[ 60 ]

Dominichino, -- the corregiescity of Corregio,
-- the learning of Poussin, -- the airs of
Guido, -- the taste of the Carrachi's, --
or the grand contour of Angelo. ------
Grant me patience, just heaven ! ----
Of all the cants which are canted in this
canting world, ---- though the cant of
hypocrites may be the worst, -- the cant of
criticism is the most tormenting !

  I would go fifty miles on foot, for I
have not a horse worth riding on, to kiss
the hand of that man whose generous
heart will give up the reins of his imagi-
nation into his author's hands, ---- be
pleased he knows not why, and cares
not wherefore.

  Great Apollo ! if thou art in a giving
humour, ---- give me, ---- I ask no more,
but one stroke of native humour, with
             2              a single

[ 61 ]

a single spark of thy own fire along
with it, ---- and send Mercury, with the
rules and compasses, if he can be spared,
with my compliments to ---- no matter.

  Now to any one else, I will undertake
to prove, that all the oaths and impreca-
tions, which we have been puffing off up-
on the world for these two hundred and
fifty years last past, as originals, ---- ex-
cept St. Paul's thumb, ---- God's flesh
and God's fish
, which were oaths mo-
narchical, and, considering who made
them, not much amiss ; and as kings
oaths, 'tis not much matter whether they
were fish or flesh; ---- else, I say, there is
not an oath, or at least a curse amongst
them, which has not been copied over
and over again out of Ernulphus, a thou-
sand times : but, like all other copies,
how infinitely short of the force and spirit

[ 62 ]

of the original ! -- It is thought to be no
bad oath, -- and by itself passes very
well ---- ``G---d damn you.'' ---- Set it
beside Ernulphus's ---- ``God Almighty
the Father damn you, -- God the Son
damn you, -- God the Holy Ghost damn
you,'' -- you see 'tis nothing. -- There
is an orientality in his, we cannot rise up
to : besides, he is more copious in his in-
vention, ---- possess'd more of the excel-
lencies of a swearer, ---- had such a tho-
rough knowledge of the human frame,
its membranes, nerves, ligaments, knit-
tings of the joints, and articulations, --
that when Ernulphus cursed, -- no part es-
caped him. -- 'Tis true, there is something
of a hardness in his manner, -- and, as in
Michael Angelo, a want of grace, ---- but
then there is such a greatness og gusto ! --

  My father, who generally look'd upon

[ 63 ]

every thing in a light very different from
all mankind, ---- would, after all, never
allow this to be an original. ---- He con-
sider'd rather Ernulphus's anathema, as
an institute of swearing, in which, as he
suspected, upon the decline of swearing
in some milder pontificate, Ernulphus, by
order of the succeeding pope, had with
great learning and diligence collected to-
gether all the laws of it; ---- for the same
reason that Justinian, in the decline of the
empire, had ordered his chancellor Tri-
to collect the Roman or civil laws
all together into one code or digest, --
lest through the rust of time, -- and the
fatality of all things committed to oral
tradition, they should be lost to the
world for ever.

  For this reason my father would oft-
times affirm, there was not an oath, from

[ 64 ]

the great and tremendous oath of William
the Conqueror, (By the splendour of God)
down to the lowest oath of a scavenger,
(Damn your eyes) which was not to be
found in Ernulphus. ---- In short, he
would add, -- l defy a man to swear out of

  The hypothesis is, like most of my
father's, singular and ingenious too; ----
nor have I any objection to it, but that
it overturns my own.


  ---- BLESS my soul ! ---- my poor
mistress is ready to faint, ----
and her pains are gone, ---- and the drops
are done, ---- and the bottle of julap is
broke, -- and the nurse has cut her arm,
---- (and I, my thumb, cried Dr. Slop)

[ 65 ]

and the child is where it was, continued
Susannah, ---- and the midwife has fallen
backwards upon the edge of the fender,
and bruised her hip as black as your hat.
---- I'll look at it, quoth Dr. Slop. ----
There is no need of that, replied Susan-
, ---- you had better look at my mis-
tress, ---- but the midwife would gladly
first give you an account how things are,
so desires you would go up stairs and
speak to her this moment.

  Human nature is the same in all pro-

  The midwife had just before been put
over Dr. Slop's head. -- He had not di-
gested it. -- No, replied Dr. Slop, 'twould
be full as proper, if the midwife came
down to me . -- I like subordination,
quoth my uncle Toby, -- and but for it,
  VOL.        E            after

[ 66 ]

after the reduction of Lisle, I know not
what might have become of the garrison
of Ghent, in the mutiny for bread, in the
year Ten. ------ Nor, replied Dr. Slop
(parodying my uncle Toby's hobby-horsi-
cal reflection, though full as hobby-hor-
sically himself) -- do l know, Captain
Shandy, what might have become of the
garrison above stairs, in the mutiny and
confusion I find all things are in at pre-
sent, but for the subordination of fingers
and thumbs to * * * * * * ---- the appli-
cation of which, Sir, under this accident
of mine, comes in so a propos, that with-
out it, the cut upon my thumb might
have been felt by the Shandy family, as
long as the Shandy family had a name.

                          C H A P.

[ 67 ]


LET us go back to the * * * * * *
---- in the last chapter.

  It is a singular stroke of eloquence (at
least it was so, when eloquence flourished
at Athens and Rome, and would be so
now, did orators wear mantles) not to
mention the name of a thing, when you
had the thing about you, in petto, ready
to produce, pop, in the place you want
it. A scar, an axe, a sword, a pink'd-
doublet, a rusty helmet, a pound and a
half of pot-ashes in an urn, or a three-
halfpenny pickle pot, ---- but above all,
a tender infant royally accoutred. -- Tho'
if it was too young, and the oration as
long as Tully's second Philippick, -- it
must certainly have beshit the orator's
             E 2              mantle.

[ 68 ]

mantle. ---- And then again, if too old,
-- it must have been unwieldy and in-
commodious to his action, -- so as to
make him lose by his child almost as
much as he could gain by it. -- Otherwise,
when a state orator has hit the precise age
to a minute, -- hid his BAMBINO in his
mantle so cunningly that no mortal could
smell it, -- and produced it so critically,
that no soul could say, it came in by head
and shoulders, ---- Oh, Sirs ! it has done
wonders. ---- It has open'd the sluices,
and turn'd the brains, and shook the
principles, and unhinged the politicks of
half a nation.

  These feats however are not to be done,
except in those states and times, I say,
where orators wore mantles, -- and pretty
large ones too, my brethren, with some
twenty or five and twenty yards of good

[ 69 ]

purple, superfine, marketable cloth in
them, ---- with large flowing folds and
doubles, and in a great stile of design.
------ All which plainly shews, may it
please your worships, that the decay of
eloquence, and the little good service it
does at present, both within, and without
doors, is owing to nothing else in the
world, but short coats, and the disuse of
trunk-hose. ------ We can conceal nothing
under ours, Madam, worth shewing.

C H A P. XV.

DR. Slop was within an ace of being
an exception to all this argumenta-
tion : for happening to have his green
bays bag upon his knees, when he began
to parody my uncle Toby, ---- 'twas as
good as the best mantle in the world
to him : for which purpose, when he
foresaw the sentence would end in his new
             E 3              invented

[ 70 ]

invented forceps, he thrust his hand into the
bag in order to have them ready to clap
in, where your reverences took so much
notice of the * * * * * *, which had he
managed, -- my uncle Toby had certainly
been overthrown : the sentence and the
argument in that case jumping closely in
one point, so like the two lines which form
the salient angle of a raveline, -- Dr. Slop
would never have given them up ; ----
and my uncle Toby would as soon thought
of flying, as taking them by force : but
Dr. Slop fumbled so vilely in pulling them
out, it took off the whole effect, and what
was a ten times worse evil (for they sel-
dom come alone in this life) in pulling out
his forceps, his forceps unfortunately drew
out the squirt along with it.

  When a proposition can be taken in
two senses, ---- 'tis a law in disputation
That the respondent may reply to which

[ 71 ]

of the two he pleases, or finds most con-
venient for him. ---- This threw the ad-
vantage of the argument quite on my
uncle Toby's side. ---- ``Good God !''
cried my uncle Toby, `` are children
brought into the world with a squirt ?


  ---- UPON my honour, Sir, you
have tore every bit of the skin
quite off the back of both my hands
with your forceps, cried my uncle Toby, --
and you have crush'd all my knuckles in-
to the bargain with them, to a jelly. 'Tis
your own fault, said Dr. Slop, ---- you
should have clinch'd your two fists toge-
ther into the form of a child's head, as I
told you, and sat firm. ---- I did so, an-
swered my uncle Toby. ---- Then the
points of my forceps have not been suffi-
             E 4              ciently

[ 72 ]

ciently arm'd, or the rivet wants closing
-- or else the cut on my thumb has made
me a little aukward, ---- or possibly ---
'Tis well, quoth my father, interrupting
the detail of possibilities, ---- that the ex-
periment was not first made upon my
child's head piece. ---- It would not
have been a cherry stone the worse, an-
swered Dr. Slop. I maintain it, said my
uncle Toby, it would have broke the ce-
rebellum, (unless indeed the skull had
been as hard as a granado) and turned it
all into a perfect posset. Pshaw ! replied
Dr. Slop, a child's head is naturally as
soft as the pap of an apple ; ---- the su-
tures give way, ---- and besides, I could
have extracted by the feet after. ---- Not
you, said she. -- I rather wish you would
begin that way, quoth my father.

  Pray do, added my uncle Toby.
                          C H A P.

[ 73 ]


  ---- AND pray, good woman, after
all, will you take upon you
to say, it may not be the child's hip, as
well as the child's head ? ---- 'Tis most
certainly the head, replied the midwife.
Because, continued Dr. Slop, (turning to
my father) as positive as these old ladies
generally are, ---- 'tis a point very dif-
ficult to know, -- and yet of the greatest
consequence to be known ; ---- because,
Sir, if the hip is mistaken for the head, --
there is a possibility (if it is a boy) that
the forceps  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *.

  ---- What the possibility was, Dr.
Slop whispered very low to my father, and
then to my uncle Toby. ---- There is no

[ 74 ]

such danger, continued he, with the head.
-- No, in truth, quoth my father, -- but
when your possibility has taken place at
the hip, ---- you may as well take off the
head too.

  -- It is morally impossible the reader
should understand this, -- 'tis enough
Dr. Slop understood it ; -- so taking the
green bays bag in his hand, with the help
of Obadiah's pumps, he tripp'd pretty
nimbly, for a man of his size, across the
room to the door, ---- and from the door
was shewn the way, by the good old mid-
wife, to my mother's apartment.


IT is two hours, and ten minutes, --
and no more, ---- cried my father,
looking at his watch, since Dr. Slop and

[ 75 ]

Obadiah arrived, ---- and I know not
how it happens, brother Toby, ----
but to my imagination it seems almost
an age.

  ---- Here ---- pray, Sir, take hold
of my cap, -- nay, take the bell along
with it, and my pantoufles too. ----

  Now, Sir, they are all at your service ;
and I freely make you a present of 'em,
on condition, you give me all your at-
tention to this chapter.

  Though my father said, `` he knew not
``how it happen'd
,'' --- yet he knew very
well, how it happen'd ; ---- and at the
instant he spoke it, was pre-determined in
his mind, to give my uncle Toby a clear
account of the matter by a metaphysical
dissertation upon the subject of duration

[ 76 ]

and its simple modes, in order to shew my
uncle Toby, by what mechanism and men-
surations in the brain it came to pass, that
the rapid succession of their ideas, and the
eternal scampering of the discourse from one
thing to another, since Dr. Slop had come
into the room, had lengthened out so
short a period, to so inconceivable an ex-
tent. ---- `` I know not how it happens,
---- cried my father, ---- `` but it seems
`` an age.''

  -- 'Tis owing, entirely, quoth my uncle
Toby, to the succession of our ideas.

  My father, who had an itch in com-
mon with all philosophers, of reasoning
upon every thing which happened, and
accounting for it too, -- proposed infinite
pleasure to himself in this, of the succes-
sion of ideas, and had not the least appre-

[ 77 ]

hension of having it snatch'd out of his
hands by my uncle Toby, who (honest
man !) generally took every thing as it
happened ; ---- and who, of all things in
the world, troubled his brain the least
with abstruse thinking ; -- the ideas of
time and space, ---- or how we came by
those ideas, ---- or of what stuff they were
made, -- or whether they were born with
us, ---- or we pick'd them up afterwards
as we went along, -- or whether we did it
in frocks, -- or not till we had got into
breeches, -- with a thousand other inquiries
and disputes about INFINITY,PRESCIENCE,
, and so forth, upon
whose desperate and unconquerable theo-
ries, so many fine heads have been turned
and crack'd, -- never did my uncle Toby's
the least injury at all ; my father knew it,
---- and was no less surprised, than he

[ 78 ]

was disappointed with my uncle's fortui-
tous solution.

  Do you understand the theory of that
affair ? replied my father.

  Not I, quoth my uncle.

  ---- But you have some ideas, said my
father, of what you talk about. ----

  No more than my horse, replied my
uncle Toby.

  Gracious heaven ! cried my father,
looking upwards, and clasping his two
hands together, -- there is a worth in thy
honest ignorance, brother Toby, -- 'twere
almost a pity to exchange it for a know-
ledge. ------ But I'll tell thee. ----


[ 79 ]

  To understand what time is aright,
without which we never can comprehend
infinity, insomuch as one is a portion of
the other, ---- we ought seriously to sit
down and consider what idea it is, we
have of duration, so as to give a satisfacto-
ry account, how we came by it. -- What is
that to anybody ? quoth my uncle Toby.
* For if you will turn your eyes inwards
upon your mind
, continued my father, and
observe attentively, you will perceive, bro-
ther, that whilst you and I are talking to-
gether, and thinking and smoaking our pipes :
or whilst we receive successively ideas in our
minds, we know that we do exist, and so we
estimate the existence, or the continuation of
the existence of ourselves, or any thing else
commensurate to the succession of any ideas
in our minds, the duration of ourselves, or
any such other thing co existing with our

   * Vid. Locke.