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Now, the first of these oratorial machines in place, as well as dignity, is the pulpit. Of pulpits there are in this island several sorts; 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 shape and size, I take to consist 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 assembly, where it is rightfully used,) by which means, from its near resemblance to a pillory, it will ever have a mighty influence on hu

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, has made a faithful and painful collection, which he shortly designs to publish, in twelve volumes in

man ears.

inherent and fatal power annexed to them, especially in computing the years of human life. Hence the great importance formerly attached to the sixty-third year of human life, which number, being produced by the multiplication of seven by nine, was termed the Grand Climacterick. The arrival of this æra was dreaded, and it was accounted a favour of fate, and a pledge of longevity, when it was safely passed over.See More's Vulgar Errors, Book iv. chap. 12.

folio, illustrated with copper-plates. A work highly useful and curious, and altogether worthy of such a hand.*

The last engine of orators is the stage itinerant, † erected with much sagacity, sub Jove pluvio, in triviis et quadriviis. I It is the great seminary of the two former, and its orators are sometimes preferred to the one, and sometimes to the other, in proportion to their deservings; there being a strict and perpetual intercourse between all three.

From this accurate deduction it is manifest, that for obtaining attention in public, there is of necessity required a superior position of place. But, although this point be generally granted, yet the cause is little agreed in; and it seems to me, that very few philosophers have fallen into a true, natural solution of this phenomenon. The deepest account, and the most fairly digested of any I have yet met with, is this; that air being a heavy body, and therefore, according to the system of Epicurus, g continually descending, must needs be more so, when loaden and pressed down by words; which are also bodies of much weight and gravity, as it is manifest from those deep impressions they make and leave upon us; and therefore must be delivered from a due altitude, or else they will neither carry a good aim, nor fall down with a sufficient force.

* Mr John Dunton, as we have elsewhere found ourselves required to notice, was a broken bookseller, who commenced author in despair; a sinking in rank from which it may easily be guessed he derived little profit. He published his own memoirs under the modest title of his Life and Errors, in which he characterizes every bookseller, publisher, stationer, and printer in London; and brings up the rear of the catalogue with the character of seventeen principal binders.

This biography he perhaps substituted for the scheme recommended in the text.

+ The mountebank's stage, whose orators the author determines either to the gallows, or a conventicle. 1 In the open air, and in streets where the greatest resort is. Lucretius, Lib. 2.

Corpoream quoque enim vocem constare fatendum est, Et sonitum, quoniam possunt impellere sensus.

Lucr. Lib. 4.

And I am the readier to favour this conjecture, from a common observation, that in the several assemblies of these orators, nature itself has instructed the hearers to stand with their mouths open, and erected parallel to the horizon, so as they may be intersected by a perpendicular line from the zenith, to the centre of the earth. In which position, if the audience be well compact, every one carries home a share, and little or nothing is lost.

I confess there is something yet more refined, in the contrivance and structure of our modern theatres. For, first, the pit is sunk below the stage, with due regard to the institution above deduced ; that whatever weighty matter shall be delivered thence, whether it be lead or gold, may fall plumb into the jaws of certain critics, as I think they are called, which stand ready opened to devour them. Then, the boxes are built round, and raised to a level with the scene, in deference to the ladies ; because, that large portion of wit,

'Tis certain then, that voice that thus can wound,

Is all material; body every sound.


laid out in raising pruriences and protuberances, is observed to run much upon a line, and ever in a circle. The whining passions, and little starved conceits, are gently wafted up by their own extreme levity, to the middle region, and there fix and are frozen by the frigid understandings of the inhabitants. Bombastry and buffoonry, by nature lofty and light, soar highest of all, and would be lost in the roof, if the prudent architect had not, with much foresight, contrived for them a fourth place, called the twelve-penny gallery, and there planted a suitable colony, who greedily intercept them in their passage.

Now this physico-logical scheme of oratorial receptacles or machines, contains a great mystery; being a type, a sign, an emblem, a shadow, a symbol, bearing analogy to the spacious commonwealth of writers, and to those methods, by which they must exalt themselves to a certain eminency, above the inferior world. By the pulpit are adumbrated the writings of our modern saints in Great Britain, as they have spiritualised and refined them, from the dross and grossness of sense and human reason. The matter, as we have said, is of rotten wood; and that upon two considerations; because it is the quality of rotten wood, to give light in the dark: and secondly, because its cavities are full of worms; which is a type with a pair of handles,* having a respect to the two principal qualifications of the orator, and the two different fates attending upon his works.

* The two principal qualifications of a fanatic preacher are, his inward light, and his head full of maggols; and the two different fates of his writings are, to be burnt or worm-eaten,

The ladder, is an adequate symbol of faction, and of poetry, to both of which so noble a number of authors are indebted for their fame. Of faction, because t

Hiatus in:




Of poetry,

because its orators do perorare with a song; and because climbing up by slow degrees, fate is sure to turn them off, before they can reach within many steps of the top: and because it is a preferment attained by transferring of propriety, and a confounding of meum and tuum.

Under the stage itinerant, are couched those productions designed for the pleasure and delight of mortal man; such as, Six-penny-worth of Wit, Westminster Drolleries, Delightful Tales, Complete Jesters, and the like; by which the writers of and for Grub-street, have in these latter ages so nobly triumphed over Time; have clipped his wings, pared his nails, filed his teeth, turned back his hour-glass, blunted his scythe, and drawn the hob-nails out of his shoes. It is under this class, I have presumed to list my present treatise, being just come from having the honour conferred upon me, to be adopted a member of that illustrious fraternity.

Now, I am not unaware, how the productions

+ Here is pretended a defect in the manuscript; and this is very frequent with our author, either when he thinks he cannot say any thing worth reading, or when he has no mind to enter on the subject, or when it is a matter of little moment; or perhaps to amuse his reader, whereof he is frequently very fond ; or, lastly, with some 'satirical intention. Thus a former commentator : but it is obvious, that the gap

is left to infer the danger of describing the factious partizans' progress to that consummation which is the subject of discussion.

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