« VorigeDoorgaan »
But there is no single passage in the whole! poem worked up to a greater sublimity, than that wherein his person is described in those celebrated
-He above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent, Stood like a tower, etc.
His sentiments are every way answerable to his character, and suitable to a created being of the most exalted and most depraved nature. Such is that in which he takes possession of his place of
Hail, horrors! hail, Infernal world! and thou, profoundest hell, Receive thy new possessor, one who brings A mind not to be chang'd by place or time.
Here at least
We shall be free! th' Almighty hath not built Here for his envy; will not drive us hence: Here we may reign secure; and in my choice To reign is worth ambition, though in hell; Better to reign in hell, than serve in heav'n.
Amidst those impieties which this enraged spirit utters in other places of the poem, the author has taken care to introduce none that is not big with absurdity, and incapable of shocking a religious reader; his words, as the poet himself describes them, bearing only a "semblance of worth, not substance.' He is, likewise, with great art described as owning his adversary to be Almighty. Whatever perverse interpretation he puts on the justice, mercy, and other attributes of the Supreme Being, he frequently confesses his omnipotence, that being the perfection he was forced to allow him, and the only consideration which could support his pride under the shame of
Nor must I here omit that beautiful circumstance of his bursting out into tears, upon his survey of those innumerable spirits whom he had involved in the same guilt and ruin with himself:
He now prepar'd
To speak: whereat their doubled ranks they bend From wing to wing, and half inclose him round With all his peers: Attention held them mute. Thrice he essay'd, and thrice, in spite of scorn, Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth
The catalogue of evil spirits has abundance of learning in it, and a very agreeable turn of poetry, which rises in a great measure from its describing the places where they were worshiped, by those beautiful marks of rivers so frequent among the ancient poets. The author had, doubtless, in this place Homer's catalogue of ships, and Virgil's list of warriors, in his view. The characters of Moloch and Belial prepare the reader's mind for their respective speeches and behavior in the second and sixth books. The account of Thammuz is finely romantic, and suitable to what we read among the ancients of the worship which was paid to that idol;
-Thammuz came next behind, Whose annual wound in Lebanon allur'd The Syrian damsels to lament his fate In am'rous ditties all a summer's day; While smooth Adonis from his native rock Ran purple to the sea, suppos'd with blood Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love tale Infected Sion's daughter with like heat, Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch Ezekiel saw; when, by the vision led, His eyes survey'd the dark idolatries Of alienated Judah
This quotation from Milton, and the paragraph immediately following it were not in the first publication of this paper in folio.
The reader will pardon me if I insert as a note on this beautiful passage, the account given us by the late ingenious Mr. Maundrell of this ancient piece of worship, and probably the first occasion of such a superstition. We came to a fair large river; doubtless the ancient river Adonis, as fa mous for the idolatrous rites performed here in lamentation of Adonis. We had the fortune to see what may be supposed to be the occasion of that opinion which Lucian relates concerning this river, viz: That this stream, at certain seasons of the year, especially about the feast of Adonis, is of a bloody color; which the heathens looked upon as proceeding from a kind of sympathy in the river for the death of Adonis, who was killed by a wild boar in the mountains, out of which this stream rises. Something like this we saw ac tually come to pass; for the water was stained to a surprising redness: and, as we observed in traveling, had discolored the sea a great way into s reddish hue, occasioned doubtless by a sort of minium, or red earth, washed into the river by the violence of the rain, and not by any stain from Adonis's blood."
The passage in the catalogue, explaining the manner how spirits transform themselves by contraction or enlargement of their dimensions, is introduced with great judgment, to make way for several surprising accidents in the sequel of the poem. There follows one at the very end of the first book, which is what the French critics call marvelous, but at the same time probable, by rea son of the passage last mentioned. As soon as the infernal palace is finished, we are told the multitude and rabble of spirits immediately shrunk themselves into a small compass, that there tnight be room for such a numberless assembly in this capacious hall. But it is the poet's refinement upon this thought which I most admire, and which indeed is very noble in itself. For he tells us, that notwithstanding the vulgar among the fallen spirits contracted their forms, those of the firs rank and dignity still preserved their natural dimensions:
Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms
The character of Mammon, and the description of the Pandæmonium, are full of beauties.
There are several other strokes in the first book wonderfully poetical, and instances of that sublime genius so peculiar to the author. Such is the description of Azazel's stature, and the infer nal standard which he unfurls; as also of that ghastly light by which the fiends appear to ase another in their place of torments:
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimm'ring of those livid flames Casts pale and dreadful
The shout of the whole host of fallen angels when drawn up in battle array:
-The universal host up sent
A shout that tore hell's concave, and beyond Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night
The review, which the leader makes of his in fernal army:
He through the armed files
Darts his experienc'd eye, and soen traverse
of each poem, so to give their works an agreeable
The flash of light which appeared upon the considers the comparisons in the first book of Mildrawing of their swords:
ton, of the sun in an eclipse, of the sleeping levi-
The whole battalion views, their order due,
Their number last he sums; and now his heart
No. 304.] MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 1711-12.
THE circumstances of my correspondent, whose letter I now insert, are so frequent, that I cannot want compassion so much as to forbear laying it before the town. There is something so mean and inhuman in a direct Smithfield bargain for children, that if this lover carries his point, and observes the rules he pretends to follow, I do not only wish him success, but also that it may animate others to follow his example. I know not one motive relating to this life which could produce so many honorable and worthy actions, as the hopes of obtaining a woman of merit. There would ten thousand ways of industry and honest ambition be pursued by young men, who believed that the persons admired had value enough for their passion to attend the event of their good fortune in all their applications, in order to make their circumstances fall in with the duties they owe to themselves, their families, and their conntry. All these relations a man should think of who intends to go into the state of marriage, and expects to make it a state of pleasure and satisfaction.
There are also several noble similes and allu-
In short, if we look into the conduct of Homer,
"I have for some years indulged a passion for a young lady of age and quality suitable to my own, but very much superior in fortune. It is the fashion with parents (how justly I leave you to From this one consideration judge) to make all regards give way to the article of wealth. it is, that I have concealed the ardent love I have for her; but I am beholden to the force of my love for many advantages which I reaped from it toward the better conduct of my life. A certain complacency to all the world, a strong desire to oblige wherever it lay in my power, and a circumspect behavior in all my words and actions, have rendered me more particularly acceptable to all my friends and acquaintance. Love has had the same good effect upon my fortune, and I have increased in riches, in proportion to my advancement in those arts which make a man agreeable and amiable. There is a certain sympathy which will tell my mistress from these circumstances, that it is I who wrote this for her reading, if you will please to insert it. There is not a downright enmity, but a great coldness between our parents; so that if either of us declared any kind sentiments for each other, her friends would be very and mine to receive it from hers. Under these backward to lay an obligation upon our family, delicate circumstances it is no easy matter to act with safety. I have no reason to fancy my mistress has any regard for me, but from a very disinterested value which I have for her. If from me the least encouragement, I doubt not but I any hint in any future paper of yours she gives
Cresset, i. e, blazing light set on a beacon, in French **croiselle, because beacons formerly had crosses on their Dope-JouxSON.
shall surmount all other difficulties; and inspired
"Your most obedient, humble Servant,
of their throats, draw off the regard of all pas sengers from your said petitioners; from which violence they are distinguished by the name of The Worriers.'
"TO HIS WORSHIP THE SPECTATOR. "The humble petition of Anthony Title-page, stationer, in the center of Lincoln's-inn-fields. "Showeth,
"That while the fawners strain and relax the muscles of their faces, in making a distinction be tween a spinster in a colored scarf and a handmaid in a straw hat, the worriers use the same roughness to both, and prevail upon the easiness of the passengers, to the impoverishment of your petitioners.
"Your petitioners therefore most humbly pray, that the worriers may not be permitted to inhabit the politer parts of the town; and that Roundcourt may remain a receptacle for buyers of a more soft education.
"And your Petitioners," etc.
"That your petitioner and his forefathers, have been sellers of books for time immemorial: that your petitioner's ancestor, Crouchback Title-page, was the first of that vocation in Britain; who keeping his station (in fair weather) at the corner of Lothbury, was, by way of eminency, called The Stationer,' a name which from him all succeeding booksellers have affected to bear: that the station of your petitioner and his father has been in the place of his present settlement ever since The petition of the New-exchange, concer that square has been built: that your petitionering the arts of buying and selling, and parace has formerly had the honor of your worship's larly valuing goods, by the complexion of the custom, and hopes you never had reason to com- seller, will be considered on another occasion.-F. plain of your pennyworths: that particularly he sold you your first Lilly's Grammar, and at the same time a Wit's Commonwealth, almost as good as new: moreover, that your first rudimental No. 305.] TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1711-12 essays in spectatorship were made in your petitioner's shop, where you often practiced for hours together, sometimes on the little hieroglyphics either gilt, silvered, or plain, which the Egyptian woman on the other side of the shop had wrought in gingerbread, and sometimes on the English youths who in sundry places there were exercising themselves in the traditional sports of the
From these considerations it is; that your petitioner is encouraged to apply himself to you, and to proceed humbly to acquaint your worship, that he has certain intelligence that you receive great numbers of defamatory letters designed by their authors to be published, which you throw aside and totally neglect: Your petitioner there. fore prays, that you will please to bestow on him those refuse letters, and he hopes by printing them to get a more plentiful provision for his family; or, at the worst, he may be allowed to sell them by the pound weight to his good customers the pastry-cooks of London and West
"And your Petitioner shall ever pray," etc.
"TO THE SPECTATOR.
"The humble petition of Bartholomew Ladylove,
"That while your petitioners stand ready to receive passengers with a submissive bow, and repeat with a gentle voice, Ladies, what do you want? pray look in here;' the worriers reach out their hands at pistol-shot, and seize the customers at arms' length.
OUR late newspapers being full of the project now on foot in the court of France for establishing a political academy, and I myself having received letters from several virtuosos among my foreign correspondents, which give some light into that affair, I intend to make it the subject of this day's speculation. A general account of this project may be met with in the Daily Courant of last Friday, in the following words, translated from the Gazette of Amsterdam:
Paris, February 12. "It is confirmed, that the King has resolved to establish a new academy for politics, of which the Marquis de Torcy, minister and secretary of state, is to be protector. Six academicians are to be chosen, endowed with proper talents, for beginning to form this academy, into which no person is to be admitted under twenty-five years of age: they must likewise have each an estate of two thousand livres a year, either in possession, or to come to them by inheritance. The King will allow to each a pension of a the sand livres. They are likewise to have able mas ters to teach them the necessary sciences, and to instruct them in all the treaties of peace, alliance, and others, which have been made in several past. These members are to meet twice a week at the Louvre. From this seminary are to be chosen secretaries to embassies, who by degrees may advance to higher employments."
"That your petitioners have, with great industry and application, arrived at the most exact art of invitation or entreaty: that by a beseeching air and persuasive address, they have for many years last past peaceably drawn in every tenth passenger, whether they intended or not to call at their shops, to come in and buy; and from that softness of behavior have arrived among tradesmen at the gentle appellation of The Fawners.'
That there have of late set up among us certain persons from Monmouth street and Long-lane, who by the strength of their a
Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis
Cardinal Richelieu's politics made France the terror of Europe. The statesmen who have a peared in that nation of late years have, on the contrary, rendered it either the pity or contempt of its neighbors. The cardinal erected that famous academy which has carried all the parts of polite learning to the greatest height. His chief design in that institution was to divert the men of genius from meddling with politics, a province in which he did not care to have any one else interfere with him. On the contrary, Marquis de Tore seems resolved to make several
young men in France as wise as himself, and is therefore taken up at present in establishing a nursery of statesmen.
Some private letters add, that there will also be erected a seminary of petticoat politicians, who are to be brought up at the feet of Madame de Maintenon, and to be dispatched into foreign courts upon any emergencies of state: but as the news of this last project has not been yet confirm-well ed, I shall take no further notice of it.
Several of my readers may doubtless remember that upon the conclusion of the last war, which had been carried on so successfully by the enemy, their generals were many of them transformed into ambassadors; but the conduct of those who have commanded in the present war, has it seems, brought so little honor and advantage to their great monarch, that he is resolved to trust his affairs no longer in the hands of those military gentlemen.
The regulations of this new academy very much deserve our attention. The students are to have in possession or reversion, an estate of two thousand French livres per annum, which, as the present exchange runs, will amount to at least one hundred and twenty-six pounds English. This, with the royal allowance of a thousand livres, will enable them to find themselves in coffee and snuff; not to mention newspapers, pens and ink, wax and wafers, with the like necessaries for politicians.
A man must be at least five-and-twenty before he can be initiated into the mysteries of this academy, though there is no question but many grave persons of a much more advanced age, who have been constant readers of the Paris Gazette, will be glad to begin the world anew, and enter themselves upon this list of politicians.
The society of these hopeful young gentlemen is to be under the direction of six professors, who, it seems, are to be speculative statesmen, and drawn out of the body of the royal academy. These six wise masters, according to my private letters, are to have the following parts allotted to
The first is to instruct the students in state legerdemain; as how to take off the impression of a seal, to split a wafer, to open a letter, to fold it up again, with other the like ingenious feats of dexterity and art. When the students have accomplished themselves in this part of their profession, they are to be delivered into the hands of their second instructor, who is a kind of posture
The fourth professor is to teach the whole art of political characters and hieroglyphics; and to the end that they may be perfect also in this practice, they are not to send a note to one another (though it be but to borrow a Tacitus or a Machiavel) which is not written in cipher.
Their fifth professor, it is thought, will be chosen out of the society of Jesuits, and is to be read in the controversies of probable doctrines, mental reservation, and the rights of princes. This learned man is to instruct them in the grammar, syntax, and construing part of Treaty Latin; how to distinguish between the spirit and the letter, and likewise demonstrate how the same form of words may lay an obligation upon any prince in Europe, different from that which it lays upon his most Christian Majesty. He is likewise to teach them the art of finding flaws, loop-holes, and evasions in the most solemn compacts, and particularly a great rabbinical secret, revived of late years by the fraternity of Jesuits, namely, that contradictory interpretations of the same article may both of them be true and valid.
When our statesmen are sufficiently improved by these several instructors, they are to receive their last polishing from one who is to act among them as master of the ceremonies. This gentleman is to give them lectures upon the important points of the elbow-chair and the stair-head, to instruct them in the different situations of the right hand, and to furnish them with bows and inclinations of all sizes, measures, and proportions. In short, this professor is to give the society their stiffening, and infuse into their manners that beautiful political starch, which may qualify them for levees, conferences, visits, and make them shine in what vulgar minds are apt to look upon as trifles.
I have not yet heard any further particulars, which are to be observed in this society of unfledged statesmen; but I must confess, had I a son of five-and-twenty, that should take it into his head at that age to set up for a politician, I think I should go near to disinherit him for a blockhead. Beside, I should be apprehensive lest the same arts which are to enable him to negotiate between potentates, might a little infect his ordinary behavior between man and man. There is no question but these young Machiavels will in a little time turn their college upside down with plots and stratagems, and lay as many schemes to circumvent one another in a frog or a salad, as they may hereafter put in practice to overreach a neighboring prince or state.
We are told that the Spartans, though they punished theft in the young men when it was discovered, looked upon it as honorable if it succeeded. Provided the conveyance was clean and unsuspected, a youth might afterward boast of it. This, say the historians, was to keep them sharp, and to hinder them from being imposed upon, either in their public or private negotiations. Whether any such relaxations of morality, such little jeuz d'esprit, ought not to be allowed in this intended seminary of politicians, I shall leave to the wisdom of their founder.
This artist is to teach them how to nod judiciously, to shrug up their shoulders in a dubious case, to connive with either eye, and in a word, the whole practice of political grimace.
The third is a sort of language-master, who is to instruct them in a style proper for a minister in his ordinary discourse. And to the end that this college of statesmen may be thoroughly practiced in the political style, they are to make use of it in their common conversations, before they are employed either in foreign or domestic affairs. If one of them asks another what o'clock it is, the other is to answer him indirectly, and, if possible, to turn off the question. If he is desired to change a louisd'or, he must beg time to consider of it. If it be inquired of him whether the King is at Versailles or Marly, he must answer in a whisper. If he be asked the news of the last Gazette, or the subject of a proclamation, he is to reply that he has not yet read it; or if he does not care for explaining himself so far, he needs only draw up his brow in wrinkles, or elevate the left
In the meantime, we have fair warning given us by this doughty body of statesmen: and as Sylla saw many Mariuses in Caesar, so I think we may discover many Torcys in this college of academicians. Whatever we think of ourselves, I am afraid neither our Smyrna nor St. James's will be a match for it. Our coffee-houses are, indeed, very good institutions; but whether or no these our British schools of politics may furnish out as able envoys and secretaries as an academy that is set apart for that purpose will deserve our serious
No. 306.] WEDNESDAY, FEB. 20, 1711-12.
-Quæ forma, ut se tibi semper
What beauty, or what chastity, can bear
"I WRITE this to communicate to you a misfortune which frequently happens, and therefore deserves a consolatory discourse on the subject. I was within this half-year in the possession of as much beauty and as many lovers as any young lady in England. But my admirers have left me, and I cannot complain of their behavior. I have within that time had the small-pox: and this face, which (according to many amorous epistles which I have by me) was the seat of all that is beautiful in woman, is now disfigured with scars. It goes to the very soul of me to speak what I really think of my face; and though I think I did not overrate my beauty while I had it, it has extremely advanced in its value with me, now it is lost. There is one circumstance which makes my case very particular; the ugliest fellow that ever pretended to me, was and is most in my favor, and he treats me at present the most unreasonably. If you could make him return an obligation which he owes me, in liking a person that is not amiable. But there is, I fear, no possibility of making passion move by the rules of reason and gratitude. But say what you can to one who has survived herself, and knows not how to act in a new being. My lovers are at the feet of my rivals, my rivals are every day bewailing me, and I cannot enjoy what I am, by reason of the distracting reflection upon what I was. Consider the woman I was did not die of old age, but I was taken off in the prime of youth, and according to the course of nature may have forty years after-life to come. I have nothing of myself left which I like, but that
"I am, Sir, your most humble Servant,
"If you flattered me before I had this terrible malady, pray come and see me now: but if you sincerely liked me, stay away, for I am not the " CORINNA."
The lover thought there was something so sprightly in her behavior, that he answered:"
If Parthenissa can now possess her own mind and think as little of her beauty as she ought to have done when she had it, there will be no great diminution of her charms; and if she was for merly affected too much with them, an easy behavior will more than make up for the loss of them. Take the whole sex together, and you find those who have the strongest possession of men's hearts are not eminent for their beauty. You see it often happen that those who engage men to the greatest violence, are such as those who are strangers to them would take to be remarkably defective for that end. The fondest lover I know, said to me one day in a crowd of women at an entertainment of music, "You have often heard me talk of my beloved; that woman there," continued he, smiling, when he had fixed my eye, "is her very picture." The lady he showed me was by much the least remarkable for beauty of any in the whole assembly; but having my curiosity extremely raised, I could not keep my eyes off her. Her eyes at last met mine, and with a sudden surprise she looked round her to see who near her was remarkably handsome that I was gazing at. This little set explained the secret. She did not understand herself for the object of love, and therefore she was so. The lover is a very honest, plain man; and what charmed him was a person that goes along with him in the cares and joys of life, not taken up with herself, but sincerely attentive, with a ready and cheerful mind, to accompany him in
I can tell Parthenissa for her comfort, that the beauties, generally speaking, are the most imper tinent and disagreeable of women. An apparent
When Louis of France had lost the battle of Ramilies, the addresses to him at that time were full of his fortitude, and they turned his misfor-desire of admiration, a reflection upon their own tune to his glory; in that, during his prosperity, merit, and a precise behavior in their general con he could never have manifested his heroic con- duct, are almost inseparable accidents in beauties. stancy under distresses, and so the world had lost All you obtain of them, is granted to importunity the most eminent part of his character. Parthe- and solicitation for what did not deserve so much nissa's condition gives her the same opportunity: of your time, and you recover from the possession and to resign conquests is a task as difficult in a of it as out of a dream. beauty as a hero. In the very entrance upon this work she must burn all her love-letters; or since she is so candid as not to call her lovers, who follow her no longer, unfaithful, it would be a very good beginning of a new life from that of a beauty, to send them back to those who wrote them, with this honest inscription, "Articles of a marriage treaty broken off by the small-pox." I have known but one instance where a matter of this kind went on after a like misfortune, where the lady, who was a woman of spirit, wrote this
You are ashamed of the vagaries of fancy which so strangely misled you, and your admiration of a beauty, merely as such, is inconsistent with a tolerable reflection upon yourself. The cheerl good-humored creatures, into whose heads it never entered that they could make any man unhappy, are the persons formed for making men happy. There is Miss Liddy can dance ag raise paste, write a good hand, keep an account. give a reasonable answer, and do as she is bid; while her eldest sister, Madam Martha, is out of humor, has the spleen, learns by reports of people
billet to her lover: