Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Old Wisewood smok'd the matter as it was ;
• Cheer up!' cry'd he, 'and I'll remove the cause.

• A wond'rous spring within my garden flows,
Of sovereign virtue, chiefly to compose
Domestic jars, and matrimonial strife;
The best elixir t appease man and wife :
Strange are th' effects, the qualities divine;
'Tis water call’d, but worth its weight in wine.
If in his sullen airs Sir John should come,
Three spoonsful take, hold in your mouth--then mum.
Smile, and look pleas’d, when he shall rage and scold;
Still in your mouth the healing cordial hold :
One month this sympathetic med'cine tried,
He'll grow a lover, you a happy bride.
But, dearest niece, keep this grand secret close,
Or every prattling hussy 'li beg a dose.

A water bottle's brought for her relief;
Not Nants could sooner ease the lady's grief:
Her busy thoughts are on the trial bent,
And, female like, impatient for th' event.

The bonny knight reels home exceeding clear,
Prepar'd for clamour and domestic war;
Entering, he cries, 'Hey! where's our thunder filed!
No hurricane! Betty, 's your lady dead?
Madam, aside, an ample mouthful takes,
Curt’sies, looks kind, but not a word she speaks :
Wondering, he star'd, scarcely his eyes believ'd,
But found his ears agreeably deceiv'd.
Why how now, Molly, what's the crotchet now?'
She smiles, and answers only with a bow.
Then, clasping her about, Why, let me die!
These night-clothes, Moll, become thee mightily!'
With that he sigh’d, her hand began to press,
And Betty calls, her lady to undress.
Nay kiss me, Molly—for I'm much inclin'd.'
Her lace she cuts, to take him in the mind :
Thus the fond pair to bed enamour'd went,
The lady pleas’d, and the good knight content.

For many days these fond endearments past,
The reconciling bottle fails at last;
'Twas us’d and gone—then midnight storms arose,
And looks and words the union discompose.
Her coach is order'd, and post haste she flies,
To beg her uncle for some fresh supplies :
Transported does the strange effects relate,
Her knight's conversion, and her happy state !

• Why, niece,' says he, 'I pr’ythee apprehend,
The water's water-be thyself thy friend.
Such beauty would the coldest husband warm ;
But your provoking tongue andoes the charm :
Be silent and complying ; you'll soon find,
Sir John without a med cine will be kind.'

St. James's Coffee-house, April 13. Letters from Venice say, the disappointment of their expectation to see his Danish Majesty has very much disquieted the court of Rome. Our last advices from Germany inform

us, that the minister of Hanover has urged the council at Ratisbonne to exert themselves in behalf of the common cause, and taken the liberty to say, that the dignity, the virtue, the prudence, of his Electoral Highness, his master, were called to the head of their affairs in vain, if they thought fit to leave him naked of the proper means, to make those excellences useful for the honour and safety of the empire. They write from Berlin of the thirteenth, 0. S. that the true design of General Fleming's visit to that court was, to insinuate that it will be for the mutual interest of the King of Prussia and King Augustus to enter into a new alliance; but that the ministers of Prussia are not inclined to his sentiments. We hear from Vienna, that his Imperial Majesty has expressed great satisfaction in their High Mightinesses having communicated to him the whole that has passed in the affair of a peace. Though there have been practices used by the agents of France, in all the courts of Europe, to break the good understanding of the allies, they have had no other effect, but to make all the members concerned in the alliance more doubtful of their safety from the great offers of the enemy. The Emperor is roused by this alarm, and the frontiers of all the French dominions are in danger of being insulted the ensuing campaign. Advices from all parts confirm, that it is impossible for France to find a way to obtain so much credit, as to gain any one potentate of the allies, or conceive any hope for safety from other prospects.

From my own Apartment, April 13. I find it of very great use, now I am setting up for a writer of news, that I am an adept in astrological specula. tions; by which means I avoid speaking of things which may offend great persons. But, at the same time, I must not prostitute the liberal sciences so far, as not to utter the truth in cases which do not immediately concern the good of my native country. I must therefore contradict what has been so assuredly reported by the news-writers of Eng

land, That France is in the most deplorable condition, and that their people die in great multitudes. I will therefore let the world know, that my correspondent, by the way of Brussels, informs me upon his honour, that the gentleman who writes the Gazette of Paris, and ought to know as well as any man, has told him, that ever since the King has been past his sixty-third year, or grand climacteric, there has not died one man of the French nation who was younger than his Majesty, except a very few, who were taken suddenly near the village of Hockstet in Germany; and some more, who were straitened for lodging at a place called Ramilies, and died on the road to Ghent and Bruges. There are also other things given out by the allies, which are shifts below a conquering nation to make use of. Among others it is said, There is a general murmuring among the people of France, though at the same time all my letters agree, that there is so good an understanding among them, that there is not one' morsel carried out of any market in the kingdom, but what is delivered upon credit.

