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You stand entitl'd hereupon to laugh ANSWER TO THE FOLLOWING LETTER,
At hapless genius in your friend Diaph.
But in excuse for what he must confess, REQUESTING THE AUTHOR'S SOLUTION OF A RE- Nor men, nor even ladies here could guess ; BUS, COMMONLY ASCRIBED TO LORD CHESTER- To variorum seen, or váriarum,
No more of ancient city than old Sarum. Good Mr. Diaphanus,
One thing however rose from this occasion, I have a very great opinion of your ingenuity, It put an end to fears of French invasion; and I know you love to employ it: if you'll not And wits, quite frighten'd out of dames and men, think the asking the favour to unravel the follow- When rebus came, came into 'em again : ing rebus too great an impertinence, you will by Tho' little skill'd to judge of either matter, the discovery very much-oblige
Yet the more pleasing puzzle was the latter. your friend, Chester, and most obedient servant,
You'll think I'm thinking, upon second thought, March 22, 1765.
APHANUS. That tho' we mist of city that was sought, You'll please to direct to your old
We might have told you somewhat of the guesses acquaintance, Benj. N-s.
Of luckless neighbours and of neighbouresses;
So let us try to give you just an item:
For it would take a volume to recite 'em.
“ I can't divine," said Chloe, " for my part, The well known signal in the time of peace, What the man means by 'noblest work of art,'-The point essential in the tenant's lease,
From clock to temple, pyramid, and ship, The farmer's comfort when he holds the plough, And twenty diff'rent handyworks you skip; The soldier's duty and the lover's vow,
Now, I dare say, when all your votes are past, A contract made before the nuptial tie,
City or work-'tis Dresden at the last.”
“ Nor I," said Phillis, “what the man can mean An engine us'd in fundamental cases,
By his next hint of Nature's brightest scene A planet seen between the Earth and Sun, Amongst so many of her scenes so bright, A prize which merit never yet has won,
Who can devise which of 'em is the right? A loss which prudence seldom can retrieve, To name a word where brightest scene must lie, The death of Judas and the fault of Eve,
And speak my own opinion, sirs,'tis eye." A part between the ancle and the knee,
“ Peace," said a third, of I forget what sex, A patriot's toast and a physician's fee, A wife's ambition and a parson's dues,
“ Has well knowu signal that may well perplex; A miser's idol and the badge of Jews.
It should be olive-branch, to be well known,
But rebus, unconfin'd to that alone,
May mean abundance, plenty, riches, trade,
Who knows the signal that is here display'd?” By the first letters will be plainly found An ancient city that is much renown'd.
Thus they went on--but, tho' I stir its embers, It is not much that memory remembers :
Two ladies had a long disputing match, Paucis, friend Aphanus, abhinc diebus,
Whether charm-adding spot was mole or patch ; With no small pleasure I receiv'd a rebus:
While none would venture to decide the voleNot that the rebus gave it understand,
One had a patch and t'other had a mole.
So wife's ambition' made a parted school; Rebus in omnibus, I wish to Ben.
Some said--to please her husband-soine to rule.-
On this moot point too rebus would create, At his request I sought for ancient city
As you may guess, a pretty smart debate; That lay conceal'd in cabalistic ditty;
Till one propos'd to end it thus, with ease; So did we all--for when his letter came
“ The only way to rule him-is to please." Some friends were chair'd around the focal flame; But rebus out not one of all could make;
Hold! I forgot-One said, a parsou's dues Diaphanus himself was quite opake.
Was the same thing with rhyming • badge of Jews,'
And tithe was it but corn, or pig, or goose; Tho' pleas'd with pleasing, when he can do so,
What earth or animals of earth produce, His ingenuity he loves to show;
From calf and lamb, to turnip and potatoe, If such a thing falls out to be his lot;
Might be the word—which he had nought to say to. He is as free to own when it does not: Here he had none, por any succedaneum,
Made for excuse, you see, upon the whole That could discover this same Herculaneum.
