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In the course of these observations on the sound of poetical language, I am not conscious of having affirmed any thing which does not admit of proof. Some of the proofs, however, I was obliged to leave out; as they would have led me into long disquisitions, relating rather to the peculiarities of Latin and English verse, than to the general characters of the poetick art. These proofs may possibly find a place hereafter in a treatise of versification and English prosody, which I began some years ago, but have not yet finished.

AN ESSAY

oN

LAUGHTER

LUDICROUS COMPOSITION.

Written in the year 1764.

Ego vero omni de re facetius puto posse ab homine

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AN ESSAY

ON

LAUGHTER

AND

LUDICROUS COMPOSITION.

CHAPTER I.

Introduction. The Subject proposed. Opinions of Philosophers. I. Aristotle. W.Hobbes. III. Hutcheson. IV. Akenside.

Of man, it is observed by Homer, that he is the most wretched, and, by Addison and others, that he is the merriest animal in the whole creation: and both opinions are plausible, and both perhaps may be true. If, from the acute ness and delicacy of his perceptive powers, from his remembrance of the past, and his anticipation of what is to come, from his restless and creative fancy, and from the various sensibilities of his moral nature, man be ex

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