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ready made into smooth flowing hexameters, and will be found extremely useful, particularly to our writers of tragedy.
All these, Sir, the fruits of several years' labour and industry, I am ready to communicate for an adequate consideration, to authors, or other persons whom they may suit. Be pleased, therefore, to inform your correspondents, that, by applying to your publisher, they may be inforined, in the language of Falstaff, “ where a commodity of good names is to be bought.” As for your own particular, Sir, I am ready to attend you gratis, at any time you may stand in need of my assistance; or you may write out your papers blank, and send them to me to fill up the names of the parties. I am yours, &c.
The Editor has to return thanks to numberless Correspondents for their favours lately received; he begs leave, at the same time, to acquaint them, that, as many inconveniencies would arise from a particular acknowledgment of every letter, he must henceforward be excused from making it; they may, however, rest assured of the strictest attention and impartiality in regard to their communications. As to the insertion of papers sent him, he will be allowed to suggest, that from the nature of his publication, the acceptance or refusal of an essay is no criterion of its merit, nor of the opinion in which it is held by the Editor. A performance may be improper for the Mirror, as often on account of its rising above, as of its falling below, the level of such a work, which is peculiarly circumscribed, not only in its subjects, but in the manner of treating them. The same circumstance will often render it necessary to alter or abridge the productions of Correspondents ; a liberty for which the Editor hopes their indulgence, and which he will use with the utmost caution.
No 8. 'SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 1779.
Inspicere, tanquam in speculum,
It was with regret that the Editor found himself under the necessity of abridging the following letter, communicated by an unknown correspondent.
· TO THE EDITOR OF THE MIRROR.
•SIR, " As I was walking one afternoon, about thirty years ago, by the Egyptian side of the Red Sea, in the neighbourhood of Babelmandel, I accidentally met with a Dervise. How we forthwith commenced acquaintance; how I went with him to his hermitage; how our acquaintance improved into intimacy, and our intimacy into friendship; how we conversed about every thing, both in heaven above, and in the earth beneath; how the Dervise fell sick, and how I, having some skill in medicine, administered to his recovery; how this strengthened his former regard by the additional tie of gratitude; how, after a space, I tired of walking by the Red Sea, in the neighbourhood of Babelmandel, and fancied I should walk with more security and satisfaction by the side of Forth; are circumstances, that, after you shall
be more interested in my life and conversation, I may venture to lay before
you. In the mean while, suffice it to say, that my part.. ing with the Dervise was very tender; and that, as a memorial of his friendship, he presented me with a Mirror. I confess frankly, that, considering the poverty of my friend, and his unaffected manner of offering it, I supposed his present of little intrinsic value. Yet, looking at it, and wishing to seem as sensible of its worth as possible, “ This," said I,
” may be a very useful Mirror. As it is of a convenient size, I may carry it in my pocket, and, if I should happen to be in a public company, it may enable me to wipe from my
accidental dust, or to adjust the posture of my periwig." For, Sir, at that time, in order to command some respect among the Mussulmen, I wore a periwig of three tails.
• “ That Mirror," said the Dervise, looking at me with great earnestness, “is of higher value than you suppose: and of this, by the following account of its nature and uses, I am sure you will be fully satisfied. Of Mirrors, some are convex, represent their object of a size considerably diminished: accordingly, the images they display are extremely beautiful. A company of people represented by this Mirror, shall appear without spot or blemish, like a company of lovely sylphs. Now, my good Christian friend, mine is not a convex Mirror. Neither is it concave: for concave Mirrors have just an opposite effect; and, by enlarging the object they represent, would render even the Houri in Paradise as hideous as the Witch of Endor, or a Pagan Fury. In short, it is a good plain Mirror, intended to represent things just as they are, but with properties and varieties not to be met with in common glass.
Whenever," continued he,“ you entertain any
doubt concerning the propriety of your conduct, or have apprehensions that your motives are not exactly what you conceive or wish them to be, I advise you forthwith to consult the Mirror. You will there see yourself without disguise; and be enabled, not merely to wipe from your face any accidental dust, or to adjust your periwig of three tails, but to rectify your conduct, and adjust your deportment.” In truth, Sir, I have made this experiment, according to the direction of the Dervise, so often, and with such small satisfaction to myself, that I am heartily sick of it. I have consulted my Mirror, in the act of giving alms, expecting, no doubt, to see myself charactered with the softest compassion, and, behold! I was swollen and bloated with ostentation. Glowing with indignation, as I conceived, against the vices of mankind, and their blindness to real merit, I have looked in the Mirror, and seen the redness of Anger, the flushings of disappointed Ambition. Very lately, a friend of mine read me an essay he had written; he seemed to me somewhat conscious of its merit; he expected, and was entitled to some applause; “but,” said I to myself, “ I will administer to no man's vanity, nor expose my friend by encouraging his self-conceit;" and so observed an obstinate unyielding silence. I looked in the Mirror, and am ashamed to tell you my motive was not so pure.
But, instead of exposing my own infirmities, I will, in perfect consistency with some of the most powerful principles in our nature, and in a manner much less exceptionable to myself, explain the properties of my Mirror, by the views it gives me of other men.
«“Whenever,” continued the Dervise, “ you have any doubt concerning the conduct of another person, take an opportunity, and, when he is least aware,
catch a copy of his face in your Mirror.” It would do your heart good, Sir, if you delight in thats pecies of moral criticism which some people denominate scandal, to see the discoveries I have made. Many a grave physician have I seen laying his head on one side, fixing his solemn eye on the far corner of a room, or poring with steady gaze on his watch, and seeming to count the beats of his patient's pulse, when, in fact, he was numbering, in his own mind, the guineas accruing from his circle of morning visits, or studying what fine speech he should make to my Lady Duchess; or, if his patient were a fair patient -but here I would look no longer.
• I have often carried my Mirror to church, and, sitting in a snug corner, have catched the flaming orator of the pulpit in many a rare grimace, and expressive gesture; expressive not of humility, but of pride; not of any desire to communicate instruction, but to procure applause; not to explain the gospel, but to exhibit the preacher.
66 This Mirror," said the Mussulman, continuing his valedictory speech,“ will not only display your acquaintance as they really are, but as they wish to be: and for this purpose,” shewing me the way, "you have only to hold it in a particular position.” From this use of the Mirror, holding it as the Dervise desired me, I confess I have received special amusement. How many persons hideously deformed have appeared most divinely beautiful; how many dull fellows have become amazingly clever; how many shrivelled cheeks have suddenly claimed a youthful bloom! Yet, I must confess, how surprising soever the confession may appear, that I have found mankind, in general, very well satisfied with their talents : and, as far as regards moral and religious improvement, I recollect very few instances of persons who wished for changes in their present con