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doing nothing at all. This I mention for your edification and example, that all alive as you are, you may not sometimes disdain—desipere in loco. Though you are no Papist, and have not so much regard to the dead as to address yourself to them, (which I plainly perceive by your silence,) yet I hope you are not one of those heterodox, who hold them to be totally insensible of the good offices and kind wishes of their living friends, and to be in a dull state of sleep without one dream of those they left behind them. If you are, let this letter convince you to the contrary, which assures you, I am still, though in a state of separation, Your, etc.
P. S. This letter of deaths, puts me in mind of poor Mr. Betterton's1: over whom I would have this sentence of Tully for an epitaph, which will serve him as well in his Moral, as his Theatrical capacity. Vitee bene actse jucuudissima est recordatio.
1 This excellent man, and excellent actor, hastened his death by repelling a fit of the gout, which he did to enable himself to act, for his own benefit, the part of Melantius, in the Maid's Tragedy. This was on the 25th of April 1710; and though he performed this his favourite part with great spirit, yet the distemper seized his head, and he died on the 28th of May following. The best paper that Steele wrote in the Tatler, No. 167, contains an account of his death, and the splendid ceremony of his interment in Westminster Abbey. Voltaire speaks in high terms of the good sense of the English in paying such honours to deceased actors; and seriously animadverts on his countrymen, for their bigoted and illiberal practice of even denying them Christian burial. Mr. Garrick merited, and obtained, the same funeral honours, and was followed to Westminster Abbey by a great concourse of those friends and spectators, whom he had so often moved and delighted. An old frequenter of the theatre informed me, that the last time Betterton appeared on the stage, the curiosity of the public was so much excited, that many spectators got into the playhouse by nine o'clock in the morning, and carried with them provisions for the day.
June 24, 1710.
'Tis very natural for a young friend, and a young lover, to think the persons they love have nothing to do but to please them; when perhaps they, for their parts, had twenty other engagements before. This was my case when I wondered I did not hear from you; but I no sooner received your short letter, but I forgot your long silence: and so many fine things as you said of me could not but have wrought a cure on my own sickness, if it had not been of the nature of that which is deaf to the voice of the charmer. 'Twas impossible you could have better timed your compliment on my philosophy; it was certainly properest to commend me for it just when I most needed it, and when I could be least proud of it; that is, when I was in pain. Tis not easy to express what an exaltation it gave to my spirits, above all the cordials of my doctor; and 'tis no compliment to tell you, that your compliments were sweeter than the sweetest of his juleps and syrups. But if you will not believe so much,
Pour le moins, votre compliment
Nevertheless I would not have you entirely lay aside the thoughts of my epitaph, any more than I do those of the probability of my becoming (ere long) the subject of one. For death has of late been very familiar with some of my size: I am told my Lord Lumley and Mr. Litton are gone before me; and though I may now, without vanity, esteem myself the least thing like a man in England, yet I can't but be sorry, two heroes of such a make should die inglorious in their beds; when it had been a fate more worthy our size, had they met with theirs from an irruption of cranes, or other warlike animals, those ancient enemies to our pygmaean ancestors! You of a superior species little regard what befals us homunciones sesquipedales; however, you have no reason to be so unconcerned, since all physicians agree there is no greater sign of a plague among men, than a mortality among frogs. I was the other day in company with a lady, who rallied my person so much, as to cause a total subversion of my countenance: some days after, to be revenged on her, I presented her, among other company, the following Rondeau on that occasion, which I desire you to show Sappho.
You know where you did despise
You know where.
You, 'tis true, have fine black eyes,
You know where.
This sort of writing called the Rondeau is what I never knew practised in our nation, and, I verily believe, it was not in use with the Greeks or Romans, neither Macrobius nor Hyginus taking the least notice of it. Tis to be observed, that the vulgar spelling and pronouncing it round O, is a manifest corruption, and by no means to be allowed of by critics. Some may mistakenly imagine that it was a sort of Rondeau which the Gallic soldiers4 sung in Caesar's triumph over Gaul — Gallias Ccesar subegit, etc. as it is recorded by Suetonius in Julio, and so derive its original from the ancient Gauls to the modern French: but this is erroneous; the words there not being ranged according to the laws of the Rondeau, as laid
'From this Song of the Gallic Soldiers, I will take occasion to observe, that we have several sorts of measures commonly used in our English versification, which exactly correspond to many that are used by the Greeks and Romans; of which the following are a specimen:
What we call an Alexandrine verse in English, is perfectly like a pure Iambic verse in Greek or Latin;
Deep In | the1 gloo | my Cave | the" pen | sivS sage | reclln'd
Tttirva | /utvij | fitv o>e \ mrli | K«<t«( | iraptl \ —
Sab! | na qua ] Us aut | perils | ta so | libus | —
Our verse of four feet consists of four Iambics, like the following diameter Iambic verse in Horace:
Remote | from ci | ties liv'd | a swain | —
In which measure also many hymns for the Church were written, by those elegant Latin Poets that adorned Italy at the time of the revival of literature; as the following of Ant. Flaminus;
Jam noctis umbras Lucifer,
One of the most harmonious measures in our language, bears a most minute resemblance to the Greek Trochaic measure; as will appear by reading the following passages of Gray and Euripides together; and compared also with the words;
Gallias Caesar subegit
Where each | old po | etlc | mountain |
TTT •* 51W I * ~ j w I — W 1
IJot e>£ I a tK0u I yot iv \ av —
The only difference is that the insertion of rhyme in the English measure breaks the one line into two; but the metre remains, notwithstanding, intrinsically the same.
We have also Anacreontic measures — consisting of three pure Iambics, and one semiped —
O soft I ly gll | ding nuin | bers
Arptl | Sac
GcXw | Se K.a§ | fiov if \ Sttv —
WheYe thS | Bee sucks | there suck | I,
precisely corresponds with the metre of the following lines in Horace,
Tu sc | canda | mar tub | ra | —
Summo | vere | litto | ra —
Paupe | rem la | bori | bus —
We have also Anapaestic verses in our metre —
And the King | seiz'd a flam | beau with zeal | to destroy |
A line that contains four Anapsests, making twelve syllables and four feet. We are always to remember that our feet are regulated by accent, not by quantity.