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I do not think my sister so to seek,
No. 99.] Saturday, November 26, 1709.
— Spirat tragicum satis et feliciter audet. Hor. 2. Ep. i. 166.
IIe, fortunately bold, breathes true sublime. Will's Coffee-house, November 25.
I have been this evening recollecting what passages, since I could first think, have left the strongest impressions upon my mind; and, after strict inquiry, I am convinced that the impulses I have received from theatrical representations have had a greater effect than otherwise would have been wrought in me by the little occurrences of my private life! My old friends, Hart” and Mohun, the one by his natural and proper force, the other by his great skill and art, never failed to send me home full of such ideas as affected my behaviour, and made me insensibly more courteous and humane to my friends and acquaintance. It is not the business of a good play to make every man a hero; but it certainly gives him a livelier sense of virtue and merit, than he had when he entered the theatre.
This rational pleasure, as I always call it, has for many years been very little tasted: but I am glad to find that the true spirit of it is reviving again amongst us, by a due regard to what is presented, and by supporting only one playhouse. It has been within the observation of the youngest amongst us, that while there were two houses, they did not outvie each other by such representations as tend to the instruction and ornament of life, but by introducing mimi. cal dances, and fulsome buffooneries. For when an excellent tragedy was to be acted in one house, the ladder-dancer carried the whole town to the other. Indeed such an evil as this must be the natural consequence of two theatres, as certainly as that there are more who can see than can think. Every one is sensible of the danger of the fellow on the ladder, and can see his activity in coming down safe; but very few are judges of the distress of a hero in a play,
* Hart was boy or apprentice to Robinson, at the play. house in Black Friars, where he acted women's parts. When the civil wars broke out, and the stage was put down, many, indeed most of the players went into the roval army, and lost or exposed their lives for the king.
t Mohun was likewise bred up to the business of a player, for he also was an apprentice, and played wo. men's parts.
or of his manner of behaviour in those circumstances. Thus, to please the people, two houses must entertain them with what they can understand, and not with things which are designed to improve their understanding: and the readiest way to gain good audiences must be, to offer such things as are most relished by the crowd; that is to say, immodest action, empty show, or impertinent activity. In short, two houses cannot hope to subsist, but by means which are contradictory to the very institution of a theatre in a well-governed kingdom.” I have ever had this sense of the thing, and for that reason have rejoiced that my ancient coeval friend of Drury-lane, though he had sold off most of his moveables, still kept possession of his palace; and trembled for him, when he had lately liked to have been taken by a stratagem. There have, for many ages, been a certain learned sort of unlearned men in this nation, called attornies, who have taken upon them to solve all difficulties by increasing them, and are called upon to the assistance of all who are lazy, or weak of understanding. The insolence of a ruler of this palace made him resign the possession of it to the management of my above-mentioned friend, Divito. Divito was too modest to know when to resign it, until he had the opinion and sentence of the law for his removal. Both these in length of time were obtained against him ; but as the great Archimedes defended Syracuse with so powerful engines, that if he threw a rope or piece of wood over the wall, the enemy fled; so Divito had wounded all adversaries with so much skill, that men feared even to be in the right against him. For this reason, the lawful ruler sets up an attorney to expel an attorney, and chose a name dreadful to the stage, who only seemed able to beat Divito out of his entrenchments. On the twenty-second instant, a night of public rejoicing, the enemies of Divito made a largess to the people of faggots, tubs, and other combustible matter, which was erected into a bonfire before the palace. Plentiful cans were at the same time distributed among the dependencies of that principality; and the artful rival of Divito, observing them prepared for enterprise, presented the lawful owner of the neighbouring edifice, and showed his deputation under him. War immediately ensued upon the peaceful empire of wit and the muses; the Goths and Vandals sacking Rome did not threaten a more barbarous devastation of arts and sciences. But, when they had forced their entrance, the experienced Divito had detached all his subjects, and evacuated all his stores. The neighbouring inhabitants report, that the refuse of Divito’s followers marched off the
* From the wear 1570 to the year 1:29, when the play house in White Friars was finished, no less than seventeen play-linues had been built.
# This and the following paragraph refer to a transaction between William Collier, Esq. and Christopher Rich, Esq. two lawyers, of which there is here given a very ludicrous account.
Rich was the patentre of Drury inne theatre, when Collier, having first obtained a licence to head a connpany of players, procured next a lease of Drury Jane play-house, from the landlords of it, and under this authority, by the help of a hired rabble, he forcibly expelled Rich and got possession
night before, disguised in magnificence; doorkeepers came out clad like cardinals, and scenedrawers like heathen gods. Divito himself was wrapped up in one of his black clouds, and left to the enemy nothing but an empty stage, full of trap-doors, known only to himself and his adherents. o
From my own Apartment, November 25.
