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much changed for the better by next Saturday night. music, for it is composed of nine different kinds of I shall endeavour to make what I say intelligible to verses, which by their several lengths resemble the ordinary capacities; but if my readers meet with nine stops of the old musical instrument, that is any paper that in some parts of it may be a little likewise the subject of the poem. out of their reach, I would not have them discou- The altar is inscribed with the epitaph of Troilus, raged, for they may assure themselves the next shall the son of Hecuba; which, by the way, makes me be much clearer.
believe that these false pieces of wit are much more As the great and only end of these my specula- ancient than the authors to whom they are generally tions is to banish vice and ignorance out of the terri- ascribed: at least I will never be persuaded that so tories of Great Britain, I shall endeavour as fine a writer as Theocritus could have been the aumuch as possible to establish among us a taste of thor of any such simple works. polite writing. It is with this view that I have en- It was impossible for a man to succeed in these deavoured to set my readers right in several points performances who was not a kind of painter, or at relating to operas and tragedies; and shall from least a designer. He was first of all to draw the time to time impart my notions of comedy, as I think outline of the subject which he intended to write they may tend to its refinement and perfection. I upon, and afterward conform the description to the find by my bookseller, that these papers of criticism, figure of his subject. The poetry was to contractor with that upon humour, have met with a more kind dilate itself according to the mould in which it was reception than indeed I could have hoped for from cast. In a word, the verses were to be cramped or such subjects; for which reason I shall enter upon extended to the dimensions of the frame that was my present undertaking with greater cheerfulness. prepared for them, and to undergo the fate of those
In this, and one or two following papers, I shall persons whom the tyrant Procrustes used to lodge in trace out the history of false wit, and distinguish the his iron bed-if they were too short, he stretched several kinds of it as they have prevailed in different them on a rack; and if they were too long, chopped ages of the world. This I think the more necessary off a part of their legs, till they fitted the couch at present, because I observed there were attempts which he had prepared for them. on foot last winter to revive some of those anti- Mr. Dryden hints at this obsolete kind of wit in quated modes of wit that have been long exploded one of the following verses in his Mac Flecno; out of the commonwealth of letters. There were which an English reader cannot understand, who several satires and panegyrics handed about in does not know that there are those little poems acrostic, by which means some of the most arrant above-mentioned in the shape of wings and altars : undisputed blockheads about the town began to en
Choose for thy command tertain ambitious thoughts, and to set up for polite Some peaceful province in acrostic land: authors. I shall therefore describe at length those
There may'st thou wings display, and altars raise,
And torture one poor word a thousand ways. mauy arts of false wit, in which a writer does not show himself a man of a beautiful genius, but of This fashion of false wit was revived by several great industry.
poets of the last age, and in particular may be met The first species of false wit which I have met with with among Mr. Herbert's poems; and, if I am not is venerable for its antiquity, and has produced se- mistaken, in the translation of Du Bartas. I do Feral pieces which have lived very near as long as not remember any other kind of work among the the liiad itself: I mean those short poems printed moderns which more resembles the performances I among the minor Greek poets, which resemble the have mentioned, than that famous picture of King figure of an egg, a pair of wings, an axe, a shep- Charles the First, which has the whole book of herd's pipe, and an altar.
psalıns written in the lines of the face and the hair • As for the first, it is a little oval poem, and may of the head. When I was last at Oxford I perused not improperly be called a scholar's egg. I would one of the whiskers, and was reading the other, but endeavour to hatch it, or, in more intelligible lan- could not go so far in it as I would have done by guage, to translate it into English, did not I find reason of the impatience of my friends and fellowthe interpretation of it very difficuit; for the author travellers, who all of them pressed to see such a piece seems to have been more intent upon the figure of of curiosity. I have since heard that there is now an his poem than upon the sense of it.
eminent writing-master in towu who has transcribed The pair of wings consists of twelve verses, or all the whole Testament in a full-bottomed periwig: rather feathers, every verse decreasing gradually in and if the fashion would introduce the tbick kind of its measure according to its situation in the wing. wigs which were in vogue some few years ago, he The subject of it (as in the rest of the poems which promises to add two or three supernumerary locks follow) bears some remote affinity with the figure, that should contain all the Apocrypha. He defor it describes a god of love, who is always painted signed this wig originally for king William, having with wings.
