Изображения страниц

of Crete Pritain, you must know it, there | tances. Of this make is that man who is is in Caernarvonshire a very pig mountain, very inquisitive. You may often observe, the clory of all Wales, which is named Pen- that though he speaks as good sense as any mainmaure, and you must also know, it is man upon any thing with which he is well no crete journey on foot from me; but the acquainted, he cannot trust to the range of road is stony and bad for shooes. Now, his own fancy to entertain himself upon that there is upon the forehead of this mountain foundation, but goes on still to new inquia very high rock, (like a parish steeple) ries. Thus, though you know he is fit for that cometh a huge deal over the sea; so the most polite conversation, you shall see when I am in my melancholies, and I do him very well contented to sit by a jockey, throw myself from it, I do tesire my fery giving an account of the many revolutions good friend to tell me in his Spictatur, if I in his horse's health, what potion he made shall be cure of my griefous lofes; for there him take, how that agreed with him, how is the sea clear as class, and as creen as the afterwards he came to his stomach and his leek. Then likewise if I be drown and exercise, or any the like impertinence; and preak my neck, if Mrs. Gwinifrid will not be as well pleased as if you talked to him lofe me afterwards. Pray be speedy in on the most important truths. This humour your answers, for I am in crete haste, and is far from making a man unhappy, though it is my tesires to do my business without it may subject him to raillery; for he geneloss of time. I remain with cordial affec- rally falls in with a person who seems to be tions, your ever lofing friend, born for him, which is your talkative fellow. It is so ordered, that there is a secret bent, as natural as the meeting of different sexes, in these two characters, to supply each other's wants. I had the honour the other day to sit in a public room, and saw an inquisitive man look with an air of satistalkers. The man of ready utterance sat faction upon the approach of one of these down by him, and rubbing his head, leaning on his arm, and making an uneasy counte

'DAVYTH AP SHENKYN. P. S. My law-suits have prought me to London, put I have lost my causes; and so have made my resolutions to go down and leap before the frosts begin; for I am apt to

take colds.'

Ridicule, perhaps, is a better expedient against love than sober advice, and I am of opinion, that Hudibras and Don Quixote may be as effectual to cure the extrava-nance, he began; 'There is no manner of gances of this passion, as any of the old phi- news to-day. I cannot tell what is the matlosophers. I shall therefore publish very ter with me, but I slept very ill last night; speedily the translation of a little Greek whether I caught cold or no, I know not, manuscript, which is sent me by a learned but I fancy I do not wear shoes thick friend. It appears to have been a piece of enough for the weather, and I have coughed those records which were kept in the tem- all this week. It must be so, for the custom ple of Apollo, that stood upon the promon- of washing my head winter and summer tory of Leucate. The reader will find it to with cold water, prevents any injury from be a summary account of several persons the season entering that way: so it must who tried the lover's leap, and of the suc- come in at my feet; but I take no notice of cess they found in it. As there seem to be it: as it comes so it goes. Most of our evils in it some anachronisms, and deviations proceed from too much tenderness; and our from the ancient orthography, I am not faces are naturally as little able to resist the wholly satisfied myself that it is authentic, cold as other parts. The Indian answered and not rather the production of one of those very well to an European, who asked him Grecian sophisters, who have imposed upon how he could go naked, "I am all face." the world several spurious works of this nature. I speak this by way of precaution, because I know there are several writers of uncommon erudition, who would not fail to expose my ignorance, if they caught me tripping i g in a matter of so great inoment.

I observed this discourse was 'as welcome to my general inquirer as any other of more consequence could have been; but somebody calling our talker to another part of the room, the inquirer told the next man who sat by him, that Mr. Such-a-one, who was just gone from him, used to wash his head in cold water every morning; and so repeated him. The truth is, the inquisitive are the almost verbatim all that had been said to funnels of conversation: they do not take in any thing for their own use, but merely to pass it to another. They are the channels through which all the good and evil that is spoken in town are conveyed. Such as are offended at them, or think they suffer by their behaviour, may themselves mend that inconvenience; for they are not a malicious people, and if you will supply them, you may contradict any thing they have said before by their own mouths. A farther ac

No. 228.] Wednesday, November 21, 1711.
Percunctatorum fugito, nam garrulus idem est.
Hor. Lib. 1. Ep. xviii. 69.
Th' inquisitive will blab; from such refrain;
Their leaky ears no secret can retain.-Shard.

THERE is a creature who has all the organs of speech, a tolerable good capacity for conceiving what is said to it, together with a pretty proper behaviour in all the occurrences of common life; but naturally very vacant of thought in itself, and therefore forced to apply itself to foreign assis

count of a thing is one of the gratefullest goods that can arrive to them; and it is seldom that they are more particular than to say, 'The town will have it, or I have it from a good hand;' so that there is room for the town to know the matter more particularly, and for a better hand to contradict what was said by a good one.

that Caius Gracchus, the Roman, was frequently hurried by his passion into so loud and tumultuous a way of speaking, and so strained his voice as not to be able to proceed. To remedy this excess, he had an ingenious servant, by name Licinius, always attending him with a pitch-pipe, or instrument to regulate the voice; who, whenever I have not known this humour more ridi- he heard his master begin to be high, imculous than in a father, who has been ear-mediately touched a soft note, at which 'tis nestly solicitous to have an account how his said, Caius would presently abate and grow son has passed his leisure hours; if it be in calm. a way thoroughly insignificant, there cannot be a greater joy than an inquirer discovers in seeing him follow so hopefully his own steps. But this humour among men is most pleasant when they are saying something which is not wholly proper for a third person to hear, and yet is in itself indifferent. The other day there came in a well-dressed young fellow, and two gentlemen of this species immediately fell a whispering his pedigree. I could overhear, by breaks, She was his aunt;' then an answer, Ay, she was of the mother's side;' then again in a little lower voice, His father wore generally a darker wig;' answer, 'Not much, but this gentleman wears higher heels to

his shoes.

Upon recollecting this story, I have frequently wondered that this useful instrument should have been so long discontinued, especially since we find that this good office of Licinius has preserved his memory for many hundred years, which, methinks, should have encouraged some one to have revived it, if not for the public good, yet for his own credit. It may be objected, that our loud talkers are so fond of their own noise, that they would not take it well to be checked by their servants. But granting this to be true, surely any of their hearers have a very good title to play a soft note in their own defence. To be short, no Licinius appearing, and the noise increasing, I was resolved to give this late long vacation As the inquisitive, in my opinion, are such to the good of my country; and I have at merely from a vacancy in their own imagi- length by the assistance of an ingenious nations, there is nothing methinks so dan- artist (who works for the Royal Society,) gerous as to communicate secrets to them; almost completed my design, and shall be for the same temper of inquiry makes them ready in a short time to furnish the public as impertinently communicative: but no with what number of these instruments man, though he converses with them, need they please, either to lodge at coffee-houses, In the put himself in their power, for they will be or carry for their own private use. contented with matters of less moment as mean time I shall pay that respect to sevewell. When there is fuel enough, no mat-ral gentlemen, who I know will be in danter what it is.-Thus the ends of sen- ger of offending against this instrument, to tences in the newspapers, as, 'This wants give them notice of it by private letters, in confirmation,'-This occasions many spe- which I shall only write, "Get a Licinius." culations,' and Time will discover the event,' are read by them, and considered not as mere expletives.

'I should now trouble you no longer, but that I must not conclude without desiring you to accept one of these pipes, which shall be left for you with Buckley; and which I hope will be serviceable to you, since as you are silent yourself, you are most open to the insults of the noisy. I am, W. B.' sir, &c.

One may see now and then this humour accompanied with an insatiable desire of knowing what passes, without turning it to any use in the world but merely their own entertainment. A mind which is gratified this way is adapted to humour and pleasantry, and formed for an unconcerned character in the world; and like myself to be mere Spectator. This curiosity, without malice or self-interest, lays up in the imagination a magazine of circumstances which cannot but entertain when they are produced in conversation. If one were to know, from the man of the first quality to the meanest


servant, the different intrigues, sentiments, No. 229.] Thursday, November 22, 1711. pleasures, and interests of mankind, would it not be the most pleasing entertainment .maginable to enjoy so constant a farce, as the observing mankind much more different from themselves in their secret thoughts and public actions, than in their night-caps and long periwigs?

'I had almost forgot to inform you, that as an improvement in this instrument, there will be a particular note, which I call a hush-note; and this is to be made use of against a long story, swearing, obsceneness,

and the like.


-Spirat adhuc amor,
Vivuntque commissi calores

Eoliæ fidibus puellæ.-Hor. Lib. 4. Od. ix. 10.
Nor Sappho's amorous flames decay,

Her living songs preserve their charming art,
Her verse still breathes the passions of her heart.


AMONG the many famous pieces of an

MR. SPECTATOR,-Plutarch tells us, tiquity which are still to be seen at Rome,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]


Ille mi par esse deo videtur,
Пle, si fas est, superare divos,
Qui sedens adversus identidem te
Spectat, et audit.
Dulce ridentem; misero quod omnis
Eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,
Lesbia, adspezi, nihil est super mi

Quod loquar amens.
Lingua sed torpet: tenuis sub artus
Flamma dimanat: sonitu suopte
Tinniunt aures: gemina teguntur
Lumina nocte.

My learned reader will know very well the reason why one of these verses is printed in Roman letter; and if he compares this translation with the original, will find that the three first stanzas are rendered almost word for word, and not only with the same elegance, but, with the same short turn of expression which is so remarkable in the Greek, and so peculiar to the Sapphic ode. I cannot imagine for what reason Madam Dacier has told us, that this ode of Sappho is preserved entire in Longinus, since it is manifest to any one who looks into that author's quotation of it, that there must at least have been another stanza, which is not

transmitted to us.

The second translation of this fragment which I shall here cite, is that of Monsieur Boileau.

[blocks in formation]

Un nuage confus se repand sur ma vuë,
Je n'entens plus, je tombe en de douces langueurs;
Et pile, sans haleine, interdite, esperdue,
Un frisson me saisit, je tremble, je me meurs.

The reader will see that this is rather an imitation than a translation. The circumstances do not lie so thick together, and follow one another with that vehemence and emotion as in the original. In short, Monsieur Boileau has given us all the poetry, but not all the passion of this famous fragment. I shall, in the last place, present my reader with the English translation.

Blest as th' immortal gods is he,
The youth who fondly sits by thee,
And hears and sees thee all the while
Softly speak and sweetly smile.

"Twas this depriv'd my soul of rest,
And rais'd such tumults in my breast;
For while I gaz'd, in transport tost,
My breath was gone, my voice was lost:

My bosom glow'd: the subtle flame
Ran quick through all my vital frame;
O'er my dim eyes a darkness hung;
My ears with hollow murmurs rung.

In dewy damps my limbs were chill'd;
My blood with gentle horrors thrill'd;
My feeble pulse forgot to play;
I fainted, sunk, and dy'd away.

Instead of giving any character of this last translation, I shall desire my learned reader to look into the criticisms which Longinus has made upon the original. By that means he will know to which of the translations he ought to give the preference. I shall only add, that this translation is written in the very spirit of Sappho, and as near the Greek as the genius of our language will possibly suffer.

Longinus has observed, that this description of love in Sappho is an exact copy of nature, and that all the circumstances, which follow one another in such a hurry of sentiments, notwithstanding they appear repugnant to each other, are really such as happen in the frenzies of love.

I wonder, that not one of the critics or editors, through whose hands this ode has passed, has taken occasion from it to mention a circumstance related by Plutarch. That author, in the famous story of Antiochus, who fell in love with Stratonice, his mother-in-law, (and not daring to discover his passion,) pretended to be confined to his bed by sickness, tells us, that Erasistratus, the physician, found out the nature of his distemper by those symptoms of love which he had learnt from Sappho's writings. Stratonice was in the room of the love-sick prince, when these symptoms discovered themselves to his physician; and it is probable, that they were not very different from those which Sappho here describes in a lover sitting by his mistress. The story of Antiochus is so well known, that I need not add the sequel of it, which has no relation to my present subject.


[ocr errors]

No. 230.] Friday, November 23, 1711.

Homines ad deos nulla re proprius accedunt, quam

salutem hominibus dando.-Tull.

Men resemble the gods in nothing so much as in doing good to their fellow-creatures.

will not only oblige me, but him also; for be as grateful in acknowledging your favour though he does not covet it, I know he will as if he had asked it.'

some of your papers on the servile manner 'MR. SPECTATOR,-The reflections in of education now in use, have given birth to an ambition, which, unless you discountenance it, will, I doubt, engage me in a very difficult, though not ungrateful adventure. I am about to undertake, for the sake of the British youth, to instruct them in such a manner, that the most dangerous them with much pleasure, and with perpage in Virgil or Homer may be read by fect safety to their persons.

HUMAN nature appears a very deformed, or a very beautiful object, according to the different lights in which it is viewed. When we see men of inflamed passions, or of wicked designs, tearing one another to pieces by open violence, or undermining each other by secret treachery; when we observe base and narrow ends pursued by ignominious and dishonest means; when we behold men mixed in society as if it were for the destruction of it; we are even ashamed of our species, and out of humour with our own being. But in another light, with the protection of some few of them, 'Could I prevail so far as to be honoured when we behold them mild, good, and be- (for I am not hero enough to rescue many,) nevolent, full of a generous regard for the my design is to retire with them to an agreepublic prosperity, compassionating each able solitude, though within the neighbourother's distresses, and relieving each other's hood of a city, for the convenience of their wants, we can hardly believe they are being instructed in music, dancing, drawing, creatures of the same kind. In this view designing, or any other such accomplishthey appear gods to each other, in the ex-ments, which it is conceived may make as ercise of the noblest power, that of doing good; and the greatest compliment we have ever been able to make to our own being, has been by calling this disposition of mind humanity. We cannot but observe a pleasure arising in our own breast upon the seeing or hearing of a generous action, even when we are wholly disinterested in it. I cannot give a more proper instance of this, than by a letter from Pliny, in which he recommends a friend in the most handsome manner, and methinks it would be a great pleasure to know the success of this epistle, though each party concerned in it has been so many hundred years in his grave.

proper diversions for them, and almost as dirty school-boys are so much delighted pleasant, as the little sordid games which with. It may easily be imagined, how such a pretty society, conversing with none beneath themselves, and sometimes admitted, as perhaps not unentertaining parties, caressed for their little performances, and amongst better company, commended and turned by such conversations to a certain gallantry of soul, might be brought early acquainted with some of the most polite English writers. This having given them some tolerable taste of books, they would make themselves masters of the Latin tongue by methods far easier than those in Lilly, with as little difficulty or reluctance as young ladies learn to speak French, or to sing Italian operas. When they had advanced thus far, it would be time to form their taste something more exactly. One that had any true relish of fine writing, might with great pleasure both to himself and them, run over together with them the best Roman historians, poets, and orators, and point out their more remarkable beauties, give them a short scheme of chronology, a little view of geography, medals, astronomy, or what else might best feed the busy inquisitive humour so natural to that age. Such of them as had the least spark of genius, when it was once awakened by the shining thoughts and great sentiments of those admired writers, could not, I believe, be easily withheld from attempting that more difficult sister language, whose exalted beauties they would have heard so often celebrated as the pride and wonder of the whole learned world. In the mean while, it would be requisite to exercise their style in writing any little pieces that ask more of fancy than of judgment: and that frequently in their native lan

'To Maximus.

What I should gladly do for any friend of yours, I think I may now with confidence request for a friend of mine. Arrianus Maturius is the most considerable man of his Country: when I call him so, I do not speak with relation to his fortune, though that is very plentiful, but to his integrity, justice, gravity, and prudence; his advice is useful to me in business, and his judgment in matters of learning. His fidelity, truth, and good understanding are very great; besides this, he loves me as you do, than which, I cannot say any thing that signifies a warmer affection. He has nothing that's aspiring; and, though he might rise to the highest order of nobility, he keeps himself in an inferior rank: yet I think myself bound to use my endeavours to serve and promote him; and would therefore find the means of adding something to his honours while he neither expects nor knows it, nay, though he should refuse it. Something, in short, I would have for him, that may be honourable, but not troublesome; and I entreat that you will procure him the first thing of this kind that offers, by which you

guage, which every one, methinks, should I respect to an audience that can be. It is a be most concerned to cultivate, especially sort of mute eloquence, which pleads for letters, in which a gentleman must have so their favour much better than words could frequent occasions to distinguish himself. do; and we find their generosity naturally A set of genteel good-natured youths fallen moved to support those who are in so much into such a manner of life, would form al-perplexity to entertain them. I was exmost a little academy, and doubtless prove tremely pleased with a late instance of this no such contemptible companions, as might kind at the opera of Almahide, in the ennot often tempt a wiser man to mingle him-couragement given to a young singer, self in their diversions, and draw them into whose more than ordinary concern on her such serious sports as might prove nothing first appearance recommended her no less less instructing than the gravest lessons. I than her agreeable voice, and just perdoubt not but it might be made some of formance. Mere bashfulness without merit their favourite plays, to contend which of is awkward; and merit without modesty inthem should recite a beautiful part of a solent. But modest merit has a double claim poem or oration most gracefully, or some-to acceptance, and generally meets with as times to join in acting a scene of Terence, many patrons as beholders." I am, &c. Sophocles, or our own Shakspeare. The cause of Milo might again be pleaded before more favourable judges, Cæsar a second time be taught to tremble, and annother race of Athenians be afresh enraged at the ambition of another Philip. Amidst these noble amusements, we could hope to see the early dawnings of their imagination daily brighten into sense, their innocence improve into virtue, and their unexperienced good-nature directed to a generous love of their country. I am, &c.' T.

No. 231.] Saturday, November 24, 1711.
O pudor! O pietas!-
O modesty! O piety!

Mart. viii. 78.

LOOKING Over the letters which I have lately received from my correspondents, met with the following one, which is written with such a spirit of politeness, that I could not but be very much pleased with it myself, and, question not but it will be as acceptable to the reader.

[ocr errors]

himself to advantage in an assembly, wheIt is impossible that a person should exert who lies under too great oppressions of ther it be his part either to sing or speak, modesty. I remember, upon talking with a friend of mine concerning the force of pronunciation, our discourse led us into the enumeration of the several organs of speech which an orator ought to have in perfection, as the tongue, the teeth, the lips, the nose, the palate, and the windpipe. Upon which,' says my friend, you have omitted the most material organ of them all, and that is the forehead.'

But notwithstanding an excess of modesty obstructs the tongue, and renders it unfit for its offices, a due proportion of it is toricians have recommended it to their disthought so requisite to an orator, that rheIciples as a particular in their art. Cicero tells us that he never liked an orator who did not appear in some little confusion at the beginning of his speech, and confesses that he himself never entered upon an oration without trembling and concern. It is indeed a kind of deference which is due to a great assembly, and seldom fails to raise a benevolence in the audience towards the person who speaks. My correspondent has taken notice that the bravest men often appear timorous on these occasions, as indeed we may observe, that there is generally no creature more impudent than a coward;

-Lingua melior, sed frigida bello

Virg. Æn. xi. 338.
-Bold at the council-board:
But cautious in the field, he shunn'd the sword.

A bold tongue and a feeble arm are the qualifications of Drances in Virgil; as Homer, to express a man both timorous and saucy, makes use of a kind of point, which is very rarely to be met with in his writings; namely, that he had the eyes of a dog, but the heart of a deer.†

'MR. SPECTATOR,-You, who are no stranger to public assemblies, cannot but have observed the awe they often strike on such as are obliged to exert any talent before them. This is a sort of elegant distress to which ingenuous minds are the most liable, and may therefore deserve some remarks in your paper. Many a brave fellow, who has put his enemy to flight in the field, has been in the utmost disorder upon making a speech before a body of his friends at home. One would think there was some kind of fascination in the eyes of a large circle of people, when darting all together upon one person. I have seen a new actor in a tragedy so bound up by it as to be scarce able to speak or move, and have expected he would have died above three acts before the dagger or cup of poison were brought in. It would not be amiss, if such a one were at first to be introduced as a ghost, or a statue, until he recovered his spirits, and grew fit for some living part.

'As this sudden desertion of one's self shows a diffidence which is not displeasing, it implies at the same time the greatest

A just and reasonable modesty does not only recommend eloquence, but sets off every great talent which a man can be possessed of. It heightens all the virtues which

Sir John Hawkins's History of Music, vol. v. p. 156.
* Mrs. Barbier. See a curious account of this lady in
† Iliad, i. 225.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »