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She did it with that easiness which is peculiar to women of sense; and to keep up the good humour she had brought in with her, turned her raillery upon me. “Mr. Bickerstaff, you remember you followed me one night from the play-house; suppose you should carry me thither to-morrow night, and lead me into the front box.' This put us into a long field of discourse about the beauties, who were mothers to the present, and shined in the boxes twenty years ago. I told her, “I was glad she had transferred so many of her charms, and I did not question but her eldest daughter was within half-a-year of being a toast.” We were pleasing ourselves with this fantas. tical preferment of the young lady, when on a sudden we were alarmed with the noise of a drum, and immediately entered my little godson to give me a point of war. His mother, between laughing and chiding, would have put him out of the room; but I would not part with him so. I found upon conversation with him, though he was a little noisy in his mirth, that the child had excellent parts, and was a great master of all the learning on the other side eight years old. I perceived him a very great historian in AEsop's Fables: but he frankly declared to me his mind, “that he did not delight in that learning, because he did not believe they were true; for which reason I found he had very much turned his studies, for about a twelvemonth past, into the lives and adventures of Don Bellianis of Greece, Guy of Warwick, the Seven Champions, and other historians of that age. I could not but observe the satisfaction the father took in the forwardness of his son; and that these diversions might turn to some profit, I found the boy had made remarks, which might be of service to him during the course of his whole life. He would tell you the mismanagements of John Hickerthrift, find fault with the passionate temper in Bevis of Southampton, and loved Saint George for being the champion of England;” and by this means had his thoughts insensibly moulded into the notions of discretion, virtue, and honour. I was extolling his accomplishments, when the mother told me, “that the little girl who led me in this morning, was, in her way, a better scholar than he. ‘Betty,” said she, ‘deals chiefly in fairies and sprights; and sometimes in a winter-night will terrify the maids with her accounts, until they are afraid to go up to bed.” I sat with them until it was very late, sometimes in merry, sometimes in serious discourse, with this particular pleasure, which gives the only true relish to all conversation, a sense that every one of us liked each other. I went home, considering the different conditions of a married life and that of a bachelor; and I must confess it struck me with a secret concern, to re. flect that whenever I go off I shall leave no traces behind me. In this pensive mood I return to my family; that is to say, to my maid, my dog, and my cat, who only can be the better or worse for what happens to me.
*This is a subject which has occasioned a very learned altercation between some of our most eminent antiquaries.
No. 96.] Saturday, November 19, 1709.
Ismihi demum vivere et frui anima videtur, quialiquo negotio intentus, præclari facinoris aut artisbonæ fainam querit. Sall. Bel. Cat.
In my o he only may be truly said to live, and enjoy his being, who is engaged in some laudable pursuit, and acquires a name by some illustrious action, or useful art.
From my own Apartment, November 17.
It has cost me very much care and thought to marshal and fix the people under their proper denominations, and to range them according to their respective characters. These my endeavours have been received with unexpected success in one kind, but neglected in another: for, though I have many readers, I have but few converts. This must certainly proceed from a false opinion, that what I write is designed rather to amuse and entertain, than convince and instruct. I entered upon my Essays with a declaration that I should consider mankind in quite another manner than they had hitherto been represented to the ordinary world; and asserted, that none but a useful life should be, with me, any life at all. But, lest this doctrine should have made this small progress towards the conviction of mankind, because it may have appeared to the unlearned light and whimsical, I must take leave to unfold the wisdom and antiquity of my first proposition in these my Essays, to wit, that “every worthless man is a dead man.' This notion is as old as Pythagoras, in whose school it was a point of discipline, that if among the 'Azorros., or probationers, there were any who grew weary of studying to be useful, and returned to an idle life, they were to regard them as dead; and, upon their departing, to perform their obsequies, and raise them tombs, with inscriptions to warn others of the like mortality, and quicken them to resolutions of refining their souls above that wretched state. It is upon a like supposition, that young ladies, at this very time, in Roman catholic countries, are received into some nunneries with their cof. fins, and with the pomp of a formal funeral, to signify, that henceforth they are to be of no further use, and consequently dead. Nor was Pythagoras himself the first author of this symbol, with whom, and with the Hebrews, it was generally received. Much more might be of: fered in illustration of this doctrine from sacred authority, which I recommend to my reader's own reflection, who will easily recollect, from places which I do not think fit to quote here, the forcible manner of applying the words dead and licing, to men as they are good or bad.
I have, therefore, composed the following scheme of existence for the benefit both of the living and the dead; though chiefly for the latter, whom I must desire to read it with all possible attention. In the number of the dead I comprehend all persons, of what title or dignity socver, who bestow most of their time in eating and drinking, to support that imaginary existence of theirs, which they call life; or in dress. ing and adorning those shadows and apparitions, which are looked upon by the vulgar as real men and women. In short, whoever resides in
the world without having any business in it, and passes away an age without ever thinking on the errand for which he was sent hither, is to me a dead man to all intents and purposes; and I desire that he may be so reputed. The living are only those that are some way or other laudably employed in the improvement of their own minds, or for the advantage of others; and even amongst these, I shall only reckon into their lives that part of their time which has been spent in the manner above-mentioned. By these means, I am afraid, we shall find the longest lives not to consist of many months, and the greatest part of the earth to be quite unpeopled. According to this system, we may observe, that some men are born at twenty years of age, some at thirty, some at threescore, and some not above an hour before they die: nay, we may observe multitudes that die without ever being born, as well as many dead persons that fill up the bulk of mankind, and make, a better figure in the eyes of the ignorant, than those who are alive, and in their proper and full state of health. However, since there may be many good subjects that pay their taxes, and live peaceably in their habitations, who are not yet born, or have departed this life several years since, my design is, to encourage both to join themselves as soon as possible to the number of the living. For as I invite the former to break forth into being, and become good for some. thing; so I allow the latter a state of resuscitation; which I chiefly mention for the sake of a person who has lately published an advertise. ment, with several scurrilous terms in it, that do by no means become a dead man to give; it is my departed friend John Partridge, who concludes the advertisement of his next year's almanack with the following note:
Whereas it has been industriously given out by Isaac Bickerstaff, esquire, and others, to prevont the sale of this year's almanack, that John Partridge is dead: this may inform all his lov. ing countrymen, that he is still living in health, and they are knaves that reported it otherwise. • J. P.”
From my own Apartment, November 18.
When an engineer finds his guns have not had their intended effect, he changes his bat. teries. I am forced at present to take this me. thod; and instead of continuing to write against the singularity some are guilty of in their habit and behaviour, I shall henceforward desire them to persevere in it; and not only so, but shall take it as a favour of all the coxcombs in the town, if they will set marks upon themselves, and by some particular in their dress show to what class they belong. It would be very oblig. ing in all such persons, who feel in themselves that they are not of sound understanding, to give the world notice of it and spare mankind the pains of finding them out. A cano upon
the fifth button shall from henceforth be the type of a Dapper; red-heeled shoes, and a hat hung upon one side of the head, shall signify a Smart; a good periwig made into a turist, with a brisk cock, shall speak a Mettled Fellow; and an upper lip covered with snuff, denote a Coffee.
house Statesman. But as it is required that all coxcombs hang out their signs, it is on the other hand expected that men of real merit should avoid any thing particular in their dress, gait, or behaviour. For, as we old men delight in proverbs, I cannot forbear bringing out one on this occasion. ‘That good wine needs no bush.” I must not leave this subject without reflecting on several persons I have lately met with, who at a distance seem very terrible; but upon a stricter inquiry into their looks and features, appear as meek and harmless as any of my own neighbours. These are country gentlemen, who of late years have taken up a humour of coming to town in red coats, whom an arch wag of my acquaintance used to describe very well, by cali. ing them “sheep in wolves' clothing.' I have often wondered, that honest gentlemen, who are good neighbours, and live quietly in their own possessions, should take it in their heads to frighten the town aster this unreasonable manner. I shall think myself obliged, if they persist in so unnatural a dress, notwithstanding any posts they may have in the militia, to give away their red coats to any of the soldiery who shall think fit to strip them, provided the said soldiers can make it appear that they be. long to a regiment where there is a deficiency in the clothing.
About two days ago I was walking in the Park, and accidentally met a rural 'squire clothed in all the types above-mentioned, with a carriage and behaviour made entirely out of his own head. He was of a bulk and stature, larger than ordinary, had a red coat flung open to show a gay calamanco waistcoat. His periwi fell in a very considerable bush upon of shoulder. His arms naturally swang at an unreasonable distance from his sides; which, with the advantage of a cane that he brandished in a great variety of irregular motions, made it unsafe for any one to walk within several yards of him. In this manner he took up the whole Mall, his spectators moving on each side of it, whilst he cocked up his hat, and marched directly for Westminster. I cannot tell who this gentleman is, but, for my comfort, may say with the lover in Terence, who lost sight of a fine young lady, ‘Wherever thou art, thou canst not be long concealed.'
St. James's Coffee-house, November 18.
By letters from Paris of the sixteenth we are informed that the French king, the princess of the blood, and the elector of Bavaria, had lately killed ūty-five pheasants.
*...* Whereas, several have industriously spread abroad, that I am in partnership with No. 97.] Tuesday, November 22, 1709.
* A bush, as may be inferred from this proverb, was anciently the sign of a tavern. This sign was succeeded by a thing intended to resenble a bush, consisting of three or four tier of hoops fastened one above another; with vine leaves and grapes richly carve and gilt and a Bacchus best riding a tun at top. The owner of a tavern or alehouse in Alder-gate-street, at the time when king Charles I. was beheaded, was so affected upon that event, that he port his bush in mourning by painting it lack. The house was long after known by the name of the Mourning Bush at Aldersgate. Sir John Liuwkin's II.ist. of Music."
Charles Lillie, the perfumer, at the corner of Beaufort Buildings; I must say with my friend Partridge, that they are knaves who reported it. However, since the said Charles has promised that all his customers shall be mine, I must desire all mine to be his ; and dare answer for him, that if you ask in my name for snuff, Hnngary or orange water, you shall have the best the town affords, at the cheapest rate.
Illud maxime rarum genus est eorum, qui aut excel. lente ingenit magnitudine, aut preclara eruditione atoie doctrina, aut utraqui re orii; ation, delibe. raidi habuerunt, quem potissimum cursum sequi ve: tent. 1'ult. Otjic.
There are very few persons of extraordinary genius, or eminent for learning and other noble endowments, who have had soutlicient time to consider what particular course of life they ought to pursue.
From my own Apartment, November 21.
Having swept away prodigious multitudes in
her eyes cast towards the ground with an agreeable reserve, her motion and behaviour full of modesty, and her raiment as white as snow. The other had a great deal of health and floridness in her countenance, which she had helped with an artificial white and red; and endeavoured to appear more graceful than ordinary in her mien, by a mixture of affectation in all her gestures. She had a wonderful confidence and assurance in her looks, and all the variety of colours in her dress that she thought were most proper to show her coinplexion to an advantage. She cast her eyes upon herself, then turned them on those that were present, to see how they liked her, and often looked on the figure she made in her own shadow. Upon her nearer approach to Hercules, she stepped before the other lady, who came forward with a regular composed carriage, and running up to him, accosted him after the fol. lowing manner. ‘My dear Hercules,’ says she, “I find you are very much divided in your own thoughts, upon the way of life that you ought to choose. Be my friend, and follow me; I will lead you
my last paper, and brought a great destruction into the possession of pleasure, and out of the upon my own species, I must endeavour in this reach of pain, and remove you from all the noise to raise fresh recruits, and, is possible, to supply and disquietude of business. The affairs of the places of the unborn and the deceased. It either war or peace shall have no power to dis. is said of Xerxes, that when he stood upon a turb you. Your whole employment shall be, to hill, and saw the whole country round him make your life easy, and to entertain every covered with his army, he burst out into tears, sense with its proper gratification. Sumptuous to think that not one of that multitude would tables, beds of roses, clouds of perfumes, conbe alive a hundred years after. For my part, certs of music, crowds of beauties, are all in when I take a survey of this populous city, I readiness to receive you. Come along with me can scarce forbear weeping, to see how few of into this region of delights, this world of plea
its inhabitants are now living. It was with this thought that I drew up my last bill of mortality, and endeavoured to set out in it the great number of persons who have perished by a distemper, commonly known by the name of idleness, which has long raged in the world, and destroys more in every great town than the plague has done at Dantzick.” . To repair the mischief it has done, and stock the world with a better race of mortals, I have more hopes of bringing to life those that are young, than of reviving those that are old. For which reason, I shall here set down that noble allegory which was written by an old author called Prodicus, but recommended and embellished by Socrates. It is the description of Virtue and Pleasure making their court to Hercules, under the appearance of two beautiful women. When Hercules, says the divine moralist, was in that part of his youth, in which it was natural for him to consider what course of life he ought to pursue, he one day retired into a desert, where the silence and solitude of the place very much favoured his meditations. As he was musing on his present condition, and very much perplexed in himself on the state of life he should choose, he saw two women of a larger stature than ordinary approaching towards hin. One of them had a very noble air, and graceful deportment; her beauty was natural and easy, her person clean and unspotted,
* In 1700 they were severely visited by the plague, which swept off above 40,000 of its inhabitants.
sure, and bid farewell for ever to care, to pain, to business." | Hercules, hearing the lady talk after this manner, desired to know her name; to which she answered, “My friends, and those who are well acquainted with me, call me Happiness; but my enemies, and those who would injure my reputation, have given me the name of Pleasure.” By this time the other lady was come up, who addressed herself to the young hero in a very different manner. | "Hercules,’ says she, ‘I offer myself to you, because I know you are descended from the gods, and give proofs of that descent by your love to virtue, and application to the studies proper for your age. This makes me hope you will gain, both for yourself and me, an immortal reputation. But, before I invite you into my society and friendship, I will be open and sin. cere with you, and must lay down this as an established truth, That there is nothing truly valuable, which can be purchased without pains and labour. The gods have set a price upon every real and noble pleasure. If you would gain the favour of the deity, you must be at the o of worshipping him; if the friendship of good men, you must study to oblige them; if you would be honoured by your country, you must take care to serve it. In short, if you would be eminent in war or peace, you must become master of all the qualifications that can make you so. These are the only terms and conditions upon which I can propose happiness.'
The goddess of pleasure here broke in upon her discourse. “You see,' said she, “Hercules, by her own confession, the way to her pleasure is long and difficult, whereas that which I propose is short and easy.”—“Alas!" said the other lady, whose visage glowed with a passion made up of scorn and pity, “what are the pleasures you propose ? To eat before you are hungry, drink before you are a-thirst, sleep before you are a-tired, to gratify appetites before they are raised, and raise such appetites as nature never planted. You never heard the most delicious music, which is the praise of one's self; nor saw the most beautiful object, which is the work of one's own hands. Your votaries pass away their youth in a dream of mistaken pleasures, while they are hoarding up anguish, torinent, and remorse for old age. “As for me, I am the friend of the gods and of good men, an agreeable companion to the artizan, a household guardian to the fathers of families, a patron and protector of servants, an associate in all true and generous friendships. The banquets of my votaries are never costly, but always delicious; for none eat or drink at them who are not invited by hunger and thirst. Their slumbers are sound, and their wakings cheerful. My young men have the pleasure of hearing themselves praised by those who are in years; and those who are in years, of being honoured by those who are young. In a word, my followers are favoured by the gods, beloved by their acquaintance, esteemed by their country, and, after the close of their labours, honoured by posterity.” We know by the life of this memorable hero, to which of these two ladies he gave up his heart; and, I believe, every one who reads this will do him the justice to approve his choice. I very much admire the speeches of these ladies as containing in them the chief arguments for a life of virtue, or a life of pleasure, that could enter into the thoughts of a heathen ; but am particularly pleased with the different figures he gives the two goddesses. Our modern authors have represented pleasure or vice with an alluring face, but ending in snakes and monsters. Here she appears in all the charms of beauty, though they are all false and borrowed; and by that means composes a vision entirely natural and pleasing. I have translated this allegory for the benefit of the youth of Great Britain; and particularly of those who are still in the deplorable state of non-existence, and whom I must earnestly entreat to come into the world. Let my embryos show the least inclination to any single virtue, and I shall allow it to be a struggling towards birth. I do not expect of them that, like the hero in the foregoing story, they should go about as soon as they are born, with a club in their hands, and a lion's skin on their shoulders, to root out monsters, and destroy tyrants; but, as the finest author of all antiquity has said upon this very occasion, though a man has not the abilities to distinguish himself in the most shining parts of a great character, he has cer. tainly the capacity of being just, faithful, modest, ind temperate.
No. 98.] Thursday, November 24, 1709.
From my own Apartment, Norember 23.
I READ the following letter, which was left for me this evening, with very much concern for the lady's condition who sent it, who expresses the state of her mind with great frankness, as all people ought who talk to their physicians.
‘MR. BickFRSTAFF, Though you are stricken in years, and have had great experience in the world, I believe you will say, there are not frequently such difficult occasions to act in with decency, as those wherein I am entangled. I am a woman in love, and that you will allow to be the most unhappy of all circumstances in human life. Nature has formed us with a strong reluctance against owning such a passion, and custom has made it criminal in us to make advances. A gentleman, whom I will call Fabio, has the entire possession of my heart. I am so intimately acquainted with him that he makes no scruple of communicating to me an ardent affection he has for Cleora, a friend of mine, who also makes me her confidant. Most part of my life I am in company with the one or the other, and an always enter. tained with his passion, or her triumph. Cleora is one of those ladies who think they are virtuous if they are not guilty; and, without any delicacy of choice, resolves to take the best offer which shall be made to her. With this prospect she puts off declaring herself in favour of Fabio, until she sees what lovers will fall into her snares, which she lays in all public places, with all the art of gestures and glances. This resolution she has herself told me. Though I love him better than life, I would not gain him by betraying Cleora; or committing such a trespass against modesty, as letting him know myself that I love him. You are an astrologer, what shall I do?
• DIANA DOUBTFUL.”
This lady has said very justly, that the condition of a woman in love is of all others the most miserable. Poor Diana : how must she be racked with jealousy, when Fabio talks of Cleora! how with indignation, when Cleora makes a property of Fabio ! A female lorer is in the condition of a ghost, that wanders about its belored treasure, without power to speak, until it is spoken to. I desire Diana to continue in this circumstance: for I see an eye of comfort in her case, and will take all proper measures to extricate her out of this unhappy game of cross-purposes. Since Cleora is upon the catch with her charms, and has no particular regard for Fabio, I shall place a couple of special fellows in her way, who shall both address to her, and have each a better estate than Fabio. They are both already taken with her, and are preparing for being of her retinue the ensuing winter.
To women of this worldly turn, as I appprehend Cleora to be, we must reckon backward in our computation of merit; and when a fair lady thinks only of making her spouse a convenient domestic, the notion of worth and value is altered, and the lover is the more acceptable, the less he is considerable. The two I shall throw into the way of Cleora are, Orson Thicket and Mr. Walter Wisdom. Orson is a huntsman, whose father's death, and some difficulties about legacies, brought out of the woods to town last November. He was at that time one of those country savages, who despise the softness they meet in town and court; and professedly show their strength and roughness in every motion and gesture, in scorn of our bowing and cringing. He was, at his first appearance, very remarkable for that piece of good breeding peculiar to natural Britons, to wit, defiance; and showed every one he met he was as good a man as he. But, in the midst of all this fierceness, he would sometimes attend the discourse of a man of sense, and look at the charms of a beauty, with his eyes and mouth open. He was in this posture when, in the beginning of last December, he was shot by Cleora from a side-boxFrom that moment he softened into humanity, forgot his dogs and horses, and now moves and speaks with civility and address. Wat. Wisdom, by the death of an elder brother, came to a great estate, when he had proceeded just far enough in his studies to be very impertinent, and at the years when the law gives him possession of his fortune, and his own constitution is too warm for the management of it. Orson is learning to fence and dance, to please and fight for his mistress; and Walter preparing fine horses, and a jingling chariot, to enchant her. All persons concerned will appear at the next opera, where will begin the wild-goose-chase; and I doubt Fabio will see himself so overlooked for Orson or Walter, as to turn his eyes on the modest passion and be. coining languor in the countenance of Diana; it being my design to supply with the art of love, all those who preserve the sincere passion of it.
