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ordinary persons at once, or find out posts suitable to
No. 130.] TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1709-10. their ambition and abilities. For this reason, they
were all as miserable in their deaths, as they were famous in their lives, and occasioned not only the ruin of each other, but also that of the commonwealth.
It is, therefore, a particular happiness to a people, when the men of superior genius and character are so justly disposed in the high places of honour, that each of them moves in a sphere which is proper to him, and requires those particular qualities in which he excels.
If I see a general commanding the forces of his country, whose victories are not to be paralleled in story, and who is as famous for his negotiations as his victories; and, at the same time, see the management of a nation's treasury in the hands of one, who has always distinguished himself by a generous contempt of his own private wealth, and an exact fre gality of that which belongs to the public; I cannot but think a people under such an administration may promise themselves conquests abroad, and plenty at home. If I were to wish for a proper person to preside over the public councils, it should certainly be one as much admired for his universal knowledge of men and things, as for his eloquence, courage, and integrity, in the exerting of such extraordinary
I FIND Some of the most polite Latin authors, who wrote at a time when Rome was in its glory, speak with a certain noble vanity of the brightness and splendour of the age in which they lived. Pliny often compliments his emperor Trajan upon this head; and when he would animate him to any thing great, or dissuade him from any thing that was imimproper, he insinuates that it is befitting and unbe. coming the claritas et nitor seculi, that period of time which was made illustrious by his reign. When we cast our eyes back on the history of mankind, and trace them through their several successions to their first original, we sometimes see them breaking out in great and memorable actions, and towering up to the utmost heights of virtue and knowledge; when, perhaps, if we carry our observations to a little distance, we see them sunk into sloth and ignorance, and al-talents. together lost in darkness and obscurity. Sometimes Who is not pleased to see a person in the highest the whole species is asleep for two or three genera-station in the law, who was the most eminent in his tions, and then again awakens into action; flourishes profession, and the most accomplished orator at the in heroes, philosophers, and poets; who do honour bar? Or at the head of the fleet à commander, under to human nature, and leave such tracks of glory be- whose conduct the common enemy received such a hind them, as distinguish the years, in which they blow, as he has never been able to recover? acted their part, from the ordinary course of time. Were we to form to ourselves the idea of one Methinks a man cannot, without a secret satisfac-whom we should think proper to govern a distast tion, consider the glory of the present age, which kingdom, consisting chiefly of those who differ from will shine as bright as any other in the history of us in religion, and are influenced by foreign polities; mankind. It is still big with great events, and has would it not be such a one as had signalized himself already produced changes and revolutions, which by a uniform and unshaken zeal for the Protestant will be as much admired by postersty, as any that interest, and by his dexterity in defeating the skill have happened in the days of our fathers, or in the and artifice of its enemies? In short, if we find a old times before them.' We have seen kingdoms great man popular for his honesty and humanity, as divided and united, monarchs erected and deposed, well as famed for his learning and great skill in all nations transferred from one sovereign to another; the languages of Europe; or a person eminent for conquerors raised to such a greatness, as has given a those qualifications which make men shine in public terror to Europe, and thrown down by such a fall as assemblies, or for that steadiness, constancy, and has moved their pity. good sense, which carry a man to the desired point through all the opposition of tumult and prejudice, we have the happiness to behold them in all posts suitable to their characters.
But it is still a more pleasing view to an Englishman, to see his own country give the chief influence to so illustrious an age, and stand in the strongest point of light amidst the diffused glory that sur rounds it.
Such a constellation of great persons, if I may so speak, while they shine out in their own distinct caIf we begin with learned men, we may observe, to pacities, reflect a lustre upon each other, but in a the honour of our country, that those who make the more particular manner on their sovereign, who has greatest figure in most arts and sciences, are univer-placed them in those proper situations, by which sally allowed to be of the British nation; and, what their virtues become so beneficial to all her subjects. is more remarkable, that men of the greatest learn- It is the anniversary of the birth-day of this glorious ing, are among the men of the greatest quality. Queen, which naturally led me into this field of conA nation may indeed abound with persons of such templation, and, instead of joining in the public exuncommon parts and worth, as may make them ultations that are made on such occasions, to enterrather a misfortune than a blessing to the public. tain my thoughts with the more serious pleasure of Those, who singly might have been of infinite ad-ruminating upon the glories of her reign. vantage to the age they live in, may, by rising up While I beheld her surrounded with triumphs, and together in the same crisis of time, and by interfer-adorned with all the prosperity and success which ing in their pursuits of honour, rather interupt, than heaven ever shed on a mortal, and still considering promote the service of their country. Of this we herself as such; though the person appears to me have a famous instance in the republic of Rome, exceeding great, that has these just honours paid to when Cæsar, Pompey, Cato, Cicero, and Brutus, en her, yet I must confess, she appears much greater deavoured to recommend themselves at the same in that she receives them with such a glorious humitime to the admiration of their contemporaries.lity, and shows she has no further regard for them, Mankind was not able to provide for so many extra than as they arise from these great events, which
have made her subjects happy. For my own part, I must confess, when I see private virtues in so high a degree of perfection, I am not astonished at any extraordinary success that attends them, but look upon publie triumphs as the natural consequences of religious retirements.
Finding some persons have mistaken Pasquin, who was mentioned in my last, for one who has been pilloried at Rome, I must here advertise them, that it is only a maimed statue so called, on which the private scandal of that city is generally pasted. Marforio is a person of the same quality, who is usually made to answer whatever is published by the other; the wits of that place, like too many of our own country, taking pleasure in setting innocent people together by the ears. The mentioning of this person, who is a great wit, and a great cripple, put me in mind of Mr. Estcourt, who is under the same circumstances. He was formerly my apothecary, and being at present disabled by the gout and stone, I must recommend him to the public on Thursday next; that admirable play of Ben Jonson's, called The Silent Woman, being appointed to be acted for his benefit. It would be indecent for me to appear twice in a season at these ludicrous diversions; but as I always give my man and my maid one day in the year, I shall allow them this, and am promised by Mr. Estcourt, my ingenious apothecary, that they shall have a place kept for them in the first row of the middle gallery.
gentlemen, as he said, had so vitiated the nation's
mults and fermentations which these mixtures raise
The counsel for the brewers had a face so extremely inflamed, and illuminated with carbuncles,
No. 131.] THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 1709-10. that I did not wonder to see him an advocate for
Scelus est jugulare Falernum,
Sheer-lane, February 8.
Incultisque rubens pendebit sentibus uva.
Virg. Ecl. iv. 29. The ripening grape shall hang on every thorn, seems to have hinted at this art, which can turn a plantation of northern hedges into a vineyard. These adepts are known among one another by the name of wine-brewers; and, I am afraid, do great injury, not only to her Majesty's customs, but to the bodies of many of her good subjects.
Having received sundry complaints against these invisible workmen, I ordered the proper officer of my court to ferret them out of their respective caves, and bring them before me, which was yesterday executed accordingly.
The person who appeared against them was a merchant, who had by him a great magazine of wines, that he had laid in before the war; but these
these sophistications. His rhetoric was likewise such as I should have expected from the common draught, which I found he often drank to a great excess. Indeed, I was so surprised at his figure and parts, that I ordered him to give me a taste of his usual liquor, which I had no sooner drank, but I found a pimple rising in my forehead; and felt such sensible decay in my understanding, that I would not proceed in the trial until the fume of it was entirely dissipated.
This notable advocate had little to say in the defence of his clients, but that they were under a necessity of making claret, if they would keep open their doors; it being the nature of mankind to love every thing that is prohibited. He further pretended to reason, that it might be as profitable to the nation to make French wine as French hats; and concluded with the great advantage that this practice had already brought to part of the kingdom. Upon which he informed the court, that the lands in Herefordshire were raised two years purchase since the beginning of the war.
When I had sent out my summons to these people, I gave, at the same time, orders to each of them to bring the several ingredients he made use of in distinct phials, which they had done accordingly, and ranged them into two rows on each side of the court. The workmen were drawn up in ranks behind them. The merchant informed me, that in one row of phials were the several colours they dealt in, and in the other, the tastes.' He then showed me, on the right hand, one who went by the name of Tom Tintoret, who, as he told me, was the greatest master in his colouring of any vintner in London. To give me a proof of his art, he took a glass of fair water; and, by the infusion of three drops out of
For my own part, I have resolved hereafter to be very careful in my liquors; and have agreed with a friend of mine in the army, upon their next march, to secure me two hogsheads of the best stomach-wine in the cellars of Versailles, for the good of my lucubrations, and the comfort of my old age.
one of his phials, converted it into a most beautiful whole practice, I dismissed them for that time; with pale Burgundy. Two more of the same kind a particular request that they would not poison any heightened it into a perfect Languedoc from thence of my friends and acquaintance, and take to some it passed into a florid Hermitage, and after having honest livelihood without loss of time gone through two or three other changes, by the addition of a single drop, ended in a very deep Pontac. This ingenious virtuoso, seeing me very much surprised at his art, told me, that he had not an opportunity of showing it in perfection, having only made use of water for the ground-work of his colouring: but that, if I were to see an operation upon liquors of stronger bodies, the art would appear to a much greater advantage. He added, that he doubted not but it would please my curiosity to see the cider of one apple take only a vermillion, when another, with a less quantity of the same infusion, would rise into a dark purple, according to the different texture of parts in the liquor. He informed me also, that he could hit the different shades and degrees of red, as they appear in the pink and the rose, the clove and the carnation, as he had Rhenish or Moselle, Perry or White Port, to work in.
I was so satisfied with the ingenuity of this virtuoso, that, after having advised him to quit so dis honest a profession, I promised him, in consideration of his great genius, to recommend him as a partner to a friend of mine, who has heaped up great riches, and is a scarlet-dyer.
No. 132.] SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1709-10.
creased my eagerness for conversation, in proportion
AFTER having applied my mind with more than ordinary attention to my studies, it is my usual custom to relax and unbend it in the conversation of such as are rather easy than shining companions. This I find particularly necessary for me before I retire to rest, in order to draw my slumbers upon me The artists on my other hand were ordered, in the by degrees, and fall asleep insensibly. This is the second place, to make some experiments of their particular use I make of a set of heavy honest men, skill before me: upon which the famous Harry Sip- with whom I have passed many hours with much inpet stepped out, and asked me, what I would be dolence, though not with great pleasure. Their pleased to drink?' At the same time he filled out conversation is a kind of preparative for sleep: it three or four white liquors in a glass, and told me, takes the mind down from its abstractions, leads 'that it should be what I pleased to call for;' add it into the familiar traces of thought, and lulls it into ing very learnedly, that the liquor before him was that state of tranquillity, which is the condition of a as the naked substance, or first matter of his com-thinking man, when he is but half awake. After pound, to which he and his friend, who stood over this, my reader will not be surprised to hear the acagainst him, could give what accidents or form they count which I am about to give of a club of my own pleased.' Finding him so great a philosopher, I de-contemporaries, among whom I pass two or three sired he would convey into it the qualities and es- hours every evening. This I look upon as taking my sence of right Bourdeaux. Coming, coming, sir,' first nap before I go to bed. The truth of it is, I said he with the air of a drawer; and after having should think myself unjust to posterity, as well as to cast his eye on the several tastes and flavours that the society at the Trumpet, of which I am a member, stood before him, he took up a little cruet that was did not I in some part of my writings give an acfilled with a kind of inky juice, and pouring some of count of the persons among whom I have passed it out into the glass of white wine, presented it to me, almost a sixth part of my time for these last forty and told me, 'this was the wine over which most of the years. Our club consisted originally of fifteen; business of the last term had been despatched.' I must but, partly by the severity of the law in arbitrary confess, I looked upon that sooty drug, which he held up times, and partly by the natural effects of old age, in his cruet, as the quintessence of English Bour- we are at present reduced to a third part of that deaux; and therefore desired him to give me a glass number; in which, however, we have this consolaof it by itself, which he did with great unwillingness. tion, that the best company is said to consist of five My cat at that time sat by me upon the elbow of my persons. I must confess, besides the afore-menchair; and as I did not care for making the experiment upon myself, I reached it to her to sip of it, which had like to have cost her her life; for, notwithstanding it flung her at first into freakish tricks, quite contrary to her usual gravity, in less than a quarter of an hour she fell into convulsions; and, had it not been a creature more tenacious of life than any other, would certainly have died under the operation.
