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is a slave to common fame. For this reason, I think Melainia gives them too soft a name in that of male coquets. I know not why irresolution of mind should not be more contemptible than impotence of body; and these frivolous admirers would be too tenderly used, in being only included in the same term with the insufficient another way. They whom my correspondent calls male coquets, should hereafter be called fribblers. A fribbler is one who professes rapture and admiration for the woman whom he addresses, and dreads nothing so much as her consent. His heart can flutter by the force of imagination, but cannot fix from the force of judgment. It is not uncommon for the parents of young women of moderate fortune to wink at the addresses of fribblers, and expose their children to the ambiguous behaviour which Melainia complains of, until by the fondness to one they are to lose, they become incapable of love towards others, and, by consequence, in their future marriage lead a joyless or a miserable life. As therefore I shall, in the speculations which regard love, be as severe as I ought on jilts and libertine women, so will I be as little merciful to insignificant and mischievous men. In order to this, all visitants who frequent families wherein there are young females, are forthwith required to declare themselves, or absent from No. 289.] THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, 1711.12.
places where their presence banishes such as would pass their time more to the advantage of those whom they visit. It is a matter of too great moment to be dallied with and I shall expect from all my young people a satisfactory account of appearances. Strephon has from the publication hereof seven days to explain the riddle he presented to Eudamia; and Chloris an hour after this comes to her hand, to declare whether she will have Philotas, whom a woman of no less merit than herself, and of superior fortune, languishes to call her own.
"TO THE SPECTATOR.
"Since so many dealers turn authors, and write quaint advertisements in praise of their wares, one who from an author turned dealer may be allowed for the advancement of trade to turn author again. I will not however set up, like some of them, for selling cheaper than the most able honest tradesman can; nor do I send this to be bettter known for choice and cheapness of China and Japan wares, tea, fans, muslins, pictures, arrack, and other Indian goods. Placed as I am in Leadenhall-street, near the India company, and the centre of that trade, thanks to my fair customers, my warehouse is graced as well as the benefit days of my plays and operas; and the foreign goods I sell, seem no less acceptable than the foreign books I translated, Rabelais, and Don Quixote. This the critics allow me, and while they like my wares they may dispraise my writings. But as it is not so well known yet, that I frequently cross the seas of late, and speak in Dutch and French, besides other languages, I have the conveniency of buying and importing rich brocades, Dutch atlases, with gold and silver, or without, and other foreign silks of the newest modes and best fabrics, fine Flanders lace, linens, and pictures, at the best hand; this my new way of trade I have fallen into, I cannot better publish than by an application to you. My wares are fit only for such as your readers; aud I would beg of you to print this address in your paper, that those whose minds you adorn may take the ornaments for their persons and houses from me. This, Sir, if I may presume to
beg it, will be the greater favour, as I have lately
and most obedient Servant,
Vitæ summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam. HOR. I Od. iv. 15 Life's span forbids us to extend our cares, And stretch our hopes beyond our years.-CREECH. UPON taking my seat in a coffee-house I often draw the eyes of the whole room upon me, when in the hottest seasons of news, and at a time perhaps that the Dutch mail is just come in, they hear me ask the coffee-man for his last week's bill of mortality. I find that I have been sometimes taken on this occasion for a parish sexton, sometimes for an undertaker, and sometimes for a doctor of physic. In this, however, I am guided by the spirit of a philosopher, as I take occasion from thence to reflect upon the regular increase and diminution of mankind, and consider the several various ways through which we pass from life to eternity. I ain very well pleased with these weekly admonitions, that bring into my mind such thoughts as ought to be the daily entertainment of every reasonable creature; and consider with pleasure to myself, by which of those deliverances, or, as we commonly call them, distempers, I may possibly make my escape out of this world of sorrows, into that condition of existence, wherein I hope to be happier and better than it is possible for me at present to conceive.
