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midable an union, however, was soon opposed by Tib. bald. Tibbald asserted, that the tragedies of one had faults, and the comedies of the other substituted wit for vivacity; the combined champions flew at him like ty. gers, arraigned the censurer's judgment, and impeached his sincerity. It was a long time a dispute among the learned, which was in fact the greatest man, Jacob, Johnson, or Tibbald ; they had all written for the stage with great success, their names were seen in almost every paper, and their works in every coffee-house. However, in the hottest of the dispute, a fourth combatant made his appearance, and swept away the three combatants, tragedy, comedy, and all, into undistinguished ruin.
From this time, they seemed consigned into the hands of criticism, scarce a day passed in which they were not arraigned as detefted writers. The critics, these enemies of Dryden and Pope, were their enemies. So Jacob and Johnson, instead of mending by criticism, called it envy; and because Dryden and Pope were censured, they compared themselves to Dryden and Pope.
But, to return, the weapon chiefly used in the present controversy is epigram, and certainly never was a keener made use of. They have discovered surprising sharpness on both sides. The first that came out upon this occa. sion, was a kind of new composition in this way, and might more properly be called an epigramatic thesis, than an epigram. It consists, first, of an argument in prose ; next follows a motto from Roscommon; then comes the epigram ; and lastly, notes serving to explain the epigram. But you shall have it with all its decorations,
Addressed to the gentleman reflected on in the ROCIAD,
-a poem, by the author.
Worry'd with debts, and past all hopes of bail,
The last lines are certainly executed in a very mafterly manner. It is of that species of argumentation, called the perplexing. It effe&tually flings the antagonist into a mist; there is no answering it: the laugh is raised against him, while he is endeavouring to find out the jeft. At once he shews, that the author has a kennel, and that this kennel is putrid, and that this putrid ken. nel overflows. But why does it overflow? It over. flows, because the author happens to have low pockets !
There was also another new attempt in this way, a prosaic epigram which came out upon this occasion.
This is so full of matter, that a critic might split it into fifteen epigrams, each properly fitted with its sting. You shall see it.
To G. C. and R. L.
“ 'Twas you, or I, or he, or altogether, 'Twas one, both, three of them, they know not whether. This I believe, between us, great or small, You, I, he, wrote it not,~'twas Churchill's all.”
There, there's a perplex! I could have wished to make it quite perfect, the author as in the case before, had added notes. Almost every word admits a scholion, and a long one too. 1, YOU, HE! Suppose a stranger should ask, and who are you? Here are three obfcure persons spoken of, that may in a short time be utterly forgotten. Their names should have consequently been mentioned in notes at the bottom. But when the reader comes to the words great and small, the maze is inextricable. Here the stranger may dive for a mystery, without ever reaching the bottom. Let him know then, that small is a word purely introduced to make good rhyme, and great was a very proper word to keep small company.
Yet, by being thus a spectator of others dangers, I must own I begin to tremble at this literary contest for my own. I begin to fear that my challenge to Doctor Rock was unadvised, and has procured me more antagonists than I had at first expected. I have received private letters from several of the literati here, that fill my soul with appre. hension. I may safely aver, that I never gave any creature in this good city offence, except only my rival, Doctor Rock; yet, by the letters I every day receive, and by some I have seen printed, I am arraigned at one time as being a dull fellow, at another as being pert; I am here petulant, there I am heavy; by the head of my ancestors, they treat me with more inhumanity than a flying-fish. If I dive and run my nose to the bottom, there a devouring shark is ready to swallow me up; If I skim the surface, a pack of dolphins are at my tail to snap me; but when I take wing and attempt to escape them by flight, I become a prey to every ravenous bird that winnows the bosom of the deep. Adieu.
TO THE SAME.
1 HE formalities, delays, and disappointments, that precede a treaty of marriage here, are usually as numerous as those previous to a treaty of peace. The laws of a this country are finely calculated to promote all commerce, but the commerce between the fexes. Their encouragement for propagating hemp, madder, and tobacco, are indeed admirable! Marriages are the only commodity that meet with none.
Yet from the vernal softness of the air the verdure of the fields, the transparency of the streams, and the beauty of the women, I know few countries more proper to invite to courtship. Here love might sport among painted lawns and warbling groves, and revel upon gales, wafting at once both fragrance and harmony. Yet it seems he has forsaken the island; and when a couple
are now to be married, mutual love, or union of minds, is the last and most trifling consideration. If their goods and chattels can be brought to unite, their sympathetic souls are ever ready to guarantee the treaty. The gentleman's mortgaged lawn becomes enamoured of the lady's marriageable grove; the match is ftruck up, and both parties are piously in love-according to act of parliament.
Thus, they who have fortune are possessed at least of something that is lovely; but I actually pity those that have none. I am told their was a time, when ladies, with no other merit but youth, virtue, and beauty, had a chance for husbands at least among the ministers of the church, or the officers of the army, The blush and innocence of sixteen was said to have a powerful influence over these two professions. But of late all the little traffic of blushing, ogling, dimpling, and smiling has been forbidden by an act in that case wisely made and provided. A lady's whole cargo of smiles, sighs, and whispers, is declared utterly contraband, till she arrives in the warm latitudes of twenty-two, where commodities of this nature are too often found to decay. She is then permitted to dimple and smile, when the dimples and smiles begin to forsake her; and when perhaps grown ugly, is charitably entrusted with an unlimited use of her charms. Her lovers, however, by this time have forsaken her; the captain has changed for another mistress; the priest himself, leaves her in folitude to be. wail her virginity, and she dies even without the benefit of clergy.
Thus you find the Europeans discouraging love with as much earneftness as the rudest savage of Sofala. The