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played the great art and judgment of the poet, particularly his knowledge of men and manners. The learned Jesuit perhaps imagined that remarks of this sort were foreign to the employment of a commentator, or for some political reasons he might think proper to omit them. And yet, in my opinion, nothing could have been more instructive and entertaining, as his comment was chiefly designed for the use of a young prince. The iEneid furnishes us with many examples to the purpose I mention. However, that I may be the better understood, the following remark will explain my meaning. In the beginning of the first book, Juno makes a visit to ^Eolus, and desires him to raise a storm and destroy the Trojan fleet, because she hated the whole nation on account of the judgment of Paris, or, as she was pleased to express herself, because the Trojans were her enemies. Gens inimica tnihi, &c. Juno was conscious that she asked a god to oblige her by an act which was both unjust and cruel, and therefore she accompanied her request with the offer of Deiopeia, the most beautiful nymph in her train: a powerful bribe, and such as she imagined iEolus could not resist. She was not disappointed: iEolus accepted her offer, and executed her commands as far as he was able. What I have to observe here, in the first place, is the necessity of that short speech, in which Juno addresses herself to iEolus. She had no time to lose. The Trojan fleet was in the Tuscan sea, sailing with a fair wind, and in a few hours would probably have been in a safe harbor. iEolus therefore answered in as few words as the goddess had addressed herself to him. But his answer is very curious. He takes no notice of the offer of Deiopeia, for whom upon any other occasion he would have thanked Juno upon his knees. But now, when she was given and accepted by him as a bribe, and as the wages of cruelty and injustice, he endeavored by his answer to avoid that imputation, and pretended he had such a grateful sense of the favors which Juno had formerly conferred on him, when she introduced him to Jupiter's table, that it was his duty to obey her commands on all occasions:

"Tis yours, great queen, replies the power, to lay
The task, and mine to listen and obey."1

And thus insinuated even to Juno herself, that this was the sole motive of his ready compliance with her request. I am here put in mind of something similar which happened in Sir Robert Walpole's administration. He wanted to carry a question in the House of Commons, to which he knew there would be great opposition, and which was disliked by some of his own dependants. As he was passing through the Court of Requests, he met a mem

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ber of the contrary party, whose avarice he imagined would not reject a large bribe. He took him aside, and said, " Such a question comes on this day; give me your vote, and here is a bank bill of 2000/.;" which he put into his hands. The member made him this answer: "Sir Robert, you have lately served some of my particular friends; and when my wife was last at court the king was very gracious to her, which must have happened at your instance. I should therefore think myself very ungrateful {putting the bank bill into his pocket) if I were to refuse the favor you are now pleased to ask me." This incident, if wrought up by a man of humor, would make a pleasant scene in a political farce. But to return to Virgil. The short conference between Juno and iEolus is a sufficient proof of the poet's excellent judgment. It demonstrates his knowledge of the world, and more particularly his acquaintance with the customs and manners of a great prince's court. Hence we may learn, that a bribe, if it be large enough, and seasonably offered, will frequently overcome the virtue and resolution of persons of the highest rank, and that the power of love and beauty will sometimes corrupt a god, and compel him to discover a weakness unworthy of a man.


A repartee, or a quick and witty answer to an insolent taunt, or to any ill-natured or ironical joke or question, is always well received (whether in a public assembly or a private company) by the persons who hear it, and gives a reputation to the man who makes it. Cicero, in one of his letters to Atticus, informs him of some reproaches, a kind of coarse raillery, which passed between himself and Clodius in the senate, and seems to exult and value himself much on his own repartees: though I do not think that this was one of Cicero's excellencies. Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, when a certain bill was brought into the House of Lords, said, among other things, " that he prophesied last ivinler this bill would be attempted in the present session, and he teas sorry to find that he had proved a true prophet." My Lord Coningsby, who spoke after the bishop, and always spoke in a passion, desired the House to remark, " that one of the Right Reverends had set himself forth as a prophet; but for his part he did not know what prophet to liken him to, unless to that furious prophet Balaam, who was reproved by his own ass." The Hshop, in a reply, with great wit and calmness, exposed this rude attack, concluding thus: "Shice the noble Lord hath discovered in our manners such a similitude, I am well content to be compared to the prophet Balaam: but, my Lords, I am at a loss how to make mtt the other part of the parallel: I am sure that I have been reproved by nobody but his Lordship."


About the year 170(5, I knew one Mr. Howe, a sensible wellnatured man, possessed of an estate of £700 or £b00 per annum: he married a young lady of a good family in the west of England; her maiden name was Mallet; she was agreeable in her person and manners, and proved a very good wife. Seven or eight years after they had been married, he rose one morning very early,.and told his wife he was obliged to go to the Tower to transact some particular business: the same day, at noon, his wife received a note from him, in which he informed her that he was under a necessity of going to Holland, and should probably be absent three weeks or a month. He was absent from her seventeen years, during which time she neither heard from him, or of him. The evening before he returned, whilst she was at supper, and with her some of her friends and relations, particularly one Dr. Rose,1 a physician, who had married her sister, a billet, without any name subscribed, was delivered to her, in which the writer requested the favor of her to give him a meeting the next evening in the Birdcage Walk, in St. James's Park. When she had read her billet, she tossed it to Dr. Rose, and laughing, " You see, brother," said she, "as old as I am, I have got a gallant." Rose, who perused the note with more attention, declared it to be Mr. Howe's handwriting: this surprised all the company, and so much affected Mrs. Howe, that she fainted away: however, she soon recovered, when it was agreed that Dr. Rose and his wife, with the other gentlemen and ladies who were then at supper, should attend Mrs. Howe the next evening to the Birdcage Walk: they had not been there more than five or six minutes, when Mr. Howe came to them, and after saluting his friends, and embracing his wife, walked home with her, and they lived together in great harmony from that time to the day of his death. But the most curious part of my tale remains to be related.' When Howe left his wife, they lived in a house in Jermyn-street, near St. James's church; he went no farther than to a little street in Westminster, where he took a room, for which he paid five or six shillings a week, and changing his name, and disguising himself by wearing a black wig, (for he was a fair man,) he remained in this habitation during the whole time of his absence. He had had two children by his wife when he departed from her, who were both living

1 *' I was very well acquainted with Dr. Rose, and he frcquentl) entertained me with this remark•hie story."

l London is the only place In all Europe where a man can and a secure retreat, or remain, If he plraacs, many years unknown. If lie pays constantly for his lodftlnp, fur his provisions, and for whatsoever **lse he wants, nobo ly will ask a qucaliuii coiici rnhig him, or Inquire whence ho comes, !>r whlllict \jc goes

at that time: but they both died young in a few yeurs after. However, during their lives, the second or third year after their father disappeared, Mrs. Howe was obliged to apply for an act of parliament to procure a proper settlement of her husband's estate, and a provision for herself out of it during his absence, as it was uncertain whether he was alive or dead: this act he suffered to be solicited and passed, and enjoyed the pleasure of reading the progress of it in the votes, in a little coffee-house, near his lodging, which he frequented. Upon his quitting his house and family in the manner I have mentioned, Mrs. Howe at first imagined, as she could not conceive any other cause for such abrupt elopement, that he had contracted a large debt unknown to her, and by that means involved himself in difficulties which he could not easily surmount; and for some days she lived in continual apprehensions of demands from creditors, of seizures, executions, &c. But nothing of this kind happened; on the contrary he did not only leave his estate quite free and unencumbered, buc he paid the bills of every tradesman with whom he had any dealings; and upon examining his papers, in due lime after he was gone, proper receipts and discharges were found from all persons, whether tradesmen or others, with whom he had any manner of transactions or money concerns. Mrs. Howe, after the death of her children, thought proper to lessen her family of servants, and the expenses of her housekeeping; and, therefore, removed from her house in Jermyn-street to a little house in Brewer-street, near Golden Square. Just over against her lived one Salt,1 a cornchandler. About ten years after Howe's abdication, he contrived to make an acquaintance with Salt, and was at length in such a degree of intimacy with him, that he usually dined with Salt once or twice a week. From the room in which they eat, it was not difficult to look into Mrs. Howe's dining-room, where she generally sate and received her company; and Salt, who believed Howe to be a bachelor, frequently recommended his own wife to him as a suitable match. During the last seven years of this gentleman's absence, he went every Sunday to St. James's church, and used to sit in Mr. Salt's seat, where he had a view of his wife, but could not easily be seen by her. After he returned home, he never would confess, even to his most intimate friends, what was the real cause of such a singular conduct; apparently, there was none: but whatever it was, he was certainly ashamed to own it. Dr. Rose has often said to me, that he believed his brother Howe1

1 "1 knew Bait, who related to mc the particulars which I have here mentioned, and many other*, which have escaped my memory

S "And yet 1 have acen him after his return addressing hts wife In the lantruatte of a youns; orld*rroom. And I liavc been assured by some of his most Intimate friends, that lie treated her during tlie rest of their lives with the irreatcst kindness and arftrtlon." 2 M <I(i«

would never have returned to his wife, if the money which he took with him, which was supposed to have been £ 1000or £2000, had not been all spent: and he must have been a good economist, and frugal in his manner of living, otherwise his mcnev would scarce have held out; for I imagine he had his whole fortune by

bills, and daily took out of his bag, like the Spaniard in Gil Bias, what was sufficient for his expenses.

Tuib lover of rural life was lx>rn at the Leasowes, in Shropshire, in 1714, and was distinguished, even in childhood, for his love of reading and thirst fur knowledge. He was first tnnght to read by an old village dame, wlinni he 1ms immortalized in his poem after Spenser's manner, called "The SchoolMistress." Ho was sent to Pembroke College, Oxford, in 173Q, where he continued his studies for ten years. Here he published, at intervals, his principal poems, which consist of elegies, odes, ballads, the "Judgment of Hercules,"' and several other pieces. In 1745 he went to reside on his paternal estate, to which he devoted all his time, talents, and capital, so that the Leasowes became, under his care, a perfect fairy-land. "Now," says Dr. Johnson, "was excited his delight in real pleasures, and his ambition of rural elegance: he begun from this time to point his prospects, to diversify his surface, to entangle his walks, and to wind his waters; which ho did with such judgment and such fancy, as made his little domain die envy of the great, and the admiration of the skilful; a place to be visited by travellers, and copied by designers." But all this was attended with great expense. He spent his estate in adorning it. and his death, which took place in 17C3, was probably hastened by his anxieties.1

Besides his poems, he wrote "Essays on Meh and Manners," which display much ease and grace of style, united to judgment and discrimination. u They have not the mellow ripeness of thought and learning of Cowley"s essays, but they resemble diem more closely than any others in our language." "He is a pleasing writer," says Campbell, "both in his lighter and graver vein. His genius is not forcible, but it settles in mediocrity without meanness. But with all the beauties of the Leasowes in our minds, it may still lie regretted, diat, instead of devoting his whole soul to clumping beeches, and projecting mottoes for summer-houses, he had not gone more into living nature for subjects, and described her interesting realities with the same fond and natural touches which give so much delightfulness to his portrait of

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him, I mean what he carried




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