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"The wat'ry length of thefe unjoyous moors "Does all the flow'ry meadows pride excel; Through thefe I fly to her my foul adores; "Ye flow'ry meadows, empty pride, farewel. IV. "Each moment from the charmer I'm confin'd, "My breaft is tortur'd with impatient fires; Fly, my rain-deer, fly swifter than the wind, "Thy tardy feet wing with my fierce defires. V. « Our pleafing toil will then be foon o'erpaid, "And thou, in wonder loft, thall view my fair, Admire each feature of the lovely maid, "Her artless charms, her bloom, her sprightly ❝ air. VI.
"But lo! with graceful motion there the fwims, "Gently removing each ambitious wave; The crooding waves tranfported clafp her limbs: "When, when, oh when thall I fuch freedom << have!
VII. "In vain, ye envious ftreams, fo faft ye flow, To hide her from a lover's ardent gaze: « From every touch you more transparent grow, "And all reveal'd the beauteous wanton plays.'
No 407. TUESDAY, JUNE 17. -abeft facundis gratia dicis.
OVID. Met. 1. 13. v. 127. Eloquent words a graceful manner want.
OST foreign writers who have given any character of the English nation, whatever vices they afcribe to it, allow in general, that the people are naturally modeft. It proceeds perhaps from this our national virtue, that our orators are obferved to make use of lefs gefture or action than those of other countries. Our preachers stand stock ftill in the pulpit, and will not fo much as move a finger to fet off the beft fermons in the world. We meet with the fame fpeaking ftatues at our bars, and in all public places of debate. Our words flow from us in a Imooth continued ftream, without thofe ftrainings of the voice, motions of the body, and majefty of the hand, which are fo much celebrated in the orators of Greece and Rome. We can talk of life and death in cold blood, and keep our temper in a difcourfe which turns upon every thing that is dear to us. Though our zeal breaks out in the finest tropes and figures, it is not able to ftir a limb about us. I have heard it obferved more than once by thofe who have feen Italy, that an untravelled Englishman cannot relish all the beauties of Italian pictures, becaufe the poftures which are expreffed in them are often fuch as are peculiar to that country. One who has not feen an Italian in the pulpit, will not know what to make of that noble gefture in Raphael's picture of St. Paul preaching at Athens, where the apostle is reprefented as lifting up both his arms, and pouring out the thunder of his rhetoric amid an audience of Pagan philofophers.
It is certain that proper geftures and vehement exertions of the voice cannot be too much studied by a public orator. They are a kind of comment to what he utters, and enforce every thing he fays, with weak hearers, better than the strong
eft argument he can make ufe of. They keep the audience awake, and fix their attention to what is delivered to them, at the fame time that they fhew the fpeaker is in earneft, and affected himfelf with what he so paffionately recommends to others. Violent gesture and vociferation naturally shake the hearts of the ignorant, and fill them with a kind of religious horror. Nothing is more frequent than to fee women weep and tremble at the fight of a moving preacher, thoughi he is placed quite out of their hearing; as in England we very frequently fee people lulled afleep with folid and elaborate difcourfes of piety, who would be warmed and tranfported out of themselves by the bellowing and distortions of enthufiafm.
If nonfenfe, when accompanied with fuch an emotion of voice and body, has fuch an influence on men's minds, what might we not expect from many of thofe admirable difcourfes which are printed in our tongue, were they delivered with a becoming fervour, and with the most agreeable graces of voice and gesture?
We are told that the great Latin orator very much impaired his health by this laterum contentio, this vehemence of action, with which he used to deliver himfelf. The Greek orator was likewife fo very famous for this particular in rhetoric, that one of his antagonists, whom he had banish`ed from Athens, reading over the oration which had procured his banishment, and feeing his friends admire it, could not forbear asking them, if they were fo much affected by the bare reading of it, how much more they would have been alarmed, had they heard him actually throwing out fuch a storm of eloquence.
How cold and dead a figure, in comparison of thefe two great men, does an orator often make at the British bar, holding up his head, with the most infipid ferenity, and ftroking the fides of a long wig that reaches down to his middle? The truth of it is, there is often nothing more ridiculous than the gestures of an English speaker; you fee fome of them running their hands into their pockets as far as ever they can thrust them, and others looking with great attention on a piece of paper that has nothing written in it; you may fee many a fmart rhetorician turning his hat in his hands, moulding it into several different cocks, examining fometimes the lining of it, and fometimes the button, during the whole course of his harangue. A deaf man would think he was cheapening a beaver, when perhaps he is talking of the fate of the British nation. I remember when I was a young man, and used to frequent Weftminster-hall, there was a counsellor who never pleaded without a piece of pack-thread in his hand, which he used to twift about a thumb or a finger all the while he was fpeaking: the wags of thofe days used to call it the thread of his difcourfe, for he was not able to utter a word without it. One of his clients who was more merry than wife, ftole it from him one day in the midft of his pleading; but he had better have let it alone, for he lost his caufe by his jest.
I have all along acknowledged myself to be a dumb man, and therefore may be thought a very improper perfon to give rules for oratory; but I believe every one will agree with me in this, that we ought either to lay afide all kinds of gefture, (which feem to be very fuitable to the genius of our nation) or at leaft to make ufe of fuch only as and graceful and expreffive.
N° 408. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18.
Decet affectus animi neque fe nimium erigere, nec fubjacere ferviliter. TULL. de Finibus. We should keep our paffions from being exalted above measure, or fervilely depress'd.
• Mr. Spectator
Have always been a very great lover of fpeculations, as well in regard of the fubject, as to your manner of treating it. Human nature I always thought the most useful object of human reason, and to make the confideration of it pleafant and entertaining, I always thought the best employment of human wit: other parts of philofophy may perhaps make us wifer, but this not only anfwers that end, but makes us ⚫ better too. Hence it was that the oracle pronounced Socrates the wifeft of all men living, because he judiciously made choice of human nature for the object of his thoughts; an inquiry into which as much exceeds all other learning, as it is of more confequence to adjust the true nature and measures of right and wrong, than to settle the distance of the planets, and compute the times of their circumvolu❝tions.
One good effect that will immediately arife from a mere obfervation of human nature, is, that we shall ceafe to wonder at thofe actions which men are used to reckon wholly unac'countable; for as nothing is produced without · a caufe, fo by obferving the nature and course
of the paffions, we fhall be able to trace every action from its first conception to its death. We fhall no more admire at the proceedings of Catiline or Tiberius, when we know the one was actuated by a cruel jealoufy, the other by a furious ambition: for the actions of men fotlow their paffions as naturally as light does heat, or as any other effect flows from its caufe: reafon must be employed in adjusting the paffions, but they must ever remain the ⚫ principles of action.
The ftrange and abfurd variety that is fo ap· parent in mens actions, fhews plainly they can never proceed immediately from reafon; fo · pure a fountain emits no fuch troubled waters : they must neceffarily arife from the paffions, which are to the mind as the winds to a fhip, they only can move it, and they too often deftroy it; if fair and gentle, they guide it into the harbour; if contrary and furious, they overfet it in the waves: in the fame manner is the I mind affifted or endangered by the paffions; reafon must then take the place of pilot, and " can never fail of fecuring her charge if the be not wanting to herfelf: the ftrength of the ⚫ paffions will never be accepted as an excufe for complying with them; they were defigned for fubjection, and if a man fuffers them to get the upper hand, he then betrays the liberty ⚫ of his own foul.
nature prevail, they speak him of the angel; if hatred, cruelty, and envy predominate, they declare his kindred to the brute. Hence it was that fome of the ancients imagined, that as men in this life inclined more to the angel ( or the brute, fo after their death they should tranfmigrate into the one or the other; and it 'would be no unpleasant notion to confider the feveral fpecies of brutes, into which we may imagine that tyrants, mifers, the proud, malicious, and ill-natured might be changed.
