« AnteriorContinuar »
and is dressed in all haste in new attire at his charge. This unexpected accident of the mad woman makes Aurengezebe curious to know, whether others who are in their senses can guess at his quality. For which reason the whole convent is examined one by one. The matron marches in with a tawdry country girl - Pray, Winifred,' says she, who
think that fine man with those jewels and pearls is ?'—'I believe,' says Winifred, “it is our landlord-It must be the esquire himself.'—The emperor laughs at her simplicity-Go, fool,' says the matron : then turning to the emperor—Your greatness will pardon her ignorance !' After her several others of different characters are instructed to mistake who he is, in the same manner: then the whole sisterhood are called together, and the emperor rises, and cocking his hat, declares, he is the Great Mogul, and they his concubines. A general murmur goes through the assembly: and Aurengezebe, certifying that he keeps them for state rather than use, tells them, they are permitted to receive all men into their apartments; then proceeds through the crowd, among whom he throws medals shaped like half-crowns, and returns to his chariot.
This being all that passed the last day in which Aurengezebe visited the women's apartments, I consulted Pacolet concerning the foundation of such strange amusements in old age: to which he answered, “ You may remember, when I gave you an account of my good fortune in being drowned on the thirtieth day of my human life, I told you of the disasters I should otherwise have met with before I arrived at the end of my stamen, which was sixty years. I may now add an observation to you, that all who exceed that period, except the latter part of it is spent in the exercise of virtue and contemplation of futurity, must necessarily fall into an indecent old age; because with regard to all the enjoyments of the years of vigour and manhood, childhood returns upon them : and as infants ride on sticks, build houses in dirt, and make ships in gutters by a faint idea of things they are to act hereafter; so old men play the lovers, potentates, and emperors, for the decaying image of the more perfect performances of their stronger years: therefore be sure to insert Æsculapius and Aurengezebe in your next bill of mortality of the metaphorically defunct.'
WILL'S COFFEE-HOUSE, JULY 24. As soon as I came hither this evening, no less than ten people produced the following poem, which they all reported was sent to each of them by the penny-post from an unknown hand. All the battlewriters in the room were in debate, who could be author of a piece so martially written ; and everybody applauded the address and skill of the author in calling it a postscript : it being the nature of a postscript to contain something very material which was forgotten, or not clearly expressed in the letter itself. Thus the verses being occasioned by a march without beat of drum, and that circumstance being no ways taken notice of in any of the stanzas, the author calls it a postscript; not that is a postscript, but figuratively, because it wants a postscript. Common writers, when what they mean is not expressed in the book itself, supply it by a preface; but a postscript seems to me the more just way of
apology ; because otherwise a man makes an excuse before the offence is committed. All the heroic poets were guessed at for its author; but though we could not find out his name, yet one repeated a couplet in Hudibras, which spoke his qualifications :
• I'th' midst of all this warlike rabble,
Crowdero march’d, expert and able.' The poem is admirably suited to the occasion : for to write without discovering your meaning, bears a just resemblance to marching without beat of drum.
On the march to Tournay without beat of drum.
THE BRUSSELS POSTSCRIPT.
Could I with plainest words express
It would the gazing world surprise,
To see one man at all times wise,
• Refining schemes approach his mind,
Its mighty heat do softly guide,
"Thus his immensity of thought
To rudely frown, she turns his friend,
His great address in this design
Does now, and will forever shine,
The whole amusement was so strong,
Like fate ho doom'd them to be wrong,
Thus, Madam, all mankind behold
But by your wisdom and your pious life;
Your aim no more, than to destroy
That which does Europe's ease annoy,
ST. JAMES'S COFFEE-HOUSE, JULY 24. My brethren of the quill, the ingenious society of news-writers, having with great spirit and elegance already informed the world, that the town of Tournay capitulated on the twenty-eighth instant; there is nothing left for me to say, but to congratulate the good company here, that we have reason to hope for an opportunity of thanking Mr. Withers next winter in this place, for the service he has done his country. No man deserves better of his friends than that gentleman, whose distinguishing character it is, that he gives his orders with the familiarity, and enjoys his fortune with the generosity, of a fellow-soldier. His grace the Duke of Argyle had also an eminent part in the reduction of this important place. That illustrious youth discovers the peculiar turn of spirit and greatness of soul, which only make men of high birth and quality useful to their country; and considers nobility as an imaginary distinction, unless accompanied with the practice of those generous virtues by which it ought to be obtained. But, that our military glory is arrived at its present height, and that men of all ranks so passionately affect their share in it, is certainly owing to the merit and conduct of our glorious general: for as the great secret in chemistry, though not in nature, has occasioned many useful discoveries ; and the fantastic notion of being wholly disinterested in friendship has made men do a thousand generous actions above themselves; so, though the present grandeur and fame of the Duke of Marlborough is a station of glory to which no one hopes to arrive, yet all carry their actions to a higher pitch, by having that great example laid before them.
No. 47. THURSDAY, JULY 28, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
- nostri est farrago libelli.
JUV. Sat. i. 85, 86.
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream,
WHITE'S CHOCOLATE-HOUSE, JULY 27. My friend Sir Thomas has communicated to me his letters from Epsom of the twenty-fifth instant, which give, in general, a very good account of the present posture of affairs in that place; but that the tranquillity and correspondence of the company begins to be interrupted by the arrival of Sir Taffety Trippet,* a fortune-hunter, whose follies are too gross to give diversion ; and whose vanity is too stupid to let him be sensible that he is a public offence. If people will indulge a splenetic humour, it is impossible to be at ease, when such creatures as are the scandal of our species set up for gallantry
* Henry Cromwell, Esq., who died in 1728, was the original of the character here delineated under the name of Sir Taffety Trippet.