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A new SYSTEM of CASTLE-BUILDING,
Containing a mighty pretty preamble, after which the subject is continued from Chap. iv. and it is further shewn, that those who encourage learning the least are in fact the greatest MECENAS's.
Few days ago as I was fitting in my bookfeller's fhop, a gentleman in a black coat, tye-wig, and long sword, came in to ask for the SUPPLEMENT to the STUDENT, which, when it was delivered into his hands, he furvey'd with great deliberation, and feem'd to fummon all the meaning he was master of into his countenance at once. He turn'd over the pages gradually-humming fomewhat to the following effect "Wit and Beauty an Allegory-hum"this GRANTICOLA is a good pretty fellow-This gentle"man who writes in defence of Religion is doubtlefs a "perfon of great learning and piety-STIGAND's oration "is an animated thing-A comical dog, I warrant you, "this JOHN JONES the cordwainer"And fo he went on, delivering his fentiments in favour of every piece, till he came to the chapter on CASTLE-BUILDING, when giving a great hawk, as if fomething lay heavy on his ftomach, "In the name of all that's horrible (cries he) what madman "is the author of this incoherent ftuff-a medly of words, " without beginning, ending, top or bottom; a chaos of "abfurdity and confusion.”. -There, fays I, interrupting him, (for I began to be a little nettled at the freedom with which he was pleafed to exprefs himfelf) There is the beauty of the thing; for the very nature of the subject excludes all order and method, and not to be abfurd in a fyftem of CASTLE-BUILDING would be of all abfurdities the greatest. So I shall make bold, in spite of all the tye-wigs and fwords in the three kingdoms, to be as incoherent, abfurd,
abfurd, and nonfenfical, as fhall feem good to me at the time of writing, and I don't doubt but I fhall be kept in countenance by a vast majority, who will be in the fame situation at the time of reading.
Having now made my preamble, I shall refume the thread of my difcourfe from chapter iv. and proceed to demonftrate the truth of this paradox, viz. that those who encourage learning least are actually the greatest MACENAS'S.In order to prove this paradox, extra amnem dubitationis aleam, that is Anglicè, beyond all chance of doubting, I fhall advance another; which is, that there are fome things in nature fo exceeding OBVIOUS that they never OCCUR. Let no man deny this, who cannot fee his own nose on his own face; and let no man deny the other, who can credit his own experi-There are now in this kingdom a fet of as clever men in the poetical way, nay I may venture to fay more fo than there ever were at any given time together. The FIELDING'S, the JOHNSON's, the AKINSIDE's, the ARMSTRONG'S, the COLLINS's, the WARTON's, the SMALLET'S, the MASON's, the LowTHE's, the BROWNS, and not a few concern'd in the STUDENT, with a great many more of that strain, are living teftimonies to the truth of my affertion. This can poffibly be attributed to no other caufe than the contempt and derifion the sciences are held in by most of the people of diftinction.The patriot Mufes have been banished the C-rt ever fince the aufpicious days of the ever-bleffed Queen ANNE, and being kick❜d out of all good company, and forced into their original woods and groves, they fing with the fame native wildness and unrestrained vi→ vacity as they did in the other golden age. It is manifeft therefore, that a titled blockhead is a very good negative MACENAS; and while he's at the gaming-table, the bawdyhoufe, New-Market, or BROUGHTON's amphitheatre, by encouraging fcoundrels and drivelers, he fets clever men to work, and makes the ingenious flourish, by diftreffing them into diligence.
S men of learning and merit, in neceffitous circumftan ces, are too frequently oppreffed by many of the bookfellers in our great metropolis; our good-natur'd readers will not be difpleased to see that barbarous and Gothic practice, which contributes fo much to the decay of literature, expos'd in the following genuine letter.
Dear Mr. STUDENT,
Y the commerce and connection you have with the world, you must undoubtedly be a gentleman of experience and judgment; and, by the sentiments convey'd in your pieces, you seem alfo to be a man of virtue and humanity. If the latter be found in your breaft, I doubt not but you will commiferate my unhappy fituation, when I tell you that, tho' a fcholar, and mafter of many languages, I am under the dominion of an imperious bookfeller, and obliged to accept of terms that really carry with them an indignity to the profeffion. I have been these eight days without a penny in my pocket, and my bookfeller, knowing my cafe, has taken this opportunity to beat me down in my price, and deprive me of that poor ftipend I had to fubfift on, as you will perceive by the following ungenerous letter.
To Mr. R***
And and you have been dealers a great while, but Í think after all you don't use me well. You have all a"long charged me fix-pence for a poem of two hundred lines "for my Magazine, and Mr. GINGLE, who does another "Magazine, charges no more than a groat; so that if you "don't abate in your prices I must look out for another ; " and I need not look far, for there is a gentleman men❝tion'd to me by Mr. SCAN, who is a guge, and says he
To the STUDEN T.
"wrote an Oade on Sadness that made him laugh; and I am "fure if he could make a man laugh on fadnefs, he might "make a man kill himfelf with laughing on any other object. Befides you have all the faving ways, for in fome "of your Oades, as you call them, many of the lines are "not half so long as othurs, and yet you charge all at "the fame price. Pray let me have all long lines for the "future. And Mr. SCAN fays Epic Poems are better than "those I have had. Pray write me one for the Magazine, "and fend it by the bearer, for which he will pay you feven pence, for I would have it a good one, and fend a "receipt by him for the money.
I am, your injured friend,
"P. S. Latin poems I am told are cheaper than others. "What do you ax for one that will make a page? I "would have it like thofe in the STUDENT. The "STUDENT fells fix times the number of our Magazine, "and I am told 'tis because they have more wit and more learning."
You fee how I am treated.Now, Mr. STUDENT, the favour I must beg leave to ask of you is, either to employ me your felf, or recommend me to fome honest bookfeller of your acquaintance. I can tranflate either from the living or dead languages; and can write history, novels, politics, or poetry. Methinks a new translation of HOMER might be undertaken with fuccefs. Your friendship herein will oblige,
Your defponding friend and fervarit,
London, Oct. 2. 1750.
Numb. I. Vol. II.
To the STUDIENT or the Oxbridge and Cambridge Monthly Mifs Sallany.
Mr. STUDIENT, SIR,
Think it apeish and foolish and ridiculous and filly in you that are a schollard to fet your wit agin a hoop petticoat and to put thoughts into the mens heads which they should not have Sure what bufinefs have you with it but every monkey will be meddling If you'd mind your Omars and your Oraces and your Novids and your Newclids 'twould be more betterer And learn to make farmonds and not spend your fathers money for nothing about such monkey tricks You may be ashamed of yourself you may fo And if I had the correcting of you I'd learn you more wit and more manners I dont fuppofe there is any fuch man as the cordwainer or any fuch trade but if there be he's a fool
And fo I am your humble servant,
HE following letter, which was never yet published, may be confidered as an addition * to Mr. WOOD'S history of the Oxford writers, and therefore cannot prove 'unacceptable to the curious. But none of our readers will expect an apology for inferting in this collection any of the remains of that great and good man Archbishop Laud, whofe memory will ever be held in the highest esteem and veneration by all friends to useful literature and true religion. It will therefore only be neceffary to obferve farther at present, that the original is still preserved amongst Bishop Tanner's MSS. now in the poffeffion of the University of Oxford.
Athen. Oxon. Vol. II. pag. 400. Lond. 1721.