Page images

rolling globes: and that nature might be kept from a dull inactivity, each separate particle is endued with a principle of motion, or a power of attraction, whereby all the several parcels of matter draw each other proportionably to their magnitudes and distances into such a remarkable variety of different forms, as to produce all the wonderful appearances we now observe in empire, philosophy, and religion. But to proceed:

At the beginning of the game, each of the globes, being struck forward with a vast violence, ran out of sight, and wandered in a straight line through the infinite spaces. The nimble deities pursue, breathless almost, and spent in the eager chase; each of them caught hold of one, and stamped it with his name; as, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and so of the rest. To prevent this inconvenience for the future, the seven are condemned to a precipitation, which in our inferior style we call gravity. Thus the tangential and centripetal forces, by their counterstruggle, make the celestial bodies describe an exact ellipsis.

• There will be added to this an appendix, in defence of the first day of the term according to the Oxford almanack", by a learned knight? of this realm, with an apology for the said knight's manner of dress; proving, that his habit, according to this hypothesis, is the true modern and fashionable; and that buckles are not to be worn, by this system, until the tenth of March in the year 1714, which, according to the computation of some of our greatest divines, is to be the first year of the millennium; in which

6 See N° 39.

1 Sir William Whitelocke, knt. M. P. for Oxon, bencher of the Middle Temple, and queen's serjeant.

blessed age all habits will be reduced to a primitive simplicity; and whoever shall be found to have persevered in a constancy of dress, in spite of all the allurements of prophane and heathen habits, shall be rewarded with a never-fading doublet of a thousand years. All points in the system, which are doubted, shall be attested by the knight's extemporary oath, for the satisfaction of his readers.'

Wills Coffee-house, July 18. We were upon the heroic strain this evening; and the question was, “What is the true sublime ? Many very good discourses happened thereupon; after which a gentleman at the table, who is, it seems, writing on that subject®, assumed the argument; and, though he ran through many instances of sublimity from the ancient writers, said, he had hardly known an occasion wherein the true greatness of soul, which animates a general in action, is so well represented, with regard to the person of whom it was spoken, and the time in which it was writ, as in a few lines in a modern poem. There is,' continued he, 'nothing so forced and constrained, as what we frequently meet with in tragedies; to make a man, under the weight of great sorrow, or full of meditation upon what he is soon to execute, cast about for a simile to what he himself is, or the thing which he is going to act: but there is nothing more proper and natural for a poet, whose business it is to describe, and who is Spectator of one in that circumstance, when his mind is working upon a great image, and that the ideas hurry upon his imagination—I say, there is nothing so na

8 Probably Mr. Welsted, who about this time published a translation of Longinus.

tural as for a poet to relieve and clear himself from the burden of thought at that time, by uttering his conception in simile and metaphor. The highest act of the mind of man is to possess itself with tranquillity in imminent danger, and to have its thoughts so free, as to act at that time without perplexity. The ancient authors have compared this sedate courage to a rock that remains immoveable amidst the rage of winds and waves; but that is too stupid and inanimate a similitude, and coull do no credit to the hero. At other times they are all of them wonderfully obliged to a Lybian lion, which may give indeed very agreeable terrors to a description, but is no compliment to the person to whom it is applied : eagles, tigers, and wolves, are made use of on the same oc. casion, and very often with much beauty ; but this is still an honour done to the brute rather than the hero. Mars, Pallas, Bacchus, and Hercules, have each of them furnished very good similies in their time, ani made, doubtless, a greater impression on the mind o a heathen than they have on that of a modern reader. But the sublime image that I am talking of, and which I really think as great as ever entered into the thought of inan, is in the poem called The Campaign'; where the simile of a ministering angel sets forth the most sedáte and the most active courage, engaged in an uproar of nature, a confusion of elements, and a scene of divine vengeance. Add to all, that these lines compliment the general and his queen at the same time, and have all the natural horrors heightened by the image that was still fresh in the mind of every reader to :

9 By Addison.

10 A dreadful storm, which happened in England and on the coast, about midnight, on the 26th November 1703.

“ 'Twas then great Marlbro's mighty soul was prov'd,
That, in the shock of charging hosts unmov'd,
Amidst confusion, horror, and despair,
Examin'd all the dreadful scenes of war;
In peaceful thought the field of death survey'd,
To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid,
Inspir'd repuls'd battalions to engage,
And taught the doubtful battle where to rage.
So when an angel, by dirine command,
With rising tempests shakes a guilty land,
Such as of late o'er pale Britannia past,
Calm and serene he drives the furious blast;
And, pleas'd th' Almighty's orders to perform,
Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm 11."

· The whole poem is so exquisitely noble and poetic, that I think it an honour to our nation and language.'

The gentleman concluded his critique on this work, by saying that he esteemed it wholly new, and a wonderful attempt, to keep up the ordinary ideas of a march of an army, just as they happened, in so warm and great a style, and yet be at once familiar and heroic. Such a performance is a chronicle as well as a poem, and will preserve the memory of our hero, when all the edifices and statues erected to his honour are blended with common dust.


11 Psalm cxlviii. 8.

N° 44. THURSDAY, JULY 21, 1709.

Nullis amor est medicabilis herbis.

• No herb, alas! can cure the pangs of love."

White's Chocolate-house, July 19. This day, passing through Covent-garden, I was stopped in the piazza by Pacolet, to observe what he called the triumph of love and youth. I turned to the object he pointed at, and there I saw a gay gilt chariot, drawn by fresh prancing horses; the coachman with a new cockade, and the lacqueys with insolence and plenty in their countenances. I asked immediately, what young heir or lover owned that glittering equipage; but my companion interrupted, • Do you not see there the mourning Æsculapius '?' •The mourning?' said I. "Yes, Isaac,' said Pacolet,

he is in deep mourning, and is the languishing, hopeless lover of the divine Hebe, the emblem of youth and beauty. The excellent and learned sage you behold in that furniture is the strongest instance imaginable, that love is the most powerful of all things.

You are not so ignorant as to be a stranger to the character of Æsculapius, as the patron and most successful of all who profess the art of medicine. But

1 An allusion to a love-affair in which Dr. Radcliffe was engaged, who was at this time about 60 years of age.

2 Miss Tempest, one of the Maids of Honour to Queen Anne.

« PreviousContinue »