No. 518. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1712.

- miserum est aliorum incumbere famæ,
Ne collapsa ruant subdactis tecta columnis,

Juv. Sat. viii, 76.
'Tis poor relying on another's famo;
For, take the pillars but away, and all
The superstructure must in ruins fall,


This being a day of business with me, I must make the present entertainment, like a treat at an housewarming, out of such presents as have been sent me by my guests. The first dish which I serve up is a letter come fresh to my hand.


'It is with inexpressible sorrow that I hear of the death of good sir Roger, and do heartily condole with you upon so melancholy an occasion. I

I think

you ought to have blackened the edges of a paper which brought us so ill news, and to have had it stamped likewise in black. It is expected of you that you should write his epitaph, and if possible fill his place in the club with as worthy and diverting a member. I question not but you will receive many recommendations from the public of such as will appear candidates for that post.

"Since I am talking of death, and have mentioned an epitaph, I must tell you, Sir, that I have made discovery of a church-yard in which I believe you might spend an afternoon with great pleasure to yourself and to the public. It belongs to the church of Stebon-IIeath, commonly called Stepney. Whether or no it be that the people of that parish have a particular genius for an epitaph, or that there be some poet among them who undertakes that work by the great, I cannot tell ; but there are more remarkable inscriptions in that place than in any other I have met with; and I may say, without vanity, that there is not a gentleman in England better read in tomb-stones than myself, my studies having laid very much in church-yards. I shall beg leave to send you a couple of epitaphs, for a sample of those I have just now mentioned. They are written in a different manner: the first being the diffused and luxuriant, the second in the close contracted style. The first has much of the simple and pathetic; the second is something light, but nervous. The first is thus:

“Here Thomas Sapper lies interr’d. Ah why!
Born in New England, did in London die;
Was the third son of eight, begot upon
His mother Martha by his father John.
Much favour'd by his prince he 'gan to be,
But nipt by death at tl' age of twenty-three.
Fatal to him was that we small-pox name,
By which his mother and two brethren came
Also to breathe their last, nine years before,
And now have left their father to deplore
The loss of all his children, with his wife,
Who was the joy and comfort of his life.”

The second is as follows:

* See Stow's Survey of London, &c., edit. 1755, vol. ii. p. 761, &c.

“Here lies the body of Daniel Saul,

Spittlefields weaver, and that's all.”'

'I will not dismiss you, whilst I am upon this subject, without sending a short epitaph which I once met with, though I cannot possibly recollect the place. The thought of it is serious, and in my opinion the finest that I ever met with upon this occasion. You know, Sir, it is usual, after having told us the name of the person who lies interred, to launch out into his praises. This epitaph takes a quite contrary turn, having been made by the person himself some time before his death.

Hic jacet R. C. in expectatione diei supremi. Qualis erat dies iste indicabit."

" Here lieth R. C. in expectation of the last day. What sort of a man he was that day will discover.'

'I am, Sir, &c.' b The following letter is dated from Cambridge:



[ocr errors]


• Having lately read among your speculations an essay upon physiognomy,' I cannot but think that, if you made a visit to this ancient university, you might receive very considerable lights upon that subject, there being scarce a young fellow in it who does not give certain indications of his particular humour and disposition conformable to

• The exact copy of this epitaph on Thomas Crouch, who died in 1679, is said to be as follows:

* Aperiet Deus tumulos, et educet nos de sepulchris,
Qualis eram, dies isti hæc cum venerit, scies.'

European Magazine, July 1787, p. 9. • See Nos. 86, and 206.

[ocr errors]

the rules of that art. In courts and cities every
body lays a constraint upon his countenance, and
endeavours to look like the rest of the world ; but
the youth of this place having not yet formed them-
selves by conversation, and the knowledge of the
world, give their limbs and features their full play.

have considered human nature in all its
lights, you must be extremely well apprised, that
there is a very close correspondence between the
outward and the inward man; that scarce the least
dawning, the least parturiency towards a 'thought
can be stirring in the mind of man, without produc-
ing a suitable revolution in his exteriors, which will
easily discover itself to an adept in the theory of the
phiz. Hence it is that the intrinsic worth and merit
of a son of Alma Mater is ordinarily calculated from
the cast of his visage, the contour of his person, the
mechanism of his dress, the disposition of his limbs,
the manner of his gait and air, with a number of
circumstances of equal consequence and information.
The practitioners in this art often make use of a gen-
tleman's eyes to give them light into the posture of
his brains; take a handle from his nose, to judge
of the size of his intellects; and interpret the over-
much visibility and pertness of one ear, as an infalli-
ble mark of reprobation, and a sign the owner of so
saucy a member fears neither God nor man.
formity to this scheme, a contracted brow, a lumpish
downcast look, a sober sedate pace, with both hands
dangling quiet and steady in lines exactly parallel
to each lateral pocket of his galligaskins, is logic,
metaphysics, and mathematics, in perfection. So
likewise the belles lettres are typified by a saunter
in the gait, a fall of one wing of the peruke back-
ward, an insertion of one hand in the fob, and a

[ocr errors]

In con

negligent swing of the other, with a pinch of right fine Barcelona between finger and thumb, a due quantity of the same upon the upper lip, and a noddle-case loaden with pulvil. Again, a grave solemn stalking pace is heroic poetry, and politics; an unequal one, a genius for the ode, and the modern ballad; and an open breast, with an audacious display of the Holland shirt, is construed a fatal tendency to the art military.

'I might be much larger upon these hints, but I know whom I write to. If you can graft any speculation upon them, or turn them to the advantage of the persons concerned in them, you will do a work very becoming the British Spectator, and oblige • Your very humble servant,

Tom TWEER. 'd

At Drury-lane, on this present Friday, Oct. 24, will be performed a comedy, called Æsop, with the farce of the Stage Coach. And to-morrow will be presented the tragedy of Macbeth. All the parts to the best advantage, with all the original decorations proper to the play.--Spect. in folio.

No. 519. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 1712.

Inde hominum pecudumque genus, vitæque volantam,
Et quæ marmoreo fert monstra sub æquore pontus.

VIRG. Æn, vi. 728.
Hence men and beasts the breath of life obtain,
And birds of air, and monsters of the main.


Though there is a great deal of pleasure in contemplating the material world, by which I mean that

& The public is assured on good authority, that this last letter was written by Orator Henley, as he was commonly called.

« VorigeDoorgaan »