Imágenes de páginas

the discreet man, not the witty, nor the learned, nor the brave, who guides the conversation, and gives measures to the society. A man with great talents, but void of discretion, is like Polyphemus in the fable, strong and blind, endued with an irresistible force, which for want of sight is of no use to him. Though a man has all other perfections, and wants discretion, he will be of no great co uence in the world; but if he has this single talent in perfection, and but a common share of others, he may do what he plcases in his particular station of life. At the same time that I think discretion the most useful talent a man can be master of, I look upon cunning to be the accomÉ. of little, mean, ungenerous minds, iscretion points out the noblest ends to us, and pursues the most proper and laudable methods of attaining them. Cunning has only private selfish aims, and sticks at nothing which may make them succeed. Discretion has large and extended views, and like a well-formed eye, commands a whole horizon. Cunning is a kind of shortsightedness, that discovers the minutest objects which are near at hand, but is not able to discern things at a distance. . Discretion, the more it is discovered, gives a greater authority to the person who possesses it. Cunning, when it is once detected, loses its force, and makes a man incapable of bringing about even those events which he might have done, had he passed only for a plain man. Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life: cunning is a kind of instinct, that only looks out after our immediate interest and welfare. Discretion is only found in men of strong sense and good understandings: cunning is often to be met with in brutes themselves, and in persons who are but the fewest removes from them. In short, cunning is only the mimic of discretion, and may pass upon weak men, in the same mannner as vivacity is often mistaken for wit, and gravity for wisdom. The cast of mind which is natural to a discreet man, makes him look forward into futurity, and consider what will be his condition millions of ages hence, as well as what it is at present. He knows that the misery or happiness which are reserved for him in another world, lose nothing of their reality by being placed at so great a distance from him. The objects do not appear little to him because they are remote. He considers that those pleasures and pains which lie hid in eternity, approach nearer to him every moment, and will be present with him in their full weight and measure, as much as those pains and pleasures which he feels at this very instant. For this reason he is careful to secure to himself that which is the proper happiness of his nature; and the ultimate design of his being. He carries

his thoughts to the end of every action, and considers the most distant as well as the most immediate effects of it. He supersedes every little prospect of gain and advantage which offers itself here, if he does not find it consistent with his views of an hereafter. In a word, his hopes are full of immortality, his schemes are large and glorious, and his conduct suitable to one who knows his true interest, and how to pursue it by proper methods. I have in this essay upon discretion, considered it both as an accomplishment and as a virtue, and have therefore described it in its full extent; not only as it is conversant about worldly affairs, but as it regards our whole existence; not only as it is the guide of a mortal creature, but as it is in eneral the director of a reasonable being. t is in this light that discretion is represented by the wise man, who sometimes mentions it under the name of discretion, and sometimes under that of wisdom. It is indeed (as described in the latter part of this paper) the greatest wisdom, but at the same time in the power of every one to attain. Its advantages are infinite, but its acquisition easy; or to speak of her in the words of the apocryphal writer, whom I quoted in my last Saturday's paper,” “Wisdom is glorious, and never fadeth away, yet she is easilv seen of them that love her, and found of such as seek her. She preventeth them that desire her, in making herself first known unto them. He that seeketh her early, shall have no great travel: for he shall find her sitting at his doors. To think therefore upon her is the perfection of wisdom, and whoso watcheth for her shall quickly be without care. For she goeth about seeking such as are worthy of her, showeth herself favourably unto them in the ways, and meeteth them in every thought.” C.

No. 226.] Monday, Movember 19, 1711.

Mutum est pictura poema. A picture is a poem without words.

# I have very often lamented and hinted my sorrow in several speculations, that the art of painting is made so little use of to the improvement of our manners. When we consider that it places the action of the person represented in the most agreeable aspect imaginable, that it does not only express the passion or concern as it sits upon him who is drawn, but has under those fea-. tures the height of the painter's imagination, what strong images of virtue and humanity might we not expect would be

* Wisdom of Solomon, chap. vi. ver. 12–16.

t This paper was written for the purpose of promoting a subscription to Nicholas Dorigny's set of the Cartoons, which he had got the queen's permission to engrave. The king was so much pleased with the abilities of the artist, that he conferred the honour of knighthood on him.

