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pope at sea; and added, that whenever such a war does break out, it must turn to the good of the Lee. ward islands. Upon this, one who sat at the end of the bench, and, as I afterwards found, was the geographer of the company, said, that in case the papists should drive the protestants from these parts of Europe, when the worst came to the worst, it would be impossible to beat them out of Norway and Greenland, provided the northern crowns hold together, and the czar of Muscovy stand neuter.

He further told us, for our comfort, that there were vast tracts of land about the pole, inhabited neither by protestants nor papists, and of greater extent than all the Roman catholic dominions in Europe.

When we had fully discussed this point, my friend the upholsterer began to exert himself upon the present negotiations of peace; in which he deposed princess settled the bounds of kingdoms, and balanced the power of Europe, with great justice and impartiality.

I at length took my leave of the company, and was going away; but had not gone thirty yards before the upholsterer hemmed again after me. Upon his advancing towards me, with a whisper, I expeeted to hear some secret piece of news which he had not thought fit to communicate to the bench; but instead of that, he desired me, in my ear, to lend him halfa-crown. In compassion to so needy a statesman, and to dissipate the confusion I found he was in, I told him, if he pleased, I would give him five shillings, to receive five pounds of him when the Great Turk was driven out of Constantinople; which he very readily accepted, but not before he had laid down to me the impossibility of such an event, as the affairs of Europe now stand. G 3


This paper I design for the particular benefit of those worthy citizens who live more in a coffee-house than in their shops, and whose thoughts are so taken up with the affairs of the allies, that they forget their customers *.


CRITIQUE OF A SONG. No. 163. I YESTERDAY came hither about two hours before the company generally make their appearance, with a design to read over all the newspapers ;


upon my sitting down, I was accosted by Ned Softly, who saw me from a corner in the other end of the room, where I found he had been writing something. Mr. Bickerstaff, says he, I observe by a late paper of yours, that you and I are just of a humour ; for you must know, of all impertinencies, there is nothing which I so much hate as news. I never read a Gazette in my life; and never trouble my head about our armies, whether they win or lose, or in what part of the world they lie encamped. Without giving me time to reply, he drew a paper of verses out of his pocket, telling me that he had something which would entertain me more agreeably; and that he would desire my judgment upon every line, for that we had time enough before us until the coinpany came in.

Ned Softly is a very pretty poet, and a great admirer of easy lines. Waller is his favourite: and as that admirable writer has the best and worst verses of any

* The character of the Upholsterer, in the farce of that name, by Mr. Murphy, was suggested by this Paper.



among our great English poets, Ned Softly has got all the bad ones without book; which he repeats upon occasion, to show his reading, and garnish his conversation. Ned is indeed a true English reader, incapable of relishing the great and masterly strokes of this but wonderfully pleased with the little gothic ornaments of epigrammatical conceits, turns, points, and quibbles; which are so frequent in the most admired of our English poets, and practised by those who want genius and strength to represent, after the manner of the antients, simplicity in its natural beauty and perfection.

Finding myself unavoidably engaged in such a conversation, I was resolved to turn my pain into a pleasure, and to divert myself as well as I could with so very odd a fellow. You must understand, says Ned, that the sonnet I am going to read to you was written upon a lady who showed me some verses of her own making, and is, perhaps, the best poet of our age. But you shall hear it. Upon which he began to read as follows:

To Mira, on her incomparable Poems.

When dress'd in laurel wreaths you shine,

And tune your soft melodious notes,
You seem a sister of the Nine,

Or Phoebus' self in petticoats.

I fancy, when your song you sing,

(Your song you sing with so much art)
Your pen was pluck'd from Cupid's wing ;

For, ah! it wounds me like his dart.

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Why', says I, this is a litle noseray of conceits, a very lump of salt: every verse hath something in it that piques; and then the dart in the last line is certainly as pretty a sting in the tail of an epigram, for so I think you critics call it, as ever entered into the thourht of a poet. Dear Mr. Bickerstaff, says he, shaking ine by the hand, every body knows you to be a judge of these things; and to tell you truly, I read over Roscominon's translation of Horace's Art of Poetry three several times, before I sat down to write the sonnet which I have shown you.


shall hear it again, and pray observe every line of it; for not one of them shall pass without your approbation.

When dress'd in laurel wreaths you shine,

That is, says he, when you have your garland on; when you are writing verses. To which I replied, I know your meaning: a metaphor ? The same, said he, and went on--

And tune your soft melodious notes,

Pray observe the gliding of that verse; there is scarce a consonant in it: I took care to make it run upon liquids. Give ine your opinion of it. Truly, said I, I think it as good as the former. I am very glad to hear you say so, says he; but mind the next.

You seem a sister of the Nine,

That is, says hc, you seem a sister of the Muses ; for, if you look into antient authors, you will find it was their opinion, that there were nine of them. I remember it very well, said I : but pray proceed, Or Phobus' self in petticoats.


Phebus, says he, was the god of poetry. These little instances, Mr, Bickerstaff, show a gentleman's reading. Then to take off from the air of learning, which Phæbus and the Muses have given to this first stanza, you may observe, how it falls all of a sudden into the familiar; “in petticoats!'

Or Phoebus' self in petticoats. Let us now, says I, enter upon the second stanza; I find the first line is still a continuation of the meta. phor.

I fancy, when your song you sing, It is very right, says he; but pray observe the turn of words in those two lines. I was a whole hour in adjusting of them, and have still a doubt upon me, whether in the second line it should be "Your song you sing;'or, 'You sing your song?'. You shall hear them both :

I fancy, when your song you sing,

(Your song you sing with so much art)


I fancy, when your song you sing,

(You sing your song with so much art) Truly, said I, the turn is so natural either way, that you have made me almost giddy with it. Dear sir, said he, grasping me by the hand, you have a great deal of patience; but pray, what do you think of the next verse?

Your pen was pluck'd from Cupid's wing ;

Think! says I ; I think you have made Cupid.look

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