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very barbarous circumstance, tells us, that when the tongue of abeautiful female was cut out, and thrown upon the ground, it could not forbear muttering even in that posture:
—Comprensam forcipe linguam
The blade had cut Her tongue sheer off, close to the trembling root: The mangled part still quiver'd on the ground, Murmuring with a faint imperfect sound; And, as a serpent writhes his wounded train, Uneasy, panting, and possess'd with pain.—Crozall. If a tongue would be talking without a mouth, what could it have done when it had all its organs of speech, and accomplices of sound about it? I might here mention the story of the Pippin Woman, had I not some reason to look upon it as fabulous.* I must confess I am so wonderfully charmed with the music of this little instrument, that I would by no means discourage it. All that I aim at by this dissertation is, to cure it of several disagreeable notes, and in particular of those little jarrings and dissonances which arise from anger, censoriousness, gossipping, and coquetry. . In short, I would always have it tuned by good-nature, truth, discretion, and sincerity.
No. 248.] Friday, December 14, 1711.
Hoc maxime officii est, ut quisque maxime opis indigeat, itaei potissimum opitulari. Tull. Off. 1. 16.
It is a principal point of duty, to assist another most when he stands most in need of assistance.
The RE are none who deserve superiority over others in the esteem of mankind, who do not make it their endeavour to be beneficial to society; and who upon all occasions which their circumstances of life can administer, do not take a certain unfeigned pleasure in conferring benefits of one kind or other. Those whose great talents and high birth have placed them in conspicuous stations of life are indispensably obliged to exert some noble inclinations #: the service of the world, or else such advantages become misfortunes, and shade and privacy are a more eligible portion. Where opportunities and inclinations are given to the same person, we sometimes see sublime instances of virtue, which so dazzle our imaginations, that we look with scorn on all which in lower scenes of life we may ourselves be able to practice. But this is a vicious way of thinking; and it bears some spice of romantic madness, for a man to imagine that he must grow ambitious, or seek adventures, to be able to do great actions. It is in every man’s power in the world who is above mere poverty, not only
* The crackling crystal yields, she sinks, she dies; Her head chopp'd off from her lost shoulders flies; Pippins she cried, but death her voice confounds, And pip-pip-pip along the ice resounds.
to do things worthy, but heroic. The great foundation of civil virtue is self-denial; and there is no one above the necessities of life, but has opportunities of exercising that noble quality, and doing as much as his circumstances will bear for the ease and convenience of other men; and he who does more than ordinary men practise upon such occasions as occur in his life, deserves the value of his friends, as if he had done enterprises which are usually attended with the highest glory. Men of public spirit differ rather in their circumstances than their virtue; and the man who does all he can, in a low station, is more a hero than he who omits any worthy action he is able to accomplish in a great one. It is not many years ago since Lapirius, in wrong of his elder brother, came to a great estate by gift of his father, *; reason of the dissolute behaviour of the first-born. Shame and contrition reformed the life of the disinherited youth, and he became as remarkable for his good qualities as formerly for his errors. Lapirius, who observed his brother's amendment, sent him on a new
ear's day in the morning, the following etter:
“HonourED BRoth ER,--I enclose to you the deeds whereby my father gave me this house and land. Had he lived till now, he would not have bestowed it in that manner; he took it from the man you were, and I restore it to the man you are. I am, sir, your affectionate brother, and humble serVant, P. T.”
As great and exalted spirits undertake the pursuit of hazardous actions for the good of others, at the same time gratifying their passion for glory; so do worthy minds in the domestic way of life deny themselves many advantages, to satisfy a generous benevolence, which they bear to their friends oppressed with distresses and calamities. Such natures one may call stores of Providence, which are actuated by a secret celestial influence to undervalue the ordinary gratifications of wealth, to give comfort to a heart loaded with affliction, to save a falling family, to preserve a branch of trade in their neighbourhood, to give work to the industrious, preserve the portion of the helpless infant, and raise the head of the mourning father. People whose hearts are wholly bent towards pleasure, or intent upon gain, never hear of the noble occurrences among men of industry and humanity. It would look like a city romance, to tell them of the generous merchant, who the other day sent this billet to an eminent trader under difficulties to support himself, in whose fall many hundreds besides himself had perished: but because I think there is more spirit and true gallantry in it than in any letter I have ever read o Strephon to Phillis, I shall insert it even in the mercantile honest style in which it was sent:
‘SIR,--I have heard of the casualties which have involved you in extreme distress at this time, and knowing you to be a man of great good-nature, industry, and probity, have resolved to stand by you., Be of good cheer; the bearer brings with him five thousand pounds, and has my order to answer your drawing as much more on my account. I did this in haste, for fear I should come too late for your relief; but you may value yourself with me to the sum of fifty thousand E. for I can ve cheerfully run the hazard of being so muc less rich than I am now, to save an honest man whom I love.* Your friend and servant, W. S.”
