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he never dares praise anything in which he has not a French author for his voucher.
With these extraordinary talents and accomplishments, Sir Timothy Tittle puts men in vogue, or condemns them to obscurity, and sits as judge of life and death upon every author that appears in public. It is impossible to represent the pangs, agonies, and convulsions, which Sir Timothy expresses in every feature of his face, and muscle of his body, upon the reading of a bad poet.
About a week ago I was engaged at a friend's house of mine in an agreeable conversation with his wife and daughters, when, in the height of our mirth, Sir Timothy, who makes love to my friend's eldest daughter, came in amongst us puffing and blowing, as if he had been very much out of breath. He immediately called for a chair, and desired leave to sit down, without any further ceremony. I asked him, “Where he had been ? Whether he was out of order ?” He only replied, that he was quite spent, and fell a cursing in soliloquy. I could hear him cry, “ A wicked rogue ! An execrable wretch ! Was there ever such a monster!” --The young ladies upon this began to be affrighted, and asked, “Whether any one had hurt him ? " He answered nothing, but still talked to himself. “To lay the first scene (says he) in St. James's Park, and the last in Northamptonshire!” “ Is that all? (says I:) Then I suppose you have been at the rehearsal of the play this morning.”
Been ! (says he ;) I have been at Northampton, in the Park, in a lady's bed-chamber, in a dining-room, everywhere; the rogue has led me such a dance!”—Though I could scarce forbear laughing at his discourse, I told him I was glad it was no worse, and that he was only metaphorically weary. “ In short, sir, (says he,) the author has not observed a single unity in his whole play; the scene shifts in every dialogue ; the villain has hurried me up and down at such a rate, that I am tired off my legs. I could not but observe with some pleasure, that the young lady whom he made love to, conceived a very just aversion towards him, upon seeing him so very passionate in trifles. And as she had that natural sense which makes her a better judge than a thousand critics, she began to rally him upon this foolish humour. “For my part, (says she,) I never knew a play take that was written up to
your rules, as you call them." "How, madam! (says he,) is that your opinion ? I am sure you have a better taste." “It is a pretty kind of magic (says she) the poets have to transport an audience from place to place without the help of a coach and horses. I could travel round the world at such a rate. 'Tis such an entertainment as an enchantress finds when she fancies herself in a wood, or upon a mountain, at a feast, or a .solemnity; though at the same time she has never stirred out of her cottage.” “Your simile, madam, (says Sir Timothy,) is by no means just.” “ Pray, (says she,) let my similes
without a criticism. I must confess, (continued she, for I found she was resolved to exasperate him,) I laughed very heartily at the last new comedy which you found so much fault with.” But, madam, (says he,) you ought not to bave laughed; and I defy any one to show me a single rule that you could laugh by.” “Ought not to laugh! (says she :) Pray who should binder me?” “Madam, (says he,) there are such people in the world as Rapin, Dacier, and several others, that ought to have spoiled your mirth.' “I have heard, (says the young lady,) that your great critics are always very bad poets: I fancy there is as much difference between the works of one and the other, as there is between the carriage of a dancing-master and a gentleman. I must confess, (continued she,) I would not be troubled with so fine a judgment as yours is; for I find you feel more vexation in a bad comedy, than I do in a deep tragedy.” “Madam, (says Sir Timothy,) that is not my fault; they should learn the art of writing. “For my part, (says the young lady,) I should think the greatest art in your writers of comedies is to please." "To please!" (says Sir Timothy ;) and immediately fell a laughing. “ Truly, (says she,) that is my opinion." Upon this, he composed his
. countenance, looked
upon his watch, and took his leave. I hear that Sir Timothy has not been at my
friend's house since this notable conference, to the satisfaction of the young lady, who by this means has got rid of a very impertinent fop:
I must confess, I could not but observe, with a great deal of surprise, how this gentleman, by his ill-nature, folly, and affectation, hath made himself capable of suffering so many imaginary pains, and looking with such a senseless severity upon the common diversions of life.
No. 192. SATURDAY, JULY 1, 1710.
Tecum vivere amem, tecum obeam libens. Hor.
