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there is the trunk of a statue which has lost the arms, legs, and head; but discovers such an exquisite workmanship in what remains of it, that Michael Angelo declared he had learned his whole art from it. Indeed he studied it so attentively, that he made most of his statues, and even his pictures, in that #. to make use of the Italian phrase: or which reason this maimed statue is still called Michael Angelo's school.
A fragment of Sappho, which I design for the subject of this paper, is in as great reputation among the poets and critics, as the mutilated figure above-mentioned is among the statuaries and painters. Several of our countrymen, and Mr. Dryden in particular, seem very often to have copied after it in their dramatic writings, and in their poems upon love.
Whatever might have been the occasion of this ode, the English reader will enter into the beauties of it, if he supposes it to have been written in the person of a lover sitting by his mistress. I shall set to view three different copies of this beautiful original; the first is a translation by Catullus, the second by Monsieur Boileau, and the last by a gentleman whose translation of the Hymn to Venus has been so deservedly admired.*
Isle mi par esse deo ridetour,
Ille, sifas est, superare diros,
Qui sedens adversus identidem te Spectat, et audit.
Dulce ridentem; misero quod omnis
Eripit sensus mihi : nam simul te,
Lesbia, adsperi, nihil est super mi
Lingua sed torpet: tenuis sub artus
Flamma dimanat: sonitu suopte
Tinniunt aures: gemina teguntur
Lumina nocte. My learned reader will know very well the reason why one of these verses is printed in Roman letter; and if he compares this translation with the original, will find that the three first stanzas are rendered almost word for word, and not only with the same elegance, but, with the same short turn of expression which is so remarkable in the Greek, and so peculiar to the Sapphic ode. I cannot imagine for what reason Madam Dacier has told us, that this ode of Sappho is preserved entire in Longinus, since it is manifest to any one who looks into that author's quotation of it, that there must at least have been another stanza, which is not transmitted to us. The second translation of this fragment
which I shall here cite, is that of Monsieur Boileau.
Heureux! qui prés de toi, pour toi scule soupire:
Je sens de veine en veine une subtile flamme Courir par tout mon corps, sitót que je te vois: Et dans les doux transports, ou segare mon ame, Je ne scaurois trouver de langue, ni de voix.
* See No. 223,
Instead of giving any character of this last translation, I shall desire my learned reader to look into the criticisms which Longinus has made upon the original. By that means he will know to which of the translations he ought to give the preference. I shall only add, that this translation is written in the very spirit of Sappho, and as near the Greek as the genius of our language will possibly suffer.
Longinus has observed, that this description of love in Sappho is an exact copy of nature, and that all the circumstances, which follow one another in such a hurry of sentiments, notwithstanding they appear repugnant to each other, are really such as happen in the frenzies of love.
Pwonder, that not one of the critics or editors, through whose hands this ode has passed, has taken occasion from it to mention a circumstance related by Plutarch. That author, in the famous story of Antiochus, who fell in love with Stratonice, his mother-in-law, (and not daring to discover his passion,) pretended to be confined to his bed by sickness, tells us, that Erasistratus, the physician, found out the nature of his distemper by those symptoms of love which he had learnt from Sappho’s writings. Stratonice was in the room of the love-sick prince, when these symptoms discovered themselves to his physician; and it is probable, that they were not very different from those which Sappho here describes in a lover sitting by his mistress, The story of Antiochus is so well known, that I need not add the sequel of it, which
has no relation to my present subject.
No. 230.] Friday, Movember 23, 1711.
Homines ad deos nulla re proprius accedunt, quam salutem hominibus dando.— Tull.
Men resemble the gods in nothing so much as in doing good to their fellow-creatures.
HUMAN nature appears a very deformed, or a very beautiful object, according to the different lights in which it is viewed. When we see men of inflamed passions, or of wicked designs, tearing one another to pieces by open violence, or undermining each other by secret treachery; when we observe base and narrow ends pursued by ignominious and dishonest means; when we behold men mixed in society as if it were for the destruction of it; we are even ashamed of our species, and out of humour with our own being. But in another light, when we behold them mild, good, and benevolent, full of a generous regard for the public prosperity, compassionating each other's distresses, and relieving each other's wants, we can hardly believe they are creatures of the same kind. In this view they appear gods to each other, in the exercise of the noblest power, that of doing good; and the greatest compliment we have ever been able to make to our own being, has been by calling this disposition of mind brumanity. We cannot but observe a pleasure arising in our own breast upon the seeing or hearing of a generous action, even when we are wholly disinterested in it. I cannot give a more proper instance of this, than by a letter from Pliny, in which he recommends a friend in the most handsome manner, and methinks it would be a great pleasure to know the success of this epistle, though each party concerned in it has been so many hundred years in his grave.
* To Marimus.
“What I should gladly do for any friend of yours, I think I may now with confidence request for a friend of mine. Arrianus Maturius is the most considerable man of his country: when I call him so, I do not speak with relation to his fortune, though that is very plentiful, but to his integrity, justice, gravity, and prudence; his advice is useful to me in business, and his judgment in matters of learning. His fidelity, truth, and good understanding are very great; besides this, he loves me as you do, than which, I cannot say anything that signifies a warmer affection. He has nothing that's aspiring; and, though he might rise to the highest order of nobility, he keeps himself in an inferior rank: yet I think myself bound to use my endeavours to serve and promote him; and would therefore find the means of adding something to his honours while he neither expects nor knows it, nay, though he should refuse it. Something, in short, I would have for him, that may be honourable, but not troublesome; and I entreat that you will procure him the first thing of this kind that offers, by which you
will not only oblige me, but him also; for though he does not covet it, I know he will be as grateful in acknowledging your favour as if he had asked it.”
“MR. SPEct AtoR,-The reflections in some of your papers on the servile manner of education now in use, have given birth to an ambition, which, unless you discountenance it, will, I doubt, engage me in a very difficult, though not ungrateful adventure. I am about to undertake, for the sake of the British youth, to instruct them in such a manner, that the most dangerous page in Virgil or Homer may be read by them with much pleasure, and with perfect safety to their persons.
‘Could I prevail so far as to be honoured with the protection of some few of them, (for I am not hero enough to rescue many,) my design is to retire with them to an agreeable solitude, though within the neighbourhood of a city, for the convenience of their being instructed in music, dancing, drawing, designing, or any other such accomplishments, which it is conceived may make as proper diversions for them, and almost as pleasant, as the little sordid games which dirty school-boys are so much delighted with. It may easily be imagined, how such a pretty society, conversing with none beneath themselves, and sometimes admitted, as perhaps not unentertaining parties, amongst better company, commended and caressed for their little performances, and turned by such conversations to a certain gallantry of soul, might be brought early acquainted with some of the most polite English writers. This having given them some tolerable taste of books, they would make themselves masters of the Latin tongue by methods far easier than those in Lilly, with as little difficulty or reluctance as young ladies learn to speak, French, or to sing Italian operas. When they had advanced thus far, it would be time to form their taste something more exactly. .9ne that had any true relish of fine writing: might with great pleasure both to himself and them, run over together with them the best Roman historians, poets, and orators, and point out their more remarkable beauties, give them a short scheme of chronology, a little view of geography; medals; astronomy, or what else might best feed the busy inquisitive humour, so natural to that age. Such of them as had the least spark of genius, when it was once awakened by the shining thoughts and great, sentiments of those admired writers, could not, I believe, be easily withheld from attempting that more difficult sister language, whose exalted beauties they would have heard so often celebrated as the pride and wonder of the whole learned world. In the mean while, it would be requisite to exercise their style in writing any little pieces that ask more of fancy than of judgment: and that frequently in their native lan
guage, which every one, methinks, should be most concerned to cultivate, especially letters, in which a gentleman must have so frequent occasions to distinguish himself. A set of genteel good-natured youths fallen into such a manner of life, would form almost a little academy, and doubtless prove no such contemptible companions, as might not often tempt a wiser mantomingle himself in their diversions, and draw them into such serious sports as might prove nothin less instructing than the gravest lessons. i doubt not but it might be made some of their favourite plays, to contend which of them should recite a beautiful part of a poem or oration most gracefully, or sometimes to join in acting a scene of Terence, Sophocles, or our own Shakspeare. The cause of Milo might again be pleaded before more favourable judges, Caesar a second time be taught to tremble, and annother race of Athenians be afresh enraged at the ambition of another Philip. Amidst these noble amusements, we could hope to see the early dawnings of their imagination daily brighten into sense, their innocence improve into virtue, and their unexperienced good-nature directed to a generous love of their country. I am, &c.” T.
