« VorigeDoorgaan »
Indeed, if I may speak my opinion of great life, appears to have every good quality and desir part of the writings which once prevailed among able ornament. Abroad, he is reverenced and esus under the notion of humor, they are such as teemed; at home, beloved and happy. The satis would tempt one to think there had been an asso- faction he enjoys there settles into an habitual ciation among the wits of those times to rally complacency, which shines in his countenance, legitimacy out of our island. A state of wedlock enlivens his wit, and seasons his conversation. was the common mark of all the adventurers in a Even those of his acquaintance, who have never farce or comedy, as well as the essayers in lam-seen him in his retirement, are sharers in the hap poon and satire, to shoot at; and nothing was a piness of it; and it is very much owing to his more standing jest, in all clubs of fashionable being the best, and best beloved of husbands, that mirth and gay conversation. It was determined he is the most steadfast of friends, and the most among those airy critics, that the appellation of a agreeable of companions. sober man should signify a spiritless fellow. And There is a sensible pleasure in contemplating I am apt to think it was about the same time that such beautiful instances of domestic life. The good-nature, a word so peculiarly elegant in our happiness of the conjugal state appears heightened language, that some have affirmed it cannot well to the highest degree it is capable of when we see be expressed in any other, came first to be ren-two persons of accomplished minds not only united dered suspicious, and in danger of being transferred from its original sense to so distant an idea as that of folly.
I must confess it has been my ambition, in the course of my writings, to restore, as well as I was able, the proper ideas of things. And as I have attempted this already on the subject of marriage in several papers, I shall here add some further observations which occur to me on the same head. Nothing seems to be thought, by our fine gentlemen, so indispensable an ornament in fashionable life, as love. "A knight-errant," says Don Quixote, "without a mistress, is like a tree without leaves;" and a man of mode among us, who has not some fair one to sigh for, might as well pretend to appear dressed without his periwig. We have lovers in prose innumerable. All our pretenders to rhyme are professed inamoratos; and there is scarce a poet, good or bad, to be heard of, who has not some real or supposed Saccharissa to improve his vein.
If love be any refinement, conjugal love must be certainly so in a much higher degree. There is no comparison between the frivolous affectations of attracting the eyes of women with whom you are only captivated by way of amusement, and of whom perhaps you know nothing more than their features, and a regular and uniform endeavor to make yourself valuable, both as a friend and lover, to one whom you have chosen to be the companion of your life. The first is a spring of a thousand fopperies, silly artifices, falsehoods, and perhaps barbarities, or at best rises no higher than to a kind of dancing-school breeding, to give the person a more sparkling air. The latter is the parent of substantial virtues and agreeable qualities, and cultivates the mind while it improves the behavior. The passion of love to a mistress, even where it is most sincere, resembles too much the flame of a fever: that to a wife is like the vital heat.
I have often thought, if the letters written by men of good-nature to their wives were to be compared with those written by men of gallantry to their mistresses, the former, notwithstanding any inequality of style, would appear to have the ad vantage. Friendship, tenderness, and constancy, dressed in a simplicity of expression, recommend themselves by a more native elegance, than passionate raptures, extravagant encomiums, and slavish adoration. If we were admitted to search the cabinet of the beautiful Narcissa, among heaps of epistles from several admirers, which are there preserved with equal care, how few should we find but would make any one sick in the reading, except her who is flattered by them? But in how different a style must the wise Benevolus, who converses with that good sense and good-humor among all his friends, write to a wife who is the worthy object of his utmost affection? Benevolus, both in public and private, and all occasions of
in the same interests and affections, but in their taste of the same improvements, pleasures, and diversions. Pliny, one of the finest gentlemen and politest writers of the age in which he lived, has left us, in his letter to Hispulla, his wife's aunt, one of the most agreeable family pieces of this kind I have ever met with. I shall end this discourse with a translation of it; and I believe the reader will be of my opinion, that conjugal love is drawn in it with a delicacy which makes it appear to be, as I have represented it, an ornsment as well as a virtue.
"PLINY TO HISPULLA.
"As I remember that great affection which was between you and your excellent brother, and know you love his daughter as your own, so as not only to express the tenderness of the best of aunts, but even to supply that of the best of fathers; I am sure it will be a pleasure to you to hear that she proves worthy of her father, worthy of you, and of your and her ancestors. Her ingenuity is ad mirable; her frugality extraordinary. She lovs me, the surest pledge of her virtue; and adds to this a wonderful disposition to learning, which she has acquired from her affection to me. S reads my writings, studies them, and even gets them by heart. You would smile to see the com cern she is in when I have a cause to plead, and the joy she shows when it is over. means to have the first news brought her of the success I meet with in court, how I am heard, and what decree is made. If I recite anything in pstlic, she cannot refrain from placing herself p vately in some corner to hear, where with the utmost delight, she feasts on my applauses. Some times she sings my verses, and accompanies with the lute, without any master except love, the best of instructors. From these instances, I take the most certain omens of our perpetual and creasing happiness; since her affection is a founded on my youth and person, which mas gradually decay, but she is in love with the i mortal part of me, my glory and reputation. Je indeed could less be expected from one who had the happiness to receive her education from ye who in your house was accustomed to everythig that was virtuous and decent, and even begas ke love me by your recommendation. For, as you had always the greatest respect for my mothe you were pleased from my infancy to form me. commend me, and kindly to presage I should one day what my wife fancies I am. therefore, our united thanks: mine, that you "aw bestowed her on me; and hers, that you have given me to her, as a mutual grant of y felicity."
No. 526.] MONDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1712.
-Fortius utere loris.-OVID. Met. ii. 127.
him in proportion to the undertakings he was designed for. Another of my fellow-templars on Thursday last was getting up into his study at the bottom of Gray's-inn-lane, in order, I suppose, I AM very loth to come to extremities with the to contemplate in the fresh air. Now, Sir, my reyoung gentlemen mentioned in the following let- quest is, that the great modesty of these two genter, and do not care to chastise them with my own tlemen may be recorded as a pattern to the rest, hand, until I am forced by provocations too great and if you would but give them two or three to be suffered without the absolute destruction of touches with your own pen, though you might not my spectatorial dignity. The crimes of these perhaps prevail with them to desist entirely from offenders are placed under the observation of one their meditations, yet I doubt not but you would of my chief officers who is posted just at the en- at least preserve them from being public spectatrance of the pass between London and Westmin- cles of folly in our streets. I say, two or three ster. As I have great confidence in the capacity, touches with your own pen; for I have really obresolution, and integrity, of the person deputed by served, Mr. Spec., that those Spectators which are me to give an account of enormities, I doubt not so prettily laced down the sides with little c's, but I shall soon have before me all proper notices how instructive soever they may be, do not carry which are requisite for the amendment of man- with them that authority as the others. ners in public, and the instruction of each indi- again, therefore, desire, that, for the sake of their vidual of the human species in what is due from dear necks, you would bestow one penful of your him in respect to the whole body of mankind. own ink upon them. I know you are loth to exThe present paper shall consist only of the above-pose them; and it is, I must confess, a thousand mentioned letter, and the copy of a deputation which I have given to my trusty friend, Mr. John Sly; wherein he is charged to notify to me all that is necessary for my animadversion upon the delinquents mentioned by my correspondent, as well as all others described in the said deputation.
"TO THE SPECTATOR-GENERAL OF GREAT BRITAIN.
"I grant it does look a little familiar, but I made examples of, than that the reputation of some
must call you
pities that any young gentleman, who is come of
"I am, dear Spec., forever yours,
"Esq., if you please.
To my loving and well-beloved John Sly, haberdasher of hats, and tobacconist, between the cities of London and Westminster.
Being got again to the further end of the Widow's coffee-house, I shall from hence give you some account of the behavior of our hackneycoachman since my last. Those indefatigable gentlemen, without the least design, I dare say, of self-interest or advantage to themselves, do still ply as volunteers day and night for the good of their country. I will not trouble you with enumerating many particulars, but I must by no means omit to inform you of an infant about six foot high, and between twenty and thirty years of age, who was seen in the arms of a hackney. coachman, driving by Will's coffee-house in Covent-Garden, between the hours of four and five in the afternoon of that very day wherein you pub-dience with a good grace." lished a memorial against them. This impudent young cur, though he could not sit in a coachbox without holding, yet would he venture his neck to bid defiance to your spectatorial authority, or to anything you countenanced. Who he was I Whereas frequent disorders, affronts, indigniknow not, but I heard this relation this morning ties, omissions, and trespasses, for which there are from a gentleman who was an eye-witness of this no remedies by any form of law, but which aphis impudence; and I was willing to take the first parently disturb and disquiet the minds of men, opportunity to inform you of him, as holding it happen near the place of your residence; and that extremely requisite that you should nip him in you are, as well by your commodious situation, the bud. But I am myself most concerned for my as the good parts with which you are endowed, fellow-templars, fellow-students, and fellow-labor- properly qualified for the observation of the said ers in the law, I mean such of them as are digni- from the hours of nine in the morning until four offenses; I do hereby authorize and depute you, fied and distinguished under the denomination of hackney-coachmen. Such aspiring minds have in the afternoon, to keep a strict eye upon all these ambitious young men, that they cannot en- persons and things that are conveyed in coaches, joy themselves out of a coach-box. It is, how-carried in carts, or walk on foot from the city of ever, an unspeakable comført to me that I can now tell you that some of them are grown so bashful as to study only in the night-time or in the country. The other night I spied one of our young gentlemen very diligent at his lucubrations in Fleet street; and by the way, I should be under some concern lest this hard student should one time or other crack his brain with studying, but that I am in hopes nature has taken care to fortify
London to the city of Westminster, or from the city of Westminster to the city of London, within the said hours. You are, therefore not to depart from your observatory at the end of Devereuxcourt during the said space of each day, but to observe the behavior of all persons who are suddenly transported from stamping on pebbles to sit at ease in chariots, what notice they take of their foot acquaintance, and send me the speediest advice,
An allusion to the usual and prudent precaution of ta • Feet. † Intended, it seems, for on. See preceding note. king the number of a hackney-coach before entrance.
when they are guilty of overlooking, turning from,
cence of my youth, prevailed upon her good humor to indulge me in a freedom of conversation, as often, and oftener, than the strict discipline of the school would allow of. You may easily imag ine, after such an acquaintance, we might be ex ceeding merry without any offense, as in calling to mind how many inventions I have been put to in deluding the master; how many hands forged for excuses, how many times been sick in perfect health; for I was then never sick but at school, and only then because out of her company. We had wiled away three hours after this manner, when I found it past five; and, not expecting her husband would return until late, rose up and told her I should go early next morning for the country. She kindly answered she was afraid it would be long before she saw me again; so I took my leave, and parted. Now, Sir, I had not been got home a fortnight, when I received a letter from a neighbor of theirs, that ever since that fatal afternoon the lady had been most inhumanly treated, and the husband publicly stormed that he was made a member of too numerous a society. He had, it seems, listened most of the time my cousin and I were together. As jealous ears always hear double, so he heard enough to make him mad; and as jealous eyes always see through magnifying glasses, so he was certain it could not be I whom he had seen, a beardless stripling, but fancied he saw a gay gentleman of the Temple, ten years older than myself; and for that reason, I presume, durst not come in, nor take any notice when I went out. He is perpetually asking his wife if she does not think the time long (as she said she should) until she see her cousin again. Pray, Sir, what can be done in this case? I have written to him to assure him I was at his house all that afternoon expecting to see him. His answer is, it is only a trick of hers, and that he neither can or will believe me. The parting kiss I find mightily nettles him; and confirms him in all his errors. Ben Jonson, as I remember, makes a foreigner, in one of his comedies, admire the desperate valor of the bold English, who let out their wives to all encounters. The general custom of salutation should excuse the favor done me, or you should lay down rules when such distinctions are to be given or omitted. You cannot imagine, Sir, how troubled I am for this unhappy lady's misfortune, and beg you would insert this letter, that the husband may reflect upon this accident coolly. It is no small matter, the ease of a virtuous woman for her whole life. I know she will conform to any regularities (though more strict than the common rules of our country require) to which his particular temper shall incline him to oblige her. This accident puts me in mind how gener ously Pisistratus, the Athenian tyrant, behaved himself on a like occasion, when he was instigated by his wife to put to death a young gentle man, because, being passionately fond of his daughter, he had kissed her in public, as he met her in the street. What,' said he, shall we do to those who are our enemies, if we do thus to those who are our friends?' I will not trouble you much longer, but am exceedingly concerned lest this accident may cause a virtuous lady to lead a miserable life with a husband who has no grounds for his jealousy but what I have faithfully related, and ought to be reckoned none. It is to be feared, too, if at last he sees his mistake, yet *It has been said that there is an allusion here to a very people will be as slow and unwilling in disbelier worthy gentleman of fortune, bred to the law, who had chaming scandal, as they are quick and forward in be bers in Lincoln's-inn. His name was Richard Warner, the younger son of a banker, who, though he always wore leather garters, in no other instance affected singularity. For a more particular account of him, see Anecdotes of W. Bowyer, 4to,
No. 527.] TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1712.
PLAUTUS in Stichor.
I AM so tender of my women-readers, that I cannot defer the publication of anything which concerns their happiness or quiet. The repose of a married woman is consulted in the first of the following letters, and the felicity of a maiden lady in the second. I call it a felicity to have the addresses of an agreeable man. And I think I have not anywhere seen a prettier application of a poetical story than that of his, in making the tale of Cephalus and Procris the history picture of a fan in so gallant a manner as he addresses it. But
see the letters :"MR. SPECTATOR,
"It is now almost three months since I was in town about some business; and the hurry of it being over, I took coach one afternoon, and drove to see a relation, who married about six years ago a wealthy citizen. I found her at home, but her husband gone to the Exchange, and expected back within an hour at the furthest. After the usual salutations of kindness, and a hundred questions about friends in the country, we sat down to piquet, played two or three games, and drank tea. I should have told you that this was my second time of seeing her since her marriage; but before, she lived at the same town where I went to school; so that the plea of a relation, added to the inno
lieving it. I shall endeavor to enliven this plain honest letter with Ovid's relation about Cybele's stranded the mouth of the Tiber, and the men image. The ship wherein it was aboard was
were unable to move it, until Claudia, a virgin, but suspected of unchastity, by a slight pull hauled it in. The story is told in the fourth book of the Fasti:
'Parent of Gods,' began the weeping fair,
She spoke, and touch'd the chord with glad surprise,
Follow'd in triumph, and adorn'd her guide:
"You will oblige a languishing lover if you will please to print the inclosed verses in your next paper. If you remember the Metamorphoses, you know Procris, the fond wife of Cephalus is said to have made her husband, who delighted in the sports of the wood, a present of an unerring jav elin. In process of time he was so much in the forest, that his lady suspected he was pursuing some nymph, under the pretense of following a chase more innocent. Under this suspicion, she
hid herself among the trees, to observe his motions. While she lay concealed, her husband, tired with the labor of hunting, came within her hearing. As he was fainting with heat, he cried out, 'Aura veni!' 'Oh! charming air, approach!' "The unfortunate wife, taking the word air to be the name of a woman, began to move among the bushes; and the husband, believing it a deer, threw his javelin and killed her. This history, painted on a fan, which I presented to a lady, gave occasion to my growing poetical.
'Come, gentle air!' the Eolian shepherd said,
Nor did that fabled dart more surely wound.
At random wounds, nor knows the wounds she gives;
No. 528.] WEDNESDAY, NOV. 5, 1712.
With wonted fortitude she bore the smart,
the unreasonable confinement women are obliged to, in the only circumstance in which we are necessarily to have a commerce with them, that of love. The case of celibacy is the great evil of our nation; and the indulgence of the vicious conduct of men in that state, with the ridicule to which women are exposed, though never so virtuous, if long unmarried, is the root of the greatest irregularities of this nation. To show you, Sir, that (though you never have given us the catalogue of a lady's library, as you promised) we read good books of our own choosing, I shall insert on this occasion a paragraph or two out of Echard's Roman History. In the 44th page of the second volume, the author observes that Augustus, upon his return to Rome at the end of the war, received complaints that too great a number of the young men of quality were unmarried. The emperor thereupon assembled the whole equestrian order; and having separated the married from the single, did particular honors to the former; but he told the bachelors that their lives and actions had been so latter, that is to say, Mr. Spectator, he told the peculiar, that he knew not by what name to call them; not by that of men, for they performed nothing that was manly; not by that of citizens, for the city might perish notwithstanding their care; nor by that of Romans, for they designed to extirpate the Roman name. Then, proceeding to show his tender care and hearty affection for his people, he farther told them, that their course of life was of such pernicious consequence to the could not choose but tell them, that all other crimes glory and grandeur of the Roman nation, that he were guilty of murder in not suffering those to be put together could not equalize theirs, for they born which should proceed from them; of impiety, in causing the names and honors of their ancestors to cease; and of sacrilege, in destroying their kind which proceed from the immortal gods, and human nature, the principal thing consecrated to them; therefore, in this respect, they dissolved the government in disobeying its laws; betrayed their country by making it barren and waste; nay, and demolished their city, in depriving it of inhabitants. And he was sensible that all this proceeded not from any kind of virtue or abstinence, but from a looseness and wantonness which ought never to be encouraged in any civil government. There are no particulars dwelt upon that lets us into the conduct of these young worthies, whom this great emperor treated with so much justice and indignation; but any one who observes what passes in this town may very well frame to himself a notion of their riots and debaucheries all night, and their apparent preparations for them all day. It is not to be doubted but these Romans never passed any of their time innocently but when they were asleep, and never slept but when they were weary and heavy with excesses, and slept only to prepare themselves for the repetition of them. If you did your duty as a Spectator, you would carefully examine into the number of births, marriages, and burials; and when you have deducted out of your deaths all such as went out of the world without marrying, then cast up the number of both sexes born within such a term of years last past; you might, from the single people departed, make some useful inferences or guesses how many there are left unmarried, and raise some useful scheme for the amendment of the age in that particular. I have not patience to proceed gravely on this abominable libertinism; for I cannot but reflect, as I am writing to you, upon a certain lascivious manner which all our young gentlemen use in public, and examine our eyes with a petulancy in their own which is a downright affront to
"I WHO now write to you am a woman loaded with injuries, and the aggravation of my misfortune is, that they are such which are overlooked by the generality of mankind; and, though the most afflicting imaginable, not regarded as such in the general sense of the world. I have hid my vexation from all mankind; but having now taken pen, ink, and paper, am resolved to unbosom myself to you, and lay before you what grieves me and all You have very often mentioned particular hardships done to this or that lady; but methinks you have not, in any one speculation, directly pointed at the partial freedom men take,
of literature, whether in the writing, printing, or repeating part. To begin with the writers. I have observed that the author of a folio, in all companies and conversations, sets himself above the an thor of a quarto; the author of a quarto above the author of an octavo; and so on, by a gradual descent and subordination, to an author in twentyfours. This distinction is so well observed, that in an assembly of the learned, I have seen a folio writer place himself in an elbow-chair, when the author of a duodecimo has, out of a just deference to his superior quality, seated himself upon a squab. In a word, authors are usually ranged in company after the same manner as their works are upon a shelf.
The most minute pocket author hath beneath him the writers of all pamphlets, or works that are only stitched. As for the pamphleteer, he takes place of none but the authors of single sheets, and of that fraternity who publish their labors on cer tain days, or on every day of the week. I do not find that the precedency among the individuals in this latter class of writers is yet settled.
modesty. A disdainful look on such an occasion is returned with a countenance rebuked but by averting their eyes from the woman of honor and decency, to some flippant creature who will, as the phrase is, be kinder. I must set down things as they come into my head, without standing upon order. Ten thousand to one but the gay gentleman who stared, at the same time is a housekeeper; for you must know they have got into a humor of late of being very regular in their sins; and a young fellow shall keep his four maids and three footmen with the greatest gravity imaginable. There are no less than six of these venerable housekeepers of my acquaintance. This humor among young men of condition is imitated by all the world below them, and a general dissolution of manners arises from this one source of libertinism, without shame or reprehension in the male youth. It is from this one fountain that so many beautiful helpless young women are sacrificed and given up to lewdness, shame, poverty and disease. It is to this also that so many excellent young women, who might be patterns of conjugal affection, and parents of a worthy race, pine under unhappy passions for such as have not attention enough to observe, or virtue enough to prefer, them to their common wenches. Now, Mr. Spectator, I must be free to own to you, that I myself suffer a tasteless insipid being, from a consideration I have for a man who would not, as he has said in my hearing, resign his liberty, as he calls it, for all the beauty and wealth the whole sex is possessed of. Such calamities as these would not happen, if it could possibly be brought about, that by fining bachelors as Papists convict, or the like, they were distinguished to their disadvantage from the rest of the world, who fall in with the measures of civil society. Lest you should think I speak this as being, according to the senseless rude phrase, a malicious old maid, I shall acquaint you I am a woman of condition, not now three-and-twenty, and have had proposals from at least ten different men, and the Whether these rules, which have been received greater number of them have upon the upshot re- time out of mind in the commonwealth of letters, fused me. Something or other is always amiss were not originally established with an eye to our when the lover takes to some new wench. A set-paper manufacture, I shall leave to the discussion tlement is easily excepted against, and there is of others; and shall only remark further in this very little recourse to avoid the vicious part of our place, that all printers and booksellers take the youth, but throwing one's self away upon some wall of one another according to the above-menlifeless blockhead, who, though he is without vice, tioned merits of the authors to whom they respecis also without virtue. Now-a-days we must be tively belong. contented if we can get creatures which are not bad; good are not to be expected. Mr. Spectator, I sat near you the other day, and think I'did not displease your spectatorial eye-sight; which I shall be a better judge of when I see whether you take notice of these evils your own way, or print this memorial dictated from the disdainful heavy
For my own part, I have had so strict a regard to the ceremonial which prevails in the learned world, that I never presumed to take place of a pamphleteer, until my daily papers were gathered into those two first volumes which have already appeared. After which, I naturally jumped over the heads not only of the pamphleteers, but of every octavo writer in Great Britain that had writ ten but one book. I am also informed by my bookseller, that six octavos have at all times been looked upon as an equivalent to a folio; which I take notice of the rather, because I would not have the learned world surprised if, after the publication of half a dozen volumes, I take my place accordingly. When my scattered forces are thus rallied, and reduced into regular bodies, I flatter myself that I shall make no despicable figure at the head of them.
I come now to that point of precedeney which is settled among the three learned professions by the wisdom of our laws. I need not here take notice of the rank which is allotted to every doctor in each of these professions, who are all of them, though not so high as knights, yet a degree above 'squires: this last order of men, being the illiter ate body of the nation, are consequently thrown together into a class below the three learned professions.* I mention this for the sake of several rural 'squires, whose reading does not rise so high as to The present State of England, and who are often apt to usurp that precedency which by the laws of their country is not due to them. Their
A THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 1712. want of learning, which has planted them in this
ska, have fls due place,--ROSCOMMON.
station, may in some measure extenuate their mis demeanor; and our professors ought to pardon them when they offend in this particular, consid
broa cho hoang of several late disputes con-ering that they are in a state of ignorance, or, as and piccedence, I could not forbear their left. we usually say, do not know their right hand from exsold with some observations which I
po che learned world, as to this greaters to the learned world, and who regulate ther There is another tribe of persons who are retain By the earned world 1 here mean at selves upon all occasions by several laws peculiar se who are any way concerned in works
* In some Universities, that of Dublin in particular the have doctors of music, who take rank after the doctors of the ofessions, and above esquires.