« VorigeDoorgaan »
the New Exchange they are eloquent for want of cash, but in the city they ought with cash to supply their want of eloquence.
If one might be serious on this prevailing folly, one might observe that it is a melancholy thing, when the world is mercenary even to the buying and selling our very persons; that young women, though they have never so great attractions from nature, are never the nearer being happily disposed of in marriage; I say, it is very hard under this necessity, it shall not be possible for them to go into a way of trade for their maintenance, but their very excellencies and personal perfections shall be a disadvantage to them, and subject them to be treated as if they stood there to sell their persons to prostitution. There cannot be a more melancholy circumstance to one who has made any observation in the world, than one of those erring creatures exposed to bankruptcy. When that happens, none of those toying fools will do any more than any other man they meet, to preserve her from infamy, insult, and distemper. A woman is naturally more helpless than the other sex; and a man of honor and sense should have this in his view in all manner of commerce with her. Were this well weighed, inconsideration, ribaldry, and nonsense, would not be more natural to entertain women with, than men; and it would be as much impertinence to go into a shop of one of these young women without buying, as into that of any other trader. I shall end this speculation with a letter I have received from a pretty milliner in the city.
"I have read your account of beauties, and was not a little surprised to find no character of myself in it. I do assure you I have little else to do but to give audience, as I am such. Here are merchants of no small consideration who call in as certainly as they go to 'Change, to say something of my roguish eye. And here is one who makes me once or twice a week tumble over all my goods, and then owns it was only gallantry to see me act with these pretty hands: then lays out three-pence in a little ribbon for his wristbands, and thinks he is a man of great vivacity. There is an ugly thing not far off me, whose shop is frequented only by people of business, that is all day long as busy as possible. Must I, that am a beauty, be treated with for nothing but my beauty? Be pleased to assign rates to my kind glances, or make all pay who come to see me, or shall be undone by my admirers for want of customers. Albacinda, Eudosia, and all the rest, would be used just as we are, if they were in our condition; therefore pray consider the distress of us the lower order of beauties, and I shall be "Your obliged, humble servant."-T.
No. 156.] WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29, 1711.
When once thou hast broke some tender vow,
judgment when a man dresses for the ladies, as
Curiosity having been my prevailing passion, and indeed the sole entertainment of my life, I have sometimes made it my business to examine the course of intrigues as well as the manners and accomplishments of such as have been most successful that way. In all my observation, I never knew a man of good understanding a general favorite; some singularity in his behavior, some whim in his way of life, and what would have made him ridiculous among the men, has recommended him to the other sex. I should be very sorry to offend a people so fortunate as those of whom I am speaking; but let any one look over the old beaux, and he will find the man of success was remarkable for quarreling impertinently for their sakes, for dressing unlike the rest of the world, or passing his days in an insipid assiduity about the fair sex to gain the figure he had made among them. Add to this, that he must have' the reputation of being well with other women, to please any one woman of gallantry; for you are to know, that there is mighty ambition among the lighter part of the sex, to gain slaves from the dominion of others. My friend Will Honeycomb says it was a common bite with him, to lay suspicions that he was favored by a lady's enemy, (that is, some rival beauty,) to be well with herself. A little spite is natural to a great beauty and it is ordinary to snap up a disagreeable fellow lest another should have him. That impudent toad Bareface fares well among all the ladies he converses with, for no other reason in the world but that he has the skill to keep them from explanation with one another. Did they know there is not one who likes him in her heart, each would declare her scorn of him the next moment; but he is well received by them because it is the fashion, and opposition to each other brings them insensibly into an imitation of each other. What adds to him the greatest grace, is, that the pleasant thief, as they call him, is the most inconstant creature living, has a most wonderful deal of wit and humor, and never wants something to say; beside all which, he has a most spiteful, dangerous tongue if you should provoke him.
