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No. 341.] TUESDAY, APRIL 1, 1712.
-Revocate animos, mæstumque timorem
Resume your courage and dismiss your fear.
HAVING, to oblige my correspondent Physibulus, printed his letter last Friday, in relation to the new epilogue, he cannot take it amiss if I now publish another, which I have just received from a gentleman who does not agree with him in his sentiments upon that matter.
"I am amazed to find an epilogue attacked in your last Friday's paper, which has been so generally applauded by the town, and received such honors as were never before given to any in an English theater.
The audience would not permit Mrs. Oldfield to go off the stage the first night till she had repeated it twice; the second night the noise of encores was as loud as before, and she was again obliged to speak it twice; the third night it was still called for a second time; and, in short, contrary to all other epilogues, which are dropped after the third representation of the play, this has already been repeated nine times.
"I must own, I am the more surprised to find this censure in opposition to the whole town, in a paper which has been hitherto famous for the candor of its criticisms.
"I can by no means allow your melancholy correspondent, that the new epilogue is unnatural because it is gay. If I had a mind to be learned, I could tell him that the prologue and epilogue were real parts of the ancient tragedy; but every one knows, that, on the British stage, they are distinct performances by themselves, pieces entirely detached from the play, and no way essential to it.
"The moment the play ends, Mrs. Oldfield is no more Andromache, but Mrs. Oldfield; and though the poet had left Andromache stone-dead upon the stage, as your ingenious correspondent phrases it, Mrs. Oldfield might still have spoken a merry epilogue. We have an instance of this in a tragedy where there is not only a death, but a martyrdom. St. Catharine was there personated by Nell Gwynne; she lies stone dead upon the stage, but, upon those gentlemen's offering to remove her body, whose business it is to carry off the slain in our English tragedies, she breaks out into that abrupt beginning, of what was very ludicrous, but at the same time thought a very good epilogue:
Hold! are you mad? you damn'd confounded dog
"This diverting manner was always practiced by Mr. Dryden, who, if he was not the best writer of tragedies in his time, was allowed by every one to have the happiest turn for a prologue or an epilogue. The epilogues to Cleomenes, Don Sebastian, The Duke of Guise, Aurengzebe, and Love Triumphant, are all precedents of this
"I might further justify this practice by that excellent epilogue which was spoken, a few years since, after the tragedy of Phædra and Hippolytus;* with a great many others, in which the
*A tragedy by Mr. Edmund Neal, known by the name of Smith, 8vo. 1707. Addison wrote a prologue to this play when Italian operas were in vogue. to rally the vitated taste of the town in preferring sound to sense. Prior wrote the epilogue here mentioned.
authors have endeavored to make the audience merry. If they have not all succeeded so well as the writer of this, they have however shown that it was not for want of good-will.
"I must further observe that the gayety of it may be still the more proper as it is at the end of a French play; since every one knows that nation, who are generally esteemed to have as polite a taste as any in Europe, always close their tragic entertainments with what they call a petite piece, which is purposely designed to raise mirth, and send away the audience well pleased. The same person who has supported the chief character in the tragedy very often plays the principal part in the petite piece; so that I have myself seen, at Paris, Orestes and Lubin acted the same night by the same man.
"Tragi-comedy, indeed, you have yourself, in a former speculation, found fault with very justly, because it breaks the tide of the passions while they are yet flowing; but this is nothing at all to the present case, where they have had already their full course.
"As the new epilogue is written conformably to the practice of our best poets, so it is not such a one, which, as the Duke of Buckingham says in his Rehearsal, might serve for any other play; but wholly rises out of the occurrences of the piece it was composed for.
The only reason your mournful correspondent gives against the facetious epilogue, as he calls it, is, that he has a mind to go home melancholy. I wish the gentleman may not be more grave than wise. For my own part, I must confess, I think it very sufficient to have the anguish of a fictitions piece remain upon me while it is representing; but I love to be sent home to bed in a good humor. If Physibulus is, however, resolved to be inconsolable, and not to have his tears dried up, he need only continue his old custom, and, when he has had his half-crown's worth of sorrow, slink out before the epilogue begins.
