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your songs, and tells the story of the 5th of I am engaged in this speculation by a November to perfection. Yours to serve sight which I lately met with at the opera. you, ROGER DE COVERLEY.' | As I was standing in the hinder part of a “We have lost old John since you were
box, I took notice of a little cluster of women here.'
sitting together in the prettiest coloured hoods that I ever saw. One of them was blue, another yellow, and another philo
mot; the fourth was of a pink colour, and No. 265.] Thursday, January 3, 1711-12. the fifth of a pale green. I looked with
as much pleasure upon this little partyDixerit e multis aliquis, quid virus in angues Adjicis ? et rabidæ tradis ovile lupa ?
coloured assembly, as upon a bed of tulips, Ovid de Art. Am. Lib. iii, 7. and did not know at first whether it might But some exclaim; what frenzy rules your mind ?
not be an embassy of Indian queens; but Would you increase the craft of womankind ? upon my going about into the pit, and taking Teach them new wiles and arts? as well you may Instruct a snake to bite, or wolf to prey. Congreve..
ed, and saw so much beauty in every face, ONE of the fathers, if I am rightly in that I found them all to be English. Such formed, has defined a woman to be swou! eyes and lips, cheeks and foreheads, could Coroxoryov, an animal that delights in finery. be the growth of no other country. The I have already treated of the sex in two or complexion of their faces hindered me from three papers, conformably to this definition; observing any farther the colour of their and have in particular observed, that in all hoods, though I could easily perceive by ages they have been more careful than the that unspeakable satisfaction which apmen to adorn that part of the head which peared in their looks, that their own we generally call the outside.
thoughts were wholly taken up on those This observation is so very notorious, pretty ornaments they wore upon their that when in ordinary discourse we say a heads. man has a fine head, a long head, or a good I am informed that this fashion spreads head, we express ourselves metaphorically, daily, insomuch that the Whig and Tory and speak in relation to his understanding; ladies begin already to hang out different whereas when we say of a woman, she has colours, and to show their principles in their à fine, a long, or a good head, we speak head-dress. Nay if I may believe my friend only in relation to her commode.
Will Honeycomb, there is a certain old It is observed among birds, that nature coquette of his acquaintance, who intends has lavished all her ornaments upon the to appear very suddenly in a rainbow hood, male, who very often appears in a most like the Iris in Dryden's Virgil, not quesbeautiful head-dress: whether it be a crest, tioning but that among such a variety of a comb, a tuft of feathers, or a natural little colours she shall have a charm for every plume, erected like a kind of pinnacle on heart. the very top of the head. As nature on the My friend Will, who very much values contrary has poured out her charms in the himself upon his great insight into gallantry, greatest abundance upon the female part tells me, that he can already guess at the of our species, so they are very assiduous humour a lady is in by her hood, as the in bestowing upon themselves the finest courtiers of Morocco knew the disposition garnitures of art. The peacock, in all his of their present emperor by the colour of pride, does not display half the colours the dress which he put on. When Melethat appear in the garments of a British sinda wraps her head in flame colour, her lady, when she is dressed either for a ball heart is set upon execution. When she or birth-day.
covers it with purple, I would not, says he, But to return to our female heads. The advise her lover to approach her; but if she ladies have been for some time in a kind of appears in white, it is peace, and he may moulting season with regard to that part of hand her out of her box with safety, their dress, having cast great quantities of Will informs me likewise, that these riband, lace, and cambric, and in some hoods may be used as signals. Why else, measure reduced that part of the human says he, does Cornelia always put on a figure to the beautiful globular form, which black hood when her husband is gone into is natural to it. We have for a great while the country? expected what kind of ornament would be Such are my friend Honeycomb's dreams substituted in the place of those antiquated of gallantry. For my own part, I impute commodes. Our female projectors were all this diversity of colours in the hoods to the the last summer so taken up with the im- diversity of complexion in the faces of my provement of their petticoats, that they pretty countrywomen. Ovid, in his Art of had not time to attend to any thing else; but Love, has given some precepts as to this having at length sufficiently adorned their particular, though I find they are different lower parts, they now begin to turn their from chose which prevail among the mo thoughts upon the other extremity, as well derns. He recommends a red striped silk remembering the old kitchen proverb, that to the pale complexion; white to the brown, if you light the fire at both ends, the mid- and dark to the fair. On the contrary, my dlle will shift for itself.'
