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The case, I think, is the same with Humor. Humor, considered as the object treated of by the humorous writer, and not as the power of treating it, derives its name from the prevailing quality of moisture in the bodily temperament; and is a tendency of the mind to run in particular directions of thought or feeling more amusing than accountable ; at least in the opinion of society. is therefore, either in reality or appearance, a thing inconsistent. It deals in incongruities of character and circumstance, as Wit does in those of arbitrary ideas. The more the incongruities the better, provided they are all in nature; but two, at any rate, are as necessary to Humor, as the two ideas are to Wit; and the more strikingly they differ yet harmonize, the more amusing the result. Such is the melting together of the propensities to love and war in the person of exquisite Uncle Toby ; of the gullible and the manly in Parson Adams; of the professional and individual, or the accidental and the permanent, in the Canterbury Pilgrims; of the objectionable and the agreeable, the fat and the sharpwitted, in Falstaff; of honesty and knavery in Gil Bias; of pretension and non-performance in the Bullies of the dramatic poets; of folly and wisdom in Don Quixote ; of shrewdness and doltishness in Sancho Panza ; and it may be added, in the discordant yet harmonious co-operation of Don Quixote and his attendant, considered as a pair ; for those two characters, by presenting themselves to the mind in combination, insensibly conspire to give us one compound idea of the whole abstract human being; divided indeed by its extreme contradictions of body and soul, but at the same time made one and indivisible by community of error and the necessities of companionship. Sancho is the flesh, looking after its homely needs; his master, who is also his dupe, is the spirit, starving on sentiment. Sancho himself, being a compound of sense and absurdity, thus heaps duality on duality, contradiction on contradiction ; and the inimitable associates contrast and reflect one another.

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“The reason, Sancho,” said his master, “ why thou feelest that pain all down thy back, is, that the stick which gave it thee was of a length to that extent.”

'God's my life !” exclaimed Sancho, impatiently, “as if I couid not guess that, of my own head! The question is, how am I to get rid of it?" I quoce from memory ; but this is the substance of one of their dialogues. This is a sample of Humor. Don Quixote is always refining upon the ideas of things, apart from their requirements. He is provokingly for the abstract and immaterial, while his squire is laboring under the concrete. The two-fold impression requisite to the effect of Humor is here seen in what Sancho's master says, contrasted with what he ought to say ; and Sancho redoubles it by the very justice of his complaint ; which, however reasonable, is at variance with the patient courage to be expected of the squire of a knight-errant.

I have preceded my details on the subject of Wit by defining both Wit and Humor, not only on account of their tendency to coalesce, but because, though the one is to be found in perfection apart from the other, their richest effect is produced by the combination. Wit, apart from Humor, generally speaking, is but an element for professors to sport with. In combination with Humor it runs into the richest utility, and helps to humanize the world. In the specimens about to be quoted, I propose to bring the two streams gradually together, till nothing be wanting to their united fulness. It must be remembered at the same time (to drop this metaphor), that the mode, as before observed, is of no consequence, compared with what it conveys. The least form of Wit may contain a quintessence of it; the shallowest pun, or what the ignorant deem such, include the profoundest wisdom.

The principal forms of Wit may perhaps be thus enumerated.

1st. The direct Simile, as just given ; which is the readiest, most striking, and therefore most common and popular form. Thus Swift in his Rhapsody on Poetry :

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-Epithets you link
In gaping lines to fill a chink;
Like stepping stones, to save a stride
In streets where kennels are too wide;
Or like a heel-piece, to support
A cripple with one foot too short;
Or like a bridge, that joins a marish
To moorland of a different parish.
Su have I seen ill-coupled hounds
Drag different ways in miry grounde.
Su geographers in Afric maps

With savage pictures fill their gaps ;
And o'er ur habitable downs
Place elephants for want of towns.

One of the happiest similes to be met with is in Green's poem on the Spleen. It is an allusion to the imposture practised at Naples by the exhibition of the pretended head of St. Januarius, at which a phial full of congealed blood is made to liquefy. Green applies it to the melting of Age at the sight of Beauty, and gallantly turns it into a truth.

Shine but on age, you melt its snow;
Again fires long extinguished glow,
And charm'd by witchery of eyes,
Blood, long congealèd, liquefies !
True miracle, and fairly done,
By heads which are ador'd while on.

2d, The Metaphor, which is but another form of the Simile, or, as Addison has defined it, “ A Simile in a Word;" that is to say, an Identification instead of Comparison.

Green is remarkable for his ambitious, and, generally sneak ing, his successful use of this figure of speech :

To cure the mind's wrong bias, Spleen,
Some recommend the bowling-green :
Some hilly walks-all exercise;
Fling but a stone, the giant dies :
Laugh and be well. Monkeys have been
Extreme good doctors for the spleen:
And kitten, if the humor hit,
Has harlequin’d away the fit.

So in his picture of the sourer kind of dissenters ;-a description full of wit.

Nor they so pure and so precise,
Immaculate as their whites of eyes,
Who for the spirit hug the spleen,
Phylacter'd throughout all their mien,
Who their ill-tasted home-brew'd prayer
To the State's mellow forms preser;

Who doctrines as infections fear
Which are not steep'd in vinegar ;
And samples of heart-chested grace
Expose in show-glass of the face.


3d, What may be called the Poetical Process, the Leap to a Conclusion, or the Omission of Intermediate Particulars in order to bring the Two Ends of a Thought or Circumstance together ;-as in one of Addison's papers above mentioned, where he is speak. ing of a whole Book of Psalms that was minutely written in the face and hair of a portrait of Charles the First ;

“When I was last in Oxford, I perused one of the whiskers ; and was reading the other, but could not go so far in it as I would have done,” &c. -Spectator, No. 58. That is to say, he perused that portion of the book which was writlen in one of the whiskers; but the omission of this common. place, and the identification of the whisker itself with the thing read, strike the mind with a lively sense of truth abridged, in guise of a fiction and an impossibility. This is the favorite form of Wit with Addison ;

“ There is scarce any emotion in the mind which does not produce a suitable agitation in the fan; insomuch, that if I only see the fan of a disciplined lady, I know very well whether she laughs, frowns, or blushes. I have seen a fan so very angry, that it would have been dangerous for the absent lover who provoked it to have come within the wind of it; and at other times so very languishing, that I have been glad, for the lady's sake, the lover was at a sufficient distance from it.”16., No. 102.


In Addison's time it was a fashion for ladies to patch their faces, by way of setting off the fairness of their skin; and at one time they took to wearing these patches politically; or so as to indicate, by the sides on which they put wein, whether they were Tories or Whigs. Accordingly, by an exquisite intimation of the superficiality of the whole business, he transters the politi. cal feeling from the mind to the face itseli:

“ Upon inquiry (as he sat at the opera), I found that its bill Amazons on my right hand were Whigs, and those on my opory criag. a pl that those who had placed themselves in the middat: Vorde wore a noutra pesiv,


whose faces had not yet declared themselves.

I must here take notice, that Rosalinda, a famous Whig partizan, has most unfortunately a very beautiful mole on the Tory part of her forehead; which being vers conspicuous, has occasioned many mistakes, and given an handle to her enemies to misrepresent her face, as though it had revolted from the W hig interest "-- 16., No. 81.

A fop, who had the misfortune to possess a fine set of mastica. tors, and who was always grinning in order to show them, was designated by Horace Walpole as “the gentleman with the fool. ish teeth.Nothing of the kind can be better than this. It is painting the man at a blow, quick as the “flash" of his own “ ivories.” It reminds us of the maxim, that “ brevity is the soul of wit ;"—a questionable assertion, however, unless by “soul ” is meant a certain fervor apart from mind; otherwise the soul of wit is fancy.*

4th, Irony (Expwreia, Talk, in a sense of Dissimulation), or Say. ing one thing and Meaning another, is a mode of speech generally adopted for purposes of satire, but may be made the vehicle of the most exquisite compliment. On the other hand, Chaucer, with a delightful impudence, has drawn a pretended compliment out of a satire the most outrageous. He makes the Cock say to the Hen, in the fable told by the Nun's Priest, that “the female is the confusion of the male ;" but then he says it in Latin, gravely quoting from a Latin author a sentence to that effect about womankind. This insult he proceeds to translate into an eulogy

But let us speak of mirth, and stint all this,
Madàmě Pèrtēlote, so have I bliss,
Of one thing God hath sent me largè grace;
For when I see the beauty of your face,
Ye ben so scarlet red about your eyen,
It maketh all my drèdě for to dyen;
For all so siker (so surely) as In principio
Mulier est hominis confusio ;

(That is, “ for as it was in the beginning of the world, woman is the confusion of man.")

Voltaire says, in his happy manner, “All pleasantries ought to be short; and, for that matter, gravities too."- Art. Prior, &c., in the Diction. naire Philosophique.

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