"It is pleasant enough to hear this tragical genius complaining of the great mischief Andromache had done him. What was that? Why, she made him laugh. The poor gentleman's suffer ings put me in mind of Harlequin's case, who was tickled to death. He tells us soon after, through a small mistake of sorrow for rage, that during the whole action he was so very sorry that he thinks he could have attacked half a score of the fiercest Mohocks in the excess of his grief. I cannot but look upon it as a happy accident, that a m who is so bloody-minded in his affliction was diverted from this fit of outrageous melancholy. The valor of this gentleman in his distress brings to one's memory the Knight of the Sorrowful Counte nance, who lays about him at such an unmerciful rate in an old romance. I shall readily grant him that his soul, as he himself says, would have made a very ridiculous figure, had it quitted the body, and descended to the poetical shades, in such an encounter.
"As to his conceit of tacking a tragic head a comic tail, in order to refresh the audience, it is such a piece of jargon, that I don't know what to
make of it.
"The elegant writer makes a very sudden trat sition from the play-house to the church, and from thence to the gallows.
"As for what relates to the church, he is of opinion that the epilogues have given occasion ta those merry jigs from the organ-loft, which hare dissipated those good thoughts and dispontes he has found in himself, and the rest of the pe, upon the singing of two staves culled out by the judicious and diligent clerk.
"He fetches his next thought from Tyburn; and seems very apprehensive lest there should happen any innovations in the tragedies of his friend Paul Lorrain.
No. 342.] WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 1712. Justicia partes sunt non violare homines; verecundiæ non offendere.-TULL
for her to the circumstances of her fortune, but considered his wife as his darling, his pride, and his vanity; or, rather, that it was in the woman he had chosen that a man of sense could "In the meantime, Sir, this gloomy writer, who show pride or vanity with an excuse, and thereis so mightily scandalized at a gay epilogue after fore adorned her with rich habits and valuable a serious play, speaking of the fate of those un-jewels. He did not, however, omit to admonish happy wretches who are condemned to suffer an her, that he did his very utmost in this; that it ignominious death by the justice of our laws, en- was an ostentation he could not be guilty of but deavors to make the reader merry on so improper to a woman he had so much pleasure in, desiring an occasion, by those poor burlesque expressions her to consider it as such; and begged of her also of tragical dramas and monthly performances. to take these matters rightly and believe the gems, "I am, Sir, with great respect, the gowns, the laces, would still become her better, "Your most obedient, most humble Servant, if her air and behavior was such, that it might X. "PHILOMEDES." appear she dressed thus rather in compliance to his humor that way, than out of any value she herself had for the trifles. To this lesson, too hard for a woman, Hortensius added, that she must be sure to stay with her friends in the country till his return. As soon as Hortensius the love he conceived for her was wholly owing departed, Sylvana saw, in her looking-glass, that to the accident of seeing her; and she was convinced it was only her misfortune the rest of mankind had not beheld her, or men of much greater quality and merit had contended for one so genteel, though bred in obscurity; so very witty, though never acquainted with court or town. She therefore resolved not to hide so much excellence from the world; but, without any regard to the absence of the most generous man alive, she is now the gayest lady about this town, and has shut out the thoughts of her husband, by a constant retinue of the vainest young fellows this age has produced; to entertain whom she squanders away all Hortensius is able to support her with, though that supply is purchased with no less difficulty than the hazard of life."
Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency, in giving
them no offense.
As regard to decency is a great rule of life in general, but more especially to be consulted by the female world, I cannot overlook the following letter, which describes an egregious offender.
"I am, Sir,
"Your most obedient, humble Servant."
