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Mr. SPECTATOR, "THE Lover's Lead which you mention in your
two hundred and twenty-third paper was generally, I believe, a very effectual cure for love, and not only for love, but for all other evils. In short, sir, I am afraid it was such a leap as that which Hero took to get rid of her passion for Leander. A man is in no danger of breaking his heart who breaks his neck to prevent it. I know very well the wonders which ancient authors relate concerning this leap; and in particular, that very many persons who tried it escaped not only with their lives but their limbs. If by this means they got rid of their love, though it may in part be ascribed to the reasons you give for it, why may not we suppose that the cold bath into which they plunged themselves had also some share in their cure? A leap into the sea, or into any creek of salt waters, very often gives a new motion to the spirits and a new turn to the blood, for which reason we prescribe it in distempers which no other medicine will reach. I could produce a quotation out of a very venerable author, in which the frenzy produced by love is compared to that which is produced by the biting of a mad dog. But as this comparison is a little too coarse for your paper, and might look as if it were cited to ridicule the author who has made use of it, I shall only hint at it, and desire you to consider whether, if the frenzy produced by these two different causes be of the same nature, it may not very properly be cured by the same means.
I am, Sir,
Mr. SPECTATOR, 'I AM a young woman crossed in love. My story
is very long and melancholy. To give you the heads of it, a young gentleman, after having made his applications to me for three years together, and filled my head with a thousand dreams of happiness, some few days since married another. Pray tell me in what part of the world your promontory lies, which you call the Lover's Leap, and whether one may go to it by land. But alas I am afraid it has lost its virtue, and that a woman of our times would find no more relief in taking such a leap, than in singing an hymn to Venus. So that I must cry out with Dido in Dryden's Virgil :
Ah, cruel Heaven! that made no cure for love !
Your disconsolate Servant,
Y heart is so full of loves and passions for ** Mrs. Gwinifrid, and she is so pettish and overrun with cholers against me, that if I had the good happiness to have my dwelling (which is placed by my great - cranfather upon the pottom of an hill) no farther distance but twenty mile from the Lover's Leap, I would indeed endeafour to preak my neck upon it on purpose. Now good Mister Spictatur of Crete Prittain, you must know it, there iss in Caernarvanshire a fery pig mountain, the clory of all Wales, which iss named Penmainmaure, and you must also know, it iss no great journey on foot from me; but the road is stony and bad for shoes. Now
there is upon the forehead of this mountain a very high rock (like a parish steeple) that cometh a huge deal over the sea; so when I am in my melancholies, and I do throw myself from it, I do desire my fery good friend to tell me in his Spictatur, if I shall be cure of my griefous losses; for there is the sea clear as the glass, and ass creen as the leek: then likewise, if I be drown, and preak my neck, if Mrs. Gwinifrid will not lose me afterwards. Pray be speedy in your answers, for I am in crete haste, and it is my tesires to do my pusiness without loss of time. I remain, with cordial affections, your ever loving Friend,
DavyTH AP SHENKYN.
‘P.S.-My lawsuits have brought me to London, but I have lost my causes; and so have made my resolutions to go down and leap before the frosts begin; for I am apt to take colds.'
Ridicule, perhaps, is a better expedient against love than sober advice, and I am of opinion that Hudibras and Don Quixote may be as effectual to cure the extravagances of this passion as any of the old philosophers. I shall therefore publish, very speedily, the translation of a little Greek manuscript, which is sent me by a learned friend. It appears to have been a piece of those records which were kept in the little temple of Apollo, that stood upon the promontory of Leucate. The reader will find it to be a summary account of several persons who tried the Lover's Leap, and of the success they found in it. As there seem to be in it some anachronisms and deviations from the ancient orthography, I am not wholly satisfied myself that it is authentic, and not rather the production of one of those Grecian sophisters, who have imposed upon the world several spurious works of this nature. I speak this by way of precaution, because I know there are several writers of uncommon erudition, who would not fail to expose my ignorance if they caught me tripping in a matter of so great moment.
No. 228. Wednesday, Nov. 21, 1711
Percunctatorem fugito, nam garrulus idem est.
-HoR., 1 Ep. xviii. 69. THERE is a creature who has all the organs of 1 speech, a tolerable good capacity for conceiv
ing what is said to it, together with a pretty proper behaviour in all the occurrences of common life; but naturally very vacant of thought in itself; and therefore forced to apply itself to foreign assistances. Of this make is that man who is very inquisitive: you may often observe that though he speaks as good sense as any man upon anything with which he is well acquainted, he cannot trust to the range of his own fancy to entertain himself upon that foundation, but goes on to still new inquiries. Thus, though you know he is fit for the most polite conversation, you shall see him very well contented to sit by a jockey giving an account of the many revolutions in his horse's health, what potion he made him take, how that agreed with him, how afterwards he came to his stomach and his exercise, or any the like impertinence; and be as well pleased as if you talked to him on the most important truths. This humour is far from making a man unhappy, though it may subject him to raillery; for he generally falls in with a person who seems to be born for him, which is your talkative fellow. It is so ordered that there is a secret bent, as natural as the meeting of different sexes, in these two characters, to supply each other's wants. I had the honour the other day to sit in a public room, and saw an inquisitive man look with an air of satisfaction upon the approach of one of these talkers. The man of ready utterance sat down by him; and rubbing his head, leaning on his arm, and making an uneasy countenance, he began: 'There is no manner of news to-day. I cannot tell what is the matter with me, but I slept very ill last night; whether I caught cold or no I know not, but I fancy I do not wear shoes thick enough for the weather, and I have coughed all this week : it must be so, for the custom of washing my head winter and summer with cold water prevents any injury from the season entering that way; so it must come in at my feet : but I take no notice of it; as it comes, so it goes. Most of our evils proceed from too much tenderness; and our faces are naturally as little able to resist the cold as other parts. The Indian answered very well to an European, who asked him how he could go naked : “I am all face.”
I observed this discourse was as welcome to my general inquirer as any other of more consequence could have been; but somebody calling our talker to another part of the room, the inquirer told the next man who sat by him that Mr. such a one, who was just gone from him, used to wash his head in cold water every morning; and so repeated almost verbatim all that had been said to him. The truth is, the inquisitive are the funnels of conversation;