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mysterious; but the Post-boy leaves us more in the dark, for he tells us, That there are private intimations of measures taken by a certain Prince, which Time will bring to light. Now the

Post-man, says he, who uses to be very clear, refers to the 5 same news in these words; The late conduct of a certain Prince

affords great matter of speculation. This certain Prince, says the Upholsterer, whom they are all so cautious of naming, I take to be upon which, though there was no body near us, he whispered something in my ear, which I did not hear, or think worth my while to make him repeat.

We were now got to the upper end of the Mall, where were three or four very odd fellows sitting together upon the Bench. These I found were all of them Politicians, who used

to sun themselves in that place every day about dinner-time. 15 Observing them to be curiosities in their kind, and my friend's

acquaintance, I sat down among them.

The chief Politician of the bench was a great asserter of Paradoxes. He told us, with a seeming concern, that by some news he had lately read from Muscovy, it appeared to him that there was a storm gathering in the Black sea, which might in time do hurt to the Naval Forces of this nation. To this he added, that for his part, he could not wish to see the Turk driven out of Europe, which he believed could not but be prej

udicial to our Woollen Manufacture. He then told us, that he 25 looked upon those extraordinary revolutions which had lately

happened in these parts of the world, to have risen chiefly from two persons who were not much talked of; and those, says he, are Prince Menzikoff, and the Dutchess of Mirandola.

He backed his assertions with so many broken hints, and such 30 a show of depth and wisdom, that we gave our selves up to his

opinions.

The discourse at length fell upon a point which seldom escapes a knot of true-born Englishmen, whether in case of a religious war, the Protestants would not be too strong for the

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Papists? This we unanimously determined on the Protestant side. One who sate on my right hand, and, as I found by his discourse, had been in the West-Indies, assured us, that it would be a very easy matter for the Protestants to beat the Pope at Sea; and added, that whenever such a war does break out, [it]' must turn to the good of the Leeward Islands. Upon this, one who sate 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 Catholick 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 Princes, 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 been gone thirty yards, before the Upholsterer hemmed again after me. Upon his advancing towards me, with a whisper, I expected 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 Half-a-Crown. In compassion to so needy a Statesman, and to dissipate the confusion I found he was in, I told him, if he pleas'd, 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

i So S; C and T have “in.”

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he had laid down to me the impossibility of such an event, as the affairs of Europe now stand.

This Paper I design for the particular Benefit of those worthy Citizens who live more in a Coffee-house than in their 5 Shops, and whose thoughts are so taken up with the Affairs

of the Allies, that they forget their customers.

N° 158. Thursday, April 13.

1710.

Faciunt intelligendo, ut nihil intelligant.

Ter.

From my own Apartment, April 12.

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Tom Folio is a Broker in learning, employed to get together good Editions, and stock the Libraries of great men. There is not a Sale of books begins till Tom Folio is seen at the door. There is not an Auction where his name is not heard, and that too in the very nick of time, in the critical moment, before the last decisive stroke of the hammer. There is not a Subscription goes forward, in which Tom is not privy to the first rough

draught of the Proposals; nor a Catalogue printed, that doth 15 not come to him wet from the Press. He is an universal scholar,

so far as the Title-page of all Authors, knows the Manuscripts in which they were discovered, the Editions through which they have passed, with the praises or censures which they have received from the several members of the learned world. He has a greater esteem for Aldus and Elzevir, than for Virgil and Horace. If you talk of Herodotus, he breaks out into a Panegyrick upon Harry Stephens. He thinks he gives you an account of an Author, when he tells the Subject he treats of,

the Name of the Editor, and the Year in which it was printed. 25 Or if you draw him into further particulars, he cries up the

goodness of the Paper, extols the diligence of the Corrector,

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and is transported with the beauty of the Letter. This he looks upon to be sound Learning and substantial Criticism. As for those who talk of the Fineness of style, and the Justness of thought, or describe the Brightness of any particular passages; nay, though they write themselves in the Genius and Spirit of the Author they admire, Tom looks upon them as men of superficial learning, and flashy parts.

I had yesterday morning a visit from this learned Idiot, (for that is the light in which I consider every Pedant) when I discovered in him some little touches of the Coxcomb, which I had not before observed. Being very full of the figure which he makes in the Republick of Letters, and wonderfully satisfied with his great stock of knowledge, he gave me broad intimations, that he did not believe in all points as his forefathers had done. He then communicated to me a thought of a certain Author upon a passage of Virgil's account of the dead, which I made the subject of a late paper. This thought hath taken very much among men of Tom's pitch and understanding, though universally exploded by all that know how to construe Virgil, or have any relish of Antiquity. Not to trouble my Reader with it, I found upon the whole, that Tom did not believe a future state of Rewards and Punishments, because Æneas, at his leaving the Empire of the dead, passed through the gate of Ivory, and not through that of Horn. Knowing that Tom had not sense enough to give up an opinion which he had once received, that he might avoid wrangling, I told him, that Virgil possibly had his oversights as well as another Author. Ah! Mr. Bickerstaffe, says he, you would have another opinion of him, if you would read him in Daniel Heinsius's Edition. I have perused him my self several times in that Edition, continued he; and after the strictest and most malicious examination, could find but two faults in him : One of them is in the Æneid, where there are two Comma's instead of a Parenthesis ; and another in the third Georgick, where you

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may find a Semicolon turned upside down. Perhaps, said I, these were not Virgil's thoughts, but those of the Transcriber. I do not design it, says Tom, as a reflection on Virgil: On the

contrary, I know that all the Manuscripts reclaim against such 5 a Punctuation. Oh! Mr. Bickerstaffe, says he, what would a

man give to see one Simile of Virgil writ in his own hand ? I asked him which was the Simile he meant; but was answered, Any Simile in Virgil. He then told me all the secret history in the Common-wealth of learning; of modern pieces that had the names of ancient Authors annexed to them; of all the books that were now writing or printing in the several parts of Europe; of many amendments which are made, and not yet published ; and a thousand other particulars, which I would

not have my memory burthened with for a Vatican. 15 At length, being fully perswaded that I thoroughly admired

him, and looked upon him as a prodigy of learning, he took his leave. I know several of Tom's Class who are professed admirers of Tasso without understanding a word of Italian; and one in particular, that carries a Pastor-fido in his pocket, in which I am sure he is acquainted with no other beauty but the Clearness of the character.

There is another kind of Pedant, who, with all Tom Folio's impertinencies, hath greater superstructures and embellishments

of Greek and Latin, and is still more insupportable than the 25 other, in the same degree as he is more learned. Of this kind

very often are Editors, Commentators, Interpreters, Scholiasts, and Criticks; and in short, all men of deep learning without common sense. These persons set a greater value on them

selves for having found out the meaning of a passage in Greek, 30 than

upon the Author for having written it; nay, will allow the passage it self not to have any beauty in it, at the same time that they would be considered as the greatest men of the age for having interpreted it. They will look with contempt upon the most beautiful Poems that have been composed by any of their

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