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" come in his way, and which would have cost “ him but the bare trouble of transcribing.”
To fill up a work with these scraps may, indeed, be considered as a downright cheat on the learned world, who are by such means imposed upon to buy a second time, in fragments and by retail, what they have already in gross, if not in their memories, upon their shelves; and it is still more cruel upon the illiterate, who are drawn into pay for what is of no manner of use to them. A writer who intermixes great quantity of Greek and Latin with his works, deals by the ladies and fine gentlemen in the same paltry manner with which they are treated by the auctioneers, who often endeavour so to confound and mix up their lots, that, in order to purchase the commodity you want, you are obliged at the same time to purchase that which will do you noʻservice.
And yet as there is no conduct so fair and disinterested but that it may be inisunderstood by ignorance, and misrepresented by malice, I have been sometimes tempted to preserve my own reputation at the expense of my reader, and to transcribe the original, or at least to quote chapter and verse, whenever I have made use either of the thought or expression of another, I am, indeed, in some doubt that I have often suffered by the contrary method; and that, by suppressing the original Author's name, I have been rather suspected of plagiarism, than reputed to act from the amiable motive above assigned by that justly celebrated Frenchman.
Now, to obviate all such imputations for the future, I do here confess and justify the fact. The ancients may be considered as a rich common, where every person, who hath the smallest tenement in Parnassus, hath a free right to fatten his muse. Or, to place it in a clearer light, we moderns are to the ancients what the poor are to the rich. By the poor here I mean, that large and
venerable body which, in English, we call the mob. Now, whoever hath had the honour to be admitted to any degree of intimacy with this mob, must well know that it is one of their established maxims, to plunder and pillage their rich neighbours without any reluctance; and that this is held to be neither sin nor shame among them. And so constantly do they abide and act by this maxim, that, in every parish almost in the kingdom, there is a kind of confederacy ever carrying on against a certain person of opulence called the squire, whose property is considered as free-booty by all his poor neighbours; who, as they conclude that there is no manner of guilt in such depredations, look upon it as a point of honour and moral obligation to conceal, and to preserve each other from punislıment on all such occasions.
In like manner are the ancients, such as Homer, Virgil, Horace, Cicero, and the rest, to be esteemed among us writers, as so many wealthy *squires, from whom we, the poor of Parnassus, claim an immemorial custom of taking whatever we can come at. This liberty I demand, and this I am as ready to allow again to my poor neighbours in their turn. All I profess, and all I require of my brethren, is to maintain the same strict honesty among ourselves, which the mob shew to one another. To steal from one another, is indeed highly criminal and indecent; for this may
be strictly styled defrauding the poor (sometimes perhaps those who are poorer than ourselves), or, to see it under the most opprobrious colours, robbing the spital.
Since, therefore, upon the strictest examination, my own conscience cannot lay any such pitiful theft to my charge, I am contented to plead guilty to the former accusation ; nor shall I ever scruple to take to myself any passage which I shall find in an ancient Author to my purpose, without setting down the name of the Author from wlience it was
taken. Nay, I absolutely claim a property in all such sentiments the moment they are transcribed into my writings, and I expect all readers henceforwards to regard them as purely and entirely my
This claim, however, I desire to be allowed me only on condition, that I preserve strict honesty towards my poor brethren, from whom, if ever I borrow any of that little of which they are possessed, I shall never fail to put their mark upon it, that it may be at all times ready to be restored to the right owner.
The omission of this was highly blameable in one Mr. Moore, who having formerly borrowed some lines of Pope and company, took the liberty to transcribe six of them into his play of the Rival Modes. Mr. Pope, however, very luckily found them in the said play, and laying violent hands on his own property, transferred it back again into his own works; and for a further punishment, imprisoned the said Moore in the loathsome dungeon of the Dunciad, where his unhappy memory now remains, and eternally will remain, as a proper puuishment for such his unjust dealings in the poetical trade.
CHAP. II. In which, though the 'Squire doth not find his Daughter, something is found which puts an
end to his Pursuit. THE history now returns to the inn at Upton, whence we shall first trace the footsteps of 'squire Western; for as he will soon arrive at an end of his journey, we shall have then full leisure to attend our hero.
The reader may be pleased to remember, that the said 'squire departed from the inn in great fury, and in that fury he pursued his daughter. The hostler having informed him that she had crossed the Severn, he likewise passed that river with his equipage, and rode full speed, vowing the utmost vengeance against poor Sophia, if he should but overtake her.
He had not gone far, before he arrived at a crossway. Here he called a short council of war, in which, after hearing different opinions, he at last gave the direction of his pursuit to fortune, and struck directly into the Worcester road.
In this road he proceeded about two miles, when he began to bemoan himself most bitterly, frequently crying out, “What pity is it! Sure never
was so unlucky a dog as myself!' And then burst forth a volley of oaths and execrations.
The parson attempted to administer comfort to him on this occasion. Sorrow not, Sir,' says he, like those without hope. Howbeit we have not yet been able to overtake young Madam, we may account it some good fortune, that we have hi' therto traced her course aright. Peradventure
she will soon be fatigated with her journey, and ' will tarry in some inn, in order to renovate her 'corporeal functions; and in that case, in all mo‘ ral certainty, you will very brietly be compos voti.'
Pogh ! D-n the slut,' answered the 'squire, 'I am lamenting the loss of so fine a morning for ' hunting. It is confounded hard to lose one of the best scenting days, in all
appearance, which ' hath been this season, and especially after so ‘long a frost.'
Whether fortune, who now and then shews some compassion in her wantonest tricks, might not take pity of the 'squire; and as she had determined not to let him overtake his daughter, might not resolve to make him amends some other way, I will not assert; but he had hardly uttered the words just before commemorated, and two or three oaths at their heels, when a pack of hounds began to open their melodious throats at a small distance froin them, which the squire's horse and
his rider both perceiving, both immediately pricked up their ears, and the squire crying, She's gone,
', " she's gone! Damn me if she is not gone!' instantly clapped spurs to the beast, who little needed it, having indeed the same inclination with his master; and now the whole company crossing into a corn field, rode directly towards the hounds, with much hallooing and whooping, while the poor parson, blessing himself, brought up
Thus fable reports, that the fair Grimalkin, whom Venus, at the desire of a passionate lover, converted from a cat into a fine woman, no sooner perceived a mouse, than, mindful of her former sport, and still retaining her pristine nature, she. leapt from the bed of her husband to pursue the little animal.
What are we to understand by this? Not that the bride was displeased with the embraces of her amorous bridegroom : for though some have remarked that cats are subject to ingratitude; yet women and cats too will be pleased and purr on certain occasions. The truth is, as the sagacious Sir Roger L'Estrange observes, in his deep reflections, that, “if we shut nature out at the door, she * will come in at the window; and that puss,
though a madam, will be a mouser still.” In the same manner we are not to arraign the squire of any wantof love for his daughter; for in reality hehad a great deal; we are only to consider that he was a isquire and a sportsman, and then we may apply the fable to hin, and the judicious reflections likewise.
The hounds ran very hard, as it is called, and the 'squire pursued over hedge and ditch, with all his usual vociferation, and alacrity, and with all, his usual pleasure; nor did the thoughts of Sophia ever once intrude themselves to allay the satisfaction he enjoyed in the chace, and which, he said, was one of the finest he ever saw, and which he swore was very well worth going fifty miles for. As the 'squire forgot his daughter, the servants, we