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Eloquence, and the extent of his Learning; but he was more particularly pleased with the laft, as it nearly resembled what happened at the birth of Homer*,
CHA P. II.
The Speech of Cornelius over his Son, at the Hour of
No sooner was the cry of the Infant heard, but the
old gentleman rushed into the room, and snatching it into his arms, examined every limb with attention. He was infinitely pleased to find, that the child had the Wart of Cicero, the wry neck of Alexander, knot upon his legs like Marius, and one of them shorter than the other, like Agefilaus. The good Cornelius also hoped he would come to stammer like Demosthenes, in order to be as eloquent; and in time arrive at many other defects of famous men. He held the child so long, that the Midwife, grown out of all patience, snatched it from his arms, in order to swaddle it. “Swaddle him! (quoth “ he) far be it from me to submit to such a 'pernicious “ Custom ! Is not iny fon a Man and is not Man the “ Lord of the universe ? Is it thus you use this Mo“ narch at his first arrival in his dominions, to manacle w and shackle him hand and foot ? Is this what you “ call to be free-born? If you have no regard to his “ natural Liberty, at least have some to his natural “ Faculties. Behold with what agility he spreadeth his " Toes, and moveth them with aş great variety as his
fingers ! a power which, in the small circle of a year, “ may be totally abolished, by the enormous confine“ ment of shoes and stockings. His Ears (which other
* Vid Eustath. in Odysl. 1. xii. ex Alex. Paphio, et Lco. Allat. de patr,
Hom p. 45
“ animals turn with great advantage towards the fono“ rous object) may, by the ministry of some accursed “ Nurse, for ever lie flat and immoveable. Not fo the " Ancients, they could move them at pleasure, and “ accordingly are often described arrečtis auribus." - What a devil (quoth the Midwife) would you have
your son move his ears like a Drill?” “ Yes, fool, “ (said he) why should he not have the perfection of a “ Drill, or of any other animal?"
Mrs. Scriblerus, who lay all this while fretting at her husband's discourse, at last broke out to this purpose. “ My dear, I have or had many disputes with you upon this subject before 66 I was a month gone : We have but one child, and 16 cannot afford to throw him away upon experiments. 66 I'll have my boy bred uplike other gentlemen, at home, 66 and always under my own eye." All the Gossips, with one voice, cried, Ay, ay; but Cornelius broke out in this manner : “ What, bred at home! Have I taken 66 all this pains for a creature that is to live the inglorious “ life of a Cabbage, to suck the nutritious juices from " the spot where he was first planted ? No; to peram“ bulate this terraqueous Globe is too finall a Range;
were it permitted, he should at least make the Tour of “ the whole system of the Sun. Let other Mortals pore “ upon Maps, and swallow the legends of lying travel66 lers: the son of Cornelius shall make his own Legs “ his Compasses; with those he shall measure Continents, “ Islands, Capes, Bays, Streights, and Isthmuses : He “6 shall himself take the altitude of the highest moun“ tains, from the peak of Derby to the peak of Tene$6 riff; when he has vifited the top of Taurus, Imaus, “ Caucasus, and the famous Ararat, where Noah's “ Ark first moored, he may take a flight view of the “ snowy Riphæans, nor would I have him neglect Athos “ and Olympus, renowned for poetical fictions. Those 56 that vomit fire will deserve a more particular atten66 tion: I will therefore have him observe with great “ care Vesuvius, Ætna, the burning mountain of Java,
«c. but chiefly Hecla, the greatest rarity in the Northern “ Regions. Then he may likewise contemplate the « wonders of the Mephitick cave. When he has dived “ into the bowels of the earth, and surveyed the works “ of Nature under ground, and instructed himself fully " in the nature of Volcanos, Earthquakes, Thunders, “ Tempests, and Hurricanes, I hope he will bless the “ world with a more exact survey of the deserts of Ara“ bia and Tartary, than as yet we are able to obtain: " Then will I have him cross the seven Gulphs, mea" sure the currents in the fifteen famous Streights, and « search for those fountains of fresh water, that are « at the bottom of the Ocean." -At these laft words Mrs. Scriblerus fell into a trembling : The description of this terrible Scene made too violent an impression upon a woman in her condition, and threw her into a ftrong hysteric fit; which might have proved dangerous, if Cornelius had not been pushed out of the room by the united force of the women.
Shewing what befel the Doctor's Son and his Shield, on
the Day of the Chrift'ning.
THE day of the Chrift’ning being come, and the house
filled with Gossips, the Levity of whose Conversation suited but ill with the Gravity of Dr. Cornelius, he caft about how to pass this day more agreeably to his Character ; that is to say, not without some Profitable Conference, nor wholly without observance of some Ancient Custom
He remembered to have read in Theocritus, that the Cradle of Hercules was a Shield : and being poíTessed of an antique Buckler, which he held as a most inestimable Relick, he determined to have the infant laid therein,
and in that manner brought into the Study, to be shown to certain learned men of his acquaintance.
The regard he had for this Shield, had caused him formerly to compile a Dissertation concerning it*, proving from the several properties, and particularly the colour of the Ruft, the exact chronology thereof.
With this treatise, and a moderate supper, he propofed to entertain his Guests; though he had also another design, to have their assistance in the calculation of his Son's Nativity.
He therefore took the Buckler out of a Cafe (in which he always keptit, left it might contract any modern Rust) and intrusted it to his House-maid, with others, that, when the company was come, she should lay the child carefully in it, covered with a mantle of blue Sattin.
The Guests were no sooner seated, but they entered into a warm Debate about the Triclinium, and the manner of Decubitus of the Ancients, which Cornelius broke off in this manner.
“ This Day, my friends, I purpose to exhibit my v fon before you: a Child not wholly unworthy of in< fpe&tion, as he is descended from a Race of Virtuosi. - Let the Physiognomists examine his features; let the “ Chirographifts behold his Palm ; but above all, let “ us consult for the calculation of his Nativity. To this “ end, as the child is not vulgar, I will not present him
in a vulgar manner. He shall be cradled 56 in my Ancient Shield, fo famous through the Uni66 versities of Europe. You all know how I purchased " that invaluable piece of Antiquity, at the great (tho? « indeed inadequate) expence of all the Plate of our fa" mily, how happily I carried it off, and how triumph« antly I transported it hither, to the inexpressible grief " of all Germany. Happy in every circumstance, but " that it broke the heart of the great Melchior In“ fipidus!
16 unto you
See the Differtation on Dr. Woodward's Shield.
Here he stopped his Speech, upon sight of the Maid, who entered the room with the Child: He took it in his arms, and proceeded.
Behold then my Child, but first behold the Shield: « Behold this Ruft,-or rather let me call it this precious
Ærugo,-behold this beautiful varnish of Time,-this o venerable Verdure of so many ages
In speaking these words, he slowly lifted up the Mantle, which covered it, inch by inch ; but at every inch he uncovered, his cheeks grew paler, his hand trembled, his nerves failed, till on fight of the whole, the Tremor became universal : The Shield and the Infant both dropt to the ground, and he had only strength enough to cry out, “ O God! my Shield, my Shield !"
The truth was, the Maid (extremely concerned for the reputation of her own cleanliness, and her young master's honour) had scoured it as clean as her Andirons *
Cornelius funk back on a chair, the Guests ftood astonished, the Infant squal'd, the maid ran in, snatched it up again in her arms, flew into her mistress's room, and told what had happened. Down stairs in an inftant hurried all the Goffips, where they found the Doctor in a Trance: Hungary water, Hartshorn, and the confufed noise of shrill voices, at length awakened him: when, opening his eys, he saw the Shield in the hands of the House-maid. “() Woman; Woman !” he cried, (and fnatched it violently from her) “ was it to thy igno“ rance that this Relick owes its ruin? Where, where is 6 the beautiful crust that covered thee so long ? where " those Traces of Time and Fingers as it were of Anti66 quity ? Where all those bcautiful obscurities, the so cause of much delightful disputation, where doubt and s curiosity went hand in hand, and eternally exercised 6 the speculations of the Learned? And this the rude
* Poor Vadius, long with learned spleen derour'd,
Can taste ng pleasure fince his Shield was fcourd.