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Of stars, horn'd Cynthia and Pleiades are
Than Jove, in Ovid's Metamorphoses.” The following description, though not quite a counterpart to Shakspeare's Seven Ages of Man, possesses some merit: we have taken great liberties, by selecting the best lines, and blending them in one extract.
“ These rare creatures, thus richly qualified,
Now all the qualities, which I before
Litigious, and prone unto contention,
He then introduces an anecdote, scarcely worth telling, unless it relate to his relentless Amanda : the woman fancied herself “ as ladies wish to be who love their lords,” and was persuaded by her maid that her girdle was too short. After which follows the epilogue.
“ And you, my brethren, for whose only sake
I weigh it not a rush, nor do I care,
And thou, my muse, who yet was ne'er outwitted
During the civil wars, the apprentices presented petitions, passed resolutions, raised regiments, and supported the levellers. Cosmo III. Grand Duke of Tuscany, who was in England in 1669, speaks of the license they enjoyed, and mentions, that on their holidays an armed force was necessary to
repress their gaiety, for, feeling their strength, they treated the authorities with contempt. Their last historical occurrence is in 1681, when they addressed the Lord Mayor on removing “ the grievances of the nation," and published a vindication of their conduct. Since that period they have become more tractable, owing to a change of manners, the interference of the legislature, or a fortunate concurrence of those causes. Of their poet, not even the name is preserved; but his politics, always an object of research to the critic, may be partly ascertained. Had he not coincided with his brethren, he could not have omitted to lash the city dames, who, like Semiramis, forsook the toilet for the battlement. That task was left for Butler, who has discovered other points of resemblance.
Those who are induced to peruse the Character of a Cockney, by the hope of meeting with a repetition of the entertainment presented under similar titles, will be disappointed: it contains some good passages in epigrammatic couplets, and its descriptions are respectable; but let the renovators beware. We have refrained from minutely investigating its merits, wishing to keep our antiquarianism'as distinct as possible from criticism.
ART. X.-The Discovery of a New World; or, A Discourse
tending to prove, that 'tis probable there may be another habitable World in the Moon. With a Discourse concerning the possibility of a Passage thither. By Dr. John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester. Written in the year 1638.
The learned and right reverend person whose memory is responsible for this work, appears to have been a man of profound and exact erudition, of vigorous intellect, and of great personal virtue. According to all the biographical dictionaries, he obtained the high respect of the literary generation among whom he lived, and the various works which are attributed to him, will enable posterity to understand how fully he was entitled to it. We think it right to say this of Bishop Wilkins, at the very outset of our remarks upon his book ; because, unless we thus expressly acknowledged his general claim as an author to approbation, the tone of our observations upon that small portion of his works, to which we shall confine ourselves, might possibly create a belief, that we were either deceived as to the Bishop's true character, or, at any rate, that we were inclined to deceive others. For we are afraid that we shall have occasion to laugh a little, in the course of this article, at some of the speculations in which the worthy prelate indulged himself; and it is but fair, therefore, to say, that in one very small part of this very small treatise, he is as rational a writer as any man who ventured upon subjects of natural philosophy before the age of Newton.
Having thus made our peace with the admirers of Bishop Wilkins, we proceed at once to state, that certain persons in the Bishop's own day, and many before it, had broached sundry astronomical doctrines, which the learned prelate thought it not amiss to explode. He, therefore, put forth a tractate, the title of which we have given, wherein he very triumphantly
terers in natural philosophy had fallen; and urges, with very considerable ingenuity, several à priori reasons for believing in some of the prominent doctrines which have since been established by Newton and his successors. But the good Bishop pursues his triumph too far; he drives his enemies back into the land of speculation, and unluckily gets lost in it himself. For having established, or, at least, talked sensibly enough upon thirteen preliminary propositions as to the nature of the moon, and her relation to the earth, he waxes bold, and ventures at once to enunciate his fourteenth proposition, thus :-" That it is possible for some of our posterity to find out a conveyance to this other world ; and if there be inhabitants there, (which, by the bye, is settled in proposition thirteen) to have commerce with them.” How he supports this notion, we intend briefly to shew.
Before, however, we proceed to the execution of this task, we cannot but express our astonishment, that, in this our day of speculation, no projector should have attempted to do that of which Bishop Wilkins has here, in some sort, shewn the possibility. The philosophers' stone is even now sought after ; and some lives are at this day consumed in search of the elixir vita. The academy, which Gulliver found at Lagado, is still in existence; and though the projects which he describes have been, for the most part, supplanted by others, many of the new ones are not one whit less hardy and extravagant. It would be equally invidious and endless to adduce examples : no one, with the use of his eyes, can fail to perceive that the "nil mortalibus arduum est,” is as applicable now as ever. And, therefore, we again marvel at the abandonment of this project of Bishop Wilkins, which, to say the plain truth, is, in comparison with some that we could name, “sense, absolute sense.”
The Bishop sets out in his adventurous course with a very pretty piece of sophistry:
“ If we do but consider by what steps and leisure all arts do usually rise to their growth, we shall have no cause to doubt why this also may not hereafter be found out amongst other secrets. It hath constantly yet been the method of Providence, not presently to shew us all, but to lead us on by degrees, from the knowledge of one thing to another.
“ It was a great while ere the planets were distinguished from the fixed stars; and some time after that ere the morning and evening stars were found to be the same. And in greater space (I doubt not) but this also, and other as excellent mysteries, will be discovered. Time, who hath always been the father of new truths, and hath revealed unto us many things, which our ancestors were ignorant of, will also manifest to our posterity that which we now desire, but cannot know. Veniet tempus (saith Seneca) quo ista que nunc latent, in lucem dies extrahet, & longioris avi diligentia. Time will come, when the endeavours of after ages shall bring such things to light as now lie hid in obscurity. Arts are not yet come to their solstice. But the industry of future times, assisted with the labours of their forefathers, may reach that height which we could not attain to. Veniet tempus quo posteri nostri nos tam aperta nescisse mirentur. As we now won. der at the blindness of our ancestors, who were not able to discern such things as seem plain and obvious unto us; so will our posterity admire our ignorance in as perspicuous matters.
" In the first ages of the world, the islanders thought themselves either to be the only dwellers upon earth, or else, if there were any other, they could not possibly conceive how they might have any commerce with them, being severed by the deep and broad sea. But after times found out the invention of ships, in which, notwithstanding, none but some bold, daring men durst venture.
“ And yet, now, how easy a thing is this even to a timorous and
means, for our conveyance to the moon, cannot seem more incredible to us, than this did at first to them; and therefore we have no just reason to be discouraged in our hopes of the like success.”
Upon which ingenious reasoning we will only observe, that it might be used, with equal propriety, to shew that we may hereafter mount up to the fixed stars themselves, or build houses at the South Pole, or live at the bottom of the ocean, or, in short, do any thing which our ancestors thought could not be done. The professors in Swift's academy, and that ingenious projector, who, in the reign of George I., actually
dust, reasoned, no doubt, after the fashion of this learned prelate.
In the following passage, however, he bethinks him of
: “ Yea, but (you' will say) there can be no sailing thither, unless that were true which the poets do but feign, that she made her bed in the