Obrázky stránek

tions grow thin, and the stars go out one after another, till the whole hemisphere is extinguished; such was the vanishing of the goddess: and not only of the goddess herself but of the whole army that attended her, which sympathized with their leader, and shrunk into nothing, in proportion as the goddess disappeared. At the same time the whole temple sunk, the fish betook themselves to the streams, and the wild beasts to the woods, the fountains recovered their murmurs, the birds their voices, the trees their leaves, the flowers their scents, and the whole face of nature its true and genuine appearance. Though I still continued asleep, I fancied myself as it were awakened out of a dream, when I saw this region of prodigies restored to woods and rivers, fields and meadows.

Upon the removal of that wild scene of wonders, which had very much disturbed my imagination, I took a full survey of the persons of Wit and Truth; for indeed it was impossible to look upon the first, withcut seeing the other at the same time. There was behind them a strong compact body of figures. The genius of Heroic Poetry appeared with a sword in her hand, and a laurel on her head. Tragedy was crowned with cypress, and covered with robes dipped in blood. Satire had smiles in her look, and a dagger under her garment. Rhetoric was known by her thunderbolt; and Comedy by her mask. After several other figures, Epigram marched up in the rear, who had been posted there at the beginning of the expedition, that he might not revolt to the enemy, whom he was suspected to favour in his heart. I was very much awed and delighted with the appearance of the god of Wit; there was something so amiable, and yet so piercing in his looks, as inspired me at once with love and terror. As I was gazing on him, to my unspeakable joy he took a quiver of arrows from his shoulder, in order to make me a present of it; but as I was reaching out my hand to receive it of him, I knocked it against. a chair, and by that means awaked. C.

[blocks in formation]

much distressed to take the proper care they ought of their dress. By degrees it prevailed, that such as had this inward oppression upon their minds, made an apology for not joining with the rest of the world in their ordinary diversions by a dress suited to their condition. This therefore was at first assumed by such only as were under real distress; to whom it was relief that they had nothing about them so light and gay as to be irksome to the gloom and melancholy, of their inward reflections, or that might misrepresent them to others. In process of time this laudable distinction of the sorrowful was lost, and mourning is now worn by heirs and widows. You see nothing but magnificence and solemnity in the equipage of the relict, and an air of release from servitude in the pomp of a son who has lost a wealthy father. This fashion of sorrow is now become a generous part of the ceremonial between princes and sovereigns, who, in the language of all nations, are styled brothers to each other, and put on the purple* upon the death of any potentate with whom they live in amity. Courtiers, and all who wish themselves such, are immediately seized with grief from head to foot upon this disaster to their prince; so that one may know by the very buckles of a gentleman-usher what degree of friendship any deceased monarch maintained with the court to which he belongs. A good courtier's habit and behaviour is hieroglyphical on these occasions. He deals much in whispers, and you may see he dresses according to the best intelligence.

The general affectation among men, of appearing greater than they are, makes the whole world run into the habit of the court. You see the lady, who the day before was as various as a rainbow, upon the time appointed for beginning to mourn, as dark as a cloud. This humour does not prevail only on those whose fortunes can support any change in their equipage, nor on those only whose incomes demand the wantonness of new appearances; but on such also who have just enough to clothe them. An old acquaintance of mine, of ninety pounds a year, who has naturally the vanity of being a man of fashion deep at his heart, is very much put to it to bear the mortality of princes. He made a new black suit upon the death of the King of Spain, he turned it for the King of Portugal, and he now keeps his chamber while it is scouring for the Emperor. He is a good economist in his extravagance, and makes only a fresh black button on his iron-gray suit for any potentate of small territories; he indeed adds his crape hatband for a prince whose exploits he has admired in the gazette. But whatever compliments may be made on these occasions, the true mourners are

THE most improper things we commit in the conduct of our lives, we are led into by the force of fashion. Instances might be given, in which a prevailing custom makes us act against the rules of nature, law, and common sense; but at present I shall confine my consideration to the effect it has upon men's minds, by looking into our behaviour when it is the fashion to go into mourning. The custom of representing the grief we have for the loss of the dead by our habits, certainly had its rise from the real sorrow of such as were too purple.

Royal and princely mourners were usually clad in

the mercers, silkmen, lacemen, and milli- |ries, except we have authority for it, by ners. A prince of a merciful and royal being related in a particular manner to the disposition would reflect with great anxiety court which pays the veneration to their upon the prospect of his death if he consi- friendship, and seems to express on such an dered what numbers would be reduced to occasion the sense of the uncertainty of humisery by that accident only. He would man life in general, by assuming the habit of think it of moment enough to direct, that sorrow, though in the full possession of in the notification of his departure, the triumph and royalty. R. honour done to him might be restrained to those of the household of the prince to whom it should be signified. He would No 65.] Tuesday, May 15, 1711. think a general mourning to be in a less degree the same ceremony which is practised in barbarous nations, of killing their slaves to attend the obsequies of their kings.

-Demetri, teque, Tigelli,
Discipularum inter jubeo plorare cathedras.
Hor. Lib. 1. Sat. x. 90.
Demetrius and Tigellius, know your place;
Go hence, and whine among the school-boy race.

and the world, is the playhouse; I shall therefore fill this paper with reflections upon the use of it, in that place. The application of wit in the theatre has as strong an effect upon the manners of our gentlemen, as the taste of it has upon the writings of our authors. It may, perhaps, look like a very presumptuous work, though not foreign from the duty of a Spectator, to tax the writings of such as have long had the general applause of a nation; but I shall always make reason, truth, and nature the measures of praise and dispraise; if those are for me, the generality of opinion is of no consequence against me; if they are against me, the general opinion cannot long support me.

I had been wonderfully at a loss for many months together, to guess at the cha- AFTER having at large explained what racter of a man who came now and then to wit is, and described the false appearances our coffee-house. He ever ended a news- of it, all that labour seems but an useless paper with this reflection, 'Well, I see all inquiry, without some time be spent in conthe foreign princes are in good health.' If sidering the application of it. The seat of you asked, Pray, sir, what says the Post-wit, when one speaks as a man of the town man from Vienna?' He answered, 'Make us thankful, the German Princes are all well.'--'What does he say from Barcelona?' 'He does not speak but that the country agrees very well with the new Queen.' After very much inquiry, I found this man of universal loyalty was a wholesale dealer in silks and ribands. His way is, it seems, if he hires a weaver or workman, to have it inserted in his articles, 'that all this shall be well and truly performed, provided no foreign potentate shall depart this life within the time above-mentioned.' It happens in all public mournings that the many trades which depend upon our habits, are during that folly either pinched with present want, or terrified with the apparent approach of it. All the atonement which men can make for wanton expenses (which is a sort of insulting the scarcity under which others labour) is, that the superfluities of the wealthy give supplies to the necessities of the poor; but instead of any In reflecting upon these works, I shall other good arising from the affectation of chiefly dwell upon that for which each being in courtly habits of mourning, all respective play is most celebrated. The order seems to be destroyed by it; and the present paper shall be employed upon Sir true honour which one court does to an-Fopling Flutter. The received character other on that occasion, loses its force and efficacy. When a foreign minister beholds the court of a nation (which flourishes in riches and plenty) lay aside upon the loss of his master, all marks of splendour and magnificence, though the head of such a joyful people, he will conceive a greater idea of the honour done to his master, than when he sees the generality of the people in the same habit. When one is afraid to ask the wife of a tradesman whom she has lost of her family; and after some preparation endeavours to know whom she mourns for; how ridiculous it is to hear her explain herself, That we have lost one of *The Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling Flutter, a comethe house of Austria!' Princes are ele-dy, by Sir George Etheridge. The character of Sir Fopvated so highly above the rest of mankind, ling was that of Beau Hewit, son of Sir Thomas Hewit that it is a presumptuous distinction to wilmot earl of Rochester; and Bellair, that of the au of Pishiobury, in Hertfordshire; of Dorimant, that of take a part in honours done to their memo- thor himself.

Without further preface, I am going to look into some of our most applauded plays, and see whether they deserve the figure they at present bear in the imaginations of men or not.

of this play is, that it is the pattern of genteel comedy. Dorimant and Harriot are the characters of greatest consequence, and if these are low and mean, the reputation of the play is very unjust.

I will take for granted, that a fine gentleman should be honest in his actions and refined in his language. Instead of this, our hero in this piece is a direct knave in his designs, and a clown in his language. Bellair is his admirer and friend; in return for which, because he is forsooth a greater wit than his said friend, he thinks it reasonable

to persuade him to marry a young lady, | judge_more favourably of my reputation. whose virtue, he thinks, will last no longer It makes him pass upon some for a man of than till she is a wife, and then she cannot very good sense, and me upon others for a but fall to his share as he is an irresistible very civil person.' fine gentleman. The falsehood to Mrs. Loveit, and the barbarity of triumphing over her anguish for losing him, is another instance of his honesty, as well as his good nature. As to his fine language; he calls the orange-woman, who, it seems, is inclined to grow fat, An overgrown jade, with a flasket of guts before her;' and salutes her with a pretty phrase of How now, Double Tripe?' Upon the mention of a country gentlewoman, whom he knows nothing of (no one can imagine why) he will lay his life she is some awkward ill-fashioned country toad, who not having above four dozen of hairs on her head, has adorned her baldness with a large white fruz, that she may look sparkishly in the fore-front of the king's box at an old play.' Unnatural mixture of senseless common-place!

As to the generosity of his temper, he tells his poor footman, If he did not wait better,' he would turn him away, in the nsolent phrase of, I'll uncase you.'

This whole celebrated piece is a perfect contradiction to good manners, good sense, and common honesty; and as there is nothing in it but what is built upon the ruin of virtue and innocence, according to the notion of merit in this comedy, I take the shoemaker to be in reality the fine gentleman of the play: for it seems he is an atheist, if we may depend upon his character as given by the orange-woman, who is herself far from being the lowest in the play. She says, of a fine man who is Dorimant's companion, 'There is not such another heathen in the town except the shoemaker.' His pretension to be the hero of the drama appears still more in his own description of his way of living with his lady. There is,’ says he, 'never a man in town lives more like a gentleman with his wife than I do; I never mind her motions; she never inquires into mine. We speak to one another civilly, hate one another heartily; and because it is vulgar to lie and soak together, we have Now for Mrs. Harriot. She laughs at each of us our several settle-bed.' That of obedience to an absent mother, whose ten-soaking together' is as good as if Dorimant derness Busy describes to be very exquisite, for that she is so pleased with finding Harriot again that she cannot chide her for being out of the way.' This witty daughter and fine lady has so little respect for this good woman, that she ridicules her air in taking leave, and cries, In what struggle is my poor mother yonder! See, see, her head tottering, her eyes staring, and her under-lip trembling.' But all this is atoned for, because she has more wit than is usual in her sex, and as much malice, though she is as wild as you could wish her, and has a demureness in her looks that makes it so surprising.' Then to recommend her as a fit spouse for his hero, the poet makes her speak her sense of marriage very ingenuously: I think,' says she, I might be

had spoken it himself; and I think, since he puts human nature in as ugly a form as the circumstance will bear, and is a staunch unbeliever, he is very much wronged in having no part of the good fortune bestowed in the last act.

To speak plain of this whole work, I think nothing but being lost to a sense of innocence and virtue, can make any one see this comedy, without observing more frequent occasion to move sorrow and indignation, than mirth and laughter. At the same time I allow it to be nature, but it is nature in its utmost corruption and degeneracy.

brought to endure him, and that is all a No. 66.] Wednesday, May 16, 1711.

reasonable woman should expect in a husband. It is methinks unnatural, that we are not made to understand, how she that was bred under a silly pious old mother, that would never trust her out of her sight, came to be so polite.

It cannot be denied, but that the negligence of every thing which engages the attention of the sober and valuable part of mankind, appears very well drawn in this piece. But it is denied, that it is necessary to the character of a fine gentleman, that he should in that manner trample upon all order and decency. As for the character of Dorimant, it is more of a coxcomb than that of Fopling. He says of one of his companions, that a good correspondence between them is their mutual interest. Speaking of that friend, he declares, their being much together, makes the women think the better of his understanding, and

Motus doceri gaudet Ionicos
Matura virgo, et fingitur artibus
Jam nunc, et incestos amores
De tenero meditatur ungui.


Hor. Lib. 3. Od. vi. 21.

Behold a ripe and melting maid

Bound 'prentice to the wanton trade:
Ionian artists, at a mighty price,
Instruct her in the mysteries of vice,

What nets to spread, where subtle baits to lay;
And with an early hand they form the temper'd clay.

THE two following letters are upon a subject of very great importance, though expressed without any air of gravity.

[ocr errors]

To the Spectator.

'SIR,-I take the freedom of asking your advice in behalf of a young country kinswoman of mine who is lately come to town, and under my care for her education. She is very pretty, but you cannot imagine how unformed a creature it is. She comes to

my hands just as nature left her, half finish- | years is out of fashion and neglected. The ed, and without any acquired improvements. boy I shall consider upon some other occaWhen I look on her I often think of the sion, and at present stick to the girl: and I Belle Sauvage mentioned in one of your pa- am the more inclined to this, because I have pers. Dear Mr. Spectator, help me to several letters which complain to me, that make her comprehend the visible graces my female readers have not understood me of speech, and the dumb eloquence of mo- for some days last past, and take themtion; for she is at present a perfect stranger selves to be unconcerned in the present to both. She knows no way to express her-turn of my writing. When a girl is safely self but by her tongue, and that always to brought from her nurse, before she is capasignify her meaning. Her eyes serve her ble of forming one single notion of any thing yet only to see with, and she is utterly a in life, she is delivered to the hands of her foreigner to the language of looks and dancing-master, and with a collar round glances. In this I fancy you could help her neck, the pretty wild thing is taught a her better than any body. I have bestowed fantastical gravity of behaviour, and forced two months in teaching her to sigh when to a particular way of holding her head, she is not concerned, and to smile when she heaving her breast, and moving with her is not pleased, and am ashamed to own she whole body; and all this under pain of never makes little or no improvement. Then she having a husband, if she steps, looks, or is no more able now to walk, than she was moves awry. This gives a young lady wonto go at a year old. By walking, you will derful workings of imagination, what is to easily know I mean that regular but easy pass between her and this husband, that motion which gives our persons so irresisti- she is every moment told of, and for whom ble a grace as if we moved to music, and is she seems to be educated. Thus her fancy a kind of disengaged figure: or, if I may so is engaged to turn all her endeavours to the speak, recitative dancing. But the want of ornament of her person, as what must dethis I cannot blame in her, for I find she termine her good and ill in this life; and has no ear, and means nothing by walking she naturally thinks, if she is tall enough, but to change her place. I could pardon she is wise enough for any thing for which too her blushing, if she knew how to carry her education makes her think she is deherself in it, and it did not manifestly injure signed. To make her an agreeable person her complexion. is the main purpose of her parents; to that "They tell me you are a person who have is all their cost, to that all their care diseen the world, and are a judge of fine breed-rected; and from this general folly of paing; which makes me ambitious of some in-rents we owe our present numerous race of structions from you for her improvement; coquettes. These reflections puzzle me, which when you have favoured me with, I when I think of giving my advice on the shall further advise with you about the dis-subject of managing the wild thing menposal of this fair forester in marriage; for I will make it no secret to you, that her person and education are to be her fortune. am, sir, your very humble servant,


'SIR,-Being employed by Celimene to make up and send to you her letter, I make bold to recommend the case therein mentioned to your consideration, because she and I happen to differ a little in our notions. I who am a rough man, am afraid the young girl is in a fair way to be spoiled: therefore, pray, Mr. Spectator, let us have your opinion of this fine thing called fine breeding; for I am afraid it differs too much from that plain thing called good breeding. "Your most humble servant.'

The general mistake among us in the educating our children is, that in our daughters we take care of their persons, and ne

tioned in the letter of my correspondent. But sure there is a middle way to be folIlowed; the management of a young lady's person is not to be overlooked, but the erudition of her mind is much more to be rewill see the mind follow the appetites of the garded. According as this is managed, you body, or the body express the virtues of the mind.

Cleomira dances with all the elegance of motion imaginable: but her eyes are so chastised with the simplicity and innocence of her thoughts, that she raises in her beholders admiration and good-will, but no loose hope or wild imagination. The true art in this case is, to make the mind and body improve together; and, if possible, to make gesture follow thought, and not let thought be employed upon gesture.

glect their minds; in our sons we are so in- No. 67.] Thursday, May 17, 1711.
tent upon adorning their minds, that we
wholly neglect their bodies. It is from this
that you shall see a young lady celebrated
and admired in all the assemblies about
town, when her elder brother is afraid to
come into a room. From this ill manage-
ment it arises, that we frequently observe
a man's life is half spent, before he is taken
notice of; and a woman in the prime of her


Saltare elegantius quam necesse est proba. Too fine a dancer for a virtuous woman. LUCIAN, in one of his dialogues, introduces a philosopher chiding his friend for his being a lover of dancing, and a frequenter of balls. The other undertakes the defence of his favourite diversion, which, he says, was at first invented by the god

The moral of this dance does, I think, very aptly recommend modesty and discretion to the female sex.

But as the best institutions are liable to

dess Rhea, and preserved the life of Jupiter] Among the rest, I observed one, which himself, from the cruelty of his father Sa- I think they call "Hunt the Squirrel," in turn. He proceeds to show, that it had which while the woman flies the man purbeen approved by the greatest men in all sues her; but as soon as she turns, he runs ages; that Homer calls Merion a fine dan- away, and she is obliged to follow. cer; and says, that the graceful mien and great agility which he had acquired by that exercise, distinguished him above the rest in the armies both of Greeks and Trojans. He adds, that Pyrrhus gained more re-corruptions, so, sir, I must acquaint you, putation by inventing the dance which is that very great abuses are crept into this called after his name, than by all his other entertainment. I was amazed to see my actions: that the Lacedemonians, who were girl handed by, and handing, young fellows the bravest people in Greece, gave great with so much familiarity; and I could not encouragement to this diversion, and made have thought it had been in the child. They their Hormus (a dance much resembling very often made use of a 'most impudent the French Brawl) famous over all Asia: and lascivious step, called "Setting," which that there were still extant some Thessa- I know not how to describe to you, but by lian statues erected to the honour of their telling you that it is the very reverse of best dancers; and that he wondered how his "back to back." At last an impudent brother philosopher could declare himself young dog_bid the fiddlers play a dance against the opinions of those two persons, called "Moll Pately," and after having whom he professed so much to admire, made two or three capers, ran to his partHomer and Hesiod; the latter of which ner, locked his arm in hers, and whisked compares valour and dancing together, and her round cleverly above ground in such a says, that 'the gods have bestowed forti- manner, that I, who sat upon one of the tude on some men, and on others a disposi-lowest benches, saw further above her shoe tion for dancing.'

Lastly, he puts him in mind that Socrates, (who, in the judgment of 'Apollo, was the wisest of men) was not only a professed admirer of this exercise in others, but learned it himself when he was an old man. The morose philosopher is so much affected by these and some other authorities, that he becomes a convert to his friend, and desires he would take him with him when he went to his next ball.

I love to shelter myself under the examples of great men; and, I think, I have sufficiently showed that it is not below the dignity of these my speculations to take notice of the following letter, which, I suppose, is sent me by some substantial tradesman about 'Change.

than I can think fit to acquaint you with. I could no longer endure these enormities: wherefore, just as my girl was going to be made a whirligig, I ran in, seized on the child, and carried her home..

'Sir, I am not yet old enough to be a fool. I suppose this diversion might at first be invented to keep a good understanding between young men and women, and so far I am not against it; but I shall never allow of these things. I know not what you will say to this case at present, but am sure, had you been with me, you would have seen matter of great speculation.

'I am yours, &c.'

I must confess I am afraid that my correspondent had too much reason to be a little out of humour at the treatment of his daughter, but I conclude that he would have been much more so, had he seen one of those kissing dances, in which, Will Honeycomb assures me, they are obliged to dwell almost a minute on the fair one's lips, or they will be too quick for the music, and dance quite out of time.

'SIR,-I am a man in years, and by an honest industry in the world have acquired enough to give my children a liberal education, though I was an utter stranger to it myself. My eldest daughter, a girl of sixteen, has for some time been under the tuition of Monsieur Rigadoon, a dancingmaster in the city; and I was prevailed I am not able, however, to give my final upon by her and her mother to go last night sentence against this diversion; and am of to one of his balls. I must own to you, sir, Mr. Cowley's opinion, that so much of that having never been to any such place dancing, at least, as belongs to the behabefore, I was very much pleased and sur-viour and a handsome carriage of the body, prised with that part of his entertainment is extremely useful, if not absolutely neceswhich he called French dancing. There were several young men and women, whose We generally form such ideas of people limbs seemed to have no other motion but at first sight, as we are hardly ever perpurely what the music gave them. After suaded to lay aside afterwards: for this reathis part was over, they began a diver- son, a man would wish to have nothing dission which they call country dancing, and agreeable or uncomely in his approaches, wherein there were also some things not dis- and to be able to enter a room with a good agreeable, and divers emblematical figures, grace. composed, as I guess, by wise men, for the instruction of youth.


I might add, that a moderate knowledge in the little rules of good-breeding, gives a

« PředchozíPokračovat »