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It likewise proves his understanding the French language ; for was a man to wish his wife and her equipage at the devil, in that tongue, and had a mind still to enforce his wish, could he do it better than by the phrase, et tous les deux ? though indeed the meaning of our author has a double strength, by using only half the words; which (by the way) is generally the difference between the French and English languages.

Now, having gone through my observations, I will not conceal, that some writers believe this poem to be merely allegorical: for, say they, it evidently means, that when a man finds some little inconveniences by living single, such as careless, unruly, or wasteful servants, implied by rats and mice; and seeks a wife to set his affairs in order; immediately a thousand unforeseen difficulties arise from the contrariety of their tempers, signified by wide streets and narrow lanes ; and he is forced to make use of a wheelbarrow, whereby they represent conjugal affection: till at last, that breaking, or being quite destroyed by frequent quarrels, the wife gets a fall, or loses all her power, and becomes hated; and then he wishes her and every thing about him at the devil!

I am well aware my cotemporary critics will

cavil at this Essay, and be angry that I depart from their established method of reading, in or. der only to find fault. I expect they'll fall upon me without mercy; but no fear of them shall ever deter me from giving praise where I believe it due, or make me sacrifice the reputation of any author to envy and ill-nature.

I am, Sir,
Yours, &c.


This paper, which is written in a very pleasant vein of ridicule, has laid the foundation for several imitations : of these the best are, the Critique on the Heroic Poem of the Knave of Hearts," in Nos. 11 and 12 of The Microcosm ; and the Criticism on Peter Piper, in Nos. 8 and 15 of Literary Leisure.


به بالا بود و همه ما به دنیای کار در نرم 2




Omnibus in terris quae sunt a Gadibus usque
Auroram et Gangem, panci dignoscere possunt
Vera bona, atque illis multum diversa remota
Erroris nebula. Quid enim ratione timemus
Aut cupimus ? quid tam dextro pede concipis, ut te
Conatus non peniteat, votique peracti ?
Evertere domos totas, optantibus ipsis,
Di faciles.


Look round the habitable world : how few
Know their own good ; or, knowing it, pursue !
How void of reason are our hopes and fears !
What in the conduct of our life appears
So well design’d, so luckily begun,
But, when we have our wish, we wish undone ?
Whole houses of their whole desires possest,
Are often ruin'd at their own request.


It was the prayer of Socrates, that the gods would give him such things as themselves knew to be most convenient and best for him : inti. mating thereby, how ignorant mortals are of their own real wants, and what is proper for them to ask of heaven :-and, in the same manner, with an entire resignation to the guidance and good pleasure of that Power which made us, ought we all to send up our petitions thi. ther.

There is nobody, I believe, who will take the pains of recollecting and considering them, but may

find in his past life many desires, which, if they had been gratified, would have made him miserable ; as well as frequent blessings arising to him from things and circumstances which were the chiefest objects of his fear. Providence often gives a turn so directly contrary to all human forecast and expectation, that

we, who know nothing of the eternal production of causes and effects, cannot judge with any certainty what we ought to seek for, or what to avoid. Happiness is the wish and pursuit of all; but we are so bewildered by our passions and our ignorance together, that, without the direction and assistance of some power infinitely wiser than ourselves, it is impossible ever to attain it. We scarce see an inch before us, and form so ill a judgment even of that little we do see, that, were we left to our own conduct, of all creatures we should become most wretched ; mistaking continually our real good, and, eagerly pursuing what would prove our sure destruction. Were we always to obo tain our wishes, we should fare like the countryman in the fable, whom Jupiter indulged with rain or sunshine upon his fields, whenever he thought fit to pray for it; till a barren har. vest and empty barns (whilst plenty smiled on

all his neighbours round) convinced him of his folly, and made him lament, too late, the completion of his own rash desires.

But under all this ignorance of things, we have one certain rule to go by; and that is, to follow close the steps of virtue; who, though she oftentimes may lead us through rugged, dangerous, and gloomy paths, we shall always find will conduct us safe at last to peace and joy: Let us, in all the various actions and affairs of life, stand firmly on our guard against every gay and alluring temptation of interest and advantage ; against riches, greatness, pleasure, applause, and all which the world is usually most fond of; and suffer ourselves to be con. ducted by no other principles but those of integrity, truth, and virtue.

Whatever occurs or offers itself to us, let us not so much inquire whether it will advance our fortune or gratify our appetites, as whether it is good and honest, and consistent with what we owe to heaven, ourselves, and all mankind. If we form our measures thus, we may rest assured that whatever befals us is for the best: we are under the guardianship and care of a just and almighty Providence, which will turn even misfortunes into blessings for us; and, notwithstanding all appearance, raise happiness out of misery. It

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