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Title: An English Garner - Critical Essays & Literary Fragments
Author: Arber, Thomas Seccombe, Professor [Editor]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An English Garner - Critical Essays & Literary Fragments" ***






The texts contained in the present volume are reprinted with very slight
alterations from the _English Garner_ issued in eight volumes (1877-1890,
London, 8vo.) by Professor Arber, whose name is sufficient guarantee for
the accurate collation of the texts with the rare originals, the old
spelling being in most cases carefully modernised. The contents of the
original _Garner_ have been rearranged and now for the first time
classified, under the general editorial supervision of Mr. Thomas
Seccombe. Certain lacunae have been filled by the interpolation of fresh
matter. The Introductions are wholly new and have been written specially
for this issue. The references to volumes of the _Garner_ (other than the
present volume) are for the most part to the editio princeps, 8 vols.


   I. Extract from Thomas Wilson's _Art of Rhetoric_, 1554
  II. Sir Philip Sidney's _Letter to his brother Robert_, 1580
 III. Extract from Francis Meres's _Palladis Tamia_, 1598
  IV. Dryden's _Dedicatory Epistle to the Rival Ladies_, 1664
   V. Sir Robert Howard's _Preface to four new Plays_, 1665
  VI. Dryden's _Essay of Dramatic Poesy_, 1668
 VII. Extract from Thomas Ellwood's _History of Himself_, describing
        his relations with Milton, 1713
VIII. Bishop Copleston's Advice to a Young Reviewer, 1807
  IX. The Bickerstaff and Partridge Tracts, 1708
   X. Gay's _Present State of Wit_, 1711
  XI. Tickell's Life of Addison, 1721
 XII. Steele's Dedicatory Epistle to Congreve, 1722
XIII. Extract from Chamberlayne's Angliae Notitia, 1669
 XIV. Eachard's Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy
        and of Religion, 1670
  XV. Bickerstaff's Miseries of the Domestic Chaplain, 1710
 XVI. Franklin's Poor Richard Improved, 1757


The miscellaneous pieces comprised in this volume are of interest and
value, as illustrating the history of English literature and of an
important side of English social life, namely, the character and status
of the clergy in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. They
have been arranged chronologically under the subjects with which they are
respectively concerned. The first three--the excerpt from Wilson's _Art of
Rhetoric_, Sir Philip Sidney's _Letter_ to his brother Robert, and the
dissertation from Meres's _Palladis Tamia_--are, if minor, certainly
characteristic examples of pre-Elizabethan and Elizabethan literary
criticism. The next three--the _Dedicatory Epistle to the Rival Ladies_,
Howard's _Preface to Four New Plays_, and the _Essay of Dramatic
Poesy_--not only introduce us to one of the most interesting critical
controversies of the seventeenth century, but present us, in the last
work, with an epoch-marking masterpiece, both in English criticism and in
English prose composition. Bishop Copleston's brochure brings us to the
early days of the _Edinburgh Review_, and to the dawn of the criticism
with which we are, unhappily, only too familiar in our own time. From
criticism we pass, in the extract from Ellwood's life of himself, to
biography and social history, to the most vivid account we have of Milton
as a personality and in private life. Next comes a series of pamphlets
illustrating social and literary history in the reigns of Anne and George
I., opening with the pamphlets bearing on Swift's inimitable Partridge
hoax, now for the first time collected and reprinted, and preceding Gay's
_Present State of Wit_, which gives a lively account of the periodic
literature current in 1711. Next comes Tickell's valuable memoir of his
friend Addison, prefixed, as preface, to his edition of Addison's works,
published in 1721, with Steele's singularly interesting strictures on the
memoir, being the dedication of the second edition of the _Drummer_ to
Congreve. The reprint of Eachard's _Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt
of the Clergy and Religion Enquired into_, with the preceding extract from
Chamberlayne's _Angliae Notitia_ and the succeeding papers of Steele's in
the _Tatler_ and _Guardian_, throws light on a question which is not only
of great interest in itself, but which has been brought into prominence
through the controversies excited by Macaulay's famous picture of the
clergy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Last comes what is by
general consent acknowledged to be one of the most valuable contributions
ever made to the literature of proverbs, Franklin's summary of the maxims
in _Poor Richard's Almanack_.

Our first excerpt is the preface to a work which is entitled to the
distinction of being the first systematic contribution to literary
criticism written in the English language. It appeared in 1553, and was
entitled _The Art of Rhetorique, for the use of all suche as are studious
of eloquence, sette foorthe in Englishe by Thomas Wilson_, and it was
dedicated to John Dudley, Earl of Warwick. Thomas Wilson--erroneously
designated Sir Thomas Wilson, presumably because he has been confounded
with a knight of that name--was born about 1525, educated at Eton and
subsequently at King's College, Cambridge, whence he graduated B.A. in
1549. In life he played many parts, as tutor to distinguished pupils,
notably Henry and Charles Brandon, afterwards Dukes of Suffolk, as
diplomatist and ambassador to various countries, as a Secretary of State
and a Privy Councillor, as one of the Masters of Requests, and as Master
of St. Catherine's Hospital at the Tower, at which place and in which
capacity he terminated a very full and busy life on June 16th, 1581. The
pupil of Sir John Cheke and of Sir Thomas Smith, and the intimate friend
of Roger Ascham, Wilson was one of the most accomplished scholars in
England, being especially distinguished by his knowledge of Greek. He is
the author of a translation, of a singularly vigorous translation, of the
_Olynthiacs_ and _Philippics_ of Demosthenes, published in 1570. His most
popular work, judging at least from the quickly succeeding editions,
appears to have been his first, _The Rule of Reason, conteinynge the Art
of Logique set forth in Englishe_, published by Grafton in 1551, and
dedicated to Edward VI. _The Art of Rhetorique_ is said to have been
published at the same time, but the earliest known copy is dated January
1553. The interest of this Art of Rhetoric is threefold. It is the work
of a writer intelligently familiar with the Greek and Roman classics, and
it thus stands beside Elyot's _Governour_, which appeared two years
before, as one of the earliest illustrations of the influence of the
Renaissance on our vernacular literature. It is one of the earliest
examples, not only of the employment of the English language in the
treatment of scholastic subjects, but of the vindication of the use of
English in the treatment of such subjects; and, lastly, it is remarkable
for its sound and weighty good sense. His friend, Ascham, had already
said: 'He that wyll wryte well in any tongue muste folowe thys councel of
Aristotle, to speake as the common people do, to think as wise men do, and
so shoulde every man understande hym. Many English writers have not done
so, but usinge straunge words, as Latin, French, and Italian, do make all
thinges darke and harde.' And it is indeed by no means improbable that
this work, which is written to inculcate all that Ascham upheld, may have
been suggested by Ascham. It is in three books, and draws largely on
Quintilian, the first two books being substantially little more than a
compilation, but a very judicious one, from the _Institutes of Oratory_.
But Wilson is no pedant, and has many excellent remarks on the nature of
the influence which the classics should exercise on English composition.
One passage is worth transcribing--

'Among all other lessons, this should first be learned, that we never
affect any straunge ynkhorne termes, but to speake as is commonly
received, neither seeking to be over fine, nor yet being over carelesse,
using our speeche as most men doe, and ordering our wittes as the fewest
have done. Some seke so far outlandishe English, that thei forget
altogether their mothers language. And I dare sweare this, if some of
their mothers were alive, thei were not able to tell what thei saie; and
yet these fine English clerkes will saie thei speake in their mother
tongue--if a man should charge them for counterfeityng the kinges
Englishe.... The unlearned or foolish phantasicalle that smelles but of
learnyng (suche fellowes as have seen learned men in their daies) will so
Latin their tongues that the simple can not but wonder at their talke, and
thinke surely thei speake by some revelation. I know them that thinke
Rhetorique to stand wholie upon darke woordes; and he that can catche an
ynke horne terme by the taile him thei coumpt to bee a fine Englisheman
and a good Rhetorician.'

In turning to Wilson's own style, we are reminded of Butler's sarcasm--

    'All a rhetorician's rules
    Teach nothing but to name his tools.'

He is not, indeed, deficient, as the excerpt given shows, in dignity and
weightiness, but neither there nor elsewhere has he any of the finer
qualities of style, his rhythm being harsh and unmusical, his diction
cumbrous and diffuse.

The excerpt which comes next in this miscellany is by the author of that
treatise which is, with the exceptions, perhaps, of George Puttenham's
_Art of English Poesie_ and Ben Jonson's _Discoveries_, the most precious
contribution to criticism made in the Elizabethan age; but, indeed, the
_Defence of Poesie_ stands alone: alone in originality, alone in
inspiring eloquence. The letter we print is taken from Arthur Collins's
_Sydney Papers_, vol. i. pp. 283-5, and was written by Sir Philip Sidney
to his brother Robert, afterwards (August 1618) second Earl of Leicester,
then at Prague. From letters of Sir Henry Sidney in the same collection
(see letters dated March 25th and October 1578) we learn that Robert,
then in his eighteenth year, had been sent abroad to see the world and to
acquire foreign languages, that he was flighty and extravagant, and had in
consequence greatly annoyed his father, who had threatened to recall him
home. 'Follow,' Sir Henry had written, 'the direction of your most loving
brother. Imitate his virtues, exercyses, studyes and accyons, hee ys a
rare ornament of thys age.' This letter was written at a critical time in
Sidney's life. With great courage and with the noblest intentions, though
with extraordinary want of tact, for he was only in his twenty-sixth
year, he had presumed to dissuade Queen Elizabeth from marrying the Duke
of Anjou. The Queen had been greatly offended, and he had had to retire
from Court. The greater part of the year 1580 he spent at Wilton with his
sister Mary, busy with the _Arcadia_. In August he had, through the
influence of his uncle Leicester, become reconciled with the Queen, and a
little later took up his residence at Leicester House, from which this
letter is dated. It is a mere trifle, yet it illustrates very strikingly
and even touchingly Sidney's serious, sweet, and beautiful character. The
admirable remarks on the true use of the study of history, such as 'I
never require great study in Ciceronianism, the chief abuse of Oxford,
_qui dum verba sectantur, res ipsas negligunt_,' remind us of the author
of the _Defence_; while the 'great part of my comfort is in you,' 'be
careful of yourself, and I shall never have cares,' and the 'I write this
to you as one that for myself have given over the delight in the world,'
show that he had estimated royal reconciliations at their true value, and
anticipate the beautiful and pathetic words with which he is said to have
taken leave of the world. Short and hurried as this letter is, we feel it
is one of those trifles which, as Plutarch observes, throw far more light
on character than actions of importance often do.

Between 1580 and the appearance of Meres's work in 1598 there was much
activity in critical literature. Five years before the date of Sidney's
letter George Gascogne had published his _Certayne Notes of Instruction
concerning the makyng of Verse in Rhyme_. This was succeeded in 1584 by
James I.'s _Ane Short Treatise conteining some rewles and cautelis to be
observit_. Then came William Webbe's _Discourse of English Poesie_, 1586,
which had been preceded by Sidney's charming _Defence of Poetry_, composed
in or about 1579, but not published till 1593. This and Puttenham's
elaborate treatise, _The Art of English Poesie contrived into three
books_ (1589), had indeed marked an epoch in the history of criticism.
Memorable, too, in this branch of literature is Harington's _Apologie for
Poetry_ (1591), prefixed to his translation of the _Orlando Furioso_. But
it was not criticism only which had been advancing. The publication of
the first part of Lyly's _Euphues_ and of Spenser's _Shepherd's Calendar_
in 1579 may be said to have initiated the golden age of our literature.
The next twenty years saw Marlowe, Greene, Peele, Kyd, Shakespeare,
Chapman, Decker, and Ben Jonson at the head of our drama; Spenser,
Warner, Daniel, and Drayton leading narrative poetry; the contributors to
_England's Helicon_, published a year later, at the head of our sonneteers
and lyric poets; and Sidney, Lyly, Greene, and Hooker in the van of our
prose literature. The history of Meres's work, a dissertation from which
is here extracted, is curious. In or about 1596, Nicholas Ling and John
Bodenham conceived the idea of publishing a series of volumes containing
proverbs, maxims, and sententious reflections on religion, morals, and
life generally. Accordingly in 1597 appeared a small volume containing
various apothegms, extracted principally from the Classics and the
Fathers, compiled by Nicholas Ling and dedicated to Bodenham. It was
entitled _Politeuphuia_: _Wits Commonwealth_. In the following year
appeared '_Palladis Tamia, Wits Treasury_: _Being the Second Part of Wits
Commonwealth_. By Francis Meres, Maister of Arts in both Universities.' On
the title-page is the motto '_Vivitur ingenio, cetera mortis erunt_.' It
was printed by P. Short for Cuthbert Burbie. From the address to the
reader, which does not appear in the first edition, though it was
apparently intended for that edition, we learn that it had been
undertaken because of the extraordinary popularity of _Wits
Commonwealth_, which 'thrice within one year had runne thorough the
Presse.' Meres's work differs importantly from _Wits Commonwealth_. It is
not merely a compilation, but contains original matter, generally by way
of commentary. The extracts are much fuller, many being taken from modern
writers, notably Robert Greene, Lyly, Warner, and Sir Philip Sidney. In
1634 the work was re-issued under another title, _Wits Commonwealth, The
Second Part: A Treasurie of Divine, Moral, and Phylosophical Similes and
Sentences generally useful. But more particular published for the Use of
Schools_. In 1636 it was again reprinted. The only part of Meres's work
which is of interest now is what is here reprinted. It belongs to that
portion of his compilation which treats of studies and reading, the
preceding sections discussing respectively of 'books,' of 'reading of
books,' of 'choice to be had in reading of books,' of 'the use of reading
many books,' of 'philosophers,' of 'poetry,' of 'poets,' consisting for
the most part of remarks compiled from Plutarch, and in one or two
instances from Sir Philip Sidney's _Defence of Poetry. A portion of the
passage which immediately precedes the _Discourse_ may be transcribed
because of its plain speaking about the indifference of Elizabeth and her
ministers to the fortune of poets; though this, with curious
inconsistency, is flatly contradicted, probably for prudential reasons,
in the _Discourse_ itself--

    'As the Greeke and Latin Poets have wonne immortal credit to their
    native speech, being encouraged and graced by liberal patrones and
    bountiful benefactors; so our famous and learned Lawreate masters
    of England would entitle our English to far greater admired
    excellency, if either the Emperor Augustus or Octavia his sister
    or noble Maecenas were alive to reward and countenance them; or if
    witty Comedians and stately Tragedians (the glorious and goodlie
    representers of all fine witte, glorified phrase and great action)
    bee still supported and uphelde, by which meanes (O ingrateful and
    damned age) our Poets are soly or chiefly maintained, countenanced
    and patronized.'

Of the author of this work, Francis Meres or Meers, comparatively little
is known. He sprang from an old and highly respectable family in
Lincolnshire, and was born in 1565, the son of Thomas Meres, of Kirton in
Holland in that county. After graduating from Pembroke College, Cambridge,
in 1587, proceeding M.A. in 1591 at his own University, and subsequently
by _ad eundem_ at Oxford, he settled in London, where in 1597, having
taken orders, he was living in Botolf Lane. He was presented in July 1602
to the rectory of Wing in Rutland, keeping a school there. He remained at
Wing till his death, in his eighty-first year, January 29, 1646-7. As
Charles FitzGeoffrey, in a Latin poem in his _Affaniae_ addressed to
Meres, speaks of him as '_Theologus et poeta_', it is possible that the
'F.M.' who was a contributor to the _Paradise of Dainty Devices_ is to be
identified with Meres. In addition to the _Palladis Tamia_, Meres was the
author of a sermon published in 1597, a copy of which is in the Bodleian,
and of two translations from the Spanish, neither of which is of any

Meres's _Discourse_ is, like the rest of his work, mainly a compilation,
with additions and remarks of his own. Much of it is derived from the
thirty-first chapter of the first book of Puttenham; with these
distinctions, that Meres's includes the poets who had come into
prominence between 1589 and 1598, and instituted parallels, biographical
and critical, between them and the ancient Classics. It is the notices of
these poets, and more particularly the references to Shakespeare's
writings, which make this treatise so invaluable to literary students.
Thus we are indebted to Meres for a list of the plays which Shakespeare
had produced by 1598, and for a striking testimony to his eminence at
that date as a dramatic poet, as a narrative poet, and as a writer of
sonnets. The perplexing reference to _Love's Labour's Won_ has never
been, and perhaps never will be, satisfactorily explained. To assume that
it is another title for _All's Well that Ends Well_ in an earlier form is
to cut rather than to solve the knot. It is quite possible that it refers
to a play that has perished. The references to the imprisonment of Nash
for writing the _Isle of Dogs_, to the unhappy deaths of Peele, Greene,
and Marlowe, and to the high personal character of Drayton are of great
interest. Meres was plainly a man of muddled and inaccurate learning, of
no judgment, and of no critical power, a sort of Elizabethan Boswell
without Boswell's virtues, and it is no paradox to say that it is this
which gives his _Discourse_ its chief interest. It probably represents
not his own but the judgments current on contemporary writers in
Elizabethan literary circles. And we cannot but be struck with their
general fairness. Full justice is done to Shakespeare, who is placed at
the head of the dramatists; full justice is done to Spenser, who is
styled divine, and placed at the head of narrative poets; to Sidney, both
as a prose writer and as a poet; to Drayton, to Daniel, and to Hall,
Lodge, and Marston, as satirists. We are surprised to find such a high
place assigned to Warner, 'styled by the best wits of both our
universities the English Homer,' and a modern critic would probably
substitute different names, notably those of Lodge and Campion, for those
of Daniel and Drayton in a list of the chief lyric poets then in activity.
In Meres's remarks on painters and musicians, there is nothing to detain

Of a very different order is the important critical treatise which comes
next, Dryden's _Essay of Dramatic Poesy_, to which are prefixed as
prolegomena Dryden's _Dedicatory Epistle to The Rival Ladies_, Sir Robert
Howard's _Preface to Four New Plays_, and, as supplementary, Howard's
_Preface to The Duke of Lerma_, and Dryden's _Defence of the Essay of
Dramatic Poesy_. As Dryden's _Essay_, like almost all his writings, both
in verse and prose, was of a more or less occasional character, it will
be necessary to explain at some length the origin of the controversy out
of which it sprang, as well as the immediate object with which it was

The Restoration found Dryden a literary adventurer, with a very slender
patrimony and with no prospects. Poetry was a drug in the market;
hack-work for the booksellers was not to his taste; and the only chance
of remunerative employment open to him was to write for the stage. To
this he accordingly betook himself. He began with comedy, and his comedy
was a failure. He then betook himself to a species of drama, for which
his parts and accomplishments were better fitted. Dryden had few or none
of the qualifications essential in a great dramatist; but as a
rhetorician, in the more comprehensive sense of the term, he was soon to
be unrivalled. In the rhymed heroic plays, as they were called, he found
just the sphere in which he was most qualified to excel. The taste for
these dramas, which owed most to France and something to Italy and Spain,
had come in with the Restoration. Their chief peculiarities were the
complete subordination of the dramatic to the rhetorical element, the
predominance of pageant, and the substitution of rhymed for blank verse.
Dryden's first experiment in this drama was the _Rival Ladies_, in which
the tragic portions are composed in rhyme, blank verse being reserved for
the parts approaching comedy. In his next play, the _Indian Queen_,
written in conjunction with Howard, blank verse is wholly discarded. The
dedication of the _Rival Ladies_ to Orrery is appropriate. Roger Boyle,
Baron Broghill, and first Earl of Orrery, was at this time Lord President
of Munster, and it was he who had revived these rhymed plays in his _Henry
V._, which was brought out in the same year as Dryden's comedy. Whoever
has read this drama and Orrery's subsequent experiments, _Mustapha_
(1665), the _Black Prince_ (1667), _Tryphon_ (1668), will be able to
estimate Dryden's absurd flattery at its proper value.

But these dramatic innovations were sure not to pass without protest,
though the protest came from a quarter where it might least have been
expected. Sir Robert Howard was the sixth son of Thomas, first Earl of
Berkshire. He had distinguished himself on the Royalist side in the Civil
War, and had paid the penalty for his loyalty by an imprisonment in
Windsor Castle during the Commonwealth. At the Restoration he had been
made an Auditor of the Exchequer. Dryden seems to have made his
acquaintance shortly after arriving in London. In 1660 Howard published a
collection of poems and translations, to which Dryden prefixed an address
'to his honoured friend' on 'his excellent poems.' Howard's rank and
position made him a useful friend to Dryden, and Dryden in his turn was
no doubt of much service to Howard. Howard introduced him to his family,
and in December 1663 Dryden married his friend's eldest sister, the Lady
Elizabeth Howard. In the following year Dryden assisted his
brother-in-law in the composition of the _Indian Queen_. There had
probably been some misunderstanding or dispute about the extent of the
assistance which Dryden had given, which accounts for what follows. In
any case Howard published in 1665, professedly under pressure from
Herringman, four plays, two comedies, _The Surprisal_ and _The
Committee_, and two tragedies, the _Vestal Virgin_ and _Indian Queen_;
and to the volume he prefixed the preface, which is here reprinted. It
will be seen that though he makes no reference to Dryden, he combats all
the doctrines laid down in the preface to the _Rival Ladies_. He exalts
the English drama above the French, the Italian, and the Spanish; and
vindicates blank verse against rhymed, making, however, a flattering
exception of Orrery's dramas. If Dryden was not pleased, he appears to
have had the grace to conceal his displeasure. For he passed the greater
part of 1666 at his father-in-law's house, and dedicated to Howard his
_Annus Mirabilis_. But Howard was to have his answer. In the _Essay of
Dramatic Poesy_ he is introduced in the person of Crites, and in his
mouth are placed all the arguments advanced in the _Preface_ that they
may be duly refuted and demolished by Dryden in the person of Neander. At
this mode of retorting Howard became really angry; and in the _Preface to
the Duke of Lerma_, published in the middle of 1668, he replied in a tone
so contemptuous and insolent that Dryden, in turn, completely lost his
temper. The sting of Howard's _Preface_ lies, it will be seen, in his
affecting the air of a person to whom as a statesman and public man the
points in dispute are mere trifles, hardly worth consideration, and in
the patronising condescension with which he descends to a discussion with
one to whom as a mere _litterateur_ such trifles are of importance. The
_Defence of the Essay of Dramatic Poesy_ Dryden prefixed to the second
edition of the _Indian Emperor_, one of the best of his heroic plays. The
seriously critical portion of this admirable little treatise deals with
Howard's attacks on the employment of rhyme in tragedy, on the observance
of strict rules in dramatic composition, and on the observance of the
unities. But irritated by the tone of Howard's tract, Dryden does not
confine himself to answering his friend's arguments. He ridicules, what
Shadwell had ridiculed before, Howard's coxcombical affectation of
universal knowledge, makes sarcastic reference to an absurdity of which
his opponent had been guilty in the House of Commons, mercilessly exposes
his ignorance of Latin, and the uncouthness and obscurity of his English.
The brothers-in-law afterwards became reconciled, and in token of that
reconciliation Dryden cancelled this tract.

The _Essay of Dramatic Poesy_ was written at Charleton Park in the latter
part of 1665, and published by Herringman in 1668. It was afterwards
carefully revised, and republished with a dedication to Lord Buckhurst in
1684. Dryden spent more pains than was usual with him on the composition
of this essay, though he speaks modestly of it as 'rude and indigested,'
and it is indeed the most elaborate of his critical disquisitions. It
was, he said, written 'chiefly to vindicate the honour of our English
writers from the censure of those who unjustly prefer the French before
them.' Its more immediate and particular object was to regulate dramatic
composition by reducing it to critical principles, and these principles
he discerned in a judicious compromise between the licence of romantic
drama as represented by Shakespeare and his School, and the austere
restraints imposed by the canons of the classical drama. Assuming that a
drama should be 'a just and lively image of human nature, representing
its passions and humours, and the changes of fortune to which it is
subject, for the delight and instruction of mankind,' it is shown that
this end can only be attained in a drama founded on such a compromise;
that the ancient and modern classical drama fails in nature; that the
Shakespearian drama fails in art. At the conclusion of the essay he
vindicates the employment of rhyme, a contention which he afterwards
abandoned. The dramatic setting of the essay was no doubt suggested by
the Platonic _Dialogues_, or by Cicero, and the essay itself may have
been suggested by Flecknoe's short _Discourse of the English Stage_,
published in 1664.

The _Essay of Dramatic Poesy_ may be said to make an era in the history
of English criticism, and to mark an era in the history of English prose
composition. It was incomparably the best purely critical treatise which
had hitherto appeared in our language, both synthetically in its
definition and application of principles, and particularly in its lucid,
exact, and purely discriminating analysis. It was also the most striking
and successful illustration of what may be called the new prose style, or
that style which, initiated by Hobbes and developed by Sprat, Cowley, and
Denham[1] blended the ease and plasticity of colloquy with the solidity
and dignity of rhetoric, of that style in which Dryden was soon to become
a consummate master.

The _Advice to a Young Reviewer_ brings us into a very different sphere
of criticism, and has indeed a direct application to our own time. It was
written by Edward Copleston, afterwards Dean of St. Paul's and Bishop of
Llandaff. Born in February 1776 at Offwell, in Devonshire, Copleston
gained in his sixteenth year a scholarship at Corpus Christi College,
Oxford. After carrying off the prize for Latin verse, he was elected in
1795 Fellow of Oriel. In 1800, having been ordained priest, he became
Vicar of St. Mary's. In 1802 he was elected Professor of Poetry, in which
capacity he delivered the lectures subsequently published under the title
of _Praelectiones Academicae_--a favourite book of Cardinal Newman's. In
1814 he succeeded Dr. Eveleigh as Provost of Oriel. In 1826 he was made
Dean of Chester, in 1828 Bishop of Llandaff and Dean of St. Paul's. He
died at Llandaff, on October 14th, 1849. Copleston is one of the fathers
of modern Oxford, and from his provostship date many of the reforms which
transformed the University of Gibbon and Southey into the University of
Whateley, of Newman, of Keble, and of Pusey. The brochure which is
printed here was written when Copleston was Fellow and Tutor of Oriel. It
was immediately inspired, not, as is commonly supposed, by the critiques
in the _Edinburgh Review_, but by the critiques in the _British Critic_,
a periodical founded in 1793, and exceedingly influential between that
time and about 1812. Archbishop Whateley, correcting a statement in the
_Life_ of Copleston by W.J. Copleston, says that it was occasioned by a
review of Mant's poems in the _British Critic_[2]. But on referring to
the review of these poems, which appeared in the November number of 1806,
plainly the review referred to, we find nothing in it to support
Whateley's assertion. That the reviews in the _British Critic_ are,
however, what Copleston is parodying in the critique of _L'Allegro_ is
abundantly clear, but what he says about voyages and travels and about
science and recondite learning appear to have reference to articles
particularly characteristic of the _Edinburgh Review_. It was not,
however, till after the date of Copleston's parody that the _Edinburgh
Review_ began conspicuously to illustrate what Copleston here satirises;
it was not till a time more recent still that periodical literature
generally exemplified in literal seriousness what Copleston intended as
extravagant irony. It is interesting to compare with Copleston's remarks
what Thackeray says on the same subjects in the twenty-fourth chapter of
_Pendennis_, entitled 'The Pall Mall Gazette.' This brochure is evidently
modelled on Swift's 'Digression Concerning Critics' in the third section
of the _Tale of a Tub_, and owes something also to the _Treatise on the
Bathos_ in Pope's and Swift's _Miscellanies_, as the title may have been
suggested by Shaftesbury's _Advice to an Author_. The _Advice_ itself and
the supplementary critique of Milton are clever and have good points, but
they will not bear comparison with the satire of Swift and Pope.

The excerpt which comes next in this Miscellany links with the name of
the author of the _Essay of Dramatic Poesy_ the name of the most
illustrious of his contemporaries. The difference, indeed, between Milton
and Dryden is a difference not in degree merely, but in kind, so
immeasurably distant and alien is the sphere in which they moved and
worked both as men and as writers. It has sometimes been questioned
whether Dryden is a poet. Few would dispute that Milton divides with
Shakespeare the supremacy in English poetry. In Dryden as a man there is
little to attract or interest us. In character and in private life he
appears to have been perfectly commonplace. We close his biography, and
our curiosity is satisfied. With Milton it is far otherwise. We feel
instinctively that he belongs to the demi-gods of our race. We have the
same curiosity about him as we have about Homer, Aeschylus, and
Shakespeare, so that the merest trifles which throw any light on his
personality assume an interest altogether out of proportion to their
intrinsic importance. Our debt to Ellwood is, it must be admitted, much
less than it might have been, if he had thought a little more of Milton
and a little less of his somewhat stupid self and the sect to which he
belonged. But, as the proverb says, we must not look a gift-horse in the
mouth, and we are the richer for the Quaker's reminiscences. With
Ellwood's work, the _History of Thomas Ellwood, written by Himself_, we
are only concerned so far as it bears on his relation with Milton. Born
in 1639, the son of a small squire and justice of the peace at Crowell in
Oxfordshire, Ellwood had, in 1659, been persuaded by Edward Burrough, one
of the most distinguished of Fox's followers, to join the Quakers. He was
in his twenty-fourth year when he first met Milton. Milton was then living
in Jewin Street, having removed from his former lodging in Holborn, most
probably in the autumn of 1661. The restoration had terminated his work
as a controversialist and politician. For a short time his life had been
in peril, but he had received a pardon, and could at least live in peace.
He could no longer be of service as a patriot, and was now occupied with
the composition of _Paradise Lost_. Since 1650 he had been blind, and for
study and recreation was dependent on assistance. Having little domestic
comfort as a widower, he had just married his third wife.

Ellwood's narrative tells its own story. What especially strikes us in
it, and what makes it particularly interesting, is that it presents
Milton in a light in which he is not presented elsewhere. Ellwood seems
to have had the same attraction for him as Bonstetten had for Gray. No
doubt the simplicity, freshness, and enthusiasm of the young Quaker
touched and interested the lonely and world-wearied poet who, when
Ellwood first met him, had entered on his fifty-fifth year; he had no
doubt, too, the scholar's sympathy with a disinterested love of learning.
In any case, but for Ellwood, we should never have known the softer side
of Milton's character, never have known of what gentleness, patience, and
courtesy he was capable. And, indeed, when we remember Milton's position
at this time, as tragical as that of Demosthenes after Chaeronea, and of
Dante at the Court of Verona, there is something inexpressibly touching
in the picture here given with so much simplicity and with such evident
unconsciousness on the part of the painter of the effect produced. There
is one passage which is quite delicious, and yet its point may be, as it
commonly is, easily missed. It illustrates the density of Ellwood's
stupidity, and the delicate irony of the sadly courteous poet. Milton had
lent him, it will be seen, the manuscript of _Paradise Lost_; and on
Ellwood returning it to him, 'he asked me how I liked it, and what I
thought of it, which I modestly but freely told him, and after some
further discourse about it I pleasantly said to him, "Thou has said much
here of Paradise Lost, but what has thou to say of Paradise Found?"' Now
the whole point and scope of Paradise Lost is Paradise Found--the
redemption--the substitution of a spiritual Eden within man for a
physical Eden without man, a point emphasised in the invocation, and
elaborately worked out in the closing vision from the Specular Mount. It
is easy to understand the significance of what follows: 'He made me no
answer, but sat sometime in a muse; then broke off that discourse, and
fell upon another subject.' The result no doubt of that 'muse' was the
suspicion, or, perhaps, the conviction, that the rest of the world would,
in all probability, be as obtuse as Ellwood; and to that suspicion or
conviction we appear to owe _Paradise Regained_. The Plague over, Milton
returned to London, settling in Artillery Walk, Bunhill Fields. 'And when
afterwards I went to wait on him there ... he shewed me his second poem,
called _Paradise Regained_, and in a pleasant tone said to me, "This is
owing to you, for you put it into my head by the question you put to me
at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of."' In 'the pleasant tone'
more, and much more, is implied, of that we may be very sure, than meets
the ear. We should like to have seen the expression on Milton's face both
on this occasion and also when, on Dryden requesting his permission to
turn _Paradise Lost_ into an opera, he replied; 'Oh, certainly, you may
tug my verses if you please, Mr. Dryden.' It may be added that _Paradise
Lost_ was not published till 1667, and _Paradise Regained_ did not see
the light till 1671. Ellwood seems to imply that _Paradise Regained_ was
composed between the end of August or the beginning of September 1665,
and the end of the autumn of the same year, which is, of course,
incredible and quite at variance with what Phillips tells us. Ellwood is,
no doubt, expressing himself loosely, and his 'afterwards' need not
necessarily relate to his first, or to his second, or even to his third
visit to Milton after the poet's return to Artillery Walk, but refers
vaguely to one of those 'occasions which drew him to London.' When he
last saw Milton we have no means of knowing. He never refers to him
again. His autobiography closes with the year 1683.

For the rest of his life Ellwood was engaged for the most part in
fighting the battles of the Quakers-esoterically in endeavouring to
compose their internal feuds, exoterically in defending them and their
tenets against their common enemies--and in writing poetry, which it is
to be hoped he did not communicate to his 'master.' After the death of
his father in 1684 he lived in retirement at Amersham. His most important
literary service was his edition of George Fox's _Journal_, the manuscript
of which he transcribed and published. He died at his house on Hunger
Hill, Amersham, in March 1714, and lies with Penn in the Quaker's
burying-ground at New Jordan, Chalfont St. Giles.

We have now arrived at the pamphlets in our Miscellany bearing on the
reign of Queen Anne. First come the Partridge tracts. The history of the
inimitable hoax of which they are the record is full of interest. In
November 1707 Swift, then Vicar of Laracor, came over to England on a
commission from Archbishop King. His two satires, the _Battle of the
Books_ and the _Tale of a Tub_, published anonymously three years before,
had given him a foremost place among the wits, for their authorship was an
open secret. Though he was at this time principally engaged in the cause
of the Established Church, in active opposition to what he considered the
lax latitudinarianism of the Whigs on the one hand and the attacks of the
Freethinkers on the other, he found leisure for doing society another
service. Nothing was more detestable to Swift than charlatanry and
imposture. From time immemorial the commonest form which quackery has
assumed has been associated with astrology and prophecy. It was the
frequent theme or satire in the New Comedy of the Greeks and in the
Comedy of Rome; it has fallen under the lash of Horace and Juvenal;
nowhere is Lucian more amusing than when dealing with this species of
roguery. Chaucer with exquisite humour exposed it and its kindred alchemy
in the fourteenth century, and Ben Jonson and the author of _Albumazar_ in
the seventeenth. Nothing in _Hudibras_ is more rich in wit and humour than
the exposure of Sidrophel, and one of the best of Dryden's comedies is the
_Mock Astrologer_. But it was reserved for Swift to produce the most
amusing satire which has ever gibbeted these mischievous mountebanks.

John Partridge, whose real name is said to have been Hewson, was born on
the 18th of January 1644. He began life, it appears, as a shoemaker; but
being a youth of some abilities and ambition, had acquired a fair
knowledge of Latin and a smattering of Greek and Hebrew. He had then
betaken himself to the study of astrology and of the occult sciences.
After publishing the _Nativity of Lewis XIV._ and an astrological essay
entitled _Prodromus_, he set up in 1680 a regular prophetic almanac,
under the title of _Merlinus Liberatus_. A Protestant alarmist, for such
he affected to be, was not likely to find favour under the government of
James II., and Partridge accordingly made his way to Holland. On his
return he resumed his Almanac, the character of which is exactly
described in the introduction to the _Predictions_, and it appears to
have had a wide sale. Partridge, however, was not the only impostor of
his kind, but had, as we gather from notices in his Almanac and from his
other pamphlets, many rivals. He was accordingly obliged to resort to
every method of bringing himself and his Almanac into prominence, which
he did by extensive and impudent advertisements in the newspapers and
elsewhere. In his Almanac for 1707 he issues a notice warning the public
against impostors usurping his name. It was this which probably attracted
Swift's attention and suggested his mischievous hoax.

The pamphlets tell their own tale, and it is not necessary to tell it
here. The name, Isaac Bickerstaff, which has in sound the curious
propriety so characteristic of Dickens's names, was, like so many of the
names in Dickens, suggested by a name on a sign-board, the name of a
locksmith in Long Acre. The second tract, purporting to be written by a
revenue officer, and giving an account of Partridge's death, was, of
course, from the pen of Swift. The verses on Partridge's death appeared
anonymously on a separate sheet as a broadside. It is amusing to learn
that the tract announcing Partridge's death, and the approaching death of
the Duke of Noailles, was taken quite seriously, for Partridge's name was
struck off the rolls of Stationers' Hall, and the Inquisition in Portugal
ordered the tract containing the treasonable prediction to be burned. As
Stationers' Hall had assumed that Partridge was dead--a serious matter
for the prospects of his Almanac--it became necessary for him to
vindicate his title to being a living person. Whether the next tract,
_Squire Bickerstaff Detected_, was, as Scott asserts, the result of an
appeal to Rowe or Yalden by Partridge, and they, under the pretence of
assisting him, treacherously making a fool of him, or an independent
_j'eu d'esprit_, is not quite clear. Nor is it easy to settle with any
certainty the authorship. In the Dublin edition of Swift's works, it is
attributed to Nicholas Rowe; Scott assigns it to Thomas Yalden, the
preacher of Bridewell and a well-known poet. Congreve is also said to
have had a hand in it. It would have been well for Partridge had he
allowed matters to rest here, but unhappily he inserted in the November
issue of his Almanac another solemn assurance to the public that he was
still alive; and was fool enough to add, that he was not only alive at
the time he was writing, but was also alive on the day on which
Bickerstaff had asserted that he was dead. Swift saw his opportunity, and
in the most amusing of this series of tracts proceeded to prove that
Partridge, under whatever delusions as to his continued existence he
might be labouring, was most certainly dead and buried.

The tracts here printed by no means exhaust the literature of the
Partridge hoax, but nothing else which appeared is worth reviving. It is
surprising that Scott should include in Swift's works a vapid and
pointless contribution attributed to a 'Person of Quality.' The effect of
all this on poor Partridge was most disastrous; for three years his
Almanac was discontinued. When it was revived, in 1714, he had discovered
that his enemy was Swift. What comments he made will be found at the end
of these tracts. Partridge did not long survive the resuscitation of his
Almanac. What had been fiction became fact on June 24th, 1715, and his
virtues and accomplishments, delineated by a hand more friendly than
Swift's, were long decipherable, in most respectable Latin, on his tomb
in Mortlake Churchyard.

The Partridge hoax has left a permanent trace in our classical
literature. When, in the spring of 1709, Steele was about to start the
_Tatler_, he thought he could best secure the ear of the public by
adopting the name with which Englishmen were then as familiar as a
century and a half afterwards they became with the name of Pickwick. It
was under the title of the _Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff_ that the
essays which initiated the most attractive and popular form of our
periodical literature appeared.

The next tract, Gay's _Present State of Wit_, takes up the history of our
popular literature during the period which immediately succeeded the
discomfiture of poor Partridge. Its author, John Gay, who is, as we need
scarcely add, one of the most eminent of the minor poets of the Augustan
age, was at the time of its appearance almost entirely unknown. Born in
September 1685, at Barnstaple, of a respectable but decayed family, he
had received a good education at the free grammar school of that place.
On leaving school he had been apprenticed to a silk mercer in London. But
he had polite tastes, and employed his leisure time in scribbling verses
and in frequenting with his friend, Aaron Hill, the literary
coffee-houses. In 1708 he published a vapid and stupid parody, suggested
by John Philip's _Splendid Shilling_ and _Cider_, entitled _Wine_. His
next performance was the tract which is here printed, and which is dated
May 3rd, 1711. It is written with skill and sprightliness, and certainly
shows a very exact and extensive acquaintance with the journalistic world
of those times. And it is this which gives it its value. The best and most
useful form, perhaps, which our remarks on it can take will be to furnish
it with a running commentary explaining its allusions both to
publications and to persons. It begins with a reference to the unhappy
plight of Dr. King. This was Dr. William King, who is not to be
confounded with his contemporaries and namesakes, the Archbishop of
Dublin or the Principal of St. Mary Hall, Oxford, but who may be best,
perhaps, described as the Dr. William King 'who could write verses in a
tavern three hours after he could not speak.' He had long been a
prominent figure among wits and humorists. His most important recent
performances had been his _Art of Cookery_ and his _Art of Love_,
published respectively in 1708 and in 1709. In the latter year he had,
much to the disgust of Sir John Soames, issued some very amusing parodies
of the _Philosophical Transactions_, which he entitled _Useful
Transactions in Philosophy and other sorts of Learning_, to be continued
as long as it could find buyers. It ceased apparently to find buyers, and
after reaching three numbers had collapsed. When the _Examiner_ was
started in August 1710, King was one of the chief contributors. Latterly,
however, things had been going very badly with this 'poor starving wit,'
as Swift called him. He was either imprisoned or on the point of being
imprisoned in the Fleet, but death freed him from his troubles at the end
of 1712. John Ozell was, perhaps, the most ridiculous of the scribblers
then before the public, maturing steadily for the _Dunciad_, where, many
years afterwards, he found his proper place. He rarely aspired beyond
'translations,' and the _Monthly Amusement_ referred to is not, as might
be supposed, a periodical, but simply his frequent appearances as a
translator. Gay next passes to periodicals and newspapers. De Foe is
treated as he was always treated by the wits. Pope's lines are well
known, and the only reference to him in Swift is: 'The fellow who was
pilloried--I forget his name.' Posterity has done him more justice. The
'poor _Review_' is of course the _Weekly Review_, started by De Foe in
1704, the first number of which appeared on Saturday, February 19th of
that year. It had been continued weekly, and still continued, till 1712,
extending to nine volumes, eight of which are extant.[3] The
_Observator_, which is also described as in its decline, had been set up
by John Tutchin in imitation of the paper issued by Sir Roger L'Estrange
in 1681, its first number appearing April 1st, 1702. Tutchin, dying in
1707, the paper was continued for the benefit of his widow, under the
management of George Ridpath, the editor of the _Flying Post_, and it
continued to linger on till 1712, when it was extinguished by the Stamp
Tax. The first number of the _Examiner_ appeared on the 3rd of August
1710, and it was set up by the Tories to oppose the _Tatler_, the chief
contributors to it being Dr. King, Bolingbroke, then Henry St. John,
Prior, Atterbury, and Dr. Freind. With No. 14 (Thursday, October 26th,
1710), Swift assumed the management, and writing thirty-two papers
successively, made it the most influential political journal in the
kingdom. The 'Letter to Crassus' appeared on February 1st, 1711, and was
written by Swift. To oppose the _Examiner_, the Whigs set up what, after
the second number, they called the _Whig Examiner_, the first number of
which appeared on September 14th, 1710. It was continued weekly till
October 12th, five numbers appearing, all of which were, with one
exception, perhaps, written by Addison, so that Gay's conjecture--if
Bickerstaff may be extended to include Addison--was correct. The
_Medley_, to which Gay next passes, was another Whig organ. The first
number appeared on August 5th, 1710, and it was continued weekly till
August 6th, 1711. It was conducted by Arthur Mainwaring, a man of family
and fortune, and an ardent Whig, with the assistance of Steele, Anthony
Henley, and Oldmixon.

With the reference to the _Tatler_, we pass from obscurity into daylight.
Since April 12th, 1709, that delightful periodical had regularly appeared
three times a week. With the two hundredth and seventy-first number on
January 2nd, 1711, it suddenly ceased. Of the great surprise and
disappointment caused by its cessation, of the causes assigned for it,
and of the high appreciation of all it had effected for moral and
intellectual improvement and pleasure, Gay gives a vivid picture. What he
says conjecturally about the reasons for its discontinuance is so near the
truth that we may suspect he had had some light on the subject from Steele
himself. It was, of course, from the preface to the edition of the first
three volumes of the collected _Tatlers_, published in 1710, that Gay
derived what he says about the contributions of Addison (though Steele
had not mentioned him by name, in accordance, no doubt, with Addison's
request) and about the verses of Swift. In all probability this was the
first public association of Addison's name with the _Tatler_. The Mr.
Henley referred to was Anthony Henley, a man of family and fortune, and
one of the most distinguished of the wits of that age, to whom Garth
dedicated _The Dispensary_. In politics he was a rabid Whig, and it was
he who described Swift as 'a beast for ever after the order of
Melchisedec.' Gay had not been misinformed, for Henley was the author of
the first letter in No. 26 and of the letter in No. 193, under the
character of Downes.

The cessation of the _Tatler_ had been the signal for the appearance of
several spurious papers purporting to be new numbers. One entitling
itself No. 272 was published by one John Baker; another, purporting to be
No. 273, was by 'Isaac Bickerstaff, Junior.' Then, on January 6th,
appeared what purported to be Nos. 272 and 273 of the original issue,
with a letter from Charles Lillie, one of the publishers of the original
_Tatler_. Later in January, William Harrison, a _protégé_ of Swift, a
young man whose name will be familiar to all who are acquainted with
Swift's _Journal to Stella_, was encouraged by Swift to start a new
_Tatler_, Swift liberally assisting him with notes, and not only
contributing himself but inducing Congreve also to contribute a paper.
And this new _Tatler_ actually ran to fifty-two numbers, appearing twice
a week between January 13th and May 19th, 1711, but, feeble from the
first, it then collapsed. Nor had the _Tatler_ been without rivals. In
the two hundred and twenty-ninth number of the _Tatler_, Addison,
enumerating his antagonists, says, 'I was threatened to be answered
weekly _Tit for Tat_, I was undermined by the _Whisperer_, scolded at by
a _Female Tatler_, and slandered by another of the same character under
the title of _Atalantis_.' To confine ourselves, however, to the
publications mentioned by Gay. The _Growler_ appeared on the 27th of
January 1711, on the discontinuance of the _Tatler_. The _Whisperer_ was
first published on October 11th, 1709, under the character of 'Mrs. Jenny
Distaff, half-sister to Isaac Bickerstaff.' The _Tell Tale_ appears to be
a facetious title for the _Female Tatler_, the first number of which
appeared on July 8th, 1709, and was continued for a hundred and eleven
numbers, under the editorship of Thomas Baker, till March 3rd, 1710. The
allusion in the postscript to the _British Apollo_ is to a paper entitled
_The British Apollo: or Curious Amusements for the Ingenious_, the first
number of which appeared on Friday, March 13th, 1708, the paper regularly
continuing on Wednesdays and Fridays till March 16th, 1711. Selections
from this curious miscellany were afterwards printed in three volumes,
and ran into three editions. Gay does not appear to be aware that this
periodical had ceased. The reference in 'the two statesmen of the last
reign whose characters are well expressed in their mottoes' are to Lord
Somers and the Earl of Halifax, as what follows refers respectively to
Addison and Steele. The tract closes with a reference to the _Spectator_,
the first number of which had appeared on the first of the preceding March.

Gay's brochure attracted the attention of Swift, who thus refers to it in
his _Journal to Stella_, May 14th, 1711: 'Dr. Freind was with me and
pulled out a two-penny pamphlet just published called _The State of Wit_.
The author seems to be a Whig, yet he speaks very highly of a paper called
the _Examiner_, and says the supposed author of it is Dr. Swift, but above
all he praises the _Tatler_ and _Spectator_.'

The two tracts which follow consist of the Life of Addison, which forms
the preface to Addison's collected works, published by Tickell in 1721,
and of the Dedicatory Epistle prefixed by Steele to an edition of
Addison's _Drummer_ in 1722. To the student of the literary history of
those times they are of great interest and importance. Of all Addison's
friends, Steele had long been the most intimate of the younger men whom
he had taken under his patronage. Tickell was the most loyal and the most
attached. While still at Oxford he had expressed his admiration of Addison
in extravagant terms: on arriving in London he made his acquaintance.
Tickell was an accomplished poet and man of letters, and though not a
profound a graceful scholar. Addison was pleased with a homage which was
worth accepting. As he rose, his _protégé_ rose with him. On his
appointment as Chief Secretary in Ireland he took Tickell with him. When
he was appointed Secretary of State he chose him as Under Secretary, and
shortly before his death made him his literary executor, instructing him
to collect his writings in a final and authentic edition. This, for
reasons which will be explained directly, was a task of no small
difficulty, but to this task Tickell loyally addressed himself. In the
spring of 1721 appeared, in four sumptuous quartos, the collected edition
of Addison's works. It was prefaced by the biography which is here
reprinted, and to the biography was appended that noble and pathetic
elegy which will make Tickell's name as immortal as Addison's.

There can be very little doubt that Steele had been greatly distressed
and hurt by the rupture of the friendship which had so long existed
between himself and Addison, but that Tickell should have taken his place
in Addison's affections must have been inexpressibly galling to him.
Naturally irritated, his irritation had no doubt been intensified by
Addison appointing Tickell Under Secretary of State, and still more by
his making him his literary executor--offices which Steel might naturally
have expected, had all gone well, to fill himself. It would not have been
in human nature that he could regard Tickell with any other feelings than
hostility and jealousy. Tickell's omission of the _Drummer_ from Addison's
works was, in all probability--such at least is the impression which the
letter makes on me--a mere pretext for the gratification of personal
spite. There is nothing to justify the interpretation which he puts on
Tickell's words. All that Steele here says about Addison he had said
publicly and quite as emphatically before, as Tickell had recorded. As
Steele had, in Tickell's own words, given to Addison 'the honour of the
most applauded pieces,' it is absurd to accuse Tickell of insinuating
that Addison wished his papers to be marked because he was afraid Steele
would assume the credit of these pieces. In one important particular he
flatly contradicts himself. At the beginning he asks 'whether it was a
decent and reasonable thing that works written, as a great part of Mr.
Addison's were, in correspondence with me, ought to have been published
without my review of the catalogue of them.' Three pages afterward, it
appears that, in compliance with the request of Addison delivered to him
by Tickell, he did mark with his own hand those _Tatlers_ which were
inserted in Addison's works--a statement of Tickell's, but a statement to
which Steele takes no exception. So far from attempting to disparage
Steele, Tickell does ample justice to him; and to accuse him of
insensibility to Addison's virtues, and of cold indifference to him
personally, is a charge refuted not only by all we know of Tickell, but
by every page in the tract itself. Many of the objections which he makes
to Tickell's remarks are too absurd to discuss. From nothing indeed which
Tickell says, but from one of Steele's own admissions, it is impossible
not to draw a conclusion very derogatory to Steele's honesty, and to make
us suspect that his sensitiveness was caused by his own uneasy conscience:
'What I never did declare was Mr. Addison's I had his direct injunctions
to hide.' This certainly seems to imply that Steele had allowed himself
to be credited with what really belonged to his friend. A month after
Addison's death he had written in great alarm to Tonson, on hearing that
it had been proposed to separate Addison's papers in the _Tatler_ from
his own. He bases his objection, it is true, on the pecuniary injury
which he and his family would suffer, but this is plainly mere
subterfuge. The truth probably is, that Steele wished to leave as
undefined as possible what belonged to Addison and what belonged to
himself; that he was greatly annoyed when he found that their respective
shares were by Addison's own, or at least his alleged, request to be
defined; that in his assignation of the papers he had not been quite
honest; and that, knowing this, he suspected that Tickell knew it too.
There is nothing to support Steele's assertion that it was at his
instigation that Addison distinguished his contributions to the
_Spectator_ and the _Guardian_. Addison, as his last injunctions showed,
must have contemplated a collective edition of his works, and must have
desired therefore that they should be identified. Steele's ambition, no
doubt, was that he and his friend should go down to posterity together,
but the appointment of Tickell instead of himself as Addison's literary
executor dashed this hope to the ground.

Few things in literary biography are more pathetic than the estrangement
between Addison and Steele. They had played as boys together; they had,
for nearly a quarter of a century, shared each other's burdens, and the
burdens had not been light; in misfortune and in prosperity, in business
and in pleasure, they had never been parted. The wisdom and prudence of
Addison had more than once been the salvation of Steele; what he knew of
books and learning had been almost entirely derived from Addison's
conversation; what moral virtue he had, from Addison's influence. And he
had repaid this with an admiration and affection which bordered on
idolatry. A more generous and genial, a more kindly, a more warm-hearted
man than Steele never lived, and it is easy to conceive what his feelings
must have been when he found his friend estranged from him and a rival in
his place. There is much to excuse what this letter to Congreve plainly
betrays; but excuse is not justification. Tickell had a delicate and
difficult task to perform: a duty to his dead friend, which was
paramount, a duty to Steele, and a duty to himself, and he succeeded in
performing each with admirable tact. Whether Tickell ever made any reply
to Steele's strictures, I have not been able to discover.

We pass now from the literary pamphlets to the extract and excerpts
illustrating the condition of the Church and the clergy at the end of the
seventeenth and about the first half of the eighteenth century. They are
of particular interest, not only in themselves, but in their relation to
Swift and Macaulay--to Swift as a Church reformer, to Macaulay as a
social historian. Few historical questions in our own time provoked more
controversy than the famous pages delineating the clergy who, according
to Macaulay, were typical of their order about the time of the
Restoration. The first excerpt is from Chamberlayne's _Angliae Notitia_.
The author of that work, Edward Chamberlayne, was born on the 13th of
December 1616. He was educated at Oxford, where he graduated as B.A. in
April 1638. For a short time he was Reader in Rhetoric to the University,
but on the breaking out of the Civil War he left for the Continent, where
he visited nearly every country in Europe. At the Restoration he
returned; and about 1675, after having been secretary to the Earl of
Carlisle, he became tutor to the King's natural son, Henry Fitzroy,
afterwards Duke of Grafton, and subsequently instructor in English to
Prince George of Denmark. He was also one of the earliest Fellows of the
Royal Society. He died at Chelsea in May 1703. In 1669 he published
anonymously _Angliae Notitia, or the Present State of England with Divers
Reflection upon the Ancient State therefor_, a work no doubt suggested by
and apparently modelled on the well-known _L'Estat Nouveau de la France_.
The work contains more statistics than reflections, and is exactly what
its title implies--a succinct account of England, beginning with its
name, its climate, its topography, and giving information, now
invaluable, about everything included in its constitution and in its
economy. The extract printed here is, as is indicated, from pp. 383-389
and p. 401. The work passed through two editions in the year of its
appearance, the second bearing the author's name, and at the time of
Chamberlayne's death it had, with successive amplifications, reached its
twentieth edition.

Of a very different order to Chamberlayne's work is the remarkable tract
which follows. The author, John Eachard, was born about 1636, at what
date is doubtful, but he was admitted into Catherine Hall, Cambridge, in
May 1653. Becoming Fellow of the Hall in 1658, he was chosen, on the
death of Dr. Lightfoot, Master. His perfectly uneventful life closed on
the 7th of July 1697. Personally he was a facetious and agreeable man,
and had the reputation of being rather a wit and humorist than a divine
and scholar. Baker complained of his inferiority as a preacher; and
Swift, observing 'that men who are happy enough at ridicule are
sometimes perfectly stupid upon grave subjects,' gives Eachard as an
instance. _The Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy and
Religion enquired into, In a letter written to R.L._, appeared
anonymously in 1670. This anonymity Eachard carefully preserved during
the controversies which it occasioned. It is difficult to understand how
any one after reading the preface could have misunderstood the purpose of
the book. But Eachard's fate was Swift's fate afterwards, though there was
more excuse for the High Church party missing the point of the _Tale of a
Tub_ than for the clergy generally missing that of Eachard's plea for
them. Ridicule is always a dangerous ally, especially when directed
against an institution or community, for men naturally identify
themselves with the body of which they are members, and resent as
individuals what reflects on them collectively. When one of the opponents
of Barnabus Oley in his preface to Herbert's _Country Parson_ observed:
'The pretence of your book was to _show_ the occasions, your book is
_become_ the occasion of the contempt of God's ministers,' he expressed
what the majority of the clergy felt. The storm burst at once, and the
storm raged for months. 'I have had,' wrote Eachard in one of his many
rejoinders, 'as many several names as the Grand Seignior has titles of
honour; for setting aside the vulgar and familiar ones of Rogue, Rascal,
Dog, and Thief (which may be taken by way of endearment as well as out of
prejudice and offence), as also those of more certain signification, as
Malicious Rogue, Ill-Natured Rascal, Lay Dog, and Spiteful Thief.' He had
also, he said, been called Rebel, Traitor, Scot, Sadducee, and Socinian.
Among the most elaborate replies to his work were: _An Answer to a Letter
of Enquiry into the Ground, _etc.. 1671; _A Vindication of the Clergy from
the Contempt imposed upon them, By the author of the Grounds_ etc., 1672;
_Hieragonisticon, or Corah's Doom, being an Answer to_, etc., 1672; _An
Answer to two Letters of T.B._, etc., 1673. The occasional references to
it in the theological literature of these times are indeed innumerable.
Many affected to treat him as a mere buffoon--the concoctor, as one
bitterly put it, of 'a pretty fardle of tales bundled together, and they
have had the hap to fall into such hands as had rather lose a friend, not
to say their country, than a jest.' Anthony Wood, writing at the time of
its appearance, classes it with 'the fooleries, playes, poems, and
drolling books,' with which, as he bitterly complains, people were 'taken
with' coupling with it Marvell's _Rehearsal Transposed_ and Butler's

To some of his opponents Eachard replied. Of his method of conducting
controversy, in which it is clear that he perfectly revelled, I
give a short specimen. It is from his letter to the author of

'You may possibly think, sir, that I have read your book, but if you do
you are most mistaken. For as long as I can get Tolambu's _History of
Mustard_, Frederigo _Devastation of Pepper, The Dragon_, with cuts,
Mandringo's _Pismires rebuffeted_ and _retro-confounded, Is qui me
dubitat, or a flap against the Maggot of Heresie, Efflorescentina
Flosculorum_, or a choice collection of F. (_sic_) Withers _Poems_ or the
like, I do not intend to meddle with it. Alas, sir, I am as unlikely to
read your book that I can't get down the title no more than a duck can
swallow a yoked heifer'--and then follows an imitation of gulps straining
at the divided syllables of Hieragonisticon.

There is no reason to suspect the sincerity of Eachard, or to doubt that
he was, in his own words, an honest and hearty wisher that 'the best of
the clergy might for ever continue, as they are, rich and learned, and
that the rest might be very useful and well esteemed in their
profession.' To describe the work as 'a series of jocose caricatures--as
Churchill Babington in his animadversions on Macaulay's _History_
does--is absurd. Eachard was evidently a man of strong common sense, of
much shrewdness, a close observer, and one who had acquainted himself
exactly and extensively with the subject which he treats. But he was a
humorist, and, like Swift, sometimes gave the reins to his humour. It
must be remembered that his remarks apply only to the inferior clergy,
and there can be no doubt that since the Reformation they had, as a body,
sunk very low. Chamberlayne had no motive for exaggeration, but the
language he uses in describing them is stronger even than Eachard's.
Swift had no motive for exaggeration, and yet his pictures of Corusodes
and Eugenio in his _Essay on the Fates of Clergymen_, and what we gather
from his _Project for the Advancement of Religion_, his _Letter to a
Young Clergyman_, and what may be gathered generally from his writings,
very exactly corroborate Eachard's account. The lighter literature of the
later seventeenth and of the first half of the eighteenth century teems
with proofs of the contempt to which their ignorance and poverty exposed
them. To the testimonies of Oldham and Steele, and to the authorities
quoted by Macaulay and Mr. Lecky, may be added innumerable passages from
the _Observator_, from De Foe's _Review_, from Pepys,[5] from Baxter's
_Life_ of himself, from Archbishop Sharp's _Life_, from Burnet, and many

It is remarkable that Eachard says nothing about two causes which
undoubtedly contributed to degrade the Church in the eyes of the laity:
its close association with party politics, and the spread of
latitudinarianism, a conspicuous epoch in which was marked some
twenty-six years later in the Bangorian controversy.

The appearance of the first volume of Macaulay's _History_ in 1848 again
brought Eachard's work into prominence. Macaulay's famous description of
the clergy of the seventeenth century in his third chapter was based
mainly on Eachard's account. The clergy and orthodox laity of our own day
were as angry with Eachard's interpreter as their predecessors, nearly two
centuries before, had been with Eachard himself. The controversy began
seriously, after some preliminary skirmishing in the newspapers and
lighter reviews, with Mr. Churchill Babington's _Mr. Macaulay's
Characters of the Clergy in the Latter Part of the Seventeenth Century
Considered_, published shortly after the appearance of the _History_.
What Mr. Babington and those whom he represented forgot was precisely
what Eachard's opponents had forgotten, that it was not the clergy
universally who had been described, for Macaulay, like Eachard, had
distinguished, but the clergy as represented by its proletariat.

If Eachard had occasionally given the reins to humour, Macaulay had
occasionally perhaps given them to rhetoric. But of the substantial
accuracy of both there can be no doubt at all.

On the intelligent, discriminating friends of the Church, Eachard's work
had something of the same effect, as Jeremy Collier's _Short View of the
Profaneness and Immorality of the English Stage_ had in another sphere.
It directed serious attention to what all thoughtful and right-feeling
people must have felt to be a national scandal. It was an appeal to
sentiment and reason on matters with respect to which, in this country at
least, such appeals are seldom made in vain. It did not, indeed, lead
immediately to practical reform, but it advanced the cause of reform by
inspiring and bringing other initiators into the field. And pre-eminent
among these was Swift. Swift was evidently well acquainted with Eachard's
work. In the apology prefixed to the fourth edition of the _Tale of a Tub_
in 1710, he speaks of Eachard with great respect. Contemptuously
explaining that he has no intention of answering the attacks which had
been made on the _Tale_, he observes: 'When Dr. Eachard wrote his book
about the _Contempt of the Clergy_, numbers of these answerers
immediately started up, whose memory, if he had not kept alive by his
replies, it would now be utterly unknown that he were ever answered at
all.' No one who is familiar with Swift's tracts on Church reform can
doubt that he had read Eachard's work with minute attention, and was
greatly influenced by it. In his _Project for the Advancement of
Religion_, he largely attributed the scandalous immorality everywhere
prevalent to the insufficiency of religious instruction, and to the low
character of the clergy, the result mainly of their ignorance and
poverty. His _Letter to a Young Clergyman_ is little more than a didactic
adaptation of that portion of Eachard's work which deals with the
character and education of the clergy. The _Essay on the Fates of
Clergymen_ is another study from the _Contempt_, while the fragment of
the tract which he had begun, _Concerning that Universal Hatred which
prevails against the Clergy_, brings us still more closely to Eachard.
The likeness between them cannot be traced further; they were both, it is
true, humorists, but there is little in common between the austere and
bitter, yet, at the same time, delicious flavour of the one, and the
trenchant and graphic, but coarse and rollicking, humour of the other.

The essays reprinted from the _Tatler_ give humorous expression to a
grievance which not only wounded the pride of the clergy, but touched
them on an equally sensitive part--the stomach. It was not usual for the
chaplain in great houses to remain at table for the second course. When
the sweets were brought in, he was expected to retire. As Macaulay puts
it: 'He might fill himself with the corned beef and carrots; but as soon
as the tarts and cheese-cakes made their appearance, he quitted his seat
and stood aloof till he was summoned to return thanks for the repast,
from a great part of which he had been excluded.' Gay refers to this
churlish custom in the second book of _Trivia_:--

    'Cheese that the table's closing rites denies.
    And bids me with th' unwilling chaplain rise.'

Possibly the custom originally arose, not from any wish to mark the
social inferiority of the chaplain, but because his presence was a check
on conversation. It must be owned, however, that this would have been
more intelligible had he retired, not with the corned beef and carrots,
but with the ladies. The passage quoted by Steele from Oldham is from his
_Satire, addressed to a Friend that is about to Leave the University and
come Abroad in the World_, not the only poem in which Oldham has thrown
light on the degraded profession of the clergy. See the end of his
_Satire, spoken in the person of Spenser_.

The last piece in this Miscellany has no connection with what precedes
it, but it has an interest of its own. Among the many services of one of
the purest and most indefatigable of philanthropists to his
fellow-citizens was the establishment of what is commonly known as _Poor
Richard's Almanack_. Of this periodical, and of the particular number of
it which is here reprinted, Franklin gives the following account in his

'In 1732 I first published an Almanack, under the name of _Richard
Saunders_; it was continued by me about twenty-five years, and commonly
called _Poor Richard's Almanack_. I endeavoured to make it both
entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such demand
that I reaped considerable profit from it, vending annually near ten
thousand. And observing that it was generally read (scarce any
neighbourhood in the province being without it), I considered it as a
proper vehicle for conveying instruction among the common people, who
bought scarcely any other books. I therefore filled all the little spaces
that occurred between the remarkable days in the calendar with proverbial
sentences, chiefly such as inculcated industry and frugality as the means
of procuring wealth and thereby securing virtue, it being more difficult
for a man in want to act always honestly, as, to use here one of these
proverbs, "it is hard for an empty sack to stand upright." These
proverbs, which contained the wisdom of many ages and nations, I
assembled and formed into a connected discourse prefixed to the
_Almanack_ of 1757, as the harangue of a wise old man to the people
attending an auction. The bringing all these scattered counsels thus into
a focus enabled them to make a greater impression. The piece being
universally approved, was copied in all the newspapers of the American
Continent, reprinted in Britain on a large sheet of paper to be stuck up
in houses; two translations were made of it in France, and great numbers
bought by the clergy to distribute gratis among their poor parishioners
and tenants. In Pennsylvania, as it discouraged useless expense in
foreign superfluities, some thought it had its share of influence in
producing that growing plenty of money which was observable for several
years after its publication.'--_Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin_, Part II,
Works Edit. 1833, vol. ii. pp. 146-148.

Reprinted innumerable times while Franklin was alive, this paper has,
since his death, passed through seventy editions in English, fifty-six In
French, eleven in German, and nine in Italian. It has been translated into
nearly every language in Europe: into French, German, and Italian, as we
have seen; into Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Polish, Bohemian, Dutch, Welsh,
and modern Greek; it has also been translated into Chinese.[6] In the
edition of _Franklin's Works_, printed in London in 1806, it appears
under the title of _The Way to Wealth, as clearly shown in the Preface to
an old Pennsylvanian Almanack, entitled Poor Richard Improved_, and under
this title it was usually printed when detached from the Almanack.

As Franklin himself owns, the maxims have little pretension to
originality. It is evident that he had laid under contribution such
collections as Clerk's _Adagio Latino-Anglica_, Herbert's _Jacula
Prudentum_, James Howell's collection of proverbs, David Fergtison's
_Scotch Proverbs_ (with the successively increasing editions between 1641
and 1706), Ray's famous _Collection of English Proverbs_, William Penn's
_Maxims_, and the like. A few are probably original, and many have been
re-minted and owe their form to him.

The first number of the famous _Almanack_ from which they are extracted
was published at the end of 1732, just after Franklin had set up as a
printer and stationer for himself, its publication being announced in the
_Pennsylvania Gazette_ of December 9th, 1732; and for twenty-five years it
continued regularly to appear, the last number being that for the year
1758, and having for preface the discourse which became so
extraordinarily popular. The name assumed by Franklin was no doubt
borrowed from that of Richard Saunders, a well-known astrologer of the
seventeenth century, of whom there is a notice in the _Dictionary of
National Biography_. But Mr. Leicester Ford[7] says that it was the name
of 'a chyrurgeon' of the eighteenth century who for many years issued a
popular almanac entitled _The Apollo Anglicanus__. Of this publication I
know nothing, and can discover nothing. The probability is that its
compiler, whoever he was, anticipated Franklin in assuming the name of
John Saunders. He is most certainly not to be identified with Saunders
the astrologer, who died in, or not much later than, 1687.

It remains to add that no pains have been spared to make the texts of the
excerpts and tracts in this Miscellany as accurate as possible--indeed,
Mr. Arber's name is a sufficient guarantee of the efficiency with which
this important part of the work has been done. For the modernisation of
the spelling, which some readers may perhaps be inclined to regret, and
for the punctuation, as well as for the elucidatory notes within
brackets, Mr. Arber is solely responsible.


[1] See his Preface to his version of part of Virgil's second _Aeneid_.

[2] Whateley's _Reminiscences of Bishop Copleston_, p. 6.

[3] See _Late Stuart Tracts_.

[4] Wood's _Life and Times_, Clark's Ed. vol. ii. p. 240.

[5] See, for example, _Diary_, February 16th, 1668: 'Much discourse
    about the bad state of the Church, and how the clergy are come to
    be men of no worth in the world, and, as the world do now generally
    discourse, they must be reformed.'

[6] For this information I am indebted to Mr. Paul Leicester Ford's
    interesting monograph on the sayings of Poor Richard, prefixed to
    his selections from the _Almanack_, privately printed at Brooklyn
    in 1890.

[7] Introduction to his selections from the _Almanack_.


    _Eloquence first given by GOD, after lost by man, and last repaired
    by GOD again_.

    [_The Art of Rhetoric_.]

Man in whom is poured the breath of life, was made at his first being an
everlasting creature, unto the likeness of GOD; endued with reason, and
appointed lord over all other things living. But after the fail of our
first father, sin so crept in that our knowledge was much darkened, and
by corruption of this our flesh, man's reason and entendment
[_intellect_] were both overwhelmed. At what time, GOD being sore grieved
with the folly of one man; pitied, of His mere goodness, the whole state
and posterity of mankind. And therefore whereas through the wicked
suggestion of our ghostly enemy, the joyful fruition of GOD's glory was
altogether lost; it pleased our heavenly Father to repair mankind of his
free mercy and to grant an everlasting inheritance unto such as would by
constant faith seek earnestly thereafter.

Long it was, ere that man knew; himself being destitute of GOD's grace,
so that all things waxed savage, the earth untilled, society neglected,
GOD's will not known, man against man, one against another, and all
against order. Some lived by spoil, some like brute beasts grazed upon
the ground, some went naked, some roamed like woodwoses [_mad wild men_],
none did anything by reason, but most did what they could by manhood. None
almost considered the everliving GOD; but all lived most commonly after
their own lust. By death, they thought that all things ended; by life,
they looked for none other living. None remembered the true observation
of wedlock, none tendered the education of their children; laws were note
regarded, true dealing was not once used. For virtue, vice bare place; for
right and equity, might used authority. And therefore whereas man through
reason might have used order, man through folly fell into error. And thus
for lack of skill and want of grace, evil so prevailed that the devil was
most esteemed; and GOD either almost unknown among them all or else
nothing feared among so many. Therefore--even now when man was thus past
all hope of amendment--GOD still tendering his own workmanship; stirred
up his faithful and elect, to persuade with reason all men to society;
and gave his appointed ministers knowledge both to see the natures of
men; and also granted to them the gift of utterance, that they might with
ease win folk at their will, and frame them by reason to all good order.

And therefore whereas men lived brutishly in open fields having neither
house to shroud [_cover_] them in, nor attire to clothe their backs; nor
yet any regard to seek their best avail [_interest_]; these appointed of
GOD, called them together by utterance of speech; and persuaded with them
what was good, what was bad, and what was gainful for mankind. And
although at first the rude could hardly learn, and either for the
strangeness of the thing would not gladly receive the offer or else for
lack of knowledge could not perceive the goodness; yet being somewhat
drawn and delighted with the pleasantness of reason and the sweetness of
utterance, after a certain space, they became through nurture and good
advisement, of wild, sober; of cruel, gentle; of fools, wise; and of
beasts, men. Such force hath the tongue, and such is the power of
Eloquence and Reason that most men are forced, even to yield in that
which most standeth against their will. And therefore the poets do feign
that HERCULES, being a man of great wisdom, had all men linked together
by the ears in a chain, to draw them and lead them even as he listed. For
his wit so great, his tongue so eloquent, and his experience such that no
man was able to withstand his reason; but every one was rather driven to
do that which he would, and to will that which he did; agreeing to his
advice both in word and work, in all that ever they were able.

Neither can I see that men could have been brought by any other means to
live together in fellowship of life, to maintain cities, to deal truly,
and willingly to obey one another; if men, at the first, had not by art
and eloquence persuaded that which they full oft found out by reason. For
what man, I pray you, being better able to maintain himself by valiant
courage than by living in base subjection, would not rather look to rule
like a lord, than to live like an underling; If by reason he were not
persuaded that it behoveth every man to live in his own vocation, and not
to seek any higher room than that whereunto he was at the first,
appointed? Who would dig and delve from morn till evening? Who would
travail and toil with the sweat of his brows? Yea, who would, for his
King's pleasure, adventure and hazard his life, if wit had not so won men
that they thought nothing more needful in this world nor anything
whereunto they were more bounden than here to live in their duty and to
train their whole life, according to their calling. Therefore whereas men
are in many things weakly by nature, and subject to much infirmity; I
think in this one point they pass all other creatures living, that they
have the gift of speech and reason.

And among all other, I think him of most worthy fame, and amongst men to
be taken for half a god that therein doth chiefly and above all other
excel men; wherein men do excel beasts. For he that is among the
reasonable of all the most reasonable; and among the witty, of all the
most witty; and among the eloquent, of all the most eloquent: him, think
I, among all men, not only to be taken for a singular man, but rather to
be counted for half a god. For in seeking the excellency hereof, the
sooner he draweth to perfection the nigher he corneth to GOD, who is the
chief Wisdom: and therefore called GOD because He is the most wise, or
rather wisdom itself.

Now then seeing that GOD giveth heavenly grace unto such as called unto
him with outstretched hands and humble heart; never wanting to those that
want not to themselves; I purpose by His grace and especial assistance, to
set forth such precepts of eloquence, and to show what observation the
wise have used in handling of their matters; that the unlearned by seeing
the practice of others, may have some knowledge themselves; and learn by
their neighbours' device what is necessary for themselves in their own


_Letter to his brother ROBERT, then in Germany, 18 October_ 1580.

Sir PHILIP SIDNEY to his brother, ROBERT SIDNEY, who was the first Earl
of LEICESTER of that familiar name.

My Dear Brother,

For the money you have received, assure yourself (for it is true) there
is nothing I spend so pleaseth me; as that which is for you. If ever I
have ability, you shall find it so: if not, yet shall not any brother
living be better beloved than you, of me.

I cannot write now to N. WHITE. Do you excuse me! For his nephew, they
are but passions in my father; which we must bear with reverence: but I
am sorry he should return till he had the circuit of his travel; for you
shall never have such a servant, as he would prove. Use your own

For your countenance, I would (for no cause) have it diminished in
Germany. In Italy, your greatest expense must be upon worthy men, and not
upon householding. Look to your diet, sweet ROBIN! and hold up your heart
in courage and virtue. Truly, great part of my comfort is in you! I know
not myself what I meant by bravery in you; so greatly you may see I
condemn you. Be careful of yourself, and I shall never have cares.

I have written to Master SAVELL. I wish you kept still together. He is an
excellent man. And there may, if you list, pass good exercises betwixt you
and Master NEVELL. There is great expectation of you both.

For method of writing history, BODEN hath written at large. You may read
him, and gather out of many words, some matter.

This I think, in haste. A Story is either to be considered as a Story; or
as a Treatise, which, besides that, addeth many things for profit and
ornament. As a Story, he is nothing, but a narration of things done, with
the beginnings, causes, and appendices thereof. In that kind, your method
must be to have _seriem temporum_ very exactly, which the chronologies of
MELANCTHON, TARCHAGNORA, LANGUET and such others will help you to.

Then to consider by that... as you note yourself, XENOPHON to follow
follow XENOPHON. So generally, do the Roman stories follow the Greek; and
the particular stories of the present monarchies follow the Roman.

In that kind, you have principally to note the examples of virtue and
vice, with their good or evil success; the establishment or rains of
great Estates, with the causes, the time, and circumstances of the laws
then written of; the enterings and endings of wars; and therein, the
stratagems against the enemy, and the discipline upon the soldier.

And thus much as a very historiographer.

Besides this, the Historian makes himself a Discourser for profit; and an
Orator, yea, a Poet sometimes, for ornament. An Orator; in making
excellent orations, _è re nata_, which are to be marked, but marked with
the note of rhetorical remembrances: a Poet; in painting for the effects,
the motions, the whisperings of the people, which though in disputation,
one might say were true--yet who will mark them well shall find them
taste of a poetical vein, and in that kind are gallantly to be
marked--for though perchance, they were not so, yet it is enough they
might be so. The last point which tends to teach profit, is of a
Discourser; which name I give to whosoever speaks _non simpliciter de
facto, sed de qualitatibus et circumstantiis facti_: and that is it which
makes me and many others, rather note much with our pen than with our mind.

Because we leave all these discourses to the confused trust of our
memory; because they be not tied to the tenour of a question: as
Philosophers use sometimes, places; the Divine, in telling his opinion
and reasons in religion; sometimes the Lawyer, in showing the causes and
benefits of laws; sometimes a Natural Philosopher, in setting down the
causes of any strange thing which the Story binds him to speak of; but
most commonly a Moral Philosopher, either in the ethic part, where he
sets forth virtues or vices and the natures of passions; or in the
politic, when he doth (as often he doth) meddle sententiously with
matters of Estate. Again, sometimes he gives precept of war, both
offensive and defensive. And so, lastly, not professing any art as his
matter leads him, he deals with all arts; which--because it carrieth the
life of a lively example--it is wonderful what light it gives to the arts
themselves; so as the great Civilians help themselves with the discourses
of the Historians. So do Soldiers; and even Philosophers and Astronomers.

But that I wish herein is this, that when you read any such thing, you
straight bring it to his head, not only of what art; but by your logical
subdivisions to the next member and parcel of the art. And so--as in a
table--be it witty words, of which TACITUS is full; sentences, of which
LIVY; or similitudes, whereof PLUTARCH: straight to lay it up in the
right place of his storehouse--as either military, or more specially
defensive military, or more particularly, defensive by fortification--and
so lay it up. So likewise in politic matters. And such a little table you
may easily make wherewith I would have you ever join the historical part;
which is only the example of some stratagem, or good counsel, or such like.

This write I to you, in great haste, of method, without method: but, with
more leisure and study--if I do not find some book that satisfies--I will
venture to write more largely of it unto you.

Master SAVELL will, with ease, help you to set down such a table of
remembrance to yourself; and for your sake I perceive he will do much;
and if ever I be able, I will deserve it of him. One only thing, as it
comes into my mind, let me remember you of, that you consider wherein the
Historian excelleth, and that to note: as DION NICAEUS in the searching
the secrets of government; TACITUS, in the pithy opening of the venom of
wickedness; and so of the rest.

My time--exceedingly short--will suffer me to write no more leisurely.
STEPHEN can tell you who stands with me, while I am writing.

Now, dear brother! take delight likewise in the mathematicals. Master
SAVELL is excellent in them. I think you understand the sphere. If you
do, I care little for any more astronomy in you. Arithmetic and Geometry,
I would wish you well seen in: so as both in matter of number and measure,
you might have a feeling and active judgment, I would you did bear the
mechanical instruments, wherein the Dutch excel.

