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nience to an animal that must be still where chance has once placed it, and there receive the afflux of colder or warmer, clean or foul water, as it happens to come to it."
I shall add to this instance out of Mr. Locke another out of the learned Dr. More, who cites it from Cardan, in relation to another animal which Providence has left defective, but at the same time has shown its wisdom in the formation of that organ in which it seems chiefly to have failed. "What is more obvious and ordinary than a mole? and yet what more palpable argument of Providence than she? The members of her body are so exactly fitted to her nature and manner of life: for her dwelling being under ground where nothing is to be seen, nature has so obscurely fitted her with eyes, that naturalists can scarce agree whether she have any sight at all, or no. But for amends, what she is capable of for her defence and warning of danger, she has very eminently conferred upon her; for she is exceeding quick of hearing. And then her short tail and short legs, but broad fore-feet armed with sharp claws; we see by the event to what purpose they are, she so swiftly working herself under ground, and making her way so fast in the earth as they that behold it cannot but admire it. Her legs therefore are short, that she need dig no more thau will serve the mere thickness of her body; and her fore-feet are broad that she may scoop away much earth at a time; and little or no tail she has, because she courses it not on the ground, like the rat or mouse, of whose kindred she is; but lives under the earth, and is fain to dig herself a dwelling there. And she making her way through so thick an element, which will not yield easily, as the air or the water, it had been dangerous to have drawn so long a train behind her; for her enemy might fall upon her rear, and fetch her out, before she had completed or got full possession of her works."
I cannot forbear mentioning Mr. Boyle's remark upon this last creature, who I remember somewhere in his works observes, that though the mole be not totally blind (as it is commonly thought) she has not sight enough to distinguish particular objects. Her eye is said to have but one humour in it, which is sup posed to give her the idea of light, but of nothing else, and is so formed that this idea is probably painful to the animal. Whenever she comes up into broad day she might be in danger of being taken, unless she were thus affected by a light striking upon her eye, and immediately warning her to bury herself in her proper element. More sight would be useless to her, as none at all might be fatal.
I have only instanced such animals as seem the most imperfect works of nature; and if Providence shows itself even in the blemishes of these creatures, how much more does it discover itself in the several endowments which it has variously bestowed upon such creatures as are more or less finished and completed in their several faculties, according to the condition of life in which they are posted!
TRUE AND FALSE HUMOUR.
Risu inepto res ineptior nulla est.
Nothing so foolish as the laugh of fools."
AMONG all kinds of writing, there is none in which
authors are more apt to miscarry than in works of humour, as there is none in which they are more ambitious to excel. It is not an imagination that teems with monsters, an head that is filled with extravagant conceptions, which is capable of furnishing the world with diversions of this nature; and yet if we look into the productions of several writers, who set up for
men of humour, what wild irregular fancies, what unnatural distortions of thought do we meet with? If they speak nonsense, they believe they are talking humour; and when they have drawn together a scheme of absurd, inconsistent ideas, they are not able to read it over to themselves without laughing. These poor gentlemen endeavour to gain themselves the reputation of wits and humorists, by such monstrous conceits as almost qualify them for Bedlam; not considering that humour should always lie under the check of reason, and that it requires the direction of the nicest judgment, by so much the more as it indulges itself in the most boundless freedoms. There is a kind of nature that is to be observed in this sort of compositions, as well as in all other; and a certain regularity of thought which must discover the writer to be a man of sense, at the same time that he appears altogether given up to caprice. For my part, when I read the delirious mirth of an unskilful author, I cannot be so barbarous as to divert myself with it, but am rather apt to pity the man, than laugh at any thing he writes.
The deceased Mr. Shadwell, who had himself a great deal of the talent which I am treating of, represents an empty rake, in one of his plays, as very much surprised to hear one say that breaking of windows was not humour; and I question not but several English readers will be as much startled to hear me affirm, that many of those raving incoherent pieces, which are often spread among us, under odd chimerical titles, are rather the offsprings of a distempered brain than works of humour.
It is indeed much easier to describe what is not humour, than what is; and very difficult to define it otherwise, than as Cowley has done wit, by negatives. -Were I to give my own notions of it, I would deli ver them after Plato's manner, in a kind of allegory, and by supposing Humour to be a person, deduce to him all his qualifications, according to the following VOL. I.
genealogy. Truth was the founder of the family, and the father of Good Sense. Good Sense was the father of Wit, who inarried a lady of collateral line called Mirth, by whom he had issue Humour. Humour therefore being the youngest of this illustrious family, and descended from parents of such different dispositions, is very various and unequal in his temper; sometimes you see him putting on grave looks and a solemn habit, sometimes airy in his behaviour and fantastic in his dress: insomuch that at different times he appears as serious as a judge, and as jocular as a Merry-Andrew. But as he has a great deal of the mother in his constitution, whatever mood he is in, he never fails to make his company laugh.
But since there is an impostor abroad, who takes upon him the name of this young gentleman, and would willingly pass for him in the world; to the end that well-meaning persons may not be imposed upon by cheats, I would desire my readers, when they meet with this pretender, to look into his parentage, and to examine him strictly, whether or no he be remotely allied to Truth, and lineally descended from Good Sense; if not, they may conclude him a counterfeit. They may likewise distinguish by a loud and excessive laughter, in which he seldom gets his company to join with him. For as True Humour generally looks serious, while every body laughs about him; False Humour is always laughing, whilst every body about him looks serious. I shall only add, if he has not in him a mixture of both parents, that is, if he would pass for the offspring of Wit without Mirth, or Mirth without Wit, you may conclude him to be altogether spurious and a cheat.
The impostor of whom I am speaking, descends originally from Falsehood, who was the mother of Nonsense, who was brought to bed of a son called Frenzy, who married one of the daughters of Folly, commonly known by the name of Laughter, on whom he begot that monstrous infant of which I have been
here speaking. I shall set down at length the genealogical table of False Humour, and, at the same time, place under it the genealogy of True Humour, that the reader may at one view behold their different pedigrees and relations.
I might extend the allegory, by mentioning several of the children of False Humour, who are more in number than the sands of the sea, and might in particular enumerate the many sons and daughters which he has begot in this island. But as this would be a very invidious task, I shall only observe in general, that False Humour differs from the True, as a monkey does from a man.
First of all, He is exceedingly given to little apish tricks and buffooneries.
Secondly, He so much delights in mimickry, that it is all one to him whether he exposes by it vice and folly, luxury and avarice; or, on the contrary, virtue and wisdom, pain and poverty.
Thirdly, He is wonderfully unlucky, insomuch that he will bite the hand that feeds him, and endeavour to ridicule both friends and foes indifferently. For, hav. ing but small talents, he must be merry where he can, not where he should.
Fourthly, Being entirely void of reason, he pursues no point either of morality or instruction, but is ludicrons only for the sake of being so.
Fifthly, Being incapable of having any thing but mock representations, his ridicule is always personal,