Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

solitude, as in taking in the system of the his wound was not mortal. He is at present universe, observing the mutual dependence and one of the free-thinkers of the age, and now barmony, by which the whole frame of it hangs writing a pamphlet against several received together, beating down bis passions, or swelling opinions concerning the existence of fairies. bis thoughts with magnificent ideas of Provi- As I have taken upon me to censure the dence, makes a nobler figure in the eye of an faults of the age and country in which I live, intelligent being, than the greatest conqueror I should bave thought myself inexcusable to amidst all the pomps and solemnities of a bave passed over this crying one, which is the triumph. On the contrary, there is not a subject of my present discourse. I shall, theremore ridculous animal than an atheist in his fore, from time to time, give my countrymen retirement. His mind is incapable of rapture particular cautions against this distemper of or elevation. He can only consider himself as the mind, that is almost become fashionable, an insignificant figure in a landscape, and wan- and by that means more likely to spread. I dering up and down in a field or a meadow, have somewbere either read or heard a very under the same terms as the meanest animals memorable sentence, 'that a man would be a about him, and as subject to as total a morta. most insupportable monster, should he have lity as they ; with this aggravation, that be is the faults that are incident to his years, conthe only one amongst them, who lies under the stitution, profession, family, religion, age, and apprehension of it.

country ;' and yet every man is in danger of In distresses, he must be of all creatures the them all. For this reason, as I am an old man, most belpless and forlorn ; he feels the whole I take particular care to avoid being covetous, pressure of a present calamity, without being and telling long stories. As I am choleric, I relieved by the memory of any thing that is forbear not only swearing, but all interjections past or the prospect of any thing that is to of fretting, as pugb! or pish! and the like. As come. Annihilation is the greatest blessing I am a layman, I resolve not to conceive an that he proposes to himself, and a balter or a aversion for a wise and a good man, because pistol the only refuge he can fly to. But if bis coat is of a different colour from mine. As you would behold one of these gloomy mis- I am descended of the ancient family of the creants in bis poorest figure, you must consider Bickerstaffs, I never call a man of merit an bim under the terrors, or at the approach, of upstart. As a protestant, I do not suffer my death.

zeal so far to transport me, as to name the About thirty years ago I was a shipboard pope and the devil together. As I am fallen with one of these vermin, when there arose a into this degenerate age, I guard myself par. brisk gale, which could frighten nobody but ticularly against the folly I have been now himself. Upon the rolling of the ship, he fell speaking of. And, as I am an Englishman, I upon his knees, and confessed to the chaplain, am very cautious not to hate a stranger, or

that he had been a vile atheist, and had de- despise a poor Palatine.
nied 'a Supreme Being ever since he came to
his estate. The good man was astonished, and
a report immediately ran through the ship, No. 112.] Tuesday, December 27, 1709.

that there was an atheist upon the upper Acceclat snavitas quædam oportet sermonum, atque deck.' Several of the common seamen, who

morum, haudquaquana mediocre condimentam amicitiæ :

tristitia autem, et in omni re severitas absit. Habet illa had never beard the word before, thought it

quidem gravitatem, sed amicitia remissior esse debet, of had been some strange fish ; but they were libcrior, et dulcior, et ad omnem comitatem facilitatemque more surprised when they saw it was a man,

proclivior.

Cic. De Amicitia. and heard out of his own mouth, that he never believed until that day that there was

and manners, which is no inconsiderable sauce to friend.

ship. But by all means throw out sadness and severity in a God. As he lay in the agonies of confession,

every thing. There is something of gravity indeed in it; one of the honest tars whispered to the boat- but friendship requires a greater remissness, freedom, and swain, ' that it would be a good deed to heave

pleasantness, and an inclination to good temper and af

fability. him overboard. But we were now within

Sheer-lane, December 26. sight of port, when of a sudden the wind fell, and the penitent relapsed, begging all of us

As I was looking over my letters this mornthat were present, “as we were gentlemen, not ing, I chanced to cast my eye upon the followto say any thing of what had passed.'

ing one, which came to my hands about two He had not been ashore above two days, months ago from an old friend of mine, who, as when one of the company began to rally him I have since learned, was the person that writ upon his devotion on shipboard, which the the agreeable epistle inserted in my paper of

It is of the same other denied in so high terins, that it produced the third of the last month. the lie on both sides, and ended in a duel. turn with the other, and may be looked upon The atheist was run through the body, and

as a specimen of right country letters. after some loss of blood, became as good a Christian as he was at sea, until he fuund that This sets out to you from my summer-house