I was so incensed by the tortures of my innocent domestic, and the unworthy dealings of these men, that I told them, if each of them had as many lives as the injured creature before them, they deserved to forfeit them for the pernicious arts which they used for their profit. I therefore bid them look upon themselves as no better than as a kind of assassins and murderers within the law. However, since they had dealt so clearly with me, and laid before me their
tioned benefit which I meet with in the conversation of this select society, I am not the less pleased with the company, in that I find myself the greatest wit among them, and am heard as their oracle in all points of learning and difficulty.
Sir Jeoffery Notch, who is the oldest of the club, has been in possession of the right-hand chair, time out of mind, and is the only man among us that has the liberty of stirring the fire. This, our foreman, is a gentleman of an ancient family, that came to a great estate some years before he had discretion, and run it out in hounds, horses, and cock-fighting; for which reason he looks upon himself as an honest, worthy gentleman, who has had misfortunes in the world, and calls every thriving man a pitiful upstart,
Major Matchlock is the next senior, who served in the last civil wars, and has all the battles by heart. He does not think any action in Europe worth talk
ing of since the fight of Marston-Moor; and every night tells us of his having been knocked off his horse at the rising of the London apprentices; for which he is in great esteem among us.
about ten of the clock, when my maid came with a lantern to light me home. I could not but reflect with myself, as I was going out, upon the talkative humour of old men, and the little figure which that part of life makes in one who cannot employ his natural propensity in discourses which would make him venerable. I must own, it makes me very melancholy in company, when I hear a young man begin a story; and have often observed, that one of a quarter of an hour long in a man of he tells it, until it grows into a long Canterbury tale of two hours by that time he is three-score.
Honest old Dick Reptile is the third of our society. He is a good-natured indolent man, who speaks little himself, but laughs at our jokes; and brings his young nephew along with him, a youth of eighteen years old, to show him good company, and give him a taste of the world. This young fellow sits generally silent; but whenever he opens his mouth, five-and-twenty, gathers circumstances every time or laughs at any thing that passes, he is constantly told by his uncle, after a jocular manner, Ay, ay, Jack, you young men think us fools; but we old men know you are.'
The greatest wit of our company, next to myself, is a bencher of the neighbouring inn, who in his youth frequented the ordinaries about Charing-cross, and pretends to have been intimate with Jack Ogle. He has about ten distichs of Hudibras without book, and never leaves the club until he has applied them all. If any modern wit be mentioned, or any town frolic spoken of, he shakes his head at the dulness of the present age, and tells us a story of Jack Ogle.
For my own part, I am esteemed among them, because they see I am something respected by others; though at the same time I understand by their behaviour, that I am considered by them as a man of a great deal of learning, but no knowledge of the world; insomuch, that the major sometimes, in the height of his military pride calls me the Philosopher: and Sir Jeoffery, no longer ago than last night, upon a dispute what day of the month it was then in Holland, pulled his pipe out of his mouth, and cried, What does the scholar say to it?
Our club meets precisely at six o'clock in the evening, but I did not come last night until half an hour after seven, by which means I escaped the battle of Naseby, which the major usually begins at about three quarters after six: I found also that my good friend the bencher had already spent three
The only way of avoiding such a trifling and frivolous old age is, to lay up in our way to it such stores of knowledge and observation, as may make us useful and agreeable in our declining years. The mind of man in a long life will become a magazine of wisdom or folly, and will consequently discharge itself in something impertinent or improving. For which reason, as there is nothing more ridiculous than an old trifling story-teller, so there is nothing more venerable, than one who has turned his experience to the entertainment and advantage of mankind.
In short, we, who are in the last stage of life, and are apt to indulge ourselves in talk, ought to consider, if what we speak be worth being heard, and endeavour to make our discourse like that of Nestor, which Homer compares to the flowing of honey for its sweetness.
I am afraid I shall be thought guilty of this excess I am speaking of, when I cannot conclude without observing, that Milton certainly thought of this passage in Homer, when in his description of an eloquent spirit he says,
'His tongue dropped manna.'
of his distichs; and only waited an opportunity to No. 133.] TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 1709, hear a sermon spoken of, that he might introduce the couplet where a stick' rhymes to ecclesiastic.' At my entrance into the room, they were naming a red petticoat and a cloak, by which I found that the bencher had been diverting them with a story of Jack Ogle.
I had no sooner taken my seat, but Sir Jeoffery, to show his good-will towards me, gave me a pipe of his own tobacco, and stirred up the fire. I look upon it as a point of morality, to be obliged by those who endeavour to oblige me; and therefore, in requital for his kindness, and to set the conversation a-going, 1 took the best occasion I could to put him upon telling us the story of old Gantlett, which he always does with very particular concern. He traced up his descent on both sides for several generations, describing his diet and manner of life, with his several battles, and particularly that in which he fell. This Gantlett was a game cock, upon whose head the knight, in his youth, had won five hundred pounds, and lost two thousand. This naturally set the major upon the account of Edge-hill fight, and ended in a duel of Jack Ogle's.
Old Reptile was extremely attentive to all that was said, though it was the same he had heard every night for these twenty years, and, upon all occasions, winked upon his nephew to mind what passed.
This may suffice to give the world a taste of our innocent conversation which we spun out until
Dum tacent, clamant, Their silence pleads aloud,
Sheer-lane, February 13, SILENCE is sometimes more significant and sub lime, than the most noble and expressive eloquence, and is on many occasions the indication of a great mind. Several authors have treated of silence, as a part of duty and discretion; but none of them have considered it in this light. Homer compares the noise and clamour of the Trojans advancing towards the enemy, to the cackling of cranes, when they invade an army of pigmies. On the contrary, he makes his countrymen and favourites, the Greeks, move forward in a regular and determined march, and in the depth of silence. I find in the accounts which are given us of some of the more eastern nations, where the inhabitants are disposed by their constitutions and climates to higher strains of thought, and more elevated raptures than what we feel in the northern regions of the world, that silence is a religious exercise among them. For when their public devotions are in the greatest fervour, and their hearts lifted up as high as words can raise them, there are certain suspensions of sound and motion for a time, in which the mind is left to itself, and supposed to swell with such secret conceptions as
unjust reproach, and overlook it with a generous, or, if possible, with an entire neglect of it, is one of the most heroic acts of a great mind: and, I must confess, when I reflect upon the behaviour of some of the greatest men in antiquity, I do not so much admire them, that they deserved the praise of the whole age they lived in, as because they contemned the envy and detraction of it.
All that is incumbent on a man of worth, who suffers under so ill a treatment, is to lie by for some time in silence and obscurity, until the prejudice of the times be over, and his reputation cleared. I have often read, with a great deal of pleasure, a legacy of the famous lord Bacon, one of the greatest geniuses that our own or any country has produced. After having bequeathed his soul, body, and estate, in the usual form, he adds, My name and memory I leave to foreign nations, and to my countrymen after some time be passed over.'
are too big for utterance. I have myself been its majesty, and one, whose silence, as well as his wonderfully delighted with a master-piece of music, person, was altogether divine. When one considers when in the very tumult and ferment of their har- this subject only in its sublimity, this great instance mony, all the voices and instruments have stopped could not but occur to me; and since I only make short on a sudden; and, after a little pause, re-use of it to shew the highest example of it, I hope covered themselves again, as it were, and renewed I do not offend in it. To forbear replying to an the concert in all its parts. This short interval of silence has had more music in it, than any the same space of time before or after it. There are two instances of silence in the two greatest poets that ever wrote, which have something in them as sublime as any of the speeches in their whole works. The first is that of Ajax, in the eleventh book of the Odyssey. Ulysses, who had been the rival of this great man in his life, as well as the occasion of his death, upon meeting his shade in the region of departed heroes, makes his submission to him with a humility next to adoration, which the other passes over with dumb, sullen majesty, and such a sullen silence, as, to use the words of Longinus, had more greatness in it than any thing he could have spoken. The next instance I shall mention is in Virgil, where the poet doubtless imitates this silence of Ajax in that of Dido; though I do not know that any of his commentators have taken notice of it. Æneas, finding among the shades of despairing lovers the ghost of her who had lately died for him, with the wound still fresh upon her, addresses himself to her with expanded arms, floods of tears, and the most passionate professions of his own innocence, as to what had happened; all which Dido receives with the dignity and disdain of a resenting lover, and an injured queen; and is so far from vouchsafing him an answer, that she does not give him a single look. The poet represents her as turning away her face from him while he spoke to her; and, after having kept her eyes some time upon the ground, as one that heard and contemned his protestations, flying from him into the grove of myrtle, and into the arms of another, whose fidelity had deserved her love.
I have often thought our writers of tragedy have been very defective in this particular, and that they might have given great beauty to their works, by certain stops and pauses in the representations of such passions as it is not in the power of language to express. There is something like this in the last act of Venice Preserved,' where Pierre is brought to an infamous execution, and begs of his friend, as a reparation for past injuries, and the only favour he could do him, to rescue him from the ignominy of the wheel by stabbing him. As he is going to make this dreadful request, he is not able to communicate it; but withdraws his face from his friend's ear, and bursts into tears. The melancholy silence that follows hereupon, and continues until he has recovered himself enough to reveal his mind to his friend, raises in the spectators a grief that is inexpressible, and an idea of such a complicated distress in the actor, as words cannot utter. It would look as ridiculous to many readers, to give rules and directions for proper silences, as for penning a whisper;' but it is certain, that in the extremity of most passions, particularly surprise, admiration, astonishment, nay, rage itself, there is nothing more graceful than to see the play stand still for a few moments, and the audience fixed in an agreeable suspense, during the silence of a skilful actor.
But silence never shows itself to so great an advantage, as when it is made the reply to calumny and defamation, provided that we give no just occasion for them. We might produce an example of it in the behaviour of one, in whom it appeared in all
At the same time, that I recommend this philosophy to others, I must confess, I am so poor a proficient in it myself, that if in the course of my lucubrations it happens, as it has done more than once, that my paper is duller than in conscience it ought to be, I think the time an age until I have an opportunity of putting out another, and growing famous again for two days.
I must not close my discourse upon silence without informing my reader, that I have by me an elaborate treatise on the aposiopesis called an et cætera; it being a figure much used by some learned authors, and particularly by the great Littleton, who, as my lord chief justice Coke observes, had a most admirable talent at an &c.
To oblige the pretty fellows, and my fair readers,
Not far from thence, the mournful fields appear;
Unhappy queen! then is the common breath