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MEMOIRS

OF

MARTINUS SCRIBLERUS.

BOOK I. CHAP. I.

Of the Parentage and Family of Scriblerus, how he was begot, what Care was taken of him before he was born, and what Prodigies attended his Birth.

IN the city of Munster in Germany, lived a grave

and learned Gentleman, by Profeffion an Antiquary; who, among all his invaluable Curiofities, efteemed none more highly, than a skin of the true Pergamenian

Memoirs] Mr. Pope, Dr. Arbuthnot, and Dr. Swift projected to write a fatire, in conjunction, on the abufes of human learning; and to make it the better received, they propofed to do it in the manner of Cervantes (the original author of this fpecies of fatire) under the hiftory of fome feigned adventures. They had obferved those abufes ftill kept their ground against all that the ablest and gravest Authors could say to difcredit them; they concluded therefore, the force of ridicule was wanting to quicken their difgrace; which was here in its place, when the abufes had been already detected by fober reafoning; and Truth in no danger to fuffer by the premature ufe of fo powerful an inftrument. But the feparation of our Author's friends, which foon after happened, with the death of one, and the infirmities of the other, put a final ftop to their project, when they had only drawn out an imperfect effay towards it, under the title of the First book of the Memoirs of Scriblerus.

Polite letters never loft more than in the defeat of this scheme, in which each of this illuftrious triumvirate would have found exercife for his own peculiar talent; befides conftant employment for that they all had in common. Dr. Arbuthnot was fkilled in every thing which related to fcience; Mr. Pope was a mafter in the fine arts; and Dr. Swift excelled in the knowledge of the world. they had all in equal meafure, and this fo large, that no age perhaps ever produced three men, to whom Nature had more bountifully bestowed it, or Art brought it to higher perfection.

WIT.

Parchment, which hung at the upper end of his hall. 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 Bombaftus, and the famous Scaligers in old time Princes of Verona), and deduced even from the times of the Elder Pliny to Cornelius Scriblerus; for fuch was the name of this venerable Personage; whose 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 reafon only he espoused; but because she was undoubted daughter either of the great Scriverius, or of Gafpar Barthius. It happened on a time the faid Gafpar made a visit to Scriverius at Haerlem, taking with him a comely lady of his acquaintance, who was fkilful in the Greek tongue, of whom the learned Scriverius became fo enamoured, as to inebriate his friend, and be familiar with his Mistress. I am not ignorant of what Columefius affirms, that the learned Barthius was not fo overtaken, but he perceived it; and in Revenge fuffered this unfortunate Gentlewoman to be drowned in the Rhine at her return. But Mrs. Scriblerus (the iffue of that amour) was a living proof of the falfehood of this Report. Dr. Cornelius was farther induced to his marriage, from the certain information that the aforefaid Lady, the mother of his wife, was related to Cardan on the father's fide, and to Aldrovandus cn. the mother's: Befides which, her Ancestors had been profeffors of Phyfic, Aftrology, or Chemistry, in German Univerfities, from generation to generation.

With this fair Gentlewoman had our Doctor lived in a comfortable Union for about ten years: But this our

*Columefius relates this from Ifaac Voffius, in his Opufcul.

2

F. 102.

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feber 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 blessed them with any iffue. This was the utmoft grief to the good man; efpecially confidering what exact precautions and methods he had ufed to procure that Bleffing: for he never had cohabitation with his Spouse but he pondered on the Rules of the Ancients, for the generation of Children of Wit. He ordered his diet according to the prescription of Galen, confining himself and his wife for almoft the whole first year to Goat's Milk and Honey. It unfortunately befel her, when he was about four months gone with child, to long for fomewhat, which that Author inveighs against as prejudicial to the understanding of the infant. This her hufband thought fit to deny her, affirming, it was better to be childless, than to become the Parent of a Fool. His wife mifcarried; but as the Abortion proved only a female Fœtus, he comforted himself, that, had it arrived to perfection, it would not have answered his account; his heart being wholly fixed upon the learned Sex. However he difdained not to treasure up the Embryo in a Vial, among the curiofities of his family.

Having discovered that Galen's prefcription could not determine the fex, he forthwith betook himself to Ariftotle. Accordingly he with-held the nuptial embrace when the wind was in any point of the South; this † Author afferting that the groffnefs and moisture of the foutherly winds occafion the procreation of females, and not of males. But he redoubled his diligence when the wind was at Weft, a wind on which

Galen. Lib. de Cibis boni et mali fucci, cap 3.
Arift. xiv. Sect. Prob. 5.

that great philofopher bestowed the Encomiums of Fatner of the earth, Breath of the Elyfian Fields, and other: glorious Elogies. 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 thefe regulations, his wife, to his unexpreffible. joy, grew pregnant a fecond time; and (what was no fmall addition to his happiness) he just then came to the poffeffion of a confiderable Estate by the death of her` Uncle, a wealthy Jew, who refided at London. This made it neceffary for him to take a journey to England; nor would the care of his posterity let him fuffer his Wife to remain behind him. During the voyage, he was perpetually taken up on the one hand how to employ his great Riches, and on the other how to educate his child. He had already determined to fet apart feveral annual Sums, for the recovery of Manufcripts, the effoflion of Coins, the procuring of Mummies; and forall thofe curious difcoveries by which he hoped to become (as himself was wont to say) a fecond Peireskius*. He had already chalked out all poffible schemes for the improvement of a male child, yet was fo far prepared for the worst that could happen, that before the nine months were expired, he had compofed two Treatifes of Education; the one he called, A Daughter's Mirrour, and the other A Son's Monitor.

This is all we can find relating to Martinus, while he was in his mother's womb, excepting that he was entertained there with a Concert of Mufic once in twentyfour hours, according to the custom of the Magi: and that on a particular day, he was obferved to leap and

There was a great deal of trifling pedantry and curiosity in that great Man's character.

Ramfey's Cyrus. It was with judgment that the Authors

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