Abbildungen der Seite

tutions, there is a perpetual May. These are a kind of valetudinarians in chastity, whom I would continue in a constant diet. I cannot think these wholly out of danger, till they have looked upon the other sex at least five years through a pair of spectacles. Will Honeycomb has often assured me, that it is much easier to steal one of this species, when she has passed her grand climacteric, than to carry off an icy girl on this side five-and-twenty; and that a rake of his acquaintance, who had in vain endeavoured to gain the affections of a young lady of fifteen, had at last made his fortune by running away with her grandmother. But as I do not design this speculation for the evergreens of the sex, I shall again aply myself to these who would willingly isten to the dictates of reason and virtue, and can now hear me in cold blood. If there are any who have forfeited their innocence, they must now consider themselves under that melancholy view in which Chamont regards his sister, in those beautiful lines: *— Long she flourish'd, Grew sweet to sense, and lovely to the eye. Till at the last a cruel spoiler came, Cropt this fair rose, and rifled all its sweetness, Then cast it like a loathsome weed away." On the contrary, she who has observed the timely cautions I gave her, and lived up to the rules of modesty, will now flourish like “a rose in June,’ with all her virgin blushes and sweetness about her. I must, however, desire these last to consider, how shameful it would be for a general who has made a successful campaign, to be surprised in his winter quarters. It would be no less dishonourable for a lady to lose, in any other month in the year, what she has been at the pains to preserve in May. There is no charm in the female sex that can supply the place of virtue. Without innocence, beauty is unlovely, and quality contemptible; good-breeding degenerates into wantonness, and wit into impudence. It is observed, that all the virtues are represented by both painters and statuaries under female shapes; but if any of them has a more particular title to that sex, it is modesty. I shall leave it to the divines to guard then against the opposite vice, as they may be overpowered by temptations. It is sufficient for me to have warned them against it, as they may be led astray by instinct. I desire this paper may be read with more than ordinary attention, at all teatables within the cities of London and Westminster. X.

No. 396.] Wednesday, June 4, 1712.
Barbara, Cesarent, Darii, Ferio, Baralipton.

HAvrNG a great deal of business upon my hands at present, I shall beg the reader's leave to present him with a letter that I re

ceived about half a year ago from a gentleman at Cambridge, who styles himself Peter de Quir. I have kept it by me some months; and, though I did not know at first what to make of it, upon my reading it over very frequently I have at last discovered several conceits in it: I would not therefore have my reader discouraged if he does not take them at the first perusal.

“To the Shectator.

“From St. John's College, Cambridge, Feb. 3, 1712.

‘SIR,-The monopoly of puns in this university has been an immemorial privilege of the Johnians:" and we can't help resenting the late invasion of our ancient rights as to that particular, by a little pretender to clenching in a neighbouring college, who in application to you by way of letter, a while ago, styled himself Philobrune. Dear sir, as you are by character a professed wellwisher to speculation, you will excuse a remark which this gentleman's passion for the brunette has suggested to a brother theorist; it is an offer towards a mechanical account of his lapse to punning, for he belongs to a set of mortals who value themselves upon an uncommon mastery in the more humane and polite parts of letters.

“A conquest by one of this species of females gives a very odd turn to the intellectuals of the captivated person, and very different from that way of thinking which a triumph from the eyes of another, more emphatically of the fair sex, does generally occasion. It fills the imagination with an assemblage of such ideas and pictures as are hardly any thing but shade, such as night, the devil, &c. These portraitures very near overpower the light of the understanding, almost benight the faculties, and give that melanchcly tincture to the most sanguine complexion, which this gentleman calls an inclination to be in a brown-study, and is usually attended with worse consequences in case of a repulse. During this twilight of intellects the patient is extremely apt, as love is the most witty passion in nature, to offer at some pert sallies now and then, by way of flourish, upon the amiable enchantress, and unfortunately stumbles upon that mongrel miscreated (to speak in Miltonic) kind of wit, vulgarl termed the pun. It would not be much amiss to consult Dr. T W (who is certainly a very able projector, and whose system of divinity and spiritual mechanics obtains very much among the better part of our under-graduates), whether a general intermarriage, enjoined by parliament, between this sisterhood of the olive-beauties and the fraternity of the people called quakers, would not be a very serviceable expedient, and abate that overflow of light which shines within them so powerfully, that it dazzles their eyes, and dances them into a thousand vagaries of error and enthu

* The students of St. John's College.

siasm. These reflections may impart some light towards a discovery of the origin of punning among us, and the foundation of its prevailing so long in this famous body. It is notorious from the instance under consi

deration, that it must be owing chiefly to the

use of brown jugs, muddy belch, and the fumes of a certain memorable place of rendezvous with us at meals, known by the name of Staincoat Hole: for the atmosphere of the kitchen, like the tail of a comet, predominates least about the fire, but resides behind, and fills the fragrant receptacle above mentioned. Besides, it is further observable, that the delicate spirits among us, who declare against these nauseous proceedings, sip tea, and put up for critic and amour, profess likewise an equal abhorrence for punning, the ancient innocent diversion of this society. After all, sir, though it may appear something absurd that I seem to approach you with the air of an advocate for punning, (you who have justified your censures of the practice in a set dissertation upon that subject") yet I am confident you will think it i. atoned for by observing, that this humbler exercise may be as instrumental in diverting us from any innovating schemes and hypotheses in wit, as dwelling upon honest orthodox logic would be in securing us from heresy in religion. Had Mr. W. n’sf researches been confined within the bounds of Ramus or Crackenthorp, that learned news-monger might have acquiesced in what the holy oracles pronounced upon the deluge like other Christians; and had the surprising Mr. y been content with the employment of refining upon Shakspeare’s points and quibbles (for which he must be allowed to have a superlative genius,) and now and then penning a catch or a ditty, instead of inditing odes and sonnets, the gentlemen of the bon gout in the pit would never have been put to all that grimace in damning the frippery of state, the poverty and languor of thought, the unnatural wit, and inartificial structure of his dramas. I am, sir, your very humble servant,


[blocks in formation]

pearance of grief; but when one told them of any calamity that had befallen even the nearest of their acquaintance, would immediately reply, ‘What is that to me?” If you aggravated the circumstance of the affliction, and showed how one misfortune was followed by another, the answer was still, “All this may be true, and what is it to me?” For my own part, I am of opinion, compassion does not only refine and civilize human nature, but has something in it more pleasing and agreeable than what can be met with in such an indolent happiness, such an indifference to mankind, as that in which the Stoics placed their wisdom. As love is the most delightful passion, pity is nothing else but love softened by a degree of sorrow. In short, it is a kind of pleasing anguish, as well as generous sympathy, that knits mankind together, and blends them in the same common lot. Those who have laid down rules for rhetoric or poetry, advise the writer to work himself up, if possible, to the pitch of sorrow which he endeavours to produce in others. There are none therefore who stir up pity so much as those who indite their own sufferings. Grief has a natural eloquence belonging to it, and breaks out in more moving sentiments than can be supplied by the finest imagination. Nature on this occasion dictates a thousand passionate things which cannot be supplied by art. It is for this reason that the shortspeeches or sentences which we often meet with in history make a deeper impression on the mind of the reader than the most laboured strokes in a well-written tragedy. Truth and matter of fact sets the É. actually before us in the one, whom fiction places at a greater distance from usin the other. I do not remember to have seen any ancient or modern story more affecting than a letter of Ann of Bologne, wife to king Henry the Eighth, and mother to Queen Elizabeth, which is still extant in the Cotton library, as written by her own hand. Shakspeare himself could not have made her talk in a strain so suitable to her condition and character. One sees in it the expostulation of a slighted lover, the resentment of an injured woman, and the sorrows of an imprisoned queen. I need not acquaint my readers that this princess was then under prosecution for disloyalty to the king’s bed, and that she was afterwards publicly beheaded upon the same account; though this prosecution was believed by many to proceed, as she herself intimates, rather from the king's love to Jane Seymour, than from any actual crime of Ann of Bologne.

Queen Anne Boleyn’s last letter to King enry. ‘SIR, Cotton Lib. } Your grace’s displeasure, and Otho C. 10, $ my imprisonment, are things so strange unto me, as what to write, or

What to excuse, I am altogether ignorant. Whereas you send unto me, (willing me to confess a truth, and to obtain your favour) by such an one, whom you know to be mine ancient professed enemy, I no sooner received this message by him, than I rightly conceived your meaning; and if, as you say, confessing a truth indeed may procure my safety, I shall with all willingness and duty perform your command. “Butlet not your grace ever imagine, that your poor wife will ever be brought to acknowledge a fault, where not so much as a thought thereof proceeded. And to speak a truth, never prince had wife more loyal in all duty, and in all true affection, than you have ever found in Ann Boleyn: with which name and place I could willingly have contented myself, if God and your grace’s pleasure had been so pleased. Neither did sat any time so far forget myself in my exaltation, or received queenship, but that I always looked for such an alteration as I now find; for the ground of my preferment being on no surer foundation than your grace's fancy, the least alteration I knew was fit and sufficient to draw that fancy to some other object. You have chosen me from a low estate to be your queen and companion, far beyond my desert or desire. If then you found me worthy of such honour, good vour grace, let not any light fancy, or bad counsel of mine enemies, withdraw your princely favour from me; neither let that stain, that unworthy stain of a disloyal heart towards your good grace, ever cast so foul a blot on your most dutiful wife, and the infant Fo your daughter. Try me, good king, ut let me have a lawful trial, and let not my sworn enemies sit as my accusers and judges; yea, let me receive an open trial, or my truth shall fear no open shame; then shall you see either mine innocence cleared, our suspicion and conscience satisfied, the ignominy and slander of the world stopped, or my guilt openly declared. So that, whatever God or you may determine of me, your grace may be freed from an open censure; and mine offence being so lawfully proved, your grace is at liberty, both before God and man, not only to execute worthy punishment on me as an unlawful wife, but to follow your affection, already settled on that party, for whose sake I am now as I am, whose name I could some good while since have pointed unto your grace, not being ignorant of my suspicion therein. “But if you have already determined of me, and that not only my death, but an infamous slander must bring you the enjoying of your desired happiness; then I desire of God, that he will pardon your great sin therein, and likewise mine enemies, the instruments thereof; and that he will not call you to a strict account for your unprincely and cruel usage of me, at his general judgment seat, where both you and myself must shortly ppear. and in whose judgment I Vol. II. 16

doubt not (whatever the world may think of me,) mine innocence shall be openly known, and sufficiently cleared.

‘My last and only request shall be, that myself may only bear the burden of your grace's displeasure, and that it may not touch the innocent souls of those poor gentlemen who (as I understand,) are likewise in straight imprisonment for my sake. If ever I have found favour in your sight, if ever the name of Ann Boleyn hath been pleasing in your ears, then let me obtain this request, and I will so leave to trouble your grace any further, with mine earnest prayers to the Trinity, to have your grace in his good keeping, and to direct you in all your actions. From my doleful prison in the Tower, this sixth of May; your most loyal and ever faithful wife,


No. 398.] Friday, June 6, 1712.

Insanire pares certa ratione modoque.
Hor. Sat. iii. Lib. 2.272,

- You'd be a fool, With art and wisdom, and be mad by rule. Creech.

CYNThio and Flavia are persons of distinction in this town, who have been lovers these ten months last past, and writ to each other for gallantry sake under those feigned names; Mr. Such-a-one and Mrs. Such-aone not being capable of raising the soul out of the ordinary tracts and passages of life, up to that elevation which makes the life of the enamoured so much superior to that of the rest of the world. But ever since the beauteous Cecilia has made such a figure as she now does in the circle of charming women, Cynthio has been secretly one of her adorers. Cecilia has been the finest woman in the town these three months, and so long Cynthio has acted the part of a lover very awkwardly in the presence of Flavia. Flavia has been too blind towards him, and has too sincere a heart of her own to observe a thousand things which would have discovered this change of mind to any one less engaged than she was. Cynthio was musing yesterday in the piazza in Covent-garden, and was saying to himself that he was a very ill man to go on in visiting and professing love to Flavia, when his heart was enthralled to another. It is an infirmity that I am not constant to Flavia; but it would be a still greater crime, since I cannot continue to love her, to profess that I do. To marry a woman with the coldness that usually indeed comes on after marriage, is ruining one’s self with one’s eyes open; besides, it is really doing her an injury. This last consideration, forsooth, of injuring her in persisting, made him resolve to break off upon the first favourable opportunity of making her angry. When he was in this thought...he saw Robin the porter, who waits at Will's

coffee-house, passing by. Robin, you must know, is the best man in the town for carrying a billet; the fellow has a thin body, swift step, demure looks, sufficient sense, and knows the town. This man carried Cynthio's first letter to Flavia, and, by frequent errands ever since, is well known to her. The fellow covers his knowledge of the nature of his messages with the most exquisite low humour imaginable. The first he obliged Flavia to take, was by complaining to her that he had a wife and three children, and if she did not take that letter, which he was sure there was no harm in, but rather love, his family must go supperless to bed, for the gentleman would pay him according as he did his business. Robin, therefore, Cynthio now thought fit to make use of, and gave him orders to wait before Flavia's door, and if she called him to her, and asked whether it was Cynthio who passed by, he should at first be loth to own it was, but upon importunity confess it. There needed not much search into that #. of the town to find a well-dressed nussey fit for the purpose Cynthio designed her. As soon as he believed Robin was F. he drove by Flavia's lodgings in a hackney-coach, and a woman in it. Robin was at the door, talking with Flavia's maid, and Cynthio pulled up the glass as surprised, and hid his associate. The report of this circumstance soon flew up stairs, and Robin could not deny but the gentleman favoured” his master; yet, if it was he, he was sure the lady was but his cousin, whom he had seen ask for him: adding, that he believed she was a poor relation; because they made her wait one morning till he was awake. Flavia immediately writ the following epistle, which Robin brought

[ocr errors]

bearer, saw you. The injured FLAVIA.”

[blocks in formation]

* Resembled.

“DEAR CYNThio, -I have walked a turn or two in my ante-chamber since I writ to you, and have recovered myself from an impertinent fit which you ought to forgive me, and desire you would come to me immediately to laugh off a jealousy that you and a creature of the town went by in a hackney-coach an hour ago. I am your your humble servant, FLAVIA.

“I will not open the letter which my Cynthio writ upon the misapprehension you must have been under, when you writ, for want of hearing the whole circumstance.”

Robin came back in an instant, and Cynthio answered:

“Half an hour six minutes after three,

June 4, Will’s coffee-house. ‘MADAM, It is certain I went by your lodgings with a gentlewoman to whom I have the honour to be known; she is indeed my relation, and a pretty sort of a woman. But your starting manner of writing, and owning you have not done me the honour so much as to open my letter, has in it something very unaccountable, and alarms one that has had thoughts of passing his days with you. But I am born to admire

you with all your little imperfections.


Robin ran back and brought for answer:

“Exact sir, that are at Will's coffeehouse, six minutes after three, June 4; one that has had thoughts, and all my little imperfections. Sir, come to me immediately, or I shall determine what may perhaps not be very pleasing to you. AVIA.”

Robin gave an account that she looked excessive angry when she gave him the letter; and that he told her, for she asked, that Cynthio only looked at the clock, taking snuff, and writ two or three words on the top of the letter when he gave him his.

Now the plot thickened so well, as that Cynthio saw he had not much more to accomplish, being irreconcilably banished: he writ,

‘MADAM,-I have that prejudice in favour of all you do, that it is not possible for you to determine upon what will not be very pleasing to your obedient servant,


This was delivered, and the answer returned, in a little more than two seconds.

‘SIR,-Is it come to this? You never loved me, and the creature you were with is the properest person for your associate. I despise you, and hope I shall soon hate you as a villain to the credulous • FLAVIA."

Robin ran back with:

‘MADAM, Your credulity when you are to gain your point, and suspicion when you

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Hypocrisy at the fashionable end of the town is very different from hypocrisy in the city. The modish hypocrite endeavours to appear more vicious than he really is, the other kind of hypocrite more virtuous. The former is afraid of every thing that has the show of religion in it, and would be thought engaged in many criminal gallantries and amours which he is not guilty of . The latter assumes a face of sanctity, and covers a multitude of vices under a seeming religious do ut there is another kind of hypocrisy, which differs from both these, and which I intend to make the subject of this paper: I mean that hypocrisy, by which a man does not only deceive the world, but very often imposes on himself: that hypocrisy which conceals his own heart from him, and makes him believe he is more virtuous than he really is, and either not attend to his vices, or mistake even his vices for virtues. It is this fatal hypocrisy, and self-deceit, which is taken notice of in those words. “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.” If the open professors of impiety deserve the utmost application and endeavours of moral writers to recover them from vice and folly, how much more may those lay a claim to their care and compassion, who are walking in the paths of death, while they fancy themselves engaged in a course of virtue! I shall endeavourtherefore to lay down some rules for the discovery of those vices that lurk in the secret corners of the soul, and to show my reader those methods by which he may arrive at a true and impartial knowledge of himself. The usual means prescribed for this purpose are to examine ourselves by the rules which are laid down for our direction in sacred writ, and to compare our lives with the life of that person who acted up to the perfection of human nature, and is the standing example, as well as the great guide and instructor, of those who receive his doctrines. Though these two heads cannot be too

much insisted upon, I shall but just mention them, since they have been handled by many great and eminent writers. I would therefore propose the following methods to the consideration of such as would find out their secret faults, and make a true estimate of themselves. In the first place, let them consider well what are the characters which they bear among their enemies. Our friends very often flatter us, as much as our own hearts. They either do not see our faults, or conceal them from us, or soften them by their representations, after such a manner that we think them too trivial to be taken notice of. An adversary, on the contrary, makes a stricter search into us, discovers every flaw and imperfection in our tempers; and though his malice may set them in too strong a light, it has generally some ground for what it advances. A friend exaggerates a man's virtues, an enemy inflames his crimes. A wise man should give a just attention to both of them, so far as they may tend to the improvement of one, and the diminution of the other. Plutarch has written an essay on the benefits which a man may receive from his enemies, and, among the good fruits of enmity, mentions this in particular, that by the reproaches which it casts upon us we see the worst side of ourselves, and open our eves to several blemishes and defects in. our lives and conversations, which we should not have observed without the help of such ill-natured monitors. In order likewise to come at a true knowledge of ourselves, we should consider on the other hand how far we may deserve the raises and approbations which the world estow upon us; whether the actions they celebrate proceed from laudable and worthy motives; and how far we are really possessed of the virtues which gain us applause among those with whom we converse. Such a reflection is absolutely necessary, if we consider how apt we are either to value or condemn ourselves by the opinions of others, and to sacrifice the report of our own hearts to the judgment of the world. In the next place, that we may not deceive ourselves in a point of so much importance, we should not lay too great a stress on any supposed virtues we possess that are of a doubtful nature: and such we may esteem all those in which multitudes of men dissent from us, who are as good and wise as ourselves. We should always act with great cautiousness and circumspection in points where it is not impossible that we may be deceived. Intermperate zeal, bigotry, and persecution for any party or opinion, how praise-worthy soever they may appear to weak men of our own principles, produce infinite calamities, among mankind, and are highly criminal in their own nature: and yet how many persons eminent for piety suffer such monstrous and absurd principles of action to take root in their minds under the colour of virtues!

« ZurückWeiter »