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oysters about Guernzey, and althowe (rocky] they have I understand acquired a peculiar waye of disposing and selling of them, that they are not decayed before they bee eaten—they bring them in their hands into vessels that may containe a vast quantitie, and when they come to a competent distance from land they ancher and cast all the oysters overboard into the sea, and when the tide goes away and the ground bare, and the people come to buy them, and the owners stand on drye ground and sell them—and when the tide comes in the buyers retire, and come again at the next ebbe and buye, and so every ebbe until all sould : so the oysters are kept securely and well tasted, being so often under the salt sea-water-and if they load a vessel of a [large size] full they might sell them while they were good, being thus ordered, although it should take some time to sell them all. This seems a good contrivance, and such as I have not heard of in England. * *
.. Y. D. F.
- “ July 14. D. S.
You have done very well to obtayne the manuscript or book, which you mention you had from my Lord of A= 's house how you came to knowe of it, or obtayne the use of it, I know not; but I believe you might if you would putt forward, obtayne such a favor of my Lord himself, who when he was at Norwich asked for you. Hee was at: Montpelier about the time when you were there. Now you have the booke by you, it will be fitt to make the best use you canne of it for perhaps it must be returned unto the French ambassadour, or if he [ ], unto my Lord; 'tis like he will expect it agayne from you in a short time, therefore bestowe most of your vacant time about it transcribe all you can out of it, and drawe out the most material cutts yourself, by stracing] or otherwise, which you can do well enough-for I would not have it out of your hands, and I do not desire that Moreland should have any thing to do with it-hee will drawe out of it for himself and his owne use, so all will who take notice of it. Nor would I have you to showe it to any, or very fewe, and such as are not like to make use thereof. B- (as I sent you word) hath lately published anatomical observations upon many animals, and probably of many in this booke. Transcribe what you can out of it, and sett downe the names of the animals, and the singular and peculiar observations upon any. The cutts being so, [large] 'tis probable there are not many..
if you did not keep the skull of the Dolphin you cutt up, I will, God willing, send you one-tis likely the cutts are not of common animals at least not altogether, butt of such strange animals as have been brought to Paris or some of the King's houses.--When you see the Elephant, observe whether hee bendeth his knees before and behind, inward, different from other quadrupeds as [ ] observeth, and whether his belly bee the softest and smoothest part, the [ ] are not exterior and outward but inwardly inflected as Aristotle sayth—Perhaps the booke hath the dissection of the Camell-it were good to observe of what that bunch in the back consisteth, whether the back bone or spine riseth up into it or it be a lump of flesh on the spine *** I thought good to mention these hints—my hedgehog being puttinto my yard hee got away with 2 young ones but I look to finde them agayne.
Y. D. F. . .
T. B. .
Dec. 27. .
I received yours and cannot but comend you for taking notice of the comet, and for giving so (good) a description-how you found it, and for having drawne a figure thereof it was the first account of it that came to Norwich, though some report there was, that it had been seen, and therefore your description in what manner you saw it was the more welcome, and [
] the bookseller would needs write it out that you might gratifie his friends and customers with your account thereof. T 's letters mention it; but to little or no purpose, or any information. We have had somewhat cloudy and foggy evenings, so that we heard no more of it, and this day was clear and frostie, and the sunne silvery bright, but we could not get [a sight of] it was so mistie before this night, while I am writing, which is between seven and eight o'clock. I never saw a larger and [longer] tayle of a comet since 1618, when I was at schoole. I believe it will be much observed and discussed, and accounts given of it by the learned, and observed beyond the sea.
Vol. I. Part II.
Art. I. An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Cibber, Comedian,
and late Patentee of the Theatre Royal, with an Historical View of the Stage in his own Time, written by Himself. The Second Edition. London, 1740.
THERE are, perhaps, few individuals, of intense personal feeling, whose lives, written by themselves, would be destitute of interest or of value. Works of this description enlarge the number of our intimacies without inconvenience, awaken, with a peculiar vividness, pleasant recollections of our own past career, and excite that fond and gentle sympathy with the little sorrows, cares, hopes, and enjoyments of others, which infuses new tenderness into all the pulses of individual joy. The qualification which is most indispensable to the writer of such auto-biographies, is vanity. If he does not dwell with gusto on his own theme, he will communicate no gratification to his reader. He must not, indeed, fancy himself too outrageously what he is not, but should have the highest sense of what he is, the happiest relish for his own peculiarities, and the most blissful assurance that they are matters of great interest to the world. · He who feels thus, will not chill us by cold generalities, but trace with an exquisite minuteness all the felicities of his life, all the well remembered moments of gratified vanity, from the first beatings of hope and first taste of delight, to the time when age is gladdened by the reflected tints of young enterprize and victory. Thus it was with Colley Cibber; and, therefore, his Apology for his own life is one of the most amusing books that have ever been written. He was not, indeed, a very wise or lofty character -nor did he affect great virtue or wisdom-but openly derided gravity, bade defiance to the serious pursuits of life, and honest
vol. I. PART II.
