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"There must be great care taken how the ex-employed their time as diligently in learning the ample of any particular person is recommended principles of justice and sobriety, as the youth in to them in gross; instead of which they ought to other countries did to acquire the most difficult be taught wherein such a man, though great in arts and sciences; their governors spent most part some respects, was weak and faulty in others. of the day in hearing their mutual accusations For want of this caution, a boy is so often dazzled one against the other, whether for violence, cheatwith the luster of a great character, that he con- ing, slander, or ingratitude; and taught them how founds its beauties with its blemishes, and looks to give judgment against those who were found to even upon the faulty part of it with an eye of ad- be anyways guilty of these crimes. I omit the miration. story of the long and short coat, for which Cyrus himself was punished, as a case equally known with any in Littleton.
"I have often wondered how Alexander, who was naturally of a generous and merciful disposition, came to be guilty of so barbarous an action as that of dragging the governor of a town after his chariot. I know this is generally ascribed to his passion for Homer: but I lately met with a passage in Plutarch, which, if I am not very much mistaken, still gives us a clearer light into the motives of this action. Plutarch tells us, that Alexander in his youth had a master named Lysimachus, who, though he was a man destitute of all politeness, ingratiated himself both with Philip and his pupil, and became the second man at court, by calling the king Peleus, the prince Achilles, and himself Phoenix. It is no wonder if Alexander, having been thus used not only to admire but to personate Achilles, should think it glorious to imitate him in this piece of cruelty and extravagance.
"To carry this thought yet further, I shall submit it to your consideration, whether, instead of a theme or copy of verses, which are the usual exercises, as they are called in the school phrase, it would not be more proper that a boy should be tasked, once or twice a week, to write down his opinion of such persons and things as occur to him by his reading; that he should descant upon the actions of Turnus or Eneas; show wherein they excelled, or where defective; censure or approve any particular action; observe how it might have been carried to a greater degree of perfection, and how it exceeded or fell short of another. He might at the same time mark what was moral in any speech, and how far it agreed with the character of the person speaking. This exercise would soon strengthen his judgment in what is blamable or praiseworthy, and give him an early seasoning of morality.
"Next to those examples which may be met with in books, I very much approve Horace's way of setting before youth the infamous or honorable characters of their cotemporaries. That poet tells us, this was the method his father made use of to incline him to any particular virtue, or give him an aversion to any particular vice. If, says Horace, my father advised me to live within bounds, and be contented with the fortune he should leave me; "Do you not see," says he, "the miserable condition of Burrus, and the son of Albus? Let the misfortunes of those two wretches teach you to avoid luxury and extravagance?" If he would inspire me with an abhorrence to debauchery, "Do not," says he, "make yourself like Sectanus, when you may be happy in the enjoyment of lawful pleasures. How scandalous," says he, "is the character of Trebonius, who was iately caught in bed with another man's wife!" To illustrate the force of this method, the poet adds, that as a headstrong patient, who will not at first follow his physician's prescriptions, grows orderly when he hears that his neighbors die all about him; so youth is often frightened from vice, by hearing the ill report it brings upon others.
"Xenophon's schools of equity, in his life of Cyrus the Great, are sufficiently famous. He tells us, that the Persian children went to school, and
"The method which Apuleius tells us the Indian Gymnosophists took to educate their disciples, is still more curious and remarkable. His words are as follow: When their dinner is ready, before it is served up, the masters inquire of every particular scholar how he has employed his time since sunrising: some of them answer, that, having been chosen as arbiters between two persons, they have composed their differences, and made them friends; some, that they have been executing the orders of their parents; and others, that they have either found out something new by their own application, or learnt it from the instructions of their fellows. But if there happens to be any one among them who cannot make it appear that he has employed the morning to advantage, he is immediately excluded from the company, and obliged to work while the rest are at dinner.'
"It is not impossible, that from these several ways of producing virtue in the minds of boys, some general method might be invented. What I would endeavor to inculcate is, that our youth cannot be too soon taught the principles of virtue, seeing the first impressions which are made on the mind are always the strongest.
The archbishop of Cambray makes Telemachus say, that, though he was young in years, he was old in the art of knowing how to keep both his own and his friend's secrets. When my father,' says the prince, went to the siege of Troy, he took me on his knees, and, after having embraced and blessed me, as he was surrounded by the nobles of Ithaca, "O my friends," says he, "into your hands I commit the education of my son: if ever you loved his father, show it in your care toward him; but above all, do not omit to form him just, sincere, and faithful in keeping a secret." These words of my father, says Telemachus, were continually repeated to me by his friends in his absence; who made no scruple of communicating to me their uneasiness to see my mother surrounded with lovers, and the measures they designed to take on that occasion.' He adds, that he was so ravished at being thus treated like a inan, and at the confidence reposed in him, that he never once abused it; nor could all the insinuations of his father's rivals ever get him to betray what was committed to him under the seal of secrecy.
"There is hardly any virtue which a lad might not thus learn by practice and example.
"I have heard of a good man, who used at certain times to give his scholars sixpence a-piece, that they might tell him the next day how they had employed it. The third part was always to be laid out in charity, and every boy was blamed or commended, as he could make it appear that he had chosen a fit object.
"In short nothing is more wanting to our public schools, than that the masters of them should use the same care in fashioning the manners of their scholars, as in forming their tongues to the learned languages. Wherever the former is omitted, I cannot help agreeing with Mr. Locke, that a man must have a very strange value for words
when, preferring the languages of the Greeks and | Romans to that which made them such brave men, he can think it worth while to hazard the innocence and virtue of his son for a little Greek and Latin.
"As the subject of this essay is of the highest importance, and what I do not remember to have yet seen treated by any author, I have sent you what occurred to me on it from my own observation or reading, and which you may either suppress or publish, as you may think fit. X.
"I am, Sir, yours," etc.
I FIND the tragedy of The Distressed Mother is published to-day. The author of the prologue,t I suppose, pleads an old excuse I have read somewhere, of being dull with design:" and the gentleman who wrote the epiloguet has, to my knowledge, so much of greater moment to value himself upon, that he will easily forgive me for publishing the exceptions made against gayety at the end of serious entertainments in the following letter: I should be more unwilling to pardou him than anybody, a practice which cannot have any ill consequence but from the abilities of the person who is guilty of it.
"I had the happiness the other night of sitting very near you, and your worthy friend Sir Roger, at the acting of the new tragedy, which you have in a late paper or two, so justly recommended. I was highly pleased with the advantageous situation fortune had given me in placing me so near two gentlemen, from one of which I was sure to hear such reflections on the several incidents of the play as pure nature suggested, and from the other, such as flowed from the exactest art and judgment: though I must confess that my curiosity led me so much to observe the knight's reflections, that I was not so well at leisure to improve myself by yours. Nature, I found, played her part in the knight pretty well, till at the last concluding lines she entirely forsook him. You must know, Sir, that it is always my custom, when I have been well entertained at a new tragedy, to make my retreat before the facetious epilogue enters; not but that those pieces are often very well written, but having paid down my half-crown, and made a fair purchase, of as much of the pleasing melancholy as the poet's art can afford me, or my own nature admit of, I am willing to carry some of it home with me: and cannot endure to be at once tricked out of all, though by the wittiest dexterity in the world. However, I kept my seat the other night, in hopes of finding my own sentiments of this matter favored by your friend's; when, to my great surprise, I found the knight
*The original motto to this paper, at its first publication in
folio, was likewise from Horace:
-Servetur ad inum,
HOR. A. P.
Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet. Steele was the author of the prologue to The Distressed Mother. The excuse alludes to a passage at the end of Tat. No. 38.
The author of the epilogue to the play of A. Phillips, called The Distressed Mother, first published in 1712, was Mr.
entering with equal pleasure into both parts, and as much satisfied with Mrs. Oldfield's gayety as he had been before with Andromache's greatness. Whether this were no more than an effect of the knight's peculiar humanity, pleased to find at last, that, after all the tragical doings, everything was safe and well, I do not know. But for my own part, I must confess I was so dissatisfied, that I was sorry the poet had saved Andromache, and could heartily have wished that he had left her stone-dead upon the stage. For you cannot imagine, Mr. Spectator, the mischief she was reserved to do me. I found my soul, during the action, gradually worked up to the highest pitch, and felt the exalted passion which all generous minds conceive at the sight of virtue in distress. The impression, believe me, Sir, was so strong upon me, that I am persuaded, if I had been let alone in it, I could, at an extremity, have ventured to defend yourself and Sir Roger against half a score of the fiercest Mohocks; but the ludicrous epilogue in the close extinguished all my ardor, and made me look upon all such noble achievements as downright silly and romantic. What the rest of the audience felt, I cannot so well tell. For myself I must declare, that at the end of the play I found my soul uniform, and all of a-piece; but at the end of the epilogue it was so jumbled together, and divided between jest and earnest, that, if you will forgive me an extravagant fancy, I will here set it down. I could not but fancy, if my soul had at that moment quitted my body, and descended to the poetical shades in the posture it was then in, what a strange figure it would have made among them. They would not have known what to have made of my motley specter, half comic and half tragic, all over resembling a ridiculous face that at the same time laughs on one side, and cries on the other. The only defense, I think, I have ever heard made for this, as it seems to me the most unnatural tack of the comic tail to the tragic head, is this, that the minds of the audience must be refreshed, and gentlemen and