Will's Coffee-house, November 23.
An ingenious and worthy gentleman, my ancient friend,” fell into discourse with me this evening upon the force and efficacy which the writings of good poets have on the minds of their intelligent readers; and recommended to me his sense of the matter, thrown together in the following manner, which he desired me to communicate to the youth of Great Britain in my Essays. I choose to do it in his own words.
‘I have always been of opinion,’ says he, “that virtue sinks deepest into the heart of man, when it comes recommended by the powerful charms of poetry. The most active principle in our mind is the imagination: to it a good poet, makes his court perpetually, and by this faculty takes care to gain it first. Our passions and inclinations come over next; and our reason surrenders itself, with pleasure, in the end. Thus, the whole soul is insensibly betrayed into morality, by bribing the fancy with beautiful and agreeable images of those
verythings that in the books of the philosophers appear austere, and have at the best but a kind of forbidding aspect. In a word, the poets do, as it were, strew the rough paths of virtue so full of flowers, that we are not sensible of the uneasiness of them; and imagine ourselves in the midst of pleasures, and the most bewitching allurements, at the time we are making progress in the severest duties of life.
“All men agree, that licentious poems do, of all writings, soonest corrupt the heart. And why should we not be universally persuaded, that the grave and serious performances of such as write in the most engaging manner, by a kind of divine impulse, must be the most effectual persuasives to goodness 2 If therefore, I were blessed with a son, in order to the forming of his manners, which is making him truly my son, I should be continually putting into his hand some fine poet. The graceful sentences, and the manly sentiments, so frequently to be met with in every great and sublime writer, are, in my judgment, the most ornamental and valuable furniture that can be, for a young gentleman's head; methinks they show like so much rich embroidery upon the brain. Let me add to this, that humanity and tenderness, without which there can be no true greatness in the mind, are inspired by the muses in such pathetical language, that all we find in prose-authors towards the raising and improving of these passions is, in comparison, but cold, or lukewarm at the best. There is, besides, a certain elevation of soul, a sedate magnanimity, and a noble turn of virtue, that distinguishes the hero from the plain honest man, to which verse can only raise us. The bold metaphors, and sounding numbers, peculiar to the poets, rouse up all our sleeping faculties, and alarm the whole powers of the soul, much like that excellent trumpeter mentioned by Virgil:”
— Quo non prostantior alter AEre ciere viros, Martemque accendere cantu. Wirg. Æn. vi. 165.
—None so renowned
I fell into this train of thinking this evening upon reading a passage in a masque writ by Milton,” where two brothers arc introduced seeking their sister, whom they had lost in a dark night and thick wood. One of the brothers is apprehensive lest the wandering virgin should be overpowered with fears, through the darkness and loneliness of the time and place. This gives the other occasion to make the following reflections, which, as I read them, made me forget my age, and renewed in me the warm desires after virtue, so natural to uncorrupted youth.
* Probably Dr. Thomas Walker, head Echoolmaster at the Chartreux, where Steel and Addison were his scholars, or perhaps Dr. Ellis, then master of the Chartreux.
* Milton's ‘Comus' was founded on the following real story: The earl of Bridgewater being president of Wales, in 1634, had his residence at Ludlow-Castle, in Shropshire; Lord Brachy and Mr. Egerton, his sons, and lady Alice Egerton, his daughter, passing through a place called the Hay-wood Forest, in Herefordshire, were benighted, and the lady was for some short time lost. This accident being related to their father upon their arrival at his castle, furnished a subject which Milton wrought into one of the finest poems of the kind in any language.