« VorigeDoorgaan »
foolish Roderigo's, which he has afterwards appropriated to her own ufe. In the mean time, the perfon who has lent the money, has < thought a lady under obligations to him, who fcarce knew his name; and wondered at her in< gratitude when he has been with her, that she
has not owned the favour, though at the fame ' time he was too much a man of honour to put her in mind of it.
When this abandoned baggage meets with a ' man who has vanity enough to give credit to relations of this nature, the turns him to very good account, by repeating praifes that were · never uttered, and delivering meffages that "were never fent. As the houfe of this shamelefs creature is frequented by feveral foreigners, I have heard of another artifice, out of which fhe often raifes money. The foreigner fighis ⚫ after fome British beauty, whom he only knows by fame: upon which the promises, if he can be fecret, to procure him a meeting. The ftranger, ravifhed at his good fortune, gives her a prefent, and in a little time is introduced to fome imaginary title; for you must know that this cunning purveyor has her reprefentatives upon this occafion, of fome of the finest ladies in the kingdom. By this means, as I am informed, it is ufual enough to meet with a ⚫ German Count in foreign countries, that shall make his boafts of favours he has received from < women of the highest ranks, and the most un⚫ blemished characters. Now, Sir, what fafety is there for a woman's reputation, when a lady may be thus prostituted as it were by proxy, and be reputed an unchafte woman; as the hero in the ninth book of Dryden's Virgil is looked upon as a coward, because the phantom which appeared in his likeness ran away from Turnus? You may depend upon what I relate you to be matter of fact, and the practice of more than one of these female panders. If you print this letter, I may give you fome farther
accounts of this vicious race of women.
Your humble fervant,
I fhall add two other letters on different fub, jects to fill up my paper,
parish ridiculous, who already look on the 'finging-pfalms as an entertainment, and no ( part of their devotion: besides, I am apprehenfive that the infection may fpread, for fquire Squeekum, who by his voice feems, if I may 'ufe the expreffion, to be cut out for an Italian finger, was laft Sunday practising the same ⚫airs.
little indecencies which cannot fo properly be expofed from the pulpit.
A widow lady, who ftraggled this fummer from London into my parish for the benefit of the air, as the fays, appears every Sunday at church with many fashionable extravagancies, to the great aftonishment of my congregation.
But what gives us the most offence is her theatrical manner of finging the pfalms. She introduces above fifty Italian airs into the hundredth pfalm, and whilst we begin All people in the old folemn tune of our fore-fathers, The in a quite different key runs divifions on the vowels, and adorns them with the graces of Nicolini; if the meets with eke or aye, which are frequent in the metre of Hopkins and Sternhold, we are certain to hear her quav ering them half a minute after us to fome fprightly airs of the opera.
I am very far from being an enemy to churchmufic, but fear this abuse of it may make my
'I know the lady's principles, and that the will plead the toleration, which (as the fancies) allows her non-conformity in this particular; 'but I beg you to acquaint her, that finging the 'pfalms in a different tune from the reft of the congregation, is a fort of fchifm not tolerated 'by that act.
• Mr. Spectator,
N your paper upon temperance, you prefcribe to us a rule of drinking out of Sir William Temple, in the following words; "the first glafs for myself, the fecond for my "friends, the third for good-humour, and the "fourth for mine enemies." Now, Sir, you
must know, that I have read this your Spec( tator, in a club whereof I am a member; when 6 our prefident told us, there was certainly an
error in the print, and that the word glass 'fhould be bottle; and therefore has ordered me 'to inform you of this mistake, and to defire I you to publish the following erratum: In the paper of Saturday, October 13, col. line II, 3, for glass read bottle. L
'I am, Sir,
Your very humble fervant,
HERE is a call upon mankind to value and efteem those who fet a moderate price upon their own merit; and felf-denial is frequently attended with unexpected bleffings, which in the end abundantly recompenfe fuch loffes as the
Am a country clergyman, and hope you will modeft feem to fuffer in the ordinary occurrences
No 206. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26.
A Diis plura feret HOR. Od. 16. l. 3. v, 21,
our favour or to our difadvantage is made upon our first appearance, even before they know any thing of our characters, but from the intimations men gather from our aspect. A man, they fay, wears the picture of his mind in his countenance; and one man's eyes are fpectacles to his who locks at him to read his heart. But though that way of raifing an opinion of those we behold in publię is very fallacious, certain it is, that thofe, who by their words and actions take as much upon themselves, as they can but barely demand in the ftrict fcrutiny of their deferts, will find their account leffen every day. A modeft man preferves his character, as a frugal man does his fortune; if either of them live to the height of either, one will find loffes, the other errers, which he has not flock by him to make up. It were therefore a juft rule, to keep your defros, your words and actions, within the regard you oblerve your friends have for you; and never, if it were in a man's power, to take as much as he poffibly bla
might either in preferment or reputation. My walks have lately been among the mercantile part of the world; and one gets phrafes naturally from thofe with whom one converfes: I fay then, he that in his air, his treatment of others, or an habitual arrogance to himself, gives himfelf credit for the leaft article of more wit, wifdom, goodness, or valour than he can poffibly produce if he is called upon, will find the world break in upon him, and confider him as one who has cheated them of all the efteem they had before allowed him. This brings a commiffion of bankruptcy upon him; and he that might have gone on to his life's end in a profperous way, by aiming at more than he fhould, is no longer proprietor of what he really had before, but his pretenfions fare as all things do which are torn instead of being divided.
There is no one living would deny Cinna the applaufe of an agreeable and facetious wit; or could poffibly pretend that there is not fomething inimitably unforced and diverting in his manner of delivering all his fentiments in his converfation, if he were able to conceal the ftrong de-, fire of applaufe which he betrays in every fyllable he utters. But they who converfe with him, fee that all the civilitics they could do to him, or the kind things they could fay to him, would fall short of what he expects; and therefore inftead of fhewing him the efleem they have for his merit, their reflexions turn only upon that they obferve he has of it himself.
If you go among the women, and behold Gloriana trip into a room with that theatrical often-, tation of her charms, Mirtilla with that foft regularity in her motion, Chloe with fuch an indifferent familiarity, Corinna with fuch a fond approach, and Roxana with fuch a demand of refpect in the great gravity of her entrance; you find all the fex, who understand themselves and act naturally, wait only for their abfence, to tell you that all these ladies would impofc themselves upon you; and each of them carry in their behaviour a confcioufnefs of fo much more than they should pretend to, that they lofe what would otherwise be given them.
is the very contrary of ambition; and that mo. defty allays all thote paffions and inquietudes to which that vice expofes us. He that is moderate in his wishes from reafon and choice, and not refigned from fournefs, diftafte or difappointment, doubles all the pleafures of his life. The air, the feafon, a fun-fhiny day, or a fair profpect, are inftances of happiness, and that which he enjoys in common with all the world, (by his exemption from the enchantments by which all the world are bewitched) are to him uncommon benefits and new acquisitions. Health is not eaten up with care, nor pleafure interrupted by envy. It is not to him of any confequence what this man is famed for, or for what the other is preferred. He knows there is in fuch a place an uninterrupted walk; he can meet in fuch a com. pany an agreeable converfation; he has no emu, lation, he is no man's rival, but every man's well-wither; can look at a profperous man, with a pleafure in reflecting that he hopes he is as happy as himfelf; and has his mind and his fortune, as far as prudence will allow, open to the unhappy and to the stranger.
Lucceius has learning, wit, humour, eloquence, but no ambitious profpects to purfue with thefe advantages, therefore to the ordinary world he is perhaps thought to want fpirit, but known among his friends to have a mind of the moft confummate greatnefs. He wants no man's admiration, is in no need of pomp. His clothes please him if they are fafhionable and warm; his companions are agreeable if they are civil and well-natured. There is with him no occafion for fuperfluity at meals, for jollity in company, in a word, for any thing extraordinary to admini fter delight to him. Want of prejudice and command of appetite are the companions which make his journey of life fo eafy, that he in all places meets with more wit, more good cheer, and more good-humour, than is neceffary to make him enjoy himself with pleasure and fatisfaction. T
I remember the last time I faw Macbeth, I was wonderfully taken with the fill of the pot, in making the murderer form fears to himself from the moderation of the prince whofe life he was going to take away. He fays of the king,
he bore his faculties fo meekly; and justly inferred from thence, that all divine and human power would join to avenge his death, who had made fuch an abilinent ufe of dominion. All that is in a man's power to do to advance his own pomp and glory, and forbears, is much laid up against the day of diftrefs; and pity will always be his portion in ad crfity, who acted with gentlenes in profperity.
The great officer who foregoes the advantages he might take to himself, and renounces all prudential regards to his own perfon in danger, has fo far the merit of a volunteer; and all his honours and glorics are unenvied for fharing the common fate with the fame franknefs as they do who have no fuch endearing circumftances to part with. Eut if there were no fuch confiderations as the good erect which fulf-denial has upon the ferfe of other men towards us, it is of all qualities the most defirable for the agrecabie difpofition in which it places our own minds. I cannot tell what better to fay of it, than that it
N° 207. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 279 Omnibus in terris, quae funt à Gadibus ufque Auroram Gangem, pauci dignofcere poffunt Vera bona, atque illis multùm diverfa, remotâ Erroris nebulaJuv. Sat. 10. v I Look round the habitable world, how few Know their own good, or knowing it, purfue. DRYDEN. N my laft Saturday's paper I laid down fome thoughts upon devotion in general, and fhall here fhew what were the notions of the most refined heathens on this fubject, as they are reprefented in Plato's dialogue upon prayer, intitled "Alcibiades the Second," which doubtlefs gave occafion to Juvenal's tenth fatire, and to the fecond fatire of Perfius; as the last of thefe authors has almoft tranfcribed the preceding dialogue, intitled "Alcibiades the Firit," in his fourth fatire.
The fpeakers in this dialogue upon prayer, are Socrates and Alcibiades; and the fubftance of it, when drawn together out of the intricacies and digreffions, as follows.
Socrates meeting his pupil Alcibiades, as he was going to his devotions, and obferving his eyes to be fixed upon the earth with great feri oufnefs
oufnefs and attention, tells him that he had reafon to be thoughtful on that occafion, fince it was poffible for a man to bring down evils upon himself by his own prayers. and that thofe things, which the gods fend him in anfwer to his petitions, might turn to his deftru&tion: this, fays he, may not only happen when a man prays for what he knows is mifchievous in its own nature, as Oedipus implored the gods to fow diffenfion between his fons; but when he prays for what he believ would be for his good, and against what he believes would be to his detriment. This the philofopher fhews must neceffarily happen among us, fince most men are blinded with ignorance, prejudice or paffion, which hinder them from feeing fuch things as are really beneficial to them. For an instance, he afks Alcibiades, whether he would not be thoroughly pleafed and fatisfied if that god, to whom he was going to addrefs himself, fhould promise to make him the fovereign of the whole earth? Alcibiades anfwers, that he fhould doubtless look upon fuch a promife as the greateft favour that could be be ftowed upon him. Socrates then afks him, if after receiving this great favour he would be contented to tole his life? or if he would receive it though he was fure he should make an ill use of it to both which queftions Alcibiades answers in the negative. Socrates then thews him, from the examples of others, how thefe might very probably be the effects of fuch a bleffing. He then adds, that other reputed pieces of good-fortune, as that of having a fon, or procuring the highest poft in a government, are fubject to the like fatal confequences; which nevertheless, fays he, men ardently defire, and would not fail to pray for, if they thought their prayers might be effectual for the obtaining of them.
Having established this great point, that all the moft apparent bleffings in this life are obnoxious to fuch dreadful confequences, and that no man knows what in its events would prove to him a bleffing or a curfe, he teaches Alcibiades after what manner he ought to pray.
fea and land, they fent a meffage to the oracle of Jupiter Ammon, to afk the reason why they who erected fo many temples to the gods, and adorned them with fuch coftly offerings; why they who had inftituted fo many feftivals, and accompanied them with fuch pomps and ceremonies; in fhort, why they who had flain fo many hecatombs at their altars, fhould be lefs fuccefsful than the Lacedæmonians, who fell fo fhort of them in all thefe particulars. To this, fays he, the oracle made the following reply; "I am bet66 ter pleased with the prayers of the Lacedæmo"nians, than with all the oblations of the "Greeks." As this prayer implied and encouraged virtue in those who made it; the philofopher proceeds to fhew how the most vicious man might be devout, fo far as victims could make him, but that his offerings were regarded by the gods as bribes, and his petitions as blafphemies. He likewife quotes on this occafion two verfes out of Homer, in which the poet fays, that the fcent of the Trojan facrifices was carried up to heaven by the winds; but that it was not acceptable to the gods, who were difpleafed with Priam and all his people.
The conclufio: of this dialogue is very remarkable. Socrates having deterred Alcibiades from the prayers and facrifice which he was going to offer, by fetting forth the above-mentioned difficulties of performing that duty as he ought, adds thefe words, "We must therefore wait un"til fuch time as we may learn how we ought
In the first place, he recommends to him, as the model of his devotions, a fhort prayer which a Greek poet compofed for the ufe of his friends, in the following words; "O Jupiter, give us thofe things which are good for us, whether "they are fuch things as we pray for, or fuch things as we do not pray for: and remove "from us thofe things which are hurtful, though they are fuch things as we pray for." In the fecond place, that his difciple may afk fuch things as are expedient for him, he fhews him, that it is abfolutely neceffary to apply himself to the study of true wifdom, and to the knowledge of that which is his chief good, and the most suitable to the excellency of his nature. In the third and laft place, he informs him, that the best methods he could make ufe of to draw down bleffings upon himself, and to render his prayers acceptable, would be to live in a conftant practice of his duty towards the gods, and towards men. Under this head he very much recommends a form of prayer the Lacedæmonians make ufe of, in which they petition the gods," to give them all good things fo long as "they were virtuous." Under this head likewife he gives a very remarkable account of an oracle to the following purpose.
When the Athenians in the war with the Lacedæmonians received many defeats both by
to behave ourselves towards the gods, and to"wards men." But when will that time come; fays Alcibiades, and who is it that will instruct us? For I would fain fee this man, whoever he is. It is one, fays Socrates, who takes care of you; but as Homer tells us, that Minerva removed the mift from Diomedes his eyes, that he might plainly discover both gods and men; fo the darkness that hangs upon your mind must be removed before you are able to difcern what is good and what is evil. Let him remove from my mind, fays Alcibiades, the darkness, and what elfe he pleafes, I am determined to refufe nothing he fhall order me, whoever he is, fo that I may become the better man by it. The remaining part of this dialogue is very obfcure: there is fomething in it that would make us think Socrates hinted at himfelf, when he spoke of this divine Teacher who was to come into the world, did not he own that he himself was in this refpect as much at a lofs, and in as great diftrefs as the reft of mankind.
Some learned men look upon this conclufion as a prediction of our Saviour, or at least that Socrates, like the high-prieft, prophefied unknowingly, and pointed at that Divine Teacher who was to come into the world fome ages after him. However that may be, we find that this great philofopher faw, by the light of reafon, that it was fuitable to the goodness of the Divine Nature, to fend a perfon into the world who should inftru&t mankind in the duties of religion, and, in particular, teach them how to pray.
Whoever reads this abítract of Plato's. Dif courfe on Prayer, will, I believe, naturally make this reflexion, that the great Founder of our religion, as well by his own example, as in the form of prayer which he taught his difciples, did not only keep up to thofe rules which the light of nature had fuggefted to this great philofopher, but instructed his difciples in the whole extent
of this duty, as well as of all others. He directed them to the proper object of adoration, and taught them, according to the third rule abovementioned, to apply themfelves to him in their clofets, without fhow or oftentation, and to worship him "in fpirit and in truth." As the Lacedaemonians in their form of prayer implored the gods in general to give them all good things fo long as they were virtuous, we afk in particular, that our offences may be forgiven, as we "forgive thofe of others." If we look into the fecond rule which Socrates has prefcribed, namely, that we fhould apply ourfelves to the knowledge of fuch things as are beft for us; this too is explained at large in the doctrines of the gofpel, where we are taught in feveral inftances to regard thofe things as curfes, which appear as bleffings in the eye of the world; and on the contrary, to esteem thofe things as bleffings, which to the generality of mankind appear as curfes. Thus in the form which is preferibed to us we only pray for that happinefs which is our chief good, and the great end of our exiftence, when we petition the Supreme Being for "the "coming of his kingdom," being folicitous for no other temporal bleflings but our "daily fuf"tenance." On the other fide, we pray against nothing but fin, and against evil in general, leaving it with Omnifcience to determine what is really fuch. If we look into the first of Socrates his rules of prayer, in which he recommends the above-mentioned form of the ancient poet, we find that form not only comprehended, but very much improved by the petition, wherein we pray to the Supreme Being that his will may be
"done" which is of the fame force with that
highest ftrains of mirth and laughter: it is therefore a melancholy profpect when we fee a numerous affembly loft to all ferious entertainments, and fuch incidents, as fhould move one fort of concern, excite in them a quite contrary one. In the tragedy of Macbeth, the other night, when the lady who is confcious of the crime of murdering the king, feems utterly aftonished at the news, and makes an exclamation at it, inftead of the indignation which is natural to the occafion, that expreffion is received with a loud laugh: they were as merry when a criminal was ftabbed. It is certainly an occafion of rejoicing when the wicked are feized in their designs; but I think it is not fuch a triumph as is exerted by laughter.
form which our Saviour ufcd, when he prayed against the most painful and most ignominious of deaths, "Nevertheless not my will, but thine be
done." This comprehenfive petition is the moft humble, as well as the most prudent, that can be offered up from the creature to his Creator, as it fuppofes the Supreme Being wills nothing but what is for our good, and that he knows better than ourfelves what is fo.
You may generally obferve, that the appetites are focner moved than the paffions: a fly expreffion which alludes to bawdry, puts a whole row into a pleafing fairk; when a good fentence that defcribes an inward fentiment of the foul, is received with the greateft coldness and indifference. A correfpondent of mine, upon this fubject, has divided the female part of the audience, and accounts for their prepoffeffions against this reasonable delight in the following manner. The prudc, fays he, as the acts always in contradiction, fo fhe is gravely fullen at a comedy, and extravagantly gay at a tragedy. The coquette is fo much taken up with throwing her eyes around the audience, and confidering the effect of them, that he cannot be expected to obferve the actors but as they are her rivals, and take off the obfervation of the men from herfelf. Befides thefe fpecies of women, there are the examples, or the firft of the mode: thefe are to be fuppofed too well acquainted with what the actor is going to fay to be moved at it. After thefe one might mention a certain flippant fet of females who are mimics, and are wonderfully diverted with the conduct of all the people around them, and are fpectators only of the audience. But what is of all the most to be la, mented, is the lofs of a party whom it would be worth preferving in their right fenfes upon all Loccafions, and thefe are thofe whom we may indifferently call the innocent or the unaffected. You may fometimes fee one of these fenfibly touched with a well-wrought incident; but then fhe is immediately fo impertinently obferved by the men, and frowned at by fome infenfible fu
perior of her own fex, that he is afhamed, and lofes the enjoyment of the moft laudable concern, pity. Thus the whole audience is afraid of letting fall a tear, and fhun as a weakness the best and worthiest part of our sense,
N° 208. MONDAY, OCTOBER 29.
-Veniunt fpectentur ut ipfæ.
Ovid. Ars Am. lib. 1. ver. 99. To be themselves a fpectacle, they come. HAVE feveral letters from people of good fenfe, who lament the depravity or poverty of tafe the town is fallen into with relation to plays and public fpectacles. A lady in particular obferves, that there is fuch a levity in the minds of her own fex, that they feldom attend any thing but impertinences. It is indeed prodigious to obferve how little notice is taken of the most exalted parts of the best tragedies of Shakespear; nay, it is not only visible that fenfuality has devoured all greatness of foul, but the under-paffion, as I may fo call it, of a noble fpirit, pity, feems to be a franger to the generality of an audience. The minds of men are indeed very differently difpofed; and the reliefs from care and attention are of one fort in a great fpirit, and of another in an ordinary one, The man of a great heart and a ferious complexion, is more pleafed with inftances of generofity and pity, than the light and ludicrous..fpirit can poffibly be with the
S you are one that doth not only pretend to reform, but effect it amongst people 6 of any fenfe; makes me (who am one of the 'greatest of your admirers) give you this trouble ( to defire you will fettle the method of us fe'males knowing when one another is in town; for they have now got a trick of never fending 6 to their acquaintance when they first come; and if one does not vifit them within the week which they stay at home, it is a mortal quarrel. Now, dear Mr. Spec. either command them to put it in the advertisement of your paper, which is generally read by our fex, or elfe order them to breathe their faucy footmen, who are good for nothing elfe, by fending them to tell all
Your most obedient humble fervant,
October the 20th.
Have been out of town, fo did not meet
< Mr. Spectator,
"Noble, generous, great and good,
Among the writers of antiquity, there are none their refpective times in which they lived, than who inftruct us more openly in the manners of those who have employed themselves in fatire, under what drefs foever it may appear; as there are no other authors whofe province it is to enter fo directly into the ways of men, and fet their miscarriages in fo ftrong a light.
Simonides, a poet famous in his generation, is, extant; and, as fome fay, of the first that was I think, author of the oldeft fatire that is now ever written. This poet flourished about four hundred years after the fiege of Troy; and fhews, by his way of writing, the fimplicity, or rather coarfenefs of the age in which he lived. I have taken notice, in my hundred and fixty. firft fpeculation, that the rule of obferving what the French call the Bienfeance, in an allufion, has been found out of latter years; and that the ancients, provided there was a likeness in their similitudes, did not much trouble themselves about the decency of the comparifon. The fatire or iambics of Simonides, with which I fhall entertain my readers in the prefent paper, are a remarkable inftance of what I formerly advanced. The fubject of this fatire is woman. He defcribes the fex in their feveral characters, which he derives to them from a fanciful fuppofition raised upon the doctrine of præ-existence. He tells us, that the gods formed the fouls of women out of those feeds and principles which compose several kinds of animals and elements; and that their good or bad difpofitions arifes in them according as T fuch and fuch feeds and principles predominate in their conftitutions. I have tranflated the author very faithfully, and if not word for word, which our language would not bear, at leaft fo as to comprehend every one of his fentiments, without adding one thing of my own. I have already apologized for this author's want of delicacy, and muft further premife, that the following fatire affects only fome of the lower part of the fex, and not thofe who have been refined by a polite education, which was not fo common in the age of this poet.
"In the beginning God made the fouls of "womankind out of different materials, and in a separate state from their bodies.
209. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30.
Of earthly goods the beft, is a good wife;
own times with thofe which prevailed in the times of his forefathers'; and drawing a parallel in his mind between his own private character, and that of other perfons, whether of his own age, or of the ages that went before him. The contemplation of mankind under these changeable colours, is apt to fhame us out of any particular vice, or animate us to any particular virtue; to make us pleased or displeased with ourselves in the most proper points, to clear our minds of prejudice and prepoffeffion, and rectify that narrownefs of temper which inclines us to think amifs of those who differ from ourselves.
If we look into the manners of the most remote ages of the world, we discover human nature in her fimplicity; and the more we come downward towards our own times, may obferve her hiding herself in artifices and refinements, polifhed infenfibly out of her original plainness, and at length intirely loft under form and ceremony, and, what we call, good-breeding. Read the by the most ancient writers, both facred and proaccounts of men and women as they are given us fane, and you would think you were reading the history of another species.
HERE are no authors I am more pleafed with, than those who fhew human nature in a variety of views, and defcribe the feveral A ages of the world in their different manners. reader cannot be more rationally entertained, than by comparing the virtues and vices of his