I friend Will, who pretends to be a greater master in this art than Ovid, tells me, I general, with relation to the gift of chastity, that the palest features look the most agree-but at present only enter upon that large able in white sarsenet; that a face which is field, and begin with the consideration of overflushed appears to advantage in the poor and public whores. The other evendeepest scarlet; and that the darkest com- ing, passing along near Covent-garden, I plexion is not a little alleviated by a black was jogged on the elbow as I turned into hood. In short, he is for losing the colour the piazza, on the right hand coming out of the face in that of the hood, as a fire of James-street, by a slim young girl of burns dimly, and a candle goes half out, in about seventeen, who with a pert air asked the light of the sun. “This,' says he, “your me if I was for a pint of wine. I do no Ovid himself has hinted, where he treats know but I should have indulged my cuof these matters, .when he tells us that the riosity in having some chat with her, but blue water-nymphs are dressed in sky- that I am informed the man of the Bumper coloured garments; and that Aurora, who knows me; and it would have made a story always appears in the light of the rising for him not very agreeable to some part of sun, is robed in saffron.'
my writings, though I have in others so Whether these his observations are justly frequently said, that I am wholly uncongrounded I cannot tell; but I have often cerned in any scene I am in but merely as known him, as we have stood together be- a Spectator. This impediment being in my hind the ladies, praise or dispraise the com- way, we stood under one of the arches by plexion of a face which he never saw, from twilight; and there I could observe as exobserving the colour of her hood, and [he] act features as I had ever seen, the most has been very seldom out in these his agreeable shape, the finest neck and bosom; guesses.
in a word, the whole person of a woman As I have nothing more at heart than the exquisitely beautiful. She affected to alhonour and improvement of the fair sex, I lure me with a forced wantonness in her cannot conclude this paper without an ex-look and air; but I saw it checked with hortation to the British ladies, that they hunger and cold; her eyes were wan and would excel the women of all other nations eager, her dress thin and tawdry, her mien as much in virtue and good sense, as they genteel and childish. This strange figure do in beauty: which they may certainly do, gave me much anguish of heart, and to if they will be as industrious to cultivate avoid being seen with her, I went away, their minds, as they are to adorn their but could not forbear giving her a crown. bodies. In the mean while I shall recom- The poor thing sighed, courtesied, and mend to their most serious consideration with a blessing expressed with the utthe saying of an old Greek poet:
most vehemence, turned from me. This creature is what they call newly come upon the town,' but who falling, I suppose, into cruel hands, was left in the first month
from her dishonour, and exposed to pass No. 266.] Friday, January 4, 1711-12. through the hands and discipline of one of
those hags of hell whom we call bawds. Id vero est, quod ego mihi puto palmarium, Me reperisse, quomodo adolescentulus
But lest I should grow too suddenly grave Meretricum ingenia et mores possit noscere :
on this subject, and be myself outrageously Mature ut cum cognorit, perpetuo oderit.
good, I shall turn to a scene in one of FletTer. Eun. Act v. Sc. 4.
cher's plays, where this character is drawn, This I conceive to be my master-piece, that I have and the economy of whoredom most addiscovered how unexperienced youth may detect the artifices of bad women, and by knowing them early,
mirably described. The passage I would detest them for ever.
point to is in the third scene of the second No vice or wickedness which people fall
act of the Humorous Lieutenant. Leucippe, into from indulgence to desires which are
who is agent for the king's lust, and bawds natural to all, ought to place them. below
at the same time for the whole court, is the compassion of the virtuous part of the
very pleasantly introduced, reading her world; which indeed often makes me al
minutes as a person of business, with two little apt to suspect the sincerity of their
maids, her under secretaries, taking invirtue, who are too warmly provoked at
structions at a table before her. Her woother people's personal sins. The unlawful
men, both those under her present tutelage, commerce of the sexes is of all others the
and those which she is laying wait for, are
alphabetically set down in her book; and hardest to avoid; and yet there is no one which you shall hear the rigider part of
as she is looking over the letter C in a mutwomankind speak of with so little mercy.
tering voice, as if between soliloquy and It is very certain that a modest woman can
speaking out, she says,
She is not fifteen they say; for her complexion-
A lovely brown; here 'tis; eyes black and rolling, rageously virtuous.
The body neatly built; she strikes a lute well, I do not design to fall upon failures in / Sings most enticingly. These helps consider'd.
Γυναικο κοσμος ο τροπος, κ' ου χρυσία,
Her maidenhead will amount to some three hundred, I be delivered over to famine. The ironical Or three hundred and fifty crowns, 'twill bear it hand
commendation of the industry and charity somely; Her father's poor; some little share deducted,
of these antiquated ladies, these directors To buy himn a hunting nag
of sin, after they can no longer commit it,
makes up the beauty of the inimitable deThese creatures are very well instructed dication to the Plain-Dealer, and is a masin the circumstances and manners of all who ter-piece of raillery on this vice. But to are any way related to the fair one whom understand all the purlieus of this game they have a design upon. As Cloe is to be the better, and to illustrate this subject in purchased with 350 crowns, and the father future discourses, I must venture myself, taken off with a pad; the merchant's wife with my friend Will, into the hạunts of next to her, who abounds in plenty, is not beauty and gallantry; from pampered vice to have downright money, but the merce- in the habitations of the wealthy, to disnary part of her mind is engaged with a tressed indigent wickedness expelled the present of plate, and a little ambition. She harbours of the brothel.
T. is made to understand that it is a man of quality who dies for her. The examination of a young girl for business, and the crying No. 267. 1 Saturday, January 5, 1711-12. down her value for being a slight thing, together with every other circumstance Cedite Romani scriptores, cedite Graii. in the scene, are inimitably excellent, and
Propert. El. 34. Lib. 2.65. have the true spirit of comedy; though it
Give place, ye Roman, and ye Grecian wits. were to be wished the author had added There is nothing in nature so irksome a circumstance which should make Leu- as general discourses, especially when they cippe's baseness more odious. . "
turn chiefly upon words. For this reason It must not be thought a digression from I shall waive the discussion of that point iny intended speculation, to talk of bawds which was started some years since, whein a discourse upon wenches; for a woman ther Milton's Paradise Lost may be called of the town is not thoroughly and properly an heroic poem? Those who will not give
cation of one of these houses. But the divine poem. It will be sufficient to its compassionate case of very many is, that perfection, if it has in it all the beauties they are taken into such hands without any of the highest kind of poetry; and as for the least suspicion, previous temptation, / those who allege it is not an heroic poem, or admonition to what place they are going. they advance no more to the diminution of The last week I went to an inn in the city it, than if they should say Adam is not to enquire for some provisions which were Æneas, nor Eve Helen, sent by a waggon out of the country; and as I shall therefore examine it by the rules I waited in one of the boxes till the cham- of epic poetry, and see whether it falls berlain had looked over his parcels, I heard short of the Iliad or Æneid, in the beauties an old and a young voice repeating the which are essential to that kind of writing. questions and responses of the church- The first thing to be considered in an epic catechism. I thought it no breach of good- poem, is the fable, which is perfect orimpermanners to peep at a crevice, and look in fect, according as the action which it relates at people so well employed; but who should is more or less so. This action should have I see there but the most artful procuress in three qualifications, in it. First, it should town, examining a most beautiful country- be but one action. Secondly, it should be girl, who had come up in the same waggon an entire action; and, Thirdly, it should with my things, whether she was well edu- be a great action. To consider the action cated, could forbear playing the wanton of the Iliad, Æneid, and Paradise Lost, in with servants and idle fellows, of which these three several lights: Homer, to prethis town, says she, is too full. At the same serve the unity of his action, hastens into time, whether she knew enough of breed- the midst of things, as Horace has observed. ing, as that if a 'squire or a gentleman, or Had he gone up to Leda's egg, or begun one that was her betters, should give her a much later, even at the rape of Helen, or civil salute, she should courtesy and be the investing of Troy, it is manifest that humble nevertheless.' Her innocent 'for- the story of the poem would have been a sooths, yeses, and't please you's, and she series of several actions. He therefore would do her endeavour,' moved the good opens his poem with the discord of his old lady to take her out of the hands of a princes, and artfully interweaves, in the country bumpkin, her brother, and hire several succeeding parts of it, an account her for her own maid. I staid till I saw of every thing material which relates to them all march out to take a coach; the bro- them, and had passed before that fatal disther loaded with a great cheese, he prevail- sention. After the same manner Æneas ed upon her to take for her civilities to his makes his first appearance in the Tyrrhene sister. This poor creature's fate is not far seas, and within sight of Italy, because the off that of her's whom I spoke of above; action proposed to be celebrated was that and it is not to be doubted, but after she has of his settling himself in Latium But bebeen long enough a prey to lust, she will cause it was necessary for the reader to . know what had happened to him in the which it must be supposed to take from its taking of Troy, and in the preceding parts original to its consummation. Thus we see of his voyage, Virgil makes his hero relate the anger of Achilles in its birth, its conit by way of episode in the second and third tinuance, and effects; and Æneas's settlebooks of the Æneid. The contents of both ment in Italy carried on through all the which books came before those of