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this principal part of ourselves as a simple machine, and nearly as the principal pump of Paris, which serves merely to raise the water of the Seine, and to distribute it through the city. Mr. M. N. pays visits, and is visited in his turn: he is polite to every one. Every person who meets him is always glad to see him, and when he quits him, it is always with some degree of regret. His understanding turns itself as he pleases, and he accommodates himself to the talents, and the turn of mind, and the capacity of every one who comes near him. He is a divine with divines, a philosopher with philosophers, a politician with politicians, a man of frolick with those who have that turn of mind. In short, prepared for any thing, he is the man of every person, and still the man of no one. He forgets you as soon as your back is turned, and never thinks but of pleasing those who are immediately before him. He passes imperceptibly from one scene to another, and from one character to another. He is always himself, and yet he is never himself. He takes time as it comes. The day of yesterday remains not in his memory, and he never by care and by foresight anticipates that of to-morrow."

Dom' Noel wrote upon "Education," or, the "History of M. de Moncade," accompanied with some maxims and reflections. Rousseau appears to have read this work, and to have made some use of it in his "Emile." Dom' Noel's Treatise "Sur la Lecture des Peres de l'Eglise," or on the manner in which the fathers should be read, was a book much esteemed in the Catholic church of France.

ANECDOTE OF DR. Butler, LATE BISHOP OF CLOYNE. This worthy prelate being on a visit to an old college friend, who had fitted up his parsonage with great neatness, was complimenting him upon his improvements. "Why aye, my lord, (says the doctor,) you have been plaguing me about marriage for some years back, and now you see I have got a trap at last." "Why, yes, doctor, (replied the bishop,) the trap's very well, but I'm afraid (looking him full in the face, which was none of the handsomest,) I'm afraid the woman won't like the bait."

Letter I.

"Old Chaucer, like the morning star,
To us discovers day from far,
His light those mists and clouds dissolv'd.
Which our dark nation long involv’d."


CHAUCER has constantly been styled the father of English poetry. He possesses every claim to this high and honourable appellation, both from the number, variety, and excellence of his works, as well as their great superiority, not only to those who preceded him, or even his cotemporaries, but even to many who succeeded him for centuries afterwards. His poetry is strictly in the language of nature, and is not deformed by an admixture of such unmeaning quibbles, and farfetched conceits, as are to be found in the works of Cowley and his cotemporaries. "I hold Chaucer," says Dryden, “in the same degree of veneration as the Grecians held Homer, or the Romans Virgil: he is a perpetual fountain of good sense; learned in sciences, and therefore speaks properly on all subjects; as he knew what to say, so also he knows when to leave off: a continence which is practised by few writers, and scarcely by any of the ancients, excepting Virgil and Horace." Dryden, indeed has given us a sufficient proof in what estimation he held the old bard, by his excellent version of some of the Canterbury Tales, and perhaps Chaucer is more known to the world through the medium of his great successor, than from his own intrinsic merit. It is a very general opinion that the poetry of Chaucer is almost as unintelligible to a modern reader, as if it were written in some foreign language, and that recourse must as often be had to a glossary on reading the former, as to a dictionary in studying the latter. Chaucer, we know, was born early in the 14th century, during the reign of Edward III. We also know that the English language was then in a most uncouth and barbarous state; how then, is it possible that those who live nearly 500 years after him, should be able to enjoy his poetry. This is the language of those who have never attempted what they describe as impossible, and poor Chaucer is left


very quietly to sleep on the shelf, undisturbed, except by the researches of the antiquary. The verse of Chaucer, certainly, does not constantly appear harmonious to our ears, neither do I imagine that an uninterrupted flow of metre, and equality of numbers, were then considered as essentials: it was not till centuries after our poet's death, that English verse acquired that smoothness and polish which it now possesses. It was left for Waller and Dryden to give the finish to what Chaucer had so nobly begun.

It is much to be lamented that Mr. Godwin did not devote some part of his Life of this great poet, to a more extensive history of, and criticism upon, the Canterbury Tales, in comparison of which, the greater part of Chaucer's other productions will seem uninteresting. They are so descriptive of the character and manners of the times, that "the pilgrims," says Dryden,


their humours, their features, and their dress, are as distinctly before me, as if I had supped with them at the Tabard in Southwark." Perhaps a few extracts from the prologue to the Canterbury Tales, may not be unacceptable to some of the readers of the Cabinet, which, when divested of the disguise of old spelling, will not appear so unintelligible as is generally supposed. Chaucer, after informing us that in the month of April it was usual for pilgrims to assemble at the shrine of "the holy martyr, at Canterbury," thus proceeds:

"Befel that in that season on a day,
In Southwark at the Tabart where I lay,
Ready to wendin on my pilgrimage
To Canterbury, with devout courage,
At night were come into that hostery
Well nine and twenty in a company
Of sundry folk, who by adventure fall
In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all.

That toward Canterbury wouldin ride *." 1. 19, &c.

He then describes the person, character, and condition of each of these pilgrims. I shall extract part of his description of "The Parson."

"A good man there was of religion,
And he was a poor parson of a town:

Chaucer very frequently finishes a sentence with the first Une of the verse.

But rich he was of holy thought and work,
He was also a learned man, a clerk,
That Christ'is gospel truly would he preach,
His parish'ners devoutly would he teach.
Benign he was, and wondrous diligent,
And in adversity full patient,

Wide was his parish, and houses asunder,
But he left not, neither for rain nor thunder,
In sickness nor in mischief to visit


The farthest of his parish, much or lite,
Upon his feet and in his hand a staff.
This good example to his flock he gave,
That first he wrought, and afterwards he taught."

1. 479, &c.
The other characters are described in a similar manner.
E. D.

[To be continued.}



I LATELY picked up by accident, a book entitled, if I rightly remember," A circumstantial Account of the Battle of Flodden Field," written in a kind of poetry, and extending to upwards of 400 verses. From the cursory perusal which I have had time to give it, I think that Mr. Walter Scott has been considerably indebted to it for the historical materials of his Marmion. A comparison might not be uninteresting. This book was written about the time of Queen Elizabeth, but no author's name is given: It was reprinted in London, about the year 1774. Some of the pieces in Mr. Scott's appendix, are copied from it verbatim. The book belongs to the University here. I am, sir, yours, &c.



J. F.


LOGIC, or (as it may be called) the art of disputing sophistically, makes a considerable part of our academical education: yet Gassendus, who was a very great reasoner, has attempted to prove, that it is, in truth, neither necessary nor useful. He thinks, that reason, or innate force and energy of understanding,

is sufficient of itself *; that its own natural movements, without any discipline from art, are equal to the investigation and settling of truth; that it no more wants the assistance of logic to conduct to this, than the eye wants a lanthorn to enable it to see the sun and, however he might admit as curious, he would doubtless have rejected as useless, all such productions as Quillet's Callipedia, Thevenot on the Art of Swimming, or Borelli de Motu Animalium; upon the firmest persuasion, that the innate force and energy of nature, when instinct honestly does her best, is sure to attain those several objects, without any didactic rules or precepts.


If logic therefore be not necessary, it is probably of no great use; and it has been deemed not only an impertinent but a pernicious science. Logic," says Lord Bacon," is usually taught too early in life. That minds, raw and unfinished with matter, should begin their cultivation from such a science, is just like learning to weigh or measure the wind. Hence, what in young men should be manly reasoning, often degenerates into ridiculous affectations and childish sophistry t." Certainly, where materials are wanting, the dispute must turn altogether upon words; and the whole will be conducted with the slight and legerdemain of sophistry. We have a pleasant instance upon record of this school-errantry, this trick of seeming to prove something, when in reality you prove nothing. A countryman, for the entertainment of his son, when returned from the University, ordered six eggs to be boiled; two for him, two for his mother, and two for himself: but the son, itching to give a specimen of his newly acquired science, boiled only three. To the father, asking the reason of this, Why," says the sou, "there are six. "How so?" says the father, "I can make but three." "No!" replies the young sophister, “is not here one? (counting them out) is not there two?



* Dialectica naturalis est ipsamet ratio, vel ingenita illa intellectûs vis et energia, quâ ratiocinamur, et discurrimus: et tantam videmus esse naturæ solertiam, ut quisque facilè, per se, et sine observatione, præstet quicquid necessarium est. Adversus Aristotel. lib. ii. exercit. 1. Quod nulla sit necessitas utilitasque Dialecticæ.

† De Augm. Scient. 1. 2.

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