HotFreeBooks.com
The Spectator, Volume 2.
by Addison and Steele
Previous Part     1   2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18 ... 20     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Mr. SPECTATOR,

I was last Night to visit a Lady who I much esteem, and always took for my Friend; but met with so very different a Reception from what I expected, that I cannot help applying my self to you on this Occasion. In the room of that Civility and Familiarity I used to be treated with by her, an affected Strangeness in her Looks, and Coldness in her Behaviour, plainly told me I was not the welcome Guest which the Regard and Tenderness she has often expressed for me gave me Reason to flatter my self to think I was. Sir, this is certainly a great Fault, and I assure you a very common one; therefore I hope you will think it a fit Subject for some Part of a Spectator. Be pleased to acquaint us how we must behave our selves towards this valetudinary Friendship, subject to so many Heats and Colds, and you will oblige, SIR, Your humble Servant, Miranda.

SIR,

I cannot forbear acknowledging the Delight your late Spectators on Saturdays have given me; for it is writ in the honest Spirit of Criticism, and called to my Mind the following four Lines I had read long since in a Prologue to a Play called Julius Caesar [1] which has deserved a better Fate. The Verses are addressed to the little Criticks.

Shew your small Talent, and let that suffice ye; But grow not vain upon it, I advise ye. For every Fop can find out Faults in Plays: You'll ne'er arrive at Knowing when to praise.

Yours, D. G.

T.



[Footnote 1: By William Alexander, Earl of Stirling (who died in 1640); one of his four Monarchicke Tragedies. He received a grant of Nova Scotia to colonize, and was secretary of state for Scotland.]



* * * * *



No. 301. Thursday, February 14, 1712. Budgell.



Possint ut Juvenes visere fervidi Multo non sine risu, Dilapsam in cineres facem.

Hor.



We are generally so much pleased with any little Accomplishments, either of Body or Mind, which have once made us remarkable in the World, that we endeavour to perswade our selves it is not in the Power of Time to rob us of them. We are eternally pursuing the same Methods which first procured us the Applauses of Mankind. It is from this Notion that an Author writes on, tho he is come to Dotage; without ever considering that his Memory is impaired, and that he has lost that Life, and those Spirits, which formerly raised his Fancy, and fired his Imagination. The same Folly hinders a Man from submitting his Behaviour to his Age, and makes Clodius, who was a celebrated Dancer at five and twenty, still love to hobble in a Minuet, tho he is past Threescore. It is this, in a Word, which fills the Town with elderly Fops, and superannuated Coquets.

Canidia, a Lady of this latter Species, passed by me Yesterday in her Coach. Canidia was an haughty Beauty of the last Age, and was followed by Crowds of Adorers, whose Passions only pleased her, as they gave her Opportunities of playing the Tyrant. She then contracted that awful Cast of the Eye and forbidding Frown, which she has not yet laid aside, and has still all the Insolence of Beauty without its Charms. If she now attracts the Eyes of any Beholders, it is only by being remarkably ridiculous; even her own Sex laugh at her Affectation; and the Men, who always enjoy an ill-natured Pleasure in seeing an imperious Beauty humbled and neglected, regard her with the same Satisfaction that a free Nation sees a Tyrant in Disgrace.

WILL. HONEYCOMB, who is a great Admirer of the Gallantries in King Charles the Seconds Reign, lately communicated to me a Letter written by a Wit of that Age to his Mistress, who it seems was a Lady of Canidia's Humour; and tho I do not always approve of my Friend WILLS Taste, I liked this Letter so well, that I took a Copy of it, with which I shall here present my Reader.

To CLOE. MADAM,

Since my waking Thoughts have never been able to influence you in my Favour, I am resolved to try whether my Dreams can make any Impression on you. To this end I shall give you an Account of a very odd one which my Fancy presented to me last Night, within a few Hours after I left you.

Methought I was unaccountably conveyed into the most delicious Place mine Eyes ever beheld, it was a large Valley divided by a River of the purest Water I had ever seen. The Ground on each Side of it rose by an easie Ascent, and was covered with Flowers of an infinite Variety, which as they were reflected in the Water doubled the Beauties of the Place, or rather formed an Imaginary Scene more beautiful than the real. On each Side of the River was a Range of lofty Trees, whose Boughs were loaden with almost as many Birds as Leaves. Every Tree was full of Harmony.

I had not gone far in this pleasant Valley, when I perceived that it was terminated by a most magnificent Temple. The Structure was ancient, and regular. On the Top of it was figured the God Saturn, in the same Shape and Dress that the Poets usually represent Time.

As I was advancing to satisfie my Curiosity by a nearer View, I was stopped by an Object far more beautiful than any I had before discovered in the whole Place. I fancy, Madam, you will easily guess that this could hardly be any thing but your self; in reality it was so; you lay extended on the Flowers by the side of the River, so that your Hands which were thrown in a negligent Posture, almost touched the Water. Your Eyes were closed; but if your Sleep deprived me of the Satisfaction of seeing them, it left me at leisure to contemplate several other Charms, which disappear when your Eyes are open. I could not but admire the Tranquility you slept in, especially when I considered the Uneasiness you produce in so many others.

While I was wholly taken up in these Reflections, the Doors of the Temple flew open, with a very great Noise; and lifting up my Eyes, I saw two Figures, in human Shape, coming into the Valley. Upon a nearer Survey, I found them to be YOUTH and LOVE. The first was encircled with a kind of Purple Light, that spread a Glory over all the Place; the other held a flaming Torch in his Hand. I could observe, that all the way as they came towards us, the Colours of the Flowers appeared more lively, the Trees shot out in Blossoms, the Birds threw themselves into Pairs, and Serenaded them as they passed: The whole Face of Nature glowed with new Beauties. They were no sooner arrived at the Place where you lay, when they seated themselves on each Side of you. On their Approach, methought I saw a new Bloom arise in your Face, and new Charms diffuse themselves over your whole Person. You appeared more than Mortal; but, to my great Surprise, continued fast asleep, tho the two Deities made several gentle Efforts to awaken you.

After a short Time, YOUTH (displaying a Pair of Wings, which I had not before taken notice of) flew off. LOVE still remained, and holding the Torch which he had in his Hand before your Face, you still appeared as beautiful as ever. The glaring of the Light in your Eyes at length awakened you; when, to my great Surprise, instead of acknowledging the Favour of the Deity, you frowned upon him, and struck the Torch out of his Hand into the River. The God after having regarded you with a Look that spoke at [once [1]] his Pity and Displeasure, flew away. Immediately a kind of Gloom overspread the whole Place. At the same time I saw an hideous Spectre enter at one end of the Valley. His Eyes were sunk into his Head, his Face was pale and withered, and his Skin puckered up in Wrinkles. As he walked on the sides of the Bank the River froze, the Flowers faded, the Trees shed their Blossoms, the Birds dropped from off the Boughs, and fell dead at his Feet. By these Marks I knew him to be OLD-AGE. You were seized with the utmost Horror and Amazement at his Approach. You endeavoured to have fled, but the Phantome caught you in his Arms. You may easily guess at the Change you suffered in this Embrace. For my own Part, though I am still too full of the [frightful [2]] Idea, I will not shock you with a Description of it. I was so startled at the Sight that my Sleep immediately left me, and I found my self awake, at leisure to consider of a Dream which seems too extraordinary to be without a Meaning. I am, Madam, with the greatest Passion, Your most Obedient, most Humble Servant, &c.

X.



[Footnote 1: [the same time]]

[Footnote 2: [dreadful]]



* * * * *



No. 302. Friday, February 15, 1712. Steele.

Lachrymaeque decorae, Gratior et pulchro veniens in corpore Virtus.

Vir. AEn. 5.



I read what I give for the Entertainment of this Day with a great deal of Pleasure, and publish it just as it came to my Hands. I shall be very glad to find there are many guessed at for Emilia.

Mr. SPECTATOR, [1]

If this Paper has the good Fortune to be honoured with a Place in your Writings, I shall be the more pleased, because the Character of Emilia is not an imaginary but a real one. I have industriously obscured the whole by the Addition of one or two Circumstances of no Consequence, that the Person it is drawn from might still be concealed; and that the Writer of it might not be in the least suspected, and for [other [2]] Reasons, I chuse not to give it the Form of a Letter: But if, besides the Faults of the Composition, there be any thing in it more proper for a Correspondent than the SPECTATOR himself to write, I submit it to your better Judgment, to receive any other Model you think fit. I am, SIR, Your very humble Servant.

There is nothing which gives one so pleasing a Prospect of human Nature, as the Contemplation of Wisdom and Beauty: The latter is the peculiar Portion of that Sex which is therefore called Fair; but the happy Concurrence of both these Excellencies in the same Person, is a Character too celestial to be frequently met with. Beauty is an over-weaning self-sufficient thing, careless of providing it self any more substantial Ornaments; nay so little does it consult its own Interests, that it too often defeats it self by betraying that Innocence which renders it lovely and desirable. As therefore Virtue makes a beautiful Woman appear more beautiful, so Beauty makes a virtuous Woman really more virtuous. Whilst I am considering these two Perfections gloriously united in one Person, I cannot help representing to my Mind the Image of Emilia.

Who ever beheld the charming Emilia, without feeling in his Breast at once the Glow of Love and the Tenderness of virtuous Friendship? The unstudied Graces of her Behaviour, and the pleasing Accents of her Tongue, insensibly draw you on to wish for a nearer Enjoyment of them; but even her Smiles carry in them a silent Reproof to the Impulses of licentious Love. Thus, tho the Attractives of her Beauty play almost irresistibly upon you and create Desire, you immediately stand corrected not by the Severity but the Decency of her Virtue. That Sweetness and Good-humour which is so visible in her Face, naturally diffuses it self into every Word and Action: A Man must be a Savage, who at the Sight of Emilia, is not more inclined to do her Good than gratifie himself. Her Person, as it is thus studiously embellished by Nature, thus adorned with unpremeditated Graces, is a fit Lodging for a Mind so fair and lovely; there dwell rational Piety, modest Hope, and chearful Resignation.

Many of the prevailing Passions of Mankind do undeservedly pass under the Name of Religion; which is thus made to express itself in Action, according to the Nature of the Constitution in which it resides: So that were we to make a Judgment from Appearances, one would imagine Religion in some is little better than Sullenness and Reserve, in many Fear, in others the Despondings of a melancholly Complexion, in others the Formality of insignificant unaffecting Observances, in others Severity, in others Ostentation. In Emilia it is a Principle founded in Reason and enlivened with Hope; it does not break forth into irregular Fits and Sallies of Devotion, but is an uniform and consistent Tenour of Action; It is strict without Severity, compassionate without Weakness; it is the Perfection of that good Humour which proceeds from the Understanding, not the Effect of an easy Constitution.

By a generous Sympathy in Nature, we feel our selves disposed to mourn when any of our Fellow-Creatures are afflicted; but injured Innocence and Beauty in Distresses an Object that carries in it something inexpressibly moving: It softens the most manly Heart with the tenderest Sensations of Love and Compassion, till at length it confesses its Humanity, and flows out into Tears.

Were I to relate that part of Emilia's Life which has given her an Opportunity of exerting the Heroism of Christianity, it would make too sad, too tender a Story: But when I consider her alone in the midst of her Distresses, looking beyond this gloomy Vale of Affliction and Sorrow into the Joys of Heaven and Immortality, and when I see her in Conversation thoughtless and easie as if she were the most happy Creature in the World, I am transported with Admiration. Surely never did such a Philosophic Soul inhabit such a beauteous Form! For Beauty is often made a Privilege against Thought and Reflection; it laughs at Wisdom, and will not abide the Gravity of its Instructions.

Were I able to represent Emilia's Virtues in their proper Colours and their due Proportions, Love or Flattery might perhaps be thought to have drawn the Picture larger than Life; but as this is but an imperfect Draught of so excellent a Character, and as I cannot, will not hope to have any Interest in her Person, all that I can say of her is but impartial Praise extorted from me by the prevailing Brightness of her Virtues. So rare a Pattern of Female Excellence ought not to be concealed, but should be set out to the View and Imitation of the World; for how amiable does Virtue appear thus as it were made visible to us in so fair an Example!

Honoria's Disposition is of a very different Turn: Her Thoughts are wholly bent upon Conquest and arbitrary Power. That she has some Wit and Beauty no Body denies, and therefore has the Esteem of all her Acquaintance as a Woman of an agreeable Person and Conversation; but (whatever her Husband may think of it) that is not sufficient for Honoria: She waves that Title to Respect as a mean Acquisition, and demands Veneration in the Right of an Idol; for this Reason her natural Desire of Life is continually checked with an inconsistent Fear of Wrinkles and old Age.

Emilia cannot be supposed ignorant of her personal Charms, tho she seems to be so; but she will not hold her Happiness upon so precarious a Tenure, whilst her Mind is adorned with Beauties of a more exalted and lasting Nature. When in the full Bloom of Youth and Beauty we saw her surrounded with a Crowd of Adorers, she took no Pleasure in Slaughter and Destruction, gave no false deluding Hopes which might encrease the Torments of her disappointed Lovers; but having for some Time given to the Decency of a Virgin Coyness, and examined the Merit of their several Pretensions, she at length gratified her own, by resigning herself to the ardent Passion of Bromius. Bromius was then Master of many good Qualities and a moderate Fortune, which was soon after unexpectedly encreased to a plentiful Estate. This for a good while proved his Misfortune, as it furnished his unexperienced Age with the Opportunities of Evil Company and a sensual Life. He might have longer wandered in the Labyrinths of Vice and Folly, had not Emilia's prudent Conduct won him over to the Government of his Reason. Her Ingenuity has been constantly employed in humanizing his Passions and refining his Pleasures. She shewed him by her own Example, that Virtue is consistent with decent Freedoms and good Humour, or rather, that it cannot subsist without em. Her good Sense readily instructed her, that a silent Example and an easie unrepining Behaviour, will always be more perswasive than the Severity of Lectures and Admonitions; and that there is so much Pride interwoven into the Make of human Nature, that an obstinate Man must only take the Hint from another, and then be left to advise and correct himself. Thus by an artful Train of Management and unseen Perswasions, having at first brought him not to dislike, and at length to be pleased with that which otherwise he would not have bore to hear of, she then knew how to press and secure this Advantage, by approving it as his Thoughts, and seconding it as his Proposal. By this Means she has gained an Interest in some of his leading Passions, and made them accessary to his Reformation.

There is another Particular of Emilia's Conduct which I cant forbear mentioning: To some perhaps it may at first Sight appear but a trifling inconsiderable Circumstance but for my Part, I think it highly worthy of Observation, and to be recommended to the Consideration of the fair Sex. I have often thought wrapping Gowns and dirty Linnen, with all that huddled Oeconomy of Dress which passes under the general Name of a Mob, the Bane of conjugal Love, and one of the readiest Means imaginable to alienate the Affection of an Husband, especially a fond one. I have heard some Ladies, who have been surprized by Company in such a Deshabille, apologize for it after this Manner; Truly I am ashamed to be caught in this Pickle; but my Husband and I were sitting all alone by our selves, and I did not expect to see such good Company—This by the way is a fine Compliment to the good Man, which tis ten to one but he returns in dogged Answers and a churlish Behaviour, without knowing what it is that puts him out of Humour.

Emilia's Observation teaches her, that as little Inadvertencies and Neglects cast a Blemish upon a great Character; so the Neglect of Apparel, even among the most intimate Friends, does insensibly lessen their Regards to each other, by creating a Familiarity too low and contemptible. She understands the Importance of those Things which the Generality account Trifles; and considers every thing as a Matter of Consequence, that has the least Tendency towards keeping up or abating the Affection of her Husband; him she esteems as a fit Object to employ her Ingenuity in pleasing, because he is to be pleased for Life.

By the Help of these, and a thousand other nameless Arts, which tis easier for her to practise than for another to express, by the Obstinacy of her Goodness and unprovoked Submission, in spight of all her Afflictions and ill Usage, Bromius is become a Man of Sense and a kind Husband, and Emilia a happy Wife.

Ye guardian Angels to whose Care Heaven has entrusted its dear Emilia, guide her still forward in the Paths of Virtue, defend her from the Insolence and Wrongs of this undiscerning World; at length when we must no more converse with such Purity on Earth, lead her gently hence innocent and unreprovable to a better Place, where by an easie Transition from what she now is, she may shine forth an Angel of Light.

T.



[Footnote 1: The character of Emilia in this paper was by Dr. Bromer, a clergyman. The lady is said to have been the mother of Mr. Ascham, of Conington, in Cambridgeshire, and grandmother of Lady Hatton. The letter has been claimed also for John Hughes (Letters of John Hughes, &c., vol. iii. p. 8), and Emilia identified with Anne, Countess of Coventry.]

[Footnote 2: [some other]]



* * * * *



No. 303. Saturday, February 16, 1712. Addison.



—volet haec sub luce videri, Judicis argulum quae non formidat acumen.

Hor.



I have seen in the Works of a Modern Philosopher, a Map of the Spots in the Sun. My last Paper of the Faults and Blemishes in Milton's Paradise Lost, may be considered as a Piece of the same Nature. To pursue the Allusion: As it is observed, that among the bright Parts of the Luminous Body above mentioned, there are some which glow more intensely, and dart a stronger Light than others; so, notwithstanding I have already shewn Milton's Poem to be very beautiful in general, I shall now proceed to take Notice of such Beauties as appear to me more exquisite than the rest. Milton has proposed the Subject of his Poem in the following Verses.

Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought Death into the World and all our woe, With loss of Eden, till one greater Man Restore us, and regain the blisful Seat, Sing Heavenly Muse—

These Lines are perhaps as plain, simple and unadorned as any of the whole Poem, in which Particular the Author has conformed himself to the Example of Homer and the Precept of Horace.

His Invocation to a Work which turns in a great measure upon the Creation of the World, is very properly made to the Muse who inspired Moses in those Books from whence our Author drew his Subject, and to the Holy Spirit who is therein represented as operating after a particular manner in the first Production of Nature. This whole Exordium rises very happily into noble Language and Sentiment, as I think the Transition to the Fable is exquisitely beautiful and natural.

The Nine Days Astonishment, in which the Angels lay entranced after their dreadful Overthrow and Fall from Heaven, before they could recover either the use of Thought or Speech, is a noble Circumstance, and very finely imagined. The Division of Hell into Seas of Fire, and into firm Ground impregnated with the same furious Element, with that particular Circumstance of the Exclusion of Hope from those Infernal Regions, are Instances of the same great and fruitful Invention.

The Thoughts in the first Speech and Description of Satan, who is one of the Principal Actors in this Poem, are wonderfully proper to give us a full Idea of him. His Pride, Envy and Revenge, Obstinacy, Despair and Impenitence, are all of them very artfully interwoven. In short, his first Speech is a Complication of all those Passions which discover themselves separately in several other of his Speeches in the Poem. The whole part of this great Enemy of Mankind is filled with such Incidents as are very apt to raise and terrifie the Readers Imagination. Of this nature, in the Book now before us, is his being the first that awakens out of the general Trance, with his Posture on the burning Lake, his rising from it, and the Description of his Shield and Spear.

Thus Satan talking to his nearest Mate, With head up-lift above the wave, and eyes That sparkling blazed, his other parts beside Prone on the Flood, extended long and large, Lay floating many a rood—

Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool His mighty Stature; on each hand the flames Drivn backward slope their pointing Spires, and roared In Billows, leave i'th midst a horrid vale. Then with expanded wings he steers his flight Aloft, incumbent on the dusky Air That felt unusual weight—

—His pondrous Shield Ethereal temper, massie, large and round, Behind him cast; the broad circumference Hung on his Shoulders like the Moon, whose orb Thro Optick Glass the Tuscan Artist views At Evning, from the top of Fesole, Or in Valdarno, to descry new Lands, Rivers, or Mountains, on her spotted Globe. His Spear (to equal which the tallest pine Hewn on Norwegian Hills to be the Mast Of some great Admiral, were but a wand) He walk'd with, to support uneasie Steps Over the burning Marl—

To which we may add his Call to the fallen Angels that lay plunged and stupified in the Sea of Fire.

He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep Of Hell resounded—

But there is no single Passage in the whole Poem worked up to a greater Sublimity, than that wherein his Person is described in those celebrated Lines:

—He, above the rest In shape and gesture proudly eminent Stood like a Tower, &c.

His Sentiments are every way answerable to his Character, and suitable to a created Being of the most exalted and most depraved Nature. Such is that in which he takes Possession of his Place of Torments.

—Hail Horrors! hail Infernal World! and thou profoundest Hell Receive thy new Possessor, one who brings A mind not to be changed by place or time.

And Afterwards,

—Here at least We shall be free; th'Almighty hath not built Here for his envy, will not drive us hence: Here we may reign secure; and in my choice To reign is worth Ambition, tho in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heavn.

Amidst those Impieties which this Enraged Spirit utters in other places of the Poem, the Author has taken care to introduce none that is not big with absurdity, and incapable of shocking a Religious Reader; his Words, as the Poet himself describes them, bearing only a Semblance of Worth, not Substance. He is likewise with great Art described as owning his Adversary to be Almighty. Whatever perverse Interpretation he puts on the Justice, Mercy, and other Attributes of the Supreme Being, he frequently confesses his Omnipotence, that being the Perfection he was forced to allow him, and the only Consideration which could support his Pride under the Shame of his Defeat.

Nor must I here omit that beautiful Circumstance of his bursting out in Tears, upon his Survey of those innumerable Spirits whom he had involved in the same Guilt and Ruin with himself.

—He now prepared To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend From wing to wing, and half enclose him round With all his Peers: Attention held them mute. Thrice he assayed, and thrice in spite of Scorn Tears such as Angels weep, burst forth—

The Catalogue of Evil Spirits has abundance of Learning in it, and a very agreeable turn of Poetry, which rises in a great measure from [its [1]] describing the Places where they were worshipped, by those beautiful Marks of Rivers so frequent among the Ancient Poets. The Author had doubtless in this place Homers Catalogue of Ships, and Virgil's List of Warriors, in his View. The Characters of Moloch and Belial prepare the Readers Mind for their respective Speeches and Behaviour in the second and sixth Book. The Account of Thammuz is finely Romantick, and suitable to what we read among the Ancients of the Worship which was paid to that Idol.

—Thammuz came next behind. Whose annual Wound in Lebanon allured The Syrian Damsels to lament his fate, In amorous Ditties all a Summers day, While smooth Adonis from his native Rock Ran purple to the Sea, supposed with Blood Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the Love tale Infected Zion's Daughters with like Heat, Whose wanton Passions in the sacred Porch Ezekiel saw, when by the Vision led His Eye survey'd the dark Idolatries Of alienated Judah.—

The Reader will pardon me if I insert as a Note on this beautiful Passage, the Account given us by the late ingenious Mr. Maundrell [2] of this Ancient Piece of Worship, and probably the first Occasion of such a Superstition.

We came to a fair large River—doubtless the Ancient River Adonis, so famous for the Idolatrous Rites performed here in Lamentation of Adonis. We had the Fortune to see what may be supposed to be the Occasion of that Opinion which Lucian relates, concerning this River, viz. That this Stream, at certain Seasons of the Year, especially about the Feast of Adonis, is of a bloody Colour; which the Heathens looked upon as proceeding from a kind of Sympathy in the River for the Death of Adonis, who was killed by a wild Boar in the Mountains, out of which this Stream rises. Something like this we saw actually come to pass; for the Water was stain'd to a surprizing Redness; and, as we observ'd in Travelling, had discolour'd the Sea a great way into a reddish Hue, occasion'd doubtless by a sort of Minium, or red Earth, washed into the River by the Violence of the Rain, and not by any Stain from Adonis's Blood.

The Passage in the Catalogue, explaining the manner how Spirits transform themselves by Contractions or Enlargement of their Dimensions, is introduced with great Judgment, to make way for several surprizing Accidents in the Sequel of the Poem. There follows one, at the very End of the first Book, which is what the French Criticks call Marvellous, but at the same time probable by reason of the Passage last mentioned. As soon as the Infernal Palace is finished, we are told the Multitude and Rabble of Spirits immediately shrunk themselves into a small Compass, that there might be Room for such a numberless Assembly in this capacious Hall. But it is the Poets Refinement upon this Thought which I most admire, and which is indeed very noble in its self. For he tells us, that notwithstanding the vulgar, among the fallen Spirits, contracted their Forms, those of the first Rank and Dignity still preserved their natural Dimensions.

Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest Forms Reduced their Shapes immense, and were at large, Though without Number, still amidst the Hall Of that Infernal Court. But far within, And in their own Dimensions like themselves, The great Seraphick Lords and Cherubim, In close recess and secret conclave sate, A thousand Demy-Gods on Golden Seats, Frequent and full—

The Character of Mammon and the Description of the Pandaemonium, are full of Beauties.

There are several other Strokes in the first Book wonderfully poetical, and Instances of that Sublime Genius so peculiar to the Author. Such is the Description of Azazel's Stature, and of the Infernal Standard, which he unfurls; as also of that ghastly Light, by which the Fiends appear to one another in their Place of Torments.

The Seat of Desolation, void of Light, Save what the glimmring of those livid Flames Casts pale and dreadful—

The Shout of the whole Host of fallen Angels when drawn up in Battel Array:

—The universal Host up sent A Shout that tore Hells Concave, and beyond Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.

The Review, which the Leader makes of his Infernal Army:

—He thro the armed files Darts his experienc'd eye, and soon traverse The whole Battalion mews, their Order due, Their Visages and Stature as of Gods. Their Number last he sums; and now his Heart Distends with Pride, and hardning in his strength Glories—

The Flash of Light which appear'd upon the drawing of their Swords:

He spake: and to confirm his words outflew Millions of flaming Swords, drawn from the thighs Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden Blaze Far round illumin'd Hell—

The sudden Production of the Pandaemonium;

Anon out of the Earth a Fabrick huge Rose like an Exhalation, with the Sound Of dulcet Symphonies and Voices sweet.

The Artificial Illuminations made in it:

—From the arched Roof Pendent by subtle Magick, many a Row Of Starry Lamps and blazing Crescets, fed With Naphtha and Asphaltus, yielded Light As from a Sky—

There are also several noble Similes and Allusions in the First Book of Paradise Lost. And here I must observe, that when Milton alludes either to Things or Persons, he never quits his Simile till it rises to some very great Idea, which is often foreign to the Occasion that gave Birth to it. The Resemblance does not, perhaps, last above a Line or two, but the Poet runs on with the Hint till he has raised out of it some glorious Image or Sentiment, proper to inflame the Mind of the Reader, and to give it that sublime kind of Entertainment, which is suitable to the Nature of an Heroick Poem. Those who are acquainted with Homers and Virgil's way of Writing, cannot but be pleased with this kind of Structure in Milton's Similitudes. I am the more particular on this Head, because ignorant Readers, who have formed their Taste upon the quaint Similes, and little Turns of Wit, which are so much in Vogue among Modern Poets, cannot relish these Beauties which are of a much higher Nature, and are therefore apt to censure Milton's Comparisons in which they do not see any surprizing Points of Likeness. Monsieur Perrault was a Man of this viciated Relish, and for that very Reason has endeavoured to turn into Ridicule several of Homers Similitudes, which he calls Comparisons a longue queue, Long-tail's Comparisons. [3] I shall conclude this Paper on the First Book of Milton with the Answer which Monsieur Boileau makes to Perrault on this Occasion;

Comparisons, says he, in Odes and Epic Poems, are not introduced only to illustrate and embellish the Discourse, but to amuse and relax the Mind of the Reader, by frequently disengaging him from too painful an Attention to the Principal Subject, and by leading him into other agreeable Images. Homer, says he, excelled in this Particular, whose Comparisons abound with such Images of Nature as are proper to relieve and diversifie his Subjects. He continually instructs the Reader, and makes him take notice, even in Objects which are every Day before our Eyes, of such Circumstances as we should not otherwise have observed.

To this he adds, as a Maxim universally acknowledged,

That it is not necessary in Poetry for the Points of the Comparison to correspond with one another exactly, but that a general Resemblance is sufficient, and that too much Nicety in this Particular favours of the Rhetorician and Epigrammatist.

In short, if we look into the Conduct of Homer, Virgil and Milton, as the great Fable is the Soul of each Poem, so to give their Works an agreeable Variety, their Episodes are so many short Fables, and their Similes so many short Episodes; to which you may add, if you please, that their Metaphors are so many short Similes. If the Reader considers the Comparisons in the first Book of Milton, of the Sun in an Eclipse, of the Sleeping Leviathan, of the Bees swarming about their Hive, of the Fairy Dance, in the view wherein I have here placed them, he will easily discover the great Beauties that are in each of those Passages.

L.



[Footnote 1: [his]]

[Footnote 2: A journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem at Easter, A.D. 1697. By Henry Maundrell, M.A. It was published at Oxford in 1703, and was in a new edition in 1707. It reached a seventh edition in 1749. Maundrell was a Fellow of Exter College, which he left to take the appointment of chaplain to the English factory at Aleppo. The brief account of his journey is in the form of a diary, and the passage quoted is under the date, March 15, when they were two days journey from Tripoli. The stream he identifies with the Adonis was called, he says, by Turks Ibrahim Pasha. It is near Gibyle, called by the Greeks Byblus, a place once famous for the birth and temple of Adonis. The extract from Paradise Lost and the passage from Maundrell were interpolated in the first reprint of the Spectator.]

[Footnote 3: See note to No. 279. Charles Perrault made himself a lasting name by his Fairy Tales, a charming embodiment of French nursery traditions. The four volumes of his Paraliele des Anciens et des Modernes 1692-6, included the good general idea of human progress, but worked it out badly, dealing irreverently with Plato as well as Homer and Pindar, and exalting among the moderns not only Moliere and Corneille, but also Chapelain, Scuderi, and Quinault, whom he called the greatest lyrical and dramatic poet that France ever had. The battle had begun with a debate in the Academy: Racine having ironically complimented Perrault on the ingenuity with which he had elevated little men above the ancients in his poem (published 1687), le Siecle de Louis le Grand. Fontenelle touched the matter lightly, as Perraults ally, in his Digression sur les Anciens et les Modernes but afterwards drew back, saying, I do not belong to the party which claims me for its chief. The leaders on the respective sides, unequally matched, were Perrault and Boileau.]



* * * * *



No. 304. Monday, February 18, 1712. Steele.



Vulnus alit venis et caeco carpitur igni.

Virg.



The Circumstances of my Correspondent, whose Letter I now insert, are so frequent, that I cannot want Compassion so much as to forbear laying it before the Town. There is something so mean and inhuman in a direct Smithfield Bargain for Children, that if this Lover carries his Point, and observes the Rules he pretends to follow, I do not only wish him Success, but also that it may animate others to follow his Example. I know not one Motive relating to this Life which would produce so many honourable and worthy Actions, as the Hopes of obtaining a Woman of Merit: There would ten thousand Ways of Industry and honest Ambition be pursued by young Men, who believed that the Persons admired had Value enough for their Passion to attend the Event of their good Fortune in all their Applications, in order to make their Circumstances fall in with the Duties they owe to themselves, their Families, and their Country; All these Relations a Man should think of who intends to go into the State of Marriage, and expects to make it a State of Pleasure and Satisfaction.

Mr. SPECTATOR,

I have for some Years indulged a Passion for a young Lady of Age and Quality suitable to my own, but very much superior in Fortune. It is the Fashion with Parents (how justly I leave you to judge) to make all Regards give way to the Article of Wealth. From this one Consideration it is that I have concealed the ardent Love I have for her; but I am beholden to the Force of my Love for many Advantages which I reaped from it towards the better Conduct of my Life. A certain Complacency to all the World, a strong Desire to oblige where-ever it lay in my Power, and a circumspect Behaviour in all my Words and Actions, have rendered me more particularly acceptable to all my Friends and Acquaintance. Love has had the same good Effect upon my Fortune; and I have encreased in Riches in proportion to my Advancement in those Arts which make a man agreeable and amiable. There is a certain Sympathy which will tell my Mistress from these Circumstances, that it is I who writ this for her Reading, if you will please to insert it. There is not a downright Enmity, but a great Coldness between our Parents; so that if either of us declared any kind Sentiment for each other, her Friends would be very backward to lay an Obligation upon our Family, and mine to receive it from hers. Under these delicate Circumstances it is no easie Matter to act with Safety. I have no Reason to fancy my Mistress has any Regard for me, but from a very disinterested Value which I have for her. If from any Hint in any future Paper of yours she gives me the least Encouragement, I doubt not but I shall surmount all other Difficulties; and inspired by so noble a Motive for the Care of my Fortune, as the Belief she is to be concerned in it, I will not despair of receiving her one Day from her Fathers own Hand.

I am, SIR, Your most obedient humble Servant, Clytander.

To his Worship the SPECTATOR,

The humble Petition of Anthony Title-Page, Stationer, in the Centre of Lincoln's-Inn-Fields,

Sheweth, That your Petitioner and his Fore-Fathers have been Sellers of Books for Time immemorial; That your Petitioners Ancestor, Crouchback Title-Page, was the first of that Vocation in Britain; who keeping his Station (in fair Weather) at the Corner of Lothbury, was by way of Eminency called the Stationer, a Name which from him all succeeding Booksellers have affected to bear: That the Station of your Petitioner and his Father has been in the Place of his present Settlement ever since that Square has been built: That your Petitioner has formerly had the Honour of your Worships Custom, and hopes you never had Reason to complain of your Penny-worths; that particularly he sold you your first Lilly's Grammar, and at the same Time a Wits Commonwealth almost as good as new: Moreover, that your first rudimental Essays in Spectatorship were made in your Petitioners Shop, where you often practised for Hours together, sometimes on his Books upon the Rails, sometimes on the little Hieroglyphicks either gilt, silvered, or plain, which the Egyptian Woman on the other Side of the Shop had wrought in Gingerbread, and sometimes on the English Youth, who in sundry Places there were exercising themselves in the traditional Sports of the Field.

From these Considerations it is, that your Petitioner is encouraged to apply himself to you, and to proceed humbly to acquaint your Worship, That he has certain Intelligence that you receive great Numbers of defamatory Letters designed by their Authors to be published, which you throw aside and totally neglect: Your Petitioner therefore prays, that you will please to bestow on him those Refuse Letters, and he hopes by printing them to get a more plentiful Provision for his Family; or at the worst, he may be allowed to sell them by the Pound Weight to his good Customers the Pastry-Cooks of London and Westminster. And your Petitioner shall ever pray, &c.



To the SPECTATOR,

The humble Petition of Bartholomew Ladylove, of Round-Court in the Parish of St. Martins in the Fields, in Behalf of himself and Neighbours,

Sheweth,

That your Petitioners have with great Industry and Application arrived at the most exact Art of Invitation or Entreaty: That by a beseeching Air and perswasive Address, they have for many Years last past peaceably drawn in every tenth Passenger, whether they intended or not to call at their Shops, to come in and buy; and from that Softness of Behaviour, have arrived among Tradesmen at the gentle Appellation of the Fawners.

That there have of late set up amongst us certain Persons of Monmouth-street and Long-lane, who by the Strength of their Arms, and Loudness of their Throats, draw off the Regard of all Passengers from your said Petitioners; from which Violence they are distinguished by the Name of the Worriers.

That while your Petitioners stand ready to receive Passengers with a submissive Bow, and repeat with a gentle Voice, Ladies, what do you want? pray look in here; the Worriers reach out their Hands at Pistol-shot, and seize the Customers at Arms Length.

That while the Fawners strain and relax the Muscles of their Faces in making Distinction between a Spinster in a coloured Scarf and an Handmaid in a Straw-Hat, the Worriers use the same Roughness to both, and prevail upon the Easiness of the Passengers, to the Impoverishment of your Petitioners.

Your Petitioners therefore most humbly pray, that the Worriers may not be permitted to inhabit the politer Parts of the Town; and that Round-Court may remain a Receptacle for Buyers of a more soft Education.

And your Petitioners, &c.

The Petition of the New-Exchange, concerning the Arts of Buying and Selling, and particularly valuing Goods by the Complexion of the Seller, will be considered on another Occasion.

T.



* * * * *



No. 305. Tuesday, February 19, 1712. Addison.



Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis Tempus eget.

Virg.



Our late News-Papers being full of the Project now on foot in the Court of France, for Establishing a Political Academy, and I my self having received Letters from several Virtuosos among my Foreign Correspondents, which give some Light into that Affair, I intend to make it the Subject of this Days Speculation. A general Account of this Project may be met with in the Daily Courant of last Friday in the following Words, translated from the Gazette of Amsterdam.

Paris, February 12. Tis confirmed that the King has resolved to establish a new Academy for Politicks, of which the Marquis de Torcy, Minister and Secretary of State, is to be Protector. Six Academicians are to be chosen, endowed with proper Talents, for beginning to form this Academy, into which no Person is to be admitted under Twenty-five Years of Age: They must likewise each have an Estate of Two thousand Livres a Year, either in Possession, or to come to em by Inheritance. The King will allow to each a Pension of a Thousand Livres. They are likewise to have able Masters to teach em the necessary Sciences, and to instruct them in all the Treaties of Peace, Alliance, and others, which have been made in several Ages past. These Members are to meet twice a Week at the Louvre. From this Seminary are to be chosen Secretaries to Ambassies, who by degrees may advance to higher Employments.

Cardinal Richelieus Politicks made France the Terror of Europe. The Statesmen who have appeared in the Nation of late Years, have on the contrary rendered it either the Pity or Contempt of its Neighbours. The Cardinal erected that famous Academy which has carried all the Parts of Polite Learning to the greatest Height. His chief Design in that Institution was to divert the Men of Genius from meddling with Politicks, a Province in which he did not care to have any one else interfere with him. On the contrary, the Marquis de Torcy seems resolved to make several young Men in France as Wise as himself, and is therefore taken up at present in establishing a Nursery of Statesmen.

Some private Letters add, that there will also be erected a Seminary of Petticoat Politicians, who are to be brought up at the Feet of Madam de Maintenon, and to be dispatched into Foreign Courts upon any Emergencies of State; but as the News of this last Project has not been yet confirmed, I shall take no farther Notice of it.

Several of my Readers may doubtless remember that upon the Conclusion of the last War, which had been carried on so successfully by the Enemy, their Generals were many of them transformed into Ambassadors; but the Conduct of those who have commanded in the present War, has, it seems, brought so little Honour and Advantage to their great Monarch, that he is resolved to trust his Affairs no longer in the Hands of those Military Gentlemen.

The Regulations of this new Academy very much deserve our Attention. The Students are to have in Possession, or Reversion, an Estate of two thousand French Livres per Annum, which, as the present Exchange runs, will amount to at least one hundred and twenty six Pounds English. This, with the Royal Allowance of a Thousand Livres, will enable them to find themselves in Coffee and Snuff; not to mention News-Papers, Pen and Ink, Wax and Wafers, with the like Necessaries for Politicians.

A Man must be at least Five and Twenty before he can be initiated into the Mysteries of this Academy, tho there is no Question but many grave Persons of a much more advanced Age, who have been constant Readers of the Paris Gazette, will be glad to begin the World a-new, and enter themselves upon this List of Politicians.

The Society of these hopeful young Gentlemen is to be under the Direction of six Professors, who, it seems, are to be Speculative Statesmen, and drawn out of the Body of the Royal Academy. These six wise Masters, according to my private Letters, are to have the following Parts allotted them.

The first is to instruct the Students in State Legerdemain, as how to take off the Impression of a Seal, to split a Wafer, to open a Letter, to fold it up again, with other the like ingenious Feats of Dexterity and Art. When the Students have accomplished themselves in this Part of their Profession, they are to be delivered into the Hands of their second Instructor, who is a kind of Posture-Master.

This Artist is to teach them how to nod judiciously, to shrug up their Shoulders in a dubious Case, to connive with either Eye, and in a Word, the whole Practice of Political Grimace.

The Third is a sort of Language-Master, who is to instruct them in the Style proper for a Foreign Minister in his ordinary Discourse. And to the End that this College of Statesmen may be thoroughly practised in the Political Style, they are to make use of it in their common Conversations, before they are employed either in Foreign or Domestick Affairs. If one of them asks another, what a-clock it is, the other is to answer him indirectly, and, if possible, to turn off the Question. If he is desired to change a Louis d'or, he must beg Time to consider of it. If it be enquired of him, whether the King is at Versailles or Marly, he must answer in a Whisper. If he be asked the News of the late Gazette, or the Subject of a Proclamation, he is to reply, that he has not yet read it: Or if he does not care for explaining himself so far, he needs only draw his Brow up in Wrinkles, or elevate the Left Shoulder.

The Fourth Professor is to teach the whole Art of Political Characters and Hieroglyphics; and to the End that they may be perfect also in this Practice, they are not to send a Note to one another (tho it be but to borrow a Tacitus or a Machiavil) which is not written in Cypher.

Their Fifth Professor, it is thought, will be chosen out of the Society of Jesuits, and is to be well read in the Controversies of probable Doctrines, mental Reservation, and the Rights of Princes. This Learned Man is to instruct them in the Grammar, Syntax, and construing Part of Treaty-Latin; how to distinguish between the Spirit and the Letter, and likewise demonstrate how the same Form of Words may lay an Obligation upon any Prince in Europe, different from that which it lays upon his Most Christian Majesty. He is likewise to teach them the Art of finding Flaws, Loop-holes, and Evasions, in the most solemn Compacts, and particularly a great Rabbinical Secret, revived of late Years by the Fraternity of Jesuits, namely, that contradictory Interpretations, of the same Article may both of them be true and valid.

When our Statesmen are sufficiently improved by these several Instructors, they are to receive their last Polishing from one who is to act among them as Master of the Ceremonies. This Gentleman is to give them Lectures upon those important Points of the Elbow Chair, and the Stair Head, to instruct them in the different Situations of the Right-Hand, and to furnish them with Bows and Inclinations of all Sizes, Measures and Proportions. In short, this Professor is to give the Society their Stiffening, and infuse into their Manners that beautiful Political Starch, which may qualifie them for Levees, Conferences, Visits, and make them shine in what vulgar Minds are apt to look upon as Trifles. I have not yet heard any further Particulars, which are to be observed in this Society of unfledged Statesmen; but I must confess, had I a Son of five and twenty, that should take it into his Head at that Age to set up for a Politician, I think I should go near to disinherit him for a Block-head. Besides, I should be apprehensive lest the same Arts which are to enable him to negotiate between Potentates might a little infect his ordinary behaviour between Man and Man. There is no Question but these young Machiavil's will, in a little time, turn their College upside-down with Plots and Stratagems, and lay as many Schemes to Circumvent one another in a Frog or a Sallad, as they may hereafter put in Practice to over-reach a Neighbouring Prince or State.

We are told, that the Spartans, tho they punished Theft in their young Men when it was discovered, looked upon it as Honourable if it succeeded. Provided the Conveyance was clean and unsuspected, a Youth might afterwards boast of it. This, say the Historians, was to keep them sharp, and to hinder them from being imposed upon, either in their publick or private Negotiations. Whether any such Relaxations of Morality, such little jeux desprit, ought not to be allowed in this intended Seminary of Politicians, I shall leave to the Wisdom of their Founder.

In the mean time we have fair Warning given us by this doughty Body of Statesmen: and as Sylla saw many Marius's in Caesar, so I think we may discover many Torcys in this College of Academicians. Whatever we think of our selves, I am afraid neither our Smyrna or St. James's will be a Match for it. Our Coffee-houses are, indeed, very good Institutions, but whether or no these our British Schools of Politicks may furnish out as able Envoys and Secretaries as an Academy that is set apart for that Purpose, will deserve our serious Consideration, especially if we remember that our Country is more famous for producing Men of Integrity than Statesmen; and that on the contrary, French Truth and British Policy make a Conspicuous Figure in NOTHING, as the Earl of Rochester has very well observed in his admirable Poem upon that Barren Subject.

L.



* * * * *



No. 306. Wednesday, February 20, 1712. Steele.

Quae forma, ut se tibi semper Imputet?

Juv.

Mr. SPECTATOR, [1]

I write this to communicate to you a Misfortune which frequently happens, and therefore deserves a consolatory Discourse on the Subject. I was within this Half-Year in the Possession of as much Beauty and as many Lovers as any young Lady in England. But my Admirers have left me, and I cannot complain of their Behaviour. I have within that Time had the Small-Pox; and this Face, which (according to many amorous Epistles which I have by me) was the Seat of all that is beautiful in Woman, is now disfigured with Scars. It goes to the very Soul of me to speak what I really think of my Face; and tho I think I did not over-rate my Beauty while I had it, it has extremely advanc'd in its value with me now it is lost. There is one Circumstance which makes my Case very particular; the ugliest Fellow that ever pretended to me, was and is most in my Favour, and he treats me at present the most unreasonably. If you could make him return an Obligation which he owes me, in liking a Person that is not amiable;—But there is, I fear, no Possibility of making Passion move by the Rules of Reason and Gratitude. But say what you can to one who has survived her self, and knows not how to act in a new Being. My Lovers are at the Feet of my Rivals, my Rivals are every Day bewailing me, and I cannot enjoy what I am, by reason of the distracting Reflection upon what I was. Consider the Woman I was did not die of old Age, but I was taken off in the Prime of my Youth, and according to the Course of Nature may have Forty Years After-Life to come. I have nothing of my self left which I like, but that I am, SIR, Your most humble Servant, Parthenissa.

When Lewis of France had lost the Battle of Ramelies, the Addresses to him at that time were full of his Fortitude, and they turned his Misfortune to his Glory; in that, during his Prosperity, he could never have manifested his heroick Constancy under Distresses, and so the World had lost the most eminent Part of his Character. Parthenissa's Condition gives her the same Opportunity; and to resign Conquests is a Task as difficult in a Beauty as an Hero. In the very Entrance upon this Work she must burn all her Love-Letters; or since she is so candid as not to call her Lovers who follow her no longer Unfaithful, it would be a very good beginning of a new Life from that of a Beauty, to send them back to those who writ them, with this honest Inscription, Articles of a Marriage Treaty broken off by the Small-Pox. I have known but one Instance, where a Matter of this Kind went on after a like Misfortune, where the Lady, who was a Woman of Spirit, writ this Billet to her Lover.

SIR, If you flattered me before I had this terrible Malady, pray come and see me now: But if you sincerely liked me, stay away; for I am not the same Corinna.

The Lover thought there was something so sprightly in her Behaviour, that he answered,

Madam, I am not obliged, since you are not the same Woman, to let you know whether I flattered you or not; but I assure you, I do not, when I tell you I now like you above all your Sex, and hope you will bear what may befall me when we are both one, as well as you do what happens to your self now you are single; therefore I am ready to take such a Spirit for my Companion as soon as you please. Amilcar.

If Parthenissa can now possess her own Mind, and think as little of her Beauty as she ought to have done when she had it, there will be no great Diminution of her Charms; and if she was formerly affected too much with them, an easie Behaviour will more than make up for the Loss of them. Take the whole Sex together, and you find those who have the strongest Possession of Mens Hearts are not eminent for their Beauty: You see it often happen that those who engage Men to the greatest Violence, are such as those who are Strangers to them would take to be remarkably defective for that End. The fondest Lover I know, said to me one Day in a Crowd of Women at an Entertainment of Musick, You have often heard me talk of my Beloved: That Woman there, continued he, smiling when he had fixed my Eye, is her very Picture. The Lady he shewed me was by much the least remarkable for Beauty of any in the whole Assembly; but having my Curiosity extremely raised, I could not keep my Eyes off of her. Her Eyes at last met mine, and with a sudden Surprize she looked round her to see who near her was remarkably handsome that I was gazing at. This little Act explain'd the Secret: She did not understand herself for the Object of Love, and therefore she was so. The Lover is a very honest plain Man; and what charmed him was a Person that goes along with him in the Cares and Joys of Life, not taken up with her self, but sincerely attentive with a ready and chearful Mind, to accompany him in either.

I can tell Parthenissa for her Comfort, That the Beauties, generally speaking, are the most impertinent and disagreeable of Women. An apparent Desire of Admiration, a Reflection upon their own Merit, and a precious Behaviour in their general Conduct, are almost inseparable Accidents in Beauties. All you obtain of them is granted to Importunity and Sollicitation for what did not deserve so much of your Time, and you recover from the Possession of it, as out of a Dream.

You are ashamed of the Vagaries of Fancy which so strangely mis-led you, and your Admiration of a Beauty, merely as such, is inconsistent with a tolerable Reflection upon your self: The chearful good-humoured Creatures, into whose Heads it never entred that they could make any Man unhappy, are the Persons formed for making Men happy. There's Miss Liddy can dance a Jigg, raise Paste, write a good Hand, keep an Account, give a reasonable Answer, and do as she is bid; while her elder Sister Madam Martha is out of Humour, has the Spleen, learns by Reports of People of higher Quality new Ways of being uneasie and displeased. And this happens for no Reason in the World, but that poor Liddy knows she has no such thing as a certain Negligence that is so becoming, that there is not I know not what in her Air: And that if she talks like a Fool, there is no one will say, Well! I know not what it is, but every Thing pleases when she speaks it.

Ask any of the Husbands of your great Beauties, and they'll tell you that they hate their Wives Nine Hours of every Day they pass together. There is such a Particularity for ever affected by them, that they are incumbered with their Charms in all they say or do. They pray at publick Devotions as they are Beauties. They converse on ordinary Occasions as they are Beauties. Ask Belinda what it is a Clock, and she is at a stand whether so great a Beauty should answer you. In a Word, I think, instead of offering to administer Consolation to Parthenissa, I should congratulate her Metamorphosis; and however she thinks she was not in the least insolent in the Prosperity of her Charms, she was enough so to find she may make her self a much more agreeable Creature in her present Adversity. The Endeavour to please is highly promoted by a Consciousness that the Approbation of the Person you would be agreeable to, is a Favour you do not deserve; for in this Case Assurance of Success is the most certain way to Disappointment. Good-Nature will always supply the Absence of Beauty, but Beauty cannot long supply the Absence of Good-Nature.

P. S.

Madam, February 18. I have yours of this Day, wherein you twice bid me not to disoblige you, but you must explain yourself further before I know what to do. Your most obedient Servant, The SPECTATOR.

T.



[Footnote 1: Mr. John Duncombe ascribed this letter to his relative, John Hughes, and said that by Parthenissa was meant a Miss Rotherham, afterwards married to the Rev. Mr. Wyatt, master of Felsted School, in Essex. The name of Parthenissa is from the heroine of a romance by Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery.]



* * * * *



No. 307. Thursday, February 21, 1712. Budgell.



—Versate diu quid ferre recusent Quid valeant humeri—

Hor.



I am so well pleased with the following Letter, that I am in hopes it will not be a disagreeable Present to the Publick.



Sir, Though I believe none of your Readers more admire your agreeable manner of working up Trifles than my self, yet as your Speculations are now swelling into Volumes, and will in all Probability pass down to future Ages, methinks I would have no single Subject in them, wherein the general Good of Mankind is concern'd, left unfinished.

I have a long time expected with great Impatience that you would enlarge upon the ordinary Mistakes which are committed in the Education of our Children. I the more easily flattered my self that you would one time or other resume this Consideration, because you tell us that your 168th Paper was only composed of a few broken Hints; but finding myself hitherto disappointed, I have ventur'd to send you my own Thoughts on this Subject.

I remember Pericles in his famous Oration at the Funeral of those Athenian young Men who perished in the Samian Expedition, has a Thought very much celebrated by several Ancient Criticks, namely, That the Loss which the Commonwealth suffered by the Destruction of its Youth, was like the Loss which the Year would suffer by the Destruction of the Spring. The Prejudice which the Publick sustains from a wrong Education of Children, is an Evil of the same Nature, as it in a manner starves Posterity, and defrauds our Country of those Persons who, with due Care, might make an eminent Figure in their respective Posts of Life.

I have seen a Book written by Juan Huartes,[1] a Spanish Physician, entitled Examen de Ingenios, wherein he lays it down as one of his first Positions, that Nothing but Nature can qualifie a Man for Learning; and that without a proper Temperament for the particular Art or Science which he studies, his utmost Pains and Application, assisted by the ablest Masters, will be to no purpose.

He illustrates this by the Example of Tully's Son Marcus.

Cicero, in order to accomplish his Son in that sort of Learning which he designed him for, sent him to Athens, the most celebrated Academy at that time in the World, and where a vast Concourse, out of the most Polite Nations, could not but furnish a young Gentleman with a Multitude of great Examples, and Accidents that might insensibly have instructed him in his designed Studies: He placed him under the Care of Cratippus, who was one of the greatest Philosophers of the Age, and, as if all the Books which were at that time written had not been sufficient for his Use, he composed others on purpose for him: Notwithstanding all this, History informs us, that Marcus proved a meer Blockhead, and that Nature, (who it seems was even with the Son for her Prodigality to the Father) rendered him incapable of improving by all the Rules of Eloquence, the Precepts of Philosophy, his own Endeavours, and the most refined Conversation in Athens. This Author therefore proposes, that there should be certain Tryers or Examiners appointed by the State to inspect the Genius of every particular Boy, and to allot him the Part that is most suitable to his natural Talents.

Plato in one of his Dialogues tells us, that Socrates, who was the Son of a Midwife, used to say, that as his Mother, tho she was very skilful in her Profession, could not deliver a Woman, unless she was first with Child; so neither could he himself raise Knowledge out of a Mind, where Nature had not planted it.

Accordingly the Method this Philosopher took, of instructing his Scholars by several Interrogatories or Questions, was only helping the Birth, and bringing their own Thoughts to Light.

The Spanish Doctor above mentioned, as his Speculations grow more refined, asserts that every kind of Wit has a particular Science corresponding to it, and in which alone it can be truly Excellent. As to those Genius's, which may seem to have an equal Aptitude for several things, he regards them as so many unfinished Pieces of Nature wrought off in haste.

There are, indeed, but very few to whom Nature has been so unkind, that they are not capable of shining in some Science or other. There is a certain Byass towards Knowledge in every Mind, which may be strengthened and improved by proper Applications.

The Story of Clavius [2] is very well known; he was entered in a College of Jesuits, and after having been tryed at several Parts of Learning, was upon the Point of being dismissed as an hopeless Blockhead, till one of the Fathers took it into his Head to make an assay of his Parts in Geometry, which it seems hit his Genius so luckily that he afterwards became one of the greatest Mathematicians of the Age. It is commonly thought that the Sagacity of these Fathers, in discovering the Talent of a young Student, has not a little contributed to the Figure which their Order has made in the World.

How different from this manner of Education is that which prevails in our own Country? Where nothing is more usual than to see forty or fifty Boys of several Ages, Tempers and Inclinations, ranged together in the same Class, employed upon the same Authors, and enjoyned the same Tasks? Whatever their natural Genius may be, they are all to be made Poets, Historians, and Orators alike. They are all obliged to have the same Capacity, to bring in the same Tale of Verse, and to furnish out the same Portion of Prose. Every Boy is bound to have as good a Memory as the Captain of the Form. To be brief, instead of adapting Studies to the particular Genius of a Youth, we expect from the young Man, that he should adapt his Genius to his Studies. This, I must confess, is not so much to be imputed to the Instructor, as to the Parent, who will never be brought to believe, that his Son is not capable of performing as much as his Neighbours, and that he may not make him whatever he has a Mind to.

If the present Age is more laudable than those which have gone before it in any single Particular, it is in that generous Care which several well-disposed Persons have taken in the Education of poor Children; and as in these Charity-Schools there is no Place left for the over-weening Fondness of a Parent, the Directors of them would make them beneficial to the Publick, if they considered the Precept which I have been thus long inculcating. They might easily, by well examining the Parts of those under their Inspection, make a just Distribution of them into proper Classes and Divisions, and allot to them this or that particular Study, as their Genius qualifies them for Professions, Trades, Handicrafts, or Service by Sea or Land.

How is this kind of Regulation wanting in the three great Professions!

Dr. South complaining of Persons who took upon them Holy Orders, tho altogether unqualified for the Sacred Function, says somewhere, that many a Man runs his Head against a Pulpit, who might have done his Country excellent Service at a Plough-tail.

In like manner many a Lawyer, who makes but an indifferent Figure at the Bar, might have made a very elegant Waterman, and have shined at the Temple Stairs, tho he can get no Business in the House.

I have known a Corn-cutter, who with a right Education would have been an excellent Physician.

To descend lower, are not our Streets filled with sagacious Draymen, and Politicians in Liveries? We have several Taylors of six Foot high, and meet with many a broad pair of Shoulders that are thrown away upon a Barber, when perhaps at the same time we see a pigmy Porter reeling under a Burthen, who might have managed a Needle with much Dexterity, or have snapped his Fingers with great Ease to himself, and Advantage to the Publick.

The Spartans, tho they acted with the Spirit which I am here speaking of, carried it much farther than what I propose: Among them it was not lawful for the Father himself to bring up his Children after his own Fancy. As soon as they were seven Years old they were all listed in several Companies, and disciplined by the Publick. The old Men were Spectators of their Performances, who often raised Quarrels among them, and set them at Strife with one another, that by those early Discoveries they might see how their several Talents lay, and without any regard to their Quality, dispose of them accordingly for the Service of the Commonwealth. By this Means Sparta soon became the Mistress of Greece, and famous through the whole World for her Civil and Military Discipline.

If you think this Letter deserves a place among your Speculations, I may perhaps trouble you with some other Thoughts on the same Subject. I am, &c.

X.



[Footnote 1: Juan Huarte was born in French Navarre, and obtained much credit in the sixteenth century for the book here cited. It was translated into Latin and French. The best edition is of Cologne, 1610.]

[Footnote 2: Christopher Clavius, a native of Bamberg, died in 1612, aged 75, at Rome, whither he had been sent by the Jesuits, and where he was regarded as the Euclid of his age. It was Clavius whom Pope Gregory XIII. employed in 1581 to effect the reform in the Roman Calendar promulgated in 1582, when the 5th of October became throughout Catholic countries the 15th of the New Style, an improvement that was not admitted into Protestant England until 1752. Clavius wrote an Arithmetic and Commentaries on Euclid, and justified his reform of the Calendar against the criticism of Scaliger.]



* * * * *



No. 308. Friday, February 22, 1712. Steele.



Jam proterva Fronte petet Lalage maritum.

Hor.



Mr. SPECTATOR,

I give you this Trouble in order to propose my self to you as an Assistant in the weighty Cares which you have thought fit to undergo for the publick Good. I am a very great Lover of Women, that is to say honestly, and as it is natural to study what one likes, I have industriously applied my self to understand them. The present Circumstance relating to them, is, that I think there wants under you, as SPECTATOR, a Person to be distinguished and vested in the Power and Quality of a Censor on Marriages. I lodge at the Temple, and know, by seeing Women come hither, and afterwards observing them conducted by their Council to Judges Chambers, that there is a Custom in Case of making Conveyance of a Wife's Estate, that she is carried to a Judges Apartment and left alone with him, to be examined in private whether she has not been frightened or sweetned by her Spouse into the Act she is going to do, or whether it is of her own free Will. Now if this be a Method founded upon Reason and Equity, why should there not be also a proper Officer for examining such as are entring into the State of Matrimony, whether they are forced by Parents on one Side, or moved by Interest only on the other, to come together, and bring forth such awkward Heirs as are the Product of half Love and constrained Compliances? There is no Body, though I say it my self, would be fitter for this Office than I am: For I am an ugly Fellow of great Wit and Sagacity. My Father was an hail Country-Squire, my Mother a witty Beauty of no Fortune: The Match was made by Consent of my Mothers Parents against her own: and I am the Child of a Rape on the Wedding-Night; so that I am as healthy and as homely as my Father, but as sprightly and agreeable as my Mother. It would be of great Ease to you if you would use me under you, that Matches might be better regulated for the future, and we might have no more Children of Squabbles. I shall not reveal all my Pretensions till I receive your Answer; and am, Sir, Your most humble Servant, Mules Palfrey.

Mr. Spectator,

I am one of those unfortunate Men within the City-Walls, who am married to a Woman of Quality, but her Temper is something different from that of Lady Anvil. My Lady's whole Time and Thoughts are spent in keeping up to the Mode both in Apparel and Furniture. All the Goods in my House have been changed three times in seven Years. I have had seven Children by her; and by our Marriage Articles she was to have her Apartment new furnished as often as she lay in. Nothing in our House is useful but that which is fashionable; my Pewter holds out generally half a Year, my Plate a full Twelvemonth; Chairs are not fit to sit in that were made two Years since, nor Beds fit for any thing but to sleep in that have stood up above that Time. My Dear is of Opinion that an old-fashioned Grate consumes Coals, but gives no Heat: If she drinks out of Glasses of last Year, she cannot distinguish Wine from Small-Beer. Oh dear Sir you may guess all the rest. Yours.

P. S. I could bear even all this, if I were not obliged also to eat fashionably. I have a plain Stomach, and have a constant Loathing of whatever comes to my own Table; for which Reason I dine at the Chop-House three Days a Week: Where the good Company wonders they never see you of late. I am sure by your unprejudiced Discourses you love Broth better than Soup.

Wills, Feb. 19.

Mr. Spectator, You may believe you are a Person as much talked of as any Man in Town. I am one of your best Friends in this House, and have laid a Wager you are so candid a Man and so honest a Fellow, that you will print this Letter, tho it is in Recommendation of a new Paper called The Historian. [1] I have read it carefully, and find it written with Skill, good Sense, Modesty, and Fire. You must allow the Town is kinder to you than you deserve; and I doubt not but you have so much Sense of the World, Change of Humour, and instability of all humane Things, as to understand, that the only Way to preserve Favour, is to communicate it to others with Good-Nature and Judgment. You are so generally read, that what you speak of will be read. This with Men of Sense and Taste is all that is wanting to recommend The Historian. I am, Sir, Your daily Advocate, Reader Gentle.

I was very much surprised this Morning, that any one should find out my Lodging, and know it so well, as to come directly to my Closet-Door, and knock at it, to give me the following Letter. When I came out I opened it, and saw by a very strong Pair of Shoes and a warm Coat the Bearer had on, that he walked all the Way to bring it me, tho dated from York. My Misfortune is that I cannot talk, and I found the Messenger had so much of me, that he could think better than speak. He had, I observed, a polite Discerning hid under a shrewd Rusticity: He delivered the Paper with a Yorkshire Tone and a Town Leer.

Mr. Spectator, The Privilege you have indulged John Trot has proved of very bad Consequence to our illustrious Assembly, which, besides the many excellent Maxims it is founded upon, is remarkable for the extraordinary Decorum always observed in it. One Instance of which is that the Carders, (who are always of the first Quality) never begin to play till the French-Dances are finished, and the Country-Dances begin: But John Trot having now got your Commission in his Pocket, (which every one here has a profound Respect for) has the Assurance to set up for a Minuit-Dancer. Not only so, but he has brought down upon us the whole Body of the Trots, which are very numerous, with their Auxiliaries the Hobblers and the Skippers, by which Means the Time is so much wasted, that unless we break all Rules of Government, it must redound to the utter Subversion of the Brag-Table, the discreet Members of which value Time as Fribble's Wife does her Pin-Money. We are pretty well assured that your Indulgence to Trot was only in relation to Country-Dances; however we have deferred the issuing an Order of Council upon the Premisses, hoping to get you to join with us, that Trot, nor any of his Clan, presume for the future to dance any but Country-Dances, unless a Horn-Pipe upon a Festival-Day. If you will do this you will oblige a great many Ladies, and particularly Your most humble Servant, Eliz. Sweepstakes. York, Feb. 16.

I never meant any other than that Mr. Trott should confine himself to Country-Dances. And I further direct, that he shall take out none but his own Relations according to their Nearness of Blood, but any Gentlewoman may take out him.

London, Feb. 21.

The Spectator.

T.



[Footnote 1: Steele's papers had many imitations, as the Historian, here named; the Rhapsody, Observator, Moderator, Growler, Censor, Hermit, Surprize, Silent Monitor, Inquisitor, Pilgrim, Restorer, Instructor, Grumbler, &c. There was also in 1712 a Rambler, anticipating the name of Dr. Johnsons Rambler of 1750-2.]



* * * * *



No. 309. Saturday, February 23, 1712. Addison.



Di, quibus imperium est animarum, umbraeque silentes, Et Chaos, et Phlegethon, loca nocte silentia late; Sit mihi fas audita loqui! sit numine vestro Pandere res alta terra et caligine mersas.

Virg.



I have before observed in general, that the Persons whom Milton introduces into his Poem always discover such Sentiments and Behaviour, as are in a peculiar manner conformable to their respective Characters. Every Circumstance in their Speeches and Actions is with great Justness and Delicacy adapted to the Persons who speak and act. As the Poet very much excels in this Consistency of his Characters, I shall beg Leave to consider several Passages of the Second Book in this Light. That superior Greatness and Mock-Majesty, which is ascribed to the Prince of the fallen Angels, is admirably preserved in the Beginning of this Book. His opening and closing the Debate; his taking on himself that great Enterprize at the Thought of which the whole Infernal Assembly trembled; his encountering the hideous Phantom who guarded the Gates of Hell, and appeared to him in all his Terrors, are Instances of that proud and daring Mind which could not brook Submission even to Omnipotence.

Satan was now at hand, and from his Seat The Monster moving onward came as fast With horrid strides, Hell trembled as he strode, Th' undaunted Fiend what this might be admir'd, Admired, not fear'd—

The same Boldness and Intrepidity of Behaviour discovers it self in the several Adventures which he meets with during his Passage through the Regions of unformed Matter, and particularly in his Address to those tremendous Powers who are described as presiding over it.

The Part of Moloch is likewise in all its Circumstances full of that Fire and Fury which distinguish this Spirit from the rest of the fallen Angels. He is described in the first Book as besmeared with the Blood of Human Sacrifices, and delighted with the Tears of Parents and the Cries of Children. In the Second Book he is marked out as the fiercest Spirit that fought in Heaven: and if we consider the Figure which he makes in the Sixth Book, where the Battle of the Angels is described, we find it every way answerable to the same furious enraged Character.

—Where the might of Gabriel fought, And with fierce Ensigns pierc'd the deep array Of Moloc, furious King, who him defy'd, And at his chariot wheels to drag him bound Threatened, nor from the Holy one of Heavn Refrain'd his tongue blasphemous; but anon Down cloven to the waste, with shatter'd arms And uncouth pain fled bellowing.—

It may be worth while to observe, that Milton has represented this violent impetuous Spirit, who is hurried only by such precipitate Passions, as the first that rises in that Assembly, to give his Opinion upon their present Posture of Affairs. Accordingly he declares himself abruptly for War, and appears incensed at his Companions, for losing so much Time as even to deliberate upon it. All his Sentiments are Rash, Audacious and Desperate. Such is that of arming themselves with their Tortures, and turning their Punishments upon him who inflicted them.

—No, let us rather chuse, Arm'd with Hell flames and fury, all at once O'er Heavens high tow'rs to force resistless way, Turning our tortures into horrid arms Against the Torturer; when to meet the Noise Of his almighty Engine he shall hear Infernal Thunder, and for Lightning see Black fire and horror shot with equal rage Among his Angels; and his throne it self Mixt with Tartarean Sulphur, and strange Fire, His own invented Torments—

His preferring Annihilation to Shame or Misery, is also highly suitable to his Character; as the Comfort he draws from their disturbing the Peace of Heaven, that if it be not Victory it is Revenge, is a Sentiment truly Diabolical, and becoming the Bitterness of this implacable Spirit.

Belial is described in the first Book, as the Idol of the Lewd and Luxurious. He is in the Second Book, pursuant to that Description, characterised as timorous and slothful; and if we look in the Sixth Book, we find him celebrated in the Battel of Angels for nothing but that scoffing Speech which he makes to Satan, on their supposed Advantage over the Enemy. As his Appearance is uniform, and of a Piece, in these three several Views, we find his Sentiments in the Infernal Assembly every way conformable to his Character. Such are his Apprehensions of a second Battel, his Horrors of Annihilation, his preferring to be miserable rather than not to be. I need not observe, that the Contrast of Thought in this Speech, and that which precedes it, gives an agreeable Variety to the Debate.

Mammon's Character is so fully drawn in the First Book, that the Poet adds nothing to it in the Second. We were before told, that he was the first who taught Mankind to ransack the Earth for Gold and Silver, and that he was the Architect of Pandaemonium, or the Infernal Place, where the Evil Spirits were to meet in Council. His Speech in this Book is every way suitable to so depraved a Character. How proper is that Reflection, of their being unable to taste the Happiness of Heaven were they actually there, in the Mouth of one, who while he was in Heaven, is said to have had his Mind dazled with the outward Pomps and Glories of the Place, and to have been more intent on the Riches of the Pavement, than on the Beatifick Vision. I shall also leave the Reader to judge how agreeable the following Sentiments are to the same Character.

—This deep World Of Darkness do we dread? How oft amidst Thick cloud and dark doth Heavns all-ruling Sire Chuse to reside, his Glory umobscured, And with the Majesty of Darkness round Covers his Throne; from whence deep Thunders roar Mustering their Rage, and Heavn resembles Hell? As he our Darkness, cannot we his Light Imitate when we please? This desart Soil Wants not her hidden Lustre, Gems and Gold; Nor want we Skill or Art, from whence to raise Magnificence; and what can Heavn shew more?

Beelzebub, who is reckoned the second in Dignity that fell, and is, in the First Book, the second that awakens out of the Trance, and confers with Satan upon the Situation of their Affairs, maintains his Rank in the Book now before us. There is a wonderful Majesty described in his rising up to speak. He acts as a kind of Moderator between the two opposite Parties, and proposes a third Undertaking, which the whole Assembly gives into. The Motion he makes of detaching one of their Body in search of a new World is grounded upon a Project devised by Satan, and cursorily proposed by him in the following Lines of the first Book.

Space may produce new Worlds, whereof so rife There went a Fame in Heavn, that he erelong Intended to create, and therein plant A Generation, whom his choice Regard Should favour equal to the Sons of Heaven: Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps Our first Eruption, thither or elsewhere: For this Infernal Pit shall never hold Celestial Spirits in Bondage, nor th' Abyss Long under Darkness cover. But these Thoughts Full Counsel must mature:—

It is on this Project that Beelzebub grounds his Proposal.

—What if we find Some easier Enterprise? There is a Place (If ancient and prophetick Fame in Heavn Err not) another World, the happy Seat Of some new Race call'd MAN, about this Time To be created like to us, though less In Power and Excellence, but favoured more Of him who rules above; so was his Will Pronounc'd among the Gods, and by an Oath, That shook Heavns whole Circumference, confirm'd.

The Reader may observe how just it was not to omit in the First Book the Project upon which the whole Poem turns: As also that the Prince of the fallen Angels was the only proper Person to give it Birth, and that the next to him in Dignity was the fittest to second and support it.

There is besides, I think, something wonderfully Beautiful, and very apt to affect the Readers Imagination in this ancient Prophecy or Report in Heaven, concerning the Creation of Man. Nothing could shew more the Dignity of the Species, than this Tradition which ran of them before their Existence. They are represented to have been the Talk of Heaven, before they were created. Virgil, in compliment to the Roman Commonwealth, makes the Heroes of it appear in their State of Pre-existence; but Milton does a far greater Honour to Man-kind in general, as he gives us a Glimpse of them even before they are in Being.

Previous Part     1   2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18 ... 20     Next Part
Home - Random Browse