Nec coram populo natos Medea trucidet.

Let not Medea draw her murd'ring knife,
And spill her childrens blood upon the stage.


The French have therefore regned too much upon HoRace's rule, who never designed to banish all kinds of death from the stage, but only such as had too much horror in them, and which would have a better effect upon

the audience when transacted behind the scenes. I would therefore recommend to my countrymen the practice of the ancient poets, who were very sparing of their public executions, and rather chose to perform them behind the scenes, if it could be done with as great an effect upon

the audience. At the same time I must ob. serve, that though the devoted persons of the tragedy were seldom slain before the audience, wliich has generally something ridiculous in it, their bodies were often produced after their death, which has always in it something melancholy or terrifying; so that the killing on the

stage does not seem to have been avoided only as an indecency, but also as an improbability.

Nec puerros coram populo Medea trucidet;
Aut humana palam coquat exta nefarius Atreus;
Aut in avem PROGNE vertatur, Cadmus in anguem:
Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic, incredulus odi.

Medea must not draw her murd'ring knife,
Nor ATRIUS there his horrid feast prepare:
Cadmus and PROGNE's metamorphosis
(She to a swallow turn'd, he to a snake),
And whatsoever contradicts my sense,

I hate to see, and never can believe. I have now gone through the several dramatic inven. tions which are made use of by the ignorant poets to supply the place of tragedy, and by the skilful to improve it; some of which I could wish entirely rejected, and the rest to be used with caution. It would be an endless task to consider comedy in the same light, and to mention the innumerable shifts that small wits put


practice to raise a laugh. Bullock in a short coat, and Norris in a long one, seldom fail of this effect. y In


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ordinary comedies, a broad and a narrow brimmed bat are different characters. Sometimes the wit of the scene lies in a shoulder-belt, and sometimes in a pair of whiskers. A lover running about the stage, with his head peeping out of a barrel(a), was thought a very good jest in King CHARLES the Second's time, and invented by one of the first wits of that age. But because ridicule is not so delicate as compassion, and because the objects that make us laugh are infinitely more numerous than those that make us weep, there is a much greater latitude for comic than tragic artifices, and by consequence a much greater indulgence to be allowed them. C.

NO.45.- SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 1711.


JUV. SAT. ii. 1oo.

Natio comäda est
The nation is a company of players.



There is nothing which I more desire than a safe and honourable peace, though at the same time I am very apprehensive of many ill consequences that may attend it. I do not mean in regard to our politics, but our

What an inundation of ribands aud brocades will break in upon us? What peals of laughter and impertinence shall we be exposed to? For the prevention of these great evils, I could heartily wish that there was an act of parliament for prohibiting the importation of French fopperies.

The female inhabitants of our island have already received very strong impressions from this ludicrous na. tion, though by the length of the war (as there is no evil which has not some good attending it) they are pretty well worn out and forgotten. I remember the time when some of our well-bred country-women kept their valet de chambre, because, forsooth, a man was much more handy about them than one of their own sex. I myself have


seen one of these male abigails tripping about the room with a looking-glass in his hand, and combing his lady's hair a whole morning together. Whether or no there was any truth in the story of a lady's being got with child by one of these her handmaids, I cannot tell ; but I think at present the whole race of them is extinct in our own country.

About the time that several of our sex were taken into this kind of service, the ladies likewise brought up the fashion of receiving visits in their beds. It was then looked upon as a piece of ill-breeding for a woman to refuse to see a man because she was not stirring; and a porter would have been thought unfit for his place that could have made so awkward an excuse. As I love to gee every thing that is new,

I once prevailed upon my friend WILL carry me along with him to one of these travelled ladics, desiring him, at the same time, to present me as a foreigner who could not speak English, that so I might not be obliged to bear a part in the discourse. The lady, though willing to appear undressed, had put. on her best looks, and painted herself for our reception. Her hair appeared in a very nice disorder, as the nightgown which was thrown upon

her shoulders was ruffled with great care. For my part, I am so shocked with every thing that looks immodest in the fair sex, that I could not forbear taking off my eye from her when she moved in her bed, and was in the greatest confusion imaginable every time she stirred a lég or an

As the coquettes, who introduced this custom, grew old, they left it off by degrees; well knowing that a woman of threescoré nay, kick and tumble her heart out, without making any impressions.

SEMPRONIA is at present the most professed admirer of the French nation, but is so modest as to admit her visi. tants no farther than her toilet. It is a very odd sight that beautiful creature makes, when she is talking politics with her tresses flowing about her, shoulders, and examining that face in the glass,, which does such exe. cution upon all the male standers-by. How prettily does she divide her discourse between her womáu and herwi. sitants? What sprightly transitions does she make from an operâ or a sermon, to an ivory camb or a pin-cushion?


How have I been pleased to see her interrupted in an account of her travels by a message to her footman; and holding her tongue, in the midst of a moral reflection, by applying the tip of it to a patch ?

There is nothing which exposes a woman to greater dangers, than that gaiety and airiness of temper

which are natural to most of the sex. It should be therefore the con. cern of every wise and yirtuous woman to keep this sprightliness from degenerating into levity. On the contrary, the whole discourse and behaviour of the French is to make the sex möre fantastical, or (as they are pleased to term it) more awakened, than is consistent either with virtue or discretion. To speak loud in public assemblies, to let every one hear you talk of things that should only be mentioned in private, or in whisper, are looked upon as parts

of a refined education. At the same time, a blush is unfashionable, and silence more ill bred than any thing that can be spoken. In short, discretion and modesty, which in all other ages and countries have been regarded as the greatest ornaments of the fair sex, are considered as the ingredients of narrow conversation and family behaviour.

Some years ago I was at the tragedy of Macbeth, and unfortunately placed myself under a woman of quality that is since dead; who, as I found by the noise she made, was newly returned from France. A little before the rising of the curtain, she broke out into a loud soliloquy, “When will the dear witches enter?" and immediately upon

their first appearance,

asked a lady that sat three boxes from her, on her right hand, if those witches were not charming creatures. A little after, as BETTERTON was in one of the finest speeches of the play, she shook her fan at ang ther lady, who sat as far on her left hand, and told her with a whisper that might be heard all over the pit, “We must not expect to see Balloon to-night.” Not long after, calling out to a young baronet by his name, who sat three seats before me, she asked him whether MACBETH'S wife was still alive; and before he could give an answer, fell a talking of the ghost of BANQUO. She had by this time formed a little audience to herself, and fixed the attention of all about her. But as I had a mind to hear the play, I got out of the sphere of her impertinence, and planted myself in one of the remotest corners of the pit.


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This pretty childishness of behaviour is one of the mast refined parts of coquetry,

and is not to be attained in perfection by ladies that do not travel for their improvement. .A natural and unconstrained behaviour has something in .it so agreeable, tłrat it is no wonder to see people endea-vouring after it. But, at the same time, it is so very

hard -to hit, when it is not born with us, that people often make themselves ridiculous in attempting it.

A very ingenious French author tells us, that the ladies of the court of France, in his time, thought it ill. breeding, and a kind of female pedantry, to pronounce a hard word right ; for which reason they took frequent occasion to use hard words, that they might shew a peliteness in murdering them. He further adds, that a lady of some quality at court, having accidentally made use of a hard word in a proper place, and pronounced it right, the whole assembly was out of countenance for her.

I must, however, be so just as to own, that there are many ladies who have travelled several thousands of miles without being the worse for it, and have brought: home with them all the modesty, discretion, and good sense, that they went abroad with. As, on the contrary, there are great numbers of travelled ladies, who have lived all their days within the smoke of London. I have known a woman that was never out of the parish of St James's betray as many foreign fopperies in her carriage, as she could have gleaned up in half the countries of Europe.


N0...46.-MONDAY, APRIL 23. 1711.


-OVID. MET. i.9.

Non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum.
The jarring seeds of ill conscrted things.


When I want materials for this paper, it is my custom tu go abroad in


game ;

and when I meet .any proper subject, I take the first opportunity of set

V.OL. I.


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