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same infusion, would rise into a dark purple, according to the different texture of parts in the liquor.” He informed me also, “That he could hit the different shades and degrees of red, as they appear in the pink and the rose, the clove and the carnation, as he had Rhenish or Moselle, Perry or White Port, to work in."
I was so satisfied with the ingenuity of this virtuoso, that, after having advised him to quit so dishonest a profession, I
a promised him, in consideration of his great genius, to recommend him as a partner to a friend of mine, who has heaped up great riches, and is a scarlet dyer.
The artists on my other hand were ordered in the second place to make some experiments of their skill before me: upon which the famous Harry Sippet stept out, and asked me, “What I would be pleased to drink ?” At the same time he filled out three or four white liquors in a glass, and
“That it should be what I pleased to call for;" adding very learnedly, "That the liquor before him was as the naked substance or first matter of his compound, to which he and his friend, who stood over against him, could give what accidents or form they pleased.” Finding him so great a philosopher, I desired he would convey into it the qualities and essence of right Bourdeaux. “Coming, coming, , sir,” (said he,) with che air of a drawer; and after having cast his eye on the several tastes and flavours that stood before him, he took up a little cruet that was filled with a kind of inky juice, and pouring some of it out into the glass of white wine, presented it to me, and told me, “This was the wine over which most of the business of the last term had been despatched." I must confess, I looked upon that sooty drug which he held up in his cruet, as the quintessence of English Bourdeaux, and therefore desired him to give me a glass of it by itself
, which he did with great unwillingness. My cat at that time sat by me, upon the elbow of my chair ; and as I did not care for making the experiment upon myself, I reached it to her to sip of it, which had like to have cost her her life; for notwithstanding it flung her at first into freakish tricks, quite contrary to her usual gravity, in less than a quarter of an hour she fell into convulsions; and bad it not been a creature more tenacious of life than any other, would certainly have died under the operation.
I was so incensed by the tortures of my innocent domestic,
and the unworthy dealings of these men, that I told them, it
each of them had as many lives as the injured creature before p them, they deserved to forfeit them for the pernicious arts
which they used for their profit. I therefore bid them look upon themselves as no better than a kind of assassins and murderers within the law. However, since they had dealt so clearly with me, and laid before me their whole practice, I dismissed them for that time; with a particular request, That they would not poison any of my friends and acquaintance, and take to some honest livelihood without loss of time.
For my own part, I have resolved hereafter to be very careful in my liquors, and have agreed with a friend of mine in the army, upon
their next march, to secure me two hogsheads of the best stomach-wine in the cellars of Versailles, for the good of my lucubrations, and the comfort of my old age.
No. 133. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 1709.
Dum tacent, clamant. TULL.
Sheer Lane, February 13. SILENCE is sometimes more significant and sublime than the most noble and expressive eloquence, and is on many occasions the indication of a great mind. Several authors have treated of silence as a part of duty and discretion, but none of them have considered it in this light. Homer compares the noise and clamour of the Trojans advancing towards the enemy, to the cackling of cranes when they invade an army of pigmies. On the contrary, he makes his countrymen and favourites, the Greeks, move forward in a regular determined march, and in the depth of silence. I find, in the accounts which are given us of some of the more eastern nations, where the inhabitants are disposed by their constitutions and climates to higher strains of thought and more elevated raptures than what we feel in the northern regions of the world, that silence is a religious exercise among them. For when their public devotions are in the greatest fervour, and their hearts lifted up as high as words can raise them, there are certain suspensions of sound and motion for
a time, in which the mind is left to itself, and supposed to swell with such secret conceptions as are too big for utter
I have myself been wonderfully delighted with a master-piece of music, when in the very tumult and ferment of their harmony, all the voices and instruments have stopped short on a sudden, and after a little pause recovered themselves again as it were, and renewed the concert in all its parts. Methoughts this short interval of silence has had more music
in it than any the same space of time before or after it. There are two instances of silence in the two greatest poets that ever wrote, which have something in them as sublime as any of the speeches in their whole works. The first is that of Ajax, in the eleventh book of the Odyssey. Ulysses, who had been the rival of this great man in his life, as well as the occasion of his death, upon meeting his shade in the region of departed heroes, makes his submission to him with an humility next to adoration, which the other passes over with dumb sullen majesty, and such a silence, as (to use the words of Longinius) had more greatness in it than anything he could have spoken.
The next instance I shall mention is in Virgil, where the poet, doubtless, imitates this silence of Ajax in that of Dido; though I do not know that any of his commentators have taken notice of it. Æneas, finding, among the shades of despairing lovers, the ghost of her who had lately died for him, with the wound still fresh upon her, addresses himself to her with expanded arms, floods of tears, and the most pas. sionate professions of his own innocence as to what had happened; all which Dido receives with the dignity and disdain of a resenting lover and an injured queen; and is so far from vouchsafing him an answer, that she does not give him a single look. The poet represents her as turning away her face from him while he spoke to her; and after having kept her eyes for some time upon the ground, as one that heard and contemned his protestations, flying from him into the grove of myrtle, and into the arms of another, whose fidelity had deserved her love.
I have often thought our writers of tragedy have been very defective in this particular, and that they might have given great beauty to their works, by certain stops and pauses in the representation of such passions, as it is not in the power of language to express. There is something like
this in the last act of Venice Preserved, where Pierre is brought to an infamous execution, and begs of his friend, as a reparation for past injuries, and the only favour he could do him, to rescue him from the ignominy of the wheel, by. stabbing him. As he is going to make this dreadful request, he is not able to communicate it, but withdraws his face from his friend's ear, and bursts into tears. The melancholy silence that follows hereupon, and continues till he has recovered himself enough to reveal his mind to his friend, raises in the spectators a grief that is inexpressible, and an idea of such a complicated distress in the actor as words cannot utter. It would look as ridiculous to
readers to give rules and directions for proper silences, as for “penning a whisper :" but it is certain, that in the extremity of most passions, particularly surprise, admiration, astonishment, nay, rage itself, there is nothing more graceful than to see the play stand for a few moments, and the audience fixed in an agreeable suspense during the silence of a skilful actor.
But silence never shows itself to so great an advantage, as when it is made the reply to calumny and defamation, provided that we give no just occasion for them. We might produce an example of it in the behaviour of one in whom it appeared in all its majesty, and one whose silence, as well as his person, was altogether divine. When one considers this subject only in its sublimity, this great instance could not but occur to me; and since I only make use of it to show the highest example of it, I hope I do not offend in it. To forbear replying to an unjust reproach, and overlook it with a generous, or (if possible) with an entire neglect of it, is one of the most heroic acts of a great mind. And I must confess, when I reflect upon the behaviour of some of the greatest men of antiquity, I do not so much admire them that they deserved the praise of the whole age they lived in, as because they contemned the envy and detraction of it.
All this is incumbent on a man of worth, who suffers under so ill a treatment, is to lie by for some time in silence and obscurity, till the prejudice of the times be over, and his reputation cleared. I have often read, with a great deal of pleasure, a legacy of the famous Lord Bacon, one of the greatest geniuses that our own or any country has produced: after having bequeathed his soul, body, and estate, in the usual form, he adds, “ My name and memory I leave to foreign nations, and to my countrymen, after some time be passed over."
At the same time that I recommend this philosophy to others, I must confess, I am so poor a proficient in it myself, that if in the course of my lucubrations it happens, as it has done more than once, that my paper is duller than in conscience it ought to be, I think the time an age till I have an opportunity of putting out another, and growing famous again for two days.
I must not close my discourse upon silence, without informing my reader, that I have by me an elaborate treatise on the aposiopesis called an Et cætera, it being a figure much used by some learned authors, and particularly by the great Littleton, who, as my Lord Chief Justice Coke observes, had a most admirable talent at an &c.
No. 146. THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 1709.
Permittes ipsis expendere numinibus, quid
From my own Apartment, March 15. AMONG the various sets of correspondents who apply to me for advice, and send up their cases from all parts of Great Britain, there are none who are more importunate with me, and whom I am more inclined to answer, than the Complainers. One of them dates his letter to me from the banks of a purling stream, where he used to ruminate in solitude
upon the divine Clarissa, and where he is now looking about for a convenient leap, which he tells me he is resolved to take, unless I support him under the loss of that charming perjured woman. Poor Lavinia presses as much for consolation on the other side, and is reduced to such an extremity of despair by the inconstancy of Philander, that she tells me she writes her letter with her pen in one hand, and her garter in the other. A gentleman of an ancient family in