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Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes,
And screams of horror rend th' affrighted skies.
Not louder fhrieks to pitying heav'n are cast,
When husbands, or when lapdogs breathe their last ;
Or when rich china veffels fall'n from high,
In glitt'ring duft, and painted fragments lie!
Ibid. canto iii. 155-

Not youthful kings in battle feiz'd alive,
Not scornful virgins who their charms furvive,
Not ardent lovers robb'd of all their blifs,
Not ancient ladies when refus'd a kifs,

tyrants fierce that unrepenting die,
Not Cynthia when her manteau's pinn'd awry,
E'er felt fuch rage, refentment, and despair,
As thou, fad virgin! for thy ravish'd hair.

Ibid. canto iv. 3.

Joining things that in appearance are oppofite. As for example, where Sir Roger de Coverley, in the Spectator, fpeaking of his widow, "That he would have given "her a coal-pit to have kept her in clean "linen; and that her finger should have ર fparkled with one hundred of his richest "acres."

Premiffes that promife much and perform nothing. Cicero upon this article says, "Sed

"Sed fcitis effe notiffimum ridiculi genus, "cum aliud expectamus, aliud dicitur: hic "nobifmetipfis nofter error rifum mo

vet *."


With a good leg and a good

foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world, if he could get her good-will.

Much ado about nothing, at 2. fc. I.

Beatrice. I have a good eye, uncle, I can fee a church by day-light.

Le medecin que l'on m'indique
Sait le Latin, le Grec, l'Hebreu,
Les belles lettres, la physique,
La chimie et la botanique.
Chacun lui donne fon aveu:
Il auroit auffi ma pratique;
Mais je veux vivre encore un peu.


Vingt fois le jour le bon Grégoire
A foin de fermer fon armoire.

De oratore, 1. 2. cap. 63.



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Il s'eft fait, a grands fraix, transporter en Bre


Or voiez ce qu'a fait l'air natal qu'il a pris!
Damon feroit mort à Paris :

Damon eft mort à la campagne.

Having difcuffed wit in the thought, we proceed to what is verbal only, commonly called a play of words. This fort of wit depends for the most part upon chufing words that have different fignifications. By this artifice, hocus-pocus tricks are played in language; and thoughts plain and fimple take on a very different appearance. Play is neceffary for man, in order to refresh him after labour; and accordingly man loves play. He even relisheth a play of


words; and it is happy for us, that words can be employed, not only for ufeful purposes, but also for our amufement. This amufement accordingly, though humble and low, is relished by fome at all times, and by all at fome times, in order to unbend the mind.


It is remarkable, that this low fpecies of wit, has, at one time or other, made a figure in most civilized nations, and has dually gone into difrepute. So foon as a language is formed into a fyftem, and the meaning of words are ascertained with tole-rable accuracy, opportunity is afforded for expreffions, which, by the double meaning of fome words, give a familiar thought the appearance of being new. And the penetration of the reader or hearer, is gratified in detecting the true fenfe difguised under the double meaning. That this fort of wit was in England deemed a reputable amusement, during the reigns of Elifabeth and James I. is vouched by the works of Shakespear, and even by the writings of grave divines. But it cannot have any any long endurance: for as language ripens, and the meaning of


words is more and more afcertained, words held to be fynonymous diminish daily; and when those that remain have been more than once employed, the pleasure vanitheth with the novelty.

I proceed to examples, which, as in the former cafe, fhall be distributed into different claffes.

A seeming resemblance from the double meaning of a word.

Beneath this stone my wife doth lie:
She's now at reft, and fo am I.

A seeming contraft from the fame cause, termed a verbal antithefis, which hath no despicable effect in ludicrous fubjects.

Whilft Iris his cosmetic wash would try

To make her bloom revive, and lovers die. Some ask for charms, and others philters chuse, To gain Corinna, and their quartans lofe,

Difpenfary, canto 2,

And how frail nymphs, oft by abortion, aim
To lose a substance, to preferve a name.

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Ibid. canto 3.


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