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as in a huddled way not to pass for her, I delivered the bundle designed to be carried off to her lover's man, who came with the signal to receive them. Thus I followed after to the coach, where, when I saw his master take them in, I cried out thieves ! thieves ! and the constable with his attendants seized my expecting lover. I kept myself unobserved until I saw the crowd sufficently increased, and then appeared to declare the goods to be mine; and had the satisfaction to see my man of mode put into the Round-House, with the stolen wares by him, to be produced in evidence against him the next morning. This matter is notoriously known to be fact; and I have been contented to save my 'prentice, and take a year's rent of this mortified lover, not to appear farther in the matter. This was some penance; but, Sir, is this enough for a villany of much more pernicious consequence than the trifles for which he was to have been indited ? Should not you, and all men of any parts or honour, put things upon so right a foot, as that such a rascal should not laugh at the imputation of what he was really guilty, and dread being accused of that for which he was arrested ?

• In a word, Sir, it is in the power of you, and such as I hope you are, to make it as infamous to rob a poor creature of her honour as her clothes. I leave this to your consideration, only take leave (which I cannot do without sighing) to remark to you, that if this had been the sense of mankind thirty years ago, I should have avoided a life spent in poverty and shame.

I ani,

Your most humble servant,


Round - House, Sept. 9. MR. SPECTATOR, • I am a man of pleasure about town, but by the stupidity of a dull rogue of a Justice of Peace, and an insolent constable, upon the oath of an old harridan, am imprisoned here for theft, when I designed only fornication. The midnight magistrate, as he conveyed me along, had you in his mouth, and said, this would make a pure story for the Spectator. I hope, Sir, you won't pretend to wit, and take the part of dull rogues of business. The world is so altered of late years, that there was not a man who would knock down a watchman in my behalf, but I was carried off with as much triumph as if I had been a pick-pocket. At this rate, there is an end of all the wit and humour in the world. The time was when all the honest whore-masters in the neighbourhood would have rose against the cuckolds in my rescue. If fornication is to be scandalous, half the fine things that have been writ by most of the wits of the last age may be burnt by the common hangman. Harkee, Mr. Spec. do not be queer; after having done some things pretty well, don't begin to write at that rate that no gentleman can read thee. Be true to love, and burn your Seneca. You do not expect me to write my name from hence, but


I am

Your unknown humble, &c.'



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FABLES were the first pieces of wit that made their appearance in the world; and have been still highly valued not only in times of the greatest simplicity, but among the most polite ages of mankind. JOTHAM'S fable of the trees * is the oldest that is extant, and as beautiful as any which have been made since that time. NATHAN's fable of the poor man and his lamb f is likewise more ancient than any that is extant, besides the above-mentioned, and had so good an effect, as to convey instruction to the ear of a King without offending it, and to bring the man after God's own heart to a right sense of his guilt and his duty. We find #sop in the most distant ages

of Greece; and if we look into the very beginnings of the commonwealth of Rome, I we see a mutiny among the common people appeased by a fable of the belly and the limbs, which was indeed very proper to gain the attention of an incensed rabble, at a time when perhaps they would have torn to pieces any man who had preached the same doctrine to them in an open and direct manner. As fables took their birth in the very infancy of learning, they never flourished more


Judges ix. 8, 15.
Liv. Hist. lib. ii. sect. 32, &c.

+ 2 Sam. xii. 1.4.

Florus, lib. i. C. 23.

than when learning was at its greatest height. To justify this assertion, I shall put my reader in mind of Horace, the greatest wit and critic in the Augustan age; and of BOILEAU, the most correct poet among the moderns; not to mention La Fontaine, who by this way of writing is come more into vogue


any other author of our times.

The fables I have here mentioned are raised altogether upon brutes and vegetables, with some of our own species mixt among them, when the moral hath so required. But besides this kind of fable, there is another in which the actors are passions, virtues, vices, and other imaginary persons of the like nature. Some of the ancient critics will have it, that the Iliad and Odyssey of HOMER are fables of this nature; and that the several names of gods and heroes are nothing else but the affections of the mind in a visible shape and character. Thus they tell us that Achilles, in the first Iliad, represents Anger, or the irascible part of human nature; that upon drawing his sword against his superior in a full assembly, Pallas is only another name for Reason, which checks and advises him upon that occasion ; • and at her first appearance touches him upon the head, that part of the man being looked upon as the seat of reason. And thus of the rest of the poem. As for the Odyssey, I think it is plain that Horace considered it as one of these allegorical fables, by the moral which he has given us of several parts of it. The greatest Italian wits have applied themselves to the writing of this latter kind of fables. SPENCER’s Fairy-Queen is one continued series of them, from the beginning to the end of that admirable work. If we look into the finest prose authors of antiquity, such as Cicero, Plato, XENOPHON, and many others, we shall find that this was likewise their favourite kind of fable. I shall only farther observe upon it, that the first of this sort that made any considerable figure in the world, was that of HerCULES meeting with PLEASURE and VIRTUE ; which was


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invented by Prodicus, who lived before Socrates, and in the first dawnings of philosophy. He used to travel through Greece by virtue of this fable, which procured him a kind reception in all the market-towns, where he never failed telling it as soon as he had gathered an audience about him. After this short preface, which I have made up

of such materials as my memory does at present suggest to me, before I present my reader with a fable of this kind, which I design as the entertainment of the present paper, I must in a few words open the occasion of it.

In the account which Plato gives us of the conversation and behaviour of Socrates, the morning he was to die, he tells the following circumstance:

When Socrates's fetters were knocked off (as was usual to be done on the day that the condemned person was to be executed) being seated in the midst of his disciples, and laying one of his legs over the other, in a very unconcerned posture, he began to rub it where it had been galled by the iron; and whether it was to shew the indifference with which he entertained the thoughts of his approaching death, or (after his usual manner) to take every occasion of philosophising upon some useful subject, he observed the pleasure of that sensation which now arose in those very parts of his leg, that just before had been so much pained by the fetter. Upon this he reflected on the nature of pleasure and pain in general, and how constantly they succeed one another. To this he added, that if a man of a good genius for a fable, were to represent the nature of pleasure and pain in that way of writing, he would probably join them together after such a manner, that it would be impossible for the one to come into any place without being followed by the other,

It is possible that if PLATO had thought it proper at such a time to describe SOCRATES launching out into a discourse which was not of a piece with the business of the day, he would have enlarged upon this hint, and have drawn it out into some beautiful allegory or fable. But

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