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cess of my brave countrymen, I do not care for hearing of a victory before day; and was therefore very much out of humour at this unseasonable visit. I had no sooner recovered my temper, and was falling asleep, but I was immediately startled by a second rap; and upon my maid's opening the door, heard the same voice ask her, if her master was yet up 7 and at the same time bid her tell me, that he was come on purpose to talk with me about a piece of home news, which every body in town will be full of two hours hence. I ordered my maid, as soon as she came into the room, without hearing her message, to tell the gentleman, “that whatever his news was, I would rather hear it two hours hence than now ; and that I persisted in my resolution not to speak with any body that morning.' The wench delivered my answer presently, and shut the door. It was impossible for me to compose myself to sleep after two such unexpected alarms; for which
reason, I put on my clothes in a very peevish |.
humour. I took several turns about my chamber, reflecting with a great deal of anger and contempt on these volunteers in politics, that undergo all the pain, watchfulness, and disquiet of a first minister, without turning it to the advantage either of themselves or their country; and yet it is surprising to consider how numerous this species of men is. There is nothing more frequent than to find a tailor breaking his rest on the affairs of Europe, and to see a cluster of porters sitting upon the ministry. Our streets swarm with politicians, and there is scarce a shop which is not held by a statesman. As I was musing after this manner, I heard the upholsterer at the door delivering a letter to my maid, and begging her, in a very great hurry, to give it to her master as soon as ever he was awake; which I opened, and sound as follows:–
“Mr. Bickerstaff-I was to wait upon you about a week ago, tolet you know that the honest gentlemen whom you conversed with upon the bench, at the end of the Mall, having heard that I had received five shillings of you, to give you a hundred pounds upon the great Turk's being driven out of Europe, desired me to acquaint you, that every one of that company would be willing to receive five shillings, to pay a hundred pounds on the same condition. Our last advices from Muscovy making this a shirer bet than it was a week ago, I do not question but you will accept the wager,
“But this is not my present business. If you remember, I whispered a word in your car, as we were walking up the Mall; and you see what has happened since. If I had seen you this morning, I would have told you in your ear another secret. I hope you will be recovered of your indisposition by to-morrow morning, when I will wait on you at the same hour as I did this ; my private circumstances being such, that I cannot well appear in this quarter of the town after it is day.
“I have been so taken up with the late good news from Holland, and expectation of further particulars, as well as with other transactions, of which I will tell you more to-inorrow morn.
‘P. S. The king of Sweden is still at Bender.”
I should have fretted myself to death at this promise of a second visit, if I had not found in his letter an intimation of the good news which I have since heard at large. I have, however, ordered my maid to tie up the knocker of my door, in such a manner as she would do if I was really indisposed. By which means I hope to escape breaking my morning's rest.
Since I have given this letter to the public, I shall communicate one or two more, which I have lately received from others of my correspondents. The following is from a coquette, who is very angry at my having disposed of her in marriage to a Bass-viol.
“Mr. BickFRSTAFF, I thought you would never have descended from the censor of Great Britain, to become a match-maker. But pray, why so severe upon the Kit? Had I been a Jew's-harp, that is nothing but tongue, you could not have used me worse. Of all things, a Bass-viol is my aversion. Had you married me to a Bag-pipe or a Passing-bell, I should have been better pleased. Dear father Isaac, either choose me a better husband, or I will live and die a Dulcimer. In hopes of receiving satisfaction from you, I am yours, whilst
- “ISABELLA KIT.’
The pertness which this fair lady hath shown in this letter, was one occasion of my joining her to the Bass-viol, which is an instrument that wants to be quickened by these little vivacities; as the sprightliness of the Kit ought to be checked and curbed by the gravity of the Bass-viol.
My next letter is from Tom Folio, who, it seems, takes it amiss that I have published a character of him so much to his disadvantage.
‘SIR,--I suppose you mean Tom Fool, when you called me Tom Folio in a late trifling paper of yours; for I find, it is your design to run down all useful and solid learning. The tobaccopaper on which your own writings are usually printed, as well as the incorrectness of the press, and the scurvy letter, sufficiently show the extent of your knowledge. I question not but you
look upon John Morphew to be as great a man as Elzevir; and Aldus to have been such another as Bernard Lintot. If you would give me my revenge, I would only desire of you to let me publish an account of your library, which, I dare say, would furnish out an extraordinary catalogue. TOM FOLIO.”