I write this to you as one, that for myself have given over the delight
in the world; but wish to you as much, if not more, than to myself.

So you can speak and write Latin, not barbarously; I never require great
study in Ciceronianism, the chief abuse of Oxford, _qui dum verba
sectantur, res ipsas negligunt_.

My toyful books I will send--with GOD's help--by February [1581]; at
which time you shall have your money. And for £200 [_nearly £2,000 at the
present day_] a year, assure yourself! If the estates of England remain,
you shall not fail of it. Use it to your best profit!

My Lord of LEICESTER sends you £40 as I understand, by STEPHEN; and
promiseth he will continue that stipend yearly at the least. Then that is
above commons. In any case, write largely and diligently unto him: for, in
truth, I have good proof that he means to be every way good unto you. The
odd £30 shall come with the £100, or else my father and I will jarle.

Now, sweet Brother, take a delight to keep and increase your music. You
will not believe what a want I find of it, in my melancholy times.

At horsemanship; when you exercise it, read CRISON CLAUDIO, and a book
that is called _La Gloria de l'Cavallo_ withal: that you may join the
thorough contemplation of it with the exercise: and so shall you profit
more in a month, than others in a year. And mark the bitting, saddling,
and cur[ry]ing of horses.

I would, by the way, your Worship would learn a better hand. You write
worse than I: and I write evil enough. Once again, have a care of your
diet; and consequently of your complexion. Remember _gratior est veniens
in pulchro corpore virtus_.

Now, Sir, for news; I refer myself to this bearer. He can tell you how
idly we look on our neighbour's fires: and nothing is happened notable at
home; save only DRAKE's return. Of which yet, I know not the secret
points: but about the world he hath been, and rich he is returned.
Portugal, we say, is lost. And to conclude, my eyes are almost closed up,
overwatched with tedious business.

God bless you, sweet Boy! and accomplish the joyful hope I conceive of
you. Once again commend me to Master NEVELL, Master SAVELL, and honest
HARRY WHITE, and bid him be merry.

When you play at weapons; I would have you get thick caps and bracers
[_gloves_], and play out your play lustily; for indeed, ticks and
dalliances are nothing in earnest: for the time of the one and the other
greatly differs. And use as well the blow as the thrust. It is good in
itself; and besides increaseth your breath and strength, and will make
you a strong man at the tourney and barriers. First, in any case,
practise the single sword; and then, with the dagger. Let no day pass
without an hour or two of such exercise. The rest, study; or confer
diligently: and so shall you come home to my comfort and credit.

Lord! how I have babbled! Once again, farewell, dearest Brother!

Your most loving and careful brother


At Leicester House
this 18th of October 1580.

Francis Meres, M.A.

_Sketch of English Literature, Painting, and Music, up to September_ 1598.

_A comparative Discourse of our English Poets [Painters and Musicians]
with the Greek, Latin, and Italian Poets [Painters and Musicians]_.

As Greece had three poets of great antiquity, ORPHEUS, LINUS, and
MUSAEUS; and Italy, other three ancient poets, LIVIUS ANDRONICUS, ENNIUS,
and PLAUTUS: so hath England three ancient poets, CHAUCER, GOWER, and

As HOMER is reputed the Prince of Greek poets; and PETRARCH of Italian
poets: so CHAUCER is accounted the god of English poets.

As HOMER was the first that adorned the Greek tongue with true quantity:
so [WILLIAM LANGLAND, the author of] _PIERS PLOWMAN_ was the first that
observed the true quantity of our verse without the curiosity of rhyme.

OVID writ a Chronicle from the beginning of the world to his own time;
that is, to the reign of AUGUSTUS the Emperor: so hath HARDING the
Chronicler (after his manner of old harsh rhyming) from ADAM to his time;
that is, to the reign of King EDWARD IV.

As SOTADES Maronites, the Iambic poet, gave himself wholly to write
impure and lascivious things: so SKELTON (I know not for what great
worthiness, surnamed the Poet Laureate) applied his wit to scurrilities
and ridiculous matters; such [as] among the Greeks were called
_Pantomimi_, with us, buffoons.

As CONSALVO PEREZ, that excellent learned man, and secretary to King
PHILIP [II.] of Spain, in translating the "Ulysses" [_Odyssey_] of HOMER
out of Greek into Spanish, hath, by good judgement, avoided the fault of
rhyming, although [he hath] not fully hit perfect and true versifying: so
hath HENRY HOWARD, that true and noble Earl of SURREY, in translating the
fourth book of VIRGIL's _AEneas_: whom MICHAEL DRAYTON in his _England's
Heroical Epistles_ hath eternized for an _Epistle to his fair GERALDINE_.

the two STROZAE the father and the son, PALINGENIUS, MANTUANUS,
and good place among the ancient Latin poets: so also these Englishmen,
THOMAS CAMPION, [JOHN] BRUNSWERD, and WILLEY have attained [a] good
report and honourable advancement in the Latin empire [of letters].

As the Greek tongue is made famous and eloquent by HOMER, HESIOD,
LUCRETIUS, AUSONIUS, and CLAUDIANUS: so the English tongue is mightily
enriched, and gorgeously invested in rare ornaments and resplendent

As XENOPHON, who did imitate so excellently as to give us _effigiem justi
imperii_, "the portraiture of a just empire" under the name of _CYRUS_,
(as CICERO saith of him) made therein an absolute heroical poem; and as
HELIODORUS wrote in prose, his sugared invention of that picture of love
in _THEAGINES and CARICLEA_; and yet both excellent admired poets: so Sir
PHILIP SIDNEY writ his immortal poem, _The Countess of PEMBROKE's
"Arcadia"_ in prose; and yet our rarest poet.

As SEXTOS PROPERTIUS said, _Nescio quid magis nascitur Iliade_: so I say
of SPENSER's _Fairy Queen_; I know not what more excellent or exquisite
poem may be written.

As ACHILLES had the advantage of HECTOR, because it was his fortune to be
extolled and renowned by the heavenly verse of HOMER: so SPENSER's _ELIZA,
the Fairy Queen_, hath the advantage of all the Queens in the world, to be
eternized by so divine a poet.

As THEOCRITUS is famoused for his _Idyllia_ in Greek, and VIRGIL for his
_Eclogues_ in Latin: so SPENSER their imitator in his _Shepherds
Calendar_ is renowned for the like argument; and honoured for fine
poetical invention, and most exquisite wit.

As PARTHENIUS Nicaeus excellently sang the praises of _ARETE_: so DANIEL
hath divinely sonnetted the matchless beauty of _DELIA_.

As every one mourneth, when he heareth of the lamentable plangors
[plaints] of [the] Thracian ORPHEUS for his dearest _EURYDICE_: so every
one passionateth, when he readeth the afflicted death of DANIEL's
distressed _ROSAMOND_.

As LUCAN hath mournfully depainted the Civil Wars of POMPEY and CAESAR:
so hath DANIEL, the Civil Wars of York and Lancaster; and DRAYTON, the
Civil Wars of EDWARD II. and the Barons.

As VIRGIL doth imitate CATULLUS in the like matter of _ARIADNE_, for his
story of Queen _DIDO_: so MICHAEL DRAYTON doth imitate OVID in his
_England's Heroical Epistles_.

As SOPHOCLES was called a Bee for the sweetness of his tongue: so in
CHARLES FITZ-GEFFRY's _DRAKE_, DRAYTON is termed "golden-mouthed," for
the purity and preciousness of his style and phrase.

As ACCIUS, MARCUS ATILIUS, and MILITHUS were called _Tragaediographi_;
because they writ tragedies: so we may truly term MICHAEL DRAYTON,
_Tragaediographus_: for his passionate penning [_the poem of_] the
downfalls of valiant ROBERT of NORMANDY, chaste MATILDA, and great

As JOANNES HONTERUS, in Latin verse, wrote three books of Cosmography,
with geographical tables; so MICHAEL DRAYTON is now in penning in English
verse, a poem called _Poly-olbion_ [which is] geographical and
hydrographical of all the forests, woods, mountains, fountains, rivers,
lakes, floods, baths [_spas_], and springs that be in England.

As AULUS PERSIUS FLACCUS is reported, among all writers to [have] been of
an honest life and upright conversation: so MICHAEL DRAYTON, _quem toties
honoris et amoris causa nomino_, among scholars, soldiers, poets, and all
sorts of people, is held for a man of virtuous disposition, honest
conversation, and well governed carriage: which is almost miraculous
among good wits in these declining and corrupt times; when there is
nothing but roguery in villainous man, and when cheating and craftiness
are counted the cleanest wit and soundest wisdom.

As DECIUS AUSONIUS Gallus, _in libris Fastorum_, penned the occurrences
of the world from the first creation of it to this time; that is, to the
reign of the Emperor GRATIAN: so WARNER, in his absolute _Albion's
England_, hath most admirably penned the history of his own country from
NOAH to his time, that is, to the reign of Queen ELIZABETH. I have heard
him termed of the best wits of both our Universities, our English HOMER.

As EURIPIDES is the most sententious among the Greek poets: so is WARNER
among our English poets.

As the soul of EUPHORBUS was thought to live in PYTHAGORAS: so the sweet
witty soul of OVID lives in mellifluous and honey-tongued SHAKESPEARE.
Witness his _VENUS and ADONIS_; his _LUCRECE_; his sugared _Sonnets_,
among his private friends; &c.

As PLAUTUS and SENECA are accounted the best for Comedy and Tragedy among
the Latins: so SHAKESPEARE among the English is the most excellent in both
kinds for the stage. For Comedy: witness his _Gentlemen of Verona_; his
[_Comedy of_] _Errors_; his _Love's Labour's Lost_; his _Love's Labour's
Won_ [? _All's Well that Ends Well_] his _Midsummer Night's Dream_; and
his _Merchant of Venice_.


As EPIUS STOLO said that the Muses would speak with PLAUTUS's tongue, if
they would speak Latin: so I say that the Muses would speak with
SHAKESPEARE's fine filed phrase; if they would speak English.

As MUSAEUS, who wrote the love of HERO and LEANDER, had two excellent
scholars, THAMYRAS and HERCULES; so hath he [MUSAEUS] in England, two
excellent, poets, imitators of him in the same argument and subject,

As OVID saith of his work,

    _Famque opus exegi, quod nec FOVIS ira, nec ignis,
    Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetustas_;

And as HORACE saith of his,

    _Exegi monumentum oere perennius
    Regalique situ pyramidum altius,
    Quod non imber edax, non Aquilo impotens
    Possit disruere, aut innumerabilis
    Annorum series, et fuga temporum_:

So I say, severally, of Sir PHILIP SIDNEY's, SPENSER's, DANIEL's,

    _Non FOVIS ira: imbres: MARS: ferrum: flamma: senectus:
    Hoc opus unda: lues: turbo: venena ruent.
    Et quanquam ad pulcherrimum hoc opus evertendum, tres illi Dii
        conspirabunt, CHRONUS, VULCANUS, et PATER ipse gentis.
    Non tamen annorum series, non flamma, nec ensis;
    AEternum potuit hoc abolere Decus_.


As there are eight famous and chief languages; Hebrew, Greek, Latin,
Syriac, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, and French; so there are eight notable
several kinds of poets, [1] Heroic, [2] Lyric, [3] Tragic, [4] Comic, [5]
Satiric, [6] Iambic, [7] Elegiac, and [8] Pastoral.

[1] As HOMER and VIRGIL among the Greeks and Latins are the chief Heroic
poets: so SPENSER and WARNER be our chief heroical "makers."

[2] As PINDARUS, ANACREON, and CALLIMACHUS, among the Greeks; and HORACE
and CUTALLUS among the Latins are the best Lyric poets: so in this
faculty, the best among our poets are SPENSER, who excelleth in all

[3] As these Tragic poets flourished in Greece: AESCHYLUS, EURIPIDES,
APOLLONIATES; and these among the Latins, ACCIUS, MARCUS ATILIUS,
POMPONUS SECUNDUS, and SENECA: so these are our best for Tragedy; The
Lord BUCKHURST, Doctor LEG, of Cambridge, Doctor EDES, of Oxford, Master
EDWARD FERRIS, the author[s] of the _Mirror for Magistrates_, MARLOW,

As MARCUS ANNEUS LUCANUS writ two excellent tragedies; one called
_MEDEA_, the other _De incendio Trojoe cum PRIAMI calamitate_: so Doctor
LEG hath penned two famous tragedies; the one of _RICHARD III._, the
other of _The Destruction of Jerusalem_.

[4] The best poets for Comedy among the Greeks are these: MENANDER,
Atheniensis, ANAXANDRIDES Rhodeus, ARISTONYMUS, ARCHIPPUS Atheniensis,
and CALLIAS Atheniensis; and among the Latins, PLAUTUS, TERENCE, NAEVIUS,
Comedy amongst us be EDWARD [VERE], Earl of OXFORD; Doctor GAGER, of
Oxford; Master ROWLEY, once a rare scholar of learned Pembroke Hall in
Cambridge; Master EDWARDES, one of Her Majesty's Chapel; eloquent and

Satire among the Latins: so with us, in the same faculty, these are chief
HALL of Emmanuel College in Cambridge [_afterwards Bishop of NORWICH_];
[JOHN MARSTON] the Author of _PYGMALION's Image, and certain Satires_;
the Author of _Skialetheia_.

[6] Among the Greeks, I will name but two for Iambics, ARCHILOCHUS Parius
and HIPPONAX Ephesius: so amongst us, I name but two Iambical poets;
GABRIEL HARVEY and RICHARD STANYHURST, because I have seen no more in
this kind.

[7] As these are famous among the Greeks for Elegies, MELANTHUS, MYMNERUS
Megarensis, and PIGRES Halicarnassoeus; and these among the Latins,
CLODIUS Sabinus: so these are the most passionate among us to bewail and
bemoan the perplexities of love, HENRY HOWARD, Earl of SURREY, Sir THOMAS
GASCOIGNE, SAMUEL PAGE sometime Fellow of Corpus Christi College in

[8] As THEOCRITUS in Greek; VIRGIL and MANTUAN in Latin, SANNAZAR in
Italian, and [THOMAS WATSON] the Author of _AMINTAE Gaudia_ and
_WALSINGHAM's MELIBOEUS_ are the best for Pastoral: so amongst us the
best in this kind are Sir PHILIP SIDNEY, Master CHALLONER, SPENSER,

These and many other Epigrammatists, the Latin tongue hath; Q. CATULLUS,
witty Sir THOMAS MORE: so in English we have these, HEYWOOD, DRANT,

As noble MAECENAS, that sprang from the Etruscan Kings, not only graced
poets by his bounty, but also by being a poet himself; and as JAMES VI.,
now King of Scotland, is not only a favourer of poets, but a poet; as my
friend Master RICHARD BARNFELD hath in this distich passing well recorded,

    The King of Scots now living is a poet,
    As his _Lepanto_ and his _Furies_ show it:

so ELIZABETH, our dread Sovereign and gracious Queen, is not only a
liberal Patron unto poets, but an excellent poet herself; whose learned,
delicate and noble Muse surmounteth, be it in Ode, Elegy, Epigram; or in
any other kind of poem, Heroic or Lyric.

OCTAVIA, sister unto AUGUSTUS the Emperor, was exceeding[ly] bountiful
unto VIRGIL, who gave him for making twenty-six verses, £1,137, to wit,
ten _sestertiae_ for every verse (which amounted to above £43 for every
verse): so learned MARY, the honourable Countess of PEMBROKE [and] the
noble sister of the immortal Sir PHILIP SIDNEY, is very liberal unto
poets. Besides, she is a most delicate poet, of whom I may say, as
ANTIPATER Sidonius writeth of SAPPHO:

    _Dulcia Mnemosyne demirans carmina Sapphus,
    Quaesivit decima Pieris unde foret_.

Among others, in times past, poets had these favourers; AUGUSTUS,
MAECENAS, SOPHOCLES, GERMANICUS; an Emperor, a Nobleman, a Senator, and a
Captain: so of later times, poets have [had] these patrons; ROBERT, King
of Sicily, the great King FRANCIS [I.] of France, King JAMES of Scotland,
and Queen ELIZABETH of England.

As in former times, two great Cardinals, BEMBA and BIENA did countenance
poets: so of late years, two great Preachers, have given them their right
hands in fellowship; BEZA and MELANCTHON.

As the learned philosophers FRACASTORIUS and SCALIGER have highly prized
them: so have the eloquent orators, PONTANUS and MURETUS very gloriously
estimated them.

As GEORGIUS BUCHANANUS' _JEPTHAE_, amongst all modern tragedies, is able
to abide the touch of ARISTOTLE's precepts and EURIPIDES's examples: so
is Bishop WATSON's _ABSALOM_.

As TERENCE for his translations out of APOLLODORUS and MENANDER, and
AQUILIUS for his translation out of MENANDER, and C. GERMANICUS AUGUSTUS
for his out of ARATUS, and AUSONIUS for his translated _Epigrams_ out of
[the] Greek, and Doctor JOHNSON for his _Frog-fight_ out of HOMER, and
WATSON for his _ANTIGONE_ out of SOPHOCLES, have got good commendations:
so these versifiers for their learned translations, are of good note
among us; PHAER foi VIRGIL's _AEneid_, GOLDING for OVID's
_Metamorphosis_, HARINGTON for his _ORLANDO Furioso_, the Translators of
SENECA's _Tragedies_, BARNABE GOOGE for PALINGENIUS's [_Zodiac of Life_],
TURBERVILLE for OVID's _Epistles_ and MANTUAN, and CHAPMAN for his
inchoate HOMER.

As the Latins have these Emblematists, ANDREAS ALCIATUS, REUSNERUS, and

As NONNUS PANAPOLYTA wrote the _Gospel_ of Saint JOHN in Greek
hexameters: so GERVASE MARKHAM hath written SOLOMON's _Canticles_ in
English verse.

FITZ-GEFFERY, that high towering falcon, hath most gloriously penned _The
honourable Life and Death of worthy Sir FRANCIS DRAKE_.

As HESIOD wrote learnedly of husbandry in Greek: so TUSSER [hath] very
wittily and experimentally written of it in English.

As ANTIPATER Sidonius was famous for extemporal verse in Greek, and OVID
for his

    _Quicquid conabar dicere versus erat_:

so was our TARLETON, of whom Doctor CASE, that learned physician, thus
speaketh in the Seventh Book and 17th chapter of his _Politics_.

_ARISTOTLES suum THEODORETUM laudavit quendam peritum Tragaediarum
actorem, CICERO suum ROSCIUM: nos Angli TARLETONUM, in cujus voce et
vultu omnes jocosi affectus, in cujus cerebroso capite lepidae facetiae

And so is now our witty [THOMAS] WILSON, who, for learning and extemporal
wit in this faculty, is without compare or compeer; as to his great and
eternal commendations, he manifested in his challenge at the _Swan_, on
the Bank Side.

As ACHILLES tortured the dead body of HECTOR; and as ANTONIUS and his
wife FULVIA tormented the lifeless corpse of CICERO; so GABRIEL HARVEY
hath showed the same inhumanity to GREENE, that lies full low in his

As EUPOLIS of Athens used great liberty in taxing the vices of men: so
doth THOMAS NASH. Witness the brood of the HARVEYS!

As ACTAEON was worried of his own hounds: so is TOM NASH of his _Isle of
Dogs_. Dogs were the death of EURIPIDES; but be not disconsolate, gallant
young JUVENAL! LINUS, the son of APOLLO, died the same death. Yet GOD
forbid that so brave a wit should so basely perish! Thine are but paper
dogs, neither is thy banishment like OVID's, eternally to converse with
the barbarous _Getae_. Therefore comfort thyself, sweet TOM! with
CICERO's glorious return to Rome; and with the counsel AENEAS gives to
his seabeaten soldiers, _Lib_ 1, _AEneid_.

    Pluck up thine heart! and drive from thence both fear and care away!
    To think on this, may pleasure be perhaps another day.
    _Durato, et temet rebus servato secundis_.

As ANACREON died by the pot: so GEORGE PEELE, by the pox.

As ARCHESILAUS PRYTANOEUS perished by wine at a drunken feast, as
HERMIPPUS testifieth in DIOGENES: so ROBERT GREENE died by a surfeit
taken of pickled herrings and Rhenish wine; as witnesseth THOMAS NASH,
who was at the fatal banquet.

As JODELLE, a French tragical poet, being an epicure and an atheist, made
a pitiful end: so our tragical poet MARLOW, for his Epicurism and Atheism,
had a tragical death; as you may read of this MARLOW more at large, in the
_Theatre of GOD's judgments_, in the 25th chapter, entreating of _Epicures
and Atheists_.

As the poet LYCOPHRON was shot to death by a certain rival of his: so
CHRISTOPHER MARLOW was stabbed to death by a baudy Servingman, a rival of
his, in his lewd love.


APELLES painted a mare and a dog so lively [_lifelike_], that horses and
dogs passing by would neigh and bark at them. He grew so famous for his
excellent art, that great ALEXANDER came often to his shop to visit him,
and commanded that none other should paint him. At his death, he left
VENUS unfinished; neither was any [one] ever found, that durst perfect
what he had begun.

ZEUXIS was so excellent in painting, that it was easier for any man to
view his pictures than to imitate them; who, to make an excellent table
[_picture_], had five Agrigentine virgins naked by him. He painted grapes
so lively, that birds did fly to eat them.

PARRHASIUS painted a sheet [_curtain_] so artificially, that ZEUXIS took
it for a sheet indeed; and commanded it to be taken away, to see the
picture that he thought it had veiled.

As learned and skilful Greece had these excellently renowned for their
limning; so England hath these: HILIARD, ISAAC OLIVER, and JOHN DE
CREETES, very famous for their painting.

As Greece moreover had these painters, TIMANTES, PHIDIAS, POLIGNOTUS,
NICEARCHUS: so in England, we have also these; WILLIAM and FRANCIS SEGAR,

As LYSIPPUS, PRAXITELES, and PYRGOTELES were excellent engravers: so we
have these engravers; ROGERS, CHRISTOPHER SWITSER, and CURE.


The loadstone draweth iron unto it, but the stone of Ethiopia called
_Theamedes_ driveth it away: so there is a kind of music that doth
assuage and appease the affections, and a kind that doth kindle and
provoke the passions.

As there is no law that hath sovereignty over love; so there is no heart
that hath rule over music, but music subdues it.

As one day takes from us the credit of another: so one strain of music
extincts [_extinguishes_] the pleasure of another.

As the heart ruleth over all the members: so music overcometh the heart.

As beauty is not beauty without virtue: so music is not music without art.

As all things love their likes: so the more curious ear, the delicatest

As too much speaking hurts, too much galling smarts; so too much music
gluts and distempereth.

As PLATO and ARISTOTLE are accounted Princes in philosophy and logic;
HIPPOCRATES and GALEN, in physic; PTOLOMY in astromony; EUCLID in
geometry; and CICERO in eloquence: so BOETIUS is esteemed a Prince and
captain in music.

As Priests were famous among the Egyptians; Magi among the Chaldeans, and
Gymnosophists among the Indians; so Musicians flourished among the
Grecians: and therefore EPAMINONDAS was accounted more unlearned than
THEMISTOCLES, because he had no skill in music.

As MERCURY, by his eloquence, reclaimed men from their barbarousness and
cruelty: so ORPHEUS, by his music, subdued fierce beasts and wild birds.

As DEMOSTHENES, ISOCRATES, and CICERO, excelled in oratory: so ORPHEUS,
AMPHION, and LINUS surpassed in music.

As Greece had these excellent musicians, ARION, DORCEUS, TIMOTHEUS
DEMODOCHUS, and RUFFINUS: so England hath these, Master COOPER, Master
Doctor TIE, Doctor DALLIS, Doctor BULL, Master THOMAS MUD, sometime
Fellow of Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, Master EDWARD JOHNSON, Master
BLANKES, Master RANDALL, Master PHILIPS, Master DOWLAND, and Master

_A Choice is to be had in Reading of Books_.

As the Lord DE LA NOUE in the sixth Discourse of his _Politic and
Military Discourses_, censureth the books of _AMADIS de Gaul_; which, he
saith, are no less hurtful to youth than the works of MACHIAVELLI to age:
so these books are accordingly to be censured of, whose names follow.

_BEVIS of Hampton.
GUY of Warwick.
ARTHUR of the Round Table.
HUON of Bordeaux.
OLIVER of Castile.
The Four Sons of AYMON.
The Honour of Chivalry.
PRIMALEON of Greece.
The Seven Champions [of Christendom].
The Mirror of Knighthood.
The Stories of PALLADIN and PALMENDOS.
The Black Knight.
The Maiden Knight.
The History of CAELESTINA.
The Castle of Fame.
GALLIAN of France.


As that ship is endangered where ail lean to one side; but is in safety,
one leaning one way and another another way: so the dissensions of Poets
among themselves, doth make them, that they less infect their readers.
And for this purpose, our Satirists [JOSEPH] HALL [_afterwards Bishop of
NORWICH_], [JOHN MARSTON] the Author of _PYGMALION's Image and Certain
Satires_, [JOHN] RANKINS, and such others, are very profitable.


Dedicatory Epistle to _The Rival Ladies_.

[Printed in 1664.]



This worthless present was designed you, long before it was a Play; when
it was only a confused mass of thoughts tumbling over one another in the
dark: when the Fancy was yet in its first work, moving the sleeping
Images of Things towards the light, there to be distinguished; and then,
either chosen or rejected by the Judgement. It was yours, my Lord! before
I could call it mine.

And I confess, in that first tumult of my thoughts, there appeared a
disorderly kind of beauty in some of them; which gave me hope, something
worthy of my Lord of ORRERY might be drawn from them: but I was then, in
that eagerness of Imagination, which, by over pleasing Fanciful Men,
flatters them into the danger of writing; so that, when I had moulded it
to that shape it now bears, I looked with such disgust upon it, that the
censures of our severest critics are charitable to what I thought, and
still think of it myself.

'Tis so far from me, to believe this perfect; that I am apt to conclude
our best plays are scarcely so. For the Stage being the Representation of
the World and the actions in it; how can it be imagined that the Picture
of Human Life can be more exact than Life itself is?

He may be allowed sometimes to err, who undertakes to move so many
Characters and Humours (as are requisite in a Play) in those narrow
channels, which are proper to each of them; to conduct his Imaginary
Persons through so many various intrigues and chances, as the labouring
Audience shall think them lost under every billow: and then, at length,
to work them so naturally out of their distresses, that when the whole
Plot is laid open, the Spectators may rest satisfied that every Cause was
powerful enough to produce the Effect it had; and that the whole Chain of
them was, with such due order, linked together, that the first Accident
[_Incident_], would, naturally, beget the second, till they All rendered
the Conclusion necessary.

These difficulties, my Lord! may reasonably excuse the errors of my
Undertaking: but for this confidence of my Dedication, I have an
argument, which is too advantageous for me not to publish it to the
World. 'Tis the kindness your Lordship has continually shown to all my
writings. You have been pleased, my Lord! they should sometimes cross the
Irish seas, to kiss your hands; which passage, contrary to the experience
of others, I have found the least dangerous in the world. Your favour has
shone upon me, at a remote distance, without the least knowledge of my
person: and, like the influence of the heavenly bodies, you have done
good, without knowing to whom you did it, 'Tis this virtue in your
Lordship, which emboldens me to this attempt. For did I not consider you
as my Patron, I have little reason to desire you for my Judge: and should
appear, with as much awe before you, in the Reading; as I had, when the
full theatre sate upon the Action.

For who so severely judge of faults, as he who has given testimony he
commits none? Your excellent _Poems_ having afforded that knowledge of it
to the World, that your enemies are ready to upbraid you with it as a
crime, for a Man of Business to write so well. Neither durst I have
justified your Lordship in it, if examples of it had not been in the
world before you: If XENOPHON had not written a Romance; and a certain
Roman, called AUGUSTUS CAESAR, a Tragedy and Epigrams. But their writing
was the entertainment of their pleasure; yours is only a diversion of
your pain. The Muses have seldom employed your thoughts, but when some
violent fit of the gout has snatched you from Affairs of State: and, like
the priestess of APOLLO, you never come to deliver his oracles, but
unwillingly, and in torment. So that we are obliged to your Lordship's
misery, for our delight. You treat us with the cruel pleasure of a
Turkish triumph, where those who cut and wound their bodies, sing songs
of victory as they pass; and divert others with their own sufferings.
Other men endure their diseases, your Lordship only can enjoy them!

Plotting and Writing in this kind, are, certainly, more troublesome
employments than many which signify more, and are of greater moment in
the world. The Fancy, Memory, and Judgement are then extended, like so
many limbs, upon the rack; all of them reaching, with their utmost
stress, at Nature: a thing so almost infinite and boundless, as can never
fully be comprehended but where the Images of all things are always

Yet I wonder not your Lordship succeeds so well in this attempt. The
knowledge of men is your daily practice in the world. To work and bend
their stubborn minds; which go not all after the same grain, but, each of
them so particular a way, that the same common humours, in several
persons, must be wrought upon by several means.

Thus, my Lord! your sickness is but the imitation of your health; the
Poet but subordinate to the Statesman in you. You still govern men with
the same address, and manage business with the same prudence: allowing it
here, as in the world, the due increase and growth till it comes to the
just height; and then turning it, when it is fully ripe, and Nature calls
out (as it were) to be delivered. With this only advantage of ease to you,
in your Poetry: that you have Fortune, here, at your command: with which,
Wisdom does often unsuccessfully struggle in the world. Here is no
Chance, which you have not foreseen. All your heroes are more than your
subjects, they are your creatures: and, though they seem to move freely,
in all the sallies of their passions; yet, you make destinies for them,
which they cannot shun. They are moved, if I may dare to say so, like the
rational creatures of the Almighty Poet; who walk at liberty, in their own
opinion, because their fetters are invincible: when, indeed, the Prison of
their Will is the more sure, for being large; and instead of an Absolute
Power over their actions, they have only a Wretched Desire of doing that,
which they cannot choose but do.

I have dwelt, my Lord! thus long, upon your Writing; not because you
deserve not greater and more noble commendations, but because I am not
equally able to express them in other subjects. Like an ill swimmer, I
have willingly stayed long in my own depth; and though I am eager of
performing more, yet I am loath to venture out beyond my knowledge. For
beyond your Poetry, my Lord! all is Ocean to me.

To speak of you as a Soldier, or a Statesman, were only to betray my own
ignorance: and I could hope no better success from it, than that
miserable Rhetorician had, who solemnly declaimed before HANNIBAL "of the
Conduct of Armies, and the Art of War." I can only say, in general, that
the Souls of other men shine out at little cranies; they understand some
one thing, perhaps, to admiration, while they are darkened on all the
other parts: but your Lordship's Soul is an entire Globe of Light,
breaking out on every side; and if I have only discovered one beam of it,
'tis not that the light falls unequally, but because the body which
receives it, is of unequal parts.

The acknowledgement of which, is a fair occasion offered me, to retire
from the consideration of your Lordship to that of myself. I here present
you, my Lord! with that in Print, which you had the goodness not to
dislike upon the Stage; and account it happy to have met you here in
England: it being, at best, like small wines, to be drunk out upon the
place [i.e., _of vintage, where produced_]; and has not body enough to
endure the sea.

I know not, whether I have been so careful of the Plot and Language, as I
ought: but for the latter, I have endeavoured to write English, as near as
I could distinguish it from the tongue of pedants, and that of affected
travellers. Only, I am sorry that, speaking so noble a language as we do,
we have not a more certain Measure of it, as they have in France: where
they have an "Academy" erected for that purpose, and endowed with large
privileges by the present King [_LOUIS XIV._]. I wish, we might, at
length, leave to borrow words from other nations; which is now a
wantonness in us, not a necessity: but so long as some affect to speak
them, there will not want others who will have the boldness to write them.

But I fear, lest defending the received words; I shall be accused for
following the New Way: I mean, of writing Scenes in Verse; though, to
speak properly, 'tis no so much a New Way amongst us, as an Old Way new
revived. For, many years [i.e., 1561] before SHAKESPEARE's Plays, was the
Tragedy of _Queen_ [or rather _King_] _GORBODUC_ [_of which, however, the
authentic title is "FERREX and PORREX"_] in English Verse; written by
that famous Lord BUCKHURST, afterwards Earl of DORSET, and progenitor to
that excellent Person, [_Lord BUCKHURST, see_ p. 503] who, as he inherits
his Soul and Title, I wish may inherit his good fortune!

But supposing our countrymen had not received this Writing, till of late!
Shall we oppose ourselves to the most polished and civilised nations of
Europe? Shall we, with the same singularity, oppose the World in this, as
most of us do in pronouncing Latin? Or do we desire, that the brand which
BARCLAY has, I hope unjustly, laid upon the English, should still
continue? _Angli suos ac sua omnia impense mirantur; coeteras nationes
despectui habent_. All the Spanish and Italian Tragedies I have yet seen,
are writ in Rhyme. For the French, I do not name them: because it is the
fate of our countrymen, to admit little of theirs among us, but the
basest of their men, the extravagancies of their fashions, and the
frippery of their merchandise.

SHAKESPEARE, who (with some errors, not to be avoided in that Age) had,
undoubtedly, a larger Soul of Poesy than ever any of our nation, was the
First, who (to shun the pains of continual rhyming) invented that kind of
writing which we call Blank Verse [_DRYDEN is here wrong as to fact, Lord
SURREY wrote the earliest_ printed _English Blank Verse in his Fourth
Book of the_ AEneid, _printed in_ 1548]; but the French, more properly
_Prose Mesurée_: into which, the English Tongue so naturally slides, that
in writing Prose, 'tis hardly to be avoided. And, therefore, I admire
[_marvel that_] some men should perpetually stumble in a way so easy:
and, inverting the order of their words, constantly close their lines
with verbs. Which, though commended, sometimes, in writing Latin; yet, we
were whipt at Westminster, if we used it twice together.

I know some, who, if they were to write in Blank Verse _Sir, I ask your
pardon!_ would think it sounded more heroically to write

    _Sir, I, your pardon ask!_

I should judge him to have little command of English, whom the necessity
of a _rhyme_ should force upon this rock; though, sometimes, it cannot be
easily avoided.

And, indeed, this is the only inconvenience with which Rhyme can be
charged. This is that, which makes them say, "Rhyme is not natural. It
being only so, when the Poet either makes a vicious choice of words; or
places them, for Rhyme's sake so unnaturally, as no man would, in
ordinary speaking." But when 'tis so judiciously ordered, that the first
word in the verse seems to beget the second; and that, the next; till
that becomes the last word in the line, which, in the negligence of
Prose, would be so: it must, then, be granted, Rhyme has all advantages
of Prose, besides its own.

But the excellence and dignity of it, were never fully known, till Mr.
WALLER taught it. He, first, made writing easily, an Art: first, showed
us to conclude the Sense, most commonly in distiches; which in the Verse
of those before him, runs on for so many lines together, that the reader
is out of breath, to overtake it.

This sweetness of Mr. WALLER's Lyric Poesy was, afterwards, followed in
the Epic, by Sir JOHN DENHAM, in his _Cooper's Hill_; a Poem which, your
Lordship knows! for the majesty of the style, is, and ever will be the
Exact Standard of Good Writing.

But if we owe the invention of it to Mr. WALLER; we are acknowledging for
the noblest use of it, to Sir WILLIAM D'AVENANT; who, at once, brought it
upon the Stage, and made it perfect in _The Siege of Rhodes_.

The advantages which Rhyme has over Blank Verse, are so many that it were
lost time to name them.

Sir PHILIP SIDNEY, in his _Defence of Poesy_, gives us one, which, in my
opinion, is not the least considerable: I mean, _the Help it brings to
Memory_; which Rhyme so knits up by the Affinity of Sounds, that by
remembering the last word in one line, we often call to mind both the

Then, in the Quickness of Repartees, which in Discoursive Scenes fall
very often: it has so particular a grace, and is so aptly suited to them,
that _the Sudden Smartness of the Answer, and the Sweetness of the Rhyme
set off the beauty of each other_.

But that benefit, which I consider most in it, because I have not seldom
found it, is that _it Bounds and Circumscribes the Fancy_. For
Imagination in a Poet, is a faculty so wild and lawless, that, like a
high ranging spaniel, it must have clogs tied to it, lest it outrun the
Judgement. The great easiness of Blank Verse renders the Poet too
luxuriant. He is tempted to say many things, which might better be
omitted, or, at least, shut up in fewer words.

But when the difficulty of artful Rhyming is interposed, where the Poet
commonly confines his Sense to his Couplet; and must contrive that Sense
into such words that the Rhyme shall naturally follow them, not they the
Rhyme [pp. 571 581]: the Fancy then gives leisure to the Judgement to
come in; which, seeing so heavy a tax imposed, is ready to cut off all
unnecessary expenses.

This last consideration has already answered an objection, which some
have made, that "Rhyme is only an Embroidery of Sense; to make that which
is ordinary in itself, pass for excellent with less examination." But,
certainly, that which most regulates the Fancy, and gives the Judgement
its busiest employment, is like[ly] to bring forth the richest and
clearest thoughts. The Poet examines that most which he produceth with
the greatest leisure, and which, he knows, must pass the severest test of
the audience, because they are aptest to have it ever in their memory: as
the stomach makes the best concoction when it strictly embraces the
nourishment, and takes account of every little particle as it passes

But, as the best medicines may lose their virtue, by being ill applied;
so is it with Verse, if a fit Subject be not chosen for it. Neither must
the Argument alone, but the Characters and Persons be great and noble:
otherwise, as SCALIGER says of CLAUDIAN, the Poet will be _Ignobiliore
materia depressus_. The Scenes which (in my opinion) most commend it, are
those of Argumentation and Discourse, on the result of which, the doing or
not doing [of] some considerable Action should depend.

But, my Lord! though I have more to say upon this subject; yet, I must
remember, 'tis your Lordship, to whom I speak: who have much better
commended this Way by your writing _in_ it; than I can do, by writing
_for_ it. Where my Reasons cannot prevail, I am sure your Lordship's
Example must. Your Rhetoric has gained my cause; as least, the greatest
part of my design has already succeeded to my wish: which was, to
interest so noble a Person in the Quarrel; and withal, to testify to the
World, how happy I esteem myself in the honour of being, My Lord,

Your Lordship's most humble, and most obedient servant,


The Honourable Sir ROBERT HOWARD, Auditor of the Exchequer.

Preface to _Four new Plays_.

[Licensed 7 March 1665, Printed the same year.]


There is none more sensible than I am, how great a charity the most
Ingenious may need, that expose their private wit to a public judgement;
since the same Phancy from whence the thoughts proceed, must probably be
kind to its own issue. This renders men no perfecter judges of their own
writings, than fathers are of their own children: who find out that wit
in them, which another discerns not; and see not those errors, which are
evident to the unconcerned. Nor is this Self Kindness more fatal to men
in their writings, than in their actions; every man being a greater
flatterer to himself, than he knows how to be to another: otherwise, it
were impossible that things of such distant natures, should find their
own authors so equally kind in their affections to them; and men so
different in parts and virtues, should rest equally contented in their
own opinions.

This apprehension, added to that greater [one] which I have of my own
weakness, may, I hope, incline the Reader to believe me, when I assure
him that these follies were made public, as much against my inclination
as judgement. But, being pursued with so many solicitations of Mr.
HERRINGMAN's [_the Publisher_], and having received civilities from him,
if it were possible, exceeding his importunities: I, at last, yielded to
prefer that which he believed his interest; before that, which I
apprehended my own disadvantage. Considering withal, that he might
pretend, It would be a real loss to him: and could be but an imaginary
prejudice to me: since things of this nature, though never so excellent,
or never so mean, have seldom proved the foundation of men's new built
fortunes, or the ruin of their old. It being the fate of Poetry, though
of no other good parts, to be wholly separated from Interest: and there
are few that know me but will easily believe, I am not much concerned in
an unprofitable Reputation.

This clear account I have given the Reader, of this seeming
contradiction, to offer that to the World which I dislike myself: and, in
all things, I have no greater an ambition than to be believed [to be] a
Person, that would rather be unkind to myself, than ungrateful to others.

I have made this excuse for myself. I offer none for my writings; but
freely leave the Reader to condemn that which has received my sentence

Yet, I shall presume to say something in the justification of our
nation's Plays, though not of my own: since, in my judgement, without
being partial to my country, I do really prefer our Plays as much before
any other nation's; as I do the best of ours before my own.

The manner of the Stage Entertainments has differed in all Ages; and, as
it has increased in use, it has enlarged itself in business. The general
manner of Plays among the Ancients we find in SENECA's Tragedies, for
serious subjects; and in TERENCE and PLAUTUS, for the comical. In which
latter, we see some pretences to Plots; though certainly short of what we
have seen in some of Mr. [BEN.] JOHNSON's Plays. And for their Wit,
especially PLAUTUS, I suppose it suited much better in those days, than
it would do in ours. For were their Plays strictly translated, and
presented on our Stage; they would hardly bring as many audiences as they
have now admirers.

The serious Plays were anciently composed of Speeches and Choruses; where
all things are Related, but no matter of _fact_ Presented on the Stage.
This pattern, the French do, at this time, nearly follow: only leaving
out the Chorus, making up their Plays with almost Entire and Discoursive
Scenes; presenting the business in Relations [p. 535]. This way has very
much affected some of our nation, who possibly believe well of it, more
upon the account that what the French do ought to be a fashion, than upon
the reason of the thing.

It is first necessary to consider, Why, probably, the compositions of the
Ancients, especially in their serious Plays were after this manner? And it
will be found, that the subjects they commonly chose, drave them upon the
necessity; which were usually the most known stories and Fables [p. 522].
Accordingly, SENECA, making choice of MEDEA, HYPPOLITUS, and HERCULES
_OEtaeus_, it was impossible to _show_ MEDEA throwing old mangled AESON
into her age-renewing caldron, or to _present_ the scattered limbs of
HYPPOLITUS upon the Stage, and _show_ HERCULES burning upon his own
funeral pile.

And this, the judicious HORACE clearly speaks of, in his _Arte Poetica_;
where he says

                          _Non tamen intus
    Digna geri, promes in scenam: multaque tolles
    Ex oculis, quae mox narret facundia praesens.
    Nec pueros coram populo MEDEA trucidet[8]
    Aut humana palam coquat extra nefarius ATREUS,
    Aut in avem PROGNE vertatur, CADMUS in anguem.
    Quodcunque ostendit mihi sic, incredulus odi_.

So that it appears a fault to chose such Subjects for the Stage; but much
greater, to affect that Method which those subjects enforce: and therefore
the French seem much mistaken, who, without the necessity, sometimes
commit the error. And this is as plainly decided by the same author, in
his preceding word

    _Aut agitur res in Scenis aut acta refertur:
    Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem;
    Quam quae sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus, et quae
    Ipse sibi tradit spectator_.

By which, he directly declares his judgement, "That every thing makes
more impression Presented, than Related." Nor, indeed, can any one
rationally assert the contrary. For, if they affirm otherwise, they do,
by consequence, maintain, That a whole Play might as well be Related, as

Therefore whoever chooses a subject, that enforces him to RELATIONS, is
to blame; and he that does it without the necessity of the subject, is
much more.

If these premisses be granted, 'tis no partiality to conclude, That our
English Plays justly challenge the pre-eminence.

Yet, I shall as candidly acknowledge, that our best Poets have differed
from other nations, though not so happily [_felicitously_], in usually
mingling and interweaving Mirth and Sadness, through the whole course of
their Plays. BEN. JOHNSON only excepted; who keeps himself entire to one
Argument. And I confess I am now convinced in my own judgement, that it
is most proper to keep the audience in one entire disposition both of
Concern and Attention: for when Scenes of so different natures,
immediately succeed one another; 'tis probable, the audience may not so
suddenly recollect themselves, as to start into an enjoyment of Mirth, or
into the concern for the Sadness. Yet I dispute not but the variety of
this world may afford pursuing accidents of such different natures; but
yet, though possible in themselves to be, they may not be so proper to be
Presented. An Entire Connection being the natural beauty of all Plays: and
Language, the Ornament to dress them in; which, in serious Subjects, ought
to be great and easy, like a high born Person that expresses greatness
without pride or affection.

The easier dictates of Nature ought to flow in Comedy; yet separated from
obsceneness. There being nothing more impudent than the immodesty of
words. Wit should be chaste; and those that have it, can only write well:

        _Si modo
    Scimus in urbanum Lepido se ponere dicto_.

Another way of the Ancients, which the French follow, and our Stage has,
now lately, practised; is to write in Rhyme. And this is the dispute
betwixt many ingenious persons, _Whether Verse in Rhyme; or Verse without
the Sound, which may be called Blank Verse_ (though a hard expression) _is
to be preferred_?

But take the question, largely, and it is never to be decided [p. 512];
but, by right application, I suppose it may. For, in the general, they
are both proper: that is, one for a Play; the other for a Poem or Copy of
Verses: as Blank Verse being as much too low for one [_i.e., a. Poem or
Verses_]; as Rhyme is unnatural for the other [_i.e., a Play_].

A Poem, being a premeditated Form of thoughts, upon designed occasions:
ought not to be unfurnished of any Harmony in Words or Sound. The other
[_a Play_] is presented as the _present effect_ of accidents not thought
of. So that, 'tis impossible, it should be equally proper to both these;
unless it were possible that all persons were born so much more than
Poets, that verses were not to be composed by them, but already made in

Some may object "That this argument is trivial; because, whatever is
showed, 'tis known still to be but a Play." But such may as well excuse
an ill scene, that is not naturally painted; because they know 'tis only
a scene, and not really a city or country.

But there is yet another thing which makes Verse upon the Stage appear
more unnatural, that is, when a piece of a verse is made up by one that
knew not what the other meant to say; and the former verse answered as
perfectly in Sound as the last is supplied in Measure. So that the
smartness of a Reply, which has its beauty by coming from sudden
thoughts, seems lost by that which rather looks like a Design of two,
than the Answer of one.

It may be said, that "Rhyme is such a confinement to a quick and
luxuriant Phancy, that it gives a stop to its speed, till slow Judgement
comes in to assist it [p. 492];" but this is no argument for the question
in hand. For the dispute is not which way a man may write best in; but
which is most proper for the subject he writes upon. And if this were let
pass, the argument is yet unsolved in itself; for he that wants Judgement
in the liberty of his Phancy, may as well shew the defect of it in its
confinement: and, to say truth, he that has judgement will avoid the
errors, and he that wants it, will commit them both.

It may be objected, "'Tis Improbable that any should speak _ex tempore_,
as well as Beaumont and Fletcher makes them; though in Blank Verse." I do
not only acknowledge that, but that 'tis also improbable any will write so
well that way. But if that may be allowed improbable; I believe it may be
concluded impossible that any should speak as good Verses in Rhyme, as
the best Poets have writ: and therefore, that which seems _nearest_ to
what he intends is ever to be preferred.

Nor are great thoughts more adorned by Verse; than Verse unbeautified by
mean ones. So that Verse seems not only unfit in the best use of it, but
much more in the worst, when "a servant is called," or "a door bid to be
shut" in Rhyme [p. 569]. Verses, I mean good ones, do, in their height of
Phancy, declare the labour that brought them forth! like Majesty that
grows with care: and Nature, that made the Poet capable, seems to retire,
and leave its offers to be made perfect by pains and judgement.

Against this, I can raise no argument, but my Lord of Orrery's writings.
In whose Verse, the greatness of the Majesty seems unsullied with the
cares, and his inimitable Phancy descends to us in such easy expressions,
that they seem as if neither had ever been added to the other: but both
together flowing from a height; like birds got so high that use no
labouring wings, but only, with an easy care, preserve a steadiness in
motion. But this particular happiness, among those multitudes which that
excellent Person is owner of, does not convince my reason, but employ my
wonder. Yet, I am glad such Verse has been written for our Stage; since
it has so happily exceeded those whom we seemed to imitate.

But while I give these arguments against Verse, I may seem faulty, that I
have not only writ ill ones, but writ any. But since it was the fashion; I
was resolved, as in all indifferent things, not to appear singular: the
danger of the vanity being greater than the error. And therefore, I
followed it as a fashion; though very far off.

For the Italian plays; I have seen some of them, which have been given me
as the best: but they are so inconsiderable that the particulars of them
are not at all worthy to entertain the Reader. But, as much as they are
short of others, in this; they exceed in their other performances on the
Stage. I mean their Operas: which, consisting of Music and Painting;
there's none but will believe it as much harder to equal them in that
way, than 'tis to excel them in the other.

The Spanish Plays pretend to more; but, indeed, are not much: being
nothing but so many novels put into Acts and scenes, without the least
attempt or design of making the Reader more concerned than a well-told
tale might do. Whereas, a Poet that endeavours not to heighten the
accidents which Fortune seems to scatter in a well-knit Design, had
better have told his tale by a fireside, than presented it on a Stage.

For these times, wherein we write. I admire to hear the Poets so often
cry out upon, and wittily (as they believe) threaten their judges; since
the effects of their mercy has so much exceeded their justice, that
others with me, cannot but remember how many favourable audiences, some
of our ill plays have had: and, when I consider how severe the former Age
has been to some of the best of Mr. Johnson's never to be equalled
Comedies; I cannot but wonder why any Poet should speak of former Times,
but rather acknowledge that the want of abilities in this Age are largely
supplied with the mercies of it.

I deny not, but there are some who resolve to like nothing, and such,
perhaps, are not unwise; since, by that general resolution, they may be
certainly in the right sometimes: which, perhaps, they would seldom be,
if they should venture their understandings in different censures; and,
being forced to a general liking or disliking (lest they should discover
too much their own weakness), 'tis to be expected they would rather
choose to pretend to Judgement than Good Nature, though I wish they could
find better ways to shew either.

But I forget myself; not considering that while I entertain the Reader,
in the entrance, with what a good play should be: when he is come beyond
the entrance, he must be treated with what ill plays are. But in this, I
resemble the greatest part of the World, that better know how to talk of
many things, than to perform them; and live short of their own discourses.

And now, I seem like an eager hunter, that has long pursued a chase after
an inconsiderable quarry; and gives over, weary; as I do.

[8] p. 537



    _Fungar vice cotis, acutum
    Reddere quae ferrum valet, exors ipsa secandi_.
        Horat. De Arte Poet.


To the Right Honourable CHARLES LORD BUCKHURST.

My Lord,

_As I was lately reviewing my loose papers, amongst the rest I found this
Essay, the writing of which, in this rude and indigested manner wherein
your Lordship now sees it, served as an amusement to me in the country
[in 1665], when the violence of the last Plague had driven me from the
town. Seeing, then, our theatres shut up; I was engaged in these kind[s]
of thoughts with the same delight with which men think upon their absent

I confess I find many things in this Discourse, which I do not now
approve; my judgement being a little altered since the writing of it: but
whether for the better or worse, I know not. Neither indeed is it much
material in an_ Essay, _where all I have said is problematical.

For the way of writing Plays in Verse, which I have seemed to favour [p.
561]; I have, since that time, laid the practice of it aside till I have
more leisure, because I find it troublesome and slow. But I am no way
altered from my opinion of it, at least, with any reasons which have
opposed it. For your Lordship may easily observe that none are very
violent against it; but those who either have not attempted it, or who
have succeeded ill in their attempt. 'Tis enough for me, to have your
Lordship's example for my excuse in that little which I have done in it:
and I am sure my adversaries can bring no such arguments against Verse,
as the Fourth Act of_ POMPEY _will furnish me with in its defence.

Yet, my Lord! you must suffer me a little to complain of you! that you
too soon withdraw from us a contentment, of which we expected the
continuance, because you gave it us so early. 'Tis a revolt without
occasion from your Party! where your merits had already raised you to the
highest commands: and where you have not the excuse of other men that you
have been ill used and therefore laid down arms. I know no other quarrel
you can have to Verse, than that which_ SPURINA _had to his beauty; when
he tore and mangled the features of his face, only because they pleased
too well the lookers on. It was an honour which seemed to wait for you,
to lead out a New Colony of Writers from the Mother Nation; and, upon the
first spreading of your ensigns, there had been many in a readiness to
have followed so fortunate a Leader; if not all, yet the better part of

    Pars, indocili melior grege, mollis et expes
      Inominata perprimat cubilia.

_I am almost of opinion that we should force you to accept of the
command; as sometimes the Praetorian Bands have compelled their Captains
to receive the Empire. The Court, which is the best and surest judge of
writing, has generally allowed of Verse; and in the Town, it has found
favourers of Wit and Quality.

As for your own particular, my Lord! you have yet youth and time enough
to give part of it to the Divertisement of the of the Public, before you
enter into the serious and more unpleasant Business of the World.

That which the French Poet said of the Temple of Love, may be as well
applied to the Temple of Muses. The words, as near[ly] as I can remember
them, were these--_

    La jeunesse a mauvaise grace
    N'ayant pas adoré dans le Temple d'Amour;
    Il faut qu'il entre: et pour le sage;
    Si ce n'est son vrai sejour,
    Ce'st un gîte sur son passage.

_I leave the words to work their effect upon your Lordship, in their own
language; because no other can so well express the nobleness of the
thought: and wish you may be soon called to bear a part in the affaires
of the Nation, where I know the World expects you, and wonders why you
have been so long forgotten; there being no person amongst our young
nobility, on whom the eyes of all men are so much bent. But, in the
meantime, your Lordship may imitate the Course of Nature, which gives us
the flower before the fruit; that I may speak to you in the language of
the Muses, which I have taken from an excellent Poem to the King [i.e.,_

    _As Nature, when she fruit designs, thinks fit
    By beauteous blossoms to proceed to it,
    And while she does accomplish all the Spring,
    Birds, to her secret operations sing.

I confess I have no greater reason in addressing this Essay to your
Lordship, than that it might awaken in you the desire of writing
something, in whatever kind it be, which might be an honour to our Age
and country. And, methinks, it might have the same effect upon you,
which, HOMER tells us, the fight of the Greeks and Trojans before the
fleet had on the spirit of ACHILLES; who, though he had resolved not to
engage, yet found a martial warmth to steal upon him at the sight of
blows, the sound of trumpets, and the cries of fighting men.

For my own part, if in treating of this subject, I sometimes dissent from
the opinion of better Wits, I declare it is not so much to combat their
opinions as to defend mine own, which were first made public. Sometimes,
like a scholar in a fencing school, I put forth myself, and show my own
ill play, on purpose to be better taught. Sometimes, I stand desperately
to my arms, like the Foot, when deserted by their Horse; not in hope to
overcome, but only to yield on more honourable terms.

And yet, my Lord! this War of Opinions, you well know, has fallen out
among the Writers of all Ages, and sometimes betwixt friends: only it has
been persecuted by some, like pedants, with violence of words; and
managed, by others, like gentlemen, with candour and civility. Even TULLY
had a controversy with his dear ATTICUS; and in one of his_ Dialogues,
_makes him sustain the part of an enemy in Philosophy, who, in his_
Letters, _is his confident of State, and made privy to the most weighty
affairs of the Roman Senate: and the same respect, which was paid by
TULLY to ATTICUS; we find returned to him, afterwards, by CAESAR, on a
like occasion: who, answering his book in praise of CATO, made it not so
much his business to condemn CATO, as to praise CICERO.

But that I may decline some part of the encounter with my adversaries,
whom I am neither willing to combat, nor well able to resist; I will give
your Lordship the relation of a dispute betwixt some of our wits upon this
subject: in which, they did not only speak of Plays in Verse, but mingled,
in the freedom of discourse, some things of the Ancient, many of the
Modern Ways of Writing; comparing those with these, and the Wits of our
Nation with those of others. 'Tis true, they differed in their opinions,
as 'tis probable they would; neither do I take upon me to reconcile, but
to relate them, and that, as TACITUS professes of himself_, sine studio
partium aut ira_, "without passion or interest": leaving your Lordship to
decide it in favour of which part, you shall judge most reasonable! And
withal, to pardon the many errors of_

Your Lordship's most obedient humble servant,



_The drift of the ensuing Discourse was chiefly to vindicate the honour
of our English Writers from the censure of those who unjustly prefer the
French before them. This I intimate, lest any should think me so
exceeding vain, as to teach others an Art which they understand much
better than myself. But if this incorrect Essay, written in the country,
without the help of books or advice of friends, shall find any acceptance
in the World: I promise to myself a better success of the Second Part,
wherein the virtues and faults of the English Poets who have written,
either in this, the Epic, or the Lyric way, will be more fully treated
of; and their several styles impartially imitated._

AN ESSAY OF Dramatic Poesy.

It was that memorable day [_3rd of June_ 1665] in the first summer of the
late war, when our Navy engaged the Dutch; a day, wherein the two most
mighty and best appointed Fleets which any Age had ever seen, disputed
the command of the greater half of the Globe, the commerce of Nations,
and the riches of the Universe. While these vast floating bodies, on
either side, moved against each other in parallel lines; and our
countrymen, under the happy conduct of His Royal Highness [_the Duke of
YORK_], went breaking by little and little, into the line of the enemies:
the noise of the cannon from both navies reached our ears about the City;
so that all men being alarmed with it, and in a dreadful suspense of the
event which we knew was then deciding, every one went following the sound
as his fancy [_imagination_] led him. And leaving the Town almost empty,
some took towards the Park; some cross the river, others down it: all
seeking the noise in the depth of silence.

Among the rest, it was the fortune of EUGENIUS, CRITES, LISIDEIUS and
NEANDER to be in company together: three of them persons whom their Wit
and Quality have made known to all the Town; and whom I have chosen to
hide under these borrowed names, that they may not suffer by so ill a
Relation as I am going to make, of their discourse.

Taking then, a barge, which a servant of LISIDEIUS had provided for them,
they made haste to shoot the Bridge [_i.e., London Bridge_]: and [so] left
behind them that great fall of waters, which hindered them from hearing
what they desired.

After which, having disengaged themselves from many vessels which rode at
anchor in the Thames, and almost blocked up the passage towards Greenwich:
they ordered the watermen to let fall their oars more gently; and then,
every one favouring his own curiosity with a strict silence, it was not
long ere they perceived the air break about them, like the noise of
distant thunder, or of swallows in a chimney. Those little undulations of
sound, though almost vanishing before they reached them; yet still seeming
to retain somewhat of their first horror, which they had betwixt the

After they had attentively listened till such time, as the sound, by
little and little, went from them; EUGENIUS [_i.e., Lord BUCKHURST_]
lifting up his head, and taking notice of it, was the first to
congratulate to the rest, that happy Omen of our nation's victory:
adding, "we had but this to desire, in confirmation of it, that we might
hear no more of that noise, which was now leaving the English coast."

When the rest had concurred in the same opinion, CRITES [_i.e., Sir
ROBERT HOWARD_] (a person of a sharp judgment, and somewhat a too
delicate a taste in wit, which the World have mistaken in him for ill
nature) said, smiling, to us, "That if the concernment of this battle had
not been so exceeding[ly] great, he could scarce have wished the victory
at the price, he knew, must pay for it; in being subject to the reading
and hearing of so many ill verses, he was sure would be made upon it."
Adding, "That no argument could 'scape some of those eternal rhymers, who
watch a battle with more diligence than the ravens and birds of prey; and
the worst of them surest to be first in upon the quarry: while the better
able, either, out of modesty, writ not at all; or set that due value upon
their poems, as to let them be often called for, and long expected."

"There are some of those impertinent people you speak of," answered
LISIDEIUS [_i.e., Sir CHARLES SEDLEY_], "who, to my knowledge, are
already so provided, either way, that they can produce not only a
Panegyric upon the Victory: but, if need be, a Funeral Elegy upon the
Duke, and, after they have crowned his valour with many laurels, at last,
deplore the odds under which he fell; concluding that his courage deserved
a better destiny." All the company smiled at the conceit of LISIDEIUS.

But CRITES, more eager than before, began to make particular exceptions
against some writers, and said, "The Public Magistrate ought to send,
betimes, to forbid them: and that it concerned the peace and quiet of all
honest people, that ill poets should be as well silenced as seditious

"In my opinion" replied EUGENIUS, "you pursue your point too far! For, as
to my own particular, I am so great a lover of Poesy, that I could wish
them all rewarded, who attempt but to do well. At least, I would not have
them worse used than SYLLA the Dictator did one of their brethren
heretofore. _Quem in concione vidimus_ (says TULLY, speaking of him) _cum
ei libellum malus poeta de populo subjecisset, quod epigramma in eum
fecisset tantummodo alternis versibus longiuculis, statim ex iis rebus
quae tunc vendebat jubere ei praemium tribui, sub ea conditione ne quid
postea scriberet_."

"I could wish, with all my heart," replied CRITES, "that many whom we
know, were as bountifully thanked, upon the same condition, that they
would never trouble us again. For amongst others, I have a mortal
apprehension of two poets, whom this Victory, with the help of both her
wings, will never be able to escape."

"'Tis easy to guess, whom you intend," said LISIDEIUS, "and without
naming them, I ask you if one [_i.e., GEORGE WITHER_] of them does not
perpetually pay us with clenches upon words, and a certain clownish kind
of raillery? If, now and then, he does not offer at a catachresis [_which
COTGRAVE defines as 'the abuse, or necessary use of one word, for lack of
another more proper'_] or Clevelandism, wresting and torturing a word
into another meaning? In fine, if be not one of those whom the French
would call _un mauvais buffon_; one that is so much a well willer to the
Satire, that he spares no man: and though he cannot strike a blow to hurt
any, yet ought to be punished for the malice of the action; as our witches
are justly hanged, because they think themselves so, and suffer deservedly
for believing they did mischief, because they meant it."

"You have described him," said CRITES, "so exactly, that I am afraid to
come after you, with my other Extremity of Poetry. He [_i.e., FRANCIS
QUARLES_] is one of those, who, having had some advantage of education
and converse [_i.e., conversation, in the sense of Culture through
mixture with society_], knows better than the other, what a Poet should
be; but puts it into practice more unluckily than any man. His style and
matter are everywhere alike. He is the most calm, peaceable writer you
ever read. He never disquiets your passions with the least concernment;
but still leaves you in as even a temper as he found you. He is a very
Leveller in poetry; he creeps along, with ten little words in every line,
and helps out his numbers with _For to_, and _Unto_, and all the pretty
expletives he can find, till he drags them to the end of another line:
while the Sense is left, tired, halfway behind it. He doubly starves all
his verses; first, for want of Thought, and then, of Expression, His
poetry neither has wit in it, nor seems to have it; like him, in MARTIAL,

    "_Pauper videri CINNA vult, et est pauper_.

"He affects plainness, to cover his Want of Imagination. When he writes
in the serious way; the highest flight of his Fancy is some miserable
_antithesis_ or seeming contradiction: and in the comic; he is still
reaching at some thin conceit, the ghost of a jest, and that too flies
before him, never to be caught. These swallows, which we see before us on
the Thames, are the just resemblance of his Wit. You may observe how near
the water they stoop! how many proffers they make to dip, and yet how
seldom they touch it! and when they do, 'tis but the surface! they skim
over it, but to catch a gnat, and then mount in the air and leave it!"

"Well, gentlemen!" said EUGENICS, "you may speak your pleasure of these
authors; but though. I and some few more about the Town, may give you a
peaceable hearing: yet, assure yourselves! there are multitudes who would
think you malicious, and them injured; especially him whom you first
described, he is the very _Withers_ of the City. They have bought more
Editions of his works, than would serve to lay under all their pies at
the Lord Mayor's Christmas. When his famous poem [_i.e., Speculum
Speculativium; Or, A Considering Glass, Being an Inspection into the
present and late sad condition of these Nations.... London. Written June
xiii. XDCLX, and there imprinted the same year_] first came out in the
year 1660, I have seen them read it in the midst of Change time. Nay, so
vehement were they at it, that they lost their bargain by the candles'
ends! But what will you say, if he has been received among the Great
Ones? I can assure you, he is, this day, the envy of a Great Person, who
is Lord in the Art of Quibbling; and who does not take it well, than any
man should intrude so far into his province."

"All I would wish," replied CRITES, "is that they who love his writings,
may still admire him and his fellow poet. _Qui Bavium non odit &c._, is
curse sufficient."

"And farther," added LISIDEIUS; "I believe there is no man who writes
well; but would think himself very hardly dealt with, if their admirers
should praise anything of his. _Nam quos contemnimus eorum quoque laudes

"There are so few who write well, in this Age," said CRITES, "that
methinks any praises should be welcome. They neither rise to the dignity
of the last Age, nor to any of the Ancients: and we may cry out of the
Writers of this Time, with more reason than PETRONIUS of his, _Pace
vestra liceat dixisse, primi omnium eloquentiam perdidistis_! 'You have
debauched the true old Poetry so far, that Nature (which is the Soul of
it) is not in any of your writings!'"

"If your quarrel," said EUGENIUS, "to those who now write, be grounded
only upon your reverence to Antiquity; there is no man more ready to
adore those great Greeks and Romans than I am: but, on the other side, I
cannot think so contemptibly of the Age I live in, or so dishonourably of
my own Country as not to judge [that] we equal the Ancients in most kinds
of Poesy, and in some, surpass them; neither know I any reason why I may
not be as zealous for the reputation of our Age, as we find the Ancients
themselves, in reference to those who lived before them. For you hear
HORACE saying

    "_Indignor quidquam reprehendi, non quia crasse
    Compositum, ille pide've putetur, sed quia nuper._

"And, after,

    "Si meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit,
    Scire velim pretium chartis quotus arroget annus?_

"But I see I am engaging in a wide dispute, where the arguments are not
like[ly] to reach close, on either side [p. 497]: for Poesy is of so
large extent, and so many (both of the Ancients and Moderns) have done
well in all kinds of it, that, in citing one against the other, we shall
take up more time this evening, than each man's occasions will allow him.
Therefore, I would ask CRITES to what part of Poesy, he would confine his
arguments? and whether he would defend the general cause of the Ancients
against the Moderns; or oppose any Age of the Moderns against this of

CRITES, a little while considering upon this demand, told EUGENIUS, he
approved of his propositions; and, if he pleased, he would limit their
dispute to Dramatic Poesy: in which, he thought it not difficult to
prove, either that the Ancients were superior to the Moderns; or the last
Age to this of ours.

EUGENIUS was somewhat surprised, when he heard CRITES make choice of that
subject. "For ought I see," said he, "I have undertaken a harder province
than I imagined. For though I never judged the plays of the Greek and
Roman poets comparable to ours: yet, on the other side, those we now see
acted, come short of many which were written in the last Age. But my
comfort is, if we were o'ercome, it will be only by our own countrymen;
and if we yield to them in this one part of Poesy, we [the] more surpass
them in all the other[s].

"For in the Epic, or Lyric way, it will be hard for them to shew us one
such amongst them, as we have many now living, or who lately were so.
They can produce nothing so Courtly writ, or which expresses so much the
conversation of a gentleman, as Sir JOHN SUCKLING; nothing so even,
sweet, and flowing, as Mr. WALLER; nothing so majestic, so correct, as
Sir JOHN DENHAM; nothing so elevated, so copious, and full of spirit, as
Mr. COWLEY. As for the Italian, French, and Spanish plays, I can make it
evident, that those who now write, surpass them; and that the Drama is
wholly ours."

All of them were thus far of EUGENIUS his opinion, that "the sweetness of
English Verse was never understood or practised by our fathers"; even
CRITES himself did not much oppose it: and every one was willing to
acknowledge how much our Poesy is improved by the happiness of some
writers yet living, who first taught us to mould our thoughts into easy
and significant words; to retrench the superfluities of expression; and
to make our Rhyme so properly a part of the Verse, that it should never
mislead the Sense, but itself be led and governed by it.

EUGENIUS was going to continue this discourse, when LISIDEIUS told him,
that "it was necessary, before they proceeded further, to take a Standing
Measure of their controversy. For how was it possible to be decided who
writ the best plays, before we know what a Play should be? but this once
agreed on by both parties, each might have recourse to it; either to
prove his own advantages, or discover the failings of his adversary."

He had no sooner said this; but all desired the favour of him to give the
definition of a Play: and they were the more importunate, because neither
ARISTOTLE, nor HORACE, nor any other who writ of that subject, had ever
done it.

LISIDEIUS, after some modest denials, at last, confessed he had a rude
notion of it; indeed, rather a Description than a Definition; but which
served to guide him in his private thoughts, when he was to make a
judgment of what others writ. That he conceived a Play ought to be A JUST

This Definition, though CRITES raised a logical objection against it
(that "it was only _a genere et fine_," and so not altogether perfect),
was yet well received by the rest.

And, after they had given order to the watermen to turn their barge, and
row softly, that they might take the cool of the evening in their return:
CRITES, being desired by the company to begin, spoke on behalf of the
Ancients, in this manner.

"If confidence presage a victory; EUGENIUS, in his own opinion, has
already triumphed over the Ancients. Nothing seems more easy to him, than
to overcome those whom it is our greatest praise to have imitated well:
for we do not only build upon their foundation, but by their models.

"Dramatic Poesy had time enough, reckoning from THESPIS who first
invented it, to ARISTOPHANES; to be born, to grow up, and to flourish in

"_It has been observed of Arts and Sciences, that in one and the same
century, they have arrived to a great perfection_ [p. 520]. And, no
wonder! since every Age has a kind of Universal Genius, which inclines
those that live in it to some particular studies. The work then being
pushed on by many hands, must, of necessity, go forward.

"Is it not evident, in these last hundred years, when the study of
Philosophy has been the business of all the _Virtuosi_ in Christendom,
that almost a new Nature has been revealed to us? that more errors of the
School have been detected, more useful experiments in Philosophy have been
made, more noble secrets in Optics, Medicine, Anatomy, Astronomy,
discovered; than, in all those credulous and doting Ages, from ARISTOTLE
to us [p. 520]? So true it is, that nothing spreads more fast than
Science, when rightly and generally cultivated.

"Add to this, _the more than common Emulation that was, in those times,
of writing well_: which, though it be found in all Ages and all persons
that pretend to the same reputation: yet _Poesy, being then in more
esteem than now it is, had greater honours decreed to the Professors of
it, and consequently the rivalship was more high between them_. They had
Judges ordained to decide their merit, and prizes to reward it: and
historians have been diligent to record of AESCHYLUS, EURIPIDES,
SOPHOCLES, LYCOPHRON, and the rest of them, both who they were that
vanquished in these Wars of the Theatre, and how often they were crowned:
while the Asian Kings and Grecian Commonwealths scarce[ly] afforded them a
nobler subject than the unmanly luxuries of a debauched Court, or giddy
intrigues of a factious city. _Alit oemulatio ingenia_, says PATERCULUS,
_et nunc invidia, nunc admiratio incitationem accendit_: 'Emulation is
the spur of wit; and sometimes envy, sometimes admiration quickens our

"But now, since the rewards of honour are taken away: that Virtuous
Emulation is turned into direct Malice; yet so slothful, that it contents
itself to condemn and cry down others, without attempting to do better.
'Tis a reputation too unprofitable, to take the necessary pains for it;
yet wishing they had it, is incitement enough to hinder others from it.
And this, in short, EUGENIUS, is the reason why you have now so few good
poets, and so many severe judges. Certainly, to imitate the Ancients
well, much labour and long study is required: which pains, I have already
shown, our poets would want encouragement to take; if yet they had ability
to go through with it.

"Those Ancients have been faithful Imitators and wise Observers of that
Nature, which is so torn and ill-represented in our Plays. They have
handed down to us a perfect Resemblance of Her, which we, like ill
copyers, _neglecting to look on_, have rendered monstrous and disfigured.

"But that you may know, how much you are indebted to your Masters! and be
ashamed to have so ill-requited them! I must remember you, that all the
Rules by which we practise the Drama at this day (either such as relate
to the Justness and Symmetry of the Plot; or the episodical ornaments,
such as Descriptions, Narrations, and other beauties which are not
essential to the play), were delivered to us from the Observations that
ARISTOTLE made of those Poets, which either lived before him, or were his
contemporaries. We have added nothing of our own, except we have the
confidence to say, 'Our wit is better!' which none boast of in our Age,
but such as understand not theirs. Of that book, which ARISTOTLE has left
us, [Greek: peri taes Poietikaes]; HORACE his _Art of Poetry_ is an
excellent _Comment_, and, I believe, restores to us, that Second Book of
his [_i.e., ARISTOTLE_] concerning _Comedy_, which is wanting in him.

"Out of these two [Authors], have been extracted the Famous Rules, which
the French call, _Des trois Unités_, or 'The Three Unities,' which ought
to be observed in every _regular_ Play; namely, of TIME, PLACE, and

"The UNITY OF TIME, they comprehend in Twenty-four hours, _the compass of
a natural Day_; or, as near it, as can be contrived. And the reason of it
is obvious to every one. That _the Time_ of the feigned Action or Fable
of the Play _should be proportioned_, as near as can be, _to the duration
of that Time in which it is REPRESENTED_. Since therefore all plays are
acted on the Theatre in a space of time _much within_ the compass of
Twenty-four hours; that Play is to be thought the _nearest Imitation_ of
Nature, whose Plot or Action is confined within that time.

"And, by the same Rule which concludes this General Proportion of Time,
it follows, _That all the parts of it are to be equally subdivided_. As,
namely, that one Act take not up the supposed time of Half a day, which
is out of proportion to the rest; since the other four are then to be
straitened within the compass of the remaining half: for it is unnatural
that one Act which, being spoken or written, is not longer than the rest;
should be supposed longer by the audience. 'Tis therefore the Poet's duty
to take care _that no Act_ should be imagined to _exceed the Time in
which it is Represented on the Stage_; and that the intervals and
inequalities of time, be supposed to fall out _between_ the Acts.

"This Rule of TIME, how well it has been observed by the Ancients, most
of their plays will witness. You see them, in their Tragedies (wherein to
follow this Rule is certainly most difficult), from the very beginning of
their Plays, falling close into that part of the Story, which they intend
for the Action or principal Object of it: leaving the former part to be
delivered by Narration. So that they set the audience, as it were, at the
post where the race is to be concluded: and, saving them the tedious
expectation of seeing the Poet set out and ride the beginning of the
course; you behold him not, till he is in sight of the goal, and just
upon you.

"For the Second Unity, which is that of PLACE; the Ancients meant by it,
_That the scene_ [locality] _ought to be continued_, through the Play,
_in the same place, where it was laid in the beginning_. For _the Stage_,
on which it is represented, _being but one, and the same place; it
isunnatural to conceive it many, and those far distant from one another_.
I will not deny but by the Variation of Painted scenes [_scenery was
introduced about this time into the English theatres, by Sir WILLIAM
D'AVENANT and BETTERTON the Actor: see Vol. II. p. 278_] the Fancy which,
in these casts, will contribute to its own deceit, may sometimes imagine
it several places, upon some appearance of probability: yet it still
carries _the greater likelihood of truth_, if those places be supposed so
near each other as in the same town or city, which may all be comprehended
under the larger denomination of One Place; for a greater distance will
bear no proportion to the _shortness of time which is allotted in the
acting_, to pass from one of them to another.

"For the observation of this; next to the Ancients, the French are most
to be commended. They tie themselves so strictly to the Unity of Place,
that you never see in any of their plays, a scene [_locality_] changed in
the middle of an Act. If the Act begins in a garden, a street, or [a]
chamber; 'tis ended in the same place. And that you may know it to be the
same, the Stage is so supplied with persons, that it is never empty all
the time. He that enters the second has business with him, who was on
before; and before the second quits the stage, a third appears, who has
business with him. This CORNEILLE calls _La Liaison des Scenes_,'the
Continuity or Joining of the Scenes': and it is a good mark of a well
contrived Play, when all the persons are known to each other, and every
one of them has some affairs with all the rest.

"As for the third Unity, which is that of ACTION, the Ancients meant no
other by it, than what the Logicians do by their _Finis_; the End or
Scope of any Action, that which is the First in intention, and Last in

"Now the Poet is to aim at _one great and complete Action_; to the
carrying on of which, all things in the Play, even the very obstacles,
are to be subservient. And the reason of this, is as evident as any of
the former. For two Actions, equally laboured and driven on by the
Writer, would destroy the Unity of the Poem. It would be no longer one
Play, but two. Not but that there may be many actions in a Play (as BEN.
JOHNSON has observed in his _Discoveries_), but they must be all
subservient to the great one; which our language happily expresses, in
the name of Under Plots. Such as, in TERENCE's _Eunuch_, is the deference
and reconcilement of _THAIS_ and _PHAEDRIA_; which is not the chief
business of the Play, but promotes the marriage of _CHOEREA_ and
_CHREMES's sister_, principally intended by the Poet.

"'There ought to be but one Action,' says CORNEILLE, 'that is, one
complete Action, which leaves the mind of the audience in a full repose.'
But this cannot be brought to pass, but by many other imperfect ones,
which conduce to it, and hold the audience in a delightful suspense of
what will be.

"If by these Rules (to omit many others drawn from the Precepts and
Practice of the Ancients), we should judge our modern plays, 'tis
probable that few of them would endure the trial. That which should be
the business of a Day, takes up, in some of them, an Age. Instead of One
Action, they are the Epitome of a man's life. And for one spot of ground,
which the Stage should represent; we are sometimes in more countries than
the map can show us.

"But if we will allow the Ancients to have _contrived_ well; we must
acknowledge them to have _writ_ better. Questionless, we are deprived of
a great stock of wit, in the loss of MENANDER among the Greek poets, and
of COECILIUS, AFFRANIUS, and VARIUS among the Romans. We may guess of
MENANDER's excellency by the Plays of TERENCE; who translated some of
his, and yet wanted so much of him, that he was called by C. CAESAR, the
Half-MENANDER: and of VARIUS, by the testimonies of HORACE, MARTIAL, and
VELLEIUS PATERCULUS. 'Tis probable that these, could they be recovered,
would decide the controversy.

"But so long as ARISTOPHANES in the Old Comedy, and PLAUTUS in the New
are extant; while the Tragedies of EURIPIDES, SOPHOCLES, and SENECA are
to be had: I can never see one of those Plays which are now written, but
it increases my admiration of the Ancients. And yet I must acknowledge
further, that to admire them as we ought, we should understand them
better than we do. Doubtless, many things appear flat to us, whose wit
depended upon some custom or story, which never came to our knowledge; or
perhaps upon some criticism in their language, which, being so long dead,
and only remaining in their books, it is not possible they should make us
know it perfectly.

"To read MACROBIUS explaining the propriety and elegancy of many words in
VIRGIL, which I had before passed over without consideration as common
things, is enough to assure me that I ought to think the same of TERENCE;
and that, in the purity of his style, which TULLY so much valued that he
ever carried his _Works_ about him, there is yet left in him great room
for admiration, if I knew but where to place it.

