Зображення сторінки


was not fitter for any purpose in this life, than after Cæsar sold him to a nobleman (coming five years that spark of virtue is extinguished in him, though old, when he had but one sweat) for three hundred he is able to write twenty verses in an evening? guineas. A guinea a leap and trial, and a shilling Seneca says, after his exalted way of talking, the man.

“ Enos Thomas.” * As the iminortal gods never learnt any virtue, T. though they are endued with all that is good; so there are some men who have so natural a pro

No. 158.) FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 1711. pensity to what they should follow, that they learn it almost as soon as they hear it.” Plants and ve

-Nos hæc novimus esse nihil.--MARTIAL, xiii. 2. getables are cultivated into the production of finer We know these things to be mere trifles. fruits than they would yield without that care; and vet we cannot entertain hopes of producing a ten letters, let them make for me or not.

Out of a firm regard to impartiality, I print these der conscious spirit into acts of virtue, without the same methods as are used to cut timber, or give new

“ MR. SPECTATOR, shape to a piece of stone.

“ I have observed through the whole course of It is wholly to this dreadful practice, that we may your rhapsodies (as you once very well called them) attribute a certain hardiness and ferocity which some you are very industrious to overthrow all that many men, though liberally educated, carry about them your superiors, who have gone before you, have in all their behaviour. To be bred like a gentle made their rule of writing. I am now between fifty man, and punished like a malefactor, must, as we and sixty, and had the honour to be well with the see it does, produce that illiberal sauciness which we first men of taste and gallantry in the joyous reign see sometimes in men of letters.

of Charles the Second. We then bad, I humbly The Spartan boy who suffered the fox (which he presume, as good understandings among us as any had stolen and hid under bis coat) to eat into his now can pretend to. As for yourselt, Mr. Spectator, bowels, I dare say bad not half the wit or petulance you seem with the utmost arrogance to undermine which we learn at great schools among us: but the the very fundamentals upon which we conducted glorious sense of honour, or rather fear of shame, ourselves. It is monstrous to set up for a man of which he demonstrated in that action, was worth all wit, and yet deny that honour in a woman is any the learning in the world without it.

thing else but peevishness, that inclination is "not"* It is, methinks, a very melancholy consideration, the best rule of life, or virtue and vice any thing that a little negligence can spoil us, but great in- else but health and disease. We had no more to do dustry is necessary to improve us; the most excel- but to put a lady into a good humour, and all we lent natures are soon depreciated, but evil tempers could wish followed of course. Then, again, your are long before they are exalted into good habits. Tully, and your discourses of another life, are the To help this by punishments, is the same thing as very bane of mirth and good humour. Pr’ythee do killing a man to cure him of a distemper; when he not value thyself on thy reason at that exorbitant comes to suffer punishment in that one circumstance, rate, and the dignity of human nature; take my he is brought below the existence of a rational crea- word for it, a setting-dog has as good reason as any ture, and is in the state of a brute that moves only man in England. Had you (as by your diurnals by the admonition of stripes. But since this custom one would think you do) set up for being in vogue of educating by the lash is suffered by the gentry of in town, you should have fallen in with the bent of Great Britain, I would prevail only that honest passion and appetite; your songs had then been in beary lads may be dismissed from slavery sooner every pretty mouth in England, and your little disthan they are at present, and not whipped on to tiches had been the maxims of the fair and the witty their fourteenth or fifteenth year, whether they ex- to walk by: but, alas, Sir, what can you hope for pect any progress from them or not. Let the child's from entertaining people with what must needs capacity be forthwith examined, and he sent to some make them like ihemselves worse than they did bemechanic way of life, without respect to his birth, fore they read you ? Had you made it your business if nature designed him for nothing higher: let him to describe Corinna charming, though inconstant; go before be has innocently suffered, and is debased to find something in human nature itself to make into a dereliction of mind for being what it is no Zoilus excuse himself for being ford of her; and to guilt to be, a plain man. I would not here be sup- make every man in good commerce with his own posed to have said, that our learned men of either reflections, you had done something worthy our aprobe who have been whipped at school, are not still plause ; but indeed, Sir, we shall not commend you men of noble and liberal minds; but I am sure they for disapproving us. I have a great deal more to say would bave been much more so than they are, had to you, but I shall sum it all up in this one remark. they never suffered that infamy.

