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I never could have thought a dumb man would have roared so well out of my lion's mouth. My next pretty correspondent, like Shakespear's lion in Pyramus and Thisbe, roars an it were any nightingale.
July 28, 1713. " Me. IRONSIDE, “I was afraid at first you were only in jest, and had a mind to expose our nakedness for the diversion of the town; but since I see that you are in good earnest, and have infallibility of your side, I cannot forbear returning my thanks to you for the care you take of us, having a friend who has promised me to give my let. ters to the lion, till we can communicate our thoughts to you through our own proper
vehicle. Now you must know, dear sir, that if you do not take care to suppress this exorbitant growth of the female chest. all that is left of my waist must inevitably perish. It is at this time reduced to the depth of four inches, by what I have already made over to my neck. But if the stripping design, mentioned by Mrs. Figleaf yesterday, should take effect, sir, I dread to think what it will come to. In short, there is no help for it, my girdle and all must go. This is the naked truth of the matter. Have pity on me then, my dear Guardian, and preserve me from being so inhumanly exposed. I do assure you that I follow your precepts as much as a young woman can, who will live in the world without being laughed at. I have no hooped petticoat, and when I am a matron will wear broad tuckers whether you succeed or no. If the flying project takes, I intend to be the last in wings, being resolved in every thing to behave myself as becomes
" Your most obedient ward."
No. 122. FRIDAY, JULY 31.
Nec magis expressi vultus per ahenea signa.-Hor.
That I may get out of debt with the public as fast as I can, I shall here give them the remaining part of Strada's criticism on the Latin heroic poets. My readers may see the whole work in the three papers numbered 115, 119, 122. Those who are acquainted with the authors themselves, cannot but be pleased to see them so justly represented ; and as for those who have never perused the originals, they may form a judgment of them from such accurate and entertaining copies. The whole piece will show, at least, how a man of genius (and none else should call himself a critic) can make the driest art a pleasing amusement.
THE SEQUEL OF STRADA'S PROLUSION.
The poet who personated Ovid gives an account of the chryso-magnet, or of the loadstone which attracts gold, after the same manner as the common loadstone attracts iron. The author, that he might express Ovid's way of thinking, derives this virtue to the chryso-magnet from a poetical metamorphosis.
"As I was sitting by a well, (says he) when I was a boy, my ring dropped into it, when immediately my father fastening a certain stone to the end of a line, let it down into the well. It no sooner touched the surface of the water, but the ring leaped up from the bottom, and clung to it in such a manner, that he drew it out like a fish. My father seeing me wonder at the experiment, gave me the following account of it. When Deucalion and Pyrrha went about the world to repair mankind by throwing stones over their heads, the men who rose from them differed in their inclinations, according to the places on which the stones fell. Those which fell in the fields became plowmen and shepherds. Those which fell into the water produced sailors and fishermen. Those that fell among the woods and forests gave birth to huntsmen. Among the rest there were several that fell upon mountains, that had mines of gold and silver in them. This last race of men immediately betook themselves to the search of these precious metals; but nature being displeased to see herself ransacked, withdrew these her treasures towards the centre of the earth. The avarice of man, however, persisted in its former pursuits, and ransacked her inmost bowels in quest of the riches which they contained. Nature seeing herself thus plundered by a swarm of miners, was so highly incensed, that she shook the whole place with an earthquake, and buried the men under their own works. The Stygian flames which lay in the neighbourhood of these deep mines, broke out at the same time with great fury, burning up the whole mass of human limbs and earth, until they were hardened and baked into stone. The human bodies that were delving in iron mines were converted into those common loadstones which attract that metal. Those which were in search of gold became chryso-magnets, and still keep their former avarice in their present state of petrefaction.'
Ovid had no sooner given over speaking, but the assembly pronounced their opinions of him. Several were so taken with his easy way of writing, and had so formed their tastes upon it, that they had no relish for any composition which was not fram. ed in the Ovidian manner. A great many, however, were of a contrary opinion, until, at length, it was determined by a plurality of voices, that Ovid highly deserved the name of a witty man, but that his language was vulgar and trivial, and of the nature of those things which cost no labour in the invention, but are ready found out to a man's hand.
In the last place VOL. III.-32*
they all agreed, that the greatest objection which lay against Ovid, both as to his life and writings, was his having too much wit, and that he would have succeeded better in both, had he rather checked than indulged it. Statius stood up next with a swelling and haughty air, and made the following story the subject of his poem.
A German and a Portuguese,' when Vienna ? was besieged, having had frequent contests of rivalry, were preparing for a single duel, when on a sudden the walls were attacked by the enemy. Upon this, both the German and Portuguese consented to sacrifice their private resentments to the public, and to see who could signalize himself most upon the common foe. Each of them did wonders in repelling the enemy from different parts of the wall. The German was at length engaged amidst a whole army of Turks, until his left arm, that held the shield, was unfortunately lopped off, and he himself so stunned with a blow he had received, that he fell down as dead. The Portuguese seeing the condition of his rival, very generously flew to his succour, dispersed the multitudes that were gathered about him, and fought over him as he lay upon the ground. In the mean while, the German recovered from his trance, and rose up to the assistance of the Portuguese, who a little after had his right-arm, which held his sword, cut off by the blow of a sabre. He would have lost his life at the same time by a spear which was aimed at his back, had not the German slain the person who was aiming at him. These two competitors for fame having received such mutual obligations now fought in conjunction, and as the one was only able to manage the sword and the other the shield,
i Founded upon the story of the two Romans in Cæsar's commentaries, lib. v. ch. 44.-G.
? By the Turks in 1683, an event familiar to the lover of Italian poetry by Filicaja's three odes.-G.
made but one warrior betwixt them. The Portuguese cov. ered the German, while the German dealt destruction among the enemy. At length, finding themselves faint with loss of blood, and resolving to perish nobly, they advanced to the most shattered part of the wall, and threw themselves down, with a huge fragment of it, upon the heads of the besiegers.
When Statius ceased, the old factions immediately broke out concerning his manner of writing. Some gave him very loud acclamations, such as he had received in his life-time, declaring him the only man who had written in a style which was truly heroical, and that he was above all others in his fame as well as in his diction. Others censured him as one who went beyond all bounds in his images and expressions, laughing at the cruelty of his conceptions, the rumbling of his numbers, and the dreadful pomp and bombast of his expressions. There were, however, a few select judges, who moderated between both these extremes, and pronounced upon Statius, that there appeared in his style much poetical heat and fire, but withal so much smoke as sullied the brightness of it. That there was a majesty in his verse, but that it was the majesty rather of a tyrant than of a king. That he was often towering among the clouds, but often met with the fate of Icarus. In a word, that Statius was among the poets, what Alexander the Great is among heroes, a man of great virtues and of great faults.
Virgil was the last of the ancient poets who produced him. self upon
this occasion. His subject was the story of Theutillaga which being so near that of Judith in all its circumstances, and at the same time translated by a very ingenious gentleman in one of Mr. Dryden's miscellanies, I shall here give no farther account of it. When he had done, the whole assembly declared
2 The Rape of Theutilla, imitated from the Latin of Famian Strada. By Mr. Thomas Yalden.