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HAVE been long of Opinion, that there
is not a more general and greater Mistake, or of worse Consequences through the Commerce of Mankind, than the wrong Judgments they are apt to entertain of their own Talents. I knew a stuttering Alderman in London, a great Frequenter of Coffee-Houses ; who, when a fresh News-Paper was brought in, constantly seized it first, and read it aloud to his Brother-Citizens ; but in a Manner as little intelligible to the Standers-by, as to himself. How many Pretenders to Learning expose themselves by chusing to discourse on those very Parts of Science wherewith they are least acquainted ? It is the same Case in
other Qualification. By the Multitude of those who deal in Rhimes from half a Sheet to twenty, which come out every Minute, there must be at least five hundred Poets in the City and Suburbs of London ; half as many Coffee-house Orators, exclusive of the Clergy; forty thoufand Politicians; and four thousand five hundred profound Scholars; not to mention the Wits, the Railliers, the smart Fellows, and Criticks; all as illiterate and impudent as a fuburb Whore. What are we to think of the fine dressed Sparks, proud of their own personal Deformities, which appear the more hideous by the Contrast of wearing Scarlet and
Gold, with what they call * Toupees on their Heads, and all the Frippery of a modern Beau, to make a Figure before Women ; some of them with Hump-Backs, others hardly five Feet high, and every Feature of their Faces distorted. I have seen many of these insipid Pretenders entering into' Conversation with Persons of Learning, constantly making the grossest Blunders in every Sentence, without conveying one single Idea fit for a rational Creature to spend a Thought on; perpetually confounding all Chronology and Geography even of present Times. I compute, that Lone don hath eleven native Fools of the Beau and Puppy-kind, for one among us in Dublin ; besides two-thirds of ours transplanted thither, who are now naturalized; whereby that overgrown Capital exceedeth ours in the Article of Dunces by forty to one ; and what is more to our further Mortification, there is not one diftinguished Fool of Irish Birth or Education, who maketh any
Noise in that famous Metropolis, unless the London Prints be very partial or defective ; whereas London is feldom without a Dozen of their own educating, who engross the Vogue for half a Winter together, and are never heard of more, but give Place to a new Sett. This hath been the constant Progress for at least thirty Years past, only allowing
for the Change of Breed and Fashion. * Wigs with long black Tails, worn for fome Years past. November 1738.
The following Poem is grounded upon the
universal Folly in MANKIND of mistaking their TALENTS ; by which the AUTHOR doth a great Honour to his own Species, almost equalling them with certain Brutes; wherein, indeed, he is too partial, as he freely confesseth : And
he hath low as he well could, by specifying four Animals, the WOLF, the Ass, the SWINE, and the APE all equally mischievous, except the last, who outdoes them in the Article of Cunning. "So GREAT IS THE PRIDE OF Man.
Τ Η Ε
HEN Beasts could speak, (the W
It seems, they had Religion then, .
Good Father, I must own with Shame,
I did my Neighbour wrong ;
The Ass approaching next, confest,
And, if it be a Sin or Shame,
The Swine with contrite Heart allow'd,
The mimick APE began his Chatter,