Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

AFTER this general Oxford testi dean, in which that university affectio her right to him as no degenerate son, join that of another writer, whom, it is fused to accept as an adopted one.

“The religious author of the Tale o “tell you, religion is but a reservoir “madmen; and the virtuous Lemuel “answer for the state, that it is a den o “ cut-throats. What think you, reade “system round and great? and now th “clearly plucked off, what remains, b “strike away the rotten staff, that yet “ doting parents on their last legs

“Seriously let it be as they say, that “satire are the supplement of publick “ not then, the ends of both be the sam “ of mankind 2 but where is the sense “satire, if the whole species be dege “ where is the justice of it if it be not? “ment of lunaticks is as wise as the ol “neral execution as honest as the other “general satire, the work only of ill m “ niuses, was proscribed of old both “ and the magistrate, as an offence t “justice and common sense.”—A Criti sophical Enquiry into the Causes of Miracles, &c. Lond. 1727, p. 33, s written by the right reverend author Legation of Moses: which is the r because we find, in the dedication to 15, a similar censure on ancther pa lection in these words:

“However, once on a time a great wit set upon this task [ridiculing a love of publick liberty]; he ‘ undertook to laugh at this very virtue, and that so ‘successfully, that he set the whole nation a laugh“ing with him. What mighty engine, you will ask, ‘ was employed to put in motion so large a body, “ and for so extraordinary a cause 2 In truth, a very “simple one: a discourse, of which all the wit con“sists in the title ; and that too skulking, as you will “see, under one unlucky word. Mrs. Bull's vindi. “cation of the indispensable duty of cuckoldom, in“cumbent upon wives, in case of the tyranny, infi“ delity, or insufficiency of husbands". Now had “ the merry reader been but so wise as to reflect, that “ reason was the test of ridicule, and not ridicule the “ test of truth, he would have seen to reëtify the pro“ position, and to state it fairly thus; The indispen“sable duty of divorce, &c. And then the joke “ had been over, before the laugh could have “ begun.” Another author however, who is allowed by the bishop to be no ill judge of the province of ridicule, speaks of the former work in somewhat more moderate ters InS : “There is not perhaps in any language a bolder “ or stronger ridicule, than the well known apologie “ of the Tale of a Tub. Its manifest design is to re“ commend the English church, and to disgrace the “ two extremes of popery and puritanism f. Now if o WC

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• History of John Bull, part i, chap. 13. + “Some indeed have pretended otherwise.—The pious au. “ thor of the Independent Whig affirms [wish the above author “ of the Critical Enquiry] that it was an open attack upon “ Chris

“we consider this exquisite piece of rail ‘ of truth, we shall find it impotent and ‘the question still recurs, whether Mar “emblem of the English nation, Jack o “ or Peter of the Roman church. All t “debate between the several parties a “granted in the representation: and w “recourse to argument, and that alone, “ determine the merits of the question. “If we next consider this masterpiece “ mode of eloquence ; we shall find it in “efficacy in confirming every member c “of England in his own communion, a “ him a thorough distaste of those of “Rome. And so far as this may be r “matter of publick utility, so far the rid “ laudable. “But if we extend our views so as to “a larger plan of moral use; we shall f “thod is such as charity can hardly app “by representing the one of these churc “character of craft and knavery, the oth “ of incurable madness, it must needs te “every member of the English church “ the representation, with such hatred of “contempt of the other, as to prevent a “bate, and rational remonstrance. “ Its effect on those who hold the doc

[ocr errors]

“Christianity, &c. where, by the way, the cor “able enough, that he should pronounce the T. “be a libel on Christianity, while it is in fac “ of our Ecclesiastical Establishment; and at “ entitle his own book, a Vindication of our E * tablishment, while it is in fact a libel on Chr

“vin or of Rome, must be yet worse: unless it can “be proved, that the way to attract the love and con“vince the reason of mankind, is to show that we “hate or despise them. While they revere what we “ deride, it is plain, we cannot both view the subject “in the same light: and though we deride what ap“pears to us contemptible, we deride what to them “appears sacred. They will therefore accuse us of “misrepresenting their opinions, and abhor us as “unjust and impious. “Thus, although this noted apologue be indeed a “vindication of our English Church, yet it is such “ as had been better spared: because its natural effect “is to create prejudice, and inspire the contending “ parties with mutual distaste, contempt, and ha“ tred “.” According to one of these writers, the Tale of a Tub is a ridicule of all religion; according to the other, it is a defence of our constitution in church and state, but with an unlawful weapon. And yet how few controversialists do not make use of this weapon when they can lay hold of it ! which of them keep themselves within the strict rules of pleadings in the Areopagus : But, whatever may be thought of the dean as a Divine, all agree in their elogium of him as a Writer, “Few characters could have afforded so great a “variety of faults and beauties. Few men have been “ more known and admired, or more envied or cen“sured, than Dr. Swift. From the gifts of nature, “ he had great powers; and, from the imperfections “ of humanity, he had many failings. I always con

• Dr. Browne's Essays on the Characteristics, Essay I, sect.

xi, Page io9. “ sidered

“sidered him as an abstract and brief chr

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

times; no man being better acquainted nature, both in the highest and in the l of life. His friends and corresponder greatest and most eminent men of the sages of antiquity were often the comp. closet; and although he industriously ostentation of learning, and generally c his materials from his own store ; yet h in the ancient authors evidently appet strength of his sentiments, and the clas ness of his style. If we consider his

we shall find a certain masterly concis style, that has never been equalled writer. His poetical performances considered as occasional poems, writ please or to vex some particular p must not suppose them designed for he had cultivated his genius in that certainly have excelled, especially in s

“The character of his life will appea his writings. They will both bear t dered and reexamined with the utm and will always discover new beauties

cies upon every examination. They be considered as the sun, in which t will hide the blemishes; and whenev ignorance, pride, malice, malignity,

terpose, to cloud or sully his fame, upon me to pronounce, that the ec last long. No man ever deserved

country than Swift did of his ; a s vering, inflexible friend; a wise, a w;

« AnteriorContinuar »