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N° 227. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23.
N my last Thursday's paper I made mention of a place called The Lover's Leap, which I find has raised a great curiofity among feveral of my correfpendents. I there told them that this leap was used to be taken from a promontory of Leucas. This Leucas was formerly a part of Acarnania, being joined to it by a narrow neck of land, which the fea has by length of time overflowed and washed away; fo that at prefent Leucas is divided from the continent, and is a little ifland in the Ionian fea. The promontory of this ifland, from whence the lover took his leap, was formerly called Leucate. If the reader has a mind to know both the island and the promontory by their modèrn titles, he will find in his map the ancient ifland of Leucas under the name of St. Mauro, and the ancient promontory of Leucate under the name of The Cape of St. Mauro.
Since I am engaged thus far in antiquity. I muft obferve that Theocritus in the motto prefixed to my paper, describes one of his defpairing hepherds addreffing himself to his mistress after the following manner: "Alas! what will be"come of me! Wretch that I am! Will you "not hear me? I will throw off my clothes, and "take a leap into that part of the fea which is "fo much frequented by Olphis the fisherman. "And though I fhould efcape with my life, I "know you will be pleafed with it." I fhall leave it with the critics to determine whether the place which this fhepherd fo particularly points out, was not the above-mentioned Leucate, or at leaft fome other lover's leap, which was fuppofed to have had the fame effect. I cannot believe, as all the interpreters do, that the hepherd means nothing farther here than that he would drown himfelf, fince he reprefents the iffue of his leap as doubtful, by adding, that if he hould efcape with life, he knows his mistrefs would be pleased with it; which is according to our interpretation, that the would rejoice any way to get rid of a lover who was fo troublefome to her.
After this fhort preface, I fhall prefent my reader with fome letters which I have received upon this fubject. The first is fent me by a phyfician.
HE Lover's Leap, which you mention in
< give for it; why may we not fuppofe that the
6 your most humble fervant,
lieve, a very effectual cure for love, and not only for love, but for all other evils. In short, Sir, I am afraid it was fuch a leap as that which Hero took to get rid of her paffion for Leander. A man is in no danger of breaking his heart, who breaks his neck to prevent it. I know very well the wonders which ancient authors relate concerning this leap; and in particular that very many perfons who tried it, efcaped not only with their lives but their limbs. If by this means they got rid of their love, though may in part be afcribed to the reafons you
Am a young woman croffed in love. My ftory is very long and melancholy. To give you the heads of it: A young gentleman, after having made his applications to me for three years together, and filled my head with a thou⚫ fand dreams of happiness, fome few days fince 'married another. Pray tell me in what part
of the world your promontory lies, which you 'call The Lover's Leap, and whether one may go to it by land? But alas, I am afraid it has loft its virtue, and that a woman of our times would 'find no more relief in taking fuch a leap, than in finging an hymn to Venus. So that I muft < cry out with Dido in Dryden's Virgil. "Ah! cruel heaven, that made no cure for love!" Your difconfolate fervant. ATHENAIS."
• Mifter Spictatur,
Y heart is fo full of lofes and paffions for Mrs. Gwinifrid, and the is fo pettish ⚫ and over-run with cholers against me, that if I had the good happiness to have my dwelling (which is placed by my creat-crandfather upon the pottom of an hill) no farther diftance but twenty mile from the Lofer's Leap, I would <indeed indeafour to preak my neck upon it on 'purpofe. Now, good Mifter Spi&tatur of Creat
Pritain, you must know it, there is in Caer'narvanfhire a very pig mountain, the clory of
all Wales, which is named Penmainmaure, and 6 you must also know, it is no great journey on foot from me; but the road is ftony and bad for fhoes. Now, there is upon the forehead of this mountain a very high rock, (like a parish fteeple) that cometh a huge deal over the fea; fo when I am in my melancholies, and I do throw myfelf from it, I do defire my fery good 'friend to tell me in his Spictatur, if I fhall be cure of my griefous lofes; for there is the fea clear as clafs, and as creen as the leek: then likewife if I be drown and preak my neck, if Mrs. Gwinifrid will not lofe me afterwards. Pray be speedy in your anfwers, for I am in creat hafte, and it is my tefires to do my pufinefs without lofs of time. I remain with cor'dial affections, your ever lofing friend,
Davyth ap Shenkyn,
• Mr. Spectator,
P. S. ( My law fuits have brought me to London, but I have loft my caufes; and fo have 'made my refolutions to go down and leap before the frofts begin; for I am apt to take colds.'
Ridicule, perhaps, is a better expedient against
N° 228. WEDNESDAY, Nov. 21.
Shun the inquifitive and curious man;
began; There is no manner of news to-day, I cannot tell what is the matter with me, but I 'flept very ill last night; whether I caught cold or no, I know not, but I fancy I do not wear 'fhoes thick enough for the weather, and I have coughed all this week: it must be fo, for the ⚫ cuftom of washing my head winter and fummer ' with cold water, prevents any injury from the 'feafon entering that way; fo it must come in at my feet; but I take no notice of it: as it comes fo it goes. Most of our evils proceed from too 'much tendernefs; and our faces are naturally as little able to reaft the cold as other parts. The Indian anfwered very well to an Europear. who asked him how he could go naked; I am < all face.'
I obferved this difcourfe was as welcome to my general inquirer as any other of more confequence could have been; but fome body calling our talker to another part of the room, the inquirer told the next man who fat by him, that Mr. fuch-aone, who was just gone from him, used to wash his head in cold water every morning; and fo repeated almoft verbatim all that had been said to him. The truth is, the inquifitive are the funnels of converfation; they do not take in any thing for their own ufe, but merely to pass it to another: they are the channels through which all the good and evil that is spoken in town are conveyed. Such as are offended at them, or think they fuffer by their behaviour, may themselves mend that inconvenience; for they are not a malicious people, and if you will fupply them, you
Hor. Ep. 18. lib. 1. ver. 69. may contradict any thing they have faid before by their own mouths. A farther account of a thing is one of the gratefuleft goods that can arrive to them and it is feldom that they are more particular than to fay, the town will have it, or I have it from a good hand: fo that there is room for the town to know the matter more particularly, and for a better hand to contradict what was faid by a good one.
PCOLY. HERE is a creature who has all the organs of fpeech, a tolerable good capacity for conceiving what is faid to it, together with a pretty proper behaviour in all the occurrences of common life; but naturally very vacant of thought in itfelf and therefore forced to apply itfelf, to foreign affiftances. Of this make is that man who is very inquifitive. You may often obferve, that though he fpeaks as good sense as any man upon any thing with which he is well acquainted, he cannot trust to the range of his own fancy to entertain himself upon that foundation, but goes on ftill to new inquiries. Thus, though you know he is fit for the most polite converfation, you fhall fee him very well contented to fit by a jockey, giving an account of the many revolutions in his horfe's health, what potion he made him take, how that agreed with him, how afterwards he came to his ftomach and his exercise, or any the like impertinence; and be as well pleased as if you talked to him on the most important truths. This humour is far from making a man unhappy, though it may subject him to raillery; for he generally falls in with a perfon who seems to be born for him, which is your talkative fellow. It is fo ordered, that there is a fecret bent, as natural as the meeting of different fexes, in these two characters, to fupply each other's wants. I had the honour the other day to fit in a public room, and faw an inquifitive man look with an air of fatisfaction upon the approach of one of thefe talkers. The man of ready utterance fat down by him, and rubbing his head, leaning on his arm, and making an uneafy countenance, he
I have not known this humour more ridiculous than in a father, who has been earnestly solicitous to have an account how his fon has paffed his leifure hours; if it be in a way thoroughly infignificant, there cannot be a greater joy than an inquirer difcovers in feeing him follow fo hopefully his own steps: but this humour among men is most pleasant when they are faying fomething which is not wholly proper for a third perfon to hear, and yet is in itfelf indifferent. The other day there came in a well-dreffed young fellow, and two gentlemen of this fpecies immediately fell a whifpering his pedigree. I could over-hear, by breaks, She was his aunt; then an answer, Ay, she was of the mother's fide: then again in a little lower voice, His father wore generally a darker wig; anfwer, Not much. But this gentleman wears higher heels to his fhoes.
As the inquifitive, in my opinion, are fuch merely from a vacancy in their own imaginations, there is nothing, methinks, fo dangerous as to communicate fecrets to them; for the fame temper of inquiry makes them as impertinently communicative but no man though he converses with them, need put himself in their power, for they will be contented with matters of less moment as well. When there is fuel enough, no matter what it is-Thus the ends of fentences in the news-papers, as, " this wants confirmation, "this occafions many fpeculations, and time wlli
will difcover the event," are read by them, and confidered not as mere expletives.
One may fee now and then this humour accompanied with an infatiable defire of knowing what paffes without turning it to any ufe in the world but merely their own entertainment. mind which is gratified this way is adapted to humour and pleasantry, and formed for an un- No 229. THURSDAY, NOVEM. 22. concerned character in the world; and, like my felf, to be a mere fpectator. This curiofity, with. out malice or felf-intereft, lays up in the imagination a magazine of circumstances which cannot but entertain when they are produced in conver→ fation. If one were to know, from the man of the first quality to the meaneft fervant, the dif ferent intrigues, fentiments, pleafures, and interefts of mankind, would it not be the most pleafing entertainment imaginable to enjoy fo conftant a farce, as the obferving mankind much more different from themfelves in their fecret thoughts and public actions, than in their nightcaps and long periwigs?
I had almoft forgot to inform you, that as an ' improvement in this inftrument, there will be a 'particular note, which I call a hush-note; and this is to be made use of against a long story, 'fwearing, obfceneness, and the like.' T
-Spirat adhuc amor,
• Mr. Spectator,
Lutarch tells us, that Caius Gracchus, the was frequently hurried by his paffion into fo loud and tumultuous a way of speaking, and fo ftrained his voice as not to be able to proceed. To remedy this excefs, he had an ingenious fervant, by name Licinius, always ⚫ attending him with a pitch-pipe, or inftrument to regulate the voice; who, whenever he heard his mafter begin to be high, immediately touched a foft note; at which, it is faid, Caius would prefently abate and grow calm.
Upon recollecting this ftory, I have frequently
wondered that this ufeful inftrument should ⚫ have been fo long difcontinued; efpecially fince • we find that this good office of Licinius has pre• ferved his memory for many hundred years, • which, methinks, fhould have encouraged fome one to have revived it, if not for the public good, yet for his own credit. It may be objected, that our loud talkers are fo fond of their own noise, that they would not take it well to be checked by their fervants: but granting this to be true, furely any of their hearers have a very good title to play a foft note in their own defence. To be fhort, no Licinius appearing, ⚫ and the noise increafing, I was refolved to give this late long vacation to the good of my coun" try; and I have at length, by the affiftance of an ingenious artist, who works to the Royal Society, almost completed my defign, and fhall be ready in a fhort time to furnith the public with what number of these inftruments they please, either to lodge at coffee-houses, or carry for their own private ufe. In the mean time, I fhall pay that refpect to feveral gentlemen, who I know will be in danger of offending against this inftrument, to give them notice of it by private letters, in which I fhall only write, "Get "a Licinius."
I should now trouble you no longer, but that • I must not conclude without defiring you to accept one of these pipes, which shall be left for you with Buckley; and which I hope will be ferviceable to you, fince as you are filent your felf, you are moft open to the infults of the noi• fy. I am,
Sappho's charming lyre
HOR. Od. 9. 1. 4. v, 10.
MONG the many famous pieces of antithere is the trunk of a ftatue which has loft the quity which are ftill to be feen at Rome, arms, legs, and head; but difcovers fuch an exquifite workmanship in what remains of it, that [Michael Angelo declared he had learned his whole art from it. Indeed he ftudied it fo attentively, that he made moft of his ftatues, and even in that gufto, to use the Italian phrafe; for which reason this maimed statue is ftill called Michael Angelo's fchool.
A fragment of Sappho, which I defign for the fubject of this paper, is in as great reputation among the poets and critics, as the mutilated fiand painters. Several of our countrymen, and gure above-mentioned is among the ftatuaries Mr. Dryden in particular, feem very often to have copied after it in their dramatic writings, and in their poems upon love.
Whatever might have been the occafion of this ode, the English reader will enter into the beauties of it, if he fuppofes it to have been written in the perfon of a lover fitting by his miftrefs. I fhall fet to view three different copies of this beautiful original: the firft is a tranflation by Catullus, the fecond by Monfieur Boileau, and the laft by a gentleman whofe tranflation of the "Hymn to "Venus" has been fo defervedly admired.
Ad LESBIA M.
"Spectat, & audit.
"Dulce ridentem, mifero quod omnis
"Lingua fed torpet: tenuis fub'artus
My learned reader will know very well the reafon why one of thefe verfes is printed in Roman letter; and if he compares this translation with the original, will find that the three first stanzas are rendered almoft word for word, and not only with the fame elegance, but with the fame short turn of expreffion which is fo remarkable in the Greek, and fo peculiar to' the Sapphic ode. I cannot imagine for what reafon Madam Dacier W. B. has told us, that this ode of Sappho is preferved
entire in Longinus, fince it is manifeft to any one who looks into that author's quotation of it, that there must at least have been another ftanza, which is not tranfmitted to us.
The fecond tranflation of this fragment which I fhall here cite, is that of Monfieur Boileau.
«Heureux! qui prés de toi, pour toi feule foûpire :
The reader will fee that this is rather an imitation than a tranflation. The circumftances do not lie fo thick together, and follow one another with that vehemence and emotion as in the original. In fhort, Monfieur Boileau has given us all the poetry, but not all the paffion of this famous fragment. I hall, in the last place, prefent my reader with the English translation.
Bleft as th' immortal gods is he, "The youth who fondly fits by thee, "And hears and fees thee all the while "Softly fpeak and fweetly fmile.
out the nature of his diftemper, by thofe fymptoms of love which he had learnt from Sappho's writings. Stratonice was in the room of the love-fick prince, when these symptoms difcovered themselves to his phyfician; and it is probable, that they were not very different from those which Sappho here defcribes in a lover fitting by his mistress. This ftory of Antiochus is fo well known, that I need not add the fequel of it, which has no reC lation to my prefent fubject.
No 230. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23. Homines ad Deos nullâ re propiùs accedunt, quàm falutem bominibus dando. TULLY Men refemble the gods in nothing so much, as in doing good to their fellow creatures.
UMAN nature appears a very deformed, or, a very beautiful object, according to the different lights in which it is viewed. When we fee. men of inflamed paffions, or of wicked defigns, tearing one another to pieces by open violence, or undermining each other by fecret treachery; when we obferve bafe and narrow ends purfued by ignominious and difhoneft means; when we behold men mixed in fociety as if it were for the deftruc-. tion of it; we are even afhamed of our fpecies, and out of humour with our own being; but in another light, when we behold them mild, good, and benevolent, full of a generous regard for the public profperity, compaffionating each other's diftreffes, and relieving each other's wants, we can hardly believe they are creatures of the fame kind. In this view they appear gods to each other, in the exercife of the nobleft power, that of doing good; and the greatest compliment we have ever been. able to make to our own being, has been by calling this difpofition of mind humanity. We cannot but obferve a pleasure arifing in our own breast upon the feeing or hearing of a generous action, even when we are wholly difinterested in it. I cannot give a more proper inftance of this, than. by a letter from Pliny, in which he recommends a friend in the most handsome manner; and, methinks, it would be a great pleasure to know the fuccefs of this epiftle, though each party concerned in it has been fo many hundred years in his
Inftead of giving any character of this laft tranflation, I thall defire my learned reader to look into the criticiims which Longinus has made upon the original. By that means he will know to which of the tranflations he ought to give the preference. I thall only add, that this tranflation is written in the very fpirit of Sappho, and as near the Greek as the genius of our language will poffibly fuffer.
Longinus has obferved, that this defcription of love in Sappho is an exact copy of nature, and that all the circumstances which follow one another in fuch an hurry of fentiments, notwithstanding they appear repugnant to each other, are really fuch as happen in the phrenzies of love.
I wonder that not one of the critics or editors, through whofe hands this ode has paffed, has taken occafion from it to mention a circumftance related by Plutarch. That author in the famous ftory of Antiochus, who fell in love with Stratonice, his mother-in-law, and, not daring to discover his paffion, pretended to be confined to his bed by ficknefs, tells us, that Erafiftratus, the phyfician, found
'HAT I thould gladly do for any friend of your's, I think I may now with confidence requeft for a friend of mine. Arrianus Maturius is the moft confiderable man of his country; when I call him fo, I do not fpeak. with relation to his fortune, though that is very plentiful, but to his integrity, justice, gravity, and prudence; his advice is ufeful to me in bu ‹ finess, and his judgment in matters of learning: his fidelity, truth, and good understanding, are very great; befides this, he loves me as you do, than which I cannot fay any thing that fignifies a warmer affection. He has nothing that is afpiring; and though he might rife to the higheft order of nobility, he keeps himself in an inferior rank; yet I think myfelf bound to use my endeavours to ferve and promote him; and would therefore find the means of adding something to his honours while he neither expects nor knows it, nay, though he thould refufe it. Something, in fhort, I would have for him that may be honourable, but not troublefome; and I intreat that you will procure him the first thing of this kind that offers, by which you will not only oblige me, but him alfo; for though he
does not covet it, I know he will be as grateful in acknowledging your favour as if he asked it.'
favourite plays, to contend which of them should recite a beautiful part of a poem or oration most gracefully, or fometimes to join in acting a scene of Terence, Sophocles, or our own Shakespeare. The caufe of Milo might again be pleaded before more favourable judges, Cæfar a fecond time be taught to tremble, another race of Athenians be 'afresh enraged at the ambition of another Philip. Amidst thefe noble amufements, we could hope to fee the early dawnings of their imagination daily brighten into fenfe, their innocence im" prove into virtue, and their unexperienced goodnature directed to a generous love of their country.
'I am, &c.
• Mr. Spectator,
HE reflexions in fome of your papers on the fervile manner of education now in ufe, have given birth to an ambition, which, unless you discountenance it, will, I doubt, 6 engage me in a very difficult, though not ungrateful adventure. I am about to undertake, for the fake of the British youth, to inftruct them in fuch a manner, that the most dangerous page in Virgil or Homer may be read by them with much pleafure, and with perfect fafety to their perfons.
Could I prevail fo far as to be honoured with the protection of fome few of them, for I am not
hero enough to refcue many, my defign is to No 231. SATURDAY, Nov. 24.
O Pudor! O Pietas!
OOKING over the letters which I have
Llately received from my correfpondents, I
met with the following one, which is written with' fuch a fpirit of politeness, that I could not but be very much pleafed with it myself, and question not but it will be acceptable to the reader.
< Mr. Spectator,
blies, cannot but have obferved the awe they often strike on fuch as are obliged to exert any talent before them. This is a fort of elegant diftrefs, to which ingenuous minds are the most liable, and may therefore deferve fome remarks in your paper. Many a brave fellow, who has put his enemy to flight in the field, has been in the utmost diforder upon making a speech before a body of his friends at home: one would think there was fome kind of fascination in the eyes of a large circle of people, when darting all together upon one perfon. I have feen a new actor in a tragedy fo bound up by it as to be fcarce able to fpeak or move, and have expected he would have died above three acts before the dagger or cup of poifon were brought in. It would not be amifs, if fuch an one were at first introduced as a ghoft, or a ftatue, until he recovered his fpirits, and grew fit for fome living
As this fudden defertion of one's felf thews a diffidence, which is not difpleafing, it implies at the fame time the greateft refpect to an audience that can be. It is a fort of mute eloquence, which pleads for their favour much better than words could do; and we find their generofity naturally moved to fupport those who are in fo much perplexity to entertain them. I was extremely pleased with a late inftance of this kind at the Opera of Almahide, in the encouragement given to a young finger, whofe more than ordinary concern on her firft appearance, recommended her no less than her agreeable voice, and juft performance. Meer bathfulness without merit. is aukward; and merit without modcfty, info lent but modeft merit has a double claim to
acceptance, and generally meets with as many patrons as beholders.
'I am, &c.'
It is impoffible that a perfon fhould exert himfelf to advantage in an affembly, whether it be his part either to fing or speak, who lies under too great