[ 140 ]

lads ; I'll shew you land ------ for when
we have tugged through that chapter,
the book shall not be opened again this
twelvemonth. -- Huzza ! --


---- FIVE years with a bib under
his chin ;

  Four years in travelling from Christ-
cross-row to Malachi ;

  A year and a half in learning to write
his own name ;

  Seven long years and more tupto-ing
it, at Greek and Latin ;

  Four years at his probations and his
negations -- the fine statue still lying in

[ 141 ]

the middle of the marble block, -- and
nothing done, but his tools sharpened to
hew it out ! -- 'Tis a piteous delay ! --
Was not the great Julius Scaliger with-
in an ace of never getting his tools
sharpened at all ? ------ Forty-four years
old was he before he could manage his
Greek ; -- and Peter Damianus, lord bi-
shop of Ostia, as all the world knows,
could not so much as read, when he
was of man's estate. -- And Baldus him-
self, as eminent as he turned out after,
entered upon the law so late in life, that
every body imagined he intended to be
an advocate in the other world : no
wonder, when Eudamidas, the son of
Archidamas, heard Xenocrates at seventy-
five disputing about wisdom, that he
asked gravely, -- If the old man be yet
disputing and enquiring concerning wisdom,
                          -- what

[ 142 ]

-- what time will he have to make use of
it ?

  Yorick listened to my father with great
attention ; there was a seasoning of wis-
dom unaccountably mixed up with his
strangest whims, and he had sometimes
such illuminations in the darkest of his
eclipses, as almost attoned for them : --
be wary, Sir, when you imitate him.

  I am convinced, Yorick, continued
my father, half reading and half dis-
coursing, that there is a North west pas-
sage to the intellectual world ; and that
the soul of man has shorter ways of go-
ing to work, in furnishing itself with
knowledge and instruction, than we ge-
nerally take with it. ---- But alack ! all
fields have not a river or a spring running

[ 143 ]

besides them ; -- every child, Yorick ! has
not a parent to point it out.

  ---- The whole entirely depends, add-
ed my father, in a low voice, upon the
auxiliary verbs, Mr. Yorick.

  Had Yorick trod upon Virgil's snake,
he could not have looked more surprised.
-- I am surprised too, cried my father,
observing it, -- and I reckon it as one of
the greatest calamities which ever befell
the republick of letters, That those who
have been entrusted with the education
of our children, and whose business it
was to open their minds, and stock them
early with ideas, in order to set the ima-
gination loose upon them, have made so
little use of the auxiliary verbs in doing
it, as they have done ---- So that, ex-

[ 144 ]

cept Raymond Lullius, and the elder Pe-
, the last of which arrived to such
perfection in the use of 'em with his to-
pics, that in a few lessons, he could
teach a young gentleman to discourse
with plausibility upon any subject, pro
and con, and to say and write all that
could be spoken or written concerning it,
without blotting a word, to the admi-
ration of all who beheld him -- I should
be glad, said Yorick, interrupting my
father, to be made to comprehend this
matter. You shall, said my father.

The highest stretch of improvement a
single word is capable of, is a high me-
taphor, ---- for which, in my opinion,
the idea is generally the worse, and not
the better ; ---- but be that as it may,
                          -- when

[ 145 ]

  -- when the mind has done that with it
-- there is an end, -- the mind and the
idea are at rest, -- until a second idea en-
ters ; ---- and so on.

  Now the use of the Auxiliaries is, at
once to set the soul a going by herself
upon the materials as they are brought
her ; and by the versability of this great
engine, round which they are twisted,
to open new tracks of enquiry, and make
every idea engender millions.

  You excite my curiosity greatly, said

  For my own part, quoth my uncle
Toby, I have given it up. ---- The Danes,
an' please your honour, quoth the cor-
  VOL. V.        L            poral,

[ 146 ]

poral, who were on the left at the siege
of Limerick, were all auxiliaries. ---- And
very good ones, said my uncle Toby. --
But the auxiliaries, Trim, my brother
is talking about, -- I conceive to be diffe-
rent things. ----

  ---- You do ? said my father, rising


MY father took a single turn across
the room, then sat down and fi-
nished the chapter.

  The verbs auxiliary we are concerned
in here, continued my father, are, am ;
was ; have ; had ; do ; did ; make ; made ; suf-
                          fer ;


[ 147 ]

fer ; shall ; should ; will ; would ; can ; could ;
owe ; ought ; used
; or is wont. -- And these
varied with tenses, present, past, future, and
conjugated with the verb see, -- or with
these questions added to them, -- Is it ?
Was it ?  Will it be ?  Would it be ?   May
it be ?  Might it be ?  
And these again
put negatively, Is it not ?  Was it not ?
Ought it not ?
-- Or affirmatively, -- It is ;
It was ; It ought to be
. Or chronologi-
cally, -- Has it been always ?   Lately ?
How long ago ?
-- Or hypothetically, -- If
it was ; If it was not ?
What would
follow ? ---- If the French should beat
the English ?  If the Sun go out of the
Zodiac ?

  Now, by the right use and application
of these, continued my father, in which
             L 2              a

[ 148 ]

a child's memory should be exercised,
there is no one idea can enter his brain
how barren soever, but a magazine of
conceptions and conclusions may be
drawn forth from it. ---- Didst thou e-
ver see a white bear ?   cried my father,
turning his head round to Trim, who
stood at the back of his chair : -- No,
an' please your honour, replied the cor-
poral. ---- But thou could'st discourse
about one, Trim, said my father, in
case of need ? ---- How is it possible,
brother, quoth my uncle Toby, if the
corporal never saw one ? ---- 'Tis the
fact I want ; replied my father, -- and
the possibility of it, is as follows.

  A WHITE BEAR ! Very well. Have
I ever seen one ?  Might I ever have seen
                          one ?

[ 149 ]

one ?   Am I ever to see one ?   Ought
I ever to have seen one ?   Or can I ever
see one ?

  Would I had seen a white bear ?  (for
how can I imagine it ?)

  If I should see a white bear, what
should I say ?   If I should never see a
white bear, what then ?

  If I never have, can, must or shall
see a white bear alive ; have I ever seen
the skin of one ?   Did I ever see one
painted ? -- described ?   Have I never
dreamed of one ?

  Did my father, mother, uncle, aunt,
brothers or sisters, ever see a white bear ?
             4              What

[ 150 ]

What would they give ?  How would
they behave ?   How would the white
bear have behaved ?   Is he wild ?
Tame ?  Terrible ?  Rough ?  Smooth ?

  -- Is the white bear worth seeing ? --

  -- Is there no sin in it ? --

  Is it better than a BLACK ONE ?