« VorigeDoorgaan »
great oppreffions of modefty. I remember, upon talking with a friend of mine concerning the force of pronunciation, our difcourfe led us into the enumeration of the feveral organs of speech which an orator ought to have in perfection, as the tongue, the teeth, the lips, the nofe, the palate, and the wind-pipe. Upon which, fays my friend, you have omitted the moft material organ of them all, and
that is the forehead.
But notwithstanding an excess of modefty obftructs the tongue, and renders it unfit for its offices, a due proportion of it is thought fo requifite to an orator, that rhetoricians have recommended it to their difciples as a particular in their art. Cicero tells us that he never liked an orator, who did not appear in fome little confufion at the beginning of his fpeech, and confeffes that he himself never entered upon an oration without trembling It is indeed a kind of deference which is due to a great assembly, and feldom fails
to raise a benevolence in the audience towards the perfon who fpeaks. My correfpondent has taken notice that the bravest men often appear timorous on thefe occafions, as indeed we may obferve, that there is generally no creature more impudent than
—Linguâ melior, fed frigida bello
Seneca thought modefty fo great a check to vice, that he prefcribes to us the practice of it in fecret, and advifes us to raise it in ourfelves upon imaginary occafions, when fuch as are real do not offer themfelves; for this is the meaning of his precept, that when we are by ourfelves, and in our greateft folitudes, we thould fancy that Cato ftands In short, before us and fees every thing we do. if you banish modefty out of the world, the carries away half the virtue that is in it.
After these reflexions on modefty, as it is a vir-
Many an impudent libertine would bluth to be
Bold at the council-board;
A bold tongue and a feeble arm are the qualification of Drances in Virgil; as Homer, to exprefs a man both timorous and faucy, makes ufe of a kind of point, which is very rarely to be met with in his writings; namely, that he had the eyes of a dog, but the heart of a deer.
A juft and reafonable modesty does not only recommend eloquence, but fets off every great talent which a man can be poffeffed of. It heightens all the virtues which it accompanies; like the fhades in paintings, it raifes and rounds every figure, and makes the colours more beautiful, though not fo glaring as they would be without
If modefty has fo great an influence over ou actions, and is in many cafes fo impregnable a fence to virtue; what can more undermine morality than that politenefs which reigns among the unthinking part of mankind, and treats as unfashionable the moft ingenuous part of our behaviour; which recommends impudence as good breeding, and keeps a man always in countenance, not because he is innocent, but because he is thamelefs?
Modefty is not only an ornament, but also a guard to virtue. It is a kind of quick and delicate feeling in the foul, which makes her fhrink and withdraw herself from every thing that has danger in it. It is fuch an exquifite fenfibility as warns her to thun the first appearance of every thing which is hurtful.
I cannot at prefent recollect either the place or time of what I am going to mention; but I have read fomewhere in the hiftory of ancient Greece, that the women of the country were seized with an accountable melancholy, which difpofed several of them to make away with themselves. The fenate, after having tried many expedients to prevent this felf-murder, which was fo frequent among them, publifhed an edict, that if any woman her corps fhould be expofed naked in the street, whatever fhould lay violent hands upon herfeif,
and dragged about the city in the most public manner. This edit immediately put a stop to the practice which was before fo coinman. We may fee in this inftance the ftrength of female modeity, which was able to overcome the violence even of madness and despair. The fear of shame in the fair fex, was in thofe days more prevalent than that of death,
There is another kind of vicious modafty which makes a man afhamed of his perfon, his birth, his profethion, his poverty, or the like misfortunes, which it was not in his choice to prevent, and is not in his power to rectify. If a man appears ridiculous by any of the aforementioned circumftances, he becomes much more fo by being out of countenance for them. They thould rather give him occafion to exert a noble fpirit, and to palliate thofe imperfections which are not in his power, by thofe perfections which are; or, to ufe a very witty allufion of an eminent author, he fhould imitate Cæ far, who, because his head was bald, covered that defect with laurels.
Y wife and Sir Andrew Free
No 232. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26.
" and the gentleman; our liberality to common "beggars, and every other obftruction to the in"crease of labourers, must be equally pernicious "to both."
bour and reft, recommend each other. They take their turns with fo quick a viciffitude, that neither becomes a habit, or takes poffeffion of the whole man; nor is it poffible he fhould be furfeited with either. I often fee him at our club in good humour, and yet fometimes too with an air of care in his looks: but in his country retreat he is always unbent, and fuch a companion as I could defire; and therefore I feldom fail to make one with him when he is pleased to invite me.
