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bly beg leave to limp along the streets after my own way, or I shall be inevitably ruined in coach hire. As soon as I am tolerably recovered, I promise to walk as upright as a ghost in a tragedy, being not of a stature to spare an inch of height that I can any way pretend to. I honour your lucubrations, and am, with the most profound submission, honoured Sir, your most dutiful and most obedient servant, &c.’
Not doubting but the case is as the gentleman represents, I do hereby order Mr. Morphew to deliver him out a licence, upon paying his fees, which shall empower him to wear a cane until the thirteenth of March next; five months being the most I can allow for a sprain.
St. James's Coffee-house, October 12.
We received this morning a mail from Holland, which brings advice that the siege of Mons is carried on with so great vigour and bravery, that we hope very suddenly to be masters of the place; all things necessary being prepared for making the assault on the hornwork and ravelin of the attack of Bertamont, the charge began with the fire of bombs and grenadoes, which was so hot, that the enemy quitted their post, and we lodged ourselves on those works without opposition. During this storm, one of our bombs fell into a magazine of the enemy, and blew it up. There are advices, which say the court of France had made new offers of peace to the confederates; but this intelligence wants confirmation.
No. 81.] Saturday, October 15, 1709.
IIic manus ob patriam pugnando vulnera passi,
Here patriots live, who, for their country's good,
From my own Apartment, October 11.
Tuerr are two kinds of immortality; that which the soul really enjoys after this life, and that imaginary existence by which men live in their fame and reputation. The best and greatest actions have proceeded from the prospect of the one or the other of these ; but my design is to treat only of those who have chiefly proposed to themselves the latter, as the principal reward of their labours. It was for this reason that I excluded from my Tables of Fame all the great founders and votaries of religion; and it is for this reason also, that I am more than ordinary anxious to do justice to the persons of whom I am now going to speak; for, since fame was the only end of all their enterprises and studies, a man cannot be too scrupulous in allotting them their due proportion of it. It was this con
sideration which made mc call the whole body of the learned to my assistance; to many of whom I must own my obligations for the catalogues of illustrious persons, which they have sent me in upon this occasion. I yesterday employed the whole afternoon in comparing them with each other ; which made so strong an impression upon my imagination, that they broke my sleep for the first part of the following night, and at length threw me into a very agreeable vision, which I shall beg leave to describe in all its particulars. I dreamed that I was conveyed into a wide and boundless plain, that was covered with prodigious multitudes of people, which no man could number. In the midst of it there stood a mountain, with its head above the clouds. The sides were extremely steep, and of such a particular structure, that no creature which was not made in a human figure could possibly ascend it. On a sudden there was heard from the top of it a sound like that of a trumpet; but so exceeding sweet and harmonious, that it filled the hearts of those who heard it with raptures, and gave such high and delightful sensations, as seemed to animate and raise human nature above itself. This made me very much amazed to find so very few in that innumerable multitude, who had ears fine enough to hear, or relish this music with pleasure: but my wonder abated, when, upon looking round me, I saw most of them attentive to three syrens, cloathed like goddesses, and distinguished by the names of Sloth, Ignorance, and Pleasure. They were seated on three rocks, amidst a beautiful variety of groves, meadows, and rivulets, that lay on the borders of the mountain. While the base and grovelling multitude of different nations, ranks, and ages were listening to these delusive deities, those of a more erect aspect, and exalted spirit, separated themsclves from the rest, and marched in great bo
| dies toward the mountain from whence they
heard the sound, which still grew sweeter, the more they listened to it." On a sudden, methought this select band sprang forward, with a resolution to climb the ascent, and follow the call of that heavenly music. Every one took something with him that he thought might be of assistance to him in his march. Scveral had their swords drawn, some carried rolls of paper in their hands, some had compasses, others quadrants, others telescopes, and others pencils. Some had laurels on their heads, and others buskins on their legs; in short, there was scarce any instrument of a mechanic art, or liberal science, which was not made use of on this occasion. My good daimon, who stood at my right hand during the course of this whole vision, observing in me a burning desire to join that glorious company, told me, “he highly approved that generous ardour with which I seemed transported; but, at the same time, advised me to cover my face with a mask all the while I was to labour on the ascent.' I took his counsel, without inquiring into his reasons. The whole body now broke into different parties, and began to climb the precipice by ten thousand different paths. Several got into little alleys, which did not reach far up the hill, before they ended, and led no farther; and I ob
served, that most of the artizans, which considerably diminished our number, fell into these paths. We left another considerable body of adventurers behind us, who thought they had discovered by-ways up the hill, which proved so very intricate and perplexed, that, after having advanced in them a little, they were quite lost among the several turns and windings; and though they were as active as any in their motions, they made but little progress in the ascent. These, as my guide informed me, were men of subtle tempers, and puzzled politics, who would supply the place of real wisdom with cunning and artifice. Among those who were far advanced in their way, there were some, that by one false step, fell backward, and lost more ground in a moment than they had gained for many hours, or could be ever able to recover. We were now advanced very high, and observed that all the different paths which ran about the sides of the mountain began to meet in two great roads; which insensibly gathered the whole multitude of travellers into two great bodies. At a little distance from the entrance of each road there stood a hideous phantom that opposed our further passage. One of these apparitions had his right hand filled with darts, which he brandished in the face of all who came up that way. Crowds ran back at the appearance of it, and cricq out, Death. The spectre that guarded the other road was Envy. She was not armed with weapons of destruction, like the former; but by dreadful hissings, noises of reproach, and a horrid distracted laughter, she appeared more frightful than Death itself, inso. much, that abundance of our company were discouraged from passing any farther, and some appeared ashamed of having come so far. As for myself, I must confess, my heart shrunk with'n me at the sight of these ghastly appearances; but, on a sudden, the voice of the trumpet came more full upon us, so that we felt a new resolution reviving in us; and in proportion as this resolution grew, the terrors before us seemed to vanish. Most of the company, who had swords in their hands, marched on with great spirit, and an air of defiance, up the road that was commanded by Death; while others, who had thought and contemplation in their looks, went forward in a more composed manner up the road possessed by Envy. The way above these apparitions grew smooth and uniform, and was so delightful, that the travellers went on with pleasure, and in a little time arrived at the top of the mountain. They here began to breathe a delicious kind of other, and saw all the fields about them covered with a kind of purple light, that made them reflect with satisfaction on their past toils; and diffused a secret joy through the whole assembly, which showed itself in every look and feature. In the midst of these happy fields there stood a palace of a very glorious structure. It had four great folding-doors, that faced the four several quarters of the world. On the top of it was enthroned the goddess of the mountain, who smiled upon her votaries, and sounded the silver trumpet which had called them up, and cheered them in their passage to her palace. They had now formed themselves
into several divisions; a band of historians taking their stations at each door, according to the per. sons whom they were to introduce. On a sudden, the trumpet, which had hitherto sounded only a march, or a point of war, now swelled all its notes into triumph and exultation. The whole fabric shook, and the doors flew open. The first who stepped forward was a beautiful and blooming hero, and, as I heard by the murmurs round me, Alexander the Great. He was conducted by a crowd of historians. The person who immediately walked before him, was remarkable for an embroidered garment, who, not being well acquainted with the place, was conducting him to an apartment appointed for the reception of fabulous heroes. The name of this false guide was Quintus Curtius. But Arrian and Plutarch, who knew better the avenues of this palace, conducted him into the great hall, and placed him at the upper end of the first table. My good daemon, that I might see the whole ceremony, conveyed me to a corner of this room, where I might perceive all that passed, without being seen myself. The next who entered was a charming virgin, leading in a venerable old man that was blind. Under her left arm she bore a harp, and on her head a garland. Alexander, who was very well acquainted with Homer, stood up at his entrance, and placed him on his right hand. The virgin, who it seems was one of the nine sisters that attended on the goddess of fame, smiled with an ineffable grace at their meeting, and retired. Julius Caesar was now coming forward; and, though most of the historians offered their service to introduce him, he left then at the door, and would have no conductor but himself. The