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“ Truly, (said I,) the turn is so natural either way, that you have made me almost giddy with it." Dear Sir, (said he, grasping me by the hand) you have a great deal of patience; but
think of the next verse ? *Your pen was plucked from Cupid's wing.' “Think ! (says I,) I think you 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.' “My 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
like a quill in one of the lines, and like a dart in the other. But as to that- “Oh! as to that, (says I,) 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 show it me again as soon as his man had written it over fair. 2
No. 165. SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 1710.
From my own Apartment, April 28. It has always been my endeavour to distinguish between realities and appearances, and 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 betweeen the virtues and perfections of
· To]. should be left out. ? The humour of this paper is fine; but not original. Ned Softly is a slip of Bays, in the rehearsal :
“ Parnassia laurus,
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 extol one another's labours, and cry up one another's parts ; while men of sense, either through that modesty 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 form of knowledge without the power of it, that attracts the eyes of common people, breaks out in noise and show, 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, pronounces the -author perfect or defective. He is master of a certain set of words, as Unity, Style, Fire, Phlegm, Easy, Natural, Turn, Sentiment, and the like ; which he varies, compounds, divides, and throws together, in every part of his discourse, without any thought or meaning. The marks you may know him by are, an elevated eye, and dogmatical brow, a positive voice, and a contempt for everything that comes out, whether he has read it or not. He dwells altogether in generals. He praises or dispraises in the lump. He shakes his head very frequently at the pedantry of universities, and bursts into laughter when you mention an author that is known at Will's. He hath formed his judgment upon Homer, Horace, and Virgil, not from their own works, but from those of Rapin and Bossu. He knows his own strength so well, that
| Finds its reward from.] He should have said “in,” the proper preposition after “find : " what determined his choice of" “ from jingle of—“ in any inward.”—But the sentence might have been turned differently.
he never dares praise anything in which he has not a French author for his voucher.
With these extraordinary talents and accomplishments, Sir Timothy Tittle 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 Timothy, 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 breath. He immediately called for a chair, and desired leave to sit down, without
I asked him, “Where he had been ? Whether he was out of order?" He only replied, that he was quite spent, and fell a cursing in soliloquy. I could hear him cry, “ 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 Northampton-. shire !"'" Is that all? (says I:) Then I suppose you have
“ been at the rehearsal of the play this morning.”
“ Been! (says he ;) I have been at Northampton, in the Park, in a lady's bed-chamber, in a dining-room, everywhere; 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 metaphorically 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
your rules, as you call them.” “How, madam! (says he,) is that your opinion ? I am sure you have a better taste.” is 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 simile, madam, (says Sir Timothy,) is by no means just.” “ Pray, (says she,) let my similes pass without 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 bave laughed; and I defy any one to show me a single rule that you could laugh by. “Ought not to laugh! (says she :) Pray who should binder 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 so 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 á laughing. “ Truly, (says she,) that 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.
No. 192. SATURDAY, JULY 1, 1710.
Tecum vivere amem, tecum obeam libens. Hor.
From my own Apartment, June 30. SOME years since I was engaged with a coach full of friends to take a journey as far as the Land's End. We were very well pleased with one another the first day, every one endeavouring to recommend himself by his good humour and complaisance to the rest of the company. This good correspondence did not last long; one of our party was soured the very first evening by a plate of butter which had not been melted to his mind, and which spoiled his temper to such a degree, that he continued upon the fret to the end of our journey. A second fell off from his good humour the next morning, for no other reason that I could imagine, but because I chanced to step into the coach before him, and place myself on the shady side. This, however, was but my own private guess, for he did not mention a word of it, nor indeed of anything else, for three days following. The rest of our company held out very near half the way, when of a sudden Mr. Sprightly fell asleep; and instead of endeavouring. to divert and oblige us, as he had hitherto done, carried himself with an unconcerned, careless, drowsy behaviour, till we came to our last stage. There were three of us who still held up our heads, and did all we could to make our journey agreeable; but, to my shame be it spoken, about three miles on this side Exeter I was taken with an unaccountable fit of sullenness, that hung upon me for above threescore miles ; whether it were for want of respect, or from an accidental tread upon my foot, or from a foolish maid's calling me The old Gentleman, I cannot tell. In short, there was but one who kept his good humour to the Land's End.
There was another coach that went along with us, in which I likewise observed, that there were many secret jealousies, heart-burnings, and animosities : for when we joined companies at night, I could not but take notice, that the passengers neglected their own company, and studied how to make themselves esteemed by us, who were altogether strangers to them : till at length they grew so well acquainted with us, that they liked us as little as they did one another.