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less Justice shall be awakened, Virtue fed, and Veritas restored to life by the sacred book.
There are several other Dialogues in a similar strain of fiction. The rudest and perhaps oldest specimen of this style is to be found in Pierce Ploughman, the most polished in Calderon, the most popular in John Bunyan's Holy War, and above all in his Pilgrim's Progress. It appears from the Dialogues that they were not composed for the use of youth alone as a school book, but were represented at College ; and poor as they are in point of composition, the oddity of their combinations, and the wholesome honesty of their satire, were well adapted to strike young imaginations and make an impression there which better and wiser works might have failed to leave.
A schoolmaster who had been regularly bred would have regarded such a book with scorn, and discerning at once its obvious faults, would have been incapable of perceiving any thing which might compensate for them. But Guy was not educated well enough to despise a writer like old Textor. What he knew himself, he had picked up where and how he could, in bye ways and corners. The book was neither in any respect above his comprehension, nor below his taste; and Joseph Warton, never rolled off the hexameters of Virgil or Homer, ore rotundo, with more delight, when expatiating with all the feelings of a scholar and a poet upon their beauties, to such pupils as Headley and Russell and Bowles, than Guy paraphrased these rude but striking allegories to his delighted Daniel.
CHAPTER XIV. P. I.
AN OBJECTION ANSWERED.
Is this then your wonder ?
“ This account of Textor's Dialogues," says a critical Reader, "might have done very well for the Retrospective Review, or one of the Magazines, or D'Israeli's Curiosities of Literature. But no one would have looked for it here, where it is completely out of place.”
“ My good Sir, there is quite enough left untouched in Textor to form a very amusing paper for the journal which you have mentioned, and the Editor may thank you for the hint. But you are mistaken in thinking that what has been said of those Dialogues is out of place here. May I ask what you expected in these volumes ?”
“ What the Title authorized me to look for."
“Do you know, Sir, what mutton broth means at a city breakfast on the Lord Mayor's Day, mutton broth being the appointed breakfast for that festival? It means according to established usage-by liberal interpretation-mutton broth and every thing else that can be wished for at a breakfast. So, Sir, you have here not only what the title seems to specify, but every thing else that can be wished for in a book. In treating of the Doctor, it treats de omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis. It is the Doctor &c., and that &c., like one of Lyttleton's, implies every thing that can be deduced from the words preceding.
But I maintain that the little which has been said of comical old Textor (for it is little coinpared to what his Dialogues contain) strictly relates to the main thread of this most orderly and well compacted work. You will remember that I am now replying to the question proposed in the third chapterP.I.“Who was the Doctor?”
And as he who should undertake to edite the works of Chaucer, or Spenser, or Shakespear would not be qualified for the task, unless he had made himself conversant with the writings of those earlier authors, from whose storehouses (as far as they drew from books) their minds were fed ; so it behoved me (as far as my information and poor ability extend) to explain in what manner so rare a character as Dr. Dove's was formed.
Quo semel est imbuta recens,-you know the rest of the quotation, Sir. And perhaps you may have tasted water out of a beery glass,which it is not one or two rinsings that can purify.
You have seen yew trees cut into the forms of pyramids, chess-kings, and peacocks :nothing can be more unlike their proper growth --and yet no tree except the yew could take the artificial figures so well. The garden passes into the possession of some new owner who has no taste for such ornaments: the yews are left to grow at their own will; they lose the preposterous shape which has been forced upon