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Paradise, which indeed would have been a place as little delightful se barren brath or dent to there whose pot if it. 'The fondness of the patie in which Admin rrport ventel, and the softves of bis whisper, are p**1,4% in this divine perm that are abuve ill (21 natiult, and rather to be a tinired than praleido
Now Men her pery step in the eastern time
w nature paints her coloure, how the leo $ite in the bluem extreting quid o wcale,
Sich whispering wakil her, but with startled eye On Adam, whim embracing, the che spike,
O sole! In Whou my thoughts find all repose, My gleny, my perfection, glad I see 'Iliy face, and mein retino's
MILION's Par. Lost, b. V. 1.1, kc,
N°264. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 1710.
HOR. I Od. ïïi2.
Favour your tongues.
From my own Apartment, Decemler 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 cor v '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 be
longing to it, who atter their political essays, and diah juallelo out of Bakers " Chronicle'' to almusi civiy part of her Majesty's reign. It was said of thu antint authors, who had very different beauties in thiir aiyle, “that it you took a word tinin one of them, you only spoiled his cloquence ; but if you look a word trom ihe other, you spoiled his line," i have often applied the first part of this criticisin to skirial of those cottee-house speak. er whom I have at present in my thoughts, though the character that is given to the last of those authuis, in what I would recommend to the imitation of my loving countrymen. But it is not only pabu die plants of resort, but private clubs and conver. ballons over a bottle, that are intested with this Joquiaciuta hind of animal, especially with that species which is comprehend under the name of a storytcller. I would earnestly desire these gentlemen to considder, that no point of wit or mirtli at the end of a story can atone for the halt hour that has been lost before they come at it. I would likewise lay it home to their serious consideration, whether ihey think that every man in the company has not a riglit to speak as well as themselves and whether they du but think they are invading another man's properly, when they engross the time which should be divided equally among the company to their own private uses
What makes this evil the much greater in con. versation is, that these humdrum companions seldom endestour to wind up their narrations into a point of mirth or instruction, which might make some amends tor the tediousness of them; but think
right to tell any thing that has happened within their memory. They look upon matter of fact to be a outficient foundation for a story, and give us a long account of things, not because they
are entertaining or surprizing, but because they are true.
My ingenious kinsman, Mr. Humphry Wagstaff, used to say,
" the life of man is too short for a story-teller."
Methusalem might be half-an-hour in telling what o'clock it was: but as for us post-diluvians, we ought to do everything in haste; and in our speeches, as well as actions, remember that our time is short. A man that talks for a quarter of an hour together in company, if I meet him frequently, takes up a great part of my span. A quarter of an hour may be reckoned the eight-and-fortieth part of ' a day, a day the three hundred and sixtieth part of a year, and a year the threescore and tenth part of life. By this moral arithmetic, supposing a man to be in the talking world one third part of the day, whoever gives another a quarter of an hour's hearing, makes hini a sacrifice of more than the four hundred thousandth part
of his conversable life. I would establish but one great general rule to be observed in all conversation, which is this, “ that men should not talk to please themselves, but those that hear them.” This would make them consider, whether what they speak be worth hearing; whether there be either wit or sense in what they are about to say : and, whether it be adapted to the time when, the place where, and the person to whom, it is spoken.
For the utter extirpation of these orators and story-tellers, which I look upon as very great pests of society, I have invented a watch which divides the minute into twelve parts, after the same manner that the ordinary watches are divided into hours : and will endeavour to get a patent, which shall oblige every club or company to provide themselves with one of these watches, that shall lie upon the VOL. V.
N°263. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14,1710.
Minima contentos nocte Britannos. JUV. Sat. II. 161.
From my own Apartment, Decemler 13. An old friend of mine being lately come to town, I went to see him on Tuesday last about cight o'clock in the evening, with a denign to sit with him an hour or two, and talk over old stories; but, upon inquiry after him, I found be was gone to-bed. The next morning, as soon as I was up and dressed, and had dispatched a little business, I came again to my friend's house about eleven o'clock, with a design to renew my visit: but, upon asking for him, his servant told me he was just sal down to dinner. In short, I found that my old fashioned friend relia giously adhered to the example of his forctathers, and obscrved the same hours that had been kept in the family ever since the Conquest.
It is very plain, that the night was much longer formerly in this island than it is at present. By the night, Í mean that portion of time which nature bas thrown into darkness, and which the wisdom of mankınd had formerly dedicated to rest and silence. This used to begin at cight o'clock in the evening, and concludi: at six in the morning. The curfei, or cight o'clock bell, was the signal throughout he nation for putting out their candles and going to-bod.