« VorigeDoorgaan »
No. 204] WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1711. eye wander after new conquests every mome
Her face too dazzling for the sight,
I AM not at all displeased that I am become the courier of love, and that the distressed in that passion convey their complaints to each other by my means. The following letters have lately come to my hands, and shall have their place with great willinguess. As to the reader's entertainment, he will, I hope, forgive the inserting such particulars as to him may, perhaps, appear frivolous, but are to the persons who wrote them of the highest consequence. I shall not trouble you with the prefaces, compliments, and apologies, made to me before each epistle when it was desired to be inserted but in general they tell me, that the persons to whom they are addressed have intimations, by phrases and allusions in them, from whence they came.
"TO THE SOTHADES.
"The word, by which I address you, gives you, who understand Portugese, a lively image of the tender regard I have for you. The Spectator's late letter from Statira gave me the hint to use the same method of explaining myself to you. I am not affronted at the design your late behavior discovered you had in your addresses to me; but I impute it to the degeneracy of the age, rather than your particular fault. As I aim at nothing more than being yours, I am willing to be a stranger to your name, your fortune, or any figure which your wife might expect to make in the world, provided my commerce with you is not to be a guilty one. I resign gay dress, the pleasures of visits, equipage, plays, balls, and operas, for that one satisfaction of having you forever mine. I am willing you shall industriously conceal the only cause of triumph which I can know in this life. I wish only to have it my duty, as well as my inclination, to study your happiness. If this has not the effect this letter seems to aim at, you are to understand that I had a mind to be rid of you, and took the readiest way to pall you with an offer of what you would never desist pursuing while you received ill usage. Be a true man; be my slave while you doubt me, and neglect me when you think I love you. I defy you to find out what is your present circumstance with me: but I know, while I can keep this suspense, "I am your admired "BELINDA."
"It is a strange state of mind a man is in, when the very imperfections of the woman he loves turn into excellences and advantages. I do assure you, I am very much afraid of venturing upon you. I now like you in spite of my reason, and think it an ill circumstance to owe one's happiness to nothing but infatuation. I can see you ogle all the young fellows who look at you, and observe your
are in a public place; and yet there is beauty in all your looks and gestures, that not but admire you in the very act of endea to gain the hearts of others. My condition same with that of the lover in the Way World. I have studied your faults so lor they are become as familiar to me, and I lik consider whether you think this gay behavi as well as I do my own. Look to it, Mada
does now to me a lover. Things are so vanced that we must proceed; and I hope y lay it to heart, that it will be becoming in appear still your lover, but not in you to my mistress. Gayety in the matrimonial As you improve these little hints, you wil graceful in one sex, but exceptionable in th tain the happiness or uneasiness of, Madam, your most obedient, "Most humble serva "T
appear to me as amiable when a husband
"Before this can reach the best of husba the fondest lover, those tender names will more concern to me. The indisposition in you, to obey the dictates of your honor and left me, has increased upon me and I quainted by my physicians I cannot live longer. At this time my spirits fail me is the ardent love I have for you that me beyond my strength, and enables me you, the most painful thing in the pros death is, that I must part with you. But a comfort to you, that I have no guilt hand me, no unrepented folly that retards me pass away my last hours in reflection u happiness we have lived in together, and row that it is so soon to have an end. T frailty which I hope is so far from crimin methinks there is a kind of piety in being willing to be separated from a state whic institution of heaven, and in which we ha according to its laws.
As we know no mo next life, but that it will be a happy one good, and miserable to the wicked, why not please ourselves, at least to alleviate t culty of resigning this being, in imagin we shall have a sense of what passes bel may possibly be employed in guiding t of those with whom we walked with in when mortal? Why may not I hope to
The Portugese word Saudades (here inaccurately written Sothades) signifies, the most refined, most tender, and ardent desires for something absent, accompanied with a solicitude and anxious regard, which cannot be expressed by one word in any other language. "Saudade," say the dictionaries, "significa Finissimo sentimiento del bien ausente, com desemy usual work, and, though unknown to de posseerlo."—Hence the word Saudades comprehends every assistant in all the conflicts of your mind good wish; and Muitas Saudades is the highest wish and com- me leave to say to you, O best of men, the pliment that can be paid to another. So if a person is observed to be melancholy, and is asked, "What ails him?" if he answers, Tenho Saudades; it is understood to mean, "I am under the most refined torment for the absence of my love; or from being absent from my country," etc.
*The person to whom this letter is addressed was believed to be Colonel Rivers, at the time when t was first published.
not figure to myself a greater happiness than in such an employment. To be present at all the adventures to which human life is exposed, to administer slumber to thy eye-lids, in the agonies of a fever, to cover thy beloved face in the day of battle, to go with thee a guardian angel incapable of wound or pain, where I have longed to attend thee when a weak, a fearful woman: these, my dear, are the thoughts with which I warm my poor languid heart. But, indeed, I am not capable, under my present weakness, of bearing the strong agonies of mind I fall into, when I form to myself the grief you will be in, upon your first hearing of my departure. I will not dwell upon this, because your kind and generous heart will be but the more afflicted, the more the person for whom you lament offers you consolation. My last breath will, if I am myself, expire in a prayer for you. I shall never see thy face again. Farewell forever."-T.
No. 205.] THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 1711. Decipimur specie rectiHOR., Ars. Poet., v, 25. Deluded by a seeming excellence.-ROSCOMMON. WHEN I meet with any vicious character that is not generally known, in order to prevent its doing mischief, I draw it at length, and set it up as a scarecrow: by which means I do not only make an example of the person to whom it belongs, but give warning to all her majesty's subjects, that they may not suffer by it. Thus, to change the allusion, I have marked out several of the shoals and quicksands of life, and am continually employed in discovering those which are still concealed, in order to keep the ignorant and unwary from running upon them. It is with this intention that I publish the following letter, which brings to light some secrets of this nature.
neither black in themselves, nor, as you own, universal among us. But, Sir, it is plain that these your discourses are calculated for none but the fashionable part of womankind, and for the use of those who are rather indiscreet than vicious. But, Sir, there is a sort of prostitutes in the lower part of our sex, who are a scandal to us, and very well deserve to fall under your censure. I know it would debase your paper too much to enter into the behavior of these female libertines: but, as your remarks on some part of it would be a doing of justice to several women of virtue and honor, whose reputations suffer by it, I hope you will not think it improper to give the public some accounts of this nature. You must know, Sir, I am provoked to write you this letter, by the behavior of an infamous woman, who, having passed her youth in a most shameless state of prostitution, is now one of those who gain their livelihood by seducing others that are younger than themselves, and by establishing a criminal commerce between the two sexes. Among several of her artifices to get money, she frequently persuades a vain young fellow, that such woman of quality, or such a celebrated toast, entertains a secret passion for him, and wants nothing but an opportunity of revealing it. Nay, she has gone so far as to write letters in the name of a woman of figure, to borrow money of one of these foolish Roderigos,* which she has afterward appropriated to her own use. In the meantime, the person who has lent the money, has thought a lady under obligations to him, who scarce knew his name; and wondered at her ingratitude when he has been with her, that she has not owned the favor, though at the same time he was too much a man of honor to put her in mind of it.
"When this abandoned baggage meets with a man who has vanity enough to give credit to relations of this nature, she turns him to very good account by repeating praises that were never uttered, and delivering messages that were never As the house of this shameless creature is frequented by several foreigners, I have heard of another artifice, out of which she often raises money. The foreigner sighs after some British beauty, whom he only knows by fame; upon which she promises, if he can be secret, to procure him a meeting. The stranger, ravished at his good fortune, gives her a present, and in a little time is introduced to some imaginary title: for you must know that this cunning purveyor has her representatives upon this occasion, of some of the finest ladies in the kingdom. By this means, as I am informed, it is usual enough to meet with a German count in foreign countries, that shall make his boast of favors he has received from women of the highest ranks, and the most unblemished characters. Now, Sir, what safety is there for a woman's reputation, when a lady may be thus prostituted as it were by proxy, and be reputed an unchaste woman; as the Hero in the ninth book of Dryden's Virgil is looked upon as a coward, because the phantom which appeared in his likeness ran away from Turnus? You may depend upon what I relate to you to be matter of fact, and the practice of more than one of these female panders. If you print this letter, I may give you some further accounts of this vicious race
"There are none of your speculations which I read over with greater delight, than those which are designed for the improvement of our sex. You have endeavored to correct our unreasonable fears and superstitions, in your seventh and twelfth papers; our fancy for equipage, in your fifteenth; our love of puppet-shows, in your thirty-first; our notions of beauty, in your thirty-third; our inclination for romances, in your thirty-seventh; our passion for French fopperies, in your forty-fifth; our manhood and party zeal, in your fifty-seventh; our abuse of dancing, in your sixty-sixth and sixty-seventh; our levity, in your hundred and twenty-eighth our love of coxcombs, in your hundred and fifty-fourth and hundred and fiftyseventh; our tyranny over the hen-pecked, in your hundred and seventy-sixth. You have described the Pict, in your forty-first; the Idol, in your seventy-third; the Demurrer, in your eighty-ninth; the Salamander, in your hundred and ninety-eighth. You have likewise taken to pieces our dress, and represented to us the extravagances we are often guilty of in that particular. You have fallen upon our patches, in your fiftieth and eighty-first; our cominodes, in your ninety-eighth; our fans, in hundred and second; our riding-habits, in your hundred and fourth; our hoop-petticoats, in your hundred and twenty-seventh; beside a great many little blemishes which you have touched upon in your several other papers, and in those many letters that are scattered up and down your works. At the same time we must own that the compli- jects to fill up my paper. ments you pay our sex are innumerable, and that those very faults which you represent in us, are
"Your humble servant,
I shall add two other letters on different sub
*Alluding to the character so named in Shakspeare's Othello.
an opinion of those we behold in public is fallacious, certain it is that those, who by words and actions take as much upon themsel as they can but barely demand in the strict s tiny of their deserts, will find their account le every day. A modest man preserves his chara as a frugal man does his fortune; if either of t live to the height of either, one will find lo the other errors, which he has not stock by hi make up. It were therefore a just rule, to your desires, your words, and actions, within regard you observe your friends have for and never, if it were in a man's power, to tak much as he possibly might, either in prefer or reputation. My walks have lately been am the mercantile part of the world; and one phrases naturally from those with whom one verses. I say then, he that in his air, his t ment of others, or an habitual arrogance to self, gives himself credit for the least articl more wit, wisdom, goodness, or valor, than he "I am very far from being an enemy to church possibly produce if he is called upon, will music; but fear this abuse of it may make my the world break in upon him, and consider hi parish ridiculous, who already look on the sing-one who has cheated them of all the esteem ing psalms as an entertainment, and not part of their devotion: beside I am apprehensive that the infection may spread; for 'Squire Squeekum, who by his voice seems (if I may use the expression) to be cut out for an Italian singer, was last Sunday practicing the same airs.
"I am a country clergyman, and hope you will lend me your assistance in ridiculing some little indecencies which cannot so properly be exposed from the pulpit.
"A widow lady, who straggled this summer from London into my parish for the benefit of the air, as she says, appears every Sunday at church with many fashionable extravagances, to the great astonishment of my congregation.
"But what gives us the most offense is her theatrical manner of singing the Psalms. She introduces about fifty Italian airs into the hundredth psalm; and while we begin, 'All people' in the old solemn tune of our forefathers, she in a quite different key runs divisions on the vowels, and adorns them with the graces of Nicolini; if she meets with 'eke' or 'aye,' which are frequent in the meter of Hopkins and Sternhold, we are certain to hear her quavering them half a minute after us, to some sprightly airs of the opera.
"I know the lady's principles, and that she will plead the toleration, which (as she fancies) allows her nonconformity in this particular; but I beg you to acquaint her that singing the Psalms in a different tune from the rest of the congregation is a sort of schism not tolerated by that act.
"I am, Sir, your very humble Servant.
"In your paper upon temperance, you prescribe to us a rule for drinking out of Sir William Temple, in the following words: The first glass for myself, the second for my friends, the third for good humor, and the fourth for mine enemies.' Now, Sir, you must know, that I have read this your Spectator, in a club whereof I am a member; when our president told us there was certainly an error in the print, and that the word glass should be bottle; and therefore has ordered me to inform you of this mistake, and to desire you to publish the following erratum: In the paper of Saturday, Octob. 13, col. 3, line 11, for 'glass,' read 'bottle.' "Yours,
No. 206.] FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1711.
Quanto quisque sibi plura negaverit,
THERE is a call upon mankind to value and esteem those who set a moderate price upon their own merit; and self-denial is frequently attended with unexpected blessings, which in the end abundantly recompense such losses as the modest seem to suffer in the ordinary occurrences of life. Then the curious tell us, a determination in our favor or to our disadvantage is made upon our first appearance, even before they know anything of our characters, but from the intimations men gather from our aspect. A man, they say, wears the picture of his mind in his countenance; and one man's eyes are spectacles to his, who looks at him to read his heart. But though that way of raising
had before allowed him. This brings a com sion of bankruptcy upon him; and he that m have gone on to his life's end in a prospe way, by aiming at more than he should is longer proprietor of what he really had before his pretensions fare as all things do which torn instead of being divided.
There is no one living would deny Cinna applause of an agreeable and facetious wit could possibly pretend that there is not somet inimitably unforced and diverting in his manne delivering all his sentiments in conversatio he were able to conceal the strong desire of plause which he betrays in every syllable he ters. But they who converse with him see tha the civilities they could do to him, or the things they could say to him, would fall shor what he expects; and therefore, instead of sh ing him the esteem they have for his merit, t reflections turn only upon that they observe has of it himself.
ana trip into a room with that theatrical osto It you go among the women, and behold G tion of her charms, Mirtilla with that soft r larity in her motion, Chloe with such an indiffe familiarity, Corinna with such a fond appro and Roxana with such a demand of respect in great gravity of her entrance; you find all the who understand themselves and act natura wait only for their absence, to tell you that these ladies would impose themselves upon and each of them carry in their behavior a sciousness of so much more than they should tend to, that they lose what would otherwis given them.
I remember the last time I saw Macbeth, I wonderfully taken with the skill of the poet making the murderer form fears to himself f the moderation of the prince whose life he was ing to take away. He says of the king: "He bord faculties so meekly;" and justly inferred f thence, that all divine and human power wo join to avenge his death, who had made such abstinent use of dominion. All that is in a m power to do to advance his own pomp and gl and forbears, is so much laid up against the day distress; and pity will always be his portion adversity, who acted with gentleness in p perity.
The great officer who foregoes the advantages might take to himself, and renounces all dential regards to his own person in danger, so far the merit of a volunteer; and all his hon
and glories are unenvied, for sharing the common | going to his devotions, and observing his eyes to fate with the same frankness as they do who have be fixed upon the earth with great seriousness and no such endearing circumstances to part with. attention, tells him, that he had reason to be But if there were no such considerations as the thoughtful on that occasion, since it was possible good effect which self-denial has upon the sense for a man to bring down evils upon himself by his T of other men toward us, it is of all qualities the own prayers; and that those things which the gods most desirable for the agreeable disposition in send him in answer to his petitions, might turn to which it places our own minds. I cannot tell his destruction. This, says he, may not only what better to say of it, than that it is the very con-happen when a man prays for what he knows is trary of ambition; and that modesty allays all mischievous in its own nature, as Edipus imthose passions and inquietudes to which that vice plored the gods to sow dissension between his exposes us. He that is moderate in his wishes, sons; but when he prays for what he believes from reason and choice, and not resigned from would be for his good, and against what he besourness, distaste, or disappointment, doubles all lieves would be to his detriment. This the the pleasures of his life. The air, the season, a philosopher shows must necessarily happen sunshiny day, or a fair prospect, are instances among us, since most men are blinded with of happiness; and that which he enjoys in common ignorance, prejudice, or passion, which hinder with all the world (by his exemption from the en-them from seeing such things as are really benechantments by which all the world are bewitched), ficial to them. For an instance, he asks Alcibiaare to him uncommon benefits and new acquisi-des, whether he would not be thoroughly pleased tions. Health is not eaten up with care, nor plea- and satisfied if that god, to whom he was going sure interrupted by envy. It is not to him of any to address himself, should promise to make him consequence what this man is famed for, or for the sovereign of the whole earth? Alcibiades what the other is preferred. He knows there is in answers, that he should, doubtless, look upon such a place an uninterrupted walk; he can meet such a promise as the greatest favor that could be in such a company an agreeable conversation. He bestowed upon him. Socrates then asks him, if has no emulation, he is no man's rival, but every after receiving this great favor he would be conman's well-wisher; can look at a prosperous man, tented to lose his life? Or if he would receive it with a pleasure in reflecting that he hopes he is as though he was sure he should make an ill use of happy as himself; and has his mind and his for- it? To both which questions Alcibiades answers tune (as far as prudence will allow) open to the in the negative. Socrates then shows him, from unhappy and to the stranger. the examples of others, how these might very Lucceius has learning, wit, humor, eloquence, probably be the effects of such a blessing. He but no ambitious prospects to pursue with these then adds, that other reputed pieces of good foradvantages; therefore to the ordinary world he is tune, as that of having a son, or procuring the perhaps thought to want spirit, but known among highest post in a government, are subject to the his friends to have a mind of the most consum-like fatal consequences; which nevertheless, says mate greatness. He wants no man's admiration, is in no need of pomp. His clothes please him if they are fashionable and warm; his companions are agreeable if they are civil and well-natured. There is with him no occasion for superfluity at meals, or jollity in company; in a word, for anything extraordinary to administer delight to him. Want of prejudice, and command of appetite, are the companions which make his journey of life so easy, that he in all places meets with more wit, more good cheer and more good humor, than is necessary to make him enjoy himself with pleasure and satisfaction.-T.
Look round the habitable world, how few
In my last Saturday's paper, I laid down some thoughts upon devotion in general, and shall here show what were the notions of the most refined heathens on this subject, as they are represented in Plato's dialogue upon prayer, entitled Alcibiades the Second, which doubtless gave occasion to Juvenal's tenth satire, and to the second satire of Persius; as the last of these authors has almost transcribed the preceding dialogue, entitled Alcibiades the First, in his fourth satire.
The speakers in this dialogue upon prayer, are Socrates and Alcibiades; and the substance of it (when drawn together out of the intricacies and digressions) as follows:
Socrates meeting his pupil Alcibiades, as he was
he, men ardently desire, and would not fail to pray for, if they thought their prayers might be effectual for the obtaining of them.
Having established this great point, that all the most apparent blessings in this life are obnoxious to such dreadful consequences, and that no man knows what in its event would prove to him a blessing or a curse, he teaches Alcibiades after what manner he ought to pray.
In the first place, he recommends to him, as the model of his devotions, a short prayer which a Greek poet composed for the use of his friends, in the following words: “O Jupiter, give us those things which are good for us, whether they are such things as we pray for, or such things as we do not pray for: and remove from us those things which are hurtful, though they are such things as we pray for."
In the second place, that his disciple may ask such things as are expedient for him, he shows him, that it is absolutely necessary to apply himself to the study of true wisdom, and to the knowledge of that which is his chief good, and the most suitable to the excellence of his nature.
In the third and last place he informs him, that the best methods he could make use of to draw down blessings upon himself, and to render his prayers acceptable, would be to live in a constant practice of his duty toward the gods, and toward men. Under this head he very much recommends a form of prayer the Lacedæmonians make use of, in which they petition the gods, "to give them all good things so long as they were virtuous." Under this head, likewise, he gives a very remarkable account of an oracle to the following purpose:
When the Athenians in the war with the Lacedæmonians received many defeats both by sea and land, they sent a message to the oracle of Jupiter Ammon, to ask the reason why they who
erected so many temples to the gods, and adorned and in truth." As the Lacedæmonians in them with such costly offerings; why they who form of prayer implored the gods in genet had instituted so many festivals, and accompanied give them all good things so long as they them with such pomps and ceremonies; in short, virtuous, we ask in particular "that our of why they who had slain so many hecatombs at may be forgiven, as we forgive those of ot their altars, should be less successful than the If we look into the second rule which So Lacedæmonians, who fell so short of them in these has prescribed, namely, that we should appl particulars? To this, says he, the oracle made selves to the knowledge of such things as ar the following reply: "I am better pleased with for us, this too is explained at large in the the prayers of the Lacedæmonians than with all trines of the Gospel, where we are taught i the oblations of the Greeks." As this prayer im-eral instances to regard those things as e plied and encouraged virtue in those who made it; which appear as blessings in the eye of the the philosopher proceeds to show how the most and, on the contrary, to esteem those thi vicious man might be devout, so far as victims blessings, which to the generality of ma could make him, but that his offerings were re-appear as curses. Thus, in the form whi garded by the gods as bribes, and his petitions as blasphemies. He likewise quotes, on this occasion, two verses out of Homer, in which the poet says, "that the scent of the Trojan sacrifices was carried up to heaven by the winds; but that it was not acceptable to the gods, who were dis-ance. pleased with Priam and all his people."
The conclusion of this dialogue is very remarkable. Socrates having deterred Alcibiades from the prayers and sacrifice which he was going to offer, by setting forth the above-mentioned difficulties of performing that duty as he ought, adds these words: "We must therefore wait until such time as we may learn how we ought to behave ourselves toward the gods and toward men." But when will that time come?" says Alcibiades, "and who is it that will instruct us? for I would fain see this man, whoever he is." "It is one," says Socrates, "who takes care of you; but as Homer tells us, that Minerva removed the mist from Diomede's eyes that he might plainly discover both gods and men,† so the darkness that hangs upon your mind must be removed before you are able to discern what is good and what is evil." Let him remove from my mind," says Alcibiades, "the darkness and what else he pleases, I am determined to refuse nothing he shall order me, whoever he is, so that I may become the better man by it." The remaining part of this dialogue is very obscure: there is something in it that would make us think Socrates hinted at himself, when he spoke of this divine teacher who was to come into the world, did not he own that he himself was in this respect as much at a loss, and in as great distress as the rest of mankind.
Some learned men look upon this conclusion as a prediction of our Savior, or at least that Socrates, like the high-priest. prophesied unknowingly, and pointed at that Divine Teacher who was to come into the world some ages after him. However that may be, we find that this great philosopher saw, by the light of reason, that it was suitable to the goodness of the Divine nature, to send a person into the world who should instruct mankind in the duties of religion, and, in particular, teach them how to pray.
Whoever reads this abstract of Plato's discourse on prayer, will, I believe, naturally make this reflection, That the great founder of our religion, as well by his own example as in the form of prayer which he taught his disciples, did not only keep up to those rules which the light of nature had suggested to this great philosopher, but instructed his disciples in the whole extent of this duty, as well as of all others. He directed them to the proper object of adoration, and taught them, according to the third rule above-mentioned, to apply themselves to him in their closets, without show or ostentation, and to worship him in spirit
prescribed to us, we only pray for that hap which is our chief good, and the great end existence, when we petition the Supreme Bei the coming of his kingdom, being solicito no other temporal blessings but our daily s On the other side, we pray against no but sin, and against evil in general, leav with Omniscience to determine what is such. If we look into the first of Socrate rules of prayer, in which he recommend above-mentioned form of the ancient poet, w that form not only comprehended, but very improved in the petition, wherein we pray Supreme Being that his will may be done: is of the same force with that form which o vior used, when he prayed against the most ful and most ignominious of deaths, "Nev less not my will, but thine be done."* comprehensive petition is the most humb well as the most prudent, that can be offer from the creature to his Creator, as it sup the Supreme Being wills nothing but what our good, and that he knows better than our what is so.-L.
No. 208.] MONDAY, OCTOBER 29, 1
To be themselves a spectacle they come.
* Luke xxvi, 42; Matt. xxii, 39.