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a dream, and when the music is done, the mind wakes and
comes to it self again.

Music is beauty to the ear.

That charms the souls of all that hear.

And therefore a musitian, that makes it his constant employment,

B. Q 241


is like one that does nothing but make love, that is half mad,
fantastic, and ridiculous to those that are unconcern'd. Cupid
strings his bow with the strings of an instrument, and wounds
hearts through the ear. He winds up souls like watches,
with a lute-string, and when he sets church music and

Attracts devotion with his airs and words

To string her beads upon his charming chords.


AND his business are ill matcht, for they can never agree,
Jr\. but are always falling out and leaving one another. He
is never in perfeft mind and memory ; for he forgets everything,
though it be ever so near to him, if he be not perpetualy put in
mind and prompted. He does not love to be beholden or
troublesome to himself of all men living, and had rather be
dispos'd of by any other person. He is a bird of the air, that
neither sows nor reaps, nor gathers into barns. He delights in
nothing but his ease, and yet is so ill an husband of it, that he
will make it away before it falls to him for a very small trifle in
hand. Every mans tongue runs before his wit ; for while he
listens to one thing he thinks of another, and forgets both, and
then asks what was that you were saying. His scull has sprung
a leak, and whatsoever is put into it runs out again faster than
it went in ; and he does not hear at his ears but a crack, like
one that listens at a chink. He keeps no accompt of anything,
but trusts to his memory for no other reason but because it
always betrays him. He is indifferent to all persons, times, and
occasions, and whosoever lights upon him first has a right to
him, like a thing lost, and may keep possession of him as long
as he pleases. He lays his time and all things else that concern
him out of the way, and when he has occasion to make use of
them, he knows not where to find them. He lives wind bound
all the days of his life, and has nothing to do but to wait for
a fair gale to carry him into another world. All his thoughts



interrupt one another, and will not give him leave to attend to
anything, but rambles like one that dreams waking, or talks in
his sleep. He makes even with the world, and neglefts it just
as much as it does him ; so that there is no love lost between
them both. He does all his business according to the order and
process of nature, conceives and grows big of it, is brought to
bed and lye in, but has a very hard labour, as it commonly
befalls all abortions and miscarriages. He is a man of happy
memory, as the dead are said to be ; for he remembers just as
much as they. He neglefts his own affairs as if they did
concern him less than other mens, like the lawyer, that could
not endure to trouble himself with his own affairs, because he
took no fees for them.


IS a mungrel of a mixt generation — Nature meant him for
a man, but his office intervening put her out, and made
him another thing ; and as he loses his name in his authority,
so he does his nature. The most predominant part in him is
that in which he is something beside himself, which renders him
so like a madman, that some believe he is within a straw of it.
He was nothing of himself, but had a great ambition to be
something, and so got an office, which he stands more upon
than if he had been more of himself ; for having no intrinsic
value he has nothing to trust to but the stamp that is set upon
him, and so is necessitated to make as much of that as he can.
This makes him take more upon him than his authority will
bear, which he endeavours to relieve like the country fellow,
that rode with a sack of corn on his own back to ease his horse.
The meaner his authority is, the more insolence he allows to
make it up, like the hangman who has the basest of all, and yet
it extends to life and limb, and has power to hang and draw
within his own territories. He bears himself and his office very
untowardly, and kicks and flings like a horse, that has not been
usd to carry double. If his place be of profit he plays high,
and takes all that is set him, but rams his bags so full, that they
will not tye, but are apt to scatter what they hold ; for when

Q2 243


he is taken himself he departs his politic life, and as he brought
nothing into it, so he carries nothing out of it. He is a person
of a double capacity public and private, and that may be one
reason, why he is said to deal doubly with all men that have to
do with him. He is but a pimp to his place ; for any man that
will give him money may do what he pleases with it, but nothing
without it.


