Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

roses, and her bosom planted with orange-boughs; has no more the title of lady,' but reigns an undisputed • toast.' When to the plain garb of gown and band a spark adds an inconsistent long wig, we do not say now · he boshes,' but “there goes a smart fellow. If á virgin blushes, we no longer cry, she blues. He that drinks till he stares is no more tow-row,' but • honest.' • A youngster in a scrape,' is a word out of date ; and what bright man says, “I was job’d by the Dean ? · Bamboozling' is exploded ; 'a shať is a tatler ;' and if the muscular motion of a man's face be violent, no mortal says, he raises a horse,' but · he is a merry fellow.'

- I congratulate you, my dear kinsman, upon these conquests; such as Roman emperors lamented they could not gain ; and in which you rival your correspondent Louis le Grand, and his dictating academy.

• Be yours the glory to perform, mine to record, as Mr. Dryden has said before me to his kinsman"; and while

you enter triumphant into the temple of the Muses, I, as my office requires, will, with my staff on my shoulder, attend and conduct you.

• I am, DEAR Cousin,

your most affectionate kinsman, Oxford, Sept. 18.

• BENJAMIN BEADLESTAFF

*

Upon the humble application of certain persons who have made heroic figures in Mr. Bickerstaff's narrations, notice is hereby given, that no such shall ever be mentioned for the future, except those who have sent menaces, and not submitted to admonition.

n See · Epistle to John Dryden, of Chesterton, esq.' vol. ii. page 194. 8vo, edition.

o See Tatler, No. 45.

No. 72. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 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.

P.

WHITE'S CHOCOLATE-HOUSE, SEPTEMBER 23. I HAVE taken upon me no very easy task in 'turning all my thoughts on panegyric, when most of the advices I receive tend to the quite contrary purpose ; and I have few notices but such as regard follies and vices. But the properest way for me to treat is, to keep in general upon the passions and affections of men, with as little regard to particulars as the nature of the thing will adinit. However, I think there is something so passionate in the circumstances of the lovers mentioned in the following letter, that I am willing to go out of my way to obey what is commanded in it:

6

SIR,

• Your design of entertaining the town with the characters of the ancient heroes, as persons shall send an account to Mr. Morphew's, encourages me and others to beg of you, that, in the mean time, if it is not contrary to the method you

have proposed, you would give us one paper upon the subject of Pætus and his wife's death, when Nero sent him an order to kill himself: his wife, setting him the example, ed with these words, · Pætus, it is not painful.'

* STEELE's.

You must know the story, and

your observations

upon it will oblige, Sir, • London, Sept. 17.

Your most humble servant P.'

When the worst man that ever lived in the world had the highest station in it, human life was the object of his diversion ; and he sent orders frequently, out of mere wantonness, to take off such and such, without so much as being angry with them. Nay, frequently, his tyranny was so humorous, that he put men to death because he could not but approve of them. It came one day to his ear, that a certain married couple, Pætus and Arria, lived in a more happy tranquillity and mutual love than any other persons who were then in being. He listened with great attention to the account of their manner of spending their time together, of the constant pleasure they were to each other in all their words and actions; and found, by exact information, that they were so treasonable as to be much more happy than his imperial majesty himself. Upon which he writ Pætus the following billet :

• Pætus, you are hereby desired to despatch yourself. I have heard a very good character of you; and therefore leave it to yourself, whether you will die by dagger, sword, or poison. If you outlive this order above an hour, I have given directions to put you to death by torture.

NERO.

This familiar epistle was delivered to his wife Arria, who opened it.

p. Le but secret de la lettre, et des reflexions qui la suivent, est de characteriser l'esprit du despotisme. Les droits du pouvoir absolu sont toujours les mêmes, et si tous les princes, qui s'en trouvent revêtus, ne sont pas des Nérons, ce n'est pas qu'ils ne puissent l'être, s'ils veulent. Le grand objet des Whigs est donc de faire envisager de ce côté-là le gouvernement despotique, pour la rendre odieux. Le N. P.

One must have a soul very well turned for love, pity, and indignation, to comprehend the tumult this unhhapy lady was thrown into upon this occasion. The passion of love is no more to be understood by some tempers, than a problem in a science by an ignorant man : but he that knows what affection is, will have, upon considering the condition of Arria, ten thousand thoughts flowing upon him, which the tongue was not formed to express; but the charming statue is now before my eyes, and Arria, in her unutterable sorrow, has more beauty than ever appeared in youth, in mirth, or in triumph. These are the great and noble incidents which speak the dignity of our nature, in our sufferings and distresses. Behold her tender affection for her husband sinks her features into a countenance which appears more helpless than that of an infant: but again, her indignation shows in her visage and her bosom a resentment as strong as that of the bravest man. Long she stood in this agony of alternate rage and love; but at last composed herself for her dissolution, rather than survive her beloved Pætus. When he came into her

presence he found her with the tyrant's letter in one hand and a dagger in the other. Upon his approach to her, she gave him the order, and at the same time stabbing herself, Pætus,' says she, it is not painful ;' and expired. Pætus immediately followed her example. The passion of these memorable lovers was such, that it illuded the rigour of their fortune, and baffled the force of a blow which neither felt, because each received it for the sake of the other. The woman's part in this story is by much the more heroic, and has occasioned one of the best epigrams transmitted to us from antiquity'.

9 Casta suo gladium cum traderet Arria Pæto,

Quem de visceribus traxerat ipsa suis;

Si

[ocr errors]

FROM MY OWN APARTMENT, SEPTEMBER 23. The boy says, one in a black hat left the following letter : FRIEND',

• Being of that part of Christians whom men call Quakers, and being a seeker of the right way, I was persuaded yesterday to hear one of your most noted teachers. The matter he treated was the necessity of well living grounded upon a future state. I was attentive; but the man did not appear in earnest. He read his discourse, notwithstanding thy rebukes, so heavily, and with so little air of being convinced himself, that I thought he would have slept, as I observed many

of his hearers did. I came home unedified, and troubled in mind. I dipt into the Lamentations, and from thence turning to the 34th chapter of Ezekiel, I found these words : “ Woe be to the shepherds of Israel, that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flock ? Ye eat the fat, and

ye

clothe you with the wool : ye kill them that are fed; but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened; neither have ye healed that which was sick ; neither have ye

bound up that which was broken; neither have ye brought again that which was driven away ; neither have ye

Si qua fides, vulnus, quod feci, non dolet, inquit,
Sed quod tu facies, hoc mihi, Pæte, dolet.

Mart. Epig. i. 14. • When the chaste Arria reach'd the reeking sword,

Drawn from her bowels, to her honour'd lord,
Trust me, she said, for this I do not grieve,

I die by that which Pætus must receive.' • Arria marito et solatium mortis et exemplum fuit.-Pæte non dolet.'

Plin. Epist. lib. iii. ep. 18. Unde colligitur, facta dictaque virorum feminarumque illustrium, alia clariora esse, alia majora.

r See Tatler, Nos. 66. 68, and 70,

« ZurückWeiter »