The silly man, whose labour is but vain,

And still will persevere to understand;
Is like a fool, who sows his golden grain,

Expecting crop, tho’ from the barren sand.

Come, trim the boat, row on each Rara Avis,
Crowds flock to man my Stultifera Navis.

pular odium is not to be wondered at, when we recollect, that the period of ignorance and superstition denominated every thing, and every body, above mortality, which possessed knowledge superior to the vulgar comprehension: thus we find that most of the gods of the ancients, from being originally proficients in different arts and sciences, were, after their demise, exalted to the rank of immortals. Friar Bacon, in the reign of Edward I.was supposed to be in league with the devil; Robert Grosthead, bishop of Lincoln, in the time of Henry III. was, on account of his learniŋg, deemed a conjurer, and degraded by Pope Innocent IV. and Galileo, the astronomer, for venturing to affirm that the Sun was a fixed body, and that the earth moved, endured captivity for a series of years in the Inquisition; but speaking of the Occult Sciences, we may say of its student, that

He had been long t’wards mathematics,
Optics, philosophy, and statics;
Magic, horoscopie, astrologie,
And was old dog at phisiologie;
But, as a dog that turns the spit,
Bestirs himself, and plies his feet,
To climb the wheel, but all in vain,

His own weight brings him down again. Nor ought we to conclude this note, without applying the words of our immortal bard, who thus expresseth himself in King Lear. “ This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are in sick fortune (often the surfeits of our behaviour) we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treacherous, by spherical predominance: drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an inforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition on the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the Dragon's tail, and my nativity was under Ursa major; so that it follows, I am rough and leche. rous. I should be what I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing."



Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift, is like clouds and wind without rain.

HERE's one, who talks as much of knowledge,
As any big wig at a college ;
And thinks himself of wits the pillar,
With the assistance of Joe Miller;

But as for Latin, Hebrew, Greek,
One word he can, nor read, nor speak.*

* The garrulity of this class of fools is so universally heard in the present day, that it is hardly possible to frequent a company without finding yourself pestered to death by one of these leeches; who, to gratify his self-enamoured fancy, sucks away every particle of your good temper, thus depriving you of the little pleasure which you had imagined the society might afford; this brings to mind these lines in the Merchant of Venice:

« Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice: his reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff, you shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them, they are not worth the search.”

Or, if the German you are praising, .
His knowledge of that tongue's amazing ;
As well as Spanish, French, Italian,
He'll carve to boot like a Pygmalion;

And for painting, he can show,
Designs more grand than Angelo.

His wealth, if any friend's relating,
Of Funds and Bank Stock he'll be prating;
Or if you speak of some lord knowing,
Three dukes tow’rd him are favours showing ;

And with respect to Cupid's darts,
None ever smote so many hearts.f

* No matter how difficult the art or science may be, the fool is equally au fait at every thing, so that ninety-nine men out of the hundred, only enact the part of Bobadil in dif. ferent ways. Merciful Heaven! what instances of this presumptuous folly have I not been the witness of, until my very bowels have yearned within me! I had nearly forgotten a curious instance of literary vain boasting, which appear. ell some time since on the title of a book written by a German Professor, who absolutely thus worded the nature of his treatise.

“ Observations on all things and several other things be, sides.” But, to conclude, from all such men, “Good lord deliver me!"

† To here the poor fool prate of riches, or the loathsome

But, to be brief, the theme is naught, sir,
In self commending he's so fraught, sir;

object talk of consequences in love affairs, is a species of vain boasting so palpable, as to draw down pity and contempt on the wretch who practises it; yet, show me the man possessed of the smallest share of discernment, who has not been a witness of this enormous folly; nay, and in the latter case particularly, it is to be observed, that the plainest in. dividuals are the loudest in boasting: such men very much remind me of a baboon who should watch his beautiful mistress attiring herself, and afterwards have recourse to the same methods, in order to adonize his repulsive figure, which will appear to him equally bewitching, when reflected in the mirror, though all other eyes but his own perceive the deformity, and laugh in their sleeves at his consummate vanity. It is, notwithstanding, very requisite in this note, that I should say a few words by way of apology for this latter class of fools, who are certainly, in some respects entitled to indulge in their propensity, on account of the extraordinary taste evinced by many ladies of ton at the present era, who being possessed of every requisite that is desirable in a husband, will frequently (for the sake of diversity, I suppose) intrigue with a being, not only contemptible in person, but debased in mind. To adduce instances would be fruitless; however, a late crim. con. action is a sufficient testimony of the justness of this remark.

Onore, e vergogna se la donna li perde mai li ritrova.

« ElőzőTovább »