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When this coxcomb had done reading them, “ Hey-day!" says he, « what instrument is this that Flavia employs in such a manner as is not to be told, nor safely seen? In ten lines it is a toy, a Cupid's bow, a fan, and an engine in love. It has wanton motions, it wounds, it cools, and inflames."
Such criticisms make a man of sense sick, and a fool merry.
The next paragraph of the paper we are talking of, falls upon somebody whom I am at a loss to guess at: but I find the whole invective turns upon a man, who, it seems, has been imprisoned for debt. Whoever he was, I most beartily pity him; but at the same time must put the Examiner in mind, that notwithstanding he is a Critic, he still ought to remember he is a Christian. Poverty was never thought a proper subject for ridicule; and I do not remember that I ever met with a satire upon a beggar.
As for those little retortings of my own expressions, of “ being dull by design, witty in October, shining, excelling,” and so forth; they are the common cavils of every witling, who has no other method of showing his parts, but by little variations and repetitions of the man's words whom he attacks.
But the truth of it is, the paper before me, not only in this particular, but in its very essence, is like Ovid's Echo.
Quæ nec reticere loquenti,
ADDISON. I should not have deserved the character of a Censor, lad I not animadverted upon the above.
mentioned author, by a gentle chastisement: but I know my reader will not pardon me, unless I declare, that nothing of this kind for the future, unless it be written with some wit, shall divert me from iny care of the public.
N° 240. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1710.
Ad populum phaleras.
PERS. Sat. iii. 30.
From my own Apartment, October 20. . I do not remember that in any of my Lucubrations I have touched upon that useful science of physic, notwithstanding I have declared myself more than once a professor of it. I have indeed joined the study of astrology with it, because I never knew a physician recommended himself to the public, who had not a sister art to embellish his knowledge in medicine. It has been commonly observed, in compliment to the ingenious of our profession, that Apollo was god of verse as well as physic; and, in all ages, the, most celebrated practitioners of our country were the particular favourites of the Musis. Poetry to physic is indeed like the gilding to a pill; it makes the art shine, and covers the severity of the doctor with the agreeableness of the companio:2.
The very foundation of poetry is good sense, if we may allow Horace to be a judge of the art.
Scribendi rectè sapere est el principium et fons.
HOR. Ars Poet. 309.
Such judgment is the ground of writing well.
And if so, we have reason to believe, that the same man who writes well can prescribe well, if he has applied himself to the study of both. Besides, when we see a man making professions of two different sciences, it is natural for us to believe he is no pretender in that which we are not judges of, when we find him skilful in that which we understand.
Ordinary quacks and charlatans are thoroughly sensible how necessary it is to support themselves by these collateral assistances, and therefore always lay their claims to some supernumerary accomplishments, which are wholly foreign to their profession.
About twenty years ago it was impossible to walk the streets, without having an advertisement thrust into your hand, of a doctor « who had arrived at the knowledge of the Green and Red Dragon, and had discovered the female fern-seed.” Nobody ever knew what this meant; but the Green and Red Dragon so amused the people, that the doctor lived very comfortably upon them. About the same time there was pasted a very hard word upon every corner of the streets. This, to the best of my remenabrance, was
TETRACHYMAGOGON, which drew great sboals of spectators about it, who read the bill that it introduced with unspeakable
curiosity; and when they were sick, would have nos body but this learned man for their physician.
I once received an advertisement of one “ who had studied thirty years by candle-light for the good of his countrymen.” He might have studied twice as long by day-light, and never have been taken notice of. But Lucubrations cannot be overvalued. There are some who have gained themselves great repntation for physic by their birth, as the “ seventh son of a seventh son;" and others by not being born at all, as the unborn doctor, who, I hear, is lately gone the way of his patients; having died worth five hundred pounds per annum, though he was not born to a halfpenny.
My ingenious friend doctor Saffold succeeded my old contemporary doctor Lilly in the studies both of physic and astrology, to which he added that of poetry, as was to be seen both upon the sign where be lived, and in the pills which he distributed. He was succeeded by Doctor Case who erased the verses of his predecessor out of the sign-post, and substituted in their place two of his own, which were 'as follow :
Within this place
Lives Doctor Case. • He is said to have got more by this distich, than Mr. Dryden did by all bis works. There would be no end of enumerating the several imaginary perfections, and unaccountable artifices, by which this tribe of men insnare the minds of the vulgar, and gain crowds of adınirers. I have seen the whole front of a mountebank's stage, from one end to the other, faced with patents, certificates, medals, and great seals, by which the several princes of Europe have testified their particular respect and esteem for the Doctor. Every great man with a sounding title has been his patient. I believe I have seen twenty mountebanks that have given physic to the Czar of Muscovy. The Great duke of Tuscany escapes no better. The Elector of Brandenburgh was likewise a very good patient.
This great condescension of the doctor draws upon him much good-will from his audience; and it is ten to one, but if any of them be troubled with an aching tooth, liis ambition will prompt him to get it drawn by a person, who has had so many princes, kings, and emperors, under his hands.
I must not leave this subject without observing, that as physicians are apt to deal in poetry, apothecaries endeavour to recommend themselves by oratory, and are therefore, without controversy, the most eloquent persons in the whole British nation, I would not willingly discourage any of the arts, especially that of which I am an humble professor: but I must confess, for the good of my native country, I could wish there might be a suspension of physic for some years, that our kingdom, which has been so much exhausted by the wars, might have leave to recruit itself.
As for myself, the only physic which has brought me safe to almost the age of man, and which I prescribe to all my friends, is Abstinence. This is certainly the best plıysic for prevention, and very often the most effectual against a present distemper. In short, my Recipe is, “ Take nothing."
Were the body politic to be physicked like par. ticular persons, I should venture to prescribe to it after the same manner. I remember when our whole island was shaken with an earthquake some years ago, there was an impudent mountebank wlio sold pills, which, as he told the country people, were very good against an earthquake.” It may, pethaps, be thought as absurd to prescribe a diet for