Page images
PDF
EPUB

No. 559. FRIDAY, JUNE 25.

Quid causæ est, meritò quin illis Jupiter ambas
Iratus buccas inflet: neque se fore posthac
Tam facilem dicat, votis ut praebeat aurem ?

HOR. 1 Sat. i. 20.
Were it not just that Jove, provokd to heat,
Should drive these triflers from the hallow'd seat,
And unrelenting stand when they intreat!

IIORNECK.

In my last paper, I gave my reader a sight of that mountain of miseries, which was made up of those several calamities that afflict the minds of men. I saw, with unspeakable pleasure, the whole species thus delivered from its sorrows; though, at the same time, as we stood round the heap, and surveyed the several materials of which it was composed, there was scarce a mortal, in this vast multitude, who did not discover what he thought pleasures and blessings of life; and wondered how the owners of them ever came to look upon them as burthens and griev

ances,

As we were regarding very attentively this confusion of mis. eries, this chaos of calamity, Jupiter issued out a second proclamation, that every one was now at liberty to exchange his affliction, and to return to his habitation, with any such other bundle as should be delivered to him.

Upon this, Fancy began again to bestir herself, and parcelling out the whole heap with incredible activity, recommended to every one his particular packet. The hurry and confusion at this time was not to be expressed. Some observations, which I made upon the occasion, I shall communicate to the public. A venerable grey-headed man, who had laid down the cholic, and who, I found, wanted an heir to his estate, snatched up an un dutiful son, that had been thrown into the heap by his angry

father. The graceless youth, in less than a quarter of an hour, pulled the old gentleman by the beard, and had like to have knocked his brains out; so that, meeting the true father, who came towards him, in a fit of the gripes, he begged him to take his son again, and give him back his cholic; but they were incapable, either of them, to recede" from the choice they had made. A poor galley-slave, who had thrown down his chains, took up the gout in their stead, but made such wry faces, that one might easily perceive he was no great gainer by the bargain. It was pleasant enough to see the several exchanges that were made, for sickness against poverty, hunger against want of appetite, and care against pain.

The female world were very busy among themselves in bartering for features; one was trucking a lock of grey hairs for a carbuncle, another was making over a short waist for a pair of round shoulders, and a third cheapening a bad face for a lost reputation : but on all these occasions, there was not one of them who did not think the new blemish, as soon as she had got it into her possession, much more disagreeable than the old one. I made the same observation on every other misfortune or calami. ty, which every one in the assembly brought upon himself, in lieu of what he had parted with ; whether it be, that all the evils which befal us, are in some measure suited and proportioned to our strength, or that every evil becomes more supportable by our being accustomed to it, I shall not determine.

I could not, for my heart, forbear pitying the poor humpbacked gentleman mentioned in the former paper, who went off a very well-shaped person with a stone in his bladder; nor the fine

• We say incapable of receding, not, incapable to recede. But having said, either of them, to avoid the repetition of of, he said, to recede.-It should be-But they were not allowed, either of them to recede, &c.—H.

In lieu. I know not why the author preferred French to English, in lieu, to instead, unless it were to avoid the monotony of, instead, what, parted.-H.

gentleman who had struck up this bargain with him, that limped through a whole assembly of ladies who used to admire him, with a pair of shoulders peeping over his head.

I must not omit my own particular adventure. My friend with the long visage, had no sooner taken upon him my short face, but he made such a grotesque figure in it, that as I looked upon him, I could not forbear laughing at myself, insomuch that I put my own face out of countenance. The poor gentleman was so sensible of the ridicule, that I found he was ashamed of what he had done : on the other side, I found that I myself had no great reason to triumph, for as I went to touch my forehead, I missed the place, and clapped my finger upon my upper lip. Besides as my nose was exceeding prominent, I gave it two or three unlucky knocks as I was playing my hand about my face, and aiming at some other part of it. I saw two other gentlemen by me, who were in the same ridiculous circumstances. These had made a foolish swop between a couple of thick bandy legs, and two long trapsticks that had no calfs to them. One of these looked like a man walking upon stilts, and was so lifted up into the air above his ordinary height, that his head turned round with it, while the other made such aukward circles, as he attempted to walk, that he scarce knew how to move forward upon his new supporters: observing him to be a pleasant kind of fellow, I stuck my cane in the ground, and told him I would lay him a bottle of wine, that he did not march up to it on a line, that I drew for him, in a quarter of an hour.

The heap was at last distributed among the two sexes, who made a most piteous sight, as they wandered up and down, under the pressure of their several burdens. The whole plain was filled with murmurs and complaints, groans and lamentations. Jupiter at length, taking compassion on the poor mortals, ordered them a second time to lay down their loads, with a design to give every

one his own again. They discharged themselves with a great deal of pleasure, after which, the phantom who had led them into such gross delusions, was commanded to disappear. There was sent, in her stead, a goddess of a quite different figure : her motions were steady and composed, and her aspect serious but cheerful. She every now and then cast her eyes towards heaven, and fixed them upon Jupiter : her name was PATIENCE. She had no sooner placed herself by the mount of sorrows, but, what I thought very remarkable, the whole heap sunk to such a degree, that it did not appear a third part so big as it was before. She afterwards returned every man his own proper calamity, and teaching him how to bear it in the most commodious manner, he marched off with it contentedly, being very well pleased that he had not been left to his own choice, as to the kind of evils which fell to his lot.

Besides the several pieces of morality to be drawn out of this vision, I learnt from it, never to repine at my own misfortunes, or to envy the happiness of another, since it is impossible for any man to form a right judgment of his neighbour's sufferings; for which reason also, I have determined never to think too lightly of another's complaints, but to regard the sorrows of my fellowcreatures with sentiments of humanity and compassion."

* It was necessary to correct the moral of these humorous papers with this humane reflection.-H.

No. 561. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30.

-Paulatim abolere Sichæum
Incipit, et vivo tentat prævertere amore
Jampridem resides animos desuetaque corda.

VIRG. Æn. 1. 720.
But he
Works in the pliant bosom of the fair
And molds her heart anew, and blots her former care.
The dead is to the living love resign'd,
And all Æneas enters in her mind.

DEYDEN.

“Sir,

“I am a tall, broad-shouldered, impudent, black fellow, and, as I thought, every way qualified for a rich widow: but, after having tried my fortune for above three years together, I have not been able to get one single relict in the mind. My first attacks were generally successful, but always broke off as soon as they came to the word Settlement. Though I have not improved my fortune this way, I have my experience, and have learnt several secrets which may be of use to those unhappy gentlemen, who are commonly distinguished by the name of widow-hunters, and who do not know that this tribe of women are, generally speaking, as much upon the catch as themselves. I shall here communicate to you the mysteries of a certain female cabal of this order, who call themselves The Widow club.' This club consists of nine experienced dames, who take their places once a week round a large oval table.

“I. Mrs. President is a person who has disposed of six husbands, and is now determined to take a seventh; being of opinion that there is as much yirtue in the touch of a seventh husband as of a seventh son. Her comrades are as follow,

"II. Mrs. Snapp, who has four jointures, by four different bed-fellows, of four different shires. She is at present upon the

« PreviousContinue »