Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/308

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DEVONSHIRE CHARACTERS

master, and it soon became a favourite air. D'Urfey set words to it in which his old Huguenot execration of the Papists breaks forth. Farinelli was a Papist, a circumstance that gave occasion to Addison to remark that his friend Tom had made use of Italian tunes for promoting the Protestant interest; and turned a considerable part of the Pope's music as a battery against the chair of St. Peter.

D' Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy is a book nowadays to be kept under lock and key, or else to be bound and lettered "Practical Sermons," to avoid its being taken down from its shelf and being looked into by young people. And yet—"Tempora mutantur et nos mutantur in illis." Addison speaks of his songs in No. 67 of The Guardian thus: "I must heartily recommend to all young ladies, my disciples, the case of my old friend, who has often made their grandmothers merry, and whose sonnets have perhaps lulled to sleep many a pleasant toast, when she lay in her cradle." In No. 29, 1713, Addison wrote: "A judicious author, some years since, published a collection of sonnets, which he very successfully called ' Laugh and be Fat; or, Pills to Purge Melancholy.' I cannot sufficiently admire the facetious title of these volumes, and must censure the world of ingratitude, while they are so negligent in rewarding the jocose labours of my friend, Mr.D'Urfey, who was so large a contributor to this treatise, and to whose numerous productions so many rural squires in the remotest parts of the island are obliged for the dignity and state which corpulency gives them."

D'Urfey was the last English poet that appeared in the streets attended by a page. Many an honest gentleman, it is said, got a reputation in his county by pretending to have been a boon companion of D'Urfey;