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the world grow pale, and tremble with party rage. figure of the doctor, who was placed with great Camilla is one of the greatest beauties in the Bri- gravity among the sticks of it. In a word, I found tish nation, and yet values herself more upon being that the doctor had taken possession of her the virago of one party, than upon being the toast thoughts, her discourse, and most of her furniture; of both. The dear creature, about a week ago, but finding myself pressed too close by her quesencountered the fierce and beautiful Penthesilea tion, I winked upon my friend to take his leave, across a tea-table; but, in the height of her anger, which he did accordingly. as her hand chanced to shake with the earnestness of the dispute, she scalded her fingers, and spilt a dish of tea upon her petticoat. Had not this accident broke off the debate, no body knows where it would have ended.


N° 58. MONDAY, MAY 7, 1711.


Ut pictura, poesis erit ;———
HOR. Ars Poet. ver. 361.
Poems like pictures are.

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There is one consideration which I would earnestly recommend to all my female readers, and which I hope will have some weight with them. In short, it is this, that there is nothing so bad for the face as party zeal. It gives an ill-natured cast to NOTHING is so much admired, and so little under. the eye, and a disagreeable sourness to the look; stood, as wit. No author that I know of has writbesides that it makes the lines too strong, and ten professedly upon it; and as for those who make flushes them worse than brandy. I have seen a any mention of it, they only treat on the subject as woman's face break out in heats, as she has been it has accidentally fallen in their way, and that too talking against a great lord, whom she had never in little short reflections, or in general exclamatory seen in her life; and indeed I never knew a party-flourishes, without entering into the bottom of the woman that kept her beauty for a twelvemonth. matter. I hope therefore I shall perform an ac I would therefore advise all my female readers, as ceptable work to my countrymen, if I treat at large they value their complexions, to let alone all dis-upon this subject; which I shall endeavour to do putes of this nature; though, at the same time, I in a manner suitable to it, that I may not incur the would give free liberty to all superannuated mo-censure which a famous critic bestows upon one therly partisans to be as violent as they please, who had written a treatise on the sublime,' in a since there will be no danger either of their spoil-low grovelling style. I intend to lay aside a whole ing their faces, or of their gaining converts. week for this undertaking, that the scheme of my For my own part, I think a man makes an odious thoughts may not be broken and interrupted; and and despicable figure, that is violent in a party; I dare promise myself, if my readers will give me bat a woman is too sincere to mitigate the fury of a week's attention, that this great city will be very her principles with temper and discretion, and to much changed for the better by next Saturday act with that temper and reservedness which are night. I shall endeavour to make what I say intelrequisite in our sex. When this unnatural zeal ligible to ordinary capacities; but if my readers gets into them, it throws them into ten thousand meet with any paper that in some parts of it may heats and extravagancies; their generous souls set be a little out of their reach, I would not have them no bounds to their love, or to their hatred, and discouraged, for they may assure themselves the whether a whig or tory, a lap-dog or a gallant, an next shall be much clearer. opera or a puppet-show, be the object of it, the As the great and only end of these my specula passion, while it reigns, engrosses the whole woman. tions is to banish vice and ignorance out of the ter I remember when Dr. Titus Oates* was in all ritories of Great Britain, I shall endeavour as much his glory, I accompanied my friend Will Honey as possible to establish among us a taste of polite comb in a visit to a lady of his acquaintance. We writing. It is with this view that I have endea were no sooner sat down, but upon casting my eyes youred to set my readers right in several points reabout the room, I found in almost every corner of lating to operas and tragedies; and shall from time it a print that represented the doctor in all mag-to time impart my notions of comedy, as I think nitudes and dimensions. "A little after, as the lady they may tend to its refinement and perfection. I was discoursing my friend, and held her snuff box find by my bookseller, that these papers of criti in her hand, who should I see in the lid of it but cism, with that upon humour, have met with a the doctor. It was not long after this when she more kind reception than indeed I could have all had occasion for her handkerchief, which, upon hoped for from such subjects; for this reason I t first opening, discovered among the plaits of it the shall enter upon my present undertaking with a figure of the doctor. Upon this my friend Will, greater cheerfulness.


