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the same design ; as indeed every art and science contributes to the embellishment of life, and to the wearing off and throwing into shades the mean and low parts of our nature. Poetry carries on this great end more than all the rest, as may be seen in the following passage taken out of Sir Francis Bacon's “ Advancement of Learning,” which gives a truer and better account of this art than all the volumes that were ever written upon it.
Poetry, especially heroical, seems to be raised altogether from a noble foundation, which makes much for the dignity of man's nature. For seeing this sensible world is in dignity inferior to the soul of man, poesy seems to endow human nature with that which history denies; and to give satisfaction to the mind, with at least the shadow of things, where the substance cannot be had. For if the matter be thoroughly considered, a strong argument may be drawn from poesy, that a more stately greatness of things, a more perfect order, and a more beautiful variety, delights the soul of man, than any way can be found in nature since the fall. Wherefore, seeing the acts and events, which are the subjects of true history, are not of that amplitude as to content the mind of man ; poesy is ready at hand to feign acts more heroical. Because true history reports the successes of business not proportionable to the merit of virtues and vices, poesy corrects it, and presents events and fortunes according to desert, and according to the law of Providence : because true history, through the frequent satiety and similitude of things, works a distaste and misprision in the mind of man ; poesy cheareth and refresheth the soul, chanting things rare and various, and full of vicissitudes. So as poesy serveth and conferreth to delectation, magnanimity, and morality; and therefore it may seem deservedly to have some participation of divineness, because it doth raise the mind, and exalt the spirit with high raptures, by proportioning the shows of things to the desires of the mind, and not submitting the mind to things, as reason and history do. And by these allurements and congruities, whereby it cherisheth the soul of man, joined also with consort of music, whereby it may more sweetly insinuate itself, it hath won such access, that it hath been in estimation even in rude times and barbarous nations, when other learning stood excluded.”
But there is nothing which favours and falls in with this natural greatness and dignity of human nature so much as religion, which does not only promise the entire refinement of the mind, but the glorifying of the body, and the immortality of both.
N° 109. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 1709.
Perditur hæc inter miseris lux
Hor. 2 Sat. vi. 59.
Sheer-lane, December 19. THERE has not some years been such a tumult in our neighbourhood as this evening about six. At the lower end of the lane the word was given, that there was a great funeral coming by. The next moment came forward in a very hasty, instead of a solemn manner, a long train of lights, when at last a footman, in very high youth and health, with all his force ran through the whole art of beating the door of the house next to me, and ended his rattle with the true finishing rap. This did not only bring one to the door at which he knocked, but to that of every one in the lane in an instant. Among the rest, my country-maid took the alarm, and immediately running to me, told me, " there was a fine, fine lady, who had three men with burial torches making way before her, carried by two men upon poles, with looking-glasses on each side of her, and one glass also before, she herself appearing the prettiest that ever was.” The girl was going on in her story, when the lady was come to my door in her chair, having mistaken the house. As soon as she entered I saw she was Mr. Isaac's scholar, by her speaking air, and the becoming stop she made when she began her apology. “ You will be surprised, Sir,” said she, “ that I take this liberty, who am utterly a stranger to you; besides that it may be thought an indecorum that I visit a man." She made here a pretty hesitation, and held her fan to her face.Then, as if recovering her resolution, she proceeded
“ But I think you have said, that men of your age are of no sex ; therefore, I may be as free with you as one of my own.” The lady did me the honour to consult me on some particular matters, which I am not at liberty to report. But, before she took her leave, she produced a long list of names, which she looked upon, to know whither she was to go next. I must confess, I could hardly forbear discovering to her, immediately, that I secretly laughed at the fantastical regularity she observed in throwing away her time; but I seemed to indulge her in it, out of a curiosity to hear her own sense of her way of life. “ Mr. Bickerstaff,” said she, “ you cannot imagine how much you are obliged to me, in staying
thus long with you, having so many visits to make ; and, indeed, if I had not hopes that a third part of those I am going to will be abroad, I should be unable to dispatch them this evening.”-“ Madam, said I, "
in all this haste and perplexity, and only going to such as you have not a mind to see ?"
L" Yes, Sir," said she, “ I have several now with whom I keep a constant correspondence, and return visit for visit punctually every week, and yet we have not seen each other since last November was twelvemonth."
She went on with a very good air, and fixing her eyes on her list, told me, “ she was obliged to ride about three miles and a half before she arrived at her own house." I asked, “ after what manner this list was taken, whether the persons writ their names to her, and desired that favour, or how she knew she was not cheated in her muster-roll ?"-" The method we take,” says she, “ is, that the porter, or servant who comes to the door, writes down all the names who come to see us, and all such are entitled to a return of their visit.”—“But,” said I, “ Madam, I presume those who are searching for each other, and know one another by messages, may be understood as candidates only for each other's favour; and that after so many how-do-ye-does, you proceed to visit or not, as you like the run of each other's reputation or fortune.”You understand it right,” said she; “ and we become friends, as soon as we are convinced that our dislike to each other may be of any consequence: for, to tell you truly,” said she, "for it is in vain to hide any thing from a man of your penetration, general visits are not made out of goodwill, but for fear of ill-will. Punctuality in this case is often a suspicious circumstance: and there is nothing so common as to have a lady say, “ I hope she has heard nothing of what I said of her, that she
grows so great with me!' But indeed my porter is so dull and negligent, that I fear he has not put down half the people I owe visits to.”—“Madam,” said I, “ methinks it would be very proper if your gentleman-usher or groom of the chamber were always to keep an account, by way of debtor and creditor. I know a city lady who uses that method, which I think very laudable; for though you may possibly at the court end of the town receive at the door, and light up better than within Temple-bar, yet I must do that justice to my friends the ladies within the walls, to own that they are much more exact in their correspondence. The lady I was going to mention as an example has always the second apprentice out of the counting-house for her own use on her visiting-day, and he sets down very methodically all the visits which are made her. I remember very well, that on the first of January last, when she made up her account for the year 1709, it stood thus:
“ This gentlewoman is a woman of great economy, and was not afraid to go to the bottom of her affairs; and, therefore, ordered her apprentice to give her credit for my lady Easy's impertinent visits upon wrong days, and deduct only twelve per cent. He had orders also to subtract one and a half from the whole of such as she had denied herself to before she kept a day; and after taking those proper ar