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animal; and how it is made generous in Æneas to put Turnus to death ; gallantries that can no more come within the occurrences of the lives of ordinary men, than they can be relished by their imaginations. However, still the humour goes on from one generation to another; and the pastry cook here in the lane, the other night, told me, “ he would not
his son from his learning; but has resolved, as soon as he had a little smattering in the Greek, to put him apprentice to a soap-boiler.” These wrong beginnings determine our success in the world; and when our thoughts are originally falsely biassed, their agility and force do but carry us the further out of our way, in proportion to our speed. But we are half way our journey, when we have got into the right road. If all our days were usefully employed, and we did not set out impertinently, we should not have so many grotesque professors in all the arts of life; but every man would be in a proper and becoming method of distinguishing or entertaining himself suitably to what nature designed bim. As they go on now, our pareuts do not only force us upon what is against our talents, but our teachers are also as injudicious in what they put us to learn. I have bardly ever since suffered so much by the charms of any beauty, as I did before I had a sense of passion, for not apprehending that the smile of Lalage was what pleased Horace ; and I verily believe the stripes I suffered, about Digito malè pertinaci has given me that irreconcileable aversion, which I shall carry to my grave, against coquettes.
As for the elegant writer of whom I am talking, his excellencies are to be observed as they relate to the different concerns of his life; and he is always to be looked upon as a lover, a courtier, or a man of wit. His admirable Odes have numberless in
stances of his merit in each of these characters. His Epistles and Satires are full of proper notices for the conduct of life in a court; and what we call good breeding, is most agreeably intermixed with his morality. His addresses to the persons who favoured him, are so inimitably engaging, that Augustus complained of him for so seldom writing to bim, and asked him, “ whether he was afraid posterity should read their names together?" Now for the generality of men to spend much time in such writinys is as pleasant a folly as any he ridicules, Whatever the crowd of scholars may pretend, if their way of life, or their own imaginations, do not lead thein to a taste of him, they may read, nay write, fifty volumes upon him, and be just as they were when they began. I remember to have heard a great painter say, “ There are certain faces for certain painters, as well as certain subjects for certain poets.” This is as true in the choice of studies; and no one will ever relish an author thoroughly well, who would not have been fit company for that author, had they lived at the same time. All others are mechanics in learning, and take the seutiments of writers like waiting-servants who report wliat passed at their master's table; but debase every thought and expression, for want of the air with which they were uttered,
No 174. SATURDAY, MAY 20, 1710.
Quem mala stultitia, aut quæcunque inscitia veri,
Hor. 2 Sat, iii. 23.
Whom vicious passions, or whom falsehood, blind,
From my own Apartment, May 19. The learned Scotus, to distinguish the race of mankind, gives every individual of that species what he calls a Seity, something peculiar to himself, which makes him different from all other persons in the world. This particularity renders him either venerable or ridiculous, according as he uses his talents, which always grow out into faults, or improve into virtues. In the office I have undertaken, you are to observe, that I have hitherto presented only the more insignificant and lazy part of mankind under the denomination of dead men, together with the degrees towards non-existence, in which others can neither be said to live or be defunct; but are only animals merely dressed up like men, and differ from each other but as flies do by a little colouring or flute tering of their wings. Now as our discourses heretofore have chiefly regarded the indolent part of the species, it remains that we do justice also upon the impertinently active and enterprising. Such as these I shall take particular care to place in safe custody,
and have used all possible diligence to run up my edifice in Moorfields for that service.
We, who are adepts in astrology, can impute it to several causes in the planets, that this quarter of our great city is the region of such persons as either never had or have lost the use of reason. It has indeed been, time out of mind, the reception of fools as well as madmen. The care and information of the former I assign to other learned men, who have for that end taken up their habitation in those parts; as, among others, to the famous Dr. Trotter, and my ingenious friend Dr. Langham. These oraculous proficients are day and night employed in deep searches, for the direction of such as run astray after their lost goods : but at present they are more particularly serviceable to their country, in foretelling the fate of such as have chances in the public lottery. Dr. Langham shows a peculiar generosity on this occasion, taking only one half-crown for a prediction, eighteen-pence of which to be paid out of the prizes ; which method the doctor is willing to comply with in favour of every adventurer in the whole lottery. Leaving therefore the whole generation of such inquirers to such Literati as I have now mentioned, we are to proceed towards peopling our house, which we have erected with the greatest cost and care imaginable.
It is necessary in this place to premise, that the superiority and force of mind which is born with men of great genius, and which, when it falls in with a noble imagination, is called poetical fury, does not come under my consideration ; but the pretence to such an impulse, without natural warmth, shall be allowed a fit object of this charity; and all the volumes, written by such bands, shall be from time to time placed in proper order upon the rails of the unhoused booksellers within the district of the college, who have long inhabited this quarter, in the same manner as they are already disposed, soon after the publication. I promise myself from these writings my best opiates for those patients, whose high imaginations and hot spirits have awakened them into distraction. Their boiling tempers are not to be wrought upon by my gruels and juleps, but must ever be employed, or appear to be so; or their recovery will be impracticable. I shall therefore make use of such poets as preserve so constant a mediocrity, as never to elevate the mind into joy, or depress it into sadness, yet at the same time keep the faculties of the readers in suspense, though they introduce no ideas of their own. By this means, a disordered mind, like a broken limb, will recover its strength by the sole benefit of being out of use, and lying without motion. But, as reading is not an entertainment that can take up the full time of my patients, I have now in pension a proportionable number of story-tellers, who are by turns to walk about the galleries of the house, and by their narrations second the labours of my pretty good poets. There are among these story-tellers, some that have so earnest countenances, and weighty brows, that they will draw a madman, even when his fit is just coming ou, into a whisper ; and by the force of shrugs, nods, and busy gestures, make him stand amazed so long, as that we have time to give him his broth without danger.
But, as fortune has the possession of men's minds, a physician may cure all the sick people of ordinary degree in the whole town, and never come into reputation. I shall therefore begin with persons of condition; and the first I shall undertake shall be the lady Fidget, the general visitant, and Will Voluble,