Puslapio vaizdai

and the imagination is well qualified for the office; being of all our faculties the most active, and the least under restraint. Take the following example.

Shylock. You knew (none fo well, none fo well as you) of my daughter's flight.

Salino. That's certain; I, for my part, knew the tai lor that made the wings the flew withal.

Merchant of Venice, act 3. sc. 1,

The image here is undoubtedly witty. It is ludicrous and it muft occafion furprife; for ha ving no natural foundation, it is altogether unexpected.

The other branch of wit in the thought, is that only which is taken notice of by Addifon, following Locke, who defines it "to lie in the "affemblage of ideas; and putting thofe toge"ther, with quickness and variety, wherein can be "found any refemblance or congruity, thereby "to make up pleafant pictures and agreeable vi"fions in the fancy *." It may be defined more curtly, and perhaps more accurately, “ A junc❝tion of things by diftant and fanciful relations, "which furprise because they are unexpected t." The following is a proper example.

We grant although he had much wit,
H' was very fhie of ufing it,

* B. 2. ch. 11. § 2.

+ See chap. I.


As being loth to wear it out;
And therefore bore it not about,
Unless on holidays, or fo,
As men their best apparel do.

Hudibras, canto 1.

Wit is of all the most elegant recreation: the image enters the mind with gaiety, and gives a fudden flash which is extremely pleafant. Wit thereby gently elevates without ftraining, raises mirth without diffolutenefs, and relaxes while it entertains.

Wit in the expreffion, commonly called a play of words, being a baftard fort of wit, is reserved for the laft place. I proceed to examples of wit in the thought; and first of ludicrous images. Falstaff, fpeaking of his taking Sir John Colevile of the Dale:

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Here he is, and here I yield him; and I beseech your Grace, let it be book'd with the reft of this day's deeds; or, by the Lord, I will have it in a particular ballad elfe, with mine own picture on the top of it, Colevile kiffing my foot: to the which courfe if I be enforc'd, if you do not all fhew like gilt twopences to me; and I, in the clear iky of fame, o'erfhine you as much as the full moon doth the cinders of the element, which fhew like pins' heads to her; believe not the word of the Noble. Therefore let me have right, and let defert mount.

Second Part, Henry IV, act 4. fc. 6.

I knew, when feven juftices could not take up a quarrel, but when the parties were met themselves, one of them

them thought but of an if; as, if you faid fo, then I faid fo; and they fhook hands, and fwore brothers, Your if is the only peacemaker; much virtue is in if. Shakespear.

For there is not through all nature, another fo callous, and infenfible a member, as the world's pofteriors, whether you apply to it the toe or the birch.

Preface to a Tale of a Tub.

The war hath introduced abundance of polyfyllables, which will never be able to live many more campaigns. Speculations, operations, preliminaries, ambassadors, palifadoes, communication, circumvallation, battalions, as numerous as they are, if they attack us too frequently in qur coffeehouses, we fhall certainly put them to flight, and cut off the rear.

Tatler, N° 230,

Speaking of difcord,

She never went abroad, but he brought home fuch & bundle of monftrous lies, as would have amazed any mortal, but fuch as knew her; of a whale that had fwallowed a fleet of fhips; of the lions being let out of the tower to destroy the Proteftant religion; of the Pope's being feen in a brandy shop at Wapping, &c. Hiftory of John Bull, part 1. ch.16.

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The other branch of wit in the thought, viz. ludicrous combinations and oppofitions, may be traced through various ramifications. And, first, fanciful caufes affigned that have no natural relation to the effects produced:



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Lancaster. Fare you well, Falftaff; I, in my condition,

Shall better speak of you than you deserve.


Falstaff. I would you had but the wit; 'twere better than your dukedom. Good faith, this fame young fober-blooded boy doth not love me; nor a man cannot make him laugh; but that's no marvel, he drinks no wine. There's never any of thefe demure boys come to any proof; for thin drink doth so overcool their blood, and making many fifh-meals, that they fall into a kind of male green-fickness; and then, when they marry, they get wenches. They are generally fools and cowards; which fome of us fhould be too, but for inflammation. A good fherris-fack hath a twofold operation in it: it afcends me into the brain; dries me there all the foolish, dull, and crudy vapours which environ it; makes it apprehenfive, quick, forgetive, full of nimble, fiery, and delectable shapes; which deliver'd o'er to the voice, the tongue, which is the birth, becomes excellent wit. The fecond property of your excellent fherris is, the warming of the blood; which before cold and fettled, left the liver white and pale; which is the badge of pufillanimity and cowardice: but the fherris warms it, and makes it courfe from the inwards, to the parts extreme; it illuminateth the face, which, as a beacon, gives warning to all the reft of this little kingdom, man, to arm; and then the vital commoners and inland petty spirits mufter me all to their captain, the heart; who, great, and puff'd up with this retinue, doth any deed of courage: and thus valour comes of therris. So that fkill in the weapon is nothing without fack, for that fets it a-work; and learning a mere hoard of gold kept by a devil, till fack commences it, and fets it in act and use. Hereof comes it, that Prince Harry is valiant; for the cold blood VOL. I. A a


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he did naturally inherit of his father, he hath, like lean, fteril, and bare land, manured, husbanded, and till'd, with excellent endeavour of drinking good and good store of fertile fherris, that he is become very hot and valiant. If I had a thousand fons, the first human principle I would teach them, should be to forfwear thin potations, and to addict themselves to fack.

Second part of Henry IV. act 4. Sc. 7.

The trenchant blade, toledo trufty,
For want of fighting was grown rusty,
And ate into itself, for lack

Of fome body to hew and hack.
The peaceful fcabbard where it dwelt,
The rancor of its edge had felt :
For of the lower end two handful,
It had devoured, 'twas fo manful;
And fo much fcorn'd to lurk in cafe,
As if it durft not fhew its face.

Hudibras, canto 1.

Speaking of physicians,

Le bon de cette profeffion eft, qu'il y a parmi les morts une honnêteté, une difcrétion la plus grande du monde; jamais on n'en voit fe plaindre du médicin qui l'a tué.

Le medicin malgré lui.

Admirez les bontez, admirez les tendreffes,

De ces vieux efclaves du fort.

Ils ne font jamais las d'aquérir des richeffes,
Pour ceux qui fouhaitent leur mort.


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