Series Two: Essays on Wit
[Corbyn Morris] An Essay towards Fixing the True Standards of Wit, Humour, Raillery, Satire, and Ridicule (1744)
With an Introduction by James L. Clifford and a Bibliographical Note
The Augustan Reprint Society November, 1947 Price: $1.00
* * * * *
RICHARD C. BOYS, University of Michigan EDWARD NILES HOOKER, University of California, Los Angeles H.T. SWEDENBERG, JR., University of California, Los Angeles
EMMETT L. AVERY, State College of Washington LOUIS I. BREDVOLD, University of Michigan BENJAMIN BOYCE, University of Nebraska CLEANTH BROOKS, Yale University JAMES L. CLIFFORD, Columbia University ARTHUR FRIEDMAN, University of Chicago SAMUEL H. MONK, University of Minnesota JAMES SUTHERLAND, Queen Mary College, London
* * * * *
The Essay here reproduced was first advertised in the London Daily Advertiser as "this day was published" on Thursday, 17 May 1744 (The same advertisement, except for the change of price from one shilling to two, appeared in this paper intermittently until 14 June). Although on the title-page the authorship is given as "By the Author of a Letter from a By-stander," there was no intention of anonymity, since the Dedication is boldly signed "Corbyn Morris, Inner Temple, Feb. 1, 1743 ."
Not much is known of the early life of Corbyn Morris. Born 14 August 1710, he was the eldest son of Edmund Morris of Bishop's Castle, Salop. (Alumni Cantabrigienses). On 17 September 1727 he was admitted (pensioner) at Queen's College, Cambridge, as an exhibitioner from the famous Charterhouse School. Exactly when he left the university, or whether he took a degree, is not certain.
Morris first achieved some prominence, though anonymously, with A Letter from a By-stander to a Member of Parliament; wherein is examined what necessity there is for the maintenance of a large regular land-force in this island. This pamphlet, dated at the end, 26 February 1741/42, is a wholehearted eulogy of the Walpole administration and is filled with statistics and arguments for the Mercantilist theories of the day. At the time there was some suspicion that the work had been written either by Walpole himself or by his direction. When the Letter from a By-stander was answered by the historian Thomas Carte, an angry pamphlet controversy ensued, with Morris writing under the pseudonym of "A Gentleman of Cambridge." Throughout, Morris showed himself a violent Whig, bitter in his attacks on Charles II and the non-jurors; and it was undoubtedly this fanatical party loyalty which laid the foundation for his later government career.
The principal facts of Morris's later life may be briefly summarized. On 17 June 1743 he was admitted at the Inner Temple. Throughout the Pelham and Newcastle administrations he was employed by the government, as he once put it, "in conciliating opponents." From 1751 to 1763 be acted as Secretary of the Customs and Salt Duty in Scotland, in which post he was acknowledged to have shown decided ability as an administrator. From 1763 to 1778 he was one of the commissioners of customs. He died at Wimbledon 22 December 1779 (Musgrave's Obituary), described in the Gentleman's Magazine as a "gentleman well known in the literary world, and universally esteemed for his unwearied services and attachment to government."
Throughout his long years of public service he wrote numerous pamphlets, largely on economic and political questions. Merely the titles of a few may be sufficient to indicate the nature of his interests. An Essay towards Deciding the Question whether Britain be Permitted by Right Policy to Insure the Ships of Her Enemies (1747); Observations on the Past Growth and Present State of the City of London (containing a complete table of christenings and burials 1601- 1750) (175l); A Letter Balancing the Causes of the Present Scarcity of Our Silver Coin (1757).
It would be a mistake, however, to consider Morris merely as a statistical economist and Whig party hack. A gentleman of taste and wit, the friend of Hume, Boswell, and other discerning men of the day, he was elected F.R.S. in 1757, and appears to have been much respected. In later life Morris had a country place at Chiltern Vale, Herts., where he took an active delight in country sports. One of his late pamphlets, not listed in the D.N.B. account of him, entertainingly illustrates one of his hobbies. The Bird-fancier's Recreation and Delight, with the newest and very best instructions for catching, taking, feeding, rearing, &c all the various sorts of SONG BIRDS... containing curious remarks on the nature, sex, management, and diseases of ENGLISH SONG BIRDS, with practical instructions for distinguishing the cock and hen, for taking, choosing, breeding, keeping, and teaching them to sing, for discovering and caring their diseases, and of learning them to sing to the greatest perfection.
Although there is little surviving evidence of Morris's purely literary interests, a set of verses combining his economic and artistic views appeared in a late edition of The New Foundling Hospital for Wit (new edition, 1784, VI, 95). Occasioned by seeing Bowood in Wiltshire, the home of the Earl of Shelburne, the lines are entitled: "On Reading Dr. Goldsmith's Poem, the Deserted Village."
This was the man who at the age of thirty-three brought out An Essay towards Fixing the True Standards of Wit, Humour, Raillery, Satire, and Ridicule. That it was ever widely read we have no evidence, but at least a number of men of wit and judgment found it interesting. Horace Walpole included it in a packet of "the only new books at all worth reading" sent to Horace Mann, but the fulsome dedication to the elder Walpole undoubtedly had something to do with this recommendation. More disinterested approval is shown in a letter printed in the Daily Advertiser for 31 May 1744. Better than any modern critique the letter illustrates the contemporary reaction to the Essay.
Christ Church College, Oxford,
I have examin'd the Essay you have sent me for fixing the true Standards of Wit, Humour, &c. and cannot perceive upon what pretence the Definitions, as you tell me, are censured for Obscurity, even by Gentlemen of Abilities, and such as in other Parts of the Work very frankly allow it's Merit: the Definition of Wit, which presents itself at first, you say is, particularly objected to, as dark and involv'd; in answer to which I beg Leave to give you my plain Sentiments upon it, and which I apprehend should naturally occur to every Reader: In treating upon Wit, the Author seems constantly to carry in his View a Distinction between This and Vivacity: there is a Lustre or Brilliancy which often results from wild unprovok'd Sallies of Fancy; but such unexpected Objects, which serve not to elucidate each other, discover only a Flow of Spirits, or rambling Vivacity; whereas, says he, Wit is the Lustre which results from the quick Elucidation of one Subject, by the just and unexpected Arrangement of it with another Subject.—To constitute Wit, there must not only arise a Lustre from the quick Arrangement together of two Subjects, but the new Subject must be naturally introduced, and also serve to elucidate the original one: the Word Elucidation, though it be not new, is elegant, and very happily applied in this Definition; yet I have seen some old Gentlemen here stumble at it, and have found it difficult to persuade them to advance farther:—I have also heard Objections made to the Words Lustre and Brilliancy of Ideas, though they are Terms which have been used by the Greeks and Romans, and by elegant Writers of all Ages and Nations; and the Effect which they express, is perfectly conceiv'd and felt by every Person of true Genius and Imagination.
The Distinctions between Wit and Humour, and the Reasons why Humour is more pleasurably felt than Wit, are new and excellent: as is the Definition of an Humourist, and the happy Analysis of the Characters of Falstaff, Sir Roger de Coverly, and Don Quixote; But, as you say, the Merit of these Parts is universally allowed; as well as the Novelty, and liberal Freedom of the [word apparently omitted]; which have such Charms in my Eye, as I had long ceased to expect in a Modern Writer.
I am, &c 25 May, 1744 J—— W—— [not identified]
If the "Gentlemen of Abilities" of the day found some of Morris's definitions obscure, modern readers will find them more precise than those of most of his predecessors. All who had gone before—Cowley, Barrow, Dryden, Locke, Addison, and Congreve (he does not mention Hobbes)—Morris felt had bungled the job. And although he apologizes for attempting what the great writers of the past had failed to do, he has no hesitation in setting forth exactly what he believes to be the proper distinctions in the meanings of such terms as wit, humour, judgment, invention, raillery, and ridicule. The mathematician and statistician in Morris made him strive for precise accuracy. It was all very clear to him, and by the use of numerous anecdotes and examples he hoped to make the distinctions obvious to the general reader.
The Essay shows what a man of some evident taste and perspicacity, with an analytical mind, can do in defining the subtle semantic distinctions in literary terms. Trying to fix immutably what is certain always to be shifting, Morris is noteworthy not only because of the nature of his attempt, but because he is relatively so successful. As Professor Edward Hooker has pointed out in an Introduction to an earlier ARS issue (Series I, No. 2), his is "probably the best and clearest treatment of the subject in the first half of the eighteenth century." It may be regretted that political and economic concerns occupied so much of his later life, leaving him no time for further literary essays.
In the present facsimile edition, for reasons of space, only the Introduction and the main body of the Essay are reproduced. Although Morris once remarked to David Hume that he wrote all his books "for the sake of the Dedications" (Letters of David Hume ed. Greig, I, 380), modern readers need not regret too much the omission of the fulsome 32 page dedication to Walpole (The Earl of Orford). Morris insists at the beginning that the book was inspired by a fervent desire of "attempting a Composition, independent of Politics, which might furnish an occasional Amusement" to his patron. The praise which follows, in which Walpole is said to lead "the Empire of Letters," is so excessive as to produce only smiles in twentieth century readers. Walpole is praised for not curbing the press while necessarily curbing the theatre, his aid to commerce and industry, indeed almost every act of his administration, is lauded to the skies. The Church of England, in which "the Exercise of Reason in the solemn Worship of God, is the sacred Right, and indispensible Duty, of Man," receives its share of eulogy. In every connection the Tories are violently attacked.
