A Tale of a Tub













Broadway, Ludgate




A Tale of a Tub


To the Right Honourable John Lord Somers


The Bookseller to The Reader


The Epistle Dedicatory


The Preface


Section I.

The Introduction


Section II.



Section III.

A Digression Concerning Critics


Section IV.

A Tale of a Tub


Section V.

A Digression in the Modern Kind


Section VI.

A Tale of a Tub


Section VII.

A Digression in Praise of Digressions


Section VIII.

A Tale of a Tub


Section IX.

A Digression Concerning the Original . . .


Section X.

A Farther Digression


Section XI.

A Tale of a Tub


The Conclusion

The History of Martin


The History of Martin


A Digression on the Nature . . .


The History of


A Project for the Universal Benefit of



Treatifes writ by the fame Author, moft of them mentioned in
the following Discourfes; which will be fpeedily publifhed.

A Character of the prefent Set of Wits in
this Ifland

A Panegyrical Effay upon the Number THREE.

A Differtation upon the principal productions of

Lectures upon the Diffection of Human Nature.

A Panegyrick upon the World.

An Analytical Difcourfe upon Zeal,
Hiftori-theo-phyfi-logically confidered.

A general Hiftory of Ears.

A modeft Defence of the Proceedings of the Rabble in
all Ages

A Defcription of the Kingdom of Abfurdities.

A Voyage into England, by a Perfon of Quality in
Terra Auftralis incognita, tranflated from the

A Critical Effay upon the Art of Canting,
Philofophically, Phyfically, and Mufically



My Lord,

Though the author has written a
large Dedication, yet that being addressed to a Prince whom I am
never likely to have the honour of being known to; a person,
besides, as far as I can observe, not at all regarded or thought
on by any of our present writers; and I being wholly free from
that slavery which booksellers usually lie under to the caprices
of authors, I think it a wise piece of presumption to inscribe
these papers to your Lordship, and to implore your
Lordship’s protection of them.  God and your Lordship
know their faults and their merits; for as to my own particular,
I am altogether a stranger to the matter; and though everybody
else should be equally ignorant, I do not fear the sale of the
book at all the worse upon that score.  Your
Lordship’s name on the front in capital letters will at any
time get off one edition: neither would I desire any other help
to grow an alderman than a patent for the sole privilege of
dedicating to your Lordship.

I should now, in right of a dedicator, give your Lordship a
list of your own virtues, and at the same time be very unwilling
to offend your modesty; but chiefly I should celebrate your
liberality towards men of great parts and small fortunes, and
give you broad hints that I mean myself.  And I was just
going on in the usual method to peruse a hundred or two of
dedications, and transcribe an abstract to be applied to your
Lordship, but I was diverted by a certain accident.  For
upon the covers of these papers I casually observed written in
large letters the two following words, DETUR DIGNISSIMO, which, for aught I
knew, might contain some important meaning.  But it
unluckily fell out that none of the Authors I employ understood
Latin (though I have them often in pay to translate out of that
language).  I was therefore compelled to have recourse to
the Curate of our Parish, who Englished it thus, Let it be
given to the worthiest
; and his comment was that the Author
meant his work should be dedicated to the sublimest genius of the
age for wit, learning, judgment, eloquence, and wisdom.  I
called at a poet’s chamber (who works for my shop) in an
alley hard by, showed him the translation, and desired his
opinion who it was that the Author could mean.  He told me,
after some consideration, that vanity was a thing he abhorred,
but by the description he thought himself to be the person aimed
at; and at the same time he very kindly offered his own
assistance gratis towards penning a dedication to himself. 
I desired him, however, to give a second guess.  Why then,
said he, it must be I, or my Lord Somers.  From thence I
went to several other wits of my acquaintance, with no small
hazard and weariness to my person, from a prodigious number of
dark winding stairs; but found them all in the same story, both
of your Lordship and themselves.  Now your Lordship is to
understand that this proceeding was not of my own invention; for
I have somewhere heard it is a maxim that those to whom everybody
allows the second place have an undoubted title to the first.

This infallibly convinced me that your Lordship was the person
intended by the Author.  But being very unacquainted in the
style and form of dedications, I employed those wits aforesaid to
furnish me with hints and materials towards a panegyric upon your
Lordship’s virtues.

In two days they brought me ten sheets of paper filled up on
every side.  They swore to me that they had ransacked
whatever could be found in the characters of Socrates, Aristides,
Epaminondas, Cato, Tully, Atticus, and other hard names which I
cannot now recollect.  However, I have reason to believe
they imposed upon my ignorance, because when I came to read over
their collections, there was not a syllable there but what I and
everybody else knew as well as themselves: therefore I grievously
suspect a cheat; and that these Authors of mine stole and
transcribed every word from the universal report of
mankind.  So that I took upon myself as fifty shillings out
of pocket to no manner of purpose.

If by altering the title I could make the same materials serve
for another dedication (as my betters have done), it would help
to make up my loss; but I have made several persons dip here and
there in those papers, and before they read three lines they have
all assured me plainly that they cannot possibly be applied to
any person besides your Lordship.

I expected, indeed, to have heard of your Lordship’s
bravery at the head of an army; of your undaunted courage in
mounting a breach or scaling a wall; or to have had your pedigree
traced in a lineal descent from the House of Austria; or of your
wonderful talent at dress and dancing; or your profound knowledge
in algebra, metaphysics, and the Oriental tongues: but to ply the
world with an old beaten story of your wit, and eloquence, and
learning, and wisdom, and justice, and politeness, and candour,
and evenness of temper in all scenes of life; of that great
discernment in discovering and readiness in favouring deserving
men; with forty other common topics; I confess I have neither
conscience nor countenance to do it.  Because there is no
virtue either of a public or private life which some
circumstances of your own have not often produced upon the stage
of the world; and those few which for want of occasions to exert
them might otherwise have passed unseen or unobserved by your
friends, your enemies have at length brought to light.

It is true I should be very loth the bright example of your
Lordship’s virtues should be lost to after-ages, both for
their sake and your own; but chiefly because they will be so very
necessary to adorn the history of a late reign; and that is
another reason why I would forbear to make a recital of them
here; because I have been told by wise men that as dedications
have run for some years past, a good historian will not be apt to
have recourse thither in search of characters.

There is one point wherein I think we dedicators would do well
to change our measures; I mean, instead of running on so far upon
the praise of our patron’s liberality, to spend a word or
two in admiring their patience.  I can put no greater
compliment on your Lordship’s than by giving you so ample
an occasion to exercise it at present.  Though perhaps I
shall not be apt to reckon much merit to your Lordship upon that
score, who having been formerly used to tedious harangues, and
sometimes to as little purpose, will be the readier to pardon
this, especially when it is offered by one who is, with all
respect and veneration,

My Lord,

Your Lordship’s most

and most faithful Servant,




It is now six years since these
papers came first to my hand, which seems to have been about a
twelvemonth after they were written, for the Author tells us in
his preface to the first treatise that he had calculated it for
the year 1697; and in several passages of that discourse, as well
as the second, it appears they were written about that time.

As to the Author, I can give no manner of satisfaction. 
However, I am credibly informed that this publication is without
his knowledge, for he concludes the copy is lost, having lent it
to a person since dead, and being never in possession of it
after; so that, whether the work received his last hand, or
whether he intended to fill up the defective places, is like to
remain a secret.

If I should go about to tell the reader by what accident I
became master of these papers, it would, in this unbelieving age,
pass for little more than the cant or jargon of the trade. 
I therefore gladly spare both him and myself so unnecessary a
trouble.  There yet remains a difficult question—why I
published them no sooner?  I forbore upon two
accounts.  First, because I thought I had better work upon
my hands; and secondly, because I was not without some hope of
hearing from the Author and receiving his directions.  But I
have been lately alarmed with intelligence of a surreptitious
copy which a certain great wit had new polished and refined, or,
as our present writers express themselves, “fitted to the
humour of the age,” as they have already done with great
felicity to Don Quixote, Boccalini, La Bruyère, and other
authors.  However, I thought it fairer dealing to offer the
whole work in its naturals.  If any gentleman will please to
furnish me with a key, in order to explain the more difficult
parts, I shall very gratefully acknowledge the favour, and print
it by itself.





I here present your Highness with
the fruits of a very few leisure hours, stolen from the short
intervals of a world of business, and of an employment quite
alien from such amusements as this; the poor production of that
refuse of time which has lain heavy upon my hands during a long
prorogation of Parliament, a great dearth of foreign news, and a
tedious fit of rainy weather.  For which, and other reasons,
it cannot choose extremely to deserve such a patronage as that of
your Highness, whose numberless virtues in so few years, make the
world look upon you as the future example to all princes. 
For although your Highness is hardly got clear of infancy, yet
has the universal learned world already resolved upon appealing
to your future dictates with the lowest and most resigned
submission, fate having decreed you sole arbiter of the
productions of human wit in this polite and most accomplished
age.  Methinks the number of appellants were enough to shock
and startle any judge of a genius less unlimited than yours; but
in order to prevent such glorious trials, the person, it seems,
to whose care the education of your Highness is committed, has
resolved, as I am told, to keep you in almost an universal
ignorance of our studies, which it is your inherent birthright to

It is amazing to me that this person should have assurance, in
the face of the sun, to go about persuading your Highness that
our age is almost wholly illiterate and has hardly produced one
writer upon any subject.  I know very well that when your
Highness shall come to riper years, and have gone through the
learning of antiquity, you will be too curious to neglect
inquiring into the authors of the very age before you; and to
think that this insolent, in the account he is preparing for your
view, designs to reduce them to a number so insignificant as I am
ashamed to mention; it moves my zeal and my spleen for the honour
and interest of our vast flourishing body, as well as of myself,
for whom I know by long experience he has professed, and still
continues, a peculiar malice.

It is not unlikely that, when your Highness will one day
peruse what I am now writing, you may be ready to expostulate
with your governor upon the credit of what I here affirm, and
command him to show you some of our productions.  To which
he will answer—for I am well informed of his
designs—by asking your Highness where they are, and what is
become of them? and pretend it a demonstration that there never
were any, because they are not then to be found.  Not to be
found!  Who has mislaid them?  Are they sunk in the
abyss of things?  It is certain that in their own nature
they were light enough to swim upon the surface for all eternity;
therefore, the fault is in him who tied weights so heavy to their
heels as to depress them to the centre.  Is their very
essence destroyed?  Who has annihilated them?  Were
they drowned by purges or martyred by pipes?  Who
administered them to the posteriors of —.  But that it
may no longer be a doubt with your Highness who is to be the
author of this universal ruin, I beseech you to observe that
large and terrible scythe which your governor affects to bear
continually about him.  Be pleased to remark the length and
strength, the sharpness and hardness, of his nails and teeth;
consider his baneful, abominable breath, enemy to life and
matter, infectious and corrupting, and then reflect whether it be
possible for any mortal ink and paper of this generation to make
a suitable resistance.  Oh, that your Highness would one day
resolve to disarm this usurping maître de palais of
his furious engines, and bring your empire hors du

It were endless to recount the several methods of tyranny and
destruction which your governor is pleased to practise upon this
occasion.  His inveterate malice is such to the writings of
our age, that, of several thousands produced yearly from this
renowned city, before the next revolution of the sun there is not
one to be heard of.  Unhappy infants! many of them
barbarously destroyed before they have so much as learnt their
mother-tongue to beg for pity.  Some he stifles in their
cradles, others he frights into convulsions, whereof they
suddenly die, some he flays alive, others he tears limb from
limb, great numbers are offered to Moloch, and the rest, tainted
by his breath, die of a languishing consumption.

But the concern I have most at heart is for our Corporation of
Poets, from whom I am preparing a petition to your Highness, to
be subscribed with the names of one hundred and thirty-six of the
first race, but whose immortal productions are never likely to
reach your eyes, though each of them is now an humble and an
earnest appellant for the laurel, and has large comely volumes
ready to show for a support to his pretensions.  The
never-dying works of these illustrious persons your governor,
sir, has devoted to unavoidable death, and your Highness is to be
made believe that our age has never arrived at the honour to
produce one single poet.

We confess immortality to be a great and powerful goddess, but
in vain we offer up to her our devotions and our sacrifices if
your Highness’s governor, who has usurped the priesthood,
must, by an unparalleled ambition and avarice, wholly intercept
and devour them.

To affirm that our age is altogether unlearned and devoid of
writers in any kind, seems to be an assertion so bold and so
false, that I have been sometimes thinking the contrary may
almost be proved by uncontrollable demonstration.  It is
true, indeed, that although their numbers be vast and their
productions numerous in proportion, yet are they hurried so
hastily off the scene that they escape our memory and delude our
sight.  When I first thought of this address, I had prepared
a copious list of titles to present your Highness as an
undisputed argument for what I affirm.  The originals were
posted fresh upon all gates and corners of streets; but returning
in a very few hours to take a review, they were all torn down and
fresh ones in their places.  I inquired after them among
readers and booksellers, but I inquired in vain; the memorial of
them was lost among men, their place was no more to be found; and
I was laughed to scorn for a clown and a pedant, devoid of all
taste and refinement, little versed in the course of present
affairs, and that knew nothing of what had passed in the best
companies of court and town.  So that I can only avow in
general to your Highness that we do abound in learning and wit,
but to fix upon particulars is a task too slippery for my slender
abilities.  If I should venture, in a windy day, to affirm
to your Highness that there is a large cloud near the horizon in
the form of a bear, another in the zenith with the head of an
ass, a third to the westward with claws like a dragon; and your
Highness should in a few minutes think fit to examine the truth,
it is certain they would be all chanced in figure and position,
new ones would arise, and all we could agree upon would be, that
clouds there were, but that I was grossly mistaken in the
zoography and topography of them.

But your governor, perhaps, may still insist, and put the
question, What is then become of those immense bales of paper
which must needs have been employed in such numbers of
books?  Can these also be wholly annihilated, and to of a
sudden, as I pretend?  What shall I say in return of so
invidious an objection?  It ill befits the distance between
your Highness and me to send you for ocular conviction to a jakes
or an oven, to the windows of a bawdyhouse, or to a sordid
lanthorn.  Books, like men their authors, have no more than
one way of coming into the world, but there are ten thousand to
go out of it and return no more.

I profess to your Highness, in the integrity of my heart, that
what I am going to say is literally true this minute I am
writing; what revolutions may happen before it shall be ready for
your perusal I can by no means warrant; however, I beg you to
accept it as a specimen of our learning, our politeness, and our
wit.  I do therefore affirm, upon the word of a sincere man,
that there is now actually in being a certain poet called John
Dryden, whose translation of Virgil was lately printed in large
folio, well bound, and if diligent search were made, for aught I
know, is yet to be seen.  There is another called Nahum
Tate, who is ready to make oath that he has caused many reams of
verse to be published, whereof both himself and his bookseller,
if lawfully required, can still produce authentic copies, and
therefore wonders why the world is pleased to make such a secret
of it.  There is a third, known by the name of Tom Durfey, a
poet of a vast comprehension, an universal genius, and most
profound learning.  There are also one Mr. Rymer and one Mr.
Dennis, most profound critics.  There is a person styled Dr.
Bentley, who has wrote near a thousand pages of immense
erudition, giving a full and true account of a certain squabble
of wonderful importance between himself and a bookseller; he is a
writer of infinite wit and humour, no man rallies with a better
grace and in more sprightly turns.  Further, I avow to your
Highness that with these eyes I have beheld the person of William
Wotton, B.D., who has written a good-sized volume against a
friend of your governor, from whom, alas! he must therefore look
for little favour, in a most gentlemanly style, adorned with
utmost politeness and civility, replete with discoveries equally
valuable for their novelty and use, and embellished with traits
of wit so poignant and so apposite, that he is a worthy yoke-mate
to his fore-mentioned friend.

Why should I go upon farther particulars, which might fill a
volume with the just eulogies of my contemporary brethren? 
I shall bequeath this piece of justice to a larger work, wherein
I intend to write a character of the present set of wits in our
nation; their persons I shall describe particularly and at
length, their genius and understandings in miniature.

In the meantime, I do here make bold to present your Highness
with a faithful abstract drawn from the universal body of all
arts and sciences, intended wholly for your service and
instruction.  Nor do I doubt in the least but your Highness
will peruse it as carefully and make as considerable improvements
as other young princes have already done by the many volumes of
late years written for a help to their studies.

That your Highness may advance in wisdom and virtue, as well
as years, and at last outshine all your royal ancestors, shall be
the daily prayer of,


Your Highness’s most devoted,

Decemb. 1697.


The wits of the present age being
so very numerous and penetrating, it seems the grandees of Church
and State begin to fall under horrible apprehensions lest these
gentlemen, during the intervals of a long peace, should find
leisure to pick holes in the weak sides of religion and
government.  To prevent which, there has been much thought
employed of late upon certain projects for taking off the force
and edge of those formidable inquirers from canvassing and
reasoning upon such delicate points.  They have at length
fixed upon one, which will require some time as well as cost to
perfect.  Meanwhile, the danger hourly increasing, by new
levies of wits, all appointed (as there is reason to fear) with
pen, ink, and paper, which may at an hour’s warning be
drawn out into pamphlets and other offensive weapons ready for
immediate execution, it was judged of absolute necessity that
some present expedient be thought on till the main design can be
brought to maturity.  To this end, at a grand committee,
some days ago, this important discovery was made by a certain
curious and refined observer, that seamen have a custom when they
meet a Whale to fling him out an empty Tub, by way of amusement,
to divert him from laying violent hands upon the Ship.  This
parable was immediately mythologised; the Whale was interpreted
to be Hobbes’s “Leviathan,” which tosses and
plays with all other schemes of religion and government, whereof
a great many are hollow, and dry, and empty, and noisy, and
wooden, and given to rotation.  This is the Leviathan from
whence the terrible wits of our age are said to borrow their
weapons.  The Ship in danger is easily understood to be its
old antitype the commonwealth.  But how to analyse the Tub
was a matter of difficulty, when, after long inquiry and debate,
the literal meaning was preserved, and it was decreed that, in
order to prevent these Leviathans from tossing and sporting with
the commonwealth, which of itself is too apt to fluctuate, they
should be diverted from that game by “A Tale of a
Tub.”  And my genius being conceived to lie not
unhappily that way, I had the honour done me to be engaged in the

This is the sole design in publishing the following treatise,
which I hope will serve for an interim of some months to employ
those unquiet spirits till the perfecting of that great work,
into the secret of which it is reasonable the courteous reader
should have some little light.

It is intended that a large Academy be erected, capable of
containing nine thousand seven hundred forty and three persons,
which, by modest computation, is reckoned to be pretty near the
current number of wits in this island [50].  These are to
be disposed into the several schools of this Academy, and there
pursue those studies to which their genius most inclines
them.  The undertaker himself will publish his proposals
with all convenient speed, to which I shall refer the curious
reader for a more particular account, mentioning at present only
a few of the principal schools.  There is, first, a large
pederastic school, with French and Italian masters; there is also
the spelling school, a very spacious building; the school of
looking-glasses; the school of swearing; the school of critics;
the school of salivation; the school of hobby-horses; the school
of poetry; the school of tops; the school of spleen; the school
of gaming; with many others too tedious to recount.  No
person to be admitted member into any of these schools without an
attestation under two sufficient persons’ hands certifying
him to be a wit.

But to return.  I am sufficiently instructed in the
principal duty of a preface if my genius, were capable of
arriving at it.  Thrice have I forced my imagination to take
the tour of my invention, and thrice it has returned empty, the
latter having been wholly drained by the following
treatise.  Not so my more successful brethren the moderns,
who will by no means let slip a preface or dedication without
some notable distinguishing stroke to surprise the reader at the
entry, and kindle a wonderful expectation of what is to
ensue.  Such was that of a most ingenious poet, who,
soliciting his brain for something new, compared himself to the
hangman and his patron to the patient.  This was
insigne, recens, indictum ore alio [51a].  When I went through that
necessary and noble course of study, [51b] I had the
happiness to observe many such egregious touches, which I shall
not injure the authors by transplanting, because I have remarked
that nothing is so very tender as a modern piece of wit, and
which is apt to suffer so much in the carriage.  Some things
are extremely witty to-day, or fasting, or in this place, or at
eight o’clock, or over a bottle, or spoke by Mr.
Whatdyecall’m, or in a summer’s morning, any of
which, by the smallest transposal or misapplication, is utterly
annihilate.  Thus wit has its walks and purlieus, out of
which it may not stray the breadth of a hair, upon peril of being
lost.  The moderns have artfully fixed this Mercury, and
reduced it to the circumstances of time, place, and person. 
Such a jest there is that will not pass out of Covent Garden, and
such a one that is nowhere intelligible but at Hyde Park
Corner.  Now, though it sometimes tenderly affects me to
consider that all the towardly passages I shall deliver in the
following treatise will grow quite out of date and relish with
the first shifting of the present scene, yet I must need
subscribe to the justice of this proceeding, because I cannot
imagine why we should be at expense to furnish wit for succeeding
ages, when the former have made no sort of provision for ours;
wherein I speak the sentiment of the very newest, and
consequently the most orthodox refiners, as well as my own. 
However, being extremely solicitous that every accomplished
person who has got into the taste of wit calculated for this
present month of August 1697 should descend to the very bottom of
all the sublime throughout this treatise, I hold it fit to lay
down this general maxim.  Whatever reader desires to have a
thorough comprehension of an author’s thoughts, cannot take
a better method than by putting himself into the circumstances
and posture of life that the writer was in upon every important
passage as it flowed from his pen, for this will introduce a
parity and strict correspondence of ideas between the reader and
the author.  Now, to assist the diligent reader in so
delicate an affair—as far as brevity will permit—I
have recollected that the shrewdest pieces of this treatise were
conceived in bed in a garret.  At other times (for a reason
best known to myself) I thought fit to sharpen my invention with
hunger, and in general the whole work was begun, continued, and
ended under a long course of physic and a great want of
money.  Now, I do affirm it will be absolutely impossible
for the candid peruser to go along with me in a great many bright
passages, unless upon the several difficulties emergent he will
please to capacitate and prepare himself by these
directions.  And this I lay down as my principal

Because I have professed to be a most devoted servant of all
modern forms, I apprehend some curious wit may object against me
for proceeding thus far in a preface without declaiming,
according to custom, against the multitude of writers whereof the
whole multitude of writers most reasonably complain.  I am
just come from perusing some hundreds of prefaces, wherein the
authors do at the very beginning address the gentle reader
concerning this enormous grievance.  Of these I have
preserved a few examples, and shall set them down as near as my
memory has been able to retain them.

One begins thus: “For a man to set up for a writer when
the press swarms with,” &c.

Another: “The tax upon paper does not lessen the number
of scribblers who daily pester,” &c.

Another: “When every little would-be wit takes pen in
hand, ’tis in vain to enter the lists,” &c.

Another: “To observe what trash the press swarms
with,” &c.

Another: “Sir, it is merely in obedience to your
commands that I venture into the public, for who upon a less
consideration would be of a party with such a rabble of
scribblers,” &c.

Now, I have two words in my own defence against this
objection.  First, I am far from granting the number of
writers a nuisance to our nation, having strenuously maintained
the contrary in several parts of the following discourse;
secondly, I do not well understand the justice of this
proceeding, because I observe many of these polite prefaces to be
not only from the same hand, but from those who are most
voluminous in their several productions; upon which I shall tell
the reader a short tale.

A mountebank in Leicester Fields had drawn a huge assembly
about him.  Among the rest, a fat unwieldy fellow, half
stifled in the press, would be every fit crying out, “Lord!
what a filthy crowd is here.  Pray, good people, give way a
little.  Bless need what a devil has raked this rabble
together.  Z—ds, what squeezing is this?  Honest
friend, remove your elbow.”  At last a weaver that
stood next him could hold no longer.  “A plague
confound you,” said he, “for an overgrown sloven; and
who in the devil’s name, I wonder, helps to make up the
crowd half so much as yourself?  Don’t you consider
that you take up more room with that carcass than any five
here?  Is not the place as free for us as for you? 
Bring your own guts to a reasonable compass, and then I’ll
engage we shall have room enough for us all.”

There are certain common privileges of a writer, the benefit
whereof I hope there will be no reason to doubt; particularly,
that where I am not understood, it shall be concluded that
something very useful and profound is couched underneath; and
again, that whatever word or sentence is printed in a different
character shall be judged to contain something extraordinary
either of wit or sublime.

As for the liberty I have thought fit to take of praising
myself, upon some occasions or none, I am sure it will need no
excuse if a multitude of great examples be allowed sufficient
authority; for it is here to be noted that praise was originally
a pension paid by the world, but the moderns, finding the trouble
and charge too great in collecting it, have lately bought out the
fee-simple, since which time the right of presentation is wholly
in ourselves.  For this reason it is that when an author
makes his own eulogy, he uses a certain form to declare and
insist upon his title, which is commonly in these or the like
words, “I speak without vanity,” which I think
plainly shows it to be a matter of right and justice.  Now,
I do here once for all declare, that in every encounter of this
nature through the following treatise the form aforesaid is
implied, which I mention to save the trouble of repeating it on
so many occasions.

