If I give thee honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew!
But having, it should seem, established his pretensions; he now thinks it sufficient to give notice that he means to live with her, because he likes her.
Upon the whole, Mr. MILTON seems to be possessed of some fancy and talent for rhyming; two most dangerous endowments which often unfit men for acting a useful part in life without qualifying them for that which is great and brilliant. If it be true, as we have heard, that he has declined advantageous prospects in business, for the sake of indulging his poetical humour; we hope it is not yet too late to prevail upon him to retract his resolution. With the help of COCKER and common industry, he may become a respectable Scrivener: but it is not all the ZEPHYRS, and AURORAS, and CORYDONS, and THYRSIS’s; aye, nor his “junketing Queen MAB” and “drudging Goblins,” that will ever make him a Poet.
Wherein the Month and Day of the Month are set down, the Persons named, and the great Actions and Events of next Year particularly related, as they will come to pass.
Written to prevent the People of England from being further imposed on by vulgar Almanack Makers.
By ISAAC BICKERSTAFF, Esq.
PREDICTIONS for the Year 1708, &c.
I have long considered the gross abuse of Astrology in this Kingdom; and upon debating the matter with myself, I could not possibly lay the fault upon the Art, but upon those gross Impostors who set up to be the Artists.
I know several Learned Men have contended that the whole is a cheat; that it is absurd and ridiculous to imagine the stars can have any influence at all on human actions, thoughts, or inclinations: and whoever has not bent his studies that way, may be excused for thinking so, when he sees in how wretched a manner this noble Art is treated by a few mean illiterate traders between us and the stars; who import a yearly stock of nonsense, lies, folly, and impertinence, which they offer to the world as genuine from the planets, although they descend from no greater height than their own brains.
I intend, in a short time, to publish a large and rational Defence of this Art; and therefore shall say no more in its justification at present than that it hath been, in all Ages, defended by many Learned Men; and, among the rest, by SOCRATES himself, whom I look upon as undoubtedly the wisest of uninspired mortals. To which if we add, that those who have condemned this Art, although otherwise learned, having been such as either did not apply their studies this way, or at least did not succeed in their applications; their testimonies will not be of much weight to its disadvantage, since they are liable to the common objection of condemning what they did not understand.