Изображения страниц

tune, than for any other quality, which I think is instead of looking upon this as a diminution of her very natural for those who have not a strong belief honour, valued herself upon such a signal favour of another world. For how can I conceive a man of Providence, and accordingly, in the reverse crowned with any distinguishing blessings, that has of the medal above mentioned, has represented a not some extraordinary fund of merit and perfec-fleet beaten by a tempest, and fallen foul upon tion in him, which lies open to the Supreme eye, one another, with that religious inscription, Affla though perhaps it is not discovered by my observa- vit Deus, et dissipantur.' He blew with his wind, tion? What is the reason Homer's and Virgil's and they were scattered.' heroes do not form a resolution, or strike a blow, It is remarked of a famous Grecian general, without the conduct and direction of some deity? whose name I cannot at present recollect, and Doubtless, because the poets esteemed it the great- who had been a particular favourite of fortune, est honour to be favoured by the gods, and thought that, upon recounting his victories among his the best way of praising a man was, to recount those friends, he added at the end of several great acfavours which naturally implied an extraordinary tions, And in this fortune had no share.' After merit in the person on whom they descended. which it is observed in history, that he never pros Those who believe a future state of rewards and pered in any thing he undertook. punishments act very absurdly, if they form their As arrogance and a conceitedness of our own opinions of a man's merit from his successes. But abilities are very shocking and offensive to men of certainly, if I thought the whole circle of our be-sense and virtue, we may be sure they are highly ing was concluded between our births and deaths, displeasing to that Being who delights in an humI should think a man's good fortune the measure ble mind, and by several of his dispensations seems and standard of his real merit, since Providence purposely to show us, that our own schemes, or would have no opportunity of rewarding his virtue prudence, have no share in our advancements. and perfections, but in the present life. A virtuous unbeliever, who lies under the pressure of misfor tunes, has reason to cry out, as they say Brutus did a little before his death: O virtue, I have worshipped thee as a substantial good, but I find thou art an empty name.'

Since on this subject I have already admitted several quotations which have occurred to my memory upon writing this paper, I will conclude it with a little Persian fable. A drop of water fell out of a cloud into the sea, and, finding itself lost in such an immensity of fluid matter, broke out But to return to our first point. Though pru- into the following reflection: Alas! what an indence does undoubtedly in a great measure pro- considerable creature am I in this prodigious ocean duce our good or ill fortune in the world, it is of waters! my existence is of no concern to the certain there are many unforeseen accidents and universe; I am reduced to a kind of nothing, and occurrences which very often pervert the finest am less than the least of the works of God.'" It so schemes that can be laid by human wisdom. The happened, that an oyster, which lay in the neigh race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to bourhood of this drop, chanced to gape and swal the strong.' Nothing less than infinite Wisdom can low it up in the midst of this its humble soliloquy. have an absolute command over fortune; the high-The drop, says the fable, lay a great while harden. est degree of it which man can possess is by no ing in the shell, until by degrees it was ripened means equal to fortuitous events, and to such con- into a pearl, which falling into the hands of a tingencies as may arise in the prosecution of our diver, after a long series of adventures, is at preaffairs. Nay, it very often happens, that prudence, sent that famous pearl which is fixed on the top of which has always in it a great mixture of caution, the Persian diadem. hinders a man from being so fortunate, as he might possibly have been without it. A person who only aims at what is likely to succeed, and follows closely the dictates of human prudence, never meets with those great and unforeseen successes, which are often the effect of a sanguine temper, or a more happy rashness; and this perhaps may be the reason, that, according to the common observation, Fortune, like other females, delights rather in favouring the young than the old.


[ocr errors]

No 294. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 1711-12.

Difficile est plurimum virtutem revereri qui semper serunde
Fortuna sit usus.

TULL. ad Herennium. The man who is always fortunate, cannot easily have a great reverence for virtue.

as a pro

Upon the whole, since man is so short-sighted a creature, and the accidents which may happen to INSOLENCE is the crime of all others which every him so various, I cannot but be of Dr. Tillotson's man is apt to rail at; and yet there is ene respect opinion in another case, that were there any doubt in which almost all men living are guilty of it, and of a Providence, yet it certainly would be very that is in the case of laying a greater value upon desirable there should be such a Being of infinite the gifts of fortune than we ought. It is here in wisdom and goodness, on whose direction we England come into our very language, might rely in the conduct of human life. priety of distinction to say, when we would speak It is a great presumption to ascribe our successes of persons to their advantage, They are people to our own management, and not to esteem our of condition.' There is no doubt but the proper selves upon any blessing, rather as it is the bounty use of riches implies, that a man should exert all of heaven, than the acquisition of our own pru- the good qualities imaginable; and if we mean by dence. I am very well pleased with a medal a man of condition or quality, one who, according which was struck by Queen Elizabeth, a little after to the wealth he is master of, shows himself just, the defeat of the invincible armada, to perpetuate beneficent, and charitable, that term ought very the memory of that extraordinary event. It is well deservedly to be had in the highest veneration; but known how the king of Spain, and others who when wealth is used only as it is the support were the enemies of that great princess, to dero-pomp and luxury, to be rich is very far from being gate from her glory, ascribed the ruin of their fleet a recommendation to honour and respect. It is rather to the violence of storms and tempests, than

to the bravery of the English. Queen Elizabeth,

• Timotheus, son of Conon the Athenian. See Plutarch.


sas a diminutione

on such a signal in

ingly, in the ned, has represe and fallen fo

ous inscription, a Ele blew with s

ous Grecian gr resent recollect

favourite off

victories a

of several ad no share

y, that he neve Look.

Eitedness of r d offensive sure they

delights a


Dr own scheme r advances e already

occurred to , I will ex drop of me , finding

indeed the greatest insolence imaginable, in a crea-pectation than that of producing a race of good ture who would feel the extremes of thirst and and useful servants, who will have more than a hunger if he did not prevent his appetites before liberal, a religious education. What would not a they call upon him, to be so forgetful of the com- man do in common prudence, to lay out in purmon necessity of human nature, as never to cast chase of one about him, who would add to all his an eye upon the poor and needy. The fellow, who orders he gave, the weight of the commandments, escaped from a ship which struck upon a rock in to enforce an obedience to them? for one who the west, and joined with the country people to would consider his master as his father, his friend, destroy his brother sailors, and make her a wreck, and benefactor, upon easy terms, and in expectawas thought a most execrable creature; but does tion of no other return, but moderate wages and not every man who enjoys the possession of what gentle usage? It is the common vice of children to he naturally wants, and is unmindful of the unsup-run too much among the servants; from such as are plied distress of other men, betray the same tem-educated in these places, they would see nothing per of mind? When a man looks about him, and but lowliness in the servant, which would not be with regard to riches and poverty, beholds some disingenuous in the child. All the ill offices and drawn in pomp and equipage, and they, and their defamatory whispers, which take their birth from very servants, with an air of scorn and triumph, domestics, would be prevented, if this charity overlooking the multitude that pass by them; and could be made universal; and a good man might in the same street, a creature of the same make, have a knowledge of the whole life of the persons crying out in the name of all that is good and sa- he designs to take into his house for his own service, cred to behold his misery, and give him some sup- or that of his family or children, long before they ply against hunger and nakedness; who would be- were admitted. This would create endearing delieve these two beings were of the same species ? pendencies: and the obligation would have a paBut so it is, that the consideration of fortune has ternal air in the master, who would be relieved taken up all our minds; and as I have often com-from such care and anxiety from the gratitude plained, poverty and riches stand in our imagina- and diligence of an humble friend, attending him tions in the places of guilt and innocence. But in as his servant. I fall into this discourse from a all seasons there will be some instances of persons letter sent to me, to give me notice that fifty boys who have souls too large to be taken with popular would be clothed, and take their seats (at the prejudices, and while the rest of mankind are con- charge of some generous benefactors) in St. Bride's is prodige tending for superiority in power and wealth, have church, on Sunday next. I wish I could promise their thoughts bent upon the necessities of those to myself any thing which my correspondent seems below them. The charity-schools, which have been to expect from a publication of it in this paper; erected of late years, are the greatest instances of for there can be nothing added to what so many public spirit the age has produced. But indeed, excellent and learned men have said on this occawhen we consider how long this sort of beneficence sion. But that there may be something here which has been on foot, it is rather from the good ma- would move a generous mind, like that of him who nagement of those institutions, than from the num-wrote to me, I shall transcribe an handsome paraber or value of the benefactions to them, that they graph of Dr. Snape's sermon on these charities, make so great a figure. One would think it im- which my correspondent inclosed with his letter. possible that, in the space of fourteen years, there The wise providence has amply compensated should not have been five thousand pounds be- the disadvantages of the poor and indigent, in stowed in gifts this way, nor sixteen hundred chil- wanting many of the conveniencies of this life, by dren, including males and females, put out to a more abundant provision for their happiness in methods of industry. It is not allowed me to the next. Had they been higher born, or more speak of luxury and folly with the severe spirit richly endowed, they would have wanted this manthey deserve; I shall only therefore say, I shall ner of education, of which those only enjoy the very readily compound with any lady in a hooped benefit who are low enough to submit to it; where petticoat, if she gives the price of one half yard they have such advantages without money, and of the silk, towards clothing, feeding, and instruct-without price, as the rich cannot purchase with it. ing an innocent helpless creature of her own sex, The learning which is given, is generally more ediin one of these schools. The consciousness of such fying to them, than that which is sold to others. an action will give her features a nobler life on Thus do they become more exalted in goodness, by this illustrious day, than all the jewels that can being depressed in fortune, and their poverty is, in hang on her hair, or can be clustered in her bo- reality their preferment.'

