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parts of the tragedy which the author writ with great temper, and designed that they should have been so acted. I have seen Powell1 very often raise himself a loud clap by this artifice. The poets that were acquainted with this secret have given frequent occasion for such emotions in the actor by adding vehemence to words where there was no passion, or inflaming a real passion into fustian. This hath filled the mouths of our heroes with bombast, and given them such sentiments as proceed rather from a swelling than a greatness of mind. Unnatural exclamations, curses, vows, blasphemies, a defiance of mankind, and an outraging of the gods, frequently pass upon the audience for towering thoughts, and have accordingly met with infinite applause.

I shall here add a remark which I am afraid our tragic writers may make an ill use of. As our heroes are generally lovers, their swelling and blustering upon the stage very much recommends them to the fair part of their audience. The ladies are wonderfully pleased to see a man insulting kings or affronting the gods in one scene, and throwing himself at the feet of his mistress in another. Let him behave himself insolently towards the men and abjectly towards the fair one, and it is ten to one but he proves a favourite of the boxes. Dryden and Lee, in several of their tragedies, have practised this secret with good success.

But to show how a rant pleases beyond the most just and natural thought that is not pronounced with vehemence, I would desire the reader, when he sees the tragedy of 'Edipus,' to observe how quietly the hero is dismissed at the end of the third act, after

1 See No. 31.

2 The third act was by Dryden, the fourth by Lee.


having pronounced the following lines, in which the thought is very natural, and apt to move compassion:

To you, good gods, I make my last appeal,

Or clear my virtues, or my crimes reveal.
If in the maze of fate I blindly run,

And backward trod those paths I sought to shun,
Impute my errors to your own decree :

My hands are guilty, but my heart is free.

Let us then observe with what thunder-claps of applause he leaves the stage, after the impieties and execrations at the end of the fourth act; and you will wonder to see an audience so cursed and so pleased at the same time.

Oh that, as oft I have at Athens seen

[Where, by the way, there was no stage till many years after Edipus.']

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The stage arise, and the big clouds descend;

So now, in very deed, I might behold

This pond'rous globe, and all yon marble roof,
Meet, like the hands of Jove, and crush mankind.
For all the elements, &c.


HAVING spoken of Mr. Powell, as sometimes raising himself applause from the ill taste of an audience, I must do him the justice to own, that he is excellently formed for a tragedian, and, when he pleases, deserves the admiration of the best judges; as I doubt not but he will in the 'Conquest of Mexico,' which is acted for his own benefit to-morrow night.1


1 In the following number, in the folio issue, there was an advertisement of the performance at Drury Lane, for Powell's benefit, of Dryden's Indian Emperor; or, the Conquest of Mexico,' with Powell as Cortez.


No. 41.


Tuesday, April 17, 1711

Tu non inventa reperta es.


-OVID, Met. i. 654. OMPASSION for the gentleman who writes the following letter should not prevail upon me to fall upon the fair sex, if it were not that I find they are frequently fairer than they ought to be. Such impostures are not to be tolerated in civil society; and I think his misfortune ought to be made public, as a warning for other men always to examine into what they admire.


SUPPOSING you to be a person of general knowledge, I make my application to you on a very particular occasion. I have a great mind to be rid of my wife, and hope, when you consider my case, you will be of opinion I have very just pretensions to a divorce. I am a mere man of the town, and have very little improvement but what I have got from plays. I remember in 'The Silent Woman,'' the learned Dr. Cutbeard, or Dr. Otter (I forget which), makes one of the causes of separation to be error persona, when a man marries a woman, and finds her not to be the same woman whom he intended to marry, but another. If that be law, it

1 In Ben Jonson's Epicone; or, the Silent Woman,' Morose discovers that the silent woman whom he has married is far from silent; and Otter and Cutbeard, disguised as a divine and a canon lawyer respectively, pretend to advise him upon the grounds upon which a man may obtain a divorce, one being error persona, if you contract yourself to one person, thinking her another.'

is, I presume, exactly my case. For you are to know, Mr. Spectator, that there are women who do not let their husbands see their faces till they are married.

'Not to keep you in suspense, I mean plainly that part of the sex who paint. They are some of them so exquisitely skilful this way, that give them but a tolerable pair of eyes to set up with, and they will make bosom, lips, cheeks, and eyebrows by their own industry. As for my dear, never man was so enamoured as I was of her fair forehead, neck, and arms, as well as the bright jet of her hair; but to my great astonishment, I find they were all the effect of art her skin is so tarnished with this practice, that when she first wakes in a morning, she scarce seems young enough to be the mother of her whom I carried to bed the night before. I shall take the liberty to part with her by the first opportunity, unless her father will make her portion suitable to her real, not her assumed, countenance. This I thought fit to let him and her know by your means. I am,


Your most obedient humble Servant.'

I cannot tell what the law or the parents of the lady will do for this injured gentleman, but must allow he has very much justice on his side. I have, indeed, very long observed this evil, and distinguished those of our women who wear their own, from those in borrowed complexions, by the Picts and the British. There does not need any great discernment to judge which are which. The British have a lively animated aspect; the Picts, though never so beautiful, have dead uninformed counte

nances. The muscles of a real face sometimes swell with soft passion, sudden surprise, and are flushed with agreeable confusions, according as the objects before them, or the ideas presented to them, affect their imagination. But the Picts behold all things with the same air, whether they are joyful or sad; the same fixed insensibility appears upon all occasions. A Pict, though she takes all that pains to invite the approach of lovers, is obliged to keep them at a certain distance; a sigh in a languishing lover, if fetched too near her, would dissolve a feature; and a kiss snatched by a forward one, might transfer the complexion of the mistress to the admirer. It is hard to speak of these false fair ones, without saying something uncomplaisant, but I would only recommend to them to consider how they like coming into a room new painted; they may assure themselves, the near approach of a lady who uses this practice is much more offensive.

Will Honeycomb told us, one day, an adventure he once had with a Pict. This lady had wit, as well as beauty, at will; and made it her business to gain hearts, for no other reason but to rally the torments of her lovers. She would make great advances to ensnare men, but without any manner of scruple break off when there was no provocation. Her illnature and vanity made my friend very easily proof against the charms of her wit and conversation; but her beauteous form, instead of being blemished by her falsehood and inconstancy, every day increased upon him, and she had new attractions every time he saw her. When she observed Will irrevocably her slave, she began to use him as such, and after many steps toward such a cruelty, she at last utterly banished him. The unhappy lover strove in vain, by servile

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