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and in the rear (as one of a promising and improv
(long since you left us without saying any thing) several of these inferior hebdomadal societies, as the Punning club, the Witty club, and amongst the rest, the Handsome club; as a burlesque upon which, a certain merry species, that seem to have come into the world in masquerade, for some years last past have associated themselves together, and assumed the name of the Ugly club. This ill-favoured fra- No. 18.1 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 1710-11
ternity consists of a president and twelve fellows;
"2. That a singular regard be had upon examination, to the gibbosity of the gentlemen that offer themselves as founder's kinsmen; or to the obliquity of their figure, in what sort soever.
- Equitis quoque jam migravit ab aure voluptas Omnis ad incertos oculos, et gauda vana. HOR. 2 Ep. i. 187.
But now our nobles too are fops and vain, Neglect the sense, but love the painted scene.-CREECH. Ir is my design in this paper to deliver down to posterity a faithful account of the Italian opera, and of the gradual progress which it has made upon the English stage; for there is no question but our great grand-children will be curious to know the reason why their forefathers used to sit together ke an audience of foreigners in their own country, and to hear whole plays acted before them in a tongue which they did not understand.
Arsinoe was the first opera that gave us a taste of Italian music. The great success this opera met with produced some attempts of forming pieces upon Italian plans, which should give a more natural and reasonable entertainment than what can be met with in the elaborate trifles of that nation. This alarmed the poetasters and fiddlers of the town, who were used to deal in a more ordinary kind of ware; and therefore laid down an established rule, which is rethatceived as such to this day, "That nothing is capable of being well set to music, that is not nonsense.'
"3. That if the quantity of any man's nose be eminently miscalculated, whether as to length or Dreadth, he shall have a just pretence to be elected. "Lastly, That if there shall be two or more competitors for the same vacancy, cæteris paribus, he has the thickest skin to have the preference.
"Every fresh member, upon his first night, is to entertain the company with a dish of cod-fish, and a speech in praise of Esop, whose portraiture they have in full proportion, or rather disproportion, over the chimney; and their design is, as soon as their funds are sufficient, to purchase the heads of Thersites, Duns Scotus, Scarron, Hudibras, and the old gentleman in Oldham, with all the celebrated ill Faces of antiquity, as furniture for the club-room.
"As they have always been professed admirers of the other sex, so they unanimously declare that they will give all possible encouragement to such as will take the benefit of the statute, though none yet have appeared to do it.
This maxim was no sooner received, but we immediately fell to translating the Italian operas; and as there was no great danger of hurting the sense of those extraordinary pieces, our authors would often make words of their own which were entirely foreign to the meaning of the passages they pretended to translate; their chief care being to make the numbers of the English verse to answer to those of the Italian, that both of them might go to the same tune. Thus the famous song in Camilla:
Barbara, si, t' intendo, &c.
Barbarous woman, yes, I know your meaning.
which expresses the resentments of an angry lover, was translated into that English lamentation:
Frail are a lover's hopes, &c.
And it was pleasant enough to see the most refined
"The worthy president, who is their most devoted champion, has lately shown me two copies of verses, composed by a gentleman of his society; the first, a congratulatory ode, inscribed to Mrs. Touchwood, upon the loss of her two fore teeth; the other, a panegyric upon Mrs. Andiron's left shoulder. Mrs. Vizard (he says), since the small pox, has grown tolerably ugly, and a top toast in the club; but I never heard him so lavish of his fine things, as upon old Nell Trott, who continually officiates at their table; her he even adores and extols as the very counterpart of Mother Shipton; in short, Nell (says he) is one of the extraordinary works of nature; but as for complexion, shape, and features, so valued by others, they are all mere outside and symmetry, which is his aversion. Give me leave to add, that By this means the soft notes that were adapted the president is a facetious pleasant gentleman, and to pity in the Italian, fell upon the word rage never more so, than when he has got (as he calls in the English; and the angry sounds that were them) his dear mummers about him; and he often turned to rage in the original, were made to express protests it does him good to meet a fellow with a pity in the translation. It oftentimes happened right genuine grimace in his air (which is so agree-likewise, that the finest notes in the air fell upon ble in the generality of the French nation); and, the most insignificant words in the sentence. I have as an instance of his sincerity in this particular, he known the word "and" pursued through the whole gave me a sight of a list in his pocket book of all gamut, have been entertained with many a melothis class, who for these five years have fallen under dious "the," and have heard the most beautiful his observation, with himself at the head of them, I graces, quavers, and divisions bestowed upon " then,"
And turn'd my rage into pity.
for," and "from" to the eternal honour of our problematical manner, to be considered by those who English particles. are masters in the art.-C.
