Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

play, and sit up at cards till towards the ensuing morn; and the malicious world shall draw conclusions from innocent glances, short whispers, or pretty familiar railleries with fashionable men, that these fair ones are not as rigid as vestals. It is certain, ay these goodest' creatures, very well, hat virtue does not consist in constrained behaviour and wry faces; that must be alowed: but there is a decency in the aspect nd manner of ladies, contracted from a abit of virtue, and from general reflecons that regard a modest conduct, all which may be understood, though they annot be described. A young woman of his sort claims an esteem mixed with affecon and honour, and meets with no defanation; or, if she does, the wild malice is vercome with an undisturbed persevernce in her innocence. To speak freely, here are such coveys of coquettes about is town, that if the peace were not kept y some impertinent tongues of their own ex, which keep them under some reraint, we should have no manner of enagement upon them to keep them in any lerable order.

As I am a Spectator, and behold how lainly one part of woman-kind balance the ehaviour of the other, whatever I may ink of tale-bearers or slanderers, I canot wholly suppress them, no more than a eneral would discourage spies. The enemy ould easily surprise him whom they knew ad no intelligence of their motions. It is far otherwise with me, that I acknowdge I permit a she-slanderer or two in ery quarter of the town, to live in the aracters of coquettes, and take all the nocent freedoms of the rest, in order to nd me information of the behaviour of the spective sisterhoods.

But as the matter of respect to the world nich looks on, is carried on, methinks it so very easy to be what is in general lled virtuous, that it need not cost one ur's reflection in a month to deserve that pellation. It is pleasant to hear the etty rogues talk of virtue and vice ong each other. She is the laziest eature in the world, but I must confess, ictly virtuous; the peevishest hussy eathing, but as to her virtue, she is with- blemish. She has not the least charity any of her acquaintance, but I must ow her rigidly virtuous. As the unthinkpart of the male world call every man an of honour who is not a coward; so crowd of the other sex terms every man who will not be a wench, virtuous.

391.] Thursday, May 29, 1712. -Non tu prece poscis emaci,

e nisi seductis nequeas committere divis:


bona pars procerum tacita libabit acerra. [susurros ud cuivis promptum est, murmurque humilesque lere de templis; et aperto vivere voto.

me bona, fama, fides; hæc clare, et ut audiat hospes, sibi introrsum et sub lingua immurmurat: O si OL. II.


Ebullit patrui præclarum funus! Et O si
Sub rastro crepet argenti mihi seria dextro
Hercule pupillumve utinam, quem proximus hæres
Impello, expungam!
Pers. Sat. ii. v. 3.

-Thou know'st to join

No bribe unhallow'd to a prayer of thine;
Thine, which can ev'ry ear's full test abide,
Nor need be mutter'd to the gods aside!
No, thou aloud may'st thy petitions trust;
Thou need'st not whisper, other great ones must.
For few, my friend, few dare like thee be plain,
And prayer's low artifice at shrines disdain.
Few from their pious mumblings dare depart,
And make profession of their inmost heart.
Keep me, indulgent Heaven, through life sincere,
Keep my mind sound, my reputation clear,
These wishes they can speak, and we can hear.
Thus far their wants are audibly express'd;
Then sinks the voice, and muttering groans the rest
Hear, hear at length, good Hercules, my vow!
O chink some pot of gold beneath my plow!
Could I, O could I to my ravish'd eyes
See my rich uncle's pompous funeral rise;
Or could I once my ward's cold corpse attend;
Then all were mine l'

[ocr errors]

WHERE Homer represents Phoenix, the tutor of Achilles, as persuading his pupil to lay aside his resentment, and give himself up to the entreaties of his countrymen, the poet, in order to make him speak in character, ascribes to him a speech full of those fables and allegories which old men take delight in relating, and which are very proper for instruction. The gods,' says he,suffer themselves to be prevailed upon by entreaties. When mortals have offended them by their transgressions, they appease them by vows and sacrifices. You must know, Achilles, that prayers are the daughters of Jupiter. They are crippled by frequently kneeling, have their faces full of scars and wrinkles, and their eyes always cast towards heaven. They are constant attendants on the goddess Ate, and march behind her. This goddess walks forward with a bold and haughty air; and, being very light of foot, runs through the whole earth, grieving and afflicting the sons of men. She gets the start of Prayers, who always follow her, in order to heal those persons whom she wounds. He who honours these daughters of Jupiter, when they draw near to him, receives great benefit from them; but as for him who rejects them, they entreat their father to give his orders to the goddess Ate, to punish him for his hardness of heart.' This noble allegory needs but little explanation; for, whether the goddess Ate signifies injury, as some have explained it; or guilt in general, as others; or divine justice, as I am more apt to think; the interpretation is obvious enough.

I shall produce another heathen fable relating to prayers, which is of a more diverting kind. One would think by some passages in it, that it was composed by Lucian, or at least by some author who has endeavoured to imitate his way of writing; but as dissertations of this nature are more curious than useful, I shall give my reader the fable, without any further inquiries, after the author.

'Menippus the philosopher was a second time taken up into heaven by Jupiter, when

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

for his entertainment, he lifted up a trap-he desires me to take his father, who keeps
door that was placed by his footstool. At a great estate from him, out of the miseries
its rising, there issued through it such a of human life. The old fellow shall live
din of cries as astonished the philosopher. till he makes his heart ache, I can tell him
Upon his asking what they meant, Jupiter that for his pains. "This was followed up
told him they were the prayers that were by the soft voice of a pious lady, desiring
sent up to him from the earth. Menippus, Jupiter that she might appear amiable and
amidst the confusion of voices, which was charming in the sight of her emperor. As
so great that nothing less than the ear of the philosopher was reflecting on this ex-
Jove could distinguish them, heard the traordinary petition, there blew a gentle
words "riches, honour," and "long life," wind through the trap-door which he at
repeated in several different tones and lan- first took for a gentle gale of zephyrs, but
guages. When the first hubbub of sounds afterwards found it to be a breeze of sighs
was over, the trap-door being left open, They smelt strong of flowers and incense,
the voices came up more separate and dis- and were succeeded by most passionate
tinct. The first prayer was a very odd one; complaints of wounds and torments, fire
it came from Athens, and desired Jupiter and arrows, cruelty, despair and death.
to increase the wisdom and beard of his Menippus fancied that such lamentable
humble supplicant. Menippus knew it by cries arose from some general execution,
the voice to be the prayer of his friend Li- or from wretches lying under the torture;
cander the philosopher. This was succeed- but Jupiter told him that they came up to
ed by the petition of one who had just laden him from the isle of Paphos, and that he
a ship, and promised Jupiter, if he took every day received complaints of the same
care of it, and returned it home again full nature from that whimsical tribe of mortals
of riches, he would make him an offering who are called lovers. "I am so trifled
of a silver cup. Jupiter thanked him for with," says he, "by this generation of both
nothing; and bending down his ear more sexes, and find it so impossible to please
attentively than ordinary, heard a voice them, whether I grant or refuse their peti
complaining to him of the cruelty of an tions, that I shall order a western wind for
Ephesian widow, and begged him to breed the future to intercept them in their pas
compassion in her heart. This," says sage, and blow them at random upon the
Jupiter, "is a very honest fellow. I have earth." The last petition I heard was from
received a great deal of incense from him; a very aged man of near a hundred years
I will not be so cruel to him as not to hear old, begging but for one year more of life,
his prayers.
He was then interrupted and then promising to be contented. "This
with a whole volley of vows which were is the rarest old fellow!" says Jupiter; "he
made for the health of a tyrannical prince has made this prayer to me for above
by his subjects, who prayed for him in his twenty years together. When he was but
presence. Menippus was surprised after fifty years old, he desired only that he
having listened to prayers offered up with might live to see his son settled in the world:
so much ardour and devotion, to hear low I granted it. He then begged the same fa-
whispers from the same assembly, expos-vour for his daughter, and afterwards that
tulating with Jove for suffering such a he might see the education of a grandson.
tyrant to live, and asking him how his When all this was brought about, he puts
thunder could lie idle? Jupiter was so up a petition that he might live to finish a
offended with these prevaricating rascals, house he was building. In short, he is an
that he took down the first vows, and puffed unreasonable old cur, and never wants an
away the last. The philosopher, seeing a excuse; I will hear no more of him." Upon
great cloud mounting upwards, and making which he flung down the trap-door in a
its way directly to the trap-door, inquired passion, and was resolved to give no more
of Jupiter what it meant. "This, says audiences that day.'
Jupiter, "is the smoke of a whole heca-
tomb that is offered me by the general of
an army, who is very importunate with me
to let him cut off a hundred thousand men
that are drawn up in array against him.
What does the impudent wretch think I
see in him, to believe that I will make a
sacrifice of so many mortals as good as him-
self, and all this to his glory forsooth? But
hark!" says Jupiter, there is a voice I
never heard but in time of danger: 'tis a
rogue that is shipwrecked in the Ionian
sea. I saved him on a plank but three days
ago upon his promise to mend his manners;
the scoundrel is not worth a groat, and yet
has the impudence to offer me a temple, if
I will keep him from sinking.-But yon-
der," says he, "is a special youth for you;

[ocr errors]

Notwithstanding the levity of this fable, the moral of it very well deserves our at tention, and is the same with that which has been inculcated by Socrates and Plato, not to mention Juvenal and Persius, who have each of them made the finest satire in their whole works upon this subject. The vanity of men's wishes which are the natura prayers of the mind, as well as many those secret devotions which they offer the Supreme Being, are sufficiently exposed by it. Among other reasons for set forms of prayer, I have often thought it a very good one, that by this means the folly and ex travagance of men's desires may be kep within due bounds, and not break out i absurd and ridiculous petitions on so grea and solemn an occasion.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

No. 392.] Friday, May 30, 1712.

Per ambages et ministeria deorum

ræcipitandus est liber spiritus.

By fable's aid ungovern'd fancy soars,

And claims the ministry of heav'nly powers.


to me, that is was pleasantly said, had I
been little enough, she would have hung
me at her girdle. The most dangerous
rival I had, was a gay empty fellow, who
by the strength of a long intercourse with

The transformation of Fidelio into a look- Narcissa, joined to his natural endowments,


'MR. SPECTATOR,-I was lately at a tea-table, where some young ladies enterained the company with a relation of a coquette in the neighbourhood, who had been discovered practising before her glass. To turn the discourse, which from being witty grew to be malicious, the matron of the amily took occasion from the subject to wish that there were to be found amongst men such faithful monitors to dress the nind by, as we consult to adorn the body. She added, that if a sincere friend were niraculously changed into a looking-glass, he should not be ashamed to ask its advice very often. This whimsical thought workd so much upon my fancy the whole evenng, that it produced a very odd dream.

had formed himself into a perfect resem-
blance with her. I had been discarded, had
she not observed that he frequently asked
my opinion about matters of the last con-
sequence. This made me still more con-
siderable in her eye.

"Though I was eternally caressed by
the ladies, such was their opinion of my
honour, that I was never envied by the
men. A jealous lover of Narcissa one day
thought he had caught her in an amorous
conversation: for, though he was at such a
distance that he could hear nothing, he
imagined strange things from her airs and
gestures. Sometimes with a serene look
she stepped back in a listening posture,
and brightened into an innocent smile.
Quickly after she swelled into an air of
majesty and disdain, then kept her eyes
half shut after a languishing manner, then
covered her blushes with her hand, breathed
a sigh, and seemed ready to sink down.
In rushed the furious lover; but how great
was his surprise to see no one there but the
innocent Fidelio with his back against the
wall betwixt two windows!


Methought that, as I stood before my
lass, the image of a youth of an open in-
enuous aspect appeared in it, who with a
hrill voice spoke in the following manner:
"The looking-glass you see was hereto-
ore a man, even I, the unfortunate Fidelio.
had two brothers, whose deformity in
hape was made up by the clearness of their "It were endless to recount all my ad-
nderstanding. It must be owned, how-ventures. Let me hasten to that which
ver, that (as it generally happens) they cost me my life, and Narcissa her happi-
ad each a perverseness of humour suitable
Otheir distortion of body. The eldest, "She had the misfortune to have the
hose belly sunk in monstrously, was a small-pox, upon which I was expressly
reat coward, and, though his splenetic forbid her sight, it being apprehended that
ontracted temper made him take fire im- it would increase her distemper, and that
mediately, he made objects that beset him I should infallibly catch it at the first look.
ppear greater than they were. The se- As soon as she was suffered to leave her
ond, whose breast swelled into a bold re- bed, she stole out of her chamber, and
evo, on the contrary, took great pleasure found me all alone in an adjoining apart-
lessening every thing, and was perfectly
e reverse of his brother. These oddnesses
leased company once or twice, but dis-
usted when often seen; for which reason,
he young gentlemen were sent from court
study mathematics at the university.
"I need not acquaint you, that I was very
ell made, and reckoned a bright polite
entleman. I was the confidant and darling
all the fair; and if the old and ugly spoke
I of me, all the world knew it was because
scorned to flatter them. No ball, no as-
embly, was attended till I had been con-
alted. Flavia coloured her hair before
e, Celia showed me her teeth, Panthea
eaved her bosom, Cleora brandished her
amond; I have seen Cloe's foot, and tied
tificially the garters of Rhodope.

ment. She ran with transport to her dar-
ling, and without mixture of fear lest I
should dislike her. But, oh me! what was
her fury when she heard me say, I was
afraid and shocked at so loathsome a spec-
tacle! She stepped back, swollen with
rage, to see if I had the insolence to re-
peat it. I did, with this addition, that
her ill-timed passion had increased her
ugliness. Enraged, inflamed, distracted,
she snatched a bodkin, and with all her
force stabbed me to the heart. Dying, I
preserved my sincerity, and expressed the
truth though in broken words; and by re-
proachful grimaces to the last I mimicked
the deformity of my murderess.

[ocr errors]

'Cupid, who always attends the fair, and pitied the fate of so useful a servant as I was, obtained of the destinies, that my body should remain incorruptible, and retain the qualities my mind had possessed. I immediately lost the figure of a man, and became smooth, polished, and bright, and to this day am the first favourite of the

"It is a general maxim, that those who
te upon themselves can have no violent
ection for another; but on the contrary,
found that the women's passion rose for
e in proportion to the love they bore to
emselves. This was verified in my
hour with Narcissa, who was so constant ladies."


No. 393.] Saturday, May 31, 1712.

Nescio qua præter solitum dulcedine læti.
Virg. Georg. i. 412.
Unusual sweetness purer joys inspires.

LOOKING Over the letters that have been sent me, I chanced to find the following one, which I received about two years ago from an ingenious friend who was then in Denmark.

[ocr errors]

through the mind of the beholder, upon
surveying the gay scenes of nature: he has
touched upon it twice or thrice in his Pa-
radise Lost, and describes it very beauti-
that passage where he represents the devil
fully under the name of vernal delight,' in
himself as almost sensible of it:

Blossoms and fruits at once a golden hue
Appear'd, with gay enamell'd colours mixt:
On which the sun more glad impress'd his beams
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath shower'd the earth; so lovely seem'd
That landskip, and of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Verna delight, and joy able to drive
All sadness, but despair, &c.

Copenhagen, May 1, 1710. 'DEAR SIR,-The spring with you has already taken possession of the fields and woods. Now is the season of solitude, and of moving complaints upon trivial sufferings. Now the griefs of lovers begin to Many authors have written on the vanity flow, and the wounds to bleed afresh. I, of the creature, and represented the bar too, at this distance from the softer climates, renness of every thing in this world, and its am not without my discontents at present. incapacity of producing any solid or subYou may perhaps laugh at me for a most stantial happiness. As discourses of this romantic wretch, when I have disclosed to nature are very useful to the sensual and you the occasion of my uneasiness: and yet the bright side of things, and lay forth voluptuous, those speculations which show I cannot help thinking my unhappiness those innocent entertainments which are to real, in being confined to a region which be met with among the several objects that is the very reverse of Paradise. The seasons

here are all of them unpleasant, and the encompass us, are no less beneficial to men country quite destitute of rural charms. I of dark and melancholy tempers. It was have not heard a bird sing, nor a brook for this reason that I endeavoured to remurmur, nor a breeze whisper, neither commend a cheerfulness of mind in my two have I been blest with the sight of a flow-last Saturday's papers, and which I would ery meadow, these two years. Every wind still inculcate, not only from the considerahere is a tempest, and every water a tur- tion of ourselves, and of that Being on whom bulent ocean. I hope, when you reflect a we depend, nor from the general survey of that universe in which we are placed at little, you will not think the grounds of my complaint in the least frivolous and unbe- present, but from reflections on the parcoming a man of serious thought; since the ticular season in which this paper is writ love of woods, of fields and flowers, of rivers ten. The creation is a perpetual feast to and fountains, seems to be a passion im- the mind of a good man; every thing he sees planted in our natures the most early of any; imprinted so many smiles on nature, that it cheers and delights him. Providence has even before the fair sex had a being. i is impossible for a mind which is not sunk am, sir, &c. in more gross and sensual delights, to take a survey of them without several secret sensations of pleasure. The psalmist has, in several of his divine poems, celebrated those beautiful and agreeable scenes which make the heart glad, and produce in it that vernal delight which I have before taken notice of.

Could I transport myself with a wish, from one country to another, I should choose to pass my winter in Spain, my spring in Italy, my summer in England, and my autumn in France. Of all these seasons there is none that can vie with the spring for beauty and delightfulness. It bears the same figure among the seasons of the year, that the morning does among the divisions of the day, or youth among the stages of life. The English summer is pleasanter than that of any other country in Europe, on no other account but because it has a greater mixture of spring in it. The mildness of our climate, with those frequent refreshments of dews and rains that fall among us, keep up a perpetual cheerfulness in our fields, and fill the hottest months of the year with a lively verdure.

In the opening of the spring, when all nature begins to recover herself, the same animal pleasure which makes the birds sing, and the whole brute creation rejoice, rises very sensibly in the heart of man. I know none of the poets who have observed so well as Milton those secret overflowings of gladness which diffuse themselves

Natural philosophy quickens this taste of the creation, and renders it not only pleasing to the imagination, but to the understanding. It does not rest in the mur mur of brooks and the melody of birds, in the shade of groves and woods, or in the embroidery of fields and meadows; but con siders the several ends of Providence which are served by them, and the wonders divine wisdom which appear in them. I heightens the pleasures of the eye, and raises such a rational admiration in the soul as is little inferior to devotion.

It is not in the power of every one t offer up this kind of worship to the grea Author of nature, and to indulge the more refined meditations of heart, whic are doubtless highly acceptable in his sigh I shall therefore conclude this short essa on that pleasure which the mind naturall

[graphic][ocr errors]

onceives from the present season of the verses, and working from the observation
rear, by the recommending of a practice of such their bias in all matters wherein he
or which every one has sufficient abilities. has any intercourse with them: for his ease
I would have my readers endeavour to and comfort he may assure himself, he need
oralize this natural pleasure of the soul, not be at the expense of any great talent or
nd to improve this vernal delight, as Mil- virtue to please even those who are pos-
on calls it, into a Christian virtue. When sessed of the highest qualifications. Pride,
e find ourselves inspired with this pleasing in some particular disguise or other, (often
istinct, this secret satisfaction and compla- a secret to the proud man himself) is the
ency arising from the beauties of the crea- most ordinary spring of action among men.
on, let us consider to whom we stand in- You need no more than to discover what a
ebted for all these entertainments of sense, man values himself for; then of all things
nd who it is that thus opens his hand and admire that quality, but be sure to be fail-
lls the world with good. The apostle in- ing in it yourself in comparison of the man
ructs us to take advantage of our present whom you court. I have heard, or read,
emper of mind, to graft upon it such a re- of a secretary of state in Spain, who served
gious exercise as is particularly conform-a prince who was happy in an elegant use
ble to it, by that precept which advises of the Latin tongue, and often writ de-
hose who are sad to pray, and those who spatches in it with his own hand. The king
re merry to sing psalms. The cheerful- showed his secretary a letter he had writ-
ess of heart which springs up in us from ten to a foreign prince, and, under the colour
e survey of nature's works, is an admira- of asking his advice, laid a trap for his ap-
le preparation for gratitude. The mind plause. The honest man read it as a faith-
as gone a great way towards praise and ful counsellor, and not only excepted against
hanksgiving, that is filled with such secret his tying himself down too much by some
ladness-a grateful reflection on the su- expressions, but mended the phrase in
reme cause who produces it, sanctifies it others. You may guess the despatches
the soul, and gives it its proper value. that evening did not take much longer
uch an habitual disposition of mind conse- time. Mr. Secretary as soon as he came to
rates every field and wood, turns an ordi- his own house, sent for his eldest son, and
ry walk into a morning or evening sa- communicated to him that the family must
ifice, and will improve those transient retire out of Spain as soon as possible: for,'
eams of joy which naturally brighten up said he, 'the king knows I understand Latin
ad refresh the soul on such occasions, into better than he does.'
inviolable and perpetual state of bliss
d happiness.

o. 394.] Monday, June 2, 1712.


ne colligitur hæc pueris et mulierculis et servis et serorum similimis liberis esse grata: gravi vero homini et ea quæ fiunt judicio certo ponderanti, probari posse

ullo modo.-Tull.

is obvious to see, that these things are very accept able to children, young women, and servants, and to uch as most resemble servants; but that they can by o means meet with the approbation of people of hought and consideration.

This egregious fault in a man of the world
should be a lesson to all who would make
their fortunes; but regard must be carefully
had to the person with whom you have to
do; for it is not to be doubted but a great
man of common sense must look with secret
indignation, or bridled laughter, on all the
slaves who stand around him with ready
faces to approve and smile at all he says in
the gross.
observe a superior talking half sentences,
It is good comedy enough to
and playing an humble admirer's counte-
nance from one thing to another, with such
perplexity, that he knows not what to sneer
I HAVE been considering the little and in approbation of. But this kind of com-
volous things which give men accesses to plaisance is peculiarly the manner of courts;
e another, and power with each other, in all other places you must constantly go
t only in the common and indifferent ac- further in compliance with the persons you
lents of life, but also in matters of greater have to do with, than a mere conformity of
portance. You see in elections for mem- looks and gestures. If you are in a country
rs to sit in parliament, how far saluting life, and would be a leading man, a good
vs of old women, drinking with clowns, stomach, a loud voice, and rustic cheerful-
d being upon a level with the lowest part ness, will go a great way, provided you are
mankind in that wherein they themselves able to drink, and drink any thing. But I
lowest, their diversions, will carry a was just now going to draw the manner of
didate. A capacity for prostituting a behaviour I would advise people to practise
n's self in his behaviour, and descending
he present humour of the vulgar, is per-
os as good an ingredient as any other for
king a considerable figure in the world;
if a man has nothing else or better to
nk of, he could not make his way to
lth and distinction by properer me-
ds, than studying the particular bent or
ination of people with whom he con-

under some maxim; and intimated, that
every one almost was governed by his pride.
There was an old fellow about forty years
ago so peevish and fretful, though a man of
business, that no one could come at him;
but he frequented a particular little coffee-
house, where he triumphed over every body
at trick-track and backgammon. The way
to pass his office well, was first to be insulted

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »