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MARTINUS SCRIBLERUS

I

ΠΕΡΙ ΒΑΘΟΥΣ.

CHAP. I.

T hath been long (my dear Countrymen) the

fubject of my concern and furprize, that whereas numberlefs Poets, Critics, and Orators have compiled and digested the Art of ancient Poefy, there hath not arisen among us one person fo publick-fpirited, as to perform the like for the Modern. Although it is univerfally known, that our every-way industrious Moderns, both in the Weight of their writings, and in the Velocity of their judgments, do fo infinitely excel the faid An

cients.

Nevertheless, too true it is, that while a plain and direct road is paved to their vos, or Sublime; no track has been yet chalk'd out, to arrive at our Bábos, or Profund. The Latins, as they came between the Greeks and Us, make use of the word Altitudo, which implies equally height and depth. Wherefore confidering with no small grief, how many promifing Genius's of this age are wandering (as

I may fay) in the dark without a guide, I have undertaken this arduous but neceffary tafk, to lead them as it were by the hand, and step by step, the gentle down-hill way to the Bathos; the bottom, the end, the central point, the non plus ultra, of true Modern Poefy!

When I confider (my dear Countrymen) the extent, fertility, and populoufnefs of our Lowlands of Parnaffus, the flourishing state of our Trade, and the plenty of our Manufacture; there are two reflections which adminifter great occafion of furprize: The one, that all dignities and honours fhould be beftowed upon the exceeding few meager inhabitants of the Top of the mountain; the other, that our own nation fhould have arrived to that pitch of greatnefs it now poffeffes, without any regular Syftem of Laws. As to the first, it is with great pleasure I have obferved of late the gradual Decay of Delicacy and Refinement among mankind, who are become too reafonable to require that we should labour with infinite pains to come up to the tafte of these Mountaineers, when they without any may condefcend to ours. as we have now an unquestionable Majority on our fide, I doubt not but we shall shortly be able to level the Highlanders, and procure a farther vent for our own product, which is already so much relished, encouraged, and rewarded, by the Nobility and Gentry of Great Britain.

But

Therefore to fupply our former defect, I purpofe to collect the scattered Rules of our Art into regular Institutes, from the example and practice. of the deep Genius's of our nation; imitating herein my predeceffors the Master of Alexander, and the Secretary of the renowned Zenobia. And in this my undertaking I am the more animated, as I expect more fuccefs than has attended even those great Critics; fince their Laws (tho' they might be good) have ever been flackly executed, and their Precepts (however ftrict) obey'd only by fits, and by a very small number.

At the fame time I intend to do justice upon our neighbours, inhabitants of the upper Parnaffus; who, taking advantage of the rifing ground, are perpetually throwing down rubbish, dirt and stones upon us, never fuffering us to live in peace. These men, while they enjoy the crystal stream of Helicon, envy us our common water, which (thank our stars) tho' it is fomewhat muddy, flows in much greater abundance. Nor is this the

greatest injustice that we have to complain of; for though it is evident that we never made the leaft attempt or inrode into Their territories, but lived contented in our native fens; they have often not. only committed Petty Larcenies upon our borders, but driven the country, and carried off at once whole Cart-loads of our manufacture; to reclaim some of which stolen goods is part of the defign of this Treatife. 0 4

For we shall fee in the course of this work, that our greatest Adverfaries have fometimes defcended towards us; and doubtless might now and then have arrived at the Bathos itself, had it not been for that mistaken opinion they all entertained, that the Rules of the Ancients were equally neceffary to the Moderns; than which there cannot be a more grievous Error, as will be amply proved in the following difcourfe.

And indeed when any of these have gone fo far, as by the light of their own Genius to attempt new Models, it is wonderful to obferve, how nearly they have approached us in those particular pieces; though in their others they differ'd toto cæle

from us.

CHA P. II.

That the Bathos, or Profund, is the natural Taste of Man, and in particular, of the prefent Age.

T

HE Taste of the Bathos is implanted by Nature itself in the foul of man; till, perverted by custom or example, he is taught, or rather compelled, to relish the Sublime. Accordingly, we fee the unprejudiced mind of Children delight only in fuch productions, and in fuch

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