The Dedication ends in a peroration of praise for Walpole's public achievements which "shall adorn the History of Britain," and for his "Private Virtues and all the softer Features" of his mind. His home of retirement is referred to in the lines of Milton:
"Great Palace now of Light! Hither, as to their Fountain, other Stars Repairing, in their golden Urns, draw Light; And here [sic] the Morning Planet gilds her Horns."
[P.L. 7. 363-66]
"Thus splendid, and superior, your Lordship now flourishes in honourable Ease, exerting universal Benevolence...." But in dedications, as in lapidary inscriptions, as Dr. Johnson might have agreed, a writer need not be upon oath.
At the end of the Essay Morris reprinted two essays from The Spectator, Nos. 35 and 62, and William Congreve's "An Essay concerning Humour in Comedy. To Mr. Dennis" (Congreve's Works, ed. Summers, III, 161-68). Since these are readily available, they have not been included in this edition.
The present facsimile is made from a copy owned by Louis I. Bredvold, with his kind permission.
James L. Clifford
* * * * *
[Transcriber's Note: The ARS edition included an errata slip, reproduced here. Where text was changed or deleted, the original is given in brackets. Corrections to the Essay itself are listed after the ARS errata.]
Please paste the following in your copy of Corbyn Morris's Essay towards Fixing the True Standards of Wit....
(ARS, Series One, No. 4)
page 5, line 1—"word apparently omitted" should be inclosed in brackets.
page 5, line 6—"not identified" should be inclosed in brackets.
page 6, line 5—the first "of" should be omitted. ["modern readers need not regret too much of the omission of the fulsome 32 page dedication"]
page 6, line 12, should read "Walpole is praised for not curbing the press while necessarily curbing the theatre, his aid to commerce". ["Walpole is praised for not curbing the theatre; his aid to commerce"]
page 6, line 25—"sic" should be inclosed in brackets, as also "P.L. 7. 363-66" in the next line.
[ ESSAY ON WIT:
page viii: Whence in Aristotle such Persons are termed "epidexioi", dexterous Men The Greek may read "epidezioi"; the letter-form makes it uncertain.
page 14: ... without any Reference to their whimsical Oddities or Foibles; Text reads Oddistie.
page 20 and elsewhere: "Biass" is an attested variant spelling; it has not been changed.
page 25: "teizes" (modern "teases") is an attested variant spelling; it has not been changed.
page 40: —It is therefore no wonder that Signior Don Quixote of la Mancha ... Text reads Quoxote. ]
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Towards Fixing the TRUE STANDARDS of WIT, HUMOUR, RAILLERY, SATIRE, and RIDICULE.
To which is Added, an ANALYSIS Of the CHARACTERS of
An HUMOURIST, Sir John Falstaff, Sir Roger De Coverly, and Don Quixote.
Inscribed to the RIGHT HONORABLE ROBERT Earl of ORFORD.
By the AUTHOR of a LETTER from a BY-STANDER.
—— Jacta est Alea.
Printed for J. ROBERTS, at the Oxford-Arms, in Warwick-lane; and W. BICKERTON, in the Temple-Exchange, near the Inner-Temple-Gate, Fleet-Street.
M DCC XLIV. [Price 2s.]
* * * * *
An Attempt to describe the precise Limits of WIT, HUMOUR, RAILLERY, SATIRE and RIDICULE, I am sensible, is no easy or slight Undertaking. To give a Definition of WIT, has been declared by Writers of the greatest Renown, to exceed their Reach and Power; and Gentlemen of no less Abilities, and Fame, than Cowley, Barrow, Dryden, Locke, Congreve, and Addison, have tryed their Force upon this Subject, and have all left it free, and unconquered. This, I perceive, will be an Argument with some, for condemning an Essay upon this Topic by a young Author, as rash and presumptious. But, though I desire to pay all proper Respect to these eminent Writers, if a tame Deference to great Names shall become fashionable, and the Imputation of Vanity be laid upon those who examine their Works, all Advancement in Knowledge will be absolutely stopp'd; and Literary Merit will be soon placed, in an humble Stupidity, and solemn Faith in the Wisdom of our Ancestors.
Whereas, if I rightly apprehend, an Ambition to excell is the Principle which should animate a Writer, directed by a Love of Truth, and a free Spirit of Candour and Inquiry. This is the Flame which should warm the rising Members of every Science, not a poor Submission to those who have preceded. For, however it may be with a Religious DEVOTION, a Literary One is certainly the CHILD of Ignorance.
However, I must acknowledge, that where I have differed from the great Authors before mentioned, it has been with a Diffidence, and after the most serious and particular Examination of what they have delivered. It is from hence, that I have thought it my Duty, to exhibit with the following Essay, their several Performances upon the same Subject, that every Variation of mine from their Suffrage, and the Reasons upon which I have grounded it, may clearly appear.
The following Ode upon WIT is written by Mr. Cowley.
ODE of WIT.
Tell me, oh tell!, what kind of Thing is WIT, Thou who Master art of it; For the first Matter loves Variety less; Less Women love't, either in Love or Dress. A thousand diff'rent Shapes it bears, Comely in thousand Shapes appears; Yonder we saw it plain, and here 'tis now, Like Spirits in a Place, we know not how.
London, that vents of false Ware so much Store, In no Ware deceives us more; For Men, led by the Colour, and the Shape, Like Zeuxis' Bird, fly to the painted Grape. Some things do through our Judgment pass, As through a Multiplying Glass: And sometimes, if the Object be too far, We take a falling Meteor for a Star.
Hence 'tis a Wit, that greatest Word of Fame, Grows such a common Name; And Wits, by our Creation, they become; Just so as Tit'lar Bishops made at Rome. 'Tis not a Tale, 'tis not a Jest, Admir'd with Laughter at a Feast, Nor florid Talk which can that Title gain; The Proofs of Wit for ever must remain.
'Tis not to force some Lifeless _Verses_ meet, With their five gouty Feet. All ev'ry where, like _Man's_, must be the _Soul_, And _Reason_ the _inferior Pow'rs_ controul. Such were the _Numbers_ which could call The _Stones_ into the _Theban_ Wall. Such _Miracles_ are ceas'd, and now we see No _Towns_ or _Houses_ rais'd by _Poetry.
Yet 'tis not to adorn, and gild each Part, That shews more Cost than Art. Jewels at Nose, and Lips, but ill appear; Rather than all Things Wit, let none be there. Several Lights will not be seen, If there be nothing else between. Men doubt; because they stand so thick i' th' Sky. If those be Stars which paint the Galaxy.
'Tis not when two like Words make up one Noise; Jests for Dutch Men, and English Boys. In which, who finds out Wit, the same may see In An'grams and Acrostiques Poetry. Much less can that have any Place, At which a Virgin hides her Face; Such Dross the Fire must purge away; 'Tis just The Author blush, there where the Reader must.
'Tis not such Lines as almost crack the Stage, When Bajazet begins to rage; Not a tall Metaphor in th' bombast Way, Nor the dry Chips of short-lung'd Seneca. Nor upon all Things to obtrude, And force some odd Similitude. What is it then, which like the Pow'r Divine, We only can by Negatives define?
In a true Piece of Wit, all Things must be, Yet all Things there agree; As in the Ark, join 'd without Force or Strife, All Creatures dwelt; all Creatures that had Life. Or as the primitive Forms of all, (If we compare great Things with small) Which without Discord or Confusion lie, In the strange Mirror of the Deity.
But Love, that moulds one Man up out of two, Makes me forget, and injure you. I took You for Myself, sure when I thought That You in any thing were to be taught. Correct my Error with thy Pen, And if any ask me then, What thing right Wit, and Height of Genius is, I'll only shew your Lines, and say, 'Tis this.
The Spirit and Wit of this Ode are excellent; and yet it is evident, through the whole, that Mr. Cowley had no clear Idea of Wit, though at the same time it shines in most of these Lines: There is little Merit in saying what WIT is not, which is the chief Part of this Ode. Towards the End, he indeed attempts to describe what it is, but is quite vague and perplex'd in his Description; and at last, instead of collecting his scatter'd Rays into a Focus, and exhibiting succinctly the clear Essence and Power of WIT, he drops the whole with a trite Compliment.
The learned Dr. Barrow, in his Sermon against foolish Talking and Jesting, gives the following profuse Description of WIT.