The next step to our refinement was the introducing of Italian actors into our opera; who sang their parts in their own language, at the same time that our countrymen performed theirs in our native tongue. The king or hero of the play generally spoke in Italian, and his slaves answered him in English. The lover frequently made his court, and gained the heart of his princess, in a language which she did not understand. One would have thought it very difficult to have carried on dialogues after this manner, without an interpreter between the persons that conversed together; but this was the state of the English stage for about three years.
Thank Heaven, that made me of an humble mind; To action little, less to words inclined ! OBSERVING one person behold another, who was an utter stranger to him, with a cast of his eye, which methought expressed an emotion of heart very differ ent from what could be raised by an object so agreeable as the gentleman he looked at, I began to consider, not without some secret sorrow, the condition of an envious man. Some have fancied that envy has a certain magical force in it, and that the eyes of the envious have, by their fascination, blasted the enjoyments of the happy. Sir Francis Bacon says, some have been so curious as to remark the times and seasons when the stroke of an envious eye is most effectually pernicious, and have observed that it has been when the person envied has been in any circumstance of glory and triumph. At such a time the mind of the prosperous man goes, as it were, abroad, among things without him, and is more exposed to the malignity. But I shall not dwell upon speculations so abstracted as this, or repeat the many excellent things which one might collect out of authors upon this miserable affection; but keeping the common road of life, consider the envious man with relation to these three heads, his pains, his reliefs, and his happiness.
At length the audience grew tired of understanding half the opera; and therefore, to ease themselves entirely of the fatigue of thinking, have so ordered it at present, that the whole opera is performed in an unknown tongue. We no longer understand the language of our own stage; insomuch that I have often been afraid, when I have seen our Italian performers chattering in the vehemence of action, that they have been calling us names, and abusing us among themselves; but I hope, since we put such an entire confidence in them, they will not talk against us before our faces, though they may do it with the same safety as if it were behind our backs. In the mean time, I cannot forbear thinking how naturally an historian who writes two or three hundred years hence, and does not know the taste of his wise forefathers, will make the following reflections: "In the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Italian tongue was so well understood in England, that operas The envious man is in pain upon all occasions were acted on the public stage in that language." which ought to give him pleasure. The relish of his One scarce knows how to be serious in the confulife is inverted; and the objects which administer tation of an absurdity that shews itself at first sight. It does not want any great measure of sense to see the ridicule of this monstrous practice; but what makes it the more astonishing, it is not the taste of the rabble, but of persons of the greatest politeness, which has established it.
the highest satisfaction to those who are exempt from this passion, give the quickest pangs to persons who are subject to it. All the perfections of their fellowcreatures are odious. Youth, beauty, valour, and wisdom, are provocations of their displeasure. What a wretched and apostate state is this: to be offended If the Italians have a genius for music above the with excellence, and to hate a man because we apEnglish, the English have a genius for other per- prove him! The condition of the envious man is formances of a much higher nature, and capable of the most emphatically miserable; he is not only ingiving the mind a much nobler entertainment. capable of rejoicing in another's merit or success, Would one think it was possible (at a time when an but lives in a world wherein all mankind are in a author lived that was able to write the Phædra and plot against his quiet, by studying their own happiHippolitus,) for a people to be so stupidly fond of ness and advantage. Will Prosper is an honest the Italian opera, as scarce to give a third day's tale-bearer; he makes it his business to join in conhearing to that admirable tragedy? Music is cer-versation with envious men. He points to such a tainly a very agreeable entertainment: but if it would handsome young fellow, and whispers that he is setake the entire possession of our ears, if it would cretly married to a great fortune. When they doubt, make us incapable of hearing sense, if it would ex- he adds circumstances to prove it; and never fails clude arts that have a much greater tendency to the to aggravate their distress by assuring them, that, to refinement of human nature; I must confess I would his knowledge, he has an uncle will leave him some allow it no better quarter than Plato has done, who thousands. Will has many arts of this kind to torbanishes it out of his commonwealth. ture this sort of temper, and delights in it. When he finds them change colour, and say faintly they wish such a piece of news is true, he has the malice to speak some good or other of every man of their acquaintance.
At present our notions of music are so very uncertain, that we do not know what it is we like; only, in general, we are transported with any thing that is not English: so it be of a foreign growth, let it be Italian, French, or High Dutch, it is the same thing. In short, our English music is quite rooted out, and nothing yet planted in its stead.
When a royal palace is burnt to the ground, every man is at liberty to present his plan for a new one; and though it be but indifferently put together, it may furnish several hints that may be of use to a good architect. I shall take the same liberty, in following paper, of giving my opinion upon the sub. ject of music; which I shall lay down only in a
The reliefs of the envious man, are those little blemishes and imperfections that discover themselves in an illustrious character. It is matter of great consolation to an envious person, when a man of known honour does a thing unworthy of himself, or when any action which was well executed, upon better information appears so altered in its circumstances, that the fame of it is divided among many, nstead of being attributed to one. This is a secret satisfaction to these malignants; for the person
command of herself as befits beauty and innocence,
whom they could not but admire, they fancy is nearer their own condition as soon as his merit is shared among others. I remember some years ago, there came out an excellent poem without the name of the author. The little wits, who were incapable of writing it, began to pull in pieces the supposed writer. When that would not do, they took great pains to suppress the opinion that it was his. That again failed. The next refuge was, to say it was overlooked "There never was (I believe) an acceptable man by one man, and many pages wholly written by an- but had some awkward imitators. Even since the other. An honest fellow, who sat amongst a cluster Spectator appeared, have I remarked a kind of men of them in debate on this subject, cried out, “ Gen- whom I choose to call Starers; that without any retlemen, if you are sure none of you yourselves had gard to time, place, or modesty, disturb a large a hand in it, you are but where you were, whoever company with their impertinent eyes. Spectators writ it." But the most usual succour to the envious, make up a proper assembly for a puppet-show or a in cases of nameless merit in this kind, is to keep bear-garden; but devout supplicants and attentive the property, if possible, unfixed, and by that means hearers are the audience one ought to expect in to hinder the reputation of it from falling upon any churches. I am, Sir, member of a small pious con. particular person. You see an envious man clear gregation near one of the north gates of this city; up his countenance, if, in the relation of any man's much the greater part of us indeed are females, and great happiness in one point, you mention his un-used to behave ourselves in a regular attentive maneasiness in another. When he hears such a one is ner, till very lately one whole aisle has been disvery rich, he turns pale, but recovers when you add turbed by one of these monstrous starers; he is the that he has many children. In a word, the only sure head taller than any one in the church; but for the way to an envious man's favour is not to deserve it. greater advantage of exposing himself, stands upon But if we consider the envious man in delight, it a hassock, and commands the whole congregation, is like reading of the seat of a giant in romance; to the great annoyance of the devoutest part of the the magnificence of his house consists in the many auditory: for what with blushing, confusion, and limbs of men whom he has slain. If any who pro- vexation, we can neither mind the prayers nor sermised themselves success in any uncommon under-mon. Your animadversion upon this insolence would taking miscarry in the attempt, or he that aimed at be a great favour to, what would have been useful and laudable, meets with contempt and derision, the envious man, under the colour of hating vain-glory, can smile with an inward wantonness of heart at the ill effect it may have upon an honest ambition for the future.
Sir, your most humble servant, S. C." think there cannot be a greater aggravation of an ofI have frequently seen this sort of fellows, and do fence than that it is committed where the criminal is Having thoroughly considered the nature of this protected by the sacredness of the place which he passion, I have made it my study how to avoid the violates. Many reflections of this sort might be very envy that may accrue to me from these my specula- justly made upon this kind of behaviour, but a tions; and if I am not mistaken in myself, I think I starer is not usually a person to be convinced by the have a genius to escape it. Upon hearing in a reason of the thing; and a fellow that is capable of coffee-house one of my papers commended, I imme- showing an impudent front before a whole congregadiately apprehended the envy that would spring from tion, and can bear being a public spectacle, is not that applause; and therefore gave a description of so easily rebuked as to amend by admonitions. If, my face the next day; being resolved, as I grow in therefore, my correspondent does not inform me, that reputation for wit, to resign my pretensions to within seven days after this date the barbarian does beauty. This, I hope, may give some ease to those at least stand upon his own legs only, without unhappy gentlemen who do me the honour to tor- an eminence, my friend Will Prosper* has promised ment themselves upon the account of this my paper.him in defence of the ladies. I have given him dito take a hassock opposite to him, and stare against As their case is very deplorable, and deserves compassion, I shall sometimes be dull in pity to them, and will, from time to time, administer consolations to them by farther discoveries of my person. In the meanwhile, if any one says the Spectator has wit, it may be some relief to them to think that he does not show it in company. And if any one praises his morality, they may comfort themselves by considering that his face is none of the longest.-R.
No. 20.] FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 1710-11.
Thou dog in forehead.-POPE, HOM.
AMONG the other hardy undertakings which I have proposed to myself, that of the correction of impudence is what I have very much at heart. This in a particular manner is my province as Spectator; for it is generally an offence committed by the eyes, and that against such as the offenders would perhaps never have an opportunity of injuring any other way. The following letter is a complaint of a young lady, who sets forth a trespass of this kind, with that
rections, according to the most exact rules of optics, to place himself in such a manner, that he shall meet his eyes wherever he throws them. I have hopes, that when Will confronts him, and all the ladies, in whose behalf he engages him, cast kind looks and wishes of success at their champion, he will have some shame, and feel a little of the pain he has so often put others to, of being out of countenance.
It has, indeed, been time out of mind generally remarked, and as often lamented, that this family of Starers have infested public assemblies. I know no other way to obviate so great an evil, except, în the case of fixing their eyes upon women, some male friend will take the part of such as are under the oppression of impudence, and encounter the eyes of the Starers wherever they meet them. While we suffer our women to be thus impudently attacked, they have no defence, but in the end to cast yielding glances at the Starers. In this case a man who has no sense of shame, has the same advantage over his
See Spect. No. 19 W. Prosper, an honest tale-bearer, &c.
mistress, as he who has no regard for his own life bas over his adversary. While the generality of the world are fettered by rules, and move by proper and just methods, he who has no respect to any of then carries away the reward due to that propriety of behaviour, with no other merit, but that of having neglected it.
reckon bishops, deans, and archdeacons. Among the second are doctors of divinity, prebendaries, and all that wear scarfs. The rest are comprehended under the subalterns. As for the first class, our constitution preserves it from any redundancy of incumbents, notwithstanding competitors are numberless. Upon a strict calculation, it is found that there has been a great exceeding of late years in the second division, several brevets having been granted for the converting subalterns into scarf-of
of lutestring is raised above two-pence in a yard. As for the subalterns, they are not to be numbered. Should our clergy once enter into the corrupt prac tice of the laity, by the splitting of their freeholds, they would be able to carry most of the elections in England.
The body of the law is no less encumbered with superfluous members, that are like Virgil's army, which he tells us was so crowded, many of them had not room to use their weapons. This prodigious society of men may be divided into the litigious and peaceable. Under the first are comprehended all those who are carried down in coach-fulls to Westminster-hall, every morning in term time. Martial's description of this species of lawyers is full of humour:
I take an impudent fellow to be a sort of outlaw in good breeding, and therefore what is said of him no nation or person can be concerned for. For this reason one may be free upon him. I have put my-ficers; insomuch, that within my memory the price self to great pains in considering this prevailing quality, which we call impudence, and have taken notice that it exerts itself in a different manner, according to the different soils wherein such subjects of these dominions as are masters of it were born. Impudence in an Englishman is sullen and insolent; in a Scotchman it is untractable and rapacious; in an Irishman absurd and fawning: as the course of the world now runs, the impudent Englishman behaves like a surly landlord, the Scot like an ill-received guest, and the Irishman like a stranger, who knows he is not welcome. There is seldor any thing entertaining either in the impudence of a South or North Briton; but that of an Irishman is always comic. A true and genuine impudence is ever the effect of ignorance without the least sense of it. The best and most successful starers now in this town are of that nation; they "Men that hire out their words and anger;" that have usually the advantage of the stature mentioned are more or less passionate according as they are in the above letter of my correspondent, and gene-paid for it, and allow their client a quantity of wrath rally take their stands in the eye of women of fortune: insomuch that I have known one of them, three months after he came from the plough, with a tolerable good air, lead out a woman from a play, which one of our own breed, after four years at Oxford, and two at the Temple, would have been afraid to look at.
I cannot tell how to account for it, but these people Lave usually the preference to our own fools, in the opinion of the sillier part of womankind. Perhaps it is that an English coxcomb is seldom so obsequious as an Irish one; and when the design of pleasing is visible, an absurdity in the way towards it is easily forgiven.
But those who are downright impudent, and go on without reflection that they are such, are more to be tolerated, than a set of fellows among us who profess impudence with an air of humour, and think to carry off the most inexcusable of all faults in the world, with no other apology than saying in a gay tone, "I put an impudent face upon the matter." No: no man shall be allowed the advantages of impudence, who is conscious that he is such. If he knows he is impudent, he may as well be otherwise; and it shall be expected that he blush, when he sees he makes another do it. For nothing can atone for the want of modesty: without which beauty is ungraceful, and wit detestable.-R.
No. 21.] SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 1710-11.
Iras et verba locant.
proportionable to the fee which they receive from him. I must, however, observe to the reader, that above three parts of those whom I reckon among the litigious are such as are only quarrelsome in their hearts, and have no opportunity of showing their passion at the bar. Nevertheless, as they do not know what strifes may arise, they appear at the hall every day, that they may show themselves in readiness to enter the lists, whenever there shall be occasion for them.
The peaceable lawyers are, in the first place, many of the benchers of the several inns of court, who seem to be the dignitaries of the law, and are endowed with those qualifications of mind that accomplish a man rather for a ruler than a pleader. These men live peaceably in their habitations, eating once day, and dancing once a year, for the honour of their respective societies.
Another numberless branch of peaceable lawyers, are those young men who, being placed at the inns of court in order to study the laws of their country, frequent the playhouse more than Westminster-hall, and are seen in all public assemblies except in court of justice. I shall say nothing of those silent and busy multitudes that are employed within doors in the drawing up of writings and conveyances; nor of those greater numbers that palliate their want of business with a pretence to such chamber practice.
If, in the third place, we look into the profession of physic, we shall find a most formidable body of men. The sight of them is enough to make a man serious, for we may lay it down as a maxim, that when a nation abounds in physicians it grows thin of people. Sir Williain Temple is very much puzI AM sometimes very much troubled, when I re-zled to find out a reason why the Northern Hive, as fect upon the three great professions of divinity, he calls it, does not send out such prodigious swarms, law, and physic; how they are each of them over and overrun the world with Goths and Vandals, as it burdened with practitioners, and filled with multi- did formerly; but had that excellent author observed tudes of ingenious gentlemen that starve one another. that there were no students in physic among the We may divide the clergy, into generals, fieldofficers, and subalterns. Among the first we may
• See Dugdale's Origines Juridiciales.
subjects of Thor and Woden, and that this science very much flourishes in the north at present, he might have found a better solution for this difficulty than any of those he has made use of. This body of men in our own country may be described like the British army in Cæsar's time. Some of them slay in chariots, and some on foot. If the infantry do less execution than the charioteers, it is because they cannot be carried so soon into all quarters of the town, and dispatch so much business in so short a time. Besides this body of regular troops, there are stragglers, who, without being duly listed and enrolled, do infinite mischief to those who are so unlucky as to fall into their hands.
monstrous things done in both, that if one had not been an eye-witness of them, one could not believe that such matters had really been exhibited. There is very little which concerns human life, or is a picture of nature, that is regarded by the greater part of the company. The understanding is dismissed from our entertainments. Our mirth is the laughter of fools, and our admiration the wonder of idiots; else such improbable, monstrous, and incoherent dreams could not go off as they do, not only without the utmost scorn and contempt, but even with the loudest applause and approbation. But the letters of my correspondents will represent this affair in a more lively manner than any discourse of my own; There are, besides the above-mentioned, innu- I shall therefore give them to my reader with only merable retainers to physic who, for want of other this preparation, that they all come from players, and patients, amuse themselves with the stifling of cats that the business of playing is now so managed, that in an air-pump, cutting up dogs alive, or impaling of you are not to be surprised when I say one or two insects upon the point of a needle for microscopical of them are rational, others sensitive and vegetative observations; besides those that are employed in the actors, and others wholly inanimate. I shall not gathering of weeds, and the chase of butterflies: not place these as I have named them, but as they have to mention the cockleshell-merchants and spider-precedence in the opinion of their audiences. catchers.
When I consider how each of these professions are crowded with multitudes that seek their livelihood in them, and how many men of merit there are in each of them, who may be rather said to be of the science, than the profession; I very much wonder at the humour of parents, who will not rather choose to place their sons in a way of life where an honest industry cannot but thrive, than in stations where the greatest probity, learning, and good sense, may miscarry. How many men are country curates, that might have made themselves aldermen of London, by a right improvement of a smaller sum of money than what is usually laid out upon a learned education? A sober frugal person, of slender parts and a slow apprehension, might have thrived in trade, though he starves upon physic; as a man would be well enough pleased to buy silks of one whom he would not venture to feel his pulse. Vagellius is careful, studious, and obliging, but withal a little thick-skulled; he has not a single client, but might have had abundance of customers. The misfortune is, that parents take a liking to a particular profession, and therefore desire their sons may be of it: whereas, in so great an affair of life, they should consider the genius and abilities of their children more than their own inclinations.
"Your having been so humble as to take notice of the epistles of other animals, imboldens me, who am the wild boar that was killed by Mrs. Tofts, to represent to you, that I think I was hardly used in not having the part of the lion in Hydaspes given to me. It would have been but a natural step for me to have personated that noble creature, after having behaved myself to satisfaction in the part above-mentioned. That of a lion is too great a character for one that never trod the stage before but upon two legs. As to the little resistance which I made, I hope it may be excused, when it is considered that the dart was thrown at me by so fair a hand. I must confess I had but just put on my brutality; and Camilla's charms were such, that beholding her erect mien, hearing her charming voice, and astonished with her graceful motion, I could not keep up my assumed fierceness, but died like a man.
"I am, Sir, your most humble admirer,
"MR. SPECTATOR, "This is to let you understand, that the playhouse is a representation of the world in nothing so much as in this particular, that no one rises in it according to his merit. I have acted several parts of household-stuff with great applause for many It is the great advantage of a trading nation, that years: I am one of the men in the hangings in The there are very few in it so dull and heavy, who may Emperor of the Moon; I have twice performed the not be placed in stations of life, which may give third chair in an English opera: and have rehearsed them an opportunity of making their fortunes. A the pump in The Fortune-Hunters. I am now grown well-regulated commerce is not, like law, physic, or old, and hope you will recommend me so effectually, divinity, to be overstocked with hands; but on the as that I may say something before I go off the contrary flourishes by multitudes, and gives employ-stage; in which you will do a great act of charity to ment to all its professors. Fleets of merchant-men are so many squadrons of floating shops, that vend our wares and manufactures in all the markets of the world, and find out chapmen under both the tropics.-C.
No. 22.] MONDAY, MARCH 26, 1711.
I hate to see, and never can believe.-ROSCOMMON.
"Your most humble servant,
Understanding that Mr Screene has writ to you, and desired to be raised from dumb and still parts; I desire, if you give him motion or speech, that you would advance me in my way, and let me keep on in what I humbly presume I am master, to wit, in representing human and still life together. I have several times acted one of the finest flowerpots in the same opera wherein Mr. Screene is a chair; therefore, upon his promotion, request that I may succeed him in the hangings, with my hand in the orange-trees.
"Your humble servant,