« PředchozíPokračovat »
• It is, methinks, a low and degrading idea of that < sex, which was created to refine the joys, and soften • the cares of humanity, by the most agreeable parti
cipation, to consider them merely as objects of sight. . This is abridging them of their natural extent of
power, to put them upon a level with their pictures
at Kneller's. How much nobler is the contempla• tion of beauty heightened by virtue, and commanding
our esteem and love, while it draws our obfervation ? • How faint and spiritless are the charms of a co
quette, when compared with the real loveliness of * Sophronia's innocence, piety, good-humour and truth; « virtues which add a new softness to her sex, and
even beautify her beauty! That agreeableness which • must otherwise have appeared no longer in the modest « virgin, is now preserved in the tender mother, the • prudent friend, and the faithful wife. Colours art• fully spread upon canvas may entertain the eye, but • not affect the heart; and she who takes no care to add
to the natural graces of her person any excelling qua
lities, may be allowed still to amuse, as a picture, « but not to triumph as a beauty,
• When Adam is introduced by Milton, describing • Eve in paradise, and relating to the angel the impref. • sions he felt upon seeing her at her first creation, he • does not represent her like a Grecian Venus, by her • shape or features, but by the lustre of her mind which • Thone in them, and gave them their power of charm
• Grace was in all her steps, Heav'n in her eye,
• In all her gestures dignity and love !"
Without this irradiating power the proudest fair-one • ought to know, whatever her glass may tell her to the . contrary, that her most perfect features are uninformred and dead.
• I cannot better close this moral, than by a Mort epitaph written by Ben Jonson, with a spirit which no
• thing could inspire but such an object as I have been describing;
< Underneath this stone doth lic
" I am, Sir,
• R. Bi'
No. XXXIV. MONDAY, APRIL 9.
Juv. TATE. .
THE club of which I am a member, is very luckily
composed of such persons as are engaged in different ways of life, and deputed as it were out of the most conspicuous classes of mankind; by this means I am furnithed with the greatest variety of hints and materials, and know every thing that paises in the different quarters and divisions, not only of this great city, but of the whole kingdom. My readers too have the satisfaction to find that there is no rank or degree among them who have not their representative in this club, and that there is always somebody presept who will take care of their respective interests, that nothing may be written or published to the prejudice or infringement of their just right and privileges.
I last night sat very late in company with this feleet body of friends, who entertained me with several remarks which they and others had made upon these my speculations, as also with the various luccess which .they had met with among their several ranks and de.grees of readers, Will Honeycomb told me, in the softest
manner he could, that there were some ladies (but for your comfort, fåys Will, they are not those of the most wit) that were offended at the liberties I had taken with the opera and the puppet-fhow; that some of them were likewise very much surprised, that I should think such ferious points as the dress and equipage of persons of quality, proper subjects for raillery.
He was going on, when Sir Andrew Freeport took him up short, and told him, that the papers he hinted at had done great good in the city, and that all their wives and daughters were the better for them; and farther added, that the whole city thought themselves very much obliged to me for declaring my generous intentions to scourge rice and follow as they appear in a multitude, without condescending to be a publisher of particular intrigues and cuckoldoms. In short, says Sir Andrew, if you avoid that foolish beaten road of falling upon aldermen and citizens, and employ your pen upon the vanity and luxury of courts, your paper must needs be of general use.
Upon this my friend the Templar told Sir Andrere', that he wondered to hear a man of his sense talk after that manner; that the city had always been the province for fatire; and that the wits of king Charles's time jested upon nothing else during his whole reign. He then shewed, by the examples of Horace, Juvenal, Boileau, and the best writer of every age, that the follies of the state and court had never been accounted too sacred for ridicule, how great foever the persons might be that patronized them. But after all, says he, I think your raillery has made too great an excursion, in attacking several perfons of the Inns of Court; and I do not believe you can fhew me any precedent for your behaviour in that particular.
My good friend Sir Roger de Coverly, who had said nothing all this while, began his speech with a pish! and told us, that he wondered to see so many men of sense fo very serious upon fooleries. Let our good friend, says he, attack every one that deserves it; I would only advise you, Mr. Spectator, applying himself to me,
to take care how you meddle with country squires; they are the ornaments of the English nation; men of good heads and found bodies! and let me tell you, some of them take it ill of you, that you mention fox-hunters, with so little respect.
Captain Sentry spoke very sparingly on this occasion. What he said was only to commend my prudence in not touching upon the army, and advised me to continue to act discreetly in that point.
By this time I found every subject of my speculations was taken away from me, by one or other of the club; and began to think myself in the condition of the good man that had one wife who took dislike to his
grey hairs, and another to his black, until by their picking out what each of them had an aversion to, they left his head altogether bald and naked.
While I was thus musing with myself, my worthy friend the clergyman, who, very luckily for me was at the club that night, undertook my cause. He told us, that he wondered any order of persons should think themselves too considerable to be advised; that it was not quality, but innocence, which exempted men from reproof; that vice and folly ought to be attacked wherever they could be met with, and especially when they were placed in high and conspicuous stations of life. He further added, that my paper would only serve to aggravate the pains of poverty, if it chiefly exposed those who are already depressed, and in some measure turned into ridicule by the meanness of their conditions and circumstances. He afterwards proceeded to take notice of the great use this paper might be of to the public, by reprehending those vices which are too trivial for the chastisement of the law, and too fantastical for the cognisance of the pulpit. He then adviled 'me to prosecute my undertaking with cheerfulness; and assured me, that whoever might be difpleased with me, I should be approved by all those whose praises do honour to the persons on whom they are bestoweg.
The whole club pays a particular deference to the difcourse of this gentieman, and are drawn into what he fays, as much by the candid ingenuous manner with which he delivers himself, as by the strength of argu-, ment and force of reason which he makes use of. Will Honeycomb immediately agreed, that what he had said was right; and that for his part, he would not insist upon the quarter which he had demanded for the ladies. Sir Andrew gave up the city with the fame frankness. The Templar would not stand out; and was followed by Sir Roger and the Captain; who all agreed that I 1hould be at liberty to carry the war into what quarter I pleased; provided I continued to combat with criminals in a body, and to assault the vice without hurting the perfon.
This debate, which was held for the good of mankind, put me in mind of that which the Roman triumvirate were formerly engaged in, for their destruction. Every man at first stood hard for his friend, until they found that by this means they should spoil their proscription; and at length, making a sacrifice of all their acquaintance and relations, furnished out a very decent execution.
Having thus taken my resolutions to march on boldly in the cause of virtue and good sense, and to annoy their adversaries in whatever degree or rank of men they may be found; I shall be deaf for the future to all the remonftrances that shall be made to me on this account. If Punch grows extravagant, I shall reprimand him very freely: If the stage becomes a nursery of folly and impertinence, I shall not be afraid to animadvert upon it. In short, if I meet with any thing in city, court, or country, that shocks modesty or good-manners, I shall use my utmost endeavours to make an example of it. I must however intreat every particular person, who does me the honour to be a reader of this paper, never to think himself, or any one of his friends or enemies, aimed at in what is said: for I promise him, never to draw a faulty character which does not fit at least a thousand