« AnteriorContinua »
in the world to tell her grief to.'. Upon this, Will doubled his importunities; but she said, 'that she should break her poor heart, if he did not take a solemn oath upon a book, that he would not be angry; and that he would
who had wronged her to all the world, for the ease of her mind, which was no way else to be quieted.' The fiddler was so melted, that he immediately kissed her, and afterward the book. When his oath was taken, she began to lament herself, and revealed to him, " That, miserable woman as she was, she had been false to his bed.' Will was glad to hear it was no worse; but, before he could reply,
Nay,' said she, ' I will make you all the atonement I can, and take shame upon me, by proclaiming it to all the world, which is the only thing that can remove my present terrors of mind.' indeed too true, for her design was to prevent Mr. Boniface's marriage, which was all she apprehended. Will was thoroughly angry, and began to curse and swear, the ordinary expressions of passion in persons of his condition. Upon which his wife—Ah, William ! how well you mind the oath you
have taken, and the distress of your poor wife, who can keep nothing from you! I hope you will not be such a perjured wretch as to forswear yourself.' The fiddler answered, ' that his oath obliged him only not to be angry at what had passed; but I find you intend to make me laughed at all over Wapping.'—' No, no,' replied Mrs. Rosin, “I see well enough what you would be at, you poor-spirited cuckold! You are afraid to expose Boniface, who has abused your poor wife, and would fain persuade me still to suffer the stings of conscience; but I assure you, sirrah, I will not go to the devil for you.' Poor Will was not made for contention, and, beseeching her to be pacified, desired she would consult the good of her soul her own way, for he would not say her nay in any thing.'
Mrs. Rosin was so very loud and public in her invective against Boniface, that the parents of his mistress forbad the banns, and his match was prevented, which was the whole design of this deep stratagem. The father of Boniface brought his action of defamation, arrested the fiddler, and recovered damages. This was the distress from which he was relieved by the company; and the good husband's air, history, and jollity upon his enlargement, gave occasion to very much mirth; especially when Will, finding he had friends to stand by him, proclaimed himself a cuckold, by way of insult over the family of the Bonifaces. Here is a man of tranquillity without reading Seneca! What work had such an incident made among persons of distinction ? The brothers and kindred of each side must have been drawn out, and hereditary hatred entailed on the families as long as their very names remained in the world. Who would believe that Herod, Othello, and Will Rosin, were of the same species?
There are quite different sentiments which reign in the parlour and the kitchen; and it is by the point of honour, when justly regulated, and inviolably observed, that some men are superior to others, as much as mankind in general are to brutes. This puts me in mind of a passage in the admirable poem called “The Dispensary,' where the nature of true honour is artfully described in an ironical dispraise of it:
But ere we once engage in honour's cause,
Angry whene'er a moment's ease we gain,
*** A very odd fellow visited me to-day at my lodgings, and desired encouragement and recommendation from me for a new invention of knockers to doors, which he told me he had made, and professed to teach rustic servants the use of them. I desired him to shew me an experiment of this invention; upon which he fixed one of his knockers to my parlour-door. He then gave me a complete set of knocks, from the solitary rap of the dun and beggar, to the thunderings of the saucy footman of quality, with several flourishes and rattlings never yet performed. He likewise played over some private notes, distinguishing the familiar friend or relation from the most modish visitor: and directing when the reserve candles are to be lighted. He has several other curiosities in his art. He waits only to receive my approbation of the main design. He is now ready to practise to such as shall apply themselves to him; but I have put off his public licence until next court-day.
N. B. He teaches under-ground.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1709.
-Invenies disjecti membra poetæ.
HOR. 1 Sat. iv. 62. You will find the limbs of a dismember'd poet.
Will's Coffee-house, December 12. I was this evening sitting at the side-table, and reading one of my own papers with great satisfaction, not knowing that I was observed by any in the room.
I had not long enjoyed this secret pleasure of an author, when a gentleman, some of whose works I have been highly entertained with, accosted me after the following manner. • Mr. Bickerstaff, you know I have for some years devoted myself wholly to the Muses, and, perhaps you will be surprised when I tell you I am resolved to take up, and apply myself to business. I shall, therefore, beg you will stand my friend, and recommend a customer to me for several goods that I have now upon my hands.'— I desired him to let me have a particular*, and I would do
utmost to serve him.'-- I have, first of all,' says he, progress of an amour digested into sonnets, beginning with a poem to the unknown fair, and ending with an epithalamium. I have celebrated in it her cruelty, her pity, her face, her shape, her wit, her good humour, her dancing, her singing - I could not forbear interrupting him ; This is a most accomplished lady,' said I: · but has she really with all these perfections, a fine voice ??-· Pugh,' says he, - you do not believe that there is such a person in nature. This was only my employment in solitude last summer, when I had neither friends nor books to divert me.'-'I
* The technical phrase of an auctioneer.
was going,' said I, “to ask her name, but I find it is only an imaginary mistress.'— That's true,' replied my friend, but her name is Flavia. I have, continued he, in the second place, a collection of lampoons, calculated either for the Bath, Tunbridge, or any place where they drink waters, with blank spaces, for the names of such person or persons as may be inserted in them on occasion. Thus much I have told only of what I have by me proceeding from love and malice. have also at this time the sketch of a heroic poem upon the next peace; several, indeed, of the verses are either too long or too short, it being a rough draught of my thoughts upon that subject.' I thereupon told him, “That as it was, it might probably pass for a very good Pindaric, and I believed I knew one who would be willing to deal with him for it upon that foot.'—'I must tell you also,' said he, “ I have made a dedication to it, which is about four sides close written, that may serve any one that is tall, and understands Latin. 'I have farther, about fifty similies, that were never yet applied, besides three-and-twenty descriptions of the sun rising, that might be of great use to an epic poet. These are my more bulky commodities : besides which, I have several small wares that I would part with at easy rates; as observations upon life, and moral sentences, reduced into several couplets, very proper to close up acts of plays, and may be easily introduced by two or three lines of prose, either in tragedy or comedy. If I could find a purchaser curious in Latin poetry, I could accommodate him with two dozen of epigrams, which, by reason of a few false quantities, should come for little, or nothing.'
I heard the gentleman with much attention, and