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said, in his preface to Juvenal, that he could meet with no turn of words in Milton.

It may be farther observed, that though the sweetness of these verses has something in it of a pastoral, yet it excels the ordinary kind, as much as the scene of it is above an ordinary field or meadow. I might here, since I am accidentally led into this subject, shew several passages in Milton that have as excellent turns of this nature as any of our English poets whatsoever; but shall only mention that which follows, in which he describes the fallen angels engaged in the intricate disputes of predestination, freewill, and fore-knowledge; and, to humour the perplexity, makes a kind of labyrinth in the very words that describe it.

Others apart sat on a hill retir'd,

In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high
Of providence, fore-knowledge, will, and fate,
Fix'd fate, free-will, fore-knowledge absolute,
And found no end, in wandering mazes lost.

N° 115. TUESDAY, JANUARY 3, 1709-10.

-Novum intervenit vitium et calamitas,
Ut neque spectari, neque cognosci potuerit:
Ita populus studio stupidus in funambulo
Animum occuparât.-TER. Prol. de Hecyra.
A tumult so uncommon interven'd,
As neither could be seen, nor understood :
So taken were the people, so engag'd
With a rope-dancer!-COLMAN.

Sheer-lane, January 2.

I WENT on Friday last to the opera, and was surprised to find a thin house at so noble an entertainment, until I heard that the tumbler was not to

make his appearance that night. For my own part, I was fully satisfied with the sight of an actor, who, by the grace and propriety of his action and gesture, does honour to the human figure, as much as the other vilifies and degrades it. Every one will easily imagine I mean Signior Nicolini, who sets off the character he bears in an opera by his action, as much as he does the words of it by his voice. Every limb, and every finger, contributes to the part he acts, insomuch that a deaf man might go along with him in the sense of it. There is scarce

a beautiful posture in an old statue which he does not plant himself in, as the different circumstances of the story give occasion for it. He performs the most ordinary action in a manner suitable to the greatness of his character, and shews the prince even in the giving of a letter, or dispatching of a message. Our best actors are somewhat at a loss to support themselves with proper gesture, as they move from any considerable distance to the front of the stage; but I have seen the person of whom I am now speaking enter alone at the remotest part of it, and advance from it, with such greatness of air and mien, as seemed to fill the stage, and at the same time commanded the attention of the audience with the majesty of his appearance. But notwithstanding the dignity and elegance of this entertainment, I find, for some nights past, that Punchinello has robbed this gentleman of the greater part of his female spectators. The truth of it is, I find it so very hard a task to keep that sex under any manner of government, that I have often resolved to give them over entirely, and leave them to their own inventions. I was in hopes that I had brought them to some order, and was employing my thoughts on the reformation of their petticoats, when on a sudden I received information from all parts, that they

run gadding after a puppet-show. I know very well, that what I here say will be thought by some malicious persons to flow from envy to Mr. Powell: for which reason I shall set the late dispute between us in a true light. Mr. Powell and I had some difference about four months ago, which we managed by way of letter, as learned men ought to do; and I was very well contented to bear such sarcasms as he was pleased to throw upon me, and answered them with the same freedom, In the midst of this our misunderstanding and correspondence, I happened to give the world an account of the order of Esquires; upon which Mr. Powell was so disingenuous, as to make one of his puppets, I wish I knew which of them it was, declare, by way of prologue, That one Isaac Bickerstaff, a pretended esquire, had written a scurrilous piece, to the dishonour of that rank of men;' and then, with more art than honesty, concluded, that all the esquires in the pit were abused by his antagonist as much as he was.' This public accusation made all the esquires of that county, and several of other parts my professed enemies. I do not in the least question but that he will proceed in his hostilities; and I am informed, that part of his design in coming to town, was to carry the war into my own quarters. I do, therefore, solemnly declare, notwithstanding that I am a great lover of art and ingenuity, that if I hear he opens any of his people's mouths against me, I shall not fail to write a critique upon his whole performance; for I must confess, that I have naturally so strong a desire of praise, that I cannot bear reproach, though from a piece of timber.. As for Punch, who takes all opportunities of bespattering me, I know very well bis original, and have been assured by the joiner who put him together, That he was in long dispute with himself,



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whether he should turn him into several utensils, or make him the man he is.' person confessed to me, That he had once actually laid aside his head for a nut-cracker.' As for his scolding wife, however she may value herself at present, it is very well known, that she is but a piece of crab-tree. This artificer farther whispered in my ear, 'That all his courtiers and nobles were taken out of a quickset hedge not far from Islington; and that Doctor Faustus himself, who is now so great a conjurer, is supposed to have learned his whole art from an old woman in that neighbourhood, whom he long served in the figure of a broom-staff.'

But, perhaps, it may look trivial to insist so much upon men's persons; I shall, therefore, turn my thoughts rather to examine their behaviour, and consider, whether the several parts are written up to that character which Mr. Powell piques himself upon, of an able and judicious dramatist. I have for this purpose provided myself with the works of above twenty French critics, and shall examine, by the rules which they have laid down upon the art of the stage, whether the unity of time, place, and action, be rightly observed in any one of this celebrated actor's productions; as also, whether in the parts of his several actors, and that of Punch in particular, there is not sometimes an impropriety of sentiments, and an impurity of diction.

White's Chocolate-house, January 2.

I came in here to-day at an hour when only the dead appear in places of resort and gallantry, and saw hung up the escutcheon of Sir Hannibal, a gentleman who used to frequent this place, and was taken up and interred by the company of Upholders, as having been seen here at an unlicenced hour.

The coat of the deceased is, three bowls and a jack in a green field; the crest, a dice-box, with the king of clubs and pam for supporters. Some days ago the body was carried out of town with great pomp and ceremony,

in order to be buried with his ancestors at the Peak. It is a maxim in morality, that we are to speak nothing but truth of the living, nothing but good of the dead. As I have carefully observed the first during his lifetime, I shall acquit myself as to the latter now he is deceased.

He was knighted very young, not in the ordinary form, but by the common consent of mankind.

He was in his person between round and square; in the motion and gesture of his body he was unaffected and free, as not having too great a respect for superiors. He was in his discourse bold and intrepid; and as every one has an excellence, as well as a failing, which distinguishes him from other men, eloquence was his predominant quality, which he had to so great perfection, that it was easier to him to speak, than to hold his tongue. This some

times exposed him to the derision of men who had much less parts than himself: and indeed his great volubility, and inimitable manner of speaking, as well as the great courage he shewed on those occasions, did sometimes betray him into that figure of speech which is commonly distinguished by the name of Gasconade. To mention no other, he professed in this very place, some days before he died, 'that he would be one of the six that would undertake to assault me;' for which reason I have had his figure upon my wall until the hour of his death: and am resolved for the future to bury every one forthwith who I hear has an intention to kill me.

Since I am upon the subject of my adversaries, I shall here publish a short letter, which I have received from a well-wisher, and is as follows:

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