To make a woman's man, he must not be a man of sense, or a fool; the business is, to entertain, and it is much better to have a faculty of arguing, than a capacity of judging right. But the pleaI Do not think anything could make a plea-santest of all the women's equipage are your santer entertainment, than the history of the regular visitants; these are volunteers in their reigning favorites among the women from time service, without hopes of pay or preferment. It to time about this town. In such an account is enough that they can lead out from a pubWe ought to have a faithful confession of each lic place, they are admitted on a public day, lady for what she liked such and such a man, and and can be allowed to pass away part of that he ought to tell us by what particular action heavy load, their time, in the company of the or dress he believed he should be most successful. fair. But commend me above all others to those As for my part, I have always made as easy a who are known for your ruiners of ladies these
are the choicest spirits which our age produces. We have several of these irresistible gentlemen among us when the company is in town. fellows are accomplished with the knowledge of the ordinary occurrences about court and town, have that sort of good breeding which is exclusive of all morality, and consists only in being publicly decent, privately dissolute.
It is wonderful how far a fond opinion of herself can carry a woman, to make her have the least regard to a professed known woman's man; but as scarce one of all the women who are in the tour of gallantries ever hears anything of what is the common sense of sober minds, but are entertained with a continual round of flatteries, they cannot be mistresses of themselves enough to make arguments for their own conduct from the behavior of these men to others. It is so far otherwise, that a general fame for falsehood in this kind, is a recommendation; and the coxcomb, loaded with the favors of many others, is received like a victor that disdains his trophies, to be a victim to the present charmer.
If you see a man more full of gesture than ordinary in a public assembly, if loud upon no occasion, if negligent of the company round him, and yet laying wait for destroying by that negligence, you may take it for granted that he has ruined many a fair one. The woman's man expresses himself wholly in that motion which we call strutting. An elevated chest, a pinched hat, a measurable step, and a sly surveying eye, are the marks of him. Now and then you see a gentleman with all these accomplishments: but, alas, any one of them is enough to undo thousands: when a gentleman with such perfections adds to it suitable learning, there should be public warning of his residence in town, that we may remove our wives and daughters. It happens sometimes that such a fine man has read all the miscellany poems, a few of our comedies, and has the translation of Ovid's Epistles by heart. "Oh if it were possible that such a one could be as true as he is charming; but that is too much, the women will share such a dear false man: a little gallantry to hear him talk one would indulge one's self in, let him reckon the sticks of one's fan, say something of the Cupids in it; and then call one so many soft names which a man of his learning has at his fingers' ends. There sure is some excuse for frailty, when attacked by such force against a weak woman." Such is the soliloquy of many a lady one might name, at the sight of one of those who makes it no iniquity to go on from day to day in the sin of woman-slaughter.
It is certain that people are got into a way of affectation, with a manner of overlooking the most solid virtues, and admiring the most trivial excellencies. The woman is so far from expecting to be contemned for being a very injudicious silly animal, that while she can preserve her features and her mien, she knows she is still the object of desire; and there is a sort of secret ambition, from reading frivolous books, and keeping as frivolous company, each side to be amiable in perfection, and arrive at the characters of the Dear Deceiver and the Perjured Fair.-T.
No. 157.] THURSDAY, AUGUST 30, 171
-That directing pow'r,
Who forms the genius in the natal hour: That God of nature, who, within us still,
Inclines our action, not constrains our will.-Por I AM very much at a loss to express by word that occurs to me in our language, which is understood by indoles in Latin. Th tural disposition to any particular art, science fession, or trade, is very much to be consult the care of youth, and studied by men for own conduct when they form to themselves scheme of life. It is wonderfully hard, indeed a man to judge of his own capacity impart That may look great to me which may a little to another; and I may be carried by ness toward myself so far, as to attempt thing high for my talents and accomplishments. is not, methinks, so very difficult a matter to a judgment of the abilities of others, espe of those who are in their infancy. My com place book directs me on this occasion to me the dawning of greatness in Alexander, who asked in his youth to contend for a prize Olympic games, answered he would if he kings to run against him. Cassius, who wa of the conspirators against Cæsar, gave as g proof of his temper, when in his childho struck a play-fellow, the son of Sylla, for s his father was master of the Roman people. is reported to have answered, when some flat at supper were asking him what the R should do for a general after his death, Marius." Marius was then a very boy, and given no instances of his valor; but it was v to Scipio, from the manners of the youth, t had a soul for the attempt and execution of undertakings. I must confess I have very with much sorrow, bewailed the misfortune children of Great Britain, when I consider t norance and undiscerning of the general schoolmasters. The boasted liberty we talk but a mean reward for the long servitude, the heart-aches and terrors, to which our childh exposed in going through a grammar-s Many of these stupid tyrants exercise their ty without any manner of distinction of pacities of children, or the intention of par their behalf. There are many excellent te which are worthy to be nourished and cult with all possible diligence and care, tha never designed to be acquainted with Ari Tully, or Virgil; and there are as many wh capacities for understanding every word great persons have written, and yet were not have any relish of their writings. For w this common and obvious discerning in thos have the care of youth, we have so many h unaccountable creatures every age whipp into great scholars, that are forever near understanding, and will never arrive at it. are the scandal of letters, and these are ge the men who are to teach others. The se shame and honor is enough to keep the wo self in order without corporal punishment more to train the minds of uncorrupted and cent children. It happens, I doubt not. than once in a year, that a lad is chastised blockhead, when it is good apprehension makes him incapable of knowing what his er means. A brisk imagination very ofte suggest an error, which a lad could not have into, if he had been as heavy in conjectur
his master in explaining. But there is no mercy even toward a wrong interpretation of his meaning; the sufferings of the scholar's body are to rectify the mistakes of his mind.
I am confident that no boy, who will not be allured to letters without blows, will ever be brought to anything with them. A great or good mind must necessarily be the worse for such indignities; and it is a sad change, to lose of its virtue for the improvement of its knowledge. No one who has gone through what they call a great school, but must remember to have seen children of excellent and ingenuous natures (as has afterward appeared in their manhood): I say no man has passed through this way of education but must have seen an ingenuous creature, expiring with shame with pale looks, beseeching sorrow, and silent tears, throw up its honest eyes, and kneel on its tender knees to an inexorable blockhead to be forgiven the false quantity of a word in making a Latin verse. The child is punished, and the next day he commits a like crime, and so a third with the same consequence. I would fain ask any reasonable man, whether this lad, in the simplicity of his native innocence, full of shame and capable of any impression from that grace of soal, was not fitter for any purpose in this life, than after that spark of virtue is extinguished in him, though he is able to write twenty verses in an evening.
Seneca says, after his exalted way of talking, "As the immortal gods never learnt any virtue, though they are indued with all that is good; so there are some men who have so natural a propensity to what they should follow, that they learn it almost as soon as they hear it." Plants and vegetables are cultivated into the production of finer fruits than they would yield without that care; and yet we cannot entertain hopes of producing a tender, conscious spirit into acts of virtue, without the same methods as are used to cut timber, or give new shape to a piece of stone.
fore he has innocently suffered, and is debased into
"A chesnut horse called Cæsar, bred by James
No. 158.] FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 1711. -Nos hæc novimus esse nihil.-MARTIAL, xiii, 2. We know these things to be mere trifles. Our of a firm regard to impartiality, I print these letters, let them make for me or not. "MR. SPECTATOR,
"I have observed through the whole course of your rhapsodies (as you once very well called them) you are very industrious to overthrow all It is wholly to this dreadful practice, that we that many your superiors, who have gone before may attribute a certain hardiness and ferocity you, have made their rule of writing. I am now which some men, though liberally educated, carry between fifty and sixty, and had the honor to be about them in all their behavior. To be bred like well with the first men of taste and gallantry in a gentleman, and punished like a malefactor, must, the joyous reign of Charles the Second. We then as we see it does, produce that illiberal sauciness had, I humbly presume, as good understandings which we see sometimes in men of letters. among us as any now can pretend to. As for The Spartan boy who suffered the fox (which yourself, Mr. Spectator, you seem with the utmost he had stolen and hid under his coat) to eat into arrogance to undermine the very fundamentals his bowels, I dare say had not half the wit or pet-upon which we conducted ourselves. It is monulance which we learn at great schools among us: but the glorious sense of honor, or rather fear of shame, which he demonstrated in that action, was worth all the learning in the world without it.
strous to set up for a man of wit, and yet deny that honor in a woman is anything else but peevishness, that inclination is "not" the best rule of life, or virtue and vice anything else but health and disease. We had no more to do but to put a lady into a good humor, and all we could wish followed of course. Then, again, your Tully, and your discourses of another life, are the very bane of mirth and good humor. Prithee do not value thyself on thy reason at that exorbitant rate, and the dignity of human nature; take my word for it, a setting-dog has as good reason as any man in England. Had you (as by your diurnals one would think you do) set up for being in vogue in town, you should have fallen in with the bent of passion and appetite; your songs had then been in every pretty mouth in England, and your little distiches had been the maxims of the fair and the witty to walk by: but, alas, Sir, what can you hope for from entertaining people with what must needs make them like themselves worse than they did before they read you? Had you made it your
It is, methinks, a very melancholy consideration, that a little negligence can spoil us, but great industry is necessary to improve us; the most excellent natures are soon depreciated, but evil tempers are long before they are exalted into good habits. To help this by punishments, is the same thing as killing a man to cure him of a distemper; when he comes to suffer punishment in that one circumstance, he is brought below the existence of a rational creature, and is in the state of a brute that moves only by the admonition of stripes. But since this custom of educating by the lash is suffered by the gentry of Great Britain, I would prevail only that honest heavy lads may be dismissed from slavery sooner than they are at present, and not whipped on to their fourteenth or fifteenth year, whether they expect any progress from them or not. Let the child's capacity be forthwith examined, and he sent to some mechanic way of life, without respect to his birth, if nature designed him for nothing higher: let him go be- was left out.
*Spect. in folio. Altered in the 8vo. of 1712, when "not"
laugh out. Would it not be expedient, M
business to describe Corinna charming, though in- lover again, to find herself employment a constant; to find something in human nature itself to make Zoilus excuse himself for being fond of her; and to make every man in good commerce with his own reflections, you had done something worthy our applause; but indeed, Sir, we shall not commend you for disapproving us. I have a great deal more to say to you, but I shall sum it all up in this one remark. In short, Sir, you do not write like a gentleman.
"I am, Sir, your most humble servant."
"I am a woman's man, and read with fine lady your paper, wherein you fall u whom you envy: what do you think I did must know she was dressing: I read the S to her, and she laughed at the places wh thought I was touched; I threw away your and taking up her girdle, cried out,
Give me but what this ribbon bound,
Take all the rest the "sun"* goes round.t "She smiled, Sir, and said you were a so say of me what you please, read Sen quote him against me if you think fit,
"I am, Sir, your humble serv
-Omnem, quæ nunc obducta tuenti
The cloud, which intercepting the clear light
"The other day as we were several of us at a tea-table, and according to custom and your own advice had the Spectator read among us. It was that paper wherein you are pleased to treat with great freedom that character which you call a woman's man. We gave up all the kinds you have mentioned, except those who, you say, are our constant visitants. I was upon the occasion commissioned by the company to write to you and tell you, that we shall not part with the men we have at present, until the men of sense think fit to relieve them, and give us their company in their No. 159.] SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER stead.' You cannot imagine but that we love to hear reason and good sense better than the ribaldry we are at present entertained with, but we must have company, and among us very inconsiderable is better than none at all. We are made for the cements of society, and came into the world to create relations among mankind; and solitude is an unnatural being to us. If the men of good understanding would forget a little of their severity, they would find their account in it; and their wisdom would have a pleasure in it, to which they are now strangers. It is natural among us, when men have a true relish of our company and our value, to say everything with a better grace; and there is without designing it something ornamental in what men utter before women, which is lost or neglected in conversations of men only. Give me leave to tell you, Sir, it would do you no great harm if you yourself came a little more into our company: it would certainly cure you of a certain positive and determining manner in which you talk sometimes. In hopes of your amend
"I am, Sir, your gentle reader."
"Your professed regard to the fair sex may, perhaps, make them value your admonitions when they will not those of other men. I desire you, Sir, to repeat some lectures upon subjects which you have now and then in a cursory manner only just touched. I would have a Spectator wholly written upon good breeding; and after you have asserted that time and place are to be very much considered in all our actions, it will be proper to dwell upon behavior at church. On Sunday last, a grave and reverend man preached at our church. There was something particular in his accent, but without any manner of affectation. This particularity a set of gigglers thought the most necessary thing to be taken notice of in his whole discourse, and made it an occasion of mirth during the whole time of sermon. You should see one of them ready to burst behind a fan, another pointing to a companion in another seat, and a fourth with an arch composure, as if she would if possible stifle her laughter. There were many gentlemen who looked at them steadfastly, but this they took for ogling and admiring them. There was one of the merry ones in particular, that found out but just then that she had but five fingers, for she fell reckoning the pretty pieces of ivory over and
WHEN I was at Grand Cairo, I picked up oriental manuscripts, which I have still Among others I met with one entitled, The of Mirza, which I have read over with gr sure. have no other entertainment for them; a I intend to give it to the public begin with the first vision, which I have ted word for word as follows:
ing to the custom of my forefathers I alwa "On the fifth day of the moon, which holy, after having washed myself, and of my morning devotions, I ascended the hi of Bagdad, in order to pass the rest of th meditation and prayer. As I was here air self on the tops of the mountains, I fel profound contemplation on the vanity of life; and passing from one thought to Surely,' said I, man is but a shadow, a dream. While I was thus musing, I far from me, where I discovered one in t eyes toward the summit of a rock that of a shepherd, with a little musical instru his hand. As I looked upon him he appl his lips, and began to play upon it. Th of it was exceeding sweet, and wrought i riety of tunes that were inexpressibly me and altogether different from anything I heard. They put me in mind of those airs that are played to the departed souls men upon their first arrival in Paradise, out the impressions of the last agonies, an fy them for the pleasures of that happ My heart melted away in secret raptures.
"I had been often told that the rock b was the haunt of genius; and that seve been entertained with music who had pa it, but never heard that the musician ha made himself visible. When he had ra thoughts by those transporting airs w played, to taste the pleasures of his conve as I looked upon him like one astonis beckoned to me, and by the waving of h directed me to approach the place where 1 drew near with that reverence which is
superior nature; and as my heart was entirely subdued by the captivating strains I had heard, I fell down at his feet and wept. The genius smiled upon me with a look of compassion and affability that familiarized him to my imagination, and at once dispelled all the fears and apprehensions with which I approached him. He lifted me from the ground, and taking me by the hand, Mirza,' said he, 'I have heard thee in thy soliloquies;
not seem to lie in their way, and which they might have escaped had they not been thus forced upon them.
"The genius seeing me indulge myself on this melancholy prospect, told me I had dwelt long enough upon it. Take thine eyes off the bridge,' said he, and tell me if thou yet seest anything thou dost not comprehend.' Upon looking up, What mean,' said 1, 'those great flights of birds that are perpetually hovering about the bridge, and settling upon it from time to time? I see vultures, harpies, ravens, cormorants, and among many other feathered creatures several little winged boys, that perch in great numbers upon the middle arches.'-These,' said the genius, are Envy, Avarice, Superstition, Despair, Love, with the like cares and passions that infest human life.'
"He then led me to the highest pinnacle of the rock, and placing me on the top of it-Cast thy eyes eastward,' said he, and tell me what thou seest.' 'I see,' said I, a huge valley, and a prodigious tide of water rolling through it.' The valley that thou seest,' said he, is the Vale of Misery, and the tide of water that thou seest is part of the great tide of eternity.'-'What is the "I here fetched a deep sigh. 'Alas,' said I, reason,' said I, that the tide I see rises out of a man was made in vain! how is he given away thick mist at one end, and again loses itself in a to misery and mortality! tortured in life, and swal thick mist at the other? What thou seest,' said lowed up in death!' The genius, being moved he, is that portion of eternity which is called with compassion toward me, bid me quit so untime, measured out by the sun, and reaching from comfortable a prospect. Look no more,' said he, the beginning of the world to its consummation.' 'on man in the first stage of his existence, in his 'Examine now,' said he, this sea that is bounded setting out for eternity; but cast thine eye on that with darkness at both ends, and tell me what thou thick mist into which the tide bears the several discoverest in it.' I see a bridge,' said I, 'stand-generations of mortals that fall into it.' I directed ing in the midst of the tide. The bridge thou seest,' said he, 'is human life; consider it attentively. Upon a more leisurely survey of it, I found that it consisted of threescore and ten entire arches, with several broken arches, which, added to those that were entire, made up the number about a hundred. As I was counting the arches, the genius told me that this bridge consisted at first of a thousand arches: but that a great flood swept away the rest, and left the bridge in the ruinous condition I now beheld it. But tell me farther,' said he, what thou discoverest on it.'-'I see multitudes of people passing over it,' said I, and a black cloud hanging on each end of it.' As I looked more attentively, I saw several of the passengers dropping through the bridge into the great tide that flowed underneath it: and, upon farther examination, perceived there were innumerable trap-doors that lay concealed in the bridge, which the passengers no sooner trod upon, but they fell through them into the tide, and immediately disappeared. These hidden pitfalls were set very thick at the entrance of the bridge, so that throngs of people no sooner broke through the cloud, but many of them fell into them. They grew thinner toward the middle, but multiplied and lay closer together toward the end of the arches that were entire.
"There were indeed some persons, but their number was very small, that continued a kind of hobbling march on the broken arches, but fell through one after another, being quite tired and spent with so long a walk.
"I passed some time in the contemplation of this wonderful structure, and the great variety of objects which it presented. My heart was filled with a deep melancholy to see several dropping unexpectedly in the midst of mirth and jollity, and catching at everything that stood by them to save themselves. Some were looking up toward heaven in a thoughtful posture, and in the midst of a speculation stumbled and fell out of sight. Multitudes were very busy in the pursuit of bubbles that glittered in their eyes and danced before them; but often when they thought themselves within the reach of them, their footing failed, and down they sark. In this confusion of objects, I observed some with scimitars in their hands, and others with urinals, who ran to and fro upon the bridge, thrusting several persons on trap-doors which did
my sight as I was ordered, and (whether or no the good genius strengthened it with any supernatural force, or dissipated part of the mist that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate) I saw the valley opening at the farther end, and spreading forth into an immense ocean, that had a huge rock of adamant running through the midst of it, and dividing it into two equal parts. The clouds still rested on one half of it, insomuch that I could discover nothing in it: but the other appeared to me a vast ocean planted with innumerable islands, that were covered with fruits and flowers, and interwoven with a thousand little shining seas that ran among them. I could see persons dressed in glorious habits with garlands upon their heads, passing among the trees, lying down by the sides of fountains, or resting on beds of flowers; and could hear a confused harmony of singing-birds, falling waters, human voices, and musical instruments. Gladness grew in me upon the discovery of so delightful a scene. I wished for the wings of an eagle, that I might fly away to those happy seats: but the genius told me there was no passage to them, except through the gates of death that I saw opening every moment upon the bridge. The islands,' said he, that lie so fresh and green before thee, and with which the whole face of the ocean appears spotted as far as thou canst see, are more in number than the sands on the sea-shore; there are myriads of islands behind those which thou here discoverest, reaching farther than thine eye, or even thine imagination can extend itself. These are the mansions of good men after death, who, according to the degree and kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are distributed among these several islands; which abound with pleasures of different kinds and degrees, suitable to the relishes and perfections of those who are settled in them; every island is a paradise accommodated to its respective inhabitants. Are not these, O Mirza, habitations worth contending for? Does life appear miserable, that gives thee opportunities of earning such a reward? Is death to be feared, that will convey thee to so happy an existence? Think not man was made in vain, who has such an eternity reserved for him.' I gazed with inexpressible pleasure on these happy islands. At length, said I, show me now, I beseech thee, the secrets that lie hid under those dark clouds which cover the ocean on the other side of the