who loves raillery, told her, that if he was in Mr. In this, and one or two following papers, Truelove's place (for that was the name of her trace out the history of false wit, and distinguish husband) he should be made as uneasy by a hand- the several kinds of it as they have prevailed in kerchief as ever Othello was. I am afraid,' said different ages of the world. This I think the more she, Mr. Honeycomb, you are a tory; tell me necessary at present, because I observed there truly, are you a friend to the doctor or not? Will, were attempts on foot last winter to revive some instead of making her a reply, smiled in her face of those antiquated modes of wit, that have been (for indeed she was very pretty), and told her that long exploded out of the commonwealth of letters. one of her patches was dropping off. She imme- There were several satires and panegyrics handed diately adjusted it, and looking a little seriously, about in acrostic, by which means some of the most "Well,' says she, 'I will be hanged if you and your arrant undisputed blockheads about the town besilent friend are not against the doctor in your gan to entertain ambitious thoughts, and to set up hearts: I suspected as much by his saying nothing for polite authors. I shall therefore describe at Upon this she took her fan into her hand, and, length those many arts of false wit, in which a the opening of it, again displayed to us the writer does not show himself a man of a beautiful genius, but of great industry.


• Dr. Sacheverell is understood to be the person really allud.

ed to.

The first species of false wit which I have met with is very venerable for its antiquity, and has

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produced several pieces which have lived very mistaken, in the translation of Du Bartas. I do near as long as the Iliad itself: I mean thoses hort not remember any other kind of work among the poems printed among the minor Greek poets, which moderns which more resembles the performances [ resemble the figure of an egg, a pair of wings, an have mentioned, than that famous picture of King ax, a shepherd's pipe, and an altar. Charles the First, which has the whole book of As for the first, it is a little oval poem, and may psalms written in the lines of the face, and the hair not improperly be called a scholar's egg. I would of the head. When I was last at Oxford I perused endeavour to hatch it, or, in more intelligible lan- one of the whiskers, and was reading the other, guage, to translate it into English, did not I find but could not go so far in it as I would have done, the interpretation of it very difficult; for the by reason of the impatience of my friends and author seems to have been more intent upon the fellow-travellers, who all of them pressed to see figure of his poem than upon the sense of it. such a piece of curiosity. I have since heard, that The pair of wings consist of twelve verses, or there is now an eminent writing-master in town, father feathers, every verse decreasing gradually who has transcribed all the Old Testament in a in its measure according to its situation in the full-bottomed periwig; and if the fashion should wing. The subject of it (as in the rest of the introduce the thick kind of wigs, which were in poems which follow) bears some remote affinity vogue some few years ago, he promises to add two with the figure, for it describes a god of love, who is always painted with wings.

or three supernumerary locks that should contain all the Apocrypha. He designed this wig origiThe ax methinks would have been a good figure nally for King William, having disposed of the for a lampoon, had the edge of it consisted of the two books of Kings in the two forks of the foremost satirical parts of the work; but as it is in the top; but that glorious monarch dying before the original, I take it to have been nothing else but wig was finished, there is a space left in it for the the posy of an ax which was consecrated to Mi-face of any one that has a mind to purchase it. nerva, and was thought to have been the same But to return to our ancient poems in picture. that Epeus made use of in the building of the I would humbly propose, for the benefit of our Trojan horse; which is a hint I shall leave to the modern smatterers in poetry, that they would imiconsideration of the critics. I am apt to think tate their brethren among the ancients in those inthat the posy was written originally upon the ax, genious devices. I have communicated this thought like those which our modern cutlers inscribe upon to a young poetical lover of my acquaintance, who their knives and that therefore the posy still re- intends to present his mistress with a copy of verses mains in its ancient shape, though the ax itself made in the shape of her fan; and, if he tells me is lost. true, has already finished the three first sticks of The shepherd's pipe may be said to be full of it. He has likewise promised me to get the meamusic, for it is composed of nine different kinds of sure of his mistress's marriage-finger, with a design verse, which by their several lengths resemble the to make a posy in the fashion of a ring, which nine stops of the old musical instrument, that is shall exactly fit it. It is so very easy to enlarge likewise the subject of the poem. upon a good bint, that I do not question but my The altar is inscribed with the epitaph of Troilus ingenious readers will apply what I have said to the son of Hecuba; which, by the way, makes me many other particulars: and that we shall see the believe, that these false pieces of wit are much town filled in a very little time with poetical tipmore ancient than the authors to whom they are pets, handkerchiefs, snuff-boxes, and the like fegenerally ascribed; at least I will never be per- male ornaments. I shall therefore conclude with suaded, that so fine a writer as Theocritus could a word of advice to those admirable English auhave been the author of any such simple works. thors who call themselves Pindaric writers, that It was impossible for a man to succeed in these they would apply themselves to this kind of wit performances who was not a kind of painter, or without loss of time, as being provided better than at least a designer. He was first of all to draw any other poets with verses of all sizes and dithe outline of the subject which he intended to mensions. write upon, and afterwards conform the description to the figure of his subject. The poetry was to contract or dilate itself according to the mould in which it was cast. In a word, the verses were to be cramped or extended to the dimensions of the frame that was prepared for them; and to undergo the fate of those persons whom the tyrant Procrustes used to lodge in his iron bed; if they


N° 59. TUESDAY, MAY 8, 1711.

