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Ap. Thou boy, how is this possible ? thou art but a boy, and there were sects of philosophy before thou wert borne.
Men. Appetitus, thou mistakest me; I tell thee, three thousand yeares' agoe was Mendacio borne in Creete, nurst in Greece, and ever since honoured every where : l'le bee sworne, I held old Homer's pen, when hee writ his Iliads and his Odyssees.
Ap. Thou hadst need, for I heare say he was blind.
Men. I helped Herodotus to pen some part of his Muses, lent Pliny inke to write his history, rounded Rabalais in the eare when he historified Pantagruell; as for Lucian I was his genius, O those two bookes, De vera Historia, howsoever they got under his name, I'le be sworne I writ them every tittle.
Ap. Sure as I am hungry, thou'st have it for lying. But hast thou rusted this latter time for want of exercise ?
Men. Nothing lesse; I must confesse, I would faine have jogged Stow and great Holingshead on their elbowes, when they were about their chronicles; and, as I remember, Sir John Mandevil's travels, and a great part of the Decads, were of my doing. But for the Mirrour of Knighthood, Bevis of Southampton, Palmerin of England, Amadis of Gaule, Huen of Burdeaux, Sir Guy of Warwicke, Martin Marprelate, Robinhood, Garagantua, Gerilion, and a thousand such exquisite monuments as these, no doubt but they breathe on my breath up and downe.”
Phantastes exclaims :
“ Oh, heavens ! how have I bin troubled in this latter times with women, fooles, babes, taylers, poets, swaggerers, guls, ballad-makers, they have almost disrobed mee for all the toies and trifles I can devise; were it not that I pitty the multitude of printers, these sonnet-mungers should starve for conceits of all Phantastes. But the puling lovers, I cannot but laugh at them and their encomions of their mistresses : they make, forsooth, her haire of gold, her eyes of diamond, her cheekes of roses, her lips of rubies, her teeth of pearle, and her whole bodie of ivorie; and when they have thus idol'd her, like Pigmalion, they fall down and worship her. Psyche, thou hast layd a hard taske upon my shoulders, to invent at every one's aske, were it not that I refresh my dulnes once a day with thy most angelicall presence, 'twere unpossible for me to undergoe it.”
“ I remember that I forgot my spectacles, I left them in the 349th page of Hall's Chronicle, where hee tells a great wonder of a multitude of mice which had almost destroyed the countrey, but that there resorted a great mighty flight of owles that destroied them: Anamnestes, read these articles distinctly.”
We are, however, compelled to take our leave of this amusing production, and we cannot do it better than with the following extract. It seems, that the year 1632 was as much
afflicted with critics, antiquaries, and newsmongers, as the present, or, at least, if the evil had not arrived to its present extent, its novelty caused it to be as severely felt.
“ Com. S. Come, good Master Register, I wonder you bee so late now adayes.
Mem. My good lord, I remember that I knew your grandfather in this your place, and I remember your grandfather's great grandfather's grandfather's father's father, yet, in those dayes, I never remember that any of them could say, that Register Memory ever broke one minute of his appointment.
Com. S. Why, good father, why are you so late now adayes?
Mem. Thus 'tis; the most customers I remember inyselfe to have are (as your lordship knowes) schollers, and now adaies the most part of them are become critickes, bringing me home such paltry things to lay up for them, that I can hardly find them againe.
Pha. Jupiter, Jupiter, I had thought these flies had bit none but myselfe; doe critickes tickle you yfaith?
Mem. Very familiarly; for they must know of me, forsooth, how every idle word is written, in all the mustie, moth-eaten manuscripts, keepe in all the old libraries in every city betwixt England and Peru (is requisite.)
Com. S. Indeed, I have noted these times to affect antiquities more than
Mem. I remember, in the age Assaracus and Ninus, and about the warres of Thebes, and the siege of Troy, there was few things committed to my charge, but those that were well worthy the preserving; but now every triffe must be wrapt up in the volume of eternitie; a rich pudding-wife or a cobler cannot die, but I must immortallize his name with an epitaph: a dogge cannot soil a nobleman's shoe, but it must be sprinckled into the chronicles, so that I never could remember my treasure more full, and never emptier of honourable and true heroicall actions.
Pha. By your leave, Memory, you are not alone troubled; chronologers, many of them, are so phantasticke, as when they bring a captaine to the combat, lifting up his revengefull arme to dispart the head of his enemy, theile hold up his armes so long, til they had bestowed three or foure pages in discribing the gold hilts of his threatning faulchion. So that in my fancy, the reader may well wonder his adversary stabs him not before he strikes : moreover, they become most palpable flatterers, alwayes begging at my gates for invention.
Com. S. This is great fault in a chronologer to turne parasite, an absolute history should be in feare none, neither should hee write any
selfe equall and constant in all his discourses; but for us, we must be contented, for as our honors encrease, so must the burthen of the cares of our offices urge us to waxe heavy.
Pha. But not till our backes breake, s’lud, there was never any so hanted as I am; this day there comes a sophister to my house, knocks at my doore, his errand being ask'd, forsooth his answere was, to bor
VOL. II. PART 11.
row a faire suit of conceits out of my wardrop, to apparell a shew he had in hand; and what thinke vou is the plot ?.
Com. S. Nay, I know not, for I am little acquainted with these toyes.
Pha. Meanewhile, hee's somewhat acquainted with you, for hee's bold to bring your person upon the stage.
Com. S. What, me? I cannot remember that I was ever brought upon the stage before.
Pha. Yes; you, and you, and myselfe, with all my phantasticall tricks and humours; but I trow, I have fitted them with fooleries, I trust he'l never trouble me againe.
Com. S. O times, O manners! when boyes dare to traduce men in authority; was ever such an attempt heard ?
Mem. I remember there was. For (to say the trueth) at my last being at Athens (it is now, let me see, about one thousand six hundred yeres agoe) I was at a comedy of Aristophanes' making, (I shall never forget it.) The arch-governour of Athens tooke me by the hand, and placed me; and there, I say, I saw Socrates abused most grossely, himselfe beeing then a present spectator; I remember, he sate full against me, and did not so much as shew the least countenance of discontent.
Com. S. In those dayes it was lawfull, but now the abuse of such liberty is unsufferable.
Pha. Thinke what you will of it, I thinke 'tis done, and I thinke. it is acting by this time; harke, harke, what drumming's yonder; l'le lay my life they are comming to present the shew I spake off.
Com. S. It may be so; stay, wee'le see what 'tis.”
This play has been commonly attributed to Antony Brewer, the author of the Country Girl and the Love-sick King; a mistake originating with Phillips, who, not rightly comprehending the plan of Kirkman's Catalogue of Plays, gave birth to a great number of similar errors.* The talents of Brewer, it is true, were esteemed highly by his contemporaries, but we have no proofs remaining in his surviving productions, which warrant us in assigning to him a drama so full of various talent as Lingua. The date of its publication is, moreover, forty or fifty years prior to the two plays of which he is doubtless the author: and it cannot be supposed that a genius equal to the production of Lingua would lie dormant for forty years, and then rouse itself to achieve a play of no higher merit than the Country Girl. The claim of Antony Brewer seems to us founded upon the slightest grounds, and we lament that so much praise as would justly accrue to the author of this excellent play must still remain unappropriated.
* Vide Biog. Dram. Art. Brewer.
Art. VI. Disquisitions on several Subjects; 1782; 12mo.pp. 182. [By Soame Jenyns.]
We venture to assert, that there are few books in the language, of the same size as the little volume before us, containing more acute and ingenious reasoning, abounding in more lively illustration or more elegant and polished composition. Its author is Soame Jenyns; a writer of whose life or works it is unnecessary for us to give any account, as the particulars of both are to be found in every biographical dictionary. Suffice it to say, that he was a gentleman of the best kindindependent in his feelings and circumstances, and drawing a fund of calm and equable pleasure from study and reflection, and the resources of a cultivated and accomplished mind. Of the peculiar and characteristic traits of his genius, the little book, which we are about to recommend to the notice of our readers, will afford ample means of judging. What may be the share of public attention which the works of our author are in the habit of receiving at the present day, we are unable to state; but we are led to believe, that it is not very considerable, and that such as it may be, it is confined to his excellent treatise on the Evidences of Christianity, and his Enquiry into the Origin of Evil. So that we hold ourselves amply justified in noticing so late a production as the present Disquisitions, which possess both the internal claim of excellence and the external one of neglect. To those who do not possess this little volume we fearlessly recommend them to procure it, and unhesitatingly promise them a rich, though small, store of instruction and entertainment. This recommendation, however, we do not wish should rest on our authority alone; for we are well convinced that the extracts, which we shall quote, will be a sufficient inducement not only to purchase, but to read.
The Disquisitions are eight in number:-1. On the chain of universal being. 2. On cruelty to inferior animals. 3. On a pre-existent state. 4. On the nature of time. 5. On the analogy between things material and intellectual. 6. On rational Christianity. 7. On government and civil liberty. 8. On religious establishments. Some of these subjects, it will be observed, are of an abstruse nature ; but let not any one be deterred, by supposing that an abstruse subject must be treated in a dry and uninteresting manner. It will readily be seen, that most of them are of so extensive and deep an order that they cannot be fully discussed in so short a compass. But it is not the way of Soame Jenyns to run into full discussion on any topic, if by full discussion is meant a deliberate view of the matter in all its different aspects, and a regular clearing away of all the opinions and assertions that have been maintained by others on the question. Our author invariably looks upon his subject in some novel and interesting point of view, and is perfectly regardless of what may or may not have been said by other writers. He takes but one line or stream of argument, and that is from a source of his own discovery, which almost invariably leads him to the point he aims at. It is most curious to see the penetrating manner in which he contrives to dive into the question through the stagnant collections of error, prejudice, and the rubbishy opinions of others. There is nothing more striking to the reader, than the short cut which he always makes to a conclusion, and that by no means by any false or deceitful road. The subjects upon which we are accustomed to see bulky volumes written, here dwindle into a few pages of lively and elegant composition. And when we have perused a disquisition, we involuntarily ask, what more is wanted, or why have we been so laden hitherto with divisions, sub-divisions, deductions, and definitions. We are not, indeed, of opinion, that our author is always right in his conclusions, for we more than in one instance disagree with him—but then, though far from being in every case convinced, we have been in every case entertained by ingenious composition, and subtile reasoning placed in a novel point of view.
The first Essay, on the chain of universal being, is chiefly remarkable for the complete and elegant manner in which this mysterious connection is shewn to exist. The reasoning in it is of that sort which carries conviction, by the method of stating and setting forth the bearings of the question. It may, perhaps, be not unfitly called the reasoning of developement, which requires nothing more than an unveiling or disclosing of the hidden link of circumstances, and not an invention of arguments, but a mere opening of the eyes to the nature of things. As the microscope only betrays, and does not produce the veins of a leaf or the pores of an insect.
From this we shall only extract the following short passage.
“ The manner by which the consummate wisdom of the divine Artificer has formed this gradation, so extensive in the whole, and so imperceptible in the parts, is this :---he constantly unites the highest degree of the qualities of each inferior order to the lowest degree of the same qualities, belonging to the order next above it; by which means, like the colours of a skilful painter, they are so blended together, and shaded off into each other, that no line of distinction is any where to be seen. Thus, for instance, solidity, extension, and gravity, the qualities of mere matter, being united with the lowest degree of vegetation,