Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

continued true to her alone, until his marriage with the beautiful Elfrida.

***

N° 606. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13.

Longum cantu folata laborem,

Arguto conjux percurrit pectine telas.
VIRG. Georg. i. ver. 294.-

-Mean time at home

The good wife finging plies the various loom....

• Mr. SPECTATOR,

..

HAVE a couple of nieces under my direction, *. who so often run gadding abroad, that I do not know where to have them. Their drefs, their tea, and their vifits, take up all their time, and they go to bed as tired with doing nothing, · as I am after quilting a whole under-petticoat.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

C

The only time they are not idle, is while they 'read your SPECTATORS; which being dedicated to the interefts of virtue, I defire you to recommend the long neglected art of needle-work. • Those hours which in this age are thrown away in drefs, play, vifits, and the like, were employed, in my time, in writing out receipts, or working ⚫ beds, chairs, and hangings, for the family. For ⚫ my part, I have plied my needle thefe fifty years, ' and by my good-will would never have it out of 'my hand. It grieves my heart to fee a couple of proud idle flirts fipping their tea, for a whole afternoon, in a great room hung round with the induftry of their great-grandmother. Pray, Sir, take the laudable myftery of embroidery into your •ferious confideration; and, as you have a great ' deal of the virtue of the laft age in you, conti

"

"

nue your endeavours to reform the prefent. II 16 am, &c.

$3

Ina

[ocr errors]

In obedience to the commands of my venerable correfpondent, I have duly weighed this important fubject, and promife myfelf, from the arguments here laid down, that all the fine ladies of England will be ready, as foon as their mourning is over, to appear covered with the work of their own. hands:

What a delightful entertainment muft it be to the Fair-fex, whom their native modesty and the tenderness of men towards them, exempts from public business, to pass their hours in imitating fruits and flowers, and tranfplanting all the beauties of nature into their own drefs, or raising a new creation in their clofets and apartments. How pleafing is the amusement of walking among the fhades and groves planted by themfelves, in furveying heroes flain by their needle, or little Cupids which they have brought into the world without pain !

This is, methinks, the moft proper way wherein a Lady can fhow a fine genius, and I cannot forbear wifhing, that feveral writers of that fex had chofen to apply themselves rather to tapestry than rhime. Your paftoral poeteffes, may vent their fancy in rural landscapes, and place difpairing fhepherds under filken willows, or drown them in a ftream of mohair. The heroic writers may work up battles as fuccefsfully, and inflame them with gold or stain them with crimfon. Even those who have only a a turn to a fong or an epigram, may put many valuable stitches into a purfe, and croud a thousand graces into a pair of garters.

If I may, without breach of good manners, imagine that any pretty creature is void of genius, and would perform her part herein but very aukwardly, I must nevertheless infift upon her working, if it be only to keep her out of harm's way.

Another argument for bufying good women in works of fancy, is, because it takes them off from fcandal, the ufual attendant of tea tables, and all other

other unactive scenes of life. While they are form ing their birds and beafts, their neighbours will be allowed to be fathers of their own children: And Whig and Tory will be but feldom mentioned, where the great difpute is, whether blue or red is the more proper colour. How much greater glory would Sophronia do the General, if the would chufe rather to work the battle of Blenheim in tapestry, than fignalize herself with fo much vehemence against those who are Frenchmen in their hearts.

A third reafon that I fhall mention, is, the profit that is brought to the family where thefe pretty arts are encouraged. It is manifeft that this way of life not only keeps fair Ladies from running out into expences, but is at the fame time an actual improvement. How memorable would that matron be, who fhall have it infcribed upon her monument, That the wrought out the whole bible in tapestry, ⚫ and died in a good old age, after having covered three hundred yards of wall in the manfion-house.' The premises being confidered, I humbly fubmit the following propofals to all mothers in Great Britain.

I. That no young virgin whatfoever be allowed to receive the addreffes of her first lover, but in a fuit of her own embroidering.

II. That before every fresh fervant, fhe be obliged to appear with a new ftomacher at the leaft.

III. That no one be actually married until the hath the child-bed pillows, &c. ready ftitched, as likewife the mantle for the boy quite finished.

These laws, if I mistake not, would effectually reftore the decayed art of needle-work, and make the virgins of Great Britain exceedingly nimblcfingered in their business.

There is a memorable cuftom of the Grecian Ladies in this particular, preferved in Homer, which I hope will have a very good effect with my country. women. A widow, in ancient times, could not,

without

without indecency, receive a fecond hufband, until fhe had woven a fhroud for her deceased lord, or the next of kin to him. Accordingly the chafte Penelope, having, as the thought, loft Ulyffes at fea, the employed her time in preparing a winding-fheet for Laertes, the father of her husband. The story of her web being very famous, and yet not fufficiently known in its several circumftances, I fhall give it to my reader, as Homer makes one of her wooers relate it.

Sweet hope she gave to every youth:apart,
With well taught looks, and a deceitful heart :=
A web fhe wove of many a flender twine,
Of curious texture, and perplext defign;
My youth, fhe cry'd, my Lord but newly dead,
Forbear a while to court my widow'd bed,
'Till I have wav'n, as folemn vows require,
This web, a fhroud for poor Ulyffes' Sire.
His limbs, when fate the Hero's foul demands,.
Shall claim this labour of his daughter's hands:
Left all the dames of Greece my name defpife,
While the great king without a covering lies.

Thus fbe. Nor did my friends miftruft the guile,
All day foe fped the long laborious toil s
But when the burning lamps supplied the fon,
Each night unravell'd what the day begun.
Three live-long fummers did the fraud prevail ;
The fourth her maidens told th' amazing tale.
Thefe eyes beheld, as close I took my stand,
The backward labours of her faithless hand :
'Till watch'd at length, and prefs'd on ev'ry fide,
Her tafk fhe ended, and commenc'd a bride..

FRIDAY,

[ocr errors]

**

No 607. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Mr. SPECTATOR,,

HAving in your paper of Monday laft published my report on the cafe of Mrs Fanny Fickle, wherein I have taken notice, that love comes after marriage; I hope your readers are fatisfied of this truth, that as love generally produces matrimony, fo it often happens that matrimony produces love.

1

It perhaps requires more virtues to make a good hufband or wife, than what go to the finishing any the most fhining character whatfo

• ever.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Dicite Io Paan, et lo bis dicite Paan:
Decidit in caffes præda petita meos.
OVID. Ars. Am. 1. i. ver. 1.

Now Io Pean fing, now wreaths prepare,
And with repeated Ios fill the air:
The prey is fallen in my fuccefsful toils.

·

Difcretion feems abfolutely neceffary, and accordingly we find that the beft husbands have • been moft famous for their wifdom. Homer, who hath drawn a perfect pattern of a prudent man, to make it the more complete, hath celebrated him for the juft returns of fidelity and truth to his Penelope; infomuch that he refused the careffes of a goddefs for her fake, and to use the expreffion of the best of Pagan authors, -vetulam fuam prætulit immortalitati, his old woman " was dearer to him than immortality.

ANON.

Virtue is the next neceffary qualification for this domeftic character, as it naturally produces conftancy and mutual efteem. Thus Brutus and Parcia were more remarkable for virtue and af

'fection

« PředchozíPokračovat »