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light in, and as I look upon you to be the greatest sportsman, or, if you please, the Nimrod among this species of writers, I thought this discovery would not be unacceptable to you.
“ I am, sir," &c.
No. 377. TUESDAY, MAY 13.
Quid quisque vitet, nunquam komini satis
Hor. 2. Od. xiii. 1&
Love was the mother of poetry, and still produces, among the most ignorant and barbarous, a thousand imaginary distresses and poetical complaints. It makes a footman talk like Oroondates, and converts a brutal rustic into a gentle swain. The most ordinary plebeian or mechanic in love, bleeds and pines away with a certain elegance and tenderness of sentiments which this passion naturally inspires.
These inward languishings of a mind infected with this softness, have given birth to a phrase which is made use of by all the melting tribe, from the highest to the lowest, I mean that of dying for love.
Romances, which owe their very being to this passion, are full of these metaphorical deaths. Heroes and heroines, knights, squires, and damsels, are all of them in a dying condition. There is the same kind of mortality in our modern tragedies, where every one gasps, faints, bleeds, and dies. Many of the poets, to describe the execution which is done by this passion, represent the fair sex as basilisks that destroy with their eyes; but I think Mr. Cowley has with greater justness of thought compared a
beautiful woman to a porcupine, that sends an arrow from every part.
I have often thought, that there is no way so effectual for the cure of this general infirmity, as a man's reflecting upon the motives that produce it. When the passion proceeds from the sense of any virtue or perfection in the persons beloved, I would by no means discourage it; but if a man considers that all his heavy complaints of wounds and deaths rise from some little affectations of coquetry, which are improved into charms by his own fond imagination, the very laying before himself the cause of his distemper, may be sufficient to effect the cure of it.
It is in this view that I have looked over the several bundles of letters which I have received from dying people, and composed out of them the following bill of mortality, which I shall lay before my reader without any further preface, as hoping that it may be useful to him in discovering those several places where there is most danger, and those fatal arts which are made use of to destroy the heedless and unwary.
Lysander, slain at a puppet-show on the third of September.
T. S. wounded by Zelinda's scarlet stocking, as she was stepping out of a coach.
Will. Simple, smitten at the Opera by the glance of an eye that was aimed at one who stood by him.
Tho. Vainlove, lost his life at a ball.
Tim. Tattle, killed by the tap of a fan on his left shoulder by Coquetilla, as he was talking carelessly with her in a bowwindow.
Sir Simon Softly, murdered at the play-house in Drury-lane by a frown.
Philander, mortally wounded by Cleora, as she was adjusting her tucker.
Ralph Gapely, Esq. hit by a random shot at the ring.
W. W. killed by an unknown hand, that was playing with the glove off upon the side of the front-box in Drury-lane.
Sir Christopher Crazy, Bart. hurt by the brush of a whalebone petticoat.
Sylvius, shot through the sticks of a fan at St. James's church.
Damon, struck through the heart by a diamond necklace.
Thomas Trusty, Francis Goosequill, William Meanwell, Edward Callow, Esqs. standing in a row, fell all four at the same time, by an ogle of the Widow Trapland.
Tom Rattle, chancing to tread upon a lady's tail as he came out of the playhouse, she turned full upon him, and laid him dead upon the spot.
Dick Tastewell, slain by a blush from the Queen's box in the third act of the Trip to the Jubilee.
Samuel Felt, haberdasher, wounded in his walk to Islington by Mrs. Susannah Cross-stitch, as she was clambering over a
R, F. T, W. S, I. M, P. &c. put to death in the last birth-day massacre.
Roger Blinko, cut off in the twenty-first year of his age by a white-wash.
Musidorus, slain by an arrow that flew out of a dimple in Belinda's left cheek.
Ned Courtly, presenting Flavia with her glove (which she had dropped on purpose) she received it, and took away his life with a curtsey. John Gosselin, having received a slight hurt from a pair
of blue eyes, as he was making his escape was dispatched by a smile.
Strephon, killed by Clarinda as she looked down into the pit.
Charles Careless, shot flying by a girl of fifteen, who unexpectedly popped her head upon him out of a coach.
Josiah Wither, aged threescore and three, sent to his long home by Elizabeth Jetwell, spinster.
Jack Freelove, murdered by Melissa in her hair.
William Wiseacre, Gent. drowned in a flood of tears by Moll Common.
John Pleadwell, Esq. of the Middle Temple, barrister at law, assassinated in his chambers the sixth instant by Kitty Sly, who pretended to come to him for his advice.“
No. 381. SATURDAY, MAY 17.
Æquam memento rebus in arduis
Ab insolenti temperatum
HOR. 8. Od. 11.1.
I have always preferred cheerfulness to mirth. The latter I consider as an act, the former as an habit of the mind. Mirth
* V. Nos. 387–393.-C.
• The easy humour of this paper is supported and set off by an exquis. ite expression.--H.
is short and transient, chearfulness fixed and permanent. Those are often raised into the greatest transports of mirth, who are subject to the greatest depressions of melancholy: on the contrary, chearfulness, though it does not give the mind such an exquisite gladness, prevents us from falling into any depths of sorrow. Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; chearfulness keeps up a kind of day-light in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.
Men of austere principles look upon mirth as too wanton and dissolute for a state of probation, and as filled with a certain triumph and insolence of heart, that is inconsistent with a life which is every moment obnoxious to the greatest dangers. Writers of this complexion have observed, that the sacred per. son who was the great pattern of perfection was never seen to laugh.
Chearfulness of mind is not liable to any of these exceptions ; it is of a serious and composed nature, it does not throw the mind into a condition improper for the present state of humanity, and is very conspicuous in the characters of those who are looked upon as the greatest philosophers among the heathens, as well as among those who have been deservedly esteemed as saints and holy men among christians.
If we consider chearfulness in three lights, with regard to ourselves, to those we converse with, and to the great Author of our being, it will not a little recommend itself on each of these accounts. The man who is possessed of this excellent frame of mind, is not only easy in his thoughts, but a perfect master of all the powers and faculties of his soul : his imagination is always clear, and his judgment undisturbed : his temper is even and unrufied, whether in action or in solitude. He comes with a relish to all those goods which nature has provided for him, tastes all