As a confequence of this original, all passions are in all men, but appear not in all; conftitution, education, custom of the country, reafon, and the like caufes, may improve or abate the ftrength of them, but ftill the feeds remain, which are ever ready to fprout forth upon the least encouragement. I have heard a story of a good religious man, who, having been bred with the milk of a goat, was very 'modeft in public by a careful reflection he made on his actions, but he frequently had an hour in fecret, wherein he had his frifks and capers; and if we had an opportunity of examining the retirement of the ftricteft philofophers, no doubt but we should find perpetual < returns of thofe paffions they fo artfully conceal from the public. I remember Machiavel obferves, that every ftate fhould entertain a perpetual jealousy of its neighbours, that so it fhould never be unprovided when an emergency happens; in like manner fhould reafon be perpetually on its guard against the paffions, and never fuffer them to carry on any defign that may be deftructive of its fecurity; yet at the fame time it must be careful, that it do not fo far break their ftrength as to render them contemptible, and confequently itfelf unguarded.
The understanding being of itself too flow and lazy to exert itself into action, it is neceffary it fhould be put in motion by the gentle gales of the paffions, which may preferve it from ftagnating and corruption; for they are neceffary to the health of the mind, as the circulation of the animal fpirits is to the health of the body; they keep it in life, and ftrength, and vigour; nor is it poffible for the mind to perform its offices without their affiftance: thefe motions are given us with our being; they are little fpirits that are born and die with us; to fome they are mild, eafy and gentle, to others wayward and unruly, yet never too ftrong for the reins of reason and the guidance of judg
As nature has framed the feveral fpecies of beings as it were in a chain, fo man seems to be placed as the middle link between angels and brutes: hence he participates both of flesh and spirit by an admirable tie, which in him pccafions a perpetual war of paffions; and as a <man inclines to the angelic or brute part of his conftitution, he is then denominated good or bad, virtuous, or wicked; if love, mercy, and good
We may generally obferve a pretty nice pro'portion between the ftrength of reafon and paffion; the greatest geniuses have commonly the strongest affections, as, on the other hand, the weaker understandings have generally the weaker paffions; and it is fit the fury of the courfers should not be too great for the ftrength of the charioteer. Young men whofe paffions are not a little unruly, give fmall hopes of their " ever being confiderable; the fire of youth will of course abate, and is a fault, if it be a fault, that mends every day: but furely unless a man has fire in youth, he can hardly have warmth in old age. We must therefore be very cautious, left while we think to regulate the paf'fions, we should quite extinguish them, which is putting out the light of the foul; for to be without paffion, or to be hurried away with it, makes a man equally blind. The extraordi
nary feverity ufed in the most of our fchools has this fatal effect, it breaks the fpring of the mind, and most certainly deftroys more good geniufes than it can poffibly improve. And furely it is a mighty miftake that the paffions fhould be fo intirely fubdued: for little irregu· larities are fometimes not only to be borne with but to be cultivated too, fince they are fre" quently attended with the greatest perfections. All great geniuses have faults mixed with their virtues, and refemble the flaming bush which has thorns amongst lights.
Since therefore the paffions are the principles ❝of human actions, we must endeavour to manage them fo as to retain their vigour, yet keep them under ftri&t command; we muft govern them rather like free fubjects than flaves, left, while we intend to make them obedient, they become abject, and unfit for those great pur· pofes to which they were defigned. For my · part I must confefs I could never have any regard to that fect of philofophers, who fo much infifted upon an abfolute indifference and va· cancy from all paffion; for it seems to me a thing very inconfiftent, for a man to divest ⚫ himself of humanity, in order to acquire tranquility of mind; and to eradicate the very principles of action, because it is poffible they may produce ill effects.
'I am, SIR,
N° 409. THURSDAY, JUNE 19. -Mufæo contingere cuncta lepore. LUCR. lib. I. v. 933. To grace each fubject with enliv'ning wit. RATIAN very often recommends the fine tafte,' as the utmost perfection of an accomplished man.
As this word arifes very often in converfation, I fhall endeavour to give fome account of it, and to lay down rules how we may know whether we are poffeffed of it, and how we may acquire that fine tafte of writing, which is fo much talked of among the polite world.
Moft languages make ufe of this metaphor, to exprefs that faculty of the mind, which diftinguifhes all the moft concealed faults and niceft perfections in writing. We may be fure this metaphor would not have been fo general in all tongues, had there not been a very great conformity between that mental tafte, which is the fubject of this paper, and that fenfitive tafte, which gives us a relifh of every different flavour that affects the palate. Accordingly we find, there are as many degrees of refinement in the intellectual faculty, as in the fenfe, which is marked out by this common denomination.
I knew a person who poffeffed the one in fo great a perfection, that after having tafted ten different kinds of tea he would diftinguish, without feeing the colour of it, the particular fort which was offered him; and not only fo, but any two forts of them that were mixt together in an equal proportion: nay, he has carried the experiment fo far, as upon tasting the compofition of three different forts, to name the parcels from whence the three feveral ingredients were taken, A man of a fine tafte in writing will
difcern, after the fame manner, not only the ge neral beauties and imperfections of an author, but difcover the feveral ways of thinking and expreffing himself, which diverfify him from all other authors, with the feveral foreign infufions of thought and language, and the particular authors from whom they were borrowed.
After having thus far explained what is generally meant by a fine tafte in writing, and fhewn the propriety of the metaphor which is ufed on this occafion, I think I may define it to be that 'faculty of the foul, which difcerns the beauties of an author with pleasure, and the imperfections with diflike.' If a man would know whether he is poffeffed of this faculty, I would
have him read over the celebrated works of antiquity, which have ftood the test of fo many different ages and countries, or thofe works among the moderns which have the sanction of the politer part of our cotemporaries. If upon the perufal of fuch writings he does not find himfelf delighted in an extraordinary manner, or if, upon reading the admired paffages in fuch authors, he finds a coldnefs and indifference in his thoughts, he ought to conclude, not (as is too ufual among taftelefs readers) that the author wants thofe perfections which have been admired in him, but that he himself wants the faculty of difcovering them.
He fhould, in the fecond place, be very careful to obferve, whether he taftes the diftinguishing perfections, or, if I may be allowed to call them fo, the specific qualities of the author whom he perufes; whether he is particularly pleafed with Livy, for his manner of telling a ftory, with Salluft for his entering into those internal principles of action which arife from the characters and manners of the perfons he defcribes, or with Tacitus for his difplaying those outward motives of fafety and intereft, which gave birth to the whole feries of tranfactions which he relates.
He may likewife confider, how differently he is affected by the fame thought, which presents itfelf in a great writer, from what he is when he finds it delivered by a perfon of an ordinary genius. For there is as much difference in apprehending a thought clothed in Cicero's language, and that of a common author, as in feeing an object by the light of a taper, or by the light of
It is very difficult to lay down rules for the acquirement of fuch a taste as that I am here fpeaking of. The faculty must in some degree be born with us, and it very often happens, that thofe who have other qualities in perfection are wholly void of this. One of the most eminent mathematicians of the age has affured me, that the greatest pleasure he took in reading Virgil, was in examining Eneas his voyage by the map; as I queftion not but many a modern compiler of hiftory would be delighted with little more in that divine author than the bare matters of fact.
But notwithstanding this faculty must in some measure be born with us, there are feveral methods for cultivating and improving it, and without which it will be very uncertain, and of little ufe to the perfon that poffeffes it. The most natural method for this purpose is to be converfant among the writings of the most polite authors. A man who has any relish for fine writing, either discovers new beauties, or receives stronger im
preffions from the masterly strokes of a great author every time he perufes him: befides that he naturally wears himself into the fame manner of speaking and thinking.
Conversation with men of a polite genius is another method for improving our natural tafte. N° 410. FRIDAY, JUNE 20. It is impoffible for a man of the greatest parts to confider any thing in its whole extent, and in all its variety of lights. Every man, befides thofe general obfervations which are to be made upon an author, forms several reflections that are peculiar to his own manner of thinking; fo that converfation will naturally furnish us with hints which we did not attend to, and make us enjoy other mens parts and reflections as well as our own. This is the best reason I can give for the observation which several have made, that men of great genius in the fame way of writing, feldom rife up fingly, but at certain periods of time appear together, and in a body; as they did at Rome in the reign of Auguftus, and in Greece about the age of Socrates. I cannot think that Corneille, Racine, Moliere, Boileau, la Fontaine, Bruyere, Boffu, or the Daciers, would have written fo well as they have done, had they not been friends and contemporaries.
It is likewife neceffary for a man who would form to himself a finifhed tafte of good writing, to be well verfed in the works of the best Critics both ancient and modern. I must confefs that I could wish there, were authors of this kind, who, befides the mechanical rules which a man of very little tafte may difcourfe upon, would enter into the very spirit and foul of fine writing, and fhew us the feveral fources of that pleafure which rifes in the mind upon the perufal of a noble work. Thus although in poetry it be abfolutely neceffary that the unities of time, place and action, with other points of the fame nature, fhould be thoroughly explained and underfood; there is still something more effential to the art, fomething that elevates and aftonishes the fancy, and gives a greatnefs of mind to the reader, which few of the critics besides Longinus have confidered.
both in profe and verfe. As an undertaking of this nature is entirely new, I question not but it will be received with candour.
Our general tafte in England is for epigram, turns of wit, and forced conceits, which have no manner of influence, either for the bettering or enlarging the mind of him who reads them, and have been carefully avoided by the greatest writers, both among the ancients and moderns. I have endeavoured in feveral of my fpeculations to banish this Gothic tafte, which has taken poffeffion among us. I entertained the town for a week together with an effay upon wit, in which I endeavoured to detect feveral of thofe falfe kinds which have been admired in the different ages of the world; and at the fame time to shew wherein the nature of true wit confifts. I afterwards gave an instance of the great force which lies in a natural fimplicity of thought to affect the mind of the reader, from fuch vulgar pieces as have little elfe befides this fingle qualification to recommend them. I have likewife examined the works of the greatest poet which our nation or perhaps any other has produced, and particularized most of thofe rational and manly beauties which give a value to that divine work. I hall next Saturday enter upon an effay on
the pleafures of the imagination,' which though I shall not confider that subject at large, will perhaps fuggest to the reader what it is that gives a beauty to many paffages of the fineft writers
-Dum foris funt, nihil videtur mundius,
TER. Eun. Act. 5. Sc. 4.
decay by vifiting the wenches of the town only by way of humour, told us, that the laft rainy night, he with Sir Roger de Coverley was driven into the Temple Cloifter, whither had efcaped alfo a lady moit exactly dressed from head to foot. Will made no fcruple to acquaint us, that he faluted him very familiarly by his name, and turning immediately to the knight, fhe faid, the fuppofed that was his good friend, Sir Roger de Coverley: upon which nothing lefs could follow than Sir Roger's approach to falutation, with, Madam, the fame at your fervice. She was dreffed in a black tabby mantua and petticoat, without ribbons; her linen ftriped muflin, and on the whole in an agreeable fecond mourning; decent dreffes being often affected by the creatures of the town, at once confulting cheapness and the pretenfions to modefty. She went on with a familiar easy air. Your friend, Mr. Honeycomb is a little furprised to fee a woman here alone and unattended; but I dismissed my coach at the gate, and tripped it down to my council's chamber; for lawyers fees take up too much of a small difputed jointure to admit any other expences but meer neceffaries. Mr. Honeycomb begged they might have the honour of fetting her down, for Sir Roger's fervant was gone to call a coach. In the interim the footman returned, with no coach to be had; and there appeared nothing to be done but trufting herself with Mr. Honeycomb and his friend to wait at the tavern at the gate for a coach, or be fubjected to all the impertinence the must meet with in that public place. Mr. Honeycomb being a man of honour,determined the choice of the first, and Sir Roger, as the better man, took the lady by the hand, leading her through all the fhower, covering her with his hat, and gallanting a familiar acquaintance through rows of young fellows, who winked at Sukey in the state the marched off, Will Honeycomb bringing up the rear.
Much importunity prevailed upon the fair one to admit of a collation, where, after declaring the had no ftomach, and eaten a couple of chickens, devoured a trufs of fallet, and drank a full bottle to her share, the fung the Old Man's Wish to Sir Roger. The knight left the room for fome time after fupper, and writ the following billet, which P he
Y fon, th' inftruction that my words impart, Grave on the living tablet of thy heart; And all the wholefome precepts that I give, Obferve with ftricteft reverence, and live.
Let all thy homage be to wifdom paid, Seek her protection, and implore her aid; That the may keep thy foul from harm fecure, And turn thy footsteps from the harlot's door, Who with curs'd charms lure the unwary in, And fooths with flattery their fouls to fin.
Once from my window as I caft mine eye On thofe that pafs'd in giddy numbers by, A youth among the foolish youths I spy'd, Who took not facred Wisdom for his guide.
Juft as the fun withdrew his cooler light, And evening soft led on the shades of night, He ftole in covert twilight to his fate, And pafs'd the corner near the harlot's gate; When lo, a woman comes !
Loofe her attire, and fuch her glaring dress,
Whatever to the fenfe can grateful be ''I have collected there-I want but thee. My husband's gone a journey far away, Much gold he took abroad, and long will stay:
My chamber I've adorn'd, and o'er my bed Are cov'rings of the richeft tap'ftry spread, With linen it is deck'd from Egypt brought, And carvings by the curious artift wrought; · It wants no glad perfume Arabia yields In all her citron groves and spicy fields: Here all her ftore of richest odours meets, I'll lay thee in a wildernefs of sweets.
'He nam'd for his return a distant day.
Upon her tongue did fuch fmooth mischief dwell,
And from her lips fuch welcome flatt'ry fell, Th' unguarded youth, in filken fetters ty'd, Refign'd his reason, and with ease comply'd. Thus does the ox to his own flaughter go, And thus is fenfelefs of th' impending blow. Thus flies the fimple bird into the fnare, That fkilful fowlers for his life prepare. "But let my fons attend. Attend may they Whom youthful vigour may to fin betray: Let them falfe charmers fly, and guard their
Against the wily wanton's pleafing arts;
N° 411. SATURDAY, JUNE 21.
-Infpir'd I trace the mufes feats, Untrodden yet: 'tis fweet to vifit first Untouch'd and virgin ftreams, and quench my thirst. CREECH. UR fight is the most perfect and most dewith the largest variety of ideas, converfes with its objects at the greateft diftance, and continues the longest in action without being tired or fatiated with its proper enjoyments. The fenfe of feeling can indeed give us a notion of extension, thape, and all other ideas that enter at the eye, except colours; but at the fame time it is very much ftraitened and confined in its operations, to the number, bulk, and diftance of its particular objects. Our fight feems defigned to fupply all thefe defects, and may be confidered as a more delicate and diffufive kind of touch, that fpreads itself over an infinite multitude of bodies, comprehends the largest figures, and brings into our reach fome of the moft remote parts of the univerfe.
It is this fenfe that furnishes the imagination with its ideas; fo that by the pleasure of the imagination or fancy (which I fhall ufe promifcuoufly) I here mean fuch as arife from vifible objects, either when we have them actually in our view, or when we call up their ideas into our minds by paintings ftatues, defcriptions, or any the like occafion. We cannot indeed have a fmgle image in the fancy that did not make its first entrance through the fight; but we have the power of retaining, altering and compounding thofe images, which we have once received, into all the varieties of picture and vision that are moft agreeable to the imagination: for by this faculty a man in a dungeon is capable of entertaining himself with fcenes and landskips more beautiful than any that can be found in the whole compafs of nature,