It is a great ease to my conscience that I have written so
elaborate and useful a discourse without one grain of satire
intermixed, which is the sole point wherein I have taken leave to
dissent from the famous originals of our age and country.  I
have observed some satirists to use the public much at the rate
that pedants do a naughty boy ready horsed for discipline. 
First expostulate the case, then plead the necessity of the rod
from great provocations, and conclude every period with a
lash.  Now, if I know anything of mankind, these gentlemen
might very well spare their reproof and correction, for there is
not through all Nature another so callous and insensible a member
as the world’s posteriors, whether you apply to it the toe
or the birch.  Besides, most of our late satirists seem to
lie under a sort of mistake, that because nettles have the
prerogative to sting, therefore all other weeds must do so
too.  I make not this comparison out of the least design to
detract from these worthy writers, for it is well known among
mythologists that weeds have the pre-eminence over all other
vegetables; and therefore the first monarch of this island whose
taste and judgment were so acute and refined, did very wisely
root out the roses from the collar of the order and plant the
thistles in their stead, as the nobler flower of the two. 
For which reason it is conjectured by profounder antiquaries that
the satirical itch, so prevalent in this part of our island, was
first brought among us from beyond the Tweed.  Here may it
long flourish and abound; may it survive and neglect the scorn of
the world with as much ease and contempt as the world is
insensible to the lashes of it.  May their own dulness, or
that of their party, be no discouragement for the authors to
proceed; but let them remember it is with wits as with razors,
which are never so apt to cut those they are employed on as when
they have lost their edge.  Besides, those whose teeth are
too rotten to bite are best of all others qualified to revenge
that defect with their breath.

I am not, like other men, to envy or undervalue the talents I
cannot reach, for which reason I must needs bear a true honour to
this large eminent sect of our British writers.  And I hope
this little panegyric will not be offensive to their ears, since
it has the advantage of being only designed for themselves. 
Indeed, Nature herself has taken order that fame and honour
should be purchased at a better pennyworth by satire than by any
other productions of the brain, the world being soonest provoked
to praise by lashes, as men are to love.  There is a problem
in an ancient author why dedications and other bundles of
flattery run all upon stale musty topics, without the smallest
tincture of anything new, not only to the torment and nauseating
of the Christian reader, but, if not suddenly prevented, to the
universal spreading of that pestilent disease the lethargy in
this island, whereas there is very little satire which has not
something in it untouched before.  The defects of the former
are usually imputed to the want of invention among those who are
dealers in that kind; but I think with a great deal of injustice,
the solution being easy and natural, for the materials of
panegyric, being very few in number, have been long since
exhausted; for as health is but one thing, and has been always
the same, whereas diseases are by thousands, besides new and
daily additions, so all the virtues that have been ever in
mankind are to be counted upon a few fingers, but his follies and
vices are innumerable, and time adds hourly to the heap. 
Now the utmost a poor poet can do is to get by heart a list of
the cardinal virtues and deal them with his utmost liberality to
his hero or his patron.  He may ring the changes as far as
it will go, and vary his phrase till he has talked round, but the
reader quickly finds it is all pork, [56a] with a little
variety of sauce, for there is no inventing terms of art beyond
our ideas, and when ideas are exhausted, terms of art must be so

But though the matter for panegyric were as fruitful as the
topics of satire, yet would it not be hard to find out a
sufficient reason why the latter will be always better received
than the first; for this being bestowed only upon one or a few
persons at a time, is sure to raise envy, and consequently ill
words, from the rest who have no share in the blessing.  But
satire, being levelled at all, is never resented for an offence
by any, since every individual person makes bold to understand it
of others, and very wisely removes his particular part of the
burden upon the shoulders of the World, which are broad enough
and able to bear it.  To this purpose I have sometimes
reflected upon the difference between Athens and England with
respect to the point before us.  In the Attic [56b] commonwealth it was the privilege and
birthright of every citizen and poet to rail aloud and in public,
or to expose upon the stage by name any person they pleased,
though of the greatest figure, whether a Creon, an Hyperbolus, an
Alcibiades, or a Demosthenes.  But, on the other side, the
least reflecting word let fall against the people in general was
immediately caught up and revenged upon the authors, however
considerable for their quality or their merits; whereas in
England it is just the reverse of all this.  Here you may
securely display your utmost rhetoric against mankind in the face
of the world; tell them that all are gone astray; that there is
none that doeth good, no, not one; that we live in the very dregs
of time; that knavery and atheism are epidemic as the pox; that
honesty is fled with Astræa; with any other common-places
equally new and eloquent, which are furnished by the splendida
[56c]; and when you have done, the whole
audience, far from being offended, shall return you thanks as a
deliverer of precious and useful truths.  Nay, further, it
is but to venture your lungs, and you may preach in Covent Garden
against foppery and fornication, and something else; against
pride, and dissimulation, and bribery at Whitehall.  You may
expose rapine and injustice in the Inns-of-Court chapel, and in a
City pulpit be as fierce as you please against avarice,
hypocrisy, and extortion.  It is but a ball bandied to and
fro, and every man carries a racket about him to strike it from
himself among the rest of the company.  But, on the other
side, whoever should mistake the nature of things so far as to
drop but a single hint in public how such a one starved half the
fleet, and half poisoned the rest; how such a one, from a true
principle of love and honour, pays no debts but for wenches and
play; how such a one runs out of his estate; how Paris, bribed by
Juno and Venus, loath to offend either party, slept out the whole
cause on the bench; or how such an orator makes long speeches in
the Senate, with much thought, little sense, and to no
purpose;—whoever, I say, should venture to be thus
particular, must expect to be imprisoned for scandalum
, to have challenges sent him, to be sued for
defamation, and to be brought before the bar of the House.

But I forget that I am expatiating on a subject wherein I have
no concern, having neither a talent nor an inclination for
satire.  On the other side, I am so entirely satisfied with
the whole present procedure of human things, that I have been for
some years preparing material towards “A Panegyric upon the
World;” to which I intended to add a second part, entitled
“A Modest Defence of the Proceedings of the Rabble in all
Ages.”  Both these I had thoughts to publish by way of
appendix to the following treatise; but finding my common-place
book fill much slower than I had reason to expect, I have chosen
to defer them to another occasion.  Besides, I have been
unhappily prevented in that design by a certain domestic
misfortune, in the particulars whereof, though it would be very
seasonable, and much in the modern way, to inform the gentle
reader, and would also 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
further attendance at the porch; and having duly prepared his
mind by a preliminary discourse, shall gladly introduce him to
the sublime mysteries that ensue.



Whoever has an ambition to be heard
in a crowd 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 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.

“—Evadere ad auras,

Hoc opus, hic labor est.” [59]

To this end the philosopher’s way in all ages has been
by erecting certain edifices in the air; but whatever practice
and reputation these 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 submission, they seem to labour under two
inconveniences.  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 north-west 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 ancestors being highly sensible, has, to encourage
all aspiring adventures, 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 situation 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 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 exactly correspondent to
the primitive institution, and both to answer the etymology of
the name, which in the Phoenician tongue is a word of great
signification, importing, if literally interpreted, “The
place of sleep,” but in common acceptation, “A seat
well bolstered and cushioned, for the repose of old and gouty
limbs;” senes ut in otia tuta recedant [60].  Fortune being indebted to them
this part of retaliation, that as formerly they have long talked
whilst others slept, so now they may sleep as long whilst others

But if no other argument could occur to exclude the Bench and
the Bar from the list of oratorical machines, it were sufficient
that the admission of them would overthrow a number which I was
resolved to establish, whatever argument 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 sacred to a degree that they force
common reason to find room for it in every part of Nature,
reducing, including, and adjusting, every genus and species
within that compass by coupling some against their wills and
banishing others at any rate.  Now, among all the rest, the
profound number THREE [61] is that which has most employed my
sublimest speculations, nor ever without wonderful delight. 
There is now in the press, and will be published next term, a
panegyrical essay of mine upon this number, wherein I have, by
most 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 oratorical 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 human ears.

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 their
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 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 Stage-itinerant, erected
with much sagacity, sub Jove pluvio, in triviis et
. [62a]  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

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 [62b], continually descending, must needs be
more so when laden and pressed down by words, which are also
bodies of much weight and gravity, as 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.

“Corpoream quoque enim vocem constare
fatendum est,

Et sonitum, quoniam possunt impellere sensus.”

Lucr. lib. 4. [62c]

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 plump into
the jaws of certain critics, as I think they are called, which
stand ready open 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 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.  Bombast and buffoonery,
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 oratorical 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 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. [63]

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 . . . (Hiatus in MS.) . . . 
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 Pennyworth of Wit,” “Westminster
Drolleries,” “Delightful Tales,”
“Complete Jesters,” and the like, by which the
writers of and for Grub Street have in these later 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 hobnails 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 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
societies 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 [64], to edify a name and reputation upon
the ruin of ours.  And this is yet a 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 license from our president, I humbly offer
two answers.  First, we say the proposal is like that which
Archimedes made upon a smaller affair [65a], including an impossibility in the
practice; for where can they find scales of capacity enough 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 indifferent person be assigned,
to whose impartial judgment it shall be left to decide which
society each book, treatise, 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 entitled to our
fraternity, but by the revolted and newfangled writers most
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 have caused so universal a
defection from us, that the greatest part of our society has
already deserted to them, and our nearest friends begin to stand
aloof, as if they were half ashamed to own us.

This is the utmost I am authorised to say upon so ungrateful
and melancholy a subject, because we are extremely unwilling to
inflame a controversy whose continuance may be so fatal to the
interests of us all, desiring much rather that things be amicably
composed; and we shall so far advance on our side as to be ready
to receive the two prodigals with open arms whenever they shall
think fit to return from their husks and their harlots, which I
think, from the present course of their studies [65b], 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 received, next to the
transitory state of all sublunary things, has been a superficial
vein among many readers of the present age, who will by no means
be persuaded 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 best.  It is a sack-posset, wherein the deeper you go
you will find it the sweeter.  Wisdom is a hen whose
cackling we must value and consider, because it is attended with
an egg.  But then, lastly, it is a nut, which, unless you
choose with judgment, may cost you a tooth, and pay you with
nothing but a worm.  In consequence of these momentous
truths, the Grubæan 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 necessary, it has fared
with these vehicles after the usual fate of coaches over-finely
painted and gilt, that the transitory gazers have so dazzled
their eyes and filled their imaginations with the outward lustre,
as neither to regard nor 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 travail in a complete and
laborious dissertation upon the prime productions of our society,
which, besides their beautiful externals for the gratification of
superficial readers, have darkly and deeply couched under them
the most finished and refined systems of all sciences and arts,
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 publish 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 to 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 annotations
upon several dozens from some of which I shall impart a few hints
to the candid reader, as far as will be necessary to the
conclusion at which I aim.

The first piece I have handled is that of “Tom
Thumb,” whose author was a Pythagorean philosopher. 
This dark treatise contains the whole scheme of the
metempsychosis, deducing the progress of the soul through all her

The next is “Dr. Faustus,” penned by Artephius, an
author bonæ notæ and an adeptus; he published
it in the nine hundred and eighty-fourth year [67a] of his age; this writer proceeds
wholly by reincrudation, or in the via humida; and the
marriage between Faustus and Helen does most conspicuously
dilucidate the fermenting of the male and female dragon.

“Whittington and his Cat” is the work of that
mysterious Rabbi, Jehuda Hannasi, containing a defence of the
Gemara of the Jerusalem Misna, and its just preference to that of
Babylon, contrary to the vulgar opinion.

“The Hind and Panther.”  This is the
masterpiece of a famous writer now living [67b], intended for a complete abstract of
sixteen thousand schoolmen from Scotus to Bellarmine.

“Tommy Potts.”  Another piece, supposed by
the same hand, by way of supplement to the former.

The “Wise Men of Gotham,” cum
Appendice.  This is a treatise of immense erudition, being
the great original and fountain of those arguments bandied about
both in France and England, for a just defence of modern learning
and wit, against the presumption, the pride, and the ignorance of
the ancients.  This unknown author hath so exhausted the
subject, that a penetrating reader will easily discover whatever
has been written since upon that dispute to be little more than
repetition.  An abstract of this treatise has been lately
published by a worthy member of our society.

These notices may serve to give the learned reader an idea as
well as a taste of what the whole work is likely to produce,
wherein I have now altogether circumscribed my thoughts and my
studies; and if I can bring it to a perfection before I die,
shall reckon I have well employed the poor remains of an
unfortunate life.  This indeed is more than I can justly
expect from a quill worn to the pith in the service of the State,
in pros and cons upon Popish Plots, and Meal Tubs, and Exclusion
Bills, and Passive Obedience, and Addresses of Lives and
Fortunes; and Prerogative, and Property, and Liberty of
Conscience, and Letters to a Friend: from an understanding and a
conscience, threadbare and ragged with perpetual turning; from a
head broken in a hundred places by the malignants of the opposite
factions, and from a body spent with poxes ill cured, by trusting
to bawds and surgeons, who (as it afterwards appeared) were
professed enemies to me and the Government, and revenged their
party’s quarrel upon my nose and shins.  Fourscore and
eleven pamphlets have I written under three reigns, and for the
service of six-and-thirty factions.  But finding the State
has no farther occasion for me and my ink, I retire willingly to
draw it out into speculations more becoming a philosopher,
having, to my unspeakable comfort, passed a long life with a
conscience void of offence towards God and towards men.

But to return.  I am assured from the reader’s
candour that the brief specimen I have given will easily clear
all the rest of our society’s productions from an aspersion
grown, as it is manifest, out of envy and ignorance, that they
are of little farther use or value to mankind beyond the common
entertainments of their wit and their style; for these I am sure
have never yet been disputed by our keenest adversaries; in both
which, as well as the more profound and most mystical part, I
have throughout this treatise closely followed the most applauded
originals.  And to render all complete I have with much
thought and application of mind so ordered that the chief title
prefixed to it (I mean that under which I design it shall pass in
the common conversation of court and town) is modelled exactly
after the manner peculiar to our society.

I confess to have been somewhat liberal in the business of
titles [69a], having observed the humour of
multiplying them, to bear great vogue among certain writers, whom
I exceedingly reverence.  And indeed it seems not
unreasonable that books, the children of the brain, should have
the honour to be christened with variety of names, as well as
other infants of quality.  Our famous Dryden has ventured to
proceed a point farther, endeavouring to introduce also a
multiplicity of godfathers [69b], which is an
improvement of much more advantage, upon a very obvious
account.  It is a pity this admirable invention has not been
better cultivated, so as to grow by this time into general
imitation, when such an authority serves it for a
precedent.  Nor have my endeavours been wanting to second so
useful an example, but it seems there is an unhappy expense
usually annexed to the calling of a godfather, which was clearly
out of my head, as it is very reasonable to believe.  Where
the pinch lay, I cannot certainly affirm; but having employed a
world of thoughts and pains to split my treatise into forty
sections, and having entreated forty Lords of my acquaintance
that they would do me the honour to stand, they all made it
matter of conscience, and sent me their excuses.


Once upon a time there was a man
who had three sons by one wife [70] 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 expense, have
provided each of you (here they are) a new coat.  Now, you
are to understand that these coats have two virtues contained in
them; one is, that with good wearing they will last you fresh and
sound 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 should live together in one house like brethren and friends,
for then you will be sure to thrive and not otherwise.”

Here the story says this good father died, and the three sons
went all together to seek their fortunes.

I shall not trouble you with recounting what adventures they
met 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 slew certain dragons.

Being now arrived at the proper age for producing themselves,
they came up to town and fell in love with the ladies, but
especially three, who about that time were in chief reputation,
the Duchess d’Argent, Madame de Grands-Titres, and the
Countess d’Orgueil [71].  On their
first appearance, our three adventurers met with a very bad
reception, and soon with great sagacity guessing out the reason,
they quickly began to improve in the good qualities of the
town.  They wrote, and rallied, and rhymed, and sung, and
said, and said nothing; they drank, and fought, and slept, and
swore, and took snuff; they went to new plays on the first night,
haunted the chocolate-houses, beat the watch; they bilked
hackney-coachmen, ran in debt with shopkeepers, and lay with
their wives; they killed bailiffs, kicked fiddlers down-stairs,
ate at Locket’s, loitered at Will’s; they talked of
the drawing-room and never came there; dined with lords they
never saw; whispered a duchess and spoke never a word; exposed
the scrawls of their laundress for billet-doux 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 Senators who are silent in the House and loud in
the coffee-house, where they nightly adjourn to chew the cud of
politics, and 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 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 sect arose whose tenets
obtained and spread very far, especially in the grand
, and among everybody of good fashion.  They
worshipped a sort of idol [72a], 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 feet.  He was
shown in the posture of a Persian emperor sitting on a
superficies with his legs interwoven under him.  This god
had a goose for his ensign, whence it is that some learned men
pretend to deduce his original from Jupiter Capitolinus.  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, and sometimes whole limbs already enlivened, which
that horrid gulph insatiably swallowed, terrible to behold. 
The goose was also held a subaltern divinity or Deus minorum
, before whose shrine was sacrificed that creature
whose hourly food is human gore, and who is in so great renown
abroad for being the delight and favourite of the Egyptian
Cercopithecus [72b].  Millions of these animals were
cruelly slaughtered every day to appease the hunger of that
consuming deity.  The chief idol was also worshipped as the
inventor of the yard and the needle, whether as the god of
seamen, or on account of certain other mystical attributes, hath
not been sufficiently cleared.

The worshippers of this deity had also a system of their
belief which seemed to turn upon the following fundamental. 
They held the universe to be a large suit of clothes which
invests everything; that the earth is invested by the air; the
air is invested by the stars; and the stars are invested by the
Primum 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, or
the sea but a waistcoat of water-tabby?  Proceed to the
particular works of the creation, you will find how curious
journeyman Nature hath been to trim up the vegetable beaux;
observe how sparkish a periwig adorns the head of a beech, and
what a fine doublet of white satin is worn by the birch.  To
conclude from all, what is man himself but a microcoat, or rather
a complete suit of clothes with all its trimmings?  As to
his body there can be no dispute, but examine even the
acquirements of his mind, you will find them all contribute in
their order towards furnishing out an exact dress.  To
instance no more, is not religion a cloak, honesty a pair of
shoes worn out in the dirt, self-love a surtout, vanity a shirt,
and conscience a pair of breeches, which, though a cover for
lewdness as well as nastiness, is easily slipped down for the
service of both.

These postulata being admitted, it will follow in due
course of reasoning that those beings which the world calls
improperly suits of clothes are in reality the most refined
species of animals, or to proceed higher, that they are rational
creatures or men.  For is it not manifest that they live,
and move, and talk, and perform all other offices of human
life?  Are not beauty, and wit, and mien, and breeding their
inseparable proprieties?  In short, we see nothing but them,
hear nothing but them.  Is it not they who walk the streets,
fill up Parliament-, coffee-, play-, bawdy-houses.  It is
true, indeed, that these animals, which are vulgarly called suits
of clothes or dresses, do according to certain compositions
receive different appellations.  If one of them be trimmed
up with a gold chain, and a red gown, and a white rod, and a
great horse, it is called a Lord Mayor; if certain ermines and
furs be placed in a certain position, we style them a judge, and
so an apt conjunction of lawn and black satin we entitle a

Others of these professors, though agreeing in the main
system, were yet more refined upon certain branches of it; and
held that man was an animal compounded of two dresses, the
natural and the celestial suit, which were the body and the soul;
that the soul was the outward, and the body the inward clothing;
that the latter was ex traduce, but the former of daily
creation and circumfusion.  This last they proved by
Scripture, because in them we live, and move, and have our being:
as likewise by philosophy, because they are all in all, and all
in every part.  Besides, said they, separate these two, and
you will find the body to be only a senseless unsavoury
carcass.  By all which it is manifest that the outward dress
must needs be the soul.

To this system of religion were tagged several subaltern
doctrines, which were entertained with great vogue; as
particularly the faculties of the mind were deduced by the
learned among them in this manner: embroidery was sheer wit, gold
fringe was agreeable conversation, gold lace was repartee, a huge
long periwig was humour, and a coat full of powder was very good
raillery.  All which required abundance of finesse and
delicatesse to manage with advantage, as well as a strict
observance after times and fashions.

I have with much pains and reading collected out of ancient
authors this short summary of a body of philosophy and divinity
which seems to have been composed by a vein and race of thinking
very different from any other systems, either ancient or
modern.  And it was not merely to entertain or satisfy the
reader’s curiosity, but rather to give him light into
several circumstances of the following story, that, knowing the
state of dispositions and opinions in an age so remote, he may
better comprehend those great events which were the issue of
them.  I advise, therefore, the courteous reader to peruse
with a world of application, again and again, whatever I have
written upon this matter.  And so leaving these broken ends,
I carefully gather up the chief thread of my story, and

These opinions, therefore, were so universal, as well as the
practices of them, among the refined part of court and town, that
our three brother adventurers, as their circumstances then stood,
were strangely at a loss.  For, on the one side, the three
ladies they addressed themselves to (whom we have named already)
were ever at the very top of the fashion, and abhorred all that
were below it but the breadth of a hair.  On the other side,
their father’s will was very precise, and it was the main
precept in it, with the greatest penalties annexed, not to add to
or diminish from their coats one thread without a positive
command in the will.  Now the coats their father had left
them were, it is true, of very good cloth, and besides, so neatly
sewn you would swear they were all of a piece, but, at the same
time, very plain, with little or no ornament; and it happened
that before they were a month in town great shoulder-knots came
up.  Straight all the world was shoulder-knots; no
approaching the ladies’ ruelles without the quota of
shoulder-knots.  “That fellow,” cries one,
“has no soul: where is his shoulder-knot?” [75]  Our three brethren soon
discovered their want by sad experience, meeting in their walks
with forty mortifications and indignities.  If they went to
the playhouse, the doorkeeper showed them into the twelve-penny
gallery.  If they called a boat, says a waterman, “I
am first sculler.”  If they stepped into the
“Rose” to take a bottle, the drawer would cry,
“Friend, we sell no ale.”  If they went to visit
a lady, a footman met them at the door with “Pray, send up
your message.”  In this unhappy case they went
immediately to consult their father’s will, read it over
and over, but not a word of the shoulder-knot.  What should
they do?  What temper should they find?  Obedience was
absolutely necessary, and yet shoulder-knots appeared extremely
requisite.  After much thought, one of the brothers, who
happened to be more book-learned than the other two, said he had
found an expedient.  “It is true,” said he,
“there is nothing here in this will, totidem verbis,
making mention of shoulder-knots, but I dare conjecture we may
find them inclusive, or totidem syllabis.” 
This distinction was immediately approved by all; and so they
fell again to examine the will.  But their evil star had so
directed the matter that the first syllable was not to be found
in the whole writing; upon which disappointment, he who found the
former evasion took heart, and said, “Brothers, there is
yet hopes; for though we cannot find them totidem verbis
nor totidem syllabis, I dare engage we shall make them out
tertio modo or totidem literis.”  This
discovery was also highly commended, upon which they fell once
more to the scrutiny, and soon picked out S, H, O, U, L, D, E, R,
when the same planet, enemy to their repose, had wonderfully
contrived that a K was not to be found.  Here was a weighty
difficulty!  But the distinguishing brother (for whom we
shall hereafter find a name), now his hand was in, proved by a
very good argument that K was a modern illegitimate letter,
unknown to the learned ages, nor anywhere to be found in ancient
manuscripts.  “It is true,” said he, “the
word Calendæ, had in Q. V. C. [76] been sometimes writ with a K, but
erroneously, for in the best copies it is ever spelt with a C;
and by consequence it was a gross mistake in our language to
spell ‘knot’ with a K,” but that from
henceforward he would take care it should be writ with a C. 
Upon this all further difficulty vanished; shoulder-knots were
made clearly out to be jure paterno, and our three
gentlemen swaggered with as large and as flaunting ones as the

But as human happiness is of a very short duration, so in
those days were human fashions, upon which it entirely
depends.  Shoulder-knots had their time, and we must now
imagine them in their decline, for a certain lord came just from
Paris with fifty yards of gold lace upon his coat, exactly
trimmed after the court fashion of that month.  In two days
all mankind appeared closed up in bars of gold lace. 
Whoever durst peep abroad without his complement of gold lace was
as scandalous as a —, and as ill received among the
women.  What should our three knights do in this momentous
affair?  They had sufficiently strained a point already in
the affair of shoulder-knots.  Upon recourse to the will,
nothing appeared there but altum silentium.  That of
the shoulder-knots was a loose, flying, circumstantial point, but
this of gold lace seemed too considerable an alteration without
better warrant.  It did aliquo modo essentiæ
, and therefore required a positive
precept.  But about this time it fell out that the learned
brother aforesaid had read “Aristotelis Dialectica,”
and especially that wonderful piece de Interpretatione,
which has the faculty of teaching its readers to find out a
meaning in everything but itself, like commentators on the
Revelations, who proceed prophets without understanding a
syllable of the text.  “Brothers,” said he,
“you are to be informed that of wills, duo sunt
, nuncupatory and scriptory, [77a] that in the scriptory will here before
us there is no precept or mention about gold lace,
conceditur, but si idem affirmetur de nuncupatorio
.  For, brothers, if you remember, we heard a
fellow say when we were boys that he heard my father’s man
say that he heard my father say that he would advise his sons to
get gold lace on their coats as soon as ever they could procure
money to buy it.”  “That is very true,”
cries the other.  “I remember it perfectly
well,” said the third.  And so, without more ado, they
got the largest gold lace in the parish, and walked about as fine
as lords.

A while after, there came up all in fashion a pretty sort of
flame-coloured satin [77b] for linings, and
the mercer brought a pattern of it immediately to our three
gentlemen.  “An please your worships,” said he,
“my Lord C— and Sir J. W. had linings out of this
very piece last night; it takes wonderfully, and I shall not have
a remnant left enough to make my wife a pin-cushion by to-morrow
morning at ten o’clock.”  Upon this they fell
again to rummage the will, because the present case also required
a positive precept, the lining being held by orthodox writers to
be of the essence of the coat.  After long search they could
fix upon nothing to the matter in hand, except a short advice in
their father’s will to take care of fire and put out their
candles before they went to sleep [78a].  This,
though a good deal for the purpose, and helping very far towards
self-conviction, yet not seeming wholly of force to establish a
command, and being resolved to avoid farther scruple, as well as
future occasion for scandal, says he that was the scholar,
“I remember to have read in wills of a codicil annexed,
which is indeed a part of the will, and what it contains hath
equal authority with the rest.  Now I have been considering
of this same will here before us, and I cannot reckon it to be
complete for want of such a codicil.  I will therefore
fasten one in its proper place very dexterously.  I have had
it by me some time; it was written by a dog-keeper of my
grandfather’s, and talks a great deal, as good luck would
have it, of this very flame-coloured satin.”  The
project was immediately approved by the other two; an old
parchment scroll was tagged on according to art, in the form of a
codicil annexed, and the satin bought and worn.

Next winter a player, hired for the purpose by the Corporation
of Fringemakers, acted his part in a new comedy, all covered with
silver fringe [78b], and according to the laudable custom
gave rise to that fashion.  Upon which the brothers,
consulting their father’s will, to their great astonishment
found these words: “Item, I charge and command my said
three sons to wear no sort of silver fringe upon or about their
said coats,” &c., with a penalty in case of
disobedience too long here to insert.  However, after some
pause, the brother so often mentioned for his erudition, who was
well skilled in criticisms, had found in a certain author, which
he said should be nameless, that the same word which in the will
is called fringe does also signify a broom-stick, and doubtless
ought to have the same interpretation in this paragraph. 
This another of the brothers disliked, because of that epithet
silver, which could not, he humbly conceived, in propriety of
speech be reasonably applied to a broom-stick; but it was replied
upon him that this epithet was understood in a mythological and
allegorical sense.  However, he objected again why their
father should forbid them to wear a broom-stick on their coats, a
caution that seemed unnatural and impertinent; upon which he was
taken up short, as one that spoke irreverently of a mystery which
doubtless was very useful and significant, but ought not to be
over-curiously pried into or nicely reasoned upon.  And in
short, their father’s authority being now considerably
sunk, this expedient was allowed to serve as a lawful
dispensation for wearing their full proportion of silver

A while after was revived an old fashion, long antiquated, of
embroidery with Indian figures of men, women, and children [79a].  Here they had no occasion to
examine the will.  They remembered but too well how their
father had always abhorred this fashion; that he made several
paragraphs on purpose, importing his utter detestation of it, and
bestowing his everlasting curse to his sons whenever they should
wear it.  For all this, in a few days they appeared higher
in the fashion than anybody else in the town.  But they
solved the matter by saying that these figures were not at all
the same with those that were formerly worn and were meant in the
will; besides, they did not wear them in that sense, as forbidden
by their father, but as they were a commendable custom, and of
great use to the public.  That these rigorous clauses in the
will did therefore require some allowance and a favourable
interpretation, and ought to be understood cum grano

But fashions perpetually altering in that age, the scholastic
brother grew weary of searching further evasions and solving
everlasting contradictions.  Resolved, therefore, at all
hazards to comply with the modes of the world, they concerted
matters together, and agreed unanimously to lock up their
father’s will in a strong-box, brought out of Greece or
Italy [79b] (I have forgot which), and trouble
themselves no farther to examine it, but only refer to its
authority whenever they thought fit.  In consequence
whereof, a while after it grew a general mode to wear an infinite
number of points, most of them tagged with silver; upon which the
scholar pronounced ex cathedrâ [80a] that points were absolutely jure
as they might very well remember.  It is true,
indeed, the fashion prescribed somewhat more than were directly
named in the will; however, that they, as heirs-general of their
father, had power to make and add certain clauses for public
emolument, though not deducible todidem verbis from the
letter of the will, or else multa absurda
.  This was understood for canonical, and
therefore on the following Sunday they came to church all covered
with points.

The learned brother so often mentioned was reckoned the best
scholar in all that or the next street to it; insomuch, as having
run something behindhand with the world, he obtained the favour
from a certain lord [80b] to receive him
into his house and to teach his children.  A while after the
lord died, and he, by long practice upon his father’s will,
found the way of contriving a deed of conveyance of that house to
himself and his heirs; upon which he took possession, turned the
young squires out, and received his brothers in their stead.



Though I have been hitherto as
cautious as I could, upon all occasions, most nicely to follow
the rules and methods of writing laid down by the example of our
illustrious moderns, yet has the unhappy shortness of my memory
led me into an error, from which I must immediately extricate
myself, before I can decently pursue my principal subject. 
I confess with shame it was an unpardonable omission to proceed
so far as I have already done before I had performed the due
discourses, expostulatory, supplicatory, or deprecatory, with my
good lords the critics.  Towards some atonement for this
grievous neglect, I do here make humbly bold to present them with
a short account of themselves and their art, by looking into the
original and pedigree of the word, as it is generally understood
among us, and very briefly considering the ancient and present
state thereof.

By the word critic, at this day so frequent in all
conversations, there have sometimes been distinguished three very
different species of mortal men, according as I have read in
ancient books and pamphlets.  For first, by this term were
understood such persons as invented or drew up rules for
themselves and the world, by observing which a careful reader
might be able to pronounce upon the productions of the learned,
form his taste to a true relish of the sublime and the admirable,
and divide every beauty of matter or of style from the corruption
that apes it.  In their common perusal of books, singling
out the errors and defects, the nauseous, the fulsome, the dull,
and the impertinent, with the caution of a man that walks through
Edinburgh streets in a morning, who is indeed as careful as he
can to watch diligently and spy out the filth in his way; not
that he is curious to observe the colour and complexion of the
ordure or take its dimensions, much less to be paddling in or
tasting it, but only with a design to come out as cleanly as he
may.  These men seem, though very erroneously, to have
understood the appellation of critic in a literal sense; that one
principal part of his office was to praise and acquit, and that a
critic who sets up to read only for an occasion of censure and
reproof is a creature as barbarous as a judge who should take up
a resolution to hang all men that came before him upon a

Again, by the word critic have been meant the restorers of
ancient learning from the worms, and graves, and dust of

Now the races of these two have been for some ages utterly
extinct, and besides to discourse any further of them would not
be at all to my purpose.

The third and noblest sort is that of the true critic, whose
original is the most ancient of all.  Every true critic is a
hero born, descending in a direct line from a celestial stem, by
Momus and Hybris, who begat Zoilus, who begat Tigellius, who
begat Etcætera the elder, who begat Bentley, and Rymer, and
Wotton, and Perrault, and Dennis, who begat Etcætera the

And these are the critics from whom the commonwealth of
learning has in all ages received such immense benefits, that the
gratitude of their admirers placed their origin in heaven, among
those of Hercules, Theseus, Perseus, and other great deservers of
mankind.  But heroic virtue itself hath not been exempt from
the obloquy of evil tongues.  For it hath been objected that
those ancient heroes, famous for their combating so many giants,
and dragons, and robbers, were in their own persons a greater
nuisance to mankind than any of those monsters they subdued; and
therefore, to render their obligations more complete, when all
other vermin were destroyed, should in conscience have concluded
with the same justice upon themselves, as Hercules most
generously did, and hath upon that score procured for himself
more temples and votaries than the best of his fellows.  For
these reasons I suppose it is why some have conceived it would be
very expedient for the public good of learning that every true
critic, as soon as he had finished his task assigned, should
immediately deliver himself up to ratsbane or hemp, or from some
convenient altitude, and that no man’s pretensions to so
illustrious a character should by any means be received before
that operation was performed.

Now, from this heavenly descent of criticism, and the close
analogy it bears to heroic virtue, it is easy to assign the
proper employment of a true, ancient, genuine critic: which is,
to travel through this vast world of writings; to peruse and hunt
those monstrous faults bred within them; to drag out the lurking
errors, like Cacus from his den; to multiply them like
Hydra’s heads; and rake them together like Augeas’s
dung; or else to drive away a sort of dangerous fowl who have a
perverse inclination to plunder the best branches of the tree of
knowledge, like those Stymphalian birds that ate up the

These reasonings will furnish us with an adequate definition
of a true critic: that he is a discoverer and collector of
writers’ faults; which may be further put beyond dispute by
the following demonstration:—That whoever will examine the
writings in all kinds wherewith this ancient sect hath honoured
the world, shall immediately find from the whole thread and tenor
of them that the ideas of the authors have been altogether
conversant and taken up with the faults, and blemishes, and
oversights, and mistakes of other writers, and let the subject
treated on be whatever it will, their imaginations are so
entirely possessed and replete with the defects of other pens,
that the very quintessence of what is bad does of necessity
distil into their own, by which means the whole appears to be
nothing else but an abstract of the criticisms themselves have

Having thus briefly considered the original and office of a
critic, as the word is understood in its most noble and universal
acceptation, I proceed to refute the objections of those who
argue from the silence and pretermission of authors, by which
they pretend to prove that the very art of criticism, as now
exercised, and by me explained, is wholly modern, and
consequently that the critics of Great Britain and France have no
title to an original so ancient and illustrious as I have
deduced.  Now, if I can clearly make out, on the contrary,
that the most ancient writers have particularly described both
the person and the office of a true critic agreeable to the
definition laid down by me, their grand objection—from the
silence of authors—will fall to the ground.

I confess to have for a long time borne a part in this general
error, from which I should never have acquitted myself but
through the assistance of our noble moderns, whose most edifying
volumes I turn indefatigably over night and day, for the
improvement of my mind and the good of my country.  These
have with unwearied pains made many useful searches into the weak
sides of the ancients, and given us a comprehensive list of them
[84a].  Besides, they have proved
beyond contradiction that the very finest things delivered of old
have been long since invented and brought to light by much later
pens, and that the noblest discoveries those ancients ever made
in art or nature have all been produced by the transcending
genius of the present age, which clearly shows how little merit
those ancients can justly pretend to, and takes off that blind
admiration paid them by men in a corner, who have the unhappiness
of conversing too little with present things.  Reflecting
maturely upon all this, and taking in the whole compass of human
nature, I easily concluded that these ancients, highly sensible
of their many imperfections, must needs have endeavoured, from
some passages in their works, to obviate, soften, or divert the
censorious reader, by satire or panegyric upon the true critics,
in imitation of their masters, the moderns.  Now, in the
commonplaces [84b] of both these I was plentifully
instructed by a long course of useful study in prefaces and
prologues, and therefore immediately resolved to try what I could
discover of either, by a diligent perusal of the most ancient
writers, and especially those who treated of the earliest

Here I found, to my great surprise, that although they all
entered upon occasion into particular descriptions of the true
critic, according as they were governed by their fears or their
hopes, yet whatever they touched of that kind was with abundance
of caution, adventuring no further than mythology and
hieroglyphic.  This, I suppose, gave ground to superficial
readers for urging the silence of authors against the antiquity
of the true critic, though the types are so apposite, and the
applications so necessary and natural, that it is not easy to
conceive how any reader of modern eye and taste could overlook
them.  I shall venture from a great number to produce a few
which I am very confident will put this question beyond

It well deserves considering that these ancient writers, in
treating enigmatically upon this subject, have generally fixed
upon the very same hieroglyph, varying only the story according
to their affections or their wit.  For first, Pausanias is
of opinion that the perfection of writing correct was entirely
owing to the institution of critics, and that he can possibly
mean no other than the true critic is, I think, manifest enough
from the following description.  He says they were a race of
men who delighted to nibble at the superfluities and excrescences
of books, which the learned at length observing, took warning of
their own accord to lop the luxuriant, the rotten, the dead, the
sapless, and the overgrown branches from their works.  But
now all this he cunningly shades under the following allegory:
That the Nauplians in Argia learned the art of pruning their
vines by observing that when an ass had browsed upon one of them,
it thrived the better and bore fairer fruit.  But Herodotus
holding the very same hieroglyph, speaks much plainer and almost
in terminis.  He hath been so bold as to tax the true
critics of ignorance and malice, telling us openly, for I think
nothing can be plainer, that in the western part of Libya there
were asses with horns, upon which relation Ctesias [85] yet refines, mentioning the very same
animal about India; adding, that whereas all other asses wanted a
gall, these horned ones were so redundant in that part that their
flesh was not to be eaten because of its extreme bitterness.

Now, the reason why those ancient writers treated this subject
only by types and figures was because they durst not make open
attacks against a party so potent and so terrible as the critics
of those ages were, whose very voice was so dreadful that a
legion of authors would tremble and drop their pens at the
sound.  For so Herodotus tells us expressly in another place
how a vast army of Scythians was put to flight in a panic terror
by the braying of an ass.  From hence it is conjectured by
certain profound philologers, that the great awe and reverence
paid to a true critic by the writers of Britain have been derived
to us from those our Scythian ancestors.  In short, this
dread was so universal, that in process of time those authors who
had a mind to publish their sentiments more freely in describing
the true critics of their several ages, were forced to leave off
the use of the former hieroglyph as too nearly approaching the
prototype, and invented other terms instead thereof that were
more cautious and mystical.  So Diodorus, speaking to the
same purpose, ventures no farther than to say that in the
mountains of Helicon there grows a certain weed which bears a
flower of so damned a scent as to poison those who offer to smell
it.  Lucretius gives exactly the same relation.

“Est etiam in magnis Heliconis montibus

Floris odore hominem retro consueta
necare.”—Lib. 6. [86]

But Ctesias, whom we lately quoted, has been a great deal
bolder; he had been used with much severity by the true critics
of his own age, and therefore could not forbear to leave behind
him at least one deep mark of his vengeance against the whole
tribe.  His meaning is so near the surface that I wonder how
it possibly came to be overlooked by those who deny the antiquity
of the true critics.  For pretending to make a description
of many strange animals about India, he has set down these
remarkable words.  “Among the rest,” says he,
“there is a serpent that wants teeth, and consequently
cannot bite, but if its vomit (to which it is much addicted)
happens to fall upon anything, a certain rottenness or corruption
ensues.  These serpents are generally found among the
mountains where jewels grow, and they frequently emit a poisonous
juice, whereof whoever drinks, that person’s brain flies
out of his nostrils.”

There was also among the ancients a sort of critic, not
distinguished in specie from the former but in growth or degree,
who seem to have been only the tyros or junior scholars, yet
because of their differing employments they are frequently
mentioned as a sect by themselves.  The usual exercise of
these young students was to attend constantly at theatres, and
learn to spy out the worst parts of the play, whereof they were
obliged carefully to take note, and render a rational account to
their tutors.  Fleshed at these smaller sports, like young
wolves, they grew up in time to be nimble and strong enough for
hunting down large game.  For it has been observed, both
among ancients and moderns, that a true critic has one quality in
common with a whore and an alderman, never to change his title or
his nature; that a grey critic has been certainly a green one,
the perfections and acquirements of his age being only the
improved talents of his youth, like hemp, which some naturalists
inform us is bad for suffocations, though taken but in the
seed.  I esteem the invention, or at least the refinement of
prologues, to have been owing to these younger proficients, of
whom Terence makes frequent and honourable mention, under the
name of Malevoli.

Now it is certain the institution of the true critics was of
absolute necessity to the commonwealth of learning.  For all
human actions seem to be divided like Themistocles and his
company.  One man can fiddle, and another can make a small
town a great city; and he that cannot do either one or the other
deserves to be kicked out of the creation.  The avoiding of
which penalty has doubtless given the first birth to the nation
of critics, and withal an occasion for their secret detractors to
report that a true critic is a sort of mechanic set up with a
stock and tools for his trade, at as little expense as a tailor;
and that there is much analogy between the utensils and abilities
of both.  That the “Tailor’s Hell” is the
type of a critic’s commonplace-book, and his wit and
learning held forth by the goose.  That it requires at least
as many of these to the making up of one scholar as of the others
to the composition of a man.  That the valour of both is
equal, and their weapons near of a size.  Much may be said
in answer to these invidious reflections; and I can positively
affirm the first to be a falsehood: for, on the contrary, nothing
is more certain than that it requires greater layings out to be
free of the critic’s company than of any other you can
name.  For as to be a true beggar, it will cost the richest
candidate every groat he is worth, so before one can commence a
true critic, it will cost a man all the good qualities of his
mind, which perhaps for a less purchase would be thought but an
indifferent bargain.

Having thus amply proved the antiquity of criticism and
described the primitive state of it, I shall now examine the
present condition of this Empire, and show how well it agrees
with its ancient self [88].  A certain
author, whose works have many ages since been entirely lost, does
in his fifth book and eighth chapter say of critics that
“their writings are the mirrors of learning.” 
This I understand in a literal sense, and suppose our author must
mean that whoever designs to be a perfect writer must inspect
into the books of critics, and correct his inventions there as in
a mirror.  Now, whoever considers that the mirrors of the
ancients were made of brass and fine mercurio, may presently
apply the two principal qualifications of a true modern critic,
and consequently must needs conclude that these have always been
and must be for ever the same.  For brass is an emblem of
duration, and when it is skilfully burnished will cast
reflections from its own superficies without any assistance of
mercury from behind.  All the other talents of a critic will
not require a particular mention, being included or easily
deducible to these.  However, I shall conclude with three
maxims, which may serve both as characteristics to distinguish a
true modern critic from a pretender, and will be also of
admirable use to those worthy spirits who engage in so useful and
honourable an art.

The first is, that criticism, contrary to all other faculties
of the intellect, is ever held the truest and best when it is the
very first result of the critic’s mind; as fowlers reckon
the first aim for the surest, and seldom fail of missing the mark
if they stay not for a second.

Secondly, the true critics are known by their talent of
swarming about the noblest writers, to which they are carried
merely by instinct, as a rat to the best cheese, or a wasp to the
fairest fruit.  So when the king is a horseback he is sure
to be the dirtiest person of the company, and they that make
their court best are such as bespatter him most.

Lastly, a true critic in the perusal of a book is like a dog
at a feast, whose thoughts and stomach are wholly set upon what
the guests fling away, and consequently is apt to snarl most when
there are the fewest bones [89].

Thus much I think is sufficient to serve by way of address to
my patrons, the true modern critics, and may very well atone for
my past silence, as well as that which I am like to observe for
the future.  I hope I have deserved so well of their whole
body as to meet with generous and tender usage at their
hands.  Supported by which expectation I go on boldly to
pursue those adventures already so happily begun.



I have now with much pains and
study conducted the reader to a period where he must expect to
hear of great revolutions.  For no sooner had our learned
brother, so often mentioned, got a warm house of his own over his
head, than he began to look big and to take mightily upon him,
insomuch that unless the gentle reader out of his great candour
will please a little to exalt his idea, I am afraid he will
henceforth hardly know the hero of the play when he happens to
meet him, his part, his dress, and his mien being so much

He told his brothers he would have them to know that he was
their elder, and consequently his father’s sole heir; nay,
a while after, he would not allow them to call him brother, but
Mr. Peter; and then he must be styled Father Peter, and sometimes
My Lord Peter.  To support this grandeur, which he soon
began to consider could not be maintained without a better
fonde than what he was born to, after much thought he cast
about at last to turn projector and virtuoso, wherein he so well
succeeded, that many famous discoveries, projects, and machines
which bear great vogue and practice at present in the world, are
owing entirely to Lord Peter’s invention.  I will
deduce the best account I have been able to collect of the chief
amongst them, without considering much the order they came out
in, because I think authors are not well agreed as to that

I hope when this treatise of mine shall be translated into
foreign languages (as I may without vanity affirm that the labour
of collecting, the faithfulness in recounting, and the great
usefulness of the matter to the public, will amply deserve that
justice), that of the several Academies abroad, especially those
of France and Italy, will favourably accept these humble offers
for the advancement of universal knowledge.  I do also
advertise the most reverend fathers the Eastern missionaries that
I have purely for their sakes made use of such words and phrases
as will best admit an easy turn into any of the Oriental
languages, especially the Chinese.  And so I proceed with
great content of mind upon reflecting how much emolument this
whole globe of earth is like to reap by my labours.

The first undertaking of Lord Peter was to purchase a large
continent, lately said to have been discovered in Terra
Australis incognita
.  This tract of land he bought at a
very great pennyworth from the discoverers themselves (though
some pretended to doubt whether they had ever been there), and
then retailed it into several cantons to certain dealers, who
carried over colonies, but were all shipwrecked in the voyage;
upon which Lord Peter sold the said continent to other customers
again and again, and again and again, with the same success.

The second project I shall mention was his sovereign remedy
for the worms, especially those in the spleen.  The patient
was to eat nothing after supper for three nights; as soon as he
went to bed, he was carefully to lie on one side, and when he
grew weary, to turn upon the other.  He must also duly
confine his two eyes to the same object, and by no means break
wind at both ends together without manifest occasion.  These
prescriptions diligently observed, the worms would void
insensibly by perspiration ascending through the brain.

A third invention was the erecting of a whispering-office for
the public good and ease of all such as are hypochondriacal or
troubled with the cholic, as likewise of all eavesdroppers,
physicians, midwives, small politicians, friends fallen out,
repeating poets, lovers happy or in despair, bawds,
privy-counsellors, pages, parasites and buffoons, in short, of
all such as are in danger of bursting with too much wind. 
An ass’s head was placed so conveniently, that the party
affected might easily with his mouth accost either of the
animal’s ears, which he was to apply close for a certain
space, and by a fugitive faculty peculiar to the ears of that
animal, receive immediate benefit, either by eructation, or
expiration, or evomition.

Another very beneficial project of Lord Peter’s was an
office of insurance for tobacco-pipes, martyrs of the modern
zeal, volumes of poetry, shadows . . . and rivers, that these,
nor any of these, shall receive damage by fire.  From whence
our friendly societies may plainly find themselves to be only
transcribers from this original, though the one and the other
have been of great benefit to the undertakers as well as of equal
to the public.

Lord Peter was also held the original author of puppets and
raree-shows, the great usefulness whereof being so generally
known, I shall not enlarge farther upon this particular.

But another discovery for which he was much renowned was his
famous universal pickle.  For having remarked how your
common pickle in use among housewives was of no farther benefit
than to preserve dead flesh and certain kinds of vegetables,
Peter with great cost as well as art had contrived a pickle
proper for houses, gardens, towns, men, women, children, and
cattle, wherein he could preserve them as sound as insects in
amber.  Now this pickle to the taste, the smell, and the
sight, appeared exactly the same with what is in common service
for beef, and butter, and herrings (and has been often that way
applied with great success), but for its many sovereign virtues
was quite a different thing.  For Peter would put in a
certain quantity of his powder pimperlim-pimp, after which it
never failed of success.  The operation was performed by
spargefaction in a proper time of the moon.  The patient who
was to be pickled, if it were a house, would infallibly be
preserved from all spiders, rats, and weasels; if the party
affected were a dog, he should be exempt from mange, and madness,
and hunger.  It also infallibly took away all scabs and
lice, and scalled heads from children, never hindering the
patient from any duty, either at bed or board.