matter, b Alas! wit

no concen nd of rathe rks of God hlay in them to gape a humble s

reat whe

es it w

the band


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

som. It would be uncourtly to speak in harsher
words to the fair, but to men one may take a
little more freedom. It is monstrous how a man

[blocks in formation]

can live with so little reflection, as to fancy he is No 205. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1711-12.

Prodiga non sentit pereuntem fœmina censum :
At velut exhausta redivivus pullulet arca
Nummus, et e pleno semper tollatur acervo,
Non unquam reputat, quanti sibi gaudia constent.
JUV. Sat. vi. ver. 361.

not in a condition very unjust and disproportioned
to the rest of mankind, while he enjoys wealth,
and exerts no benevolence or bounty to others. As
for this particular occasion of these schools, there
cannot any offer more worthy a generous mind.
Would you do an handsome thing without return;
do it for an infant that is not sensible of the
obligation. Would you do it for public good; do
it for one who will be an honest artificer. Would
you do it for the sake of heaven; give it to one
who shall be instructed in the worship of him for
whose sake you gave it. It is, methinks, a most I AM turned of my great climacteric, and am na-
Laudable institution this, if it were of no other ex- turally a man of a meek temper. About a dozen
years ago I was married, for my sins, to a young
woman of a good family, and of an high spirit;

*The birth-day of Queen Anne.

[ocr errors]

But womankind, that never knows a mean,
Down to the dregs their sinking fortunes drain:
Hourly they give, and spend, and waste, and wear,
And think no pleasure can be bought too dear.


[ocr errors]

but could not bring her to close with me, before I proverb, is a groat a year; so that, according to had entered into a treaty with her, longer than that this calculation, my friend Fribble's wife must of the grand alliance. Among other articles, it every year make use of eight millions six hundred was therein stipulated, that she should have 4007. a and forty thousand new pins.

year for pin-money, which I obliged myself to pay I am not ignorant that our British ladies allege quarterly into the hands of one who acted as her they comprehend under this general term, several plenipotentiary in that affair. I have ever since other conveniencies of life; I could therefore wish, religiously observed my part in this solemn agree-for the honour of my countrywomen, that they had ment. Now, sir, so it is, that the lady has had se- rather called it needle-money, which might have veral children since I married her; to which, if I implied something of good housewifery, and not should credit our malicious neighbours, her pin- have given the malicious world occasion to think, money has not a little contributed. The education that dress and trifles have always the uppermost of these my children, who, contrary to my ex-place in a woman's thoughts. pectation, are born to me every year, straitens me I know several of my fair readers urge, in de so much, that I have begged their mother to free fence of this practice, that it is but a necessary me from the obligation of the above-mentioned pin-provision they make for themselves, in case their money, that it may go towards making a provision husband proves a churl, or a miser; so that they for her family. This proposal makes her noble consider this allowance as a kind of alimony, blood swell in her veins, insomuch that, finding me which they may lay their claim to, without actua little tardy in my last quarter's payment, she ally separating from their husbands. But with threatens me every day to arrest me; and proceeds submission, I think a woman who will give up her so far as to tell me, that if I do not do her justice, self to a man in marriage, where there is the least I shall die in a jail. To this she adds, when her room for such an apprehension, and trust her per passion will let her argue calmly, that she has seve- son to one whom she will not rely on for the com ral play-debts on her hand, which must be dis- mon necessaries of life, may very properly be ac charged very suddenly, and that she cannot lose cused (in the phrase of an homely proverb) of be her money as becomes a woman of her fashion, if ing 'penny wise and pound foolish.' she makes me any abatement in this article. I It is observed of over-cautious generals, that hope, sir, you will take an occasion from hence to they never engage in a battle without securing a give your opinion upon a subject which you have not yet touched, and inform us if there are any precedents for this usage among our ancestors; or whether you find any mention of pin-money in Grotius, Puffendorf, or any other of the civilians. I am ever the humblest of your admirers,


retreat, in case the event should not answer their expectations; on the other hand, the greatest conquerors have burnt their ships, or broke down the bridges behind them, as being determined eitherto succeed or die in the engagement. In the same manner I should very much suspect a woman who takes such precautions for her retreat, and contrives methods how she may live happily, without As there is no man living who is a more pro- the affection of one to whom she joins herself for fessed advocate of the fair sex than myself, so life. Separate purses between man and wife are, there is none that would be more unwilling to in- in my opinion, as unnatural as separate beds. A vade any of their ancient rights and privileges; but marriage cannot be happy where the pleasures, inas the doctrine of pin-money is of very late date, clinations, and interests of both parties are not the unknown to our great grandmothers, and not yet same. There is no greater incitement to love in received by many of our modern ladies, I think it the mind of man, than the sense of a person's deis for the interest of both sexes to keep it from pending upon him for her ease and happiness; as spreading. a woman uses all her endeavonrs to please the perMr. Fribble may not, perhaps, be much mis-son whom she looks upon, as her honour, her comtaken where he intimates, that the supplying a fort, and her support, man's wife with pin-money, is furnishing her with For this reason I am not very much surprised at arms against himself, and in a manner becoming the behaviour of a rough country squire, who, beaccessary to his own dishonour. We may indeed ing not a little shocked at the proceeding of a generally observe, that in proportion as a woman young widow that would not recede from her de is more or less beautiful, and her husband advanced mands of pin-money, was so enraged in years, she stands in need of a greater or less cenary temper, that he told her in great wrath, number of pins, and, upon a treaty of marriage, As much as she thought him her slave, he would rises or falls in her demands accordingly. It must show all the world he did not care a pin for her." likewise be owned, that high quality in a mistress Upon which he flew out of the room, and never does not much inflame this article in the marriage-saw her more. reckoning.

at her mer

Socrates, in Plato's Alcibiades, says, he was inBut where the age and circumstances of both formed by one who had travelled through Persis, parties are pretty much upon a level, I cannot but that as he passed over a great tract of land, and think the insisting upon pin-money is very extra- inquired what the name of the place was, they ordinary; and yet we find several matches broken told him it was the Queen's Girdle: to which he off upon this very head. What would a foreigner, adds, that another wide field which lay by it, was or one who is a stranger to this practice, think of called the Queen's Veil; and that in the same a lover that forsakes his mistress, because he is not manner there was a large portion of ground set willing to keep her in pins? But what would he aside for every part of her majesty's dress. These think of the mistress, should he be informed that lands might not be improperly called the Queen of

she asks five or six hundred pounds a year for this Persia's pin-money. use? Should a man, unacquainted with our customs, be told the sums which are allowed in Great say, never read this passage in Plato, told me some I remember my friend Sir Roger, who, I dare Brirain, under the title of pin-money, what a pro-time since, that upon his courting the perverse wi digious consumption of pins would he think there dow (of whom I have given an account in former was in this island? A pin a day,' says our frugal papers) he had disposed of an hundred acres in

[blocks in formation]

mely protes Dolish.'

tious gen without se ild not answe d, the gr

or broke


sent. In

Spect a ma retreat,

he jo

man and


e the pleas parties an itement


diamond ring, which he would have presented her some of my own actions; for you must know, sir,
with, had she thought fit to accept it: and that I am often at a window which fronts the apart-
upon her wedding-day, she should have carried on ments of several gentlemen, who I doubt not have
her head, fifty of the tallest oaks upon his estate. the same opinion of me. I must own I love to
He further informed me, that he would have given look at them all, one for being well dressed, a
her a coal-pit to keep her in clean linen, that he second for his fine eye, and one particular one, be-
would have allowed her the profits of a windmill cause he is the least man I ever saw; but there is
for her fans, and have presented her once in three something so easy and pleasant in the manner of
years with the shearing of his sheep, for her under-my little man, that I observe he is a favourite of
petticoats. To which the knight always adds, that all his acquaintance. I could go on to tell you of
though he did not care for fine clothes himself, many others, that I believe think I have encou-
there should not have been a woman in the country raged them from my window; but pray let me
better dressed than my Lady Coverley. Sir Roger, have your opinion of the use of the window, in a
perhaps, may in this, as well as in many other of beautiful lady; and how often she may look out
his devices, appear something odd and singular; at the same man, without being supposed to have
but if the humour of pin-money prevails, I think it a mind to jump out to him.
would be very proper for every gentleman of an
estate to mark out so many acres of it under the
title of The Pins.



[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]


[ocr errors]



'I HAVE for some time made love to a lady, who
received it with all the kind returns I ought to
expect: but without any provocation that I know
of, she has of late shunned me with the utmost ab-
horrence, insomuch that she went out of church
last Sunday in the midst of divine service, upon
my coming into the same pew. Pray, sir, what
must I do in this business?
'Your servant,

Let her alone ten days.


"York, Jan. 20, 1711-12.

'HAVING lately conversed much with the fair sex on the subject of your Speculations, (which, since their appearance in public, have been the chief exercise of the female loquacious faculty) I found the fair ones possessed with a dissatisfaction at your We have in this town a sort of people who preprefixing Greek mottos to the frontispiece of your tend to wit, and write lampoons: I have lately late papers; and as a man of gallantry, I thought been the subject of one of them. The scribbler ve happit a duty incumbent on me to impart it to you, in had not genius enough in verse to turn my age, as hopes of a reformation, which is only to be effect-indeed I am an old maid, into raillery, for affected by a restoration of the Latin to the usual dig-ing a youthier turn than is consistent with my time nity in your papers, which of late, the Greek, to of day; and therefore he makes the title of his great displeasure of your female readers, has madrigal, the character of Mrs. Judith Lovebane, usurped; for though the Latin has the recommen- born in the year 1680. What I desire of you is, dation of being as unintelligible to them as the that you disallow that a coxcomb, who pretends Greek, yet being written of the same character to write verse, should put the most malicious thing with their mother-tongue, by the assistance of a he can say in prose. This I humbly conceive will spelling-book it is legible; which quality the Greek disable our country wits, who indeed take a great wants and since the introduction of operas into deal of pains to say any thing in rhyme, though this nation, the ladies are so charmed with sounds they say it very ill. abstracted from their ideas, that they adore and honour the sound of Latin, as it is old Italian. I proc am a solicitor for the fair-sex, and therefore think fmyself in that character more likely to be prevalent in this request, than if I should subscribe myself by my proper name.

of a pr

and happes

to ples

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

'WE are several of us, gentlemen and ladies, who board in the same house, and after dinner one of our company (an agreeable man enough otherwise) stands up, and reads your paper to us all. We are the civilest people in the world to one another, and therefore I am forced to this way of desiring our reader, when he is doing this office, not to stand before the fire. This will be a general good to our family this cold weather. He will, I know,


'I was some time since in company with a young take it to be our common request when he comes
officer, who entertained us with the conquest he to these words, "Pray, sir, sit down;" which I de-
had made over a female neighbour of his; when a sire you to insert, and you will particularly oblige
gentleman who stood by, as I suppose, envying the
"Your daily reader,
captain's good fortune, asked him what reason he
had to believe the lady admired him? "Why," says
he, "my lodgings are opposite to her's, and she is
continually at her window, either at work, reading, I AM a great lover of dancing, but cannot per-
taking snuff, or putting herself in some toying pos- form so well as some others; however, by my out-
ture, on purpose to draw my eyes that way." The of-the-way capers, and some original grimaces, 1
confession of this vain soldier made me reflect on do not fail to divert the company, particularly the


ladies, who laugh immoderately all the time. Some, larly by the mortification which the great adver who pretend to be my friends, tell me they do it sary of mankind meets with upon his return to the in derision, and would advise me to leave it off; assembly of infernal spirits, as it is described in a withal that I make myself ridiculous. I do not beautiful passage of the tenth book; and likewise know what to do in this affair, but I am resolved by the vision wherein Adam, at the close of the not to give over upon any account, till I have the poem, sees his offspring triumphing over his great opinion of the Spectator. enemy, and himself restored to a happier paradise than that from which he fell.

'Your humble servant.


There is another objection against Milton's fable, which is indeed almost the same with the for

If Mr. Trott is not awkward out of time, he has mer, though placed in a different light, namely— a right to dance, let who will laugh; but if he has That the hero in the Paradise Lost is unsuccessful, no ear he will interrupt others and I am of opi-and by no means a match for his enemies. This nion he should sit still. Given under my hand this fifth day of February, 1711-12.





gave occasion to Mr. Dryden's reflection, that the devil was in reality Milton's hero. I think I have obviated this objection in my first paper. The Pa radise Lost is an epic, or a narrative poem, and he that looks for an hero in it, searches for that which Milton never intended? but if he will needs fix

N° 297. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 1711-12. the name of an hero upon any person in it, it is

- velut si

Egregio inspersos reprendas corpore nævos.
HOR. Sat. vi. l. 1. ver. 66.
As perfect beauties often have a mole.

certainly the Messiah who is the hero, both in the principal action, and in the chief episodes. Paganism could not furnish out a real action for a fable greater than that of the Iliad or Eneid, and therefore an heathen could not form an higher notion of a poem than one of that kind, which they call an heroic. Whether Milton's is not of a subAFTER what I have said in my last Saturday's pa- limer nature I will not presume to determine: it is per, I shall enter on the subject of this without sufficient that I show there is in the Paradise Lost further preface, and remark the several defects all the greatness of plan, regularity of design, and which appear in the fable, the characters, the sen- masterly beauties which we discover in Homer and timents, and the language of Milton's Paradise Lost; not doubting but the reader will pardon me, if I allege at the same time whatever may be said for the extenuation of such defects. The first imperfection which I shall observe in the fable is, that the event of it is unhappy.


I must in the next place observe, that Milton has interwoven in the texture of this fable, some parti. culars which do not seem to have probability enough for an epic poem, particularly in the ac tions which he ascribes to Sin and Death, and the picture which he draws of the Limbo of Vanity, with other passages in the second book. Such allegories rather savour of the spirit of Spenser and

The fable of every poem is, according to Aristotle's division, either simple or implex. It is called simple when there is no change of fortune in it; implex, when the fortune of the chief actor Ariosto, than of Homer and Virgil. changes from bad to good, or from good to bad. In the structure of his poem he has likewise adThe implex fable is thought the most perfect; Imitted too many digressions. It is finely observed suppose, because it is more proper to stir up the by Aristotle, that the author of an heroic poem passions of the reader, and to surprise him with a greater variety of accidents.

should seldom speak himself, but throw as much of his work as he can into the mouths of those who The implex fable is therefore of two kinds; in are his principal actors. Aristotle has given no the first the chief actor makes his way through a reason for this precept: but I presume it is be long series of dangers and difficulties, until he ar- cause the mind of the reader is more awed, and rives at honour and prosperity, as we see in the elevated, when he hears Eneas or Achilles speak, stories of Ulysses and Eneas. In the second, the chief actor in the poem falls from some eminent pitch of honour and prosperity, into misery and disgrace. Thus we see Adam and Eve sinking from a state of innocence and happiness, into the most abject condition of sin and sorrow.

than when Virgil or Homer talk in their own per sons. Besides that assuming the character of an eminent man is apt to fire the imagination and raise the ideas of the author. Tully tells us, mentioning his Dialogue of Old age, in which Cato is the chief speaker, that upon a review of it he was agreeably imposed upon, and fancied that it was Cato, and not he himself, who uttered his thoughts on that subject.

The most taking tragedies among the ancients were built on this last sort of implex fable, particularly the tragedy of Edipus, which proceeds upon a story, if we may believe Aristotle, the most If the reader would be at the pains to see how proper for tragedy that could be invented by the the story of the Iliad or the Eneid is delivered wit of man. I have taken some pains in a former by those persons who act in it, he will be surprised paper to show, that this kind of implex fable, to find how little in either of these poems proceeds wherein the event is unhappy, is more apt to affect from the authors. Milton has, in the general dis an audience than that of the first kind; notwith- position of his fable, very finely observed this great standing many excellent pieces among the ancients, rule; insomuch that there is scarce a tenth part of as well as most of those which have been written it which comes from the poet: the rest is spoken of late years in our own country, are raised upon either by Adam and Eve, or by some good or eril contrary plans. I must however own, that I think spirit who is engaged, either in their destruction this kind of fable, which is the most perfect in or defence. tragedy, is not so proper for an heroic poem.

From what has been here observed, it appears. Milton seems to have been sensible of this im- that digressions are by no means to be allowed of perfection in his fable, and bas therefore endea- in an epic poem. If the poet, even in the one voured to cure it by several expedients; particu-nary course of his narration, should speak as litle

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »