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No. 035 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

The Impostor, of whom I am speaking, descends Originally from FALSEHOOD, who was the Mother of NONSENSE, who was brought to Bed of a Son called FRENZY, who Married one of the Daughters of FOLLY, commonly known by the Name of LAUGHTER, on whom he begot that Monstrous Infant of which I have been here speaking. I shall set down at length the Genealogical Table of FALSE HUMOUR, and, at the same time, place under it the Genealogy of TRUE HUMOUR, that the Reader may at one View behold their different Pedigrees and Relations.

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I might extend the Allegory, by mentioning several of the Children of FALSE HUMOUR, who are more in Number than the Sands of the Sea, and might in particular enumerate the many Sons and Daughters which he has begot in this Island. But as this would be a very invidious Task, I shall only observe in general, that FALSE HUMOUR differs from the TRUE, as a Monkey does from a Man.

First of all, He is exceedingly given to little Apish Tricks and Buffooneries.

Secondly, He so much delights in Mimickry, that it is all one to him whether he exposes by it Vice and Folly, Luxury and Avarice; or, on the contrary, Virtue and Wisdom, Pain and Poverty.

Thirdly, He is wonderfully unlucky, insomuch that he will bite the Hand that feeds him, and endeavour to ridicule both Friends and Foes indifferently. For having but small Talents, he must be merry where he can, not where he should.

Fourthly, Being entirely void of Reason, he pursues no Point either of Morality or Instruction, but is ludicrous only for the sake of being so.

Fifthly, Being incapable of any thing but Mock-Representations, his Ridicule is always Personal, and aimed at the Vicious Man, or the Writer; not at the Vice, or at the Writing.

I have here only pointed at the whole Species of False Humourists; but as one of my principal Designs in this Paper is to beat down that malignant Spirit, which discovers it self in the Writings of the present Age, I shall not scruple, for the future, to single out any of the small Wits, that infest the World with such Compositions as are ill-natured, immoral and absurd. This is the only Exception which I shall make to the general Rule I have prescribed my self, of attacking Multitudes: Since every honest Man ought to look upon himself as in a Natural State of War with the Libeller and Lampooner, and to annoy them where-ever they fall in his way. This is but retaliating upon them, and treating them as they treat others.


[Footnote 1: that]

[Footnote 2: Wit, in the town sense, is talked of to satiety in Shadwell’s plays; and window-breaking by the street rioters called ‘Scowrers,’ who are the heroes of an entire play of his, named after them, is represented to the life by a street scene in the third act of his ‘Woman Captain.’]

[Footnote 3: are several Impostors]

[Footnote 4: take upon them]

[Footnote 5: Counterfeits]

[Footnote 6: any of these Pretenders]

[Footnote 7: that is about him]