Изображения страниц

Jam cras hesternum consumpsimus; ecce aliud cras
Egerit hos annos, et semper paulum erit ultra.
Nam quamvis prope te, quamvis temone sub unó,
Vertentem sese frustra sectabere canthum.
Pers. Sat. 5. v. 64.

of two and twenty, and dodged with me
above thirty years. I have loved her till
she is grown as grey as a cat, and am with
much ado become the master of her per-

Pers. From thee both old and young, with profit learn son, such as it is at present. She is however
The bounds of good and evil to discern.
in my eye a very charming old woman.
We often lament that we did not marry
'sooner, but she has nobody to blame for it
but herself. You know very well that she
I would never think of me whilst she had a
tooth in her head. I have put the date of
my passion, anno amoris trigesimo primo,
instead of a posy on my wedding ring. I
expect you should send me a congratulatory
letter, or, if you please, an epithalamium
upon this occasion. Mrs. Martha's and
yours eternally, SAM HOPEWELL.'

Corn. Unhappy he who does this work adjourn,
And to to-morrow would the search delay:
His lazy morrow will be like to-day.

Pers. But is one day of ease too much to horrow?
Corn. Yes, sure; for yesterday was once to-morrow.
That yesterday is gone, and nothing gain'd;
And all thy fruitless days will thus be drain'd:
For thou hast more to-morrows yet to ask,
And wilt be ever to begin thy task;
Who, like the hindmost chariot-wheels, art curst,
Still to be near, but ne'er to reach the first.-Dryden.

As my correspondents upon the subject of love are very numerous, it is my design, if possible, to range them under several heads, and address myself to them at different times. The first branch of then to whose service I shall dedicate this paper, are those that have to do with women of dilatory tempers, who are for spinning out the time of courtship to an immoderate length, without being able either to close with their lovers, or to dismiss them. I have many letters by me filled with_complaints against this sort of women. In one of them no less a man than a brother of the coif tells me, that he began his suit vicesimo nono Caroli secundi, before he had been a twelve-month at the Temple; that he prosecuted it for many years after he was called to the bar; that at present he is a sergeant at law; and notwithstanding he hoped that matters would have been long since brought to an issue, the fair one still demurs.I am so well pleased with this gentleman's phrase, that I shall distinguish this sect of women by the title of Demurrers. I find by another letter from one that calls himself Thyrsis, that his mistress has been demurring above these seven years. But among all my plaintiffs of this nature, I most pity the unfortunate Philander, a man of a con- shorter. The finest skin wrinkles in a few stant passion and plentiful fortune, who sets years, and loses the strength of its colourforth that the timorous and irresolute Syl-ings so soon, that we have scarce time to via has demurred till she is past child- admire it. I might embellish this subject bearing. Strephon appears by his letter to with roses and rainbows, and several other be a very choleric lover, and irrecoverably ingenious conceits, which I may possibly smitten with one that demurs out of self-reserve for another opportunity. interest. He tells me with great passion There is a third consideration which I that she has bubbled him out of his youth; would likewise recommend to a demurrer, that she drilled him on to five and fifty, and and that is the great danger of her falling that he verily believes she will drop him in love when she is about threescore, if she in his old age, if she can find her account in cannot satisfy her doubts and scruples beanother. I shall conclude this narrative fore that time. There is a kind of latter with a letter from honest Sam Hopewell, a spring, that sometimes gets into the blood very pleasant fellow, who it seems has at of an old woman, and turns her into a very last married a demurrer. I must only pre- odd sort of an animal. I would therefore mise, that Sam, who is a very good bottle- have the demurrer consider what a strange companion, has been the diversion of his figure she will make, if she chances to get friends, upon account of his passion, ever over all difficulties, and comes to a final since the year one thousand six hundred resolution in that unseasonable part of her life. and eighty-one.

First of all, I would have them seriously think on the shortness of their time. Life is not long enough for a coquette to play all her tricks in. A timorous woman drops into her grave before she has done deliberating. Were the age of man the same that it was before the flood, a lady might sacrifice half a century to a scruple, and be two or three ages in demurring. Had she nine hundred years good, she might hold out to the conversion of the Jews before she thought fit to be prevailed upon. But, alas! she ought to play her part in haste, when she considers that she is suddenly to quit the stage, and make room for others.

In the second place, I would desire my female readers to consider, that as the term of life is short, that of beauty is much

DEAR SIR,-You know very well my passion for Mrs. Martha, and what a dance she has led me. She took me out at the age

In order to banish an evil out of the world, that does not only produce great uneasiness to private persons, but has also a very bad influence on the public, I shall endeavour to show the folly of demurrage, from two or three reflections which I earnestly recommend to the thoughts of my fair readers.