next who advanced, was a man of a homely but cheerful aspect, and attended by persons of greater figure than any that appeared on this occasion. Plato was on his right hand, and Xenophon on his left. He bowed to Homer, and sat down by him. It was expected that Plato would himself have taken a place next to his master, Socrates; but on a sudden there was heard a great clamour of disputants at the door, who appeared with Aristotle at the head of them. That philosopher, with some rudeness, but great strength of reason, convinced the whole table, that a title to the fifth place was his due, and took it accordingly. He had scarce sat down, when the same beautiful virgin that had introduced Homer, brought in another, who hung back at the entrance, and would have excused himself, had not his modesty been overcome by the invitation of all who sat at the table. His guide and be. haviour made me easily conclude it was Virgil. Cicero next appeared and took his place. He had inquired at the door for one Lucceius to introduce him; but, not finding him there, he contented himself with the attendance of many other writers, who all, except Sallust, appeared highly pleased with the office. We waited some time in expectation of the next worthy, who came in with a great retinue of historians whose names I could not learn, most of them being natives of Carthage. The person thus conducted, who was Hannibal, seemed much disturbed, and could not forbear complaining to the board, of the affronts he had met with among the Roman historians, “who attempted,’ says he, “to carry me into the subterraneous apartment; and, perhaps, would have done it, had it not been for the impartiality of this gentleman,’ pointing to Polybius, ‘who was the only person, except my own countrymen, that was willing to conduct me hither.’ The Carthaginian took his seat, and Pompey entered with great dignity in his own person, and preceded by several historians. Lucan the poet was at the head of them, who, observing Homer and Virgil at the table, was going to sit down himself, had not the latter whispered him, that whatever pretence he might otherwise have had, he forfeited his claim to it, by coming in as one of the historians. Lucan was so exasperated with the repulse, that he muttered something to himself; and was heard to say, “that since he could not have a seat among them himself, he would bring in one who alone had more merit than their whole assembly:' upon which he went to the door, and brought in Cato of Utica. That great man approached the company with such an air, that showed he contemned the honour which he laid a claim to. Observing the seat opposite to Caesar was vacant, he took possession of it, and spoke two or three smart sentences upon the nature of precedency, which, according to him, consisted not in place, but in intrinsic merit: to which he added, “that the most virtuous man, wherever he was seated, was always at the upper end of the table.' Socrates, who had a great spirit of raillery with his wisdom, could not forbear smiling at a virtue which took so little pains to make itself agreeable. Cicero took the occasion to make a long discourse in praise of Cato, which he uttered with much vehemence. Caesar answered him with a great deal of seeming temper; but, as I stood at a great distance from them, I was not able to hear one word of what they said. But I could not forbear taking notice, that, in all the discourse which passed at the table, a word or nod from Homer decided the controversy. After a short pause, Augustus appeared, looking round him with a serene and affable countenance upon all the writers of his age, who strove among themselves which of them should show him the greatest marks of gratitude and respect. Virgil rose from the table to meet him; and though he was an acceptable guest to all, he appeared more such to the learned than the military worthies. The next man astonished the whole table with his appearance. He was slow, solemn, and silent in his behaviour, and wore a raiment curiously wrought with hieroglyphics. As he came into the middle of the room, he threw back the skirt of it, and discovered a golden thigh. Socrates, at the sight of it, declared against keeping company with any who were not made of flesh and blood; and, therefore, desired Diogenes the Laertian to lead him to the apartment allotted for fabulous heroes, and worthies of dubious existence. At his going out, he told them, ‘that they did not know whom they dismissed: that he was now Pythagoras, the first of philosophers, and that formerly he had been a very brave man at the siege of Troy.”—“That may be
very true,' said Socrates; ‘but you forget that you have likewise been a very great harlot in your time.' This exclusion made way for Archimedes, who came forward with a scheme of mathematical figures in his hand; among which I observed a cone and a cylinder. Sceing this table full, I desired my guide, for variety, to lead me to the fabulous apartment, the roof of which was painted with Gorgons, Chimaras, and Centaurs, with many other emblematical figures, which I wanted both time and skill to unriddle. The first table was almost full: at the upper end sat Hercules, leaning an arm upon his club; on his right hand were Achilles and Ulysses, and between them AEneas; on his left were Hector, Theseus, and Jason: the lower end had Orpheus, AEsop, Phalaris, and Musaeus. The ushers seemed at a loss for a twelfth man, when, methought, to my great joy and surprise, I heard some at the lower end of the table mention Isaac Bickerstaff; but those of the upper end received it with disdain; and said, “if they must have a British worthy, they would have Robin Hood.’ While I was transported with the honour that was done me, and burning with envy against my competitor, I was awakened by the noise of the cannon which were then fired for the taking of Mons. I should have been very much troubled at being thrown out of so pleasing a vision on any other occasion; but thought it an agreeable change, to have my thoughts diverted from the greatest among the dead and fabulous heroes, to the most famous among the real and the living.
AFTER the mind has been employed on contemplations suitable to its greatness, it is unnatural to run into sudden mirth or levity; but we must let the soul subside, as it rose, by proper degrees. My late considerations of the ancient heroes impressed a certain gravity upon my mind, which is much above i. little gratification received from starts of humour and fancy, and threw me into a pleasing sadness. In this state of thought I have been looking at the fire, and in a pensive manner reflecting upon the great misfortunes and calamities incident to human life; among which there are none that touch so sensibly as those which befall persons who eminently love, and meet with fatal interruptions of their happiness when they least expect it. The piety of children to parents, and the af. fection of parents to their children, are the cffects of instinct; but the affection between lovers and friends is founded on reason and choice, which has always made me think the sorrows of the latter much more to be pitied than those of the former. The contemplation of distresses of this sort softens the mind of man, and makes the heart better. It extinguishes the seeds of envy and ill-will towards mankind, corrects the pride of prosperity, and beats down all that fierceness and insolence which are apt to get into the minds of the daring and fortunate. For this reason the wise Athenians, in their theatrical performances, laid before the eyes of the people the greatest afflictions which could befall human life, and insensibly polished their tempers by such representations. Among the moderns, indeed, there has arisen a chimerical method of disposing the fortune of the persons represented, according to what they call poetical justice; and letting none be unhappy but those who deserve it. In such cases an intelligent spectator, if he is concerned, knows he ought not to be so; and can learn nothing from such a tenderness, but that he is a weak creature, whose passions cannot follow the dictates of his understanding. It is very natural, when one is got into such a way of thinking, to recollect those examples of sorrow which have made the strongest impression upon our imaginations. An instance or two of such you will give me leave to communicate. A young gentleman and lady of ancient and honourable houses in Cornwall had, from their childhood, entertained for each other a generous and noble passion, which had been long opposed by their friends, by reason of the inequality of their fortunes; but their constancy to each other, and obedience to those on whom they depended, wrought so much upon their relations, that these celebrated lovers were at length joined in marriage. Soon after their nuptials, the bridegroom was obliged to go into a foreign country, to take care of a considerable fortune, which was left him by a relation, and came very opportunely to improve their moderate circumstances. They received the congratulations of all the country on this occasion; and I remember it was a common sentence in every one's mouth, “You see how faithful love is rewarded.” He took this agreeable voyage, and sent home every post fresh accounts of his success in his affairs abroad; but at last, though he designed to return with the next ship, he lamented, in his letters, that “business would detain him some time longer from home,' because he would give himself the pleasure of an unexpected arrival. The young lady, after the heat of the day, walked every evening on the sea-shore, near which she lived, with a familiar friend, her husband's kinswoman; and diverted herself with what objects they met there, or upon discourses of the future methods of life, in the happy change of their circumstances. They stood one evening on the shore together in a perfect tranquillity, observing the setting of the sun, the calm face of the deep, and the silent heaving of
* This melancholy relation concerning these Cornish lovers seems to have been founded on a real story, not very remote from the original date of the paper. The writer, whoever he was, affirms that he remembered a common sentence in every one's mouth on the occasion of the gentleman's succession to an unexpected fortune. The reader may compare this with Gay's much admired relation of John Hewitt and Sarah Drew; Pope's Works, vol. iv. p. 9. Lond. Ed. 1770.
the waves, which gently rolled towards them, and broke at their feet; when at a distance her kinswoman saw something float on the waters, which she fancied was a chest; and with a smile told her, “she saw it first, and if it came ashore full of jewels, she had a right to it.' They both fixed their eyes upon it, and entertained themselves with the subject of the wreck, the cousin still asserting her right; but promising, “if it was a prize, to give her a very rich coral for the child of which she was then big, provided she might be god-mother.” Their mirth soon abated, when they observed, upon the nearer approach, that it was a human body. The young lady, who had a heart naturally filled with pity and compassion, made many melancholy reflections on the occasion. “Who knows,' said she, “but this man may be the only hope and heir of a wealthy house; the darling of indulgent parents, who are now in impertinent mirth, and pleasing themselves with the thoughts of offering him a bride they have got ready for him? or, may he not be the master of a family that wholly depended upon his life 2 There may, for aught we know, be half a dozen fatherless children, and a tender wife, now exposed to poverty by his death. What pleasure might he have promised himself in the different welcome he was to have from her and them . Butlet us go away; it is a dreadful sight! The best office we can do, is to take care that the poor man, whoever he is, may be decently buried.” She turned away, when a wave threw the carcass on the shore. The kinswoman immediately shrieked out, “Oh my cousin!’ and fell upon the ground. The unhappy wife went to help her friend, when she saw her own husband at her feet, and dropped in a swoon upon the body. An old woman, who had been the gentleman's nurse, came out about this time to call the ladies in to supper, and found her child, as she always called him, dead on the shore, her mistress and kinswoman both lying dead by him. Her loud lamentations, and call. ing her young master to life, soon awaked the friend from her trance; but the wife was gone for ever. When the family and neighbourhood got to. gether round the bodies, no one asked any question; but the objects before them told the story Incidents of this nature are the more moving when they are drawn by persons concerned in the catastrophe, notwithstanding they are often oppressed beyond the power of giving them in a distinct light, except we gather their sorrow from their inability to speak it. I have two original letters, written both on the same day, which are to me exquisite in their different kinds. The occasion was this :—A gentleman who had courted a most agreeable young woman, and won her heart, obtained also the consent of her father, to whom she was an only child. The old man had a fancy that they should be married in the same church where he himself was, in a village in Westmoreland, and made them set out while he was laid up with the gout at London. The bridegroom took only his man, the bride her maid: they had the most agreeable journey imaginable to the place of marriage; from whence the bridegroom writ the following letter to his wife's father. - March 18, 1672. ‘SIR,-After a very pleasant journey hither, we are preparing for the happy hour in which I am to be your son. I assure you the bride carries it, in the eye of the vicar who married you, much beyond her mother; though he says, your open sleeves, pantaloons, and shoulderknot, made a much better show than the finical dress I am in. However, I am contented to be the second fine man this village ever saw, and shall make it very merry before night, because I shall write myself from thence, your most dutiful son, - T. D."
“The bride gives her duty, and is as handsome as an angel. I am the happiest man breathing.’
