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on the contrary, lies quite on the other side, in separating o fully one from another, ideas wherein can be found the least ference, thereby to avoid being mis-led by similitude, and by a ity, to take one thing for another. This is a way of proceed quite contrary to metaphor and allusion; wherein, for the part, lies that entertainment and pleasantry of wit which str so lively on the fancy, and is therefore so acceptable to people.1

This is, I think, the best and most philosophical account I have ever met with of wit, which generally, though not alw consists in such a resemblance and congruity of ideas as this thor mentions. I shall only add to it, by way of explanat that every resemblance of ideas is not that which we call wit, less it be such an one that gives delight and surprise to the read these two properties seem essential to wit, more particula the last of them. In order, therefore, that the resemblance the ideas be wit, it is necessary that the ideas should not lie near one another in the nature of things; for where the liker is obvious, it gives no surprise. To compare one man's sing to that of another, or to represent the whiteness of any object that of milk and snow, or its variety of its colours by those the rainbow, cannot be called wit, unless, besides this obvious semblance, there be some further congruity discovered in the ideas, that is capable of giving the reader some surprise. Th when a poet tells us, the bosom of his mistress is as white snow, there is no wit in the comparison; but when he adds, w a sigh, that it is as cold too, it then grows into wit. Ev reader's memory may supply him with innumerable instances the same nature. For this reason, the similitudes in heroic poe who endeavour rather to fill the mind with great conceptions, th t: divert it with such as are new and surprising, have seldom a

V. Locke's Essay, Book 2, ch. 11.-G.

thing in them that can be called wit. Mr. Locke's wit, with this short explanation, comprehends most of th wit; as metaphors, similitudes, allegories, ænigmas, me


bles, fables, dreams, visions, dramatic writings, burlesque, and all the methods of allusion: as 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 and congruity of ideas, false wit chiefly consists in the resemblance and congruity sometimes of single letters, as in anagrams, chronograms, lipograms, and acrostics: sometimes of syllables, as in echoes and doggerel rhymes: sometimes of words, as in puns and quibbles; and sometimes of whole sentences or poems, cast into the figures of eggs, axes, or altars: nay, some carry the notion of wit so far, as to ascribe it even to external mimicry; and to look upon a man as an ingenious person, that can resemble the tone, posture, or face of another.

As true wit consists in the resemblance of ideas, and false wit n the resemblance of words, according to the foregoing instances here is another kind of wit, which consists partly in the resemolance of ideas, and partly in the resemblance of words; which, for distinction sake, I shall call mixt wit. This kind of wit is that which abounds in Cowley, more than in any author that ever wrote. Mr. Waller has likewise a great deal of it. Mr. Dryden is very sparing in it. Milton had a genius much above it. Spencer is in the same class with Milton. The Italians, even in their epic poetry, are full of it. Monsieur Boileau, who formed himself upon the ancient poets, has every where rejected it with scorn. If we look after mixt wit among the Greek writers, we shall find it no where but in the epigrammatists. There are, indeed, some strokes of it in the little poem ascribed to Musæus, which by that

as well as many other marks, betrays itself to be a modern composition. If we look into the Latin writers, we find none of this mixt wit in Virgil, Lucretius, or Catullus; very little in Horace; but a great deal of it in Ovid; and scarce any thing else in Martial.

Out of the innumerable branches of mixt wit, I shall chuse one instance which may be met with in all the writers of this class. The passion of love in its nature has been thought to resemble fire; for which reason the words fire and flame are made use of to signify love. The witty poets, therefore, have taken an advantage from the doubtful meaning of the word fire, to make an infinite number of witticisms. Cowley observing the cold regard of his mistress's eyes, and at the same time their power of producing love in him, considers them as burning glasses made of ice; and finding himself able to live in the greatest extremities of love, concludes the torrid zone to be habitable. When his mis tress has read his letter written in juiee of lemon by holding it to the fire, he desires her to read it over a second time by love's flames. When she weeps, he wishes it were inward heat that distilled those drops from the limbec. When she is absent, he is beyond eighty; that is, thirty degrees nearer the pole than when she is with him. His ambitious love is a are that naturally mounts upwards; his happy love is the beams of heaven, and his unhappy love flames of hell. When it does not let him sleep, it is a flame that sends up no smoke; when it is opposed by counsel and advice, it is a fire that rages the more by the wind's blowing upon it. Upon the dying of a tree in which he had cut his loves, he observes that his written flames had burnt up and withered the tree. When he resolves to give over his passion, he tells us that one burnt like him for ever dreads the fire. His heart is an Etna, that instead of Vulcan's shop, incloses Cupid's forge in it. His endeavouring to drown his love in wine, is throwing oil upon the fire. He would insinuate to his mistress, that the fire of love

like that of the sun (which produces so many living creatures) should not only warm but beget. Love in another place cooks pleasure at his fire. Sometimes the poet's heart is frozen in every breast, and sometimes scorched in every eye. Sometimes he is drowned in tears, and burnt in love, like a ship set on fire in the middle of the sea.

The reader may observe in every one of these instances, that the poet mixes the qualities of fire with those of love; and in the same sentence speaking of it both as a passion, and as real fire, surprises the reader with those seeming resemblances or contradictions that make up all the wit in this kind of writing. Mixt wit, therefore, is a composition of pun and true wit, and is more or less perfect as the resemblance lies in the ideas, or in the words: its foundations are laid partly in falsehood, and partly in truth reason puts in her claim for one half of it, and extravagance for the other. The only province, therefore, for this kind of wit, is epigram, or those little occasional poems, that in their own nature are nothing else but a tissue of epigrams. I cannot conclude this head of mixt wit, without owning that the admirable poet out of whom I have taken the examples of it, had as much true wit as any author that ever writ; and, indeed, all other talents of an extraordinary genius.

It may be expected, since I am upon this subject, that I should take notice of Mr. Dryden's definition of wit; which, with all the deference that is due to the judgment of so great a man, is not so properly a definition of wit, as of good writing in general. Wit, as he defines it, is "a propriety of words and thoughts adapted to the subject." If this be a true definition of wit, I am apt to think that Euclid was the greatest wit that ever set pen to paper it is certain there never was a greater propriety of words and thoughts adapted to the subject, than what that author has nade use of in his Elements. I shall only appeal to my reader

it this definition agrees with any notion he has of wit. If it be a true one, I am sure Mr. Dryden was not only a better poet, but a greater wit, than Mr. Cowley; and Virgil a much more tacetious man than either Ovid or Martial.

Bouhours, whom I look upon to be the most penetrating of all the French critics, has taken pains to shew, that it is impossible for any thought to be beautiful which is not just, and has not its foundation in the nature of things: that the basis of all wit is truth; and that no thought can be valuable, of which good sense is not the ground-work. Boileau has endeavoured to inculcate the same notion in several parts of his writings, both in prose and verse. This is that natural way of writing, that beautiful simplicity, which we so much admire in the compositions of the ancients; and which nobody deviates from, but those who want strength of genius to make a thought shine in its own natural beauties. Poets who want this strength of genius to give that majestic simplicity to nature, which we so much admire in the works of the ancients, are forced to hunt after foreign ornaments, and not to let any piece of wit of what kind soever escape them I look upon these writers as Goths in poetry, who, like those ir architecture, not being able to come up to the beautiful simplicity of the old Greeks and Romans, have endeavoured to supply its place with all the extravagancies of an irregular fancy. Mr. Dryden makes a very handsome observation on Ovid's writing a letter from Dido to Æneas, in the following words: "Ovid (says he, speaking of Virgil's fiction of Dido and Æneas) takes it up after him, even in the same age, and makes an ancient heroine of Virgil's new-created Dido; dictates a letter for her just before her death to the ungrateful fugitive; and, very unluckily for him- * self, is for measuring a sword with a man so much superior in force to him on the same subject. I think I may be judge of this, because I have translated both. The famous author of the

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