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tation used to the eastern monarchs, viz. “O Spec, live for ever," have lately been under the same apprehensions with Mr. Philo-Spec; that the haste you have made to dispatch your best friends portends no long duration to your own short visage. We could not, indeed, find any just grounds for complaint in the method you took to dissolve that venerable body; no, the world was not worthy of your divine. Will Honeycomb could not, with any reputation, live single any longer. It was high time for the Templar to turn himself to Coke; and Sir Roger's dying was the wisest thing he ever did in his life. It was, however, matter of great grief to us, to think that we were in danger of losing so elegant and valuable an entertainment. And we could not, without sorrow, reflect that we were likely to have nothing to interrupt our sips in the morning, and to suspend our coffee in mid-air, between our lips and right ear, but the ordinary trash of newspapers. We resolved, therefore, not to part with
But since, to make use of your own allusion, the cherries began now to crowd the market, and their season was almost over, we consulted our future enjoyments, and endeavoured to make the exquisite pleasure that delicious fruit gave our taste as lasting as we could, and by drying them protract their stay beyond its natural date. We own that thus they have not a flavour equal to that of their juicy bloom; but yet, under this disadvantage, they pique the palate, and become a salver better than any other fruit at its first appearance. To speak plain, there are a number of us who have began your works afresh, and meet two nights in the week in order to give you a re-hearing. We never come together without drinking your health, and as seldom part without general expressions of thanks to you for our night's improvement. This we conceive to be a more useful institution than any other club whatever, not excepting even that of Ugly Faces. We have one manifest advantage over that renowned society, with respect to Mr. Spectator's company. For though they may brag that you sometimes make your personal appearance amongst them, it is impossible they should ever get a word from you, whereas you are with us the reverse of what Phædria would have his mistress be in his rival's company, “ present in
absence.” We make you talk as much and as long as we please; and, let me tell you, you seldom hold your tongue for the whole evening. I promise myself you will look with an eye of favour upon a meeting which owes its original to a mutual emulation among its members, who shall shew the most profound respect for your paper; not but we have a very great value for your person : and I dare say you can no where find four more sincere admirers, and humble servants, than
T. F. G. S. J. T. E. F.'
N° 554. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1712.
-Tentanda via est, quâ me quoque possim
VIRG. Georg. iii. 9.
To raise aloft, and wing my fight to fame.-DRYDEN. I Am obliged for the following essay, as well as for that which lays down rules out of Tully for pronunciation and action, to the ingenious author of a book just published, intitled An Ode to the Creator of the World, occasioned by the Fragments of Orpheus.
• It is a remark, made as I remember by a celebrated French author, that no man ever pushed his capacity as far as it was able to extend. I shall not inquire whether this assertion be strictly true. It may
suffice to say, that men of the greatest application and acquirements can look back upon many vacant spaces, and neglected parts of time, which have slipped away from them unemployed; and there is hardly any one considering person in the world but is apt to fancy with himself, at some time or other, that if his life were to begin again he could fill it up
better. • The mind is most provoked to cast on itself this ingenuous reproach, when the examples of such men are presented to it as have far outshot the generality of their species in learning, arts, or any valuable improvements.
One of the most extensive and improved geniuses we have had any instance of in our own nation, or in any other, was that of Sir Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam. This great man, by an extraordinary force of nature, compass of thought, and indefatigable study, had amassed to himself such stores of knowledge as we cannot look
without amazement. His capacity seemed to have grasped all that was revealed in books before his time; and, not satisfied with that, he began to strike out new tracks of science, too many to be travelled over by any one man in the compass of the longest life. These therefore he could only mark down, like imperfect coastings in maps, on supposed points of land, to be farther discovered and ascertained by the industry of after-ages, who should proceed upon his notices or conjectures:
* The excellent Mr. Boyle was the person who seems to have been designed by nature to succeed to the labours and inquiries of that extraordinary The improve
genius I have just mentioned. By innumerable experiments, he in a great measure filled up those plans and outlines of science, which his predecessor had sketched out. His life was spent in the
pursuit of nature through a great variety of forms and changes, and in the most rational as well as devout adoration of its divine Author.
• It would be impossible to name many persons who have extended their capacities so far as these two, in the studies they pursued; but my learned readers on this occasion will naturally turn their thoughts to a third*, who is yet living; and is likewise the glory of our own nation. ments which others had made in natural and mathematical knowledge have so vastly increased in his hands, as to afford at once a wonderful instance how great the capacity is of a human soul, and how inexhaustible the subject of its inquiries ; so true is that remark in holy writ, that “ though a wise man seek to find out the works of God from the beginning to the end, yet he shall not be able to do it.'
' I cannot help mentioning here one character more of a different kind indeed from these, yet such a one as may serve to shew the wonderful force of nature and of application, and is the most singular instance of a universal genius I have ever met with. The person I mean is Leonardo de Vinci, an Italian painter, descended from a noble family in Tuscany, about the beginning of the sixteenth century. In his profession of history-painting he was so great a master, that some have affirmed he excelled all who went before him. It is certain that he raised the envy of Michael Angelo, who was his contemporary, and that from the study of his works Raphael himself learned his best manner of designing. He was a master too in sculpture and architecture, and skil-. ful in anatomy, mathematics, and mechanics. The aqueduct from the river Adda to Milan is mentioned as a work of his contrivance. He had learned several languages, and was acquainted with the studies of history, philosophy, poetry, and music. Though it is not necessary to my present purpose, I cannot but take notice, that all who have writ of him mention likewise his perfection of body. The instances of his strength are almost incredible. He is described to have been of a well-formed person, and a master of all genteel exercises. And, lastly, we are told that his moral qualities were agreeable to his natural and intellectual endowments, and that he was of an honest and generous mind, adorned with great sweetness of manners. I might break off the account of him here, but I imagine it will be an entertainment to the curiosity of my readers, to find so remarkable a character distinguished by as remárkable a circumstance at his death. The fame of his works having gained him a universal esteem, he was invited to the court of France, where, after some time, he fell sick; and Francis the First coming to see him, he raised himself in his bed to acknowledge the honour which was done him by that visit. The king embraced him, and Leonardo,
* Sir Isaac Newton. + He was born in 1445, and died in 1520.
fainting in the same instant, expired in the arms of that great monarch.
• It is impossible to attend to such instances as these without being raised into a contemplation on the wonderful nature of a human mind, which is capable of such progressions in knowledge, and can contain such a variety of ideas without perplexity or confusion. How reasonable is it from hence to infer its divine original ! And whilst we find unthinking matter endued with a natural power to last for ever, unless annihilated by Omnipotence, how absurd