I have already taken great pains to inspire notions of honour and virtue into the people of this kingdom, and used all gentle methods imaginable, to bring those who are dead in idleness, folly, and pleasure, into life, by applying themselves to learning, wisdom, and industry. But, since fair means are ineffectual, I must proceed to extremities, and shall give my good friends, the company of upholders, full power to bury all such dead as they meet with, who are with. in my former descriptions of deceased persons. In the mean time the following remonstrance of that corporation I take to be very just.
“From our office near Hay-market, November 23. “Worthy SIR,-Upon reading your Tatler on Saturday last, by which we received the agreeable news of so many deaths, we immediately ordered in a considerable quantity of blacks; and our servants have wrought night and day ever since, to furnish out the necessaries for these deceased. But so it is, sir, that of this vast number of dead bodies that go putrifying up and down the streets, not one of them has come to us to be buried. Though we should be loath to be any hindrance to our good friends the physicians, yet we cannot but take notice what infection her majesty's subjects are liable to from the horrible stench of so many corses. Sir, we will not detain you; our case in short is this: here are we embarked in this undertaking for the public good: now, if people should be suffered to go unburied at this rate, there is an end of the usefullest manufactures and handicrafts of the kingdom; for where will be your sextons, coffin-makers, and plumbers ? what will become of your embalmers, epitaphmongers, and chief mourners ? We are loath to drive this matter any farther, though we tremble at the consequences of it; for if it shall be left to every dead man's discretion not to be buried until he sees his time, no man can say where that will end; but thus much we will take upon us to affirm, that such a toleration will be intolerable. “What would make us easy in this matter is no more, but that your worship would be pleased to issue out your orders to ditto Dead to repair forthwith to our office, in order to their interment; where constant attendance shall be given to treat with all persons according to their quality, and the poor to be buried for nothing ; and for the convenience of such persons as are willing enough to be dead, but that they are afraid their friends and relations should know it, we have a back door into Warwick-street, from whence they may be interred with all secrecy imaginable, and without loss of time, or hindrance of business. But in case of obstimacy, for we would Fo make a thorough
riddance, we desire a further power from your worship, to take up such deceased as shall not have complied with your first orders, wherever we meet them; and is after that there shall be complaints of any persons so offending, let them lie at our doors. We are, your worship's until death, “The master and company of Upholders.
‘P. S. We are ready to give in our printed . proposals at large; and if your worship approves of our undertaking, we desire the following advertisement may be inserted in your next paper:
“Whereas a commission of interment has been awarded against doctor John Partridge, philomath, professor of physic and astrology; and whereas the said Partridge hath not surrendered himself, nor shown cause to the contrary; these are to certify, that the company of upholders will proceed to bury him from Cordwainers-hall, on Tuesday the twenty-ninth instant, where any six of his surviving friends, who still believe him to be alive, are desired to come prepared to hold up the pall.
“Note. We shall light away at six in the evening, there being to be a sermon.’
No. 100.] Tuesday, November 29, 1709.
Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna.
Returning justice brings a golden age. R. W.
* Sheer-lane, November 38.
I was last week taking a solitary walk in the garden of Lincoln’s-Inn (a favour that is indulged me by several of the benchers,” who are my intimate friends, and grown old with me in this neighbourhood) when according to the nature of men in years, who have made but little progress in the advancement of their fortune or their fame, I was repining at the sudden rise of many persons who are my juniors, and indeed, at the unequal distribution of wealth, honour, and all other blessings of life, I was lost in this thought, when the night came upon me, and drew my mind into a far more agreeable contemplation. The heaven above me appeared in all its glories, and presented me with such a hemisphere of stars as made the most agreeable prospect imaginable to one who delights in the study of nature. It happened to be a freezing night, which had purified the whole body of air into such a bright transparent tether, as made every constellation visible ; and at the same time, gave such a particular glowing to the stars, that I thought it the richest sky I had ever seen. I could not behold a scene so wonderfully adorned and lighted up, if I may be allowed that expression, without suitable meditations on the author of such illustrious and amazing objects: for, on these occasions, philosophy suggests motives to religion, and religion adds pleasure to philosophy.
* From this being mentioned as " n favour from the benchers, it should seem that the liberty of walking in the gardens of the inns of court was not generally allowed, as it has been of late years.
As soon as I had recovered my usual temper and serenity of soul, I retired to my lodgings, with the satisfaction of having passed away a few hours in the proper employments of a reasonable creature; and promising myself that my slumbers would be sweet, I no sooner fell into them, but I dreamed a dream, or saw a vision, for I know not which to call it, that seemed to rise out of my evening meditation, and had something in it so solemn and serious, that I cannot forbear communicating it; though I must confess, the wildness of imagination, which, in a dream is always loose and irregular, discovers itself too much in several parts of it. Methought I saw the same azure sky diversified with the same glorious luminaries which had entertained me a little before I fell asleep. I was looking very attentively on that sign in the heavens which is called by the name of the Balance,” when, on a sudden, there appeared in it an extraordinary light, as if the sun should rise at midnight. By its increasing in breadth and lustre, I soon found that it approached to. wards the earth; and at length could discern something like a shadow hovering in the midst of a great glory, which, in a little time after, I distinctly perceived to be the figure of a wo. man. I fancied at first, it might have been the angel, or intelligence that guided the constellation from which it descended; but, upon a nearer view, I saw about her, all the emblems with which the goddess of justice is usually described. Her countenance was unspeakably awful and majestic, but exquisitely beautiful to those whose eyes were strong enough to behold it; her smiles transported with rapture, her frowns terrified to despair. She held in her hand a mirror, endowed with the same qualities as that which the painters put into the hand of truth. There streamed from it a light, which dis. tinguished itself from all the splendours that surrounded her, more than a flash of lightning shines in the midst of day-light. As she moved it in her hand, it brightened the heavens, the air, or the earth. When she had descended so low as to be seen and heard by mortals, to make the pomp of her appearance more supportable, she threw darkness and clouds about her, that tempered the light into a thousand beautiful shades and colours, and multiplied that lustre, which was before too strong and dazzling, into a variety of milder glories. In the mean time, the world was in an alarm, and all the inhabitants of it gathered together upon a spacious plain; so that I seemed to have the whole species before my eyes. A voice was heard from the clouds, declaring the intention of this visit, which was to restore and approTiate to every one living what was his due. he fear and hope, joy and sorrow, which appeared in that great assembly, after this solemn declaration, are not to be expressed. The first edict was then pronounced, “That all titles and claims to riches and estates, or to any part of them, should be immediately vested in the rightful owner.' Upon this, the inhabitants of
the earth held up the instruments of their tenure, whether in parchment, paper, wax, or any other form of conveyance; and as the goddess moved the mirror of truth which she held in her hand, so that the light which flowed from it fell upon the multitude, they examined the several instruments by the beams of it. The rays of this mirror had a particular quality of setting fire to all forgery and falsehood. The blaze of papers, the melting of seals, and crackling of parchments, made a very odd scene. The fire very often ran through two or three lines only, and then stopped. Though I could not but observe that the flames chiefly broke out among the interlineations and codicils; the light of the mirror, as it was turned up and down, pierced into all the dark corners and recesses of the universe, and by that means detected many writings and records which had been hidden or buried by time, chance, or design. This occasioned a wonderful revolution among the people. At the same time, the spoils of extortion, fraud, and robbery, with all the fruits of bribery and corruption, were thrown together in a prodigious pile, that almost reached to the clouds, and was called, “The Mount of Restitution;' to which all injured persons were invited, to receive what belonged to them. One might see crowds of people in tattered garments come up, and change clothes with others that were dressed with lace and embroidery. Several who were Plums, or very near it, became men of moderate fortunes; and many others, who were overgrown in wealth and possessions, had no more left than what they usually spent. What moved my concern most was, to see a certain street of the greatest credit in Europe,” from one end to the other, become bankrupt. The next command was, for the whole body of mankind to separate themselves into their proper families; which was no sooner done, but an edict was issued out, requiring all children “to repair to their true and natural fathers.” This put a great part of the assembly in motion; for, as the mirror was moved over them, it inspired every one with such a natural instinct, as directed them to their real parents. It was a very melancholy spectacle to see the fathers of very large families become childless, and bachelors undone by a charge of sons and daughters. You might see a presumptive-heir of a great estate ask blessing of his coachman, and a celebrated toast paying her duty to a calet de chambre. Many, under vows of celibacy, appeared surrounded with a numerous issue. This change of parentage would have caused great lamentation, but that the calamity was pretty common; and that generally those who lost their children, had the satisfaction of seeing them put into the hands of their dearest friends. Men were no sooner settled in their right to their possessions and their progeny, but there was a third order proclaimed, “That all the posts of dignity and honour in the universe should be conferred on persons of the greatest
* Libra, or the Balance, is next the sign Virgo, into which Astraea, the goddess of justice, was translated, when she could no longer stay on earth.
*Alluding without doubt, to the bankers in Lombardstreet. The prediction of Bickerstaff, in this particular, was ill-sounded.
merit, abilities, and perfection.' The handsome, the strong, and the wealthy, immediately pressed forward; but, not being able to bear the splendour of the mirror, which played upon their faces, they immediately fell back among the crowd: but as the goddess tried the multitude by her glass, as the eagle does its young ones by the lustre of the sun, it was remarkable, that every one turned away his face from it, who had not distinguished himself either by virtue, knowledge, or capacity in business, either military or civil. This select assembly was drawn up in the centre of a prodigous multitude, which was diffused on all sides, and stood observing them, as idle people use to gather about a regiment that are exercising their arms. They were drawn up in three bodies: in the first, were the men of virtue; in the second, men of knowledge; and in the third, the men of business. It is impossible to look at the first column without a secret veneration, their aspects were so sweetened with humanity, raised with contemplation, emboldened with resolution, and adorned with the most agreeable airs, which are those that proceed from secret habits of virtue. I could not but take notice, that there were many faces among them which were unknown, not only to the multitude, but even to several of their own body. In the second column, consisting of the men of knowledge, there had been great disputes before they fell into the ranks, which they did not do at last without the positive command of the goddess who presided over the assembly. She had so ordered it, that men of the greatest genius and strongest sense were placed at the head of the column. Behind these were such as had formed their minds very much on the thoughts and writings of others. In the rear of the column were men who had more wit than sense, or more learning than understanding. All living authors of any value were ranged in one of these classes; but, I must confess, I was very much surprised to see a great body of editors, critics, commentators, and grammarians, meet with so very ill a reception. They had formed themselves into a body, and, with a great deal of arrogance, demanded the first station in the column of knowledge; but the goddess, instead of complying with their request, clapped them all into liveries, and bid them know themselves for no other but lackeys of the learned. The third column were men of business, and consisting of persons in military and civil capacities. The former marched out from the rest, and placed themselves in the front; at which the others shook their heads at them, but did not think fit to dispute the post with them. I could not but make several observations upon this last column of people; but I have certain private reasons why I do not think fit to communicate them to the public. In order to fill up all the posts of honour, dignity, and profit, there was a draught made out of each column of men, who were masters of all three qualifications in some degree, and were prefer. red to stations of the first rank. The second draught was made out of such as were possessed of any two of the qualifications, who were disposed of in stations of a second dignity. Those
'who were left, and were endowed only with one of them, had their suitable posts. When this was over, there remained many places of trust and profit unfilled, for which there were fresh draughts made out of the surrounding multitude, who had any appearance of these excellences, or were recommended by those who possessed them in reality. All were surprised to see so many new faces in the most eminent dignities; and, for my own part, I was very well pleased to see that all my friends either kept their present posts, or were advanced to higher. Having filled my paper with those particulars of my vision which concern the male part of mankind, I must reserve for another occasion the sequel of it, which relates to the fair sex.
No. 101.] Thursday, December 1, 1709.
—Postguam fregit subsellia versu,
But while the common suffrage crowned his cause,
From my own Apartment, November 30,
THE progress of my intended account of what happened when justice visited mortals, is at present interrupted by the observation, and sense of an injustice against which there is no remedy, even in a kingdom more happy in the care taken of the liberty and property of the subject, than any other nation upon earth. This iniquity is committed by a most impregnable set of mortals, men who are rogues within the law; and, in the very commission of what they are guilty of professedly own that they forbear no injury, but from the terror of being punished for it. These miscreants are a set of wretches we authors call pirates, who print any book, poem, or sermon, as soon as it appears in the world, in a smaller volume ; and sell it, as all other thieves do stolen goods, at a cheaper rate. I was in my rage calling them rascals, plunderers, robbers, highwaymen. But they acknowledge all that, and are pleased with those, as well as any other titles; nay, will print them themselves, to turn the penny."
I am extremely at a loss how to act against such open enemies, who have not shame enough to be touched with our reproaches, and are as well defended against what we can say, as what we can do. Railing, therefore, we must turn into complaint, which I cannot forbear making, when I consider that all the labours of my long life may be disappointed by the first man that pleases to rob me. I had flattered myself that my stock of learning was worth a hundred and fifty pounds per annum, which would very handsomely maintain me and my little family, who are so happy, or so wise, as to want only neces: saries. Before men had come up to this barefaced impudence, it was an estate to have a competency of understanding. An ingenious droll, who is since dead, (and indeed it is well for him he is so, for he must have starved had he lived to this day,) used to give me an account of his good husbandry in the management of his learning. He was a general dealer, and had his amusements as well comical as serious. The merry rogue said, “When he wanted a dinner, he writ a paragraph of Table Talk, and his bookseller upon sight paid the reckoning.' He was a very good judge of what would please the people, and could aptly hit both the genius of his readers, and the season of the year, in his writings. His brain, which was his estate, had as regular and different produce as other men's land. From the beginning of November, until the opening of the campaign, he writ pamphlets and letters to members of parliament, or friends in the country. But sometimes he would relieve his ordinary readers with a murder, and lived comfortably a week or two upon ‘strange and lamentable accidents.’ A little before the armies took the field, his way was to open your attention with a prodigy; and a monster, well writ, was two guineas the lowest price. This prepared his readers for his ‘great and bloody news’ from Flanders, in June and July. Poor Tom * he is gone—But I observed, he always looked well after a battle, and was apparently fatter in a fighting year. Had this honest careless fellow lived until now, famine had stared him in the face, and interrupted his merriment; as it must be a solid asiliction to all those whose pen is their portion. As for my part, I do not speak wholly for my own sake in this point; for palmistry and astrology, will bring me in greater gains than these my papers; so that I am only in the condition of a lawyer, who leaves the bar for chamber-practice. However, I may be allowed to speak in the cause of learning itself, and lament that a liberal education is the only one which a polite nation makes unprofitable. All mechanical artizans are allowed to reap the fruit of their invention and ingenuity without invasion; but he that has separated himself from the rest of mankind, and studied the wonders of the creation, the government of his passions, and the revolutions of the world, and has an ambition to communicate the effect of half his life spent in such noble inquiries, has no property in what he is willing to produce, but is exposed to robbery and want, with this melancholy and just reflection, that he is the only man who is not protected by his country, at the same time that he best deserves it. According to the ordinary rules of computation, the greater the adventure is, the greater ought to be the profit of those who succeed in it; and by this measure, none have pretence of turning their labours to greater advantage than persons brought
* This paper seems to have been occasioned by a pi: rated edition of the Lucubrations, which came ou just at this time.
up to letters. A learned education, passing through great schools and universities, is very expensive; and consumes a moderate fortune, before it is gone through in its proper forms. The purchase of a handsome commission or employment, which would give a man a good figure in another kind of life, is to be made at a much cheaper rate. Now, if we consider this expensive voyage which is undertaken in the search of knowledge, and how few there are who take in any considerable merchandize, how less frequent it is, to be able to turn what men have gained into profit; how hard is it, that the very small number who are distinguished with abilities to know how to vend their wares, and have the good fortune to bring them into port, should suffer being plundered by privateers under the very cannon that should protect them : The most eminent and useful author of the age we live in, after having laid out a princely revenue in works of charity and beneficence, as became the greatness of his mind, and the sanctity of his character, would have left the person in the world who was the dearest to him in a narrow condition, had not the sale of his immortal writings brought her in a very considerable dowry; though it was impossible for it to be equal to their value. Every one will know, that I here mean the works of the late archbishop of Canterbury," the copy of which was sold for two thousand five hundred pounds. I do not speak with relation to any party : but it has happened, and may often so happen, that men of great learning and virtue cannot qualify themselves for being employed in business, or receiving preferments. In this case, you cut them off from all support, if you take from them the benefit that may arise from their writings. For my own part, I have brought myself to consider things in so unprejudiced a manner, that I esteem more a man who can live by the products of his understanding, than one who does it by the favour of great men. The zeal of an author has transported me thus far, though I think myself as much concerned in the capacity of a reader. If this practice goes on, we must never expect to see again a beautiful cqition of a book in Great Britain. We have already seem the memoirs of sir William Temple, published in the same character and volume with the history of Tom Thumb, and the works of our greatest poets shrunk into penny books and garlands. For my own part, I expect to see my lucubrations printed on browner paper than they are at present, and, if the humour continues, must be forced to retrench my expensive way of living, and not smoke above two pipes a-day. Mr. Charles Lillie, perfumer, at the corner of Beaufort-buildings, has informed me, that I am obliged to several of my customers for coming to his shop upon my recommendation, and has also given me further assurances of his upright dealings with all who shall be so kind as to make use of my name to him. I acknowledge this favour, and have, for the service of
* The person here alluded to, was probably the hu. morous Mr. Thomas Brown, who died in the year 1704, and was buried in the cloister of Westminster Abbey, near the remains of Mrs. Behn, with whom he was intimate in his life-time. His works were printed in 4 vols. 12ino, in 1707.
* Dr. John Tilloston.