« ZurückWeiter »
looking over his catalogue of plays, and indeed picked up a good tolerable set of grave faces for counsellors, to appear in the famous scene of Venice Preserved, when the danger is over : but they being but mere outsides, and the actors having a great mind to play The Tempeft, there is not a man of them, when he is to perform any thing above dumb show, is capable of acting, with a good grace, so much as the part of Trincalo. However, the master perfifts in his design, and is fitting up the old storm; but I am afraid he will not be able to procure able sailors, or experienced officers, for love or money.
Besides all this, when he comes to cast the parts, there is so great a confusion amongst them for want of proper actors, that, for my part, I am wholly discouraged. The play with which they design to open is, The Duke and no Duke ; and they are so put to it, that the master himself is to act the Conjurer, and they have no one for the General but honest George Powell.
Now, fir, they being so much at a loss for the dra. matis personæ, viz. the persons to enact, and the whole frame of the house being designed to be altered, I desire your opinion, whether you think it advisable for me to undertake to prompt them? For though I can clash swords when they represent a battle, and have yet lungs enough left to huzza their victories, I question, if I should prompt them right, whether they would act accordingly.
Your Honour's most humble servant,
P.S. Sir, since I writ this, I am credibly informed, that they design a new house in Lincoln's-inn-fields, near the Popish chapel, to be ready by Michaelmas next; which, indeed, is but repairing an old one that has already failed. You know, the honest man who kept the office is gone already.'
NO. 194. • THURSDAY, JULY 6; 1710.
The toils of love require a warrior's art,
From my own apartment, July 5.
I was this morning reading the tenth canto in the fourth book of Spenfer, in which Sir Seudamore relates the progress of his courtship to Amoret under a very beautiful
allegory, which is one of the most natural and unmixed of any in that most excellent author. I shal! transpose it, to use Mr. Bayes's term, for the benefit of many English lovers, who have, by frequent letters, defired me to lay down fome rules for the conduct of their virtuous amours; and shall only premise, that by the fhield of love is meant a generous, constant paffion for the person beloved.
When the fame, says he, of this celebrated beauty first flew abroad, I went in purfuit of her to the temple of Love. This temple, continues he, bore the name of the goddess Venus, and was feated in a moft fruitful island, walled by Nature against all invaders. There was a single bridge that led into the island, and before it a castle, garrisoned by twenty knights. Near the castle was an apen plain, and in the midst of it a pillar, on which was hung the thield of love; and underneath it, in letters of gold, was this inscription :
Happy the man who well can ufe his blifs ;
Whole-ever be the shield, fair Amoret be his. My heart panted upon reading the inscription: I ftruck upon the shield with my spear. Immediately issued forth a knight well mounted, and completely armed, uho,
without speaking, ran fiercely at me. I received him as well as I could, and by good fortune threw him out of the saddle. I encountered the whole twenty fuccefsively, and, leaving them all extended on the plain, cara ried off the shield in token of victory. Having thus vanquilhed my rivals, I paffed on without impediment, until I came to the utmost gate of the bridge, which I found locked and barred. I knocked and called; but could get no answer. . At last I saw one on the other side of the gate, who stood peeping through a small crevice. This was the porter; he had a double face, resembling a Janus, and was continually looking about him, as if he miftrusted some sudden danger. His name, as I af. terwards learned, was Doubt. Overagainst him fat Delay; who entertained passengers with some idle story, while they lost such opportunities as were never to be recovered. As soon as the porter saw my shield, he opened the gate; but, upon my entering, Delay caught hold of me, and would fain have made me listen to her fooleries. However, I shook her off, and passed for, ward, until I came to the second gate, The Gate of Good Desert, which always ftood wide open, but in the porch was an hideous giant, that stopped the entrance; his name was Danger. Many warriors of good reputation, not able to bear the sternness of his look, went back again. Cowards fled at the first sight of him; except some few, who, watching their opportunity, Ript by him unobserved, I prepared to assault him; but, upon the first fight of my shield, he immediately gave way. Looking back upon him, I found his hinder parts much more dea formed and terrible than his face; Hatred, Murder, Trea. fon, Envy, and Detraction, lying in ambush behind him, upon
the heedless and unwary. I now entered the Island of Love, which appeared in all the beauties of art and nature, and feafted every
sense with the most agreeable objects. Amidst a
Amidst a pleasing van riety of walks and alleys, shady seats, and flowery banks, funny hills, and gloomy valleys, were thousands of lovers sitting, or walking together in pairs, and finging hymns to the deity of the place.
I could not forbear envying this happy people, who were already in poffeffion of all they could delire. While I went forward to the temple, the structure was beautiful beyond imagination. The gate stood open. In the entrance fat a most amiable woman, whose name was Con• cord,
On either side of her stood two young men, both strongly armed, as if afraid of each other. As I afterwards learned, they were both her sons, but be otten of her by two different fathers; their names were Love and Hatred.
The lady so well tempered and reconciled them both, that the forced them to join hands; though I could not but observe, that Hatred turned aside his face, as not able to endure the fight of his younger brother.
I at length entered the inmost temple, the roof of which was raised upon an hundred marble pillars, decked with crowns, chains, and garlands. The ground was ftrewed with flowers. An hundred altars, at each of which stood a virgin priestess clothed in white, blazed all at once with the sacrifice of lovers, who were perpetually sending their vows to heaven in clouds of incense.
In the midft stood the goddess herself upon an altar whose substance was neither gold nor stone, but infinitely more precious than either. About her neck few numless flocks of little loves, joys, and graces; and all about her altar lay scattered heaps of lovers, complaining of the disdain, pride, or treachery, of their mistresses. One among the rest, no longer able to contain his griefs, broke out into the following prayer :
· Venus, queen of grace and beauty, joy of gods and men, who with a smile becalmest the feas, and renewest all nature; goddess, whom all the different species in the univerfe obey with joy and pleasure ; grant I may at last obtain the object of my vows.'
The impatient lover pronounced this with great vehemence; but I, in a soft murmur, besought the goddess to lend me her allistance. While I was thus praying, I chanced to cast my eye on a company of ladies, who were assembled together in a corner of the temple waiting for the anthem.
The foremoft seemed something elder, and of a more V composed countenance, than the rest, who all appeared muth to be under her direction. Her name was Womanhood,
On one fide of her fat Shamefacedness, with blushes rising C# in her cheeks, and her eyes fixed on the ground: on the
other was Cheerfulness, with a smiling look, that infused a secret pleasure into the hearts of all that saw her. With
these fat Modefty, holding her hand on her heart; Courod tefy, with a graceful aspect, and obliging behaviour; and
the two fifters, who were always linked together, and re
sembled each other, Silence and Obedience. do
Thus fat they all around in seemly rate,
That same was faireft Amoret in place,
As foon as I beheld the charming Amoret, my heart throbbed with hopes. I stepped to her, and seized her hand; when Womanhood, immediately rising up, sharply rebuked me for offering, in fo rude a manner, to lay hold on a virgin. I excused myself as modestly as I couli, and, at the fame time ispayed my shield; upon which, as soon as the beheid che god emblazoned with his bow and shafts, she was ftruck mute, and instantly retired.
I still held fast fair Amoret; and, turning my eyes towards the goddess of the place, law that the favoured my pretensions with a smile, which fo emboldened me, that I carried off my prize
The maid, fometimes with tears, some imes with smiles, intreated me to let her go: but I led her through the i temple-gate, where the godd:Is Concord, who had favoured my entrance, befrie: deu my recreata
This alleg sy is so natural, that it explains itself. The persons in it are very artfully described, and disposed