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with this evening, has carried me beyond my intended purpose, which was to explain upon the order of merry fellows; but I think I may pronounce of them, as I heard good Senecio, with a spice of the wit of the last age, say, viz. “That a merry fellow is the saddest fellow in the world.”
No. 46.] Tuesday, July 26, 1709.
Non bene conveniunt, nec in una sede morantur, Majestas et amor. Ovid. Met. ii. 88.
— Love but ill agrees with kingly pride.
White's Chocolate-house, July 25.
WE see every day volumes written against that tyrant of human life called Love; and yet there is no help found against his cruelties, or barrier against the inroads he is pleased to make into the inind of man. After this preface, you will expect I am going to give particular instances of what I have asserted. That expectation cannot be raised too high for the novelty of the history and manner of life of the emperor Aurengezebe,” who has resided for some years in the cities of London and Westminster, with the air and mien indeed of his imperial quality, but the equipage and appointment only of a private gentleman. This potentate, for a long series of time, appeared from the hour of twelve until that of two at a coffee-house near the Exchange, and had a seat (though without a canopy) sacred to himself, winere he gave diurnal audiences concerning commerce, politics, tare and tret, usury and abatement, with all things necessary for helping the distressed, who are willing to give one limb for the better maintenance of the rest; or such joyous youths, whose philosophy is confined to the present hour, and were desirous to call in the revenue of the next halfyear to double the enjoyment of this. Long did this growing monarch employ himself after this manner: and, as alliances are necessary to all great kingdoms, he took particularly the interests of Lewis the XIVth into his care and protection. When all mankind were attacking that unhappy monarch, and those who had neither valour nor wit to oppose against him would be still showing their impotent malice, by laying wagers in opposition to his interests, Aurengezebe ever took the part of his contemporary, and laid immense treasures on his side, in defence of his important magazine of Toulon. Aurengezebe also had all this while a constant intelligence with India; and his letters were answered in jewels, which he soon made bril. liant, and caused to be affixed to his imperial castor, which he always wears cocked in front, to show his defiance; with a heap of imperial snuff in the middle of his ample visage, to show his sagacity. The zealots for this little spot called Great Britain, fell universally into this emperor's policies, and paid homage to his superior genius, in forfeiting their coffers to his treasury.
* This name has been applied to a very celebrated East-Indian governor of that time. See more of Au
reagezebe in Tattler, No. 50. O
But wealth and wisdom are possessions too solemn not to give weariness to active minds, without the relief (in vacant hours) of wit and love, which are the proper amusements of the powerful and the wise. This emperor, therefore, with great regularity, every-day at five in the afternoon, leaves his money-changers, his publicans, and little hoarders of wealth, to their low pursuits, and ascends his chariot, to drive to Will's; where the taste is refined, and a relish given to men's possessions, by a polite skill in gratifying their passions and appetites. There it is that the emperor has learned to live and to love, and not, like a miser, to gaze only on his ingots or his treasures; but, with a nobler satisfaction, to live the admiration of others, for his splendour and happiness in being master of them. But a prince is no more to be his own caterer in his love, than in his food; therefore Aurengezebe has ever in waiting two purveyors for his dishes, and his wenches for his retired hours, by whom the scene of his diversion is prepared in the following manner: There is near Covent-garden a street known by the name of Drury, which, before the days of Christianity, was purchased by the queen of Paphos, and is the only part of Great Britain where the tenure of vassalage is still in being. All that long course of building is under particular districts or ladyships, after the manner of lordships in other parts, over which matrons of known abilities preside, and have, for the support of their age. and infirmities, certain taxes paid out of the rewards of the amorous labours of the young. This seraglio of Great Britain is disposed into convenient alleys and apartments, and every house, from the cellar to the garret, inhabited by nymphs of different orders, that persons of every rank may be accommodated with an immediate consort, to allay their flames, and partake of their cares. Here it is that, when Aurengezebe thinks fit to give a loose to dalliance, the purveyors prepare the entertainment; and what makes it more august is, that every person concerned in the interlude has his set part, and the prince sends, beforehand, word what he designs to say, and directs also the very answer which shall be made to him. It has been before hinted, that this emperor has a continual commerce with India; and it is to be noted, that the largest stone that