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A new SYSTEM of CASTLE-BUILDING,
CHAP. V. Containing a mighty pretty preamble, after which the subject is
continued from Chap. iv. and it is further shewn, that those who encourage learning the least are in fact the greatest MÆCENAS's.
Few days ago as I was sitting in my bookseller's shop,
a gentleman in a black coat, tye-wig, and long sword, came in to ask for the SUPPLEMENT to the STUDENT, which, when it was delivered into his hands, he survey'd with great deliberation, and feem'd to fummon all the meaning he was master of into his countenance at once. He turn'd over the pages gradually-humming somewhat to the following effect “ Wit and Beauty an Allegory-hum" this GRANTICOLA is a good pretty fellow—This gentle
man who writes in defence of Religion is doubtless a “ person of great learning and piety-STIGAND's oration 6 is an animated thing—A comical dog, I warrant you, « this John Jones the cordwainer”-_-_And so he went on, delivering his sentiments in favour of every piece, till he came to the chapter on Castle-BUILDING, when giving a great hawk, as if something lay heavy on his stomach, “ In the name of all that's horrible (cries he) what madman 66 is the author of this incoherent stuff—a medly of words, « without beginning, ending, top or bottom ; a chaos of “ absurdity and confusion.' -There, says I, interrupting him, (for I began to be a little nettled at the freedom with which he was pleased to express himself) There is the beauty of the thing; for the very nature of the subject excludes all order and method, and not to be absurd in a system of CASTLE-BUILDING would be of all absurdities the greatest. So I shall make bold, in spite of all the tye-wigs and swords in the three kingdoms, to be as incoherent,
absurd, and nonsensical, as shall seem good to me at the time of writing, and I don't doubt but I shall be kept in countenance by a vast majority, who will be in the same situation at the time of reading.
Having now made my preamble, I shall resume the thread of my discourse from chapter iv. and proceed to demonstrate the truth of this paradox, viz. that those who encourage learning least are actually the greatest MÆCENAS's.In order to prove this paradox, extra omnem dubitationis aleam, that is Anglicè, beyond all chance of doubting, I shall advance another; which is, that there are some things in nature so exceeding OBVIOUS that they never occur. Let no man deny this, who cannot see his own nose on his own face; and let no man deny the other, who can credit his own experi
_There are now in this kingdom a set of as clever men in the poetical way, nay I may venture to say more fo than there ever were at any given time together. The FIELDING's, the Johnson's, the AKINSIDE's, the ARMSTRONG's, the Collins's, the WARTON's, the SMALLET's, the Mason's, the LowThe's, the Browns, and not a few concern'd in the STUDENT, with a great many more of that strain, are living testimonies to the truth of my affertion.---This can possibly be attributed to no other cause than the contempt and derision the sciences are held in by most of the people of distinction. The patriot Mufes have been banished the C—rt ever since the auspicious days of the ever-blessed Queen Anne, and being kick'd out of all good company, and forced into their original woods and groves, tasy fing with the same native wildness and unrestrained via vacity as they did in the other golden age. It is manifest therefore, that a titled blockhead is a very good negative MÆCENAS; and while he's at the gaming-table, the bawdyhouse, New-Market, or BROUGHTon's amphitheatre, by encouraging scoundrels and drivelers, he sets clever men to work, and makes the ingenious flourish, by distressing them into diligence.
S men of learning and merit, in necessitous circumstans
ces, are too frequently oppressed by many of the book sellers in our great metropolis ; our good-natur'd readers will not be displeased to see that barbarous and Gothic practice, which contributes so much to the decay of literature, expos'd in the following genuine letter.
To the S T U D E N T.
Dear Mr. STUDENT,
world, you must undoubtedly be a gentleman of experience and judgment; and, by the sentiments convey'd in your pieces, you seemn also to be a man of virtue and humanity. If the latter be found in your breaft, I doubt not but you
will commiícrate my unhappy situation, when I tell you that, tro' a scholar, and master of many languages, I am under the dominion of an imperious bookseller, and obliged to accept of terms that really carry with them an indignity to the profession. I have been these eight days without a penny in my pocket, and my bookseller, knowing my case, has taken this opportunity to beat me down in my price, and deprive me of that poor stipend I had to fubfift on, as you will perceive by the following ungenerous letter.
To Mr. R * * * SIR,
And and you have been dealers a great while, but I
think after all you don't use me well. You have all along charged me fix-pence for a poem of two hundred lines " for my Magazine, and Mr. GINGLE, who does another “ Magazine, charges no more than a groat; so that if you « don't abate in your prices I must look out for another
r; « and I need not look far, for there is a gentleman men« tion'd to me by Mr. Scan, who is a guge, and says he
wrote an Oade on Sadness that made him laugh; and I am « sure if he could make a man laugh on sadness, he might “ make a man kill himself with laughing on any other “ object. Besides you have all the faving ways, for in some “ of your Oades, as you call them, many of the lines are “ not half so long as othurs, and yet you charge all at “ the same price. Pray let me have all long lines for the “ future. And Mr. Scan says Epic Poems are better than “ those I have had. Pray write me one for the Magazine, " and send it by the bearer, for which he will pay you
seven pence, for I would have it a good one, and fend a « receipt by him for the money.
I am, your injured friend,
"P.S. Latin poems I am told are cheaper than others. “ What do you ax for one that will make a page ? I w would have it like those in the STUDENT. The « STUDENT sells fix times the number of our Magazine, " and I am told 'tis because they have more wit and more “ learning.”
You see how I am treated.--Now, Mr. STUDENT, the favour I must beg leave to ask of you is, either to employ me your felf, or recommend me to some honest bookseller of your acquaintance. I can translate either from the living or dead languages; and can write history, novels, politics, or poetry. Methinks a new translation of Homer might be undertaken with success. Your friendfhip herein will oblige,
To the STUDIENT or the Oxbridge and Cam
bridge Monthly Miss Sallany. Mr. STUDIENT, SIR, Think it apeifh and foolish and ridiculous and filly in you
that are a schollard to set your wit agin a hoop petticoat and to put thoughts into the mens heads which they should not have Sure what business have you with it but every monkey will be meddling If you'd mind your Omars and your Oraces and your Novids and your Newclids 'twould be more betterer And learn to make farmonds and not spend your fathers money for nothing about such monkey tricks You may be ashamed of yourself you may so And if I had the correcting of you I'd learn you more wit and more manners I dont suppose there is any fuch man as the cordwainer or any such trade but if there be he's a fool
And so I am your humble servant,
HE following letter, which was never yet published,
may be considered as an addition * to Mr. Wood's history of the Oxford writers, and therefore cannot prove unacceptable to the curious. But none of our readers will expect an apology for inserting in this collection any of the remains of that great and good man Archbishop LAUD, whose memory will ever be held in the highest esteem and veneration by all friends to useful literature and true religi
It will therefore only be necessary to observe farther at present, that the original is still preserved amongst Bishop Tanner's MSS. now in the possession of the University of Oxford.
* Athen. Oxon. Vol. II. pag. 409. Lond. 1721.