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stage itself was covered with gentlemen and ladies, and when the curtain was drawn, it discovered even there a very splendid audience. This unusual encouragement, which was given to a play for the advantage of so great an actor, gives an undeniable instance, that the true relish for manly entertainments and rational pleasures is not wholly lost. All the parts were acted to perfection; the actors were careful of their carriage, and no one was guilty of the affectation to insert witticisms of his own; but a due respect was had to the audience, for encouraging this accomplished player. It is not now doubted but plays will revive, and take their usual place in the opinion of persons of wit and merit, notwithstanding their late apostacy in favour of dress and sound. This place is very much altered since Mr. Dryden frequented it; where you used to see songs, epigrams, and satires, in the hands of every man you met, you have now only a pack of cards; and instead of the cavils about the turn of the expression, the elegance of the style, and the like, the learned now dispute only about the truth
But however the company is altered, all have shown a great respect for Mr. Betterton: and the very gaming part of this house have been so touched with a sense of the uncertainty of human affairs (which alter with themselves every moment) that in this gentleman they pitied Mark Anthony of Rome, Hamlet of Denmark, Mithridates of Pontus, Theodosius of Greece, and Henry the Eighth of England. It is well known, he has been in the condition of each of those illustrious personages for several hours together, and behaved himself in those high stations, in all the changes of the scene, with suitable dignity. For these reasons, we intend to repeat this late favour to him on a proper occasion, lest he, who can instruct us so well in personating feigned sorrows, should be lost to us by suffering under real ones. The town is at present in very great expectation of seeing a comedy now in rehearsal, which is the twenty-fifth production of my honoured friend Mr. Thomas D'Urfey; who, besides his great abilities in the dramatic, has a peculiar talent in the lyric way of writing, and that with a manner wholly new and unknown to the ancient Greeks and Romans, wherein he is but faintly imitated in the translations of the modern Italian Operas.
of the game.
St. James's Coffee-house, April 11. Letters from the Hague of the sixteenth say, that Major General Cadogan was gone to Brussels, with orders to disperse proper instructions for assembling the whole force of the allies in Flanders, in the beginning of the next month. The late offers concerning peace were made in the style of persons who think themselves upon equal terms : but the allies have so just a sense of present advantages, that they will not admit of a treaty, except France offers what is more suitable to her present condition. At the same time we make preparations, as if we were alarmed by a greater force than that which we are carrying into the field. Thus this point seems now to be argued sword in hand. This was what a great general* alluded to, when being asked the name of those who were to be plenopotentiaries for the ensuing peace, he answered with a serious air, “ There are about an hundred thousand of us.
Mr. Kidney, who has the ear of the greatest politicians that come hither, tells me there is a mail come in to-day with letters, dated Hague, April the nineteenth, N. S. which say, a design of bringing part of our troops into the field, at the latter end of this month, is now altered to a resolution of marching towards the camp about the twentieth of the next. Prince Eugene
* The Duke of Marlborough.
was then returned thither from Amsterdam. He sets out from Brussels on Tuesday : the greater number of the general officers at the Hague have orders to go at the same time. The squadron of Dunkirk consists of seven vessels. There happened the other day, in the road of Scheveling, an engagement between a privateer of Zeeland and one of Dunkirk. The Dunkirker, carrying thirty-three pieces of cannon, was taken and brought into the Texel. It is said the courier of Monsieur Rouille is returned to him from the Court of France. Monsieur Vendosme, being re-instated in the favour of the Dutchess of Burgundy, is to command in Flanders.
Mr. Kidney added, that there were letters of the seventeenth from Ghent, which give an account, that the enemy had formed a design to surprise two battalions of the allies which lay at Alost: but those battalions received advice of their march and retired to Dendermond. Lieutenant General Wood appeared on this occasion at the head of five thousand foot, and one thousand horse ; upon which the enemy withdrew, without making any farther attempt.
From my own Apartment. I am sorry I am obliged to trouble the publick with so much discourse upon a matter which I at the very
first mentioned as a trifle, vi the death of Mr. Partridge,* under whose name there is an almanack come out for the year 1709; in one page of which is asserted by the said John Partridge, that he is still living, and not only so, but that he was also living some time before, and even at the instant when I writ of his death. I have in another place, and in a paper by itself, sufficiently convinced this man that he is dead, and if he has any shame, I do not doubt but that by this time he owns it to all his acquaintance; for though the legs and arms and whole body of that man may still appear, and perform their animal functions; yet since, as I have elsewhere observed, his art is gone, the man is gone. I am, as I said, concerned, that this little matter should make so much noise; but since I am engaged, I take myself obliged in honour to go on in my lucubrations, and by the help of these arts of which I am master, as well as my skill in astrological speculations, I shall, as I see occasion, proceed to confute other dead men, who pretend to be in being, although they are actually deceased. I therefore give all men fair warning to mend their manners; for I shall from time to time print bills of mortality : and I beg the pardon of all such who shall be named therein, if they who are good for nothing shall find themselves in the number of the deceased.
* Dr. Swift, in his “ Predictions for 1708,” foretold that Partridge the almanack-maker would infallibly die on the 29th of March, about eleven at night, of a raging fever. The wits resolved to support this prediction, and uniformly insisted that Partridge actually died
at that time.
N° 2. SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
P. Will's Coffee House, April 13. There has lain all this evening on the table the following poem. The subject of it being matter very useful for families, I thought it deserved to be considered and made more public. The turn the poet gives it is very happy; but the foundation is from a real accident which happened amongst my acquaintance.
young Gentleman of great estate fell desperately in love with a great Beauty of very high quality, but as ill-natured as long flattery and an habitual self-will could make her. However, my young spark ventures upon her like a man of quality, without being acquainted with her, or having ever saluted her, until it was a crime to kiss any woman else. Beauty is a thing which palls with possession : and the charms of this lady soon wanted the support of good-humour and complacency of manners : upon this my Spark flies to the bottle for relief from satiety. She disdains him, for being tired with that for which all men envied him; and he never came home, but it was-“ Was there no sot that would stay longer ? would any man living but you ? did I leave all the world for this usage ?” to which he — “ Madam, split me, you are very impertinent !” In a word, this match was wedlock in its most terrible appearances. She, at last, weary of railing to no purpose, applies to a good uncle, who gives her a bottle, he pretended he had bought of Mr. Partridge, the conjuror. This, said he, I gave ten guineas for. The virtue of the enchanted liquor (said he that sold it) is such, that if the woman you marry proves a scold (which, it seems, my dear niece, is your misfortune; as it was your good mother's before you), let her hold three spoonfuls in her mouth for a full half hour after you come home--but I find I am not in humour for telling a tale: and nothing in nature is so ungraceful as story-tellin against the grain; therefore take it as the author has given it to you*.
* These verses are by Mr. William Harrison.