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very good effects, not only as it restrains him from doing any thing which is mean and contemptible, but as it pushes him to actions which are great and glorious. The principle may be defective or faulty; but the consequences it produces are so good, that, for the benefit of mankind, it ought not to be extinguished.
It is observed by Cicero, that men of the greatest and the most shining parts are the most actuated by ambition ; and if we look into the two sexes, I believe we shall find this principle of action stronger in women than in men.
The passion for praise, which is so very vehement in the fair fex, produces excellent effects in women of fense, who desire to be admired for that only which deserves admiration : and I think we may observe, without a compliment to them, that many of them do not only live in a more uniform course of virtue, but with an infinitely greater regard to their honour, than what we find in the generality of our own sex. How many instances have we of chastity, fidelity, devotion? How many ladies distinguish themselves by the education of their children, care of their families, and love of their husbands which are the great qualities and archievements of woman-kind: as the making of war, the carrying on of traffic, the administration of justice, are those by which men grow famous, and get themselves a name :
But as this passion for admiration, when it works according to reason, improves the beautiful part of our species in every thing that is laudable; so nothing is more destructive to them when it is governed by vanity and folly. What I have therefore here to say, cnly regards the vain part of the sex, whom for certain reasons, which the reader hereafter will see at large, I fall distinguish by the name of Idols. An Idol is wholly taken up in the adorning of her person. You see in every posture of her body, air of her face, and motion of her head, that it is her business and employment to gain adorers. For this reason your Idols appear in all public places and affcmblics, in order to seduce men to their worship. The play-house is very frequently filled with Idols; several of them are carried in procession every evening about the
Ring, and several of them set up their worship even in churches. They are to be accosted in the language proper to the Deity. Life and death are in their power: joys of heaven and pains of hell are at their disposal : paradise is in their arms; and eternity in every that you are present with them. Raptures, transports, and ecstasies, are the rewards which they confer : lighs and tears, prayers and broken hearts, are the offerings which are paid to them. Their smiles make men happy; their frowns drive them to despair. I shall only add under this head, that Ovid's book of the Art of Love is a kind of heathen ritual, which contains all the forms of worship which are made use of to an idol.
It would be as difficult talk to reckon up these different kinds of Idols, as Milton's was to number those that were known in Canaan, and the lands adjoining. Most of them are worshipped, like Moloch, in fire and Aames. Some of them, like Baal, love to see their vo. raries cut and Nashed, and, shedding their blood for them like the Idol in the Apocrypha, must have treats and collacions prepared for them every night. It has indeed been known, that some of them have been used by their incensed worshipers like the Chinese Idols, who are whipped and scourged when they refuse to comply with the prayers that are offered to them.
I must here observe, that those idolaters, who devote themselves to the Idols I am here speaking of, differ very much from all other kinds of idolaters. For as others fall out because they worship different Idols, these idolaters quarrel because they worship the fame.
The intention therefore of the Idol is quite contrary to the wishes of the idolater : as the one desires to confine the idol to himself, the whole business and ambition of the other is to multiply adorers. This humour of an Idol is prettily described in a tale of Chaucer : he reprefents onc of them sirting at a table with three of her votaries about her, who are all of them courting her favour, and paying their adorations : she smiled upon one, drank to another, and trod upon the other's foot which was under the table. Now which of those three, says the old
bard, do you think was the favourite? In troth, says he, not one of all the three.
The behaviour of this old Idol in Chaucer, puts me in mind of the beautiful Clarinda, one of the greatest Idols among the moderns. She is worshipped once a week by candlelight, in the midst of a large congregation, generally called an assembly. Some of the gayest youths in the nation endeavour to plant themselves in her eye, while The fits in form with multitudes of tapers burning about her. To encourage the zeal of idolaters, the bestows a mark of her favour upon every one of them, before they go out of her presence. She asks a question of one, tells a story to another, glances an ogle upon a third, takes a pinch of snuff from the fourth, lets her fan drop by accident to give the fifth an occasion of taking it up. In short, every one goes away satisfied with his success, and encouraged to renew his devotions on the same canonical hour that day seven night.
An Idol may be undeified by many accidental causes. Marriage in particular is a kind of Counter-Apotheofis, or a deification inverted. When a man becomes familiar with his goddess, the quickly sinks into a woman.
Old age is likewise a great decayer of your idol. The truth of it is, there is not a more unhappy being than a superannuated Idol, especially when the has contracted such airs and behaviour as are only graceful when her worshippers are about her.
Considering therefore that in these and many other cases the Woman generally outlives the Idol ; I must return to the moral of this paper, and desire my fair readers to give a proper direction to their passion for being admired; in order to which, they must endeavour to make them. felves the objects of a reasonable and lasting admiration. This is not to be hoped for from beauty, or dress, or fashion, but from those inward ornaments which are not to be defaced by time or fickness, and which appear moft amiable to those who are most acquainted with them. C
No. LXXIV. FRIDAY, MAY 25.
Pendent opera interruptam
VIRG. The works unfinish'd and neglected lie. IN my last Monday's paper I gave some general instan
ces of those beautiful strokes which please the reader in the old song of Chevy-Cafe : I shall here, according to my promise, be more particular, and shew that the fentiments in that ballad are extremely natural and poetical, and full of the majestic fimplicity which we admire in the greatest of the ancient poets : for which reason I shall
quote several passages of it, in which the thought is altogether the same with what we meet in several passages of the Æneid ; not that I would infer from thence, that the poet, whoever he was, proposed to himself any imitation of those passages, but that he was directed to them in general by the same kind of poetical genius, and by the same copyings after nature.
Had this old song been filled with epigrammatical turns and points of wit, it might perhaps have pleased the wrong taste of some readers; but it would never have become the delight of the common people, nor have warmed the heart of Sir Philip Sydney like the sound of a trumpet ; it is only nature that can have this effect, and please those tastes which are the most unprejudiced or the most refined. I must however beg leave to diffent from so great an authority as that of Sir Philip Sydney, in the judgment which he has passed as to the rude stile and evil apparel of this antiquated song; for there are several parts in it where not only the thought but the language is majestic, and the numbers fonorous ; at least, the appare! is much more gorgeous than many of the poets made use of in Queen Elizabeth's time, as the reader will see in several of the following quotations.
What can be greater than either the thought or the expression in that Itanza,
" To drive the deer with hound and horn
• Earl Piercy took bis way;
« The hunting of that day!
way of considering the misfortunes which this battle would bring upon pofterity, not only on those who were born immediately after the battle, and lost their fathers in it, but on those also who perished in future battles which took their rise from this quarrel of the two carls, is wonderfully beautiful, and conformable to the way of thinking among the ancient poets.
Audiet pugnas, vitia parentum
What can be more founding and poetical, or resemble more the majestic fimplicity of the ancients, than the following stanzas ?
The stout carl of Northumberland
6 A vow to God did make,
• Three summers days to take.
• All chofen men of might,
To aim their shafts aright.
« The nimble deer to take,
« An echo thrill did nwake.'
Vocat ingenti clamore Citharon
The hounds, Taygetus, open, and pursue the prey :