« AnteriorContinuar »
A full and true Account of the BATTLE
fought last Friday, donc *.
HOEVER examines, with due circumspec
tion, into the annual records of time, will find it remarked, that War is the child of Pride,
* The Battle of the Books took its rise from a controversy between Sir William Temple and Mr Wotton; a controversy which made much noise, and employed many pens towards the latter end of the last century. This humourous treatise is drawn up in an heroic comic style, in which Swift, with great wit and spirit, gives the victory to the former. The general plan is excellent, but particular parts are defective. The frequent chafmis puzzle and interrupt the narrative : They neither convey any latent ideas; nor point out any distinct or occult sarcasms. Some characters are barely touched upon, which might have been extended ; others are enlarged, which might have been contracted. The name of Horace is inserted ; and Virgil is introduced only for an opportunity of comparing his translator Dryden, to the lady in a lcbfier; to a mouse under a canopy of fiate ; and to a shrivelled beau within the pent-house of a full-boi tomed periwig. These fimilies carry the true stamp of ridicule. But rancour must be very prevalent in the heart of an author, who could overlook the merits of Dryden; many of whose dedications and prefaces are as fine compositions, and as just pieces of criticism, as any in our language. The translation of Virgil was a work of haste and indigence. Dryden was equal to the undertaking, but unfortunate during the conduct of it.The two chief heroes among the modern generals, are Wotton and Bentley. Their figures are displayed in the most disadvantageous attitudes. The former is described, “ full of spleen, “ dulness, and ill manners." The latter is reprefented, tall,
and Pride the daughter of Riches *. The former of which affertions may be foon granted ; but one cannot so easily subscribe to the latter. For Pride is nearly related to Beggary and Want, either by father or mother, and sometimes by both : And, to speak naturally, it very feldom happens among men to fall out, when all have enough; invasions usually travelling from North to South, that is to say, from Poverty to Plenty. The most ancient and natural grounds of quarrels are Luft and Avarice; which, though we may allow to be brethren or collateral branches of Pride, are certainly the issues of Want. For, to speak in the phrase of writers upon politics, we may observe in the republic of Dogs, which in its original seems to be an institution of the many, that the whole state is ever in the profoundest peace after a full meal; and that civil broils arise among them, when it happens for one great bone to be seized on by some leading dog; who either divides it among the few, and then it falls to an oligarchy ; or keeps it to himself, and then it runs up to a tyranny. The same reasoning also holds place among them, in those diffenfions we behold upon a turgefcency in any of the females. For, the right of poffeffion lying in common, it being impossible to establish a property in so delicate a cafe), jealoufies and suspicions do so abound, that the whole commonwealth of that street is reduced to a manifest state of war, of every citizen against every citizen ; till fome one of more courage, conduct, or fortune, than the reft, feizes and enjoys the prize : Upon which naturally arises plenty of heart-burning, and envy and snarling against the happy dog. Again, if we look upon any of these republics engaged in a foreign war, either of invasion or defence, we shall find, the fame reasoning will serve as to the grounds and occasions of each; and that Poverty or Want, in fome degree or other, (whether real, or in opinion, which makes no alteration in the case), has a great share, as well as Pride, on the part of the aggreffor.
oligarchy; “ without Mape or comeliness; large, without strength or pro“ portion."--The battle, which is maintained by the Ancients with great fuperiority of strength, though not of numbers, ends with the demolition of Bentley, and his friend Wotton, by the lance of the Honourable Charles Boyle, youngest fon of Roger the second Earl of Orrery, and father of the present Earl. He was a fellow of the royal society, and invented the astronomical machine called the Orrery. Orrery.
* Riches produceth pride ; pride is war's ground, &c. Vid. Ephem. de Mary Clarke ; opt. edit.--- now called Wing's meet almanack, and printed by J. Roberts for the company of Stations
Now, whoever will please to take this scheme, and either reduce or adapt it to an intellectual state, or commonwealth of learning, will foon discover the first ground of disagreement between the two great parties at this time in arnis; and may form just conclusions upon the merits of either cause. But the issue or events of this war are not so easy to conjecture at: For the present quarrel is so inflamed by the warm heads of either
faction, and the pretensions fomewhere or other so exorbitant, as not to admit the least overtures of accommodation. This quarrel first began, as I have heard it affirmed by an old dweller in the neighbourhood, about a small spot of ground, lying and being upon one of the two tops of the hill Parnaffus ; the highest and largest of which had, it seems, been, time out of mind, in quiet poffeflion of certain tenants called the Ancients ; and the other was held by the Moderns. But these difiking their prefent station, fent certain ambafladors to the Ancients, complaining of a great nuisance; how the height of that part of Parnaffus quite spoiled the prospect of theirs, especially towards the east : And therefore, to avoid a war, offered them the choice of this alternative, Either that the Ancients would please to remove themselves and their effects down to the lower summity, which the Moderns would graciously surrender to them, and advance in their place; or else that the said Ancients will give leave to the Moderns, to come with shovels and mattocks, and level the said hill as low as they shall think it convenient. To which the Ancients made answer, How little they expected such a message as this, from a colony whom they had admitted, out of their own free grace, to so near a neighbourhood: That as to their own seat, they were Aborigines of it; and therefore, to talk with them of a removal or surrender, was a language they did not underftand : That if the height of the bill