Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 3 | Isaac D'Israeli | History, Literary Criticism | English | 3/15

chapter 8 of curiosities of literature vol 3 this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by n health curiosities of literature vol 3 by isaac Disraeli chapter 8 confusion of words there is nothing more common says the library Voltaire than to read and to converse to no purpose in history and morals and law in physics and in divinity be careful of equivocal terms one of the Ancients wrote a book to prove that there was no word which did not convey an ambiguous and uncertain meaning if we possess this lost book our ingenious dictionaries of synonyms would not probably prove its uselessness whenever the same word is associated by the parties with different ideas they may converse or controverse till the crack of doom this with a little obstinacy and some agility in shifting his ground makes the fortune of an opponent while one party is worried in disentangling a meaning and the other is winding and unwinding about him with another word of the kind we have mentioned carelessly or perversely slipped into an argument may prolong it for a century or two as it has happened Vega 'less who passed his whole life in the study of words would not allow that the sense was to determine the meaning of words forces he it is the business of words to explain the sense Kant discovered for a long while discovered in this way a facility of arguing without in as at this moment do our political economists I beseech you exclaims a poetical critic and the agony of a confusion of words on the Pope controversy not to ask whether I mean this or that our critic positive that he has made himself understood has shown how a few vague terms may admit volumes of indication throw out a word capable of fifty senses and you raise fifty parties should some friend of peace enable the fifty to repose on one sense that innocent word no longer ringing the Thaksin of a party would lie in forgetfulness in the dictionary still more provoking when an identity of meaning is only disguised by different modes of expression and when the term has been closely sifted to their mutual astonishment both parties discover the same thing lying under the bran and chaff after his heated operation Plato and Aristotle probably agreed much better than the opposite parties they raised up imagined their difference was in the manner of expression rather than in the points discussed the nominal lists and realists who once filled the world with their brawls and who from irregular words came to regular blows could never comprehend their alternate nonsense whether in employing general terms we use words or names only or whether there is in nature anything corresponding to what we mean by a general idea the novelist's only denied what knowing in his senses would affirm and the realists only contend for what no one in his senses were deny a hair's breadth might have joined what the spirit of the party had centered do we flatter ourselves with the liberal Marquis of the nominal lists and the realists terminated with he's scolding schoolmen modern nonsense weighed against the obsolete may make the scales tremble for a while but it will lose its agreeable quality of freshness and subside and equipoise we find their spirit still lurking among our own meta physicians lo the nominal lists and the realists again exclaimed my learned friend Sharon Turner Alou to our modern doctrines on abstract ideas on which there is still a doubt whether they are anything more than generalizing turns Leibnitz confused his philosophy by the term sufficient reasons for every existence for every event and for every truth there must be a sufficient reason this vagueness of language produced a perpetual misconception and Leibnitz was proud of his equivocal triumph in always affording a new interpretation it is conjectured that he only employed his term of sufficient reason for the plain simple word of cause even law who himself so admirably noticed the abuse of words has been charged with using vague and indefinite ones he has sometimes employed the words reflection mind and spirit in so indefinite away that they have confused his philosophy thus by some ambiguous expressions our great metaphysician has been made to establish doctrines fatal to the immutability of moral distinctions even the ego eye of the intellectual Newton grew dim in the obscurity of the language of Locke we are astonished to discover that two such intellection pretend the same idea for Newton wrote to Locke footnote 43 I beg your pardon for representing that you struck at the root of morality in a principle laid down in your book of ideas and that I took you for a harvest end footnote 43 the difference of opinion between Locke and Reed is in consequence of an ambiguity in the word principle as employed by Reed the removal of a solitary word may cast a luminous ray over a whole body of philosophy if we had called the infinite the indefinite says Condillac in his trait in the sensation by this small change of a word we should have avoided the error of imagining that we have a positive idea of infinity from when so many false reasonings have been carried on not only by Mehta physicians but even by geometric ins the word reason has been used with different meanings by different writers reasoning and reason have been often confounded a man may have an endless capacity for reasoning without being much influenced by reason and to be reasonable perhaps differs from them both so Mallya tells us preys on a limb to mamizou it lays on mint Ambani Vera's own in this research on confusion of words we might enter the voluminous history of the founders of sex who have usually employed terms which had no meaning attached to them or were so ambiguous that they're real notions have never been comprehended hence the most chimerical opinions have been inputted two founders of sects remain instance that of the antinomian whose remarkable denomination explains their doctrine expressed that they were against law their founder was John Agricola a follower of Luther who while he lived had kept Agricola's Follies from exploding which they did when he asserted that there was no such thing as sin our salvation depending on her faith and not on our works and when he declined against the law of God to what length some of his sect pushed this verbal doctrine is known but the real notions of this Agricola probably never will be Bale considered him as a harmless dreamer in theology who had confused his head by Paul's controversies with the Jews but machine who bestows on his early reformer the epitaphs of entosis and recipie nice windy and crafty or as his translator has it charges him with vanity presumption and artifice tells us why the term law Agricola only meant the ten commandments of Moses which he considered were abrogated by the gospel being designed for the Jews and not for the Christians Agricola then by the words the law of God that there was no such thing as sin must have said one thing and meant another this appears to have been the case with most of the Divine's of the sixteenth century for even more shame complains of their want of precision and consistency in expressing their sentiments hence their real sentiments have been misunderstood their epidemic prevailed a great confusion of words amongst them the grace service hunting and the Grace FSA of the Jansenist sand the Jesuits show the shifts and stratagems by which nonsense may be dignified whether all men received from God sufficient grace for their conversion was an inquiry some unhappy metaphysical theologists set afloat the Jesuits according to their worldly system of making men's consciences easy affirmed it but the gentleness –tz– insisted that this sufficient grace would never be efficacious unless accompanied by special grace then the sufficient grace which is not efficacious is a contradiction in terms and worse a heresy triumphantly cried the Jesuits exalting over their adversaries this confusion of words thickened till the Jesuits introduced in this local Maquis with the Janus –tz– papal bulls royal edict and a regiment of dragoons the jace honest s– in despair appealed to miracles and prodigies which they got up for public representation but above all to their Pascal whose immortal satire the Jesuits and really felt was at once sufficient and efficacious though the dragoons in settling a confusion of words did not boast of inferior success to pastels former agents had indeed witnessed even a more melancholy laga lacking in the home illusions and the homeo Susans an event which boy lo has immortalized by some fine verses which in his famous satire on let provoked for reasons best known to the Sorbonne were struck out of text dune see love and peace a movement around lead to lay asleep degree C million two feet don't you give AC priests AC long a five-year told the kitchen Marte do deathtome whether the Sun was similar to the substance of the Father or of the same substance depended on the diphthong boy which was alternately rejected and received had they earlier discovered what at length they agreed on that the words denoted what was incomprehensible it would have saved thousands as a witness describes from tearing one another to pieces the great controversy between a blurred and synchronize when the Saint accused the Scholastic of maintaining heretical notions of the Trinity long agitated the world yet now that these confuses of words can no longer inflame our passions we wonder how these parties could themselves differ about words to which we can attach no meaning whatever there have been few councils or cinema where the omission or addition of word or phrase might not have terminated an interminable low gamma key at the Council of Basel for the convenience of the disputants John de Tsukuba drew up a treatise upon declined words chiefly to determine the significant of the particles from by but and except which it seems were perpetually occasioning fresh disputes among the Hussites and the Bohemians had jerome of prague known like our shakespeare the virtue of an if or agreed with hobbes that he should not have been so positive in the use of the verb is he might have been spared from the flames the philosopher of Malmesbury has declared that perhaps judgment was nothing else but the composition or joining of two names of things or modes by the verb is in modern times the Pope's have more skillfully freed the church from this confusion of words his holiness on one occasion standing an equal terror of the court of France who protected the Jesuits and of the court of Spain who maintained the cause of the Dominicans contrived the phrase were a comma or a full stop placed at the beginning or the end purported that His Holiness tolerated the opinions which he condemned and when the rival parties dispatched deputations to the court of Rome to plead for the period or advocate the comma his holiness in this confusion of words flung an unpunctuality to the parties nor was it his fault by that of the spirit of party if the rage of the one could not subside into a comma nor that of the other closed by a full period in jurisprudence much confusion has occurred in the uses of the term rights yet the social Union and human happiness are involved in the precision of expression when Montesquieu laid down as the act of principle of a republic virtue it seemed to infer that a republic was the best of governments in the defense of his great work he was obliged to define the term and it seemed that by virtue he only meant political virtue the love of the country in politics what evils have resulted from abstract terms to which no ideas are fixed such as the Equality of men the sovereignty or the majesty of the people loyalty reform even Liberty herself public opinion public interest and other abstract notions which have excited the hatred or the ridicule of the vulgar abstract ideas as sounds have been used as watchwords the combatants will usually be found willing to fight for words to which perhaps not one of them has attached any settle significant this is admirably touched on by law in his chapter of abuse of words wisdom glory grace and see our words frequent enough in every man's mouth but if a great many of those who use them should be asked what they mean by them they would be at a stand and not know what to answer a plain proof that though they have learned these sounds and have them ready at their tongues and yet there are no determined ideas laid up in their minds which are to be expressed to others by them when the American exclaimed that he was not represented in the House of Commons because he was not an elector he was told that a very small part of the people of England were electors as they could not call this an actual representation they invented a new name for it and called it a virtual one it imposed on the English nation who could not object that others should be taxed rather than themselves but with the Americans it was a Sufism and this virtual representation instead of an actual one terminated in our separation which says mr. flood at the time appeared to have swept away most of our glory and our territory 40,000 lives and 100 millions of treasure that fatal expression which Rousseau had introduced leg lalit the home which finally involved the happiness of a whole people had he lived he had probably shown how ill his country had understood he could only have referred in his mind to political equality but not an equality of possessions of property of authority destructive of social order and of moral duties which must exist among every people liberty equality and reform innocent words sadly ferment the brains of those who cannot afix any definite notions to them they are like those chimerical fictions in law which declare sovereign immortal proclaimed his ubiquity in various places and irritate the feelings of the populace by assuming that the king can never do wrong in the time of James ii it is curious says Lord Russell to read the conference between the houses on the meaning of the words deserted and abdicated and the debates in the Lord's whether or no there is an original contract between King and people the people would necessarily decide that Kings derived their power from them but Kings were once maintained by a divine right a confusion of words derived from two opposite theories and most only relatively true when we listen so frequently to such abstract terms as the majesty of the people the sovereignty of the people whence the inference that all power is derived from the people we can form no definite notions it is a confusion of words contradicting all the political experience which our studies or our observations furnish for sovereignty is established to rule to conduct and to settle the vacillations and quick passions of the multitude public opinion expresses too often the ideas of one party in place and public interest those of another party out political axioms from the circumstance of having notions attached to them unsettled are applied to the most opposite ends in the time of the French directory observes an Italian philosopher of profound views in the Revolution of Naples the democratic faction pronounced that every act of a tyrannical government is in its origin illegal a proposition which at first sight seems self-evident but which went to render all existing laws impracticable the doctrine of the illegality of the act of a tyrant was proclaimed by Brutus and Cicero in the name of the Senate against the populace who had favoured Caesars perpetual dictator and the populous of Paris availed themselves of it against the National Assembly this confusion of words in time serving politics has too often confounded right and wrong and artful men driven into a corner and intent only on its possession have found no difficulty in solving doubts and reconciling contradictions our own history in revolutionary times a bones with dangerous examples from all parties of specialists hypotheses for compliance with the government of the day or the passions of Parliament here is an instance in which the subtle confuse of words pretended to substitute to conscience 'as by utterly depriving a man of any when the unhappy Charles the first pleaded that to pass the bill of attainder against the Earl of Strafford was against his conscience that remarkable character of boldness and impiety as Clarendon characterizes Williams Archbishop of York on this argument of conscience a simple word enough demonstrated that there were two sorts of conscience public and private that his public conscience as a king might dispense with his private conscience as a man such was the ignominious argument which decided the fate of that great victim of state it was an impotent confusion of words when Prime in order to quiet the consciences of those who were uneasy at warring with the king observed that the statute of twenty-fifth Edward the third ran in the singular number if a man shall levy war against the king and therefore could not be extended to the houses who are many and public persons later we find Sherlock blessed with the spirit of Williams they Archbishop both York whom we have just left when some did not know how to charge and to discharge themselves of the oaths to James the second and to William the third this confounder of words discovered that there were two rights as the other had that there were two consciences one was a providential right and the other illegal right one person might very righteously claim and take a thing mother is righteously hold and keeping but that whoever got the better had the providential right by possession and since all authority comes from God the people were obliged to transfer their allegiance to him as a king of gods making so that he who had the providential right necessarily had the legal one a very simple discovery which must however have cost him some pains for this Khan founder of words was himself confounded by twelve answers by non jurors a French politician of this stamp recently was suspended from his lectureship for asserting that the possession of the soil was a right by which principle any King reigning over a country whether by treachery crime and usurpation was a legitimate sovereign for this convenient principle the lecturer was tried and declared not guilty by persons who have lately found their advantage in a confusion of words in treaties between nations a confusion of words has been more particularly studied and that negotiator has conceived himself most dexterous who by this abusive words has retained an area pen say which may fasten or loosen the ambiguous expression he had so cautiously and so find me in laid in his mosaic of treachery a scene of this nature I draw out of mez nigger's negotiation with the court of England when that secret agent of louis xiv was negotiating a peace an inseparable difficulty arose respecting the acknowledgement of the Hanoverian succession it was absolutely necessary on this delicate point to quiet the anxiety of the english public and our allies but though the French King was to recognize and title to the throne yet the settlement in the House of Hanover was incompatible with French interests and French honor Messner told Lord Bolingbroke that the king his master would consent to any such article looking the other way as might disengage him from the obligation of that agreement as the occasion should present this ambiguous language was probably understood by Lord willing broke at the next conference his lordship informed the secret agent that the Queen could not admit of any explanations whatever her intentions might be that the succession was settled by an act of Parliament that as to the private sentiments of the Queen or of any about her he could say nothing all this was said with such an air as to let me understand that he gave a secret assent to what I had proposed and see but he desired me to drop the discourse thus two great negotiators both equally urgent to conclude the tree found an insuperable obstacle occur which neither could control two honest men would have parted but the skilful confounder of words the French diplomatist hit on an expedient he wrote the words which afterwards appeared in the preliminaries that louis xiv will acknowledge the queen of Great Britain in that quality as also the succession of the crown according to the present settlement the English agent adds the Frenchman would have had me add on the House of Hanover but this I entreated him not to desired me the term present settlement then was that article which was looking the other way to disengage his master from the obligation of that agreement as occasion should present that is that louis xiv chose to understand by the present settlement the old one by which the British crown was to be restored to the Pretender and and the English nation were to understand it in their own sense as the new one which transferred it to the House of Hanover when politicians cannot rely upon each other's interpretation of one of the communist words in our language how can they possibly acts together the Bishop of Winchester has proved his observation by the remarkable antidote of the Duke of Portland and mr. Pitt who were the view to unite parties were to hold a conference on fair and equal terms his grace did not object to the word fair but the word equal was more specific unlimited and for unnecessary preliminary he requested mr. Pitt to inform him what he understood by the word equal whether Pitt was puzzled by the question or would not deliver up an air pen say he put off the explanation to the conference but the Duke would not meet mr. Pitt till the word was explained and this important negotiation was broken off by not explaining a simple word which appeared to require no explanation there is nothing more fatal in language than to wander from the popular acceptation of words and yet this popular sense cannot always accord with precision of ideas for it is itself subject to great changes another source therefore of the abuse of words is that mutability to which in the course of time the verbal edifice as well as more substantial ones is doomed a familiar instance presents itself in the titles of tyrant parasite and Sophists originally honorable distinctions the abuses of Dominion made the appropriate title of Kings odious the title of a magistrate who had the care of the public granaries of corn at length was applied to a wretched flatterer for a dinner and absurd philosophers occasioned a mere denomination to become a by name to employ such terms in their primitive tents would now confuse all ideas yet there is an affectation of erudition which is frequently revived terms and by antiquity bishop watson entitled his vindication of the bible an apology this word in its primitive sense had long been lost for the multitude whom he particularly addressed in his work and who could only understand it in the sense that they are accustomed to unquestionably many of its readers have imagined that the bishop was offering an excuse for a belief in the Bible instead of a vindication of its truth the word impertinent by the ancient jurisconsults or law counselors who gave their opinion on cases was used merely in opposition to pertinent ratio perdón ends as a pertinent reason that is a reason pertaining to the cause in question and the ratio impertinence an impertinent reason is an argument not pertaining to the subject footnote 44 impertinent then originally meant neither absurdity nor rude intrusion as it does in our popular present sense end of footnote 44 the learned are known having characterized a reply of his adversaries by the epitaph impertinent when blamed for the freedom of his language explained his meaning by giving his history of the word which applies to our own language thus also with us the word indifferent has entirely changed and historian whose work was indifferently written would formerly have claimed our attention in the liturgy it is prayed that magistrates may indifferently minister justice indifferently originally meant impartiality the word extravagant in its primitive signification only signified to digress from the subject the decretals are those letters from the Pope's deciding on points of the ecclesiastical discipline weren't length incorporated with the canon law and were called extravagant by wandering out of the body of the canon law being confusedly dispersed throughout that collection when Luther had the deck rentals publicly burned at Wittenberg the insult was designed for the Pope rather than as a condemnation of the canon law itself suppose in the press case two persons of opposite opinions the Catholic who has said that the dick wrestles were extravagant might not have intended to deprecate them or make any concession to the Lutheran what confusion of words has the common sense of the Scotch meta physicians introduced into philosophy there are no words perhaps in the language which may be so differently interpreted and professor Dougal Stewart has collected in a curious note in the second volume of his philosophy of the human mind a singular variety of its opposite significations the latin phrase census communists' may in various passages of Cicero be translated by our phrase common sense but on other occasions it means something different the senses communis of the schoolmen is quite another thing and it is synonymous with conception and referred to the seat of intellect with Sir John Davies and his curious metaphysical poem common sense is used as imagination it created a controversy with Biddy and Reed & Reed who introduced this vague ambiguous phrase and philosophical language often understood the term in its ordinary acceptation this change of the meaning of words which is constantly reoccurring in metaphysical disputes has made that curious but obscure science liable to this objection of hobbes with many words making nothing understood controversies have been Keeney agitated about the principles of morals which resolve entirely into verbal disputes or add most into questions of arrangement and classification of little comparative moment to the points an issue this observation of mr. Ducote Stuart's might be illustrated by the fate of the numerous inventors of systems of thinking or morals who have only employed very different and even opposite terms in appearance to express the same thing some by their mode of philosophizing have strangely unsettled the words self-interest and self-love and misconceptions of sadly misled the votaries of these systems of morals as others also by such vague terms as utility fitness when Epicurus asserted that the sovereign good consisted in pleasure opposing the unfeeling austerity of the Stoics by the softness of pleasurable emotions his principle was soon disregarded while his word perhaps chosen in the spirit of paradox was warmly adopted by the centralist Epicurus of whom seneca has drawn so beautiful a domestic scene in whose garden a loaf a sitter ideon cheese and a draught which did not inflame thirst was the sole banquet would have started indignantly and the fattest hog in Epicurus sty such are the facts which illustrate that the principle in the abusive words which loft calls an affected obscurity arising from applying old words to new or unusual significations it was the same confusion of words which gave rise to the famous sect of the Sadducees the master of its founder sat out in his moral purity was desirous of a disinterested worship of the deity he would not have men like slaves obedient from the hope of reward or the fear of punishment Sadek drew a quite contrary inference from the intention of his master concluding that there were neither rewards nor punishments in a future state the result is a parallel to the fate of Epicurus the morality of the master of setup was of the most pure an elevated kind but in the confusion of words The Libertines adopted them for their own purposes and having once assumed that neither rewards and our punishments existed in the after state they proceeded to the erroneous consequence that man perished with his own dust the plainest words by accidental associations may suggest the most erroneous conceptions and have been productive of the grossest errors in the famous ben-gurion controversy one of the writers excites a smile by a complaint from his views of the signification of a plain word was meaning he thinks has been changed by the contending parties he says the word country like a great many others such as church and Kingdom is by the Bishop of beggar's leave become to signify a collection of ideas very different from its original meaning with some it implies party with others private opinion and with most interest and perhaps in time may signify some other country when this good innocent word has been tossed backwards and forwards a little longer some new reformer of language may arise to reduce it to its primitive significations the real interest of Great Britain the antagonist of this controversialist probably retorted on him his own term of the real interest which might be a very opposite one according to their notions it has been said with what truth I know not that it was by a mere confusion of words that Burke was enabled to alarm the great Whig families by showing them their fate in that of the French nobodies they were misled by the similitude of names the French knobblies had as little resemblance to our nobility as they have to the mandarins of China however it may be in this case certain it is that the same terms misapplied have often raised those delusive notions turned false analogies it was long imagined in this country that the parliaments of France were somewhat akin to our own if these assemblies were very differently constituted consisting only of lawyers in courts of law a misnomer confuses all argument there is a trick which consists in bestowing good names on bad things voices the spelled are introduced to us as virtues according to an old poet as drunkenness good-fellowship we call Sir Thomas wait or the reverse when loyalty may be ridiculed as the right divine of Kings to govern wrong the most innocent recreations such as the drama dancing dress have been enough metalist by Puritans while philosophers have written elaborate treatises in a defence the Enigma is solved when we discovered that these words suggested a set of opposite notions to each but the nominalist and the realist and the dr. funda t see me resolute II see me refferal gentes for funding and exacta C have left this heirloom of laga Maquis to erase a subtle and irrefragable an extraordinary scene has recently been performed by a new company of actors in the modern comedy of political economy and the whole dialogue has been carried on in an inimitable confusion of words this reasoning and unreasoning fraternity never use a term as a term but for an explanation and which employed by them all signifies opposite things but never the plainest is it not therefore strange that they cannot yet tell us what our riches what is rent what is value unless you say the most sparkling of them all assures us that the English writers are obscure by their confounding like Smith's the denomination of label the vivacious Gaul cries out to the grave Britain mister Malthus if I consent it to employ your word labour you must understand me so and so mr. Malthus says commodities are not exchanged for commodities only they are also exchanged for label and when the hypochondriac Englishman with dismay foresees the glut of markets and concludes that we may produce more than we consume the paradoxical monsters say discovers that commodities is a wrong word for it gives a wrong idea it should be productions for his axiom is that productions can only be purchased with productions money it seems according to dictionary ideas has no existence in his vocabulary for masseuse a has formed a sort of Burke lien conception of wealth being immaterial while we can find our views to its materiality hence ensues from this confusion of words this most brilliant paradox that a blooded market is not a proof that we produce too much but that we produce too little for in that case there is not enough produced to exchange with what is produced as Frenchmen excel in politeness and impotence once you say ands I revere Adam Smith he is my master but this first of political economists did not understand all the phenomena of production and consumption we who remain uninitiated in this mystery of explaining the operations of trade by metaphysical ideas and raising up theories to conduct those who never theorize can only start at the confusion of words and leave this blessed inheritance to our sons if ever the signs survived the lago machi caramel a famous spanish bishop was a grand architect of words ingenious in theory his errors were confined to his practice he said a great deal and meant nothing and by an exact dimension of his intellect taken at the time it appeared that he had genius in the eighth the green eloquence in the fifth but judgment only in a second this great man would not read the ancients for he had a notion that the moderns must have acquired all they possessed with a good deal of their own into the bargain 262 works differing in breadth and length besides his manuscripts attest that if the world would read his writings they could need no other for which purpose his last work always referred to the preceding ones and could never be comprehended till his readers possessed those which were to follow as he had the good to perceive that Mehta physicians abound in obscure and equivocal terms to avoid this confusion of words he invented a jargon of his own and to make confusion worse confounded projected grammars and vocabularies by which we were to learn it but it was supposed that he was the only man who understood himself he put every author in despair by the works which he announced footnote 46 this famous architect of words however built more labyrinths than he could always get out of notwithstanding his cabbalistic Oh grammar and his audacious grammar end of footnote 246 yet this great kerim ul the critics have agreed was nothing but a puffy giant was legs too weak for his bulb and only to be accounted as a hero amidst a confusion of words let us dread the fate of kerim you know before we enter into discussion with a metaphysician first settle what he means by the nature of ideas with the politician his notion of liberty and equality with the divine what he deems Orthodox with the political economist what he considers to be value and rent by this means we may avoid what is perpetually recurring that extreme laxity or vagueness of words which makes every writer or speaker complain of his predecessor and attempt sometimes not in the best temper to define and to settle the signification of what the witty South calls those rabble charming words which carries so much wildfire wrapped up in a footnote 43 we owe this curious unpublished letter to the zeal and care of professor Dougal Stewart in his excellent dissertations footnote 44 it is still a Chancery word an answer in Chancery and C is referred for impertinence reported impertinent and the impertinence ordered to be struck out meaning only what is immaterial or superfluous tending to unnecessary expense I am indebted for this explanation to my friend mr. Maryville and to another learning friend formerly in that Court who describes its meaning as an excess of words or matter in the pleadings and who has received many an official fee for expunging improvements leaving however he acknowledges has sufficient quantity to make the lawyers ashamed of their verbosity footnote 40 sync ballet gives the dates and plans of these grammars the Kabbalistic was published in Bruxelles 1642 in 12th month the audacious was in folio printed in frankfurt 1654 judgment de 7 tom – three murky end of Whitman's end of section 8 confusion of words section 9 of curiosities of literature vol 3 this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by bruce pirie curiosities of literature vol 3 by isaac Disraeli political nicknames political colony is said to have been reduced into an art like that of logic by the Jesuits this itself may be a political colony a powerful Mahdi who themselves had practiced the artifice of calumny ators may in their turn often have been calumny hated the passage in question was drawn out of one of the classical authors used in their colleges busan bomb a German Jesuit had composed in duodecimo a medulla teo low GI Morales where among other Casa Vista chol propositions there was found lurking in this old Jesuits marrow one which favored bridge aside and assassination fifty editions of the book had passed unnoticed till a new one appearing at the critical moment of them Ian's attempt the duodecimo a field scholastic Jesuit which had now been amplified by a commentators into to folios was considered not merely ridiculous but dangerous it was burnt at Toulouse in 1757 by order of the Parliament and condemned at Paris an Italian Jesuit published an apology for this theory of assassination and the same flames devoured it whether Busan bomb deserved the honour bestowed on his ingenuity the reader may judge by the passage itself whoever would ruin the person or a government must begin this operation by spreading colonies to defame the person or the government for unquestionably the calumny ATAR will always find a great number of persons inclined to believe him or to side with him it therefore follows that whenever the object of such colonies is once lowered in credit by such means he will soon lose the reputation and power founded on that credit and think under the permanent and vindictive attacks of the calumny ater this is the politics of Satan the evil principle which regulates so many things in this world the enemies of the Jesuits have formed a list of great names who had become the victims of such atrocious machiavel ISM the first revolutionists of holland incurred the contemptuous name of lay goo or the beggars the Duchess of Parma enquiring about them the count of bar Lamont scornfully described them to be of this class and it was flattery of the great which gave the name currency the Hollanders accepted the name as much in defiance as with indignation and acted up to it instead of brooches in their hats they wore little wooden platters such as beggars used and Fox's tails instead of feathers on the targets of some of these goo they inscribed rather Turkish than Popish and had the print of a crowing out of whose mouth was a label viva la gue Park dillamond which was everywhere set up and was the favorite sign of their inns the Reston's in France after a variety of nicknames to render them contemptible such as crease LA baya because they would only talk about Christ similar to our Puritans and purple or Harper or a small base coin which was odiously applied to them at length settled in the well-known term of Hyuga nose which probably was derived as the Dixie own le quai Lu suggests from their hiding themselves in secret places and appearing at night like King Kong the great Hobgoblin of France it appears that the term has been preserved by an earthen vessel without feet used in cookery which served the Hyuga nose on meagre days to dress their meat and to avoid observation a curious instance where a thing still in use proves the obscure circumstance of its origin the atrocious insurrection called logic re was a term which originated in cruel derision when John of France was a prisoner in England his kingdom appears to have been desolated by it's wretched nobles who in the indulgence of their passions set no limits to their luxury and their extortion they despoiled their peasantry without mercy and when these complain and even reproached this tyrannical nobility with having forsaken their sovereign they were told that Jacques Bonham must pay for all but Chuck good man came forward in person a leader appeared under this fatal name and the peasants revolting in madness and being joined by all the cutthroats and thieves of Paris at once pronounced condemnation on every gentleman in France wasa has the horrid narrative 12,000 of these Jacques Bonham expiated their crimes but the Shikari who had received their first appellation in derision assumed it as their non Daguerre in the spirited memoirs of the Duke of DS written by himself of his enterprise against the kingdom of Naples we find a curious account of this political art of marking people by odious nicknames Gennaro and Vicente says the Duke cherished underhand that aversion the rascality had for the better sort of citizens and civil people who by the influences they suffered from these not unjustly hated them the better class inhabiting the suburbs of the Virgin were called black cloaks and the ordinary sort of people took the name of lessers both in French and English an old word for leprous beggar and hence Ville at Cerrone of Naples we can easily conceive the evil eye of a lesser when he encountered a black cloak the Duke adds just as at the beginning of the revolution the revolt errs in flanders formerly took that of beggar's those of Gihon that have eaters those of Normandy that have bare feet and of boasts and Selenia of wooden patents in the late French Revolution we observed the extremes indulged by both parties chiefly concerned in revolution the wealthy and the poor the rich who in derision called their humble fellow citizens by the contemptuous term of song culotte provoked their reacting injustice from the populace who as a dreadful return for only a slight rendered the innocent term of aristocrat a signal for plunder or slaughter it is a curious fact that the French verb form de as well the noun from there are used to describe those who condemned the measures of government and more extensively designates any hyperbolic and malignant criticism or any sort of condemnation these words have only been introduced into the language since the intrigues of Cardinal duress succeeded in raising affection against Cardinal Mazarin known in French history by the nickname of the from there or the slingers it originated in pleasantry although it became the password for insurrection in France and the odious name of a faction a wit observed that the Parliament were like those school boys who fling their stones in the pits of Paris and as soon as they see the lieutenant civil runaway but are sure to collect the gain directly he disappears the comparison was lively informed the burthen of songs and afterwards when affairs were settled between the king and the parliament it was more particularly applied to the faction of cardinal duress who still held out we encouraged the application says debts for we observed that the distinction of a name heated the minds of people and one evening we resolved to wear hat strings in the form of slings a hatter who might be trusted with the secret made a great number as a new fashion and which were worn by many who did not understand the joke we ourselves were the last to adopt them that the invention might not appear to have come from us the effect of this trifle was immense every fashionable article was now to assume the shape of a sling bread hats gloves handkerchiefs fans etc and we ourselves became more in fashion by this folly than by what was essential this revolutionary term was never forgotten by the French a circumstance which might have been considered as prognostic of that after revolution which tourettes had the imagination to project but not the daring to establish we see however this great politician confessing the advantages his party derived by encouraging the application of a by name which served to heat the minds of people it is a curious circumstance that I should have to recount in this chapter on political nicknames a familiar term with all lovers of art that of silhouette this is well understood as a black profile but it is more extraordinary that the term so universally adopted should not be found in any dictionary either in that of lackaday me or in Todd's and has not even been preserved where it is quite indispensable in Belarus Dixie Ania the Bulls are it is little suspected that this innocent term originated in a political nickname silhouette was a minister of state in France in 1759 that period was a critical one the Treasury was in an exhausted condition and silhouette a very honest man who would hold no intercourse with finance seers or loan mongers could contrive no other expedient to prevent a national bankruptcy than excessive economy and interminable reform Paris was not the metropolis any more than London where a Plato or as Zeno could long be Minister of State without incurring all the ridicule of the wretched wits at first they pretended to take his advice merely to laugh at him they cut their coats shorter and wore them without sleeves they turned their gold snuff boxes into rough wooden ones and the new fashioned portraits were now only profiles of a face traced by a black pencil on the shadow cast by a candle on white paper all the fashions assumed an air of niggardly economy till poor silhouette was driven into retirement with all his projects of savings and reforms but he left his name to describe the most economical sort of portrait and one as melancholy has his own faith this political artifice of appropriating can't terms or odious nicknames could not fail to flourish among a people so perpetually divided by contending interests as ourselves every party with us have had their watchword which has served either to congregate themselves or to set on the band dogs of one faction to worry and tear those of another we practiced it early and we find it still prospering the puritan of elizabeth's Maine survives to this hour the trying difficulties which that wise sovereign had to overcome in settling the national religion found no sympathy in either of the great divisions of her people she retained as much of the Catholic rites as might be decorous in the new religion and sought to unite and not to separate her children John Knox in the spirit of charity declared that she was neither good Protestant nor yet resolute papist let the world judge quill is the third a jealous party arose who were for reforming the Reformation in their attempt at more than human purity they obtained the nickname of Puritans and from their fastidiousness about very small matters Precision's these drayton characterizes as persons that for a painted glass window would pull down the whole church at that early period these nicknames were soon used in an odious sense for Warner a poet in the reign of Elizabeth says if hypocrites why Puritans we term be asked in breeze tis but an ionized term good fellow so spells these honest fuller who knew that many good men were among the Puritans wished to decline the term altogether under the less offensive one of non conformists but the fierce and the fiery of this party in Charles the First's time had been too obtrusive not to fully merit the ironical appellative and the peaceful expedient of our moderator dropped away with the page in which it was written the people have frequently expressed their own notions of different parliaments by some apt nickname in richard ii time to express their dislike of the extraordinary and irregular proceedings of the lords against the sovereign as well as their sanguinary measures they called it the wonder-working and the unmerciful Parliament in Edward the third reign when the Black Prince was yet living the Parliament for having pursued with severity the party of the Duke of Lancaster was so popular that the people distinguished it as the good Parliament in Henry the third time the Parliament opposing the king was called Parliament 'im in sanim the mad Parliament because the Lords came armed to insist on the confirmation of the Great Charter a Scottish Parliament from its Perpetual shiftings from place to place was ludicrously nicknamed the running parliament in the same spirit we had our long parliament the nickname of pensioner Parliament stuck to the House of Commons which sat nearly 18 years without dissolution under charles ii and others have born satirical or laudatory epithets so true it is as old Hollingshead observed the common people will many times give such by names as seemeth best liking to themselves it would be a curious speculation to discover the sources of the popular feeling influenced by delusion or impelled by good sense the exterminating political nickname of malignant darkened the nation through the civil wars it was a proscription and a list of good and bad Lords was read by the leaders of the first two months of all these inventions this diabolical one was most adapted to exasperate the animosities of the people so often duped by names I have never detected the act of man affection who first hit on this odious brand for persons but the period when the word changed his ordinary meaning was early Charles in 1642 retorts on the Parliamentarians the opprobrious distinction as the true malignant party which has contrived and countenanced those barbarous two months and the Royalists pleaded for themselves that the hateful designation was ill applied to them for by malignity you denote said they activity in doing evil whereas we have always been on the suffering side in our persons credits and estates but the parliamentarians grinning a ghastly smile would reply that the Royalists would have been malignant had they proved successful the truth is that malignancy meant with both parties any opposition of opinion at the same period the offensive distinctions of round heads and Cavaliers supplied the people with party names who were already provided with so many religious as well as civil causes of quarrel the cropped heads of the sullen sectaries and the people were the origin of the derisory nickname the splendid elegance and the romantic spirit of the Royalists long awed the rabble who in their mockery could ran them by no other appellation than one in which their bearer is gloried in the distracted types of early revolution any nickname however vague will fully answer a purpose although neither those who are blackened by the odium nor those who cast it can define the hateful appellative when the term of delinquents came into vogue it expressed a degree in species of guilt says Hume not exactly known or ascertained it served however at the end of those revolutionists who had coined it by involving any person in or coloring any action by delinquency and many of the nobility and Gentry were without any questions being asked suddenly discovered to have committed the crime of delinquency whether honest fuller be facetious or grave on this period of nicknaming parties I will not decide but when he tells us that there was another word which was introduced into our nation at this time and I think at least that the whole passage is an admirable commentary on this party vocabulary contemporary with mulignans is the word plunder which some make of Latin original from Planum dar a 2-level to plain haul to nothing others of dutch extraction as if it were to plume or pluck the feathers of a bird to the bare skin footnote plunder observed mr. doose is pure Dutch or Flemish plunderin from plunder which means property of any kind may tells us it was brought by those officers who had returned from the Wars of the Netherlands end of footnote sure I am we first heard of it in the Swedish wars and if the name and thing be sent back from whence it came few English eyes would weep there at all England had wept at the introduction of the word the rump was the filthy nickname of an odious faction the history of this famous appellation which was at first one of horror to let HAFTER words became one of derision and contempt must be referred to another place the room became a perpetual whetstone for the loyal wits till at length its former admirers the rabble themselves in town and country vied with each other in burning rumps of beef which were hung by chains on a gallows with a bonfire underneath and proved how the people like children come at length to make a plaything of that which was once their bugbear footnote one of the best collections of political songs written during the great Civil War is entitled the rump and has a curious frontispiece representing the mob earning rumps as described above and a footnote charles ii during the short holiday of the restoration all holidays seem short and when he and the people were in good humour granted anything to everyone the mode of petitions got at length very inconvenient and the King in Council declared that this petitioning was a method set on foot by ill men to promote discontent among the people and enjoined his loving subjects not to subscribe them the petitioners however persisted when a new party rose to express their abhorrence of petitioning both parties nicknamed each other the petitioners and the abhors their day was short but fierce the petitioners however weak in their cognate were far the bolder of the two for the Commons were with them and the abhors had expressed by their term rather the strength of their inclinations than of their numbers charles ii set to a petitioner from Taunton how dare you deliver me such a paper sir replied the petitioner from Taunton my name is dare a saucy reply for which he was tried fine and imprisoned when lo the Commons petitioned the game to release the petitioner the very name says Hume by which each party denominated its antagonists discovers the virulence and rancor which prevailed for besides petitioner and AB horror this year is remarkable for being the epoch of the well-known epithets of Whig and Tory these silly terms of reproach Whig and Tory are still preserved among us as if the Palladium of British Liberty was guarded by these exotic names for they are not English which the parties so invidiously be though on each other they are ludicrous enough in their origin the Friends of the court and the advocates of lineal succession were by the Republican Party branded with the title of Tories which was the name a certain Irish robbers footnote the history of the Tories and robberies was a popular Irish chapbook a few years ago and devoted to the daring acts of these Marauders in the footnote while the court party in return could find no other revenge than by appropriating to the covenant heirs and the Republicans of that class the name of the Scotch beverage of sour milk whose virtue they considered so expressive of their dispositions and which is called Quig so ridiculous in their origin were these precious nicknames which long excited feuds and quarrels and domestic life and may still be said to divide into two great parties this land of political freedom but nothing becomes obsolete in political factions and the meaner and more scandalous the name fixed by one party to another the more it becomes not only their rallying cry or their password but even constitutes their glory thus the Hollanders long prided themselves on the humiliating nickname of leagoo the Protestants of France on the scornful one of the Hyuga knows the nonconformists in England on the mockery of the Puritan and all parties have perpetuated their anger by their inglorious names Swift was well aware of this truth in political history each party says that sagacious observer grows proud of that appellation which their adversaries at first intended as a reproach of this sort where the Guelph's and the Ghibellines Hyuga knows and Cavaliers nor has it been only by nicknaming each other by de riz are–or opprobrious terms that parties have been marked but they have also worn a livery and practiced distinctive manners what sufferings did not Italy endure for a long series of years under those fatal party names of the Guelph's and the Ghibellines alternately the victors and the vanquished the beautiful land of Italy drank the blood of her children Italy like Greece opens a moving picture of the hatreds and jealousies of small republics her Bianchi and her nary her Guelph's and Ghibellines in bologna two great families once shook that city with their divisions the people II adopted the French interests the Malu Etsy the Spanish it was incurring some danger to walk the streets of Bologna for the papal ewar their feathers on the right side of their caps and am Alouette see on the left such was the party hatred of the two great italian factions that they carried their rancor even into their domestic habits that's table the Guelph's placed their knives and spoons long lies and the Ghibellines across the one cut their bread across the other long lies even in cutting an orange they could not agree for the Guelph cut his orange horizontally and the Ghibelline downwards children were taught these artifice affection their hatreds became traditional and thus the Italians perpetuated the full benefits of their party spirit from generation to generation footnote these curious particulars I found in a manuscript and a footnote many in private life go down to their graves with some unlucky name not received in baptism but more descriptive and picturesque and even ministers the state have winced at a political christening maligore Edith a Jesuit and jemmye twitcher were nicknames which made one of our ministers odious and another contemptible footnote Lord Shelburne was named Malik Reda and Lord sandwich was Jimmy twitcher a name derived from the chief of make–the gang in The Beggar's Opera and a footnote the Earl of Godolphin caught such fire at that of Volpone that it drove him into the opposite party for the vindictive purpose of obtaining the in political prosecution of several who in his famous sermon had first applied it to the Earl and unluckily it had stuck to him faction says Lord Orford is as capricious as fortune wrong suppression the zeal of real Patriots or the genius of false ones may sometimes be employed for years in kindling substantial opposition to Authority in other seasons the impulse of a moment a ballad a nickname a fashion can throw a city into a tumult and shake the foundations of the state such is a slight history of the human passions in politics we might despair in thus discovering that wisdom and patriotism so frequently originated in this turbid source of party but we are consoled when we reflect that the most important political principles are immutable and that they are those which even the spirit of party must learn to reverence end of section 9 section 10 of curiosities of literature vol 3 this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by Corrine LePage the domestic life of a poet Shen stone vindicated the dogmatism of Johnson and the fastidiousness of gray The Critic who passed his days admits the busy hum of men and the poet whom used in cloistered solitude have fatally injured a fine natural genius in shen stone mr. campbell with a brother's feeling has since the present article was composed sympathized with the endowments and the pursuits of this poet but the facts I had collected seemed to me to open a more important view I am aware how lightly the poetical character of shen stone is held by some great contemporaries although this very poet has left us at least one poem of unrivaled originality mr. Campbell has regretted that shen stone not only affected that Arcadia nism which gives a certain air of masquerade in his pastoral character adopted by our earlier poets but also has rather incongruously blended together the rural Swain with the disciple of virtue all this requires some explanation it is not only as a poet possessing the characteristics of poetry but as a creator in another way for which I claim the attention of the reader I have formed a picture of the domestic life of a poet and the pursuits of a voter II of taste both equally contracted in their endeavors from the habits the emotions and the events which occurred to shen stone for material circumstances influenced his character and were productive in all his unhappiness the neglect he incurred in these poetical studies to which he had devoted his hopes his secret sorrows and not having formed a domestic Union from prudential mode with one whom he loved the ruinous state of his domestic affairs arising from a seducing passion for creating a new taste in landscape gardening and an ornamented farm and finally his disappointment of that promised patronage which might have induced him to have become a political writer for which his inclinations and it is said his talents in early life were alike adapted with these points in view we may trace the different states of his mind show what he did and what he was earnestly intent to have done why have the elegies of shen stone which forty years ago formed for many of us the favorite poems of our youth ceased to delight us in mature life it is perhaps that these elegies planned with peculiar felicity have little in their execution they form a series of poetical truths devoid of political expression truths for notwithstanding the pastoral romance in which the poet has enveloped himself the subjects are real and the feelings could not therefore be fictitious in a preface remarkable for its graceful simplicity our poet tells us that he entered on his subjects occasionally as particular incidents in life suggested or dispositions of mind recommended them to his choice he shows that he drew his pictures from the spot and he felt very sensibly the affections he communicates he a verse that all those attendants on rural scenery and all those allusions to rural life were not the counterfeited scenes of a town poet any more than the sentiments which were inspired by nature gemstones friend graves who knew him in early life and to his last days informs us that these elegies were written when he had taken the Leos into his own hands footnote this once celebrated abode of the poet is situated at Hales oh and Shropshire and a footnote and though his Thal may Olney engaged his thoughts he occasionally wrote them partly said Shen stone to divert my present impatience and partly as it will be a picture of most that passes in my own mind a portrait with friends may value this then was the secret charm which acts so forcibly on the first emotions of our youth at a moment when not too difficult to be pleased the reflected delineations of the habits and the affections the hopes and the delights with all the domestic associations of this poet always true to nature reflect back that picture of ourselves which we instantly recognize it is only as we advance in life that we lose the relish of our early simplicity and that we discover that Shen stone was not endowed with high imagination these elegies with some other poems may be read with a new interest when we discover them to form the true memoirs of shen stone records of querulous but delightful feelings whose subjects spontaneously offered themselves from passing incidents they still perpetuate emotions which will interest the young poet and the young lover of taste elegy for the first which Shen stone composed is entitled Oh fie Lea's urn and it was no unreal one it was erected by graves in mickleton Church to the memory of an extraordinary young woman Yewtree Xie Smith the literary daughter of a learned but poor clergyman you Tricia had formed so fine a taste for literature and composed with such elegance in verse and prose that an excellent judge declared that he did not like to form his opinion of any author till he previously knew hers graves had been so long attached to her but from motives of prudence broke off an intercourse with this interesting woman who sunk under this severe disappointment when her prudent lover graves inscribed the urn her friend Shen stone perhaps more feelingly commemorated her virtues and her tastes such indeed was the friendly intercourse between Shen stone and nutricious that in elegy 18 written long after her death she still lingered in his reminiscences composing this Elle on the calamitous clothes of Somerville's life a brother bard and victim to narrow circumstances and which he probably contemplated as an image of his own shen stone tenderly recollects that he used to read some of those poems to you tricia Oh lost Ophelia smoothly flowed the day to feel his music with my flames agree to taste the beauties of his melting lei to taste and fancy it was dear to thee how true is the feeling how mean the poetical expression the seventh elegy describes a vision with a shadow of woolsley breaks upon the author a graceful form appeared white worse looks with awful scarlet crowned even this fanciful subject was not chosen capriciously but sprung from an incident once on his way to Chell tin ham Shen stone missed his road and wandered too late at night among the Cotswolds Hills on this occasion he appears to have made a moral reflection which we find in his essays how melancholy it is to travel late upon any ambitious project on a winter's night and observe the lights of cottages where all the unambitious people are warm and happy or rest in their beds while the