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The author tells me they were written in I do not indeed wonder that the actors one of his despairing fits; and I find enter- should be such professed enemies to those tains some hope that his mistress may pity among our nation who are commonly known such a passion as he has described, before by the name of critics, since it is a rule she knows that she herself is Corinna. among these gentlemen to fall upon a play,
not because it is ill written, but because it •Conceal, fond man, conceal thy mighty smart,
takes. Several of them lay it down as a Nor tell Corinna she has fir'd thy heart. In vain would'st thou complain, in vain pretend
maxim, that whatever dramatic performTo ask a pity which she must not lend.
ance has a long run, must of necessity be She's too mu:h thy superior to comply,
good for nothing; as though the first preAnd too, too fair to let thy passion die. Languish in secret, and with dumb surprise
cept in poetry were 'not to please.' WheDrink the resistless glances of her eyes.
ther this rule holds good or not, I shall At awful distance entertain thy grief,
leave to the determination of those who are Be still in pain, but never ask relief. Ne'er tempt her scorn of thay consuming state,
better judges than myself: if it does, I am Be any way undone, but fly her hate.
sure iť tends very much to the honour of Thou must submit to see thy charmer bless
those gentlemen who have established it; Some happier youth that shall admire her less; Who in that lovely form, that heavenly mind,
few of their pieces have been disgraced by Shall miss ten thousand beauties thou could'st find. a run of three days, and most of them being Who with low fancy shall approach her charms, so exquisitely written, that the town would While, half enjoy'd, she sinks into his arms. She knows not, must not know, thy nobler fire,
never give them more than one night's Whom she, and whom the muses do inspire;
hearing. Her image only shall thy breast employ,
I have a great esteem for a true critic, And fill thy captive soul with shades of joy; Direct thy dreams by night, thy thoughts by day
such as Aristotle and Longinus among the And never, never from thy bosom stray,'*
Greeks: Horace and Quintilian among the
French. But it is our misfortune that some, No. 592.] Friday, September 10, 1714.
who set up for professed critics among us,
are so stupid that they do not know how ---Studium sine divite vena.
to put ten words together with elegance 01 Hor. Ars Poet. 409.
common propriety; and withal so illiterate, Art without a vein.--Roscommon.
that they have no taste of the learned lanI LOOK upon the playhouse as a world
ja/guages, and therefore criticise upon old au
has within itself. They have lately furnished |
thors only at second-hand. They judge of the middle region of it with a new set of
them by what others have written, and not meteors in order to give the sublime to
by any notions they have of the author's many modern tragedies. I was there last
themselves. The words unity, action, senwinter at the first rehearsal of the new
timent, and diction, pronounced with an air thunder, t which is much more deep and
of authority, give them a figure among unsonorous than any hitherto made use of.
learned readers, who are apt to believe They have a Salmoneus behind the scenes
they are very deep, because they are uninwho plays it off with great success. Their
telligible. The ancient critics are full of
the praises of their contemporaries; they lightnings are made to flash more briskly than heretofore, their clouds are also bet
discover beauties which escaped the obter furbelowed, and more voluminous; not
servation of the vulgar, and very often find to mention a violent storm locked up in a
out reasons palliating and excusing such
little slips and oversights as were commitgreat chest, that is designed for the Tempest. They are also provided with above
ted in the writings of eminent authors. On a dozen showers of snow, which, as I am
the contrary, most of the smatterers in informed, are the plays of many unsuccess
criticism, who appear among us, make it ful poets artificially cut and shredded for
their business to vilify and depreciate every
" new production that gains applause, to that use. Mr. Ryner's Edgar is to fall in snow at the next acting of King Lear, in
decry imaginary blemishes, and to prove,
by far-fetched arguments, that what pass order to heighten, or rather to alleviate,
for beauties in any celebrated piece are the distress of that unfortunate prince; and to serve by way of decoration to a piece
faults and errors. In short, the writings of which that great critic has written against.
these critics, compared with those of the
ancients, are like the works of the sophists * These verses were written by Gilbert, the second
compared with those of the old philosobrother of Eustace Budgel, esq.
phers. † This is an allusion to Mr. Dennis's new and im- | Envy and cavil are the natural fruits of proved method of making thunder. Dennis had con. trived this thunder for the advantage of his tragedy of Appius and Virginia; the players highly approved of it,
bly the reason that in the heathen mythoand it is the same that is used at the present day. Notwithstanding the effect of this thunder, however, the and Somnus, of darkness and sleep. Idle play was coldly received, and laid aside. Some nights after, Dennis being in the pit at the representation of
s to acMacbeth, and hearing the thunder made usc of, arose from his seat in a violent passion, exclaiming with an very apt to detract from others; as ignobath, that that was his thunder. See (said he) how these rascals use me: they will not let my pla run,
rant men are very subject to decry those and yet they steal iny thunder.
