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rakes who had lived upon him. A course of | sensible citizen, or scholar that knew the ten years time passed in all the little alleys, world. These are the great circumstances by-paths, and sometimes open taverns and in the life of Irus, and thus does he pass streets of the town, gave Irus a perfect skill away his days a stranger to mankind; and in judging of the inclinations of mankind, at his death, the worst that will be said of and acting accordingly. He seriously con- him will be, that he got by every man who sidered he was poor, and the general hor- had expectations from him, more than he ror which most men have of all who are in had to leave him. that condition. Irus judged very rightly, that while he could keep his poverty a secret, he should not feel the weight of it; he improved this thought into an affectation of closeness and covetousness. Upon this one principle he resolved to govern his future life; and in the thirty-sixth year of his age he repaired to Long-lane, and looked upon several dresses which hung there deserted by their first masters, and exposed to the purchase of the best bidder. At this place he exchanged his gay shabbiness of clothes fit for a much younger man, to warm ones that would be decent for a much older one. Irus came out thoroughly equipped from head to foot, with a little oaken cane, in the form of a substantial man that did not mind his dress, turned of fifty. He had at this time fifty pounds in ready money; and in this habit, with this fortune, he took his present lodging in St. John-street, at
'MR. SPECTATOR,-Having observed in Lilly's grammar how sweetly Bacchus and Apollo run in a verse; I have (to preserve the amity between them) called in Bacchus to the aid of my profession of the theatre. So that while some people of quality are
the mansion-house of a tailor's widow, who bespeaking plays of me to be acted on such a day, and others, hogsheads for their houses against such a time; I am wholly employed in the agreeable service of wit and wine. Sir, I have sent you Sir Roger de Coverley's favour of the Bumper tavern. Be kind, for letter to me, which pray comply with in you know a player's utmost pride is the approbation of the Spectator. I am your admirer, though unknown,
washes, and can clear-starch his bands.
I have an inclination to print the following letters; for I have heard the author of them has somewhere or other seen me, and by an excellent faculty in mimickry my correspondents tell me he can assume my air, and give my taciturnity a slyness which diverts more than any thing I could say if I were present. Thus I am glad my silence is atoned for to the good company in town. He has carried his skill in imitation so far, as to have forged a letter from my friend Sir Roger in such a manner, that any one but I who am thoroughly acquainted with him, would have taken it for genuine.
To Mr. Estcourt,
At his house in Covent Garden. 'Coverley, Dec. 18, 1711. 'OLD COMICAL ONE,-The hogsheads of neat port came safe, and have gotten thee good reputation in these parts; and I am glad to hear, that a fellow who has been laying out his money ever since he was born, for the mere pleasure of wine, has bethought himself of joining profit and pleasure together. Our sexton (poor man) having received strength from thy wine since his fit of the gout, is hugely taken with it; he says it is given by nature for the use of families, and that no steward's table can be without it; that it strengthens digestion, excludes surfeits, fevers, and physic; which green wines of any kind cannot do. Pray get a pure snug room, and I hope next term to help fill your bumper with our people of the club; but you must have no bells stirring when the Spectator comes; I forbore ringing to dinner while, he was down with me in the country. Thank you for the little hams and Portugal onions; pray keep some always by you. You know my supper is only good Cheshire cheese, best mustard, a golden pippin, attended with a pipe of John Sly's best. Sir Harry has stolen all
your songs, and tells the story of the 5th of November to perfection. Yours to serve you, ROGER DE COVERLEY.' 'We have lost old John since you were here.' T.
No. 265.] Thursday, January 3, 1711-12.
Ovid de Art. Am. Lib. iii. 7.
But some exclaim; what frenzy rules your mind?
ONE of the fathers, if I am rightly informed, has defined a woman to be
, an animal that delights in finery. I have already treated of the sex in two or three papers, conformably to this definition; and have in particular observed, that in all ages they have been more careful than the men to adorn that part of the head which we generally call the outside.
This observation is so very notorious, that when in ordinary discourse we say a man has a fine head, a long head, or a good head, we express ourselves metaphorically, and speak in relation to his understanding; whereas when we say of a woman, she has a fine, a long, or a good head, we speak only in relation to her commode.
It is observed among birds, that nature has lavished all her ornaments upon the male, who very often appears in a most beautiful head-dress: whether it be a crest, a comb, a tuft of feathers, or a natural little plume, erected like a kind of pinnacle on the very top of the head. As nature on the contrary has poured out her charms in the greatest abundance upon the female part of our species, so they are very assiduous in bestowing upon themselves the finest garnitures of art. The peacock, in all his pride, does not display half the colours that appear in the garments of a British lady, when she is dressed either for a ball or birth-day.
But to return to our female heads. The ladies have been for some time in a kind of moulting season with regard to that part of their dress, having cast great quantities of riband, lace, and cambric, and in some measure reduced that part of the human figure to the beautiful globular form, which is natural to it. We have for a great while expected what kind of ornament would substituted in the place of those antiquated commodes. Our female projectors were all the last summer so taken up with the improvement of their petticoats, that they had not time to attend to any thing else; but having at length sufficiently adorned their lower parts, they now begin to turn their thoughts upon the other extremity, as well remembering the old kitchen proverb, that if you light the fire at both ends, the middle will shift for itself,'
I am engaged in this speculation by a sight which I lately met with at the opera. As I was standing in the hinder part of a box, I took notice of a little cluster of women sitting together in the prettiest coloured hoods that I ever saw. One of them was blue, another yellow, and another philo- 3 mot; the fourth was of a pink colour, and the fifth of a pale green. I looked with as much pleasure upon this little partycoloured assembly, as upon a bed of tulips, and did not know at first whether it might not be an embassy of Indian queens; but upon my going about into the pit, and taking them in front, I was immediately undeceived, and saw so much beauty in every face, that I found them all to be English. Such eyes and lips, cheeks and foreheads, could be the growth of no other country. The complexion of their faces hindered me from observing any farther the colour of their hoods, though I could easily perceive by that unspeakable satisfaction which appeared in their looks, that their own thoughts were wholly taken up on those pretty ornaments they wore upon their heads.
I am informed that this fashion spreads daily, insomuch that the Whig and Tory ladies begin already to hang out different colours, and to show their principles in their head-dress. Nay if I may believe my friend Will Honeycomb, there is a certain old coquette of his acquaintance, who intends to appear very suddenly in a rainbow hood, like the Iris in Dryden's Virgil, not questioning but that among such a variety of colours she shall have a charm for every heart.
My friend Will, who very much values himself upon his great insight into gallantry, tells me, that he can already guess at the humour a lady is in by her hood, as the courtiers of Morocco knew the disposition of their present emperor by the colour of the dress which he put on. When Melesinda wraps her head in flame colour, her heart is set upon execution. When she covers it with purple, I would not, says he, advise her lover to approach her; but if she appears in white, it is peace, and he may hand her out of her box with safety.
Will informs me likewise, that these hoods may be used as signals. Why else, says he, does Cornelia always put on a black hood when her husband is gone into the country?
Such are my friend Honeycomb's dreams of gallantry. For my own part, I impute this diversity of colours in the hoods to the diversity of complexion in the faces of my pretty country women. Ovid, in his Art of Love, has given some precepts as to this particular, though I find they are different from those which prevail among the moderns. He recommends a red striped silk to the pale complexion; white to the brown, and dark to the fair. On the contrary, my friend Will, who pretends to be a greater
master in this art than Ovid, tells me,
general, with relation to the gift of chastity,
Whether these his observations are justly grounded I cannot tell; but I have often known him, as we have stood together behind the ladies, praise or dispraise the complexion of a face which he never saw, from observing the colour of her hood, and [he] has been very seldom out in these his guesses.
As I have nothing more at heart than the
men, both those under her present tutelage,
Γυναικι κοσμος ο τρόπος, κ' ου χρυσία.
No. 266.] Friday, January 4, 1711-12.
Id vero est, quod ego mihi puto palmarium,
This I conceive to be my master-piece, that I have discovered how unexperienced youth may detect the artifices of bad women, and by knowing them early,
detest them for ever.
No vice or wickedness which people fall into from indulgence to desires which are natural to all ought to place them below the compassion of the virtuous part of the world; which indeed often makes me a little apt to suspect the sincerity of their virtue, who are too warmly provoked at other people's personal sins. The unlawful commerce of the sexes is of all others the hardest to avoid; and yet there is no one which you shall hear the rigider part of womankind speak of with so little mercy It is very certain that a modest woman cannot abhor the breach of chastity too much; but pray let her hate it for herself, and only pity it in others, Will Honeycomb calls these over-offended ladies, the outrageously virtuous.
I do not design to fall upon failures in
Cloe, Cloe, Cloe, here I have her,
Her maidenhead will yield me; let me see now;
Sings most enticingly. These helps consider'd,
Her maidenhead will amount to some three hundred, Or three hundred and fifty crowns, 'twill bear it handsomely:
be delivered over to famine. The ironical
Her father's poor; some little share deducted,
These creatures are very well instructed in the circumstances and manners of all who are any way related to the fair one whom they have a design upon. As Cloe is to be purchased with 350 crowns, and the father taken off with a pad; the merchant's wife next to her, who abounds in plenty, is not to have downright money, but the mercenary part of her mind is engaged with a present of plate, and a little ambition. She
is made to understand that it is a man of quality who dies for her. The examination
of a young girl for business, and the crying No. 267.] Saturday, January 5, 1711-12. down her value for being a slight thing, together with every other circumstance in the scene, are inimitably excellent, and have the true spirit of comedy; though it were to be wished the author had added a circumstance which should make Leucippe's baseness more odious.
Cedite Romani scriptores, cedite Graii. Propert. El. 34. Lib. 2.65. Give place, ye Roman, and ye Grecian wits. THERE is nothing in nature so irksome as general discourses, especially when they turn chiefly upon words. For this reason I shall waive the discussion of that point which was started some years since, whether Milton's Paradise Lost may be called
It must not be thought a digression from my intended speculation, to talk of bawds in a discourse upon wenches; for a woman of the town is not thoroughly and properly an heroic poem? Those who will not give such without having gone through the edu- it that title, may call it (if they please) a cation of one of these houses. But the divine poem. It will be sufficient to its compassionate case of very many is, that perfection, if it has in it all the beauties they are taken into such hands without any of the highest kind of poetry; and as for the least suspicion, previous temptation, those who allege it is not an heroic poem, or admonition to what place they are going. they advance no more to the diminution of The last week I went to an inn in the city it, than if they should say Adam is not to enquire for some provisions which were Æneas, nor Eve Helen. sent by a waggon out of the country; and as I shall therefore examine it by the rules I waited in one of the boxes till the cham- of epic poetry, and see whether it falls berlain had looked over his parcels, I heard short of the Iliad or Æneid, in the beauties an old and a young voice repeating the which are essential to that kind of writing. questions and responses of the church- The first thing to be considered in an epic catechism. I thought it no breach of good- poem, is the fable, which is perfect or impermanners to peep at a crevice, and look in fect, according as the action which it relates at people so well employed; but who should is more or less so. This action should have I see there but the most artful procuress in three qualifications, in it. First, it should town, examining a most beautiful country-be but one action. Secondly, it should be girl, who had come up in the same waggon an entire action; and, Thirdly, it should with my things, whether she was well edu- be a great action. To consider the action cated, could forbear playing the wanton of the Iliad, Æneid, and Paradise Lost, in with servants and idle fellows, of which these three several lights: Homer, to prethis town, says she, is too full. At the same serve the unity of his action, hastens into time, whether she knew enough of breed-the midst of things, as Horace has observed. ing, as that if a 'squire or a gentleman, or Had he gone up to Leda's egg, or begun one that was her betters, should give her a much later, even at the rape of Helen, or civil salute, she should courtesy and be the investing of Troy, it is manifest that humble nevertheless.' Her innocent for-the story of the poem would have been a sooths, yeses, and't please you's, and she series of several actions. He therefore would do her endeavour,' moved the good opens his poem with the discord of his old lady to take her out of the hands of a princes, and artfully interweaves, in the country bumpkin, her brother, and hire several succeeding parts of it, an account her for her own maid. I staid till I saw of every thing material which relates to them all march out to take a coach; the bro- them, and had passed before that fatal disther loaded with a great cheese, he prevail- sention. After the same manner Æneas ed upon her to take for her civilities to his makes his first appearance in the Tyrrhene sister. This poor creature's fate is not far seas, and within sight of Italy, because the off that of her's whom I spoke of above; action proposed to be celebrated was that and it is not to be doubted, but after she has of his settling himself in Latium. But bebeen long enough a prey to lust, she will cause it was necessary for the reader to
which it must be supposed to take from its original to its consummation. Thus we see the anger of Achilles in its birth, its continuance, and effects; and Eneas's settlement in Italy carried on through all the oppositions in his way to it both by sea and land. The action in Milton excels (I think) both the former in this particular; we see it contrived in hell, executed upon earth, and punished by heaven. The parts of it are told in the most distinct manner, and grow out of one another in the most natural method.
know what had happened to him in the taking of Troy, and in the preceding parts of his voyage, Virgil makes his hero relate it by way of episode in the second and third books of the Eneid. The contents of both which books came before those of the first book in the thread of the story, though for preserving this unity of action they follow them in the disposition of the poem. Milton, in imitation of these two great poets, opens his Paradise Lost with an infernal council plotting the fall of man, which is the action he proposed to celebrate; and as for those great actions, which preceded, in The third qualification of an epic poem point of time, the battle of the angels, and is its greatness. The anger of Achilles was the creation of the world, (which would of such consequence that it embroiled the have entirely destroyed the unity of the kings of Greece, destroyed the heroes of principal action, had he related them in Troy, and engaged all the gods in factions. the same order that they happened) he Eneas's settlement in Italy produced the cast them into the fifth, sixth, and seventh Cæsars, and gave birth to the Roman embooks, by way of episode to this noble poem. pire. Milton's subject was still greater Aristotle himself allows, that Homer has than either of the former; it does not denothing to boast of as to the unity of his termine the fate of single persons or nafable, though at the same time that great tions; but of a whole species. The united critic and philosopher endeavours to pal- powers of hell are joined together for the liate this imperfection in the Greek poet, destruction of mankind, which they effectby imputing it in some measure to the very ed in part, and would have completed, had nature of an epic poem. Some have been not Omnipotence itself interposed. The of opinion, that the Eneid also labours in principal actors are man in his greatest perthis particular, and has episodes which fection, and woman in her highest beauty. may be looked upon as excrescences rather Their enemies are the fallen angels; the than as parts of the action. On the con- Messiah their friend, and the Almighty trary, the poem which we have now under their Protector. In short every thing that our consideration, hath no other episodes is great in the whole circle of being, whe than such as naturally arise from the sub-ther within the verge of nature, or out of it, ject, and yet is filled with such a multi- has a proper part assigned it in this admirtude of astonishing incidents, that it gives able poem. us at the same time a pleasure of the greatest variety and of the greatest simplicity; uniform in its nature, though diversified in
I must observe also, that as Virgil, in the poem which was designed to celebrate the original of the Roman empire, has described the birth of its great rival, the Carthaginian commonwealth; Milton, with the like art, in his poem on the fall of man, has related the fall of those angels who are his professed enemies. Besides the many other beauties in such an episode, its running parallel with the great action of the poem hinders it from breaking the unity so much as another episode would have done, that had not so great an affinity with the principal subject. In short, this is the same kind of beauty which the critics admire in the Spanish Friar, or the Double Discovery, where the two different plots look like counter-parts and copies of one another.
The second qualification required in the action of an epic poem, is, that it should be an entire action. An action is entire when it is complete in all its parts; or as Aristotle describes it, when it consists of a beginning, a middle, and an end. Nothing should go before it, be intermixed with it, or follow after it, that is not related to it. As, on the contrary, no single step should be omitted in that just and regular process
In poetry, as in architecture, not only the whole, but the principal members, and every part of them, should be great. I will not presume to say, that the book of games in the Eneid, or that in the Iliad, are not of this nature; nor to reprehend Virgil's simile of the top, and many other of the same kind in the Iliad, as liable to any censure in this particular; but I think we may say, without derogating from those wonderful performances, that there is an unquestionable magnificence in every part of Paradise Lost, and indeed a much greater than could have been formed upon any pagan system.
But Aristotle, by the greatness of the action, does not only mean that it should be great in its nature, but also in its duration, or in other words, that it should have a due length in it, as well as what we properly call greatness. The just measure of this kind of magnitude, he explains by the following similitude: An animal no bigger than a mite, cannot appear perfect to the eye, because the sight takes it in at once, and has only a confused idea of the whole, and not a distinct idea of all its parts; if on the contrary, you should suppose an animal of ten thousand furlongs in length, the eye would be so filled with a single part of it, that it could not give the mind an idea of the whole. What these animals are to the