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He soon after performed his promise, and left me the Commentaries, giving me also further light by many conferences; when he was unfortunately fnatched away, as I before related, by the jealousy of the queen's ministry.
Though I was thus, io my eternal grief, deprived of his conversation, he, for some years, continued bis correlpondence, and communicated to me many of his pro. jecis for the benefit of mankind. He fent me some of his writings, and reconımended to my care the recovery of others, itraggling about the world and affumed by other men. The last time I heard froin him, was on occasion of his strictures on the Dunciad; since when, several years being elapled, I have reason to believe this excellent person is either dead, or carried by his vehement thirst for knowledge, into some remote, or perhaps undiscovered re. gion of the world. In either cale, I think it a debt no longer to be delayed, to reveal what I know of this pro. digy of science, and to give the littory of his life, and of bis extensive merits, to mankind ; in which I dare promise the reader, that, whenever he begins to think any one chapter dull, the stile will be immediately changed in the pext.
MEMOIRS of MARTINUS SCRIBLERUS *.
CH A P. I.
Of the parentage and family of Scriblerus, how he was
begot, what care was taken of him before he wizs born,
and learned Gentleman, by protellion an antiquary ; who, among all his invaluable curiofiries, esteemed
none more highly thin a skin of the true Pergamenian parchment, which hung at the upper end of his ball's
* Mr Pope, Dr. Arbuthnot, and Dr. Swift projected to write a satire in conjunction, oir the abuses of human learning ; and to make it the better reccived, they proposed to do it in the manner of Cervuntes (the original author of this species of satire), under thc history of fome feigned adventures. They had observed those abufes still kept their ground against all that the ableft and gravelt authors could say to discredit them; they concluded therefore, the force of ridicule was waöting to quicken their disgrace; which was here in irs place, when the abuses had been already detected by fober reafoning; and truth' in no danger to suffer by the prematı're use of lo growerful an inftrument. Lut the separation of Mr Pope's friends, which foon after Lappened, with the death of one and the infirmities of the other, put a small stop to their ject, when they had only drawn oat on imperfect ellay towards it, under the title or The first buce of the Memoirs of Scriblerus.
Politc Letters never lost more than in the defeat of this scheme, in which, each of this illuftrious triunvirate would liave found exercise for his oun peruliar talent ; besides confiunt employment for that they all had in comunion. Dr Arbuthnot was skilled in every ibing which related to joience; Mr Pope was a master in the fine arts ;
90. Dr Swift excelled in the knowledge of ile world. Wit they had all in equal measure; and this to lurge, as no age perhaps ever produced thote men, to whom Nature had more bountifully beftussed it, or ist brought is to higher perfection. Ifurburton.
On this was curiously traced the ancient pedigree of the Scribleri, with all their alliances and collateral relations, (among which were reckoned Albertus Magnus, Paracelfus Bombastus, and the famous Scaligers, in old time Princes of Verona), and deduced even from the times of the Elder Pliny to Cornelius Scriblerus : for such was the name of this venerable personage ; whofe glory it was, that, by the fingular virtue of the women, not one had a head of a different cast from his family.
His wife was a lady of fingular beauty, whom not for that reason only be espouled, but because she was undoubted daughter either of the great Scriverius, or of Gaspar Barthius. It happened on a time, the said Gaspar snade a visit to Scriverius at Harlem, iaking with liim a comely lady of his acquaintance, who was killed in the Greek tongue, of whom the learned Siriverius became lo enamoured, as to inebriate his friend, and be familiar with bis mistress. I ain not ignorant of what Columelius * af. firms, that the learned Barthius was not so overtaker, but he perceived it; and in revenge suffered this unfortunate gentlewoman to be drowned in the Rline at her return. But Mrs Scriblerus (the issue of that amour) was a living proof of the falhood of this report. Dr. Cornelius was farther induced to his marriage, from the certain information that the aforesaid lady, the mother of his wite, was related to Cardan on the father's side, and to Aldrovandus on the mother's : besides which, her ancestors had heen professors of phyfic, astrology, or chemistry, in Gernjan universities, troin generation to generation.
With this fair gentlewoman bad our Doctor lived in a comfortable union for about ten years : but this our sober and orderly pair, without any natural infirmity, and with a constant and frequent compliance to the chief duty of conjugal life, were yet unhappy, in that heaven had not blelled them with any issue. This was the utmost grief to the good man ; ep.cially considering what exact pre. cautious and methods he had used to procure that blerfing: for he never had coha'vit ilion with liis (pouse, but I.e pondered on the rules of the ancients, for the genera* Columeíus relates this from liaac Vuilius, in his Opuscula Pope.
tion of children of wit. He ordered bis diet according to the prescription of Galen, confining himself and his wife, for almost the whole firtt year, to goats milk and honey *. It unfortunately befel her, when she was about four months gone with cliild, to long for somewhat, which that author inveighs against as prejudicial to the understanding of the infant. This ler husband thought fit to deny ber, affirming, it was better to be childles, than to become the parent of a fool. His wife iniscarried ; but as the abortion proved only a female fætus, he comforted himself, that, bad it arrived to perfection, it would not have answered bis account ; his heart being wholly fixed upon the learned sex. However he disdained not to treature up the embryo in a vial, among the curiolities of his family.
Having discovered that Galen's prescription could not determine the sex, he forthwith betook himielf to Aristotle. Accordingly he with-held the nuptial embrace when the wind was in any point of the south; this author + afferting, that the grossness and moisture of the southerly winds occasion the procreation of females, and 10! of males. But he redoubled his diligence when tle wind was at welt ; a wind on which the great philolo. pher bestowed ilie encomiums of father of the carih, breath of the Elygian fields, and other glorious eulogies. For our learned man was clearly of opinion, that the semina out of which animals are produced, are animalcula ready formed, and received in with the air [.
Under these regulations, lis wife, to bis, inexpressible joy, grew pregnant a ficond time ; and (what was no fvali addition to his happine!), he just then came to the polleilion of a considerable ettare by the death of her uncle, a wealthy Jew who refided at Loudon. This inade it ne. cessary for him to take a journey to England ; nor would ti.e care of his posterity let hiin suffer his wife to remain
* Galen. Lib. de Cibis boni et mali fucci, cap. 3. Pope. † Arist. xiv Sect. Prob. 5 P.
# Religion of Nature, kat. 5. parag. 15. The seriousness with which this strange opinion, on íu mysterious ? point, is advanced,
very well deserved this stroke of ridicule. Depe and Warburton.
behind him. During the voyage, be was perpetually taken ur, on the one hand, low to enploy his great iiches ; and, on the other, how to educate his child. He had alFeady deterinined to let apart liveral annual lumns, for the recovery of Manufcripts, the effoflion of Coins, the procuring of Mummics ; and for all those curious discoveries, by which he hoped to become (as himself was wont 10 lay) a second Peireskius *. He had already chalked out all possible schemes for the improvement of a male child; yet was to far prepared for the worit that could happen, that, before the one months were expired, he had com. poled two treatises of education; the one be called, daugiter's nirrour, and the other, A fon's monitor.
This is all we can find relating to Mirrinus, wlile he Wiis in his mother's womb, excepting that he was enior. txined tliere with a concert of music once in twenty-four hours, according to the custom of the Magi: and that 01: a particular day t, he was observed to leap and kick es: ceedingly, which was on the first of April, the birth-day of the great Bafilius Valentinus.
The truth of this, and every preceeding fact, may be depended upon, being taken literaily from the Memoirs. But I mutt be lo ingenuous as to own, that the accounts are not so certain of the exact tiine and plice of his birili, As to tlie first, be had the common frailty of old meil, to conceal his age : as to the second, l'only remember to have heard biin lay, that he first saw the light in S: Giles's parish. But in the invettiga:ion of this point, Fortune hath favoured our diligence. For one day, as I was pas. ting by the Seven Diais, I overheard a difpute conceruing the place of nativity of a great astrologer, uliicli cach man alledged to have been in lois own street.
Tue como cumstances of' tbe tiine, and the description of the perion,
* There was a great deal of trifling pedantry and curiosity in that great man's character. Warburton.
+ Ramay's Cyrus. It was with judgment, that the authors chofe rather io ridicule the modern relator of this ridiculous practice, than the ancien:s from whence he took it; as it is a sure instance of folly, when, amongit the many excellent chines which may be learned fro.n aintiquity, we find a moderir weier only picking out their absurditics. Pope and Varburtone