« AnteriorContinuar »
S E C T. II.
NCE upon a time, there was a man who
had three fons by one wife *, and all at a birth; neither could the midwife tell certainly which was the eldest. Their father died while they were young; and upon his death-bed, calling the lads to him, spoke thus :
Sons, Because I have purchased no estate, nor was born to any, I have long considered of some good legacies to bequeath you ; and at last, with much care as well as expence, have provided each of you, (here they are) a new coat t. Now, you are to understand, that these coats have two virtues contained in them. One is, that, with good wearing, they will last you fress and found as long as
as long as you live. The other is, that they will grow in the same proportion with your bodies, lengthening and widening of themselves, so as to be always fit. Here, let me see them on you before I die. So, very well; pray, children, wear them clean, and brush them often. You will find in my will+ (here it is) full instructions in every particular concerning the wearing and management of your coats ; wherein you must be very exact, to avoid the penalties I have appointed for every transgression or neglect, upon which your future fortunes will entirely depend. I have also commanded in my will, that you pould live together, in one house, like brethren and friends ; for then you will be sure to thrive, and not otherwise.
* By these three fons, Peter, Martin, and Jack; Popery, the Church of England, and our Protestant Diflenters, are designed.
W. Wotton. In the character of Peter, we see the Pope, seated on his pontifical throne, and adorned with his triple crown. In the picture of Martin, we view Luther, and the first reformers. And in the description of Jack, we behold John Calvin and his disciples. · The author's arrows are chiefly directed against Peter and Jack. To Martin he shews all the indulgence that the laws of allegory will permit. Orreny.
† By his coats, which he gave his sons, the garmen t of the liaelites. 11'. Wotton.
An error (with fubmiffion) of the learned commentat for; for by the coats are meant the doctrine and faith of Chiny, by the wisdom of the divine founder, fitted to all times, places, and ciscumstances. Lumbin,
Here, the story says, this good father died, and the three fons went altogether to seek their for
I shall not trouble you with recounting what adventures they met with for the first seven years, any farther than by taking notice, that they carefully observed their father's will, and kept their coats in very good order; that they travelled through several countries, encountered a reasonable quantity of giants, and flew certain dragons.
Being now arrived at the proper age for producing theinfelves, they came up to town, and fell in love with the ladies; but especially three, who about that time were in chief reputation ; the Duchefs d'Argent, Madame de Grands
* The New Testament.
Titres, and the Countess d'Orgueil *. On their first appearance, our three adventurers met with a very bad reception; and foon with great sagacity guessing out the reason, they quickly began to improve in the good qualities of the town. They writ, and rallied, and rhymed, and fung, and said, and said nothing; they drank, and fought, and whored, and slept, and swore, and took snuff; they wenť to new plays on the first night, haunted the chocolate-houses, beat the watch, lay on bulks, and got claps; they bilked hackney-coachmen, ran in debt with shopkeepers, and lay with their wives ; they killed bailiffs, kicked fidlars down stairs, eat at Locket's, loitered at Will's; they talked of the drawing-room, and never came there; dined with lords they never faw; whispered a duchess, and spoke never a word; exposed the scrawls of their laundress for billetdoux of quality; came ever just from court, and were never seen in it ; attended the levee sub dio; got a list of peers by heart in one company, and with great familiarity retailed them in another. Above all, they constantly attended those committees of fenators, who are filent in the boufe, and loud in the coffeehouse ; where they nightly adjourn to chew the cud of politics; and
* Their mistresses are, the Duchess d'Argent, Mademoiselle de Grands Titres, and the Countess d'Orgueil ; i. e. covetoufness, ambition, and pride; which were the three great vices that the antient fathers inveighed against, as the first corruptions of Christianity. W. Wotton.
are encompassed with a ring of disciples, who lie in wait to catch up their droppings. The three brothers had acquired forty other qualifications of the like stamp, too tedious to recount; and, by consequence, were justly reckoned the most accomplished persons in the town. But all would not suffice, and the ladies aforesaid continued still inflexible. To clear up which difficulty, I must, with the reader's good leave and patience, have recourse to some points of weight, which the authors of that age have not sufficiently illustrated.
For about this time it happened, a fect arose, whose tenets obtained and spread very far, especially in the grand monde, aud among every body of good fashion *. They worshipped a fort of idol t, who, as their doctrine delivered, did daily create men by a kind of manufactory operation. This idol they placed in the highest parts of the house, on an altar erected about three foot. He was shewn in the posture of a Persian Emperor, fitting on a superficies, with his legs interwoven under him. This god had a goofe for his enfign; whence it is, that some learned men pretend to deduce his original from Jupiter Capitolinos. At his left hand, beneath the altar, hell seemed to open, and catch at the animals the idol was creating: To prevent which, certain of his priests hourly flung in pieces of the uninformed mass or
substance, substance, and sometimes whole limbs already erlivened; which that horrid gulph insatiably swallowed, terrible to behold. The goose was also held a subaltern divinity, or deus minorum geritiuin; before whose shrine was sacrificed that creature, whose hourly food is human gore, and who is in fo great renown abroad for being the delight and favourite of the Ægyptian Cercopithecus *. Millions of these animals were cruelly flaughtered every day, to appease the hunger of that consuming deity. The chief idol was also worshipped as the inventor of the yard and needle ; whether as the god of feamen, or on account of certain other mystical attributes, hath not been fufficiently cleared.
* This is an occasional fatire upon dress and fashion, in order: to introduce what follows.
+ By this idol is meant a tailor.
The worshippers of this deity had also a system of their belief, which seemed to turn upon the following fundamentals. They held the universe to be a large suit of cloaths, which invests every thing: That the earth is invested by the air; the air is invested by the stars; and the stars are invested by the primim mobile. Look on this globe of earth, you will find it to be a very complete and fashionable dress. What is that which some call land, but a fine coat faced with green the sec, but a waistcoat of water-tabby? Proceed to the particular works of the creation, you will find how curious journeyman Nature hath
* The Ægyptians worshipped a monkeys which animal is very fond of eating lice, styled here creatures that feed on human gore.