disposed of the two books of Kings in the two forks The axe, methinks, would have been a good figure of the foretop; but that glorious monarch dying befor a lampoon, had the edge of it consisted of the fore the wig was finished, there is a space left in it most satirical parts of the work; but as it is in the for the face of any one that has a mind to purchase it. original, I take it to have been nothing else but the But to return to our ancient poems in picture. I posy of an axe which was consecrated to Minerva, would humbly propose, for the benefit of our modern and was thought to have been the same that Epeus smatterers in poetry, that they would imitate their male use of in the building of the Trojan horse ; brethren amoug the ancients in those ingenious dewhich is a bint I shall leave to the consideration of vices. I have communicated this thought to a vonng the critics. I am apt to think that the posy was poetical lover of my acquaintance, who intends to written originally upon the axe, like those which present his mistress with a copy of verses made in our modern cutlers inscribe upon their knives; and the shape of her fan; and, if he tells me true, has that therefore the posy still remains in its original alrcady finished the three first sticks of it. He has shape, though the axe itself is lost.
likewise promised me to get the measure of his misThe shepherd's pipe may be said to be full of tress's marriage finger, with a design to make a posy
in the fashion of a ring, which shall exactly fit it. a whole word, by substituting a picture in its place. It is so very easy to enlarge upon a good hint, that when Cæsar was one of the masters of the Roman I do not question but my ingenious readers will ap- mint, he placed the figure of an elephant upop the ply what I have said to many other particulars : and reverse of the public money; the word Cæsar signithat we shall see the town filled in a very little time fying an elephant in the Punic language. This was with poetical tippets, handkerchiefs, snuff-boxes, and artificially contrived by Cæsar, because it was not the like female ornaments. I shall therefore con- lawful for a private man to stamp his own figure clude with a word of advice to those admirable upon the coin of the commonwealth. Cicero, who English authors who call themselves Pindaric writers, was so called from the founder of his family, that was that they would apply themselves to this kind of wit marked on the nose with a little wen like a vetch without loss of tiine, as being provided better than (which is Cicer in Latin,) instead of Marcus Tullius any other poets with verses of all sizes and dimen- Cicero, ordered the words Marcus Tullius with a sions.-C.
figure of a vetch at the end of them, to be inscribed
on a public monument. This was done probably to No. 59.] TUESDAY, MAY 8, 1711.
shew that he was neither ashamed of his name or his
family, notwithstanding the envy of his competitors Operose nihil agunt.--SENECA.
þad often reproached him with both. In the same Busy about nothing.
'manner, we read of a famous building that was There is nothing more certain, than that every marked in several parts of it with the figures of a man would be a wit if he could; and notwithstand- frog and a lizard; those words in Greek having been ing pedants of a pretended depth and solidity are apt the names of the architects, who by the laws of their to decry the writings of a polite author as flash and country were never permitted to inscribe their own froth, they all of them shew, upon occasion, that names upon their works. For the same reason it is they would spare no pains to arrive at the character thought that the forelock of the horse, in the antique of those whom they seem to despise. For this rea- equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, represents at son we often find them endeavouring at works of a distance the shape of an owl, to intimate the counfancy, which cost them infinite pangs in the produc- try of the statuary who, in all probability was an tion. The truth of it is, a man had better be a gal. Athenian. This kind of wit was very much in vogue ley-slave than a wit, were one to gain that title by among our own countrymen about an age or two those elaborate trifles which have been the inven- ago, who did not practise it for any oblique reason, tions of such authors as were often masters of great as the ancients above-mentioned, but purely for the learning, but no genius.
sake of being witty. Among innumerable instances In my last paper I mentioned some of these false that may be given of this nature, I shall produce the wits among the ancients, and in this shall give the device of one Mr. Newberry, as I find it mentioned reader two or three other species of them, that flou- by our learned Camden in his remains. Mr. New. rished in the same early ages of the world. The first berry, to represent his name by a picture, hung up I shall produce are the lipogrammatists or letter at his door the sign of a yew-tree, that had several droppers of antiquity, that would take an exception, berries upon it, and in the midst of them a great without any reason, against some particular letter in golden N hung upon the bough of ihe tree, which the alphabet, so as not to admit it once into a whole by the help of a little false spelling made up the poem. One Tryphiodorus was a great master in word N-ew-berry. this kind of writing. He composed an Odyssey or I shall conclude this topic with a rebus, which has epic poem on the adventures of Ulysses, consisting been lately hewn out in freestone, and erected over of four and twenty books, having entirely banished two of the portals of Blenheim House, being the the letter A from the first book, which was called figure of a monstrous lion tearing to pieces a little Alpha (as lucus à non lucendo) because there was cock. For the better understanding of which denot an alpha in it. His second book was inscribed vice, I must acquaint my English reader, that a cock Beta for the same reason. In short, the poet ex- has the misfortune to be called in Latin by the same cluded the whole four and twenty letters in their word that signifies a Frenchman, as a lion is the em turns, and shewed them, one after another, that he blem of the English nation. Such a device, in so could do his business without them.
noble a pile of building, looks like a pun in an heroic It must have been very pleasant to have seen this poem; and I am very sorry the truly ingenious arpoet avoiding the reprobate letter, as much as an-chitect would suffer the statuary to blemish his exother would a false quantity, and making his escape cellent plan with so poor a conceit. But I hope from it through the several Greek dialects, when he what I have said will gain quarter for the cock, and was pressed with it in any particular syllable. For deliver him out of the lion's paw. the most apt and elegant word in the whole lan- I find likewise in ancient times the conceit of guage was rejected, like a diamond with a flaw in it, making an echo talk sensibly, and give rational it it appeared blemished with a wrong letter. I answers. If this could be excusable in any writer, shall only observe upon this head, that if the work I it would be in Ovid, where he introduces the Echo as have here mentioned had been now extant, the Odys- a nymph, before she was worn away into nothing sey of Tryphiodorus, in all probability, would have but a voice. The learned Erasmus, though a man been oftener quoted by our learned pedants, than of wit and genius, has composed a dialogue upon the Odyssey of Homer. What a perpetual fund this silly kind of device, and made use of an echo would it have been of obsolete words and phrases, who seems to have been a very extraordinary lin. unusual barbarisms and rusticities, absurd spellings, guist, for she answers the person she talks with in and complicated dialects? I make no question but Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, according as she found it would have been looked upon as one of the most the syllables which she was to repeat in any of these valuable treasuries of the Greek tongue.
learned languages. Hudibras, in ridicule of this I find likewise among the ancients that ingenious false kind of wit, has described Bruin bewailing the kind of conceit, which the moderns distinguish by loss of his bear to a solitary Echo, who is of great the name of a rebus, that does not sink a letter, but use to the poet in several distichs, as she does not only repeat after him, bnt helps out his verse, and of one word into another, or the turning of the furnishes him with rhymes :
same set of letters into different words; which may
change night into day, or black into white, if He rag'd, and kept as heavy a coil as Stout Hercules for loss of Hylas:
Chance, who is the goddess that presides over these Forcing the valleys to repeat
sorts of composition, shall so direct. I remember The accents of his sad regret.
a witty author, in allusion to this kind of writing, He beat his breast, and tore his hair,
calls his rival, who it seems) was distorted, and For loss of his dear crony bear, That Echo from the hollow ground,
had his limbs set in places that did not properly beHis doleful wailings did resound
long to them, “ the anagram of a man. More wistfully by many times,
When the anagrammatist takes a name to work Tban in small poet's splay-foot rhymes,
upon, he considers it at first as a mine not broken That make her, in their rueful stocies, To answer to introgatories,
up, which will not shew the treasure it contains, till And most unconscionably depose
he shall have spent many hours in the search of it; Things of which she nothing knows ;
for it is his business to find out one word that conAnd when she has said all she can say, Tis wrested to the lover's fancy.
ceals itself in another, and to examine the letters Quoth he, O whither, wicked Bruin,
in all the variety of stations in which they can posArt thou fled to my Echo," ruin ?**
sibly be ranged. I have heard of a gentleman, I thought th' had'st scorn'd to budge a step
who, when this kind of wit was in fashion, enFor fear. (Quoth Echo) " Marry guep. Am I not here to take thy part?
deavoured to gain his mistress's heart by it. She Then what has quellid thy stubborn heart?
was one of the finest women of her age, and known Have these bones ratti d, and this head
by the name of the Lady Mary Boon. The lover So often in thy quarrel bled ?
not being able to make any thing of Mary, by cerNer did I ever wince or grudge it, For thy dear sake, (Quoth she) “ Mum budget.
tain liberties indulged to this kind of writing conThinks t thou 'twill not be laid i' th dish,
verted it into Moll; and after having shut himself Thou turn dst thy back? (Quoth Echo) - Pish."
up for half a year, with indefatigable industry proTo run from those th' hadst overcome Thus cowardly? (Quoth Echo) - Muin."
duced an anagram. Upon the presenting it to his But what a vengeance makes thee fly
mistress, who was a little vexed in her heart to see From me too as thine enemy?
herself degraded into Moll Boon, she told bim, to Or if thou hast no thought of me, Nor what I have endur'd for thee;
his infinite surprise, that he had mistaken her sirYet shame and honour might prevail
name, for that it was not Boon, but Bohun.
The lover was thunderstruck with his misfortune, insomuch that in a little time after he lost his senses,
which indeed had been very much impaired No. 60.) WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 1711.
by that continual application he had given to his Hoc est quod palles ? Cur quis non prandcat. hoc est ? anagram.
Paks. Sat. vi. 85. The acrostic was probably invented about the Is it for this you gain those meagre looks,
same time with the anagram, though it is impossible And sacrifice your dinner to your books?
to decide whether the inventor of the one or the SEVERAL kinds of false wit that vanished in the
other were the greater blockhead. The simple refined ages of the world, discovered themselves acrostic is nothing but the name or title of a peragain in the times of monkish ignorance.
son, or thing, made out of the initial letters of seveAs the monks were the masters of all that little ral verses, and by that means written, after the learning which was then extant, and ha! their manner of the Chinese, in a perpendicular line. whole lives entirely disengaged from business, it is But besides, these there are compound acrostics, no wonder that several of them, who wanted ge- I have seen
when the principal letters stand two or three deep. nius for higher performances, employed many hours
some of them where the verses have in the composition of such tricks in writing as re- but have had the same name running down like a
not only been edged by a name at each extremity, quired much time and little capacity. I have seen half the Æneid turned into Latin rhymes by one
seam through the middle of the poem. of the beaux esprits of that dark age; who says in
There is another near relation of the anagrams his preface to it
, that the Æneid wanted nothing and acrostics, which is commonly called a chrovobut the sweets of rhyme to make it the most perfect gram. This kind of wit appears very often on work in its kind. Í uave likewise seen a hymn in nany modern medals, especially those of Germany, hexameters to the Virgin Mary, which killed a when they represent in the inscription the year in whole book, though it consisted but of the eight which they were coined. Thus we see on a medal following words :
of Gustavus Adolphus the following words, Christ Vs
DUX ERGO TRIVMPHVs. If you take the pains Tot, tibi, sunt, Virgo, dotes, quot, sidera, cælo.
to pick the figures out of the several words, and Thou hast as many virtues, O Virgin, as there are stars in range them in their proper order, you will find they heaven
amount to MDCXVVVII, or 1627, the year in which The poet rung the changes upon these eight seve- the medal was stamped; for as some of the letters ral words, and by that means made his verses al distinguish themselves from the rest, and overtop most as numerous as the virtues and the stars which their fellows, they are to be considered in a double they celebrated. It is no wonder that men who capacity, both as letters and as figures. Your labohad so much time upon their hands did not only re- rious German wits will turn over a whole dictionary store all the antiquated piecesof false wit, but en- for one of these ingenious devices.
A mar would rich the world with inventions of their own. It think they were searching after an apt classicai was to this age that we owe the production of ana- term, but instead of that they are looking out a grams, whieb is nothing else but a transmutation word that has an L, an M, or a D, in it.
PERS. Sat. v. 19.
With wind and noise. -DRYDEN.
therefore we meet with any of these inscriptions, poem entitled, La Defaite des Bouts-Rimés, The we are not so much to look in them for the thought, Rout of the Bouts-Rimés. as for the year of the Lord.
I must subjoin to this last kind of wit the double The bouts-rimés were the favorites of the French rhymes, which are used in doggerel poetry, and genation for a whole age together, and that at a time nerally applauded by ignorant readers. If the when it abounded in wit and learning. They were thought of the couplet in such compositions is good, a list of words that rhyme to one another, drawn up the rhyme adds little to it; and if bad, it will not be by another hand, and given to a poet, who was to in the power of the rhyme to recommend it. I am make a pocm to the rhymes in the same order that afraid that great numbers of those who admire the they were placed upon the list : the more uncom- incomparable Hudibras, do it more on account of mon the rhymes were, the more extraordinary was those doggerel rhymes than of the parts that really the genius of the poet that could accommodate deserve admiration. I am sure I have heard the his verses to them. I do not know any greater in
Pulpit, drum ecclesiastic, stance of the decay of wit and learning among the
Was beat with fist, instead of a stick; French (which generally follows the declension of and empire) than the endeavouring to restore this foolish kind of wit. If the 'reader will be at the trouble
There was an ancient sage philosopher
Who had read Alexander Ross over; to see examples of it, let him look into the new Mercure Gallant; where the author every month more frequently quoted, than the finest pieces of g ves a list of rhymes to be filled up by the ingeni-wit in the whole poem.-C. ous, in order to be communicated to the public in the Mercure for the succeeding month. That for the month of November last, which now lies before No. 61.] THURSDAY, MAY 10, 1711. me, is as follows:
Non equidem studeo bullatis ut mihi nugis
Pagina turgescat, dare pondus idonea fumo.
'Tis not indeed my talent to engage
In losiy trifles, or to swell my page
THERE is no kind of false wit which has been so
recommended by the practice of all ages, as that Houlette
which consists in a jingle of words, and is compreFolette
hended under the general name of punning. It is
indeed impossible to kill a weed which the soil One would be amazed to see so learned a man as has a natural disposition to produce. The seeds Menage talking seriously on this kind of trifle in of punning are in the minds of all men; and though the following passage :
they may be subdued by reason, reflection, and good “ Monsieur de la Chambre has told me that he sense, they will be very apt to shoot up in the greatnever knew what he was going to write when he est genius that is not broken and cultivated by the took his pen into his hand, but that one sentence rules of art. Imitation is natural to us, and when it always produced another. For my own part, I does not raise the mind to poetry, painting, music, never knew what I should write next when I was or other more noble arts, it often breaks out in puns making verses. In the first place I got all my and quibbles. rhymes together, and was afterward perhaps three Aristotle, in the eleventh chapter of his book of or four months in filling them up. I one day shewed rhetoric, describes two or ihree kinds of Monsieur Gombaud a composition of this nature, he calls paragrams, among the beauties of good in which, among others, I had made use of the four writing, and produces instances of them out of some following rhymes, Amaryllis, Phyllis, Marne, Arne; of the greatest authors in the Greek tongue. Cicero desiring him to give me his opinion of it. He told has sprinkled several of his works with puns, and in me immediately, that my verses were good for no- his book wbere he lays down the rules of oratory, thing. And upon my asking his reason, he said, quotes abundance of sayings as pieces of wit, which because the rhymes are too common; and for that also upon examination prove arrant puns. But the reason easy to be put into verse. Marry,' says I, age in which the puu chietly fourished was in the if it be so, I am very well rewarded for all the reign of King James the First
. That learned mopains I have been at.'' But by Monsieur Gom.narch was himself a tolerable punster, and made baud's leave, notwithstanding the severity of the very few bishops or privy-counsellors that had not criticism, the verses were good.'” Vid Menagi- some time or other signalised themselves by a clinch ana. * Thus far the learned Menage, whom I have or a conundrum. It was therefore in this age that translated word for word.
the pun appeared with pomp and dignity. It The first occasion of these bouts-rimés made had been before admitted into merry speeches and them in some manner excusable, as they were tasks ludicrous compositions, but was now delivered with which the French ladies used to impose on their great gravity from the pulpit, or pronounced in the lovers. But when a grave author, like him above-most solemn manner at the council-table. The mentioned, tasked himself, could there be any thing greatest authors, in their most serious works, made inore ridiculous? Or would not one be apt to be frequent use of puns. The sermons of Bishop An. lieve that the author played booty, and did not drews, and the tragedies of Shakspeare, are full of make his list of rhymes till he had finished his them. The sinner was punned into repentance by poem ?
the former, as in the latter nothing is more usual I shall only add, that this piece of false wit has than to see a hero weeping and quibbling for a dozen been finely ridiculed by Monsieur Sarasin, in a lines together.
I must add to these great authorities, which seem • Tom. i. p. 174, &c. od. Amst. 1713.
to have given a kind of sanction to this piece of false
HOR. Ars. Poet. ver. 309.
wit, that all the writers of rhetoric have treated of let it be with the manly strokes of wit and satire; panning with very great respect, and divided the for I am of the old philosopher's opinion, that if I several kinds of it into hard names, that are reck, must suffer from one or the other, I would rather it oned among the figures of speech, and recommended should be from the paw of a lion than from the hoof as ornaments in discourse. I remember a country of an ass. I do not speak this out of any spirit of schoolmaster of my acquaintance told me once, that party. There is a most crying dulness on both he had been in company with a gentleman whom he sides. I have seen tory acrostics and whig apalooked upon to be the greatest paragrammatist grams, and do not quarrel with either of them be. among the moderns. Upon inquiry, I found my cause they are whigs or tories, but because they are learned friend had dined that day with Mr. Swan, anagrams and acrostics. tbe famous punster; and desiring him to give me But to return to punning. Having pursued the some account of Mr. Swan's conversation, he told history of a pun, from its original to its downfall, I me that he generally talked in the Paranomasia, shall here define it to be a conceit arising from the that he sometimes gave into the Ploce, but that in his use of two words that agree in the sound, but differ humble opinion he shined most in the Antanaclasis. in the sense. The only way, therefore, to try a piece
I must not here omit, that a famous university of of wit, is to translate it into a different language. this land was formerly very much infested with puns; If it bears the test, you may pronounce it true ; but but whether or no this might not arise from the fens if it vanishes in the experiment, you may conclude and marshes in which it was situated, and which are it to have been a pun. In short, one may say of a Dox drained, I must leave to the determination of pun as the countryman described his nightingale, more skilful naturalists.
that it is “vox et præterea nihil," "a sound, and After this short history of punning, one would nothing but a sound.” On the contrary, one may worder how it should be so entirely banished of represent true wit by the description which Aristhe learned world as it is at present, especially since tenetus makes of a fine woman; when she is dressed it bad found a place in the writings of the most she is beautiful, when she is undressed she is beautiancient polite authors. To account for this, we ful; or, as Mercerus has translated it more emphamust consider that the first race of authors, who were tically, “ Induitur, formosa est : eruitur, ipsa forma the great heroes in writing, were destitute of all rules est.'
C. and arts of criticism; and for that reason, though they excel later writers in greatness of genius, they fall short of them in accuracy and correctness. The
No. 62.) FRIDAY, MAY 11, 1711. moderns cannot reach their beauties, but can avoid Scribendi recte sapere est et principium, et fons, their imperfections. When the world was furnished with these authors of the first eminence, there grew Sound judgment is the ground of writing well. up another set of writers, who gained themselves a reputation by the remarks which they made on the Mr. Locke has an admirable reflection upon the works of those who preceded them. It was one of difference of wit and judgment, whereby he endeathe employments of these secondary authors to dis-vours to shew the reason why they are not always tinguish the several kinds of wit by terms of art, and the talents of the same person. His words are as to consider them as more or less perfect according follow: “And hence, perhaps, may be given some as toey were founded in truth. It is no wonder, reason of that common observation, . That men who therefore, that even such authors as Isocrates, Plato, have a great deal of wit, and prompt memories, have and Cicero, should have such little blemishes as are not always the clearest judgment or deepest reason.' not to be met with in authors of a much inferior cha- For wit lying most in the assemblage of ideas, and racter, who have written since those several ble- putting those together with quickness and variety nisbes were discovered. I do not find that there wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity, was a proper separation made between puns and thereby to make up pleasant pictures, and agreeable true wit by any of the ancient authors, except Quinc- visions in the fancy; judgment, on the contrary, tilian and Longinus. But when this distinction was lies quite on the other side, in separating carefully once settled, it was very natural for all men of sense one from another ideas wherein can be found the to agree in it. As for the revival of this false wit, least difference, thereby to avoid being misled by siit happened about the time of the revival of letters; militude, and by affinity to take one thing for anbut as soon as it was once detected, it imme- other. This is a way of proceeding quite contrary diately vanished and disappeared. At the same time to metaphor and allusion; wherein, for the most there is no question, but as it has sunk in one age part, lies that entertainment and pleasantry of wit, and rose in another, it will again recover itself in which strikes so lively on the fancy, and is therefore some distant period of time, as pedantry and ig. so acceptable to all people.” horance shall prevail upon wit and sense.
This is, I think, the best and most philosophical to speak the truth, I do very much apprehend, by account that I have ever met with of wit, which gesome of the last winter's productions, which had perally, though not always, consists in such a resemtheir sets of admirers, that our posterity will in a blance and congruity of ideas as this author mentions. few years degenerate into a race of púnsters: at I shall only add to it, by way of explanation, that leazt
, a man may be very excusable for any appre- every resemblance of ideas is not that which we call hensions of this kind, 'that has seen acrostics wit, unless it be such a one that gives delight and handed about the town with great secrecy and surprise to the reader. These two properties seem applause; to which I must also add a little epigram essential to wit, more particularly the last of them. called the Witches' Prayer, that fell into verse In order, therefore, that the resemblance in the ideas when it was read either backward or forward, ex- be wit, it is necessary that the ideas should not lie cepting only that it cursed one way and blessed too near one another in the nature of things ; for the other. When one sees there are actually such where the likeness is obvious, it gives no surprise. pains-takers among our British wits, who can tell what it may end in? If we must lash one another, • Dressed she is beautiful, undressed she is beauty's sell.