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THIS life of the solemn and absurd pedant, Dr. Scriblerus, of which Johnson speaks too contemptuously, and says it is taken from the History of Ouffle, is the only true and genuine imitation we have in our language of the serious and pompous manner of Cervantes; for it is not easy to say, why Fielding should call his Joseph Andrews, excellent as it is, an imitation of his manner.
Don Quixote is in truth the most original and unrivalled work of modern times. The great art of Cervantes consists in having painted his mad hero with such a number of amiable qualities, as to make it impossible for us totally to despise him. This light and shade in drawing characters shews the master. It is thus Addison has represented his Sir Roger, and Shakspeare his Falstaff. How great must be the native force of Cervantes's humour, when it can be relished by readers even unacquainted with Spanish manners, with the institution of chivalry, and with the many passages of old romances and Italian poems, to which it perpetually alludes!
There are three or four celebrated works that bear a great resemblance, and have a turn of satire similar to that of these Memoirs The Barbon of Balsac; The Life of Montmaur, by Menage and others; the Chef d'Euvre d'un Inconnu of Mathanase; and La Charlatanerie des Savans of Menken.