"In the meantime, I must desire you to take notice that the greatest man
of the last Age, BEN. JOHNSON, was willing to give place to them in all
things. He was not only a professed imitator of HORACE, but a learned
plagiary of all the others. You track him everywhere in their snow. If
HORACE, LUCAN, PETRONIUS _Arbiter_, SENECA, and JUVENAL had their own
from him; there are few serious thoughts that are new in him. You will
pardon me, therefore, if I presume, he loved their fashion; when he wore
their clothes.

"But since I have otherwise a great veneration for him, and you,
EUGENIUS! prefer him above all other poets: I will use no farther
argument to you than his example. I will produce Father BEN. to you,
dressed in all the ornaments and colours of the Ancients. You will need
no other guide to our party, if you follow him: and whether you consider
the bad plays of our Age, or regard the good ones of the last: both the
best and worst of the Modern poets will equally instruct you to esteem
the Ancients."

CRITES had no sooner left speaking; but EUGENIUS, who waited with some
impatience for it, thus began:

"I have observed in your speech, that the former part of it is
convincing, as to what the Moderns have profited by the Rules of the
Ancients: but, in the latter, you are careful to conceal, how much they
have excelled them.

"We own all the helps we have from them; and want neither veneration nor
gratitude, while we acknowledge that, to overcome them, we must make use
of all the advantages we have received from them. But to these
assistances, we have joined our own industry: for had we sate down with a
dull imitation of them; we might then have lost somewhat of the old
perfection, but never acquired any that was new. We draw not, therefore,
after their lines; but those of Nature: and having the Life before us,
besides the experience of all they knew, it is no wonder if we hit some
airs and features, which they have missed.

"I deny not what you urge of Arts and Sciences [p. 514]; that they have
flourished in some ages more than others: but your instance in Philosophy
[p. 514] makes for me.

"For if Natural Causes be more known now, than in the time of ARISTOTLE,
because more studied; it follows that Poesy and other Arts may, with the
same pains, arrive still nearer to perfection. And that granted, it will
rest for you to prove, that they wrought more perfect Images of Human
Life than we.

"Which, seeing, in your discourse, you have avoided to make good; it
shall now be my task to show you some of their Defects, and some few
Excellencies of the Moderns. And I think, there is none amongst us can
imagine I do it enviously; or with purpose to detract from them: for what
interest of Fame, or Profit, can the Living lose by the reputation of the
Dead? On the other side, it is a great truth, which VELLEIUS PATERCULUS
affirms, _Audita visis libentius laudamus; et proesentia invidia,
proeterita, admiratione prosequimur, et his nos obrui, illis instrui
credimus_, 'That Praise or Censure is certainly the most sincere, which
unbribed Posterity shall give us.'

"Be pleased, then, in the first place, to take notice that the Greek
Poesy, which CRITES has affirmed to have arrived to perfection in the
reign of the Old Comedy [p. 514], was so far from it, that _the
distinction of it into Acts was not known to them_; or if it were, it is
yet so darkly delivered to us, that we cannot make it out.

"All we know of it is, from the singing of their Chorus: and that too, is
so uncertain, that in some of their Plays, we have reason to conjecture
they sang more than five times.

"ARISTOTLE, indeed, divides the integral parts of a Play into four.

  "Firstly. The _Protasis_ or Entrance, which gives light only to the
  Characters of the persons; and proceeds very little into any part
  of the Action.

  "Secondly. The _Epitasis_ or Working up of the Plot, where the Play
  grows warmer; the Design or Action of it is drawing on, and you see
  something promising, that it will come to pass.

  "Thirdly. The _Catastasis_ or Counter-turn, which destroys that
  expectation, embroils the action in new difficulties, and leaves
  you far distant from that hope in which it found you: as you may
  have observed in a violent stream, resisted by a narrow passage; it
  turns round to an eddy, and carries back the waters with more
  swiftness than it brought them on.

  "Lastly. The _Catastrophe_, which the Grecians call [Greek: desis];
  the French, _Le denoument_; and we, the Discovery or Unravelling of
  the Plot. There, you see all things settling again upon the first
  foundations; and the obstacles, which hindered the Design or Action
  of the Play, once removed, it ends with that Resemblance of Truth
  or Nature, that the audience are satisfied with the conduct of it.

"Thus this great man delivered to us the Image of a Play; and I must
confess it is so lively, that, from thence, much light has been derived
to the forming it more perfectly, into Acts and Scenes. But what Poet
first limited to Five, the number of the Acts, I know not: only we see it
so firmly established in the time of HORACE, that he gives it for a rule
in Comedy.

    "_Neu brevier quinto, neu sit productior actu:_

"So that you see, the Grecians cannot be said to have consumated this
Art: writing rather by Entrances than by Acts; and having rather a
general indigested notion of a Play, than knowing how and where to bestow
the particular graces of it.

"But since the Spaniards, at this day, allow but three Acts, which they
call _Jornadas_, to a Play; and the Italians, in many of theirs, follow
them: when I condemn the Ancients, I declare it _is not altogether
because they have not five Acts to every Play; but because they have not
confined themselves to one certain number_. 'Tis building a house,
without a model: and when they succeeded in such undertakings, they ought
to have sacrificed to Fortune, not to the Muses.

"Next, for the Plot, which ARISTOTLE called [Greek: to muthos], and often
[Greek: ton pragmaton sunthesis]; and from him, the Romans, _Fabula_. It
has already been judiciously observed by a late Writer that 'in their
_TRADGEDIES_, it was only some tale derived from Thebes or Troy; or, at
least, something that happened in those two Ages: which was worn so
threadbare by the pens of all the Epic Poets; and even, by tradition
itself of the _talkative Greeklings_, as BEN. JOHNSON calls them, that
before it came upon the Stage, it was already known to all the audience.
And the people, as soon as ever they heard the name of _OEDIPUS_, knew as
well as the Poet, that he had killed his father by a mistake, and
committed incest with his mother, before the Play; that they were now to
hear of a great plague, an oracle, and the ghost of _LAIUS_: so that they
sate, with a yawning kind of expectation, till he was to come, with his
eyes pulled out, and speak a hundred or two of verses, in a tragic tone,
in complaint of his misfortunes.'

"But one _OEDIPUS_, _HERCULES_, or _MEDEA_ had been tolerable. Poor
people! They scaped not so good cheap. They had still the _chapon
bouillé_ set before them, till their appetites were cloyed with the same
dish; and the Novelty being gone, the Pleasure vanished. So that one main
end of Dramatic Poesy, in its definition [p. 513] (which was, to cause
_Delight_) was, of consequence, destroyed.

"In their _COMEDIES_, the Romans generally borrowed their Plots from the
Greek poets: and theirs were commonly a little girl stolen or wandered
from her parents, brought back unknown to the same city, there got with
child by some lewd young fellow, who (by the help of his servant) cheats
his father. And when her time comes to cry _JUNO Lucina fer opem!_ one or
other sees a little box or cabinet, which was carried away with her, and
so discovers her to her friends: if some god do not prevent
[_anticipate_] it, by coming down in a machine [_i.e., supernaturally_],
and take the thanks of it to himself.

"By the Plot, you may guess much [_many_] of the characters of the
Persons. An old Father that would willingly, before he dies, see his son
well married. His debauched Son, kind in his nature to his wench, but
miserably in want of money. A Servant or Slave, who has so much wit [as]
to strike in with him, and help to dupe his father, A braggadochio
Captain, a Parasite, and a Lady of Pleasure.

"As for the poor honest maid, upon whom all the story is built, and who
ought to be one of the principal Actors in the Play; she is commonly a
Mute in it. She has the breeding of the old ELIZABETH [_Elizabethan_]
way, for 'maids to be seen, and not to be heard': and it is enough, you
know she is willing to be married, when the Fifth Act requires it.

"These are plots built after the Italian mode of houses. You see through
them all at once. The Characters, indeed, are Imitations of Nature: but
so narrow as if they had imitated only an eye or an hand, and did not
dare to venture on the lines of a face, or the proportion of a body.

"But in how strait a compass sorever, they have bounded their Plots and
Characters, we will pass it by, if they have regularly pursued them, and
perfectly observed those three Unities, of TIME, PLACE, and ACTION; the
knowledge of which, you say! is derived to us from them.

"But, in the first place, give me leave to tell you! that the Unity of
PLACE, however it might be practised by them, was never any of their
Rules. We neither find it in ARISTOTLE, HORACE, or any who have written
of it; till, in our Age, the French poets first made it a Precept of the

"The Unity of TIME, even TERENCE himself, who was the best and most
regular of them, has neglected. His _Heautontimoroumenos_ or 'Self
Punisher' takes up, visibly, two days. 'Therefore,' says SCALIGER, 'the
two first Acts concluding the first day, were acted overnight; the last
three on the ensuing day.'

"And EURIPIDES, in tying himself to one day, has committed an absurdity
never to be forgiven him. For, in one of his Tragedies, he has made
THESEUS go from Athens to Thebes, which was about forty English miles;
under the walls of it, to give battle; and appear victorious in the next
Act: and yet, from the time of his departure, to the return of the
_Nuntius_, who gives relation of his victory; _AETHRA_ and the _Chorus_
have but thirty-six verses, that is, not for every mile, a verse.

"The like error is evident in TERENCE his _Eunuch_; when _LACHES_ the old
man, enters, in a mistake, the house of _THAIS_; where, between his _Exit_
and the Entrance of _PYTHIAS_ (who comes to give an ample relation of the
garboils he has raised within), _PARMENO_ who was left upon the stage,
has not above five lines to speak. _C'est bien employé, un temps si
court!_ says the French poet, who furnished me with one of the[se]

"And almost all their Tragedies will afford us examples of the like

"'Tis true, they have kept the Continuity, or as you called it, _Liaison
des Scenes_, somewhat better. Two do not perpetually come in together,
talk, and go out together; and other two succeeded them, and do the same,
throughout the Act: which the English call by the name of 'Single Scenes.'
But the reason is, because they have seldom above two or three Scenes,
properly so called, in every Act. For it is to be accounted a _new_
Scene, not every time the Stage is empty: but every person _who enters_,
though to others, makes it so; because he introduces a new business.

"Now the Plots of their Plays being narrow, and the persons few: one of
their Acts was written in a less compass than one of our well-wrought
Scenes; and yet they are often deficient even in this.

"To go no further than TERENCE. You find in the _Eunuch_, _ANTIPHO_
entering, single, in the midst of the Third Act, after _CHREMES_ and
_PYTHIAS_ were gone off. In the same play, you have likewise _DORIAS_
beginning the Fourth Act alone; and after she has made a relation of what
was done at the soldier's entertainment (which, by the way, was very
inartificial to do; because she was presumed to speak directly to the
Audience, and to acquaint them with what was necessary to be known: but
yet should have been so contrived by the Poet as to have been told by
persons of the Drama to one another, and so by them, to have come to the
knowledge of the people), she quits the Stage: and _PHAEDRIA_ enters
next, alone likewise. He also gives you an account of himself, and of his
returning from the country, in monologue: to which unnatural way of
Narration, TERENCE is subject in all his Plays.

"In his _Adelphi_ or 'Brothers,' _SYRUS_ and _DEMEA_ enter after the
Scene was broken by the departure of _SOSTRATA_, _GETA_, and _CANTHARA_;
and, indeed, you can scarce look into any of his Comedies, where you will
not presently discover the same interruption.

"And as they have failed both in [the] laying of the Plots, and managing
of them, swerving from the Rules of their own Art, by misrepresenting
Nature to us, in which they have ill satisfied one intention of a Play,
which was Delight: so in the Instructive part [pp. 513, 582-4], they have
erred worse. Instead of punishing vice, and rewarding virtue; they have
often shown a prosperous wickedness, and an unhappy piety. They have set
before us a bloody Image of Revenge, in _MEDEA_; and given her dragons to
convey her safe from punishment. A _PRIAM_ and _ASTYANAX_ murdered, and
_CASSANDRA_ ravished; and Lust and Murder ending in the victory of him
that acted them. In short, there is no indecorum in any of our modern
Plays; which, if I would excuse, I could not shadow with some Authority
from the Ancients.

"And one farther note of them, let me leave you! Tragedies and Comedies
were not writ then, as they are now, promiscuously, by the same person:
but he who found his genius bending to the one, never attempted the other
way. This is so plain, that I need not instance to you, that ARISTOPHANES,
PLAUTUS, TERENCE never, any of them, writ a Tragedy; AESCHYLUS, EURIPIDES,
SOPHOCLES, and SENECA never meddled with Comedy. The Sock and Buskin were
not worn by the same Poet. Having then so much care to excel in one kind;
very little is to be pardoned them, if they miscarried in it.

"And this would lead me to the consideration of their Wit, had not CRITES
given me sufficient warning, not to be too bold in my judgement of it;
because (the languages being dead, and many of the customs and little
accidents on which it depended lost to us [p. 518]) we are not competent
judges of it. But though I grant that, here and there, we may miss the
application of a proverb or a custom; yet, a thing well said, will be Wit
in all languages: and, though it may lose something in the translation;
yet, to him who reads it in the original, 'tis still the same. He has an
Idea of its excellency; though it cannot pass from his mind into any
other expression or words than those in which he finds it.

"When _PHAEDRIA_, in the _Eunuch_, had a command from his mistress to be
absent two days; and encouraging himself to go through with it, said,
_Tandem ego non illa caream, si opus sit, vel totum triduum? PARMENO_ to
mock the softness of his master, lifting up his hands and eyes, cries
out, as it were in admiration, _Hui! universum triduum!_ The elegancy of
which _universum_, though it cannot be rendered in our language; yet
leaves an impression of the Wit on our souls.

"But this happens seldom in him [_i.e., TERENCE_]; in PLAUTUS oftner, who
is infinitely too bold in his metaphors and coining words; out of which,
many times, his Wit is nothing. Which, questionless, was one reason why
HORACE falls upon him so severely in those verses.

    "_Sed Proavi nostri Plautinos el numeros et
     Laudavere sales, nimium patienter utrumque
     Ne dicam stolidè_.

"For HORACE himself was cautious to obtrude [_in obtruding_] a new word
upon his readers: and makes custom and common use, the best measure of
receiving it into our writings,

    "_Multa renascentur quae nunc cecidere, cadentque
     Quae nunc sunt in honore vocabula, si volet usus
     Quem penes, arbitrium est, et jus, et norma loquendi_.

"The not observing of this Rule, is that which the World has blamed in
our satirist CLEVELAND. To express a thing hard and unnaturally is his
New Way of Elocution. Tis true, no poet but may sometimes use a
_catachresis_. VIRGIL, does it,

    "_Mistaque ridenti Colocasia fundet Acaniho_--

"in his Eclogue of _POLLIO_.

"And in his Seventh AEneid--

           "_Mirantur et unda,
    Miratur nemus, insuetam fulgentia longe,
    Scuta virum fluvio, pictaque innare carinas_.

"And OVID once; so modestly, that he asks leave to do it.

    "_Si verbo audacia, detur
     Haud metuam summi dixisse Palatia coeli_

"calling the Court of JUPITER, by the name of AUGUSTUS his palace.
Though, in another place, he is more bold; where he says, _Et longas
visent Capitolia pompas_.

"But to do this always, and never be able to write a line without it,
though it may be admired by some few pedants, will not pass upon those
who know that _Wit is best conveyed to us in the most easy language: and
is most to be admired, when a great thought comes dressed in words so
commonly received, that it is understood by the meanest apprehensions; as
the best meat is the most easily digested_. But we cannot read a verse of
CLEVELAND's, without making a face at it; as if every word were a pill to
swallow. He gives us, many times, a hard nut to break our teeth, without a
kernel for our pains. So that there is this difference between his
_Satires_ and Doctor DONNE's: that the one [_DONNE_] gives us deep
thoughts in common language, though rough cadence; the other
[_CLEVELAND_] gives us common thoughts in abtruse words. 'Tis true, in
some places, his wit is independent of his words, as in that of the
_Rebel Scot_--

    "Had CAIN been Scot, GOD would have changed his doom,
    Not forced him wander, but confined him home.

"_Si sic, omnia dixisset!_ This is Wit in all languages. 'Tis like
MERCURY, never to be lost or killed. And so that other,

    "For beauty, like white powder, makes no noise,
    And yet the silent hypocrite destroys.

"You see the last line is highly metaphorical; but it is so soft and
gentle, that it does not shock us as we read it.

"But to return from whence I have digressed, to the consideration of the
Ancients' Writing and Wit; of which, by this time, you will grant us, in
some measure, to be fit judges.

"Though I see many excellent thoughts in SENECA: yet he, of them, who had
a genius most proper for the Stage, was OVID. He [_i.e., OVID_] had a way
of writing so fit to stir up a pleasing admiration and concernment, which
are the objects of a Tragedy; and to show the various movements of a soul
combating betwixt different passions: that, had he lived in our Age, or
(in his own) could have writ with our advantages, no man but must have
yielded to him; and therefore, I am confident the _MEDEA_ is none of his.
For, though I esteem it, for the gravity and sentiousness of it (which he
himself concludes to be suitable to a Tragedy, _Omne genus scripti
gravitate Tragadia, vincit_); yet it moves not my soul enough, to judge
that he, who, in the Epic way, wrote things so near the Drama (as the
stories of _MYRRHA,_ of _CAUNUS and BIBLIS,_ and the rest) should stir up
no more concernment, where he most endeavoured it.

"The masterpiece of SENECA, I hold to be that Scene in the _Troades_,
where _ULYSSES_ is seeking for _ASTYANAX,_ to kill him. There, you see
the tenderness of a mother so represented in _ANDROMACHE_, that it raises
compassion to a high degree in the reader; and bears the nearest
resemblance, of anything in their Tragedies, to the excellent Scenes of

"For Love Scenes, you will find but few among them. Their Tragic poets
dealt not with that soft passion; but with Lust, Cruelty, Revenge,
Ambition, and those bloody actions they produced, which were more capable
of raising horror than compassion in an audience: leaving Love untouched,
whose gentleness would have tempered them; which is the most frequent of
all the passions, and which (being the private concernment of every
person) is soothed by viewing its own Image [p. 549] in a public

"Among their Comedies, we find a Scene or two of tenderness: and that,
where you would least expect it, in PLAUTUS. But to speak generally,
their lovers say little, when they see each others but anima mea! vita
mea! [Greek: zoae kai psuchae!] as the women, in JUVENAL's time, used to
cry out, in the fury of their kindness.

"Then indeed, to speak sense were an offence. Any sudden gust of passion,
as an ecstasy of love in an unexpected meeting, cannot better be expressed
than in a word and a sigh, breaking one another. Nature is dumb on such
occasions; and to make her speak, would be to represent her unlike
herself. But there are a thousand other concernments of lovers as
jealousies, complaints, contrivances, and the like; where, not to open
their minds at large to each other, were to be wanting to their own love,
and to the expectation of the audience: who watch the Movements of their
Minds, as much as the Changes of their Fortunes. For the Imaging of the
first [p. 549], is properly the work of a Poet; the latter, he borrows of
the Historian."

EUGENIUS was proceeding in that part of his discourse, when CRITES
interrupted him.

"I see," said he, "EUGENIUS and I are never likely to have this question
decided betwixt us: for he maintains the Moderns have acquired a _new
perfection_ in writing; I only grant, they have _altered the mode_ of it.

"HOMER describes his heroes, [as] men of great appetites; lovers of beef
broiled upon the coals, and good fellows: contrary to the practice of the
French romances, whose heroes neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep for love.

"VIRGIL makes _AENEAS_, a bold avower of his own virtues,

    "_Sum pius AENEAS fama super aethera notus_;

"which, in the civility of our Poets, is the character of a _Fanfaron_ or
Hector. For with us, the Knight takes occasion to walk out, or sleep, to
avoid the vanity of telling his own story; which the trusty Squire is
ever to perform for him [p. 535].

"So, in their Love Scenes, of which EUGENIUS spoke last, the Ancients
were more hearty; we, the more talkative. They writ love, as it was then
the mode to make it.

"And I will grant thus much to EUGENIUS, that, perhaps, one of their
Poets, had he lived in our Age,

    "_Si foret hoc nostrum fato delupsus in aevum_,

"as HORACE says of LUCILIUS, he had altered many things: not that they
were not natural before; but that he might accommodate himself to the Age
he lived in. Yet, in the meantime, we are not to conclude anything rashly
against those great men; but preserve to them, the dignity of Masters:
and give that honour to their memories, _quos libitina sacravit_; part of
which, we expect may be paid to us in future times."

This moderation of CRITES, as it was pleasing to all the company, so it
put an end to that dispute: which EUGENIUS, who seemed to have the better
of the argument, would urge no further.

But LISIDEIUS, after he had acknowledged himself of EUGENIUS his opinion,
concerning the Ancients; yet told him, "He had forborne till his discourse
was ended, to ask him, Why he preferred the English Plays above those of
other nations? and whether we ought not to submit our Stage to the
exactness of our next neighbours?"

"Though," said EUGENIUS, "I am, at all times, ready to defend the honour
of my country against the French; and to maintain, we are as well able to
vanquish them with our pens, as our ancestors have been with their swords:
yet, if you please!" added he, looking upon NEANDER, "I will commit this
cause to my friend's management. His opinion of our plays is the same
with mine. And besides, there is no reason that CRITES and I, who have
now left the Stage, should re-enter so suddenly upon it: which is against
the laws of Comedy."

"If the question had been stated," replied LISIDEIUS, "Who had writ best,
the French or English, forty years ago [_i.e., in_ 1625]? I should have
been of your opinion; and adjudged the honour to our own nation: but,
since that time," said he, turning towards NEANDER, "we have been so long
bad Englishmen, that we had not leisure to be good Poets. BEAUMONT [_d._
1615], FLETCHER [_d._ 1625], and JOHNSON [_d._ 1637], who were only
[_alone_] capable of bringing us to that degree of perfection which we
have, were just then leaving the world; as if, in an Age of so much
horror, Wit and those milder studies of humanity had no farther business
among us. But the Muses, who ever follow peace, went to plant in another
country. It was then, that the great Cardinal DE RICHELIEU began to take
them into his protection; and that, by his encouragement, CORNEILLE and
some other Frenchmen reformed their _Theatre_: which, before, was so much
below ours, as it now surpasses it, and the rest of Europe. But because
CRITES, in his discourse for the Ancients, has prevented [_anticipated_]
me by touching on many Rules of the Stage, which the Moderns have
borrowed from them; I shall only, in short, demand of you, 'Whether you
are not convinced that, of all nations, the French have best observed

"In the Unity of TIME, you find them so scrupulous, that it yet remains a
dispute among their Poets, 'Whether the artificial day, of twelve hours
more or less, be not meant by ARISTOTLE, rather that the natural one of
twenty-four?' and consequently, 'Whether all Plays ought not to be
reduced into that compass?' This I can testify, that in all their dramas
writ within these last twenty years [1645-1665] and upwards, I have not
observed any, that have extended the time to thirty hours.

"In the Unity of PLACE, they are full[y] as scrupulous. For many of their
critics limit it to that spot of ground, where the Play is supposed to
begin. None of them exceed the compass of the same town or city.

"The Unity of ACTION in all their plays, is yet more conspicuous. For
they do not burden them with Under Plots, as the English do; which is the
reason why many Scenes of our Tragi-Comedies carry on a Design that is
nothing of kin to the main Plot: and that we see two distincts webs in a
Play, like those in ill-wrought stuffs; and two Actions (that is, two
Plays carried on together) to the confounding of the audience: who,
before they are warm in their concernments for one part, are diverted to
another; and, by that means, expouse the interest of neither.

"From hence likewise, it arises that one half of our Actors [_i.e., the
Characters in a Play_] are not known to the other. They keep their
distances, as if they were _MONTAGUES_ and _CAPULETS_; and seldom begin
an acquaintance till the last Scene of the fifth Act, when they are all
to meet on the Stage.

"There is no _Theatre_ in the world has anything so absurd as the English
Tragi-Comedy. 'Tis a Drama of our own invention; and the fashion of it is
enough to proclaim it so. Here, a course of mirth; there, another of
sadness and passion; a third of honour; and the fourth, a duel. Thus, in
two hours and a half, we run through all the fits of Bedlam.

"The French afford you as much variety, on the same day; but they do it
not so unseasonably, or _mal apropos_ as we. Our Poets present you the
Play and the Farce together; and our Stages still retain somewhat of the
original civility of the 'Red Bull.'

    "_Atque ursum et pugiles media inter carmina poscunt._

"'The end of Tragedies or serious Plays,' says ARISTOTLE, 'is to beget
Admiration [_wonderment_], Compassion, or Concernment.' But are not mirth
and compassion things incompatible? and is it not evident, that the Poet
must, of necessity, destroy the former, by intermingling the latter? that
is, he must ruin the sole end and object of his Tragedy, to introduce
somewhat that is forced in, and is not of the body of it! Would you not
think that physician mad! who having prescribed a purge, should
immediately order you to take restringents upon it?

"But to leave our Plays, and return to theirs. I have noted one great
advantage they have had in the Plotting of their Tragedies, that is, they
are always grounded upon some known History, according to that of HORACE,
_Ex noto fictum carm n sequar_: and in that, they have so imitated the
Ancients, that they have surpassed them. For the Ancients, as was
observed before [p. 522], took for the foundation of their Plays some
poetical fiction; such as, under that consideration, could move but
little concernment in the audience, because they already knew the event
of it. But the French[man] goes farther.

    "_Atque ita mentitur, sic veris falso remiscet,
    Primo ne medium, media ne discrepet imum._

"He so interweaves Truth with probable Fiction, that he puts a pleasing
fallacy upon us; mends the intrigues of Fate; and dispenses with the
severity of History, to reward that virtue, which has been rendered to
us, there, unfortunate. Sometimes the Story has left the success so
doubtful, that the writer is free, by the privilege of a Poet, to take
that which, of two or more relations, will best suit his Design. As, for
example, the death of CYRUS; whom JUSTIN and some others report to have
perished in the Scythian War; but XENOPHON affirms to have died in his
bed of extreme old age.

"Nay more, when the event is past dispute, even then, we are willing to
be deceived: and the Poet, if he contrives it with appearance of truth,
has all the audience of his party [_on his side_], at least, during the
time his Play is acting. So naturally, we are kind to virtue (when our
own interest is not in question) that we take It up, as the general
concernment of mankind.

"On the other side, if you consider the Historical Plays of SHAKESPEARE;
they are rather so many Chronicles of Kings, or the business, many times,
of thirty or forty years crampt into a Representation of two hours and a
half: which is not to imitate or paint Nature, but rather to draw her in
miniature, to take her in little; to look upon her, through the wrong of
a perspective [_telescope_], and receive her Images [pp. 528, 549], not
only much less, but infinitely more imperfect than the Life. This,
instead of making a Play delightful, renders it ridiculous.

    "_Quodeunque ostendis mihi sic, incredulus odi._

"For the Spirit of Man cannot be satisfied but with Truth, or, at least,
Verisimilitude: and a Poem is to contain, if not [Greek ta hetuma], yet
[Greek: hetmoisiu homia]; as one of the Greek poets has expressed it
[_See_ p. 589.].

"Another thing, in which the French differ from us and from the
Spaniards, is that they do not embarrass or cumber themselves with too
much Plot. They only represent so much of a Story as will constitute One
whole and great Action sufficient for a Play. We, who undertake more, do
but multiply _Adventures [pp. 541, 552]; which (not being produced from
one another, as Effects from Causes, but, barely, following) constitute
many Actions in the Drama, and consequently make it many Plays.

"But, by pursuing close[ly] one Argument, which is not cloyed with many
Turns; the French have gained more liberty for Verse, in which they
write. They have leisure to dwell upon a subject which deserves it; and
to represent the passions [p. 542] (which we have acknowledged to be the
Poet's work) without being hurried from one thing to another, as we are
in the plays of CALDERON; which we have seen lately upon our theatres,
under the name of Spanish Plots.

"I have taken notice but of one Tragedy of ours; whose Plot has that
uniformity and unity of Design in it, which I have commended in the
French; and that is, ROLLO, or rather under the name of ROLLO, the story
of BASSANIUS _and_ GOETA, in HERODIAN. There, indeed, the plot is neither
large nor intricate; but just enough to fill the minds of the audience,
not to cloy them. Besides, you see it founded on the truth of History;
only the time of the Action is not reduceable to the strictness of the
Rules. And you see, in some places, a little farce mingled, which is
below the dignity of the other parts. And in this, all our Poets are
extremely peccant; even BEN. JOHNSON himself, in _SEFANUS_ and
_CATILINE,_ has given this Oleo [_hodge-podge_] of a Play, this unnatural
mixture of Comedy and Tragedy; which, to me, sounds just as ridiculous as
_The History of DAVID, with the merry humours of GOLIAS_. In _SEFANUS_,
you may take notice of the Scene between _LIVIA_ and the _Physician;_
which is a pleasant satire upon the artificial helps of beauty. In
_CATILINE_, you may see the Parliament of Women; the little envies of
them to one another; and all that passes betwixt _CURIO_ and _FULVIA_.
Scenes, admirable in their kind, but of an ill mingle with the rest.

"But I return again to the French Writers: who, as I have said, do not
burden themselves too much with Plot; which has been reproached to them
by an Ingenious Person of our nation, as a fault. For he says, 'They
commonly make but one person considerable in a Play. They dwell upon him
and his concernments; while the rest of the persons are only subservient
to set him off.' If he intends this by it, that there is one person in
the Play who is of greater dignity than the rest; he must tax not only
theirs, but those of the Ancients, and (which he would be loath to do)
the best of ours. For it 'tis impossible but that one person must be more
conspicuous in it than any other; and consequently the greatest share in
the Action must devolve on him. We see it so in the management of all
affairs. Even in the most equal aristocracy, the balance cannot be so
justly poised, but some one will be superior to the rest, either in
parts, fortune, interest, or the consideration of some glorious exploit;
which will reduce [_lead_] the greatest part of business into his hands.

"But if he would have us to imagine, that in exalting of one character,
the rest of them are neglected; and that all of them have not some share
or other in the Action of the Play: I desire him to produce any of
CORNEILLE's Tragedies, wherein every person, like so many servants in a
well governed family, has _not_ some employment; and who is _not_
necessary to the carrying on of the Plot, or, at least, to your
understanding it.

"There are, indeed, some protactic persons [_precursors_] in the
Ancients; whom they make use of in their Plays, either to hear or give
the Relation; but the French avoid this with great address; making their
Narrations only to, or by such, who are some way interessed
[_interested_] in the main Design.

"And now I am speaking of RELATIONS; I cannot take a fitter opportunity
to add this, in favour of the French, that they often use them with
better judgement, more _apropos_ than the English do.

"Not that I commend NARRATIONS in general; but there are two sorts of

"One, of those things which are antecedent to the Play, and are related
to make the Conduct of it more clear to us. But 'tis a fault to choose
such subjects for the Stage, as will inforce us upon that rock: because
we see that they are seldom listened to by the audience; and that it is,
many times, the ruin of the play. For, being once let pass without
attention, the audience can never recover themselves to understand the
Plot; and, indeed, it is somewhat unreasonable that they should be put to
so much trouble, as that, to comprehend what passes in their sight, they
must have recourse to what was done, perhaps ten or twenty years ago.

"But there is another sort of RELATIONS, that is, of things happening in
the Action of a Play, and supposed to be done behind the scenes: and this
is, many times, both convenient and beautiful. For by it, the French avoid
the tumult, which we are subject to in England, by representing duels,
battles, and such like; which renders our Stage too like the theatres
where they fight for prizes [_i.e., theatres used as Fencing Schools, for
Assaults of Arms, &c._]. For what is more ridiculous than to represent an
army, with a drum and five men behind it? All which, the hero on the
other side, is to drive in before him. Or to see a duel fought, and one
slain with two or three thrusts of the foils? which we know are so
blunted, that we might give a man an hour to kill another, in good
earnest, with them.

"I have observed that in all our Tragedies, the audience cannot forbear
laughing, when the Actors are to die. 'Tis the most comic part of the
whole Play.

"All Passions may be lively Represented on the Stage, if, to the well
writing of them, the Actor supplies a good commanded voice, and limbs
that move easily, and without stiffness: but there are many Actions,
which can never be Imitated to a just height.

"Dying, especially, is a thing, which none but a Roman gladiator could
naturally perform upon the Stage, when he did not Imitate or Represent
it, but naturally Do it. And, therefore, it is better to omit the
Representation of it. The words of a good writer, which describe it
lively, will make a deeper impression of belief in us, than all the Actor
can persuade us to, when he seems to fall dead before us: as the Poet, in
the description of a beautiful garden, or meadow, will please our
Imagination more than the place itself will please our sight. When we see
death Represented, we are convinced it is but fiction; but when we hear it
Related, our eyes (the strongest witnesses) are wanting, which might have
undeceived us: and we are all willing to favour the sleight, when the
Poet does not too grossly impose upon us.

"They, therefore, who imagine these Relations would make no concernment
in the audience, are deceived, by confounding them with the other; which
are of things antecedent to the Play. Those are made often, in cold
blood, as I may say, to the audience; but these are warmed with our
concernments, which are, before, awakened in the Play.

"What the philosophers say of Motion, that 'when it is once begun, it
continues of itself; and will do so, to Eternity, without some stop be
put to it,' is clearly true, on this occasion. The Soul, being moved with
the Characters and Fortunes of those Imaginary Persons, continues going of
its own accord; and we are no more weary to hear what becomes of them,
when they are not on the Stage, than we are to listen to the news of an
absent mistress.

"But it is objected, 'That if one part of the Play may be related; then,
why not all?'

"I answer. Some parts of the Action are more fit to be Represented; some,
to be Related. CORNEILLE says judiciously, 'That the Poet is not obliged
to expose to view all particular actions, which conduce to the principal.
He ought to select such of them to be Seen, which will appear with the
greatest beauty, either by the magnificence of the shew, or the vehemence
of the passions which they produce, or some other charm which they have in
them: and let the rest arrive to the audience, by Narration.'

"'Tis a great mistake in us, to believe the French present no part of the
Action upon the Stage. Every alteration, or crossing of a Design; every
new sprung passion, and turn of it, is a part of the Action, and much the
noblest: except we conceive nothing to be Action, till they come to blows;
as if the painting of the Hero's Mind were not more properly the Poet's
work, than, the strength of his Body.

"Nor does this anything contradict the opinion of HORACE, where he tells

    "_Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem
    Quam quae sunt occulis subjecta fidelibus._

"For he says, immediately after,

    "_Non tamen intus
    Digna, geri promes in scenam, Multaque tolles
    Ex occulis, quae mox narret facundia praesens._

"Among which 'many,' he recounts some,

    "_Nec pueros coram populo MEDEA trucidet,
    Aut in avem PROGNE mutetur, CADMUS in anguem, &c._

"that is, 'Those actions, which, by reason of their cruelty, will cause
aversion in us; or (by reason of their impossibility) unbelief [pp. 496,
545], ought either wholly to be avoided by a Poet, or only delivered by
Narration.' To which, we may have leave to add, such as 'to avoid
tumult,' as was before hinted [pp. 535, 544]; or 'to reduce the Plot into
a more reasonable compass of time,' or 'for defect of beauty in them,' are
rather to be Related than presented to the eye.

"Examples of all these kinds, are frequent; not only among all the
Ancients, but in the best received of our English poets.

"We find BEN. JOHNSON using them in his _Magnetic Lady_, where one comes
out from dinner, and Relates the quarrels and disorders of it; to save
the indecent appearing of them on the Stage, and to abbreviate the story:
and this, in express imitation of TERENCE, who had done the same before
him, in his _Eunuch_; where _PYTHIAS_ makes the like Relation of what had
happened within, at the soldiers' entertainment.

"The Relations, likewise, of _SEFANUS_'s death and the prodigies before
it, are remarkable. The one of which, was hid from sight, to avoid the
horror and tumult of the Representation: the other, to shun the
introducing of things impossible to be believed.

"In that excellent Play, the _King and no King_, FLETCHER goes yet
farther. For the whole unravelling of the Plot is done by Narration in
the Fifth Act, after the manner of the Ancients: and it moves great
concernment in the audience; though it be only a Relation of what was
done many years before the Play.

"I could multiply other instances; but these are sufficient to prove,
that there is no error in chosing a subject which requires this sort of
Narration. In the ill managing of them, they may.

"But I find, I have been too long in this discourse; since the French
have many other excellencies, not common to us.

"As that, _you never see any of their Plays end with a Conversion, or
simple Change of Will_: which is the ordinary way our Poets use [_are
accustomed_] to end theirs.

"It shows little art in the conclusion of a Dramatic Poem, when they who
have hindered the felicity during the Four Acts, desist from it in the
Fifth, without some powerful cause to take them off: and though I deny
not but such reasons may be found; yet it is a path that is cautiously to
be trod, and the Poet is to be sure he convinces the audience, that the
motive is strong enough.

"As, for example, the conversion of the _Usurer_ in the _Scornful Lady_,
seems to me, a little forced. For, being a Usurer, which implies a Lover
of Money in the highest degree of covetousness (and such, the Poet has
represented him); the account he gives for the sudden change, is, that he
has been duped by the wild young fellow: which, in reason, might render
him more wary another time, and make him punish himself with harder fare
and coarser clothes, to get it up again. But that he should look upon it
as a judgement, and so repent; we may expect to hear of in a Sermon, but
I should never endure it in a Play.

"I pass by this. Neither will I insist upon _the care they take, that no
person, after his first entrance, shall ever appear; but the business
which brings upon the Stage, shall be evident_. Which, if observed, must
needs render all the events of the Play more natural. For there, you see
the probability of every accident, in the cause that produced it; and
that which appears chance in the Play, will seem so reasonable to you,
that you will there find it almost necessary: so that in the Exits of
their Actors, you have a clear account of their purpose and design in the
next Entrance; though, if the Scene be well wrought, the event will
commonly deceive you. 'For there is nothing so absurd,' says CORNEILLE,
'as for an Actor to leave the Stage, only because he has no more to say!'

"I should now speak of _the beauty of their Rhyme_, and the just reason I
have to prefer _that way of writing_, in Tragedies, _before ours, in Blank
Verse_. But, because it is partly received by us, and therefore, not
altogether peculiar to them; I will say no more of it, in relation to
their Plays. For our own; I doubt not but it will exceedingly beautify
them: and I can see but one reason why it should not generally obtain;
that is, because our Poets write so ill in it [pp. 503, 578, 598]. This,
indeed, may prove a more prevailing argument, than all others which are
used to destroy it: and, therefore, I am only troubled when great and
judicious Poets, and those who are acknowledged such, have writ or spoke
against it. As for others, they are to be answered by that one sentence
of an ancient author. _Sed ut primo ad consequendos eos quos priores
ducimus accendimur, ita ubi aut praeteriri, aut aequari eos posse
desperavimus, studium cum spe senescit: quod, scilicet, assequi non
potest, sequi desinit; praeteritoque eo in quo eminere non possumus,
aliquid in quo nitamur conquirimus_."

LISIDEIUS concluded, in this manner; and NEANDER, after a little pause,
thus answered him.

"I shall grant LISIDEIUS, without much dispute, a great part of what he
has urged against us.

"For I acknowledge _the French contrive their Plots more regularly;
observe the laws of Comedy, and decorum of the Stage_, to speak
generally, _with more exactness_ _than the English_. Farther, I deny not
but he has taxed us justly, in some irregularities of ours; which he has
mentioned. Yet, after all, I am of opinion, that neither our faults, nor
their virtues are considerable enough to place them above us.

"For _the lively Imitation of Nature_ being the Definition of a Play [p.
513]; those which best fulfil that law, ought to be esteemed superior to
the others, 'Tis true those beauties of the French Poesy are such as will
raise perfection higher where it is; but are not sufficient to give it
where it is not. They are, indeed, the beauties of a Statue, not of a
Man; because not animated with the Soul of Poesy, which is _Imitation of
Humour and Passions_.

"And this, LISIDEIUS himself, or any other, however biased to their
party, cannot but acknowledge; if he will either compare the Humours of
our Comedies, or the Characters of our serious Plays with theirs.

"He that will look upon theirs, which have been written till [within]
these last ten years [_i.e._, 1655, _when MOLIERE began to write_], or
thereabouts, will find it a hard matter to pick out two or three passable
Humours amongst them. CORNEILLE himself, their Arch Poet; what has he
produced, except the _Liar_? and you know how it was cried up in France.
But when it came upon the English Stage, though well translated, and that
part of _DORANT_ acted to so much advantage by Mr. HART, as, I am
confident, it never received in its own country; the most favourable to
it, would not put it in competition with many of FLETCHER's or BEN.
JOHNSON's. In the rest of CORNEILLE's Comedies you have little humour. He
tells you, himself, his way is first to show two lovers in good
intelligence with each other; in the working up of the Play, to embroil
them by some mistake; and in the latter end, to clear it up.

"But, of late years, DE MOLIERE, the younger CORNEILLE, QUINAULT, and
some others, have been imitating, afar off, the quick turns and graces of
the English Stage. They have mixed their serious Plays with mirth, like
our Tragi-Comedies, since the death of Cardinal RICHELIEU [_in_ 1642]:
which LISIDEIUS and many others not observing, have commended that in
them for a virtue [p. 531], which they themselves no longer practise.

"Most of their new Plays are, like some of ours, derived from the Spanish
novels. There is scarce one of them, without a veil; and a trusty _DIEGO_,
who drolls, much after the rate of the _Adventures_ [pp. 533, 553]. But
their humours, if I may grace them with that name, are so thin sown; that
never above One of them comes up in a Play. I dare take upon me, to find
more variety of them, in one play of BEN. JOHNSON's, than in all theirs
together: as he who has seen the _Alchemist_, the _Silent Woman_, or
_Bartholomew Fair_, cannot but acknowledge with me. I grant the French
have performed what was possible on the ground work of the Spanish plays.
What was pleasant before, they have made regular. But there is not above
one good play to be writ upon all those Plots. They are too much alike,
to please often; which we need not [adduce] the experience of our own
Stage to justify.

"As for their New Way of mingling Mirth with serious Plot, I do not, with
LISIDEIUS, condemn the thing; though I cannot approve their manner of
doing it. He tells us, we cannot so speedily re-collect ourselves, after
a Scene of great Passion and Concernment, as to pass to another of Mirth
and Humour, and to enjoy it with any relish. But why should he imagine
the Soul of Man more heavy than his Senses? Does not the eye pass from an
unpleasant object, to a pleasant, in a much shorter time than is required
to this? and does not the unpleasantness of the first commend the beauty
of the latter? The old rule of Logic might have convinced him, that
'Contraries when placed near, set off each other.' A continued gravity
keeps the spirit too much bent. We must refresh it sometimes; as we bait
[_lunch_] upon a journey, that we may go on with greater ease. A Scene of
Mirth mixed with Tragedy, has the same effect upon us, which our music has
betwixt the Acts; and that, we find a relief to us from the best Plots and
Language of the Stage, if the discourses have been long.

"I must, therefore, have stronger arguments, ere I am convinced that
Compassion and Mirth, in the same subject, destroy each other: and, in
the meantime, cannot but conclude to the honour of our Nation, that we
have invented, increased, and perfected a more pleasant way of writing
for the Stage than was ever known to the Ancients or Moderns of any
nation; which is, Tragi-Comedy.

"And this leads me to wonder why LISIDEIUS [p. 533], and many others,
should cry up _the barrenness of the French Plots_ above _the variety and
copiousness of the English_?

"Their Plots are single. They carry on one Design, which is push forward
by all the Actors; every scene in the Play contributing and moving
towards it. Ours, besides the main Design, have Under Plots or
By-Concernments of less considerable persons and intrigues; which are
carried on, with the motion of the main Plot: just as they say the orb
[?_orbits_] of the fixed stars, and those of the planets (though they
have motions of their own), are whirled about, by the motion of the
_Primum Mobile_ in which they are contained. That similitude expresses
much of the English Stage. For, if contrary motions may be found in
Nature to agree, if a planet can go East and West at the same time; one
way, by virtue of his own motion, the other, by the force of the First
Mover: it will not be difficult to imagine how the Under Plot, which is
only different [from], not contrary to the great Design, may naturally be
conducted along with it.

"EUGENIUS [?_LISIDEIUS_] has already shown us [p. 534], from the
confession of the French poets, that the Unity of Action is sufficiently
preserved, if all the imperfect actions of the Play are conducing to the
main Design: but when those petty intrigues of a Play are so ill ordered,
that they have no coherence with the other; I must grant, that LISIDEIUS
has reason to tax that Want of due Connection. For Co-ordination in a
Play is as dangerous and unnatural as in a State. In the meantime, he
must acknowledge, our Variety (if well ordered) will afford a greater
pleasure to the audience.

"As for his other argument, that _by pursuing one single Theme, they gain
an advantage to express, and work up the passions_ [p. 533]; I wish any
example he could bring from them, would make it good. For I confess their
verses are, to me, the coldest I have ever read.

"Neither, indeed, is It possible for them, in the way they take, so to
express Passion as that the effects of it should appear in the
concernment of an audience; their speeches being so many declamations,
which tire us with the length: so that, instead of persuading us to
grieve for their imaginary heroes, we are concerned for our own trouble,
as we are, in the tedious visits of bad [_dull_] company; we are in pain
till they are gone.

"When the French Stage came to be reformed by Cardinal RICHELIEU, those
long harangues were introduced, to comply with the gravity of a
Churchman. Look upon the _CINNA_ and _POMPEY_! They are not so properly
to be called Plays, as long Discourses of Reason[s] of State: and
_POLIEUCTE_, in matters of Religion, is as solemn as the long stops upon
our organs. Since that time, it has grown into a custom; and their Actors
speak by the hour glass, as our Parsons do. Nay, they account it the grace
of their parts! and think themselves disparaged by the Poet, if they may
not twice or thrice in a Play, entertain the audience, with a speech of a
hundred or two hundred lines.

"I deny not but this may suit well enough with the French: for as we, who
are a more sullen people, come to be diverted at our Plays; they, who are
of an airy and gay temper, come thither to make themselves more serious.
And this I conceive to be one reason why Comedy is more pleasing to us,
and Tragedy to them.

"But, to speak generally, it cannot be denied that _short_ Speeches and
Replies are more apt to move the passions, and beget concernment in us;
than the other. For it is unnatural for any one in a gust of passion, to
speak long together; or for another, in the same condition, to suffer him
without interruption.

"Grief and Passion are like floods raised in little brooks, by a sudden
rain. They are quickly up; and if the Concernment be poured unexpectedly
in upon us, it overflows us: but a long sober shower gives them leisure
to run out as they came in, without troubling the ordinary current.

"As for Comedy, Repartee is one of its chiefest graces. The greatest
pleasure of the audience is a Chase of Wit, kept up on both sides, and
swiftly managed. And this, our forefathers (if not we) have had, in
FLETCHER's _Plays_, to a much higher degree of perfection, than the
French Poets can arrive at.

"There is another part of LISIDEIUS his discourse, in which he has rather
excused our neighbours, than commended them; that is, _for aiming only_
[simply] _to make one person considerable in their Plays_.

"'Tis very true what he has urged, that one Character in all Plays, even
without the Poet's care, will have the advantage of all the others; and
that the Design of the whole Drama will chiefly depend on it. But this
hinders not, that there may be more shining Characters in the Play; many
persons of a second magnitude, nay, some so very near, so almost equal to
the first, that greatness may be opposed to greatness: and all the persons
be made considerable, not only by their Quality, but their Action.

"'Tis evident that the more the persons are; the greater will be the
variety of the Plot. If then, the parts are managed so regularly, that
the beauty of the whole be kept entire; and that the variety become not a
perplexed and confused mass of accidents: you will find it infinitely
pleasing, to be led in a labyrinth of Design; where you see some of your
way before you, yet discern not the end, till you arrive at it.

"And that all this is practicable; I can produce, for examples, many of
our English plays, as the _Maid's Tragedy_, the _Alchemist_, the _Silent

"I was going to have named the _Fox_; but that the Unity of Design seems
not exactly observed in it. For there appear two Actions in the Play; the
first naturally ending with the Fourth Act, the second forced from it, in
the Fifth. Which yet, is the less to be condemned in him, because the
disguise of _VOLPONE_ (though, it suited not with his character as a
crafty or covetous person) agreed well enough with that of a voluptuary:
and, by it, the Poet gained the end he aimed at, the punishment of vice,
and reward of virtue; which that disguise produced. So that, to judge
equally of it, it was an excellent Fifth Act; but not so naturally
proceeding from the former.

"But to leave this, and to pass to the latter part of LISIDEIUS his
discourse; which concerns RELATIONS. I must acknowledge, with him, that
the French have reason, _when they hide that part of the Action, which
would occasion too much tumult on the Stage_; and choose rather to have
it made known by Narration to the audience [p. 535]. Farther; I think it
very convenient, for the reasons he has given, that _all incredible
Actions were removed_ [p. 537]: but, whether custom has so insinuated
itself into our countrymen, or Nature has so formed them to fierceness, I
know not; but they will scarcely suffer combats or other objects of horror
to be taken from them. And indeed the _indecency_ of tumults is all which
can be objected against fighting. For why may not our imagination as well
suffer itself to be deluded with the _probability_ of it, as any other
thing in the Play. For my part, I can, with as great ease, persuade
myself that the blows, which are struck, are given in good earnest; as I
can, that they who strike them, are Kings, or Princes, or those persons
which they represent.

"For _objects of incredibility_ [p. 537], I would be satisfied from
LISIDEIUS, whether we have any so removed from all appearance of truth,
as are those in CORNEILLE's _ANDROMEDE_? A Play that has been frequented
[_repeated_] the most, of any he has writ. If the _PERSEUS_ or the son of
the heathen god, the _Pegasus_, and the Monster, were not capable to choke
a strong belief? let him blame any representation of ours hereafter!
Those, indeed, were objects of delight; yet the reason is the same as to
the probability: for he makes it not a Ballette [_Ballet_] or Masque; but
a Play, which is, _to resemble truth_.

"As for _Death_, that _it ought not to be represented_ [p. 536]: I have,
besides the arguments alleged by LISIDEIUS, the authority of BEN.
JOHNSON, who has foreborne it in his Tragedies: for both the death of
SEJANUS and CATILINE are Related. Though, in the latter, I cannot but
observe one irregularity of that great poet. He has removed the Scene in
the same Act, from Rome to _CATILINE_'s army; and from thence, again to
Rome: and, besides, has allowed a very inconsiderable time after
_CATILINE_'s speech, for the striking of the battle, and the return of
_PETREIUS_, who is to relate the event of it to the Senate. Which I
should not animadvert upon him, who was otherwise a painful observer of
[Greek: to prepon] or the Decorum of the Stage: if he had not used
extreme severity in his judgement [_in his 'Discoveries'_] upon the
incomparable SHAKESPEARE, for the same fault.

"To conclude on this subject of Relations, if we are to be blamed for
showing too much of the Action; the French are as faulty for discovering
too little of it. A mean betwixt both, should be observed by every
judicious writer, so as the audience may neither be left unsatisfied, by
not seeing what is beautiful; or shocked, by beholding what is either
incredible or indecent.

"I hope I have already proved in this discourse, that though we are not
altogether so punctual as the French, in observing the laws of Comedy:
yet our errors are so few, and [so] little; and those things wherein we
excel them so considerable, that we ought, of right, to be preferred
before them.

"But what will LISIDEIUS say? if they themselves acknowledge they are too
strictly tied up by those laws: for the breaking which, he has blamed the
English? I will allege CORNEILLE's words, as I find them in the end of
this _Discourse_ of _The three Unities_. _Il est facile aux speculatifs
d'être severe, &c_. ''Tis easy, for speculative people to judge severely:
but if they would produce to public view, ten or twelve pieces of this
nature; they would, perhaps, give more latitude to the Rules, than I have
done: when, by experience, they had known how much we are bound up, and
constrained by them, and how many beauties of the Stage they banished
from it.'

"To illustrate, a little, what he has said. By their servile imitations
of the UNITIES of TIME and PLACE, and INTEGRITY OF SCENES they have
brought upon themselves the Dearth of Plot and Narrowness of Imagination
which may be observed in all their Plays.

"How many beautiful accidents might naturally happen in two or three
days; which cannot arrive, with any probability, in the compass of
twenty-four hours? There is time to be allowed, also, for maturity of
design: which, amongst great and prudent persons, such as are often
represented in Tragedy, cannot, with any likelihood of truth, be brought
to pass at so short a warning.

"Farther, by tying themselves strictly to the UNITY OF PLACE and UNBROKEN
SCENES; they are forced, many times, to omit some beauties which cannot be
shown where the Act began: but might, if the Scene were interrupted, and
the Stage cleared, for the persons to enter in another place. And
therefore, the French Poets are often forced upon absurdities. For if the
Act begins in a Chamber, all the persons in the Play must have some
business or other to come thither; or else they are not to be shown in
that Act: and sometimes their characters are very unfitting to appear
there. As, suppose it were the King's Bedchamber; yet the meanest man in
the Tragedy, must come and despatch his business there, rather than in
the Lobby or Courtyard (which is [_were_] fitter for him), for fear the
Stage should be cleared, and the Scenes broken.

"Many times, they fall, by it, into a greater inconvenience: for they
keep their Scenes Unbroken; and yet Change the Place. As, in one of their
newest Plays [_i.e., before 1665_]. Where the Act begins in a Street:
there, a gentleman is to meet his friend; he sees him, with his man,
coming out from his father's house; they talk together, and the first
goes out. The second, who is a lover, has made an appointment with his
mistress: she appears at the Window; and then, we are to imagine the
Scene lies under it. This gentleman is called away, and leaves his
servant with his mistress. Presently, her father is heard from within.
The young lady is afraid the servingman should be discovered; and thrusts
him through a door, which is supposed to be her Closet [_Boudoir_]. After
this, the father enters to the daughter; and now the Scene is in a House:
for he is seeking, from one room to another, for his poor _PHILIPIN_ or
French _DIEGO_: who is heard from within, drolling, and breaking many a
miserable conceit upon his sad condition. In this ridiculous manner, the
Play goes on; the Stage being never empty all the while. So that the
Street, the Window, the two Houses, and the Closet are made to walk
about, and the Persons to stand still!

"Now, what, I beseech you! is more easy than to write a regular French
Play? or more difficult than to write an irregular English one, like

"If they content themselves, as CORNEILLE did, with some flat design,
which (like an ill riddle) is found out ere it be half proposed; such
Plots, we can make every way regular, as easily as they: but whene'er
they endeavour to rise up to any quick Turns or Counter-turns of Plot, as
some of them have attempted, since CORNEILLE's _Plays_ have been less in
vogue; you see they write as irregularly as we! though they cover it more
speciously. Hence the reason is perspicuous, why no French plays, when
translated, have, or ever can succeed upon the English Stage. For, if you
consider the Plots, our own are fuller of variety; if the Writing, ours
are more quick, and fuller of spirit: and therefore 'tis a strange
mistake in those who decry the way of writing Plays in Verse; as if the
English therein imitated the French.

"We have borrowed nothing from them. Our Plots are weaved in English
looms. We endeavour, therein, to follow the variety and greatness of
Characters, which are derived to us from SHAKESPEARE and FLETCHER, The
copiousness and well knitting of the Intrigues, we have from JOHNSON. And
for the Verse itself, we have English precedents, of elder date than any
of CORNEILLE's plays. Not to name our old Comedies before SHAKESPEARE,
which are all writ in verse of six feet or Alexandrines, such as the
French now use: I can show in SHAKESPEARE, many Scenes of Rhyme together;
and the like in BEN. JOHNSON's tragedies. In _CATILINE_ and _SEJANUS_,
sometimes, thirty or forty lines. I mean, besides the Chorus or the
Monologues; which, by the way, showed BEN. no enemy to this way of
writing: especially if you look upon his _Sad Shepherd_, which goes
sometimes upon rhyme, sometimes upon blank verse; like a horse, who eases
himself upon trot and amble. You find him, likewise, commending FLETCHER's
pastoral of the _Faithful Shepherdess_: which is, for the most part, [in]
Rhyme; though not refined to that purity, to which it hath since been
brought. And these examples are enough to clear us from, a servile
imitation of the French.

"But to return, from whence I have digressed. I dare boldly affirm these
two things of the English Drama,

    "First. That we have many Plays of ours as regular as any of theirs;
    and which, besides, have more variety of Plot and Characters. And

    "Secondly. That in most of the irregular Plays of SHAKESPEARE or
    FLETCHER (for BEN. JOHNSON's are for the most part regular), there
    is a more masculine Fancy, and greater Spirit in all the Writing,
    than there is in any of the French.

"I could produce, even in SHAKESPEARE's and FLETCHER's _Works_, some
Plays which are almost exactly formed; as the _Merry Wives of Windsor_
and the _Scornful Lady_. But because, generally speaking, SHAKESPEARE,
who writ first, did not perfectly observe the laws of Comedy; and
FLETCHER, who came nearer to perfection [_in this respect_], yet, through
carelessness, made many faults: I will take the pattern of a perfect Play
from BEN. JOHNSON, who was a careful and learned observer of the Dramatic
Laws; and, from all his Comedies, I shall select the _Silent Woman_ [p.
597], of which I will make a short examen [_examination_], according to
those Rules which the French observe."

As NEANDER was beginning to examine the _Silent Woman_: EUGENIUS, looking
earnestly upon him, "I beseech you, NEANDER!" said he, "gratify the
company, and me in particular, so far, as, before you speak of the Play,
to give us a Character of the Author: and tell us, frankly, your opinion!
whether you do not think all writers, both French and English, ought to
give place to him?"

"I fear," replied NEANDER, "that in obeying your commands, I shall draw a
little envy upon myself. Besides, in performing them, it will be first
necessary to speak somewhat of SHAKESPEARE and FLETCHER his Rivals in
Poesy; and one of them, in my opinion, at least his Equal, perhaps his

"To begin then with SHAKESPEARE. He was the man, who, of all Modern and
perhaps Ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive Soul [p.
540]. All the Images of Nature [pp. 528, 533] were still present
[_apparent_] to him [p. 489]: and he drew them not laboriously, but
luckily [_felicitously_]. When he describes anything; you more than see
it, you feel it too. Those who accuse him to have wanted learning; give
him the greater commendation. He was naturally learned. He needed not the
spectacles of books, to read Nature; he looked inwards, and found her
there. I cannot say, he is everywhere alike. Were he so; I should do him
injury to compare him [_even_] with the greatest of mankind. He is many
times flat, insipid: his comic wit degenerating into clenches; his
serious swelling, into bombast.

"But he is always great, when some great occasion is presented to him. No
man can say, he ever had a fit subject for his wit, and did not then raise
himself as high above the rest of poets,

    "_Quantum lenta solent, inter viberna cupressi._

"The consideration of this, made Mr. HALES, of Eton, say, 'That there was
no subject of which any poet ever writ; but he would produce it much
better treated of in SHAKESPEARE.' And however others are, now, generally
preferred before him; yet the Age wherein he lived (which had
contemporaries with him, FLETCHER and JOHNSON) never equalled them to
him, in their esteem. And in the last King's [_CHARLES I._] Court, when
BEN.'s reputation was at [the] highest; Sir JOHN SUCKLING, and with him,
the greater part of the Courtiers, set our SHAKESPEARE far above him.

"BEAUMONT and FLETCHER (of whom I am next to speak), had, with the
advantage of SHAKESPEARE's wit, which was their precedent, great natural
gifts improved by study. BEAUMONT, especially, being so accurate a judge
of plays, that BEN. JOHNSON, while he [_i.e., BEAUMONT_] lived, submitted
all his writings to his censure; and,'tis thought, used his judgement in
correcting, if not contriving all his plots. What value he had for
[_i.e., attached to_] him, appears by the verses he writ to him: and
therefore I need speak no farther of it.

"The first Play which brought FLETCHER and him in esteem, was their
_PHILASTER_. For, before that, they had written two or three very
unsuccessfully: as the like is reported of BEN. JOHNSON, before he writ
_Every Man in his Humour_ [_acted in_ 1598]. Their Plots were generally
more regular than SHAKESPEARE's, especially those which were made before
BEAUMONT's death: and they understood, and imitated the conversation of
gentlemen [_in the conventional sense in which it was understood in
DRYDEN's time_], much better [_i.e., than SHAKESPEARE_]; whose wild
debaucheries, and quickness of wit in repartees, no Poet can ever paint
as they have done.

"This Humour, which BEN. JOHNSON derived from particular persons; they
made it not their business to describe. They represented all the passions
very lively; but, above all, Love.

"I am apt to believe the English language, in them, arrived to its
highest perfection. What words have since been taken in, are rather
superfluous than necessary.

"Their Plays are now the most pleasant and frequent entertainments of the
Stage; two of theirs being acted through the year, for one of
SHAKESPEARE's or JOHNSON's. The reason is because there is a certain
Gaiety in their Comedies, and Pathos in their more serious Plays, which
suit generally with all men's humours, SHAKESPEARE's Language is likewise
a little obsolete; and BEN. JOHNSON's Wit comes short of theirs.

"As for JOHNSON, to whose character I am now arrived; if we look upon
him, while he was himself (for his last Plays were but his dotages) I
think him the most learned and judicious Writer which any _Theatre_ ever
had. He was a most severe judge of himself, as well as others. One cannot
say he wanted Wit; but rather, that he was frugal of it [p. 572]. In his
works, you find little to retrench or alter.

"Wit and Language, and Humour also in some measure, we had before him;
but something of Art was wanting to the Drama, till he came. He managed
his strength to more advantage than any who preceded him. You seldom find
him making love in any of his Scenes, or endeavouring to move the
passions: his genius was too sullen and saturnine to do it gracefully;
especially when he knew, he came after those who had performed both to
such a height. Humour was his proper sphere; and in that, he delighted
most to represent mechanic [_uncultivated_] people.

"He was deeply conversant in the Ancients, both Greek and Latin; and he
borrowed boldly from them. There is scarce a Poet or Historian, among the
Roman authors of those times, whom he has not translated in _SEJANUS_ and
_CATILINE_: but he has done his robberies so openly, that one may see he
fears not to be taxed by any law. He invades authors, like a Monarch; and
what would be Theft in other Poets, is only Victory in him. With the
spoils of these Writers, he so represents old Rome to us, in its rites,
ceremonies, and customs; that if one of their own poets had written
either of his Tragedies, we had seen less of it than in him.

"If there was any fault in his Language, 'twas that he weaved it too
closely and laboriously in his serious Plays. Perhaps, too, he did a
little too much Romanize our tongue; leaving the words which he
translated, almost as much Latin as he found them: wherein, though he
learnedly followed the idiom of their language, he did not enough comply
with ours.

"If I would compare him with SHAKESPEARE, I must acknowledge him, the
more correct Poet; but SHAKESPEARE, the greater Wit. SHAKESPEARE was the
HOMER, or Father of our Dramatic Poets; JOHNSON was the VIRGIL, the
pattern of elaborate writing. I admire him; but I love SHAKESPEARE.

"To conclude of him. As he has given us the most correct Plays; so in the
Precepts which he has laid down in his _Discoveries_, we have as many and
profitable Rules as any wherewith the French can furnish us.

"Having thus spoken of this author; I proceed to the examination of his
Comedy, the _Silent Woman_.

"_Examen of the Silent Woman._

"To begin, first, with the Length of the Action. It is so far from
exceeding the compass of a natural day, that it takes not up an
artificial one. 'Tis all included in the limits of three hours and a
half; which is no more than is required for the presentment
[_representation of it_] on the Stage. A beauty, perhaps, not much
observed. If it had [been]; we should not have looked upon the Spanish
Translation [_i.e., the adaptation from the Spanish_] of _Five Hours_
[pp. 533, 541], with so much wonder.

"The Scene of it is laid in London. The Latitude of Place is almost as
little as you can imagine: for it lies all within the compass of two
houses; and, after the First Act, in one.

"The Continuity of Scenes is observed more than in any of our Plays,
excepting his own _Fox_ and _Alchemist_, They are not broken above twice,
or thrice at the most, in the whole Comedy: and in the two best of
CORNEILLE's Plays, the _CID_ and _CINNA_, they are interrupted once a

"The Action of the Play is entirely One: the end or aim of which, is the
settling _MQROSE's_ estate on _DAUPHINE_.

"The Intrigue of it is the greatest and most noble of any pure unmixed
Comedy in any language. You see in it, many persons of various Characters
and Humours; and all delightful.

"As first, _MOROSE_, an old man, to whom all noise, but his own talking,
is offensive. Some, who would be thought critics, say, 'This humour of
his is forced.' But, to remove that objection, we may consider him,
first, to be naturally of a delicate hearing, as many are, to whom all
sharp sounds are unpleasant: and, secondly, we may attribute much of it
to the peevishness of his age, or the wayward authority of an old man in
his own house, where he may make himself obeyed; and this the Poet seems
to allude to, in his name _MOROSE_. Besides this, I am assured from
divers persons, that BEN. JOHNSON was actually acquainted with such a
man, one altogether as ridiculous as he is here represented.

"Others say, 'It is not enough, to find one man of such an humour. It
must he common to more; and the more common, the more natural.' To prove
this, they instance in the best of comical characters, _FALSTAFF_. There
are many men resembling him; Old, Fat, Merry, Cowardly, Drunken, Amorous,
Vain, and Lying. But to convince these people; I need but [to] tell them,
that _Humour is the ridiculous extravagance of conversation, wherein one
man differs from all others_. If then it be common, or communicated to
any; how differs it from other men's? or what indeed causes it to be
ridiculous, so much as the singularity of it. As for _FALSTAFF_, he is
not properly one Humour; but a Miscellany of Humours or Images drawn from
so many several men. That wherein he is singular is his Wit, or those
things he says, _praeter expectatum_, 'unexpected by the audience'; his
quick evasions, when you imagine him surprised: which, as they are
extremely diverting of themselves, so receive a great addition from his
person; for the very sight of such an unwieldy old debauched fellow is a
Comedy alone.

"And here, having a place so proper for it, I cannot but enlarge somewhat
upon this subject of Humour, into which I am fallen.

"The Ancients had little of it in their Comedies: for the [Greek: no
geloiou] [_facetious absurdities_] of the Old Comedy, of which
ARISTOPHANES was chief, was not so much to imitate a man; as to make the
people laugh at some odd conceit, which had commonly somewhat of
unnatural or obscene in it. Thus, when you see _SOCRATES_ brought upon
the Stage, you are not to imagine him made ridiculous by the imitation of
his actions: but rather, by making him perform something very unlike
himself; something so childish and absurd, as, by comparing it with the
gravity of the true SOCRATES, makes a ridiculous object for the

"In the New Comedy which succeeded, the Poets sought, indeed, to express
the [Greek: aethos] [_manners and habits_]; as in their Tragedies, the
[Greek: pathos] [_sufferings_] of mankind. But this [Greek: aethos]
contained only the general characters of men and manners; as [of] Old
Men, Lovers, Servingmen, Courtizans, Parasites, and such other persons as
we see in their Comedies. All which, they made alike: that is, one Old Man
or Father, one Lover, one Courtizan so like another, as if the first of
them had begot the rest of every [_each_] sort. _Ex homine hunc natum
dicas_. The same custom they observed likewise in their Tragedies.

"As for the French. Though they have the word _humeur_ among them: yet
they have small use of it in their Comedies or Farces: they being but ill
imitations of the _ridiculum_ or that which stirred up laughter in the Old
Comedy. But among the English, 'tis otherwise. Where, by Humour is meant
_some extravagant habit, passion, or affection, particular_, as I said
before, _to some one person, by the oddness of which, he is immediately
distinguished from the rest of men_: which, being lively and naturally
represented, most frequently begets that malicious pleasure in the
audience, which is testified by laughter: as all things which are
deviations from common customs, are ever the aptest to produce it.
Though, by the way, this Laughter is only accidental, as the person
represented is fantastic or bizarre; but Pleasure is essential to it, as
the Imitation of what is natural. This description of these Humours[9],
drawn from the knowledge and observation of particular persons, was the
peculiar genius and talent of BEN. JOHNSON. To whose Play, I now return.

"Besides _MOROSE_, there are, at least, nine or ten different Characters
and Humours in the _Silent Woman_: all which persons have several
concernments of their own; yet are all used by the Poet to the conducting
of the main Design to perfection.

"I shall not waste time in commending the Writing of this Play: but I
will give you my opinion, that there is more Wit and Acuteness of Fancy
in it, than in any of BEN. JOHNSON's. Besides that, he has here described
the conversation of gentlemen, in the persons of _TRUE WIT_ and his
friends, with more gaiety, air, and freedom than in the rest of his

"For the Contrivance of the Plot: tis extreme[ly] elaborate; and yet,
withal, easy. For the [Greek: _desis_], or Untying of it: 'tis so
admirable, that, when it is done, no one of the audience would think the
Poet could have missed it; and yet, it was concealed so much before the
last Scene, that any other way would sooner have entered into your

"But I dare not take upon me, to commend the Fabric of it; because it is
altogether so full of Art, that I must unravel every Scene in it, to
commend it as I ought. And this excellent contrivance is still the more
to be admired; because 'tis [a] Comedy where the persons are only of
common rank; and their business, private; not elevated by passions or
high concernments as in serious Plays. Here, every one is a proper judge
of what he sees. Nothing is represented but that with which he daily
converses: so that, by consequence, all faults lie open to discovery; and
few are pardonable. 'Tis this, which HORACE has judiciously observed--

    "_Creditur ex medio quia res arcessit habere
    Sudoris minimum, sed habet Comedia tanto
    Plus oneris, quanto venice minus._

"But our Poet, who was not ignorant of these difficulties, had prevailed
[? _availed_] himself of all advantages; as he who designs a large leap,
takes his rise from the highest ground.

"One of these Advantages is that, which CORNEILLE has laid down as _the
greatest which can arrive_ [happen] _to any Poem_; and which he, himself,
could never compass, above thrice, in all his plays, viz., _the making
choice of some signal and long expected day; whereon the action of the
Play is to depend_. This day was that designed by _DAUPHINE_, for the
settling of his uncle's estate upon him: which to compass, he contrives
to marry him. That the marriage had been plotted by him, long beforehand,
is made evident, by what he tells _TRUE WIT_, in the Second Act, that 'in
one moment, he [_TRUE WIT_] had destroyed what he had been raising many

"There is another artifice of the Poet, which I cannot here omit;
because, by the frequent practice of it in his Comedies, he has left it
to us, almost as a Rule: that is, _when he has any Character or Humour,
wherein he would show a_ coup de maître _or his highest skill; he
recommends it to your observation by a pleasant description of it, before
the person first appears_. Thus, in _Bartholomew Fair_, he gives you the
picture of _NUMPS and COKES_; and in this, those of _DAW, LAFOOLE,
MOROSE_, and the _Collegiate Ladies_: all which you hear described,
before you, see them. So that, before they come upon the Stage, you have
a longing expectation of them; which prepares you to receive them
favourably: and when they are there, even from their first appearance,
you are so far acquainted with them, that nothing of their humour is lost
to you.

"I will observe yet one thing further of this admirable Plot. The
business of it rises in every Act. The Second is greater than the First;
the Third, than the Second: and so forward, to the Fifth. There, too, you
see, till the very last Scene, new difficulties arising to obstruct the
Action of the Play: and when the audience is brought into despair that
the business can naturally be effected; then, and not before, the
Discovery is made.

"But that the Poet might entertain you with more variety, all this while;
he reserves some new Characters to show you, which he opens not till the
Second and Third Acts, In the Second, _MOROSE, DAW, the Barber_, and
_OTTER_; in the Third, the _Collegiate Ladies_, All which, he moves,
afterwards, in by-walks or under-plots, as diversions to the main Design,
least it grow tedious: though they are still naturally joined with it;
and, somewhere or other, subservient to it. Thus, like a skilful chess
player, by little and little, he draws out his men; and makes his pawns
of use to his greater persons.

"If this Comedy and some others of his, were translated into French prose
(which would now be no wonder to them, since MOLIERE has lately given them
Plays out of Verse; which have not displeased them), I believe the
controversy would soon be decided betwixt the two nations: even making
them, the judges.

"But we need not call our heroes to our aid. Be it spoken to the honour
of the English! our nation can never want, in any age, such, who are able
to dispute the Empire of Wit with any people in the universe. And though
the fury of a Civil War, and power (for twenty years together [1640-1660
A.D.]) abandoned to a barbarous race of men, enemies of all good
learning[10], had buried the Muses under the ruins of Monarchy: yet, with
the Restoration of our happiness [1660], we see revived Poesy lifting up
its head, and already shaking off the rubbish, which lay so heavy upon it.

"We have seen, since His Majesty's return, many Dramatic Poems which
yield not to those of any foreign nation, and which deserve all laurels
but the English. I will set aside flattery and envy. It cannot be denied
but we have had some little blemish, either in the Plot or Writing of all
those plays which have been made within these seven years; and, perhaps,
there is no nation in the world so quick to discern them, or so difficult
to pardon them, as ours: yet, if we can persuade ourselves to use the
candour of that Poet [_HORACE_], who, though the most severe of critics,
has left us this caution, by which to moderate our censures.

    "_Ubi plum nitent in carmine non ego paucis offendar maculis._

"If, in consideration of their many and great beauties, we can wink at
some slight and little imperfections; if we, I say, can be thus equal to
ourselves: I ask no favour from the French.

"And if I do not venture upon any particular judgement of our late Plays:
'tis out of the consideration which an ancient writer gives me. _Vivorum,
ut magna admiratio ita censura difficilis_; 'betwixt the extremes of
admiration and malice, 'tis hard to judge uprightly of the living.' Only,
I think it may be permitted me to say, that as it is no lessening to us,
to yield to some Plays (and those not many) of our nation, in the last
Age: so can it be no addition, to pronounce of our present Poets, that
_they have far surpassed all the Ancients, and the Modern Writers of
other countries_."

This, my Lord! [_i.e., the Dedicatee, the Lord BUCKHURST, p. 503] was the
substance of what was then spoke, on that occasion: and LISIDEIUS, I
think, was going to reply; when he was prevented thus by CRITES.

"I am confident," said he, "the most material things that can be said,
have been already urged, on either side. If they have not; I must beg of
LISIDEIUS, that he will defer his answer till another time. For I confess
I have a joint quarrel to you both: because you have concluded [pp. 539,
548], without any reason given for it, that _Rhyme is proper for the

"I will not dispute how ancient it hath been among us to write this way.
Perhaps our ancestors knew no better, till SHAKESPEARE's time, I will
grant, it was not altogether left by him; and that PLETCHER and BEN
JOHNSON used it frequently in their Pastorals, and sometimes in other

"Farther; I will not argue, whether we received it originally from our
own countrymen, or from the French. For that is an inquiry of as little
benefit as theirs, who, in the midst of the Great Plague [1665], were not
so solicitous to provide against it; as to know whether we had it from the
malignity of our own air, or by transportation from Holland.

"I have therefore only to affirm that _it is not allowable in serious
Plays._ For Comedies, I find you are already concluding with me.

"To prove this, I might satisfy myself to tell you, _how much in vain it
is, for you, to strive against the stream of the People's inclination!_
the greatest part of whom, are prepossessed so much with those excellent
plays of SHAKESPEARE, FLETCHER, and BEN. JOHNSON, which have been written
_out_ of Rhyme, that (except you could bring them such as were written
better _in_ it; and those, too, by persons of equal reputation with them)
it will be impossible for you to gain your cause with them: who will
(still) be judges. This it is to which, in fine, all your reasons must
submit. The unanimous consent of an audience is so powerful, that even
JULIUS CAESAR (as MACROBIOS reports of him), when he, was Perpetual
Dictator, was not able to balance it, on the other side: but when
LABERIUS, a Roman knight, at his request, contended in the _Mime_ with
another poet; he was forced to cry out, _Etiam favente me victus es

"But I will not, on this occasion, take the advantage of the greater
number; but only urge such reasons against Rhyme, as I find in the
writings of those who have argued for the other way.

"First, then, I am of opinion, that Rhyme is unnatural in a Play, because
_Dialogue,_ there, _is presented as the effect of sudden thought._ For a
Play is the Imitation of Nature: and since no man, without premeditation,
speaks in rhyme; neither ought he to do it on the Stage. This hinders not
but the Fancy may be, there, elevated to a higher pitch of thought than
it is in ordinary discourse; for there is a probability that men of
excellent and quick parts, may speak noble things _ex tempore_: but those
thoughts are never fettered with the numbers and sound of Verse, without
study; and therefore it cannot be but unnatural, _to present the most
free way of speaking, in that which is the most constrained_.

"'For this reason,' says ARISTOTLE, ''tis best, to write Tragedy in that
kind of Verse, which is the least such, or which is nearest Prose': and
this, among the Ancients, was the _Iambic_; and with us, is _Blank Verse,
or the Measure of Verse kept exactly, without rhyme_. These numbers,
therefore, are fittest for a Play: the others [_i.e., Rhymed Verse_] for
a paper of Verses, or a Poem [p. 566]. Blank Verse being as much below
them, as Rhyme is improper for the Drama: and, if it be objected that
neither are Blank Verses made _ex tempore_; yet, as nearest Nature, they
are still to be preferred.

"But there are two particular exceptions [_objections_], which many,
beside myself, have had to Verse [_i.e., in rhyme_]; by which it will
appear yet more plainly, how improper it is in Plays. And the first of
them is grounded upon that very reason, for which some have commended
Rhyme. They say, 'The quickness of Repartees in argumentative scenes,
receives an ornament from Verse [pp. 492, 498].' Now, _what is more
unreasonable than to imagine that a man should not only light upon the
Wit, but the Rhyme too; upon the sudden_? This nicking of him, who spoke
before, both in Sound and Measure, is so great a happiness [_felicity_],
that you must, at least, suppose the persons of your Play to be poets,
_Arcades omnes et cantare pares et respondere parati_. They must have
arrived to the degree of _quicquid conabar dicere_, to make verses,
almost whether they will or not.

"If they are anything below this, it will look rather like the design of
two, than the answer of one. It will appear that your Actors hold
intelligence together; that they perform their tricks, like fortune
tellers, by confederacy. The hand of Art will be too visible in it,
against that maxim of all professions, _Ars est celare artem_; 'that it
is the greatest perfection of Art, to keep itself undiscovered.'

"Nor will it serve you to object, that however you manage it, 'tis still
known to be a Play; and consequently the dialogue of two persons,
understood to be the labour of one Poet. For a Play is still an Imitation
of Nature. We know we are to be deceived, and we desire to be so; but no
man ever was deceived, but with a _probability of Truth_; for who will
suffer a gross lie to be fastened upon him? Thus, we sufficiently
understand that the scenes [_i.e., the scenery which was just now coming
into use on the English Stage_], which represent cities and countries to
us, are not really such, but only painted on boards and canvas. But shall
that excuse the ill painture [_painting_] or designment of them? Nay
rather, ought they not to be laboured with so much the more diligence and
exactness, to help the Imagination? since the Mind of Man doth naturally
bend to, and seek after Truth; and therefore the nearer anything comes to
the Imitation of it, the more it pleases.

"Thus, you see! your Rhyme is incapable of expressing the greatest
thoughts, naturally; and the lowest, it cannot, with any grace. For what
is more unbefitting the majesty of Verse, than 'to call a servant,' or
'bid a door be shut' in Rhyme? And yet, this miserable necessity you are
forced upon!

"'But Verse,' you say, 'circumscribes a quick and luxuriant Fancy, which
would extend itself too far, on every subject; did not the labour which
is required to well-turned and polished Rhyme, set bounds to it [pp.
492-493]. Yet this argument, if granted, would only prove, that _we may
write better in Verse_, but not _more naturally_.

"Neither is it able to evince that. For he who _wants_ judgement to
confine his Fancy, in Blank Verse; may want it as well, in Rhyme: and he
who has it, will avoid errors in both kinds [pp. 498, 571], Latin Verse
was as great a confinement to the imagination of those poets, as Rhyme to
ours: and yet, you find OVID saying too much on every subject.

"_Nescivit_, says SENECA, _quod bene cessit relinquere_: of which he
[OVID] gives you one famous instance in his description of the Deluge.

    "_Omnia pontus erat, deerant quoque litora ponto._
    Now all was sea; nor had that sea a shore.

"Thus OVID's Fancy was not limited by Verse; and VIRGIL needed not Verse
to have bounded his.

"In our own language, we see BEN. JOHNSON confining himself to what ought
to be said, even in the liberty of Blank Verse; and yet CORNEILLE, the
most judicious of the French poets, is still varying the same Sense a
hundred ways, and dwelling eternally upon the same subject, though
confined by Rhyme.

"Some other exceptions, I have to Verse; but these I have named, being,
for the most part, already public: I conceive it reasonable they should,
first, be answered."

"It concerns me less than any," said NEANDER, seeing he had ended, "to
reply to this discourse, because when I should have proved that Verse may
be _natural_ in Plays; yet I should always be ready to confess that those
which I [_i.e., DRYDEN, see_ pp. 503, 566] have written in this kind,
come short of that perfection which is required. Yet since you are
pleased I should undertake this province, I will do it: though, with all
imaginable respect and deference both to that Person [_i.e., SIR ROBERT
HOWARD, see_ p. 494] from whom you have borrowed your strongest
arguments; and to whose judgement, when I have said all, I finally submit.

"But before I proceed to answer your objections; I must first remember
you, that I exclude all Comedy from my defence; and next, that I deny not
but Blank Verse may be also used: and content myself only to assert that
_in serious Plays_, where the Subject and Characters are great, and the
Plot unmixed with mirth (which might allay or divert these concernments
which are produced), _Rhyme is there, as natural, and more effectual than
Blank Verse_.

"And now having laid down this as a foundation: to begin with CRITES, I
must crave leave to tell him, that some of his arguments against Rhyme,
reach no farther that from _the faults or defects of ill Rhyme_ to
conclude against _the use of it in general_ [p. 598]. May not I conclude
against Blank Verse, by the same reason? If the words of some Poets, who
write in it, are either ill-chosen or ill-placed; which makes not only
Rhyme, but all kinds of Verse, in any language, unnatural: shall I, for
their virtuous affectation, condemn those excellent lines of FLETCHER,
which are written in that kind? Is there anything in Rhyme more
constrained, than this line in Blank Verse?

    "I, heaven invoke! and strong resistance make.

"Where you see both the clauses are placed unnaturally; that is, contrary
to the common way of speaking, and that, without the excuse of a rhyme to
cause it: yet you would think me very ridiculous, if I should accuse the
stubbornness of Blank Verse for this; and not rather, the stiffness of
the Poet. Therefore, CRITES! you must either prove that _words, though
well chosen and duly placed, yet render not Rhyme natural in itself_; or
that, _however natural and easy the Rhyme may be, yet it is not proper
for a Play_.

"If you insist on the former part; I would ask you what other conditions
are required to make Rhyme natural in itself, besides an election of apt
words, and a right disposing of them? For the due _choice_ of your words
expresses your Sense naturally, and the due _placing_ them adapts the
Rhyme to it.

"If you object that _one verse may be made for the sake of another,
though both the words and rhyme be apt_, I answer it cannot possibly so
fall out. For either there is a dependence of sense betwixt the first
line and the second; or there is none. If there be that connection, then,
in the natural position of the words, the latter line must, of necessity,
flow from the former: if there be no dependence, yet, still, the due
ordering of words makes the last line as natural in itself as the other.
So that the necessity of a rhyme never forces any but bad or lazy
writers, to say what they would not otherwise.

"'Tis true, there is both care and art required to write in Verse. A good
Poet never concludes upon the first line, till he has sought out such a
rhyme as may fit the Sense already prepared, to heighten the second. Many
times, the Close of the Sense falls into the middle of the next verse, or
farther off; and he may often prevail [_avail_] himself of the same
advantages in English, which VIRGIL had in Latin; he may break off in the
hemistich, and begin another line.

"Indeed, the not observing these two last things, makes Plays that are
writ in Verse so tedious: for though, most commonly, the Sense is to be
confined to the Couplet; yet, nothing that does _perpetuo tenore fluere_,
'run in the same channel,' can please always. 'Tis like the murmuring of a
stream: which, not varying in the fall, causes at first attention; at
last, drowsiness. VARIETY OF CADENCES is the best Rule; the greatest help
to the Actors, and refreshment to the Audience.

"If, then, Verse may be made _natural in itself; how becomes it improper
to a Play_? You say, 'The Stage is the Representation of Nature, and no
man, in ordinary conversation, speaks in Rhyme': but you foresaw, when
you said this, that it might be answered, 'Neither does any man speak in
Blank Verse, or in measure without Rhyme!' therefore you concluded, 'That
which is nearest Nature is still to be preferred.' But you took no notice
that Rhyme might be made as natural as Blank Verse, by the well placing
of the words, &c. All the difference between them, when they are both
correct, is the sound in one, which the other wants: and if so, the
sweetness of it, and all the advantages resulting from it which are
handled in the _Preface_ to the _Rival Ladies_ [pp. 487-493], will yet
stand good.

"As for that place of ARISTOTLE, where he says, 'Plays should be writ in
that kind of Verse which is nearest Prose': it makes little for you,
Blank Verse being, properly, but Measured Prose.

"Now Measure, alone, in any modern language, does not constitute Verse.
Those of the Ancients, in Greek and Latin, consisted in Quantity of
Words, and a determinate number of Feet. But when, by the inundations of
the Goths and Vandals, into Italy, new languages were brought in, and
barbarously mingled with the Latin, of which, the Italian, Spanish,
French, and ours (made out of them, and the Teutonic) are dialects: a New
Way of Poesy was practised, new, I say, in those countries; for, in all
probability, it was that of the conquerors in their own nations. The New
Way consisted of Measure or Number of Feet, _and_ Rhyme. The sweetness of
Rhyme and observation of Accent, supplying the place of Quantity in Words:
which could neither exactly be observed by those Barbarians who knew not
the Rules of it; neither was it suitable to their tongues, as it had been
to the Greek and Latin.

"No man is tied in Modern Poesy, to observe any farther Rules in the Feet
of his Verse, but that they be dissyllables (whether Spondee, Trochee, or
Iambic, it matters not); only he is obliged to Rhyme. Neither do the
Spanish, French, Italians, or Germans acknowledge at all, or very rarely,
any such kind of Poesy as Blank Verse among them. Therefore, at most, 'tis
but a Poetic Prose, _a sermo pedestris_; and, as such, most fit for
Comedies: where I acknowledge Rhyme to be improper.

"Farther, as to that quotation of ARISTOTLE, our Couplet Verses may be
rendered _as near_ Prose, as Blank Verse itself; by using those
advantages I lately named, as Breaks in the Hemistich, or Running the
Sense into another line: thereby, making Art and Order appear as loose
and free as Nature. Or, not tying ourselves to Couplets strictly, we may
use the benefit of the Pindaric way, practised in the _Siege of Rhodes_;
where the numbers vary, and the rhyme is disposed carelessly, and far
from often chiming.

"Neither is that other advantage of the Ancients to be despised, of
changing the Kind of Verse, when they please, with the change of the
Scene, or some new Entrance. For they confine not themselves always to
Iambics; but extend their liberty to all Lyric Numbers; and sometimes,
even, to Hexameter.

"But I need not go so far, to prove that Rhyme, as it succeeds to all
other offices of Greek and Latin Verse, so especially to this of Plays;
since the custom of all nations, at this day, confirms it. All the
French, Italian, and Spanish Tragedies are generally writ in it; and,
sure[ly], the Universal Consent of the most civilised parts of the world
ought in this, as it doth in other customs, [to] include the rest.

"But perhaps, you may tell me, I have proposed such a way to make Rhyme
_natural_; and, consequently, proper to Plays, as is impracticable; and
that I shall scarce find six or eight lines together in a Play, where the
words are so placed and chosen, as is required to make it _natural_.

"I answer, no Poet need constrain himself, at all times, to it. It is
enough, he makes it his general rule. For I deny not but sometimes there
may be a greatness in placing the words otherwise; and sometimes they may
sound better. Sometimes also, the variety itself is excuse enough. But if,
for the most part, the words be placed, as they are in the negligence of
Prose; it is sufficient to denominate the way _practicable_: for we
esteem that to be such, which, in the trial, oftener succeeds than
misses. And thus far, you may find the practice made good in many Plays:
where, you do not remember still! that if you cannot find six natural
Rhymes together; it will be as hard for you to produce as many lines in
Blank Verse, even among the greatest of our poets, against which I cannot
make some reasonable exception.

"And this, Sir, calls to my remembrance the beginning of your discourse,
where you told us _we should never find the audience favourable to this
kind of writing_, till we could produce as good plays _in_ Rhyme, as BEN.
JOHNSON, FLETCHER, and SHAKESPEARE had writ _out_ of it [p. 558]. But it
is to raise envy to the Living, to compare them with the Dead. They are
honoured, and almost adored by us, as they deserve; neither do I know any
so presumptuous of themselves, as to contend with them. Yet give me leave
to say thus much, without injury to their ashes, that not only we shall
never equal them; but they could never equal themselves, were they to
rise, and write again. We acknowledge them our Fathers in Wit: but they
have ruined their estates themselves before they came to their children's
hands. There is scarce a Humour, a Character, or any kind of Plot; which
they have not blown upon. All comes sullied or wasted to us: and were
they to entertain this Age, they could not make so plenteous treatments
out of such decayed fortunes. This, therefore, will be a good argument to
us, either not to write at all; or to attempt some other way. There are no
Bays to be expected in their walks, _Tentanda via est qua me quoque possum
tollere humo_.

"This way of Writing in Verse, they have only left free to us. Our Age is
arrived to a perfection in it, which they never knew: and which (if we may
guess by what of theirs we have seen in Verse, as the _Faithful
Shepherdess_ and _Sad Shepherd_) 'tis probable they never could have
reached. For the Genius of every Age is different: and though ours excel
in this; I deny not but that to imitate Nature in that perfection which
they did in Prose [_i.e., Blank Verse_] is a greater commendation than to
write in Verse exactly.

"As for what you have added, _that the people are not generally inclined
to like this way_: if it were true, it would be no wonder but betwixt the
shaking off of an old habit, and the introducing of a new, there should be
difficulty. Do we not see them stick to HOPKINS and STERNHOLD's Psalms;
and forsake those of DAVID, I mean SANDYS his Translation of them? If, by
the _people_, you understand the Multitude, the [Greek: _oi polloi_]; 'tis
no matter, what they think! They are sometimes in the right, sometimes in
the wrong. Their judgement is a mere lottery. _Est ubi plebs recte putat,
est ubi peccat_. HORACE says it of the Vulgar, judging Poesy. But if you
mean, the mixed Audience of the Populace and the Noblesse: I dare
confidently affirm, that a great part of the latter sort are already
favourable to Verse; and that no serious Plays, written since the King's
return [_May_ 1660], have been more kindly received by them, than the
_Siege of Rhodes_, the _MUSTAPHA_, the _Indian Queen_ and _Indian
Emperor_. [_See_ p. 503.]

"But I come now to the Inference of your first argument. You said, 'The
dialogue of Plays is presented as the effect of sudden thought; but no
one speaks suddenly or, _ex tempore_, in Rhyme' [p. 498]: and you
inferred from thence, _that Rhyme_, which you acknowledge to be proper to
Epic Poesy [p. 559], _cannot equally be proper to Dramatic; unless we
could suppose all men born so much more than poets, that verses should be
made_ in _them, not_ by _them_.

"It has been formerly urged by you [p. 499] and confessed by me [p. 563]
that 'since no man spoke any kind of verse _ex tempore_; that which was
_nearest_ Nature was to be preferred.' I answer you, therefore, by
distinguishing betwixt what is _nearest_ to the nature of Comedy: which
is the Imitation of common persons and Ordinary Speaking: and, what is
_nearest_ the nature of a serious Play. This last is, indeed, the
Representation of Nature; but 'tis Nature wrought up to an higher pitch.
The Plot, the Characters, the Wit, the Passions, the Descriptions are all
exalted above the level of common converse [_conversation_], as high as
the Imagination of the Poet can carry them, with proportion to
verisimility [_verisimilitude_].

"Tragedy, we know, is wont to Image to us the minds and fortunes of noble
persons: and to pourtray these exactly, Heroic Rhyme is _nearest_ Nature;
as being the noblest kind of Modern Verse.

    "_Indignatur enim privatis, et prope socco,
    Dignis carminibus narrari coena THYESTOE._

"says HORACE. And in another place,

    "_Effutire leveis indigna tragoedia versus._

"Blank Verse is acknowledged to be too low for a Poem, nay more, for a
paper of Verses [pp. 473, 498, 559]; but if too low for an ordinary
Sonnet, how much more for Tragedy! which is, by ARISTOTLE, in the dispute
between the Epic Poesy and the Dramatic, (for many reasons he there
alleges) ranked above it.

"But setting this defence aside, your argument is almost as strong
against the use of Rhyme in Poems, as in Plays. For the Epic way is
everywhere interlaced with Dialogue or Discoursive Scenes: and,
therefore, you must either grant Rhyme to be improper there, which is
contrary to your assertion; or admit it into Plays, by the same title
which you have given it to Poems.

"For though Tragedy be justly preferred above the other, yet there is a
great affinity between them; as may easily be discovered in that
Definition of a Play, which LISIDEIUS gave us [p. 513]. The genus of them
DELIGHT AND BENEFIT OF MANKIND. The Characters and Persons are still the
same, viz., the greatest of both sorts: only the _manner of acquainting
us_ with those actions, passions, and fortunes is different. Tragedy
performs it, _viva voce_, or by Action in Dialogue: wherein it excels the
Epic Poem; which does it, chiefly, by Narration, and therefore is not so
lively an Image of Human Nature. However, the agreement betwixt them is
such, that if Rhyme be proper for one, it must be for the other.

"Verse, 'tis true, is not 'the effect of Sudden Thought.' But this
hinders not, that Sudden Thought may be represented in Verse: since those
thoughts are such, as must be higher than Nature can raise them without
premeditation, especially, to a continuance of them, even out of Verse:
and, consequently, you cannot imagine them, to have been sudden, either
in the Poet or the Actors.

"A Play, as I have said, to be like Nature, is to be set above it; as
statues which are placed on high, are made greater than the life, that
they may descend to the sight, in their just proportion.

"Perhaps, I have insisted too long upon this objection; but the clearing
of it, will make my stay shorter on the rest.

"You tell us, CRITES! that 'Rhyme is most unnatural in Repartees or Short
Replies: when he who answers, it being presumed he knew not what the other
would say, yet makes up that part of the Verse which was left incomplete;
and supplies both the sound and the measure of it. This,' you say, 'looks
rather like the Confederacy of two, than the Answer of one.'

"This, I confess, is an objection which is in every one's mouth, who
loves not Rhyme; but suppose, I beseech you! the Repartee were made only
in Blank Verse; might not part of the same argument be turned against
you? For the measure is as often supplied there, as it is in Rhyme: the
latter half of the hemistich as commonly made up, or a second line
subjoined as a reply to the former; which any one leaf in JOHNSON's Plays
will sufficiently make clear to you.

"You will often find in the Greek Tragedians, and in SENECA; that when a
Scene grows up into the warmth of Repartees, which is the close fighting
of it, the latter part of the trimeter is supplied by him who answers:
and yet it was never observed as a fault in them, by any of the Ancient
or Modern critics. The case is the same in our verse, as it was in
theirs: Rhyme to us, being in lieu of Quantity to them. But if no
latitude is to be allowed a Poet; you take from him, not only his license
of _quidlibet audendi_: but you tie him up in a straighter compass than
you would a Philosopher.

"This is, indeed, _Musas colere severiores_. You would have him follow
Nature, but he must follow her on foot. You have dismounted him from his

"But you tell us 'this supplying the last half of a verse, or adjoining a
whole second to the former, looks more like the Design of two, than the
Answer of one [pp. 498, 559].' Suppose we acknowledge it. How comes this
Confederacy to be more displeasing to you, than a dance which is well
contrived? You see there, the united Design of many persons to make up
one Figure. After they have separated themselves in many petty divisions;
they rejoin, one by one, into the gross. The Confederacy is plain amongst
them; for Chance could never produce anything so beautiful, and yet there
is nothing in it that shocks your sight.

"I acknowledge that the hand of Art appears in Repartee, as, of
necessity, it must in all kind[s] of Verse. But there is, also, the quick
and poignant brevity of it (which is a high Imitation of Nature, in those
sudden gusts of passion) to mingle with it: and this joined with the
cadency and sweetness of the Rhyme, leaves nothing in the Soul of the
Hearer to desire. 'Tis an Art which _appears_; but it _appears_ only like
the shadowings of painture [_painting_], which, being to cause the
rounding of it, cannot be absent: but while that is considered, they are
lost. So while we attend to the other beauties of the Matter, the care
and labour of the Rhyme is carried from us; or, at least, drowned in its
own sweetness, as bees are some times buried in their honey.

"When a Poet has found the Repartee; the last perfection he can add to
it, is to put it into Verse. However good the Thought may be, however apt
the Words in which 'tis couched; yet he finds himself at a little unrest,
while Rhyme is wanting. He cannot leave it, till that comes naturally;
and then is at ease, and sits down contented.

"From Replies, which are the most _elevated_ thoughts of Verse, you pass
to the most _mean_ ones, those which are common with the lowest of
household conversation. In these you say, the majesty of the Verse
suffers. You instance in 'the calling of a servant' or 'commanding a door
to be shut' in Rhyme. This, CRITES! is a good observation of yours; but no
argument. For it proves no more, but that such thoughts should be waved,
as often as may be, by the address of the Poet. But suppose they _are_
necessary in the places where he uses them; yet there is no need to put
them into rhyme. He may place them in the beginning of a verse and break
it off, as unfit (when so debased) for any other use: or granting the
worst, that they require more room than the hemistich will allow; yet
still, there is a choice to be made of best words and least vulgar
(provided they be apt) to express such thoughts.

"Many have blamed Rhyme in general for this fault, when the Poet, with a
little care, might have redressed it: but they do it, with no more
justice, than if English Poesy should be made ridiculous, for the sake of
[JOHN TAYLOR] the Water Poet's rhymes.

"Our language is noble, full, and significant; and I know not why he who
is master of it, may not clothe ordinary things in it, as decently as the
Latin; if he use the same diligence in his choice of words.

"_Delectus verborum origo est eloquentiae_ was the saying of JULIUS
CAESAR; one so curious in his, that none of them can be changed but for
the worse.

"One would think 'Unlock the door!' was a thing as vulgar as could be
spoken; and yet SENECA could make it sound high and lofty, in his Latin--

    "_Reserate clusos regii postes Laris._

"But I turn from this exception, both because it happens not above twice
or thrice in any Play, that those vulgar thoughts are used: and then too,
were there no other apology to be made, yet the necessity of them (which
is, alike, in all kind[s] of writing) may excuse them. Besides that, the
great eagerness and precipitation with which they are spoken, makes us
rather mind the substance than the dress; that for which they are spoken,
rather than what is spoke[n]. For they are always the effect of some hasty
concernment; and something of consequence depends upon them.

"Thus, CRITES! I have endeavoured to answer your objections. It remains
only that I should vindicate an argument for Verse, which you have gone
about to overthrow.

"It had formerly been said [p. 492] that, 'The easiness of Blank Verse
renders the Poet too luxuriant; but that the labour of Rhyme bounds and
circumscribes an over fruitful fancy: the Sense there being commonly
confined to the Couplet; and the words so ordered that the Rhyme
naturally follows them, not they, the Rhyme.'

"To this, you answered, that 'It was no argument to the question in hand:
for the dispute was not which way _a man may write best_; but which is
_most proper for the subject on which he writes_.'

"First. Give me leave, Sir, to remember you! that the argument on which
you raised this objection was only secondary. It was built upon the
hypothesis, that to write in Verse was proper for serious Plays. Which
supposition being granted (as it was briefly made out in that discourse,
by shewing how Verse might be made _natural_): it asserted that this way
of writing was a help to the Poet's judgement, by putting bounds to a
wild, overflowing Fancy. I think therefore it will not be hard for me to
make good what it was to prove.

"But you add, that, 'Were this let pass; yet he who wants judgement in
the liberty of the Fancy, may as well shew the defect of it, when he is
confined to Verse: for he who has judgement, will avoid errors; and he
who has it not will commit them in all kinds of writing.'

"This argument, as you have taken it from a most acute person, so I
confess it carries much weight in it. But by using the word Judgement
here indefinitely, you seem to have put a fallacy upon us. I grant he who
has judgement, that is, so profound, so strong, so infallible a judgement
that he needs no helps to keep it always poised and upright, will commit
no faults; either in Rhyme, or out of it: and, on the other extreme, he
who has a judgement so weak and crazed, that no helps can correct or
amend it, shall write scurvily out of Rhyme; and worse in it. But the
first of these Judgements, is nowhere to be found; and the latter is not
fit to write at all.

"To speak, therefore, of Judgement as it is in the best Poets; they who
have the greatest proportion of it, want other helps than from it within:
as, for example, you would be loath to say that he who was endued with a
sound judgement, had no need of history, geography, or moral philosophy,
to write correctly.

"Judgement is, indeed, the Master Workman in a Play; but he requires many
subordinate hands, many tools to his assistance. And Verse, I affirm to be
one of these. 'Tis a 'Rule and Line' by which he keeps his building
compact and even; which, otherwise, lawless Imagination would raise,
either irregularly or loosely. At least, if the Poet commits errors with
this help; he would make greater and more without it. 'Tis, in short, a
slow and painful, but the surest kind of working.

"OVID, whom you accuse [p. 561] for luxuriancy in Verse, had, perhaps,
been farther guilty of it, had he writ in Prose. And for your instance of
BEN. JOHNSON [p. 561]; who, you say, writ exactly, without the help of
Rhyme: you are to remember, 'tis only an aid to a _luxuriant_ Fancy;
which his was not [p. 551]. As he did not want Imagination; so, none ever
said he had much to spare. Neither was Verse then refined so much, to be a
help to that Age as it is to ours.

"Thus then, the second thoughts being usually the best, as receiving the
maturest digestion from judgement; and the last and most mature product
of those thoughts, being artfull and laboured Verse: it may well be
inferred, that Verse is a great help to a luxuriant Fancy. And this is
what that argument, which you opposed, was to evince."

NEANDER was pursuing this discourse so eagerly that EUGENIUS had called
to him twice or thrice, ere he took notice that the barge stood still;
and that they were at the foot of Somerset Stairs, where they had
appointed it to land.

The company were all sorry to separate so soon, though a great part of
the evening was already spent: and stood a while, looking back upon the
water; which the moonbeams played upon, and made it appear like floating

At last, they went up, through a crowd of French people, who were merrily
dancing in the open air, and nothing concerned for the noise of the guns,
which had alarmed the Town that afternoon.

Walking thence together to the Piazza, they parted there, EUGENIUS and
LISIDEIUS, to some pleasant appointment they had made; and CRITES and
NEANDER to their several lodgings.


 [9] Compare DRYDEN's definition of Humour, with that of Lord MACAULAY,
     in his review of _Diary and Letters of Madame D'ARBLAY (Edinburgh
     Review_, Jan. 1843). E.A. 1880.

[10] Glorious JOHN DRYDEN! thee liest! CROMWELL and his Court were
     no "enemies of all good learning," though they utterly rejected the
     Dramatic branch of it. E.A. 1880.

The Honourable Sir ROBERT HOWARD Auditor of the Exchequer.

Preface to _The great Favourite, or the Duke of LERMA_.

[Published in 1668.]


I cannot plead the usual excuse for publishing this trifle, which is
commonly the subject of most Prefaces, by charging it upon the
importunity of friends; for I confess I was myself willing, at the first
desire of Mr. HERRINGMAN [_the Publisher_], to print it: not for any
great opinion that I had entertained; but for the opinion that others
were pleased to express. Which, being told me by some friends, I was
concerned to let the World judge what subject matter of offence was
contained in it. Some were pleased to believe little of it mine; but they
are both obliging to me, though perhaps not intentionally: the last, by
thinking there was anything in it that was worth so ill designed an envy,
as to place it to another author; the others, perhaps the best bred
Informers, by continuing their displeasure towards me, since I most
gratefully acknowledge to have received some advantage in the opinion of
the sober part of the World, by the loss of theirs.

For the subject, I came accidentally to write upon it. For a gentleman
brought a Play to the King's Company, called, _The Duke of LERMA_; and,
by them, I was desired to peruse it, and return my opinion, "Whether I
thought it fit for the Stage!" After I had read it, I acquainted them
that, "In my judgement, it would not be of much use for such a design,
since the Contrivance scarce would merit the name of a Plot; and some of
that, assisted by a disguise: and it ended abruptly. And on the person of
PHILIP III., there was fixed such a mean Character; and on the daughter of
the Duke of LERMA, such a vicious one: that I could not but judge it unfit
to be presented by any that had a respect, not only to Princes, but
indeed, to either Man or Woman."

And, about that time, being to go in the country, I was persuaded by Mr.
HART to make it my diversion there, that so great a hint might not be
lost, as the Duke of LERMA saving himself, in his last extremity, by his
unexpected disguise: which is as well in the true Story [_history_], as
the old Play. And besides that and the Names; my altering the most part
of the Characters, and the whole Design, made me uncapable to use much
more, though, perhaps, written with higher Style and Thoughts than I
could attain to.

I intend not to trouble myself nor the World any more in such subjects;
but take my leave of these my too long acquaintances: since that little
Fancy and Liberty I once enjoyed, is now fettered in business of more
unpleasant natures. Yet, were I free to apply my thoughts, as my own
choice directed them; I should hardly again venture into the Civil Wars
of Censures.

    _Ubi ... Nullos habitura triumphos_.

In the next place. I must ingeniously confess that the manner of Plays,
which now are in most esteem, is beyond my power to perform [p. 587]; nor
do I condemn, in the least, anything, of what nature soever, that pleases;
since nothing could appear to me a ruder folly, than to censure the
satisfaction of others. I rather blame the unnecessary understanding of
some, that have laboured to give strict Rules to things that are not
mathematical; and, with such eagerness, pursuing their own seeming
reasons, that, at last, we are to apprehend such Argumentative Poets will
grow as strict as SANCHO PANZA's Doctor was, to our very appetites: for in
the difference of Tragedy and Comedy, and of Fars [_farce_] itself, there
can be no determination, but by the taste; nor in the manner of their
composure. And, whoever would endeavour to like or dislike, by the Rules
of others; he will be as unsuccessful, as if he should try to be
persuaded into a power of believing, not what he must, but what others
direct him to believe.

But I confess, 'tis not necessary for Poets to study strict Reason: since
they are so used to a greater latitude [pp. 568, 588], than is allowed by
that severe Inquisition, that they must infringe their own Jurisdiction,
to profess themselves obliged to argue well. I will not, therefore,
pretend to say, why I writ this Play, some Scenes in Blank Verse, others
in Rhyme; since I have no better a reason to give than Chance, which
waited upon my present Fancy: and I expect no better reason from any
Ingenious Person, than his Fancy, for which he best relishes.

I cannot, therefore, but beg leave of the Reader, to take a little notice
of the great pains the author of an _Essay of Dramatic Poesy_ has taken,
to prove "Rhyme as _natural_ in a serious Play, and more _effectual_ than
Blank Verse" [pp. 561, 581]. Thus he states the question, but pursues that
which he calls natural, in a wrong application: for 'tis not the question,
whether Rhyme or not Rhyme be best or most natural for a grave or serious
Subject: but what is _nearest the nature_ of that which it presents.

Now, after all the endeavours of that Ingenious Person, a Play will still
be supposed to be a Composition of several persons speaking _ex tempore_
and 'tis as certain, that good verses are the hardest things that can be
imagined, to be so spoken [p. 582]. So that if any will be pleased to
impose the rule of measuring things to be the best, by _being nearest_
Nature; it is granted, by consequence, that which is most remote from the
thing supposed, must needs be most improper: and, therefore, I may justly
say, that both I and the question were equally mistaken. For I do own I
had rather read good verses, than either Blank Verse or Prose; and
therefore the author did himself injury, if he like Verse so well in
Plays, to lay down Rules to raise arguments, only unanswerable against

But the same author, being filled with the precedents of the Ancients
writing their Plays in Verse, commends the thing; and assures us that
"our language is noble, full, and significant," charging all defects upon
the ill placing of words; and proves it, by quoting SENECA loftily
expressing such an ordinary thing, as "shutting a door."

    _Reserate clusos regii postes Laris_.

I suppose he was himself highly affected with the sound of these words.
But to have completed his Dictates [_injunctions_]; together with his
arguments, he should have obliged us by charming our ears with such an
art of placing words, as, in an English verse, to express so loftily "the
shutting of a door": that we might have been as much affected with the
sound of his words.

This, instead of being an argument upon the question, rightly stated, is
an attempt to prove, that Nothing may seem Something by the help of a
verse; which I easily grant to be the ill fortune of it: and therefore,
the question being so much mistaken, I wonder to see that author trouble
himself twice about it, with such an absolute Triumph declared by his own
imagination. But I have heard that a gentleman in Parliament, going to
speak twice, and being interrupted by another member, as against the
Orders of the House: he was excused, by a third [member] assuring the
House he had not yet spoken to the question.

But, if we examine the General Rules laid down for Plays by strict
Reason; we shall find the errors equally gross: for the great Foundation
that is laid to build upon, is Nothing, as it is generally stated; which
will appear on the examination of the particulars.

First. We are told the Plot should not be so ridiculously contrived, as
to crowd several Countries into one Stage. Secondly, to cramp the
accidents of many years or days, into the Representation of two hours and
a half. And, lastly, a conclusion drawn that the only remaining dispute,
is concerning Time; whether it should be contained in twelve or four and
twenty hours; and the Place to be limited to the spot of ground, either
in town or city, where the Play is supposed to begin [p. 531]. And this
is called _nearest_ to Nature. For that is concluded most natural, which
is most _probable_, and _nearest_ to that which it presents.

I am so well pleased with any ingenious offers, as all these are, that I
should not examine this strictly, did not the confidence of others force
me to it: there being not anything more unreasonable to my judgement,
than the attempts to infringe the Liberty of Opinion by Rules so little

To shew, therefore, upon what ill grounds, they dictate Laws for Dramatic
Poesy; I shall endeavour to make it evident that there's no such thing, as
what they All pretend [p. 592]. For, if strictly and duly weighed, 'tis as
impossible for one Stage to represent two houses or two rooms truly, as
two countries or kingdoms; and as impossible that five hours or four and
twenty hours should be two hours and a half, as that a thousand hours or
years should be less than what they are, or the greatest part of time to
be comprehended in the less. For _all_ being impossible; they are none of
them nearest the Truth, or nature of what they present. For
impossibilities are all equal, and admit no degrees. And, then, if all
those Poets that have so fervently laboured to give Rules as Maxims,
would but be pleased to abbreviate; or endure to hear their Reasons
reduced into one strict Definition; it must be, That there are _degrees_
in impossibilities, and that many things, which are not possible, may yet
be more or less impossible; and from this, proceed to give Rules to
observe the least absurdity in things, which are not at all.

I suppose, I need not trouble the Reader, with so impertinent a delay, to
attempt a further confutation of such ill grounded Reasons, than, thus, by
opening the true state of the case. Nor do I design to make any further
use of it, than from hence, to draw this modest conclusion:

That I would have all attempts of this nature, be submitted to the Fancy
of others; and bear the name of Propositions [p. 590], not of confident
Laws, or Rules made by demonstration.

And, then, I shall not discommend any Poet that dresses his Play in such
a fashion as his Fancy best approves: and fairly leave it for others to
follow, if it appears to them most convenient and fullest of ornament.

But, writing this _Epistle_, in much haste; I had almost forgot one
argument or observation, which that author has most good fortune in. It
is in his _Epistle Dedicatory_, before his _Essay of Dramatic Poesy_,
where, speaking of Rhymes in Plays, he desires it may be observed, "That
none are violent against it; but such as have not attempted it; or who
have succeeded ill in the attempt [pp. 503, 539, 598]," which, as to
myself and him, I easily acknowledge: for I confess none has written, in
that way, better than himself; nor few worse than I. Yet, I hope he is so
ingenious, that he would not wish this argument should extend further than
to him and me. For if it should be received as a good one: all Divines and
Philosophers would find a readier way of confutation than they yet have
done, of any that should oppose the least Thesis or Definition, by
saying, "They were denied by none but such as never attempted to write,
or succeeded ill in the attempt."

Thus, as I am one, that am extremely well pleased with most of the
_Propositions_, which are ingeniously laid down in that _Essay_, for
regulating the Stage: so I am also always concerned for the true honour
of Reason, and would have no spurious issue fathered upon her Fancy, may
be allowed her wantonness.

But Reason is always pure and chaste: and, as it resembles the sun, in
making all things clear; it also resembles it, in its several positions.
When it shines in full height, and directly ascendant over any subject,
it leaves but little shadow: but, when descended and grown low, its
oblique shining renders the shadow larger than the substance; and gives
the deceived person [_i.e., DRYDEN_] a wrong measure of his own

Thus, begging the Reader's excuse, for this seeming impertinency; I
submit what I have written to the liberty of his unconfined opinion:
which is all the favour I ask of others, to afford me.


_A Defence of_ An Essay of Dramatic Poesy.

Being an Answer to the Preface of _The great Favourite or the Duke of

[Prefaced to the Second Edition of _The Indian Emperor_. 1668.]

The former Edition of the _Indian Emperor_, being full of faults, which
had escaped the printer; I have been willing to overlook this Second with
more care: and, though I could not allow myself so much time as was
necessary, yet, by that little I have done, the press is freed from some
gross errors which it had to answer for before.

As for the more material faults of writing, which are properly mine;
though I see many of them, I want leisure to amend them. 'Tis enough for
those, who make one Poem the business of their lives, to leave that
correct; yet, excepting VIRGIL, I never met with any which was so, in any

But while I was thus employed about this impression, there came to my
hands, a new printed Play, called, _The great Favourite, or the Duke of
LERMA_. The author of which, a noble and most ingenious Person, has done
me the favour to make some observations and animadversions upon my
_Dramatic Essay_.

I must confess he might have better consulted his reputation, than by
matching himself with so weak an adversary. But if his honour be
diminished in the choice of his antagonist, it is sufficiently
recompensed in the election of his cause: which being the weaker, in all
appearance (as combating the received opinions of the best Ancient and
Modern authors), will add to his glory, if he overcome; and to the
opinion of his generosity, if he be vanquished, since he engages at so
great odds, and so (like a Cavalier) undertakes the protection of the
weaker party.

I have only to fear, on my own behalf, that so good a cause as mine, may
not suffer by my ill management or weak defence; yet I cannot, in honour,
but take the glove, when 'tis offered me: though I am only a Champion, by
succession; and, no more able to defend the right of ARISTOTLE and
HORACE, than an infant DYMOCK, to maintain the title of a King.

For my own concernment in the controversy, it is so small, that I can
easily be contented to be driven from a few Notions of Dramatic Poesy,
especially by one who has the reputation of understanding all things [!]:
and I might justly make that excuse for my yielding to him, which the
Philosopher made to the Emperor, "Why should I offer to contend with him,
who is Master of more than twenty Legions of Arts and Sciences!" But I am
forced to fight, and therefore it will be no shame to be overcome.

Yet, I am so much his servant as not to meddle with anything which does
not concern _me_ in his Preface. Therefore, I leave the good sense, and
other excellencies of the first twenty lines [_i.e., of the Preface, see_
p. 573] to be considered by the critics.

As for the Play of _The Duke of LERMA_; having so much altered and
beautified it, as he has done, it can be justly belong to none but him.
Indeed, they must be extreme[ly] ignorant as well as envious, who would
rob him of that honour: for you see him putting in his claim to it, even
in the first two lines.

    _Repulse upon repulse, like waves thrown back,
    That slide to hang upon obdurate rocks_.

After this, let Detraction do its worst! for if this be not his, it
deserves to be. For my part, I declare for Distributive Justice! and from
this, and what follows, he certainly deserves _those advantages_, which he
acknowledges, to _have received from the opinion of sober men_.

In the next place, I must beg leave to observe his great address in
courting the Reader to his party. For, intending to assault all Poets
both Ancient and Modern, he discovers not his whole Design at once; but
seems only to aim at me, and attack me on my weakest side, my Defence of

To begin with me. He gives me the compellation of "The Author of a
_Dramatic Essay_"; which is a little Discourse in dialogue, for the most
part borrowed from the observations of others. Therefore, that I may not
be wanting to him in civility, I return his compliment, by calling him,
"The Author of _The Duke of LERMA_."

But, that I may pass over his salute, he takes notice [p. 575] of my
great pains to prove "Rhyme as _natural_ in a serious Play; and more
_effectual_ than Blank Verse" [p. 561]. Thus, indeed, I did state the
question, but he tells me, _I pursue that which I call_ natural, _in a
wrong application; for 'tis not the question whether_ Rhyme _or_ not
Rhyme _be best or most natural for a serious Subject; but what is nearest
the nature of that it represents_.

If I have formerly mistaken the question; I must confess my ignorance so
far, as to say I continue still in my mistake. But he ought to have
proved that I mistook it; for 'tis yet but _gratis dictum_. I still shall
think I have gained my point, if I can prove that "Rhyme is best or most
_natural_ for a serious Subject."

As for the question, as he states it, "Whether Rhyme be nearest the
nature of what it represents"; I wonder he should think me so ridiculous
as to dispute whether Prose or Verse be nearest to ordinary conversation?

It still remains for him, to prove his Inference, that, Since Verse is
granted to be more remote than Prose from ordinary conversation;
therefore no serious Plays ought to be writ in Verse: and when he clearly
makes that good, I will acknowledge his victory as absolute as he can
desire it.

The question now is, which of us two has mistaken it? And if it appear I
have not, the World will suspect _what gentleman that was, who was
allowed to speak twice in Parliament, because he had not yet spoken to
the question_ [p. 576]: and, perhaps, conclude it to be the same, who (as
'tis reported) maintained a contradiction _in terminis_, in the face of
three hundred persons.

But to return to Verse. Whether it be natural or not in Plays, is a
problem which is not demonstrable, of either side. 'Tis enough for me,
that he acknowledges that he had rather read good Verse than Prose [p.
575]: for if all the enemies of Verse will confess as much, I shall not
need to prove that it is _natural_. I am satisfied, if it cause Delight;
for Delight is the chief, if not the only end of Poesy. Instruction can
be admitted but in the second place; for Poesy only instructs as it

'Tis true, that to Imitate Well is a Poet's work: but to affect the soul,
and excite the passions, and, above all, to move Admiration [_wondering
astonishment_] (which is the Delight of serious Plays), a bare Imitation
will not serve. The converse [_conversation_] therefore, which a Poet is
to _imitate_, must be _heightened_ with all the arts and ornaments of
Poesy; and must be such as, _strictly considered_, could never be
supposed [to be] spoken by any, without premeditation.

As for what he urges, that, _A Play will still be supposed to be a
composition of several persons speaking_ ex tempore; and that good verses
are the hardest things, which can be imagined, to be so spoken_ [p. 575]:
I must crave leave to dissent from his opinion, as to the former part of
it. For, if I am not deceived, A Play is supposed to be the work of the
Poet, _imitating_ or _representing_ the conversation of several persons:
and this I think to be as clear, as he thinks the contrary.

But I will be bolder, and do not doubt to make it good, though a paradox,
that, One great reason why Prose is not to be used in serious Plays is
because it is too near the nature of converse [_conversation_]. There may
be too great a likeness. As the most skilful painters affirm there may be
too near a resemblance in a picture. To take every lineament and feature
is not to make an excellent piece, but to take so much only as will make
a beautiful resemblance of the whole; and, with an ingenious flattery of
Nature, to heighten the beauties of some parts, and hide the deformities
of the rest. For so, says HORACE--

    _Ut pictura Poesis erit
    Haec amat obscurum; vult haec sub luce videri,
    Judicis argutum quae non formidat acumen.
                             Et quae
    Desperat, tractata nitescere posse, relinquit_.

In _Bartholomew Fair_, or the lowest kind of Comedy, that degree of
heightening is used which is proper to set off that subject. 'Tis true,
the author was not there to go out of Prose, as he does in his higher
arguments of Comedy, the _Fox_ and _Alchemist_; yet he does so raise his
matter in that Prose, as to render it delightful: which he could never
have performed had he only said or done those very things that are daily
spoken or practised in the Fair. For then, the Fair itself would be as
full of pleasure to an Ingenious Person, as the Play; which we manifestly
see it is not: but he hath made an excellent Lazar of it. The copy is of
price, though the origin be vile.

You see in _CATILINE_ and _SEJANUS_; where the argument is great, he
sometimes ascends to Verse, which shews he thought it not unnatural in
serious Plays: and had his genius been as proper for Rhyme as it was for
Humour, or had the Age in which he lived, attained to as much knowledge
in Verse, as ours; 'tis probable he would have adorned those Subjects
with that kind of writing.

Thus PROSE, though the rightful Prince, yet is, by common consent,
deposed; as too weak for the Government of serious Plays: and he failing,
there now start up two competitors! one, the nearer in blood, which is
BLANK VERSE; the other, more fit for the ends of Government, which is
RHYME. BLANK VERSE is, indeed, the nearer PROSE; but he is blemished with
the weakness of his predecessor. RHYME (for I will deal clearly!) has
somewhat of the Usurper in him; but he is brave and generous, and his
dominion pleasing. For this reason of Delight, the Ancients (whom I will
still believe as wise as those who so confidently correct them) wrote all
their Tragedies in Verse; though they knew it most remote from

But I perceive I am falling into the danger of another rebuke from my
opponent: for when I plead that "the Ancients used Verse," I prove not
that, They would have admitted Rhyme, had it then been written.

All I can say, is, That it seems to have succeeded Verse, by the general
consent of Poets in all modern languages. For almost all their serious
Plays are written in it: which, though it be no Demonstration that
therefore it ought to be so; yet, at least, the Practice first, and then
the Continuation of it shews that it attained the end, which was, to
Please. And if that cannot be compassed here, I will be the first who
shall lay it down.

For I confess my chief endeavours are _to delight the Age in which I
live_ [p. 582]. If the Humour of this, be for Low Comedy, small Accidents
[_Incidents_], and Raillery; I will force my genius to obey it: though,
with more reputation, I could write in Verse. I know, I am not so fitted,
by nature, to write Comedy. I want that gaiety of Humour which is required
to it. My conversation is dull and slow. My Humour is saturnine and
reserved. In short, I am none of those, who endeavour to break jests in
company, or make repartees. So that those who decry my Comedies, do me no
injury, except it be in point of profit. Reputation in _them_ is the last
thing to which I shall pretend.

I beg pardon for entertaining the reader with so ill a subject: but
before I quit that argument, which was the cause of this digression; I
cannot but take notice how I am corrected for my quotation of SENECA, in
my defence of Plays in Verse.

My words were these [p. 570]: "Our language is noble, full, and
significant; and I know not why he, who is master of it, may not clothe
ordinary things in it, as decently as the Latin; if he use the same
diligence in his _choice of words_."

One would think, "Unlock the door," was a thing as vulgar as could be
spoken: yet SENECA could make it sound high and lofty in his Latin.

    _Reserate clusos regii postes Laris_.

But he says of me, _That being filled with the precedents of the Ancients
who Writ their Plays in Verse, I commend the thing; declaring our language
to be full, noble, and significant, and charging all the defects upon the_
ill placing of words; _which I prove by quoting SENECA's loftily
expressing such an ordinary thing as_ shutting the door.

Here he manifestly mistakes. For I spoke not of the Placing, but the
Choice of words: for which I quoted that aphorism of JULIUS CAESAR,
_Delectus verborum est origo eloquentiae_. But _delectus verborum_ is no
more Latin for the "Placing of words;" than _Reserate_ is Latin for
"_Shut_ the door!" as he interprets it; which I, ignorantly, construed
"_Unlock_ or _open_ it!"

He supposes I was highly affected with the Sound of these words; and I
suppose I may more justly imagine it of him: for if he had not been
extremely satisfied with the Sound, he would have minded the Sense a
little better.

But these are, now, to be no faults. For, ten days after his book was
published, and that his mistakes are grown so famous that they are come
back to him, he sends his _Errata_ to be printed, and annexed to his
Play; and desires that instead of _Shutting_, you should read _Opening_,
which, it seems, was the printer's fault. I wonder at his modesty! that
he did not rather say it was SENECA's or mine: and that in some authors,
_Reserate_ was to _Shut_ as well as to _Open_, as the word _Barach_, say
the learned, is [_in Hebrew_] both to _Bless_ and _Curse_.

Well, since it was the printer['s fault]; he was a naughty man, to commit
the same mistake twice in six lines.

I warrant you! _Delectus verborum_ for _Placing_ of words, was his
mistake too; though the author forgot to tell him of it. If it were my
book, I assure you it should [be]. For those rascals ought to be the
proxies of every Gentleman-Author; and to be chastised for him, when he
is not pleased to own an error.

Yet, since he has given the _Errata_, I wish he would have enlarged them
only a few sheets more; and then he would have spared me the labour of an
answer. For this cursed printer is so given to mistakes, that there is
scarce a sentence in the Preface without some false grammar, or hard
sense [_i.e., difficulty in gathering the meaning_] in it; which will all
be charged upon the Poet: because he is so good natured as to lay but
three errors to the Printer's account, and to take the rest upon himself;
who is better able to support them. But he needs not [to] apprehend that I
should strictly examine those little faults; except I am called upon to do
it. I shall return, therefore, to that quotation of SENECA; and answer not
to what he _writes_, but to what he _means_.

I never intended it as an Argument, but only as an Illustration of what I
had said before [p. 570] concerning the Election of words. And all he can
charge me with, is only this, That if SENECA could make an ordinary thing
sound well in Latin by the choice of words; the same, with like care,
might be performed in English. If it cannot, I have committed an error on
the right hand, by commending too much, the copiousness and well sounding
of our language: which I hope my countrymen will pardon me. At least, the
words which follow in my _Dramatic Essay_ will plead somewhat in my
behalf. For I say there [p. 570], That this objection happens but seldom
in a Play; and then too, either the meanness of the expression may be
avoided, or shut out from the verse by breaking it in the midst.

But I have said too much in the Defence of Verse. For, after all, 'tis a
very indifferent thing to me, whether it obtain or not. I am content,
hereafter to be ordered by his rule, that is, "to write it, sometimes,
because it pleases me" [p. 575]; and so much the rather, because "he has
declared that it pleases him."

But, he has taken his last farewell of the Muses; and he has done it
civilly, by honouring them with the name of _his long acquaintances_ [p.
574]: which is a compliment they have scarce deserved from him.

For my own part, I bear a share in the public loss; and how emulous
soever I may be, of his Fame and Reputation, I cannot but give this
testimony of his Style, that it is extreme[ly] poetical, even in Oratory;
his Thoughts elevated, sometimes above common apprehension; his Notions
politic and grave, and tending to the instruction of Princes and
reformation of State: that they are abundantly interlaced with variety of
fancies, tropes, and figures, which the Critics have enviously branded
with the name of Obscurity and False Grammar.

Well, _he is now fettered in business of more unpleasant nature_ [p.
574]. The Muses have lost him, but the Commonwealth gains by it. The
corruption of a Poet is the generation of a Statesman.

_He will not venture again into the Civil Wars of Censure_ [Criticism].

    _Ubi ... nullos habitura triumphos_.

If he had not told us, he had left the Muses; we might have half
suspected it by that word, _ubi_, which does not any way belong to
_them_, in that place. The rest of the verse is indeed LUCAN's: but that
_ubi_, I will answer for it, is his own.

Yet he has another reason for this disgust of Poesy. For he says,
immediately after, that _the manner of Plays which are now in most
esteem, is beyond his power to perform_ [p. 574]. To _perform_ the
_manner_ of a thing, is new English to me.

_However he condemns not the satisfaction of others, but rather their
unnecessary understanding; who, like SANCHO PANZA's Doctor, prescribe too
strictly to our appetites. For_, says he, _in the difference of Tragedy
and Comedy and of Farce itself; there can be no determination but by the
taste; nor in the manner of their composure_.

We shall see him, now, as great a Critic as he was a Poet: and the reason
why he excelled so much in Poetry will be evident; for it will have
proceeded from the exactness of his Judgement.

_In the difference of Tragedy, Comedy, and Farce itself; there can be no
determination but by the taste_. I will not quarrel with the obscurity of
this phrase, though I justly might: but beg his pardon, if I do not
rightly understand him. If he means that there is no essential difference
betwixt Comedy, Tragedy, and Farce; but only what is made by people's
taste, which distinguishes one of them from the other: that is so
manifest an error, that I need lose no time to contradict it.

Were there neither Judge, Taste, or Opinion in the world; yet they would
differ in their natures. For the Action, Character, and Language of
Tragedy would still be great and high: that of Comedy, lower and more
familiar. Admiration would be the Delight of the one: Satire, of the

I have but briefly touched upon these things; because, whatever his words
are, I can scarce[ly] imagine that _he who is always concerned for the
true honour of Reason, and would have no spurious issue fathered upon
her_ [p. 578], should mean anything so absurd, as to affirm _that there
is no difference between Comedy and Tragedy, but what is made by taste
only_: unless he would have us understand the Comedies of my Lord L. [?];
where the First Act should be _Potages_, the Second, _Fricasses &c._, and
the Fifth, a _chère entière_ of women.

I rather guess, he means that betwixt one Comedy or Tragedy and another;
there is no other difference but what is made by the liking or disliking
of the audience. This is, indeed, a less error than the former; but yet
it is a great one.

The liking or disliking of the people gives the Play the _denomination_
of "good" or "bad"; but does not really make or constitute it such. To
please the people ought to be the Poet's aim [pp. 513, 582, 584]; because
Plays are made for their delight: but it does not follow, that they are
always pleased with good plays; or that the plays which please them, are
always good.

The Humour of the people is now for Comedy; therefore, in hope to please
them, I write Comedies rather than serious Plays; and, so far, their
taste prescribes to me. But it does not follow from that reason, that
Comedy is to be preferred before Tragedy, in its own nature. For that
which is so, in its own nature, cannot be otherwise; as a man cannot but
be a rational creature: but the opinion of the people may alter; and in
another Age, or perhaps in this, serious Plays may be set up above

This I think a sufficient answer. If it be not, he has provided me of
[_with_] an excuse. It seems, in his wisdom, he foresaw my weakness; and
has found out this expedient for me, _That it is not necessary for Poets
to study strict Reason; since they are so used to a greater latitude than
is allowed by that severe inquisition; that they must infringe their own
jurisdiction to profess themselves obliged to argue well_.

I am obliged to him, for discovering to me this back door; but I am not
yet resolved on my retreat. For I am of opinion, that they cannot be good
Poets, who are not accustomed to argue well. False Reasonings and Colours
of Speech are the certain marks of one who does not understand the Stage.
For Moral Truth is the Mistress of the Poet as much as of the Philosopher.
Poesy must _resemble_ Natural Truth; but it must _be_ Ethical. Indeed the
Poet dresses Truth, and adorns Nature; but does not alter them.

    _Ficta voluptatis causa sint proxima veris_.

Therefore that is not the best Poesy which resembles notions of _things,
which are not_, to _things which are_: though the Fancy may be great, and
the Words flowing; yet the Soul is but half satisfied, when there is not
Truth in the foundation [p. 560].

This is that which makes VIRGIL [to] be preferred before the rest of
poets. In Variety of Fancy, and Sweetness of Expression, you see OVID far
above him; for VIRGIL rejected many of those things which OVID wrote. "A
great Wit's great work, is to refuse," as my worthy friend, Sir JOHN
BIRKENHEAD has ingeniously expressed it. You rarely meet with anything in
VIRGIL but Truth; which therefore leaves the strongest impression of
Pleasure in the Soul. This I thought myself obliged to say in behalf of
Poesy: and to declare (though it be against myself) that when poets do
not argue well, the defect is in the Workmen, not in the Art.

And, now, I come to the boldest part of his Discourse, wherein he attacks
not me, but all the Ancient and Moderns; and undermines, as he thinks, the
very foundations on which Dramatic Poesy is built. I could wish he would
have declined that envy, which must, of necessity, follow such an
undertaking: and contented himself with triumphing over me, in my
opinions of Verse; which I will never, hereafter, dispute with him. But
he must pardon me, if I have that veneration for ARISTOTLE, HORACE, BEN.
JOHNSON, and CORNEILLE, that I dare not serve him in such a cause, and
against such heroes: but rather fight under their protection; as HOMER
reports of little TEUCER, who shot the Trojans from under the large
buckler of AJAX Telamon--

    [Greek: _Stae d'ar hap Aiautos sakei Telamoniadao_], &c.

    He stood beneath his brother's ample shield;
    And, covered there, shot death through all the field.

The words of my noble adversary are these--

_But if we examine the general Rules laid down for Plays, by strict
Reason, we shall find the errors equally gross: for the great Foundation
which is laid to build upon, is Nothing, as it is generally stated: as
will appear upon the examination of the particulars_.

These particulars, in due time, shall be examined. In the meanwhile, let
us consider, what this great Foundation is; which, he says, is "Nothing,
as it is generally stated."

I never heard of any other Foundation of Dramatic Poesy, than the
Imitation of Nature: neither was there ever pretended any other, by the
Ancients or Moderns, or me who endeavoured to follow them in that Rule.
This I have plainly said, in my Definition of a Play, that IT IS A JUST

Thus 'the Foundation, as it is generally stated,' will stand sure, if
this Definition of a Play be true. If it be not, he ought to have made
his exception against it; by proving that a Play is _not_ an Imitation of
Nature, but somewhat else, which he is pleased to think it.

But 'tis very plain, that he has mistaken the Foundation, for that which
is built upon it; though not immediately. For the direct and immediate
consequence is this. If Nature be to be imitated, then there is a Rule
for imitating Nature rightly; otherwise, there may be an End, and no
Means conducing to it.

Hitherto, I have proceeded by demonstration. But as our Divines, when
they have proved a Deity (because there is Order), and have inferred that
this Deity ought to be worshipped, differ, afterwards, in the Manner of
the Worship: so, having laid down, that "Nature is to be imitated;" and
that Proposition [p. 577] proving the next, that, then, "there are means,
which conduce to the imitating of Nature"; I dare proceed no farther,
positively, but have only laid down some opinions of the Ancients and
Moderns, and of my own, as Means which they used, and which I thought
probable, for the attaining of that End.

Those Means are the same, which my antagonist calls the Foundations: how
properly the World may judge! And to prove that this is his meaning, he
clears it immediately to you, by enumerating those Rules or Propositions,
against which he makes his particular exceptions, as namely, those of TIME
and PLACE, in these words.

_First, we are told the Plot should not be so ridiculously contrived, as
to crowd several Countries into one Stage. Secondly, to cramp the
accidents of many years or days, into the Representation of two hours and
a half. And, lastly, a conclusion drawn that the only remaining dispute,
is concerning Time; whether it should be contained in Twelve or Four and
twenty hours; and the Place to be limited to the spot of ground, [either
in town or city] where the Play is supposed to begin. And this is called,
nearest to Nature. For that is concluded most natural; which is most
probable and nearest to that which it presents_.

Thus he has, only, made a small Mistake of the Means conducing to the
end, for the End itself; and of the Superstructure for the Foundation.
But he proceeds,

_To show, therefore, upon what ill grounds, they dictate Laws for
Dramatic Poesy &c._

He is, here, pleased to charge me with being Magisterial; as he has done
in many other places of his Preface.

Therefore, in vindication of myself, I must crave leave to say, that my
whole Discourse was sceptical, according to that way of reasoning which
was used by SOCRATES, PLATO, and all the Academics of old; which TULLY
and the best of the Ancients followed, and which is imitated by the
modest Inquisitions of the Royal Society.

That it is so, not only the name will show, which is _An Essay_; but the
frame and composition of the work. You see it is a dialogue sustained by
persons of several opinions, all of them left doubtful, to be determined
by the readers in general; and more particularly deferred to the accurate
judgement of my Lord BUCKHURST, to whom I made a dedication of my book.
These are my words, in my Epistle, speaking of the persons, whom I
introduced in my dialogue, "'Tis true, they differed in their opinions,
as 'tis probable they would; neither do I take upon me to reconcile, but
to relate them: leaving your Lordship to decide it, in favour of that
part, which you shall judge most reasonable."

And, after that, in my _Advertisements to the Reader_, I said this, "The
drift of the ensuing Discourse was chiefly to vindicate the honour of our
English Writers, from the censure of those who injustly prefer the French
before them. This I intimate, lest any should think me so exceeding vain,
as to teach others an Art, which they understand much better than myself."

But this is more than [is] necessary to clear my modesty in that point:
and I am very confident that there is scarce any man, who has lost so
much time as to read that trifle, but will be my compurgator as to that
arrogance whereof I am accused. The truth is, if I had been naturally
guilty of so much vanity, as to dictate my opinions; yet I do not find
that the Character of a Positive or Self Conceited Person is of such
advantage to any in this Age, that I should labour to be Publicly
Admitted of that Order.

But I am not, now, to defend my own cause, when that of all the Ancients
and Moderns is in question. For this gentleman, who accuses me of
arrogance, has taken a course not to be taxed with the other extreme of
modesty. Those Propositions which are laid down in my Discourse, as Helps
to the better Imitation of Nature, are _not_ mine, as I have said; nor
were ever pretended so to be: but were derived from the authority of
ARISTOTLE and HORACE, and from the rules and examples of BEN. JOHNSON and
CORNEILLE. These are the men, with whom be properly he contends: and
against _whom he will endeavour to make it evident, that then is no such
thing as what they All pretend_.

His argument against the Unities of PLACE and TIME is this.

_That 'tis as impossible for one Stage to present two Rooms or Houses
truly, as two Countries or Kingdoms; and as impossible that Five hours or
Twenty-four hours should be Two hours as that a Thousand years or hours
should be less than what they are, or the greatest part of time to be
comprehended in the less: for all of them being impossible they are none
of them nearest the Truth or Nature of what they present, for
impossibilities are all equal, and admit of no degrees_.

This argument is so scattered into parts, that it can scarce be united
into a Syllogism: yet, in obedience to him, _I will abbreviate_, and
comprehend as much of it, as I can, in few words; that my Answer to it,
may be more perspicuous.

I conceive his meaning to be what follows, as to the Unity of PLACE. If I
mistake, I beg his pardon! professing it is not out of any design to play
the _argumentative Poet_. "If one Stage cannot properly present two Rooms
or Houses, much less two Countries or Kingdoms; then there can be no Unity
of Place: but one Stage cannot properly perform this; therefore, there can
be no Unity of Place."

I plainly deny his Minor Proposition: the force of which if I mistake
not, depends on this; that "the Stage being one place, cannot be two."
This, indeed, is as great a secret as that, "we are all mortal." But, to
requite it with another, I must crave leave to tell him, that "though the
Stage cannot be two places, yet it may properly Represent them,
successively or at several times."

His argument is, indeed, no more than a mere fallacy: which will
evidently appear, when we distinguished Place as it relates to Plays,
into Real and Imaginary. The Real place is that theatre or piece of
ground, on which the Play is acted. The Imaginary, that house, town, or
country, where the action of the Drama is supposed to be; or, more
plainly, where the Scene of the Play is laid.

Let us now apply this to that Herculean argument, _which if strictly and
duly weighed, is to make it evident, that there is no such thing as what
they All pretend. 'Tis impossible_, he says, _for one Stage to present
two Rooms or Houses_. I answer, "Tis neither impossible, nor improper,
for one _real_ place to represent two or more _imaginary_ places: so it
be done successively," which, in other words, is no more than this, "That
the Imagination of the Audience, aided by the words of the Poet, and
painted scenes [_scenery_], nay _suppose_ the Stage to be sometimes one
place, sometimes another; now a garden or wood, and immediately a camp;"
which I appeal to every man's imagination, if it be not true!

Neither the Ancients nor Moderns (as much fools as he is pleased to think
them) ever asserted that they could make one place, two: but they might
hope, by the good leave of this author! that the change of a Scene might
lead the Imagination to suppose the place altered. So that he cannot
fasten those absurdities upon this Scene of a Play or Imaginary Place of
Action; that it is one place, and yet two.

And this being so clearly proved, that 'tis past any shew of a reasonable
denial; it will not be hard to destroy that other part of his argument,
which depends upon it; that _'tis as impossible for a Stage to represent
two Rooms or Houses, as two Countries or Kingdoms_: for his reason is
already overthrown, which was, _because both were alike impossible_. This
is manifestly otherwise: for 'tis proved that a stage may properly
Represent two Rooms or Houses. For the Imagination, being judge of what
is represented, will, in reason, be less chocqued [shocked] with the
appearance of two rooms in the same house, or two houses in the same
city; than with two distant cities in the same country, or two remote
countries in the same universe.

Imagination in a man or reasonable creature is supposed to participate of
Reason; and, when that governs (as it does in the belief of fiction)
reason is not destroyed, but misled or blinded. That can prescribe to the
Reason, during the time of the representation, somewhat like a weak belief
of what it sees and hears; and Reason suffers itself to be so hoodwinked,
that it may better enjoy the pleasures of the fiction: but it is never so
wholly made a captive as to be drawn headlong into a persuasion of those
things which are most remote from probability. 'Tis, in that case, a free
born subject, not a slave. It will contribute willingly its assent, as far
as it sees convenient: but will not be forced.

Now, there is a greater Vicinity, in Nature, betwixt two rooms than
betwixt two houses; betwixt two houses, than betwixt two cities; and so,
of the rest. Reason, therefore, can sooner be led by Imagination, to step
from one room to another, than to walk to two distant houses: and yet,
rather to go thither, than to fly like a witch through the air, and be
hurried from one region to another. Fancy and Reason go hand in hand. The
first cannot leave the last behind: and though Fancy, when it sees the
wide gulf, would venture over, as the nimbler; yet, it is withheld by
Reason, which will refuse to take the leap, when the distance, over it,
appears too large. If BEN. JOHNSON himself, will remove the scene from
Rome into Tuscany, in the same Act; and from thence, return to Rome, in
the Scene which immediate follows; Reason will consider there is no
proportionable allowance of time to perform the journey; and therefore,
will choose to stay at home.

So then, the less change of place there is, the less time is taken up in
transporting the persons of the Drama, with Analogy to Reason: and in
that Analogy or Resemblance of Fiction to Truth consists the excellency
of the Play.

For what else concerns the Unity of PLACE; I have already given my
opinion of it in my _Essay_, that "there is a latitude to be allowed to
it, as several places in the same town or city; or places adjacent to
each other, in the same country; which may all be comprehended under the
larger denomination of One Place; yet, with this restriction, the nearer
and fewer those imaginary places are, the greater resemblance they will
have to Truth: and Reason which cannot _make_ them One, will be more
easily led to _suppose_ them so."

What has been said of the Unity of PLACE, may easily be applied to that
of TIME. I grant it to be impossible that _the greater part of time
should be comprehended in the less_, that _Twenty-four hours should be
crowded into three_. But there is no necessity of that supposition.

For as Place, so TIME relating to a Play, is either Imaginary or Real.
The Real is comprehended in those three hours, more or less, in the space
of which the Play is Represented. The Imaginary is that which is Supposed
to be taken up in the representation; as twenty-four hours, more or less.
Now, no man ever could suppose that twenty-four _real_ hours could be
included in the space of three: but where is the absurdity of affirming,
that the feigned business of twenty-four _imagined_ hours, may not more
naturally be represented in the compass of three _real_ hours, than the
like feigned business of twenty-four years in the same proportion of real
time? For the _proportions_ are always real; and much nearer, by his
permission! of twenty-four to three, than of 4000 to it.

I am almost fearful of illustrating _anything_ by Similitude; lest he
should confute it for an Argument: yet, I think the comparison of a Glass
will discover, very aptly, the fallacy of his argument, both concerning
Time and Place. The strength of his Reason depends on this, "That the
less cannot comprehend the greater." I have already answered that we need
not suppose it does. I say not, that the less can _comprehend_ the
greater; but only that it may _represent_ it; as in a mirror, of half a
yard [in] diameter, a whole room, and many persons in it, may be seen at
once: not that it can _comprehend_ that room or those persons, but that
it _represents them to the sight_.

But the Author of _The Duke of LERMA_ is to be excused for his declaring
against the Unity of TIME. For, if I be not much mistaken, he is an
interessed [_interested_] person; the time of that Play taking up so many
years as the favour of the Duke of LERMA continued: nay, the Second and
Third Acts including all the time of his prosperity, which was a great
part of the reign of PHILIP III.; for in the beginning of the Second Act,
he was not yet a favourite, and before the end of the Third, was in

I say not this, with the least design of limiting the Stage too servilely
to twenty-four hours: however he be pleased to tax me with dogmatizing in
that point. In my Dialogue, as I before hinted, several persons
maintained their several opinions. One of them, indeed, who supported the
cause of the French Poesy, said, how strict they were in that particular
[p. 531]; but he who answered in behalf of our nation, was willing to
give more latitude to the Rule; and cites the words of CORNEILLE himself,
complaining against the severity of it, and observing what beauties it
banished from the Stage, page 44, of my _Essay_.

In few words, my own opinion is this; and I willingly submit it to my
adversary, when he will please impartially to consider it. That the
Imaginary Time of every Play ought to be contrived into as narrow a
compass, as the nature of the Plot, the quality of the Persons, and
variety of Accidents will allow. In Comedy, I would not exceed
twenty-four or thirty hours; for the Plot, Accidents, and Persons of
Comedy are small, and may be naturally turned in a little compass. But in
Tragedy, the Design is weighty, and the Persons great; therefore there
will, naturally, be required a greater space of time, in which to move

And this, though BEN. JOHNSON has not told us, yet 'tis, manifestly, his
opinion. For you see, that, to his Comedies, he allows generally but
twenty-four hours: to his two Tragedies _SEJANUS_ and _CATILINE_, a much
larger time; though he draws both of them into as narrow a compass as he
can. For he shows you only the latter end of _SEJANUS_ his favour; and
the conspiracy of _CATILINE_ already ripe, and just breaking out into

But as it is an error on the one side, to make too great a disproportion
betwixt the _imaginary_ time of the Play, and the _real_ time of its
representation: so, on the other side, 'tis an oversight to compress the
Accidents of a Play into a narrower compass than that in which they could
naturally be produced.

Of this last error, the French are seldom guilty, because the thinness of
their Plots prevents them from it: but few Englishmen, except BEN.
JOHNSON, have ever made a Plot, with variety of Design in it, included in
twenty-four hours; which was altogether natural. For this reason, I prefer
the _Silent Woman_ before all other plays; I think, justly: as I do its
author, in judgement, above all other poets. Yet of the two, I think that
error the most pardonable, which, in too straight a compass, crowds
together many accidents: since it produces more variety, and consequently
more pleasure to the audience; and because the nearness of proportion
betwixt the imaginary and real time does speciously cover the compression
of the Accidents.

Thus I have endeavoured to answer the _meaning_ of his argument. For, as
he drew it, I humbly conceive, it was none. As will appear by his
Proposition, and the proof of it. His Proposition was this, _If strictly
and duly weighed, 'tis as impossible for one Stage to present two Rooms
or Houses, as two countries or kingdoms, &c_. And his Proof this, _For
all being impossible, they are none of them, nearest the Truth or Nature
of what they present_.

Here you see, instead of a Proof or Reason, there is only a _petitio
principii_. For, in plain words, his sense is this, "Two things are as
impossible as one another: because they are both equally impossible." But
he takes those two things to be _granted_ as impossible; which he ought to
have _proved_ such, before he had proceeded to prove them equally
impossible. He should have made out, first, that it was impossible for
one Stage to represent two Houses; and then have gone forward, to prove
that it was as equally impossible for a Stage to present two Houses, as
two Countries.

After all this, the very absurdity to which he would reduce me, is none
at all. For his only drives at this. That if his argument be true, I must
then acknowledge that there are degrees in impossibilities. Which I easily
grant him, without dispute. And if I mistake not, ARISTOTLE and the School
are of my opinion. For there are some things which are absolutely
impossible, and others which are only so, _ex parte_. As, 'tis absolutely
impossible for a thing _to be_ and _not to be_, at the same time: but, for
a stone to move naturally upward, is only impossible _ex parte materiae_;
but it is not impossible for the First Mover to alter the nature of it.

His last assault, like that of a Frenchman, is most feeble. For where I
have observed that "None have been violent against Verse; but such only
as have not attempted it, or have succeeded ill in their attempt" [pp.
503, 539, 561, 578], he will needs, according to his usual custom,
improve my Observation into an Argument, that he might have the glory to
confute it.

But I lay my observation at his feet: as I do my pen, which I have often
employed, willingly, in his deserved commendations; and, now, most
unwillingly, against his judgement. For his person and parts, I honour
them, as much as any man living: and have had so many particular
obligations to him, that I should be very ungrateful, if I did not
acknowledge them to the World.

But I gave not the first occasion of this Difference in Opinions. In my
_Epistle Dedicatory_, before my _Rival Ladies_ [pp. 487-493], I said
somewhat in behalf of Verse: which he was pleased to answer in his
_Preface_ to his _Plays_ [pp. 494-500]. That occasioned my reply in my
_Essay_ [pp. 501-572]: and that reply begot his rejoinder in his
_Preface_ to _The Duke of LERMA_ [pp. 573-578]. But, as I was the last
who took up arms; I will be the first to lay them down. For what I have
here written, I submit it wholly to him [p. 561]; and, if I do not
hereafter answer what may be objected to this paper, I hope the World
will not impute it to any other reason, than only the due respect which I
have for so noble an opponent.


_Relations with JOHN MILTON_.

I mentioned, before, that, when I was a boy, I made some good progress in
learning; and lost it all again before I came to be a man: nor was I
rightly sensible of my loss therein, until I came amongst the Quakers.
But then, I both saw my loss, and lamented it; and applied myself with
the utmost diligence, at all leisure times, to recover it: so false I
found that charge to be, which, in those times, was cast as a reproach
upon the Quakers, that "they despised and decried all human learning"
because they denied it to be _essentially necessary_ to a Gospel
Ministry; which was one of the controversies of those times.

But though I toiled hard, and spared no pains, to regain what once I had
been master of; yet I found it a matter of so great difficulty, that I
was ready to say as the noble eunuch to PHILIP, in another case, "How can
I! unless I had some man to guide me?"

This, I had formerly complained of to my especial friend ISAAC PENINGTON,
but now more earnestly; which put him upon considering and contriving a
means for my assistance.

He had an intimate acquaintance with Dr. PAGET, a physician of note in
London; and he, with JOHN MILTON, a gentleman of great note in learning,
throughout the learned world, for the accurate pieces he had written on
various subjects and occasions.

This person, having filled a public station in the former times, lived
now a private and retired life in London: and, having wholly lost his
sight, kept a man to read to him; which, usually, was the son of some
gentleman of his acquaintance, whom, in kindness, he took to improve in
his learning.

Thus, by the mediation of my friend ISAAC PENINGTON, with Dr. PAGET; and
of Dr. PAGET with JOHN MILTON, was I admitted to come to him: not as a
servant to him (which, at that time, he needed not), nor to be in the
house with him; but only to have the liberty of coming to his house, at
certain hours, when I would, and to read to him, what books he should
appoint me, which was all the favour I desired.

But this being a matter which would require some time to bring it about,
I, in the meanwhile, returned to my father's house [at Crowell] in

I had, before, received direction by letters from my eldest sister,
written by my father's command, to put off [_dispose of_] what cattle he
had left about his house, and to discharge his servants; which I had done
at the time called Michaelmas [1661] before.

So that, all that winter when I was at home, I lived like a hermit, all
alone; having a pretty large house, and nobody in it but myself, at
nights especially. But an elderly woman, whose father had been an old
servant to the family, came every morning, and made my bed; and did what
else I had occasion for her to do: till I fell ill of the small-pox, and
then I had her with me, and the nurse.

But now, understanding by letter from my sister, that my father did not
intend to return and settle there; I made off [_sold_] those provisions
which were in the house, that they might not be spoiled when I was gone:
and because they were what I should have spent, if I had tarried there, I
took the money made of them, to myself, for my support at London; if the
project succeeded for my going thither. This done, I committed the care
of the house to a tenant of my father's, who lived in the town; and
taking my leave of Crowell, went up to my sure friend ISAAC PENINGTON
again. Where, understanding that the mediation used for my admittance to
JOHN MILTON had succeeded so well, that I might come when I would: I
hastened to London [_in the Spring of 1662_], and, in the first place,
went to wait upon him.

He received me courteously, as well for the sake of Dr. PAGET, who
introduced me; as of ISAAC PENINGTON, who recommended me: to both of
whom, he bore a good respect. And having inquired divers things of me,
with respect to my former progression in learning, he dismissed me, to
provide myself of such accommodation as might be most suitable to my
future studies.

I went, therefore, and took myself a lodging as near to his house, which
was then in Jewin Street, as conveniently as I could; and from
thenceforward, went every day in the afternoon, except on the First Days
of the week; and, sitting by him in his dining-room, read to him, in such
books in the Latin tongue as he pleased to hear me read.

At my first sitting to read to him, observing that I used the English
pronounciation; he told me, "If I would have the benefit of the Latin
tongue, not only to read and understand Latin authors, but to converse
with foreigners, either abroad or at home; I must learn the foreign

To this, I consenting, he instructed me how to sound the vowels so
different[ly] from the common pronounciation used by the English, who
speak _Anglice_ their Latin, that (with some few other variations, in
sounding some consonants: in particular case[s], as _c_ before _e_ or
_i_, like _ch_; _sc_ before _i_, like _sh_, &c.) the Latin, thus spoken,
seemed as different from that which was delivered as the English
generally speak it, as if it were another language.

I had, before, during my retired life at my father's, by unwearied
diligence and industry, so far recovered the Rules of Grammar (in which,
I had, once, been very ready) that I could both read a Latin author; and,
after a sort, hammer out his meaning. But this change of pronounciation
proved a new difficulty to me. It was now harder for me to read; than it
was, before, to understand, when read. But

               _Labor omnia vincit

          Incessant pains,
          The end obtains.

And so, did I: which made my reading the more acceptable to my Master.
He, on the other hand, perceiving with what earnest desire, I pursued
learning, gave me not only all the encouragement, but all the help he
could. For, having a curious ear, he understood by my tone, when I
understood what I read, and when I did not; and, accordingly, would stop
me, examine me, and open the most difficult passages.

Thus I went on, for about six weeks' time, reading to him in the
afternoons; and exercising myself with my own books, in my chamber, in
the forenoons. I was sensible of an improvement.

But, alas, I had fixed my studies in a wrong place. London and I could
never agree, for health. My lungs, as I suppose, were too tender, to bear
the sulphurous air of that city; so that, I soon began to droop, and in
less than two months' time, I was fain to leave both my studies and the
city; and return into the country to preserve life, and much ado I had to
get thither.

I chose to go down to Wiccombe, and to JOHN RANCE's house there: both as
he was a physician, and his wife a honest, hearty, discreet, and grave
matron, whom I had a very good esteem of; and who, I knew, had a good
regard for me.

There, I lay ill a considerable time; and to that degree of weakness,
that scarcely any who saw me, expected my life [_that I should live_]:
but the LORD was both gracious to me, in my illness; and was pleased to
raise me up again, that I might serve Him in my generation.

As soon as I had recovered so much strength, as to be fit to travel; I
obtained of my father (who was then at his house in Crowell, to dispose
of some things he had there; and who, in my illness, had come to see me)
so much money as would clear all charges in the house, for physic, food,
and attendance: and having fully discharged all, I took leave of my
friends in that family, and town; and returned [_? in October 1662_] to
my studies at London.

I was very kindly received by my Master, who had conceived so good an
opinion of me, that my conversation, I found, was acceptable to him; and
he seemed heartily glad of my recovery and return: and into our old
method of study, we fell again; I reading to him, and he explaining to me
as occasion required.

But as if learning had been a forbidden fruit to me; scarce was I well
settled in my work; before I met with another diversion [_hindrance_],
which turned me quite out of my work.

For a sudden storm arising (from, I know not what surmise of a plot; and
thereby danger to the Government); the meetings of Dissenters, such, I
mean, as could be found (which, perhaps, were not many besides the
Quakers) were broken up throughout the City: and the prisons mostly
filled with our Friends.

I was, that morning, which was the 26th day of the 8th month [_which,
according to the reckoning of the Society of Friends, was October. Their
First month down to 1752, was March_], 1662, at the Meeting, at the _Bull
and Mouth_, by Alders Gate: when, on a sudden, a party of soldiers, of the
Trained Bands of the City, rushed in with noise and clamour: being led by
one, who was called Major ROSEWELL: an apothecary if I misremember not;
and, at that time, under the ill name of a Papist.

[So the Friends there, with ELLWOOD, are taken; and sent to Bridewell
till the 19th December following: when they were taken to Newgate,
expecting to be called at the Old Bailey sessions: but, not being called,
were sent back to Bridewell again. On the 29th December, they were brought
up at the Sessions, and, refusing to swear, were all committed to the
"Common Side" of Newgate; but that prison being so full, they were sent
back to Bridewell again. Then we have the following extraordinary

Having made up our packs, and taken our leave of our Friends, whom we
were to leave behind; we took our bundles on our shoulders, and walked,
two and two a breast, through the Old Bailey into Fleet Street, and so to
Old Bridewell. And it being about the middle of the afternoon, and the
streets pretty full of people; both the shopkeepers at their doors, and
passengers in the way would stop us, and ask us, "What we were? and
whither we were going?"