instilled into the mind from the labours of the pencil? This is a poetry which would be understood with much less capacity, and less expense of time, than what is taught by writings; but the use of it is generally perverted, and that admirable skill prostituted to the basest and most unworthy ends. Who is the better man for beholding the most beautiful Venus, the best wrought Bacchanal, the images of sleeping Cupids, languishing nymphs, or any of the representations of gods, goddesses, demiods, satyrs, Polyphemes, sphynxes, or awns? But if the virtues and vices, which are sometimes pretended to be represented under such draughts, were given us by the painter in the characters of real life, and the persons of men and women whose actions have rendered them laudable or infamous, we should not see a good historypiece without receiving an instructive lecture. There needs no other proof of this truth, than the testimony of every reasonable creature who has seen the cartoons in her majesty’s gallery at Hampton-court. These are representations of no less actions than those of our Blessed Saviour and his apostles. As I now sit and recollect the warm images which the admirable Raphael has raised, it is impossible even from the faint traces in one’s memory of what one has not seen these two years, to be unmoved at the horror and reverence which appear in the whole assembly when the mercenar man fell down dead; at the amazement o the man born blind, when he first receives sight; or at the graceless indignation of the sorcerer, when he is struck blind. The lame when they first find strength in their feet, stand doubtful of their new vigour. The heavenly apostles appear acting these great things with a deep sense of the infirmities which they relieve, but no value of themselves who administer to their weakness. They know themselves to be but instruments; and the generous distress they are painted in when divine honours are offered to them, is a representation in the most exquisite degree Pthe beauty of holiness. hen St. Paul is preaching to the Athenians, with what wonderful art are almost all the different tempers of mankind represented in that elegant audience? ou see one credulous of all that is said; another wrapt up in deep suspense; another saying, there is some reason in what he says; another angry that the apostle destroys, a favourite opinion which he is unwilling to give up; another wholly convinced, and holding out his hands in rapture; while the generality attend, and wait for the opinion of those who are of leading characters in the assembly. I will not pretend so much as to mention that chart on which is drawn the appearance of our blessed Lord after his resurrection. Present authority, late sufferings, humility and majesty, despotic command, and divine love, are at once seated in his celestial

aspect. The figures of the eleven apostles are all in the same passion of admiration, but discoverit differently according to their character. Peter receives his master's orders on his knees, with an admiration mixed with a more particular attention: the two next with a more open ecstasy, though still constrained by an awe of the divine presence. The beloved disciple, whom I take to be the right of the two first figures, has in his countenance wonder drowned in love; and the last personage, whose back is towards the spectators, and his side towards the presence, one would fancy to be St. Thomas as abashed by the conscience of his former diffidence; which perplexed concern it is possible Raphael thought too hard a task to draw, but by this acknowledgment of the diffio to describe it. he whole work is an exercise of the highest piety in the painter; and all the touches of a religious mind are expressed in a manner much more forcible than can possibly be performed by the most moving eloquence. These invaluable pieces are very justly in the hands of the greatest and most pious sovereign in the world, and cannot be the frequent object of every one at their own leisure: but as an engraver is to the painter what a printer is to the author, it is worthy her majesty's name that she has concouraged that noble artist Monsieur Dorigny, to publish these works of Raphael. We have of this gentleman a piece of the Transfiguration, which, I think, is held a work second to none in the world. Methinks it would be ridiculous in our people of condition, after their large bounties to foreigners of no name or merit, should they overlook this occasion of having for a trifling subscription, a work which it is impossible for a man of sense to behold, without being warmed with the noblest sentiments that can be inspired by love, admiration, compassion, contempt of this world, and expectation of a better. It is certainly the greatest honour we can do our country, to distinguish strangers of merit who apply to us with modesty and diffidence which generally accompanies merit. No opportunity of this kind ought to be neglected; and almodest behaviour should alarm us to examine whether we do not lose something excellent under that disadvantage in the possessor of that quality... My skill in paintings, where one is not directed by the passion of the pictures, is so inconsiderable, that I am in very great perplexity when I offer to speak of any performances of painters of landscapes, buildings, or single figures. This makes me at a loss, how to mention the pieces which Mr. Boul exposes to sale by auction on Wednesday next in Chandos Street : but having heard him commended by those who have bought of him heretofore, for great integrity in his dealing, and overheard him himself (though a laudable painter) say, nothing of his own of Crete Pritain, you must know it, there is in Caernarvonshire a verv pig mountain, the clory of all Wales, which is named Penmainmaure, and you must also know, it is no crete journey on foot from me; but the road is stony and bad for shooes. Now, there is upon the forehead of this mountain a very high rock, (like a parish steeple) that cometh a huge deal over the sea; so when I am in my melancholies, and I do throw myself from it, I do tesire my fery good friend to tell me in his Spictatur, if shall be cure of my griefous lofes; for there is the sea clear as class, and as creen as the leek. Then likewise if I be drown and E. my neck, if Mrs. Gwinifrid will not ofe me afterwards. Pray be speedy in your answers, for I am in crete haste, and it is my tesires to do my business without loss of time. I remain with cordial affections, your ever lofing friend,

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Theocr. Idyl. iii. 2. Wretch that I am ah, whither shal! I go o Will you not hear me, nor regard my woef I'll strip, and throw me from yon rock so high, Where Olpis sits to watch the scaly fry. Should I be drown'd, or 'scape with life away, If cur'd of love, you, tyrant, would be gay.—P. IN my last Thursday’s paper, I made mention of a place ...” the Lover’s Leap, which I find has raised a great curiosity among several of my correspondents. I there told them that this leap was used to be taken from a promontory of Leucas. This Leucas was formerly a part of Acarmania, being ioined to it by a narrow neck of land, which the sea has by length of time overflowed and washed away; so that at present Leucas is divided from the contiment, and is a little island in the Ionian sea. The promontory of this island, from whence the lover took his leap, was formerly called Leucate. If the reader has a mind to know both the island and the promontory by their modern titles, he will find in his map the ancient island of Leucas under the name of St. Mauro, and the ancient promontory of Leucate under the name of the Cape of St. Mauro. Since I am engaged thus far in antiquity, I must observe that Theocritus in the motto prefixed to my paper, describes one of his despairing shepherds addressing himself to his mistress after the following manner: * Alas! what will become of me? Wretch that I am! Will you not hear me? I’ll throw off my clothes and take a lea into that part of the sea which is so o trequented by Olpis the fisherman...And though I should escape with my life, I know you will be pleased with it.' I shall leave it with the critics to determine whether the place, which this shepherd so particularly points out, was not the abovementioned Leucate, or at least some other lover’s leap, which was supposed to have had the same effect. I cannot believe, as all the interpreters do, that the shepherd means nothing farther here than that he would drown himself, since he represents the issue of his leap as doubtful, by adding, that if he should escape with his life, he knows his mistress would be pleased with it: which is, according to our interpretation, that she would rejoice any way to get rid of a lover who was so troublesome to her. After this short preface, I shall present my reader with some letters which I have received upon this subject. The first is sent me by a physician.

‘MR. SPEctator,-The lover's leap, which you mention in your 223d paper, was generally, I believe, a very effectual cure for lové, and not only for love, but for all other evils. In short, sir, I am afraid it was such a leap as that which Hero took to get rid of her passion for Leander. A man is in no danger of breaking his heart, who breaks his neck to prevent it. I know very well the wonders which antient authors relate concerning this leap; and in particular, that very many persons who tried it, escaped not only with their lives, but their i. If by this means they got rid of their love, though it may in ...i. ascribed to the reasons you give for it; why may we not suppose that the cold bath, into which they plunged themselves, had also some share in their cure? A leap into the sea, or into any creek of salt waters, very often gives a new motion to the spirits, and a new turn to the blood: for which reason we prescribe it in distempers which no other medicine will reach. I could produce a quotation out of a very venerable author, in which the frenzy produced by love is compared to that which is produced by the biting of a mad dog. But as this comparison is a little too coarse for your paper, and might look as if it were cited to ridicule the author who has made use of it; I shall only hint at it, and desire you to consider whether, if the frenzy produced by these two different causes be of the same nature, it may not very properly be cured by the same means. I am, sir, your most humble servant, and well-wisher,


“Mr. SPECTAtoR,--I am a young woman crossed in love. My story is very lon and melancholy. To give you the heads o it, a young gentleman, after having made his applications to me for three years together, and filled my head with a thousand dreams of happiness, some few days since married another. Pray tell me in what part of the world your promontory lies, which you call the Lover's Leap, and whether one may go to it by land? But, alas! I am afraid it has lost its virtue, and that a woman of our times would find no more relief in taking such a leap, than in singing a hymn to Venus. So that I must cry out with Dido, in Dryden's Virgil:

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

‘P. S. My law-suits have prought me to London, put I have lost my causes; and so have made my resolutions to go down and leap before the frosts begin; for I am apt to take colds.”

Ridicule, perhaps, is a better expedient against love than sober advice, and I am of opinion, that Hudibras and Don Quixote may be as effectual to cure the extrava

ices of this passion, as any of the old phiosophers. I shall therefore publish ve speedily the translation of a little Gree manuscript, which is sent me by a learned friend. It appears to have been a piece of those records which were kept in the temple of Apollo, that stood upon the promontory of Leucate. The reader will find it to be a summary account of several persons who tried the lover's leap, and of the success they found in it. As there seem to be in it some anachronisms, and deviations from the ancient orthography, I am not wholly satisfied myself that it is authentic, and not rather the production of one of those Grecian sophisters, who have imposed upon the world several spurious works of this nature. I speak this by way of precaution, because I know there are several writers of uncommon erudition, who would not fail to expose my ignorance, if they caught me “pping in a matter of so greatinoment.

No. 228.] Wednesday, Movember 21, 1711.

Percunctatorum fugito, nam garrulus idem est. Hor. Lib. 1. Ep. xviii. 69.

Th' inquisitive will blab: from such refrain:

Their leaky ears no secret can retain.—Shard.

THERE is a creature who has all the organs of speech, a tolerable good capacity for conceiving what is said to it, together with a pretty proper behaviour in all the occurrences of common life; but naturally very vacant of thought in itself, and therefore forced to apply itself to foreign assis

tances. Of this make is that man who is very inquisitive. You may often observe, that though he speaks as good sense as any man upon anything with which he is well acquainted, he cannot trust to the range of his own fancy to entertain himself upon that foundation, but goes on still to new inquiries. Thus, though you know he is fit for the most polite conversation, you shall see him very well contented to sit by a jockey, giving an account of the many revolutions in his horse's health, what potion he made him take, how that agreed with him, how afterwards he came to his stomach and his exercise, or any the like impertinence; and be as well pleased as if you talked to him on the most important truths. This humour is far from making a man unhappy, though it may subject him to raillery; for he generally falls in with a person who seems to be born for him, which is your talkative fellow. It is so ordered, that there is a secret bent, as natural as the meeting of different sexes, in these two characters, to supply each other's wants. I had the honour the other day to sit in a public room, and saw an inquisitive man look with an air of satisfaction upon the approach of one of these talkers. The man of ready utterance sat down by him, and rubbing his head, leaning on his arm, and making an uneasy countenance, he began; ‘There is no manner of news to-day. I cannot tell what is the matter with me, but I slept very ill last night; whether I caught cold or no, I know not, but I fancy I do not wear shoes thick enough for the weather, and I have coughed all this week. It must be so, for the custom of washing my head winter and summer with cold water, prevents any injury from the season entering that way: so it must come in at my feet; but I take no notice of it: as it comes so it goes. Most of our evils P. from too much tenderness; and our aces are naturally as little able to resist the cold as other parts. The Indian answered very well to an European, who asked him how he could go naked, “I am all face.”” I observed this discourse was as welcome to my general inquirer as any other of more consequence could have been; but somebody calling our talker to another part of the room, the inquirer told the next man who sat by him, that Mr. Such-a-one, who was just gone from him, used to wash his head in cold water every morning; and so repeated almost verbatim all that had been said to him. The truth is, the inquisitive are the funnels of conversation: they do not take in anything for their own use, but merely to pass it to another. They are the channels through which all the good and evil that is spoken in town are conveyed. Such as are offended at them, or think they suffer by their behaviour, may themselves mend that inconvenience; for they are not a malicious people, and if you will supply them, you may contradict any thing they have said or: by their own mouths. A farther ac

count of a thing is one of the gratefullest #. that can arrive to them; and it is selom that they are more particular than to say, ‘The town will have it, or I have it from a good hand; so that there is room for the town to know the matter more particularly, and for a better hand to contradict what was said by a good one. I have not known this humour more ridiculous than in a father, who has been earnestly solicitous to have an account how his son has passed his leisure hours; if it be in a way thoroughly insignificant, there cannot be a greater joy than an inquirer discovers in seeing him follow so hopefully his own steps. But this humour among men is most pleasant when they are saying something which is not wholly proper for a third person to hear, and yet is in itself indifferent. The other day there came in a well-dressed young fellow, and two gentlemen of this species immediately fell a whispering his pedigree. ... I could overhear, by breaks, *She was his aunt;’ then an answer, “Ay, she was of the mother's side;’ then again in a little lower voice, ‘His father wore generally a darker wig;' answer, “Not much, but this gentleman wears higher heels to his shoes.” As the inquisitive, in my opinion, are such Tmerely from a vacancy in their own imaginations, there is nothing methinks so dan}. as to communicate secrets to them; or the same temper of inquiry makes them as impertinently communicative: but no man, though he converses with them, need put himself in their power, for they will be contented with matters of less moment as well. When there is fuel enough, no matter what it is.-Thus the ends of sentences in the newspapers, as, “This wants confirmation,”—“This occasions many speculations,’ and “Time will discover the event,” are read by them, and considered not as mere expletives. One may see now and then this humour accompanied with an insatiable desire of Rnowing what passes, without turning it to any use in the world but merely their own entertainment. A mind which is gratified this way is adapted to humour and pleasantry, and formed for an unconcerned character in the world; and like myself to be a mere Spectator. This curiosity, without malice or self-interest, lays up in the imagination a magazine of circumstances which cannot but entertain when they are produced in conversation. If one were to know, from the man of the first quality to the meanest servant, the different intrigues, sentiments, leasures, and interests of mankind, would it not be the most pleasing entertainment ..maginable to enjoy so constant a farce, as the observing mankind much more different from themselves in their secret thoughts and public actions, than in their night-caps and long periwigs?

*MR. SPECTATor, Plutarch tells us,

that Caius Gracchus, the Roman, was frequently hurried by his passion into so loud and tumultuous a way of speaking, and so strained his voice as not to be able to proceed. To remedy this excess, he i." an ingenious servant, by name Licinius, always attending him with a pitch-pipe, or instrument to regulate the voice; who, whenever he heard his master begin to be high, immediately touched a soft note, at which 'tis . Caius would presently abate and grow Calin. “Upon recollecting this story, I have frequently wondered that this useful instrument should have been so long discontinued, especially since we find that this good office of Licinius has preserved his memory for many hundred years, which, methinks, should have encouraged some one to have revived it, if not for the E. good, yet for his own credit. It may be objected, that our loud talkers are so fond of their own noise, that they would not take it well to be checked by their servants. But granting this to be true, surely any of their hearers have a very good title to play a soft note in their own defence. To be short, no Licinius appearing, and the noise increasing, I was resolved to give this late long vacation to the good of my country; and I have at length by the assistance of an ingenious artist (who works for the Royal Society,) almost completed my design, and shall be ready in a short time to furnish the public with what number of these instruments they please, either to lodge at coffee-houses, or carry for their own private use. In the mean time I shall pay that respect to several gentlemen, who I know will be in danger of offending against this instrument, to give them notice of it by private letters, in which I shall only write, “Get a Licinius.” “I should now trouble you no longer, but that I must not conclude without desiring you to accept one of these pipes, which shall be left for you with Buckley; and which I hope † be serviceable to you, since as you are silent yourself, you are most open to the insults of the no. I am, sir, &c. . B.”

‘I had almost forgot to inform you, that as an improvement in this instrument, there will be a particular note, which I call a hush-note; and this is to be made use of against a long story, swearing, obsceneness, and the like.’ T

No. 229.] Thursday, November 22, 1711.

Spirat adhuc amor, Vivuntdue commissi calores AEoliae fidibus puellae.—Hor. Lib. 4. Od. ix. 10.

Nor Sappho's amorous flames decay,

Her living songs preserve their charming art,

Her verse still breathes the passions of her #: 7tcas.

AMong the many famous pieces of antiquity which are still to be seen at Rome,

« AnteriorContinuar »