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HERE are two extremes in the ftile of humour, one of which confifts in the ufe of that little pert phrafeology which I took notice of in my laft paper; the other in the affectation of trained and pompous expreffions, fetched from the learned languages. The first favours too much of the town; the other of the college.
As nothing illuftrates better than example, I fhall here prefent my reader with a letter of pedantic humour, which was written by a young gentleman of the university to his friend, on the fame occafion, and from the fame place, as the lively epiftle published in my last Spectator.
a capacious bowl of china, filled with the choiceft products of both the Indies. I was placed at a quadrangular table, diametrically oppofite to the mace-bearer. The vifage of ⚫ that venerable herald was, according to cuf6 tom, most gloriously illuminated on this joyful occafion. The mayor and aldermen, thofe pillars of our conftitution, began to totter; and if any one at the board could have fo far articulated, as to have demanded intelligibly a reinforcement of liquor, the whole affembly had been by this time extended under the table.
• Dear Chum,
T is now the third watch of the night, the
been prepared upon the caftle of St. Angelo, began to play before its time, being kindled by a flash of lightning. The author has written a poem in the fame kind of ftile, as that I have already exemplified in profe. Every line in it is a riddle, and the reader must be forced to confider it twice or thrice, before he will know that the Cynic's tenement is a tub, and Bacchus his caft-coat a hogfhead, &c.
I fhall fubjoin to the foregoing piece of a letter, the following copy of verfes tranflated from an Italian poet, who was the Cleveland of his age, and had multitudes of admirers. The fubject is an accident that happened under the reign of Pope Leo, when a fire-work, that had
'Twas night, and Heav'n a Cyclops all the
'And Argus now did countless eyes difplay;
• With Bacchus his caft-coat, to feed the fires.
The celebration of this night's folemnity was opened by the obftreperous joy of drum" mers, who, with their parchment thunder, 6 gave a fignal for the appearance of the mob ' under their feveral claffes and denominations. They were quickly joined by the melodiou's clank of marrow-bone and cleaver, while a chorus of bells filled up the concert. 'ramid of stack-faggots cheared the hearts of the populace with the promise of a blaze; the guns had no fooner uttered the prologue, but the heavens were brightened with artifi'cial meteors and ftars of our own making; and all the High-ftreet lighted up from one end to another, with a galaxy of candles. 'We collected a largefs for the multitude, who < tippled elemofynary until they grew exceeding vociferous. There was a paste-board pontiff, 'with a little fwarthy Dæmon at his elbow, 'who by his diabolical whifpers and infinua· tions, tempted his holiness into the fire, and then left him to fhift for himself. The mobile were very sarcastic with their clubs, and " gave the old gentleman several thumps upon his triple head-piece. Tom Tyler's Phiz is fomething damaged by the fall of a rocket, which hath almoft fpoiled the gnomon of his countenance. The mirth of the commons grew fo very outrageous, that it found work for our friend, of the quorum, who, by the < help of his amanuenfis, took down all their names and their crimes, with a defign to produce his manufcript at the next quarterfeffions, &c. &c. &c.
The pile, ftill big with undiscover'd shows, Where the proud tops of Rome's new Ætna The Tufcan pile did laft its freight difclofe,
• Whence giants fally, and invade the skies.
Whilft now the multitude expect the time,
< Proofs of its travail, fighs in flames to Heav'n.
The clouds invelop'd Heav'n from human < fight,
Quench'd ev'ry star, and put out ev'ry light;
Whether the claps of thunderbolts they hear,.
Or struggling clouds in Roman metals pent, But O, my Mufe, the whole adventure tell, 'As ev'ry accident in order fell.
Tall groves of trees the Hadrian_tow'r fur<round,
Fictitious trees with paper garlands crown'd.
In fire, and fhoot their gilded bloffoms out;
Then drops, and on the airy turret falls.
Flash in the clouds, and glitter in the sky.
A feven-fold fhield of spears doth heav'n de-
And back again the blunted weapons fend;
With joy, great Sir, we view'd this pomp-
And orbs above confent with orbs below."
N° 618. WEDNESDAY, Nov: 10.
-Neque enim concludere verfum
• Mr. Spectator,
OÙ having, in your two laft Spectators,
Y given the town a couple of remarkable
letters in different ftiles: I take this opportunity to offer to you fome remarks upon the epiftolatory way of writing in verfe. This is a fpecies of poetry by itself; and has not fo much as been hinted at in any of the arts of poetry, that have even fallen into my hands: neither has it in any age, or in any nation, been fo much cultivated, as the other feveral kinds of poefy. A man of genius may, if he pleases, write letters in verfe upon all < manner of subjects, that are capable of being • embellished with wit and language, and may • render them new and agreeable by giving the proper turn to them. But in fpeaking, at prefent, of epiftolary poetry, I would be understood to mean only fuch writings in this kind, as have been in ufe among the ancients, and have been copied from them by fome ⚫ moderns. Thefe may be reduced into two claffes: in the one I fhall range love-letters, letters of friendship, and letters upon mournful occafions: in the other I fhall place fuch epiftles in verfe, as may properly be called familiar, critical, and moral; to which may be added letters of mirth and humour. Ovid < for the first, and Horace for the latter, are the best originals we have left.
He that is ambitious of fucceeding in the Ovidian way, fhould first examine his heart well, and feel whether his paffions (especially thofe of the gentler kind) play eafy, fince it is not his wit, but the delicacy and tendernefs of his fentiments, that will affect his readers. His verfification likewife fhould he foft, and all his numbers flowing and que
The qualifications requifite for writing epiftles, after the model given us by Horace, are of a quite different nature. He that would excel in this kind must have a good fund of 6 :
ftrong mafculine fenfe: to this there must be 'joined a thorough knowledge of mankind toge-` ther with an infight into the bufinefs, and the prevailing humours of the age, Our author must have his mind well feafoned with the fineft pecepts of morality, and be filled with nice reflexions upon the bright and dark fides ' of human life, he must be a mafter of refined raillery, and understand the delicacies, as well as the abfurdities of converfation. He must have a lively turn of wit, with an eafy and 'concife manner of expreffion: every thing he 'fays, must be in a free and difengaged man· ner. He must be guilty of nothing that betrays the air of a reclufe, but appear a man of the ' world throughout. His illuftrations, his comparifons, and the greateft parts of his images must be drawn from common life. Strokes of fatire and criticism, as well as panegyrick, " judiciously thrown in (and as it were by the by) give a wonderful life and ornament to compofitions of this kind. But let our poet, ' while he writes epiftles, though never so familiar, ftill remember that he writes in verse, and muft for that reafon have a more than ordinary care not to fall into profe, and a vulgar 'diction, excepting where the nature and humour of the things does neceffarily require it. In this point Horace hath been thought by fome criticks to be fometimes careless, as well he feems to have been fenfible himself. as too negligent of his verfification; of which
All I have to add is, that both these man'ners of writing may be made as entertaining, in their way, as any other fpecies of poetry, if undertaken by perfons duly qualified; and the a peculiar manner inft utive. I am, &c.' latter fort may be managed fo as to become in
1 fhall add an obfervation or two to the re
marks of my ingenious correfpondent, and, in the firft place, take notice, that fubjects of the moft fublime nature are often treated in the epiftolary way with advantage, as in the famous epiftle of Horace to Auguftus. The poet furprifes us with his pomp, and feems rather betrayed into his fubject, than to have aimed at it by defign. He appears, like the vifit of a king indeur. In works of this kind, when the dignity cognito, with a mixture of familarity and granof the fubject hurries the poet into defcriptions and fentiments, feemingly unpremeditated, by a himself, and fall back gracefully into the natural fort of inspiration; it is ufual for him to recollect.
ftile of a letter.
I might here mention an epistolary poem, just published by Mr. Eufden on the king's acceffion and beautiful ftrokes of poetry, his reader may to the throne: wherein, among many other noble fee this rule very happily observed.
N° 619. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12.
Exerce imperia, & ramos compefce fluentes.
Have often thought, that if the feveral letters which are written to me under the character of Spectator, and which I have not made ufe of,
were published in a volume, they would not be
fuch and make bookfeller an alder
man by the copy. 1 fhall therefore carefully H copy of verfes full of the falfe fublime, I
lately reader with a
fall here communicate to him an excellent fpecimen of the true: though it hath not been yet published, the judicious reader will readily difcern it to be the work of a mafter: and if he hath read that noble poem on The Profpect of Peace, he will not be at a lofs to guefs at the author.
preferve the original papers in a room fet apart for that purpose, to the end that they may be of fervice to pofterity; but shall at prefent content myself with owning the receipt of feveral letters, lately come to my hands, the authors whereof are impatient for an answer.
Chariffa, whose letter is dated from Cornhill, defires to be eafed in fome fcuples relating to the fkill of aftrologers. Referred to the dumb man for an answer.'
J. C. who propofes a love-cafe, as he calls it, to the love cafuift, is hereby defired to speak of it to the minifter of the parish; it being a cafe of
The poor young lady, whofe letter is dated October 26, who complains of a harsh guardian, and an unkind brother, can only have my good wishes, unless the pleases to be more particular,
N° 620 MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15.
Hic vir, hic eft, tibi quem promitti fæpius audis.
The ROYAL PROGRES S.
For him the fongfters, in unmeafur'd odes, Intent on verfe, difdain'd the rules of art; 'Debas'd Alcides, and dethron'd the gods, In golden chains the kings of India led, 'Or rent the turban from the Sultan's head, One, in old fables, and the Pagan strain, With Nymphs and Tritons, wafts him o'er ⚫ the main ;
The petition of a certain gentleman, whofe name I have forgot, famous for renewing the curls of decayed periwigs, is referred to the cenfor of small wares.'
The remonftrance of T. C. against the profanation of the Sabbath by barbers, fhoe-cleaners, &c. had better be offered to the fociety of reformers.'
A learned and laborious treatife upon the art of fencing, returned to the author.'
To the gentleman of Oxford, who defires me to infert a copy of Latin verfes, which were denied a place in the university books. Answer. Nonum prematur in annum.
To my learned correfpondent who writes against masters gowns, and poke fleeves, with a word in defence of large fcarves. Answer. 'I refolve not to raise animofities amongst the clergy.'
To the lady who writes with rage against one of her own fex, upon the account of party warmth. Answer. Is not the lady the writes ❝ against reckoned handsome ?"
I defire Tom Truelove (who fends me a fonnet upon his mistress, with a defire to print it immediately) to confider, that it is long fince I was in love.
HEN Brunswick first appear'd, each honeft heart,
Another draws fierce Lucifer in arms,
Each future triumph from his dreary cell.
His fhining march defcribe in faithful lays, • Content to paint him, nor prefume to praife; Their charms, if charms they have, the truth ' fupplies, And from the theme unlabour'd beauties rife.
By longing nations for the throne defign'd, And call'd to guard the rights of human-kind; • With fecret grief his god-like foul repines,
And Britain's crown with joyless luftre fhines, While prayers and tears his deftin'd progrefs stay,
And crouds of mourners choak their fov'reign's
Not fo he march'd, when hoftile fquadrons
In fcenes of death, and fir'd his generous blood;
And adverfe legions ftood the shock in vain.
Where every meadow won with toil and blood,
And clothes the marshes in a rich difguife.
And fuch thy gifts, celeftial liberty!"
By Mr. Tickel,
• Mr. Spectator,
HE common topics against the pride of man, which are laboured by florid and declamatory writers, are taken from the basenefs of his original, the imperfections of his nature, or the fhort duration of thofe goods in which he makes his boast. Though it be 'true that we can have nothing in us that ought to raise our vanity, yet a confciousness of our < own merit may be fometimes laudable. The folly therefore lies here; we are apt to pride ourselves in worthlefs or perhaps fhameful things; and on the other hand, count that difgraceful which is our trueft glory.
Hence it is, that the lovers of praise take < wrong measures to attain it. Would a vain man confult his own heart he would find that if others knew his weakneffes as well as he himself doth, he could not have the impudence to expect the public efteem. Pride therefore flows from want of reflexion, and ignorance
of ourselves. Knowledge and humility come N° 622. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19. upon us together.
The proper way to make an estimate of ourfelves, is to confider feriously what it is we value or defpife in others. A man who boasts of the goods of fortune, a gay drefs or a new title, is generally the mark of ridicule. We ought therefore not to admire in ourselves, 'what we are fo ready to laugh at in other men. Much lefs can we with reafon pride ourselves in those things, which at fome time of our life ' we shall certainly despise. And yet, if we will give ourselves the trouble of looking backward and forward on the feveral changes which we have already undergone and hereafter must try, we shall find that the greater degrees our know• ledge and wifdom ferve only to fhew us our " own imperfections.
now fees the little follies and toyings of infants. The pomps, the honours, the policies, and arts of mortal men, will be thought as 'trifling as hobby-horfes, mock-battles, or any other sports that now employ all the cunning, and ftrength, and ambition of ration.l beings from four years old to nine or ten.
As we rife from childhood to youth, we look with contempt on the toys and trifles which our hearts have hitherto been fet upon. When we advance to manhood, we are held wife in proportion to our fhame and regret for the rafhnefs and extravagance of youth. Old age fills us with mortifying reflexions upon a life mifpent in the purfuit of anxious wealth or uncertain honour. Agreeable to this gradation of thought in this life, it may be reafonably supposed, that in a future itate, the wifdom, the experience, and the maxims of old age, will be looked upon by a separate spirit in much the fame light as an ancient man
If the notion of a gradual rife in beings from the meanest to the most high, be not a vain imagination, it is not improbable that an angel looks down upon a man, as a man doth upon 'a creature which approaches nearest to the rational nature. By the fame rule, if I may indulge my fancy in this particular, a fuperior brute looks with a kind of pride on one of an <inferior fpecies. If they could reflect, we might imagine from the geftures of fome of them that they think themfelves the fovereigns of the world, and that all things were made for them. Such a thought would not be more abfurd in brute creatures, than one which men are apt to entertain, namely, that all the stars in the firmament were created only to please their eyes and amuse their imaginations. Mr. Dryden, in his fable of the Cock and the Fox, makes a fpeech for his hero the cock, which is a pretty inftance for this purpose.
"Then turning, faid to Partlet, fee, my dear,
What I would obferve from the whole is this, that we ought to value ourselves upon thofe things only which fuperior beings think valuable, fince that is the only way for us not to fink in our esteem hereafter.'
-Fallentis femita vitæ.
HOR. Ep. 18.1. 1. v. 103.
-A fafe private quiet, which betrays
• Mr. Spectator,
a former fpeculation you have obferved, that true greatnefs doth not confift in that pomp and noife wherein the generality of mankind are apt to place it. You have there taken notice, that virtue in obfcurity often appears ⚫ more illuftrious in the eye of fuperior beings, than all that paffes for grandeur and magnifi'cence among men.
When we look back upon the hiftory of thofe who have born the parts of kings, ftatesmen, or commanders, they appear to us ftripped of thofe out-fide ornaments that dazzled their contemporaries; and we regard their perfons
as great or little, in proportion to the eminence