« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
But now that good heart bursts, and he | I never fail of being highly diverted or imis at rest. With that breath expired a soul proved. The variety of your subjects surwho never indulged a passion unfit for the prises me as much as a box of pictures did place he is gone to. Where are now thy formerly, in which there was only one face, plans of justice, of truth, of honour? Of that by pulling some pieces of isinglass over what use the volumes thou hast collated, it, was changed into a grave senator or a the arguments thou hast invented, the ex- Merry-Andrew, a patched lady or a nun, amples thou hast followed? Poor were the a beau or a blackamoor, a prude or a coexpectations of the studious, the modest,quette, a country 'squire or a conjurer, and the good, if the reward of their labours with many other different representations were only to be expected from man. No, very entertaining, (as you are,) though still my friend, thy intended pleadings, thy in- the same at the bottom. This was a childish tended good offices to thy friends, thy in- amusement, when I was carried away with tended services to thy country, are already outward appearance, but you make a deeper performed (as to thy concern in them,) impression, and affect the secret springs of in his sight, before whom, the past, pre- the mind; you charm the fancy, soothe the sent, and future appear at one view. While passions, and insensibly lead the reader to others with thy talents were tormented that sweetness of temper that you so well with ambition, with vain-glory, with envy, describe; you rouse generosity with that with emulation, how well didst thou turn spirit, and inculcate humanity with that thy mind to its own improvement in things ease, that he must be miserably stupid that out of the power of fortune; in probity, in is not affected by you. I cannot say, inintegrity, in the practice and study of jus- deed, that you have put impertinence to tice! How silent thy passage, how private silence, or vanity out of countenance; but, thy journey, how glorious thy end! Many methinks you have bid as fair for it as any have I known more famous, some more man that ever appeared upon a public knowing, not one so innocent." R. stage; and offer an infallible cure of vice and folly, for the price of one penny, And since it is usual for those who receive benefit by such famous operators, to publish an advertisement, that others may reap the same advantage, I think myself obliged to declare to all the world, that having for a long time been splenetic, ill-natured, froward, suspicious, and unsociable, by the application of your medicines, taken only with half an ounce of right Virginia tobacco, for six successive mornings, I am become open, obliging, officious, frank and hospitable. I am, your humble servant and great admirer, GEORGE TRUSTY.'
No. 134.] Friday, August 3, 1711.
-Opiferque per orbem
'Tower-hill, July 5, 1711.
* Quack Doctors.
The careful father and humble petitioner hereafter-mentioned, who are under difficulties about the just management of fans, will soon receive proper advertisements relating to the professors in that behalf, with their places of abode and methods of teaching.
'July 5, 1711. 'SIR,-In your Spectator of June 27th, you transcribe a letter sent to you from a new sort of muster-master, who teaches ladies the whole exercise of the fan; I have a daughter just come to town, who though she has always held a fan in her hand at proper times, yet she knows no more how to use it according to true discipline than an awkward school-boy does to make use of his new sword. I have sent for her on purpose to learn the exercise, she being already very well accomplished in all other arts which are necessary for a young lady to understand; my request is, that you will speak to your correspondent on my behalf, and in your next paper let me know what he expects, either by the month or the quarter, for teaching: and where he keeps his place of rendezvous. I have a son, too,
whom I would fain have taught to gallant | our writings is thrown much closer together, fans, and should be glad to know what the and lies in a narrower compass than is usual gentleman will have for teaching them both, in the works of foreign authors: for, to faI finding fans for practice at my own ex-vour our natural taciturnity, when we are pence. This information will in the highest obliged to utter our thoughts, we do it in manner oblige, sir, your most humble ser- the shortest way we are able, and give as vant, WILLIAM WISEACRE. quick a birth to our conceptions as possible.
This humour shows itself in several remarks that we may make upon the English language. As first of all by its abounding in monosyllables, which gives us an opportunity of delivering our thoughts in few sounds. This indeed takes off from the elegance of our tongue, but at the same time expresses our ideas in the readiest manner, and consequently answers the first design of speech better than the multitude of syllables, which make the words of other languages more tunable and sonorous. The sounds of our English words are commonly like those of string music, short and transient, which rise and perish upon a single touch; those of other languages are like the notes of wind instruments, sweet and swelling, and lengthened out into variety of modulation.
'As soon as my son is perfect in this art, (which I hope will be in a year's time, for the boy is pretty apt,) I design he shall learn to ride the great horse, (although he is not yet above twenty years old,) if his mother, whose darling he is, will venture him.'
To the Spectator.
The humble Petition of BENJAMIN
"That it was your petitioner's misfortune to walk to Hackney church last Sunday, where, to his great amazement, he met with a soldier of your own training; she furls a fan, recovers a fan, and goes through the whole exercise of it to admiration. This well-managed officer of your's has, to my knowledge, been the ruin of above five young gentlemen besides myself, and still goes on laying waste wheresoever she comes, whereby the whole village is in great danger. Our humble request is, therefore, that this bold Amazon be ordered immediately to lay down her arms, or that you would issue forth an order, that we who have been thus injured may meet at the place of general rendezvous, and there be taught to manage our snuff-boxes in such a manner as we may be an equal match for her. And your petitioner shall ever pray, &c.' R.
where the words are not monosyllables, we In the next place we may observe, that often make them so, as much as lies in our power, by our rapidity of pronunciation; as it generally happens in most of our long words which are derived from the Latin, where we contract the length of the syllables that gives them a grave and solemn air in their own language, to make them more proper for despatch, and more conformable to the genius of our tongue. This we may find in a multitude of words, as 'liberty, conspiracy, theatre, orator,' &c.
No. 135.] Saturday, August 4, 1711. Est brevitate opus, ut currat sententiaHor. Lib. 1. Sat. x. 9. Let brevity despatch the rapid thought. I HAVE Somewhere read of an eminent person, who used in his private offices of devotion to give thanks to heaven that he was born a Frenchman: for my own part, I look upon it as a peculiar blessing that I was born an Englishman. Among many other reasons, I think myself very happy in my country, as the language of it is wonderfully adapted to a man who is sparing of his words, and an enemy to loquacity.
The same natural aversion to loquacity has of late years made a very considerable alteration in our language, by closing in one syllable the termination of our præterperfect tense, as in these words, drown'd, walk'd, arriv'd,' for 'drowned, walked, the tongue, and turned a tenth part of our arrived,' which has very much disfigured smoothest words into so many clusters of consonants. This is the more remarkable, because the want of vowels in our language. has been the general complaint of our politest authors, who nevertheless are the men that have made these retrenchments, and consequently very much increased our former scarcity.
This reflection on the words that end in ed, I have heard in conversation, from one of the greatest geniuses this age has produced. I think we may add to the fore
As I have frequently reflected on my good fortune in this particular, I shall communicate to the public my speculations upon the English Tongue, not doubting going observation, the change which has but they will be acceptable to all my cu-happened in our language, by the abbreviation of several words that are terminated in eth, by substituting an s in the room of the last syllable, as in 'drowns, walks, arrives,' and innumerable other words, which
The English delight in silence more than any other European nation, if the remarks which are made on us by foreigners are Our discourse is not kept up in conversation, but falls into more pauses and intervals than in our neighbouring coun-ing, and ascertaining the English Tongue, &c.—See * This was probably Dean Swift, who has made the same observation in his proposal for correcting, improv. tries; as it is observed, that the matter of swift's Works.
in the pronunciation of our forefathers were 'drowneth, walketh, arriveth.' This has wonderfully multiplied a letter which was before too frequent in the English tongue, and added to that hissing in our language, which is taken so much notice of by foreigners; but at the same time humours our taciturnity, and eases us of many superfluous syllables.
I might here observe, that the same single letter on many occasions does the office of a whole word, and represents the 'his' and 'her' of our forefathers. There is no doubt but the ear of a foreigner, which is the best judge in this case, would very much disapprove of such innovations, which indeed we do ourselves in some measure, by retaining the old termination in writing, and in all the solemn offices of our religion. As in the instances I have given we have epitomized many of our particular words to the detriment of our tongue, so on other occasions we have drawn two words into one, which has likewise very much untuned our language, and clogged it with consonants, as 'mayn't, can't, shan't, won't,' and the like, for may not, can not, shall not, will not,' &c.
whether they may have admission or not;
I have only considered our language as it
It is perhaps this humour of speaking no more than we needs must, which has so miserably curtailed some of our words, that No. 136.] Monday, August 6, 1711. in familiar writings and conversations they often lose all but their first syllables, as in
mob. rep. pos. incog.' and the like; and as all ridiculous words make their first entry into a language by familiar phrases, I dare not answer for these, that they will not in time be looked upon as a part of our tongue. We see some of our poets have been so indiscreet as to imitate Hudibras's doggrel expressions in their serious compositions, by throwing out the signs of our substantives, which are essential to the English language. Nay, this humour of shortening our language had once run so far, that some of our celebrated authors, among whom we may reckon Sir Roger L'Estrange in particular, began to prune their words of all superfluous letters, as they termed them, in order to adjust the spelling to the pronunciation; which would have confounded all our etymologies, and have quite destroyed our tongue.
We may here likewise observe that our proper names when familiarized in English, generally dwindle to monosyllables, whereas in other modern languages they receive a softer turn on this occasion, by the addition of a new syllable.-Nick in Italian is Nicolina; Jack in French Janot; and so of the rest.
There is another particular in our language which is a great instance of our frugality of words, and that is, the suppressing of several particles which must be produced in other tongues to make a sentence intelligible. This often perplexes the best writers, when they find the relatives, whom, which,' or 'they,' at their mercy,
Hor. Lib. 2. Ep. i. 112.
'MR. SPECTATOR,-I shall without any manner of preface or apology acquaint you, that I am, and ever have been from my youth upward one of the greatest liars this island has produced. I have read all the find any effect their discourses had upon moralists upon the subject, but could never me, but to add to my misfortune by new thoughts and ideas, and making me more ready in my language, and capable of sometimes mixing seeming truths with my improbabilities. With this strong passion towards falsehood in this kind, there does not live an honester man, or a sincerer friend; but my imagination runs away with me, and whatever is started, I have such a scene of adventures appears in an instant before me, that I cannot help uttering them, though to my immediate confusion, I cannot but know I am liable to be detected by the first man I meet.
'Upon occasion of the mention of the battle of Pultowa,* I could not forbear giving an account of a kinsman of mine, a young merchant who was bred at Moscow, that had too much mettle to attend books
of entries and accounts, when there was so
*Fought July 8, 1709, between Charles XII. of Swewas entirely defeated, and compelled to seek refuge in den and Peter I. emperor of Russia: wherein Charles Turkey.
active a scene in the country where he re- | consequently been subject to the more ridisided, and followed the Czar as a volunteer.cule. I once endeavoured to cure myself of This warm youth (born at the instant the this impertinent quality, and resolved to thing was spoke of) was the man who un- hold my tongue for seven days together; I horsed the Swedish general, he was the did so, but then I had so many winks and occasion that the Muscovites kept their fire unnecessary distortions of my face upon in so soldier-like a manner, and brought up what any body else said, that I found I only those troops which were covered from the forbore the expression, and that I still lied enemy at the beginning of the day; besides in my heart to every man I met with. You this, he had at last the good fortune to be are to know one thing, (which I believe you the man who took Count Piper. With all will say is a pity, considering the use I this fire I knew my cousin to be the civilest should have made of it,) I never travelled creature in the world. He never made any in my life; but I do not know whether I impertinent show of his valour, and then he could have spoken of any foreign country had an excellent genius for the world in with more familiarity than I do at present, every other kind. I had letters from him in company who are strangers to me. (here I felt in my pockets) that exactly have cursed the inns in Germany; comspoke the Czar's character, which I knew mended the brothels at Venice; the freeperfectly well; and I could not forbear con-dom of conversation in France; and though cluding, that I lay with his imperial majesty I never was out of this dear town, and fifty twice or thrice a week all the while he miles about it, have been three nights tolodged at Deptford. What is worse than gether dogged by bravos, for an intrigue all this, it is impossible to speak to me, but with a cardinal's mistress at Rome. you give me some occasion of coming out 'It were endless to give you particulars with one lie or other, that has neither wit, of this kind; but I can assure you, Mr. Spechumour, prospect of interest, or any other tator, there are about twenty or thirty of motive that I can think of in nature. The us in this town: I mean, by this town, the other day, when one was commending an cities of London and Westminster; I say eminent and learned divine, what occasion there are in town a sufficient number of us in the world had I to say, 'Methinks he to make a society among ourselves; and would look more venerable if he were not since we cannot be believed any longer, I so fair a man?' I remember the company beg of you to print this my letter, that we smiled. I have seen the gentleman since, may meet together, and be under such and he is coal-black. I have intimations regulation as there may be no occasion for every day in my life that nobody believes belief or confidence among us. If you think me, yet I am never the better. I was say- fit, we might be called "The Historians,' ing something the other day to an old friend for liar is become a very harsh word. And at Will's coffee-house, and he made no that a member of the society may not heremanner of answer; but told me that an ac-after be ill received by the rest of the world, quaintance of Tully the orator having two I desire you would explain a little this sort or three times together said to him, with- of men, and not let us historians be ranked, out receiving any answer, "that upon his as we are in the imagination of ordinary honour he was but that very month forty people, among common liars, make-bates, years of age;" Tully answered, "Surely impostors, and incendiaries. For your inyou think me the most incredulous man in struction herein, you are to know that an the world, if I do not believe what you have historian in conversation is only a person of told me every day these ten years. The so pregnant a fancy, that he cannot be conmischief of it is, I find myself wonderfully tented with ordinary occurrences. I know inclined to have been present at every oc- a man of quality of our order, who is of the currence that is spoken of before me; this wrong side of forty-three, and has been of has led me into many inconveniences, but that age, according to Tully's jest, for some indeed they have been the fewer, because years since, whose vein is upon the romanI am no ill-natured man, and never speak tic. Give him the least occasion, and he things to any man's disadvantage. I never will tell you something so very particular directly defame, but I do what is as bad in that happened in such a year, and in such the consequence, for I have often made a company, where by the by was present such man say such and such a lively expression, a one, who was afterwards made such a who was born a mere elder brother. When thing. Out of all these circumstances, in one has said in my hearing, "Such a one is the best language of the world, he will join no wiser than he should be," I immediately together, with such probable incidents, an have replied, "Now, 'faith, I cannot see account that shows a person of the deepest that, he said a very good thing to my lord penetration, the honestest mind, and withal Such-a-One, upon such an occasion, and something so humble when he speaks of the like." Such an honest dolt as this has himself, that you would admire. Dear sir, been watched in every expression he utter- why should this be lying! There is nothing ed, upon my recommendation of him, and so instructive. He has withal the gravest aspect; something so very venerable and great! Another of these historians is a young man whom we would take in, though
* Prime Minister of Charles XII.
he extremely wants parts; as people send together; the master knows not how to prechildren (before they can learn any thing,) serve respect, nor the servant how to give to school, to keep them out of harm's way. it. It seems this person is of a sullen naHe tells things which have nothing at ture, that he knows but little satisfaction all in them, and can neither please nor dis-in the midst of a plentiful fortune, and please, but merely take up your time to no secretly frets to see any appearance of conmanner of purpose, no manner of delight; tent in one that lives upon the hundredth but he is good-natured, and does it because part of his income, while he is unhappy in he loves to be saying something to you, and the possession of the whole. Uneasy perentertain you. sons, who cannot possess their own minds, vent their spleen upon all who depend upon them; which, I think, is expressed in a lively manner in the following letters. 'August 2, 1711.
'I could name you a soldier that hath done very great things without slaughter; he is prodigiously dull and slow of head, but what he can say is for ever false, so that we must have him.
'SIR,-I have read your Spectator of the third of the last month, and wish I had the happiness of being preferred to serve so good a master as Sir Roger. The character of my master is the very reverse of that good and gentle knight's. All his direc
Give me leave to tell you of one more, who is a lover; he is the most afflicted creature in the world, lest what happened between him and a great beauty should ever be known. Yet again he comforts himself. "Hang the jade, her woman. If money tions are given, and his mind revealed, by can keep the slut trusty I will do it, though way of contraries: as when any thing is to I mortgage every acre; Anthony and Cleo-be remembered, with a peculiar cast of face patra for that; all for love and the world he cries, "Be sure to forget now." If I am two hours; be sure to call by the way upon to make haste back, "Do not come these some of your companions." Then another excellent way of his is, if he sets me any thing to do, which he knows must necessarily take up half a day, he calls ten times in a quarter of an hour to know whether I have done yet. This is his manner; and the same perverseness runs through all his actions, according as the circumstances that he submits himself to the drudgery of Besides all this, he is so suspicious, vary. a spy. He is as unhappy himself as he makes his servants: he is constantly watching us, and we differ no more in pleasure and liberty than as a jailer and a prisoner. He lays traps for faults, and no sooner makes a discovery, but falls into such language, as I am more ashamed of for coming from him, than for being directed to me. This, sir, is a short sketch of a master I have served upwards of nine years; and though I have never wronged him, I confess my despair of pleasing him has very much abated my endeavour to do it. If you will give me leave to steal a sentence out of my
Even slaves were always at liberty to fear, rejoice, and grieve, at their own rather than another's pleasures. It is no small concern to me, that I find so many complaints from that part of man-master's Clarendon, I shall tell you my kind whose portion it is to live in servitude, case in a word-"Being used worse than I that those whom they depend upon will deserved, I cared less to deserve well than not allow them to be even as happy as their I had done." I am, sir, your humble sercondition will admit of. There are, as these vant, RALPH VALET.’ unhappy correspondents inform me, masters who are offended at a cheerful counte- thing to a lady's woman, and am under both 'DEAR MR. SPECTER,-I am the next nance, and think a servant has broke loose from them, if he does not preserve the ut- them both, that I should be very glad to my lady and her woman. I am so used by most awe in their presence. There is one see them both in the Specter. My lady who says, if he looks satisfied, his master herself is of no mind in the world, and for asks him, What makes him so pert this that reason her woman is of twenty minds morning? if a little sour, Hark ye, sirrah, in a moment. My lady is one that never are not you paid your wages?' The poor knows what to do with herself; she pulls on creatures live in the most extreme misery and puts off every thing she wears twenty day. I stand at one end of the room, and times before she resolves upon it for that reach things to her woman.
Then, sir, there is my little merchant, honest Indigo, of the 'Change, there is my man for loss and gain; there is tare and tret, there is lying all round the globe; he has such a prodigious intelligence, he knows all the French are doing, or what we intend or ought to intend, and has it from such hands-But, alas, whither am I running! while I complain, while I remonstrate to you, even all this is a lie, and there is not one such person of quality, lover, soldier, or merchant, as I have now described in the whole world, that I know of. But I will catch myself once in my life, and in spite of nature speak one truth, to wit, that I am your humble servant, &c.'
No. 137.] Tuesday, August 7, 1711.
*This is an allusion to Dryden's play of All for Love,
or the World well Lost. It is generally considered the best dramatic production of that great man.