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ness, the protector of the commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions belonging thereunto; for I am that Angel to whom the Almighty has committed the government of those three king. doms, which thou seest from this place.” And I answered and said, “ If it be so, sir, it seems to me that for almost these twenty years past your highness has been absent from your charge: for not only if any angel, but if any wise and honest man had since that time been our governor, we should not have wandered thus long in these laborious and endless labyrinths of confusion ; but either not have entered at all into them, or at least have returned back ere we had ab. solutely lost our way; but instead of your highness, we have had since such a protector, as was his predecessor Richard III. to the king, his nephew ; for he presently slew the commonwealth which he pretended to protect, and set up himself in the place of it; a little less guilty, indeed, in one respect, because the other slew an innocent, and this man did but murder a murderer. Such a protector we have had as we would have been glad to have changed for an enemy, and rather received a constant Turk than this every month's apostate ; such a protector, as man is to his flocks which he shears, and sells, or devours. himself; and I would fain know what the wolf, which he protects him from, could do more? Such a protector”- and, as I was proceeding, methought his highness began to put on a displeased and threatening countenance, as men use to do when their dearest friends happen to be traduced in their company; which gave me the first rise of jealousy against him; for I did not believe that Cromwell, among all his foreign correspondences, had ever held any with angels. However, I was not hardened enough yet to venture a quarrel with him then; and therefore (as if I had spoken to the protector himself in Whitehail) I desired him “that his highness would please to pardon me, if I had unwittingly spoken anything to the disparagement of a person whose relations to his highness I had not the honour to know.” At which he told me, " that he had no other concernment for his late highness, than as he took him to be the greatest man that ever was of the English nation, if not (said he) of the whole world; which gives me a just title to the defence of his reputation, since I now account myself, as it were, a naturalized English angel, by having had so long the management of the affairs of that country. And pray, countryman,” said he, very kindly, and very flatteringly, “ for I would not have you fall into the general error of the world, that detests and decries so extraordinary a virtue ; what can be more extraordinary than that a person of mean birth, no fortune, no eminent qualities of body, which have sometimes, or of mind, which have often, raised men to the highest dignities, should have the courage to attempt, and the happiness to succeed in, so improbable a design, as the destruction of one of the most ancient and most solidly-founded monarchies upon the earth? that he should have the power or boldness to put his prince and master to an open and infamous death; to banish that numerous and strongly-allied family; to do all this under the name and wages of a parliament; to trample upon them, too, as he pleased, and spurn them out of doors when he grew weary of them ; to raise up a new and
unheard-of monster out of their ashes; to stifle that in the very infancy, and set up himself above all things that ever were called sovereign in England; to oppress all his enemies by arms, and all his friends afterwards by artifice; to serve all parties patiently for a while, and to command them victoriously at last; to overrun each corner of the three nations, and overcome with equal facility both the riches of the south and the poverty of the north; to be feared and courted by all foreign princes, and adopted a brother to the gods of the earth; to call together parliaments with a word of his pen, and scatter them again with the breath of his mouth; to be humbly and daily petitioned, that he would please to be hired, at the rate of two millions a-year, to be the master of those who had hired him before to be their servant; to have the estates and lives of three kingdoms as much at his disposal, as was the little inheritance of his father, and to be as noble and liberal in the spending of them; and lastly (for there is no end of all the particulars of his glory,) to bequeath all this with one word to his posterity ; to die with peace at home, and triumph abroad; to be buried among kings, and with more than regal solemnity; and to leave a name behind him not to be extinguished but with the whole world ; which, as it is now too little for his praises, so might have been, too, for his conquests, if the short line of his human life could have been stretched out to the extent of his immortal designs.”
(SAMUEL BUTLER, whose wit is so conspicuous in his “Hudi bras," exhibited it with no less brilliancy in some prose works which were published a considerable time after his death. The most interesting of them are Characters, resembling in style those of Overbury, Earle, and Hall.]
A Small Poet Is one that would fain make himself that which nature never meant him; like a fanatic that inspires hiniself with his own whimsies. He sets up haberdasher of small poetry, with a very small stock, and no credit. He believes it is invention enough to find out other men's wit; and whatsoever he lights upon, either in books or company, he makes bold with as his own. This he puts together so untowardly, that you may perceive his own wit has the rickets, by the swelling disproportion of the joints. You may know his wit not to be natural, 't is so unquiet and troublesome in him: for as those that have money but seldom, are always shaking their pockets when they have it, so does he, when he thinks he has got something that will make him appear.
He is a perpetual talker; and you may know by the freedom of his discourse that he came lightly by it, as thieves spend freely what they get. He is like an Italian thief, that never robs but he murders, to pre
vent discovery; so sure is he to cry down the man from whom he purloins, that his petty larceny of wit may pass unsuspected. He appears so over-concerned in all men's wits, as if they were but disparagements of his own; and cries down all they do, as if they were encroachments upon him. He takes jests from the owners and breaks them, as justices do false weights, and pots that want measure.
When he meets with anything that is very good, he changes it into small money, like three groats for a shilling, to serve several occasions. He disclaims study, pretends to take things in motion, and to shoot flying, which appears to be very true, by his often missing of his mark. As for epithets, he always avoids those that are near akin to the sense. Such matches are unlawful, and not fit to be made by a Christian poet; and therefore all his care is to choose out such as will serve, like a wooden leg, to piece out a maimed verse that wants a foot or two, and if they will but rhyme now and then into the bargain, or run upon a letter, it is a work of supererogation. For similitudes, he likes the hardest and most obscure best; for as ladies wear black patches to make their complexions seem fairer than they are, so when an illustration is more obscure than the sense that went before it, it must of necessity make it appear clearer than it did ; for contraries are best set off with contraries. He has found out a new sort of poetical Georgicsma trick of sowing wit like clover-grass on barren subjects, which would yield nothing before. This is very useful for the times, wherein, some men say, there is no room left for new invention. He will take three grains of wit, like the elixir, and, projecting it upon the iron age, turn