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another, and parted for ever. The other couple lived together in an uninterrupted friendship and felicity; and what was remarkable, the husband whom the shipwreck had like to have separated from his wife, died a few months after her, not being able to survive the loss of her.*
I must confess, there is something in the changeableness and inconstancy of human nature, that very often both dejects and terrifies me. Whatever I am at present, I tremble to think what I may be. While I find this principle in me, how can I assure myself, that I shall be always true to my God, my friend, or myself? in short, without constancy there is neither love, friendship, or virtue in the world.
No. 216. SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 1710.
Nugis addere pondus.
From my own Apartment, August 25. NATURE is full of wonders ; every atom is a standing miracle, and endowed with such qualities, as could not be impressed on it by a power and wisdom less than infinite. For this reason, I would not discourage any searches that are made into the most minute and trivial parts of the creation. However, since the world abounds in the noblest fields of speculation, it is, methinks, the mark of a little genius to be wholly conversant among insects, reptiles, animalcules, and those trifling rarities that furnish out the apartment of a virtuoso.
There are some men whose heads are so oddly turned this way, that though they are utter strangers to the common occur
* The rythm of this sentence hurt by the repetition of "her,"_"after loox”—“loss of her."
rences of life, they are able to discover the sex of a cockle, or describe the generation of a mite, in all its circumstances. They are so little versed in the world, that they scarce know a horse from an ox; but at the same time will tell
with of gravity, that a flea is a rhinoceros, and a snail an hermaphrodite. I have known one of these whimsical philosophers who has set a greater value upon a collection of spiders than he would upon a flock of sheep, and has sold his coat off his back to purchase a tarantula."
I would not have a scholar wnolly unacquainted with these secrets and curiosities of nature; but certainly the mind of man, that is capable of so much higher contemplations, should not be altogether fixed upon such mean and disproportioned objects. Observations of this kind are apt to alienate us too much from the knowledge of the world, and to make us serious upon trifles, by which means they expose philosophy to the ridicule of the witty, and the contempt of the ignorant. In short, studies of this nature should be the diversions, relaxations, and amusements, not the care, business, and concern of life.
It is indeed wonderful to consider, that there should be a sort of learned men who are wholly employed in gathering together the refuse of nature, if I may call it so, and hoarding up in their chests and cabinets such creatures as others industriously avoid the sight of. One does not know how to mention some of the most precious parts of their treasure, without a kind of an apology for it. I have been shewn a beetle valued at twenty crowns, and a toad at an hundred : but we must take this for a general rule, that whatever appears trivial or obscene in the common notions of the world, looks grave and philosophical in the of a virtuoso. To show this humour in its perfection, I shall present my
* V. No. 47.-[N.)
reader with the legacy of a certain virtuoso, who laid out a considerable estate in natural rarities and curiosities, which upon his death-bed he bequeathed to his relations and friends in the following words:
THE WILL OF A VIRTUOSO.
I NICHOLAS GIMCRACK, being in sound health of mind, but in great weakness of body, do by this my last will and testament, bestow my worldly goods and chattels in manner following:
Imprimis, To my dear wife,
One box of butterflies,
Item, To my daughter Elizabeth,
As also my preparations of winter May-dew, and embrio pickle.
Item, To my little daughter Fanny,
Three crocodile's eggs. And upon
the birth of her first child, if she marries with her mother's consent,
The nest of an humming-bird.
Item, To my eldest brother, as an acknowledgment for the lands he has vested in my son Charles, I bequeath
My last year's collection of grasshoppers.
Item, To his daughter Susannah, being his only child, I bequeath my
English weeds pasted on royal paper,
With my large folio of Indian cabbage. Item, To my learned and worthy friend Dr. Johannes Elscrickius, professor in anatomy, and my associate in the studies of nature, as an eternal monument of my affection and friendship for him, I bequeath
My rat's testicles, and
Whale's pizzle.-, To him and his issue male; and in default of such issue in the said Dr. Elscrickius, then to return to my executor and his heirs for ever.
Having fully provided for my nephew Isaac, by making over to him some years since
A horned scarabæus,
The mummy of an Egyptian king,
My eldest son, Johu, having spoken disrespectfully of his little sister whom I keep by me in spirits of wine, and in many other instances behaved himself undutifully towards me, I do disinherit, and wholly cut off from any part of this my personal estate, by giving him a single cockle-shell.
To my second son, Charles, I give and bequeath all my flowers, plants, minerals, mosses, shells, pebbles, fossils, beetles, butterflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and vermin, not above specified: as also all my monsters, both wet and dry, making the said Charles whole and sole executor of this my last will and testament; he paying, or causing to be paid, the aforesaid legacies within the space of six months after
decease. And I do hereby revoke all other wills wbatsoever by me formerly made.
Whereas an ignorant upstart in astrology, has publicly endeavoured to persuade the world, that he is the late John Partridge, who died the 28th of March 1708; these are to certify all whom it may concern, that the true John Partridge was not only dead at that time, but continues so to this present day.
Beware of counterfeits, for such are abroad.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30, 1710.
Seriptorum Chorus omnis amat nemus et fugit urbes.-Hor.
From my own Apartment, August 30. I CHANCED to rise very early one particular morning this summer, and took a walk into the country to divert myself among the fields and meadows, while the green was new, and the flowers in their bloom. As at this season of the year every lane is a beautiful walk, and every hedge full of nosegays, I lost myself with a great deal of pleasure among several thickets and bushes that were filled with a great variety of birds, and an agreeable confusion of notes, which formed the pleasantest scene in the
a Nosegay. An oddly compounded word, if we take gay in the sense of fine or showy, expressing, together, the effect which flowers have on the sight and smell. But gay, in the primary sense of the word, is that which cheers, refreshes, or delights : and derived like gaudy from “gaudere.” In this view, the composition is more natural and proper, llowever, the word itself, is, now, much out of use.
Filled with-birds, and -notes. We may sar of a thicket, tbat it is filled with birds, or filled with the notes of birds, but not at the same time: because the word, filled, must, then, be taken in a different sense, as applied to each; in a literal sense, when connected with birds, and, a meiaphorical sense, as joined to the notes of birds: whence arises a degree of quaintness and confusion.
• Which formed. That is, which birds and notes formed: but one does not see how birds and notes can be said to form a scene. In short, the