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a beautiful coat of mail, with a mantle of the finest purple. "A golden bow,' says he, hung upon his shoulder ; his garment was buckled with a golden clasp; and his head covered with an helmet of the same shining metal.' The Amazon immediately singled out this well-dressed warrior, being seized with a woman's longing for the pretty trappings that he was adorned with.
-Totumque incauta per agmen
This heedless pursuit after these glittering trifles, the poet (by a nice concealed moral) represents to have been the destruction of his female hero.
No. 16. MONDAY, MARCH 19.
Quid verum atque decens curo, et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum.
HOR. I, Ep. 1. 11.
I HAVE received a letter, desiring me to be very satirical upon the little muff that is now in fashion ; another informs me of a pair of silver garters buckled below the knee, that have been lately seen at the Rainbow Coffee-house, in Fleet-Street; a third sends me an heavy complaint against fringed gloves. To be brief, there is scarce an ornament of either sex, which one or other of my correspondents has not inveighed against with some bitter ness, and recommended to my observation. I must therefore, once for all, inform my readers, that it is not my intention to sink the dignity of this my paper with reflections upon red-neels or top-knots, but rather to enter into the passions of mankind, and to correct those depraved sentiments that gave birth to all those
little extravagancies which appear in their outward dress and be haviour. Foppish and fantastic ornaments are only indications of vice, not criminal in themselves. Extinguish vanity in the mind, and you naturally retrench the little superfluities of gar: nilure and equipage. The blossoms will fall of themselves, when the root that nourishes them is destroyed.
I shall therefore, as I have said, apply my remedies to the first seeds and principles of an affected dress, without descending to the dress itself; though at the same time I must own, that I have thoughts of creating an officer under me, to be entitled, 'The Censor of small Wares,' and of allotting him one day in a week for the execution of such his office. An operator of this nature
night act under me, with the same regard as a surgeon to a physician; the one might be employed in healing those blotches and tumours which break out in the body, while the other is sweetening the blood, and rectifying the constitution. To speak truly, the young people of both sexes are so wonderfully apt to shoot out into long swords or sweeping trains, bushy head-dresses or full-bottomed perriwigs, with several other incumbrances of dress, that they stand in need of being pruned very frequently, lest they should be oppressed with ornaments, and over-run with the luxuriance of their habits. I am much in doubt, whether I should give the preference to a Quaker, that is trimmed close, and almost cut to the quick, or to a beau, that is loaden with such a redun. dance of excrescences. I must, therefore, desire my correspondents to let me know how they approve my project, and whether they think the erecting of such a petty censorship may not turn to the emolument of the public; for I would not do any thing of this nature rashly, and without advice.
There is another set of correspondents to whom I must address myself in the second place; I mean, such as fill their letters with private scandal, and black accounts of particnlar persons
and families. The world is so full of ill-nature, that I have lampoons sent me by people who cannot spell, and satires composed by those who scarce know how to write. By the last post in particular, I received a packet of scandal which is not legible; and have a whole bundle of letters in women's hands that are full of blots and calumnies, insomuch, that when I see the name Cælia, Phillis, Pastora, or the like, at the bottom of a scrawl, I conclude on course that it brings me some account of a fallen virgin, a faithless wife, or an amorous widow. I must therefore inform these my correspondents, that it is not my design to be a publisher of intrigues and cuckoldoms, or to bring little infamous stories out of their present lurking holes into broad day-light. If I attack the vicious, I shall only set upon them in a body; and will not be provoked by the worst usage I can receive from others, to make an example of any particular criminal. In short, I have so much of a Drawcansir' in me, that I shall pass over a single foe to charge whole armies. It is not Lais or Silenus, but the harlot and the drunkard, whom I shall endeavour to expose ; and shall consider the crime as it appears in a species, not as it is circumstanced in an individual. I think it was Caligula, who wished the whole city of Rome had but one neck, that he might behead them at a blow. I shall do out of humanity, what that emperor would have done in the cruelty of his temper, and aim every stroke at a collective body of offenders. At the same time I am. very sensible, that nothing spreads a paper like private calumny and defamation; but as my speculations are not under this neces sity, they are not exposed to this temptation.
1 A character in the Rehearsal, introduced as a parody of Dryden's favorite hero Almanzor. The Rehearsal, it will be remembered, though gen. erally attributed exclusively to the Duke of Buckingham, was written by Butler, author of Hudibras, Spratt, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, and Martin Clifford, in conjunction with ihe Duke. It was aimed at the tragic poets of the day, who are supposed to be collectively represented in the character of Bayes.-G
In the next place I must apply myself to my party correspondents, who are continually teazing me to take notice of one another's proceedings. How often am I asked by both sides, if it is possible for me to be an unconcerned spectator of the rogueries that are committed by the party which is opposite to him that writes the letter. About two days since I was reproached with an old Grecian law that forbids any man to stand as a neuter or a looker-on in the divisions of his country. However, as I am very
sensible my paper would lose its whole effect, should it run into the outrages of a party, I shall take care to keep clear of every thing which looks that way. If I can any way assuage private inflammations, or allay public ferments, I shall apply my. self to it with my utmost endeavours; but will never let my heart reproach me, with having done any thing towards increasing those feuds and animosities that extinguish religion, deface government, and make a nation miserable.
What I have said under the three foregoing heads, will, I am
id, very much retrench the number of my correspondents : I sball therefore acquaint my reader, that if he has started any hint which is not able to pursue, if he has met with any surprising story which he does not know how to tell, if he has discovered any epidemical vice which has escaped my observation, or has heard of any uncommon virtue which he would desire to publish : in short, if he has any materials that can furnish out an innocent diversion, I shall promise him my best assistance in the working of them up for a public entertainment.
reader will find was intended for an answer to a multitude of correspondents; but I hope he will pardon me if I single dit one of them in particular, who has made me so very humble a request, that I cannot forbear complying with it.
This paper my
“TO THE SPECTATOR.
March 5th, 1710-11.
'I am at present so unfortunate, as to have ne thing to do but to mind my own business; and therefore beg of you
will be pleased to put me into some small post under you. I observe that you have appointed your printer and publisher to receive letters and advertisements for the city of London; and shall think myself very much honoured by you, if you will appoint me to take in letters and advertisements for the city of Westminster and the duchy of Lancaster. Though I cannot promise to fill such an employment with sufficient abilities, I will endeavour to make up with industry and fidelity what I want in parts and genius. I am,
It is my design in this paper to deliver down to posterity a faithful account of the Italian Opera, and of the gradual progress which it has made upon the English stage : for there is no question but our great grand-children will be very curious to know the
I A perfumer who figures in the Tatler.-V. Tatler, 92, 94, 101, 103, 250.-G.