« AnteriorContinuar »
Æquoris affulgens sopitæ Cynthius undæ
Non oculis rutilo certet honorte tuis.
Lætus ago remos, vinculaque ipfa placent;
Auferor, & fordet littora quicquid habent.
Aft ubi delirum id pectus, mihi pectus amatum,
Fluctuat in dubio, nec ratione timet;
Omina venturi dant manifesta mali ;
Quem pulfant imbres, exagitantque Noti;
Fluctibus objiciunt) vix graviora subit.
Naufragus incassùm nitor comprendere terram ;
Usque tamen prohibent Parca Venusque solo :
Te primùm objurgo, mox data jussa sequor.
Hei mihi ! vel tecum, vel fine te perèo.
fortunatos nimium, bona fi foa närint, Agricolas!
enamnour'd with the country, and fond of nature in her original dress. The rustic plainess, and downright fimplicity of a company of clowns afford me more entertainment than a masquerade at Ranelagh, a ridotto, or the most brilliant assembly. In the one you see the real operations of nature without disguise, in the other the various distortions and cozenage of art. And a man who can reduce himself to their level, talk in their ftile, and join with them in their Numb. IX,
exercises and diversions, may depend upon being caress’d by them, and at the same time agreeably entertain'd.
In my lait journey to my uncle's, I accidentily faw several young men with their hair comb’d strait and powder'd, each with a lass in his hand neatly dress’d, crossing the road for the next village. Hence I concluded that some mirth was going forward, and call’d to one of 'em to know what was to be done there. La! fir, quoth the young fellow, a huge deal of fun will be there indeed. 'Tis fair-day, and there will be rope-dancing, and tumbling, the doctor and the merry Andrew, and a many fine things.
As it was vacation time, and upon mature confideration, finding I had full as much business at the fair, as at my uncle Sir Richard's, I turned my horse and accompanied the young people, who were wonderfully pleas’d with my condescention, and before we came to the village, gave me an invitation to dance with them in the evening, afsuring me at the fame time, that they were the best dancers in all those parts.
The Mountebank, with the assistance of his "Andrew, gave the people great delight, and they in return bought numbers of the doctor's packets ; fo both parties seem'd. pleas’d. How well they were satisfy'd who took the phyfick, I don't know, nor is it my business to conjecture. The tumbler was so exceeding clever, that an old man near me, after looking at him thro' his spectacles full an hour, turn'd round and told me he was a comical dog, indeed! and, tho' he was near seventy years old, he had not seen his equal. A$ this arch fellow so much exceeded every body in that character, I enquir'd after his country, education, &c. and was inform’d by himself, that he was educated at Sadlerswells, under those great masters of the science, Meff. Rosamon and Hough.
The doctor himself, while I was treating his tumbler with a glass at the next booth, did me the mighty favour to take me by the hand and drink my health, and then laying aside
. the farce of his phyfick, sat down and entertain'd us with a history of his packets and patients. He soon learn’d from my conversation that I came from Oxford, and pulling one of his printed papers out of his pocket, defir’d the favour of me to give him half a line of Latin to put under the King's-arms, which I did, and thereby so oblig'd the doctor and his people, that I was complimented with their company, till the time appointed by my friends the dancers was expir’d, and then I was oblig’d to withdraw.
When I came to the place, I found the lads and lasies were all met, and waited only for the fidler, who soon after enter’d, to the great joy of the assembly, and then every man look'd about for his partner. As for my part I chose the prettiest, I assure you, who happen'd also to be a good dancer, and on that account I thought myself happy; but after going down the first dance, she ftept aside to whisper a young man, who lower'd very much in his countenance, and stood in a melancholy posture. I enquir'd what this fecret might be, and was inform’d that the young man was an acquaintance of hers, whom she had promis'd to go down a dance with bye and bye. But William (for that was the young man's name) more fully explained the matter, when I came down the second time ; for making up to me with his hat off, and scratching his head, I wish, fir, says he, you would take another partner ; because this is my sweetheart, and we are to be married next week indeed. There was something so pitiful und affecting in poor William's countenance at the time he spoke to me, that I was really concerned to think I had been the unhappy inftrument of giving him so much pain. And tho' I know there are many in our college who would have refused the request, and rejoiced in the triumph, yet as they were so closely connected, I willingly relinquish'd my partner ; for I always lay it down as a rule, that no man bas a right to rob another of his peace. 'Tis impossible to express the joy that appear'd in William's countenance on this occafion; nor indced was Dolly displeas'd; for to do her SE 2
justice, I must own, she did not lend me any part of that love, which was due only to William. No, lhe danc'd with the gentleman in the gold-lac'd waistcoat, because she did not care any one else should have that honour. This was her motive, and she would have been much better pleas'', if William and I had agreed to take her by turns, so that I might have done without another partner.
It has been a maxim amongst the wisest of all nations, That a man should never do any thing to make even the meanet perfon his enemy, if it can possibly be avoided, and for this reason; because every man, let his circumstances be what they will, may have it in his power, to do a good office or an injury to those who are infinitely his superiors. The use of this maxim I found afterwards verify'd in the case of my friend William. One night, when it was extremely dark, wet and coļd, I happen’d to lose my way on a large heath, and rode many hours without being able to procure any shelter, or to get intelligence of my road. At length I chanc'd to find a farm house: the people were in bed and unwilling to rise : I call’d and knock’d at the gate a good while before I could get any answer : at last an old fellow popt his head out of a window, and mutter'd something, to which I made a passionate reply. At that very instant, who should come to open the door but my friend William, who, it seems, knew my voice, and immediately came to my affistance. We fhook hands most heartily, and William returned my former civility by taking care of my horse, providing me with a supper, and then placing me in his warm będ, while he cook'd up a fire to dry my clothes.
I cannot take leave of the country-people without admiring their modesty and strong propenfity to virtue, and have often thought, if this did not prevail more in the country than in town, the frequent opportunities they have to be naught would fill every family with feuds. 'Tis true, fometimes an accident will happen ; but then it rather proceeds from plain downright fimplicity and indiscretion, than from