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with all the virulence of learned reproach. Ay, my friends, let them feel it ; call names, never spare them ; they deserve it all, and ten times more. I have been told of a critic, who was crucified at the command of another to the reputation of Homer. That, no doubt, was more than poetical justice, and I shall be perfectly content if those, who criticise me, are only clapped in the pillory, kept fifteen days upon
bread and water, and obliged to run the gantlope through Paternoster-row. The truth is, I can expect happiness from pofterity either way. If I write ill, happy in being forgotten ; if well, happy in being remembered with respect.
Yet, considering things in a prudential light, perhaps I was mistaken in designing my paper as an agreeable relaxation to the studious, or an help to conversi tion among the
gay ; instead of addressing it to such, I should have written down to the taste and apprehension of the many, and fought for reputation on the broad road. Literary fame I now find like religious, generally begins among the vulgar. As for the polite, they are lo very polite, as never to applaud upon any account. One of these, with a face screwed up into affectation, tells you, that fools inay admire, but men of sense only approve. Thus, left he should rise in rapture at any thing new, he keeps down every passion but pride and telf-importance; approves with phlegm, and the poor author is damned in the taking a pinch of snuff. Another has written a book himself, and being condemned for a dunce, he turns a sort of king's evidence'in criticism, and now becomes the terror of every offender. A third, poíTessed of full-grown reputation, shades off every beam of favour from those who endeavour to grow beneath him, and keeps down that merit, which, but for his influence, might rise into equal eminence. While others, still 03
worse, worse, peruse old books for their amusement, and new books only to condemn; so that the publick seem heartily sick of all but the business of the day, and read every thing now with as little attention as they examine the faces of the passing crowd.
From these confiderations I was once determined to throw off all connexions with taste, and fairly address my countrymen in the same engaging style and manner with other periodical pamphlers, much more in vogue than probably mine shall ever be. To effect this, I had thoughts of changing the title into that of the Royal Bee, the ANTIGALLICAN BEE, or the Bee's MAGAZINE. I had laid in a proper stock of popular topicks, such as encomiums on the king of Pruffia, invectives against the queen of Hungary and the French, the necessity of a militia, our undoubted sovereignty of the seas, reflections upon the present state of affairs, a dissertation upon liberty, some seasonable thoughts upon the intended bridge of Black-friars, and an address to Britons. The hiltory of an old woman, whose teeth grew three inches long, an ode upon our victories, a rebus, an acrostic upon Miss Peggy P. and a journal of the weather. All this, together with four extraordinary pages of letter press, a beautiful map of England, and two prints curiously coloured from Nature, I fancied might touch their very souls. I was actually beginning an address to the people, when my pride at last overcame my prudence, and determined me to endeavour to please by the goodness of my entertainment, rather than by the magnificence of my sign,
The Spectator, and many succeeding essayists, frequently inform us of the numerous compliments paid them in the course of their lucubrations; of the frequent encouragements they met to inspire them with ardour, and encrease their eagerness to please. I have received my letters as well as they ; but alas !
not congratulatory ones ; not assuring me of success and favour ; but pregnant with bodings that might shake even fortitude itself.
One gentleman afsures me, he intends to throw away no more three-pences in purchasing the Bee, and what is still more dismal, he will not recommend me as a poor author wanting encouragement to his neighbourhood, which it seems is very nume
Were my soul set upon three-pences, what anxiety might not such a denunciation produce ! But such does not happen to be the present motive of publication ; I write partly to fhew my good-nature, and partly to shew my vanity ; nor will I lay down the pen till I am fatisfied one way or another.
Others have disliked the title and the motto of my paper, point out a mistake in the one, and alsure me the other has been consigned to dullness by anticipation. All this may be true ; but what is that to me? Tiiles and mottos to books are like efcutcheons and dignities in the hands of a king. The wise sometimes condescend to accept of them ; but none but a fool will imagine them of any real importance. We ought to depend upon intrinfic merit, and not the slender helps of title. Nam
que non fecimus ipsi, vix ca noftra voco.
For my part, I am ever ready to miftrust a promising title, and have, at fome expence, been instructed not to hearken to the voice of an advertisement, let it plead never so loudly, or never so long. A countryman coming one day to Smithfield, in order to take a nice of Bartholomew-fair, found a perfect shew before every booth. The drummer; the fire-eater, the wire-walker, and the salt-box were all employed to invite him in.
Just a going; the « court of the king of Prussia in all his glory; pray,
gentlenien, walk in and see.” From people who generously gave so much away, the clown expected
a monstrous bargain for his money when he got in, He steps up, pays his sixpence, the curtain is drawn, when too late he finds, that he had the best part of the shew for nothing at the door.
A FLEMISH TRADITION.
country has its traditions, which, either too minute or not sufficiently authentic to receive historical sanction, are handed down among the vul- . gar, and serve at once to instruct and amuse them. Of this number the adventures of Robin Hood, the hunting of Chevy-chace, and the bravery of Johnny Armstrong among the English; of Kaul Dereg among the Irish ; and Creigton among the Scots, are instances. Of all the traditions, however, I remember to have heard, I do not recollect any more remarkable than one still current in Flanders; a story generally the first the peasants tell their children, when they bid them behave like Bidderman the wise. It is by no means, however, a model to be set before a polite people for imitation ; fince if on the one hand we perceive in it the steady influence of patriotism ; we on the other find as strong a desire of revenge. But, to wave introduction, let us to the story.
When the Saracens over-ran Europe with their armies, and penetrated as far even as Antwerp, Bidderman was lord of a city, which time has since swept into destruction. As the inhabitants of this country were divided under separate leaders, the Saracens found an easy conquest, and the city of Bidderman among the rest became a prey to the victors.
Thus dispossessed of his paternal city, our unfor tunate governor was obliged to seek refuge from the neighbouring princes, who were as yet unsubdued, and he for some time lived in a state of wretched de pendance among
them. Soon, however, his love to his native country brought him back to his own city, resolved to rel. cue it from the enemy, or fall in the attempt : thus, in disguise, he went among the inhabitants, and endeavoured, but in vain, to excite them to a revolt, Former misfortunes lay so heavily on their minds, that they rather chose to suffer the most cruel bondage, than attempt to vindicate their former freedom.
As he was thus one day employed, whether by information or from suspicion is not known, he was apprehended by a Saracen soldier as a spy, and brought before the very tribunal at which he once presided. The account he gave of himself was by no means satisfactory. He could produce no friends to vindicate his character ; wherefore, as the Saracens knew not their prisoner, and as they had no direct proofs against him, they were content with condemning him to be publickly whipt as a vagabond.
The execution of this sentence was accordingly performed with the utmost rigour. Bidderman was bound to the post, the executioner seeming disposed to add to the cruelty of the sentence, as he received no bribe for lenity. Whenever Bidderman groaned under the scourge, the other redoubling his blows, cried out, “ Does the villain murmur ?" If Bidderman entreated but a moment's respite from torture, the other only repeated his former exclamation, • Does the villain murmur ?” | From this period revenge as well as patriotism took entire poffeffion of his soul. His fury stooped fo low as to follow the executioner with unremitting