« PreviousContinue »
I call my conscience to witness, that many of these things, which may seem malicious, were done out of charity ; I having made it wholly my business to print for poor disconsolate authors, whom all other booksellers refuse. Only God bless Sir Richard Black. more! you know he takes no copy-money.
The second collection of poems, which I groundlessly called Mr. Prior's, will sell for nothing, and hath not yet paid the charge of the advertisements, which I was obliged to publish against him : therefore you may as well suppress the edition, and beg that gentleman's pardon in the name of a dying Christian.
The French Cato, with the criticisms shewing how superior it is to Mr. Addison's, (which I wickedly ascribed to Madam Dacier,) may be suppressed at a reasonable rate, being damnably translated.
I protest I have no animosity to Mr. Rowe, having printed part of Callipedia, and an incorrect edition of his poems without his leave in quarto. Mr. Gildon's Rehearsal, or Bays the younger, did more harm to me than to Mr. Rowe; though, upon the faith of an honest man, I paid him double for abusing both him and Mr. Pope.
Heaven pardon me for publishing the Trials of Sodomy, in an Elzevir letter! but I humbly hope, my printing Sir Richard Blackmore's Essays will atone for them. I beg that you will take what remains of these last, (which is near the whole impression, presents excepted,) and let my poor widow have in exchange the sole property of the copy of Madam Mascranny.
[Here Mr. Pemberton interrupted, and would by no means consent to this article; about which some dispute might have arisen unbecoming a dying person, if Mr. Lintot had not interposed, and Mr.Curll vomited.]
What this poor' unfortunate man spoke afterwards, was so indistinct, and in such broken accents, (being per
petually interrupted by vomitings,) that the reader is intreated to excuse the confusion and imperfection of this account.
Dear Mr. Pemberton, I beg you to beware of the indictment at Hicks's-hall for publishing Rochester's bawdy poems; that copy will otherwise be my best legacy to my dear wife, and helpless child.
The case of impotence was my best support all the last long vacation.
[In this last paragraph Mr. Curll's voice grew more free, for his vomitings abated upon his dejections, and he spoke what follows from his close-stool.]
For the copies of noblemens and bishops last wills and testaments, I solemnly declare, I printed them not with any purpose of defamation; but merely as I thought those copies lawfully purchased from Doctors Commons, at one shilling a-piece. Our trade in wills turning to small account, we may divide them blind. fold.
For Mr. Manwaring's Life, I ask Mrs. Oldfield's pardon: neither his nor my Lord Halifax's lives, though they were of service to their country, were of any to me: but I was resolved, since I could not print their works while they lived, to print their lives after they were dead.
While he was speaking these words, Mr. Oldmixon entered. Ah! Mr. Oldmixon, said poor Mr. Curll, to what a condition have your works reduced me! I die a martyr to that unlucky preface. However, in these my last moments I will be just to all men ; you shall have your third share of the Court Poems, as was stipulated. When I am dead, where will you find another bookseller? Your Protestant packet might have supported you, had you writ a little less scurrilously; there is a mean in all things."
Here Mr. Lintot interrupted. Why not find another bookseller, brother Curll ? and then took Mr. Oldmixon
aside and whispered him: “Sir, as soon as Curll is dead, I shall be glad to talk with you over a pint at the Devil.”
Mr. Curll now turning to Mr. Pemberton, told him, he had several taking title-pages, that only wanted treatises to be wrote to them; and earnestly desired, that when they were written, his heirs might have some share of the profit of them.
After he had said this, he fell into horrible gripings, upon which Mr. Lintot advised him to repeat the Lord's prayer. He desired his wife to step inte the shop for a Common-prayer book, and read it by the help of a candle without hesitation. He closed the book, fetched a groan, and recommended to Mrs. Curll to give forty shillings to the poor of the parish of St. Dunstan's, and a week's wages advance to each of his gentleman-authors, with some small gratuity in particular to Mrs. Centlivre.
The poor man continued for some hours with all his disconsolate family about him in tears, expecting his final dissolution ; when of a sudden he was surprisingly relieved by a plentiful fatid stool, which obliged them all to retire out of the room. Notwithstanding, it is judged by Sir Richard Blackmore, that the poison is still latent in his body, and will infallibly destroy him by slow degrees in less than a month. It is to be hoped, the other enemies of this wretched stationer will not further pursue their revenge, or shorten this short period of his miserable A further ACCOUNT of the most DEPLORABLE
CONDITION of MR. EDMUND CURLL, Book
seller. THE public is already acquainted with the manner
of Mr. Curll's impoisonment by a faithful, though unpolite historian of Grub-street. I am but the continuer of his history; yet hope a due distinction will be made between an undignified scribbler of a sheet and half, and the author of a three-penny stitched book, like myself.
« Wit, saith Sir Richard Blackmore", proceeds from a concurrence of regular and exalted ferments, and an affluence of animal spirits rectified and refined to a degree of purity.” On the contrary, when the igneous particles rise with the vital liquor, they produce an abstraction of the rational part of the soul, which we commonly call madness. The verity of this hypothesis is justified by the symptoms with which the unfortunate Mr. Edmund Curll, bookseller, hath been amicted, ever since his swallowing the poison at the Swan-tavern in Fleet-street. For though the veck of his retort, which carries up the animal spirits to the head, is of an extraordinary length; yet the said animal spirits rise muddy, being contaminated with the inflammable particles of this uncommon poison.
The symptoms of his departure from his usual temper of mind were at first only speaking civilly to his customers, singing a pig with a new purchased libel, and refusing two and nine-pence for Sir Richard Blackmore's Essays.
* * * * * * * We leave it to every tender wife to imagine, how sorely all this afflicted poor Mrs. Curll : at first she
a Blackmore's F.ssays, vol. i.
privately put a bill into several churches, desiring the prayers of the congregation for a wretched stationer distempered in mind. But when she was sadly convinced, that his misfortune was public to all the world, she writ the following letter to her good neighbour Mr. Lintot :
A true copy of Mrs. Curll's letter to Mr. Lintot.
.Worthy Mr. Lintot, “ YOU and all the neighbours know too well the frenzy with which my poor man is visited. I never perceived he was out of himself, till that melancholy day that he thought he was poisoned in a glass of sack; upon this he ran a-vomiting all over the house, nay, in the new-washed dining-room. * * * . * Good Lord! if he should die, where should I dispose of the stock ? unless Mr. Pemberton or you would help a distressed widow ; for God knows, he never published any books that lasted above a week, so that if he wanted daily books, we wanted daily bread. I can write no more, for I hear the rap of Mr. Curll's ivory-headed cane upon the counter. Pray recommend me to your pastry-cook, who furnishes you yearly with tarts in exchange for your paper, for Mr. Curll has disobliged ours, since his fits came upon him;- before that we generally lived upon baked meats. He is coming in, and I have but just time to put his son out of the way for fear of mischief: so wishing you a merry Easter, I remain . Your most humble servant,
C. CURLL.” “P.S. As to the report of my poor husband's
stealing o'calf, it is really groundless, for he
always binds in sheep." But return we to Mr. Curll, who all Wednesday continued outrageously mad. Qn Thursday he had