Operose nihil ugunt.
Busy about nothing.



were too short, he stretched them on a rack; and THERE is nothing more certain than that every if they were too long, chopped off a part of their man would be a wit if he could; and notwithlegs, till they fitted the couch which he had pre-standing pedants of a pretended depth and solidity pared for them. Mr. Dryden hints at this obsolete kind of wit are apt to decry the writings of a polite author, as flash and froth, they all of them show, upon in one of the following verses in his Mac Flecno; occasion, that they would spare no pains to arrive which an English reader cannot understand, who at the character of those whom they seem to dedoes not know that there are those little poems above mentioned in the shape of wings and altars:

Choose for thy command

Some peaceful province in Acrostic Land;
There may'st thou wings display, and altars raise,
And torture one poor word a thousand ways.'

This fashion of false wit was revived by several poets of the last age, and in particular may be met with among Mr. Herbert's poems; and if I am not

spise. For this reason we often find them endeavouring at works of fancy, which cost them infinite pangs in the production. The truth of it is, a man had better be a galley-slave than a wit, were one to gain that title by those elaborate trifles which have been the inventions of such authors as were often masters of great learning, but no genius.

In my last paper I mentioned some of these false wits among the ancients, and in this shall give

the reader two or three other species of them, [of this nature, I shall produce the device of one that flourished in the same early ages of the world. Mr. Newberry, as I find it mentioned by our The first I shall produce are the lipogrammatists learned Camden in his Remains. Mr. Newberry, or letter-droppers of antiquity, that would take to represent his name by a picture, hung up at his an exception, without any reason, against some door the sign of a yew-tree, that had several berparticular letter in the alphabet, so as not to admit ries upon it, and in the midst of them a great it once into a whole poem. One Tryphiodorus golden Nhung upon a bough of the tree, which by was a great master in this kind of writing. He the help of a little false spelling made up the composed an Odyssey or epic poem on the adven-word N-ew-berry. tures of Ulysses, consisting of four and twenty I shall conclude this topic with a rebus, which books, having entirely banished the letter A from has been lately hewn out in freestone, and erected his first book, which was called Alpha (as lucus à over two of the portals of Blenheim House, being non lucendo) because there was not an alpha in it. the figure of a monstrous lion tearing to pieces a His second book was inscribed Beta for the same little cock. For the better understanding of which reason. In short, the poet excluded the whole device, I must acquaint my English reader, that a four and twenty letters in their turns, and showed cock has the misfortune to be called in Latin by them one after another that he could do his busi- the same word that signifies a Frenchman, as a ness without them. lion is the emblem of the English nation. Such a It must have been very pleasant to have seen device in so noble a pile of building, looks like a this poet avoiding the reprobate letter, as much as pun in an heroic poem; and I am very sorry the another would a false quantity, and making his truly ingenious architect would suffer the statuary escape from it through the several Greek dialects, to blemish his excellent plan with so poor a conwhen he was pressed with it in any particular syl-ceit. But I hope what I have said will gain lable. For the most apt and elegant word in the quarter for the cock, and deliver him out of the whole language was rejected, like a diamond with lion's paw.

a flaw in it, if it appeared blemished with a wrong I find likewise in ancient times the conceit of letter. I shall only observe upon this head, that making an echo talk sensibly, and give rational if the work I have here mentioned had been now answers. If this could be excusable in any writer, extant, the Odyssey of Tryphiodorus, in all proba- it would be in Ovid, where he introduces the echo bility, would have been oftener quoted by our as a nymph, before she was worn away into nolearned pedants, than the Odyssey of Homer. thing but a voice. The learned Erasmus, though What a perpetual fund would it have been of a man of wit and genius, has composed a dialogue obsolete words and phrases, unusual barbarisms upon this silly kind of device, and made use of an and rusticities, absurd spellings, and complicated echo who seems to have been a very extraordinary dialects? I make no question but it would have linguist, for she answers the person she talks with been looked upon as one of the most valuable trea-in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, according as she suries of the Greek tongue. found the syllables which she was to repeat in any

'He rag'd, and kept as heavy a coil as
Stout Hercules for loss of Hylas;
Forcing the vallies to repeat
The accents of his sad regret.
He beat his breast, and tore his hair,
For loss of his dear crony bear,
That Echo from the hollow ground
His doleful wailings did resound
More wistfully, by many times,
Than in small poets, splay-foot rhymes,
That make her, in their rueful stories,
To answer to int rogatories,
And most unconscionably depose
To things of which she nothing knows,
And when she has said all she can say,
"Tis wrested to the lover's fancy.
Quoth he, O whither, wicked Bruin,
Art thou fled to my-Echo, ruin?
I thought th' hadst scorn'd to budge a step
For fear. Quoth Echo) Marry guep
Am I not bere to take thy part?
Then what has quail'd thy stubborn heart?
Have these bones rattled, and this head
So often in thy quarrel bled?

I find likewise among the ancients that inge- of those learned languages. Hudibras, in ridicule nious kind of conceit, which the moderns distinguish of this false kind of wit, has described Bruin beby the name of a rebus, that does not sink a letter, wailing the loss of his bear to a solitary echo, who but a whole word, by substituting a picture in its is of great use to the poet in several distiches, as place. When Cæsar was one of the masters of the she does not only repeat after him, but helps out Roman mint, he placed the figure of an elephant his verse, and furnishes him with rhymes: upon the reverse of the public money; the word Cæsar signifying an elephant in the Punic language. This was artificially contrived by Cæsar, because it was not lawful for a private man to stamp his own figure upon the coin of the commonwealth. Cicero, who was so called from the founder of his family, that was marked on the nose with a little wen like a vetch (which is cicer in Latin), instead of Marcus Tullius Cicero, ordered the words Marcus Tullius, with a figure of a vetch at the end of them, to be inscribed on a public monument. This was done probably to show that he was neither ashamed of his name or family, notwithstanding the envy of his competitors had often reproached him with both. In the same manner we read of a famous building that was marked in several parts of it with the figures of a frog and a lizard; those words in Greek having been the names of the architects, who by the laws of their country were never permitted to inscribe their own names upon their works. For the same reason it is thought, that the forelock of the horse in the antique equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius represents at a distance the shape of an owl, to intimate the country of the statuary, who, in all probability, was an Athenian. This kind of wit was very much in vogue among our own countrymen about an age or two ago, who did not practise it for any oblique reason, as the ancients abovementioned, but purely for the sake of being witty. Among innumerable instances that may be given

Nor did I ever winch or gridge it,
For thy dear sake. (Quoth she) Mum budget.
Think'st thou 'twill not be la.di' th' dish,
Thou turn'dst thy back? (Quoth Echo) pish.
To run from those th' hadst overcome
Thus cowardly? (Quoth Echo) mum.
But what a vengeance makes thee fly
From me too as thine enemy?
Or if thou hast no thought of me,
Nor what I have endur'd for thee;
Yet shame and honour might prevail
To keep thee thus from turning tail:
For who would grudge to spend his blood in
His honour's cause? (Quoth she) a pudding.


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N° 60. WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 1711.

rul be

a gre

Hoc est quod palles? Cur quis non prandeat, hoc est?
PERS. Sat. iii. 85.

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Is it for this you gain those meagre looks,
And sacrifice your dinner to your books?

SEVERAL kinds of false wit that vanished in the refined ages of the world, discovered themselves beagain in the times of monkish-ignorance.

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senses, which indeed had been very much impaired by that continual application he had given to his


The acrostic was probably invented about the same time with the anagram, though it is impossible to decide whether the inventor of the one or the other were the greater blockhead. The simple acrostic is nothing but the name or title of a person, or thing, made out of the initial letters of the manner of the Chinese, in a perpendicular line. several verses, and by that means written, after But besides these there are compound acrostics, As the monks were the masters of all that little I have seen some of them where the verses have when the principal letters stand two or three deep. learning which was then extant, and had their not only been edged by a name at each extrewhole lives entirely disengaged from business, it is mity, but have had the same name running down no wonder that several of them, who wanted ge-like a scam through the middle of the poem. nius for higher performances, employed many hours in the composition of such tricks in writing, as and acrostics, which is commonly called a chronoThere is another near relation of the anagrams required much time and little capacity. I have gram. This kind of wit appears very often on seen half the Eneid turned into Latin rhymes by many modern medals, especially those of Germany, one of the beaux esprits of that dark age; who when they represent in the inscription the year says in his preface to it, that the Eneid wanted in which they were coined. Thus we see on a nothing but the sweets of rhyme to make it the medal of Gustavus Adolphus the following words, most perfect work in its kind. I have likewise CHRISTVS DUX ERGO TRIVMPHVS. If you take seen an hymn in hexameters to the Virgin Mary, which filled a whole book, though it consisted but of the eight following words:

Tet, tibi, sunt, Virgo, dotes, quot, sidera, cœlo.'

Thou hast as many virtues, O Virgin, as there are stars in


the pains to pick the figures out of the several words, and range them in their proper order, you will find they amount to MDCXXVII, or 1627, the year in which the medal was stamped: for as some of the letters distinguish themselves from the rest, and overtop their fellows, they are to be conThe poet rung the changes upon these eight several sidered in a double capacity, both as letters and words, and by that means made his verses almost as figures. Your laborious German wits will turn as numerous as the virtues and the stars which they over a whole dictionary for one of these ingenious celebrated. It is no wonder that men who had so devices. A man would think they were searching much time upon their hands did not only restore after an apt classical term, but instead of that they all the antiquated pieces of false wit, but enriched are looking out a word that has an L, an M, or a the world with inventions of their own. It was to D in it. When therefore we meet with any of this age that we owe the production of anagrams, these inscriptions, we are not so much to look in which is nothing else but a transmutation of one them for the thought, as for the year of the Lord. word into another, or the turning of the same set The bouts-rimez were the favourites of the of letters into different words: which may change French nation for a whole age together, and that night into day, or black into white, if Chance, who at a time when it abounded in wit and learning. is the goddess that presides over these sorts of They were a list of words that rhyme to one another, composition, shall so direct. I remember a witty drawn up by another hand, and given to a poet, who author, in allusion to this kind of writing, calls his was to make a poem to the rhymes in the same orrival, who (it seems) was distorted, and had his der that they were placed upon the list; the more limbs set in places that did not properly belong to uncommon the rhymes were, the more extraordithem, the anagram of a man.' nary was the genius of the poet that could accomWhen the anagrammatist takes a name to work modate his verses to them. I do not know any upon, he considers it at first as a mine not broken greater instance of the decay of wit and learning up, which will not show the treasure it contains, among the French (which generally follows the ll he shall have spent many hours in the search of declension of empire) than the endeavouring to it; for it is his business to find out one word that restore this foolish kind of wit. If the reader will conceals itself in another, and to examine the be at the trouble to see examples of it, let him letters in all the variety of stations in which they look into the new Mercure Gallant; where the can possibly be ranged. I have heard of a gentle-author every month gives a list of rhymes to be man who, when this kind of wit was in fashion, filled up by the ingenious, in order to be commuendeavoured to gain his mistress's heart by it. She nicated to the public in the Mercure for the sucwas one of the finest women of her age, and known ceeding month. That for the month of November by the name of the Lady Mary Boon. The lover last, which now lies before me, is as follows: not being able to make any thing of Mary, by certain liberties indulged to this kind of writing, converted it into Moll; and after having shut himself up for half a year, with indefatigable industry produced an anagram. Upon the presenting it to his mistress, who was a little vexed in her heart to see herself degraded into Moll Boon, she told him, to his infinite surprise, that he had mistaken her surname, for that it was not Boon, but Bohun.

6 - Ibi omnis Effusus labor

Lauriers Guerriers Musette






One would be amazed to see so learned a man as The lover was thunder-struck with his misfortune, Menage talking seriously on this kind of trifle in somuch that in a little time after he lost his the following passage :

