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these two principles of action draw different ways, | Persius has given us a very humorous account of a young fellow who was roused out of his bed in order to be sent upon a long voyage by Avarice, and afterward over-persuaded and kept at home by Luxury. I shall set down the pleadings of these two imaginary persons, as they are in the original, with Mr. Dryden's translation of them:

Eheu!

Mane, piger, stertis: surge, inquit Avaritia, eja
Surge: Negas: instat: surge, inquit. Non queo. Surge
Et quid agam? Rogitas? saperdas advehe ponto,
Castoreum, stuppas, hebenum, thus, lubrica Coa.
Tolle recens primus piper e sitiente camelo.
Verte aliquid; jura. Sed Jupiter audiet.
Baro, regustatum digito terebrare salinum
Contentus perages, si vivere cum Jove tendis.
Jam pueris pellem succinctus et oenophorum aptas
Ocyus ad navem. Nil obstat quin trabe vasta
Egæum rapias, nisi solers Luxuria ante
Seductum moneat; quo deinde, insane, ruis? Quo?
Quid tibi vis? Calido sub pectore mascula bilis
Intumuit, quam non extinxerit urna cicuta?
Tun' mare transilias? Tibi torta cannabe fulto
Coena sit in transtro? Veientanumque rubellum
Exhalet vapida læsum pice sessilis obba?

Quid petis? Ut nummi, quos hic quincunce modesto
Nutrieras, pergant avidos sudare deunces?
Indulge genio: carpamus dulcia: nostrum est
Quod vivis; cinis, et manes, et fabula fies.

Vive memor lethi: fugit hora. Hoc quod loquor, inde est.
En quid agis? Duplici in diversum scinderis hamo;
Hunccine, ad hunc sequeris?
SAT. v, 132.*

Whether alone, or in thy harlot's lap,
When thou wouldst take a lazy morning's nap;
Up, up, says Avarice; thou snor'st again,
Stretchest thy limbs and yawn'st, but all in vain.
The rugged tyrant no denial takes;

At his command th' unwilling sluggard wakes.
What must I do? he cries; What? says his lord;
Why rise, make ready, and go straight aboard:
With fish, from Euxine seas, thy vessel freight;
Flax, castor, Coan wines, the precious weight
Of pepper, and Sabean incense, take?
With thy own hands, from the tir'd camel's back,
And with post-haste thy running markets make.
Be sure to turn the penny: lie and swear,
Tis wholesome sin: but Jove, thou say'st, will hear.
Swear, fool, or starve, for the dilemma's even;
A tradesman thou! and hope to go to heav'n?

Resolv'd for sea, the slaves thy baggage pack,
Each saddled with his burthen on his back:
Nothing retards thy voyage now, but he,
That soft voluptuous prince, call'd Luxury;
And he may ask this civil question: Friend,
What dost thou make a-shipboard? to what end?
Art thou of Bethlem's noble college free?
Stark, staring mad, that thou wouldst tempt the sea?
Cubb'd in a cabin, on a mattress laid,

On a brown George, with lousy swobbers fed;
Dead wine that stinks of the Borachio, sup
From a foul jack or greasy maple cup?

is secur

Say, wouldst thou bear all this, to raise thy store From six i th' hundred to six hundred more? Indulge, and to thy genius freely give; For, not to live at ease, is not to live. Death stalks behind thee, and each flying hour Does some loose remnant of thy life devour. Live while thou liv'st; for death will make us all A name, a nothing but an old wife's tale. Speak: wilt thou Avarice or Pleasure choose To be thy lord? Take one, and one refuse. When a government flourishes in conquests, and cure from foreign attacks, it naturally falls into all the pleasures of luxury; and as these pleasures are very expensive, they put those who are addicted to them upon raising fresh supplies of money by all the methods of rapaciousness and corruption; so that avarice and luxury very often become one complicated principle of action, in those whose hearts are wholly set upon ease, magnificence, and pleasure. The most elegant and correct of all the Latin historians observes, that in his time, when the most formidable states in the world were subdued by the Romans, the republic sank into those two vices of a quite different nature, luxury and avarice:t and accordingly describes

See Boileau, sat. iii, who has imitated this passage very

happily.

