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to see the king's scribe, I am generally told that he is not at home, though perhaps I saw him go into his house almost the very moment before. Thou wouldst fancy that the whole nation are physicians, for the first question they always ask me, is, How I do? I have this question put to me above an hundred times a day. Nay, they are not only thus inquisitive after my health, but wish it in a more solemn manner, with a full glass in their hands, every time I sit with them at table, though, at the same time, they would persuade me to drink their liquors in such quantities, as I have found by experience, will make me sick. They often pretend to pray for thy health also, in the same manner : but I have more reason to expect it from the goodness of thy constitution, than the sincerity of their wishes. May thy slave escape in safety from this double-tongued race of men, and live to lay himself once more at thy feet in thy royal city of Bantam.”
No. 558. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23.
Qui fit, Mæcenas, ut nemo, quam sibi sortem
Hor. 1 Sat, 1. 1.
Whence is't, Mæcenas, that so few approve
It is a celebrated thought of Socrates, that if all the misfortunes of mankind were cast into a public stock, in order to be equally distributed among the whole species, those who now think themselves the most unhappy, would prefer the share they are already possessed of, before that which would fall to them by such a division. Horace has carried this thought a great deal further in the motto of my paper, which implies that the hardships or misfortunes we lie under, are more easy to us, than those of any other person would be, in case we could change conditions with him.
As I was ruminating on these two remarks, and seated in my elbow chair, I insensibly fell asleep; when, on a sudden, methought there was a proclamation made by Jupiter, that every mortal should bring in his griefs and calamities, and throw them together in a heap. There was a large plain appointed for this purpose. I took my stand in the centre of it, and saw with a great deal of pleasure, the whole human species marching one after another, and throwing down their several loads, which immediately grew up into a prodigious mountain, that seemed to rise above the clouds.
There was a certain lady, of a thin airy shape, who was very active in this solemnity. She carried a magnifying glass in one of her hands, and was clothed in a loose flowing robe, embroidered with several figures of fiends and spectres, that discovered themselves in a thousand chimerical shapes, as her garment kovered in the wind. There was something wild and distracted in her looks. Her name was FANCY. She led up every mortal to the appointed place, after having very officiously assisted him in making up his pack, and laying it upon his shoulders. My heart melted within me to see my fellow-creatures groaning under their respective burthens, and to consider that prodigious bulk of human calamities which lay before me.
There were, however, several persons who gave me great diversion upon this occasion. I observed one bringing in a fardel, very carefully concealed under an old embroidered cloak, which, upon his throwing it into the heap, I discovered to be Poverty. Another, after a great deal of puffing, threw down his luggage; which upon examining, I found to be his wife. There were multitudes of lovers saddled with
whimsical burthens, composed of darts and flames; but what was very odd, though they sighed as if their hearts would break under these bundles of calamities, they could not persuade themselves to cast them into the heap, when they came up to it; but, after a few faint efforts, shook their heads and marched away, as heavy loaden as they came.
· My heart melted within me to see. Yet he says before, that he saw with a great deal of pleasure. These two things may be consistent, but should have been expressed with more care.-II.
I saw multitudes of old women throw down their wrinkles; and several young ones who stripped themselves of a tawny skin. There were very great heaps of red noses, large lips, and rusty teeth. The truth of it is, I was surprised to see the greatest part of the mountain made up of bodily deformities. Observing one advancing towards the heap with a larger cargo than ordinary upon his back, I found upon his near approach, that it was only a natural hump which he disposed of, with great joy of heart, among this collection of human miseries. There were likewise, distempers of all sorts, though I could not but observe, that there were many more imaginary than real. One little packet I could not but take notice of, which was a complication of all the diseases incident to human nature, and was in the hand of a great many fine people : this was called the spleen. But what most of all surprised me, was a remark I made, that there was not a single vice or folly thrown into the whole heap; at which I was very much astonished, having con. . cluded within myself, that every one would take this opportunity of getting rid of his passions, prejudices, and frailties.
I took notice in particular, of a very profligate fellow, who, I did not question," came loaden with his crimes, but upon searching into his bundle, I found, that, instead of throwing his guilt from him, he had only laid down his memory. He was followed by another worthless rogue, who flung away his modesty instead of his ignorance.
Who, I did not question, came. i. e. Who, as I did not question, came, &c.--as, is to be understood and supplied in all sentences of this form, which should be pointed accordingly; -11.
Came loaden-loaded had been better after question ; but the author had an eye to laid in the close of the sentence, on which word, indeed, the emphasis falls. “I did not question," being parenthetical, thé monotony in question and loaden is not so much regarded.-II.
When the whole race of mankind had thus cast their burdens, the phantom which had been so busy on this occasion, seeing me an idle spectator of what passed, approached towards me. I grew uneasy at her presence, when of a sudden she held her magnifying glass full before my eyes. I no sooner saw my face in it, but was startled at the shortness of it, which now appeared to me in its utmost aggravation. The immoderate breadth of the features made me very much out of humour with my own countenance, upon which I threw it from me like a mask. It happened very luckily, that one who stood by me, had just before thrown down his visage, which, it seems, was too long for him. It was, indeed, extended to a most shameful length; I believe the very chin was, modestly speaking, as long as my whole face. We had both of us an opportunity of mending ourselves, and, all the contributions being now brought in, every man was at liberty to exchange his misfortune for those of another person. But as there arose many new incidents in the sequel of my vision, I shall reserve them for the subject of my next paper.