I would not however be understood, by any thing I have here said, to discourage that natural modesty in the sex, which renders a retreat from the first approaches of

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

a lover both fashionable and graceful. All that I intend is, to advise them, when they are prompted by reason and inclination, to demur only out of form, and so far as decency requires. A virtuous woman should reject the first offer of marriage, as a good man does that of a bishopric; but I would advise neither the one nor the other to persist in refusing what they secretly approve. I would in this particular propose the example of Eve to all her daughters, as Milton has represented her in the following passage, which I cannot forbear transcribing entire, though only the twelve last lines are to my present purpose.

The rib he form'd and fashion'd with his hands:
Under his forming hands a creature grew,
Man-like, but diff'rent sex; so lovely fair,
That what seem'd fair in all the world, seem'd now
Mean, or in her summ'd up, in her contain'd,
And in her looks; which from that time infus'd
Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before;
And into all things from her air inspir'd
The spirit of love and amorous delight.

She disappear'd, and left me dark: I wak'd
To find her, or for ever to deplore
Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure;
When out of hope, behold her, not far off,
Such as I saw her in my dream, adorn'd
With what all earth or heaven could bestow
To make her amiable. On she came,
Led by her heav'nly Maker, though unseen,
And guided by his voice, nor uninform'd
Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites:
Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye,
In every gesture dignity and love.
I, overjoy'd, could not forbear aloud:

"This turn hath made amends: thou hast fulfill'd Thy words, Creator, bounteous and benign! Giver of all things fair; but fairest this Of all thy gifts, nor enviest. I now see Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, myself."

She heard me thus, and though divinely brought,
Yet innocence and virgin modesty,
Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth,
That would be woo'd, and not unsought be won,
Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retir'd
The more desirable; or, to say all.

Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought,
Wrought in her so, that seeing me she turn'd.
I follow'd her: she what was honour knew,
And with obsequious majesty approv'd
My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower
I led her blushing like the morn

Paradise Lost, viii. 469-511.

No. 90.] Wednesday, June 13, 1711.

-Magnus sine viribus ignis Incassum furitVirg. Georg. iii. 99. In all the rage of impotent desire, They feel a quenchless flame, a fruitless fire.' THERE is not, in my opinion, a consideration more effectual to extinguish inordinate desires in the soul of man, than the notions of Plato and his followers upon that subject. They tell us, that every passion which has been contracted by the soul during her residence in the body, remains with her in a separate state; and that the soul in the body, or out of the body, differs no more than the man does from himself when he is in his house, or in open air. When therefore the obscene passions in particular have once taken root, and spread themselves in the soul, they cleave to her inseparably, and remain in her for ever,

after the body is cast off and thrown aside. As an argument to confirm this their doctrine, they observe, that a lewd youth who goes on in a continued course of voluptuousness, advances by degrees into a libidinous old man; and that the passion survives in the mind when it is altogether dead in the body; nay, that the desire grows more violent, and (like all other habits) gathers strength by age at the same time that it has no power of executing its own purposes. If, say they, the soul is the most subject to these passions at a time when it has the least instigations from the body, we may well suppose she will still retain them when she is entirely divested of it. The very substance of the soul is festered with them, the gangrene is gone too far to be ever cured; the inflammation will rage to all eternity.

In this therefore, (say the Platonists,) consists the punishment of a voluptuous man after death. He is tormented with desires which it is impossible for him to gratify; solicited by a passion that has neither objects nor organs adapted to it. He lives in a state of invincible desire and impotence, and always burns in the pursuit of what he always despairs to possess. It is for this reason (says Plato) that the souls of the dead appear frequently in cemeteries, and hover about the places where their bodies are buried, as still hankering after their old brutal pleasures, and desiring again to enter the body that gave them an opportunity of fulfilling them.

Some of our most eminent divines have made use of this Platonic notion, so far as it regards the subsistence of our passions after death, with great beauty and strength of reason. Plato indeed carries the thought very far when he grafts upon it his opinion of ghosts appearing in places of burial. Though I must confess, if one did believe that the departed souls of men and women wandered up and down these lower regions, and entertained themselves with the sight of their species, one could not devise a more proper hell for an impure spirit than that which Plato has touched upon.

The ancients seem to have drawn such a state of torments in the description of Tantalus, who was punished with the rage of an eternal thirst, and set up to the chin in water that fled from his lips whenever he attempted to drink it.

Virgil who has cast the whole system of Platonic philosophy, so far as it relates to the soul of man, into beautiful allegories, in the sixth book of his Æneid gives us the punishment of a voluptuary after death, not unlike that which we are here speaking of:

-Lucent genealibus altis

Aurea fulcra toris, epulæque ante ora paratæ
Regifico luxu: furiarum maxima juxta
Accubat, et manibus prohibet contingere mensas:
Exurgitque facem attollens, atque intonat ore.
ÆR. vi. 604.

They lie below on golden beds display'd,
And genial feasts with regal pomp are made:
The queen of furies by their side is set,

And snatches from their mouths the untasted meat;
Which, if they touch, her hissing snakes she rears,
Tossing her torch and thundering in their ears.


That I may a little alleviate the severity of this my speculation (which otherwise may lose me several of my polite readers,) I shall translate a story that has been quoted upon another occasion by one of the most learned men of the present age, as I find it in the original. The reader will see it is not foreign to my present subject, and I dare say will think it a lively representation a person lying under the torments of such kind of tantalism, or Platonic hell, as that which we have now under consideration. Monsieur Pontignan, speaking of a loveadventure that happened to him in the country, gives the following account of it.*



When I was in the country last summer, I was often in company with a couple of charming women, who had all the wit and beauty one could desire in female companions, with a dash of coquetry, that from time to time gave me a great many agreeable torments. I was, after my way, in love with both of them, and had such frequent opportunities of pleading my passions to them when they were asunder, that I had reason to hope for particular favours from each of them. As I was walking one evening in my chamber with nothing about me out my night-gown, they both came into my room, and told me they had a very pleasant trick to put upon a gentleman that was in the same house, provided I would bear a part in it. Upon this they told me such a plausible story, that I laughed at their contrivance, and agreed to do whatever they should require of me. They immediately began to swaddle me up in my night gown, with long pieces of linen, which they folded about me till they had wrapt me in above an hundred yards of swathe. My arms were pressed to my sides, and my legs closed together by so many wrappers one over another, that I looked like an Ægyptian mummy. As I stood bolt upright upon one end in this antique figure, one of the ladies burst out a laughing. "And now, Pontignan," says she, 66 we intend to perform the promise that we find you have extorted from each of us. You

have often asked the favour of us, and I dare say you are a better bred cavalier than to refuse to go to bed with two ladies that desire it of you." After having stood a fit of laughter, I begged them to uncase me, and do with me what they pleased. "No, no, ," said they, "we like you very well as you are;" and upon that ordered me to be carried to one of their houses, and put to bed in all my swaddles. The room was lighted up on all sides: and I was laid very decently between a pair of

sheets, with my head (which was indeed the only part I could move) upon a very high pillow: this was no sooner done, but my two female friends came into bed to me in their finest night-clothes. You may easily guess at the condition of a man that saw a couple of the most beautiful women in the world undrest and abed with him, without being able to stir hand or foot. I begged them to release me, and struggled all I could to get loose, which I did with so much violence, that about midnight they both leaped out of the bed, crying out they were undone. But seeing me safe, they took their posts again, and renewed their raillery. Finding all my prayers and endeavours were lost, I composed myself as well as I could, and told them, that if they would not unbind me, I would fall asleep between them, and by that means disgrace them for ever. But alas! this was impossible; could I have been disposed to it, they would have prevented me by several little ill-natured caresses and endearments which they bestowed upon me. As much devoted as I am to woman-kind, I would not pass such another night to be master of the whole sex. My reader will doubtless be curious to know what became of me the next morning. Why truly my bedfellows left me an hour before day, and told me, if I would be good and lie still, they would send somebody to take me up as soon as it was time for me to rise. Accordingly about nine o'clock in the morning an old woman came to unswathe me. I bore all this very patiently, being resolved to take my revenge of my tormentors, and to keep no measures with them as soon as I was at liberty; but upon asking my old woman what was become of the two ladies, she told me she believed they were by that time within sight of Paris, for that they went away in a coach and six before five o'clock in the morning.'


This is a paraphrase of a story in the " Academie Galante," a little book printed at Paris in 1682.

No. 91.] Thursday, June 14, 1711.

In furias ignemque ruunt: amor omnibus idem. Virg. Georg. iii. 244.

-They rush into the flame; For love is lord of all, and is in all the same.

Dryden. THOUGH the subject I am now going upon would be much more properly the foundation of a comedy, I cannot forbear inserting the circumstance which pleased me in the account a young lady gave me of the loves of a family in town, which shall be nameless; or rather, for the better sound and elevation of the history, instead of Mr. and Mrs. Such-a-one, I shall call them by feigned names. Without further preface, you are to know, that within the liberties of the city of Westminster lives the Lady Honoria, a widow about the age of forty, of a healthy constitution, gay temper, and elegant person. She dresses a

[ocr errors]

little too much like a girl, affects a childish | surviving beau of the last age, and Tom alfondness in the tone of her voice, sometimes most the only one that keeps up that order a pretty sullenness in the leaning of her of men in this. head, and now and then a downcast of her eyes on her fan. Neither her imagination nor her health would ever give her to know that she is turned of twenty; but that in the midst of these pretty softnesses, and airs of delicacy and attraction, she has a tall daughter within a fortnight of fifteen, who impertinently comes into the room, and towers so much towards woman, that her mother is always checked by her presence, and every charm of Honoria droops at the entrance of Flavia. The agreeable Flavia would be what she is not, as well as her mother Honoria; but all their beholders are more partial to an affectation of what a person is growing up to, than of what has been already enjoyed, and is gone for ever. It is therefore allowed to Flavia to look forward, but not to Honoria to look back. Flavia is no way dependent on her mother with relation to her fortune, for which reason they live almost upon an equality in conversation; and as Honoria has given Flavia to understand, that it is ill-bred to be always calling mother, Flavia is as well pleased never to be called child. It happens by this means, that these ladies are generally rivals in all places where they appear; and the words mother and daughter never pass between them but out of spite. Flavia one night at a play observing Honoria draw the eyes of several in the pit, called to a lady who sat by her, and bid her ask her mother to lend her her snuff-box for a moment. Another time, when, a lover of Honoria was on his knees beseeching the favour to kiss her hand, Flavia rushing into the room, kneeled down by him and asked her blessing. Several of these contradictory acts of duty have raised between them such a coldness, that they generally converse when they are in mixed company by way of talking at one another, and not to one another. Honoria is ever complaining of a certain sufficiency in the young women of this age, who assume to themselves an authority of carrying all things before them, as if they were possessors of the esteem of mankind, and all who were but a year before them in the world, were neglected or deceased. Flavia upon such provocation, is sure to observe, that there are people who can resign nothing, and know not how to give up what they know they cannot hold; that there are those who will not allow youth their follies, not because they are themselves past them, but because they love to continue in them. These beauties rival each other on all occasions; not that they have always had the same lovers, but each has kept up a vanity to show the other the charms of her lover. Dick Crastin and Tom Tulip, among many others, have of late been pretenders in this family: Dick to Honoria, Tom to Flavia. Dick is the only Horace.

* Lord Rochester's Imitation of the first Satire of

I wish I could repeat the little circumstances of a conversation of the four lovers with the spirit in which the young lady I had my account from, represented it at a visit where I had the honour to be present; but it seems Dick Crastin, the admirer of Honoria, and Tom Tulip, the pretender to Flavia, were purposely admitted together by the ladies, that each might show the other that her lover had the superiority in the accomplishments of that sort of creature whom the sillier part of women call a fine gentleman. As this age has a much more gross taste in courtship, as well as in every thing else, than the last had, these gentlemen are instances of it in their different manner of application. Tulip is ever making allusions to the vigour of his person, the sinewy force of his make; while Crastin professes a wary observation of the turns of his mistress's mind.-Tulip gives himself the air of a resistless ravisher, Crastin practises that of a skilful lover. Poetry is the inseparable property of every man in love; and as men of wit write verses on those occasions, the rest of the world repeat the verses of others. These servants of the ladies were used to imitate their manner of conversation, and allude to one another, rather than interchange discourse in what they said when they met. Tulip the other day seized his mistress's hand, and repeated out of Ovid's Art of Love,

Tis I can in soft battles pass the night,
Yet rise next morning vigorous for the fight,
Fresh as the day, and active as the light."

Upon hearing this, Crastin, with an air of deference, played with Honoria's fan, and repeated,

Sedley has that prevailing gentle art, That can with a resistless charm impart The loosest wishes to the chastest heart: Raise such a conflict, kindle such a fire, Between declining virtue and desire, Till the poor vanquish'd maid dissolves away, In dreams all night, in sighs and tears all day.'* When Crastin had uttered these verses with a tenderness which at once spoke passion and respect, Honoria cast a triumphant glance at Flavia, as exulting in the elegance of Crastin's courtship, and upbraiding her with the homeliness of Tulip's. Tulip understood the reproach, and in return began to applaud the wisdom of old amorous gentlemen, who turned their mistress's imagination as far as possible from what they had long themselves forgot, and ended his discourse with a sly commendation of the doctrine of Platonic love; at the same time he ran over, with a laughing eye, Crastin's thin legs, meagre looks, and spare body. The old gentleman immediately left the room with some disorder,

and the conversation fell upon untimely passion, after-love, and unseasonable youth. Tulip sung, danced, moved before the glass, led his mistress half a minuet, hummed

'Celia the fair, in the bloom of fifteen!'

when there came a servant with a letter to an account of. him, which was as follows:

'SIR,-I understand very well what you meant by your mention of Platonic love. I shall be glad to meet you immediately in Hyde-park, or behind Montague-house, or attend you to Barn-elms, or any other fashionable place that's fit for a gentleman to die in, that you shall appoint for, sir, 'Your most humble servant, 'RICHARD CRASTIN.'

In the first class, I shall take notice of those which come to me from eminent booksellers, who every one of them mention with respect the authors they have printed, and consequently have an eye to their own advantage more than to that of the ladies. One tells me, that he thinks it absolutely necessary for women to have true notions of right and equity, and that therefore they cannot peruse a better book than Dalton's Country Justice. Another thinks they cannot be without The Complete Jockey. A third observing the curiosity and desire of prying into secrets, which he tells me is natural to the fair sex, is of opinion this female inclination, if well directed, might turn very much to their advantage, and therefore recommends to me Mr. Mede upon the Revelations. A fourth lays it down as an unquestioned truth, that a lady cannot be thoroughly accomplished who has not read The Secret Treaties and Negotiations of Marshal d'Estrades. Mr. Jacob Tonson, junior, is of opinion, that Bayle's Dictionary might be of very great use to the ladies, in order to make them general scholars. Another, whose name I have forgotten, thinks it highly proper that every woman with child should read Mr. Wall's History of Infant Baptism; and another is very importunate with me to recommend to all my female readers The finishing Stroke; being a Vindication of the Patriarchal Scheme, &c.

In the second class, I shall mention books which are recommended by husbands, if I may believe the writers of them. Whether or no they are real husban or personated ones I cannot tell; but the books they recommend are as follow. A Paraphrase on the History of Susannah. Rules to keep Lent. The Christian's Overthrow prelet-vented. A Dissuasive from the Play-house. The Virtues of Camphire, with Directions to make Camphire Tea. The Pleasures of a Country Life. The Government of the Tongue. A letter dated from Cheapside, desires me that I would advise all young wives to make themselves mistresses with a postscript, that he hopes I will not of Wingate's Arithmetic, and concludes forget the Countess of Kent's Receipts.

I may reckon the ladies themselves as a third class among these my correspondents and privy-counsellors. In a letter from one of them, I am advised to place Pharamond at the head of my catalogue, and, if I think proper, to give the second place to Cassandra. Coquetilla begs me not to think of nailing women upon their knees with

*Two celebrated French romances, written by M. La Calprenede.

Tulip's colour changed at the reading of this epistle; for which reason his mistress snatched it to read the contents. While she was doing so, Tulip went away; and the ladies now agreeing in a common calamity, bewailed together the danger of their lovers. They immediately undressed to go out, and took hackneys to prevent mischief; but, after alarming all parts of the town, Crastin was found by his widow in his pumps at Hyde-park, which appointment Tulip never kept, but made his escape into the country. Flavia tears her hair for his inglorious safety, curses and despises her charmer, and is fallen into love with Crastin: which is the first part of the history of the rival mother. R.

No. 92.] Friday, June 15, 1711.

-Convivæ prope dissentire videntur, Poscentes vario multum diversa palato; Quid dem? Quid non dem?

Hor. Lib. 2. Ep. ii. 61.


-What would you have me do,
When out of twenty I can please not two?-
One likes the pheasant's wing, and one the leg:
The vulgar boil, the learned roast an egg;
Hard task to hit the palate of such guests.

In answer to my fair disciple, whom I am very proud of, I must acquaint her and the rest of my readers, that since I have called out for help in my catalogue of a lady's library, I have received many letters upon that head, some of which I shall give


LOOKING Over the late packets of ters which have been sent to me, I found the following:


'MR. SPECTATOR,-Your paper is a part of my tea-equipage, and my servant knows my humour so well, that calling for my breakfast this morning, (it being past my usual hour,) she answered, The Spectator was not yet come in; but that the teakettle boiled, and she expected it moment. Having thus in part signified to you the esteem and veneration which I have for you, I must put you in mind of the catalogue of books which you have promised to recommend to our sex; for I have deferred furnishing my closet with authors, till I receive your advice in this particular, being your daily disciple and humble servant, LEONORA,'

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »