HAVE you not known a small machine

  Which brazen rings environ,

In many a country chimney seen,

  Y-clep'd a Tarring-iron?

Its puzzling nature to display

  Each idle clown may try, Sir,

Tho’, when he has acquir'd the way,

  He's not a jot the wiser.

'Tis thus with him, who fond of rhime

  In Wit's low species piddles;

And tires his thoughts, and wastes his time

  In explicating Riddles.

Shall idle bards, by fancy led,

  (With wrathful zeal I speak it)

Write with design to plague my head,

  Who have no right to break it?

He writes the best, who, writing, can

  Both please and teach together:

But 'tis the devil of a plan,

  That can accomplish neither.

Ye readers, hear! ye writers too!

  O spare your darkling labours!

For, tho' they please, not profit, you,

  They plague and hurt your neighbours.

Go learn of Pope; then judge aright,

  Which way to Fame's the surer;

To put the truth in fairest light,

  Or render it obscurer.


Mr S.S. has our thanks for attacking these trifling amusements with so much spirit, elegance and judgment.  It was not in our power either to suppress or censure this kind of writing without giving offence to many of our readers and contributers.  To say the truth, a moderate use of enigmas was not only approved, but recommended by some of our learned friends, as not wholly improper for a work of general acceptance.  We have not however inserted one in twenty for which admittance was desired.  And indeed if we had not proceeded so far as to give room for the above general reprehension, the publick might have lost an excellent lesson.