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them. Among several that I examined, I very | The springs are made to run among pebbles, and well remember these that follow:
by that means taught to murmur very agreeably. They are likewise collected into a beautiful lake that is inhabited by a couple of swans, and empties itself by a little rivulet which runs through a green meadow, and is known in the family by the name of The Purling Stream. The knight likewise tells me, that this lady preserves her game
Sir Isaac Newton's Works.
The Grand Cyrus; with a pin stuck in one of better than any of the gentlemen in the country,
A Dictionary for the explanation of hard words. next year.
The fifteen comforts of matrimony.
When I think how oddly this lady is improved by learning, I look upon her with a mixture of admiration and pity. Amidst these innocent en
Father Malebranche's Search after Truth, trans- tertainments which she has formed to herself,
lated into English.
how much more valuable does she appear than those of her sex, who employ themselves in diversions that are less reasonable, though more in fashion? What improvements would a woman have made, who is so susceptible of impressions from what she reads, had she been guided by such books as have a tendency to enlighten the understanding and rectify the passions, as well as to those which are of little more use than to divert the imagination?
But the manner of a lady's employing herself usefully in reading, shall be the subject of another paper in which I design to recommend such particular books as may be proper for the improvement of the sex. And as this is a subject of very nice nature, I shall desire my correspondents to
A book of Novels.
The Academy of Compliments.
The Ladies' Calling.
All the Classic Authors in Wood.
Advice to a Daughter.
The New Atlantis, with a Key to it.
Mr. Steele's Christian Hero.
A Prayer-book: with a bottle of Hungary Wa- give me their thoughts upon it.-C.
Dr. Sacheverell's Speech.
Leonora was formerly a celebrated beauty, and is still a very lovely woman. She has been a widow for two or three years, and being unfortunate in her first marriage, has taken a resolution never to venture upon a second. She has no children to take care of, and leaves the management of her estate to my good friend Sir Roger. But as the mind naturally sinks into a kind of lethargy, and falls asleep, that is not agitated by some favorite pleasures and pursuits, Leonora has turned all the passion of her sex into a love of books and retirement. She converses chiefly with men (as she has often said herself), but it is only in their writings, and admits of very few male visitants, except my friend Sir Roger, whom she hears with great pleasure, and without scandal. As her reading has lain very much among romances, it has given her a very particular turn of thinking, and discovers itself even in her house, her gardens, and her furniture. Sir Roger has entertained me an hour together with a description of her country-seat, which is situated in a kind of wilderness, about a hundred miles distant from London, and looks like a little enchanted palace. The rocks about her are shaped into artificial grottos covered with woodbines and jessamines. The woods are cut into shady walks, twisted into bowers, and filled with cages of turtles.
No. 38.] FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 1711.
Cupias non placuisse nimis.-MART.
One would not please too much.
A LATE Conversation which I fell into, gave me an opportunity of observing a great deal of beauty in a very handsome woman, and as much wit in an ingenious man, turned into deformity in the one, and absurdity in the other, by the mere force of affectation. The fair one had something in her person (upon which her thoughts were fixed) that she attempted to show to advantage in every look, word, and gesture. The gentleman was as diligent to do justice to his fine parts as the lady to her beauteous form. You might see his imagination on the stretch to find out something uncommon, and what they call bright, to entertain her, while she writhed herself into as many dif ferent postures to engage him. When she laughed, her lips were to sever at a greater distance than ordinary, to show her teeth; her fan was to point to something at a distance, that in the reach she may discover the roundness of her arm; then she is utterly mistaken in what she saw, falls back, smiles at her own folly, and is so wholly discomposed, that her tucker is to be adjusted, her bosom exposed, and the whole woman put into new airs and graces. While she was doing all this, the gallant had time to think of something very pleasant to say next to her, or to make some unkind observation on some other lady to feed her vanity, These unhappy effects of affectation naturally led me to look into that strange state of mind which so generally discolors the behavior of most people we meet with.
The learned Dr. Burnet, in his Theory of the Earth, takes occasion to observe, that every thought is attended with a consciousness and representativeness; the mind has nothing presented to it
but what is immediately followed by a reflection of the world which should be most polite, is
the pulpit itself; and the declaimer in that s It might be borne even here, but it often as place is frequently so impertinently witty, s of the last day itself with so many quaint phi that there is no man who understands rai but must resolve to sin no more. Nay, you behold him sometimes in prayer, for a prope livery of the great truths he is to utter, hu himself with so very well-turned phrase, mention his own unworthiness in a way so becoming, that the air of the pretty gentlem preserved under the lowliness of the preache I shall end this with a short letter I wrot other day to a very witty man, overrun with
As the love of praise is implanted in our bosoms as a strong incentive to worthy actions, it is a very difficult task to get above a desire of it for things that should be wholly indifferent. Women, whose hearts are fixed upon the pleasure they have in the consciousness that they are the objects of love and admiration, are ever changing the air of their countenances, and altering the attitude of their bodies, to strike the hearts of their beholders with new sense of their beauty. The dressing part of our sex, whose minds are the same with the sillier part of the other, are exactly in the like uneasy condition to be regarded for a well-tied cravat, a hat cocked with an uncommon briskness, a very well chosen coat, or other instances of merit, which they are impatient to see unobserved. This apparent affectation, arising from an ill-fault I am speaking of: governed consciousness, is not so much to be wondered at in such loose and trivial minds as these but when we see it reign in characters of worth and distinction, it is what you cannot but lament, not without some indignation. It creeps into the heart of the wise man as well as that of the coxcomb. When you see a man of sense look about for applause, and discover an itching inclination to be commended; lay traps for a little incense, even from those whose opinion he values in nothing but his own favor; who this weakness? or who knows whether he is guilsafe against ty of it or not? The best way to get clear of such a light fondness for applause, is to take all possible care to throw off the love of it upon occasions that are not in themselves laudable, but as it appears we hope for no praise from them. Of this nature are all graces in men's persons, dress, and bodily deportment, which will naturally be win-ceive one compliment, you will then receive ning and attractive if we think not of them, but ty civilities. Till then you will never ha lose their force in proportion to our endeavor to either, farther than, make them such.
must take the liberty of a friend to tell you d insufferable affectation you are guilty of i "I spent some time with you the other day you say and do. When I gave you a hint you asked me whether a man is to be cold to his friends think of him? No, but praise to be the entertainment of every moment. that hopes for it must be able to suspend the itself. If you would not rather be comme session of it till proper periods of life, or than be praiseworthy, contemn little merits allow no man to be so free with you, as to you to your face. Your vanity by this mean want its food. At the same time your passi esteem will be more fully gratified; men praise you in their actions: where you no
"Sir, your humble servant."
When our consciousness turns upon the main design of life, and our thoughts are employed upon the chief purpose either in business or pleasure, we shall never betray an affectation, for we cannot be guilty of it: but when we give the passion for praise an unbridled liberty, our pleasure in little perfections robs us of what is due to us for great virtues, and worthy qualities. How many excellent speeches and honest actions are lost, for want of being indifferent where we ought? Men are oppressed with regard to their way of speaking and acting, instead of having their thoughts bent upon what they should do or say; and by that means bury a capacity for great things, by their fear of failing in indifferent things. This, perhaps, cannot be called affectation; but it has some tincture of it, at least so far, as that their fear of erring in a thing of no consequence, argues they would be too much pleased in performing it.
It is only from a thorough disregard to himself in such particulars, that a man can act with a laudable sufficiency; his heart is fixed
Much do I suffer, much, to keep in peace
of human nature, so it is capable of giving As a perfect tragedy is the noblest produ mind one of the most delightful and most im ing entertainments. A virtuous man (says Se struggling with misfortunes, is such a spectac gods might look upon with pleasure; and s pleasure it is which one meets with in the r sentation of a well-written tragedy. of this kind wear out of our thoughts every Diver vate that humanity which is the ornament o that is mean and little. They cherish and nature. They soften insol
It is no wonder, therefore, that in all the polite nations of the world, this part of the drama has met with public encouragement.
The modern tragedy excels that of Greece and Rome in the intricacy and disposition of the fable; but, what a Christian writer would be ashamed to own, falls infinitely short of it in the moral part of the performance.
This I may show more at large hereafter: and in the meantime, that I may contribute something toward the improvement of the English tragedy, I shall take notice, in this and in other following papers, of some particular parts in it that seem liable to exception.
Aristotle observes, that the Iambic verse in the Greek tongue was the most proper for tragedy; because at the same time that it lifted up the discourse from prose, it was that which approached nearer to it than any other kind of verse. "For," says he, "we may observe that men in ordinary discourse very often speak iambics without taking notice of it." We may make the same observation of our English blank verse, which often enters into our common discourse, though we do not attend to it, and is such a due medium between rhyme and prose, that it seems wonderfully adapted to tragedy. I am therefore very much offended when I see a play in rhyme; which is as absurd in English, as a tragedy of hexameters would have been in Greek or Latin. The solecism is, I think, still greater in those plays that have some scenes in rhyme and some in blank verse, which are to be looked upon as two several languages; or where we see some particular similes dignified with rhyme at the same time that everything about them lies in blank verse. I would not how ever debar the poet from concluding his tragedy, or, if he pleases, every act of it, with two or three couplets, which may have the same effect as an air in the Italian opera after a long recitativo, and give the actor a graceful exit. Beside that, we see a diversity of numbers in some parts of the old tragedy in order to hinder the ear from being tired with the same continued modulation of voice. For the same reason I do not dislike the speeches in our English tragedy that close with a hemistich, or half verse, notwithstanding the person who speaks after it begins a new verse, without filling up the preceding one; nor with abrupt pauses and breakings off in the middle of a verse, when they humor any passion that is expressed by it.
Since I am upon this subject, I must observe that our English poets have succeeded much better in the style than in the sentiment of their tragedies. Their language is very often noble and sonorous, but the sense either very trifling or very common. On the contrary, in the ancient tragedies, and indeed in those of Corneille and Racine, though the expressions are very great, it is the thought that bears them up and swells them. For my own part, I prefer a noble sentiment that is depressed with homely language, infinitely before a vulgar one that is blown up with all the sound and energy of expression. Whether this defect in our tragedies may arise from want of genius, knowledge, or experience in the writers, or from their compliance with the vicious taste of their readers, who are better judges of the language than of the sentiments, and consequently relish the one more than the other, I cannot determine. But I believe it might rectify the conduct both of the one and of the other, if the writer laid down the whole contexture of his dialogue in plain English, before he turned it into blank verse: and if the reader, after the perusal of a scene, would consider the naked thought of every speech in it, when divested of all its tragic ornaments. By this means, without
being imposed upon by words, we may judge impartially of the thought, and consider whether it be natural or great enough for the person that utters it, whether it deserves to shine in such a blaze of eloquence, or show itself in such a variety of lights as are generally made use of by the writers of our English tragedy.
I must in the next place observe, that when our thoughts are great and just, they are often obscured by the sounding phrases, hard metaphors, and forced expressions in which they are clothed. Shakspeare is often very faulty in this particular. There is a fine observation in Aristotle to this purpose, which I have never seen quoted. The expression, says he, ought to be very much labored in the inactive parts of the fable, as in descriptions, similitudes, narrations, and the like; in which the opinions, manners, and passions of men are not represented; for these (namely, the opinions, manners, and passions) are apt to be obscured by pompous phrases and elaborate expressions. Horace, who copied most of his criticisms after Aristotle, seems to have had his eye on the foregoing rule, in the following verses:
Et tragicus plerumque dolet sermone pedestri: Telephus et Peleus, cum pauper et exul uterque. Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba, Si curat cor spectantis tetigisse querela. HOR., Ars. Poet., ver. 95. Tragedians, too, lay by their state to grieve: Peleus and Telephus, exil'd and poor, Forget their swelling and gigantic words.-ROSCOMMON. Among our modern English poets, there is none who has a better turn for tragedy than Lee; if, instead of favoring the impetuosity of his genius, he had restrained it, and kept it within its proper bounds. His thoughts are wonderfully suited to tragedy, but frequently lost in such a cloud of words that it is hard to see the beauty of them. There is an infinite fire in his works, but so involved in smoke that it does not appear in half its luster. He frequently succeeds in the passionate parts of the tragedy, but more particularly where he slackens his efforts, and eases his style of those epithets and metaphors in which he so much abounds. What can be more natural, more soft, or more passionate, than that line in Statira's speech where she describes the charms of Alexander's conversation?
Then he would talk-Good gods! how he would talk! That unexpected break in the line, and turning the description of his manner of talking into an admiration of it, is inexpressibly beautiful, and wonderfully suited to the fond character of the person that speaks it. There is a simplicity in the words that outshines the utmost pride of expression.
Otway has followed nature in the language of his tragedy, and therefore shines in the passionate parts more than any of our English poets. there is something familiar and domestic in the fable of his tragedy, more than in those of any other poet, he has little pomp, but great force in his expressions. For which reason, though he has admirably succeeded in the tender and melting part of his tragedies, he sometimes falls into too great familiarity of phrase in those parts, which, by Aristotle's rule, ought to have been raised and supported by the dignity of expression.
It has been observed by others, that this poet has founded his tragedy of Venice Preserved on so wrong a plot, that the greatest characters in it are those of rebels and traitors. Had the hero of this play discovered the same good qualities in the defense of his country that he showed for its ruin
pity and admire him; but as he is now represented, we can only say of him what the Roman historian says of Catiline, that his fall would have been glorious (si pro patriâ sic concidisset), had he so fallen in the service of his country.-C.
and subversion, the audience could not enough the chimerical notion of poetical justice, in humble opinion it has lost half its beauty. At same time I must allow, that there are very no tragedies which have been framed upon the ot plan, and have ended happily; as indeed most the good tragedies, which have been written si the starting of the above-mentioned criticism, h taken this turn as The Mourning Bride, Tan lane, Ulysses, Phædra and Hippolytus, with m of Mr. Dryden's. I must also allow, that ma of Shakspeare's, and several of the celebrated gedies of antiquity, are in the same form. I not therefore dispute against this way of writ tragedies, but against the criticism that wo establish this as the only method; and by t means would very much cramp the English gedy, and perhaps give a wrong bent to the of our writers.
MONDAY, APRIL 16, 1711.
Ut magus; et modo me Thebis, modo ponit Athenis.
Yet lest you think I rally more than teach,
The tragi comedy, which is the product of English theater, is one of the most monstr inventions that ever entered in a poet's thoug An author might as well think of weaving adventures of Æneas and Hudibras into one po as of writing such a piece of motley sorrow." the absurdity of these performances is so v visible, that I shall not insist upon it.
The same objections which are made to tra comedy, may in some measure be applied to tragedies that have a double plot in them; wi are likewise more frequent upon the English sta than upon any other; for though the grief of audience, in such performances, be not chan into another passion, as in tragi-comedies; i diverted upon another object, which weakens t concern for the principal action, and breaks tide of sorrow, by throwing it into different ch nels. This inconvenience, however, may i great measure be cured, if not wholly remo by the skillful choice of an under plot, which bear such a near relation to the principal des as to contribute toward the completion of it, be concluded by the same catastrophe.
THE English writers of tragedy are possessed with a notion, that when they represent a virtuous or innocent person in distress, they ought not to leave him till they have delivered him out of his troubles, or made him triumph over his enemies. This error they have been led into by a ridiculous doctrine in modern criticism, that they are obliged to an equal distribution of rewards and punishments, and an impartial execution of poetical justice. Who were the first that established this rule I know not; but I am sure it has no foundation in nature, in reason, or in the practice of the ancients. We find that good and evil happen alike to all men on this side the grave; and as the principal design of tragedy is to raise commiseration and terror in the minds of the audience, we shall defeat this great end, if we always make virtue and innocence happy and successful. Whatever crosses and disappointments a good man suffers in the body of the tragedy, they will make but a small impression on our minds, when we know that in the last act he is to arrive at the end of his wishes and desires. When we see him engaged in the depth of his afflictions, we are apt to comfort ourselves, because we are sure he will find his way out of them; and that his grief, how great soever may be at present, will soon terminate in glad ness. For this reason, the ancient writers of tragedy treated men in their plays, as they are dealt with in the world, by making virtue sometimes happy and sometimes miserable, as they found it in the fable which they made choice of, or as it might affect the audience in the most agreeable manner. Aristotle considers the tragedies that were written in either of these kinds, and observes, that those which ended unhappily had always pleased the people, and carried away the prize in the public disputes of the stage, from those that ended happily. Terror and commiseration leave a pleasing anguish on the mind, and fix the audience in such a serious composure of thought, as is much more lasting and delightful than any little I shall here add a remark, which I am af transient starts of joy and satisfaction. Accord- our tragic writers may make an ill use of. As ingly we find, that more of our English tragedies heroes are generally lovers, their swelling have succeeded, in which the favorites of the au- blustering upon the stage very much recomme dience sink under their calamities, than those in them to the fair part of the audience. The lac which they recover themselves out of them. The are wonderfully pleased to see a man insult best plays of this kind are, The Orphan, Venice kings, or affronting the gods, in one scene, Preserved, Alexander the Great, Theodosius, All for throwing himself at the feet of his mistress Love, Edipus, Oroonoko, Othello, etc. King Lear another. Let him behave himself insolently is an admirable tragedy of the same kind, as Shak-ward the men, and abjectly before the fair speare wrote it; but as it is reformed according to and it is ten to one but he proves a favorite w
There is also another particular, which may reckoned among the blemishes, or rather the f beauties of our English tragedy: I mean th particular speeches which are commonly kno by the name of Rants. The warm and passion parts of a tragedy are always the most taking the audience; for which reason we often see players pronouncing, in all the violence of acti several parts of the tragedy which the author w with great temper, and designed that they sho have been so acted. I have seen Powell very of raise himself a loud clap by this artifice. poets that were acquainted with this secret, h given frequent occasion for such emotions the actor, by adding vehemence to words wi there was no passion, or inflaming a real pass into fustian. This hath filled the mouths of heroes with bombast; and given them such se ments as proceed rather from a swelling t a greatness of mind. Unnatural exclamatio curses, vows, blasphemies, a defiance of manki and an outraging of the gods, frequently I upon the audience for towering thoughts, have accordingly met with infinite applause.
