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satire, but the most honorable contest is that of the pen; words break no bones, and mutual weariness at last induces a cessation of arms.
But to return. Superscriptions are now settled by a proper directory,' so that no latitude can be allowed to fantastical scribblers in that department. They were formerly ridiculous in the extreme. It is difficult to peruse with gravity such expressions as “ these present with care and speed"-" to my most honored good friend, these," &c., however common in a former century: surely the writers must have meant them for a sample of the affectionate contents ; in romance they would have an admirable effect, in parody still more. We all remember « To the most amiable Lindamira,"2 and
“ For her Ladyship, Of all her sex most excellent:
These to her gentle hands present."3 Commencements have materially changed: every body knows how wives are at present addressed," Sweet heart” and • Dear heart” are the obsolete appellatives, and whether the existing expressions rival them in tenderness I cannot pretend to say. Lord Strafford, on being committed to the Tower, writes to his wife nearly in these terms,—“ Sweete harte, I am in sore trouble,”—where the words come home to our feelings, and excite immediate sympathy: but when the libertine Rochester styles his injured consort “ Dear heart," the formula carries with it every appearance of deceit, although the letter professes penitence.
Nevertheless there are extant some precious deviations from the legitimate form.. Queen Elizabeth, wishing to compel Martin Heyton, Bishop of Ely, to exchange some lands belonging to his see, writes the following tender billet : « Proud Prelate,
“I understand you are backward in complying with your agreement: but I would have you to know, that I, who made you
what you are, can unmake you; and, if you do not
· The Secretary's Assistant, 12mo.
2 Pope's Works, edit. Warton. Vol. vi. Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus; ibis portion is omitted in many editions.
3 Hudibras, Epistle to his Lady, l. 348.
forth with fulfil your engagement, by -- [ will immediately unfrock you. “ Yours, as you demean yourself,
Elizabeth.” This application was successful. On the contrary, canting and wheedling letters always begin with an expression of endearment. Cromwell writes to Colonel Hammond, Governor of Carisbrook Castle, insinuating how the king ought to be disposed of: “ Dear Robin" (says he—the Colonel's name was Thomas)
our fleshly reasonings ensnare us.” When the usual “ Sir," an expression suited to every station, first appeared, is uncertain: it occurs, however, in a letter from Algernon Sydney to Dr. Mapletoft, written about the year 1062. Conclusions present a rich field for such as insist upon
the baseness of human nature, and to them may the harvest be left. I have gleaned a few specimens which may demonstrate what I have advanced. Reynolds, the regicide, in a letter to Secretary Thurloe, ends with these words : “ Humbly kissing his Highness's hands, and beseeching the Lord long to continue him a pursing father to the good people of the three nations under his Highness's happy Government, and a terror to all his enemies, I take leave and remaine,” &c. Such was the “ court holywater” of a republican government.2 “ Your loving friend" was then the common style between man and man. Sydney, in his aforesaid letter to Mapletoft, styles himself “ Your very humble and affectionate servant;" and Sarah, duchess of Marlborough, wished to be considered as the “ most faithful humble servant and friend” of such as she honored with her correspona dence, or the converse. There exists, as Voltaire informs us, a letter from Comte de Bussi, in these terms: “I promise my most powerful protection to the Sieur Gardieu, who has manifested a warm zeal towards me:" it should rather be considered as a certificate of friendship, and, taken in that light, is of a suspicious nature.—The result of perusing a few specimens of epistolary writing will scarcely differ from the answer of a king of Sparta to the orators of Clazomene: “ Of your exordium I recollect nothing; your middle displeased me; and as to your conclusion, I will have nothing to do with it." It is true, an expression addressed to ourselves may please, but it must even then be considered as a token, and not as metallic currency.
The Dedication may be classed as a younger brother of the Epistle, being certainly of later invention; it possesses, however, some distinct advantages. An author may make use of terms in a dedication, to which he dares not set his name in a letter; nor indeed would he obtain any thing but ridicule from his correspondents, were he to deify them with professional adulation. Of this servility nearly every book is an instance: to give many specimens would be tiresome, and, to select a few, invidious. One, for richness of coloring and felicity of design, deserves to be rescued from the shelf.
“ To the right Honorable, That lively Monument of universal learning and wisdom, and to the Muses a truely noble and most famous Mæcenas, Henry Pierrepoint, Marquess of Dorchester, Earl of Kingstone, Vicount Newark, &c. Increase of honor and happiness here, and a crown of glory hereafter.
“ My Lord,-Such is that great esteem and universal fame (among the learned) of your Honor's most rare accomplislıments in (and favor to the sublime sciences, and the most occult mysteries of Nature (insomuch that posterity will certainly account your Honor some Rudolphus or Alphonsus of our English bemisphere); that notwithstanding my own indignity, or of these my slender performances, for which I might otherwise justly blush at my presumption,...... I am yet imboldened to affix on your Honor this Dedication, and commit this, the first-fruits of my pen, to your Honorable Protection; Ambitious of nothing more than what the world shall deem I want of Learning or Elegancy of Language, I shall regain by the worth of a natchless Patron, &c. And subscribe myself, my Lord, as a reall Honorer of you, and those incomparable virtues your Honor is so plentifully endowed with, most humbly devoted to your service, Richard Edlin."2
This precious piece of flattery disappointed its author's hopes : the sun and moon are both set, the patron and suppliant are alike forgotten.—The dedications prefixed to old books are frequently the most interesting portion of their contents, from exhibiting a peculiar quaintness which makes the grossest adulation palatable: those of Dryden, which must have excited many a blush while under transcription, are models of graceful and easy composition, and would seem, without a patron's name, to have been written as exercises, for the benefit of future beggars. Such is the power of superior talents, that even their perversion
| Edlin's Observationes Astrologicæ, 1659.
can charm, like a juggler's tricks, “ the only use of which is to show that they can be played."
EPIGRAMMATA, EPITAPHIA, VARIORUM
In Potores (Germanus loquitur).
Scilicet in siccis ambulat ille locis.
In rerum pretium.
Optat; plus saliens incitat unda sitim.
Heredem sese scripserat ipse sibi.
Qui tibi non vixti, nec tibi posse mori est.
Experior: vitæ mors mihi causa novæ.
“Sunt mihi,” ait Rutilus, “splendidiora domi."
Vox Rutili : “miser est, debitor, Irus, inops.”
Divite ditior est, paupere pauperior.
Tempore ferventis, fletus in ora fuit.
Dædalus esse volens, Icarus esse solet,
Quo pectus dominæ læseris igne meæ ?
“Flamma qua potius me cremet ipsa roga.'
Ulcisci armifera, flammiferaque manu.
Stulte, hac perfidia turpior ista fides.
In duos amicos.
Nunc vita functos urna habet una duos.
D. M. s.
Institui ignoto tramite ferre jugum ?
Romanos docui scire pavere Deos ?
Victorem victo cur patria ore vocat?
Ut clam speratas subtraheretis opes ?
Punica me Annibalem perdere sola potest.
Hoc dextræ invicto robore pressa jacent.
Quos vincam; aui merito jam mihi pande tuum.