Page images


The passages of this Section were collectively published in 1778, with headings of the first and last letter of the names of the then public and fashionable personages whose characters were supposed to be therein delineated. They are now republished to show how applicable these still are to those of the present day, many being so characteristic as to be at once obvious to most readers. The occasion which led to their solution is stated in the advertisement to have been:

January 2, 1778.

"A convivial circle of persons of distinction assembled yesterday in Grosvenor Square, to usher in the New Year, where, after dinner, it was disputed for some time,-'What author had drawn the most numerous and finished like

nesses of mankind?' An old-fashioned peer, the noble owner of the hotel, contended for Shakspeare; but the whole group dissented, by observing, that his portraits were obsolete, and more of caricatures than characters. Piqued at this extraordinary judgment, the venerable nobleman went immediately to his library, and returned with a large folio edition of his favourite poet, informing the company that a whim had just struck him, which would probably decide the dispute; desiring at the same time that each of the party would write the names of their most intimate friends, as well as their own, upon a slip of paper, which he further requested might be dropped promiscuously into the volume at the various places he should open; after which he would carefully see whether the dead painter of nature would not be able to hit off a living likeness or two out of the number. This request being complied with, the book was indiscriminately opened several times before all present, when the annexed names, to the astonishment of the fashionable infidels, were found lying upon the following passages;-a fair transcript of which, as they occurred, was made, without distinction of rank or sex, and voted by a considerable majority, to be sent to the 'Public Advertiser' and 'Morning Post."


Thou art, alone,

(If thy rare qualities, sweet gentleness,
Thy meekness saint-like, wife-like government,-
Obeying in commanding, and thy parts

Sovereign and pious else, could speak thee out,)
The Queen of earthly Queens.

25-ii. 4.


A man of sovereign parts he is esteem'd;

Well fitted in the arts:

Nothing becomes him ill, that he would well. 8-ii. 1.
His years but young, but his experience old;
His head unmellow'd, but his judgment ripe;
And, in a word, (for far behind his worth
Come all the praises that I now bestow,)
He is complete in feature, and in mind,

With all good grace to grace a gentleman. 2-ii. 4.


They are as gentle
As zephyrs, blowing below the violet,

Not wagging his sweet head: and yet as rough,
Their royal blood enchaf'd, as the rud'st wind,
That by the top doth take the mountain pine.

31-iv. 2.


He is gracious, if he be observ'd;
He hath a tear for pity, and a hand
Open as day for melting charity:

Yet notwithstanding, being incens'd, he 's flint;
As humorous as winter, and as sudden

As flaws congealed in the spring of day.


I cannot tell

19-iv. 4.

What heaven hath given him, let some graver eye
Pierce into that; but I can see his pride

Peep through each part of him.


25-i. 1.

Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon, and widow them all: and let me have a child at fifty.


There are a sort of men, whose visages

Do cream and mantle, like a standing pond;

30-i. 2.

And do a wilful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,
And, when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!


9-i. 1.

He hears merry tales, and smiles not: I fear, he will prove the weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. 9-i. 2.


Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must


36-v. 1.

I have heard of your paintings too; God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another; you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and nickname God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance.


36-iii. 1.

O, for a horse with wings;-Hear'st thou?
He is at Milford-Haven: Read, and tell me
How far 't is thither. If one of mean affairs
May plod it in a week, why may not I
Glide thither in a day?


31-iii. 2.

I pray you, let us see you in the field;
We have had pelting wars, since you refus'd

The Grecians' cause.

26-iv. 5.


You wear out a good wholesome forenoon, in hearing a cause between an orange-wife and a fossetseller; and then rejourn the controversy of threepence to a second day of audience, the more entangled by your hearing.


That surly spirit, melancholy,

28-ii. 1.

Had bak'd thy blood, and made it heavy, thick.

16-iii. 3.


Not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough for a boy. 4-i. 5.


O, that's a brave man! he writes brave verses, speaks brave words, swears brave oaths, and breaks them bravely: but all 's brave, that youth mounts, and folly guides.


10-iii. 4.

Cudgel thy brains no more about it; for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating.




36-v. 1.

wretch hath put this in your head,
Let heaven requite it with the serpent's curse!
For, if she be not honest, chaste, and true,

There's no man happy; the purest of their wives
Is foul as slander.


37-iv. 2.

Her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love.


30-i. 2.

Speaks a little off the matter: an old man, sir, and his wits are not so blunt, as I would desire they were; but, in faith, honest as the skin between his brows.


6-iii. 5.

Though that nature with a beauteous wall

Doth oft close in pollution, yet of thee

I will believe, thou hast a mind that suits
With this thy fair and outward character.


4-i. 2.

The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting fantasticoes; these new tuners of accents! Why, is not this a lamentable thing, that we should be thus afflicted with these strange flies, these fashionmongers, these pardonnez-moy's, who stand so much on the new form, that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench? 35-ii. 4.


He hath a neighbourly charity in him; for he borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman, and swore he would pay him again, when he was able.


9-i. 2.

Even in the afternoon of her best days,
Made prize and purchase of his wanton eye,
Seduc'd the pitch and height of all his thoughts
To base declension, and loath'd bigamy.

[blocks in formation]

Who should be pitiful, if you be not?
Or who should study to prefer a peace,

24-iii. 7.

If holy churchmen take delight in broils? 21-iii. 1.


I do know

Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that have
By this so sicken'd their estates, that never
They shall abound as formerly.

25-i. 1.

My better parts

Are all thrown down; and that which here stands up, Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.


"T is that miracle, and queen of gems,

10-i. 2.

That nature pranks her in, attracts my soul. 4—ii. 4.


He hath twice or thrice cut Cupid's bow-string, and the little hangman dare not shoot at him: he hath a heart as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the clapper; for what his heart thinks, his tongue speaks. 6-iii. 2.


He was wont to speak plain, and to the purpose, like an honest man, and a soldier; and now is he turn'd orthographer; his words are a very fantastical banquet. 6-ii. 3.


I love, and hate her: for she 's fair;
And hath all courtly parts more exquisite

« PreviousContinue »