The other day, as foon as we were got into his chariot, two or three beggars on cach fide hung upon the doors, and folicited our charity with the ufual rhetoric of a fick wife or husband at home, three or four helplefs little children, all starving with co d and hunger. We were forced to part with fome money to get rid of their importunity; and then we proceeded on our journey with the bleffings and acclamations of these people.
"Well then," fays Sir Andrew, “we go off with "the prayers and good wishes of the beggars and perhaps too our healths will be drunk at the next "alehouse: fo all we fhall be able to value our"felves upon, is, that we have promoted the "trade of the victualler and the excifes of the go"venment. But how few ounces of wool do "we fce upon the backs of these poor creatures? "And when they fhall next fall in our way, they "will hardly be better dreffed; they must always "live in rags to look like objects of compaffion. "If their families too are fuch as they are repre"fented, it is certain they cannot be better cloth"ed, and must be a great deal worfe fed: one "would think potatoes should be all their bread, "and their drink the pure element; and then "what goodly customers are the farmers like to "have for their wool, corn, and cattle? fuch "customers, and fuch a confumption, cannot "choose but advance the landed interest, and "hold up the rents of the gentlemen.
"But of all men living, we merchants, who live by buying and felling, ought never to encourage beggars. The goods which we export "are indeed the product of the lands, but much "the greatest part of their value is the labour of "the people; but how much of these people's "labour fhall we export whilft we hire them to "fit ftill? The very alms they receive from us, "are the wages of idleness. I have often thought
that no man should be permitted to take relief "from the parish, or to afk it in the street, until "he has first purchased as much as poffible of his << own livelihood by the labour of his own hands; "and then the public ought only to be taxed to "make good the deficiency. If this rule was "ftrictly observed, we fhould fee every where "fuch a multitude of new labourers, as would "in all probability reduce the prices of all our "manufactures. It is the very life of merchan"dize to buy cheap and fell dear. The mer"chant ought to make his out-fet as cheap as "poffible, that he may find the greater profit upon his returns; and nothing will enable him "to do this like the reduction of the price of la"bour upon all our manufactures. This too "would be the ready way to increase the number "of our foreign markets; the abatement of the "price of the manufacture would pay for the car"riage of it to more diftant countries; and this "confequence would be equally beneficial both
to the landed and trading interefts. As fo great an addition of labouring hands would produce "this happy confequence both to the merchant
Sir Andrew then went on to affirm, that the reduction of the prices of our manufactures by the addition of so many new hands, would be no inconvenience to any man: but obferving I was something startled at the affertion, he made a fhort paufe, and then refumed the difcourfe. "It
may feem," fays he, "a paradox, that the price "of labour fhould be reduced without an abate
ment of wages, or that wages can be abated "without any inconvenience to the labourer, and
yet nothing is more certain than that both these "things may happen. The wages of the labourers "make the greateft part of the price of every thing "that is useful; and if in proportion with the wa
ges the prices of all other things fhould be aba"ted,every labourer with lefs wages would ftill be "able to purchase as many neceffaries of life; "where then would be the inconvenience? But "the price of labour may be reduced by the ad"dition of more hands to a manufacture, and yet "the wages of perfons remain as high as ever. "The admirable Sir William Petty has given ex"amples of this in fome of his writings: one of "them, as I remember, is that of a watch, which "I fhall endeavour to explain fo as fhall fuit my
prefent purpose. It is certain that a fingle "watch could not be made fo cheap in propor"tion by one only man, as a hundred watches by
a hundred; for as there is a vast variety in the "work, no one perfon could equally fuit himself "to all the parts of it; the manufacture would "be tedious, and at laft but clumsily performed: "but if an hundred watches were to be made to "an hundred men, the cafes may be affigned by cr one, the dials to another, the wheels to ano "ther, the fprings to another, and every other << part to a proper artist; as there would be no "need of perplexing any one perfon with too "much variety, every one would be able to per"form his fingle part with greater skill and ex"pedition; and the hundred watches would be "finished in one fourth part of the time of the "first one, and every one of them at one fourth "part of the coft, though the wages of every
man were equal. The reduction of the price "of the manufacture would increase the demand "of it, all the fame hands would be still employed " and as well paid. The fame rule will hold in "the cloathing, the shipping, and all other trades "whatsoever. And thus an addition of hands "to our manufactures will only reduce the price "of them; the labourer will fill have as much
wages, and will confequently be enabled to "purchafe more conveniencies of life; fo that "every intereft in the nation would receive a be"nefit from the increase of our working people.
"Befides, I fee no occafion for this charity to "common beggars, fince every beggar is an in"habitant of a parish, and every parish is taxed "to the maintenance of their own poor. For my
own part, I cannot be mightily pleased with the laws which have done this, which have pro"vided better to feed than employ the poor. We "have a tradition from our forefathers, that after the first of thofe laws was made, they were infulted with that famous fong;
**And if we will be fo good-natured as to main-
"What then! am I against all acts of charity?
tivity, this is the man in prifon, and I should "contribute to his ranfom. I ought to give to "an hofpital of invalids, to recover as many ufe❝ful fubjects as I can; but I fhall beftow none "of my bounties upon an alms-houfe of idle * people; and for the fame reafon I fhould not "think it a reproach to me if I had with-held my charity from those common beggars. But we prescribe better rules than we are able to "practise; we are ashamed not to give into the "mistaken cuftoms of our country; but at the "fame time, I cannot but think it a reproach "worfe than that of common fwearing, that the ❝idic and the abandoned are fuffered in the name "of Heaven and all that is facred, to extort from "christian and tender minds a fupply to a pro"fligate way of life, that is always to be fup"ported, but never relieved."
Shall, in this paper, difcharge myself of the
bill of mortality, had I translated it at full length; I have therefore made an abridgement of it, and only extracted fuch particular paffages as have fomething extraordinary, either in the cafe, or in the cure, or in the fate of the perfon who is mentioned in it. After this short preface take the account as follows.
This account is very dry in many parts, as only mentioning the name of the lover who leaped, the perfon he leaped for, and relating, in fhort, that he was either cured of killed, or maimed by the fall. It indeed gives the names of fo many who died by it, that it would have looked like a
Battas, the son of Menalcas the Sicilian, leaped for Bombyca the musician: got rid of his paffion with the lofs of his right leg and arm, which were broken in the fall.
Meliffa, in love with Daphnis, very much bruifed, but efcaped with life.
Cynifca, the wife of Æfchines, being in love with Lycus; and fchines her husband being in love with Eurilla; (which had made this mar ried couple very uneafy to one another for feveral years) both the husband and the wife took the leap by confent; they both of them efcaped, and have lived very happily together ever fince.
Cleora, a widow of Ephefus, being inconfolable for the death of her husband, was refolved to
No 233. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27.
take this leap in order to get rid of her paffion
Tanquam hæc fint noftri medicina furoris,
Virg. Ecl. 10. ver. 60. Miletian, and after a fhort converfation with him,
N. B. Her widow's weeds are ftill feen hanging up in the western corner of the temple.
Olphis, the fisherman, having received a box on the ear from Theftylis the day before, and be ing determined to have no more to-do with her, leaped, and escaped with life.
Lariffa, a virgin of Theffaly, deferted by Plexippus, after a courtship of three years; she stood upon the brow of the promontory for fome time, and after having thrown down a ring, a bracelet, and a little picture, with other prefents which the had received from Plexippus, the threw herself into the fea, and was taken up alive.
N. B. Lariffa, before the leaped, made an offering of a filver Cupid in the temple of Apollo.
Simatha, in love with Daphnis the Myndian, perished in the fall.
Charixus, the brother of Sappho, in love with Rhodope the courtefan, having spent his whole eftate upon her, was advised by his fister to leap in the beginning of his amour, but would not hearken to her until he was reduced to his last talent; being forfaken byRhodope, at length refolved to take the leap. Perifhed in it.
Aridæus, a beautiful youth of Epirus, in love with Braxinoe, the wife of Thefpis, escaped with. out damage, faving only that two of his fore teeth were ftruck out and his nofe a little flatted.
Atalanta, an old maid, whofe cruelty had feveral years before driven two or three defpairing lovers to this leap; being now in the fifty-fifth year of her age, and in love with an officer of Sparta, broke her neck in the fall.
but his heart mifgiving him, he went back and married her that evening.
Cineedus, after having entered his own name in the Pythian records, being afked the name of the perfon whom he leaped for, and being afhamed to difcover it, he was fet afide, and not fuffered to leap.
Eunica, a maid of Paphos, aged nineteen, in love with Eurybates. Hurt in the fall, but recovered.
N. B. This was the fecond time of her leaping.
Hefperas, a young man of Tarentum, in love with his master's daughter. Drowned, the boats not coming in foon enough to his relief.
Sappho, the Lesbian, in love with Phaon, arrived at the temple of Apollo, habited like a a bride in garments as white as fnow. She wore a garland of myrtle on her head, and carried in her hand the little mufical inftrument of her cwn invention. After having fung an hymn to Apollo, fhe hung up her garland on one fide of his altar, and her harp on the other. She then tucked up her veftments, like a Spartan virgin, and amidst thousands of spectators, who were anxious for her fafety, and offered up vows for her deliverance, marched directly forwards, to the utmoft fummit of the promontory, where after having repeated a ftanza of her own verfes, which we could not hear, the threw herself off the rock with fach an intrepidity as was never before obferved in any who had attempted that dangerous leap. Many who were prefent related, that they faw her fall into the fea, from whence the never rofe again; tho' there were others who affirmed, that he never came to the bottom of her leap, but that he was changed into a fwan as the fell, and that they faw her hovering in the air under that shape. But whether or no the white nefs and fluttering of her garments might not deceive those who looked upon her, or whether The might not really be metamorphofed into that mufical and melancholy bird, is fill a doubt among the Lesbians.
Alcæus, the famous Lyric poet, who had for fome time been paffionately in love with Sappho, arrived at the promontory of Leucate that very evening, in order to take the leap upon her account; but hearing that Sappho had been there before him, and that her body could be no where found, he very generously lamented her fail, and is faid to have written his hundred and twentyfifth ode upon that occafion.
Leaped in this Olympiad 250.
impertinent, has fomething amiable in it, because it proceeds from the love of truth, even in frivolous occafions. If fuch honeft amendments do not promise an agreeable companion, they do a fincere friend; for which reafon one fhould allow them fo much of our time, if we fall into their company, as to fet us right in matters that can do us no manner of harm, whether the facts be one way or the other, Lies which are told out of arrogance and oftentation a man should detect in his own defence, because he should not be triumphed over; lies which are told out of arrogance and oftentation a man fhould detect in his own defence, because he fhould not be triumphed over; lies which are told out of malice he fhould expofe, both for his own fake and that of the reft of mankind, becaufe every man fhould rife against a common enemy: but the officious liar many have argued is to be excufed, because it does fome man good, and no man hurt. The man who made more than ordinary fpeed from a fight in which the Athenians were beaten, and told them they had obtained a complete victory, and put the whole city into the utmost joy and exultation, was checked by the magiftrates for his falfhood; but excufed himfelf by faying, "O Athenians! am I your ene
my because I gave you two happy days?" This fellow did to a whole people what an acquaintance of mine does every day he lives in fome eminent degree to particular perfons. He is ever lying people into good humour, and, as Plato faid, it is allowable in physicians to lie to their patients to keep up their spirits, I am half doubtful whether my friend's behaviour is not as excufe.. able. His manner is to exprefs himself surprised at the chearful countenance of a man whom he obferves diffident of himself; and generally by that means makes his lie a truth. He will, as if he did not know any thing of the circumstance, afk one whom he knows at variance with another, what is the meaning that Mr. fuch-a-one, naming his adverfary, does not applaud him with that heartinefs which formerly he has heard him? He faid indeed, continues he, I would rather have that man for my friend than any man in England; but for an enemy- -This melts the perfon he talks to, who expeed nothing but downright raillery from that fide. According as he fees his practices fucceed, he goes to the oppofite party, and tells him, he cannot imagine how it happens that fome people know one another fo little; you fpoke with fo much coldness of a gentleman who faid more good of you, than, let me tell you, any man living deferves. The fuccefs of one of thefe incidents was, that the next time that one of the adverfaries fpied the other, he hems after him in the public street, and they must crack a bottle at C the next tavern, that used to turn out of the other's way to avoid one another's eye-fhot. He will tell one beauty fhe was commended by another, nay, he will fay fhe gave the woman he speaks to, the preference in a particular for which fhe herfelf is admired. The pleafanteft confufion imaginable is made through the whole town by my friend's indirect offices; you fhall have a vifit returned after half a year's abfence, and mutual railing at each other every day of that time. They meet with a thousand lamentations for fo long a feparation, each party naming herfelf for the greatest delinquent, if the other can poffibly be fo good as to forgive her, which the has no reafon in the world, but from the knowledge
N° 234. WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28.
Vellem in amicitia fic erraremus.
Hor. Sat. 3. 1. I. v. 41. I wish this error in our friendship reign'd. CREECH,
QU very often hear people, after a ftory has been told with fome entertaining circumftances, tell it over again with particulars that destroy the jeft, but give light into the truth of the narration. This fort of veracity, though it is
ledge of her goodness to hope for. Very often a whole train of raillers of each fide tire their horfes in fetting matters right which they have faid during the war between the parties; and a whole circle of acquaintance are put into a thousand pleafing paffions and fentiments, instead of the pangs of anger, envy, detraction, and malice.
The worst evil I ever obferved this man's falfhood occafion, has been that he turned detraction into flattery. He is well fkilled in the manners of the world, and by overlooking what men really are, he grounds his artifices upon what they have a mind to be. Upon this foundation, if two diftant friends are brought together, and the cement feems to be weak, he never refts until he finds new appearances to take off all remains of ill-will, and that by new mifunderstandings they are thoroughly reconciled.
