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the following passage, taken out of Sir Francis Bacon's Advancement of Learning, which gives a truer and better account of this art, than all the vos lumes that were ever written upon it.
“ Poetry, especially heroical, seems to be raised altogether from a noble foundation, which makes much for the dignity of man's nature. this sensible world is in dignity inferior to the soul of man, poesy seems to endow human nature with that which history denies; and to give satisfaction to the mind, with at least the shadow of things, where the substance cannot be had. For if the matter be thoroughly considered, a strong argument may be drawn from poesy, that a more stately greatness of things, a more perfect order, and a more beautiful variety, delights the soul of man, than any way can be found in nature since the fall. Wherefore seeing the acts and events, which are the subjects of true history, are not of that amplitude as to content the mind of man; poesy is ready at hand to feign acts more heroical. Because true history reports the successes of business not proportionable to the merit of virtues and vices, poesy corrects it, and presents events and fortunes according to desert, and according to the law of Providence: because true history, through the frequent satiety and simili. tude of things, works a distaste and misprision in the mind of mán, poesy cheereth and refresheth the soul, chanting things rare and various, and full of vicissitudes. So as poesy serveth and conferreth to delectation, magnanimity, and morality; and therefore it may seem deservedly to have some participation of divineness, because it doth raise the mind, and exalt the spirit with high raptures, by proportioning the shews of things to the desires of the mind; and not submitting the mind to things, as reason and history do. - And by these allurements and congruities, whereby it cherishes the soul of man, joined also with consort of music, whereby it may more sweetly insinuate itself, it hath won such access, that it hath been in estimation even in rude times, and barbarous nations, when other learning stood excluded.”
But there is nothing which favours and falls in with this natural greatness and dignity of human nature so much as religion, which does not only promise the entire refinement of the mind, but the glorifying of the body, and the immortality of both.
No. 110. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1709
Quc lucis miseris tam dira cupido?
Sheer-Lane, December 21. As soon as I had placed myself in my chair of judicature, I ordered my clerk Mr. Lillie to read to the assembly (who were gathered together according to notice) a certain declaration, by way of charge to open the purpose of my session, which tended only to this explanation, • That as other courts were often called to demand the execution of
persons dead in law, so this was held to give the last orders relating to those who are dead in reason. The solicitor of the new company of upholders, near the Hay-Market, appeared in behalf of that useful society, and brought in an accusation of a young woman, who herself stood at the bar before me. Mr. Lillie read her indictment, which was in substance, “ That, whereas Mrs. Rebecca Pindust, of the parish of St. Martin in the Fields, had, by the use of one instrument, called a looking-glass, and by the further use of certain attire, made either of cambric, muslin, or other linen wares, upon her head, attained to such an evil art and magical force, in the motion of her eyes, and turn of her countenance, that she the said Rebecca had put to death
several young men of the said parish ; and that the said young men had acknowledged, in certain papers, commonly called love letters, (which were produced in court, gilded on the edges, and sealed with a particular wax, with certain amorous and enchanting words wrought upon the said seals,) that they died for the said Rebecca : and whereas the said Rebecca persisted in the said evil practice; this way of life the said society construed to be, according to former edicts, a state of death, and deinanded an order for the interment of the said Rebecca.”
I looked upon the maid with great humanity, and desired her to make answer to what was said against her. She said, “It was, indeed, true, that she had practised all the arts and means she could to dispose of herself happily in marriage, but thought she did not come under the censure expressed in my writings for the same; and humbly hoped, I would not condemn her for the ignorance of her accusers, who, according to their own words, had rather represented her killing than dead.” She further alledged, “ That the expressions mentioned in the papers written to her, were become mere words, and that she had been always ready to marry any of those who said they died for her; but that they made their escape as soon as they found themselves pitied or believed.” She ended her discourse, by desiring I would for the future settle the meaning of the words, “I die,” in letters of love.
Mrs. Pindust behaved herself with such an air of innocence, that she easily gained credit, and was. acquitted. Upon which occasion, I gave it as a standing rule, “ That any persons, who in any letter, billet, or discourse, should tell a woman he died for her, should, if she pleased, be obliged to live with her, or be immediately interred upon such their own confession, without bail or mainprise.” VOL. III.
It happened, that the very next who was brought before me was one of her admirers, who was indicted upon that very head. A letter, which he acknowledged to be his own hand, was read; in which were the following words: “Cruel creature, I die for you.” It was observable that he took snuff all the time his accusation was reading. I asked him, “How he came to use these words, if he were not a dead man?" He told me, “ He was in love with a lady, and did not know any other way of telling her so; and that all his acquaintance took the same method.” Though I was moved with compassion towards him by reason of the weakness of his parts, yet, for example's-sake, I was forced to answer, “ Your sentence shall be a warning to all the rest of your companions, not to tell lies for want of wit." Upon this, he began to beat his snuff-box with a very saucy air; and opening it again, “Faith, Isaac, (said he,) thou art a very unaccountable old fellow.-Prythee, who gave thee power of life and death? What-a-pox hast thou to do with ladies and lovers? I suppose thou wouldst have a man be in company with his mistress, and, say nothing to her. Dost thou call breaking a jest, telling a lie? Ha! is that thy wisdom, old stiffrump, ha?” He was going on with this insipid common-place mirth, sometimes opening his box, sometimes shutting it, then viewing the picture on the lid, and then the workmanship of the hinge, when, in the midst of his eloquence, I ordered his box to be taken from him; upon which he was immediately. struck speechless, and carried off stone dead,
The next who appeared, was a hale old fellow of sixty. He was brought in by his relations, who de sired leave to bury him. Upon requiring a distinct account of the prisoner, a credible witness deposed, “ That he always rose at ten of the clock, played with his cat till twelve, smoked tobacco till one;
was at dinner till two, then took another pipe, and played at backgammon till six, talked of one Madam Frances, an old mistress of his, till eight, repeated the same account at the tavern till ten, then returned home, took the other pipe, and then to bed." I asked him what he had to say for himself? "As to what (said he) they mention concerning Madam Frances-" I did not care for hearing a Canterbury tale, and therefore thought myself seasonably interrupted by a young gentleman, who appeared in the behalf of the old man, and prayed an arrest of judgment; for that he the said young man held certain lands by his the said old man's life. Upon this, the solicitor of the upholders took an occasion to demand him also, and thereupon produced several evidences that witnessed to his life and conversation. It appeared, that each of them divided their hours in matters of equal moment and importance to themselves and to the public. They rose at the same hour: while the old man was playing with his cat, the young one was look, ing out of his window; while the old man was smoking his pipe, the young man was rubbing his teeth; while one was at dinner, the other was dressing; while one was at backgammon, the other was at dinner; while the old fellow was talking of Madam Frances, the young one was either at play, or toasting women whom he never conversed with. The only difference was, that the young man had never been good for any thing; the old man, a man of worth, before he knew Madam Frances. Upon the whole, I ordered them both to be interred together, with inscriptions proper to their characters, signifying, “That the old man died in the year 1689, and was buried in the year 1709.” And over the young one it was said, " That he departed this world in the 25th year of his death.”
The next class of criminals, were authors in prose and verse. Those of them who had produced any