Page images
PDF
EPUB

The resentment of Prospero for the matchless cruelty and wicked usurpation of his brother; his parental affection and solicitude for the welfare of his daughter, the heiress of his dukedom; and the awful solemnity of his character, as a skilful magician; are all along preserved with equal consistency, dignity, and decorum. One part of his behaviour deserves to be particularly pointed out: during the exhibition of a mask with which he had ordered Ariel to entertain Ferdinand and Miranda, he starts suddenly from the recollection of the conspiracy of Calyban and his confederates against his life, and dismisses his attendant spirits, who instantly vanish to a hollow and confused noise. He appears to be greatly moved; and suitably to this agitation of mind, which his danger has excited, he takes occasion, from the sudden disappearance of the visionary scene, to moralize on the dissolution of all things :

[ocr errors]

These our actors
As I foretold you, were all spirits : and
Are melted into air, into thip air.
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve;
And, like this unsubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind

To these noble images he adds a short, but comprehensive observation on human life, not excelled by any passage of the moral and sententious Euripides:

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep !-

Thus admirably is an uniformity of character, that leading beauty in dramatic poetry, preserved

throughout the Tempest. And it may be farther remarked, that the unities of action, of place, and of time, are in this play, though almost constantly violated by Shakspeare, exactly observed. The action is one, great, and entire, the restoration of Prospero to his dukedom; this business is transacted in the compass

of a small island, and in or near the cave of Prospero : though, indeed, it had been more artful and regular to have confined it to this single spot; and the time which the action takes

up,

is only equal to that of the representation; an excellence which ought always to be aimed at in every wellconducted fable, and for the want of which a variety of the most entertaining incidents can scarcely atone.

2.

N° 98. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13, 1753.

Aude aliquid brevibus Gyaris, et carcere dignum,
Si vis esse aliquis.

JUV.

Would'st thou to honours and preferments climb?
Be bold in mischief, dare some mighty crime,
Which dungeons, death or banishment deserves.

DRYDEN.

TO THE ADVENTURER.

DEAR BROTHER, The thirst of glory is I think allowed, even by the dull dogs who can sit still long enough to write books, to be a noble appetite.

[ocr errors]

VOL. XXV.

My ambition is to be thought a man of life and spirit, who could conquer the world if he was to set about it, but who has too much vivacity to give the necessary

attention to any scheme of length. I am, in short, one of those heroic Adventurers, who have thought proper to distinguish themselves by the titles of Buck, Blood, and Nerve. When I am in the country, I am always on horseback, and I leap or break every hedge and gate that stands in my way: when I am in town, I am constantly to be seen at some of the public places, at the proper times for making my appearance; as at Vauxhall, or Marybone, about ten, very drunk; for though I don't love wine, I am obliged to be consumedly, , drunk five or six nights in the week: nay, sometimes five or six days together, for the sake of my character. Wherever I come, I am sure to make all the confusion, and do all the mischief I can; not for the sake of doing mischief, but only out of frolic, you know, to shew my vivacity.

If there are women near me, I swear like a devil to shew my courage, and talk bawdy to shew

my

wit. Under I am a cursed favourite

amongst

them

; and have had bonne fortune,' let me tell you.

I do love the little rogues hellishly: but faith I make love for the good of the public; and the town is obliged to me for a dozen or two of the finest wenches that were ever brought into its seraglios. One, indeed, I lost: and, poor fond soul! I pitied her! but it could not be helped-self preservation obliged me to leave her-I could not tell her what was the matter with her, rot me if I could ; and so it got such a head, that the devil himself could not have saved her.

There's one thing vexes me; I have much ado to avoid having that insignificant character, a goodnatured fellow, fixed upon me; so that I am obliged.

1

the rose

in my own defence to break the boy's head, and kick my

whore down stairs every time I enter a night-house: I pick quarrels when I am not offended, break the windows of men I never saw, demolish lamps, bilk hackney-coachmen, overturn wheel-barrows, and storm night-cellars : I beat the watchman, though he bids me good-morrow, abuse the constable, and insult the justice : for these feats I am frequently kicked, beaten, pumped, prosecuted, and imprisoned; but Tim is no flincher; and if he does not get fame, blood! he will deserve it.

I am now writing at a coffee-house, where I am just arrived, after a journey of fifty miles, which I have rode in four hours. I knocked up my blockhead's horse two hours ago. The dog whipped and spurred at such a rate, that I dare say you may track him half the way by the blood; but all would not do. The devil take the hindmost, is always my way of travelling. The moment I dismounted, down dropt Dido, by Jove: and here am I all alive and merry, my old boy!

I'll tell thee what; I was a hellish ass t'other day. I shot a damn'd clean mare through the head, for jumping out of the road to avoid running over an old woman. But the bitch threw me, and I got a cursed slice on the cheek against a flint, which put me in a passion; who could help it, you know? Rot me, I would not have lost her for five hundred old women, with all their brats, and the brats of their brats to the third generation. She was a sweet creature! I would have run her fiveand-twenty miles within an hour, for five hundred pounds. But she's gone!--Poor jade! I did love thee, that I did.

Now what you shall do for me, old boy, is this. Help to raise my name a little, d'ye mind: write something in praise of us sprightly pretty fellows. I assure you we take a great deal of pains for fame, and it is hard we should be bilkt. I would not trouble you, my dear; but only I fear I have not much time before me to do my own business; for between you and I, both my constitution and estate are damnably out at elbows. I intend to make them spin out together as evenly as possible; but if my purse should happen to leak fastest, Í

propose to go with my last half-crown to Ranelagh gardens, and there, if you approve the scheme, I'll mount one of the upper alcoves, and repeat, with an heroic air,

• I'll boldly venture on the world unknown;

It cannot use me worse than this has done.' I'll then shoot myself through the head; and so good bye t’ye.

Your's, as you serve me,

Tim WILDGOOSE.

I should little deserve the notice of a person so illustrious as the hero who honours me with the name of brother, if I should cavil at his principles or refuse his request. According to the moral philosophy which is now in fashion, and adopted by many of the dull dogs who write books, the gratification of appetite is virtue; and appetite, therefore, I shall allow to be noble, notwithstanding the objections of those who pretend, that whatever be its object, it can be good or ill in no other sense than stature or complexion ; and that the voluntary effort only is moral by which appetite is directed or restrained, by which it is brought under the government of reason, and rendered subservient to moral purposes.

But with whatever efforts of heroic virtue my correspondent may have laboured to gratify his

« PreviousContinue »