The too great number of the words that poll
For correspondency to ev'ry line; Altho' it seem'd to ask when it appeard,
And make the meant one tedious to divine; No great Herculean labour to be clear'd;
But we suspect that other points ambiguous, So many different wits at work, no doubt
And eke unfair, contribute to fatigue us,
For first, with due submission to my betters, The name lay soug without the least detecture. What ancient city could hare eighteen letters?
Or more--for, in the latter times, the clue Many chains to be needful to measure his ground, May have one correspondent word, or two: And keep the sublime within requisite bound: Clue should have said, if only one occurr'd, If a laudable product in rhyme should, perhaps, Not correspondent words to each, but word. Extort an applause from these exquisite chaps,
They express it so sbily, for fear of a fetter From some suspicions of a bite, we guess
“ Had the rhyme been neglected, it would have The number of the letters to be less;
been better.” And, from expression of a certain cast, Some joke, unequal to the pains at last:
And so they begin with their jingle (or rattle, Could you have said that all was right, and clever, As some of them call it) the delicate battle; We should have try'd more fortunate endeavour. “ The sense must be cramp'd,” they cry out,“ to
It should contain, should this same jeu de mots, By the nature of rhyme, and be render'd obscure:" Clean-pointed turn, short, fair, and a-propos;
As if blank, by its grandeur, and magnifi'd pause, Wit without straining; neatness without starch;
Was secure in its freedom from any such flaws; Hinted, tho'hid; and decent, tho' 't is arch;
Tho'so apt, in bad hands, to give readers offence, No vile idea should disgrace a rebus
By the rattling of sound, and the darkness of sense. Sic dicunt Mugæ, sic edicit Phæbus.
All the arguments form’d, as they prose it along, This, Aphanus, tho' short of satisfaction,
And twist them and twine, against metrical song, Is what account occurs of the transaction,
Presuppose the poor maker to be but a dunce; Impertinent enough—but you 'll excuse
For, if that be not true, they all vanish at once: What your own postscript half enjoin`d the Muse: if it be, what advantage has blank in the case, She, when she took the sudden task upon her,
From counting bad verses by unit, or brace! Believe me, did it to oblige your honour.
Nothing else can result from the critical rout,
without. THOUGHTS ON RHYME AND BLANK It came, as they tell us, from ignorant Moors,
And by growth of fine taste will be turn'd out o VERSE
doors: What a deal of impertinent stuff, at this time, Two insipid conceits, at a venture entwin'd, Comes out about verses in blank or in rhyme! And void of all proof both before and bebinds To determine their merits by critical prose, Too old its reception, to tell of its age; And treat the two parties, as if they were foes ! — Its downfall, if taste could but fairly presage, It's allotting so gravely, to settle their rank, When the bees of the country make honey no All the bondage to rhyme, all the freedom to . more, blank,
(repress Will then certainly come-not a moment before. Has provok'd a few rhymes to step forth, and The pedantical whim, grown to such an excess:
Till then it will reign, and while, here and there
spread, Not to hinder the dupes of this fanciful wit Blank verse, like an aloe, rears up its head; From retailing its maxims, whene'er they think And, fresh from the hot-house, successfully tow'rs fit;
To make people stare at the height of its flow'rs; But to caution young bards, if in danger to waste The variety, sweetness, and smoothness of rhyme Any genius for verse on so partial a taste; Will flourish, bedeck'd, by its natural clime, That (allowing to blank all the real pretence With numberless beauties; and frequently shoot, To what freedom it has) if supported by sense, If cherish'd aright, into blossom and fruit. For words without any, they may not neglect Of as free fiowing rhyme the delightful effect.
But stuffing their heads, in these classical days,
Full of Homer, and Virgil, and Horace, and plays; Here are two special terms which the sophisters And finding that rhyme is in none of the four, mingle,
'T is enough, the finetasters have gotten their lore: To be sauce for the rest, to wit, fetters, and jingle; And away they run on with their words in a string, And, because a weak writer may chance to expose Which they throw up at rhyme with a finical fling; Very ill-chosen words to such phrases as those, But to reach its full sweetness nor willing, nor able, The unthinking reflecters sit down to their rote, They talk about taste, like the fox in the fable. And pronounce against rhyme th’undistinguishing Sole original this, in the petulant school, (vote: In abhorrence of tragical ranting and rage ;
To the praise of old metre it quitted the stage, Of its idle objections to metre, and rule.
