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I cannot conclude my paper, without observing, aat Virgil has very finely touched upon this female assion for dress and show, in the character of Camilla; who, though she seems to have shaken off ll the other weaknesses of her sex, is still described is a woman in this particular. The poet tells us, hat after having made a great slaughter of the eneny, she unfortunately cast her eye on a Trojan, who vore 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 covered with a 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:
-Totumque incauta per agmen 2 Fæmíneo prædæ et spoliorum ardebat amore.—Æn. xi. 782.
This heedless pursuit after these glittering trifles, the poet (by a nice concealed moral) represents to have been the destruction of his female hero.-C.
N° 16. MONDAY, MARCH 19, 1710-11.
Quid verum atque decens curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum.
HoR. 1 Ep. i. 11. What right, what true, what fit we justly call,
Let this be all my care for this is all.-Pope. I HAVE received a letter, desiring me to be very satirical 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 coffee-house in Fleet-street; a third sends me a 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 reflections upon red heels or top-knots, but rather to enter into the passions of mankind, and to correct those depraved sentiments that give birth to all those little extravagances which appear 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 my 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 the week for the execution of such his office. An operator of this nature might act under me, 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 encumbrances 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 how 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 of 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 day-light. 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 ap
pears in the species, not as it is circumstanced individual. I think it was Caligula, who wishe whole city of Rome had but one neck, that he behead them at a blow. I shall do, out of hum what that emperor would have done in the ci of his temper, and aim every stroke at a coll body of offenders. At the same time I am sensible that nothing spreads a paper like pi calumny and defamation; but as my specula are not under this necessity, they are not exi to this temptation.
In the next place, I must apply myself to party correspondents, who are continually te me to take notice of one another's proceed How often am I asked by both sides, if it is pos for me to be an unconcerned spectator of the ro ries that are committed by the party which is o site to him that writes the letter. About two since, I was reproached with an old Grecian that forbids any man to stand as a neuter, looker-on, in the divisions of his country. Howe as I am very sensible my paper would lose its w effect, should it run out into the outrages of a p? I shall take care to keep clear of every thing w looks that way. If I can any way assuage pri inflammations, or allay public ferments, I shall a] myself to it with my utmost endeavours : but never let my heart reproach me with having d any thing towards increasing those feuds and mosities, that extinguish religion, deface gove ment, and make a nation miserable.
What I have said under the three foregoing her will, I am afraid, very much retrench the numbe my correspondents. I shall therefore acquaint reader, that if he has started any hint which h not able to pursue, if he has met with any surpris story which he does not know how to tell, if he
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.
This paper my reader will find was intended for an answer to a multitude of correspondents; but I hope he will pardon me if I single out one of them in particular, who has made me so very humble a request, that I cannot forbear complying with it. • TO THE SPECTATOR.
March 15, 1710-11. • I am at present so unfortunate as to have nothing to do but to mind my own business; and therefore beg of you that you will be pleased to put me into some small post under you. I observe that you have appointed your printer and publisher to receive letters and advertisements for the city of London, and shall think myself very much honoured by you, if you will appoint me to take in letters and advertisements for the city of Westminster and the duchy of Lancaster. Though I cannot promise to fill such an employment with sufficient abilities, I will endeavour to make up with industry and fidelity what I want in parts and genius.
I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, C.