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per of inquiry makes them as impertinently communicative: but no man, though he converses with them, need put himself in their power, for they will be contented with matters of less moment as well. When there is fuel enough, no matter what it is. - Thus the ends of sentences in the newspapers, as, this wants confirmation,' • this occasions many speculations,' and time will discover the event,' are read by them: and considered not as mere expletives.
One may see now and then this humour accompanied with an insatiable desire of knowing what passes, without turning it to any use in the world but merely their own entertainment. A mind which is gratified this way is adapted to humour and pleasantry, and formed for an unconcerned character in the world; and, like myself, to be a mere spectator. This curiosity, without malice or self-interest, lays up in the imagination a magazine of circumstances which can not but entertain when they are produced in conversation. If one were to know, from the man of the first quality to the meanest servant, the different intrigues, sentiments, pleasures, and interests of mankind, would it not be the most pleasing entertainment imaginable to enjoy so constant a farce, as the observing mankind much more different from themselves in their secret thoughts and public actions, than in their night-caps and long periwigs?
• Plutarch tells us, that Caius Gracchus the Roman, was frequently hurried by his passion into 80 loud and tumultuous a way of speaking, and
so strained his voice, as not to be able to proceed. To remedy this excess, he had an ingenious servant, by name Licinius, always attending him with a pitch-pipe or instrument to regulate the voice; who, whenever he heard his master begin to be high, immediately touched a soft note, at which it is said, Caius would presently abate and
Upon recollecting this story, I have frequently wondered that this useful instrument should have been so long discontinued, especially since we find that this good office of Licinius has preserved his memory for many hundred years: which, methinks, should have encouraged some one to have revived it, if not for the public good, yet for his own credit. It
may be objected that our loud talkers are so fond of their own noise, that they would not take it well to be checked by their servants: but granting this to be true, surely any of their hearers have a very good title to play a soft note in their own defence. To be short, no Licinius appearing, and the noise increasing, I was resolved to give this late long vacation to the good of my country; and I have at length, by the assistance of an ingenious artist, who works for the Royal Society, almost completed my design, and shall be ready, in a short time, to furnish the public with what number of these instruments they please, either to lodge at coffee-houses, or carry for their own private use. In the mean time, I shall pay
that respect to several gentlemen, who I know will be in danger of offending against this instrument, to give them notice of it by private letters, in which I shall only write, Get a Licinius
•I should now trouble you no longer, but that I must not conclude without desiring you to accept one of these pipes; which shall be left for you with Buckley; and which I hope will be serviceable to you, since, as you are silent yourself, you are most open to the insults of the noisy.
• I am, sir, &c.
• I had almost forgot to inform you, that, as an improvement in this instrument, there will be a particular note, which I call a hush note: and this is to be made use of against a long story, swearing, obsceneness, and the like.
No. 229. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22
-Spirat adhuc amor,
Æoliæ fidibus puellæ.
Sappho's charming lyre
Preserves her soft desire,
AMONG the many famous pieces of antiquity which are still to be seen at Rome, there is the trunk of a statue which has lost the arms, legs and head; but discovers such an excellent workmanship in what remains of it, that Michael Angelo declared he had learned his whole art from it. Indeed, he studied it so attentively, that he inade most of his statues, and even his pictures,
in that gusto, to make use of the Italian phrase; for which reason this maimed statue is still called Michael Angelo's school.
A fragment of Sappho, which I design for the subject of this paper, is in as great reputation among the poets and critics, as the mutilated figure abovementioned is among the statuaries and painters. Several of our countrymen, and Mr. Dryden in particular, seem very often to have copied after it, in their dramatic writings, and in their poems upon love.
Whatever might have been the occasion of this ode, the English reader will enter into the beauties of it, if he supposes it to have been written in the person of a lover sitting by his mistress. 1 shall set to view three different copies of this beautiful original; the first is a translation by Catullus, the second by Monsieur Boileau, and the last by a gentleman whose translation of the hymn to Venus has been so deservedly admired. (See No. 223.)
Ile mî par esse Deo videtur,
Spectat, et audit.
Quod loquar amens.
My learned reader will know very well the reason why one of these verses is printed in italic letters:* and if he compares this translation with the original, will find that the three first stanzas are rendered almost word for word, and not only with the same elegance, but with the same short turn of expression which is so remarkable in the Greek, and so peculiar to the Sapphic ode. I can not imagine for what reason Madam Dacier has told us, that this ode of Sappho is preserved entire in Longinus; since it is manifest to any one who looks into that author's quotation of it, that there must at least have been another stanza, which is not transmitted to us.
The second translation of this fragment which I shall here cite is that of Monsieur Boileau.
'Heureux! qui près de toi, pour toi seule soûpire:
Je sens de veine en veine une subtile flamme
"Un nuage confus se répand sur ma vuë,
* It is wanting in the old copies, and has been supplied by conjecture as above. But in a curious edition of Catul. lus, published at Venice in 1738, said to be printed from an ancient MS. newly discovered, this line is given thus
- Voce loquendum.'