By Sir JOHN FALSTAFFE.
To be Continued every Tuesday and Saturday.
Totum hominem Deus adsumit,
quia totus ab ipso est;
Et totum redimit quem sumpserat, omne reducens
Quicquid homo est, istud Tumulis, ast istud Abysso.
hois themis osti, thuras d’ epithesthe
Saturday, April 16. 1720.
The Person, who confines himself to the Task of writing a Paper of Entertainment, is not thereby obliged to be continually ludicrous in his Composition, or to expect that his Readers should always be upon the broad Grin. The rational, as well as risible, Faculties are to be exercised; and if I think fit to be too precisely serious to Day, my good-natur’d Customers will give me an Indulgence, and believe that I will make it up to them with Mirth on Tuesday.
As I devoted the spare Hours of yesterday to Meditation, I could not help reflecting, what little Notion we have at this Time of Prodigies and Phenomena, that are not in the common Course of Nature. We are grown Epicureans in our Principles, and force our selves to believe, that it is Fear, Superstition, or Ignorance, to fancy that Providence sends the World a Warning in extraordinary Appearances: We buoy our selves up, that we only want such a Portion of Philosophy to account for what startles the Grossness of Sense, and to know that such Appearances must have their Cause in Nature, tho’ we cannot readily determine where to fix it. This brings to my Mind, when Glendour was boasting in the Play, that at his Nativity the Heavens were full of fiery Shapes, and the Foundation of the Earth shook like a Coward; Hotspur reply’d humourously, Why so it would have done at the same Season, if your Mother’s Cat had but kitten’d, tho’ your self had never been born.
If we are to think so slightly of these uncommon Accidents, since the Fashion of the Times will call them so, I would fain be resolved in one Point, how it comes to pass, that the Birth and Death of so many eminent Persons, and of Consequence to the World, have been mark’d and usher’d in with such a Pomp of Prodigies. The same great Poet, whom I but now quoted, observes finely, that,
When Beggars die, there
are no Comets seen:
The Heav’ns themselves blaze forth the Death of Princes.