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convinced of Mr. BickerstafT's ignorance. He replied, I am a poor ignorant fellow, bred to a mean trade, yet I have sense enough to know, that all pretences of foretelling by astrology are deceits, for this manifest reason, because the wise and the learned, who can only judge whether there be any truth in this science, do all unanimously agree to laugh at and despise it; and none but the poor ignorant vulgar give it any credit, and that only upon the word of such silly wretches as I and my fellows, who can hardly write or read. I then asked him why he had not calculated his own nativity, to see whether it agreed with BickerstafF's prediction? At which he shook his head, and said, Oh! sir, this is no time for jesting, but for repenting those fooleries, as I do now from the very bottom of my heart. By what I can gather from you, said I, the observations and predictions you printed with your al

were otherwise, I should have the less to answer for. We have a common form for all those things; as to foretelling the weather, we never meddle with that, but leave it to the printer, who takes it out of any old almanac, as he thinks fit; the rest was my own invention to make my almanac sell, having a wife to maintain, and no other way to get my bread; for mending old shoes is a poor livelihood; and (added he, sighing) I wish I may not have done more mischief by my physic than my astrology; though 1 had some good receipts from my grandmother, and my own compositions were such, as I thought, could at least do no hurt.

I had some other discourse with him, which now I cannot call to mind; and I fear I have already tired your lordship. I shall only add one circumstance, that on his death-bed he declared himself a nonconformist, and had a fanatic preacher to be his spiritual guide. After half an hour's conversation I took my leave, being almost stifled by the closeness of the room. I imagined he could not hold out long, and therefore withdrew to a little coffee-house hard by, leaving a servant at the house with orders to come immediately, and tell me, as near as he could, the minute when Partridge should expire, which was not above two hours after; when, looking upon my watch, I found it to be above five minutes after seven: by which it is clear that Mr. BickerstafT was mistaken almost four hours in his calculation. In the other circumstances he was exact enough. But whether he hath not been the cause of this poor man's death, as well as the predictor, may be very reasonably disputed. However, it must be confessed, the matter is odd enough, whether we should endeavor to account for it by chance, or the effect of imagination: for my own part, though I believe no man hath less faith in these matters, yet I shall wait with some impatience, and not without some expectation, the fulfilling of Mr. Bicl;erstafFs second prediction, that trie Cardinal de


the people. He replied, If it Noailles is to die upon the fourth of April, and if that should be verified as exactly as this of poor Partridge, I must own I should be wholly surprised, and at a loss, and should infallibly expect the accomplishment of all the rest.

It is amusing to think what a large number of persons at the time actually believed the accomplishment had taken place in all respects according to the relation. The wits of the time, too, among whom were Steele and Addison, supported Swift, and uniformly affirmed that Partridge had died on the day nnd hour predicted. The distress and vexation of Partridge himself were beyond all measure ridiculous, and he absolutely had the folly to insert the following advertisement at the close of his next year's almanac:—

"Whereas it has been industriously given out by Isaac BiekerstaiT, Esq., and others, to prevent the sale of this year's almanac, that John Partridge is dead: this may inform all his loving countrymen, that lie is slil! living, in health; and they are knaves that reported it otherwise."1

The most interesting account, however, of the singularly comic consequences of this prediction was drawn up by the Rev. Dr. Yalden, Mr. Partridge's neiglh bor, of whom, as connected with this humorous affair, I will give a short account, succeeding Swift, though it be not in exact chronological order.

Though Swift wrote much that ranks under poetry, yet he had none of the characteristics of a true poet—nothing of the sublime or the tender; nothing, in short, that reaches or affects the heart. "It could scarcely be expected,'' says a critic, «that an irreligious divine, a heartless politician, and a selfish lover, could possess the elements of true poetry; and, therefore, Swift maybe considered rather as" a rhymer than a poet." This is true; as he himself says in the " Verses on his own Death:"

"The Dean was famous In his time,
And had a kind of knack at rhyme"

This "knack" lie had in a very eminent degree—the "knack" of writing easy, natural rhymes—of using just the very words in verse that any one would select as the best in prose. In proof of which, take the following selection :—


In ancient limes, as story tells,
The saints would often leave their cells,
And stroll about, but hide their quality.
To try good people's hospitality.

It happen'd on a winter night,
As authors of the legend write,
Two brother-hermits, saints by trade,
Taking their tour in masquerade,
Disguised in tatter'd habits, went
To a small village down in Kent:
Where, in the strollers" canting strain.
They begg'd from door to door in vain;
Tried every tone might pity win,
But not a soul would let them in.

Our wandering saints, in woftil state,
Treated at this ungodly rate,

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Having through all the* village passM,
To a small cottage came at last!
Where dwelt a good old honest ye'inan,
Call'd in the neighborhood Philemon;
Who kindly did these paints invito
In his poor hut lo pass the night;
And then the hospitable sire
Bid goody Baucis mend the fire;
■ While he from out the chimney took

A flitch of bacon off the hook,
And freely from the fatte&t side
Cut out large slices to be fried;
Then stepp'd aside to fetch them drink,
Fill'd a large jug up to the brink,
And saw it fairly twice go round;
Yet (what is wonderful) they found
Twaa still replenish'd to the top,
As if they ne'er had touch"d a drop.
The good old couple were amazed,
And often on each other gazed;
For both were frighten'd to the heart,
And just began to cry,—What ar'tl
Then softly tnni'd aside to view
Whether the lights were burning blue.
The gentle pilgrims, soon aware on't,
Told them their calling and their errand:
Good folks, you need not be afraid,
We are but saints, the hermits said;
No hurt shall come to you or yours:
But fur that pack of churlish boors,
Not fit to live on Christian ground,
They and their houses shall be drown'd;
Whilst you shall see your cottage rise,
And grow a church be lore your eyes.

They scarce had spoke, when fair and soft
Hie roof began to mount aloft;
Aloft rose every beam and rafter;
The heavy wall elimb'd slowly after.

The chimney wideti'd, and grew higher;
Became a steeple with a spire.

The kettle to the top was hoist.
And there stood fastened to a joist,
But with the upside down, to show
Its inclination for lxHow:
In vain; for a superior force.
Applied at bottom, stops its course:
Doom'd ever in suspense to dwell,
'Tis now no kettle, but a !>elL

A wooden Jack, which had almost
Lost by disuse the art to roast,
A sudden alteration feels,
Increased by new intestine wheels;
And, what exalts the wonder more,
The number made the motion slower:

The llier, though't had leaden feet,

Turn'd round so quick, you scarce could see "t;

But, slackend by some secret power,

Now hardly moves an inch an hour.

The jack and chimney, near allied,

Had never left each other's fide:

The chimney to a steeple grown,

The jack would not be left alone;

But, up against the steeple reard,

Became a clock,and still adhered;

And still its love to household care?,

By a shrill voice at noon, declares;

Warning the cook-maid not to burn

That roast-meat which it cannot turn.

The groaning-chair began to crawl,
Like a huge snail, along the wall;
There stuck aloft in public view,
And, with small change, a pulpit grew.

The porringers, that in a row
Hung high, and made a glittering show,
To a less noble substance changed,
Were now but leathern buckets ranged.

The ballads, pasted on the wall,
Of Joan of France, and English Moll,
Fair Rosamond, and Robin Hood,
The Little Children in the Wrood,
Now scem'd to look abundance better,
Improved in picture, size, and letter;
And, high in order placed, describe
The heraldry of every tribe.1

A bedstead of the antique mode,
Compact of timber many a load,
Such as onr ancestors did use,
Was metamorphosed into pews;
Which still their ancient nature keep,
By lodging folks disposed to sleep.

The cottage by such feats as these
Grown to a church by just degrees,
The hermits then desired their host
To ask for what he fancied most.
Philemon, having paused a while,
Returned them thanks in homely style:
Then said, My house is grown so line,
Methinks I still would cull it mine;
I'm old, and fain woidd live at ease;
Make me the parson, if you please.

He spoke, and presently he feels
His grazier's coat fall down his heels;
He sees, yet hardly can believe,
About each arm a pudding-sleeve;
His waistcoat to a cassock grew,
And both assumed a sable hue;

t The trtbeti of Israel are &omcUiuc» distinguished in country churches by toe enslgci given ta them by Jacob.

But, being old, continued just

As thread-bare, and as full of dust.

His talk was now of tithes and dues:

He smoked his pipe, anil read the news j

Knew how to preach old sermons next,

Vamp'd in the preface anil the text;

At christenings well could act his part,

And had the service all by heart j

Against dissenters would repine,

And stood up Arm for right divine;

Found his head fill'd with many a system:

But classic authors,—he ne'er miss'd 'em.

Thus having furbish'd up a parson,
Dame Baucis next they play'd their farce on.
Instead of home-spun coifs, were seen
Good pinners edged with colberteen;
Her petticoat, transform'd apace,
Became black satin flounced with lace.
Plain Goody would no longer down:
Twas Madam, in her grogram gown.
Philemon was in great surprise,
And hardly could believe his eyes,
Amazed to see her look so prim;
And she admired as much at him.

Thus happy in their change of life
Were several years this man and wife j
When on a day, which proved their last,
Discoursing o'er old stories past,
They went by chance, amidst their talk,
To the churchyard, to take a walk;
When Baucis nastily cried out,
My dear, I see your forehead sprout!
Sprout! quoth the man j what's this you tell us 1
I hope you don't believe me jealous!
But yet, methinks, I feel it true;
And really yours is budding too—
Nay,—now I cannot stir my foot;
It feels as if 'twere taking root.

Description would but tire my muse;
In short, they both were turn'd to yews.

Old Goodman Dobson of the green
Remembers ho the trees has seen;
He'll talk of them from noon till night,
And goes with folks to show the sight:
On Sundays, after evening-prayer,
He gathers all the parish there;
Points out the place of either yew,
Here Baucis, there Philemon, grew;
Till once a parson of our town,
To mend his barn, cut Baucis down;
At which 'tis hard to be believed
How much the other tree was grieved,
Grew scrubbed, died a-top, was stunted;
So the next parson stubb'd and burnt iu

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