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I am now arrived at the utmost perfection, and carry pistols about me, which I have always tucked within my girdle, I several months since made my will, settled my estate, and took leave of my friends, looking upon myself as no better than a dead man. Nay, I went so far as to write a long letter to the most intimate acquaintance I have in the world, under the character of a departed person, giving him an account of what brought me to that untimely end, and with the fortitude with which I met it. This letter being too long for the present paper, I intend to print it by itself very suddenly; and at the same time I must confess, I took my hint of it from the behaviour of an old soldier in the civil wars, who was coporal of a company in a regiment of foot, about the same time that I myself was a cadet in the king's army.

This gentleman was taken by the enemy; and the two parties were upon such terms at that time, that we did not treat each other as prisoners of war, but as traitors and rebels. The poor corporal being condemned to die, wrote a letter to his wife when under sentence of execution. He wrote on the Thursday, and was to be executed on the Friday: but considering that the letter would not come to his wife's hands till Saturday, the day after execution, and being at that time more scrupulous than ordinary in speaking exact truth, he formed his letter rather according to the posture of his affairs when she should read it, than as they stood when he sent it: though it must be confessed, there is a certain perplexity in the style of it, which the reader will easily pardon, considering his circumstances.

« DEAR WIFE,

“ HOPING you are in good health, as I am at " this present writing; this is to let you know, that “yesterday, between the hours of eleven and twelve, “ I was hanged, drawn, and quartered. I died very

« penitently, and every body thought my case very “ hard. Remember me kindly to my poor fatherless a children.

Yours till death.

6 W. B."

It so happened, that this honest fellow was relieved by a party of his friends, and had the satisfaction to see all the rebels hanged who had been his enemies. I must not omit a circumstance which exposed him to raillery his whole life after. Before the arrival of the next post, that would have set all things clear, his wife was married to a second husband, who lived in the peaceable possession of her; and the corporal, who was a man of plain understanding, did not care to stir in the matter, as knowing she had the news of his death under his own hand, which she might have produced upon occasion.

No. CLXV. SATURDAY, APRIL 29.

From my own Apartment, April 28. IT has always been my endeavour to distinguish between realities and appearances, and to separate true merit from pretence to it. As it shall ever be my study to make discoveries of this nature in human life and to settle the proper distinctions between the virtues and perfections of mankind, and those false colours and resemblances of them that shine alike in the eyes of the vulgar; so I shall be more particularly careful to search into the various merits and pretences of the learned world. This is the more necessary, because there seems to be a general combination among the pedants to extol one another's labours, and cry up one another's parts; while men of sense, either through that modesty which is natural to them, or the scorn they have for such trifling commendations, enjoy their stock of knowledge like a hidden treasure, with satisfaction and silence. Pedantry in learning, is like hypocrisy in religion, a form of knowledge without the power of it, that attracts the eyes of the common people, breaks out in noise and show, and finds its reward not from any inward pleasure that attends it, but from the praises and approbations which it receives from men.

Of this shallow species there is not a more importunate, empty and conceited animal, than that which is generally known by the name of a critic. This, in the common acceptation of the word, is one that, without entering into the sense and soul of an author, has a few general rules, which, like mechanical instruments, he applies to the works of every writer, and as they quadrate with them, pronounces the author perfect or defective. He is master of a certain set of words, as unity, style, fire, phlegm, easy, natural, turn, sentiment, and the like; which he varies, compounds, divides and throws together, in every part of his discourse, without any thought or meaning. The marks you may know him by are, an elevated eye, and dogmatical brow, a positive voice, and a contempt for every thing that comes out, whether he has read it or not. He dwells altogether in generals. He praises or dispraises in the lump. He shakes his head very frequently at the pedantry of universities, and bursts into laughter when you mention an author that is not known at Will's. He hath forined his judgment upon Homer, Horace and Virgil, not from their own works, but from those of Rapin and Bossu. He knows his own strength so well, that he never dares praise any thing in which he has not a French author for his voucher.

With these extraordinary talents and accomplishments, Sir Timothy 'Tittle puts men in vogue, or condemns them to obscurity, and sits as judge of life and death, upon every author that appears in public. It is impossible to represent the pangs, agonies and conyulsions, which Sir Timothy expresses in every feature of his face, and muscle of his body, upon the reading of a bad poet.

About a week ago I was engaged at a friend's of mine in an agreeable conversation with his wife and daughters, when in the height of our mirth, Sir Timothy, who makes love to my friend's eldest daughter, came in amongst us puffing and blowing as if he had been very much out of breath. He immediately called for a chair, and desired leave to sit down, without any further ceremony. I asked him, where he had been?. whether he was out of order? He only replied, that he was quite spent, and fell a cursing in soliloquy. I could hear him cry, “ A wicked rogue......... An execrable wretch....... Was there ever such a monster!”...... The young ladies upon this began to be affrighted, and asked, whether any one had hurt him? He answered nothing, but still talked to himself. To lay the first scene, says be, in St. James's Park, and the last in Northamptonshire! Is that all, says I? Then I suppose you have been at the rehearsal of a play this morning. Been, says he, I have been at Northampton, in the Park, in a lady's bed-chamber, in a dining-room, every where ; the rogue has led me such a dance....... Though I could scarce forbear laughing at his discourse, I told him I was glad it was no worse, and that he was only metaphorically weary. In short, Sir, says he, the author has not observed a single unity in his whole play; the scene shifts in every dialogue; the villain has hurried me up and down at such a rate, that I am tired off my legs. I could not but observe with some pleasure, that the young lady whom he made love to, conceived a very just aversion towards

him, upon seeing him so very passionate in trifles. And as she had that natural sense which makes her a better judge than a thousand critics, she began to rally him upon this foolish humour. For my part, says she, I never knew a play take that was written up to your rules, as you call them. How Madam! says he is that your opinion? I am sure you have a better taste. It is a pretty kind of magic, says she, the poets have to transport an audience from place to place without the help of a coach and horses; I could travel round the world at such a rate. It is such an entertainment as an enchantress finds when she fancies herself in a wood, or upon a mountain, at a feast, or a solemnity; though at the same time she has never stirred out of her cottage. Your similie, Madam, says Sir Timothy, is by no means just. Pray, says she, let my similies pass without criticism. I must confess, continued she, (for I found she was resolved to exasperate him) I laughed very heartily at the last new comedy which you found so much fault with. But Madam, says he, you ought not to have laughed ; and I defy any one to shew me a single rule that you could laugh by. Ought not to laugh! says she, pray who should hinder me? Madam, says he, there are such people in the world as Rapin, Dacier, and several others, that ought to have spoiled your mirth. I have heard, says the young lady, that your great critics are always very bad poets: I fancy there is as much difference between the works of one and the other, as there is between the carriage of a dancing-master and a gentleman. I must confess, continued she, I would not be troubled with so fine a judgment as yours is; for I find you

feel more vexation in a bad comedy, than I do in a deep trą. gedy. Madam, says Sir Timothy, that is not my fault, they should learn the art of writing. For my part, says the young lady, I should think the greatest art in your writers of comedies is to.please. To

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