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will show mine opinion. Behold, I waited
the better for it. Lord, what signifies one poor pot of tea, considering the trouble they put me to? Vapours, Mr. Spectator, are terrible things; for, though I am not possessed by them myself, I suffer more from them than if I were. Now I must beg of you to admonish all such day-goblins to make fewer visits, or to be less troublesome when they come to one's shop; and to convince them that we honest shop-keepers have something better to do than to cure folks of the vapours gratis. A young son of mine, a school-boy, is my secretary, so I hope you will make allowances. I am, sir, your constant reader, and very humble servant,
'REBECCA the distressed.
'March the 22d.'
No. 337.] Thursday, March 27, 1712.
Ire viam quam monstrat eques
Hor. Ep. 2. Lib. 1. 64.
I HAVE lately received a third letter from the gentleman who has already given the public two essays upon education. As his thoughts seem to be very just and new upon this subject, I shall communicate them to the reader.
'SIR,-If I had not been hindered by some extraordinary business, I should have sent you sooner my further thoughts upon education. You may please to remember, that in my last letter, I endeavoured to give the best reasons that could be urged in favour of a private or public education. Upon the whole, it may perhaps be thought that I seemed rather inclined to the latter, though at the same time I confessed that virtue, which ought to be our first and principal care, was more usually acquired in the former.
'MR. SPECTATOR,-I have formerly read with great satisfaction your paper about idols, and the behaviour of gentlemen in those coffee-houses where women officiate; and impatiently waited to see you take India and China shops into consideration: but since you have passed us over in silence, either that you have not as yet thought us worth your notice, or that the grievances we lie under have escaped your discerning eye, I must make my complaints to you, and am encouraged to do it because you seem a little at leisure at this present writing. I am, dear sir, one of the top China-women about town; and though I say it, keep as good things and receive as fine company as any over this end of the town, let the other be who she will. In short, I am in a fair way to be easy, were it not for a club of female rakes, who, under pretence of taking their innocent rambles, forsooth, and diverting the spleen, seldom fail to plague me twice or thrice a day, to cheapen tea, or buy a skreen. What else should they mean? as they often repeat it. These rakes are your idle ladies of fashion, 'I know that in most of our public schools who, having nothing to do, employ them-vice is punished and discouraged, whenever selves in tumbling over my ware. One of it is found out: but this is far from being these no-customers (for by the way they sufficient, unless our youth are at the same seldom or never buy any thing,) calls for a time taught to form a right judgment of set of tea-dishes, another for a bason, a third things, and to know what is properly virtue. for my best green tea, and even to the punch- To this end, whenever they read the bowl, there's scarce a piece in my shop but lives and actions of such men as have been must be displaced, and the whole agree- famous in their generation, it should not be able architecture disordered, so that I can thought enough to make them barely uncompare them to nothing but to the night-derstand so many Greek or Latin sentences; goblins that take a pleasure to overturn the disposition of plates and dishes in the kitchens of your housewifery maids. Well, after all this racket and clatter, this is too dear, that is their aversion; another thing is charming, but not wanted; the ladies are cured of the spleen, but I am not a shilling | 'There must be great care taken how
'I intended, therefore, in this letter, to offer at methods, by which I conceive boys might be made to improve in virtue as they advance in letters.
but they should be asked their opinion of such an action or saying, and obliged to give their reasons why they take it to be good or bad. By this means they would insensibly arrive at proper notions of courage, temperance, honour, and justice.
the example of any particular person is recommended to them in gross; instead of which they ought to be taught wherein such a man, though great in some respects, was weak and faulty in others. For want of this caution, a boy is often so dazzled with the lustre of a great character, that he confounds its beauties with its blemishes, and looks even upon the faulty part of it with an eye of admiration.
'I have often wondered how Alexander, who was naturally of a generous and merciful disposition, came to be guilty of so barbarous an action as that of dragging the governor of a town after his chariot. I know this is generally ascribed to his passion for Homer, but I lately met with a passage in Plutarch, which, if I am not very much mistaken, still gives us a clearer light into the motives of this action. Plutarch tells us, that Alexander in his youth had a master named Lysimachus, who, though he was a man destitute of all politeness, ingratiated himself both with Philip and his pupil, and became the second man at court, by calling the king Peleus, the Prince Achilles, and himself Phoenix. It is no wonder if Alexander, having been thus used not only to admire but to personate Achilles, should think it glorious to imitate him in this piece of cruelty and extravagance.
To carry this thought yet further, I shall submit it to your consideration, whether, instead of a theme or copy of verses, which are the usual exercises, as they are called in the school phrase, it would not be more proper that a boy should be tasked, once or twice a week, to write down his opinion of such persons and things as occur to him by his reading; that he should descant upon the actions of Turnus, or Æneas; show wherein they excelled, or were defective; censure or approve any particular action; observe how it might have been carried to a greater degree of perfection, and how it exceeded or fell short of another. He might at the same time mark what was moral in any speech, and how far it agreed with the character of the person speaking. This exercise would soon strengthen his judgment in what is blameable or praiseworthy, and give him an early seasoning of morality.
'Next to those examples which may be met with in books, I very much approve Horace's way of setting before youth the infamous or honourable characters of their contemporaries. That poet tells us, this was the method his father made use of to incline him to any particular virtue, or give him an aversion to any particular vice. "If," says Horace, " my father advised me to live within bounds, and be contented with the fortune he should leave me; Do you not see,' says he, the miserable condition of Burrus, and the son of Albus? Let the misfortunes of those two wretches teach you to avoid luxury and extravagance.' If
he would inspire me with an abhorrence of debauchery, 'Do not,' says he, 'make yourself like Sectanus, when you may be happy in the enjoyment of lawful pleasures. How scandalous,' says he, 'is the character of Trebonius, who was lately caught in bed with another man's wife!" To illustrate the force of this method, the poet adds, that as a headstrong patient who will not follow at first his physician's prescriptions, grows orderly when he hears that the neighbours die all about him; so youth is often frightened from vice, by hearing the ill report it brings upon others.
Xenophon's schools of equity, in his Life of Cyrus the Great, are sufficiently famous. He tells us, that the Persian children went to school, and employed their time as diligently in learning the principles of justice and sobriety, as the youth in other countries did to acquire the most difficult arts and sciences; their governors spent most part of the day in hearing their mutual accusations one against the other, whether for violence, cheating, slander, or ingratitude; and taught them how to give judgment against those who were found to be any ways guilty of these crimes. I omit the story of the long and short coat, for which Cyrus himself was punished, as a case equally known with any in Littleton.
The method which Apuleius tells us the Indian Gymnosophists took to educate their disciples, is still more curious and remarkable. His words are as follow: "When their dinner is ready, before it is served up, the masters inquire of every particular scholar how he has employed his time since sun-rising: some of them answer, that, having been chosen as arbiters between two persons, they have composed their differences, and made them friends; some that they have been executing the orders of their parents; and others, that they have either found out something new by their own application, or learnt it from the instructions of their fellows. But if there happens to be any one among them who cannot make it appear that he has employed the morning to advantage, he is immediately excluded from the company, and obliged to work while the rest are at dinner.
'It is not impossible, that from these several ways of producing virtue in the minds of boys, some general method might be invented. What I would endeavour to inculcate is, that our youth cannot be too soon taught the principles of virtue, seeing the first impressions which are made on the mind, are always the strongest.
The archbishop of Cambray makes Telemachus say, that, though he was young in years, he was old in the art of knowing how to keep both his own and his friends secrets. "When my father," says the prince, "went to the siege of Troy, he took me on his knees, and, after having embraced and blessed me, as he was sur
rounded by the nobles of Ithaca, O my self upon, that he will easily forgive me for friends,' says he, 'into your hands I com- publishing the exceptions made against mit the education of my son: if ever you gaiety at the end of serious entertainments loved his father, show it in your care to- in the following letter: I should be more wards him; but, above all, do not omit to unwilling to pardon him, than any body, a form him just, sincere, and faithful in keep-practice which cannot have any ill conseing a secret. These words of my father,"quence but from the abilities of the person says Telemachus, "were continually re- who is guilty of it. peated to me by his friends in his absence;
who made no scruple of communicating to 'MR. SPECTATOR,-I had the happiness me their uneasiness to see my mother sur-the other night of sitting very near you, and rounded with lovers, and the measures they your worthy friend Sir Roger, at the acting designed to take on that occasion. He of the new tragedy, which you have, in a adds, that he was so ravished at being thus late paper or two, so justly recommended. treated like a man, and at the confidence I was highly pleased with the advantageous reposed in him, that he never once abused situation fortune had given me in placing it; nor could all the insinuations of his me so near two gentlemen, from one of father's rivals ever get him to betray what which I was sure to hear such_reflections was committed to him under the seal of on the several incidents of the play as pure nature suggested, and from the other, such There is hardly any virtue which a lad as flowed from the exactest art and judgmight not thus learn by practice and ex-ment: though I must confess that my cuample.
'I have heard of a good man, who used at certain times to give his scholars sixpence a-piece, that they might tell him the next day how they had employed it. The third part was always to be laid out in charity, and every boy was blamed, or commended, as he could make it appear he had chosen a fit object.
riosity led me so much to observe the knight's reflections, that I was not well at leisure to improve myself by yours. Nature, I found, played her part in the knight pretty well, till at the last concluding lines she entirely forsook him. You must know, sir, that it is always my custom, when ĺ have been well entertained at a new tragedy, to make my retreat before the facetious epilogue enters; not but that those pieces are often very well written, but having paid down my half-crown, and made a fair purchase of as much of the pleasing melancholy as the poet's art can afford me, or my own nature admit of, I am willing to carry some of it home with me: and cannot endure to be at once tricked out of all, though by the wittiest dexterity in the world. However, I kept my seat the other night in hopes of finding my own sentiments of the matter favoured by your friends; when, to my great surprise, I found the knight entering with As the subject of this essay is of the equal pleasure into both parts, and as much highest importance, and what I do not re- satisfied with Mrs. Oldfield's gaiety as he member to have yet seen treated by any had been before with Andromache's greatauthor, I have sent you what occurred to ness. Whether this were no more than an me on it from my own observation, or read-effect of the knight's peculiar humanity, ing, and which you may either suppress or publish, as you think fit. I am, sir, yours, X.
In short, nothing is more wanting to our public schools, than that the masters of them should use the same care in fashioning the manners of their scholars, as in forming their tongues to the learned languages. Wherever the former is omitted, I cannot help agreeing with Mr. Locke, that a man must have a very strange value for words, when, preferring the languages of the Greeks and Romans to that which made them such brave men, he can think it worth while to hazard the innocence and virtue of his son for a little Greek and Latin.
No. 338.] Friday, March 28, 1712.
-Nil fuit unquam
pleased to find at last, that, after all the tragical doings, every thing was safe and well, I do not know; but for my own part, I must confess, I was so dissatisfied, that Í was sorry the poet had saved Andromache, and could heartily have wished that he had left her stone-dead upon the stage. For you cannot imagine, Mr. Spectator, the mischief she was reserved to do me. I found my soul, during the action, gradually worked I FIND the tragedy of the Distrest Mo-up to the highest pitch, and felt the exalted ther* is published to-day. The author of the prologue, I suppose, pleads an old excuse I have read somewhere, of being dull with design;' and the gentleman who writ the epilogue‡ has, to my knowledge, so much of greater moment to value him
Tam dispar sibi.
passion which all generous minds conceive at the sight of virtue in distress. The impression, believe me, sir, was so strong upon me, that I am persuaded, if I had been let alone in it, I could, at an extremity, have ventured to defend yourself and Sir Roger against half a score of the fiercest Mohocks; but the ludicrous epilogue in the close extinguished all my ardour, and made
me look upon all such noble achievements | signs, instead of a penitential psalm, to flisas downright silly and romantic. What the miss his audience with an excellent new rest of the audience felt, I cannot so well ballad of his own composing. Pray, sir, do tell. For myself I must declare, that at the what you can to put a stop to these growing end of the play I found my soul uniform, evils, and you will very much oblige your and all of a piece; but at the end of the humble servant, i epilogue it was so jumbled together, and 'PHYSIBULUS.' divided between jest and earnest, that, if you will forgive me an extravagant fancy,
-Ut his exordia primis
Virg. Ecl. v. 33.
I will here set it down. I could not but No. 339.] Saturday, March 29, 1712. fancy, if my soul had at that moment quitted my body, and descended to the poetical shades in the posture it was then in, what a strange figure it would have made among them. They would not have known what to have made of my motley spectre, half comic and half tragic, all over resembling a ridiculous face that at the same time laughs on one side and cries on the other. The only defence, I think, I have ever heard made for this, as it seems to me the most unnatural tack of the comic tail to the tragic head, is this, that the minds of the audience must be refreshed, and gentlemen and ladies not sent away to their own homes with too dismal and melancholy thoughts about them: for who knows the consequence of this? We are much obliged, indeed, to the poets, for the great tenderness they express for the safety of our persons, and heartily thank them for it. But if that be all, pray, good sir, assure them, that we are none of us like to come to any great harm; and that, let them do their best, we shall in all proba bility live out the length of our days, and frequent the theatres more than ever. What makes me more desirous to have some information of this matter is, because of an ill consequence or two attending it: for a great many of our church musicians being related to the theatre, they have, in imitation of these epilogues, introduced, in their farewell voluntaries, a sort of music quite foreign to the design of church-services, to the great prejudice of well-disposed people. Those fingering gentlemen should be informed, that they ought to suit their airs to the place and business, and that the musician is obliged to keep to the text as much as the preacher. For want of this, I.have found by experience a great deal of mischief. When the preacher has often, with great piety, and art enough, handled his subject, and the judicions clerk has with the utmost diligence culled out two staves proper to the discourse, and I have found in myself and the rest of the pew, good thoughts and dispositions, they have been, all in a moment, dissipated by a merry jig from the organ-loft. One knows not what further ill effects the epilogues I have been speaking of may in time produce: but this I am credibly informed of, that Paul Lor-lighted up by Homer. rain has resolved upon a very sudden reformation in his tragical dramas; and that, at the next monthly performance, he de
He sung the secret seeds of nature's frame : How seas, and earth, and air, and active flame, Fell through the mighty void, and in their fall Were blindly gather'd in this goodly ball. The tender soil then stiff ning by degrees, Shut from the bounded earth the bounding seas, The earth and ocean various forms disclose, And a new sun to the new world arose.-Dryden. LONGINUS has observed that there may be a loftiness in sentiments where there is no passion, and brings instances out of ancient authors to support this his opinion. The pathetic, as that great critic observes, may animate and inflame the sublime, but is not essential to it. Accordingly, as he further remarks, we very often find that those who excel most in stirring up the passions very often want the talent of writing in the great and sublime manner, and so on the contrary. Milton has shown himself a master in both these ways of writing. The seventh book, which we are now entering upon, is an instance of that sublime which is not mixed and worked up with passion. The author appears in a kind of composed and sedate majesty; and though the sentiments do not give so great an emotion as those in the former book, they abound with as magnificent ideas. The sixth book, like a troubled ocean, represents greatness in confusion; the seventh affects the imagination like the ocean in a calm, and fills the mind of the reader, without producing in it any thing like tumult or agitation.
The critic above-mentioned, among the rules which he lays down for succeeding in the sublime way of writing, proposes to his reader, that he should imitate the most celebrated authors who have gone before him, and have been engaged in works of the same nature; as in particular that, if he writes on poetical subjects, he should consider how Homer would have spoken on such an occasion. By this means one great genius often catches the flame from another, and writes in his spirit, without copying servilely after him. There are a thousand shining passages in Virgil, which have been
Milton, though his own natural strength of genius was capable of furnishing out a perfect work, has doubtless very much raised and ennobled his conceptions by such an imitation as that which Longinus has recommended.
In this book which gives us an account of clouds which lay as a barrier before of the six days' works, the poet received them.
which follows, where the Messiah is represented at the head of his angels, as looking down into the chaos, calming its confusion, riding into the midst of it, and drawing the first outline of the creation:
but very few assistances from heathen I do not know any thing in the whole writers, who are strangers to the wonders poem more sublime than the description of creation. But as there are many glorious strokes of poetry upon this subject in holy writ, the author has numberless allusions to them through the whole course of this book. The great critic I have before mentioned, though a heathen, has taken notice of the sublime manner in which the lawgiver of the Jews has described the creation in the first chapter of Genesis; and there are many other passages in scripture which rise up to the same majesty, where the subject is touched upon. Milton has shown his judgment very remarkably, in making use of such of these as were proper for his poem, and in duly qualifying those strains of eastern poetry which were suited to readers whose imaginations were set to a higher pitch than those of colder climates.
Adam's speech to the angel, wherein he desires an account of what had passed within the regions of nature_before_the creation, is very great and solemn. The following lines, in which he tells him, that the day is not too far spent for him to enter upon such a subject, are exquisite in their kind:
And the great light of day yet wants to run
The angel's encouraging our first parents in a modest pursuit after knowledge, with the causes which he assigns for the creation of the world, are very just and beautiful. The Messiah, by whom, as we are told in scripture, the heavens were made, goes forth in the power of his Father, surrounded with a host of angels, and clothed with such a majesty as becomes his entering upon a work which, according to our conceptions, appears the utmost exertion of Omnipotence. What a beautiful description has our author raised upon that hint in one of the prophets! And behold there came four chariots out from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of
About his chariot numberless were pour'd
I have before taken notice of these chariots of God, and of these gates of heaven; and shall here only add, that Homer gives us the same idea of the latter as opening of themselves; though he afterwards takes off from it, by telling us, that the Hours first of all removed those prodigious heaps
On heav'nly ground they stood, and from the shore
Far into Chaos, and the world unborn;
The thought of the golden compasses is conceived altogether in Homer's spirit, and is a very noble incident in this wonderful description. Homer, when he speaks of the gods, ascribes to them several arms and instruments with the same greatness of imagination. Let the reader only peruse the description of Minerva's ægis or buckler, in the fifth book, with her spear which would overturn whole squadrons, and her helmet that was sufficient to cover an army drawn out of a hundred cities. The golden compasses, in the above-mentioned passage, of him whom Plato somewhere calls the Diappear a very natural instrument in the hand vine Geometrician. As poetry delights in clothing abstracted ideas in allegories and sensible images, we find a magnificent description of the creation, formed after the same manner, in one of the prophets, wherein he describes the Almighty Architect as measuring the waters in the hollow of his hand, meting out the heavens with his span, comprehending the dust of the earth in a measure, weighing the moun
tains in scales, and the hills in a balance. Another of them describing the Supreme Being in this great work of creation, represents him as laying the foundations of the earth, and stretching a line upon it; and, in another place, as garnishing the heavens, stretching out the north over the empty place, and hanging the earth upon nothing. This last noble thought Milton has expressed in the following verse:
And earth self-balanced on her centre hung.
The beauties of description in this book lie so very thick, that it is impossible to enumerate them in this paper. The poet has employed on them the whole energy of our tongue. The several great scenes of