« ПредишнаНапред »
Paris, than Pharaoh could when they croaked | been so long attempting in vain. This learned
man, with the hazard of his life, made a voyage
'I am further informed, that several graziers of the county of Cork have entered into a project of planting a colony in those parts, at the instance of the French protestants; and I know not but the same design may be on foot in other parts of the kingdom, if the wisdom of the British nation do not think fit to prohibit the further importation of English frogs. 'I am, Sir, 'Your most humble servant,
When the arts began to flourish in the reign of King Charles II. and that great monarch had placed himself at the head of the Royal Society, to lead them forward into the discoveries of nature, it is said, that several proposals were laid before his majesty, for the importing of frogs into Ireland. In order to it, a virtuoso of known abilities was unanimously elected by the society, and intrusted with the whole management of that affair. For this end he took along with him a sound able-bodied frog, of a strong hale constitution, that had given proofs of his vigour by several leaps that he made before that learned body. They took ship, and sailed together until they came within sight of the hill of Howth, before the frog discovered any symptoms of being indisposed by his voyage: but, as the wind chopped about, and began to blow from the Irish coast, he grew sea-sick, or rather land-sick; for his learned companion ascribed it to the particles of the soil with which the wind was impregnated. He was confirmed in his conjecture, when, upon the wind's turning about, his fellow-traveller sensibly recovered, and continued in good health until his arrival upon the shore, where he suddenly relapsed, and expired upon a Ring's-end car in his way to Dublin. The same experiment was repeated several times in that reign, but to no purpose. A frog was never known to take three leaps upon Irish turf, before he stretched himself out, and died.
There is no study more becoming a rational creature than that of natural philosophy; but, as several of our modern virtuosi manage it, their speculations do not so much tend to open and enlarge the mind, as to contract and fix it upon trifles.
This in England is in a great measure owing to the worthy elections that are so frequently made in our Royal Society. They seem to be in a confederacy against men of polite genius, noble thought, and diffusive learning; and choose into their assemblies such as have no pretence to wisdom, but want of wit; or to natural knowledge, but ignorance of every thing else. I have made observations in this matter so long, that when I meet with a young fellow that is an humble admirer of these sciences, but more dull than the rest of the company, I conclude him to be a Fellow of the Royal Society.
No. 237.] Saturday, October 14, 1710.
In nova fert animus mutatos dicere formas
Of bodies chang'd to various forms I sing. Dryden.
From my own Apartment, October 13. COMING home last night before my usual hour, I took a book into my hand, in order to
divert myself with it until bed-time. Milton | ness in all the parts of her behaviour. She chanced to be my author, whose admirable seemed to look upon man as an obscene creapoem of Paradise Lost' serves at once to fill ture, with a certain scorn and fear of him. In the mind with pleasing ideas, and with good the height of her airs I touched her gently with thoughts, and was therefore the most proper my wand, when, to my unspeakable surprise, book for my purpose. I was amusing myself she fell in such a manner as made me blush in with that beautiful passage in which the poet my sleep. As I was hasting away from this represents Eve sleeping by Adam's side, with undisguised prude, I saw a lady in earnest the devil sitting at her ear, and inspiring evil discourse with another, and overheard her say, thoughts, under the shape of a toad. Ithuriel, with some vehemence, 'Never tell me of him, one of the guardian angels of the place, walk- for I am resolved to die a virgin!' I had a ing his nightly rounds, saw the great enemy of curiosity to try her; but, as soon as I laid my mankind hid in this loathsome animal, which wand upon her head, she immediately fell in he touched with his spear. This spear being labour. My eyes were diverted from her by a of a celestial temper, had such a secret virtue man and his wife, who walked near me hand in it, that whatever it was applied to, imme- in hand after a very loving manner. I gave diately flung off all disguise, and appeared in each of them a gentle tap, and the next instant its natural figure. I am afraid the reader will saw the woman in breeches, and the man with not pardon me, if I content myself with ex- a fan in his hand. It wou'd be tedious to deplaining the passage in prose, without giving scribe the long series of metamorphoses that I it in the author's own inimitable words: entertained myself with in my night's adventure, of whigs disguised in tories, and tories in whigs; men in red coats, that denounced terror in their countenances, trembling at the touch of my spear; others in black, with peace in their mouths, but swords in their hands. I could tell stories of noblemen changed into usurers, and magistrates into beadles; of freethinkers into penitents, and reformers into whore-masters. I must not, however, omit the mention of a grave citizen who passed by me with a huge clasped bible under his arm, and a band of a most immoderate breadth; but, upou a touch on the shoulder, he let drop his book, and fell a-picking my pocket.
In the general I observed, that those who appeared good, often disappointed my expectations; but that, on the contrary, those who appeared very bad, still grew worse upon the experiment; as the toad in Milton, which one would have thought the most deformed part of the creation, at Ithuriel's stroke became more deformed, and started up into a devil.
Among all the persons that I touched, there was but one who stood the test of my wand; and, after many repetitions of the stroke, stuck to his form, and remained steady and fixed in his first appearance. This was a young man, who boasted of foul distempers, wild debauches, insults upon holy men, aud affronts to religion.
On he led his radiant files,
The organs of her fancy, and with them forge
The animal spirits (that from pure blood arise
I could not forbear thinking how happy a man would be in the possession of this spear; or what an advantage it would be to a minister of state were he master of such a white staff. It would help him to discover his friends from his enemies, men of abilities from pretenders: it would hinder him from being imposed upon by appearances and professions; and might be made use of as a kind of state-test, which no artifice could elude.
These thoughts made very lively impressions on my imagination, which were improved, instead of being defaced, by sleep, and produced in me the following dream: I was no sooner fallen asleep, but methought the angel Ithuriel appeared to me, and, with a smile that still added to his celestial beauty, made me a present of the spear which he held in his hand, and disappeared. To make trials of it, I went into a place of public resort.
The first person that passed by me, was a lady that had a particular shyness in the cast of her eye, and a more than ordinary reserved
My heart was extremely troubled at this vision. The contemplation of the whole species, so entirely sunk in corruption, filled my mind with a melancholy that is inexpressible, and my discoveries still added to my affliction.
In the midst of these sorrows which I had in my heart, methought there passed by me a couple of coaches with purple liveries. There sat in each of them a person with a very venerable aspect. At the appearance of them the people, who were gathered round me in great multitudes, divided into parties, as they were disposed to favour either of those reverend per
The enemies of one of them begged me to touch him with my wand, and assured me I should see his lawn converted into a cloak. The opposite party told me with as much assurance, that if I laid my wand upon the other, I should see his garments embroidered with flower-de-luces, and his head covered with a cardinal's hat. I made the experiment, and, to my great joy, saw them both without any change, distributing their blessings to the people, and praying for those who had reviled them. Is it possible, thought I, that good men, who are so few in number, should be divided among themselves, and give better quarter to the vicious that are in their party, than the most strictly virtuous who are out of it? Are the ties of faction above those of religion?--I was going on in my soliloquies, but some sudden accident awakened me, when I found my hand grasped, but my spear gone. The reflection on so very odd a dream made me figure to myself, what a strange face the world would bear, should all mankind appear in their proper shapes and characters, without hypocrisy and disguise? I am afraid the earth we live upon would appear to other intellectual beings no better than a planet peopled with monsters. This should, methinks, inspire us with an honest ambition of recommending ourselves to those invisible spies, and of being what we would appear. There was one circumstance in my foregoing dream, which I at first intended to conceal; but, upon second thoughts, I cannot look upon myself as a candid and impartial historian, if I do not acquaint my reader, that upon taking Ithuriel's spear into my hand, though I was before an old decrepit fellow, I appeared a very handsome, jolly, black man. But I know my enemies will say this is praising my own beauty, for which reason I will speak no more of it.
From my own Apartment, October 16. STORMS at sea are so frequently described by the ancient poets, and copied by the moderns, that whenever I find the winds begin to rise in a new heroic poem, I generally skip a leaf or two until I come into fair weather. Virgil's tempest is a master-piece in this kind, and is indeed so naturally drawn, that one who has made a voyage can scarce read it without being sea-sick. Land-showers are no less frequent among the poets than the former, but I remember none of them which have not fallen in the country; for which reason they are generally filled with the lowings of oxen, and the
bleatings of sheep, and very often embellished with a rainbow.
Virgil's land-shower is likewise the best in its kind. 'It is indeed a shower of consequence, and contributes to the main design of the poem. by cutting off a tedious ceremonial, and bringing matters to a speedy conclusion between two potentates of different sexes. My ingenious kinsman, Mr. Humphrey Wagstaff, who treats of every subject after a manner that no other author has done, and better than any other can do, has sent me the description of a city-shower. I do not question but the reader remember's my cousin's description of the morning as it breaks in town, which is printed in the ninth Tatler, and is another exquisite piece of this local poetry.
Careful observers may foreteil the hour (By sure prognostics) when to dread a shower; While rain depends, the pensive cat gives o'er Her frolics, and pursues her tail no more. Returning home at night, you'll find the sink Strike your offended sense with double stink. If you be wise, then go not far to dine, You'll spend in coach-hire more than save in wine. A coming shower your shooting corns presage, Old aches will throb, your hollow tooth will rage. Sauntering in coffee-house is Dulman seen; He damns the climate, and complains of spleen. Meanwhile the south, rising with dabbled wings, A sable cloud athwart the welkin flings, That swill'd more liquor than it could contain, And, like a drunkard, gives it up again. Brisk Susan whips her linen from the rope, While the first drizzling shower is borne aslope: Such is that sprinkling which soine careless quean Flirts on you from her top, but not so clean. You fly, invoke the gods; then, turning, stop To rail; she, singing, still whirls on her mop. Not yet the dust had shunn'd th' unequal strife, But, aided by the wind, fought still for life, And, wafted with its foe by violent gust, 'Twas doubtful which was rain, and which was dust. Ah! where must needy poet seek for aid. When dust and rain at once his coat invade? His only coat, where dust, confus'd with rain, Roughens the nap, and leaves a mingled stain?
Now in contiguous drops the flood comes down, Threatening with deluge this devoted town. To shops in crowds the daggled females fly, Pretend to cheapen goods, but nothing bay. The templar spruce, while every spout's abroach, Stays till 'tis fair, yet seems to call a coach. The tuck'd-up sempstress walks with hasty strides, While streams run down her oil'd unbrella's sides, Here various kinds, by various fortunes led, Commence acquaintance underneath a shed.
Trinmphant Tories and desponding Whigs Forget their feuds, and join to save their wigs. Box'd in a chair, the bean impatient sits, While spouts run clattering o'er the roof by fits; And ever-and-anon with frightful din The leather sounds; he trembles from within. So when Troy-chairmen bore the wooden steed, Pregnant with Greeks impatient to be freed (Those bully Greeks, who, as the moderns do, Instead of paying chairmeu, run them through,) Laocoon struck the outside with his spear, And each imprison'd hero quak'd for fear. Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow, And bear their trophies with them as they go:
* Altered, when Pope published the Miscellanies, thus: 'Sole coat; where dust cemented by the raiu Erects the nap, and leaves a cloudy stain.'
+ Written in the first year of the earl of Oxford's ministry.
Filth of all hues and odours seem to tel.
The scurrilous wretch goes on to say, that I am as bad as Tully. His words are these: And yet the Tatler, in his paper of September the twenty-sixth, has outdone him in both He speaks of himself with more arrogance, and with more insolence of others.' I am afraid, by his discourse, this gentleman has no more read Plutarch than he has Tully. If he had, he would have observed a passage in that his torian, wherein he has, with great delicacy, distinguished between two passions which are usually complicated in human nature, and which an ordinary writer would not have thought of separating. Not having my Greek spectacles by me, I shall quote the passage word for word as I find it translated to my hand. Nevertheless, though he was intemperately fond of his own praise, yet he was very free from envying others, and most liberally profuse in commending both the ancients and his contemporaries, as is to be understood by his writings; and many of those sayings are still recorded, as that concerning Aristotle, that he was a river of flowing gold:" of Plato's dialogue, that if Jupiter were to speak, he would discourse as he did." Theophrastus he was wont to call his peculiar delight; and being asked, "which of Demosthenes his orations be liked best?" He answered, "The longest."
From my own Apartment, October 18. IT is ridiculous for any man to criticise on the works of another, who has not distinguished himself by his own performances. A judge would make but an indifferent figure who had
never been known at the bar. Cicero was re
puted the greatest orator of his age and country, before he wrote a book' De Oratore;' and Horace the greatest poet, before he published his Art of Poetry. This observation arises naturally in any one who casts his eye upon this last-mentioned author, where he will find the criticisms placed in the latter end of nis book, that is, after the finest odes and satires in the Latin tongue.
A modern, whose name I shall not mention, Decause I would not make a silly paper sell, was born a Critic and an Examiner, and, like one of the race of the serpent's teeth, came into the world with a sword in his hand. His
Thus the critic tells us, that Cicero was excessively vain-glorious and abusive; Plutarch, that he was vain, but not abusive. Let the reader believe which of them he pleases.
After this he complains to the world, that I call him names, and that, in my passion, I said he was a flea, a louse, an owl, a bat, a small
works put me in mind of the story that is told of the German monk, who was taking a cata logue of a friend's library, and, meeting with a Hebrew book in it, entered it under the title of, A book that has the beginning where the end should be. This author, in the last of his crudities, has amassed together a heap of quo-wit, a scribbler, and a nibbler. When he has tations, to prove that Horace and Virgil were thus bespoken his reader's pity, he falls into both of them modester men than myself; and that admirable vein of mirth, which I shall if his works were to live as long as mine, they set down at length, it being an exquisite might possibly give posterity a notion, that piece of raillery, and written in great gayety Isaac Bickerstaff was a very conceited old fel- of heart. After this list of names,' viz. flea, low, and as vain a man as either Tully or sir louse, owl, bat, &c. I was surprised to hear Francis Bacon. Had this serious writer fallen him say, that he has hitherto kept his temper upon me only, I could have overlooked it; but pretty well; I wonder how he will write when to see Cicero abused is, I must confess, what he has lost his temper! I suppose, as he is I cannot bear. The censure he passes upon now very angry and unmannerly, he will then this great man runs thus: The itch of being be exceeding courteous and good-humoured."
very abusive is almost inseparable from vain-If I can outlive this raillery, I shall be able to glory. Tully has these two faults in so high a degree, that nothing but his being the best writer in the world can make amends for them.'
• These three last lines were intended to ridicule the practice of modern poets, who make three lines rhyme together, which they call triplets, and the last line, two or more syllables longer than the rest, which they call an
And as for the eminent men of his own
time, either for eloquence or philosophy, there was not one of them which he did not, by writing or speaking favourably of, render more illustrious."
bear any thing.
There is a method of criticism made use of by this author, for I shall take care how I call him a scribbler again which may turn into ridicule any work that was ever written, wherein there is a variety of thoughts. This the reader He,' will observe in the following words: meaning me, is so intent upon being some
thing extraordinary, that he scarce knows what he would be; and is as fruitful in his similes as a brother of his whom I lately took notice of. In the compass of a few lines he compares himself to a fox, to Daniel Burgess, to the Knight of the Red Cross, to an oak with ivy about it, and to a great man with an equipage.' I think myself as much honoured by being joined in this part of his paper with the gentleman whom he here calls my brother, as I am in the beginning of it, by being mentioned with Horace and Virgil.
It is very hard that a man cannot publish ten papers without stealing from himself; but to show you that this is only a knack of writing, and that the author is got into a certain road of criticism, I shall set down his remarks on the works of the gentleman whom he here glances upon, as they stand in his sixth paper, and desire the reader to compare them with the foregoing passage upon mine.
In thirty lines his patron is a river, the primum mobile, a pilot, a victim, the sun, any thing, and nothing. He bestows increase, conceals his source, makes the machine move, teaches to steer, expiates our offences, raises vapours, and looks larger as he sets.'
What poem can be safe from this sort of criticism? I think I was never in my life so much offended, as at a wag whom I once met with in a coffee-house. He had in his hand one of the Miscellanies,' and was reading the following short copy of verses, which, without flattery to the author, is, I think, as beautiful in its kind as any one in the English tongue!
I most heartily pity him; but at the same time must put the Examiner in mind, that notwithstanding he is a critic, he still ought to remember he is a Christian. Poverty was never thought a proper subject for ridicule; and I do not remember that I ever met with a satire upon a beggar.
As for those little retortings of my own expressions, of being dull by design, witty in October, shining, excelling,' and so forth; they are the common cavils of every witling, who has no other method of showing his parts, but by little variations and repetitions of the man's words whom he attacks.
But the truth of it is, the paper before me, not only in this particular, but in its very essence, is like Ovid's Echo,
No. 240.] Saturday, October 21, 1710.
Such pageantry be to the people shown:
Pers. Sat. iii. 30.
Dryden. From my own Apartment, October 20.
I Do not remember that in any of my lucubrations I have touched upon that useful science of physic, notwithstanding I have declared myself more than once a professor of it. I have indeed joined the study of astrology with it, because I never knew a physician recommend himself to the public, who had not a sister art to embellish his knowledge in It has been commonly observed, medicine. in compliment to the ingenious of our profession, that Apollo was god of verse as well as physic; and, in all ages, the most celebrated practitioners of our country were the particular favourites of the muses. Poetry to physic is indeed like the gilding to a pill; it makes the art shine, and covers the severity of the doctor with the agreeableness of the companion.
The very foundation of poetry is good sense, if we may allow Horace to be a judge of the art. Scribendi rectè sapere est et principium et fons. Hor. Ars Poet. 309. Such judgment is the ground of writing well.
And if so, we have reason to believe, that the same man who writes well can prescribe well,