Which with heights, and with depths of distresses For to what other fetters are verses confin'd,
(witch'd; Whether made up of blank, or of metrical kind? Verse and prose, art and nature, and morals beIf a man has not taste for poetical lines,
All the native agreements of language disgracd, Can't he let them alone; and say what he designs, That theatrical pomp might intoxicate taste; Upon some other points, in his unfetter'd way; Still retaining poor blank, in its fetters held fast, And contemn, if he will, all numerical lay? To bemoan its hard fate in romantic bombast. But the fashion, forsooth, must affect the sublime, The grand, the pathetic, and rail against rhyme.
'T is the subject, in fine, in the matter of song,
That makes a blank verse, or a rhyme to be wrong: Blank verse is the thing--tho', whoever tries If unjust, or improper, unchaste or prophane, Will find of its fetters a plentiful growth; [both, | It disgraces alike all poetical strain:
If not, the possessor of tunable skill
And thus the preacher often gains
For how indeed can one expect
The best discourse should take effect, ST. PHILIP NERI AND THE YOUTH.
Unless the maker thinks it worth Sr. Philip Neri, as old readings say,
Some care and pains to set it forth?
What! does be think the pains he took Met a young stranger in Rome's streets one day; 'To write it fairly in a book, And, being ever courteously inclin'd
Will do the business? not a bit-
It must be spoke as well as writ.
What is a sermon, good or bad,
If a man reads it like a lad?
To hear some people, when they preach,
How they run o'er all parts of speech, Y. To make myself a scholar, sir, I come. And neither raise a word, nor sink, St. And, when you are one, what do you intend? Our learned bishops, one would think, Y. To be a priest, 1 hope, sir, in the end.
Had taken school-boys from the rod,
To make ambassadors of God.
So perfect is the Christian scheme,
He that from thence shall take his theme, St. Well; and how then?
And time to have it understood, Y. Why then, for aught I His sermon cannot but be good : may be made a bishop.
[know, If he will needs be preaching stuff, St. Be it so
No time indeed is short enough; What then?
E'en let him read it like a letter,
The sooner it is done, the better.
But for a man that has a head,
Like yours or mine, 1'd like to have said, y. Why, who can say A just remark, a proper phrase;
That can upon occasion raise But I've a chance for being pope one day?
Por such a one to run along,
May be a scholar and a dunce.
In point of sermons, 't is confest,
Our English clergy make the best:
But this appears, we must confess, St. What! must you die? fond youth! and at Not from the pulpit, but the press: the best
They manage, with disjointed skill, But wish and hope, and may be all the rest! The matter well, the manner ill; Take my advice-whatever may betide,
And, what seems paradox at first, For that which must be, first of all provide; They make the best, and preach the worst. Then think of that which may be ; and indeed, When well prepar'd, who knows what may suc
Would they but speak as well as write, ceed?
Both excellencies would unite,
Now, to do this, our short-band school
“Take time enough”-all other graces ADVICE TO THE REV. MESSRS. H- Will soon fill up their proper places.
AND H_TO PREACH SLOW. BRETAREN, this comes to let you know That I would have you to preach slow;
TO THE SAME, To give the words of a discourse
ON PREACHING EXTEMPORE, Their proper time, and life, and force; To urge what you think fit to say,
The hint I gave, some time ago, In a sedate, pathetic way;
Brethren, about your preaching slow, Grave and delib'rate, as 't is fit
You took, it seems; and thereupon To comment upon holy writ.
Could make two sermons out of one: Many a good sermon gives distaste,
Now this regard to former lines,
Paid so successfully, inclines
Be not alarm'd, as if regard
But when they tease us with it from the pulpit, To this would prove so very hard;
I own, sir Peter, that I cannot gulp it.
