Слике страница
PDF
ePub

as so indulgent as to connive at him for fourteen days, because I would give him the wearing of them out; but, after all this, I am informed he appeared yesterday with a new pair of the same sort. I have no better success with Mr. What-d'ye-call, as to his buttons; Stentor still roars; and box and dice rattle as loud as they did before I writ against them. Partridge walks about at noon day, and ÆscuJapius thinks of adding a new lace to his livery. However, I must still go on in laying these enormities before men's eyes, and let them answer for going on in their practice.

My province is much larger than at first sight men would imagine, and I shall lose no part of my jurisdiction, which extends not only to futurity, but also is a retrospect to things past; and the behaviour of persons, who have long ago acted their parts, is as much liable to my examination, as that of my own contemporaries.

In order to put the whole race of mankind in their proper distinctions, according to the opinion their cohabitants conceived of them, I have, with very much care and depth of meditation, thought fit to erect a chamber of Fame, and established certain rules, which are to be observed in admitting members into this illustrious society.

In this chamber of Fame there are to be three tables, but of different lengths; the first is to contain exactly twelve persons; the second, twenty; and the third, a hundred. This is reckoned to be the full number of those who have any competent share of fame. At the first of these tables are to be placed, in their order, the twelve most famous persons in the world; not with regard to the things they are famous for, but according to the degree of their fame, whether in valour, wit, or learning. Thus, if a scholar be more famous than a soldier, he is to sit above him. Neither must any preference be given to virtue, if the person be not equally famous.

is apprehended, that there may be great contention about precedence, the proposer humbly desires the opinion of the learned, towards his assistance in placing every person according to his rank, that none may have just occasion of offence.

The merits of the cause shall be judged by plurality of voices.

For the more impartial execution of this important affair, it is desired, that no man will offer his favourite hero, scholar, or poet; and that the learned will be pleased to send to Mr. Bickerstaff, at Mr. Morphew's near Stationers'-hall, their several lists for the first table only, and in the order they would have them placed; after which, the proposer will compare the several lists, and make another for the public, wherein every name shall be ranked according to the voices it has had. Under this chamber is to be a dark vault for the same number of persons of evil fame.

When the first table is filled, the next in renown must be seated at the second, and so on in like manner to the number of twenty; as also in the same order at the third, which is to hold a hundred. At these tables, no regard is to be had to seniority: for if Julius Cæsar shall be judged more famous than Romulus and Scipio, he must have the precedence. No person who has not been dead a hundred years must be offered to a place at any of these tables: and because this is altogether a lay-society, and that sacred persons move upon greater motives than that of fame, no persons celebrated in holy writ, or any ecclesiastical men whatsoever, are to be introduced here.

It is humbly submitted to consideration, whether the project would not be better if the persons of true fame meet in a middle room, those of dubious existence in an upper room, and those of evil fame in a lower dark room.

It is to be noted, that no historians are to be admitted at any of these tables; because they are appointed to conduct the several persons to their seats, and are to be made use of as ushers to the assemblies.

I call upon the learned world to send me their assistance towards this design, it being a matter of too great moment for any one person to determine. But I do assure them, their lists shall be examined with great fidelity, and those that are exposed to the public, made with all the caution imaginable.

In the mean time, while I wait for these lists, I am employed in keeping people in a right way to avoid the contrary to fame and applause; to wit, blame, and derision. For this end, I work upon that useful project of the penny-post, by the benefit of which it is proposed, that a charitable society be established: from which society there shall go every day, circular letters to all parts within the bills of mortality, to tell people of their faults in a friendly and private manner, whereby they may know what the world thinks of them, before it is declared to the world that they are thus faulty. This method cannot fail of universal good consequences: for, it is further added, that they who will not be reformed by it, must be contented to see the several letters printed, which were not regarded by them, that when they will not take private reprehension, they may be tried further by a public one. I am very sorry I am obliged to print the following

more because they are of the fair sex.

At the lower end of the room is to be a side-epistles of that kind, to some persons, and the table for persons of great fame, but dubious existence; such as Hercules, Theseus, Æneas, Achilles, Hector, and others. But because it

This went on Friday last to a very fine lady.

'MADAM,

St. James's Coffee house September 12.
Letters of the thirteenth instant from the

duke of Marlborough's camp at Havre advise,
that the necessary dispositions were made for
opening the trenches before Mons. The di-

'I am highly sensible that there is nothing
of so tender a nature as the reputation and
conduct of ladies; and that when there is the
least stain got into their fame, it is hardly ever
to be washed out. When I have said this, you
will believe I am extremely concerned to hear,
at every visit I make, that your manner of
wearing your hair is a mere affectation of beauty,
as well as that your neglect of powder has been
a common evil to your sex. It is to you an ad-
vantage to show that abundance of fine tresses:
but I beseech you to consider, that the force
of your beauty, and the imitation of you, costs
Eleonora great sums of money to her tire-woman
for false locks, besides what is allowed to her
maid for keeping the secret, that she is gray
I must take leave to add to this admonition,
that you are not to reign above four months
and odd days longer. Therefore, I must desire
you to raise and friz your hair a little, for it is
downright insolence to be thus handsome with-known; but it appears, by a list transmitted
out art; and you will forgive me for entreating to the states-general, that the number of the
you to do now out of compassion, what you killed and wounded in their service amounts
must soon do out of necessity. I am, madam, to above eight thousand. It is computed, that
'Your most obedient,
the English have lost fifteen hundred men,
and the rest of the allies above five thousand,
have taken the most speedy and effectual mea-
The states-general
including the wounded.
sures for reinforcing their troops; and it is
expected, that in eight or ten days the army
will be as numerous as before the battle. The

rection of the siege is to be committed to the
prince of Orange, who designed to take his
Post accordingly, with thirty battalions and
the seventeenth lieutenant-general Cadogan*
thirty squadrons, on the day following. On
set out for Brussels, to hasten the ammunition
and artillery which is to be employed in this
enterprise; and the confederate army was ex-
tended from the Haisne to the Trouille, in
order to cover the siege. The loss of the con-
federates in the late battle is not exactly

(

and most humble servant.'

This person dresses just as she did before I writ; as does also the lady to whom I addressed the following billet the same day:

MADAM,

Let me beg of you to take off the patches at the lower end of your left cheek, and I will allow two more under your left eye, which will contribute more to the symmetry of your face; except you would please to remove the ten black atoms on your ladyship's chin and wear one large patch instead of them. If so, you may properly enough retain the three patches abovementioned. I am, &c.'

·

This, I thought, had all the civility and reason in the world in it; but whether my letters are intercepted, or whatever it is, the lady patches as she used to do. It is to be observed by all the charitable society, as an instruction in their epistles, that they tell people of nothing but what is in their power to mend. I shall give another instance of this way of writing: two sisters in Essex-street are eternally gaping out of the window, as if they knew not the value of time, or would call in companions. Upon which I writ the following line:

DEAR CREATURES,

'On the receipt of this, shut your casements.'

melancholy truth, that virtue is its own reward
and that if no one is the better for his admo-
nitions, yet he is himself the more virtuous in
that he gave those advices?

But I went by yesterday, and found them still at the window. What can a man do in this case, but go on, and wrap himself up in his own integrity, with satisfaction only in this

affairs in Italy afford us nothing remarkable;
only that it is hoped, the difference between
the courts of Vienna and Turin will be speedily
accommodated. Letters from Poland present
us with a near prospect of seeing king Augustus
re-established on the throne, all parties being
very industrious to reconcile themselves to his

interests.

Will's Coffee-house, September 12.
Of all the pretty arts in which our modern
writers excel, there is not any which is more
to be recommended to the imitation of be-
ginners, than the skill of transition from
one subject to another. I know not whether
I make myself well understood; but it is cer-
tain, that the way of stringing a discourse,
used in the Mercure Gallant, the Gentleman's
Journal,+ and other learned writings; not to
mention how naturally things present them-
selves to such as harangue in pulpits, and
other occasions which occur to the learned;
are methods worthy commendation. I shall
attempt this style myself in a few lines. Sup-

No officer was so much relied upon by the duke of Marlborough. He had the care of making out almost every camp during the war in the Netherlands and Germany, which he executed so skilfully, that it is observed the duke was never surprised or attacked in camp, daring all that war. ↑ Published about the beginning of the last century in 4to.

[ocr errors]

pose I was discoursing upon the king of Sweden's passing the Boristhenes. The Boristhenes is a great river, and puts me in mind of the Danube and the Rhine. The Danube I cannot think of, without reflecting on that unhappy prince who had such fair territories on the banks of it; I mean the duke of Bavaria, who, by our last letters, is retired from Mons. Mons is as strong a fortification as any which has no citadel: and places which are not completely fortified are, methinks, lessons to princes that they are not omnipotent, but liable to the strokes of fortune. But as all princes are subject to such calamities, it is the part of men of letters to guard them from the observations of all small writers; for which reason, I shall conclude my present remarks, by publishing the following advertisement, to be taken notice of by all who dwell in the suburds of learning.

'Whereas the king of Sweden has been so unfortunate as to receive a wound in his heel; we do hereby prohibit all epigrammatists in either language and both universities, as well as all other poets, of what denomination soever, to make any mention of Achilles having received his death's wound in the same part.

sense of living appeared insipid, except their being was enlivened with a consciousness that they were esteemed by the rest of the world.

'We do likewise forbid all comparisons in coffee-houses between Alexander the Great and the said king of Sweden, and from making any parallels between the death of Patkul and Philotas; we being very apprehensive of the reflections that several politicians have ready by them to produce on this occasion, and being willing, as much as in us lies, to free the town from all impertinences of this nature.'

Upon examining the proportion of men's fame for my table of twelve, I thought it no ill way (since I had laid it down for a rule, that they were to be ranked simply as they were famous, without regard to their virtue to ask my sister Jenny's advice; and particu larly mentioned to her the name of Aristotle. She immediately told me, he was a very great scholar, and that she had read him at the boarding-school. She certainly means a trifle, sold by the hawkers called Aristotle's Problems.' But this raised a great scruple in me, whether a fame increased by imposition of others is to be added to his account, or that these excrescences, which grow out of his real reputation, and give encouragement to others to pass things under the covert of his name, should be considered in giving him his seat in the chamber? This punctilio is referred to the learned. In the mean time, so ill-natured are mankind, that I believe I have names already sept me sufficient to fill up my lists for the dark room, and every one is apt enough to send in their accounts of ill-deservers. This malevolence does not proceed from a real dislike of virtue, but a diabolical prejudice against it, which makes men willing to destroy what they care not to imitate. Thus you see the greatest characters among your acquaintance, and those you live with, are traduced by all below them in virtue, who never mention them but with an exception. However, I believe I shall not give the world much trouble about filling my tables for those of evil fame; for I bave some thoughts of clapping up the sharpers there as fast as I can lay hold of them.

No. 68.] Thursday, September 15, 1709.

Quicquid agnat homines

P.

―nostri est farrago libelli. Juv. Sat. i. 85, 26. Whate'er men do, or sy, or think, or dream, Our motley paper seizes for its theme. From my own Apartment, September 14. THE progress of our endeavours will of necessity be very much interrupted, except the learned world will please to send their lists to the chamber of Fame with all expedition. There is nothing can so much contribute to create a noble emulation in our youth, as the honourable mention of such whose actions have outlived the injuries of time, and recom-phorical dogs are easily enough understood; mended themselves so far to the world, that but the feminine gender of dogs has so harsh it is become learning to know the least cir- a sound, that we know not how to name it. cumstance of their affairs, It is a great in- But I am credibly informed, that there are centive to see, that some men have raised female dogs as voracious as the males, and themselves so highly above their fellow-crea- make advances to young fellows, without any tures, that the lives of ordinary men are spent other design but coming to a familiarity with in enquiries after the particular actions of the their purses. I have also long lists of permost illustrious. True it is, that without this sons of condition, who are certainly of the impulse to fame and reputation, our industry same regimen with these banditti, and instru would stagnate, and that lively desire of pleas- mental to their cheats upon undiscerning men ing each other, die away. This opinion was so of their own rank. These add their good restablished in the heathen world, that their putation to carry on the impostures of others,

U

At present, I am employed in looking over the several notices which I have received of their manner of dexterity, and the way at dice of making all rugg, as the cant is. The whole art of securing a die has lately been sent me, by a person who was of the fraternity, but is disabled by the loss of a finger; by which means he cannot practise that trick as he used to do. But I am very much at a loss how to call some of the fair sex, who are accomplices with the Knights of Industry; for my meta

whose very names would else be defence enough | mediately inclines her to tears; but in a man, against falling into their hands. But, for the ho- it makes him think how such a one ought to nour of our nation, these shall be unmentioned; act on that occasion suitably to the dignity of provided we hear no more of such practices, and his nature. Thus a woman is ever moved for that they shall not from henceforward suffer the those whom she hears lament, and a man for society of such as they know to be the com- those whom he observes to suffer in silence. It mon enemies of order, discipline, and virtue. is a man's own behaviour in the circumstances If it appear that they go on in encouraging he is under, which procures him the esteem of them, they must be proceeded against accord- others, and not merely the affliction itself ing to the severest rules of history, where all which demands our pity; for we never give a is to be laid before the world with impartiality, man that passion which he falls into for himand without respect to persons, self. He that commends himself never purchases our applause; nor he who bewails himself, our pity.

So let the stricken deer go weep.'

Will's Coffee-house, September 14. I find left here for me the following epistle : 'SIR,

Having lately read your discourse about the family of Trubies, wherein you observed, that there are some who fall into laughter out of a certain benevolence in their temper, and not out of the ordinary motive, viz. contempt, and triumph over the imperfections of others; I have conceived a good idea of your knowledge of mankind. And, as you have a tragi-comic genius, I beg the favour of you to give us your thoughts of a quite different effect, which also is caused by other motives than what are commonly taken notice of. What I would have you treat of, is the cause of shedding tears. I desire you would discuss it a little, with observations upon the various occasions which provoke us to that expression of our concern, &c.'

[ocr errors]

To obey this complaisant gentleman, I know no way so short as examining the various touches of my own bosom, on several occurrences in a long life, to the evening of which I am arrived, after as many various incidents as any body has met with. I have often reflected, that there is a great similitude in the motions of the heart in mirth and in sorrow; and I think the usual occasion of the latter, as well as the former, is something which is sudden and unexpected. The mind has not a sufficient time to recollect its force, and immediately gushes into tears before we can utter ourselves by speech or complaint. The most notorious causes of these drops from our eyes are pity, sorrow, joy, and reconciliation.

The fair sex, who are made of man and not of earth, have a more delicate humanity than we have; and pity is the most common cause of their tears: for as we are inwardly composed of an aptitude to every circumstance of life, and every thing that befalls any one person might have happened to any other of human race; self-love, and a sense of the pain we ourselves should suffer in the circumstances of any whom we pity, is the cause of that compassion. Such a reflection in the breast of a woman, im

Tatler No. 63.

6

6

Going through an alley the other day, I observed a noisy impudent beggar bawl out, that he was wounded in a merchant-man; that he had lost his poor limbs; and showed a leg clouted up. All that passed by made what haste they could out of his sight and hearing; but a poor fellow at the end of the passage, with a rusty coat, a melancholy air, and soft voice, desired them to look upon a man not used to beg.' The latter received the charity of almost every one that went by. The strings of the heart, which are to be touched to give us compassion, are not so played on but by the finest hand. We see in tragical representations, it is not the pomp of language, nor the magnificence of dress, in which the passion is wrought, that touches sensible spirits; but something of a plain and simple nature, which breaks in upon our souls, by that sympathy which is given us for our mutual good-will and service.

6

In the tragedy of Macbeth,' where Wilks acts the part of a man whose family has been murdered in his absence, the wildness of his passion, which is run over in a torrent of calamitous circumstances, does but raise my spirits, and give me the alarm: but when he skilfully seems to be out of breath, and is brought too low to say more; and upon a second reflection cries only, wiping his eyes, What, both children! Both, both my children gone!' there is no resisting a sorrow which seems to have cast about for all the reasons possible for its consolation, but has no resource. There is not one left; but both, both are murdered!' such sudden starts from the thread of the discourse, and a plain sentiment expressed in an artless way, are the irresistible strokes of eloquence and poetry. The same great master, Shakspeare, can afford us instances of all the places where our souls are accessible; and ever commands our tears. But it is to be observed, that he draws them from some unexpected source, which seems not wholly of a piece with the discourse. Thus, when Brutus and Cassius had a debate in the tragedy of 'Cæsar,' and rose to warm language against each other insomuch that it had almost come to some thing that might be fatal, until they recol

lected themselves; Brutus does more than make an apology for the heat he had been in, | by saying, 'Portia is dead.' Here Cassius is all tenderness, and ready to dissolve, when he considers that the mind of his friend had been employed on the greatest affliction imaginable, when he had been adding to it by a debate on trifles; which makes him, in the anguish of his heart, cry out, How scaped I killing, when I thus provoked you?' This is an incident which moves the soul in all its sentiments; and Cassius's heart was at once touched with all the soft pangs of pity, remorse, and reconciliation. It is said, indeed, by Horace,

There is lately broke loose from the London pack, a very tall dangerous biter. He is now at the Bath, and it is feared will make a damnable havoc amongst the game. His manner of biting is new, and he is called the Top. He secures one die betwixt his two fingers: the other is fixed, by the help of a famous wax, invented by an apothecary, since a gamester: a little of which he puts upon his fore-finger, and that holds the die in the box at his devotion. Great sums have been lately won by these ways; but it is hoped, that this hint of his manner of cheating will open the eyes of many who are every day imposed upon.

There is now in the press, and will be suddenly published, a book entitled, 'An Appen

If you would have me weep, you must first weep yourself. This is not literally true; for it would have been as rightly said, if we ob-dix to the Contempt of the Clergy ;*' wherein will be set forth at large, that all our dissentions are owing to the laziness of persons in the sacred ministry, and that none of the present schisms could have crept into the flock, but by the negligence of the pastors. There is a di

serve nature, That I shall certainly weep, if you do not: but what is intended by that expression is, that it is not possible to give passion, except you show that you suffer yourself. Therefore, the true art seems to be, that when you would have the person you re-gression in this treatise, proving, that the prepresent pitied, you must show him at once in tences made by the priesthood, from time to the highest grief, and struggling to bear it time, that the church was in danger, is only a with decency and patience. In this case, we trick to make the laity passionate for that of sigh for him, and give him every groan he which they themselves have been negligent. The whole concludes with an exhortation te the clergy, to the study of eloquence, and practice of piety, as the only method to support the highest of all honours, that of a priest who lives and acts according to his character.

suppresses.

[ocr errors]

I remember, when I was young enough to follow the sports of the field, I have more than once rode off at the death of a deer, when I have seen the animal, in an affliction which appeared human, without the least noise, let fall tears when he was reduced to extremity; and I have thought of the sorrow I saw him in, No. 69.] Saturday, September 17, 1709.

when bis haunch came to the table. But our tears are not given only to objects of pity, but the mind has recourse to that relief in all occasions which give us great emotion. Thus, to be apt to shed tears is a sign of a great as well as little spirit. I have heard say, the present pope never passes through the people, who always kneel in crowds, and ask his benediction, but the tears are seen to flow from his eyes. This must proceed from an imagination that he is the father of all those people; and that he is touched with so extensive a benevolence, that it breaks out into a passion of tears. You see friends, who have been long absent, transported in the same manner: a thousand little images crowd upon them at their meeting, as all the joys and griefs they have known during their separation; and, in one hurry of thought, they conceive how they should have participated in those occasions; and weep, because their minds are too full to wait the slow expression of words.

Ilis lacrymis vitam damus, et miserescimus nltro.
Virg. Æn. ii. 145.
With tears the wretch confirm'd his tale of woe;
And soft-ey'd pity pleaded for the toe. R. Wynne.

Pope Clement XI.

[ocr errors]

-Quid oportet

Nos facere, à vulgo longe lateque remotos?

Hor. 1 Sat. v. i. 17.
But how shall we, who differ far and wide,
From the mere vulgar, this great point decide.

Francis.

From my own Apartment, September 16. Ir is, as far as it relates to our present being, the great end of education to raise ourselves above the vulgar; but what is intended by the vulgar, is not, methinks, enough understood. In me, indeed, that word raises a quite different idea from what it usually does in others; but perhaps that proceeds from my being old, and beginning to want the relish of such satisfactions as are the ordinary entertainment of men. However, such as my opinion is in this case, I will speak it; because it is possible that turn of thought may be received by others, who may reap as much satisfaction from it as I do myself.

It is to me a very great meanness, and something much below a philosopher, which is what I mean by a gentleman, to rank a man among the vulgar for the condition of life he is in, and

* A celebrated book, written by Dr. John Eachard, and published in 1619.

« ПретходнаНастави »