Page images

capable either of them to recede from the choice they had made. A poor galley-slave , who had thrown down his chains , took up the gout in their stead, but made such wry faces, that one might easily perceive he was no great gainer by the bargain. It was pleasant enough to see the several exchanges that were made , for sickness against poverty, hunger against want of appetite , and care against pain.

The female world were very busy among themselves in bartering for features ; one was trucking a lock of grey hairs for a carbuncle, another was making over a short waist for a pair of round shoulders, and a third cheapening a bad face for a lost reputation : but on all these occasions, there was not one of them who did not think the new blemish, as soon as she had got it into her possession , much more disagreeable, than the old one. I made the same observation on every other misfortune or calamity, which every one in the assembly brought upon himself, in lieu of what he had parted with; whether it be that all the evils which befal us are in some measure suited and proportioned to our strength, or that every evil becomes more supportable by our being accustomed to it, I shall not determine.

I could not for my heart forbear pitying the poor hump-backed gentleman mentioned in the former paper ,

who went off a very well shaped person with a stone in his bladder ; nor the fine gentleman who had struck up this bargain with him, that limped through a whole assembly of ladies who used to admire him, with a pair of shoulders peeping over his head.

I must not omit my own particular adventure. My friend with the long visage had no sooner taken


him face ; but he made such a grotesque figure in it, that as I looked upon him I could not forbear laughing at myself, insomuch that I put my own face out of countenance. The poor gentleman was so sensible of the ridicule, that I found he was ashamed of what he had done; on the other side, I found that I myself had no great reason to triumph, for as I went to touch


forehead I missed the place, and clapped my finger upon my upper lip. Besides, as my nose was exceeding prominent, I gave it two or three ynlucky knocks as I was playing my hand about my face, and aiming at some other

my short

[ocr errors]

part of it. I saw two other gentlemen by me, who were in the same ridiculous circumstances. These had made a foolish swop between a couple of thick bandy legs, and two long trapsticks that had no calfs to them. One of these looked like a man walking upon stilts, and was so lifted up into the air , above his ordinary height, that his head turned round with it, while the other made such awkward circles , as he attempted to walk, that he scarce knew how to move forward upon his new supporters : observing him to be a pleasant kind of fellow , I stuck my cane in the ground, and told him I would lay him a bottle of wine, that he did not march up to it on a line , that I drew for him , in a quarter of an hour.

The leap was at last distributed among the two sexes ,

who made a most piteous sight, as they wandered up and down under the pressure of their several burdens. The whole plain was filled with murmurs and complaints, groans, and lamentations. Jupiter at length, taking compassion on the poor mortals , ordered them a second time to lay down their loads, with a design to give every one his own again. They discharg


[ocr errors]

ed themselves with a great deal of pleasure : after which , the phantom , who had led them into such gross delusions commanded to disappear. There was sent in her stead a goddess of a quite different figure : her motions were steady and composed , and her aspect serious but cheerful. She every now and then cast her eyes towards heaven, and fixed them upon Jupiter : her name was Patience. She had no sooner placed herself by the mount of sorrows, but, what I thought very remarkable, the whole heap sunk to such a degree, that it did not appear a third part so big as it was before. She afterwards returned every man his own proper calamity , and teaching him how to bear it in the most commodious manner he marched off with it contentedly, being very well pleased that he had not been left to his own choice, as to the kind of evils which fell to his lot.

Besides the several pieces of morality to be drawn out of this vision , I learned from it never to repine at my own misfortunes, or to envy the happiness of another, since, it is impossible for any man to form a right judgment of his neighbour's sufferings; for which reason also, I have determined never


[ocr errors]

to think too lightly of another's complaints, but to regard the sorrows of my

fellowcreatures with sentiments of humanity and compassion.



I have received numerous complaints from several delicious dreamers, desiring me to invent some method of silencing those noisy slaves, whose occupations lead them to take their early rounds about the city in a morning, doing a deal of mischief; and working strange confusion in the affairs of its inhabitants. Several monarchs have done me the honour to acquaint me, how often they have been shook from their respective thrones by the rattling of a coach, or the rum. bling of a wheel-barrow. And many private gentlemen , I find, have been bawled out of vast estates by fellows not worth threepence. A fair lady was just upon the point of being married to a young, handsome , rich , ingenious nobleman, when an imper. tinent tinker passing by forbid the banns


« PreviousContinue »