« ForrigeFortsett »
the finest precepts of morality, and be filled · with nice reflections upon the bright and dark · sides of human life; he must be a master of
refined raillery, and understand the delicacies
as well as the absurdities of conversation. He 'must have a lively turn of wit, with an easy
and concise manner of expression: every thing
he says must be in a free and disengaged man• ner. He must be guilty of nothing that be
trays the air of a recluse, but appear a man of • the world throughout. His illustrations, his • comparisons, and the greatest parts of his • images, must be drawn from common life. • Strokes of satire and criticism, as well as pane? gyric, judiciously thrown in (and as it were • by the by) give a wonderful life and ornament " to compositions of this kind. But let our poet, ( while he writes epistles, though never fo fa+ miliar, still remember that he writes in verse, • and must for that reason have a more than or• dinary care not to fall into profe, and a vulgar • diction, excepting where the nature and hu• mour of the thing does necessarily require it. • In this point Horace hath been thought by
fome critics to be sometimes careless, as well • as too negligent of his versification; of which • he seems to have been sensible himself.
• All I have to add is, that both these man• ners of writing may be made as entertaining, • in their way, as any other species of poetry, • if undertaken by perfons duly qualified; and • the latter fort may be managed so as to become in a peculiar manner instructive. I am, &c.'
I shall add an observation or two to the remarks of my ingenious correspondent; and, in the first place, take notice, that subjects of the most sublime nature are often treated in the epiftolary way with advantage, as in the famous epistle of Horace to Augustus. The poet surprises us with his pomp, and seems rather betrayed into his subject than to have aimed at it by design. He appears, like the visit of a king incognito, with a mixture of familiarity and grandeur. In works of this kind, when the dignity of the subject hurries the poet into descriptions and sentiments seemingly unpremeditated, by a sort of inspiration, it is usual for him to recollect himself, and fall back gracefully into the natural style of a letter.
I might here mention an epistolary poem, just published by Mr. Eusden, on the king's accession to the throne: wherein, among many other noble and beautiful strokes of poetry, his reader may see this rule very happily observed.
** This day is published, “ A Letter to Mr. Addison, on the King's Accession to the Throne,” by Mr. Eusden. Printed for J. Tonson. Spect. in folio, No 666, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 1714. It seems very probable that ADDISON was the author of this Speculation.
The author of this Poem, afterwards laureat, was a tutor in the family of the D. of Somerset; who, being informed that he too often indulged his pupil in hunting, abruptly disinised him from his employment. His Grace's letter mentioned his having a groom fitter for the office, and desired Mr. Eusden to call upon his banker for what was due to him. The advice of the respectable communicator of this information, Mr. E. instantly complied with his Grace's desire, and retired without expoftulation.
N° 619. Friday, November 12, 1714.
-dura Exerce imperia, & ramos compesce fluentes.
Virg. Georg. ii. 369. - Exert a rigorous sway, And lop the too luxuriant boughs away.'
| Have often thought that if the several letIl ters which are written to me under the character of SPECTATOR, and which I have not made use of, were published in a volume they would not be an unentertaining collection*. The variety of the subjects, styles, sentiments, and informations, which are transmitted to me, would lead a very curious, or very idle, reader, insensibly along, through a great many pages. I know some authors who would pick up a Secret Hiftory out of such materials, and make a bookseller an alderman by the copyk. I shall therefore çarefully preserve the original papers in a room set apart for that purpose, to the end that they may be of service to posterity; but shall at prefent content myself with owning the receipt of several letters, lately come to my hands, the au, thors whereof are impatient for an answer,
* They were published with Steele's permission by Charles Lillie, in 2 vols. 8vo. 1725, and we're probably lucrative to the publisher, though no very entertaining collection.
t An allusion to John Barber, who had been a bookseller, was at this time an alderman, and afterwards Lord Mayor of London,
Charisla, Chariffa, whose letter is dated from Cornhill, desires to be eased in some scruples relating to the skill of astrologers. • Referred to the dumb man for an answer.'
J.C. who proposes a love case, as he calls it, to the love-casuist, is hereby desired to speak of it to the minister of the parish; it being a case of conscience.
The poor young lady, whose letter is dated October 26, who complains of a harsh guardian, and an unkind brother, can only have my good wishes, unless the pleases to be more particular.
The petition of a certain gentleman, whose name I have forgot, famous for renewing the curls of decayed periwigs, is referred to the “ centor of small wares.
The remonstrance of T.C. against the reformation of the Sabbath by barbers, shoe-cleaners, &c. had better be offered to “ the society of reformers,
A learned and laborious treatise upon the art of fencing, "returned to the author.'
To the gentleman of Oxford, who desires me to insert a copy of Latin verses, which were denied a place in the university books. Answer: Nonum prematur in annum,
To my learned correspondent who writes against master's gowns, and poke sleeves, with a word in defence of large scarves. Answer: • I resolve not to raise animosities amongst the « clergy.'
To the lady who writes with rage against one of her own sex, upon the account of party
warmth. Answer: • Is not the lady she writes « against reckoned handsome!
I desire Tom Truelove (who sends me a sonnet upon his mistress, with a desire to print it immediately) to consider that it is long since I was in love.
I shall answer a very profound letter from my old friend the upholsterer I, who is still inquisitive whether the king of Sweden be living or dead, by whispering him in the ear, that I believe • he is alive.
Let Mr. Dapperwit consider, - What is that long story of the cuckoldom to me?'
At the earnest desire of Monimia's lover, who declares himself very penitent, he is recorded in my Paper by the name of · The faithful Castalio.'
The petition of Charles Cocksure, which the petitioner styles 6 very reasonable' 'rejected.'
The memorial of Philander, which he desires may be dispatched out of hand, 5 postponed.'
I desire S. R. not to repeat the expression ? under the sun' so often in his next letter.
The letter of P.S. who desires either to have it printed entire, or committed to the flames; ? Not to be printed entire.'
I The King of Sweden Charles XII. was the favourite object of the political upholsterer's attention.
See the preceding papers relative to the upholsterer, and NOTE on the supposed subject of their merriinent.