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bullies in White-Friers, then fell among the footmen, and at last retired to the pedants; by whom it is applied as properly to the productions of wit, as if I should apply it to Sir Isaac Newton's mathematics. But if this bantering, as they call it, be so despisable a thing, whence comes it to pass they have such a perpetual itch towards it themselves ? To instance only in the answerer already mentioned : It is grievous to see him, in some of his writings, at every turn going out of his way to be waggifh, to tell us of a cow that pricked up her tail; and in his answer to this discourse, he says, It is all a farce and a ladle ; with other paffages equally shining. One may say of these impedimenta literarum, that wit owes them a shame ; and they cannot take wiser counsel, than to keep out of harm's way, or at least not to come till they are sure they are called.
To conclude: With those allowances above required, this book should be read; after which, the author conceives, few things will remain, which may not be excused in a young writer. He wrote only to the men of wit and taste; and he thinks he is not mistaken in his accounts, when he says, they have been all of his fide, enough to give him the vanity of telling his name ; wherein the world, with all its wise conjectures, is yet very much in the dark : Which circumstance is no disagreeable amusement, either to the public, or himself.
The author is informed, that the bookseller has prevailed on several gentlemen to write some
explanatory explanatory notes ; for the goodness of which he is not to answer, having never seen any of them, nor intending it till they appear in print ; when it is not unlikely he may have the pleasure to find twenty meanings, which never entered into his imagination.
June 3. 1709
POST SCRIPT. SINCE the writing of this, which was about a
year ago, a prostitute bookseller hath published a foolish paper, under the name of Notes on the Tale of a Tub, with some account of the Author ; and, with an insolence which I suppose is punishable by law, hath presumed to assign certain names. It will be enough for the author to allure the world, that the writer of that paper is utterly wrong in all his conjectures upon that affair. The author farther afferts, that the whole work is entirely of one hand ; which every reader of judgment will easily discover : The gentleman who gave the copy to the bookseller, being a friend of the author, and using no other liberties, besides that of expuaging certain paflages, where now the chafins
under the name of defiderata. But if any person will prove his claim to three lines in the whole book, let him step forth, and tell his name and titles; upon which the bookseller shall have orders to prefix them to the next edition, and the claimant shall from henceforward be acknowledged the undisputed author.
Treatises written by the same author, most of them
mentioned in the following discourses, which will be speedily published.
Character of the present set of wits in this island.
A panegyrical essay upon the number Three.
A dissertation upon the principal productions of Grub-street.
Lectures upon a dissection of human nature.
A panegyric upon the world.
An analytical discourse upon zeal, histori-theophysilogically considered.
A general history of ears.
A modest defence of the proceedings of the rabble in all ages.
A description of the kingdom of abfurdities.
A voyage into England, by a person of quality in Terra australis incognita, translated from the original.
A critical essay upon the art of canting, philosophically, and musically considered.
To the Right Honourable
JOHN LORD SOMMERS.
LTHOUGH the author has written a
large dedication, yet that being addreffed to a prince, whom I am never likely to have the honour of being known to; a person, befides, as far as I can observe, not at all regarded, or thought on by any of our present writers; and being wholly free from that flavery which booksellers usually lie under to the caprices of authors; I think it a wise piece of presumpsion, to inscribe these papers to your Lordship, and to implore your Lordship's protection of them. God, and your Lordship, know their faults, and their merits : For, as to my own particular, I am altogether a stranger to the matter; and though every body else should be equally ignorant, I do not fear the sale of the book, at all the worse, upon that score. Your Lordship's name on the front, in capital letters, will at any time get off one edition : Neither would I desire any other help to grow an alderman, than a patent for the fole privilege of dedicating to your Lordship.
I should now, in right of a dedicator, give your Lordship a list of your own virtues, and at the same time be very unwilling to offend your modesty ; but, chiefly, I should celebrate your liberality towards men of great parts and small fortunes,—and give you broad hints, that I mean myself. And I was just going on, in the usual method, to perufe a hundred or two of dedications, and transcribe an abstract, to be applied to your Lord thip; but I was diverted by a certain accident. For, upon the covers of these papers, I casually observed, written in large letters, the two following words, DETUR DIGNISSIMO; which, for aught I knew, might contain some important meaning. But it unluckily fell out, that none of the authors I employ, understood Latin ; (though I have them often in pay, to translate out of that language.) I was therefore compelled to have recourse to the curate of our parish, who Englished it thus, Let it be given to the worthieft. And his comment was, that the, author meant his works should be dedicated to the sublimest genius of the age, for wit, learning, judgment, eloquence, and wisdom. I called at a poet's chamber (who works for my shop) in an alley hard by, shewed him the translation, and de-fired his opinion, who it was that the author could mean. He told me, after some consideration, that vanity was a thing he abhorred; but, by the description, he thought himself to be the perfon aimed at ; and, at the same time, he very S 2