Page images

i fer me to acquaint you, Sir, that I have glittereclit

ball, and sparkled in the circle; that I have had to pness to be the unknown favourite of an unkno of pe at the masquerade, have been the delight of tab to 1 : first fashion, and envy of my brother beaux; a o descend a little lower, it is, I believe, still remember hat Messrs. Velours and d'Espagne stand indebted fo Teat part of their present influence at Guildhall, to :legance of my shape, and the graceful freedom of arriage.

-Sed quæ præclara et prospera tanti,
Ut rebus lætis par sit mensura malorum !-Juv.
See the wild purchase of the bold and vain,

Where every bliss is bought with equal pain! As I entered into the world very young, with an eleg ! Derson and a large estate, it was not long before I dis angled myself from the shackles of religion; for Ir. letermined to the pursuit of pleasure, which according 2 ny notions consisted in the unrestrained and unlimi gratifications of every passion and every appetite ; is this could not be obtained under the frowns of a petual dictator, I considered religion as my enemy; < proceeding to treat her with contempt and derision, v 20t a little delighted, that the unfashionableness of 1 appearance, and the unanimated uniformity of her motio afforded frequent opportunities for the sallies of my in gination.

Conceiving now that I was sufficiently qualified na laugh away scruples, I imparted my remarks to thHot among my female favourites, whose virtue Lintondini attack; for I was well assured, that pride u .. to make but a weak defence, when religion w. . . nor was my success below my expectation: pleasure is too strongly implanted in the fe to suffer them scrupulously to examine thin arguments designed to weaken restraint; a

• • • • • Il ------- +1, ai

by the addition of some circumstances, and the exaggeration of others, to make merriment supply the place of demonstration ; nor was I so senseless as to offer arguments to such as could not attend to them, and with whom a repartee or catch would more effectually answer the same purpose. This being effected, there remained only “ the dread of the world :” but Roxana soared too high, to think the opinion of others worthy her notice; Lætitia seemed to think of it only to declare, that “ if all her hairs were worlds," she should reckon them“ well lost for love ;” and Pastorella fondly conceived, that she could dwell for ever by the side of a bubbling fountain, content with her swain and fleecy care; without considering that stillness and solitude can afford satisfaction only to innocence.

It is not the desire of new acquisitions, but the glory of conquests, that fires the soldier's breast; as indeed the town is seldom worth much, when it has suffered the devastations of a siege; so that though I did not openly declare the effects of my own prowess, which is forbidden by the laws of honour, it cannot be supposed that I was very solicitous to bury my reputation, or to hinder accidental discoveries. To have gained one victory, is an inducement to hazard a second engagement: and though the success of the general should be a reason for increasing the strength of the fortification, it becomes, with many, a pretence for an immediate surrender, under the notion that no power is able to withstand so formidable an adversary; while others brave the danger, and think it mean to surrender, and dastardly to fly. Melissa, indeed, knew better; and though she could not boast the apathy, steadiness, and inflexibility of a Cato, wanted not the more prudent virtue of Scipio, and gained the victory by declining the contest.

You must not, however, imagine, that I was, during this state of abandoned libertinism, so fully convinced of the fitness of my own conduct, as to be free from uneasiness. I knew very well, that I might justly be deem: wc pest vi society, and that such proceedings must ter








nate in the destruction of my health and fortune; but to admit thoughts of this kind was to live upon the rack : I fled, therefore, to the regions of mirth and jollity, as they are called, and endeavoured with Burgundy, and a continual rotation of company, to free myself from the pangs of reflection. From these orgies we frequently sallied forth in quest of adventures, to the no small terrour and consternation of all the sober stragglers that came in our way: and though we never injured, like our illustrious progenitors, the Mohocks, either life or limbs; yet we have in the midst of Covent Garden buried a tailor, who had been troublesome to some of our fine gentlemen, beneath a heap of cabbage-leaves and stalks, with this conceit,

Satia te caule quem semper cupisti.

Glut yourself with cabbage, of which you have always been greedy. There can be no reason for mentioning the common exploits of breaking windows and bruising the watch; unless it be to tell you of the device of producing before the justice broken lanthorns, which have been paid for a hundred times; or their appearances with patches on their heads, under pretence of being cut by the sword that was never drawn: nor need I say any thing of the more formidable attack of sturdy chairmen, armed with poles; by a slight stroke of which, the pride of Ned Revel's face was at once laid Aat, and that effected in an instant, which its most mortal foe had for years assayed in vain. I shall pass over the accidents that attended attempts to scale windows, and endeavours to dislodge signs from their hooks: there are many “hair-breadth 'scapes,” besides those in the “imminent deadly breach;" but the rake's life, though it be equally hazardous with that of the soldier, is neither accompanied with present honour nor with pleasing retrospect; such is, and such ought to be the difference, between the enemy and the preserver of his country.

Amidst such giddy and thoughtless extravagance, it will not seem strange, that I was often the dupe of coarse

attery. When Mons. L'Allonge assured me that I thrust

quart over arm better than any man in England, what could I less than present him with a sword that cost me thirty pieces? I was bound for a hundred pounds for Tom Trippet, because he had declared that he would dance a minuet with any man in the three kingdoms except myself. But I often parted with money against my inclination, either because I wanted the resolution to refuse, or dreaded the appellation of a niggardly fellow; and I may be truly said to have squandered my estate, without honour, without friends, and without pleasure. The last may, perhaps, appear strange to men unacquainted with the masquerade of life: I deceived others, and I endeavoured to deceive myself; and have worn the face of pleasantry and gaiety, while my heart suffered the most exquisite torture. . By the instigation and encouragement of my friends, I became at length ambitious of a seat in parliament; and accordingly set out for the town of Wallop in the west, where my arrival was welcomed by a thousand throats, and I was in three days sure of a majority : but after drinking out one hundred and fifty hogsheads of wine, and bribing two-thirds of the corporation twice over, I had the mortification to find that the borough had been before sold to Mr. Courtly.

In a life of this kind, my fortune, though considerable, was presently dissipated ; and, as the attraction grows more strong the nearer any body approaches the earth, when once a man begins to sink into poverty, he falls with velocity always increasing; every supply is purchased at a higher and higher price, and every office of kindness obtained with greater and greater difficulty. Having now acquainted you with my state of elevation, I shall, if you encourage the continuance of my correspondence, shew you by what steps I descended from a first floor in Pall Mall to my present habitation.

I am, Sir,
Your humble servant,


N° 39. TUESDAY, March 20, 1753.

our soc vuaAoi xaAutoTo, Tạ ai'Asvn
“Υπνον εα' όμμασι χεϊ, ένα μίν παύσειε τάχιστα
AUSTOVÉOs xauétoo.--Hom.
---Pallas pour'd sweet slumbers on his soul ;
And balmy dreams, the gift of soft repose,
Calm'd all his pains, and banish'd all his woes.- Pore.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

If every day did not produce fresh instances of the ingratitude of mankind, we might, perhaps, be at a loss, why so liberal and impartial a benefactor as Sleep, should meet with so few historians or panegyrists. Writers are só totally absorbed by the business of the day, as never to turn their attention to that power, whose officious hand so seasonably suspends the burthen of life: and without whose interposition man would not be able to endure the fatigue of labour, however rewarded, or the struggle with opposition, however successful.

Night, though she divides to many the longest part of life, and to almost all the most innocent and happy, is yet unthankfully neglected, except by those who pervert her gifts.

The astronomers, indeed, expect her with impatience, and felicitate themselves upon her arrival; Fontenelle has not failed to celebrate her praises; and to chide the sun for hiding from his view the worlds, which he imagines to appear in every constellation. Nor have the poets been always deficient in her praises : Milton has observed of the Night, that it is “the pleasant time, the cool, the silent."

These men may, indeed, well be expected to pay particular homage to Night; since they are indebted to her, not only for cessation of pain, but increase of pleasure; not only for slumber, but for knowledge. But the greater part of her avowed votaries are the sons of luxury; who appropriate to festivity the hours designed for rest; who consider the reign of pleasure as commencing when day begins to withdraw her busy multitudes, and ceases to

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »