am in the least of opinion with thosewho holdreligion to have been the invention of politicianstokeep thelower part of the world in awe by the fear of invisiblepowers;unless mankind were then very different from what it isnow; for Ilook upon the mass or body of our people here in Englandto be asFreethinkersthat is to sayas staunch unbelieversasany of thehighest rank. But I conceive some scattered notionsabout asuperior power to be of singular use for the common peopleasfurnishing excellent materials to keep children quiet when theygrowpeevishand providing topics of amusement in a tedious winternight.
Lastlyitis proposedas a singular advantagethat theabolishingof Christianity will very much contribute to the unitingofProtestantsby enlarging the terms of communionso as to takein allsorts of Dissenterswho are now shut out of the pale uponaccount ofa few ceremonieswhich all sides confess to be thingsindifferent. That this alone will effectually answer the greatends of ascheme for comprehensionby opening a large noble gateat whichall bodies may enter; whereas the chaffering withDissentersand dodging about this or t'other ceremonyis but likeopening afew wicketsand leaving them at jarby which no morethan onecan get in at a timeand that not without stoopingandsidelingand squeezing his body.
To allthis I answerthat there is one darling inclination ofmankindwhich usually affects to be a retainer to religionthoughshe beneither its parentits godmothernor its friend. I meanthe spiritof oppositionthat lived long before Christianityandcan easilysubsist without it. Let usfor instanceexaminewhereinthe opposition of sectaries among us consists. We shallfindChristianity to have no share in it at all. Does the Gospelanywhereprescribe a starchedsqueezed countenancea stiff formalgaitasingularity of manners and habitor any affected forms andmodes ofspeech different from the reasonable part of mankind? YetifChristianity did not lend its name to stand in the gapandto employor divert these humoursthey must of necessity be spentincontraventions to the laws of the landand disturbance of thepublicpeace. There is a portion of enthusiasm assigned to everynationwhichif it hath not proper objects to work onwill burstoutandset all into a flame. If the quiet of a State can bebought byonly flinging men a few ceremonies to devourit is apurchaseno wise man would refuse. Let the mastiffs amusethemselvesabout a sheep's skin stuffed with hayprovided it willkeep themfrom worrying the flock. The institution of conventsabroadseems in one point a strain of great wisdomthere being fewirregularitiesin human passions which may not have recourse toventthemselves in some of those orderswhich are so many retreatsfor thespeculativethe melancholythe proudthe silentthepoliticand the moroseto spend themselvesand evaporate thenoxiousparticles; for each of whom we in this island are forced toprovide aseveral sect of religion to keep them quiet; and wheneverChristianityshall be abolishedthe Legislature must find someotherexpedient to employ and entertain them. For what imports ithow largea gate you openif there will be always left a numberwho placea pride and a merit in not coming in?
Havingthus considered the most important objections againstChristianityand the chief advantages proposed by the abolishingthereofIshall nowwith equal deference and submission to wiserjudgmentsas beforeproceed to mention a few inconveniences thatmay happenif the Gospel should be repealedwhichperhapstheprojectorsmay not have sufficiently considered.
And firstI am very sensible how much the gentlemen of wit andpleasureare apt to murmurand be choked at the sight of so manydaggle-tailedparsons that happen to fall in their wayand offendtheireyes; but at the same timethese wise reformers do notconsiderwhat an advantage and felicity it is for great wits to bealwaysprovided with objects of scorn and contemptin order toexerciseand improve their talentsand divert their spleen fromfalling oneach otheror on themselvesespecially when all thismay bedone without the least imaginable danger to their persons.
And tourge another argument of a parallel nature: if Christianitywere onceabolishedhow could the Freethinkersthe strongreasonersand the men of profound learning be able to find anothersubject socalculated in all points whereon to display theirabilities? What wonderful productions of wit should we be deprivedof fromthose whose geniusby continual practicehath been whollyturnedupon raillery and invectives against religionand wouldthereforenever be able to shine or distinguish themselves upon anyothersubject? We are daily complaining of the great decline ofwit amongasand would we take away the greatestperhaps the onlytopic wehave left? Who would ever have suspected Asgil for a witor Tolandfor a philosopherif the inexhaustible stock ofChristianityhad not been at hand to provide them with materials? What othersubject through all art or nature could have producedTindal fora profound authoror furnished him with readers? It isthe wisechoice of the subject that alone adorns and distinguishesthewriter. For had a hundred such pens as these been employed onthe sideof religionthey would have immediately sunk into silenceandoblivion.
Nor do Ithink it wholly groundlessor my fears altogetherimaginarythat the abolishing of Christianity may perhaps bringthe Churchin dangeror at least put the Senate to the trouble ofanothersecuring vote. I desire I may not be mistaken; I am farfrompresuming to affirm or think that the Church is in danger atpresentor as things now stand; but we know not how soon it may beso whenthe Christian religion is repealed. As plausible as thisprojectseemsthere may be a dangerous design lurk under it. Nothingcan be more notorious than that the AtheistsDeistsSociniansAnti-Trinitariansand other subdivisions ofFreethinkersare persons of little zeal for the presentecclesiasticalestablishment: their declared opinion is forrepealingthe sacramental test; they are very indifferent withregard toceremonies; nor do they hold the JUS DIVINUM ofepiscopacy: therefore they may be intended as one politic steptowardsaltering the constitution of the Church establishedandsetting upPresbytery in the steadwhich I leave to be furtherconsideredby those at the helm.
In thelast placeI think nothing can be more plainthan that bythisexpedient we shall run into the evil we chiefly pretend toavoid; andthat the abolishment of the Christian religion will bethereadiest course we can take to introduce Popery. And I am themoreinclined to this opinion because we know it has been theconstantpractice of the Jesuits to send over emissarieswithinstructionsto personate themselves members of the severalprevailingsects amongst us. So it is recorded that they have atsundrytimes appeared in the guise of PresbyteriansAnabaptistsIndependentsand Quakersaccording as any of these were most incredit;sosince the fashion hath been taken up of explodingreligionthe Popish missionaries have not been wanting to mix withtheFreethinkers; among whom Tolandthe great oracle of the Anti-Christiansis an Irish priestthe son of an Irish priest; and themostlearned and ingenious author of a book called the "Rights oftheChristian Church" was in a proper juncture reconciled to theRomishfaithwhose true sonas appears by a hundred passages inhistreatisehe still continues. Perhaps I could add some othersto thenumber; but the fact is beyond disputeand the reasoningtheyproceed by is right: for supposing Christianity to beextinguishedthe people will never he at ease till they find outsome othermethod of worshipwhich will as infallibly producesuperstitionas this will end in Popery.
Andthereforeifnotwithstanding all I have saidit still bethoughtnecessary to have a Bill brought in for repealingChristianityI would humbly offer an amendmentthat instead ofthe wordChristianity may be put religion in generalwhich Iconceivewill much better answer all the good ends proposed by theprojectorsof it. For as long as we leave in being a God and HisProvidencewith all the necessary consequences which curious andinquisitivemen will be apt to draw from such promiseswe do notstrike atthe root of the evilthough we should ever soeffectuallyannihilate the present scheme of the Gospel; for ofwhat useis freedom of thought if it will not produce freedom ofactionwhich is the sole endhow remote soever in appearanceofallobjections against Christianity? and thereforetheFreethinkersconsider it as a sort of edificewherein all theparts havesuch a mutual dependence on each otherthat if youhappen topull out one single nailthe whole fabric must fall totheground. This was happily expressed by him who had heard of atextbrought for proof of the Trinitywhich in an ancientmanuscriptwas differently read; he thereupon immediately took thehintandby a sudden deduction of a long Soritesmost logicallyconcluded: whyif it be as you sayI may safely drink onanddefy theparson. From whichand many the like instances easy tobeproducedI think nothing can be more manifest than that thequarrel isnot against any particular points of hard digestion intheChristian systembut against religion in generalwhichbylayingrestraints on human natureis supposed the great enemy tothefreedom of thought and action.
Upon thewholeif it shall still be thought for the benefit ofChurch andState that Christianity be abolishedI conceivehoweverit may be more convenient to defer the execution to a timeof peaceand not venture in this conjuncture to disoblige ourallieswhoas it falls outare all Christiansand many of themby theprejudices of their educationso bigoted as to place a sortof pridein the appellation. Ifupon being rejected by themweare totrust to an alliance with the Turkwe shall find ourselvesmuchdeceived; foras he is too remoteand generally engaged inwar withthe Persian emperorso his people would be morescandalisedat our infidelity than our Christian neighbours. Forthey arenot only strict observers of religions worshipbut whatis worsebelieve a God; which is more than is required of usevenwhile wepreserve the name of Christians.
Toconcludewhatever some may think of the great advantages totrade bythis favourite schemeI do very much apprehend that insixmonths' time after the Act is passed for the extirpation of theGospelthe Bank and East India stock may fall at least one percent. And since that is fifty times more than ever the wisdom ofour agethought fit to venture for the preservation ofChristianitythere is no reason we should be at so great a lossmerely forthe sake of destroying it.
I HAVEobserved few obvious subjects to have been so seldomor atleast soslightlyhandled as this; andindeedI know few sodifficultto be treated as it oughtnor yet upon which thereseemeth somuch to be said.
Mostthings pursued by men for the happiness of public or privatelife ourwit or folly have so refinedthat they seldom subsist butin idea; atrue frienda good marriagea perfect form ofgovernmentwith some othersrequire so many ingredientsso goodin theirseveral kindsand so much niceness in mixing themthatfor somethousands of years men have despaired of reducing theirschemes toperfection. But in conversation it is or might beotherwise;for here we are only to avoid a multitude of errorswhichalthough a matter of some difficultymay be in every man'spowerforwant of which it remaineth as mere an idea as the other. Thereforeit seemeth to me that the truest way to understandconversationis to know the faults and errors to which it issubjectand from thence every man to form maxims to himselfwhereby itmay be regulatedbecause it requireth few talents towhich mostmen are not bornor at least may not acquire withoutany greatgenius or study. For nature bath left every man acapacityof being agreeablethough not of shining in company; andthere area hundred men sufficiently qualified for bothwhoby avery fewfaults that they might correct in half an hourare not somuch astolerable.
I wasprompted to write my thoughts upon this subject by mereindignationto reflect that so useful and innocent a pleasuresofitted forevery period and condition of lifeand so much in allmen'spowershould be so much neglected and abused.
And inthis discourse it will be necessary to note those errorsthat areobviousas well as others which are seldomer observedsincethere are few so obvious or acknowledged into which most mensome timeor otherare not apt to run.
Forinstancenothing is more generally exploded than the folly oftalkingtoo much; yet I rarely remember to have seen five peopletogetherwhere some one among them hath not been predominant inthat kindto the great constraint and disgust of all the rest. But amongsuch as deal in multitudes of wordsnone are comparableto thesober deliberate talkerwho proceedeth with much thoughtandcautionmaketh his prefacebrancheth out into severaldigressionsfindeth a hint that putteth him in mind of anotherstorywhich he promiseth to tell you when this is done; comethbackregularly to his subjectcannot readily call to mind someperson'snameholdeth his headcomplaineth of his memory; thewholecompany all this while in suspense; at lengthsays heit isno matterand so goes on. Andto crown the businessit perhapsproveth atlast a story the company hath heard fifty times before;oratbestsome insipid adventure of the relater.
Anothergeneral fault in conversation is that of those who affectto talk ofthemselves. Somewithout any ceremonywill run overthehistory of their lives; will relate the annals of theirdiseaseswith the several symptoms and circumstances of them; willenumeratethe hardships and injustice they have suffered in courtinparliamentin loveor in law. Others are more dexterousandwith greatart will lie on the watch to hook in their own praise. They willcall a witness to remember they always foretold whatwouldhappen in such a casebut none would believe them; theyadvisedsuch a man from the beginningand told him theconsequencesjust as they happenedbut he would have his own way. Othersmake a vanity of telling their faults. They are thestrangestmen in the world; they cannot dissemble; they own it is afolly;they have lost abundance of advantages by it; butif youwould givethem the worldthey cannot help it; there is somethingin theirnature that abhors insincerity and constraint; with manyotherunsufferable topics of the same altitude.
Of suchmighty importance every man is to himselfand ready tothink heis so to otherswithout once making this easy and obviousreflectionthat his affairs can have no more weight with other menthantheirs have with him; and how little that is he is sensibleenough.
Wherecompany hath metI often have observed two persons discoverby someaccident that they were bred together at the same school oruniversityafter which the rest are condemned to silenceand tolistenwhile these two are refreshing each other's memory with thearchtricks and passages of themselves and their comrades.
I know agreat officer of the armywho will sit for some time withasupercilious and impatient silencefull of anger and contemptfor thosewho are talking; at length of a sudden demand audience;decide thematter in a short dogmatical way; then withdraw withinhimselfagainand vouchsafe to talk no moreuntil his spiritscirculateagain to the same point.
There aresome faults in conversation which none are so subject toas the menof witnor ever so much as when they are with eachother. If they have opened their mouths without endeavouring tosay awitty thingthey think it is so many words lost. It is atorment tothe hearersas much as to themselvesto see them uponthe rackfor inventionand in perpetual constraintwith so littlesuccess. They must do something extraordinaryin order to acquitthemselvesand answer their characterelse the standers by may bedisappointedand be apt to think them only like the rest ofmortals. I have known two men of wit industriously broughttogetherin order to entertain the companywhere they have made averyridiculous figureand provided all the mirth at their ownexpense.
I know aman of witwho is never easy but where he can be allowedto dictateand preside; he neither expecteth to be informed orentertainedbut to display his own talents. His business is to begoodcompanyand not good conversationand therefore he choosethtofrequent those who are content to listenand profess themselveshisadmirers. Andindeedthe worst conversation I ever rememberto haveheard in my life was that at Will's coffee-housewhere thewitsasthey were calledused formerly to assemble; that is tosayfiveor six men who had written playsor at least prologuesor hadshare in a miscellanycame thitherand entertained oneanotherwith their trifling composures in so important an airasif theyhad been the noblest efforts of human natureor that thefate ofkingdoms depended on them; and they were usually attendedwith ahumble audience of young students from the inns of courtsor theuniversitieswhoat due distancelistened to theseoraclesand returned home with great contempt for their law andphilosophytheir heads filled with trash under the name ofpolitenesscriticismand belles lettres.
By thesemeans the poetsfor many years pastwere all overrunwithpedantry. Foras I take itthe word is not properly used;becausepedantry is the too front or unseasonable obtruding our ownknowledgein common discourseand placing too great a value uponit; bywhich definition men of the court or the army may be asguilty ofpedantry as a philosopher or a divine; and it is the samevice inwomen when they are over copious upon the subject of theirpetticoatsor their fansor their china. For which reasonalthoughit be a piece of prudenceas well as good mannersto putmen upontalking on subjects they are best versed inyet that is aliberty awise man could hardly take; becausebeside theimputationof pedantryit is what he would never improve by.
This greattown is usually provided with some playermimicorbuffoonwho hath a general reception at the good tables; familiaranddomestic with persons of the first qualityand usually sentfor atevery meeting to divert the companyagainst which I have noobjection. You go there as to a farce or a puppet-show; yourbusinessis only to laugh in seasoneither out of inclination orcivilitywhile this merry companion is acting his part. It is abusinesshe hath undertakenand we are to suppose he is paid forhis day'swork. I only quarrel when in select and privatemeetingswhere men of wit and learning are invited to pass aneveningthis jester should be admitted to run over his circle oftricksand make the whole company unfit for any otherconversationbesides the indignity of confounding men's talents atsoshameful a rate.
Railleryis the finest part of conversation; butas it is ourusualcustom to counterfeit and adulterate whatever is too dear forusso wehave done with thisand turned it all into what isgenerallycalled reparteeor being smart; just as when anexpensivefashion cometh upthose who are not able to reach itcontentthemselves with some paltry imitation. It now passeth forrailleryto run a man down in discourseto put him out ofcountenanceand make him ridiculoussometimes to expose thedefects ofhis person or understanding; on all which occasions heis obligednot to be angryto avoid the imputation of not beingable totake a jest. It is admirable to observe one who isdexterousat this artsingling out a weak adversarygetting thelaugh onhis sideand then carrying all before him. The Frenchfrom whomwe borrow the wordhave a quite different idea of thethingandso had we in the politer age of our fathers. Raillerywastosay something that at first appeared a reproach orreflectionbutby some turn of wit unexpected and surprisingendedalways in a complimentand to the advantage of the person itwasaddressed to. And surely one of the best rules in conversationisneverto say a thing which any of the company can reasonablywish wehad rather left unsaid; nor can there anything be well morecontraryto the ends for which people meet togetherthan to partunsatisfiedwith each other or themselves.
There aretwo faults in conversation which appear very differentyet arisefrom the same rootand are equally blamable; I meananimpatienceto interrupt othersand the uneasiness of beinginterruptedourselves. The two chief ends of conversation aretoentertainand improve those we are amongor to receive thosebenefitsourselves; which whoever will considercannot easily runintoeither of those two errors; becausewhen any man speaketh incompanyit is to be supposed he doth it for his hearers' sakeandnot hisown; so that common discretion will teach us not to forcetheirattentionif they are not willing to lend it; noron theothersideto interrupt him who is in possessionbecause that isin thegrossest manner to give the preference to our own goodsense.
There aresome people whose good manners will not suffer them tointerruptyou; butwhat is almost as badwill discover abundanceofimpatienceand lie upon the watch until you have donebecausethey havestarted something in their own thoughts which they longto bedelivered of. Meantimethey are so far from regarding whatpassesthat their imaginations are wholly turned upon what theyhave inreservefor fear it should slip out of their memory; andthus theyconfine their inventionwhich might otherwise range overa hundredthings full as goodand that might be much morenaturallyintroduced.
There is asort of rude familiaritywhich some peoplebypractisingamong their intimateshave introduced into theirgeneralconversationand would have it pass for innocent freedomor humourwhich is a dangerous experiment in our northern climatewhere allthe little decorum and politeness we have are purelyforced byartand are so ready to lapse into barbarity. Thisamong theRomanswas the raillery of slavesof which we have manyinstancesin Plautus. It seemeth to have been introduced among usbyCromwellwhoby preferring the scum of the peoplemade it acourt-entertainmentof which I have heard many particulars; andconsideringall things were turned upside downit was reasonableandjudicious; although it was a piece of policy found out toridicule apoint of honour in the other extremewhen the smallestwordmisplaced among gentlemen ended in a duel.
There aresome men excellent at telling a storyand provided withaplentiful stock of themwhich they can draw out upon occasion inallcompanies; and considering how low conversation runs now amongusit isnot altogether a contemptible talent; howeverit issubject totwo unavoidable defects: frequent repetitionand beingsoonexhausted; so that whoever valueth this gift in himself hathneed of agood memoryand ought frequently to shift his companythat hemay not discover the weakness of his fund; for those whoare thusendowed have seldom any other revenuebut live upon themainstock.
