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be of great assistance towards extending this preface into the size now in vogue, which by rule ought to be large, in proportion as the subsequent volume is small; yet I shall now dismiss our impatient reader from any farther attendance at the porch; and having duly pre
pared his mind by a preliminary discourse, Thall gladly introduce him to the sublime mysteries that ensue.
T A L E OF A T U B *.
HOE VER hath an ambition to be heard in a croud, must press, and squeeze, and thrust, and climb, with indefatigable pains,
till he has exalted himself to a certain degree of altitude above them. Now, in all assemblies, . though you wedge them ever so close, we may observe this
* The Tale of a Tub has made much noise in the world. It was one of Swift's earliest performances, and has never been, excelled in wit and spirit by his own, or any other pen. The, ccnsures that have passed upon it are various. The most mate.' rial of which were such as reflected upon Dr. Swift, in the character of a clergyman, and a Chriftian. It has been one of the misfortunes attending, Christianity, that many of her fons, from a mistaken filial piety, have indulged themselves in too restrained and too melancholy a way of thinking, Can we. wonder, then, if a book composed with all the force of wit and humour, in derision of sacerdotal tyranny, in ridicule of grave hypocrisy, and in contempt of flegmatic ftiffness, should i be wilfully misconstrued by some persons, and ignorantly mistaken by others, as a sarcasm and reflection upon the whole, Christian church? Swift's ungovernable spirit of irony has sometimes carried him into very unwarrantable flights of wit. In the style of truth, I must look upon the Tale of a Tub as no intended'insult against Christianity, but as a satire against the wild errors of the church of Rome, the flow and incomplete refor-mation of the Lutherans, and the absurd and affected zeal of thePresbyterians. Orrery,
+ The Introduction abounds with wit and humour. But the , author never loses the least opportunity of venting his keenest satire against Mr. Dryden, and consequently loads with insults the greatest
, although the least prosperous of our English poets. Yet who can avoid smiling, when he finds the Hind and Panther as a complete abstract of sixteen thousand schoolmen, and when Tommy Pots is supposed written by the same hand, as a supplement to the former work ? I am willing to imagine, that Dryden, in some manner or other, had offended Swift, who, otherwise, I hope, would have been more indulgent to the errors of a man op: pressed by poverty, driven on by party, and bewildered by re
peculiar property, that over their heads there is room enough ; but how to reach it, is the difficult point; it being as hard to get quit of number, as of hell :
quras, Hoc opus, hic labor eft * To this end, the philosopher's way in all ages has been by erecting certain edifices in the air. But, whatever practice and reputation thee kind of structures have formerly possessed, or may still continue in, not excepting even that of Socrates, when he was suspended in a basket to help contemplation; I think, with due fubmiffion, they seem to labour under two inconveniencies. First, That the foundations being laid too high, they have been often out of sight, and ever out of hearing. Secondly, That the materials, being very transitory, have suffered much from inclemencies of air, especially in these northwest regions.
Therefore, towards the just performance of this great work, there remain but three methods that I can think on ; whereof the wisdom of our anceltors being highly sensible, has, to encourage all aspiring adventurers, thought fit to erect three wooden machines for the use of those orators, who desire to talk much without interruption. These are, the pulpit, the ladder, and the stage itinerant. For, as to the bar, though it be
, compounded of the same matter, and designed for the same use, it cannot, however, be well allowed the honour of a fourth, by reason of its level or inferior lituation, exposing it to perpetual interruption from collaterals. Neither can the bench itself, though raised to a proper eminency, put in a better claim, whatever its
ligionBut although our satirical author, now and then may have indulged himself in some personal animosities, or may have taken freedoms not so perfe&ly consistent with that solemn decency which is required from a clergyman; yet, throughout the wholc piece there is a vein of ridicule and good humour, that laughs pedantry and affectation into the lowest degree of con• tempt, and exposes the character of Peter and“Jack in such a man. ner as never will be forgiven, and never can be answered. Orrery.
* But to return and view the chearful skics;
advocates insist on. For, if they please to look into the original design of its erection, and the circumstances or adjuncts subservient to that design, they will soon acknowledge the present practice exacily correspondent to the primitive institution; and both to answer the etymology of the name, which, in the Phoenician tongue, is a word of great fignification, importing, if literally interpreted, the place of sleep; but, in common acceptation, a feat well bolstered and chhionel, for the repose of old and gouty
limbs : Senes ut in otia tuta recedant : Fortune being indebted to them this part of retaliation, that, as for. merly they have long talked, whilst others fept, so now they may sleep as long, whilst others talk.
But if no other argument could occur, to exclude the bench and the bar from the list of oratorial machines, it were fufficient, that the admission of them would overthrow a number, which I was resolved to establish, whats ever argunient it might cost me ; in imitation of that prudent method observed by many other philosophers and great clerks, whose chief art in division has been to grow fond of some proper mystical number, which their imaginations have rendered facred, to a degree, that they force common reason to find room for it in every part of nature ; reducing, including, and adjust ing every genus and species within that compas, by coupling fome against their wills, and banishing others at
Now, among all the rest, the profound number THREE is that which hath most employed my sublimest speculations, nor ever without wonderful de light. There is now in the press, and will be published next term, a panegyrical essay of mine upon this number ; wherein i have, by moit convincing proofs, not only reduced the senses and the elements under its banner, but brought over several deserters from its two great rivals, SEVEN and NINE.
Now, the first of these oratorial machines in place, as well as dignity, is the pulpit. of pulpits there are in this illanu 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 perVOL. 1.
fection in Ihape 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 refemblance to a pillory, it will ever have a : mighty influence on hunian ears.
Of ladders I need say nothing. It is observed by foJeigners 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, bath made a faithful and a painful collection, which he shortly designs to publish in twelve volumes in 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 flage-itinerant ** erected with much fagacity, fub Jove pluvio, in triviis et quadriviis t. It is the great seminary of the two former, and its orators are sometimes preferred to the one, and fometimes to the other, in proportion to their deservings, there being a Arist 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 I, continually descending, must needs be more fo, when loaden and pressed down by words; which are als
* Is the mountebank's stage, whose orators the author determines either to the gallows or a converticle.
+ In the open air, and in Streets where, the greateft resort is. Lucret. lib. 2.