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Our grandmothers, though they were wont to sit up the last in the family, were all of them fast asleep at the same hours that their daughters are busy at crimp and basset. Modern statesmen are concerting schemes, and engaged in the depth of politics, at the time when their forefathers were laid down quietly to rest, and had nothing in their heads but ms. As we have this thrown business and pleasure into the hours of rest, and by that means made the natural night but half as long as it should be, we are forced to piece it out with a great part of the morning ; so that near two-thirds of the nation lie fast asleep for several hours in broad day-light. This irregularity is grown so very fashionable at present, that there is scarce a lady of quality in GreatBritain that ever saw the sun rise. And, if the humour increases in proportion to what it has done of late years, it is not impossible but our children may hear the bell-man going about the streets at nine o'clock in the morning, and the watch making their rounds until eleven. This unaccountable disposition in mankind to continue awake in the night, and sleep in the sun-shine, has made me inquire, whether the same change of inclination has happened to any other animals? For this reason, I desired a friend of mine in the country to let me know, whether the lark rises as early as he did formerly; and whether the cock begins to crow at bis usual hour? My friend has answered me, " that his poultry are as regular as ever, and that all the birds and beasts of his neighbourhood keep the same hours that they have observed in the memory of man; and the same which, in all probability, they have kept for these five thousand years.”
If you would see the innovations that have been made among us in this particular, you may only look into the hours of colleges, where they still dine at eleven, and sup at sir, which were doubtless the hours of the whole nation at the time when those places were founded. But at present, the courts of justice are scarce opened in Westminster-hall at the time when William Rutus used to go to dinner in it. All business is driven forward. The landmarks of our fathers, if I may so call them, are removed, and planted further up into the day; insomuch, that lamatiaid our clergy will be obliged, if they expect full congregations, not to look any more upon ten o'clock in ibe morning as a canonical hour. In my own memory, the dinner bas crept by degrees from twelve o clock to three, and where it will tix nobody knows.
I have sometimes thought to draw up a memorial in the behalf of Supper against Dinner, setting forth, that the said Dinner has made several ins croachments upon the said Supper, and entered very far upon his frontiers ; that he has banished him out of several families, and in all has driven him from his head quarters, and forced him to make his retreat into the hours of midnight ; and, in short, that he is now in danger of being entirely confounded and lost in a breakfast. Those who have read Lucian, and seen the complaints of the letter T against S, upon account of many injuries and usurpations of the same nature, will not, I bcJieve, think such a memorial forced and unnatural. If dinner has been thus postponed, or, if you please, kept back from time to time, you may be sure that it has been in compliance with the other business of the day, and that supper has still observed a proportionable distance. There is a venerable proverb, which we have all of us heard in our infancy, of “ putting the children to-bed, and laying the goose to the fire." This was one of the jocular sayings of our forefathers, but may be properly uscd in the
literal sense at present. Who would not wonder at this perverted relish of those who are reckoned the most polite part of mankind, that prefer sea coals and candles to the sun, and exchange so many chearful morning hours, for the pleasures of midnight revels and debauches ? If a man was only to consult his health, he would choose to live his whole time, if possible, in day-light; and to retire out of the world into silence and sleep, while the raw damps and unwholesome vapours fly abroad, without a sun to disperse, moderate, or controul them. For my own part, I value an hour in the morning as much as common libertines do an hour at midnight. When I find myself awakened into being, and perceive my life renewed within me, and at the same time see the whole face of nature recovered out of the dark uncomfortable state in which it lay for several hours, my heart overflows with such secret sentiments of joy and gratitude, as
are a kind of implicit praise to the great Author of Nature. The mind, in these early seasons of the day, is so refreshed in all its faculties, and borne up with such new supplies of animal spirits, that she finds herself in a state of youth, especially when she is entertained with the breath of flowers, the melody of birds, the dews that hang upon the plants, and all those other sweets of nature that are peculiar to the morning.
It is impossible for a man to have this relish of being, this exquisite taste of life, who does not come into the world before it is in all its noise and hurry; who loses the rising of the sun, the still hours of the day, and, immediately upon his first getting up, plunges himself into the ordinary cares or follies of the world.
I shall conclude this Paper with Milton's inimitable description of Adam's awakening his Eve in Paradise, which indeed would have been a place as little delightful as a barren heath or desert io those who slept in it. The fondness of the posture in which Adam is represented, and the sotmesy of his whisper, are passages in this divine poem that are above all commendation, and rather to be admired than praised.
Now Morn her ro‘y steps in th' eastern clime
Sich whispering wak'd her, but with startled cyo
O sole! in whom my though its find all repose,
MILION's Par. Lost, b. V. I. 1, &c.
N°264. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 1710.
HOR. I Od. iii. 2.
From my own Apartment, December 15. BOCCALINI, in his “ Parnassus," indicts a laconic writer for speaking that in three words which he might have said in two, and sentences him for his punishment to read over all the works of Guicciardini. This Guicciardini is so very prolix and circumstantial in his writings, that I remember our countryman, doctor Donne, speaking of that majestic and concise manner in which Moses has described the creation of the world, adds, “ that if such an author as Guicciardini were to have written on such a subject, the world itself would not have been able to have contained the books that gave the history of its creation."
I look upon a tedious talker, or what is generally known by the name of a story-teller, to be much more insufferable than even a prolix writer. An author may be tossed out of your hand, and thrown aside when he grows dull and tiresome; but such liberties are so far from being allowed towards your orators in common corv 'rsation, that I wave known a challenge sent a person for going out of the room abruptly, and leaving a man of honour in the midst of a dissertation. This evil is at present so very common and epidemical, that there is scarce a coffee-house in town that has not some speakers bc