Annus Mirabilis or, The wonderful effects of the approaching conjunction of the planets Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn.
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In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora.....
I suppose every body is sufficiently appriz'd of, and duly prepar'd for, the famous conjunction to be celebrated the 29th of this instant December, 1722, foretold by all the sages of antiquity, under the name of the Annus Mirabilis, or the metamorphostical conjunction: a word which denotes the mutual transformation of sexes, (the effect of that configuration of the celestial bodies) the human males being turn'd into females, and the human females into males.
The Egyptians have represented this great transformation by several significant hieroglyphicks, particularly one very remarkable. There are carv'd upon an obelisk, a barber and a midwife; the barber delivers his razor to the midwife, and she her swadling-cloaths to the barber. Accordingly Thales Milesius (who like the rest of his countrymen, borrow'd his learning from the Egyptians) after having computed the time of this famous conjunction, "Then," says he, "shall men and women mutually exchange the pangs of shaving and child-bearing."
Anaximander modestly describes this metamorphosis in mathematical terms: "Then," says he, "shall the negative quantity of the women be turn'd into positive, their - into +;" (i.e.) their minus into plus.
Plato not only speaks of this great change, but describes all the preparations towards it. "Long before the bodily transformation, (says he) nature shall begin the most difficult part of her work, by changing the ideas and inclinations of the two sexes: Men shall turn effeminate, and women manly; wives shall domineer, and husbands obey; ladies shall ride a horseback, dress'd like cavaliers; princes and nobles appear in night-rails and petticoats; men shall squeak upon theatres with female voices, and women corrupt virgins; lords shall knot and cut paper; and even the northern people.........:" A Greek phrase (which for modesty's sake I forbear to translate) which denotes a vice too frequent amongst us.
That the Ministry foresaw this great change, is plain from the Callico-Act; whereby it is now become the occupation of women all over England, to convert their useless female habits into beds, window-curtains, chairs, and joint-stools; undressing themselves (as it were) before their transformation.
The philosophy of this transformation will not seem surprizing to people who search into the bottom of things. Madam Bourignon, a devout French lady, has shewn us, how man was at first created male and female in one individual, having the faculty of propagation within himself: A circumstance necessary to the state of innocence, wherein a man's happiness was not to depend upon the caprice of another. It was not till after he had made a faux pas, that he had his female mate. Many such transformations of individuals have been well attested; particularly one by Montaigne, and another by the late Bishop of Salisbury. From all which it appears, that this system of male and female has already undergone and may hereafter suffer, several alterations. Every smatterer in anatomy knows, that a woman is but an introverted man; a new fusion and flatus will turn the hollow bottom of a bottle into a convexity; but I forbear, (for the sake of my modest men-readers, who are in a few days to be virgins.)
In some subjects, the smallest alterations will do: some men are sufficiently spread about the hips, and contriv'd with female softness, that they want only the negative quantity to make them buxom wenches; and there are women who are, as it were, already the ebauche of a good sturdy man. If nature cou'd be puzzl'd, it will be how to bestow the redundant matter of the exuberant bubbies that now appear about town, or how to roll out the short dapper fellows into well-siz'd women.
This great conjunction will begin to operate on Saturday the 29th instant. Accordingly, about eight at night, as Senezino shall begin at the Opera, si videte, he shall be observ'd to make an unusual motion; upon which the audience will be affected with a red suffusion over their countenance: And because a strong succession of the muscles of the belly is necessary towards performing this great operation, both sexes will be thrown into a profuse involuntary laughter. Then (to use the modest terms of Anaximander) shall negative quantity be turn'd into positive, etc. Time never beheld, nor will it ever assemble, such a number of untouch'd virgins within those walls! but alas! such will be the impatience and curiosity of people to act in their new capacity, that many of them will be compleated men and women that very night. To prevent the disorders that may happen upon this occasion, is the chief design of this paper.
Gentlemen have begun already to make use of this conjunction to compass their filthy purposes. They tell the ladies forsooth, that it is only parting with a perishable commodity, hardly of so much value as a callico under-petticoat; since, like its mistress, it will be useless in the form it is now in. If the ladies have no regard to the dishonour and immorality of the action, I desire they will consider, that nature who never destroys her own productions, will exempt big-belly'd women till the time of their lying-in; so that not to be transformed, will be the same as to be pregnant. If they don't think it worth while to defend a fortress that is to be demolish'd in a few days, let them reflect that it will be a melancholy thing nine months hence, to be brought to bed of a bastard; a posthumous bastard as it were, to which the quondam father can be no more than a dry nurse.
This wonderful transformation is the instrument of nature, to balance matters between the sexes. The cruelty of scornful mistresses shall be return'd; the slighted maid shall grow into an imperious gallant, and reward her undoer with a big belly, and a bastard.
It is hardly possible to imagine the revolutions that this wonderful phaenomenon will occasion over the face of the earth. I long impatiently to see the proceedings of the Parliament of Paris, as to the title of succession to the crown, this being a case not provided for by the salique law. There will be no preventing disorders amongst friars and monks; for certainly vows of chastity do not bind but under the sex in which they were made. The same will hold good with marriages, tho' I think it will be a scandal amongst Protestants for husbands and wives to part, since there remains still a possibility to perform the debitus conjugale, by the husband being femme couverte. I submit it to the judgment of the gentlemen of the long robe, whether this transformation does not discharge all suits of rapes?
The Pope must undergo a new groping; but the false prophet Mahomet has contriv'd matters well for his successors; for as the Grand Signior has now a great many fine women, he will then have as many fine young gentelmen, at his devotion.
These are surprizing scenes; but I beg leave to affirm, that the solemn operations of nature are subjects of contemplation, not of ridicule. Therefore I make it my earnest request to the merry fellows, and giggling girls about town, that they would not put themselves in a high twitter, when they go to visit a general lying-in of his first child; his officers serving as midwives, nurses and rockers dispensing caudle; or if they behold the reverend prelates dressing the heads and airing the linnen at court, I beg they will remember that these offices must be fill'd with people of the greatest regularity, and best characters. For the same reason, I am sorry that a certain prelate, who notwithstanding his confinement (in December 1723), still preserves his healthy, chearful countenance, cannot come in time to be a nurse at court.
I likewise earnestly intreat the maids of honour, (then ensigns and captains of the guard) that, at their first setting out, they have some regard to their former station, and do not run wild through all the infamous houses about town: That the present grooms of the bed-chamber (then maids of honour) would not eat chalk and lime in their green-sickness: And in general, that the men would remember they are become retromingent, and not by inadvertency lift up against walls and posts.
Petticoats will not be burdensome to the clergy; but balls and assemblies will be indecent for some time.
As for you, coquettes, bawds, and chamber-maids, (the future ministers, plenipotentiaries, and cabinet-counsellors to the princes of the earth,) manage the great intrigues that will be committed to your charge, with your usual secrecy and conduct; and the affairs of your masters will go better than ever.
O ye exchange women! (our right worshipful representatives that are to be) be not so griping in the sale of your ware as your predecessors, but consider that the nation, like a spend-thrift heir, has run out: Be likewise a little more continent in your tongues than you are at present, else the length of debates will spoil your dinners.
You housewifely good women, who not preside over the confectionary, (henceforth commissioners of the Treasury) be so good as to dispense the sugar-plumbs of the Government with a more impartial and frugal hand.
Ye prudes and censorious old maids, (the hopes of the Bench) exert but your usual talent of finding faults, and the laws will be strictly executed; only I would not have you proceed upon such slender evidences as you have done hitherto.
It is from you, eloquent oyster-merchants of Billingsgate, (just ready to be called to the Bar, and quoif'd like your sister-serjants,) that we expect the shortening the time, and lessening the expences of law-suits: For I think you are observ'd to bring your debates to a short issue; and even custom will restrain you from taking the oyster, and leaving only the shell to your client.
O ye physicians, (who in the figure of old women are to clean the tripe in the markets) scour it as effectually as you have done that of your patients, and the town will fare most deliciously on Saturdays.
I cannot but congratulate human nature, upon this happy transformation; the only expedient left to restore the liberties and tranquillity of mankind. This is so evident, that it is almost an affront to common sense to insist upon the proof: If there can be any such stupid creature as to doubt it, I desire he will make but the following obvious reflection. There are in Europe alone, at present, about a million of sturdy fellows, under the denomination of standing forces, with arms in their hands: That those are masters of the lives, liberties and fortunes of all the rest, I believe no body will deny. It is no less true in fact, that reams of paper, and above a square mile of skins of vellum have been employ'd to no purpose, to settle peace among those sons of violence. Pray, who is he that will say unto them, Go and disband yourselves? But lo! by this transformation it is done at once, and the halcyon days of publick tranquillity return: For neither the military temper nor discipline can taint the soft sex for a whole age to come: Bellaque matribus invisa, War odious to mothers, will not grow immediately palatable in their paternal state.
Nor will the influence of this transformation be less in family tranquillity, than it is in national. Great faults will be amended, and frailties forgiven, on both sides. A wife who has been disturb'd with late hours, and choak'd with the hautgout of a sot, will remember her sufferings, and avoid the temptations; and will, for the same reason, indulge her mate in his female capacity in some passions, which she is sensible from experience are natural to the sex. Such as vanity of fine cloaths, being admir'd, etc. And how tenderly must she use her mate under the breeding qualms and labour-pains which she hath felt her self? In short, all unreasonable demands upon husbands must cease, because they are already satisfy'd from natural experience that they are impossible.
That the ladies may govern the affairs of the world, and the gentlemen those of their houshold, better than either of them have hitherto done, is the hearty desire of, Their most sincere well-wisher,