Abbildungen der Seite

who are slaves to them may see, that instead of advancing their reputations, they lead them to ignominy and dishonour. Death is not sufficient to deter men who make it their glory to despise it; but if every one that fought a duel were to stand in the pillory, it would quickly lessen the number of these imaginary men of honour, and put an end to so absurd a practice. hen honour is a . to virtuous principles, and runs parallel with the laws of God and our country, it cannot be too much cherished and encouraged; but when the dictates of honour are contrary to those of religion and equity, they are the greatest depravations of human nature, by giving wrong ambitions and false ideas of what is good and laudable; and should therefore be exploded by all governments, and driven out as the bane and plague of human society. L.

No. 100.] Monday, June 25, 1711.
Nil ego contulerim jucundo sanus amico.
Hor. Lib. 1. Sat. v. 44.
The greatest blessing is a pleasant friend.

A MAN advanced in years, that thinks fit to look back upon his former life, and call that only life which was passed with satisfaction and enjoyment, excluding all parts which were not pleasant to him, will find himself very young, if not in his infancy. Sickness, ill-humour, and idleness, will have robbed him of a great share of that space, we ordinarily call our life. It is therefore the duty of every man that would be true to himself, to obtain, if possible, a ...P. to be pleased, and place himself in a constant aptitude for the satisfactions of his being. Instead of this, you hardly see a man who is not uneasy in pro

rtion to his advancement in the arts of ife. An affected delicacy is the common improvement we meet with in those who pretend to be refined above others. They do not aim at true pleasures themselves, but turn their thoughts upon observing the false pleasures of other men. Such people are valetudinarians in society, and they should no more come into company than a sick man should come into the air. If a man is too weak to bear what is a refreshment to men in health, he must still keep his chamber. When any one in Sir Roger's company complains he is out of order, he immediately calls for some posset-drink for him; for which reason that sort of people who are ever bewailing their constitution in other places are the cheerfulest imaginable when he is present.

It is a wonderful thing that so many, and they not reckoned absurd, shall entertain those with whom they converse, by giving them the history of their pains and aches; and imagine such narrations their quota of the conversation. This is of all other the meanest help to discourse, and a man must

not think at all, or think himself very insignificant, when he finds an account of his head-ache answered by another's asking what news in the last mail. Mutual ood-humour is a dress we ought to appear in whenever we meet, and we should make no mention of what concerns ourselves, without it be of matters wherein our friends ought to rejoice: but indeed there are crowds of people who put themselves in no method of pleasing themselves or others; such are those whom we usually call indolent persons. Indolence is, methinks, an intermediate state between pleasure and pain, and very much unbecoming any part of our life after we are cut of the nurse’s arms; such an aversion to labour creates a constant weariness, and one would think should make existence itself a burden. The indolent man descends from the dignity of his nature, and makes that being which was rational merely vegetative. His life consists only in the mere increase and decay of abody, which, with relation to the rest of the world, might as well have been uninformed, as the habitation of a reasonable mind. Of this kind is the life of that extraordinary couple, Harry Tersett and his lady. Harry was in the days of his celibacy one of those pert creatures who have much vivacity and little understanding; Mrs. Rebecca Quickly, whom he married, had all that the fire of youth and lively manner could do towards making an agreeable woman. These two people of seeming merit fell into each other's arms; and passion being sated, and no reason or good sense in either to succeed it, their life is now at a stand; their meals are insipid, and their time tedious; their fortune has placed them above care, and their loss of taste reduced them below diversion. When we talk of these as instances of inexistence, we do not mean, that in order to live it is necessary we should always be in jovial crews, or crowned with chaplets of roses, as the merry fellows among the ancients are described; but it is intended, by considerin these contraries to pleasure, indolence an too much delicacy, to show that it is prudence to preserve a disposition in ourselves to receive a certain delight in all we hear and see. This portable quality of good-humour seasons all the parts and occurrences we meet with in such a manner, that there are no moments lost; but they all pass with so much satisfaction, that the heaviest of loads o it is a load,) that of time, is never elt by us. Varilas has this quality to the highest perfection, and communicates it whenever he appears. . The sad, the merry, the severe, the melancholy, show a new cheerfulness when he comes amongst them. At the same time no one can repeat anything that Varilas has ever said that deserves repetition; but the man has that innate goodness of temper, that he is welcome to every body, because every man thinks he is so to him. He does not seem to contribute anything to the mirth of the company; and yet upon refiection you find it all happened by his being there. I thought it was whimsically said of a gentleman, that if Varilas had wit, it would be the best wit in the world. It is certain, when a well lively imagination and good-breeding are added to a sweet disposition, they qualify it to be one of the greatest blessings as well as pleasures of life. Men would come into company with ten times the pleasure they do, if they were sure of hearing nothing which would shock them, as well as expected what would please them.—When we know every person that is spoken of is represented by cne who has no ill-will, and every thing that is mentioned described by one that is apt to set it in the best light, the entertainment must be delicate, because the cook has nothing brought to his hand but what is the most excellent in its kind. Beautiful pictures are the entertainments of pure minds, and deformities of the corrupted. It is a degree towards the life of angels, when we enjoy conversation wherein there in nothing presented but in its excellence: and a degree towards that of demons, where nothing is shown but in its degeneracy. T.

No. 101.] Tuesday, June 26, 1711.

Romulus, et Liber pater, et cum Castore Pollur, Post ingentia facta, deorum in tempoa recepti: Dum terras hominumque colunt renus, aspera bella Componunt, agros assismant, oppida condunt; Pooravere suis non respondere favorem Speratum meritis: Hor. Lib. 2. Ep. i. 5. IMITATED. Etward and Henry, now the boast of fame, And virtuous Alfred, a more sacred name, After a life of ten rous toits endur’d, The Gaul subdu'd or property securd. Ambition humbled, mighty cities storm’d, or laws establish'd, and the world reform'd: Clos'd their long glories with a sigh, to find Th' unwilling gratitude of base mankind.—Pope. “CENsu RE,” says a late ingenious author, ‘is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent. It is a folly for an eminent man to think of escaping it, and a weakness to be affected with it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution. There is no defence against reproach but obscurity; it is a kind of concomitant to greatness, as satires and invectives were an essential part of a Roman triumph, If men of eminence are exposed to censure on one hand, they are as much liable to flattery on the other. If they receive reproaches which are not due to them, they likewise receive praises which they do not deserve. In a word, the man in a high post is never regarded with an indifferent eye, but always considered as a friend or an enemy. For this reason persons in great sta

tions have seldom their true characters drawn till several years after their deaths. Their personal friendships and enmities must cease, and the parties they were engaged in be at an end, before their faults or their virtues can have justice done them. When writers have the least opportunity of knowing the truth, they are in the best disposition to tell it. It is therefore the privilege of posterity to adjust the characters of illustrious persons, and to set matters right between those antagonists, who by their rivalry for greatness divided a whole age into factions. We can now allow Caesar to be a great man, without derogating from Pompey, and celebrate the virtues of Cato without detracting from those of Caesar. Fvery one that has been long dead has a due proportion of ise allotted him, in which, whilst he ived, his friends were too profuse, and his enemies too sparing. According to Sir Isaac Newton’s calculations, the last comet that made its appearance in 1680, imbibed so much heat by its approaches to the sun, that it would have been two thousand times hotter than red hot iron, had it been a globe of that metal; and that supposing it as big as the earth, and at the same distance from the sun, it would be fifty thousand years in cooling, before it recovered its natural temper. i. the like manner, if an Englishman considers the great ferment into which our political world is thrown at present, and how intensely it is heated in all its parts, he cannot suppose that it will cool again in less than three hundred years. In such a tract of time it is possible that the heats of the present age may be extinguished, and our several classes of great men represented under their proper characters. Some eminent historian may then probably arise that will not write recentious odiis (as Tacitus expresses it.) with the passions and prejudices of a contemporary author, but make an impartial distribution of fame among the great men of the present age. I cannot forbear entertaining myself very often with the idea of such an imaginary historian describing the reign of Anne the first, and introducing it with a preface to his reader, that he is now entering upon the most shining part of the English story. The great rivals in fame will be then distinguished according to their respective merits, and shine in their proper points of light. Such an one (says the historian) though variously represented by the writers of his own age, appears to have been a man of more than ordinary abilities, great application, and uncommon integrity: nor was such an one (though of an opposite party and interest) inferior to him in any of these respects. The several antagonists who now endeavour to depreciate one another, and are celebrated or traduced by different parties, will then have the same body of admirers, and appear illustrious in

the opinion of the whole British nation. The deserving man, who can now recommend himself to the esteem of but half his countrymen, will then receive the approbations and applauses of a whole age. Among the several persons that flourish in this glorious reign, there is no question but such a future historian, as the person of whom I am speaking, will make mention of the men of genius and learning, who have now any figure in the British nation. For my own part, I often flatter myself with the honourable mention which will then be made of me; and have drawn up a paragraph in my own imagination that I fancy will not be altogether unlike what will be found in some page or other of this imaginary historian. It was under this reign, says he, that the Spectator, published those little diurnal essays which are still extant. We know very little of the name or person of this author, except only that he was a man of very short face, extremely addicted to silence, and so

great a lover of knowledge, that he made a |P

voyage to Grand Cairo for no other reason, but to take the measure of a pyramid. His chief friend was Sir Roger Dé Coverley, a whimsical country knight, and a Templar whose name he has not transmitted to us. He lived as a lodger at the house of a widow-woman, and was a great humourist in all parts of his life. This is all we can affirm with any certainty of his person and character. As for his speculations, notwithstanding the several obsolete words and obscure phrases of the age in which he lived, we still understand enough of them to see the diversions and characters of the English nation in his time; not but that we are to make allowance for the mirth and humour of the author, who has doubtless strained many representations of things beyond the truth. For if we interpret his words in their literal meaning, we must suppose that wo– men of the first quality o to pass away whole mornings at a puppet-show; that they attested their principles by their patches; that an audience would sit out an evening, to hear a dramatical performance written in a language which they did not understand; that chairs and flower-pots were introduced as actors upon the British *: that a promiscuous assembly of men and women were allowed to meet at midnight in masks within the verge of the court; with many improbabilities . the like nature. We must, therefore, in these and the like cases, suppose that these remote hints and allusions aimed at some certain follies which were then in vogue, and which at present we have not any notion of. We may guess by several passages in the speculations, that there were writers who endeavoured to detract from the works of this author; but as nothing of this nature is come down to us, we cannot guess at any objections that could be made to his paper. If we consider his style with that indulgence

which we must show to old English writers, or if we look into the variety ohis subjects, with those several critical dissertations, moral reflections, * * * * * * * * + * * * * The following part of the paragraph is so much to my advantage, and beyond any thing I can pretend to, that I hope my reader will excuse me for not inserting *i.

No. 102.] Wednesday, June 27, 1711.

—Lusus animo debent aliquando dari,
Ad cogitandum melior ut redeat sibi.
Phaedr. Fab. xiv. 3:

The mind ought sometimes to be diverted, that it

may return the better so thinking.

I Do not know whether to call the following letter a satire upon coquettes, or a representation of their several fantastical accomplishments, or what other title to give it; but as it is I shall communicate it to the ublic. It will sufficiently explain its own intentions, so that I shall give it my reader at length, without either preface or postscript.

‘MR. SPECTATor, Women are armed with fans as men with swords, and sometimes do more execution with them. To the end therefore that ladies may be entire mistresses of the weapon which they bear, I have erected an academy for the training np of young women in the exercise of the fan, according to the most fashionable airs and motions that are now practised at court. The ladies who carry fans under me are drawn up twice a-day in my great hall, where they are instructed in the use of their arms, and exercised by the following words of command:—Handle your fans, Unfurl your fans, Discharge your fans, Ground your fans, Recover your fans, Flutter your fans.—By the right observation of these few plain words of command, a woman of a tolerable genius, who will apply herself diligently to her exercise for the space of but one half-year, shall be able to give her fan all the graces that can possibly enter into that little modish machine.

“But to the end that my readers may form to themselves a right notion of this exercise, I beg leave to explain it to them in all its parts. When my female regiment is drawn up in array, with every one her weapon in her hand, upon my giving the word to Handle their fans, each of them shakes her fan at me with a smile, then gives her right-hand woman a tap upon the shoulder, then presses her lips with the extremity of the fan, then lets her arms fall in an easy motion, and stands in readiness to receive the next word of command. All this is done with a close fan, and is generally learned in the first week.

“The next motion is that of unfurling the fan, in which are comprehended several little flirts, and vibrations, as also gradual

and deliberate openings, with many voluntary fallings asunder in the fan itself, that are seldom learned under a month's practice. This part of the exercise pleases the spectators more than any other, as it discovers on a sudden an infinite number of cupids, garlands, altars, birds, beasts, rainbows, and the like agreeable figures, that display themselves to view, whilst every one in the regiment holds a picture in her ho l rd to Disch o my giving the word to Discharge their É. ...: one general crack §. may be heard at a considerable distance when the wind sits fair. This is one of the most difficult parts of the exercise, but I have several ladies with me, who at their first entrance could not give a pop loud enough to be heard at the farther end of a room, who can now discharge a fan in such a manner, that it shall make a report like a pocket pistol. I have likewise taken care (in order to hinder young women from letting off their fans in wrong places or on unsuitable occasions) to show upon what subject the crack of a fan may come in properly. } have likewise invented a fan, with which a girl of sixteen, by the help of a little wind which is enclosed about one of the largest sticks, can make as loud a crack as a woman of fifty with an ordinary fan. “When the fans are thus discharged, the word of command in course is to ground their fans. This teaches a lady to quit her fan gracefully when she throws it aside in order to take up a pack of cards, adjust a curl of hair, replace a falling pin, or apply herself to any other matter of importance. This part of the exercise, as it only consists in tossing a fan with an air upon a lon table (which stands by for that j may be learned in two days’ time as well as in a twelvemonth. “When my female regiment is thus disarmed, I generally let them walk about the room for some time; when on a sudden (like ladies that look upon their watches after a long visit) they all of them hasten to their arms, catch them up in a hurry, and place themselves in their proper stations upon my calling out, Recover your fans. This part of the exercise is not difficult, provided a woman applies her thoughts to it. “The fluttering of the fan is the last, and indeed the master-piece of the whole exercise; but if a lady does not mispend her time, she . make herself mistress of it in three months. I generally lay aside the dog-days and the hot time of the summer for the teaching this part of the exercise; for as soon as ever #. Flutter your fans, the place is filled with so many zephyrs and gentle breezes as are very refreshing in that season of the year, though they might be dangerous to ladies of a tender constitution in any other. “There is an infinite variety of motions to be made use of in the flutter of a fan.

There is the angry flutter, the modish: flutter, the timorous flutter, the confused flutter, the merry flutter, and the amorous flutter. Not to be tedious, there is scarce any emotion in the mind which does not produce a suitable agitation in the fan; insomuch, that if I only see the fan of a dis– ciplined lady, I know very well whether she laughs, frowns, or bfushes. I have seen a fan so very angry, that it would have been dangerous for the absent lover who provoked it to have come within the wind of it; and at other times so very languishing, that I have been glad for the lady’s

e the lover was at a sufficient distance from it. I need not add, that a fan is either a P. or coquette, according to the nature of the person who bears it. To conclude my letter, I must acquaint you that I

Jhave from my own observations compiled a little treatise for the use of my scholars, en

titled, The Passions of the Fan; which I will communicate to you, if you think it may be of use to the public. I shall have a general review on Thursday next; to which you shall be very welcome if you will honour it with your presence. I am, &c. *P.S.. I teach young gentlemen the whole art of gallanting a fan. “N. B. I have several little plain fans made for this use, to avoid expense.”

No. 103.] Thursday, June 28, 1711.

—Sibi quivis
Speret idem : sudet multum, frustraque laboret
Ausus idem Hor. Ars Poet. v. 240.

Such all might hope to imitate with ease: Yet while they strive the same success to gain, Should find their labour and their hopes are vain, Francis. My friend, the divine, having been used with words of complaisance (which he thinks could be properly applied to no one living, and I think could be only spoken of him, and that in his absence,) was so extremely offended with the excessive way of speaking civilities among us, that he made a discourse against it at the club, which he concluded with this remark, ‘that he had not heard one compliment made in our society since its commencement.” Every one was pleased with his conclusion; and as each knew his good-will to the rest, he was convinced that the many professions of kindness and service, which we ordinarily meet with, are not natural where the heart is well inclined; but are a prostitution of speech, seldom intended to mean any part of what they express, never to mean all they express. Our reverend friend, upon this topic, pointed to us two or three paragraphs on this subject in the first sermon of the first volume in the late archbishop's. posthumous works.” I do not know that I ever read any thing that pleased me more, and as it is the praise of Longinus, that he speaks of the sublime in a style suitable to it, so one may say of this author upon sincerity, that he abhors any pomp of rhetoric on this occasion, and treats it with a more than ordinary simplicity, at once to be a preacher and an example. With what command of himself does he lay before us, in the language and temper of his profession, a fault, which, by the least liberty and warmth of expression, would be the most lively wit and satire! But his heart was better disposed, and the good man chastised the great wit in such a manner, that he was able to speak as follows: “—Amongst too many other instances of the great corruption and degeneracy of the age wherein we live, the great and general want of sincerity in conversation is none of the least. The world is grown so full of dissimulation and compliment, that men's words are hardly any signification of their thoughts; and if any man measures his words by his heart, and speaks as he thinks, and does not express more kindness to every man, than men usually have for any man, he can hardly escape the censure of want of breeding. The old English plainness and sincerity, that generous integrity of nature, and honesty of disposition, which always argues true greatness of mind, and is usually accompanied with undaunted courage and resolution, is in a great measure lost amongst us. There has been a long endeavour to transform us into foreign manners and fashions, and to bring us to a servile imitation of none of the best of our neighbours, in some of the worst of their qualities. The dialect of conversation is now-a-days so swelled with vanity and compliment, and so surfeited (as I may say) of expressions of kindness and respect, that if a man that lived an age or two ago should return into the world again, he would really want a dictionary to help him to understand his own language, and to know the true intrinsic value of the phrase in fashion, and would hardly at first believe at what a low rate the highest strains and expressions of kindness imaginable do commonly pass in current payment; and when he should come to understand it, it would be a great while before he could bring himself with a good countenance and a good conscience to converse with men upon equal terms, and in their own way. “And in truth it is hard to say, whether it should more provoke our contempt or our pity, to hear what solemn expressions of respect and kindness will pass between men, almost upon no occasion; how great honour and esteem they will declare for one whom perhaps they never saw before, and how entirely they are all on a sudden

* See Archbishop Tillotson's Sermon on Sincerity, from John, chap is ver, 47, being the last discourse lie preached, July 39, 1694. He died Nov.24, following.

devoted to his service and interest, for no

reason; how infinitely and eternally obliged

to him, for no benefit; and how extremely

they will be concerned for him, yea and

afflicted too, for no cause. I know it is said,

in justification of this hollow kind of conversation, that there is no harm, no real deceit in compliment, but the matter is well enough, so long as we understand one another; et verba valent ut mummi, “words are like money;” and when the current value of them is generally understood, no man is cheated by them. This is something, if such words were any thing; but being brought into the account, they are mere †. However, it is still a just matter of complaint, that sincerity and plainness are out of fashion, and that our language is running into a lie; that men have almost quite perverted the use of speech, and made words to signify nothing; that the atest part of the conversation of manind is little else but driving a trade of dissimulation; insomuch, that it would make a man heartily sick and weary of the world to see the little sincerity that is in use and practice among men.” When the vice is placed in this contemptible light, he argues unanswerabl against it, in words and thoughts so natural, that any man who reads them would imagine he himself could have been the author of them. “If the show of anything be good for any thing, I am sure sincerity is better: for why does any man dissemble, or seem to be that which he is not, but because he thinks it good to have such a quality as he pretends to? For to counterfeit and dissemble, is to ut on the appearance of some real excelE. Now the best way in the world to seem to be any thing, is really to be what he would seem to be. Besides that, it is many times as troublesome to make good the pretence of a good quality, as to have it; and if a man have it not, it is ten to one but he is discovered to want it; and then all his pains and labour to seem to have it, are lost.” In another part of the same discourse he goes on to show, that all artifice must naturally tend to the disappointment of him that practises it. ‘Whatsoever convenience may be thought to be in falsehood and dissimulation, it is soon over; but the inconvenience of it is perpetual, because it brings a man under an everlasting jealousy and suspicion, so that he is not believed when he speaks truth, nor trusted when perhaps he means honestly. When a man hath once forfeited the reputation of his integrity, he is set fast, and nothing will then serve his turn, neither truth nor falsehood.’

No. 104.] Friday, June 29, 1711.

Qualis equos Threissa fatigat Harpalyce Virg. JEn. i. 346. With such array Harpalyce bestrode Her Thracian courser. It would be a noble improvement, or rather a recovery of what we call

« ZurückWeiter »