Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

something to the object it delights in, and anger spoils the person against whom it is moved of

ad orl No. 264.] WEDNESDAY, JAN. 2, 1711-12. something laudable in him; from this degeneracy, - Secretum iter et fallentis semita vitæ. therefore, and a sort of self-love, we are more prone

Hor. 1 Ep. xviii. 103. to take up the ill-will of our parents, than to follow

ADAPTED. them in their friendships.

In public walks let who will shine or stray. “One would think there should need no more to I'll silent steal through life in my own way. make men keep up this sort of relation with the It has been from age to age an affectation to love utmost sanctity, than to examine their own hearts. the pleasure of solitude, among those who cannot If every father remembered his own thoughts and possibly be supposed qualified for passing life in that inclinations when he was a son, and every son re-l manner. This people have taken up from reading membered what he expected from his father, when he the many agreeable things which have been written himselt was in a state of dependance, this one reflection on that subject, for which we are beholden to excelwould preserve men from being dissolute or rigid in lent persons who delighted in being retired, and abthese several capacities. The power and subjection stracied from the pleasures that enchant the genebetween them, when broken, make them more em- rality of the world. This way of life is recommended phatically tyrants and rebels against each other, indeed with great beauty, and in such a manner as with greater cruelty of heart, than the disruption of disposes the reader for the time to pleasing forget. states and empires can possibly produce. I shall

fulness, or negligence of the particular hurry of life end this application to you with two letters, which in which he is engaged, together with a longing for passed between a mother and son very lately, and that state which he is charmed with in description. are as follows:

But when we consider the world itself, and how few

there are capable of a religious, learned, or philo“ DEAR FRANK,

sophic solitude, we shall be apt to change a regard “ If the pleasures, which I have the grief to hear to that sort of solitude, for being a little singular in you pursue in town, do not take up all your time, enjoying time after the way a man himself likes do not deny your mother so much of it as lo read best in the world, without going so far as wbolly to seriously this letter. You said before Mr. Letacre, withdraw from it. I have often observed, there is that an old woman might live very well in the not a man breathing who does not differ from all country upon half my jointure, and that your father other men as much in the sentiments of his mind as was a food fool to give me a rent charge of eight the features of his face. The felicity is, when any hundred a-year to the prejudice of his son. What one is so happy as to find out and follow what is the Letacre said to you upon that occasion, you ought proper bent of his genius, and turn all his endeavours to bave borne with more decency, as he was your to exert himself according as that prompts him. Infather's well-beloved servant, than to have called stead of this, which is an innocent method of enjoying him country-put. In the first place, Frank, I musta man's self, and turning out of the general tracks tell you, I will have my rent duly paid, for I will wherein you have crowds of rivals, there are those make up to your sisters for the partiality I was who pursue their own way out of a sourness and guilty of, in making your father do so much as he spirit of contradiction. These men do every thing has done for you. I may, it seems, live upon half which they are able to support, as if guilt and immy jointure! I lived upon much less, Frank, when punity could not go together. They choose a thing I carried you from place to place in these arms, and only because another dislikes it; and affect forcould neither eat, dress, or mind any thing for feed- sooth an inviolable constancy in matters of no ing and tending you a weakly child, and shedding manner of moment. Thus sometimes an old fellow tears when the convulsions you were then troubled shall wear this or that sort of cut in his clothes with with returned upon you. By my care you outgrew | great integrity, while all the rest of the world are them, to throw away the vigour of your youth in degenerated into buttons, pockets, and loops unthe arms of harlots, and deny your mother what is known to their ancestors. As insignificant as even not yours to detain. Both your sisters are crying this is, if it were searched to the bottom, you perhaps to see the passion which I smother; but if you would find it not sincere, but that he is in the please to go on thus like a gentleman of the town, fashion in his heart, and holds out from mere obstiand forget all regards to yourself and family, I shall pacy. But I am running from my intended purpose, immediately enter upon your estate for the arrear which was to celebrate a certain particular manner due to me, and, without one tear more, contemn of passing away life, in contradiction to no man,

you for forgetting the fondness of your mother, as but with a resolation to contract none of the exor! much as you have the example of your father. O bitant desires by which others are enslaved. The Frank, do I live to omit writing myself,

best way of separating a man's self from the world, “ Your affectionate Mother, is to give up the desire of being known to it. After

"A. T.?" la man bas preserved his innocence, and performed “Madam,

all duties incumbent upon him, his time spent in his “I will come down to-morrow and pay the slave. If they who affect show and pomp knew how

own way is what makes his life differ from that of a money on my knees. Pray write so no more. I

many of their spectators derided their trivial taste, will take care you never chall, for I will be for ever hereafter,

they would be very much less elated, and have an “ Your most dutiful Son,

inclination to examine the merit of all they have to

do with : they would soon find out that there are “F. T.

many who make a figure below what their fortune or “ I will bring down new boods for my sisters.

merit entitles them to, out of mere choice, and an Pray let all be forgotten.”-T.

elegant desire of ease and disencumbrance. It would look like romance to tell you in this age, of an old man who is contented to pass for a humourist, and one who does not understand the figure he ought to make in the world, while he lives in a lodging of has must come to somebody, and that he has no heirs, ten shillings a week with only one servant; while have that effect wherever he is known, that he bas he dresses himself according to the season in cloth every day three or four invitations to dine at difor in stuff, and has no one necessary attention ferent places, which he generally takes care to to any thing but the bell which calls to prayers choose in such a manner as not to seem inclined to twice a day: I say it would look like a fable to re. the richer man. All the young men respect him, port that this gentleman gives away all which is the and say be is just the same man he was when they overplus of a great fortune by secret methods to were boys. He uses no artifice in the world, but other men. It he has not the pomp of a numerous makes use of men's designs upon him to get a train, and of professors of service to him, he has every maintenance out of them. This he carries on by a day he lives the conscience that the widow, the certain peevishness (which he acts very well,) that fatherless, the mourner, and the stranger, bless his no one would believe could possibly enter into the unseen hand in their prayers. This humourist gives head of a poor fellow. His mien, his dress, bis up all the compliments which people of his own carriage, and his language, are such, that you would condition could make him, for the pleasure of be at a loss to guess whether in the active part of his helping the afflicted, supplying the needy, and be life he had been a sensible citizen, or scholar that friending the neglected. This humourist keeps to knew the world. These are the great circumstances himself much more than he wants, and gives a vast in the life of Irus, and thus does he pass away his refuse of his superfluities to purchase heaven, and days a stranger to mankind; and at his death, the by freeing others from the temptations of worldly worst that will be said of him will be, that he got want, to carry a retinue with him thither.

by every man who had expectations from him, more Of all men who affect living in a particular way, than he had to leave him. next to this admirable character, I am the most I have an inclination to print the following letters; enamoured of Irus, whose condition will not admit for I have heard the author of them has somewhere of such largesses, and who perhaps would not be or other seen me, and by an excellent faculty in capable of making them if it were. Irus, though he mimicry my correspondents tell me he can assume is now turned of fifty, has not appeared in the world my air, and give my taciturnity a slyness which diin his real character since five-and-twenty, at which verts more than any thing I could say if I were age he ran out a small patrimony, and spent some present. Thus I am glad my silence is atoned for time after with rakes who had lived upon him. A to the good company in town. He has carried his course of ten years time passed in all the little skill in imitation so far, as to have forged a letter alleys, by-paths, and sometimes open taverns and from my friend Sir Roger in such a manner, that streets of this town, gave Irus a perfect skill in any one but I, who am tboroughly acquainted wib judging of the inclinations of mankind, and acting him, would have taken it for genuine. accordingly. He seriously considered he was poor, and the general horror which most men have of all “MR. SPECTATOR, who are in that condition. Irus judged very rightly, “Having observed in Lilly's grammar how sweetly that while he could keep his poverty a secret, Bacchi he should not feel the weight of it; be improved this

Bacchus and Apollo run in a verse; I have to pred thought into an affectation of closeness and covet

serve the aunity between them) called in Bacchus

to the aid of my profession of the theatre. So that ousness. Upon this one prirciple he resolved to

while some people of quality are bespeaking plays of govern his future life; and in the thirty-sixth year

me to be acted on such a day, and others, hogsof his age he repaired to Long-lane, and looked

heads for their houses against such a time; I am upon several dresses which bung there deserted by

| wholly employed in the agreeable service of wit and their first masters, and exposed to the purchase of

wine. Sir, I have sent you Sir Roger de Coverley's the best bidder. At this place he exchanged his

jetter to me, which pray comply with in favour of gay shabbiness of clothes tit for a much younger

the Bumper Tavern. Be kind, for you know a man, to warm ones that would be decent for a much

player's utmost pride is the approbation of the older one. Irus came out thoroughly equipped from head to foot, with a little oaken cane, in the form of

Spectator. a substantial man that did not mind his dress, turned

“ I am your admirer, though unknown, of fifty. He had at this time fifty pounds in ready

“ RICHARD ESTCOURT." money; and in this habit, with this fortune, he took his present lodging in St. John-street, at the man

“ TO MR. ESI COURT. sion-house of a tailor's widow, who washes, and can clear-starch his bands. From that time to this “AT HIS HOUSE IN COVENT-GARDEN, he has kept the main stock, without alteration under or over to the value of five pounds. He left off all

“ Coverley, December 10th, 1711. his old acquaintance to a man, and ali his arts

“Old Comical ONE, of life, except the play of back-gammon, upon which he has more than bore his charges. Irus has, i “The hogsheads of neat port came safe, and ever since he came into this neighbourhood, given have gotten thee good reputation in these parts, and all the intimations he skilfully could of being a I am glad to hear, that a fellow who has been laving close hunks worth money: nobody comes to visit out his money ever since he was born, for the mere him, he receives no letters, and tells his money pleasure of wine, has bethought himself of joining morning and evening. He has from the public profit and pleasure together. Our sexton (post papers a knowledge of what generally passes, shuns inan) having received strength from thy wine sikke all discourses of money, but shrugs his shoulders when his fit of the gout, is hugely taken with it; he says you talk of securities; he deuies his being rich, with it is given by nature for the use of families, and that the air which all do who are vain of being so. He is no steward's table can be without it; that v the oracle of a neighbouring justice of the peace, who strengthens digestion, excludes surfeits, fevers, and meets him at the coffee-house; the hopes that what he physic; which green wines of any kind cannot do! Pray get a pure snug room, and I hope next term to 'a little cluster of women sitting together in the help to fill your Bumper with our people of the prettiest coloured hoods that I ever saw. Onc of club; but you must have no bells stirring when the them was blue, another yellow, and another philo Spectator comes; I forbore ringing to dinner while mot; the fourth was of a pink colour, and the fifth he was down with me in the country. Thank you 'of'a pale green. I looked with as much pleasure for the little bams and Portugal onions; pray keep upon this little party-coloured assembly, as upon a some always by you. You know my supper is only bed of tulips, and did not know at first whether it good Cheshire cheese, best mustard, a golden pippin, might not be an embassy of Indian queens; but attended with a pipe of John Sly's best. Sir Harry upon my going about into the pit, and taking them has stolen all your songs, and tells the story of the in front, I was immediately undeceived, and saw so 5th of November to perfection.

much beauty in every face, that I found them all to “ Yours to serve you,

be English. Such eyes and lips, cheeks and fure “ ROGER DE COVERLEY.

heads, could be the growth of no other country. “ We have lost old John since you were here."

The complexion of their faces hindered me from obT.

serving any further the colour of their hoods, thugh I could easily perceive, by that unspeakable

satisfaction which appeared in their looks, that their No. 265.1 THURSDAY, JANUARY 3, 1711-12. own thoughts were wholly taken up on those pretty

ornaments they wore upon their heads. Dixerit e multis aliquis, quid virus in angues

I am informed that this fashion spreads daily. ..tncis? et rabida tradis ovile lupa.

Ovid, de Art Am. iil 7 linsomuch that the Whig and Tory ladies begin al

ready to hang out different colours, and to show But some exclaim: Wat frenzy rules your mind? Would you increase the craft or womitukind?

| their principles in their head-dress. Nay, if I may Teach then new wiles and arts? As well you may I believe my friend Will Honeycomb, there is a Instruct a snake to bite, or woll to prey.-CONGREVE certain old coquette of his acquaintance, who intends One of the fathers, if I am rightly informed, has to appear very suddenly in a rainbow hood, like the refined a woman to be an animal that delights Iris in Dryden's Virgil, not questioning but that in finery. I have already treated of the sex in two among such a variety of colour's she sha!l have a or three papers, conformably to this definition; and charm for every heart. have in particular observed, that in all ages they My friend Will, who very much values himself have been more careful than the men to adorn that upon his great insight into gallantry, tells me, that part of the head which we generally all the outside. he can already guess at the humour a lady is in by

This observation is so very notorious, that when her hood, as the courtiers of Morocco know the dis. in ordinary discourse we say a man bas a fine head, position of their present emperor by the colour of a long head, or a good head, we express onrselves the dress which he puts on. When Melesinda metaphorically, and speak in relation to his under-wraps her head in flame colour, her heart is set standing; whereas when we say of a woman, she has upon execution. When she covers it with purple, a fine, a lung, or a good head, we speak only in re- I would not, says he, advise her lover to approach lation to her commode.

her; but if she appears in white, it is peace, and he It is observed aniong birds, that nature has la-may hand her out of her box with safety vished all her ornaments upon the male, who very ! Will informs me likewise, that these hoods may often appears in a most beautiful head-dress: whether be used as signals. Why else, says he, does Cor. it be a crest, a comb, a tuft of feathers, or a natural nelia always put on a black hood when her husband little plume, erected like a kind of pinnacle on the is gone into the country? very top of the head. As Nature on the contrary Such are my friend Honeycomb's dreams of galhas poured out her charms in the greatest abundance lantry. For my own part, I impute this diversity of upon the female part of our species, so they are very colours in the hoods to the diversity of complexion assiduous in bestowing upon themselves the finest in the faces of my pretty couutrywomen. Ovid, in garnitures of art. The peacock, in all his pride, his Art of Love, has given some precepts as to this does not display half the colours that appear in the particular, though I find they are different from garments of a British lady, when she is dressed those which prevail among the moderns. He reeither for a ball or a birth-day.

commends a red striped silk to the pale comBut to return to our female heads. The ladies plexion; white to the brown, and dark to the fair. have been for some time in a kind of moulting On the contrary, my friend Will, who pretends to be season with regard to that part of their dress, a greater master in this art than Ovid, tells me, having cast great quantities of riband, lace, and that the palest features look the most agreeable in cambric, and in some measure reduced that part of white sarcenet ; that a face which is over-tlusbed ap the human figure to the beautiful globular form, pears to advantage in the deepest scarlet; and that which is natural to it. We have for a great while the darkest complexion is not a little alleviated by a expected what kind of ornament would be substi- black hood. In short, he is for losing the colour of tuted in the place of those antiquated commodes. the face in that of the hood, as a fire burns dimly, Our female projectors were all the last summer so and a candle goes half out in the light of the sun. taken up with the improvement of their petticoats, į“ This,” says he, “ your Ovid himself has hinted, that they had not time to attend to any thing else; where he treats of these matters, when he tells us but having at length sufficiently adorned their lower that the blue-water nymphs are dressed in skyparts, they now begin to turn their thoughts upon the coloured garments; and that Aurora, who always other extremity, as well remembering the old kitchen appears in the light of the rising sun, is rubed in proverb, “ that if you light the fire at both ends, satiron." The iniddle will shift for itself.”

Whether these his observations are justly grounded I am engaged in this speculation by a sight I cannot tell; but I have often known him, as we which I lately met with at the onera. As I was have stond together behind the ladies, praise or dig standing in the hinder part of a box, I took notice of praise the complexion of a face which he never sau, C.

Meretricum um corn

from observing the colour of her hood, and (he) has from her dishonour, and exposed to pass through the been very seldom out in these his guesses.

i hands and discipline of one of those hags of hell As I have nothing more at heart than the nonour whom we call bawds. But lest I should grow too and improvement of the fair sex, I cannot conclude suddenly grave on this subject, and be myself out. this paper without an exhortation to the British rageously good, I shall turn to a scene in one of ladies, that they would excel the women of all other Fletcher's plays, where this character is drawn, and nations as much in virtue and good sense as they the economy of whoredom most admirably described. do in beauty ; which they may certainly do, if they 'The passage I would point to is in the third scene of will be as industrious to eultivate their minds as the second act of The Humorous Lieutenant. Leuthey are to adorn their bodies. In the inean while 'cippe, who is agent for the king's lust, and bawds I shall recommend to their most serious considera at the same time for the whole court, is very pleation the saying of an old Greek poet:

santly introduced, reading her minutes as a person The mind, not the dress, adorneth woman,

of business, with two maids, her under-secretaries, taking instructions at a table before her. Her women, both those under her present tutelage, and

those which she is laying wait for, are alphabetically No. 266.1 FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 1711-12. set down in her book; and as she is looking over Id vero est, quod ego mihi puto palmarium

the letter C in a muttering voice, as if between Me reperisse, quomodo adolescentulus Meretricum ingenia et mores possit noscere;

soliloquy and speaking out, she says, Mature ut cum cognorit, perpetuo oderit.

Her maidenhead will yield me: let me see now:

TER Eun. act v. sc. 4. She is not fifteen they say: for her complexion This I conceive to he my master-piece, that I have dis- |

Cloe, Cloe, Cloe, here I have her, covered how unexperienced youth may detect the artifices of

Cloe, the daughter of a country gentleman; bad women, and by knowing them early, detest them for ever

Her age upon fifteen. Now her complexion,

A lovely brown; here 'tis ; eyes black and rolling, No vice or wickedness which people fall into The body neatly built; she strikes a lute well; from indulgence to desires which are natural to all,

Sings most enticingly. These belps consider'd,

Her maidenhead will amount to some three hundred, ought to place them below the compassion of the

Or three hundred and bfty crowns; 'twill bear it handsomely: 1 virtuous part of the world : which indeed often | Her father's poor, some little share deducted, makes me a little apt to suspect the sincerity of their

To buy him a hunting nagvirtue, who are too warmly provoked at other The creatures are very well instructed in the cir.

personal sins. The unlawful commerce of cumstances and manners of all who are any way lhe sexes is of all others the hardest to avoid ; and related to the fair one whom they have a design yet there is no one which you shall hear the rigider upon. As Cloe is to be purchased with 350 crowns, part of womankind speak of with so little mercy. and the father taken off with a pad; the inercbant's It is very certain that a modest woman cannot ab- wife next to her, who abounds in plenty, is not to hor the breach of chastity too much ; but pray let have downright money, but the mercenary part of her bate it for herself, and only pity it iv others. her mind is engaged with a present of plate and a Will Honeycomb calls these over-offended ladies, little ambition. She is made to understand that it the outrageously virtuous.

is a inan of quality who dies for her. The examiI do not design to fall upon failures in general, nation of a young girl for business, and the crying with relation to the gift of chastity, but at present down her value for being a slight thing, together only enter upou that large field, and begin with the with every other circumstance in the scene, are consideration of poor and public whores. The other inimitably excellent, and have the true spirit of evening, passing along near Covent-garden, I was comedy ; though it were to be wished the author bad jogged on the elbow as I turned into the piazza, on added a circumstance which should make Leucippe's the right hand coming out of James-street, by a business more odious. slim young girl of about seventeen, who with a pert! It must not be thought a d air asked me if I was for a pint of wine. I do not tended speculation, to talk of bawds in a discourse

know but I should have indulged my curiosity in upon wenches : for a woman of the town is not ! having some chat with her, but that I am informed thoroughly and properly such, without having gone

the man of the Bumper knows me; and it would through the education of one of these houses. But have made a story for him not very agreeable to the compassionate case of very many is, that they some part of my writings, though I have in others are taken into such hands without any the least so frequently said, that I am wholly unconcerned in suspicion, previous temptation, or admonition is any scene I'am in but merely as a Spectator. This what place they are going. The last week I went impediment being in my way, we stood under one to an inn in the city to inquire for some provisions of the arches by twilight; and there I could observe which were sent by a waggon out of the country;. as exact features as I had ever seen, the most agree and as I waited in one of the boxes till the chamber. uble shape, the finest neck and bosom, in a word, lain had looked over his parcels, I heard an old and the whole person of a woman exquisitely beautiful. I young voice repeating the questions and responses

ted to allure me with a forced wantonness of the church-catechism. I thought it to breach in her look and air: but I saw it checked with of good manners to peep at a crevice, and look in at hunger and cold : her eyes were wan and cager, people so well employed; but who should I see there her dress thin and tawdry, her mieu genteel and but the most arttul procuress in town, examining a childish. This strange figure gave me much an- most beautiful country girl, who had come up in top guish of heart, and to avoid being seen with her, I same waggon with my things," whether she was went away, but could not forbear giving her a well educated, could forbear playing the wants crown. The poor thing sighed, curtsied, and with with servants and idle fellows, of which this town a blessing expressed with the utinost vehemence, says she, is too full.” At the same time, “whtim turned from me. This creature is what they call she knew enough of breeding, as that if a squire ? “ newly come upon the town,” but who, falling I a gentleman, or one that was her betters, shodie suppose into cruel bands, was left in the first month give her a civil salute, she could courtesy anu i

son from

bumble nevertheless." Her innocent “ forsooths, hero relate it by way of episode in the second and yeses and't please yous, and she would do her en- third books of the Æneid. The contents of both deavour," moved the good old lady to take her out of which books come before those of .he first book in the hands of a country bumpkin, her brother, and the thread of the story, though for preserving this hire her for her own maid. I staid till I saw them i unity of action they follow them in the disposition all march out to take coach; the brother loaded of the poem. Milton, in imitation of these two great with a great cheese, he prevailed upon her to take poets, opens his Paradise Lost with an internal for her civilitics to his sister. This poor creature's council plotting the fall of man, which is the action fate is not far off that of her's whom I spoke of he proposed to celebrate; and as for those great acabove; and it is not to be doubted, but alter she tions, which preceded in point of time, the battle of has been long enough a prey to lust, she will be de- the angels, and the creation of the world (which livered over to famine. The irovical commenda- would have entirely destroyed the unity of the prin. tion of the industry and charity of these antiquated cipal action, had he related them in the same order ladies, these directors of sin, after they can no that they happened), he cast them in the fifth, sixth, longer commit it, makes up the beauty of the ini- and seventh books, by way of episode to this poble mitable dedication to the Plain-Dealer, and is a poem. master-piece of raillery on this vice. But to un- | Aristotle himself allows, that Homer has nothing derstand all the purlieus of this game the better, to boast of as to the unity of his fable, though at and to illustrate this subject in fuiure discourses, the same time that great critic and philosopher enI must venture myself, with my friend Will, into deavoured to palliate this imperfection in the Greek the haunts of beauty and gallantry; from pampered poet, by imputing it in some measure to the very vice in the habitations of the wealthy, to distressed nature of an epic poem. Some have been of opi. indigent wickedness expelled the harbours of the nion, that the neid also labours in this particular, brothel-T.

