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"mirth, what does it ?" Upon which he laid it down as a point of doctrine, that laughter was the effect of original fin, and that Adam could not laugh before the fall.
Laughter, while it lafts, flackens and unbraces the mind, weakens the faculties, and caufes a kind of remiffness and diffolution in all the pow ers of the foul: and thus far it may be looked upon as a weaknefs in the compofition of human nature. But if we confider the frequent reliefs we receive from it, and how often it breaks the gloom which is apt to deprefs the mind and damp our fpirits, with tranfient unexpected gleams of joy, one would take care not to grow too wife for fo great a pleasure of life.
The talent of turning men into ridicule, and expofing to laughter those one converses with, is the qualification of little ungenerous tempers. A young man with this caft of mind cuts him felf off from all manner of improvement. Every one has his flaws and weakneffes; nay, the greatest blemishes are often found in the moft hining characters; but what an abfurd thing is it to pafs over all the valuable parts of a man, and fix our attention on his infirmities? to obferve his imperfections more than his virtues? and to make use of him for the fport of others, rather than for our own improvement?
We therefore very often find, that perfons the moft accomplished in ridicule are thofe who are very fhrewd at hitting a blot, without exerting any thing mafterly in themselves. As there are many eminent critics who never writ a good line, there are many admirable buffoons that animadvert upon every fingle defect in another, without ever difcovering the leaft beauty of their own. By this means, thefe unlucky little wits often gain reputation in the esteem of vulgar minds, and raife themselves above perfons of much more laudable characters,
If the talent of ridicule were employed to laugh men out of vice and folly, it might be of fome ufe to the world; but instead of this, we find that it is generally made ufe of to laugh men out of virtue and good fenfe, by attacking every thing that is folemn and ferious, decent and praifeworthy in human life.
We may obferve, that in the first ages of the world, when the great fouls and master-pieces of human nature were produced, men fhined by a noble fimplicity of behaviour, and were ftrangers to thofe little embellishments which are fo fashionable in our prefent conversation. And it is very remarkable, that notwithstanding we fall fhort at prefent of the ancients in poetry, painting, oratory, hiftory, architecture, and all the noble arts and sciences which depend more upon genius than experience, we exceed them as much in doggrel, humour, burlesque, and all the trivial We meet with more raillery among the moderns, but more good fenfe among
arts of ridicule.
poetry runs beft in heroic verfe, like that of the Difpenfary; or in doggerel, like that of Hudibras. I think where the low character is to be raifed, the heroic is the proper meafure; but when an hero is to be pulled down and degraded, it is done beft in doggerel.
If Hudibras had been fet out with as much wit and humour in heroic verfe as he is in doggerel, he would have made a much more agreeable figure than he does; though the generality of his readers are fo wonderfully pleafed with the double rhimes, that I do not expect many will be of my opinion in this particular.
I fhall conclude this effay upon laughter with obferving, that the metaphor of laughing, applied to fields and meadows when they are in flower, or to trees when they are in bloffom, runs through all languages; which I have not obferved of any other metaphor, excepting that of fire and burning when they are applied to love. This fhews that we naturally regard laughter, as what is in itself both amiable and beautiful. For this reafon likewife Venus has gained the title of ouens, the laughter-loving dame, as Waller has tranflated it, and is reprefented by Horace as the goddefs who delights in laughter. Milton in a joyous affembly of imaginary perfons, has given us a very poetical figure of laughHis whole band of mirth is fo finely de fcribed, that I fhall fet down the paffage at length.
"But come, thou goddefs fair and free,
"Quips and cranks, and wanton wiles,
No 250. MONDAY, DECEMBER 17.
The two great branches of ridicule in writing are comedy and burlefque. The first ridicules perfons by drawing them in their proper characters, the other by drawing them quite unlike themselves. Burlefque is therefore of two kinds; the first reprefents mean perfons in the accoutrements of heroes, the other defcribes great perfons acting and speaking like the bafeft among the people. Don Quixote is an inftance of the firft, and Lucian's gods of the fecond. It is a am very fenfible I ought not to use many words difpute among the critics, whether burlesque to you, who are one of but few; but the follow
• Mr. Spectator,
OU fee the nature of my request by the
ing piece, as it relates to fpeculation in propriety of speech, being a curiofity in its kind, begs your K patience. It was found in a poetical virtuofo's clofet among his rarities; and fince the feveral treatifes of thumbs, ears, and nofes, have obliged the world, this of eyes is at your fervice.
The firft eye of confequence, under the invifible Author of all, is the vifible luminary of the univerfe. This glorious fpectator is faid never to open his eyes at his rifing in the morning, without having a whole kingdom of adorers in Perfian filk waiting at his levee. Millions of creatures derive their fight from this original, • who, befides his being the great director of op
tics, is the fureft teft whether eyes be of the fame fpecies with that of an eagle, or that of an owl: the one he emboldens with a manly affurance to look, fpeak, act or plead before the faces of a nu< merous affembly; the other he dazzles out of countenance into a fheepifh dejectednefs. The fun-proof eye dares lead up a dance in a full " court; and without blinking at the luftre of beauty, can diftribute an eye of proper complaifance to a room crouded with company, each of which deferves particular regard; while the other fneaks from converfation, like a fearful debtor, who never dares to look out, but when he can fee no body, and no body him.
The next inftance of optics is the famous Argus, who, to speak the language of Cambridge, was one of an hundred; and being used as a fpy in the affairs of jealoufy, was obliged to have all his eyes about him. We have no account of the particular colours, cafts and turns of this body of eyes; but as he was pimp for his mistress Juno, it is probable he used all the modern leers, ily < glances, and other ocular activities to ferve his purpose. Some look upon him as the then king at arms to the heathenish deities; and make no more of his eyes than fo many pangles of his herald's coat.
The next upon the optic lift is old Janus, who ftoed in a double fighted capacity, like a perfon placed betwixt two oppofite looking-glaffes, and lo took a fort of retrospective caft at one view. Copies of this doubie-faced way are not yet out of fashion with many profeffions, and the ingenious artists pretend to keep up this fpecies by double-headed canes and fpoons; but there is no mark of this faculty, except in the emblematical way of a wife general having an eye to both front and rear, or a pious man taking a review and profpect of his past and future ftate at the fame
Вowths wórva "Hen.
"The ox-ey'd venerable Juno."
Now as to the peculiar qualities of the eye, that fine part of our conftitution feems as much the reception and feat of our pallions, appetites
⚫ and inclinations as the mind itfelf; and at least
-From his wide noftril flies
As for the various turns of the eye-fight, fuch as the voluntary or involuntary, the half or the whole leer, I fhall not enter into a very particular account of them, but let me observe, that oblique vifion, when natural, was anciently the mark of bewitchery and magical fafcination, and to this day it is a malignant ill look; but when it is forced and affected, it carries a wanton defign, and in play-houfes, and other public places, this ocular intimation is often an affignation for bad practices; but this irregularity in vifion, together with fuch enormities as tipping the wink, the circumfpective roll, the fide-peep a thin hood or fan, muit be put in the clafs of heteroptics, as all wrong notions of religion are ranked under the general name of heterodox. All the pernicious applications of fight are more immediately under the direction of a Spectator; and I hope you will arm your readers against the mischiefs which are daily done by killing eyes, in which you will highly oblige your wounded unknown friend,
I must own, that the names, colours, qualities, and turns of eyes vary almost in every head; for, not to mention the common appellations of the black, the blue, the white, the gray, and the like; the most remarkable are thofe that borrow their titles from animals, by virtue of fome particular quality of refemblance they bear to the eyes of the refpective creatures; as that of a greedy rapacious afpect takes its name from the cat, that of a tharp piercing nature from the hawk, those of an amorous roguish look derive their title even from the fheep, and we fay fuch an one has a fheep's eye, not fo much to denote the innocence as the fimple flynefs of the caft: nor is this metaphorical inoculation a modern invention, for we find Homer taking the freedom to place the eye of an ox, bull, or cow in one of his principal goddeffes, by that frequent expref-diftinct, though fomewhat lefs than life, or ⚫ bigger and nearer. A perfon may, by the help of
OU profeffed in feveral papers your particular endeavours in the province of Spectator, to correct the offence committed by ftarers who difturb whole affemblies without any regard to time, place or modefty. You complained alfo that a ftarer is not ufually a perfon to be convinced by the reafon of the thing, nor fo easily rebuked, as to amend by admonitions. I thought therefore fit to acquaint you with a convenient mechanical way, which may easily prevent or correct ftaring, by an optical contrivance of new perfpective-glaffes, fhort and commodious like opera-glaffes, fit for thort-fighted people as well as others, thefe glaffes making the objects appear, either as they are feen by the naked eye, or more
this invention, take a view of another, without the impertinence of ftaring; at the fame time it fhall not be poffible to know whom or what he is looking at. One may lock towards his right " or left hand, when he is fuppofed to look forwards: this is fet forth at large in the printed propofals for the fale of these glaffes, to be had at Mr. Dillon's in Long-Acre, next door to the White-Hart. Now, Sir, as your Spectator has occafioned the publifhing of this invention for the benefit of modeft fpectators, the inventor defires your admonitions concerning the decent use of it; and hopes, by your recommendation, that for the future beauty may be beheld without the torture and confufion which it fuffers from the infolence of ftarers. By this means you will relieve the innocent from an infult which there is no law to punish, though it is a greater offence than many which are within the cognizance of juftice. I am,
N° 251. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18.
Lingua centum funt, oraque centum, Ferrea vor VIRG. Æn. 6. ver. 625. -A hundred mouths, a hundred tongues, And throats of brafs infpir'd with iron lungs.
HERE is nothing which more astonishes a foreigner, and frights a country 'fquire, than the cries of London. My good friend Sir Roger often declares, that he cannot get them out of his head or go to fleep for them, the first week that he is in town. On the contrary, Will Honeycomb calls them the Ramage de la Ville, and prefers them to the founds of larks and nightingales, with all the mufic of the fields and woods. I have lately received a letter from fome very odd fellow upon this fubject, which I fhall leave with my reader without faying any thing further of it.
Your moft humble fervant, Abraham Spy.'
AM a man out of all bufinefs, and would willingly turn my head to any thing for an ⚫ honeft fivelihood. I have invented feveral projects for raifing many millions of money without burdening the fubject, but I cannot get the parliament to liften to me, who look upon me, forfooth, as a crack, and a projector; fo that defpairing to enrich either myfelf or my country by this public-fpiritedness, I would make fome propofals to you relating to a defign which I have very much at heart, and which may procure me a handfome fubfiftence, if you will be pleased to • recommend it to the cities of London and Weft'minfter.
The poft I would aim at, is to be comptrollergeneral of the London cries, which are at prefent under no manner of rules or difcipline. I think I am pretty well qualified for this place, as being a man of very ftrong lungs, of great infight into all the branches of our British trades and manufactures, and of a competent skill in mu
The cries of London may be divided into vocal and inftrumental. As for the latter, they are at prefent under a very great diforder. A freeman
of London has the privilege of disturbing a whole ftreet for an hour together, with the twanking of a brafs kettle or a frying pan. The watchman's thump at midnight startles us in our beds, as much as the breaking in of a thief. The fowgelder's horn has indeed fomething mufical in it, but this is feldom heard within the liberties. I would therefore propofe, that no inftrument of this nature fhould be made ufe of, which I have not tuned and licenfèd, after having carefully ex amined in what manner it may affect the ears of her majefty's liege fubjects.
Vocal cries are of a much larger extent, and indeed fo full of incongruities and barbarisms, that we appear a diftracted city to foreigners, who do not comprehend the meaning of fuch " enormous outcries. Milk is generally fold in a " note above E la, and in founds fo exceeding fhrill, that it often fets our teeth on edge. The chimney-fweeper is confined to no certain pitch, he fometimes utters himfeif in the deepest bass, and fometimes in the fharpeft trèble; fometimes in the higheft, and fometimes in the lowest note of the gamut. The fame obfervation might be made on the retailers of fmall-coal, not to mention broken glaffes of brick-duft. In thefe therefore, and the like cafes, it hould be my care to fweeten and mellow the voices of thefe itinerant tradesmen, before they make their appearance in our streets, as alfo to accommodate their cries to their respective wares and to take care in particular, that thofe may not make the most noife who have the leaft to fell, which is very observable in the venders of card-matches, to whom I cannot but apply the old proverb of "Much cry but little wool."
Some of thefe laft-mentioned muficians are fo very loud in the fale of thefe trifling manufac tures, that an honeft fplenetic gentleman of my acquaintance bargained with one of them never to come into the street where he lived: but what was the effect of this contract? why, the whole tribe of card-match-makers which fre
quent that quarter, paffed by his door the very next day, in hopes of being bought off after the fame manner.
It is another great imperfection in our London cries, that there is no just time or measure ob ferved in them. Our news fhould indeed be published in a very quick time, because it is a commodity that will not keep cold. It should not, however, be cried with the fame precipitation as fire yet this is generally the cafe. A bloody
battle alarms the town from one end to another in an inftant. Every motion of the French is published in fo great a hurry, that one would think the enemy were at our gates. This likewife I would take upon me to regulate in fuch
a manner, that there fhould be fome diftin&tion made between the spreading of a victory, a march, or an incampment, a Dutch, a Portugal, or a Spanish mail. Nor muft I omit under this head <thofe exceflive alarms with which feveral boifterous ruftics infeft our streets in turnip-feafon; and which are more inexcufable, because these are wares which are in no danger of cooling upon their hands.
There are others who affect a very flow time, and are, in my opinion, much more tunable than the former; the cooper in particular fwells his laft note in an hollow voice, that is not without its harmony; nor can I forbear being infpired
with a most agreeable melancholy, when I hear that fad and folemn air with which the public ✓ are very often asked, if they have any chairs to mend? Your own memory may suggest to you many other lamentable ditties of the fame na ture, in which the mufic is wonderfully languishing and melodious.
I am always pleased with that particular time of the year which is proper for the pickling of dill and cucumbers; but alas, this cry, like the fong of the nightingale, is not heard above two months. It would therefore be worth 'while to confider, whether the fame air might not in fome cafes be adapted to other words.
It might likewife deferve our most serious ⚫ confideration, how far, in a well-regulated city, thofe humourifts are to be tolerated, who, not 'contented with the traditional cries of their
forefathers, have invented particular fongs and <tunes of their own: fuch as was, not many years fince, the pastry-man, commonly known by the name of the Colly-Molly-Puff; and fuch as is at this day the vender of powder and wash-balls, who, if I am rightly informed, goes • under the name of Powder-Watt.
'I must not here omit one particular abfurdity <which runs through this whole vociferous generation, and which renders their cries very often not only incommodious, but altogether uselefs to the public; I mean, that idle accomplishment which they all of them aim at, of crying to as not to be understood. Whether or
no they have learned this from several of our affected fingers, I will not take upon me to fay; but moft certain it is, that people know the · wares they deal in rather by their tunes than by 'their words; infomuch that I have fometimes 'feen a country boy run out to buy apples of a bellows-mender, and gingerbread from a grinder of knives and fciffars. Nay fo ftrangely in'fatuated are fome very eminent artifts of this ' particular grace in a cry, that none but their 'acquaintance are able to guefs at their profef'fion; for who elfe can know, that "work if I had it," should be the fignification of a corn• cutter?
Forafmuch therefore as perfons of this rank are seldom men of genius or capacity, I think it would be very proper, that fome man of good fense and found judgment fhould prefide over thefe public cries, who fhould permit none to lift
up their voices in our streets, that have not tuna'ble throats and are not only able to overcome the noife of the crowd, and the rattling of coaches, but also to vend their respective merchandises in apt phrases, and in the most distinct and 'agreeable founds, I do therefore humbly recommend myself as a perfon rightly qualified for this poft and if 1 meet with fitting encouragement, fhall communicate fome other pro'jects which I have by me, that may no lefs conduce to the emolument of the public. I am, 4 Sir, &c.
The Exp of the THIRD VOLUME.