It hath always been my way to baffle reproach with silence; though I cannot but observe the disingenuous proceedings of this gentleman, who is not content to asperse my writings, but hath wounded, through my sides, those eminent and worthy citizens, Mr. John Morphew, and Mr. Bernard Lintot.
No. 161.] Thursday, April 20, 1710.
— Nunquam libertas gratior exstat Quam sub rege pio.
Never does liberty appear more amiable than under the government of a pious and good prince.
From my own Apartment, April 19.
I was walking two or three days ago in a very pleasant retirement, and amusing myself with the reading of that ancient and beautiful allegory, called ‘The Table of Cebes.' I was at last so tired with my walk, that I sat down to rest myself upon a bench that stood in the midst of an agreeable shade. The music of the birds, that filled all the trees about me, lulled me asleep before I was aware of it; which was followed by a dream, that I impute in some measure to the foregoing author, who had made an impression upon my imagination, and put me into his own way of thinking.
I fancied myself among the Alps, and, as it is natural in a dream, seemed every moment to bound from one summit to another, until at last, after having made this airy progress over the tops of several mountains, I arrived at the very centre of those broken rocks and precipices. I here, methought, saw a prodigious circuit of hills, that reached above the clouds, and encompassed a large space of ground, which I had a great curiosity to look into. I thereupon continued my former way of travelling through a great variety of winter scenes, until I had gained the top of these white mountains, which seemed another Alps of snow. I looked down from hence into a spacious plain, which was surrounded on all sides by this mound of hills, and which presented me with the most agreeable prospect I had ever seen. There was a greater variety of colours in the embroidery of the meadows, a more lively green in the leaves and grass, a brighter crystal in the streams, than what I ever met with in any other region. The light itself had something more shining and glorious in it than that of which the day is made in other places. I was wonderfully astonished at the discovery of such a paradise amidst the wildness of those cold, hoary landscapes which lay about it; but found at length, that this happy region was inhabited by the goddess of Liberty; whose presence softened the rigours of the climate, cnriched the barrenness of the soil,
and more than supplied the absence of the sun. The place was covered with a wonderful profusion of flowers, that, without being disposed into regular borders and parterres, grew promiscuously; and had a greater beauty in their natural luxuriancy and disorder, than they could have received from the checks and restraints of art. There was a river that arose out of the south side of the mountain, that, by an infinite number of turnings and windings, seemed to visit every plant, and cherish the several beauties of the spring, with which the fields abounded. After having run to and fro in a wonderful variety of meanders, as unwilling to leave so charming a place, it at last throws itself into the hollow of a mountain; from whence it passes under a long range of rocks, and at length rises in that part of the Alps where the inhabitants think is the first source of the Rhône. This river, after having made its progress through those free nations, stagnates in a huge lake" at the leaving of them; and no sooner enters into the regions of slavery, but it runs through them with an incredible rapidity, and takes its shortest way to the sea. I descended into the happy fields that lay be. neath me, and, in the midst of them, beheld the goddess sitting upon a throne. She had nothing
to enclose her but the bounds of her own do
minions, and nothing over her head but the heavens. Every glance of her eye cast a track of light where it fell, that revived the spring, and made all things smile about her. My heart grew cheerful at the sight of her; and, as she looked upon me, I found a certain confidence growing in me, and such an inward resolution as I never felt before that time.
On the left hand of the goddess sat the genius of a commonwealth, with the cap of Liberty on her head, and, in her hand, a wand like that with which a Roman citizen used to give his slaves their freedom. There was something mean and vulgar, but at the same time exceeding bold and daring, in her air; her eyes were full of fire; but had in them such casts of fierceness and cruelty, as made her appear to me rather dreadful than amiable. On her shoulders she wore a mantle, on which there was wrought a great confusion of figures. As it flew in the wind, I could not discern the particular design of them, but saw wounds in the bodies of some, and agonies in the faces of others; and over one part of it could read in letters of blood, “The Idcs of March.”
On the right hand of the goddess was the genius of monarchy. She was clothed in the whitest ermine, and wore a crown of the purest gold upon her head. In her hand, she held a sceptre like that which is borne by the British monarchs. A couple of tame lions lay crouching at her feet. Her countenance had in it a very great majesty, without any mixture of terror. Her voice was like the voice of an angel, filled with so much sweetness, accompanied with such an air of condescension, as tempered the awfulness of her appearance, and equally inspired love and veneration into the hearts of all that beheld her.
* The lake of Geneva.
In the train of the goddess of Liberty were the several Arts and Sciences, who all of then flourished underneath her eye. One of them in particular made a greater figure than any of the rest, who held a thunderbolt in her hand, which had the power of melting, piercing, or breaking every thing that stood in its way. The name of this goddess was Eloquence.
There were two other dependant goddesses, who made a very conspicuous figure in this blissful region. The first of them was seated upon a hill, that had every plant growing out of it, which the soil was in its own nature capable of producing. The other was seated in a little island that was covered with groves of spices, olives, and orange-trees; and, in a word, with the products of every foreign clime. The name of the first was Plenty, of the second, Commerce. The first leaned her right arm upon a plough, and under her left held a huge horn, out of which she poured a whole autumn of fruits. The other wore a rostral crown upon her head, and kept her eyes fixed upon a compass.
I was wonderfully pleased in ranging through this delightful place, and the more so, because it was not encumbered with fences and enclosures; until at length, methought I sprung from the ground, and pitched upon the top of a hill, that presented several objects to my sight which I had not before taken notice of. The winds that passed over this flowery plain, and through the tops of the trees, which were full of blos. soms, blew upon me in such a continued breeze of sweets, that I was wonderfully charmed with my situation. I here saw all the inner declirities of that great circuit of mountains, whose outside was covered with snow, overgrown with huge forests of fir-trees, which indeed are very frequently found in other parts of the Alps. These trees were inhabited by storks, that came thither in great flights from very distant quarters of the world. Methoughts I was pleased in my dream to see what became of these birds, when, upon leaving the places to which they make an annual visit, they rise in great flocks so high until they are out of sight, and for that reason have been thought by some modern philosophers to take a flight to the moon. But my eyes were soon diverted from this prospect, when I observed two great gaps that led through this circuit of mountains, where guards and watches were posted day and night. Upon examination, I found that there were two formidable enemies encamped before each of these avenues, who kept the place in a perpetual alarm, and watched all opportunities of invading it.
Tyranny was at the head of one of these ar. mies, dressed in an Eastern habit, and grasping in her hand an iron sceptre. Behind her was Barbarity, with the garb and complexion of an Ethiopian; Ignorance, with a turban upon her head; and Persecution holding up a bloody flag, embroidered with flower-de-luces. These were followed by Oppression, Poverty, Famine, Torture, and a dreadful train of appearances that made me tremble to behold them. Among the baggage of this army, I could discover racks, wheels, chains, and gibbets, with all the instruments art could invent to make human nature miserable.
IN my younger years I used many endeavours to get a place at court, and indeed continued my pursuits until I arrived at my grand climacteric. But at length, altogether despairing of success, whether it were for want of capacity, friends, or due application, I at last resolved to erect a new office, and, for my encouragement, to place myself in it. For this reason I took upon me the title and dignity of ‘Censor of Great Britain,” reserving to myself all such perquisites, profits, and emoluments, as should arise out of the discharge of the said office. These, in truth, have not been inconsiderable; for, besides those weekly contributions which I receive from John Morphew,” and those annual subscriptions which I propose to myself from the most elegant part of this great island, I daily live in a very comfortable affluence of wine, stale becr, Hungary water, becs, books, and marrow-bones, which I receive from many well disposed citizens; not to mention the forfeitures, which accrue to me from the several offenders that appear before me on court-days.
Having now enjoyed this office for the space of a tirelremonth, I shall do what all good officers ought to do, take a survey of my behaviour, and consider carefully, whether I have discharged my duty, and acted up to the character with which I am invested. For my direction in this particular, I have made a narrow search into the nature of the old Roman censors, whom I must always regard, not only as my predecessors, but as my patterns in this great employment; and have several times asked my own heart with great impartiality, whether Cato will not bear a more venerable figure among posterity than Bickerstaff
I find the duty of the Roman Censor was twofold. The first part of it consisted in making frequent reviews of the people, in casting up their numbers, ranging them under their several tribes, disposing them into proper classes, and subdividing them into their respective centuries.
