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tion and encouragement to that kind of music which would have its foundation in reason, and which would improve our virtue in proportion as it raised our delight. The passions that are excited by ordinary compositions generally flow from such silly and absurd occasions, that a man is ashamed to reflect upon them seriously; but the fear, the love, the sorrow, the indignation, that are awakened in the mind by hymns and anthems, make the heart better, and proceed from such causes as are altogether reasonable and praiseworthy. Pleasure and duty go hand in hand; and the greater our satisfaction is, the greater is our religion.
Music, among those who were styled the chosen people, was a religious art. The songs of Sion, which we have reason to believe were in high repute among the courts of the eastern monarchs, were nothing else but psalms and pieces of poetry that adored or celebrated the Supreme Being. The greatest conqueror in this holy nation, after the manner of the old Grecian lyrics, did not only compose the words of his divine odes, but generally set them to music himself: after which, his works, though they were consecrated to the tabernacle, became the national entertainment as well as the devotion of his people.
The first original of the drama was a religious worship, consisting only of a chorus, which was nothing else but a hymn to a deity. As luxury and voluptuousness prevailed over innocence and religion, this form of worship degenerated into tragedies; in which, however, the chorus so far remembered its first office, as to brand everything that was vicious, and recommend everything that was laudable, to intercede with Heaven for the innocent, and to implore its vengeance on the criminal.
a very great respect, and to whom he communi-
"You have obliged me with a very kind letter; by which I find you shift the scene of your life from the town to the country, and enjoy that mixed state which wise men both delight in and are qua lified for. Methinks most of the philosophers and moralists have run too much into extremes, in praising entirely either solitude or public life; in the former, men generally grow useless by too much rest; and, in the latter, are destroyed by too much precipitation; as waters lying still, putrefy and are good for nothing; and running violently on, do but the more mischief in their passage to others, and are swallowed up and lost the sooner themselves. Those who, like you, can make themselves useful to all states, should be like gentle streams, that not only glide through lonely vales and forests, amid the flocks and shepherds, but visit populous towns in their course, and are at once of ornament and service to them. But there is another sort of people who seem designed for solitude, those I mean who have more to hide than to show. As for my own part, I am one of those of whom Seneca says, Tam umbratiles sunt, ut putent, in turbido esse quicquid in luce est' Some men, like pictures, are fitter for a corner than a full light: and I believe such as have a tural bent to solitude are like waters, which may be forced into fountains, and exalted to a great height, may make a much nobler figure, and much louder noise, but after all, run more smooth ly, equally, and plentifully, in their own natural course upon the ground. The consideration of this would make me very well contented with the possession only of that quiet which Cowley calls the companion of obscurity; but whoever has the Muses too for his companions can never be idle enough to be uneasy. Thus, Sir, you see I would flatter myself into a good opinion of my own war of living: Plutarch just now told me, that it is in human life as in a game at tables: one may wish Music, when thus applied, raises noble hints in he had the highest cast; but, if his chance be oth the mind of the hearer, and fills it with great con-erwise, he is even to play it as well as he can, and ceptions. It strengthens devotion, and advances make the best of it. praise into rapture; it lengthens out every act of worship, and produces more lasting and permanent impressions in the mind than those which accompany any transient form of words that aro uttered in the ordinary method of religious worship.-O.
Homer and Hesiod intimate to us how this art should be applied, when they represent the Muses as surrounding Jupiter and warbling their hymns about his throne. I might show, from innumerable passages in ancient writers, not only that vocal and instrumental music were made use of in their religious worship, but that their most favorite diversions were filled with songs and hymns to their respective deities. Had we frequent en tertainments of this nature among us, they would not a little purify and exalt our passions, give our thoughts a proper turn, and cherish those divine impulses in the soul, which every one feels that has not stifled them by sensual and immoderate pleasures.
"I am, Sir, "Your most obliged, and most humble Servant. "MR. SPECTATOR,
The town being so well pleased with the fine picture of artless love, which nature inspired the Laplander to paint in the ode you lately printed, we were in hopes that the ingenious translate would have obliged it with the other also which much inferior hand has ventured to send you this Scheffer has given us; but since he has not, a
"It is a custom with the northern lovers to di vert themselves with a song, while they journey through the fenny moors to pay a visit to their mistresses. This is addressed by the lover to his rein-deer, which is the creature that in that ce try supplies the want of horses. The circu him in his way, are, I believe you will think, stances which successively present themselves to turally interwoven.' The anxiety of absence, the gloominess of the roads, and his resolution of
frequenting only those, since those only can carry more than once, by those who have seen Italy, him to the object of his desires; the dissatisfac- that an untraveled Englishman cannot relish all tion he expresses even at the greatest swiftness the beauties of Italian pictures, because the poswith which he is carried, and his joyful surprise tures which are expressed in them are often such at an unexpected sight of his mistress as she is as are peculiar to that country. One who has not bathing, seem beautifully described in the origi-seen an Italian in the pulpit, will not know what nal. to make of that noble gesture in Raphael's picture of St. Paul preaching at Athens, where the apostle is represented as lifting up both his arms, and pouring out the thunder of his rhetoric amid an audience of pagan philosophers.
Haste, my rein-deer, and let us nimbly go
"If all those pretty images of rural nature are lost in the imitation, yet possibly you may think fit to let this supply the place of a long letter, when want of leisure, or indisposition for writing, will not permit our being entertained by your own It is certain that proper gestures and vehement hand. I propose such a time, because, though it exertions of the voice cannot be too much studied is natural to have a fondness for what one does by a public orator. They are a kind of comment one's self, yet I assure you, I would not have any-to what he utters, and enforce everything he says, thing of mine displace a single line of yours.” with weak hearers, better than the strongest argument he can make use of. They keep the audience awake, and fix their attention to what is delivered to them, at the same time that they show the speaker is in earnest, and affected himself with what he so passionately recommends to others. Violent gestures and vociferation naturally shake the hearts of the ignorant, and fill them with a kind of religious horror. Nothing is more frequent than to see women stand and tremble at the sight of a moving preacher, though he is placed quite out of their hearing; as in England we very frequently see people lulled asleep with solid and elaborate discourses of piety, who would be warmed and transported out of themselves by the bellowing and distortions of enthusiasm.
Our am'rous journey through this dreary waste! Haste, my rein-deer! still, still thou art too slow, Impetuous love demands the lightning's haste.
Around us far the rushy moors are spread:
The wat❜ry length of these unjoyous moors
Each moment from the charmer I'm confined,
No. 407.] TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 1712. abest facundis gratia dictis. OVID, Met. xiii, 127. Eloquent words a graceful manner want. Most foreign writers, who have given any character of the English nation, whatever vices they ascribe to it, allow, in general, that the people are naturally modest. It proceeds, perhaps, from this our national virtue, that our orators are observed to make less gesture or action than those of other countries. Our preachers stand stock-still in the pulpit, and will not so much as move a finger to set off the best sermons in the world. We meet with the same speaking statues at our bars, and in all public places of debate. Our words flow from us in a smooth continued stream, without those strainings of the voice, motions of the body, and majesty of the hand, which are so much celebrated in the orators of Greece and Rome. We can talk of life and death in cold blood, and keep our temper in a discourse which turns upon everything that is dear to us. Though our zeal breaks out in the finest tropes and figures, it is not able to stir a limb about us. I have heard it observed
If nonsense, when accompanied with such an emotion of voice and body, has such an influence on men's minds, what might we not expect from many of those admirable discourses which are printed in our tongue, were they delivered with a becoming fervor, and with the most agreeable graces of voice and gesture!
We are told that the great Latin orator very much impaired his health by the laterum contentio, the vehemence of action, with which he used to deliver himself. The Greek orator was likewise so very famous for this particular in rhetoric, that one of his antagonists, whom he had banished from Athens, reading over the oration which had procured his banishment, and seeing his friends admire it, could not forbear asking them, if they were so much affected by the bare reading of it, how much more they would have been alarmed, had they heard him actually throwing out such storm of eloquence?
How cold and dead a figure, in comparison of these two great men, does an orator often make at the British bar, holding up his head with the most insipid serenity, and stroking the sides of a long wig that reaches down to his middle! The truth of it is, there is often nothing more ridiculous than the gestures of an English speaker: you see some of them running their hands into their pockets as far as ever they can thrust them, and others looking with great attention on a piece of paper that has nothing written on it; you may see many a smart rhetorician turning his hat in his hands, moulding it into several different cocks, examining sometimes the lining of it, and sometimes the button, during the whole course of his harangue. A deaf man would think he was cheapening a beaver, when perhaps he is talking of the fate of the British nation. I remember when I was a young man, and used to frequent Westminster-hall, there was a counselor who never pleaded without a piece of packthread in his hand, which he used to twist about a thumb or finger all the while he was speaking: the wags of those days used to call it "the thread of his discourse," for he was not able to utter a word without it. One of his clients, who was more merry than wise, stole it from him
one day in the midst of his pleading: but he had better have let it alone, for he lost his cause by his jest.
I have all along acknowledged myself to be a dumb man, and therefore may be thought a very improper person to give rules for oratory: but I will believe every one will agree with me in this, that we ought either to lay aside all kinds of gesture (which seems to be very suitable to the genius of our nation), or at least to make use of such only as are graceful and expressive.-O.
No. 408.] WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18, 1712.
Decet affectus animi neque se nimium erigere, nec subjacere
serviliter.-TULL. de Finibus.
The affections of the heart ought not to be too much indulged,
spirit by an admirable tie, which in him occasions a perpetual war of passions; and as a man inclines to the angelic or brute part of his constitution, he is then denominated good or bad, virtuous or wicked; if love, mercy, and good-nature prevail, they speak him of the angel: if hatred, cruelty, and envy predominate, they declare his kindred to the brute. Hence it was, that some of the ancients imagined, that as men in this life inclined more to the angel or the brute, so after their death they should transmigrate into the one or the other; and it would be no unpleasant notion to consider the several species of brutes, into which we may imagine that tyrants; misers, the proud, malicious, and ill-natured, might be changed.
are in all men, but all appear not in all; constitu "As a consequence of this original, all passions and the like causes, may improve or abate the tion, education, custom of the country, reason, strength of them; but still the seeds remain, which are ever ready to sprout forth upon the least "I HAVE always been a very great lover of your encouragement. I have heard a story of a good speculations, as well in regard to the subject as religious man, who, having been bred with the to your manner of treating it. Human nature I milk of a goat, was very modest in public by a always thought the most useful object of human careful reflection he made on his actions: but he reason, and to make the consideration of it plea- frequently had an hour in secret, wherein he had sant and entertaining, I always thought the best his frisks and capers: and if we had an opportu employment of human wit: other parts of philo- nity of examining the retirement of the strictest sophy may perhaps make us wiser, but this not philosophers, no doubt, but we should find perpet only answers that end, but makes us better too. ual returns of those passions they so artfully con Hence it was that the oracle pronounced Socrates ceal from the public. I remember Machiavel ob the wisest of all men living, because he judicious- serves, that every state should entertain a perpetual ly made choice of human nature for the object of jealousy of its neighbors, that so it should never his thoughts; an inquiry into which as much ex- be unprovided when an emergency happens; in ceeds all other learning, as it is of more conse-like manner, should the reason be perpetually on quence to adjust the true nature and measures of right and wrong, than to settle the distances of the planets, and compute the times of their circumvolutions.
"One good effect that will immediately arise from a near observation of human nature is, that we shall cease to wonder at those actions which men are used to reckon wholly unaccountable; for, as nothing is produced without a cause, so, by observing the nature and course of the passions, we shall be able to trace every action from its first conception to its death. We shall no more admire at the proceedings of Catiline or Tiberius, when we know the one was actuated by a cruel jealousy, the other by a furious ambition: for the actions of men follow their passions as naturally as light does heat, or as any other effect flows from its cause; reason must be employed in adjusting the passions, but they must ever remain the principles
its guard against the passions, and never suffer them to carry on any design that may be destruc tive of its security: yet at the same time it must be careful that it do not so far break their strength as to render them contemptible, and consequently itself unguarded.
"The understanding being of itself too slow and lazy to exert itself into action, it is necessary it should be put in motion by the gentle gales of the passions, which may preserve it from stagnating and corruption; for they are as necessary to the health of the mind, as the circulation of the animal spirits is to the health of the body: they keep it in life, and strength, and vigor; nor is it possible for the mind to perform its offices without their assistance. These motions are given us with our being; they are little spirits that are born and die with us; to some they are mild, easy, and gentle; to others wayward and unruly, yet never too strong for the reins of reason and the guid
"The strange and absurd variety that is so ap-ance of judgment. parent in men's actions, shows plainly they can never proceed immediately from reason; so pure a fountain emits no such troubled waters. They must necessarily arise from the passions, which are to the mind as the winds to a ship; they only can move it, and they too often destroy it; if fair and gentle, they guide it into the harbor: if contrary and furious, they overset it in the waves. In the same manner is the mind assisted or endangered by the passions; reason must then take the place of pilot, and can never fail of securing her charge if she be not wanting to herself. The strength of the passions will never be accepted as an excuse for complying with them; they were designed for subjection; and if a man suffers them to get the upper hand, he then betrays the liberty of his own soul.
"We may generally observe a pretty nice proportion between the strength of reason and pas sion; the greatest geniuses have commonly the strongest affections, as, on the other hand, the weaker understandings have generally the weaker passions; and it is fit the fury of the coursers should not be too great for the strength of the cha rioteer. Young men, whose passions are not a little unruly, give small hopes of their ever being considerable; the fire of youth will of course abate, and is a fault, if it be a fault, that mends every day; but surely, unless a man has fire in youth, he can hardly have warmth in old must therefore be very cautious, lest, while we think to regulate the passions, we should quite extinguish them, which is putting out the light of the soul; for to be without passion, or to be hur "As nature has framed the several species of ried away with it, makes a man equally blind. beings as it were in a chain, so man seems to be The extraordinary severity used in most of our placed as the middle link between angels and schools has this fatal effect, it breaks the spring and most certainly destroys more brutes. Hence he participates both of flesh and of the
good geniuses than it can possibly improve. And surely it is a mighty mistake that the passions should be so entirely subdued: for little irregularities are sometimes not only to be borne with, but to be cultivated too, since they are frequently attended with the greatest perfections. All great geniuses have faults mixed with their virtues, and resemble the flaming bush which has thorns among lights.
Since, therefore, the passions are the principles of human actions, we must endeavor to manage them so as to retain their vigor, yet keep them under strict command; we must govern them rather like free subjects than slaves, lest, while we intend to make them obedient, they become abject, and unfit for those great purposes to which they were designed. For my part, I must confess, I could never have any regard to that sect of philosophers who so much insisted upon an absolute indifference and vacancy from all passion: for it seems to me a thing very inconsistent, for a man to divest himself of humanity in order to acquire tranquillity of mind; and to eradicate the very principles of action, because it is possible they may produce ill effects.
"I am, Sir, your affectionate Admirer, Z.
No. 409.] THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 1712.
-Musso contingere cuncta lepore.-LUCR. i, 933. To grace each subject with enliv'ning wit. GRATIAN Very often recommends fine taste as the utmost perfection of an accomplished man.
As this word arises very often in conversation, I shall endeavor to give some account of it, and to lay down rules how we may know whether we are possessed of it, and how we may acquire that fine taste of writing which is so much talked of among the polite world.
Most languages make use of this metaphor, to express that faculty of the mind which distinguishes all the most concealed faults and nicest perfections in writing. We may be sure this metaphor would not have been so general in all tongues, had there not been a very great conformity between that mental taste, which is the subject of this paper, and that sensitive taste, which gives us a relish of every different flavor that affects the palate. Accordingly we find there are as many degrees of refinement in the intellectual faculty as in the sense which is marked out by this common denomination.
I knew a person who possessed the one in so great a perfection, that, after having tasted ten different kinds of tea, he would distinguish, with out seeing the color of it, the particular sort which was offered him; and not only so, but any two sorts of them that were mixed together in an equal proportion; nay, he has carried the experiment so far, as, upon tasting the composition of three different sorts, to name the parcels from whence the three several ingredients were taken. A man of a fine taste in writing will discern, after the same manner, not only the general beauties and imperfections of an author, but discover the several ways of thinking and expressing himself, which diversify him from all other authors, with the several foreign infusions of thought and language, and the particular authors from whom they were borrowed.
