« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
'The unfortunate wife, taking the word air to be the name of a woman, began to move among the bushes; and the husband believing it a deer, threw his javelin, and killed her. This history, painted on a fan which I presented to a lady, gave occasion to my growing poetical.",
makes a foreigner, in one of his comedies, | he was so much in the forest, that his lady
of the Fasti.
"Parent of gods, (began the weeping fair,)
MR. SPECTATOR,-You will oblige a
"Come, gentle air!" the Eolian shepherd said,
No. 528.] Wednesday, November 5, 1712.
Ovid, Met. ix. 165.
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO LINDA BOULDER
that Augustus, upon his return to Rome at | lascivious manner which all our young genthe end of a war, received complaints that tlemen use in public, and examine our eyes too great a number of the young men of with a petulancy in their own which is a quality were unmarried. The emperor downright affront to modesty. A disdainful thereupon assembled the whole equestrian look on such an occasion is returned with a order; and, having separated the married countenance rebuked, but by averting their from the single, did particular honours to eyes from the woman of honour and dethe former; but he told the latter, that is cency to some flippant creature, who will, to say, Mr. Spectator, he told the bache- as the phrase is, be kinder. I must set lors, That their lives and actions had been down things as they come into my head, so peculiar, that he knew not by what name without standing upon order. Ten thousand to call them; not by that of men, for they to one but the gay gentleman who stared, performed nothing that was manly; not by at the same time, is a housekeeper; for you that of citizens, for the city might perish must know they are got into a humour of notwithstanding their care; nor by that of late of being very regular in their sins; and Romans, for they designed to extirpate the a young fellow shall keep his four maids Then, proceeding to show and three footmen with the greatest gravity his tender care and hearty affection for his imaginable. There are no less than six of people, he farther told them, that their these venerable housekeepers of my accourse of life was of such pernicious conse-quaintance. This humour among young quence to the glory and grandeur of the men of condition is imitated by all the world Roman nation, that he could not choose but below them, and a general dissolution* of tell them, that all other crimes put together manners arises from this one source of could not equalize theirs, for they were libertinism, without shame or reprehension guilty of murder, in not suffering those to in the male youth. It is from this one founbe born which should proceed from them; tain that so many beautiful helpless young of impiety, in causing the names and ho- women are sacrificed and given up to lewdnours of their ancestors to cease; and of ness, shame, poverty, and disease. It is to sacrilege, in destroying their kind, which this also that so many excellent young woproceed from the immortal gods, and hu- men, who might be patterns of conjugal man nature, the principal thing consecrated affection, and parents of a worthy race, to them: therefore, in this respect, they pine under unhappy passions for such as dissolved the government in disobeying its have not attention to observe, or virtue laws; betrayed their country, by making it enough to prefer them to their common barren and waste; nay, and demolished wenches. Now, Mr. Spectator, I must be their city, in depriving it of inhabitants. free to own to you that I myself suffer a And he was sensible that all this proceeded tasteless insipid being, from a consideration not from any kind of virtue or abstinence, I have for a man who would not, as he said but from a looseness and wantonness which in my hearing, resign his liberty, as he calls ought never to be encouraged in any civil it, for all the beauty and wealth the whole government. There are no particulars sex is possessed of. Such calamities as these dwelt upon that let us into the conduct of would not happen, if it could possibly be these young worthies, whom this great brought about, that by fining bachelors as emperor treated with so much justice and papists, convicts, or the like, they were indignation; but any one who observes what distinguished to their disadvantage from the passes in this town may very well frame to rest of the world, who fall in with the meahimself a notion of their riots and debauche-sures of civil society. Lest you should think ries all night, and their apparent prepara- I speak this as being, according to the tions for them all day. It is not to be doubted senseless rude phrase, a malicious old maid, but these Romans never passed any of their I shall acquaint you I am a woman of contime innocently but when they were asleep, dition, not now three-and-twenty, and have and never slept but when they were weary had proposals from at least ten different and heavy with excesses, and slept only to men, and the greater number of them have prepare themselves for the repetition of upon the upshot refused me. Something or them. If you did your duty as a Spectator, other is always amiss when the lover takes you would carefully examine into the num- to some new wench. A settlement is easily ber of births, marriages, and burials; and excepted against; and there is very little you had deducted out of your deaths recourse to avoid the vicious part of our all such as went out of the world without youth, but throwing oneself away upon marrying, then cast up the number of both some lifeless blockhead, who, though he is sexes born within such a term of years last without vice, is also without virtue. Nowpast; you might, from the single people de-a-days we must be contented if we can get parted, make some useful inferences or creatures which are not bad; good are not guesses how many there are left unmarried, to be expected. Mr. Spectator, I sat near and raise some useful scheme for the amend-you the other day, and think I did not disment of the age in that particular. I have please your spectatorial eye-sight; which I not patience to proceed gravely on this shall be a better judge of when I see whe abominable libertinism; for I cannot but re
flect, as I am writing to you, upon a certain
No. 529.] Thursday, November 6, 1712. Singula quæque locum teneant sortita decenter.
Hor. Ars Poct. v. 92. Let every thing have its due place.-Roscommon. UPON the hearing of several late disputes concerning rank and precedence, I could not forbear amusing myself with some observations, which I have made upon the learned world, as to this great particular. By the learned world, I here mean at large, all those who are in any way concerned in works of literature, whether in the writing, printing, or repeating part. To begin with the writers: I have observed that the author of a folio, in all companies and conversations, sets himself above the author of a quarto; the author of a quarto above the author of an octavo; and so on, by a gradual descent and subordination, to an author in twenty-fours. This distinction is so well observed, that in an assembly of the learned, I have seen a folio writer place himself in an elbow chair, when the author of a duodecimo has, out of a just deference to his superior quality, seated himself upon a squab. In a word, authors are usually ranged in company after the same manner as their works are upon a shelf.
The most minute pocket author hath beneath him the writers of all pamphlets, or works that are only stitched. As for the pamphleteer, he takes place of none but the authors of single sheets, and of that fraternity who publish their labours on certain days, or on every day in the week. I do not find that the precedency among the individuals in this latter class of writers is yet settled.
For my own part, I have had so strict a regard to the ceremonial which prevails in the learned world, that I never presumed to take place of a pamphleteer, until my daily papers were gathered into those two first volumes which have already appeared. After which, I naturally jumped over the heads not only of all pamphleteers, but of every octavo writer in Great Britain that had written but one book. I am also informed by my bookseller, that six octavos have at all times been looked upon as an equivalent to a folio; which I take notice of, the rather because I would not have the learned world surprised, if, after the publication of half a dozen volumes, I take my place accordingly. When my scattered forces are thus rallied, and reduced into regular bodies, I flatter myself that I shall make no despicable figure at the head of them.
received time out of mind in the commonwealth of letters, were not originally esta blished with an eye to our paper manufac ture, I shall leave to the discussion of others; and shall only remark farther in this place, that all printers and booksellers take the wall of one another according to the above-mentioned merits of the authors to whom they respectively belong.
I come now to that point of precedency which is settled among the three learned professions by the wisdom of our laws. I need not here take notice of the rank which is allotted to every doctor in each of these professions, who are all of them, though not so high as knights, yet a degree above 'squires; this last order of men, being the illiterate body of the nation, are consequently thrown together in a class below the three learned professions. I mention this for the sake of several rural 'squires, whose reading does not rise so high as to The present State of England, and who are often apt to usurp that precedency which, by the laws of their country, is not due to them. Their want of learning, which has planted them in this station, may in some measure extenuate their misdemeanor; and our professors ought to pardon them when they offend in this particular, considering that they are in a state of ignorance, or, as we usually say, do not know their right hand from their left.
There is another tribe of persons who are retainers to the learned world, and who regulate themselves upon all occasions by several laws peculiar to their body; I mean the players or actors of both sexes. Among these it is a standing and uncontroverted principle, that a tragedian always takes place of a comedian; and it is very well known the merry drolls who make us laugh are always placed at the lower end of the table, and in every entertainment give way to the dignity of the buskin. It is a stage maxim,Once a king, and always a king.' For this reason it would be thought very absurd in Mr. Bullock, notwithstanding the height and gracefulness of his person, to sit at the right hand of a hero, though he were but five foot high. The same dis tinction is observed among the ladies of the theatre. Queens and heroines preserve their rank in private conversation, while those who are waiting-women and maids of ho nour upon the stage keep their distance also behind the scenes.
I shall only add that by a parity of reason, all writers of tragedy look upon it as their due to be seated, served, or saluted, before comic writers: those who deal in tragi-comedy usually taking their seats be tween the authors of either side. There has been a long dispute for precedency be tween the tragic and heroic poets. Aristotle would have the latter yield the has to the former; but Mr. Dryden, and many others, would never submit to this decision. Bur Whether these rules, which have beenlesque writers pay the same deference to
the heroic, as comic writers to their serious brothers in the drama.
By this short table of laws order is kept up, and distinction preserved, in the whole republic of letters. O.
No 530.] Friday, November 7, 1712.
Sic visum Veneri; cui placet impares
Hor. Od. xxxiii. Lib. 1. 10.
Thus Venus sports; the rich, the base,
To disagreeing love provokes;
When cruelly jocose,
She ties the fatal noose,
And binds unequals to the brazen yokes.-Creech.
thought very pretty company. But let us hear what he says for himself.
'MY WORTHY FRIEND,-I question not but you, and the rest of my acquaintance, wonder that I, who have lived in the smoke and gallantries of the town for thirty years together, should all on a sudden grow fond of a country life. Had not my dog of a steward ran away as he did, without making up his accounts, I had still been immersed in sin and sea-coal. But since my late forced visit to my estate, I am so pleased with it, that I am resolved to live and die upon it. I am every day abroad among my acres, and can scarce forbear filling my letters with breezes, shades, flowers, meadows, and purling streams. The simplicity of manners, which I have heard you so often speak of, and which appears here in perfection, charms me wonderfully. As an instance of it I must acquaint you, and by your means the whole club, that I have lately married one of my tenant's daughShe is born of honest parents; and though she has no portion, she has a great deal of virtue. The natural sweetness and innocence of her behaviour, the freshness of her complexion, the unaffected turn of her shape and person, shot me through and through every time I saw her, and did more execution upon me in grogram than the greatest beauty in town or court had ever done in brocade. In short, she is such a one as promises me a good heir to my estate; and if by her means I cannot leave to my children what are falsely called the gifts of birth, high titles, and alliances, I My friend Will Honeycomb, who was so hope to convey to them the more real and unmercifully witty upon the women, in a valuable gifts of birth-strong bodies, and couple of letters which I lately communi- healthy constitutions. As for your fine wocated to the public, has given the ladies men, I need not tell thee that I know them. ample satisfaction by marrying a farmer's I have had my share in their graces; but daughter; a piece of news which came to no more of that. It shall be my business our club by the last post. The templar is hereafter to live the life of an honest man, very positive that he has married a dairy- and to act as becomes the master of a famaid: but Will, in his letter to me on this mily. I question not but I shall draw upon occasion, sets the best face upon the matter me the raillery of the town, and be treated that he can, and gives a more tolerable to the tune of, The Marriage-hater Matchaccount of his spouse. I must confess I ed; but I am prepared for it. I have been suspected something more than ordinary, as witty upon others in my time. To tell when upon opening the letter I found that thee truly, I saw such a tribe of fashionable Will was fallen off from his former gayety, young fluttering coxcombs shot up, that I having changed Dear Spec,' which was did not think my post of an homme de ruelle his usual salute at the beginning of the any longer tenable. I felt a certain stiffletter, into My worthy Friend,' and sub-ness in my limbs, which entirely destroyed scribed himself in the latter end, at full length, William Honeycomb. In short, the gay, the loud, the vaín Will Honeycomb, who had made love to every great fortune that has appeared in town for above thirty years together, and boasted of favours from ladies whom he had never seen, is at length wedded to a plain country girl.
Ir is very usual for those who have been severe upon marriage, in some párt or other of their lives, to enter into the fraternity which they have ridiculed, and to see their raillery return upon their own heads. I scarce ever knew a woman-hater that didters." not, sooner or later, pay for it. Marriage, which is a blessing to another man, falls upon such a one as a judgment. Mr. Congreve's Old Bachelor is set forth to us with much wit and humour, as an example of this kind. In short, those who have most distinguished themselves by railing at the sex in general, very often make an honourable amends, by choosing one of the most worthless persons of it for a companion and yokefellow. Hymen takes his revenge in kind on those who turn his mysteries into ridicule.
His letter gives us the picture of a converted rake. The sober character of the husband is dashed with the man of the town, and enlivened with those little cant phrases which have made my friend Will often
the jauntiness of air I was once master of. Besides, for I may now confess my age to thee, I have been eight-and-forty above these twelve years. Since my retirement into the country will make a vacancy in the club, I could wish you would fill up my place with my friend Tom Dapperwit. He has an infinite deal of fire, and knows the
*The name of one of Tom Durfey's miserable come
dies. It was Dogget's excellent performance of a cha
upon him, and marked him out as an actor of superior racter in this play, that first drew the eyes of the public talents.
town. For my own part, as I have said to the Supreme Being, we enlarge every
No. 531.] Saturday, November 8, 1712.
Qui mare et terras, variisque mundum
Unde nil majus generatur ipso;
Nec viget quicquam simile aut secundum.
Who guides below and rules above,
Supreme he singly fills the throne.-Creech. SIMONIDES being asked by Dionysius the tyrant what God was, desired a day's time to consider of it before he made his reply. When the day was expired he desired two days; and afterwards, instead of returning his answer, demanded still double the time to consider of it. This great poet and philosopher, the more he contemplated the nature of the Deity, found that he waded but the more out of his depth; and that he lost himself in the thought, instead of find ing an end of it.
If we consider the idea which wise men, by the light of reason, have framed of the Divine Being, it amounts to this; that he has in him all the perfection of a spiritual nature. And since we have no notion of any kind of spiritual perfection but what we discover in our own souls, we join infinitude to each kind of these perfections, and what is a faculty in a human soul becomes an attribute in God. We exist in place and time; the Divine Being fills the immensity of space with his presence, and inhabits eternity. We are possessed of a little power and a little knowledge: the Divine Being is almighty and omniscient. In short, by adding infinity to any kind of perfection we enjoy, and by joining all these different kinds of perfection in one being, we form our idea of the great Sovereign of Nature. Though every one who thinks must have made this observation, I shall produce Mr. Locke's authority to the same purpose, out of his Essay on Human Understanding. If we examine the idea we have of the incomprehensible Supreme Being, we shall find that we come by it the same way; and that the complex ideas we have both of God and separate spirits, are made up of the simple ideas we receive from reflection: v. g. having, from what we experience in ourselves, got the ideas of existence and duration, of knowledge and power of pleasure and happiness, and of several other qualities and powers, which it is better to have than to be without: when we would frame an idea the most suitable we can
It is not impossible that there may be many kinds of spiritual perfection, besides those which are lodged in a human soul: but it is impossible that we should have the ideas of any kinds of perfection, except those of which we have some small rays and short imperfect strokes in ourselves. It would therefore be very high presumption to determine whether the Supreme Being has not many more attributes than those which enter into our conceptions of him. This is certain, that if there be any kind of spiritual perfection which is not marked out in a human soul, it belongs in its fulness to the divine nature.
Several eminent philosophers have imagined that the soul, in her separate state, may have new faculties springing up in her, which she is not capable of exerting during her present union with the body; and whe ther these faculties may not correspond with other attributes in the divine nature and open to us hereafter new matter of wonder and adoration, we are altogether ignorant. This, as I have said before, we ought to acquiesce in, that the Sovereign Being, the great author of nature, has in him all possible perfection, as well in kind as in degree: to speak according to our me thods of conceiving, I shall only add unde this head, that when we have raised ou notion of this Infinite Being as high as it i possible for the mind of man to go, it wil fall infinitely short of what he really is
There is no end of his greatness. Th most exalted creature he has made is onl capable of adoring it, none but himself ca comprehend it.
The advice of the son of Sirach is ver just and sublime in this light. By h word all things consist. We may spea much, and yet come short: wherefore some he is all. How shall we be able magnify him? for he is great above all h works. The Lord is terrible and ver great; and marvellous in his power. Whe you glorify the Lord, exalt him as much you can; for even yet will he far excee And when you exalt him, put forth a your strength, and be not weary; for y can never go far enough. Who hath se him, that he might tell us? and who c magnify him as he is? There are yet h greater things than these be, for we ha seen but a few of his works.
I have here only considered the Supren Being by the light of reason and philos phy. If we would see him in all the wo ders of his mercy, we must have recour to revelation, which represents him to not only as infinitely great and glorious, b as infinitely good and just in his dispens tions towards man. But as this is the theo which falls under every one's consideratio though indeed it can never be sufficient