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s which have lived very | itself: I mean those short e minor Greek poets, which n egg, a pair of wings, an nd an altar.

little oval poem, and may d a scholar's egg. I would r, in more intelligible lannto English, did not I find it very difficult; for the been more intent upon the upon the sense of it. onsist of twelve verses, or verse decreasing gradually ng to its situation in the it (as in the rest of the bears some remote affinity escribes a god of love, who wings.

ld have been a good figure edge of it consisted of the he work; but as it is in the ave been nothing else but ch was consecrated to Miat to have been the same of in the building of the a hint I shall leave to the ritics. I am apt to think ten originally upon the ax, odern cutlers inscribe upon therefore the posy still reshape, though the ax itself

may be said to be full of ed of nine different kinds of several lengths resemble the musical instrument, that is the poem.

1 with the epitaph of Troilus
hich, by the way, makes me
Ise pieces of wit are much
e authors to whom they are
least I will never be per-
writer as Theocritus could
of any such simple works.
or a man to succeed in these
s not a kind of painter, or
He was first of all to draw
bject which he intended to
rwards conform the descrip-
his subject. The poetry was
itself according to the mould

In a word, the verses were tended to the dimensions of prepared for them; and to hose persons whom the tyrant dge in his iron bed; if they etched them on a rack; and , chopped off a part of their he couch which he had pre

at this obsolete kind of wit ng verses in his Mac Flecno; ader cannot understand, who there are those little poems he shape of wings and altars:

or thy command

ce in Acrostic Land;
ngs display, and altars raise,
word a thousand ways.

wit was revived by several and in particular may be met pert's poems; and if I am not

mistaken, in the translation of Du Bartas. I do not remember any other kind of work among the moderns which more resembles the performances I have mentioned, than that famous picture of King Charles the First, which has the whole book of psalms written in the lines of the face, and the hair of the head. When I was last at Oxford I perused one of the whiskers, and was reading the other, but could not go so far in it as I would have done, by reason of the impatience of my friends and fellow-travellers, who all of them pressed to see such a piece of curiosity. I have since heard, that there is now an eminent writing-master in town, who has transcribed all the Old Testament in a full-bottomed periwig; and if the fashion should introduce the thick kind of wigs, which were in vogue some few years ago, he promises to add two or three supernumerary locks that should contain all the Apocrypha. He designed this wig originally for King William, having disposed of the two books of Kings in the two forks of the foretop; but that glorious monarch dying before the wig was finished, there is a space left in it for the face of any one that has a mind to purchase it.

But to return to our ancient poems in picture. I would humbly propose, for the benefit of our modern smatterers in poetry, that they would imitate their brethren among the ancients in those ingenious devices. I have communicated this thought to a young poetical lover of my acquaintance, who intends to present his mistress with a copy of verses made in the shape of her fan; and, if he tells me true, has already finished the three first sticks of it. He has likewise promised me to get the measure of his mistress's marriage-finger, with a design to make a posy in the fashion of a ring, which shall exactly fit it. It is so very easy to enlarge upon a good hint, that I do not question but my ingenious readers will apply what I have said to many other particulars: and that we shall see the town filled in a very little time with poetical tippets, handkerchiefs, snuff-boxes, and the like female ornaments. I shall therefore conclude with a word of advice to those admirable English authors who call themselves Pindaric writers, that they would apply themselves to this kind of wit without loss of time, as being provided better than any other poets with verses of all sizes and dimensions.

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THERE is nothing more certain than that every man would be a wit if he could; and notwithstanding pedants of a pretended depth and solidity are apt to decry the writings of a polite author, as flash and froth, they all of them show, upon occasion, that they would spare no pains to arrive at the character of those whom they seem to despise. For this reason we often find them endeavouring at works of fancy, which cost them infinite pangs in the production. The truth of it is, a man had better be a galley-slave than a wit, were one to gain that title by those elaborate trifles which have been the inventions of such authors as were often masters of great learning, but no genius.

In my last paper I mentioned some of these false wits among the ancients, and in this shall give

the reader two or three other species of them, that flourished in the same early ages of the world. The first I shall produce are the lipogrammatists or letter-droppers of antiquity, that would take an exception, without any reason, against some particular letter in the alphabet, so as not to admit it once into a whole poem. One Tryphiodorus was a great master in this kind of writing. He composed an Odyssey or epic poem on the adventures of Ulysses, consisting of four and twenty books, having entirely banished the letter A from his first book, which was called Alpha (as lucus à non lucendo) because there was not an alpha in it. His second book was inscribed Beta for the same reason. In short, the poet excluded the whole four and twenty letters in their turns, and showed them, one after another, that he could do his business without them.

It must have been very pleasant to have seen this poet avoiding the reprobate letter, as much as another would a false quantity, and making his escape from it through the several Greek dialects, when he was pressed with it in any particular syllable. For the most apt and elegant word in the whole language was rejected, like a diamond with a flaw in it, if it appeared blemished with a wrong letter. I shall ouly observe upon this head, that if the work I have here mentioned had been now extant, the Odyssey of Tryphiodorus, in all probability, would have been oftener quoted by our learned pedants, than the Odyssey of Homer. What a perpetual fund would it have been of obsolete words and phrases, unusual barbarisms and rusticities, absurd spellings, and complicated dialects? I make no question but it would have been looked upon as one of the most valuable treasuries of the Greek tongue.

I find likewise among the ancients that ingenious kind of conceit, which the moderns distinguish by the name of a rebus, that does not sink a letter, but a whole word, by substituting a picture in its place. When Cæsar was one of the masters of the Roman mint, he placed the figure of an elephant upon the reverse of the public money; the word Cæsar signifying an elephant in the Punic language. This was artificially contrived by Cæsar, because it was not lawful for a private man to stamp his own figure upon the coin of the commonwealth. Cicero, who was so called from the founder of his family, that was marked on the nose with a little wen like a vetch (which is cicer in Latin), instead of Marcus Tullius Cicero, ordered the words Marcus Tullius, with a figure of a vetch at the end of them, to be inscribed on a public monument. This was done probably to show that he was neither ashamed of his name or family, notwithstanding the envy of his competitors had often reproached him with both. In the same manner we read of a famous building that was inarked in several parts of it with the figures of a frog and a lizard; those words in Greek having been the names of the architects, who by the laws of their country were never permitted to inscribe their own names upon their works. For the same reason it is thought, that the forelock of the horse in the antique equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, represents at a distance the shape of an owl, to intimate the country of the statuary, who, in all probability, was an Athenian. This kind of wit was very much in vogue among our own countrymen about an age or two ago, who did not practise it for any oblique reason, as the ancients abovementioned, but purely for the sake of being witty. Among innumerable instances that may be given

of this nature, I shall produce the device of one Mr. Newberry, as I find it mentioned by our learned Camden in his Remains. Mr. Newberry. to represent his name by a picture, hung up at his door the sign of a yew-tree, that had several berries upon it, and in the midst of them a great golden N hung upon a bough of the tree, which by the help of a little false spelling made up the word New-berry.

I shall conclude this topic with a rebus, which has been lately hewn out in freestone, and erected over two of the portals of Blenheim House, being the figure of a monstrous lion tearing to pieces a little cock. For the better understanding of which device, I must acquaint my English reader, that a cock has the misfortune to be called in Latin by the same word that signifies a Frenchman, as a lion is the emblem of the English nation. Such a device in so noble a pile of building, looks like a pun in an heroic poem; and I am very sorry the truly ingenious architect would suffer the statuary to blemish his excellent plan with so poor a con ceit. But I hope what I have said will gair quarter for the cock, and deliver him out of the lion's paw.

I find likewise in ancient times the conceit o making an echo talk sensibly, and give rationa answers. If this could be excusable in any writer it would be in Ovid, where he introduces the ech as a nymph, before she was worn away into no thing but a voice. The learned Erasmus, thoug a man of wit and genius, has composed a dialogue upon this silly kind of device, and made use of a echo who seems to have been a very extraordinary linguist, for she answers the person she talks with in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, according as she found the syllables which she was to repeat in any of those learned languages. Hudibras, in ridicul of this false kind of wit, has described Bruin be wailing the loss of his bear to a solitary echo, who is of great use to the poet in several distiches, a she does not only repeat after him, but helps out his verse, and furnishes him with rhymes :

'He rag'd, and kept as heavy a coil as
Stout Hercules for loss of Hylas ;
Forcing the vallies to repeat
The accents of his sad regret.
He beat his breast, and tore his hair,
For loss of his dear crony bear,
That Echo from the hollow ground
His doleful wailings did resound
More wistfully, by many times,
Than in small poets, splay-foot rhymes,
That make her, in their rueful stories,
To answer to int'rogatories,

And most unconscionably depose
To things of which she nothing knows;
And when she has said all she can say,
"Tis wrested to the lover's fancy.
Quoth he, O whither, wicked Bruin,
Art thou fled to iny-Echo, ruin?

I thought th' hadst scorn'd to budge a step
For fear. (Quoth Echo) Marry guep.
Am I not here to take thy part?

Then what has quail'd thy stubborn heart?
Have these bones rattled, and this head
So often in thy quarrel bled?

Nor did I ever winch or grudge it,

For thy dear sake. (Quoth she) Mum budget.
Think'st thou 'twill not be laid i' th' dish,
Thou turn'dst thy back? (Quoth Echo) pish.
To run from those th' hadst overcome
Thus cowardly? (Quoth Echo) mum.
But what a-vengeance makes thee fly
From me too as thine enemy?
Or if thou hast no thought of me,
Nor what I bave endur'd for thee;
Yet shame and honour might prevail
To keep thee thus from turning tail:
For who would grudge to spend his blood in
His honour's cause? (Quoth she) a pudding.


DAY, MAY 9, 1711.

quis non prandeat, hoc est ? PERS. Sat. iii. 85.

e meagre look, to your books?

wit that vanished in the rld, discovered themselves onkish ignorance.

e masters of all that little en extant, and had their ngaged from business, it is of them, who wanted gences, employed many hours such tricks in writing, as d little capacity. I have rned into Latin rhymes by ts of that dark age; who it, that the Eneid wanted of rhyme to make it the its kind. I have likewise neters to the Virgin Mary, ok, though it consisted but words:

dotes, quot, sidera, cœlo.'' ties, O Virgin, as there are stars

ges upon these eight several ans made his verses almost es and the stars which they onder that men who had so hands did not only restore s of false wit, but enriched ns of their own. It was to he production of anagrams, but a transmutation of one he turning of the same set words: which may change into white, if Chance, who resides over these sorts of irect. I remember a witty his kind of writing, calls his was distorted, and had his did not properly belong to

a man.'

atist takes a name to work t first as a mine not breken w the treasure it contains, many hours in the search of s to find out one word that ther, and to examine the ty of stations in which they I have heard of a gentlekind of wit was in fashion, is mistress's heart by it. She omen of her age, and known dy Mary Boon. The lover ke any thing of Mary, by ged to this kind of writing, ; and after having shut him, with indefatigable industry Upon the presenting it to little vexed in her heart to nto Moll Boon, she told him, e, that he had mistaken her ras not Boon, but Bohun.

-Ibi omnis Bor

r-struck with his misfortune, little time after he lost his

senses, which indeed had been very much impaired by that continual application he had given to his anagram.

The acrostic was probably invented about the same time with the anagram, though it is impossible to decide whether the inventor of the one or the other were the greater blockhead. The simple acrostic is nothing but the name or title of a person, or thing, made out of the initial letters of several verses, and by that means written, after the manner of the Chinese, in a perpendicular line. But besides these there are compound acrostics, when the principal letters stand two or three deep. I have seen some of them where the verses have not only been edged by a name at each extremity, but have had the same name running down like a seam through the middle of the poem.

There is another near relation of the anagrams and acrostics, which is commonly called a chronogram. This kind of wit appears very often on many modern medals, especially those of Germany, when they represent in the inscription the year in which they were coined. Thus we see on a medal of Gustavus Adolphus the following words, CHRISTVS DUX ERGO TRIV MPH VS. If you take the pains to pick the figures out of the several words, and range them in their proper order, you will find they amount to MDCXXVII, or 1627, the year in which the medal was stamped: for as some of the letters distinguish themselves from the rest, and overtop their fellows, they are to be considered in a double capacity, both as letters and as figures. Your laborious German wits will turn over a whole dictionary for one of these ingenious devices. A man would think they were searching after an apt classical term, but instead of that they are looking out a word that has an L, an M, or a D in it. When therefore we meet with any of these inscriptions, we are not so much to look in them for the thought, as for the year of the Lord.

The bouts-rimez were the favourites of the French nation for a whole age together, and that at a time when it abounded in wit and learning. They were a list of words that rhyme to one another, drawn up by another hand, and given to a poet, who was to make a poem to the rhymes in the same order that they were placed upon the list: the more uncommon the rhymes were, the more extraordinary was the genius of the poet that could accommodate his verses to them. I do not know any greater instance of the decay of wit and learning among the French (which generally follows the declension of empire) than the endeavouring to restore this foolish kind of wit. If the reader will be at the trouble to see examples of it, let him look into the new Mercure Gallant; where the author every month gives a list of rhymes to be filled up by the ingenious, in order to be communicated to the public in the Mercure for the suc ceeding month. That for the month of November last, which now lies before me, is as follows:








... Folette

One would be amazed to see so learned a man as Menage talking seriously on this kind of trifle in the following passage:

Monsieur de la Chambre has told me, that he never knew what he was going to write when he took his pen into his hand; but that one sentence always produced another. For my own part, I never knew what should write next when I was making verses. In the first place I got all my rhymes together, and was afterwards perhaps three or four months in filling them up. I one day showed Monsieur Gombaud a composition of this nature, in which, among others, I had made use of the four following rhymes, Amaryllis, Phyllis, Marne, Arne; desiring him to give me his opinion of it. He told me immediately, that my verses were good for nothing. And upon my asking his reason, he said, because the rhymes are too common; and for that reason easy to be put into verse. “Marry," says I, " if it be so, I am very well rewarded for all the pains I have been at." But by Monsieur Gombaud's leave, notwithstanding the severity of the criticism, the verses were good.' Vid. Menagiana. Thus far the learned Menage, whom I have translated word for word.

The first occasion of these bouts-rimez made them in some manner excusable, as they were tasks which the French ladies used to impose on their lovers. But when a grave author, like him above mentioned, tasked himself, could there be any thing more ridiculous? Or would not one be apt to believe that the author played booty, and did not make his list of rhymes till he had finished his poem?

I shall only add, that this piece of false wit has been finely ridiculed by Monsieur Sarasin, in a poem entitled, La Defaite des Bouts-Rimez, The Rout of the Bouts-Rimez.

I must subjoin to this last kind of wit the double rhymes, which are used in doggerel poetry, and generally applauded by ignorant readers. If the thought of the couplet in such compositions is good, the rhyme adds little to it; and if bad, it will not be in the power of the rhyme to recommend it. I am afraid that great numbers of those who admire the incomparable Hudibras, do it more on account of these doggerel rhymes than of the parts that really deserve admiration. I am sure I have heard the


Pulpit, drum ecclesiastic, Was beat with fist, instead of a stick ;'

There was an ancient sage philosopher Who had read Alexander Ross over,'

sense, they will be very apt to shoot up in the greatest genius that is not broken and cultivated by the rules of art. Imitation is natural to us, and when it does not raise the mind to poetry, paint ing, music, or other more noble arts, it often break out in puns and quibbles.

Aristotle, in the eleventh chapter of his book o rhetoric, describes two or three kinds of puns, which he calls paragrams, among the beauties of goos writing, and produces instances of them out of som of the greatest authors in the Greek tongue. C cero has sprinkled several of his works with pun and in his book where he lays down the rules o oratory, quotes abundance of sayings as pieces o wit, which also upon examination prove arran puns. But the age in which the pun chiefly fou rished, was in the reign of king James the First That learned monarch was himself a tolerable pur ster, and made very few bishops or privy-counse lors that had not sometime or other signalized themselves by a clinch, or a conundrum. It wa therefore in this age that the pun appeared with pomp and dignity. It had before been admitted into merry speeches and ludicrous composition but was now delivered with great gravity from th pulpit, or pronounced in the most solemn manne at the council-table. The greatest authors, in their most serious works, made frequent use of punThe sermons of Bishop Andrews, and the tragedie of Shakspeare, are full of them. The sinner wa punned into repentance by the former, as in the latter nothing is more usual than to see a ber weeping and quibbling for a dozen lines together.

I must add to these great authorities, which seem to have given a kind of sanction to this piece of false wit, that all the writers of rhetoric have treated of punning with very great respect, and divided the several kinds of it into hard names that are reckoned among the figures of speech and recommended as ornaments in discourse. I remember a country schoolmaster of my acquaintance told me once, that he had been in company with a gentleman whom he looked upon to be the greatest paragrammatist among the moderns. Upon inquiry, I found my learned friend had dined that day with Mr. Swan, the famous punster; and de siring him to give me some account of Mr. Swan conversation, he told me that he generally talked in the Paranomasia, that he sometimes gave into the Ploce, but that in his humble opinion he shined most in the Antanaclasis.

I must not here omit, that a famous university of

more frequently quoted, than the finest pieces of this land was formerly very much infested with wit in the whole poem.


N° 61. THURSDAY, MAY 10, 1711.

Non equidem hoc studeo, bullatis ut mihi nugis, Pagina turgescal, dare pondus idenca fumo. PERS. Sat. v. 19.

'Tis not indeed my talent to engage In lofty trifles, or to swell my page With wind and noise.



puns; but whether or no this might not arise from the fens and marshes in which it was situated, and which are now drained, I must leave to the deter mination of more skilful naturalists.

After this short history of punning, one woul wonder how it should be so entirely banished ou of the learned world as it is at present, especially since it had found a place in the writings of thi most ancient polite authors. To account for thi we must consider, that the first race of authors who were the great heroes in writing, were desti tute of all rules and arts of criticism; and for tha reason, though they excel later writers in great THERE is no kind of false wit which has been so re- ness of genius, they fall short of them in accuracj commended by the practice of all ages, as that and correctness. The moderns cannot reach thei which consists in a jingle of words, and is compre- beauties, but can avoid their imperfections. Whe hended under the general name of punning. It is the world was furnished with these authors of the indeed impossible to kill a weed, which the soil has first eminence, there grew up another set of writ a natural disposition to produce. The seeds of pun-ers, who gained themselves a reputation by the re ning are in the minds of all men; and though they may be subdued by reason, reflection, and good

marks which they made on the works of those who preceded them. It was one of the employ


ry authors, to distinguish it by terms of art, and to or less perfect, according in truth. It is no wonder, authors as Isocrates, Plato, such little blemishes as are authors of a much inferior tten since those several bleI do not find that there n made between puns and he ancient authors, except But when this distincit was very natural for all n it. As for the revival of ned about the time of the as soon as it was once devanished and disappeared, e is no question, but as it nd rose in another, it will ome distant period of time, nce shall prevail upon wit beak the truth, I do very me of the last winter's proir sets of admirers, that our w years, degenerate into a st, a man may be very exhensions of this kind, that ded about the town with ause; to which I must also alled the Witches' Prayer, n it was read either backpting only that it cursed he other. When one sees h pains-takers among our ell what it may end in? If er, let it be with the manly ire; for I am of the old that if I must suffer from ld rather it should be from the hoof of an ass. I do ny spirit of party. There on both sides. I have seen ig anagrams, and do not f them, because they are because they are anagrams

ning. Having pursued the its original to its downfal, be a conceit arising from hat agree in the sound, but he only way, therefore, to to translate it into a differears the test, you may proit vanishes in the experide it to have been a pun. of a pun, as the countryman ale, that it is vox et præand nothing but a sound.' ay represent true wit by the istenetus makes of a fine ressed she is beautiful, when beautiful; or, as Mercerus e emphatically, Induitur, osa forma est

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oks when dress'd!
from this disguise,
ry vest....
before your eyes.


No 62. FRIDAY, MAY 11, 1711.

Scribendi recte, sapere est et principium et fons.
HOR. Ars Poet. ver. 309.
Sound judgment is the ground of writing well

MR. LOCKE has an admirable reflection upon the difference of wit and judgment, whereby he endeavours to show the reason why they are not always the talents of the same person. His words are as follow: And hence, perhaps, may be given some reason of that common observation, "That men who have a great deal of wit, and prompt memories, have not always the clearest judgment, or deepest reason." For wit lying most in the assemblage of ideas, and putting those together with quickness and variety wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity, thereby to make up pleasant pictures, and agreeable visions in the fancy; judgment, on the contrary, lies quite on the other side, in separating carefully one from another, ideas wherein can be found the least difference, thereby to avoid being misled by similitude, and by affinity to take one thing for another. This is a way of proceeding quite contrary to metaphor and allusion; wherein, for the most part, lies that entertainment and pleasantry of wit, which strikes so lively on the fancy, and is therefore so acceptable to all people.'

This is, I think, the best and most philosophical account that I have ever met with of wit, which generally, though not always, consists in such a resemblance and congruity of ideas as this author mentions. I shall only add to it, by way of explanation, that every resemblance of ideas is not that which we call wit, unless it be such an one that gives delight and surprise to the reader. These two properties seem essential to wit, more particularly the last of them. In order, there fore, that the resemblance in the ideas be wit, it is necessary that the ideas should not lie too near one another in the nature of things; for where the likeness is obvious, it gives no surprise. To compare one man's singing to that of another, or to represent the whiteness of any object by that of milk and snow, or the variety of its colours by those of the rainbow, cannot be called wit, unless, besides this obvious resemblance, there be some further congruity discovered in the two ideas, that is capable of giving the reader some surprise. Thus when a poet tells us the bosom of his mistress is as white as snow, there is no wit in the comparison; but when he adds, with a sigh, it is as cold. too, it then grows into wit. Every reader's me mory may supply him with innumerable instances of the same nature. For this reason, the similitudes in heroic poets, who endeavour rather to fill the mind with great conceptions, than to divert it with such as are new and surprising, have seldom any thing in them that can be called wit. Mr. Locke's account of wit, with this short explanation, comprehends most of the species of wit, as metaphors, similitudes, allegories, enigmas, inottos, pa rables, fables, dreams, visions, dramatic writings, burlesque, and all the methods of allusion. There are many other pieces of wit (how remote soever they may appear at first sight from the foregoing description) which upon examination will be found to agree with it.

As true wit generally consists in this resemblance


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