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we never attempted to deprive Mr. Sterne of those laurels that he deserved to wear ; nor are we such enemies to his memory as to believe that his second chapter, which is levelled at the Critical Reviewers, is genuine. We allow that Mr. Sterne might feel, nay be impatient, under the correction we applied to his immoralities and foibles; but we cannot imagine that he could be dull at second-hand by being guilty of a hackneyed pun, and talk of birds hunting for pleasure.'
. We know not what degree of credit to allow to the account that Mr. Sterne, or, if the reader pleases, Tristram Shandy, gives of himself and his friends. We have some idea that it is partly true and partly fictitious. He pretends that his uncle was a ministerial writer, though a divine, under Sir Robert Walpole, whose administration ended about thirty years ago ; but having no success, he employed his nephew, young Tristram, to write a political pamphlet, which procured the uncle prefer. ment from that minister.- We are afraid that this account contains an anachronism with regard to Tristram's age; and that it is intended only to expose the futility of such minifterial writers as Sir Robert employed, who were even proverbially dull and illiberal; and, says he, fo finishes the sixth chapter. The succeeding one is in Tristram's best manner, and, as we have some reason to believe it is not deftitute of foundation in truth, it does honour to his virtue and humanity.
And now it is high time to commence a new one.—But I am again precipitating matters and things too hastily-I was always giddy-The reader must have time allowed him for digestion-Let us take up my story a little higher.
My father was an Englishman, and had a command in the army-He was stationed in Ireland at the time of my birth, which happened - I forgot what year--in the city of Clonmel.I remained in that kingdom till I was about twelve years old and there I received the first rudiments of literature, from the kindness and humanity of a lieutenant, who was in the same corps with my father his name was Le Feure.
But indeed I owe infinitely more to him than my Latin grammar. It was he that tanght me the Grammar of Virtue.It was this most excellent person who first instilled into my mind the principles-not of a Parfon---but of a Divine-It was he who imbued my foui with humanity, benevolence, and chasity-It was he who inspired me with that vibration for the distresses of mankind,
• Which, like the needle true,
Turns at the touch of others woe,
• - It
" It was he who instructed me that temperance is the beft source of charity.-'Tis in this sense only that it should ever be said so begin al home-Readers, throw your gouts, your cholics, your fcurvies to the poor. i t was he who furnished ine with this admirable hint to charity--that the more a person wants, the less quill do bim good. It was he who soficned my nature to that tender sensibility, and fond sympathy, which have created the principal pains and pleafures of my life; and which will, I trust in God, insure the latter, in the next, without its alloy. ---Amen!
• This good man has been long dead ; and in grateful honour of his memory, I have mentioned his name in another place-'Twas all I could! I would have plucked a neitle from his grave, bad I seen one ever grow there--For furcly there was nothing, either in the humours of his body, or the tempera. ment of his mind, that such a noli me tangere weed could be nourished by, or emblematic ofm
Our reader will doubtless find entertainment in his tenth chapter,
Of Wit, in Morals. "I formerly used to prefer Pliny's Epistles, and Seneca's Morals, before Cicero's writings of both kinds—because of the points of wit, and quaint turns, in the former.-I remember when I thought Horace and Catullus flat and insipid - but then it was when I admired Martial and Cowly.
• Plain meats, simply drefled, are certainly more wholesome food, than higher cooked repaits —But one who has ind..ged, or rather depraved, his appetite with the later viands, Calla: not, without difficulty, recover his natural reish for the former.- We are just in the same circumstances in litera ure,
« The sport of fancy, and a play of words, may have, perhaps, this effect, to fix the sentiment more strongly in the mind--but I seldom found that they carried their uses further
• Play round the head, but enter not the heart.
Strong phrases, and opposition of terms, may store the common place of meinory with apt lentiinents, which may help a person to shine, in writing, or in conversation : but this wants the true splendor of learning, the temporalo ufu ; while sound sense and reason, more plainly expressed, operates upon us in the nature of an alterative medicine - Dow, but sure.
• And though by degrees we bound, with vigour nil our own; yet not being able directly to impute our strength to any foreign affistance, we are apt to cherish that sense and virtue, which we by this means acquire, as we do the heirs of cur own Joinswhile those acquisitions we make, by the help of remem
berid wit only, are received into the heart as coldly as an adopo tion.
"I find myself moralizing here, somewhat in the very file I have been reprehending--but I have not restrained my pen- for when we condemn a fault - to carry on the veinwe Mhould endeavour 10 make an example of it. ---And it may be applied to me, what was said of Jeremy, in Love for Love, “ that he was declaiming against wit, with all the wit he could multer.”
. But witry I am henceforth resolved to be for the rest of my life.- Lord, Sir, refolurion is a powerful thing ; it has rendered many a coward brave, and a few women chaste.- Let us try now whether this same miraculous faculty cannot make one pare son witty--for a wonder.'
The wit of some chapters in this volume is far from atoning for their levity and indecency ; nor shall we pretend to account for the adventure that first involved our author in debt.
-I was obliged to borrow two hundred pounds, beyond my own currency, upon this occasion - I had no sufficient security to profler. But captain Le Fevre happened luckily just then to have sold out of the army- 1 mortgaged the story to him, and he lent me the money.
• He was not a man to accept of interest, so I made him a present. He loved reading much-A collection of ingenious and entertaining papers, stiled The World, happened to be just then collected together, and published, in four volumes. [ sent them to him, with the following lines inscribed. They were the first rhimes I had ever attempted to tag in iny life.
" To Captain Lewis Le Fevre. • For one who rafbly lent me cash, 'tis fit
That I should make a venture too in wit.
How happier you, who now may laugh at four.' Pray reader would those rhimes have suffered had they been docked of their epigramic point in their two last lines ?
"I happened, continues he, to dine with a friend of mine. Wine was wanting:—He sent me to the cellar.-It had been hewed out of a solid rock.- At my return into the room, I wrote the following extempore card to my host, and threw it across the table :
· When Mofes struck the rock with rod divine,
Cold water flow'd-yours yields us gen'rous wine
That water turn'd to wine rejoic'd good fellows. • Some years after this very harmless sport of fancy, these lines were quoted against me, by a certain bishop, as a proof that I neither believed one word of the Old Testament, nor of the New.--This stopped my preferment.--I only smiled, and preferred myself-to him.'
There is something original in the following anecdote, and the reflections upon it.
" Since I am in for it, I'll tell you another excommunicable thing I did. - Whether before, or after, I forget.-Is it any matter which ?
• In the city of the church was repairing, and the corporation of that town had accommodated the parish with their Thoifel, or town-house, as a chapel of ease, for the time.
There happened to have been an election for that city not long before.-Upon which mercantile occasion, the worshipful mayor, aldermen, &c. had notoriously •..-You know how elections are usually carried on, and what admirable fecurities they are become, of late, for our lives, liberties, and properties !
• I was among the congregation one Sunday, when the gospel for the day happened to be taken out of the nineteenth chapter of St. Luke, where our Saviour is said to have driven the buyers and sellers out of the temple. An impetus of honest indignation seized me. I took out my pencil, and wrote the following hasty lines on one of the pannels of the pew I sat in : · Whoever reads nineteenth of Luke, believes
The house of prayer was once a den of thieves
A den of thieves is made an house of prayer. I was observed.--I happened to have been admitted a freeman in that corporation some time before this incident; and having been detected in the above sarcasm, the mayor had my name immediately struck out of the books, ex eficio merely-without any manner of legal process or pretence.
• But here I have no reason to complain.--I had certainly, in this instance, been guilty of an impiety against the fraternity of this corporation—and they resented it like men.-I am only Turprized at the fallability of your divines.
* Among whom there are many pious ejaculators, who think that I ought to have been excommunicated long ago. However, I am sure that I am well enough intitled to be received a priest,
in the Persian temples at least--as all the initiated were obliged to pass first through a noviciate of reproach and pain, to give proofs of their being free from paffion, resentment, and impatience.
. I am in the same predicament with Cato the censor-not in the severity of his discipline, I confefs--but in the particuJar, at least, of his having been fourscore times accused.-But he had the advantage of fairer trials than ever I had-for he was as often acquitted.
• God forgive them ! But I forgive them their prayers, in return, on account of the old proverb.-Need I repeat it?'
Tristram always speaks for Mr. Sterne, even while he is on his death-bed.
• For my own part, I trust that the gentle breezes of the established orthodoxy of our church may be strong enough to waft my soul to heaven. I have not such a weight of fin surpended at the tail of my kite, as to require a storm to raise it. And since the ceasing of the oracles, I think that a person may be inspired with sufficient grace, without falling into convulsions.'
The following character of the female Confucius is, we think, drawn with a most masterly hand.
•) happened to be very ill at the time, and fitting by the fire-side one morning in my lodgings, when I received a very polite card, in a female hand, unknown, acquainting me, that having been struck with that rich vein of philanthropy, The was pleased to say, which flowed like milk and honey through all my writings, Mrs. would be much obliged, and flattered, if I would afford her an opportunity of a personal acquaintance with the author, by doing her the favour of drinking tea with her that evening.
I was too weak to venture abroad. I wrote her word foassured her that I longed equally for the pleasure of an acquaintance with any person, whose heart and mind seemed to sympathize with those affections she was so kind to compliment me upon, and intreated the honour of a fans ceremonie visit from her, upon this occasion, that very evening.
• She condescended to accept my invitation, and came accordingly.--She visited me every day while I continued con. fined ; -wbich kindness I returned, most punctually, as soon as I was able to go abroad.
• She was a woman of sense and virtue--not lively, but pofseffed of that charming sort of even chearfulness which naturally flows from goodness.-Mens confcia retii.--She was reserved, and, like a ghost, would rarely speak till spoken to.