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nesses of her sex, is still described as a woman in this particular. The poet tells us, that, after having made a great slaughter of the enemy, she unfortunately cast her eye on a Trojan who wore an embroidered tunic, 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 corered 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.
This heedless pursuit after these glittering trifles, the poet (by a nice concealed moral) represents to have been the destruction of his female hero.
MONDAY, March 19, 1711.
I HAVE received a letter, desiring me to be very
satiri. cal 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 coffeehouse 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 bitterness, 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 rc
flections upon red-heels 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 extravagances
in their outward dress and behaviour. 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 garniture and equipage. The blossoms will fall of themselves, when the root that nourishes them is destroyed.
I shall therefore, as I have said, apply ny 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 might act under mé, 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 periwigs, with several other incumbrances of dress, that they stand in need of being pruned very frequently, lest they should be oppressed with ornaments, and overrun with the luxuriancy 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 redundance 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 particular 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 bow 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 of 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 daylight. 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 necessity, they are not exposed to this temptation.
In the next place, I must apply myself to my party correspondents, who are continually teasing 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 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 myself 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 afraid, very much retrench the number of my correspondents. I shall therefore acquaint my reader, that if he has started any hint which he 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.
FRIDAY, March 23, 1711.
AMONG the other hardy undertakings which I have proposed to myself, that of the correction of impudence is what I have very much at heart. This in a particular manner is my province as Spectator ; for it is generally an offence committed by the eyes, and that against such as the offenders would perhaps never have an opportunity of injuring in any other way. The following letter is a complaint of a young lady, who sets forth a trespass of this kind, with that command of herself as befits beauty and innocence, and yet with so much spirit as sufficiently expresses her indignation. The whole transaction is performed with the eyes; and the crime is no less than employing them in such a manner, as to divert the eyes of