If on their rules a justice should intrench, That custom, only, made to seem
And preach, suppose a sermon, from the bench, So difficult in your esteem,
Would you not think your brother magistrate Wbat, upon trial, now procures
Was touch'd a little in his hinder pate? Your bearers ease, and also yours.
Now which is worse, sir Peter, on the total
The lay vagary, or the sacerdotal?
In ancient times, when preachers preach'd in. All Christendom almost, around,
deed Except on our reformed ground:
Their sermons, ere the learned learnt to read, The greatest part, untaught to brook
Another spirit, and another life, A preacher's reading from a book,
Shut the church doors against all party strife: Would scarce advance within his reach,
Since then, how often heard, from sacred rostrums, Or, then, acknowledge him to preach.
The lifeless din of Whig and Tory nostrums! Long after preaching first began,
'T is wrong, sir Peter, 1 insist upon 't; How unconceiv'd a reading plan!
To common sense 't is plainly an affront: The rise of which, whatever date
The parson leaves the Christian in the lurch, May be assign'd to it, is late:
Whene'er he brings his politics to church; From all antiquity remote
His cant, on either side, if he calls preaching, The manuscriptal reading rote:
The man's wrong-headed, and his brains want No need, no reason prompted, then,
bleaching. The pulpit to consult the pen.
Recall the time from conquering William's reign, However well prepar'd before,
And guess the fruits of such a preaching vein: By pond'ring, or by writing o'er
How oft its nonsense must bave veer'd about, What he should say, still it was said
Just as the politics were in, or out: By him that preach'd; it was not read:
The pulpit governd by no gospel data, Could ancient memory, then, better
But new success still mending old errata. Forbear the poring o'er the letter,
Were I a king (God bless me) I should bate Brethren, than yours? if you 'll but try,
My chaplains meddling with affairs of state; That fact I 'll venture to deny.
Nor would my subjects, I should think, be food, Moderns, of late, give proofs enoo
Whenever theirs the Bible went beyond. (Too many, as it seems to you)
How well, inethinks, we both should live together, That matters of religious kind,
If these good folks would keep within their tether! Stor'd up within the thoughtful mind, With any care and caution stora, Sufficient utterance afford, To tell an audience what they think, Without the help of pen and ink.
MOSES'S VISION. How apt to think too, is the throng,
Moses, to whom, by a peculiar grace, A preacher short, a reader long!
God spake (the Hebrew phrase is) face to face, Claiming, itself, to be the book
Call'd by an heav'nly voice, the rabbins say, That should attract a pastor's look:
Ascended to a mountain's top one day; [eas'd, If you lament a careless age
Where, in some points perplex’d, his mind was Averse to hear the pulpit page,
And doubts, concerning Providence, appeas'd. Speak from within, not froin without,
During the colloquy divine, say they, And heart to heart will turn about.
The prophet was commanded to survey,
And mark what happend on the plain below: Try it; and if you can't succeed,
There he perceiv'd a fine, clear spring to flow, 'T will then be right for you to read;
Just at the mountain's foot; to which, anon, Altho' the heart, if that's your choice,
A soldier, on his road, came riding on; Must still accompany the voice;
Who, taking notice of the fountain, stopt, And tho' you should succeed, and take
Alighted, drank, and, in remounting, dropt The hint, you must not merely make
A purse of gold; but as the precious load Preaching extempore the w,
Fell unsuspected, he pursu'd his road:
Scarce bad he gone, when a young lad came by,
Secur'd the treasure; and away he went:
With age, and travel, weary quite, and wan, TO R-L- ESQ.
Came to the spring, to quench his thirst, and INDEED, sir Peter, I could wish, I owi,
drank, That parsons would let politics alone;
And then sat down, to rest him, on the bank: Plead, if they will, the customary plea,
There while he sat, the soldier, on bis track, For such like talk, when o'er a dish of tea: Missing his gold, return'd directly back;
Light off his horse, began to swear, and curse, Surround with these an honest, harmless heart,
“Whatever ills your christian peace molest, Heav'ns attestation to the truth, that he
Turn to the source of grace, within your breasts Nor purse, nor gold, had ever chanc'd to see:
There lies your safety-0 that all my kin But all in vain; the man believ'd him not,
May ever seek it-where't is found within! And drew his sword, and stabd him on the spot. That soul no ills can ever long annoy, Moses, with borrour and amazement seiz'd,
Which makes its God the centre of its joy.** Fell on his face-the voice divine was pleas'd To give the prophet's anxious mind relief, And thus prevent expostulating grief“Be not surpris'd; nor ask how such a deed
VERSES, The world's just Judge could suffer to succeed:
SPOKEN AT THE The child has caus'd the passion, it is true, That made the soldier run the old man thr.';
BREAKING UP OF THE FREE GRAMMAR-SCHOOL But know one fact, tho' never yet found out,
IN MANCHESTER, IN THE YEAR 1748, WHEN
LAUDER'S CHARGE OF PLAGIARISM UPON MILAnd judge how that would banish ev'ry doubt This same old man, thro' passion once as wild,
TON ENGAGED THE PUBLIC ATTENTION.
THE MASTER'S SPEECH.
Orders the youth an hour's poetic play:
Me, ou its annual return, to choose
One single subject for their various Muse: The hedge-hog for his arms, I would suppose,
That you may see how Fancy will create Some sire of ours, beloved kinsfolk, chose,
Her diff'rent image in each youngster's pate. With aim to hint instruction wise, and good, Now, since our Milton, a renowned name, To us descendants of his Byrom blood;
Had been attack'd for stealing into fame; I would infer, if you be of this mind,
I told 'em_" Lads, now be upon your guard; The very lesson, that our sire design'd.
Evert yourselves, and save your famous bard: He had observ'd that Nature gave a sense,
He's call'd a plagiary-t is your's to show To ev'ry creature, of its own defence;
The vain reproach, and silence Milton's foe. Down from the lion, with his tearing jaws,
“ The point," said I, “ at which ye now take To the poor cat, that scratches with her paws;
aim, All show'd their force, when put upon the proof,
Remember, as ye rhyme, is Milton's fame; Wherein it lay, teeth, talons, horn, or hoof.
Fame as a poet only, as attack't Pleas'd with the porcupine, whose native art
For plund'ring verses—ne'er contest the fact; Is said to distance danger by his dart;
Defend your bard, tho’granted; and confine To rout his foes, before they come too near,
To three times six, at most, your eager line." From ev'ry hurt of close encounter clear
Then lend a fav'ring ear, whilst they rehcarse This, had not one thing bated of its price, Short, and almost extemporary verse: Had been our worthy ancestor's device.
A thought work'd up, that came into the mind, A foe to none; but ev'ry body's friend;
With rhymes the first, and fittest, they could find. And loath, although offended, to offend;
Such was their task-the boys have done their best; He sought to find an instance, if it could,
Take what you like, sirs,—and excuse the rest.. By any creature's art, be understood,
Milton pursu'd, in numbers more sublime,
Things unattempted yet in prose, or rhyme: At last the hedge-hog came into his thought, 'Tis said,--the bard did but pretend to soar, And gave the perfect emblem that he sought: Por such,--and such-attempted them before. This little creature, all offence aside, Rolls up itself in its own prickly hide,
'T is now an age ago since Milton writ;
The rest-are sunk into Oblivion's pit: When danger comes; and they that will abuse
A critic diving to their wrecks, perhaps, Do it themselves, if their own hurt ensues.
Has, now and then, bro't up some loosen'd scraps Methinks I hear the venerable sage“ Children! descendants all thro' ev'ry age!
We 'll not dispute the value of them now Learn, from the prudent urchin in your arms,
But, say one thing which critics must allow;
Which all the nations round us will confess-
Milton alone-attempted with success.
SECOND LAD. “ This animal is giv'n for outward sign When Milton's ghost into Elysium came, Of inward, true security divine:
To mix with claimants for poetic fame, Sharp, on your minds, let pointed virtues grow, Some rose, the celebrated bard to meet; That, without injuring, resist a foe;
Welcom'd, and laid their laurels at his feet,