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TO profess to give a faultless definition of Wit would be highly presumptuous, after some writers of eminence have failed in the attempt, and others have declined the task. It is far more easy, as well as more pleasing, to aim at a description of the most striking modes, in which men of wit display their talents, although, considered in all their exertions, they may be said to vary their forms like Proteus of old, and change their colours like the chameleon.
Wit may be considered as much the same talent as genius. Or it may be said to be that species of genius, which displays itself, not in long and deliberate compositions, such as epic poetry and tragedy, but in the short and rapid sallies of conversation.
Men of wit make quick associations of the most distant ideas, and are happy in the communication of them in clear, energetic, and pointed language. They surprise by the novelty of their thoughts, and please by the various turns they give to them. When they make their