And when we had told them, "We were prisoners, going from one prison to
another (from Newgate to Bridewell)."

"What," said they, "without a keeper?"

"No," said we, "for our Word, which we have given, is our keeper."

Some thereupon would advise us, not to go to prison; but to go home. But
we told them, "We could not do so. We could suffer for our testimony; but
could not fly from it."

I do not remember we had any abuse offered us; but were generally pitied
by the people.

When we were come to Bridewell, we were not put up into the great room in
which we had been before; but into a low room, in another fair court,
which had a pump in the middle of it. And, here, we were not shut up as
before; but had the liberty of the court, to walk in; and of the pump, to
wash and drink at. And, indeed, we might easily have gone quite away, if
we would; there was a passage through the court into the street: but we
were true and steady prisoners, and looked upon this liberty arising from
their confidence in us, to be a kind of _parole_ upon us; so that both
Conscience and Honour stood now engaged for our true imprisonment.

And this privilege we enjoyed by the indulgence of our Keeper, whose
heart GOD disposed to favour us; so that both the Master and his porter
were very civil and kind to us, and had been so, indeed, all along. For
when we were shut up before; the porter would readily let some of us go
home in an evening, and stay at home till next morning, which was a great
conveniency to men of trade and business; which I, being free from,
forbore asking for myself, that I might not hinder others.

Under this easy restraint, we lay till the Court sate at the Old Bailey
again; and, then (whether it was that the heat of the storm was somewhat
abated, or by what other means Providence wrought it, I know not), we
were called to the bar; and without further question, discharged.

Whereupon we returned to Bridewell again; and having raised some monies
among us, and therewith gratified both the Master and his porter, for
their kindness to us; we spent some time in a solemn meeting, to return
our thankful acknowledgment to the LORD; both for His preservation of us
in prison, and deliverance of us out of it. And then, taking a solemn
farewell of each other; we departed with bag and baggage [_at the end of
January 1663_].

[Thus, by such magnificent patience under arbitrary injustice, these
invincible Quakers shamed the reckless Crime which, in those days, went
by the name of The Law; and such stories as ELLWOOD's _Life_ and GEORGE
FOX's _Journal_ abound with like splendid victories of patience, by men
who were incapable of telling a lie or of intentionally breaking their

JOHN BUNYAN's imprisonment at this time was much of the same kind as
ELLWOOD's, as soon as the Keeper of Bedford gaol found he could trust

Being now at liberty, I visited more generally my friends, that were
still in prison: and, more particularly, my friend and benefactor,
WILLIAM PENINGTON, at his house; and then, went to wait upon my Master,
MILTON. With whom, yet, I could not propose to enter upon my intermitted
studies, until I had been in Buckinghamshire, to visit my worthy friends,
ISAAC PENINGTON and his virtuous wife, with other friends in that country
[_district or county_].

Thither, therefore, I betook myself; and the weather being frosty, and
the ways by that means clean and good; I walked it through in a day: and
was received by my friends there, with such demonstration of hearty
kindness, as made my journey very easy to me.

I intended only a visit hither, not a continuance; and therefore
purposed, after I had stayed a few days, to return to my lodging and
former course [_i.e., of reading to MILTON_] in London. But Providence
ordered otherwise.

ISAAC PENINGTON had, at that time, two sons and one daughter, all then
very young: of whom, the eldest son, JOHN PENINGTON, and the daughter,
MARY (the wife of DANIEL WHARLEY), are yet living at the writing of this
[_? 1713_]. And being himself both skilful and curious in pronounciation;
he was very desirous to have them well grounded in the rudiments of the
English tongue. To which end, he had sent for a man, out of Lancashire,
whom, upon inquiry, he had heard of; who was, undoubtedly, the most
accurate English teacher, that ever I met with or have heard of. His name
was RICHARD BRADLEY. But as he pretended no higher than the English
tongue, and had led them, by grammar rules, to the highest improvement
they were capable of, in that; he had then taken his leave, and was gone
up to London, to teach an English school of Friends' children there.

This put my friend to a fresh strait. He had sought for a new teacher to
instruct his children in the Latin tongue, as the old had done in the
English: but had not yet found one. Wherefore, one evening, as we sate
together by the fire, in his bedchamber, which, for want of health, he
kept: he asked me, his wife being by, "If I would be so kind to him, as
to stay a while with him; till he could hear of such a man as he aimed
at; and, in the meantime, enter his children in the rudiments of the
Latin tongue?"

This question was not more unexpected, than surprising to me; and the
more, because it seemed directly to thwart my former purpose and
undertaking, of endeavouring to improve myself, by following my studies
with my Master, MILTON; which this would give, at least, a present
diversion from; and, for how long, I could not foresee.

But the sense I had, of the manifold obligations I lay under to these
worthy friends of mine, shut out all reasonings; and disposed my mind to
an absolute resignation to their desire, that I might testify my
gratitude by a willingness to do them any friendly service, that I could
be capable of.

And though I questioned my ability to carry on that work to its due
height and proportion; yet, as that was not proposed, but an initiation
only by Accidence into Grammar, I consented to the proposal, as a present
expedient, till a more qualified person should be found; without further
treaty or mention of terms between us, than that of mutual friendship.

And to render this digression from my own studies, the less uneasy to my
mind; I recollected, and often thought of, that Rule of LILLY--

    _Qui docet indoctos, licet indoctissimus esset,
    Ipse brevi reliquis, doctior esse queat._

    He that th'unlearned doth teach, may quickly be
    More learned than they, though most unlearned he.

With this consideration, I undertook this province; and left it not until
I married; which was not till [_the 28th October in_] the year 1669,
near[ly] seven years from the time I came thither.

In which time, having the use of my friend's books, as well as of my own,
I spent my leisure hours much in reading; not without some improvement to
myself in my private studies: which (with the good success of my labours
bestowed on the children, and the agreeableness of conversation which I
found in the family) rendered my undertaking more satisfactory; and my
stay there more easy to me.

Although the storm raised by the _Act for Banishment [16 Car. II. c. 4.
1664_], fell with the greatest weight and force upon some other parts, as
at London, Hertford, &c.: yet were we, in Buckinghamshire, not wholly
exempted therefrom. For a part of that shower reached us also.

For a Friend, of Amersham, whose name was EDWARD PEROT or PARRET,
departing this life; and notice being given, that his body would be
buried there on such a day (which was the First Day of the Fifth Month
[_July_], 1665): the Friends of the adjacent parts of the country,
resorted pretty generally to the burial. So that there was a fair
appearance of Friends and neighbours; the deceased having been well
beloved by both.

After we had spent some time together, in the house (MORGAN WATKINS, who,
at that time, happened to be at ISAAC PENINGTON's, being with us); the
body was taken up, and borne on Friends' shoulders, along the street, in
order to be carried to the burying-ground: which was at the town's end;
being part of an orchard belonging to the deceased, which he, in his
lifetime, had appointed for that service.

It so happened, that one AMBROSE BENNET, a Barrister at Law, and a
Justice of the Peace for that county, was riding through the town [of
Amersham] that morning, in his way to Aylesbury: and was, by some
ill-disposed person or other, informed that there was a Quaker to be
buried there that day; and that most of the Quakers in the country
[_county_] were come thither to the burial.

Upon this, he set up his horses, and stayed. And when we, not knowing
anything of his design against us, went innocently forward to perform our
Christian duty, for the interment of our Friend; he rushed out of his Inn
upon us, with the Constables and a rabble of rude fellows whom he had
gathered together: and, having his drawn sword in his hand, struck one of
the foremost of the bearers, with it; commanding them "To set down the
coffin!" But the Friend, who was so stricken, whose name was THOMAS DELL
(being more concerned for the safety of the dead body than his own, lest
it should fall from his shoulder, and any indecency thereupon follow)
held the coffin fast. Which the Justice observing, and being enraged that
his word (how unjust soever) was not forthwith obeyed, set his hand to the
coffin; and, with a forcible thrust, threw it off the bearers' shoulders,
so that it fell to the ground, in the midst of the street: and there, we
were forced to leave it.

For, immediately thereupon, the Justice giving command for the
apprehending us; the Constables with the rabble fell on us, and drew
some, and drove others in the Inn: giving thereby an opportunity to the
rest, to walk away.

Of those that were thus taken, I was one. And being, with many more, put
into a room, under a guard; we were kept there, till another Justice,
called Sir THOMAS CLAYTON, whom Justice BENNET had sent for, to join with
him in committing us, was come.

And then, being called forth severally before them, they picked out ten
of us; and committed us to Aylesbury gaol: for what, neither we, nor
_they_ knew. For we were not convicted of having either done or said
anything, which the law could take hold of.

For they took us up in the open street, the King's highway, not doing any
unlawful act; but peaceably carrying and accompanying the corpse of our
deceased Friend, to bury it. Which they would not suffer us to do; but
caused the body to lie in the open street, and in the cartway: so that
all the travellers that passed by (whether horsemen, coaches, carts, or
waggons) were fain to break out of the way, to go by it, that they might
not drive over it; until it was almost night. And then, having caused a
grave to be made in the unconsecrated part, as it is accounted, of that
which is called the Church Yard: they forcibly took the body from the
widow (whose right and property it was), and buried it there.

When the Justices had delivered us prisoners to the Constable, it being
then late in the day, which was the seventh day of the week: he (not
willing to go so far as Aylesbury, nine long miles, with us, that night;
nor to put the town [of Amersham] to the charge of keeping us, there,
that night and the First day and night following) dismissed us, upon our
_parole_, to come to him again at a set hour, on the Second day morning.

Whereupon, we all went home to our respective habitations; and coming to
him punctually [_on Monday, 3rd July_, 1665] according to promise, were
by him, without guard, conducted to the Prison.

The Gaoler, whose name was NATHANIEL BIRCH, had, not long before, behaved
himself very wickedly, with great rudeness and cruelty, to some of our
Friends of the lower side of the country [_i.e., Buckinghamshire_]; whom
he, combining with the Clerk of the Peace, whose name was HENRY WELLS,
had contrived to get into his gaol: and after they were legally
discharged in Court, detained them in prison, using great violence, and
shutting them up close in the Common Gaol among the felons; because they
would not give him his unrighteous demand of Fees, which they were the
more straitened in, from his treacherous dealing with them. And they
having, through suffering, maintained their freedom, and obtained their
liberty: we were the more concerned to keep what they had so hardly
gained; and therefore resolved not to make any contract or terms for
either Chamber Rent or Fees, but to demand a Free Prison. Which we did.

When we came in, the gaoler was ridden out to wait on the Judges, who
came in, that day [_3rd July, 1665_], to begin the Assize; and his wife
was somewhat at a loss, how to deal with us. But being a cunning woman,
she treated us with a great appearance of courtesy, offering us the
choice of all her rooms; and when we asked, "Upon what terms?" she still
referred us to her husband; telling us, she "did not doubt, but that he
would be very reasonable and civil to us." Thus, she endeavoured to have
drawn us to take possession of some of her chambers, at a venture; and
trust to her husband's kind usage: but, we, who, at the cost of our
Friends, had a proof of his kindness, were too wary to be drawn in by the
fair words of a woman: and therefore told her, "We would not settle
anywhere till her husband came home; and then would have a Free Prison,
wheresoever he put us."

Accordingly, walking all together into the court of the prison, in which
was a well of very good water; and having, beforehand, sent to a Friend
in the town, a widow woman, whose name was SARAH LAMBARN, to bring us
some bread and cheese: we sate down upon the ground round about the well;
and when we had eaten, we drank of the water out of the well.

Our great concern was for our Friend, ISAAC PENINGTON, because of the
tenderness of his constitution: but he was so lively in his spirit, and
so cheerfully given up to suffer; that he rather encouraged us, than
needed any encouragement from us.

In this posture, the gaoler, when he came home, found us. And having,
before he came to us, consulted his wife; and by her, understood on what
terms we stood: when he came to us, he hid his teeth, and putting on a
shew of kindness, seemed much troubled that we should sit there abroad
[_in the open air_], especially his old friend, Mr. PENINGTON; and
thereupon, invited us to come in, and take what rooms in his house we
pleased. We asked, "Upon what terms?" letting him know, withal, that we
were determined to have a Free Prison.

He (like the Sun and the Wind, in the fable, that strove which of them
should take from the traveller, his cloak) having, like the wind, tried
rough, boisterous, violent means to our Friends before, but in vain;
resolved now to imitate the Sun, and shine as pleasantly as he could upon
us. Wherefore, he told us, "We should make the terms ourselves; and be as
free as we desired. If we thought fit, when we were released, to give him
anything; he would thank us for it: and if not, he would demand nothing."

Upon these terms, we went in: and dispose ourselves, some in the
dwelling-house, others in the malt-house: where they chose to be.

During the Assize, we were brought before Judge MORTON [_Sir WILLIAM
MORTON, Recorder of Gloucester_], a sour angry man, who [_being an old
Cavalier Officer, naturally_,] very rudely reviled us, but would not hear
either us or the cause; referring the matter to the two Justices, who had
committed us.

They, when the Assize was ended, sent for us, to be brought before them,
at their Inn [at Aylesbury]; and fined us, as I remember, 6s. 8d. a
piece: which we not consenting to pay, they committed us to prison again,
for one month from that time; on the _Act for Banishment_.

When we had lain there that month [_i.e., not later than the middle of
August, 1665_], I, with another, went to the gaoler, to demand our
liberty: which he readily granted, telling us, "The door should be
opened, when we pleased to go."

This answer of his, I reported to the rest of my Friends there; and,
thereupon, we raised among us a small sum of money, which they put into
my hand, for the gaoler. Whereupon, I, taking another with me, went to
the gaoler, with the money in my hand; and reminding him of the terms,
upon which we accepted the use of his rooms, I told him, "That though we
could not pay Chamber Rent nor Fees, yet inasmuch as he had now been
civil to us, we were willing to acknowledge it by a small token": and
thereupon, gave him the money. He, putting it into his pocket, said, "I
thank you, and your Friends for it! and to let you see that I take it as
a gift, not a debt; I will not look on it, to see how much it is."

The prison door being then set open for us; we went out, and departed to
our respective homes.

Some little time before I went to Aylesbury prison [_on 3rd July, 1665_],
I was desired by my quondam Master, MILTON, to take a house for him in the
neighbourhood where I dwelt; that he might get out of the City, for the
safety of himself and his family: the Pestilence then growing hot in

I took a pretty box for him [_i.e., in June, 1665_] in Giles-Chalfont
[_Chalfont St. Giles_], a mile from me [_ELLWOOD was then living in ISAAC
PENINGTON's house, called The Grange, at Chalfont St. Peter; or Peter's
Chalfont, as he calls it_], of which, I gave him notice: and intended to
have waited on him, and seen him well settled in it; but was prevented by
that imprisonment. [_Therefore MILTON did not come into Buckinghamshire at
this time, till after the 3rd July, 1665_.]

But, now [_i.e., not later than the middle of August, 1665_], being
released, and returned home; I soon made a visit to him, to welcome him
into the country [_county_].

After some common discourses had passed between us [_evidently at
ELLWOOD's first visit_], called for a manuscript of his: which being
brought, he delivered to me; bidding me, "Take it home with me, and read
it at my leisure; and, when I had so done, return it to him, with my
judgement thereupon!"

When I came home [_i.e., The Grange; from which ISAAC PBNINGTON, with his
family (including THOMAS ELLWOOD) was,_ by military force, _expelled about
a month after their first return from Aylesbury gaol (i.e., about the
middle of September); and he again sent to the same prison_], and had set
myself to read it; I found it was that excellent poem, which he entitled,
_Paradise Lost_.

After I had, with the best attention, read it through: I made him another
visit, and returned him his book; with due acknowledgment of the favour he
had done me, in communicating it to me.

He asked me, "How I liked it? And what I thought of it?" Which I,
modestly but freely, told him.

And, after some further discourse about it, I pleasantly said to him,
"Thou hast said much, here, of _Paradise lost_: but what hast thou to say
of _Paradise found_?"

He made me no answer; but sate some time in a muse: then brake off that
discourse, and fell upon another subject.

After the sickness [_Plague_] was over; and the City well cleansed, and
become safely habitable again: he returned thither.

And when, afterwards [_probably in 1668 or 1669_], I went to wait on him
there (which I seldom failed of doing, whenever my occasions drew me to
London), he showed me his second poem, called _Paradise Regained_: and,
in a pleasant tone, said to me, "This is owing to you! For you put it
into my head, by the question you put to me at Chalfont! which, before, I
had not thought of."

[_Paradise Regained_ was licensed for publication on 2nd July, 1670.]




You are now about to enter on a Profession which has the means of doing
much good to society, and scarcely any temptation to do harm. You may
encourage Genius, you may chastise superficial Arrogance, expose
Falsehood, correct Error, and guide the Taste and Opinions of the Age in
no small degree by the books you praise and recommend. And this too may
be done without running the risk of making any enemies; or subjecting
yourself to be called to account for your criticism, however severe.
While your name is unknown, your person is invulnerable: at the same time
your aim is sure, for you may take it at your leisure; and your blows fall
heavier than those of any Writer whose name is given, or who is simply
anonymous. There is a mysterious authority in the plural, _We_, which no
single name, whatever may be its reputation, can acquire; and, under the
sanction of this imposing style, your strictures, your praises, and your
dogmas, will command universal attention; and be received as the fruit of
united talents, acting on one common principle--as the judgments of a
tribunal who decide only on mature deliberation, and who protect the
interests of Literature with unceasing vigilance.

Such being the high importance of that Office, and such its
opportunities; I cannot bestow a few hours of leisure better than in
furnishing you with some hints for the more easy and effectual discharge
of it: hints which are, I confess, loosely thrown together; but which are
the result of long experience, and of frequent reflection and comparison.
And if anything should strike you, at first sight, as rather equivocal in
point of morality, or deficient in liberality and feeling; I beg you will
suppress all such scruples, and consider them as the offspring of a
contracted education and narrow way of thinking, which a little
intercourse with the World and sober reasoning will speedily overcome.

Now as in the conduct of life nothing is more to be desired than some
Governing Principle of action, to which all other principles and motives
must be made subservient; so in the Art of Reviewing I would lay down as
a fundamental position, which you must never lose sight of, and which
must be the mainspring of all your criticisms--_Write what will sell!_ To
this Golden Rule every minor canon must be subordinate; and must be either
immediately deducible from it, or at least be made consistent with it.

Be not staggered at the sound of a precept which, upon examination, will
be found as honest and virtuous as it is discreet. I have already
sketched out the great services which it is in your power to render
mankind; but all your efforts will be unavailing if men did not read what
you write. Your utility therefore, it is plain, depends upon your
popularity; and popularity cannot be attained without humouring the taste
and inclinations of men.

Be assured that, by a similar train of sound and judicious reasoning, the
consciences of thousands in public life are daily quieted. It is better
for the State that their Party should govern than any other. The good
which they can effect by the exercise of power is infinitely greater than
any which could arise from a rigid adherence to certain subordinate moral
precepts; which therefore should be violated without scruple whenever
they stand in the way of their leading purpose. He who sticks at these
can never act a great part in the World, and is not fit to act it if he
could. Such maxims may be very useful in ordinary affairs, and for the
guidance of ordinary men: but when we mount into the sphere of public
utility, we must adopt more enlarged principles; and not suffer ourselves
to be cramped and fettered by petty notions of Right and Moral Duty.

When you have reconciled yourself to this liberal way of thinking; you
will find many inferior advantages resulting from it, which at first did
not enter into your consideration. In particular, it will greatly lighten
your labours, to _follow_ the public taste, instead of taking upon you to
_direct_ it. The task of Pleasing is at all times easier than that of
Instructing: at least it does not stand in need of painful research and
preparation; and may be effected in general by a little vivacity of
manner, and a dexterous morigeration [_compliance, or obsequiousness_],
as Lord BACON calls it, to the humours and frailties of men. Your
responsibility too is thereby much lessened. Justice and Candour can only
be required of you so far as they coincide with this Main Principle: and a
little experience will convince you that these are not the happiest means
of accomplishing your purpose.

It has been idly said, That a Reviewer acts in a judicial capacity, and
that his conduct should be regulated by the same rules by which the Judge
of a Civil Court is governed: that he should rid himself of every bias; be
patient, cautious, sedate, and rigidly impartial; that he should not seek
to shew off himself, and should check every disposition to enter into the
case as a partizan.

Such is the language of superficial thinkers; but in reality there is no
analogy between the two cases. A Judge is promoted to that office by the
authority of the State; a Reviewer by his own. The former is independent
of control, and may therefore freely follow the dictates of his own
conscience: the latter depends for his very bread upon the breath of
public opinion; the great law of self-preservation therefore points out
to him a different line of action. Besides, as we have already observed,
if he ceases to please, he is no longer read; and consequently is no
longer useful. In a Court of Justice, too, the part of amusing the
bystanders rests with the Counsel: in the case of criticism, if the
Reviewer himself does not undertake it, who will?

Instead of vainly aspiring to the gravity of a Magistrate; I would advise
him, when he sits down to write, to place himself in the imaginary
situation of a cross-examining Pleader. He may comment, in a vein of
agreeable irony, upon the profession, the manner of life, the look,
dress, or even the name, of the witness he is examining: when he has
raised a contemptuous opinion of him in the minds of the Court, he may
proceed to draw answers from him capable of a ludicrous turn; and he may
carve and garble these to his own liking.

This mode of proceeding you will find most practicable in Poetry, where
the boldness of the image or the delicacy of thought (for which the
Reader's mind was prepared in the original) will easily be made to appear
extravagant, or affected, if judiciously singled out, and detached from
the group to which it belongs. Again, since much depends upon the rhythm
and the terseness of expression (both of which are sometimes destroyed by
dropping a single word, or transposing a phrase), I have known much
advantage arise from _not_ quoting in the form of a literal extract: but
giving a brief summary in prose, of the contents of a poetical passage;
and interlarding your own language, with occasional phrases of the Poem
marked with inverted commas.

These, and a thousand other little expedients, by which the arts of
Quizzing and Banter flourish, practice will soon teach you. If it should
be necessary to transcribe a dull passage, not very fertile in topics of
humour and raillery; you may introduce it as a "favourable specimen of
the Author's manner."

Few people are aware of the powerful effects of what is philosophically
termed Association. Without any positive violation of truth, the whole
dignity of a passage may be undermined by contriving to raise some vulgar
and ridiculous notions in the mind of the reader: and language teems with
examples of words by which the same idea is expressed, with the
difference only that one excites a feeling of respect, the other of
contempt. Thus you may call a fit of melancholy, "the sulks"; resentment,
"a pet"; a steed, "a nag"; a feast, "a junketing"; sorrow and affliction,
"whining and blubbering". By transferring the terms peculiar to one state
of society, to analogous situations and characters in another, the same
object is attained. "A Drill Serjeant" or "a Cat and Nine Tails" in the
Trojan War, "a Lesbos smack putting into the Piraeus," "the Penny Post of
Jerusalem," and other combinations of the like nature which, when you have
a little indulged in that vein of thought, will readily suggest
themselves, never fail to raise a smile, if not immediately at the
expense of the Author, yet entirely destructive of that frame of mind
which his Poem requires in order to be relished.

I have dwelt the longer on this branch of Literature, because you are
chiefly to look here for materials of fun and irony.

Voyages and Travels indeed are no barren ground; and you must seldom let
a Number of your _Review_ go abroad without an Article of this
description. The charm of this species of writing, so universally felt,
arises chiefly from its uniting Narrative with Information. The interest
we take in the story can only be kept alive by minute incident and
occasional detail; which puts us in possession of the traveller's
feelings, his hopes, his fears, his disappointments, and his pleasures.
At the same time the thirst for knowledge and love of novelty is
gratified by continual information respecting the people and countries he

If you wish therefore to run down the book, you have only to play off
these two parts against each other. When the Writer's object is to
satisfy the first inclination, you are to thank him for communicating to
the World such valuable facts as, whether he lost his way in the night,
or sprained his ankle, or had no appetite for his dinner. If he is busied
about describing the Mineralogy, Natural History, Agriculture, Trade, etc.
of a country: you may mention a hundred books from whence the same
information may be obtained; and deprecate the practice of emptying old
musty Folios into new Quartos, to gratify that sickly taste for a
smattering about everything which distinguishes the present Age.

In Works of Science and recondite Learning, the task you have undertaken
will not be so difficult as you may imagine. Tables of Contents and
Indexes are blessed helps in the hands of a Reviewer; but, more than all,
the Preface is the field from which his richest harvest is to be gathered.

In the Preface, the Author usually gives a summary of what has been
written on the same subject before; he acknowledges the assistance he has
received from different sources, and the reasons of his dissent from
former Writers; he confesses that certain parts have been less
attentively considered than others, and that information has come to his
hands too late to be made use of; he points out many things in the
composition of his Work which he thinks may provoke animadversion, and
endeavours to defend or palliate his own practice.

Here then is a fund of wealth for the Reviewer, lying upon the very
surface. If he knows anything of his business, he will turn all these
materials against the Author: carefully suppressing the source of his
information; and as if drawing from the stores of his own mind long ago
laid up for this very purpose. If the Author's references are correct, a
great point is gained; for by consulting a few passages of the original
Works, it will be easy to discuss the subject with the air of having a
previous knowledge of the whole.

Your chief vantage ground is, That you may fasten upon any position in
the book you are reviewing, and treat it as principal and essential; when
perhaps it is of little weight in the main argument: but, by allotting a
large share of your criticism to it, the reader will naturally be led to
give it a proportionate importance, and to consider the merit of the
Treatise at issue upon that single question.

If anybody complains that the greater and more valuable parts remain
unnoticed; your answer is, That it is impossible to pay attention to all;
and that your duty is rather to prevent the propagation of error, than to
lavish praises upon that which, if really excellent, will work its way in
the World without your help.

Indeed, if the plan of your _Review_ admits of selection, you had better
not meddle with Works of deep research and original speculation; such as
have already attracted much notice, and cannot be treated superficially
without fear of being found out. The time required for making yourself
thoroughly master of the subject is so great, that you may depend upon it
they will never pay for the reviewing. They are generally the fruit of
long study, and of talents concentrated in the steady pursuit of one
object: it is not likely therefore that you can throw much new light on a
question of this nature, or even plausibly combat the Author's
propositions; in the course of a few hours, which is all you can well
afford to devote to them. And without accomplishing one or the other of
these points; your _Review_ will gain no celebrity, and of course no good
will be done.

Enough has been said to give you some insight into the facilities with
which your new employment abounds. I will only mention one more, because
of its extensive and almost universal application to all Branches of
Literature; the topic, I mean, which by the old Rhetoricians was called
[Greek: _ex enantion_], That is, when a Work excels in one quality; you
may blame it for not having the opposite.

For instance, if the biographical sketch of a Literary Character is
minute and full of anecdote; you may enlarge on the advantages of
philosophical reflection, and the superior mind required to give a
judicious analysis of the Opinions and Works of deceased Authors. On the
contrary, if the latter method is pursued by the Biographer; you can,
with equal ease, extol the lively colouring, and truth, and interest, of
exact delineation and detail.

This topic, you will perceive, enters into Style as well as Matter; where
many virtues might be named _which are incompatible_: and whichever the
Author has preferred, it will be the signal for you to launch forth on
the praises of its opposite; and continually to hold up that to your
Reader as the model of excellence in this species of Writing.

You will perhaps wonder why all my instructions are pointed towards the
Censure, and not the Praise, of Books; but many reasons might be given
why it should be so. The chief are, that this part is both easier, and
will sell better.

Let us hear the words of Mr BURKE on a subject not very dissimilar:

"In such cases," says he, "the Writer has a certain fire and alacrity
inspired into him by a consciousness that (let it fare how it will with
the subject) his ingenuity will be sure of applause: and this alacrity
becomes much greater, if he acts upon the offensive; by the impetuosity
that always accompanies an attack, and the unfortunate propensity which
mankind have to finding and exaggerating faults." Pref., _Vindic. Nat.
Soc_., p. 6.

You will perceive that I have on no occasion sanctioned the baser motives
of private pique, envy, revenge, and love of detraction. At least I have
not recommended harsh treatment upon any of these grounds. I have argued
simply on the abstract moral principle which a Reviewer should ever have
present to his mind: but if any of these motives insinuate themselves as
secondary springs of action, I would not condemn them. They may come in
aid of the grand Leading Principle, and powerfully second its operation.

But it is time to close these tedious precepts, and to furnish you with,
what speaks plainer than any precept, a Specimen of the Art itself, in
which several of them are embodied. It is hastily done: but it
exemplifies well enough what I have said of the Poetical department; and
exhibits most of those qualities which disappointed Authors are fond of
railing at, under the names of Flippancy, Arrogance, Conceit,
Misrepresentation, and Malevolence: reproaches which you will only regard
as so many acknowledgments of success in your undertaking; and infallible
tests of an established fame, and [a] rapidly increasing circulation.

_L'Allegro_. A Poem.


No Printer's name.

It has become a practice of late with a certain description of people,
who have no visible means of subsistence, to string together a few trite
images of rural scenery, interspersed with vulgarisms in dialect, and
traits of vulgar manners; to dress up these materials in a Sing-Song
jingle; and to offer them for sale as a Poem. According to the most
approved recipes, something about the heathen gods and goddesses; and the
schoolboy topics of Styx and Cerberus, and Elysium; are occasionally
thrown in, and the composition is complete. The stock in trade of these
Adventurers is in general scanty enough; and their Art therefore consists
in disposing it to the best advantage. But if such be the aim of the
Writer, it is the Critic's business to detect and defeat the imposture;
to warn the public against the purchase of shop-worn goods and tinsel
wares; to protect the fair trader, by exposing the tricks of needy Quacks
and Mountebanks; and to chastise that forward and noisy importunity with
which they present themselves to the public notice.

How far Mr. MILTON is amenable to this discipline, will best appear from
a brief analysis of the Poem before us.

In the very opening he assumes a tone of authority which might better
suit some veteran Bard than a raw candidate for the Delphic bays: for,
before he proceeds to the regular process of Invocation, he clears the
way, by driving from his presence (with sundry hard names; and bitter
reproaches on her father, mother, and all the family) a venerable
Personage, whose age at least and staid matron-like appearance, might
have entitled her to more civil language.

    Hence, loathèd Melancholy!
    Of CERBERUS and blackest Midnight born,
    In Stygian cave forlorn, &c.

There is no giving rules, however, in these matters, without a knowledge
of the case. Perhaps the old lady had been frequently warned off before;
and provoked this violence by continuing still to lurk about the Poet's
dwelling. And, to say the truth, the Reader will have but too good reason
to remark, before he gets through the Poem, that it is one thing to tell
the Spirit of Dulness to depart; and another to get rid of her in
reality. Like GLENDOWER's Spirits, any one may order them away; "but will
they go, when you do order them?"

But let us suppose for a moment that the Parnassian decree is obeyed;
and, according to the letter of the _Order_ (which is as precise and
wordy as if Justice SHALLOW himself had drawn it) that the obnoxious
female is sent back to the place of her birth,

    'Mongst horrid shapes, shrieks, sights, &c.

At which we beg our fair readers not to be alarmed; for we can assure
them they are only words of course in all poetical Instruments of this
nature, and mean no more than the "force and arms" and "instigation of
the Devil" in a common Indictment.

This nuisance then being abated; we are left at liberty to contemplate a
character of a different complexion, "buxom, blithe, and debonair": one
who, although evidently a great favourite of the Poet's and therefore to
be received with all due courtesy, is notwithstanding introduced under
the suspicious description of an _alias_.

    In heaven, ycleped EUPHROSYNE;
    And by men, heart-easing Mirth.

Judging indeed from the light and easy deportment of this gay Nymph; one
might guess there were good reasons for a change of name as she changed
her residence.

But of all vices there is none we abhor more than that of slanderous
insinuation. We shall therefore confine our moral strictures to the
Nymph's mother; in whose defence the Poet has little to say himself. Here
too, as in the case of the _name_, there is some doubt. For the
uncertainty of descent on the Father's side having become trite to a
proverb; the Author, scorning that beaten track, has left us to choose
between two mothers for his favourite and without much to guide our
choice; for, whichever we fix upon, it is plain she was no better than
she should be. As he seems however himself inclined to the latter of the
two, we will even suppose it so to be.

    Or whether (as some sager say)
    The frolic _wind that breathes the Spring_,
    ZEPHYR with AURORA playing,
    _As he met her once a Maying_;
    There on beds of violets blue,
    And fresh-blown roses washed in dew, _&c._

Some dull people might imagine that _the wind_ was more like _the breath
of Spring_; than _Spring, the breath of the wind_: but we are more
disposed to question the Author's Ethics than his Physics; and
accordingly cannot dismiss these May gambols without some observations.

In the first place, Mr. M. seems to have higher notions of the antiquity
of the May Pole than we have been accustomed to attach to it. Or perhaps
he sought to shelter the equivocal nature of this affair under that
sanction. To us, however, who can hardly subscribe to the doctrine that
"Vice loses half its evil by losing all its grossness"; neither the
remoteness of time, nor the gaiety of the season, furnishes a sufficient
palliation. "Violets blue" and "fresh-blown roses" are, to be sure, more
agreeable objects of the Imagination than a gin shop in Wapping or a
booth in Bartholomew Fair; but, in point of morality, these are
distinctions without a difference: or it may be the cultivation of mind
(which teaches us to reject and nauseate these latter objects) aggravates
the case, if our improvement in taste be not accompanied by a
proportionate improvement of morals.

If the Reader can reconcile himself to this latitude of principle, the
anachronism will not long stand in his way. Much indeed may be said in
favour of this union of ancient Mythology with modern notions and
manners. It is a sort of chronological metaphor--an artificial analogy,
by which ideas, widely remote and heterogeneous, are brought into
contact; and the mind is delighted by this unexpected assemblage, as it
is by the combinations of figurative language.

Thus in that elegant Interlude, which the pen of BEN JONSON has
transmitted to us, of the loves of HERO and LEANDER:

    Gentles, that no longer your expectations may wander,
    Behold our chief actor, amorous LEANDER!
    With a great deal of cloth, lapped about him like a scarf:
    For he yet serves his father, a Dyer in Puddle Wharf:
    Which place we'll make bold with, to call it our Abydus;
    As the Bankside is our Sestos, and _let it not be denied us_.

And far be it from us to deny the use of so reasonable a liberty;
especially if the request be backed (as it is in the case of Mr. M.) by
the craving and imperious necessities of rhyme. What man who has ever
bestrode Pegasus for an hour, will be insensible to such a claim?

    _Haud ignara mali miseris succurrere disco_.

We are next favoured with an enumeration of the Attendants of this
"debonair" Nymph, in all the minuteness of a German _Dramatis Personae_,
or a Ropedancer's Handbill.

    Haste thee, Nymph; and bring with thee
    Jest and youthful Jollity,
    Quips and cranks and wanton wiles,
    Nods and becks and wreathèd smiles
    Such as hang on HEBE's cheek
    And love to live in dimple sleek;
    Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
    And Laughter holding both his sides.

The Author, to prove himself worthy of being admitted of the crew, skips
and capers about upon "the light fantastic toe," that there is no
following him. He scampers through all the Categories, in search of his
imaginary beings, from Substance to Quality, and back again; from thence
to Action, Passion, Habit, &c. with incredible celerity. Who, for
instance, would have expected _cranks, nods, becks_, and _wreathèd
smiles_ as part of a group in which Jest, Jollity, Sport, and Laughter
figure away as full-formed entire Personages? The family likeness is
certainly very strong in the two last; and if we had not been told, we
should perhaps have thought the act of _deriding_ as appropriate to
Laughter as to Sport.

But how are we to understand the stage directions?

    _Come_, and trip it as you _go_.

Are the words used synonymously? Or is it meant that this airy gentry
shall come in a Minuet step, and go off in a Jig? The phenomenon of a
_tripping crank_ is indeed novel, and would doubtless attract numerous

But it is difficult to guess to whom, among this jolly company, the Poet
addresses himself: for immediately after the Plural appellative _you_, he

    And in _thy_ right hand lead with _thee_
    The mountain Nymph, sweet Liberty.

No sooner is this fair damsel introduced; but Mr M., with most unbecoming
levity, falls in love with her: and makes a request of her companion which
is rather greedy, that he may live with both of them.

    To live with her, and live with thee.

Even the gay libertine who sang "How happy could I be with either!" did
not go so far as this. But we have already had occasion to remark on the
laxity of Mr M.'s amatory notions.

The Poet, intoxicated with the charms of his Mistress, now rapidly runs
over the pleasures which he proposes to himself in the enjoyment of her
society. But though he has the advantage of being his own caterer, either
his palate is of a peculiar structure, or he has not made the most
judicious selection.

    To begin the day well, he will have the _sky-lark_
                       to come _in spite of sorrow_
                 And at his window bid "Good Morrow!"

The sky-lark, if we know anything of the nature of that bird, must come
"in spite" of something else as well as "of sorrow," to the performance
of this office.

In the next image, the Natural History is better preserved; and, as the
thoughts are appropriate to the time of day, we will venture to
transcribe the passage, as a favourable specimen of the Author's manner:

    While the Cock, with lively din,
    Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
    And to the stack, or the barn door,
    Stoutly struts his dames before;
    Oft listening how the hounds and horns
    Cheerly rouse the slumbering morn,
    From the side of some hoar hill,
    Through the high wood echoing still.

Is it not lamentable that, after all, whether it is the Cock, or the
Poet, that listens, should be left entirely to the Reader's conjectures?
Perhaps also his embarrassment may be increased by a slight resemblance
of character in these two illustrious Personages, at least as far as
relates to the extent and numbers of their seraglio.

After a _flaming_ description of sunrise, on which the clouds attend in
their very best liveries; the Bill of Fare for the day proceeds in the
usual manner. Whistling Ploughmen, singing Milkmaids, and sentimental
Shepherds are always to be had at a moment's notice; and, if well
grouped, serve to fill up the landscape agreeably enough.

On this part of the Poem we have only to remark, that if Mr JOHN MILTON
proposeth to make himself merry with

    Russet lawns, and fallows grey
    Where the nibbling flocks _do_ stray;
    Mountains on whose barren breast
    The labouring clouds _do_ often rest,
    Meadows trim with daisies pied,
    Shallow brooks, and rivers wide,
    Towers and battlements, &c. &c. &c.

he will either find himself egregiously disappointed; or he must possess
a disposition to merriment which even DEMOCRITUS himself might envy. To
such a pitch indeed does this solemn indication of joy sometimes rise,
that we are inclined to give him credit for a literal adherence to the
Apostolic precept, "Is any merry, let him sing Psalms!"

At length, however, he hies away at the sound of bell-ringing, and seems
for some time to enjoy the tippling and fiddling and dancing of a village
wake: but his fancy is soon haunted again by spectres and goblins, a set
of beings not, in general, esteemed the companions or inspirers of mirth.

    With stories told of many a feat,
    How fairy MAB the junkets eat.
    She was pinched, and pulled, she said:
    And he, by friar's lanthern led,
    Tells how the drudging Goblin sweat
    To earn his cream-bowl duly set;
    When, in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
    His shadowy Flail hath threshed the corn
    That ten day-labourers could not end.
    Then lies him down the lubbar Fiend;
    And, stretched out all the chimney's length,
    Basks at the fire his hairy strength:
    And, crop-full, out of door he flings
    Ere the first cock his Matins rings.

Mr. M. seems indeed to have a turn for this species of Nursery Tales and
prattling Lullabies; and, if he will studiously cultivate his talent, he
need not despair of figuring in a conspicuous corner of Mr NEWBERY's shop
window: unless indeed Mrs. TRIMMER should think fit to proscribe those
empty levities and idle superstitions, by which the World has been too
long abused.

From these rustic fictions, we are transported to another species of

    Towered cities please us then,
    And the busy hum of men;
    Where throngs of Knights and Barons bold,
    In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold:
    With _store of Ladies_, whose bright eyes
    _Rain influence_, and judge the Prize
    Of Wit or Arms; while both contend
    To win her grace, whom all commend.

To talk of the bright eyes of Ladies judging the Prize of Wit is indeed
with the Poets a legitimate species of humming: but would not, we may
ask, the _rain_ from these Ladies' bright eyes rather tend to dim their
lustre? Or is there any quality in a shower of _influence_; which,
instead of deadening, serves only to brighten and exhilarate?

Whatever the case may be, we would advise Mr. M. by all means to keep out
of the way of these "Knights and Barons bold": for, if he has nothing but
his Wit to trust to, we will venture to predict that, without a large
share of most undue influence, he must be content to see the Prize
adjudged to his competitors.

Of the latter part of the Poem little need be said.

The Author does seem somewhat more at home when he gets among the Actors
and Musicians: though his head is still running upon ORPHEUS and EURYDICE
and PLUTO, and other sombre personages; who are ever thrusting themselves
in where we least expect them, and who chill every rising emotion of
mirth and gaiety.

He appears however to be so ravished with this sketch of festive
pleasures, or perhaps with himself for having sketched them so well, that
he closes with a couplet which would not have disgraced a STERNHOLD.

    These delights if thou canst give,
    Mirth, with thee I _mean_ to live.

Of Mr. M.'s good _intentions_ there can be no doubt; but we beg leave to
remind him that there are two opinions to be consulted. He presumes
perhaps upon the poetical powers he has displayed, and considers them as
irresistible: for every one must observe in how different a strain he
avows his attachment now, and at the opening of the Poem. Then it was

    If I give thee honour due,
    Mirth, admit me of thy crew!

But having, it should seem, established his pretensions; he now thinks it
sufficient to give notice that he means to live with her, because he likes

Upon the whole, Mr. MILTON seems to be possessed of some fancy and talent
for rhyming; two most dangerous endowments which often unfit men for
acting a useful part in life without qualifying them for that which is
great and brilliant. If it be true, as we have heard, that he has
declined advantageous prospects in business, for the sake of indulging
his poetical humour; we hope it is not yet too late to prevail upon him
to retract his resolution. With the help of COCKER and common industry,
he may become a respectable Scrivener: but it is not all the ZEPHYRS, and
AURORAS, and CORYDONS, and THYRSIS's; aye, nor his "junketing Queen MAB"
and "drudging Goblins," that will ever make him a Poet.


Wherein the Month and Day of the Month are set down, the Persons named,
and the great Actions and Events of next Year particularly related, as
they will come to pass.

_Written to prevent the People of England from being further imposed on
by vulgar_ Almanack _Makers_.



PREDICTIONS for the Year 1708, &c.

I have long considered the gross abuse of Astrology in this Kingdom; and
upon debating the matter with myself, I could not possibly lay the fault
upon the Art, but upon those gross Impostors who set up to be the Artists.

I know several Learned Men have contended that the whole is a cheat; that
it is absurd and ridiculous to imagine the stars can have any influence at
all on human actions, thoughts, or inclinations: and whoever has not bent
his studies that way, may be excused for thinking so, when he sees in how
wretched a manner this noble Art is treated by a few mean illiterate
traders between us and the stars; who import a yearly stock of nonsense,
lies, folly, and impertinence, which they offer to the world as genuine
from the planets, although they descend from no greater height than their
own brains.

I intend, in a short time, to publish a large and rational Defence of
this Art; and therefore shall say no more in its justification at present
than that it hath been, in all Ages, defended by many Learned Men; and,
among the rest, by SOCRATES himself, whom I look upon as undoubtedly the
wisest of uninspired mortals. To which if we add, that those who have
condemned this Art, although otherwise learned, having been such as
either did not apply their studies this way, or at least did not succeed
in their applications; their testimonies will not be of much weight to
its disadvantage, since they are liable to the common objection of
condemning what they did not understand.

Nor am I at all offended, or think it an injury to the Art, when I see
the common dealers in it, the _Students in Astronomy_, the _Philomaths_,
and the rest of that tribe, treated by wise men with the utmost scorn and
contempt: but I rather wonder, when I observe Gentlemen in the country,
rich enough to serve the nation in Parliament, poring in PARTRIDGE's
_Almanack_ to find out the events of the year, at home and abroad; not
daring to propose a hunting match, unless GADBURY or he have fixed the

I will allow either of the two I have mentioned, or any others of the
fraternity, to be not only Astrologers, but Conjurers too, if I do not
produce a hundred instances in all their _Almanacks_, to convince any
reasonable man that they do not so much as understand Grammar and Syntax;
that they are not able to spell any word out of the usual road, nor even,
in their _Prefaces_, to write common sense, or intelligible English.

Then as their Observations or Predictions, they are such as will suit any
Age or country in the world.

_This month, a certain great Person will be threatened with death or
sickness_. This the News Paper will tell them. For there we find at the
end of the year, that no month passeth without the death of some Person
of Note: and it would be hard if it should be otherwise, where there are
at least two thousand Persons of Note in this kingdom, many of them old;
and the _Almanack_ maker has the liberty of choosing the sickliest season
of the year, where he may fix his prediction.

Again, _This month, an eminent Clergyman will be preferred_. Of which,
there may be some hundreds, half of them with one foot in the grave.

Then, _Such a Planet in such a House shews great machinations, plots, and
conspiracies, that may, in time, be brought to light_. After which, if we
hear of any discovery, the Astrologer gets the honour; if not, his
prediction still stands good.

And, at last, _God preserve King WILLIAM from all his open and secret
enemies, Amen_. When, if the King should happen to have died, the
Astrologer plainly foretold it! otherwise it passeth but for the pious
ejaculation of a loyal subject: although it unluckily happened in some of
their _Almanacks_, that poor King WILLIAM was prayed for, many months
after he was dead; because it fell out, that he died about the beginning
of the year.

To mention no more of their impertinent Predictions, What have we to do
with their advertisements about pills, or their mutual quarrels in verse
and prose of Whig and Tory? wherewith the stars have little to do.

Having long observed and lamented these, and a hundred other abuses of
this Art too tedious to repeat; I resolved to proceed in a New Way;
which, I doubt not, will be to the general satisfaction of the Kingdom. I
can, this year, produce but a specimen of what I design for the future:
having employed the most part of my time in adjusting and correcting the
calculations I made for some years past; because I would offer nothing to
the World, of which I am not as fully satisfied as that I am now alive.

For these last two years, I have not failed in above one or two
particulars, and those of no very great moment. I exactly foretold the
miscarriage at Toulon [_fruitlessly besieged by Prince EUGENE, between
26th July, and 21st August_, 1707] with all its particulars: and the loss
of Admiral [Sir CLOUDESLY] SHOVEL [_at the Scilly isles, on 22nd October_,
1707]; although I was mistaken as to the day, placing that accident about
thirty-six hours sooner than it happened; but upon reviewing my Schemes,
I quickly found the cause of that error. I likewise foretold the battle
of Almanza [_25th April_, 1707] to the very day and hour, with the loss
on both sides, and the consequences thereof. All which I shewed to some
friends many months before they happened: that is, I gave them papers
sealed up, to open in such a time, after which they were at liberty to
read them; and there they found my Predictions true in every Article,
except one or two very minute.

As for the few following Predictions I now offer the World, I forbore to
publish them until I had perused the several _Almanacks_ for the year we
are now entered upon. I found them all in the usual strain; and I beg the
reader will compare their manner with mine.

And here I make bold to tell the World that I lay the whole credit of my
Art upon the truth of these Predictions; and I will be content that
PARTRIDGE and the rest of his clan may hoot me for a cheat and impostor,
if I fail in any single particular of moment. I believe any man who reads
this Paper [_pamphlet_], will look upon me to be at least a person of as
much honesty and understanding as the common maker of _Almanacks_. I do
not lurk in the dark, I am not wholly unknown to the World. I have set my
name at length, to be a mark of infamy to mankind, if they shall find I
deceive them.

In one thing, I must desire to be forgiven: that I talk more sparingly of
home affairs. As it would be imprudence to discover Secrets of State, so
it would be dangerous to my person: but in smaller matters, and that as
are not of public consequence, I shall be very free: and the truth of my
conjectures will as much appear from these, as the other.

As for the most signal events abroad, in France, Flanders, Italy, and
Spain: I shall make no scruple to predict them in plain terms. Some of
them are of importance; and I hope I shall seldom mistake the day they
will happen. Therefore I think good to inform the reader, that I, all
along, make use of the Old Style observed in England; which I desire he
will compare with that of the News Papers at the time they relate the
actions I mention.

I must add one word more. I know it hath been, the opinion of several
Learned [Persons], who think well enough of the true Art of Astrology,
that the stars do only _incline_ and not _force_ the actions or wills of
men: and therefore, however I may proceed by right rules; yet I cannot,
in prudence, so confidently assure that the events will follow exactly as
I predict them.

I hope I have maturely considered this objection, which, in some cases,
is of no little weight. For example, a man may, by the influence of an
overruling planet, be disposed or inclined to lust, rage, or avarice; and
yet, by the force of reason, overcome that evil influence. And this was
the case of SOCRATES. But the great events of the World usually depending
upon numbers of men; it cannot be expected they should _all_ unite to
cross their inclinations, from pursuing a general design wherein they
unanimously agree. Besides, the influence of the stars reacheth to many
actions and events which are not, in any way, in the power of Reason, as
sickness, death, and what we commonly call accidents; with many more,
needless to repeat.

But now it is time to proceed to my Predictions: which I have begun to
calculate from the time that the sun entereth into _Aries [April]_; and
this I take to be properly the beginning of the natural year. I pursue
them to the time that he entereth _Libra [September]_ or somewhat more;
which is the busy period of the year. The remainder I have not yet
adjusted, upon account of several impediments needless here to mention.
Besides, I must remind the reader again, that this is but a specimen of
what I design, in succeeding years, to treat more at large; if I may have
liberty and encouragement.

My first Prediction is but a trifle; yet I will mention it to shew how
ignorant those sottish pretenders to Astrology are in their own concerns.
It relateth to PARTRIDGE the _Almanack_ maker. I have consulted the star
of his nativity by my own rules; and find he will infallibly die upon the
29th of March [1708] next, about eleven at night, of a raging fever.
Therefore I advise him to consider of it, and settle his affairs in time.

The month of APRIL will be observable for the death of many Great Persons.

On the 4th will die the Cardinal DE NOAILLES, Archbishop of Paris.

On the 11th, the young Prince of the ASTURIAS, son to the Duke of ANJOU.

On the 14th, a great Peer of this realm will die at his country house.

On the 19th, an old Layman of great fame and learning; and on the 23rd,
an eminent goldsmith in Lombard street.

I could mention others, both at home and abroad, if I did not consider it
is of very little use or instruction to the Reader, or to the World.

As to Public Affairs. On the 7th of this month, there will be an
insurrection in Dauphiny, occasioned by the oppressions of the people;
which will not be quieted in some months.

On the 15th, there will be a violent storm on the southeast coast of
France; which will destroy many of their ships, and some in the very

The 19th will be famous for the revolt of a whole Province or Kingdom,
excepting one city: by which the affairs of a certain Prince in the
Alliance will take a better face.

MAY, against common conjectures, will be no very busy month in Europe;
but very signal for the death of the Dauphin [_Note, how SWIFT is killing
off all the Great Men on the French side, one after another: became that
would jump with the inclination of the nation just at the moment_]; which
will happen on the 7th, after a short fit of sickness, and grievous
torments with the stranguary. He dies less lamented by the Court than the

On the 9th, a Marshal of France will break his leg by a fall from his
horse. I have not been able to discover whether he will then die or not.

On the 11th, will begin a most important siege, which the eyes of all
Europe will be upon. I cannot be more particular; for in relating affairs
that so nearly concern the Confederates, and consequently this Kingdom; I
am forced to confine myself, for several reasons very obvious to the

On the 15th, news will arrive of a _very surprising_ event; than which,
nothing could be more unexpected.

On the 19th, three noble Ladies of this Kingdom, will, against all
expectation, prove with child; to the great joy of their husbands.

On the 23rd, a famous buffoon of the Play House will die a ridiculous
death, suitable to his vocation.

JUNE. This month will be distinguished at home by the utter dispersing of
those ridiculous deluded enthusiasts, commonly called Prophets [_Scotch
and English Jesuits affecting inspiration, under the name of the French
Prophets_], occasioned chiefly by seeing the time come when many of their
prophecies were to be fulfilled; and then finding themselves deceived by
the contrary events. It is indeed to be admired [_astonished at_] how any
deceiver can be so weak to foretell things near at hand; when a very few
months must, of necessity, discover the imposture to all the world: in
this point, less prudent than common _Almanack_ makers, who are so wise
[as] to wander in generals, talk dubiously, and leave to the reader the
business of interpreting.

On the 1st of this month, a French General will be killed by a random
shot of a cannon ball.

On the 6th, a fire will break out in all the suburbs of Paris, which will
destroy above a thousand houses; and seems to be the foreboding of what
will happen, to the surprise of all Europe, about the end of the
following month.

On the 10th, a great battle will be fought, which will begin at four of
the clock in the afternoon, and last until nine at night, with great
obstinacy, but no very decisive event. I shall not name the place, for
the reasons aforesaid; but the Commanders of each left wing will be
killed.... I see bonfires, and hear the noise of guns for a victory.

On the 14th, there will be a false report of the French King's death.

On the 20th, Cardinal PORTOCARRERO will die of a dysentery, with great
suspicion of poison: but the report of his intentions to revolt to King
CHARLES will prove false.

JULY. The 6th of this month, a certain General will, by a glorious
action, recover the reputation he lost by former misfortunes.

On the 12th, a great Commander will die a prisoner in the hands of his

On the 14th, a shameful discovery will be made of a French Jesuit giving
poison to a great foreign General; and, when he is put to the torture,
[he] will make wonderful discoveries.

In short, this will prove a month of great action, if I might have
liberty to relate the particulars.

At home, the death of an old famous Senator will happen on the 15th, at
his country house, worn [out] with age and diseases.

But that which will make this month memorable to all posterity, is the
death of the French King LEWIS XIV., after a week's sickness at Marli;
which will happen on the 29th, about six o'clock in the evening. It
seemeth to be an effect of the gout in his stomach followed by a flux.
And in three days after, Monsieur CHAMILLARD will follow his master;
dying suddenly of an apoplexy.

In this month likewise, an Ambassador will die in London; but I cannot
assign the day.

AUGUST. The affairs of France will seem to suffer no change for a while,
under the Duke of BURGUNDY's administration. But the Genius that animated
the whole machine being gone, will be the cause of mighty turns and
revolutions in the following year. The new King maketh yet little change,
either in the army or the Ministry; but the libels against his
[grand]father that fly about his very Court, give him uneasiness.

I see an Express in mighty haste, with joy and wonder in his looks,
arriving by the break of day on the 26th of this month, having travelled,
in three days, a prodigious journey by land and sea. In the evening, I
hear bells and guns, and see the blazing of a thousand bonfires.

A young Admiral, of noble birth, doth likewise, this month, gain immortal
honour by a great achievement.

The affairs of Poland are, this month, entirely settled. AUGUSTUS resigns
his pretensions, which he had again taken up for some time. STANISLAUS is
peaceably possessed of the throne: and the King of SWEDEN declares for
the Emperor.

I cannot omit one particular accident here at home: that, near the end of
this month, much mischief will be done at Bartholomew Fair [_held on
August 24th_], by the fall of a booth.

SEPTEMBER. This month begins with a very surprising fit of frosty
weather, which will last near[ly] twelve days.

The Pope having long languished last month, the swellings in his legs
breaking, and the flesh mortifying; he will die on the 11th instant. And,
in three weeks' time, after a mighty contest, he will be succeeded by a
Cardinal of the Imperial faction, but a native of Tuscany, who is now
about 61 years old.

The French army acts now wholly on the defensive, strongly fortified in
their trenches: and the young French King sendeth overtures for a treaty
of peace, by the Duke of MANTUA; which, because it is a matter of State
that concerneth us here at home, I shall speak no further of.

I shall add but one Prediction more, and that in mystical terms, which
shall be included in a verse out of VIRGIL,

    _Alter erit jam TETHYS, et altera quae vehat ARGO
    Dilectos Heroas_.

Upon the 25th day of this month, the fulfilling of this Prediction will
be manifest to everybody.

This is the furthest I have proceeded in my calculations for the present
year. I do not pretend that these are all the great events which will
happen in this period; but that those I have set down will infallibly
come to pass.

It may perhaps, still be objected, why I have not spoken more
particularly of affairs at home, or of the success of our armies abroad;
which I might, and could very largely have done. But those in Power have
wisely discouraged men from meddling in public concerns: and I was
resolved, by no means, to give the least offence. This I _will_ venture
to say, that it will be a glorious campaign for the Allies, wherein the
English forces, both by sea and land, will have their full share of
honour; that Her Majesty Queen ANNE will continue in health and
prosperity; and that no ill accident will arrive to any in the chief

As to the particular events I have mentioned, the readers may judge by
the fulfilling of them, whether I am of the level with common
Astrologers, who, with an old paltry cant, and a few Pothooks for Planets
to amuse the vulgar, have, in my opinion, too long been suffered to abuse
the World. But an honest Physician ought not to be despised because there
are such things as mountebanks.

I hope I have some share of reputation; which I would not willingly
forfeit for a frolic, or humour: and I believe no Gentleman, who reads
this Paper, will look upon it to be of the same last and mould with the
common scribbles that are every day hawked about. My fortune hath placed
me above the little regard of writing for a few pence, which I neither
value nor want. Therefore, let not any wise man too hastily condemn this
Essay, intended for a good design, to cultivate and improve an ancient
Art, long in disgrace by having fallen into mean unskilful hands. A
little time will determine whether I have deceived others, or myself: and
I think it is no very unreasonable request, that men would please to
suspend their judgements till then.

I was once of the opinion with those who despise all Predictions from the
stars, till, in the year 1686, a Man of Quality shewed me written in his
album, that the most learned astronomer, Captain H[ALLEY], assured him he
would never believe anything of the stars' influence, if there were not a
great Revolution in England in the year 1688. Since that time, I began to
have other thoughts [SWIFT _does not say on what subject_]; and, after
eighteen years' [1690-1708] diligent study and application [_in what?_],
I think I have no reason to repent of my pains.

I shall detain the reader no longer than to let him know, that the
account I design to give of next year's events shall take in the
principal affairs that happen in Europe. And if I be denied the liberty
of offering it to my own country; I shall appeal to the Learned World, by
publishing it in Latin, and giving order to have it printed in Holland.


A Revenue Officer


_A Letter to a Lord_.

[30 March 1708.]


In obedience to your Lordship's commands, as well as to satisfy my own
curiosity; I have, for some days past, inquired constantly after
PARTRIDGE the _Almanack_ maker: of whom, it was foretold in Mr.
BICKERSTAFF's _Predictions_, published about a month ago, that he should
die, the 29th instant, about eleven at night, of a raging fever.

I had some sort of knowledge of him, when I was employed in the Revenue;
because he used, every year, to present me with his _Almanack_, as he did
other Gentlemen, upon the score of some little gratuity we gave him.

I saw him accidentally once or twice, about ten days before he died: and
observed he began very much to droop and languish; although I hear his
friends did not seem to apprehend him in any danger.

About two or three days ago, he grew ill; was confined first to his
chamber, and in a few hours after, to his bed: where Dr. CASE and Mrs.
KIRLEUS [_two London quacks_] were sent for, to visit, and to prescribe
to him.

Upon this intelligence, I sent thrice every day a servant or other, to
inquire after his health: and yesterday, about four in the afternoon,
word was brought me, that he was past hopes.

Upon which, I prevailed with myself to go and see him: partly, out of
commiseration: and, I confess, partly out of curiosity. He knew me very
well, seemed surprised at my condescension, and made me compliments upon
it, as well as he could in the condition he was. The people about him,
said he had been delirious: but, when I saw him, he had his understanding
as well as ever I knew, and spoke strong and hearty, without any seeming
uneasiness or constraint.

After I had told him, I was sorry to see him in those melancholy
circumstances, and said some other civilities suitable to the occasion; I
desired him to tell me freely and ingenuously, whether the _Predictions_,
Mr. BICKERSTAFF had published relating to his death, had not too much
affected and worked on his imagination?

He confessed he often had it in his head, but never with much
apprehension till about a fortnight before: since which time, it had the
perpetual possession of his mind and thoughts, and he did verily believe
was the true natural cause of his present distemper. "For," said he, "I
am thoroughly persuaded, and I think I have very good reasons, that Mr.
BICKERSTAFF spoke altogether by guess, and knew no more what will happen
this year than I did myself."

I told him, "His discourse surprised me, and I would be glad he were in a
state of health to be able to tell me, what reason he had, to be convinced
of Mr. BICKERSTAFF's ignorance."

He replied, "I am a poor ignorant fellow, bred to a mean trade; yet I
have sense enough to know that all pretences of foretelling by Astrology
are deceits: for this manifest reason, because the wise and learned (who
can only judge whether there be any truth in this science), do all
unanimously agree to laugh at and despise it; and none but the poor
ignorant vulgar give it any credit, and that only upon the word of such
silly wretches as I and my fellows, who can hardly write or read." I then
asked him, "Why he had not calculated his own nativity, to see whether it
agreed with BICKERSTAFF's Predictions?"

At which, he shook his head, and said, "O, Sir! this is no time for
jesting, but for repenting those fooleries, as I do now from the very
bottom of my heart."

"By what I can gather from you," said I, "the Observations and
Predictions you printed with your _Almanacks_, were mere impositions upon
the people."

He replied, "If it were otherwise, I should have the less to answer for.
We have a common form for all those things. As to foretelling the
weather, we never meddle with that! but leave it to the printer, who
taketh it out of any old _Almanack_, as he thinketh fit. The rest was my
own invention, to make my _Almanack_ sell; having a wife to maintain, and
no other way to get my bread: for mending old shoes is a poor livelihood!
And," added he, sighing, "I wish I may not have done more mischief by my
physic than by astrology! although I had some good receipts from my
grandmother, and my own compositions were such as I thought could, at
least, do no hurt."

I had some other discourse with him, which now I cannot call to mind: and
I fear I have already tired your Lordship. I shall only add one
circumstance. That on his deathbed, he declared himself a Nonconformist,
and had a Fanatic [_the political designation of Dissenters_] preacher to
be his spiritual guide.

After half an hour's conversation, I took my leave; being almost stifled
by the closeness of the room.

I imagined he could not hold out long; and therefore withdrew to a little
coffee-house hard by, leaving a servant at the house, with orders to come
immediately, and tell me as near as he could the minute when PARTRIGE
should expire: which was not above two hours after, when, looking upon my
watch, I found it to be above Five minutes after Seven. By which it is
clear that Mr. BICKERSTAFF was mistaken almost four hours in his
calculation [_see_ p. 173]. In the other circumstances he was exact

But whether he hath not been the cause of this poor man's death as well
as the Predictor may be very reasonably disputed. However, it must be
confessed the matter is odd enough, whether we should endeavour to
account for it by chance or the effect of imagination.

For my own part, although I believe no man has less faith in these
matters, yet I shall wait with some impatience, and not without
expectation, the fulfilling of Mr. BICKERSTAFF's second prediction, that
the Cardinal De NOAILLES is to die upon the 4th of April [1708]; and if
that should be verified as exactly as this of poor PARTRIDGE, I must own
I shall be wholly surprised, and at a loss, and infallibly expect the
accomplishment of all the rest.

[In the original broadside, there are Deaths with darts, winged
hour-glasses, crossed marrow-bones, &c.]


_An Elegy on Mr. PATRIGE, the_ Almanack _maker, who died on the 29th of
this instant March_, 1708.

[Original broadside in the British Museum, C. 39. k./74.]

    Well, 'tis as BICKERSTAFF has guest;
    Though we all took it for a jest;
    PATRIGE is dead! nay more, he died
    Ere he could prove the good Squire lied!
    Strange, an Astrologer should die
    Without one wonder in the sky
    Not one of all his crony stars
    To pay their duty at his hearse!
    No meteor, no eclipse appeared,
    No comet with a flaming beard!
    The sun has rose and gone to bed
    Just as if PATRIGE were not dead;
    Nor hid himself behind the moon
    To make a dreadful night at noon.
    He at fit periods walks through _Aries_,
    Howe'er our earthly motion varies;
    And twice a year he'll cut th'Equator,
    As if there had been no such matter.

    Some Wits have wondered what analogy
    There is 'twixt[11] Cobbling and Astrology?
    How PATRIGE made his optics rise
    From a shoe-sole, to reach the skies?
    A list, the cobblers' temples ties,
    To keep the hair out of their eyes;
    From whence, 'tis plain, the diadem
    That Princes wear, derives from them:
    And therefore crowns are now-a-days
    Adorned with golden stars and rays;
    Which plainly shews the near alliance
    'Twixt Cobbling and the Planet science.

      Besides, that slow-paced sign _Bo-otes_
    As 'tis miscalled; we know not who 'tis?
    But PATRIGE ended all disputes;
    He knew his trade! and called it _Boots_![12]
    The Horned Moon which heretofore
    Upon their shoes, the Romans wore,
    Whose wideness kept their toes from corns,
    And whence we claim our Shoeing Horns,
    Shews how the art of Cobbling bears
    A near resemblance to the Spheres.

    A scrap of parchment hung by Geometry,
    A great refinement in Barometry,
    Can, like the stars, foretell the weather:
    And what is parchment else, but leather?
    Which an Astrologer might use
    Either for _Almanacks_ or shoes.

    Thus PATRIGE, by his Wit and parts,
    At once, did practise both these Arts;
    And as the boding owl (or rather
    The bat, because her wings are leather)
    Steals from her private cell by night,
    And flies about the candle light:
    So learned PATRIGE could as well
    Creep in the dark, from leathern cell;
    And in his fancy, fly as far,
    To peep upon a twinkling star!
    Besides, he could confound the Spheres
    And set the Planets by the ears,
    To shew his skill, he, Mars would join
    To Venus, in _aspect malign_,
    Then call in Mercury for aid,
    And cure the wounds that Venus made.

    Great scholars have in LUCIAN read
    When PHILIP, King of Greece was dead,
    His soul and spirit did divide,
    And each part took a different side:
    One rose a Star; the other fell
    Beneath, and mended shoes in hell.

    Thus PATRIGE still shines in each Art,
    The Cobbling, and Star-gazing Part;
    And is installed as good a star
    As any of the CAESARS are.

    Thou, high exalted in thy sphere,
    May'st follow still thy calling there!
    To thee, the _Bull_ will lend his hide,
    By _Phoebus_ newly tanned and dried!
    For thee, they _Argo_'s hulk will tax,
    And scrape her pitchy sides for wax!
    Then _Ariadne_ kindly lends
    Her braided hair, to make thee ends!
    The point of Sagittarius' dart
    Turns to an awl, by heavenly art!
    And Vulcan, wheedled by his wife,
    Will forge for thee, a paring-knife!

    Triumphant Star! some pity shew
    On Cobblers militant below!
    [13] But do not shed thy influence down
    Upon St. James's end o' the Town!
    Consider where the moon and stars
    Have their devoutest worshippers!
    Astrologers and lunatics
    Have in Moorfields their stations fixt:
    Hither, thy gentle aspect bend,
    [14] Nor look asquint on an old friend!

[11] PATRIGE was a cobbler.

[12] See his _Almanack_.

[13] _Sed nec in Arctoo sede tibi legeris Orbe, &c._

[14] _Neve tuam videas obliquo idere Romam_.


    _Here five foot deep, lies on his back,
    A Cobbler, Starmonger, and Quack;
    Who to the stars, in pure good will,
    Does to his best, look upward still.
    Weep all you customers, that use
    His Pills, his_ Almanacks, _or Shoes!
    And you that did your fortunes seek,
    Step to this grave, but once a week!
    This earth which bears his body's print
    You'll find has so much virtue in it;
    That I durst pawn my ears, 'twill tell
    Whate'er concerns you, full as well
    (In physic, stolen goods, or love)
    As he himself could, when above!_

LONDON: Printed in the Year 1708.

Squire BICKERSTAFF detected;
OR THE _Astrological Impostor convicted_.


Student in Physic and Astrology.

[This was written for PARTRIDGE, either by NICHOLAS ROWE or Dr. YALDEN,
and put forth by him, in good faith, in proof of his continued existence.]

It is hard, my dear countrymen of these United Nations! it is very hard,
that a Britain born, a Protestant Astrologer, a man of Revolution
Principles, an assertor of the Liberty and Property of the people, should
cry out in vain, for justice against a Frenchman, a Papist, and an
illiterate pretender to Science, that would blast my reputation, most
inhumanly bury me alive, and defraud my native country of those services
which, in my double capacity [_Physician and Astrologer_], I daily offer
the public.

What great provocations I have received, let the impartial reader judge!
and how unwillingly, even in my own defence, I now enter the lists
against Falsehood, Ignorance, and Envy! But I am exasperated at length,
to drag out this CACUS from the den of obscurity, where he lurketh, to
detect him by the light of those stars he hath so impudently traduced,
and to shew there is not a Monster in the skies so pernicious and
malevolent to mankind as an ignorant pretender to Physic and Astrology.

I shall not directly fall on the many gross errors, nor expose the
notorious absurdities of this prostituted libeller, until I have let the
Learned World fairly into the controversy depending; and then leave the
unprejudiced to judge of the merits and justice of my cause.

It was towards the conclusion of the year 1707 [_according to the old way
of reckoning the year from March 25th. The precise date is February, 1708,
see_ p. 469], when an impudent Pamphlet crept into the world, intituled
_Predictions &c. by ISAAC BICKERSTAFF, Esquire_. Among the many arrogant
assertions laid down by that lying Spirit of Divination; he was pleased
to pitch on the Cardinal DE NOAILLES and myself, among many other eminent
and illustrious persons that were to die within the confines of the
ensuing year, and peremptorily fixed the month, day, and hours of our

This, I think, is sporting with Great Men, and Public Spirits, to the
scandal of Religion, and reproach of Power: and if Sovereign Princes and
Astrologers must make diversion for the vulgar, why then, Farewell, say
I, to all Governments, Ecclesiastical and Civil! But, I thank my better
stars! I am alive to confront this false and audacious Predictor, and to
make him rue the hour he ever affronted a Man of Science and Resentment.

The Cardinal may take what measures he pleases, with him: as His
Excellency is a foreigner and a Papist, he hath no reason to rely on me
for his justification. I shall only assure the World that he is alive!
but as he was bred to Letters, and is master of a pen, let him use it in
his own defence!

In the meantime, I shall present the Public with a faithful Narrative of
the ungenerous treatment and hard usage I have received from the virulent
Papers and malicious practices of this pretended Astrologer.

Esq., against Me.

The 29th of March, _Anno Dom_., 1708, being the night this Sham Prophet
had so impudently fixed for my last; which made little impression on
myself, but I cannot answer for my whole family. For my wife, with a
concern more than usual, prevailed on me to take somewhat to sweat for a
cold; and between the hours of 8 and 9, to go to bed.

The maid as she was warming my bed, with the curiosity natural to young
women, runs to the window, and asks of one passing the street, "Who the
bell tolled for?"

"Dr. PARTRIDGE," says he, "the famous _Almanack_ maker, who died suddenly
this evening."

The poor girl provoked, told him, "He lied like a rascal!"

The other very sedately replied, "The sexton had so informed him; and if
false, he was to blame for imposing on a stranger."

She asked a second, and a third as they passed; and every one was in the
same tone.

Now I don't say these were accomplices to a certain astrological Squire,
and that one BICKERSTAFF might be sauntering thereabouts; because I will
assert nothing here but what I dare attest, and plain matter of fact.

My wife, at this, fell into a violent disorder; and I must own I was a
little discomposed at the oddness of the accident.

In the meantime, one knocks at the door. BETTY runneth down and opening,
finds a sober grave person, who modestly inquires "If this was Dr.

She, taking him for some cautious City patient, that came at that time
for privacy, shews him into the dining-room.

As soon as I could compose myself, I went to him; and was surprised to
find my gentleman mounted on a table with a two-foot rule in his hand,
measuring my walls, and taking the dimensions of the room.

"Pray, Sir," says I, "not to interrupt you, have you any business with

"Only, Sir," replies he, "to order the girl to bring me a better light:
for this is but a dim one."

"Sir," sayeth I, "my name is PARTRIDGE!"

"Oh! the Doctor's brother, belike," cries he. "The staircase, I believe,
and these two apartments hung in close mourning will be sufficient; and
only a strip of Bays [cloth] round the other rooms. The Doctor must needs
die rich. He had great dealings in his way, for many years. If he had no
family Coat [of arms], you had as good use the scutcheons of the Company.
They are as showish and will look as magnificent as if he were descended
from the Blood-Royal."

With that, I assumed a greater air of authority, and demanded, "Who
employed him? and how he came there?"

"Why, I was sent, Sir, by the Company of Undertakers," saith he, "and
they were employed by the honest gentleman who is the executor to the
good Doctor departed: and our rascally porter, I believe is fallen fast
asleep with the black cloth and sconces or he had been here; and we might
have been tacking up by this time."

"Sir," says I, "pray be advised by a friend, and make the best of your
speed out of my doors; for I hear my wife's voice," which, by the way, is
pretty distinguishable! "and in that corner of the room stands a good
cudgel which somebody [_i.e., himself_] has felt ere now. If that light
in her hands, and she knew the business you came about; without
consulting the stars, I can assure you it will be employed very much to
the detriment of your person."

"Sir," cries he, bowing with great civility, "I perceive extreme grief
for the loss of the Doctor disorders you a little at present: but early
in the morning, I'll wait on you, with all necessary materials."

Now I mention no Mr. BICKERSTAFF, nor do I say that a certain star-gazing
Squire has been a playing my executor before his time: but I leave the
World to judge, and if it puts things to things fairly together, it won't
be much wide of the mark.

Well, once more I get my doors closed, and prepare for bed, in hopes of a
little repose, after so many ruffling adventures. Just as I was putting
out my light in order to it, another bounceth as hard as he can knock.

I open the window and ask, "Who is there, and what he wants?"

"I am NED the Sexton," replies he, "and come to know whether the Doctor
left any orders for a Funeral Sermon? and where he is to be laid? and
whether his grave is to be plain or bricked?"

"Why, Sirrah!" says I, "you know me well enough. You know I am not dead;
and how dare you affront me after this manner!"

"Alack a day, Sir," replies the fellow, "why it is in print, and the
whole Town knows you are dead. Why, there's Mr. WHITE the joiner is but
fitting screws to your coffin! He'll be here with it in an instant. He
was afraid you would have wanted it before this time."

"Sirrah! sirrah!" saith I, "you shall know to-morrow to your cost that I
am alive! and alive like to be!"

"Why, 'tis strange, Sir," says he, "you should make such a secret of your
death to us that are your neighbours. It looks as if you had a design to
defraud the Church of its dues: and let me tell you, for one who has
lived so long by the heavens, that is unhandsomely done!"

"Hist! hist!" says another rogue that stood by him, "away, Doctor! into
your flannel gear as fast as you can! for here is a whole pack of dismals
coming to you with their black equipage; how indecent will it look for you
to stand frightening folks at your window, when you should have been in
your coffin this three hours!"

In short, what with Undertakers, Embalmers, Joiners, Sextons, and your
_Elegy_ hawkers _upon a late practitioner in Physic and Astrology_; I got
not one wink of sleep that night, nor scarce a moment's rest ever since.

Now, I doubt not but this villanous Squire has the impudence to assert
that these are entirely strangers to him; he, good man! knoweth nothing
of the matter! and honest ISAAC BICKERSTAFF, I warrant you! is more a man
of honour than to be an accomplice with a pack of rascals that walk the
streets on nights, and disturb good people in their beds. But he is out,
if he thinks the whole World is blind! for there is one JOHN PARTRIDGE
can smell a knave as far as Grub street, although he lies in the most
exalted garret, and writeth himself "Squire"! But I will keep my temper!
and proceed in the Narration.

I could not stir out of doors for the space of three months after this;
but presently one comes up to me in the street: "Mr. PARTRIDGE, that
coffin you were last buried in, I have not yet been paid for."

"Doctor!" cries another dog, "How do you think people can live by making
graves for nothing? Next time you die, you may even toll out the bell
yourself, for NED!"

A third rogue tips me by the elbow, and wonders "how I have the
conscience to sneak abroad, without paying my funeral expenses."

"Lord!" says one, "I durst have sworn that was honest Dr. PARTRIDGE, my
old friend; but, poor man, he is gone!"

"I beg your pardon," says another, "you look so like my old acquaintance
that I used to consult on some private occasions: but, alack, he is gone
the way of all flesh."

"Look, look!" cries a third, after a competent space of staring at me;
"would not one think our neighbour the _Almanack_ maker was crept out of
his grave, to take another peep at the stars in this world, and shew how
much he is improved in fortune telling by having taken a journey to the

Nay, the very Reader of our parish (a good sober discreet person) has
sent two or three times for me to come and be buried decently, or send
him sufficient reasons to the contrary: or if I have been interred in any
other parish, to produce my certificate as the _Act_ requires.

My poor wife is almost run distracted with being called Widow PARTRIDGE,
when she knows it's false: and once a Term, she is cited into the Court,
to take out Letters of Administration.

But the greatest grievance is a paltry Quack that takes up my calling
just under my nose; and in his printed directions with a, _N.B._, says:
_He lives in the house of the late ingenious Mr. JOHN PARTRIDGE, an
eminent Practitioner in Leather, Physic, and Astrology_.

But to shew how far the wicked spirit of envy, malice, and resentment can
hurry some men, my nameless old persecutor had provided a monument at the
stone-cutter's, and would have it erected in the parish church: and this
piece of notorious and expensive villany had actually succeeded, if I had
not used my utmost interest with the Vestry; where it was carried at last
but by two voices, that I am alive.

That stratagem failing, out cometh a long sable _Elegy_ bedecked with
hour-glasses, mattocks, skulls, spades, and skeletons, with an _Epitaph_
[_see_ p. 486] as confidently written to abuse me and my profession, as
if I had been under ground these twenty years.

And, after such barbarous treatment as this, can the World blame me, when
I ask, What is become of the freedom of an Englishman? and, Where is the
Liberty and Property that my old glorious Friend [_WILLIAM III_.] came
over to assert? We have driven Popery out of the nation! and sent Slavery
to foreign climes! The Arts only remain in bondage, when a Man of Science
and Character shall be openly insulted! in the midst of the many useful
services he is daily paying the public. Was it ever heard, even in Turkey
or Algiers, that a State Astrologer was bantered out of his life, by an
ignorant impostor? or bawled out of the world, by a pack of villanous
deep-mouthed hawkers?

Though I print _Almanacks_, and publish _Advertisements_; although I
produce certificates under the Minister's and Churchwardens' hands, that
I am alive: and attest the same, on oath, at Quarter Sessions: out comes
_A full and true Relation of the death and interment of JOHN PARTRIDGE_.
Truth is borne down; Attestations, neglected; the testimony of sober
persons, despised: and a man is looked upon by his neighbours as if he
had been seven years dead, and is buried alive in the midst of his
friends and acquaintance.

Now can any man of common sense think it consistent with the honour of my
profession, and not much beneath the dignity of a philosopher, to stand
bawling, before his own door, "Alive! Alive! Ho! the famous Doctor
PARTRIDGE! no counterfeit, but all alive!" as if I had the twelve
celestial Monsters of the Zodiac to shew within, or was forced for a
livelihood, to turn retailer to May and Bartholomew Fairs.

Therefore, if Her Majesty would but graciously be pleased to think a
hardship of this nature worthy her royal consideration; and the next
Parl[ia]m[en]t, in their great wisdom, cast but an eye towards the
deplorable case of their old _Philomath_ that annually bestoweth his
poetical good wishes on them: I am sure there is one ISAAC BICKERSTAFF,
Esquire, would soon be trussed up! for his bloody persecution, and
putting good subjects in terror of their lives. And that henceforward, to
murder a man by way of Prophecy, and bury him in a printed _Letter_,
either _to a Lord_ or Commoner, shall as legally entitle him to the
present possession of Tyburn, as if he robbed on the highway, or cut your
throat in bed.


N.B.: _There is now in the Press, my Appeal to the Learned; Or my general
Invitation to all Astrologers, Divines, Physicians, Lawyers,
Mathematicians, Philologers, and to the_ Literati _of the whole World, to
come and take their Places in the Common Court of Knowledge, and receive
the Charge given in by me, against ISAAC BICKERSTAFF, Esq., that most
notorious Impostor in Science and illiterate Pretender to the Stars;
where I shall openly convict him of ignorance in his profession,
impudence and falsehood in every assertion, to the great detriment and
scandal of Astrology. I shall further demonstrate to the Judicious, that
France and Rome are at the bottom of this horrid conspiracy against me;
and that the Culprit aforesaid is a Popish emissary, has paid his visits
to St. Germains, and is now in the Measures of LEWIS XIV.; that in
attempting my reputation, there is a general Massacre of Learning
designed in these realms; and, through my sides, there is a wound given
to all the Protestant_ Almanack _makers in the universe_.

Vivat Regina!

Not satisfied with this _Impartial Account_, when next Almanack time came
(in the following November, 1708), PARTRIDGE's _Almanack_ for 1709 [P.P.
2465/8] contained the following:

You may remember that there was a Paper published predicting my death
upon the 29th March at night, 1708, and after the day was past, the same
villain told the World I was dead, and how I died, and that he was with
me at the time of my death.

I thank GOD, by whose mercy I have my Being, that I am still alive, and
(excepting my age) as well as ever I was in my life: as I was also at
that 29th of March. And that Paper was said to be done by one
BICKERSTAFF, Esq. But that was a sham name, it was done by an impudent
lying fellow.

But his Prediction did not prove true! What will he say to that? For the
fool had considered the "Star of my Nativity" as he said. Why the truth
is, he will be hard put to it to find a _salvo_ for his Honour. It was a
bold touch! and he did not know but it might prove true.

One hardly knows whether to wonder most at the self-delusion or credulity
of this last paragraph by the old quack.

This called forth from SWIFT:


MR. PARTRIDGE hath been lately pleased to treat me after a very rough
manner, in that which is called his _Almanack_ for the present year. Such
usage is very undecent from one Gentleman to another, and does not at all
contribute to the discovery of Truth, which ought to be the great End in
all disputes of the Learned. To call a man, _fool_, and _villain_, and
_impudent fellow_, only for differing from him in a point merely
speculative, is, in my humble opinion, a very improper style for a person
of his Education.

I appeal to the Learned World, whether, in my last year's _Predictions_,
I gave him the least provocation for such unworthy treatment.
Philosophers have differed in all Ages; but the discreetest among them,
have always differed as became Philosophers. Scurrility and Passion in a
Controversy among Scholars, is just so much of nothing to the purpose;
and, at best, a tacit confession of a weak cause.

My concern is not so much for my own reputation, as that of the Republic
of Letters; which Mr. PARTRIDGE hath endeavoured to wound through my
sides. If men of public spirit must be superciliously treated for their
ingenious attempts; how will true useful knowledge be ever advanced? I
wish Mr. PARTRIDGE knew the thoughts which foreign Universities have
conceived of his ungenerous proceeding with me: but I am too tender of
his reputation to publish them to the World. That spirit of envy and
pride, which blasts so many rising Geniuses in our nation, is yet unknown
among Professors abroad. The necessity of justifying myself will excuse my
vanity, when I tell the reader that I have received nearly a hundred
Honorary Letters from several part of Europe, some as far as Muscovey, in
praise of my performance: besides several others, which (as I have been
credibly informed) were opened in the P[ost] Office, and never sent me.

It is true, the Inquisition in P[ortuga]l was pleased to burn my
_Predictions_ [_A fact, as Sir PAUL METHUEN, the English Ambassador
there, informed SWIFT_], and condemned the Author and the readers of
them: but, I hope at the same time, it will be considered in how
deplorable a state Learning lieth at present in that Kingdom. And, with
the profoundest reverence for crowned heads, I will presume to add, that
it a little concerned His Majesty of Portugal to interpose his authority
in behalf of a Scholar and a Gentleman, the subject of a nation with
which he is now in so strict an alliance.

But the other Kingdoms and States of Europe have treated me with more
candour and generosity. If I had leave to print the Latin letters
transmitted to me from foreign parts, they would fill a Volume! and be a
full defence against all that Mr. PARTRIDGE, or his accomplices of the
P[ortuga]l Inquisition, will be ever able to object: who, by the way, are
the only enemies my _Predictions_ have ever met with, at home or abroad.
But I hope I know better what is due to the honour of a Learned
Correspondence in so tender a point.

Yet some of those illustrious Persons will, perhaps, excuse me for
transcribing a passage or two, in my own vindication.

[15]The most learned Monsieur LEIBNITZ thus addresseth to me his third
Letter, _Illustrissimo BICKERSTAFFIO Astrologico Instauratori, &c._
Monsieur LE CLERC, quoting my _Predictions_ in a treatise he published
last year, is pleased to say, _Ita, nuperrime BICKERSTAFFIUS, magnum
illud Angliae sidus_. Another great Professor writing of me, has these
words, _BICKERSTAFFIUS nobilis Anglus, Astrologarum hujusce seculi facile
Princeps_. Signior MAGLIABECCHI, the Great Duke's famous Library Keeper,
spendeth almost his whole Letter in compliments and praises. It is true
the renowned Professor of Astronomy at Utrecht seemeth to differ from me
in one article; but it is after the modest manner that becometh a
Philosopher, as _Pace tanti viri dixerim_: and, page 55, he seemeth to
lay the error upon the printer, as, indeed it ought, and sayeth, _vel
forsan error typographi, cum alioquin BICKERSTAFFIUS vir doctissimus, &c_.

If Mr. PARTRIDGE had followed these examples in the controversy between
us, he might have spared me the trouble of justifying myself in so public
a manner. I believe few men are readier to own their error than I, or more
thankful to those who will please to inform him of them. But it seems this
Gentleman, instead of encouraging the progress of his own Art, is pleased
to look upon all Attempts of this kind as an invasion of his Province.

He has been indeed so wise, as to make no objection against the truth of
my _Predictions_, except in one single point, relating to himself. And to
demonstrate how much men are blinded by their own partiality, I do
solemnly assure the reader, that he is the _only_ person from whom I ever
heard that objection offered! which consideration alone, I think, will
take off its weight.

With my utmost endeavours, I have not been able to trace above two
Objections ever made against the truth of my last year's _Prophecies_.

The first was of a Frenchman, who was pleased to publish to the World,
that _the Cardinal DE NOAILLES was still alive, notwithstanding the
pretended Prophecy of Monsieur BIQUERSTAFFE_. But how far a Frenchman, a
Papist, and an enemy is to be believed, in his own cause, against an
English Protestant, who is _true to the Government_, I shall leave to the
candid and impartial reader!

The other objection is the unhappy occasion of this Discourse, and
relateth to an article in my _Predictions_, which foretold the death of
Mr. PARTRIDGE to happen on March 29, 1708. _This_, he is pleased to
contradict absolutely, in the _Almanack_ he has published for the present
year; and in that ungentlemanly manner (pardon the expression!) as I have
above related.

In that Work, he very roundly asserts that _he is not only now alive, but
was likewise alive upon that very 29th of March, when I had foretold he
should die_.

This is the subject of the present Controversy between us, which I design
to handle with all brevity, perspicuity, and calmness. In this dispute, I
am sensible the eyes, not only of England, but of all Europe will be upon
us: and the Learned in every country will, I doubt not, take part on that
side where they find most appearance of Reason and Truth.

Without entering into criticisms of Chronology about the hour of his
death, I shall only prove that _Mr. PARTRIDGE is not alive_.

And my first argument is thus. Above a thousand Gentlemen having bought
his _Almanack_ for this year, merely to find what he said against me: at
every line they read, they would lift up their eyes, and cry out, between
rage and laughter, _They were sure, no man alive ever wrote such stuff as
this!_ Neither did I ever hear that opinion disputed. So that Mr.
PARTRIDGE lieth under a dilemma, either of disowning his _Almanack_, or
allowing himself to be _no man alive_.

Death is defined by all Philosophers [as] a separation of the soul and
body. Now it is certain that the poor woman [_Mrs. PARTRIDGE_] who has
best reason to know, has gone about, for some time, to every alley in the
neighbourhood, and swore to her gossips that _her husband had neither life
nor soul in him_. Therefore, if an _uninformed_ Carcass walks still about
and is pleased to call itself PARTRIDGE; Mr. BICKERSTAFF doth not think
himself any way answerable for that! Neither had the said Carcass any
right to beat the poor boy, who happened to pass by it in the street,
crying _A full and true Account of Dr. PARTRIDGE's death, &c_.

SECONDLY. Mr. PARTRIDGE pretendeth to tell fortunes and recover stolen
goods, which all the parish says, he must do by conversing with the Devil
and other evil spirits: and no wise man will ever allow, he could converse
personally with either, until after he was dead.

THIRDLY. I will plainly prove him to be dead out of his own _Almanack_
for this year; and from the very passage which he produceth to make us
think him alive. He there sayeth, _He is not only_ now _alive, but was
also alive upon that very 29th of March, which I foretold he should die
on_. By this, he declareth his opinion that a man may be alive _now_, who
was not alive a twelve month ago. And, indeed, here lies the sophistry of
his argument. He dareth not assert he was alive _ever since the 29th of
March_! but that he is _now alive_, and _was so on that day_. I grant the
latter, for he did not die until night, as appeareth in a printed account
of his death, in a _Letter to a Lord_; and whether he be since revived, I
leave the World to judge! This indeed is perfect cavilling; and I am
ashamed to dwell any longer upon it.

FOURTHLY. I will appeal to Mr. PARTRIDGE himself, whether it be probable
I could have been so indiscreet as to begin my _Predictions_ with the
_only_ falsehood that ever was pretended to be in them! and this in an
affair at home, where I had so many opportunities to be exact, and must
have given such advantages against me, to a person of Mr. PARTRIDGE's Wit
and Learning: who, if he could possibly have raised one single objection
more against the truth of my Prophecies, would hardly have spared me!

And here I must take occasion to reprove the above-mentioned Writer
[i.e., SWIFT _himself, see_ p. 482] of the Relation of Mr. PARTRIDGE's
death, in a _Letter to a Lord_, who was pleased to tax me with a mistake
of _four whole hours_ in my calculation of that event. I must confess,
this censure, pronounced with an air of certainty, in a matter that so
nearly concerned me, and by a grave _judicious_ author, moved me not a
little. But though I was at that time out of Town, yet several of my
friends, whose curiosity had led them to be exactly informed (as for my
own part; having no doubt at all of the matter, I never once thought of
it!) assured me, I computed to something under half an hour: which (I
speak my private opinion!) is an error of no very great magnitude, that
men should raise clamour about it!

I shall only say, it would not be amiss, if that Author would henceforth
be more tender of other men's reputation, as well as of his own! It is
well there were no more mistakes of that kind: if there had been, I
presume he would have told me of them, with as little ceremony.

There is one objection against Mr. PARTRIDGE's death, which I have
sometimes met with, although indeed very slightly offered, That he still
continueth to write _Almanacks_. But this is no more than what is common
to all of that Profession. _GADBURY, Poor Robin, DOVE, WING_, and several
others, do yearly publish their _Almanacks_, though several of them have
been dead since before the Revolution. Now the natural reason of this I
take to be, that whereas it is the privilege of other Authors, _to live_
after their deaths; _Almanack_ makers are only excluded, because their
Dissertations, treating only upon the Minutes as they pass, become
useless as those go off: in consideration of which, Time, whose Registers
they are, gives them a lease in reversion, to continue their Works after
their death. Or, perhaps, a _Name_ can _make_ an _Almanack_ as well as
_sell_ one. And to strengthen this conjecture, I have heard the
booksellers affirm, that they have desired Mr. PARTRIDGE to spare himself
further trouble, and only to lend his Name; which could make _Almanacks_
much better than himself.

I should not have given the Public or myself, the trouble of this
_Vindication_, if my name had not been made use of by several persons, to
whom I never lent it: one of which, a few days ago, was pleased to father
on me, a new set of _Predictions_. But I think these are things too
serious to be trifled with. It grieved me to the heart, when I saw my
Labours, which had cost me so much thought and watching, bawled about by
the common hawkers of Grub street, which I only intended for the weighty
consideration of the gravest persons. This prejudiced the World so much
at first, that several of my friends had the assurance to ask me,
"Whether I were in jest?" To which I only answered coldly, that "the
event will shew!" But it is the talent of our Age and nation to turn
things of the greatest importance into ridicule. When the end of the year
had _verified all_ my _Predictions_; out cometh Mr. PARTRIDGE's
_Almanack!_ disputing the point of his death. So that I am employed, like
the General who was forced to kill his enemies twice over, whom a
necromancer had raised to life. If Mr. PARTRIDGE has practised the same
experiment upon himself, and be again alive; long may he continue so! But
that doth not, in the least, contradict my veracity! For I think I have
clearly proved, _by invincible demonstration_, that he died, at farthest,
within half an hour of the time I foretold [; and not four hours sooner,
as the above-mentioned Author, in his _Letter to a Lord_ hath maliciously
suggested, with a design to blast my credit, by charging me with so gross
a mistake].


Under the combined assault of the Wits, PARTRIDGE ceased to publish his
_Almanack_ for a while; but afterwards took heart again, publishing his
"_Merlinus Redivivus_, being an Almanack for the year 1714, by JOHN
PARTRIDGE, a Lover of Truth [P.P. 2465/6];" at p. 2 of which is the
following epistle.



There seems to be a kind of fantastical propriety in a dead man's
addressing himself to a person not in Being. ISAAC BICKERSTAFF [_i.e.,
RICHARD STEELE_] is no more [_the_ Tatler _having come to an end_], and I
have now nothing to dispute with on the subject of his fictions concerning
me, _sed magni nominis umbra_, "a shadow only, and a mighty name."

I have indeed been for some years silent, or, in the language of Mr.
BICKERSTAFF, "dead"; yet like many an old man that is reported so by his
heirs, I have lived long enough to bury my successor [_the_ Tatler
_having been discontinued_]. In short, I am returned to Being after you
have left it; and since you were once pleased to call yourself my
brother-astrologer, the world may be apt to compare our story to that of
the twin-stars CASTOR and POLLUX, and say it was our destiny, not to
appear together, but according to the fable, to live and die by turns.

Now, Sir, my intention in this Epistle is to let you know that I shall
behave myself in my new Being with as much moderation as possible, and
that I have no longer any quarrel with you [_i.e., STEELE_], for the
accounts you inserted in your writings [_the joke was continued in the_
Tatler] concerning my death, being sensible that you were no less abused
in that particular than myself.

The person from whom you took up that report, I know, was your namesake,
the author of BICKERSTAFF's _Predictions_, a notorious cheat.[16] And if
you had been indeed as much an Astrologer as you pretended, you might
have known that his word was no more to be taken than that of an Irish
evidence [_SWIFT was now Dean of St. Patrick's_]: that not being the only
_Tale of a Tub_ he had vented. The only satisfaction therefore, I expect
is, that your bookseller in the next edition of your Works [_The
Tatler_], do strike out my name and insert his in the room of it. I have
some thoughts of obliging the World with his nativity, but shall defer
that till another opportunity.

I have nothing to add further, but only that when you think fit to return
to life again in whatever shape, of Censor [_the designation of the
supposed Writer of the_ Tatler], a _Guardian_, an _Englishman_, or any
other figure, I shall hope you will do justice to

Your revived friend and servant,


On the last leaf of this _Almanack_ is the following notice:--

This is to give notice to all people, that all those _Prophecies,
Predictions, Almanacks_, and other pamphlets, that had my name either
true, or shammed with the want of a Letter [_i.e., spelling his name
PARTRIGE instead of PARTRIDGE_]: I say, they are all impudent forgeries,
by a breed of villains, and wholly without my knowledge or consent. And I
doubt not but those beggarly villains that have scarce bread to eat
without being rogues, two or three poor printers and a bookbinder, with
honest BEN, will be at their old Trade again of Prophesying in my name.
This is therefore to give notice, that if there is anything in print in
my name beside this _Almanack_, you may depend on it that it is a lie,
and he is a villain that writes and prints it.

In his _Almanack_ for 1715 [P.P. 2465/7], PARTRIDGE says--

It is very probable, that the beggarly knavish Crew will be this year
also printing _Prophecies_ and _Predictions_ in my name, to cheat the
country as they used to do. This is therefore to give notice, that if
there is anything of that kind done in my name besides this _Almanack_
printed by the Company of Stationers, you may be certain it is not mine,
but a cheat, and therefore refuse it.

[15] The quotations here, are said to be a parody of those of BENTLEY
     in his controversy with BOYLE.

[16] _Vide_ Dr. S[WI]FT.

Friend in the Country.


Printed in the Year, MDCCXI.
(Price 3_d_.)

THE Present State OF WIT, &c.


You acquaint me in your last, that you are still so busy building at
----, that your friends must not hope to see you in Town this year: at
the same time, you desire me, that you may not be quite at a loss in
conversation among the _beau monde_ next winter, to send you an account
of the present State of Wit in Town: which, without further preface, I
shall endeavour to perform; and give you the histories and characters of
all our Periodical Papers, whether monthly, weekly, or diurnal, with the
same freedom I used to send you our other Town news.

I shall only premise, that, as you know, I never cared one farthing,
either for Whig or Tory: so I shall consider our Writers purely as they
are such, without any respect to which Party they belong.

Dr. KING has, for some time, lain down his monthly _Philosophical
Transactions_, which the title-page informed us at first, were only to be
continued as they sold; and though that gentleman has a world of Wit, yet
as it lies in one particular way of raillery, the Town soon grew weary of
his Writings: though I cannot but think that their author deserves a much
better fate than to languish out the small remainder of his life in the
Fleet prison.

About the same time that the Doctor left off writing, one Mr. OZELL put
out his _Monthly Amusement_; which is still continued: and as it is
generally some French novel or play indifferently translated, it is more
or less taken notice of, as the original piece is more or less agreeable.

As to our Weekly Papers, the poor _Review_ [_by DANIEL DEFOE_] is quite
exhausted, and grown so very contemptible, that though he has provoked
all his Brothers of the Quill round, none of them will enter into a
controversy with him. This fellow, who had excellent natural parts, but
wanted a small foundation of learning, is a lively instance of those Wits
who, as an ingenious author says, "will endure but one skimming"[!].

The _Observator_ was almost in the same condition; but since our party
struggles have run so high, he is much mended for the better: which is
imputed to the charitable assistance of some outlying friends.

These two authors might however have flourished some time longer, had not
the controversy been taken up by abler hands.

The _Examiner_ is a paper which all men, who speak without prejudice,
allow to be well written. Though his subject will admit of no great
variety; he is continually placing it in so many different lights, and
endeavouring to inculcate the same thing by so many beautiful changes of
expression, that men who are concerned in no Party, may read him with
pleasure. His way of assuming the Question in debate is extremely artful;
and his _Letter to Crassus_ is, I think, a masterpiece. As these Papers
are supposed to have been written by several hands, the critics will tell
you that they can discern a difference in their styles and beauties; and
pretend to observe that the first _Examiners_ abound chiefly in Wit, the
last in Humour.

Soon after their first appearance, came out a Paper from the other side,
called the _Whig Examiner_, written with so much fire, and in so
excellent a style, as put the Tories in no small pain for their favourite
hero. Every one cried, "_BICKERSTAFF_ must be the author!" and people were
the more confirmed in this opinion, upon its being so soon laid down:
which seemed to shew that it was only written to bind the _Examiners_ to
their good behaviour, and was never designed to be a Weekly Paper.

The _Examiners_, therefore, have no one to combat with, at present, but
their friend the _Medley_: the author of which Paper, though he seems to
be a man of good sense, and expresses it luckily now and then, is, I
think, for the most part, perfectly a stranger to fine writing.

I presume I need not tell you that the _Examiner_ carries much the more
sail, as it is supposed to be written by the direction, and under the eye
of some Great Persons who sit at the helm of affairs, and is consequently
looked on as a sort of Public Notice which way they are steering us.

The reputed author is Dr. S[WIF]T, with the assistance, sometimes, of Dr.

The _Medley_ is said to be written by Mr. OLD[MIXO]N; and supervised by
Mr. MAYN[WARIN]G, who perhaps might entirely write those few Papers which
are so much better than the rest.

Before I proceed further in the account of our Weekly Papers, it will be
necessary to inform you that at the beginning of the winter [_on Jan. 2_,
1711], to the infinite surprise of all men, Mr. STEELE flang up his
_Tatler_; and instead of _ISAAC BICKERSTAFF, Esquire_, subscribed himself
RICHARD STEELE to the last of those Papers, after a handsome compliment to
the Town for their kind acceptance of his endeavours to divert them.

The chief reason he thought fit to give for his leaving off writing was,
that having been so long looked on in all public places and companies as
the Author of those papers, he found that his most intimate friends and
acquaintance were in pain to speak or act before him.

The Town was very far from being satisfied with this reason, and most
people judged the true cause to be, either

    That he was quite spent, and wanted matter to continue his
    undertaking any longer; or

    That he laid it down as a sort of submission to, and composition
    with, the Government, for some past offences;

    or, lastly,

    That he had a mind to vary his Shape, and appear again in some new

However that were, his disappearance seemed to be bewailed as some
general calamity. Every one wanted so agreeable an amusement, and the
Coffee-houses began to be sensible that the _Esquire's Lucubrations_
alone had brought them more customers, than all their other News Papers
put together.

It must indeed be confessed that never man threw up his pen, under
stronger temptations to have employed it longer. His reputation was at a
greater height, than I believe ever any living author's was before him.
It is reasonable to suppose that his gains were proportionably
considerable. Every one read him with pleasure and good-will; and the
Tories, in respect to his other good qualities, had almost forgiven his
unaccountable imprudence in declaring against them.

Lastly, it was highly improbable that, if he threw off a Character the
ideas of which were so strongly impressed in every one's mind, however
finely he might write in any new form, that he should meet with the same

To give you my own thoughts of this Gentleman's Writings, I shall, in the
first place, observe, that there is a noble difference between him and all
the rest of our Polite and Gallant Authors. The latter have endeavoured to
please the Age by falling in with them, and encouraging them in their
fashionable vices and false notions of things. It would have been a jest,
some time since, for a man to have asserted that anything witty could be
said in praise of a married state, or that Devotion and Virtue were any
way necessary to the character of a Fine Gentleman. _BICKERSTAFF_
ventured to tell the Town that they were a parcel of fops, fools, and
coquettes; but in such a manner as even pleased them, and made them more
than half inclined to believe that he spoke truth.

Instead of complying with the false sentiments or vicious tastes of the
Age--either in morality, criticism, or good breeding--he has boldly
assured them, that they were altogether in the wrong; and commanded them,
with an authority which perfectly well became him, to surrender themselves
to his arguments for Virtue and Good Sense.

It is incredible to conceive the effect his writings have had on the
Town; how many thousand follies they have either quite banished or given
a very great check to! how much countenance, they have added to Virtue
and Religion! how many people they have rendered happy, by shewing them
it was their own fault if they were not so! and, lastly, how entirely
they have convinced our young fops and young fellows of the value and
advantages of Learning!

He has indeed rescued it out of the hands of pedants and fools, and
discovered the true method of making it amiable and lovely to all
mankind. In the dress he gives it, it is a most welcome guest at
tea-tables and assemblies, and is relished and caressed by the merchants
on the Change. Accordingly there is not a Lady at Court, nor a Banker in
Lombard Street, who is not verily persuaded that Captain STEELE is the
greatest Scholar and best Casuist of any man in England.

Lastly, his writings have set all our Wits and Men of Letters on a new
way of Thinking, of which they had little or no notion before: and,
although we cannot say that any of them have come up to the beauties of
the original, I think we may venture to affirm, that every one of them
writes and thinks much more justly than they did some time since.

The vast variety of subjects which Mr. STEELE has treated of, in so
different manners, and yet ALL so perfectly well, made the World believe
that it was impossible they should all come from the same hand. This set
every one upon guessing who was the _Esquire's_ friend? and most people
at first fancied it must be Doctor SWIFT; but it is now no longer a
secret, that his only great and constant assistant was Mr. ADDISON.

This is that excellent friend to whom Mr. STEELE owes so much; and who
refuses to have his name set before those Pieces which the greatest pens
in England would be proud to own. Indeed, they could hardly add to this
Gentleman's reputation: whose works in Latin and English Poetry long
since convinced the World, that he was the greatest Master in Europe of
those two languages.

I am assured, from good hands, that all the visions, and other tracts of
that way of writing, with a very great number of the most exquisite
pieces of wit and raillery throughout the _Lucubrations_ are entirely of
this Gentleman's composing: which may, in some measure, account for that
different Genius, which appears In the winter papers, from those of the
summer; at which time, as the _Examiner_ often hinted, this friend of Mr.
STEELE was in Ireland.

Mr. STEELE confesses in his last Volume of the _Tatlers_ that he is
obliged to Dr. SWIFT for his _Town Shower_, and the _Description of the
Morn_, with some other hints received from him in private conversation.

I have also heard that several of those _Letters_, which came as from
unknown hands, were written by Mr. HENLEY: which is an answer to your
query, "Who those friends are, whom Mr. STEELE speaks of in his last

But to proceed with my account of our other papers. The expiration of
_BICKERSTAFF's Lucubrations_ was attended with much the same consequences
as the death of _MELIBOEUS's Ox_ in VIRGIL: as the latter engendered
swarms of bees, the former immediately produced whole swarms of little
satirical scribblers.

One of these authors called himself the _Growler_, and assured us that,
to make amends for Mr. STEELE's silence, he was resolved to _growl_ at us
weekly, as long as we should think fit to give him any encouragement.
Another Gentleman, with more modesty, called his paper, the _Whisperer_;
and a third, to please the Ladies, christened his, the _Telltale_.

At the same time came out several _Tatlers_; each of which, with equal
truth and wit, assured us that he was the genuine _ISAAC BICKERSTAFF_.

It may be observed that when the _Esquire_ laid down his pen; though he
could not but foresee that several scribblers would soon snatch it up,
which he might (one would think) easily have prevented: he scorned to
take any further care about it, but left the field fairly open to any
worthy successor. Immediately, some of our Wits were for forming
themselves into a Club, headed by one Mr. HARRISON, and trying how they
could shoot in this BOW of ULYSSES; but soon found that this sort of
writing requires so fine and particular a manner of Thinking, with so
exact a Knowledge of the World, as must make them utterly despair of

They seemed indeed at first to think, that what was only the garnish of
the former _Tatlers_, was that which recommended them; and not those
Substantial Entertainments which they everywhere abound in. According
they were continually talking of their _Maid, Night Cap, Spectacles_, and
CHARLES LILLIE. However there were, now and then, some faint endeavours at
Humour and sparks of Wit: which the Town, for want of better
entertainment, was content to hunt after, through a heap of
impertinences; but even those are, at present, become wholly invisible
and quite swallowed up in the blaze of the _Spectator_.

You may remember, I told you before, that one cause assigned for the
laying down the _Tatler_ was, Want of Matter; and, indeed, this was the
prevailing opinion in Town: when we were surprised all at once by a paper
called the _Spectator_, which was promised to be continued every day; and
was written in so excellent a style, with so nice a judgment, and such a
noble profusion of Wit and Humour, that it was not difficult to determine
it could come from no other hands but those which had penned the

This immediately alarmed these gentlemen, who, as it is said Mr. STEELE
phrases it, had "the Censorship in Commission." They found the new
_Spectator_ came on like a torrent, and swept away all before him. They
despaired ever to equal him in Wit, Humour, or Learning; which had been
their true and certain way of opposing him: and therefore rather chose to
fall on the Author; and to call out for help to all good Christians, by
assuring them again and again that they were the First, Original, True,
and Undisputed _ISAAC BICKERSTAFF_.

Meanwhile, the _Spectator_, whom we regard as our Shelter from that flood
of false wit and impertinence which was breaking in upon us, is in every
one's hands; and a constant topic for our morning conversation at
tea-tables and coffee-houses. We had at first, indeed, no manner of
notion how a diurnal paper could be continued in the spirit and style of
our present _Spectators_: but, to our no small surprise, we find them
still rising upon us, and can only wonder from whence so prodigious a run
of Wit and Learning can proceed; since some of our best judges seem to
think that they have hitherto, in general, outshone even the _Esquire_'s
first _Tatlers_.

Most people fancy, from their frequency, that they must be composed by a
Society: I withal assign the first places to Mr. STEELE and his Friend.

I have often thought that the conjunction of those two great Geniuses,
who seem to stand in a class by themselves, so high above all our other
Wits, resembled that of two statesmen in a late reign, whose characters
are very well expressed in their two mottoes, viz., _Prodesse quam
conspici_ [LORD SOMERS], and _Otium cum dignitate_ [CHARLES MONTAGU, Earl
of HALIFAX]. Accordingly the first [_ADDISON_] was continually at work
behind the curtain, drew up and prepared all those schemes, which the
latter still drove on, and stood out exposed to the World, to receive its
praises or censures.

Meantime, all our unbiassed well-wishers to Learning are in hopes that
the known Temper and prudence of one of these Gentlemen will hinder the
other from ever lashing out into Party, and rendering that Wit, which is
at present a common good, odious and ungrateful to the better part of the
Nation [_by which, of course, GAY meant the Tories_].

If this piece of imprudence does not spoil so excellent a Paper, I
propose to myself the highest satisfaction in reading it with you, over a
dish of tea, every morning next winter.

As we have yet had nothing new since the _Spectator_, it only remains for
me to assure you, that I am

Yours, &c., J[OHN] G[AY].

_Westminster, May_ 3, 1711.


Upon a review of my letter, I find I have quite forgotten the _British
Apollo_; which might possibly have happened, from its having, of late,
retreated out of this end of the Town into the country: where, I am
informed however, that it still recommends itself by deciding wagers at
cards, and giving good advice to shopkeepers and their apprentices.




[_Preface_ to first edition of ADDISON's _Works_ 1721.]

daughter of NATHANIEL GULSTON, D.D., and sister of Dr. WILLIAM GULSTON,
Bishop of BRISTOL, was born at Milston, near Ambrosebury, in the county
of Wilts, in the year 1671.

His father, who was of the county of Westmoreland, and educated at
Queen's College in Oxford, passed many years in his travels through
Europe and Africa; where he joined to the uncommon and excellent talents
of Nature, a great knowledge of Letters and Things: of which, several
books published by him, are ample testimonies. He was Rector of Milston,
above mentioned, when Mr. ADDISON, his eldest son, was born: and
afterwards became Archdeacon of Coventry, and Dean of Lichfield.

Mr. ADDISON received his first education at the _Chartreuse_
[_Charterhouse School in London_]; from whence he was removed very early
to Queen's College, in Oxford. He had been there about two years, when
the accidental sight of a Paper of his verses, in the hands of Dr.
LANCASTER, then Dean of that House, occasioned his being elected into
Magdalen College.

He employed his first years in the study of the old Greek and Roman
Writers; whose language and manner he caught, at that time of life, as
strongly as other young people gain a French accent, or a genteel air.

An early acquaintance with the Classics is what may be called the Good
Breeding of Poetry, as it gives a certain gracefulness which never
forsakes a mind that contracted it in youth; but is seldom, or never, hit
by those who would learn it too late.

He first distinguished himself by his Latin compositions, published in
the _Musae Anglicanae_: and was admired as one of the best Authors since
the Augustan Age, in the two universities and the greatest part of
Europe, before he was talked of as a Poet in Town.

There is not, perhaps, any harder task than to tame the natural wildness
of Wit, and to civilize the Fancy. The generality of our old English
Poets abound in forced conceits and affected phrases; and even those who
are said to come the nearest to exactness, are but too often fond of
unnatural beauties, and aim at something better than perfection. If Mr.
ADDISON's example and precepts be the occasion that there now begins to
be a great demand for Correctness, we may justly attribute it to his
being first fashioned by the ancient Models, and familiarized to
Propriety of Thought and Chastity of Style.

Our country owes it to him, that the famous Monsieur BOILEAU first
conceived an opinion of the English Genius for Poetry, by perusing the
present he made him of the _Musae Anglicanae_. It has been currently
reported, that this famous French poet, among the civilities he shewed
Mr. ADDISON on that occasion, affirmed that he would not have written
against PERRAULT, had he before seen such excellent Pieces by a modern
hand. Such a saying would have been impertinent, and unworthy [of]
BOILEAU! whose dispute with PERRAULT turned chiefly upon some passages in
the Ancients, which he rescued from the misinterpretations of his
adversary. The true and natural compliment made by him, was that those
books had given him a very new Idea of the English Politeness, and that
he did not question but there were excellent compositions in the native
language of a country, that professed the Roman Genius in so eminent a

The first English performance made public by him, is a short copy of
verses _To Mr. DRYDEN_, with a view particularly to his Translations.

This was soon followed by a Version of the fourth _Georgic_ of VIRGIL; of
which Mr. DRYDEN makes very honourable mention in the _Postscript_ to his
own Translation of VIRGIL's _Works_: wherein, I have often wondered that
he did not, at the same time, acknowledge his obligation to Mr. ADDISON,
for giving the _Essay upon the Georgics_, prefixed to Mr. DRYDEN's
Translation. Lest the honour of so exquisite a piece of criticism should
hereafter be transferred to a wrong Author, I have taken care to insert
it in this Collection of his _Works_.

Of some other copies of Verses, printed in the _Miscellanies_ while he
was young, the largest is _An Account of the greatest English Poets_; in
the close of which, he insinuates a design he then had of going into Holy
Orders, to which he was strongly importuned by his father. His remarkable
seriousness and modesty, which might have been urged as powerful reasons
for his choosing that life, proved the chief obstacles to it. These
qualities, by which the Priesthood is so much adorned, represented the
duties of it as too weighty for him, and rendered him still the more
worthy of that honour, which they made him decline. It is happy that this
very circumstance has since turned so much to the advantage of Virtue and
Religion; in the cause of which, he has bestowed his labours the more
successfully, as they were his voluntary, not his necessary employment.
The World became insensibly reconciled to Wisdom and Goodness, when they
saw them recommended by him, with at least as much Spirit and Elegance as
they had been ridiculed [with] for half a century.

He was in his twenty-eighth year [1699], when his inclination to see
France and Italy was encouraged by the great Lord Chancellor SOMERS, one
of that kind of patriots who think it no waste of the Public Treasure, to
purchase Politeness to their country. His Poem upon one of King WILLIAM's
Campaigns, addressed to his Lordship, was received with great humanity;
and occasioned a message from him to the Author, to desire his

He soon after obtained, by his Interest, a yearly pension of three
hundred pounds from the Crown, to support him in his travels. If the
uncommonness of a favour, and the distinction of the person who confers
it, enhance its value; nothing could be more honourable to a young Man of
Learning, than such a bounty from so eminent a Patron.

How well Mr. ADDISON answered the expectations of my Lord SOMERS, cannot
appear better than from the book of _Travels_, he dedicated to his
Lordship at his return. It is not hard to conceive why that performance
was at first but indifferently relished by the bulk of readers; who
expected an Account, in a common way, of the customs and policies of the
several Governments In Italy, reflections upon the Genius of the people,
a Map [_description_] of the Provinces, or a measure of their buildings.
How were they disappointed! when, instead of such particulars, they were
presented only with a Journal of Poetical Travels, with Remarks on the
present picture of the country compared with the landskips [_landscapes_]
drawn by Classic Authors, and others the like unconcerning parts of
knowledge! One may easily imagine a reader of plain sense but without a
fine taste, turning over these parts of the Volume which make more than
half of it, and wondering how an Author who seems to have so solid an
understanding when he treats of more weighty subjects in the other pages,
should dwell upon such trifles, and give up so much room to matters of
mere amusement. There are indeed but few men so fond of the Ancients, as
to be transported with every little accident which introduces to their
intimate acquaintance. Persons of that cast may here have the
satisfaction of seeing Annotations upon an old Roman Poem, gathered from
the hills and valleys where it was written. The Tiber and the Po serve to
explain the verses which were made upon their banks; and the Alps and
Apennines are made Commentators on those Authors, to whom they were
subjects, so many centuries ago.

Next to personal conversation with the Writers themselves, this is the
surest way of coming at their sense; a compendious and engaging kind of
Criticism which convinces at first sight, and shews the vanity of
conjectures made by Antiquaries at a distance. If the knowledge of Polite
Literature has its use, there is certainly a merit in illustrating the
Perfect Models of it; and the Learned World will think some years of a
man's life not misspent in so elegant an employment. I shall conclude
what I had to say on this Performance, by observing that the fame of it
increased from year to year; and the demand for copies was so urgent,
that their price rose to four or five times the original value, before it
came out in a second edition.

The _Letter from Italy_ to my Lord HALIFAX may be considered as the Text,
upon which the book of _Travels_ is a large Comment; and has been esteemed
by those who have a relish for Antiquity, as the most exquisite of his
poetical performances. A Translation of it, by Signor SALVINI, Professor
of the Greek tongue, at Florence, is inserted in this edition; not only
on account of its merit, but because it is the language of the country,
which is the subject of the Poem.

The materials for the _Dialogues upon Medals_, now first printed from a
manuscript of the Author, were collected in the native country of those
coins. The book itself was begun to be cast in form, at Vienna; as
appears from a letter to Mr. STEPNEY, then Minister at that Court, dated
in November, 1702.

Some time before the date of this letter, Mr. ADDISON had designed to
return to England; when he received advice from his friends that he was
pitched upon to attend the army under Prince EUGENE, who had just begun
the war in Italy, as Secretary from His Majesty. But an account of the
death of King WILLIAM, which he met with at Geneva, put an end to that
thought: and, as his hopes of advancement in his own country, were fallen
with the credit of his friends, who were out of power at the beginning of
her late Majesty's reign, he had leisure to make the tour of Germany, in
his way home.

He remained, for some time after his return to England, without any
public employment: which he did not obtain till the year 1704, when the
Duke of MARLBOROUGH arrived at the highest pitch of glory, by delivering
all Europe from slavery; and furnished Mr. ADDISON with a subject worthy
of that Genius which appears in his Poem, called _The Campaign_.

Lord Treasurer GODOLPHIN, who was a fine judge of poetry, had a sight of
this Work when it was only carried on as far as the applauded simile of
the Angel; and approved of the Poem, by bestowing on the Author, in a few
days after, the place of Commissioner of Appeals, vacant by the removal of
the famous Mr. [JOHN] LOCKE to the Council of Trade.

His next advancement was to the place of Under Secretary, which he held
under Sir CHARLES HEDGES, and the present Earl of SUNDERLAND. The opera
of _Rosamond_ was written while he possessed that employment. What doubts
soever have been raised about the merit of the Music, which, as the
Italian taste at that time began wholly to prevail, was thought
sufficient inexcusable, because it was the composition of an Englishman;
the Poetry of this Piece has given as much pleasure in the closet, as
others have afforded from the Stage, with all the assistance of voices
and instruments.

The Comedy called _The Tender Husband_ appeared much about the same time;
to which Mr. ADDISON wrote the _Prologue_. Sir RICHARD STEELE surprised
him with a very handsome _Dedication_ of his Play; and has since
acquainted the Public, that he owed some of the most taking scenes of it,

His next step in his fortune, was to the post of Secretary under the late
Marquis of WHARTON, who was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in the
year 1709. As I have proposed to touch but very lightly on those parts of
his life, which do not regard him as an Author; I shall not enlarge upon
the great reputation he acquired, by his turn for business, and his
unblemished integrity, in this and other employments.

It must not be omitted here, that the salary of Keeper of the Records in
Ireland was considerably raised, and that post bestowed upon him at this
time, as a mark of the Queen's favour.

He was in that Kingdom, when he first discovered Sir RICHARD STEELE to be
the Author of the _Tatler_, by an observation upon _VIRGIL_, which had
been by him communicated to his friend. The assistance he occasionally
gave him afterwards, in the course of the Paper, did not a little
contribute to advance its reputation; and, upon the Change of the
Ministry, he found leisure to engage more constantly in that Work: which,
however, was dropped at last, as it had been taken up, without his

In the last Paper, which closed those celebrated Performances, and in the
_Preface_ to the last Volume, Sir RICHARD STEELE has given to Mr. ADDISON,
the honour of the most applauded Pieces in that Collection. But as that
acknowledgement was delivered only in general terms, without directing
the Public to the several Papers; Mr. ADDISON (who was content with the
praise arising from his own Works, and too delicate to take any part of
that which belonged to others), afterwards, thought fit to distinguish
his Writings in the _Spectators_ and _Guardians_, by such marks as might
remove the least possibility of mistake in the most undiscerning readers.

It was necessary that his share in the _Tatlers_ should be adjusted in a
complete Collection of his _Works_: for which reason, Sir RICHARD STEELE,
in compliance with the request of his deceased friend, delivered to him by
the Editor, was pleased to mark with his own hand, those _Tatlers_, which
are inserted in this edition; and even to point out several, in the
writing of which, they were both concerned.

The Plan of the _Spectator_, as far as regards the feigned Person of
the Author, and of the several Characters that compose his Club, was
projected in concert with Sir RICHARD STEELE. And because many passages
in the course of the Work would otherwise be obscure, I have taken leave
to insert one single Paper written by Sir RICHARD STEELE, wherein those
Characters are drawn; which may serve as a _Dramatis Personae_, or as so
many pictures for an ornament and explication of the whole.

As for the distinct Papers, they were never or seldom shewn to each
other, by their respective Authors; who fully answered the Promise they
had made, and far outwent the Expectation they had raised, of pursuing
their Labour in the same Spirit and Strength with which it was begun.

It would have been impossible for Mr. ADDISON (who made little or no use
of letters sent in, by the numerous correspondents of the _Spectator_) to
have executed his large share of his task in so exquisite a manner; if he
had not engrafted into it many Pieces that had lain by him, in little
hints and minutes, which he from time to time collected and ranged in
order, and moulded into the form in which they now appear. Such are the
Essays upon _Wit_, the _Pleasures of the Imagination_, the _Critique upon
MILTON_, and some others: which I thought to have connected in a continued
Series in this Edition, though they were at first published with the
interruption of writings on different subjects. But as such a scheme
would have obliged me to cut off several graceful introductions and
circumstances peculiarly adapted to the time and occasion of printing
then; I durst not pursue that attempt.

The Tragedy of CATO appeared in public in the year 1713; when the
greatest part of the last _Act_ was added by the Author, to the foregoing
which he had kept by him for many years. He took up a design of writing a
play upon this subject, when he was very young at the University; and
even attempted something in it there, though not a line as it now stands.
The work was performed by him in his travels, and retouched in England,
without any formed resolution of bringing it upon the Stage, until his
friends of the first Quality and Distinction prevailed on him, to put the
last finishing to it, at a time when they thought the Doctrine of Liberty
very seasonable.

It is in everybody's memory, with what applause it was received by the
Public; that the first run of it lasted for a month, and then stopped
only because one of the performers became incapable of acting a principal

The Author received a message that the Queen would be pleased to have it
dedicated to her: but as he had designed that compliment elsewhere, he
found himself obliged, by his duty on the one side, and his honour on the
other, to send it into the World without any _Dedication_.

The fame of this tragedy soon spread through Europe; and it has not only
been translated, but acted in most of the languages of Christendom. The
Translation of it into Italian by Signor SALVINI is very well known: but
I have not been able to learn, whether that of Signor VALETTA, a young
Neapolitan Nobleman, has ever been made public.

If he had found time for the writing of another tragedy, the Death of
SOCRATES would have been the story. And, however unpromising that subject
may appear; it would be presumptuous to censure his choice, who was so
famous for raising the noblest plants from the most barren soil. It
serves to shew that he thought the whole labour of such a Performance
unworthy to be thrown away upon those Intrigues and Adventures, to which
the romantic taste has confined Modern Tragedy: and, after the example of
his predecessors in Greece, would have employed the Drama _to wear out of
our minds everything that is mean or little, to cherish and cultivate
that Humanity which is the ornament of our nature, to soften Insolence,
to soothe Affliction, and to subdue our minds to the dispensations of
Providence_. (_Spectator_, No. 39.)

Upon the death of the late Queen, the Lords Justices, in whom the
Administration was lodged, appointed him their Secretary.

Soon after His Majesty's arrival in Great Britain, the Earl of
SUNDERLAND, being constituted Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; Mr. ADDISON
became, a second time, Secretary for the Affairs of that Kingdom: and was
made one of the Lords Commissioners of Trade, a little after his Lordship
resigned the post of Lord Lieutenant.

The Paper called the _Freeholder_, was undertaken at the time when the
Rebellion broke out in Scotland.

The only Works he left behind for the Public, are the _Dialogues upon
medals_, and the Treatise upon the _Christian Religion_. Some account has
been already given of the former: to which nothing is now to be added,
except that a great part of the Latin quotations were rendered into
English in a very hasty manner by the Editor and one of his friends who
had the good nature to assist him, during his avocations of business. It
was thought better to add these translations, such as they are; than to
let the Work come out unintelligible to those who do not possess the
learned languages.

The Scheme for the Treatise upon the _Christian Religion_ was formed by
the Author, about the end of the late Queen's reign; at which time, he
carefully perused the ancient Writings, which furnish the materials for
it. His continual employment in business prevented him from executing it,
until he resigned his office of Secretary of State; and his death put a
period to it, when he had imperfectly performed only one half of the
design: he having proposed, as appears from the Introduction, to add the
Jewish to the Heathen testimonies for the truth of the Christian History.
He was more assiduous than his health would well allow, in the pursuit of
this Work: and had long determined to dedicate his Poetry also, for the
future, wholly to religious subjects.

Soon after, he was, from being one of the Lords Commissioners of Trade,
advanced to the post of Secretary of State; he found his health impaired
by the return of that asthmatic indisposition; which continued often, to
afflict him during his exercise of that employment: and, at last, obliged
him to beg His Majesty's leave to resign.

His freedom from the anxiety of business so far re-established his
health, that his friends began to hope he might last for many years: but
(whether it were from a life too sedentary; or from his natural
constitution, in which was one circumstance very remarkable, that, from
his cradle, he never had a regular pulse) a long and painful relapse into
an asthma and dropsy deprived the World of this great man, on the 17th of
June, 1719.

He left behind him only one daughter, by the Countess of WARWICK; to whom
he was married in the year 1716.

Not many days before his death, he gave me directions to collect his
Writings, and at the same time committed to my care the _Letter_
addressed to _Mr. CRAGGS_, his successor as Secretary of State, wherein
he bequeaths them to him, as a token of friendship.

Such a testimony, from the First Man of our Age, in such a point of time,
will be perhaps as great and lasting an honour to that Gentleman as any
even he could acquire to himself, and yet it is no more than was due from
an affection that justly increased towards him, through the intimacy of
several years. I cannot, save with the utmost tenderness, reflect on the
kind concern with which Mr. ADDISON left Me as a sort of incumbrance upon
this valuable legacy. Nor must I deny myself the honour to acknowlege that
the goodness of that Great Man to me, like many other of his amiable
qualities, seemed not so much to be renewed, as continued in his
successor; who made me an example, that nothing could be indifferent to
him which came recommended to Mr. ADDISON.

Could any circumstance be more severe to me, while I was executing these
Last Commands of the Author, than to see the Person to whom his Works
were presented, cut off in the flower of his age, and carried from the
high Office wherein he had succeeded Mr. ADDISON, to be laid next him, in
the same grave? I might dwell upon such thoughts as naturally rise from
these minute resemblances in the fortune of two persons, whose names
probably will be seldom mentioned asunder while either our Language or
Story subsist; were I not afraid of making this _Preface_ too tedious:
especially since I shall want all the patience of the reader, for having
enlarged it with the following verses.


_On the Death of_ MR. ADDISON.

      If dumb too long, the drooping muse hath stay'd
    And left her debt to Addison unpaid,
    Blame not her silence, Warwick, but bemoan,
    And judge, oh judge, my bosom by your own.
      What mourner ever felt poetic fires!
    Slow comes the verse that real woe inspires:
    Grief unaffected suits but ill with art,
    Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.
      Can I forget the dismal night that gave
    My soul's best part for ever to the grave!
    How silent did his old companions tread
    By midnight lamps, the mansions of the dead
    Through breathing statues, then unheeded things,
    Through rows of warriors, and through walks of kings!
    What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire;
    The pealing organ, and the pausing choir;
    The duties by the lawn-rob'd prelate paid;
    And the last words, that dust to dust convey'd!
    While speechless o'er thy closing grave we bend,
    Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend.
    Oh gone for ever! take this long adieu;
    And sleep in peace, next thy lov'd Montague.
    To strew fresh laurels, let the task be mine,
    A frequent pilgrim, at thy sacred shrine;
    Mine with true sighs thy absence to bemoan,
    And grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone.
    If e'er from me thy lov'd memorial part,
    May shame afflict this alienated heart;
    Of thee forgetful if I form a song,
    My lyre be broken, and untun'd my tongue.
    My grief be doubled from thy image free,
    And mirth a torment, unchastis'd by thee.
      Oft let me range the gloomy aisles alone,
    Sad luxury! to vulgar minds unknown,
    Along the walls, where speaking marbles show
    What worthies form the hallow'd mould below;
    Proud names who once the reins of empire held;
    In arms who triumphed; or in arts excelled;
    Chiefs graced with scars and prodigal of blood;
    Stern patriots who for sacred freedom stood;
    Just men, by whom impartial laws were given;
    And saints who taught and led the way to heaven;
    Ne'er to these chambers, where the mighty rest
    Since their foundation came a nobler guest;
    Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss convey'd
    A fairer spirit or more welcome shade.
      In what new region to the just assigned,
    What new employments please th' unbody'd mind;
    A wingèd virtue, through th' ethereal sky
    From world to world unweary'd does he fly?
    Or curious trace the long laborious maze
    Of heaven's decrees where wondering angels gaze;
    Does he delight to hear bold seraphs tell
    How Michael battl'd and the dragon fell,
    Or mixed with milder cherubim to glow
    In hymns of love not ill-essay'd below?
    Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind
    A task well suited to thy gentle mind?
    Oh! if sometimes thy spotless form descend
    To me thy aid, thou guardian genius lend
    When rage misguides me or when fear alarms,
    When pain distresses or when pleasure charms,
    In silent whisperings purer thoughts impart,
    And turn from ill a frail and feeble heart;
    Lead through the paths thy virtue trod before,
    Till bliss shall join nor death can part us more.
      That awful form, which, so the heavens decree,
    Must still be loved and still deplor'd by me
    In nightly visions seldom fails to rise,
    Or rous'd by fancy, meets my waking eyes.
    If business calls, or crowded courts invite;
    Th' unblemish'd statesman seems to strike my sight;
    If in the stage I seek to soothe my care
    I meet his soul which breathes in Cato there;
    If pensive to the rural shades I rove,
    His shape o'ertakes me in the lonely grove;
    'Twas there of just and good he reason'd strong,
    Clear'd some great truth, or rais'd some serious song:
    There patient show'd us the wise course to steer,
    A candid censor, and a friend severe;
    There taught us how to live; and (oh! too high
    The price for knowledge) taught us how to die.


_Dedicatory Epistle to_ WILLIAM CONGREVE.

[This Dedication is prefixed to the Second Edition of ADDISON's
_Drummer_, 1722.]

To Mr. CONGREVE: occasioned by Mr. TICKELL's _Preface_ to the four
volumes of Mr. ADDISON's _Works_.


    This is the second time that I have, without your leave, taken the
    liberty to make a public address to you.

    However uneasy you may be, for your own sake, in receiving
    compliments of this nature, I depend upon your known humanity for
    pardon; when I acknowledge that you have this present trouble, for
    mine. When I take myself to be ill treated with regard to my
    behaviour to the merit of other men; my conduct towards you is an
    argument of my candour that way, as well as that your name and
    authority will be my protection in it. You will give me leave
    therefore, in a matter that concerns us in the Poetical World, to
    make you my judge whether I am not injured in the highest manner!
    for with men of your taste and delicacy, it is a high crime and
    misdemeanour to be guilty of anything that is disingenuous. But I
    will go into my matter.

    Upon my return from Scotland, I visited Mr. TONSON's shop, and
    thanked him for his care in sending to my house, the Volumes of my
    dear and honoured friend Mr. ADDISON; which are, at last, published
    by his Secretary, Mr. TICKELL: but took occasion to observe, that I
    had not seen the Work before it came out; which he did not think fit
    to excuse any otherwise than by a recrimination, that I had put into
    his hands, at a high price, a Comedy called _The Drummer_; which, by
    my zeal for it, he took to be written by Mr. ADDISON, and of which,
    after his [_ADDISON's_] death, he said, I directly acknowleged he
    was the author.

    To urge this hardship still more home, he produced a receipt under
    my hand, in these words--

    _March 12, 1715 [-16]_.

    _Received then, the sum of Fifty Guineas for the Copy_ [copyright]
    _of the Comedy called_, The Drummer or the Haunted House. _I say,
    received by order of the Author of the said Comedy_,


and added, at the same time, that since Mr. TICKELL had not thought fit
to make that play a part of Mr. ADDISON's _Works_; he would sell the Copy
to any bookseller that would give most for it [_i.e., TONSON threw the
onus of the authenticity of the_ Drummer _on STEELE_].

This is represented thus circumstantially, to shew how incumbent it is
upon me, as well in justice to the bookseller, as for many other
considerations, to produce this Comedy a second time [_It was first
printed in_ 1716]; and take this occasion to vindicate myself against
certain insinuations thrown out by the Publisher [_THOMAS TICKELL_] of
Mr. ADDISON's Writings, concerning my behaviour in the nicest
circumstance--that of doing justice to the Merit of my Friend.

I shall take the liberty, before I have ended this Letter, to say why I
believe the _Drummer_ a performance of Mr. ADDISON: and after I have
declared this, any surviving writer may be at ease; if there be any one
who has hitherto been vain enough to hope, or silly enough to fear, it
may be given to himself.

Before I go any further, I must make my Public Appeal to you and all the
Learned World, and humbly demand, Whether it was a decent and reasonable
thing, that Works written, as a great part of Mr. ADDISON's were, in
correspondence [_coadjutorship_] with me, ought to have been published
without my review of the Catalogue of them; or if there were any
exception to be made against any circumstance in my conduct, Whether an
opportunity to explain myself should not have been allowed me, before any
Reflections were made on me in print.

When I had perused Mr. TICKELL's _Preface_, I had soon so many
objections, besides his omission to say anything of the _Drummer_,
against his long-expected performance: the chief intention of which (and
which it concerns me first to examine) seems to aim at doing the deceased
Author justice, against me! whom he insinuates to have assumed to myself,
part of the merit of my friend.

He is pleased, Sir, to express himself concerning the present Writer, in
the following manner--

_The Comedy called_ The Tender Husband, _appeared much about the same
time; to which Mr. ADDISON wrote the _Prologue: _Sir RICHARD STEELE
surprised him with a very handsome_ Dedication _of this Play; and has
since acquainted the Public, that he owed some of the most taking scenes
of it, to Mr. ADDISON_. Mr. TICKELL's _Preface_. Pag. 11.

_He was in that Kingdom_ [Ireland], _when he first discovered Sir RICHARD
STEELE to be the Author of the_ Tatler, _by an observation upon_ VIRGIL,
_which had been by him communicated to his friend. The assistance he
occasionally gave him afterwards, in the course of the Paper, did not a
little contribute to advance its reputation; and, upon the Change of the
Ministry_ [in the autumn of 1710], _he found leisure to engage more
constantly in that Work: which, however, was dropped at last, as it had
been taken up, without his participation_.

_In the last Paper which closed those celebrated Performances, and in
the_ Preface _to the last Volume, Sir RICHARD STEELE has given to Mr.
ADDISON, the honour of the most applauded Pieces in that Collection. But
as that acknowledgement was delivered only in general terms, without
directing the Public to the several Papers; Mr. ADDISON (who was content
with the praise arising from his own Works, and too delicate to take any
part of that which belonged to others), afterwards thought fit to
distinguish his Writings in the_ Spectators _and_ Guardians _by such
marks as might remove the least possibility of mistake in the most
undiscerning readers. It was necessary that his share in the_ Tatlers
_should be adjusted in a complete Collection of his_ Works: _for which
reason, Sir RICHARD STEELE, in compliance with the request of his
deceased friend, delivered to him by the Editor, was pleased to mark with
his own hand, those_ Tatlers _which are inserted in this edition; and even
to point out several, in the writing of which, they both were concerned_.
Pag. 12.

_The Plan of the_ Spectator, _as far as it related to the feigned Person
of the Author, and of the several Characters that compose his Club, was
projected in concert with Sir_ RICHARD STEELE: _and because many passages
in the course of the Work would otherwise be obscure, I have taken leave
to insert one Paper written by Sir_ RICHARD STEELE, _wherein those
Characters are drawn; which may serve as a_ Dramatis Personae, _or as so
many pictures for an ornament and explication of the whole. As for the
distinct Papers, they were never or seldom shewn to each other, by their
respective Authors, who fully answered the Promise they made, and far
outwent the Expectation they had raised, of pursuing their Labour in the
same Spirit and Strength with which it was begun_. Pag. 13.

It need not be explained that it is here intimated, that I had not
sufficiently acknowledged what was due to Mr. ADDISON in these Writings.
I shall make a full Answer to what seems intended by the words, _He was
too delicate to take any part of that which belonged to others_; if I can
recite out of my own Papers, anything that may make it appear groundless.

The subsequent [_following_] encomiums bestowed by me on Mr. ADDISON
will, I hope, be of service to me in this particular.

_But I have only one Gentleman_, who will be nameless, _to thank for any
frequent assistance to me: which indeed it would have been barbarous in
him, to have denied in one with whom he has lived in an intimacy from
childhood; considering the great Ease with which he is able to despatch
the most entertaining Pieces of this nature. This good office he
performed with such force of Genius, Humour, Wit, and Learning, that I
fared like a distressed Prince who calls in a powerful neighbour to his
aid; I was undone by my auxiliary! When I had once called him in, I could
not subsist without dependence on him_.

_The same Hand wrote the distinguishing Characters of Men and Women under
the names of_ Musical Instruments, _the_ Distress of the News-Writers,
_the_ Inventory of the Play House, _and the_ Description of the
Thermometer; _which I cannot but look upon, as the greatest
embellishments of this Work. Pref_. to the 4th Vol. of the _Tatlers_.

_As to the Work itself, the acceptance it has met with is the best proof
of its value: but I should err against that candour which an honest man
should always carry about him, if I did not own that the most approved
Pieces in it were written by others; and those, which have been most
excepted against by myself. The Hand that has assisted me in those noble
Discourses upon the Immortality of the Soul, the Glorious Prospects of
another Life, and the most sublime ideas of Religion and Virtue, is a
person, who is too fondly my friend ever to own them: but I should little
deserve to be his, if I usurped the glory of them. I must acknowledge, at
the same time, that I think the finest strokes of Wit and Humour in all
Mr_. BICKERSTAFF's Lucubrations, _are those for which he is also beholden
to him. Tatler_, No. 271.

_I hope the Apology I have made as to the license allowable to a feigned
Character may excuse anything which has been said in these Discourses of
the_ Spectator _and his Works. But the imputation of the grossest vanity
would still dwell upon me, if I did not give some account by what means I
was enabled to keep up the Spirit of so long and approved a performance.
All the Papers marked with _a C, L, I, _or_ O--_that is to say, all the
Papers which I have distinguished by any letter in the name of the Muse_
CLIO--_were given me by the Gentleman, of whose assistance I formerly
boasted in the_ Preface _and concluding Leaf of the_ Tatler. _I am indeed
much more proud of his long-continued friendship, than I should be of the
fame of being thought the Author of any Writings which he himself is
capable of producing_.

_I remember, when I finished the_ Tender Husband; _I told him, there was
nothing I so ardently wished as that we might, some time or other,
publish a Work written by us both; which should bear the name of the
Monument, in memory of our friendship. I heartily wish what I have done
here, were as honorary to that sacred name, as Learning, Wit, and
Humanity render those Pieces, which I have taught the reader how to
distinguish for his_.

_When the Play above mentioned was last acted, there were so many
applauded strokes in it which I had from the same hand, that I thought
very meanly of myself that I had never publicly acknowledged them_.

_After I have put other friends upon importuning him to publish Dramatic
as well as other Writings, he has by him; I shall end what I think I am
obliged to say on this head, by giving the reader this hint for the
better judgement of my productions: that the best Comment upon them would
be, an Account when the Patron_ [i.e., ADDISON] _to the_ Tender Husband
_was in England or abroad_ [i.e., Ireland]. _Spectator_, No. 555.

_My purpose in this Application is only to shew the esteem I have for
you, and that I look upon my intimacy with you as one of the most
valuable enjoyments of my life. Dedication_ before the _Tender Husband_.

I am sure, you have read my quotations with indignation against the
little [_petty_] zeal which prompted the Editor (who by the way, has
himself done nothing in applause of the Works which he prefaces) to the
mean endeavour of adding to Mr. ADDISON, by disparaging a man who had
(for the greatest part of his life) been his known bosom friend, and
shielded him from all the resentments which many of his own Works would
have brought upon him, at the time they were written. It is really a good
office to Society, to expose the indiscretion of Intermedlers in the
friendship and correspondence [_coadjutorship_] of men, whose sentiments,
passions, and resentments are too great for their proportion of soul!

Could the Editor's indiscretion provoke me, even so far as (within the
rules of strictest honour) I could go; and I were not restrained by
supererogatory affection to dear Mr. ADDISON, I would ask this unskilful
Creature, What he means, when he speaks in an air of a reproach, _that
the_ Tatler _was laid down as it was taken up, without his
participation_? Let him speak out and say, why _without his knowledge_
would not serve his purpose as well!

If, as he says, he restrains himself to "Mr. ADDISON's character as a
Writer;" while he attempts to lessen me, he exalts me! for he has
declared to all the World what I never have so explicitly done, that I
am, to all intents and purposes, _the Author of the_ Tatler! He very
justly says, the occasional assistance Mr. ADDISON gave me, in the course
of that Paper, "did not a little contribute to advance its reputation,
especially when, upon the Change of Ministry [_August, 1710_], he found
leisure to engage more constantly in it." It was advanced indeed! for it
was raised to a greater thing than I intended it! For the elegance,
purity, and correctness which appeared in his Writings were not so much
my purpose; as (in any intelligible manner, as I could) to rally all
those Singularities of human life, through the different Professions and
Characters in it, which obstruct anything that was truly good and great.

After this Acknowledgement, you will see; that is, such a man as you will
see, that I rejoiced in being excelled! and made those little talents
(whatever they are) which I have, give way and be subservient to the
superior qualities of a Friend, whom I loved! and whose modesty would
never have admitted them to come into daylight, but under such a shelter.

So that all which the Editor has said (either out of design, or
incapacity), Mr. CONGREVE! must end in this: that STEELE has been so
candid and upright, that he owes nothing to Mr. ADDISON as a Writer; but
whether he do, or does not, whatever STEELE owes to Mr. ADDISON, the
Public owe ADDISON to STEELE!

But the Editor has such a fantastical and ignorant zeal for his Patron,
that he will not allow his correspondents [_coadjutors_] to conceal
anything of his; though in obedience to his commands!

What I never did declare was Mr. ADDISON's, I had his direct injunctions
to hide; against the natural warmth and passion of my own temper towards
my friends.

Many of the Writings now published as his, I have been very patiently
traduced and culminated for; as they were pleasantries and oblique
strokes upon certain of the wittiest men of the Age: who will now restore
me to their goodwill, in proportion to the abatement of [the] Wit which
they thought I employed against them.

But I was saying, that the Editor won't allow us to obey his Patron's
commands in anything which he thinks would redound to his credit, if
discovered. And because I would shew a little Wit in my anger, I shall
have the discretion to shew you that he has been guilty, in this
particular, towards a much greater man than your humble servant, and one
whom you are much more obliged to vindicate.

Mr. DRYDEN, in his _VIRGIL_, after having acknowledged that a "certain
excellent young man" [_i.e., W. CONGREVE himself_] had shewed him many
faults in his translation of _VIRGIL_, which he had endeavoured to
correct, goes on to say, "Two other worthy friends of mine, who desire to
have their names concealed, seeing me straightened in my time, took pity
on me, and gave me the _Life of VIRGIL_, the two _Prefaces_ to the
_Pastorals_ and the _Georgics_, and all the Arguments in prose to the
whole Translation." If Mr. ADDISON is one of the two friends, and the
_Preface_ to the _Georgics_ be what the Editor calls the _Essay upon the
Georgics_ as one may adventure to say they are, from their being word for
word the same, he has cast an inhuman reflection upon Mr. DRYDEN: who,
though tied down not to name Mr. ADDISON, pointed at him so as all
Mankind conservant in these matters knew him, with an eulogium equal to
the highest merit, considering who it was that bestowed it, I could not
avoid remarking upon this circumstance, out of justice to Mr. DRYDEN: but
confess, at the same time, I took a great pleasure in doing it; because I
knew, in exposing this outrage, I made my court to Mr. CONGREVE.

I have observed that the Editor will not let me or any one else obey Mr.
ADDISON's commands, in hiding anything he desired to be concealed.

I cannot but take further notice, that the circumstance of marking his
_Spectators_ [_with the letters C, L, I, O,_], which I did not know till
I had done with the Work; I made my own act! because I thought it too
great a sensibility in my friend; and thought it (since it was done)
better to be supposed marked by me than the Author himself. The real
state of which, this zealot rashly and injudiciously exposes! I ask the
reader, Whether anything but an earnestness to disparage me could provoke
the Editor, in behalf of Mr. ADDISON, to say that he marked it out of
caution against me: when I had taken upon me to say, it was I that did
it! out of tenderness to him.

As the imputation of any the Least Attempt of arrogating to myself, or
detracting from Mr. ADDISON, is without any Colour of Truth: you will
give me leave to go on in the same ardour towards him, and resent the
cold, unaffectionate, dry, and barren manner, in which this Gentleman
gives an Account of as great a Benefactor as any one Learned Man ever had
of another. Would any man, who had been produced from a College life, and
pushed into one of the most considerable Employments of the Kingdom as to
its weight and trust, and greatly lucrative with respect to a Fellowship
[_i.e., of a College_]: and who had been daily and hourly with one of the
greatest men of the Age, be satisfied with himself, in saying _nothing_ of
such a Person besides what all the World knew! except a particularity (and
that to his disadvantage!) which I, his friend from a boy, don't know to
be true, to wit, that "he never had a regular pulse"!

As for the facts, and considerable periods of his life, he either knew
nothing of them, or injudiciously places them in a worse light than that
in which they really stood.

When he speaks of Mr. ADDISON's declining to go into Orders, his way of
doing it is to lament _his seriousness and modesty_, which might have
recommended him, _proved the chief obstacles to it, it seems these
qualities, by which the Priesthood is so much adorned, represented the
duties of it as too weighty for him, and rendered him still more worthy
of that honour which they made him decline_. These, you know very well!
were not the Reasons which made Mr. ADDISON turn his thoughts to the
civil World; and, as you were the instrument of his becoming acquainted
with my Lord HALIFAX, I doubt not but you remember the warm instances
that noble Lord made to the Head of the College, not to insist upon Mr.
ADDISON's going into Orders. His arguments were founded on the general
pravity [_depravity_] and corruption of men of business [_public men_]
who wanted liberal education. And I remember, as if I read the letter
yesterday, that my Lord ended with a compliment, that "however he might
be represented as no friend to the Church, he would never do it any other
injury than keeping Mr. ADDISON out of it!"

The contention for this man in his early youth, among the people of
greatest power; Mr. Secretary TICKELL, the Executor for his Fame, is
pleased to ascribe to "a serious visage and modesty of behaviour."

When a Writer is grossly and essentially faulty, it were a jest to take
notice of a false expression or a phrase, otherwise _Priesthood_ in that
place, might be observed upon; as a term not used by the real
well-wishers to Clergymen, except when they would express some solemn
act, and not when that Order is spoken of as a Profession among
Gentlemen. I will not therefore busy myself about the "unconcerning parts
of knowledge, but be content like a reader of plain sense without
politeness." And since Mr. Secretary will give us no account of this
Gentleman, I admit "the Alps and Apennines" instead of the Editor, to be
"Commentators of his Works," which, as the Editor says, "have raised a
demand for correctness." This "demand," by the way, ought to be more
strong upon those who were most about him, and had the greatest advantage
of his example. But as our Editor says, "that those who come nearest to
exactness are but too often fond of unnatural beauties, and aim at
something better than perfection."

Believe me, Sir, Mr. ADDISON's example will carry no man further than
that height for which Nature capacitated him: and the affectation of
following great men in works above the genius of their imitators, will
never rise farther than the production of uncommon and unsuitable
ornaments in a barren discourse, like flowers upon a heath, such as the
Author's phrase of "something better than perfection."

But in his _Preface_, if ever anything was, is that "something better:"
for it is so extraordinary, that we cannot say, it is too long or too
short, or deny but that it is both. I think I abstract myself from all
manner of prejudice when I aver that no man, though without any
obligation to Mr. ADDISON, would have represented him in his family and
in his friendships, or his personal character, so disadvantageously as
his Secretary (in preference of whom, he incurred the warmest resentments
of other Gentlemen) has been pleased to describe him in those particulars.

Mr. Dean ADDISON, father of this memorable Man, left behind him four
children, each of whom, for excellent talents and singular preferments,
was as much above the ordinary World as their brother JOSEPH was above
them. Were things of this nature to be exposed to public view, I could
shew under the Dean's own hand, in the warmest terms, his blessing on the
friendship between his son and me; nor had he a child who did not prefer
me in the first place of kindness and esteem, as their father loved me
like one of them: and I can with pleasure say, I never omitted any
opportunity of shewing that zeal for their persons and Interests as
became a Gentleman and a Friend.

Were I now to indulge myself, I could talk a great deal to you, which I
am sure would be entertaining: but as I am speaking at the same time to
all the World, I consider it would be impertinent.

Let me then confine myself awhile to the following Play [_The Drummer_],
which I at first recommended to the Stage, and carried to the Press.

No one who reads the _Preface_ which I published with it, will imagine I
could be induced to say so much, as I then did, had I not known the man I
best loved had had a part in it; or had I believed that any other
concerned had much more to do than as an amanuensis.

But, indeed, had I not known at the time of the transaction concerning
the acting on the Stage and the sale of the Copy; I should, I think, have
seen Mr. ADDISON in every page of it! For he was above all men in that
talent we call Humour; and enjoyed it in such perfection, that I have
often reflected, after a night spent with him apart from the World, that
I had had the pleasure of conversing with an intimate acquaintance of
TERENCE and CATULLUS, who had all their Wit and Nature heightened with
Humour more exquisite and delightful than any other man ever possessed.

They who shall read this Play, after being let into the secret that it
was written by Mr. ADDISON or under his direction, will probably be
attentive to those excellencies which they before overlooked, and wonder
they did not till now observe that there is not an expression in the
whole Piece which has not in it the most nice propriety and aptitude to
the Character which utters it. Here is that smiling Mirth, that delicate
Satire and genteel Raillery, which appeared in Mr. ADDISON when he was
free among intimates; I say, when he was free from his _remarkable_
bashfulness, which is a cloak that hides and muffles merit: and his
abilities were covered only by modesty, which doubles the beauties which
are seen, and gives credit and esteem to all that are concealed.

The _Drummer_ made no great figure on the Stage, though exquisitely well
acted: but when I observe this, I say a much harder thing of the Stage,
than of the Comedy.

When I say the Stage in this place, I am understood to mean, in general,
the present Taste of theatrical representations: where nothing that is
not violent, and as I may say, grossly delightful, can come on, without
hazard of being condemned or slighted.

It is here republished, and recommended as a closet piece [_i.e., for
private reading_], to recreate an intelligent mind in a vacant hour: for
vacant the reader must be, from every strong prepossession, in order to
relish an entertainment, _quod nequeo monstrare et sentio tantum_, which
cannot be enjoyed to the degree it deserves, but by those of the most
polite Taste among Scholars, the best Breeding among Gentlemen, and the
least acquainted with sensual Pleasure among the Ladies.

The Editor [_THOMAS TICKELL_] is pleased to relate concerning _CATO_,
that a Play under that design was projected by the Author very early, and
wholly laid aside; in advanced years, he reassumed the same design; and
many years after Four acts were finished, he wrote the Fifth; and brought
it upon the Stage.

All the Town knows, how officious I was in bringing it on, and you (that
know the Town, the Theatre, and Mankind very well) can judge how
necessary it was, to take measures for making a performance of that sort,
excellent as it is, run into popular applause.

I promised before it was acted (and performed my duty accordingly to the
Author), that I would bring together so just an audience on the First
Days of it, it should be impossible for the vulgar to put its success or
due applause at any hazard: but I don't mention this, only to shew how
good an Aide-de-Camp I was to Mr. ADDISON; but to shew also that the
Editor does as much to cloud the merit of this Work, as I did to set it

Mr. TICKELL's account of its being taken up, laid down, and at last
perfected, after such long intervals and pauses, would make any one
believe, who did not know Mr. ADDISON, that it was accomplished with the
greatest pain and labour; and the issue rather of Learning and Industry
than Capacity and Genius: but I do assure you, that never Play which
could bring the author any reputation for Wit and Conduct,
notwithstanding it was so long before it was finished, employed the
Author so little a time in writing.

If I remember right, the Fifth Act was written in less than a week's
time! For this was particular in this Writer, that when he had taken his
resolution, or made his Plan for what he designed to write; he would walk
about the room and dictate it into Language, with as much freedom and ease
as any one could write it down: and attend to the Coherence and Grammar of
what he dictated.

I have been often thus employed by him; and never took it into my head,
though he only spoke it and I took all the pains of throwing it upon
paper, that I ought to call myself the Writer of it.

I will put all my credit among men of Wit for the truth of my averment,
when I presume to say that no one but Mr. ADDISON was, in any other way,
the Writer of the _Drummer_.

At the same time, I will allow, that he sent for me (which he could
always do, from his natural power over me, as much as he could send for
any of his clerks when he was Secretary of State), and told me that a
Gentleman then in the room had written a play that he was sure I would
like; but it was to be a secret: and he knew I would take as much pains,
since he recommended it, as I would for him.

I hope nobody will be wronged or think himself aggrieved, that I give
this rejected Work [_the Comedy of_ The Drummer _not included by TICKELL
in his collected edition of ADDISON's Works_] where I do: and if a
certain Gentleman [_TICKELL_] is injured by it, I will allow I have
wronged him upon this issue; that if the reputed translator [_TICKELL_]
of the _First Book of HOMER_ shall please to give us another _Book_,
there shall appear another good Judge in poetry, besides Mr. ALEXANDER
POPE, who shall like it!

But I detain you too long upon things that are too personal to myself,
and will defer giving the World a true Notion of the Character and
Talents of Mr. ADDISON, till I can speak of that amiable Gentlemen on an
occasion void of controversy.

I shall then perhaps say many things of him which will be new even to
you, with regard to him in all parts of his Character: for which I was so
zealous, that I could not be contented with praising and adorning him as
much as lay in my own power; but was ever soliciting and putting my
friends upon the same office.

And since the Editor [_TICKELL_] has adorned his heavy Discourse with
Prose in rhyme at the end of it, upon Mr. ADDISON's death: give me leave
to atone for this long and tedious _Epistle_, by giving after it, what I
dare say you will esteem, an excellent Poem on his marriage [_by Mr.

I must conclude without satisfying as strong a desire, as every man had,
of saying something remarkably handsome to the Person to whom I am
writing: for you are so good a judge, that you would find out the
Endeavourer to be witty! and therefore, as I have tired you and myself, I
will be contented with assuring you, which I do very honestly, I would
rather have you satisfied with me on this subject, than any other man

You will please pardon me, that I have, thus, laid this nice affair
before a person who has the acknowledged superiority to all others; not
only in the most excellent talents; but possessing them with an
equanimity, candour, and benevolence which render those advantages a
pleasure as great to the rest of the World as they can be to the owner of
them. And since Fame consists in the Opinion of wise and good men: you
must not blame me for taking the readiest way to baffle any Attempt upon
my Reputation, by an Address to one, whom every wise and good man looks
upon, with the greatest affection and veneration.

I am, Sir,

Your most obliged, most obedient, and most humble servant,



_The social position of the English Established Clergy, in 1669, A.D._

[_Angliae Notitia_, or the Present State of England, 1st _Ed_. 1669.]

At present, the revenues of the English Clergy are generally very small
and insufficient: above a third of the best benefices of England, having
been anciently, by the Pope's grant, appropriated to monasteries, were on
their dissolution, made _Lay fees_; besides what hath been taken by secret
and indirect means, through corrupt compositions and compacts and customs
in many other parishes. And also many estates being wholly exempt from
paying tithes, as the lands that belonged to the Cistercian Monks, and to
the Knights Templars and Hospitallers.

And those benefices that are free from these things are yet (besides
First Fruits and Tenths to the King, and Procurations to the Bishop)
taxed towards the charges of their respective parishes, and towards the
public charges of the nation, above and beyond the proportion of the

The Bishoprics of England have been also since the latter of HENRY
VIII.'s reign, to the coming in of King JAMES, most miserably robbed and
spoiled of the greatest part of their lands and revenues. So that, at
this day [1669], a mean gentleman of £200 from land yearly, will not
change his worldly estate and condition with divers Bishops: and an
Attorney, a shopkeeper, a common artisan will hardly change theirs, with
the ordinary Pastors of the Church.

