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a blacking-brush: on his head he wore a turban of imperial paper; and
There hung a calf-skin on his reverend limbs,
which was gilt on the back, and faced with robings of Morocco, lettered (like a rubric-post) with the names of the most eminent authors. In his left hand he bore a printed scroll, which from the marginal corrections I imagined to be a proof-sheet; and in his right he waved the quill of a goose.
Heimmediately accosted me........“ Town, said he, I am the Genius, who is destined to conduct you through these turbulent waves. The sea that you now behold is the Ocean of Ink. Those towers, at a great distance, whose bases are founded upon rocks, and whose tops seem lost in the clouds, are situated in the Isle of Fame. Contiguous to these, you may discern by the glittering of its golden sands, is the Coast of Gain, which leads to a fertile and rich country. All the vessels, which are yonder sailing with a fair wind on the main sea, are making towards one or other of these : but you will observe, that on their first setting out they were irresistibly drawn into the Eddies of Criticism, where they were obliged to encounter the most dreadful tempests and hurricanes. In these dangerous streights, you see with what violence every bark is tossed up and down: some go to the bottom at once; others, after a faint struggle are beat to pieces; many are much damaged; while a few by sound planks and tight rigging are enabled to weather the storm."
At this sight I started back with horror: and the remembrance still dwells so strong upon my fancy, that I even now imagine the torrent of Criticism bursling in upon me, and ready to overwhelm me in an instant.
“ Cast a look, resumed my instructor, on that vast lake divided into two parts, which lead to yonder magnificent structures,erected by the Tragic and
Comic Muse. There you may observe many trying to force a passage without chart or compass. Some have been overset by crowding too much sail, and others have foundered by carrying too much ballast. An * Arcadian vessel (the master an Irishman) was, through contrary squalls, scarce able to live nine days; but you see that light Italian gondola, +Gli Amanti Gelosi, skims along pleasantly before the wind, and outstrips the painted frigates of her country, |Didone and Artaserse. Observe that triumphant squadron, to whose flag all the others pay homage. Most of them are ships of the first rate, and were fitted out many years ago. Though somewhat irregular in their make, and but little conformable to the exact rules of art, they will ever continue the pride and glory of these seas : for, as it is remarked by the present Laureat in his prologue to Papal Tyranny,
Shakspeare, whose art no play.wright can excel, “ Has launch'd us fleets of plays, and built them well.”
The Genius then bade me turn my eye, where the water seemed to foam with perpetual agitation........ “ That, said he, is the strong Current of Politics, often fatal to those who venture on it.” I could not but take notice of a poor wretch on the opposite shore, fastened by the ears to a terrible machine....... This, the Genius informed me, was the memorable Defoe, set up there as a land-mark, to prevent future mariners from splitting upon the same rock.
To this turbulent prospect succeeded objects of a more placid nature. In a little creek, winding
* Philoclea, a tragedy; founded on Sir Philip Sydney's Arcadia.
† An admired burletta. Operas.
through flowery meads and shady groves, I descried several gilded yatchts and pleasure-boats, all of them keeping due time with their silver oars, and gliding along the smooth, even, calm, regularly flowing Rivulets of Rhyme. Shepherds and shepherdesses playing on the banks ; the sails were gently swelled with the soft breezes of amorous sighs ; and little loves sported in the silken cordage.
My attention was now called off from these pacific scenes to an obstinate engagement between several ships, distinguished from all others by bearing the Holy Cross for their colours. These, the Genius told me, were employed in the holy war of religious controversy; and he pointed out to me a few Corsairs in the service of the Infidels, sometimes aiding one party, sometimes siding with the other, as might best contribute to the general confusion.
I observed in different parts of the ocean several gallies, which were rowed by slaves. “ Those, said the Genius, are fitted out by very oppressive owners, and are all of them bound io the Coast of Gain. The miserable wretches, whom you see chained to the oars, are obliged to tug without the least respite; and though the voyage should turn out successful, they have little or no share in the profits. Some few you may observe, who rather chuse to make a venture on their own bottoms. These work as hard as the galley-slaves, and are frequently cast away: but though they are ever so often wrecked, necessity still contrains them to put out to sea again.
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It were needless to enumerate many other particulars, that engaged my notice. Among the rest was
a large fleet of Annotators, Dutch-built, which sailed very heavy, were often a-ground, and continually ran foul of each other. The whole ocean, I also found, was infested by pirates, who ransacked every rich vessel that came in their way. Most of these were endeavouring to make the Coast of Gain by hanging out false colours, or by forging their passports, and pretending to be freighted out by the most reputable traders.
My eyes were at last fixed, I know not how, on a spacious channel, running through the midst of a great city. I felt such a secret impulse at this sight, that I could not help enquiring particularly about it. “ The discovery of that passage, said the Genius, was first made by one Bickerstaff, in the good ship called The Tatler, and who afterwards embarked in The Spectator and Guardian. These have been followed since by a number of little sloops, skiffs, hoys, and cock boats, which have been most of them wrecked in the attempt. Thither also must your course be directed.”........ At this instant the Genius suddenly snatched me up in his arms, and plunged me headlong into the inky flood. While I lay gasping and struggling beneath the waves, methought I heard a familiar voice calling me by my name ; which awaking me, I with pleasure recollected the features of the Genius in those of my publisher, who was standing by my bed-side, and had called upon me for copy.
No. IV. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25.
Conjugium vocat, hoc prætexit nomine culpam. Virg.
IT is with the utmost concern I have heard myself within this week passed accused at several teatables, of not being a man of my word. The female part
of my readers exclaim against me for not having as yet paid my particular addresses to the fair. " Who is this Mr. Town? says one: Where can the creature live? He has said nothing yet of the dear Burletta girl.” Another wonders that I have not recommended to the ladies Mr. Hoyle's New Calculation of Chances; for understanding which nothing more is required, we are told, than the First Principles of Arithmetic; that is, to know how to tell the pips, and set up one's game. But I find the whole sex in general have expected from me some shrewd remarks upon the Marriage-Bill. To oblige them in some measure, I shall at present recommend to their notice the foilowing advertisement, which has been sent me with a request to make it public.
To all whom it may concern.
THE REVEREND MR. KEITH, (Who has had the honour to perform before several
of the Nobility, Gentry, and others)
GIVES THIS PUBLIC NOTICE,
THAT he shall continue at his chapel in May. Fair no longer than the present month. He will then set out on his progress through the principal markettowns, where he will exhibit publickly, without loss of time, any hour of the day or night.
He will per