But this is not all the use I make of the abovementioned weekly paper. A bill of mortality is, in my opinion, an unanswerable argument for a Providence. How can we, without supposing ourselves under the constant care of a Supreme Being, give any possible account for that nice proportion, which we find in every great city, between the deaths and births of its inhabitants, and between the number of males and that of females brought into the world? What else could adjust in 30 exact a manner the recruits of every nation to its losses, and divide these new supplies of people into such equal bodies of both sexes ? Chance could never hold the balance with so steady a hand. Were we not counted out by an intelligent supervisor, we should sometimes be overcharged with multitudes, and at others waste away into a desert: we should be sometimes a populus virorum, as Florus elegantly expresses it, a
slated it word for word. "Be not grieved," says he, "above measure for thy deceased friends. They are not dead, but have only finished that journey which it is necessary for every one of us to take. We ourselves must go to that great place of reception in which they are all of them assembled, and in this general rendezvous of mankind, live together in another state of being."
generation of males, and at others a species of Women. We may extend this consideration to every species of living creatures, and consider the whole animal world as a huge army made up of innumerable corps, if I may use that term, whose quotas have been kept entire near five thousand years, in so wonderful a manner, that there is not probably a single species lost during this long tract of time. Could we have general bills of mortality I think I have, in a former paper, taken notice of every kind of animals, or particular ones of every of those beautiful metaphors in Scripture, where species in each continent or island, I could almost life is termed a pilgrimage, and those who pass say in every wood, marsh, or mountain, what as-through it are called strangers and sojourners upon tonishing instances would they be of that Provi- earth. I shall conclude this with a story which I dence which watches over all his works? have somewhere read in the travels of Sir John Chardin. That gentleman, after having told us that the inns which receive the caravans in Persia, and the eastern countries, are called by the name of caravansaries, gives us a relation to the following purpose:
"A dervise travelling through Tartary, being arrived at the town of Balk, went into the king's palace by mistake, as thinking it to be a public inn or caravansary. Having looked about him for some time, he entered into a long gallery, where he laid down his wallet, and spread his carpet, in order to repose himself upon it, after the manner of the eastern nations. He had not been long in this posture before he was discovered by some of the guards, who asked him what was his business in that place? The dervise told them he intended to take up his night's lodging in that caravansary. The guards let him know, in a very angry manner, that the house he was in was not a caravansary, but the king's palace. It happened that the king himself passed through the gallery during this debate, and smiling at the mistake of the dervise, asked him how he could possibly be so dull as not to distinguish a palace from a caravansary; 'Sir,' says the dervise, give me leave to ask your majesty a question or two. Who were the persons that lodged in this house when it was first built?' The replied, His ancestors.' And who,' says the dervise, was the last person that lodged here?' The king replied, His father.' And who is it,' says the dervise, that lodges here at present ?' It is, perhaps, for the same kind of reason, that The king told him, that it was he himself. 'And few books written in English have been so much who,' says the dervise, will be here after you?' perused as Dr. Sherlock's Discourse upon Death; The king answered, The young prince his son.' though at the same time I must own, that he who Ah, Sir,' said the dervise, a house that changes has not perused this excellent piece, has not per- its inhabitants so often, and receives such a perhaps read one of the strongest persuasives to a re-petual succession of guests, is not a palace, but a ligious life that ever was written in any language. caravansary.'"—L.
The consideration with which I shall close this essay upon death, is one of the most ancient and most beaten morals that has been recommended to mankind. But its being so very common, and so universally received, though it takes away from it the grace of novelty, adds very much to the weight of it, as it shows that it falls in with the general sense of mankind. In short, I would have every one consider that he is in this life nothing more than a passenger, and that he is not to set up his rest here, but to keep an attentive eye upon that state of being to which he approaches every moment, and which will be for ever fixed and permanent. This single consideration would be sufficient to extinguish the bitterness of hatred, the thirst of avarice, and the cruelty of ambition.
I am very much pleased with the passage of Antiphanes, a very ancient poet, who lived near a hundred years before Socrates, which represents the life of man under this view, as I have here tran
I have heard of a great man in the Romish church, who upon reading those words in the fifth chapter of Genesis, "And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died; and all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died; and all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died;" immediately shut himself up in a convent, and retired from the world, as not thinking any thing in this life worth pursuing, which had not regard to another.
