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Letter C, in a muttering Voice, as if between Soliloquy and speaking out, she says,
Her Maiden-head will yield me ; let me see now;
THESE Creatures are very well instructed in the Cir. cumstances and Manners of all who are any way related to the fair one whom they have a Design upon. As Clue is to be purchased with 350 Crowns, and the Father taken off with a Pad; the Merchant's Wife next to her, who abounds in Plenty, is not to have down-right Money, but the mercenary Part of her Mind is engaged with a Present of Plate and a little Ambition. She 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 down her Value for being a llight Thing, together with every other Circumstance in the Scene, are in niitably excellent, and have the true Spirit of Comely; tho'it were to be wished the Author had added a Circumstance which Ahould make Leucippe's Cafeness more odious. - IT must not be thought a Digression from my intended Speculation, to talk of Bawds in a Discourse up- . on Wenches ; for a Woman of the Town is not thoroughly and properly such, without having gone through the Education of one of these Houses, But the compaslicnate Case of very muy is, that they are taken into such Hands without any the least Suspicion, previous Temptation, cr. Admonition to what Place they are going. The last Week I went to an Inn in the City to enquire for some Provifions which were sent by a Waggon out of the Country ; and as I waited in one of the Boxes till the Chamberlain
had looked over his Parcel, I heard an old and a young Voice repeating the Questions and Responses of the ChurchCatechism. I thought it no Breach of good Manners to peep at a Crevise, and look in at People fo well employed; but who should I see there but the most artful Procure?s in the Town, examining a most beautisul CountryGirl, who had come up in the fame Waggon with my Things, Whether he was quell educated, could forbear playing the Wanton with Servants and idle Fellows, of which this Town; says she, is too full: At the same Time, Whether he knew enough of Breeding, as that if a Squire or a Gentleman, or one that was her Betters, Jould give her a Civil Salute, me frould curthy and be humble nevertheless. Her innocent for footh's, ye's, and't please you's, and she would do her Endeavour, moved the good old Lady to take her out of the Hands of a Country Bumkin her Brother, and hire her for her own Maid. I stay'd till I saw them all marched out to take Coach ; the Brother loaded with a great Cheese, he prevailed upon her to take for her Civilities to his Sister. This poor Creature's Fate is not far off that of her's whom I spoke of above, and it is not to be doubted, but after she has been long enough a Prey to Luit the will be delivered over to Famine. The Ironical Commendation of the Industry and Charity of these antiquated Ladies, these Directors of Sin, after they can no longer commit it, makes up the Beauty of the inimitable Dedication to the Plain Dealer, and is a Mafter-piece of Rallery on this Vice. But to understand all the Purlues of this Game the better, and to illustrate this Subject in future Discourses, I must venture my self, with my Friend Will, into the Haunts of Beauty and Galantry ; from pampered Vice in the Habitations of the Wealthy, to die Itressed indigent Wickedness expelled the Harbours of the Brothel.
Saturday, January 5.
Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graii.
THERE is nothing in Nature fo irksom as ge
neral Discourses, especially when they turn chiefly
upon Words. For this Reason I shall wave the Discusion of that point which was started some Years fince, whether Milton's Paradise Lost may be called an Heroick Poem? Thofe who will not give it that Title, may call it (if they please) a Divine Poem. It will be sufficient to its Perfection, if it has in it all the Beauties of the "highest kind of Poetry; and as for those who alledge it is not an Heroick Poem, they advance no more to the Di.. minution of it, than if they should say Adam is not Æneasy nor Eve Helen. · I fall therefore examine it by the Rules of Epic Poetry, and see whether it falls short of the Iliad of Æneid, in the Beauties which are essential to that kind of Writing. The first thing to be considered in an Epic Poem, is the Fable, which is perfect or imperfect, according as the Action which it relates is more or less fo. This Action shall have three Qualifications in it. First, it should be but One Action. Secondly, It should be an Entire Action; and, Thirdly, It should be a great Action. To consider the Action of the Iliad, Æneid,and Paridise Loft, in these three several Lights. Homer to preserve the Unity of his Action hastens into the Midst of Things, as Horace has observed : Had he gone up to Leda's Egg, or begun much later, even at the Rape of Helen, or the investing of Troy, it is manifest that the Story of the Poem would have been a Series of several Actions. He therefore opens his Poem with the Discord of his Princes, and artfully interweaves in the several fucceeding Parts of it, an Account of every Thing material which relates to them, and had passed before that fatal Dissension. After the same manner, Æneas makes his first Appearance in
the the Tyrrhene Seas, and within Sight of Italy, because the Action proposed to be celebrated was that of his fettling himself in Latium. But because 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, l'irgil makes his Heroe relate it by way of Episode in the second and third Books of the Æneid. The contents of both which Books come before those of the first Book in the
Thread of the Story, tho’ for preserving of this Unity of Action they follow them in the Disposition of the Foem. Milton, in imitation of these two great Poets, opens his Paradise Lost with an Infernal Council plotting the Fall of Man, which is the Action he proposed to célebrate ; and as for those great A&tions, which preceded, in Point of Time, the Battle of the Angels, and the Creation of the World, (which would have entirely destroyed the Unity of his principal Action, had he related them in the same Order that they happened) he cast them into the fifth, fixth, and seventh Books, by way of Episode to this noble Poem.
Ariftoile himself allows, that Homer has nothing to boast of as to the Unity of his Fable, tho' at the fame Time that great Critick and Philosopher endeavours to palliate this Imperfection in the Greek Poet, by imputing it in some Measure to the very Nature of an Epic Poem. Some liave been of Opinion, that the Aneid alto labours in this Particular, and hes Episodes which may be looked upon as Excrescencies rather than as Parts of the Action. On the contrary, the Poem which we have no'y under our Consideration, hath no other Episodes than such as naturally arise from the Subject, and yet is filled with such a Multitude of astonishing Incidents, that it gives us at the fame time a Pleasure of the greatest Variety, and of the greatest Simplicity; uniform in its Nature, tho' diversified in the Execution.
I must observe also, that as Virgil in the Poem which was designed to celebrate the Original of the Roman Empire, has described the Birth of its great Rival, the Carthaginian Commonwealth : Milton, with the like Art in his Poem on the fall of Man, has related the Fall of those Angels who are his profeffed Enemies. Besides the many other Beauties in such an Episode, its running parallel
with the great Action of the Poem, hinders it from breaking the Unity so much as another Episode would have done, that had not so great an Affinity with the principal Subject. In short, this is the fame kind of Beauty which the Criticks admire in the Spanish Fryar, or the Double Dif covery, where the two different Plots look like Counterparts and Copies of one another.
THE second Qualification required in the Action of an Epic Poem, is, that it should be an entire Action : An Action is entire when it is compleat in all its Parts; or, as Aristotle describes it, when it confifts of a Beginning, a Middle, and an End. Nothing should go before it, be intermixed with it, or follow after it, that is not related to it. As on the contrary, no single Step should be omitted in that just and regular Process which it must be supposed to take from its Original to its consummation. Thus we see the Anger of Achilles in its Birth, its Continuance and Effects; and Æneas's Settlement in Italy, carried on tho' all the Oppositions in his Way to it both by Sea and Land, The Action in Milton excels (I think) both the former in this Particular ; we see it contrived in Hell, executed upon Earth, and punished by Heaven. The Parts of it are told in the most distinct Manner, and grow out of one another in the most natural Method.
THE third Qualification of an Epick Poem is its Greatness. The Anger of Achilles was of such Consequence, that it embroiled the Kings of Greece, deitroyed the Heroes of Troy and engaged all the Gods in Factions. Æneas's Settlement in Italy produced the Cæfars, and gave Birth to the Roman Empire. Milton's Subject was still greater than either of the former; it does not determine the Fate of fingle Persons or Nations, but of a whole Species. The united Powers of Hell are joined together for the Destruction of Mankind, which they effected in Part, and would have completed, had not Omnipotence itfelf interposed. The principal Actors are Man in his greatest Perfection, and Woman in her highest Beauty. Their Enemies are the fallen Angels : The Mefiah their friend, and the Almighty their Protector. In short, every Thing that is great in the whole Circle of Being, whether within the Verge of Nature, or out of it, has a proper Part assigned it in this noble Poem..