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signed. Some imputed it to a great heap of learned duft, which a perverse wind blew off from a shelf of Moderns into the keeper's eyes. Others affirmed, he had a humour to pick the worms out of the schoolmen, and swallow them fresh and fasting ; whereof some fell upon his spleen, and fome climbed up into his head, to the great perturbation of both. And lastly, others maintained, that, by walking much in the dark about the library, he had quite loft the situation of it out of his head; and therefore, in replacing his books, he was apt to mistake, and clap Des Cartes next to Aristotle; poor Plato had got between Hobbes and the Seven wise inafters; and Virgil was heamed in with Dryden on one lide, and Withers on the other.
Mean while, those books that were advocates for the Moderns, chose out one from among them, to make a progress through the whole library, examine the number and strength of their party, and concert their affairs. This meflenger performed all things very industriously, and brought back with him a list of their forces, in all fifty thousand, consisting chiefly of light horse, heavy armed foot, and mercenaries : Whereof the foot were, in general, but forrily armed, and worse clad: Their horses large, but extremely out of case and heart. However, some few, by trading among the Ancients, had furnished themselves tolerably enough.
While things were in this ferment, Discord grew extremely high, hot words pailed on both
fides, and ill blood was plentifully bred. Here a folitary Ancient squeezed up among a whole shelf of Moderns, offered fairly to dispute the case, and to prove, by manifest reason, that the priority was due to them, from long pofleffion, and in regard of their prudence, antiquity, and, above all, their great merits towards the Moderns. But these denied the premises; and feemned very much to wonder, how the Ancients could pi etend to infift upon their antiquity, when it was so plain, (if they went to that), that the Moderns were much the more ancient * of the
As for any obligations they owed to the Ancients, they renounced them all. “ It is true,
we are informed fome few of our party have been so niean to borrow their sub« fistence from you. But the reft, infinitely the
greater number, (and especially we French and “ English), were so far from stooping to so base “ an example, that there never paffed, till this
very hour, fix words between us. horses were of our own breeding, our arms of
our own forging, and our cloaths of our own « cutting and fowing.” Plato was by chance upon the next shelf, and observing those that spoke to be in the ragged plight mentioned a while ago; their jades lean and foundered, their weapons of rotten wood, their armour rufty, and nothing but rags underneath ; he laughed aloud, and, in his pleasant way, swore, By -- he believed them.
Now, According to the modern paradox.
Now, the Moderns had not proceeded in their late negociation, with fecrecy enough to escape the notice of the enemy. For those advocates who had begun the quarrel, by setting first on fvot the dispute of precedency, talked so loud of coming to a battle, that Temple happened to overhear them, and gave immediate intelligence to the Ancients; who thereupon drew up their fcattered troops together, refolving to act upon the defensive. Upon which several of the Moderns fled over to their party, and among the rest Temple himself. This Temple having been educated and long conversed among the Ancients, was of all the Moderns their greatest favourite, and became their greatest champion.
Things were at this crisis, when a material accident fell out. For, upon the highest corner of a large window, there dwelt a certain spider, fwollen up to the firit magnitude by the destruction of infinite numbers of flies, whose spoils lay fcattered before the gates of his palace, - like human bones before the cave of some giant. The avenues to his castle were guarded with turnpikes and palisadoes, all after the modern way of fortification. After you had paied several courts, you came to the centre, wherein you might behold the constable himself in his own lodgings, which had windows fronting to each avenue, and ports to fally out upon all occasions of prey or defence. In this manfion he had for some time dwelt in peace and plenty, without danger to his perfon by
swallows from above, or to his palace by brooins from below; when it was the pleasure of Fortune to conduct thither a wandering bee, to whose curiosity a broken pane in the glass had discovered itself: And in he went; where expatiating a while, he at last happened to alight upon one of the outward walls of the spider's citadel, which yielding to the unequal weight, funk down to the very
foundation. Thirice he endeavoured to force his passage, and thrice the centre fhook. The spider within feeling the terrible convulfion, supposed at first, that Nature was approaching to her final diffolution; or elte, that Beelzebub, with all his legions, was come to revenge the death of many thousands of his subjects, whom his enemy had flain and devoured. However, he at length valiantly refolved to itle forth, and meet his fate. Mean while the bee had acquitted himself of his toils, and, posted securely at some distance, was employed in cleansing his wings, and difeifgaging them from the ragged remnants of the cobweb. By this time the spider was adventured out; when, beholding the charms, and ruins, and dilapidations of his fortress, he was very near at his wit's end. He stormed and livore like a madman, and swelled till he was ready to burst. At length, casting his eye upon the bee, and wisely gathering causes from events, (for they knew each other by fight); " A plague split you,” said he, “ for a giddy son of a whore. " Is it you, with a vengeance, that have made “ you,
“this litter here ? Could not you look before
and be d-n'd? Do you think I have no“thing elfe to do, (in the devil's name), but to “mend and repair after your arse?” “Good “ words, friend, (faid the bee, having now pruned himself, and being disposed to droll);
give you my hand and word to come near your “ kennel no more : I was never in such a con“ founded pickle since I was born." “ Sirrah," replied the spider, “ if it were not for breaking an “old custom in our family, never to stir abroad
against an eneiny, I should come and teach
you better manners." “ I pray, have patience,” said the bee,“ or you will spend your substance; “and, for aught I see, you may stand in need of “it all towards the repair of your house." “ Rogue, rogue,” replied the spider ; " yet me“ thinks you should have more respect to a per“ fon, whom all the world allows to be so much
your betters.” “ By my troth," said the bee, “ the comparison will amount to a very good “ jest; and you will do me a favour, to let me “ know the reason that all the world is pleafed “ to use in fo hopeful a dispute.” At this, the Tpider, having swelled himself into the fize and posture of a disputant, began his argument in the true spirit of controversy, with a resolution to be heartıly fcurrilous and angry; to urge on his own reasons, without the least regard to the answers or objections of his opposite ; and fully predetermined in his mind against all conviction.