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talks much of hard times and taxes; bars up the wooden window of his cell constantly at eight o'clock ; dreams of fire, and shop-listers, and court-customers, and privileged places. Now, what a figure would all these acquirements amount to, if the owner were sent into the city among his brethren ! Behold a fourth, in much and deep conversation with himself, biting his thumbs at proper junctures; his countenance checkered with business and design ; sometimes walking very fast, with his eyes nailed to a paper that he holds in his hands : a great saver of time, somewhat thick of hearing, very short of sight, but more of memory; a man ever in haste, a great hatcher and breeder of business, and excellent at the famous art of whispering nothing ; a huge idolater of monosyllables and procrastination ; so ready to give his word to everybody, that he never keeps it ; one that has forgot the common meaning of words, but an admirable retainer of the sound. If you approach his grate in his familiar intervals, Sir, says he, give me a penny, and I'll sing you a song : but give me the penny first. (Hence comes the common saying, and commoner practice, of parting with money for a song.) What a complete system of court skill is here described in every branch of it, and all utterly lost with wrong application! Another student struts up fiercely to your teeth, puffing with his lips, half squeezing out his eyes, and very graciously holds you out his hand to kiss. The keeper desires you not to be afraid of this professor, for he will do you no hurt : to him alone is allowed the liberty of the antechamber, and the orator of the place gives you to understand that this solemn person is a tailor run mad with pride. This considerable student is adorned with many other qualities,
upon which at present I shall not farther enlarge. Hark in your ear-I am strangely mistaken if all his address, his motions, and his airs, would not then be very natural, and in their proper element.
I shall not descend so minutely as to insist upon the vast number of beaux, fiddlers, poets, and politicians, that the world might recover by such a reformation ; but what is more material, beside the clear gain redounding to the commonwealth by so large an acquisition of persons to employ, whose talents and acquirements, if I may be so bold as to affirm it, are now buried or at least misapplied ; it would be a mighty advantage accruing to the public from this inquiry, that all these would very much excel, and arrive at great perfection, in their several kinds; which, I think, is manifest from what I have already shown, and shall enforce by this one plain instance : that even I myself, the author of these momentous truths, am a person whose imaginations are hardmouthed and exceedingly disposed to run away with his reason, which I have observed, from long experience, to be a very light rider and easily shaken off ; upon which account my friends will never trust me alone, without a solemn promise to vent my speculations in this or the like manner, for the universal benefit of human kind; which perhaps the gentle, courteous, and candid reader, brimful of that modern charity and tenderness usually annexed to his office, will be very hardly persuaded to believe.
A FARTHER DIGRESSION
If the reader fairly considers the strength of what I have advanced in the foregoing section, I am convinced it will produce a wonderful revolution in his notions and opinions ; and he will be abundantly better prepared to receive and to relish the concluding part of this miraculous treatise. Readers may be divided into three classes—the superficial, the ignorant, and the learned : and I have with much felicity fitted my pen to the genius and advantage of each. The superficial reader will be strangely provoked to laughter ; which clears the breast and the lungs, is sovereign against the spleen, and the most innocent of all diuretics. The ignorant reader, between whom and the former the distinction is extremely nice, will find himself disposed to stare ; which is an admirable remedy for ill eyes, serves to raise and enliven the spirits, and wonderfully helps perspiration. But the reader truly learned, chiefly for whose benefit I wake when others sleep, and sleep when others wake, will here find sufficient matter to employ his speculations for the rest of his life. It were much to be wished, and I do here humbly propose for an experiment, that every prince in Christendom will take seven of the deepest scholars in his dominions, and shut them up close for seven years in seven chambers, with a command to write seven ample commentaries on this
comprehensive discourse. I shall venture to affirm that, whatever difference may be found in their several conjectures, they will be all, without the least distortion, manifestly deducible from the text. Meantime, it is my earnest request that so useful an undertaking may be entered upon, if their majesties please, with all convenient speed ; because I have a strong inclination, before I leave the world, to taste a blessing which we mysterious writers can seldom reach till we have gotten into our graves : whether it is that fame, being a fruit grafted on the body, can hardly grow, and much less ripen, till the stock is in the earth ; or whether she be a bird of prey, and is lured, among the rest, to pursue after the scent of a carcase; or whether she conceives her trumpet sounds best and farthest when she stands on a tomb, by the advantage of a rising ground and the echo of a hollow vault.