Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

" that I had returned safe to Old England, I might • indeed have been able to brag, that I was acquaint

ed with the laughing Man of Hungary, and with Peter, I can't hit on his name ; and I might • have learned the way of curing Great Bacon, and • known whether a Turkish horse mowed down Imperial Infants ; but my pockets would have been

empty all the while, and I should have been put • to hard shifts for a dinner. And so you will see • that my father did well in binding me apprentice to

a ship-chandler.--Here is to his memory in a bum

per of port ; and success to omnium, and the Irish Tong-teing!

I am, Sir, &c.


THOUGH I early signified my resolution of declining to take any public notice of communications or letters sent me; yet there is a set of Correspondents whose favours, lately received, I think myself bound to acknowledge ; and this I do the more willingly as it shows the fame of my predecessors to have extended farther than even I had been apt to imagine.

The Spectator's Club is well known to the literary and the fashionable of both sexes; but I confess I was not less surprised than pleased to find it familiar, (much to the credit of the gentlemen who frequent such places) to the very tavern keepers of this city ; the greatest part of whom, not doubting that I was to follow so islustrious an example, in the institution of a Convivial Society, have severally applied to me, through the channel of my Editor, to beg that they may be honoured with the reception of the Mirror Club.

Like all other candidates for employment, none of

them has been at a loss for reasons why his proposal should have the preference. One describes his house as in the most public, another recommends his as in the most private, part of the town. One says, his tavern is resorted to by the politest company; another, that he only receives gentlemen of the most regular and respectable characters. One offers me the largest room of its kind ; another the most quiet and commodious. I am particularly pleased with the attention of one of these gentlemen, who tells me he has provided an excellent elbow-chair for Mr. Umpbraville ; and that he shall take care to have no children in his house to disturb Mr. Fleetwood.

I am sorry to keep those good people in suspence; but I must inform them, for many

obvious reasons that though my friends and I visit them oftener perhaps than they are aware of, it may be a considerable time before we find it convenient to constitute a regular Club, or to make known, even to the master of the house which has the honour of receiving us, where we have fixed the place of our convention.

Meantime, as all of them rest their chief preten. sions on the character of the clubs who already faz vour them with their countenance, and as the names of most of these clubs excite my curiosity to be acquainted with their history and constitution, I must hereby request the landlords who entertain the respective societies of the Capillaire, the Whin-bush, the Kniglots of the Cap and Feather, the Tabernacle; the Stoic, the Poker, the Hum-drum, and the Antemanum, to transmit me a short account of the origin and nature of these societies ;-) say the landlords, because I do not think myself entitled to desire such an account from the clubs themselves; and because it is probable that the most material transactions carried on at their meetings are perfectly well known,

and, indeed, may be said to come through the hands of the hosts and their deputies.


N°47. TUESDAY, JULY 6, 1779.

Quid minuat curas, quid te tibi reddat amicum.


That false refinement and mistaken delicacy I have formerly described in my friend Mr. Fleetwood, a constant indulgence in which has rendered all his feelings so acute, as to make him be disgusted with the ordinary societies of men, not only attends him when in company, or engaged in conversation, but sometimes disturbs those pleasures, from which a mind like his ought to receive the highest enjoyment. Though endowed with the most excellent taste, and though his mind be fitted for relishing all the beau. ties of good composition ; yet, such is the effect of that excess of sensibility he has indulged, that he hardly ever receives pleasure from any of these, which is not mixed with some degree of pain. In reading, though he can feel all the excellencies of the author, and enter into his sentiments with warmth, yet he generally meets with something to offend him. If a poem, he complains that, with all its merit

, it is, in some place, turgid, in others languid ; if a prose composition, that the style is laboured or careless, stiff or familiar, and that the matter is either trite or obscure. In his remarks, there is always some foundation of truth; but that exquisite sensibility which leads to the too nice perception of blemishes, is apt to carry him away from the contemplation of the beauties of the author, and gives him a degree of uneasiness which is not always compensated by the pleasure he receives.

Very different from this turn of mind is that of Robert Morley, Esq. He is a man of very considerable abilities. His father (possessed of a considerable fortune) sent him, when a boy, to an English academy. He contracted, from the example of his teachers, an attachment to ancient learning; and he was led to think that he felt and relished the classics; and understood the merits of their

composition. From these circumstances, he began to fancy himself a man of fine taste, qualified to decide with authori. ty upon every subject of polite literature. But, in reality, Mr. Morley possesses as little taste as any one I ever knew of his talents and learning. Endowed, by Nature, with great strength of mind, and ignorant of the feebleness and weakness of human cha. racter, he is a stranger to all those finer delicacies of feeling and perception which constitute the man of genuine taste. But, this notwithstanding, from the persuasion that he is a person of fine taste, he reads and talks, with fancied rapture, of a poem, or a poetical description. All his remarks, however, discover that he knows nothing of what he talks about ; and almost every opinion which he gives differs from the most approved upon the subject. Catched by that spirit which Homer's heroes are possessed of, he agrees with the greatest part of the world in thinking that author the first of all poets ; but Virgil he considers as a poet of very little merit. To him he prefers Lucan ; but thinks there are some passages in Statius superior to either. He says Ovid gives a better picture of love than Tibullus ; and he

prefers Quintus Curtius, as an historian, to Livy. The modern writers, particularly the French, he generally speaks of with contempt. Amongst the English, he likes the style of the Rambler better than that of Mr. Addison's Spectator ; and he prefers Gordon and Macpherson to Hume and Robertson. I have sometimes heard him repeat an hundred-lines at a stretch, from one of the most bombast of our English poets, and have seen him in apparent rapture at the high-sounding words, and swell of the lines, though I am pretty certain that he could not have a distinct picture or idea of any one thing the poet meant. Though he has no ear, I have heard him talk with enthusiasm in praise of music, and lecture, with an air of superiority, upon the different qualities of the greatest masters in the art.

Thus, while Mr. Fleetwood is often a prey to disa appointment, and rendered uneasy by excessive re. finement and sensibility, Mr. Morley, without any taste at all, receives gratification unmixed and unalloyed.

The character of Morley is not more different from Fleetwood's, than that of Tom Dacres is from both. Tom is a young man of six-and-twenty, and being owner of an estate of about five hundred pounds ayear, he resides constantly in the country. He is not a man of parts ; nor is he possessed of the least degree of taste ; but Tom lives easy, contented, and happy. He is one of the greatest talkers I ever knew ; he rambles, with great volubility, from subject to subject; but he never says any thing that is worth being heard. He is every where the same ; and he runs on with the like undistinguishing ease, whether in company with men in high or in low rank, with the knowing or the ignorant. The morning, if the weather be good, he employs in traversing the fields, dressed in a short coat, and an old slouch

« ZurückWeiter »