BOOK XI. CONTAINING ABOUT THREE DAYS.
1. Chapter i. A crust for the critics.
For, as Martial says, Aliter non fit, Avite, liber. No book can be
otherwise composed. All beauty of character, as well as of
countenance, and indeed of everything human, is to be tried in this
manner. Cruel indeed would it be if such a work as this history, which
hath employed some thousands of hours in the composing, should be
liable to be condemned, because some particular chapter, or perhaps
chapters, may be obnoxious to very just and sensible objections. And
yet nothing is more common than the most rigorous sentence upon books
supported by such objections, which, if they were rightly taken (and
that they are not always), do by no means go to the merit of the
whole. In the theatre especially, a single expression which doth not
coincide with the taste of the audience, or with any individual critic
of that audience, is sure to be hissed; and one scene which should be
disapproved would hazard the whole piece. To write within such severe
rules as these is as impossible as to live up to some splenetic
opinions: and if we judge according to the sentiments of some critics,
and of some Christians, no author will be saved in this world, and no
man in the next.