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Nos duo turba sumus-
Ovid, Met. i. 355.
man some assurance, and makes him easy | No. 68.] Friday, May 18, 1711.
It is the proper business of a dancingmaster to regulate these matters; though I take it to be a just observation, that unless you add something of your own to what these fine gentlemen teach you, and which they are wholly ignorant of themselves, you will much sooner get the character of an affected fop, than of a well-bred man.
As for country dancing, it must indeed be confessed that the great familiarities between the two sexes on this occasion may sometimes produce very dangerous consequences; and I have often thought that few ladies' hearts are so obdurate as not to be melted by the charms of music, the force of motion, and a handsome young fellow who is continually playing before their eyes, and convincing them that he has the perfect use of all his limbs.
But as this kind of dance is the particular invention of our own country, and as every one is more or less a proficient in it, I would not discountenance it: but rather suppose it may be practised innocently by others, as well as myself, who am often partner to my landlady's eldest daughter.
Having heard a good character of the collection of pictures which is to be exposed to sale on Friday next; and concluding from the following letter, that the person who collected them is a man of no unelegant taste, I will be so much his friend as to publish it, provided the reader will only look upon it as filling up the place of an advertisement:
"From the Three Chairs, in the Piazzas, Covent Garden.
'May 16, 1711. 'SIR,-As you are a Spectator, I think we who make it our business to exhibit any thing to public view, ought to apply our selves to you for your approbation. I have travelled Europe to furnish out a show for you, and have brought with me what has been admired in every country through which I passed. You have declared in many papers, that your greatest delights are those of the eye, which I do not doubt but I shall gratify with as beautiful objects as yours ever beheld. If castles, forests, ruins, fine women, and graceful men, can please you, I dare promise you much satisfaction, if you will appear at my auction on Friday next. A sight is, I suppose, as grateful to a Spectator as a treat to another person, and therefore I hope you will pardon this invitation from, sir,
Your most obedient humble servant, X. 'J. GRAHAM.' |
ONE would think that the larger the company is in which we are engaged, the greater variety of thoughts and subjects would be started in discourse; but instead of this, we find that conversation is never so much straitened and confined as in numerous assemblies. When a multitude meet together on any subject of discourse, their debates are taken up chiefly with forms and general positions; nay, if we come into a more contracted assembly of men and women, the talk generally runs upon the weather, fashions, news, and the like public topics. In proportion as conversation gets into clubs and knots of friends, it de scends into particulars, and grows more free and communicative; but the most open, instructive, and unreserved discourse, is that which passes between two persons who are familiar and intimate friends. On these occasions a man gives a loose to every passion and every thought that is uppermost, discovers his most retired opinions of persons and things, tries the beauty and strength of his sentiments, and exposes his whole soul to the examination of his friend.
Tully was the first who observed, that friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy, and dividing of our grief; a thought in which he hath been followed by all the essayers upon Sir Francis Bacon has finely described friendship, that have written since his time. other advantages, or, as he calls them, fruits of friendship; and, indeed, there is no subject of morality which has been better handled and more exhausted than this. Among the several fine things which have been spoken of it, I shall beg leave to quote some out of a very ancient author, whose book would be regarded by our modern wits as one of the most shining tracts of morality that is extant, if it appeared under the name of a Confucius, or of any celebrated Grecian philosopher: I mean the little apocryphal treatise, entitled The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach. How finely has he de scribed the art of making friends, by an obliging and affable behaviour! and laid down that precept which a late excellent author has delivered as his own, That we should have many well-wishers, but few friends. Sweet language will multiply friends; and a fair speaking tongue will in crease kind greetings. Be in peace with many, nevertheless, have but one counsel lor of a thousand.* With what prudence does he caution us in the choice of our friends! And with what strokes of nature (I could almost say of humour) has he de scribed the behaviour of a treacherous and self interested friend! If thou wouldes get a friend, prove him first, and be no
* Ecclus. vi. 5, 6.
hasty to credit him: for some man is a
loseth his credit, and shall never find a
Among the several qualifications of a
be one of the greatest tasks of wisdom to
Difficilis, facilis, jucundus, acerbus es idem, Nec tecum possum vivere, nec sine te.-Epig. xii. 47. In all thy humours, whether grave or mellow, Thou'rt such a touchy, testy, pleasant fellow; Hast so much wit, and mirth, and spleen about thee, There is no living with thee, nor without thee. It is very unlucky for a man to be entanit with pleasure.' With what strength of gled in a friendship with one, who, by these allusion, and force of thought has he de- changes and vicissitudes of humour, is somescribed the breaches and violations of times amiable, and sometimes odious; and friendship? Whoso casteth a stone at as most men are at sometimes in an admithe birds frayeth them away; and he that rable frame and disposition of mind, it should upbraideth his friend, breaketh friendship. Though thou drawest a sword at a friend, yet despair not, for there may be a returning to favour. If thou hast opened thy mouth against thy friend, fear not, for there may be a reconciliation; except for upbraiding, or pride, or disclosing of secrets, or a treacherous wound; for, for these things every friend will depart.'s We may observe in this and several other precepts in this author, those little familiar instances and illustrations which are so much admired in the moral writings of Horace and Epictetus. There are very beautiful instances of this nature in the following passages, which are likewise written upon the same subject: Whoso discovereth secrets
• Ecclus. vi. 7, et seqq. † Ibid. vi. 15-18. ix 10.
§ Ibid. xxii. 20, 21, 22.
No. 69.] Saturday, May 19, 1711.
Hic segetes, illic veniunt felicius uvæ;
This ground with Bacchus, that with Ceres suits;
A fourth with grass, unbidden, decks the ground;
Ecclus. xxvii. 16. et seqq.
Thus Pontus sends her beaver stones from far; Nature seems to have taken a particular And naked Spaniards temper steel for war. care to disseminate her blessings among the Epirus for th' Elean chariot breeds (In hopes of palms) a race of running steeds. different regions of the world, with an eye This is th' original contract; these the laws to this mutual intercourse and traffic among Impos'd by nature, and by nature's cause.-Dryden. mankind, that the natives of the several THERE is no place in the town which I parts of the globe might have a kind of deso much love to frequent as the Royal Ex-pendence upon one another, and be united change. It gives me a secret satisfaction, together by their common interest. Almost and in some measure gratifies my vanity, as every degree produces something peculiar I am an Englishman, to see so rich an as- to it. The food often grows in one country, sembly of countrymen and foreigners, con- and the sauce in another. The fruits of sulting together upon the private business Portugal are corrected by the products of of mankind, and making this metropolis a Barbadoes, and the infusion of a China kind of emporium for the whole earth. I plant is sweetened with the pith of an Inmust confess I look upon high Change to be dian cane. The Philippine islands give a a great council, in which all considerable flavour to the European bowls. The single nations have their representatives. Factors dress of a woman of quality is often the proin the trading world are what ambassadors ducts of a hundred climates. The muff and are in the politic world; they negotiate af- the fan come together from the different fairs, conclude treaties, and maintain a good ends of the earth. The scarf is sent from correspondence between those wealthy so- the torrid zone, and the tippet from beneath cieties of men that are divided from one the pole. The brocade petticoat rises out another by seas and oceans, or live on the of the mines of Peru, and the diamond neckdifferent extremities of a continent. I have lace out of the bowels of Indostan. often been pleased to hear disputes adjusted If we consider our own country in its nabetween an inhabitant of Japan and an al-tural prospect, without any of the benefits derman of London, or to see a subject of the and advantages of commerce, what a barGreat Mogul entering into a league with ren uncomfortable spot of earth falls to our one of the Czar of Muscovy. I am infinitely delighted in mixing with these several ministers of commerce, as they are distinguished by their different walks and different languages. Sometimes I am jostled among a body of Armenians; sometimes am lost in a crowd of Jews; and sometimes make one in a group of Dutchmen. I am a Dane, Swede, or Frenchman, at different times; or rather fancy myself like the old philosopher, who upon being asked what countryman he was, replied, that he was a
citizen of the world.
share! Natural historians tell us, that no fruit grows originally among us, besides hips and haws, acorns and pig-nuts, with other delicacies of the like nature; that our climate of itself, and without the assistance of art, can make no farther advances towards a plum, than to a sloe, and carries an apple to no greater perfection than a crab; that our melons, our peaches, our figs, our apricots, and cherries, are stran gers among us, imported in different ages, and naturalized in our English gardens; and that they would all degenerate and fall away into the trash of our own country, if they were wholly neglected by the planter, and left to the mercy of our sun and soil. Nor has traffic more enriched our vegetable world, than it has improved the whole face of nature among us. Our ships are laden with the harvest of every climate. Our tables are stored with spices, and oils, and wines. Our rooms are filled with pyramids of China, and adorned with the workmanship of Japan. Our morning's draught comes to us from the remotest corners of This grand scene of business gives me an the earth. We repair our bodies by the infinite variety of solid and substantial en- drugs of America, and repose ourselves untertainments. As I am a great lover of der Indian canopies. My friend Sir Anmankind, my heart naturally overflows with drew, calls the vineyards of France our pleasure at the sight of a prosperous and gardens; the spice-islands, our hot-beds; happy multitude, insomuch that at many the Persians, our silk-weavers, and the public solemnities I cannot forbear express-Chinese, our potters. Nature indeed fur ing my joy with tears that have stolen down nishes us with the bare necessaries of life, my cheeks. For this reason I am wonderfully delighted to see such a body of men thriving in their own private fortunes, and at the same time promoting the public stock; or, in other words, raising estates for their own families, by bringing into their country whatever is wanting, and carrying out of it whatever is superfluous.
Though I very frequently visit this busy multitude of people, I am known to nobody there but my friend Sir Andrew, who often smiles upon me as he sees me bustling in the crowd, but at the same time connives at my presence without taking further no
tice of me. There is indeed a merchant of Egypt, who just knows me by sight, having formerly remitted me some money to Grand Cairo: but as I am not versed in the modern Coptic, our conferences go no further than a bow and a grimace.
but traffic gives us a great variety of what
refreshed with the green fields of Britain, | plicity of thought, above that which I call
at the same time that our palates are feasted with fruits that rise between the tropics. For these reasons there are not more useful members in a commonwealth than merchants. They knit mankind together in a mutual intercourse of good offices, distribute the gifts of nature, find work for the poor, add wealth to the rich, and magnificence to the great. Our English merchant converts the tin of his own country into gold, and exchanges its wool for rubies. The Mahometans are clothed in our British manufacture, and the inhabitants of the frozen zone warmed with the fleeces of our sheep.
When I have been upon the Change, I have often fancied one of our old kings standing in person, where is represented in effigy, and looking down upon the wealthy concourse of people with which that place is every day filled. In this case, how would he be surprised to hear all the languages of Europe spoken in this little spot of his former dominions, and to see so many private men, who in bis time would have been the vassals of some powerful baron, negotiating like princes for greater sums of money than were formerly to be met with in the royal treasury! Trade, without enlarging the British territories, has given us a kind of additional empire. It has multiplied the number of the rich, made our landed estates infinitely more valuable than they were formerly, and added to them an accession of other estates as valuable as the lands themselves.
the Gothic manner of writing, than this-
The old song of Chevy-Chase is the fa-
No. 70.] Monday, May 21, 1711.
very high, whether they quarrelled among
older than the time of Elizabeth; and was probably
'Earl Douglas on a milk-white steed,
produced unspeakable calamities to the country. The poet, to deter men from such unnatural contentions, describes a bloody battle and dreadful scene of death, occa- His sentiments and actions are every way sioned by the mutual feuds which reigned suitable to an hero. One of us two, says in the families of an English and Scotch he, must die. I am an earl as well as nobleman. That he designed this for the yourself, so that you can have no pretence instruction of his poem, we may learn for refusing the combat: however, says he, from his four last lines, in which, after the it is pity, and indeed would be a sin, that example of the modern tragedians, he so many innocent men should perish for our draws from it a precept for the benefit of sakes; rather let you and I end our quarrel in single fight:
'God save the king, and bless the land
In plenty, joy, and peace;
And grant henceforth that foul debate
The next point observed by the greatest heroic poets, hath been to celebrate persons and actions which do honour to their country: thus Virgil's hero was the founder of Rome, Homer's a prince of Greece; and for this reason Valerius Flaccus and Statius, who were both Romans, might be justly derided for having chosen the expedition of the Golden Fleece, and the wars of Thebes, for the subjects of their epic writings.
The poet before us has not only found out an hero in his own country, but raises the reputation of it by several beautiful incidents. The English are the first who take the field, and the last who quit it. The English bring only fifteen hundred to the battle, the Scotch two thousand. The English keep the field with fifty-three; the Scotch retire with fifty-five: all the rest on each side being slain in battle. But the most remarkable circumstance of this kind is the different manner in which the Scotch
and English kings receive the news of this fight, and of the great men's deaths who
commanded in it:
'This news was brought to Edinburgh,
"O heavy news, king James did say,
I have not any captain more
'Like tidings to King Henry came
'Now God be with him, said our king,
I trust I have within my realm
'Yet shall not Scot nor Scotland say,
For brave Lord Percy's sake.
"This vow full well the king perform'd
In one day fifty knights were slain,
At the same time that our poet shows a laudable partiality to his countrymen, he represents the Scots after a manner not unbecoming so bold and brave a people.
'Ere thus I will out-braved be, One of us two shall die;
I know thee well, an earl thou art, Lord Percy, so am I.
'But trust me, Percy, pity it were, And great offence, to kill. Any of these our harmless men, For they have done no ill. 'Let thou and I the battle try, And set our men aside; Accursed be he, Lord Percy said,
By whom it is deny'd.'
When these brave men had distinguished themselves in the battle, and in single combat with each other, in the midst of a generous parley, full of heroic sentiments, the Scotch earl falls; and with his dying words encourages his men to revenge his death, representing to them, as the most bitter circumstance of it, that his rival saw him fall:
'With that there came an arrow keen
Which struck Earl Douglas to the heart
'Who never spoke more words than these,
Lord Percy sces my fall.'
Merry-men in the language of those times, is no more than a cheerful word for companions and fellow-soldiers. A passage in the eleventh book of Virgil's Aneid is very much to be admired, where Camilla, in' her last agonies, instead of weeping over the wound she had received, as one might have expected from a warrior of her sex, considers only (like the hero of whom we are now speaking) how the battle should be continued after her death:
Tum sic expirans Accam ex æqualibus unam
Hactenus, Acca soror, potui: nunc vulnus acerbum
A gathering mist o'erclouds her cheerful eyes;
Turnus did not die in so heroic a manner; though our poet seems to have had his eye upon Turnus's speech in the last