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altitude above them. Now, in all affemblies, though you wedge them ever so close, we may observe this peculiar property, that over their heads there is room enough ; but how to reach it, is the difficult point ; it being as hard to get quit of number, as of hell :
-evadere ad auras, Hoc opus, hic labor eft *. To this end, the philosopher's way, in all ages, has been by erecting certain edifices in the air. But, whatever practice and reputation these kinds of structures have formerly poffefsed, or may still continue in, not excepting even that of Socrates, when he was fufpended in a basket to help contemplation ; I think, with due fubmiflion, they seem to labour under two inconveniences. First, That the foundations being laid too high, they have been often out of sight, and ever out of hearing. Secondly, That the materials, being very tranfitory, have suffered much from inclemencies of air, especially in these north-west regions.
satire against Mr Dryden, and consequently, loads with insults, the greatest, although the least prosperous, of our English poets. Yet who can avoid smiling, when he finds the Hind and Panther, as a complete abstract of sixteen thousand schoolmen, and when Tommy Pots is supposed written by the same hand, as a jupplement to the former work ? I am willing to imagine, that Dryden, in some manner or other, had offended Swift, who, otherwise, I hope, would have been more indulgent to the errors of a man oppressed by poverty, driven on by party, and bewildered by religion.-But although our satirical author, now and then, may have indulged himself in some personal animosities, or may have taken freedoms not so perfectly consistent with that folemn decency which is required from a clergyman; yet, throughout the whole piece, there is a vein of ridicule and good humour, that laughs pedantry and affectation into the lowest degree of contempt, and exposes the character of Peter and Jack in such a manner, as never will be forgiven, and never can be answered. Orrery.
* But to return, and view the cheerful skies ;
In this the talk and mighty labour lies.
Therefore, towards the just performance of this great work, there remain but three methods that I can think on; whereof the wisdom of our ancestors being highly fenfible, has, to encourage all aspiring adventurers, thought fit to erect three wooden machines for the usc of those orators, who defire to talk much without interruption. These are, the pulpit, the ladder, and the flage itinerant. For, as to the bar, though it be compounded of the fame matter, and designed for the same use, it cannot however be well allowed the honour of the fourth, by reason of its level or inferior situation, exposing it to perpetual interruption from collaterals. Neither can the bench itself, though raised to a proper eminency, put in a better claim, whatever its advocates infift
For, if they pleafe to look into the original design of its erection, and the circumstances or adjuncts subservient to that design, they will soon acknowledge the present practice exactly correspondent to the primitive institution ; and both to answer the etymology of the name, which in the Phænician tongue is a word of great fignification,
importing, if literally interpreted, the place of sleep; but in common acceptation, a seat well bolstered and cushioned, for the repose of old and gouty limbs: Senes ut in otià tuta recedant : Fortune being indebted to them this part of retaliation, that, as formerly they have long talked, whilst others slept, so now they may feep as long, whilst others talk.
But if no other argument could occur, to exclude the bench and the bar from the list of oratorial machines, it were sufficient, that the admission of them would overthrow a number which I was resolved to establish, whatever argument it might coft me; in imitation of that prudent method observed by many other philosophers and great clerks, whose chief art in division has been
to grow fond of some proper mystical number, which their imaginations have rendered facred, to a degree, that they force common reason to find room for it in every part of nature ; reducing, including, and adjusting every genus and species, within that compass, by coupling some against their wills, and banishing others at any rate. Now, among all the rest, the profound number THREE is that which hath most employed my sublimest speculations, nor ever without wonderful delight.
There is now in the prefs, and will be published next term, a panegyrical essay of mine upon this number ; wherein I have, by most convincing proofs, not only reduced the senses and the elements under its banner,
but brought over several deferters from its two great rivals, SEVEN and NINE.
Now, the first of these oratorial machines in place, as well as in dignity, is the pulpit. Of pulpits there are in this island several forts; but I esteem only that made of timber from the sylva Caledonia, which agrees very well with our climate. If it be upon its decay, it is the better, both for conveyance of sound, and for other reasons to be mentioned by and by. The degree of perfection in fhape and size, I take to confift in being extremely narrow, with little ornament, and best of all without a cover, (for, by ancient rule, it ought to be the only uncovered vessel in every affembly, where it is rightfully used); by which means, from its near resemblance to a pillory, it will ever have a mighty influence on human ears.
Of ladders I need say nothing. It is observed by foreigners themselves, to the honour of our country, that we excel all nations in our practice and understanding of this machine. The ascending orators do not only oblige their audience in the agreeable delivery, but the whole world in the early publication of their speeches ; which I look upon as the choicest treasury of our British eloquence, and whereof, I am informed, that worthy citizen and bookseller, Mr John Dunton, hath made a faithful and a painful collection, which he shortly designs to publish in twelve volumes in folio, illustrated with copperplates : A work highly useful and curious, and altogether worthy of such a hand.