“MR. SPECTAtoR,-You, who are no stranger to public assemblies, cannot but have observed the awe they often strike on such as are obliged to exert any talent before them. This is a sort of elegant distress to which ingenuous minds are the most liable, and may therefore deserve some remarks in your paper. Many a brave fellow, who has put his enemy to flight in the field, has been in the utmost disorder upon making a speech before a body of his friends at home. One would think there was some kind of fascination in the eyes of a large circle of people, when darting all together upon one person. I have seen a new actor in a tragedy so bound up by it as to be scarce able to speak or move, and have expected he would have died above three acts before the dagger or cup of poison were brought in. It would not be amiss, if such a one were at first to be introduced as a ghost, or a statue, until he recovered his spirits, and grew fit for some living part.
“As this sudden desertion of one’s self shows a diffidence which is not displeasing, it implies at the same time the greatest
respect to an audience that can be. It is a sort of mute eloquence, which pleads for their favour much better than words could do; and we find their generosity o moved to support those who are in so muc perplexity to entertain them. I was extremely pleased with a late instance of this kind at the opera of Almahide, in the encouragement given to a young singer,” whose more than ordinary concern on her first *: recommended her no less than her agreeable voice, and just performance. Mere bashfulness without merit is awkward; and merit without modesty insolent. But modest merit has a double claim to acceptance, and generally meets with as many patrons as beholders. I am, &c.
It is impossible that a person should exert himself to advantage in an assembly, whether it be his part either to sing or speak, who lies under too great oppressions of modesty. I remember, upon talking with a friend of mine concerning the force of pronunciation, our discourse led us into the enumeration of the several organs of speech which an orator ought to have in perfection, as the tongue, the teeth, the lips, the nose, the palate, and the windpipe. ‘Upon which,” says my friend, “you have omitted the most material organ of them all, and that is the forehead.”
But notwithstanding an excess of modesty obstructs the tongue, and renders it unfit for its offices, a due proportion of it is thought so requisite to an orator, that rhetoricians have recommended it to their disj. as a particular in their art. Cicero tells us that he never liked an orator who did not appear in some little confusion at the beginning of his speech, and confesses that he himself never entered upon an oration without trembling and concern. It is indeed a kind of deference which is due to a great assembly, and seldom fails to raise a. §. in the audience towards the person who speaks. My correspondent has taken notice that the bravest men often appear timorous on these occasions, as indeed we may observe, that there is generally no creature more impudent than a coward;
Lingua melior, sed frigida bello
—Bold at the council-board:
But cautious in the field, he shunn'd the sword.
- . Dryden.
A bold tongue and a feeble arm are the qualifications of Drances in Virgil; as Homer, to express a man both timorous and saucy, makes use of a kind of point, which is very rarely to be met with in his writings; namely, that he had the eyes of a dog, but the heart of a deer.f
A just and reasonable modesty does not only recommend eloquence, but sets off every great talent which a man can be possessed of. It heightens all the virtues which it accompanies; like the shades in paintings, it raises and rounds every figure, and makes the colours more beautiful, though not so glaring as they would be without it. Modesty is not only an ornament, but also a guard to virtue. It is a kind of quick and delicate feeling in the soul; which makes her shrink and withdraw herself from every thing that has danger in it. It is such an exquisite sensibility, as warns her to shun the first appearance of every thing which is hurtful. I cannot at present recollect either the place or time of what I am going to mention; but I have read somewhere in the history of ancient Greece, that the women of the country were seized with an unaccountable melancholy, which disposed several of them to make away with themselves. The senate, after having tried many expedients to prevent this self-murder, which was so frequent among them, published an edict, that if any woman whatever should lay violent hands upon herself, her corpse should be exposed naked in the street, and dragged about the city in the most public manner. This edict immediately put a stop to the practice which was before so common. We may see in this instance the strength of female modesty, which was able to overcome the violence even of madness and despair. The fear of shame in the fair sex, was in those days more prevalent than that of death. If modesty has so great an influence over our actions, and is in many cases so impregnable a fence to virtue; what can more undermine morality than that politeness which reigns among the unthinking part of mankind, and treats as unfashionable the most ingenuous part of our behaviour; which recommends impudence as good-breeding, and keeps a man always in countenance, not because he is innocent, but because he is shameless? Seneca thought modesty so great a check to vice, that he prescribes to us the practice of it in secret, and advises us to raise it in ourselves upon imaginary occasions, when such as are real do not offer themselves; for this is the meaning of his precept, That when we are by ourselves, and in our greatest solitudes, we should fancy that Cato stands before us and sees every thing we do. In short, if you banish Modesty out of the world, she carries away with her half the virtue that is in it. After these reflections on modesty, as it is a virtue, I must observe, that there is a vicious modesty which justly deserves to be ridiculed, and which those persons very often discover who value themselves most upon a well-bred confidence. This happens when a man is ashamed to act up to his reason, and would not upon any consideration be surprised at the practice of those duties, for the performance of which he was sent into the world. Many an impudent libertine would * to be caught in 4.
* Mrs. Barbier. See a curious account of this lady in Sir John Hawkins's History of Music, vol. v. p. 156. f Iliad, i. 225.
a serious discourse, and would scarce be able to show his head, after having disclosed a religious thought. Decency of behaviour, all outward show of virtue, and abhorrence of vice, are carefully avoided by this set of shamed-faced people, as what would disparage their gayety of temper, and infallibly bring them to dishonour. This is such a poorness of spirit, such a despicable cowardice, such a degenerate abject state of mind, as one would think human nature incapable of, did we not meet with frequent instances of it in ordinary conversation. There is another kind of vicious modesty which makes a man ashamed of his person, his birth, his profession, his poverty, or the like misfortunes, which it was not his choice to prevent, and is not in his power to rectify. If a man appears ridiculous by any of the afore-mentioned circumstances, he becomes much more so by being out of countenance for them. They should rather give him occasion to exert a noble spirit, and to palliate those imperfections which are not in his power, by those perfections which are; or to use a very witty allusion of an eminent author, he should imitate Caesar, who, because his head was bald, covered that defect with laurels. C.
No. 232.] Monday, Movember 26, 1711.
Nihil largiundo gloriam adeptus est.
By bestowing nothing he acquired glory.
My wise and good friend, Sir Andrew Freeport, divides himself almost equally between the town and the country. His time in town is given up to the public, and the management of his private fortune; and after every three or four days spent in this manner, he retires for as many to his seat within a few miles of the town, to the enjoyment of himself, his family, and his friend. Thus business and pleasure, or rather, in Sir Andrew, labour and rest, recommend each other. They take their turns with so quick a vicissitude, that neither becomes a habit, or takes possession of the whole man; nor is it possible he should be surfeited with either. I often see him at our club in good humour, and yet sometimes too with an air of care in his looks: but in his country retreat he is always unbent, and such a companion as I could desire; and therefore I seldom fail to make one with him when he is pleased to invite me.
The other day, as soon as we were got into his chariot, two or three beggars on each side hung upon the doors, and solicited our charity with the usual rhetoric of a sick wife or husband at home, three or four helpless little children all starving with cold and hunger. We were forced to part with some money to get rid of their importunity; and then we proceeded on our journey with the blessings and acclamations of these people.