Some few Bishoprics do yet retain a competency. Amongst which, the
Bishopric of Durham is accounted one of the chief: the yearly revenues
whereof, before the late troubles [_i.e., the Civil Wars_] were above
£6,000 [= £25,000 _now_]: of which by the late _Act for abolishing Tenures
in capite_ [1660], was lost about £2,000 yearly.

Out of this revenue, a yearly pension of £800 is paid to the Crown, ever
since the reign of Queen ELIZABETH; who promised, in lieu thereof, so
much in Impropriations: which was never performed.

Above £340 yearly is paid to several officers of the County Palatine of

The Assizes and Sessions, also, are duly kept in the Bishop's House, at
the sole charges of the Bishop.

Also the several expenses for keeping in repair certain banks of rivers
in that Bishopric, and of several Houses belonging to the Bishopric.

Moreover, the yearly Tenths, public taxes, the charges of going to and
waiting at Parliament, being deducted; there will remain, in ordinary
years, to the Bishop to keep hospitality, which must be great, and to
provide for those of his family, but about £1,500 [= £4,500 _now_] yearly.

The like might be said of some other principal Bishoprics.

The great diminution of the revenues of the Clergy, and the little care
of augmenting and defending the patrimony of the Church, is the great
reproach and shame of the English Reformation; and will, one day, prove
the ruin of Church and State.

"It is the last trick," saith St. GREGORY, "that the Devil hath in this
world. When he cannot bring the Word and Sacraments into disgrace by
errors and heresies; he invents this project, to bring the Clergy into
contempt and low esteem."

As it is now in England, where they are accounted by many, the Dross and
Refuse of the nation. Men think it a stain to their blood to place their
sons in that function; and women are ashamed to marry with any of them.

It hath been observed, even by strangers, that the iniquity of the
present Times in England is such, that the English Clergy are not only
hated by the Romanists on the one side, and maligned by the Presbyterians
on the other...; but also that, of all the Christian Clergy of Europe,
whether Romish, Lutheran, or Calvinistic, none are so little _respected,
beloved, obeyed_, or _rewarded_, as the present pious, learned, loyal
Clergy of England; even by those who have always professed themselves of
that Communion.

Enquired into.

_In a_ LETTER _written to_ R.L.

Printed by W. GODBID for N. BROOKE
at the _Angel_ in Cornhill. 1670.

This work is dated August 8, 1670. ANTHONY A. WOOD in his _Life_ (_Ath.
Oxon._ I. lxx. Ed. 1813), gives the following account of our Author.

_February_ 9 [1672] A.W. went to London, and the next day he was kindly
receiv'd by Sir LIOLIN JENKYNS, in his apartment in Exeter house in the
Strand, within the city of Westminster.

Sunday 11 [Feb. 1672], Sir LIOLIN JENKYNS took with him, in the morning,
over the water to Lambeth, A. WOOD, and after prayers, he conducted him
up to the dining rome, where archb. SHELDON received him, and gave him
his blessing. There then dined among the company, JOHN ECHARD, the author
of _The Contempt of the Clergy_, who sate at the lower end of the table
between the archbishop's two chaplaynes SAMUEL PARKER and THOMAS
THOMKINS, being the first time that the said ECHARD was introduced into
the said archbishop's company. After dinner, the archbishop went into his
withdrawing roome, and ECHARD with the chaplaynes and RALPH SNOW to their
lodgings to drink and smoak.

[JOHN EACHARD, S.T.P., was appointed Master of Catherine Hall, Cambridge,
in 1675.]


_I can very easily fancy that many, upon the very first sight of the
title, will presently imagine that the Author does either want the Great
Tithes, lying under the pressure of some pitiful vicarage; or that he is
much out of humour, and dissatisfied with the present condition of
affairs; or, lastly, that he writes to no purpose at all, there having
been an abundance of unprofitable advisers in this kind.

As to my being under some low Church dispensation; you may know, I write
not out of a pinching necessity, or out of any rising design. You may
please to believe that, although I have a most solemn reverence for the
Clergy in general, and especially for that of England; yet, for my own
part, I must confess to you, I am not of that holy employment; and have
as little thought of being Dean or Bishop, as they that think so, have
hopes of being all Lord Keepers.

Nor less mistaken will they be, that shall judge me in the least
discontented, or any ways disposed to disturb the peace of the present
settled Church: for, in good truth, I have neither lost King's, nor
Bishop's lands, that should incline me to a surly and quarrelsome
complaining; as many be, who would have been glad enough to see His
Majesty restored, and would have endured Bishops daintily well, had they
lost no money by their coming in.

I am not, I will assure you, any of those Occasional Writers, that,
missing preferment in the University, can presently write you their new
ways of Education; or being a little tormented with an ill-chosen wife,
set forth the doctrine of Divorce to be truly evangelical.

The cause of these few sheets was honest and innocent, and as free from
all passion as any design.

As for the last thing which I supposed objected_, viz., _that this book
is altogether needless, there having been an infinite number of Church
and Clergy-menders, that have made many tedious and unsuccessful offers:
I must needs confess, that it were very unreasonable for me to expect a
better reward.

Only thus much, I think, with modesty may be said; that I cannot at
present call to mind anything that is propounded but what is very
hopeful, and easily accomplished. For, indeed, should I go about to tell
you, that a child can never prove a profitable Instructor of the people,
unless born when the sun is in_ Aries; _or brought up in a school that
stands full South: that he can never be able to govern a parish, unless
he can ride the great horse; or that he can never go through the great
work of the Ministry, unless for three hundred years backward it can be
proved that none of his family ever had cough, ague, or grey hair; then I
should very patiently endure to be reckoned among the vainest that ever
made attempt.

But believe me, Reader! I am not, as you will easily see, any contriver
of an incorruptible and pure crystaline Church, or any expecter of a
reign of nothing but Saints and Worthies: but only an honest and hearty
Wisher that the best of our Clergy might, for ever, continue as they are,
rich and learned! and that the rest might be very useful and well esteemed
in their Profession!_

Enquired into.


That short discourse which we lately had concerning the Clergy, continues
so fresh in your mind, that, I perceive by your last, you are more than a
little troubled to observe that Disesteem that lies upon several of those
holy men. Your good wishes for the Church, I know, are very strong and
unfeigned; and your hopes of the World receiving much more advantage and
better advice from some of the Clergy, than usually it is found by
experience to do, are neither needless nor impossible.

And as I have always been a devout admirer as well as strict observer of
your actions; so I have constantly taken a great delight to concur with
you in your very thoughts. Whereupon it is, Sir, that I have spent some
few hours upon that which was the occasion of your last letter, and the
subject of our late discourse.

And before, Sir, I enter upon telling you what are my apprehensions; I
must most heartily profess that, for my own part, I did never think,
since at all I understood the excellency and perfection of a Church, but
that Ours, now lately Restored, as formerly Established, does far outgo,
as to all Christian ends and purposes, either the pomp and bravery of
Rome herself, or the best of Free Spiritual States [_Nonconformists_].

But if so be, it be allowable (where we have so undoubtedly learned and
honourable a Clergy) to suppose that some of that sacred profession might
possibly have attained to a greater degree of esteem and usefulness to the
World: then I hope what has thus long hindered so great and desirable a
blessing to the nation, may be modestly guessed at! either without giving
any wilful offence to the present Church; or any great trouble, dear Sir,
to yourself. And, if I be not very much mistaken, whatever has
heretofore, or does at present, lessen the value of our Clergy, or render
it in any degree less serviceable to the World than might be reasonably
hoped; may be easily referred to two very plain things--the IGNORANCE of
some, and the POVERTY of others of the Clergy.

And first, as to _the IGNORANCE of some of our Clergy_.

If we would make a search to purpose, we must go as deep as the very
Beginnings of Education; and, doubtless, may lay a great part of our
misfortunes to the old-fashioned methods and discipline of Schooling
itself: upon the well ordering of which, although much of the improvement
of our Clergy cannot be denied mainly to depend: yet by reason this is so
well known to yourself, as also that there have been many of undoubted
learning and experience, that have set out their several models for this
purpose; I shall therefore only mention such Loss of Time and Abuse of
Youth as is most remarkable and mischievous, and as could not be
conveniently omitted in a Discourse of this nature, though ever so short.

And first of all, it were certainly worth the considering, Whether it be
unavoidably necessary to keep lads to 16 or 17 years of age, _in pure
slavery to a few Latin or Greek words_? or Whether it may not be more
convenient, especially if we call to mind their natural inclinations to
ease and idleness, and how hardly they are persuaded of the excellency of
the liberal Arts and Sciences (any further than the smart of the last
piece of discipline is fresh in their memories), Whether, I say, it be
not more proper and beneficial to mix with those unpleasant tasks and
drudgeries, something that, in probability, might not only take much
better with them, but might also be much easier obtained?

As, suppose some part of time was allotted them, for the reading of some
innocent English Authors! where they need not go, every line, so
unwillingly to a tormenting Dictionary, and whereby they might come in a
short time, to apprehend common sense, and to begin to judge what is
true. For you shall have lads that are arch knaves at the Nominative
Case, and that have a notable quick eye at spying out of the Verb; who,
for want of reading such common and familiar books, shall understand no
more of what is very plain and easy, than a well educated dog or horse.

Or suppose they were taught, as they might much easier be than what is
commonly offered to them, the principles of Arithmetic, Geometry, and
such alluring parts of Learning. As these things undoubtedly would be
much more useful, so much more delightful to them, than to be tormented
with a tedious story how PHAETON broke his neck, or how many nuts and
apples TITYRUS had for his supper.

For, most certainly, youths, if handsomely dealt with, are much
inclinable to emulation, and to a very useful esteem of glory; and more
especially, if it be the reward of knowledge: and therefore, if such
things were carefully and discreetly propounded to them, wherein they
might not only earnestly contend amongst themselves, but might also see
how far they outskill the rest of the World, a lad hereby would think
himself high and mighty; and would certainly take great delight in
contemning the next unlearned mortal he meets withal.

But if, instead hereof, you diet him with nothing but with Rules and
Exceptions, with tiresome repetitions of _Amo_ and [Greek: _Tupto_],
setting a day also apart also to recite _verbatim_ all the burdensome
task of the foregoing week (which I am confident is usually as dreadful
as an old Parliament Fast) we must needs believe that such a one, thus
managed, will scarce think to prove immortal, by such performances and
accomplishments as these.

You know very well, Sir, that lads in general have but a kind of ugly and
odd conception of Learning; and look upon it as such a starving thing, and
unnecessary perfection, especially as it is usually dispensed out unto
them, that Nine-pins or Span-counter are judged much more heavenly
employments! And therefore what pleasure, do we think, can such a one
take in being bound to get against breakfast, two or three hundred
Rumblers out of HOMER, in commendation of ACHILLES's toes, or the
Grecians' boots; or to have measured out to him, very early in the
morning, fifteen or twenty well laid on lashes, for letting a syllable
slip too soon, or hanging too long on it? Doubtless instant execution
upon such grand miscarriages as these, will eternally engage him to a
most admirable opinion of the Muses!

Lads, certainly, ought to be won by all possible arts and devices: and
though many have invented fine pictures and games, to cheat them into the
undertaking of unreasonable burdens; yet this, by no means, is such a
lasting temptation as the propounding of that which in itself is pleasant
and alluring. For we shall find very many, though of no excelling
quickness, will soon perceive the design of the landscape; and so,
looking through the veil, will then begin to take as little delight in
those pretty contrivances, as in getting by heart three or four leaves of
ungayed nonsense.

Neither seems the stratagem of Money to be so prevailing and catching, as
a right down offer of such books which are ingenious and convenient: there
being but very few so intolerably careful of their bellies, as to look
upon the hopes of a cake or a few apples, to be a sufficient recompense,
for cracking their pates with a heap of independent words.

I am not sensible that I have said anything in disparagement of those two
famous tongues, the Greek and Latin; there being much reason to value them
beyond others, because the best of Human Learning has been delivered unto
us in those languages. But he that worships them, purely out of honour to
Rome and Athens, having little or no respect to the usefulness and
excellency of the books themselves, as many do: it is a sign he has a
great esteem and reverence of antiquity; but I think him, by no means
comparable, for happiness, to him who catches frogs or hunts butterflies.

That some languages therefore ought to be studied is in a manner
absolutely necessary: unless all were brought to one; which would be the
happiest thing that the World could wish for!

But whether the beginning of them might not be more insensibly instilled,
and more advantageously obtained by reading philosophical as well as other
ingenious Authors, than _Janua linguarum_, crabbed poems, and
cross-grained prose, as it has been heretofore by others: so it ought to
be afresh considered by all well-wishers, either to the Clergy or

I know where it is the fashion of some schools, to prescribe to a lad,
for his evening refreshment, out of COMMENIUS, all the Terms of Art
[_technical terms_] belonging to Anatomy, Mathematics, or some such piece
of Learning. Now, is it not a very likely thing, that a lad should take
most absolute delight in conquering such a pleasant task; where, perhaps,
he has two or three hundred words to keep in mind, with a very small
proportion of sense thereunto belonging: whereas the use and full meaning
of all those difficult terms would have been most insensibly obtained, by
leisurely reading in particular, this or the other science?

Is it not also likely to be very savoury, and of comfortable use to one
that can scarce distinguish between Virtue and Vice, to be tasked with
high and moral poems? It is usually said by those that are intimately
acquainted with him, that HOMER's _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_ contain,
mystically, all the Moral Law for certain, if not a great part of the
Gospel (I suppose much after that rate that RABELAIS said his _Gargantua_
contained all the Ten Commandments!); but perceivable only to those that
have a poetical discerning spirit: with which gift, I suppose, few at
school are so early qualified.

Those admirable verses, Sir, of yours, both English and others, which you
have sometimes favoured me with a sight of, will not suffer me to be so
sottish as to slight and undervalue so great and noble an accomplishment.
But the committing of such high and brave sensed poems to a schoolboy
(whose main business is to search out cunningly the Antecedent and the
Relative; to lie at catch for a spruce Phrase, a Proverb, or a quaint and
pithy Sentence) is not only to very little purpose, but that having
gargled only those elegant books at school, this serves them instead of
reading them afterwards; and does, in a manner, prevent their being
further looked into. So that all improvement, whatsoever it be, that may
be reaped out of the best and choicest poets, is for the most part
utterly lost, in that a time is usually chosen of reading them, when
discretion is much wanting to gain thence any true advantage. Thus that
admirable and highly useful morality, TULLY's _Offices_, because it is a
book commonly construed at school, is generally afterwards so contemned
by Academics, that it is a long hour's work to convince them that it is
worthy of being looked into again; because they reckon it as a book read
over at school, and, no question! notably digested.

If, therefore the ill methods of schooling do not only occasion a great
loss of time there, but also do beget in lads a very odd opinion and
apprehension of Learning, and much disposes them to be idle when they are
got a little free from the usual severities; and that the hopes of more or
less improvement in the Universities very much depend hereupon: it is,
without all doubt, the great concernment of all that wish to the Church,
that such care and regard be had to the management of schools, that the
Clergy be not so much obstructed in their first attempts and preparations
to Learning.

I cannot, Sir, possibly be so ignorant as not to consider that what has
been now offered upon this argument, has not only been largely insisted
on by others; but also refers not particularly to the Clergy (whose
welfare and esteem, I seem at present in a special manner solicitous
about), but in general to all learned professions, and therefore might
reasonably have been omitted: which certainly I had done, had not I
called to mind that of those many that propound to themselves Learning
for a profession, there is scarce one in ten but that his lot, choice, or
necessity determines him to the study of Divinity.

Thus, Sir, I have given you my thoughts concerning the orders and customs
of common schools. A consideration, in my apprehension, not slightly to be
weighed: being that upon which to me seems very much to depend the
learning and wisdom of the Clergy, and the prosperity of the Church.

The next unhappiness that seems to have hindered some of our Clergy from
arriving to that degree of understanding that becomes such a holy office,
whereby their company and discourses might be much more, than they
commonly are, valued and desired, is the inconsiderate sending of all
kinds of lads to the Universities; let their parts be ever so low and
pitiful, the instructions they have lain under ever so mean and
contemptible, and the purses of their friends ever so short to maintain
them there. If they have but the commendation of some lamentable and
pitiful Construing Master, it passes for sufficient evidence that they
will prove persons very eminent in the Church. That is to say, if a lad
has but a lusty and well bearing memory, this being the usual and almost
only thing whereby they judge of their abilities; if he can sing over
very tunably three or four stanzas of LILLY's Poetry; be very quick and
ready to tell what is Latin for all the instruments belonging to his
father's shop; if presently [_at sight_], upon the first scanning, he
knows a Spondee from a Dactyl, and can fit a few of those same, without
any sense, to his fingers' ends; if, lastly, he can say perfectly by
heart his Academic Catechism, in pure and passing Latin, _i.e._, "What is
his Name?" "Where went he to School?" and "What author is he best and
chiefly skilled in?" "A forward boy!" cries the Schoolmaster: "a very
pregnant child! Ten thousand pities, but he should be a Scholar; he
proves a brave Clergyman, I'll warrant you!"

Away to the University he must needs go! Then for a little Logic, a
little Ethics, and, GOD knows! a very little of everything else! And the
next time you meet him, he is in the pulpit!

Neither ought the mischief which arises from small country schools to
pass unconsidered. The little mighty Governors whereof, having, for the
most part, not sucked in above six or seven mouthsful of University air,
must yet, by all means, suppose themselves so notably furnished with all
sorts of instructions, and are so ambitious of the glory of being counted
able to send forth, now and then, to Oxford or Cambridge, from the little
house by the Churchyard's side, one of their ill-educated disciples, that
to such as these ofttimes is committed the guidance and instruction of a
whole parish: whose parts and improvements duly considered, will scarce
render them fit Governors of a small Grammar Castle.

Not that it is necessary to believe, that there never was a learned or
useful person in the Church, but such whose education had been at
Westminster or St. Paul's. But, whereas most of the small schools, being
by their first founders designed only for the advantage of poor parish
children, and also that the stipend is usually so small and discouraging
that very few who can do much more than teach to write and read, will
accept of such preferment: for these to pretend to rig out their small
ones for a University life, proves ofttimes a very great inconvenience
and damage to the Church.

And as many such Dismal Things are sent forth thus, with very small
tackling; so not a few are predestinated thither by their friends, from
the foresight of a good benefice. If there be rich pasture, profitable
customs, and that HENRY VIII. has taken out no toll, the Holy Land is a
very good land, and affords abundance of milk and honey! Far be it from
their consciences, the considering whether the lad is likely to be
serviceable to the Church, or to make wiser and better any of his

All this may seem, at first sight, to be easily avoided by a strict
examination at the Universities; and so returning by the next carrier,
all that was sent up not fit for their purpose. But because many of their
relations are ofttimes persons of an inferior condition; and who (either
by imprudent counsellors, or else out of a tickling conceit of their sons
being, forsooth, a University Scholar) have purposely omitted all other
opportunities of a livelihood; to return such, would seem a very sharp
and severe disappointment.

Possibly, it might be much better, if parents themselves or their
friends, would be much more wary of determining their children to the
trade of Learning. And if some of undoubted knowledge and judgement,
would offer their advice; and speak their hopes of a lad, about 13 or 14
years of age (which, I will assure you, Sir, may be done without
conjuring!); and never omit to inquire, Whether his relations are able
and willing to maintain him seven years at the University, or see some
certain way of being continued there so long, by the help of friends or
others, as also upon no such conditions as shall, in likelihood, deprive
him of the greatest parts of his studies?

For it is a common fashion of a great many to compliment and invite
inferior people's children to the University, and there pretend to make
such an all bountiful provision for them, as they shall not fail of
coming to a very eminent degree of Learning; but when they come there,
they shall save a servant's wages. They took therefore, heretofore, a
very good method to prevent Sizars overheating their brains. Bed-making,
chamber-sweeping, and water-fetching were doubtless great preservatives
against too much vain philosophy. Now certainly such pretended favours
and kindnesses as these, are the most right down discourtesies in the
World. For it is ten times more happy, both for the lad and the Church,
to be a corn-cutter or tooth-drawer, to make or mend shoes, or to be of
any inferior profession; than to be invited to, and promised the
conveniences of, a learned education; and to have his name only stand
airing upon the College Tables [_Notice-boards_], and his chief business
shall be, to buy eggs and butter.

Neither ought lads' parts, before they be determined to the University,
be only considered, and the likelihood of being disappointed in their
studies; but also abilities or hopes of being maintained until they be
Masters of Arts. For whereas 200, for the most part, yearly Commence
[_Matriculate_], scarce the fifth part of these continue after their
taking the First Degree [_B.A._]. As for the rest, having exactly
learned, _Quid est Logica_? and _Quot sunt Virtutes Morales_? down they
go, by the first carrier, on the top of the pack, into the West, or
North, or elsewhere, according as their estates lie; with BURGESDICIUS,
EUSTACHIUS, and such great helps of Divinity; and then, for propagation
of the Gospel! By that time they can say the _Predicaments_ and _Creed_;
they have their choice of preaching or starving! Now what a Champion of
Truth is such a thing likely to be! What a huge blaze he makes in the
Church! What a Raiser of Doctrines! What a Confounder of Heresies! What
an able Interpreter of hard Places! What a Resolver of Cases of
Conscience! and what a prudent guide must he needs be to all his parish!

You may possibly think, Sir, that this so early preaching might be easily
avoided, by withholding Holy Orders; the Church having very prudently
constituted in her _Canons_, that none under twenty-three years of age,
which is the usual age after seven years being at the University, should
be admitted to that great employment.

This indeed might seem to do some service, were it carefully observed;
and were there not a thing to be got, called a _Dispensation_, which will
presently [_at once_] make you as old as you please.

But if you will, Sir, we will suppose that Orders were strictly denied to
all, unless qualified according to _Canon_, I cannot foresee any other
remedy but that most of those University youngsters must fall to the
parish, and become a town charge until they be of spiritual age. For
Philosophy is a very idle thing, when one is cold! and a small _System of
Divinity_, though it be WOLLEBIUS himself, is not sufficient when one is

What then shall we do with them? and where shall we dispose of them,
until they come to a holy ripeness?

May we venture them into the Desk to read _Service_? That cannot be,
because not capable! Besides, the tempting Pulpit usually stands too
near. Or shall we trust them in some good Gentleman's house, there to
perform holy things? With all my heart! so that they may not be called
down from their studies to say Grace to every Health; that they may have
a little better wages than the Cook or Butler; as also that there be a
Groom in the house, besides the Chaplain (for sometimes to the £10 a
year, they crowd [in] the looking after couple of geldings): and that he
may not be sent from table, picking his teeth, and sighing with his hat
under his arm; whilst the Knight and my Lady eat up the tarts and

It may be also convenient, if he were suffered to speak now and then in
the Parlour, besides at Grace and Prayer time; and that my cousin ABIGAIL
and he sit not too near one another at meals, nor be presented together to
the little vicarage!

All this, Sir, must be thought on! For, in good earnest, a person at all
thoughtful of himself and conscience, had much better choose to live with
nothing but beans and pease pottage, so that he might have the command of
his thoughts and time; than to have his Second and Third Courses, and to
obey the unreasonable humours of some families.

And as some think two or three years' continuance in the University, to
be time sufficient for being very great Instruments in the Church: so
others we have, so moderate as to count that a solemn admission and a
formal paying of College Detriments, without the trouble of Philosophical
discourses, disputations, and the like, are virtues that will influence as
far as Newcastle, and improve though at ever such a distance.

So strangely possessed are people in general, with the easiness and small
preparation that are requisite to the undertaking of the Ministry, that
whereas in other professions, they plainly see, what considerable time is
spent before they have any hopes of arriving to skill enough to practise
with any confidence what they have designed; yet to preach to ordinary
people, and govern a country parish, is usually judged such an easy
performance, that anybody counts himself fit for the employment. We find
very few so unreasonably confident of their parts, as to profess either
Law or Physic, without either a considerable continuance in some of the
Inns of Courts, or an industrious search in herbs, Anatomy, Chemistry,
and the like, unless it be only to make a bond [_bandage_] or give a
glyster [_an injection_]. But as for "the knack of Preaching" as they
call it, that is such a very easy attainment, that he is counted dull to
purpose, that is not able, at a very small warning, to fasten upon any
text of Scripture, and to tear and tumble it, till the glass [_the
hourglass on the pulpit_] be out.

Many, I know very well, are forced to discontinue [_at College_], having
neither stock [_capital_] of their own, nor friends to maintain them in
the University. But whereas a man's profession and employment in this
world is very much in his own, or in the choice of such who are most
nearly concerned for him; he therefore, that foresees that he is not
likely to have the advantage of a continued education, he had much better
commit himself to an approved-of cobbler or tinker, wherein he may be duly
respected according to his office and condition of life; than to be only a
disesteemed pettifogger or empiric in Divinity.

By this time, Sir, I hope you begin to consider what a great disadvantage
it has been to the Church and Religion, the mere venturous and
inconsiderate determining of Youths to the profession of Learning.

There is still one thing, by very few, at all minded, that ought also not
to be overlooked: and that is, a good constitution and health of body. And
therefore discreet and wise physicians ought also to be consulted, before
an absolute resolve be made to live the Life of the Learned. For he that
has strength enough to buy and bargain, may be of a very unfit habit of
body to sit still so much, as, in general, is requisite to a competent
degree of Learning. For although reading and thinking break neither legs
nor arms; yet, certainly, there is nothing that flags the spirits,
disorders the blood, and enfeebles the whole body of Man, as intense

As for him that rives blocks or carries packs, there is no great expense
of parts, no anxiety of mind, no great intellectual pensiveness. Let him
but wipe his forehead, and he is perfectly recovered! But he that has
many languages to remember, the nature of almost the whole world to
consult, many histories, Fathers, and Councils to search into; if the
fabric of his body be not strong and healthful, you will soon find him as
thin as a piece of metaphysics, and look as piercing as a School subtilty.

This, Sir, could not be conveniently omitted; not only because many are
very careless in this point, and, at a venture, determine their young
relations to Learning: but because, for the most part, if, amongst many,
there be but one of all the family that is weak and sickly, that is
languishing and consumptive; this, of all the rest, as counted not fit
for any coarse employment, shall be picked out as a Choice Vessel for the
Church! Whereas, most evidently, he is much more able to dig daily in the
mines, than to set cross-legged, musing upon his book.

I am very sensible, how obvious it might be, here, to hint that this so
curious and severe Inquiry would much hinder the practice, and abate the
flourishing of the Universities: as also, there have been several, and
are still, many Living Creatures in the world, who, whilst young, being
of a very slow and meek apprehension, have yet afterward cheered up into
a great briskness, and become masters of much reason. And others there
have been, who, although forced to a short continuance in the University,
and that ofttimes interrupted by unavoidable services, have yet, by
singular care and industry, proved very famous in their generation. And
lastly, some also, of very feeble and crazy constitutions in their
childhood, have out-studied their distempers, and have become very
healthful and serviceable in the Church.

As for the flourishing, Sir, of the Universities--what has been before
said, aims not in the least at Gentlemen, whose coming thither is chiefly
for the hopes of single [_personal_] improvement; and whose estates do
free them from the necessity of making a gain of Arts and Sciences: but
only at such as intend to make Learning their profession, as well as
[their] accomplishment. So that our Schools may be still as full of
flourishings, of fine clothes, rich gowns, and future benefactors, as

And suppose we do imagine, as it is necessary we should, that the number
should be a little lessened; this surely will not abate the true
splendour of a University in any man's opinion, but his who reckons the
flourishing thereof, rather from the multitude of mere gowns than from
the Ingenuity and Learning of those that wear them: no more than we have
reason to count the flourishing of the Church from that vast number of
people that crowd into Holy Orders, rather than from those learned and
useful persons that defend her Truths, and manifest her Ways.

But I say, I do not see any perfect necessity that our Schools should
hereupon be thinned and less frequented: having said nothing against the
Multitude, but the _indiscreet choice_. If therefore, instead of such,
either of inferior parts or a feeble constitution, or of unable friends;
there were picked out those that were of a tolerable ingenuity [_natural
capacity_], of a study-bearing body, and had good hopes of being
continued; as hence there is nothing to hinder our Universities from
being full, so likewise from being of great credit and learning.

Not to deny, then, but that, now and then, there has been a lad of very
submissive parts, and perhaps no great share of time allowed him for his
studies, who has proved, beyond all expectation, brave and glorious: yet,
surely, we are not to over-reckon this so rare a hit, as to think that one
such proving lad should make recompense and satisfaction for those many
"weak ones," as the common people love to phrase them, that are in the
Church. And that no care ought to be taken, no choice made, no
maintenance provided or considered; because (now and then in an Age) one,
miraculously, beyond all hopes, proves learned and useful; is a practice,
whereby never greater mischiefs and disesteem have been brought upon the

I have, in short, Sir, run over what seemed to me, the First Occasions of
that Small Learning that is to be found amongst some of the Clergy. I
shall now pass from Schooling to the Universities.

I am not so unmindful of that devotion which I owe to those places, nor
of that great esteem I profess to have of the Guides and Governors
thereof, as to go about to prescribe new Forms and Schemes of Education;
where Wisdom has laid her top-stone. Neither shall I here examine which
Philosophy, the Old or New, makes the best sermons. It is hard to say,
that exhortations can be to _no_ purpose, if the preacher believes that
the earth turns round! or that his reproofs can take _no_ effect, unless
he will suppose a vacuum! There have been good sermons, no question! made
in the days of _Materia Prima_ and Occult Qualities: and there are,
doubtless, still good discourses now, under the reign of Atoms.

There are but two things, wherein I count the Clergy chiefly concerned,
as to University Improvements, that, at present, I shall make Inquiry

And the first is this: Whether or not it were not highly useful,
especially for the Clergy who are supposed to speak English to the
people, that _English Exercises were imposed upon lads_, if not in Public
Schools, yet at least privately. Not but that I am abundantly satisfied
that Latin (O Latin! it is the all in all! and the very cream of the
jest!); as also, that Oratory is the same in all languages, the same
rules being observed, the same method, the same arguments and arts of
persuasion: but yet, it seems somewhat beyond the reach of ordinary youth
so to apprehend those general Laws as to make a just and allowable use of
them in all languages, unless exercised particularly in them.

Now we know the language that the very learned part of this nation must
trust to live by, unless It be to make a bond [_bandage_] or prescribe a
purge (which possibly may not oblige or work so well in any other
language as Latin) is the English: and after a lad has taken his leave of
Madame University, GOD bless him! he is not likely to deal afterwards with
much Latin; unless it be to checker [_variegate_] a sermon, or to say
_Salveto_! to some travelling _Dominatio vestra_. Neither is it enough to
say, that the English is the language with which we are swaddled and
rocked asleep; and therefore there needs none of this artificial and
superadded care. For there be those that speak very well, plainly, and to
the purpose; and yet write most pernicious and fantastical stuff: thinking
that whatsoever is written must be more than ordinary, must be beyond the
guise [_manner_] of common speech, must savour of reading and Learning,
though it be altogether needless, and perfectly ridiculous.

Neither ought we to suppose it sufficient that English books be
frequently read, because there be of all sorts, good and bad; and the
worst are likely to be admired by Youth more than the best: unless
Exercises be required of lads; whereby it may be guessed what their
judgement is, where they be mistaken, and what authors they propound to
themselves for imitation. For by this means, they may be corrected and
advised early, according as occasion shall require: which, if not done,
their ill style will be so confirmed, their improprieties of speech will
become so natural, that it will be a very hard matter to stir or alter
their fashion of writing.

It is very curious to observe what delicate letters, your young students
write! after they have got a little smack of University learning. In what
elaborate heights, and tossing nonsense, will they greet a right down
English father, or country friend! If there be a plain word in it, and
such as is used at home, this "tastes not," say they, "of education among
philosophers!" and is counted damnable duncery and want of fancy. Because
"Your loving friend" or "humble servant" is a common phrase in country
letters; therefore the young Epistler is "Yours, to the Antipodes!" or at
least "to the Centre of the earth!": and because ordinary folks "love" and
"respect" you; therefore you are to him, "a Pole Star!" "a Jacob's Staff!"
"a Loadstone!" and "a damask Rose!"

And the misery of it is, that this pernicious accustomed way of
expression does not only, ofttimes, go along with them to their benefice,
but accompanies them to the very grave.

And, for the most part, an ordinary cheesemonger or plum-seller, that
scarce[ly] ever heard of a University, shall write much better sense, and
more to the purpose than these young philosophers, who injudiciously
hunting only for great words, make themselves learnedly ridiculous.

Neither can it be easily apprehended, how the use of English Exercises
should any ways hinder the improvement in the Latin tongue; but rather be
much to its advantage: and this may be easily believed, considering what
dainty stuff is usually produced for a Latin entertainment! Chicken broth
is not thinner than that which is commonly offered for a Piece of most
pleading and convincing Sense!

For, I will but suppose an Academic youngster to be put upon a Latin
Oration. Away he goes presently to his magazine of collected phrases! He
picks out all the Glitterings he can find. He hauls in all Proverbs,
"Flowers," Poetical snaps [_snatches_], Tales out of the _Dictionary_, or
else ready Latined to his hand, out of LYCOSTHENES.

This done, he comes to the end of the table, and having made a submissive
leg [_made a submissive bow_] and a little admired [_gazed at_] the
number, and understanding countenances of his auditors: let the subject
be what it will, he falls presently into a most lamentable complaint of
his insufficiency and tenuity [_slenderness_] that he, poor thing! "hath
no acquaintance with above a Muse and a half!" and "that he never drank
above six quarts of Helicon!" and you "have put him here upon such a
task" (perhaps the business is only, Which is the nobler creature, a Flea
or a Louse?) "that would much better fit some old soaker at Parnassus,
than his sipping unexperienced bibbership." Alas, poor child! he is
"sorry, at the very soul! that he has no better speech! and wonders in
his heart, that you will lose so much time as to hear him! for he has
neither squibs nor fireworks, stars nor glories! The cursed carrier lost
his best Book of Phrases; and the malicious mice and rats eat up all his
_Pearls_ and _Golden Sentences_."

Then he tickles over, a little, the skirts of the business. By and by,
for similitude from the Sun and Moon, or if they be not at leisure, from
"the grey-eyed Morn," or "a shady grove," or "a purling stream."

This done, he tells you that "_Barnaby Bright_ would be much too short,
for him to tell you all that he could say": and so, "fearing he should
break the thread of your patience," he concludes.

Now it seems, Sir, very probable, that if lads did but first of all,
determine in English what they intended to say in Latin; they would, of
themselves, soon discern the triflingness of such Apologies, the
pitifulness of their Matter, and the impertinency of their Tales and
Fancies: and would (according to their subject, age, and parts) offer
that which would be much more manly, and towards tolerable sense.

And if I may tell you, Sir, what I really think, most of that
ridiculousness, of those phantastical phrases, harsh and sometimes
blasphemous metaphors, abundantly foppish similitudes, childish and empty
transitions, and the like, so commonly uttered out of pulpits, and so
fatally redounding to the discredit of the Clergy, may, in a great
measure, be charged upon the want of that, which we have here so much
contended for.

The second Inquiry that may be made is this: _Whether or not Punning,
Quibbling, and that which they call Joquing_ [joking], _and such
delicacies of Wit_, highly admired in some Academic Exercises, _might not
be very conveniently omitted_?

For one may desire but to know this one thing: In what Profession shall
that sort of Wit prove of advantage? As for Law, where nothing but the
most reaching subtility and the closest arguing is allowed of; it is not
to be imagined that blending now and then a piece of a dry verse, and
wreathing here and there an odd Latin Saying into a dismal jingle, should
give Title to an estate, or clear out an obscure evidence! And as little
serviceable can it be to Physic, which is made up of severe Reason and
well tried Experiments!

And as for Divinity, in this place I shall say no more, but that those
usually that have been Rope Dancers in the Schools, ofttimes prove Jack
Puddings in the Pulpit.

For he that in his youth has allowed himself this liberty of Academic
Wit; by this means he has usually so thinned his judgement, becomes so
prejudiced against sober sense, and so altogether disposed to trifling
and jingling; that, so soon as he gets hold of a text, he presently
thinks he has catched one of his old School Questions; and so falls a
flinging it out of one hand into another! tossing it this way, and that!
lets it run a little upon the line, then "_tanutus_! high jingo! come
again!" here catching at a word! there lie nibbling and sucking at an
_and_, a _by_, a _quis_ or a _quid_, a _sic_ or a _sicut_! and thus
minces the Text so small that his parishioners, until he _rendezvous_
[_reassemble_] it again, can scarce tell, what is become of it.

But "Shall we debar Youth of such an innocent and harmless recreation, of
such a great quickener of Parts and promoter of sagacity?"

As for the first, its innocency of being allowed of for a time; I am so
far from that persuasion that, from what has been before hinted, I count
it perfectly contagious! and as a thing that, for the most part, infects
the whole life, and influences most actions! For he that finds himself to
have the right knack of letting off a joque, and of pleasing the Humsters;
he is not only very hardly brought off from admiring those goodly
applauses, and heavenly shouts; but it is ten to one! if he directs not
the whole bent of his studies to such idle and contemptible books as
shall only furnish him with materials for a laugh; and so neglects all
that should inform his Judgement and Reason, and make him a man of sense
and reputation in this world.

And as for the pretence of making people sagacious, and pestilently
witty; I shall only desire that the nature of that kind of Wit may be
considered! which will be found to depend upon some such fooleries as

    As, first of all, the lucky ambiguity of some word or sentence.
    O, what a happiness is it! and how much does a youngster count
    himself beholden to the stars! that should help him to such a
    taking jest! And whereas there be so many thousand words in the
    World, and that he should luck upon the right one! that was so
    very much to his purpose, and that at the explosion, made such a
    goodly report!

    Or else they rake LILLY's _Grammar_; and if they can but find two
    or three letters of any name in any of the _Rules_ or _Examples_
    of that good man's Works; it is as very a piece of Wit as any has
    passed in the Town since the King came in [1660]!

    O, how the Freshmen will skip, to hear one of those lines well
    laughed at, that they have been so often yerked [_chided_] for!

It is true, such things as these go for Wit so long as they continue in
Latin; but what dismally shrimped things would they appear, if turned
into English! And if we search into what was, or might be pretended; we
shall find the advantages of Latin-Wit to be very small and slender, when
it comes into the World. I mean not only among strict Philosophers and Men
of mere Notions, or amongst all-damning and illiterate HECTORS; but
amongst those that are truly ingenious and judicious Masters of Fancy. We
shall find that a quotation out of _Qui mihi_, an Axiom out of Logic, a
Saying of a Philosopher, or the like, though managed with some quickness
and applied with some seeming ingenuity, will not, in our days, pass, or
be accepted, for Wit.

For we must know that, as we are now in an Age of great Philosophers and
Men of Reason, so of great quickness and fancy! and that Greek and Latin,
which heretofore (though never so impertinently fetched in) was counted
admirable, because it had a learned twang; yet, now, such stuff, being
out of fashion, is esteemed but very bad company!

For the World is now, especially in discourse, for One Language! and he
that has somewhat in his mind of Greek and Latin, is requested,
now-a-days, "to be civil, and translate it into English, for the benefit
of the company!" And he that has made it his whole business to accomplish
himself for the applause of boys, schoolmasters, and the easiest of
Country Divines; and has been shouldered out of the Cockpit for his Wit:
when he comes into the World, is the most likely person to be kicked out
of the company, for his pedantry and overweening opinion of himself.

And, were it necessary, it is an easy matter to appeal to Wits, both
ancient and modern, that (beyond all controversy) have been sufficiently
approved of, that never, I am confident! received their improvements by
employing their time in Puns and Quibbles. There is the prodigious
LUCIAN, the great Don [_QUIXOTE_] of Mancha; and there are many now
living, Wits of our own, who never, certainly, were at all inspired from
a _Tripus_'s, _Terras-filius_'s, or _Praevarecator_'s speech.

I have ventured, Sir, thus far, not to find fault with; but only to
inquire into an ancient custom or two of the Universities; wherein the
Clergy seem to be a little concerned, as to their education there.

I shall now look on them as beneficed, and consider their preaching.
Wherein I pretend to give no rules, having neither any gift at it, nor
authority to do it: but only shall make some conjectures at those useless
and ridiculous things commonly uttered in pulpits, that are generally
disgusted [_disliked_], and are very apt to bring contempt upon the
preacher, and that religion which he professes.

Amongst the first things that seem to be useless, may be reckoned _the
high tossing and swaggering preaching_, either mountingly eloquent, or
profoundly learned. For there be a sort of Divines, who, if they but
happen of an unlucky hard word all the week, they think themselves not
careful of their flock, if they lay it not up till Sunday, and bestow it
amongst them, in their next preachment. Or if they light upon some
difficult and obscure notion, which their curiosity inclines them to be
better acquainted with, how useless soever! nothing so frequent as for
them, for a month or two months together, to tear and tumble this
doctrine! and the poor people, once a week, shall come and gaze upon them
by the hour, until they preach themselves, as they think, into a right

Those that are inclinable to make these useless speeches to the people;
they do it, for the most part, upon one of these two considerations.
Either out of simple phantastic glory, and a great studiousness of being
wondered at; as if getting into the pulpit were a kind of Staging
[_acting_]; where nothing was to be considered but how much the sermon
takes! and how much stared at! Or else, they do this to gain a respect
and reverence from their people: "who," say they, "are to be puzzled now
and then, and carried into the clouds! For if the Minister's words be
such as the Constable uses; his matter plain and practical, such as comes
to the common market; he may pass possibly for an honest and well-meaning
man, but by no means for any scholar! Whereas if he springs forth, now
and then, in high raptures towards the uppermost heavens; dashing, here
and there, an all-confounding word! if he soars aloft in unintelligible
huffs! preaches points deep and mystical, and delivers them as darkly and
phantastically! this is the way," say they, "of being accounted a most
able and learned Instructor."

Others there be, whose parts stand not so much towards Tall Words and
Lofty Notions, but consist in scattering up and down and besprinkling all
their sermons with plenty of Greek and Latin. And because St. PAUL, once
or so, was pleased to make use of a little heathen Greek; and that only,
when he had occasion to discourse with some of the learned ones that well
understood him: therefore must they needs bring in twenty Poets and
Philosophers, if they can catch them, into an hour's talk [_evidently the
ordinary length of a sermon at this time, see_ pp. 259, 313]; spreading
themselves in abundance of Greek and Latin, to a company, perhaps, of
farmers and shepherds.

Neither will they rest there, but have at the Hebrew also! not contenting
themselves to tell the people in general, that they "have skill in the
Text, and the exposition they offer, agrees with the Original"; but must
swagger also over the poor parishioners, with the dreadful Hebrew itself!
with their BEN-ISRAELS! BEN-MANASSES! and many more BENS that they are
intimately acquainted with! whereas there is nothing in the church, or
near it by a mile, that understands them, but GOD Almighty! whom, it is
supposed, they go not about to inform or satisfy.

This learned way of talking, though, for the most part, it is done merely
out of ostentation: yet, sometimes (which makes not the case much better),
it is done in compliment and civility to the all-wise Patron, or
all-understanding Justice of the Peace in the parish; who, by the common
farmers of the town, must be thought to understand the most intricate
notions, and the most difficult languages.

Now, what an admirable thing this is! Suppose there should be one or so,
in the whole church, that understands somewhat besides English: shall I
not think that he understands that better? Must I (out of courtship to
his Worship and Understanding; and because, perhaps, I am to dine with
him) prate abundance of such stuff, which, I must needs know, nobody
understands, or that will be the better for it but himself, and perhaps
scarcely he?

This, I say, because I certainly know several of that disposition: who,
if they chance to have a man of any learning or understanding more than
the rest in the parish, preach wholly at him! and level most of their
discourses at his supposed capacity; and the rest of the good people
shall have only a handsome gaze or view of the parson! As if plain words,
useful and intelligible instructions were not as good for an Esquire, or
one that is in Commission from the King, as for him that holds the plough
or mends hedges.

Certainly he that considers the design of his Office, and has a
conscience answerable to that holy undertaking, must needs conceive
himself engaged, not only to mind this or that accomplished or
well-dressed person, but must have a universal care and regard of all his
parish. And as he must think himself bound, not only to visit down beds
and silken curtains, but also flocks and straw [_mattresses_], if there
be need: so ought his care to be as large to instruct the poor, the weak,
and despicable part of his parish, as those that sit in the best pews. He
that does otherwise, thinks not at all of a man's soul: but only
accommodates himself to fine clothes, an abundance of ribbons, and the
highest seat in the church; not thinking that it will be as much to his
reward in the next worlds by sober advice, care, and instruction, to have
saved one that takes collection [_alms_] as him that is able to relieve
half the town. It is very plain that neither our Saviour, when he was
upon earth and taught the World, made any such distinction in his
discourses. What is more intelligible to all mankind than his _Sermon
upon the Mount_! Neither did the Apostles think of any such way. I
wonder, whom they take for a pattern!

I will suppose once again, that the design of these persons is to gain
glory: and I shall ask them, Can there be any greater in the world, than
doing general good? To omit future reward, Was it not always esteemed of
old, that correcting evil practices, reducing people that lived amiss,
was much better than making a high rant about a shuttlecock, and talking
_tara-tantara_ about a feather? Or if they would be only admired, then
would I gladly have them consider, What a thin and delicate kind of
admiration is likely to be produced, by that which is not at all
understood? Certainly, that man has a design of building up to himself
real fame in good earnest, by things well laid and spoken: his way to
effect it is not by talking staringly, and casting a mist before the
people's eyes; but by offering such things by which he may be esteemed,
with knowledge and understanding.

Thus far concerning Hard Words, High Notions, and Unprofitable Quotations
out of learned languages.

I shall now consider such things _as are ridiculous_, that serve for
chimney and market talk, after the sermon be done; and that do cause,
more immediately, the preacher to be scorned and undervalued.

I have no reason, Sir, to go about to determine what style or method is
best for the improvement and advantage of _all_ people. For, I question
not but there have been as many several sorts of Preachers as Orators;
and though very different, yet useful and commendable in their kind.
TULLY takes very deservedly with many, SENECA with others, and CATO, no
question! said things wisely and well. So, doubtless, the same place of
Scripture may by several, be variously considered: and although their
method and style be altogether different, yet they may all speak things
very convenient for the people to know and be advised of. But yet,
certainly, what is most undoubtedly useless and empty, or what is judged
absolutely ridiculous, not by this or that curious or squeamish auditor,
but by every man in the Corporation that understands but plain English
and common sense, ought to be avoided. For all people are naturally born
with such a judgement of true and allowable Rhetoric, that is, of what is
decorous and convenient to be spoken, that whatever is grossly otherwise
is usually ungrateful, not only to the wise and skilful part of the
congregation, but shall seem also ridiculous to the very unlearned
tradesmen [_mechanics_] and their young apprentices. Amongst which, may
be chiefly reckoned these following, _harsh Metaphors, childish
Similitudes_, and _ill-applied Tales_.

The first main thing, I say, that makes many sermons so ridicuous, and
the preachers of them so much disparaged and undervalued, is _an
inconsiderate use of frightful Metaphors_: which making such a remarkable
impression upon the ears, and leaving such a jarring twang behind them,
are oftentimes remembered to the discredit of the Minister as long as he
continues in the parish.

I have heard the very children in the streets, and the little boys close
about the fire, refresh themselves strangely but with the repetition of a
few of such far-fetched and odd sounding expressions. TULLY, therefore,
and CAESAR, the two greatest masters of Roman eloquence, were very wary
and sparing of that sort of Rhetoric. We may read many a page in their
works before we meet with any of those bears; and if you do light upon
one or so, it shall not make your hair stand right up! or put you into a
fit of convulsions! but it shall be so soft, significant, and familiar,
as if it were made for the very purpose.

But as for the common sort of people that are addicted to this sort of
expression in their discourses; away presently to both the Indies! rake
heaven and earth! down to the bottom of the sea! then tumble over all
Arts and Sciences! ransack all shops and warehouses! spare neither camp
nor city, but that they will have them! So fond are such deceived ones of
these same gay words, that they count all discourses empty, dull, and
cloudy; unless bespangled with these glitterings. Nay, so injudicious and
impudent together will they sometimes be, that the Almighty Himself is
often in danger of being dishonoured by these indiscreet and horrid
Metaphor-mongers. And when they thus blaspheme the God of Heaven by such
unhallowed expressions; to make amends, they will put you in an "As it
were" forsooth! or "As I may so say," that is, they will make bold to
speak what they please concerning GOD Himself, rather than omit what they
judge, though never so falsely, to be witty. And then they come in
hobbling with their lame submission, and with their "reverence be it
spoken": as if it were not much better to leave out what they foresee is
likely to be interpreted for blasphemy, or at least great extravagancy;
than to utter that, for which their own reason and conscience tell them,
they are bound to lay in beforehand an excuse.

To which may be further subjoined, that Metaphors, though very apt and
allowable, are intelligible but to some sorts of men, of this or that
kind of life, of this or that profession.

For example, perhaps one Gentleman's metaphorical knack of preaching
comes of the sea; and then we shall hear of nothing but "starboard" and
"larboard," of "stems," "sterns," and "forecastles," and such salt-water
language: so that one had need take a voyage to Smyrna or Aleppo, and
very warily attend to all the sailors' terms, before I shall in the least
understand my teacher. Now, though such a sermon may possibly do some good
in a coast town; yet upward into the country, in an inland parish, it will
do no more than Syriac or Arabic.

Another, he falls a fighting with his text, and makes a pitched battle of
it, dividing it into the Right Wing and Left Wing; then he _rears_ it!
_flanks_ it! _intrenches_ it! _storms_ it! and then he _musters_ all
again! to see what word was lost or lamed in the skirmish: and so falling
on again, with fresh valour, he fights backward and forward! charges
through and through! routs! kills! takes! and then, "Gentlemen! as you
were!" Now to such of his parish as have been in the late wars, this is
not very formidable; for they do but suppose themselves at Edgehill or
Naseby, and they are not much scared at his doctrine: but as for others,
who have not had such fighting opportunities, it is very lamentable to
consider how shivering they sit without understanding, till the battle be

Like instance might be easily given of many more discourses, the
metaphorical phrasing whereof, depending upon peculiar arts, customs,
trades, and professions, makes them useful and intelligible only to such,
who have been very well busied in such like employments.

Another thing, Sir, that brings great disrespect and mischief upon the
Clergy, and that differs not much from what went immediately before, is
their _packing their sermons so full of Similitudes_; which, all the
World knows, carry with them but very small force of argument, unless
there be _an exact agreement with that which is compared_, of which there
is very seldom any sufficient care taken.

Besides, those that are addicted to this slender way of discourse, for
the most part, do so weaken and enfeeble their judgement, by contenting
themselves to understand by colours, features, and glimpses; that they
perfectly omit all the more profitable searching into the nature and
causes of things themselves. By which means, it necessarily comes to
pass, that what they undertake to prove and clear out to the
Congregation, must needs be so faintly done, and with such little force
of argument, that the conviction or persuasion will last no longer in the
parishioners' minds, than the warmth of those similitudes shall glow in
their fancy. So that he that has either been instructed in some part of
his duty, or excited to the performance of the same, not by any judicious
dependence of things, and lasting reason; but by such faint and toyish
evidence: his understanding, upon all occasions, will be as apt to be
misled as ever, and his affections as troublesome and ungovernable.

But they are not so Unserviceable, as, usually, they are Ridiculous. For
people of the weakest parts are most commonly overborn with these
fooleries; which, together with the great difficulty of their being
prudently managed, must needs occasion them, for the most part, to be
very trifling and childish.

Especially, if we consider the choiceness of the authors out of which
they are furnished. There is the never-to-be-commended-enough
LYCOSTHENES. There is also the admirable piece [by FRANCIS MERES] called
the _Second Part of Wits Commonwealth_ [1598]: I pray mind it! it is the
_Second Part_, and not the _First_! And there is, besides, a book wholly
consisting of Similitudes [? JOHN SPENCER's _Things New and Old, or a
Storehouse of Similies, Sentences, Allegories, &c._, 1658] applied and
ready fitted to most preaching subjects, for the help of young beginners,
who sometimes will not make them hit handsomely.

It is very well known that such as are possessed with an admiration of
such eloquence, think that they are very much encouraged in their way by
the Scripture itself. "For," say they, "did not our blessed Saviour
himself use many metaphors and many parables? and did not his disciples,
following his so excellent an example, do the like? And is not this, not
only warrant enough, but near upon a command to us so to do?"

If you please, therefore, we will see what our Saviour does in this case.
In _St. Matthew_ he tells his disciples, that "they are the salt of the
earth," that "they are the light of the world," that "they are a city set
on a hill." Furthermore, he tells his Apostles, that "he sends them forth
as sheep in the midst of wolves;" and bids them therefore "be as wise as
serpents, and harmless as doves." Now, are not all these things plain and
familiar, even almost to children themselves, that can but taste and see;
and to men of the lowest education and meanest capacities!

I shall not here insist upon those special and admirable reasons for
which our Saviour made use of so many parables. Only thus much is needful
to be said, namely, that they are very much mistaken, that, from hence,
think themselves tolerated to turn all the world into frivolous and
abominable similitudes.

As for our Saviour, when he spoke a parable, he was pleased to go no
further than the fields, the seashore, a garden, a vineyard, or the like;
which are things, without the knowledge whereof, scarcely any man can be
supposed to live in this world.

But as for our Metaphorical- and Similitude-Men of the Pulpit, these
things to them, are too still and languid! they do not rattle and rumble!
These lie too near home, and within vulgar ken! There is little on this
side the moon that will content them! Up, presently, to the _Primum
Mobile_, and the Trepidation of the Firmament! Dive into the bowels and
hid treasures of the earth! Despatch forthwith, for Peru and Jamaica! A
town bred or country bred similitude is worth nothing!

    "It is reported of a tree growing upon the bank of Euphrates, the
    great river Euphrates! that it brings forth an Apple, to the eye
    very fair and tempting; but inwardly it is filled with nothing
    but useless and deceiving dust. Even so, dust we are; and to dust
    we must all go!"

Now, what a lucky discovery was this, that a man's Body should be so
exactly like an Apple! And, I will assure you that this was not thought
on, till within these few years!

And I am afraid, too, he had a kind of a hint of this, from another who
had formerly found out that a man's

    Soul was like an Oyster. For, says he in his prayer, "Our souls
    are constantly gaping after thee, O LORD! yea, verily, our souls
    do gape, even as an oyster gapeth!"

It seems pretty hard, at first sight, to bring into a sermon all the
Circles of the Globe and all the frightful terms of Astronomy; but I will
assure you, Sir, it is to be done! because it has been. But not by every
bungler and ordinary text-divider; but by a man of great cunning and

    There is a place in the prophet _Malachi_, where it will do very
    nicely, and that is chapter iv. ver. 2, "But unto you, that fear
    my Name, shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his
    wings." From which words, in the first place, it plainly appears
    that our Saviour passed through all the twelve signs of the
    Zodiac; and more than that too, all proved by very apt and
    familiar places of Scripture.

    First, then, our Saviour was in _Aries_. Or else, what means that
    of the Psalmist, "The mountains skipped like rams, and the little
    hills like lambs!"? And again, that in Second of the _Kings_,
    chap. iii. ver. 4, "And MESHA, King of Moab, was a sheep master,
    and rendered unto the King of Israel an hundred thousand lambs,"
    and what follows, "and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool!"
    Mind it! it was the King of Israel!

    In like manner, was he in _Taurus. Psalm_ xxii. 12. "Many bulls
    have compassed me! Strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round!"
    They were not ordinary bulls. They were _compassing_ bulls! they
    were _besetting_ bulls! they were _strong Bashan_ bulls!

    What need I speak of _Gemini_? Surely you cannot but remember
    ESAU and JACOB! _Genesis_ xxv. 24. "And when her days to be
    delivered were fulfilled, behold there were Twins in her womb!"

    Or of _Cancer_? when, as the Psalmist says so plainly, "What
    ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan! that
    thou wast driven back?" Nothing more plain!

    It were as easy to shew the like in all the rest of the Signs.

    But instead of that, I shall rather choose to make this one
    practical Observation. That the mercy of GOD to mankind in
    sending His Son into the world, was a very _signal_ mercy. It was
    a _zodiacal_ mercy! I say it was truly zodiacal; for CHRIST keeps
    within the Tropics! He goes not out of the Pale of the Church;
    but yet he is not always at the same distance from a believer.
    Sometimes he withdraws himself into the _apogaeum_ of doubt,
    sorrow, and despair; but then he comes again into the _perigaeum_
    of joy, content, and assurance; but as for heathens and
    unbelievers, they are all arctic and antarctic reprobates!

Now when such stuff as this, as sometimes it is, is vented in a poor
parish, where people can scarce tell, what day of the month it is by the
Almanack? how seasonable and savoury it is likely to be!

It seems also not very easy for a man in his sermon to learn [_teach_]
his parishioners how to dissolve gold, of what, and how the stuff is
made. Now, to ring the bells and call the people on purpose together,
would be but a blunt business; but to do it neatly, and when nobody
looked for it, that is the rarity and art of it!

Suppose, then, that he takes for his text that of _St. Matthew_,

    "Repent ye, for the Kingdom of GOD is at hand." Now, tell me,
    Sir, do you not perceive the gold to be in a dismal fear! to curl
    and quiver at the first reading of these words! It must come in
    thus, "The blots and blurs of our sins must be taken out by the
    _aqua-fortis_ of our tears; to which _aqua-fortis_, if you put a
    fifth part of _sal-ammoniac_, and set them in a gentle heat, it
    makes _aqua-regia_ which dissolves gold."

And now it is out! Wonderful are the things that are to be done by the
help of metaphors and similitudes! And I will undertake that, with a
little more pains and considerations, out of the very same words, he
could have taught the people how to make custards, or marmalade, or to
stew prunes!

But, pray, why "the _aqua-fortis_ of tears?" For if it so falls out that
there should chance to be neither Apothecary, nor Druggist at church,
there is an excellent jest wholly lost!

Now had he been so considerate as to have laid his wit in some more
common and intelligible material; for example, had he said the "blots of
sin" will be easily taken out "by the soap of sorrow, and the
fullers-earth of contrition," then possibly the Parson and the parish
might all have admired one another. For there be many a good-wife that
understands very well all the intrigues of pepper, salt, and vinegar, who
knows not anything of the all-powerfulness of _aqua-fortis_, how that it
is such a spot-removing liquor!

I cannot but consider with what understanding the people sighed and
cried, when the Minister made for them this metaphysical confession:

    "Omnipotent All! Thou art only! Because Thou art all, and because
    Thou only art! As for us, we are not; but we seem to be! and only
    seem to be, because we are not! for we be but Mites of Entity,
    and Crumbs of Something!" and so on.

As if a company of country people were bound to understand SUAREZ, and
all the School Divines!

And as some are very high and learned in their attempts; so others there
be, who are of somewhat too mean and dirty imagination.

Such was he, who goes by the name of Parson SLIPSTOCKING. Who preaching
about the grace and assistance of GOD, and that of ourselves we are able
to do nothing, advised his "beloved" to take him this plain similitude.

    "A father calls his child to him, saying, 'Child, pull off this
    stocking!' The child, mightily joyful that it should pull off
    father's stocking, takes hold of the stocking, and tugs! and
    pulls! and sweats! but to no purpose: for stocking stirs not, for
    it is but a child that pulls! Then the father bids the child to
    rest a little, and try again. So then the child sets on again,
    tugs again; but no stocking comes: for child is but a child! Then
    the father taking pity upon his child, puts his hand behind and
    slips down the stocking; and off comes the stocking! Then how
    does the child rejoice! for child hath pulled off father's
    stocking, Alas, poor child! it was not child's strength, it was
    not child's sweating that got off the stocking; but yet it was
    the father's hand that slipped down the stocking. Even so--"

Not much unlike to this, was he that, preaching about the Sacrament and
Faith, makes CHRIST a shopkeeper; telling you that "CHRIST is a Treasury
of all wares and commodities," and thereupon, opening his wide throat,
cries aloud,

    "Good people! what do you lack? What do you buy? Will you buy any
    balm of Gilead? any eye salve? any myrrh, aloes, or cassia? Shall
    I fit you with a robe of Righteousness, or with a white garment?
    See here! What is it you want? Here is a choice armoury! Shall I
    shew you a helmet of Salvation, a shield, or breastplate of
    Faith? or will you please to walk in and see some precious
    stones? a jasper, a sapphire, a chalcedony? Speak, what do you

Now, for my part, I must needs say (and I much fancy I speak the mind of
thousands) that it had been much better for such an imprudent and
ridiculous bawler as this, to have been condemned to have cried oysters
or brooms, than to discredit, after this unsanctified rate, his
Profession and our Religion.

It would be an endless thing, Sir, to count up to you all the follies,
for a hundred years last past, that have been preached and printed of
this kind. But yet I cannot omit that of the famous Divine in his time,
who, advising the people in days of danger to run unto the LORD, tells
them that "they cannot go to the LORD, much less run, without feet;" that
"there be therefore two feet to run to the LORD, Faith and Prayer."

    "It is plain that Faith is a foot, for, 'by Faith we stand,' 2
    _Cor_. i. 24; therefore by Faith, we must run to the LORD who is

    "The second is Prayer, a spiritual Leg to bear us thither. Now
    that Prayer is a spiritual Leg appears from several places in
    Scripture, as from that of JONAH speaking of _coming_, chap. ii.
    ver. 7, 'And my prayer _came_ unto thy holy temple.' And likewise
    from that of the Apostle who says, _Heb_. iv. 16, 'Let us
    therefore _go_ unto the throne of grace.' Both intimating that
    Prayer is a spiritual Leg: there being no _coming_ or _going_ to
    the LORD without the Leg of Prayer."

    He further adds, "Now that these feet may be able to bear us
    thither, we must put on the Hose [_stockings_] of Faith; for the
    Apostle says, 'Our feet must be shod with the preparation of the
    Gospel of Peace.'"

The truth of it is, the Author is somewhat obscure: for, at first, Faith
was a Foot, and by-and-by it is a Hose, and at last it proves a Shoe! If
he had pleased, he could have made it anything!

Neither can I let pass that of a later Author; who telling us, "It is
Goodness by which we must ascend to heaven," and that "Goodness is the
Milky Way to JUPITER's Palace"; could not rest there, but must tell us
further, that "to strengthen us in our journey, we must not take morning
milk, but some morning meditations:" fearing, I suppose, lest some people
should mistake, and think to go to heaven by eating now and then a mess of
morning milk, because the way was "milky."

Neither ought that to be omitted, not long since printed upon those words
of St. JOHN, "These things write I unto you, that ye sin not."

    The Observation is that "it is the purpose of Scripture to drive
    men from sin. These Scriptures contain Doctrines, Precepts,
    Promises, Threatenings, and Histories. Now," says he, "take these
    five smooth stones, and put them into the Scrip of the heart, and
    throw them with the Sling of faith, by the Hand of a strong
    resolution, against the Forehead of sin: and we shall see it,
    like GOLIATH, fall before us."

But I shall not trouble you any further upon this subject: but, if you
have a mind to hear any more of this stuff, I shall refer you to the
learned and judicious Author of the _Friendly Debates_ [_i.e._, SIMON
PATRICK, afterwards Bishop of ELY, who wrote _A Friendly Debate between a
Conformist and a Nonconformist_, in two parts, 1669]: who, particularly,
has at large discovered the intolerable fooleries of this way of talking.

I shall only add thus much, that such as go about to fetch blood into
their pale and lean discourses, by the help of their brisk and sparkling
similitudes, ought well to consider, Whether their similitudes be true?

I am confident, Sir, you have heard it, many and many a time, or, if need
be, I can shew you it in a book, that when the preacher happens to talk
how that the things here below will not satisfy the mind of man; then
comes in, "the round world which cannot fill the triangular heart of
man!" whereas every butcher knows that the heart is no more triangular
than an ordinary pear, or a child's top. But because _triangular_ is a
hard word, and perhaps a jest! therefore people have stolen it one from
another, these two or three hundred years; and, for aught I know, much
longer! for I cannot direct to the first inventor of the fancy.

In like manner, they are to consider, What things, either in the heavens
or belonging to the earth, have been found out, by experience, to
contradict what has been formerly allowed of?

Thus, because some ancient astronomers had observed that both the
distances as well as the revolutions of the planets were in some
proportion or harmony one to another: therefore people that abounded with
more imagination than skill, presently fancied the Moon, Mercury, and
Venus to be a kind of violins or trebles to Jupiter or Saturn; that the
Sun and Mars supplied the room of tenors, and the _Primum Mobile_ running
Division all the tune. So that one could scarce hear a sermon, but they
must give you a touch of "the Harmony of the Spheres."

Thus, Sir, you shall have them take that of St. PAUL, about "faith, hope,
and charity." And instead of a sober instructing of the people in those
eminent and excellent graces, they shall only ring you over a few changes
upon the three words; crying, "Faith! Hope! and Charity!" "Hope! Faith!
and Charity!" and so on: and when they have done their peal, they shall
tell you that "this is much better than the Harmony of the Spheres!"

At other times, I have heard a long chiming only between two words; as
suppose Divinity and Philosophy, or Revelation and Reason. Setting forth
with Revelation first. "Revelation is a Lady; Reason, an Handmaid!
Revelation is the Esquire; Reason, the Page! Revelation is the Sun;
Reason, but the Moon! Revelation is Manna; Reason is but an acorn!
Revelation, a wedge of gold; Reason, a small piece of silver!"

Then, by and by, Reason gets it, and leads it away, "Reason indeed is
very good, but Revelation is much better! Reason is a Councillor, but
Revelation is the Lawgiver! Reason is a candle, but Revelation is the

Certainly, those people are possessed with a very great degree of
dulness, who living under the means of such enlightening preaching,
should not be mightily settled in the right notion and true bounds of
Faith and Reason.

No less ably, methought, was the difference between the Old Covenant and
the New, lately determined. "The Old Covenant was of Works; the New
Covenant, of Faith. The Old Covenant was by MOSES; The New, by CHRIST.
The Old was heretofore; the New, afterwards. The Old was first; the New
was second. Old things are passed away: behold, all things are become
new." And so the business was very fundamentally done.

I shall say no more upon this subject, but this one thing, which relates
to what was said a little before. He that has got a set of similitudes
calculated according to the old philosophy, and PTOLEMY's system of the
world, must burn his commonplace book, and go a-gleaning for new ones; it
being, nowadays, much more gentle and warrantable to take a similitude
from the Man in the Moon than from _solid_ orbs: for though few people do
absolutely believe that there is any such Eminent Person there; yet the
thing is possible, whereas the other is not.

I have now done, Sir, with that imprudent way of speaking by Metaphor and
Simile. There are many other things commonly spoken out of the pulpit,
that are much to the disadvantage and discredit of the Clergy; that ought
also to be briefly hinted. And that I may the better light upon them, I
shall observe their _common method of Preaching_.

[1.] Before the text be divided, a _Preface_ is to be made.

And it is a great chance if, first of all, the Minister does not make his
text to be _like something or other_.

For example. One, he tells you, "And now, methinks, my Text, like an
ingenious [_clever_] Picture, looks upon all here present: in which, both
nobles and people, may behold their sin and danger represented." This was
a text out of _Hosea_. Now, had it been out of any other place of the
_Bible_; the gentleman was sufficiently resolved to make it like "an
ingenious Picture."

Another taking, perhaps, the very same words, says, "I might compare my
Text to the mountains of Bether, where the LORD disports Himself like a
young hart or a pleasant roe among the spices."

Another man's Text is "like the rod of MOSES, to divide the waves of
sorrow"; or "like the mantle of ELIJAH, to restrain the swelling floods
of grief."

Another gets to his Text thus, "As SOLOMON went up six steps to come to
the great Throne of Ivory, so must I ascend six degrees to come to the
high top-meaning of my Text."

Another thus, "As DEBORAH arose, and went with BARAK to Kadesh; so, if
you will go with him, and call in the third verse of the chapters he will
shew you the meaning of his Text."

Another, he fancies his Text to be extraordinarily like to "an orchard of
pomegranates;" or like "St. MATTHEW sitting at the receipt of custom;" or
like "the dove that NOAH sent out of the Ark."

I believe there are above forty places of Scripture, that have been "like
RACHEL and LEAH": and there is one in _Genesis_, as I well remember, that
is "like a pair of compasses stradling." And, if I be not much mistaken,
there is one, somewhere else, that is "like a man going to Jericho."

Now, Sir, having thus made the way to the Text as smooth and plain as
anything, with a _Preface_, perhaps from ADAM, though his business lie at
the other end of the _Bible_: in the next place; [2] he comes to _divide
the Text_.

                       _Hic labor, hoc opus
    Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum,
    Silvestrem tenui_.

Now, come off the gloves! and the hands being well chafed [_rubbed
together_]; he shrinks up his shoulders, and stretches forth himself as
if he were going to cleave a bullock's head, or rive the body of an oak!

But we must observe, that there is a great difference of Texts. For all
Texts come not asunder alike! For sometimes the words naturally _fall_
asunder! sometimes they _drop_ asunder! sometimes they _melt_! sometimes
they _untwist_! and there be some words so willing to be parted that they
_divide themselves_! to the great ease and rejoicing of the Minister.

But if they will not easily come to pieces, then he falls to hacking and
hewing! as if he would make all fly into shivers! The truth of it is, I
have known, now and then, some knotty Texts, that have been divided seven
or eight times over! before they could make them _split_ handsomely,
according to their mind.

But then comes the Joy of Joys! when the Parts jingle! or begin with the
same Letter! and especially if in Latin.

O how it tickled the Divider! when he got his Text into those two
excellent branches, _Accusatio vera: Comminatio severa_: "A Charge full
of Verity: A Discharge of Severity." And, I will warrant you! that did
not please a little, viz., "there are in the words, _duplex miraculum;
Miraculum in modo_ and _Miraculum in nodo_."

But the luckiest I have met withal, both for Wit and Keeping of the
Letter, is upon these words of _St. Matthew_ xii. 43, 44, 45: "When the
unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places,
seeking rest and finding none. Then he saith I will return," &c.

In which words, all these strange things were found out. First, there was
a _Captain_ and a _Castle_. (Do you see. Sir, the same letter!) Then,
there was an _ingress_, an _egress_; and a _regress_ or _reingress_.
Then, there was _unroosting_ and _unresting_. Then, there were _number_
and _name, manner_ and _measure, trouble_ and _trial, resolution_ and
_revolution, assaults_ and _assassination, voidness_ and _vacuity_. This
was done at the same time, by the same man! But, to confess the truth of
it! it was a good long Text; and so, he had the greater advantage.

But for a short Text, that, certainly, was the greatest _break_ that ever
was! which was occasioned from those words of _St. Luke_ xxiii. 28, "Weep
not for me, weep for yourselves!" or as some read it, "but weep for

It is a plain case, Sir! Here are but eight words; and the business was
cunningly ordered, that there sprang out eight Parts. "Here are," says
the Doctor, "eight Words, and eight Parts!

"1. Weep not!
 2. But weep!
 3. Weep not, but weep!
 4. Weep for me!
 5. For yourselves!
 6. For me, for yourselves!
 7. Weep not for me!
 8. But weep for yourselves!

"That is to say, North, North-and-by-East, North-North-East, North-East
and by North, North-East, North-East and by East, East-North-East, East
and by North, East."

Now, it seems not very easy to determine, who has obliged the world most;
he that found out the Compass, or he that divided the fore-mentioned Text?
But I suppose the cracks [_claps_] will go generally upon the Doctor's
side! by reason what he did, was done by undoubted Art and absolute
industry: but as for the other, the common report is that it was found
out by mere foolish fortune. Well, let it go how it will! questionless,
they will be both famous in their way, and honourably mentioned to

Neither ought he to be altogether slighted, who taking that of _Genesis_
xlviii. 2 for his text; viz., "And one told JACOB, and said, 'Behold, thy
son JOSEPH cometh unto thee!'" presently perceived, and made it out to his
people, that his Text was "a spiritual Dial."

    "For," says he, "here be in my Text, twelve words, which do
    plainly represent the twelve hours. _And one told JACOB, and
    said, 'Thy son JOSEPH cometh unto thee!'_ And here is, besides,
    _Behold_, which is the Hand of the Dial, that turns and points at
    every word of the Text. _And one told JACOB, and said, 'Behold,
    thy son JOSEPH cometh unto thee!'_ For it is not said, _Behold
    JACOB!_ or _Behold JOSEPH!_ but it is, _And one told JACOB, and
    said, Behold, thy son JOSEPH cometh unto thee_. That it is say,
    Behold _And_, Behold _one_, Behold _told_, Behold _JACOB_. Again
    Behold _and_, Behold _said_, and also Behold _Behold_, &c. Which
    is the reason that this word _Behold_ is placed in the middle of
    the other twelve words, indifferently pointing to each word.

    "Now, as it needs must be One of the Clock before it can be Two
    or Three; so I shall handle this word _And_, the first word of
    the Text, before I meddle with the following.

    "And _one told JACOB_. The word _And_ is but a particle, and a
    small one: but small things are not to be despised. _St. Matthew_
    xviii. 10, _Take heed that you despise not one of these little
    ones_. For this _And_ is as the tacks and loops amongst the
    curtains of the Tabernacle. The tacks put into the loops did
    couple the curtains of the Tent and sew the Tent together: so
    this particle _And_ being put into the loops of the words
    immediately before the Text, does couple the Text to the
    foregoing verse, and sews them close together."

I shall not trouble you, Sir, with the rest: being much after this witty
rate, and to as much purpose.

But we will go on, if you please, Sir! to [3] the cunning _Observations,
Doctrines, and Inferences_ that are commonly made and raised from places
of Scripture.

One takes that for his Text, _Psalm_ lxviii. 3, _But let the righteous be
glad_. From whence, he raises this doctrine, that "there is a Spirit of
Singularity in the Saints of GOD: but let the righteous--" a doctrine, I
will warrant him! of his own raising; it being not very easy for anybody
to prevent him!

Another, he takes that of _Isaiah_ xli. 14, 15, _Fear not, thou worm
JACOB_! &c.... _thou shalt thresh the mountains._ Whence he observes that
"the worm JACOB was a threshing worm!"

Another, that of _Genesis_ xliv. 1. _And he commanded the Steward of the
house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can
carry_: and makes this note from the words.

    That "great sacks and many sacks will hold more than few sacks
    and little ones. For look," says he, "how they came prepared with
    sacks and beasts, so they were sent back with corn! The greater,
    and the more sacks they had prepared, the more corn they carry
    away! if they had prepared but small sacks, and a few; they had
    carried away the less!"

Verily, and indeed extraordinarily true!

Another, he falls upon that of _Isaiah_ lviii. 5, _Is it such a fast that
I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his
head like a bulrush?_ The Observation is that "Repentance for an hour, or
a day, is not worth a bulrush!" And, there, I think, he hit the business!

But of these, Sir, I can shew you a whole book full, in a treatise called
_Flames and Discoveries_, consisting of very notable and extraordinary
things which the inquisitive Author had privately observed and
discovered, upon reading the Evangelists; as for example:

    Upon reading that of _St. John_, chapter ii. verse 15, _And when
    he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of
    the Temple_; this prying Divine makes these discoveries, "I
    discover," says he, "in the first place, that in the Church or
    Temple, a scourge may be made, _And when he had made a scourge_.
    Secondly, that it may be made use of, _he drove them all out of
    the Temple_." And it was a great chance that he had not
    discovered a third thing; and that is, that the scourge was made,
    before it was made use of.

    Upon _Matthew_ iv. 25, _And there followed him great multitudes
    of people from Galilee_, "I discover," says he, "when JESUS
    prevails with us, we shall soon leave our Galilees! I discover
    also," says he, "a great miracle, viz.: that the way after JESUS
    being straight, that such a multitude should follow him."

    _Matthew_ v. 1. _And seeing the multitude, he went up into a
    mountain_. Upon this, he discovers several very remarkable things.
    First, he discovers that "CHRIST went _from the multitude_."
    Secondly, that "it is safe to take warning at our eyes, for _seeing
    the multitude, he went up_." Thirdly, "it is not fit to be always
    upon the plains and flats with the multitude: but, _if we be risen
    with CHRIST, to seek those things that are above_."

    He discovers also very strange things, from the latter part of
    the fore-mentioned verse. _And when he was set, his disciples
    came unto him_. 1. CHRIST is not always in motion, _And when he
    was set_. 2. He walks not on the mountain, but sits, _And when he
    was set_. From whence also, in the third place, he advises
    people, that "when they are teaching they should not move too
    much, for that is to be _carried to and fro with every wind of
    doctrine_." Now, certainly, never was this place of Scripture
    more seasonably brought in.

    Now, Sir, if you be for a very short and witty discovery, let it
    be upon that of _St. Matthew_ vi. 27. _Which of you, by taking
    thought, can add one cubit unto his stature?_ The discovery is
    this, that "whilst the disciples were taking thought for a cubit;
    CHRIST takes them down a cubit lower!"

    Notable also are two discoveries made upon _St. Matthew_ viii. 1.
    1. That "CHRIST went down, as well as went up. _When he came down
    from the mountain_." 2. That "the multitude did not go 'hail
    fellow well met!' with him, nor before him; _for great multitudes
    followed him_."

I love, with all my heart, when people can prove what they say. For there
be many that will talk of their Discoveries and spiritual Observations;
and when all comes to all, they are nothing but pitiful guesses and
slender conjectures.

    In like manner, that was no contemptible discovery that was made
    upon _St. Matthew_ viii. 19. _And a certain Scribe came and, said,
    "Master, I will follow thee wheresoever thou goest."_ "A _thou_
    shall be followed more than a _that_. _I will follow_ thee
    _wheresoever thou goest_."

    And, in my opinion, that was not altogether amiss, upon _St.
    Matthew_ xi. 2. _Now when JOHN had heard in prison the works of
    CHRIST, he sent two of his disciples_. The discovery is this. That
    "it is not good sending single to CHRIST, _he sent two of his

    Some also, possibly may not dislike that upon _St. Luke_ xii, 35.
    _Let your loins be girded_. "I discover," says he, "there must be
    a holy girding and trussing up for heaven."

