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Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before.

This sort of writing is finely burlesqued by Swift :

Her hands the softest ever felt,
Though cold would burn, though dry would melt.

Strephon and Chloe.

Taking a word in a different sense from what is meant, comes under wit, because it occasions some slight degree of surprise :

Beatrice. I may sit in a corner, and cry Heigh ho! for a husband.

Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.

Beatrice. I would rather have one of your father's getting. Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.

Much ado about Nothing, Act II. Sc. 5.

Falstaff. My honest lads, I will tell you what I am about. Pistol. Two yards and more.

Falstaff. No quips, now, Pistol : indeed I am in the waist two yards about; but I am now about no waste ; I am about thrift.

Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I. Sc.7.

Lord Sands. -By your leave, sweet ladies,
If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me :
I had it from my father.

Anne Bullen. Was he mad, Sir!

Sands. O, very mad, exceeding mad, in love too ; But he would bite none.

K. Yenry VIII.

An assertion that bears a double meaning, one right, one wrong, but so introduced as to direct us to the wrong meaning, is a species of bastard wit, which is distinguished from all others by the name pun. For example,

Paris.Sweet Helen, I must woo you,
To help unarm our Hector: his stubborn buckles,
With these your white enchanting fingers touch'd,
Shall more obey, than to the edge of steel,
Or force of Greekish sinews; you shall do more
Than all the island Kings, disarm great Hector.

Troilus and Cressida, Act III. Sc. 2. The pun

is in the close. The word disarm has a double meaning: it signifies to take off a man's ar. mour, and also to subdue him in fight. We are directed to the latter sense by the context; but, with regard to Helen, the word holds only true in the former sense. I go on with other examples :

Esse nihil dicis quicquid petis, improbe Cinna:
Si nil, Cinna, petis, nil tibi, Cinna, nego.

Martial, 1. iii. epigr. 61.
Jocondus geminum imposuit tibi, Sequana, pontem ;
Hunc tu jure potes dicere pontificem.

Sanazarius. N. B. Jocondus was a monk. Chief Justice. Well! the truth is, Sir John, you live in great infamy.

Falstaff. He that buckles him in my belt cannot live in less.

Chief Justice. Your means are very slender, and your waste

is great.

Falstaff. I would it were otherwise : I would my means were greater, and my waist slenderer.

Second Part, Henry IV. Act I. Sc. 1. Celia. I pray you bear with me,

I can go no further. Clown. For my part, I had rather bear with you than bear you : yet I should bear no cross if I did bear you; for I think you have no money

your purse.

As you like it, Act II. Sc. 4.
He that imposes an oath makes it,
Not he that for convenience takes it;
Then how can any man be said
To break an oath he never made?

Hudibras, Part II. Canto ii.

The seventh satire of the first book of Horace is purposely contrived to introduce at the close a most execrable pun. Talking of some infamous wretch whose name was Rex Rupilius,

Persius exclamat, Per magnos, Brute, deos te
Oro, qui reges consueris tollere, cur non
Hunc regem jugulas? Operum hoc, mihi crede, tuorum est.

Though playing with words is a mark of a mind at ease, and disposed to any sort of amusement, we must not thence conclude that playing with words is always ludicrous. Words are so intimately connected with thought, that if the subject be really grave, it will not appear ludicrous even in that fantastic dress. I am, bowever, far from recommending it in any serious performance : on the contrary, the discordance between the thought and expression must be disagreeable; witness the following specimen.

He hath abandoned his physicians, Madam, under whose practices he hath persecuted time with hope: and finds no other advantage in the process, but only the losing uf hope by time.

All's well that ends well, Act I. Sc. 1.

K. Henry. O my poor kingdom, sick with civil blows!
When that my care could not withhold thy riots,
What wilt thou do when riot is thy care?

Second Part, K. Henry IV. If any one shall observe, that there is a third species of wit, different from those mentioned, con. sisting in sounds merely, I am willing to give it place. And indeed it must be admitted, that many of Hudibras's double rhymes come under the definition of wit given in the beginning of this chapter: they are ludicrous, and their singularity occasions some degree of surprise. Swift is no less success.

ful than Butler in this sort of wit; witness the following instances : Goddess-Boddice. PlinyNicolini. Iscariots-Chariots. Mitre-Nitre, Dragon-Suffragan.

A repartee may happen to be witty : but it cannot be considered as a species of wit ; because there are many repartees extremely smart, and yet extremely serious. I give the following example. A certain petulant Greek, objecting to Anacharsis that he was a Scythian : True, says Anacharsis, my country disgraces me, but you disgrace your country. This fine turn gives surprise ; but it is far from being ludicrous.


Custom and Habit.

VIEWING man as under the influence of novelty, would one suspect that custom also should influence him ? and yet our nature is equally susceptible of each; not only in different objects, but frequently in the same. When an object is new, it is enchanting: familiarity renders it indifferent; and custom, after a longer familiarity, makes it again disagreeable. Human nature, diversified with many and various springs of action, is wonderfully, and, indulging the expression, intricately constructed.

Custom hath such influence upon many of our feelings, by warping and varying them, that we must attend to its operations if we would be acquainted with human nature. This subject, in itself obscure, has been much neglected ; and a complete analysis of it would be no easy task. I pretend only to touch it cursorily; hoping, how, ever, that what is here laid down, will dispose di. ligent inquirers to attempt further discoveries.

Custom respects the action, habit the agent. By custom we mean a frequent reiteration of the same act; and by habit, the effect that custom bas on the agent. This effect may be either active, witness the dexterity produced by custom in performing certain exercises; or passive, as when a thing makes an impression on us different from what it did originally. The latter only, as relative to the sensitive part of our nature, comes under the present undertaking.

This subject is intricate : some pleasures are fortified by custom; and yet custom begets familiarity, and consequently indifference :* in many instances, satiety and disgust are the consequences of reiteration : again, though custom blunts the edge of distress and of pain, yet the want of any thing to which we have been long accustomed, is a sort of torture. A clue to guide us through all the intricacies of this labyrinth, would be an acceptable present.

Whatever be the cause, it is certain that we are much influenced by custom : it hath an effect upon our pleasures, upon our actions, and even upon our thoughts and sentiments. Habit makes no figure during the vivacity of youth: in middle age it gains ground; and in old age governs without con. troul. In that period of life, generally speaking,

* If all the year were playing holidays,

To sport would be as tedious as to work:
But when they seldom come, they wish'd for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.

First part, Henry IV. Act I. Sc. 3.

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