“Well, then,” says Sir Andrew, “we go off with the prayers and good wishes of the beggars, and perhaps too our healths will be drunk at the next ale-house: so all we shall be able to value ourselves upon, is, that we have promoted the trade of the victualler and the excises of the government. But how few ounces of wool do we see upon the backs of these poor creatures? And when they shall next fall in our way, they will hardly be better dressed; they must always live in rags to look like objects of compassion. If their families too are such as they are represented, it is certain they cannot be better clothed, and must be a great deal worse fed. One would think potatoes should be all their bread, and their drink the pure element; and then what goodly customers are the farmers like to have for their wool, corn, and cattle? Such customers, and such a consumption, cannot choose but advance the landed interest, and hold up the rents of the gentlemen. “But of all men living, we merchants, who live by buying and selling, ought never to encourage beggars. The goods which we export are indeed the product of the lands, but much the greater part of their value is the labour of the people: but how much of these people's labour shall we export whilst we hire them to sit still? The very alms they receive from us are the wages of idleness. I have often thought that no man should be permitted to take relief from the parish, or to ask it in the street, until he has first purchased as much as possible of his own livelihood by the labour of his own hands; and then the public ought only to be taxed to make good the deficiency. . If this rule was strictly observed we should see every where such a multitude of new labourers, as would in all probability, reduce the prices of all our manufactures. It is the very life of merchandise to buy cheap and sell dear. The merchant ought to make his outset as cheap as possible, that he may find the greater E. upon his returns; and nothing will enable him to do this like the reduction of the price of labour upon all our manufactures. This too would be the ready way to increase the number of our foreign markets. The abatement of the price of the manufacture would pay for the carriage of it to more distant countries; and this consequence would be equally beneficial both to the landed and trading interests. As so great an addition of labouring hands would produce this happy consequence both to the merchant and the gentleman, our liberality to common beggars, and every other obstruction to the increase of labourers, must be equally pernicious to both.” Sir Andrew then went on to affirm, that the reduction of the prices of our manufactures by the addition of so many new hands, would be no inconvenience to any man; but observing I was something startled at the assertion, he made a short pause, and then
resumed the discourse. “It may seem,” says he, “a paradox, that the price of labour should be reduced without an abatement of wages, or that wages can be abated without any inconvenience to the labourer, and yet nothing is more certain than that both these things may happen. The wages of the labourers make the greatest part of the price of every thing that is useful; and if in proportion with the wages the price of all other things should be abated, every labourer with less wages would still be able to purchase as many necessaries of life; where then would be the inconvenience? But the price of labour may be reduced by the addition of more hands to a manufacture, and yet the wages of persons remain as high as ever. The admirable Sir William Petty has given examples of this in some of his writings: one of them, as I remember, is that of a watch, which I shall endeavour to explain so as shall suit my present purpose. It is certain that a single watch could not be made so cheap in proportion by only one man, as a hundred watches by a hundred; for as there is a vast variety in the work, no one person could equally suit himself to all the parts of it: the manufacture would be tedious, and at last but clumsily performed. But if a hundred watches were to be made by a hundred men, the cases may be assigned to one, the dials to another, the wheels to another, the springs to another, and every other part to a proper artist. As there would be no need of perplexing any one person with too much variety, every one would be able to perform his single part with greater skill and expedition; and the hundred watches would be finished in one-fourth part of the time of the first one, and every one of them at onefourth part of the cost, though the wages of every man were equal. The reduction of the price of the manufacture would increase the demand of it, all the same hands would be still o and as well paid. The same rule will hold in the clothing, the shipping, and all other trades whatsoever. And thus an addition of hands to our manufactures will only reduce the price of them; the labourer will still have as much wages, and will consequently be enabled to purchase more conveniences of life, so that every interest in the nation would receive a benefit from the increase of our working people. * Besides I see no occasion for this charity to common beggars, since every beggar is an inhabitant of a parish, and every parish is taxed to the maintenance of their own poor. For my own part I cannot be mightily pleased with the laws which have done this, which have provided better to feed than employ the poor. We have a tradition from our forefathers, that after the first of those laws was made, they were insulted with that famous song: Hang sorrow and cast away care, The parish is bound to find us, &c. “And if we will be so good-natured as to