This, as far as I could ever learn from their 'writings, or my own obfervation, is a true account of the British free-thinker. Our vifitant here, who gave occafion to this paper, has brought with him a new fyftem of common fenfe, the particulars of which I am not yet 'acquainted with, but will lofe no opportunity of 'informing myself whether it contains any thing worth Mr. Spectator's notice. In the mean time, Sir, I cannot but think it would be for the good of mankind, if you would take this fub'ject into your own confideration, and convince the hopeful youth of our nation, that licentioufnefs is not freedom; or, if fuch a paradox will not be understood, that a prejudice towards atheism is not impartiality. I am,
Sir, your most humble fervant,
To the Spectator.
SIR, Devonshire, Nov. 14, 1711. HERE arrived in this neighbourhood two days ago one of your gay gentleman of the town, who being attended at his entry with fervant of his befides a countryman he
had taken up for a guide, excited the curiofity
of the village to learn whence and what he might be. The countryman, to whom they applied as moft eafy of accefs, knew little more than that the gentleman came from London to travel and see fashions, and was, as he heard fay, a free thinker: what religion that might be, he could not tell; and for his own part, if they had not told him the man was a freethinker, he should have gueffed, by his way of talking, he was little better than a heathen; excepting only that he had been a good gentleman to him, and made him drunk, twice in <one day, over and above what they had bar'gained for.
I do not look upon the fimplicity of this, and feveral odd inquiries with which I fhall not trouble you to be wondered at; much lefs can I think that our youths of fine wit, and enlarged understandings, have any reafon to laugh. There is no neceffity that every 'fquire in Great Bri'tain fhould know what the word free-thinker ftands for; but it were much to be wifhed, that they who value themfelves upon that conceited title were a little better inftructed in what it ought to ftand for; and that they would not perfuade themselves a man is really and truly a free-thinker in any tolerable fenfe, merely by virtue of his being an atheift, or an infidel of any other diftinction. It may be doubted with good reason, whether there ever was in nature a more abject, flavin, and bigotted generation than the tribe of Beaux Efprits, at prefent fo prevailing in this island. Their pretenfion to be free-thinkers, is no other than rakes have to be free-livers and favages to be free-men; that is, they can think whatever they have a mind to, and give themfelves up to whatever conceit the extravagancy of their inclination, or their fancy, fhall fuggeft; they can think as wildly as they talk and act, and will not endure that their wit fhould be controuled by fuch formal things as decency and common fenfe: deduction, coherence, confiftency, and all the rules of reafon they accordingly difdain, as too precife and me⚫chanical for men of a liberal education.
N° 235. THURSDAY, NOVEM. 29.
Hor. Ars. Poet, v. 81.
is nothing which lies more within
the province of a fpectator than public fhows and diverfions; and as among thefe there are none which can pretend to vie with thofe elegant entertainments that are exhibited in our theatres, I think it particularly incumbent on me to take notice of every thing that is remarkable in fuch numerous and refined affemblies.
It is obferved, that of late years there has been a certain perfon in the upper-gallery of the playhoufe, who when he is pleafed with any thing that is acted upon the ftage, expreffes his approbation by a loud knock upon the benches or the wainscot, which may be heard over the whole theatre. This perfon is commonly known by the name of the "trunk-maker in the upper-gallery." Whether it be, that the blow he gives on thefe occafions resembles that which is often heard in the fhops of fuch artisans, or that he was supposed to have been a real trunk-maker, who after the finifhing of his day's work, used to unbend his mind at these public diverfions with his hammer in his hand, cannot certainly tell. There are fome, I know, who have been foolish enough to imagine it is a fpirit which haunts the upper gallery, and from time to time makes thofe ftrange noifes; and the rather because he is obferved to be louder than ordinary every time the ghost of Hamlet appears. Others have reported, that it is a dumb man, who has chofen this way of uttering himself when he is transported with any thing he fees or hears. Others will have it to be the play-houfe thunderer, that exerts himself after this manner in the upper gallery when he has no> thing to do upon the roof.
But having made it my bufinefs to get the best information I could in a matter of this moment, I find that the trunk-maker, as he is commonly called, is a large black man, whom no-body knows. He generally leans forward on a huge oaken plant with great attention to every thing that paffes upon the ftage. He is never feen to fmile; but upon hearing any thing that pleafes him, he takes up his ftaff with both hands, and lays it upon the next piece of timber that ftands in his way with exceeding vehemence after