After having thus far explained what is generally meant by a fine taste in writing, and shown the propriety of the metaphor which is used on this occasion, I think I may define it to be "that faculty of the soul, which discerns the beauties of
an author with pleasure, and the imperfections with dislike." If a man would know whether he is possessed of this faculty, I would have him read over the celebrated works of antiquity, which have stood the test of so many different ages and countries, or those works among the moderns which have the sanction of the politer part of our cotemporaries. If, upon the perusal of such writings, he does not find himself delighted in an extraordinary manner, or if, upon reading the admired passages in such authors, he finds a coldness and indifference in his thoughts, he ought to conclude, not (as is too usual among tasteless readers) that the author wants those perfections which have been admired in him, but that he himself wants the faculty of discovering them.
He should, in the second place, be very careful to observe, whether he tastes the distinguishing perfections, or, if I may be allowed to call them so, the specific qualities of the author whom he peruses; whether he is particularly pleased with Livy for his manner of telling a story, with Sallust for his entering into those internal principles of action which arise from the characters and manners of the persons he describes, or with Tacitus for displaying those outward motives of safety and interest which gave birth to the whole series of transactions which he relates.
He may likewise consider how differently he is affected by the same thought which presents itself in a great writer, from what he is when he finds it delivered by a person of an ordinary genius; for there is as much difference in apprehending a thought clothed in Cicero's language, and that of a common author, as in seeing an object by the light of a taper, or by the light of the sun.
It is very difficult to lay down rules for the acquirement of such a taste as that I am here speaking of. The faculty must, in some degree, be born with us: and it very often happens, that those who have other qualities in perfection, are wholly void of this. One of the most eminent mathematicians of the age has assured me, that the greatest pleasure he took in reading Virgil was in examining Eneas's voyage by the map; as I question not but many a modern compiler of history would be delighted with little more in that divine author than the bare matter of fact.
But, notwithstanding this faculty must in some measure be born with us, there are several methods for cultivating and improving it, and without which it will be very uncertain, and of little use to the person that possesses it. The most natural method for this purpose is to be conversant among the writings of the most polite authors. A man who has any relish for fine writing, either discovers new beauties, or receives stronger impressions, from the masterly strokes of a great author, every time he peruses him; beside that he naturally wears himself into the same manner of speaking and thinking.
Conversation with men of a polite genius is another method for improving our natural taste. It is impossible for a man of the greatest parts to consider anything in its whole extent, and in all its variety of lights. Every man, beside those general observations which are to be made upon an author, forms several reflections that are peculiar to his own manner of thinking; so that conversation will naturally furnish us with hints which we did not attend to, and make us enjoy other men's parts and reflections as well as our own. This is the best reason I can give for the observation which several have made, that men of great genius in the same way of writing seldom rise up singly, but at certain periods of time appear together, and in a body; as they did at
Rome in the reign of Augustus, and in Greece the Temple cloister, whither had escaped also a about the age of Socrates. I cannot think that lady most exactly dressed from head to foot Corneille, Racine, Moliere, Boileau, La Fontaine, Will made no scruple to acquaint us, that she Bruyere, Bossu, or the Daciers, would have written so well as they have done, had they not been friends and cotemporaries.
saluted him very familiarly by his name, and turning immediately to the knight, she said she supposed that was his good friend Sir Roger de It is likewise necessary for a man who would Coverley: upon which nothing less could follow form to himself a finished taste of good writing, than Sir Roger's approach to salutation, with to be well versed in the works of the best critics," Madam, the same, at your service." She was both ancient and modern. I must confess that I dressed in a black tabby mantua and petticoat, could wish there were authors of this kind, who, without ribbons; her linen striped muslin, and beside the mechanical rules, which a man of very in the whole in an agreeable second mourning; little taste may discourse upon, would enter into decent dresses being often affected by the creatures the very spirit and soul of fine writing, and show of the town, at once consulting cheapness and the us the several sources of that pleasure which rises pretension to modesty. She went on with a fain the mind upon the perusal of a noble work. miliar, easy air, "Your friend, Mr. Honeycomb, is Thus, although in poetry it be absolutely neces- a little surprised to see a woman here alone and sary that the unities of time, place, and action, unattended; but I dismissed my coach at the with other points of the same nature, should be gate, and tripped it down to my counsel's chamthoroughly explained and understood, there is bers; for lawyers' fees take up too much of a still something more essential to the art, some small disputed jointure to admit any other exthing that elevates and astonishes the fancy, and penses but mere necessaries." Mr. Honeycomb gives a greatness of mind to the reader, which begged they might have the honor of setting ber few of the critics beside Longinus have consi- down, for Sir Roger's servant was gone to call a dered. coach. In the interim the footman returned with "no coach to be had ;" and there appeared nothing to be done but trusting herself with Mr. Honey comb and his friend, to wait at the tavern at the gate for a coach, or be subjected to all the impertinence she must meet with in that public place. Mr. Honeycomb, being a man of honor, deter mined the choice of the first, and Sir Roger, as the better man, took the lady by the hand, leading her through all the shower, covering her with his hat, and gallanting a familiar acquaintance through rows of young fellows who winked at Sukey in the state she marched off, Will Honeycomb bring ing up the rear.
Our general taste in England is for epigram, turns of wit, and forced conceits, which have no manner of influence either for the bettering or enlarging the mind of him who reads them, and have been carefully avoided by the greatest writers both among the ancients and moderns. I have endeavored, in several of my speculations, to banish this Gothic taste which has taken possession among us. I entertained the town for a week together with an essay upon wit, in which I endeavored to detect several of those false kinds which have been admired in the different ages of the world, and at the same time to show wherein the nature of true wit consists. I afterward gave an instance of the great force which lies in a natural simplicity of thought to affect the mind of the reader, from such vulgar pieces as have little else beside this single qualification to recommend them. I have likewise examined the works of the greatest poet which our nation, or perhaps any other, has produced, and particularized most of those rational and manly beauties which give a value to that divine work. I shall next Saturday enter upon an essay on "The Pleasures of the Imagination," which, though it shall consider that subject at large, will perhaps suggest to the reader what it is that gives a beauty to many passages of the finest writers both in prose and verse. As an undertaking of this nature is entirely new, question not but it will be received with candor.
No. 410.] FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 1712.
-Dum foris sunt, nihil videtur mundius,
TER. Eun. act v, sc. 4.
When they are abroad, nothing so clean and nicely dressed, and when at supper with a gallant, they do but piddle, and pick the choicest bits: but to see their nastiness and poverty at home, their gluttony, and how they devour black crusts dipped in yesterday's broth, is a perfect antidote against wenching.
WILL HONEYCOMB, who disguises his present decay by visiting the wenches of the town only by way of humor, told us, that the last rainy night, he with Sir Roger de Coverley, was driven into
Much importunity prevailed upon the fair one to admit of a collation, where, after declaring she had no stomach, and having eaten a couple of chickens, devoured a truss of salad, and drank a full bottle to her share, she sung the Old Man's Wish to Sir Roger. The knight left the room for some time after supper, and wrote the following billet, which he conveyed to Sukey, and Sukey to her friend Will Honeycomb. Will has given it to Sir Andrew Freeport, who read it last night to the club:
"I am not so mere a country gentleman, bot I can guess at the law business you had at the and leave off all your vanities but your singos Temple. If you would go down to the country, let me know at my lodgings in Bow-street, Cor ent-garden, and you shall be encouraged by your humble servant, "ROGER DE COVERLEY."
My good friend could not well stand the llery which was rising upon him; but to pet stop to it, I delivered Will Honeycomb the lowing letter, and desired him to read it to the board:
"Having seen a translation of one of the chap ters in the Canticles into English verse inserts among your late papers, I have ventured to send you the seventh chapter of the Proverbs a poetical dress. If you think it worthy spread among your speculations, it will be a subies
reward for the trouble of
"Your constant Reader, "A. R