But first it may be demanded, What the Thing we speak of is? Or what the Facetiousness (or Wit as he calls it before) doth import? To which Questions I might reply, as Democritus did to him that asked the Definition of a Man, 'Tis that we all see and know. Any one better apprehends what it is by Acquaintance, than I can inform him by Description. It is indeed a Thing so versatile and multiform, appearing in so many Shapes, so many Postures, so many Garbs, so variously apprehended by several Eyes and Judgments, that it seemeth no less hard to settle a clear and certain Notion thereof, than to make a Portrait of Proteus, or to define the Figure of the fleeting Air. Sometimes it lieth in pat Allusion to a known Story, or in seasonable Application of a trivial Saying, or in forging an apposite Tale: Sometimes it playeth in Words and Phrases, taking Advantage from the Ambiguity of their Sense, or the Affinity of their Sound: Sometimes it is wrapp'd in a Dress of humorous Expression: Sometimes it lurketh under an odd Similitude: Sometimes it is lodged in a sly Question, in a smart Answer, in a quirkish Reason, in a shrewd Intimation, in cunningly diverting, or cleverly retorting an Objection: Sometimes it is couched in a bold Scheme of Speech, in a tart Irony, in a lusty Hyperbole, in a startling Metaphor, in a plausible Reconciling of Contradictions, or in acute Nonsense; Sometimes a scenical Representation of Persons or Things, a counterfeit Speech, a mimical Look or Gesture passeth for it. Sometimes an affected Simplicity, sometimes a presumptuous Bluntness giveth it Being. Sometimes it riseth from a lucky Hitting upon what is Strange; sometimes from a crafty wresting obvious Matter to the Purpose. Often it' consisteth in one knows not what, and springeth up one can hardly tell how. Its ways are unaccountable, and inexplicable, being answerable to the numberless Rovings of Fancy, and Windings of Language. It is, in short, a Manner of Speaking out of the simple and plain Way (such as Reason teacheth, and proveth Things by) which by a pretty, surprizing Uncouthness in Conceit or Expression, doth affect and amuse the Fancy, stirring in it some Wonder, and breeding some Delight thereto. It raiseth Admiration, as signifying a nimble Sagacity of Apprehension, a special Felicity of Invention, a Vivacity of Spirit, and Reach of Wit, more than vulgar; it seeming to argue a rare Quickness of Parts, that one can fetch in remote Conceits applicable; a notable Skill that he can dextrously accommodate them to the Purpose before him; together with a lively Briskness of Humour, not apt to damp those Sportful Flashes of Imagination. (Whence in Aristotle such Persons are termed "epidexioi", dexterous Men, and "eutropoi", Men of facile or versatile Manners, who can easily turn themselves to all Things, or turn all Things to themselves.) It also procureth Delight, by gratifying Curiosity with its Rareness, or Semblance of Difficulty. (As Monsters, not for their Beauty, but their Rarity; as juggling Tricks, not for their Use, but their Abstruseness, are beheld with Pleasure;) by diverting the Mind from its Road of serious Thoughts, by instilling Gaiety, and Airiness of Spirit; by provoking to such Disposition of Spirit in Way of Emulation, or Complaisance; and by seasoning Matters otherwise distasteful or insipid, with an unusual and thence grateful Tange.
This Description, it is easy to perceive, must have cost the Author of it a great deal of Labour. It is a very full Specimen of that Talent of entirely exhausting a Subject, for which Dr. Barrow was remarkable; and if the Point was, to exhibit all the various Forms and Appearances, not of WIT only, but of Raillery, Satire, Sarcasms, and of every Kind of Poignancy and Pleasantry of Sentiment, and Expression, he seems to have perfectly succeeded; there being perhaps no Variety, in all the Extent of these Subjects, which he has not presented to View in this Description.—But he does not pretend to give any Definition of WIT, intimating rather that it is quite impossible to be given: And indeed from his Description of it, as a Proteus, appearing in numberless various Colours, and Forms; and from his mistaking, and presenting for WIT, other different Mixtures and Substances, it is evident that his Idea of it was quite confused and uncertain: It is true, he has discovered a vast Scope of Fertility of Genius, and an uncommon Power of collecting together a Multitude of Objects upon any Occasion, but he has here absolutely mistaken his work; for instead of exhibiting the Properties of WIT in a clearer Light, and confuting the false Claims which are made to it, he has made it his whole Business to perplex it the more, by introducing, from all Corners, a monstrous Troop of new unexpected Pretenders.
Dryden, in the Preface to his Opera, entitled, The State of Innocence, or Fall of Man, gives the following Decree upon WIT. The Definition of WIT, (which has been so often attempted, and ever unsuccessfully by many Poets) is only this: That it is a Propriety of Thoughts and Words; or in other Terms, Thoughts and Words elegantly adapted to the Subject.
If Mr. Dryden imagined, that he had succeeded himself in this Definition, he was extremely mistaken; for nothing can be more distant from the Properties of WIT, than those he describes. He discovers no Idea of the Surprize, and Brilliancy of WIT, or of the sudden Light thrown upon a Subject. Instead of once pointing at these, he only describes the Properties of clear Reasoning, which are a Propriety of Thoughts and Words;—Whereas WIT, in its sudden Flashes, makes no Pretension to Reasoning; but is perceived in the pleasant Surprize which it starts, and in the Light darted upon a Subject, which instantly vanishes again, without abiding a strict Examination.
The other Definition he gives, which is, Thoughts and Words elegantly adapted to the Subject, is very different from the former, but equally unhappy.
For Propriety, in Thoughts and Words, consists in exhibiting clear, pertinent Ideas, in precise and perspicuous Words.
Whereas ELEGANCE consists in the compt, well pruned and succinct Turn of a Subject.
The Object of the First, is to be clear, and perspicuous; whence it often appears in pursuit of these, not compt or succinct: Whereas the Essence of ELEGANCE is to be compt and succinct, for the Sake of which Ornaments it often neglect Perspicuity, and Clearness.—In short, a Propriety of Thoughts and Words, may subsist without any Elegance; as an Elegance of Thoughts and Words may appear without a perfect Propriety.
The last Definition, as it is thus very different from the former is also equally unhappy: For ELEGANCE is no essential Property of WIT. Pure WIT resulting solely from the quick Elucidation of one Subject, by the sudden Arrangement, and Comparison of it, with another Subject.—If the two Objects arranged together are elegant, and polite, there will then be superadded to the WIT, an Elegance and Politeness of Sentiment, which will render the WIT more amiable. But if the Objects are vulgar, obscene, or deformed, provided the first be elucidated, in a lively Manner, by, the sudden Arrangement of it with the second, there will be equally WIT; though, the Indelicacy of Sentiment attending it, will render such WIT shocking and abominable.
It is with the highest Respect for the great Mr. Locke, that I deliver his Sentiments upon this Subject.
And hence, perhaps, may be given some Reason of that common Observation, that Men who have a great deal of Wit, and prompt Memories, have not always the clearest Judgment or deepest Reason: For Wit lying most in the Assemblage of Ideas, and putting those together with Quickness and Variety, wherein can be found any Assemblance or Congruity, thereby to make up pleasant Pictures, and agreeable Visions in the Fancy. Judgment, on the contrary, lies quite on the other side; in separating carefully one from another, Ideas, wherein can be found the least Difference, thereby to avoid being missed by Similitude, and by Affinity to take one thing for another. This is a Way of proceeding quite contrary to Metaphor and Allusion; wherein for the most Part lies that Entertainment and Pleasantry of Wit, which strikes so lively on the Fancy, and therefore is acceptable to all People, because its Beauty appears at first Sight, and there is required no Labour of Thoughts to examine what Truth, or Reason, there is in it. The Mind, without looking any further, rests satisfied with the Agreeableness of the Picture, and the Gaiety of the Fancy. And it is a kind of an Affront to go about to examine it by the severe Rules of Truth, and good Reason, whereby it appears, that it conflicts in something that is not perfectly conformable to them.
It is to be observed that Mr. Locke has here only occasionally, and passantly, delivered his Sentiments upon this Subject; but yet he has very happily explained the chief Properties of WIT. It was his Remark First, that it lies for the most Part in assembling together with Quickness and Variety Objects, which possess an Affinity, or Congruity, with each other; which was the first just Information obtained by the literary World, upon this Subject.
As to what he adds, That the Intention, and Effects, of this Assemblage of similar Objects, is to make up pleasant Pictures, and agreeable Visions in the Fancy, it is, as I humbly apprehend, not quite perfect: For the Business of this Assemblage is not merely to raise pleasant Pictures in the Fancy, but also to enlighten thereby the original Subject.—This is evident; because in such Assemblages, the only Foundation upon which the new Subject is suddenly introduced, is the Affinity, and consequently the Illustration, it bears to the first Subject.—The Introduction of pleasant Pictures and Visions, which present not a new Illustration, and Light, to the original Subjects, being rather wild Sallies of Vivacity, than well-aimed, apposite Strokes of WIT.
It is Mr. Locke's Conclusion, at last, That WIT consists in something that is not perfectly conformable to Truth, and good Reason.—This is a Problem of some Curiosity; and I apprehend Mr. Locke's Determination upon it to be right:—For the Direction of WIT is absolutely different from the Direction of TRUTH and GOOD REASON; It being the Aim of WIT to strike the Imagination; of TRUTH and GOOD REASON, to convince the Judgment: From thence they can never be perfectly coincident.
It is however true, that there may be Instances of WIT, wherein the Agreement between the two Objects shall be absolutely just, and perceived to be such at the first Glance. Such Instances of WIT, will be then also Self-evident TRUTHS. They will both agree in their obvious, and quick Perspicuity; but will be still different in this, that the Effort of the One is to strike the Fancy, whereas the Other is wholly exerted in gratifying the Judgment.
The Sentiments of Mr. Addison upon WIT, are professedly delivered in the Spectator No. 62. annexed to the following Essay. He has there justly commended Mr. Locke's Description of WIT; but what he adds, by Way of Explanation to it, that the Assemblage of Ideas must be such as shall give Delight, and Surprize, is not true, in regard to the Former, Delight being no essential Property of WIT; for if the original Subject be unpleasant, or deformed, the sudden unexpected Arrangement of a similar Object with it, may give us Surprize, and be indisputably WIT, and yet be far from creating any Delight.
This Gentleman has also given the following Example, in order to illustrate the Necessity there is, that Surprize should be always an Attendant upon WIT.
"When a Poet tells us, the Bosom of his Mistress is as white as Snow, there is no Wit in the Comparison; but when he adds, with a Sigh, that it as cold too, it then grows to Wit."
—To compare a Girl's Bosom to Snow for its Whiteness I apprehend to be WIT, notwithstanding the Authority of so great a Writer to the contrary. For there is a Lustre resulting from the natural and splendid Agreement between these Objects, which will always produce WIT; such, as cannot be destroyed, though it will quickly be rendered trite, by frequent Repetition.
This Problem, How far SURPRIZE is, or is not, necessary to WIT, I humbly apprehend, may be thus solved.—In Subjects which have a natural and splendid Agreement, there will always be WIT upon their Arrangement together; though when it becomes trite, and not accompanied with Surprize, the Lustre will be much faded;—But where the Agreement is forced and strained, Novelty and Surprize are absolutely necessary to usher it in; An unexpected Assemblage of this Sort, striking our Fancy, and being gaily admitted at first to be WIT; which upon frequent Repetition, the Judgment will have examined, and rise up against it wherever it appears;—So that in short, in Instances where the Agreement is strained and defective, which indeed are abundantly the most general, Surprize is a necessary Passport to WIT; but Surprize is not necessary to WIT, where the Agreement between the two Subjects is natural and splendid; though in these Instances it greatly heightens the Brillancy.
The subsequent Remark of Mr. Addison, That the Poet, after saying his Mistress's Bosom is as white as Snow, should add, with a Sigh, that it is as cold too, in order that it may grow to WIT, is I fear, very incorrect. For as to the Sigh, it avails not a Rush; and this Addition will be found to be only a new Stroke of WIT, equally trite, and less perfect, and natural, than the former Comparison.
It may also be observed, That Mr. Addison has omitted the Elucidation of the original Subject, which is the grand Excellence of WIT. Nor has he prescribed any Limits to the Subjects, which are to be arranged together; without which the Result will be frequently the SUBLIME or BURLESQUE; In which, it is true, WIT often appears, but taking their whole Compositions together, they are different Substances, and usually ranked in different Classes.
All that Mr. Congreve has delivered upon WIT, as far as I know, appears in his Essay upon HUMOUR, annexed to this Treatise. He there says, To define HUMOUR, perhaps, were as difficult, as to define WIT; for, like that, it is of infinite Variety. —Again, he afterwards adds, But though we cannot certainly tell what WIT is, or what HUMOUR is, yet we may go near to shew something, which is not WIT, or not HUMOUR, and yet often mistaken for both. —In this Essay, wherein he particularly considers HUMOUR, and the Difference between this, and WIT, he may be expected to have delivered his best Sentiments upon both: But these Words, which I have quoted, seem to be as important and precise, as any which he has offered upon the Subject of WIT. As such, I present them, without any Remarks, to my Reader, who, if he only goes near to be edified by them, will discover a great Share of Sagacity.
The Sentiments of these eminent Writers upon WIT, having thus been exhibited, I come next to the Subject of HUMOUR. This has been defined by some, in the following Manner, with great Perspicuity. —HUMOUR is the genuine WIT of Comedies,—which has afforded vast Satisfaction to many Connoissures in the Belles Lettres; especially as WIT has been supposed to be incapable of any Definition.
This Subject has also been particularly considered by the Spectatator No. 35. inserted at the End of the following Essay. Mr. Addison therein gravely remarks, that It is indeed much easier to describe what is not HUMOUR, than what it is; which, I humbly apprehend, is no very important Piece of Information.—He adds, And very difficult to define it otherwise, than as Cowly has done WIT, by Negatives. This Notion of defining a Subject by Negatives, is a favourite Crotchet, and may perhaps be assumed upon other Occasions by future Writers: I hope therefore I shall be pardoned, if I offer a proper Explanation of so good a Conceit;—To declare then, That a Subject is only to be DEFINED by NEGATIVES, is to cloath it in a respectable Dress of Darkness. And about as much as to say, That it is a Knight of tenebrose Virtues; or a serene Prince, of the Blood of Occult Qualities.
Mr. Addison proceeds, Were I to give my own Notions of HUMOUR, I should deliver them after Plato's Manner, in a Kind of Allegory; and by supposing HUMOUR to be a Person, deduce to him, all his Qualifications, according to the following Genealogy: TRUTH was the Founder of the Family, and the Father of GOOD SENSE; GOOD SENSE was the Father of WIT, who married a Lady of a collateral Line called MIRTH, by whom he had Issue HUMOUR. —It is very unfortunate for this Allegorical Description, that there is not one Word of it just: For TRUTH, GOOD SENSE, WIT, and MIRTH, represented to be the immediate Ancestors of HUMOUR; whereas HUMOUR is derived from the Foibles, and whimsical Oddities of Persons in real Life, which flow rather from their Inconsistencies, and Weakness, than from TRUTH and GOOD SENSE; Nor is WIT any Ancestor of HUMOUR, but of a quite different Family; it being notorious that much HUMOUR may be drawn from the Manners of Dutchmen, and of the most formal and dull Persons, who are yet never guilty of WIT. Again, MIRTH is not so properly the Parent of HUMOUR, as the Offspring.—In short, this whole Genealogy is a nubilous Piece of Conceit, instead of being any Elucidation of HUMOUR. It is a formal Method of trifling, introduced under a deep Ostentation of Learning, which deserves the severest Rebuke.—But I restrain my Pen, recollecting the Visions of MIRZA, and heartily profess my high Veneration for their admirable Author.
The Essay upon HUMOUR, at the End of this Treatise, written by Mr. Congreve, is next to be considered. It appears, that at first he professes his absolute Uncertainty in regard to this Subject; and says, "We cannot certainly tell what WIT is, or what HUMOUR is." But yet, through his whole Piece, he neglects the Subject of HUMOUR in general, and only discourses upon the HUMOUR, by which he means barely the Disposition, of Persons: This may particularly appear from the following Words.
A Man may change his Opinion, but I believe he will find it a Difficulty to part with his HUMOUR; and there is nothing more provoking than the being made sensible of that Difficulty. Sometimes we shall meet with those, who perhaps indifferently enough, but at the same time impertinently, will ask the Question, WHY ARE YOU NOT MERRY? WHY ARE YOU NOT GAY, PLEASANT, AND CHEARFUL? Then instead of answering, could I ask such a Person, WHY ARE YOU NOT HANDSOME? WHY HAVE YOU NOT BLACK EYES, AND A BETTER COMPLEXION? Nature abhors to be forced.
The two famous Philosophers of Ephesus and Abdera, have their different Sects at this Day. Some weep, and others laugh at one and the same Thing.
I don't doubt but you have observed several Men laugh when they are angry; others, who are silent; some that are loud; yet I cannot suppose that it is the Passion of ANGER, which is in itself different, or more or less in one than t'other, but that it is the HUMOUR of the Man that is predominant, and urges him to express it in that Manner. Demonstrations of PLEASURE, are as various: One Man has a HUMOUR of retiring from all Company, when any thing has happened to please him beyond Expectation; he hugs himself alone, and thinks it an Addition to the Pleasure to keep it a Secret, &c.
All which, I apprehend, is no more than saying; That there are different Dispositions in different Persons.
In another Place, he seems to understand by Humour, not only the Disposition, but the Tone of the Nerves, of a Person, thus,
"Suppose MOROSE to be a Man naturally splenetic, and melancholy; is there any thing more offensive to one of such a DISPOSITION (where he uses the Word instead of Humour) than Noise and Clamour? Let any Man that has the Spleen (and there are enough in England) be Judge. We see common Examples of this HUMOUR in little every Day. 'Tis ten to one, but three Parts in four of the Company you dine with, are discomposed, and started at the cutting of a Cork, or scratching of a Plate with a Knife; it is a Proportion of the same HUMOUR, that makes such, or any other Noise, offensive to the Person that hears it; for there are others who will not be disturbed at all by it.
At this Rate every Weakness of Nerves, or Particularity of Constitution, is HUMOUR.
It is true, he justly points out in another Place the different Sentiments, which ought to be adapted to different Characters in Comedy, according to their different Dispositions, or, as he phrases it, Humours: As for Instance, he very rightly observes, That a Character of a splenetic and peevish HUMOUR, Should have a satirical WIT. A jolly and sanguine HUMOUR should have a facetious WIT. —But still this is no Description of what is well felt, and known, by the general Name of HUMOUR.
However, as what I have already quoted, may appear to be only his looser Explanations, it will be necessary to deliver his more closed and collected Sentiments upon this Subject. These he gives in the following Words, I should be unwilling to venture, even in a bare _Description_ of _Humour_, much more to make a _Definition_ of it; but now my Hand is in, I will tell you what serves me instead of either. I take it to be, _A singular and unavoidable Manner of doing or saying any thing, peculiar and natural to one Man only, by which his Speech and Actions are distinguished from those of other Men." —This Description is very little applicable to HUMOUR, but tolerably well adapted to other Subjects.—Thus, a Person, who is happy in a particular _Grace_, which accompanies all his Actions, may be said to possess _a singular and unavoidable Manner of doing or saying any thing, peculiar and natural to him only, by which his Speech and Actions are distinguished from those of other Men_. And the same may be said of a Person of a peculiar _Vivacity_, _Heaviness_, or _Awkwardness_.—In short, this Description is suited to any _Particularity_ of a Person in general, instead of being adapted to the _Foibles_ and _whimsical Oddities_ of Persons, which alone constitute HUMOUR.
These are the only Pieces upon WIT, and HUMOUR, which have fallen within my Knowledge; I have here fairly delivered them at length; and from the Respect which is due to such eminent Writers, have distinctly and deliberately examined the Merit of each.—As to my own Performance, which is now submitted to the Public, I have to wish, that it may gain a candid and strict Examination. It has been my Endeavour to give Definitions of the Subjects, upon which I have treated; A Plan the most difficult of all others to be executed by an Author; But such an one, as I apprehend, deserves to be more generally introduced, and established. If once it was expected by the Public, that Authors should strictly define their Subjects, it would instantly checque an Inundation of Scribbling. The desultory Manner of Writing would be absolutely exploded; and Accuracy and Precision would be necessarily introduced upon every Subject.
This is the Method pursued in Subjects of Philosophy; Without clear and precise Definitions such noble Advances could never have been made in those Sciences; And it is by the Assistance of these only, that Subjects of Polite Literature, can ever be enlightened and embellished with just Ornaments. If Definitions had been constantly exacted from Authors there would not have appeared one hundreth Part of the present Books, and yet every Subject had been better ascertained.—Nor will this Method, as some may imagine, be encumbered with Stiffness; On the contrary, in illustrating the Truth of Definitions there is a full Scope of the utmost Genius, Imagination, and Spirit of a Writer; and a Work upon this Plan is adorned with the highest Charms appearing with Propriety, Clearness, and Conviction, as well as Beauty.
It is true, that the Difficulties, which attend an able Execution of this Method, are not open to a careless Eye; And it is some Mortification to an Author upon this Plan, that his greatest Merit is likely to lie concealed; A Definition, or Distinction, which after much Attention and Time he has happily delivered with Brevity and Clearness, appearing hereby quite obvious, to others, and what they cannot imagine could require Pains to discover.
As to the Examples, by which I have illustrated the Definition of Wit, they are common and trite; but are the best, which I could find upon deliberate Enquiry. Many Modern instances of Wit, which left very lively Impressions upon me, when I heard them, appearing upon Re-examination to be quite strained and defective. These, which I have given, as they are thus trite, are not designed in themselves for any Entertainment to the Reader; but being various, and distant from each other, they very properly serve to explain the Truth, and Extent of the Definition.
The Character of an HUMOURIST, I expect, will be strange to most of my Readers; and if no Gentleman is acquainted with a Person of this Cast, it must pass for a Monster of my own Creation;—As to the Character of Sir John Falstaff, it is chiefly extracted from Shakespear, in his 1st Part of King Henry the IVth; But so far as Sir John in Shakspear's Description, sinks into a Cheat or a Scoundrel, upon any Occasion, he is different from that Falstaff, who is designed in the following Essay, and is entirely an amiable Character.
It is obvious, that the Appearance, which Falstaff makes, in the unfinished Play of The Merry Wives of Windsor, is in general greatly below his true Character. His Imprisonment and Death in the latter Part of King Henry the IVth, seem also to have been written by Shakespear in Compliance with the Austerity of the Times; and in order to avoid the Imputation of encouraging Idleness and mirthful Riot by too amiable and happy an Example.
The Criticism, which I have made, upon Horace's Narrative of his Adventure with an Impertinent Fellow, I offer with Respect; And beg leave to observe that the chief Part which I object to, is the Propriety of his introducing himself in so ridiculous a Plight; —Dum sudor ad imos Manaret Talos; And Demitto Auriculas, ut iniquae mentis Acellus Cum gravius dorso subiit onus. And other Representations of the same sort, seem to place Horace in a very mean and ludicrous Light; which it is probable he never apprehended in the full Course of exposing his Companion;—Besides, the Conduct of his Adversary is in several Places, excessively, and, as it may be construed, designedly, insolent and contemptuous; and as no Merit or Importance belongs to this Person, there appears no Reason why Horace should endure such Treatment; or, if the other was too powerful for him, it is not an Adventure of Honour; or what Horace should chuse to expose to the World in this manner, with all the Particulars of his own despicable Distress.
However, the Mirth which results from this Narrative, as it now stands, is perhaps rather the stronger at first, by the full Ridicule which lies against Horace, and his Adversary;—But, upon Reflection, there arises a Disgust, at the Impropriety of Horace's exposing his own Meanness, as well as at the nauseous Impudence of his Companion.
As to uncommon Words, if any such appear in this Introduction, or in the following Essay, I hope they want neither Propriety, Clearness, nor Strength;—And if the Lengthof this Piece to an Essay so short shall happen at first to disturb any Critic, I beg leave to inform him, that all, which can be fairly collected from it, is only, that it may have cost me the more Trouble;—But upon mentioning the Length of this Piece, what behoves me the most, is, to return my Thanks to two Gentlemen, who suffered me to read to them the whole, as it was gradually written; And by whose judicious and friendly Instructions in the Course of it, my own Imagination was often prevented from running into Riots.
However, I am far from imagining, that I have always been reduced within just Bounds; And now feel a sufficient Share of Concern and Anxiety, for the Fate of this Work;—Yet, I humbly apprehend, that this must freely be allowed me, that I have not been a Plagiary; But have constantly delivered my own original Sentiments, without purloining or disfiguring the Thoughts of others; An Honesty, which, I hope, is laudable in an Author; And as I have not stolen, neither have I concealed, the Merit of other Writers.
It will also be found, as I humbly apprehend, that I have never shunned the Subject: I mention this particularly, because it is the Practice of many eminent Writers, after much curvetting and prauncing, suddenly to wheel, and retire, when they are expected to make their most full Attack.—These Gentlemen, it is true, very happily avoid Danger, and advance and retreat in excellent Order: But, with their Leave, I must observe that they never do any Execution; For Subjects, which have not been surveyed, and laid open, are like fortified Places; and it is the Business of a Writer, as well as of a Soldier, to make an Attack;—This has been the Conduct I have held in the following Essay; and however I may be shattered upon any Occasion, I hope it will appear (if I may be allowed the Expression) that I have fairly charged the Subjects.
Having offered these Circumstances in my Favour, I must frankly acknowledge, that I am not able to plead any Hurry or Precipitancy in the publishing of this Work, in Excuse of its Errors; Though I clearly understand, that by making this Discovery, I absolutely deprive myself of the most genteel and fashionable Screen now used by Authors;—But I imagined, that it became me to spare no Labour or Attention upon a Work, which I should presume to offer to the World; Happening to esteem this Care and Concern, a Respect due to the Public, and the proper Species of Humility and Modesty in an Author.
* * * * *
An ESSAY on Wit, Humour, Raillery, & c.
WIT is the LUSTRE resulting from the quick ELUCIDATION of one Subject, by a just and unexpected ARRANGEMENT of it with another Subject.
This Definition of WIT will more clearly appear by a short Explanation.
It is the Province of WIT to elucidate, or enlighten a Subject, not by reasoning upon that Subject, but by a just and unexpected Introduction of another similar, or opposite Subject; whereby, upon their Arrangement together, the original Subject may be set off, and more clearly enlighten'd, by their obvious Comparison.
It may be proper, for the sake of Distinction, to call the Subject, which is the Basis and Ground-work, the original Subject; and that which is introduced, in order to elucidate it, the auxiliary Subject.
That there be always an apparent Chain or Connexion, or else an obvious Agreement or Contrast, between the two Subjects, is absolutely requir'd, in order that the Auxiliary one may be justly introduced; otherwise, instead of WIT, there will only appear a rambling Vivacity, in wild, unprovoked Sallies.
And yet every just or natural Introduction of an auxiliary Subject will not produce WIT, unless a new Lustre is reflected from thence upon the original Subject.
It is further to be observed, that the Introduction of the auxiliary Subject ought not only to be just, but also unexpected, which are entirely consistent together; For as every Subject bears various Relations and Oppositions to other Subjects, it is evident that each of these Relations and Oppositions upon being exhibited, will be unexpected to the Persons, who did not perceive them before; and yet they are just by Supposition.
It is upon such unexpected Introductions of auxiliary Subjects, that we are struck with a Surprize; from whence the high Brilliancy and Sparkling of WIT, result.
Whereas Auxiliary Subjects, introduced upon such Occasions, as they have been frequently exhibited before, are apt to fall dull, and heavy upon the Fancy; and unless they possess great natural Spirit, will excite no sprightly Sensation.
It is also necessary to observe, that, in WIT, the Subjects concern'd must be ordinary and level; By which are intended, not such as are common, but such as have no extraordinarily exalted, or enlarged, Qualities; and are not unsizeable in the particular Circumstances in which they are compared to each other;—otherwise it is easy to perceive, that the Result of their Arrangement will not be so properly WIT, as either the SUBLIME, or BURLESQUE.
To all this is to be added, that either Gallantry, Raillery, Humour, Satire, Ridicule, Sarcasms, or other Subjects, are generally blended with WIT; It has been for want of this Discovery, and of a proper Separation of these Subjects, that the Attempts which have hitherto been made to define WIT, have been all involv'd and overwhelm'd in Perplexity; For the different Mixtures of these foreign Ingredients with WIT, have discover'd such various and opposite Colours and Substances, as were impossible to be comprehended in one certain steady Definition;—Whereas pure WIT alone, constantly appears in one uniform Manner; which is, In the quick Elucidation of one Subject, by unexpectedly exhibiting its Agreement or Contrast with another Subject.
It is proper in this Place, to distinguish between WIT, SIMILES, and METAPHORS. SIMILES, though they illustrate one Subject, by arranging it with another Subject, are yet different from WIT, as they want its sudden and quick Elucidation.
Again; In WIT, the Elucidation is thrown only upon one Point of a Subject; or if more Points be elucidated, they are so many different Strokes of WIT;—Whereas every SIMILE touches the Subject it illustrates in several Points.
It is from hence, that the Elucidation, as before mention'd, arising from a SIMILE, is slower than from WIT; But then is is generally more accurate and compleat;—In short, WIT, from its Quickness, exhibits more Brilliancy, But SIMILES possess greater Perfection.
A METAPHOR, is the Arrayment of one Subject, with the Dress, or Colour, or any Attributes, of another Subject.
In WIT, the two Subjects are suddenly confronted with each other, and upon their joint View, the original one is elucidated by the obvious Agreement or Contrast of the auxiliary Subject.
But METAPHOR goes further, and not content with arranging the two Subjects together, and exhibiting from thence their Agreement or Contrast, it actually snatches the Properties of the auxiliary one, and fits them at once upon the original Subject.
It is evident from hence, that there may be WIT without any METAPHOR; But in every just METAPHOR there is WIT; The Agreement of the two Subjects being in a METAPHOR more strictly and sensibly presented.
There is also this Difference between WIT and METAPHOR, that in WIT the original Subject is enlighten'd, without altering its Dress; whereas in METAPHOR the original Subject is cloathed in a new Dress, and struts forwards at once with a different Air, and with strange unexpected Ornaments.
It is from hence, that by METAPHOR a more masculine Air and Vigour is given to a Subject, than by WIT; But it too often happens, that the METAPHOR is carried so far, as instead of elucidating, to obscure and disfigure, the original Subject.
To exhibit some Examples of WIT.
Henry the IVth of France, intimating to the Spanish Ambassador the Rapidity, with which he was able to over-run Italy, told him, that if once he mounted on Horseback, he should breakfast at Milan, and dine at Naples; To which the Ambassador added, Since your Majesty travels at this rate, you may be at Vespers in Sicily.
The Introduction of the Vespers at SICILY is here natural, and easy; as it seems only to be carrying on his Majesty's Journey at the same rate, and to compleat the Progress of the Day; But it ushers at once into View the Destruction of the French upon a similar Occasion, when they formerly over-ran SICILY, and were all massacred there at the ringing of the Bell for Vespers;—The sudden Introduction and Arrangement of this Catastrophe, with the Expedition then threaten'd, sets the Issue of such a Conquest in a new Light; And very happily exhibits and elucidates the Result of such vain and restless Adventures.
It may be observed, that the quick Introduction and Arrangement of any former Conquest of Italy by the French, with the Expedition then threaten'd, would have exhibited WIT; whatever the Issue had been of such former Conquest; But in this Instance, there sits couched under the WIT, a very severe Rebuke upon the French Monarch.
Alexander the VIth was very busily questioning the Ambassador of Venice, Of whom his Masters held their Customs and Prerogatives of the Sea? To which the Ambassador readily answer'd; If your HOLINESS will only please to examine your Charter of St. PETER's Patrimony, you will find upon the Back of it, the Grant made to the VENETIANS of the ADRIATIC.
The Authority of the Grant to the Venetians is in this Instance the original Subject, which is thus suddenly elucidated to the Pope, by arranging, and connecting it with the holy Charter of St. Peter's Patrimony; There is a peculiar Happiness in the Address of this Answer to the Pope, as he was obliged to receive it as a satisfactory Account of the Truth of the Grant, and a clear Elucidation of its sacred Authority.
In this Instance, besides the WIT which shines forth, the Pope is severely expos'd to your Raillery, from the Scrape into which he has brought the Charter of St. Peter's Patrimony, by his Attack of the Ambassador; The fictitious Existence of both the Charter and Grant being sarcastically pointed out, under this respectable Air of Authenticity.
Upon the Restoration Mr. Waller presented a congratulatory Copy of Verses to King Charles; His Majesty, after reading them, said,— Mr. Waller, these are very good, but not so fine as you made upon the PROTECTOR.—To which Mr. Waller return'd,—Your Majesty will please to recollect, that we Poets always write best upon FICTIONS.
The original Subject in this Instance is the superior Excellence of Mr. WALLER's Verses upon Cromwell; This he most happily excuses, by starting at once, and arranging along with them, the Remark, that Poets have always excell'd upon Fiction; whereby he unexpectedly exhibits his more excellent Verses to Cromwell, as a plain Elucidation of the fictitious Glory of the Protector; And intimates at the same time, that the Inferiority of his present Performance was a natural Illustration of his Majesty's real Glory;—Never was a deep Reproach averted by a more happy Reply; which comprehends both the highest Compliment to his Majesty, and a very firm poetical Excuse of the different Performances.
Leonidas the Spartan General, when he advanced near the Persian Army, was told by one of his own Captains, that their Enemies were so numerous, it was impossible to see the Sun for the Multitude of their Arrows; To which he gallantly reply'd, We shall then have the Pleasure of fighting in the Shade.
The vast Cope of Persian Arrows is here the original Subject; which instead of being observed by Leonidas with Terror, presents to his Fancy the pleasant Idea of a cool Canopy. There is an Agreement and Affinity between the two Objects, in regard to the Shelter from the Sun, which is at once obvious, and unexpected; And the Cloud of the Enemies Arrows is thus gaily elucidated, by the Arrangement and Comparison of it with so desirable an Object as shady Covering.
This Saying of the Spartan General has been handed through many Ages to the present Time; But the chief Part of the Pleasure it gives us, results not so much from the WIT it contains, as from the Gallantry, and chearful Spirit, discover'd in Danger, by Leonidas.
An Instance of WIT in the Opposition, I remember to have read somewhere in the Spectators; where Sir Roger de Coverley intimating the Splendor which the perverse Widow should have appear'd in, if she had commenced Lady Coverley, says:
That he would have given her a Coalpit to have kept her in clean Linnen: And that her Finger should have sparkled with one hundred of his richest Acres.
The joint Introduction of these opposite Objects, as a Coalpit with clean Linnen, and dirty Acres with the Lustre of a Jewel, is just in this Instance, as they really produce each other in their Consequences; The natural Opposition between them, which is strongly elucidated by their Arrangement together, and at the same time their unexpected Connexion in their Consequences, strike us with a Surprize, which exhibits the Brilliancy and Sparkling of WIT.
There is also in this Instance, besides the WIT, a Spirit of Generosity, and Magnificence, discover'd by Sir Roger, from the known Value of a Coalpit, and of so many rich Acres.
This Kind of WIT, resulting from the sudden Arrangement together of two opposite Objects, is rarer, than that which is obtained from two similar Objects; It abounds with a high Surprize, and Brilliancy; and also strongly elucidates the original Object, from the Contrast presented between this, and the auxiliary one; In the same manner as White is more clearly set off, by being arranged with Black.
It may be proper to observe, that WIT, besides being struck out by just, and direct Introductions of auxiliary Subjects, is also sometimes obtain'd by Transitions from one Subject to another, by the Help of an equivocal Word; which like a Bridge, with two Roads meeting at the End of it, leads to two different Places. Transitions, thus made from the right Course, have indeed the Pretence of being natural; but they ought always to lead us to something brilliant or poignant, in order to justify their Deviation; and not to end only at a ridiculous PUN, void of all Spirit and Poignancy.
The WIT, in such Instances, results, as in all others, from the quick Arrangement together of two Subjects; But that, which was first intended for the original one, is dropped; And a new original Subject is started, through the double Meaning of a Word, and suddenly enlighten'd.
To give a trite Instance of this kind of WIT.
A PEER coming out of the House of Lords, and wanting his Servant, called out, Where's my Fellow? To which another PEER, who stood by him, returned, Faith, my Lord, not in England.
A Transition is here unexpededly made from the Sense intended in the Question to another Point, through the double Meaning of the word Fellow; it being obvious, that his Lordship's Servant is the Sense of the Word in the Question; and what Person is like to his Lordship, the Construction put upon it in the Answer: Thus a new original Subject is started, and being suddenly arranged with all that appear similar to it, is enlighten'd thereby, being found to have no equal in England.
However, though WIT may be thus struck out, and also appears in the Contrast with great Brilliancy, yet the highest and most perfect Instances of it result from the sudden and direct Arrangement together of two Objects, which hold a perspicuous and splendid Agreement with each other; It is then adorn'd with the Charms of Propriety, Clearness and Illustration; It dispels the Darkness around an Object, and presents it diftinctly and perfectly to our View; chearing us with its Lustre, and at the same time informing us with its Light.
Thus, a Gentleman was observing, that there was somewhat extremely pleasing in an excellent Understanding, when it appeared in a beautiful Person; To which another returned, It is like a fine Jewel well set; You are here pleased with the Happiness, Propriety, and Splendor of this new Object, which finely elucidates the original Sentiment;—In short, it is the Excellence of WIT, to present the first Image again to your mind, with new unexpected Clearness and Advantage.
It is also proper to add, that there may be WIT in a Picture, Landscape, or in any Prospect, where a gay unexpected Assemblage of similar, or opposite Objects, is presented.
JUDGMENT, is the Faculty of discerning the various Dimensions, and Differences, of Subjects.
INVENTION is the Faculty of finding out new Assortments, and Combinations, of Ideas.
HUMOUR is any whimsical Oddity or Foible, appearing in the Temper or Conduct of a Person in real Life.
This whimsical Oddity of Conduct, which generally arises from the strange Cast, or Turn of Mind of a queer Person, may also result from accidental Mistakes and Embarrassments between other Persons; who being misled by a wrong Information and Suspicion in regard to a Circumstance, shall act towards each other upon this Occasion, in the same odd whimsical manner, as queer Persons.
If a Person in real Life, discovers any odd and remarkable Features of Temper or Conduct, I call such a Person in the Book of Mankind, a Character. So that the chief Subjects of HUMOUR are Persons in real Life, who are Characters.
It is easy to be perceived, that HUMOUR, and WIT are extremely different.
HUMOUR appears only in the Foibles and whimsical Conduct of Persons in real Life; WIT appears in Comparisons, either between Persons in real Life, or between other Subjects.
HUMOUR is the whimsical Oddity, or Foible, which fairly appears in its Subject, of itself; whereas WIT, is the Lustre which is thrown upon one Subject, by the sudden Introduction of another Subject.
To constitute HUMOUR, there need be no more than one Object concern'd, and this must be always some Person in real Life;— whereas to produce WIT, there must be always two Objects arranged together, and either or both of these may be inanimate.
However, though HUMOUR and WIT are thus absolutely different in themselves, yet we frequently see them blended together.
Thus if any Foible of a Character in real Life is directly attacked, by pointing out the unexpected and ridiculous Affinity it bears to some inanimate Circumstances, this Foible is then ridiculed with WIT, from the Comparison which is made.—At the same time, as the whimsical Oddity of a Character in real Life is the Ground of the whole, there is also Humour contain'd in the Attack.
If instead of referring the Foible of a Person to any inanimate Circumstance, the Allusion had been made to any other ridiculous Person in real Life; As a conceited Fellow, perpetually recommending his own Whims, to a Quack-Doctor;—This Foible will then be ridiculed with HUMOUR; which is likewise the original Ground: At the same Time, from the Comparison which is made, there is apparently WIT in the Description.
So that where-ever the Foible of a Character in real Life is concern'd, there HUMOUR comes in; and wherever a sprightly unexpected Arrangement is presented of two similar, or opposite Subjects, whether animate or inanimate, there WIT is exhibited.
HUMOUR and WIT, as they may thus both be united in the same Subject, may also separately appear without the least Mixture together; that is, there may be HUMOUR without WIT, and WIT without HUMOUR.
Thus, if in order to expose the Foible of a Character, a real Person is introduc'd, abounding in this Foible, gravely persisting in it, and valuing himself upon the Merit of it, with great Self- sufficiency, and Disdain of others; this Foible is then solely ridiculed with HUMOUR.
Again, if a gay unexpected Allusion is made from one inanimate Object to another, or from one Person in real Life to another, without any Reference to their whimsical Oddities or Foibles; there WIT only appears.—Various Instances of which, independent of HUMOUR, have been already exhibited.
A Man of WIT is he, who is happy in elucidating any Subject, by a just and unexpected Arrangement and Comparison of it with another Subject.
It may be also proper to describe a Man of HUMOUR, and an HUMOURIST, which are very different Persons.
A Man of HUMOUR is one, who can happily exhibit a weak and ridiculous Character in real Life, either by assuming it himself, or representing another in it, so naturally, that the whimsical Oddities, and Foibles, of that Character, shall be palpably expos'd.
Whereas an HUMOURIST is a Person in real Life, obstinately attached to sensible peculiar Oddities of his own genuine Growth, which appear in his Temper and Conduct.
In short, a Man of Humour is one, who can happily exhibit and expose the Oddities and Foibles of an Humourist, or of other Characters.
The Features of an HUMOURIST being very remarkable and singular, seem justly to deserve an explicit Description. It is then to be observ'd, that an Humourist, at the same time that he is guided in his Manners and Actions by his own genuine original Fancy and Temper, disdains all Ostentation; excepting that alone of his Freedom and Independency, which he is forward of shewing upon every Occasion, without Ceremony; he is quite superior to the Affectation of a Virtue or Accomplishment, which he thinks does not belong to him; scorns all Imitation of others; and contemns the rest of the World for being servilely obedient to Forms and Customs; disclaiming all such Submission himself, and regulating his Conduct in general by his own Conviction,
The Humourist is forward upon many Occasions to deliver his Opinion, in a peremptory Manner, and before he is desir'd; but he gives it sincerely, unbiass'd by Fear or Regard, and then leaves it to the Persons concern'd to determine for themselves; For he is more pleas'd in the Bottom to find his Opinion slighted, and to see the Conduct of others agreeable to that System of Folly and Weakness, which he has established with himself, to be the Course of their Actions.—To view a rational Conduct, even in pursuance of his own Advice, would greatly disappoint him; and be a Contradiction to this System he has laid down;—Besides it would deprive him of an Occasion of gratifying his Spleen, with the Contempt of that Folly, which he esteems to be natural to the rest of Mankind; For he considers himself in the World, like a sober Person in the Company of Men, who are drunken or mad; He may advise them to be calm, and to avoid hurting themselves, but he does not expect they will regard his Advice; On the contrary, he is more pleas'd with observing their Freaks and Extravagancies.—It is from hence that he discourages and depreciates all who pretend to Discretion; Persons of this Temper not yielding him Sport or Diversion.
It is certain that the Humourist is excessively proud, and yet without knowing or suspecting it. For from the Liberty which he frankly allows to others, of rejecting his Opinion, he is fully persuaded, that he is free from all Pride; But tho' he acts in this Circumstance without over-bearing, it has already appear'd, not to be the Effect of his Humility, but of a different Motive; a Pleasure which he takes in observing the Extravagancies of others, rather than their Discretion. But to demonstrate his Pride, besides the peremptory Manner in which he delivers his Opinion, and conducts himself upon every Occasion, without any Deference to others, there is this Circumstance against him; that he is the most stung by a Defeat, upon any Topic, of all Men living; And although he disregards Accusations of Roughness and Oddity, and rather esteems them to be meritorious; yet he will never admit, that he has been fairly overthrown in a Debate.
It is odd to observe how the Humourist is affected by contemptuous Treatment. An Insult of this Sort, which justly excites the Resentment of others, terrifies him: It sets him upon suspecting himself, and upon doubting whether he be really that Person of superior Sense to the rest of the World, which he has long fancied. The Apprehension, that he actually deserves the Contempt which is put upon him, and that he is no more than one of the common Herd, almost distracts him; And instead of violently depreciating, or attacking again, the Person who has contemn'd him, he will incessantly court his Favour and good Opinion, as a Cordial he wants, though without seeming to do so. This is a very extraordinary Weakness, and such as the Humourist would be infinitely uneasy to find ever observ'd.
The Humourist, though he quickly espies, and contemns the Contradictions of others, is yet wilfully attach'd to several himself, which he will sometimes persue through a long Course of his own Mortification.—It may be often observ'd, that he will avoid the Company he likes, for fear they should think he needs their Support.— At the same time, if he happens to fall into Company, which he tallies not with, instead of avoiding this Company, he will continually haunt them: For he is anxious, lest any Imputation of a Defeat should stand out against him, and extremely sollicitous to wipe it away; Besides, he cannot endure it should be thought that he is driven from the Pit. —Thus, in the first Instance, his Pride shall persuade him to neglect the Company he likes; and shall force him, in the last, to follow the Company he hates and despises.
It is also observable that the Humourist, though he makes it his Point to regulate his Conduct only by his own Conviction, will sometimes run counter to it, merely from his Disdain of all Imitation. Thus he will persist in a wrong Course, which he knows to be such, and refuse his Compliance with an Amendment offer'd by others, rather than endure the Appearance of being an Imitator. This is a narrow Side of the Humourist; and whenever he is turn'd upon it, he feels great Uneasiness himself. It strikes a durable Pain into his Breast, like the constant gnawing of a Worm; and is one considerable Source of that Stream of Peevishnesss incident to Humourists.
Upon the same Principle of scorning all Imitation, the Humourist seldom heartily assents to any speculative Opinion, which is deliver'd by another; for he is above being inform'd or set right in his Judgment by any Person, even by a Brother Humourist. If two of this Cast happen to meet, instead of uniting together, they are afraid of each other; and you shall observe one, in order to court the good Opinion of the other, produce a Specimen of his own Perfection as an Humourist; by exhibiting some unusual Strain of sensible Oddity, or by unexpectedly biting a poor Insipid; which the other Humourist shall answer again in the same manner, in order to display his Talents.
These are the Foibles and narrow Whims of a perfect Humourist. But, on the other hand, he stands upon a very enlarged Basis; Is a Lover of Reason and Liberty; and scorns to flatter or betray; nor will he falsify his Principles, to court the Favour of the Great. He is not credulous, or fond of Religious or Philosophical Creeds or Creed- makers; But then he never offers himself to forge Articles of Faith for the rest of the World. Abounding in poignant and just Reflections; The Guardian of Freedom, and Scourge of such as do wrong. It is He checks the Frauds, and curbs the Usurpations of every Profession. The venal Biass of the assuming Judge, the cruel Pride of the starch'd Priest, the empty Froth of the florid Counsellor, the false Importance of the formal Man of Business, the specious Jargon of the grave Physician, and the creeping Taste of the trifling Connoisseur, are all bare to his Eye, and feel the Lash of his Censure; It is He that watches the daring Strides, and secret Mines of the ambitious Prince, and desperate Minister: He gives the Alarm, and prevents their Mischief. Others there are who have Sense and Foresight; but they are brib'd by Hopes or Fears, or bound by softer Ties; It is He only, the Humourist, that has the Courage and Honesty to cry out, unmov'd by personal Resentment: He flourishes only in a Land of Freedom, and when that ceases he dies too, the last and noblest Weed of the Soil of Liberty.
It is a palpable Absurdity to suppose a Person an Humourist, without excellent Sense and Abilities; as much as to suppose a Smith in his full Business, without his Hammers or Forge.—But the Humourist, as he advances in Years, is apt to grow intolerable to himself and the World; becoming at length, uneasy, and fatigued with the constant View of the same Follies; like a Person who is tir'd with seeing the same Tragi-Comedy continually acted. This sowres his Temper; And unless some favorable Incidents happen to mellow him, he resigns himself wholly to Peevishness.—By which Time he perceives that the World is quite tir'd of him.—After which he drags on the Remainder of his Life, in a State of War with the rest of Mankind.
The Humourist is constitutionally, and also from Reflection, a Man of Sincerity.—If he is a Rogue upon any Occasion, he is more wilfully one, and puts greater Violence upon himself in being such, than the rest of the World; And though he may generally seem to have little Benevolence, which is the common Objection against him, it is only for want of proper Objects; for no Person has certainly a quicker Feeling; And there are Instances frequent, of greater Generosity and humane Warmth flowing from an Humourist, than are capable of proceeding from a weak Insipid, who labours under a continual Flux of Civility.
Upon the whole, the Humourist is perhaps the least of all others, a despicable Character. But Imitations, which are frequently seen of this Character, are excessively despicable.—What can be more ridiculous, than a Wretch setting up for an Humourist, merely upon the Strength of disrelishing every Thing, without any Principle;—The Servants, Drawers, Victuals, Weather,—and growling without Poignancy of Sense, at every new Circumstance which appears, in public or private. A perfect and compleat Humourist is rarely to be found; and when you hear his Voice, is a different Creature.—In writing to Englishmen, who are generally tinged, deeply or slightly, with the Dye of the Humourist, it seem'd not improper to insist the longer upon this Character; However, let none be too fond of it; For though an Humourist with his Roughness is greatly to be preferr'd to a smooth Insipid, yet the Extremes of both are equally wretched: Ideots being only the lowest Scale of Insipids, as Madmen are no other than Humourists in Excess.
It may be proper to observe in this place, that though all Ostentation, Affectation, and Imitation are excluded from the Composition of a perfect Humourist; yet as they are the obvious Foibles of some Persons in Life, they may justly be made the Subject of Humour.
For HUMOUR extensively and fully understood, is any remarkable Oddity or Foible belonging to a Person in real Life; whether this Foible be constitutional, habitual, or only affected; whether partial in one or two Circumstances; or tinging the whole Temper and Conduct of the Person.
It has from hence been observ'd, that there is more HUMOUR in the English Comedies than in others; as we have more various odd Characters in real Life, than any other Nation, or perhaps than all other Nations together.
That HUMOUR gives more Delight, and leaves a more pleasurable Impression behind it, than WIT, is universally felt and established; Though the Reasons for this have not yet been assign'd.—I shall therefore beg Leave to submit the following.
1. HUMOUR is more interesting than WIT in general, as the Oddities and Foibles of Persons in real Life are more apt to affect our Passions, than any Oppositions or Relations between inanimate Objects.
2. HUMOUR is Nature, or what really appears in the Subject, without any Embellishments; WIT only a Stroke of Art, where the original Subject, being insufficient of itself, is garnished and deck'd with auxiliary Objects.
3. HUMOUR, or the Foible of a Character in real Life, is usually insisted upon for some Length of Time. From whence, and from the common Knowledge of the Character, it is universally felt and understood.—Whereas the Strokes of WIT are like sudden Flashes, vanishing in an Instant, and usually flying too fast to be sufficiently marked and pursued by the Audience.
4. HUMOUR, if the Representation of it be just, is compleat and perfect in its Kind, and entirely fair and unstrain'd.—Whereas in the Allusions of WIT, the Affinity is generally imperfect and defective in one Part or other; and even in those Points where the Affinity may be allow'd to subsist, some Nicety and Strain is usually requir'd to make it appear.
5. HUMOUR generally appears in such Foibles, as each of the Company thinks himself superior to.—Whereas WIT shews the Quickness and Abilities of the Person who discovers it, and places him superior to the rest of the Company.
6. Humour, in the Representation of the Foibles of Persons in real Life, frequently exhibits very generous benevolent Sentiments of the Heart; And these, tho' exerted in a particular odd Manner, justly command our Fondness and Love.—Whereas in the Allusions of WIT, Severity, Bitterness, and Satire, are frequently exhibited.—And where these are avoided, not worthy amiable Sentiments of the Heart, but quick unexpected Efforts of the Fancy, are presented.
7. The odd Adventures, and Embarrassments, which Persons in real Life are drawn into by their Foibles, are fit Subjects of Mirth. —Whereas in pure WIT, the Allusions are rather surprizing, than mirthful; and the Agreements or Contrasts which are started between Objects, without any relation to the Foibles of Persons in real Life, are more fit to be admired for their Happiness and Propriety, than to excite our Laughter.—Besides, WIT, in the frequent Repetition of it, tires the Imagination with its precipitate Sallies and Flights; and teizes the Judgment.—Whereas HUMOUR, in the Representation of it, puts no Fatigue upon the Imagination, and gives exquisite Pleasure to the Judgment.
These seem to me to be the different Powers and Effects of HUMOUR and WIT. However, the most agreeable Representations or Competitions of all others, appear not where they separately exist, but where they are united together in the same Fabric; where HUMOUR is the Ground- work and chief Substance, and WIT happily spread, quickens the whole with Embellishments.
This is the Excellency of the Character of Sir John Falstaff; the Ground-work is Humour, the Representation and Detection of a bragging and vaunting Coward in real Life; However, this alone would only have expos'd the Knight, as a meer Noll Bluff, to the Derision of the Company; And after they had once been gratify'd with his Chastisement, he would have sunk into Infamy, and become quite odious and intolerable: But here the inimitable Wit of Sir John comes in to his Support, and gives a new Rise and Lustre to his Character; For the sake of his Wit you forgive his Cowardice; or rather, are fond of his Cowardice for the Occasions it gives to his Wit. In short, the Humour furnishes a Subject and Spur to the Wit, and the Wit again supports and embellishes the Humour.
At the first Entrance of the Knight, your good Humour and Tendency to Mirth are irresistibly excited by his jolly Appearance and Corpulency; you feel and acknowledge him, to be the fittest Subject imaginable for yielding Diversion and Merriment; but when you see him immediately set up for Enterprize and Activity, with his evident Weight and Unweildiness, your Attention is all call'd forth, and you are eager to watch him to the End of his Adventures; Your Imagination pointing out with a full Scope his future Embarrassments. All the while as you accompany him forwards, he heightens your Relish for his future Disasters, by his happy Opinion of his own Sufficiency, and the gay Vaunts which he makes of his Talents and Accomplishments; so that at last when he falls into a Scrape, your Expectation is exquisitely gratify'd, and you have the full Pleasure of seeing all his trumpeted Honour laid in the Dust. When in the midst of his Misfortunes, instead of being utterly demolish'd and sunk, he rises again by the superior Force of his Wit, and begins a new Course with fresh Spirit and Alacrity; This excites you the more to renew the Chace, in full View of his second Defeat; out of which he recovers again, and triumphs with new Pretensions and Boastings. After this he immediately starts upon a third Race, and so on; continually detected and caught, and yet constantly extricating himself by his inimitable Wit and Invention; thus yielding a perpetual Round of Sport and Diversion.
Again, the genteel Quality of Sir John is of great Use in supporting his Character; It prevents his sinking too low after several of his Misfortunes; Besides, you allow him, in consequence of his Rank and Seniority, the Privilege to dictate, and take the Lead, and to rebuke others upon many Occasions; By this he is sav'd from appearing too nauseous and impudent. The good Sense which he possesses comes also to his Aid, and saves him from being despicable, by forcing your Esteem for his real Abilities.—Again, the Privilege you allow him of rebuking and checking others, when he assumes it with proper Firmness and Superiority, helps to settle anew, and compose his Character after an Embarrassment; And reduces in some measure the Spirit of the Company to a proper Level, before he sets out again upon a fresh Adventure;—without this, they would be kept continually strain'd, and wound up to the highest Pitch, without sufficient Relief and Diversity.
It may also deserve to be remark'd of Falstaff, that the Figure of his Person is admirably suited to the Turn of his Mind; so that there arises before you a perpetual Allusion from one to the other, which forms an incessant Series of Wit, whether they are in Contrast or Agreement together.—When he pretends to Activity, there is Wit in the Contrast between his Mind and his Person, —And Wit in their Agreement, when he triumphs in Jollity.
To compleat the whole,—you have in this Character of Falstaff, not only a free Course of Humour, supported and embellish'd with admirable Wit; but this Humour is of a Species the most jovial and gay in all Nature.—Sir Jobn Falstaff possesses Generosity, Chearfulness, Alacrity, Invention, Frolic and Fancy superior to all other Men;—The Figure of his Person is the Picture of Jollity, Mirth, and Good-nature, and banishes at once all other Ideas from your Breast; He is happy himself, and makes you happy.—If you examine him further, he has no Fierceness, Reserve, Malice or Peevishness lurking in his Heart; His Intentions are all pointed at innocent Riot and Merriment; Nor has the Knight any inveterate Design, except against Sack, and that too he loves.—If, besides this, he desires to pass for a Man of Activity and Valour, you can easily excuse so harmless a Foible, which yields you the highest Pleasure in its constant Detection.
If you put all these together, it is impossible to hate honest Jack Falstaff; If you observe them again, it is impossible to avoid loving him; He is the gay, the witty, the frolicksome, happy, and fat Jack Falstaff, the most delightful Swaggerer in all Nature.— You must love him for your own sake,—At the same time you cannot but love him for his own Talents; And when you have enjoy'd them, you cannot but love him in Gratitude;—He has nothing to disgust you, and every thing to give you Joy;—His Sense and his Foibles are equally directed to advance your Pleasure; And it is impossible to be tired or unhappy in his Company.