Page images
PDF
EPUB

H. Bottle, on Drinking.

265 · For I have continually remained ma Nothing in nature's fober found,

ster of the tickd of battle, having never An universal health goes round. left any one in the room behind me, A most inimitable performance! unless he were under the table.

Nay, the philosophers have loved their While I was very young, before I bottle as well as the poets. Plato himhad found out a better employment self allows us to take a hearty cup at for my time, I applied myself pretty folemn festivals; and Seneca rebukes a much to books, (for I was brid at the sneaking dog, one Zeno, for sophistie Univerlity) and, I remember, several cally proving that no good man could eminent authors speak very handsome. be drunk: For the reit, I refer you to ly of this perfection.

that excellent historical poem called, Horace, in many parts of his works, The Tippling Philujophers, worthy to particularly those which he writ in the be wrote in gold, or rather engraved prime of his life and vigour of his fan- with a diamond on the largest diing, cy, recommends this generous exer ing glass in the kingdom. cise, In one place he tells us, as a alexander did not read the exploits great misfortune, that we shall have of Achilles with more enn tion, than I nowine in the next world. In ano. formerly read, in Plutarch's life of that ther place he advises Plaucus to footh faid Alexander, the cups of one Proall his cares in this life with it. In one machus, who is said to have drank place he advises us to drink because it is eighteen quarts of wine, and to have cold, and in another, becouje it is hot. won the prize (as he probably might) In another, he fays, if we are wise, at a drinking-match celebrated by this we fhall do nothing but drink; with in- prince: I have often ventured at innumerable other instances; nay, even troducing a false quantity in a verse. in his epistles, he promiles the poets of Virgil, and have cried out in

rapimmortality on no other condition tures, on the occasion, than that of drinking; and tells them, Ejt his, eft animus Lucis contemptor & their great father Ennius never writ illum, but when te was drunk, and that Qui vitâ bene credat emi quo BIBIS Horner himself thewed us how fond he

humorem. was of wine. Which is so true, that for the Great Promachus died within the only reason we have to suspect he four days of his victory. was ever sober is, that there is great I am sorry to observe this excellent reafon to suspect he could often come and ancient custom very visibly deat no drink : For, besides his facrifices creasing in this kingilom.' Mr. Echard and leagues, which are only drinking tells us, that a sad fellow, one Edgar, matches, in the end of the first Iliad, in the tenth century, endeavoured to it I rightly remember, he makes all extirpate drinking out of the realm, the gods (and goddesses too) so drunk, and to reform the clergy, as the same that they are forced to go to bed at writer intorms us in the same line; but fun-set - notwith itanding, which early with what success we find not in that hour, they had swallowed such a dose excellent author. It is certain drinkthat it held them all night, except on ing hath been in much fashion since ly Jove himself, whose head I suppose that time, and was at a great height was stronger than those of the rest. towards the end of queen rinne's reign; There is a Greek Epigram in which from which period I am afraid it has Cratinus, the old comic poet, is laid been continually losing ground, to the to have fmelt as strong as a whole tun no small concern of men of a sober of wine; and Æjchylus is upbraided way of thinking. though not inclined by Sophocles for never writing but when to be good fellows themselves. And he was in liquor. Virgil was an honelt that for many and good reasons. fellow by his Implentur veieris Bacchi, For first, not to repeat the connecor I am mistaken; and so have been tion of ideas visible in the abovemenall the poets down to the immortal ticned historian, it is most certain that Cowley's ode in praise of drinking, several of the bett friends of the church where he says,

in that reign, when it was thought Vol. VII.

LI

the

266

Account of the Country Girl. the church was in the greatest dan. Your DANE, your GERMAN, and porr ger, thought they took lufficient care SWAGBELLIED HOLLANDER, are neof it, by drinking for it, which they thing to your English.. As to the obdid so violently, that it became pro- fervation, that a Tory can out-drink verbial among their enemies, that the a Whig, I look on it as an invidious Church would go to pot by themselves; distinction: For, as there hath been that is, that when they had nothing a mixture of liquors, as Tory prix. else to drink, they would at last drink ciples have lately been decaniad inte up the church itself.

Whiggih vejfels, it is high time to have I know learned men have thought a coalition of the two parties; and a our sectaries had some regard to this coalition of all parties, who with well analogy in the improvements which to their country, I hope to see at the they made by converting the pulpit in next election, when our toast shall not to the form of a tub; to which may be a Tory, nor one of the country be added, from experience, this mat party, but those who cannot be core ter of fact: That in the country, that rupted to betray us; and of such only disentiug church or meeting house al- I hope always to see our house of comways flourishes best, where they brew mons, or I hope to see none. the best ale.

Lakly, In vino veritas; for which Next as to politics. It is certain reason, I with a certain person could that, whilst ele&tions are to be carried be persuaded to drink, that we might, by drinking, the country will have the if possible, get some truth from him. majority. A true Englishman hath But 'till the last day that is not to be been always known by his cups. In expected. England, says our dramatic poet in his

I am, Sir, yours, &c. Othello, they are most potent at potting.

H. BOTTLE

An Account of the COMEDY of the COUNTY GIRL.

Tan
THIS play made its first appear- consequently was obliged to fubscribe

ance in the year 1966, at Drury. to the temper of the time? or that Lane Theatre and is only an altera- sterling wit, high character, and ner. tion of Wycherley's comedy of The vous language should not be found Country Wife, the hint of which was fufficient to support a play upon the taken from Moliere's Ecole des Femmes, ftage, without indelicacy and imor The School for Wives. The original mcrality ?- This play had been long play as left by Wycherley, is equal to tlirown'aside, and very justly, on acmost of the pieces of his time, for count of its vicious tendency, but character. incident, and ealy dialogue; was revived as above mentioned, unand he seems to have a strong relem- der the direction of Mr. Garrick, to blance in his manner to two very cele- whom the alterations have been afbrated French writers, viz. Moliere and crihed, and we believe very juitly. Benard, who undoubtedly, stand fore The Editor of this piece informs most among the Frenck comic poets. us, in a printed advertisement, preNor do we think it any way lefsens fixed to it, that “ there seems indeed the merit of Wycherley,' that he was an absolute necessity for reforming beholden to Moliere for the hint of many plays of our most eminent wri. this play; for, if it will not be al- ters; for no kind of wit ought to be lowed, that the English poet has excel. received as an excuse for immorality: led the French one, we will venture Nay, it becomes still more dangerous to pronounce him his •qual, with re in proportion as it is more witty." spect to this piece.--After saying thus After this will not our readers be furmuch, how greatly is it to be lamented, prized to be informed, that though that this Author' wrote in the licen- many obscene passages in the original tious age of Charles the Second, and, play are omitted, this chaste, reform

ing

267

Account of the Country Girl. ing gentleman has ventured to retain are rejected, is not then because they many others ?-We know what reply are unfit for representation, but, bewill be made to this charge. Had the cause the profits of authors would ingentleman expunged the whole, he fringe on the present emoluments of knew it would not answer his avari. the managers. This grievance calls cious views.. Without a little smart, aloud for redress; but, as it is rather the piece would have been too infipid foreign to our present purpose, we for the Bucks of the Town, who would fall take it further into consideration have banished it from the stage, un in a future number, and dismiss it at less the vacancies could have been sup- this time, with an observation of an plied with something more important ingenious writer, who, says, that than the dull genius of the Editor ever Any manager of a theatre ought to be hit upon.-In another part of the ad- deprived of his patent, which he holds vertisement we are informed, that in trust for the crown, and public, who “ without such a reformation our dares so to abuse their confidence, as to English comedies must be reduced to reječit a good performance, when offered a very small number.” This insinuates to the theatre, for the entertainment of that the greater part of our English the public.But to return to the comedies are immoral. The fallity of Country Girl. this affertion is too notorious to be When the piece was first revived, in controverted. But, admitting this to the year 1766, the manager was conbe the case, why don't this gentleman scious that he had exposed himself to give encouragement to the dramatic the censure of the judicious, and, writers of this age? it is not impof- therefı re, endeavoured to apologize for fible, nor even improbable, but in himself, by assuring the public that this age of learning, men of genius the desire of showing Miss Reynolds might be induced to write good plays, to advantage was the firf motive for could they be allured of meeting with attempting an alteration of Wycherley's proper encouragement. But this will Country Wife.—This Mifs Reynolds, not answer the vain and avaricious was a raw, inexperienced girl, destiviews of the acting manager at this tute of every qualification essential to theatre; who cannot be content with the formning a good actress.-But the being acknowledged the best actor in ftale artifice of a new title to the play, the kingdom, but he must acquire and a new actress to perform the prinfame as an author allo.—This, in cipal character, was thought a sufpart, is the case, but not wholly. If "ficient allurement to bring a few good he can bring as much money to the houses, at a small expence; as the theatre by altering an cld play, as a manager undertook to alter the play, new one will produce, those who and Miss was to have but a small salary know the reigning passion of this gen- till the could gain the favour of the tleman, cannot be surprised at his public, through this important stroke conduct.-Well has this wonderful of friendship from the manager. The genius verified what a poet lately said: play, however, met with no very great

“ Stage-managers by art grow great, success, notwithstanding the many art-
And aim at power, and at state; ful attempts to force it on the town;
Build country-seats and palaces, and, the young lady never rose to any
And treat the public as they please : importance.
To av'rice prone, and pride in view, We are told, that « near half the
They manage, act, and scribble too." play is new written.”

What has been said above will ac The original play, we confess, is count for the deplorable state of the greatly altered; for when the Editor English theatre; which has been on expunges some of the obscene parts, the decline for the last ten years. It he has alfo stripped it of a great part will explain the mystery so often spoken of that luxuriancy of wit, with which of, why we have no good new plays. it aboundcd. Some of the original The reason why so many new plays as characters are endeavoured to be difare offered yearly to the managers, guised under new names, but are so

LI 2

plundered

268

On Experience, plundered of their original merit, as It is well supported in the represen scarcely to be known. Mrs. Pinchwife tation, take the whole in the gross is unmarried, and only under the without examining too minutely into guardianship of Pinchwife, once her particulars. Mrs. Abington's performhusband, by the name of Peggy; but, ance in the character of the Country we venture to declare, that the is rob- Girl, was truly spirited and characbed of a great part of that simplicity teristic, and it is but just to observe, which rendered her so respectable in the that in this part she stands far before original. Sorne of the characters are any conipetitor. Mrs. Abington is a rejected, but none of those retained favourite actress, and the merits the heightened in the least. In short, as applause the constantly receives, and it now stands, many of the scenes are this, no doubt, induced the managers insufferably tedious and infipid, and to exhibit her in boy's cloaths, for the the whole apparently confused and in- amusement of the jouth in this great significant. What praise it might re metropolis in the Christmas holidays. ceive in its original state from the wits If the Bucks admire her in petticoats, of the last age, we know not, but, what will they do when they see her in its altered state, we cannot wish to in breeches? why adore her to be sure, see it often nor can we, as its moral as we do thee, thou miracle of policy is still very vague, and its tendency and cunning! ftill vicious, recommend the perusal of it.

[blocks in formation]

not need the assistance of events to dir. Bacon, and indeed moit of his say tinguish what is right or wrong, good ings are so, that Proverbs ere the wir or evil. But a man of less solid abilidom of the common people; but, at ties follows his humour, his inclinathe faine time, we find them very far tion, or passion, till some inconveni, from being useless, even to the more ency convinces him he is in the wrong, judicious part of mankind, as appears and then he corrects hiinself. by the collections and commentaries We have an excellent example of made upon them by some of the most this kind in the famous story of Crafus learned and intelligent persons in all king of Lydia, who in the dreadful renations.

