Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

darling of God's right eye, Let the authority of Sarah be sown in her, the fidelity of Esther, and the wisdom of Abba. We would have her eye like that of a dove, which may look upon heaven and earth, with the mouth of a shell-fish, to feed upon the dew of the morning, her age must not exceed 200 courses of the moon; let her stature be equal to that of an ear of green corn, and her girth a handful.

'We will send our mandarines ambassa

and her retinue, in advancing the interests of the Roman-catholic religion in those kingdoms.

To the Spectator General.

'MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HONOUR,-I have of late seen French hats of a prodigious magnitude pass by my observatory. T. JOHN SLY.'

Omnia patefacienda, ut ne quid omnino quod venditor norit, emptor ignoret.

Tull.

dors to clothe her, and to conduct her to No. 546.] Wednesday, November 26, 1712. us, and we will meet her on the bank of a great river, making her to leap up into our chariot. She may with us worship her own God, together with twenty-four virgins of her own choosing; and she may sing with them as the turtle in the spring.

Every thing should be fairly told, that the buyer may not be ignorant of any thing which the seller knows.

Ir gives me very great scandal to obYou, O father and friend, complying serve, wherever I go, how much skill, in with this our desire, may be an occasion of buying all manner of goods, there is necesuniting in perpetual friendship our high sary to defend yourself from being cheated empire with your European kingdoms, and in whatever you see exposed to sale. My we may embrace your laws as the ivy reading makes such a strong impression embraces the tree; and we ourselves may upon me, that I should think myself a cheat scatter our royal blood into your provinces, in my way, if I should translate any thing warming the chief of your princes with from another tongue, and not acknowledge the amorous fire of our amazons, the re-it to my readers. I understood, from comsembling pictures of some of which our mon report, that Mr. Cibber was introsaid mandarines ambassadors shall convey to you. "We exhort you to keep in peace two good religious families of missionaries, the sons of Ignatius, and the black and white sons of Dominicus; that the counsel, both of the one and the other may serve as a guide to us in our government, and a light to interpret the divine law, as the oil cast into the sea produces light.

To conclude, we rising up in our throne to embrace you, we declare you our ally and confederate; and have ordered this leaf to be sealed with our imperial signet, in our royal city, the head of the world, the eighth day of the third lunation, and the fourth year of our reign.'

Letters from Rome say, the whole conversation both among gentlemen and ladies has turned upon the subject of this epistle, ever since it arrived. The jesuit who translated it says, it loses much of the majesty of the original in the Italian. It seems there was an offer of the same nature made by the predecessor of the present emperor to Lewis XIII. of France; but no lady of that court would take the voyage, that sex not being at that time so much used in public negotiations. The manner of treating the pope is, according to the Chinese ceremonial, very respectful: for the emperor writes to him with the quill of a virgin ostrich, which was never used before but in writing prayers. Instructions are preparing for the lady who shall have so much zeal as to undertake this pilgrimage, and be an empress for the sake of her religion. The principal of the Indian missionaries has given in a list of the reigning sins in China, in order to prepare indulgencies necessary to this lady

ducing a French play upon our stage, and
thought myself concerned to let the town
know what was his, and what was foreign.*
When I came to the rehearsal, I found the
house so partial to one of their own frater-
nity, that they gave every thing which was
said such grace, emphasis, and force in
their action, that it was no easy matter to
make any judgment of the performance.
Mrs. Oldfield, who, it seems, is the heroic
daughter, had so just a conception of her
part, that her action made what she spoke
appear decent, just, and noble. The pas
sions of terror and compassion they made
me believe were very artfully raised, and
the whole conduct of the play artful and
surprising. We authors do not much relish
the endeavours of players in this kind, but
have the same disdain as physicians and
lawyers have when attorneys and apothe-
caries give advice. Cibber himself took
the liberty to tell me, that he expected I
would do him justice, and allow the play
well prepared for his spectators, whatever
it was for his readers. He added very many
particulars not uncurious concerning the
manner of taking an audience, and laying
wait not only for their superficial applause,
but also for insinuating into their affections
and passions, by the artful management of
the look, voice, and gesture of the speaker.
I could not but consent that the Heroic
Daughter appeared in the rehearsal a mov-

* Ximena, or the Heroic Daughter, a tragedy taken from the Cid of Corneille, by C. Cibber.

This play met with so little encouragement, that the

author did not venture to publish it till about two years after it had been performed, when it appeared with a highly complimentary dedication to Sir Richard Steele, but unfortunately at the expense of a much better writer.

[ocr errors]

ing entertainment, wrought out of a great | some favours which I have lately received, and exemplary virtue.

that I must beg leave to give them utterance amongst the crowd of other anonymous correspondents; and writing, I hope, will be as great a relief to my forced silence as it is to your natural taciturnity. My generous benefactor will not suffer me to speak to him in any terms of acknowledgment, but ever treats me as if he had the greatest obligations, and uses me with a distinction that is not to be expected from one so much my superior in fortune, years, and understanding. He insinuates, as if Í had a certain right to his favours from some merit, which his particular indulgence to me has discovered; but that is only a beautiful artifice to lessen the pain an honest mind feels in receiving obligations when there is no probability of returning them.

'A gift is doubled when accompanied with such a delicacy of address; but what to me gives it an inexpressible value, is its coming from the man I most esteem in the world. It pleases me indeed, as it is an advantage and addition to my fortune; but when I consider it as an instance of that good man's friendship, it overjoys, it transports me: I look on it with a lover's eye, and no longer regard the gift, but the hand that gave it. For my friendship is so entirely void of any gainful views, that it often gives me pain to think it should have been chargeable to him; and I cannot at some melancholy hours help doing his generosity the injury of fearing it should cool on this account, and that the last favour might be a sort of legacy of a departing friendship.

The advantages of action, show, and dress, on these occasions are allowable, because the merit consists in being capable of imposing upon us to our advantage and entertainment. All that I was going to say about the honesty of an author in the sale of his ware was, that he ought to own all that he had borrowed from others, and lay in a clear light all that he gives his spectators for their money, with an account of the first manufacturers. But I intended to give the lecture of this day upon the common and prostituted behaviour of traders in ordinary commerce. The philosopher made it a rule of trade, that your profit ought to be the common profit; and it is unjust to make any step towards gain, wherein the gain of even those to whom you sell is not also consulted. A man may deceive himself if he thinks fit, but he is no better than a cheat, who sells any thing without telling the exceptions against it, as well as what is to be said to its advantage. The scandalous abuse of language and hardening of conscience, which may be observed every day in going from one place to another, is what makes a whole city, to an unprejudiced eye, a den of thieves. It was no small pleasure to me for this reason to remark, as I passed by Cornhill, that the shop of that worthy, honest, though lately unfortunate citizen, Mr. John Morton, so well known in the linen trade, is setting up anew. Since a man has been in a distressed condition, it ought to be a great satisfaction to have passed through it in such a manner as not to have lost the 'I confess these fears seem very groundfriendship of those who suffered with him, less and unjust, but you must forgive them but to receive an honourable acknowledg-to the apprehension of one possessed of a ment of his honesty from those very persons great treasure, who is frighted at the most to whom the law had consigned his estate. distant shadow of danger. The misfortune of this citizen is like to prove of a very general advantage to those who shall deal with him hereafter; for the stock with which he now sets up being the loan of his friends, he cannot expose that to the hazard of giving credit, but enters into a ready-money trade, by which means he will both buy and sell the best and cheapest. He imposes upon himself a rule of affixing the value of each piece he sells, to the piece itself; so that the most ignorant servant or child will be as good a buyer at his shop as the most skilful in the trade. For all which, you have all his hopes and fortune for your security. To encourage dealing after this way, there is not only the avoiding the most infamous guilt in ordinary bartering; but this observation, that he who buys with ready money saves as much to his family as the state exacts out of his land for the security and service of his country. That is to say, in plain English, sixteen will do as much as twenty No. 547.] Thursday, November 27, shillings.

'MR. SPECTATOR,-My heart is so swelled with grateful sentiments on account of

'Since I have thus far opened my heart to you, I will not conceal the secret satisfaction I feel there, of knowing the goodness of my friend will not be unrewarded. I am pleased with thinking the providence of the Almighty hath sufficient blessings in store for him, and will certainly discharge the debt, though I am not made the happy instrument of doing it.

'However, nothing in my power shall be wanting to show my gratitude; I will make it the business of my life to thank him; and shall esteem (next to him) those my best friends, who give me the greatest assistance in this good work. Printing this letter would be some little instance of my gratitude; and your favour herein will very much oblige your most humble servant, &c. W. C.

'Nov. 24.'

Si vulnus tibi, monstrata radice vel herba,
Non fieret levius, fugeres radice vel herba
Proficiente nihil curarier.

T.

1712

Hor. Ep. ii. Lib. 2. 149.

Suppose you had a wound, and one that show'd
An herb, which you apply'd, but found no good;
Would you be fond of this, increase your pain,
And use the fruitless remedy again ?-Creech.

Over the two Spectators on jealousy, being the two first in the third volume, Nos. 170, 171,

'I, William Crazy, aged threescore and

It is very difficult to praise a man with-seven, having been for several years afflictout putting him out of countenance. My ed with uneasy doubts, fears, and vapours, following correspondent has found out this occasioned by the youth and beauty of uncommon art, and, together with his Mary my wife, aged twenty-five, do herefriends, has celebrated some of my specu- by, for the benefit of the public, give notice, lations after such a concealed but diverting that I have found great relief from the two manner, that if any of my readers think I following doses, having taken them two am to blame in publishing my own com- mornings, together with a dish of chocolate. mendations, they will allow I should have Witness my hand, &c.' deserved their censure as much had I suppressed the humour in which they are conveyed to me.

[ocr errors]

For the benefit of the Poor.

'In charity to such as are troubled with to seek their bread every morning at the the disease of levee-hunting, and are forced chamber-doors of great men, I, A. B. do testify, that for many years past I laboured under this fashionable distemper, but was cured of it by a remedy which I bought of Mrs. Baldwin, contained in a half sheet of paper, marked No. 193, where any one may be provided with the same remedy at the price of a single penny.'

'An infallible cure for hypochondriac melancholy, Nos. 173, 184, 191, 203, 209, 221, 231, 235, 239, 245, 247, 251. 'Probatum est. CHARLES EASY.'

'I, Christopher Query, having been troubled with a certain distemper in my tongue, which showed itself in impertinent and superfluous interrogatories, have not asked one unnecessary question since my perusal of the prescription marked No. 228.

'SIR,-I am often in a private assembly of wits of both sexes, where we generally descant upon your speculations, or upon the subjects on which you have treated. We were last Tuesday talking of those two volumes which you have lately published. Some were commending one of your papers, and some another; and there was scarce a single person in the company that had not a favourite speculation. Upon this a man of wit and learning told us, he thought it would not be amiss if we paid the Spectator the same compliment that is often made in our public prints to Sir William Read, Dr. Grant, Mr. Moor, the apothecary, and other eminent physicians, where it is usual for the patients to publish the cures which have been made upon them, and the several distempers under which they laboured. The proposal took; and the lady where we visited having the two last volumes in large paper interleaved "The Britannic Beautifier, being an essay for her own private use, ordered them to on modesty, No. 231, which gives such a be brought down, and laid in the window, delightful blushing colour to the cheeks of whither every one in the company retired, those that are white or pale, that it is not and writ down a particular advertisement to be distinguished from a natural fine in the style and phrase of the like inge- complexion, nor perceived to be artificial nious compositions which we frequently by the nearest friend, is nothing of paint, or meet with at the end of our newspapers in the least hurtful. It renders the face When we had finished our work, we read delightfully handsome: is not subject to be them with a great deal of mirth at the fire-rubbed off, and cannot be paralleled by side, and agreed, nemine contradicente, to get them transcribed, and sent to the Spectator. The gentleman who made the proposal entered the following advertisement before the title-page, after which the rest succeeded in order.

either wash, powder, cosmetic, &c. It is certainly the best beautifier in the world.

'MARTHA GLOWORM.'

'I, Samuel Self, of the parish of St. James's, having a constitution which naturally abounds with acids, made use of a paper of directions marked No. 177, recommending a healthful exercise called goodnature, and have found it a most excellent

sweetener of the blood.'

Remedium efficax et universum; or, an effectual remedy adapted to all capacities; showing how any person may cure himself of ill-nature, pride, party-spleen, or any other distemper incident to the human sys- Whereas I, Elizabeth Rainbow, was tem, with an easy way to know when the troubled with that distemper in my head, infection is upon him. The panacea is as which about a year ago was pretty epiinnocent as bread, agreeable to the taste, demical among the ladies, and discovered and requires no confinement. It has not its itself in the colour of their hoods: having equal in the universe, as abundance of the made use of the doctor's cephalic tincture, nobility and gentry throughout the king-which he exhibited to the public in one of dom have experienced. his last year's papers, I recovered in a

N. B. No family ought to be without it.' I very few days.'

'I, George Gloom, having for a long time been troubled with the spleen, and being advised by my friends to put myself into a course of Steele, did for that end make use of the remedies conveyed to me several mornings, in short letters, from the hands of the invisible doctor. They were marked at the bottom Nathaniel Henroost, Alice Threadneedle, Rebecca Nettletoy, Tom Loveless, Mary Meanwell, Thomas Smoky, Anthony Freeman, Tom Meggot, Rustic Sprightly, &c. which have had so good an effect upon me, that I now find myself cheerful, lightsome, and easy; and therefore do recommend them to all such as labour under the same distemper.'

have read it with the same attention I have done, will think there is nothing to be objected against it. I have however drawn up some additional arguments to strengthen the opinion which you have there delivered, having endeavoured to go to the bottom of the matter, which you may either publish or suppress as you think fit.

'Horace, in my motto, says, that all men are vicious, and that they differ from one another only as they are more or less so. Boileau has given the same account of our wisdom, as Horace has of our virtue:

"Tous les hommes sont fous, et malgre tous leurs soins, Ne different entre eux, que de plus et du moins."

"All men," says he, "are fools, and, in Not having room to insert all the adver-spite of their endeavours to the contrary, tisements which were sent me, I have only differ from one another only as they are picked out some few from the third vo- more or less so." lume, reserving the fourth for another opportunity.

0.

No. 548.] Friday, November 28, 1712.

-Vitiis nemo sine nascitur, optimus ille
Qui minimis urgetur. Hor. Sat. iii. Lib. 1. 68.
There's none but has some fault; and he's the best,
Most virtuous he that's spotted with the least.

Creech.

Nov. 27, 1712.

'Two or three of the old Greek poets have given the same turn to a sentence which describes the happiness of man in this life:

6 Το ζην αλύπως, ανδρός εστιν ευτυχούς.” "That man is most happy who is the least miserable."

'It will not perhaps be unentertaining to the polite reader to observe how these three beautiful sentences are formed upon different subjects, by the same way of thinking; but I shall return to the first of them.

'MR. SPECTATOR,-I have read this "Our goodness being of a comparative day's paper with a great deal of pleasure, and not an absolute nature, there is none and could send you an account of several who in strictness can be called a virtuous elixirs and antidotes in your third volume, man. Every one has in him a natural alloy, which your correspondents have not taken though one may be fuller of dross than annotice of in their advertisements; and at the other: for this reason I cannot think it right same time must own to you, that I have to introduce a perfect or a faultless man seldom seen a shop furnished with such a upon the stage; not only because such a variety of medicaments, and in which character is improper to move compassion, there are fewer soporifics. The several but because there is no such thing in navehicles you have invented for conveying ture. This might probably be one reason your unacceptable truths to us, are what I why the Spectator in one of his papers took most particularly admire, as I am afraid notice of that late invented term called they are secrets which will die with you. poetical justice, and the wrong notions into I do not find that any of our critical essays which it has led some tragic writers. The are taken notice of in this paper, notwith-most perfect man has vices enough to draw standing I look upon them to be excellent down punishments upon his head, and to cleansers of the brain, and could venture to justify Providence in regard to any misesuperscribe them with an advertisement ries that may befall him. For this reason which I have lately seen in one of your I cannot think but that the instruction and newspapers, wherein there is an account moral are much finer, where a man who is given of a sovereign remedy for restoring virtuous in the main of his character falls the taste to all such persons whose palates into distress, and sinks under the blows of have been vitiated by distempers, unwhole- fortune at the end of a tragedy, than when some food, or any the like occasions. But he is represented as happy and triumphto let fall the allusion, notwithstanding your ant. Such an example corrects the insocriticisms, and particularly the candour lence of human nature, softens the mind of which you have discovered in them, are the beholder with sentiments of pity and not the least taking part of your works, I compassion, comforts him under his own find your opinion concerning poetical jus- private affliction, and teaches him not to tice, as it is expressed in the first part or judge of men's virtues by their success. I your fortieth Spectator, is controverted by cannot think of one real hero in all antisome eminent critics; and as you now quity so far raised above human infirmities, seem, to our great grief of heart, to be that he might not be very naturally reprewinding up your bottoms, I hoped you sented in a tragedy as plunged in misforwould have enlarged a little upon that sub-tunes and calamities. The poet may still ject. It is indeed but a single paragraph find out some prevailing passion or indisin your works, and I believe those who cretion in his character, and show it in

such a manner as will sufficiently acquit the gods of any injustice in his sufferings. For, as Horace observes in my text, the best man is faulty, though not in so great a degree as those whom we generally call vicious men.

minal that they can have no claim or pretence to happiness. The best of men may deserve punishment, but the worst of men cannot deserve happiness.

Quamvis digressu veteris confusus amici,
Laudo tamen.

Juv. Sat. iii. 1.
Though griev'd at the departure of my friend,
His purpose of retiring I commend.

If such a strict poetical justice as some No. 549.] Saturday, November 29, 1712. gentlemen insist upon was to be observed in this art, there is no manner of reason why it should not extend to heroic poetry as well as tragedy. But we find it so little observed in Homer, that his Achilles is placed in the greatest point of glory and success, though his character is morally vicious, and only poetically good, if I may use the phrase of our modern critics. The Æneid is filled with_innocent, unhappy persons. Nisus and Euryalus, Lausus and Pallas, come all to unfortunate ends. The poet takes notice in particular, that, in the sacking of Troy, Ripheus fell, who was the most just man among the Trojans.

-Cadit et Ripheus justissimus unus, Qui fuit in Teucris, et servantissimus æqui: Diis aliter visum est

En. ii. 427.

And that Pantheus could neither be pre-
served by his transcendent piety, nor by the
holy fillets of Apollo, whose priest he was.
-Nec te tua plurima, Pantheu,
Labentem pietas, nec Apollinis infula texit.

Ibid. ver. 429.

I BELIEVE most people begin the world with a resolution to withdraw from it into a serious kind of solitude or retirement when they have made themselves easy in it. Our unhappiness is, that we find out some excuse or other for deferring such our good resolutions until our intended retreat is cut off by death. But among all kinds of people, there are none who are so hard to part with the world as those who are grown old in the heaping up of riches. Their minds are so warped with their constant attention to gain, that it is very difficult for them to give their souls another bent, and convert them towards those objects, which though they are proper for every stage of life, are so more especially for the last. Horace describes an old usurer as so charmed with the pleasures of a country life, that in order I might here mention the practice of an- to make a purchase he called in all his cient tragic poets, both Greek and Latin; money; but what was the event of it? but as this particular is touched upon in the Why, in a very few days after he put it paper above-mentioned, I shall pass it over out again. I am engaged in this series of in silence. I could produce passages out of thought by a discourse which I had last Aristotle in favour of my opinion; and if week with my worthy friend Sir Andrew in one place he says that an absolutely vir- Freeport, a man of so much natural elotuous man, should not be represented as quence, good sense, and probity of mind, unhappy, this does not justify any one who that I always hear him with a particular shall think fit to bring in an absolutely vir- pleasure. As we were sitting together, tuous man upon the stage. Those who are being the sole remaining members of our acquainted with that author's way of writ-club, Sir Andrew gave me an account of ing, know very well that, to take the whole extent of his subject into his divisions of it, he often makes use of such cases as are imaginary, and not reducible to practice. He himself declares that such tragedies as ended unhappily, bore away the prize in theatrical contentions, from those which ended happily; and for the fortieth speculation, which I am now considering, as it has given reasons why these are more apt to please an audience, so it only proves that these are generally preferable to the other, though at the same time it affirms that many excellent tragedies have and may be written in both kinds.

"I shall conclude with observing, that though the Spectator above-mentioned is so far against the rule of poetical justice, as to affirm that good men may meet with an unhappy catastrophe in tragedy, it does not say that ill men may go off unpunished. The reasons for this distinction is very plain, namely, because the best of men are vicious enough to justify Providence for any misfortunes and afflictions which may befall them, but there are many men so cri

the many busy scenes of life in which he had been engaged, and at the same time reckoned up to me abundance of those lucky hits, which at another time he would have called pieces of good fortune; but in the temper of mind he was then, he termed them mercies, favours of Providence, and blessings upon an honest industry. Now,' says he, you must know, my good friend, I am so used to consider myself as creditor and debtor, that I often state my accounts after the same manner with regard to heaven and my own soul. In this case, when I look upon the debtor side, I find such innumerable articles, that I want arithmetic to cast them up; but when I look upon the creditor side, I find little more than blank paper. Now, though I am very well satisfied that it is not in my power to balance accounts with my Maker, I am resolved however to turn all my future endeavours that way. You must not therefore be surprised, my friend, if you hear that I am breaking myself to a more thoughtful kind of life, and if I meet you no more in this place.'

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »