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books are to be read only in parts ; others to be read, but not curiously; and fome few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that should be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sorts of books; else distilled books are like com.' mon distilled waters, Aathy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning to seem to kaow that he doth not.
ON SATIRICAL WIT. -TRUST
RUST me, this unwary pleasantry of thine will fooner or later bring thee into scrapes and difficulties, which no after-wit can extricate thee out of. In these fallies, too oft, I fee, it happens, that the person laughed at confiders himself in the light of a person injured, with all the rights of such a situation belonging to him; and when thou vieweft him in that light too, and reckonest upon his friends, his family, his kindred and allies, and mufterest up with them the many recruits which will lift under him from a sense of common danger; 'tis no extravagant arithmeric to say, that for every ten jokes, thou hast got a hundred enemies; and, till thou hast gone on, and raised a swarm of wasps about thine ears, and ait half ftung to death by them, thou wilt never be convinced it is fo.
I cannot fufpect it in the man whom I esteem, that there is the least fpur from spleen or inalevolence of intent in these fallies. I believe and know them to be truly honest and fportive; but consider, that fools cannot diftinguish this, and that knaves will not; and thou knoweft not what it is, either to provoke the one, or to make merry with the other ; whenever they associate for mutual defence, depend upon it they will carry on the war in such a inanner against thee, my dear friend, as to make thee heartily fick of it, and of thy life too.
Revenge from some baneful corner shall level a tale of dishonour at thee, which no innocence of heart or integrity of conduct thall set right. The fortunes of thy house shall totterấthy character, which led the way to them, Thall bleed on every fide of it--thy faith questionedthy works belied-thy wit forgotten--thy learning trampled on. To wind up the last scene of thy tragedy, Crve ELTY and COWARDICE, twin ruffians, hired and set on by Malice in the dark, shall Arike together at all thy infirmities and mistakes; the best of us, my friend, lie open
here, and trust me-when, to gratify a private appetite, it is once resolved upon, that an innocent and a helpess creature shall be facrificed, it is an easy matter to pick up sticks enough from any thicket where it has strayed, to make a fire to offer it
PLAYERS, Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on ihe tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lieve the town crier had spoke my lines. And do not saw the air too much with your hand thus: but ufe, all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may fay, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smooth. ness. Oh! it offends me to the foul, to hear a robuftious perriwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags,
to split the ears of the groundlings; who (for the most part) are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb fhows and noise: I would have fuch a fellow whipped for o'erdoing termagant; it outherods Herod. - Pray you, avoid it.
Be not too tame neither; but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the acti , with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modefty of nature: for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing; whose end, both at the first and now, and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show Virtue her own feature, Scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and preifure. Now this overdone or come tardy of, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve: the cenfure of one of which must in your aliowance o'erweigh a whole theatre of cthers. Oh! there be players that I have seen play, and beard others praise, and that highly, (not to speak it profanely,) that, neither having the accent of Christian, nor the gait of Christian, Pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bullowed, that I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made them, and not made them well, they imitated humanity fo abominabiy.
And let those that play your clowns, speak no more than is fet down for them: for there be o them that will themselves laugh, to fet on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, fome neceffary queition of the play be then to be contidered:that's villainous; and shows a moit pitiful ambition in the fooi that uses it.
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know,
Hope humbly then, with trembling pinions foar ;
Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind
Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of fense,
strike, Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike. 54