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THE

WHIG-EXAMINER.

No. 1. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1710.

Nescia mens hominum sati sortisque futuræ,
Et servare modum, rebus sublata șecundis !
Turno tempus erit, magno cum optaverit emptum
Intactum Pallanta, et cum spolia ista diemque
Oderit:

THE design of this work is to censure the writings of others, and to give all persons a rehearing, who have suffered under any unjust sentence of the Examiner. As that author has hitherto proceeded, his paper would have been more properly entitled the Executioner; at least his examination is like that which is made by the rack and wheel. I have always admired a critic that has discovered the beauties of an author, and never knew one who made it his business to lash the faults of other writers, that was not guilty of greater himself; as the hangman is generally a worse malefactor than the criminal that suffers by his hand. To prove what I say, there needs no more than to read the annotations which this author has made upon Dr. Garth's poem, with the preface in the front, and a riddle at the end of them. To begin with the first: Did ever an advocate for a party open with such an unfortunate assertion? The collective body of the Whigs have already engrossed our riches. That is, in plain English, the Whigs are possessed of all the richess in the nation. Is not this giving up all he has been contending for these six weeks? Is there any thing more

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reasonable, than that those who have all the riches of the nation in their possession, or if he likes his own phrase better, as, indeed, I think it is stronger, that those who have already engrossed our riches, should have the management of our public treasure, and the direction of our fleets and armies? But let us proceed: “Their representative, the Kit-Cat, have pretended to make a monopoly of our sense. Well, but what does all this end in ? If the author means any thing, it is this; that, to prevent such a monopoly of sense, he is resolved to deal in it himself by retail, and sell a pennyworth of it every week. In what follows, there is such a shocking familiarity both in his railIeries and civilities, that one cannot long be in doubt who is the author. The remaining part of the preface has so much of the pedant, and so little of the conversation of men in it, that I shall pass it over, and hasten to the riddles, which are as follow:

THE RIDDLE.
SPHINX was a monster that would eat
Whatever stranger she could get;
· Unless his ready wit disclos’d
The subtle riddle she propos’d.

dipus was resolv'd to go,
And try what strength of parts could do:
Says Sphinx, on this depends your fate;
Tell me what animal is that,
Which has four feet at morning bright?
Has two at noon, and three at night?
Tis man, said he, who, weak by nature,
At first creeps, like his fellow creature,
Upon all four: as years accrue,
With sturdy steps he walks on two:
In age, at length, grown weak and sick,
For his third leg adopts the stick.
Now in your turn, 'tis just, methinks,
You should resolve me, Madam Sphinx,
What stranger creature yet is he,
Who has four legs, then two, then three;
Then loses one, then gets two more,

And runs away at last on four.' The first part of this little mystical poem is an old riddle, which we could have told the meaning of, had

not the author given himself the trouble of explaining it; but as for the exposition of the second, he leaves us al

altogether in the dark. The riddle runs thus : What creature is it that walks upon four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs at night? This he solves, as our forefathers have done for these two thousand years; and not according to Rabelais, who gives another reason why a man is said to be a creature with three legs at night. Then follows the second riddle: What creature, says he, is it that first uses four legs, then two legs, then three legs; then loses one leg, then gets two legs, and, at last, runs away upon four legs? Were I disposed to be splenetic, I should ask if there was any thing in the new garland of riddles so wild, so childish, or so flat : but though I dare not go so far as that, I shall take upon me to say, that the author has stolen his hint out of the garland, from a riddle that I was better acquainted with than the Nile, when I was but twelve years old. It runs thus: Riddle my riddle my ree; what is this? Two legs sat upon three legs, and held one leg in her hand; in came four legs, and snatched away one leg; up started two legs, and flung three legs at four legs, and brought one leg back again. This enigma, joined with the foregoing two, rings all the changes that can be made upon four legs. That I may deal more ingenuously with my reader than the above-mentioned enigmatist has done, I shall present him with a key to my riddle; which, upon application, he will find exactly fitted to all the words of it; one leg is a leg of mutton, two legs is a servant maid, three legs is a joint stool, which in the sphinx's country was called a tripod; as four legs is a dog, who, in all nations and ages has been reckoned a quadruped. We have now the exposition of our first and third riddles upon legs; let us here, if you please, endeavour to find out the meaning of our second, which is thus in the author's words:

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What stranger creature yet is he,
That has four legs, then two, then three;
Then loses one, then gets two more,
And runs away at last on four?

This riddle, as the poet tells us, was proposed by Edipus to the Sphinx, after he had given his solution to that which the Sphinx had proposed to him. This Edipus, you must understand, though the people did not believe it, was son to a king of Thebes, and bore a particular grudge to the Trear of that kingdom, , which made him so bitter upon H. L. in this enigma.

What stranger creature yet is he,

That has four legs, then two, then three? By which he intimates, that this great man, at Thebes, being 'weak by nature,' as he admirably expresses it, could not walk as soon as he was born, but, like other children, fell upon all four when he attempted it; that he afterwards went upon two legs, like other men; and that, in his more advanced age, he got a white staff in Queen Jocasta's court, which the author calls his third leg. Now it so happened that the treasurer fell, and by that means broke his third leg, which is intimated by the next words, “Then loses one---Thus far I think we have travelled through the riddle with good suc

cess.

What stranger creature yet is he,
That has four legs, then two, then three?

Then loses one But now comes the difficulty that has puzzled the whole town, and which I must confess has kept me awake for these three nights;

-Then gets two more,
And runs away at last on four.

I at last thought the treasurer of Thebes might have walked upon crutches, and so ran away on four legs, viz. two natural and two artificial. But this I have no authority for; and therefore upon mature considera

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