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of animals? Yes, that is the very thing! It is furely fome rhapfodist or other, dreffed out in fcraps of verses with poetic rags; though it is uncertain whether there be one or two; for there is not the mention of a name. True poets are the objects of my reverence and my love; and the conftant fources of my delight. I know that most of them, from the earliest times, to thofe of Buchanan, have been the strenuous enemies of defpotifm; but these pedlars and milliners of verfe, who can bear? They applaud and they revile as it may happen, as gain, or paffion, or the bottle may incite, without choice, difcrimination, judgment or moderation, princes and plebeians, the literate, and illiterate, honeft men and knaves. They heap together fuch a motly, indigefted and putrid mass of adulation, that it would be better to be profecuted with contempt, than loaded with fuch praise. And he, whom they revile, fhould think it no small honour, that he has incurred the displeasure of such abfurd and foolish mifcreants. I doubt whether the first, if there be two, be a poet or a mafon; for he fo bedaubs the face of Salmafius, that he hardly leaves the space of a hair without a coating of plafter. He represents the giant-warring hero, riding in his triumphal car, brandifhing the fpear, the ceftus and all the foppery of war, attended by all the learned who walk on foot, but at an awful distance behind his chariot; fince he is feigned to "have been commiffioned by the Deity, to heal the dif tractions of the world, and with an impenetrable fhield, to protect kings in the poffeffion of their rights, and in the splendor of their fovereignty." Salmafius must surely have been doating in a state of fecond infancy, when he could be fo much taken by this encomium, as to caufe it immediately to be published to the world. The poet must have been a miferable drudge, and without any feeling of propriety, to lavish fuch a prodigality of praise on a grammarian; a race of men who have been always thought to act as a fort of fubordinate and menial part to the bard. The other does not make verses, but is stark mad; himself more raving than all the enthufiafts, who are the objects of his furious invective. As if he were the hangman in the employ of Salmafius, like the Cc 2
fon of Dama, he invokes the Horatii and Cadmus; then, intoxicated with hellebore, he difgorges a whole ciftern of abuse, which an index to Plautus, fhews him where to pilfer from the mouths of mountebanks and slaves. You would fuppofe, that his language was rather Ofcan than Latin; or that he was croaking like the frog of a flimy pool. Then, to fhew you how much he is a master of iambics, he makes two falfe quantities in a fingle word; making one fyllable long, where it ought to be fhort, and another fhort, where it ought to be long.
Hi trucidato rege per horrendum nefas.
Take away, O afs! thofe panniers of airy nothingness; and fpeak, if you can, three words that have an affinity to common fenfe; if it be poffible for the tumid pumpkin of your skull, to discover for a moment any thing like the reality of intellect. In the meantime, I abandon the pedagogue to the rods of his fcholars. Do you go on to revile me as worse than Cromwell, fince you cannot pay me a higher compliment. But fhall I call you a friend, a fool, or an infidious foe? Friend you cannot be, for your language is that of an enemy. How then could you be fuch an egregious fool, as, in the orgafms of your virulence, to affign me the poft of pre-eminence above fo great a perfonage? For do you not perceive, or do you think me too dull to difcern, that the violence of your hoftility only ferves to augment the splendor of my patriotifm; and that the topics of my panegyric must be as numerous as your subjects of reproach. If I am most the object of your averfion, it is because you have most felt the force of my blows; because I have been the greatest obstacle in the way of your fuccefs. This proves that I have deserved well of my country; for the testimony of an of an enemy, however fufpicious on other occafions, may be fafely trufted with refpect to his own fenfations of refentment. Do you not remember that the poet, in the contest which enfued between Ajax and Ulyffes, for the arms of Achilles, leaves the matter according to the opinion of Neftor, to the decision, not of their Grecian friends, but of their Trojan foes.
To the cool Trojans let us leave the cause. And a little after,
What fober juftice dictates they'll decree,
Thus fays Q. Calaber. You must therefore be infidiously ftudious to oppress me with the public indignation; and thus you corrupt and pervert the open and manly vigour of an enemy, by the treacherous and inveterate indignity of your difpofition; and you fhew yourself, not only the worst of men, but the basest of enemies. But, good Sir, I will by no means fruftrate your endeavours: for, though I may wish to rival Ulyffes in the merits of his patriotism, I am yet no competitor for the arms of Achilles. I am not folicitous for an Elyfium painted on a fhield, which others may fee me brandifh in the contest; but I defire to bear upon my shoulders a real not a painted weight, of which I may feel the preffure, but which may be imperceptible to others. For fince I cherish no private rancour, nor hoftility against any man, nor any man that I know of against me, I am well contented, for the fake of the public intereft, to be fo much aspersed and fo much reviled. Nor, while I sustain the greatest weight of the difgrace, do I complain because I have the fmalleft share of the profit or the praise; for I am content to do what is virtuous, for the fake of the action itself without any finister expectations. Let others look to that; but do you, Sir, know, that my hands were never foiled with the guilt of peculation; and that I never was even a fhilling the richer by thofe exertions, which you most vehemently traduce. Here More again begins, and in his fecond epistle affigns the reasons for his writing; to whom? Why truly More, the perpetrator of adultery and rape, addresses "the lover of Christianity." You promise, Sir, a most pious epiftle; but now for the reafons why "That the anxious and attentive nations of you wrote. Europe, and particularly the members of the reformed religion in France, might be made acquainted with the
parricide and the parricides," &c. The French, and even the proteftants themselves, were up in arms against the established laws; what they would have done farther if they had met with as much fuccefs as we have, cannot be known; but certainly their kings, if we may trust the accounts of those transactions, feared as much from them as ours did from us; nor could they help doing it, when they confidered the tone of their manifeftos, and the violence of their threats. Let them not therefore, whatever you may pretend, boast too much for themselves, nor judge too illiberally of us. He proceeds, "Indeed I have been in fuch habits of intimacy with perfons of the first character in England." Those who are the best in his eyes, will be found the worst in those of other people. "That I do not hesitate to affert, that I am intimately acquainted with the vices, the principles, and the lives of thofe monsters in the shape of men." I thought that you had had acquaintance with none but bawds and whores; but you alfo thoroughly know what monsters are. "My English friends readily prevailed upon me to fupprefs my name," and this was difcreetly done; for they thus hoped to derive more advantage from the effrontery of your affertions, and less harm from the profligacy of your character. They knew you well, they remembered your honest custody of the fruit in the garden; and that, even when become a fhorn and polifhed priest, you could not keep your hands off Portia. And furely not without reafon; for if the word carnifex be derived, a conficiendâ carne, why may not you, by doing for Portia, from a priest become a Pontifex. Though they could not but know this, and you could not be ignorant of it, yet, with an impiety that merits execration, and an affurance that furpaffes belief, you openly affert, that you were ftudious only to vindicate the glory of God; and, at the fame time, you inveigh against the hypocrify of others, when there never was a more notorious mercenary, or unprincipled hypocrite than yourself. In narrating the feries of tranfactions, you fay that you have derived great affiftance from other writers, and particu larly from the exposure of the late difturbances in England. Surely, Sir, you must be very deficient in difcre
tion and capacity; when after so much parade and noise, you bring forward nothing of your own, but can adduce against us only fome writers among the royalifts, who may justly be fufpected; but without an implicit reliance in whofe veracity you cannot proceed a step. If there be occafion, we will refute thofe writers, and set aside one confutation by another; we will not answer them by you, but you by them. What you have produced of your own, you will find it difficult to defend; which, while it indicates a mind utterly void of all religious principle, every good man will fhudder while he reads. The love of God, and a lively sense of the infult that has been offered to his holy name, compels me to lift up my fuppliant hands to heaven." Hide, O hide thofe hands, fo foully stained with luft and rapine; nor, with hands fuch as thofe, attempt to touch the throne of God, with which you have fo often polluted the rites of his religion, and the altars of his worship. The divine vengeance which you fo lavishly imprecate on others, you will find at last that you have been invoking on yourself. Hitherto we have had only the prelude to the cry, but (now it is going to occupy the principal and almoft fole part in the drama) it fwells the cheek and ftrains the jaws in the act of mounting to heaven; whither, if it afcend, it will refound most effectually against the brawling More. "Since the majefty of kings has in all ages been held facred, &c." You attack me, Sir, with much common place-abufe, and many malicious obfervations which are quite irrelevant to the purpose; for the murder of a king, and the punishment of a tyrant, are not the fame thing; but do differ, and will for ever differ, as long as fense and reason, justice and equity, the knowledge of right and wrong fhall prevail among men. But enough, and more than enough has been faid on this fubject; nor fhall I fuffer you, who have in vain, affaulted me with fo many fenfelefs imprecations, at last to bring about my end with a plethory of difguft? You then fay fome fine things on patience and on virtue. But,
You talk on virtue, while on vice you pore,
And preach moft chafte discourses while you whore.