« EelmineJätka »
No 1. Thursday, September 14, 1710.
Nescia mens hominum fati fortisque future,
HE design of this work is to censure the writings
of others, and to give all persons a rehearing, who have suffered under any unjust sentence of the Examiner. As that Author has hitherto proceeded, his paper would have been more properly intitled the Executioner : At least his Examination is like that which is made by the rack and wheel, I have always admired a critic that has discovered the beauties of an author, and never knew one who made it his business to lash the faults of other writers, that was not guilty of greater himself; as the hangman is generally a worse malefactor, than the criminal that suffers by his hand. To prove what I say, there needs no more than to read the annotations which this Author has made on Dr. Garth's Poem, with the preface in the front, and a riddle at the end of them: To begin with the first: Did ever any advocate for a party open with such an unfortunate assertion? • The collective • body of the Whigs have already engroffed our riches :' O 2
That is, in plain English, the Whigs are possessed of all the riches in the nation. Is not this giving up all he has been contending for these fix weeks ? Is there any thing more reasonable, than those who have all the riches of the nation in their poffeflion, or if he likes his own phrase better, 'as indeed I think it is stronger, that those who have already engrossed our riches, should have the inanagement of our public treasure, and the direction of our feets and armies? But let us proceed: " Their re
presentative the Kit-Cat have pretended to make a . monopoly of our sense. Well, but what does all this end in ? If the Author means any thing it is this, That to prevent such a monopoly of sense, he is resolved to deal in it himself by retail, and sell a pennyworth of it every week. In what follows, there is such a fhocking familiarity both in his ralleries and civilities, that one cannot long be in doubt who is the Author. The reniaining part of the preface has so much of the pedant, and so little of the conversation of men in it, that I shall pass it over, and hasten to the riddles, which are as fol
The RID D L E.
Whatever stranger she could get ;
Oedipus was resolv'd to go,
Upon all four : As years accrue,
The first part of this little mystical poeni is an old riddle, which we could have told the meaning of, had not the Author given himself the troạble of explaining it: But as for the exposition of the second, he leaves us altogether in the dark. The riddle runs thus: What creature is it that walks upon four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs at night? This he folves, as our forefathers have done for these two thousand years; and not according to Rabelais, who gives another reason why a man is said to be a creature with three legs at night. Then follows the second riddle : What creature, says he, is it that first uses four legs, then twa legs, then three legs; then loses one leg, then gets two legs, and at last runs away upon four legs? Were I disposed to be splenetic, I should all if there was any thing in the new garland of riddles ' so wild, so childish, or lo Aat:' But though I dare not go so far as that, I shall take upon me to say, that the Author has stolen his hint out of the garland, from a riddle which I was better acquainted with than the Nile when I was but tu elve years old. It runs thus, riddle my riddle my ree, what is this? Two legs sat upon three legs, and held one leg in her hand, in came four legs, and snatched away one leg; up started two legs, and flung three legs at four legs, and brought one leg back again.
This enigma, joined with the foregoing two, rings all the changes that
can be made upon four legs. That I may deal more ingenu uily with my riader than the above-mentioned enignatift has cone, I shall present him with a key to !!!y riddle; which upon application he will find exactly tried to the words of it. One leg is a leg of mutton, iuo ligo is a firvant-maid, three legs is a joint-itocl, wiich in the Sphinx's country was called a tripod; as tour lugs is a dog, who in all na:ions and ages has been reckoned a quadruped. We have now the expofition of cur firit and third riddles upon legs ; let us here, if you please, endeavour to find out the meaning of our second, which is thus in the Author's words:
What stranger creature yet is he
This riddle, as the poet tells us, was proposed by Dedipus to the Sphinx, after he had given his solution to that which the Sphinx, had proposed to him. This Oedipus, you must understand, though the people did not believe it, was son to a King of Thebes, and bore a particular grudge to the Treaturer of that kingdom ; which made him to bitter upon H. L. in this enigma.
What stranger creature yet is he,
That has four legs, then two, then three? By which he intimates, that this great man at Thebes being
• weak by nature, as he admirably expresses it, could not walk as soon as he was born, but, like other children, fell upon all four when he attempted it; that he afterwards went upon two legs, like other inen ; and that in his more advanced age, he got a white staff in Queen Focasta's court, which the Author calls his third leg. Now it so happened that the treasurer fell, and by that means broke his third leg, which is intimated by the next we • Then loses one ~ Thus far I thin have travelled through the riddle with good success,