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now, as he has much less beauty, than when I used to fee her once a week triumphing in the drawing-room. For; as few wdmen (whatever they may pretend) will va lue themselves upon their minds, while they can gain admirers by their perfons, Timoclea never thought of captivating by her wit till she had no chance of making conquests by her beauty. She has feen a good deal of the world, and of the best company in it; and it is from thence the has derived what ever knowledge fhe poffeffes. You cannot, indeed, flatter her more, than by feeming to confider her as fond of reading and retirement. But the truth is, nature formed her for the joys of fociety, and the is never so thoroughly pleased as when she has a circle round her.

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Ir is upon thofe occafions fhe appears to full advantage; and indeed I never knew any person who was endued with the talents for converfation to an higher degree. If I were difpofed to write the characters of the age, Timoclea is the first perfon in the world to whofe affiftance I should apply. She has the happieft art of marking out the diftinguishing caft of her acquaintance, that

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that I ever met with; and I have known her, in an afternoon's converfation, paint the manners with greater delicacy of judgment and strength of coloring, than is to be found either in Theophraftus or Bruyere.

SHE has an inexhaustible fund of wit: but if I may venture to diftinguish, where one knows not even how to define, I should rather say, it is brilliant than strong... This talent renders her the terror of all her female acquaintance; yet the never facrificed the absent, or mortified the prefent, merely for the fake of displaying the force of her fatire: if any feel its fting, it is thofe only who firft provoke it. Still however it must be owned, that her resentments are frequently without juft foundation, and almost always beyond measure. But tho fhe has much warmth, he has great generofity in her temper; and with all her faults fhe is well worth your knowing.

AND now having given you this general plan of the strength and weakness of the place, I leave you to make your approaches as you fhall fee proper. I am, &c.

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To the fame.



I LOOK upon verbal criticism, as it is generally exercised, to be no better than a fort of learned legerdemain, by which the fenfe or nonfenfe of a paffage is artfully convey'd away, and some other introduced in its ftead, as beft fuits with the purpose of the profound juggler. The differtation you recommended to my perufal, has but ferved to confirm me in thefe fentiments; for tho I admired the ingenuity of the artift, I could not but greatly fufpect the juftness of an art, which can thus prefs any author into the fervice of any hypothefis,


I HAVE fometimes amufed myself with confidering the entertainment it would af ford to thofe antients whofe works have had the honor to be attended by our commentators, could they rife out of their fepulchres and perufe fome of thofe curious conjectures, that have been raifed upon their respective compofitions. Were Horace, for inftance, to read over only a few of those numberless restorers of his text, and expofitors of his meaning,


meaning, that have infefted the republic of letters; what a fund of pleasantry might he extract for a fatire on critical erudition? how many harmless words would he fee cruelly banished from their rightful poffeffions, merely because they happened to disturb fome unmerciful philologift? On the other hand he would undoubtedly fmile at that penetrating fagacity, which has discovered meanings which never entered into his thoughts, and found out concealed allufions in his moft plain and artless expreffions.


ONE could not, I think, fet the general, abfurdity of critical conjectures in a stronger, light, than by applying them to fomething, parallel in our own writers. If the English, tongue should ever become a dead language,› and our beft authors be raised into the rank, of claffic writers; much of the force and propriety of their expreffions, especially of fuch as turned upon humor, or alluded to any, manners peculiar to the age, would in-, evitably be loft, or, at beft, would be ex-, tremely doubtful. How would it puzzle, for inftance, future commentators to explain, Swift's epigram upon our mufical contests? Y 2 I 'ima


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I imagine one might find them defcanting upon that little humorous fally of our English Rabelais, in fome fuch manner as this:

EPIGRAM on the Feuds between Handel and Bononcini,

Strange all this difference fhould be
'Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee!

NOTES of various Authors. "Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee.] I am" perfuaded the poet gave it Twiddle-drum "and Twiddle-key. To twiddle fignifies to "make a certain ridiculous motion with "the fingers: what word therefore could "be more proper to exprefs this epigram"writer's contempt of the performances of "thofe muficians, and of the folly of his

contemporaries in running into parties up"on fo abfurd an occafion? The drum was "a certain martial instrument used in those "times; as the word key is a technical term "in mufic, importing the fundamental "note which regulates the whole compo"fition. It means also those little pieces "of wood which the fingers ftrike against


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