The truth of it is, there is nothing in history which is so improving to the reader as those accounts which we meet with of the deaths of eminent persons, and of their behaviour in that dreadful season. I may also add, that there are no parts in history which affect and please the reader in so sensible a manner. The reason I take to be this, there is no other single circumstance in the story of any person, which can possibly be the case of every one who reads it. A battle or a triumph are conjectures in which not one man in a million is likely to be engaged: but when we see a person at the point of death, we cannot forbear being attentive to every thing he says or does, because we are sure that some time or other we shall ourselves be in the saine melancholy circumstances. The general, the statesman, or the philosopher, are perhaps charac-king ters which we may never act in, but the dying man is one whom, sooner or later, we shall certainly resemble.
No. 290.] FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 1711-12.
Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba.
ROSCOMMON. THE players, who know I am very much their friend, take all opportunities to express a gratitude to me for being so. They could not have a better occasion of obliging me, than one which they lately took hold of. They desired any friend Will Honeycomb to bring me to the reading of a new tragedy; it is called The Distrest Mother. I must confess, though some days are passed since I enjoyed that entertainment, the passions of the several charac ters dwell strongly upon my imagination; and I congratulate the age, that they are at last to see
The motto in the original paper in folio was from Horace likewise Spirat tragicum satis, et feliciter audet "
truth and human life represented in the incidents which concern heroes and heroines. The style of the play is such as becomes those of the first education, and the sentiments worthy those of the highest figure. It was a most exquisite pleasure to me, to observe real tears drop from the eyes of those who had long made it their profession to dissemble affliction; and the player who read frequently threw down the book, until he had given vent to the humanity which rose in him at some irresistible touches of the imagined sorrow We have seldom had any female distress on the stage, which did not, upon cool examination, appear to flow from the weakness rather than the misfortune of the person represented: but in this tragedy you are not entertained with the ungoverned passions of such as are ena moured of each other, merely as they are men and women, but their regards are founded upon high conceptions of each other's virtue and merit; and the character which gives name to the play, is one
who has behaved herself with heroic virtue in the
most important circumstances of a female life, those of a wife, a widow, and a mother. If there be those whose minds have been too attentive upon the affairs of life, to have any notion of the passion of love in such extremes as are known only to particular tempers, yet in the above-mentioned considerations, the sorrow of the heroine will move even the generality of mankind. Domestic virtues concern all the world, and there is no one living who is not interested that Andromache should be an inimitable character. The generous affection to the memory of her deceased husband, that tender care for her son, which is ever heightened with the consideration of his father, and these regards preserved in spite of being tempted with the possession of the nighest greatness, are what cannot but be venerable even to such an audience as at present frequents the English theatre. My friend Will Honeycomb commended several tender things that were said, and told me they were very genteel; but whispered that he feared the piece was not busy enough for the present taste. To supply this, he recommended to the players to be very careful in their No. 291.] SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 1711-12. scenes; and, above all things, that every part should be perfectly new dressed. I was very glad to find that they did not neglect my friend's admonition, because there are a great many in this class of criticism who may be gained by it; but indeed the truth is, that as to the work itself, it is every where Nature. The persons are of the highest quality in life, even that of princes; but their quality is not represented by the poet, with directions that guards and waiters should follow them in every scene, but their grandeur appears in greatness of sentiment, flowing from minds worthy their condition. To make a character truly great, this author understands, that it should have its foundation in superior thoughts and maxims of conduct. It is very certain, that many an honest woman would make no difficulty, though she had been the wife of Hector, for the sake of a kingdom, to marry the enemy of her husband's family and country; and indeed who can deny but she might be still an honest woman, but no heroine? That may be defensible, nay laudable, in one character, which would be in the highest degree exceptionable in another. When Cato Uticensis killed himself, Cottius, a Koman of ordinary quality and character, did the same thing; upon which one said, smiling, "Cottius might have lived, though Cæsar has seized the Roman liberty." Cottius's condition might have been the same, let things at
the upper end of the world pass as they would. What is further very extraordinary in this work, is, that the persons are all of them laudable, and their misfortunes arise rather from unguarded virtue, than propensity to vice. The town has an opportunity of doing itself justice in supporting the representa tions of passion, sorrow, indignation, even despair itself, within the rules of decency, honour, and goodbreeding; and since there none can flatter himself his life will be always fortunate, they may here see sorrow, as they would wish to bear it whenever it arrives.
called The Distrest Mother. It is the celebrated grief "I am appointed to act a part in the new tragedy of Orestes which I am to personate; but I shall not act as I ought, for I shall feel it too intimately to be able to utter it. I was last night repeating a paragraph to myself, which I took to be an expression of rage, and in the middle of the sentence there Be pleased, Sir, to print this letter, that when I am was a stroke of self-pity which quite unmanned me. oppressed in this manner at such an interval, a cerand I hope, with this allowance, to do it with satistain part of the audience may not think I am out;
"I am, Sir,
"Your most humble Servant,
"As I was walking the other day in the Park, I saw a gentleman with a very short face; I desire to know whether it was you. Pray inform me as soon as you can, lest I become the most heroic Hecatissa's rival.
"Your humble Servant to command, SOPHIA."
"It is not me you are in love with, for I was very ill, and kept my chamber all that day. "6 Your most humble Servant, "THE SPECTATOR."
Ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis
But in a poem elegantly writ, I will not quarrel with a slight mistake, Such as our nature's frailty may excuse.-RosCOMMON I HAVE now considered Milton's Paradise Lost under those four great heads of the fable, the characters, the sentiments, and the language; and have shown that he excels in general, under each of these heads. I hope that I have made several discoveries which may appear new, even to those who are versed in critical learning. Were I indeed to choose my readers, by whose judgment I would stand or fall, they should not be such as are acquainted only with the French and Italian critics, but also with the ancient and modern who have written in either of the learned languages. Above all, I would have them well versed in the Greek and Latin poets, without which a man very often fancies that he understands a critic, when in reality he does not comprehend his meaning.
It is in criticism as in all other sciences and speculations; one who brings with him any implicit notions and observations, which he has made in his reading of the poets, will find his own reflections methodized and explained, and perhaps several little biuts that had passed in his mind, perfected and
improved in the works of a good critic; whereas one who has not these previous lights is very often an utter stranger to what he reads, and apt to put a wrong interpretation upon it.
Nor is it sufficient that a man, who sets up for a judge in criticism, should have perused the authors above mentioned, unless he has also a clear and logical head. Without this talent he is perpetually puzz ed and perplexed amidst his own blunders, mistakes the sense of those he would confute, or, if he chances to think right, does not know how to convey his thoughts to another with clearness and perspicuity. Aristotle, who was the best critic, was also one of the best logicians that ever appeared in the world.
Mr. Locke's Essay on Human Understanding would be thought a very odd book for a man to make himself master of, who would get a reputation by critical writings; though at the same time it is very certain, that an author who has not learned the art of distinguishing between words and things, and of ranging his thoughts and setting them in proper lights, whatever notions he may have, will lose himself in confusion and obscurity. I might further observe that there is not a Greek or Latin critic, who has not shown, even in the style of his criticisms, that he was a master of all the elegance and delicacy of his native tongue.
The truth of it is, there is nothing more absurd, than for a man to set up for a critic, without a good insight into all the parts of learning; whereas many of those, who have endeavoured to signalize them selves by works of this nature, among our English writers, are not only defective in the above-mentioned particulars, but plainly discover, by the phrases which they make use of, and by their confused way of thinking, that they are not acquainted with the most common and ordinary systems of arts and sciences. A few general rules extracted out of the French authors, with a certain cant of words, has sometimes set up an illiterate heavy writer for a most judicious and formidable critic.
One great mark, by which you may discover a critic who has neither taste nor learning, is this, that he seldom ventures to praise any passage in an author which has not been before received and applauded by the public, and that his criticism turns wholly upon little faults and errors. This part of a critic is so very easy to succeed in, that we find every ordinary reader, upon the publishing of a new poem, has wit and ill-nature enough to turn several passages of it into ridicule, and very often in the right place. This Mr. Dryden has very agreeably remarked in these two celebrated lines:
Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls, must dive below.
A true critic ought to dwell rather upon excellences than imperfections, to discover the concealed beauties of a writer, and communicate to the world such things as are worth their observation. The most exquisite words, and finest strokes of an author, are those which very often appear the most doubtful and exceptionable to a man who wants a relish for polite learning; and they are these, which a sour undistinguishing critic generally attacks with the greatest violence. Tully observes, that it is very easy to brand or fix a mark upon what he calls verbum ardens, or as it may be rendered into English, a glowing bold expression," and to turn it into ridicule by a cold ill-natured criticism. A little wit is equally capable of exposing a beauty and of
aggravating a fault; and though such a treatment of an author naturally produces indignation in the mind of an understanding reader, it has however its effect among the generality of those whose hands it falls into, the rabble of mankind being very apt to think that every thing which is laughed at, with any mixture of wit, is ridiculous in itself.
Such a mirth as this is always unseasonable in a critic, as it rather prejudices the reader than convinces him, and is capable of making a beauty, as well as a blemish, the subject of derision. A man who cannot write with wit on a proper subject, is dull and stupid; but one who shows it in an improper place, is as impertinent and absurd. Besides, a man who has the gilt of ridicule is apt to find fault with any thing that gives him an opportunity of exerting his beloved talent, and very often censures a passage, not because there is any fault in it, but because he can be merry upon it. Such kinds of pleasantry are very unfair and disingenuous in works of criticism, in which the greatest masters, both ancient and modern, have always appeared with a serious and instructive air.
As I intend in my next paper to show the defects in Milton's Paradise Lost, I thought fit to premise these few particulars, to the end that the reader may know I enter upon it as on a very ungrateful work, and that I shall just point at the imperfections without endeavouring to inflame them with ridicule. I must also observe with Longinus, that the productions of a great genius, with many lapses and inadvertencies, are infinitely preferable to the works of an inferior kind of author, which are scrupulously exact, and conformable to all the rules of correct writing.
I shall conclude my paper with a story out of Boccalini, which sufficiently shows us the opinion that judicious author entertained of the sort of critics I have been here mentioning. A famous critic, says he, having gathered together all the faults of an eminent poet, made a present of them to Apollo, who received them very graciously, and resolved to make the author a suitable return for the trouble he had been at in collecting them. In order to this, he set before him a sack of wheat, as it had been just thrashed out of the sheaf. He then bid him pick out the chaff from among the corn, and lay it aside by itself. The critic applied himself to the task with great industry and pleasure, and, after having made the due separation, was presented by Apollo with the chaff for his pains.—L.
As no one can be said to enjoy health, who is only not sick, without he feel within himself a lightsome and invigorating principle, which will not suffer him to remain idle, but still spurs him on to action; so in the practice of every virtue, there is some additional grace required, to give a claim of excelling in this or that particular action. A diamond may want polishing, though the value may be intrinsically the same; and the same good may be done with different degrees of lustre. No man should be contented with himself that he barely does well, but he should perform every thing in the best and most becoming manner that he is able.
Tully tells us he wrote his book of Offices, be- rate into brutality, learning into pedantry, and the cause there was no time of life in which some cor- genteelest demeanour into affectation. Even Relirespondent duty might not be practised; nor is there gion itself, unless Decency be the handmaid which a duty without a certain decency accompanying it, waits upon her, is apt to make people appear guilty by which every virtue it is joined to will seem to be of sourness and ill-humour: but this shows Virtue doubled. Another may do the same thing, and yet in her first original form, adds a comeliness to Rethe action want that air and beauty which distin- ligion, and gives its professors the justest title to guish it from others; like that inimitable sunshine"the beauty of holiness." A man fully instructed Titian is said to have diffused over his landscapes; in this art, may assume a thousand shapes, and which denotes them his, and has been always un- please in all; he may do a thousand actions shall equalled by any other person. become none other but himself; not that the things themselves are different, but the manner of doing them.
There is no one action in which this quality I am speaking of will be more sensibly perceived, than in granting a request, or doing an office of kindness. Mummius, by his way of consenting to a benefaction, shall make it lose its name; while Carus doubles the kindness and the obligation. From the first, the desired request drops indeed at last, but from so doubtful a brow, that the obliged has almost as much reason to resent the manner of bestowing it, as to be thankful for the favour itself. Carus invites with a pleasing air, to give him an opportunity of doing an act of humanity, meets the petition half way, and consents to a request with a countenance which proclaims the satisfaction of his mind in assisting the distressed.
The decency then that is to be observed in liberality, seems to consist in its being performed with such cheerfulness, as may express the god-like pleasure to be met with, in obliging one's fellowcreatures; that may show good-nature and benevolence overflowed, and do not, as in some men, run upon the tilt, and taste of the sediments of a grudging, uncommunicative disposition.
Since I have intimated that the greatest decorum is to be preserved in the bestowing our good offices, I will illustrate it a little, by an example drawn from private life, which carries with it such a profusion of liberality, that it can be exceeded by nothing but the humanity and good-nature which accompanies it. It is a letter of Pliny, which I shall here translate, because the action will best appear in its first dress of thought, without any foreign or am
"PLINY TO QUINTILIAN."
"Though I am fully acquainted with the contentment and just moderation of your mind, and the conformity the education you have given your daughter bears to your own character; yet since she is suddenly to be married to a person of distinction, whose figure in the world makes it necessary for her to be at a more than ordinary expense, in clothes and equipage suitable to her husband's quality; by which, though her intrinsic worth be not augmented, yet will it receive both ornament and lustre and knowing your estate to be as moderate as the riches of your mind are abundant, I must challenge to myself some part of the burden; and as a parent of your child, I present her with twelve hundred and fifty crowns, towards these expenses; which sum had been much larger, had I not feared the smallness of it would be the greatest inducement Farewell." with you to accept of it.
If you examine each feature by itself, Aglaura and Calliclea are equally handsome; but take them in the whole, and you cannot suffer the comparison : the one is full of numberless nameless graces, the other of as many nameless faults.
The comeliness of person, and the decency of be haviour, add infinite weight to what is pronounced by any one. It is the want of this that often makes the rebukes and advice of old rigid persons of no effect, and leave a displeasure in the minds of those they are directed to: but youth and beauty, if accompanied with a graceful and becoming severity, is of mighty force to raise, even in the most profligate, a sense of shame. In Milton, the devil is never described ashamed but once, and that at the rebuke of a beauteous angel:
So spake the cherub; and his grave rebuke,
The care of doing nothing unbecoming has accompanied the greatest minds to their last moments. They avoided even an indecent posture in the very article of death. Thus Cæsar gathered his robe about him, that he might not fall in a manner anbecoming of himself; and the greatest concern that appeared in the behaviour of Lucretia when she stabbed herself, was, that her body should lie in an attitude worthy the mind which had inhabited it : -Ne non procumbat honeste, Extrema hæc etiam cura cadentis erat.
OVID, Fast. iil 833. 'Twas her last thought, how decently to fall. "MR. SPECTATOR,
"I am a young woman without a fortune; but of a very high mind: that is, good Sir, I am to the last degree proud and vain. I am ever railing at the rich, for doing things, which, upon search into my heart, I find I am only angry at, because I can not do the same myself. I wear the hooped petticoat, and am all in calicoes when the finest are in silks. It is a dreadful thing to be poor and proud; therefore, if you please, a lecture on that subject for the satisfaction of your uneasy humble Servant, "JEZEBEL."
No. 293.1 TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1711-12.
Thus should a benefaction be done with a good grace, and shine in the strongest point of light; it THE famous Grecian, in his little book wherein should not only answer all the hopes and exigencies he lays down maxims for a man's advancing himself of the receiver, but even outrun his wishes. It is at court, advises his reader to associate himself with this happy manner of behaviour which adds new, the fortunate, and to shun the company of the un charms to it, and softens those gifts of art and na- fortunate; which, notwithstanding the baseness of ture, which otherwise would be rather distasteful the precept to an honest mind, may have something than agreeable. Without it, valour would degenc-useful in it, for those who push their interest in the