for of note, claph, that he must ny drew tears
ly preferred his own lightness of heart and of head, to knowledge the most extensive or thought the most profound. He was vain even of his vanity. At the very commencement of his work, he avows his determination not to repress it, because it is part of himself, and therefore will only increase the resemblance of the picture. Rousseau did not more clearly lay open to the world the depths and inmost recesses of his soul, than Cibber his little foibles and minikin weaknesses. The philosopher dwelt not more intensely on the lone enthusiasm of his spirit, on the alleviations of his throbbing soul, on the long draughts of rapture which he eagerly drank in from the loveliness of the universe, than the player on his early aspiring for scenic applause, and all the petty triumphs and mortifications of his passion for the favour of the town. How real and speaking is the description which he gives of his fond desires for the bright course of an actor-of his light-hearted pleasure, when, in the little part of the Chaplain in The Orphan, he received his first applause--and of his higher transport, when the next day Goodman, a retired actor of note, clapping him on the shoulder at a rehearsal, exclaimed, with an oath, that he must make a good actor, which almost took away his breath, and fairly drew tears into his eyes! The spirit of gladness which gave such exquisite keenness to his youthful appetite for praise, sustained him through all the changes of his fortune, enabling him to make a jest of penury, assisting him to gather fresh courage from every slight, adding zest to every success, until he arrived at the high dignity of “ Patentee of the Theatre Royal.” When “he no revenue had but his good spirits to feed and clothe him,” these were ample. His vanity was to him a kingdom. The airiest of town butterflies, he sipped of the sweets of pleasure wherever its stray gifts were found; sometimes in the tavern among the wits, but chiefly in the golden sphere of the theatre,—that magic circle whose majesties do not perish with the chances of the world, and whose glories never grow dim. In reading his life, we become possessed of his own feathery lightness, and seem to follow the course of the gayest and the emptiest of all the bubbles, that, in his age of happy trifling, floated along the shallow but glittering stream of existence.
· The Life of Cibber is peculiarly a favorite with us, not only by reason of the superlative coxcombry which it exhibits, but of the due veneration which it yields to an art too frequently under-rated, even among those to whose gratification it ministers. If the degree of enjoyment and of benefit produced by an art be any test of its excellence, there are few indeed, which will yield to that of the actor. His exertions do not, indeed, often excite emotions so deep or so pure as those which the noblest poetry inspires, but their genial influences are far more widely extended. The tenderest beauties of the most gifted of bards, find in the bosoms of a very small number an answering sympathy. Even of those who talk familiarly of Spenser and Milton, there are few who have fairly read, and still fewer who truly feel their divinest effusions. It is only in the theatre, that any image of the real grandeur of humanity—any picture of generous heroism and noble ,self-sacrifice-is poured on the imaginations, and sent warm to the hearts of the vast body of the people. There are eyes, familiar through months and years only with mechanic toil, suffused with natural tears, engendered by sacred pity. There are the deep fountains of hearts, long encrusted by narrow cares, burst open, and a holy light is sent in on the long sunken forms of the imagination, which shone fair and goodly in boyhood by their own light, but have since been sealed and forgotten in their “sunless treasuries." There, do the lowliest and most ignorant catch their only glimpse of that poetic radiance which is the finest glory of our being. While they gaze on the wondrous spectacle, they forget the petty concerns of their own individual lot, and recognize and rejoice in their kindred with a nature capable of high emprise, of meekest suffering, and of defiance to the mortal powers of agony and the grave. They are elevated and softened into men. They are carried beyond the ignorant present time; feel the past and the future on the instant, and kindle as they gaze on the massive realities of human virtue, or on those fairy visions which are the gleaming fore-shadows of golden years, which hereafter shall bless the world. Their horizon is suddenly extended from the narrow circle of low anxieties and selfish joys, to the farthest and most sacred hills which bound our moral horizon; and they perceive, in clear vision, the eternal rocks of defence for their nature, which the noblest spirits of their fellow men have been privileged to raise. While they feel that “which gives an awe of things above them,” their souls are expanded in the heartiest sympathy with the vast body of their fellows. A thousand hearts are swayed at once by the same emotion, as the high grass of the meadow yields, as a single blade, to the breeze which sweeps over it. Distinctions of fortune, rank, talent, age, all give way to the warm tide of emotion, and every class feel only as partakers in one primal sympathy, “made of one blood," and equal in the mysterious sanctities of their being. Surely the art that pro. duces an effect like this—which separates, as by a divine alchemy, the artificial from the real in humanity-which supplies to the artisan in the capital, the place of those woods and free airs and mountain streams, which insensibly harmonize the peasant's character—which gives the poorest to feel the old grandeur of tragedy, sweeping by with sceptered pall—which makes the heart of the child leap with strange joy, and enables the old man