BOOK IV. CONTAINING THE TIME OF A YEAR.
1. Chapter i. Containing five pages of paper.
Containing five pages of paper.
As truth distinguishes our writings from those idle romances which are
filled with monsters, the productions, not of nature, but of
distempered brains; and which have been therefore recommended by an
eminent critic to the sole use of the pastry-cook; so, on the other
hand, we would avoid any resemblance to that kind of history which a
celebrated poet seems to think is no less calculated for the emolument
of the brewer, as the reading it should be always attended with a
tankard of good ale--
While--history with her comrade ale,
Soothes the sad series of her serious tale
For as this is the liquor of modern historians, nay, perhaps their
muse, if we may believe the opinion of Butler, who attributes
inspiration to ale, it ought likewise to be the potation of their
readers, since every book ought to be read with the same spirit and in
the same manner as it is writ. Thus the famous author of Hurlothrumbo
told a learned bishop, that the reason his lordship could not taste
the excellence of his piece was, that he did not read it with a fiddle
in his hand; which instrument he himself had always had in his own,
when he composed it.
That our work, therefore, might be in no danger of being likened to
the labours of these historians, we have taken every occasion of
interspersing through the whole sundry similes, descriptions, and
other kind of poetical embellishments. These are, indeed, designed to
supply the place of the said ale, and to refresh the mind, whenever
those slumbers, which in a long work are apt to invade the reader as
well as the writer, shall begin to creep upon him. Without
interruptions of this kind, the best narrative of plain matter of fact
must overpower every reader; for nothing but the ever lasting
watchfulness, which Homer has ascribed only to Jove himself, can be
proof against a newspaper of many volumes.