rich earth has produced, is in our Aurengezebe's possession. But all things are now disposed for his reception. At his entrance into the scraglio, a servant delivers him his beaver of state and love, on which is fixed this inestimable jewel as his diadem. When he is seated, the purveyors, Pandarus and Nuncio, marching on each side of the matron of the house, introduce her into his presence. In the midst of the room, they bow all together to the diadem. When the matron “Whoever thou art, as thy awful aspect speaks thee a man of power, be propitious to this mansion of love, and let not the severity of thy wisdom disdain, that by the representation of naked innocence, or pastoral figures, we revive in thee the memory at least of that power of Venus, to which all the wise and the brave are some part
of their lives devoted." Aurengezebe consents by a mod, and they go out backward.' After this, an unhappy nymph, who is to be supposed just escaped from the hands of a ravisher, with her tresses dishevelled, runs into the room with a dagger in her hand, and falls before the emperor. • Pity, oh! pity, whoever thou art, an unhappy virgin, whom one of thy train has robbed of her innocence; her innocence, which was all her portion Or rather, let me die like the memorable Lucretia.”—Upon which she stabs herself. The body is immediately examined after the manner of our coroners. Lucretia recovers by a cup of right Nantz; and the matron, who is her next relation, stops all process at law. This unhappy affair is no sooner over, but a naked mad woman breaks into the room, calls for her duke, her lord, her emperor. As soon as she spies Aurengezebe, the object of all her fury and love, she calls for petticoats, is ready to sink with shame, and is dressed in all haste in new attire at his charge. This unexpected accident of the mad woman, makes Aurengezebe curious to know, whether others who are in their senses can guess at his quality. For which reason, the whole convent is examined one by one. The matron marches in with a tawdry country girl—‘Pray, Winifred,’ says she, who do you think that fine man with those jewels and pearls is?” “I believe,’ says Winifred, “it is our landlord It must be the esquire himself." The emperor laughs at her simplicity * Go, fool,' says the matron: then turning to the emperor ‘Your greatness will pardon her ignorance!” After her, several others of different characters are instructed to mistake who he is, in the same manner: then the whole sisterhood are called together, and the emperor rises, and cocking his hat, declares, he is the great mogul, and they his concubines. A general murmur goes through the whole assembly; and Aurenge. zebe, certifying that he keeps them for state rather than use, tells them, they are permitted to receive all men into their apartments; then proceeds through the crowd, among whom he throws medals shaped like half-crowns, and returns to his chariot. This being all that passed the last day in which Aurengezebe visited the women's apartments, I consulted Pacolet concerning the foundation of such strange amusements in old age: to which he answered, ‘You may remember, when I gave you an account of my good fortune in being drowned on the thirtieth day of my human life, I told you of the disasters I should otherwise have met with before I arrived at the end of my stamen, which was sixty years. I may now add an observation to you, that all who exceed that period, except the latter part of it is spent in the exercise of virtue and contemplation of futurity, must necessarily fall into an indecent old age; because, with regard to all the enjoyments of the years of vigour and manhood, childhood returns upon them : and as infants ride on sticks, build houses in dirt, and make ships in gutters, by a faint idea of things they are to act hereafter; so old men play the lovers, potentates, and emperors, for the decay: ing image of the more perfect performances of
their stronger years: therefore, be sure to insert AEsculapius and Aurengezebe in your next bill of mortality of the metaphorically defunct.'
Will's Coffee-house, July 24.
As soon as I came hither this evening, no less than ten people produced the followin poem, which they all reported was sent to ...; of them by the penny-post from an unknown hand. All the battle-writers in the room were in debate, who could be the author of a piece so martially written; and every body applauded the address and skill of the author, in calling it a postscript: it being the nature of a postscript to contain something very material which was forgotten, or not clearly expressed in the letter itself. Thus the verses being occasioned by a march without beat of drum, and that circumstance being nowise taken notice of in any of the stanzas, the author calls it a postscript; not that it is a postscript, but figuratively because it wants a postscript. Common writers, when what they mean is not expressed in the book itself, supply it by a preface; but a postscript seems to me the more just way of apology; because, otherwise, a man makes an excuse before the offence is committed. All the heroic poets were guessed at for its author; but though we could not find out his name, yet one repeated a couplet in Hudibras, which spoke his qualifications;
St. James's Coffee-house, July 24.
My brethren of the quill, the ingenious society of news-writers, having with great spirit and elegance already informed the world, that the town of Tournay capitulated on the twentyeighth instant, there is nothing left for me to say, but to congratulate the good company here, that we have reason to hope for an opportunity of thanking Mr. Withers" next winter in this place, for the service he has done his country. No man deserves better of his friends than that gentleman, whose distinguished character it is, that he gives his orders with the familiarity, and enjoys his fortune with the generosity, of a fellow-soldier. His grace the duke of Argyle had also an eminent part in the reduction of this important place. That illustrious youth discovers the peculiar turn of spirit and greatness of soul, which only make men of high birth and quality useful to their country; and considers nobility as an imaginary distinction, unless accompanied with the practice of those generous virtues by which it ought to be obtained. But that our military glory is arrived at its present height, and that men of all ranks so passionately affect their share in it, is certainly owing to the merit and conduct of our glorious general: for, as the great secret in chemistry, though not in nature, has occasioned many useful discoveries; and the fantastic notion of being wholly disinterested in friendship has made men do a thousand generous actions above themselves; so, though the present grandeur and fame of the duke of Marlborough is a station of glory to which no one hopes to arrive, yet all carry their actions to a higher pitch, by having that great example laid before them.
No. 47.] Thursday, July 28, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
White's Chocolate-house, July 18.
My friend sir Thomas has communicated to me his letters from Epsom of the twenty-fifth instant, which give, in general, a very good account of the present posture of affairs in that place; but that the tranquillity and correspond. ence of the company begins to be interrupted by the arrival of sir Taffety Trippet,f a fortunehunter, whose follies are too gross to give diversion; and whose vanity is too stupid to let him be sensible that he is a public offence. If people will indulge a splenetic humour, it is impossible to be at ease, when such creatures as are the scandal of our species set up for gallantry and adventures. It will be much more easy, therefore, to laugh sir Taffety into reason, than convert him from his foppery by any serious con
* Henry Withers was at that time a major-general in the British army. He died in 1729.
* Henry Cromwell, Esq. who died in 1728, was the original of the character here delineated under the name of sir Taffety Trippet.
tempt. I knew a gentlemen that made it a maxim to open his doors, and ever run into the way of bullies, to avoid their insolence. The rule will hold as well with coxcombs: they are never mortified, but when they see you receive and despise them; otherwise they rest assured, that it is your ignorance makes them out of your good graces; or, that it is only want of admittance prevents their being amiable where they are shunned and avoided. But sir Taffety is a fop of so sanguine a complexion, that I fear it will be very hard for the fair-one he at present pursues to get rid of the chase, without being so tired, as, for her own ease, to fall into the mouth of the mongrel she runs from. But the history of sir Taffety is as pleasant as his character. It happened that, when he first set up for a fortune-hunter, he chose Tunbridge for the scene of action, where were at that time two sisters upon the same design. The knight believed of course the elder must be the better prize; and consequently makes all his sail that way. People that want sense do always in an egregious manner want modesty, which made our hero triumph in making his amour as public as was possible. The adored lady was no less vain of his public addresses. An attorney with one cause is not half so restless as a woman with one lover. Wherever they met, they talked to
each other aloud, chose each other partner at
balls, saluted at the most conspicuous parts of the service of the church, and practised, in honour of each other, all the remarkable particularities which are usual for persons who admire one another, and are contemptible to the rest of the world. These two lovers seemed as much made for each other as Adam and Eve, and all pronounced it a match of nature's own making; but the night before the nuptials, so universally approved, the younger sister, envious of the good fortune even of her sister, who had been present at most of their interviews, and had an equal taste for the charms of a fop, as there are a set of women made for that order of men; the younger, I say, unable to see so rich a prize pass by her, discovered to sir Taffety, that a coquet air, much tongue, and three suits, was all the portion of his mistress. His love vanished that moment, himself and equipage the next morning. It is uncertain where the lover has been ever since engaged; but certain it is, he has not appeared in his character as a follower of love and fortune until he arrived at Epsom, where there is at present a young lady of youth, beauty, and fortune, who has alarmed all the vain and the impertinent to infest that quarter. At the head of this assembly, sir Tafety shines in the brightest manner, with all the accomplishments which usually ensnare the heart of a wo. man; with this particular merit, which osten is of great service, that he is laughed at for her sake. The friends of the fair one are in much pain for the sufferings she goes through from the perseverance of this hero; but they may be much more so from the danger of his succoed: ing, toward which they give a helping hand, if they dissuade her with bitterness; for there is a fantastical generosity in the sex to approve creatures of the least merit imaginable, when they see the impersections of their admirers are become marks of derision for their sakes, and there is nothing so frequent, as that he, who was contemptible to a woman in her own judgment, has won her by being too violently opposed by others.
Grecian Coffee-house, July 27.
In the several capacities I bear of astrologer, civilian, and physician, I have with great application studied the public emolument; to this end serve all my lucubrations, speculations, and whatever other labours I undertake, whether nocturnal or diurnal. On this motive am I induced to publish a never-failing medicine for the spleen : my experience in this distemper came from a very remarkable cure on my ever worthy friend Tom Spindle, who through excessive gayety, had exhausted that natural stock of wit and spirit he had long been blessed with: he was sunk and flattened to the lowest degree imaginable, sitting whole hours over the “Book of Martyrs' and ‘Pilgrim's Progress;' his other contemplations never rising higher than the colour of his urine, or the regularity of his pulse. In this condition I found him, accompanied by the learned Dr. Drachm, and a good old nurse. Drachm had prescribed magazines of herbs, and mines of steel. I soon discovered the malady, and descanted on the nature of it, until I convinced both the patient and his nurse, that the spleen is not to be cured by medicine but by poetry. Apollo, the author of physic, shone with diffusive rays, the best of poets as well as of physicians; and it is in this double capacity that I have made my way; and have found sweet, easy, flowing numbers are oft superior to our noblest medicines. When the spirits are low, and nature sunk, the muse, with sprightly and harmonious notes, give an unexpected turn with a grain of poetry; which I prepare without the use of mercury. I have done wonders in this kind; for the spleen is like the Tarantula, the effects of whose malignant poison are to be prevented by no other remedy but the charms of music: for you are to understand, that as some noxious animals carry antidotes for their own poisons, so there is something equally unaccountable in poetry; for though it is sometimes a disease, it is to be cured only by itself. Now, I knowing Tom Spindle's constitution, and that he is not only a pretty gentleman, but also a pretty poet, sound the true cause of his distemper was a violent grief, that moved his affections too strongly: for during the late treaty of peace, he had writ a most excellent poem on that subject; and when he wanted but two lines in the last stanza for finishing the whole piece, there comes news that the French tyrant would not sign. Spindle in a few days took his bed, and had lain there still, had not I been sent for. I immediately told him, there was great probability the French would now sue to us for peace. I saw immediately a new life in his eyes, and I knew that nothing could help him forward so well, as hearing verses which he would believe worse than his own. I read him, therefore, the Brussels Postscript: after which I recited some
- heroic lines of my own, which operated so strongly on the tympanum of his ear, that I doubt not but I have kept out all other sounds for a fortnight; and have reason to hope, we shall see him abroad the day before his poem.
This, you see, is a particular secret I have found out, viz. that you are not to choose your physician for his knowledge in your distemper, but for having it himself. Therefore, I am at hand for all maladies arising from poetical vapours, beyond which I never pretend. For being called the other day to one in love, I took indeed their three guineas, and gave them my advice, which was to send for Æsculapius. AEsculapius, as soon as he saw the patient, cries out, ‘It is love : it is love! Oh! the unequal pulse! these are the symptoms a lover feels; such sighs, such pangs, attend the uneasy mind; nor can our art, or all our boasted skill, avail.— Yet, O fair for thcc’—Thus the sage ran on, and owned the passion which he pitica, as well as that he felt a greater pain than ever he cured: after which he concluded, “All I can advise, is marriage: charms and beauty will give new life and vigour, and turn the course of nature to its better prospect.’ This is the new way; and thus AEsculapius has left his beloved powders, and writes a recipe for a wife at sixty. In short, my friend followed the prescription, and married youth and beauty in its perfect bloom.
‘Supino in Silvia's snowy arms he lies,
And all the busy cares of life defies:
While peace the day, and pleasure crowns the night."
From my own Apartment, July 27.
Tragical passion was the subject of the discourse where I last visited this evening; and a gentleman who knows that I am at present writing a very deep tragedy, directed his discourse in a particular manner to me. “It is the common fault,” said he, ‘of you gentlemen who write in the buskin style, that you give us rather the sentiments of such who behold tragical events, than of such who bear a part in them themselves. I would advise all who pretend this way, to read Shakspeare with care; and they will soon be deterred from putting forth what is usually called tragedy. The way of common writers in this kind is rather the description than the expression of sorrow. There is no medium in these attempts, and you must go to the very bottom of the hcart, or it is all mere language; and the writer of such lines is no more a poet, than a man is a physician for knowing the names of distempers, without the causes of them. Men of sense are professed enemies to all such empty labours; for he who pretends to be sorrowful, and is not, is a wretch yet more contemptible than he who pretends to be merry, and is not. Such a tragedian is only maudlin drunk.' The gentleman went on with much warmth; but all he could say had little effect upon me: but when I came hither, I so far observed his counsel, that I looked into Shakspeare. The tragedy I dipped into was “Henry the Fourth." In the scene where Morton is preparing to tell Northumber
o land of his son's death, the old man does not give him time to speak, but says, “The whiteness of thy cheeks Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand; Even such a man, so faint, so spiritless, So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone, Drew Priam's curtain at the dead of night, And would have told him half his Troy was burnt; But Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue, And I my Piercy's death, ere thou report'st it.”
The image in this place is wonderfully noble and great; yet this man in all this is but rising towards his great affliction, and is still enough himself, as you see, to make a simile. But when he is certain of his son's death, he is lost to all patience, and gives up all the regards of this life; and since the last of evils is fallen upon him, he calls for it upon all the world.
* Now let not nature's hand Keep the wild flood confined; let order die, And let the world no longer be a stage, To feed contention in a ling ring act; But let one spirit of the first-born Cain Reign in all bosoms, that each heart being set On bloody courses, the wide scene may end, And darkness be the burier of the dead.”
Reading but this one scene has convinced me, that he, who describes the concern of great men, must have a soul as noble, and as susceptible of high thoughts, as they whom he represents: I shall therefore lay by my drama for some time, and turn my thoughts to cares and griefs somewhat below that of heroes, but no less moving. A misfortune, proper for me to take notice of has, too, lately happened: the disconsolate Maria has three days kept her chamber for the loss of the beauteous Fidelia, her lap-dog. Lesbia herself did not shed more tears for her sparrow. What makes her the more concerned is, that we know not whether Fidelia was killed or stolen; but she was seen in the parlour-window when the train-bands went by, and never since. Whoever gives notice of her, dead or alive, shall be rewarded with a kiss of her lady.
very much in their sentiments of the subject on which they were talking. One of them seemed to have a natural confidence mixed with an ingenious freedom, in his gesture; his dress very plain, but very graceful and becoming : the other, in the midst of an overbearing carriage, betrayed, by frequently looking round him, a suspicion that he was not enough regarded by those he met, or that he feared they would make some attack upon him. This person was much taller than his companion, and added to that height the advantage of a feather in his hat, and heels to his shoes so monstrously high, that he had three or four times fallen down, had he not been supported by his friend. They made a full stop as they came within a few yards of the place where we stood. The plain gentleman bowed to Pacolet; the other looked upon him with some displeasure : upon which I asked him who they both were 2 when he thus informed me of their persons and circumstances : ‘You may remember, Isaac, that I have of: ten told you there are beings of a superior rank to mankind; who frequently visit the habitations of men, in order to call them from some wrong pursuits in which they are actually engaged, or divert them from methods which will lead them into errors for the future. He that will carefully reflect upon the occurrences of his life, will find he has been sometimes extricated out of difficulties, and received favours where he could never have expected such benefits; as well as met with cross events from some unseen hand, which has disappointed his best laid designs. Such accidents arrive from the interventions of aerial beings, as they are benevolent or hurtful to the nature of man; and attend his steps in the tracks of ambition, of business, and of pleasure. Before I ever appeared to you in the manner I do now, I have frequently followed you in your eveningwalks; and have often, by throwing some accident in your way, as the passing by of a funeral, or the appearance of some other solemn object, given your imagination a new turn, and changed a night you have destined to mirth and jollity, into an exercise of study and contemplation. I was the old soldier who met you last summer in Chelsea-fields, and pretended that I had broken my wooden-leg, and could not get home; but I snapped it short off, on purpose that you might fall into the reflections you did on that subject, and take me into your hack. If you remember, you made yourself very merry on that fracture, and asked me whether I thought I should next winter feel cold in the toes of that leg 2 as is usually observed, that those who lose limbs are sensible of pains in the extreme parts, even after those limbs are cut off. However, my keeping you then in the story of the battle of the Boyne prevented an assignation, which would have led you into more disasters than I then related. “To be short: those two persons whom you see yonder are such as I am; they are not real men, but are mere shades and figures, one is named Alethes, the other Verisimilis. Their office is to be the guardians and representatives of conscience and honour. They are now going