"I was this day looking over your papers; and reading in that of December the 6th, with great delight, the amiable grief of Asteria for the absence of her husband, it threw me into a great deal of reflection. I cannot say but this arose very much from the circumstances of my own life, who am a soldier, and expect every day to receive orders, which will oblige me to leave behind me a wife that is very dear to me, and that very deservedly. She is at present, I am sure, no way below your "Now, Mr. Spectator, would it not be a work Asteria for conjugal affection: but I see the be- becoming your office, to treat this criminal as she havior of some women so little suited to the cir- deserves? You should give it the severest refleccumstance wherein my wife and I shall soon be, tions you can. You should tell women that they that it is with a reluctance, I never knew before, I are more accountable for behavior in absence, than am going to my duty. What puts me to present after death. The dead are not dishonored by pain is, the example of a young lady, whose story their levities; the living may return, and be laughyou shall have as well as I can give it you. Hored at by empty fops, who will not fail to turn tensius, an officer of good rank in her Majesty's into ridicule the good man, who is so unreasonservice, happened, in a certain part of England, able as to be still alive, and come and spoil good to be brought to a country gentleman's house, company. where he was received with that more than ordinary welcome with which men of domestic lives entertain such few soldiers whom a military life, from the variety of adventures, has not rendered overbearing, but humane, easy, and agreeable. Hortensius stayed here some time, and had easy access at all hours, as well as unavoidable conversation at some parts of the day, with the beautiful Sylvana, the gentleman's daughter. People who live in the cities are wonderfully struck with every little country abode they see when they take the air; and it is natural to fancy they could live in every neat cottage (by which they pass) much happier than in their present circumstances. The turbulent way of life which Hortensius was used to made him reflect with much satisfaction on all the advantages of a sweet retreat one day; and among the rest, you will think it not improbable it might enter into his thought, that such a woman as Sylvana would consummate the happiness. The world is so debauched with mean considerations, that Hortensius knew it would be received as an act of generosity, if he asked for a woman of the highest merit, without further questions, of a parent who had nothing to add to her personal qualifications. The wedding was celebrated at her father's house. When that was over, the generous husband did not proportion his provision
All strictness of behavior is so unmercifully laughed at in our age, that the other much worse extreme is the more common folly. But let any woman consider, which of the two offenses a husband would the more easily forgive, that of being less entertaining than she could to please company, or raising the desires of the whole room to his disadvantage, and she will easily be able to form her conduct. We have indeed carried womeu's characters too much into public life, and you shall see them now-a-days affect a sort of fame: but I cannot help venturing to disoblige them for their service, by telling them, that the utmost of a woman's character is contained in domestic life; she is blamable or praiseworthy according as her carriage affects the house of her father or husband. All she has to do in this world is contained within the duties of a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a mother. All these may be well performed, though a lady should not be the very finest woman at an opera or an assembly. They are likewise consistent with a moderate share of wit, a plain dress, and a modest air. when the very brains of the sex are turned, and they place their ambition on circumstances, where
in to excel is no addition to what is truly com- | conveniences of pen, ink, and paper, by me, I mendable; where can this end, but, as it frequently gladly take the occasion of giving you my history does, in their placing all their industry, pleasure, in writing, which I could not do by word of mouth. and ambition, on things wich will naturally make You must know, Madam, that about a thousand the gratifications of life last, at best, no longer years ago I was an Indian brachman, and versed than youth and good fortune? When we consider in all those mysterious secrets which your Eurothe least ill consequence, it can be no less than pean philosopher, called Pythagoras, is said to looking on their own condition, as years advance, have learned from our fraternity. I had so ingrawith a disrelish of life, and falling into contempt tiated myself by my great skill in the occult of their own persons, or being the derision of sciences, with a demon whom I conversed with, others. But when they considered themselves as that he promised to grant me whatever I should they ought, no other than an additional part of ask of him. I desired that my soul might never the species (for their own happiness and comfort, pass into the body of a brute creature; but this, as well as that of those for whom they were born), he told me, was not in his power to grant me. I their ambition to excel will be directed accord- then begged that, into whatever creature I should ingly; and they will in no part of their lives want chance to transmigrate, I might still retain my opportunities of being shining ornaments to their memory, and be conscious that I was the same fathers, husbands, brothers, or children.-T. person who lived in different animals. This, he told me, was within his power, and accordingly promised, on the word of a demon, that he would grant me what I desired. From that time forth I lived so very unblamably, that I was made president of a college of brachmans, an office which I discharged with great integrity till the day of my death.
No. 343.] THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 1712.
Huc venit, hinc illuc, et quoslibet occupat artus
-All things are but alter'd; nothing dies;
WILL HONEYCOMB, who loves to show upon occasion all the little learning he has picked up, told us yesterday at the club, that he thought there might be a great deal said for the transmigration of souls; and that the eastern parts of the world believed in that doctrine to this day. "Sir Paul Rycaut," says he, "gives us an account of several well-disposed Mahometans that purchase the freedom of any little bird they see confined to a cage, and think they merit as much by it as we should do here by ransoming any of our countrymen from their captivity at Algiers. You must know," says Will, "the reason is, because they consider every animal as a brother or sister in disguise; and therefore think themselves obliged to extend their charity to them though under such mean circumstances. They'll tell you," says Will, "that the soul of a man, when he dies, immediately passes into the body of another man, or of some brute, which he resembled in his humor, or his fortune, when he was one of us."
As I was wondering what this profusion of learning would end in, Will told us, that "Jack Freelove, who was a fellow of whim, made love to one of those ladies who throw away all their fondness on parrots, monkeys, and lap-dogs. Upon going to pay her a visit one morning, he wrote a very pretty epistle upon this hint. Jack," says he, "was conducted into the parlor, where he diverted himself for some time with her favor
ite monkey, which was chained in one of the
"The lady soon after coming into the parlor. and seeing her monkey look upon a paper with great earnestness, took it up, and to this day is in some doubt," says Will, "whether it was written by Jack or the monkey."
"Not having the gift of speech, I have a long time waited in vain for an opportunity of making myself known to you: and having at present the
"I was then shuffled into another human body, and acted my part so well in it, that I became first minister to a prince who reigned upon the banks of the Ganges. I here lived in great honor for several years, but by degrees lost all the innocence of the brachman, being obliged to rifle and oppress the people to enrich my sovereign; till at length I became so odious, that my master, to recover his credit with his subjects, shot me through the heart with an arrow, as I was one day address ing myself to him at the head of his army.
"Upon my next remove, I found myself in the woods under the shape of a jackal, and soon listed myself in the service of a lion. I used to yelp near his den about midnight, which was his time of rousing and seeking after his prey. He always followed me in the rear, and when I had run down a fat buck, a wild goat, or a hare, after be had feasted very plentifully upon it himself, would now and then throw me a bone that was but halfpicked, for my encouragement; but upon my being unsuccessful in two or three chases, he gave me such a confounded gripe in his anger, that I died of it.
"In my next transmigration I was again st upon two legs, and became an Indian tax-gatherer but having been guilty of great extravagances and being married to an expensive jade of a wife. I ran so cursedly into debt, that I durst not show my head. I could no sooner step out of my house but I was arrested by somebody or other that lay in wait for me. As I ventured abroad one night in the dusk of the evening, I was taken up and hurried into a dungeon, where I died a few months after.
"My soul then entered into a flying-fish, and in that state led a most melancholy life for the sued me when I was in the water; and if I be space of six years. Several fishes of prey pur took myself to my wings, it was ten to one but I had a flock of birds aiming at me. As I was on day flying amidst a fleet of English ships, I ob served a huge sea-gull whetting his bill, and hovering just over my head: upon my dippe into the water to avoid him, I fell into the moth of a monstrous shark, that swallowed me down in an instant.
"I was some years afterward, to my great sur prise, an eminent banker in Lombard-street; and remembering how I had formerly suffered for wast of money, became so very sordid and avarices, that the whole town cried shame of ine. I was 4
miserable little old fellow to look upon; for I had in a manner starved myself, and was nothing but skin and bone when I died.
"I was afterward very much troubled and amazed to find myself dwindled into an emmet. I was heartily concerned to make so insignificant a figure, and I did not know but some time or other I might be reduced to a mite, if I did not mend my manners. I therefore applied myself with great diligence to the offices that were allotted to me, and was generally looked upon as the notablest ant in the whole mole-hill. I was at last picked up, as I was groaning under a burden, by an unlucky cock-sparrow, that lived in the neighborhood, and had before made great depredations upon our commonwealth.
"I then bettered my condition a little, and lived a whole summer in the shape of a bee; but being tired with the painful and penurious life I had undergone in my two last transmigrations, I fell into the other extreme, and turned drone. As I one day headed a party to plunder a hive, we were received so warmly by the swarm which defended it, that we were most of us left dead upon the spot.
"I might tell you of many other transmigrations which I went through; how I was a townrake, and afterward did penance in a bay gelding for ten years; as also how I was a tailor, a shrimp, and a tom-tit. In the last of these my shapes, I was shot in the Christmas holidays by a young jackanapes, who would needs try his new gun
"But I shall pass over these and several other stages of life, to remind you of the young beau who made love to you about six years since. You may remember, Madam, how he masked, and danced, and sung, and played a thousand tricks to gain you; and how he was at last carried off by a cold that he got under your window one night in a serenade. I was that unfortunate young fellow to whom you were then so cruel. Not long after my shifting that unlucky body, I found myself upon a hill in Ethiopia, where I lived in my present grotesque shape, till I was caught by a servant of the English factory, and sent over into Great Britain. I need not inform you how I came into your hands. You see, Madam, this is not the first time that you have had me in a chain: I am, however, very happy in this my captivity, as you often bestow on me those kisses and caresses which I would have given the world for when I was a man. I hope this discovery of my person will not tend to my disadvantage, but that you will still continue your accustomed favors to
"Your most devoted, humble Servant,
among their acquaintance. Such observations, well pursued, would make a pretty history of low life. I myself am got into a great reputation, which arose (as most extraordinary occurrences in a man's life seem to do) from a mere accident. I was some days ago unfortunately engaged among a set of gentlemen, who esteemed a man according to the quantity of food he throws down at a meal. Now I, who am ever for distinguishing myself according to the notions of superiority which the rest of the company entertain, ate so immoderately for their applause, as had like to have cost me my life. What added to my misfortune was, that having naturally a good stomach, and having lived soberly for some time, my body was as well prepared for this contention as if it had been by appointment. I had quickly vanquished every glutton in the company but one, who was such a prodigy in his way, and withal so very merry during the whole entertainment, that he insensi bly betrayed me to continue his competitor, which in a little time concluded in a complete victory over my rival; after which, by way of insult, I ate a considerable proportion beyond what the spectators thought me obliged in honor to do. The effect, however, of this engagement, has made me resolve never to eat more for renown; and I have, pursuant to this resolution, compounded three wagers I had depending on the strength of my stomach; which happened very luckily, because it was stipulated in our articles either to play or pay. How a man of common sense could be thus engaged is hard to determine: but the occasion of this is, to desire you to inform several gluttons of my acquaintance, who look on me with envy, that they had best moderate their ambition in time, lest infamy or death attend their success. I forgot to tell you, Sir, with what unspeakablo pleasure I received the acclamations of the whole board, when I had almost eat my antagonist into convulsions. It was then that I returned his mirth upon him with such success, as he was hardly able to swallow, though prompted by a desire of fame, and a passionate fondness for distinction. I had not endeavored to excel so far, had not the company been so loud in their approbation of my victory. I do not question but the same thirst after glory has often caused a man to drink quarts without taking breath, and prompted men to many other as difficult enterprises; which, if otherwise pursued, might turn very much to a man's advantage. This ambition of mine was indeed extravagantly pursued; however, I cannot help observing, that you hardly ever see a man commended for a good stomach, but he immediately falls to eating more (though he had before dined), as well to confirm the person that commended him in his good opinion of him, as to convince any other at the table who may have been inattentive enough not to have done justice to his character.
"I am, Sir, "Your most humble Servant, "EPICURE MAMMON."
"I have written to you three or four times, to desire you would take notice of an impertinent custom the women, the fine women, have lately fallen into, of taking snuff. This silly trick is attended with such a coquette air in some ladies, such a sedate masculine one in others, that I cannot tell which most to complain of; but they are to me equally disagreeable. Mrs. Saunter is so impatient of being without it, that she takes it as often as she does salt at meals: and as she affects a wonderful ease and negligence in all her man
ner, an upper lip mixed with snuff and the sauce is what is presented to the observation of all who have the honor to eat with her. The pretty creature her niece does all she can to be as disagreeable as her aunt; and if she is not as offensive to the eye, she is quite as much to the ear, and makes up all she wants in a confident air, by a nauseous rattle of the nose, when the snuff is delivered, and the fingers make the stops and closes on the nostrils. This, perhaps, is not a very courtly image in speaking of ladies; that is very true: but where arises the offense? Is it in those who commit, or those who observe it? As for my part, I have been so extremely disgusted with this filthy physic hanging on the lip, that the most agreeable conversation, or person, has not been able to make up for it. As to those who take it for no other end but to give themselves occasion for pretty action, or to fill up little intervals of discourse, I can bear with them; but then they must not use it when another is speaking, who ought to be heard with too much respect to admit of offering at that time from hand to hand the snuff-box. But Flavilla is so far taken with her behavior in this kind, that she pulls out her box (which is indeed full of good Brazil) in the middle of the sermon; and, to show she has the audacity of a well-bred woman, she offers it to the men as well as the women who sit near her: but since by this time all the world knows she has a fine hand, I am in hopes she may give herself no further trouble in this matter. On Sunday was seven-night when they came about for the offering, she gave her charity with a very good air, but at the same time asked the churchwarden if he would take a pinch. Pray, Sir, think on these things in time, and you will oblige,
No. 345.] SATURDAY, APRIL 5, 1712.
Sanctius his animal, mentisque capacius altæ
A creature of a more exalted kind
Was wanting yet, and then was man design'd;
For empire form'd and fit to rule the rest.-DRYDEN.
THE accounts which Raphael gives of the battle of angels, and the creation of the world have in them those qualifications which the critics judge requisite to an episode. They are nearly related to the principal action, and have a just connection with the fable.
The eighth book opens with a beautiful description of the impression which this discourse of the archangel made on our first parents. Adam afterward, by a very natural curiosity, inquires concerning the motions of those celestial bodies which make the most glorious appearance among the six days' works. The poet here, with a great deal of art, represents Eve, as withdrawing from this part of their conversation, to amusements more suitable to her sex. He well knew that the episode in this book, which is filled with Adam's account of his passion and esteem for Eve, would heve been improper for her hearing, and has therefore devised very just and beautiful reasons for her retiring.
So spake our sire, and by his countenance seem'd
To visit how they prosper'd, bud and bloom,
Of what was high: such pleasure she reserv'd,
Not words alone pleas'd her. O when meet now
The angel's returning a doubtful answer to Adam's inquiries was not only proper for the moral reason which the poet assigns, but because it would have been highly absurd to have given the sanction of an archangel to any particular system of philosophy. The chief points in the Ptolemaic and Copernican hypotheses are described with great conciseness and perspicuity, and at the same time dressed in very pleasing and poetical images.
Adam, to detain the angel, enters afterward upon his own history, and relates to him the circumstances in which he found himself upon his creation; as also his conversation with his Maker, and his first meeting with Eve. There is no part of the poem more apt to raise the attention of the reader than this discourse of our great ancestor; as nothing can be more surprising and delightful to us, than to hear the sentiments that arose in the first man, while he was yet new and fresh from the hands of his Creator. The poet has interwoven everything which is delivered upon this subject in holy writ with so many beautiful imaginations of his own, that nothing can be conceived more just and natural than this whole episode. As our author knew this subject could not but be agreeable to his reader, he would not throw it into the relation of his six days' works, but reserved it for a distinct episode, that he might have an opportunity of expatiating upon it more at large. Before I enter on this part of the poem, I cannot but take notice of two shining passages in the dialogue between Adam and the angel. The first is that wherein our ancestor gives an account of the pleasure he took in conversing with him, which contains a very noble moral:
For while I sit with thee I seem in heav'n,
Than fruits of palm-trees (pleasantest to thirst
The other I shall mention is that in which the angel gives a reason why he should be glad to hear the story Adam was about to relate:
For I that day was absent, as befell,
There is no question but our poet drew the image in what follows from that in Virgil's sixth bok. where Æneas and the Sibyl stand before the ade mantine gates, which are there described as sh upon the place of torments, and listen to the groans, the clank of chains, and the noise of iron whips, that were heard in those regions of pain and
-Fast, we found, fast shot, The dismal gates, and barricado'd strong;