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will-whether in town or country-in cart or under panniers-whether in liberty or bondage I have ever fomething civil to fay to him on my part; and as one word begets another (if he has as little to do as I generally fall into converfation with him; and furely never is my imagination fo bufy as in framing his refponfes from the etchings of his countenance-and where those carry me not deep enough-in flying from my own heart into his, and feeing what is natural for an afs to think as well as a man, upon the occafion. In truth, it is the only creature of all the claffes of beings below me, with whom I can do this: for parrots, jackdaws, &c.—I never exchange a word with them-nor with the apes, &c. for pretty near the fame reafon; they act by rote, as the others fpeak by it, and equally make me filent: nay, my dog and my cat, though I value them both (and for my dog, he would fpeak if he could) yet, fomehow or other, they neither of them poffefs the talents for converfationI can make nothing of a difcourfe with them, beyond the propofition, the reply, and rejoinder, which terminated my father's and my mother's converfations, in his beds of juftice-and thofe utteredthere's an end of the dialogue



all bitterness to thee, whatever life is to others.And now thy mouth, if one knew the truth of it, is as bitter, I dare fay, as foot-(for he had caft aside the ftem) and thou haft not a friend perhaps in all this world, that will give thee a macaroon.—— -In faying this, I pulled out a paper of them, which I had just purchafed, and gave him one-and at this moment that I am telling it, my heart fmites me, that there was more of pleafantry in the conceit, of feeing how an afs would eat a macaroon than of benevolence in giving him one, which prefided in the act.

When the afs had eaten his macaroon, I prefs'd him to come in-the poor beaft was heavy loaded-his legs feem'd to tremble under him-he hung rather backwards, and, as I pulled at his halter, it broke fhort in my hand-he look'd up penfive in my face-" Don't thrash me with it-but if you will, you may.”—If I do, faid I, I'll be d-d.

The word was but one half of it pronounced, like the abbefs of Andouillets-(fo there was no fin in it-when a perfon coming in, let fall a thundering bastinado upon the poor devil's crupper, which put an end to the ceremony.

-But with an afs, I can commune for cried I

Come, Honefty! faid I-feeing it was impracticable to pafs betwixt him and the gate-art thou for coming in, or going


The afs twisted his head round to look up the ftreet

Well-replied I-we'll wait a minute for thy driver.

-He turned his head thoughtful about, and looked wiftfully the oppofite way

I understand thee perfectly, anfwered I -if thou takest a wrong ftep in this affair, he will cudgel thee to death-Well! a minute is but a minute, and if it faves a fellow-creature a drubbing, it shall not be fet down as ill-fpent.

He was eating the ftem of an artichoke as this difcourfe went on, and in the little peevish contentions of nature betwixt hunger and unfavourinefs, had dropt it out of his mouth half a dozen times, and pick'd it up again.God help thee, Jack! faid I, thou haft a bitter breakfaft on't-and many a bitter day's labour-and many a bitter blow, I fear, for its wages-'tis all

Out upon it!

but the interjection was equivocal-and, I think, wrong placed too-for the end of an ofier, which had ftarted out from the contexture of the afs's pannier, had caught hold of my breeches pocket as he rushed by me, and rent it in the most difaftrous direction you can imagine-fo that the Out upon it! in my opinion, fhould have come in here. Sterne. $72. Players in a Country Town defcribed.

The players, you must know, finding this a good town, had taken a leafe the laft fummer of an old fynagogue deserted by the Jews; but the mayor, being a prefbyterian, refused to licenfe their exhibitions: however, when they were in the utmoft defpair, the ladies of the place joined in a petition to Mrs. Mayorefs, who prevailed on her husband to wink at their performances. The company immediately opened their fynagogue theatre with the Merchant of Venice; and finding a quack doctor's zany, a droll fellow, they decoyed him into their fervice; and he has fince performed the part of the Mock Doctor with univerfal applaufe. Upon his revolt


the doctor himself found it abfolutely neceffary to enter of the company; and, having a talent for tragedy, has performed with great fuccefs the Apothecary in Romeo and Juliet.

The performers at our ruftic theatre are far beyond thofe paltry ftrollers, who run about the country, and exhibit in a barn or a cow-house: for (as their bills declare) they are a company of Comedians from the Theatre Royal; and I affure you they are as much applauded by our country critics, as any of your capital actors. The fhops of our tradefmen have been almoft deferted, and a croud of weavers and hardwaremen have elbowed each other two hours before the opening of the doors, when the bills have informed us, in enormous red letters, that the part of George Barnwell was to be performed by Mr. at the particular defire of feveral ladies of diftinction. 'Tis true, indeed, that our principal actors have most of them had their education at Covent-garden or Drury-lane; but they have been employed in the bufinefs of the drama in a degree but just above a fcene-fhifter. An heroine, to whom your managers in town (in envy to her rifing merit) fcarce allotted the humble part of a confidante, now blubbers out Andromache or Belvidera; the attendants on a monarch ftrut monarchs them felves, mutes find their voices, and meffage-bearers rife into heroes. The humour of our best comedian confifts in fhrugs and grimaces; he jokes in a wry mouth, and repartees in a grin; in fhort, he practifes on Congreve and Vanbrugh all thofe diftortions which gained him fo much applaufe from the galleries, in the drubs which he was obliged to undergo in pantomimes. I was vaftly diverted at feeing a fellow in the character of Sir Harry Wildair, whofe chief action was a continual preffing together of the thumb and fore-finger, which, had he lifted them to his nofe, I fhould have thought he defigned as an imitation of taking fnuff: but I could easily account for the cause of this fingle gefture, when I difcovered that Sir Harry was no lefs a perfon than the dexterous Mr. Clippit, the candle-fnuffer.

You would laugh to fee how ftrangely the parts of a play are caft. They played Cato: and their Marcia was fuch an old woman, that when Juba came on with his

"Hail! charming maid!". the fellow could not help laughing. Another night I was furprized to hear an

eager lover talk of rufhing into his miftrefs's arms, rioting on the nectar of her lips, and defiring (in the tragedy rapture) to "hug her thus, and thus, for ever;" though he always took care to ftand at a moft ceremonious distance. But I was afterwards very much diverted at the caufe of this extraordinary respect, when I was told that the lady laboured under the misfortune of an ulcer in her leg, which occafioned fuch a disagreeable ftench, that the performers were obliged to keep her at arms length. The entertainment was Lethe; and the part of the Frenchman was performed by a South Briton; who, as he could not pronounce a word of the French language, fupplied its place by gabbling in his native Welth.

The decorations, or (in the theatrical dialect) the property of our company, are as extraordinary as the performers. Othello raves about a checked handkerchief; the ghoft in Hamlet ftalks in a poftilion's leathern-jacket for a coat of mail; and Cupid enters with a fiddle-cafe flung over his fhoulders for a quiver. The apo thecary of the town is free of the houfe, for lending them a peftle and mortar to ferve as the bell in Venice Preferved and a barber-furgeon has the fame privilege, for furnishing them with bafons of blood to befmear the daggers in Macbeth. Macbeth himself carries a rolling-pin in his hand for a truncheon; and, as the breaking of glaffes would be very expenfive, he dashes down a pewter pint-pot at the fight of Banquo's ghost.

A fray happened here the other night, which was no fmall diverfion to the audience. It feems there had been a great contest between two of thofe mimic heroes, which was the fittest to play Richard the Third. One of them was reckoned to have the better perfon, as he was very roundfhouldered, and one of his legs was shorter than the other; but his antagonist carried the part, because he flarted beft in the tent fcene. However, when the curtain drew up, they both rufhed in upon the stage at once; and, bawling out together, "Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths," they both went through the whole fpeech without stopping.


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the audience, by the expreffion of Jeu de Theatre, which we may tranflate, "the juggle of the theatre." When thefe little arts are exercifed merely to affift nature, and fet her off to the best advantage, none can be fo critically nice as to object to them; but when tragedy by thefe means is lifted into rant, and comedy distorted into buffoonery, though the deceit may fucceed with the multitude, men of fenfe will always be offended at it. This conduct, whether of the poet or the player, refembles in fome fort the poor contrivance of the ancients, who mounted their heroes upon ftilts, and expreffed the manners of their characters by the grotesque figures of their masks. Ibid.

$74. True Pleasure defined. We are affected with delightful fenfations, when we see the inanimate parts of the creation, the meadows, flowers, and trees, in a flourishing ftate. There muft be fome rooted melancholy at the heart, when all nature appears fmiling about us, to hinder us from correfponding with the reft of the creation, and joining in the univerfal chorus of joy. But if meadows and trees in their chearful verdure, if flowers in their bloom, and all the vegetable parts of the creation in their moft advantageous drefs, can infpire gladness into the heart, and drive away all fadnefs but defpair; to fee the rational creation happy and flourishing, ought to give us a pleafure as much fuperior, as the latter is to the former in the fcale of beings. But the pleasure is still heightened, if we our felves have been inftrumental in contributing to the happiness of our fellow-creatures, if we have helped to raife a heart drooping beneath the weight of grief, and revived that barren and dry land, where no water was, with refreshing fhowers of

love and kindness.

Seed's Sermons.

$75. How Peliteness is manifefted. To correct fuch grofs vices as lead us to commit a real injury to others, is the part of morals, and the object of the most ordinary education. Where that is not attended to, in fome degree, no human fociety can fubfift. But in order to render converfation and the intercourfe of minds more eafy and agreeable, good-manners have been invented, and have carried the matter fomewhat farther. Wherever nature has given the mind a propenfity to any vice, or to any paffion difagreeable to others, refined breeding has taught men to throw the

bias on the oppofite fide, and to preferve,
in all their behaviour, the appearance of
fentiments contrary to thofe which they
naturally incline to. Thus, as we are na-
turally proud and felfish, and apt to affume
the preference above others, a polite man
is taught to behave with deference towards
thofe with whom he converfes, and to yield
up the fuperiority to them in all the com-
mon incidents of fociety. In like manner,
wherever a perfon's fituation may
ly beget any difagreeable fufpicion in him,
'tis the part of good-manners to prevent it,
by a ftudied difplay of fentiments directly
contrary to thofe of which he is apt to be
jealous. Thus old men know their infir-
mities, and naturally dread contempt from
youth hence, well-educated youth re-
double their inftances of refpect and de-
ference to their elders. Strangers and
foreigners are without protection: hence,
in all polite countries, they receive the
highest civilities, and are entitled to the
first place in every company. A man is
lord in his own family, and his guefts are,
in a manner, fubject to his authority: hence,
he is always the lowest perfon in the com-
pany; attentive to the wants of every one;
and giving himself all the trouble, in order
to pleafe, which may not betray too vifible
an affectation, or impofe too much con-
ftraint on his guests. Gallantry is nothing
but an inftance of the fame generous and
refined attention. As nature has given
man the fuperiority above woman, by en-
dowing him with greater ftrength both of
mind and body, 'tis his part to alleviate
that fuperiority, as much as poffible, by the
generolity of his behaviour, and by a ftudied
deference and complaifance for all her in-
clinations and opinions. Barbarous nations
difplay this fuperiority, by reducing their
females to the moft abject flavery; by con-
fining them, by beating them, by felling
them, by killing them. But the male fex,
among a polite people, difcover their au-
thority in a more generous, though not a
lefs evident, manner; by civility, by re-
fpect, by complaifance, and in a word, by
gallantry. In good company, you need
not ask, who is mafter of the feaft? The
man who fits in the lowest place, and who
is always induftrious in helping every one,
is moft certainly the perfon. We must ei-
ther condemn all fuch inftances of genero-
fity, as foppifh and affected, or admit of
gallantry among the reft. The ancient
Mofcovites wedded their wives with a whip
instead of a wedding-ring. The fame peo-


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"Wherever I went, I found that poetry was confidered as the highest learning, and regarded with a veneration fomewhat approaching to that which man would pay to the angelic nature. And it yet fills me with wonder, that, in almost all countries, the most ancient poets are confidered as the beft: whether it be that every other kind of knowledge is an acquifition gradually attained, and poetry is a gift conferred at once; or that the firft poetry of every nation surprised them as a novelty, and retained the credit by confent which it received by accident at firft: or whether, as the province of poetry is to defcribe nature and paffion, which are always the fame, the first writers took poffeffion of the moft ftriking objects for defcription, and the most probable occurrences for fiction, and left nothing to thofe that followed them, but tranfcriptions of the fame events, and new combinations of the fame images. Whatever be the reafon, it is commonly obferved, that the early writers are in poffeffion of nature, and their followers of art: that the first excel in ftrength and invention, and the latter in elegance and refinement.

"I was defirous to add my name to this illuftrious fraternity. I read all the poets of Perfia and Arabia, and was able to repeat by memory the volumes that are fufpended in the mofque of Mecca. But I foon found that no man was ever great by imitation. My defire of excellence impelled me to transfer my attention to nature and to life. Nature was to be my fubject, and men to be my auditors: I could never defcribe what I had not feen: I could not hope to move thofe with delight or terror, whofe interefts and opinions I did not understand.

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pinnacles of the palace. Sometimes I wan dered along the mazes of the rivulet, and fometimes watched the changes of the fummer clouds. To a poet nothing can be useless. Whatever is beautiful, and whatever is dreadful, myft be familiar to his imagination: he must be converfant with all that is awfully vaft or elegantly little. The plants of the garden, the animals of the wood, the minerals of the earth, and meteors of the fky, muft all concur to ftore his mind with inexhaustible variety: for every idea is useful for the enforcement or decoration of moral or religious truth; and he, who knows moft, will have moft power of diverfifying his fcenes, and of gratifying his reader with remote allufions and unexpected instruction.

"All the appearances of nature I was therefore careful to study, and every country which I have furveyed has contributed fomething to my poetical powers."

"In fo wide a furvey," faid the prince, "you must furely have left much unobferved. I have lived, till now, within the circuit of thefe mountains, and yet cannot walk abroad without the fight of fomething which I never beheld before, or never heeded."

"The bufinefs of a poet," faid Imlac, "is to examine, not the individual, but the fpecies; to remark general properties and large appearances: he does not number the streaks of the tulip, or defcribe the different shades in the verdure of the foreft. He is to exhibit in his portraits of nature fuch prominent and ftriking features, as recal the original to every mind; and must neglect the minuter difcriminations, which one may have remarked, and another have neglected, for thofe characteristics which are alike obvious to vigilance and careleffinefs.

"But the knowledge of nature is only half the task of a poet; he must be acquainted likewife with all the modes of life. His character requires that he estimate the happinefs and mifery of every condition, obferve the power of all the paffions in all their combinations, and trace the changes of the human mind as they are modified by various inftitutions, and accidental influences of climate or custom, from the fprightlinefs of infancy to the defpondence of decrepitude. He muft divest himself of the prejudices of his age or country; he muft confider right and wrong in their abftract and invariable state; he muft difregard prefent laws and opinions, and rife to general

general and tranfcendental truths, which will always be the fame: he must therefore content himself with the flow progrefs of his name; contemn the applaufe of his own time, and commit his claims to the juftice of pofterity. He must write as the interpreter of nature, and the legiflator of mankind, and confider himself as prefiding over the thoughts and manners of future generations, as a being fuperior to time and place.

