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a vice which calls for the higher censures of religion. Dodsley's Toy Shop is an excellent and useful satire.

The excess to which the study of Physiognomy. has been carried by some, is very successfully ridiculed in the Physiognomical Travels of J. C. A. Musæus, written in German, and translated by Anne Plumptre ; and the same subject, if I recollect rightly, is well introduced in the comedy of False Colours. The prevailing study of Botany is ridiculed in the Opera of The Lakers; but it appears to me, that the author, perhaps, intending to be forcible, has degenerated into coarseness.

Blair, in his Lectures, : vol. iii. p. 371. says of Moliere, that he " is always the satirist only of vice and folly. He has selected a great variety of ridiculous characters peculiar to the times in which he lived, and he has generally placed the ridicule justly. He possessed strong comic powers; he is full of mirth and pleasantry; and, his pleasantry is always innocent. His comedies in verse, such as the Misanthrope and Tartuffe, are a kind of dignified comedy, in which vice is exposed, in the style of elegant and polite satire. In.. his prose comedies, though there is abundance of ridicule, yet there is never any thing found to offend a modest ear, or to throw contempt on sobriety and virtue.”

B. b. p. 63. I. 14. Some instances of this kind are given in the Notes to Discourse II. see Note B'b. p. 133. and Note I. p. 156.

Bishop Horne, in his Essays and Thoughts, Article Il'it, says, “ He who sacrifices Religion to Wit, like the people mentioned by Ælian, worships a fly, and offers up an ox to it.”

C. p. 66. An excellent passage in Bishop Horne's Discourse on The Duty of Contending for the Faith, is too apposite to be omitted in this place:

“While zeal is recommended, let not charity be forgotten. They are by no means incompatible. Who more zcalous than the great Apostle of the Gentiles? And where can be found a brighter example of charity? Boldly confuting and reproving false doctrines and corrupt practices; but ever ready to devote himself for the welfare of those, among whom they prevailed. After his own example he directed others to be αληθευοντες εν αγαπη, το “ speak the truth in love; (Ephes. iv. 15.) so to 'maintain truth, as not to violate charity. A golden precept, worthy to be engraven on the

hearts of all who may be called forth to “contend for the faith ;" that they may do honour to their cause by the arguments proposed, and no dishonour to themselves by the manner of proposing them. The weight of the reasons will not be at all diminished by the courteousness of the address : in its effects it will be much increased. Mankind care not to be driven; they must be led into all truth. It was the method practised by the Apostles ; it should be practised by their successors. Thus, and thus only, they are to “heap coals of fire on the heads” of their opponents. The dross will separate, and the metal flow pure. Logic should be used without acrimony; and wit, if it be used at all, tempered with good humour, so as not to exasperate the person who is the object of it; and then, we are sure, there is no mischief done.” (Vol. of XVI. Sermons. Discourse XIV. p. 400.)

" Wit under the influence of passion degenerates into malignity, as salt exposed to violent heats will turn sour and bitter.Horne's Essays, &c. Art. Nature, sect 31. See also Note A. of this Discourse, p. 197.

In Hamond's Precepts, lately published and edited by Dr. Plumptre, the Dean of Gloucester, there are some excellent rules on Jesting and Scoffing, which I shall transcribe:

“ Harmless jesting and wit is a good cordial against a consumption of the spirits ; so that it is not unlawful, ard trespass not in quantity, quality or season ; that it be also without offence, and void of scurrility. It requires however some skill, and much caution to know how to understand the use of this tool. It may

be good to jest, or make a jest; but not to make a trade of jesting.

Wanton jests, or obscene ones, do make fools laugh, but wise men frown. As we are civilized Englishmen, let us not be naked savages in our discourse.

Relate not another man's profane or wicked jest with delight; for thus

you do adopt the same, and make it, as it were, your own. Profane and foolish jests will come without sending for. Let not your jests be like mummies, made of dead men's flesh; to wrong the memory of the departed.

Scoff not at the natural defects of any one. The old proverb is, it is cruelty to beat a cripple with his own crutches. Jeer not any man for his profession, however poor he be, if honest.

Mock not a cobler for his black thumbs, is the old saying. Ungodly revilings are to be held the language of the devil, and serve only to stir up

strife. Play not with edged tools, as wit and jesting are: but especially have a care never to make a joke of religion, or what belongs to it.

See that your jokings be such as may not grind the credit, or wound the reputation of your friend.-Hazard not your friend for a joke. Let your discourse be always without offence; and be rather silent than speak to any bad purpose, or to none at all. Observe the saying,

Play with me; but let it be play.

