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rist: it is an offer towards a mechanical account of his lapse to punning, for he belongs to a set of mortals who value themselves upon an uncommon mastery in the more humane and polite part of letters. A conquest by one of this species of females gives a very odd turn to the intellectuals of the captivated person, and very different from that way of thinking which a triumph from the eyes of another, more emphatically of the fair sex, does generally occasion. It fills the imagination with an assemblage of such ideas and pictures as are hardly any thing but shade, such as night, the devil, &c. These portraitures very near overpower the light of the understanding, almost benight the faculties, and give that melancholy tincture to the most sanguine complexion, which this gentleman calls an inclination to be in a brown study, and is usually attended with worse consequences in case of a repulse. During this twilight of intellects, the patient is extremely apt, as love is the most witty passion in nature, to offer at some pert sallies now and then, by way of flourish, upon the amiable enchantress, and unfortunately stumbles upon that mongrel miscreated to speak in Miltonic) kind of wit, vulgarly termed the pun. It would not be much amiss to consult Dr. T-W-* (who is certainly a very able projector, and whose system of divinity and spiritual mechanics obtains very much among the better part of our under-graduates) whether a general intermarriage, enjoined by parliament, between this sisterhood of the olive beauties and the fraternity of the people
• Supposed to mean Dr. Thomas Woolston.
called Quakers, would not be a very serviceable expedient, and abate that overflow of light which shines within them so powerfully, that it dazzles their eyes, and dances them into a thousand vagaries of error and enthusiasm. These reflections may impart some light towards a discovery of the origin of punning among us, and the foundation of its prevailing so long in this famous body. It is notorious, from the instance under consideration, that it must be owing chiefly to the use of brown jugs, muddy belch, and the fumes of a certain memorable place of rendezvous with us at meals, known by the name of Staincoat-Hole: for the atmosphere of the kitchen, like the tail of a comet, predominates least about the fire, but resides behind, and fills the fragrant receptacle above-mentioned. Besides, it is farther observable, that the delicate spirits among us, who declare against these nauseous proceedings, sip tea, and put up for critic and amour, profess likewise an equal abhorrence for punning, the ancient innocent diversion of this society. After all, sir, though it may appear something absurd, that I seem to approach you with the air of an advocate for punning, (you, who have justified your censures of the practice in a set dissertation upon that subject,) (No. 61,) yet, I am confident, you will think it abundantly atoned for by observing, that this humbler exercise may be as instrumental in diverting us from any innovating schemes and hypotheses in wit, as dwelling upon honest orthodox logic would be in securing us from heresy in religion. Had Mr. Wn's researches been confined within the bounds of Ramus or Crackenthorp, that learned news
monger might have acquiesced in what the holy oracles pronounced upon the deluge, like other Christians; and had the surprising Mr. L-y* been content with the employment of refining upon Shakspeare's points and quibbles (for which he must be allowed to have a superlative genius,) and now and then penning a catch or a ditty, instead of inditing odes and sonnets, the gentleman of the bon goût in the pit would never have been put to all that grimace in damning the frippery of state, the poverty and languor of thought, the unnatural wit, and inartificial structure of his dramas. I am, sir, •Your very humble servant,
PETER DE QUIR.'
No. 397. THURSDAY, JUNE 5.
-Dolor ipse disertum
For grief inspir'd me then with eloquence. Deyden.
As the Stoic philosophers discard all passions in general, they will not allow a wise man so much as to pitý the afflictions of another. If thou seest thy friend in trouble,' says Epictetus, thou mayest put on a look of sorrow and condole with him; but take care that thy sorrow be not real.' The more rigid of this sect would not
* John Lacy of Cambridge, who was an author and player, held in estimation by Charles II. VOL. VIII.
comply so far as even to show such an outward appearance of grief; but when one told them of any calamity that had befallen even the nearest of their acquaintance, would immediately reply, What is that to me? If you aggravated the circumstances of the affliction, and showed how one misfortune was followed by another, the answer was still, All this may be true, but what is it to me?
For my own part, I am of opinion compassion does not only refine and civilize human nature, but has something in it more pleasing and agreeable than what we can meet with in such an indolent happiness, such an indifference to mankind, as that in which the Stoics placed their wisdom. As love is the most delightful passion, pity is nothing else but love softened by a degree of sorrow: in short, it is a kind of pleasing anguish, as well as generous sympathy that knits mankind together and blends them in the same common lot.
Those who have laid down rules for rhetoric or poetry, advise the writer to work himself up, if possible, to the pitch of sorrow which he endeavours to produce in others. There are none therefore who stir up pity so much as those who indite their own sufferings. Grief has a natural eloquence belonging to it, and breaks out in more moving sentiments than can be supplied by the finest imagination. Nature on this occasion dictates a thousand passionate things which can not be supplied by art.
It is for this reason that the short speeches or sentences which we often meet with in histories make a deeper impression on the mind of the
reader, than the most laboured strokes in a wellwritten tragedy. Truth and matter of fact sets the person actually before us in the one, whom fiction places at a greater distance from us in the other. I do not remember to have seen any ancient or modern story more affecting than a letter of Anne of Boleyn, wife to King Henry VIII. and mother to Queen Elizabeth, which is still extant in the Cotton Library, as written by her own hand.
Shakspeare himself could not have made her talk in a strain so suitable to her condition and character. One sees in it the expostulation of a slighted lover, the resentments of an injured woman, and the sorrows of an imprisoned queen. I need not acquaint my reader that this princess was then under prosecution for disloyalty to the King's bed, and that she was afterwards publicly beheaded upon the same account; though this prosecution was believed by many to proceed, as she herself intimates, rather from the king's love to Jane Seymore, than from any actual crime in Anne of Boleyn. Queen Anne Boleyn's last letter to King
Henry. 6 SIR,
Cotton Library, Otho, C. 10. • Your Grace's displeasure, and my imprisonment, are things so strange unto me, as what to write, or what to excuse, I am altogether ignorant. Whereas
you send unto me (willing me to confess a truth, and so obtain your favour). by such an one, whom you know to be mine ancient professed enemy. I'no sooner received this mes