"His labour is not yet at an end: he muft know many languages and many fciences; and, that his ftyle may be worthy of his thoughts, muft by inceffant practice familiarize to himself every delicacy of speech and grace of harmony.'

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Johnson's Raffelas.

$77. Remarks on fome of the best Poets, both ancient and modern.

'Tis manifeft, that fome particular ages have been more happy than others, in the production of great men, and all forts of arts and sciences; as that of Euripides, Sophocles, Ariftophanes, and the reit, for ftage poetry, amongst the Greeks; that of Auguftus for heroic, lyric, dramatic, elegiac, and indeed all forts of poetry, in the perfons of Virgil, Horace, Varius, Ovid, and many others; efpecially if we take into that century the latter end of the commonwealth, wherein we find Varro, Lucretius, and Catullus: and at the fame time lived Cicero, Salluft, and Cæfar. A famous age in modern times, for learning in every kind, was that of Lorenzo de Medici, and his fon Leo X. wherein painting was revived, poetry flourished, and the Greek language was restored.

Examples in all these are obvious: but what I would infer is this, That in fuch an age, 'tis poffible fome great genius may arife to equal any of the ancients, abating only for the language; for great contemporaries whet and cultivate each other; and mutual borrowing and commerce, makes the common riches of learning, as it does of civil government.

But fuppofe that Homer and Virgil were the only poets of their fpecies, and that nature was fo much worn out in producing them, that the is never able to bear the like again; yet the example only holds in heroic poetry. In tragedy and fatire, I offer myfelf to maintain, against fome of our modern critics, that this age and the laft, particularly in England, have excelled the ancients in both thefe kinds.

Thus I might fafely confine myfelf to my native country: but if I would only cross the feas, I might find in France a living Horace and a Juvenal, in the perfon of the admirable Boileau, whofe numbers are excellent, whofe expreffions are noble, whofe thoughts are juft, whofe language is pure, whofe fatire is pointed, and whofe fenfe is clofe. What he borrows from the ancients, he repays with ufury of his own, in coin as good, and almoft as univerfally valuable; for, fetting prejudice and partiality apart, though he is our enemy, the ftamp of a Louis, the patron of arts, is not much inferior to the medal of an Auguftus Cæfar. Let this be faid without entering into the interefts of factions and parties, and relating only the bounty of that king to men of learning and merit: a praise fo juft, that even we, who are his enemies, cannot refufe it to him.

Now, if it may be permitted me to go back again to the confideration of epic poetry, I have confeffed that no man hitherto has reached, or fo much as approached to the excellencies of Homer or Virgil; I muft farther add, that Statius, the best verfificator next Virgil, knew not how to defign after him, though he had the model in his eyes; that Lucan is wanting both in defign and fubject, and is befides too full of heat and affection; that among the moderns, Ariolto neither defigned juftly, nor obferved any unity of action, or compass of time, or moderation in the vaftness of his draught: his ftyle is luxurious, without majelty or decency; and his adventurers without the compafs of nature and poffibility. Taffo, whofe defign was regular, and who obferved the rules of unity in time, and place more clofely than Virgil, yet was not fo happy in his action: he confeffes himself to have been too lyrical, that is, to have written beneath the dignity of heroic verfe, in his episodes of Sophronia, Erminia, and Armida; his story is not fo pleafing as Ariofto's; he is too flatulent fometimes, and fometimes too dry; many times unequal, and almost always forced; and befides, is full of conceptions, points of epigram, and witticifms; all which are not only below the dignity of heroic verfe, but contrary to its nature. Virgil and Homer have not one of them: and those who are guilty of fo boyish an ambition in fo grave a fubject, are fo far from being confidered as heroic poets, that they ought to be torn ed down from Homer to Anthologia, from Virgil to Martial and Owen's epigrams, 3 E


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