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N° 96. Saturday, November 19, 1709.
// tnihi Jemum •vi'vtre tsf srui anima vidttur, qui aliquo negoth intentut, præclari facinoris aut artis but* famum quarit. Sal. Bel. Cat.
In my opinion, he only may be truly said to live, and enjoy his Being, who is engaged in some laudable pursuit, and acquires a name by seme illustrious sction, or useful art.
From my own Apartment, Nevmltr 17.
IT has cost me very much care and thought to marshal and fix the people under their proper denominations, and to range them according to their respective characters. These my endeavours have been received witk unexpected success in one kind, but neglected in another: For though I have many readers, I have but few converts. This must certainly proceed from a false opinion, that what I write is designed rather to amuse and entertain, than convince and instruct. I entered upon my Essays with a declaration, that I should consider mankind in quite another manner, than they had hitherto been represented to the ordinary world; and asserted, that none but an useful life ihould be with me any life at all. But lest this doctrine ihould have made this small progress towards the conviction of mankind, because it may appear to the unlearned light and whimsical, I must take leave to unfold the wisdom and antiquity of my first proposition in these my Essays, to wit, " That "every worthless man is a dead man." This notion is as old as Pythagoras, in whose school it was a point of discipline, that if among the 'Avuriw or Probationers, there were any who grew weary of studying to be useful, and returned to an idle life, the rest were to regard them as dead; and upon their departing, to perform their obsequies, and raise them tombs, with inscriptions to warn others of the like mortality, and quicken them to resolutions of refining their Souls above that wretched state. It is upon a like supposition, that young Ladies, at this very time, in Roman catholic countries, are received into some nunneries with their coffins, and with the pomp of a formal funeral, to signify, that henceforth they are to be of no further use, and consequently dead. Nor was Pythagoras himself the first author of this symbol, with whom, and with the Heirexus, it was generally received. Much more might be offered in illustration of this doctrine from Sacred Authority, which I recommend to my reader's own reflection.; who will easily recollect, from places which I do not think fit to quote here, the forcible manner of applying the words, dead and living, to men as they are good or bad.
I have therefore composed the following scheme of existence for the benefit both of the living and the dead; though chiefly for the latter, whom I must desire to read it with all possible attention. In the number of the dead I comprehend all persons, of what title or dignity soever, who bestow most of their time in eating and drinking, to support that imaginary existence of theirs, which they call life; or in dressing and adorning those shadows and apparitions, which are looked upon by the vulgar as real men and women. In short, whoever refides in the world without having any business in it, and passes away an age without ever thinking on the errand for which he was sent hither, is to me a dead man to all intents and purposes; and I desire that he may be so reputed. The living are only those that are some way or other laudably employed in the improvement of their own minds, or for the advantage of others; and even amongst these, I (hall only reckon into their lives that part of their time which has been spent in the manner above-mentioned. By these means, I am afraid, we ftall find the longest lives not to consist of many months, and the greatest part of the earth to be quite unpeopled. According to this system we may observe, that some men are born at twenty years of age, some at thirty, some at threescore, and some not above an hour before they die: M 4 Nay, Nay, we may observe multitudes that die without ever being born, as well as many dead persons that fill up the bulk of mankind, and make a better figure in tb» eyes of the ignorant, than those who are alive, and in their proper and fuil state of health. However, fine* there may be many good subjects who pay their taxes, and live peaceably in their habitations, who are not yet born, or have departed this life several years since, my design is, to encourage both to join themselves as soon as possible to the number of the living: For as I invite the former to break forth into Being, and become good for something; so I allow the latter a state of resuscitation ; which I chiefly mention for the sake of a person, who has lately published an advertisement, with several scurrilous terms in it, that do by no means become a dead man to give: Itis my departed friend John Partridge who concludes the advertisement of his next year's Almanac with the following note.
"Whereas it has been industriously given out by Isaac "Bickerjiaff, Esquire, and others, to prevent the sale of "this year's Almanac, that "Jr,hn Partridge is dead:
This may inform all his loving countrymen, that he "is still living, in health, and they are knaves that re»' ported it otherwise.
From my own Apartment, November jS.
When an Engineer finds his guns have not had their intended effect, he changes his batteries. I am forced at present to take this method; and instead of continuing to write against the singularity some are guilty of in their habit and behaviour, I shall henceforward desire them to persevere in it; and not only so, but (hall take it as a favour of all the Coxcombs in the town, if they will set marks upon themselves, and by some particular in »heir dress, shew to what class they belong. It would be very obliging in all such persons, who feel ■in themselves that they are not found of understanding, to give the world notice of it, and spare mankind the (gains of finding them oat. A cane upon the fifth buttoa Jhall from! henceforth be the type of a Dapper; redheeled stioes, and an hat hung upon one fide of the head, (hall signify a Smart; a good periwig made into a twist, with a brisk cock, shall speak a Mettled Fellow; and an upper lip covered with snuff, denotes a Coffeehouse Statesman. But as it is required that all Coxv combs hang out their signs, it is on the other hand expected, that men of real merit should avoid any thing: particular in their dress, gait, or behaviour. For, as we old men delight in proverbs, I cannot forbear bringing out one on this occasion, "That good wine needs "no bush." I must not leave this subject without re* flecting on several persons I have lately met with,, whoat a distance seem very terrible; but upon a stricter enquiry into their looks and features, appear as meek and harmless as any of my own neighbours. These arft' country Gentlemen, who of late years have taken up art humour of coming to town in red coats, whom an arch< Wag of my acquaintance used to describe very well, by calling them sheep in wolves cloathing. I have often' wondered; that honest Gentlemen, who are good neighbours, and live quietly in their own possessions, should take it in their heads to frighten the town after this unreasonable manner. I shall think myself obliged, if" they persist in so unnatural a dress, notwithstanding any posts they may have in the militia, to give away their redcoats to any of the soldiery who stia.ll think fit to1 strip them, provided the said soldiers can make it appear, that they belong to a regiment where there is a deficiency in the cloathing.
About two days ago I was walking in the Park, and accidentally met a rural Esquire, cloathed in all- the' types above-mentioned, with a carriage and behaviour made entirely out of his own head. He was of a bulk and stature larger than ordinary, had a red coat, fluntr open to shew a gay calamanco waistcoat: His periwig fell in a very considerable bush upon each shoulder: His arms naturally swang at an unreasonable distance fromhis sides; which, with the advantage of a cane that hebrandished in a great variety of irregular motions, made' it unsafe for any one to walk within several yards of him. In this manner he took up the whole Mall, his spectaM. 5, tor» tors moving on each side of it, whilst he cocked up his hat, and marched directly for Westminster. I cannot tell who this Gentleman is, but for my comfort, may fay with the Lover in Terence, who lost sight of a fine young Lady: "Where-ever thou art, thou canst not be *' long concealed."
St. James's Coffee-house, November 18.
By Letters from Paris, of the sixteenth, we are informed that the French King, the Princes of the blood, and the Elector of Bavaria, had lately killed fifty-five; pheasants.
"Whereas several have industriously spread abroad, *' that I am in partnership with Charles Lillie, the Per** fumer, at the corner of Beaufori-Buildings; I must say ** with my friend Partridge, that they are knaves who "reported it. However, since the said Charles has *' promised that all his customers shall be mine, I must »' desire all mine to be his; and dare answer for him, "that if you afe in my name for Snuff, Hungary or «* Orange water, you shall hare the best the town af*• lords, at the cheapest Jtate."