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worst of vices; in the other, with violent recoil from the hypocrisies, outrage the proprieties of life. The proof soon came. Churchill had given evidence of scholarship in Latin and Greek as early as his fifteenth year, when, offering himself a candidate for the Westminster foundation, he went in head of the election; but on standing for the studentship to Merton College, Oxford, three years later, he was rejected. Want of learning, premature indulgence of satirical tastes, and other as unlikely causes, have been invented to explain the rejection; there is little doubt that its real cause was the discovery of a marriage imprudently contracted some months before, with a Westminster girl named Scott, and accomplished within the rules of the Fleet. A marriage most imprudent—most unhappy. It disqualified him for the studentship. It introduced his very boyhood to grave responsibilities he was powerless to discharge, almost to comprehend. What self-help he might have exerted against the unwise plans of his father, it crippled and finally destroyed. There is hardly a mistake or suffering in his after-life, which it did not originate, or leave him without the means of repelling. That it was entered into at so early an age; that it was ef. fected by the scandalous facilities of the Fleet -were among its evil incidents, but not the worst. It encumbered him with a wife from whom he could not hope for sympathy, encouragement, or assistance in any good thing: to whom he could administer them as little. Neither understood the other; nor had that real affection which would have supplied all needful knowledge. The good clergyman received them into his house soon after the discovery was made. The compromise seems to have been, that Churchill should no longer oppose his father's wishes, in regard to that calling of the church to which he afterwards bitterly described himself decreed, “ere it was known that he should learn to read.” He was entered, but never resided, at Trinity, in Cambridge. There was a necessary interval before the appointed age of ordination, (for which he could qualify without a degree,) and he passed it quietly; the first twelve months in his father's house; the rest in a retirement, for which “family reasons” are named but not explained, in the north of England. In that retirement, it is said, he varied church reading with “favourite poetical amusements;" with what unequal apportionment it might not be difficult to guess. The already congenial charm he may be supposed to have found in the stout declamation of Juvenal; the sly and insinuating sharpness of Horace, and the indignant eloquence of Dryden—had little rivalry to fear from the servid imagination of Taylor, the copious eloquence of Barrow, or the sweet persuasiveness of South. In 1753 he visited London, to take possession, it is said, of a small fortune in right of his wife; but there is nothing to show that he got the possession, however small. It is more apparent that the great city tempted him sorely; that boyish tastes were once more freely indulged; and that his now large and stalwart figure was oftener seen at theatres than chapels.

It was a great theatrical time. Drury Lane was in its strength, with Garrick, Mossop, Mrs. Pritchard, Palmer, Woodward, Shutes, Yates, and Mrs. Clive. Even in its comparative weakness, Covent Garden could boast of Barry, Smith, Sparks, and Maclin—of Mrs. Cibber, and Mrs. Vincent, and, not seldom, of Quin, who still lingered on the stage he had quitted formally two or three years before, and seemed as loth to depart from really, as Churchill, on these stolen evenings of enjoyment, from his favourite front row of the pit. Nevertheless, the promise to his father was kept; and, having now reached the canonical age, he returned to the north in deacon's orders; whence he removed, with little delay, to the curacy of South Cadbury in Somersetshire. Here he officiated till 1756, when he was ordained priest, and passed to his father's curacy of Rainham. Both these ordinations without a degree, are urged in special proof of his good character and reputation for singular learning; but there is reason to suspect his father's influence more powerful than either. “His behaviour,” says Dr. Kippis, writing in the Biographia Britannica, “gained him the love and esteem of his parishioners; and his sermons, though somewhat raised above the level of his audience, were commended and followed. What chiefly disturbed him, was the smallness of his income.” This, though connected with a statement as to a Welsh living now rejected, has in effect been always repeated since, and may or may not be true. It is perhaps a little strange, if his sermons were thus elevated, commended, and followed, that no one recognised their style, or could in the least commend them, when a series of ten were published with his name eight years later; but the alleged smallness of his income admits of no kind of doubt. He had now two sons, and, as he says himself, “prayed and starved on forty pounds a year.” He opened a school. It was bitter drudgery. He wondered, he afterwards told his friends, that he had ever submitted to it; but necessities more bitter overmastered him. What solid help this new toil might have given was yet uncertain, when, in 1758, his father died, and, in respect to his memory, his parishioners elected the curate of Rainham to succeed him. At the close of 1758, Charles Churchill was settled in Westminster, at the age of twenty-seven, curate and lecturer of St. John's. It was not a very brilliant change, nor enabled him yet to dispense with very mean resources. “The emoluments of his situation,” observes Dr. Kippis—who was connected with the poet's friends, and, excepting where he quotes the loose assertions of the ...Annual Register, wrote on the information of Wilkes—“not amounting to a full hundred pounds a year, in order to improve his finances he undertook to teach young ladies to read and write English with propriety and correctness; and was engaged for this purpose in the boarding-school of Mrs. Dennis.” Mr. Churchill conducted himself in his new employment “with all the decorum becoming his clerical profession.” The grave doctor would indicate the teacher's virtue and self-command, in controlling by the proper clerical decorums his instruction of Mrs. Dennis's young ladies. Mr. Tooke's biography more confidently asserts, that not only as the servant of Mrs. Dennis, but as “a parochial minister, he performed his duties with punctuality, while in the pulpit he was plain, rational, and emphatic.” On the other hand, Churchill himself tells us that he was not so. He says, that he was an idle pastor and a drowsy preacher. We are assured, among the last and most earnest verses he composed, that “sleep at his bidding crept from pew to pew.” With a mournful bitterness he adds, that his heart had never been with his profession;–that it was not of his own choice, but through need, and for his curse, he had ever been ordained. It is a shallow view of his career that can differently regard it, or suppose him at its close any other than he had been at its beginning. The sagacious Mr. Tooke, after a fashion worthy of himself, would “divide the life into two distinct and dissimilar portions; the one pious, rational, and consistent; the other irregular, dissipated, and licentious.” During the first portion of seven-and-twenty years, says this philosophic observer, “with the exception of a few indiscretions, his conduct in every relation, as son, as brother, as husband, as father, and as a friend, was rigidly and exemplarily, though obscurely virtuous; while the remaining six years present an odious contrast.” Why, with such convictions, he edited the odious six years, and not the pure twentyseven; why he published the poems, and did not collect the sermons—the philosopher does not explain. For ourselves let us add, that we hold with no such philosophy in Churchill's case, or any other. Whatever the corrupting influence of education may be, whatever the evil mistakes of early training, we believe that Nature is apt to show herself at all times both rational and consistent. She has no delight in monsters; no pride in odious contrasts. Her art is at least as wise as Horace describes the art of poetry to be. She joins no discordant termination to beginnings that are pure and lovely. Such as he honestly was, Churchill can afford to be honestly judged: when he calls it his curse to have been ordained, he invites that judgment. He had grave faults, and paid dearly for them; but he set up for no virtue that he had not. In the troubled selfreproaches of latter years, he recalled no pure self-satisfactions in the past. To have been “decent and demure at least, as grave and dull as any priest,” was all the pretence he made. It was his disgrace, if the word is to be used, to have assumed the clerical gown. It was not his disgrace to seek to lay it aside as soon as might be. That this was the direction of his thoughts, as soon as his father's death removed his chief constraint, is plain. His return to Westminster had brought him back within the sphere of old temptations; the ambition of a more active life, the early school aspirings, the consciousness of talents rusting in disuse, again disturbed him; and he saw, or seemed to see, distinction falling on the men who had started

life when he did, from the Literature he might have cultivated with yet greater success. Bonnell Thornton and Colman were by this time established town wits; and with another schoolsellow (his now dissolute neighbour, Robert Lloyd, weary of the drudgery of his father's calling, to which he had been appointed in Westminster school, and on the eve of rushing into the life of a professed man of letters) he was in renewed habits of daily intercourse. Nor, to the discontent thus springing up on all sides, had he power of the least resistance in his home. His ill-considered marriage had by this time borne its bitterest fruit; it being always understood in Westminster, says Dr. Kippis, himself a resident there, “that Mrs. Churchill's imprudence kept too near a pace with that of her husband.” The joint imprudence had its effect in growing embarrassment; continual terrors of arrest induced the most painful concealments; executions were lodged in his house; and his life was passed in endeavours to escape his creditors, perhaps not less to escape himself. It was then that young Lloyd, whose whole life had been a rude impulsive scene of license, threw open to him, without further reserve, his own mad circle of dissipation and forgetfulness. It was entered eagerly. In one of his later writings, he described this time; his credit gone, his pride humbled, his virtue undermined, himself sinking beneath the adverse storm, and the kind hand, whose owner he should love and reverence to his dying day, which was suddenly stretched forth to save him. It was that of good Dr. Lloyd, now under-master of Westminster: he saw the creditors, persuaded them to accept a composition of five shillings in the pound, and lent what was required to complete it. With the generous wish to succour his favourite pupil, there may have been the hope of one more chance of safety for his son. But it was too late. At almost the same instant, young Lloyd deserted his ushership of Westminster to throw himself on literature for support, and Churchill, resolving to try his fate as a poet, prepared to abandon his profession. A formal separation from his wife, and a first rejection by the booksellers, date within a few months of each other. At the close of 1760, he carried round his first effort in verse to those arbiters of literature, then all-powerful; for it was the sorry and helpless interval between the patron and the public. The Bard, written in Hudibrastic verse, was contemptuously rejected. But, fairly bent upon his new career, he was not the man to waste time in fruitless complainings. He wrote again, in a style more likely to be acceptable; and the Conclave, a satire aimed at the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, would have been published eagerly, but for a legal opinion on the dangers of a prosecution, interposed by the bookseller's friend. This was at once a lesson in the public taste, and in the caution with which it should be catered for. Profiting by it, Churchill with better fortune planned his third undertaking. He took a subject in which his friend Lloyd had recently obtained success—in which severity ...was not unsafe, and to which, already firm as it was in the interest of what was called the Town, he could nevertheless give a charm of novelty. After “two months' close attendance at the theatres,” he completed The Rosciad. It is not known to what bookseller he offered it, but it is certain that it was refused by more than one. Probably it went the round of “The Trade;”—a trade more remarkable for misvaluation of its raw material, than any other in existence. He asked five guineas for the manuscript, (according to Southey ; Mr. Tooke says he asked twenty pounds,) and there was not a member of the craft that the demand did not terrify. But he was not to be baffled this time. He possibly knew the merit of what he had done. Here, at any rate, into this however slighted manuscript, a something long restrained within him had forced its way; and a chance he was determined it should have. It as no little risk to run in his position; but at }. own expense he printed and published The Rosciad. It appeared without his name, after two obscure advertisements, in March, 1761. A few days served to show what a hit had been made. They who in a double sense had cause to feel it, doubtless cried out first; but Who is Hez was soon in the mouths of all. Men upon town spoke of its pungency and humour; men of higher mark found its manly verse an unaccustomed pleasure; mere playgoers had its criticism to discuss ; and discontented Whigs, in disfavour at court for the first time these fifty years, gladly welcomed a spirit that might help to give discontent new terrors, and revolution principles new vogue. Thus, in their turn, the wit, the strong and easy verse, the grasp of character, and the rude free daring of the Rosciad, were, within a few days of the appearance of its shilling pamphlet, the talk of every London coffee-house. To account for the reception Satire commonly meets with in the world, and for the scantiness of those that are offended with it, it has been compared to a sort of glass wherein beholders may discover everybody's face but their own. The class whom the Rosciad offended, could discover nobody's face but their own. It was the remark of one of themselves, that they ran about the town like so many stricken deer. They cared little on their own account, they said; but they grieved so very much for their friends. “Why should this man attack Mr. Havard 3" remonstrated one. “I am not at all concerned for myself; but what has poor Billy Havard done, that he must be treated so cruelly "" To which another with less sympathy rejoined: “And pray, what has Mr. Havard done, that he cannot bear his misfortunes as well as another?” For, indeed, many more than the Billy Havards had these misfortunes to bear. The strong, quite as freely as the weak, were struck at in the Rosriad. The Quin, the Mossop, and the Barry, had as little mercy as the Holland, the Jackson, and the Davies; and even Garrick was too full of terror at the avalanche that had fallen, to rejoice very freely in his own escape. Forsooth, he must assume indifference to the praise; and suggest in his off-hand grandeur

him civilly no doubt, with a view to the freedom of the theatre. He had the poor excuse for this fribbling folly, (which Churchill heard and punished,) that he did not yet affect to know the man; and was himself repeating the question addressed to him on all sides, Who is Hez It was a question which the Critical Reviewers soon took upon themselves to answer. They were great authorities in those days, and had no less a person than Smollett at their head. But they bungled sadly here. The field which the Rosciad had invaded they seem to have thought their own; and they fell to the work of resentment in the spirit of the tiger commemorated in the Rambler, who roared without reply and ravaged without resistance. If they could have anticipated either the one or the other, they would doubtless have been a little more discreet. No question could exist of the authorship, they said. The thing was clear. Who were heroes in the poem Messrs. Lloyd and Colman. Then who could have written it? Why, who other than Messrs. Lloyd and Colman “Claw me, claw ther, as Sawney says; and so it is; they go and scratch one another like Scotch pedlars.” Hereupon, for the Critical Review was a “great fact” then, Lloyd sent forth an advertisement to say that he was never “concerned or consulted” about the publication, nor ever corrected or saw the sheets. He was followed by Colman, who took the same means of announcing “most solemnly” that he was “not in the least concerned.” To these were added, in a few days, a third advertisement. It stated that Charles Churchill was the author of the Rosciad, and that his Apology, addressed to the Critical Reviewers, would immediately be published. Before the close of the month this poem appeared. On all who had professed to doubt the power of the new writer, the effect was prompt and decisive. The crowd so recently attracted by his hard hitting, gathered round in greater numbers, to enjoy the clattering descent of such well-aimed blows on the astonished heads of unprepared Reviewers. One half the poem was a protest against the antipathies and hatreds that are the general welcome of newcomers into literature;—the fact in Natural History, somewhere touched upon by Warburton, that only Pikes and Poets prey upon their kind. The other half was a bitter depreciation of the stage; much in the manner, and hardly less admirable than the wit, of Hogarth. Smollett was fiercely attacked, and Garrick rudely warned and threatened. Coarseness there was, but a fearless aspect of strength; too great a tendency to say with willing vehemence whatever could be eloquently said; but in this a mere over-assertion of the consciousness of real power. In an age where most things were tame, except the practice of profligacy in all its forms; when Gray describes even a gout, and George Montagu an earthquake, of so mild a character that “you might stroke them.”—it is not to be wondered at that this.slpology should have gathered people round it. Tame, it certainly was not. It was a curious contrast to the prevailing manner of

to one of his retainers, that the man had treated even the best of such things. It was a fierce

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and sudden change from the parterres of trim sentences set within sweetbrier hedges of epigram, that were the applauded performances of this kind. Smollett wrote to Garrick (we are told by Davies) to ask him to make it known to Mr. Churchill, that he was not the writer of the notice of the Rosciad. Garrick wrote to Lloyd (we owe the publication of the letter to Mr. Pickering) to praise Mr. Churchill's genius, and grieve that he should not have been vindicated by their common friend from Mr. Churchill's displeasure. The player accepted the poet's warning. There was no fear of his repeating the bêtise he had committed. To his most distinguished friends, to even the dukes and dowagers of his acquaintance, he was careful never to omit in future his good word for Mr. Churchill. Never, even when describing the “misery” the Rosciad had inflicted on a dear friend, did he forget his own “love for Churchill.” And they lived in amity, and Churchill dined at Hampton to the last. “I have seen the poem you mention, the Rosciad,” writes Garrick's friend, Bishop War. burton, “and was surprised at the excellent things I found in it; but took Churchill's to be a feigned name, so little do I know of what is going forward.” This good bishop little thinking how soon he was to discover a reality to himself in what was going forward, hardly less bitter than Garrick had confessed in the letter to Lloyd: “of acting a pleasantry of countenance while his back was most wofully striped with the cat-o'-nine-tails.” The lively actor nevertheless subjoined: “I will show the superiority I have over my brethren upon this occasion, by seeming at least that I am not dissatisfied.” He did not succeed. The acting was not so good as usual, the superiority not so obvious. For in truth his brethren had the best of it, in proportion as they had less interest in the art so bitterly, and, it must be added, so unjustly assailed. “And it was no small consolation to us,” says Davies, with great naïveté, “that our master was not spared.” Some of the more sensible went so far as to join in the laugh that had been raised against them; and Shuter asked to be allowed to make merry with the satirist—a request at once conceded. On the other hand, with not a few, the publication of Churchill's name had aggravated offence, and re-opened the smarting wound. But they did not mend the matter. Their ...Anti-Rosciads, Triumvirates, Earaminers, and Churchiliads, making what reparation and revenge they could, amounted to but the feeble admission of their opponent's strength; nor did hostilities more personal accomplish other than precisely this. Parties met to devise retaliation, and, talking loud against the “Satirical Parson” in the Bedford coffee-house, quietly dispersed when a brawny figure appeared, and Churchill, drawing off his gloves with a particularly slow composure, called for a dish of coffee and the Rosciad. Their fellow-performer, Yates, seeing the same figure darken the parlour-door of the Rose tavern where he happened to be sitting, snatched up a case-knife to do summary justice; and was never upon the

stage so heartily laughed at as when, somewhat more quietly, he laid it down. Foote wrote a lampoon against the “Clumsy Curate,” and, with a sensible after-thought of fear, excellent matter of derision to the victims of a professional lampooner, suppressed it. Arthur Murphy less wisely published his, and pilloried himself; his Ode to the Naiads of Fleet Ditch being but a gross confession of indecency as well as imbecility—more than Churchill charged him with. “No more he'll sit,” exclaimed this complacent counter-satirist, from whom we may quote as the boldest assailant, “in foremost row before the astonished pit; in brawn Oldmixon's rival as in wit; and grin dislike and kiss the spike; and giggle, and wriggle; and fiddle, and diddle; and fiddle-faddle, and diddle-daddle?” But Churchill returned to his front row, “by Arthur undismayed;” and still formidable was his broad burly face when seen from the s behind that spike of the orchestra. “In this place he thought he could best discern the real workings of the passions in the actors, or what they substituted in the place of them,” says Davies, who had good reason to know the place. There is an affecting letter of his in the Garrick correspondence, deprecating the managers’ wrath. “During the run of Cymbeline,” he says; and of course, as holder of the heavy business, he had to bear the burden of royalty in that play—“I had the misfortune to disconcert you in one scene for which I did immediately beg your pardon, and did attribute it to my accidentally seeing Mr. Churchill in the pit, with great truth; it rendered me confused and unmindful of my business.” Garrick might have been more tolerant of poor Davies, recollecting that on a recent occasion even the royal robes of Richard had not rapt himself from the consciousness of that ominous figure in the pit; and that he had grievingly written to Colman of his sense of the arch-critic's too apparent discontent. Thus, then, had Churchill, in little more than two months, sprung into a notoriety of a very remarkable, perhaps not of a very enviable kind: made up of admiration and alarm. What other satirists had desired to shrink from, he seemed eager to brave; and the man, not less than the poet, challenged with an air of defiance the talk of the town. Pope had a tall Irishman to attend him when he published the Dunciad: Churchill was tall enough to attend himself. One of Pope's victims, by way of delicate reminder, hung up a birch rod at Button's : Churchill's victims might see him any day walking Covent-Garden unconcernedly, with a bludgeon under his arm. What excuse may be suggested for this personal bravado will be drawn from the incidents of his early life. If these had been more auspicious, the straightforward manliness of his natural character would steadily have sustained him to the last. As it was, even this noblest quality did him a disservice, being in no light degree responsible for his violent extremes. The restraint he had so long submitted to, thrown aside, and the compromise ended, he thought he could not too plainly exhibit his new existence to the world. He had declared war against hypocrisy in all stations, and in his own would set it no example. The pulpit had starved him on forty pounds a year; the public had given him a thousand pounds in two months; and he proclaimed himself, with little regard to the decencies in doing it, better satisfied with the last service than the first. This was carrying a hatred of hypocrisy beyond the verge of prudence; indulging it indeed, with the satire it found vent in, to the very borders of licentiousness. He stripped off his clerical dress by way of parting with his last disguise, and appeared in a blue coat with metal buttons, a gold-laced waistcoat, a gold-laced hat, and ruffles? Dean Zachary Pearce, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, remonstrated with him. He said he was not conscious of deserving censure. The dean observed, that the frequenting of plays was unfitting, and the Rosciad indecorous. He replied, that so were some of the classics which the dean had translated. The “dull dean's” third remonstrance as to dress met with the same fate; and it was not till the St. John's parishioners themselves took the matter in hand, a few months later, that Churchill resigned the lectureship of that parish. It was just that they should determine it, he said; and the most severe assailant of his turbulent life would hardly charge him with indifference at any time to what he believed to be just. The date of his good fortune, and that of the comfort of his before struggling family, his “brother John and sister Patty,” were the same. The complainings of his wife were ended, when his poverty was ended, by the generous allowance he set aside for her support. Every man of whom he had borrowed was paid with interest; and the creditors whose compromise had left them without a claim upon him, received, to their glad amazement, the remaining fisteen shillings in the pound. “In the instance,” says Dr. Kippis, “which fell under my knowledge as an executor and guardian, Mr. Churchill voluntarily came to us and paid the full amount of the original debt.” It was not possible with such a man as this, that any mad dissipation or indulgence, however countenanced by the uses of the time, could wear away his sense of its unworthiness, or silence remorse and self-reproach. Nor is it clear that Churchill's heart was ever with the scenes of gaiety into which he is now said to have recklessly entered, so much as with the friend by whose side he entered them. It is indeed mournfully confessed, in the opening of the Epistle to that friend, which was his third effort in poetry, that it was to heal or hide their care they often met; that not to defy but to escape the world, was too often their desire: and that the reason was at all times but too strong with each of them, to seek in the other's society a refuge from himself. This Epistle, addressed to Lloyd, and published in October, 1761, was forced from him by the public imputations, now become frequent and fierce, on the moral character of them both. Armstrong, in a poetical epistle to his friend “gay Wilkes,” had joined with these detractors; and his Day suggested Churchill's Night. It ridiculed the judgments of the

world, and defied its censure; which had the power to call bad names, it said, but not to create bad qualities in those who were content to brave them. It had some nervous lines, many manly thoughts, and not a little questionable philosophy; but was chiefly remarkable for its indication of the new direction of Churchill's satire. There had been rumours of his intending a demolition of a number of minor actors hitherto unassailed, in a Smithfield Rosciad; and to a poor man's pitiable deprecation of such needless severity, he had deigned a sort of surly indignation at the rumour, but no distinct denial. It was now obvious that he contemplated other actors, and a very different theatre. Pitt had been driven to his resignation in the preceding month; “and,” cried Churchill here, amid other earnest praise of that darling of the people, “what honest man but would with joy submit, to bleed with Cato and retire with Pitt'” “Gay Wilkes” at once betook himself to the popular poet. Though Armstrong's Epistle had been addressed to him, he said, he had no sympathy with it; and he was sure that Armstrong himself, then abroad, had never designed it for publication. Other questions and assurances followed; and so began the friendship which only death ended. Wilkes had little strength or sincerity of feeling of any kind; but there is no doubt that all he had was given to Churchill, and that he was repaid with an affection as hearty, brotherly, and true as ever man inspired. All men of all parties who knew John Wilkes at the outset of his extraordinary career, are in agreement as to his fascinating manners. It was particularly the admission of those whom he had most bitterly assailed. “Mr. Wilkes,” said Lord Mansfield, “was the pleasantest companion, the politest gentleman, and the best scholar, I ever knew.” “His name,” said Dr. Johnson, “has been sounded from pole to pole as the phoenix of convivial felicity.” More naturally he added, “Jack has a great variety of talk; Jack is a scholar; Jack has the manners of a gentleman.” And every one will remember his characteristic letter to Mrs. Thrale: “I have been breaking jokes with Jack Wilkes upon the Scotch. Such, madam, are the vicissitudes of things." There is little wonder that he who could control vicissitudes of this magnitude, should so quickly have controlled the liking of Churchill. He was the poet's elder by four years; his tastes and indulgences were the same; he had a character for public morality (for these were the days of wide separation between public and private morality) as yet unimpeached; and when they looked out into public life, and spoke of political affairs, they could discover no point of disagreement. A curious crisis had arrived. Nearly forty years had passed since Voltaire, then a resident of London, had been assured by a great many persons whom he met, that the Duke of Marlborough was a coward and Mr. Pope a fool. Party went to sleep soon after, but had now reawakened to a not less violent extreme. The last shadow of grave opposition to the House of Hanover

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