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have made Cupid. look like a little goose."" That was my meaning (says he.). I think the ridicule is well enough hit off, But we now come to the last, which sums up the whole matter.'
“ For, ah! it wounds me like his dart.”
Pray how do you like that ah! doth it not make a pretty figure in that place ? Ah! it looks as if I felt the dart, and cried out at being pricked with it.”
« For, ah! it wounds me like his dart."
friend Dick Easy (continued he) assured me, he would rather have written that ah ! than to have been the author of the Æneid. He indeed objected, that I made Mira's pen like a quill in one of the lines, and like a dart in the other. But as to that
1. "Oh! as to that, (says 1,) it is but supposing Cupid to be like a porcupine, and his quills and darts will be the same thing.” He was going to embrace me for the hint; but half a dozen critics coming into the room, whose faces he did not like, he conveyed the sonnet into his pocket, and whispered me in the ear, he would shew it me again as soon as his man had written it over fair.
No. 165. SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 1710.
From my own Apartment, April 28. It has always been my endeavour to distinguishi between realities and appearances, and to separate true merit from the pretence to it. As it shall ever be my study to make discoveries of this nature in human life, and to settle the proper distinctions between the virtues and perfections of mankind, and those false colours and resemblances of them that shine alike in the eyes of the vulgar; so I shall be more particularly careful to search into the various merits and pretences of the learned world. This is the more necessary, because there seems to be a general combination among the pedants to ex, tol one another's labours, and cry up one another's parts; while men of sense, either through that mo desty which is natural to them, or the scorn they have for such trifling commendations, enjoy their stock of knowledge like a hidden treasure, with satisfaction and silence. Pedantry, indeed, in learning, is like hypocrisy in religion, a forın of knowledge without the power of it, that attracts the eyes of the common people, breaks out in noise and shew, and finds its reward not from any inward pleasure that attends it, but from the praises and approbations which it receives from men.
Of this shallow species there is not a more importunate, empty, and conceited animal, than that which is generally known by the name of a critic. This, in the common acceptation of the word, is one that, without entering into the sense and soul of an author, has a few general rules, which, like mechanical instruments, he applies to the works of
every writer, and as they quadrate with them, pro-
, that he never dares praise any thing in which he has not a French author for his voucher.
With these extraordinary talents and accomplishients, Sir Timothy Title 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 Timotly, 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 breathi. He immediately called for a chair, and desired leave to sit down, without any further cereniony. I asked him, “ Where he had been? Whether" he was out of order ?" Ilé only replied, that he was
quite spent, and fell a cursing in soliloquy. I could hear him cry, " A wicked
" 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 a play this morning.' 6 Been! (says he;) I have been at Northampton, in the Park, in a lady's bed-chamber, in a dining-room, every where; 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 nietaphorically 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."
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 siinile,
Madam, (says Sir Timothy,) is by no means just.” « Pray(says she) let my similies pass withont 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 have laughed; and I defy any one to shew me a single rule that you could laugh by." ..
Ought not to laugh! (says she:) Pray who should hinder 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 sò 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,) this 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.