« VorigeDoorgaan »
In most of the pedigrees hung up in old
tleman, who is very far gone in this fort of No 613. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29,
the contrary, no small number appearing without any titles, my coufin, to fupply the defects ' of the manufcript, added Efq; at the end of each of them.
We paffed flightly over three or four of our immediate forefathers, whom we knew by tradition, but were foon ftopped by an alderman of London, who, I perceived, made my kinfman's heart go pit-a-pat. His confufion increafed, when he found the alderman's father to be a grafier; but he recovered his fright upon feeing justice of the quorum at the end of his titles. Things went on pretty well as we threw our eyes occafionally over the tree, when unfortunately he perceived a merchant-taylor perched on a bough, who was faid greatly to have increafed the eftate; he was just a going to cut him off if he had not feen gent. after the <name of his fon; who. was recorded to have mortgaged one of the manors his honeft father had purchased. A weaver, who was burnt for his religion in the reign of Queen Mary, was < pruned away without mercy; as was likewise < a yeoman, who died of a fall from his own C cart. But great was our triumph in one of the blood who was beheaded for high treafon : which neverthelefs was not a little allayed by another of our ancestors who was hanged for ftealing fheep.. The expectations of my good coufin were wonderfully raised by a match into the family of a knight, but unfortunately for us, this branch proved barren: on the other hand, Margery the milk-maid, being twined round a bough, it flourished out into fo many 'fhoots, and bent with so much fruit, that the 'old gentleman was quite out of countenance.
To comfort me, under this difgrace, he fingled out a branch ten times more fruitful than the other, which, he told me, he valued more than any in the tree, and bad me be of good comfort. This enormous bough was a graft out of a Welsh heirefs, with fo many Ap's upon it that it might have made a little grove by itself. From the trunk of the pedigree, which was chicfly composed of labourers and fhepherds, arofe a huge sprout of farmers: this was branched out into yeomen, and ended in a fheriff of the county, who was knighted for his good fervice to the crown, in bringing up an address. Several of the names that feemed to difparage the family, being looked upon as mistakes, • were lopped off as rotten or withered; as, on
This tree fo pruned, dreffed, and cultivated ( was within a few days, tranfplanted into a large fheet of vellum, and placed in the great hall, where it attracts the veneration of his tenants every Sunday morning, while they. wait until his worship is ready to go to church; 'wondering that a man, who had fo many fa'thers before him, fhould not be made a knight, or at least a juftice of the peace.
-Studiis florentem ignobilis oti.
VIRG. Georg. 4. ver. 564.
T is reckoned a piece of ill-breeding for one
man to ingrofs the whole talk to himself. For this reafon, fince I keep three vifiting-days in the week, I am content now and then to let my friends put in a word. There are several advantages hereby accruing both to my readers and myself. As first, young and modeft writers have an opportunity of getting into print: again, the town enjoys the pleafures of variety; and pofterity will fee the humour of the prefent age, by the help of thefe lights into private and domeftic life. The benefits I receive from thence, are fuch as thefe; I gain more time for future fpeculations; pick up hints which I improve for the public good; give advice; redrefs grievances; and by leaving commodious spaces between the feveral letters that I print, furnifh out a Spectator with little labour and great oftentation.
Was mightily pleafed with your fpeculation of Friday. Your fentiments are noble, and the whole worked up in fuch manner, as cannot but ftrike upon every reader. But give me leave to make this remark; that while you write fo pathetically on contentment, and a retired life, you fouth the paffion of melancholy, and deprefs the mind from actions truly glorious. Titles and honours are the reward of virtue; we therefore ought to be affected with them and though light minds are too much puffed up with exterior pomp, yet I cannot fee why it is not as truly' philofophical, to admire the glowing ruby, or the fparkling green of an emerald, as the fainter and the lefs permanent beauties of a rofe or a myrtle. If there are men of extraordinary capacities who lie concealed from the world, I fhould impute it to them as a blot in their character, did not I believe it owing to the meannefs of their fortune rather than of their fpirit. Cowley, who tells the ftory of Aglaus with fo much pleafure, was no ftranger to courts nor infenfible • of praise.
