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• A N
. E S S A Y.
IT is offenfive for a Man to fpeak much of himfelf; and few can do it with fo good a Grace as Montaigne. I wifh I could; or that I could be half fo [i?] entertaining or inftru&ive. My Subject, however, will be my Apology; and I am fure it will draw no Envy upon me. Bodily Deformity is vifible to every Eye; but the Effects of it are known to very few; intimately known to none, but thofe who feel them; and they generally are not inclined to reveal them. As therefore I am furnifhed with the neceflary Materials, I will treat this uncommon Subject at large; and to view it in a philofophical Light is a Speculation which may be ufeful to Perfons fo oddly (I will not fay unhappily) diftinguifhed; and perhaps not unentertaining to others.
[a] The Marquis of Halifax, in a Letter to Charles Cotton, Efq. who tranflated Montaigne's Effays, fays, it is the Book in the World, with which he is beft entertained; and that Montaigne did not write for Praife, but to give the World a true Piilure of himfelf and of Mankind.
I do not pretend to be fo ingenious as Montaigne; but it is in my Power to be as ingenuous. I may, with the fame [£] Nai'vite, remove the Veil from my mental as well as perfonal Imperfe&ions; and expofe them naked to the World. And when I have thus anatomized myfelf, I hope my Heart will be found found and untainted, and my Intentions honeft and fincere.
[c] Longinus fays, that Cecilius wrote of the Sublime in a low Way: on the contrary, Mr. [if] Pope calls Longinus "the great Sublime he draws." Let it be my Ambition to imirate Longinus in Style and Sentiment; and like Cecilius, to make thefe appear a Contraft to my Subjedl; to write of Deformity with Beauty; and by a finifhed Piece to attone for an ill-turned Perfon.
If any Reader imagines, that [e] a Print of me in the Frontifpiece of this Work would give him a clearer Idea of the Subject; I have no Objection, provided he will be at the Expence of engraving. But, for want of it, let him know, that I am fcarce five Feet high; that my Back was bent in my Mother's Womb; and that in Perfon I refemble £fop, the Prince of
[f] Vertu Naive, an Expreflion of Montaigne; and which Fontenelle puts into his Mouth in his Dialogue with Socrates.
[c] In the Beginning of his Treatife on the Sublime.
[d] In his Effay on Criticifm.
[e] It was a difobliging Stroke to a Lady; but it was faid of Mademoifelleife Gouraai, that, to vindicate her Honour from Reflexion, fte need only prefix her Pifture to her Book, General Oiflionary, under the Ward (Gournai.)
Orange, Marlhal Luxemburg, Lord Treafurer Salifbury, Scarron, and Mr. Pope; not to mention Tberfites and Richard the Third; whom I do not claim as Members of our Society: [yj the firft being a Child of the Poet's Fancy; the laft mifreprefented by Hiftorians, who thought they muft draw the Devil in a bad Shape. But I will not (on this Occafion) accept of Richard's Statue from the Hand of any Hiftorian, or even of Shakefpear himfelf; but only from that of his [g~\ own Biographer, who tells us (and he ought to know) that Richard was a handfome Man.
As I have the greateft Reafon to thank God, that I was born in this Ifland, and enjoy the Bleffings of his Majefty's Reign; let me not be unthankful, that I was not born in Sparta! where I had no fooner feen the Light, but I fhould have been deprived of it; and have been thrown as a ufelefs Thing [&], into a Cavern by Mount Taygetus! Inhuman Lycurgus! thus to deftroy your own Species! Surrounded by the Innocents, whom you have murdered, may I not haunt you among the Shades below for this Barbarity? That it was ill Policy, the glorious Lift of Names, which I have produced, is a Proof; your own Age
[yj 7tf/7z mala Therfiten probibebat forma lateret S^uam fukhra Nireui confpiciendus erat.
Ov. Ep. ex Ponto xiii. ver. 4.
[g\ George Buck, Efq. who, in his Hiftory of Richard the Third, endeavours to reprefent him as a Prince of much better Shape (both of Body and Mind) than he had been generally efteemed. And BUhop Nicolfvn calls Buck a more candid Compoler of Annals than Sir Tbomat Mart. See his Hiftorical Library.
[b] See Plutarch in the Life of l-ycurgut,
ftlaus confutes your Maxim; and I hope to confute it too by my own Behaviour. Is the Carcafe the better Part of the Man? And is it to be valued by Weight, like that of Cattle in a Market?
Inftead of this Lacedemonian Severity, thofe, who had the Care of my Infancy, fell into another Extreme; and, out of Tcndernefs, tried every Art to correct the Errors of Nature ; but in vain: for (as> I think it is, Mr. Dryden fays)
God did not make Ms Works far Man to mend.
When they could not do that, they endeavoured to conceal them; and taught me to be afhamed of my Perfon, inftead of arming me with true Fortitude to flefpife any Ridicule or Contempt of it. This has caufed me much Uneafinefs in my younger Days; and it required many Years to conquer this Weaknefs. Of which I hope now there are but little Remains left. This ill Management gave me too an infuperable Bafhfulnefs; and although I have paifed the Courfe of my whole Life among the better Part of Mankind, I have always felt a Reluctance to produce a bad Figure, which may be fome Obftru&ion to a Man's Advancement in the World; but an Advantage in reftraining his Fondnefs for it.
Unmerited Reflexions on a Man's Perfon are hard
of Digeftion. Men of Underftanding have felt them.
Even Mr. Pope was not invulnerable in this Part.
For when the, Dunces were foiled by his Writings,