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I shall conclude this paper with a letter from a university gentleman, occasioned by my last Tuesday's paper, wherein I gave some account of the great feuds which happened formerly in those learned bodies, between the modern Greeks and Trojans.
by reason that plant was not of its own production. And since another's child is no more natural to à nurse, than a plant to a strange and different ground, how can it be supposed that the child should thrive: and if it thrives, must it not imbibe the gross humours and qualities of the nurse, like a plant in a different ground, or like a graft upon a different stock? Do we not observe, that a lamb sucking a "This will give you to understand, that there is goat changes very much its nature, nay even its at present, in the society whereof I am a mem- skin and wool into the goat kind? The power of ber, a very considerable body of Trojans, who, a nurse over a child, by infusing into it with her upon a proper occasion, would not fail to declare milk her qualities and disposition, is sufficiently ourselves. In the mean while we do all we can to and daily observed. Hence came that old saying annoy our enemies by stratagem, and are resolved concerning an ill-natured and malicious fellow, by the first opportunity to attack Mr. Joshua that he had imbibed his malice with his nurse's Barnes, whom we look upon as the Achilles of the milk, or that some brute or other had been his opposite party. As for myself, I have had the re- nurse.' Hence Romulus and Remus were said to putation ever since I came from school of being a have been nursed by a wolf: Telephus the son of trusty Trojan, and am resolved never to give quarter Hercules by a hind; Pelias the son of Neptune by to the smallest particle of Greek, wherever I chance a mare; and Ægisthus by a goat; not that they to meet it. It is for this reason I take it very ill had actually sucked such creatures, as some simpleof you, that you sometimes hang out Greek co-tons have imagined, but that their nurses had been lours at the head of your paper, and sometimes give of such a nature and temper, and infused such into a word of the enemy even in the body of it. When I meet with any thing of this nature, I throw down your speculations upon the table, with that form of words which we make use of when we declare war upon an author,
"Many instances may be produced from good authorities and daily experience, that children actually suck in the several passions and depraved inclinations of their nurses, as anger, malice, fear, melancholy, sadness, desire, and aversion. This Diodorus, lib. 2. witnesses, when he speaks, saying, that Nero the emperor's nurse had been very much addicted to drinking; which habit Nero received from his nurse, and was so very particular in this, that the people took so much notice of it, as instead of Ti
No. 246.] WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1711. berius Nero, they called him Biberius Mero. The
No amorous hero ever gave thee birth,
So rough thy manners, so untam'd thy mind.-POPE.
same Diodorus also relates of Caligula, predecessor to Nero, that his nurse used to moisten the nipples of her breast frequently with blood, to make Caligula take the better hold of them: which, says Diodorus, was the cause that made him so bloodthirsty and cruel all his lifetime after, that he not only committed frequent murder by his own hand, "As your paper is part of the equipage of the but likewise wished that all human kind wore but tea-table, I conjure you to print what I now write to one neck, that he might have the pleasure to cut it you; for I have no other way to communicate what off. Such-like degeneracies astonish the parents, I have to say to the fair sex on the most important who not knowing after whom the child can take, see circumstances of life, even the care of children.' I one incline to stealing, another to drinking, cruelty, do not understand that you profess your paper is al- stupidity; yet all these are not minded. Nay, it is ways to consist of matters which are only to enter-easy to demonstrate, that a child, although it be tain the learned and polite, but that it may agree born from the best of parents, may be corrupted by with your design to publish some which may tend an ill-tempered nurse. How many children do we to the information of mankind in general: and when see daily brought into fits, consumptions, rickets, it does so, you do more than writing wit and hu- &c. merely by sucking their nurses when in a pasmour. Give me leave then to tell you, that of all sion or fury? but indeed almost any disorder of the the abuses that ever you have as yet endeavoured nurse is a disorder to the child, and few nurses can to reform, certainly not one wanted so much your be found in this town but what labour under some assistance as the abuse in the nursing of children. distemper or other. The first question that is geneIt is unmerciful to see, that a woman endowed with rally asked a young woman that wants to be a nurse, all the perfections and blessings of nature can, as why she should be a nurse to other people's children, soon as she is delivered, turn off her innocent, ten-is answered, by her having an ill husband, and that der, and helpless infant, and give it up to a woman that is (ten thousand to one) neither in health nor good condition, neither sound in mind nor body, that has neither honour nor reputation, neither love nor pity for the poor babe, but more regard for the money than for the whole child, and never will take further care of it than what by all the encouragement of money and presents she is forced to; like Esop's earth, which would not nurse the plant of another ground, although never so much improved,
• The noted Greek professor of the university of Cambridge.
she must make shift to live. I think now this very answer is enough to give any body a shock, if duly considered; for an ill husband may, or ten to one if he does not, bring home to his wife an ill distemper, or at least vexation and disturbance. Besides, as she takes the child out of mere necessity, her food will be accordingly, or else very coarse at best; whence proceeds an ill-concocted and coarse food for the child; for as the blood, so is the milk; and hence I am very well assured proceeds the scurvy, the evil, and many other distempers. I beg of you, for the sake of the many poor infants that
cature, I am persuaded they would carry the eloquence of the bar to greater heights than it has yet arrived at. If any one doubt this, let him but be present at those debates which frequently arise among the ladies of the British fishery.
may and will be saved by weighing this case seriously to exhort the people with the utmost vehemence, to let the children suck their own mothers, both for the benefit of mother and child. For the general argument, that a mother is weakened by giving suck to her children, is vain and simple. I will maintain The first kind, therefore, of female orators which that the mother grows stronger by it, and will have I shall take notice of, are those who are employed her health better than she would have otherwise. in stirring up the passions; a part of rhetoric in She will find it the greatest cure and preservative which Socrates' wife had perhaps made a greater for the vapours and future miscarriages, much be-proficiency than his above-mentioned teacher. yond any other remedy whatsoever. Her children will be like giants, whereas otherwise they are but living shadows, and like unripe fruit; and certainly if a woman is strong enough to bring forth a child, she is beyond all doubt strong enough to nurse it afterward. It grieves me to observe and consider how many poor children are daily ruined by careless nurses; and yet how tender ought they to be to a poor infant, since the least hurt or blow, especially upon the head, may make it senseless, stupid, or otherwise miserable for ever!
"But I cannot well leave this subject as yet; for it seems to me very unnatural, that a woman that has fed a child as part of herself for nine months, should have no desire to nurse it further, when brought to light and before her eyes, and when by its cry it implores her assistance and the office of a mother. Do not the very cruellest of brutes tend their young ones with all the care and delight imaginable! How can she be called a mother that will not nurse her young ones? The earth is called the mother of all things, not because she produces, but because she maintains and nurses what she produces. The generation of the infant is the effect of desire, but the care of it argues virtue and choice. I am not ignorant but that there are some cases of necessity, where a mother cannot give suck, and then out of two evils the least must be chosen; but there are so very few, that I am sure in a thousand there is hardly one real instance; for if a woman does but know that her husband can spare about three or six shillings a week extraordinary (although this is but seldom considered), she certainly, with the assistance of her gossips, will soon persuade the good man to send the child to nurse, and easily impose upon him by pretending indisposition. This cruelty is supported by fashion, and nature gives place to custom. T.
"Sir, your humble Servant."
The second kind of female orators are those who deal in invectives, and who are commonly known by the name of the censorious. The imagination and elocution of this set of rhetoricians is wonderful. With what a fluency of invention, and copiousness of expression, will they enlarge upon every little slip in the behaviour of another! With how many different circumstances, and with what variety of phrases, will they tell over the same story! have known an old lady make an unhappy marriage the subject of a month's conversation. She blamed the bride in one place; pitied her in another; laughed at her in a third; wondered at her in a fourth; was angry with her in a fifth; and, in short, wore out a pair of coach-horses in expressing her concern for her. At length, after having quite exhausted the subject on this side, she made a visit to the new-married pair, praised the wife for the prudent choice she had made, told her the unreasonable reflections which some malicious people had cast upon her, and desired that they might be better acquainted. The censure and approbation of this kind of women are therefore only to be considered as helps to discourse
A third kind of female orators may be comprehended under the word gossips. Mrs. FiddleFaddle is perfectly accomplished in this sort of eloquence; she launches out into descriptions of christenings, runs divisions upon a head-dress, knows every dish of meat that is served up in our neighbourhood, and entertains her company a whole afternoon together with the wit of her little boy, before he is able to speak.
The coquette may be looked upon as a fourth kind of female orator. To give herself the larger field for discourse, she hates and loves in the same breath, talks to her lap-dog or parrot, is uneasy in all kinds of weather, and in every part of the room. She has false quarrels and feigned obligations to all the men of her acquaintance; sighs when she is not sad, and laughs when she is not merry. The coquette is in particular a great mistress of that part of oratory which is called action, and indeed seems to speak for no other purpose, but as it gives her an opportunity of stirring a limb, or varying a feature, of glancing her eyes, or playing with her fan.
No. 247.] THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1711. Their untir'd lips a wordy torrent pour.-HESIOD WE are told by some ancient authors, that Sociates was instructed in eloquence by a woman, whose name, if I am not mistaken, was Aspasia. I have indeed very often looked upon that art as the As for newsmongers, politicians, mimics, storymost proper for the female sex, and I think the tellers, with other characters of that nature which universities would do well to consider whether gave birth to loquacity, they are as commonly found they should not fill the rhetoric chairs with she-among the men as the women: for which reason I professors. shall pass them over in silence.
It has been said in the praise of some men, that they could talk whole hours together upon any thing; but it must be owned to the honour of the other sex, that there are many among them who can talk whole hours together upon nothing. I have known a woman branch out into a long extempore dissertation upon the edging of a petticoat, and chide her servant for breaking a china cup, in all the figures of rhetoric.
Were women permitted to plead in courts of judi
I have often been puzzled to assign a cause why women should have this talent of a ready utterance in so much greater perfection than men. I have sometimes fancied that they have not a retentive power, or the faculty of suppressing their thoughts, as men have, but that they are necessitated to speak every thing they think; and if so, it would perhaps furnish a very strong argument to the Cartesians for the supporting of their doctrine that the soul always thinks. But as several are of opinion
that the fair sex are not altogether strangers to the art of dissembling and concealing their thoughts, I have been forced to relinquish that opinion, and have therefore endeavoured to seek after some better reason. In order to it, a friend of mine, who is an excellent anatomist, has promised me by the first opportunity to dissect a woman's tongue, and to examine whether there may not be in it certain juices which render it so wonderfully voluble or flippant, or whether the fibres of it may not be made up of a finer or more pliant thread; or whether there are not in it some particular muscles which dart it up and down by such sudden glances and vibrations; or whether, in the last place, there may not be certain undiscovered channels running from the head and the heart to this little instrument of loquacity, and conveying into it a perpetual affluency of animal spirits. Nor must I omit the reason which Hudibras has given, why those who can talk on trifles speak with the greatest fluency; namely, that the tongue is like a race-horse, which runs the faster the lesser weight it carries.
Which of these reasons soever may be looked upon as the most probable, I think the Irishman's thought was very natural, who, after some hours' conversation with a female orator, told her, that he believed her tongue was very glad when she was asleep, for that it had not a moment's rest all the while she was awake.
That excellent old ballad of The Wanton Wife of
I think, quoth Thomas, women's tongues
And Ovid, though in the description of a very barbarous circumstance, tells us, that when the tongue of a beautiful female was cut out, and thrown upon the ground, it could not forbear muttering even in that posture :
Comprensam forcipe linguam
Abstulit ense fero, radix micat ultima linguæ.
The blade had cut
Her tongue sheer off, close to the trembling root,
Uneasy, panting, and possessed with pain.-CRUXALL If a tongue would be talking without a mouth, what could it have done when it had all its organs of speech, and accomplices of sound about it? I might here mention the story of the Pippin Woman, had I not some reason to look upon it as fabulous.* I must confess I am so wonderfully charmed with the music of this little instrument, that I would by no means discourage it. All that I aim at by this dissertation is, to cure it of several disagreeable notes, and in particular of those little jarrings and dissonances which arise from anger, censoriousness, gossiping and coquetry. In short, I would always have it tuned by good-nature, truth, discretion, and sincerity.-C.
The crackling crystal yields, she sinks, she dies;
No. 248.] FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1711.
stands most in need of assistance.
THERE are none who deserve superiority over
of hazardous actions for the good of others, at the As great and exalted spirits undertake the pursuit same time gratifying their passion for glory; so do worthy minds in the domestic way of life deny themselves many advantages, to satisfy a generous benevolence, which they bear to their friends oppressed with distresses and calamities. Such natures one may call stories of Providence, which are actuated by a secret celestial influence to undervalue the ordinary gratifications of wealth, to give comfort to a heart loaded with affliction, to save a falling family, to preserve a branch of trade in their neigh
bourhood, to give work to the industrious, preserve the portion of the helpless infant, and raise the head of the mourning father. People whose hearts are wholly bent towards pleasure, or intent upon gain, never hear of the noble occurrences among men of industry and humanity. It would look like a city romance, to tell them of the generous merchant, who the other day sent his billet to an eminent trader, under difficulties to support himself, in whose fall many hundreds besides himself had perished; but because I think there is more spirit and true gallantry in it than in any letter I have ever read from Strephon to Phillis, I shall insert it even in the mercantile honest style in which it was sent:
"I have heard of the casualties which have in
volved you in extreme distress at this time; and knowing you to be a man of great good-nature, industry, and probity, have resolved to stand by you. Be of good cheer; the bearer brings with him five thousand pounds, and has my order to answer your drawing as much more on my account. I did this in haste, for fear I should come too late for your relief; but you may value yourself with me to the sum of fifty thousand pounds; for I can very cheerfully run the hazard of being so much less rich than I am now, to save an honest man whom I love.
"Your Friend and Servant,
I think there is somewhere in Montaigne mention made of a family-book, wherein all the occurrences that happened from one generation of that house to another were recorded. Were there such a method in the families which are concerned in this generosity, it would be a hard task for the greatest in Europe to give in their own, an instance of a benefit better placed, or conferred with a more graceful air. It has been heretofore urged how barbarous and inhuman is any unjust step made to the disadvantage of a trader; and by how much such an act towards him is detestable, by so much an act of
kindness towards him is laudable. I remember to have heard a bencher of the Temple tell a story of a tradition in their house, where they had formerly a custom of choosing kings for such a season, and allowing him his expenses at the charge of the society; One of our kings,† said my friend, carried his royal inclination a little too far, and there was a committee ordered to look into the management of his treasury. Among other things it appeared, that his majesty walking incog. in the cloister, had overheard a poor man say to another, "Such a small sum would make me the happiest man in the world." The king, out of his royal compassion, privately inquired into his character, and finding him a proper object of charity, sent him the money. When the committee read the report, the house passed his accounts with a plaudite without further examination, upon
the recital of this article in them: For making a man happy
£10 0 0
flections on it without any order or method, so that they may appear rather in the looseness and freedom of an essay, than in the regularity of a set discourse. It is after this manner that I shall consider laughter and ridicule in my present paper.
Man is the merriest species of the creation; all above and below him are serious. He sees things in a different light from other beings, and finds his mirth arising from objects that perhaps cause something like pity or displeasure in higher natures. Laughter is indeed a very good counterpoise to the spleen; and it seems but reasonable that we should be capable of receiving joy from what is no real good to us, since we can receive grief from what is no real evil.
I have in my forty-seventh paper raised a specu lation on the notion of a modern philosopher, who describes the first motive of laughter to be a secret comparison which we make between ourselves and the persons we laugh at; or, in other words, that satisfaction which we receive from the opinion of some pre-eminence in ourselves, when we see the absurdities of another, or when we reflect on any past absurdities of our own. This seems to hold in most cases, and we may observe that the vainest part of mankind are the most addicted to this passion.
I have read a sermon of a conventual in the church of Rome, on those words of the wise man, does it?" Upon which he laid it down as a point "I said of Laughter, it is mad; and of mirth, what of doctrine, that laughter was the effect of original sin, and that Adam could not laugh before the fall. the mind, weakens the faculties, and causes a kind Laughter, while it lasts, slackens and unbraces of remissness and dissolution in all the powers of the soul; and thus far it may be looked upon as a weakness in the composition of human nature. But if we consider the frequent reliefs we receive from to depress the mind and damp our spirits, with it, and how often it breaks the gloom which is apt transient unexpected gleams of joy, one would take care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life.
posing to laughter those one converses with, is the The talent of turning men into ridicule, and exqualification of little ungenerous tempers. A young man with this cast of mind cuts himself off from all and weaknesses; nay, the greatest blemishes are manner of improvement. Every one has his flaws often found in the most shining characters; but what an absurd thing is it to pass over all the valuable parts of a man, and fix our attention on his infirmities? to observe his imperfections more than his virtues? and to make use of him for the sport of others, rather than for our own improvement?
most accomplished in ridicule are those that are We therefore very often find, that persons the very shrewd at hitting a blot, without exerting any thing masterly in themselves. As there are many eminent critics who never writ a good line, there are many admirable buffoons that animadvert upon every single defect in another, without ever discovering the least beauty of their own. By this Mirth out of season is a grievous ill.-Frag. Vet. Poet. means, these unlucky little wits often gain reWHEN I make choice of a subject that has not putation in the esteem of vulgar minds, and raise been treated on by others, I throw together my re-themselves above persons of much more laudable
No. 249.] SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1711.
The merchant involved in distress by casualties was one Mr. Moreton, a linen-draper; and the generous merchant, here so justly celebrated, was Sir William Scawen.
t This king, it is said, was beau Nash, director of the public diversions at Bath, who was in King William's time a student in the Temple.
If the talent of ridicule were employed to laugh men out of voice and folly, it might be of some use
to the world; but instead of this, we find that it| is generally made use of to laugh men out of virtue and good sense, by attacking every thing that is solemn and serious, decent and praiseworthy in human life.
We may observe that in the first ages of the world, when the great souls and master-pieces of human nature were produced, men shined by a noble simplicity of behaviour, and were strangers to those little embellishments which are so fashion
Disce docendus adhuc, quæ censet amiculus, ut si Cæcus iter monstrare velit; tamen aspice si quid Et nos, quod cures proprium fecisse, loquamur.
HOR. Ep. 1. xvii. 3.
able in our present conversation. And it is very No. 250.] MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1711. remarkable, that notwithstanding we fall short at present of the ancients in poetry, painting, oratory, history, 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 arts of ridicule. We meet with more raillery among the moderns, but more good sense among the ancients.
Yet hear what an unskilful friend can say.
The two great branches of ridicule in writing are "You see the nature of my request by the Latin comedy and burlesque. The first ridicules persons motto which I address to you. I am very sensible by drawing them in their proper characters, the I ought not to use many words to you, who are one other by drawing them quite unlike themselves. of but few; but the following piece, as it relates to Burlesque is therefore of two kinds; the first repre- speculation, in propriety of speech, being a curiosity sents mean persons in the accoutrements of heroes; in its kind, begs your patience. It was found in a the other describes great persons acting and speak-poetical virtuoso's closet among his rarities; and ing like the basest among the people. Don Quix- since the several treatises of thumbs, ears, and ote is an instance of the first, and Lucian's gods of noses, have obliged the world, this of eyes is at the second. It is a dispute among the critics, your service. whether burlesque poetry runs best in heroic verse, like that of the Dispensary; or in doggrel, like that of Hudibras. I think where the low character is to be raised, the heroic is the proper measure; but when a hero is to be pulled down and degraded, it is done best in doggrel.
If Hudibras had been set out with as much wit and humour in heroic verse as he is in doggrel, he would have made a much more agreeable figure than he does; though the generality of his readers are so wonderfully pleased with the double rhymes, that I do not expect many will be of my opinion in this particular.
I shall conclude this essay upon laughter with observing that the metaphor of laughing, applied to fields and meadows when they are in flower, or to trees when they are in blossom, runs through all languages; which I have not observed of any other metaphor, excepting that of fire and burning when they are applied to love. This shows that we naturally regard laughter, as what is in itself both amiable and beautiful. For this reason likewise Venus has gained the title of Philomydes "the laughter-loving dame," as Waller has translated it, and is represented by Horace as the goddess who delights in laughter. Milton, in a joyous assembly of imaginary persons, has given us a very poetical figure of Laughter. His whole band of mirth is so finely described, that I shall set down the passage at length:
But come, thou goddess fare and free,
Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
"The first eye of consequence (under the invisible Author of all) is the visible luminary of the universe. This glorious Spectator is said never to open his eyes at his rising in a morning, without having a whole kingdom of adorers in Persian silk waiting at his levee. Millions of creatures derive their sight from this original, who besides his being the great director of optics, is the surest test whether eyes be of the same species with that of an eagle, or that of an owl. The one he emboldens with a manly assurance to look, speak, act, or plead, before the faces of a numerous assembly; the other he dazzles out of countenance into a sheepish dejectedness. The sun-proof eye dares lead up a dance in a full court: and without blinking at the lustre of beauty, can distribute an eye of proper complaisance to a room crowded with company, each of which deserves particular regard; while the other sneaks from conversation, like a fearful debtor who never dares to look out, but when he can see nobody, and nobody him.
"The next instance of optics is the famous Argus, who (to speak in the language of Cambridge) was one of a hundred; and being used as a spy in the affairs of jealousy, was obliged to have all his eyes about him. We have no account of the particular colours, casts, 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, sly glances, and other ocular activities, to serve his purpose. Some look upon him as the then king at arms to the heathenish deities: and make no more of his eyes than of so many spangles of his herald's
"The next upon the optic list is old Janus, who stood in a double-sighted capacity, like a person placed betwixt two opposite looking-glasses, and so took a sort of retrospective cast at one view. Copies of this double-faced way are not yet out of fashion with many professions, and the ingenious artists pretend to keep up this species by double-headed canes and spoons; but there is no mark of this faculty, except in the emblematical way, of a wise