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Embrios and idiots, eremites and friers
-A while difcourfe they hold,
No fear left dinner cool; when thus began
Who of all ages to fucceed, but feeling
The great mafters in compofition know very well that many an elegant phrafe becomes im propen for a poet or an orator, when it has been debated by common use. For this reafon the works of ancient authors, which are written in dead languages, have a great advantage ovet thofe which are written in languages that are now spoken. Were there any mean phrafes or idioms in Virgil and Homer, they would not fhook the ear of the most delicate modern reader, fo much as they would have done that of an old Greek or Roman, because we never hear them pronounced in our streets, or in ordinary converfation.
It is not therefore fufficient, that the language of an epic poem be perfpicuous, unlch it be allo fublime. To this end it ought to deviate from the common forms and ordinary phrases of speech. The judgment of a poet very much difcovers itfelf in hunning the common roads of expreffion, without falling into fuch ways of fpecch as may feem ftiff and unnatural; he must not swell into a falfe fublime, by endeavouring to avoid the other extreme. Among the Greeks, Afchylus, and fometimes Sophocles, were guilty of this fault; among the Latins, Claudian and Statius; and among our own countrymen, Shakespear and Lee. In thefe authors the affectation of greatnefs often hurts the perfpicuity of the ftile, as in many others the endeavour after perfpicuity prejudices its greatnefs.
Ariftotle has observed, that the idiomatic file may be avoided, and the fublime formed, by the following methods. First by the use of meaphors fuch as thofe of Milton:
Imparadis'd in one another's arms.
Stood waving tipt with fire.---
In thefe and innumerable other inftances, the metaphors are very bold but just; I must how ever obferve that the metaphors are not fo thick fown in Milton, which always favours too much of wit; that they never clash with one another, which, as Ariftotle obferves, turns a fentence into a kind of an enigma or riddle; and that he feldom has recourfe to them where the proper and natural words will do as well.
Another way of raifing the language, and giv. ing it a poetical turn, is to make ufe of the idioms of other tongues. Virgil is full of the
Greek forms of speech, which the critics call Hellenifms, as Horace in his odes abounds with them much more than Virgil. I need not mention the several dialects which Homer has made ufe of for this end. Milton, in conformity with the practice of the ancient pocts, and with Ariftotle's rule, has infufed a great many Latinjfms, as well as Græcifms, and fometimes. Hebraifms, into the language of his poem; as towards the beginning of it.
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight
Under this head may be reckoned the placing the adjective after the fubftantive, the tranfpofition of words, the turning the adjective into a fubftantive, with feveral other foreign modes of fpeech which this poet has naturalized to give his verfe the greater found, and throw it out of profe.
The third method mentioned by Ariftotle is what agrees with the genius of the Greek language more than with that of any other tongue, and is therefore more used by Homer than by any other poet; I mean the lengthening of a phrafe by the addition of words, which may either be inferted or omitted, as alfo by the extending or contracting of particular words by the infertion or omiffion of certain fyllables. Milton has put in practice this method of raifing his language, as far as the nature of our tongue will permit, as in the paffage above-mentioned, Eremite, for what is hermit, in common difcourfe. If you obferve the meafure of his verfe, he has with great judgment fuppreffed a fyliable in feveral words, and fhortened thofe of two fyllables into one, by which method, befides the above-mentioned advantage, he has given a greater variety to his numbers. But this practice is more particularly remarkable in the names of perfons and of countries, as Beelzebub, Heffebon, and in many other particulars, wherein he has either changed the name, or made ufe of that which is not the most commonly known, that he might the better depart from the language of the vulgar.
The fame reafon recommended to him feveral old words, which alfo makes his poem appear the more venerable, and gives it a greater air of antiquity.
I muft likewife take notice, that there are in Milton feveral words of his own coining, as cerberean, mifcreated, bell-doom'd, Embryon atoms, and many others. If the reader is offended at this liberty in our English poet, I would recommend him to a difcourfe in Plutarch, which fhews us how frequently Homer has made use of the fame liberty.
Milton, by the above-mentioned helps, and by the choice of the nobleft words and phrases which our tongue would afford him, has carried our language to a greater height than any of
the English poets have ever done before or after him, and made the fublimity of his ftile equal to that of his fentiments.
I have been the more particular in these ob, fervations on Milton's ftile, because it is that part of him in which he appears the moft fingular. The remarks I have here made upon the practice of other poets, with my obfervations out of Ariftotle, will perhaps alleviate the prejudice which fome have taken to his poem upon this account; though after all, I must confefs that I think his ftile,though admirable in general, is in fome places too much stiffened and obfcured by the frequent ufe of those methods, which Ariftotle has prefcribed for the raifing of it.
This redundancy of thofe feveral ways of fpeech, which Ariftotle calls "foreign lan66 guage," and with which Milton has fo much enriched, and in fome places darkened the language of his poem, was the more proper for his ufe, becaufe his poem is written in blank verfe. Rhyme, without any other affistance, throws the language off from profe, and very often makes an indifferent phrafe pafs unregarded; but where the verfe is not built upon rhymes, there pomp of found and energy of expreffion, are indifpenfibly neceffary to fup. port the ftile, and keep it from falling into the Aatne's of profe.
Thofe who have not a tafte for this elevation of stile, and are apt to ridicule a poet when he departs from the common forms of expreffion, would do well to fee how Ariftotle has treated an ancient author called Euclid, for his infipid mirth upon this occafion. Mr. Dryden ufed to call these fort of men his profe-critics.
I fhould, under this head of the language, confider Milton's numbers, in which he has made use of several elifions, that are not cuftomary among other English poets, as may be particularly obferved in his cutting off the letter Y, when it precedes a vowel. This, and fome other innovations in the measure of his verfe, has varied his numbers in such a manner, as makes them incapable of fatiating the ear, and cloying the reader, which the fame uniform measure would certainly have done, and which the perpetual returns of rhyme never fail to do in long narrative poems. I fhall
lofe thefe reflexions upon the language of Paradife Loft, with obferving that Milton has copied after Homer rather than Virgil in the length of his periods, the copioufnefs of his phrafes, and the running of his verfes into one another.
N° 286, MONDAY, Jan. 28. Nomina bonefta prætenduntur vitiit.
Tacit. Ann. 1, 14. C. 27. Specious names are lent to cover vices. • Mr. Spectator,
York, Jan. 18, 1712. Fretend not to inform a gentleman of fo
I a whenever he use it
but it may not be amifs to inform your readers, that there is a falfe delicacy as well as a true one. True delicacy, as I take it, consists in exactness of judgment and dignity of fentiment, or if you will, purity of affection, as this is oppofed to corruption and groffnefs. There are pedants in breeding as well as in
learning. The eye that cannot bear the light is not delicate but fore. A good conftitution appears in the foundnefs and vigour of the parts, not in the fqueamishness of the fto'mach and a falfe delicacy is affectation, not politenefs. What then can be the standard of delicacy but truth and virtue? Virtue, which, as the fatirift long fince obferved, is real honour; whereas the other diftinctions among ⚫ mankind are merely titular. Judging by that rule in my opinion, and in that of many of your virtuous female readers, you are fo far from deferving Mr. Courtly's accufation, that you feem too gentle, and to allow too many excufes for an enormous crime, which is the reproach of the age, and is in all its branches and degrees exprefly forbidden by that reli gion we pretend to profefs; and whofe laws, in a nation that calls itfelf Chriftian, one 'would think fhould take place of thofe rules 'which men of corrupt minds, and those of weak understandings, follow. I know not any thing more pernicious to good manners, than the giving fair names to foul actions ! 'for this confounds vice and virtue, and takes ' off that natural horror we have to evil. An 'innocent creature, who would start at the name of ftrumpet, may think it pretty to be 'called a mistress, especially if her feducer has taken care to inform her, that a union of hearts is the principal matter in the fight of heaven, and that the business at church is a mere idle ceremony. Who knows not that the difference between obfcene and ' modeft words expreffing the fame action, confifts only in the acceffary idea, for there is nothing immodeft in letters and fyllables. Fornication and adultery are modeft words; ⚫ because they exprefs an evil action as criminal, and fo as to excite horror and aversion: whereas words reprefenting the pleasure rather than the fin, are for this reafon indecent and dishoneft. Your papers would be chargeable with ⚫ fomething worfe than indelicacy, they would 'be immoral, did you treat the deteftable fina ' of uncleannefs in the fame manner as you rally an impertinent felf-love, and an artful glance; as thofe laws would be very unjust, that fhould chaftife murder and petty larceny with the fame punishment. Even delicacy requires that the pity fhewn to diftreffed indi gent wickedness, firft betrayed into, and then expelled the harbours of the brothel, fhould be changed to deteftation, when we confider pampered vice in the habitations of the wealthy. The most free perfon of quality, in Mr. Courtly's phrafe, that is, to fpeak properly, a woman of figure who has forgot her birth and breeding, dishonoured her relations and herself, abandoned her virtue and reputa tion, together with the natural modesty of her fex, and risked her very foul, is so far from deferving to be treated with no worfe character than that of a kind woman, (which is doubtless Mr. Courtly's meaning, if he has any) that one can scarce be too fevere on her, in as much as the fins against greater restraints, is lefs expofed, and liable to fewer temptati ons, than beauty in poverty and diftrefs. It is hoped therefore, Sir, that you will not lay afide your generous defign of expofing that monstrous wickedness of the town, whereby a multitude of innocents are facrificed in a 3 A
more barbarous manner than thofe who were offered to Moloch. The uncharte are provoked to fee their vice expofed, and the chafte cannot rake into fuch filth without danger of defilement, but a mere Spectator may look into the bottom, and come off without partaking in the guilt. The doing fo will convince us you purfue public good, and not merely your own advantage but if your zeal flackens, how can one help thinking that Mr. • Courtly's letter is but a feint to get off from a fubject, in which either your own, or the private and bafe ends of others to whom you are partial, or thofe of whom you are afraid, would not endure a reformation ?
I am, Sir, your humble fervant and admirer, fc long as you tread the paths of truth, virtue, and Ironour.'
Trin. Coll. Cantab. Jan. 12, 1711-12. Mr. Spectator,
T is my fortune to have a chamber-fellow, with whom, though I agree very well in many fentiments, yet their is one in which we are as contrary as light and darkness. We are both in love his miftrefs is a lovely fair, and mine a lovely brown. Now as the praife of our mistreffes beauty employs much of our time, we have frequent quarrels in entering that fubject, while each fays all he can to defend his choice. For my own part, I have racked my fancy to the uttermoft; and fometimes, with the greatest warmth of ima gination, have told him, that night was made • before day, and many more fine things, though without any effect: nay, last night I could not forbear faying with more heat than judgment, that the devil ought to be painted white. Now, my defire is, Sir, that you will be pleased to give us in black and white your opinion in the matter of difpute between us; < which will either furnish me with fresh and prevailing arguments to maintain my own taste, or make me with lefs repining allow that of my chamber-fellow. I know very well that I have Jack Cleveland and Bond's Horace on my fide; but when he has fuch a band of rhymers and romance writers, with which he oppofes me, and is fo continually chiming to the tune of golden treffes, yellow locks, milk, marble, ivory, filver, fwans, fnow, daifies, doves, and the lord knows what; which he is always founding with fo much vehemence in my ears, that he often puts me in a brown study how to answer him; and I find that I am in a fair way to be quite confounded, without your timely affiftance afforded to, Sir,
Your humble fervant,
MENAND. Dear native land, how do the good and wife Thy happy clime and countless bleffings prize! Look upon it as a peculiar happiness, that were I to choofe of what religion I would be, and under what government I would live, I hould most certainly give the preference to that
form of religion and government which is eftablifhed in my own country. In this point I think I am determined by reafon and conviction; but if I fhall be told that I am acted by preju dice, I am fure it is an honeft prejudice, it is a prejudice that arifes from the love of my country, and therefore fuch an one as I will always indulge. I have in feveral papers endeavoured to exprefs my duty and efteem for the church of England, and defign this as an effay úpon the civil part of our conftitution, having often entertained myself with reflexions on this fubject, which I have not met with in other writers.
That form of government appears to me the moft reasonable, which is moft conformable to the equality that we find in human nature, provided it be confiftent with public peace and tranquility. This is what may properly be called liberty, which exempts one man from fubjection to another, fo far as the order and economy of government will permit.
Liberty fhould reach every individual of a people, as they all fhare one common nature; if it only fpreads among particular branches, there had better be none at all, fince fuch a li berty only aggravates the misfortune of those who are deprived of it, by fetting before them a difagreeable fubject of comparifon,
This liberty is beft preferved, where the legiflative power is lodged in several perfons, especially if thofe perfons are of different ranks and interefts; for where they are of the fame rank, and confequently have an intereft to manage peculiar to that rank, it differs but little from a despotical government in afingle perfon. But the greateft fecurity a people can have for their liberty, is when the legislative power is in the hands of perfons fo happily distinguished, that by providing for the particular interefts of their several ranks, they are providing for the whole body of the people; or in other words, when there is no part of the people that has not a common intereft with at least one part of the legiflators.
If there be but one body of legiflators, it is no better than a tyranny; if there are only two, there will want a cafting voice, and one of them. muft at length be fwallowed up by difputes and contentions that will neceffarily arise between them. Four would have the fame inconvenience as two, and a greater number would cause too much confufion. I could never read a paffage in Polybius, and another in Cicero, to this purpose, without a fecret pleasure in applying it to the English conftitution, which it fuits Both thefe much better than the Roman. great authors give the pre-eminence to a mixt government, confifting of three branches, the regal, the noble, and the popular. They had doublefs in their thoughts the conftitution of the Roman commonwealth, in which the conful reprefented the king, the fenate the nobles, and the tribunes the people. This divifion of the three powers in the Roman conftitution was by to means fo diftinct and natural, as it is in the English form of government. Among feveral objections that might be made to it, I think the chief are thofe that effect the confular power, which had only the ornaments without the force of the regal authority. Their number had not a cafting voice in it; for which reafon, if one did not chance to be employed abroad, while the other fat at home, the public bufinefs was fometimes
fometimes at a ftand, while the confuls pulled two different ways in it. Befides, I do not find that the confuls had ever a negative voice in the paffing of a law, or decree of fenate, fo that indeed they were rather the chief body of the nobility, or the first minifters of state, than a diftinct branch of the fovereignty, in which none can be looked upon as a part, who are not a part of the legislature. Had the confuls been invefted with the regal authority to as great a degree as our monarchs, there would never have been any occafions for a dictatorfhip, which had in it the power of all the three orders, and ended in the fubversion of the whole conftitution.
Such an hiftory as that of Suetonius, which gives us a fucceffion of abfolute princes, is to me an unanswerable argument again defpotic power. Where the prince is a man of wifdom and virtue, it is indeed happy for his people that he is abfolute; but fince in the common run of mankind, for one that is wife and good you find ten of a contrary character, it is very dangerous for a nation to stand to its chance, or to have its public happinefs or mifery depend on the virtue or vices of a fingle perfon. Look into the hiftory I have mentioned, or into any feries of abfolute princes, how many tyrants muft you read through, before you come to an emperor that is fupportable. But this is not all; an honeft private man often grows cruel and abandoned, when converted into an abfolute prince. Give a man power of doing what he pleases with impunity, you extinguish his fear, and confequently overturn in him one of the great pillars of morality. This too we find confirmed by matter of fact. How many hopeful heirs apparent to grand empires, when in the poffeffion of them, have become such monfters of luft and cruelty as are a reproach to human nature.
Some tell us we ought to make our governments on earth like that in heaven, which, fay they, is altogether monarchical and unlimited. Was man like his Creator in goodness and juftice, I fhould be for following this great model; but where goodness and juftice are not effen. tial to the ruler, I would by no means put my felf into his hands to be difpofed of according to his particular will and pleasure.
The first thing every one looks after, is to provide himself with neceffaries. This point will ingrofs our thoughts until it be fatisfied. If this is taken care of to our hands, we look out for pleasures and amufements; and among a great number of idle people, there will be many whofe pleasures will lie in reading and contemplation. Thefe are the two great fources of knowledge, and as men grow wife they naturally love to communicate their difcoveries and others feeing the happiness of fuch a learned life, and improving by their converfation, emulate, imitate, and furpafs one another, until a nation is filled with races of wife and understanding perfons. Eafe and plenty are therefore the great cherishers of knowledge: and as most of the defpotic governments of the world have neither of them, they are naturally over-rum with ignorance and barbarity. In Europe, indeed, notwithstanding several of its princes are abfolute, there are men famous for knowledge and learning; but the reafon is because the fubjects are many of them rich and wealthy, the prince not thinking fit to exert himself in his full tyranny like the princes of the eastern nations, left his fubjects fhould be invited to new-mould their conftitution, having fo many profpects of liberty within their view. But in all defpotic governments, though a particular prince may favour arts and letters, there is a natural degeneracy of mankind, as you may ob ferve from Auguftus's reign, how the Romans loft themfelves by degrees until they fell to an equality with the moft barbarous nations that furrounded them. Look upon Greece under its free states, and you would think its inhabitants lived in different climates, and under different heavens, from thofe at prefent; fo different are the geniufes which are formed under, Turkish flavery, and Grecian liberty.
Befides poverty and want, there are other reafons that debafe the minds of men, who live under flavery, though I look on this as the principal. This natural tendency of defpotic power to ignorance and barbarity, though not infifted upon by others, is, I think, an unanfwerable argument against that form of government, as it fhews how repugnant it is to the good of mankind, and the perfection of human nature, which ought to be the great ends of all civil institutions.
Pavor eft utrique moleftus.
It is odd to confider the connexion between defpotic government and barbarity, and how the making of one perfon more than man, makes the reft lefs. About nine parts of the N° 288, WEDNESDAY, JAN. 30, world in ten are in the loweft ftate of flavery, and confequently funk in the moft grofs and brutal ignorance. European flavery is indeed a ftate of liberty, if compared with that which prevails in the other three divifions of the world; and therefore it is no wonder that those who grovel under it have many tracks of light among them, of which the others are wholly deftitute.
Riches and plenty are the natural fruits of liberty, and where thefe abound, learning and all the liberal arts will immediately lift up their heads and flourish. As a man must have no flavish fears and apprehensions hanging upon his mind, who will indulge the flights of fancy or fpeculation, and push his refearches into all the abftrufe córners of truth, fo it is neceffary for him to have about him a competency of all the conveniencies of life.
Both fear alike,
• Mr. Spectator
Hor. Ep, 6, 1. 1, ver. ro.
HEN you fpoke of the jilts and co quettes, you then promised to be very impartial, and not to fpare even your own fex, fhould any of their fecret or open faults come under your cognizance; which has given me encouragement to describe a certain fpecies of mankind under the denomination of male They are gentlemen who do not defign to marry, yet, that they may appear to have 'fome fenfe of gallantry, think they must pay their devoirs to one particular fair; in order to which they fingle out from amongst the herd of females her to whom they defign to 3 A 2 make
make their fruitless addreffes. This done, they first take every opportunity of being in her company, and then never fail upon all occafions to be particular to her, laying them felves at her feet, protesting the reality of their paffion with a thousand oaths, foliciting a return, and faying as many fine things as their stock of wit will allow; and if they are not deficient that way, generally speak fo as to admit of a double interpretation; which the credulous fair is too apt to turn to her own advantage, fince it frequently happens to be a raw, innocent, young creature, who thinks all the world as fincere as herfelf, and fo her unwary heart becomes an easy prey to thofe deceitful monfters, who no fooner perceive it, but immediately they grow cool, and fhun her whom they before feemed fo much to admire, and proceed to act the fame common-place villainy towards another. A 'coxcomb flushed with many of thefe infamous victories fhall fay he is forry for the poor fools, proteft and vow he never thought of matrimony, and wonder talking civilly can be fo ftrangely misinterpreted. Now, Mr. Spectator, you that are a profeffed friend to love, will, I hope, obferve upon thofe who abufe that noble paffion, and raise it in innocent minds by a deceitful affectation of it, after which they defert the enamoured. Pray bestow a little of your counsel to thofe fond ⚫ believing females who already have or are in danger of broken hearts; in which you will oblige a great part of this town, but in a particular manner,
Sir, your (yet heart-whole) admirer, and devoted humble fervant,
Melainia's complaint is occafioned by fo gemeral a folly, that it is wonderful one could fo long overlook it. But this falfe gallantry proceeds from an impo ence of mind, which makes those who are guilty of it incapable of pursuing what they themselves approve. Many a man wishes a woman his wife whom he dare not take for fuch. Though no one has power over his inclinations or fortunes, he is a flave to common fame. For this reafon I think Melainia gives them too foft a name in that of male coquets. I know not why irrefolution of mind
merciful to infignificant and mifchievous men. In order to this, all vifitants who frequent fa milies wherein there are young females, are forthwith required to declare themfelves, or abfent from places where their prefence banithes fuch as would pass their time more to the advantage of thofe whom they vifit. It is a matter of too great moment to be dallied with: and I thall expect from all my young people a fatisfactory account of appearances. Strephon has from the publication hereof feven days to explain the riddle he prefented to Eudamia; and Cloris an hour after this comes to her hand, to declare whether the will have Philotas, whom a woman of no less merit than herself, and of fuperior fortune, lang guithes to call her own.
INCE fo many dealers turn authors, and write quaint advertisements in praife of their wares, one who from an author turned dealer may be allowed for the advancement of trade to turn author again, I will not however fet up like fome of them, for felling cheaper than the most able honeft tradefman can; nor do I fend this to be better known for choice and cheapnets of china and japan wares, tea, fans, muflins, pictures, arrack, and other Indian goods. Placed as I am in Leadenhall-ftreet, near the Indiacompany, and the centre of that trade, thanks to my fair cuftomers, my warehoufe is graced as well as the benefit days of my plays and operas; and the foreign goods I fell feem no lefs acceptable than the foreign books I tranflated, Rabelais and Don Quixote: this the cri tics allow me, and while they like my wares they may difpraife my writing. But as it is not fo well known yet that I frequently crofs the feas of late, and fpeaking Dutch and French, befides other languages, I have the conveniency of buying and importing rich brocades, Dutch atlas's, with gold and filver, or without, and other foreign filks of the newest modes and best fabrics, fine Flanders lace, linens, and pictures, at the best hand; this my new way of trade I have fallen into I cannot better publish than by an application to you. My wares are fit only for fuch as your readers; and I would beg of you to print this addrefs in your paper, that thofe whofe minds you adorn may take the or
fhould not be more contemptible than impo-naments for their perfons and houses from me.
This, Sir, if I may prefume to beg it, will be the greater favour, as I have lately received rich filks and fine lace to a confiderable value, which will be fold cheap for a quick return, and as I have alfo a large ftock of other goods. Indian filks were formerly a great branch of our trade; and fince we must not fell them, we must feek amends by dealing in others. This I hope will plead for one who would leffen the number of teazers of the mufes, and who, fuiting his fpirit to his circumstances, humbles the poet to exalt the citizen. Like true tradefman, I hardly ever look into any
tence of body; and thefe frivolous admirers would be but tenderly used, in being only included in the fame term with the infufficient another way. They whom my correfpondent calls male coquets, fhould hereafter be called fribblers. A fribbler is one who profeffes rapture and admiration for the woman to whom he addreffes, and dreads nothing fo much as her confent. His heart can flutter by the force of imagination, but cannot fix from the force of judgment. It is not uncommon for the parents of young women of moderate fortune to wink at the addreffes of fribblers, and expofe their children to the ambiguous behaviour which Mebooks but thofe of accounts. To say the truth,
lainia complains of, until by the fondnefs to one they are to lofe, they become incapable of love towards others, and by confequence in their future marriage lead a joylefs or a miferable
I cannot, I think, give you a better idea of my being a downright man of traffic, than by ac knowledging I oftener read the advertisements, than the matter of even your paper. I am un
life. As therefore I fhall in the fpeculationsder a great temptation to take this opportunity
which regard love be as fevere as I ought on jilts and libertine women, so will I be as little
of admonishing other writers to follow my example, and trouble the town no more; but as