« PředchozíPokračovat »
her innocence in another. Will you, virtuous men, allow no alteration of offences? Muft dear Chloe be called by the hard name you pious people give to common women? I keep the folemn promife I made you, in writing to you the state of my mind, after your * kind admonition; and will endeavour to get the better of this fondness, which makes me fo much her ⚫ humble fervant, that I am almost ashamed to subscribe • myself yours,
THERE is no ftate of life fo anxious as that of a man who does not live according to the dictates of ⚫ his own reason. It will feem odd to you, when I af'fure you that my love of retirement firft of all brought C me to court; but this will be no riddle, when I acquaint you that I placed myself here with a defign of getting fo much money as might enable ine to pur'chafe a handfome retreat in the country. At present my circumftances enable me, and my duty prompts me, to pass away the remaining part of my life in 'fuch a retirement as I at firft propofed to myfelf; but to my great misfortune I have entirely loft the relifh of it, and fhould now return to the country with greater reluctance than I at first came to court. 'I am fo unhappy, as to know that what I am fond of are trifles, and that what I neglect is of the greatest importance in fhort, I find a conteft in my own mind 'between reafon and fashion. I remember you once told me, that I might live in the world, and out of it, at the fame time. Let me beg of you to explain this paradox more at large to me, that I may conform my life, if poffible, both to my duty and my inclination.
‹ I am,
Your moft humble fervant,
Monday, April 2.
-Neque femper arcum
HOR. Od. 10. 1. 2. ver. 19.
Nor does Apollo always bend his bow.
I SHALL here prefent my reader with a letter from
a projector, concerning a new office which he thinks may very much contribute to the embellishment of the city, and to the driving barbarity out of our streets. L confider it as a fatire upon projectors in general, and a lively picture of the whole art of modern criticifm.
'OBSERVING that you have thoughts of creating certain officers under you, for the inspection of feveral petty enormities which you yourself cannot attend to; and finding daily abfurdities hung out upon the fign-pofts of this city, to the great fcandal of foreigners, as well as thofe of our own country, who are curious fpectators of the fame: I do humbly propofe, that you would be pleased to make me your fuperintendent of all fuch figures and devices as are or 'fhall be made ufe of on this occafion; with full powers to rectify or expunge whatever I fhall find irregular or defective. For want of fuch an officer, there is nothing like found literature and good fenfe to be met "with in thofe objects, that are every where thrusting themselves out to the eye, and endeavouring to be6. come vifible. Our streets are filled with blue boars, 'black fwans, and red lions; not to mention flying pigs, ' and hogs in armour, with many other creatures more extraordinary than any in the deferts of Afric. Strange! that one who has all the birds and beats in 'nature to choose out of, should live at the fign of an Ens Rationis!
'My first task therefore fhould be, like that of Hercules, to clear the city from monfters. In the fecond place I would forbid, that creatures of jarring and incongruous natures, fhould be joined together in the fame fign; fuch as the bell and the neat's-tongue, 'the dog and gridiron. The fox and goofe may be fuppofed to have met, but what has the fox and the feven ftars to do together? and when did the lamb ⚫ and dolphin ever meet, except upon a fign-post? as for the cat and fiddle, there is a conceit in it; and there'fore I do not intend that any thing I have here said 'fhould affect it. I must however obferve to you upon this fubject, that it is ufual for a young tradefman, at his first fetting up, to add to his own fign that of the mafter whom he served; as the husband, after marriage, gives a place to his mistress's arms in his own 6 coat. This I take to have given rife to many of those ⚫ abfurdities which are committed over our heads; and, as I am informed, firft occafioned the three nuns and a hare, which we fee fo frequently joined together. E ' would therefore establish certain rules, for the determining how far one tradefman may give the fign of another, and in what cafes he may be allowed to quar" ter it with his own.
In the third place, I would enjoin every shop to make use of a fign which bears fome affinity to the wares in which it deals. What can be more inconfiftent, than to fee a bawd at the fign of the angel, or 6 a tailor at the lion a cook fhould not live at the 'boot, nor a shoemaker at the roasted pig; and yet for want of this regulation, I have feen a goat fet up be⚫fore the door of a perfumer, and the French king's head at a fword-cutler's.
An ingenious foreigner obferves, that several of those gentlemen who value themselves upon their families, ⚫ and overlook such as are bred to trade, bear the tools of their forefathers in their coats of arms. I will not ⚫ examine how true this is in fact. But though it may not be neceffary for pofterity thus to fet up the fign of their forefathers, I think it highly proper for those who actually profefs the trade, to fhew fome fuch marks of it before their doors.
"When the name gives an occafion for an ingenious. fign-poft, I would likewise advise the owner to take that opportunity of letting the world know who he is. It would have been ridiculous for the ingenious Mrs. Salmon to have lived at the fign of the trout; 'for which reafon fhe has erected before her house the figure of the fish that is her name-fake. Mr. Bell has likewife diftinguifhed himself by a device of the fame nature and here, fir, I muft beg leave to obferve to you, that this particular figure of a bell has given " occafion to feveral pieces of wit in this kind. A man of your reading must know, that Abel Drugger gained great applaufe by it in the time of Ben Jonfon. Our apocryphal heathen god is alfo reprefented by this figure; which, in conjunction with the dragon, makes a very handfome picture in feveral of our ftreets. As for the bell-favage, which is the fign of a savage man ftanding by a bell, I was formerly very much puzzled upon the conceit of it, till I accidentally fell into the reading of an old romance tranflated out of the French; which gives an account of a very beautiful woman who was found in a wilderness, and is called ' in the French, La belle Sauvage; and is every where tranflated by our countrymen the Bell-Savage. This piece of philofophy will, I hope, convince you that I have made fign-pofts my ftudy, and confequently qualified myself for the employment which I folicit at your hands. But before I conclude my letter, I muft 'communicate to you another remark which I have "made upon the fubject with which I am now entertaining you, namely, that I can give a threwd guefs at the humour of the inhabitant by the fign that hangs before his door. A furly choleric fellow generally makes choice of a bear; as men of milder difpofitions frequently live at the lamb. Seeing a punch-bowl painted upon a fign near Charing-Crofs, and very curiously garnished, with a couple of angels hovering over it, and fqueezing a lemon into it, I had the curiofity to ask after the mafter of the house, and found, upon inquiry, as I had gueffed by the little Agrémens upon his fign, that he was a Frenchman. I know, fir, it is not requifite for me to enlarge upon.
these hints to a gentleman of your great abilities; fo humbly recommending myfelf to your favour and patronage,
I remain, &c.'
I fhall add to the foregoing letter, another which came to me by the fame penny-post.
my own apartment near Charing-Crofs.
• Honoured Sir,
HAVING heard that this nation is a great encourager of ingenuity, I have brought with me a ropedancer that was caught in one of the woods belonging to the great Mogul. He is by birth a monkey; but fwings upon a rope, takes a pipe of tobacco, and drinks a glass of ale, like any reasonable creature. He gives great fatisfaction to the quality; and if they will make a fubfcription for him, I will fend for a brother of his out of Holland that is a very good tumbler; and alfo for another of the fame family whom I defign for my Merry-Andrew, as being an excellent mimic, and the greateft droll in the country where he now is. I hope to have this entertainment in a 'readiness for the next winter; and doubt not but it
will please more than the opera or puppet-show. 'I will not fay that a monkey is a better man than some ' of the opera-heroes; but certainly he is a better reprefentative of a man, than the moft artificial conpofition of wood and wire. If you will be pleased to give me a good word in your paper, you shall be every night a fpectator at my show for nothing.