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as it must be obvious to all reasonable beings, that the sooner a man speaks his mind, the more complaisant he is to the man with whom he talks : but, upon mature deliberation, I am come to this resolution, that for one man who speaks to be understood, there are ten who talk only to be admired.
The ancient Greeks had little independent syllables called expletives, which they brought into their discourses both in verse and prose, for no other purpose but for the better grace and sound of their sentences and periods. I know no example but this, which can authorise the use of more words than are necessary. But whether it be from this freedom taken by that wise nation, or however it arises, Dick Reptile hit upon a very just and com. mon cause of offence in the generality of people of all orders. We have one here in our lane, who speaks nothing without quoting an authority; for it is always with him, so and so, “ as the man said.” He asked me this morning, how I did, “ as the man said ?” and hoped I would come now and then to see him, " as the man said.” I am acquainted with another, who never delivers himself upon any subject, but he cries, “ he only speaks his poor judgement; this is his humble opinion; as for his part, if he might presume to offer any thing on that subject.”-But of all the persons who add elegances and superfluities to their discourses, those who deserve the foremost rank are the swearers; and the lump of these may, I think, be very aptly divided into the common distinction of High and Low. Dulness and barrenness of thought is the original of it in both these sects, and they differ only in constitution: The Low is generally a phlegmatic, and the High a choleric coxcomb. The man of phlegm is sensible of the emptiness of his discourse, and will tell you, that, “l'fackins," such a thing is true: or if you warm him a little, he may run into passion, and cry, “ Odsbodikins, you do not say right.” But the High affects a sublimity in dul, ness, and invokes “ hell and damnation” at the breaking of a glass, or the slowness of a drawer.
I was the other day trudging along Fleet-street on foot, and an old army-friend came up with me. We were both going towards Westminster; and, finding the streets were so crowded that we could not keep together, we resolved to club for'a coach. This gentleman I knew to be the first of the order of the choleric. I must confess, were there no crime in it, nothing could be more diverting than the impertinence of the High juror : for whether there is remedy or not against what offends him, still be is to show he is offended; and he must, sure, not omit to be magnificently passionate, by falling on all things in his way. We were stopped by a train of coaches at Temple-bar. “ What the deyil!” says my companion, “ cannot you drive on, coachman? D- n you all, for a set of sons of whores; you will stop here to be paid by the hour! There is not such a set of confounded dogs as the coachmen, unhanged ! But these rascally cits-'Ounds, why should not there be a tax to make these dogs widen their gates ? Oh! but the hellhounds move at last.” “ Ay,” said I, “ I knew you would make them whip on, if once they heard vou."_"No," says he, « but would it not fret a man to the devil, to pay for being carried slower than he can walk? Look’ye! there is for ever a stop at this hole by St. Clement's church. Blood, you dog! Hark’ye, sirrah! ----Why, and be d d to you, do not you drive over that fellow?-_Thunder, furies, and damnation! I will cut your ears off, you fellow before there--Come hither, you dog you, and let me wring your neck round your shoulders.” We had a repetition of the same eloquence at the Cockpit, and the turning into Palaceyard. : This gave me a perfect image of the insignificancy of the creatures who practise this enormity; and made me conclude, that it is ever want of sense makes a man guilty in this kind. It was excellently well said, “ That this folly had no temptation to excuse it, no man being born of a swearing constitution.” In a word, a few rumbling words and consonants clapped together without any sense, will make an accomplished swearer. It is needless to dwell long upon this blustering impertinence, which is already banished out of the society of well-bred men, and can be useful only to bullies and ill tragic writers, who would have sound and noise pass for courage and sense.
St. James's Coffee-house, February 22. There arrived a messenger last night from Har. wich, who left that place just as the duke of Marl. borough was going on board. The character of this important general going out by the command of his queen, and at the request of his country, puts me in mind of that noble figure which Shakspeare gives Harry the Fifth upon his expedition against France. The poet wishes for abilities to represent so great an hero :
Oh for a Muse of fire!
A conqueror drawn like the god of battle, with such a dreadful leash of hell-hounds at his comVOL. 111.
mand, makes a picture of as much majesty and terror, as is to be met with in any poet.
Shakspeare understood the force of this particular allegory so well, that he had it in his thoughts in another passage, which is altogether as daring and sublime as the former. What I mean is in the tragedy of Julius Cæsar, where Antony, after having foretold the bloodshed and destruction that should be brought upon the earth by the death of that great man, to fill up the horror of his description, adds the following verses:
And Cæsar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
Cry havoc; and let slip the dogs of war. · I do not question but these quotations will call to mind, in my readers of learning and taste, that innaginary person described by Virgil with the same spirit. He mentions it upon the occasion of a peace which was restored to the Roman empire; and which we may now hope for from the departure of that great man, who has given occasion to these reflexions. The temple of Janus, says he, shall be shut, and in the midst of it military Fury shall sit upon a pile of broken arms, loaded with an hundred chains, bellowing with madness, and grinding his teeth in blood.
Claudentur belli porte, Furor impius intus
VIRG. Æn. I. 298
The tickets which were delivered out for the benefit of Signior Nicolini Grimaldi on the twenty. fourth instant, will be taken on Thursday the second of March, his benefit being deferred until that day.
N. B. In all operas for the future, where it thunders and lightens in proper time and in tune, the matter of the said lightning is to be of the finest rosin; and for the sake of harmony, the same which is used to the best Cremona fiddles.
Note also, that the true perfumed lightning is only prepared and sold by Mr. Charles Lillie, at the corner of Beaufort-buildings,
The lady who has chosen Mr. Bickerstaff for her Valentine, and is at a loss what to present him with, is desired to make him, with her own hands, a warm night-cap.
N. 138. SATURDAY, FEB. 25, 1709-10.
Secretosque pios, his dantem jura Catonem,
VIRG. Æn. VIII. 670.
Apart from these, the happy souls he draws,
Sheer-lane, February 24. It is an argument of a clear and worthy spirit in a man to be able to disengage himself from the opipions of others, so far as not to let the deference