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the learned, I have seen a folio writer place himself in an elbow chair, when the author of a duodecimo has, out of a just deference to his superior quality, seated liimself upon a squab. In a word, authors are usually ranged in company after the same manner as their works are upon a shelf.
The most minute pocket author hath beneath him the writers of all pamphlets, or works that are only stitched. As for the pampheleteer, he takes place of none but the authors of single sheets, and of that fraternity who publish their labours on certain days, or on every day in the week. I do not find that the precedency among the individuals in this latter class of writers is yet settled.
For my own part, I have had so strict a regard to the ceremonial which prevails in the learned world, that I never presumed to take place of a pamphleteer, until my daily papers were gathered into those two first volumes which have already appeared. After which, I naturally jumped over the heads not only of all pamphleteers, but of every octavo writer in Great Britain that had written but one book. I am also informed by my bookseller, that six octavos have at all times been looked upon as an equivalent to a folio; which I take notice of the rather, because I would not have the learnedworld surprised if, after the publication of half a dozen volumes, I take my place accordingly. When my scattered forces are thus rallied, and reduced into regular bodies, I flatter myself that I shall make no despicable figure at the head of them,
Whether these rules, which have been received tiine out of mind in the commonwealth of letters, were not originally established with an eye to our paper-manufacture, I shall leave to the discussion of others; and shall only remark further in this place, that all printers and booksellers take the wall of one another according to the above-mentioned merits of the authors to whom they respectively belong.
I come now to that point of precedency which is settled among the three learned professions by the wisdom of our laws. I need not here take nutice of the rank which is allotted to every doctor in each of these professions, who are all of them, though not so high as knights, yet a degree above 'squires; this last order of men, being the illiterate body of the nation, are consequently thrown together in a class below the three learned professions *. I mention this for the sake of several rural 'squires, whose reading does not rise so high as to The present State of England, and who are often apt to usurp that precedency which by the laws of their country is not due to them. Their want of learning, which has planted them in this station, may in some measure extenuate their misdemeanor; and our professors ought to pardon them when they offend in this particular, consi. dering that they are in a state of ignorance, or, as we usually say, do not know their right hand from their left.
There is another tribe of persons who are retainers to the learned world, and who regulate themselves upon all occasions by several laws peculiar to their body; I mean the players or actor of both sexes. Among these it is a standing and uncontroverted principle, that a tragedian always takes place of a comedian; and it is very well known the merry drolls wlio make us laugh are always placed at the lower end of the table, and in every entertainment give way to the dignity of the buskin. It is a stage maxim, Once a king, and always a king.' For this
• In some universities, that of Dublin in particular, they have doctors of music, who take rank after the doctors of the three learned professions, and above esquires.
reason it would be thought very absurd in Mr. Bullock, notwithstanding the height and gracefulness of his person, to sit at the right hand of an hero, though he were but five foot high. The same distinction is obscrved among the ladies of the theatre. Queens and heroines preserve their rank in private conversation, while those who are waiting women and maids of honour upon the stage keep their distance also behind the scenes.
I shall only add that, by a parity of reason, all writers of tragedy look upon it as their due to be seated, served, or saluted, before comic writers; those who deal in tragi-comedy usually taking their seats between the authors of either side. There has been a long dispute for precedency between the tragic and heroic poets. Aristotle would have the latter yield the pas to the former; but Mr. Dryden, and many others, would never submit to this decision. Burlesque writers pay the same deference to the heroic, as comic writers to their serious brothers in the drama.
By this short table of laws order is kept up, and distinction preserved, in the whole republic of letters.
N°530. FRIDAY, NOV. 7, 1712.
Sic visum Veneri; cui placet impares
HOR. I. Od. xxxiii. 10.
Thus Venus sports: the rich, the base,
When cruelly jocose,
She ties the fatal noose,
It is very usual for those who have been severe upon marriage, in some part or other of their lives, to enter into the fraternity which they have ridiculed, and to see their raillery return upon their own heads. I scarce ever knew a woman-hater that did not, sooner or later, pay for it. Marriage, which is a blessing to another man, falls upon such an one as a judgment. Mr. Congreve's Old Bachelor is set forth to us with much wit and humour, as an example of this kind. In short, those who have most distinguished themselves by railing at the sex in general, very often make an honourable amends, by choosing one of the most worthless persons of it for a companion and yoke-fellow. Hymen takes his revenge in kind on those who turn his mysteries into ridicule.
My friend Will Honeycomb, who was so unmercifully witty upon the women in a couple of letters, which I lately, communicated to the public, has given the ladies ample satisfaction by marrying a farmer's daughter; a piece of news which came
to our club by the last post. The templar is very positive that he has.married a dairy-maid: but Will, in his letter to me on this occasion, sets the best face upon the matter that he can, and gives a more tolerable account of his spouse. I must confess I suspected something more than ordinary, when upon opening the letter I found that Will was fallen off from his former gaiety, having changed 'Dear Spec,' which was his usual salute at the beginning of the letter, into ' My worthy Friend,' and described himself in the latter end at full length William Honeycomb. In short, the gay, the loud, the vain Will Honeycomb, who had made love to every great fortune that has appeared in town for above thirty years together, and boasted of favours from ladies whom he had never seen, is at length wedded to a plain country girl.
His letter gives us the picture of a converted rake. The sober character of the husband is dashed with the man of the town, and enlivened with those little cant-phrases, which have made my friend Will often thought very pretty company. But let us hear what he says for himself.
• MY WORTHY FRIEND,
' I QUESTION not but you, and the rest of my acquaintance, wonder that I, whu have lived in the smoke and gallantries of the town for thirty years together, should all on a sudden
fond of a country life. Had not my dog of a steward ran away as he did without making up his accounts, I had still been immersed in sin and sea-coal. But since
late forced visit to my estate, I am so pleased with it, that I am resolved to live and die upon it. I am every day abroad among my acres, and can scarce forbear filling my letters with breezes, shades, flowers, meadows, and purling streams.