But of all Peter’s rarities, he most valued a certain
set of bulls, whose race was by great fortune preserved in a
lineal descent from those that guarded the golden-fleece. 
Though some who pretended to observe them curiously doubted the
breed had not been kept entirely chaste, because they had
degenerated from their ancestors in some qualities, and had
acquired others very extraordinary, but a foreign mixture. 
The bulls of Colchis are recorded to have brazen feet; but
whether it happened by ill pasture and running, by an alloy from
intervention of other parents from stolen intrigues; whether a
weakness in their progenitors had impaired the seminal virtue, or
by a decline necessary through a long course of time, the
originals of nature being depraved in these latter sinful ages of
the world—whatever was the cause, it is certain that Lord
Peter’s bulls were extremely vitiated by the rust of time
in the metal of their feet, which was now sunk into common
lead.  However, the terrible roaring peculiar to their
lineage was preserved, as likewise that faculty of breathing out
fire from their nostrils; which notwithstanding many of their
detractors took to be a feat of art, and to be nothing so
terrible as it appeared, proceeding only from their usual course
of diet, which was of squibs and crackers.  However, they
had two peculiar marks which extremely distinguished them from
the bulls of Jason, and which I have not met together in the
description of any other monster beside that in Horace,
“Varias inducere plumas,” and “Atrum definit in
piscem.”  For these had fishes tails, yet upon
occasion could outfly any bird in the air.  Peter put these
bulls upon several employs.  Sometimes he would set them a
roaring to fright naughty boys and make them quiet. 
Sometimes he would send them out upon errands of great
importance, where it is wonderful to recount, and perhaps the
cautious reader may think much to believe it; an appetitus
deriving itself through the whole family from
their noble ancestors, guardians of the Golden Fleece, they
continued so extremely fond of gold, that if Peter sent them
abroad, though it were only upon a compliment, they would roar,
and spit, and belch, and snivel out fire, and keep a perpetual
coil till you flung them a bit of gold; but then pulveris
exigui jactu
, they would grow calm and quiet as lambs. 
In short, whether by secret connivance or encouragement from
their master, or out of their own liquorish affection to gold, or
both, it is certain they were no better than a sort of sturdy,
swaggering beggars; and where they could not prevail to get an
alms, would make women miscarry and children fall into fits; who
to this very day usually call sprites and hobgoblins by the name
of bull-beggars.  They grew at last so very troublesome to
the neighbourhood, that some gentlemen of the North-West got a
parcel of right English bull-dogs, and baited them so terribly,
that they felt it ever after.

I must needs mention one more of Lord Peter’s projects,
which was very extraordinary, and discovered him to be master of
a high reach and profound invention.  Whenever it happened
that any rogue of Newgate was condemned to be hanged, Peter would
offer him a pardon for a certain sum of money, which when the
poor caitiff had made all shifts to scrape up and send, his
lordship would return a piece of paper in this form:—

“To all mayors, sheriffs, jailors,
constables, bailiffs, hangmen, &c.  Whereas we are
informed that A. B. remains in the hands of you, or any of you,
under the sentence of death.  We will and command you, upon
sight hereof, to let the said prisoner depart to his own
habitation, whether he stands condemned for murder, sodomy, rape,
sacrilege, incest, treason, blasphemy, &c., for which this
shall be your sufficient warrant.  And it you fail hereof,
G— d—mn you and yours to all eternity.  And so
we bid you heartily farewell.  Your most humble man’s


The wretches trusting to this lost their lives and money

I desire of those whom the learned among posterity will
appoint for commentators upon this elaborate treatise, that they
will proceed with great caution upon certain dark points, wherein
all who are not verè adepti may be in danger to
form rash and hasty conclusions, especially in some mysterious
paragraphs, where certain arcana are joined for brevity sake,
which in the operation must be divided.  And I am certain
that future sons of art will return large thanks to my memory for
so grateful, so useful an inmuendo.

It will be no difficult part to persuade the reader that so
many worthy discoveries met with great success in the world;
though I may justly assure him that I have related much the
smallest number; my design having been only to single out such as
will be of most benefit for public imitation, or which best
served to give some idea of the reach and wit of the
inventor.  And therefore it need not be wondered if by this
time Lord Peter was become exceeding rich.  But alas! he had
kept his brain so long and so violently upon the rack, that at
last it shook itself, and began to turn round for a little
ease.  In short, what with pride, projects, and knavery,
poor Peter was grown distracted, and conceived the strangest
imaginations in the world.  In the height of his fits (as it
is usual with those who run mad out of pride) he would call
himself God Almighty, and sometimes monarch of the
universe.  I have seen him (says my author) take three old
high-crowned hats, and clap them all on his head, three storey
high, with a huge bunch of keys at his girdle, and an angling rod
in his hand.  In which guise, whoever went to take him by
the hand in the way of salutation, Peter with much grace, like a
well-educated spaniel, would present them with his foot, and if
they refused his civility, then he would raise it as high as
their chops, and give them a damned kick on the mouth, which hath
ever since been called a salute.  Whoever walked by without
paying him their compliments, having a wonderful strong breath,
he would blow their hats off into the dirt.  Meantime his
affairs at home went upside down, and his two brothers had a
wretched time, where his first boutade was to kick both
their wives one morning out of doors, and his own too, and in
their stead gave orders to pick up the first three strollers
could be met with in the streets.  A while after he nailed
up the cellar door, and would not allow his brothers a drop of
drink to their victuals [95].  Dining one
day at an alderman’s in the city, Peter observed him
expatiating, after the manner of his brethren in the praises of
his sirloin of beef.  “Beef,” said the sage
magistrate, “is the king of meat; beef comprehends in it
the quintessence of partridge, and quail, and venison, and
pheasant, and plum-pudding, and custard.”  When Peter
came home, he would needs take the fancy of cooking up this
doctrine into use, and apply the precept in default of a sirloin
to his brown loaf.  “Bread,” says he,
“dear brothers, is the staff of life, in which bread is
contained inclusive the quintessence of beef, mutton, veal,
venison, partridge, plum-pudding, and custard, and to render all
complete, there is intermingled a due quantity of water, whose
crudities are also corrected by yeast or barm, through which
means it becomes a wholesome fermented liquor, diffused through
the mass of the bread.”  Upon the strength of these
conclusions, next day at dinner was the brown loaf served up in
all the formality of a City feast.  “Come,
brothers,” said Peter, “fall to, and spare not; here
is excellent good mutton [96]; or hold, now my
hand is in, I’ll help you.”  At which word, in
much ceremony, with fork and knife, he carves out two good slices
of a loaf, and presents each on a plate to his brothers. 
The elder of the two, not suddenly entering into Lord
Peter’s conceit, began with very civil language to examine
the mystery.  “My lord,” said he, “I
doubt, with great submission, there may be some
mistake.”  “What!” says Peter, “you
are pleasant; come then, let us hear this jest your head is so
big with.”  “None in the world, my Lord; but
unless I am very much deceived, your Lordship was pleased a while
ago to let fall a word about mutton, and I would be glad to see
it with all my heart.”  “How,” said Peter,
appearing in great surprise, “I do not comprehend this at
all;” upon which the younger, interposing to set the
business right, “My Lord,” said he, “my
brother, I suppose, is hungry, and longs for the mutton your
Lordship hath promised us to dinner.” 
“Pray,” said Peter, “take me along with you,
either you are both mad, or disposed to be merrier than I approve
of; if you there do not like your piece, I will carve you
another, though I should take that to be the choice bit of the
whole shoulder.”  “What then, my Lord?”
replied the first; “it seems this is a shoulder of mutton
all this while.”  “Pray, sir,” says Peter,
“eat your victuals and leave off your impertinence, if you
please, for I am not disposed to relish it at present;” but
the other could not forbear, being over-provoked at the affected
seriousness of Peter’s countenance.  “My
Lord,” said he, “I can only say, that to my eyes and
fingers, and teeth and nose, it seems to be nothing but a crust
of bread.”  Upon which the second put in his
word.  “I never saw a piece of mutton in my life so
nearly resembling a slice from a twelve-penny loaf.” 
“Look ye, gentlemen,” cries Peter in a rage,
“to convince you what a couple of blind, positive,
ignorant, wilful puppies you are, I will use but this plain
argument; by G—, it is true, good, natural mutton as any in
Leadenhall Market; and G— confound you both eternally if
you offer to believe otherwise.”  Such a thundering
proof as this left no further room for objection; the two
unbelievers began to gather and pocket up their mistake as
hastily as they could.  “Why, truly,” said the
first, “upon more mature
consideration”—“Ay,” says the other,
interrupting him, “now I have thought better on the thing,
your Lordship seems to have a great deal of reason.” 
“Very well,” said Peter.  “Here, boy, fill
me a beer-glass of claret.  Here’s to you both with
all my heart.”  The two brethren, much delighted to
see him so readily appeased, returned their most humble thanks,
and said they would be glad to pledge his Lordship. 
“That you shall,” said Peter, “I am not a
person to refuse you anything that is reasonable; wine moderately
taken is a cordial.  Here is a glass apiece for you; it is
true natural juice from the grape; none of your damned
vintner’s brewings.”  Having spoke thus, he
presented to each of them another large dry crust, bidding them
drink it off, and not be bashful, for it would do them no
hurt.  The two brothers, after having performed the usual
office in such delicate conjunctures, of staring a sufficient
period at Lord Peter and each other, and finding how matters were
like to go, resolved not to enter on a new dispute, but let him
carry the point as he pleased; for he was now got into one of his
mad fits, and to argue or expostulate further would only serve to
render him a hundred times more untractable.

I have chosen to relate this worthy matter in all its
circumstances, because it gave a principal occasion to that great
and famous rupture [98a] which happened
about the same time among these brethren, and was never
afterwards made up.  But of that I shall treat at large in
another section.

However, it is certain that Lord Peter, even in his lucid
intervals, was very lewdly given in his common conversation,
extreme wilful and positive, and would at any time rather argue
to the death than allow himself to be once in an error. 
Besides, he had an abominable faculty of telling huge palpable
lies upon all occasions, and swearing not only to the truth, but
cursing the whole company to hell if they pretended to make the
least scruple of believing him.  One time he swore he had a
cow at home which gave as much milk at a meal as would fill three
thousand churches, and what was yet more extraordinary, would
never turn sour.  Another time he was telling of an old
sign-post [98b] that belonged to his father, with
nails and timber enough on it to build sixteen large
men-of-war.  Talking one day of Chinese waggons, which were
made so light as to sail over mountains,
“Z—nds,” said Peter, “where’s the
wonder of that?  By G—, I saw a large house of lime
and stone travel over sea and land (granting that it stopped
sometimes to bait) above two thousand German leagues.” [98c]  And that which was the good of
it, he would swear desperately all the while that he never told a
lie in his life, and at every word: “By G— gentlemen,
I tell you nothing but the truth, and the d—l broil them
eternally that will not believe me.”

In short, Peter grew so scandalous that all the neighbourhood
began in plain words to say he was no better than a knave; and
his two brothers, long weary of his ill-usage, resolved at last
to leave him; but first they humbly desired a copy of their
father’s will, which had now lain by neglected time out of
mind.  Instead of granting this request, he called them
rogues, traitors, and the rest of the vile names he could muster
up.  However, while he was abroad one day upon his projects,
the two youngsters watched their opportunity, made a shift to
come at the will, and took a copia vera [99a], by which they presently saw how
grossly they had been abused, their father having left them equal
heirs, and strictly commanded that whatever they got should lie
in common among them all.  Pursuant to which, their next
enterprise was to break open the cellar-door and get a little
good drink to spirit and comfort their hearts [99b].  In copying the will, they had
met another precept against whoring, divorce, and separate
maintenance; upon which, their next work was to discard their
concubines and send for their wives [99c].  Whilst all
this was in agitation, there enters a solicitor from Newgate,
desiring Lord Peter would please to procure a pardon for a thief
that was to be hanged to-morrow.  But the two brothers told
him he was a coxcomb to seek pardons from a fellow who deserved
to be hanged much better than his client, and discovered all the
method of that imposture in the same form I delivered it a while
ago, advising the solicitor to put his friend upon obtaining a
pardon from the king.  In the midst of all this platter and
revolution in comes Peter with a file of dragoons at his heels,
and gathering from all hands what was in the wind, he and his
gang, after several millions of scurrilities and curses not very
important here to repeat, by main force very fairly kicks them
both out of doors, and would never let them come under his roof
from that day to this.



We whom the world is pleased to
honour with the title of modern authors, should never have been
able to compass our great design of an everlasting remembrance
and never-dying fame if our endeavours had not been so highly
serviceable to the general good of mankind.  This, O
universe! is the adventurous attempt of me, thy

perferre laborem

Suadet, et inducit noctes vigilare serenas.”

To this end I have some time since, with a world of pains and
art, dissected the carcass of human nature, and read many useful
lectures upon the several parts, both containing and contained,
till at last it smelt so strong I could preserve it no
longer.  Upon which I have been at a great expense to fit up
all the bones with exact contexture and in due symmetry, so that
I am ready to show a very complete anatomy thereof to all curious
gentlemen and others.  But not to digress further in the
midst of a digression, as I have known some authors enclose
digressions in one another like a nest of boxes, I do affirm
that, having carefully cut up human nature, I have found a very
strange, new, and important discovery: that the public good of
mankind is performed by two ways—instruction and
diversion.  And I have further proved my said several
readings (which, perhaps, the world may one day see, if I can
prevail on any friend to steal a copy, or on certain gentlemen of
my admirers to be very importunate) that, as mankind is now
disposed, he receives much greater advantage by being diverted
than instructed, his epidemical diseases being fastidiosity,
amorphy, and oscitation; whereas, in the present universal empire
of wit and learning, there seems but little matter left for
instruction.  However, in compliance with a lesson of great
age and authority, I have attempted carrying the point in all its
heights, and accordingly throughout this divine treatise have
skilfully kneaded up both together with a layer of utile
and a layer of dulce.

When I consider how exceedingly our illustrious moderns have
eclipsed the weak glimmering lights of the ancients, and turned
them out of the road of all fashionable commerce to a degree that
our choice town wits of most refined accomplishments are in grave
dispute whether there have been ever any ancients or no; in which
point we are like to receive wonderful satisfaction from the most
useful labours and lucubrations of that worthy modern, Dr.
Bentley.  I say, when I consider all this, I cannot but
bewail that no famous modern hath ever yet attempted an universal
system in a small portable volume of all things that are to be
known, or believed, or imagined, or practised in life.  I
am, however, forced to acknowledge that such an enterprise was
thought on some time ago by a great philosopher of
O-Brazile.  The method he proposed was by a certain curious
receipt, a nostrum, which after his untimely death I found among
his papers, and do here, out of my great affection to the modern
learned, present them with it, not doubting it may one day
encourage some worthy undertaker.

You take fair correct copies, well bound in calf’s skin
and lettered at the back, of all modern bodies of arts and
sciences whatsoever, and in what language you please.  These
you distil in balneo Mariæ, infusing quintessence of
poppy Q.S., together with three pints of lethe, to be had from
the apothecaries.  You cleanse away carefully the
sordes and caput mortuum, letting all that is
volatile evaporate.  You preserve only the first running,
which is again to be distilled seventeen times, till what remains
will amount to about two drams.  This you keep in a glass
vial hermetically sealed for one-and-twenty days.  Then you
begin your catholic treatise, taking every morning fasting (first
shaking the vial) three drops of this elixir, snuffing it
strongly up your nose.  It will dilate itself about the
brain (where there is any) in fourteen minutes, and you
immediately perceive in your head an infinite number of
abstracts, summaries, compendiums, extracts, collections,
medullas, excerpta quædams, florilegias and the like, all
disposed into great order and reducible upon paper.

I must needs own it was by the assistance of this arcanum that
I, though otherwise impar, have adventured upon so daring
an attempt, never achieved or undertaken before but by a certain
author called Homer, in whom, though otherwise a person not
without some abilities, and for an ancient of a tolerable genius;
I have discovered many gross errors which are not to be forgiven
his very ashes, if by chance any of them are left.  For
whereas we are assured he designed his work for a complete body
of all knowledge, human, divine, political, and mechanic [102a], it is manifest he hath wholly
neglected some, and been very imperfect perfect in the
rest.  For, first of all, as eminent a cabalist as his
disciples would represent him, his account of the opus
is extremely poor and deficient; he seems to have read
but very superficially either Sendivogus, Behmen, or
Anthroposophia Theomagica [102b].  He is
also quite mistaken about the sphæra pyroplastica, a
neglect not to be atoned for, and (if the reader will admit so
severe a censure) vix crederem autorem hunc unquam audivisse
ignis vocem
.  His failings are not less prominent in
several parts of the mechanics.  For having read his
writings with the utmost application usual among modern wits, I
could never yet discover the least direction about the structure
of that useful instrument a save-all; for want of which, if the
moderns had not lent their assistance, we might yet have wandered
in the dark.  But I have still behind a fault far more
notorious to tax this author with; I mean his gross ignorance in
the common laws of this realm, and in the doctrine as well as
discipline of the Church of England.  A defect, indeed, for
which both he and all the ancients stand most justly censured by
my worthy and ingenious friend Mr. Wotton, Bachelor of Divinity,
in his incomparable treatise of ancient and modern learning; a
book never to be sufficiently valued, whether we consider the
happy turns and flowings of the author’s wit, the great
usefulness of his sublime discoveries upon the subject of flies
and spittle, or the laborious eloquence of his style.  And I
cannot forbear doing that author the justice of my public
acknowledgments for the great helps and liftings I had out of his
incomparable piece while I was penning this treatise.

But besides these omissions in Homer already mentioned, the
curious reader will also observe several defects in that
author’s writings for which he is not altogether so
accountable.  For whereas every branch of knowledge has
received such wonderful acquirements since his age, especially
within these last three years or thereabouts, it is almost
impossible he could be so very perfect in modern discoveries as
his advocates pretend.  We freely acknowledge him to be the
inventor of the compass, of gunpowder, and the circulation of the
blood; but I challenge any of his admirers to show me in all his
writings a complete account of the spleen.  Does he not also
leave us wholly to seek in the art of political wagering? 
What can be more defective and unsatisfactory than his long
dissertation upon tea? and as to his method of salivation without
mercury, so much celebrated of late, it is to my own knowledge
and experience a thing very little to be relied on.

It was to supply such momentous defects that I have been
prevailed on, after long solicitation, to take pen in hand, and I
dare venture to promise the judicious reader shall find nothing
neglected here that can be of use upon any emergency of
life.  I am confident to have included and exhausted all
that human imagination can rise or fall to.  Particularly I
recommend to the perusal of the learned certain discoveries that
are wholly untouched by others, whereof I shall only mention,
among a great many more, my “New Help of Smatterers, or the
Art of being Deep Learned and Shallow Read,” “A
Curious Invention about Mouse-traps,” “A Universal
Rule of Reason, or Every Man his own Carver,” together with
a most useful engine for catching of owls.  All which the
judicious reader will find largely treated on in the several
parts of this discourse.

I hold myself obliged to give as much light as possible into
the beauties and excellences of what I am writing, because it is
become the fashion and humour most applauded among the first
authors of this polite and learned age, when they would correct
the ill nature of critical or inform the ignorance of courteous
readers.  Besides, there have been several famous pieces
lately published, both in verse and prose, wherein if the writers
had not been pleased, out of their great humanity and affection
to the public, to give us a nice detail of the sublime and the
admirable they contain, it is a thousand to one whether we should
ever have discovered one grain of either.  For my own
particular, I cannot deny that whatever I have said upon this
occasion had been more proper in a preface, and more agreeable to
the mode which usually directs it there.  But I here think
fit to lay hold on that great and honourable privilege of being
the last writer.  I claim an absolute authority in right as
the freshest modern, which gives me a despotic power over all
authors before me.  In the strength of which title I do
utterly disapprove and declare against that pernicious custom of
making the preface a bill of fare to the book.  For I have
always looked upon it as a high point of indiscretion in
monstermongers and other retailers of strange sights to hang out
a fair large picture over the door, drawn after the life, with a
most eloquent description underneath.  This has saved me
many a threepence, for my curiosity was fully satisfied, and I
never offered to go in, though often invited by the urging and
attending orator with his last moving and standing piece of
rhetoric, “Sir, upon my word, we are just going to
begin.”  Such is exactly the fate at this time of
Prefaces, Epistles, Advertisements, Introductions, Prolegomenas,
Apparatuses, To the Readers’s.  This expedient was
admirable at first; our great Dryden has long carried it as far
as it would go, and with incredible success.  He has often
said to me in confidence that the world would never have
suspected him to be so great a poet if he had not assured them so
frequently in his prefaces, that it was impossible they could
either doubt or forget it.  Perhaps it may be so. 
However, I much fear his instructions have edified out of their
place, and taught men to grow wiser in certain points where he
never intended they should; for it is lamentable to behold with
what a lazy scorn many of the yawning readers in our age do
now-a-days twirl over forty or fifty pages of preface and
dedication (which is the usual modern stint), as if it were so
much Latin.  Though it must be also allowed, on the other
hand, that a very considerable number is known to proceed critics
and wits by reading nothing else.  Into which two factions I
think all present readers may justly be divided.  Now, for
myself, I profess to be of the former sort, and therefore having
the modern inclination to expatiate upon the beauty of my own
productions, and display the bright parts of my discourse, I
thought best to do it in the body of the work, where as it now
lies it makes a very considerable addition to the bulk of the
volume, a circumstance by no means to be neglected by a skilful

Having thus paid my due deference and acknowledgment to an
established custom of our newest authors, by a long digression
unsought for and a universal censure unprovoked, by forcing into
the light, with much pains and dexterity, my own excellences and
other men’s defaults, with great justice to myself and
candour to them, I now happily resume my subject, to the infinite
satisfaction both of the reader and the author.



We left Lord Peter in open rupture
with his two brethren, both for ever discarded from his house,
and resigned to the wide world with little or nothing to trust
to.  Which are circumstances that render them proper
subjects for the charity of a writer’s pen to work on,
scenes of misery ever affording the fairest harvest for great
adventures.  And in this the world may perceive the
difference between the integrity of a generous Author and that of
a common friend.  The latter is observed to adhere close in
prosperity, but on the decline of fortune to drop suddenly off;
whereas the generous author, just on the contrary, finds his hero
on the dunghill, from thence, by gradual steps, raises him to a
throne, and then immediately withdraws, expecting not so much as
thanks for his pains; in imitation of which example I have placed
Lord Peter in a noble house, given him a title to wear and money
to spend.  There I shall leave him for some time, returning,
where common charity directs me, to the assistance of his two
brothers at their lowest ebb.  However, I shall by no means
forget my character of a historian, to follow the truth step by
step whatever happens, or wherever it may lead me.

The two exiles so nearly united in fortune and interest took a
lodging together, where at their first leisure they began to
reflect on the numberless misfortunes and vexations of their life
past, and could not tell of the sudden to what failure in their
conduct they ought to impute them, when, after some recollection,
they called to mind the copy of their father’s will which
they had so happily recovered.  This was immediately
produced, and a firm resolution taken between them to alter
whatever was already amiss, and reduce all their future measures
to the strictest obedience prescribed therein.  The main
body of the will (as the reader cannot easily have forgot)
consisted in certain admirable rules, about the wearing of their
coats, in the perusal whereof the two brothers at every period
duly comparing the doctrine with the practice, there was never
seen a wider difference between two things, horrible downright
transgressions of every point.  Upon which they both
resolved without further delay to fall immediately upon reducing
the whole exactly after their father’s model.

But here it is good to stop the hasty reader, ever impatient
to see the end of an adventure before we writers can duly prepare
him for it.  I am to record that these two brothers began to
be distinguished at this time by certain names.  One of them
desired to be called Martin, and the other took the appellation
of Jack.  These two had lived in much friendship and
agreement under the tyranny of their brother Peter, as it is the
talent of fellow-sufferers to do, men in misfortune being like
men in the dark, to whom all colours are the same.  But when
they came forward into the world, and began to display themselves
to each other and to the light, their complexions appeared
extremely different, which the present posture of their affairs
gave them sudden opportunity to discover.

But here the severe reader may justly tax me as a writer of
short memory, a deficiency to which a true modern cannot but of
necessity be a little subject.  Because, memory being an
employment of the mind upon things past, is a faculty for which
the learned in our illustrious age have no manner of occasion,
who deal entirely with invention and strike all things out of
themselves, or at least by collision from each other; upon which
account, we think it highly reasonable to produce our great
forgetfulness as an argument unanswerable for our great
wit.  I ought in method to have informed the reader about
fifty pages ago of a fancy Lord Peter took, and infused into his
brothers, to wear on their coats whatever trimmings came up in
fashion, never pulling off any as they went out of the mode, but
keeping on all together, which amounted in time to a medley the
most antic you can possibly conceive, and this to a degree that,
upon the time of their falling out, there was hardly a thread of
the original coat to be seen, but an infinite quantity of lace,
and ribbands, and fringe, and embroidery, and points (I mean only
those tagged with silver, for the rest fell off).  Now this
material circumstance having been forgot in due place, as good
fortune hath ordered, comes in very properly here, when the two
brothers are just going to reform their vestures into the
primitive state prescribed by their father’s will.

They both unanimously entered upon this great work, looking
sometimes on their coats and sometimes on the will.  Martin
laid the first hand; at one twitch brought off a large handful of
points, and with a second pull stripped away ten dozen yards of
fringe.  But when he had gone thus far he demurred a
while.  He knew very well there yet remained a great deal
more to be done; however, the first heat being over, his violence
began to cool, and he resolved to proceed more moderately in the
rest of the work, having already very narrowly escaped a swinging
rent in pulling off the points, which being tagged with silver
(as we have observed before), the judicious workman had with much
sagacity double sewn to preserve them from falling. 
Resolving therefore to rid his coat of a huge quantity of gold
lace, he picked up the stitches with much caution and diligently
gleaned out all the loose threads as he went, which proved to be
a work of time.  Then he fell about the embroidered Indian
figures of men, women, and children, against which, as you have
heard in its due place, their father’s testament was
extremely exact and severe.  These, with much dexterity and
application, were after a while quite eradicated or utterly
defaced.  For the rest, where he observed the embroidery to
be worked so close as not to be got away without damaging the
cloth, or where it served to hide or strengthened any flaw in the
body of the coat, contracted by the perpetual tampering of
workmen upon it, he concluded the wisest course was to let it
remain, resolving in no case whatsoever that the substance of the
stuff should suffer injury, which he thought the best method for
serving the true intent and meaning of his father’s
will.  And this is the nearest account I have been able to
collect of Martin’s proceedings upon this great

But his brother Jack, whose adventures will be so
extraordinary as to furnish a great part in the remainder of this
discourse, entered upon the matter with other thoughts and a
quite different spirit.  For the memory of Lord
Peter’s injuries produced a degree of hatred and spite
which had a much greater share of inciting him than any regards
after his father’s commands, since these appeared at best
only secondary and subservient to the other.  However, for
this medley of humour he made a shift to find a very plausible
name, honouring it with the title of zeal, which is, perhaps, the
most significant word that has been ever yet produced in any
language, as, I think, I have fully proved in my excellent
analytical discourse upon that subject, wherein I have deduced a
histori-theo-physiological account of zeal, showing how it first
proceeded from a notion into a word, and from thence in a hot
summer ripened into a tangible substance.  This work,
containing three large volumes in folio, I design very shortly to
publish by the modern way of subscription, not doubting but the
nobility and gentry of the land will give me all possible
encouragement, having already had such a taste of what I am able
to perform.

I record, therefore, that brother Jack, brimful of this
miraculous compound, reflecting with indignation upon
Peter’s tyranny, and further provoked by the despondency of
Martin, prefaced his resolutions to this purpose. 
“What!” said he, “a rogue that locked up his
drink, turned away our wives, cheated us of our fortunes, palmed
his crusts upon us for mutton, and at last kicked us out of
doors; must we be in his fashions?  A rascal, besides, that
all the street cries out against.”  Having thus
kindled and inflamed himself as high as possible, and by
consequence in a delicate temper for beginning a reformation, he
set about the work immediately, and in three minutes made more
dispatch than Martin had done in as many hours.  For,
courteous reader, you are given to understand that zeal is never
so highly obliged as when you set it a-tearing; and Jack, who
doted on that quality in himself, allowed it at this time its
full swing.  Thus it happened that, stripping down a parcel
of gold lace a little too hastily, he rent the main body of his
coat from top to bottom [110]; and whereas his
talent was not of the happiest in taking up a stitch, he knew no
better way than to darn it again with packthread thread and a
skewer.  But the matter was yet infinitely worse (I record
it with tears) when he proceeded to the embroidery; for being
clumsy of nature, and of temper impatient withal, beholding
millions of stitches that required the nicest hand and sedatest
constitution to extricate, in a great rage he tore off the whole
piece, cloth and all, and flung it into the kennel, and furiously
thus continuing his career, “Ah! good brother
Martin,” said he, “do as I do, for the love of God;
strip, tear, pull, rend, flay off all that we may appear as
unlike that rogue Peter as it is possible.  I would not for
a hundred pounds carry the least mark about me that might give
occasion to the neighbours of suspecting I was related to such a
rascal.”  But Martin, who at this time happened to be
extremely phlegmatic and sedate, begged his brother, of all love,
not to damage his coat by any means, for he never would get such
another; desired him to consider that it was not their business
to form their actions by any reflection upon Peter’s, but
by observing the rules prescribed in their father’s
will.  That he should remember Peter was still their
brother, whatever faults or injuries he had committed, and
therefore they should by all means avoid such a thought as that
of taking measures for good and evil from no other rule than of
opposition to him.  That it was true the testament of their
good father was very exact in what related to the wearing of
their coats; yet was it no less penal and strict in prescribing
agreement, and friendship, and affection between them.  And
therefore, if straining a point were at all defensible, it would
certainly be so rather to the advance of unity than increase of

Martin had still proceeded as gravely as he began, and
doubtless would have delivered an admirable lecture of morality,
which might have exceedingly contributed to my reader’s
repose both of body and mind (the true ultimate end of ethics),
but Jack was already gone a flight-shot beyond his
patience.  And as in scholastic disputes nothing serves to
rouse the spleen of him that opposes so much as a kind of
pedantic affected calmness in the respondent, disputants being
for the most part like unequal scales, where the gravity of one
side advances the lightness of the other, and causes it to fly up
and kick the beam; so it happened here that the weight of
Martin’s arguments exalted Jack’s levity, and made
him fly out and spurn against his brother’s
moderation.  In short, Martin’s patience put Jack in a
rage; but that which most afflicted him was to observe his
brother’s coat so well reduced into the state of innocence,
while his own was either wholly rent to his shirt, or those
places which had escaped his cruel clutches were still in
Peter’s livery.  So that he looked like a drunken beau
half rifled by bullies, or like a fresh tenant of Newgate when he
has refused the payment of garnish, or like a discovered
shoplifter left to the mercy of Exchange-women [111a], or like a bawd in her old velvet
petticoat resigned into the secular hands of the mobile [111b].  Like any or like all of these,
a medley of rags, and lace, and fringes, unfortunate Jack did now
appear; he would have been extremely glad to see his coat in the
condition of Martin’s, but infinitely gladder to find that
of Martin in the same predicament with his.  However, since
neither of these was likely to come to pass, he thought fit to
lend the whole business another turn, and to dress up necessity
into a virtue.  Therefore, after as many of the fox’s
arguments as he could muster up for bringing Martin to reason, as
he called it, or as he meant it, into his own ragged, bobtailed
condition, and observing he said all to little purpose, what
alas! was left for the forlorn Jack to do, but, after a million
of scurrilities against his brother, to run mad with spleen, and
spite, and contradiction.  To be short, here began a mortal
breach between these two.  Jack went immediately to new
lodgings, and in a few days it was for certain reported that he
had run out of his wits.  In a short time after he appeared
abroad, and confirmed the report by falling into the oddest
whimsies that ever a sick brain conceived.

And now the little boys in the streets began to salute him
with several names.  Sometimes they would call him Jack the
Bald, sometimes Jack with a Lanthorn, sometimes Dutch Jack,
sometimes French Hugh, sometimes Tom the Beggar, and sometimes
Knocking Jack of the North [112].  And it was
under one or some or all of these appellations (which I leave the
learned reader to determine) that he hath given rise to the most
illustrious and epidemic sect of Æolists, who, with
honourable commemoration, do still acknowledge the renowned Jack
for their author and founder.  Of whose originals as well as
principles I am now advancing to gratify the world with a very
particular account.

contingens cuncta lepore.”



I have sometimes heard of an Iliad
in a nut-shell, but it has been my fortune to have much oftener
seen a nut-shell in an Iliad.  There is no doubt that human
life has received most wonderful advantages from both; but to
which of the two the world is chiefly indebted, I shall leave
among the curious as a problem worthy of their utmost
inquiry.  For the invention of the latter, I think the
commonwealth of learning is chiefly obliged to the great modern
improvement of digressions.  The late refinements in
knowledge, running parallel to those of diet in our nation, which
among men of a judicious taste are dressed up in various
compounds, consisting in soups and olios, fricassees and

It is true there is a sort of morose, detracting, ill-bred
people who pretend utterly to disrelish these polite
innovations.  And as to the similitude from diet, they allow
the parallel, but are so bold as to pronounce the example itself
a corruption and degeneracy of taste.  They tell us that the
fashion of jumbling fifty things together in a dish was at first
introduced in compliance to a depraved and debauched appetite, as
well as to a crazy constitution, and to see a man hunting through
an olio after the head and brains of a goose, a widgeon, or a
woodcock, is a sign he wants a stomach and digestion for more
substantial victuals.  Further, they affirm that digressions
in a book are like foreign troops in a state, which argue the
nation to want a heart and hands of its own, and often either
subdue the natives, or drive them into the most unfruitful

But after all that can be objected by these supercilious
censors, it is manifest the society of writers would quickly be
reduced to a very inconsiderable number if men were put upon
making books with the fatal confinement of delivering nothing
beyond what is to the purpose.  It is acknowledged that were
the case the same among us as with the Greeks and Romans, when
learning was in its cradle, to be reared and fed and clothed by
invention, it would be an easy task to fill up volumes upon
particular occasions without further expatiating from the subject
than by moderate excursions, helping to advance or clear the main
design.  But with knowledge it has fared as with a numerous
army encamped in a fruitful country, which for a few days
maintains itself by the product of the soil it is on, till
provisions being spent, they send to forage many a mile among
friends or enemies, it matters not.  Meanwhile the
neighbouring fields, trampled and beaten down, become barren and
dry, affording no sustenance but clouds of dust.

The whole course of things being thus entirely changed between
us and the ancients, and the moderns wisely sensible of it, we of
this age have discovered a shorter and more prudent method to
become scholars and wits, without the fatigue of reading or of
thinking.  The most accomplished way of using books at
present is twofold: either first to serve them as some men do
lords, learn their titles exactly, and then brag of their
acquaintance; or, secondly, which is indeed the choicer, the
profounder, and politer method, to get a thorough insight into
the index by which the whole book is governed and turned, like
fishes by the tail.  For to enter the palace of learning at
the great gate requires an expense of time and forms, therefore
men of much haste and little ceremony are content to get in by
the back-door.  For the arts are all in a flying march, and
therefore more easily subdued by attacking them in the
rear.  Thus physicians discover the state of the whole body
by consulting only what comes from behind.  Thus men catch
knowledge by throwing their wit on the posteriors of a book, as
boys do sparrows with flinging salt upon their tails.  Thus
human life is best understood by the wise man’s rule of
regarding the end.  Thus are the sciences found, like
Hercules’ oxen, by tracing them backwards.  Thus are
old sciences unravelled like old stockings, by beginning at the

Besides all this, the army of the sciences hath been of late
with a world of martial discipline drawn into its close order, so
that a view or a muster may be taken of it with abundance of
expedition.  For this great blessing we are wholly indebted
to systems and abstracts, in which the modern fathers of
learning, like prudent usurers, spent their sweat for the ease of
us their children.  For labour is the seed of idleness, and
it is the peculiar happiness of our noble age to gather the

Now the method of growing wise, learned, and sublime having
become so regular an affair, and so established in all its forms,
the number of writers must needs have increased accordingly, and
to a pitch that has made it of absolute necessity for them to
interfere continually with each other.  Besides, it is
reckoned that there is not at this present a sufficient quantity
of new matter left in Nature to furnish and adorn any one
particular subject to the extent of a volume.  This I am
told by a very skilful computer, who hath given a full
demonstration of it from rules of arithmetic.

This perhaps may be objected against by those who maintain the
infinity of matter, and therefore will not allow that any species
of it can be exhausted.  For answer to which, let us examine
the noblest branch of modern wit or invention planted and
cultivated by the present age, and which of all others hath borne
the most and the fairest fruit.  For though some remains of
it were left us by the ancients, yet have not any of those, as I
remember, been translated or compiled into systems for modern
use.  Therefore we may affirm, to our own honour, that it
has in some sort been both invented and brought to a perfection
by the same hands.  What I mean is, that highly celebrated
talent among the modern wits of deducing similitudes, allusions,
and applications, very surprising, agreeable, and apposite, from
the signs of either sex, together with their proper uses. 
And truly, having observed how little invention bears any vogue
besides what is derived into these channels, I have sometimes had
a thought that the happy genius of our age and country was
prophetically held forth by that ancient typical description of
the Indian pigmies whose stature did not exceed above two feet,
sed quorum pudenda crassa, et ad talos usque
.  Now I have been very curious to inspect
the late productions, wherein the beauties of this kind have most
prominently appeared.  And although this vein hath bled so
freely, and all endeavours have been used in the power of human
breath to dilate, extend, and keep it open, like the Scythians [116], who had a custom and an instrument to
blow up those parts of their mares, that they might yield the
more milk; yet I am under an apprehension it is near growing dry
and past all recovery, and that either some new fonde of
wit should, if possible, be provided, or else that we must
e’en be content with repetition here as well as upon all
other occasions.

This will stand as an uncontestable argument that our modern
wits are not to reckon upon the infinity of matter for a constant
supply.  What remains, therefore, but that our last recourse
must be had to large indexes and little compendiums? 
Quotations must be plentifully gathered and booked in
alphabet.  To this end, though authors need be little
consulted, yet critics, and commentators, and lexicons carefully
must.  But above all, those judicious collectors of bright
parts, and flowers, and observandas are to be nicely dwelt on by
some called the sieves and boulters of learning, though it is
left undetermined whether they dealt in pearls or meal, and
consequently whether we are more to value that which passed
through or what stayed behind.

By these methods, in a few weeks there starts up many a writer
capable of managing the profoundest and most universal
subjects.  For what though his head be empty, provided his
commonplace book be full?  And if you will bate him but the
circumstances of method, and style, and grammar, and invention;
allow him but the common privileges of transcribing from others,
and digressing from himself as often as he shall see occasion, he
will desire no more ingredients towards fitting up a treatise
that shall make a very comely figure on a bookseller’s
shelf, there to be preserved neat and clean for a long eternity,
adorned with the heraldry of its title fairly inscribed on a
label, never to be thumbed or greased by students, nor bound to
everlasting chains of darkness in a library, but when the fulness
of time is come shall happily undergo the trial of purgatory in
order to ascend the sky.

Without these allowances how is it possible we modern wits
should ever have an opportunity to introduce our collections
listed under so many thousand heads of a different nature, for
want of which the learned world would be deprived of infinite
delight as well as instruction, and we ourselves buried beyond
redress in an inglorious and undistinguished oblivion?

From such elements as these I am alive to behold the day
wherein the corporation of authors can outvie all its brethren in
the field—a happiness derived to us, with a great many
others, from our Scythian ancestors, among whom the number of
pens was so infinite that the Grecian eloquence had no other way
of expressing it than by saying that in the regions far to the
north it was hardly possible for a man to travel, the very air
was so replete with feathers.

The necessity of this digression will easily excuse the
length, and I have chosen for it as proper a place as I could
readily find.  If the judicious reader can assign a fitter,
I do here empower him to remove it into any other corner he
please.  And so I return with great alacrity to pursue a
more important concern.



The learned Æolists maintain
the original cause of all things to be wind, from which principle
this whole universe was at first produced, and into which it must
at last be resolved, that the same breath which had kindled and
blew up the flame of Nature should one day blow it out.

“Quod procul
à nobis flectat Fortuna gubernans.”

This is what the Adepti understand by their anima
, that is to say, the spirit, or breath, or wind of the
world; or examine the whole system by the particulars of Nature,
and you will find it not to be disputed.  For whether you
please to call the forma informans of man by the name of
spiritus, animus, afflatus, or anima,
what are all these but several appellations for wind, which is
the ruling element in every compound, and into which they all
resolve upon their corruption.  Further, what is life itself
but, as it is commonly called, the breath of our nostrils, whence
it is very justly observed by naturalists that wind still
continues of great emolument in certain mysteries not to be
named, giving occasion for those happy epithets of
turgidus and inflatus, applied either to the
emittent or recipient organs.

By what I have gathered out of ancient records, I find the
compass of their doctrine took in two-and-thirty points, wherein
it would be tedious to be very particular.  However, a few
of their most important precepts deducible from it are by no
means to be omitted; among which, the following maxim was of much
weight: That since wind had the master share as well as operation
in every compound, by consequence those beings must be of chief
excellence wherein that primordium appears most prominently to
abound, and therefore man is in highest perfection of all created
things, as having, by the great bounty of philosophers, been
endued with three distinct animas or winds, to which the
sage Æolists, with much liberality, have added a fourth, of
equal necessity as well as ornament with the other three, by this
quartum principium taking in the four corners of the
world.  Which gave occasion to that renowned cabalist
Bombastus [119a] of placing the body of man in due
position to the four cardinal points.

In consequence of this, their next principle was that man
brings with him into the world a peculiar portion or grain of
wind, which may be called a quinta essentia extracted from
the other four.  This quintessence is of catholic use upon
all emergencies of life, is improveable into all arts and
sciences, and may be wonderfully refined as well as enlarged by
certain methods in education.  This, when blown up to its
perfection, ought not to be covetously boarded up, stifled, or
hid under a bushel, but freely communicated to mankind. 
Upon these reasons, and others of equal weight, the wise
Æolists affirm the gift of belching to be the noblest act
of a rational creature.  To cultivate which art, and render
it more serviceable to mankind, they made use of several
methods.  At certain seasons of the year you might behold
the priests amongst them in vast numbers with their mouths gaping
wide against a storm.  At other times were to be seen
several hundreds linked together in a circular chain, with every
man a pair of bellows applied to his neighbour, by which they
blew up each other to the shape and size of a tun; and for that
reason with great propriety of speech did usually call their
bodies their vessels [119b].  When, by
these and the like performances, they were grown sufficiently
replete, they would immediately depart, and disembogue for the
public good a plentiful share of their acquirements into their
disciples’ chaps.  For we must here observe that all
learning was esteemed among them to be compounded from the same
principle.  Because, first, it is generally affirmed or
confessed that learning puffeth men up; and, secondly, they
proved it by the following syllogism: “Words are but wind,
and learning is nothing but words; ergo, learning is nothing but
wind.”  For this reason the philosophers among them
did in their schools deliver to their pupils all their doctrines
and opinions by eructation, wherein they had acquired a wonderful
eloquence, and of incredible variety.  But the great
characteristic by which their chief sages were best distinguished
was a certain position of countenance, which gave undoubted
intelligence to what degree or proportion the spirit agitated the
inward mass.  For after certain gripings, the wind and
vapours issuing forth, having first by their turbulence and
convulsions within caused an earthquake in man’s little
world, distorted the mouth, bloated the cheeks, and gave the eyes
a terrible kind of relievo.  At which junctures all their
belches were received for sacred, the sourer the better, and
swallowed with infinite consolation by their meagre
devotees.  And to render these yet more complete, because
the breath of man’s life is in his nostrils, therefore the
choicest, most edifying, and most enlivening belches were very
wisely conveyed through that vehicle to give them a tincture as
they passed.

Their gods were the four winds, whom they worshipped as the
spirits that pervade and enliven the universe, and as those from
whom alone all inspiration can properly be said to proceed. 
However, the chief of these, to whom they performed the adoration
of Latria, was the Almighty North, an ancient deity, whom the
inhabitants of Megalopolis in Greece had likewise in highest
reverence.  “Omnium deorum Boream maxime
celebrant.” [120]  This god,
though endued with ubiquity, was yet supposed by the profounder
Æolists to possess one peculiar habitation, or (to speak in
form) a cælum empyræum, wherein he was more
intimately present.  This was situated in a certain region
well known to the ancient Greeks, by them called
Σχοτία, the Land of
Darkness.  And although many controversies have arisen upon
that matter, yet so much is undisputed, that from a region of the
like denomination the most refined Æolists have borrowed
their original, from whence in every age the zealous among their
priesthood have brought over their choicest inspiration, fetching
it with their own hands from the fountain-head in certain
bladders, and disploding it among the sectaries in all nations,
who did, and do, and ever will, daily gasp and pant after it.

Now their mysteries and rites were performed in this
manner.  It is well known among the learned that the
virtuosos of former ages had a contrivance for carrying and
preserving winds in casks or barrels, which was of great
assistance upon long sea-voyages, and the loss of so useful an
art at present is very much to be lamented, though, I know not
how, with great negligence omitted by Pancirollus.  It was
an invention ascribed to Æolus himself, from whom this sect
is denominated, and who, in honour of their founder’s
memory, have to this day preserved great numbers of those
barrels, whereof they fix one in each of their temples, first
beating out the top.  Into this barrel upon solemn days the
priest enters, where, having before duly prepared himself by the
methods already described, a secret funnel is also conveyed to
the bottom of the barrel, which admits new supplies of
inspiration from a northern chink or cranny.  Whereupon you
behold him swell immediately to the shape and size of his
vessel.  In this posture he disembogues whole tempests upon
his auditory, as the spirit from beneath gives him utterance,
which issuing ex adytis and penetralibus, is not
performed without much pain and griping.  And the wind in
breaking forth deals with his face as it does with that of the
sea, first blackening, then wrinkling, and at last bursting it
into a foam.  It is in this guise the sacred Æolist
delivers his oracular belches to his panting disciples, of whom
some are greedily gaping after the sanctified breath, others are
all the while hymning out the praises of the winds, and gently
wafted to and fro by their own humming, do thus represent the
soft breezes of their deities appeased.

It is from this custom of the priests that some authors
maintain these Æolists to have been very ancient in the
world, because the delivery of their mysteries, which I have just
now mentioned, appears exactly the same with that of other
ancient oracles, whose inspirations were owing to certain
subterraneous effluviums of wind delivered with the same pain to
the priest, and much about the same influence on the
people.  It is true indeed that these were frequently
managed and directed by female officers, whose organs were
understood to be better disposed for the admission of those
oracular gusts, as entering and passing up through a receptacle
of greater capacity, and causing also a pruriency by the way,
such as with due management has been refined from carnal into a
spiritual ecstasy.  And to strengthen this profound
conjecture, it is further insisted that this custom of female
priests is kept up still in certain refined colleges of our
modern Æolists [122], who are agreed to
receive their inspiration, derived through the receptacle
aforesaid, like their ancestors the Sybils.

And whereas the mind of man, when he gives the spur and bridle
to his thoughts, does never stop, but naturally sallies out into
both extremes of high and low, of good and evil, his first flight
of fancy commonly transports him to ideas of what is most
perfect, finished, and exalted, till, having soared out of his
own reach and sight, not well perceiving how near the frontiers
of height and depth border upon each other, with the same course
and wing he falls down plump into the lowest bottom of things,
like one who travels the east into the west, or like a straight
line drawn by its own length into a circle.  Whether a
tincture of malice in our natures makes us fond of furnishing
every bright idea with its reverse, or whether reason, reflecting
upon the sum of things, can, like the sun, serve only to
enlighten one half of the globe, leaving the other half by
necessity under shade and darkness, or whether fancy, flying up
to the imagination of what is highest and best, becomes
over-short, and spent, and weary, and suddenly falls, like a dead
bird of paradise, to the ground; or whether, after all these
metaphysical conjectures, I have not entirely missed the true
reason; the proposition, however, which has stood me in so much
circumstance is altogether true, that as the most uncivilised
parts of mankind have some way or other climbed up into the
conception of a God or Supreme Power, so they have seldom forgot
to provide their fears with certain ghastly notions, which,
instead of better, have served them pretty tolerably for a
devil.  And this proceeding seems to be natural enough, for
it is with men whose imaginations are lifted up very high after
the same rate as with those whose bodies are so, that as they are
delighted with the advantage of a nearer contemplation upwards,
so they are equally terrified with the dismal prospect of the
precipice below.  Thus in the choice of a devil it has been
the usual method of mankind to single out some being, either in
act or in vision, which was in most antipathy to the god they had
framed.  Thus also the sect of the Æolists possessed
themselves with a dread and horror and hatred of two malignant
natures, betwixt whom and the deities they adored perpetual
enmity was established.  The first of these was the
chameleon, sworn foe to inspiration, who in scorn devoured large
influences of their god, without refunding the smallest blast by
eructation.  The other was a huge terrible monster called
Moulinavent, who with four strong arms waged eternal battle with
all their divinities, dexterously turning to avoid their blows
and repay them with interest. [123]

Thus furnished, and set out with gods as well as devils, was
the renowned sect of Æolists, which makes at this day so
illustrious a figure in the world, and whereof that polite nation
of Laplanders are beyond all doubt a most authentic branch, of
whom I therefore cannot without injustice here omit to make
honourable mention, since they appear to be so closely allied in
point of interest as well as inclinations with their brother
Æolists among us, as not only to buy their winds by
wholesale from the same merchants, but also to retail them after
the same rate and method, and to customers much alike.

Now whether the system here delivered was wholly compiled by
Jack, or, as some writers believe, rather copied from the
original at Delphos, with certain additions and emendations
suited to times and circumstances, I shall not absolutely
determine.  This I may affirm, that Jack gave it at least a
new turn, and formed it into the same dress and model as it lies
deduced by me.

I have long sought after this opportunity of doing justice to
a society of men for whom I have a peculiar honour, and whose
opinions as well as practices have been extremely misrepresented
and traduced by the malice or ignorance of their
adversaries.  For I think it one of the greatest and best of
human actions to remove prejudices and place things in their
truest and fairest light, which I therefore boldly undertake,
without any regards of my own beside the conscience, the honour,
and the thanks.



Nor shall it any ways detract from
the just reputation of this famous sect that its rise and
institution are owing to such an author as I have described Jack
to be, a person whose intellectuals were overturned and his brain
shaken out of its natural position, which we commonly suppose to
be a distemper, and call by the name of madness or frenzy. 
For if we take a survey of the greatest actions that have been
performed in the world under the influence of single men, which
are the establishment of new empires by conquest, the advance and
progress of new schemes in philosophy, and the contriving as well
as the propagating of new religions, we shall find the authors of
them all to have been persons whose natural reason hath admitted
great revolutions from their diet, their education, the
prevalency of some certain temper, together with the particular
influence of air and climate.  Besides, there is something
individual in human minds that easily kindles at the accidental
approach and collision of certain circumstances, which, though of
paltry and mean appearance, do often flame out into the greatest
emergencies of life.  For great turns are not always given
by strong hands, but by lucky adaptation and at proper seasons,
and it is of no import where the fire was kindled if the vapour
has once got up into the brain.  For the upper region of man
is furnished like the middle region of the air, the materials are
formed from causes of the widest difference, yet produce at last
the same substance and effect.  Mists arise from the earth,
steams from dunghills, exhalations from the sea, and smoke from
fire; yet all clouds are the same in composition as well as
consequences, and the fumes issuing from a jakes will furnish as
comely and useful a vapour as incense from an altar.  Thus
far, I suppose, will easily be granted me; and then it will
follow that as the face of Nature never produces rain but when it
is overcast and disturbed, so human understanding seated in the
brain must be troubled and overspread by vapours ascending from
the lower faculties to water the invention and render it
fruitful.  Now although these vapours (as it hath been
already said) are of as various original as those of the skies,
yet the crop they produce differs both in kind and degree, merely
according to the soil.  I will produce two instances to
prove and explain what I am now advancing.

A certain great prince [126a] raised a mighty
army, filled his coffers with infinite treasures, provided an
invincible fleet, and all this without giving the least part of
his design to his greatest ministers or his nearest
favourites.  Immediately the whole world was alarmed, the
neighbouring crowns in trembling expectation towards what point
the storm would burst, the small politicians everywhere forming
profound conjectures.  Some believed he had laid a scheme
for universal monarchy; others, after much insight, determined
the matter to be a project for pulling down the Pope and setting
up the Reformed religion, which had once been his own.  Some
again, of a deeper sagacity, sent him into Asia to subdue the
Turk and recover Palestine.  In the midst of all these
projects and preparations, a certain state-surgeon [126b], gathering the nature of the disease
by these symptoms, attempted the cure, at one blow performed the
operation, broke the bag and out flew the vapour; nor did
anything want to render it a complete remedy, only that the
prince unfortunately happened to die in the performance. 
Now is the reader exceeding curious to learn from whence this
vapour took its rise, which had so long set the nations at a
gaze?  What secret wheel, what hidden spring, could put into
motion so wonderful an engine?  It was afterwards discovered
that the movement of this whole machine had been directed by an
absent female, who was removed into an enemy’s
country.  What should an unhappy prince do in such ticklish
circumstances as these?  He tried in vain the poet’s
never-failing receipt of corpora quæque, for

“Idque petit corpus mens unde est saucia

Unde feritur, eo tendit, gestitque

Having to no purpose used all peaceable endeavours, the
collected part of the semen, raised and inflamed, became adust,
converted to choler, turned head upon the spinal duct, and
ascended to the brain.  The very same principle that
influences a bully to break the windows of a woman who has jilted
him naturally stirs up a great prince to raise mighty armies and
dream of nothing but sieges, battles, and victories.

The other instance is what I have read somewhere in a very
ancient author of a mighty king [127a], who, for the
space of above thirty years, amused himself to take and lose
towns, beat armies and be beaten, drive princes out of their
dominions, fright children from their bread and butter, burn, lay
waste, plunder, dragoon, massacre subject and stranger, friend
and foe, male and female.  It is recorded that the
philosophers of each country were in grave dispute upon causes
natural, moral, and political, to find out where they should
assign an original solution of this phenomenon.  At last the
vapour or spirit which animated the hero’s brain, being in
perpetual circulation, seized upon that region of the human body
so renowned for furnishing the zibeta occidentalis [127b], and gathering there into a tumour,
left the rest of the world for that time in peace.  Of such
mighty consequence is it where those exhalations fix, and of so
little from whence they proceed.  The same spirits which in
their superior progress would conquer a kingdom descending upon
the anus, conclude in a fistula.

Let us next examine the great introducers of new schemes in
philosophy, and search till we can find from what faculty of the
soul the disposition arises in mortal man of taking it into his
head to advance new systems with such an eager zeal in things
agreed on all hands impossible to be known; from what seeds this
disposition springs, and to what quality of human nature these
grand innovators have been indebted for their number of
disciples, because it is plain that several of the chief among
them, both ancient and modern, were usually mistaken by their
adversaries, and, indeed, by all, except their own followers, to
have been persons crazed or out of their wits, having generally
proceeded in the common course of their words and actions by a
method very different from the vulgar dictates of unrefined
reason, agreeing for the most part in their several models with
their present undoubted successors in the academy of modern
Bedlam, whose merits and principles I shall further examine in
due place.  Of this kind were Epicurus, Diogenes,
Apollonius, Lucretius, Paracelsus, Des Cartes, and others, who,
if they were now in the world, tied fast and separate from their
followers, would in this our undistinguishing age incur manifest
danger of phlebotomy, and whips, and chains, and dark chambers,
and straw.  For what man in the natural state or course of
thinking did ever conceive it in his power to reduce the notions
of all mankind exactly to the same length, and breadth, and
height of his own?  Yet this is the first humble and civil
design of all innovators in the empire of reason.  Epicurus
modestly hoped that one time or other a certain fortuitous
concourse of all men’s opinions, after perpetual jostlings,
the sharp with the smooth, the light and the heavy, the round and
the square, would, by certain clinamina, unite in the notions of
atoms and void, as these did in the originals of all
things.  Cartesius reckoned to see before he died the
sentiments of all philosophers, like so many lesser stars in his
romantic system, rapt and drawn within his own vortex.  Now
I would gladly be informed how it is possible to account for such
imaginations as these in particular men, without recourse to my
phenomenon of vapours ascending from the lower faculties to
overshadow the brain, and there distilling into conceptions, for
which the narrowness of our mother-tongue has not yet assigned
any other name beside that of madness or frenzy.  Let us
therefore now conjecture how it comes to pass that none of these
great prescribers do ever fail providing themselves and their
notions with a number of implicit disciples, and I think the
reason is easy to be assigned, for there is a peculiar string in
the harmony of human understanding, which in several individuals
is exactly of the same tuning.  This, if you can dexterously
screw up to its right key, and then strike gently upon it
whenever you have the good fortune to light among those of the
same pitch, they will by a secret necessary sympathy strike
exactly at the same time.  And in this one circumstance lies
all the skill or luck of the matter; for, if you chance to jar
the string among those who are either above or below your own
height, instead of subscribing to your doctrine, they will tie
you fast, call you mad, and feed you with bread and water. 
It is therefore a point of the nicest conduct to distinguish and
adapt this noble talent with respect to the differences of
persons and of times.  Cicero understood this very well,
when, writing to a friend in England, with a caution, among other
matters, to beware of being cheated by our hackney-coachmen (who,
it seems, in those days were as arrant rascals as they are now),
has these remarkable words, Est quod gaudeas te in ista loca
, ubi aliquid sapere viderere [129].  For, to speak a bold truth, it
is a fatal miscarriage so ill to order affairs as to pass for a
fool in one company, when in another you might be treated as a
philosopher; which I desire some certain gentlemen of my
acquaintance to lay up in their hearts as a very seasonable

This, indeed, was the fatal mistake of that worthy gentleman,
my most ingenious friend Mr. Wotton, a person in appearance
ordained for great designs as well as performances, whether you
will consider his notions or his looks.  Surely no man ever
advanced into the public with fitter qualifications of body and
mind for the propagation of a new religion.  Oh, had those
happy talents, misapplied to vain philosophy, been turned into
their proper channels of dreams and visions, where distortion of
mind and countenance are of such sovereign use, the base,
detracting world would not then have dared to report that
something is amiss, that his brain hath undergone an unlucky
shake, which even his brother modernists themselves, like
ungrates, do whisper so loud that it reaches up to the very
garret I am now writing in.

Lastly, whoever pleases to look into the fountains of
enthusiasm, from whence in all ages have eternally proceeded such
fattening streams, will find the spring-head to have been as
troubled and muddy as the current.  Of such great emolument
is a tincture of this vapour, which the world calls madness, that
without its help the world would not only be deprived of those
two great blessings, conquests and systems, but even all mankind
would unhappily be reduced to the same belief in things
invisible.  Now the former postulatum being held, that it is
of no import from what originals this vapour proceeds, but either
in what angles it strikes and spreads over the understanding, or
upon what species of brain it ascends, it will be a very delicate
point to cut the feather and divide the several reasons to a nice
and curious reader, how this numerical difference in the brain
can produce effects of so vast a difference from the same vapour
as to be the sole point of individuation between Alexander the
Great, Jack of Leyden, and Monsieur Des Cartes.  The present
argument is the most abstracted that ever I engaged in; it
strains my faculties to their highest stretch, and I desire the
reader to attend with utmost perpensity, for I now proceed to
unravel this knotty point.

There is in mankind a certain . . . Hic multa . . .
desiderantur. . . and this I take to be a clear solution
of the matter.

Having, therefore, so narrowly passed through this intricate
difficulty, the reader will, I am sure, agree with me in the
conclusion that, if the moderns mean by madness only a
disturbance or transposition of the brain, by force of certain
vapours issuing up from the lower faculties, then has this
madness been the parent of all those mighty revolutions that have
happened in empire, in philosophy, and in religion.  For the
brain in its natural position and state of serenity disposeth its
owner to pass his life in the common forms, without any thought
of subduing multitudes to his own power, his reasons, or his
visions, and the more he shapes his understanding by the pattern
of human learning, the less he is inclined to form parties after
his particular notions, because that instructs him in his private
infirmities, as well as in the stubborn ignorance of the
people.  But when a man’s fancy gets astride on his
reason, when imagination is at cuffs with the senses, and common
understanding as well as common sense is kicked out of doors, the
first proselyte he makes is himself; and when that is once
compassed, the difficulty is not so great in bringing over
others, a strong delusion always operating from without as
vigorously as from within.  For cant and vision are to the
ear and the eye the same that tickling is to the touch. 
Those entertainments and pleasures we most value in life are such
as dupe and play the wag with the senses.  For if we take an
examination of what is generally understood by happiness, as it
has respect either to the understanding or the senses we shall
find all its properties and adjuncts will herd under this short
definition, that it is a perpetual possession of being well
deceived.  And first, with relation to the mind or
understanding, it is manifest what mighty advantages fiction has
over truth, and the reason is just at our elbow: because
imagination can build nobler scenes and produce more wonderful
revolutions than fortune or Nature will be at the expense to
furnish.  Nor is mankind so much to blame in his choice thus
determining him, if we consider that the debate merely lies
between things past and things conceived, and so the question is
only this: whether things that have place in the imagination may
not as properly be said to exist as those that are seated in the
memory? which may be justly held in the affirmative, and very
much to the advantage of the former, since this is acknowledged
to be the womb of things, and the other allowed to be no more
than the grave.  Again, if we take this definition of
happiness and examine it with reference to the senses, it will be
acknowledged wonderfully adapt.  How sad and insipid do all
objects accost us that are not conveyed in the vehicle of
delusion!  How shrunk is everything as it appears in the
glass of Nature, so that if it were not for the assistance of
artificial mediums, false lights, refracted angles, varnish, and
tinsel, there would be a mighty level in the felicity and
enjoyments of mortal men.  If this were seriously considered
by the world, as I have a certain reason to suspect it hardly
will, men would no longer reckon among their high points of
wisdom the art of exposing weak sides and publishing
infirmities—an employment, in my opinion, neither better
nor worse than that of unmasking, which, I think, has never been
allowed fair usage, either in the world or the playhouse.

In the proportion that credulity is a more peaceful possession
of the mind than curiosity, so far preferable is that wisdom
which converses about the surface to that pretended philosophy
which enters into the depths of things and then comes gravely
back with informations and discoveries, that in the inside they
are good for nothing.  The two senses to which all objects
first address themselves are the sight and the touch; these never
examine farther than the colour, the shape, the size, and
whatever other qualities dwell or are drawn by art upon the
outward of bodies; and then comes reason officiously, with tools
for cutting, and opening, and mangling, and piercing, offering to
demonstrate that they are not of the same consistence quite
through.  Now I take all this to be the last degree of
perverting Nature, one of whose eternal laws it is to put her
best furniture forward.  And therefore, in order to save the
charges of all such expensive anatomy for the time to come, I do
here think fit to inform the reader that in such conclusions as
these reason is certainly in the right; and that in most
corporeal beings which have fallen under my cognisance, the
outside hath been infinitely preferable to the in, whereof I have
been further convinced from some late experiments.  Last
week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much
it altered her person for the worse.  Yesterday I ordered
the carcass of a beau to be stripped in my presence, when we were
all amazed to find so many unsuspected faults under one suit of
clothes.  Then I laid open his brain, his heart, and his
spleen, but I plainly perceived at every operation that the
farther we proceeded, we found the defects increase upon us, in
number and bulk; from all which I justly formed this conclusion
to myself, that whatever philosopher or projector can find out an
art to sodder and patch up the flaws and imperfections of Nature,
will deserve much better of mankind and teach us a more useful
science than that so much in present esteem, of widening and
exposing them (like him who held anatomy to be the ultimate end
of physic).  And he whose fortunes and dispositions have
placed him in a convenient station to enjoy the fruits of this
noble art, he that can with Epicurus content his ideas with the
films and images that fly off upon his senses from the superfices
of things, such a man, truly wise, creams off Nature, leaving the
sour and the dregs for philosophy and reason to lap up. 
This is the sublime and refined point of felicity called the
possession of being well-deceived, the serene peaceful state of
being a fool among knaves.

But to return to madness.  It is certain that, according
to the system I have above deduced, every species thereof
proceeds from a redundancy of vapour; therefore, as some kinds of
frenzy give double strength to the sinews, so there are of other
species which add vigour, and life, and spirit to the
brain.  Now it usually happens that these active spirits,
getting possession of the brain, resemble those that haunt other
waste and empty dwellings, which for want of business either
vanish and carry away a piece of the house, or else stay at home
and fling it all out of the windows.  By which are
mystically displayed the two principal branches of madness, and
which some philosophers, not considering so well as I, have
mistook to be different in their causes, over-hastily assigning
the first to deficiency and the other to redundance.

I think it therefore manifest, from what I have here advanced,
that the main point of skill and address is to furnish employment
for this redundancy of vapour, and prudently to adjust the
seasons of it, by which means it may certainly become of cardinal
and catholic emolument in a commonwealth.  Thus one man,
choosing a proper juncture, leaps into a gulf, from thence
proceeds a hero, and is called the saviour of his country. 
Another achieves the same enterprise, but unluckily timing it,
has left the brand of madness fixed as a reproach upon his
memory.  Upon so nice a distinction are we taught to repeat
the name of Curtius with reverence and love, that of Empedocles
with hatred and contempt.  Thus also it is usually conceived
that the elder Brutus only personated the fool and madman for the
good of the public; but this was nothing else than a redundancy
of the same vapour long misapplied, called by the Latins
ingenium par negotiis, or (to translate it as nearly as I
can), a sort of frenzy never in its right element till you take
it up in business of the state.

Upon all which, and many other reasons of equal weight, though
not equally curious, I do here gladly embrace an opportunity I
have long sought for, of recommending it as a very noble
undertaking to Sir Edward Seymour, Sir Christopher Musgrave, Sir
John Bowles, John Howe, Esq., and other patriots concerned, that
they would move for leave to bring in a Bill for appointing
commissioners to inspect into Bedlam and the parts adjacent, who
shall be empowered to send for persons, papers, and records, to
examine into the merits and qualifications of every student and
professor, to observe with utmost exactness their several
dispositions and behaviour, by which means, duly distinguishing
and adapting their talents, they might produce admirable
instruments for the several offices in a state, . . . civil and
military, proceeding in such methods as I shall here humbly
propose.  And I hope the gentle reader will give some
allowance to my great solicitudes in this important affair, upon
account of that high esteem I have ever borne that honourable
society, whereof I had some time the happiness to be an unworthy

Is any student tearing his straw in piecemeal, swearing and
blaspheming, biting his grate, foaming at the mouth, and emptying
his vessel in the spectators’ faces?  Let the right
worshipful the Commissioners of Inspection give him a regiment of
dragoons, and send him into Flanders among the rest.  Is
another eternally talking, sputtering, gaping, bawling, in a
sound without period or article?  What wonderful talents are
here mislaid!  Let him be furnished immediately with a green
bag and papers, and threepence in his pocket [135], and away with him to Westminster
Hall.  You will find a third gravely taking the dimensions
of his kennel, a person of foresight and insight, though kept
quite in the dark; for why, like Moses, Ecce cornuta erat ejus
.  He walks duly in one pace, entreats your penny
with due gravity and ceremony, talks much of hard times, and
taxes, and the whore of Babylon, bars up the wooden of his cell
constantly at eight o’clock, dreams of fire, and
shoplifters, and court-customers, and privileged places. 
Now what a figure would all these acquirements amount to if the
owner were sent into the City among his brethren!  Behold a
fourth in much and deep conversation with himself, biting his
thumbs at proper junctures, his countenance chequered with
business and design; sometimes walking very fast, with his eyes
nailed to a paper that he holds in his hands; a great saver of
time, somewhat thick of hearing, very short of sight, but more of
memory; a man ever in haste, a great hatcher and breeder of
business, and excellent at the famous art of whispering nothing;
a huge idolator of monosyllables and procrastination, so ready to
give his word to everybody that he never keeps it; one that has
forgot the common meaning of words, but an admirable retainer of
the sound; extremely subject to the looseness, for his occasions
are perpetually calling him away.  If you approach his grate
in his familiar intervals, “Sir,” says he,
“give me a penny and I’ll sing you a song; but give
me the penny first” (hence comes the common saying and
commoner practice of parting with money for a song).  What a
complete system of court-skill is here described in every branch
of it, and all utterly lost with wrong application!  Accost
the hole of another kennel, first stopping your nose, you will
behold a surly, gloomy, nasty, slovenly mortal, raking in his own
dung and dabbling in his urine.  The best part of his diet
is the reversion of his own ordure, which expiring into steams,
whirls perpetually about, and at last reinfunds.  His
complexion is of a dirty yellow, with a thin scattered beard,
exactly agreeable to that of his diet upon its first declination,
like other insects, who, having their birth and education in an
excrement, from thence borrow their colour and their smell. 
The student of this apartment is very sparing of his words, but
somewhat over-liberal of his breath.  He holds his hand out
ready to receive your penny, and immediately upon receipt
withdraws to his former occupations.  Now is it not amazing
to think the society of Warwick Lane [136] should have no
more concern for the recovery of so useful a member, who, if one
may judge from these appearances, would become the greatest
ornament to that illustrious body?  Another student struts
up fiercely to your teeth, puffing with his lips, half squeezing
out his eyes, and very graciously holds out his hand to
kiss.  The keeper desires you not to be afraid of this
professor, for he will do you no hurt; to him alone is allowed
the liberty of the ante-chamber, and the orator of the place
gives you to understand that this solemn person is a tailor run
mad with pride.  This considerable student is adorned with
many other qualities, upon which at present I shall not further
enlarge. . . . Hark in your ear. . . . I am strangely mistaken if
all his address, his motions, and his airs would not then be very
natural and in their proper element.

I shall not descend so minutely as to insist upon the vast
number of beaux, fiddlers, poets, and politicians that the world
might recover by such a reformation, but what is more material,
beside the clear gain redounding to the commonwealth by so large
an acquisition of persons to employ, whose talents and
acquirements, if I may be so bold to affirm it, are now buried or
at least misapplied.  It would be a mighty advantage
accruing to the public from this inquiry that all these would
very much excel and arrive at great perfection in their several
kinds, which I think is manifest from what I have already shown,
and shall enforce by this one plain instance, that even I myself,
the author of these momentous truths, am a person whose
imaginations are hard-mouthed and exceedingly disposed to run
away with his reason, which I have observed from long experience
to be a very light rider, and easily shook off; upon which
account my friends will never trust me alone without a solemn
promise to vent my speculations in this or the like manner, for
the universal benefit of human kind, which perhaps the gentle,
courteous, and candid reader, brimful of that modern charity and
tenderness usually annexed to his office, will be very hardly
persuaded to believe.



It is an unanswerable argument of a
very refined age the wonderful civilities that have passed of
late years between the nation of authors and that of
readers.  There can hardly pop out a play, a pamphlet, or a
poem without a preface full of acknowledgments to the world for
the general reception and applause they have given it, which the
Lord knows where, or when, or how, or from whom it
received.  In due deference to so laudable a custom, I do
here return my humble thanks to His Majesty and both Houses of
Parliament, to the Lords of the King’s most honourable
Privy Council, to the reverend the Judges, to the Clergy, and
Gentry, and Yeomanry of this land; but in a more especial manner
to my worthy brethren and friends at Will’s Coffee-house,
and Gresham College, and Warwick Lane, and Moorfields, and
Scotland Yard, and Westminster Hall, and Guildhall; in short, to
all inhabitants and retainers whatsoever, either in court, or
church, or camp, or city, or country, for their generosity and
universal acceptance of this divine treatise.  I accept
their approbation and good opinion with extreme gratitude, and to
the utmost of my poor capacity shall take hold of all
opportunities to return the obligation.

I am also happy that fate has flung me into so blessed an age
for the mutual felicity of booksellers and authors, whom I may
safely affirm to be at this day the two only satisfied parties in
England.  Ask an author how his last piece has succeeded,
“Why, truly he thanks his stars the world has been very
favourable, and he has not the least reason to
complain.”  And yet he wrote it in a week at bits and
starts, when he could steal an hour from his urgent affairs, as
it is a hundred to one you may see further in the preface, to
which he refers you, and for the rest to the bookseller. 
There you go as a customer, and make the same question, “He
blesses his God the thing takes wonderful; he is just printing a
second edition, and has but three left in his shop.” 
“You beat down the price; sir, we shall not differ,”
and in hopes of your custom another time, lets you have it as
reasonable as you please; “And pray send as many of your
acquaintance as you will; I shall upon your account furnish them
all at the same rate.”

Now it is not well enough considered to what accidents and
occasions the world is indebted for the greatest part of those
noble writings which hourly start up to entertain it.  If it
were not for a rainy day, a drunken vigil, a fit of the spleen, a
course of physic, a sleepy Sunday, an ill run at dice, a long
tailor’s bill, a beggar’s purse, a factious head, a
hot sun, costive diet, want of books, and a just contempt of
learning,—but for these events, I say, and some others too
long to recite (especially a prudent neglect of taking brimstone
inwardly), I doubt the number of authors and of writings would
dwindle away to a degree most woeful to behold.  To confirm
this opinion, hear the words of the famous troglodyte
philosopher.  “It is certain,” said he,
“some grains of folly are of course annexed as part in the
composition of human nature; only the choice is left us whether
we please to wear them inlaid or embossed, and we need not go
very far to seek how that is usually determined, when we remember
it is with human faculties as with liquors, the lightest will be
ever at the top.”

There is in this famous island of Britain a certain paltry
scribbler, very voluminous, whose character the reader cannot
wholly be a stranger to.  He deals in a pernicious kind of
writings called “Second Parts,” and usually passes
under the name of “The Author of the First.”  I
easily foresee that as soon as I lay down my pen this nimble
operator will have stole it, and treat me as inhumanly as he has
already done Dr. Blackmore, Lestrange, and many others who shall
here be nameless.  I therefore fly for justice and relief
into the hands of that great rectifier of saddles and lover of
mankind, Dr. Bentley, begging he will take this enormous
grievance into his most modern consideration; and if it should so
happen that the furniture of an ass in the shape of a second part
must for my sins be clapped, by mistake, upon my back, that he
will immediately please, in the presence of the world, to lighten
me of the burthen, and take it home to his own house till the
true beast thinks fit to call for it.

In the meantime, I do here give this public notice that my
resolutions are to circumscribe within this discourse the whole
stock of matter I have been so many years providing.  Since
my vein is once opened, I am content to exhaust it all at a
running, for the peculiar advantage of my dear country, and for
the universal benefit of mankind.  Therefore, hospitably
considering the number of my guests, they shall have my whole
entertainment at a meal, and I scorn to set up the leavings in
the cupboard.  What the guests cannot eat may be given to
the poor, and the dogs under the table may gnaw the bones [140].  This I understand for a more
generous proceeding than to turn the company’s stomachs by
inviting them again to-morrow to a scurvy meal of scraps.