and he praised folitude, when he defpaired of fhining in a court. The foul of man is an active principle. He therefore, who withdraws himself from the fcene before he has played his part, ought to be hiffed off the stage, and can6 not be deemed virtuous, because he refuses to answer his end. I muft own I am fired with 6 an honeft ambition to imitate every illuftrious example. The battles of Blenheim and lies have more than once made me wish myself a foldier. And when I have feen thofe actions fo nobly celebrated by our poets, I have fecretly afpired to be one of that diftinguished clafs. f. But in vain I with, in vain I pant with the de'fire of action. I am chained down in obfcu'rity, and the only pleafure I can take is in fee
ing fo many brighter geniuses join their friend-
SIR, Middle-Temple, October 26, 1714. HOUGH have formerly made eloquence the fubject of one or more of your papers, I do not remember that you ever conidered it as poffeffed by a fet of people, who are fo far from making Quintilian's rules their practice that, I dare fay for them, they never heard of fuch an author, and yet are no less mafters of it than Tully or Demofthenes among the ancients, or whom you pleafe among the moderns. The perfons I am ipeaking of are our common beggars about this town; and that what I fay is true, I appeal to any man who has a heart one degree fofter than a tone. As for my part, who do not pretend to more humanity than iny neighbours, I have oftentime gone from my chambers with money in my pocket, and returned to them not only pennylefs, but deftitute of a farthing, withC out beftowing of it any other way than on these
feeming objects of pity. In fhort, I have seen < more eloquence in a look from one of these defpicable creatures, than in the eye of the faireft the I ever faw, yet no one a greater admirer of that fex than m; fel. What I have to defire of you is, to lay down fome directions in order to guard against thefe powerful orators, or elfe I know nothing to the contrary but I must myself be forced to leave the profeffion of the law, and endeavour to get the qualifications neceffary to that more profitable one of begging. But in which foever of these two capacities I fhine, I fhall always defire to be your conftant reader, and ever will be Your most humble fervant,
reading a Spectator laft week, where Mis. Fanny Fickle fubmitted the choice ❝ of a lover for life to your decifive determination, and imagining I might claim the favour of your advice in an affair of the like, but much more difficult nature, I called for pen and ink, in order to draw the characters of feven humble fervants, whom I have equally encouraged for fome time. But alas! while I' was reflecting on the agreeable fubject, and contriving an advantageous defcription of the dear perfon I was moit inclined to favour, I happened to look into my glafs. The fight
of the small-pox, out of which I am just recovered, tormented me at once with the lofs of 'my captivating arts and my captives. The 'confufion I was in, on this unhappy, unfeafonable difcovery, is inexpreffible. Believe me, Sir, I was fo taken up with the thoughts of your fair correspondent's cafe, and fo intent 'on my own defign, that I fancied myfelf as triRamil-umphant in my conquests as ever.
Now, Sir, finding I was incapacitated to 'amufe myself on that pleafing subject, I refolved to apply myself to you, or your cafuisti'cal agent, for advice in my prefent circum'ftances. I am fenfible the tin&ture of my fkin, and the regularity of my features, which the malice of my late illness has altered, are irrecoverable: yer do not defpair, but that lofs, by your affiftance, may in fome measure be repairable, if you will please to propose a way for the recovery of one only of my fugitives.
One of them is in a more particular manner beholden to me than the reit; he for some private reafons being detirous to be a lover incognito, always addressed me with Billet-doux, which I was fo careful of in my fickneis, that I fecured the key of my love magazine under my head, and hearing a noife of opening a lock in my chamber, endangered my life by getting out of bed, to prevent, if it had been attempted, the difcovery of that amour.
I have formerly made ufe of all thofe arti"fices which our fex daily practifes over yours, to draw, as it were undefignedly, the eyes of a whole congregation to my pew; I have taken a pride in the number of admirers at my afternoon levee: but am now quite another creature. I think, could I regain the attractive in'fluence I once had, if I had a legion of fuitors, I fhould never be ambitious of entertaining 'more than one. I have almoft contracted an antipathy to the trifling difcourfes of imperti'nent lovers, though I must needs own, have
thought it very odd of late, to hear genticmen, instead of their usual complaifances, fall into difputes before me of politics, or eife weary
me with the tedious repetition of how thankful I ought to be, and fatisfied with my recovery out of fo dangerous a diftemper: this, tho' I ' am very fenfible of the bleffing, yet I cannot
but diflike, because fuch advice from them rather feems to infult than comfort me, and re'minds me too much of what I was; which 'melancholy confideration I cannot yet perfectly furmount, but hope your fentiments on this head will make it fupportable.
To fhew you what a value I have for your dictates, thefe are to certify the perfons concerned, that unless one of them returns to his colours, if I may fo call them now, before the winter is over, I will voluntarily confine myfelf to a retirement, where I will punish them all with my needle. I will be revenged on them by deciphering them on a carpet, humbly begging admittance, myself scornfully refusing it. If you difapprove of this, as favouring too • much of malice, be pleased to acquaint me with a draught you like better, and it shall be faithfully performed,
By the unfortunate
2. Whether Semphronia, having faithfully • given a promise to two feveral perfons during the laft ficknefs of her husband, is not thereby left at liberty to choose which of them the pleafes, or to reject them both for the fake of a new lover?
Cleora afks me, whether fhe be obliged to <continue fingle according to a vow made to her husband at the time of his prefenting her with • a diamond necklace; fhe being informed by a very pretty young fellow of a good confcience,
that fuch vows are in their nature finful?
Another enquires, whether the hath not the right of widowhood, to difpofe of herself to a gentleman of great merit, who preffes very hard; her husband being irrecoverably gone in ' a confumption?
< An unreasonable creature hath the confidence to ask, whether it be proper for her to marry a man who is younger than her eldest fon?
A fcrupulous well-fpoken matron, who gives f the a great many good words, only doubts whether the is not obliged in confcience to 'fhut up her twe marrigeable daughters, until fuch time as the hath comfortably difpofed of • herfelf?
Sophronia, who feems by her phrafe and fpel. ling to be a perfon of condition, fets forth, that whereas the hath a great estate, and is but a woman, fhe defires to be informed, whether 'fhe would not do prudently to marry Camillus,
a very idle tall young fellow, who hath no fortune of his own, and consequently hath nothing elfe to do but to manage her's.'
mends her to fome wealthy neighbour, who takes a liking to the jolly widow, that would have overlooked the venerable spinster.
Before I fpeak of widows, I cannot but obferve one thing, which I do not know how to account for; a widow is always more fought after than an old maid of the fame age. It is common enough among ordinary people, for a ftale virgin to let up a fhop in a place where he is not known; where the large thumb ring, fuppofed to be given her by her husband, quickly recom
The truth of it is, if we look into this fet of women, we find, according to the different characters or circumftances wherein they are left,' that widows may be divided into those who raife love, and those who raife compaffion.
But not to ramble from this fubject, there are two things in which confifts chiefly the glory of a widow; the love of her deceafed husband, and the care of her children: to which may be added a third arifing out of the former, fuch a prudent conduct as may do honour to both.
A widow poffeffed of all these three qualities, makes not only a virtuous but a fublime cha
There is fomething fo great and fo generous in this ftate of life, when it is accompanied with all its virtues, that it is the fubject of one of the fineft among our modern tragedies in the perfon of Andromache, and had met with an univerfal and deferved applaufe, when introduced upon our English ftage by Mr. Philips.
The most memorable widow in hiftory is queen Artemifia, who not only erected the famous Mausoleum, but drank up the afhes of bler monument than that which he had built, her dead lord thereby inclofing them in a nothough defervedly esteemed one of the wonders
This laft lady feems to have had a better title to a fecond hufband than any I have read of, fince not one duft of her firit was remaining. Our modern heroines might think a husband a very bitter draught, and would have good reason to complain, if they might not accept of a fecond partner, until they had taken fuch a troublefome method of lofing the memory of the
I fhall add to these illuftrious examples out of ancient ftery, a remarkable inftance of the delicacy of our ancestors in relation to the ftate of widowhood, as I find it recorded in Cowell's interpreter. At eaft and weft En'borne in the county of Berks, if a customary tenant die, the widow fhall have what the law calls her free-bench in all his copy-hold lands, dum fola & cafta fuerit; that is, while the lives fingle and chafte; but if the commits incontinency, fhe forfeits her eftate: yet if she will come into the court riding backward up'on a black ram, with his tail in her hand, and fay the words following, the steward is bound by the cuftom to re-admit her to her 'free-bench.'
upon this occafion; and
hope the town will
be entertained with a cavalcade of widows.
N° 615. WEDNESDAY, Nov. 3.
Muneribus fapienter uti,
To fear, fo juftly grounded, no remedy can be propofed; but a man (who hath no great guilt hanging upon his mind, who walks in the plain path of juftice and integrity, and yet either by natural complexion, or confirmed prejudices, or neglect of serious reflection, fuffers himself to be moved by this abject and unmanly paffion) would do well to confider, that there is nothing which deferves his fear, but that beneficent Being who is his friend, his protector, his father. Were this one thought ftrongly fixed in the mind, what calamity would be dreadful? what load can infamy lay upon us when we are fure of the approbation of him who will repay the difgrace of a mo
Smile at the doubtful tide of fate, And scorn alike her friendship and her hate : Who poifon lefs than falfhood fear, Loth to purchase life fo dear; But kindly for their friend embrace cold death, And feal their country's love with their department with the glory of eternity? what sharpnefs is there in pain and difeafes, when they only haften us on to the pleasures that will never fade? what fting is in death when we are affured that it is only the beginning of life? A man who lives fo, as not to fear to die, is inconfiftent with himself, if he delivers himself up to any incidental anxiety.
HOR. Od. 9. 1. 4. ver. 47,
Who spend their treasure freely, as 'twas giv'n
STEPNEY. TT must be owned that fear is a very powerful paffion, fince it is esteemed one of the greatest virtues to fubdue it. It being implanted in us for our preservation, it is no wonder that it fticks clofe to us, as long as we have any thing we are willing to preferve. But as life, and all it's enjoyments, would be fcarce worth the keeping, if we were under a perpetual dread of lofing them, it is the bufinefs of religion and philofophy to free us from all unneceffary anxieties, and direct our fear to its proper object.
If we confider the painfulness of this paffion, and the violent effects it produces, we shall fee how dangerous it is to give way to it upon flight occafions. Some have frightened themfelves into madness, others have given up their lives to thefe apprehenfions. The ftory of a man who grew grey in the fpace of one night's anxiety is very famous.
O! nox, quamlonga es, quæ facis una fenem !
A tedious night indeed, that makes a young " man old.
These apprehenfions, if they proceed from a confcioufnefs of guilt, are the fad warnings of reafon; and may excite our pity, but admit of no remedy. When the hand of the Almighty is vifibly lifted against the impious, the heart of mortal man cannot withstand him. have this paffion fublimely reprefented in the punishment of the Egyptians, tormented with the plague of darkness, in the apocryphal book of Wisdom afcribed to Solomon.
fuccours which reafon offereth. -For the whole world fhineth with clear light, and ' none were hindered in their labour. Over them only was fpread a heavy night, an 'image of that darknefs which fhould after'wards receive them; but yet were they unto ⚫ themselves more grievous than the dark' nefs.'
For when unrighteous men thought to opprefs the holy nation; they being shut up in their houses, the prifoners of darkness, and fettered with the bonds of a long night, lay there exiled from the eternal Providence. For while they fuppofed to lie hid in their fecret fins, they were scattered under a dark veil of 'forgetfulness, being horribly aftonished and troubled with ftrange apparitions. - For wickedness, condemned by her own witness, is very timorous, and being oppreffed with confcience, always forecafteth grievous things. For fear is nothing else but a betraying of the
The intrepidity of a juft good man is fo nobly fet forth by Horace, that it cannot be too often repeated.
In the next place we should confider, though the evil we imagine fhould come to pafs, it may be much more fupportable than it appeared to be. As there is no profperous ftate of life without its calamities, fo there is no adverfity without its benefits. Afk the great and powerful, if they do not feel the pangs of envy and ambition. Enquire of the poor and needy, if they have not tafted the fweets of quiet and contentment. Even under the pains of body, the infidelity of friends, or the mifconftructions put upon our laudable actions, our minds, when for fome time accuftomed to thefe preffures, are fenfible of fecret flowings of comfort, the prefent reward of a pious refignation. The evils of this life appear like rocks and precipices, rugged and barren at a diftance, but at our nearer approach, we find little fruitful fpots, and refreshing springs, mixed with the harshness and deformities of nature.
In the last place we may comfort ourselves with this confideration; that, as the thing feared may not reach us, fo we may not reach what we fear. Our lives may not extend to that dreadful point which we have in view. He who knows all our failings, and will not fuffer us to be tempted beyond our strength, is often pleafed in his tender feverity, to feparate the foul from its body and miferies together.
If we look forward to him for help, we shall never be in danger of falling down thofe precipices which our imagination is apt to create. Like thofe who walk upon a line, if we keep our eye fixed upon one point, we may ftep forward fecurely; whereas an imprudent or cowardly glance on either fide will infallibly deftroy us.
that I could not forbear begging a copy of the
HAVE juft left the right worshipful and his myrmidons about a freaker of five gallons. The whole magiftracy was pretty 'well difguifed before I gave them the flip. Our friend the alderman was half feas over 'before the bonfire was out. We had with us the attorney, and two or three other bright 'fellows. The doctor plays least in fight.
'At nine o'clock in the evening we fet fire to the whore of Babylon. The Devil acted his part to a miracle. He has made his fortune by it. We equipped the young dog with a tefter a-piece. Honeft old Brown of England was very drunk, and fhewed his loyalty to the tune of a hundred rockets. The mob drank the king's health on their marrowbones, ' in mother Day's double. They whipped us half a dozen hogfheads. Poor Tom Tyler had like to have been demolished with the end of a sky-rocket, that fell upon the bridge of his nofe as he was drinking the king's health, and spoiled his tip. The mob were very loyal until about midnight, when they grew a little mutinous for more liquor. They had like to have dumfounded the juftice; but his ⚫ clerk came in to his affiftance, and took them 'all down in black and white.
No. 616. FRIDAY, Nov. 5.
Qui bellus homo eft, Cotta, pufillus homo eft.
NICERO hath obferved, that a jeft is never uttered with a better grace, than when it is accompanied with a ferious countenance. When a pleasant thought plays in the features, before it difcovers itself in words, it raifes too great an expectation, and lofes the advantage of giving furprife. Wit and humour are no lefs poorly recommended by a levity of phrase, and that kind of language which may be diftinguished by the name of Cant. Ridicule is never more strong, than when it is concealed in gravity. True humour lies in the thought, and arifes from the reprefentation of images in odd circumstances, and uncommon lights. A pleafant thought trikes us by the force of its natural beauty; and the mirth of it is generally rather palled, than heightened by that ridicu lous phrafeology, which is fo much in fashion among the pretenders to humour and pleafantry. This tribe of men are like our mountebanks; they make a man a wit, by putting him in á fantafic habit.
Our little burlefque authors who are the delight of ordinary readers, generally abound in thefe pert phrafes, which have in them more vivacity than wit,
I lately faw an inftance of this kind of writing, which gave me fo lively an idea of it
• Dear Jack,
When I had been huzzaed out of my feven fenfes, I made a vifit to the women, who were guzzling very comfortably. Mrs. Mayorefs clipped the king's English. Clack was the ' word.
I forgot to tell thee, that every one of the poffe had his hat cocked with a diftich: the fenators fent us down a cargo of ribbon and metre for the occafion.
Sir Richard, to fhew his zeal for the proteftant religion, is at the expence of a tar• barrel and a ball. I peeped into the knight's great hall, and faw a very pretty bevy of fpinsters. My dear relict was amongst them, and ambled in a country-dance as notably as the best of them.
'May all his majesty's liege fubjects love him as well as his good people of this his ancient borough. Adieu.'