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to very much mirth; especially when Will,
Will's Coffee-house, December 12.
I WAS this evening sitting at the side-table and reading one of my own papers with great satisfaction, not knowing that I was observed by any in the room. I had not long enjoyed this secret pleasure of an author, when a genkin-tleman, some of whose works I have been highly entertained with, accosted me after the following manner. 'Mr. Bickerstaff, you know I have for some years devoted myself wholly to the muses, and, perhaps, you will be surprised when I tell you I am resolved to take up, and apply myself to business. I shall therefore beg you will stand my friend, and recommend a customer to me for several goods that I have now upon my hands.'-' I desired
There are quite different sentiments which reign in the parlour and the kitchen; and it is by the point of honour, when justly regulated, and inviolably observed, that some men are superior to others, as much as mankind in ge-him to let me have a particular, and I would neral are to brutes. This puts me in mind of do my utmost to serve him.'-'I have first of a passage in the admirable poem called 'The all,' says he, the progress of an amour digested Dispensary,' where the nature of true honour is into sonnets, beginning with a poem to the artfully described in an ironical dispraise of it: unknown fair, and ending with an epithala nium. I have celebrated in it her cruelty, her pity, her face, her shape, her wit, her good humour, her dancing, her singing'-I could not forbear interrupting him; This is a most accomplished lady,' said I; 'but has she really, with all these perfections, a fine voice?'Pugh,' says he, you do not believe there is such a person in nature. This was only my employment in solitude last summer, when I had neither friends nor books to divert me.''I was going,' said I, 'to ask her name, but I find it is only an imaginary mistress. That's true,' replied my friend, but her name is Flavia. I have, continued he, ' in the second place, a collection of lampoons, calculated either for the Bath, Tunbridge, or any place where they drink waters, with blank spaces for the names of such person or persons as may be inserted in them on occasion. Thus much I have told only of what I have by me, proceeding from love and malice. I have also at this time the sketch of a heroic poem upon the next peace: several, indeed, of the verses are either too long or too short, it being a rough draught of my thoughts upon that subject.' I thereupon told him, 'That, as it was, it might probably pass for a very good Pindaric, and I believe I knew one who would be willing to deal with him for it upon that foot.+ I must tell you also,' said he, 'I have made a dedication to it, which is about four sides close written, that may serve any one that is tall, and understands Latin. I have further about fifty similes, that were never yet applied, besides three-and-twenty descriptions of the sun rising,
But ere we once engage in honour's cause,
It lives when in death's arins the hero lies,
A very odd fellow visited me to-day at my lodgings, and desired encouragement and recommendation from me for a new invention of knockers to doors, which he told me he had made, and professed to teach rustic servants the use of them. I desired him to show me an
experiment of this invention; upon which he fixed one of his knockers to my parlour-door. He then gave me a complete set of knocks, from the solitary rap of the dun and beggar, to the thunderings of the saucy footman of quality, with several flourishes and rattlings never yet performed. He likewise played over some private notes, distinguishing the familiar friend or relation from the most modish visitor; and directing when the reserve candles are to be lighted. He has several other curiosities in this art. He waits only to receive my approbation of the main design. He is now ready to practise to such as shall apply themselves to him; but I have put off his public licence until next court-day.
N. B. He teaches under-ground.
No. 106.] Tuesday, December 13, 1709.
-Invenies disjecti membra poeta.-Hor. Sat. iv. 62.
• Dr. Garth's Dispensary.
Perhaps the person here alluded to was Peter Anthony Motteux, a Frenchman, who translated Don Quixote, and was a writer of songs, prologues, epilogues, &c. who about this time became a seller of china, fans, &c.
+ The author probably alludes here to Mr. Thomas Tickell, who seems to have been the person mentioned under the name of Tom Spindle, in Tatler, No. 47.
that might be of great use to an epic poet. These are my more bulky commodities; besides which, I have several small wares that I would part with at easy rates; as, observations upon life, and moral sentences, reduced into several couplets, very proper to close up acts of plays, and may be easily introduced by two or three lines of prose, either in tragedy or comedy. If I could find a purchaser curious in Latin poetry, I could accommodate him with two dozen of epigrams, which, by reason of a few false quantities, should come for little, or nothing.'
I heard the gentleman with much attention, and asked him,' Whether he would break buik, and sell his goods by retail, or designed they should all go in a lump?' He told me, 'That he should be very loath to part them, unless it was to oblige a man of quality, or any person for whom I had a particular friendship.'-' My reason for asking,' said I, 'is, only because I know a young gentleman who intends to appear next spring in a new jingling chariot, with the figures of the nine muses on each side of it; and, I believe, would be glad to come into the world in verse.' We could not go on in our treaty, by reason of two or three critics that joined us. They had been talking, it seems, of the two letters which were found in the coffin, and mentioned in one of my late lucubrations, and came with a request to me, that I would communicate any others of them that were legible. One of the gentlemen was pleased to say that it was a very proper instance of a widow's constancy; and said, he wished I had subjoined, as a foil to it, the following passage in Hamlet.' The young prince was not yet acquainted with all the guilt of his mother, but turns his thoughts on her sudden forgetfulness of his father, and the indecency of her hasty marriage:
--That it should come to this!
But two months dead! nay, not so much, not two! So excellent a king! that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr: so loving to my mother:
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month!
Let me not think ou't-Frailty, thy name is Woman!
thoughts of a son into distraction. His father's tenderness for his mother, expressed in so deli. cate a particular : his mother's fondness for his father, no less exquisitely described: the grea and amiable figure of his dead parent drawn by a true filial piety: his disdain of so unworthy a successor to his bed; but, above all, the shortness of the time between his father's death and his mother's second marriage, brought together with so much disorder, make up as noble a part as any in that celebrated tragedy. The circumstance of time, I never could enough admire. The widowhood had lasted two months. This is his first reflection; but, as his indignation rises, he sinks to scarce two months: afterwards, into a mouth; and at last into a little month: but all this so naturally, that the reader accompanies him in the violence of his passion, and finds the time lessen insensibly, according to the different workings of his disdain. I have not mentioned the incest of her marriage, which is so obvious a provocation; but cannot forbear taking notice, that when his fury is at its height, he cries, Frailty, thy name is Woman!' as railing at the sex in general, rather than giving himself leave to think his mother worse than others--Desiderantur multa.
O heaven! a brute, that wants discourse of reason,
She married-0 most wicked speed, to post
Whereas, Mr. Jeffery Groggram has surrendered himself, by his letter bearing date December 7th, and has sent an acknowledgment that he is dead, praying an order to the company of upholders for interment at such a reasonable rate as may not impoverish his heirs: the said Groggram having been dead ever since he was born, and added nothing to his small patrimony; Mr. Bickerstaff has taken the premises into consideration; and, being sensible of the ingenuous and singular behaviour of this petitioner, pronounces the said Jeffery Groggram a live man, and will not suffer that he should bury himself out of modesty; but requires him to remain among the living, as an example to those obstinate dead men, who will neither labour for life, nor go to their grave.
N. B. Mr. Groggram is the first person that has come in upon Mr. Bickerstaff's dead war
Florinda demands, by her letter of this day, to be allowed to pass for a living woman, having danced the Derbyshire hornpipe in the ur sence of several friends on Saturday last.
Granted; provided she can bring proof, that she can make a pudding on the twenty fourth instant.
The several emotions of mind, and breaks of No. 107.] Thursday, December 15, 1709. passion, in this speech, are admirable. He has touched every circumstance that aggravated the fact, and seemed capable of hurrying the
Quantâ laboras in Charybdi,
Digue puer meliore flamma? Hor. i. Od. xxvii. 20
Unhappy youth! doth she surprise?
Thon did'st deserve a dart from kinder eyes.
and asked him, if he had any good winter
I looked upon the young gentleman with much tenderness, and not like a physician, but a friend; for, I talked to him so largely, that if I had parcelled my discourse into distinct prescriptions, I am confident, I gave him two hundred pounds worth of advice. He heard me with great attention, bowing, smiling, and showing all other instances of that natural good breeding which ingenuous tempers pay to those who are elder and wiser than themselves. I entertained him to the following purpose: 1 am sorry, sir, that your passion is of so long a date, for evils are much more curable in their beginnings; but, at the same time, must allow, that you are not to be blamed, since your youth and merit has been abused by one of the most
Sheer-lane, December 14.
ABOUT four this afternoon, which is the hour I usually put myself in a readiness to receive company, there entered a gentleman, who I believed at first came upon some ordinary question: but, as he approached nearer to me, I saw in his countenance a deep sorrow, mixed with a certain ingenuous complacency, that gave me sudden good-will towards him. He stared, and betrayed an absence of thought, as he was going to communicate his business to me. But at last, recovering himself, he said with an air of great respect, Sir, it would be an injury to your knowledge in the occult sciences, to tell you what is my distress; I dare say you read it in my countenance: I therefore beg your advice to the most unhappy of all men.' Much experience has made me particularly sagacious in the discovery of distempers, and I soon saw that his was love. I then turned to my commonplace-book, and found his case under the word Coquette; and reading over the catalogue which I have collected out of this great city, of all under that character, I saw, at the name of Cynthia, his fit came upon him. I repeated the name thrice after a musing manner, and immediately perceived his pulse quicken two thirds; when his eyes, instead of the wildness with which they appeared at his entrance, looked with all the gentleness imaginable upon me, not without tears. 'Oh! sir,' said he, 'you know not the unworthy usage I have met with from the woman my soul doats on. 1 could gaze at her to the end of my being: yet when I have done so, for some time past, I have found her eyes fixed on another. She is now two-and-twenty, in the full tyranny of her charms, which she once acknowledged she rejoiced in, only as they made her choice of me, out of a crowd of admirers, the more obliging. 'But, in the midst of this happiness, so it is, Mr. Bickerstaff, that young Quickset, who is just come to town, without any other recommendation than that of being tolerably hand-charming, but the most unworthy sort of wosome, and excessively rich, has won her heart men, the Coquettes. A Coquette is a chaste in so shameless a manner, that she dies for jilt, and differs only from a common one, as a him. In a word, I would consult you, how to soldier, who is perfect in exercise, does from cure myself of this passion for an ungrateful one that is actually in service. This grief, like woman, who triumphs in her falsehood, and all others, is to be cured only by time; and, can make no man happy, because her own although you are convinced this moment, as satisfaction consists chiefly in being capable of much as you will be ten years hence, that she giving distress. I know Quickset is at present ought to be scorned and neglected, you see you considerable with her, for no other reason but must not expect your remedy from the force of that he can be without her, and feel no pain reason. The cure, then, is only in time, and in the loss. Let me therefore desire you, sir, the hastening of the cure, only in the manner fortify my reason against the levity of an of employing that time. You have answered constant, who ought only to be treated with me as to travel and a campaign, so that we glect.' have only Great Britain to avoid her in. Be All this time I was looking over my receipts, then yourself, and listen to the following rules.
'There,' answered I, you are to blame; for as you ought to avoid nothing more than keeping company with yourself, so you ought to be particularly cautious of keeping company with men like yourself. As long as you do this you do but indulge your distemper.
which only can be of use to you in this unac- | the age I am now of, who, in his thirtieth year, countable distemper, wherein the patient is had been tortured with that passion in its viooften averse even to his recovery. It has been lence. For my part,' said he, 'I can neither eat, of benefit to some to apply themselves to busi- drink, nor sleep in it; nor keep company with ness; but as that may not lie in your way, go any body but two or three friends who are in down to your estate, mind your fox-hounds, the same condition.' and venture the life you are weary of, over every hedge and ditch in the country. These are wholesome remedies; but if you can have resolution enough, rather stay in town, and recover yourself even in the town where she inhabits. Take particular care to avoid all places where you may possibly meet her, and shun the sight of every thing which may bring her to your remembrance; there is an infection in all that relates to her: you will find her house, her chariot, her domestics, and her very lapdog, are so many instruments of torment. Tell me, seriously, do you think you could bear the sight of her fan?' He shook his head at the question, and said, 'Ah! Mr. Bickerstaff, you must have been a patient, or you could not have been so good a physician.'- To tell you truly,' said I, 'about the thirtieth year of my age, I received a wound that has still left a scar in my mind, never to be quite worn out by time or philosophy.
'The means which I found the most effectual for my cure, were, reflections upon the ill usage I had received from the woman I love, and the pleasure I saw her take in my sufferings.
'I considered the distress she brought upon me the greatest that could befall a human creature, at the same time that she did not inflict this upon one who was her enemy, one that had done her an injury, one that had wished her ill; but on the man who loved her more than any else loved her, and more than it was possible for him to love any other person. In the next place, I took pains to consider her in all her imperfections; and, that I might be sure to hear of them constantly, kept company with those, her female friends, who were her dearest and most intimate acquaintance. Among her highest imperfections, I still dwelt upon her baseness of mind and ingratitude, that made her triumph in the pain and anguish of the man who loved her, and of one who, in those days, without vanity be it spoken, was thought to deserve her love.
'To shorten my story, she was married to another, which would have distracted me, had he proved a good husband; but, to my great pleasure, he used her at first with coldness, and afterwards with contempt. I hear he still
'I must not dismiss you without further instructions. If possible, transfer your passion from the woman you are now in love with to another; or, if you cannot do that, change the passion itself into some other passion, that is, to speak more plainly, find out some other agreeable woman: or, if you cannot do this, grow covetous, ambitious, litigious; turn your love of woman into that of profit, preferment, reputation; and for a time give up yourself entirely to the pursuit.
'This is a method we sometimes take in physic, when we turn a desperate disease into one we can more easily cure.'
He made little answer to all this, but crying out, Ah, sir!' for his passion reduced his discourse to interjections.
'There is one thing,' added I, which is present death to a man in your condition, and, therefore, to be avoided with the greatest care and caution: that is, in a word, think of your mistress and rival together, whether walking, discoursing, dallying'- The devil!' he cried out, who can bear it?' To compose him, for I pitied him very much; The time will come,' said I, 'when you shall not only bear it, but laugh at it. As a preparation to it, ride every morning, an hour at least, with the wind full in your face. Upon your return, recollect the several precepts which I have now given you, and drink upon them a bottle of Spa-water. Repeat this every day for a month successively, and let me see you at the end of it.' He was taking his leave, with many thanks, and some appearance of consolation in his countenance, when I called him back to acquaint him, that I had private information of a design of the coquettes to buy up all the true Spa-water in town' upon which he took his leave in haste, with a resolution to get all things ready for entering upon his regimen the next morning.
treats her very ill; and am informed, that she No. 108.] Saturday, December 17, 1709. often says to her woman, this is a just revenge for my falsehood to my first love: what a wretch am I, that might have been married to the famous Mr. Bickerstaff!'
My patient looked upon me with a kind of melancholy pleasure, and told me, He did not think it was possible for a man to live to
Pronaque cùm spectent animalia cætera terram.