indies not sent away to their own homes with too dismal and melancholy thoughts about them: for who knows the consequence of this? We are much obliged, indeed, to the poets, for the great tenderness they express for the safety of our persons, and heartily thank them for it. But if that be all, pray, good Sir, assure them, that we are none of us likely to come to any great harm; and that, let them do their best, we shall in all proba bility live out the length of our days, and frequent the theaters more than ever. What makes me more desirous to have some reformation of this matter is, because of an ill consequence or two at tending it: for a great many of our church mus cians being related to the theater, they have, in imitation of these epilogues, introduced, in ther farewell voluntaries, a sort of music quite forviga to the design of church-services, to the great prejudice of well-disposed people. Those fingering gentlemen should be informed, that they our to suit their airs to the place and business, and that the musician is obliged to keep to the text as much as the preacher. For want of this, I have found by experience a great deal of mischief. For when the preacher has often, with great piety, and art enough, handled his subject, and the "judiciss clerk has with the utmost diligence culled o two staves proper to the discourse, and 1 lava found in myself and in the rest of the pew, gead thoughts and dispositions, they have been, all in a moment, dissipated by a merry jig from the the epilogues I have been speaking of may in tune gan-loft. One knows not what further ill effects produce: but this I am credibly informed of, tha
Paul Lorrain has resolved upon a very sudden | many glorious strokes of poetry upon this subject reformation in his tragical dramas; and that, at in holy writ, the author has numberless allusions the next monthly performance, he designs, instead to them through the whole course of this book. of a penitential psalm, to dismiss his audience The great critic I have before mentioned, though with an excellent new ballad of his own compos- a heathen, has taken notice of the sublime manner ing. Pray, Sir, do what you can to put a stop to in which the lawgiver of the Jews has described these growing evils, and you will very much the creation in the first chapter of Genesis; and oblige there are many other passages in Scripture which rise up to the same majesty, where the subject is touched upon. Milton has shown his judgment very remarkably, in making use of such of these as were proper for his poem, and in duly qualifying those strains of eastern poetry which were suited to readers whose imaginations were set to a higher pitch than those of colder climates.
"Your humble Servant,
No. 339.1 SATURDAY, MARCH 29, 1712.
-Ut his exordia primis
Omnis, et ipse tener mundi concreverit orbis.
VIRG., Ecl. vi, 33.
He sung the secret seeds of nature's frame,
LONGINUS has observed, that there may be a loftiness in sentiments where there is no passion, and brings instances out of ancient authors to support this his opinion. The pathetic, as that great critic observes, may animate and inflame the sublime, but is not essential to it. Accord ingly, as he further remarks, we very often find that those who excel most in stirring up the passions very often want the talent of writing in the great and sublime manner, and so on the contrary. Milton has shown himself a master in both these ways of writing. The seventh book, which we are now entering upon, is an instance of that sublime which is not mixed and worked up with passion. The author appears in a kind of composed and sedate majesty; and though the sentiments do not give so great an emotion as those in the former book, they abound with as magnificent ideas. The sixth book, like a troubled ocean, represents greatness in confusion; the seventh affects the imagination like the ocean in a calm, and fills the mind of the reader, without producing in it anything like tumult or agitation.
The critic above-mentioned, among the rules which he lays down for succeeding in the sublime way of writing, proposes to his reader, that he should imitate the most celebrated authors who have gone before him, and have been engaged in works of the same nature; as in particular that, if he writes on a poetical subject, he should consider how Homer would have spoken on such an occasion. By this means one great genius often catches the flame from another, and writes in his spirit, without copying servilely after him. There are a thousand shining passages in Virgil, which have been lighted up by Homer.
Milton, though his own natural strength of genius was capable of furnishing out a perfect work, has doubtless very much raised and ennobled his conceptions by such an imitation as that which Longinus has recommended.
In this book, which gives us an account of the six days' works, the poet received but very few assistances from heathen writers, who are strangers to the wonders of creation. But as there are
Adam's speech to the angel, wherein he desires an account of what had passed within the regions of nature before the creation, is very great and solemn. The following lines, in which he tells him, that the day is not too far spent for him to enter upon such a subject, are exquisite in their kind:
And the great light of day yet wants to run
The angel's encouraging our first parents in a
About his chariot numberless were pour'd
I have before taken notice of these chariots of
God, and of these gates of heaven and shall here only add, that Homer gives us the same idea of the latter, as opening of themselves; though he afterward takes off from it, by telling us that the hours first of all removed those prodigious, heaps of clouds which lay as a barrier before them.
I do not know anything in the whole poem more sublime than the description which follows, where the Messiah is represented at the head of his angels, as looking down into the chaos, calming its confusion, riding into the midst of it, and drawing the first outline of the creation:
On heav'nly ground they stood. and from the shore
Far into Chaos, and the world unborn;
Creation, and the wonders of his might.
He took the golden compasses, prepar'd,
This universe and all created things:
Invested with bright rays, joeund to run
His longitude through heaven's high road; the gray
His mirror, with full face borrowing her light
One would wonder how the poet could be so concise in his description of the six days' works, as to comprehend them within the bounds of an episode, and at the same time, so particular, as to give us a lively idea of them. This is still more remarkable in his account of the fifth and sixth days, in which he has drawn out to our view the whole animal creation, from the reptile to the behemoth. As the lion and the leviathan are two of the noblest productions in the world of living creatures, the reader will find a most exquisite spirit of poetry in the account which our author gives us of them. The sixth day concludes with the formation of man, upon which the angel takes occasion, as he did after the battle in heaven, to remind Adam of his obedience, which was the principal design of this his visit.
The thought of the golden compasses is conceived altogether in Homer's spirit, and is a very noble incident in this wonderful description. Homer, when he speaks of the gods, ascribes to them several arms and instruments with the same greatness of imagination. Let the reader only peruse the description of Minerva's ægis or buckfer, in the fifth book of the Iliad, with her spear, which would overturn whole squadrons, and her helmet that was sufficient to cover an army drawn out of a hundred cities. The golden compasses, in the above-mentioned passage, appear a very natural instrument in the hand of him whom Plato somewhere calls the Divine Geometrician. As poetry delights in clothing abstracted ideas in allegories and sensible images, we find a magnificent description of the creation formed after the same manner in one of the prophets, wherein he describes the Almighty Architect as measuring the waters in the hollow of his hand, meting out the heavens with his span, comprehending the dust of the earth in a measure, weighing the The poet afterward represents the Messiah remountains in scales, and the hills in a balance. turning into heaven, and taking a survey of his Another of them describing the Supreme Being in great work. There is something inexpressibly this great work of creation, represents him as sublime in this part of the poem, where the laying the foundations of the earth, and stretch-author describes that great period of time, filled ing a line upon it; and, in another place, as gar- with so many glorious circumstances; when the nishing the heavens, stretching out the north over heavens and earth were finished; when the Mesthe empty place, and hanging the earth upon siah ascended up in triumph through the evernothing. This last noble thought Milton has ex-lasting gates; when he looked down with pleasure pressed in the following verse:
And earth self-balanc'd on her center hung.
The beauties of description in this book lie so very thick, that it is impossible to enumerate them in this paper. The poet has employed on them the whole energy of our tongue. The several great scenes of the creation rise up to view one after another, in such a manner, that the reader seems present at this wonderful work, and to assist among the choirs of angels who are the spectators of it. How glorious is the conclusion of the first day!
-Thus was the first day ev'n and morn:
By the celestial choirs, when orient light
Birth-day of heav'n and earth! with joy and shout
We have the same elevation of thought in the third day, when the mountains were brought forth and the deep was made:
Immediately the mountains huge appear
We have also the rising of the whole vegetable world described in this day's work, which is filled with all the graces that other poets have lavished on their description of the spring, and leads the reader's imagination into a theater equally surprising and beautiful.
The several glories of the heavens make their appearance on the fourth day:
First in his east the glorious lamp was seen,
upon his new creation; when every part of nature
So ev❜n and morn accomplish'd the sixth day:
I cannot conclude this book upon the creation without mentioning a poem which has lately ap peared under that title. The work was under taken with so good an intention, and is executed with so great a mastery, that it deserves to be looked upon as one of the most useful and noble productions in our English verse. The reade cannot but be pleased to find the depths of philo sophy enlivened with all the charms of poetry and to see so great a strength of reason anid beautiful a redundancy of the imagination. The author has shown us that design in all the work of nature which necessarily leads us to the know ledge of the first cause. In short, he has its
trated, by numberless and incontestable instances, that divine wisdom which the son of Sirach has so nobly ascribed to the Supreme Being in his formation of the world, when he tells us, that "He created her, he saw her, and numbered her, and poured her out upon all his works."-L.
No. 340.] MONDAY, MARCH 31, 1712.
I TAKE it to be the highest instance of a noble mind, to bear great qualities without discovering in a man's behavior any consciousness that he is superior to the rest of the world. Or, to say it otherwise, it is the duty of a great person so to demean himself, as that whatever endowments he may have, he may appear to value himself upon no qualities but such as any man may arrive at. He ought to think no man valuable but for his public spirit, justice, and integrity: and all other endowments to be esteemed only as they contribute to the exerting those virtues. Such a man, if he is wise or valiant, knows it is of no consideration to other men that he is so, but as he employs those high talents for their use and service. He who affects the applauses and addresses of a multitude, or assumes to himself a pre-eminence upon any other consideration, must soon turn admiration into contempt. It is certain that there can be no merit in any man who is not conscious of it; but the sense that it is valuable only according to the application of it, makes that superiority amiable, which would otherwise be invidious. In this light it is considered as a thing in which every man bears a share. It annexes the ideas of dignity, power, and fame, in an agreeable and familiar manner, to him who is possessor of it; and all men who are strangers to him are naturally incited to indulge a curiosity in beholding the person, behavior, feature, and shape of him in whose character, perhaps, each man had formed something in common with him
would let my correspondents know that I have not been so incurious a Spectator as not to have seen Prince Eugene. It would be very difficult, as I said just now, to answer every expectation of those who have written to me on that head; nor is it possible for me to find words to let one know what an artful glance there is in his countenance who surprised Cremona; how daring he appears who forced the trenches of Turin; but in general I can say that he who beholds him will easily expect from him anything that is to be imagined or executed, by the wit or force of man. The prince is of that stature which makes a man most easily become all parts of exercise; has height to be graceful on occasions of state and ceremony, and no less adapted for agility and dispatch: his aspect is erect and composed: his eye lively and thoughtful, yet rather vigilant than sparkling; his action and address the most easy imaginable, and his behavior in an assembly peculiarly graceful in a certain art of mixing insensibly with the rest and becoming one of the company, instead of receiving the courtship of it. The shape of his person and composure of his limbs, are remarkably exact and beautiful. There is in his looks something sublime, which does not seem to arise from his quality or character, but the innate disposition of his mind. It is apparent that he suffers the presence of much company, instead of taking delight in it; and he appeared in public, while with us, rather to return good-will, or satisfy curiosity, than to gratify any taste he himself had of being popular. As his thoughts are never tumultuous in danger, they are as little discomposed on occasions of pomp and magnificence. A great soul is affected, in either case, no farther than in considering the properest methods to extricate itself from them. If this hero has the strong incentives to uncommon enterprises that were remarkable in Alexander, he prosecutes and enjoys the fame of them with the justness, propriety, and good sense of Cæsar. It is easy to observe in him a mind as capable of being entertained with contemplation as enterprise; a mind ready for great exploits, but not impatient for occasions to exert itself. The prince has wisdom, and valor in as high perfection as man can enjoy it; which noble faculties, in conjunction, banish all vain glory, ostentation, ambition, and all other vices which might intrude upon his mind, to make it unequal. These habits and qualities of soul and body, render this personage so extraordinary, that he appears to have nothing in him but what every man should have in him, the exertion of his very self, abstracted from the circumstances in which for tune has placed him. Thus, were you to see Prince Eugene, and were told he was a private gentleman, you would say he is a man of modesty and merit. Should you be told that was Prince Eugene, he would be diminished no otherwise, than that part of your distant admiration would turn into a familiar good-will.
Whether such, or any other, are the causes, all men have a yearning curiosity to behold a man of heroic worth; and I have had many letters from all parts of this kingdom, that request I would give them an exact account of the stature, the mien, the aspect of the prince who lately visited England, and has done such wonders for the liberty of Europe. It would puzzle the most curious to form to himself the sort of man my several correspondents expect to hear of by the action mentioned, when they desire a description of him. There is always something that concerns themselves, and growing out of their own circumstances, in all their inquiries. A friend of mine in Wales beseeches me to be very exact in my account of that wonderful man, who had marched an army and all its baggage over the Alps; and if possible, to learn whether the peasant who showed him the way, and is drawn in the map, be yet living. A gentleman from the university, who is deeply intent on the study of humanity, desires me to be as particular, if I had opportunity, in observing the whole interview between †The Duke of Marlborough, who was at this time turned his highness and our late general. Thus do men's out of all his public employments. fancies work according to their several educations and circumstances; but all pay a respect, mixed with admiration, to this illustrions character. I have waited for his arrival in Holland, before I
This I thought fit to entertain my reader with, concerning a hero who never was equaled but by one man it over whom also he has this advantage, that he has had an opportunity to manifest an esteem for him in his adversity.-T.
*He stood godfather to Steele's second son, who was named Eugene after this prince.