Jest with me; but hurt me not. Let your jests be sparingly used, and such as tend unto good fellowship; so as to distress not the feelings of those on whom you pass them.” p. 151.


Cowper, in various parts of his Poems, has some excellent remarks on wit:

Wit, undistinguishing, is apt to strike
The guilty and not guilty both alike.
Unless a love of virtue light the fame
Satire is, more than those he brands, to blame;
He hides behind a magisterial air
His own offences, and strips others bare;
Affects, indeed, a most humane concern,
That men, if gently tutor’d, will not learn;
That mulish folly, not to be reclaim'd
By softer methods, must be made asham'd;
But (I might instance in St. Patrick's dean)
Too often rails to gratify his spleen.
Most satrists are indeed a public scourge;
Their mildest physic is a farrier's purge;
Their acrid temper turns, as soon as stirrd,
The milk of their good purpose all to curd.
Their zeal begotten, as their works rehearse,
By lean despair upon an empty purse,
The wild assassins start into the street,
Prepar'd to poignard whomsoe'er they meet.,
No skill in swordmanship, however just,
Can be secure against a madman's thrust:

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And even virtue, so unfairly match’d,
Altho' immortal, may be prick'd or scratch'd.
When Scandal has new minted an old lie,
Or tax'd invention for a fresh supply,
Tis call'd a satire, and the world appears
Gath'ring around it with erected ears :
A thousand names are toss'd into the crowd ;
Some whisper'd softly, and some twang'd aloud ;
Just as the sapience of an author's brain
Suggests it safe or dangerous to be plain.
Strange! how the frequent interjected dash
Quickens a market, and helps off the trash;
Th’ important letters that include the rest,
Serve as a key to those that are suppress’d;
Conjecture gripes the victims in his paw,
The world is charm’d, and Scrib. escapes

the law.
So, when the cold damp shades of night prevail,
Worms may be caught by either head or tail ;
Forcibly drawn from many a close recess,
They meet with little pity, no redress;
Plung'd in the stream, they lodge upon the mud,
Food for the famish'd rovers, of the flood.
All zeal for a reform, that gives offence
To peace and charity, is mere pretence:
A bold remark; but which, if well applied,
Would humble many a tow'ring poet's pride.
Perhaps the man was in a sportive fit,
And had no other play-place for his wit;
Perhaps enchanted with the love of fame,
He sought the jewel in his neighbour's shame;
Perhaps—whatever end he might pursue,
The cause of virtue could not be his view.
At ev'ry stroke wit flashes in our eyes ;
The turns are quick, the polish'd points surprise,
But shine with cruel and tremendous charms,
That, while they please, possess us with alarms:
So have I seen, (and hasten’d to the sight
With all the wings of holiday delight)
Where stands that monument of ancient pow'r,
Nam'd with emphatic dignity--the tow'r,

Guns, halberts, swords, and pistols, great and small,
In starry forms dispos'd upon the wall.
We wonder as we gazing stand below,
That brass and steel should make so fine a show;
But, though we praise th' exact designer's skill,

Account them implements of mischief still. Long as this extract is, I have inserted it, on account of its being not only an Essay upon Satire, but also a specimen of wit in itself.


A story, in which native humour reigns,
Is often useful, always entertains:
A graver fact, enlisted on your side,
May furnish illustration, well applied.


Is sparkling Wit the world's exclusive right,
The first fee simple of the vain and light!
Can hopes of Hear'n, bright prospects of an hour,
That come to waft us out of sorrow's pow'r,
Obscure or quench a faculty that finds
Its happiest soil in the serenest minds?
Religion curbs indeed its wanton play,
And brings the trifler under rig'rous sway,
But gives it usefulness unknown before,
And, purifying, makes it shine the more.
A Christian's wit is inoffensive light,
A beam that aids, but never grieves the sight.
Vig'rous in age as in the flush of youth,
'Tis always active on the side of truth;
Temp'rance and peace insure its healthful state,
And make it brightest at its latest date.

Ditto. D. p. 66. Such was the wit of Aristophanes on the Grecian Stage, and of him who was called the English Aristophanes, Foote. Almost all his pictures are personal, and some of his ridicule is very coarse and revolting. Dr. Hey, in his Lectures, gives a very just estimate of Foote's talents : “ He has a festivity, which is very enlivening, and he knew prevailing manners so well, as to ridicule them very happily; but he was too ignorant of religion to ridicule even its abuses with propriety. When he ridicules abuses of the scriptural doctrines concerning the influence of the Holy Spirit,

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