[ocr errors]

N° 3. SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 1709.

Quicquid agunt homines

- nostri est farrago libelli.-Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream,
Our motley paper seizes for its theme.-Pope.

Will's Coffee-house, April 14.
NHIS evening the comedy called the Country Wife was

acted in Drury-lane, for the benefit of Mrs. Bignell. The part which gives name to the play was performed by herself. Through the whole action she made a very pretty figure, and exactly entered into the nature of the part. Her husband, in the drama, is represented to be one of those debauchees who run through the vices of the town, and believe, when they think fit, they can marry and settle at their ease.

His own knowledge of the iniquity of the age

makes him choose a wife wholly ignorant of it, and place his security in her want of skill to abuse him. The poet, on many occasions, where the propriety of the character will admit of it, insinuates, that there is no defence against. vice but the contempt of it; and has, in the natural ideas'

of an untainted innocent, shewn the gradual steps to ruin and destruction which persons of condition run into, without the help of a good education to form their conduct. The torment of a jealous coxcomb, which arises from his own false maxims, and the aggravation of his pain by the very words in which he sees her innocence, makes a very pleasant and instructive satire. The character of Horner, and the design of it, is a good representation of the age in which that comedy was written; at which time love and wenching were the business of life, and the gallant manner of pursuing women was the best recommendation at court. "To this only it is to be imputed, that a gentleman of Mr. Wycherley's character and sense, condescends to represent the insults done to the honour of the bed, without just reproof; but to have drawn a man of probity with regard to such considerations had been a monster, and a poet had at that time discovered his want of knowing the manners of the court he lived in, by a virtuous character in his fine gentleman, as he would shew his ignorance, by drawing a vicious one to please the present audience. Mrs. Bignell did her part very happily, and had a certain grace in her rusticity, which gave us hopes of seeing her a very skilful player, and in some parts supply our loss of Mrs. Verbruggen. I cannot be of the same opinion with my friends and fellow-labourers, the Reformers of Manners, in their severity towards plays; but must allow that a good play acted before a well-bred audience, must raise very proper incitements to good behaviour, and be the most quick and most prevailing method of giving young people a turn of sense and breeding. But as I have set up for a weekly historian, I resolve to be a faithful one; and therefore take this public occasion to admonish a young nobleman, who came flustered into the box last night, and let him know how much all his friends were out of countenance for him. The women sat in terror of hearing something that should shock their modesty, and all the gentlemen

in as much pain out of compassion to the ladies, and perliaps resentment for the indignity which was offered in coming into their presence in so disrespectful a manner. Wine made him say nothing that was rude, therefore he is forgiven, upon condition he never will hazard his offending more in this kind. As I just now hinted, I own myself

of the Society for Reformation of Manners.' We have lower instruments than those of the family of Bickerstaff, for punishing_great crimes, and exposing the abandoned. Therefore, as I design to have notices from all public assemblies, I shall take upon me only indecorums, improprieties, and negligences, in such as should give us better examples. After this declaration, if a fine lady thinks fit to giggle at church, or a great beau come in drunk to a play, either shall be sure to hear of it in my ensuing paper. For, merely as a well-bred man, I cannot bear these enormities.

After the play we naturally stroll to this coffee-house, in hopes of meeting some new poem, or other entertainment, among the men of wit and pleasure, where there is a dearth at present. But it is wonderful there should be so few writers, when the art is become merely mechanic, and men may make themselves great that way, by as certain and infallible rules as you may be a joiner or a mason. There happens a good instance of this in what the hawker has just now offered to sale, to wit; • Instructions to Vanderbank; a Sequel to the Advice to the Poets; a Poem, occasioned by the glorious success of her Majesty's arms, under the command of the Duke of Marlborough, the last year in Flanders.'* Here you are to understand, that the author, finding the poets would not take his advice; troubles himself no more about them; but has met with one Vanderbank, who works in arras, and makes very good tapestry hangings: therefore, in order to celebrate the hero of the age, he claps together all that can be said of a man that makes hangings :

Then, artist, who does Nature's face express
In silk and gold, and scenes of action dress;
Dost figur'd arras animated leave,
Spin. a bright story, or a passion weave;
By mingling threads, canst mingle shade and light,

Delineate triumphs, or describe a fight? Well, what shall this workman do? why, to shew how great a hero the poet intends, he provides him a very good horse :

Champing his foam, and bounding on the plain,
Arch his high neck, and graceful spread his mane.

* By Sir Richard Blackmore.

« ZurückWeiter »