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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.
No. 218. THURSDAY, AUGUST 30, 1710.
Scriptorum 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 3 the pleasantest scene in the world to one who had passed a whole winter in noise and smoke. The freshness of the dews that lay upon everything about me, with the
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. However, the word itself is now much out of use.
2 Filled with—birds, and—notes.] We may say of a thicket, that 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 metaphorical sense, as joined to the notes of birds : whence arises a degree of quaintness and confusion.
8 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 whole sentence is heavy and inaccurate. But the author makes amends in what follows.
cool breath of the morning, which inspired the birds with so many delightful instincts, created in me the same kind of animal pleasure, and made my heart overflow with such secret emotions of joy and satisfaction as are not to be dem scribed or accounted for. On this occasion, I could not but
“As one who long in populous city pent,
Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound.” Those who are conversant in the writings of polite authors, receive an additional entertainment from the country, as it revives in their memories those charming descriptions with which such authors do frequently abound.
I was thinking of the foregoing beautiful simile in Milton, and applying it to myself, when I observed to the windward of me a black cloud falling to the earth in long trails of rain, which made me betake myself for shelter to a house which I saw at a little distance from the place where I was walking. As I sat in the porch, I heard the voices of two or three persons, who seemed very earnest in discourse. curiosity was raised when I heard the names of Alexander the Great and Artaxerxes; and as their talk seemed to run on ancient heroes, I concluded there could not be any secret in it; for which reason I thought I might very fairly listen to what they said.
After several parallels between great men, which appeared to me altogether groundless and chimerical, I was surprised to hear one say, “ That he valued the Black Prince more than the Duke of Vendosme." How the Duke of Vendosme should become a rival of the Black Prince's, I could not conceive: and was more startled, when I heard a second affirm with great vehemence, " That if the Emperor of Germany was not going off, he should like him better than either of
! With which such authors do frequently abound.] One wonders to find the expletive “do" inserted in this place. It was to prevent the close of this paragraph from running into a verse :
“With which such authors frequently abound.” He might have said, “which are frequent in such authors.”
them.” He added, “That though the season was so changeable, the Duke of Marlborough was in blooming beauty." I was wondering to myself from whence they had received this odd intelligence, especially when I heard them mention the names of several other great generals, as the Prince of Hesse, and the King of Sweden, who, they said, were both running away. To which they added, what I entirely agreed with them in, “That the Crown of France was very weak, but that the Marshal Villars still kept his colours." 'At last one of them told the company, "If they would go along with him, he would show them a Chimney Sweeper and a Painted Lady in the same bed, which he was sure would very much please them.” The shower which had driven them, as well as myself, into the house, was now over: and as they were passing by me into the garden, I asked them to let me be one in their company.
The gentleman of the house told me, “If I delighted in flowers, it would be worth my while, for that he believed he could show me such a blow of tulips as was not to be matched in the whole country."
I accepted the offer, and immediately found that they had been talking in terms of gardening, and that the kings and generals they had mentioned were only so many tulips, to which the gardeners, according to their usual custom, had given such high titles and appellations of honour.
I was very much pleased and astonished at the glorious show of these gay vegetables, that arose in great profusion on all the banks about us. Sometimes I considered them, with the eye of an ordinary spectator, as so many beautiful objects, varnished over with a natural gloss, and stained with such a variety of colours, as are not to be equalled in any artificial dyes or tinctures. Sometimes I considered every leaf as an elaborate piece of tissue, in which the threads and fibres were woven together into different configurations, which gave a different colouring to the light as it glanced on the several parts of the surface. Sometimes I considered the whole bed of tulips, according to the notion of the greatest mathematician and philosopher that ever lived, as a multitude of optic instruments, designed for the separating light into all those various colours of which it is composed.
I was awakened out of these my philosophical speculations, by observing the company often seemed to laugh at
I accidentally praised a tulip as one of the finest that I ever saw; upon which they told me it was a common Fool's-coat. Upon that I praised a second, which it seems was but another kind of Fool's-coat. · I had the same fate with two or three more; for which reason I desired the owner of the garden to let me know which were the finest of the flowers, for that I was so unskilful in the art, that I thought the most beautiful were the most valuable, and that those which had the gayest colours were the most beautiful. The gentleman smiled at my ignorance: he seemed a very plain, honest man, and a person of good sense, had not his head been touched with that distemper which Hippocrates calls the Tulippo-Mania, Tumit Touavia; insomuch that he would talk very rationally on any subject in the world but a tulip He told
“ That he valued the bed of flowers which lay before us, and was not above twenty yards in length, and two in breadth, more than he would the best hundred acres of land in England;” and added, " That it would have been worth twice the money it is, if a foolish cook-maid of his bad not almost ruined him the last winter, by mistaking an handful of tulip-roots for an heap of onions, and by that means (says he) made me a dish of pottage, that cost me above £1000 sterling." He then showed me what he thought the finest of his tulips, which I found received all their value from their rarity and oddness, and put me in mind of your great fortunes, which are not always the greatest beauties.
I have often looked upon it as a piece of happiness, that I have never fallen into any of these fantastical tastes, nor esteemed anything the more for its being uncommon and hard to be met with. For this reason, I look upon the whole country in spring time as a spacious garden, and make as many visits to a spot of daisies, or a bank of violets, as a florist does to his borders and parterres. There is not a bush in blossom within a mile of me which I am not acquainted with, nor scarce a daffodil or cowslip that withers away in my neighbourhood without my missing it. I walked home in this temper of mind through several fields and meadows with an unspeakable pleasure, not without reflecting on the bounty of Providence, which has made the most pleasing and most beautiful objects the most ordinary and most common.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 1710.
Insani sanus nomen ferat, æquus iniqui,
From my own Apartment, September 4. HAVING received many letters filled with compliments and acknowledgments for my late useful discovery
late useful discovery of the political barometer, I shall here communicate to the public an account of
ecclesiastical thermometer, the latter giving as manifest prognostications of the changes and revolutions in church, as the former does of those in state, and both of them being absolutely necessary for every prudent subject, who is resolved to keep what he has, and get what he can.
The church thermometer, which I am now to treat of, is supposed to have been invented in the reign of Henry the Eighth, about the time when that religious prince put some todeath for owning the pope's supremacy, and others for denying transubstantiation. I do not find, however, any great use made of this instrument till it fell into the hands of a learned and vigilant priest, or minister, (for he frequently wrote himself both one and the other,) who was some time Vicar of Bray. This gentleman lived in his vicarage to a good old age; and after having seen several successions of his neighbouring clergy either burnt or banished, departed this life with the satisfaction of having never deserted his flock, and died Vicar of Bray. As this glass was first designed to calculate the different degrees of heat in religion, as it raged in Popery, or as it cooled and grew temperate in the Reformation, it was marked at several distances, after the manner our ordinary thermometer is to this day, viz.“ treme hot, sultry hot, very hot, hot, warm, temperate, cold, just freezing, frost, hard frost, great frost, extreme cold.”
It is well known, that Toricellius, the inventor of the common weather-glass, made the experiment in a long tube which held thirty-two foot of water; and that a more modern virtuoso, finding such a machine altogether unwieldy and useless, and considering that thirty-two inches of quicksilver weighed as much as so many foot of water in a tube of the same circumference, invented that sizeable instrument which is now in use. After this manner, that I might adapt the