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from between me and the light;" which was almost as extravagant as the philosopher, that flung his money into the sea, with this remarkable saying

How different was this man from the usurer, who, being told his son would spend all he had got, replied, “ He cannot take more pleasure in spending, than I did in getting it.” These men could see the faults of each other, but not their own; those they flung into the bag behind; non videmus id manticæ quod in tergo est. I may perhaps be censured for my free opinions by those carping Momuses whom authors worship, as the Indians do the devil, for fear. They will endeavour to give my reputation as many wounds, as the man in the almanack; but I value it not; and perhaps like flies, they may buzz so often about the candle, till they burn their wings. They must pardon me, if I venture to give them this advice, not to rail at what they cannot understand; it does but discover that self-tormenting passion of envy, than which the greatest tyrant never invented a more cruel torment:

Invidia Siculi non invenere Tyranni
Tormentum majus

Hor. Lib. I. Epist. II. 58.

I must be so bold to tell my critics and witlings, that they can no more judge of this, than a man that is born blind, can have any true idea of colours. I have always observed, that your empty vessels sound loudest: I value their lashes as little as the sea did those of Xerxes, when he whipped it. The utmost favour a man can expect from them is, that which Polyphemus promised Ulysses, that he would devour him the last : they think

to subdue a writer, as Cæsar did his enemy, with a Veni, vidi, vici. I confess I value the opinion of the judicious few, a Rymer, a Dennis, or a W-k; but for the rest, to give my judgment at once, I think the long dispute among the philosophers about a vacuum, may be determined in the affirmative, that it is to be found in a critic's head. They are at best but the drones of the learned world, who devour the honey, and will not work thenselves : and a writer need no more regard them, than the moon does the barking of a little senseless cur. For, in spite of their terrible roaring, you may, with half an eye, discover the ass under the lion's skin.

But to return to our discourse : Demosthenes being asked what was the first part of an orator, replied, action : what was the second, action : what was the third, action : and so on, ad infinitum. This may be true in oratory; but contemplation in other things, exceeds action. And, therefore, a wise man is never less alone, than when he is alone: Nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus.

And Archimedes, the famous mathematician, was so intent upon his problems, that he never minded the soldiers who came to kill him. Therefore, not to detract from the just praise which belongs to orators, they ought to consider, that nature, which gave us two eyes to see, and two ears to hear, has given us but one tongue to speak; wherein, however, some do so abound, that the virtuosi, who have been so long in search for the perpetual motion, may infallibly find it there.

Some men admire republics, because orators flourish there most, and are the greatest enemies of tyranny; but my opinion is, that one tyrant is better than a hundred.

Besides, these orators inflame the people, whose anger is really but a short fit of madness.

Ira furor brevis est.

Hor. Lib. I. Epist. II. 62.

After which, laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. But in oratory the greatest art is to hide art. Artis est celare artem.

But this must be the work of time, we must lay hold on all opportunities, and let slip no occasion ; else we shall be forced to weave Penelope's web, unravel in the night what we spun in the day. And therefore I have observed, that Time is painted with a lock before, and bald behind, signifying thereby, that we must take time (as we say) by the forelock, for when it is once past, there is no recalling it.

The mind of man is at first (if you will pardon the . expression) like a tabula rasa, or like wax, which, while it is soft, is capable of any impression, till time has hardened it. And at length death, that grim tyrant, stops us in the midst of our career. The greatest conquerors have at last been conquered by death, which spares none, from the sceptre to the spade : Mors omnibus communis. All rivers

but none return from it. Xerxes wept when he beheld his army, to consider that in less than a hundred years they would be all dead. Anacreon was choked with a grape-stone ; and violent joy kills as well as violent grief. There is nothing in this world constant, but inconstancy; yet Plato thought, that if virtue would appear to the world in her own native dress, all men would be enamoured with her. But

go the sea,

now, since interest governs the world, and men neglect the golden mean, Jupiter himself, if he came to the earth, would be despised, unless it were, as he did to Danae, in a golden shower : for men now-a-days worship the rising sun, and not the setting :

Donec eris felix multos numerabis amicos.

Thus have I, in obedience to your commands, ventured to expose myself to censure, in this critical age. Whether I have done right to my subject, must be left to the judgment of my learned reader : however, I cannot but hope, that my attempting of it may be encouragement for some able pen to perform it with more


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