    But I shall end all, with that very politic one that he makes upon
    _St. Matthew_ xii. 47. _Then said one unto him "Behold thy mother
    and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee." But
    he answered and said, "Who is my mother? and who are my
    brethren?"_ "I discover now," says he, "that JESUS is upon

Doubtless, this was one of the greatest Discoverers of Hidden Mysteries,
and one of the most Pryers into Spiritual Secrets that ever the world was
owner of. It was very well that he happened upon the godly calling, and no
secular employment: or else, in good truth! down had they all gone! Turk!
Pope! and Emperor! for he would have discovered them, one way or another,
every man!

Not much unlike to these wonderful Discoverers, are they who, choosing to
preach on some Point in Divinity, shall purposely avoid all such plain
Texts as might give them very just occasion to discourse upon their
intended subject, and shall pitch upon some other places of Scripture,
which no creature in the world but themselves, did ever imagine that
which they offer to be therein designed. My meaning, Sir, is this.

Suppose you have a mind to make a sermon concerning Episcopacy, as in the
late times [_the Commonwealth_] there were several occasions for it, you
must, by no means, take any place of Scripture that proves or favours
that kind of Ecclesiastical Government! for then the plot will be
discovered; and the people will say to themselves, "We know where to find
you! You intend to preach about Episcopacy!" But you must take _Acts_,
chapter xvi. verse 30, _Sirs, what must I do to be saved?_ An absolute
place for Episcopacy! that all former Divines had idly overlooked! For
_Sirs_ being in the Greek [Greek: Kurioi], which is to say, in true and
strict translation, _Lords_, what is more plain than, that of old,
Episcopacy was not only the acknowledged Government; but that Bishops
were formerly Peers of the Realm, and so ought to sit in the House of

Or, suppose that you have a mind to commend to your people, Kingly
Government: you must not take any place that is plainly to the purpose!
but' that of the Evangelist, _Seek first the Kingdom of GOD_! From which
words, the doctrine will plainly be, that Monarchy or Kingly Government
is most according to the mind of GOD. For it is not said, "seek the
_Parliament_ of GOD!" "the _Army_ of GOD!" or "the _Committee of Safety_
of GOD!" but it is "seek the _Kingdom_ of GOD!" And who could expect
less? Immediately after this [_i.e., this argument_], the King came in,
and the Bishops were restored [1660 A.D.].

Again, Sir (because I would willingly be understood), suppose you design
to preach about Election and Reprobation. As for the eighth chapter to
the _Romans_, that is too well known! but there is a little private place
in the _Psalms_ that will do the business as well! Psalm xc. 19, _In the
multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my soul_.

The doctrine, which naturally flows from the words, will be that amongst
_the multitude of thoughts_, there is a great thought of Election and
Reprobation; and then, away with the Point! according as the preacher is

Or suppose, lastly, that you were not fully satisfied that Pluralities
were lawful or convenient. May I be so bold, Sir? I pray, what Text would
you choose to preach up against non-residents? Certainly, nothing ever was
better picked than that of _St. Matthew_ i. 2. _ABRAHAM begat ISAAC_. A
clear place against non-residents! for "had ABRAHAM not resided, but had
discontinued from SARAH his wife, he could never have begotten ISAAC!"

But it is high time, Sir, to make an end of their preaching, lest you be
as much tired with the repetition of it, as the people were little
benefited when they heard it.

I shall only mind you, Sir, of one thing more; and that is [4] the
ridiculous, senseless, and unintended use which many of them make of

I shall give you but one instance of it, although I could furnish you
with a hundred printed ones.

The Text, Sir, is this, _Galatians_ vi. 15, _For in CHRIST JESUS neither
Circumcision nor Uncircumcision avail anything; but a new creature_. Now,
all the world knows the meaning of this to be, that, let a man be of what
nation he will, Jew or Gentile, if he amends his life, and walks
according to the Gospel, he shall be accepted with GOD.

But this is not the way that pleases them! They must bring into the
sermon, to no purpose at all! a vast heap of places of Scripture, which
the _Concordance_ will furnish them with, where the word _new_ is

    And the Observation must be that "GOD is for _new_ things. GOD is
    for _a_ new _creature. St. John_ xix, 41, _Now in the place when
    he was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden a new
    sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There they laid JESUS_.
    And again _St. Mark_ xvi. 17. CHRIST tells his disciples that they
    that are true believers, shall cast out devils, and speak _with_
    new _tongues_. And likewise, the prophet teaches us, _Isaiah_
    xlii. 10, _Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise to the
    end of the earth_.

    "Whence it is plain that CHRIST is not for _old_ things. He is not
    for an _old sepulchre_. He is not for _old tongues_. He is not for
    an _old song_. He is not for an _old creature_. CHRIST is for a
    _new creature! Circumcision and Uncircumcision availeth nothing,
    but a new creature_. And what do we read concerning SAMSON?
    _Judges_ xv, 15. Is it not that he slew a thousand of the
    Philistines with one _new_ jawbone? An _old_ one might have killed
    its tens, its twenties, its hundreds! but it must be a _new_
    jawbone that is able to kill a thousand! GOD is for the _new

    "But may not some say, 'Is GOD altogether for new things?' How
    comes it about then, that the prophet says, _Isaiah_ i. 13, 14,
    _Bring no more vain oblations! &c. Your new Moons, and your
    appointed Feasts, my soul hateth!_ And again, what means that,
    _Deuteronomy_ xxxii. 17, 19, _They sacrificed unto devils, and to
    new gods, whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up....
    And when the LORD saw it, He abhorred them!_ To which I answer,
    that GOD indeed is not for _new moons_, nor for _new gods_; but,
    excepting _moons_ and _gods_, He is for the _new creature_."

It is possible, Sir, that somebody besides yourself, may be so vain as to
read this _Letter_: and they may perhaps tell you, that there be no such
silly and useless people as I have described. And if there be, there be
not above two or three in a country [_county_]. Or should there be, it is
no such complaining matter: seeing that the same happens in other
professions, in Law and Physic: in both [of] which, there be many a
contemptible creature.

Such therefore as these, may be pleased to know that, if there had been
need, I could have told them, either the book (and very page almost) of
all that has been spoken about Preaching, or else the When and Where, and
the Person that preached it.

As to the second, viz.: that the Clergy are all mightily furnished with
Learning and Prudence; except ten, twenty, or so; I shall not say
anything myself, because a very great Scholar of our nation shall speak
for me: who tells us that "such Preaching as is usual, is a hindrance of
Salvation rather than the means to it." And what he intends by "usual," I
shall not here go about to explain.

And as to the last, I shall also, in short, answer, That if the
Advancement of true Religion and the eternal Salvation of a Man were no
more considerable than the health of his body and the security of his
estate; we need not be more solicitous about the Learning and Prudence of
the Clergy, than of the Lawyers and Physicians. But we believing it to be
otherwise, surely, we ought to be more concerned for the reputation and
success of the one than of the other.

I come now, Sir, to the Second Part that was designed, viz.: _the Poverty
of some of the Clergy_. By whose mean condition, their Sacred Profession
is much disparaged, and their Doctrine undervalued. What large
provisions, of old, GOD was pleased to make for the Priesthood, and upon
what reasons, is easily seen to any one that but looks into the _Bible_.
The Levites, it is true, were left out, in the Division of the
Inheritance; not to their loss, but to their great temporal advantage.
For whereas, had they been common sharers with the rest, a Twelfth part
only would have been their just allowance; GOD was pleased to settle upon
them, a Tenth, and that without any trouble or charge of tillage: which
made their portion much more considerable than the rest.

And as this provision was very bountiful, so the reasons, no question!
were very Divine and substantial: which seem chiefly to be these two.

First, that the Priesthood might be altogether at leisure for the service
of GOD: and that they of that Holy Order might not be distracted with the
cares of the world; and interrupted by every neighbour's horse or cow
that breaks their hedges or shackles [_or hobbled, feeds among_] their
corn. But that living a kind of spiritual life, and being removed a
little from all worldly affairs; they might always be fit to receive holy
inspirations, and always ready to search out the Mind of GOD, and to
advise and direct the people therein.

Not as if this Divine exemption of them from the common troubles and
cares of this life was intended as an opportunity of luxury and laziness:
for certainly, there is a labour besides digging! and there is a true
carefulness without following the plough, and looking after their cattle!

And such was the employment of those holy men of old. Their care and
business was to please GOD, and to charge themselves with the welfare of
all His people: which thing, he that does it with a good and satisfied
conscience, I will assure he has a task upon him much beyond them that
have for their care, their hundreds of oxen and five hundreds of sheep.

Another reason that this large allowance was made to the Priests, was
that they might be enabled to relieve the poor, to entertain strangers,
and thereby to encourage people in the ways of godliness. For they being,
in a peculiar manner, the servants of GOD, GOD was pleased to entrust in
their hands, a portion more than ordinary of the good things of the land,
as the safest Storehouse and Treasury for such as were in need.

That, in all Ages therefore, there should be a continued tolerable
maintenance for the Clergy: the same reasons, as well as many others,
make us think to be very necessary. Unless they will count money and
victuals to be only Types and Shadows! and so, to cease with the
Ceremonial Law.

For where the Minister is pinched as to the tolerable conveniences of
this life, the chief of his care and time must be spent, not in an
impertinent [_trifling_] considering what Text of Scripture will be most
useful for his parish; what instructions most seasonable; and what
authors, best to be consulted: but the chief of his thoughts and his main
business must be, How to live that week? Where he shall have bread for his
family? Whose sow has lately pigged? Whence will come the next rejoicing
goose, or the next cheerful basket of apples? how far to Lammas, or
[Easter] Offerings? When shall we have another christening and cakes? and
Who is likely to marry, or die?

These are very seasonable considerations, and worthy of a man's thoughts.
For a family cannot be maintained by texts and contexts! and a child that
lies crying in the cradle, will not be satisfied without a little milk,
and perhaps sugar; though there be a small German _System_ [_of
Divinity_] in the house!

But suppose he does get into a little hole over the oven, with a lock to
it, called his Study, towards the latter end of the week: for you must
know, Sir, there are very few Texts of Scripture that can be divided, at
soonest, before Friday night; and some there be, that will never be
divided but upon Sunday morning, and that not very early, but either a
little before they go, or in the going, to church. I say, suppose the
Gentleman gets thus into his Study, one may very nearly guess what is his
first thought, when he comes there--viz., that the last kilderkin of drink
is nearly departed! that he has but one poor single groat in the house,
and there is Judgement and Execution ready to come out against it, for
milk and eggs!

Now, Sir, can any man think, that one thus racked and tortured, can be
seriously intent, half an hour, to contrive anything that might be of
real advantage to his people?

Besides, perhaps, that week, he has met with some dismal crosses and most
undoing misfortunes.

There was a scurvy-conditioned mole, that broke into his pasture, and
ploughed up the best part of his glebe. And, a little after that, came a
couple of spiteful ill-favoured crows, and trampled down the little
remaining grass. Another day, having but four chickens, sweep comes the
kite! and carries away the fattest and hopefullest of the brood. Then,
after all this, came the jackdaws and starlings (idle birds that they
are!), and they scattered and carried away from his thin thatched house,
forty or fifty of the best straws. And, to make him completely unhappy,
after all these afflictions, another day, that he had a pair of breeches
on, coming over a perverse stile, he suffered very much, in carelessly
lifting over his leg.

Now, what parish can be so inconsiderate and unreasonable as to look for
anything from one, whose fancy is thus checked, and whose understanding
is thus ruffled and disordered? They may as soon expect comfort and
consolation from him that lies racked with the gout and the stone, as
from a Divine thus broken and shattered in his fortunes!

But we will grant that he meets not with any of these such frightful
disasters; but that he goes into his study with a mind as calm as the
evening. For all that; upon Sunday, we must be content with what GOD
shall please to send us! For as for books, he is, for want of money, so
moderately furnished, that except it be a small Geneva _Bible_ (so small,
as it will not be desired to lie open of itself), together with a certain
_Concordance_ thereunto belonging; as also a Latin book for all kind of
Latin sentences, called _Polyanthaea_; with some _Exposition_ upon the
_Catechism_, a portion of which, is to be got by heart, and to be put off
for his own; and perhaps Mr. [JOSEPH] CARYL _upon_ [JOHN] PINEDA [_these
two authors wrote vast Commentaries on the Book of Job_]; Mr. [JOHN] DOD
upon the _Commandments_, Mr. [SAMUEL] CLARKE's Lives of famous men, both
in Church and State (such as Mr. CARTER of Norwich, that uses to eat such
abundance of pudding): besides, I say, these, there is scarcely anything
to be found, but a budget of old stitched sermons hung up behind the
door, with a few broken girths, two or three yards of whipcord; and,
perhaps, a saw and a hammer, to prevent dilapidations.

Now, what may not a Divine do, though but of ordinary parts and unhappy
education, with such learned helps and assistances as these? No vice,
surely, durst stand before him! no heresy, affront him!

And furthermore, Sir, it is to be considered, that he that is but thus
meanly provided for: it is not his only infelicity that he has neither
time, mind, nor books to improve himself for the inward benefit and
satisfaction of his people; but also that he is not capable of doing that
outward good amongst the needy, which is a great ornament to that holy
Profession, and a considerable advantage towards the having the doctrine
believed and practised in a degenerate world.

And that which augments the misery; whether he be able or not, it is
expected from him, if there comes a _Brief_ to town, for the Minister to
cast in his mite will not satisfy! unless he can create sixpence or a
shilling to put into the box, for a stale [_lure_], to decoy in the rest
of the parish. Nay, he that hath but £20 or £30 [= £60 to £90 _now_] _per
annum_, if he bids not up as high as the best in the parish in all acts of
charity, he is counted carnal and earthly-minded; only because he durst
not coin! and cannot work miracles!

And let there come ever so many beggars, half of these, I will secure
you! shall presently inquire for the Minister's house. "For GOD," say
they, "certainly dwells there, and has laid up for us, sufficient relief!"

I know many of the Laity are usually so extremely tender of the spiritual
welfare of the Clergy, that they are apt to wish them but very small
temporal goods, lest their inward state should be in danger! A thing,
they need not much fear, since that effectual humiliation by HENRY VIII.
"For," say they, "the great tithes, large glebes, good victuals and warm
clothes do but puff up the Priest! making him fat, foggy, and useless!
and fill him with pride, vainglory, and all kind of inward wickedness and
pernicious corruption! We see this plain," say they, "in the Whore of
Babylon [_Roman Catholic Church_]! To what a degree of luxury and
intemperance, besides a great deal of false doctrine, have riches and
honour raised up that strumpet! How does she strut it! and swagger it
over all the world! terrifying Princes, and despising Kings and Emperors!

"The Clergy, if ever we would expect any edification from them, ought to
be dieted and kept low! to be meek and humble, quiet, and stand in need
of a pot of milk from their next neighbour! and always be very loth to
ask for their very right, for fear of making any disturbance in the
parish, or seeming to understand or have any respect for this vile and
outward world!

"Under the Law, indeed, in those old times of Darkaess and Eating, the
Priests had their first and second dishes, their milk and honey, their
Manna and quails, also their outward and inward vestments: but now, under
the Gospel, and in times of Light and Fasting, a much more sparing diet is
fitter, and a single coat (though it be never so ancient and thin) is
fully sufficient!"

"We must look," say they, "if we would be the better for them, for a
hardy and labouring Clergy, that is mortified to [the possession of] a
horse and all such pampering vanities! and that can foot it five or six
miles in the dirt, and preach till starlight, for as many [5 _or_ 6]
shillings! as also a sober and temperate Clergy, that will not eat so
much as the Laity, but that the least pig, the least sheaf, and the least
of everything, may satisfy their Spiritualship! And besides, a
money-renouncing Clergy, that can abstain from seeing a penny, a month
together! unless it be when the Collectors and Visitationers come. These
are all Gospel dispensations! and great instances of patience,
contentedness, and resignation of affections [in respect] to all the
emptinesses and fooleries of this life!"

But cannot a Clergyman choose rather to lie upon feathers than a hurdle;
but he must be idle, soft, and effeminate! May he not desire wholesome
food and fresh drink; unless he be a cheat, a hypocrite, and an impostor!
And must he needs be void of all grace, though he has a shilling in his
purse, after the rates be crossed [off]! and full of pride and vanity
though his house stands not upon crutches; and though his chimney is to
be seen a foot above the thatch!

O, how prettily and temperately may half a score of children be
maintained with _almost_ £20 [= £60 _now_] _per annum_! What a handsome
shift, a poor ingenious and frugal Divine will make, to take it by turns,
and wear a cassock [_a long cloak_] one year, and a pair of breeches
another! What a becoming thing is it for him that serves at the Altar, to
fill the dung cart in dry weather, and to heat the oven and pull [_strip_]
hemp in wet! And what a pleasant thing is it, to see the Man of GOD
fetching up his single melancholy cow from a small rib [_strip_] of land
that is scarcely to be found without a guide! or to be seated upon a soft
and well grinded pouch [_bag_] of meal! or to be planted upon a pannier,
with a pair of geese or turkeys bobbing out their heads from under his
canonical coat! as you cannot but remember the man, Sir, that was thus
accomplished. Or to find him raving about the yards or keeping his
chamber close, because the duck lately miscarried of an egg, or that the
never-failing hen has unhappily forsaken her wonted nest!

And now, shall we think that such employments as these, can, any way,
consist with due reverence, or tolerable respect from a parish?

And he speaks altogether at a venture that says that "this is false, or,
at least it need not be so; notwithstanding the mean condition of some of
the Clergy." For let any one make it out to me, which way is it possible
that a man shall be able to maintain perhaps eight or ten in his family,
with £20 or £30 _per annum_, without a intolerable dependence upon his
parish; and without committing himself to such vileness as will, in all
likelihood, render him contemptible to his people.

Now where the income is so pitifully small (which, I will assure you, is
the portion of hundreds of the Clergy of this nation), which way shall he
manage it for the subsistence of himself and his family?

If he keeps the glebe in his own hand (which he may easily do, almost in
the hollow of it!) what increase can he expect from a couple of apple
trees, a brood of ducklings, a hemp land, and as much pasture as is just
able to summer a cow?

As for his tithes, he either rents them out to a layman; who will be very
unwilling to be his tenant, unless he may be sure to save by the bargain
at least a third part: or else, he compounds for them; and then, as for
his money, he shall have it when all the rest of the world be paid!

But if he thinks fit to take his dues in kind, he then either demands his
true and utmost right; and if so, it is a great hazard if he be not
counted a caterpillar! a muck worm! a very earthly minded man! and too
much sighted into this lower world! which was made, as many of the Laity
think, altogether for themselves: or else, he must tamely commit himself
to that little dose of the creature that shall be pleased to be
proportioned out unto him; choosing rather to starve in peace and
quietness, than to gain his right by noise and disturbance.

The best of all these ways that a Clergyman shall think fit for his
preferment, to be managed (where it is so small), are such as will
undoubtedly make him either to be hated and reviled, or else pitifully
poor and disesteemed.

But has it not gone very hard, in all Ages with the Men of GOD? Was not
our Lord and Master our great and high Priest? and was not his fare low,
and his life full of trouble? And was not the condition of most of his
disciples very mean? Were not they notably pinched and severely treated
after him? And is it not the duty of every Christian to imitate such holy
patterns? but especially of the Clergy, who are to be shining lights and
visible examples; and therefore to be satisfied with a very little
morsel, and to renounce ten times as much of the world as other people?

And is not patience better than the Great Tithes, and contentedness to be
preferred before large fees and customs? Is there any comparison between
the expectation of a cringing bow or a low hat, and mortification to all
such vanities and fopperies; especially with those who, in a peculiar
manner, hope to receive their inheritance, and make their harvest in the
next life?

This was well thought of indeed. But for all that, if you please, Sir, we
will consider a little, some of those remarkable Inconveniences that do,
most undoubtedly, attend upon the Ministers being so meanly provided for.

First of all, the holy Men of GOD or the Ministry in general, hereby, is
disesteemed and rendered of small account. For though they be called Men
of GOD: yet when it is observed that GOD seems to take but little care of
them, in making them tolerable provision for this life, or that men are
suffered to take away that which GOD was pleased to provide for them; the
people are presently apt to think that they belong to GOD no more than
ordinary folks, if so much.

And although it is not to be questioned but that the Laying on of Hands
is a most Divine institution: yet it is not all the Bishops' hands in the
world, laid upon a man, if he be either notoriously ignorant or dismally
poor, that can procure him any hearty and lasting respect. For though we
find that some of the disciples of CHRIST that carried on and established
the great designs of the Gospel, were persons of ordinary employments and
education: yet we see little reason to think that miracles should be
continued, to do that which natural endeavours, assisted by the Spirit of
GOD, are able to perform. And if CHRIST were still upon earth to make
bread for such as are his peculiar Servants and Declarers of his Mind and
Doctrine; the Laity, if they please, should eat up all the corn
themselves, as well the tenth sheaf as the others: but seeing it is
otherwise, and that that miraculous power was not left to the succeeding
Clergy; for them to beg their bread, or depend for their subsistence upon
the good pleasure and humour of their parish, is a thing that renders that
Holy Office, very much slighted and disregarded.

That constitution therefore of our Church was a most prudent design, that
says that all who are ordained shall be ordained to somewhat, not ordained
at random, to preach in general to the whole world, as they travel up and
down the road; but to this or that particular parish. And, no question,
the reason was, to prevent spiritual peddling; and gadding up and down
the country with a bag of trifling and insignificant sermons, inquiring
"Who will buy any doctrine?" So that no more might be received into Holy
Orders than the Church had provision for.

But so very little is this regarded, that if a young Divinity Intender
has but got a sermon of his own, or of his father's; although he knows
not where to get a meal's meat or one penny of money by his preaching:
yet he gets a Qualification from some beneficed man or other, who,
perhaps, is no more able to keep a curate than I am to keep ten footboys!
and so he is made a Preacher. And upon this account, I have known an
ordinary Divine, whose living would but just keep himself and his family
from melancholy and despair, shroud under his protection as many Curates
as the best Nobleman in the land hath Chaplains [_i.e., eight_].

Now, many such as these, go into Orders against the sky falls! foreseeing
no more likelihood of any preferment coming to them, than you or I do of
being Secretaries of State. Now, so often as any such as these, for want
of maintenance, are put to any unworthy and disgraceful shifts; this
reflects disparagement upon all that Order of holy men.

And we must have a great care of comparing our small preferred Clergy
with those but of the like fortune, in the Church of Rome: they having
many arts and devices of gaining respect and reverence to their Office,
which we count neither just nor warrantable. We design no more, than to
be in a likely capacity of doing good, and not discrediting our religion,
nor suffering the Gospel to be disesteemed: but their aim is clearly, not
only by cheats, contrived tales, and feigned miracles, to get money in
abundance; but to be worshipped, and almost deified, is as little as they
will content themselves withal.

For how can it be, but that the people belonging to a Church, wherein the
Supreme Governor is believed never to err (either purely by virtue of his
own single wisdom, or by help of his inspiring Chair, or by the
assistance of his little infallible Cardinals; for it matters not, where
the root of not being mistaken lies): I say, how can it be, but that all
that are believers of such extraordinary knowledge, must needs stand in
most direful awe, not only of the aforesaid Supreme, but of all that
adhere to him, or are in any ghostly authority under him?

And although it so happens that this same extraordinary knowing Person is
pleased to trouble himself with a good large proportion of this vile and
contemptible world; so that should he, now and then, upon some odd and
cloudy day, count himself _mortal_, and be a little mistaken; yet he has
chanced to make such a comfortable provision for himself and his
followers, that he must needs be sufficiently valued and honoured amongst
all. But had he but just enough to keep himself from catching cold and
starving, so long as he is invested with such spiritual sovereignty and
such a peculiar privilege of being infallible; most certainly, without
quarrelling, he takes the rode [?] of all mankind.

And as for the most inferior priests of all, although they pretend not to
such perfection of knowledge: yet there be many extraordinary things which
they are believed to be able to do, which beget in people a most venerable
respect towards them: such is, the power of "making GOD" in the Sacrament,
a thing that must infallibly procure an infinite admiration of him that
can do it, though he scarce knows the _Ten Commandments_, and has not a
farthing to buy himself bread. And then, when "CHRIST is made," their
giving but half of him to the Laity, is a thing also, if it be minded,
that will very much help on the business, and make the people stand at a
greater distance from the Clergy. I might instance, likewise, in their
Auricular Confession, enjoining of Penance, forgiving sins, making of
Saints, freeing people from Purgatory, and many such useful tricks they
have, and wonders they can do, to draw in the forward believing Laity
into a most right worshipful opinion and honourable esteem of them.

And therefore, seeing our holy Church of England counts it not just, nor
warrantable, thus to cheat the world by belying the _Scriptures_; and by
making use of such falsehood and stratagems to gain respect and
reverence: it behoves us, certainly, to wish for, and endeavour, all such
means as are useful and lawful for the obtaining of the same.

I might here, I think, conveniently add that though many preferments
amongst the Clergy of Rome may possibly be as small as some of ours in
England; yet are we to be put in mind of one more excellent contrivance
of theirs: and that is, the denial of marriage to Priests, whereby they
are freed from the expenses of a family, and a train of young children,
that, upon my word! will soon suck up the milk of a cow or two, and grind
in pieces a few sheaves of corn. The Church of England therefore thinking
it not fit to oblige their Clergy to a single life (and I suppose are not
likely to alter their opinion, unless they receive better reasons for it
from Rome than have been as yet sent over): he makes a comparison very
wide from the purpose, that goes about to try the livings here in England
by those of the Church of Rome; there being nothing more frequent in our
Church than for a Clergyman to have three or four children to get bread
for, by that time, one, in theirs, shall be allowed to go into Holy

There is still one thing remaining, which ought not to be forgotten (a
thing that is sometimes urged, I know, by the Papist, for the single life
of the Priests) that does also much lessen the esteem of our Ministry; and
that is the poor and contemptible employment that many children of the
Clergy are forced upon, by reason of the meanness of their father's

It has happened, I know, sometimes, that whereas it has pleased GOD to
bestow upon the Clergyman a very sufficient income: yet such has been his
carelessness as that he hath made but pitiful provision for his children:
and, on the other side, notwithstanding all the good care and
thoughtfulness of the father, it has happened, at other times, that the
children, beyond the power of all advice, have seemed to be resolved for

But to see Clergymen's children condemned to the walking [_holding_] of
horses! to wait upon a tapster! or the like; and that only because their
father was not able to allow them a more genteel education: these are
such employments that cannot but bring great disgrace and dishonour upon
the Clergy.

But this is not all the inconvenience that attends the small income that
is the portion of some Clergymen: for besides that the Clergy in general
is disesteemed, they are likely also to do but little good in their
parish. For it is a hard matter for the people to believe, that he talks
anything to the purpose, that wants ordinary food for his family; and
that his advice and exposition can come from above, that is scarcely
defended against the weather. I have heard a travelling poor man beg with
very good reason and a great stream of seasonable rhetoric; and yet it has
been very little minded, because his clothes were torn, or at least out of
fashion. And, on the other side, I have heard but an ordinary saying
proceeding from a fine suit and a good lusty title of honour, highly
admired; which would not possibly have been hearkened to, had it been
uttered by a meaner person: yet, by all means, because it was a fancy of
His Worship's, it must be counted high! and notably expressed!

If, indeed, this world were made of sincere and pure beaten virtue, like
the gold of the first Age, then such idle and fond prejudices would be a
very vain supposal; and the doctrine that proceeded from the most
battered and contemptible habit [_clothes_] and the most sparing diet
would be as acceptable as that which flowed from a silken cassock
[_cloak_] and the best cheer. But seeing the world is not absolutely
perfect, it is to be questioned whether he that runs upon trust for every
ounce of provisions he spends in his family, can scarce look from his
pulpit into any seat in the church but that he spies somebody or other
that he is beholden to and depends upon; and, for want of money, has
scarce confidence to speak handsomely to his Sexton: it is to be
questioned, I say, whether one, thus destitute of all tolerable
subsistence, and thus shattered and distracted with most necessary cares,
can either invent with discretion, or utter with courage, anything that
may be beneficial to his people, whereby they may become his diligent
attenders and hearty respecters.

And as the people do almost resolve against being amended or bettered by
the Minister's preaching, whose circumstances as to this life are so bad,
and his condition so low: so likewise is their devotion very cool and
indifferent, in hearing from such a one the _Prayers_ of the Church.

The _Divine Service_, all the world knows! is the same, if read in the
most magnificent Cathedral or in the most private parlour; or if
performed by the Archbishop himself, or by the meanest of his priests:
but as the solemnity of the place, besides the consecration of it to GOD
Almighty, does much influence the devotion of the people; so also the
quality and condition of the person that reads it. And though there be
not that acknowledged difference between a Priest comfortably provided
for, and him that is in the thorns and briars; as there is between one
placed in great dignity and authority and one that is in less: yet such a
difference the people will make, that they will scarce hearken to what is
read by the one, and yet be most religiously attentive to the other. Not,
surely, that any one can think that he whose countenance is cheerly and
his barns full, can petition heaven more effectually, or prevail with GOD
for the forgiveness of a greater sin, than he who is pitifully pale and is
not owner of an ear of corn; yet, most certainly, they do not delight to
confess their sins and sing praises to GOD with him who sighs, more for
want of money and victuals, than for his trespasses and offences. Thus it
is, and will be! do you or I, Sir, what we can to the contrary.

Did our Church indeed believe, with the Papists, every person rightfully
ordained, to be a kind of GOD Almighty, working miracles and doing
wonders; then would people most readily prostrate themselves to
everything in Holy Orders, though it could but just creep! But as our
Church counts those of the Clergy to be but mortal men, though peculiarly
dedicated to GOD and His service; their behaviour, their condition and
circumstances of life, will necessarily come into our value and esteem of
them. And therefore it is no purpose for men to say "that this need not
be, it being but mere prejudice, humour, and fancy: and that if the man
be but truly in Holy Orders; that is the great matter! and from thence
come blessings, absolution and intercession through CHRIST with GOD. And
that it is not Philosophy, Languages, Ecclesiastical History, Prudence,
Discretion, and Reputation, by which the Minister can help us on towards

Notwithstanding this, I say again, that seeing men are men, and seeing
that we are of the Church of England and not of that of Rome, these
things ought to be weighed and considered; and for want of being so, our
Church of England has suffered much.

And I am almost confident that, since the Reformation, nothing has more
hindered people from a just estimation of a _Form of Prayer_ and our holy
_Liturgy_ than employing a company of boys, or old illiterate mumblers, to
read the _Service_. And I do verily believe, that, at this very day,
especially in Cities and Corporations, which make up the third part of
our nation, there is nothing that does more keep back some dissatisfied
people from Church till _Service_ be over, than that it is read by some
£10 or £12 man, with whose parts and education they are so well
acquainted, as to have reason to know that he has but skill enough to
read the _Lessons_ with twice conning over. And though the office of the
Reader be only to read word for word, and neither to invent or expound:
yet people love he should be a person of such worth and knowledge, as it
may be supposed he understands what he reads.

And although for some it were too burdensome a task to read the _Service_
twice a day, and preach as often; yet certainly it were much better if the
people had but one sermon in a fortnight or month, so the _Service_ were
performed by a knowing and valuable person, than to run an unlearned rout
of contemptible people into Holy Orders, on purpose only to say the
_Prayers_ of the Church, who perhaps shall understand very little more
than a hollow pipe made of tin or wainscoat.

Neither do I here at all reflect upon Cathedrals, where the _Prayers_ are
usually read by some grave and worthy person. And as for the unlearned
singers, whether boys or men, there is no complaint to be made, as to
this case, than that they have not an all understanding Organ, or a
prudent and discreet Cornet.

Neither need people be afraid that the Minister for want of preaching
should grow stiff and rusty; supposing he came not into the pulpit every
week. For he can spend his time very honestly, either by taking better
care of what he preaches, and by considering what is most useful and
seasonable for the people: and not what subject he can preach upon with
most ease, or upon what text he can make a brave speech, for which nobody
shall be the better! or where he can best steal, without being discovered,
as is the practice of many Divines in private parishes. Or else, he may
spend it in visiting the sick, instructing the ignorant, and recovering
such as are gone astray.

For though there be churches built for public assemblies, for public
instruction and exhortation; and though there be not many absolutely
plain places of Scripture that oblige the Minister to walk from house to
house: yet, certainly, people might receive much more advantage from such
charitable visits and friendly conferences, than from general discourses
levelled at the whole world, where perhaps the greatest part of the time
shall be spent in useless Prefaces, Dividings, and Flourishings. Which
thing is very practicable; excepting some vast parishes: in which, also,
it is much better to do good to some, than to none at all.

There is but one calamity more that I shall mention, which though it need
not absolutely, yet it does too frequently, accompany the low condition of
many of the Clergy: and that is, it is a great hazard if they be not
_idle, intemperate_, and _scandalous_.

I say, I cannot prove it strictly and undeniably that a man smally
beneficed, must of necessity be dissolute and debauched. But when we
consider how much he lies subject to the humour of all reprobates, and
how easily he is tempted from his own house of poverty and melancholy: it
is to be feared that he will be willing, too often to forsake his own
Study of a few scurvy books; and his own habitation of darkness where
there is seldom eating or drinking, for a good lightsome one where there
is a bountiful provision of both.

And when he comes there, though he swears not at all; yet he must be sure
to say nothing to those that do it by all that they can think of. And
though he judges it not fit to lead the Forlorn in vice and profaneness:
yet, if he goes about to damp a frolic, there is great danger, not only
of losing his Sunday dinner, but also all opportunities of such future
refreshments, for his niceness and squeamishness!

And such as are but at all disposed to this lewd kind of meetings;
besides the Devil, he shall have solicitors enough! who count all such
revelling occasion very unsavoury and unhallowed, unless they have the
presence of some Clergyman to sanctify the ordinance: who, if he sticks
at his glass, bless him! and call him but "Doctor!" and it slides
presently [_i.e., the Clergyman drinks_].

I take no delight, I must confess, to insist upon this: but only I could
very much wish that such of our Governors as go amongst our small
preferred Clergy, to take a view of the condition of the Church and
Chancel; that they would but make inquiry, Whether the Minister himself
be not much out of repair?

I have now done, Sir, with the Grounds of that Disesteem that many of the
Clergy lie under, both by the _Ignorance_ of some, and the _extreme
Poverty_ of others. And I should have troubled you no further, but that I
thought it convenient not to omit the particular Occasions that do concur
to the making of many of our Clergy so pitifully poor and contemptible.

The first thing that contributes much to the Poverty of the Clergy is
_the great scarcity of Livings_.

Churches and Chapels we have enough, it is to be confessed, if compared
with the bigness of our nation: but, in respect of that infinite number
that are in Holy Orders, it is a very plain case, that there is a very
great want. And I am confident, that, in a very little time, I could
procure hundreds that should ride both sun and moon down, and be
everlastingly yours! if you could help them but to a Living of £25 or £30
a year.

And this, I suppose, to be chiefly occasioned upon these two accounts:
either from _the eagerness and ambition_ that some people have, of going
into Orders; or from the _refuge of others_ into the Church, who, being
otherwise disappointed of a livelihood, hope to make sure of one by that

First, I say, that which increases the unprovided-for number of the
Clergy, is people posting into Orders before they know their Message or
business, only out of a certain pride and ambition. Thus some are hugely
in love with the mere title of Priest or Deacon: never considering how
they shall live, or what good they are likely to do in their Office; but
only they have a fancy, that a cassock, if it be made long, is a very
handsome garment, though it be never paid for; that the Desk is clearly
the best, and the Pulpit, the highest seat in all the parish; that they
shall take place [_precedence_] of most Esquires and Right Worshipfuls;
that they shall have the honour of being spiritual guides and
counsellors; and they shall be supposed to understand more of the Mind of
GOD than ordinary, though perhaps they scarcely know the Old Law from the
New, nor the _Canon_ from the _Apocrypha_. Many, I say, such as these,
there be, who know not where to get two groats, nor what they have to say
to the people: but only because they have heard that the office of a
Minister is the most noble and honourable employment in the world;
therefore they (not knowing in the least what the meaning of that is),
Orders, by all means, must have! though it be to the disparagement of
that holy function.

Others also there be who are not so highly possessed with the mere
dignity of the office and honourableness of the employment; but think,
had they but licence and authority to preach, O how they could pay it
away! and that they can tell the people such strange things, as they
never heard before, in all their lives! That they have got such a
commanding voice! such heart-breaking expressions! such a peculiar method
of Text-dividing! and such notable helps for the interpreting all
difficulties in Scripture! that they can shew the people a much shorter
way to heaven than has been, as yet, made known by any!

Such a forwardness as this, of going in Holy Orders, either merely out of
an ambitious humour of being called a Priest; or of thinking they could do
such feats and wonders, if they might be but free of the Pulpit, has
filled the nation with many more Divines than there is any competent
maintenance for in the Church.

Another great crowd that is made in the Church is by those that take in
there only as a place of shelter and refuge. Thus, we have many turn
Priests and Deacons, either for want of employment in their profession of
Law, Physic, or the like; or having been unfortunate in their trade, or
having broken a leg, or an arm, and so disabled from following their
former calling; or having had the pleasure of spending their estate, or
being (perhaps deservedly) disappointed of their inheritance. The Church
is a very large and good "Sanctuary"; and one Spiritual shilling is as
good as three Temporality shillings. Let the hardest come to the hardest!
if they can get by heart, _Quid est fides? Quid est Ecclesia? quot sunt
Concilia Generalia_? and gain Orders; they may prove Readers or
Preachers, according as their gifts and opportunities shall lie. Now
many, such as these, the Church being not able to provide for (as there
is no great reason that she should be solicitous about it) must needs
prove a very great disparagement to her; they coming hither, just as the
old heathens used to go to prayers. When nothing would stop the anger of
the gods, then for a touch of devotion! and if there be no way to get
victuals; rather than starve, let us Read or Preach!

In short, Sir, we are perfectly overstocked with Professors of Divinity:
there being scarce employment for half of those who undertake that
office. And unless we had some of the Romish tricks, to ramble up and
down, and cry Pardons and Indulgences; or, for want of a living, have a
good store of clients in the business of Purgatory, or the like, and so
make such unrighteous gains of Religion: it were certainly much better if
many of them were otherwise determined. Or unless we have some vent
[_export_] for our Learned Ones, beyond the sea; and could transport so
many tons of Divines yearly, as we do other commodities with which the
nation is overstocked; we do certainly very unadvisedly, to breed up so
many to that Holy Calling, or to suffer so many to steal into Orders:
seeing there is not sufficient work and employment for them.

The next thing that does as much to heighten the misery of our Church, as
to the _poverty_ of it, is the Gentry's designing, not only the weak, the
lame, and usually the most ill-favoured of their children for the office
of the Ministry; but also such as they intend to settle nothing upon for
their subsistence: leaving them wholly to the bare hopes of Church
preferment. For, as they think, let the Thing look how it will, it is
good enough for the Church! and that if it had but limbs enough to climb
the pulpit, and eyes enough to find the day of the month, it will serve
well enough to preach, and read _Service_!

So, likewise, they think they have obliged the Clergy very much, if they
please to bestow two or three years' education upon a younger son at the
University: and then commend him to the grace of GOD, and the favour of
the Church; without one penny of money, or inch of land!

You must not think, that he will spoil his eldest son's estate, or hazard
the lessening of the credit of the family, to do that which may, any way,
tend to the reputation and honour of the Clergy!

And thus it comes to pass, that you may commonly ride ten miles, and
scarce meet with a Divine that is worth above two spoons and a pepper
box, besides his living or spiritual preferments. For, as for the Land,
that goes sweeping away with the eldest son, for the immortality of the
family! and, as for the Money, that is usually employed for to bind out
[_apprentice_] and set up other children! And thus, you shall have them
make no doubt of giving £500 or a £1,000 [= £1,500 _or_ £3,000 _now_] for
a stock [_capital_] to them: but for the poor Divinity son, if he gets but
enough to buy a broad hat at second-hand, and a small _System of Faith_ or
two, that is counted stock sufficient for him to set up withal.

And, possibly, he might make some kind of shift in this world, if anybody
will engage that he shall have, neither wife nor children: but, if it so
fall out, that he leaves the world, and behind him either the one or the
others: in what a dismal condition are these likely to be! and how will
their sad calamities reflect upon the Clergy! So dismal a thing is this
commonly judged, that those that at their departure out of this life, are
piously and virtuously disposed, do usually reckon the taking care for the
relief of the poor Ministers' widows, to be an opportunity of as necessary
charity as the mending the highways, and the erecting of hospitals.

But neither are spiritual preferments only scarce, by reason of that
great number that lie hovering over them; and that they that are thus on
the wing, are usually destitute of any other estate and livelihood: but
also, when they come into possession of them, they finding, for the most
part, nothing but a little sauce and Second Course (pigs, geese, and
apples), must needs be put upon great perplexities for the standing
necessaries of a family.

So that if it be inquired by any one, How comes it to pass, that we have
so many in Holy Orders that understand so little, and are able to do so
little service in the Church? if we may answer plainly and truly, we may
say, "Because they are fit for nothing else!"

For, shall we think that any man that is not cursed to uselessness,
poverty, and misery, will be content with £20 or £30 a year? For though,
in the bulk, it looks, at first, like a bountiful estate; yet, if we
think of it a little better, we shall find that an ordinary bricklayer or
carpenter (I mean not your great undertakers [_contractors_] and master
workmen) that earns constantly but his two shillings a day, has clearly a
better revenue, and has certainly the command of more money. For that the
one has no dilapidations and the like, to consume a great part of his
weekly wages; of which you know how much the other is subject unto.

So that as long as we have so many small and contemptible livings
belonging to our Church, let the world do what it can! we must expect
that they should be supplied by very lamentable and unserviceable Things.
For that nobody else will meddle with them! unless, one in an Age
abounding with money, charity, and goodness, will preach for nothing!

For if men of knowledge, prudence, and wealth have a fancy against a
Living of £20 or £30 a year; there is no way to get them into such an
undertaking, but by sending out a spiritual press [_press gang_]: for
that very few volunteers that are worth, unless better encouraged, will
go into that Holy Warfare! but it will be left to those who cannot devise
how otherwise to live!

Neither must people say that, "besides Bishoprics, Prebendaries, and the
like, we have several brave benefices, suffice to invite those of the
best parts, education, and discretion." For, imagine one Living in forty
is worth £100 [= £300 _now_] a year, and supplied by a man of skill and
wholesome counsel: what are the other thirty-nine the better for that?
What are the people about Carlisle bettered by his instructions and
advice who lives at Dover? It was certainly our Saviour's mind, not only
that the Gospel should be preached to all nations at first; but that the
meaning and power of it should be preserved, and constantly declared to
all people, by such as had judgement to do it.

Neither again must they say, that "Cities, Corporations, and the great
trading towns of this nation, which are the strength and glory of it, and
that contain the useful people of the world, are usually instructed by
very learned and judicious persons." For, I suppose that our Saviour's
design was not that Mayors, Aldermen, and merchants should be only saved:
but also that all plain country people should partake of the same means;
who (though they read not so many _Gazettes_ as citizens; nor concern
themselves where the Turk or King of France [_Louis XIV_.] sets on next)
yet the true knowledge of GOD is now so plainly delivered in Scripture,
that there wants nothing but sober and prudent Offerers of the same, to
make it saving to those of the meanest understandings. And therefore, in
all parishes, if possible, there ought to be such a fixed and settled
provision as might reasonably invite some careful and prudent person, for
the people's guide and instruction in holy matters.

And furthermore, it might be added, that the revenue belonging to most of
the Corporation Livings is no such mighty business: for were it not for
the uncertain and humorsome contribution of the well-pleased
parishioners, the Parson and his family might be easily starved, for all
the lands and income that belong to the Church. Besides, the great
mischief that such kind of hired Preachers have done in the World--which
I shall not stay here, to insist upon.

And as we have not churches enough, in respect of the great multitude
that are qualified for a Living: so, considering the smallness of the
revenue and the number of people that are to be the hearers, it is very
plain that we have too many.

And we shall, many times, find two churches in the same yard, when as one
would hold double the people of both the parishes. If they were united for
the encouragement of some deserving person, he might easily make shift to
spend, very honestly and temperately, the revenue of both.

And what though churches stand at a little further distance? People may
please to walk a mile, without distemperating themselves; when as they
shall go three or four to a market, to sell two pennyworth of eggs.

But suppose they resolved to pretend that they shall catch cold (the
clouds being more than ordinarily thick upon the Sunday; as they usually
are, if there be religion in the case); and that they are absolutely bent
upon having instruction brought to their own town. Why might not one
sermon a day, or (rather than fail) one in a fortnight, from a prudent
and well-esteemed-of Preacher, do as well as two a day from him that
talks, all the year long, nothing to the purpose; and thereupon is
laughed at and despised?

I know what people will presently say to this, viz., that "if, upon
Sunday, the Church doors be shut, the Alehouses will be open! and
therefore, there must be somebody (though never so weak and lamentable!)
to pass away the time in the Church, that the people may be kept sober
and peaceable."

Truly, if religion and the worship of GOD consisted only in _negatives_,
and that the observation of the Sabbath, was only _not_ to be drunk! then
they speak much to the purpose; but if it be otherwise, very little. It
being not much unlike, as it is the fashion in many places, to the
sending of little children of two or three years old to a School Dame,
without any design of learning one letter, but only to keep them out of
the fire and water.

Last of all, people must not say that "there needs no great store of
learning in a Minister; and therefore a small Living may answer his
deserts: for that there be _Homilies_ made on purpose by the Church for
young beginners and slow inventors. Whereupon it is, that such difference
is made between giving Orders, and License to Preach: the latter being
granted only to such, as the Bishop shall judge able to make sermons."

But this does not seem to do the business. For though it be not necessary
for every Guide of a parish to understand all the Oriental languages, or
to make exactly elegant or profound discourses for the Pulpit; yet, most
certainly, it is very requisite that he should be so far learned and
judicious as prudently to advise, direct, inform, and satisfy the people
in holy matters; when they demand it, or beg it from him. Which to
perform readily and judiciously requires much more discretion and skill,
than, upon long deliberation, to make a continued talk of an hour,
without any great discernible failings. So that were a Minister tied up,
never to speak one sentence of his own invention out of the pulpit in his
whole lifetime; yet doubtless many other occasions there be, for which
neither wisdom nor reputation should be wanting in him that has the care
and government of a parish.

I shall not here go about to please myself with the imagination of all
the Great Tithes being restored to the Church; having little reason to
hope to see such days of virtue. Nor shall I here question the
almightiness of former Kings and Parliaments, nor dispute whether all the
King HENRIES in the world, with ever such a powerful Parliament, were able
to determine to any other use, what was once solemnly dedicated to GOD,
and His service. By yet, when we look over the Prefaces to those _Acts of
Parliament_ whereby some Church revenues were granted to HENRY VIII., one
cannot but be much taken with the ingenuity of that Parliament; that when
the King wanted a supply of money and an augmentation to his revenue, how
handsomely, out of the Church they made provision for him, without doing
themselves any injury at all!

_For_, say they, _seeing His Majesty is our joy and life; seeing that he
is so courageous and wise; seeing that he is so very tender of, and well
affected to, all his subjects; and that he has been at such large
expenses, for five and twenty whole years, to defend and protect this his
realm: therefore, in all duty and gratitude, and as a manifest token of
our unfeigned thankfulness, We do grant unto the king and his heirs for
ever, &c._

It follows as closely as can be, that because the king has been a good
and deserving king, and had been at much trouble and expense for the
safety and honour of the nation, that therefore all his wants shall be
supplied _out of the Church_! as if all the charges that he had been at,
were upon the account only of his Ecclesiastical subjects, and not in
relation to the rest.

It is not, Sir, for you or I to guess, which way the whole Clergy in
general, might be better provided for. But, sure it is, and must not be
denied, that so long as many Livings continue as they now are, thus
impoverished; and that there be so few encouragements for men of
sobriety, wisdom, and learning: we have no reason to expect much better
Instructors and Governors of parishes, than at present we commonly find.

There is a way, I know, that some people love marvellously to talk of;
and that is a just and equal levelling of Ecclesiastical preferments.

"What a delicate refreshment," say they, "would it be, if £20,000 or
£30,000 a year were taken from the Bishops, and discreetly sprinkled
amongst the poorer and meaner sort of the Clergy! how would it rejoice
their hearts, and encourage them in their Office! What need those great
and sumptuous palaces, their city and their country houses, their parks
and spacious waters, their costly dishes and fashionable sauces? May not
he that lives in a small thatched house, that can scarcely walk four
strides in his own ground, that has only _read_ well concerning venison,
fish, and fowl: may not he, I say, preach as loud and to as much purpose
as one of those high and mighty Spiritualists? Go to, then! Seeing it
hath pleased GOD to make such a bountiful provision for His Church in
general, what need we be solicitous about the emending the low condition
of many of the Clergy, when as there is such a plain remedy at hand, had
we but grace to apply it?"

This invention pleases some mainly well. But for all the great care they
pretend to have of the distressed part of the Clergy, I am confident, one
might easily guess what would please them much better! if (instead of
augmenting small benefices) the Bishops would be pleased to return to
them, those lands purchased in their absence [_i.e., during the
Commonwealth, which were restored to the Bishoprics at the Restoration_]:
and then, as for the relieving of the Clergy, they would try if they could
find out another way!

But, art thou in good earnest? my excellent Contriver! Dost thou think
that if the greatest of our Church preferments were wisely parcelled out
amongst those that are in want, it would do such feats and courtesies?
And dost thou not likewise think, that if ten or twenty of the lustiest
Noblemen's estates of England were cleverly sliced among the indigent;
would it not strangely refresh some of the poor Laity that cry "Small
Coal!" or grind scissors! I do suppose if GOD should afterwards incline
thy mind (for I fancy it will not be as yet, a good while!) to be a
Benefactor to the Church; thy wisdom may possibly direct thee to disperse
thy goodness in smaller parcels, rather than to flow in upon two or three
with full happiness.

But if it be my inclination to settle upon one Ecclesiastical person and
his successors for ever, a £1,000 a year [= £3,000 _now_] upon condition
only to read the _Service_ of the Church once in a week; and you take it
ill, and find fault with my prudence and the method of my munificence,
and say that "the stipend is much too large for such a small task": yet,
I am confident, that should I make thy Laityship heir of such an estate,
and oblige thee only to the trouble and expense of spending a single
chicken or half a dozen larks once a year, in commemoration of me; that
thou wouldst count me the wisest man that ever was, since the Creation!
and pray to GOD never to dispose thy mind, to part with one farthing of
it for any other use, than for the service of thyself and thy family.

And yet so it is, that, because the Bishops, upon their first being
restored [in 1660], had the confidence to levy fines, according as they
were justly due; and desired to live in their own houses, if not pulled
down! and to receive their own rents: presently, they cry out, "The
Churchmen have got all the treasure and money of the nation into their

If they have, let them thank GOD for it! and make a good use of it. Weep
not, Beloved! for there is very little hope that they will cast it all
into the sea, on purpose to stop the mouths of them, that say "they have
too much!"

What other contrivances there may be, for the settling upon Ministers in
general, a sufficient revenue for their subsistence and encouragement in
their office; I shall leave to be considered of, by the Governors of
Learning and Religion.

Only thus much is certain, that so long as the maintenance of many
Ministers is so very small, it is not to be avoided, but that a great
part of them will want learning, prudence, courage, and esteem to do any
good where they live.

And what if we have (as by all must be acknowledged) as wise and learned
Bishops as be in the world, and many others of very great understanding
and wisdom; yet (as was before hinted) unless there be provided for most
towns and parishes some tolerable and sufficient Guides, the strength of
Religion, and the credit of the Clergy will daily languish more and more.

Not that it is to be believed that every small country parish should be
altogether hopeless as to the next life, unless they have a HOOKER, a
CHILLINGWORTH, a HAMMOND, or a SANDERSON dwelling amongst them: but it is
requisite, and might be brought about, that somebody there should be, to
whom the people have reason to attend, and to be directed and guided by

I have, Sir, no more to say, were it not that you find the word
_Religion_ in the Title: of which in particular I have spoken very
little. Neither need I! considering how nearly it depends, as to its
glory and strength, upon the reputation and mouth of the Priest.

And I shall add no more but this, viz., that among those many things that
tend to the decay of Religion, and of a due reverence of the _Holy
Scriptures_, nothing has more occasioned it than the ridiculous and idle
discourses that are uttered out of pulpits. For when the Gallants of the
world do observe how the Ministers themselves do jingle, quibble, and
play the fool with the Texts: no wonder, if they, who are so inclinable
to Atheism, do not only deride and despise the Priests; but droll upon
the _Bible_! and make a mock of all that is sober and sacred!

I am, Sir, Your most humble servant,


_August_ 8, 1670.




_The miseries of the Domestic Chaplain, in_ 1710.

[_The Tatler_. No. 255. Thursday, 23 Nov. 1710.]

_To the Censor of Great Britain.


I am at present, under very great difficulties; which is not in the power
of any one besides yourself, to redress. Whether or not, you shall think
it a proper Case to come before your Court of Honour, I cannot tell: but
thus it is.

I am Chaplain to an honourable Family, very regular at the Hours of
Devotion, and I hope of an unblameable life: but, for not offering to
rise at the Second Course, I found my Patron and his Lady very sullen and
out of humour; though, at first, I did not know the reason of it.

At length, when I happened to help myself to a jelly, the Lady of the
house, otherwise a devout woman, told me "It did not become a Man of my
Cloth, to delight in such frivolous food!" But as I still continued to
sit out the last course, I was yesterday informed by the butler, that
"His Lordship had no further occasion for my service."

All which is humbly submitted to your consideration, by,


Your most humble servant, &c._

The case of this Gentleman deserves pity, especially if he loves
sweetmeats; to which, if I may guess by his letter, he is no enemy.

In the meantime, I have often wondered at the indecency of discarding the
holiest man from the table, as soon as the most delicious parts of the
entertainment are served up: and could never conceive a reason for so
absurd a custom.

Is it because a licorous palate, or a sweet tooth (as they call it), is
not consistent with the sanctity of his character?

This is but a trifling pretence! No man of the most rigid virtue, gives
offence by any excesses in plum pudding or plum porridge; and that,
because they are the first parts of the dinner. Is there anything that
tends to _incitation_ in sweetmeats, more than in ordinary dishes?
Certainly not! Sugar-plums are a very innocent diet; and conserves of a
much colder nature than your common pickles.

I have sometimes thought that the Ceremony of the _Chaplain flying away
from the Dessert_ was typical and figurative. To mark out to the company,
how they ought to retire from all the luscious baits of temptation, and
deny their appetites the gratifications that are most pleasing to them.

Or, at least, to signify that we ought to stint ourselves in the most
lawful satisfactions; and not make our Pleasure, but our Support the end
of eating.

But, most certainly, if such a lesson of temperance had been necessary at
a table: our Clergy would have recommended it to all the Lay masters of
families; and not have disturbed other men's tables with such
unreasonable examples of abstinence.

The original therefore of this _barbarous custom_, I take to have been
merely accidental.

The Chaplain retired, out of pure complaisance, to make room for the
removal of the dishes, or possibly for the ranging of the dessert. This,
by degrees, grew into a duty; till, at length, as the fashion improved,
the good man found himself cut off from the Third part of the
entertainment: and, if the arrogance of the Patron goes on, it is not
impossible but, in the next generation, he may see himself reduced to the
Tithe or Tenth Dish of the table. A sufficient caution not to part with
any privilege we are once possessed of!

It was usual for the Priest, in old times, to feast upon the sacrifice,
nay the honey cake; while the hungry Laity looked upon him with great
devotion: or, as the late Lord ROCHESTER describes it in a very lively

    _And while the Priest did eat, the People stared_.

At present, the custom is inverted. The Laity feast while the Priest
stands by as an humble spectator.

This necessarily puts the good man upon making great ravages on all the
dishes that stand near him; and upon distinguishing himself by
voraciousness of appetite, as knowing that "his time is short."

I would fain ask these stiff-necked Patrons, Whether they would not take
it ill of a Chaplain that, in his grace, after meat, should return thanks
for the whole entertainment, with an exception to the dessert? And yet I
cannot but think that in such a proceeding, he would but deal with them
as they deserved.

What would a Roman Catholic priest think (who is always helped first, and
placed next the ladies), should he see a Clergyman giving his company the
slip at the first appearance of the tarts or sweetmeats? Would he not
believe that he had the same antipathy to a candid orange or a piece of
puff paste, as some have to a Cheshire cheese or a breast of mutton?

Yet to so ridiculous a height is this foolish custom grown, that even the
Christmas Pie, which in its very nature is a kind of consecrated cake and
a badge of distinction, is often forbidden to the Druid of the family.

Strange! that a sirloin of beef, whether boiled or roasted, when entire,
is exposed to his utmost depredations and incisions; but if minced into
small pieces and tossed up with plums and sugar, it changes its property;
and, forsooth, it is meat for his Master!

In this Case, I know not which to censure [_blame_], the Patron or the
Chaplain! the insolence of power, or the abjectness of dependence!

For my own part, I have often blushed to see a Gentleman, whom I knew to
have more Wit and Learning than myself, and who was bred up with me at
the University upon the same foot of a liberal education, treated in such
an ignominious manner; and sunk beneath those of his own rank, by reason
of that character which ought to bring him honour.

This deters men of generous minds from placing themselves in such a
station of life; and by that means frequently excludes Persons of Quality
from the improving and agreeable conversation of a learned and obsequious

Mr. OLDHAM lets us know that he was affrighted from the thought of such
an employment, by the scandalous sort of treatment, which often
accompanies it.

    _Some think themselves exalted to the sky,
    If they light in some noble family:
    Diet, a horse, and Thirty pounds a year;
    Besides th' advantage of his Lordship's ear,
    The credit of the business, and the State;

    Are things that in a youngster's sense sound_ great.
    _Little the unexperienced wretch does know,
    What slavery he oft must undergo!
    Who, though in silken scarf and cassock drest,
    Wears but a gayer_ livery, _at best.
    When dinner calls, the Implement must wait,
    With holy words to consecrate the meat:
    But hold it, for a favour seldom known,
    If he be deigned the honour to sit down!
    Soon as the tarts appear, "Sir CRAPE, withdraw!
    These dainties are not for a spiritual maw!
    Observe your distance! and be sure to stand
    Hard by the cistern with your cap in hand!
    There, for diversion, you may pick your teeth
    Till the kind Voider comes for your relief."

    Let others who, such meannesses can brook,
    Strike countenance to every Great Man's look:
    I rate my freedom higher!_

The author's raillery is the raillery of a friend, and does not turn the
Sacred Order into ridicule: but it is a just censure on such persons as
take advantages from the necessities of a Man of Merit, to impose upon
him hardships that are by no means suitable to the dignity of his



_Another description of the miseries of the Domestic Chaplain, in_ 1713,

[_The Guardian_. No. 173. Thursday, 17 Sept. 1713.]

When I am disposed to give myself a day's rest, I order the _Lion_ to be
opened [_i.e., a letter-box at BUTTON's Coffee-house_], and search into
that magazine of intelligence for such letters as are to my purpose. The
first I looked into, comes to me from one who is Chaplain to a great

He treats himself, in the beginning of it, after such a manner as I am
persuaded no Man of Sense would treat him. Even the Lawyer, and the
Physician to a Man of Quality, expect to be used like gentlemen; and much
more, may any one of so superior a profession!

I am by no means encouraging that dispute, Whether the Chaplain, or the
Master of the house be the better man, and the more to be respected? The
two learned authors, Dr. HICKS and Mr. COLLIER (to whom I might add
several others) are to be excused, if they have carried the point a
little too high in favour of the Chaplain: since in so corrupt an Age as
that we live in, the popular opinion runs so far into the other extreme.

The only controversy between the Patron and the Chaplain ought to be,
Which should promote the good designs and interests of each other most?
And, for my own part, I think it is the happiest circumstance in a great
Estate or Title, that it qualifies a man for choosing, out of such a
learned and valuable body of men as that of the English Clergy, a friend,
a spiritual guide, and a companion.

The letter which I have received from one of this Order, is as follows:

    _Mr. Guardian,

    I hope you will not only indulge me in the liberty of two or three
    questions; but also in the solution of them.

    I haw had the honour, many years, of being Chaplain in a noble
    Family; and of being accounted the_ highest servant _in the house:
    either out of respect to my Cloth, or because I lie in the
    uppermost garret.

    Whilst my old Lord lived, his table was always adorned with useful
    Learning and innocent Mirth, as well as covered with Plenty. I was
    not looked upon as a piece of furniture, fit only to sanctify and
    garnish a feast; but treated as a Gentleman, and generally desired
    to fill up the conversation, an hour after I had done my duty_
    [i.e., said grace after dinner].

    _But now my young Lord is come to the Estate, I find I am looked
    upon as a_ Censor Morum, _an obstacle to mirth and talk: and
    suffered to retire constantly with_ "Prosperity to the Church!" _in
    my mouth_ [i.e., after drinking this toast].

    _I declare, solemnly, Sir, that I have heard nothing from all the
    fine Gentlemen who visit us, more remarkable, for half a year, than
    that one young Lord was seven times drunk at Genoa.

    I have lately taken the liberty to stay three or four rounds_
    [i.e., of the bottle] _beyond [the toast of]_ The Church! _to see
    what topics of discourse they went upon: but, to my great surprise,
    have hardly heard a word all the time, besides the Toasts. Then
    they all stared full in my face, and shewed all the actions of
    uneasiness till I was gone.

    Immediately upon my departure, to use the words of an old Comedy,
    "I find by the noise they make, that they had a mind to be

    I am at a loss to imagine what conversation they have among one
    another, which I may not be present at: since I love innocent Mirth
    as much as any of them; and am shocked with no freedoms whatsoever,
    which are inconsistent with Christianity.

    I have, with much ado, maintained my post hitherto at the dessert,
    and every day eat a tart in the face of my Patron: but how long I
    shall be invested with this privilege, I do not know. For the
    servants, who do not see me supported as I was in my old Lord's
    time, begin to brush very familiarly by me: and they thrust aside
    my chair, when they set the sweetmeats on the table.

    I have been born and educated a Gentleman, and desire you will make
    the public sensible that the Christian Priesthood was never
    thought, in any Age or country, to debase the Man who is a member
    of it. Among the great services which your useful Papers daily do
    to Religion, this perhaps will not be the least: and it will lay a
    very great obligation on

    Your unknown servant,



_Poor RICHARD improved, Being an Almanac, &c., for the year of our Lord_




I have heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure as to find
his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors. This pleasure I
have seldom enjoyed. For though I have been, if I may say it without
vanity, an _eminent_ author of _Almanacs_ annually, now a full quarter of
a century, my brother authors in the same way, for what reason I know not,
have ever been very sparing in their applauses; and no other author has
taken the least notice of me: so that did not my writings produce me some
solid Pudding, the great deficiency of Praise would have quite discouraged

I concluded at length, that the people were the best judges of my merit;
for they buy my works: and besides, in my rambles, where I am not
personally known, I have frequently heard one or other of my Adages
repeated, with "as _Poor RICHARD_ says!" at the end of it. This gave me
some satisfaction, as it shewed, not only that my Instructions were
regarded, but discovered likewise some respect for my Authority. And I
own, that to encourage the practice of remembering and repeating those
wise Sentences: I have sometimes _quoted myself_ with great gravity.

Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am
going to relate to you!

I stopped my horse lately, where a great number of people were collected
at a Vendue [_sale_] of Merchant's goods. The hour of sale not being
come, they were conversing on the badness of the Times: and one of the
company called to a clean old man, with white locks, "Pray, Father
ABRAHAM! what do you think of the Times? Won't these heavy taxes quite
ruin the country? How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you
advise us to?"

Father ABRAHAM stood up, and replied, "If you would have my advice; I
will give it you, in short; for _a word to the wise is enough_, and _many
words won't fill a bushel_, as _Poor RICHARD_ says."

They all joined, desiring him to speak his mind; and gathering round him,
he proceeded as follows:

"Friends" says he, "and neighbours! The taxes are indeed very heavy; and
if those laid on by the Government were the only ones we had to pay, we
might the more easily discharge them: but we have many others, and much
more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our IDLENESS,
three times as much by our PRIDE, and four times as much by our FOLLY:
and from these taxes, the Commissioners cannot ease, or deliver us by
allowing an abatement. However let us hearken to good advice, and
something may be done for us. _GOD helps them that help themselves_, as
_Poor RICHARD_ says in his _Almanac_ of 1733."

It would be thought a hard Government that should tax its people
One-tenth part of their TIME, to be employed in its service. But Idleness
taxes many of us much more; if we reckon all that is spent in absolute
sloth, or doing of nothing; with that which is spent in idle employments
or amusements that amount to nothing. Sloth, by bringing on diseases,
absolutely shortens life. _Sloth, like Rust, consumes faster than Labour
wears; while the used key is always bright, as Poor RICHARD says_. But
_dost thou love Life? Then do not squander time! for that's the stuff
Life is made of_, as _Poor RICHARD says_.

How much more than is necessary do we spend in sleep? forgetting that
_the sleeping fox catches no poultry_; and that _there will be sleeping
enough in the grave_, as _Poor RICHARD_ says. If Time be of all things
the most precious, _Wasting of Time must be_ (as _Poor RICHARD_ says)
_the greatest prodigality;_ since, as he elsewhere tells us, _Lost time
is never found again_; and what we call _Time enough! always prows little
enough_. Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the purpose: so, by
diligence, shall we do more with less perplexity. _Sloth makes all things
difficult, but Industry all things easy_, as _Poor RICHARD_ says: and _He
that riseth late, must trot all day; and shall scarce overtake his
business at night_. While _Laziness travels so slowly, that Poverty soon
overtakes him_, as we read in _Poor RICHARD_; who adds, _Drive thy
business! Let not that drive thee!_ and

    _Early to bed, and early to rise,
    Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise_.

So what signifies _wishing_ and _hoping_ for better Times! We may make
these Times better, if we bestir ourselves! _Industry need not wish!_ as
_Poor RICHARD_ says; and _He that lives on Hope, will die fasting. There
are no gains without pains_. Then _Help hands! for I have no lands_; or
if I have, they are smartly taxed. And as _Poor RICHARD_ likewise
observes, _He that hath a Trade, hath an Estate_, and He that _hath a
Calling, hath an Office of Profit and Honour_: but, then, the Trade must
be worked at, and the Calling well followed, or neither the Estate, nor
the Office, will enable us to pay our taxes.

If we are industrious, we shall never starve, for, as _Poor RICHARD_
says, _At the working man's houses Hunger looks in; but dares not enter_.
Nor will the Bailiff, or the Constable enter: for _Industry pays debts,
while, Despair increaseth them_, says _Poor RICHARD_.

What though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich relation left
you a legacy. _Diligence is the Mother of Good-luck_, as _Poor RICHARD_
says; and _GOD gives ail things to Industry_. Then

    _Plough deep, while sluggards sleep;
   And you shall have corn to sell and to keep,_

says _Poor DICK_. Work while it is called to-day; for you know not, how
much you may be hindered to-morrow: which makes _Poor RICHARD_ say, _One
To-day is worth two To-morrows_, and farther, _Have you somewhat to do
to-morrow? do it to-day!_

If you were a servant, would you not be ashamed that a good master should
catch you idle? Are you then your own Master? _Be ashamed to catch
yourself idle!_ as _Poor DICK_ says. When there is so much to be done for
yourself, your family, your country, and your gracious King; be up by peep
of day! _Let not the sun look down, and say, "Inglorious, here he lies!"_
Handle your tools, without mittens! Remember that _The cat in glove
catches no mice!_ as _Poor RICHARD_ says.

'Tis true there is much to be done; and perhaps you are weak handed; but
stick to it steadily! and you will see great effects, For _Constant
dropping wears away stones_, and _By diligence and patience, the mouse
ate in two the cable_, and _little strokes fell great oaks_; as _Poor
RICHARD_ says in his _Almanac_, the year I cannot, just now, remember.

Methinks, I hear some of you say, "Must a man afford himself no leisure?"

I will tell thee, my friend! what _Poor RICHARD_ says.

    _Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure! and
    Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour!_

Leisure is time for doing something useful. This leisure the diligent man
will obtain; but the lazy man never. So that, as _Poor RICHARD_ says, _A
life of leisure, and a life of laziness are two things_. Do you imagine
that Sloth will afford you more comfort than Labour? No! for as _Poor
RICHARD_ says, _Trouble springs from idleness, and grievous toil from
needless ease. Many without labour, would live by their Wits only; but
they'll break, for want of Stock_ [_i.e._, Capital]. Whereas Industry
gives comfort, and plenty, and respect. _Fly Pleasures! and they'll
follow you! The diligent spinner has a large shift_, and

    _Now I have a sheep and a cow
    Everybody bids me "Good morrow."_

All which is well said by _Poor RICHARD_.

But with our Industry; we must likewise be Steady, Settled, and Careful:
and oversee our own affairs _with our own eyes_, and not trust too much
to others. For, as _Poor RICHARD_ says,

    _I never saw an oft removed tree,
    Nor yet an oft removed family,
    That throve so well, as those that settled be_.

And again, _Three Removes are as bad as a Fire;_ and again _Keep thy
shop! and thy shop will keep thee!_ and again, _If you would have your
business done, go! if not, send!_ and again,

    _He that by the plough would thrive;
    Himself must either hold or drive_.

And again, _The Eye of the master will do more work than both his Hands;_
and again, _Want of Care does us more damage than Want of Knowledge;_ and
again, _Not to oversee workmen, is to leave them your purse open_.

Trusting too much to others' care, is the ruin of many. For, as the
Almanac says, _In the affairs of this world, men are saved, not by faith,
but by the want of it_. But a man's own care is profitable; for, saith
_Poor DICK, Learning is to the Studious,_ and _Riches to the Careful;_ as
well as _Power to the Bold,_ and _Heaven to the Virtuous_. And further,
_If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like; serve

And again, he adviseth to circumspection and care, even in the smallest
matters; because sometimes, _A little neglect may breed great mischief_;
adding, _For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the
horse was lost; and for want of a horse, the rider was lost_; being
overtaken, and slain by the enemy. All for want of care about a
horse-shoe nail.

So much for Industry, my friends! and attention to one's own business;
but to these we must add FRUGALITY, if we would make our industry more
certainly successful. _A man may_, if he knows not how to save as he
gets, _keep his nose, all his life, to the grindstone; and die not worth
a groat at last. A fat Kitchen makes a lean Will_, as _Poor RICHARD_
says, and

    _Many estates are spent in the getting,
    Since women, for Tea, forsook spinning and knitting;
    And men, for Punch, forsook hewing and splitting_.

_If you would be healthy_, says he in another _Almanac, think of Saving,
as well as of Getting! The Indies have not made Spain rich; because her
Outgoes are greater than her Incomes_.

Away, then, with your expensive follies! and you will not have so much
cause to complain of hard Times, heavy taxes, and chargeable families.
For, as _Poor DICK_ says,

    _Women and Wine, Game and Deceit,
    Make the Wealth small, and the Wants great_.

And farther, _What maintains one vice, would bring up two children_.

You may think perhaps, that, a _little_ tea, or a _little_ punch, now and
then; diet, a _little_ more costly; clothes, a _little_ finer; and a
_little_ entertainment, now and then; can be no great matter. But
remember what _Poor RICHARD_ says, _Many a Little makes a Mickle_; and
farther, _Beware of little expenses! a small leak will sink a great
ship_; and again, _Who dainties love; shall beggars prove!_ and moreover,
_Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them_.

Here are you all got together at this Vendue of Fineries and knicknacks!
You call them Goods: but if you do not take care, they will prove Evils
to some of you! You expect they will be sold cheap, and perhaps they may,
for less than they cost; but if you have no occasion for them, they must
be _dear_ to you! Remember what _Poor RICHARD_ says! _Buy what thou hast
no need of, and, ere long, thou shalt sell thy necessaries!_ And again,
_At a great pennyworth, pause a while!_ He means, that perhaps the
cheapness is apparent only, and not real; or the bargain by straitening
thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than good. For in another
place, he says, _Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths_.

Again, _Poor RICHARD_ says, _'Tis foolish, to lay out money in a purchase
of Repentance_: and yet this folly is practised every day at Vendues, for
want of minding the _Almanac_.

_Wise men_, as _Poor DICK_ says, _learn by others' harms; Fools, scarcely
by their own_: but _Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum_. Many a
one, for the sake of finery on the back, has gone with a hungry belly,
and half starved their families. _Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets_,
as _Poor RICHARD_ says, _put out the kitchen fire!_ These are not the
necessaries of life; they can scarcely be called the conveniences: and
yet only because they look pretty, how many _want_ to have them! The
artificial wants of mankind thus become more numerous than the natural;
and as _Poor DICK_ says, _For one poor person, there are a hundred_

By these, and other extravagances, the genteel are reduced to poverty,
and forced to borrow of those whom they formerly despised; but who,
through Industry and Frugality, have maintained their standing. In which
case, it appears plainly that _A ploughman on his legs is higher than a
gentleman on his knees_, as _Poor RICHARD_ says. Perhaps they have had a
small estate left them, which they knew not the getting of. They think
_'tis day! and will never be night!_; that _a little to be spent out of
so much I is not worth minding_ (_A Child and a Fool_, as _Poor RICHARD_
says, _imagine Twenty Shillings and Twenty Years can never be spent_):
but _always taking out of the meal tub, and never putting in, soon comes
to the bottom_. Then, as _Poor DICK says_, _When the well's dry, they
know the worth of water!_ but this they might have known before, if they
had taken his advice. _If you would know the value of money; go, and try
to borrow some!_ For, _he that goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing!_ and
indeed, so does he that lends to such people, _when he goes to get it in

_Poor DICK_ further advises, and says

    _Fond Pride of Dress is, sure, a very curse!
    Ere Fancy you consult; consult your purse!_

And again, _Pride is as loud a, beggar as Want, and a great deal more
saucy!_ When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more, that
your appearance may be all of a piece; but _Poor DICK_ says, _'Tis easier
to suppress the First desire, than to satisfy All that follow it_. And
'tis as truly folly, for the poor to ape the rich; as for the frog to
swell, in order to equal the ox.

    _Great Estates may venture more;
    But little boats should keep near shore!_

'Tis, however, a folly soon punished! for Pride that _dines on Vanity,
sups on Contempt_, as _Poor RICHARD_ says. And in another place. _Pride
breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty, and supped with Infamy_.

And, after all, of what use is this Pride of Appearance? for which so
much is risked, so much is suffered! It cannot promote health or ease
pain! It makes no increase of merit in the person! It creates envy! It
hastens misfortune!

    _What is a butterfly? At best
    He's but a caterpillar drest!
    The gaudy fop's his picture just_.

as _Poor RICHARD_ says.

But what madness must it be, to _run into debt_ for these superfluities?

We are offered, by the terms of this Vendue, Six Months' Credit; and
that, perhaps, has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot
spare the ready money, and hope now to be fine without it. But, ah, think
what you do, when you run in debt? _You give to another, power over your
liberty!_ If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your
creditor! You will be in fear, when you speak to him! You will make poor
pitiful sneaking excuses! and, by degrees, come to lose your veracity,
and sink into base downright lying! For, as _Poor RICHARD_ says, _The
second vice is Lying, the first is Running into Debt_: and again, to the
same purpose, _Lying rides upon Debt's back_. Whereas a free born
Englishman ought not to be ashamed or afraid to see, or speak to any man
living. But Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue. _'Tis
hard for an Empty Bag to stand upright!_ as _Poor RICHARD_ truly says.
What would you think of that Prince, or the Government, who should issue
an Edict forbidding you to dress like a Gentleman or Gentlewoman, on pain
of imprisonment or servitude. Would you not say that "You are free! have a
right to dress as you please! and that such an Edict would be a breach of
your privileges! and such a Government, tyrannical!" And yet you are
about to put yourself under that tyranny, when you run in debt for such
dress! Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of
your liberty, by confining you in gaol for life! or to sell you for a
servant, if you should not be able to pay him! When you have got your
bargain; you may, perhaps, think little of payment, but _Creditors_
(_Poor RICHARD_ tells us) _have better memories than Debtors_; and, in
another place, says, _Creditors are a superstitious sect! great observers
of set days and times_. The day comes round, before you are aware; and the
demand is made, before you are prepared to satisfy it: or, if you bear
your debt in mind, the term which, at first, seemed so long, will, as it
lessens, appear extremely short. TIME will seem to have added wings to
his heels, as well as shoulders. _Those have a short Lent_, saith _Poor
RICHARD, who owe money to be paid at Easter_. Then since, as he says,
_The Borrower is a slave to the Lender, and the Debtor to the Creditor_;
disdain the chain! preserve your freedom! and maintain your independency!
Be industrious and free! be frugal and free! At present, perhaps, you may
think yourself in thriving circumstances; and that you can bear a little
extravagance without injury: but

    _For Age and Want, save while you may!
    No morning sun lasts a whole day,_

as _Poor RICHARD_ says.

Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but, ever while you live, Expense is
constant and certain: and _'tis easier to build two chimneys than to keep
one in fuel_, as _Poor RICHARD_ says. So _rather go to bed supperless,
than rise in debt!_

    _Get what you can! and what you get, hold!
    'Tis the Stone that will turn all your lead into gold!_

as _Poor RICHARD_ says. And when you have got the Philosopher's Stone,
sure, you will no longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of
paying taxes.

This doctrine, my friends! is Reason and Wisdom! But, after all, do not
depend too much upon your own Industry, and Frugality, and Prudence;
though excellent things! For they may all be blasted without the Blessing
of Heaven: and, therefore, ask that Blessing humbly! and be not
uncharitable to those that at present, seem to want it; but comfort and
help them! Remember, JOB suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.

And now to conclude. _Experience keeps a dear school; but Fools will
learn in no other, and scarce in that!_ for it is true, _We may give
Advice, but we cannot give Conduct_, as _Poor RICHARD_ says. However,
remember this! _They that won't be counselled, can't be helped!_ as _Poor
RICHARD_ says: and farther, that, "_If you will not hear reason, she'll
surely rap your knuckles!"_

Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it, and
approved the doctrine; and immediately practised the contrary, just as if
it had been a common sermon! For the Vendue opened, and they began to buy
extravagantly; notwithstanding all his cautions, and their own fear of

I found the good man had thoroughly studied my _Almanacs_, and digested
all I had dropped on those topics during the course of five and twenty
years. The frequent mention he made of me, must have tired any one else;
but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it: though I was conscious
that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own, which he ascribed to me;
but rather the gleanings I had made of the Sense of all Ages and Nations.
However, I resolved to be the better for the Echo of it; and though I had,
at first, determined to buy stuff for a new coat; I went away resolved to
wear my old one a little longer. Reader! if thou wilt do the same, thy
profit will be as great as mine.

I am, as ever, Thine, to serve thee!

July 7, 1757.


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