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look into the productions of feveral writers, who set up for men of humour, what wild irregular fancies, what natural distortions of thought, do we meet with? If they speak nonfenfe, they believe they are talking humour; and when they have drawn together a fcheme of abfurd inconfiftent ideas, they are not able to read it over to themselves without laughing. These poor gentlemen endeavour to gain themselves the reputation of wits and humourists, by fuch monstrous conceits as almost qualify them for Bedlam; not confidering that humour fhould always lie under the check of reason, and that it requires the direction of the niceft judgment, by fo much more as it indulges itfelf in the most boundless freedoms. There is a kind of nature that is to be observed in this fort of compofitions, as well as in all other; and a certain regularity of thought which must discover the writer to be a man of fenfe, at the fame time that he appears altogether given up to caprice. For my part, when I read the delirious mirth of an unfkilful author, I cannot be fo barbarous as to divert myself with it, but am rather apt to pity the man, than to laugh at any thing he writes.

The deceased Mr. Shadwell, who had himself a great deal of the talent which I am treating of, reprefents an empty rake, in one of his plays, as very much furprifed to hear one fay that breaking of windows was not humour; and I queftion not but feveral English readers will be as much startled to hear me affirm, that many of those raving incoherent pieces, which are often fpread among us, under odd chimerical titles, are rather the offsprings of a distempered brain, than works of humour.

It is indeed much easier to defcribe what is not humour, than what is; and very difficult to define it otherwife than, as Cowley has done wit, by negatives. Were I to give my own notions of it, I would deliver them after Plato's manner, in a kind of allegory, and by fuppofing humour to be a perfon, deduce to him all his qualifications, according the following genealogy. Truth was the founder of the family, and the father of Good Senfe. Good Senfe was the father of Wit, married a lady of a collateral line called Mirth, by whom he had iffue Humour. Humour therefore



being the youngest of this illuftrious family, and defcended from parents of fuch different difpofitions, is very various and unequal in his temper; fometimes you fee him putting on grave looks and a folemn habit, fometimes airy in his behaviour and fantastic in his dress; infomuch that at different times he appears as ferious as a judge, and as jocular as a Merry-Andrew. But as he has a great deal of the mother in his conftitution, whatever moon he is in, he never fails to make his company laugh.

But fince there is an impoftor abroad, who takes upon him the name of this young gentleman, and would willingly pass for him in the world; to the end that wellmeaning perfons may not be impofed upon by cheats, I would defire my readers, when they meet with this pretender, to look into his parentage, and to examine him ftrictly, whether or no he be remotely allied to Truth, and lineally defcended from Good Senfe; if not, they may conclude him a counterfeit. They may likewife diftinguish him by a loud and exceffive laughter, in which he feldom gets his company to join with him. For as True Humour generally looks ferious, while every body laughs about him; Falfe Humour is always laughing, whilft every body about him looks ferious. I fhall only add, if he has not in him a mixture of both parents, that is, if he would pafs for the offspring of Wit without Mirth, or Mirth without Wit, you may conclude him to be altogether spurious, and a cheat.

The impoftor of whom I am fpeaking, defcends originally from Falfhood, who was the mother of Nonfenfe, who was brought to bed of a fon called Frenzy, who married one of the daughters of Folly, commonly known by the name of Laughter, on whom he begot that monitrous infant of which I have been here fpeaking. I fhall fet down at length the genealogical table of Falfe Humour, and, at the fame time, place under it the genealogy of True Humour, that the reader may at one view behold their different pedigrees and relations.


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I might extend the allegory, by mentioning feveral of the children of Falfe Humour, who are more in number than the fands of the fea, and might in particular enumerate the many fons and daughters which he has begot in this ifland. But as this would be a very invidious tafk, I fhall only observe in general, that Falfe Humour differs from the True, as a monkey does from a man.

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

Secondly, He fo much delights in mimickry, that it is all one to him whether he expofes by it vice and folly, luxury and avarice; or on the contrary, virtue and wifdom, pain and poverty.

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

Fourthly, Being intirely void of reafon, he pursues no point either of morality or inftruction, but is ludicrous only for the fake of being fo.

Fifthly, Being incapable of any thing but mock-reprefentations, his ridicule is always perfonal, and aimed at the vicious man, or the writer; not at the vice, or at the writing.

I have here only pointed at the whole fpecies of falfe humourists; but as one of my principal defigns in this paper is to beat down that malignant fpirit, which difcovers itself in the writings of the prefent age, I shall not fcruple, for the future, to fingle out any of the fmall wits, that infeft the world with fuch compofitions as


are ill-natured, immoral, and abfurd. This is the only exception which I fhall make to the general rule I have prefcribed myself, of attacking Multitudes: fince every honeft man ought to look upon himfelf 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.

N° 36

Wednesday, April 11.

Immania monftra


VIRG. En. iii. 583.

Things the most out of nature we endure.

I not


to 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 play-houfe, with the minutes I have made upon the latter for my conduct in relation to them.

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Drury-Lane, April the 9th. UPON reading the project which is fet forth in one of your late papers, of making an alliance ⚫ between all the bulls, bears, elephants, and lions, which are feparately expofed to public view in the cities of London and Westminster; together with the other wonders, shows, and monsters, whereof you made refpective mention in the faid fpeculation; We, the chief actors of this play-houfe, mer and fat upon the faid defign. It is with great delight, that we expect the execution of this work; and in order to contribute to it, we have given warning to all our ghosts to get their livelihoods where they can, and not to appear among usb after day-break of the 16th inftant. We are re ⚫ folved to take this opportunity to part with every thing ⚫ which does not contribute to the reprefentation of ⚫ human life; and fhall make a free gift of all animated ⚫ utenfils to your projector. The hangings you formerly VOL. I.

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• mentioned are run away; as are likewise a set of chairs, each of which was met upon two legs going through the Rofe tavern at two this morning. We hope, Sir, you will give proper notice to the town that we are endeavouring at thefe regulations; and that we intend for the future to fhew no monfters, but men who are ⚫ converted into fuch by their own industry and affectation. If you will please to be at the house to-night, you will fee me do my endeavour to fhew fome unnatural appearances which are in vogue among the polite and well-bred. I am to reprefent, in the character of a fine lady dancing, all the distortions which are frequently taken for graces in mien and gesture. This, Sir, is a fpecimen of the method we fhall take to ex< pofe the monsters which come within the notice of a regular theatre; and we defire nothing more grofs may be admitted by you fpectators for the future. We have cafhiered three companies of theatrical guards, ⚫ and defign our kings fball for the future make love, and fit in council, without an army; and wait only your • directions whether you will have them reinforce King Porus, or join the troops of Macedon. Mr. Penkethman refolves to confult his Pantheon of heathen gods in oppofition to the oracle of Delphos, and doubts not but he fhall turn the fortunes of Porus, when he perfonates him. I am defired by the company to inform you, that they fubmit it to your cenfures; and shall have you in greater veneration than Hercules was in of old, if you can drive monsters from the theatre; and think your merit will be as much greater than his, as to convince is more than to conquer.

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I am, Sir,

• Your most obedient fervant,

'T. D.'

WHEN I acquaint you with the great and un

expected viciffitudes of my fortune, I doubt not but I fhall obtain your pity and favour. I have for many years last past been thunderer to the play-houfe; and have not only made as much noife out of the

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