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plexion, or quality, to take, as soon as possible, of this my intellectual oil; which, applied at the ear, seizes all the senses with a most agreeable transport, and discovers its effects, not only to the satisfaction of the patient but all who converse with, attend upon, or any way relate to him or her that receives the kindly infection. It is often administered by chambermaids, valets, or any the most ignorant domestic; it being one peculiar excellence of this my oil, that it is most prevalent, the more unskilful the person is or appears who applies it. It is absolutely necessary for ladies to take a dose of it just before they take coach to go a visiting.
But I offend the public, as Horace said, when I trespass on any of your time. Give me leave, then, Mr. Ironside, to make you a present of a drachm or two of my oil; though I have cause to fear my prescriptions will not have the effect upon you I could wish; therefore I do not endeavour to bribe
my favour by the present of my oil, holly depend upon your public spirit and generosity; which, I hope, will recommend to the world the useful endeavours of,
" Sir, your most obedient,
6 GNATHO. **** Beware of counterfeits, for such are abroad.
“N.B. I teach the arcana of my art, at reasonable rates to gentlemen of the universities, who desire to be qualified for writing dedications; and to young lovers and fortunehunters, to be paid at the day of marriage. I instruet persons of bright capacities to flatter others, and those of the meanest to flatter themselves.
“I was the first inventor of pocket looking-glasses."
N° 12. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 1713.
You'd think no fools disgraced the former reign,
world, I have always observed that it gives employment to a greater number of critics, than any other kind of writing. Whether it be that most men, at some time of their lives, have tried their talent that way, and thereby think they have a right to judge; or whether they imagine, that their making shrewd observations upon the polite arts, gives them a pretty figure; or whether there may not be some jealousy and caution in bestowing applause upon those who write chiefly for fame. Whatever the reasons be, we find few discouraged by the delicacy and danger of such an undertaking.
I think it certain that most men are naturally not only capable of being pleased with that which raises agreeable pictures in the fancy, but willing also to own it. But then there are many, who, by false applications of some rules ill understood, or out of deference to men whose opinions they value, have formed to themselves certain schemes and systems of satisfaction, and will not be pleased out of their own way. These are not critics themselves, but readers of critics, who, without the labour of perusing authors, are able to give their characters in general; and know just as much of the several species of poetry, as those who read books of geography do of the genius of this or that people or nation. These gentlemen deliver their opinions sententiously, and in general terms, to which it being impossible readily to frame complete answers, they have often the satisfaction of leaving the board in triumph. As young persons, and particularly the ladies, are liable to be led aside by these tyrants in wit, I shall examine two or three of the many stratagems they use, and subjoin such precautions as may hinder candid readers from being de. ceived thereby.
The first I shall take notice of is an objection commonly offered, viz." that such a poem hath indeed some good lines in it, but it is not a regular piece." This, for the most part, is urged by those whose knowledge is drawn from some famous French critics, who have written upon the epic poem, the drama, and the great kinds of poetry, which cannot subsist without great regularity; but ought by no means to be required in odes, epistles, panegyrics, and the like, which naturally admit of greater liberties. The enthusiasm in odes, and the freedom of epistles, is rarely disputed: but I have often heard the poems upon public occasions, written in heroic verse, which I choose to call panegyrics, severely censured upon this account; the reason whereof I cannot guess, unless it be, that because they are written in the same kind of numbers and spirit as an epic poem, they ought therefore to have the same regularity. Now an epic poem consisting chiefly in narration, it is necessary that the incidents should be related in the same order that they are supposed to have been transacted. But in works of the above-mentioned kind, there is no more reason that such order should be observed, than that an oration should be as methodical as a history. I think it sufficient that the great bints, suggested from the subject, be so disposed, that the first may naturally prepare the reader for what follows, and so on: and that their places cannot be changed without disadvantage to the whole. I will add farther, that sometimes gentle deviations, sometimes bold and even abrupt digressions, where the dignity of the subject seems to give the impulse, are proofs of a noble genius; as winding about and returning artfully to the main design are marks of address and dexterity.