the first oppositions in his way to it both by sea and book in the thread of the story, though for land. The action in Milton excels (I think) preserving this unity of action they follow both the former in this particular; we see Them in the disposition of the poem. Mil-it contrived in hell, executed upon earth, ton, in imitation of these two great poets, and punished by heaven. The parts of it opens his Paradise Lost with an infernal are told in the most distinct manner, and council plotting the fall of man, which is grow out of one another in the most natural the action he proposed to celebrate; and as method. for those great actions, which preceded, in The third qualification of an epic poem point of time, the battle of the angels, and is its greatness. The anger of Achilles was the creation of the world, (which would of such consequence that it embroiled the have entirely destroyed the unity of the kings of Greece, destroyed the heroes of principal action, had he related them in Troy, and engaged all the gods in factions. the same order that they happened) he Æneas's settlement in Italy produced the cast them into the fifth, sixth, and seventh Cæsars, and gave birth to the Roman embooks, by way of episode to this noble poem. pire. Milton's subject was still greater
Aristotle himself allows, that Homer has than either of the former; it does not denothing to boast of as to the unity of his termine the fate of single persons or nafable, though at the same time that great tions; but of a whole species. The united critic and philosopher endeavours to pal- powers of hell are joined together for the liate this imperfection in the Greek poet, destruction of mankind, which they effectby imputing it in some measure to the very ed in part, and would have completed, had nature of an epic poem. Some have been not Omnipotence itself interposed. The of opinion, that the Æneid also labours in principal actors are man in his greatest per this particular, and has episodes which fection, and woman in her highest beauty. may be looked upon as excrescences rather Their enemies are the fallen angels; the than as parts of the action. On the con- Messiah their friend, and the Almighty trary, the poem which we have now under their Protector. In short every thing that our consideration, hath no other episodes is great in the whole circle of being, whe. than such as naturally arise from the sub-ther within the verge of nature, or out of it, ject, and yet is filled with such a multi- has a proper part assigned it in this admir tude of astonishing incidents, that it gives able poem. us at the same time a pleasure of the great- In poetry, as in architecture, not only est variety and of the greatest simplicity; the whole, but the principal members, and uniform in its nature, though diversified in every part of them, should be great. I will the execution.
not presume to say, that the book of games I must observe also, that as Virgil, in the in the Æneid, or that in the Iliad, are not poem which was designed to celebrate the of this nature; nor to reprehend Virgil's original of the Roman empire, has de- simile of the top, and many other of the scribed the birth of its great rival, the Car- same kind in the Iliad, as liable to any centhaginian commonwealth; Milton, with the sure in this particular; but I think we may like art, in his poem on the fall of man, has say, without derogating from those won related the fall of those angels who are his derful performances, that there is an unprofessed enemies. Besides the many other questionable magnificence in every part of beauties in such an episode, its running Paradise Lost, and indeed a much greater parallel with the great action of the poem than could have been formed upon any paħinders it from breaking the unity so much gan system. as another episode would have done, that But Aristotle, by the greatness of the achad not so great an affinity with the prin- tion, does not only mean that it should be cipal subject. In short, this is the same great in its nature, but also in its duration, kind of beauty which the critics admire in or in other words, that it should have a due the Spanish Friar, or the Double Discovery, length in it, as well as what we properly where the two different plots look like call greatness. The just measure of this counter-parts and copies of one another. kind of magnitude, he explains by the fol
The second qualification required in the lowing similitude: An animal no bigger action of an epic poem, is, that it should be than a mite, cannot appear perfect to the an entire action. An action is entire when eye, because the sight takes it in at once, it is complete in all its parts; or as Aristo- and has only a confused idea of the whole, tle describes it, when it consists of a begin- and not a distinct idea of all its parts; if on ning, a middle, and an end. Nothing should the contrary, you should suppose an animal go before it, be intermixed with it, or fol- of ten thousand furlongs in length, the eye low after it, that is not related to it. As, would be so filled with a single part of it, on the contrary, no single step should be that it could not give the mind an idea of omitted in that just and regular process the whole. What these animals are to the eye, a very short or a very long action may see I am not accuser and judge mywould be to the memory. The first would self, but that the indictment is properly be, as it were, lost and swallowed up by it, and fairly laid, before I proceed against the and the other difficult to be contained in it. criminal. Homer and Virgil have shown their principal art in this particular; the action of the
MR. SPECTATOR, -As you are spectaIliad, and that of the Æneid, were in them
tor-general, I apply myself to you in the selves exceeding short, but are so beauti
following case, viz. I do not wear a sword, fully extended and diversified by the inven
but I often divert myself at the theatre, tion of episodes, and the machinery of gods, .
where I frequently see a set of fellows pull with the like poetical ornaments, that they
plain people, by way of humour and frolic, make up an agreeable story, sufficient to l'
i by the nose, upon frivolous or no occasions. employ the memory without overcharging 11
A friend of mine the other night applaudit. "Milton's action is enriched with such a
18 ing what a graceful exit Mr. Wilks made, variety of circumstances, that I have taken
none of those nose-wringers overhearing as much pleasure in reading the contents
him, pinched him by the nose. I was in of his books, as in the best invented story I
by the pit the other night, (when it was very ever met with. It is possible, that the tra
much crowded,) a gentleman leaning upon ditions, on which the Iliad and the Æneid
me, and very heavily, I very civilly rewere built, had more circumstances in them
quested him to remove his hand; for which than the history of the fall of man, as it is
he pulled me by the nose. I would not rerelated in scripture. Besides, it was easier
sent it in so public a place, because I was for Homer and Virgil to dash the truth
unwilling to create a disturbance; but have with fiction, as they were in no danger of
since reflected upon it as a thing that is unoffending the religion of their country by it.
manly. and disingenuous, renders the noseBut as for Milton, he had not only a very
puller odious, and makes the person pulled few circumstances upon which to raise his
by the nose look little and contemptible. poem, but was also obliged to proceed with
This grievance I humbly request you will che greatest caution in every thing that he
endeavour to redress. I am your admirer, added out of his own invention. And in
JAMÉS EASY.' deed, notwithstanding all the restraint hel. MR. SPECTATOR,Your discourse of was under, he has filled his story with so the 29th of December,* on love and marmany surprising incidents, which bear so riage, is of so useful a kind that I cannot close an analogy with what is delivered in forbear adding my thoughts to yours on holy writ, that it is capable of pleasing the that subject. Methinks it is a misfortune, most delicate reader, without giving offence that the marriage state, which in its own to the most scrupulous.
nature is adapted to give us the completest The modern critics have collected from happiness this life is capable of, should be several hints in the. Iliad and Æneid the so uncomfortable a one to so many as it space of time which is taken up by the ac- daily proves. But the mischief generally tion of each of those poems; but as a great proceeds from the unwise choice people part of Milton's story was translated in re- make for themselves, and an expectation gions that lie out of the reach of the sun and of happiness from things not capable of the sphere of day, it is impossible to gratify giving it. Nothing but the good qualities the reader with such a calculation, which of the person beloved can be a foundation indeed would be more curious than instruc- for a love of judgment and discretion; and tive; none of the critics, either ancient or whoever expects happiness from any thing modern, having laid down rules to circum- but virtue, wisdom, good humour, and a scribe the action of an epic poem with any similitude of manners, will find themselves determined number of years, days, or hours. widely mistaken. But how few are there
This piece of criticism on Milton's Para- who seek after these things, and do not lise Lost shall be carried on in the following rather make riches their chief, if not their Saturdays' papers.
only aim? How rare is it for a man, when he engages himself in the thoughts of mar
riage, to place his hopes of having in such No. 268.] Monday, January 7, 1711-12. a woman a constant agreeable companion:
One who will divide his cares, and double Minus aptus acutis
his joys? Who will manage that share of his Naribus horum hominum Hor. Sat. iii. Lib. 1. 29,
estate he intrusts to her conduct with pru
dence and frugality, govern his house with unfit For lively sallies of corporeal wit. --Creech.
economy and discretion, and be an orna
ment to himself and family? Where shall It is not that I think I have been more we find the man who looks out for one who witty than I ought of late, that at present I places her chief happiness in the practice of wholly forbear any attempt towards it: I virtue, and makes her duty her continual am of opinion that I ought sometimes to pleasure? No: men rather seek for money lay before the world the plain letters of my as the complement of all their desires; and correspondents in the artless dress in which they hastily send them, that the reader |
* No. 261.