In short, Sir, you do not write like a gentleman. But though there is so little care, as I have ob

I am, Sir, your most humble servant.” served, taken, or observation made of the natural

“ Mr. SPECTATOR, strain of men, it is no small comfort to me, as a Spectator, that there is any right value set upon the

" The other day we were several of us at a teabona indoes of other animals; as appears by the fol table, and according to custom and your own advice lowing advertisement handed about the county of

had the Spectator read among us. It was that paLincoln, and subscribed by Enos Thomas, a person dom that character which you call a woman's man.

per wherein you are pleased to treat with great freewhom I have not the honour to know, but suppose to We gave up all the kinds you have mentioned, exbe profoundly learned in horse-flesh :

“A chesnut horse called Cæsar, bred by James cept those who, you say, are our constant visitants. Darey, Esquire, at Sedbury, near Richmond, in the I was upon the occasion commissioned by the comcounty of York; his grandam was his old royal pany to write to you and tell you, ' that we shall not mare, and got by Blunderbuss, which was got by part with the men we have at present, until the men Helmsley Turk, and he got by Mr. Courant's Arabian, which got Mr. Minshul's Jew's-Trump. Mr. was left out.

* Spect. in folio. Altered in the 8vo. of 1712, when “pot"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of sense think fit to relieve them, and give us their No. 159.] SATURDAY; SEPTEMBER 1, 1711. company in their stead.' You cannot imagine but that we love to hear reason and good sense better

Omnem, quæ nunc obducta tuenti

Mortales hebetat visus tibi, et humida circum than the ribaldry we are at present entertained with,

Caligat, nubem eripiam- VIRG. Æn. i. 604 but we must have company, and among us very in

The cloud, which, intercepting the clear ligbt, considerable is better than none at all. We are Hangs o'er thy eyes, and blunts thy mortal sight, made for the cements of society, and came into the

I will remove world to create relations amongst mankind; and

WHEN I was at Grand Cairo, I picked up several solitude is an unnatural being to us. If the men of oriental manuscripts

, which I bave still by me.good understanding would forget a little of their Among others I met with one entitled, The Visions severity, they would find their account in it; and of Mirza, which I have read over with great pleatheir wisdom would have a pleasure in it, to which sure. I'intend to give it to the public when I have they are now strangers. It is natural among us, no other entertainment for them; and shall begin when men have a true relish of our company and with the first vision, which I have translated word our value, to say every thing with a better grace : for word as follows : and there is without designing it something orna- “On the fifth day of the moon, which according mental in what men utter before women, which is to the custom of my forefathers I always keep holy lost or neglected in conversations of men only. Give after having washed myself, and offered up my more me leave to tell you, Sir, it would do you do greating devotions, I ascended the high bills of Bagdas harm if you yourself came a little more into our in order to pass the rest of the day in meditatios company: it would certainly cure you of a certain and prayer. As I was bere airing myself on the positive and determining manner in which you talk tops of the mountains, I fell into a profound sometimes. In hopes of your amendment,

contemplation on the vanity of human life; and I am, Sir, your gentle reader.”

passing from one thought to another, 'Surely,' said “ MR. SPECTATOR,

, .man is but a shadow, and life a dream.' Whilst “ Your professed regard to the fair sex may, per. I was thus musing, I cast my eyes towards the sumhaps, make them value your admonitions when they mit of a rock that was not far from me, where I will not those of other men. I desire you, Sir, to

discovered one in the habit of a shepherd, with a repeat some lectures upon subjects which you have little musical instrument in his hand. "As I looked now and then in a cursory manner only just touched. upon him he applied it to his lips, and began to play I would have a Spectator wholly writ upon good upon it. The sound of it was exceeding sweet, and breeding; and after you have asserted that time and wrought into a variety of tunes that were inespresplace are to be very much considered in all our ac

sibly melodious, and altogether different from any tions, it will be proper to dwell upon behaviour at thing I had ever heard. They put me in mind of church. On Sunday last, a grave and reverend man those heavenly airs that are played to the departed preached at our church. There was something par- souls of good men upon their first arrival in Paraticular in his accent, but without any manner of dise, to wear out the impressions of the last agonies, affectation. This particularity a set of gigglers and qualify them for the pleasures of that happy thought the most necessary thing to be taken notice place. My heart melted away in secret raptures. of in his whole discourse, and made it an occasion

“had been often told that the rock before me of mirth during the whole time of sermon. You was the haunt of genius; and that several had been should see one of them ready to burst behind a fan, entertained with music who had passed by it, but another pointing to a companion in another seat, never heard that the musician had before made him. and a fourth with an arch composure, as if she would self visible. When he had raised my thoughts by if possible stifle her laughter. There were many

those transporting airs which he played, to taste the gentlemen who looked at them steadfastly, but this pleasures of his conversation, as I looked upon bim they took for ogling and admiring them. There was like one astonished, he beckoned to me, and by the one of the merry ones in particular, that found out waving of his hand directed me to approach the but just then that she had but five fingers, for she place where he sat. I drew near with that reverfell a reckoning the pretty pieces of ivory over and ence which is due to a superior nature; and as my over again, to tind herself employment and not laugh heart was entirely subdued by the captivating straius out. Would it not be expedient, Mr. Spectator, that I had heard, I fell down at his feet and wept. The the churchwarden should hold up his wand on these genius smiled upon me with a lock of compassion occasions, and keep the decency of the place as a and affability that familiarized him to my imaginamagistrate docs the peace in a tumult elsewhere?" tion, and at once dispelled all the fears and appre“ MR. SPECTATOR,

hensions with which I approached him. He lifted

me from the ground, and taking me by the band, “I am a woman's man, and read with a very fine Mirza,' said he, ' I have heard thee in thy solilolady your paper, wherein you fall upon us whom you quies ; follow me.' envy: what do you think I did ? You must know “ He then led me to the highest pinnacle of the she was dressing : I read the Spectator to her, and rock, and placing me on the top of it' Cast thy she laughed at the places where she thought I was eyes eastward,' said he, and tell me what thou touched; I threw away your moral, and taking up seest.'--' I see,' said I, a huge valley, and a proher girdle, cried out,

digious tide of water rolling through it.' The Give me but what this riband bound,

valley that thou seest,' said he is the Vale of Take all the rest the " sun"* goes round.t

Misery, and the tide of water that thou seest is part "She smiled, Sir, and said you were a pedant; of the great tide of eternity.' – What is the reaso say of me what you please, read Seneca and quote son,' said I, that the tide I see rises out of a thick him against me if you think fit,

mist at one end, and again loses itself in a thick T. "I am, Sir, your humble servant.”

mist at the other ?'- What thou seest,' said he, is

that portion of eternity wbich is called time, meaFrom Waller's verses on a lady's girdle. sured out by the sun, and reaching from the begin

• World.

[ocr errors]

ning of the world to its consummation.'-' Examine compassion towards me, bid me quit so uncomfortable Dow,' said he, this sea that is bounded with dark- a prospect. Look no more,' said he, on man in ness at both ends, and tell me what thou discoverest the first stage of his existence, in his setting out for in itI see a bridge,' said I, ‘standing in the eternity; but cast thine eye on that thick mist into midst of the tide.'— The bridge thou seest,' said he, which the tide bears the several generations of mor- is human life; consider it attentively. Upon a tals that fall into it.' I directed my sight as I was more leisurely survey of it, I found that it consisted ordered, and (whether or no the good genius strengthof threescore and ten entire arches, with several ened it with any supernatural force, or dissipated broken arches, which, added to those that were en- part of the mist that was before too thick for the tire, made up the number about a hundred. As I eye to penetrate) I saw the valley opening at the was counting the arches, the genius told me that farther end, and spreading forth into an immense this bridge consisted at first of a thousand arches: ocean, that had a huge rock of adamant running but that a great food swept away the rest, and left through the midst of it, and dividing it into two the bridge in the ruinous condition I now beheld it. equai parts. The clouds still rested on one half of * But tell me farther,” said he, what thou discoverest it, insomuch that I could diecover nothing in it: but on it'- I see multitudes of people passing over it.' the other appeared to me a vast ocean planted with said I, “and a black cloud hanging on each end of innumerable islands, that were covered with fruits it.' As I looked more attentively, I saw several of and flowers, and interwoven with a thousand little the passengers dropping through the bridge into the shining seas that ran among them. I could see great tide that flowed" underneath it: and, upon persons dressed in glorious habits with garlands upon farther examination, perceived there were innumer- their heads, passing among the trees, lying down by able trap-doors that lay concealed in the bridge, the sides of fountains, or resting on beds of flowers; .wbich the passengers no sooner trod upon, but they and could hear a confused harmony of singing.birds, fell tbiough them into the tide, and immediately dis- falling waters, human voices, and inusical instru appeared. These hidden pit-falls were set very thick ments. Gladness grew in me upon the discovery of at the entrance of the bridge, so that throngs of so delightful a scene. I wished for the wings of an people no sooner broke through the cloud, but many eagle, that I might fly away to those happy seats : of them fell into them. They grew thinner towards but the genius told me there was no passage to them, the middle, but multiplied and lay closer together to- except through the gates of death that I saw openwards the end of the arches that were entire, ing every moment upon the bridge. The islands,'

“ There were indeed some persons, but their num- said he, that lie so fresh and green before thee, and ber was very small, that continued a kind of hob- with which the whole face of the ocean appears bling march on the broken arches, but fell through spotted as far as thou canst see, are more in number one after another, being quite tired and spent with than the sands on the sea-shore; there are myriads so long a walk.

of islands behind those which thou here discoverest, * ! passed some time in the contemplation of this reaching farther than thine eye, or even thine imagiwonderial structure, and the great variety of objects nation can extend itself. These are the mansions which it presented. My heart was filled with a deep of good men after death, who, according to the demelancholy to see several dropping unexpectedly in gree and kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are the midst of mirth and jollity, and catchiug at every distributed among these several islands; which thing that stood by them to save themselves. Some abound with pleasures of different kinds and dewere looking up towards beaven in a thoughtful pos- grees, suitable to the relishes and perfections of ture, and in the midst of a speculation stumbled and those who are settled in them; every island is a pafell out of sight. Multitudes were very busy in the radise accommodated to its respective inhabitants. pursuit of bubbles that glittered in their eyes and are not these, O Mirza, habitations worth contenddanced before them; but often when they thought ing for? Does life appear miserable, that gives themselves within the reach of them, their footing thee opportunities of earning such a reward? Is failed, and down they sank. In this confusion of death to be feared, that will convey thee to so happy objects, I observed some with scimitars in their an existence? Think not man was made in vain, hands, and others with urinals, who ran to and fro who has such an eternity reserved for him.' I gazed upon the bridge, thrusting several persons on trap- with inexpressible pleasure on these happy islands. doors which did not seem to lie in their way, and At length, said I, show me now, I beseech thee, the #bich they might have escaped had they not been secrets that lie hid under those dark clouds which cover thus forced upon thein.

the ocean on the other side of the rock of adamant. “The genius seeing me indulge myself on this The genius making me no answer, I turned about melancholy prospect, told me lo had dwelt long to address myself to him a second time, but I found enough upon it. Take thine eyes off the bridge, that he had left me: I then turned again to the said he, and tell me if thou yet seest any thing vision which I had been so long contemplating ; but thoa dost not comprebend.' 'Upor looking up, instead of the rolling tide, the arched bridge, and What mean,' said I, 'those great flights of birds the happy islands, I saw nothing but the long holthat are perpetually bovering about the bridge, and low valley of Bagdat, with oxen, sheep, and camels, settling upon it from time to time? I see vultures, grazing upon the sides of it.”. harpies, ravens, cormorants, and among many other C. feathered creatures several little winged boys, that The End of the First Vision of Mirza. percb in great numbers upon the middle arches.'* These,' said the genius, are . Envy, Avarice, Su- No. 160.] MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 1711. perstition, Despair, Love, with the like cares and

-Cui mens diviníor, atque os passiops thas infest human life.'

Magna sonaturum des nominis hujus honorem. " ( bere fetched a deep sigh. ‘Alas,' said I, * man was made in vain! how is he given away to misery and mortality! tortured in life, and swal.

Whose lofty voice declares the heavenly Name. lowed up in death! 'The genius, being moved with THERE is no character more frequently given to

Hor. I Sat. iv. 43. On bim confer the Poet's sacred name.

Eun, act l. sc. 1.

a writer, than that of being a genius. I have heard conceptions of things and noble sallies of imagina many a little sonnetteer called a fine genius. There tion. At the same time, can any thing be more tiis not an heroic scribbler in the vation, that has not diculous than for men of a sober and moderate his admirers who think him a great genius; and as fancy to imitate this poet's way of writing, in those for your smatterers in tragedy, there is scarce a man monstrous compositions which go among us under among them who is not cried up by one or other for the name of Pindarics ? When I see people copya prodigious genius.

ing works, which, as Horace has represented them, My design in this paper is to consider what is are singular in their kind, and inimitable; wben I properly, a great genius, and to throw some thoughts see men following irregularities by rule, and by the together on so uncommon a subject.

little tricks of art straining after the most unbounded Among great geniuses those few draw the admi- flights of nature, I cannot but apply to them that ration of all the world upon them, and stand up as passage in Terence: the prodigies of mankind, who by the mere strength

Incerta hæc si tu postules of natural parts, and without any assistance of art Ratione certa facere, nihilo plus agas. or learning, have produced works that were the de- Quam si des operam, ut cum ratione insanias. light of their own times, and the wonder of posterity. There appears something nobly wild and the same time, as to think of reducing these uncertain things

You may as well pretend to be mad and in your senses at extravagant in these great natural geniuses, that is to any certainty by reason. infinitely more beautiful than all turn and polishing of what the French call a bel esprit, by which they with Pindar, is like a sister among the Camisars*

In short, a modern Pindaric writer, compared would express a genius refined by conversation, re compared with Virgil's Sibyl: there is the distor, flection, and the reading of the most polite authors. tion, grimace, and outward' figure, but nothing of The greatest genius which runs through the arts and that divine impulse which raises the mind above sciences, takes a kind of tincture from them, and itself, and makes the sounds more than human. falls unavoidably into imitation.

There is another kind of great genuises which I Many of these great natural geniuses that were shall place in a second class, not as I think them never disciplined and broken by rules of art, are to inferior to the first, but only for distinction's sake, as be found among the ancients, and in particular among those of the raore eastern parts of the world. they are of a different kind. The second class of Homer has innumerable flights that Virgil was not great genuises are those that have formed themseives able to reach, and in the Old Testament we find se- tural talents to the corrections and restraints of art.

by rules, and submitted the greatness of their naveral passages more elevated and sublime than any Such among the Greeks were Plato and Aristotle; in Homer. At the same time that we allow a greater and more daring genius to the ancients, we among the Romans, Virgil and Tully; among the must own that the greatest of them very much failed English, Milton and Sir Francis Bacon.

The genius in both these classes of authors may in, or, if you will, that they were much above, be equally great, but shows itself after a different the nicety and correctness of the moderns. In their similitudes and allusions, provided there was a like manner. In the first, it is like a rich soil in a happy ness, they did not much trouble themselves about climate, that produces a whole wilderness of noble the decency of the comparison : thus Solomon re without any certain order or regularity. In the other

plants rising in a thousand beautiful landscapes sembles the nose of his beloved to the tower of Le- it is the same rich soil under the same happy clibanon, which looketh towards Damascus; as the coming of a thief in the night, is a similitude

of the mate, that has been laid out in walks and parterres, same kind in the New Testament. It would be and cut into shape and beauty by the skill of the

gardener. endless to make collections of this nature; Homer illustrates one of his heroes encompassed with the

The great danger in the latter kind of genuises is, enemy, by an ass in a field of corn that has his sides lest they cramp their own abilities too much by imi

tation, and form themselves altogether upon models, belaboured by all the boys of the village without without giving the full play to their own natural stirring a foot for it; and another of them tossing parts. Ån imitation of the best authors is not to to and fro in his bed and burning with resentment, compare with a good original; and I believe we to a piece o. flesh broiled on the coals. This ticular failure in the ancients opens a large field of may observe that very few writers make an extraorraillery to the little wits, who can laugh at an inde- dinary figure in the world, who have not something cency, but not relish the sublime in these sorts of that is peculiar to them, and entirely their own.

in their way of thinking or expressing themselves, writing. The present emperor of Persia, conform

It is odd, to consider what great geniuses are ably to this eastern way of thinking, amidst a great

sometimes thrown away upon trifles. many pompous titles, denominates himself the sun of glory," and "the nutmeg of delight.” In author, “who used to divert himself in his solitudes

“ I once saw a shepherd,” says a famous Italian short, to cut off all cavilling against the ancients, with tossing up eggs and catching them again withand particularly those of the warmer climates, who had most heat and life in theirimaginations, we are to

out breaking them: in which he had arrived to so consider that the rule of observing what the French great a degree of perfection, that he would keep up call the bienséance in an allusion, has been found four at a time for several minutes together playing out of later years, and in the colder regions of the

• More commonly known by the name of the French Proworld; where we could make some amends for our phets, a set of enthusiasts originally of the Cevennes in France, want of force and spirit, by a scrupulous nicety and who came into England about the year 1707, and had at first exactness in our compositions. Our countryman, and progress of this strange sect may be gained from two Shakspeare, was a remarkable instance of this first pamphlets; one in French, entitled. * Le Theatre sacre de kind of great geniuses.

Cevennes, ou Recit de diverses Merveilles nouvellement I cannot quit this head without observing that perees dans cette Partie de la Province de Languedoc. Lond.

1707, 12mo." The other in English, viz. " A Brand plucked Pindar was a great genius of the first class, who was

from the Burning: exemplified in the unparalleled case of hurried on by a natural fire and impetuosity to vast Samuel Keimer &c. London, 1718, 12mo **

[ocr errors]

considerable number of votaries. A fuller account of the rise

ja the air, and falling into his hands by turns. ' I myself, I could have looked longer on this sport, think,” says the author, “I never saw a greater had I not observed a country girl, who was posted severity than in this man's face; for by bis wonder on an eminence at some distance from me, and was fal perseverance and application, he had contracted making so many odd grimaces, and writhing and the seriousness and gravity of a privy-counsellor ; | distorting her whole body in so strange a manner, and I could not but reflect with myself

, that the as made me very desirous to know the meaning of same assiduity and attention, had they been rightly it. Upon my coming up to her, I found that she applied, "might'* have made him a greater mathe- was overlooking a ring of wrestlers, and that her matician than Archimedes."

sweetheart, a person of small stature, was contending with a huge brawny fellow, who twirled him about,

and shook the little man so violently, that by a No. 161.) TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 1711. secret sympathy of hearts it produced all those agiIpse dies agitat festos, fususque per herbam,

tations in the person of his mistress, who, I dare Igas ubi in medio et socii cratera coronant,

say, like Celia in Shakspeare on the same occasion, Te libans, Lenxe, vocat; pecorisque magistris Velocis jacali certamina ponit in ulmo,

could have wished herself 'invisible to catch the Corporaque agresta nudat prædura palæsira.

strong fellow by the leg.'* The 'squire of the parish Hanc oli m seteres vitam coluere Sabini,

treats the whole company every year with a hogshead Hanc Remus et frater. Sic fortis Etruria crevit, of ale; and proposes a beaver hat as a recompense Scilicet et rerum facta est pulcherrima Roma.

