« VorigeDoorgaan »
rel cards. It is also said, that they observe the law in a Ben Jonson's club *, which orders the fire to be y always, kept in (focus perennis esto), as well for the convenience of lighting their pipes, as to cure it the dampness of the club-room. They have an old woman in the nature of a vestal, whose business it is to cherish and perpetuate the fire, which burns n from generation to generation, and has seen the n glass-house fires in and out above an hundred is times.
The Everlasting club treats all other clubs with an eye of contempt, and talks even of the Kit-Cat and October as of a couple of upstarts. Their e ordinary discourse (as much as I have been able to learn of it) turns altogether upon such adventures as have passed in their own assembly; of members who have taken the glass in their turns n- for a week together, without stirring out of the club; of others who have smoked an hundred pipes ts at a sitting; of others who have not missed their r; morning's draught for twenty years together. ed Sometimes they speak in raptures of a run of By ale in King Charles's reign; and sometimes reflect er with astonishment upon games at whist, which have ty been miraculously recovered by members of the if society, when in all human probability the case was desperate.
They delight in several old catches, which they is sing at all hours to encourage one another to moisten their clay, and grow immortal by drinkrding; with many other edifying exhortations of the
There are four general clubs held in a year, at e, which times they fill up vacancies, appoint waiters, ch confirm the old fire-maker, or elect a new one,
The senior member has outlived the whole club vil twice over, and has been drunk with the grandfahe thers of some of the present sitting members.
settle contributions for coals, pipes, tobacco, and other necessaries.
N° 73. THURSDAY, MAY 24, 1711.
O goddess! for no less you seem.
Ir is very strange to consider, that a creature like man, who is sensible of so many weaknesses and imperfections, should be actuated by a love of fame that vice and ignorance, imperfection and misery, should contend for praise, and endeavour as up much as possible to make themselves objects of ades miration.
O Dea certe!
VIRG. En. i. 332.
But notwithstanding man's essential perfection is but very little, his comparative perfection may be very considerable. If he looks upon himself in an abstracted light, he has not much to boast of; but if he considers himself with regard to others, he may find occasion of glorying, if not in his own virtues, at least in the absence of another's imperfections. This gives a different turn to the reflections of the wise man and the fool. The first endeavours to shine in himself, and the last to outOns shine others. The first is humbled by the sense of one his own infirmities, the last is lifted up by the discovery of those which he observes in other men. The wise man considers what he wants, and the
The Leges Convivales of this Club will be found in Ben Jonson's works, by Whalley, vol. vii.
fool what he abounds in. The wise man is happy when he gains his own approbation, and the fool when he recommends himself to the applause of those about him.
But however unreasonable and absurd this pas sion for admiration may appear in such a creature as man, it is not wholly to be discouraged; since it often produces very good effects, not only as it restrains him from doing any thing which is mean and contemptible, but as it pushes him to actions which are great and glorious. The principle may be defective or faulty, but the consequences it produces are so good, that for the benefit of mankind it ought not to be extinguished.
It is observed by Cicero, that men of the greatest and the most shining parts are the most actuated by ambition; and if we look into the two sexes, I believe we shall find this principle of action stronger in women than in men.
and shedding their blood for them. Some of them. like the Idol in the Apocrypha, must have treats and collations prepared for them every night, t has, indeed, been known, that some of them have been used by their incensed worshippers like the Chinese idols, who are whipped and scourged when they refuse to comply with the prayers that are offered to them.
I must here observe, that those idolaters who devote themselves to the Idols I am here speaking of, differ very much from all other kinds of idolaters. For as others fall out because they worship different Idols, these idolaters quarrel because they worship the same.
The intention, therefore, of the Idol is quite contrary to the wishes of the idolaters; as the one desires to confine the Idol to himself, the whole bчsiness and ambition of the other is to multiply adorers. This humour of an Idol is prettily described in a tale of Chaucer. He represents one of them sitting at a table with three of her votaries about her, who are all of them courting her favour, and paying their adorations. She smiled upon one, drank to another, and trod upon the other's foot which was under the table. Now which of these three, says the old bard, do you think was the favourite? In troth, says he, not one of all the three.
The passion for praise, which is so very vehement in the fair sex, produces excellent effects in women of sense, who desire to be admired for that only which deserves admiration: and I think we may observe, without a compliment to them, that many of them do not only live in a more uniform course of virtue, but with an infinitely greater regard to their honour, than what we find in the generality of our own sex. How many instances have we of chastity, fidelity, devotion! How many ladies dis- The behaviour of this old Idol in Chaucer puts tinguish themselves by the education of their chil- me in mind of the beautiful Clarinda, one of the dren, care of their families, and love of their hus-greatest Idols among the moderns. She is worbands, which are the great qualities and achieve- | shipped once a week by candle-light, in the midst ments of womankind! as the making of war, the of a large congregation, generally called an assemcarrying on of traffic, the administration of jus- bly. Some of the gayest youths in the nation entice, are those by which men grow famous, and get deavour to plant themselves in her eye, while she themselves a name. sits in form with multitudes of tapers burning about But as this passion for admiration, when it works her. To encourage the zeal of her idolaters, she according to reason, improves the beautiful part of bestows a mark of her favour upon every one of our species in every thing that is laudable; so no- them, before they go out of her presence. She thing is more destructive to them when it is go- | asks a question of one, tells a story to another, verned by vanity and folly. What I have there-glances an ogle upon a third, takes a pinch of snuff fore here to say, only regards the vain part of the from the fourth, lets her fan drop by accident to sex, whom, for certain reasons, which the reader give the fifth an occasion of taking it up. In will hereafter see at large, I shall distinguish short, every one goes away satisfied with his sucby the name of Idols. An Idol is wholly taken cess, and encouraged to renew his devotions on the up in the adorning of her person. You see in same canonical hour that day sevennight. every posture of her body, air of her face, and motion of her head, that it is her business and employment to gain adorers. For this reason your Idols appear in all public places and assemblies, in order to seduce men to their worship. The playhouse is very frequently filled with Idols; several of them are carried in procession every evening about the ring, and several of them set up their worship even in churches. They are to be accosted in the language proper to the Deity., Life and death are in their power: joys of heaven, and pains of hell, are at their disposal: paradise is in their arms, and eternity in every moment that you are present with them. Raptures, transports, and ecstasies, are the rewards which they confer: sighs and tears, prayers and broken hearts, are the offerings which are paid to them. Their smiles make men happy; their frowns drive them to despair. I shall only add under this head, that Ovid's book of the Art of Love is a kind of heathen ritual, which contains all the forms of worship which are made use of to an Idol.
It would be as difficult a task to reckon up these different kinds of Idols, as Milton's was to number those that were known in Canaan, and the lands adjoining. Most of them are worshipped, like Moloch, in fires and flames. Some of them, like Baal, love to see their votaries cut and slashed,
An Idol may be undeified by many accidental causes. Marriage in particular is a kind of counter-apotheosis, or a deification inverted. When a man becomes familiar with his goddess, she quickly sinks into a woman.
Old age is likewise a great decayer of your Idol. The truth of it is, there is not a more unhappy being than a superannuated Idol, especially when she has contracted such airs and behaviour as are only graceful when her worshippers are about her.
Considering, therefore, that in these and many other cases the woman generally outlives the Idol, I must return to the moral of this paper, and desire my fair readers to give a proper direction to their passion for being admired; in order to which, they must endeavour to make themselves the ob jects of a reasonable and lasting admiration. This is not to be hoped for, from beauty, or dress, or fashion, but from those inward ornaments which are not to be defaced by time or sickness, and which appear most amiable to those who are most acquainted with them.
The hounds ran swiftly through the woods The nimble deer to take,
N° 74. FRIDAY, MAY 25, 1711.
-Pendent opera interrupta
VIRG. En. iv. 88. The works unfinished and neglected lie. Is my last Monday's paper* I gave some general instances of those beautiful strokes which please the reader in the old song of Chevy-Chase; I shall here, according to my promise, be more particular, and show that the sentiments in that ballad are extremely natural and poetical, and full of the majestic simplicity which we admire in the greatest of the ancient poets: for which reason I shall quote several passages of it, in which the thought is altogether the same with what we meet in several passages of the Æneid; not that I would infer from thence, that the poet (whoever he was) proposed to himself any imitation of those passages, but that be was directed to them in general by the same kind of poetical genius, and by the same copyings
Had this old song been filled with epigrammatical turns and points of wit, it might, perhaps, have pleased the wrong taste of some readers; but it would never have become the delight of the comon people, nor have warmed the heart of Sir Philip Sidney like the sound of a trumpet; it is aly nature that can have this effect, and please the tastes which are the most unprejudiced, or the most refined. I must, however, beg leave to dissent from so great an authority as that of Sir Philip Sidney, in the judgment which he has passed to the rude style and evil apparel of this antiquated song; for there are several parts in it where
t only the thought but the language is majestic, and the numbers sonorous; at least the apparel is mach more gorgeous than many of the poets made
of in Queen Elizabeth's time, as the reader will see in several of the following quotations. What can be greater than either the thought or the expression in that stanza,
To drive the deer with hound and born
The child may rue that is unborn
The hunting of that day!'
This way of considering the misfortunes which this battle would bring upon posterity, not only on those who were born immediately after the battle, and Jo their fathers in it, but on those also who perished in future battles which took their rise from. this quarrel of the two earls, is wonderfully beautiful, and conformable to the way of thinking among the ancient poets.
*Audiet pugnas vitio parentum Para juventus.'
HOR. 1 Od. ii. 23.
Posterity, thinn'd by their fathers' crimes,
What can be more sounding and poetical, or remble more the majestic simplicity of the ancients, than the following stanzas?
'The stout Earl of Northumberland
His pleasure in the Scottish woods
Who knew full well, in time of need,
• No 70.
And with their cries the hills and dales
An echo shrill did make.'
• — Vocat ingenti clamore Citharon, Taygelique canes, domitrixque Epidaurus equorum : El vox assensu nemorum ingeminata remugit? GEORG. iii. 43.
'Citharon loudly calls me to my way;
Fam'd for his hills, and for his horses' breed:
'Lo, yonder doth Earl Douglas come,
Fast by the river Tweed,' &c.
The country of the Scotch warriors, described in these two last verses, has a fine romantic situation, and affords a couple of smooth words for verse. If the reader compares the foregoing six lines of the song with the following Latin verses, he will see how much they are written in the spirit of Virgil:
'Adversi campo apparent, hastasque reductis
Æn. xi. 605. vii. 682, 712.
'Advancing in a line, they couch their spears—
With those who plow Saturnia's Gabine land:
But to proceed:
But of all the descriptive parts of this song, there|viour of those women who had lost their husbands are none more beautiful than the four following on this fatal day?
stanzas, which have a great force and spirit in them, and are filled with very natural circumstances. The thought in the third stanza was never touched by any other poet, and is such an one as would have shined in Homer or in Virgil:
So thus did both these nobles die,
'He had a bow bent in his hand,
The grey-goose wing that was thereon
This fight did last from break of day
For when they rung the ev'ning bell
One may observe, likewise, that in the catalogue of the slain, the author has followed the example of the great ancient poets, not only in giving a long list of the dead, but by diversifying it with little characters of particular persons.
And with Earl Douglas there was slain
Sir Charles Carrel, that from the field
'Sir Charles Murrel of Ratcliff too,
Sir David Lamb, so well esteem'd,
The familiar sound in these names destroys the majesty of the description; for this reason I do not mention this part of the poem but to show the natural cast of thought which appears in it, as the two last verses look almost like a translation of Virgil.
'--Cadit et Ripheus justissimus unus Qui fuit in Teucris et servantissimus æqui, Diis aliter visum est—
Æn. ii. 426.
Next day did many widows come
They wash'd their wounds in brinish tears,
"Their bodies bath'd in purple blood,
They kiss'd them dead a thousand times,
Thus we see how the thoughts of this poem, which naturally arise from the subject, are always simple, and sometimes exquisitely noble; that the language is often very sounding, and that the whole is written with a true poetical spirit.
If this song had been written in the Gothic manner, which is the delight of all our little wits, whether writers or readers, it would not have hit the taste of so many ages, and have pleased the readers of all ranks and conditions. I shall only beg pardon for such a profusion of Latin quotations; which I should not have made use of, but that I feared my own judgment would have looked too singular on such a subject, had not I supported it by the practice and authority of Virgil.
No 75. SATURDAY, MAY 26, 1711.
IT is with some mortification that I suffered the raillery of a fine lady of my acquaintance, for calling, in one of my papers, Dorimant a clown. She was so unmerciful as to take advantage of my invincible taciturnity, and on that occasion with great freedom to consider the air, the height, the face, the gesture, of him who could pretend to judge so arrogantly of gallantry. She is full of motion, janty and lively in her impertinence, and one of those that commonly pass, among the ignorant, for persons who have a great deal of humour, She had the play of Sir Fopling in her hand, and after she had said it was happy for her there was not so charming a creature as Dorimant now living, she began with a theatrical air and tone of voice to read, by way of triumph over me, some of his speeches,"Tis she! that lovely hair, that easy shape, those wanton eyes, and all those melt
In the catalogue of the English who fell, Wither-
Then stept a gallant 'squire forth,
Who said, I would not have it told
To Henry our king for shame,
That e'er my captain fought on foot,
We meet with the same heroic sentiment in Virgil.
charms about her mouth, which Medley spoke of; I'll follow the lottery, and put in for a prize with my friend Bellair.'
'In love the victors from the vanquish'd fly;
Then turning over the leaves, she reads alternately, and speaks,
And you and Loveit to her cost shall find
Oh the fine gentleman! But here, continues she, is the passage I admire most, where he begins to tease Loveit and mimic Sir Fopling, Oh the pretty satire, in his resolving to be a coxcomb to please, since noise and nonsense have such powerful charms.
1. that I may successful prove, Transform myself to what you love."
* No 65
and beauty by a thorough contempt of little excellencies, he is perfectly master of them. This temper of mind leaves him under no necessity of studying his air, and he has this peculiar distinc tion, that his negligence is unaffected.
for He that can work himself into a pleasure in co so considering this being as an uncertain one, and her think to reap an advantage by its discontinuance, en I is in a fair way of doing all things with a graceful not unconcern, and a gentleman-like ease. Such a pres- one does not behold his life as a short, transient, ally) perplexing state, made up of trifling pleasures and say a great anxieties; but sees it in quite another light; Iving his griefs are momentary, and his joys immortal. vere, Reflection upon death is not a gloomy and sad ion. thought of resigning every thing that he delights est of in, but it is a short night followed by an endless eable day. What I would here contend for is, that the ds of more virtuous the man is, the nearer he will natuWhat rally be to the character of genteel and agreeable. good A man whose fortune is plentiful, shows an ease car- in his countenance, and confidence in his behanfess, viour, which he that is under wants and difficulties. en I cannot assume. It is thus with the state of the ance mind; he that governs his thoughts with the everDuble lasting rules of reason and sense, must have someliges thing so inexpressibly graceful in his words and d re-actions, that every circumstance must become him. may The change of persons or things around him does tuous not at all alter his situation, but he looks disinbeaks terested in the occurrences with which others are
pur- distracted, because the greatest purpose of his life ought is to maintain an indifference both to it and all its o be- enjoyments. in a word, to be a fine gentleman, is a is to be a generous and a brave man. What can on of make a man so much in constant good humour, agin- and shine, as we call it, as to be supported by from what can never fail him, and to believe that whatition, ever happens to him was the best thing that could He is possibly befal him, or else He on whom it deuious peds, would not have permitted it to have begreat fallen him at all!
No 76. MONDAY, MAY 28, 1711,
Ut tu fortunam, sic nos te, Celse feremus.
f forocifer THERE is nothing so common as to find a man acon- whom in the general observation of his carriage ssem- you take to be of an uniform temper, subject to m his such unaccountable starts of humour and passion, con- that he is as much unlike himself, and differs as rmed much from the man you at first thought him, as hare any two distinct persons can differ from each other. igion, This proceeds from the want of forming some law occur- of life to ourselves, or fixing some notion of things in general, which may affect us in such a manner everal as to create proper habits both in our minds and under bodies. The negligence of this, leaves us exposed ed to not only to an unbecoming levity in our usual confrom versation, but also to the same instability in our aken friendships, interests, and alliances. A man who come is but a mere Spectator of what passes around him, y the and not engaged in commerces of any consideram, as tion, is but an ill judge of the secret motions of thers. the heart of man, and by what degrees it is actuport- ated to make such visible alterations in the same men's person: but at the same time, when a man is no reater way concerned in the effect of such inconsistencies,
As you your fortune bear, we will bear you.