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a true modern play, neither tragedy, comedy, nor farce, nor one, nor all of these : every actor is much better known by his having the same. face, than by keeping the same character: for we change our minds as often as they can their parts, and he who was yesterday Cæsar, is to day Sir John Daw. So that one might ask the fame question of a modern life, that Rich did of a modern play; “ Pray do me the favour, Sir, to in“ form me; Is this your Tragedy or your Comedy ? "
I have dwelt the longer upon this, because I persuade my self it might be useful, at a time when we have no theatre, to divert our selves at this great one. · Here is a glorious standing comedy of Fools, at which every man is heartily merry, and thinks himself an unconcern'd spectator. This (to our singular comfort) neither my Lord Chamberlain, nor the Queen her self can ever shurup, or silence. * While that of Drury (alas!) lies desolate, in the profoundest peace : and the melancholy prospect of the nymphs yet lingring about its beloved avenues, appears no less moving than that of the Trojan dames lamenting over their ruin'd Ilium! What now can they hope, dispofless'd of their ancient seats, but to serve as captives to the insulting victors of the Hay-market? The afflicted subjects of France do not, in our Poft-man, so grievously deplore the obftinacy of their arbitary monarch, as these pe. rishing people of Drury the obdurate heart of that Pharaoh, Rich, who like him, disdains all proposals of peace and accommodation. Several libels have been secretly affixed to the great gates of his imperial palace in Bridges. ftreet; and a memorial representing the distresses of these persons, has been accidentally dropt (as we are credibly informed by a person of quality) out of his first minister the chief box-keeper's
* Wkat follows to the end of tbis Letter, is omitted in the Author's own Edit.
pocket, at a late conference of the said person of quality and others, on the part of the Confederates, and his Theatrical Majesty on his own part. Of this you may expect a copy, as soon as it shall be transmitted to us from a good hand. As for the late Congress, it is here reported, that it has not been wholly ineffectual; but this wants confirmation; yet we cannot but hope the concurring prayers and tears of so many wretched ladies may induce this haughty prince to reason.
I am, &c.
O&tob. 19, 1709. T May truly say I am more oblig'd to you this sumI mer than to any of my acquaintance, for had it not been for the two kind letters you sent me, I had been perfectly, oblitusque meorum, obliviscendas & illis. The only companions I had were those muses of whom Tully says, Adolescentiam alunt, senectutem oblectant, fecundas res ornant, adverfis perfugium ac folatium præbent, deleEtant domi, non impediunt foris, pernoctant nobiscum, peregrinantur, ruficantur : which indeed is as much as ever I expected from them : For the Muses, if you take them as companions, are very pleasant and agreeable; but whoever should be forc'd to live or depend upon 'em, would find himself in a very bad condition. That Quiet, which Cowley calls the Companion of Obscurity, was not wanting to me, unless it was interrupted by those fears you so justly guess I had for our friend's welfare. 'Tis extreamly kind in you to tell me the news you heard of him, and you have deliver'd me from more anxiety than he ima
gines me capable of on his account, as I am convinc'd by his long filence. However the love of some things rewards it self, as of vertue, and of Mr. Wycherley. I am surprized at the danger you tell me he has been in, and must agree with you, that our nation would have lost in him, as much wit and probity, as would have remain'd (for aught I know) in the rest of it. My concern for his friendhip will excuse me, (since I know you houqur him so much, and since you know I love him above all men) if I vent a part of my uneasiness to you, and tell you, that there has not been wanting one, to infinuate malicious untruths of me to Mr. Wycherley, which I fear may have had fome effect upon him. If so, he will have a greater punilhment for his credulity than I cou'd wish him, in that fellow's acquaintance. The loss of a faithful creature is something, tho' of ever so contemptible an one; and if I were to change my dog for such a man as the aforesaid, I should think my dog undervalued : (who follows me about as constantly here in the country, as I was us’d to do Mr. Wycherley in the town.)
Now I talk of my Dog, that I may not treat of a 'worse subject, which my spleen tempts me to, I will give you some account of him ; a thing not wholly unprecedented, since Montaigne (to whom I am but a dog in comparison) has done the same thirg of his Cat. Dic mihi quid melius defidiofus agam? You are to know then, that as 'tis likeness begets affection, so my favourite dog is a little one, a lean one, and none of the finest shap'd. He is not much a spaniel in his fawning, but has (what might be worth any man's while to imitate him in) a dumb surly sort of kindness, that rather shows itself when he thinks i me ill-us’d by others, than when we walk
quietly quietly and peaceably by our felves. If it be the chief point of friendship to comply with a friend's motions and inclinations, he poffeffes this in an eminent degree; he lies down when I fit, and walks when I walk, which is more than many good friends can pretend to, witness our walk a year ago in St. James's Park. Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends, but I will not infift upon many of 'em, because it is possible fome may be almoft as fabulous as those of Pylades and Orestes, &c. I will only fay for the honour of dogs, that the two moft antient and esteemable books facred and prophane extant (viz. the Scripture and Homer) have fewn a particular regard to these animals. That of Toby is the more remarkable, because there seem'd no manner of reason to take notice of the dog, besides the great humanity of the author. Homer's account of Ulysses's dog Argus is the most pathetick imaginable, all the circumstances confider'd, and an excellent proof of the old bard's good-nature. Ulysses had left him at Ithaca when he embark'd for Troy, and found him at his return after twenty years, (which by the way is not unnatural, as some critics have said, since I remember the dam of my dog was twenty-two years old when she dy'd : May the omen of longævity prove fortunate to her fucceffor!) You shall have it in verle.
.. . A R Ġ U S.
To all bis friends, and eo'n his Queen unknown,
Furrow'd his rev'rend face, and white bis hairs,
Forgot of all his own domestick crew ;
Plutarch relating how the Athenians were oblig'd to abandon Athens in the time of Themistocles, steps back again out of the way of his history, purely to describe the lamentable cries and howlings of the poor dogs they left behind.' He makes niention of one, that follow'd his master across the sea to Salamis, where he dy'd, and was honour'd with a tomb by the Athenians, who gave the name of the Dog's Grave to that part of the island where he was buried. This respect to a dog in the most polite people of the world, is very observable. A modern initance of gratitude to a dog (tho’ we have but few such) is, that the chief order of Denmark (now injuriously callid the order of the Elephant) was instituted in memory of the fidelity of a dog nam'd Wild-brat, to one of their Kings who had been deserted by his fubjects: he gave his Order this motto, or to this effect (which still remains) Wild-brat was faithful. Sir William Trumbull has told me a story which he heard from one that was present: King Charles I. being with some of his court during his troubles, à discourse arose what fort of dogs deserv'd pre-eminence, and it being on all hands agreed to belong either to the spaniel or grey