Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

R.

Fomineas assueta mants

rate. They whose friends are not able to pay the full prices, may be taken as half boarders. She teaches such other counterfeit books upon the upper

a little book. I found there were several as are designed for the diversion of the public, and to act in enchanted woods on the theatres, by the great. shelves, which were carved in wood, and As she has often observed with much concern how in: served only to fill up the numbers, like creatures, which in some measure is owing to their be faggots in the muster of a regiment. I was ing placed in rooms nert the street, where to the great wonderly pleased with such a mixed kind off nee of chaste and tender ears, they learn ribaldry, of furniture, as seemed very suitable both ohseene songs, and immodest expressions from passen: to the lady and the scholar, and did not mathes, with other useless parts of learning to birds know at first whether I should fancy mywho have rich friends, she has fitted up proper and neat self in a grotto or in a library: apartments for them in the back part of her said house; wurf she suffers none to approach them but herself,

Upon my looking into the books, I found and a servant maid who is deaf and dumb, and whom there were some few which the lady had she provided on purpose to prepare their food, and bought for her own use, but that most of cleanse their cages; having found by long experience, them had been got together, either because how hard a thing it is for those to keep silence who bare ibe use of speech, and the dangers her scholars are she had heard them praised, or because she erpsed to by the strong impressions that are made by had seen the authors of them. Among seveharsh sounds, and vulgar dialects. In short, if they are ral that I examined, I very well remember render them so acromplished in the compass of a twelve these that follow: month, that they shall be fit conversation for such ladies Ogleby's Virgil. a love to choose their friends and companions out of this species.

Dryden's Juvenal.
Cassandra,
Cleopatra.

Astræa.
No. 37.] Thursday, April 12, 1711.

Sir Isaac Newton's Works.
-Non illa colo calathiste Minerva

The Grand Cyrus; with a pin stuck in

one of the middle leaves, Virg. Æn. vii. 805.

Pembroke's Arcadia. Unbred to spinning, in the loom unskill'd.

Locke on Human Understanding; with a Dryden.

paper of patches in it. SOME months ago, my friend Sir Roger, A Spelling Book. being in the country, enclosed a letter to A Dictionary for the explanation of hard me, directed to a certain lady whom I shall words. here call by the name of Leonora, and as Sherlock upon Death. it contained matters of consequence, desired The fifteen comforts of Matrimony. me to deliver it to her with my own hand. Sir William Temple's Essays. Accordingly I waited upon her ladyship Father Malebranche's _Search after pretty early in the morning, and was de- Truth, translated into English. sired by her woman to walk into the lady's A Book of Novels. library, till such time as she was in readi- The Academy of Compliments. ness to receive me. The very sound of a Culpepper's Midwifery. lady's library gave me a great curiosity The Ladies' Calling: to see it; and as it was some time before Tales in Verse, by Mr. Durfey; bound the lady came to me, I had an opportunity in red leather, gilt on the back, and of turning over a great many of her books, doubled down in several places. which were ranged together in a very beau- All the Classic Authors in wood. tiful order. At the end of the folios (which A set of Elzevirs by the same hand. were finely bound and gilt) were great Clelia: which opened of itself in the place jars of china placed one above another in that describes two lovers in a bower, a very noble piece of architecture. The Baker's Chronicle. quartos were separated from the octavos Advice to a Daughter. by a pile of smaller vessels, which rose in The New Atalantis, with a Key to it. a' delightful pyramid. The octavos were Mr. Steele's Christian Hero. bounded by tea-dishes of all shapes, colours, A Prayer-Book: with a bottle of Hunand sizes, which were so disposed on a gary water by the side of it. wooden frame, that they looked like one Dr. Sácheverell's Speech. continued pillar indented with the finest Fielding's Trial. strokes of sculpture, and stained with the Seneca's Morals. greatest variety of dies. That part of the Taylor's Holy Living and Dying. library which was designed for the recep- La Ferte's Instructions for Country tion of plays and pamphlets, and other dances. loose papers, was enclosed in a kind of I was taking a catalogue in my pocketsquare, consisting of one of the prettiest book of these, and several other authors, grotesque works that I ever saw, and made when Leonora entered, and upon my preup of scaramouches, lions, monkies, man- senting her with a letter from the knight, darines, trees, shells, and a thousand other told me, with an unspeakable grace, that odd figures in china ware. In the midst of she hoped Sir Roger was in good health: I the room was a small japan table with a answered Yes, for I hate long speeches, and quire of gilt paper upon it, and on the pa- after a bow or two retired. per a silver snuff-box made in the shape of Leonora was formerly a celebrated beauty, and is still a very lovely woman. She has the sex. And as this is a subject of a very been a widow for two or three years, and nice nature, I shall desire my correspondbeing unfortunate in her first marriage, has ents to give me their thoughts upon it. C. taken a resolution never to venture upon a second. She has no children to take care of, and leaves the management of her estate to my good friend Sir Roger. But as the No. 38.] Friday, April 13, 1711. mind naturally sinks into a kind of lethargy,

-Cupias non placuisse nimis.-Mart. and falls asleep, that is not agitated by

One would not please too much. some favourite pleasures and pursuits, Leonora has turned all the passions of her sex A LATE conversation which I fell into, into a love of books and retirement. She gave me an opportunity of observing a great converses chiefly with men (as she has deal of beauty in a very handsome woman, often said herself) but it is only in their and as much wit in an ingenious man, turnwritings; and admits of very few male vi- ed into deformity in the one, and absurdity sitants, except my friend Sir Roger, whom in the other, by the mere force of affectashe hears with great pleasure, and without tion. The fair one had something in her scandal. As her reading has lain very person, upon which her thoughts were fix= much among romances, it has given her a ed, that she attempted to show to advantage very articular turn of thinking, and dis- in every look, word, and gesture. The covers itself even in her house, her gardens, gentleman was as diligent to do justice to and her furniture. Sir Roger has enter- his fine parts, as the lady to her beauteous tajned me an hour together with a descrip- form. You might see his imagination on tion of her country seat, which is situated the stretch to find out something uncomin a kind of wilderness, about a hundred mon, and what they call bright, to entermiles distant from London, and looks like tain her, while she writhed herself into as a little enchanted palace. The rocks about many different postures to engage him. her are shaped into artificial grottos co- When she laughed, her lips were to sever vered with woodbines and jasmines. The at a greater distance than ordinary, to show woods are cut into shady walks, twisted her teeth; her fan was to point to someinto bowers, and filled with cages of tur- thing at a distance, that in the reach she tles. The springs are made to run among may discover the roundness of her arm; pebbles, and by that means taught to mur- then she is utterly mistaken in what she mur very agreeably. They are likewise saw, falls back, smiles at her own folly, collected into a beautiful lake that is in- and is so wholly discomposed, that her habited by a couple of swans, and empties tucker is to be adjusted, her bosom exitself by a little rivulet which runs through posed, and the whole woman put into new a green meadow, and is known in the fa- airs and graces. While she was doing all mily by the name of “The Purling Stream.' this, the gallant had time to think of someThe knight likewise tells me, that this lady thing very pleasant to say next to her, or preserves her game better than any of the make some unkind observation on some gentlemen in the country, not (says Sir Ro- other lady to feed her vanity. These unger) that she sets so great a value upon happy effects of affectation, naturally led her partridges and pheasants, as upon her me to look into that strange state of mind larks and nightingales. For she says that which so generally discolours the behaviour every bird which is killed in her ground, of most people we meet with. will spoil a concert, and that she shall cer- The learned Dr. Burnet, in his . Theory tainly miss him the next year.

of the Earth,' takes occasion to observe, When I think how oddly this lady is im- that every thought is attended with a conproved by learning, I look upon her with a sciousness and representativeness; the mind mixture of admiration and pity. Amidst has nothing presented to it but what is imthese innocent entertainments which she mediately followed by a reflection of conhas formed to herself, how much more va- science, which tells you whether that luable does she appear than those of her which was so presented is graceful or unsex, who employ themselves in diversions becoming. This act of the mind discovers that are less reasonable though more in itself in the gesture, by a proper behaviour fashion? What improvements would a wo- in those whose consciousness goes no further man have made, who is so susceptible of than to direct them in the just progress of impressions from what she reads, had she their present state or action; but betrays been guided to such books as have a ten- an interruption in every second thought, dency to enlighten the understanding and when the consciousness is employed in too rectify the passions, as well as to those which fondly approving a man's own conceptions; are of a little more use than to divert the which sort of consciousness is what we cali imagination?

affectation. But the manner of a lady's employing As the love of praise is implanted in our herself usefully in reading, shall be the bosoms as a strong incentive to worthy acsubject of another paper, in which I design tions, it is a very difficult task to get above to recommend such particular books as a desire of it for things that should be wholmay be proper for the improvement of Ily indifferent. Women whose hearts are fixed upon the pleasure they have in the ! The wild havock affectation makes in consciousness that they are the objects of that part of the world which should be love and admiration, are ever changing the most polite, is visible wherever we turn our air of their countenances, and altering the eyes: it pushes men not only into imperattitude of their bodies, to strike the hearts tinences in conversation, but also in their of their beholders with new sense of their premeditated speeches. At the bar it torbeauty. The dressing part of our sex, ments the bench, whose business it is to whose minds are the same with the sillier cut off all superfluities in what is spoken part of the other, are exactly in the like before it by the practitioner, as well as seuneasy condition to be regarded for a well- veral little pieces of injustice which arise tied cravat, a hat cocked with an uncom- from the law itself. I have seen it make a mon briskness, a very well-chosen coat, or man run from the purpose before a judge, other instances of merit, which they are who was, when at the bar himself, so close impatient to see unobserved.

and logical a pleader, that with all the This apparent affectation, arising from pomp of eloquence in his power, he never an ill-governed consciousness, is not so spoke a word too much. much to be wondered at in such loose and It might be borne, even here; but it often trivial minds as these: but when we see ascends the pulpit itself; and the declaimer it reign in characters of worth and dis- in that sacred place, is frequently so imtinction, it is what we cannot but lament, pertinently witty, speaks of the last day itpot without some indignation. It creeps self with so many quaint phrases, that into the heart of the wise man as well as there is no man who understands raillery that of the coxcomb. When you see a but must resolve to sin no more. Nay, man of sense look about for applause, and you may behold him sometimes in prayer, discover an itching inclination to be com- for a proper delivery of the great truth's he mended; lay traps for a little incense, even is to utter, humble hímself with so very-well from those whose opinion he values in no- turned phrases, and mention his own unthing but his own favour; who is safe worthiness in a way so very becoming, that against this weakness? or who knows whe- the air of the pretty gentleman is preserved, ther he is guilty of it or not? The best way under the lowliness of the preacher. to get clear of such a light fondness for ap- I shall end this with a short letter I writ plause, is to take all possible care to throw the other day to a very witty man, overrun off the love of it upon occasions that are not with the fault I am speaking of: in themselves laudable, but as it appears · DEAR SIR,-I spent some time with We hope for no praise from them. Of this you the other day, and must take the libernature are all graces in men's persons, ty of a friend to tell you of the unsufferable dress, and bodily deportment, which will affectation you are guilty of in all you say naturally be winning and attractive if we and do. When I gave you a hint of it, think not of them, but lose their force in pro- you asked me whether a man is to be cold portion to our endeavour to make them such. I to what his friends think of him? No, but

When our consciousness turns upon the praise is not to be the entertainment of main design of life, and our thoughts are every moment. He that hopes for it must employed upon the chief purpose either in be able to suspend the possession of it till business or pleasure, we shall never betray proper periods of life, or death itself. If an affectation, for we cannot be guilty of it: you would not rather be commended than but when we give the passion for praise an be praise-worthy, contemn little merits; unbridled liberty, our pleasure in little and allow no man to be so free with you, perfections robs us of what is due to us for as to praise you to your face. Your vanity great virtues, and worthy qualities. How by this means will want its food. At the many excellent speeches and honest actions same time your passion for esteem will be are lost, for want of being indifferent where be more fully gratified; men will praise you we ought? Men are oppressed with regard in their actions: where you now receive one to their way of speaking and acting, instead compliment, you will then receive twenty of having their thoughts bent upon what civilities. Till then you will never have they should do or say; and by that means of either, further than, Sir, your humble bury a capacity for great things, by their servant. fear of failing in indifferent things. This, perhaps, cannot be called affectation; but it has some tincture of it, at least so far, as No. 39.] Saturday, April 14, 1711. that their fear of erring in a thing of no consequence, argues they would be too

Multa fero, ut placem genus irritabile vatum.

Hor. Lib. 2. Ep. ii. 102. much pleased in performing it.

It is only from a thorough disregard to Much do I suffer, much, to keep in peace himself in such particulars, that a man can This jealous, waspish, wrong.headed rhyming race.

Pope. . act with a laudable sufficiency: his heart is fixed upon one point in view; and he

As a perfect tragedy is the noblest procommits no errors, because he thinks no- duction of human nature, so it is capable thing an error but what deviates from that

R.

Cum scribo

IMITATED.

a compliment to intention,

Chancellor Cowper.

* This seems to be intended as

of giving the mind one of the most delight- the person who speaks after it begins a ful and most improving entertainments. A new verse, without filling up the precedvirtuous man (says Seneca) struggling with ing one: nor with abrupt pauses and breakmisfortunes, is such a spectacle as gods ings off in the middle of a verse, when might look upon with pleasure; and such they humour any passion that is expressed a pleasure it is which one meets with in the by it. representation of a well-written tragedy. Since I am upon this subject, I must Diversions of this kind wear out of our observe that our English poets have sucthoughts every thing that is mean and lit-ceeded much better in the style, than in tle. They cherish and cultivate that hu- the sentiments of their tragedies. Their manity which is the ornament of our na-language is very often noble and sonorous, ture. They soften insolence, sooth affic- but the sense either very trifling, or very tion, and subdue the mind to the dispensa- common. On the contrary, in the ancient tions of Providence.

tragedies, and indeed in those of Corneille It is no wonder therefore that in all the and Racine, though the expressions are polite nations of the world, this part of very great, it is the thought that bears the drama has met with public encourage- them up and swells them. For my own ment.

part, I prefer a noble sentiment that is deThe modern tragedy excels that of pressed with homely language, infinitely Greece and Rome, in the intricacy and dis- before a vulgar one that is blown up with position of the fable; but what a Christian all the sound and energy of expression. writer would be ashamed to own, falls in- Whether this defect in our tragedies may finitely short of it in the moral part of the arise from want of genius, knowledge, or performance.

experience in the writers, or from their This I may show more at large hereafter: compliance with the vicious taste of their and in the mean time, that I may contribute readers, who are better judges of the lansomething towards the improvement of the guage than of the sentiments, and conseEnglish tragedy, I shall take notice, in this quently relish the one more than the other, and in other following papers, of some par- I cannot determine. But I believe it might ticular parts in it that seem liable to ex- rectify the conduct both of the one and of ception.

the other, if the writer laid down the whole Aristotle observes, that the lambic verse contexture of his dialogue in plain English, in the Greek tongue was the most proper before he turned it into blank verse; and if for tragedy: because at the same time that the reader, after the perusal of a scene, it lifted up the discourse from prose, it would consider the naked thought of every was that which approached nearer to it speech in it, when divested of all its tragic than any other kind of verse. For,' says ornaments. By this means, without being he, 'we may observe that men in ordinary imposed upon by words, we may judge imdiscourse very often speak iambics, without partially of the thought, and consider taking notice of it.' We may make the whether it be natural or great enough for same observation of our English blank the person that utters it, whether it deverse, which often enters into our common serves to shine in such a blaze of eloquence, discourse, though we do not attend to it, or show itself in such a variety of lights as and is such a due medium between rhyme are generally made use of by the writers and prose, that it seems wonderfully adapt- of our English tragedy. ed to tragedy. I am therefore very much I must in the next place observe, that offended when I see a play in rhyme; which when our thoughts are great and just, they is as absurd in English, as a tragedy of hex- are often obscured by the sounding phrases, ameters would have been in Greek or hard metaphors, and forced expressions in Latin. The solecism is, I think, still great- which they are clothed. Shakspeare is often er in those plays that have some scenes in very faulty in this particular. There is a rhyme and some in blank verse, which are fine observation in Aristotle to this purto be looked upon as two several languages; pose, which I have never seen quoted. or where we see some particular similes | The expression, says he, ought to be very dignified with rhyme at the same time that much laboured in the unactive parts of the every thing about them lies in blank verse. fable, as in descriptions, similitudes, narraI would not however debar the poet from tions, and the like; in which the opinions, concluding his tragedy, or, if he pleases, manners, and passions of men are not reevery act of it, with two or three couplets, presented; for these (namely, the opinions, which may have the same effect as an air manners, and passions,) are apt to be obin the Italian opera after a long recitativo, scured by pompous phrases and elaborate and give the actor a graceful exit. Besides expressions. Horace, who copied most of that, we see a diversity of numbers in some his criticisms from Aristotle, seems to have parts of the old tragedy, in order to hinder had his eye on the foregoing rule, in the the ear from being tired with the same con- following verses: tinued modulation of the voice. For the

"Et tragicus plerumque dolet sermone pedestri : same reason I do not dislike the speeches Telephus et Peleus, cum pauper et exul uterque, in our Englis'ı tragedy that close with an

Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia arba,

Si curat cor spectantis tetigesse quen 'a.' hemistich, or half verse, notwithstanding

Hor. Ars Poet, ver 96 ! • Tragedians too lay by their state to grieve:

IMITATED.
Peleus and Telephus, exil'd and poor,
Forget their swelling and gigantic words.'

Yet lest you think I rally more than teach,
Roscommon.

Or praise, malignant, aris I cannot reach,

Let me for once presume t'instruct the times, Among our modern English poets, there To know the poet from the man of rhymes ; is none who has a better turn for tragedy than

Tis he, who gives my breast a thousand pains,

Can make me feel each passion that he feigns; Lee; if instead of favouring the impetuosity Enrage, compose, with more than magic art, of his genius he had restrained it, and kept With pity, and with terror, tear my heart ; it within its proper bounds. His thoughts

And snatch me o'er the earth, or through the air,

To Thebes, to Athens, when he will, and where. are wonderfully suited to tragedy, but fre

Pope. quently lost in such a cloud of words, that it is hard to see the beauty of them. There

The English writers of tragedy are posis an infinite fire in his works, but so in- sessed with a notion, that when they revolved in smoke that it does not appear in present a virtuous or innocent person in kalf its lustre. He frequently succeeds in distress, they ought not to leave him till the passionate parts of the tragedy, but they have delivered him out of his troumore particularly where he slackens his bles, or made him triumph over his eneefforts, and eases the style of those epithets mies. This

error they have been led into by and metaphors, in which he so much a ridiculous doctrine in modern criticism, abrands. What can be more natural, more tion of rewards and punishments, and an

that they are obliged to an equal distribusoft, or more passionate, than that line in Statira's speech where she describes the impartial execution of poetical justice. charms of Alexander's conversation?

Who were the first that established this

rule I know not; but I am sure it has no •Then he would talk-Good gods! how he would talk!' foundation in nature, in reason, or in the

That unexpected break in the line, and practice of the ancients. We find that turning the description of his manner of good and evil happen alike to all men on talking into admiration of it, is inexpressi- this side of the grave; and as the principal bly beautiful, and wonderfully suited to the design of tragedy is to raise commiserafond character of the person that speaks it. tion and terror in the minds of the auThere is a simplicity in the words, that dience, we shall defeat this great end, if outshines the utmost pride of expression.

we always make virtue and innocence hapOtway has followed nature in the lan- py and successful. Whatever crosses and guage of his tragedy, and therefore shines disappointments a good man suffers in the in the passionate parts, more than any of body of the tragedy, they will make but a our English poets. As there is something small impression on our minds, when we familiar and domestic in the fable of his know that in the last act he is to arrive at tragedy, more than in those of any other the end of his wishes and desires. When poet, he has little pomp, but great force in we see him engaged in the depths of his his expressions. For which reason, though afflictions, we are apt to comfort ourselves, he has admirably succeeded in the tender because we are sure he will find his way and melting part of his tragedies, he some out of them; and that his grief, how great times falls into too great familiarity of soever it may be at present, will sooni terphrase in those parts, which by Aristotle's minate in gladness. For this reason the Fule, ought to have been raised and sup- their plays, as they are dealt with in the

ancient writers of tragedy treated men in ported by the dignity of expression.

It has been observed by others, that this world, by making virtue sometimes happy poet has founded his tragedy of Venice and sometimes miserable, as they found Preserved on so wrong a plot, that the it in the fable which they made choice greatest characters in it are those of rebels of, or as it might affect their audience in and traitors. Had the hero of this play the most agreeable manner. Aristotle condiscovered the same good qualities in the siders the tragedies that were written in defence of his country that he showed for either of these kinds, and observes, that its ruin and subversion, the audience could those which ended unhappily had always not enough pity and admire him: but as he pleased the people, and carried away the is now represented, we can only say of him prize in the public dispụtes of the stage, what the Roman historian says of Cataline, from those that ended happily. Terror that his fall would have been glorious (si and commiseration leave a pleasing anpro patria sic concidisset) had he so fallen guish in the mind; and fix the audience in in the service of his country.

C. such a serious composure of thought, as is

much more lasting and delightful than any little transient starts of joy and satisfaction.

Accordingly we find, that more of our No. 40.] Monday, April 16, 1711.

English tragedies have succeeded in which

the favourites of the audience sink under Ae ne forte puter, me, quæ facere ipse recusem, Cum recte tractent alii, laudare maligne ;

their calamities, than those in which they Me per extentum finem iibi posse videtur

recover themselves out of them. The best Ire poeta, meum qui pectus inaniter angit, Irritat, mulcet, falsis terroribus implet,

plays of this kind are The Orphan, Venice Ut magus ; et modo me Thebis, modo ponit Athenis.

Preserved, Alexander the Great, TheodoHor. Lib. 2 Ep. i. 208.

sius, All for Love, Edipus, Oroonoko,

« AnteriorContinuar »