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THE LIVES OF THE AUTHORS,
A NEW EDITION, CORRECTED,
THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR SUBJOINED TO EACH
PRINTED FOR J. NUNN; J. OTRIDGE; J. CU THELL; J. BOOKER;
S. BAGSTER; J. & A. ARCH; J. BOOTH; J. BLACK; GALE
WILLIAM HONEYCOMB, Esq. *.
HE seven former volumes of the Spectator having been dedicated to some of the most celebrated persons of the age, I take leave to inscribe this eighth and last to you, as to a gentleman who hath ever been ambitious of appearing in the best company.
You are now wholly retired from the busy part of mankind, and at leisure to reflect upon your past atchievements; for which reason I look upon you as a person very well qualified for a dedication.
1 might possibly disappoint my readers, and yourself too, if I do not endeavour on this occasion, to make the world acquainted with your virtues. And here, Sir, I shall not compliment you upon your birth, person, or fortune ; nor any other the like perfections which you possess, whether you will or no: but shall only touch upon those which are of your own acquiring, and in which every one must allow you have a real merit.
Your janty air and easy motion, the volubility of your discourse, the suddenness of your laugh, the management of your snuff-box, with the whiteness of your hands and teeth (which have justly gained you the envy of the most polite
of the most polite part of the male
world, and the love of the greatest beauties in the female) are entirely to be ascribed to your own personal genius and application.
You are formed for these accomplishments by a "happy turn of nature, and have finished yourself in them by the utmost improvements of art. that is defective in either of these qualifications (whatever may be the secret ambition of his heart) must never hope to make the figure you have done, among the fashionable part of his species. It is therefore no wonder we see such multitudes of aspiring young men fall short of you in all these beauties of your character, notwithstanding the study and practice of them is the whole business of their lives. But I need not tell you that the free and disengaged behaviour of a fine gentleman makes as many aukward beaux, as the easiness of your favourite Waller hath made insipid poets.
At present you are content to aim all your charms at your own spouse, without farther thought of mischief to any others of the sex. I know you had formerly a very great contempt for that pedantic race of mortals who call themselves philosophers; and yet, to your honour be it spoken, there is not a sage of them all could have better acted
to their precepts in one of the most important points of life: I mean, in that generous disregard of popular opinion which you shewed some years ago, when you chose for your wife an obscure young woman, , who doth not indeed pretend to an ancient family, but has certainly as many forefathers as any ladý in the land, if she could but reckon up their names.
I must own, I conceived very extraordinary hopes of you from the moment that you confessed your
age, and from eight-and-forty (where you had stuck so many years) very ingeniously stepped into your grand climacteric. Your deportment has since been very venerable and becoming. If I am rightly informed, you make a regular appearance every quarter-sessions among your brothers of the quorum ; and, if things go on as they do, stand fair for being a colonel of the militia. I am told that your time passes away as agreeably in the ainusements of a country life, as it ever did in the gallantries of the town; and that you now take as much pleasure in the planting of young trees, as you did formerly in the cutting down of your old ones. In short, we hear from all hands that you are thoroughly reconciled to your dirty acres, and have not too much wit to look into your own estate.
After having spoken thus much of my patron, I must take the privilege of an author in saying something of myself. I shall therefore beg leave to add, that I have purposely omitted setting those marks to the end of every paper, which appeared in my former volumes, that you may have an opportunity of shewing Mrs. Honeycomb the shrewdness of your conjectures, by ascribing every speculation to its proper author : though you know how often many profound critics in style and sentiments have very judiciously erred in this particular, before they were let into the secret.
I am, Sir,
THE SPECTATOR *.
* This Dedication has been attributed to Budgell.