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mostly of little interest. He has ridiculed Burnett's ‘History of his Own Times' with infinite humour in ‘Memoirs of P. P., Člerk of this Parish ;' and he contributed several papers to the Guardian.' His prose works contain also a collection of Thoughts on Various Subjects,' a few of which are here subjoined:
There never was any party, faction, sect, or cabal whatsoever, in which the most ignorant were not the most violent; for a bee is not a busier animal than a blockhead. However, such instruments are necessary to politicians; aud perhaps it may be with states as with clocks, which must have some dead-weight hanging at them, to help and regulate the motion of the finer and more useful parts.
When men grow virtuous in their old age, they only make a sacrifice to God of the devil's leavings.
He who tells a lie is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain one.
Get your enemies to read your works, in order to mend them: for your friend is so much your second self, that he will judge too like you.
There is nothing wanting to make all rational and disinterested people in the world of one religion, but that they should talk together every day.
A short and certain way to obtain the character of a reasonable and wise man is, whenever any one tells you his opinion, to comply with him.
The character of covetousness is what a man generally acquires more through some niggardliness or ill grace in little and inconsiderable things, than in expenses of any consequence. A very few pounds a year would ease that man of the scandal of avarice.
A Recipe to make an Epic Poem.- From the 'Guardian.' It is no small pleasure to me, who am zealous in the interests of learning, to think I may have the honour of leading the town into a very new and uncommon road of criticism. As that kind of literature is at present carried on, it consists only in a knowledge of mechanic rules which contribute to the structure of different sorts of poetry, as the receipts of good housewives do to the making puddings of flour, oranges, plums, or any other ingredients. It would, methinke, make these my instructions inore easily intelligible to ordinary readers, if I discoursed of these mat
s in the style in which ladies, learned in economics, dictate to their pupils for the improvement of the kitchen and larder.
I shall begin with Epic Poetry, because the critics agree it is the greatest work human nature is capable of.
For the Fable. - Take out of any old poem, history-book, romance, or legend-for instance, Geoffrey of Monmouth, or Don Belianis of Greece-those parts of story which afford most scope for long descriptions: put these pieces together, and throw all the adventures you fancy into one tale. Then take a hero whom you may choose for the sound of his name, and put him into the midst of these adventures; there let him work for twelve hours; at the end of which you may take him out ready prepared to conquer or to marry; it being necessary that the conclusion of an Epic Poem be fortunate.'
To make an Episode.—“Take any remaining adventure of our former collection, in which you could no way involve your hero; or any unfortunate accident that was too good to be thrown away; and it will be of use, applied to any other person who inay be lost and evaporate in the course of the work, without the least damage to the composition.'
For the Moral and Allegory.-- These you may extract out of the Fable afterwards at your leisure. Be sure you strain them sufficiently.' For the Manners. For those of the hero, take all the best qualit
iero, take all the best qualities you can find in all the celebrated heroes of antiquity; if they will not be reduced to a consistency. lay then all on a beap upon him. But be sure they are qualities which your patron would be thought to have; and to prevent any mistake which the world may be subject to, select from the alphabet those capital letters that compose his name, and set them at the head of a dedication before your poem. However, do not absolutely observe the exact quantity of these virtues, it not being determined whether or no it
be necessary for the hero of a poem to be an honest man. For the under characters, gather them from Homer and Virgil, and change the name as occasion serves.'
For the Machines.- Take of deities, male and female, as many as you can use; separate them into two equal parts, and keep Jupiter in the middle. Let Juno put him in a ferment, and Venus mollify him. Remember on all occasions to make use of volatile Mercury. If you have need of devils, draw them out of Milton's Paradise,' and extract your spirits from Tasso. The use of these machines is evident; for since no Epic Poem can possibly subsist' without them, the wisest way is to reserve them for your greatest necessities. When you cannot extricate your hero by any human means, or yourself by your own wits, seek relief from Heaven, and the gods will do your business very readily. This is according to the direct préscription of Horace in his ‘Art of Poetry :
Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus
ROSCOMMON. That is to say, a poet should never call upon the gods for their assistance, but when he is in great perplexity.'