I think there is somewhere in Montaigne mention made of a family-book, wherein all the occurrences that happened from one generation of that house to another were recorded. Were there such a method in the families which are concerned in this generosity, it would be a hard task for the greatest in Europe to give in their own an instance of a benefit better placed, or conferred with a more graceful air. It has been heretofore urged how barbarous and inhuman is any unjust step made to the disadvantage of a trader; and by how much such an act towards him is detestable, by so much an act of kindness towards him is laudable. I remember to have heard a bencher of the Temple tell a story of a tradition in their house, where they had formerly a custom of choosing kings for such a season, and allowing him his expenses at the charge of the society. One of our kings,f, said my friend, carried his royal inclination a little too far, and there was a committee ordered to look into the management of his treasury. Among other things it appeared, that his majesty walking incog in the cloister, had 6verheard a poor man say to another, “Such a small sum would make me the happiest man in the world.” The king out of his royal compassion, privately inquired into his character, and finding him a proper object of charity, sent him the money. hen the committee read the report, the house passed his accounts with a filaudite without farther examination, upon the recital of this article in them; ! 10 0 0
together my reflections on it without any order or method, so that they may appear rather in the looseness and freedom of an essay, than in the regularity of a set discourse. It is after this manner that I shall consider laughter and ridicule in my present paper. Man is the merriest species of the creation, all above and below him are serious. He sees things in a different light from other beings, and finds his mirth arising from objects that perhaps cause something like pity or displeasure in higher natures. Laughter is indeed a very good counterpoise to the spleen; and it seems but reasonable that we should be capable of receiving joy from what is no real good to us, since we can receive grief from what is no real evil. I have in my forty-seventh paper raised a speculation on the notion of a modern philosopher, f who describes the first motive of laughter to be a secret comparison which we make between ourselves and the persons we laugh at; or in other words, that satisfaction which we receive from the opinion of some pre-eminence in ourselves, when we see the absurdities of another, or when we reflect on any past absurdities of our own. This seems to hold in most cases, and we may observe that the vainest part of mankind are the most addicted to this passion. I have read a sermon of a conventual in the church of Rome, on those words of the wise man, “I said of Laughter, it is mad; and of Mirth, what does it?” Upon which he laid it down as a point of doctrine, that laughter was the effect of original sin, and that Adam could not laugh before the fall. Laughter while it lasts, slackens and unbraces the mind, weakens the faculties, and causes a kind of remissness and dissolution in all the powers of the soul; and thus far it may be looked upon as a weakness in the composition of human nature. But if we consider the frequent reliefs we receive from it, and how often it breaks the gloom which is apt to depress, the mind and damp our spirits, with transient unexpected gleams of joy, one would take care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life. The talent of turning men into ridicule, and exposing to laughter those one converses with, is the qualification of little ungenerous tempers. A young man with this cast of mind cuts himself off from all manner of improvement. Every one has his flaws and weaknesses; nay, the greatest blemishes are often found in the most shining characters; but what an absurd thing is it to pass over all the valuable parts of a man, and fix our attention on his infirmities? to observe his imperfections more than his virtues? and to make use of him
he was much given to gambling, he was very liberal, and numerous instances are recorded of his benevolence, 1 Hobbes,
for the sport of others, rather than for our own improvement? We therefore very often find that persons the most accomplished in ridicule are those who are very shrewd at hitting a blot, without exerting any thing masterly in themselves. As there are many eminent critics who never writ a good line, there are many admirable buffoons that animadvert upon every single defect in another, without ever discovering the least beauty of their own. By this means, these unlucky little wits often gain reputation in the esteem of vulgar minds, and raise themselves above persons of much more laudable characters. If the talent of ridicule were employed to laugh men out of vice and folly, it might be of some use to the world; but instead of this, we find that it is generally made use of to laugh men out of virtue and good sense, by attacking everything that is solemn and too. decent and praiseworthy in human e. We may observe, that in the first ages of the world, when the great souls and master-pieces of human nature were produced, men shined by a noble simplicity of behaviour, and were strangers to those little embellishments which are so fashionable in our present conversation. And it is very remarkable, that notwithstanding we fall short at present of the ancients in poetry, painting, oratory, history, architecture, and all the noble arts and sciences which depend more upon genius than experience, we exceed them as much in doggrel humour, burlesque, and all the trivial arts of ridicule. We meet with more raillery among the moderns, but more good sense among the ancients. The two great branches of ridicule in writing are comedy and burlesque. The first ridicules persons by drawing them in their proper characters, the other by drawing them quite unlike themselves. Burlesque is therefore of two kinds; the first represents mean persons in the accoutrements of heroes; the other describes great persons acting and speaking like the basest among the people. Don Quixote is an instance of the first, and Lucian's gods of the second. It is a dispute among the critics, whether burlesque poetry runs best in heroic verse, like that of the Dispensary; or in doggrel, like that of Hudibras. I think where the low character is to be raised, the heroic is the proper measure; but when a hero is to be pulled down and degraded, it is best done in doggrel. If Hudibras had been set out with as much wit and humour in heroic verse as he is in doggrel he would have made a much more agreeable figure than he does; though the generality of his readers are so wonderfully pleased with the double rhymes, that I do not expect many will be of my opinion in this particular. I shall conclude o: essay upon laugh4
ter with observing, that the metaphor of laughing applied to the fields and meadows when they are in flower, or to trees when they are in blossom, runs through all languages; which I have not observed of any other metaphor, excepting that of fire and burning when they are o to love. This shows that we naturally regard laughter, as what is in itself both amiable and beautiful. For this reason likewise Venus has gained the title of oxea...? -s, “the laughter-loving dame,” as Waller has translated it, and is represented by Horace as the goddess who delights in laughter. Milton, in a joyous assembly of imaginary persons, has given us a very poetical figure of laughter. His whole band of mirth is so finely described, that I shall set down the passage at length. But come thou goddess, fair and free, In heaven yeleped Euphrosyne, And by men, heart-easing Mirth, Whom lovely Venus at a birth, With two sisters Graces more, To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore. Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee Jest and youthful jollity, Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles, Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles, Such as hang on Hebe's cheek, And love to live in dimple sleek; Sport that wrinkled Care derides, And Laughter holding both his sides. Come and o it as you go, On the light fantastic toe: And in thy right hand lead with thee The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty; And if I give the honour due, Mirth, admit me of thy crew, To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures, free. L'Allegro, v. 11. &c.
No. 250.] Monday, December 17, 1711.
Disce docendus adhuc, quae censet amiculus, ut si
Caecus iter monstrare velit; tamen aspice si quid
Et nos, quod cures proprium fecisse, loquamur. Hor. Lib. 1. Ep. xvii. 3.
Yet hear what an unskilful friend can say: As if a blind man should direct your way; So I myself though wanting to be taught, May yet impart a hint that's worth your thought. “MR. SPECTAtoR,-You see the nature of my request by the Latin motto which I address to you. I am very sensible I ought not to use many words to you, who are one of but few; but the following piece, as it relates to speculation in [...". of speech, being a curiosity in its kind, begs your par tience. It was found in a poetical virtuoso's closet among his rarities; and since the several treatises of thumbs, ears, and noses, have obliged the world, this of eyes is at your service. “The first eye of consequence (under the invisible Author of all) is the visible luminary of the universe. This glorious Spectator is said never to open his eyes at his rising in a morning, without having a whole kingdom of adorers in Persian silk waiting at his levee. Millions of creatures, derive their sight from this original, who, besides his being the great director of optics, is the
surest test whether eyes be of the same species with that of an eagle, or that of an owl. The one he emboldens with a manly assurance to look, speak, act, or plead before the faces of a numerous assembly; the other he dazzles out of countenance into a sheepish dejectedness. The sun-proof eye dares lead up a dance in a full court, and without blinking at the lustre of beauty, can distribute an eye of proper complaisance to a room crowded with company, each of which deserves particular regard: while the other sneaks from conversation, like a fearful debtor, who never dares to look out, but when he can see nobody, and nobody him. “The next instance of optics is the famous Argus, who, (to speak the language of Cambridge) was one of a hundred; and being used as a spy in the affairs of jealousy, was obliged to have all his eyes about him. We have no account of the particular colours, casts, and turns of this body of eyes; but as he was pimp for his mistress Juno, it is probable he used all the modern leers, sly glances, and other ocular activities to serve his purpose. Some look upon him as the then king at arms to the heathenish deities; and make no more of his eyes than of so many spangles of his herald's coat. “The next upon the optic list is old Janus, who stood in a double-sighted capacity, like a person placed betwixt two opposite looking-glasses, and so took a sort of retrospective cast at one view. Copies of this double-faced way are not yet out of fashion with many professions, and the ingenious artists pretend to keep up this species by double-headed canes and spoons; but there is no mark of this faculty. except in the emblematical way, of a wise general having an eye to both front and rear, or a |. man taking a review and prospect of is past and future state at the same time. “I must own, that the names, colours, qualities and turns of eyes vary almost in every head; for, not to mention the common appellations of the black, the blue, the white, the grey, and the like; the most remarkable are those that borrow their titles from animals, by virtue of some particular quality of resemblance they bear to the eyes of the respective creatures; as that of a greedy rapacious aspect takes its name from the cat, that of a sharp piercing nature from the hawk, those of an amorous roguish look derive their title even from the sheep, and we say such a one has a sheep’s eye, not so much to denote the innocence as the simple slyness of the cast. Nor is this metaphorical inoculation a modern invention, for we find Homer taking the freedom to place the eye of an ox, bull, or cow in one of his principal goddesses, by that frequent ex
The ox-ey'd venerable Juno. “Now as to the peculiar qualities of the eye, that fine part of our constitution seems
as much the receptacle and seat of our passions, appetites, and inclinations as the mind itself; and at least it is the outward portal to introduce them to the house within, or rather the common thoroughfare to let our affections pass in and out. Love, anger, pride and avarice, all visibly move in those little orbs. I know a young lady that cannot see a certain gentleman pass by without showing a secret desire of seeing him again by a dance in her eye-balls; nay, she cannot for the heart of her, help looking half a street’s length after any man in a gay dress. You cannot behold a covetous spirit walk by a goldsmith's shop without casting a wishful eye at the heaps upon the counter. Does not a haughty person show the temper of his soul in the supercilious roll of his eye; and how frequently in the height of passion does that moving picture in our head start and stare, gather a redness and quick flashes of lightning, and make all its humours sparkle with fire, as Virgil finely describes it,
——Ardentis ab ore
“As for the various turns of the eyesight, such as the voluntary or involuntary, the half or the whole leer, I shall not enter into a very particular account of them; but let me observe, that oblique vision, when natural, was anciently the mark of bewitchery and magical fascination, and to this day it is a malignant ill look; but when it is forced and affected, it carries a wanton design, and in playhouses, and other public places, this ocular intimation is often an assignation for bad practices. But this irregularity in vision, together with such enormities as tipping the wink, the circumspective roll, the side-peep through a thin hood or fan, must be put in the class of heteroptics, as all wrong notions of religion are ranked under the general name of heterodox. All the pernicious applications of sight are more immediately under the direction of a Spectator, and I hope, you will arm your readers against the mischiefs which are daily done by killing eyes, in which you will highly oblige your wounded unknown friend, T. B.’
“MR. SPECTAtoR,-You professed in several papers your particular endeavours in the province of Spectator, to correct the offences committed by Starers, who disturb whole assemblies without any regard to time, place, or modesty. You complained also, that a starer is not usually a person to be convinced by the reason of the thing, nor so easily rebuked as to amend by admonitions. I thought therefore fit to acquaint you with a convenient mechanical way, which may easily prevent or correct staring, by an optical contrivance of new Perspective-glasses, short and commodious like opera-glasses, fit for short-sighted people as well as others, these glasses making the objects appear either as they are seen with the naked eye, or more distinct, though somewhat less than life, or bigger and nearer. A person may by the help of this invention, take a view of another without the impertinence of staring; at the same time it shall not be possible to know whom or what he is looking at. One may look towards his right or left hand, when he is supposed to look forwards. This is set forth at large, in the printed proposals for the sale of these glasses, to be had at Mr. Dillon’s in Long-Acre, next door to the White Hart. Now, sir, as your Spectator has occasioned the publishing of this invention for the benefit of modest spectators, the inventor desires your admonitions concerning the decent use of it; and hopes, by your recommendation, that for the future beauty may be beheld without the torture and confusion which it suffers from the insolence of starers. By this means you will relieve the innocent from an insult which there is no law to punish, though it is a greater offence than many which are within the cognizance
of justice. I am, sir, your most humble servant, ABRAHAM SPY.” No. 251.] Tuesday, December 18, 1711.
Linguae centum sunt, oraque centum, Ferrea vox Wirg. JEn. vi. 625.
—A hundred mouths, a hundred tongues, And throats of brass inspired with iron lungs. Dryden. THERE is nothing which more astonishes
a foreigner, and frights a country squire, than the Cries of London. My good friend Sir Roger often declares that he cannot get them out of his head or go to sleep for them, the first week that he is in town. On the contrary Will Honeycomb calls them the Ramage de la Ville, and prefers them to the sound of larks and nightingales, with all the music of the fields and woods. I have lately received a letter from some very odd fellow upon this subject, which I shall leave with my reader, without saying any thing further of it.
‘SIR,--I am a man out of all business, and would willingly turn my head to any thing for an honest livelihood. I have invented several projects for raising many millions of money without burdening the subject, but I cannot get the parliament to listen to me, who look upon me, forsooth, as a crack, and a projector; so that despairing to enrich either myself or my country by this public-spiritedness, I would make some proposals to you relating to a design which I have very much at heart, and which may procure me a handsome subsistence, if you will be pleased to recommend it to the cities of London and Westminster.
“The post I would aim at, is to be comp
troller-general of the London Cries, which are at present under no manner of rules or discipline. I think I am pretty well qualified for this place, as being a man of very strong lungs, of great insight into all the branches of our British trades and manufactures, and of a competent skill in music. “The Cries of London may be divided into vocal and instrumental. As for the latter, they are at present under a very great disorder. A freeman of London has the F. of disturbing a whole street for an our together, with the twanking of a brasskettle or a frying-pan. . The watchman’s thump at midnight startles us in our beds, as much as the breaking in of a thief. The sow-gelder’s horn, has indeed something musical in it, but this is seldom heard within the liberties. I would therefore propose, that no instrument of this nature should be made use of, which I have not tuned and licensed, after having carefully examined in what manner it may affect the ears of her majesty’s liege subjects. • Vocal cries are of a much larger extent, and indeed so full of incongruities and barbarisms, that we appear a distracted city to foreigners, who do not comprehend the meaning of such enormous outcries. . Milk is generally sold in a note above E-la, and in sounds so exceeding shrill, that it often sets our teeth on edge. The chimneysweeper is confined to no certain pitch; he sometimes utters himself in the deepest base, and sometimes in the sharpest treble; sometimes in the highest, and sometimes in the lowest note of the gamut. The same observation might be made on the retailers of small-coal, not to mention broken glasses or brick-dust. In these therefore, and the like cases, it should be my care to sweeten and mellow the voices of these itinerant tradesmen, before they make their appearance in our streets, as also to accommodate their cries to their respective wares: and to take care in particular, that those may not make the most noise who have the least to sell, which is very observable in the venders of card-matches, to whom I cannot but apply the old proverb of “Much cry but little wool.” “Some of these last-mentioned musicians are so very loud in the sale of these trifling manufactures, that an honest splenetic gentleman of my acquaintance bargained with one of them never to come into the street where he lived. But what was the effect of this contract? why, the whole tribe of cardmatch-makers which frequent that quarter, passed by his door the very next day, in hépes of being bought off after the same manner. • It is another great imperfection in our London Cries, that there is no just time nor measure observed in them. Our news should indeed be published in a very quick time, because it is a commodity that will not keep cold. It should not, however, be cried with the same precipitation as fire.