Greatspeakers in public are seldom agreeable in privateconversationwhether their faculty be naturalor acquired bypracticeand often venturing. Natural elocutionalthough it mayseem aparadoxusually springeth from a barrenness of inventionand ofwordsby which men who have only one stock of notions uponeverysubjectand one set of phrases to express them inthey swimupon thesuperficiesand offer themselves on every occasion;thereforemen of much learningand who know the compass of alanguageare generally the worst talkers on a suddenuntil muchpracticehath inured and emboldened them; because they areconfoundedwith plenty of mattervariety of notionsand of wordswhich theycannot readily choosebut are perplexed and entangledby toogreat a choicewhich is no disadvantage in privateconversation;whereon the other sidethe talent of haranguingisof allothersmost insupportable.
Nothinghath spoiled men more for conversation than the characterof beingwits; to support whichthey never fail of encouraging anumber offollowers and admirerswho list themselves in theirservicewherein they find their accounts on both sides by pleasingtheirmutual vanity. This hath given the former such an air ofsuperiorityand made the latter so pragmaticalthat neither ofthem arewell to be endured. I say nothing here of the itch ofdisputeand contradictiontelling of liesor of those who aretroubledwith the disease called the wandering of the thoughtsthat theyare never present in mind at what passeth in discourse;forwhoever labours under any of these possessions is as unfit forconversationas madmen in Bedlam.
I think Ihave gone over most of the errors in conversation thathavefallen under my notice or memoryexcept some that are merelypersonaland others too gross to need exploding; such as lewd orprofanetalk; but I pretend only to treat the errors ofconversationin generaland not the several subjects of discoursewhichwould be infinite. Thus we see how human nature is mostdebasedby the abuse of that facultywhich is held the greatdistinctionbetween men and brutes; and how little advantage wemake ofthat which might be the greatestthe most lastingand themostinnocentas well as useful pleasure of life: in default ofwhichweare forced to take up with those poor amusements of dressandvisitingor the more pernicious ones of playdrinkandviciousamourswhereby the nobility and gentry of both sexes areentirelycorrupted both in body and mindand have lost all notionsof lovehonourfriendshipand generosity; whichunder the nameoffopperieshave been for some time laughed out of doors.
Thisdegeneracy of conversationwith the pernicious consequencesthereofupon our humours and dispositionshath been owingamongothercausesto the custom arisenfor some time pastofexcludingwomen from any share in our societyfurther than inparties atplayor dancingor in the pursuit of an amour. I takethehighest period of politeness in England (and it is of the samedate inFrance) to have been the peaceable part of King CharlesI.'sreign; and from what we read of those timesas well as fromtheaccounts I have formerly met with from some who lived in thatcourtthemethods then used for raising and cultivatingconversationwere altogether different from ours; several ladieswhom wefind celebrated by the poets of that agehad assemblies attheirhouseswhere persons of the best understandingand of bothsexesmetto pass the evenings in discoursing upon whateveragreeablesubjects were occasionally started; and although we areapt toridicule the sublime Platonic notions they hadorpersonatedin love and friendshipI conceive their refinementsweregrounded upon reasonand that a little grain of the romanceis no illingredient to preserve and exalt the dignity of humannaturewithout which it is apt to degenerate into everything thatis sordidviciousand low. If there were no other use in theconversationof ladiesit is sufficient that it would lay arestraintupon those odious topics of immodesty and indecenciesinto whichthe rudeness of our northern genius is so apt to fall. Andthereforeit is observable in those sprightly gentlemen aboutthe townwho are so very dexterous at entertaining a vizard maskin thepark or the playhousethatin the company of ladies ofvirtue andhonourthey are silent and disconcertedand out oftheirelement.
There aresome people who think they sufficiently acquit themselvesandentertain their company with relating of facts of noconsequencenor at all out of the road of such common incidents ashappenevery day; and this I have observed more frequently amongthe Scotsthan any other nationwho are very careful not to omittheminutest circumstances of time or place; which kind ofdiscourseif it were not a little relieved by the uncouth termsandphrasesas well as accent and gesture peculiar to thatcountrywould be hardly tolerable. It is not a fault in companyto talkmuch; but to continue it long is certainly one; forif themajorityof those who are got together be naturally silent orcautiousthe conversation will flagunless it be often renewed byone amongthem who can start new subjectsprovided he doth notdwell uponthembut leaveth room for answers and replies.
WE havejust enough religion to make us hatebut not enough tomake uslove one another.
Reflect onthings past as warsnegotiationsfactionsetc. Weenter solittle into those intereststhat we wonder how men couldpossiblybe so busy and concerned for things so transitory; look onthepresent timeswe find the same humouryet wonder not at all.
A wise manendeavoursby considering all circumstancesto makeconjecturesand form conclusions; but the smallest accidentintervening(and in the course of affairs it is impossible toforeseeall) does often produce such turns and changesthat atlast he isjust as much in doubt of events as the most ignorant andinexperiencedperson.
Positivenessis a good quality for preachers and oratorsbecausehe thatwould obtrude his thoughts and reasons upon a multitudewillconvince others the moreas he appears convinced himself.
How is itpossible to expect that mankind will take advicewhenthey willnot so much as take warning?
I forgetwhether Advice be among the lost things which Aristo saysare to befound in the moon; that and Time ought to have beenthere.
Nopreacher is listened to but Timewhich gives us the same trainand turnof thought that older people have tried in vain to putinto ourheads before.
When wedesire or solicit anythingour minds run wholly on thegood sideor circumstances of it; when it is obtainedour mindsrun whollyon the bad ones.
In aglass-house the workmen often fling in a small quantity offreshcoalswhich seems to disturb the firebut very muchenlivensit. This seems to allude to a gentle stirring of thepassionsthat the mind may not languish.
Religionseems to have grown an infant with ageand requiresmiraclesto nurse itas it had in its infancy.
All fitsof pleasure are balanced by an equal degree of pain orlanguor;it is like spending this year part of the next year'srevenue.
The latterpart of a wise man's life is taken up in curing thefolliesprejudicesand false opinions he had contracted in theformer.
Would awriter know how to behave himself with relation toposteritylet him consider in old books what he finds that he isglad toknowand what omissions he most laments.
Whateverthe poets pretendit is plain they give immortality tonone butthemselves; it is Homer and Virgil we reverence andadmirenot Achilles or AEneas. With historians it is quite thecontrary;our thoughts are taken up with the actionspersonsandevents wereadand we little regard the authors.
When atrue genius appears in the world you may know him by thissign; thatthe dunces are all in confederacy against him.
Men whopossess all the advantages of lifeare in a state wherethere aremany accidents to disorder and discomposebut few topleasethem.
It isunwise to punish cowards with ignominyfor if they hadregardedthat they would not have been cowards; death is theirproperpunishmentbecause they fear it most.
Thegreatest inventions were produced in the times of ignoranceasthe use ofthe compassgunpowderand printingand by the dullestnationasthe Germans.
Oneargument to prove that the common relations of ghosts andspectresare generally falsemay be drawn from the opinion heldthatspirits are never seen by more than one person at a time; thatis to sayit seldom happens to above one person in a company to bepossessedwith any high degree of spleen or melancholy.
I am aptto think thatin the day of Judgmentthere will be smallallowancegiven to the wise for their want of moralsnor to theignorantfor their want of faithbecause both are without excuse. Thisrenders the advantages equal of ignorance and knowledge. Butsomescruples in the wiseand some vices in the ignorantwillperhaps beforgiven upon the strength of temptation to each.
The valueof several circumstances in story lessens very much bydistanceof timethough some minute circumstances are veryvaluable;and it requires great judgment in a writer todistinguish.
It isgrown a word of course for writers to say"This criticalage"as divines say"This sinful age."
It ispleasant to observe how free the present age is in layingtaxes onthe next. FUTURE AGES SHALL TALK OF THIS; THIS SHALL BEFAMOUS TOALL POSTERITY. Whereas their time and thoughts will betaken upabout present thingsas ours are now.
Thechameleonwho is said to feed upon nothing but airhathofallanimalsthe nimblest tongue.
When a manis made a spiritual peer he loses his surname; when atemporalhis Christian name.
It is indisputes as in armieswhere the weaker side sets up falselightsand makes a great noiseto make the enemy believe themmorenumerous and strong than they really are.
Some menunder the notions of weeding out prejudiceseradicatevirtuehonestyand religion.
In allwell-instituted commonwealthscare has been taken to limitmen'spossessions; which is done for many reasonsand among therestforone which perhaps is not often considered: that whenbounds areset to men's desiresafter they have acquired as muchas thelaws will permit themtheir private interest is at an endand theyhave nothing to do but to take care of the public.
There arebut three ways for a man to revenge himself of thecensure ofthe world: to despise itto return the likeor toendeavourto live so as to avoid it. The first of these is usuallypretendedthe last is almost impossible; the universal practice isfor thesecond.
I neverheard a finer piece of satire against lawyers than that ofastrologerswhen they pretend by rules of art to tell when a suitwill endand whether to the advantage of the plaintiff ordefendant;thus making the matter depend entirely upon theinfluenceof the starswithout the least regard to the merits ofthe cause.
Theexpression in Apocrypha about Tobit and his dog following him Ihave oftenheard ridiculedyet Homer has the same words ofTelemachusmore than once; and Virgil says something like it ofEvander. And I take the book of Tobit to be partly poetical.
I haveknown some men possessed of good qualitieswhich were veryserviceableto othersbut useless to themselves; like a sun-dialon thefront of a houseto inform the neighbours and passengersbut notthe owner within.
If a manwould register all his opinions upon lovepoliticsreligionlearningetc.beginning from his youth and so go on toold agewhat a bundle of inconsistencies and contradictions wouldappear atlast!
What theydo in heaven we are ignorant of; what they do not we aretoldexpressly: that they neither marrynor are given inmarriage.
It is amiserable thing to live in suspense; it is the life of aspider.
TheStoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off ourdesiresis like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.
Physiciansought not to give their judgment of religionfor thesamereason that butchers are not admitted to be jurors upon lifeand death.
The reasonwhy so few marriages are happyisbecause young ladiesspendtheir time in making netsnot in making cages.
If a manwill observe as he walks the streetsI believe he willfind themerriest countenances in mourning coaches.
Nothingmore unqualifies a man to act with prudence than amisfortunethat is attended with shame and guilt.
The powerof fortune is confessed only by the miserable; for thehappyimpute all their success to prudence or merit.
Ambitionoften puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbingisperformed in the same posture with creeping.
Censure isthe tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.
Althoughmen are accused for not knowing their own weaknessyetperhaps asfew know their own strength. It isin men as in soilswheresometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows notof.
Satire isreckoned the easiest of all witbut I take it to beotherwisein very bad times: for it is as hard to satirise well aman ofdistinguished vicesas to praise well a man ofdistinguishedvirtues. It is easy enough to do either to people ofmoderatecharacters.
Inventionis the talent of youthand judgment of age; so that ourjudgmentgrows harder to pleasewhen we have fewer things to offerit: this goes through the whole commerce of life. When we areoldourfriends find it difficult to please usand are lessconcernedwhether we be pleased or no.
No wiseman ever wished to be younger.
An idlereason lessens the weight of the good ones you gave before.
Themotives of the best actions will not bear too strict aninquiry. It is allowed that the cause of most actionsgood orbadmayhe resolved into the love of ourselves; but the self-loveof somemen inclines them to please othersand the self-love ofothers iswholly employed in pleasing themselves. This makes thegreatdistinction between virtue and vice. Religion is the bestmotive ofall actionsyet religion is allowed to be the highestinstanceof self-love.
Old menview best at a distance with the eyes of theirunderstandingas well as with those of nature.
Somepeople take more care to hide their wisdom than their folly.
AnthonyHenley's farmerdying of an asthmasaid"Wellif I canget thisbreath once OUTI'll take care it never got IN again."
The humourof exploding many things under the name of triflesfopperiesand only imaginary goodsis a very false proof eitherof wisdomor magnanimityand a great check to virtuous actions. Forinstancewith regard to famethere is in most people areluctanceand unwillingness to be forgotten. We observeevenamong thevulgarhow fond they are to have an inscription overtheirgrave. It requires but little philosophy to discover andobservethat there is no intrinsic value in all this; howeverifit befounded in our nature as an incitement to virtueit oughtnot to beridiculed.
Complaintis the largest tribute heaven receivesand the sincerestpart ofour devotion.
The commonfluency of speech in many menand most womenis owingto ascarcity of matterand a scarcity of words; for whoever is amaster oflanguageand hath a mind full of ideaswill be aptinspeakingto hesitate upon the choice of both; whereas commonspeakershave only one set of ideasand one set of words to clothethem inand these are always ready at the mouth. So people comefaster outof a church when it is almost emptythan when a crowdis at thedoor.
Few arequalified to shine in company; but it is in most men'spower tobe agreeable. The reasonthereforewhy conversationruns solow at presentis not the defect of understandingbutpridevanityill-natureaffectationsingularitypositivenessor someother vicethe effect of a wrong education.
To be vainis rather a mark of humility than pride. Vain mendelight intelling what honours have been done themwhat greatcompanythey have keptand the likeby which they plainly confessthat thesehonours were more than their dueand such as theirfriendswould not believe if they had not been told: whereas a mantrulyproud thinks the greatest honours below his meritandconsequentlyscorns to boast. I therefore deliver it as a maximthatwhoever desires the character of a proud manought to concealhisvanity.
Lawin afree countryisor ought to bethe determination ofthemajority of those who have property in land.
Oneargument used to the disadvantage of Providence I take to be averystrong one in its defence. It is objected that storms andtempestsunfruitful seasonsserpentsspidersfliesand othernoxious ortroublesome animalswith many more instances of thelike kinddiscover an imperfection in naturebecause human lifewould bemuch easier without them; but the design of Providence mayclearly beperceived in this proceeding. The motions of the sunand moon -in shortthe whole system of the universeas far asphilosophershave been able to discover and observeare in theutmostdegree of regularity and perfection; but wherever God hathleft toman the power of interposing a remedy by thought or labourthere hehath placed things in a state of imperfectionon purposeto stir uphuman industrywithout which life would stagnateorindeedrathercould not subsist at all: CURIS ACCUUNT MORTALIACORDA.
Praise isthe daughter of present power.
Howinconsistent is man with himself!
I haveknown several persons of great fame for wisdom in publicaffairsand counsels governed by foolish servants.
I haveknown great Ministersdistinguished for wit and learningwhopreferred none but dunces.
I haveknown men of great valour cowards to their wives.
I haveknown men of the greatest cunning perpetually cheated.
I knewthree great Ministerswho could exactly compute and settletheaccounts of a kingdombut were wholly ignorant of their owneconomy.
Thepreaching of divines helps to preserve well-inclined men in thecourse ofvirtuebut seldom or never reclaims the vicious.
Princesusually make wiser choices than the servants whom theytrust forthe disposal of places: I have known a princemore thanoncechoose an able Ministerbut I never observed that Ministerto use hiscredit in the disposal of an employment to a person whomhe thoughtthe fittest for it. One of the greatest in this ageowned andexcused the matter from the violence of parties and theunreasonablenessof friends.
Smallcauses are sufficient to make a man uneasy when great onesare not inthe way. For want of a block he will stumble at astraw.
Dignityhigh stationor great richesare in some sort necessaryto oldmenin order to keep the younger at a distancewho areotherwisetoo apt to insult them upon the score of their age.
Every mandesires to live long; but no man would be old.
Love offlattery in most men proceeds from the mean opinion theyhave ofthemselves; in women from the contrary.
If booksand laws continue to increase as they have done for fiftyyearspastI am in some concern for future ages how any man willbelearnedor any man a lawyer.
Kings arecommonly said to have LONG HANDS; I wish they had as LONGEARS.
Princes intheir infancychildhoodand youth are said to discoverprodigiousparts and witto speak things that surprise andastonish. Strangeso many hopeful princesand so many shamefulkings! If they happen to die youngthey would have been prodigiesof wisdomand virtue. If they livethey are often prodigiesindeedbut of another sort.
Politicsas the word is commonly understoodare nothing butcorruptionsand consequently of no use to a good king or a goodministry;for which reason Courts are so overrun with politics.
A nice manis a man of nasty ideas.
Apollo washeld the god of physic and sender of diseases. Bothworeoriginally the same tradeand still continue.
Old menand comets have been reverenced for the same reason: theirlongbeardsand pretences to foretell events.
A personwas asked at courtwhat he thought of an ambassador andhis trainwho were all embroidery and lacefull of bowscringesandgestures; he saidit was Solomon's importationgold and apes.
Most sortsof diversion in menchildrenand other animalsis animitationof fighting.
Augustusmeeting an ass with a lucky name foretold himself goodfortune. I meet many assesbut none of them have lucky names.
If a manmakes me keep my distancethe comfort is he keeps his atthe sametime.
Who candeny that all men are violent lovers of truth when we seethem sopositive in their errorswhich they will maintain out oftheir zealto truthalthough they contradict themselves every dayof theirlives?
That wasexcellently observedsay Iwhen I read a passage in anauthorwhere his opinion agrees with mine. When we differthereIpronounce him to be mistaken.
Very fewmenproperly speakinglive at presentbut are providingto liveanother time.
Lawspenned with the utmost care and exactnessand in the vulgarlanguageare often perverted to wrong meanings; then why should wewonderthat the Bible is so?
Althoughmen are accused for not knowing their weaknessyetperhaps asfew know their own strength.
A manseeing a wasp creeping into a vial filled with honeythatwas hungon a fruit treesaid thus: "Whythou sottish animalart thoumad to go into that vialwhere you see many hundred ofyour kindthere dying in it before you?" "The reproach isjust"answeredthe wasp"but not from you menwho are so far fromtakingexample by other people's folliesthat you will not takewarning byyour own. If after falling several times into thisvialandescaping by chanceI should fall in againI should thenbutresemble you."
An oldmiser kept a tame jackdawthat used to steal pieces ofmoneyandhide them in a holewhich the cat observingasked whyhe wouldhoard up those round shining things that he could make nouse of? "Why" said the jackdaw"my master has a whole chestfullandmakes no more use of them than I."
Men arecontent to be laughed at for their witbut not for theirfolly.
If the menof wit and genius would resolve never to complain intheirworks of critics and detractorsthe next age would not knowthat theyever had any.
After allthe maxims and systems of trade and commercea stander-by wouldthink the affairs of the world were most ridiculouslycontrived.
There arefew countries whichif well cultivatedwould notsupportdouble the number of their inhabitantsand yet fewer whereone-thirdof the people are not extremely stinted even in thenecessariesof life. I send out twenty barrels of cornwhichwouldmaintain a family in bread for a yearand I bring back inreturn avessel of winewhich half a dozen good follows woulddrink inless than a monthat the expense of their health andreason.
A manwould have but few spectatorsif he offered to show forthreepencehow he could thrust a red-hot iron into a barrel ofgunpowderand it should not take fire.