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ance. Indeed, when a different reading gives us a different sense, or a new elegance in an author, the editor does very well in taking notice of it; but when he only entertains us with the several ways of spelling the same word, and gathers together the various blunders and mistakes of twenty or thirty different transcribers, they only take up the time of the learned reader, and puzzle the minds of the ignorant. I have often fancied with myself how enenraged an old Latin author would be, should he see the several absurdities in sense and

grammar, which are imputed to him by some or other of these various readings. In one he speaks nonsense; in another makes use of a word that was never heard of: and indeed there is scarce a solecism in writing which the best author is not guilty of, if we may be at liberty to read him in the words of some manuscript, which the laborious editor has thought fit to examine in the prosecution of his work.

I question not but the ladies and pretty fellows will be very curious to understand what it is that I have been hitherto talking of. I shall, therefore, give them a notion of this practice, by endeavouring to write after the manner of several persons who make an eminent figure in the republic of letters. To this end we will

suppose that the following song is an old ode, which I present to the public in a new edition, with the several various readings which I find of it in former editions, and in ancient manuscripts. Those who cannot relish the various readings, will, perhaps, find their account in the song, which never before appeared in print.

My love was fickle once and changing,

Nor e'er would settle in my heart;
From beauty still to beauty ranging,

In ev'ry face I found a dart.

'Twas first a charming shape enslaved me,

An eye then gave the fatal stroke:
Till by her wit Corinna saved me,

And all my former fetters broke.
But now a long and lasting anguish

For Belvidera I endure;
Hourly I sigh, and hourly languish,

Nor hope to find the wonted cure.
For here the false unconstant lover,

After a thousand beauties shown,
Does new surprising charms discover,

And finds variety in one.

Various Readings. Stanza the first, verse the first. And changing] The and in some manuscripts is written thus, &: but that in the Cotton library writes it in three distinct letters.

Verse the second. Nor e'er would.] Aldus reads it ever would; but as this would hurt the metre, we have restored it to its genuine reading, by observing that synæresis which had been neglected by ignorant transcribers.

Ibid. In my heart.] Scaliger and others, on my heart.

Verse the fourth. I found a dart.] The Vatican manuscript for I reads it; but this must have been the hallucination of the transcriber, who probably mistook the dash of the I for a T.

Stanza the second, verse the second. The fatal stroke.] Scioppius, Salmasius, and many others, for the read a; but I have stuck to the usual reading.

Verse the third. Till by her wit.] Some manuscripts have it his wit, others your, others their wil. But as I find Corinna to be the name of a woman in other authors, I cannot doubt but it should be her.



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NO. 470. Stanza the third, verse the first. A long and lasting anguish.] The German manuscript reads a lasting passion, but the rhyme will not admit it.

Verse the second. For Belvidera I endure.] Did not all the manuscripts reclaim, I should change Belvidera into Pelvidera; Pelvis being used by several of the ancient comic writers for a lookingglass, by which means the etymology of the word is very visible, and Pelvidera will signify a lady who often looks in her glass; as indeed she had very good reason, if she had all those beauties which our poet here ascribes to her.

Verse the third. Hourly I sigh, and hourly languish.] Some for the word hourly read daily, and others nightly; the last has great authorities of its side.

Verse the fourth. The wonted cure.] The elder Stevens reads wanted cure.

Stanza the fourth, verse the second. After a thousand beauties.] In several copies we meet with a hundred beauties, by the usual error of the transcribers, who probably omitted a cipher, and had not taste enough to know that the word thousand was ten times a greater compliment to the poet's mistress than a hundred.

Verse the fourth. And finds variety in one.] Most of the ancient manuscripts have it in two. Indeed so many of them concur in this last reading, that I am very much in doubt whether it ought not to take place. There are but two reasons, which incline me to the reading as I have published it: first, because the rhyme, and, secondly, because the sense, is preserved by it. It might likewise proceed from the oscitancy of transcribers, who to despatch their work the sooner, used to write all numbers in cipher, and seeing the figure 1 followed by a little dash of the pen, as is customary in old manuscripts,

they perhaps mistook the dash for a second figure, and, by casting up both together, composed out of them the figure 2. But this I shall leave to the learned, without determining any thing in a matter of so great uncertainty.


No. 471. SATURDAY, AUGUST 30, 1712.

'Εν ελπίσιν χρή τους σοφούς έχειν βίον.


The wise with hope support the pains of life. The time present seldom affords sufficient employment to the mind of man. Objects of pain or pleasure, love or admiration, do not lie thick enough together in life to keep the soul in constant action, and supply an immediate exercise to its faculties. In order, therefore, to remedy this defect, that the mind may not want business, but always have materials for thinking, she is endowed with certain powers, that can recall what is passed, and anticipate what is to come.

That wonderful faculty, which we call the memory, is perpetually looking back, when we have nothing present to 'entertain us. It is like those repositories in several animals that are filled with stores of their former food, on which they may ruminate when their present pasture fails.

As the memory relieves the mind in her vacant moments, and prevents any chasms of thought by ideas of what is passed, we have other faculties that agitate and employ her for what is to come. These are the passions of hope and fear.

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mimicked, as any can be imagined. There were none but the vain, the formal, the proud, or those who were incapable of amending their faults, that dreaded him ; to others he was in the highest degree pleasing; and I do not know any satisfaction of any indifferent kind I ever tasted so much, as having got over an impatience of my seeing myself in the air he could put me when I have displeased him. It is indeed to his exquisite talent this way, more than any philosophy I could read on the subject, that my person


very little of my care, and it is indifferent to me what is said of my shape, my air, my manner, my speech, or


address. It is to poor Estcourt I chiefly owe that I am arrived at the happiness of thinking nothing a diminution to me, but what argues a depravity of my will.

It has as much surprised me as any thing in nature, to have it frequently said that he was not a good player : but that must be owing to a partiality for former actors in the parts in which he succeeded them, and judging by comparison of what was liked before, rather than by the nature of the thing. When a man of his wit and smartness could put on an utter absence of common sense in his face, as he did in the character of Bullfinch in the Northern Lass, and an air of insipid cunning and vivacity in the character of Pounce in the Tender Husband, it is folly to dispute his capacity and success, as he was an actor.

Poor Estcourt ; let the vain and proud be at rest, thou wilt no more disturb their admiration of their dear selves; and thou art no longer to drudge in raising the mirth of stupids, who know nothing of thy merit, for my maintenance.

It is natural for the generality of mankind to run into reflections upon our mortality, when disturbers of the world are laid at rest, but to take no notice

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