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BAYES'S RULES FOR COMPOSITION.
Smith. How, sir, helps for wit!
Bayes. Ay, sir, that's my position: and I do here aver, that no man the sun e'er shone upon, has parts sufficient to furnish out a stage, except it were by the help of these my rules.
Smith. What are those rules, I pray?
Bayes. Why, sir, my first rule is the rule of transversion, or regula duplex, changing verse into prose, and prose into verse, alternately, as you please.
Smith. Well, but how is this done by rule, sir?
Bayes. Why thus, sir; nothing so easy, when understood. I take a book in my hand, either at home or elsewhere (for that's all one); if there be any wit in't (as there is no book but has some) I transverse it; that is, if it be prose, put it into verse (but that takes up some time); and if it be verse, put it into prose.
Smith. Methinks, Mr. Bayes, that putting verse into prose, should be called transposing.
Bayes. By my troth, sir, it is a very good notion, and hereafter it shall be so.
Smith. Well, sir, and what d'ye do with it then? Bayes. Make it my own: 'tis so changed that no man can know it-My next rule is the rule of concord, by way of table-book. Pray observe. Smith. I hear you, sir: go on.
Bayes. As thus: I come into a coffeehouse, or some other place where witty men resort; I make as if I minded nothing (do ye mark?) but as soon
as any one speaks-pop, I slap it down, and make that too my own.
Smith. But, Mr. Bayes, are you not sometimes in danger of their making you restore by force, what you have gotten thus by art?
Bayes. No, sir, the world's unmindful; they never take notice of these things.
Smith. But pray, Mr. Bayes, among all your other rules, have you no one rule for invention? Bayes. Yes, sir, that's my third rule: that I have here in my pocket.
Smith. What rule can that be, I wonder?
Bayes. Why, sir, when I have any thing to invent, I never trouble my head about it, as other men do, but presently turn over my book of Drama common-places, and there I have, at one view, all that Persius, Montaigne, Seneca's tragedies, Horace, Juvenal, Claudian, Pliny, Plutarch's Lives, and the rest, have ever thought upon this subject; and so, in a trice, by leaving out a few words, or putting in others of my own-the business is done.
Smith. Indeed, Mr. Bayes, this is as sure and compendious a way of wit as ever I heard of.
Bayes. Sir, if you make the least scruple of the efficacy of these my rules, do but come to the playhouse and you shall judge of them by the effects.But now, pray, sir, may I ask you, how you do when you write?
Smith. Faith, sir, for the most part, I am in pretty good health.
Bayes. Ay, but I mean, what do you do when you write!
Smith. I take pen, ink, and paper, and sit down.
Bayes. Now I write standing; that's one thing: and then another thing is-with what do you prepare yourself?
Smith. Prepare myself! What the devil does the fool mean.
Bayes. Why, I'll tell you now what I do :-If I am to write familiar things, as sonnets to Armida, and the like, I make use of stew'd prunes only; but when I have a grand design in hand, I ever take physic and let blood: for when you would have pure swiftness of thought, and fiery flights of fancy, you must have a care of the pensive part.— In fine, you must purge the belly.
Smith. By my troth, sir, this is a most admirable receipt for writing.
Bayes. Ay, 'tis my secret; and, in good earnest, I think one of the best I have.
Smith. In good faith, sir, and that may very well be.
Bayes. May be, sir! I'm sure on't. Experto erede Roberto. But I must give you this caution, by the way-be sure you never take snuff when you write.
Smith. Why so, sir?
Bayes. Why it spoiled me once one of the sparkishest plays in all England. But a friend of mine, at Gresham College, has promised to help me to some spirit of brains-and that shall do my business. Buckingham.
A JOURNEY TO LONDON DESCRIBED.
Manly. HONEST John!
Moody. Measter Manly! I am glad I ha' fun ye -Well, and how d'ye do, measter?
Manly. I am glad to see you in London, I hope all the good family are well.
Moody. Thanks be praised, your honour, they are all in pretty good heart; thof' we have had a power of crosses upo' the road.
Manly. What has been the matter, John?
Moody. Why, we came up in such a hurry, you mun think, that our tackle was not so tight as it should be.
Manly. Come, tell us all-Pray, how do they travel?
Moody. Why, i' the awld coach, measter; and 'cause my lady loves to do things handsome, to be sure, she would have a couple of cart-horses clapt to the four old geldings, that neighbours might see she went up to London in her coach-and-six; and so Giles Joulter, the ploughman, rides postillion. Manly. And when do you expect them here, John?
Moody. Why, we were in hopes to ha' come yesterday, an' it had no' been that th' awld weazle-belly horse tired: and then we were so cruelly loaden, that the two fore-wheels came crash down at once, in Waggon-rut-lane, and there we lost four hours 'fore we could set things to rights again.
Manly. So they bring all their baggage with the coach, then?
Moody. Ay, ay, and good store on't there isWhy, my lady's gear alone were as much as filled four pormantel trunks, besides the great deal box that heavy Ralph and the monkey sit upon behind.
Manly. Ha, ha, ha !—And pray, how many are they within the coach?
Moody. Why there's my lady and his worship, and the younk 'squoire, and Miss Jenny, and the fat lap-dog, and my lady's maid Mrs. Handy, and Doll Tripe the cook, that's all-only Doll puked a little with riding backward; so they hoisted her into the coach-box, and then her stomach was easy.
Manly. Ha, ha, ha!
Moody. Then you mun think, measter, there was some stowage for the belly, as well as th' back too; children are apt to be famish'd upo' the road; so we had such cargoes of plumb-cake, and baskets of tongues, and biscuits, and cheese, and cold boil'd beef and then, in case of sickness, bottles of cherry-brandy, plague-water, sack, tent, and strong beer so plenty, as made th' awld coach crack again. Mercy upon them! and send them all well to town, I say.
Manly. Ay, and well out on't again, John.
Moody. Measter! you're a wise mon! and for that matter, so am I-Whoam's whoam, I say; I am sure we ha' got but little good e'er sin' we turn'd our backs on't. Nothing but mischief! some devil's trick or other plagued us aw th' day lung. Crack, goes one thing! bawnce goes another! Woa! says Roger-Then, sowse! we are all set fast in a slough. Whaw! criss Miss: Scream!