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ner almost all the way from Marseilles here; and I wish to show you my gratitude. If you should like to have orders for Nicolet's theatre, I shall be happy to present you with them; for I am engaged as clown there, and am to come out in two days—which may console you for being beaten. You leap beautifully; but if you did it twice as well, I should have won just the same, for I have some master-strokes in reserve, which I should have made use of to exemplify the proverb (which of course you know) that says “from good to better, as they do at Nicolet's.”
XXXIV. A FEW PARALLEL PASSAGES.
Tyb. Well, peace be with you, sir! here comes my
Mer. Ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a
Quintilian (lib. viii. cap. 2.) censures Virgil for the antithetical expression in the line Hunc ego si potuitantum sperare dolorem.
It is imitated, however, by Racine (Andromaque, v. 5. 31.) Grace aux Dieux! mon malheur passe mon espérance.
Dr. Johnson said of Lord Chesterfield, that he was a wit among lords, but only a lord among wits. This antithesis, and many others of the same kind, may perhaps be traced to a Greek epigrammatist. Addressing a man whom he greets with the titles of Texvow avaiśsing, apoosaars, opeppo. Hoping, (“Child of impudence, most ignorant, nurseling of folly,”) he tells him that he is a grammarian among the followers of Plato; but that if one inquires about the doctrines of Plato, he again becomes a grammarian.
Le premier qui futroi futun soldat heureux-Racine.
Yet what can they see in the longest kingly line in Europe, save that it runs back to a successful soldier ? says Cromwell in Woodstock. — (Vol. ii. p. 371. Uniform edition.)
XXXV. A MILE.
A mile is one of those words which, when rendered into other languages, demand an explanatory translator. Thus, if the precept “After supper walk a mile,” were done into Swedish or Danish by a mere dictionary translator, those who obeyed it would perform the tenth part of an equatorial degree. The celebrated German Encyclopaedia, the Conversations-Lexicon, informs us that
A degree contains,
10 Norwegian miles.
A degree also contains 17% Spanish, and 20 French, Dutch, or English sea-leagues. So far the Lexicon of Conversation, which almost exhausts the subject, but not quite, for we may add; First, That 11 common Irish miles make 14 English ones; and a degree therefore contains nearly 55. Second, That the Dutch method of reckoning distance by hours, i.e. by the supposed time that it will take to perform it, is very usual in Germany, especially in the south. A stunde (hour) means half a German mile, or 21% English miles. Third, That mile is derived from mille a thousand; the common phrase for a mile in Latin writers being mille passus, a thousand paces.
XXXVI. HONOUR TO POETS.
According to an old English writer, Philo-Judaeus, in his book De Plantatione Noe, says, “that when God had made the whole world's mass, he created poets to celebrate and set out the Creator himself, and all his creatures.”
Old William Winstanley calls our poets, “our English sons of Apollo, and darlings of the Delian deity.”
“And indeed what is it that so masters oblivion, and causeth the names of the dead to live, as the divine strains of sacred poesie? How are the names forgotten of those mighty monarchs, the founders of the Egyptian pyramids, when that ballad-poet, Thomas Elderton, who did arm himself with ale, (as old father Ennius did with wine,) is remembered in Mr. Camden's Remains? Having this made to his memory,
Hic situs est sitiens atque ebrius Eldertonus,
We question whether many of our readers ever before heard of Thomas Elderton, whose name has outlived those of the “mighty monarchs, the founders of the Egyptian Pyramids.” But there he is, in a crypt of Mr. Camden's Remains; and have we not now restored him to day-light, like a lost mummy, in our book of Table Talk 2 Honest Master William was fain to admit that all verse-makers did not deserve such a glorious immortality as the ale-bibbing Thomas Elderton. He says, “Poets there be whose wide mouths speak nothing but bladders and bombast—treating only of trifles; the Muse's haberdashers of small wares,
Whose wits are but a tavern tympany
Indeed, such pedlars to the Muses, whose verse run like the tap, and whose invention ebbs and flows like the barrel, deserve not the name of poets.” Winstanley's estimate of the writings and character of the great Milton, is exceedingly amusing: “John Milton,” he says, “was one, whose natural parts might deservedly give him a place amongst the principal of our English poets, having written two heroick poems and a tragedy ; namely, Paradice Lost, Paradice Regain'd, and Sampson Agonista. But his fame is gone out like a candle in a snuff, and his memory will always stink, which might have ever lived in honourable repute, had not he been a notorious traytor, and most impiously and villanously bely'd that blessed martyr, King Charles the First.”—Lives of the Poets, p. 196. (Ed. 1687.) A much greater favourite than Milton with Will Winstanley, was one Thomas Randolph, another of the now illustrious obscure, of whom he gives the following instructive details. “This famous poet was born at Houghton, in Northamptonshire, and was first bred in Westminster School,