Page images
PDF
EPUB

this Child in Greek at eight years old *; and at four: teen he composed a Tragedy in the fame language, as the younger + Pliny had done before him.

He learned the Oriental Languages of Erpenius, who resided some time with his Father for that purpose. He kad so early a relish for the Eastern way of writing, that even at this time he composed (in imitation of it) the Thousand and One Arabian Tales, and also the Persian Tales, which have been fince translated into several languages, and lately into our own with particular elegance, by Mr. Ambrose Philips. In this work of his childhood, he was not a little affifted by the hiftorical Traditions of his Nurse.

CHAP. V.

P.

A Differtation upon Play-things.

HERE
ERE follow the Instructions of Cornelius Scriblerus

concerning the Plays and Play-things to be used by his fon Martin,

Play was invented by the. Lydians as a remedy a“ gainst Hunger. Sophocles fay's of Palamedes, that he « invented Dice to serve sometimes instead of a Dinner. “ It is therefore wisely contrived by Nature, that “ Children, as they have the keenest Appetites, are most « addicted to Plays. From the same cause, and from ( thenprejudiced and incorrupt fimplicity of their “ minds it proceeds, that the Plays of the Ancient

* So Montaigne fays of his Latin. George Bucanán et Mark Antoine Muret, mes precepteurs domestiques, m'ont dit souvent que j'avois ce language en mon enfance si prest et si à main qu'ils craignoient a m'accoster. somme, nous nous latinizames tant, qu'il en regorgea jusqu'à nos villages tout autour, ou il y a encores, et ont pris pied par l'usage, plusieurs appellacions Latines d'Artisans et d'outils. + Plin. Epift. lib. vii, M 2

66 Children

“ Children are preserved more entire than any other of < their Cuftoms *. In this matter I would recommend “ to all who have any concern in my Son's Education, “ that they deviate not in the leaft from the primitive “ and simple Antiquity.

" To speak first of the Whiffle, as it is the first of all 6 Play-things. I will have it exactly to correspond “ with the ancient Fistula, and accordingly to be com“ posed feptem paribus disjunéta cicutis.

* I heartily wish a diligent search may be made after " the true Crepitaculum or Rattle of the Ancients, for that “ (as Archytas Tarentinus was of opinion) kept the Child“ ren from breaking Earthen Ware. The China cups in " the e days are not at all the safer for the modern Rat« tles; which is an evident proof how far their crepita66 cula exceeded ours.

“ I would not have Martin as yet to scourge a Top, " till I am better informed whether the Trochus, which " was recommended by Cato, be really our present Top, " or rather the Hoop which the boys drive with a stick. “ Neither Cross and Pile, nor Ducks and Drakes are quite “ fo ancient as Handy-dandy, though Macrobius and St. . Augustine take notice of the first, and Minutius Fæos lix describes the latter;- but Handy-dandy is mentioned " by Aristotle, Plato, and Ariftophanes.

“ The Play which the Italians call Cinque, and the “ French Mourre, is extremely ancient; it was played at " by Hymen and Cupid at the Marriage of Psyché, and " termed by the Latins, digitis micare.

Julius Pollux describes the Omilla or Chuck farthing : " though some will have our modern Chuck-farthing to be 6c nearer the Aphetinda of the Ancients. He also men« tions the Basilinde, or King I am; and Nixinda, or Hoopers-hide.

[ocr errors]

* Dr. Arbuthnot used to say, that notwithstanding all the boasts of the fafe conveyance of Tradition, it was no where preserved pure and uricorrupt but ainongst Childıen ; whose Games and Plays are delivered down invariably from one generation to another,

But

[ocr errors]

." But the Chytrinda described by the fame Author is

certainly not our Hot-cockle; for that was by pinching 5 and not by striking; though there are good authors “ who affirm the Rathapygismus to be yet nearer the mo• dern Hot-cockles. My son Martin may use either of 56 them indifferently, they being equally antique.

Building of Houses, and Riding upon Sticks, have been “ used by children of all ages, Ædificare casas, «quitare in 46 arundine longa. Yet I much doubt whether the riding upon Sticks did not come into use after the

age

of thg © Centaurs.

6. There is one Play which shews the gravity of an56. cient Education, called the Acinetinda, in which child

ren contended who could longest stand fill. This we “ have suffered to perish entirely; and, if I might be " allowed to guess, it was certainly first loft among the 66 French.

66. I will permit my Son to play at Apodidafcinda, which can be no other than our Puss in a Corner.

6 Julius Pollux, in his ninth book, speaks of the Malolonthe or the Kite; but I question whether the Kite of * Antiquity was the same with ours; and though the

Optuloxotíz or Quail-fighting is what is most taken notice « of, they had doubtless Cock-matches also, as is evident « from certain ancient Gems and Relievos.

“ In a word, let my Son Martin disport himself at

any Game truly antique, except one, which was inis

vented by a People among the Thracians, who hung “ up one of their Companions in a rope, and gave him a

a Knife to cut himself down; which if he failed in, " he was suffered to hang till he was dead; and this was « only reckoned a fort of joke. I am utterly against " this, as barbarous and cruel.

"I cannot conclude, without taking notice of the “ beauty of the Greek names, whose etymologies acquaint “ us with the nature of the sports; and how infinitely, “ both in sense and sound, they excel our barbarous « names of Plays."

Noto

Notwithstanding the foregoing injunctions of Dr. Cor. Aelius, he yet condescended to allow the Child the use of some few modern Play-things; such as might prove

of any

benefit to his mind, by inftilling an early notion of the sciences. For example, he found that Marbles taught him Percuffion, and the Laws of Motion ; Nut-crackers, the use of the Leaver ; Swinging on the ends of a board, the Balance; Bottle-fcrews, the Vice; Whirligigs, the Axis and Peritrochia ; Bird-cages, the Pully; and Tops the Centrifugal motion.

Others of his sports were farther carried to improve his tender foul even in Virtue and Morality. We shall only instance one of the moft useful and instructive, Bobcherry, which teaches at once two noble Virtues, Patience and Constancy; the first in adhering to the pursuit of one end, the latter in bearing a disappointment.

Besides all these, he taught him as a diversion, an odd and secret manner of Stealing, according to the Custom of the Lacedæmonians; wherein he succeeded so well, that he practised it to the day of his death.

C H A P. VÌ.

Of the Gymnasticks, in what Exercises Martinus was

educated; something concerning Music, and what fort of a Man his Uncle was.

NOR

OR was Cornelius less careful in adhering to the

rules of the purest Antiquity, in relation to the Exercises of his Son.

He was stript, powder'd, and anointed, but not conftantly bath'd, which occasioned many heavy complaints of the Laundress about dirtying his linen. When he played at Quoits, he was allowed his Breeches and Stockings; because the Discoboli (as Cornelius well knew) were naked to the middle only. The Mother often contended for modern Sports, and

I

common

common Customs, but this was his constant reply, “ Let “ a Daughter be the Care of the Mother, but the Edu« cation of a Son should be the Delight of his Father.'

It was about this time, he heard, to his exceeding content, that the Harpaflus of the Ancients was yet in use in Gornwall, and known there by the name of Hurling. He was fenfible the common Foot-ball was a very imperfe& imitation of that exercise; and thought it necessary to fend Martin into the West, to be initiated in that truly ancient and manly part of the Gymnasticks, The poor boy was so unfortunate as to return with a broken leg. This Cornelius looked upon but as a slight ailment, and promised his Mother he would instantly cure it: He flit a green Reed, and cast the Knife upward, then tying the two parts of the Reed to the difjointed place, pronounced these words *, Daries, daries, aftataries, dissunapiter ; buat, hanat, huat, ifta, pista, fifta, domi abo, damnauftra. But finding, to his no small aftonishment, that this had no effect, in five days he condescended to have it fet by a modern Surgeon.

Mrs. Scriblerus, to prevent him from expofing her son to the like dangerous Exercises for the future, proposed to fend for a Dancing-mafter, and to have him taught the Minuet and Rigadoon. Dancing (quoth Corne« lius) ! much approve, for Socrates said the beft Dancers

were the best warriors; but not those species of “ Dancing which you mention : They are certainly “ Corruptions of the Comic and Satyric Dance, which “ were utterly disliked by the founder Ancients. Mar« ţin fhall learn the Tragic Dance only, and I will send. “ all over Europe, till I find an Antiquary able to in6 ftruct him in the Saltatio Pyrrhica. Scaliger t, from

whom

Plin. Hift. Nat. lib. xvii. in fine. Carmen contra luxata membra, cu. jus verba inserere non cquidem serio ausim, quanquam a Catone prodita. Vid. Cason, de re ruf. C. 160.

+ Scal Poetic. 1. x. c.9. Hanc faltationem Pyrrhicam, non fæpe et diu justu Bonifacii parrui, coram Divo Maximiliano, non fine stupore totius Guru

« PreviousContinue »