There should be added a certain sweetness of discourse

[ocr errors]

upon the terrace, where I am enjoying a few celebrates the friendship of Scipio and Lælius, hours sunshine, the scanty sweet remains of a who were the greatest as well as the politest fine autumn. The year is almost at the lowest ; men of their age, represents it as a beautiful so that, in all appearance, the rest of my let- passage in their retirement, that they used to ters between this and spring will be dated from gather up shells on the sea-shore, and amuse my parlour fire, where the little fond prattle themselves with the variety of shape and of a wife and children will so often break in colour which they met with in those little unupon the connexion of my thoughts, that you regarded works of nature. The great Agesiwill easily discover it in my style. If this laus could be a companion to his own children, winter should prove as severe as the last, I can and was surprised by the ambassadors of Sparta, tell you beforehand, that I am likely to be a as he was riding among them upon a hobby. very miserable man, through the perverse tem- horse. Augustus, indeed, had no play-fellows per of my eldest boy. When the frost was in of his own begetting; but is said to have passed its extremity, you must know that most of the many of his hours with little Moorish boys at blackbirds, robins, and finches of the parish, a game of marbles, not unlike our modern whose music bad entertained me in the summer, law. There is, methinks, a pleasure in seeing took refuge under my roof. Upon this, my care great men thus fall into the rank of mankind, was, to rise every morning before day, to set and entertain themselves with diversions and open my windows for the reception of the cold amusements that are agreeable to the very and the hungry, whom, at the same time, I re- weakest of their species. I must frankly conlieved with a very plentiful alms, by strewing fess, that it is to me a beauty in Cato's characcorn and seeds upon the floors and shelves. Butter, that he would drink a cheerful bottle with Dicky, without any regard to the laws of hos- bis friend ; and I cannot but own, that I have pitality, considered the casements as so many seen with great delight one of the most celetraps, and used every bird as a prisoner at dis-brated authors of the last age feeding the ducks cretion. Never did tyrant exercise more various in St. James's Park. By instances of this nacruelties. Some of the poor creatures he chased ture, the heroes, the statesmen, the philoso. to death about the room ; others he drove iuto phers, become, as it were, familiar with us, and the jaws of a blood-thirsty cat; and even in his grow the more amiable, the less they endeagreatest acts of mercy, either clipped the wings, vour to appear awful. A man who always acts or singed the tails, of his innocent captives. You in the severity of wisdom, or the baughtiness will laugh, when I tell you I sympathized with of quality, seems to move in a personated part. every bird in its misfortunes; but I believe you It looks too constrained and theatrical, for a will think me in the right for bewailing the man to be always in that character which dischild's unlucky humour. On the other hand, tinguishes him from others; besides that the I am extremely pleased to see his younger slackening and unbending our minds on some brother carry a universal benevolence towards occasions makes them cxert themselves with every thing that has life. When he was be- greater vigour and alacrity, when they return tween four and five years old, I caught bim to their proper and natural state. weeping over a beautiful butterfly, which he As this innocent way of passing a leisure hour chanced to kill as he was playing with it; and is not only consistent with a great character, I am informed, that this morning he has given but very graceful in it; so there are two sorts his brother three-balfpence, which was his of people to whom I would most earnestly rewhole estate, to spare the life of a tom-tit. commend it. The first are those who are unThese are at present the matters of greatest easy out of want of thought; the second are moment within my observation, and I know those who are so out of a turbulence of spirit. are too trifling to be communicated to any but The first are the impertinent, and the second so wise a man as yourself, and from one who the dangerous part of mankind. the happiness to be

It grieves me to the very heart, when I see 'Your most faithfu.,

several young gentlemen, descended of bonest and most obedient servant.' parents, run up and down, hurrying from one

end of the town to the other, calling in at The best critic that ever wrote, speaking of every place of resort, without being able to fix some passages in Homer which appear extra- a quarter of an hour in any, and in a particular vagant or frivolous, says, indeed, that they are haste without knowing for what. It would, dreams, but the dreams of Jupiter. My friend's methinks, be some consolation, if I could perletter appears to me in the same light. One suade these precipitate young gentlemen to sees him in an idle hour; hut at the same time compose this restlessness of mind, and apply in the idle hour of a wise man. A great mind themselves to any amusement, how trivial sohas something in it too severe and forbidding, ever, that might give them employment, and that is not capable of giving itself such little keep them out of harm's way. They cannot relaxations, and of condescending to these imagine how great a relief it would be to them, agreeable ways of trifling. Tully, when he if they could grow sedate enough to play fur

[ocr errors]

Jur.

two or three hours at a game of push-pin. But | No. 113.] Thursday, December 29, 1709. these busy, idle animals are only their own --Ecce iterum Crispinns ! tormentors. The turbulent and dangerous are Once more Crispinus comes upon the stage. for embroiling councils, stirring up seditions, and subverting constitutions, out of a mere

Hay-marhet, December 23. restlessness of temper, and an insensibility of Whereas, the gentleman that behaved him. all the pleasures of life that are calm and in- self in a very disobedient and ubstinate manuer nocent. It is impossible for a man to be so at his late trial in Sheer-lane, on the twentieth much employed in any scene of action, as to instant, and was carried off dead upon taking have great and good affairs enough to fill up away of his snuff-box, remains still unburied; his whole time; there will still be chasms and the company of upholders, not knowing otherempty spaces, in which a working mind will wise how they should be paid, have taken his employ itself to its own prejudice, or that of goods in execution, to defray the charge of his others, unless it can be at ease in the exercise funeral. His said effects are to be exposed to sale of such actions as are in themselves indifferent. by auction, at their office in the Hay-market, on How often have I wished, for the good of the the fourth of January next, and are as follows nation, that several famous politicians could A very rich tweezer-case, containing twelve take any pleasure in feeding ducks ! I look upon instruments for the use of each hour in the day. an able statesman out of business, like a huge Four pounds of soented snuff, with three whale, that will endeavour to overturn the ship, gilt snuff-boxes ; one of them with an invisible unless he has an empty cask to play with. hinge, and a looking-glass in the lid.

But to return to my good friend and corres- Two more of ivory, with the portraitures on pondent: I am afraid we shall both be laughed their lids of two ladies of the town; the vriginals at, when I confess, that we have often gone out to be seen every night in the side-boxes of the into the field to look upon a bird's nest; and playhouse. have more than once taken an evening's walk A sword, with a steel diamond hilt, never together, on purpose to see the sun set. I shall drawn but once at May-fair. conclude with my answer to his foregoing

Six clean packs of cards, a quart of orange. letter :

flower-water, a pair of French scissars, a tooth

pick-case, and an eye-brow brush. * DEAR SIR,

A large glass-case, containing the linen and 'I thank you for your obliging letter, and cloaths of the deceased ; among which are, two your kindness to the distressed, who will doubt. embroidered suits, a pocket perspective, a dozen less express their gratitude to you themselves pair of red-heeled shoes, three pair of red silk the next spring. As for Dick, the tyrant, I stockings, and an amber-headed cane. must desire you will put a stop to his proceed- The strong box of the deceased, wherein ings; and, at the same time, take care that were found, five billet-doux, a Bath shilling, a his little brother be no loser by his mercy to crooked sixpence, a silk garter, a lock of hair, the tom-tit. For my own part, I am excluded and three broken fans. all conversation with animals that delight only A press for books; containing, on the upper in a country life, and am therefore forced to shelf, entertain myself as well as I can with my little

Three bottles of diet-drink. dog and cat. They both of them sit by my Two boxes of pills. fire every night, expecting my coming home A syringe, and other mathematical instruwith impatience ; and, at my entrance, never

ments. fail of running up to me, and bidding me wel. On the second shelf are several miscellaneous come, each of them in his proper language. As works ; as, they have been bred up together from their in- Lampoons. fancy, ar.d seen no other company, they have Plays. learned each other's manners, so that the dog Tailors' bills. often gives himself the airs of a cat, and the And an almanack for the year seventeen cat, in several of her motions and gestures, hundred. affects the behaviour of the little dog. When

On the third shelf, they are at play, I often make one with them : A bundle of letters unopened, indorsed in and sometimes please myself with considering the hand of the deceased, 'Letters from the how much reason and instinct are capable of old Gentleman.' delighting each other. Thus, you see, I have Lessons for the flute. communicated to you, the material occur

Toland's ' Christianity not mysterious :' and rences in my family, with the same freedom a paper filled with patterns of scveral fashionthat you use to me, as I am, with the same able stuffs. sincerity and affection,

On the lower shelf, * Your most faithful humble servant,

One sbce.
• ISAAC BICKERSTAFF.' A pair of spuffers.

A Frencli grammar.

Being informed that several dead men, in A mourning hatband; and half a bottle of and about this city, do keep out of the way usquebaugh.

and abscond, for fear of being buried; and, There will be added to these goods, to make being willing to respite their interment, in con. a complete auction, a collection of gold snuff sideration of their families, and in hopes of doxes and clouded canes, which are to continue their amendment, I shall allow them certain in fashion for three months after the sale. privileged places, where they may appear to

The whole are to be set up and prized by one another, without causing any let or moCharles Bubbleboy, who is to open the auction lestation to the living, or receiving any, in with a speech.

their own persons, from the company of up

holders. Between the hours of seven anal I find I am so very unbappy, that, while 1 nine in the morning, they may appear in safety am busy in correcting the folly and vice of one

at St. James's coffee-house, or at White's, if sex, several exurbitances break out in the other. they do not keep their beds, which is more I have not thoroughly examined their new

proper for men in their condition. Frum nine fashioned petticoats, but shall set aside one day in the next week for that purpose. The to Rosamond's pond* in the Park, or in any

to eleven, I allow them to walk from Story's following petition on this subject was presented other public walks which are not frequented to me this morning :

by the living at that time. Between eleven 'The humble petition of William Jingle, and three, they are to vanish, and keep out of

Coach-maker and Chair-maker, of the sight until three in the afternovn, at which liberty of Westminster;

time they may go to the Exchange until five; To Isaac Bickerstaff, Esquire, Censor of the Hay.market, or Drury-lane, until the play

and then, if they please, divert themselves at Great Britain ;

begins. It is further granted in favour of these Showeth,-'That upon the late invention persons, that they may be received at any table of Mrs. Catharine Cross-stich, mantua-maker, where there are more present than seven in the petticoats of ladies were too wide for enter- number: provided that they do not take upon ing into any coach or chair which was in use them to talk, judge, commend, or find fault before the said invention.

with any speech, action, or behaviour of the That, for the service of the said ladies, your living. In which case, it shall be lawful to seize petitioner has built a round chair, in the form their persons at any place or hour whatsoever, of a lantern, six yards and a half in circum- and to convey their bodies to the next underference, with a stool in the centre of it; the taker's; any thing in this advertisement to said vehicle being so contrived, as to receive the contrary notwithstanding, the passenger by opening in two in the middle, and closing mathematically when she is seated.

'That your petitioner has also invented a No. 114.) Saturday, December 31, 1709. coach for the reception of one lady only, who

Ut in vitâ, sic in studiis, pulcherrimum et humanissimam is to be let in at the top.

existimo, severitatem comitatemque miscere, ne illa in *That the said coach has been tried by a

tristitiam, haec in pelalantiam procedat. Plin, Epist. lady's woman in one of these full petticoats,

As in a man's life, so in his studies, I think it the most

beantiil and humane thing in the world, so to mingle who was let down from a balcony, and drawn

gravity with pleasantry, that the one may not sink into up again by pullies, to the great satisfaction of inelancholy, nor the viber rise up into wantonness. her lady, and all who belield her.

Sheer-lane, December 30. Your petitioner, therefore, most humbly

I was walking about my chamber this morn prays, that, for the encouragement of ingenuity and useful inventions, he may be heard before ing in a very gay humour, when I saw a coach vou pass sentence upon the petticoats aforesaid. stop at my door, and a youth about fifteen “And your petitioner, &c.'

alighting out of it, whom I perceived to be the

eldest son of my bosom friend that I gave some I have likewise received a female petition, account of in my paper of the seventeenth of the signed by several thousands, praying that i last month. I felt a sensible pleasure rising in would not any longer defer giving judgment in

me at the sight of him, my acquaintance having the case of the petticoat, many of them having begun with his father when he was just such a

When he put off the making new cloaths, until such time stripling, and about that very age. as they know what verdict will pass upon it. I

came up to me, he took me by the hand, and do therefore, hereby certify to all whom it may

burst out in tears. I was extremely moved, and concern, that I do design to set apart Tuesday immediately said, “Child, how does your father next for the final determination of that matter,

do ?' He began to reply, ‘My mother--'But having already ordered a jury of matrons to be impannelled, for the clearing up of any difficult Lains its name ; but Rosa mond's-pont, at the other end, har

• Story's Gate at one end of the Birdcage-walk, still re. prints that may arise in the trial..

becn filled up within there few years

[ocr errors]

could not go on for weeping. I went down Jracter. My heart was torn in pieces, to see with him into the coach, and gathered out of the busband on one side suppressing and keepbin,ʻthat his mother was then dying, and that, ing down the swellings of his grief, for fear o. while the holy man was doing the last offices disturbing ber in her last moments; and the to her, he had taken that time to come and wife, even at that time, concealing the pains call me to his father, who, he said, would cer- she endured, for fear of increasing his affliction. tainly break his heart, if I did not go and com- She kept her eyes upon him for some moments fort him.' The child's discretion in coming after she grew speechless, and soon after closed to me of bis own head, and the tenderness he them for ever. In the moment of her deparshuwed for bis parents, would have quite over-ture, my friend, who had thus far commanded powered me, bad I not resolved to fortify my- himself, gave a deep groan, and fell into a self for the seasonable performances of those swoon by her bed side. The distraction of the duties which I owed to my friend. As we were children, who thought they saw both their going, I could not but reflect upon the cha- parents expiring together, and now lying dead racter of that excellent woman, and the great before them, would have melted the bardest ness of his grief for the loss of one who has heart; but they soon perceived their father reever been the support of bim uuder all other cover, whom I helped to remove into another afflictions. How, thought I, will he be able room, with a resolution to accompany him until to bear the hour of her death, that could not, the first pangs of his affliction were ahated. I when I was lately with him, speak of a sick-knew consolation would now be impertinent; ness, which was then past, without sorrow! and therefore contented myself to sit by him, We were now got pretty far into Westminster, and condole with him in silence. For I shall and arrived at my friend's house. At the door here use the method of an ancient author, of it I met Favonius, not without a secret satis-who, in one of his epistles, relating the virtues faction to find he had been there. I had for- and death of Macrinus's wife, expresses himself merly conversed with bim at this house; and thus : 'I shall suspend my advice to this best ai be abounds with that sort of virtue and of friends, until he is made capable of receiving kaowledge which makes religion beautiful, and it by those three great remedies, the necessity never leads the conversation into the violence of submission, length of time, and satiety of and rage of party-disputes. I listened to him grief.' with great pleasure. Our discourse chanced to In the mean time, I cannot but consider, be upon the subject of death, which he treated with much commisseration, the melancholy with such a strength of reason, and greatness state of one who has had such a part of himself of soul, that, instead of being terrible, it ap- torn from him, and which he misses in every peared to a mind rightly cultivated, altogether circumstance of life. His condition is like that to be contemned, or rather to be desired. As I of one who has lately lost his right arm, and met him at the door, I saw in his face a certain is every moment offering to help himself with glowing of grief and humanity, heightened with it. He does not appear to himself the same an air of fortitude and resolution, which, as 1 person in his bouse, at his table, in company, afterwards found, had such an irresistible force, or in retirement; and loses the relish of all as to suspend the pains of the dying, and the the pleasures and diversions that were before lamentation of the nearest friends who attended entertaining to him by her participation of her. I went up directly to the room where she them. The most agreeable objects recall the lay, and was met at the entrance by my friend, sorrow for her with whom he used to enjoy wbo, notwithstanding his thoughts had been them. This additional satisfaction, from the composed a little before, at the sight of me taste of pleasures in the society of one we love, turned away his face and wept. The little family is admirably described by Milton, who repreof cbildren renewed the expressions of their sor- sents Eve, though in Paradise itself, no further row according to their several ages and degrees pleased with the beautiful objects around her, of understanding. The eldest daughter was in than as she sees them in company with Adam, tears, busied in attendance upon her mother ; in that passage so inexpressibly charming :* others were kneeling about the bed side ; and

• With thee conversing, I forget all time; what troubled me most was, to see a little boy,

All seasons, and their change; all please alike. who was too young to know the reason, weep- Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising swett ing only because his sisters did. The only one

With charm of earliest biris; pleasant the sin,

When first on this delightful land he spreals in the room who seemed resigned and comforted

Ilis orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, was the dying person. At my approach to the Glistering with dew ; fragrant the fertile earth bed side, sbe told me, with a low broken voice, After son showers; and sweet the coming on

Or grateful evening mild; the silent night, *This is kindly doneTake care of your friend With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon, -do not go from bim !' She had before taken And these the gems of heaven, her starry train, leave of her husband and children, in a manner proper for so solemn a parting, and, with a gracefulness peculiar to a woman of her cia.

• Paraclise Lost, book jv. ver.639.

But neither breath of morn when she ascendis

« AnteriorContinua »