Alieni appetens, sui profusus.

Catiline as one who coveted the wealth of other men, at the same time that he squandered away his own. This observation on the commonwealth, when it was in its height of power and riches, holds good of all governments that are settled in a state of ease and prosperity. At such times men naturally endeavor to outshine one another in pomp and splendor, and having no fears to alarm them from abroad, indulge themselves in the enjoyment of all the pleasures they can get into their possession; which naturally produces avarice, and an immoderate pursuit after wealth and riches.

As I was humoring myself in the speculation of these two great principles of action, I could not forbear throwing my thoughts into a little kind of allegory or fable, with which I shall here present my reader.

ry.

At

There were two very powerful tyrants engaged in a perpetual war against each other; the name of the first was Luxury, and of the second Avarice. The aim of each of them was no less than universal monarchy over the hearts of mankind. Luxury had many generals under him, who did him great service, as Pleasure, Mirth, Pomp, and Fashion. Avarice was likewise very strong in his officers, being faithfully served by Hunger, Industry, Care, and Watchfulness: he had likewise a privy-counselor who was always at his elbow, and whispering something or other in his ear: the name of this privy-counselor was Poverty.As Avarice conducted himself by the counsels of Poverty, his antagonist was entirely guided by the dictates and advice of Plenty, who was his first counselor and minister of state, that concerted all his measures for him, and never departed out of his sight. While these two great rivals were thus contending for empire, their conquests were very various:-Luxury got possession of one heart, and Avarice of another. The father of a family would often range himself under the banners of Avarice, and the son under those of LuxuThe wife and husband would often declare themselves on the two different parties; nay, the same person would very often side with one in his youth, and revolt to the other in his old age. Indeed the wise men of the world stood neuter; but, alas! their numbers were not considerable. length, when these two potentates had wearied themselves with waging war upon one another, they agreed upon an interview, at which none of their counselors were to be present. It is said that Luxury began the parley, and after having represented the endless state of war in which they were engaged, told his enemy, with a frankness of heart which is natural to him, that he believed they two should be very good friends, were it not for the instigations of Poverty, that pernicious counselor, who made an ill use of his ear, and filled him with groundless apprehensions and prejudices. To this Avarice replied, that he looked upon Plenty (the first minister of his antagonist) to be a much more destructive counselor than Poverty, for that he was perpetually suggesting pleasures, banishing all the necessary cautions against want, and consequently undermining those principles on which the government of Avarice was founded. At last, in order to an accommodation, they agreed upon this preliminary; that each of them should immediately dismiss his privy-counselor. When things were thus far adjusted toward a peace, all other differences were soon accommodated, insomuch that for the future they resolved to live as good friends and confederates, and to share between them whatever conquests were made on either side. For this reason we now find Luxury and Avarice taking posses

sion of the same heart, and dividing the same | to be. He no sooner got rid of his impote person between them. To which I shall only add, that since the discarding of the counselors abovementioned, Avarice supplies Luxury in the room of Plenty, as Luxury prompts Avarice in the place of Poverty.-C.

No. 56.] FRIDAY, MAY 4, 1711.
Felices errore suo LUCan., i, 454.
Happy in their mistake.

my, but he marched up to the wood, an having surveyed it for some time, endeav press into one part of it that was a little than the rest; when again, to his great s he found the bushes made no resistance, b he walked through briers and brambles w same ease as through the open air; and in that the whole wood was nothing else but of shades. He immediately concluded, th huge thicket of thorns and brakes was de as a kind of fence or quickset hedge to the it inclosed; and that probably their so stances might be torn by these subtile poin prickles, which were too weak to make any i sions on flesh and blood. With this thou

THE Americans believe that all creatures have souls, not only men and women, but brutes, vegetables, nay, even the most inanimate things, as stocks and stones. They believe the same of all the works of art, as of knives, boats, looking-resolved to travel through this intricate glasses; and that as any of these things perish, when by degrees he felt a gale of perfumes their souls go into another world, which is in- ing upon him, that grew stronger and swe habited by the ghosts of men and women. For proportion as he advanced. He had not pro this reason they always place by the corpse of much farther, when he observed the thor their dead friend a bow and arrows, that he may briers to end, and give place to a thousand make use of the souls of them in the other world, tiful green trees covered with blossoms as he did of their wooden bodies in this. How finest scents and colors, that formed a wild absurd soever such an opinion as this may appear, of sweets, and were a kind of lining to tho our European philosophers have maintained seve- ged scenes which he had before passed th ral notions altogether as improbable. Some of As he was coming out of this delightful Plato's followers in particular, when they talk of the wood, and entering upon the plains the world of ideas, entertain us with substances closed, he saw several horsemen rushing b and beings no less extravagant and chimerical. and a little while after heard the cry of a p Many Aristotelians have likewise spoken as unin- dogs. He had not listened long before he's telligibly of their substantial forms. I shall only apparition of a milk-white steed, with a instance Albertus Magnus, who, in his disserta- man on the back of it, advancing upo tion upon the loadstone, observing that fire will stretch after the souls of about a hundred b destroy its magnetic virtues, tells us that he took that were hunting down the ghost of a particular notice of one as it lay glowing amidst which ran away before them with an unspe a heap of burning coals, and that he perceived a swiftness. As the man on the milk-white certain blue vapor to arise from it, which he became by him, he looked upon him lieved might be the substantial form, that is, in ly, and found him to be the young prince our West Indian phrase, the soul of the load-ragua, who died about half a year before, a reason of his great virtues, was at tha lamented over all the western parts of Ame

stone.

very att

There is a tradition among the Americans, that one of their countrymen descended in a vision to He had no sooner got out of the wood, the great repository of souls, or, as we call it was entertained with such a landscape of f here, to the other world: and that upon his return plains, green meadows, running streams, he gave his friends a distinct account of every-hills, and shady vales, as were not to be thing he saw among those regions of the dead. sented by his own expressions, nor, as he sa A friend of mine, whom I have formerly men- the conceptions of others. This happy tioned, prevailed upon one of the interpreters of was peopled with innumerable swarms of s the Indian kings, to inquire of them, if possible, who applied themselves to exercises and what tradition they have among them of this mat- sions, according as their fancies led them. ter: which, as well as he could learn by those of them were tossing the figure of a quoit; many questions which he asked them at several were pitching the shadow of a bar; others times, was in substance as follows: breaking the apparition of a horse; and tudes employing themselves upon ingenious crafts with the souls of departed utensils, fo is the name which in the Indian language give their tools when they are burnt or b As he traveled through this delightful sce was very often tempted to pluck the flower rose everywhere about him in the greatest v and profusion, having never seen several of in his own country; but he quickly found though they were the objects of his, sight, were not liable to his touch. He at length to the side of a great river, and being a good erman himself, stood upon the banks of it time to look upon an angler that had taken a many shapes of fishes, which lay flouncing u down by him.

The visionary, whose name was Marraton, after having traveled for a long space under a hollow mountain arrived at length on the confines of this world of spirits, but could not enter it by reason of a thick forest made up of bushes, brambles, and pointed thorns, so perplexed and interwoven with one another that it was impossible to find a passage through it. While he was looking about for some track or pathway that might be worn in any part of it, he saw a huge lion couched under the side of it, who kept his eye upon him in the same posture as when he watches for his prey. The Indian immediately started back, while the lion rose with a spring, and leaped toward him. Being wholly destitute of all other weapons, he stooped down to take a huge stone in his hand; but to his infinite surprise grasped nothing, and found the supposed stone to be only the apparition of one. If he was disappointed on this side, he was as much pleased on the other, when he found the lion, which had seized on his left shoulder, had no power to hurt him, and was only the ghost of that ravenous creature which it appeared

I should have told my reader, that this I had been formerly married to one of the gn beauties of his country, by whom he had s children. This couple were so famous for love and constancy to one another, that th dians to this day, when they give a married joy of his wife, wish they may live together

Marraton and Yaratilda. Marraton had not stood town and court: as what lady shows the nicest long by the fisherman when he saw the shadow fancy in her dress; what man of quality wears of his beloved Yaratilda, who had for some time the fairest wig; who has the finest linen, who fixed her eye upon him, before he discovered her. the prettiest snuff-box; with many other the like Her arms were stretched out toward him, floods curious remarks, that may be made in good comof tears ran down her eyes: her looks, her hands, pany. her voice, called him over to her; and at the same On the other hand, I have very frequently the time seemed to tell him that the river was impass- opportunity of seeing a rural Andromache, who able. Who can describe the passion made up came up to town last winter, and is one of the of joy, sorrow, love, desire, astonishment, that greatest fox-hunters in the country. She talks of rose in the Indian upon the sight of his dear Ya- hounds and horses, and makes nothing of leaping ratilda? He could express it by nothing but his over a six-bar gate. If a man tells her a waggish tears, which ran like a river down his cheeks as story, she gives him a push with her hand in jest, he looked upon her. He had not stood in this and calls him an impudent dog; and if her serposture long, before he plunged into the stream vant neglects his business, threatens to kick him that lay before him; and finding it to be nothing out of the house. I have heard her in her wrath but the phantom of a river, stalked on the bot-call a substantial tradesman a lousy cur; and tom of it till he arose on the other side. At his remember one day, when she could not think of approach Yaratilda flew into his arms, while Mar- the name of a person, she described him in a large raton wished himself disencumbered of that body company of men and ladies by the fellow with the which kept her from his embraces. After many broad shoulders. questions and endearments on both sides, she If those speeches and actions, which in their conducted him to a bower which she had dressed own nature are indifferent, appear ridiculous when with all the ornaments that could be met with in they proceed from a wrong sex, the faults and imthose blooming regions. She had made it gay perfections of one sex transplanted into another beyond imagination, and was every day adding appear black and monstrous. As for the men, I something new to it. As Marraton stood aston- shall not in this paper any farther concern myished at the unspeakable beauty of her habita- self about them; but as I would fain contribute tion, and ravished with the fragrancy that came to make womankind, which is the most beautiful from every part of it, Yaratilda told him that she part of creation, entirely amiable, and wear out was preparing this bower for his reception, as well all those little spots and blemishes that are apt knowing that his piety to his God, and his faith- to rise among the charms which nature has poured ful dealing toward men, would certainly bring out upon them, I shall dedicate this paper to him to that happy place whenever his life should their service. The spot which I would here enbe at an end. She then brought two of her chil-deavor to clear them of, is that party rage which dren to him, who died some years before, and re- of late years is very much crept into their conversided with her in the same delightful bower; ad-sation. This is, in its nature, a male vice, and vising him to breed up those others which were made up of many angry and cruel passions that still with him in such a manner, that they might are altogether repugnant to the softness, the modhereafter all of them meet together in this happy esty, and those other endearing qualities which place. are natural to the fair sex. Women were formed The tradition tells us farther, that he had after-to temper mankind, and soothe them into tenderward a sight of those dismal habitations which ness and compassion; not to set an edge upon are the portion of ill men after death; and men- their minds, and blow up in them those passions tions several molten seas of gold, in which were which are too apt to rise of their own accord. plunged the souls of barbarous Europeans, who When I have seen a pretty mouth uttering calumput to the sword so many thousands of poor In-nies and invectives, what would I not have given dians for the sake of that precious metal. But to have stopt it? How I have been troubled to having already touched upon the chief points of see some of the finest features in the world grow this tradition, and exceeded the measure of my pale and tremble with party rage! Camilla is one paper, I shall not give any farther account of it. of the greatest beauties in the British nation, and C. yet values herself more upon being the virago of one party, than upon being the toast of both. The dear creature, about a week ago, encountered the fierce and beautiful Penthesilea across a teatable, but in the height of her anger, as her hand chanced to shake with the earnestness of the dispute, she scalded her fingers, and spilt a dish of tea upon her petticoat. Had not this accident broken off the debate, nobody knows where it would have ended.

No. 57.] SATURDAY, MAY 5, 1711. Quem præstare potest mulier galeata pudorem, Quæ fugit a sexu?Juv., Sat. vi, 251. What sense of shame in woman's breast can lie, Inur'd to arms, and her own sex to fly? WHEN the wife of Hector, in Homer's Iliad, discourses with her husband about the battle in which he was going to engage, the hero, desiring her to leave the matter to his care, bids her go to her maids, and mind her spinning: by which the poet intimates, that men and women ought to busy themselves in their proper spheres, and on such matters only as are suitable to their respec

tive sex.

I am at this time acquainted with a young gentleman, who has passed a great part of his life in the nursery, and upon occasion can make a caudle or a sack-posset better than any man in England. He is likewise a wonderful critic in cambric and muslins, and he will talk an hour together upon a sweet-meat. He entertains his mother every night with observations that he makes both in

There is one consideration which I would earnestly recommend to all my female readers, and which, I hope, will have some weight with them. In short, it is this, that there is nothing so bad for the face as party zeal. It gives an ill-natured cast to the eye, and a disagreeable sourness to the look: beside that it makes the lines too strong, and flushes them worse than brandy. I have seen a woman's face break out in heats, as she had been talking against a great lord, whom she had never seen in her life; and indeed I never knew a party-woman that kept her beauty for a twelvemonth. I would therefore advise all my female readers, as they value their complexions, to let alone all disputes of this nature; though, at the same time, I would give free liberty to all surr

annuated motherly partisans to be as violent as they please, since there will be no danger either of their spoiling their faces, or of their gaining

converts.

For my own part, I think a man makes an odious and despicable figure, that is violent in a party; but a woman is too sincere to mitigate the fury of her principles with temper and discretion, and to act with that caution and reservedness which are requisite in our sex. When this unnatural zeal gets into them, it throws them into ten thousand heats and extravagances; their generous souls set no bounds to their love or to their hatred; and whether a whig or a tory, a lap-dog or a gallant, an opera or a puppet-show, be the object of it, the passion, while it reigns, engrosses the whole woman.

I remember, when Dr. Titus Oates* was in all his glory, I accompanied my friend Will Honeycomb in a visit to a lady of his acquaintance. We were no sooner sat down, but upon casting my eyes about the room, I found in almost every corner of it a print that represented the doctor in all magnitudes and dimensions. A little after, as the lady was discoursing with my friend, and held her snuff-box in her hand, who should I see in the lid of it but the doctor! It was not long after this when she had occasion for her handkerchief, which, upon first opening, discovered among the plaits of it the figure of the doctor. Upon this my friend Will, who loves raillery, told her, that if he was in Mr. Truelove's place (for that was the name of her husband), he should be made as uneasy by a handkerchief as ever Othello was. "I am afraid,” said she, "Mr. Honeycomb, you are a tory: tell me truly, are you a friend to the doctor or not?" Will, instead of making her a reply, smiled in her face (for indeed she was very pretty) and told her that one of her patches was dropping off. She immediately adjusted it, and looking a little serious, "Well," says she, "I will be hanged if you and your silent friend there are not against the doctor in your hearts; I suspected as much by his saying nothing." Upon this she took her fan in her hand, and upon the opening of it, again displayed to us the figure of the doc tor, who was placed with great gravity among the sticks of it. In a word, I found that the doctor had taken possession of her thoughts, her discourse, and most of her furniture; but finding myself pressed too close by her question, I winked upon my friend to take his leave, which he did accordingly.-C.

No. 58.] MONDAY, MAY 7, 1711.
Ut pictura, poesis erit.—HOR., Ars. Poet., ver. 361.
Poems like pictures are.

NOTHING is so much admired, and so little understood, as wit. No author that I know of has written professedly upon it, and as for those who make any mention of it, they only treat on the subject as it has accidentally fallen in their way, and that too in little short reflections, or in general exclamatory flourishes, without entering into the bottom of the matter. I hope, therefore, I shall perform an acceptable work to my country. men, if I treat at large upon this subject; which I shall endeavor to do in a manner suitable to it, that I may not incur the censure which a famous critic bestows upon one who had written a treatise on the sublime," in a low groveling style. I intend to lay aside a whole week for this under

Though the name of Dr. T. Oates is made use of here, Dr. Sacheverel is the person alluded to.

taking, that the scheme of my thoughts m be broken and interrupted; and I dare p myself, if my readers will give me a weel tention, that this great city will be very changed for the better by next Saturday nig shall endeavor to make what I say intellig ordinary capacities; but if my readers mee any paper that in some parts of it may be out of their reach, I would not have the couraged, for they may assure themselves th shall be much clearer.

As the great and only end of these my s tions is to banish vice and ignorance out territories of Great Britain, I shall endea much as possible to establish among us a t polite writing. It is with this view that endeavored to set my readers right in points relating to operas and tragedies; an from time to time impart my notions of c as I think they may tend to its refineme perfection. I find by my bookseller, tha papers of criticism, with that upon humo inet with a more kind reception than in could have hoped for from such subjects; fo reason I shall enter upon my present unde with greater cheerfulness.

In this, and one or two following papers. trace out the history of false wit, and dist the several kinds of it as they have preva different ages of the world. This I think t necessary at present, because I observed the attempts on foot last winter to revive some antiquated modes of wit that have been ploded out of the commonwealth of letters. were several satires and panegyrics hande in acrostic, by which means some of the rant undisputed blockheads about the tow to entertain ambitious thoughts, and to se polite authors. I shall therefore describe a those many arts of false wit, in which does not show himself a man of a beautiful but of great industry.

The first species of false wit which I h with is venerable for its antiquity, and 1 duced several pieces which have lived v as long as the Iliad itself: I mean tho poems printed among the minor Greel which resemble the figure of an egg, a wings, an ax, a shepherd's pipe, and an al

As for the first, it is a little oval poem, a not improperly be called a scholar's egg. endeavor to hatch it, or, in more intelligi guage, to translate it into English, did n the interpretation of it very difficult; for th seems to have been more intent upon the his poem than upon the sense of it.

The pair of wings consists of twelve v rather feathers, every verse decreasing g in its measure according to its situatio wing. The subject of it (as in the res poems which follow) bears some remote with the figure, for it describes a god of l is always painted with wings.

The ax, methinks, would have been figure for a lampoon, had the edge of it of the most satirical parts of the work; is in the original, I take it to have been else but the posy of an ax which was co to Minerva, and was thought to have same that Epeus made use of in the bui the Trojan horse; which is a hint I shall the consideration of the crities. I am apt that the posy was written originally upo like those which our modern cutlers inscr their knives; and that therefore the posy mains in its original shape, though the a lost.

The shepherd's pipe may be said to be full of music, for it is composed of nine different kinds of verses, which by their several lengths resemble the nine stops of the old musical instrument, that is likewise the subject of the poem.

The altar is inscribed with the epitaph of Troilus, the son of Hecuba; which, by the way, makes me believe that these false pieces of wit are much more ancient than the authors to whom they are generally ascribed: at least I will never be persuaded that so fine a writer as Theocritus could have been the author of any such simple works.

It was impossible for a man to succeed in these performances who was not a kind of painter, or at least a designer. He was first of all to draw the outline of the subject which he intended to write upon, and afterward conform the description to the figure of his subject. The poetry was to contract or dilate itself according to the mould in which it was cast. In a word, the verses were to be cramped or extended to the dimensions of the frame that was prepared for them, and to undergo the fate of those persons whom the tyrant Procrustes used to lodge in his iron bed-if they were too short, he stretched them on a rack; and if they were too long, chopped off a part of their legs, till they fitted the couch which he had prepared for

them.

[blocks in formation]

Choose for thy command
Some peaceful province in acrostic land;

There may'st thou wings display, and altars raise, And torture one poor word a thousand ways. This fashion of false wit was revived by several poets of the last age, and in particular may be met with among Mr. Herbert's poems; and, if I am not mistaken, in the translation of Du Bartas. I do not remember any other kind of work among the moderns which more resembles the performances I have mentioned, than that famous picture of King Charles the First, which has the whole book of psalms written in the lines of the face and the hair of the head. When I was last at Oxford I perused one of the whiskers, and was reading the other, but could not go so far in it as I would have done by reason of the impatience of my friends and fellow-travelers, who all of them pressed to see such a piece of curiosity. I have since heard that there is now an eminent writing-master in town who has transcribed all the whole Testament in a full-bottomed periwig: and if the fashion would introduce the thick kind of wigs which were in vogue some few years ago, he promises to add two or three supernumerary locks that should contain all the Apocrypha. He designed this wig originally for king William, having disposed of the two books of Kings in the two forks of the foretop; but that glorious monarch dying before the wig was finished, there is a space left in it for the face of any one that has a mind to purchase it.

But to return to our ancient poems in picture. I would humbly propose, for the benefit of our modern smatterers in poetry, that they would imitate their brethren among the ancients in those ingenious devices. I have communicated this thought to a young poetical lover of my acquaintance, who intends to present his mistress with a copy of verses made in the shape of her fan; and, if he tells me true, has already finished the three first sticks of it. He has likewise promised me to get the measure of his mistress's marriage finger, with a design to make a posy in the fashion of a ring,

which shall exactly fit it. It is so very easy to I enlarge upon a good hint, that I do not question but my ingenious readers will apply what I have said to many other particulars: and that we shall see the town filled in a very little time with poetical tippets, handkerchiefs, snuff-boxes, and the like female ornaments. I shall therefore conclude with a word of advice to those admirable English authors who call themselves Pindaric writers, that they would apply themselves to this kind of wit without loss of time, as being provided better than any other poets with verses of all sizes and dimensions.-C.

No. 59.] TUESDAY, MAY 8, 1711. Operose nihil agunt.-SENECA.

Busy about nothing.

THERE is nothing more certain, than that every man would be a wit if he could; and notwithstanding pedants of a pretended depth and solidity are apt to decry the writings of a polite author as flash and froth, they all of them show, upon occasion, that they would spare no pains to arrive at the character of those whom they seem to despise. For this reason we often find them endeavoring at works of fancy, which cost them infinite pangs in the production. The truth of it is, a man had better be a galley-slave than a wit, were one to gain that title by those elaborate trifles which have been the inventions of such authors as were often masters of great learning, but no genius.

In my last paper I mentioned some of these false wits among the ancients, and in this shall give the reader two or three other species of them, that flourished in the same early ages of the world. The first I shall produce are the lipogrammatists or letter-droppers of antiquity, that would take an exception, without any reason, against some particular letter in the alphabet, so as not to admit it once into a whole poem. One Tryphiodorus was a great master in this kind of writing. He composed an Odyssey or epic poem on the adventures of Ulysses, consisting of four and twenty books, having entirely banished the letter A from the first book, which was called Alpha (as lucus à non lucendo) because there was not an alpha in it. His second book was inscribed Beta for the same reason. In short, the poet excluded the whole four and twenty letters in their turns, and showed them, one after another, that he could do his business without them.

It must have been very pleasant to have seen this poet avoiding the reprobate letter, as much as another would a false quantity, and making his escape from it through the several Greek dialects, when he was pressed with it in any particular syllable. For the most apt and elegant word in the whole language was rejected, like a diamond with a flaw in it, if it appeared blemished with a wrong letter. I shall only observe upon this head, that if the work I have here mentioned had been now extant, the Odyssey of Tryphiodorus, in all probability, would have been oftener quoted by our learned pedants, than the Odyssey of Homer. What a perpetual fund would it have been of obsolete words and phrases, unusual barbarisms and rusticities, absurd spellings, and complicated dialects? I make no question but it would have been looked upon as one of the most valuable treasuries of the Greek tongue.

I find likewise among the ancients that ingenious kind of conceit, which the moderns distinguish by the name of a rebus, that does not sink a letter, but a whole word, by substituting a picture in its place. When Caesar was one of the masters of the Roman mint, he placed the figure

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