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No. 114. WEDNESDAY, JULY 22.
Alveos accipite, et ceris opus infundite.
Fuci recusant, apibus conditio placet. PHÆDR. I thin
THINK myself obliged to acquaint the public, that the lion's head, of which I advertised them about a fortnight ago, is now erected at Button's coffee-house, in Russel-street, Covent-garden, where it opens its mouth at all hours for the reception of such intelligence as shall be thrown into it. It is reckoned an excellent piece of workmanship, and was designed by a great hand, in imitation of the antique Egyptian lion, the face of it being compounded out of that of a lion and a wizard. The features are strong and well furrowed. The whiskers are admired by all that have seen them. It is planted on the western side of the coffee-house, holding its paws under the chin upon a box, which contains every thing that he swallows. He is, indeed, a proper emblem of Knowledge and Action, being all head and paws.
I need not acquaint my readers, that my lion, like a moth or bookworm, feeds upon nothing but paper, and shall only beg of them to diet him with wholesome and substantial food. I must, therefore, desire that they will not gorge him either with nonsense or obscenity; and must likewise insist, that his mouth be not defiled with scandal, for I would not make use of him to revile the human species, and satarize those who are his betters. I shall not suffer him to worry any man's reputation, nor indeed fall on any person whatsoever, such only excepted as disgrace the name of this generouş animal, and, under the title of lions, contrive the ruin of their fellow-subjects. I must desire likewise, that intriguers will not make a pimp of my lion, and by his means convey their thoughts to another. Those who are read in the History of the Popes observe, that the Leos have been the best, and the Innocents the worst of that species, and I hope that I shall not be thought to derogate from my lion's character, by representing him as such a peaceable, good-natured, welldesigned beast.
I intend to publish once every week the Roarings of the Lion, and hope to make him roar so loud as to be heard over all the British nation.
If my correspondents will do their parts in prompting him, and supplying him with suitable provision, I question not but the lion's head will be reckoned the best head in England.
There is a notion generally received in the world, that a lion is a dangerous creature to all women who are not virgins, which may have given occasion to a foolish report, that my lion's jaws are so contrived, as to snap the hands of any of the female sex, who are not thus qualified to approach it with safety. I shall not 'spend much time in exposing the falsity of this report, which I believe will not weigh any thing with women of sense: I shall only say, that there is not one of the sex, in all the neighbourhood of Covent-garden, who may not put her hand in his mouth with the same security as if she were a Vestal. However, that the ladies may not be deterred from corresponding with me by this method, I must acquaint them, that the coffee-man has a little daughter of about four years old, who has been virtuously educated, and will lend her hand, upon this occasion, to any lady that shall desire it of her.
In the mean time I must farther acquaint my fair readers, that I have thoughts of making a farther provision for them at my ingenious friend Mr. Motteux's, or at Corticelli’s, or some other place frequented by the wits and beauties of the sex. As I have here a lion's head for the men, I shall there erect a unicorn's head for the ladies, and will so contrive it that they may put in their intelligence at the top of the horn, which shall convey it into a little receptacle at the
bottom, prepared for that purpose. Out of these two magazines I shall supply the town from time to time with what may tend to their edification, and, at the same time, carry on an epistolary correspondence between the two heads, not a little beneficial both to the public and to myself. As both these monsters will be very insatiable, and devour great quantities of paper, there will be no small use redound from them to that manufacture in particular.
The following letter having been left with the keeper of the lion, with a request from the writer that it may be the first morsel which is put into his mouth, I shall communicate it to the public as it came to my hand, without examining whether it be proper nourishment, as I intend to do for the future.
MR. GUARDIAN, “Your predecessor, the Spectator, endeavoured, but in vain, to improve the charms of the fair sex, by exposing their dress whenever it launched into extremities. Among the rest, the great petticoat came under his consideration, but in contradiction to whatever he has said, they still resolutely persist in this fashion. The form of their bottom is not, I confess, altogether the same; for whereas, before it was of an orbicular make, they now look as if they were pressed, so that they seem to deny access to any part but the middle. Many are the inconveniences that accrue to her majesty's loving subjects from the said petticoats, as hurting men's shins, sweeping down the ware of industrious females in the street, &c. I saw a young lady fall down the other day, and, believe me, Sir, she very much resembled an overturned bell without a clapper, Many other disasters I could tell you of that befall themselves as well as others, by means of this unwieldy garment. I wish, Mr. GUARDIAN, you would join with me in showing your dislike of such a monstrous fashion, and I hope when the ladies see it is the opinion of two of the wisest men in England, they will be convinced of their folly. "I am, sir, your daily reader and admirer,
“ Tom PLAIN."
No. 115. THURSDAY, JULY 23.
Ingenium par materia
Juv. When I read rules of criticism, I immediately enquire after the works of the author who has written them, and by that means discover what it is he likes in a composition; for there is no question but every man aims at least at what he thinks beautiful in others. If I find by his own manner of writing that he is heavy and tasteless, I throw aside his criticisms with a secret indignation, to see a man without genius or politeness dictating to the world on subjects which I find are above his reach.
If the critic has published nothing but rules and observations in criticism, I then consider whether there be a propriety and elegance in his thoughts and words, clearness and delicacy in his remarks, wit and goodbreeding in his raillery; but if, in the place of all these, I find nothing but dogmatical stupidity, I must beg such a writer's pardon if I have no manner of deference for his judgment, and refuse to conform myself to his taste.
So Macer and Mundungus school the times,
Mr. COŅGREVE TO SIR R. TEMPLE, The greatest critics among the ancients are those who have the most excelled in all other kinds of com
position, and have shown the height of good writing even in the precepts which they have given for it.
Among the moderns likewise, no critic has ever pleased, or been looked upon as authentic, who did not show, by his practice, that he was a master of the theory. I have now one before me, who, after having given many proofs of his performances both in poetry and prose, obliged the world with several critical works. The author I mean is Strada. His Prolusion on the style of the most famous among the ancient Latin poets who are extant, and have written in epic verse, is one of the most entertaining, as well as the most just pieces of criticism that I have ever read. I shall make the plan of it the subject of this day's paper,
It is commonly known, that Pope Leo the Tenth was a great patron of learning, and used to be present at the performances, conversations, and disputes of all the most polite writers of his time. Upon this bottom Strada founds the following narrative. When this pope was at his villa, that stood on an eminence on the banks of the Tiber, the poets contrived the following pageant or machine for his entertainment. They made a huge floating mountain, that was split at the top, in imitation of Parnassus. There were several marks on it that distinguished it for the habitation of heroic poets. Of all the Muses Calliope only made her appearance. It was covered up and down with groves of laurel. Pegasus appeared hanging off the side of a rock, with a fountain running from his heel. This floating Parnassus fell down the river to the sound of trumpets, and in a kind of epic measure, for it was rowed forward by six huge wheels, three on each side, that by their constant motion carried on the machine until it arrived before the pope's villa.
The representatives of the ancient poets were disposed in stations suitable to their respective characters. Statius was posted on the highest of the two summits, which was fashioned in the form of a preci