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disagreeable, as his sincerity and frankness of behaviour made him converse with her, before marriage, in the same manner he intended to continue to do afterwards. Tom would often tell her, " Madam, you see what a sort of man I am. If you will take me with all my faults about me, I promise to mend rather than grow worse. I remember Tom was once hinting his dislike of some little trifle his mistress had said or done; upon which she asked him how he would talk to her after marriage, if he talked at this rate before? No, madam, (says Tom,) I mention this now, because you are at your own disposal; were you at mine, I should be too generous to do it." In short, Tom succeeded, and has ever since been better than his word. The lady has been disappointed on the right side, and has found nothing more disagreeable in the husband than she discovered in the lover.
No. 114. WEDNESDAY, JULY 22.
Alveos accipite, ceris opus infundite.
Fuci recusant, apibus conditio placet. PHED.
I 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 everything 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 book-worm, 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
1 Better strike out-to continue.
his mouth be not defiled with scandal, for I would not make use of him to revile the human species, and satirize 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 generous animal, and under the title of lions, contrive the ruin of their fellowsubjects. I must desire likewise, that intriguers will not make a pimp of my lion, and by this means convey their thoughts to one 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, welldesigning 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 anything 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 the 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, 1 must further acquaint my fair readers, that I have thoughts of making a further 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 an 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 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.
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."
WHEN I read rules of criticism, I immediately inquire 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 good-breeding 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,
And write in rugged prose the softer rules of rhymes.
Rules for good verse they first with pains indite,
MR. CONGREVE to SIR R. TEMPLE.
The greatest critics among the ancients are those who have the most excelled in all other kinds of composition, 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 upon 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 precipice, and hung over the rest of the mountain in a dreadful manner, so that people regarded him with the same terror and curiosity as they look upon a daring rope-dancer whom they expect to fall every moment.
Claudian was seated on the other summit, which was lower, and at the same time more smooth and even than the former. It was observed likewise to be more barren, and to produce, on some spots of it, plants that are unknown to Italy, and such as the gardeners call exotics.
Lucretius was very busy about the roots of the mountain, being wholly intent upon the motion and management of the machine, which was under his conduct, and was, indeed, of his invention. He was sometimes so engaged among the wheels, and covered with machinery, that not above half the poet appeared to the spectators, though at other times, by the working of the engines, he was raised up and became as conspicuous as any of the brotherhood.
Ovid did not settle in any particular place, but ranged over all Parnassus with great nimbleness and activity. But