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extravagant, I shall reprimand him very freely. If the stage becomes a nursery of folly and impertinence, I shall not be afraid to animadvert upon it. In short, if I meet with any thing in city, court, or country, that shocks modesty or good manners, I shall use my utmost endeavours to make an example of it. I must, however, entreat every particular person, who does me the honour to be a reader of this paper, never to think himself, or any one of his friends or enemies, aimed at in what is said ; for I promise him, never to draw a faulty character which does not fit at least a thousand people; or to publish a single paper, that is not written in the spirit of benevolence, and with a love of mankind.-C.

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N° 35. TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 1711.

Risu inepto res ineptior nulla est.–MART.

Nothing so foolish as the laugh of fools. AMONG all kinds of writing, there is none in which authors are more apt to miscarry than in works of humour, as there is none in which they are more ambitious to excel. It is not an imagination that teems with monsters, a head that is filled with extravagant conceptions, which is capable of furnishing the world with diversions of this nature; and yet if we look into the productions of several writers, who set up for men of humour, what wild irregular fancies, what unnatural distortions of thought do we meet with? If they speak nonsense, they be: lieve they are talking humour; and when they have drawn together a scheme of absurd, inconsistent ideas, they are not able to read it over to themselves

without laughing. These poor gentlemen endeavou to gain themselves the reputation of wits and hu morists, by such monstrous conceits as almost qua lify them for Bedlam; not considering that humou should always lie under the check of reason, an that it requires the direction of the nicest judgment by so much the more as it indulges itself in the mos boundless freedoms. There is a kind of nature tha is to be observed in this sort of compositions, as wel as in all other; and a certain regularity of though which must discover the writer to be a man of sense at the same time that he appears altogether give up to caprice. For my part, when I read the deli rious mirth of an unskilful author, I cannot be si barbarous as to divert myself with it, but am rathe apt to pity the man, than laugh at any thing he writes

The deceased Mr. Shadwell, who had himself : great deal of the talent which I am treating of, re presents an empty rake, in one of his plays, as very much surprised to hear one say, that breaking 0 windows was not humour; and I question not bu several English readers will be as much startled to hear me affirm, that many of those raving incoheren pieces, which are often spread among us, under ode chimerical titles, are rather the offsprings of a dis tempered brain, than works of humour.

It is indeed much easier to describe what is no humour, than what is; and very difficult to define i otherwise than as Cowley has done wit, by negatives Were I to give my own notions of it, I would delive them after Plato's manner, in a kind of allegory, ant by supposing Humour to be a person, deduce to hin all his qualifications, according to the following ge nealogy. 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 collateral line called Mirth, by whom he had issue Humour, Hu

mour therefore being the youngest of this illustrious family, and descended from parents of such different dispositions, is very various and unequal in his temper; sometimes you see him putting on grave looks and a solemn habit, sometimes airy in his behaviour and fantastic in his dress; insomuch that at different times he appears as serious as a judge, and as jocular as a merry-andrew. But as he has a great deal of the mother in his constitution, whatever mood he is in, he never fails to make his company laugh.

But since there is an impostor abroad, who takes upon him the name of this young gentleman, and would willingly pass for him in the world; to the end that well-meaning persons may not be imposed upon by cheats, I would desire my readers, when they meet with this pretender, to look into his parentage, and to examine him strictly, whether or no he be remotely allied to Truth, and lineally descended from Good Sense; if not, they may conclude him a counterfeit. They may likewise distinguish him by a loud and excessive laughter, in which he seldom gets his company to join with him. For as True Humour generally looks serious, while every body laughs about him; False Humour is always laughing, whilst every body about him looks serious. I shall only add, if he has not in him a mixture of both parents, that is, if he would pass for the offspring of Wit without Mirth, or Mirth without Wit, you may conclude him to be altogether spurious and a cheat.

The impostor of whom I am speaking, descends originally from Falsehood, who was the mother of Nonsense, who was brought to bed of a son called Frenzy, who married one of the daughters of Folly, commonly known by the name of Laughter, on whom he begot that monstrous infant of which I have here been speaking. I shall set down at length

the genealogical table of False Humour, and, at th same time, place under it the genealogy of Tru Humour, that the reader may at one view behol their different pedigrees and relations:

Falsehood.

Nonsense.
Frenzy.-Laughter.
False humour.

Truth.
Good Sense.
Wit.—Mirth.

Humour. I might extend the allegory, by mentioning several of the children of False Humour, who are more in number than the sands of the sea, and might in particular enumerate the many sons and daughters which he has begot in this island. But as this would be a very invidious task, I shall only observe in general, that False Humour differs from the True, as a monkey does from a man.

First of all, He is exceedingly given to little apish tricks and buffooneries.

Secondly, He so much delights in mimicry, that it is all one to him whether he exposes by it vice and folly, luxury and avarice; or, on the contrary, virtue and wisdom, pain and poverty.

Thirdly, He is wonderfully unlucky, insomuch that he will bite the hand that feeds him, and endeavour to ridicule both friends and foes indifferently. For having but small talents, he must be merry where he can, not where he should.

Fourthly, Being entirely void of reason, he pursues no point either of morality or instruction, but is ludicrous only for the sake of being so.

Fifthly, Being incapable of any thing but mock representations, his ridicule is always personal, and

aimed at the vicious man or the writer; not at the vice, or the writing.

I have here only pointed at the whole species of false humorists; but as one of my principal designs in this paper is to beat down that malignant spirit, which discovers itself in the writings of the present age, I shall not scruple, for the future, to single out any of the small wits, that infest the world with such compositions as are ill-natured, immoral, and absurd. This is the only exception which I shall make to the general rule I have prescribed myself, of attacking multitudes, since every honest man ought to look upon himself as in a natural state of war with the libeller and lampooner, and to annoy them wherever they fall in his way. This is but retaliating upon them, and treating them as they treat others,

C.

N°36. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 1711.

Immania monstra
Perferimus

VIRG. Æn. iii. 583, Things the most out of nature we endure. I shall not put myself to any farther pains for this day's entertainment, than barely to publish the letters and titles of petitions from the playhouse, with the minutes I have made upon the latter for my conduct in relation to them.

Drury-lane, April the 9th. Upon reading the project which is set forth in one of your late papers, of making an alliance between all the bulls, bears, elephants, and lions, which are separately exposed to public view in the cities of

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