If the reader fairly considers the strength of what I have
advanced in the foregoing section, I am convinced it will produce
a wonderful revolution in his notions and opinions, and he will
be abundantly better prepared to receive and to relish the
concluding part of this miraculous treatise.  Readers may be
divided into three classes—the superficial, the ignorant,
and the learned, and I have with much felicity fitted my pen to
the genius and advantage of each.  The superficial reader
will be strangely provoked to laughter, which clears the breast
and the lungs, is sovereign against the spleen, and the most
innocent of all diuretics.  The ignorant reader (between
whom and the former the distinction is extremely nice) will find
himself disposed to stare, which is an admirable remedy for ill
eyes, serves to raise and enliven the spirits, and wonderfully
helps perspiration.  But the reader truly learned, chiefly
for whose benefit I wake when others sleep, and sleep when others
wake, will here find sufficient matter to employ his speculations
for the rest of his life.  It were much to be wished, and I
do here humbly propose for an experiment, that every prince in
Christendom will take seven of the deepest scholars in his
dominions and shut them up close for seven years in seven
chambers, with a command to write seven ample commentaries on
this comprehensive discourse.  I shall venture to affirm
that, whatever difference may be found in their several
conjectures, they will be all, without the least distortion,
manifestly deducible from the text.  Meantime it is my
earnest request that so useful an undertaking may be entered upon
(if their Majesties please) with all convenient speed, because I
have a strong inclination before I leave the world to taste a
blessing which we mysterious writers can seldom reach till we
have got into our graves, whether it is that fame being a fruit
grafted on the body, can hardly grow and much less ripen till the
stock is in the earth, or whether she be a bird of prey, and is
lured among the rest to pursue after the scent of a carcass, or
whether she conceives her trumpet sounds best and farthest when
she stands on a tomb, by the advantage of a rising ground and the
echo of a hollow vault.

It is true, indeed, the republic of dark authors, after they
once found out this excellent expedient of dying, have been
peculiarly happy in the variety as well as extent of their
reputation.  For night being the universal mother of things,
wise philosophers hold all writings to be fruitful in the
proportion they are dark, and therefore the true illuminated
(that is to say, the darkest of all) have met with such
numberless commentators, whose scholiastic midwifery hath
delivered them of meanings that the authors themselves perhaps
never conceived, and yet may very justly be allowed the lawful
parents of them, the words of such writers being like seed,
which, however scattered at random, when they light upon a
fruitful ground, will multiply far beyond either the hopes or
imagination of the sower.

And therefore, in order to promote so useful a work, I will
here take leave to glance a few innuendos that may be of great
assistance to those sublime spirits who shall be appointed to
labour in a universal comment upon this wonderful
discourse.  And first, I have couched a very profound
mystery in the number of 0’s multiplied by seven and
divided by nine.  Also, if a devout brother of the Rosy
Cross will pray fervently for sixty-three mornings with a lively
faith, and then transpose certain letters and syllables according
to prescription, in the second and fifth section they will
certainly reveal into a full receipt of the opus
.  Lastly, whoever will be at the pains to
calculate the whole number of each letter in this treatise, and
sum up the difference exactly between the several numbers,
assigning the true natural cause for every such difference, the
discoveries in the product will plentifully reward his
labour.  But then he must beware of Bythus and Sigè,
and be sure not to forget the qualities of Acamoth; a cujus
lacrymis humecta prodit substantia
, à risu
, à tristitiâ solida, et
à timore mobilis
, wherein Eugenius Philalethes [142] hath committed an unpardonable



After so wide a compass as I have
wandered, I do now gladly overtake and close in with my subject,
and shall henceforth hold on with it an even pace to the end of
my journey, except some beautiful prospect appears within sight
of my way, whereof, though at present I have neither warning nor
expectation, yet upon such an accident, come when it will, I
shall beg my reader’s favour and company, allowing me to
conduct him through it along with myself.  For in writing it
is as in travelling.  If a man is in haste to be at home
(which I acknowledge to be none of my case, having never so
little business as when I am there), if his horse be tired with
long riding and ill ways, or be naturally a jade, I advise him
clearly to make the straightest and the commonest road, be it
ever so dirty; but then surely we must own such a man to be a
scurvy companion at best.  He spatters himself and his
fellow-travellers at every step.  All their thoughts, and
wishes, and conversation turn entirely upon the subject of their
journey’s end, and at every splash, and plunge, and stumble
they heartily wish one another at the devil.

On the other side, when a traveller and his horse are in heart
and plight, when his purse is full and the day before him, he
takes the road only where it is clean or convenient, entertains
his company there as agreeably as he can, but upon the first
occasion carries them along with him to every delightful scene in
view, whether of art, of Nature, or of both; and if they chance
to refuse out of stupidity or weariness, let them jog on by
themselves, and be d—n’d.  He’ll overtake
them at the next town, at which arriving, he rides furiously
through, the men, women, and children run out to gaze, a hundred
noisy curs run barking after him, of which, if he honours the
boldest with a lash of his whip, it is rather out of sport than
revenge.  But should some sourer mongrel dare too near an
approach, he receives a salute on the chaps by an accidental
stroke from the courser’s heels, nor is any ground lost by
the blow, which sends him yelping and limping home.

I now proceed to sum up the singular adventures of my renowned
Jack, the state of whose dispositions and fortunes the careful
reader does, no doubt, most exactly remember, as I last parted
with them in the conclusion of a former section.  Therefore,
his next care must be from two of the foregoing to extract a
scheme of notions that may best fit his understanding for a true
relish of what is to ensue.

Jack had not only calculated the first revolution of his brain
so prudently as to give rise to that epidemic sect of
Æolists, but succeeding also into a new and strange variety
of conceptions, the fruitfulness of his imagination led him into
certain notions which, although in appearance very unaccountable,
were not without their mysteries and their meanings, nor wanted
followers to countenance and improve them.  I shall
therefore be extremely careful and exact in recounting such
material passages of this nature as I have been able to collect
either from undoubted tradition or indefatigable reading, and
shall describe them as graphically as it is possible, and as far
as notions of that height and latitude can be brought within the
compass of a pen.  Nor do I at all question but they will
furnish plenty of noble matter for such whose converting
imaginations dispose them to reduce all things into types, who
can make shadows—no thanks to the sun—and then mould
them into substances—no thanks to philosophy—whose
peculiar talent lies in fixing tropes and allegories to the
letter, and refining what is literal into figure and mystery.

Jack had provided a fair copy of his father’s will,
engrossed in form upon a large skin of parchment, and resolving
to act the part of a most dutiful son, he became the fondest
creature of it imaginable.  For although, as I have often
told the reader, it consisted wholly in certain plain, easy
directions about the management and wearing of their coats, with
legacies and penalties in case of obedience or neglect, yet he
began to entertain a fancy that the matter was deeper and darker,
and therefore must needs have a great deal more of mystery at the
bottom.  “Gentlemen,” said he, “I will
prove this very skin of parchment to be meat, drink, and cloth,
to be the philosopher’s stone and the universal
medicine.”  In consequence of which raptures he
resolved to make use of it in the most necessary as well as the
most paltry occasions of life.  He had a way of working it
into any shape he pleased, so that it served him for a nightcap
when he went to bed, and for an umbrella in rainy weather. 
He would lap a piece of it about a sore toe; or, when he had
fits, burn two inches under his nose; or, if anything lay heavy
on his stomach, scrape off and swallow as much of the powder as
would lie on a silver penny—they were all infallible
remedies.  With analogy to these refinements, his common
talk and conversation ran wholly in the praise of his Will, and
he circumscribed the utmost of his eloquence within that compass,
not daring to let slip a syllable without authority from
thence.  Once at a strange house he was suddenly taken short
upon an urgent juncture, whereon it may not be allowed too
particularly to dilate, and being not able to call to mind, with
that suddenness the occasion required, an authentic phrase for
demanding the way to the back, he chose rather, as the more
prudent course, to incur the penalty in such cases usually
annexed; neither was it possible for the united rhetoric of
mankind to prevail with him to make himself clean again, because,
having consulted the will upon this emergency, he met with a
passage near the bottom (whether foisted in by the transcriber is
not known) which seemed to forbid it [145a].

He made it a part of his religion never to say grace to his
meat, nor could all the world persuade him, as the common phrase
is, to eat his victuals like a Christian [145b].

He bore a strange kind of appetite to snap-dragon and to the
livid snuffs of a burning candle [146a], which he would
catch and swallow with an agility wonderful to conceive; and by
this procedure maintained a perpetual flame in his belly, which
issuing in a glowing steam from both his eyes, as well as his
nostrils and his mouth, made his head appear in a dark night like
the skull of an ass wherein a roguish boy hath conveyed a
farthing-candle, to the terror of his Majesty’s liege
subjects.  Therefore he made use of no other expedient to
light himself home, but was wont to say that a wise man was his
own lanthorn.

He would shut his eyes as he walked along the streets, and if
he happened to bounce his head against a post or fall into the
kennel (as he seldom missed either to do one or both), he would
tell the gibing apprentices who looked on that he submitted with
entire resignation, as to a trip or a blow of fate, with whom he
found by long experience how vain it was either to wrestle or to
cuff, and whoever durst undertake to do either would be sure to
come off with a swingeing fall or a bloody nose.  “It
was ordained,” said he [146b], “some few
days before the creation, that my nose and this very post should
have a rencounter, and therefore Providence thought fit to send
us both into the world in the same age, and to make us countrymen
and fellow-citizens.  Now, had my eyes been open, it is very
likely the business might have been a great deal worse, for how
many a confounded slip is daily got by man with all his foresight
about him.  Besides, the eyes of the understanding see best
when those of the senses are out of the way, and therefore blind
men are observed to tread their steps with much more caution, and
conduct, and judgment than those who rely with too much
confidence upon the virtue of the visual nerve, which every
little accident shakes out of order, and a drop or a film can
wholly disconcert; like a lanthorn among a pack of roaring
bullies when they scour the streets, exposing its owner and
itself to outward kicks and buffets, which both might have
escaped if the vanity of appearing would have suffered them to
walk in the dark.  But further, if we examine the conduct of
these boasted lights, it will prove yet a great deal worse than
their fortune.  It is true I have broke my nose against this
post, because Providence either forgot, or did not think it
convenient, to twitch me by the elbow and give me notice to avoid
it.  But let not this encourage either the present age of
posterity to trust their noses unto the keeping of their eyes,
which may prove the fairest way of losing them for good and
all.  For, O ye eyes, ye blind guides, miserable guardians
are ye of our frail noses; ye, I say, who fasten upon the first
precipice in view, and then tow our wretched willing bodies after
you to the very brink of destruction.  But alas! that brink
is rotten, our feet slip, and we tumble down prone into a gulf,
without one hospitable shrub in the way to break the fall—a
fall to which not any nose of mortal make is equal, except that
of the giant Laurcalco [147a], who was Lord of
the Silver Bridge.  Most properly, therefore, O eyes, and
with great justice, may you be compared to those foolish lights
which conduct men through dirt and darkness till they fall into a
deep pit or a noisome bog.”

This I have produced as a scantling of Jack’s great
eloquence and the force of his reasoning upon such abstruse

He was, besides, a person of great design and improvement in
affairs of devotion, having introduced a new deity, who has since
met with a vast number of worshippers, by some called Babel, by
others Chaos, who had an ancient temple of Gothic structure upon
Salisbury plain, famous for its shrine and celebration by

When he had some roguish trick to play, he would down with his
knees, up with his eyes, and fall to prayers though in the midst
of the kennel.  Then it was that those who understood his
pranks would be sure to get far enough out of his way; and
whenever curiosity attracted strangers to laugh or to listen, he
would of a sudden bespatter them with mud.

In winter he went always loose and unbuttoned, and clad as
thin as possible to let in the ambient heat, and in summer lapped
himself close and thick to keep it out [147b].

In all revolutions of government, he would make his court for
the office of hangman-general, and in the exercise of that
dignity, wherein he was very dexterous, would make use of no
other vizard than a long prayer.

He had a tongue so musculous and subtile, that he could twist
it up into his nose and deliver a strange kind of speech from
thence.  He was also the first in these kingdoms who began
to improve the Spanish accomplishment of braying; and having
large ears perpetually exposed and erected, he carried his art to
such a perfection, that it was a point of great difficulty to
distinguish either by the view or the sound between the original
and the copy.

He was troubled with a disease the reverse to that called the
stinging of the tarantula, and would run dog-mad at the noise of
music, especially a pair of bagpipes [148a].  But he would cure himself
again by taking two or three turns in Westminster Hall, or
Billingsgate, or in a boarding-school, or the Royal Exchange, or
a state coffee-house.

He was a person that feared no colours, but mortally hated
all, and upon that account bore a cruel aversion to painters,
insomuch that in his paroxysms as he walked the streets, he would
have his pockets loaded with stones to pelt at the signs [148b].

Having from his manner of living frequent occasions to wash
himself, he would often leap over head and ears into the water,
though it were in the midst of the winter, but was always
observed to come out again much dirtier, if possible, than he
went in [148c].

He was the first that ever found out the secret of contriving
a soporiferous medicine to be conveyed in at the ears [148d].  It was a compound of sulphur
and balm of Gilead, with a little pilgrim’s salve.

He wore a large plaister of artificial caustics on his
stomach, with the fervour of which he could set himself a
groaning like the famous board upon application of a red-hot

He would stand in the turning of a street, and calling to
those who passed by, would cry to one, “Worthy sir, do me
the honour of a good slap in the chaps;” to another,
“Honest friend, pray favour me with a handsome kick in the
rear;” “Madam, shall I entreat a small box in the ear
from your ladyship’s fair hands?”  “Noble
captain, lend a reasonable thwack, for the love of God, with that
cane of yours over these poor shoulders.”  And when he
had by such earnest solicitations made a shift to procure a
basting sufficient to swell up his fancy and his sides, he would
return home extremely comforted, and full of terrible accounts of
what he had undergone for the public good.  “Observe
this stroke,” said he, showing his bare shoulders; “a
plaguy janissary gave it me this very morning at seven
o’clock, as, with much ado, I was driving off the Great
Turk.  Neighbours mine, this broken head deserves a
plaister; had poor Jack been tender of his noddle, you would have
seen the Pope and the French King long before this time of day
among your wives and your warehouses.  Dear Christians, the
Great Moghul was come as far as Whitechapel, and you may thank
these poor sides that he hath not—God bless
us—already swallowed up man, woman, and child.”

It was highly worth observing the singular effects of that
aversion or antipathy which Jack and his brother Peter seemed,
even to affectation, to bear towards each other.  Peter had
lately done some rogueries that forced him to abscond, and he
seldom ventured to stir out before night for fear of
bailiffs.  Their lodgings were at the two most distant parts
of the town from each other, and whenever their occasions or
humours called them abroad, they would make choice of the oddest,
unlikely times, and most uncouth rounds that they could invent,
that they might be sure to avoid one another.  Yet, after
all this, it was their perpetual fortune to meet, the reason of
which is easy enough to apprehend, for the frenzy and the spleen
of both having the same foundation, we may look upon them as two
pair of compasses equally extended, and the fixed foot of each
remaining in the same centre, which, though moving contrary ways
at first, will be sure to encounter somewhere or other in the
circumference.  Besides, it was among the great misfortunes
of Jack to bear a huge personal resemblance with his brother
Peter.  Their humour and dispositions were not only the
same, but there was a close analogy in their shape, their size,
and their mien; insomuch as nothing was more frequent than for a
bailiff to seize Jack by the shoulders and cry, “Mr. Peter,
you are the king’s prisoner;” or, at other times, for
one of Peter’s nearest friends to accost Jack with open
arms: “Dear Peter, I am glad to see thee; pray send me one
of your best medicines for the worms.”  This, we may
suppose, was a mortifying return of those pains and proceedings
Jack had laboured in so long, and finding how directly opposite
all his endeavours had answered to the sole end and intention
which he had proposed to himself, how could it avoid having
terrible effects upon a head and heart so furnished as his? 
However, the poor remainders of his coat bore all the
punishment.  The orient sun never entered upon his diurnal
progress without missing a piece of it.  He hired a tailor
to stitch up the collar so close that it was ready to choke him,
and squeezed out his eyes at such a rate as one could see nothing
but the white.  What little was left of the main substance
of the coat he rubbed every day for two hours against a
rough-cast wall, in order to grind away the remnants of lace and
embroidery, but at the same time went on with so much violence
that he proceeded a heathen philosopher.  Yet after all he
could do of this kind, the success continued still to disappoint
his expectation, for as it is the nature of rags to bear a kind
of mock resemblance to finery, there being a sort of fluttering
appearance in both, which is not to be distinguished at a
distance in the dark or by short-sighted eyes, so in those
junctures it fared with Jack and his tatters, that they offered
to the first view a ridiculous flaunting, which, assisting the
resemblance in person and air, thwarted all his projects of
separation, and left so near a similitude between them as
frequently deceived the very disciples and followers of both . .
. Desunt nonnulla, . . .

The old Sclavonian proverb said well that it is with men as
with asses; whoever would keep them fast must find a very good
hold at their ears.  Yet I think we may affirm, and it hath
been verified by repeated experience, that—

“Effugiet tamen
hæc sceleratus vincula Proteus.” [151a]

It is good, therefore, to read the maxims of our ancestors
with great allowances to times and persons; for if we look into
primitive records we shall find that no revolutions have been so
great or so frequent as those of human ears.  In former days
there was a curious invention to catch and keep them, which I
think we may justly reckon among the artes perditæ;
and how can it be otherwise, when in these latter centuries the
very species is not only diminished to a very lamentable degree,
but the poor remainder is also degenerated so far as to mock our
skilfullest tenure?  For if only the slitting of one ear in
a stag hath been found sufficient to propagate the defect through
a whole forest, why should we wonder at the greatest
consequences, from so many loppings and mutilations to which the
ears of our fathers and our own have been of late so much
exposed?  It is true, indeed, that while this island of ours
was under the dominion of grace, many endeavours were made to
improve the growth of ears once more among us.  The
proportion of largeness was not only looked upon as an ornament
of the outward man, but as a type of grace in the inward. 
Besides, it is held by naturalists that if there be a
protuberancy of parts in the superior region of the body, as in
the ears and nose, there must be a parity also in the inferior;
and therefore in that truly pious age the males in every
assembly, according as they were gifted, appeared very forward in
exposing their ears to view, and the regions about them; because
Hippocrates [151b] tells us that when the vein behind
the ear happens to be cut, a man becomes a eunuch, and the
females were nothing backwarder in beholding and edifying by
them; whereof those who had already used the means looked about
them with great concern, in hopes of conceiving a suitable
offspring by such a prospect; others, who stood candidates for
benevolence, found there a plentiful choice, and were sure to fix
upon such as discovered the largest ears, that the breed might
not dwindle between them.  Lastly, the devouter sisters, who
looked upon all extraordinary dilatations of that member as
protrusions of zeal, or spiritual excrescences, were sure to
honour every head they sat upon as if they had been cloven
tongues, but especially that of the preacher, whose ears were
usually of the prime magnitude, which upon that account he was
very frequent and exact in exposing with all advantages to the
people in his rhetorical paroxysms, turning sometimes to hold
forth the one, and sometimes to hold forth the other; from which
custom the whole operation of preaching is to this very day among
their professors styled by the phrase of holding forth.

Such was the progress of the saints for advancing the size of
that member, and it is thought the success would have been every
way answerable, if in process of time a cruel king had not arose,
who raised a bloody persecution against all ears above a certain
standard [152a]; upon which some were glad to hide
their flourishing sprouts in a black border, others crept wholly
under a periwig; some were slit, others cropped, and a great
number sliced off to the stumps.  But of this more hereafter
in my general “History of Ears,” which I design very
speedily to bestow upon the public.

From this brief survey of the falling state of ears in the
last age, and the small care had to advance their ancient growth
in the present, it is manifest how little reason we can have to
rely upon a hold so short, so weak, and so slippery; and that
whoever desires to catch mankind fast must have recourse to some
other methods.  Now he that will examine human nature with
circumspection enough may discover several handles, whereof the
six [152b] senses afford one apiece, beside a
great number that are screwed to the passions, and some few
riveted to the intellect.  Among these last, curiosity is
one, and of all others affords the firmest grasp; curiosity, that
spur in the side, that bridle in the mouth, that ring in the nose
of a lazy, an impatient, and a grunting reader.  By this
handle it is that an author should seize upon his readers; which
as soon as he hath once compassed, all resistance and struggling
are in vain, and they become his prisoners as close as he
pleases, till weariness or dulness force him to let go his

And therefore I, the author of this miraculous treatise,
having hitherto, beyond expectation, maintained by the aforesaid
handle a firm hold upon my gentle readers, it is with great
reluctance that I am at length compelled to remit my grasp,
leaving them in the perusal of what remains to that natural
oscitancy inherent in the tribe.  I can only assure thee,
courteous reader, for both our comforts, that my concern is
altogether equal to thine, for my unhappiness in losing or
mislaying among my papers the remaining part of these memoirs,
which consisted of accidents, turns, and adventures, both new,
agreeable, and surprising, and therefore calculated in all due
points to the delicate taste of this our noble age.  But
alas! with my utmost endeavours I have been able only to retain a
few of the heads.  Under which there was a full account how
Peter got a protection out of the King’s Bench, and of a
reconcilement between Jack and him, upon a design they had in a
certain rainy night to trepan brother Martin into a
spunging-house, and there strip him to the skin.  How
Martin, with much ado, showed them both a fair pair of
heels.  How a new warrant came out against Peter, upon which
Jack left him in the lurch, stole his protection, and made use of
it himself.  How Jack’s tatters came into fashion in
court and city; how he got upon a great horse and ate custard [153].  But the particulars of all
these, with several others which have now slid out of my memory,
are lost beyond all hopes of recovery.  For which
misfortune, leaving my readers to condole with each other as far
as they shall find it to agree with their several constitutions,
but conjuring them by all the friendship that has passed between
us, from the title-page to this, not to proceed so far as to
injure their healths for an accident past remedy, I now go on to
the ceremonial part of an accomplished writer, and therefore by a
courtly modern least of all others to be omitted.


Going too long is a cause of
abortion as effectual, though not so frequent, as going too
short, and holds true especially in the labours of the
brain.  Well fare the heart of that noble Jesuit [155] who first adventured to confess in
print that books must be suited to their several seasons, like
dress, and diet, and diversions; and better fare our noble notion
for refining upon this among other French modes.  I am
living fast to see the time when a book that misses its tide
shall be neglected as the moon by day, or like mackerel a week
after the season.  No man has more nicely observed our
climate than the bookseller who bought the copy of this
work.  He knows to a tittle what subjects will best go off
in a dry year, and which it is proper to expose foremost when the
weather-glass is fallen to much rain.  When he had seen this
treatise and consulted his almanac upon it, he gave me to
understand that he had manifestly considered the two principal
things, which were the bulk and the subject, and found it would
never take but after a long vacation, and then only in case it
should happen to be a hard year for turnips.  Upon which I
desired to know, considering my urgent necessities, what he
thought might be acceptable this month.  He looked westward
and said, “I doubt we shall have a bit of bad
weather.  However, if you could prepare some pretty little
banter (but not in verse), or a small treatise upon the it would
run like wildfire.  But if it hold up, I have already hired
an author to write something against Dr. Bentley, which I am sure
will turn to account.”

At length we agreed upon this expedient, that when a customer
comes for one of these, and desires in confidence to know the
author, he will tell him very privately as a friend, naming
whichever of the wits shall happen to be that week in the vogue,
and if Durfey’s last play should be in course, I had as
lieve he may be the person as Congreve.  This I mention,
because I am wonderfully well acquainted with the present relish
of courteous readers, and have often observed, with singular
pleasure, that a fly driven from a honey-pot will immediately,
with very good appetite, alight and finish his meal on an

I have one word to say upon the subject of profound writers,
who are grown very numerous of late, and I know very well the
judicious world is resolved to list me in that number.  I
conceive, therefore, as to the business of being profound, that
it is with writers as with wells.  A person with good eyes
can see to the bottom of the deepest, provided any water be
there; and that often when there is nothing in the world at the
bottom besides dryness and dirt, though it be but a yard and half
under ground, it shall pass, however, for wondrous deep, upon no
wiser a reason than because it is wondrous dark.

I am now trying an experiment very frequent among modern
authors, which is to write upon nothing, when the subject is
utterly exhausted to let the pen still move on; by some called
the ghost of wit, delighting to walk after the death of its
body.  And to say the truth, there seems to be no part of
knowledge in fewer hands than that of discerning when to have
done.  By the time that an author has written out a book, he
and his readers are become old acquaintance, and grow very loathe
to part; so that I have sometimes known it to be in writing as in
visiting, where the ceremony of taking leave has employed more
time than the whole conversation before.  The conclusion of
a treatise resembles the conclusion of human life, which has
sometimes been compared to the end of a feast, where few are
satisfied to depart ut plenus vitæ conviva
For men will sit down after the fullest meal, though it be only
to dose or to sleep out the rest of the day.  But in this
latter I differ extremely from other writers, and shall be too
proud if, by all my labours, I can have any ways contributed to
the repose of mankind in times so turbulent and unquiet as
these.  Neither do I think such an employment so very alien
from the office of a wit as some would suppose; for among a very
polite nation in Greece [157] there were the
same temples built and consecrated to Sleep and the Muses,
between which two deities they believed the strictest friendship
was established.

I have one concluding favour to request of my reader, that he
will not expect to be equally diverted and informed by every line
or every page of this discourse, but give some allowance to the
author’s spleen and short fits or intervals of dulness, as
well as his own, and lay it seriously to his conscience whether,
if he were walking the streets in dirty weather or a rainy day,
he would allow it fair dealing in folks at their ease from a
window, to criticise his gate and ridicule his dress at such a

In my disposure of employments of the brain, I have thought
fit to make invention the master, and to give method and reason
the office of its lackeys.  The cause of this distribution
was from observing it my peculiar case to be often under a
temptation of being witty upon occasion where I could be neither
wise nor sound, nor anything to the matter in hand.  And I
am too much a servant of the modern way to neglect any such
opportunities, whatever pains or improprieties I may be at to
introduce them.  For I have observed that from a laborious
collection of seven hundred and thirty-eight flowers and shining
hints of the best modern authors, digested with great reading
into my book of common places, I have not been able after five
years to draw, hook, or force into common conversation any more
than a dozen.  Of which dozen the one moiety failed of
success by being dropped among unsuitable company, and the other
cost me so many strains, and traps, and ambages to introduce,
that I at length resolved to give it over.  Now this
disappointment (to discover a secret), I must own, gave me the
first hint of setting up for an author, and I have since found
among some particular friends that it is become a very general
complaint, and has produced the same effects upon many
others.  For I have remarked many a towardly word to be
wholly neglected or despised in discourse, which hath passed very
smoothly with some consideration and esteem after its preferment
and sanction in print.  But now, since, by the liberty and
encouragement of the press, I am grown absolute master of the
occasions and opportunities to expose the talents I have
acquired, I already discover that the issues of my observanda
begin to grow too large for the receipts.  Therefore I shall
here pause awhile, till I find, by feeling the world’s
pulse and my own, that it will be of absolute necessity for us
both to resume my pen.


[In some early editions of “The Tale of a Tub,”
Swift added, under the title of “What Follows after Section
IX.,” the following sketch for a “History of


Giving an account of his departure from Jack, and
their setting up for themselves
, on which account they
were obliged to travel
, and meet many disasters;
finding no shelter near Peter’s habitation,
Martin succeeds in the North; Peter thunders against
Martin for the loss of the large revenue he used to receive from
; Harry Huff sent Marlin a challenge in fight,
which he received; Peter rewards Harry for the
pretended victory
, which encouraged Harry to huff Peter
; with many other extraordinary adventures of the said
Martin in several places with many considerable persons

With a digression concerning the nature,
usefulness, and necessity of wars and quarrels.

How Jack and Martin, being parted,
set up each for himself.  How they travelled over hills and
dales, met many disasters, suffered much from the good cause, and
struggled with difficulties and wants, not having where to lay
their head; by all which they afterwards proved themselves to be
right father’s sons, and Peter to be spurious. 
Finding no shelter near Peter’s habitation, Martin
travelled northwards, and finding the Thuringians, a neighbouring
people, disposed to change, he set up his stage first among them,
where, making it his business to cry down Peter’s powders,
plasters, salves, and drugs, which he had sold a long time at a
dear rate, allowing Martin none of the profit, though he had been
often employed in recommending and putting them off, the good
people, willing to save their pence, began to hearken to
Martin’s speeches.  How several great lords took the
hint, and on the same account declared for Martin; particularly
one who, not having had enough of one wife, wanted to marry a
second, and knowing Peter used not to grant such licenses but at
a swingeing price, he struck up a bargain with Martin, whom he
found more tractable, and who assured him he had the same power
to allow such things.  How most of the other Northern lords,
for their own private ends, withdrew themselves and their
dependants from Peter’s authority, and closed in with
Martin.  How Peter, enraged at the loss of such large
territories, and consequently of so much revenue, thundered
against Martin, and sent out the strongest and most terrible of
his bulls to devour him; but this having no effect, and Martin
defending himself boldly and dexterously, Peter at last put forth
proclamations declaring Martin and all his adherents rebels and
traitors, ordaining and requiring all his loving subjects to take
up arms, and to kill, burn, and destroy all and every one of
them, promising large rewards, &c., upon which ensued bloody
wars and desolation.

How Harry Huff [160a], lord of Albion,
one of the greatest bullies of those days, sent a cartel to
Martin to fight him on a stage at Cudgels, quarter-staff,
backsword, &c.  Hence the origin of that genteel custom
of prize-fighting so well known and practised to this day among
those polite islanders, though unknown everywhere else.  How
Martin, being a bold, blustering fellow, accepted the challenge;
how they met and fought, to the great diversion of the
spectators; and, after giving one another broken heads and many
bloody wounds and bruises, how they both drew off victorious, in
which their example has been frequently imitated by great clerks
and others since that time.  How Martin’s friends
applauded his victory, and how Lord Harry’s friends
complimented him on the same score, and particularly Lord Peter,
who sent him a fine feather for his cap [160b], to be worn by him and his successors
as a perpetual mark for his bold defence of Lord Peter’s
cause.  How Harry, flushed with his pretended victory over
Martin, began to huff Peter also, and at last downright
quarrelled with him about a wench.  How some of Lord
Harry’s tenants, ever fond of changes, began to talk kindly
of Martin, for which he mauled them soundly, as he did also those
that adhered to Peter.  How he turned some out of house and
hold, others he hanged or burnt, &c.

How Harry Huff, after a deal of blustering, wenching, and
bullying, died, and was succeeded by a good-natured boy [161a], who, giving way to the general bent
of his tenants, allowed Martin’s notions to spread
everywhere, and take deep root in Ambition.  How, after his
death, the farm fell into the hands of a lady [161b], who was violently in love with Lord
Peter.  How she purged the whole country with fire and
sword, resolved not to leave the name or remembrance of
Martin.  How Peter triumphed, and set up shops again for
selling his own powders, plasters, and salves, which were now
declared the only true ones, Martin’s being all declared
counterfeit.  How great numbers of Martin’s friends
left the country, and, travelling up and down in foreign parts,
grew acquainted with many of Jack’s followers, and took a
liking to many of their notions and ways, which they afterwards
brought back into ambition, now under another landlady [161c], more moderate and more cunning than
the former.  How she endeavoured to keep friendship both
with Peter and Martin, and trimmed for some time between the two,
not without countenancing and assisting at the same time many of
Jack’s followers; but finding, no possibility of
reconciling all the three brothers, because each would be master,
and allow no other salves, powders, or plasters to be used but
his own, she discarded all three, and set up a shop for those of
her own farm, well furnished with powders, plasters, salves, and
all other drugs necessary, all right and true, composed according
to receipts made by physicians and apothecaries of her own
creating, which they extracted out of Peter’s, and
Martin’s, and Jack’s receipt-books, and of this
medley or hodge-podge made up a dispensatory of their own,
strictly forbidding any other to be used, and particularly
Peter’s, from which the greatest part of this new
dispensatory was stolen.  How the lady, farther to confirm
this change, wisely imitating her father, degraded Peter from the
rank he pretended as eldest brother, and set up herself in his
place as head of the family, and ever after wore her
father’s old cap with the fine feather he had got from
Peter for standing his friend, which has likewise been worn with
no small ostentation to this day by all her successors, though
declared enemies to Peter.  How Lady Bess and her
physicians, being told of many defects and imperfections in their
new medley dispensatory, resolve on a further alteration, to
purge it from a great deal of Peter’s trash that still
remained in it, but were prevented by her death.  How she
was succeeded by a North-Country farmer [162a], who pretended great skill in the
managing of farms, though he could never govern his own poor
little farm, nor yet this large new one after he got it. 
How this new landlord, to show his valour and dexterity, fought
against enchanters, weeds, giants, and windmills, and claimed
great honour for his victories.  How his successor, no wiser
than he, occasioned great disorders by the new methods he took to
manage his farms.  How he attempted to establish in his
Northern farm the same dispensatory [162b] used in the
Southern, but miscarried, because Jack’s powders, pills,
salves, and plasters were there in great vogue.

How the author finds himself embarrassed for having introduced
into his history a new sect different from the three he had
undertaken to treat of; and how his inviolable respect to the
sacred number three obliges him to reduce these four, as he
intends to do all other things, to that number; and for that end
to drop the former Martin and to substitute in his place Lady
Bess’s institution, which is to pass under the name of
Martin in the sequel of this true history.  This weighty
point being cleared, the author goes on and describes mighty
quarrels and squabbles between Jack and Martin; how sometimes the
one had the better and sometimes the other, to the great
desolation of both farms, till at last both sides concur to hang
up the landlord [162c], who pretended
to die a martyr for Martin, though he had been true to neither
side, and was suspected by many to have a great affection for


This being a matter of great consequence, the author intends
to treat it methodically and at large in a treatise apart, and
here to give only some hints of what his large treatise
contains.  The state of war, natural to all creatures. 
War is an attempt to take by violence from others a part of what
they have and we want.  Every man, fully sensible of his own
merit, and finding it not duly regarded by others, has a natural
right to take from them all that he thinks due to himself; and
every creature, finding its own wants more than those of others,
has the same right to take everything its nature requires. 
Brutes, much more modest in their pretensions this way than men,
and mean men more than great ones.  The higher one raises
his pretensions this way, the more bustle he makes about them,
and the more success he has, the greater hero.  Thus greater
souls, in proportion to their superior merit, claim a greater
right to take everything from meaner folks.  This the true
foundation of grandeur and heroism, and of the distinction of
degrees among men.  War, therefore, necessary to establish
subordination, and to found cities, kingdoms, &c., as also to
purge bodies politic of gross humours.  Wise princes find it
necessary to have wars abroad to keep peace at home.  War,
famine, and pestilence, the usual cures for corruption in bodies
politic.  A comparison of these three—the author is to
write a panegyric on each of them.  The greatest part of
mankind loves war more than peace.  They are but few and
mean-spirited that live in peace with all men.  The modest
and meek of all kinds always a prey to those of more noble or
stronger appetites.  The inclination to war universal; those
that cannot or dare not make war in person employ others to do it
for them.  This maintains bullies, bravoes, cut-throats,
lawyers, soldiers, &c.  Most professions would be
useless if all were peaceable.  Hence brutes want neither
smiths nor lawyers, magistrates nor joiners, soldiers or
surgeons.  Brutes having but narrow appetites, are incapable
of carrying on or perpetuating war against their own species, or
of being led out in troops and multitudes to destroy one
another.  These prerogatives proper to man alone.  The
excellency of human nature demonstrated by the vast train of
appetites, passions, wants, &c., that attend it.  This
matter to be more fully treated in the author’s panegyric
on mankind.


How Jack, having got rid of the old landlord, set up another
to his mind, quarrelled with Martin, and turned him out of
doors.  How he pillaged all his shops, and abolished his
whole dispensatory.  How the new landlord [164a] laid about him, mauled Peter, worried
Martin, and made the whole neighbourhood tremble.  How
Jack’s friends fell out among themselves, split into a
thousand parties, turned all things topsy-turvy, till everybody
grew weary of them; and at last, the blustering landlord dying,
Jack was kicked out of doors, a new landlord [164b] brought in, and Martin
re-established.  How this new landlord let Martin do what he
pleased, and Martin agreed to everything his pious landlord
desired, provided Jack might be kept low.  Of several
efforts Jack made to raise up his head, but all in vain; till at
last the landlord died, and was succeeded by one [164c] who was a great friend to Peter, who,
to humble Martin, gave Jack some liberty.  How Martin grew
enraged at this, called in a foreigner [164d] and turned out the landlord; in which
Jack concurred with Martin, because this landlord was entirely
devoted to Peter, into whose arms he threw himself, and left his
country.  How the new landlord secured Martin in the full
possession of his former rights, but would not allow him to
destroy Jack, who had always been his friend.  How Jack got
up his head in the North, and put himself in possession of a
whole canton, to the great discontent of Martin, who finding also
that some of Jack’s friends were allowed to live and get
their bread in the south parts of the country, grew highly
discontented with the new landlord he had called in to his
assistance.  How this landlord kept Martin in order, upon
which he fell into a raging fever, and swore he would hang
himself or join in with Peter, unless Jack’s children were
all turned out to starve.  Of several attempts to cure
Martin, and make peace between him and Jack, that they might
unite against Peter; but all made ineffectual by the great
address of a number of Peter’s friends, that herded among
Martin’s, and appeared the most zealous for his
interest.  How Martin, getting abroad in this mad fit,
looked so like Peter in his air and dress, and talked so like
him, that many of the neighbours could not distinguish the one
from the other; especially when Martin went up and down strutting
in Peter’s armour, which he had borrowed to fight Jack [165a].  What remedies were used to
cure Martin’s distemper . . .

Here the author being seized with a fit of dulness, to which
he is very subject, after having read a poetical epistle
addressed to . . . it entirely composed his senses, so that he
has not writ a line since.

N.B.—Some things that follow after this are not
in the MS., but seem to have been written since, to fill up the
place of what was not thought convenient then to print.


The author, having laboured so long and done so much to serve
and instruct the public, without any advantage to himself, has at
last thought of a project which will tend to the great benefit of
all mankind, and produce a handsome revenue to the author. 
He intends to print by subscription, in ninety-six large volumes
in folio, an exact description of Terra Australis
, collected with great care, and prints from 999
learned and pious authors of undoubted veracity.  The whole
work, illustrated with maps and cuts agreeable to the subject,
and done by the best masters, will cost but one guinea each
volume to subscribers, one guinea to be paid in advance, and
afterwards a guinea on receiving each volume, except the
last.  This work will be of great use for all men, and
necessary for all families, because it contains exact accounts of
all the provinces, colonies, and mansions of that spacious
country, where, by a general doom, all transgressors of the law
are to be transported; and every one having this work may choose
out the fittest and best place for himself, there being enough
for all, so as every one shall be fully satisfied.

The author supposes that one copy of this work will be bought
at the public charge, or out of the parish rates, for every
parish church in the three kingdoms, and in all the dominions
thereunto belonging.  And that every family that can command
£10 per annum, even though retrenched from less necessary
expenses, will subscribe for one.  He does not think of
giving out above nine volumes nearly; and considering the number
requisite, he intends to print at least 100,000 for the first
edition.  He is to print proposals against next term, with a
specimen, and a curious map of the capital city with its twelve
gates, from a known author, who took an exact survey of it in a
dream.  Considering the great care and pains of the author,
and the usefulness of the work, he hopes every one will be ready,
for their own good as well as his, to contribute cheerfully to
it, and not grudge him the profit he may have by it, especially
if he comes to a third or fourth edition, as he expects it will
very soon.

He doubts not but it will be translated into foreign languages
by most nations of Europe, as well as Asia and Africa, being of
as great use to all those nations as to his own; for this reason
he designs to procure patents and privileges for securing the
whole benefit to himself from all those different princes and
states, and hopes to see many millions of this great work printed
in those different countries and languages before his death.

After this business is pretty well established, he has
promised to put a friend on another project almost as good as
this, by establishing insurance offices everywhere for securing
people from shipwreck and several other accidents in their voyage
to this country; and these officers shall furnish, at a certain
rate, pilots well versed in the route, and that know all the
rocks, shelves, quicksands, &c., that such pilgrims and
travellers may be exposed to.  Of these he knows a great
number ready instructed in most countries; but the whole scheme
of this matter he is to draw up at large and communicate to his


[50]  The number of livings in

[51a]  “Distinguished, new, told
by no other tongue.”—Horace.

[51b]  “Reading prefaces,
&c.”—Swift’s note in the margin.

[56a]  Plutarch.—Swift’s
note in the margin

[56b]  Xenophon.—Swift’s
note in the margin
, marked, in future,

[56c]  Spleen.—Horace.

[59]  “But to return, and view
the cheerful skies,

In this the task and mighty labour lies.”


[60]  “That the old may withdraw
into safe ease.”

[61]  In his subsequent apology for
“The Tale of a Tub,” Swift wrote of these machines
that, “In the original manuscript there was a description
of a fourth, which those who had the papers in their power
blotted out, as having something in it of satire that I suppose
they thought was too particular; and therefore they were forced
to change it to the number three, whence some have endeavoured to
squeeze out a dangerous meaning that was never thought on. 
And indeed the conceit was half spoiled by changing the numbers;
that of four being much more cabalistic, and therefore better
exposing the pretended virtue of numbers, a superstition then
intended to be ridiculed.”

[62a]  “Under the rainy sky, in
the meetings of three and of four ways.”

[62b]  Lucretius, lib. 2.—S.

[62c]  “’Tis certain, then,
the voice that thus can wound;

Is all material body, every sound.”

[63]  To be burnt or worm-eaten.

[64]  The Royal Society first met at
Gresham College, the resort of men of science.  Will’s
Coffee-House was the resort of wits and men of letters.

[65a]  Viz., about moving the

[65b]  “Virtuoso experiments and
modern comedies.”—S.

[67a]  He lived a

[67b]  Viz., in the year
1697.—S.  Dryden died in 1700, and the publication of
the “Tale of a Tub,” written in 1697, was not until

[69a]  The title-page in the original
was so torn that it was not possible to recover several titles
which the author here speaks of.—S.

[69b]  See Virgil translated,

[70]  Peter, the Church of Rome;
Martin, the Reformed Church as established by authority in
England; Jack, the dissenters from the English Church
Establishment.  Martin, named probably from Martin Luther;
Jack, from John Calvin.  The coats are the coats of
righteousness, in which all servants of God should be clothed;
alike in love and duty, however they may differ in opinion.

[71]  Covetousness, ambition, and
pride, which were the three great vices that the ancient fathers
inveighed against as the first corruptions of
Christianity.—W. Wotton.

[72a]  The tailor.

[72b]  A sacred monkey.

[75]  The Roman Catholics were
considered by the Reformers to have added to the simple doctrines
of Christianity inventions of their own, and to have laid
especial stress on the adoption of them.  Upon Swift’s
saying of the three brothers, “Now the coats their father
had left them were, it is true, of very good cloth, and besides
so neatly sewn that you would swear they were all of a piece,
but, at the same time, very plain, with little or no
ornament,” W. Wotton observes: “This is the
distinguishing character of the Christian religion. 
Christiana religio absoluta et simplex, was Ammianus
Marcellinus’s description of it, who was himself a
heathen.”  But the learned Peter argues that if a
doctrine cannot be found, totidem verbis, in so many
words, it may be found in so many syllables, or, if that way
fail, we shall make them out in a third way, of so many

[76]  Quibusdam veteribus
[some ancient MSS.].—S.

[77a]  There are two kinds—oral
tradition and the written record,—reference to the value
attached to tradition in the Roman Church.

[77b]  The flame-coloured lining
figures the doctrine of Purgatory; and the codicil annexed, the
Apocryphal books annexed to the Bible.  The dog-keeper is
said to be an allusion to the Apocryphal book of Tobit.

[78a]  Dread hell and subdue their

[78b]  Strained glosses and
interpretations of the simple text.

[79a]  Images in churches.

[79b]  The locking up of the Gospel in
the original Greek or in the Latin of the Vulgate, and forbidding
its diffusion in the language of the people.

[80a]  The Pope’s bulls and
decretals, issued by his paternal authority, that must determine
questions of interpretation and tradition, or else many absurd
things would follow.

[80b]  Constantine the Great, from whom
the Church of Rome was said to have received the donation of St.
Peter’s patrimony, and first derived the wealth described
by our old Reformers as “the fatal gift of

[84a]  See Wotton “Of Ancient and
Modern Learning.”—S.

[84b]  Satire and panegyric upon

[85]  Vide excerpta ex eo apud

[86]  “Near Helicon and round the
learned hill

Grow trees whose blossoms with their odour

[88]  A quotation after the manner of a
great author.  Vide Bentley’s
“Dissertation,” &c.—S.

[89]  “And how they’re
disappointed when they’re
pleased.”—Congreve, quoted by Pate.

[95]  Refusing the cup of sacrament to
the laity.  Thomas Warton observes on the following passage
its close resemblance to the speech of Panurge in Rabelais, and
says that Swift formed himself upon Rabelais.

[96]  Transubstantiation.

[98a]  The Reformation.

[98b]  The cross (in hoc signo
).  Pieces of the wood said to be part of it were
many in the churches.

[98c]  One miracle to be believed was
that the Chapel of Loretto travelled from the Holy Land to

[99a]  Made a true copy of the Bible in
the language of the people.

[99b]  Gave the cup to the laity.

[99c]  Allowed marriages of

[102a]  Homerus omnes res humanas
poematis complexus est.—Xenophon in

[102b]  A treatise written about fifty
years ago by a Welsh gentleman of Cambridge.  His name, as I
remember, Vaughan, as appears by the answer to it by the learned
Dr. Henry More.  It is a piece of the most unintelligible
fustian that perhaps was ever published in any
language.—S.  This piece was by the brother of Henry
Vaughan, the poet.

[110]  After the changes made by Martin
that transformed the Church of Rome into the Church of England,
Jack’s proceedings made a rent from top to bottom by the
separation of the Presbyterians from the Church

[111a]  The galleries over the piazzas
in the old Royal Exchange were formerly filled with shops, kept
chiefly by women.  Illustrations of this feature in London
life are to be found in Dekker’s “Shoemaker’s
Holiday,” and other plays.

[111b]  The contraction of the word
mobile to mob first appeared in the time of Charles the

[112]  Jack the Bald, Calvin, from
calvus, bald; Jack with a Lanthorn, professing inward lights,
Quakers; Dutch Jack, Jack of Leyden, Anabaptists; French Hugh,
the Huguenots; Tom the Beggar, the Gueuses of Flanders; Knocking
Jack of the North, John Knox of Scotland.  Æolists
pretenders to inspiration.

[116]  Herodotus, l. 4.—S.

[119a]  Bombast von

[119b]  Fanatical preachers of

[120]  Pausanias, l. 8.—S.

[122]  The Quakers allowed women to

[123]  The worshippers of wind or air
found their evil spirits in the chameleon, by which it was eaten,
and the windmill, Moulin-à-vent, by whose four hands it
was beaten.

[126a]  Henry IV. of France.

[126b]  Ravaillac, who stabbed Henry

[127a]  Swift’s contemporary,
Louis XIV. of France.

[127b]  Western civet.  Paracelsus
was said to have endeavoured to extract a perfume from human
excrement that might become as fashionable as civet from the
cat.  It was called zibeta occidentalis, the back
being, according to Paracelsus, the western part of the body.

[129]  Ep. Fam. vii. 10, to Trebatius,
who, as the next sentence in the letter shows, had not gone into

[135]  A lawyer’s

[136]  The College of Physicians.

[140]  The bad critics.

[142]  A name under which Thomas
Vaughan wrote.

[145a]  Revelations xxii. 11: “He
which is filthy, let him be filthy still;” “phrase of
the will,” being Scripture phrase, of either Testament,
applied to every occasion, and often in the most unbecoming

[145b]  He did not kneel when he
received the Sacrament.

[146a]  His inward lights.

[146b]  Predestination.

[147a]  Vide Don

[147b]  Swift borrowed this from the
customs of Moronia—Fool’s Land—in Joseph
Hall’s Mundus Alter et Idem.

[148a]  The Presbyterians objected to
church-music, and had no organs in their meeting-houses.

[148b]  Opposed to the decoration of
church walls.

[148c]  Baptism by immersion.

[148d]  Preaching.

[151a]  “This wicked Proteus
shall escape the chain.”—Francis’s

[151b]  Lib. de Aëre, Locis, et

[152a]  Charles II., by the Act of
Uniformity, which drove two thousand ministers of religion,
including some of the most devout, in one day out of the Church
of England.

[152b]  “Including
Scaliger’s,” is Swift’s note in the
margin.  The sixth sense was the “common sense”
which united and conveyed to the mind as one whole the
information brought in by the other five.  Common sense did
not originally mean the kind of sense common among the people
generally.  A person wanting in common sense was one whose
brain did not properly combine impressions brought into it by the
eye, the ear, &c.

[153]  Reference here is to the
exercise by James II. of a dispensing power which illegally
protected Roman Catholics, and incidentally Dissenters also; to
the consequent growth of feeling against the Roman
Catholics.  “Jack on a great horse and eating
custard” represents what was termed the occasional
conformity of men who “blasphemed custard through the
nose,” but complied with the law that required them to take
Sacrament in the Church of England as qualification for becoming
a Lord Mayor or holding any office of public authority.

[155]  Père

[157]  Trazenii, Pausan.  L.

[160a]  Henry VIII.

[160b]  “Fidei

[161a]  Edward VI.

[161b]  Queen Mary.

[161c]  Queen Elizabeth.

[162a]  James I.

[162b]  Episcopacy.

[162c]  Charles I.

[164a]  Cromwell.

[164b]  Charles II.

[164c]  James II.

[164d]  William III.

[165a]  High Church against