Page images

beer, and More famed for adultery and rape. A marvellous company of tragedians! and an honeft fet for me to engage! But as fuch a caufe was not likely to procure adverfaries of a different ftamp; let us now proceed to the attack of the individuals, fuch as they are; only first premising that, if any one think my refutation wanting in gravity, he should recollect, that I have not to contend with a weighty foe, but only a merry-andrew hoft; and that in fuch a work, instead of labouring to to give it throughout the highest polish of elegance, it was right to confider what diction might be most appropriate to fuch a crew.

The Royal Blood crying to heaven for vengeance on the English parricides.

Your narrative, O More, would have had a greater appearance of truth, if you had firft fhewn that his blood was not justly shed. But as in the first dawn of the reformation, the monks, from their dearth of argument, had recourse to spectres and other impofitions, fo you, when nothing else will stand you in any ftead, call in the aid of voices which were never heard, and fuperftitious tricks that have long been out of date. You would not readily give any of us credit for having heard a voice from heaven; but I could with little difficulty believe that you did actually hear a voice from hell. Yet, I befeech you, who heard this cry of the royal blood? Yourself? Mere trash; for first you never hear any thing good. But that cry which mounts to heaven, if any but God hear, it can only be the upright and the pure; who, themselves, unstained with crimes, may well denounce the divine vengeance against the guilty. But how could you poffibly hear it? or, as a catamite, would you write a fatire against luft? For you feem, at the fame time, to have fabricated this miraculous cry to heaven and to have confummated your amour with Portia. There are not only many impediments in your fenfe, but many evil incruftations about your heart, which would for ever prevent fuch cries from There is a play upon the words.

Latin, male undis.

[blocks in formation]

reaching your ears; and if nothing else did, the many cries which are continually afcending to heaven against your own enormities would be fufficient for the purpose. The voice of that harlot, whom you debauched in the garden, and who complains that you, her religious teacher, was the author of her feduction, demands vengeance against you. Vengeance is demanded against you by the husband, whofe nuptial bed you defiled; it is demanded by Portia, to whom you perjured your nuptial vow; it is demanded by that little innocent whom you caufed to be born in fhame, and then left to perish without fupport.-All these different cries for vengeance on your guilty head are continually afcending to the throne of God; which if you do not hear, it is certain that the cry of the royal blood you could never have heard. Thus your book, instead of the royal blood crying to heaven, might more fitly be enti tled "More's lafcivious neighing for his Portia." Of that tiresome and addle epiftle, which follows, part is devoted to Charles, part to Milton, to exalt the one, and to vilify the other. Take a fpecimen from the beginning: "The dominions of Charles," he fays, "were thrown into the facrilegious hands of parricides and Deicides." I fhall not ftay to confider whether this rant be the product of Salmafius, of More, or of Flaccus. But this, which makes others laugh, may well make Charles rave; for a little after he fays that " no one was more devoted to the interests of Charles." What truly! was there no one more devoted to his interefts than you, who offered to publish and to circulate the invectives of his enemies? How wretched and forlorn must be the fituation of Charles, if a fcoundrel of a printer dare to rank himself among his most confidential friends? Wretched indeed muft he be, if the perfidious Flaccus equal his dearest friends in fidelity and affection! But could the fellow have spoken any thing either more arrogantly of himself, or more contemptuously of the king and the king's friends? Nor is it lefs ridiculous that a low-lived mechanic fhould be brought upon the stage to philofophife on the principles of government, and the virtues of kings; and to speak in a tone as lofty as even Salmafius or More. But indeed on this, as well as other occafions, I have discovered evident indications

indications that Salmafius, notwithstanding the multiplicity of his reading, was a man of puerile judgment, and without any knowledge of the world; for though he must have read that the chief magiftrates, in the well-arranged government of Sparta, were always wont to afcribe to fome virtuous citizen the merit of every good faying which the worthlefs and the profligate might occafionally pronounce, he has fhewn himself fo utterly ignorant of all that is called propriety, as to ascribe to the vileft of men, fentiments which could become only the good and wife. Keep up your fpirits Charles; for the old rogue Flaccus, whofe faith in providence is fo great, tells you not to be depreffed. Do not fuccumb under fo many fufferings. Flaccus, the most unprincipled prodigal, who fo foon loft all that he ever had, tells you not to defpond when all is loft. Make the best of your ill-ftarred fortune. And can you help making the best of it when he advifes, who, for fo many years, by every fpecies of peculation and iniquity, has been wont to fubfift on the fortunes of others? "Drink deep of wisdom, for you are plunged in wifdom's pool." So counfels, fo directs jolly Flaccus, the unrivalled preceptor of kings, who, feizing the leathern flaggon with his ink-fmeared hands, drinks among his fellow workmen a huge draught to the fuccefs of your philofophy. This dares Flaccus, your incomparable partizan, who figns his name to admonitions, which Salmafius, which More, and your other advocates have too little courage, or too much pride to own. For, as often as you have any need of admonition or defence, they are always anonymoufly wife or brave; and at another's hazard rather than their own. Let this fellow therefore, whoever he may be, ceafe to make a barren boast of his vigorous and animated eloquence; for the author truly "fears to divulge his name, which has become so renowned by the exertions of his genius.". But he had not the courage, even in that work which was to avenge the royal blood, to prefix a dedication to Charles without the vicarious aid of Flaccus, in whofe words he was contented to say that, "if it might be permitted, he would dedicate the book to his majesty without a name." Thus having done with Charles, he next puts himself in a me

nacing posture against me. "After this proæmium" the wonderful"Salmafius will make the trumpet blow a deadly blaft." You announce a new kind of harmony; for to the terrors of that loud-founding inftrument no fymphony bears fo clofe a refemblance as that which is produced by accumulated flatulency. But I advife Salmafius not to raife the notes of this trumpet to too high a pitch; for, the louder the tones, the more he will expofe himself to a flap on the chops; which, while both his cheeks ring, will give a delightful flow to his wellproportioned melodies. You chatter on, "who has not his equal, nor near his equal, in the whole literary and fcientific world." What affurance! Ye men of erudidition, fcattered over the world, can you think it poffible that a preference over you all fhould be given to a grammatical louse, whose only treasure of merit, and hope of fame confifted in a gloffary; and who would at last be found to deferve nothing but contempt, if a comparison were inftituted between him and men really learned. But this would not be affirmed by any except the lowest driveller, more deftitute of understanding than even Flaccus himself. "And who has now employed in the service of your majefty, a ftupenduous mafs of erudition, illuminated by a genius quite divine." If you recollect what I faid above, that Salmafius took this letter, which was either written by himself or one of his creatures, to the printer, and intreated the fervile artificer to affix his own name to the publication, you will difcover the indifputable marks of a mind truly grovelling and contemptible; bafely wooing a panegyrick on itself, and fedulously procuring, even from a fool, an unbounded prodigality of praife." An, incomparable and immortal work, which it is fruitlefs to revile, and in which it must astonish even the regular practitioners of the law, how a Frenchman fhould fo foon bring himself to understand and to explain the English hiftory, the laws, flatutes, records, &c." Indeed how little he understood our laws, and how much he spoke at random on the subject, we have produced abundant evidence to fhew. "But he will foon, in another impreffion which he is preparing against the rebels, ftop the mouths of revilers, and chaftife Milton accord

ing to his deferts." You, therefore, as that little avant courier of a fish, run before the Salmafian whale, which threatens an attack upon our coaft; we fharpen our harpoons to elicit any oil or gall which his impetuous vengeance may contain. In the mean time we admire the more than Pythagorean tendernefs of this prodigy of a man, who compaffionating animals, and particularly fish, to whose flesh even Lent fhews no indulgence, deftined fo many volumes to the decent apparelling of myriads of poor fprats and herrings, and bequeathed by will a paper coat to each.

Rejoice ye herrings, and ye ocean fry,
Who, in cold winter, fhiver in the fea;
The knight, Salmafius, pitying your hard lot,
Bounteous intends your nakedness to clothe.
And, lavish of his paper, is preparing
Chartaceous jackets to inveft you all.
Jackets refplendent with his arms and fame,
Exultingly parade the fishy mart,

And fing his praise with checquered livery,
That well might ferve to grace the letter'd store
Of those, who pick their noses and ne'er read.

This I wrote on the long expected edition of his farfamed work; in printing which he was ftrenuously engaged, while you, fir, were polluting his house by your fcandalous amour with Portia. And Salmafius appears to have long and induftriously applied himself to the execution; for, only a few days before his death, when a learned perfon, from whom I received the information, fent to ask him when he would publish the second part of his argument against the supremacy of the Pope; he replied, that he fhould not return to that work till he had completed his labours against Milton. Thus I was preferred before the Pope; and that fupremacy which he denied to him in the church, he gratuitoufly bestowed on me in his refentment. Thus I feem to have furnished a timely fuccour against his fubverfion of the papacy; and to have faved the Roman capital from the irruption of a fecond Catiline, not indeed like the Conful


« PreviousContinue »