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them begged me to touch him with my wand, and assured me I should see his lawn converted into a cloke. The opposite party told me with as much assurance, that if I laid my wand upon the other, I should see his garments embroidered with flower-deluces, and his head covered with a cardinal's hat. I made the experiment, and, to my great joy, saw them both without any change, distributing their blessings to the people, and praying for those who had reviled them. "Is it possible, thought I, that good men, who are so few in number, should be divided anong themselves, and give better quarter to the vicious that are in their party, than the most strictly virtuous who are out of it? Are the ties of faction above those of religion ?--I was going on in my soliloquies, but some sudden accident awakened me, when I found my hand grasped, but my spear gone. The reflection on so very odd a dream made me figure to myself, what a strange face the world would bear, should all mankind appear in their proper shapes and characters, without hypocrisy and disguise ? I am afraid the earth we live upon would appear to other intellectual beings no better than a planet peopled with monsters. This should, methinks, inspire us with an honest ambition of recommending ourselves to those invisible spies, and of being what we would appear. There was one circumstance in my foregoing dream, which I at first intended to conceal; but, upon second thoughts, I cannot look upon myself as a candid and impartial historian, if I do not acquaint my reader, that upon taking Ithuriel's spear into my hand, though I was before an old decrepit fellow, I appeared a very handsome, jolly, black man. But I know my enemies will say this is praising my own beauty, for which reason I will speak no n.ore of it.
N° 238. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 1710.
JUV. Sat. XII. 23.
From my own Apartment, October 16. Storms at 'sea are so frequently described by the antient poets, and copied by the moderns,' that whenever I find the winds begin to rise in a new heroic poem,
I generally skip a leaf or two until I come into fair weather. Virgil's tempest is a master-piece in this kind, and is indeed so naturally drawn, that one who has made a voyage can scarce read it without being sea-sick. Land-showers are no less frequent among the poets than the former, but I remember none of them which have not fallen in the country; for which reason they are generally filled with the lowings of oxen, and the bleatings of sheep, and very often embellished with a rainbow.
Virgil's land-shower is likewise the best in its kind. It is indeed a shower of consequence, and contributes to the main design of the poem, by cutting off a tedious ceremonial, and bringing matters to a speedy conclusion between two potentates of different sexes. My ingenious kinsman, Mr. Humphry Wagstaff, who treats of every subject after a manner that no other author has done, and better than any other can do, has sent me the description of a city-shower. I do not question but the reader remembers my cousin's description of the morning as it breaks in town, which is printed in the ninth Tatler, and is another exquisite piece of this local poetry.
Careful observers may foretel the hour
Meanwhile the South, rising with dabbled wings,
Now in contiguous drops the flood comes down,
The Luck'd-up sempstress walks with hasty strides,
Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,
N° 239. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1710.
Mecum certasse feretur ? OVID. Met. xiii. 20. Shall he contend with me to get a name?
From my own Apartment, October 18. It is ridiculous for any man to criticise on the works of another, who has not distinguished himself by his own performances. A judge would make but an indifferent figure who had never been known at the bar. Cicero was reputed the greatest orator of his age and country, before he wrote a book “ De Oratore;” and Horace the greatest poet, before he published his “ Art of Poetry.” This observation arises naturally in any one who casts his eye upon this last-mentioned author, where he will find the criticisms placed in the latter end of his book, that is, after the finest odes and satires in the Latin tongue.
A modern, whose name I shall not mention, because I would not make a silly Paper sell, was born a Critic and an Examiner, and, like one of the race of the serpent's teeth, came into the world with a sword in his hand. His works put me in mind of the story that is told of the German monk, who was taking a catalogue of a friend's library, and, meeting with a Hebrew book in it, entered it under the title of, “ A book that has the beginning where the end should be.” This author, in the last of his crudities, has amassed together a heap of quotations,