verfe of his fortune saved his life by I have been led into this reflection, crying out, Solon! Selon! Solun! When by an observation I lately met with in he was asked the reason, he said, That a letter of a person generally esteemed this famous man being at his court in for his knowledge of men and bocks. the time of his higheit prosperity, he “ It is, says he, a truth that admits of had asked him more than once who he no dispute, that Experience is the miss thouglit the happiest man, not doubttress of fools; but it is most true, in ing that he would have answered himthis respect, that none but fools go to self; but finding the sage no courtier this old lady's school.” At first light, in this respect, he was forced to speak I did not comprehend this writer's out, and to ask him, Why he was not meaning; but, upon reflection, I per- truck with the appearance of his feliceive that this remark is perfectly right; city? Upon which Solon told him, That and that one of the clearest distinctions there was no pronouncing any man between wisdom and folly, is the need- happy till he was dead. This prudence ing, or not needing, the light of Ex- taught the Greek philosopher, and in perience.

time his misfortunes taught it the LyThe man of true good senfe is dian prince; that is to say, he was one conducied, wi:h respect to his own of the fools that went to school to Exactions, by prudence only, and does perience.

It

On Experience.

269 It has been a maxim in the art of fectually attained. Some, indeed, may war, even lince a great Athenian gene- pretend that these were extraordinary ral laid it down as such, that in it there Genii, which I deny, and they can néis no room for a' second mistake, which, ver prove ; the stature and the strength in other words amounts to no more of men have been in all ages and clithan this, That a general ought always mates very near alike; and we have to have a better tutör than Experience. A reason to believe the fame of their unmistake in other arts may be repaired, 'derstandings. in war seldom, if ever. In this sense, In the next place, the lights that we perhaps, as in many others, life is a derive from Experienee are very uncerkind of warfare, in which, if a man tain. A man that relies upon hier may make one capital miliake, it is fatal to be a long time before he meets with her, him, and he has never after an oppor- and proceed a great way in the jourtunity of recovering it. There may, ney of life hefore lie has an opportuindeed, be many instances produced nity of learning from her whether he that seem to contradict this observation, is in the right road or the wrong. By but whoever will consider these atten- this means he inverts the very nature tively, cannot help seeing that such of things, and must many times derive instances really confirm what has been his good fortune from untoward acciadvanced, for they awaken the mind dents, since without the aslistance of from a state of sleepiness and inaction, these he can learn no leitons of conseand put it upon exerting its natural quence from Experience. Add to this, pokers, which when once done, that that he may be in great danger of miskind of foresight is quickly acquired taking these lights when he does meet which prevents our standing in need of with them ; for the institutions of ExExperience.

perience, like the responses of oracles, We may apply this sort of reasoning are very often capable of double meanto several useful and beneficial purposes. ings, that is to say, one man takes them In the firit place it thould teach us, in- in one sense, and another in another; Itead of waiting for, and learning from nay, every man is naturally liable to Experience, to be ashamed of her aflilt- take them in different senses, accordance, since it is our own faults that we ing to the age, temper, and circumever stand in need of it, and conse- ftances he may be in when he receives quently, it is a reflection upon our un- them, and this is the reason that some derstandings whenever we correct our- improve more, and some less, in this selves by it. We may be assured of school ; so that one would think the the matter of fact froin the great things mistress partial, and that she did not that some young men perform without take the same care of all her fcholars. any help from it at all. Thus, for in We may poslibly hear of a very costance, Alcibiades among the Athenians, pital objection to all that has been laid, was at the head of the state almost as which is, That some have become very early, as with us a young man, with great men by her assistance tolely, and tolerable parts, is at the head of Eaton with very little help from books or confchool; and his victories made him ter versation. The fact I shall not prerible to all Greece at that time of life, tend to deny, but then it admits of when here he might have been taking two answers, the first is, That this his degrees. We may say almost the very method of teaching renders it imsame thing of Lucullus among the Ro- possible for such as are so taught to mans, he came an accomplished gene- make any great use of their knowledge ; ral out of his closet, and knew how to they must be all their lives long learn command the veteran officers in the ing, and be precisely fit to come into Roman legions in his first campaign. the world when nature calls them out This evidently news not only the ex of it. The second answer is, That we cellence of prudence beyond Experi- very often mistake for Experience what ence, but that it is also a short cut, and are the effects of natural sagacity, which though a superior kind of wisdom, is the most different thing from Expenotwithstanding sooner and more ef- rience in the world. It is a kind of in

nate

« PreviousContinue »