Obrázky stránek
[ocr errors]

both abound with good fenfe, confummate virtue, and a mutual esteem; and are a perpetual entertainment to one another. Their family is under fo regular an ceconomy, in its hours of devotion and repast, employment and diverfion, that it looks like a little commonwealth within itfelf. They often go into company, that they may return with the greater delight to one another; and fometimes live in town, not to enjoy it fo properly as to grow weary of it, that they may renew in themfelves the relish of a country life. By this means they are happy in each other, beloved by their children, adored by their fervants, and are become the envy, or rather the delight, of all that know them.

How different to this is the life of Fulvia! fhe confiders her husband as her steward, and looks upon difcretion and goud housewifery as little domeftic virtues, unbecoming a woman of quality. She thinks life loft in her own family, and fancies herfelf out of the world when fhe is not in the ring, the play-houfe, or the drawingroom; the lives in a perpetual motion of body and reftleffnefs of thought, and is never eafy in any one place, when the thinks there is more company in another. The miffing of an opera the firft night, would be more afflicting to her than the death of a child. She pities all the valuable part of her own fex, and calls every woman of a prudent, modeft, and retired life, a poor-fpirited unpolifhed creature. What a mortification would it be to Fulvia, if the knew that her fetting her felf to view is but expofing herself, and that the grows contemptible by being confpicuous !

I cannot conclude my paper without obferving, that Virgil has very finely touched upon this female paffion for drefs and how, in the character of Camilla; who, though the feems to have thaken off all the cther weakneffes of her fex, is ftill defcribed as a woman in this particular. The poet tells us, that after having made a great flaughter of the enemy, the unfortunately caft her eve on a Trojan who wore an embroidered tunic, a beautiful coat of mail, with a mantle of the finest purple. "A golden bow," fays he, "hung upon his fhoulder; "his garment was buckled with a golden clafp, and his "head

G 2

"head was covered with an helmet of the fame fhining "metal." The Amazon immediately fingled out this well-dreffed warrior, being feized with a woman's longing for the pretty trappings that he was adorned with:

Totumque incauta per agmen

Femineo prædæ & fpoliorum ardebat amore.


This heedlefs purfuit after thefe glittering trifles, the poet (by a nice concealed moral) reprefents to have been the deftruction of his female hero.



Quod verum atque decens curo & rogo, & omnis in hoc fum.


What right, what true, what fit we juftly call,
Let this be all my care-for this is all.



HAVE received a letter, defiring me to be very fatirical upon the little muff that is now in fashion; another informs me of a pair of filver garters buckled below the knee, that have been lately feen at the Rainbow Coffee-houfe, in Fleet-ftreet; a third fends me an heavy complaint against fringed gloves. To be brief, there is fcarce an ornament of either fex which one or other of my correfpondents has not inveighed againft with fome bitternefs, and recommended to my obfervation. I must therefore, once for all, inform iny readers, that it is not my intention to fink the dignity of this my paper with reflections upon red heels or top-knots; but rather to enter into the paffions of mankind, and to correct thofe depraved fentiments that give birth to all thofe little extravagancies which appear in their outward drefs and behaviour. Foppith and fantastic ornaments are only indications of vice, not criminal in themfelves: Extinguish vanity in the mind, and you naturally retrench the little fuperfluities of garniture and equipage: The bloffoms will fall of themfelves when the root that nourishes them is deftroyed.

I fhall

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

I fhall therefore, as I have faid, apply my remedies to the first feeds and principles of an affected drefs, without defcending to the drefs itfelf; though at the fame time I must own, that I have thoughts of creating an officer under me, to be entituled, "The cenfor of fmall wares," and of allotting him one day in a week for the execution of fuch his office. An operator of this nature might act under me with the fame regard as a furgeon to a phyfi cian; the one might be employed in healing thofe blotches and tumours which break out in the body, while the other is fweetening the blood and rectifying the conftitution. To fpeak truly, the young people of both fexes are fo wonderfully apt to fhoot out into long fwords or fweeping trains, bufhy head-dreffes, or fullbottomed perriwigs, with feveral other incumbrances of drefs, that they stand in need of being pruned very frequently, left they fhould be oppreffed with ornaments, and over-run with the luxuriance of their habits. I am much in doubt whether I fhould give the preference to a quaker that is trimmed clofe and almoft cut to the quick, or to a beau that is loaden with fuch a redundance of excrefcences. I must therefore defire my correfpondents to let me know how they approve my project, and whether they think the erecting of fuch a petty cenforfhip may not turn to the emolument of the public; for I would not do any thing of this nature rafhly and without advice.

There is another set of correfpondents to whom I must addrefs myself in the fecond place; I mean fuch as fill their letters with private fcandal and black accounts of particular perfons and families. The world is fo full of ill-nature, that I have lampoons fent me by people who cannot fpell, and fatires compofed by thofe who fcarce know how to write. By the laft poft in particular, I received a packet of fcandal which is not legible, and have a whole bundle of letters in womens hands that are full of blots and calumnies, infomuch, that when I fee the name Cælia, Phillis, Paftora, or the like, at the bottom of a fcrawl, I conclude of courfe that it brings me fome account of a fallen virgin, a faithless wife, or an amorous G 3 widow.

widow. I must therefore inform thefe my correfpondents, that it is not my defign to be a publisher of intrigues and cuckoldoms, or to bring little infamous ftories out of their prefent lurking-holes into broad day-light. If I attack the vicious, I thall only fet upon them in a body; and will not be provoked, by the worft ufage I can receive from others, to make an example of any particular criminal. In fhort, I have fo much of a Drawcanfir in me, that I fhall pafs over a fingle foe to charge whole armies. It is not Lais nor Silenus, but the harlot and the drunkard, whom I fhall endeavour to expofe; and shall confider the crime as it appears in a fpecies, not as it is circumftanced in an individual. I think it was Caligula who wifhed the whole city of Rome had but one neck, that he might behead them at a blow. I thall 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 fame time, I am very fenfible that nothing fpreads a paper like private calumny and defamation; but as my fpeculations are not under this neceflity, they are not expofed to this temptation.

In the next place, I muft apply myfelf to my partycorrefpondents, who are continually teazing me to take notice of one another's proceedings. How often am I afked by both fides, if it is poffible for me to be an unconcerned fpectator of the rogueries that are committed by the party which is oppofite to him that writes the letter. About two days fince I was reproached with an old Greeian law that forbids any man to stand as a neuter, or a looker-on in the divifions of his country. However, as I am very fenfible my paper would lofe its whole effect, fhould it run into the outrages of a party, I thall take care to keep clear of every thing which looks that way. If I can any way affuage private inflammations, or aliay public ferments, I fhall apply myself to it with my utmost endeavours; but will never let my heart reproach me with having done any thing towards increafing those feuds and animofities that extinguith religion, deface government, and make a nation miferable.

What I have faid under the three foregoing heads will,

[ocr errors]

I am afraid, very much retrench the number of my correfpondents: I fhall therefore acquaint my reader, that if he has started any hint which he is not able to pursue, if he has met with any furprifing ftory which he does not know how to tell, if he has difcovered any epidemical vice which has escaped my obfervation, or has heard of any uncommon virtue which he would defire to publifh; in fhort, if he has any materials that can furnish out an innocent diverfion, I fhall promife him my best affistance in the working of them up for a public entertainment.

This paper my reader will find was intended for an anfwer to a multitude of correfpondents; but I hope he will pardon ine if I fingle out one of them in particular, who has made me fo very humble a request, that I cannot forbear complying with it.

To the Spectator.

March 15, 1710-11.

• Sir,

AM at prefent fo unfortunate, as to have nothing to do but to mind my own business; and therefore beg of you that you will be pleafed to put me into fome fmall poft under you. I obferve that you have apC pointed your printer and publisher to receive letters and advertisements for the city of London; and fhall think myfelf very much honoured by you, if you will appoint me to take in letters and advertisements for the city of Weftininfter, and the duchy of Lancaster. Though I cannot promife to fill fuch an employment with fufficient abilities, I will endeavour to make up with industry and fidelity what I want in parts and genius. I am,


• Sir,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Your moft obedient fervant,



« PředchozíPokračovat »