Images de page

fitting together at the corner of a wood. Keeper, not much liking their looks, though by no means fearing them, was turning another way, when they called after him, and civilly defired him to ftay. "Surely, Sir, fays Reynard, you will not disown your relations. My coufin Gaunt and I were juft talking over family matters, and we have both agreed, that we have the honour of reckoning you among our kin. You must know, that according to the beft accounts, the wolves and dogs were originally one race. As to my ancestors, the foxes, they were a branch of the fame family, who fettled farther northwards, where they became ftinted in their growth, and adopted the custom of living in holes. The cold has fharpened our nofes, but we have all a family likeness, which it is impoffible to mistake: and I am fure it is our intereft to be good friends with each other."

The Wolf was of the fame opinion; and Keeper, looking narrowly at them, could not belp acknowledging their relationship. As he had a generous heart, be readily entered into friendship with them, and gave bis coufins a cordial invitation to come and fee him at his yard. They did not fail to be with him the next day about dusk. Keeper received them kindly: they staid with him till after dark, and then departed with many compliments. The next morning

word was brought to the farm, that a goofe and three goflins were miffing, and that a couple of lambs were found almost devoured in the home field. Keeper was too boneft bimfelf readily to fufpect others, therefore he never thought of his kinfmen on the occafion. Soon after they paid him a second evening vifit, and next day another lofs appeared, of a hen and her chickens, and a fat fheep. Keeper now could not belp mistrusting a little, and blamed himself. for admitting the ftrangers, However, be still did not love to think ill of his own relations.

They came a third time: Keeper received them rather coldly. When they took their leaves, he refolved to follow at some distance, and watch their motions. A litter of young pigs happened to be lying under a hay ftack without the yard. The Wolf feized one by the back, and ran off with it. The pig fet up a moft difmal fqueal, and Keeper, running up at the noise, caught his dear confin in the fact. He flew at him. and made him relinquish bis prey, though not without much fnarling and growling. The Fox, who had been flily prowling about the hen-rooft, now came up, and began to make proteftations of his own innocence, with beavy reproaches against the Wolf for thus difgracing the family. Begone, Scoundrels both! cried Keeper. I know you now too well. You may be of MY BLOOD, but I am fure you are not of


[ocr errors]

So far Dr. Aikin, in ufum ftudiofæ juventutis. The picture is a lively one, but not overcharged, fince even in many refpects it will bear higher colouring. The Doctor, for instance, might have informed his young friends, that once upon a time, the wolves and foxes agreed to ftorm the farm-yard, In confequence of this league, they did attack it; and Keeper's mafter, hurrying to the affiftance of his brave and faithful dog, actually bad his bead torn off from his houlders. His fon would have fhared the fame fate, had he not alertly climbed an oak, and hid himself among its leaves. All the feryants were put to flight: Keeper himself was obliged to take to his heels, and the hungry banditti were left to pillage the ftalls, the fties, the dovehoufe, and the hen-rooft, at their leifure, One night they had the audacity to attack even the parfonage, in hopes of a tythe-pig or two. After they had devoured thefe, they worried the tythe-lambs about the church-yard till they had made fure of them all. They then entered the Church, tore the


furplice to pieces, broke all the beautiful painted windows, ftripped off the brafs from the monuments, bit and mutilated them; and having a mortal averfion to the found of an organ-pipe, compleatly dismantled what, in their language, they were pleased to ftile the abominable organs, They even dared to howl and bark in the pulpit itself, in derifion of the parfon; and did every thing they could think of which was filthy and indecent, in order to profane what they called his feeple-boufe. The worthy minifter and his family were obliged to fly from the parfonage to fave their lives. All his tythes were ftolen from him, and swallowed by thefe ravenous mifcreants. It was even many years before it was fafe for him to return to his living; and that event would never have happened, had not his young mafter again got poffeffion of the farm-yard, and by the help of Keeper, and a number of villagers, armed with pikes and guns, forced the wolves and foxes again into the woods.

If after all these fhameful ravages, a lock was put on the yard gate to keep out these hungray vifitors, with their fharp nofes and lank paunches-if the fence was heightened-if pit-falls were dug in proper fituations—if all the dogs in the yard were required to wear collars, and every one who would not conform to this wife regulation was ordered to be turned out of it, that there might be a means of diftinguithing for ever the family of Keeper from the family of his hypocritical relations; I say, if all these falutary curbs and restrictions were impofed with. fo much propriety, with what juftice can they be deemed ARBITRARY impediments? ARBITRARY TESTS and QUALIFICATIONS? Woe be to poor Keeper, if ever, in the honeft compaffion of his heart, he relaxes from his rules. He is a kind animal, Mr. Editor, but notwithstanding the piteous lamentations of his difappointed coufins, I am of opinion that he ought to be encouraged not to liften to their petitions and complaints. This is more especially to be advised at the prefent moment, becaufe fufpicions have been entertained of the fidelity of Mrs. Keeper. It is thought that, in one of thofe vifits to the farm-yard, which Dr. Aikin has fo pathetically defcribed, the fly Mr. Gaunt committed adultery. True it certainly is, that a litter of puppies foon after made their appearance, which have more of the fimilitude of Gaunt than of Keeper. Thefe fpurious bantlings are at length grown up, and it is curious to obferve their actions. They wear the collar, it is true, but their behaviour is not Keepe rian. Sometimes they are to be feen bowling extempore to the pigs and chicken, with a fleece thrown over their fhoulders like a furplice. They affect prodigious esteem for all the inhabitants of the yard, and even whif per that Keeper has not half fo much regard for them as they have. They infinuate that he gives them bad advice; that he cares for nothing but his bone; that he is grown old and ufelefs, and that no one can lead them in fafety but themselves. In short, they do not fcruple to preach, that he is an old dotard, and that it is time for him to be put out of the way. These wolfish notions they endeavour to propagate more effectually by becoming itinerant. They travel from one farmer's flock to another's, with the mot flaming zeal; and in their vaft eagerness to regenerate them all, forget that the only bufinefs which can be called peculiarly their own, is to fave the flock of their master. Such being the ftate of the farm-yard, this is certainly not a time to relax and grant indulgences. On the contrary, there are too many indulgences already granted, and it is time for Keeper to look about him. Let him watch his opportunity, twift off the collars from the necks of thofe mongril relations, and when they next begin their perambulations, lock the gate of the yard, and fhut them out with wolves and foxes,


To drop the fable and be ferious. Since times are arrived in which li centioufness of fentiment is exceffive, and in which it is neceffary to arm the ftate with awful powers by the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, let our wife Legiflature confider, whether it be not neceffary to ftrengthen the Established Church alfo, by giving a fimilar check to the indulgences of the Toleration Act. I do not wish for its fufpenfion, Mr. Editor, but it certainly fhould be amended: and perhaps it would be judicious were it only a temporary act, renewable from time to time. It is not right that one party thould be compelled to exercise liberality and moderation, while the other is at liberty to act as it pleases. Ceffation of good behaviour in an adverfary, is always fufficient reafon for the refusal of favours. If, therefore, Diffenters fcruple not to use that ponderous machine, the prefs, as a lever to hoift us out of our places, as a petard to blow us up to the moon, I fee no reason why we are to fit ftill with our hands tied, because we once fuffered them to be tied in proof of our pacific difpofition. If Prefbyterians are founwife as to be always affaffinating in their journals, the learning, the tafte, and good character of churchmen, while they fupport the meanest of their own fect with unbounded adulation; if they ftrive to undermine our hierarchy, and to recommend republicanism in religion as well as in politics, let the Church be furnished with power to refift and to fubdue their malevolent attempts. And if Scotchmen, (I do not affirm, though I strongly fufpect, that Dr. Aikin is one) in the hunger of ambition, leave their homes, and come down into the south, for the malicious purpose of joining with the Diffenters of our kingdom, in reviling and fapping the Church and Govern ment, let them be conducted back to those moors and moffes which Dr. Anderfon found fo unproductive; and remember, that they have no right to preach John Knox the prophet, John Major, or John Calvin, on this fide of the Tweed. A Frenchman, who thould attempt to propagate bis notions of Chriftianity, or even an Irishman, who should spout off his politics and his faith in this island, would not fail to be difmiffed with some speed from these regions of better fenfe. Why then is the Scotchman fuffered to pefter us with his recommendations of theft and facrilege? Shall we rob our Church because he robbed his? Let us rather remember, that the Church of England is the leaft worth pillaging of any Church in Chriftendom, (except the Church of Scotland) and the moft worthy of being preferved.

To our young folks, therefore, Mr. Editor, who read Dr. Aikin, let us give the fame cautionary advice as we should extend to the works of Priestley, admire the philofopher, but beware of his religion and of his politics.


Profeffor Porfon-Gilbert Wakefield.



HE Critical Reviewers having at length finished their learned and hu

collection of elegant extracts from that admirable performance. Such a conftellation of beauties is to be found in no critical treatise, ancient or modern, of equal dimentions. With your permiffion, I fhall give to my fafciculus the title of LIBERALITY AND CANDOUR. By a Society of Gentlemen.

Crit. Rev. for Nov. 1800.

1. The Profeffor'sdecifions are always peremptory, but frequently dogma. tal: his illuftrations and obfervations, in general, are referved, unorna


mental, and concife; unless when he occafionally expatiates in a fuperfluity of words to flaggellate an antagonist, or banter a fellow-labourer lefs gifted than himfelf; he is then farcaftical, indeed illiberal, to an extent which cannot fail to excite aftonishment,' &c. P. 242.


After all, this may be no more than a piece of refined joculariting the Profeffor, to entrap the uninitiated in the mysteries of his witticisms.

P. 244.

3. We have ventured on these hesitations at the Profeffor's mandates with fear and trembling. The Profeffor himself, and his 'Squire, the critic militant, have infcribed over the critical throne, in characters that flash intimi dation in the eyes of all who prefume to controvert their fupremacy,

Ουκ αγαθον, &c.

and, frightful to think and formidable to relate! this fceptre is exercised in the ftyle of true claffical antiquity on every prefumptuous opponent.


Σκηπτρα ταχ' αρα συν καθαίμαξω ΚΑΡΑ.

P. 245.

• At v. 448, the Profeffor has excogitated an alteration of a nature so fubtle and recondite, as would alone fuffice to carry down his fame with unrivalled glory to pofterity. Other editions have, with most lamentable and fatal incorrectness, &c. He fubftitutes, with incomparable acuteness and moft edifying restoration, &c. But we wrong the reader, whilst we prevent our learned critic from communicating the difcovery in his own words, Mutavi accentum, &c. In the mean time, we are reminded of fome lines in Butler, For he a rope of fand could twist

As tough as learned Sorbonift;
And weave fine cobwebs, fit for skull

That's empty when the moon is full. P. 248.

5. Poffibly the Profeffor looks for his remedy in thofe little conjurers, the magic tribe of curve and circle, and inclined plane, which he places above his words; whofe prodigious atchievements we have commemorated with due repet at v. 448. [that is, in the preceding paffage.'] P. 249.

Crit. Rev. for Jan. 1801.

6. When the Profeffor, with artful anticipation, gravely informs his readers that the authority of MSS. is none in this cafe, he not only exhibits a degree of affurance which is truly unpardonable, but, &ć.

P. 3.

7.The Profeffor's remarks on the doubtful fyllables of, &c. and the like, is the difingenuous remark of one who has refolved, at all events, to support a preconceived opinion.' . 5.

8. What a ftorm is the Profeffor raising in a bucket! Ibid.

9. A mifconception of fuch a clear unembarraffed expreffion of the poet's meaning were inexcufable even in a boy of tolerable proficiency in school discipline. P. 6.

fo. On this point many beauties might be produced from the poets of both languages: but our reward for illustrations would be nothing less than the nick-name of hot-headed prattlers from our felf-fufficient editor?

R. 7.


The Profeffor is in general very fparing of his words: but where an unfortunately dull or ridiculously vain brother in criticifm can be roafted to advantage, he grudges no fuperfluity of language in letting loose his farcaftical wit on the fraternity. . 8.


• We

12. We cannot but confefs our aftonishment at fuch contemptible tra; fuch waste of time and paper, without one glimmering of genuine bumour, one ray of useful information. Such a difpofition to contemptuous fneering would be dearly purchafed of our Profeffor by his ftudious youth at the price of half his critical accomplishments.' Ibid.

13. Qua infani effet folicitare. Porfon. Thus every man, we fee, who is not fortunate enough to coincide with our learned editor in opinion, is reprobated as an arrant bedlamite, fit only for Dr. Willis and a ftrait waistcoat.

He denounces them in the words of Horace

interdicto huic omne adimat jus

Prætor, et ad fanos abeat tutela propinquos.

But what greater arrogance can be conceived than fuch unsubstantiated cenfures, fuch laconic decifions, without a fingle example to authorife his dogmatifm.' P. 9.

Crit. Rev. for Feb. 1801.

14. Instead of goow the Harleian MS. has gov: a variation which our editor, not claffible among the calidiores, but, with a flight alteration, among the callidiores, the more knowing ones, most disdainfully and sneeringly rejects.' P. 138.

15. No man will confidently affirm, except the Profeffor himself, and perhaps one or two of fimilar pertinacity, the fuperiority of go to *ξεισσων. P. 139.


16. Hence the fourth fragment of the Phoenix must be vindicated from the rash and tastelefs alteration of Mufgrave, whom, perhaps, the Profeffor will defend when he arrives at that paffage, and fhow himself warm as well as cunning, by a multitude of fage remarks and appofite corroborations; or rather by fome defpicable fneer at those who differ from him in opinion.' Ibid.

17. 'Gentle reader! if thou think the fubject worthy of further inveftigation, thou wilt find the motives to our editor's conduct in the following plain ftatement of the cafe. Mr. Wakefield, in his Silva Critica, had approved and recommended fome years ago this reading of goσov, from a collation of that felf-fame Harleian MS. and THEREFORE it fuited the μyanroga Supov of our Profeffor to reprobate and decide this elegant variation; which he has reprobated and decided accordingly for no other reason whatsoever: thus ridiculously exhibiting, we truft, a moit notable fulfilment of a maxim in old Hefiod:-

[ocr errors]

ท δε κακη βουλη βουλενσαντι κακιστη. P. 140.

18. This developement of the metaphor appears to us fo fupremely ridi culous as to deferve no notice, but a retort of that wit,

If wit it may be called where wit is none, which our Profeffor deals out to others with fuch lavish jocularity.' P. 144. Such, Mr. Editor, to use the words of this elegant writer, is the manner, in which "we Critical Reviewers bandy about these subjects, in our combination garret in Grub-street, over a pot of Whitbread's entire." Obfervations like these are worthy of fuch men, collected in fuch a place, and befuddled with fuch beverage. To my olfactory nerves, however, they fmell moft rankly of a lefs honourable origin. They favour potently, of nothing attic, but of durance vile, When I read number 17, and the emphatical


« PrécédentContinuer »