For the Descriptions. - For a Tempest. Take Eurus, Zephyr, Auster, and Boreas, and cast them together into one verse: add to these, of rain, lightning, and of thunder (the loudest you can), quantum sufficit. Mix your clouds and billows well together until they foam, and thicken your description here and there with a quicksand. Brew your tempest well in your head before you set it a-blowing.'
For a Battle.- Pick a large quantity of images and descriptions from Homer's Iliacis,' with a spice or two of Virgil ; and if there remain any overplus, you may lay them by for a skirmish. Season it well with similes, and it will make an excellent battle.'
For Burning a Town.- If such a description be necessary, because it is certain there is one in Virgil, Old Troy is ready burnt to your hands. But if you fear that would be thought borrowed, a chapter or two of the Theory of the Conflagration,' well circumstanced, and done into verse, will be a good succedaneum.'
As for Similes and Metaphors, they may be found all over the creation; the most ignorant may gather them; but the danger is in applying them. For this, advise with your bookseller.
For the Language.-(I mean the diction.) Here it will do well to be an imitator of Milton, for you will find it easier to imitate him in this than anything else. Hebraisms and Greciems are to be found in him, without the trouble of learning the languages. I knew a painter, who, like our poet, had no genius, make his daubings
riginals by setting them in the smoke. You may, in the same manner, give the venerable air of antiquity to your piece, by darkening it up and down with Old English. With this you may be easily furnished upon any occasion by the dictionary commonly printed at the end of Chaucer.'
I must not conclude without cautioning all writers without genius in one material point; which is, never to be afraid of having too much fire in their works. I should advise rather to take their warmest thoughts, and spread them abroad upon paper, for they are observed to cool before they are read.
hey may bebe a good sucory of the con fear that
DR. JOHN ARBUTHNOT. DR. JOHN ARBUTHNOT, the friend of Pope, Swift, Gay, and Prior, was associated with his brother-wits in some of the humorous productions of the day, called forth chiefly by political events. They were all Tories, and keenly interested in the success of their party. Arbuthnot was born in 1667 at a place of the same name in Kincardineshire, son of a nonjuring clergyman. He was educated at the university of Aberdeen ; and baving studied medicine, repaired to
London, where he became known as an author and a wit. . He wrote an Examination of Dr. Woodward's Account of the Deluge,' and an Essay on the Usefulness of Mathematical Learning' (1700). Happening to be at Epsom when Prince George was taken ill there, Arbuthnot was called upon to prescribe, and treated the case so successfully that he was made the prince's regular physician. In 1709, he was appointed physician in ordinary to the queen.
The satirical “Memoirs of the Extraordinary Life, Works, and Discoveries of Martinus Scriblerus, published in Pope's works, was chiefly, if not wholly, written by Arbuthnot. The design of this work, as stated by Pope, is to ridicule all the false tastes in learning, under the character of a man of capacity, who had dipped into every art and science. but injudiciously in each. Cervantes was the model of the witty authors; but though they may have copied his grave irony with success, the fine humanity and imagination of the Spanish novelist are wholly wanting in Scriblerus. It is highly probable, however, that the character of Cornelius Scriblerus suggested to Sterne the idea of Walter Shandy. His oddities and absurdities about the education of his son-in describing which Arbuthnot evinces his extensive and curious learning-are fully equal to Sterne. Useful hints are thrown out amidst the ridicule and pedantry of Scriblerus ; and what are now termed object-lessons in some schools, may have been derived from such ludicrous passages as the following: The old gentleman so contrived it, to make everything contribute to the improvement of his knowledge, even to his very dress. He invented for him a geographical suit of clothes, which might give him some hints of that science, and likewise some knowledge of the commerce of different nations. He had a French hat with an African feather, Holland shirts and Flanders lace, English cloth lined with Indian silk; his gloves were Italian, and his shoes were Spanish. He was made to observe this, and daily catechised thereupon, which his father was wont to call “ travelling at home.” He never gave him a fig or an orange, but he obliged him to give an account from what country it came.'
A more complete and durable monument of the wit and humour of Arbuthnot is his ‘History of John Bull,' published in 1712, and designed to ridicule the Duke of Marlborough, and render the nation discontented with the French war. The allegory in this piece is well sustained, and the satirical allusions poignant and happy, though the political disputes of that time have lost their interest.” Of the same ironical description is Arbuthnot's Treatise concerning the Altercation or Scolding of the Ancients,' and his 'Art of Political Lying. His wit is always pointed, and rich in classical allusion, without being acrimonious or personally offensive. Of the serious performances of Arbuthnot, the most valuable is a series of dissertations on ancient coins, weights, and measures. He published also some medical works. After the death of Queen Anne, all the attend
ants of the court were changed, and Arbuthnot removed from St. James's to Dover Street. Swift said he knew his art, but not his trade ; and on another occasion the dean said of him: 'He has more wit than we all have, and more humanity than wit.' Arbuthnot, however, though displaced, applied himself closely to his profession, and continued his unaffected cheerfulness and good-nature. In his latter years he suffered much from ill-health: he died in 1735. The most severe and dignified of the occasional productions of Dr. Arbuthnot, is his epitaph on Colonel Chartres, a notorious gambler and money-lender of the day, tried and condemned for an assault on his female servant:
Here continueth to rot the body of FRANCIS CHARTRES, who, with an inflexible constancy, and inimitable uniformity of life, persisted, in spite of age and infirmities, in the practice of every human vice, excepting prodigality and hypocrisy; his insatiable avarice exempted him from the first, his matchless impudeuce from the second. Nor was he more singular in the undeviating pravity of his manners than successful in accumulating wealth; for, without trade or profession, without trust of public money, and without bribe-worthy service, he acquired, or more properly created, a ministerial estate. He was the only person of his time who could cheat with the mask of honesty, retain his primeval meanness when possessed of ten thousand a year, and having daily deserved the gibbet for what he did, was at last condemned to it for what he could not do. Oh, indignant reader ! think not his life usele:s to mankind. Provi
kind. Providence connived at his execrable designs, to give to after ages a conspicuous proof and example of how small estimation is exorbitant wealth in the sight of God, by his bestowing it on the most unworthy of all mortals. Characters of John Bull (the English), Nic. Frog (the Dutch), and Hocus
(the Duke of Marlborough). Bull, in the main, was an honest plain-dealing fellow, choleric, bold, and of a very unconstant temper; he dreaded not old Lewis either at backsword, single falchion, or cudgel-play ; but then he was very apt to quarrel with his best friends, especially if they pretended to govern him; if you flattered him, you might lead him like a child. John's temper depended very much upon the air; his spirits rose and fell with the weather-glass. *John was quick, and understood his business very well; but no man alive was more careless in looking into his accompts, or more cheated by partners, apprentices, and servants. This was occasioned by his being a booncompanion, loving his bottle and his diversion; for to say truth, no man kept a better house than John, nor spent his money more generously. By plain and fair dealing, John had acquired some plums, and might have kept them, had it not been for his unhappy lawsuit.'
Nic. Frog was a cunning sly rogue, quite the reverse of John in many particulars; covetous, frugal; minded domestic affairs ; would pinch his belly to save his pocket; never lost a farthing by careless servants or bad debtors. He did not care much for any sort of diversions, except tricks of high German artists, and legerdemain ; no man exceeded Nic. in these; yet it must be owned that Nic. was a fair dealer, and in that way acquired immense riches.
