« VorigeDoorgaan »
cients are described; but it is intended by confidering thefe contraries to pleafure, indolence, and too much delicacy, to fhew that it is prudence to preferve a difpofition in ourselves to receive a certain delight in all we hear and fee.
This portable quality of good-humour feafons all the parts and occurrences we meet with, in fuch a manner, that there are no moments loft; but they all pafs with fo much fatisfaction, that the heaviest of loads, when it is a load, that of time, is never felt by us. Varilas has this quality to the highest perfection, and communicates it wherever he appears: the fad, the merry, the fevere, the melancholy, fhew a new chearfulnefs when he comes amongst them. At the fame time no one can repeat any thing that Varilas has ever faid that deferves repetition; but the man has that innate goodnefs of temper, that he is welcome to every body, because every man thinks he is fo to him. He does not feem to contribute any thing to the mirth of the company; and yet upon reflection you find it all happened by his being there. I thought it was whimfically faid of a gentleman, that if Varilas had wit, it would be the best wit in the world. It is certain, when a well-corrected lively imagination and goodbreeding are added to a fweet difpofition, they qualify it to be one of the greatest bleffings, as well as pleafures of life.
Men would come into company with ten times the pleafure they do, if they were fure of hearing nothing which fhould fhock them, as well as expected what would please them. When we know every person that is fpoken of is reprefented by one who has no ill-will, and every thing that is mentioned defcribed by one that is apt to fee it in the best light, the entertainment must be delicate, becaufe the cook has nothing brought to his hand but what is the most excellent in its kind. Beautiful pictures are the entertainments of pure minds and deformities of the corrupted. It is a degree towards the life of angels, when we enjoy converfation wherein there is nothing prefented but in its excellence; and a degree towards that of dæmons, wherein nothing is fhewn but in its degeneracy.
N° 101. TUESDAY, JUNE 26.
According to Sir Ifaac Newton's calculations, the laft comet that made its appearance in 1680, imbibed fo much heat by its approaches to the fun, that it would have been two thousand times hotter than red hot iron, had it been a globe of that metal; and that fuppofing it as big as the earth, and at the fame diftance from the fun, it would be fifty thousand years in cooling, before it recovered its natural temper. In the like manner, if an Englishman confiders the great ferment into which our political world is thrown at prefent, and how intenfely it is heated in all its parts, he cannot fuppofe it will cool again in lefs than three hundred years. In fuch a tract of time it is poffible that the heats of the prefent age may be extinguished, and our feveral claffes of great men reprefented under their proper characters. Some eminent hiftorian may then probably arife that will not write "recentibus "odiis," as Tacitus expreffes it, with the pasfions and prejudices of a cotemporary author, but make an impartial diftribution of fame HOR, Ep. 1. 1. 2. v. 5, among the great men of the prefent age.
Romulus, & Liber pater, & cum Caftore Pollux,
tiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have paffed through this fiery perfecution. There is kind of concomitant to greatnefs, as fatires and no defence against reproach but obfcurity; it is a invectives were an effential part of a Roman triumph.
If men of eminence are expofed to cenfure on one hand, they are as much liable to flattery on the other. If they receive reproaches which are not due to them, they likewife receive praises which they do not deferve. In a word, the man in a high poft is never regarded with an indifferent eye, but always confidered as a friend or an enemy. For this reafon perfons in great ftations have feldom their true characters drawn until feveral years after their deaths. perfonal friendhips and enmities muft ceafe, and the parties they were engaged in be at an end, before their faults or their virtues can have juftice done them. When writers have the leaft opportunities of knowing the truth, they are in the beft difpofition to tell it.
It is therefore the privilege of pofterity to adjust the characters of illuftrious perfons, and to fet matters right between those antagonists, who by their rivalry for greatnefs divided a We can now allow whole age into factions. Cæfar to be a great man, without derogating from Pompey; and celebrate the virtues of Cato, without detracting from those of Cæfar. Every one that has been long dead has a due proportion of praife allotted him, in which whilft he lived, his friends were too profufe and his enemies too fparing.
I cannot forbear entertaining myself very often with the idea of fuch an imaginary hifto-` rian defcribing the reign of Anne the First, and introducing it with a preface to his reader, that he is now entering upon the moft fhining part of the English ftory. The great rivals in fame will be then diftinguished according to their refpective merits, and thine in their proper points of light. Such an one, fays the hiftorian, though variouly reprefented by the writers of bis own age, appears to have been a man of more than ordinary abilities, great application, and uncommon integrity: nor was fush an one, though of an oppofite party and intereft, inferior to him in any of thefe refpects. The feveral antagonists who now endeavour to depre
ciate one another, and are celebrated or traduced
by different parties, will then have the fame body No 102. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27.
who can now recommend himself to the eftcem of
Lufus animo debent aliquando dari,
but half his countrymen, will then receive the. The mind ought fometimes to be diverted, that
Among the feveral perfons that flourish in this
It was under this reign, fays he, that the Spectator published thofe little diurnal effays which are ftill extant. We know very little of the name or person of this author, except only that he was a man of a very short face, extremely addicted to filence, and fo great a lover of knowledge that he made a voyage to Grand Cairo for no other reafon, but to take the measure of a Pyramid. His chief friend was one Sir Roger de Coverley, a whimfical country Knight, and a Templar whofe name he has not tranfmitted to us. He lived as a lodger at the house of a widow-woman, and was a great humourift in all parts of his life. This is all we can affirm with any certainty of his perfon and character. As for his fpeculations, notwithstanding the feveral obfolete words and obfcure phrases of the age in which he lived, we still understand enough of them to fee the diverfions and characters of the English nation in his time: not but that we are to make allowance for the mirth and humour of the author, who has doubtlefs ftrained many representations of things beyond the truth. For if we interpret his words in their literal meaning, we must fuppofe that women of the firft quality ufed tó pafs away whole mornings at a puppet-fhow that they attefted their principles by their patches: that an audience would fit out an evening to hear a dramatical performance written in a language which they did not understand: that chairs and flower-pots were introduced as actors upon the British ftage; that a promifcuous affembly of men and women were allowed to meet at midnight in mafques within the verge of the court: with many improbabilities of the like nature. We must therefore, in thefe and the like cafes, fuppofe that these remote hints and allufions aimed at fome certain follies which were then in vogue, and which at prefent we have not any notion of. We may guefs by feveral paffages in the Speculations, that there were writers who endeavoured to detract from the works of this author; but as nothing of this nature is come down to us, we cannot guefs at any objections that could be made to his paper. If we confider his ftile with that indulgence which we must fhew to old English writers, or if we look into the variety of his fubjects, with thofe feveral critical differtations, moral reflections.
The following part of the paragraph is fo much to my advantage, and beyond any thing I can pretend to, that I hope my reader will excufe me for not inferting it.
Do not know whether to call the following letter a fatire upon coquettes, or a reprefentation of their feveral fantastical accomplishments, or what other title to give it; but as it is I fhall communicate it to the Public. It will fufficiently explain its own intentions, fo that I fhall give it my reader at length without either preface or postscript.
• Mr. Spectator,
OMEN are armed with fans as men with fwords, and fometimes do more execution with them. To the end therefore that ladies may be entire miftreffes of the wea< pons which they bear, I have erected an academy for the training up of young women in the "exercife of the fan," according to the most 'fashionable airs and motions that are now 'practifed at court. The ladies who "carry" fans under me are drawn up twice a day in my great hall, where they are inftructed in the use of their arms, and exercifed by the following words of command,
By the right obfervation of thefe few plain 'words of command, a woman of a tolerable genius, who will apply herself diligently to her exercife for the fpace of but one half. year, fhal be able to give her fan all the graces that can poffibly enter into that little modish machine.
But to the end that my readers may form to themselves a right notion of this exereife, I beg leave to explain it to them in all its parts. When my female regiment is drawn up in array, with every one her weapon in her hand, upon my giv ing the word "to handle their fans," each of them shakes her fan at me with a fmile, then gives her right-hand woman a tap, upon the fhoulder, then preffes her lips with the extremity of her fan, then lets her arms fall in an eafy motion and ftands in a readiness to receive the next word of command. All this is done 'with a close fan, and is generally learned in the 'first week.
Handle your fans,
The next motion is that of "unfurling the 'fan," in which are comprehended feveral little 'flirts and vibrations, as alfo gradual and deliberate openings, with many voluntary fallings afunder in the fan itfelf, that are feldom learned. under a month's practice. This part of the exercife pleases the spectators more than any other as it difcovers on a fudden an infinite number of cupids, garlands, altars, birds, beafts, rainbows, and the like agreeable figures, that dif play themfelves to view, whilft every one in the regiment holds a picture in her hand.
Upon my giving the word to "difcharge their › fans," they give one general crack that may be heard
I fhall have a general review on Thurfda next; to which you fhall be very welcome, you will honour it with your prefence.
'I am, &c.
heard at a confiderable diftance when the wind fits fair. This is one of the most difficult parts of the exercife; but I have feveral ladies with 6 me, who at their first entrance could not give a pop loud enough to be heard at the further end of a room, who can now "difcharge a fan” in 'fuch a manner, that it fhall make a report like a pocket-piftol. I have likewife taken care, in order to hinder young women from letting off their fans in wrong places or unfuitable occa
fions, to fhew upon what fubject the crack of a No. 103. THURSDAY, June 28.
When the fans are thus "difcharged," the word of command in courfe is to "ground their 'fans." This teaches a lady to quit her fan gracefully when the throws it af:de in order to take up a pack of cards, adjust a curl of hair, replace a falling pin, or apply herself to any matter of importance. This part of the exercife, as it only confifts in toffing a fan with an air upon a long table (which ftands by for that purpose) may be learned in two days time as well as in a twelvemonth.
P. S. I teach young gentlemen the whole art of gallanting a fan.
N. B. I have feveral little plain fans made for this ufe, to avoid expence.'
Speret idem : fudet multum, fruftraque laboret
Y friend the divine having been used with words of complaifance, which he thinks could be properly applied to no one living, and his abfence; was fo extremely offended with the I think could be only fpoken of him, and that in exceffive way of fpeaking civilities among us, that he made a difcourfe against it at the club; which he concluded with this remark, that he had not heard one compliment made in our fociety fince its commencement. Every one was pleafed with his conclufion: and as each knew his good-will to the reft, he was convinced that which we ordinarily meet with, are not natural the many profeffions of kindness and fervice, where the heart is well inclined; but are a proftitution of fpeech, feldom intended to mean any part of what they exprefs, never to mean all they exprefs. Our reverend friend, upon this topic, pointed to us two or three paragraphs on this fubject in the first fermon of the first volume of I do the late archbishop's pofthumous works. not know that I ever read any thing that pleased me more; and as it is to the praise of Longinus, that he speaks of the fublime in a ftile fuitable to it; fo one may fay of this author upon fincerity, that he abhors any pomp of rhetoric on this occafion, and treats it with more than ordinary fimplicity, at once to be a preacher and an example. With what command of himself does he lay before us, in the language and temper of his profeffion, a fault, which by the leaft liberty and warmth of expreffion would be the mont lively wit and fatire? But his heart was better difpofed, and the good man chaftifed the great wit in fuch a manner, that he was able to speak as follows.
• When my female regiment is thus difarmed, 'I generally let them walk about the room for fome time; when on a fudden., like ladies that look upon their watches after a long vifit, they ⚫ all of them haften to their arms, catch them up • in a hurry, and place themfelves in their proper ftations upon my calling out "recover your "fans," This part of the exercife is not difficult ⚫ provided a woman applys her thoughts to it.
The "fluttering of the fan" is the laft, and indeed the mafter piece of the whole exercife: but if a lady does not mifpend her time, the r may make herself mistress of it in three months. I generally lay afide the dog-days and the hot time of the fummer for the teaching this part ⚫ of the exercife; for as foon as ever I pronounce "flutter your fans," the place is filled with fo many zephyrs and gentle breezes as are very refreshing in that feafen of the year, though they might be dangerous to ladies of a tender conftitution in any other.
There is an infinite variety of motions to be • made ufe of in the "flutter of a fan:" There is the angry flutter, the modifh flutter, the timorous flutter, the confufed flutter, the · merry flutter, and the amorous flutter. Not to be tedious, there is fcarce any emotion in the mind which does not produce a fuitable · agitation in the fan; infomuch, that if I only fee the fan of a difciplined lady, I know very well whether the laughs, frowns, or blushes. I have feen a fan fo very angry, that it would have been dangerous for the abfent lover who x provoked it to have come within the wind of it; and at other times fo very languishing, that I have been glad, for the lady's fake, the lover was at a fufficient diftance from it. I need not add, that the fan is either a prude . or coquette, according to the nature of the perfon who bears it. To conclude my letter, 1 muft acquaint you that I have from my own obfervation compiled a little treatife for the ufe of my fcholars, intitled, "The paffions of the fan; which I will communicate to you,
"Amongst too many other inftances of the 66 great corruption and degeneracy of the age "wherein we live, the great and general want "of fincerity in converfation is none of the "leaft. The world is grown so full of dissimu"lation and compliment, that mens words are "hardly any fignification of their thoughts; "and if any man measure his words by his heart, "and fpeaks as he thinks, and do not exprefs
more kindness to every man, than men ufually "have for any man, he can hardly efcape the "cenfure of want of breeding. The old English "plainnefs and fincerity, that generous inte"grity of nature, and honefty of difpofition, "which always argues true greatnefs of mind, "and is ufually accompanied with undaunted "courage and refolution, is in a great meature
if you think it may be of ufe to the public."loft amongst us; there hath been a long en
deavour to transform us into foreign manners and fashions, and to bring us to a fervile imitation of none of the best of our neighbours " in feme of the worst of their qualities. The "dialect of conversation is now-a days fo fwell"ed with variety and compliment, and fo fur"feited, as I may fay, of expreffions of kind
nefs and refpect, that if a man that lived an age or two ago fhould return again into the "world again, he would really want a dictio66 nary to help him to understand his own lan"guage, and to know the true intrinfic value "of the phrase in fashion, and would hardly at "firft believe at what a low rate the highest "ftrains and expreffions of kindness imaginable" "do commonly pafs in current payment; and "when he should come to understand it, it "would be a great while before he could bring No 104. FRIDAY, JUNE 29. "himself with a good countenance and a good "conscience to converfe with men upon equal "terms, and in their own way.
"_And_in_truth it is hard to fay, whether it "fhould more provoke our contempt or our "pity, to hear what folemn expreffions of re"pect and kindness will pafs between men, "almoft upon no occafion; how great honour " and esteem they will declare for one whom "perhaps they never faw before, and how en"tirely they are all on the fudden devoted to "his fervice and intereft, for no reafon; how "infinitely and eternally obliged to him, for no "benefit; and how extremely they will be con"cerned for him; yea and afflicted too, for no ❝ caufe. I know it is faid, in juftification of "this hollow kind of converfation, that there is "no harm, nor real deceit in compliment, but "the matter is well enough, fo long as we un"derstand one another; et verba valent ut num"mi, "words are like money:" and when the "current value of them is generally understood, "no man is cheated by them. This is fome"thing if fuch words were any thing; but be"ing brought into the account, they are mere "cyphers. However, it is ftill a matter of juft "complaint, that fincerity and plainnefs are out "of fashion, and that our language is running "into a lie; and that men have almoft quite "perverted the use of speech, and made words "to fignify nothing; that the greateft part of "the converfation of mankind is littie elfe but "driving a trade of diffimulation; infomuch "that it would make a man heartily fick and "weary of the world, to fee the little fincerity "that is in ufe and practice among men."
When the vice is placed in this contemptible light, he argues unanfwerably against it, in words and thoughts fo natural, that any man who reads them would imagine he himself could have been the author of them.
If the fhow of any thing be good for any "thing, I am fure fincerity is better; for why "does any man diffemble, or feem to be that "which he is not, but because he thinks it "good to have fuch a quality as he pretends "to? For to counterfeit and diffemble, is to "put on the appearance of fome real excel"lency. Now the best way in the world to "feem to be any thing, is really to be what he "would seem to be. Befides, that it is many "times as troublesome to make good the pre"tence of a good quality, as to have it; and if a man have it not, it is ten to one but he is
"difcovered to want it; and then all his pains "and labour to feem to have it, is loft."
In another part of the fame difcourfe he goes on to fhew, that all artifice muft naturally tend. to the difappointment of him who practifes, it.
"Whatsoever convenience may be thought to "be in falfhood and diffimulation, it is foon "over; but the inconvenience of is perpetual, "because it brings a man under an everlasting "jealoufy and fufpicion, fo that he is not be"lieved when he speaks truth, nor trusted when "perhaps he means honeftly. When a man "hath once forfeited the reputation of his in"tegrity, he is fet faft, and nothing will then ferve his turn, neither truth nor falfhood." R
-Qualis equos Threiffa fatigat
1 VIRG. n. I. v. 320,
T would be a nobler improvement, or rather a recovery of what we call good-breeding, if nothing were to pass amongst us for agreeable which was the leaft tranfgreffion against that rule of life called decorum, or a regard to decency: This would command the refpect of mankind, because it carries in it a deference to their good opinion, as humility lodged in a worthy mind is always attended with a certain homage, which no haughty foul, with all the arts imaginable, will ever be able to purchase. Tully fays, Virtue and decency are fo nearly related, that it is difficult to feparate them from each other but in our imagination. As the beauty of the body always accompanies the health of it, fo certainly is decency concomitant to virtue: as the beauty of the body, with an agreeable carriage, pleafes the eye, and that pleasure confifts in that we obferve all the parts with a certain elegance are proportioned to each other; fo does decency of behaviour which appears in our lives obtain the approbation of all with whom we converfe, from the order, confiftency, and moderation of our words and actions. flows from the reverence we bear towards every good man, and to the world in general; for to be negligent of what any one thinks of you, does not only fhew you arrogant but abandoned. In all these confiderations we are to diftinguish how one virtue differs from another; as it is the part of juftice never to do violence, it is of modefty never to commit offence. In this laft particular lies the whole force of what is called decency: to this purpose that excellent moralift abovementioned talks of decency; but this quality is more eafily comprehended by an ordinary capacity, than expreffed with all his eloquence. This decency of behaviour is generally tranfgreffed among all orders of men: nay, the very women, though themfelves created it as it were for ornament, are often very much miftaken in this ornamental part of life. It would methinks be a fhort rule for behaviour, if every young lady in her drefs, words and actions were only to recommend herself as a fifter, daughter, or wife, and make herself the more esteemed in one of thofe characters. The care of themfelves, with regard to the families in which
which women are born, is the best motive for their being courted to come into the alliance of other houfes. Nothing can promote this end more than a ftrict prefervation of decency. Ifhould be glad if a certain equeftrian order of ladies, fome of whom one meets in an evening at every out1t of the town, would take this fubject into their terious confideration; in order thereunto the following letter may not be wholly unworthy their perufal.
• Mr. Spectator,
OING lately to take the air in one of the moft beautiful evenings this feafon has produced as I was admiring the ferenity of the fky; the lively colours of the fields, and the variety of the landscape every way around me, my eyeswere fuddenly called off from thefe inanimate objects by a little party of horsemen I faw paf-fame occafion for them with their inventors: 'all that needs to be defired of them is, that they 'would be themfelves, that is, what nature defigned them; and to fee their mistake when they depart from this, let them look upon a man who affects the foftnefs and effeminacy of a woman, to learn how their fex must appear to us, when approaching to the refemblance of a
fing the road. The greater part of them efcaped my particular obfervation, by reafon that · my whole attention was fixed on a very fair 6 youth who rode in the midst of them, and feemed C to have been dreffed by fome description in a romance. His features, complexion, and habit had a remarkable effeminacy, and a certain languishing vanity appeared in his air; his hair, well curled and powdered, hung to a confiderable length on his fhoulders, and was wantonly < ty'd, as if by the hands of his miftrefs, in a fcarlet ribbon, which played like a ftreamer behind him; he had a coat and waistcoat of blue camblet trimmed and embroidered with filver; a cravat of the fineft lace; and wore, in a fmart cock, a little beaver hat edged with filver, and made more fprightly by a feather. His horfe too, which was a pacer, was adorned after the fame airy manner, and feemed to fhare in the vanity of the rider. As I was pitying the luxury of this young perfon, who appeared to me to
perceived on my nearer approach, and as I turned my eyes downward, a part of the equi" page I had not obferved before, which was a 'petticoat of the fame with the coat and waift
coat. After this difcovery, I looked again on the face of the fair Amazon who had thus deceived me, and thought thofe features which had before offended me by their foftnefs, were now ftrengthened into as improper a boldnefs; and though her eyes, nofe, and mouth feemed to be formed with perfect fymmetry, I am not scertain whether the, who in appearance was a very handsome youth, may not be in reality a very indifferent woman.
There is an objection which naturally prefents itfelf against these occafional perplexities and mixtures of drefs, which is, that they feem to break in upon that propriety and diftinction of appearance in which the beauty of different characters is preferved; and if they fhould be more frequent than they are at prefent, would look like turning our public affemblies into a general mafquerade. The model of this Amazonian hunting-habit for ladies, was, as I take it, first imported from France, and well enough expreffes the gaiety of a people who are taught to do any thing fo it be with an affurance; but I cannot help thinking it fits aukwardly yet on our English modefty. The petticoat is a kind of incu ubrance upon it, and if the Amazon fhould think fit to go on in this plunder of cur fx's ornaments, they ought to add to their
fpoils, and complete their triumph over us, by wearing their breeches.
"If it be natural to contract infenfibly the manners of those we imitate, the ladies who are 'pleased with affuming our dreffes will do us ( more honour than we deferve, but they will do 'it at their own expence. Why fhould the lovely 'Camilla deceive us in more shapes than her own, and affect to be represented in her picture 'with a gun and a fpaniel; while her elder bro
ther, the heir of a worthy family, is drawn in 'filks like his fifter? The drefs and air of a man
are not well to be divided: and thofe who would not be content with the latter, ought never to 'think of affuming the former. There is fo large
a portion of natural agreeablenefs among the 'fair fex of our island, that they seem betrayed into thefe romantic habits without having the
I am, Sir,
Your most humble fervant,'
N° 105. SATURDAY, JUNE 30.
Adprimè in vita effe utile, ne quid nimis.
TER. Andr. A&t. 1. Sc. I.
take it to be a principal rule of life, not to be too much addicted to any one thing.
ledge of mankind, which has coft him many disafters in his youth; for Will reckons every misfortune that he has met with among the women, and every rencounter among the men, as parts of his education, and fancies he fhould never have been the man he is, had not he broke windows, knocked down conftables, difturbed honest people with his midnight ferenades, and beat up a lewd woman's quarters, when he was a young fellow. The engaging in adventures of this nature Will calls the ftudying of mankind; and terms this knowledge of the town, the knowledge of the world. Will ingeniously confeffes, that for half his life his head ached every morning with reading of men over night; and at prefent comforts himfelf under certain pains which he endures from time to time that without them he could not have been acquainted with the gallantries of the age. This Will looks upon as the learning of a gentleman, and regards all other kinds of fcience as the accomplishments of one whom he calls a fcholar, a bookish man, or a philofopher.
For thefe reafons Will thines in mixed company, where he has the difcretion not to go out of his depth, and has often a certain way of making his real ignorance appear a feeming one. Our club however has frequently caught him tripping, at which times they never spare him. For as Will often infults us with the knowledge of the town, we fometimes take our revenge upon him by our knowledge of books,