the boxes. Dryden and Lee, in several of their tragedies, have practiced this secret with good
But to show how a rant pleases beyond the most just and natural thought that is not pronounced with vehemence, I would desire the reader, when he sees the tragedy of Edipus, to observe how quietly the hero is dismissed at the end of the third act, after having pronounced the following lines, in which the thought is very natural, and apt to move compassion:
To you, good gods, I make my last appeal;
And backward tread those paths I sought to shun;
Let us then observe with what thunder-claps of applause he leaves the stage, after the impieties and execrations at the end of the fourth act; and you will wonder to see an audience so cursed and so pleased at the same time.
I cannot tell what the law or the parents of the lady will do for this injured gentleman, but must allow he has very much justice on his side. I have indeed very long observed this evil, and distinguished those of our women who wear their own, from those in borrowed complexions, by the
O that, as oft I have at Athens seen
[Where, by the way, there was no stage till many Picts and the British. There does not need any years after Edipus.]
great discernment to judge which are which. The British have a lively animated aspect; the Picts, though never so beautiful, have dead uninformed countenances. The muscles of a real face sometimes swell with soft passion, sudden surprise, and are flushed with agreeable confusions, according as the objects before them, or the ideas presented to them, affect their imagination. But the Picts behold all things with the same air, whether they are joyful or sad; the same fixed insensibility appears upon all occasions. A Pict, though she takes all that pains to invite the approach of lovers, is obliged to keep them at a certain distance; a sigh in a languishing lover, if fetched too near her, would dissolve a feature; and a kiss snatched by a forward one, might transfer the complexion of the mistress to the admirer. It is hard to speak of these false fair ones, without saying something uncomplaisant, but Í would only recommend to them to consider how they like to come into a room new painted; they may assure themselves the near approach of a lady who uses this practice is much more offensive.
The stage arise, and the big clouds descend;
This pon'drous globe, and all yon marble roof,
Having spoken of Mr. Powell, as sometimes raising himself applause from the ill taste of an audience, I must do him the justice to own, that he is excellently formed for a tragedian, and, when he pleases, deserves the admiration of the best judges; as I doubt not but he will in the Conquest of Mexico, which is acted for his own benefit to-morrow night.
No. 41.] TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 1711. -Tu non inventa reperta es.-OVID. Met. i, 654. So found, is worse than lost.-ADDISON.
COMPASSION for the gentleman who writes the following letter should not prevail upon me to fall upon the fair sex, if it were not that I find they are frequently fairer than they ought to be. Such impostures are not to be tolerated in civil society, and I think his misfortune ought to be made public, as a warning for other men to examine into what they admire.
them but a tolerable pair of eyes to set up with,
"Your most obedient, humble servant.
"Supposing you to be a person of general knowledge, I make my application to you on a very particular occasion. I have a great mind to be rid of my wife, and hope, when you consider my case, you will be of opinion I have very just pretensions to a divorce. I am a mere man of the town, and have very little improvement but what I have got from plays. I remember in the Silent Woman, the learned Dr. Cutberd, or Dr. Otter (I forget which), makes one of the causes of separation to be Error Persone-when a man marries a woman, and finds her not to be the same woman whom he intended to marry, but another. If that be law, it is, I presume, exactly my case. For you are to know, Mr. Spectator, that there are women who do not let their husbands see their faces till they are married.
"Not to keep you in suspense, I mean plainly that part of the sex who paint. They are some of them so exquisitely skillful in this way, that give
Will Honeycomb told us one day, an adventure he once had with a Pict. This lady had wit, as well as beauty, at will; and made it her business to gain hearts, for no other reason but to rally the torments of her lovers. She would make great advances to insnare men, but without any manner of scruple break off when there was no provocation. Her ill-nature and vanity made my friend very easily proof against the charms of her wit and conversation; but her beauteous form, instead of being blemished by her falsehood and inconstancy, every day increased upon him, and she had new attractions every time he saw her. When she observed Will irrevocably her slave, she began to use him as such, and after many steps toward such a cruelty, she at last utterly banished him. The unhappy lover strove in vain, by servile epistles, to revoke his doom; till at length he was forced to the last refuge, a round sum of money to her maid. This corrupt attendant placed him early in the morning behind the hangings in her mistress's dressing-room. stood very conveniently to observe, without being seen. The Pict begins the face she designed to wear that day, and I have heard him protest she had worked a full half hour before he knew her to be the same woman. As soon as he saw the dawn of that complexion, for which he had so