Sheer-lane, December 16.
views. The finest authors of antiquity have taken him on the more advantageous side. They cultivate the natural grandeur of the soul, raise in her a generous ambition, feed her with hopes of immortality and perfection, and do all they can to widen the partition between the virtuous and the vicious, by making the difference betwixt them as great as between
It is not to be imagined how great an effect well-disposed lights, with proper forms and orders in assemblies, have upon some tempers. I am sure I feel it in so extraordinary a manner that I cannot in a day or two get out of my imagination any very beautiful or disagreeable impression which I receive on such occasions. For this reason I frequently look in at the play-gods and brutes. In short, it is impossible to read a page in Plato, Tully, and a thousand other ancient moralists, without being a greater and a better man for it. On the contrary, I could never read any of our modish French authors, or those of our own country, who are the imitators and admirers of that trifling nation, without being for some time out of humour with myself, and at every thing about
house in order to enlarge my thoughts, and warm my mind with some new ideas, that may be serviceable to me in my lucubrations.
Their business is, to depreciate human nature, and consider it under its worst appearances. They give mean interpretations and base motives to the worthiest actions; they resolve virtue and vice into constitution. In short, they endeavour to make no distinction between man and man, or between the species of men and that of brutes. As an instance o this kind of authors, among many others, let any one examine the celebrated Rochefoucault, who is the great philosopher for administering of consolation to the idle, the envious, and worthless part of mankind.
In this disposition I entered the theatre the other day, and placed myself in a corner of it very convenient for seeing, without being myself observed. I found the audience hushed in a very deep attention, and did not question but some noble tragedy was just then in its crisis, or that an incident was to be unravelled which would determine the fate of a hero. While I was in this suspense, expecting every moment to see my old friend Mr. Betterton appear in all the majesty of distress, to my unspeakable amazement there came up a monster with a face between his feet; and, as I was looking on, he raised himself on one leg in such a perpendicular posture, that the other grew in a direct line above his head. It afterwards twisted itself into the motions and wreathings of several different animals, and, after a great variety of shapes and transformations, went off the stage in the figure of a human creature. The admiration, the applause, the satisfaction of the audience, during this strange entertainment, is not to be expressed. I was very much out of countenance for my dear countrymen, and looked about with some apprehension, for fear any foreigner should be present. Is it possible, thought I, that human nature can rejoice in its disgrace, and take pleasure in seeing its own figure turned to ridicule, and distorted into forms that raise horror and aversion? There is something disingenuous and immoral in the being able to bear such a sight. Men of elegant and noble minds are shocked at seeing the characters of persons who deserve esteem for their virtue, knowledge, or services to their country, placed in wrong lights, and by misrepresentation made the subject of buffoonery. Such a nice abhorrence is not indeed to be found among the vulgar; but, methinks, it is wonderful, that those who have nothing but the outward figure to distinguish them as men, should delight in seeing humanity abused, vilified, and disgraced.
I must confess, there is nothing that more pleases me, in all that I read in books, or see among mankind, than such passages as represent human nature in its proper dignity. As man is a creature made up of different extremes, he has something in him very great and very mean. A skilful artist may draw an excellent picture of him in either of these
I remember a young gentleman of moderate understanding, but great vivacity, who, by dipping into many authors of this nature, had got a little smattering of knowledge, just enough to make an atheist or a free-thinker, but not a philosopher or a man of sense. With these accomplishments, he went to visit his father in the country, who was a plain, rough, honest man, and wise, though not learned. The son, who took all opportunities to show his learning, began to establish a new religion in the family, and to enlarge the narrowness of their country notions; in which he succeeded so well, that he had seduced the butler by his table-talk, and staggered his eldest sister. The old gentleman began to be alarmed at the schisms that arose among his children, but did not yet believe his son's doctrine to be so pernicious as it really was, until one day talking of his setting dog, the son said, 'he did not question but Tray was as immortal as any one the family;' and in the heat of the argument told his father, that, for his own part, he expected to die like a dog.' Upon which the old man, starting up in a very great passion, cried out, 'Then, sirrah, you shall live like one;' and taking his cane in his hand, cudgelled him out of his system. This had so good an effect upon him, that he took up from that day, fell to reading good books, and is now a bencher in the Middle Temple.
I do not mention this cudgelling part of the story with a design to engage the secular arm