I beauties in a celebrated work which they
have not eyes to discover. Many of our No. 593.] Monday, September 13, 1714. sons of Momus, who dignify themselves
Quale per incertam lunam sub luce maligna by the name of critics, are the genuine de
Est iter in sylvis
Virg. Æn. vi. 270. scendants of these two illustrious ancestors.
Thus wander travellers in woods by night, They are often led into those numerous ab
By the moon's doubtful and malignant light. surdities, in which they daily instruct the
Dryden. people, by not considering that, first, there is sometimes a greater judgment shown in
My dreaming correspondent, Mr. Sha. deviating from the rules of art than in ad-1
dow, has sent me a second letter, with hering to them; and, secondly, that there
several curious observations on dreams in is more beauty in the works of a great ge
el general, and the method to render sleep
Se improving: an extract of his letter will not, nius, who is ignorant of all the rules of art, than in the works of a little genius, who
I presume, be disagreeable to my readers. not only knows but scrupulously observes Since we have so little time to spare, them.
that none of it may be lost, I see no reason First, We may often take notice of men why we should neglect to examine those who are perfectly acquainted with all the imaginary scenes we are presented with in rules of good writing, and, notwithstand- sleep, only because they have less reality ing, choose to depart from them on extra- in them than our waking meditations. A ordinary occasions. I could give instances traveller would bring his judgment in quesout of all the tragic writers of antiquity tion, who would despise the directions of who have shown their judgment in this his map for want of real roads in it, beparticular; and purposely receded from an cause here stands a dot instead of a town, established rule of the drama, when it has or a cypher instead of a city; and it must made way for a much higher beauty than be a long day's journey to travel through the observation of such a rule would have two or three inches. Fancy in dreams been. Those who have surveyed the no- gives us much such another landscape of blest pieces of architecture and statuary, life as that does of countries: and, though both ancient and modern, know very well its appearance may seem strangely jumthat there are frequent deviations from art bled together, we may often observe such in the works of the greatest masters, which traces and footsteps of noble thoughts, as, have produced a much nobler effect than a if carefully pursued, might lead us into a more accurate and exact way of proceed- proper path of action. There is so much ing could have done. This often arises rapture and ecstacy in our fancied bliss, from what the Italians call the gusto grande and something so dismal and shocking in in these arts, which is what we call the our fancied misery, that, though the inac sublime in writing.
tivity of the body has given occasion for In the next place, our critics do not seem calling sleep the image of death, the brisksensible that there is more beauty in the ness of the fancy affords us a strong intima works of a great genius, who is ignorant of tion of something within us that can never the rules of art, than in those of a little ge- die. nius who knows and observes them. It is 'I have wondered that Alexander the of these men of genius that Terence speaks, Great, who came into the world sufficiently in opposition to the little artificial cavillers dreamed of by his parents, and had himof his time:
self a tolerable knack of dreaming, should
often say, that sleep was one thing which 'Quorum æmulari exoptat negligentiam · Potius quam istorum obscuram diligentiam.'
made him sensible he was mortal. I, who
have not such fields of action in the day“Whose negligence he would rather imitate than these
time to divert my attention from this men's obscure diligence.'
matter, plainly perceive that in those A critic may have the same consolation operations of the mind, while the body is in the ill success of his play as Dr. Southat rest, there is a certain vastness of contells us a physician has at the death of a ception very suitable to the capacity, and patient, that he was killed secundum artem. demonstrative of the force of that divine Our inimitable Shakspeare is a stumbling-part in our composition which will last for block to the whole tribe of these rigid ever. Neither do I much doubt but, had critics. Who would not rather read one we a true account of the wonders the hero of his plays, where there is not a single last-mentioned performed in his sleep, his rule of the stage observed, than any pro- conquering this little globe would hardly duction of a modern critic, where there is be worth mentioning. I may affirm, withnot one of them violated! Shakspeare was out vanity, that, when I compare several indeed born with all the seeds of poetry, actions in Quintus Curtius with some others and may be compared to the stone in Pyrr- in my own noctuary, I appear the greater hus's ring, which, as Pliny tells us, had hero of the two.' the figure of Apollo and the nine muses I shall close this subject with observing, in the veins of it, produced by the spon- that while we are awake we are at liberty taneous hand of nature, without any help to fix our thoughts on what we please, but from art.
lin sleep we have not the command of them. VOL. II
The ideas which strike the fancy arise in | not, in some degree, guilty of this offence; us without our choice, either from the oc- though at the same time, however, we currences of the day past, the temper we treat one another, it must be confessed, lie down in, or it may be the direction of that we all consent in speaking ill of the some superior being.
persons who are notorious for this practice. It is certain the imagination may be so It generally takes its rise either from an differently affected in sleep, that our ac- ill-will to mankind, a private inclination to tions of the day might be either rewarded make ourselves esteemed, an ostentation of or punished with a little age of happiness wit, a vanity of being thought in the secrets or misery. Saint Austin was of opinion that, of the world, or from a desire of gratifying if in Paradise there was the same vicissi- any of these dispositions of mind in those tude of sleeping and waking, as in the pre- persons with whom we converse. sent world, the dreams of its inhabitants. The publisher of scandal is more or less would be very happy.
odious to mankind, and criminal in himself, And so far at present are our dreams in as he is influenced by any one or more of Jur power, that they are generally con- | the foregoing motives. But, whatever may formable to our waking thoughts, so that it be the occasion of spreading these false reis not impossible to convey ourselves to a ports, he ought to consider that the effect concert of music, the conversation of dis- of them is equally prejudicial and pernitant friends, or any other entertainment cious to the person at whom they are aimed. which has been before lodged in the mind. The injury is the same, though the principle · My readers, by applying these hints, from which it proceeds may be different. will find the necessity of making a good As every one looks upon himself with too day of it, if they heartily wish themselves much indulgence, when he passes a judga good night.
ment on his own thoughts or actions, and as I have often considered Marcia's prayer, very few would be thought guilty of this and Lucia's account of Cato, in this light. abominable proceeding, which is so univer* Marc. O ye mortal powers, that guard the just,
sally practised, and at the same time so Watch round his couch, and soften his repose, universally blamed, I shall lay down three Banish his sorrows, and becalm his soul
rules, by which I would have a man examine With easy dreams; remember all his virtues,
and search into his own heart before he And show mankind that goodness is your care. Luc. Sweet are the slumbers of the virtuous man!
stands acquitted to himself of that evil disO Marcia, I have seen thy god-like father;
position of mind which I am here menSome power invisible supports his soul,
tioning. And bears it up in all its wonted greatness. A kind refreshing sleep has fallen upon him:
First of all, Let him consider whether he I saw him stretch'd at ease, his fancy lost
does not take delight in hearing the faults In pieasing dreams. As I drew near his couch
of others. He smil'd, and cry'd, Cæsar, thou canst not hurt me.' |
1 Secondly, Whether he is not too apt to Mr. Shadow acquaints me in a postscript, believe such little blackening accounts, and that he has no manner of title to the vision more inclined to be credulous on the unwhich succeeded his first letter; but adds, charitable than on the good-natured side. that, as the gentleman who wrote it dreams. Thirdly, Whether he is not ready to very sensibly, he shall be glad to meet him spread and propagate such reports as tend some night or other under the great elm-| to the disreputation of another. tree, by which Virgil has given us a fine. These are the several steps by which metaphorical image of sleep, in order to this vice proceeds and grows up into slanturn over a few of the leaves together, der and defamation. and oblige the public with an account of In the first place, a man who takes dethe dreams that lie under them.
light in hearing the faults of others, shows sufficiently that he has a true relish of scan
dal, and consequently the seeds of this vice No. 594.7 Wednesday, September 15, 1714. within him. If his mind is gratified with -Absentem qui rodit amicum;
hearing the reproaches which are cast on Qui non defendit alio culpante; solutos
others, he will find the same pleasure in reQui captat risus hominum, famamque dicacis; .
lating them, and be the more apt to do it, Fingere qui non visa potest; commissa tacere Qui nequit; hic niger est : hunc tu, Romane, caveto. as he will naturally imagine every one he
Hor. Sat. iv. Lib. 1. 81. converses with is delighted in the same He that shall rail against his absent friends, manner with himself. A man should enOr hears them scandaliz'd, and not defends;
deavour, therefore, to wear out of his mind Sports with their fame, and speaks whate'er he can,
this criminal curiosity, which is perpetually And only to be thought a witty man; Tells tales, and brings his friends in disesteem; heightened and inflamed by listening to such That man's a knave ;-be sure beware of him. stories as tend to the disreputation of others.
In the second place, a man should consult WERE all the vexations of life put to his own heart, whether he be not apt to begether, we should find that a great part of lieve such little blackening accounts, and them proceeds from those calumnies and more inclined to be credulous on the unreproaches which we spread abroad con- charitable than on the good-natured side. cerning one another.
Such a credulity is very vicious in itself, There is scarce a man living, who is and generally arises from a man's consciousness of his own secret corruptions. It is a I mean is the mixture of inconsistent metapretty saying of Thales, “Falsehood is just phors, which is a fault but too often found as far distant from truth as the ears are in learned writers, but in all the unlearned from the eyes. "* By which he would inti- without exception. mate, that a wise man should not easily give In order to set this matter in a clear light credit to the report of actions which he has to every reader, I shall in the first place obnot seen. I shall, under this head, men- serve, that a metaphor is a simile in one tion two or three remarkable rules to be word, which serves to convey the thoughts observed by the members of the celebrated of the mind under resemblances and images Abbey de la Trappe, as they are published which affect the senses. There is not any in a little French book.f.
thing in the world, which may not be comThe fathers are there ordered never to pared to several things if considered in segive an ear to any accounts of base or crimi- veral distinct lights; or, in other words, the nal actions; to turn off all such discourse if same thing may be expressed by different possible; but, in case they hear any thing metaphors. But the mischief is, that an of this nature so well attested that they unskilful author shall run these metaphors cannot disbelieve it, they are then to sup- so absurdly into one another, that there pose that the criminal action may have pro- shall be no simile, no agreeable picture, no ceeded from a good intention in him who is apt resemblance, but confusion, obscurity, guilty of it. This is, perhaps, carrying and noise. Thus I have known a hero comCharity to an extravagance; but it is cer- pared to a thunderbolt, a lion, and the sea; tainly much more laudable than to suppose, all and each of them proper metaphors for as the ill-natured part of the world does, impetuosity, courage, or force. But by bad that indifferent and even good actions pro- management it hath so happened, that the ceed from bad principles and wrong inten- thunderbolt hath overflowed its banks, the tions.
lion hath been darted through the skies, In the third place, a man should examine and the billows have rolled out of the Libyan his heart, whether he does not find in it a desert. secret inclination to propagate such reports. The absurdity, in this instance, is obvious, as tend to the disreputation of another. And yet every time that clashing meta
When the disease of the mind, which I phors are put together, this fault is com have hitherto been speaking of, arises tomitted more or less. It hath already been this degree of mali"nity, it discovers itse.f said, that metaphors are images of things in its worst sympton, and is in danger of which affect the senses. An image, therebecoming incurable. I need 27 therefore fore, taken from what acts upon the sight, insist upon the guilt in this last particular, cannot, without violence, be applied to the which every one cannot but disi prove, hearing; and so of the rest. It is no less who is not void of humanity, or even com- an impropriety to make any being in namon discretion. I shall only add, that, ture or art to do things in its metaphorical whatever pleasure any man may take in state, which it could not do in its original. spreading whispers of this nature, he will I shall illustrate what I have said by an find an infinitely greater satisfaction in con instance which I have read more than quering the temptation he is under, by once in controversial writers. “The heavy letting the secret die within his own breast, I lashes,' saith a celebrated author, that
have dropped from your pen, &c.' I sup
pose this gentleman, having , frequently No. 595.] Friday, September 17, 1714.
sheard of .gall dropping from a pen, and
\ being lashed in a satire,' he was resolved Non ut piacidis coeant immitia, non ut to have them both at any rate, and so utSerpentes avibus geminentur, tigribus agni.
tered this complete piece of nonsense. It Hor. Ars Poet, ver. 12.
will most effectually discover the absurdity Nature, and the common laws of sense,
of these monstrous unions, if we will supForbid to reconcile antipathies; Or make a snake engender with a dove,
pose these metaphors or images actually And hungry. tigers court the tender lambs.
painted. Imagine then a hand holding a
Roscommon. pen, and several lashes of whipcord falling IF ordinary authors would condescend to from it, and you have the true representawrite as they think, they would at least betion of this sort of eloquence. I believe, by allowed the praise of being intelligible. But this very rule, a reader may be able to they really take pains to be ridiculous: and, judge of the union of all metaphors whatsoby the studied ornaments of style, perfectly ever, and determine which are homogedisguise the little sense they aim at. There neous, and which heterogeneous; or, to is a grievance of this sort in the cornman-speak more plainly, which are consistent wealth of letters, which I have for some and which inconsistent. time resolved to redress, and accordingly I There is yet one evil more which I must have set this day apart for justice, What take notice of, and that is the running of
metaphors into tedious allegories; which, * Stobaei Serm. 61
though an error on the better hand, causes † Felibien, Description de l'Abbaye de la Trappe, Paris, 1671; reprinted in 1682. It is a letter of M. Foli
confusion as much as the other. This be bien to the dutchess of Lancourt.
comes abominable, when the lustre of one
word leads a writer out of his road, and been pleased to lay it down as a maxim, makes him wander from his subject for a that nothing spoils a young fellow's fortune page together. I remember a young fel- so much as marrying early; and that no low of this turn, who, having said by chance man ought to think of wedlock until six that his mistress had a world of charms, and-twenty. Knowing his sentiments upon thereupon took occasion to consider her as this head, I thought it in vain to apply myone possessed of frigid and torrid zones, self to women of condition, who expect setand pursued her from one pole to the other. tlements; so that all my amours have
I shall conclude this paper with a letter hitherto been with ladies who had no forwritten in that enormous style, which Itunes: but I know not how to give you so hope my reader hath by this time set his good an idea of me, as by laying before you heart against. The epistle hath hereto- the history of my life. fore received great applause; but after I can very well remember, that at my what hath been said, let any man commend school-mistress's, whenever we broke up, * if he dare.
I was always for joining myself with the “SIR,—After the many heavy lashes that
miss who lay-in, and was constantly one of have fallen from your pen, you may justly
the first to make a party in the play of expect in return all the load that my ink
h aling well with the females still increased as can lay upon your shoulders. You have quartered all the foul language upon mel;
I advanced in years. At the dancing-school that could be raked out of the air of Bil
I contracted so many quarrels by struggling linsgate, without knowing who I am, or
with my fellow-scholars for the partner I whether I deserved to be cupped and sacri
liked best, that upon a ball-night, before ficed at this rate. I tell you, once for all,
our mothers made their appearance, I was turn your eyes where you please, you shall
usually up to the nose in blood. My father,
like a discreet man, soon removed me from never smell me out. Do you think that the panicks, which you sow about the parish,
ch this stage of softness to a school of disciwill ever build a monument to your glory?
puspline, where I learnt Latin and Greek. I No, sir, you may fight these battles as long
underwent several severities in this place,
until it was thought convenient to send me as you will, but when you come to balance the account you will find that you have been
to the university: though to confess the fishing in troubled waters, and that an ignis |
truth, I should not have arrived so early at fatuus hath bewildered you, and that in-1
that seat of learning, but from the discodeed you have built upon a sandy founda- very op
very of an intrigue between me and my tion, and brought your hogs to a fair market. maste
ogs to a fair market master's housekeeper; upon whom I had I am, sir, yours, &c.'
employed my rhetoric so effectually, that, though she was a very elderly lady, I had almost brought her to consent to marry me.
Upon my arrival at Oxford, I found logic No. 596.] Monday, September 20, 1714. so dry, that, instead of giving attention to Molle meum levibus cor est violabile telis.
the dead, I soon fell to addressing the living.
Ovid, Ep. xv. 79. My first amour was with a pretty girl whom Cupid's light darts my tender bosom move.-Pope. I shall call Parthenope: her mother sold ale
THE case of my correspondent, who sends! by the town-wall. me the following letter, has somewhat in it
in it Being often caught there by the proctor, so very whimsical, that I know not how to I was forced at last, that my mistress's repuentertain my readers better than by laying
tation might receive no blemish, to confess it before them.
my addresses were honourable. Upon this
I was immediately sent home; but Parthe•Middle-Temple, Sept. 18. nope soon after marrying a shoe-maker, I SIR,-I am fully convinced that there was again suffered to return. My next afis not upon earth a more impertinent crea- fair was with my tailor's daughter, who ture than an importunate lover, We are deserted me for the sake of a young barber. daily complaining of the severity of our fate Upon my complaining to one of my partito people who are wholly unconcerned in it: cular friends of this misfortune, the cruel and hourly improving a passion, which we wag made a mere jest of my calamity, and would persuade the world is the torment | asked me, with a smile, where the needle of our lives. Notwithstanding this reflec- should turn but to the pole ?* After this I tion, sir, I cannot forbear acquainting you was deeply in love with a milliner, and at with my own case. You must know, then, last with my bed-maker; upon which I was sir, that even from my childhood, the most sent away, or, in the university phrase, prevailing inclination I could perceive in rusticated for ever. myself was a strong desire to be in favour Upon my coming home, I settled to my with the fair-sex, I am at present in the studies so heartily, and contracted so great one-and-twentieth year of my age; and a reservedness by being kept from the should have made choice of a she-bedfellow company I most affected, that my father many years since, had not my father, who has a pretty good estate of his own getting, * A pole was the common sign of a barber's shop. II and passes in the world for a prudent man, I is now seldom seen in the metropolis.