IS said to grind the faces of the poor, because he holds their
noses to the Grindstone. He is like the Spaniards of Potosi,
that make their sheep bear burdens, as well as fleeces, on their
backs, and supply him by extraordinary ways more heavy than
those they were design'd for. He lays the heaviest weights upon
those that yield easiest to them ; like the foundation of London
bridge upon woolsacks, that rests upon a soft cushion for its
ease ; and, therefore, the poorer and weaker men are, the fitter
and easier he always finds them for his purpose. Where
Fortune has begun to oppress a man he presently strikes in and
seconds her, and like a right bloodhound hunts none but
a wounded deer. He is as barbarous as those inhuman people
that dwell upon the coasts of rugged seas, and live by robbing
all those, whom the less cruel sea has spared and cast upon them ;
for he makes other mens wrecks his returns, and ships that are
cast away bring him a prosperous voyage. He is a Hun, that
when he is thirsty opens a vein and sucks the blood of the poor
beast that bears him. He loves his neighbour's goods better
than his own, and rejoices more over one pound that he comes
sinfully by, than ninety nine that are righteously gotten, and
need no repentance. He believes a man gains nothing by that
which is his due, and therefore is not at all the better for it ;
but that which comes, where nothing could be expe6led or
demanded, is like a present that he makes himself, and how mean
soever ought to receive a value from the goodwill of the giver.
He is so kind and goodnatur'd, that he loves to have something
of every mans to remember him by ; but does not care to put
any man to the trouble of preserving anything that is his. Tis
natural for gamesters to love other mens money better than



their own, else they would never venture to lose that which
they are certain of to win that which is uncertain ; and as the
philosopher said, of all wines another mans wines [are] ever the
best, he is confident it is much more true of another man's


FEEDS himself by feeding another man's humour. His
tongue keeps his teeth in constant employment, and he
lives by eating in praise of the founder. He quarters his
gluttony upon another man's vainglory, and pays him with
praises which he has no right to ; for if he had, he needs not
pay for that which is his due. Thus one vice lives upon another^
and all support themselves by mutual commerce and trade, as
well as men in civil societies. He feeds upon him that treats
him, as fire does upon fuel, and consumes him by making him
shine bright for a while. He that praises a man deservedly gives
him nothing but his own, but he that extolls him without
merit, presents him with that which he wants. He is a guest
by his calling, and his occupation is to eat upon free cost and
flattery. He victuals himself, as our merchants do at Madagascar^
for glass-beads, which he hangs in the ears of those that feed
him. He is of a wild and savage kind naturaly, but being fed
at hand becomes very tame and fawning, especialy to those
that give him meat. He eates to all that love and honour them,
and devours all the prosperity in the world to their inclinations.
He expresses a singular devotion to a person by dining with
him, as the ancients did to Jupiter by eating with his statue.
He deifies that which feeds him, as the Egyptians did their leeks,
tastes all his humours, as well as his dishes, and magnifies both
with admirable judgment — He goes as true to all his humours,
as the weather-glass rises and falls in warm or cold weather, and
like a student setting-dog is glad to sett his meat, and creep upon
his belly on the ground, before he is allow'd to touch it. He
does not dine, but baites, and like a Spanish mule carries his
provender about his neck, and his rider, that feeds him, on his
back — at the same time. He is every man's domestic, that keepes
a good house.




LIVES by his faith as well as a righteous man, but is like
_^ one that spends out of the main stock, until he is run out
of all. His word is a cobweb, very frail of itself, yet strong
enough to catch flyes, and such simple creatures as will suffer
themselves to be entangled in it. He that believes him has an
erroneous faith, and is in the state of perdition : for he is not so
unthrifty in his calling to spare any man, whom it is in his
power to betray. He is like a false religion, that damns all
those that believe in it. His oaths and vows are like granados
made to blow men up with, and when they are broken, destroy
all that are within their reach ; for he will say and swear
anything that another man pleases, that it may be in his power
to do what he pleases him self. When he appears most kind,
he always proves most treacherovis, and with Judai never kisses
but when he intends to betray. He finds no engine so useful
to his designs as flattery, that with little force and less pains will
carry things of greatest weight ; and therefore he always plys
that to insinuate with, conforms himself to all mens humours
and inclinations, and when he has got the word, passes for
a friend, although among the enemies guards. He will work
him self into secrets like a mole underground, to feed on the
wormes of those he finds fit for his purpose to undermine. He
that would surprize a guard must first kill the sentinels ; and so
does he begin with a mans reason and understanding, and when
he has possest himself of any of his fortifications, sets up his
own colours, and puts on for the rest. He finds pretences of
friendship the best expedients to convey treachery, as poysons
are easiest given in meat and drink, that are taken for pre-
servation. He embraces and hugs a man like a wrestler, when
he intends to overthrow him, and break his neck, if it be in his




IS one, that has an inclination to wit and knowledge, but being
not born nor bred to it takes evil courses, and will rather
steal and pilfer, than appear to want, or be without it. He
makes no conscience how he comes by it, but with a felonious
intention will take, and bear away any man's goods, he can lay
his hands on. He is a wit-sharke, that has nothing of his own,
but subsists by shifting, and filching from others. He comes by
his wit, as some do by their money, that are said to live by
their wits, that spend at a high rate, and no body knows how
they come by it. He is a spirit, that steals the children of
other mens brains, and puts them off for his own ; a wit-caper,
that will venture upon any thing he can master, and bear it away
a lawful prize. He knows not what invention means, unless it
be to take whatsoever he finds in his way, which he makes no
scruple to do, because very few will enquire, whether he came
honestly by it, and no aftion of trover lyes against him. He
accounts invention and thievery all one, because Mercury is
equally Lord of both, and in that he owns him for his
ascendant, but in nothing else. As soon as he has lighted upon
a purchase, he presently commits it to writing, and to that
purpose always carrys pen and ink-horn about him, which are
his horn-thimble and knife, with which he dispatches matters
neatly, and conveys them away without being discover'd.
Notwithstanding all his industry he never prospers ; for as goods
ill gotten never thrive, so his cheats being so inconsiderable,
that they are neither allow'd, nor punish'd by the laws of the
land, they never amount to any thing ; and commonly he leaves
the world, like imposters of the same quality, with beggary and
infamy : for tho' the world be but an ill judge, yet it is so just,
as in process of time to see its error, and cast off that with
contempt and scorn, which it at first admir'd. For all im-
postures pass, till time and truth bring in evidence against them ;
and then they vanish of themselves, and never appear, till they
are forgotten, and put on some new disguise. For of so many
bastards, as have at all ages been laid at the world's door, we



find nothing surviving, but only the names of some few^ branded
with infamy ; while those that are legitimate and true born last
from age to age ; as the stomach sometimes receives unwhole-
some food with an appetite, but afterwards finding it hard of
digestion, grows sick of it, and casts it ofF of its own accord,
and retains only that, which is agreable to its own nature. He
is like an Italian thief, that never robs, but he murthers, and
endeavours to destroy the reputation of those he steals from,
that it may not rise up in judgment, and bring in evidence
against him. He is not taken, but apprehended for a wit,
merely upon suspicion, though wrongfully enough, for his own
conscience knows he is innocent enough that way. He commits
all manner of thieveries from the Kings highway to petty
larcenies ; and as he that came off for stealing two horses,
because the statute made it felony to steale a horse, that is one
horse, the more thieveries he commits, the better he thrives and
prospers. He steals mens wit, which the law setting no value
on, it will not bear an inditement, and so he comes off clear,
without putting himself to the hazard of God and his country.
He adopts other mens writings for his own, especially orphans,
that have no body to look after them, having no issue legitimate
of his own. All his works are like instruments in law ; what
other men write he owns as his own aft and deed. He is like
a cuckow, that lives by sucking other birds eggs.


IS a representatif by his calling, a person of all qualities ; and
though his profession be to counterfeit, and he never means
what he says, yet he endeavours to make his words and anions
always agree. His labour is to play, and his bus'nes to turn
passion into aftion. The more he dissembles, the more he is
in earnest, and the less he appears him self, the truer he is to his
profession. The more he deceives men, the greater right he
does them ; and the plainer his dealing is, the less credit he
deserves. He assumes a body like an apparition, and can turn
himself into as many shapes as a witch. His buisness is to be
somebody else, and he is never him self, but when he has nothing
to do. He gets all he speaks by heart, and yet never means



what he says. He is said to enter when he comes out, and to
go out when he goes in. When he is off the stage he afts a
gentleman ; and in that only makes his own part himself.
When he plays love and honour in effigie, the Ladies take him
at his word, and fall in love with him in earnest ; and, indeed,
they may be truly said to fall in love, considering how much he
is below them. This blows him up with so much vanity, that
he forgets what he is, and as he deluded them, so they do him.
He is like a motion made by clockwork, the Poet winds him
up, and he walks and moves till his part is run down, and then
he is quiet. He is but a puppet in great, which the poet squeaks
to, and puts into what posture he pleases ; and though his call-
ing be but ministerial to his author, yet he assumes a magistery
over him, because he sets him on work, and he becomes subordi-
nate accordingly. He represents many excellent virtues, as
they light in his part, but knows no more of them than a pifture
does whom it resembles. His profession is a kind of metamor-
phosis, to transform himself out of one shape into another, like
a taylors sheet of paper, which he folds into \_there is a space left
here in MS.'\ figures.

It is not strange that the world is so delighted with fiftion,
and so averse to truth, since the mere imitation of a thing is
more pleasant than the thing it self, as a good pidure of
a bad face is a better objeft than the face itself. All ornament
and dress is but disguise, which plain and naked truth does never
put on. Whores and cutpurses tiock to him to ply for employ-
ment; and he is as useful to them as a mountebank is to an
applewoman. He is an operator of wit and dramatic poetry,
and Jan Gricuss to the Muses. His prime qualifications are
the same with those of a lyar, confidence and a good memory ;
as for wit he has it at second hand, like his cloaths. The ladies
take his counterfeit passions in earnest, and accompany him
with their devotions, as holy sisters do a gifted hypocrite at his
holding-forth, and when he gives the false alarm of a fight they
are as much concern'd, as if he were in real danger, or the
worst were not past already. They are more taken with his
mock love and honour, than if it were real, and, like ignorant
dealers, part with right love and honour for it. His applause
and commendation is but a kind of manufacture form'd by



clapping of hands; and though it be no more than men [set]
dogs together by the ears with, yet he takes it as a testimony of
his merit, and sets a value on himself accordingly. His harvest
is the spring and winter, when he gets that which maintains
him in the summer and autumn. A great plague is terrible to
him, but a thorough-reformation much more; in the one he is
but suspended, but by the other abolish'd root and branch.


SWELLS and grows big with a false conception, a mooncalf
of vanity, which she will never be deliver'd of. She is
made like a glass by being blown up and puft into a thin, brittle,
empty, hollow piece of pride and vanity. She sets so great a
value upon her precious self, that she can allow nobody else any
at all. She needs no flattery ; for she can do her self that service
without being beholden to any other; for all her vices are of her
own growth, and lye so conveniently within them selves, that
they need no outward support. She loves humility in others as
much as she hates it in herself; and endures nothing with more
impatience than to miss of it anywhere but at home. Her
original sin is the same with the Devil's, pride and arrogance;
and she derives it rather from his fall, than the fall of Man.
She has a strong faith in her own superabundant merits, and
treats all people as if they were to be saved by them. She agrees
with the Devil most exadfly hoth in the doftrine and discipline
of pride and insolence, according to the custom of the most
ancient and primitive times of his apostasy. She is a secular
IVhore of Babylon, and believes herself to be as good a woman
as Pope Joan, no disparagement. She is very conscientious in
one thing, and that is in keepiqg of state and distance; for
happy are they that never come near her, or are soon deliver'd
from her ; for there is nothing tolerable of her, but that she is
vain and perishable. Her mind is swell'd with a. tympany of
vicious humours, that render he;- a monster of a kind, that
Nature never purpos'd, nor design'd. Sh is cloath'd in jewels,
but they all look upon her as if they were ill set, and were the
very same with that which ^Esop's cock found in a dunghil.




IS as able a sinner, as any of his forefathers the "J ewes was,
under the Devil. He pretends the kings pressing occasions,
when he exafts, and grates upon the people, and the people's
pressing wants, while he delays, and endeavours to defraud the
icing: and very artificuly makes both cheates confederate to
relieve one another by turns, and support him in the abuse of
both king and people too. He finds that the public money is
like a common woman, which every man may make free use of,
that can get her in his hands, and that when he can keep her
no longer, it will be time enough to part with her, and before
too soon. If he took no more than his allowance, he would
gain nothing by his delays; but he has a chymical trick of
projei^lion to multiply it by putting it out, as the eel-bouts in
the Thames are more than maintaind by the growth of the eels,
when they lie upon their hands, and will not go off at a con-
siderable rate. As soon as he receives the public money he lets
it out to the bankers, like a common hackney, to earn more:
for nothing breeds money like money ; and when it is well
husbanded, and lights in a fruitful soil, yields a very great increase,
as all seeds multiply their own kind. When he has receiv'd
money and given a discharge for it, if the acquittance happens
to be lost (as among so many some cannot but miscarry) he
demands it again, and pretending his own forgetfulness makes
them pay it over again for theirs; for which purpose he keeps
several books, that if one be crost, like a christian, and will not
bear false witness, he may have another ready, in which his own
hand will not like Sodom and Gomorha^ rise up in judgment
against him. He understands the law as learnedly as one that
has been thrice in Newgate^ and mooted in his own case. He
has a slight to pass the ordeal trial bareheaded, and comes off
without tlie least visible singe to appear against him the next
time. He cures the kings-evil by wearing his money about his
neck, and finds it the only preservative against all hard swellings




PICKS a quarrel, as a cutpurse does a pocket, to rob a man
of his reputation, and get it to himself. He is a false
interpreter of another man's words and adtions, and wrests
them always against sense and himself, expounds them against
their true meaning to his own injury, and picks a quarrel with
himself, as many things are made witty by the apprehenders,
that were never meant so by them that spoke them. He sets
so great a value upon himself, that no man is able to come up
to it ; and therefore whatsoever is said or done to him he
expounds as an undervaluing and disparagement of his high and
mighty merits. He interprets everything, not as he is pleas'd,
but as he is displeas'd, and does not take, but snaps occasion,
before it is ofFer'd him. The more his adversary gives way to
his heat, the more adverse he is to pacification ; and the more
intercession is us'd, the more violently he prosecutes his
pretences. He shews his antagonist the length of his tongue,
as a dog, when he quarrels, does the length of his teeth ; but
forbears to commit any aft of open hostility, unless he finds he
has the advantage, and is sure of present accomodation. He is
as jealous of his honour as if it had plai'd false with him, and
were no better than it should be ; or were so ticklish, that it
will not endure to be touch'd ever so gently. He is so tender
and nice of his reputation, as if it were sore and so full of pain,
that it is impatient of anything that comes near it. He stands
upon his punftilios, as if he were embassador from some foreign
prince, and were to answer and make good every sample of his
honour, whom he represents, with his life. If the enemy be
formidable he is very cautious of proceeding to the lye, which
is alway the signal of giving battle, otherwise the sooner the
better ; for he that calls Son of a whore first is eldest hand, and
has the advantage, in all equal chances, of the encounter. He
complains much of a strange face, and can no more endure it than
a cur can a stranger, but always quarrels at first sight, as the
ancient Latins call'd strangers and enemies by the same name.
His pundilios of honour are as subtle as the point of his sword,



which he disputes them with ; and he will rather be run through
with the one than suffer the other to be contrould. He is an
espouser of quarrels, and will marry any living thing that lights
in his way.


IS an under-gamester, that frequents ordinaries, where dice
are cast, as other rooks do fields, where corn is sown.
There goes a great deal of art and Science to render a man
compleat in his calling, that is able by cunning observation of
the running of the dice to lay his wager judiciously on the race,

Online LibrarySamuel ButlerCharacters and passages from note-books → online text (page 22 of 43)