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eye, a very short or a very long action would be to the memory. The first would be, as it were, lost and swallowed up by it, and the other difficult to be contained in it. Homer and Virgil have shown their principal art in this particular; the action of the Iliad, and that of the Eneid, were in themselves exceeding short, but are so beautifully extended and diversified by the invention of episodes, and the machinery of gods, with the like poetical ornaments, that they make up an agreeable story, sufficient to employ the memory without overcharging it. Milton's action is enriched with such variety of circumstances, that I have taken as much pleasure in reading the contents of his books, as in the best invented story I ever met with. It is possible, that the traditions, on which the Iliad and the Eneid were built, had more circumstances in them than the history of the fall of man, as it is related in scripture. Besides, it was easier for Homer and Virgil to dash the truth with fiction, as they were in no danger of offending the religion of their country by it. But as for Milton, he had not only a very few circumstances upon which to raise his poem, but was also obliged to proceed with the greatest caution in every thing that he

added out of his own invention. And indeed, notwithstanding all the restraint he was under, he has filled his story with so many surprising incidents, which bear so close an analogy with what is delivered in holy writ, that it is capable of pleasing the most delicate reader, without giving offence to the most scrupulous.

The modern critics have collected from several hints in the Iliad and neid the space of time which is taken up by the action of each of those poems; but as a great part of Milton's story was translated in regions that lie out of the reach of the sun and the sphere of day, it is impossible to gratify the reader with such a calculation, which indeed would be more curious than instructive; none of the critics, either ancient or modern, having laid down rules to circumscribe the action of an epic poem with any determined number of years, days, or hours, This piece of criticism on Milton's Paradise Lost shall be carried on in the following Saturdays' papers. UL.


may see I am not accuser and judge myself, but that the indictment is properly and fairly laid, before I proceed against the criminal.


Hor. Sat. iii. Lib. 1. 29. -unfit For lively sallies of corporeal wit. -Creech. IT is not that I think I have been more witty than I ought of late, that at present I wholly forbear any attempt towards it: I am of opinion that I ought sometimes to Jay before the world the plain letters of my correspondents in the artless dress in which they hastily send them, that the reader

MR. SPECTATOR,-Your discourse of the 29th of December, on love and marriage, is of so useful a kind that I cannot forbear adding my thoughts to yours on that subject. Methinks it is a misfortune, that the marriage state, which in its own nature is adapted to give us the completest happiness this life is capable of, should be so uncomfortable a one to so many as it daily proves. But the mischief generally proceeds from the unwise choice people make for themselves, and an expectation of happiness from things not capable of giving it. Nothing but the good qualities of the person beloved can be a foundation for a love of judgment and discretion; and whoever expects happiness from any thing but virtue, wisdom, good humour, and a similitude of manners, will find themselves widely mistaken. But how few are there who seek after these things, and do not rather make riches their chief, if not their only aim? How rare is it for a man, when he engages himself in the thoughts of marriage, to place his hopes of having in such a woman a constant agreeable companion? One who will divide his cares, and double his joys? Who will manage that share of his estate he intrusts to her conduct with prudence and frugality, govern his house with economy and discretion, and be an ornament to himself and family? Where shall we find the man who looks out for one who places her chief happiness in the practice of virtue, and makes her duty her continual pleasure? No: men rather seek for money as the complement of all their desires; and

No. 261.


regardless of what kind of wives they take, | parson has lost his cloak," is not mightily they think riches will be a minister to all in vogue amongst the fine ladies this Christkind of pleasures, and enable them to keep mas, because I see they wear hoods of all mistresses, horses, hounds; to drink, feast, colours, which I suppose is for that purand game with their companions, pay their pose. If it is, and you think it proper, I debts contracted by former extravagances, will carry some of those hoods with me to or some such vile and unworthy end; and our ladies in Yorkshire: because they enindulge themselves in pleasures which are joined me to bring them something from a shame and scandal to human nature. London that was very new. If you can tell Now as for women, how few of them are any thing in which I can obey their comthere who place the happiness of their mands more agreeably, be pleased to inmarriage in the having a wise and virtuous form me, and you will extremely oblige friend? One who will be faithful and just your humble servant.' to all, and constant and loving to them? Who with care and diligence will look after and improve the estate, and without grudging allow whatever is prudent and convenient? Rather, how few are there who do not place their happiness in outshining others in pomp and show? and that do not think within themselves when they have married such a rich person, that none of their acquaintance shall appear so fine in their equipage, so adorned in their persons, or so magnificent in their furniture as themselves? Thus their heads are filled with vain ideas; and I heartily wish I could say that equipage and show were not the chief good of so many women as I fear it is.

After this manner do both sexes deceive themselves, and bring reflections and disgrace upon the most happy and most honourable state of life; whereas, if they would but correct their depraved taste, moderate their ambition, and place their happiness upon proper objects, we should not find felicity in the marriage state such a wonder in the world as it now is.

'Oxford, Dec. 29. 'MR. SPECTATOR,-Since you appear inclined to be a friend to the distressed, I beg you would assist me in an affair under which I have suffered very much. The reigning toast of this place is Patetia; I have pursued her with the utmost diligence this twelvemonth, and find nothing stands in my way but one who flatters her more than I can. Pride is her favourite passion; therefore if you would be so far my friend as to make a favourable mention of me in one of your papers, I believe I should not fail in my addresses. The scholars stand in rows, as they did to be sure in your time, at her pew door; and she has all the devotion paid to her by a crowd of youths who are unacquainted with the sex, and have inexperience added to their passion. However, if it succeeds according to my vows, you will make me the happiest man in the world, and the most obliged amongst all your humble servants.

'MR. SPECTATOR,-I desire to know in your next, if the merry game of "The

'Sir, if you think these thoughts worth inserting among your own, be pleased to give them a better dress; and let them pass abroad, and you will oblige your admirer,

'A. B.' 'MR. SPECTATOR,-As I was this day walking in the street, there happened to pass by on the other side of the way a beauty, whose charms were so attracting, that it drew my eyes wholly on that side, insomuch, that I neglected my own way, and chanced to run my nose directly against No. 269.] Tuesday, January 8, 1711-12. a post; which the lady no sooner perceived, but she fell into a fit of laughter, though at the same time she was sensible that she herself was the cause of my misfortune, which in my opinion was the greater aggravation of her crime. I being busy wip-knocking at the door, when my landlady's I WAS this morning surprised with a great ing off the blood which trickled down my face, had not time to acquaint her with her barbarity, as also with my resolution, viz. never to look out of my way for one of her sex more: therefore, that your humble servant may be revenged, he desires you to insert this in one of your next papers, which he hopes will be a warning to all the rest of the women-gazers, as well as to poor 'ANTHONY GAPE.'

daughter came up to me and told me that there was a man below desired to speak with me. Upon my asking her who it was, she told me it was a very grave elderly person, but that she did not know his name. him to be the coachman of my worthy friend I immediately went down to him, and found Sir Roger de Coverley. He told me that his master came to town last night, and would be glad to take a turn with me in Gray's Inn walks. As I was wondering with myself what had brought Sir Roger

tress's toilet this morning, for I am admitted 'MR. SPECTATOR,-I came to my miswhen her face is stark naked: she frowned and cried pish, when I said a thing that I stole; and I will be judged by you whether it was not very pretty. "Madam," said I,


you shall forbear that part of your dress; it may be well in others, but you cannot place a patch where it does not hide a beauty.'



Evo rarissima nostro

Ovid. Ars Am. Lib. i. 241.
Most rare is now our old simplicity.-Dryden.

to town, not having lately received any letter from him, he told me that his master was come up to get a sight of Prince Eugene, and that he desired I would immediately meet him.

laudable custom of his ancestors, always
keeps open house at Christmas. I learned
from him that he had killed eight fat hogs
for this season, that he had dealt about his
chines very liberally amongst his neigh-
bours, and that in particular he had sent a
string of hog's puddings with a pack of
cards to every poor family in the parish.
'I have often thought,' says Sir Roger, 'it
happens very well that Christmas should
fall out in the middle of winter. It is the
most dead uncomfortable time of the year,
when the poor people would suffer very
much from their poverty and cold, if they
had not good cheer, warm fires, and Christ-
mas gambols to support them. I love to
rejoice their poor hearts at this season, and
to see the whole village merry in my great
hall. I allow a double quantity of malt to,
my small-beer, and set it a running for
twelve days to every one that calls for it. I
have always a piece of cold beef and a
mince-pie upon the table, and am wonder-
fully pleased to see my tenants pass away
a whole evening in playing their innocent
tricks, and smutting one another. Our friend
Will Wimble is as merry as any of them,
and shows a thousand roguish tricks upon
these occasions.

I was very much delighted with the reflection of my old friend, which carried so much goodness in it. He then launched out into the praise of the late act of parliament for securing the church of England,† and told me with great satisfaction, that he believed it already began to take effect, for that a rigid dissenter who chanced to dine at his house on Christmas-day, had been observed to eat very plentifully of his plumporridge.

After having despatched all our country He then proceeded to acquaint me with matters, Sir Roger made several inquiries the welfare of Will Wimble. Upon which concerning the club, and particularly of his he put his hand into his fob and presented old antagonist Sir Andrew Freeport. He me in his name with a tobacco-stopper, asked me with a kind smile, whether Sir telling me that Will had been busy all the Andrew had not taken the advantage of his beginning of the winter in turning great absence, to vent among them some of his quantities of them; and that he made a pre- republican doctrines; but soon after, gathersent of one to every gentleman in the coun- ing up his countenance into a more than try who has good principles, and smokes. ordinary seriousness, Tell me truly,' says He added, that poor Will was at present un-he, do you not think Sir Andrew had a der great tribulation, for that Tom Touchy had taken the law of him for cutting some hazel sticks out of one of his hedges.



hand in the Pope's procession?'-But without giving me time to answer him, 'Well, well,' says he, 'I know you are a wary man, and do not care to talk of public matters.'

The knight then asked me, if I had seen Prince Eugenio, and made me promise to get him a stand in some convenient place where he might have a full view of that extraordinary man, whose presence did so much honour to the British nation. He dwelt very long on the praises of this great general, and I found that since I was with him in the country, he had drawn many observations together, out of his reading in Baker's Chronicle, and other authors, who

↑ The act against occasional conformity.

I was not a little pleased with the curiosity of the old knight, though I did not much wonder at it, having heard him say more than once in private_discourse, that he looked upon Prince Eugenio (for so the knight always calls him,) to be a greater man than Scanderbeg.*

I was no sooner come into Gray's Inn walks, but I heard my friend upon the terrace hemming twice or thrice to himself with great vigour, for he loves to clear his pipes in good air, (to make use of his own phrase,) and is not a little pleased with any one who takes notice of the strength which he still exerts in his morning hems.

I was touched with a secret joy at the sight of the good old man, who before he saw me was engaged in conversation with a beggar-man that had asked alms of him. I could hear my friend chide him for not finding out some work; but at the same time saw him put his hand in his pocket and give him sixpence.

Our salutations were very hearty on both sides, consisting of many kind shakes of the hand, and several affectionate looks which we cast upon one another. After which the knight told me my good friend his chaplain was very well, and much at my service, and that the Sunday before he had made a most incomparable sermon out of Dr. Barrow. I have left,' says he, all my affairs in his hands, and being willing to lay an obligation upon him, have deposited with him thirty marks, to be distributed among his poor parishioners.'


Among other pieces of news which the knight brought from his country-seat, he informed me that Moll White was dead, and that about a month after her death the wind was so very high, that it blew down the end of one of his barns. But for my own part,' says Sir Roger, 'I do not think that the old woman had any hand in it.'

He afterwards fell into an account of the diversions which had passed in his house during the holidays; for Sir Roger, after the

George Castriot, a celebrated Albanian chief in the fifteenth century: he was called Scanderbeg by the Turks, with whom he long continued at war.


the head of the same man who drew the | No. 271.] Thursday, January 10, 1711-12. rest of the play. The meeting between Welford and him shows a wretch without any notion of the dignity of his function; and it is out of all common sense that he should give an account of himself as one sent four or five miles in a morning, on foot, for eggs.' It is not to be denied, but this part, and that of the maid, whom he makes love to, are excellently well performed; but a thing which is blameable in itself, grows still more so by the success in the execution of it. It is so mean a thing to gratify a loose age with a scandalous representation of what is reputable among men, not to say what is sacred, that no beauty, no excellence in an author ought to atone for it; nay, such excellence is an aggravation of his guilt, and an argument that he errs against the conviction of his own understanding and conscience. Wit should be tried by this rule, and an audience should rise against such a scene as throws down the reputation

I RECEIVE a double advantage from the letters of my correspondents; first, as they show me which of my papers are most acceptable to them: and in the next place, as they furnish me with materials for new speculations. Sometimes indeed I do not make use of the letter itself, but form the hints of it into plans of my own invention; sometimes I take the liberty to change the language or thought into my own way of speaking and thinking, and always (if it can be done without prejudice to the sense) omit the many compliments and applauses which are usually bestowed upon me.

Besides the two advantages above mentioned, which I receive from the letters that are sent me, they give me an oppor

of any thing which the consideration of re-tunity of lengthening out my paper by the ligion or decency should preserve from con- skilful management of the subscribing part tempt. But all this evil arises from this one at the end of them, which perhaps does corruption of mind, that makes men resent not a little conduce to the ease, both of myoffences against their virtue, less than those self and reader. against their understanding. An author shall write as if he thought there was not one man of honour or woman of chastity in the house, and come off with applause: for an insult upon all the ten commandments with the little critics is not so bad as the breach of a unity of time and place. Half wits do not apprehend the miseries that must necessarily flow from a degeneracy of manners; nor do they know that order is the support of society. Sir Roger and his mistress are monsters of the poet's own forming; the sentiments in both of them are such as do not arise in fools of their education. We all know that a silly scholar, instead of being below every one he meets with, is apt to be exalted above the rank of such as are really his superiors; his arrogance is always founded upon particular notions of distinction in his own head, accompanied with a pedantic scorn of all fortune and pre-eminence, when compared with his knowledge and learning. This very one character of Sir Roger, as silly as it really is, has done more towards the disparagement of holy orders, and consequently of virtue itself, than all the wit of that author, or any other, could make up for in the conduct of the longest life after it. I do not pretend in saying this, to give myself airs of more virtue than my neighbours, but assert it from the principles by which mankind must always be governed. Sallies of imagination are to be overlooked, when they are committed out of warmth in the recom-in a cherry-coloured hood, commended the mendation of what is praise-worthy; but a discretion of the writer for having thrown deliberate advancing of vice, with all the his filthy thoughts into Greek, which was wit in the world, is as ill an action as any likely to corrupt but few of his readers. that comes before the magistrate, and ought At the same time she declared herself very to be received as such by the people. well pleased that he had not given a decísive opinion upon the new-fashioned hoods;

'SIR,-I was last Thursday in an assembly of ladies, where there were thirteen different coloured hoods. Your Spectator of that day lying upon the table, they ordered me to read it to them, which I did with a very clear voice, until I came to the Greek verse at the end of it. I must confess I was a little startled at its popping upon me so unexpectedly. However, I covered my confusion as well as I could, and after having muttered two or three hard words to myself, laughed heartily; and cried, "a very good jest, faith." The ladies desired me to explain it to them; but I begged their pardon for that, and told them, that if it had been proper for them to hear, they might be sure the author would not have wrapped it up in Greek. I then let drop several expressions, as if there was something in it that was not fit to be spoken before a company of ladies. Upon which the matron of the assembly, who was dressed


Mille trahens varios adverso sole colores.
Virg. Æn. iv. 701.
Drawing a thousand colours from the light.

Some will have it, that I often write to myself, and am the only punctual correspondent I have. This objection would indeed be material, were the letters I communicate to the public stuffed with my own commendations; and if instead of endeayouring to divert and instruct my readers, I admired in them the beauty of my own performances. But I shall leave these wise conjecturers to their own imaginations, and produce the three following letters for the entertainment of the day.

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