Page images
PDF
EPUB

sat in the throne of it. The laziness of this Prince threw him upon the choice of a perfon who was fit to spend his life in contentions, an able and profound Attorney, to whom he mortgaged his whole empire. This Divite is the most skilful of all politicians : He has a perfect art in being unintelligible in discourfe, and uncomeatable in business. But he, having no understanding in this polite way, brought in upon us, to get in his money, Jadder-dancers, rope-dancers, jugglers, and mounte. banks, to- ftrut in the place of Shakespear's heroes, and Johnson's humourists. When the seat of wit was thus mortgaged, without equity of redemption, an architect arose, who has built the Muse a new palace, but secured her no retinue ; so that instead of Action there, we have been put off by Song and Dance. This later help of found has also began to fail for want of voices; there fore the palace has fince been put into the hands of a Surgeon, who cuts any foreign fellow into an Eunuch, and passes him upon us for a singer of Italy.

Ac. I will go out of town to-morrow.

Friend. Things are come to this pass; and yet the world will not understand, that the theatre has much the same effect on the manners of the age, as the Bank on the credit of the nation. Wit and spirit, humour and good sense, can never be revived, but under the government of those who are judges of such talents, who know, that whatever is put up in their stead, is but a short and trifling expedient, to support the appearance of them for a season. It is poffible, a peace will give leisure to put these matters under new regulations ; but, at prefent, all the aslistance we can see towards our recovery is as far from giving us help, as a poultice is from performing what can be done only by the Grand Elixir,

:

Will's Coffee-house, May 6. According to our late design in the applauded verses on the Morning, which you lately had from hence, we proceed to improve that just intention, and present you

with other labours, made proper to the place in which e . they were written. The following Poem comes from

Copenhagen, and is as fine a winter-piece as we have ever
VOL. I.

E .

had

[ocr errors]

bad from any of the schools of the most learned Painters. Such images as these give us a new pleasure in our fight, and fix upon our minds traces of reflexion, which accompany us whenever the like objects occur. In short, excellent poetry and description dwell upon us so agreeably, that all the readers of them are made to think, if not write, like men of wit. But it would be injury to detain you longer from this excellent performance, which is addressed to the Earl of Dorset by Mr. Philips, the author of several choice poems in Mr. Tonson's new Miscellany.

Copenhagen, March 9, 1709. - From frozen climes, and endless tracts of snow,

From streams that northern winds forbid to flow;
• What present shall the Muse to Dorset bring,
Or how, so near the Pole, attempt to sing?
The hoary winter here conceals from fight
All plealing objects that to verse invite.
The hills and dales, and the delightful woods,
The flow'ry plains, and silver streaming floods,
By fnow disguis’d, in bright confusion lie,
And with one dazling waste fatigue the eye.

No gentle breathing breeze prepares the spring,
No birds within the defart región fing,
The ships unmov'd the boiít'rous winds defy,
While rattling chariots o'er the ocean fly.
The vast Leviathan wants room to .play,
And spout his waters in the face of day,
The starving wolves along the main sea prowl,
And to the moon in icy vallies howl.
For many a shining league the level main
Here spreads itself into a glassy plain :
There solid billows of enormous size,
Alps of green ice, in wild disorder rise.

And yet but lately have I feen, ev'n here,
The winter in a lovely dress appear.
Ere yet the clouds :let fall the treasur'd snow, .;
Or winds begun thro' hazy kies to blow.
At ev’ning a keen eastern breeze arose; -
And the descending rain unsully'd froze. .
Soon as the filent Mades of night withdrew,
m'he ruddy morn difclosd at once to view

The

The face of Nature in a rich disguise, .
And brighten'd ev'ry object to my eyes :
For ev'ry shrub, and every blade of grass,
And ev'ry pointed thorn; seem'd wrought in glass,
In pearls and rubies rich the hawthorns show,
While thro' the ice the crimson berries glow.
The thick-sprung reeds the wat’ry marshes yield
Seem polish'd lances in a hostile field.
The stag in limpid currents, with surprize,
Sees crystal branches on his forehead rise.
The spreading oak, the beech, and tow'ring pine,
Glaz'd over, in the freezing æther shine.
The frighted birds the rattling branches thun,
That wave and glitter in the distant fun.