In compliance with this part of the office, I have taken many curious surveys of this great city. I have collected into particular bodies the Dappers and the Smarts, the natural and affected Rakes, the Pretty-fellows, and the very Prettyfellows. I have likewise drawn out in several distinct parties, your Pedants and Men of Fire, your Gamesters and Politicians. I have separated Cits from Citizens, Free-thinkers from Philosophers, Wits from Snuff-takers, and Duellists from men of Honour. I have likewise made a calculation of Esquires; not only considering the several distinct swarms of them that are settled in the different parts of this town, but also that more rugged species that inhabit the fields and woods, and are often found in pothouses, and upon hay-cocks. , I shall pass the soft sex over in silence, having not yet reduced them into any tolerable order; as likewise the softer tribe of Lovers, which will cost me a great deal of time before I shall be able to cast them into their several centuries and subdivisions. The second part of the Roman censor's office was to look into the manners of the people; and to check any growing luxury, whether in diet, dress, or building. This duty likewise I have endeavoured to discharge, by those wholesome precepts which I have given my countrymen in regard to beef and mutton, and the severe censures which I have passed upon ragouts and fricassees. There is not, as I am informed, a pair of red heels to be seen within ten miles of Łondon; which I may likewise ascribe, without vanity, to the becoming zeal which I expressed in that particular. I must own, my success with the petticoat is not so great; but, as I have not yet done with it, I hope I shall in a little time put an effectual stop to that growing evil. As for the article of building, I intend hereafter to enlarge upon it; having lately observed several warehouses, nay, private shops, that stand upon Corinthian pillars, and whole rows of tin pots showing themselves, in order to their sale, through a sash window.” I have likewise followed the example of the Roman censors, in punishing offences according to the quality of the offender. It was usual for them to expel a senator, who had been guilty of great immoralities, out of the senate-house, by omitting his name when they called over the list of his brethren. In the same manner, to remove effectually several worthless men who stand possessed of great honours, I have made frequent draughts of dead men out of the vicious part of the nobility, and given them up to the new society of upholders, with the necessary orders for their interment. As the Roman censors used to punish the knights or gentlemen of Rome, by taking away their horses from them, I have seized the canes of many criminals of figure, whom I had just reason to animadvert upon. As for the offenders among the common people of
* These pillars and sash. windows seem to be men. tioned here as novelties; from which it may be inferred, that the shops in London began to be shut in and glazed in 1710, or a little sooner. Several prints might easily be referred to, containing representations of the old shops without windows. Some such, particularly among tile woollen-drapers, remain to this day. -
Rome, they were generally chastised by being thrown out of a higher tribe, and placed in one which was not so honourable. My reader cannot but think I have had an eye to this punishment, when I have degraded one species of men into Bombs, Squibs, and Crackers, and another into Drums, Bass-viols, and Bag-pipes; not to mention whole packs of delinquents whom I have shut up in kennels, and the new hospital which I am at present erecting for the reception of those my countrymen, who give me but little, hopes of their amendment, on the borders of Moor-fields. I shall only observe upon this last particular, that, since some late surveys I have taken of this island, I shall think it necessary to enlarge the plan of the buildings which I design in this quarter. When my great predecessor, Cato the elder, stood for the censorship of Rome, there were several other competitors who offered themselves; and, to get an interest amongst the people, gave them great promises of the mild and gentle treatment which they would use toward them in that office. Cato, on the contrary, told them, “he presented himself as a candidate, because he knew the age was sunk in immorality and corruption ; and that, if they would give him their votes, he would promise them to make use of such a strictness and severity of discipline, as should recover them out of it.” The Roman historians, upon this occasion, very much celebrated the public-spiritedness of that people, who chose Cato for their censor, notwithstanding his method of recommending himself. I may in some measure extol my own countrymen upon the same account; who, without any respect to party, or any application from myself, have made such generous subscriptions” for the Censor of Great Britain, as will give a magnificence to my old age, and which I esteem more than I would any post in Europe of a hundred times the value. I shall only add, that upon looking into my catalogue of subscribers, which I intend to print alphabetically in the front of my lucubrations, I find the names of the greatest beauties and wits in the whole island of Great Britain; which I only mention for the benefit of any of them who have not yet subscribed, it being my design to close the subscription in a very short time.
No. 163. Tuesday, April 25, 1710.
Idem inficeto est inficetior rure,
Possis Catul. de Suffeno, xx. 14.
Sufsentis has no more wit than a mere clown when he attempts to write verses; and yet he is never happier than when he is scribbling : so much does he admire himself and his conpositions. And, indeed, this is the foible of every one of us; for there is no man living who is not a Susienus in one thing or other.
* This alludes not only to the extensive sale, and great profits of these papers on their periodical publication, but also, and chiefly, to the very numerous and respectable subscriptions for the re-publication of them in their first edition in octavo, at the very extraordinary price of one guinca for each yolume.
Will's Coffee-house, April 24.
I YEstERDAY came hither about two hours before the company generally make their appearance, with a design to read over all the newspapers; but, upon my sitting down, I was accosted by Ned Softly, who saw me from a corner in the other end of the room, where I found he had been writing something. “Mr. Bickerstaff,’ says he, ‘I observe by a late paper of yours, that you and I are just of a humour; for you must know, of all impertinences, there is nothing which I so much hate as news. I never read a Gazette in my life; and never trouble my head about our armies, whether they win or lose, or in what part of the world they lie encamped. Without giving me time to reply, he drew a paper of verses out of his pocket, telling me, ‘that he had something which would entertain me more agreeably ; and that he would desire my judgment upon every line, for that we had time enough before us until the coinpany came in.' Ned Softly is a very pretty poet, and a great admirer of easy lines. Waller is his favourite: and as that admirable writer has the best and worst verses of any among our great English poets, Ned Softly has got all the bad ones without book: which he repeats upon occasion, to show his reading, and garnish his conversation. Ned is indeed a true English reader, incapable of relishing the great and masterly strokes of this art; but wonderfully pleased with the little Gothic ornaments of epigrammatical conceits, turns, points, and quibbles; which are so frequent in the most admired of our English poets, and practised by those who want genius and strength to represent, after the manner of the ancients, simplicity in its natural beauty and perfection. Finding myself unavoidably engaged in such a conversation, I was resolved to turn my pain into a pleasure, and to divert myself as well as I could with so very odd a fellow. “You must understand,’ says Ned, “that the sonnet I am going to read to you was written upon a lady, who showed me some verses of her own making, and is, perhaps, the best poet of our age. But you shall hear it.' Upon which he began to read as follows:—
To Mira, on her incomparable Poems.
When dressed in laurel wreaths you shine,
You seen a sister of the Nine,
I fancy, when your song you sing, (Your song you sing with so much art)
Your pen was plucked from Cupid’s wing; For, all it wounds ine like his dart.
“Why," says I, ‘this is a little nosegay of conceits, a very lump of salt, every verse has something in it that piques; and then the dart in the last line is certainly as pretty a sting in the tail of an epigram, for so I think you critics call it, as ever entered into the thought of a noct.’ ‘Dear Mr. Bickerstaff,' says he, shaking
“It is very right,” says he ; “but pray observe the turn of words in those two lines. I was a whole hour in adjusting of them, and have still a doubt upon me, whether in the second line it should be “Your song you sing; or, You sing your song " You shall hear them both.' . I fancy, when your song you sing, (Your song you o with so much art) I sancy, when your song you sing, (You sing your song with so much art) “Truly," said I, ‘the turn is so natural either way, that you have made me almost giddy with it.” “Dear, sir," said he, grasping me by the hand, “you have a great deal of patience; but pray what do you think of the next verse?’ Your pen was plucked from Cupid's wing; ‘Think!" says I; “I think you have made Cupid look like a little goose.’ ‘That was my meaning,’ says he “I think the ridicule is well enough hit off. But we come now to the last, which sums up the whole matter.”
For, Ah! it wounds me like his dart.
‘Pray how do you like that Ah! doth it not