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and billows well together until they foam, and thicken your description here and there with a quicksand. Brew your tempest well in your head, before it a blowing
For a Battle. — Pick a large quantity of images and descriptions from Homer's Iliads, with a spice or two of Virgil; and if there remain any overplus, you may lay them by for a skirmish. Season it well with similes, and it will make an excellent battle.
For burning a Town. - If such a description be necessary, because it is certain there is one in Virgil, Old Troy is ready burnt to your hands. But if you fear that would be thought borrowed, a chapter or two of the Theory of the Conflagration, well circumstanced, and done into verse, will be a good succedaneum.
As for Similes and Metaphors, they may be found all over the creation, the most ignorant may gather them, but the danger is in applying them. For this advise with
FOR THE LANGUAGE.
(I mean the diction.) Here it will do well to be an imitator of Milton; for you will find it easier to imitate him in this than in any thing else. Hebraisms and Grecisms are to be found in him, without the trouble of learning the languages. I knew a painter, who (like our poet) had no genius, make his daubings to be thought originals, by setting them in the smoke : you may in the same manner give the venerable air fof antiquity to your piece, by darkening it up and down with Old English. With this you may be easily furnished, upon any occasion, by the di tionary commonly printed at the end of Chaucer.
I must not conclude, without cautioning all writers without genius in one material point; which is, never to be afraid of having too much fire in their works. I should advise rather to take their warmest thoughts, and spread them abroad upon paper ; for they are observed to cool before they are read *.
It is the great rule of behaviour to follow nature. The author of the following letter is so much convinced of this truth, that he turns what would render a man of little soul exceptious, humoursome, and particular in all his actions, to a subject of raillery and mirth. He is, you must know, but half as tall as an ordinary man, but is contented to be still at his friend's elbow, and has set up a club, by which he hopes to bring those of his own size into a little reputation.
TO NESTOR IRONSIDE, Esq. SIR, I REMEMBER a saying of yours concerning
persons in low circumstances of stature, that their “ littleness would hardly be taken notice of, if they
did not manifest a consciousness of it themselves « in all their behaviour. Indeed the observation that
no man is ridiculous for being what he is, but only “ for the affectation of being something more, is “ equally true in regard to the mind and the body.
“ I question not but it will be pleasing to you to « hear, that a set of us have formed a society, who
are sworn to dare to be short, and boldly bear out “ the dignity of littleness under the noses of those “ enormous engrossers of manhood, those hyperbo.
* The principal part of this paper was afterwards incorporated in the “ Art of Sinking in Poetry.”
" we are
“ lical monsters of the species, the tall fellows that " overlook us.
“ The day of our institution was the tenth of “ December, being the shortest in the year, on which
to hold an annual feast over a dish of “ shrimps.
“ The place we have chosen for this meeting is in " the Little Piazza, not without an eye to the neigh« bourhood of Mr. Powel's opera, for the per
formers of which, we have, as becomes us, a brotherly affection.
“ At our first resort hither, an old woman brought “ her son to the club-room, desiring he might be “ educated in this school, because she saw here were “ finer boys than ordinary. However this accident “ no way discouraged our designs. We began with “ sending invitations to those of a stature not exceed. “ ing five foot to repair to our assembly ; but the “ greater part returned excuses, or pretended they
were not qualified.
66 One said, he was indeed but five foot at present, “ but represented that he should soon exceed that “ proportion, his periwig-maker and shoe-maker “ having lately promised him three inches more be“ twixt them.
“ Another alleged he was so unfortunate as to “ have one leg shorter than the other, and whoever “ had determined his stature to five foot, had taken “ him at a disadvantage ; for when he was mounted “ on the other leg, he was at least five foot two inches 66 and a half.
“ There were some who questioned the exactness “ of our measures, and others, instead of complying, “ returned us informations of people yet shorter than " themselves. In a word, almost every one recom« mended some neighbour or acquaintance, whom he
was willing we should look upon to be less than hè. 66. We were not a little ashamed, that those who are
past the years of growth, and whose beards pro
nounce them men, should be guilty of as many “ unfair tricks, in this point, as the most aspiring “ children when they are measured.
“ We therefore proceeded to fit up the club-room, “ and provide conveniencies for our accommodation. “ In the first place, we caused a total removal of all “ the chairs, stools, and tables, which had served the gross
of mankind for many years. « The disadvantages we had undergone while we “ made use of these, were unspeakable. The presi« dent's whole body was sunk in the elbow chair, and “ when his arms were spread over it, he appeared (to " the great lessening of his dignity) like a child in a “ go-cart : it was also so wide in the seat, as to give “ a wag occasion of saying, that notwithstanding
the president sat in it, there was a sede vacante.
". The table was so high, that one who came by « chance to the door, seeing our chins just above the “ pewter-dishes, took us for a circle of men that sat
ready to be shaved, and sent in half a dozen barbers. “ Another time, one of the club spoke in a ludicrous manner of the president, imagining he had “ been absent, when he was only eclipsed by a Hask “ of Florence, which stood on the table in a parallel 66 line before his face.
« We therefore now furnished the room in all re
spects proportionably to us; and had the door 65 made lower, so as to admit no man of above five “ foot high, without brushing his foretop, which “ whoever does is utterly unqualified to sit among us.
“ Some of the statutes of the club are as follow : u I. If it be proved upon any member, though
never so duly qualified, that he strives as much as “ possible to get above his size, by stretching, cock.
ing, or the like ; or that he hath stood on tip-toe
« in a crowd, with design to be taken for as tall a “ man as the rest ; or hath privily conveyed any large “ book, cricket, or other device, under him, to exalt “ him on his seat : every such offender shall be sen“ tenced to walk in pumps for a whole month.
“ II. If any member shall take advantage from 6 the fulness or length of his wig, or any part of his “ dress, or the immoderate extent of his hat, or other“ wise, to seem larger or higher than he is, it is or“ dered he shall wear red heels to his shoes, and a red “ feather in his hat; which may apparently mark and “ set bounds to the extremities of his small dimension, “ that all people may readily find him out between « his hat and his shoes.
“ III. If any member shall purchase a horse for “ his own riding, above fourteen hands and a half in “ height; that horse shall forthwith be sold, a Scotch “ galloway bought in its stead for him, and the over" plus of the money shall treat the club.
“ IV. If any member, in direct contradiction to “ the fundamental laws of the society, shall wear the “ heels of his shoes exceeding one inch and a half; it 6 shall be interpreted as an open renunciation of little. “ ness, and the criminal shall instantly be expelled. “ Note, The form to be used in expelling a member o shall be in these words ; “ Go from among us, and « be tall if you can !”
“ It is the unanimous opinion of our whole society, « that since the race of mankind is granted to have “ decreased in stature, from the beginning to this so present, it is the intent of nature itself, that men 1" should be little ; and we believe, that all human “ kind shall at last grow down to perfection; that is