When, if a sudden gust of wind arise,
The brittle forest into atoms flies :
The crackling wood beneath the tempest bends,
And in a spangled show'r the prospect ends ;
Or, if a southern gale the region warm,
And by degrees unbind the wint'ry charm,
The traveller a miry country sees,
And journies said beneath the dropping trees.

Like some deluded peasant Merlin leads
Thro’ fragrant bow'rs, and thro' delicious meads;
While her enchanted gardens to him rise,
And airy fabrics there attract his eyes,
His wond'ring feet the magic path's pursue ;
And while he thinks the fair illusion true,
The trackless scenes disperse in fluid air,
And woods, and wilds, and thorny ways appear:
A tedious road the weary wretch returns,
And as he goes, the transient vifion mourns.

From my own Apartment, May 6.

There has a mail this day arrived from Holland; but the matter of the advices importing rather what gives us great expectations, than any positive assurances, l'fhall. for this time, decline giving you what I know; and apply the following verses of Mr. Dryden, in the second part of Almanzor, to the present circumstances of things,

E 2

withou

without discovering 'what my knowledge in astronomy suggests to me.

When Empire in its childhood firft appears, A watchful fate o'erfees its tender years : Till grown more strong, it thrusts and stretches out, And elbows all the kingdoms round about. The place thus made for its first breathing free, It moves again for ease and luxury : Till swelling by degrees it has pofleft The greater space, and now crouds up the rest.' When from behind there ftarts fome petty State And pushes on its now unwieldy fate. Then down the precipice of time it goes, And links in minutes, which in ages rofe.

No 13.

Tuesday, May 10, 1709.

From my own Apartment, May 8.'

M U CH hurry and business had to day perplexed

V me into a mood too thoughtful for going into company; for which reason, instead of the tavern, I went into Lincoln's-Inn Walks ; and having taken a round or two, I sat down, according to the allowed familiarity of these places, on a bench;, at the other end of which sat a venerable gentleman, who speaking with a very affable air, “ Mr. Bickerstaff,said he, " I take it “ for a very great piece of good fortune that you have “ found me out.” “ Sir,” said I, “ I had never, that “ I know of, the honour of seeing you before.” That," replied he, “is what I have often lamented ; but I af. ** sure you, I have for many years done you many good “ offices, without being observed by you ; or else. " when you had any little glimpse of my being con" cerned in an affair, you have fled from "me, and « faunned me like an enemy; but however, the part I

« am to act in the world is such, that I am to go on in 4 doing good,, though I meet with. never so many re66. pulses, even from thofe I oblige." This, thoughe I, thows a great good-nature, but little judgment in the perfons upon whom he confers his favours. He imme. diately took notice to me, that he observed by my countenance. I thought him indiscreet in his beneficence, and proceeded to tell me his. quality in the following manner::“. I know thee, Ifaac, to be so well versed in the « Occult. Sciences, that I need not much preface, or « make long preparations to gain your faith that there u are Airy Beings, who are employed in the care and u attendance of men, as nurses are to infants, until they «come to an age in which they can act of themselves. « These Beings are usually called amongst men, Guar« dian Angels; and, Mr. Bickerstaff, I am to acquaint 6s you that I am to be yours for some time to come ; it 4 being our orders to vary our stations, and sometimes us to bave one patient under our protection, and some“- times another, with a power of assuming what shape as we please, to ensnare our Wards into their own good. 66 I have, of late been upon such hard duty, and know 66 you have fo much work for me, that I think fit to “ appear to you face to face, to desire you will give me w as little occafion for vigilance as you can.” is Sir," faid I,, " it will be a great instruction to me int beha-at viour, if you please to give me some account of your u late employments, and what hardships or satisfactions '" you have had in them, that I may govern myself ac'w cordingly." He answered, To give you an example of the drudgery we go through, I will entertain you only with my three laft stations : I was on the first of April last put to mortify a great Beauty, with whom I was a week; from her I went to a common Swearer, and have been last with a Gamester. When I first came to my Lady, I found my great work was to guard well ber eyes and ears; but her flatterers were so numerous, and the houfe, after the modern way, so full of lookinge glaffes, that I feldom had ber safe but in her sleep, Whenever we went abroad, we were surrounded by an army of enemies: when a well-made man appeared, he

was

« PreviousContinue »