'Monsieur de la Chambre has told me, that he sense, they will be very apt to shoot up in the never knew what he was going to write when he greatest genius that is not broken and cultivated by took his pen into his hand; but that one sentence the rules of art. Imitation is natural to us, and always produced another. For my own part, I when it does not raise the mind to poetry, paintnever knew what I should write next when I was ing, music, or other more noble arts, it often breaks making verses. In the first place I got all my out in puns and quibbles., rhymes together, and was afterwards perhaps three Aristotle, in the eleventh chapter of his book of or four months in filling them up. I one day rhetoric, describes two or three kinds of puns, which showed Monsieur Gombaud a composition of this he calls paragrams, among the beauties of good nature, in which, among others, I had made use writing, and produces instances of them out of some of the four following rhymes, Amaryllis, Phyllis, of the greatest authors in the Greek tongue. Ci Marne, Arne; desiring him to give me his opinion of cero has sprinkled several of his works with puns, it. He told me immediately, that my verses were and in his book where he lays down the rules of good for nothing. And upon my asking his rea-oratory, quotes abundance of sayings as pieces of son, he said, because the rhymes are too com-wit, which also upon examination prove arrant mon; and for that reason easy to be put into verse. puns. But the age in which the pun chiefly flou "Marry," says I, "if it be so, I am very well rished, was in the reign of king James the First. rewarded for all the pains I have been at." But That learned monarch was himself a tolerable punby Monsieur Gombaud's leave, notwithstanding the severity of the criticism, the verses were good.' Vid. Menagiana. Thus far the learned Menage, whom I have translated word for word.

The first occasion of these bouts-rimez made them in some manner excusable, as they were tasks which the French ladies used to impose on their lovers. But when a grave author, like him, above mentioned, tasked himself, could there be any thing more ridiculous? Or would not one be apt to believe that the author played booty, and did not make his list of rhymes till he had finished his poem?

I shall only add, that this piece of false wit has been finely ridiculed by Monsieur Sarasin, in a poem entitled, La Défaite des Bouts-Rimez, The Rout of the Bouts-Rimez.

ster, and made very few bishops or privy-counsellors that had not some time or other signalized themselves by a clinch, or a conundrum. It was therefore in this age that the pun appeared with pomp and dignity. It had before been admitted into merry speeches and ludicrous compositions, but was now delivered with great gravity from the pulpit, or pronounced in the most solemn manner at the council-table. The greatest authors, in their most serious works, made frequent use of puns. The sermons of Bishop Andrews, and the tragedies of Shakspeare, are full of them. The sinner was punned into repentance by the former, as in the latter nothing is more usual than to see a hero weeping and quibbling for a dozen lines together.

I must add to these great authorities, which seem to have given a kind of sanction to this piece of I must subjoin to this last kind of wit the double false wit, that all the writers of rhetoric have rhymes, which are used in doggerel poetry, and treated of puming with very great respect, and generally applauded by ignorant readers. If the divided the several kinds of it into hard names, thought of the couplet in such compositions is that are reckoned among the figures of speech, good, the rhyme adds little to it; and if bad, it and recommended as ornaments in discourse. I will not be in the power of the rhyme to recom-remember a country schoolmaster of my acquaintmend it. I am afraid that great numbers of those ance told me once, that he had been in company who admire the incomparable Hudibras, do it more on account of these doggerel rhymes than of the parts that really deserve admiration. I am sure I have heard the

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N° 61. THURSDAY, MAY 10, 1711.

Non equidem hoc studeo, bullatis ut mihi nugis,
Pagina turgescat, dare pondus idonea fumo.

'Tis not indeed my talent to engage In lofty trifles, or to swell my page With wind and noise.


PERS. Sat. v. 19.


with a gentleman whom he looked upon to be the greatest paragrammatist among the moderns. Upon inquiry, I found my learned friend had dined that day with Mr. Swan, the famous punster; and desiring him to give me some account of Mr. Swan's conversation, he told me that he generally talked in the Paranomasia, that he sometimes gave into the Ploce, but that in his humble opinion, he shined most in the Antanaclasis.

I must not here omit, that a famous university of this land was formerly very much infested with puns; but whether or no this might not arise from the fens and marshes in which it was situated, and which are now drained, I must leave to the deter. mination of more skilful naturalists.

After this short history of punning, one would wonder how it should be so entirely banished out of the learned world as it is at present, especially since it had found a place in the writings of the most ancient polite authors. To account for this we must consider, that the first race of authors, who were the great heroes in writing, were destitute of all rules and arts of criticism; and for that reason, though they excel later writers in greatTHERE is no kind of false wit which has been so re-ness of genius, they fall short of them in accuracy commended by the practice of all ages, as that and correctness. The moderns cannot reach their which consists in a jingle of words, and is compre-beauties, but can avoid their imperfections. When hended under the general name of punning. It is the world was furnished with these authors of the indeed impossible to kill a weed, which the soil has first eminence, there grew up another set of wri a natural disposition to produce. The seeds of pun-ters, who gained themselves a reputation by the ning are in the minds of all men; and though they remarks which they made on the works of those may be subdued by reason, reflection, and good who preceded them. It was one of the employ

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