The villagers were assembling about the church, and the happy couple took a walk in a private garden. The bridegroom's man knew his master would leave the place on a sudden after the wedding, and, seeing him draw his pistols the night before, took this opportunity to go into his chamber and charge them. Upon their return from the garden, they went into that room; and, after a little fond raillery on the subject of their courtship, the lover took up a pistol, which he knew he had unloaded the night before, and presenting it to her, said, with the most graceful air, whilst she looked pleased at his agreeable flattery; “Now, madam, repent of all those cruelties you have been guilty of to me; consider, before you die, how often you have made a poor wretch freeze under your casement; you shall die, you tyrant, you shall die, with all those instruments of death and destruction about you, with that enchanting smile, those killing ringlets of your hair’— “Give fire " said she, laughing. He did so: and shot her dead. Who can speak his condition ? but he bore it so patiently as to call up his man. The poor wretch entered, and his master locked the door upon him. “Will,” said he, “did you charge these pistols' He answered, ‘Yes." Upon which he shot him dead with that remaining. After this, amidst a thousand broken sobs, piercing groans, and distracted motions, he writ the following letter to the father of his dead mistress.
‘Sir, I, who two hours ago told you truly I was the happiest man alive, am now the most miserable. Your daughter lies dead at my feet, killed by my hand, through a mistake of my man's charging my pistols unknown to me. Him have I murdered for it. Such is my wed. ding day. I will immediately follow my wise to her grave; but before I throw myself upon my sword, I command iny distraction so far as to explain my story to you. I fear my heart will not keep together until I have stabbed it. Poor, good old man' Remember, he that killed your daughter died for it. In the article of death I give you my thanks, and pray for you, though I dare not for myself. If it be possible, do not curse Inc.’
No. 83.] Thursday, October 20, 1709.
Senilis stultitia quae deliratio appellari solet, senum levium est, non omnium. .M. T. Cic. That which is usually called dotage, is not the foible of ail old men, but only of such as are remarkable for their levity and inconstancy.
From my own Apartment, October 19. It is my frequent practice to visit places of
resort in this town where I am least known, to observe what reception my works meet with in
the world, and what good cffects I may promise
myself from my labours; and it being a privilege asserted by monsieur Montaigne, and others of vain-glorious memory, that we writers of essays may talk of ourselves; I take the liberty to give an account of the remarks which I find are made by some of my gentle readers upon these my dissertations. I happened this evening to fall into a coffeehouse near the Exchange, where two persons were reading my account of the ‘Table of Fame.’ The one of these was commenting as he read, and explaining who was meant by this and the other worthy as he passed on. I observed the person over against him wonderfully intent and satisfied with his explanation. When he came to Julius Cæsar, who is said to have refused any conductor to the table ; ‘No, no,” said he, “he is in the right of it; he has money enough to be welcome wherever he comes;' and then whispered, he means a certain colonel of the trainbands.” Upon reading that Aristotle made his claim with some rudeness, but great strength of reason; ‘Who can that be, so rough and so reasonable It must be some whig. I warrant you. There is nothing but party in these public papers.’ Where Pythagoras is said to have a golden thigh,’ ‘Ay, ay,” said he, “he has money enough in his breeches; that is the alderman of our ward,' you must know. Whatever he road, I found he interpreted from his own way of life and acquaintance. I am glad my readers can construe for themselves these difficult points; but, for the benefit of posterity, I design, when I come to write my last paper of this kind, to make it an explanation of all my former. In that piece you shall have all I have commended, with their proper names. The faulty characters must be left as they are, because we live in an age wherein vice is very general, and virtue very particular ; for which reason the latter only wants explanation. But I must turn my present discourse to what is of yet greater regard to me than the care of my writings; that is to say, the preservation of a lady's heart. Little did I think I should ever have business of this kind on my hands more ; but, as little as any one who knows me would believe it, there is a lady at this time who pro. sesses love to me. Her passion and good humour you shall have in her own words.
“Mr. Bickenstaff, I had formerly a very good opinion of myself; but it is now withdrawn, and I have placed it upon you, Mr. Bickerstaff, for whom I am not ashamed to declare I have
* Tatler, No. 81.