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pected, or, in some respects, peculiar; I have acquired a degree of fame by a firm adherence to the Concetti. I have stung folks with my epigrams, amused them with acrostics, puzzled them with rebusses, and distracted them with riddles. It remained only for me to succeed in the Impromptu, for which I was utterly disqualified by a whoreson slowness of apprehension.
Still desirous, however, of the immortal honour to grow distinguished for an extempore, I petitioned Apollo to that purpose in a dream. His answer was as follows. • That whatever piece of wit, either written or verbal, makes any pretence to merit, as of extemporaneous production, shall be said or written within the time that the author supports himself upon one leg. That Horace had explained his meaning, by the phrase stans pede in uno. And forasmuch as one man may persevere in the posture longer than another, he would recommend it to all candidates for this extraordinary accomplishment, that they would habituate themselves to study in no other attitude whatsoever.'
Methought I received this answer with the utmost pleasure as well as veneration; hoping, that, however I was debarred of the acumen requisite for an extempore, I might learn to weary out my betters in standing upon one leg.
(In the manner of Cambray.) 'T was in that delightful month which Love prefers before all others, and which most reveres this deity: that month which ever weaves a verdant carpet for the earth, and embroiders it with flowers. The banks became inviting through their coverlets of moss; the violets, refreshed by the moisture of descending rains, enriched the tepid air with their agreeable perfumes. But the shower was past; the son had dispersed the vapours; and the sky was clear and lucid, when Polydore walked forth. He was of a complexion altogether plain and unaffected; a lover of the Muses, and beloved by them. He would oftentimes retire from the noise of mixed conversation, to enjoy the melody of birds, or the murmurs of a water-fall. His neighbours often smiled at his peculiarity of temper; and he, no less, at the vulgar cast of their's. He could never be content to pass his irrevocable time in an idle comment on a newspaper, or in adjusting the precise difference of temperature betwixt the weather of to-day and yesterday. In short, he was not void of some ambition, but what he felt he acknowledged, and was never averse to vindicate. As he never censured any one who indulged their humourinoffensively, so he claimed no manner of applause for those pursuits which gratified bis own. But the sentiments he entertained of honour, and the dignity conferred by royal authority, made it wonderful bow he bore the thoughts of obscurity and oblivion. He mentioned, with applause, the youths, who by merit had arrived at station; but he thought that all should in lite's visit leave some token of their existence; and that their friends might more reasonably expect it from them, than they from their posterity. There were few he he thought, of talents so very inconsiderable, as to be unalterably excluded from all degrees of fame: and in regard to such as had a liberal education, he ever wished that in some art or science they would be persuaded to engrave their names. He thought it might be some pleasure to reflect, that their names would, at least, be honoured by their descendants. altho' they might escape the notice of such as were not prejudiced in their favour. What a lustre, said he, does the reputation of a Wren, a Waller or a Walsingham, cast on their remotest progeny! and who would not wish rather to be descended from them, than from the mere carcase of nobility? Yet wherever superb titles are faithfully offered as the reward of merit, he thought the allurements of ambition were too transporting to be resisted. But to return.
Polydore, a new inhabitant in a sort of wild uninhabited country, was now ascended to the top of a mountain, and in the full enjoyment of a very extensive prospect. Before him a broad and winding valley, variegated with all the charms of landscape. Fertile meadows, glittering streams, pendent rocks and nodding ruins. But these, indeed were much less the objects of his attention, than those distant hills and spires that were almost concealed by one undistinguished azure. The sea, indeed appeared to close the scene, tho' distant as it was, it but little variegated the view. Hardly, indeed, were it distinguishable but for the beams of a descending sun, which, at the same time, warned our traveler to return, before the duskiness and dews of evening had rendered his walk uncomfortable. He had now descended to the foot of the mountain, when he remarked an old hermit approaching to a little hut which he had formed with his own hands, at the very bottom of the precipice. Polydore, all enamoured of the beauties he had been surveying,
could not avoid wondering at his conduct, who, not content with shunning all commerce with mankind, bad contrived as much as possible to exclude all views of nature. He accosted him in the manner following. “Father,' said he, “it is with no small surprise, that I observe your choice of situation, by which you seem to neglect the most distant and delightful landscape that ever my eyes beheld. The kill, beneath which you have contrived to hide your habitation, would have afforded you such a variety of natural curiosities, as to a person so contemplative, must appear highly entertaining : and as the cell to which you are advancing is seemingly of your own contrivance, methinks it was probable you would so have placed it, as to present them, in all their beauty to your eye.'
The hermit made him this answer. “My son,' said he, the evening approach. es, and you have deviated from your way. I would not therefore detain you by my story, did I not imagine the moon would prove a safer guide to you, than that setting sun, which you must otherwise rely on. Enter, therefore, for a while into my cave, and I will then give you some account of my adventores, which will solve your doubts perhaps more effectually than any method I can propose. But before you enter my lone abode, calculated only for the use of meditation, dare to contemn superfluous magnificence, and render thyself worthy of the being I contemplate. “Know, then that I owe what the world is pleased to call my ruin (and, indeed, justly, were it not for the use which I have made of it) to an assured dependence, in a literal sense, on confused and distant prospects : a consideration, which hath, indeed, so affected me, that I shall neve er henceforth enjoy a landscape that lies at so remote a distance, as not to exhibit all it's parts. And, indeed, were I to form the least pretensions to what your world calls taste, I might even then perhaps contend, that a well discriminated landscape, was at all times to be preferred to a distant and promiscuous azure.
I was born in the parish of a nobleman who arrived to the principal management of the business of the nation. The heir of his family and myself were of the same age, and for some time school-fellows. I had made considerable advances in his esteem; and the mutual affection we entertained for each other, did not long remain unobserv. ed by his family or my own. He was sent early on his travels pursuant to a very injudicious custom, and my parents were solicited to consent that I might accompany him. Intimations were given to my friends, that a person of such importance as his father might contribute much more to my immediate promotion, than the utmost diligence I could use in pursuit of it. My father, I remember, assented with reluctance: my mother, fired with the ambition of her son's future greatness, through much importunity, “ wrung from him his slow leave.” I, for my owa part, wanted no great persuasion. We made what is called the great tour of Europe. We neither of us, I believe, could be said to want natural sense; but being banished so early in life, were more attentive to every deviation from ourownindifferent customs, than to any useful examination of their polices or manners. Judgment, for the most part, ripens very slowly. Fancy, often expands her blossoms all at once. We were now returning home from a six years absence; anticipating the caresses of