Imatges de pÓgina

whole productions there is no stamp of genius“, but which are in reality pages of inanity. But it is now, with greater propriety of appellation, dignified from our molt amiable fovereign's transcendental confort. Withont pre-fuppofing imposibilities or anticipating frustration, we folicited his company with the sonorous ° periods of respectful profession, that while we should be disporting with the bowl and pins, he might be agglomerating meditations on the pensile fpiky pods of the blooming religiosos of the gardens ; but he transmitted 'us a declinature in the 'monosyllables of coldness, for he was going to effuse the fair creation P of his praying powers at the bedfide of a penitential nymph in Lewkener's lane. However, he

gave us a proinissory note he would subjoin a descant on the creation 9.

• At length we arrived at the place of our original destination, without any intercepting interruption ; only Hymerlæus and Hermeticus would have div ted into the fountain in the Five Fields, in order to try some magnetical experiments on an ambulatory nymph, who seemed perpetually fufeeptible of occafional delight. But they were restrained, as well by the unexpected appearance of Tranquilla, who just then tollutated along in a rotatory vehicle, as by the unanimous fimultaneity of our prohibitory supplications. On our ingrefs into the scene of skittleary contention, we expedited ambaffadors with plenary powers to procure us buttered buns, charming Cheshire cheese, tart tit-bit tartlets, rare ripe radifhes, and recent rollss; we enhanced our reciprocal felicity by quaffing convivial Burton ; and we disported with the bowl and pins. At last, after various vicisitudes and revolutions of a vehement contention, and ardent competition for skittleary reputation, the totality of the reckoning devolved upon Quisquilius. . Quisquilius, being devoid of pecuniary stores, offered to deposite as a mode of hypothecal security, the stings of four wasps, that had been taken

Sheffield, duke of Buckingham. This is the character given by Warton, in his Eflay on Pope, of that nobleman's writings. I own that Lexiphanes does not, in so many words, call them pages of Inanity. He applies that expression to Walth. But he does what is equivalent. He says, in his Idler, I think, posterity will wonder how such men as Sheffield and Lansdowne ever came to have any reputation. What must pofterity think of the present age in which this dogmatical pedant has obtained fo great a reputation ! o Ramb. No. 194.

p Pleaf. of Imag. B. 2. L. 38. Hervey's Meditations.

r Rasrelas. s Alliteration ; a figure Lexiphanes seems sometimes to be very fond of.

torpid in their winter quarters. But the landlord rejected the proffer with an indignant sneer of pecuniary impudence. Quifquilius vainly alledged, with all the powers of deprecating rhetorical persuasion, that the wasp from whom the stings had been extracted, cost him the annual rent of the farm where they had been caught, when under the influence of frigorifick torpor: The unfeeling governor of the caravanseray replied not, but with a trite saying of proverbial vulgarism, A fool and his money are foon parted. At last, after a tedious altercation, Misocapelus, instigated by the ramifications of private friendship, difbursed the symbol.

• When now we had with some difficulty effectuated a relinquishment of this dignified scene of skittleary contention, a dusky and cerutean darkness had begun to obumbrate the superficies of the constellated regions, and to diminish the horizon of our prospects. We ambulated homeward, aided by the declining coruscations of a crepufcular glimmering. In our viatorial progression, we were now opposite the Porto-bello, where latrocinary homicides wont to lurk, and make incursions on unsuspecting way farers, and comminutions of their purses and lives. Terrification seized me from the dreariness of the scene, and the reflection that the ghosts of the murdered might now be hovering round the fatal places where their terrestrial existences had been comminuted. Eubulus, that infidel and infolent contemner of grey.bearded wisdom, observing the tremulous commotion of iny nerves, and entertaining a conjectural glimpse of my mental situation, apprehended me by the sleeve, vociferating with all the semblance of terror : Behold an apparition, the ghost of a murdered traveller! I adverted my luminaries directly forward, and gazed an object seemingly of immenfe magnitude, and arrayed in a vesture of thining radiance., I suffered a reduplication of horrifick terrors, and again Eubulus exclaimed, 'Tis FANNY! 'tis Miss FANNY herself, the very identical ghost of Cock-lane ! the is come to punih and terrify a scepticai unbelieving world. Hearęst thou not, her percussions of negation, her repercussions of affirmation, and her fcalpations of indignation !!!


" It feems, that in the language of the famous Coik-lane ghost, a fingle knock fignified No, a double one. Yes, and scratching imported displeasure. 'Tis pity Miss Fanny fo foon discontinued her visits to this world, otherwise, it may be presumed, Lexiphanes, who, 'tis faid, was a very diligent and attentive scholar, would have become as great an adept in the dialect of ghots, as Homer was in that of the gods, or as he

Succumbing now under an accumulation of horrors, actuated as if I had been a mere involuntary mechanist, and having interjected a circumstantial pause ", I thus ejaculated,

• Angels and ministers of grace defend us !
Be thou a spirit of health ! or goblin damn'd!
Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell!
Be thy events wicked or charitable !
Thou com'ít in such a questionable shape
That I will fpeak to thee! I'll call thee FANNY!
Maid! mistress! injur'd fair! what may this mean
That thou, dead corfe, again, in winding sheet,
Revisit'st thus the glimpse crepuscular
Making it hideous; and us FOOLS of NATURE
So horribly to shake our dispositions
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls.

Wherefore, what may this mean? • Whilst thus ejaculating, Hypertatus with that magnanimity of sentiment, that undauntedness of resolution, and that intrepidity of courage, derived from his habitation in the elevated regions of a garret, approached the place where the apparitionz seemed to lie, fixed in torpid immobility. But at his approximation it started like a guilty thing, and ran vagiffating along the champain, as if it had been the youthful masculine offspring of a Tauro-vaccineal conjunction.

· At this unexpected exhibition, my fellow compotators were totally convalled with universal laughter; and even Hypertatus himself, my most amicable convivial' affociate, could not altogether repress the instantaneous motions of inerriment w. As for myself, I reprehended Eubulus, with the fonorous vociferations of anger, and told him that the precipitation of his inexperience ought to be shackled by a proper timidity *; and that though he had answered his uncle's monitory letters with fuch vivacity of turn, such elegancy of irony, and fuch asperity of faracfm, that he had left him henceforth to live upon his own estate ; and that though he had retorted the irony of his patron Hilarius, equally renowned for the extent of his knowledge, the elegance of his diction, and the acuteness of his wit with such fpirit, that he foon convinced him his purpose was not to encourage a rival, but to foster a parafite y ;, I

is himself in his own mother tongue. It might, in time, have furnished our great Lexicographer with materials for a dictionary of the Language of Spirits. u Elements of Criticism. * Ramb. No. 176.

X Ramb. y Ramb. No. 26, 27.


No. 159.

told him, I say, that he should not with impunity derogate from my dictatorial importance, remuneratory honours, and accumulations of preparatory knowledge, with the pertness of puerility, the levity of contempt, and the derision of ridicule. Eubulus, though he could hardly articulate for a fuffocation of risibility, declared with facramental obtestations, that he had himself laboured under similar powers of deception. I believed him not, and threatened to convict him of the tortuosity of his imaginary rectitude by manual syllogisms, fistical applications, and baculinary argumentation.'

Before Lexiphanes has finished his rhapsody he is interrupted by the critic, who takes him to talk for his hard words and afa fected stile ; and thinking hiin mad, applies to a physician, passing by, who proves to be the British Lucretius a. He repeats a great many verses, and the critic gets rid of him with some difficulty. Another doctor ? comes by, who is the critic's friend. They talk upon Lexiphanes's case, and other matters concern. ing taste and writing; and force him to swallow a potion, which makes him throw up many of his hard words.

After this ridiculous operation, the doctor goes to a consulta, tion, and the critic instructs Lexiphanes how to avoid his for. mer faults, and write better for the future.

Though this author is inexcusable for his unfair representations, and his illiberal treatment of Dr. Johnson, and some other refpectable authors, we cannot but commend him for endeavouring to explode the use of hard words and pedantic expressions. Yet, when this is done, writers are equally liable to corrupt their stile by. vulgar idioms, and ungramınatical phrases. TO write correctly and elegantly is no easy task. This author falls into many inaccuracies, of which the following is an instance.

• In the next place, says he to lord Lyttleton, of a learned and animated writer as your lordship undoubtedly is, you are the pureit and chaftest of'any I know now living; and the remotest froin that affectation and Lexiphanicism which are at once the dif, grace and characteristic of the age.?

• When they meet, they are sure to fall foul of one another

To peruse a paper, or for had became-between you and I'-' to give into the caricatura a little now and i hen— I wash my hands on't--are expressions which may be deservedly called colloquial barbarisms.

• A performance committted to the fostering care of a distin guished character'- An edition of Shakespear in expectancy * fan&tioned by great authority' -- and some other phrases, which this writer uses in his dedication and notes, are such as he him. self would itile Lexiphanicilins.

a Dr. Akde; ftiled our Lucretius by some writers of note. Dr. Armstrong,

This author, endeavouring. to write in an easy, unaffected stile, generally throws his prepositions and the signs of the genitive, dative, and ablative cases to the end of the sentence, in this manner which he is mighty fond of which he has not attained to'—' which most of your brother pedants have joined in' - whose honesty you can rely on' -' the adversaries you have to cope withal which we are better without'. which we have been lately peftered with, &c.'

Englishmen, we believe, are the only people in the world who use this form of expression. We should think a Latin author guilty of a most abominable absurdity if he should close his periods with de, ad, cum, in, sub, fine, or any other word of this nature. And why do we continue to follow this preposterous arrangement? Such words as of, for, from, by, 10, with, in, would stand much more properly and elegantly before the relative pronoun, than at the close of the sentence. This author very justly declaims against affected phrases; but the next time he writes, let him favour us with his thoughts on vulgar idioms, and barbarous expressions, which are more offensive to a judicious reader than all the hard words which he has attempted to expose.

[ocr errors]

V. The Adventures of Emmera, or the Fair American. Exem

plifying the peculiar Advantages of Society and Retirement, In 2 Vols. 8vo. Pr. 6s. Nicoll.

HIS author, by endeavouring to render his work un

common, has made it unnatural. When he aims at the surprizing he deviates into the improbable, and whines in 'bombait while he is attempting the pathetic. Yet his performance is not deftitute of a considerable share of merit'. His design is simple and commendable, that of contrasting the social with the requestered state of life, and shewing how dangerous society may prove to virtue. His retird scenes are laid in America, and are infinitely preferable to those he has exhibited in Europe.

The father of Sir Philip Chetwyn prevails upon his son and daughter to attend him to America, where he intends to purchase an estate and settle ; in the mean time they reside at a farm house. Sir Philip, in exploring the country attended by two Indians and a footman, stumbles upon a neat English habitation, almost inaccessible through the wilds and woods which surround it. Upon entering it, he sees an old Englishman expiring in the arms of his daughter, the moft beautiful female figure he had ever beheld. The sensibility discovered by Sir

« AnteriorContinua »