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laughter-loving ;-an epithet, by the by, which might give a good hint to a number of very respectable ladies, “who love their lords, but who are too apt to let ladies less respectable run away with them. Horace represents Pleasantry as futtering about Venus in company with Cupid

“Quem Focus circumvolat, et Cupido ;" and these are followed by Youth, the enjoyer of animal spirits, and by Mercury, the god of Persuasion. There is the same difference between Tasso and Ariosto as between Virgil and Homer ; that is to say, the latter proves his greater genius by a completer and more various hold on the feelings, and has not only a fresher spirit of Nature about him, but a truer, because a happier; for the want of this enjoyment is at once a defect and a deterioration. It is more or less a disease of the blood ; a falling off from the pure and uncontradicted blithesomeness of childhood ; a hampering of the mind with the altered nerves; dust gathered in the watch, and perplexing our passing hours,

It may be thought a begging of the question to mention Anacreon, since he made an absolute business of mirth and enjoyment, and sat down systematically to laugh as well as to drink. But on that very account, perhaps, his case is still more in point ; and Plato, one of the gravest, but not the shallowest, of philosophers, gave him the title of the Wise. The disciple of Socrates appears also to have been a great enjoyer of Aristophanes ; and the divine Socrates himself was a wit and a joker.

But the divine Shakspeare-the man to whom we go for everything, and are sure to find it, grave, melancholy, or merry --what said he to this exquisite kind of nonsense? Perhaps next to his passion for detecting nature, and over-informing it with poetry, he took delight in pursuing a joke ; and the lowest scenes of his in this way say more to men whose faculties are fresh about them, and who prefer enjoyment to criticism, than the most doting of commentators can find out. They are instances of his animal spirits, of his sociality, of his passion for giving and receiving pleasure, of his enjoyment of something wiser than wisdom.

The greatest favourites of Shakspeare are made to resemble himself in this particular. Hamlet, Mercutio, Touchstone, Jaques, Richard the Third, and Falstaff, “inimitable Falstaff," are all men of wit and humour, modified according to their different temperaments or circumstances; some from health and spirits, others from sociality, others from a contrast with their very melancholy. Indeed, melancholy itself, with the profoundest intellects, will rarely be found to be anything else than a sickly temperament, induced or otherwise, preying in its turn upon the disappointed expectation of pleasure; upon the contradiction of hopes, which this world is not made to realise, though, let us never forget, it is made, as they themselves prove, to suggest. Some of Shakspeare's characters, as Mercutio and Benedick, are almost entirely made up of wit and animal spirits ; and delightful fellows they are, and ready, from their very taste, to perform the most serious and manly offices. Most of his women, too, have an abundance of natural vivacity. Desdemona herself is so pleasant of intercourse in every way, that, upon the principle of the respectable mistakes above mentioned, the Moor, when he grows jealous, is tempted to think it a proof of her want of honesty. But we must make Shakspeare speak for himself, or we shall not know how to be silent on this subject. What a description is that which he gives of a man of mirthof a mirth, too, which he has expressly stated to be within the limit of what is becoming! It is in “ Love's Labour's Lost :"

"A merrier man,
Within the limit of becoming mirth,
I never spent an hour's talk withal.
His eye begets occasion for his wit :
For every object that the one doth catch,
The other turns to a mirth-moving jest ;
Which his fair tongue, conceit's expositor,
Delivers in such apt and gracious words,
That aged ears play truant at his tales,

And

younger hearings are quite ravished ; So sweet and voluble is his discourse."

We have been led into these reflections, partly to introduce the conclusion of this article ; partly from being very fond of a joke ourselves, and so making our self-love as proud as possible ; and partly from having spent some most agreeable hours the other evening with a company, the members of which had all the right to be grave and disagreeable that rank and talent are supposed to confer, and yet, from the very best sense or forgetfulness of both, were as lively and entertaining to each other as boys. Not one of them, perhaps, but had his cares-one or two, of no ordinary description ; but what then? These are the moments, if we can take advantage of them, when sorrows are shared, even unconsciously; moments, when melancholy intermits her fever, and hope takes a leap into enjoyment; when the pilgrim of life, if he cannot lay aside his burden, forgets it in meeting his fellows about a fountain, and soothes his weariness and his resolution with the sparkling sight, and the noise of the freshness.

To come to our anticlimax, for such we are afraid it must be called after all this grave sentiment and mention of authorities. The following dialogue is the substance of a joke, never meant for its present place, that was started the other day upon a late publication. The name of the book it is not necessary to mention, especially as it was pronounced to be one of the driest that had appeared for years. We cannot answer for the sentences being put to their proper speakers. The friends whom we value most happen to be great hunters in this way; and the reader may look upon the thing as a specimen of a joke run down, or of the sort of nonsense above mentioned ; so that he will take due care how he professes not to relish it.

We must also advertise him, that a proper quantity of giggling and laughter must be supposed to be interspersed, till towards the end it gradually becomes too great to go on with.

A. Did you ever see such a book ?

B. Never, in all my life. It's as dry as a chip.
A. As a chip ? A chip’s a slice of orange to it.
B. Ay, or a wet spunge.
A. Or a cup in a currant tart.

B. Ah, ha; so it is. You feel as if you were fingering a brick-bat.

A. It makes you feel dust in the eyes.

B. It is impossible to shed a tear over it. The lachrymal organs are dried up.

A. If you shut it hastily, it is like clapping together a pair of fresh-cleaned gloves.

B. Before you have got far in it, you get up to look at your tongue in a glass.

A. It absolutely makes you thirsty.

B. Yes. If you take it up at breakfast, you drink four cups instead of two.

A. At page 30 you call for beer.
B. They say it made a Reviewer take to drinking.

A. They have it lying on the table at inns to make you drink double. The landlord says A new book, sir,” and goes out to order two neguses.

B. It dries up everything so, it has ruined the draining busi

ness.

A. There is an Act of Parliament to forbid people's passing a vintner's with it in their pockets.

B. The Dutch subscribed for it to serve them instead of dykes.

ON THE SLOW RISE OF THE MOST RATIONAL

OPINIONS.

IT

T would be surprising to think by what slow degrees the

most rational and apparently the most obvious improve

ments take place in human opinion, did not habit, and selflove, and the fear of change, sufficiently account for them. Some find it as difficult to leave off a mere habit of opinion, however pernicious, as drunkards their drams. Others cannot bear a diminution in the respect which they have long entertained for themselves, as sensible and conclusive thinkers. Others are afraid of all innovation, in consequence of the shock it gives to society; and yet the next minute they would wage a dozen wars to preserve the old notions. Again, it is thought a triumphant argument with some, if the new opinion proposed be to the advantage of the proposer ;-which is a very idle objection; because, if it supposes the general good, it includes his among the rest.

Innovation, as mere innovation, is a want of reverence for antiquity; an insensibility to the accumulated habits of time, and to the comforts and consolations they have gathered by the way. But, on the other hand, objection to it, as mere objection, is cowardice and selfishness : cowardice, for fear of responsibility; selfishness, for fear of losing a certain property in our self-respect, and having the notion of our own wisdom and sufficiency disturbed. You may know the goodness of either in

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