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For this being bestowed only upon one or a few persons at a time, is sure to raise envy, and con
fequently ill words, from the rest, who have no -fhare in the blessing. But fatire, being levelled ir at all, is never resented for an offence by any ;
since every individual person makes bold to understand it of others, and very wisely removes his particular part of the burthen upon the shoulders
of the world, which are broad enough, and able me to bear it. To this purpose, I have sometimes it reflected upon the difference between Athens and to England, with respect to the point before us. In
the Attic commonwealth *, it was the privilege na and birthright of every citizen and poet, to rail jealoud, and in public; or to expose upon the stage
by name, any person they pleased, though of the is greatest figure, whether a Creon, an HyperboE lus, an Alcibiades, or a Demofthenes. But, on
the other side, the least reflecting word let fall e against the people in general, was immediately
caught up, and revenged upon the authors, however considerable for their quality or their merits. Whereas in England it is just the reverse of all this. Here, you may securely display your utmost rhetoric against mankind, in the face of the world :- Tell them, That all are gone astray; that there is none that doth good, no not one ; that we live in the very dregs of time ; that knavery and atheisin are epidemic as the pox ; that honesty is fled with Aftræa; with any other common places, equally
* Vid. Xenoph.
new and eloquent, which are furnished by the Splendida bilis *.
And when you have done, the whole audience, far from being offended, shall return you thanks, as a deliverer of precious and useful truths. Nay farther, it is but to venture your lungs, and you may preach in Covent-garden against foppery and fornication, and something else ; against pride, and dillimulation, and bribery, at Whitehall : You may expose rapine and injustice in the inns of court chapel ; and in a city-pulpit, be as fierce as you please against avarice, hypocrisy, and extortion. It is but a ball bandied to and fro; and every man carries a racket about him, to strike it from himself among the rest of the company. But, on the other side, whoever should mistake the nature of things; so far as to drop but a single hint in public, how such a one ftarved half the fleet, and half-poisoned the rest; how such a one, from a true principle of love and honour, pays no debts but for wenches and play ; how such
a one has got a clap, and runs out of his estate; how Paris, bribed by Juno and Venus t, loth to offend either party, slept out the whole cause on the bench ; or, -how such an orator makes long speeches in the senate with much thought, little fense, and to no purpose: Whoever, I say, should venture to be thus particular, must expect to be
imprisoned * Hor. Spleen.
† Juno and Venus, are money and a mistress ; very powerful bribes to a judge, if fcandal says true. I remember such reActions were cast about that time, but I cannot fix the person areaded here.
imprisoned for scandalum magnatum ; to have challenges fent him; to be sued for defamation ; and to be brought before the bar of the house.
But I forgot that I am expatiating on a subject wherein I have no concern, having neither a talent nor an inclination for fatire. On the other fide, I am so entirely satisfied with the whole prefent procedure of human things, that I have been some years preparing materials towards A panegyric upon the world, to which I intended to add a second part, intituled, A modest defence of the proceedings of the rabble in all ages. Both these I had thoughts to publish, by way of appendix to the following treatise ; but, finding my common-place book fill much flower than I had reason to expect, I have chosen to defer them to another occasion. Besides, I have been unhappily prevented in that design, by a certain domestic misfortune : In the particulars whereof, though it would be very seasonable, and much in the modern way, to inform the gentle reader, and would also be of great aslistance towards extending this preface into the size now in vogue, which by rule ought to be large, in proportion as the subsequent volume is small; yet I shall now dismiss our impatient reader from any farther attendance at the porch; and, having duly prepared his mind by a preliminary difcourse, shall gladly introduce him to the sublime mysteries that ensue.
A T A L E OF
A T U B.*
THE INTRODUCTION. +
HOEVER hath an ambition to be heard
in a crowd, must press, and squeeze, and thrust, and climb, with indefatigable pains, till he has exalted himself to a certain degree of
* The Tale of a Tub has made much noise in the world. It was one of Swift's earliest performances, and has never been excelled in wit and spirit by his own, or any other pen. The censures that have passed upon it are various. The most material of which, were such as reflected upon Dr Swift, in the character of a clergyman, and a Christian. It has been one of the misfortunes attending Christianity, that many of her fons, from a mistaken filial piety, have indulged themselves in too restrained and too melancholy a way of thinking. Can we wonder then, if a book, composed with all the force of wit and humour, in derision of facerdotal tyranny, in ridicule of grave hypocrisy, and in contempt of flegmatic stiffness, should be wilfully misconstrued by some persons, and ignorantly mistaken by others, as a sarcasm and reflection upon the whole Christian church? Swift's ungovernable spirit of irony has fometimes carried him into very unwarrantable Aights of wit. In the style of truth, I must look upon the Tale of a Tub, as no intended insult against Christianity, but as a satire against the wild errors of the church of Rome, the now and incomplete reformation of ihe Lutherans, and the absurd and affected zeal of the Presbyterians. Orrcry.
+ The Introduction abounds with wit and humour. But the author never loses the least opportunity of venting his keenest