Another artifice made use of by pretenders to criticism, is an insinuation, " that all that is good is borrowed from the ancients." This is very common in the mouths of pedants, and perhaps in their hearts too: but is often urged by men of no great learning, for reasons very obvious. Now nature being still the same, it is impossible for any modern writer to paint her otherwise than the ancients have done. If, for example, I were to describe the General's horse at the battle of Blenheim as my fancy re. presented such a noble beast, and that description should
resemble what Virgil hath drawn for the horse of his hero, it would be almost as ill-natured to urge that I had stolen my description from Virgil, as to reproach the Duke of Marlborough for fighting like Æneas. All that the most exquisite judgment can perform is, out of that great variety of circuinstances wherein natural objects may be considered, to select the most beautiful; and to place images in such views and lights as will affect the fancy after the most delightful manner. But over and above a just painting of nature, a learned reader will find a new beauty superadded in a happy imitation of some famous ancient, as it revives in his mind the pleasure he took in his first reading such an author. Such copyings as these give that kind of double delight which we perceive when we look upon the children of a beautiful couple; where the eye is not more charmed with the symmetry of the parts, than the mind by observing the resemblance transmitted from parents to their offspring, and the mingled features of the father and the mother. The phrases of holy writ, and allusions to several passages in the inspired writings (though not produced as proofs of doctrine) add majesty and authority to the noblest discourses of the pulpit: in like manner an imitation of the air of Homer and Virgil raises the dignity of modern poetry, and makes it appear stately and venerable.
The last observation I shall make at present is upon the disgust taken by those critics, who put on their clothes prettily, and dislike every thing that is not written with ease. I hereby therefore give the genteel part of the learned world to understand, that every thought which is agreeable to nature, and expressed in language suitable to it, is written with ease. There are some things which must be written with strength, which nevertheless are easy. The statue of the gladiator, though represented in such a posture as strains every muscle, is as easy as that of Venus; because the one expresses strength and fury as naturally as the other doth beauty and softness. The passions are sometimes to be roused, as well as the fancy to be entertained; and the soul to be exalted and enlarged, as well as soothed. This often requires a raised and figurative style; which readers of low apprehensions or soft and languid dispositions (having heard of the words fustian and bombast) are apt to reject as stiff and affected language. But nature and reason appoint different garbs for different things; and since I write this to the men of dress, I will ask them if a soldier who is to mount a breach, should be adorned like a beau, who is spruced up for a ball ?
N° 13. THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1713.
Pudore et liberalitate liberos
Ter. Adelph. act i. sc. 1. I esteem it better to keep children in awe by a sense of shame, and a condescension to their inclinations, than by fear. NHE reader has had some account of the whole family of the Lizards, except the younger sons.
These are the branches which ordinarily spread themselves, when they happen to be hopeful, into other houses, and new generations, as honourable, numerous, and wealthy, as those from whence they are derived. For this reason it is, that a very peculiar regard is to be had to their edu. cation.
Young men, when they are good for any thing, and left to their own inclinations, delight either in those accomplishments we call their exercise, in the sports of the field, or in letters. Mr. Thomas, the second son, does not follow any of these with too deep an attention, but took to each of them enough never to appear ungraceful or ignorant. This general inclination makes him the more agreeable, and saves him from the imputation of pedantry. His carriage is so easy, that he is acceptable to all with whom he converses; he generally falls in with the inclination of his company, is never assuming, or prefers himself to others. Thus he always gains favour without envy, and has every man's good wishes. It is remarkable, that from his birth to this day, though he is now four-andtwenty, I do not remember that he has ever had a debate with any of his playfellows or friends.
His thoughts and present applications are to get into a court life: for which, indeed, I cannot but think him peculiarly formed: for he has joined to this complacency of