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‘derstood, would be more conformable to the mys* tery of my profession; that our good friend would “be assisting to us in this work; and that a certain “faculty of gentlemen would find themselves so “much obliged to me, that they would infallibly make ‘my fortune : in short, her frequent importunities upon this and other impertinencies of the like nature make me very uneasy ; and if your remonstrances have no more effect upon her than mine, I am afraid I shall be obliged to ruin myself to procure her a settlement at Oxford with her tutor, for she is already too mad for Bedlam. Now, Sir, you see the danger my family is exposed to, and the likelihood of my wife’s becoming both troublesome and useless, unless her reading herself in your paper may make her reflect. She is so very learned that I cannot pretend by word of mouth to argue with her. She laughed out at your ending a paper in Greek, and said it was a hint to women of literature, and very civil not to translate it to expose them to the vulgar. You see how it is with, * SIR, your humble servant.”
M.R. specTA Tor, * IF you have that humanity and compassion in your nature that you take such pains to make one think you have, you will not deny your advice to a distressed damsel, who intends to be determined by your judgment in a matter of great importance to her. You must know then, there is an agreeable young fellow, to whose person, wit, and humour nobody makes any objection, that pretends to have been long in love with me. To this I must add, whether it proceeds from the vanity of my nature, or the seeming sincerity of my lover, I will not pretend to say, that I verily believe he has a real value for me; which if true, you will allow, may justly augment his merit with his mistress. In
short, I am so sensible of his good qualities, and what I owe to his passion, that I think I could sooner resolve to give up my liberty to him than any body else, were there not an objection to be made to his fortunes, in regard they do not answer the utmost mine may expect, and are not sufficient to secure me from undergoing the reproachful phrase, so commonly used, that she has played the fool. Now, though I am one of those few who heartily despise equipage, diamonds, and a coxcomb; yet since such opposite notions from mine prevail in the world, even amongst the best, and such as are esteemed the most prudent people, I cannot find in my heart to resolve upon incurring the censure of those wise folks, which I am conscious I shall do, if when I enter into a married state, I discover a thought beyond that of equalling, if not advancing my fortunes. Under this difficulty I now labour, not being in the least determined whether I shall be governed by the vain world, and the frequent examples I meet with, or hearken to the voice of my lover, and the motions I find in my heart in favour of him. Sir, your opinion and advice in this affair, is the only thing I know can turn the balance; and which I earnestly intreat I may receive soon ; for until I have your thoughts upon it, I am engaged not to give my swain a final discharge.
* Besides the particular obligation you will lay on me, by giving this subject room in one of your papers, it is possible it may be of use to some others of my sex, who will be as grateful for the favour as,
* SIR, your humble servant,
• P. S. To tell you the truth, I am married to him
already, but pray say something to justify me.’
* M.R. SPECTATOR,
* YOU will forgive us professors of music if we • make a second application to you, in order to pro“mote our design of exhibiting entertainments of • music in York-buildings. It is industriously insi‘ nuated, that our intention is to destroy operas in general, but we beg of you to insert this plain ex“ planation of ourselves in your paper. Our purpose * is only to improve our circumstances, by improving “ the art which we profess. We see it utterly de‘stroyed at present, and as we were the persons who ‘ introduced operas, we think it a groundless impu‘tation that we should set up against the opera itself. “What we pretend to assert is, that the songs of different authors injudiciously put together, and a * foreign tone and manner which are expected in * every thing now performed amongst us, has put • music itself to a stand; insomuch, that the ears of • the people cannot now be entertained with any “ thing but what has an impertinent gaiety, without “any just spirit, or a languishment of notes, without “any passion or common sense. We hope those per‘ sons of sense and quality who have done us the * honour to subscribe, will not be ashamed of their • patronage towards us, and not receive impressions ‘ that patronizing us is being for or against the • opera, but truly promoting their own diversions in “a more just and elegant manner than has been hi• therto performed.
* We are, SIR,
“ your most humble servants,
- * CHARLES DIEUPART.’
“There will be no performances in York-buildings ‘ until after that of the subscription.” T
No. CCLXXIX. SATURDAY, JANUARY 19.
Reddere personae scit convenientia cuique:
Fiors He knows what best befits each character.
WE have already taken a general survey of the fable and characters in Milton’s Paradise Lost. The parts which remain to be considered, according to Aristotle's method, are the sentiments and the language. Before I enter upon the first of these, I must advertise my reader, that it is my design, as soon as I have finished my general reflections on these four several heads, to give particular instances out of the poem which is now before us of beauties and imperfections which may be observed under each of them, as also of such other particulars as may not properly fall under any of them. This I thought fit to premise, that the reader may not judge too hastily of this piece of criticism, or look upon it as imperfect, before he has seen the whole extent of it. The sentiments in an epic poem are the thoughts and behaviour which the author ascribes to the persons whom he introduces, and are just when they are conformable to the characters of the several persons. The sentiments have likewise a relation to things as well as persons, and are then perfect when they are such as are adapted to the subject. If in either of these cases the poet endeavours to argue or explain, to magnify or diminish, to raise love or hatred, pity or terror, or any other passion, we ought to consider whether the sentiments he makes use of are properfor those ends. Homer is censured by the critics for his defect as to this particular in several parts of the Iliad and Odyssey, though, at the same time, those who have treated this great poet with candour, have attributed this defect to the times in which he lived. It was the fault of the age, and not of Homer, if there wants that delicacy in some of his sentiments, which now appears in the works of men of a much inferior genius. Besides, if there are blemishes in any particular thoughts, there is an infinite beauty in the greatest part of them. In short, if there are many poets who would not have fallen into the meanness of some of his sentiments, there are none who could have risen up to the greatness of others. Virgil has excelled all others in the propriety of his sentiments. Milton shines likewise very much in this particular: nor must we omit one consideration which adds to his honour and reputation. Homer and Virgil introduced persons whose characters are commonly known among men, and such as are to be met with either in history, or in ordinary conversation. Milton’s characters, most of them, lie out of nature, and were to be formed purely by his own invention. It shews a greater genius in Shakspeare to have drawn his Calyban, than his Hotspur or Julius Cæsar : the one was to be supplied out of his own imagination, whereas the other might have been formed upon tradition, history, and observation. It was much easier therefore for Homer to find proper sentiments for an assembly of Grecian generals, than for Milton to diversify his infernal council with proper characters, and inspire them with a variety of sentiments. The loves of Dido and Æneas are only copies of what has passed between other persons. Adam and Eve, before the fall, are a different species from that of mankind, who are descended from them ; and none but a poet of the most unbounded invention, and the most exquisite judgment, could have filled their conversation and behaviour with so many apt circumstances during their state of innocence. Nor is it sufficient for an epic poem to be filled with such thoughts as are natural, unless it abound also with such as are sublime. Virgil in this parti