« AnteriorContinuar »
S E C T.
A TALE OF A
Frer fo wide a compafs as I have wander
ed, I do now gladly overtake, and clofe in with my subject; and shall henceforth hold on with it an even pace to the end of my journey, except some beautiful prospect appears within fight of my way: Whereof though at present I have neither warning nor expectation, yet upon fuch an accident, come when it will, I shall beg my reader's favour and company, allowing me to conduct him through it along with myself. For in writing, it is as in travelling ; if a man is in hafte to be at home, (which I acknowledge to be none of my cafe, having never fo little business as when I am there), if his horse be tired with long riding and ill ways, or be naturally a jade, I advise him clearly to make the straitest and the commonest road, be it ever so dirty. But then surely we must own such a man to be a fcurvy companion at best: He spatters himself and his
fellowamusement, and a ridicule of dark, unintelligible writers; only the words, a cujus lacrymis, &c. are, as we have faid, transcribed from Ireneus, though I know not from what part. I believe one of the aurhor's designs was, to set curious men a hunting through indexes, and inquiring for books out of the common road.
fellow-travellers at every step; all their thoughts, and wishes, and conversation, turn entirely upon the subject of their journey's end; and at every splash, and plunge, and stumble, they heartily wish one anoth at the devil.
On the other side, when a traveller and his horse are in heart and plight; when his purse is full, and the day before him; he takes the road only where it is clean and convenient; entertains his company there as agreeably as he can : But, upon the first occasion, carries them along with him to every delightful scene in view, whether of art, of nature, or of both; and if they chance to refuse, out of stupidity or weariness, let them jog on by themselves, and be d-nd: He'll over-take them at the next town; at which arriving, he rides furiously through ; the men, women, and children, run out to gaze; a hundred noisy curs * run barking after him ; of which if he honours the boldest with a lash of his whip, it is rather out of sport than revenge: But should fome fourer mongrel dare too near an approach, he receives a salute on the chops by an accidental stroke from the courser's heels, (nor is any ground lost by the blow), which sends him yelping and limping home.
I now proceed to sum up the fingular adventures of my renowned Jack; the state of whose dispositions and fortunes the careful reader does, no doubt, most exactly remember, as I last parted
with By these are meant what the author calls, the true critics, p. 284.
with them in the conclusion of a former fection. Therefore his next care must be, from two of the fóregoing, to extract a scheme of notions that may best fit his understanding for a true relish of what is to ensue.
Jack had not only calculated the first revolution of his brain fo prudently, as to give rise to that empidemic fect of Æolifts, but fucceeding also into a new and strange variety of conceptions, the fruitfulness of his imagination led him into certain notions, which, although in appearance very unaccountable, were not without their mysteries and their meanings, nor wanted followers to countenance and improve them. I shall therefore be extremely careful and exact in recounting such material passages of this nature, as I have been able to collect, either from undoubted tradition, or indefatigable reading; and fhall describe them as graphically as it is possible, and as far as notions of that height and latitude can be brought within the compass of a pen. Nor do I at all question, but they will furnish plenty of noble matter for such, whose converting imaginations dispose them to reduce all things into types ; who can make shadows, no thanks to the sun; and then mould them into substances, no thanks to philosophy; whose peculiar talent lies in fixing tropes and allegories to the letter, and refining what is literal into figure and mystery.
Jack had provided a fair copy of his father's will, ingrossed in form upon a large skin of
parchment; and resolving to act the part of a most dutiful fon, he became the fondest creature of it imaginable. For though, as I have often told the reader, it consisted wholly in certain plain, easy directions about the management and wearing of their coats, with legacies and penalties in case of obedience or negleét; yet he began to entertain a fancy, that the matter was deeper and darker, and therefore must needs have a great deal more of mystery at the bottom. Gentlemen, said he, I will prove this very skin of parchment to be meat, drink, and cloth; to be the philosopher's fone, and the universal medicine *. In consequence of which raptures, he resolved to make use of it in the most neceffary, as well as the most paultry occasions of life. He had a way of working it into any shape he pleased; so that it ferved him for a night-cap when he went to bed, and for an urnbrella in rainy weather. He would lap a piece of it about a fore toe ; or when he had fits, burn two inches under his nose; or if any thing lay heavy on his stomach, scrape off, and swallow as much of the powder as would lie on a silver penny: They were all infallible remedies. With analogy to these refinements, his common talk and conversation ran wholly in the phrase of his will t; and he circumscribed the utmost of his eloquence within that compass, not daring to let flip a fyllable without authority from thence. Once, at a strange-house, he was suddenly taken short upon an urgent juncture, whereon it may not be allowed too particularly to dilate ; and being not able to call to mind, with that suddenness the occasion required, an authentic phrase for demanding the way to the back-fide; he chose rather, as the most prudent course, to incur the the penalty in such cases usually annexed. Neither was it poflible for the united rhetoric of mankind to prevail with him to make himself clean again ; because, having consulted the will upon
eloquence * The author here lashes those pretenders to purity, who place so much merit in using scripture-phrases on all occasions,
+ The Protestant dissenters use scripture phrases in their serious discourses and composures, more than the Church of England men. Accordingly Jack is introduced, making his common talk and conversation to run wholly in the phrase of his WILL. W. Wotton. He * I cannot guess the author's meaning here, which I would be very glad to know, because it seems to be of importance.
emergency, he met with a passage near the bottom (whether foisted in by the transcriber, is not known) which seemed to forbid it *.
He made it a part of his religion, never to say grace to his meat t; nor could all the world perfuade him, as the common phrase is, to eat his victuals like a Christian 5.
Ibid. Incurring the penalty in such cases ufiually annexed, wants no explanation. He would not make himself clean, because having consulted the will, (i. e. the New Testament), he met with a potage near the bottom, i. e, in the inth verse of the last chapter of the Revelations, “ He which is filthy, let him be filthy still,” which seemed to forbid it. Whether foisted in by the transcriber, is added; because this paragraph is wanting in the Alexandrian MS. the oldest and most authentic copy of the New Testament. Hawkes.
† The fiovenly way of receiving the facrament among the fanatics.
$ This is a common phrase to express eating cleanly, and is meant for an invective against that indecent manner among some