benign dead poet lost among the lonely hills was meditating on ambitious projects the character of woolsley arose before him the visionary cardinal crossed his path and busied his imagination thou exclaims the poet like a meteors fire shortest blazing fourth disdaining dull degrees elegy seven and the bard after discovering all the miseries of unhappy grandeur and murmuring at this delay to the house of his friend exclaims oh if these ills the price of power advance check not my speed where social Joy's invite the silent departure of the poetical Spectre is fine the troubled vision cast a mournful glance and sighing vanished in the shades of night and to prove that the subject of this thus arose to the poet's fancy he has himself commemorated the incident that gave occasion to it in the opening on distant Heath's beneath autumn no skies pensive I saw the circling shades descend weary and faint I heard the storm arise while the Sun vanished like a faithless friend elegy seven the fifteenth elegy composed in memory of a private family in Worchester sure is on the extinction of the ancient family of the pens in the male line footnote this we learn from dr. Nash's history of war Chester Shire and a footnote Jen stones mother was a pen and the poet was now the inhabitant of their ancient mansion an old timber Belt house of the age of Elizabeth the local description was a real scene the shaded pool the group of ancient Elms the flocking rooks and the picture of the simple manners of his own ancestors were realities the emotions they excited were therefore genuine and not of those mockeries of amplification from the crowd of verse writers the tenth elegy to fortunes suggesting his motive for repining at her dispensations with his celebrated pastoral ballad in four parts were alike produced by what one of the great minstrels of our own times has so finally indicated when he sung the secret was the world has never known while on weary night dawned wearier day and bitter was the grief devoured alone in this elegy shen stone reminds at the dispensations of fortune not for having denied him her higher gifts know that she compels him to check the fond love of art that fired my veins nor that some dull doubt heard with boundless wealth finds his grating reed preferred to the birds but that the tawdry shepherdess of this dull dotard by her pride makes the royal thing despised the poet's Delia must Delia softness elegance and ease submit to Marian's dress to Marion's gold must Marion's robe from distant India please the simple fleece my Delia Slim's unfold ah what is native worth esteemed of clowns tis thy false glare a fortune vine they see tis for my Delia's sake I dread thy frowns and my last gasp shalt curses breathe on thee the Delia of our poet was not an iris on air shun stone was early in life captivated by a young lady whom Graves describes with all those mild and serene graces of pensive melancholy touched by plaintive love songs and elegies of woe adapted not only to be the muse but the mistress of a poet the sensibility of this passion took entire possession of his heart for some years and it was in parting from her that he first sketched his exquisite pastoral ballad as he retreated more and more into solitude his passion felt no diminution dr. Nash informs us that shun stone acknowledged that it was his own fault that he did not accept the hand of the lady whom he so tenderly loved but his spirit could not endure to be a perpetual witness of her degradation in the rank of society by an inconsiderate Union with poetry and poverty that such was his motive we may infer from a passage in one of his letters love as it regularly tends to matrimony requires certain favors from fortunate circumstance to render it proper to be indulged in there are perpetual allusions to these secret woes in his correspondence for although he had the fortitude to refuse marriage he had not the stoicism to contract his own heart in cold and sullen celibacy he thus alludes to this subject which so often excited far other emotions than those of humor it is long since I have considered myself as undone the world will not perhaps consider me in that light entirely till I have married my maid it is probable that our poet had an intention of marrying his maid I discovered a pleasing anecdote among the late mr. Bentley's collections which I transcribed from the original on the back of a picture of shen stone himself of which dodds lee published a print in 1780 the following energetic inscription was written by the poet on his New Year's gift this picture belongs to Mary Cutler given her by her master William shun stone January 1st 1754 an acknowledgment of her native genius her magnanimity her tenderness and her fidelity WS the progressive taste or the fate of delicacy is a poem on the temper and studies of the author and economy a Rhapsody addressed to young poets abounds with self touches if shun stone created little from the imagination he was at least perpetually under the influence of real emotions this is the reason why his truths so strongly operate in the juvenile mind not yet matured and thus we have sufficiently ascertained the fact as the poet himself has expressed it that he drew his pictures from the spot and he felt very sensibly the affections he communicates all the anxieties of a poetical life were early experienced by shen stone he first published some juvenile productions under a very odd title indicative of modesty perhaps – of pride footnote well at college he printed without his name a small volume of verses with this title poems upon various occasions written for the entertainment of the author and printed for the amusement of a few friends prejudiced in his favor oxford 1737 12 months Nash's history of war Chester Shire volume 1 page 528 I find this notice of it in W Lowndes catalog 44-33 shen stone shen stone took uncommon pains to suppress this book by collecting and destroying copies wherever he met with them in long men's biblioteca Anglo Poetica it is valued at 15 pounds many copies of this first edition which he sold at 18 pence each these prices are amusing the prices of books are connected with their history end of footnote and his motto of content tous Pao kis electoral boosts even Horace himself might have smiled at third only conceals the desire of every poet who pants to deserve many but when he tried at a more elaborate poetical labor the judgment of Hercules it failed to attract notice he hastened to town and he beat about literary coffee houses and returned to the country from the chase of Fame where heed without having started it a breath revived him but a breath or through even the judgment of Hercules between indolence and Industry or pleasure and virtue was a picture of his own feelings an argument drawn from his own reasonings indicating the uncertainty of the poet's dubious disposition who finally by siding with indolence lost that triumph which his hero obtained by a directly opposite course in the following year begins that melancholy strain and his correspondence which marks the disappointment of the man who had staked too great a quantity of his happiness on the poetical die this is the critical moment of life when our character is formed by habit and our fate is decided by choice was shun stone to become an active or contemplative being he yielded to nature footnote on this subject Graves makes a very useful observation in this decision the happiness of mr. Shen stone was materially concerned whether he determined wisely or not people have taste and people of worldly prudence will probably be a very different opinions I somewhat suspect that people of worldly prudence are not half the fools that people have tastes insist they are and a footnote it was now that he entered into another species of poetry working with two costly materials in the magical composition of plants water and earth with these he created those emotions which is more strictly poetical ones failed to excite he planned a paradise amidst his solitude when we consider that Shen stone in developing his fine pastoral ideas in the lease house educated the nation into that taste for landscape gardening which has become a model of all Europe this itself constitutes a claim on the gratitude of posterity footnote Shen stones farm was surrounded by winding walks decorated with vases and statues varied by wood and water and occasionally embracing fine views / frankly in Clint Hills and the country about Craig Lee Dudley Raleigh and the intermediate places some of his losses were inscribed to the memory of relatives and friends one had a Latin inscription to his cousin Maria another was dedicated to Summerville his poet friend in different parts of his domain he constructed buildings at once useful and ornamental destined to serve farm purposes but to be also grateful to the eye a Chinese bridge led to a temple beside a lake and near was a seat inscribed with the popular Shropshire toast to all friends round the reckon the spot commanding a distant view of the hill so named a wild path through a small wood led to an ingeniously constructed root house beside which a rivulet ran which helped to form the lake already mentioned on its banks whose a dedicatory urn to the genial okie the general effect of the whole place was highly praised in the poet's time it was neglected at his death and its description is now but a record of the past and a footnote thus the private pleasures of a man of genius may become at length those of the whole people the creator of this new taste appears to have received far less notice than he merited the name of shen stone does not appear in the essay on gardening by lord Orford even the supercilious grey only bestowed a ludicrous image on these pastoral scenes which however his friend Mason had celebrated and the genius of Johnson incapacitated nature to touch on subjects of rural fancy after describing some of the offices of the landscape designer adds that he will not inquire whether they demand any great powers of mind Johnson however conveys to us his own feelings when he immediately expresses them under the character of a sullen and surly speculator the anxious life of shen stone would indeed have been remunerated could he have read the enchanting eulogium of Wheatley on the Lee's house which said he is a perfect picture of his mind simple elegant and amiable and will always suggest a doubt whether the spot inspired his verse whether in the scenes which he formed he only realized the pastoral images which are bound in his songs yes Shen stone would have been delighted could he have learned that the Montesquieu on his return home adorned his Chateau gothic Melanie Dubois Shamo Don J plea like Dionne Anglet Deo and Shen stone even with his modest and timid nature had been proud to have witnessed a noble foreigner amidst memorials dedicated to theocritus and Virgil to Thompson and gaze nur raising in his grounds an inscription in bad English but in pure taste to shun Stone himself for having displayed in his writings a mind natural and in his leases laid Arcadian greens rural recently pinned Mont has traced the taste of English gardening to shen stone a man of genius sometimes receives from foreigners who are placed out of the prejudices of his compatriots the tribute of posterity amidst these rural elegancies which sandstone was raising about him his muse has pathetically sung his melancholy feelings but did the muses haunt his cell or in his dome did Venus dwell when all the structures Shon complete ah me twas Damon's own confession came poverty and took possession the progress of taste the poet observes that the wants of philosophy are contracted satisfied with cheap contentment but taste alone requires entire profusion days and nights and hours thy voice high drop expensi calls aloud for costly drafts economy an original image illustrates that fatal want of economy which conceals itself amidst the beautiful appearances of taste some graceless mark some symptom ill-concealed shall soon or late burst like a pimple from the vicious tide of acid blood proclaiming wants disease amidst the bloom of show economy he paints himself observe flora Leo's mine white Reds my friend with melancholy step that beauty's lon wide pensive strays his eye our statues grottoes urns by critic art proportioned fair or from his lofty dome returns his eye unpleased disconsolate the cause is criminal expanse and he exclaims sweet interchange of river valley mountain wood and plains how gladsome once he ranged your native turf your simple scenes how raptured air expense had lavished thousand ornaments and taught convenience to perplex him art T'Pol pomp deject and beauty to displease economy while shun stone was rearing hazel's and Hawthorne's opening vistas and winding waters and having shown them where to stray through little pebbles in their way while he was pulling down hovels and cow houses to compose mottos and inscriptions for garden seats and urns while he had so finally obscured with a tender gloom the grove of virgil and thrown over in the midst of a plantation of you a bridge of one arch built of a dusty colored stone and simple even to rudeness and invoked Oberon in some Arcadian scene where and cool grouped and mossy sell the tripping funds and fairies dwell the solitary magician who had raised all these wonders was in reality an unfortunate poet the tenant of a dilapidated farmhouse where the winds passed through and the rains lodged often taking refuge in his own kitchen far from all resort of mirth save the cricket in the hearth in a letter of the disconsolate founder of landscape gardening our author paints his situation with all its misery lamenting that his house is not fit to receive polite friends were they so disposed and resolved to banish all others he proceeds but I make it a certain rule our sad profane whom vulgus persons who will despise you for the want of a good set of chairs or an uncouth fire shovel at the same time that they can't taste any excellence in a mind that overlooks those things with whom it is in vain that your mind is furnished if the walls are naked indeed one loses much of one's acquisitions in virtue by an hour's converse with such as judge of merit by money yet I am now and then impelled by the social passion to sit half-an-hour in my kitchen but the solicitude of friends in the fate of Somerville a neighbor and a poet often compelled Chen stone to start amidst his reveries and thus he has preserved his feelings and his arel solutions reflecting on the death of Somerville he writes to be forced to drink himself into pains of the body in order to get rid of the pains of the mind is a misery which I can well conceive because I may without vanity esteem myself his equal in point of economy and consequently ought to have my eye on his misfortunes as you kindly hinted to me about twelve o'clock at the feathers I should retrench I will but you shall not see me I will not let you know that I took it in good part I will do it at solitary times as I may such were the calamities of great taste with little fortune but in the case of shen stone these were combined with the other calamity of mediocrity of genius here then at the Lee's house with occasional trips to town in pursuit of Fame which perpetually eluded his grass in the respondents of a few delicate minds whose admiration was substituted for more genuine celebrity composing diatribes against economy and taste while his income was diminishing every year our neglected author group daily more indolent and sedentary and withdrawing himself entirely into his own Hermitage moaned and despaired in an Arcadian solitude footnote Graves was supposed to have glanced at his friend shen stone in his novel of column ella or the distressed anchor at the aim of this work is to convey all the moral instruction i could wish to offer here to youthful genius it is written to show the consequence of a person of education and talents retiring to solitude and indolence in the vigor of youth Nichols literary anecdotes volume 3 page 134 Nash's history of Worchester sure volume 1 page 528 end of footnote the cries and the secret sorrows of shen stone have come down to us those of his brothers have not always and shall dull men because they have minds cold and obscure like a Lapland year which has no summer be permitted to exalt over this class of men of sensibility and taste but of moderate genius and without fortune the passions and emotions of the heart are facts and dates only to those who possess them – what a melancholy state was our author reduced when he thus addressed his friend I suppose you have been informed that my fever was in great measure hypochondriacal and left my nerves so extremely sensible that even on no very interesting subjects I could readily think myself into a vertigo I had almost said an epilepsy for surely I was oftentimes near it the features of this sad portrait are more particularly made out in another place now I am come home from a visit every little uneasiness is sufficient to introduce my whole train of melancholy considerations and to make me uh turley dissatisfied with the life I now leave and the life which I foresee I shall lead I am angry and envious and dejected and frantic and disregard all present things just as becomes a madman to do I'm infinitely pleased though it is a gloomy joy with the application of dr. Swift's complaint that he is forced to die in a rage like a poisoned rat in a hole my soul is no more fitted to the figure I make then a cable rope to a cambric needle I cannot bear to see the advantages alienated which I think I could deserve and relish so much more than those that have them there are other testimonies in his entire correspondence whenever forsaken by his company he describes the horrors around him delivered up to winters silence and reflection ever for seeing himself returning to the same series of melancholy hours his frame shattered by the whole train of hypochondria called symptoms there is nothing to cheer the querulous author who with half the consciousness of genius lived neglected and unpatriotic and mind had not the force by his productions to draw the celebrity he sighed after to his Hermitage chené stone was so anxious for his literary character that he contemplated on the posthumous fame which he might derive from the publication of his letters C letter 29 on hearing his letters to mr. Whistler were destroyed the act of a merchant his brother who being a very sensible man as graves describes yet with the stupidity of a goth destroyed the whole correspondence of shen stone for its sentimental intercourse gemstone bitterly regrets the loss and says i would have given more money for the letters than is allowable for me to mention with decency i look upon my letters as some of my chefs dafwa they are the history of my mind for these 20 years past this with the loss of Cowley's correspondence should have been preserved in the article of suppressors and dilapidated of manuscripts towards the close of life when his spirits were exhausted and the silly clue of hopes and expectations as he termed them was undone the notice of some persons of rank began to reach him shun stone however deeply colors the variable state of his own mind recovering from a nervous fever as I have since discovered by many concurrent symptoms I seem to anticipate a little of that vernal delight which Melton mentions and thinks able to chase all sadness but despair at least I began to resume my silly clue of hopes and expectations in a former letter he had however given them up I began to wean myself from all hopes and expectations whatever I feed my wild ducks and I water my carnations happy enough if I could extinguish my ambition quite to indulge the desire of being something more beneficial in my sphere perhaps some few other circumstances would want also to be adjusted what were these hopes and expectations from which sometimes he Wiens himself and which are perpetually revived and are attributed to an ambition he cannot extinguish this article has been written in vain if the reader has not already perceived that they had haunted him in his early life sickening his spirit after the possession of a poetical celebrity unattainable by his genius some expectations too he might have cherished from the talent he possessed for political studies in which graves confidently says that he would have made knowing considerable figure if he had a sufficient motive for applying his mind to them gemstone has left several proofs of this talent but his master passion for literary Fame had produced little more than anxieties and disappointments and when he indulged his pastoral fancy in a beautiful creation on his grounds it consumed the estate which had adorned Johnson forcibly expressed his situation his death was probably hastened by his anxieties he was a lamp that spent its oil in blazing it is said that if he had lived a little longer he would have been assisted by a pension end of section 10 recording by Corrine LePage

2 thoughts on “Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 3 | Isaac D'Israeli | History, Literary Criticism | English | 3/15

  1. Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 3 | Isaac D'Israeli | History, Literary Criticism | English | 3/15

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  2. Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 3 | Isaac D'Israeli | History, Literary Criticism | English | 3/15

    8: [00:00:00] – Confusion of Words

    9: [00:45:12] – Political Nicknames

    10: [01:13:16] – The domestic Life of a Poet – Shenstone vindicated

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