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for 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 falt down'
with a sufficient force:

Corpoream quoque enim vocem conftare fatendum eft,
Et fonitum, quoniam pofunt 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 hath instructed the hearers to stand with their mouths open, and erected parallel to the horizon; so as they may be interfected 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 funk 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 plum into the jaws of certain critics, as I think they are called, which stand ready opened to de voar 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 laid out in raising pruriences and protuberances, is observed to run much upon a line, and cver 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, foar 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 twelvepenny gallery, and there planted a suitable colony, who? greedily intercept them in their passage.

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* 'Tis certain then, that voice that thus can wound,
Is all material ; body every sound.


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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 modlern saints in Great Britain, as they have spiritualised and refined them from the dross and grossness of sense and human reafon. The matter, as we have said, is of rotten wood; and that upon two conliderations; because it is the quality of rotten wood to give light in the dark : and, secondly, becaufe 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 ladder is an adequate fymbol of faction, and of poetry ; to both of which so noble a number of authors are indebted for their fame. Of faction to because *

Hiatus in


of poetry,


because its orators do perorare with a fong; and, because climbing up by flow 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 iwan ; such as, Sixpenny-worth of wit, Westminster drolleries, Delightful tules, Complete jefters, and the like; by which the writers of and for GRU B-STREET have

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

+ 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, lally, with some satirical intention.

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in these latter ages fo 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 hobnails out of his shoes. It is under this class I have presumed to lift 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 of the Grub-street brotherhood have of late years fallen under many prejudices; nor how it has been the perpetual employment of two junior start-up focieties, to ridicule them and their authors, as unworthy their established post in the commonwealth of wit and learning. Their own consciences will easily inform them, whom I mean. Nor has the world been so negligent a looker-on, as not to observe the continual efforts made by the societies of Gresham * and of Will's t to edify a name and reputation upon the ruin of OURS. And this is yet more feeling grief to us, upon the regards of tenderness as well as of justice, when we reflect on their proceedings not only as unjust, but as ungrateful, undutiful, and unnatural. For how can it be forgot by the world, or themselves, to say nothing of our own records, which are full and clear in the point, that they both are seminaries, not only of our planting, but our watering too? I am informed, our two rivals have lately made an offer to enter into the lists with united forces, and challenge us to a comparison of books, both as to weight and number. In return to which, with licence from our president, I humbly offer two answers. First; we say, the proposal is like that which Archimedes made upon a smaller affair , including an impoflibility in the practice ; for where can they find scales of capacity er nough for the first, or an arithmetician of capacity enough for the second ? Secondly, we are ready to accept the challenge; but with this condition, that a third indif

* GreMam college was the place where the Royal society then met, from whence they removed to Crane court in Fleet-street.

+ Will's coffichouse in Covent-garden was formerly the place where the poets usually inet; which, though it be yet freih in memory, in some years may be forgotten, and want this cxplanation. # Viz. About moving the earth.


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ferent person be assigned, to whose impartiał judgmen it should be left to decide, which fociety each book, freatise, or pamphlet, do most properly belong to. This point, God knows, is very far from being fixed at present: for we are ready to produce a catalogue of some -thousands, which in all common justice ought to be in: titled to our fraternity, but by the revolted and newfangled writers molt perfidiously ascribed to the others. Upon all which, we think it very unbecoming our prudence, that the determination should be remitted to the authors themselves; when our adversaries, by briguing and caballing, bave caused fo universal a defection from us, that the greatest part of our society hath already deferted to them, and our nearest friends begin to Itand ·aloof, as if they were half- ashamed to own us.

This is the utmost I am authorised to say, upon fo ungrateful and melancholy a subject; because we are extreme unwilling to infiame a controversy, whose conti· nuance may be fo fatal to the interests of us all ; desiring much rather that things be amicably composed; and we fhall so far advance on our fide, as to be ready to receive the two prodig als with open arms, whenever they shall think fit to return from their hrusks and their har. lots; which, I think, from the present course of their Studies *, they most properly may be said to be engaged in; and, like an indulgent parent, continue to them our affection and our blessing.

But the greatest maim given to that general reception which the writings of our society have formerly recei. ved, (next to the transitory state of all sublunary things), hath been a superficial vein among many readers of the present age, who will by no means be persua.ded to inspect beyond the surface and the rind of things : Whereas, wisdom is a fox, who, after long hunting, will at last cost you the pains to dig out; it is a cheese, which, by how much the richer, has the thicker, the homelier, and the coarser coat; and whereof, to a judicious palate the maggots are the belt: it is a sack-pollet, wherein the deeper you go, you will find it the sweeter. Wifilom is a hen, whose cockling we must value and con


* Virtu oso experiments, and modern comedies.

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fider, because it is attended with an egg. But, then,
lastly, it is a nut, which, unless you chuse with judg-
ment, may


a tooth, and pay you with nothing but a worin. In consequence of these momentous truths, the Grubxan sages have always chosen to convey their precepts and their arts shut up within the vehicles of types and fables; which having been perhaps more careful and curious in adorning, than was altogether neces. Sary, it has fared with these vehicles, after the usual fate of coaches over-finely painted and gilt, that the tranfitory gazers have so dazled their eyes, and filled their imaginations with the outward lustre, as neither to regard or consider the person or the parts of the owner within: A misfortune we undergo with somewhat less reluctancy, because it has been common to us with Pythagoras, Æsop, Socrates, and other of our predecessors.

However, that neither the world, nor ourselves, may any longer suffer by such misunderstandings, I have been prevailed on, after much importunity from my friends, to travel in a complete and laborious dissertation upon the prime productions of our society; which, besides their beautiful externals for the gratification of fuperficial readers, have darkly and deeply couched under them the most finished and refined systems of all sciences

as I do not doubt to lay open by untwisting or unwinding, and either to draw up by exantlation, or display by incision.

This great work was entered upon some years ago by one of our most eminent members. He began with the history of Reynard the fox*; but neither lived to públish his essay, nor to proceed farther in so useful an attempt ; which is very much to be lamented, because the discovery he made, and communicated with his friends, is now universally received; nor do I think, any of the learned will dispute that famous treatise to be a complete body of civil knowledge, and the revelation, or rather the apocalypse of all state-arcana. But the progress I have made is much greater, having already finished my

and arts ;

* The author seems here to be mistaken; for I have seen a Latin edition of Reynard the fox above a hundred years old, which I take to be the original; for the rest, it has been thought by many people to contain some satirical design in it.


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