Hocus was an old cunning attorney; and though this was the first considerable suit that ever he was engaged in, he shewed himself superior in address to most of his profession; he kept always good clerks; he loved money, was smooth-tongued, gave good words, and seldom lost his temper; he was not worse than an infidel, for he provided plentifully for his family; but he loved himself better than them all: the neighbours reported that he was henpecked, which was impossible by such a mildSpirited woman as his wife was. *
* The Duchess of Marlborough was in reality a termagant. All the Tory wits of that day charged the great duke with peculation as commander-in-chief, and with having prolonged the war on that account. There was not a fragment of evidence to support the
wire was neat anda a canopy: Su gilding, and
Character of John Bull's Mother (the Church of England). John had a mother whom he loved and honoured extremely; a discreet, grave, sober, good-conditioned, cleanly old gentlewoman as ever lived; she was none of your cross-grained termagant, scolding jades, that one had as good be hanged as live in the house with, such as are always censuring the conduct, and telling scandalous stories of their neighbours, extolling their own good qualities, and undervaluing those of others. On the contrary, she was of a meek spirit, and, as she was strictly virtuous herself, so she always put the best construction upon the words and actions of her neighbours, except where they were irreconcilable to the rules of honesty and decency. She was neither one of your precise prudes, nor one of your fantastical old belles, that dress themselves like girls of fifteen; as she neither wore a ruff, forehead cloth, nor high-crowned hat, so she had laid aside feathers, flowers, and crimpt ribbons in her head-dress, fur-below scarfs, and hooped petticoats. She scorned to patch and paint, yet she loved to keep her hands and her face clean. Though she wore no flaunting laced ruffles, she would not keep herself in a constant sweat with greasy flannel ; though her hair was not stuck with jewels, she was not ashamed of a diamond cross: she was not, like some ladies, hung about with toys and trinkets, tweezer-cases, pocket-glasses, and essence-bottles ; she used only a gold watch and an almanac, to mark the hours and the holidays.
Her furniture was neat and genteel, well-fancied, with a bon gout. As she affected not the grandeur of a state with a canopy, she thought there was no offence in an elbow-chair; she had laid aside your carving, gilding, and japan work, as being too apt to gather dirt; but she never could be prevailed upon to part with plain wainscot and clean hangings. There are some ladies that affect to smell a stink in everything; they are always highly perfumed, and continually burning frankincense in their rooms; she was above such affectation, yet she never would lay aside the use of brooms and scrubbing-brushes, and scrupled not to lay her linen in fresh lavender.
She was no less genteel in her behaviour, well-bred, without affectation, in the due mean between one of your affected courtesying pieces of formality, and your romps that have no regard to the common rules of civility. There are some ladies that affect a mighty regard for their relations: we must not eat to-day for my uncle Tom, or my cousin Betty, died this time ten years; let's have a ball to-night, it is my neighbour such-a-one's birthday. She looked upon all this as grimace, yet she constantly observed her husband's birthday, her wedding-day, and some few more
Though she was a truly good woman, and had a sincere motherly love for her son John, yet there wanted not those who endeavoured to create a misunderstanding between them, and they had so far prevailed with him once, that he turned her out of doors,* to his great sorrow, as he found afterwards, for his affairs went on at sixes and sevens.
She was no less judicious in the turn of her conversation and choice of her studies, in which she far exceeded all her sex; your rakes that hate the company of all sober grave gentlewomen would bear hers; and she would, by her handsome manner of proceeding, sooner reclaim them than some that were more sour and reserved. She was a zealous preacher up of chastity and conjugal fidelity in wives, and by no means a friend to the newfangled doctrine of the indispensable duty of cuckoldom; though she advanced her opinions with a becoming assurance, yet she never ushered them in, as some positive creatures will do, with dogmatical assertions--this is infallible, I cannot be mistaken, none but a rogue can deny it. It has been observed that such people are oftener in the wrong than anybody.
Though she had a thousand good qualities, she was not without her faults, amongst which one might perhaps reckon too great lenity to her servants, to whom she always gave good counsel, but often too gentle correction. Character of John Bull's Sister Peg (the Scottish Nation and Church).
John had a sister, a poor gir) that had been starved at nurse; anybody would have guessed miss to have been bred up under the influence of a cruel stepdame, and
allegation. The Duke of Wellington, it is said, ridiculed the notion, and said that, however much Marlborough might have loved money, he must have loved his military reputation more.
* In the contest between Charlas I. and the Parliament.