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blood from the French, for we are not like to draw it from them any other way. Surely that nation was the common stock of all the Europeans; who are all dwindling into beaux, dancing masters, musicians, fribbles, and gamesters. Witness the genteel pig-tail, the graceful movement, the harmonious hum, the jessamy cock of the hat, and the tradesmen's books. They seem very much like your gallipots, which are lately gilded and new lettered by order of the College of Physicians. They are all gold without—but bitterness within. The complexion of the present age you see, pleads strongly for this original, and carries this hereditary claim still farther. Not only the cut of their clothes and their diet, but their language is brought irresistibly into fashion. I hope for the sake of old England, that our acts of parliament will continue some time longer in English, though it is to be feared they may not do so, since the articles of a late peace have been penned in French; and since an able speaker at the head of the War office is fond of crowding French phrases into English parliamentary debates. You, sir, in your place, have partaken of this degeneracy, and expelled the few remains of the old honest laborious Saxons; who early submitted to, and were incorporated with the Normans. They were wool-pickers, wool-combers, weavers, clothiers, and dyers. The industry of these brought riches into your town, which were preserved under the faithful custody of frugality. But now how are you changed-into delicacy and poverty-into embroidery on one day of the week, and dirtiness on all the rest—sacks are thin in your market-place on Thursdays, but thick in your churches on Sundays. You have turned the grating of your wool-combs into the scraping of fiddles; the skreeking loom into the tinkling harpsicord, and the thumping fulling-mills into a glittering and contentious organ. Scents of perfumes are in your churches; your houses are ornamented with Bath stone, wrought into pediments, entablatures, and pillastrades; your market-house-a
stranger to wool-packs, is metamorphosed into a theatre for balls, concertos, and oratorios. So much for the present liberties of the Town,” &c., &c.
"...... You must now give me leave to address myself to you in a more particular manner, with that old fashioned frankness that would not flatter an enemy—to make him his friend. You had always a natural taste for antiquities, especially for the English. Your honest passion has been steady to the roast beef and strong beer of old England. You love the roughness of the old innocent and hearty ages, better than the modern, gay, refined, effeminate manners. Your integrity has made you open, undisguised, and sincerely blunt; and has given an antique cast to your whole composition. You have constantly retained a veneration for the Druids of your country, and have amused yourself some years within the hollow of a tree. This is your cave of contemplation, lined with slabs, and stuccoed with moss. Your couch is covered with the same, and matted with the peelings of the bark of trees. Your table is a chopping-block, your dishes platters, your plates trenchers, and your chairs are chumps of wood. Nature having given you two hands, supplies you with knives, forks and spoons. Every noon and night, you sacrifice to your god Pan a goblet of barley wine. Your eyes every day are feasted sufficiently with a peep at the outside of three churches. Your ears are entertained with the sweetest of all musick, a natural oratorio of birds. Flowering shrubs perfume your nostrils, and you enjoy the conversation of your faithful Houyhnbnis. The gratification of all the senses lies within your reach; you live in the fruition of nature, without envy or restraint. With you I go back to distant ages two thousand years ago, and admire virtue in its original simplicity. To you, therefore, I address myself, who are formed by inclination to be an antiquary; to you I bequeath these sheets, not as a dedication, which among authors is a preamble or prelude to thinking; but as a codicil, the result of my most mature deliberation—It is not a gift of value, but may serve as an amusement for a vacant hour, whenever you are disposed to be grave, or take a nap."
