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arctidant One cause codsabiedy was the real escience of their practicar, in the style which they had adopted. It was bopeless to tik of surpaseir them in that stie: and, recommeaded as it was, by the fearity of their executo:, it required some courage to depart from it, and to recar to arsther, which seemed to have been so lately abar.doned for its sake. The age which succeeded. too. was rist the age of courage or adventure. There never was, on the whole. a quieter time than the reignis cf the two first Georges. ard the greater part of that which ensued. There were two little provincial sebeiiions indeed. and a sair proportion of foreiga war: but there was nothing to stir the minds of the people at large. to rouse their pas. signs, or excite their imaginations – nothing like the agitations of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, or of the civil wars in the seventeenth. They went on, accordingly. minding their old business, and reading their old books, with great patience and stupidity. And certainly there never was so remarkable a dearth of original talent so long an interregnum of native genius – as during about sixty years in the middle of the last century. The dramatic art was dead fifty years before — and poetry seemed verging to a similar extinction. The few sparks that appeared, too, showed that the old fire was burnt out, and that the altar must hereafter be heaped with fuel of another quality. Gray, with the talents rather of a critic than a poet, with learning, fastidiousness, and scrupulous delicacy of taste, instead of fire, tenderness, or invention — began and ended a small school, which we could scarcely have wished to become permanent, admirable in many respects as some of its productions are — being far too elaborate and artificial, either for grace or for fluency, and fitter to excite the admiration of scholars, than the delight of ordinary men. However, he had the merit of not being in any degree French, and of restoring to our poetry the dignity of seriousness, and the tone at least of force and energy. The Whartons, both as critics and as poets, were of considerable service in discrediting the high pretensions of the former race, and in bringing back to public notice the great stores and treasures of poetry which lay hid in the records of our older literature. Akenside attempted a sort of classical and philosophical rapture, which no elegance of language could easily have rendered popular, but which had merits of no vulgar order for those who could study it. Goldsmith wrote with perfect elegance and beauty, in a style of mellow tenderness and elaborate simplicity. He had the harmony of Pope without his quaintness, and his selectness of diction without his coldness and eternal vivacity. And, last of all, came Cowper, with a style of complete originality, — and, for the first time, made it apparents to readers of all descriptions, that Pope and Addison were no longer to be the models of English poetry.
In philosophy and prose writing in general the case was nearly parallel. The name of Hume is by far the most considerable which occurs in the period to which we have alluded. But, though his
thinking was English, his style is entirely French; and being naturally of a cold fancy, there is nothing of that eloquence or richness about him which characterizes the writings of Taylor, and Hooker, and Bacon - and continues, with less weight of matter, to please in those of Cowley and Clarendon. Warburton had great powers; and wrote with more force and freedom than the wits to whom he succeeded but his faculties were perverted by a paltry love of paradox, and rendered useless to mankind by an unlucky choice of subjects, and the arrogance and dogmatism of his temper. Adam Smith was nearly the first who made deeper reasonings and more exact knowledge popular among us; and Junius and Johnson the first who again familiarized us with more glowing and sonorous diction - and made us feel the tameness and poorness of the serious style of Addison and Swift.
CHARLES LAMB. 1775-1834. (Manual, p. 470.)
334. FROM THE “DissertatION UPỌN Roast Pig.” Mankind, says a Chinese manuscript, which my friend M. was obliging enough to read and explain to me, for the first seventy thousand ages ate their meat raw, clawing or biting it from the living animal, just as they do in Abyssinia to this day. This period is noť obscurely hinted at by their great Confucius in the second chapter of his Mundane Mutations, where he designates a kind of golden age by the term Cho-fang, literally the Cooks' holiday. The manuscript goes on to say, that the art of roasting, or rather boiling (which I take to be the elder brother) was accidentally discovered in the manner following. The swine-herd, Ho-ti, having gone out into the woods one morning, as his manner was, to collect mast for his hogs, left his cottage in the care of his eldest son Bo-bo, a great lubberly boy, who being fond of playing with fire, as younkers of his age commonly are, let some sparks escape into a bundle of straw, which kindling quickly, spread the conflagration over every part of their poor mansion, till it was reduced to ashes. Together with the cottage (a sorry antediluvian make-shift of a building, you may think it), what was of much more importance, a fine litter of new-farrowed pigs, no less than nine in number, perished. China pigs have been esteemed a luxury all over the East from the remotest periods that we read of. Bo-bo was in the utmost consternation, as you may think, not so much for the sake of the tenement, which his father and he could easily build up again with a few dry branches, and the labor of an hour or two, at any time, as for the loss of the pigs. While he was thinking what he should say to his father, and wringing his hands over the smoking remnants of one of those untimely sufferers, an odor assailed his nostrils, unlike any scent which he had before experienced. What could it proceed from?- not from the burnt cottage
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"You grassless xhelp, what have you got there derouring? Is it most enough that you have burnt me down three houses with your dog's trucks, and be ha::ged to you, but you must be eatiаg fire, and I kWh met what - what have you got there, I say?"
**(), father, the pis, the pig, do come and taste how nice the burnt pis, cats,"
'The cars of llo-ti tingled with horror. He cursed his son. and he curned himself that ever he should beget a son that should eat burnt pig.
Bo-bo), whose scent was wonderfully sharpened since morning, soon raked out another pig, and fairly rending it asunder; thrust the lesser hall by main force into the fists of Ho-ti, still shouting out, “Eat, cat, cat the burnt pig, father, only taste – O Lord.” — with such like barbarous ejaculations, cramming all the while as if he would choke.
110-ti trembled every joint while he grasped the abominable thing, wavering whether he should not put his son to death for an unnatural young monster, when the crackling scorching his fingers, as it had done his son's, and applying the same remedy to them, he in his turn tasted some of its flavor, which, make what sour mouths he would for a pretence, proved not altogether displeasing to him. In conclusion (for the manuscript here is a little tedious) both father and son fairly
sat down to the mess, and never left off till they had despatched all that remained of the litter.
Bo-bo was strictly enjoined not to let the secret escape, for the neighbors would certainly have stoned them for a couple of abom• inable wretches, who could think of improving upon the good meat which God had sent them. Nevertheless, strange stories got about. It was observed that Ho-ti's cottage was burnt down now more frequently than ever. Nothing but fires from this time forward. Some would break out in broad day, others in the night-time. As often as the sow farrowed, so sure was the house of Ho-ti to be in a blaze; and Ho-ti himself, which was the more remarkable, instead of chastising his son, seemed to grow more indulgent to him than ever. At length they were watched, the terrible mystery discovered, and father and son summoned to take their trial at Pekin, then an inconsiderable assize town. Evidence was given, the obnoxious food itself produced in court, and verdict about to be pronounced, when the foreman of the jury begged that some of the burnt pig, of which the culprits stood accused, might be handed into the box. He handled it, and they all handled it, and burning their fingers, as Bo-bo and his father had done before them, and nature prompting to each of them the same remedy, against the face of all the facts, and the clearest charge which judge had ever given, — to the surprise of the whole court, townsfolk, strangers, reporters, and all present, — without leaving the box, or any manner of consultation whatever, they brought in a simultaneous verdict of Not Guilty.
The judge, who was a shrewd fellow, winked at the manifest iniquity of the decision; and, when the court was dismissed, went privily, and bought up all the pigs that could be had for love or money. In a few days his Lordship's town house was observed to be on fire. The thing took wing, and now there was nothing to be seen but fires in every direction. Fuel and pigs grew enormously dear all over the district. The insurance offices one and all shut up shop. People built slighter and slighter every day, until it was feared that the very science of architecture would in no long time be lost to the world. Thus this custom of firing houses continued, till in process of time, says my manuscript, a sage arose, like our Locke, who made a discovery, that the flesh of swine, or indeed of any other animal, might be cooked (burnt, as they called it) without the necessity of consuming a whole house to dress'it. Then first began the rude form of a gridiron. Roasting by the string, or spit, came in a century or two later, I forget in whose dynasty. By such slow degrees, concludes the manuscript, do the most useful, and seemingly the most obvious arts, make their way among mankind.
335. A QUAKER'S MEETING.
Seize our tongues, and strike us dumb.i Reader, wouldst thou know what true peace and quiet mean; wouldst thou find a refuge from the noises and clamors of the multitude; wouldst thou enjoy at once solitude and society; wouldst thou possess the depth of thy own spirit in stillness, without being shut out from the consolatory faces of thy species; wouldst thou be alone, and yet accompanied; solitary, yet not desolate; singular, yet not without some to keep thee in countenance; a unit in aggregate; a simple in composite? — come with me into a Quaker's Meeting.
Dost thou love silence deep as that “ before the winds were made?" go not out into the wilderness, descend not into the profundities of the earth; shut not up thy casements; nor pour wax into the little cells of thy ears, with little-faithed self-mistrusting Ulysses. — Retire with me into a Quaker's Meeting.
For a man to refrain even from good words, and to hold his peace, it is commendable; but for a multitude, it is great mastery.
What is the stillness of the desert, compared with this place? what the uncommunicating muteness of fishes? — here the goddess reigns and revels. -- “Boreas, and Cesias, and Argestes loud,” do not with their inter-confounding uproars more augment the brawl - nor the waves of the blown Baltic with their clubbed sounds — than their opposite (Silence her sacred self) is multiplied and rendered more intense by numbers, and by sympathy. She too hath her deeps, that call unto deeps. Negation itself hath a positive more and less; and closed eyes would seem to obscure the great obscurity of midnight.
There are wounds which an imperfect solitude cannot heal. By imperfect, I mean that which a man enjoyeth by himself. The perfect is that which he can sometimes attain in crowds, but nowhere so absolutely as in a Quaker's Meeting. — Those first hermits did certainly understand this principle when they retired into Egyptian solitudes, not singly, but in shoals, to enjoy one another's want of conversation. The Carthusian is bound to his brethren by this agreeing spirit of incommunicativeness. In secular occasions, what so pleasant as to be reading a book through a long winter evening, with a friend sitting by-say, a wife — he, or she, too (if that be probable), reading an
1 Fro "Poems of all Sorts," by Richard Fleckno, 1653.