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Noailles is to die upon the fourth of April, and if that should be verified as exactly as this of poor Partridge, I must own I should be wholly surprised, and at a loss, and should infallibly expect the accomplishment of all the rest.

It is amusing to think what a large number of persons at the time actually believed the accomplishment had taken place in all respects according to the relation. The wits of the time, too, among whom were Steele and Addison, supported Swift, and uniformly affirmed that Partridge had died on the day and hour predicted. The distress and vexation of Partridge himself were beyond all measure ridiculous, and he absolutely had the folly to insert the following advertisement at the close of his next year's almanac :

“Whereas it has been industriously given out by Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., and others, to prevent the sale of this year's almanac, that John Partridge is dead: this may inform all his loving countrymen, that he is still living, in health; and they are knaves that reported it otherwise.”1

The most interesting account, however, of the singularly comic consequences of this prediction was drawn up by the Rev. Dr. Yalden, Mr. Partridge's neighbor, of whom, as connected with this humorous affair, I will give a short account, succeeding Swist, though it be not in exact chronological order.

Though Swist wrote much that ranks under poetry, yet he had none of the characteristics of a true poet-nothing of the sublime or the tender; nothing, in short, that reaches or affects the heart. “It could scarcely be expected," says a critic, “that an irreligious divine, a heartless politician, and a selfish lover, could possess the elements of true poetry; and, therefore, Swift may be considered rather as a rhymer than a poet.” This is true; as he himself says in the “ Verses on his own Death:”

« The Dean was famous in his time,
And had a kind of knack at rhyme "

This « knack” he had in a very eminent degree-the «knack" of writing easy, natural rhymes-of using just the very words in verse that any one would select as the best in prose. In proof of which, take the following se. lection


In ancient times, as story tells,
The saints would often leave their cells,
And stroll about, but hide their quality:
To try good people's hospitality.

It happend on a winter night,
As authors of the legend write,
Two brother-hermits, saints by trade,
Taking their tour in masquerade,
Disguised in tatter'd habits, went
To a small village down in Kent:
Where, in the strollers' canting strain
They beggd from door to door in vain ;
Tried every tone might pity win,
But not a soul would let them in.

Our wandering saints, in woful state, Treated at this ungodly rate,

1 Drake's Essays, vol. I. p. 64.

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Having through all the village pass'd,
To a small cottage came at last !
Where dwelt a good old honest ye’man,
Call'd in the neighborhood Philemon;
Who kindly did these saints invite
In his poor hut to pass the night;
And then the hospitable sire
Bid goody Baucis mend the fire;
While he from out the chimney took
A flitch of bacon off the hook,
And freely from the fattest side
Cut out large slices to be fried ;
Then stepp'd aside to fetch them drink,
Fillid a large jug up to the brink,
And saw it fairly twice go round;
Yet (what is wonderful) they found
'Twas still replenish'd to the top,
As if they ne'er had touch'd a drop.
The good old couple were amazed,
And often on each other gazed;
For both were frightend to the heart,
And just began to cry,--What ar't!
Then softly turn'd aside to view
Whether the lights were burning blue.
The gentle pilgrims, soon aware on't,
Told them their calling and their errand:
Good folks, you need not be afraid,
We are but saints, the hermits said;
No hurt shall come to you or yours:
But for that pack of churlish boors,
Not fit to live on Christian ground,
They and their houses shall be drown'd;
Whilst you shall see your cottage rise,
And grow a church before your eyes.

They scarce had spoke, when fair and soft
The roof began to mount aloft ;
Aloft rose every beam and rafter ;
The heavy wall climb'd slowly after.

The chimney widen'd, and grew higher;
Became a steeple with a spire.

The kettle to the top was hoist,
And there stood fastened to a joist,
But with the upside down, to show
Its inclination for below:
In vain; for a superior force,
Applied at bottom, stops its course:
Doom'd ever in suspense to dwell,
'Tis now no kettle, but a bell.

A wooden Jack, which had almost
Lost by disuse the art to roast,
A sudden alteration feels,
Increased by new intestine wheels;
And, what exalts the wonder more,
The minber made the motion slower;

The flier, though 't had leaden feet,
'Turn 'd round so quick, you scarce could see 't;
But, slacken'd by some secret power,
Now hardly moves an inch an hour.
The jack and chimney, near allied,
Had never left each other's side :
The chimney to a steeple grown,
The jack would not be left alone;
But, up against the steeple rear'd,
Became a clock, and still adhered;
And still its love to household cares,
By a shrill voice at noon, declares ;
Warning the cook-maid not to burn
That roast-meat which it cannot turn.

The groaning-chair began to crawl.
Like a huge snail, along the wall;
There stuck aloft in public view,
And, with small change, a pulpit grew.

The porringers, that in a row
Hung high, and made a glittering show,
To a less noble substance changed,
Were now but leathern buckets ranged.

The ballads, pasted on the wall,
Of Joan of France, and English Moll,
Fair Rosamond, and Robin Hood,
The Little Children in the Wood,
Now seem'd to look abundance better,
Improved in picture, size, and letter;
And, high in order placed, describe
The heraldry of every tribe.!

A bedstead of the antique mode,
Compact of timber many a load,
Such as our ancestors did use,
Was metamorphosed into pews;
Which still their ancient nature keep,
By lodging folks disposed to sleep.

The cottage by such feats as these
Grown to a church by just degrees,
The hermits then desired their host
To ask for what he fancied most.
Philemon, having paused a while,
Return'd them thanks in homely style:
Then said, My house is grown so fine,
Methinks I still would call it mine;
I'm old, and fain would live at ease;
Make me the parson, if you please.

He spoke, and presently he feels
His grazier's coat fall down his heels;
He sees, yet hardly can believe,
About each arm a pudding-sleeve;
His waistcoat to a cassock grew,
And both assumed a sable hue;

I The tribes of Israel are sometimes distinguished in country churches by the ensigns given to them by Jacob.

But, being old, continued just
As thread-bare, and as full of dust.
His talk was now of tithes and dues :
He smoked his pipe, and read the news;
Knew how to preach old sermons next,
Vamp'd in the preface and the text;
At christenings well could act his part,
And had the service all by heart;
Against dissenters would repine,
And stood up firm for right divine;
Found his head filld with many a system:
But classic authors,—he ne'er miss'd 'em.

Thus having furbish'd up a parson,
Dame Baucis next they play'd their farce on.
Instead of home-spun coifs, were seen
Good pinners edged with colberteen;
Her petticoat, transform'd apace,
Became black satin flounced with lace.
Plain Goody would no longer down:
'Twas Madam, in her grogram gown.
Philemon was in great surprise,
And hardly could believe his eyes,
Amazed to see her look so prim;
And she admired as much at him.

Thus happy in their change of life Were several years this man and wife; When on a day, which proved their last, Discoursing o'er old stories past, They went by chance, amidst their talk, To the churchyard, to take a walk; When Baucis hastily cried out, My dear, I see your forehead sprout! Sprout! quoth the man; what's this you tell 123 I hope you don't believe me jealous ! But yet, methinks, I feel it true; And really yours is budding tooNay,—now I cannot stir my foot; It feels as if 'twere taking root.

Description would but tire my muse;
In short, they both were turn'd to yews.

Old Goodman Dobson of the green
Remembers he the trees has seen;
He'll talk of them from noon till night,
And goes with folks to show the sight:
On Sundays, after evening-prayer,
He gathers all the parish there;
Points out the place of either yew,
Here Baucis, there Philemon, grew;
Till once a parson of our town,
To mend his barn, cut Baucis down;
At which 'tis hard to be believed
How much the other tree was grieved,
Grew scrubbed, died a-top, was stunted;
So the next parson stubb'd and burnt it.

THOMAS YALDEN. 1671-1736. Tuomas YALDEN was born in the city of Exeter, in 1671, and in 1690 was admitted in Magdalen College, Oxford. His first public appearance as a poet was in an “Ode to St. Cecilia's Day," published in 1693, which was followed by several other poems. Having entered the ministry, he succeeded Atterbury, in 1698, as lecturer at Bridewell Hospital, and in 1707 received the degree of Doctor of Divinity. Having received various preferments in the church, he died July 16, 1736; having to the end of his life, as Dr. Johnson remarks, “ retained the friendship and frequented the conversation of a very numerous and splendid set of acquaintances."

Yalden's poetry may be found in the collections of Johnson and Chalmers, but it has very little merit. As a prose writer, however, he has great humor, being the author of the paper entitled “ 'Squire Bickerstaff detected; or the Astrological Impostor convicted, by John Partridge, Student in Physic and Astrology,” which he drew up on Partridge's application, and which that person is said to have printed and published without perceiving the joke.

JOHN PARTRIDGE'S DEFENCE. It is hard, my dear countrymen of these united nations, it is very hard, that a Briton born, a protestant astrologer, a man of revolution principles, an assertor of the liberty and property of the people, should cry out in vain for justice against a Frenchman, a papist, and an illiterate pretender to science, that would blast my reputation, most inhumanly bury me alive, and defraud my native country of those services, which, in my double capacity, I daily offer the public.

It was towards the conclusion of the year 1707, when an impudent pamphlet crept into the world, intituled, Predictions, etc., by Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq. Amongst the many arrogant assertions laid down by that lying spirit of divination, he was pleased to pitch on the Cardinal de Noailles and myself, among many other eminent and illustrious persons that were to die within the compass of the ensuing year; and peremptorily fixes the month, day, and hour of our deaths. This, I think, is sporting with great men, and public spirits, to the scandal of religion and reproach of power; and if sovereign princes and astrologers must make diversion for the vulgar- why then farewell, say I, to all governments, ecclesiastical and civil. But, I thank my better stars, I am alive to confront this false and audacious predictor, and to make him rue the hour he ever affronted a man of science and resentment: and I shall here present the public with a faithful narrative of the ungenerous treatment and hard usage I have received from the virulent papers and malicious practices of this pretended astrologer.

The 28th of March, A. D. 1708, being the night this shamprophet had so impudently fixed for my last, which made little impression on myself; but I cannot answer for my whole family,

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