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attended, we thought him in the article of death. At a distance sat a lady, whose life seemed to hang upon the same thread with his: she kept her eyes fixed upon him, and seemed to smother ten thousand thousand nameless things, which urged her tenderness to clasp him in her arms: but her greatness of spirit overcame those sentiments, and gave her power to forbear disturbing his last moment; which immediately approached'. The hero looked up with an air of negligence, and satiety of being, rather than of pain to leave it; and, leaning back his head, expired.
When the heroine, who sat at a distance, saw his last instant come, she threw herself at his feet, and, kneeling, pressed his hand to her lips, in which posture she continued under the agony of an unutterable sorrow, until conducted from our sight by her attendants. That commanding awe, which accompanies the grief of great minds, restrained the multitude while in her presence; but as soon as she retired, they gave way to their distraction, and all the islanders called upon their deceased hero. To him, methought, they cried out, as to a guardian being; and I gathered from their broken accents, that it was he who had the empire over the ocean and its powers, by which he had long protected the island froin shipwreck and invasion. They now give a loose to their moan, and think themselves exposed without hopes of human or
s George prince of Denmark was married to the princess Anne, daughter of James duke of York, July 28, 1683, with whom he lived in perfect harmony till Oct. 21, 1708, when he died at Kensington, after an indisposition of a few days. He was lord high admiral of England. This dream is a figurative delineation of the state of England from the death of prince George to the conclusion of the negotiations at the Hague in 1709,
divine assistance. While the people ran wild, and expressed all the different forms of lamentation, methought a sable cloud overshadowed the whole land, and covered its inhabitants with darkness: no glimpse of light appeared, except one ray from heaven upon the place in which the heroine now secluded herself from the world, with her eyes fixed on those abodes to which her consort was ascended'. Methought a long period of time had passed away in mourning and in darkness, when a twilight began by degrees to enlighten the hemisphere; and, looking round me, I saw a boat rowed towards the shore, in which sat a personage adorned with warlike trophies, bearing on his left arm a shield, on which was engraven the image of Victory, and in his right hand a branch of olive. His visage was at once so winning and so awful, that the shield and the olive seemed equally suitable to his genius.
When this illustrious person' touched on the shore, he was received by the acclamations of the people, and followed to the palace of the heroine. No pleasure in the glory of her arms, (or the acclamations of her applauding subjects,) were ever capable to suspend her sorrow for one moment, till she saw the olive-branch in the hand of that auspicious messenger. At that sight, as heaven bestows its blessings on the wants and importunities of mortals, out of its native bounty, and not to increase its own power or honour, in compassion to the world, the celestial mour
o Queen Anne mourned so long on this occasion that the manufacturers respectfully remonstrated, and ultimately obtained a law for limiting the duration of public mournings.
7 It was about this time that the duke of Marlborough returned from Holland, with the preliminaries of peace,
ner was then first seen to turn her regard to things below; and, taking the branch out of the warrior's hand, looked at it with much satisfaction, and spoke of the blessings of peace, with a voice and accent, such as that in which guardian spirits whisper to dying penitents assurances of happiness. The air was hushed, the multitude attentive, and all nature in a pause while she was speaking. But as soon as the messenger of peace had made some low reply, in which, methought, I heard the word Iberia, the heroine, assuming a more severe air, but such as spoke resolution without rage, returned him the olive, and again veiled her face. Loud cries and clashing of arms immediately followed, which forced me from my charming vision, and drove me back to these mansions of care and sorrow.
*** Mr. Bickerstaff thanks Mr. Quarterstaff for his kind and instructive letter dated the 26th instant.
N° 9, SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
JUV. Sat. i. 85, 86.
Will's Coffee-house, April 28. This evening we were entertained with The Old Bachelor', a comedy of deserved reputation. In the character which gives name to the play, there is excellently represented the reluctance of a battered debauchee to come into the trammels of order and decency: he neither languishes nor burns, but frets for love. The gentlemen of more regular behaviour are drawn with much spirit and wit, and the drama introduced by the dialogue of the first scene with uncommon, yet natural conversation. The part of Fondlewife is a lively image of the unseasonable fondness of age and impotence. But instead of such agreeable works as these, the town has for half an age been tormented with insects called Easy Writers,' whose abilities Mr. Wycherly one day described excellently well in one word: “That,' says he, "among these fellows is called easy writing, which any one may easily write. Such janty scribblers are so justly laughed at for their sonnets on Phillis and Chloris, and fantastical descriptions in them, that an ingenious kinsman of mine, of the family of the Staffs, Mr.
* Congreve's first play. See No 193.
Humphrey Wagstaff by name, has, to avoid their strain, run into a way perfectly new, and described things exactly as they happen: he never forms fields, or nymphs, or groves, where they are not; but makes the incidents just as they really appear. For an example of it; I stole out of his manuscript the following lines: they are a description of the morning, but of the morning in town; nay, of the morning at this end of the town, where my kinsman at present lodges.
• Now hardly here and there an hackney-coach
All that I apprehend is, that dear Numps ? will be angry I have published these lines; not that he has any reason to be ashamed of them, but for fear of those rogues, the bane to all excellent performances, the imitators. Therefore, beforehand, I bar all de
2 Dean Swift. See Swift's Works, vol. vii. p. 57. Svo. edit. 1801. Tatler, No 238.