Frabjous Times

This fortunate Disposition.

It was never that easy to be a public figure.
One might give many Instances of this in a late English Monarch, under the Title of, The Gayeties of King Charles II. This Prince was by Nature extreamly familiar, of very easie Access, and much delighted to see and be seen; and this happy Temper, which in the highest Degree gratified his Peoples Vanity, did him more Service with his loving Subjects than all his other Virtues, tho' it must be confessed he had many. He delighted, tho' a mighty King, to give and take a Jest, as they say; and a Prince of this fortunate Disposition, who were inclined to make an ill Use of his Power, may have any thing of his People, be it never so much to their Prejudice. But this good King made generally a very innocent Use, as to the Publick, of this ensnaring Temper; for,'tis well known, he pursued Pleasure more than Ambition: He seemed to glory in being the first Man at Cock-matches, Horse-races, Balls, and Plays; he appeared highly delighted on those Occasions, and never failed to warm and gladden the Heart of every Spectator. He more than once dined with his good Citizens of London on their Lord-Mayor's Day, and did so the Year that Sir Robert Viner was Mayor. Sir Robert was a very loyal Man, and, if you will allow the Expression, very fond of his Sovereign; but what with the Joy he felt at Heart for the Honour done him by his Prince, and thro' the Warmth he was in with continual toasting Healths to the Royal Family, his Lordship grew a little fond of his Majesty, and entered into a Familiarity not altogether so graceful in so publick a Place. The King understood very well how to extricate himself on all kinds of Difficulties, and with an Hint to the Company to avoid Ceremony, stole off and made towards his Coach, which stood ready for him in Guild-Hall Yard: But the Mayor liked his Company so well, and was grown so intimate, that he pursued him hastily, and catching him fast by the Hand, cryed out with a vehement Oath and Accent, Sir, You shall stay and take t'other Bottle. The airy Monarch looked kindly at him over his Shoulder, and with a Smile and graceful Air, (for I saw him at the Time, and do now) repeated this Line of the old Song;
    He that's drunk is as great as a King.
and immediately turned back and complied with his Landlord.
— "T." in The Spectator
Originally published: 2003/10/07 07:38:55