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Hath prov’d, on needle's point, t'amaze, sir,
And, while we speak of him a-pro-pos;
Who can believe, with common sense, .
* In Erasmus's Praise of Folly, the reader may find the most severe sarcasms on these subtle fools, whom the author exposes to the lash of the most pointed ridicule; nor will Voltaire be found less acute in his remarks; who, upon all occasions, took delight in exposing the fallacy of such conceited pedants, whose sole aim seems to have consisted in bewildering their own and other people's understandings. The doctors of the Sorbonne, at Paris, who were esteemed the most acute theologians, are very justly ridiculed by Voltaire, in the following lines:
On fait venir des docteurs de Sorbonne,
† The most fallacious opinions have been cherished by numerous individuals of late, whose tenets not only proved destructive of religion and morality in France, but have equally been disseminated on this side of the Channel, to the detriment of a great portion of society: and certainly the observation of Seneca may be justly applied to all these
Who swear that pain's naught but conceit;
They laugh to scorn what's superstitious:
scourges of reason and common sense, who says, “ Distra, hit animum librorum multitudo.” By the bye, I had nearly forgotten my foolish friend Goropius Becanus, who took an infinity of pains to prove that High Dutch was the language which Adam and Eve spoke in Paradise.
* In allusion to the Stoics, who were the followers of Zeno, and maintained that pain is no real evil; that a wise man is happy, even in the midst of torture, &c. ideas, that bring to mind the words of Seneca, who says, “ The more subtile things are rendered, the nearer they approximate to nothing." And certainly, all such definition of things by acts. bears the closer affinity to nonsense. Aristophanes, in his Comedy of the Clouds, very characteristically introduces Socrates and Chærephon, as taking an admeasurement of the leap of a flea from the beard of the one to that of the other.
† This is assuredly a healing plaster, and might do very well, if unfortunately, conscience had not, some how or other, been made a tenant of the human breast, whose cries will
They write, they read, their study's intense,
We hear of matter, and of motion,
be heard, notwithstanding the jargon of such philosophers, I would say, fools! Meglio vale esser dotto che dottore.
* If the annotator was to enter upon this topic, a simple note would be swelled into a thick volume: so numerous has been this race of defilers of paper. It is, however, suf. ficient to say, that their ponderous folios may be found at the cheesemongers': “ Yea, even unto the present day.
† Whether the Supreme' Author of all things be deno. minated God, or Nature, or Chance, is, to my mind, a matter of little consequence, so that his existence be but granted in its full extent; for a mere word cannot alter the attributes of divinity. Such, however, is not exactly the case: for there are men who talk of chance, under a different impression, though they are incapable of comprehending it; which, after all, brings the matter to one point; and the dispute at last is merely whether we should say shoes of leather, or leathern shoes.
L'ENVOY OF THE POET.
For thro' an endless wilderness he rambles;
THE POET'S CHORUS TO FOOLS.
OF FOOLISH POETS AND AUTHORS.
Tenet insanabile multos
To sense refin'd vile poetasters
* Of this unfortunate race of fools there have, alas! been too many; and, to the sorrow of Apollo, and the Muses,