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wearing it was so stiff, that it seem'd grown to his Thigh. His whole figure was so utterly unlike any thing of this world, that it was not natural for
any man to ask him a question without bleffing himself first. Those who never saw a Jesuit, took him for one, and others believed him some High Priest of the Jews.
But under this macerated form was conceal'd a Mind replete with Science, burning with a zeal of benefiting his fellow-creatures, and filled with an honest conscious pride, mixt with a scorn of doing, or suffering the least thing beneath the dignity of a Philosopher. Accordingly he had a soul that would not let him accept of
offers of Charity, at the same time that his body seem'd but too much to require it. His lodging was in a small chamber up four pair of stairs, where he regularly payed for what he had when he eat or drank; and he was often observed wholly to abftain from both. He declined speaking to any one, except the Queen, or her first Minister, to whom he attempted to make some applications; but his real business or intentions were utterly unknown to all men.
Thus much is certain, that he was obnoxious to the Queen's Ministry; who, either out of Jealousy or Envy, had him spirited away, and carried abroad as a dangerous person, without any regard to the known Laws of the Kingdom.
One day, as this Gentleman was walking about dinner-time alone in the Mall, it happened that a
Manuscript dropt from under his cloak, which my servant pick'd up, and brought to me. written in the Latin tongue, and contain'd
many most profound secrets, in an unusual turn of reasoning and style. The first leaf was inscribed with these words, Codicillus, seu Liber Memorialis, Martini Scribleri. The Book was of fo wonderful a nature, that it is incredible what a desire I conceived that moment to be acquainted with the Author, who I clearly perceived was some great Philosopher in disguise. I several times endeavoured to speak to him, which he as often industriously avoided. At length I found an opportunity (as he stood under the Piazza by the Dancing-room in St. James's). to acquaint him in the Latin tongue, that his Manuscript was fallen into my hands; and saying this, I presented it to him, with great encomiums on the learned Author. Hereupon he took me afide, survey'd me over with a fixt attention, and opening the clasps of the Parchment cover, spoke (to my great surprize) in English, as follows:
« Courteous stranger, whoever thou art, I em« brace thee as my best friend; for either the Stars “ and my Art are deceitful, or the destin'd time is « come which is to manifest Martinus Scriblerus to “ the world, and thou the person chosen by fate for “ this task. What thou seest in me is a body ex« hausted by the labours of the mind. I have “ found in Dame Nature not indeed an unkind, “ but a very coy Mistress: Watchful nights, anxi“ ous days, sender meals, and endless labours, " must be the lot of all who pursue her, through “ her labyrinths and mæanders. My first vital air “ I drew in this illard (a soil fruitful of Philoso
phers) but my complexion is become adust, and
my body arid, by visiting lands (as the Poet has “ it) alio sub scle celentes.
I have, through my “ whole life, paried under several disguises and un
known names, to skreen myself from the envy es and malice which mankind express against those “ who are possessed of the Arcanum Magnum. But “ at present I am forced to take Sanctuary in the “ British Court, to avoid the Revenge of a cruel
Spaniard, who has pursued me almost through “ the whole terraqueous globe. Being about four
years ago in the City of Madrid in quest of natu“ ral knowledge, I was informed of a Lady who
was marked with a Pomegranate upon the in“ side of her right Thigh, which blossom’d, and,
as it were, seem'd to ripen in the due season. “ Forthwith was I poffeised with an insatiable cu
riosity to view this wonderful Phænomenon. I “ felt the ardour of my passion encrease as the sea“ son advanced, till, in the month of July, I could “ no longer contain. I bribed her Duenna, was « adınitted to the Bath, saw her undress’d, and “ the wonder displayed. This was soon after dif“ covered by the husband, who finding some let
ters I had writ to the Duenna, containing ex
pressions of a doubtful meaning, suspected me “ of a crimie most alien from the Purity of my
Thoughts. Incontinently I left Madrid by the « advice of friends, have been pursued, dogg'd, ~ and way-laid through several nations, and even “ now scarce think myself fecure within the sacred “ walls of this Palace. It has been my good for“ tune to have seen all the grand Phænomena of “ Nature, excepting an Earthquake, which I wait<< ed for in Naples three years in vain ; and now by
means of fome British Ship (whose Colours no Spaniard dare approach“) I impatiently expect
fafe paffage to Jamaica, for that benefit. To " thee, my Friend, whom Fate has marked for
my Historiographer, I leave these
Commenta“ ries, and others of my works. No more---be “ faithful and impartial.”
He soon after performed his promise, and left me the Commentaries, giving me also further lights by many Conferences ; when he was unfortunately snatched away (as I before related) by the jealousy of the Queen's Ministry.
Tho' I was thus to my eternal grief deprived of his conversation, he for some years continued his Correspondence, and communicated to me many of his Projects for the benefit of mankind. He sent me some of his Writings, and recommended
• This marks the time when the Introduction was written.
to my care the recovery of others, stragling about the world, and assumed by other men. The last time I heard from him was on occasion of his Strictures on the Dunciad: since when, several
years being elapsed, I have reason to believe this excellent person is either dead, or carried by his vehement thirst of knowledge into some remote, or perhaps undiscovered Region of the world. In either case, I think it a debt no longer to be delayed, to reveal what I know of this Prodigy of Science, and to give the History of his life, and of his extensive merits to mankind; in which I dare promise the Reader, that, whenever he begins to think any one Chapter dull, the style will be immediately changed in the next.