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contrary to my expectation, are born to me every year, straitens me so much, that I have begged their mother to free me from the obligation of the above-mentioned pin-money, that it may go toward making a provision for her family. This proposal makes her noble blood swell in her veins, insomuch that, finding me a little tardy in my last quarter's payment, she threatens me every day to arrest me; and proceeds so far as to tell me that if I do not do her justice, I shall die in a jail. To this she adds, when her passion will let her argue calmly, that she has several play-debts on her hands, which must be discharged very suddenly, and that she cannot lose her money as becomes a woman of fashion, if she makes me any abatement in this article. I hope, Sir, you will take an occasion from hence to give your opinion upon a subject which you have not yet touched, and inform us if there are any precedents for this usage among our ancestors; or whether you find any mention of pin-money in Grotius, Puffendorf, or any other of the civilians.
"I am ever the humblest of your Admirers,
"JOSIAH FRIBBLE, Esq."
As there is no man living who is a more professed advocate for the fair sex than myself, so there is none that would be more unwilling to invade any of their ancient rights and privileges; but as the doctrine of pin-money is of a late date, unknown to our great-grandmothers, and not yet received by many of our modern ladies, I think it is for the interest of both sexes to keep it from spreading.
fense of this practice, that it is but a necessary
It is observed of over-cautious generals, that they never engage in battle without securing a retreat, in case the event should not answer their expectations; on the other hand, the greatest conquerors have burnt their ships, or broke down the bridges behind them, as being determined either to succeed or die in the engagement. In the same manner I should very much suspect a woman who takes such precautions for her retreat, and contrives methods how she may live happily, without the affection of one to whom she joins herself for life. Separate purses between man and wife are, in my opinion, as unnatural as separate beds. A marriage cannot be happy, where the pleasures, inclinations, and interests of both parties are not the same. There is no greater incitement to love in the mind of man, than the sense of a person's depending upon him for her ease and happiness; as a woman uses all her endeavors to please the person whom she looks upon as her honor, her comfort, and her support.
Mr. Fribble may not, perhaps, be much mista- For this reason, am not very much surprised ken where he intimates, that the supplying a at the behavior of a rough country 'squire, who, man's wife with pin-money, is furnishing her with being not a little shocked at the proceeding of a arms against himself, and in a manner, becoming young widow that would not recede from her deaccessory to his own dishonor. We may, indeed, mands of pin-money, was so enraged at her mergenerally observe, that in proportion as a woman cenary temper, that he told her in great wrath, is more or less beautiful, and her husband ad-"As much as she thought him her slave, he would vanced in years, she stands in need of a greater or show all the world he did not care a pin for her." less number of pins, and, upon a treaty of mar- Upon which he flew out of the room, and never riage, rises or falls in her demands accordingly. saw her more. It must likewise be owned, that high quality in a mistress does very much inflame this article in the marriage-reckoning.
But where the age and circumstances of both parties are pretty much upon a level, I cannot but think the insisting upon pin-money is very extraordinary; and yet we find several matches broken off upon this very head. What would a foreigner, or one who is a stranger to this practice, think of a lover that forsakes his mistress, because he is not willing to keep her in pins? But what would he think of the mistress, should he be informed that she asks five or six hundred pounds a year for this use? Should a man unacquainted with our customs be told the sums which are allowed in Great Britain, under the title of pin-money, what a prodigious consumption of pins would he think there was in this island? A pin a day," says our frugal proverb, "is a groat a year;" so that, according to this calculation, my friend Fribble's wife must every year make use of eight million six hundred and forty thousand new pins.
I am not ignorant that our British ladies allege they comprehend under this general term several other conveniences of life; I could therefore wish, for the honor of my countrywomen, that they had rather called it needle-money, which might have implied something of good housewifery, and not have given the malicious world occasion to think, that dress and trifles have always the uppermost place in a woman's thoughts.
I know several of my fair readers urge in de
Socrates in Plato's Alcibiades, says he was informed by one who had traveled through Persia, that as he passed over a great tract of land, and inquired what the name of the place was, they told him it was the Queen's Girdle: to which he adds, that another wide field which lay by it, was called the Queen's Vail; and that in the same manner there was a large portion of ground set aside for every part of her majesty's dress. These lands might not be improperly called the Queen of Persia's pin-money.
I remember my friend Sir Roger, who, I dare say, never read this passage in Plato, told me some time since, that upon his courting the perverse widow (of whom I have given an account in former papers) he had disposed of a hundred acres in a diamond ring, which he would have presented her with, had she thought fit to accept it; and that upon her wedding-day, she should have carried on her head fifty of the tallest oaks upon his estate. He further informed me, that he would have given her a coal-pit to keep her in clean linen, that he would have allowed her the profits of a windmill for her fans, and have presented her once in three years with the shearing of his sheep for her under-petticoats. To which the knight always adds, that though he did not care for fine clothes himself, there should not have been a woman in the country better dressed than my Lady Coverley. Sir Roger, perhaps, may in this, as well as in many other of his devices, appear somewhat odd and singular; but if the humor of pin-money prevails, I think it would be very
proper for every gentleman of an estate to mark out so many acres of it under the title of "The Pins."-L.
No. 296.] FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1711-12.
expect: but, without any provocation that I know
Let her alone ten days.
"York, Jan. 20, 1711-12.
"HAVING lately conversed much with the fair sex on the subject of your speculations (which, since their appearance in public, have been the chief exercise of the female loquacious faculty), I "We have in this town a sort of people who found the fair ones possessed with a dissatisfac- pretend to wit, and write lampoons; I have lately tion at your prefixing Greek mottoes to the frontis-been the subject of one of them. The scribbler pieces of your late papers; and as a man of gal-had not genius enough in verse to turn my age, as lantry, I thought it a duty incumbent on me to indeed I am an old maid, into raillery, for affectimpart it to you in hopes of a reformation, which ing a youthier turn than is consistent with my is only to be effected by a restoration of the Latin time of day; and therefore he makes the title of to the usual dignity in your papers, which of late his madrigal, the character of Mrs. Judith Lovethe Greek, to the great displeasure of your female bane, born in the year 1680. What I desire of you readers, has usurped; for though the Latin has the is, that you disallow that a coxcomb, who prerecommendation of being as unintelligible to tends to write verse, should put the most malithem as the Greek, yet being written in the same cious thing he can say in prose. This I humbly character with their mother tongue, by the assist- conceive will disable our country wits, who, inance of a spelling-book it is legible; which qua-deed, take a great deal of pains to say anything lity the Greek wants: and since the introduction in rhyme, though they say it very ill. of operas into this nation, the ladies are so charmed with sounds abstracted from their ideas, that they adore and honor the sound of Latin, as it is old Italian. I am a solicitor for the fair sex, and therefore think myself in that character more likely to be prevalent in this request, than if I should subscribe myself by my proper name.
"I was some time since in company with a young officer, who entertained us with the conquest he had made over a female neighbor of his : when a gentleman who stood by, as I suppose, envying the captain's good fortune, asked him what reason he had to believe the lady admired him? Why,' says he, 'my lodgings are opposite to hers, and she is continually at her window either at work, reading, taking snuff, or putting herself in some toying posture, on purpose to draw my The confession of this vain soldier made me reflect on some of my own actions: for you must know, Sir, I am often at a window which fronts the apartments of several gentlemen, who I doubt not have the same opinion of me. I must own I love to look at them all, one for being well dressed, a second for his fine eye, and one particular one, because he is the least man I ever saw; but there is something so easy and pleasant in the manner of my little man, that I observe he
eyes that way."
"I am, Sir, your humble Servant,
"We are several of us, gentlemen and ladies, who board in the same house, and after dinner one of our company (an agreeable man enough otherwise) stands up and reads your paper to us all. We are the civilest people in the world to one another, and therefore I am forced to this way of desiring our reader when he is doing this office, not to stand afore the fire. This will be a general good to our family this cold weather. He will, I know, take it to be our common request when he comes to these words, Pray, Sir, sit down;' which I desire you to insert, and you will particularly oblige,
"Your daily Reader,
"I am a great lover of dancing, but cannot perform so well as some others; however, by my out-of-the-way capers, and some original grimaces, I do not fail to divert the company, particularly the ladies, who laugh immoderately all the time. Some, who pretend to be my friends, tell me they do it in derision, and would advise me to leave it off, withal that I make myself ridiculous. I do not know what to do in this affair, but I am resolved not to give over upon any account, until I have the opinion of the Spectator. "Your humble Servant, "JOHN TROTT."
is a favorite of all his acquaintance. I could go "If Mr. Trott is not awkward out of time, he has on to tell you of many others, that I believe think a right to dance let who will laugh; but if he has I have encouraged them from my window: but no ear he will interrupt others; and I am of opinpray let me have your opinion of the use of a win-ion he should sit still. Given under my hand this dow, in the apartment of a beautiful lady; and fifth of February, 1711-12.
how often she may look out at the same man, without being supposed to have a mind to jump
out to him.
No. 297.] SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 1711-12.
Egregio inspersos reprendas corpore nævos.
further preface, and remark the several defects which appear in the fable, the characters, the sentiments, and the language of Milton's Paradise Lost; not doubting but the reader will pardon me, if I allege at the same time whatever may be said for the extenuation of such defects. The first imperfection which I shall observe in the fable is, that the event of it is unhappy.
The fable of every poem is, according to Aristotle's division, either simple or implex. It is called simple when there is no change of fortune in it: implex, when the fortune of the chief actor changes from bad to good, or from good to bad. The implex fable is thought the most perfect: I suppose, because it is more proper to stir up the passions of the reader, and to surprise him with a great variety of accidents.
The implex fable is therefore of two kinds: in the first, the chief actor makes his way through a long series of dangers and difficulties, until he arrives at honor and prosperity, as we see in the stories of Ulysses and Eneas; in the second, the chief actor in the poem falls from some eminent pitch of honor and prosperity, into misery and disgrace. Thus we see Adam and Eve sinking from a state of innocence and happiness, into the most abject condition of sin and sorrow.
of design, and masterly beauties which we discover in Homer and Virgil.
I must in the next place observe, that Milton has interwoven in the texture of this fable some particulars which do not seem to have probability enough for an epic poem, particularly in the actions which he ascribes to Sin and Death, and the picture which he draws of the "Limbo of Vanity," with other passages in the second book. Such allegories rather savor of the spirit of Spenser and Ariosto, than of Homer and Virgil. In the structure of his poem he has likewise admitted too many digressions. It is finely ob served by Aristotle, that the author of an heroic poem should seldom speak himself, but throw as much of his work as he can into the mouths of those who are his principal actors. Aristotle has given no reason for this precept: but I presume it is because the mind of the reader is more awed, and elevated, when he hears Æneas or Achilles speak, than when Virgil or Homer talk in their own persons. Beside that, assuming the charac ter of an eminent man is apt to fire the imagina tion, and raise the ideas of the author. Tully tells us, mentioning his dialogue of old age, in which Cato is the chief speaker, that upon a review of it he was agreeably imposed upon, and fancied that it was Cato, and not he himself, who uttered his thoughts on that subject.
The most taking tragedies among the ancients were built on this last sort of implex fable, par ticularly the tragedy of Edipus, which proceeds If the reader would be at the pains to see how upon a story, if we may believe Aristotle, the the story of the Iliad and the Æneid is delivered most proper for tragedy that could be invented by by those persons who act in it, he will be sur the wit of man. I have taken some pains in a prised to find how little either of these poems former paper to show, that this kind of implex proceeds from the authors. Milton has, in the fable, wherein the event is unhappy, is more apt to general disposition of his fable, very finely ob affect an audience than that of the first kind; not-served this great rule; insomuch that there is withstanding many excellent pieces among the ancients, as well as most of those which have been written of late years in our own country, are raised upon contrary plans. I must however own, that I think this kind of fable, which is the most perfect in tragedy, is not so proper for an heroic poem.
scarce a tenth part of it which comes from the poet; the rest is spoken either by Adam or Eve, or by some good or evil spirit who is engaged, either in their destruction, or defense.
From what has been here observed, it appears, that digressions are by no means to be allowed of in an epic poem. If the poet, even in the ordi Milton seems to have been sensible of this im- nary course of his narration, should speak as little perfection in his fable, and has therefore endea- as possible, he should certainly never let his nar vored to cure it by several expedients; particular-ration sleep for the sake of any reflections of his ly by the mortification which the great adversary own. I have often observed with a secret admiof mankind meets with upon his return to the as-ration, that the longest reflection in the Eneid is sembly of infernal spirits, as it is described in a in that passage of the tenth book, where Turnus beautiful passage of the third book; and likewise by the vision wherein Adam, at the close of the poem, sees his offspring triumphing over his great enemy, and himself restored to a happier paradise than that from which he fell.
is represented as dressing himself in the spoils of Pallas, whom he had slain. Virgil here lets his fable stand still, for the sake of the following remark. "How is the mind of man ignorant of futurity, and unable to bear prosperous fortune There is another objection against Milton's fa- with moderation! The time will come when ble, which is indeed almost the same with the Turnus shall wish that he had left the body of former, though placed in a different light, namely, Pallas untouched, and curse the day on which he That the hero in the Paradise Lost is unsuc- dressed himself in these spoils." As the great cessful, and by no means a match for his enemies. event of the Eneid, and the death of Turnus, This gives occasion for Mr. Dryden's reflection, whom Eneas slew because he saw him adorned that the devil was in reality Milton's hero. I with the spoils of Pallas, turns upon this incident, think I have obviated this objection in my first Virgil went out of his way to make this reflection paper. The Paradise Lost is an epic, or narrative upon it, without which so small a circumstance poem, and he that looks for a hero in it, searches might possibly have slipped out of his reader's for that which Milton never intended; but if he memory. Lucan, who was an injudicious poet, will indeed fix the name of a hero upon any per- lets drop his story very frequently for the sake of son in it, it is certainly the Messiah who is the his unnecessary digressions, or his diverticula, as hero, both in the principal action and the chief Scaliger calls them. If he gives us an account of episodes. Paganism could not furnish out a real the prodigies which preceded the civil war, he de action for a fable greater than that of the Iliad or claims upon the occasion, and shows how much Eneid, and therefore a heathen could not form a happier it would be for man, if he did not feel higher notion of a poem than one of that kind his evil fortune before it comes to pass: and suffer which they call an heroic. Whether Milton's is not only by its real weight, but by the apprehennot of a sublimer nature I will not presume to de- sion of it. Milton's complaint for his blindness, termine; it is sufficient that I show there is in the his panegyric on marriage, his reflections on Paradise Lost all the greatness of plan, regularity | Adam and Eve's going naked, of the angels' eat
ing, and several other passages in his poem, are liable to the same exception, though I must confess there is so great a beauty in these very digressions, that I would not wish them out of his
I have in a former paper spoken of the characters of Milton's Paradise Lost, and declared my opinion as to the allegorical persons who are introduced in it.
If we look into the sentiments, I think they are sometimes defective under the following heads; first, as there are several of them too much pointed, and some that even degenerate into this last kind I am afraid is that in the first book, where, speaking of the pigmies, he calls them -The small infantry Warr'd on by cranes
hard things intelligible, and to deliver what is abstruse of itself in such easy language as may be understood by ordinary readers, beside, that the knowledge of a poet should rather seem born with him, or inspired, than drawn with books and systems. I have often wondered how Mr. Dryden could translate a passage out of Virgil after the following manner:
Tack to the larboard and stand off to sea,
Milton makes use of larboard in the same man-
Another blemish that appears in some of his thoughts, is his frequent allusion to heathen fables, which are not certainly of a piece with the divine subject of which he treats. I do not find fault with these allusions where the poet himself represents them as fabulous, as he does in some places, but where he mentions them as truths and matters of fact. The limits of my paper will not give me leave to be particular in instances of this kind; the reader will easily remark them in his No. 298.] MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1711–12. perusal of the poem.
I shall in my next papers give an account of the many particular beauties in Milton, which would have been too long to insert under those general heads I have already treated of, and with which I intend to conclude this piece of criticism.-L.
A third fault in his sentiments is an uneasy ostentation of learning, which likewise occurs very frequently. It is certain that both Homer and Virgil were masters of all the learning of their times, but it shows itself in their works after an indirect and concealed manner. Milton seems ambitious of letting us know, by his excursions on free-will and predestination, and his many glances upon history, astronomy, geography, and the like, as well as by the terms and phrases he sometimes makes use of, that he was acquainted with the whole circle of arts and sciences.
If, in the last place, we consider the language of this great poet, we must allow what I have hinted in a former paper, that it is often too much labored, and sometimes obscured by old words, transpositions, and foreign idioms. Seneca's objection to the style of a great author, "Riget ejus oratio, nihil in eâ placidum, nihil lene," is what many critics make to Milton. As I cannot wholly refute it, so I have already apologized for it in another paper: to which I may further add, that Milton's sentiments and ideas were so wonderfully sublime, that it would have been impossible for him to have represented them in their full strength and beauty, without having recourse to these foreigu assistances. Our language sunk under him, and was unequal to that greatness of soul which furnished him with such glorious conceptions.
A second fault in his language is, that he often affects a kind of jingle in his words, as in the following passages and many others:
And brought into the world a world of woe.
Beseeching or besieging
This tempted our attempt
At one slight bound high overleap'd all bound.
I know there are figures for this kind of speech; that some of the greatest ancients have been guilty of it, and that Aristotle himself has given it a place in his rhetoric among the beauties of that art. But as it is in itself poor and trifling, it is, I think, at present universally exploded by all the masters of polite writing.
The last fault which I shall take notice of in Milton's style, is the frequent use of what the learned call technical words, or terms of art. It is one of the greatest beauties of poetry, to make
Nusquam tuta fides-
"London, Feb. 9, 1711-12.
"I AM a virgin, and in no case despicable, but yet such as I am I must remain, or else become, it is to be feared, less happy; for I find not the least good effect from the good correction you some time since gave that too free, that looser part of our sex which spoils the men; the same connivance at the vices, the same easy admittance of addresses, the same vitiated relish of the conversation of the greatest rakes (or, in a more fashionable way of expressing one's self, of such as have seen the world most) still abounds, increases, multiplies.
"The humble petition, therefore, of many of the most strictly virtuous and of myself is, that you will once more exert your authority, and that according to your late promise, your full, your impartial authority, on this sillier branch of our kind; for why should they be the uncontrollable mistresses of our fate? Why should they with impunity indulge the males in licentiousness while single, and we have the dismal hazard and plague of reforming them when married? Strike home, Sir, then, and spare not, or all our maiden hopes, our gilded hopes of nuptial felicity are frustrated, are vanished, and you yourself as well as Mr. Courtly, will, by smoothing over immodest practices with the gloss of soft and harmless names, forever forfeit our esteem. Nor think that I am herein more severe than need be; if I have not reason more than enough, do you and the world judge from this ensuing account, which, I think, will prove the evil to be universal.
"You must know, then, that since your reprehension of this female degeneracy came out, I have had a tender of respects from no less than five persons, of tolerable figure too, as times go: but the misfortune is that four of the five are professed followers of the mode. They would face me down, that all women of good sense ever were, and ever will be, latitudinarians in wedlock; and always did and will give and take, what they profanely term conjugal liberty of conscience.
The two first of them, a captain and a mer
chant, to strengthen their arguments, pretend to repeat after a couple of ladies of quality and wit, that Venus was always kind to Mars; and what soul that has the least spark of generosity can deny a man of bravery anything? And how piti ful a trader that, whom no woman but his own wife will have correspondence and dealings with? Thus these; while the third, the country squire, confessed, that indeed he was surprised into goodbreeding, and entered into the knowledge of the world unawares; that dining the other day at a gentleman's house, the person who entertained was obliged to leave him with his wife and nieces; where they spoke with so much contempt of an absent gentleman for being so slow at a hint, that he resolved never to be drowsy, unmannerly, or stupid, for the future, at a friend's house; and on a hunting morning not to pursue the game either with the husband abroad or with the wife at home. "The next that came was a tradesman, no less
justice to himself, vindicate both his innocence
"" CHASTITY LOVEWORTH."
Malo Venusinam, quam te, Cornelia, mater
full of the age than the former; for he had the No. 299.] TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1711–19 gallantry to tell me, that at a late junket which he was invited to, the motion being made, and the question being put, it was, by maid, wife, and widow, resolved nemine contradicente, that a young sprightly journeyman is absolutely necessary in their way of business: to which they had the assent and concurrence of the husbands present. I dropped him a courtsey, and gave him to understand that this was his audience of leave.
"I am reckoned pretty, and have had very many advances beside these; but have been very averse to hear any of them, from my observation on those above-mentioned, until I hoped some good from the character of my present admirer, a clergyman. But I find even among them there are indirect practices relating to love, and our treaty is at present a little in suspense, until some circumstances are cleared. There is a charge against him among the women, and the case is this: It is alleged, that a certain endowed female would have appropriated herself to, and consolidated herself with, a church which my divine now enjoys (or, which is the same thing, did prostitute herself to her friends doing this for her); that my ecclesiastic, to obtain the one, did engage himself to take off the other that lay on hand; but that on his success in the spiritual, he again renounced the carnal.
"I put this closely to him, and taxed him with disingenuity. He to clear himself made the subsequent defense, and that in the most solemn manner possible-that he was applied to, and instigated to accept of a benefice that a conditional offer thereof was indeed made him at first, but with disdain by him rejected:-that when nothing (as they easily perceived) of this nature could bring him to their purpose, assurance of his being entirely unengaged beforehand, and safe from all their after-expectations (the only stratagem left to draw him in), was given him:-that pursuant to this the donation itself was without delay, before several reputable witnesses, tendered to him gratis, with the open profession of not the least reserve, or most minute condition; but that yet immediately after induction, his insidious introducer (or her crafty procurer, which you will) industriously spread the report which had reached my ears, not only in the neighborhood of that said church, but in London, in the university, in mine and his own country, and wherever else it might probably obviate his application to any other woman, and so confine him to this alone: in a word, that as he never did make any previous offer of his service, or the least step to her affection; so on his discovery of these designs thus laid to trick him, he could not but afterward, in
JUY., Sat. vi, 166.
Some country girl, scarce to a courtsey bred,
Ir is observed, that a man improves more b reading the story of a person eminent for prudenc and virtue, than by the finest rules and precept of morality. In the same manner a representa tion of those calamities and misfortunes which weak man suffers from wrong measures, and il concerted schemes of life, is apt to make a deepe impression upon our minds, than the wisest max ims and instructions that can be given us, fo avoiding the like follies and indiscretions in ou own private conduct. It is for this reason that lay before my readers the following letter, an leave it with him to make his own use of it, with out adding any reflections of my own upon th subject matter.
"Having carefully perused a letter sent you by Josiah Fribble, Esq., with your subsequent dis course upon pin-money, I do presume to troubl you with an account of my own case, which look upon to be no less deplorable than that of 'Squire Fribble. I am a person of no extraction having begun the world with a small parcel o rusty iron, and was for some years commonly known by the name of Jack Anvil.* I have naturally a very happy genius for getting money insomuch that by the age of five-and-twenty had scraped together four thousand two hundred pounds, five shillings and a few odd pence. then launched out into considerable business, and became a bold trader both by sea and land, which in a few years raised me a very great fortune For these my good services I was knighted in the thirty-fifth year of my age, and lived with grea
*It has been said by some, that the author of this letter ton; but others with more probability have assured the in alluded here to Gore, of Tring, and Lady Mary Comp notator, that the letter referred to Sir Ambrose Crowley and his lady. See Tat., ed. 1786, cr. 8vo., vol. v, additional notes, p. 405 and 406. N. B. This ironmonger changed his name here by the change of Anvil into Envil, absurdly made by his from Crowley to Crawley, a folly which seems to be ridiculed lady.