and has Episodes which may be looked upon as excrescences rather than as parts of the action. On

the contrary, the poem which we have now under No. 267.1 SATURDAY, JANUARY 5, 1711-12.

our consideration, hath no other episodes than such Cedite Romani scriptores, cedite Graii.

as naturally arise from the subject, and yet is filled PROPERT. EI. 34. lib. 2. ver. 95.

with such a multitude of astonishing incidents, that Give place, ye Roman and ye Grecian wits. it gives us at the same time a pleasure of the greatest

variety and of the greatest simplicity; uniform in There is nothing in nature so irksoine as general

e as general its nature, though diversified in the execution.* discourses, especially when they turn chiefly upon I must observe also, that as Virgil. in the poem words. For this reason I shall wave the discussion which was designed to celebrate the original of the of that point which was started some years since, Roman empire, has described the birth of its great whether Milton's Paradise Lost may be called an rival, the Carthaginian commonwealth ; Milton, beroic poem ? Those who will not give it that title, with the like art in his poem on the fall of man. may call it (if they please) a divine poem. It will

has related the fall of those angels who are his probe sufficient to its perfection, if it has in it all the

fessed enemies. Besides the many other beauties beauties of the highest kind of poetry : and as for

in such an episode, its running parallel with the those who allege it is not an heroic poem, they ad- great action of the poem, hinders it from breaking vance no more to the diminution of it, than if they the unity so much as another episode would have should say Adam is not Æneas, nor Eve Helen.

done, that had not so great aftinity with the prinI shall therefore examine it by the rules of epic cipar' subiect

cipal subject. In short, this is the same kind of

in poetry, and see whether it falls short o! the Iliad or

beauty which the critics admire in the Spanish Friar, Æneid, in the beauties which are essential to that or the Double Discovery, where the two different kind of writing. The first thing to be considered plots look like counter-pars and copies of one in an epic poem is the fable, which is perfect or im

another. perfect, according as the action which it relates is

The second qualification required in the action of more or less so. This action should have three

an epic poem is, that it should be an entire action. qualifications in it. First, it should be but one ac-An action is entire when it is complete in all its tion. Secondly, it should be an entire action; and,

uon; and, parts; or, as Aristotle describes it, when it consists Thirdly, it should be a great action. To consider of a beginning, a middle. and an end. Nothing the action of the Iliad, Æneid, and Paradise Lost, 'should go before it, be intermixed with it, or follow in these three several lights. Homer, to preserve after it, that is not related to it. As, on the conthe unity of his action, bastens into the midst of trarv, no single step should be omitted in that just things, as Horace has observed. Had he gone upland regular process which it must be supposed to So Leda's egg, or beguo much later, even at the

take from its original to its consummation. Thus rape of Helen, or the investing of Troy, it is mani- we see the anger of Achilles in its birth, its con. fest that the story of the poem would have been a itinuance, and effects; and Æneas's settlement in series of several actions. He therefore opens bis Italy carried on through all the oppositions in his poem with the discord of his princes, and artfully way to it both by sea and land. The action in interweaves, in the several succeeding parts of it, Milton excels (I think) both the former in this par. an account of every thing material which relates to ticular: we see it contrived in hell, executed upon them, and had passed before that fatal dissension. earth, and punished by Heaven. The parts of it After the same manner Æneas inakes his first ap- are told in the most distinct manner, and grow out pearance in the Tyrrhene seas, and within sight of of one another in the most natural order. Italy, because the action proposed to be celebrated i The third qualification of an epic poem is its was that of his settling hiinseif in Latium. But be

greatness. The anger of Achilles was of such concause it was necessary for the reader to know what had happened to him in the taking of Troy, and in the preceding parts of his voyage, Virgil makes his The clause in Italics is not in the original paper in iolia

« AnteriorContinuar »