Virg. Georg. ii. 527.

to him who gives most falls. This has raised such Himself, in rustic pomp, on holydays,

a spirit of emulation in the youth of the place, that To rural pow're a just oblation pays :.

some of them have rendered themselves very expert And on the green his careless limbs displays :

at this exercise ! and I was often surprised to see a The hearth is in the midst : the herdsmen, round The cheerful fire. provoke his health in goblets crown'd.

fellow's heels fly up, by a trip which was given him He calls on Bacchus, and propounds the prize,

80 smartly that I could scarcely discern it. I found The groom his fellow-groom at buts defies,

that the old wrestlers seldom entered the ring until And bends his bow, and levels with his eyes :

some one was grown formidable by having thrown Or, stript for wrestling, smears his limbs with oil, And watches with a trip his foe to foil

two or three of his opponents; but kept them. Such was the life the frugal Sabines led ;

selves as it were a reserved body to defend the hat, So Remus and his brother king were bred :

which is always hung up by the person who gets it From whom th' austere Etrurian virtue rose; And this rude life our homely fathers chose :

in one of the most conspicuous parts of the house, Old Rome from such a race derived her birth,

and looked upon by the whole family as redounding The seat of empire, and the conquer'd earth.—DaYDEN. much more to their honor than a coat of arms. I am glad that my late going into the country has There was a fellow who was so busy in regulating increased the number of my correspondents, one of all the ceremonies, and seemed to carry such an whom sends me the following letter:

air of importance in his looks, that I could not help “Sir,

inquiring who he was, and was immediately an“ Though you are pleased to retire from us so

swered, “That he did not value himself upon nosoon into the city, I hope you will not think the thing, for that he and his ancestors had won so affairs of the country altogether unworthy of your dasher's shop. However, this thirst of glory in

many hats, that his parlour looked like a haber. inspection for the future. I had the honor of seeing them all was the reason that no one man stood your short face at Sir Roger de Coverley's, and lord of the ring' for above three falls while I was have ever since thought your person and writings both extraordinary. Had you stayed there a few

among them. days longer, you would have seen a country wake,

The young maids who were not lookers-on at which you know in most parts of England is the these exercises, were themselves engaged in some ete-feast of the dedication of our churches. I was



upon my asking a farmer's son of last week at one of these assemblies which was held my own parish what he was gazing at with so in a neighbouring parish ; where I found their

much attention, he told me, “That he was seeing

green covered with a promiscuous multitude of all ages Betty Welch,' whom I knew to be his sweetheart, and both sexes, who esteem one another more or less pitch a bar. the following part of the year, according, as they the women they were no cowards, and that the

“ In short, I found the men endeavoured to shew distinguish themselves at this time. The whole company were in their holiday clothes, and divided whole company strived to recommend themselves into several parties, all of them endeavouring to

to each other, by making it appear that they were shew themselves in those exercises wherein they ex- all in a perfect state of health, and fit to undergo celled, and to gain the approbation of the lookers-on. any fatigues of bodily labour. " I found a ring of cudgel players, who were break

“ Your judgment upon this method of love and ing one another's heads in order to make some im- gallantry, as it is at present practised among us in pression on their mistresses' hearts. I observed a lusty the country, will very much oblige, Sir, your's,” &c. young fellow, who had the misfortune of a broken If I would here put on the scholar and politician, pate; but what considerably added to the anguish I might informi my readers how these bodily exerof the wound, was bis overhearing an old man who cises or games were formerly encouraged in all the shook his head, and said, “That he questioned now commonwealths of Greece ; from whence the Roif Black Kate would marry him these three years.' mansafterward borrowed their pentathlum, which was I was diverted from a farther observation of these composed of running, wrestling, leaping, throwing, combatants by a foot-ball match, which was on the and boxing, though the prizes were generally noother side of the green : where Tom Short behaved thing but a crown of cypress or parsley, hats not himself so well, that most people seemed to agree, being in fashion in those days: that there is an old 'it was impossible that he should remain a bachelor statute, which obliges every man in England, until the next wake. Having played many a match having such an estate, to keep and exercise the Woula, Spect. in folio.

" As You Like it," act. i. sc. 6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »