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having agreed for the same, at a very moderate rate per hour (I paying all charges of inflating, and standing to repairs), at nine in the morning, on Friday, the 28th of said month, I repaired to Christ-church meadow, with my ballast, provisions, cat, speaking trumpet, and other necessaries.-It was my first design to have invited Dr. Joseph to have ascended with me; but apprehending the malicious construction that might follow on this, as if, forsooth, my intended ode was to be a joint production, I e’en made up my mind to mount alone.--My provisions principally consisted of a small pot of stewed prunes, and half of a plain diet-bread cake, both prepared, and kindly presented to me, by the same ingenious hand which had fabricated the Balloon. I had also a small subsidiary stock, viz. a loaf of Sandwiches, three bottles of old ale, a pint of brandy, a sallad ready mixed, a roll of collared eel, a cold goose, six damson tartlets, a few china oranges, and a roasted pig of the Chinese breed; together with a small light barometer, and a proper store of writing utensils; but no note, memorandum, nor loose hint of any kind, so help me God !--My ascen
sion was majestic, to an uncommon degree of tardiness. I was soon constrained, therefore, to lighten my Balloon, by throwing out some part of my ballast, which consisted of my own History of Poetry, my late edition of Milton's Minora, my Miscellaneous Verses, Odes, Sonnets, Elegies, Inscriptions, Monodies, and Complaints ; my Observations on Spencer, the King's last Speech, and Lord Montmorres's pamphlet on the Irish Resolutions. On throwing out his Lordship’s Essay, the Balloon sprang up surprisingly; but the weight of my provisions still retarding the elevation, I was fain to part with both volumes of my Spencer, and all of my last edition of Poems, except those that are marked with an asterisk, as never before printed: which very quickly accelerated my ascension. I now found the barometer had fallen four inches and six lines, in eight minutes.In less than eleven minutes after I had ascended very considerably indeed, the barometer having then fallen near seventeen inches; and presently after I entered a thick black cloud, which I have since found rendered me wholly obscured to all observation. In this situation, I lost no time to begin my
Ode; and, accordingly, in the course of twenty-five minutes, I produced the very lines which now commence it. The judicious critic will notice, that absence of the plain and trite style which mark the passage I refer to; nor am I so uncandid to deny the powerful efficacy of mist, darkness, and obscurity, on the sublime and mysterious topics I there touch on-It cannot fail also to strike the intelligent observer, that the expression so much commented on, of " No echoing car," was obviously suggested by that very car in which I myself was then seatedFinding, however, that, together with the increased density of the overshadowing cloud, the coldness also was proportionably increased, so as at one time to freeze my ink completely over for near twenty minutes, I thought it prudent, by means of opening the valve at the vortex of my Balloon, to emit part of the ascending power. This occasioned a proportioned descent very speedily: but I must not overlook a phænomenon which had previously occurred.--It was this : on a sudden the' nibs of all my pens (and I took up forty-eight, in compliment to the number of my Sovereign's years) as if
attracted by the polar power, pointed up. wards, each pen erecting itself perpendicular, and resting on the point of its feather: I found also, to my no small surprize, that during the whole of this period, every one of my letters was actually cut topsy-turvywise ; which I the rather mention, to ac, count for any appearance of a correspondent inversion in the course of my ideas at that period.
On getting nearer the earth, the appear, ances I have described altogether ceased, and I instantly penned the second division of my Ode; I mean that which states his most excellent Majesty to be the patron of the fine arts. But here (for which I am totally at a loss to account) I found myself descending so very rapidly, that even after I had thrown out not only two volumes of my History of Poetry, but also a considerable portion of my pig, I struck, nevertheless, with such violence on the weather-cock of a church, that unless I had immediately parted with the remainder of my ballast, excepting only his Majesty's Speech, one pen, the paper of my Ode, and a small ink-bottle, I must infallibly have been a-ground. Fortunately, by so rapid a discharge, I procured
a quick re-ascension ; when immediately, though much pinched with the cold, the mercury having suddenly fallen twenty-two inches, I set about my concluding stanza, viz. that which treats of his Majesty's most excellent chastity. And here I lay my claim to the indulgence of the critics to that part of my ode; for what with the shock I had received in striking on the weather-cock, and the effect of the prunes which I had now nearly exhausted, on a sudden I found myself very much disordered indeed. Candour required my just touching on this circumstance; but delicacy must veil the particulars in eternal oblivion. At length, having completed the great object of my ascent, I now re-opened the valve, and descended with great rapidity. They only who have travelled in Balloons, can imagine the sincere joy of my heart, at perceiving Dr. Joseph cantering up a turnip-field, near Kidlington Common, where I landed exactly at a quarter after two o'clock; having, from my first elevation, completed the period of five hours and fifteen minutes ; four of which, with the fraction of ten seconds, were entirely devoted to my Ode.—Dr. Joseph quite hugged me in his arms, and kindly lent me