“Your friend has been an old stager in the tedious and uncomfortable tracks of antiquity, which have wanted mending ever since Batteley, the ingenious, sensible, and polite author of the Antiquitates Rhutupinæ, finished his Rhutupium. I whip through thick and thin, till I come to a convenient place to bait at. There I stop to refresh with proper necessaries; the conversation of the landlord, and the information of the clerk of the parish, the most conversable and intelligent person left in it; who keeps the records of it, and knows most of the antiquities in the neighbourhood. The squire, formerly a fox hunter, is now generally slinking to London to hawk off a daughter, or in strong scent of a halfpay place, or a quartered pension. The parson is so perpetually engaged with his neighbouring brethren, that his parishioners never see him, but of a Sunday; unless the squire come post from town for a week, to wreck his tenants and carry away every farthing in the parish. After the information of my learned friends, and the mug is emptied, I jog on in search of antiquities; sometimes I stop to take a view of a barrow, an old dyke, a ruined wall, or tottering steeple. If I see a camp any where, I ride full gallop, examine and carefully measure it. If it be a square I can tell you to an inch, where stood all its gates, the Ara, and Pretorium, and how many people it contained exactly 1500 years ago. In the evening before I go to bed, I recollect the important events of the day, and write down my observations in the first words that offer, for that produces an easy diction. I express my thoughts as fast as they flow, for that makes a simplicity of sentiment. I avoid all revisals and corrections, for they render a composition stiff and laboured; in short I write just as you see, without thinking, without connexion, and without design. I make frequent bold, abrupt, eccentrical, and characteristical excursions, like my Lord Shaftsbury or a Comet. You see I am thoroughly qualified to execute on the minute and plebeian antiquaries the office of
"Censor castigatorque minorum.' “These as you have seen above, think your town at least Roman, and carry its age, as the Welsh do their pedigrees, beyond the utmost stretch of human conception. We have observed that Dr. Musgrave was of this opinion, who affirms the village must have been a large one; and he advances a step farther, and calls it a very ancient little town; but he imagines the ancient name lost. He proves, from the winevessel found here with Alexander's name upon it, that one Alexander a great man certainly resided in it, attended by his household gods. But this is not to be understood to be Alexander the Great or .......... but—an Alexander-Alexander what's his name—a certain Alexander a maker of crockery-wares. These hasty steps are nothing to the large ones of Dr. Stukeley. Believe me, sir, at one progressive stride, he stalked over Dr. Musgrave's head, the line of right reason, and the extensive bounds of probability, with as much ease as Rich in the boxing match, jumped over the head of the Carman. The ancient name Musgrave had lost, Stukeley has found. Where? why where all antiquities lie concealed-in rubbish. He found it, indeed, with as much quickness, as Mrs. Squire found the longitude, and with an equal certainty. It was, you must know, the Punctuobice of Ravennas. This Ravennas, I must inform you, is an anonymous writer, and upon that account is presumed to be better acquainted with the highways than any of his predecessors. He has recorded some stages that the Romans travelled in order to let his contemporaries and their posterity know where they could be readily supplied with proper entertainment and post chaises. From Leucomagus you go to Cunetzio-alias Cunetio-alias Marlbro’; then you proceed to Punctuobice, that is, Vies-Aye, there it is, in the very two last syllables; lay aside Punctuo and you have it in Bice.
“You see how subjects of this kind are to be managed ; it is not, however, in the power of every body to have such a command. Dr. Stukeley is in possession of a true Roman Securis; it is his companion, friend, and guard. He uses it upon all occasions: if he meets with but an odd word, he lays it down fairly transcribed in capitals, and with one slight chop divides it; whatever remains on the right of the securis, is the right word. He pursues this religious opinion of the Romans with great exactness. The Grecians, indeed, valued the left side most, but the Romans after a complete conquest, changed hands with them. This sort of torture is usual among critics, but never carried to so severe a degree before, as to treat words as Procrustes did men—This gentleman is in the same instant Judge, Jury, and executioner; even as soon as the learned juggler blows, Bice is turned into vice and vice into vies. So that all that is left of this unfortunate word Punctuobice is the tail, which is looked on, as in vipers, as the only sensible part. Mr. Pope seems to have pointed out such minute critics to the life in the following line,
“They catch the eel of science by the tail. An elderly gentleman, witness to this sad catastrophe, broke out into the following pathetic speech of condolence. “Alas, poor Punctuobice! thou who hadst lain untouched a thousand years, wrapt up in obscurity and dust, in the corner of a library of monks, wert at last dragged out of thy snug retirement, and impressed into an army of virulent Literati; but in a little time you disappeared, afterwards wert caught and brought out as a traitor upon the scaffold of criticism, without one friend to support thee, for thy own Ravennas was not known.—Thou wert executed by the order and hands of the Inquisitor-general of words. Thou hadst not the honor of being beheaded, for that is only reserved for capital bodies; but to be halved, the ignominious fate of diminutive ones. How do I commiserate and share thy grief, when I recollect