From my own Apartment, June 30. SOME
years since I was engaged with a coach full of friends to take a journey as far as the Land's End. We were very well pleased with one another the first day, every one endeavouring to recommend himself by his good humour and complaisance to the rest of the company. This good correspondence did not last long; one of our party was soured the
first evening by a plate of butter which had not been melted to his mind, and which spoiled his temper to such a degree, that he continued upon the fret to the end of our journey A second fell off from his good humour the next morning, for no other reason that I could imagine, but because I chanced to step into the coach before him, and place myself on the shady side. This, however, was but my own
. private guess, for he did not mention a word of it, nor indeed of anything else, for three days following. The rest of our company held out very near half the way, when of a sudden Mr. Sprightly fell asleep; and instead of endeavouring to divert and oblige us, as he had hitherto done, carried himself with an unconcerned, careless, drowsy behaviour, till we came to our last stage. There were three of us who still held up our beads, and did all we could to make our journey agreeable; but, to my shame be it spoken, about three miles on this side Exeter I was taken with an unaccountable fit of sullenness, that hung upon me for above threescore miles ; whether it were for want of respect, or from an accidental tread upon my foot, or from a foolish maid's calling me The old Gentleman, I cannot tell. In short, there was but one who kept his good humour to the Land's End.
There was another coach that went along with us, in which I likewise observed, that there were many secret jealousies, heart-burnings, and animosities : for when we joined companies at night, I could not but take notice, that the passengers neglected their own company, and studied how to make themselves esteemed by us, who were altogether strangers to them: till at length they grew so well acquainted with us, that they liked us as little as they did one another. When I reflect upon this journey, I often fancy it to be a picture of human life, in respect to the several friendships, contracts, and alliances that are made and dissolved in the several periods of it. The most delightful and most lasting engagements are generally those which pass between man and woman; and yet upon what trifles are they weakened, or entirely broken! Sometimes the parties fly asunder even in the midst of courtship, and sometimes grow cool in the very honey-month. Some separate before the first child, and some after the fifth; others continue good till thirty, others till forty; while some few, whose souls are of an happier make, and better fitted to one another, travel on together to the end of their journey, in a continual intercourse of kind offices and mutual endearments.
When we, therefore, choose our companions for life, if we hope to keep both them and ourselves in good humour to the last stage of it, we must be extremely careful in the choice we make, as well as in the conduct on our own part. When the persons to whom we join ourselves can stand an examination, and bear the scrutiny, when they mend upon our acquaintance with them, and discover new beauties the more we search into their characters, our love will naturally rise in proportion to their perfections.
But because there are very few possessed of such accomplishments of body and mind, we ought to look after those qualifications both in ourselves and others, which are indispensably necessary towards this happy union, and which are in the power of every one to acquire, or at least to cultivate and improve. These, in my opinion, are cheerfulness and constancy. A cheerful temper, joined with innocence, will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit goodnatured. It will lighten sickness, poverty, and affliction ; convert ignorance into an amiable simplicity, and render deformity itself agreeable.
Constancy is natural to persons of even tempers and uniform dispositions, and may be acquired by those of the greatest fickleness, violence, and passion, who consider seriously the terms of union upon which they are come together, the mutual interest in which they are engaged, with all the motives that ought to incite their tenderness and compassion towards those who have their dependence upon them, and
are embarked with them for life in the same state of happiness or misery. Constancy, when it grows in the mind upon considerations of this nature, becomes a moral virtue, and a kind of good-nature, that is not subject to any change of health, age, fortune, or any of those accidents which are apt to unsettle the best dispositions that are founded rather in constitution than in reason. Where such a constancy as this is wanting, the most inflamed passion may fall away into
. coldness and indifference, and the most melting tenderness degenerate into hatred and aversion. I shall conclude this paper with a story that is very well known in the north of England.
About thirty years ago, a packet-boat that had several passengers on board was cast away upon a rock, and in so great danger of sinking, that all who were in it endeavoured to save themselves as well as they could, though only those who could swim well had a bare possibility of doing it. Among the passengers there were two women of fashion, who seeing themselves in such a disconsolate condition, begged of their husbands not to leave them. One of them chose rather to die with his wife, than to forsake her; the other, though he was moved with the utmost compassion for his wife, told her, that for the good of their children it was better one of them should live, than both perish. By a great piece of good luck, next to a miracle, when one of our good men had taken the last and long farewell in order to save himself, and the other held in his arms the person that was dearer to him than life, the ship was preserved. It is with a secret sorrow and vexation of mind that I must tell the sequel of the story, and let my reader know, that this faithful pair who were ready to have died in each other's arms, about three years after their escape, upon some trifling disgust, grew to a coldness at first, and at length fell out to such a degree, that they left one another, and parted for ever. The other couple lived together in an uninterrupted friendship and felicity; and, what was remarkable, the husband whom the shipwreck had like to have separated from
1 The last part of this sentence is strung together with too many relatives, that—which—that. The following sentence, too, is not exact—“inflamed passion fall away-melting tenderness degenerate.”—The metaphor not well pursued.