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ers of war, who live together in a very comfortable captivity. I was highly pleased to see the discipline of the pack, and the good-nature of the knight, who could not find in his heart to murder a creature that had given him so much diversion.


As we were returning home, I remembered that Monsieur Paschal, in his most excellent discourse on the misery of man, tells us, that all our endeavours after greatness proceed from nothing but a desire of being surrounded by a multitude of persons and affairs that 10 may hinder us from looking into ourselves, which is a view we cannot bear. He afterwards goes on to show that our love of sports comes from the same reason, and is particularly severe upon hunting. "What," says he, "unless it be to drown thought, can make men throw 15 away so much time and pains upon a silly animal, which they might buy cheaper in the market?" The foregoing reflexion is certainly just, when a man suffers his whole mind to be drawn into his sports, and altogether loses himself in the woods; but does not affect 20 those who propose a far more laudable end from this exercise, I mean the preservation of health, and keeping all the organs of the soul in a condition to execute her orders. Had that incomparable person, whom I last quoted, been a little more indulgent to himself in this 25 point, the world might probably have enjoyed him much. longer; whereas through too great an application to his studies in his youth, he contracted that ill habit of body, which, after a tedious sickness, carried him off in the fortieth year of his age; and the whole history we have 30 of his life till that time, is but one continued account of


the behaviour of a noble soul struggling under innumerable pains and distempers.

For my own part, I intend to hunt twice a week during my stay with Sir Roger; and shall prescribe the 5 moderate use of this exercise to all my country friends, as the best kind of physic for mending a bad constitution, and preserving a good one.

I cannot do this better, than in the following lines out of Mr. Dryden :


"The first physicians by debauch were made;
Excess began, and Sloth sustains the trade.
By chase our long-liv'd fathers earn'd their food;
Toil strung the nerves, and purified the blood;
But we their sons, a pamper'd race of men,
Are dwindled down to threescore years and ten.
Better to hunt in fields for health unbought,
Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught.
The wise for cure on exercise depend:

God never made his work for man to mend."



No. 117.-SATURDAY, JULY 14, 1711.

IPSI sibi somnia fingunt. — VIRG. ECL. viii. 108.
WITH Voluntary dreams they cheat their minds.

THERE are some opinions in which a man should stand neuter without engaging his assent to one side or the other. Such a hovering faith as this, which refuses to settle upon any determination, is absolutely necessary in a mind that is careful to avoid errors and preposses- 5 sions. When the arguments press equally on both sides in matters that are indifferent to us, the safest method is to give up ourselves to neither.

It is with this temper of mind that I consider the subject of witchcraft. When I hear the relations that 10 are made from all parts of the world, not only from Norway and Lapland, from the East and West Indies, but from every particular nation in Europe, I cannot forbear thinking that there is such an intercourse and commerce with evil spirits, as that which we express by 15 the name of witchcraft. But when I consider that the ignorant and credulous parts of the world abound the most in these relations, and that the persons among us who are supposed to engage in such an infernal commerce are people of a weak understanding and crazed imag- 20 ination, and at the same time reflect upon the many


impostures and delusions of this nature that have been detected in all ages, I endeavour to suspend my belief till I hear more certain accounts than any which have yet come to my knowledge. In short, when I consider 5 the question, whether there are such persons in the world, as those we call witches, my mind is divided between the two opposite opinions; or rather (to speak my thoughts freely) I believe in general that there is and has been such a thing as witchcraft; but at the same 10 time can give no credit to any particular instance of it.

I am engaged in this speculation, by some occurrences that I met with yesterday, which I shall give my reader an account of at large. As I was walking with my friend Sir Roger by the side of one of his woods, an old woman 15 applied herself to me for my charity. Her dress and figure put me in mind of the following description in Otway.


"In a close lane as I pursued my journey,

I espied a wrinkled hag, with age grown double,
Picking dry sticks, and mumbling to herself.
Her eyes with scalding rheum were gall'd and red;
Cold palsy shook her head; her hands seem'd wither'd;
And on her crooked shoulders had she wrapp'd

The tatter'd remnants of an old stripp'd hanging;
Which serv'd to keep her carcase from the cold:
So there was nothing of a piece about her.
Her lower weeds were all o'er coarsely patch'd
With diff'rent colour'd rags, black, red, white, yellow,
And seem'd to speak variety of wretchedness."


As I was musing on this description, and comparing it with the object before me, the knight told me, that

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