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• I desire you may insert this in one of your speculations, to shew my zeal for removing the dissatisfaction of the fair-sex, and restoring you to their favour.
company young officer, who entertained us with the conquest he had made over a female neighbour of his: when a gentleman who stood by, as I suppose, envying the captain's good fortune, asked him what reason he had to believe the lady admired him? “Why," says he, "my lodgings are opposite to her's, and she is continually at her window either at work, reading, taking snuff, or putting herself in some toying posture, on purpose to draw
The confession of this vain soldier made me reflect on some of my own actions; for you must know, Sir, I am often at a window which fronts the apartments of several gentlemen, who I doubt not have the same opinion of me. I must own I love to look at them all, one for being well dressed, a second for his fine eye,' and one particular one, because he is the least man I ever saw; but there is something so easy and pleasant in the manner of my little man, that I observe he is a favourite of all his acquaintance. I - could go on to tell you of many others, that I believe think I have encouraged them from my window: but pray let me have your opinion of the use of the window, in the apartment of a beautiful lady; and how often she may
look out at the same man, without being supposed to have a mind to jump out to him.
• Yours, AURELIA CARELESS.'
· I have for some time made love to a lady, who received it with all the kind returns I ought to expect: but without any provocation, that I know of, she has of late shunned me with the utmost abhorrence, insomuch that she went out of church last Sunday in the midst of divine service, upon my coming into the same pew. Pray, Sir, what must I do in this business?
Let her alone ten days.
York, Jan. 20, 1711-12. • We have in this town a sort of people who pretend to wit, and write lampoons; I have lately been the subject of one of them. The scribbler had not genius enough in verse to turn my age, as indeed I am an old maid, into raillery, for affecting a youthier turn than is consistent with my time of day; and therefore he makes the title of his madrigal, the character of Mrs. Judith Lovebane, born in the year 1680. What I desire of you is, that you disallow that a coxcomb, who pretends to write verse, should put the most malicious thing he can say in
This I humbly conceive will disable our country wits, who indeed take a great deal of pains to say any thing in rhyme, though they say it
I am, sir,
We are several of us, gentlemen and ladies, who board in the same house, and after dinner one of our company (an agreeable man enough otherwise) stands up, and reads your paper to us all. We are the civilest people in the world to one another, and therefore I am forced to this way of desiring our reader when he is doing this office, not to stand afore the fire. This will be a general good to our family, this cold weather. He will, I know, take it to be our common request when he comes to these words, “ Pray, Sir, sit down:” which I desire you to insert, and you will particularly oblige
• Your daily reader,
' CHARITY FROST.'
• I am a great lover of dancing, but cannot perform so well as some others; however, by my Out-of-the way capers, and some original grimaces, I do not fail to divert the company, particularly the ladies, who laugh immoderately all the time. Some, who pretend to be my friends tell me they do it in derision, and would advice me to leave it off, withal that I make myself ridiculous. I do not know what to do in this affair, but I am resolved not to give over upon any account, until I have the opinion of the Spectator.
• Your humble servant,
' JOHN TROTT.'
* IF Mr. Trott is not awkward out of time, he has a right to dance let who will laugh; but if he
has no ear he will interrupt others : and I am of opinion he should sit still. Given under my hand this fifth of February, 1711-12. T.
" THE SPECTATOR.'
N° 297. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 1711-12.
velut st Egregio inspersos reprendas corpore næcos.
Hor. 1 Sat. vi. 60.
As perfect beauties somewhere have a mode.
After what I have said in my last Saturday's paper, I shall enter on the subject of this without further preface, and remark the several defects which appear in the fable, the characters, the sentiments, and the language of Milton's Paradise Lost; not doubting but the reader will pardon me, if I allege at the same time whatever may be said for the extenuation of such defects. The first imperfection which I shall observe in the fable is, that the event of it is unhappy.
The fable of every poem is, according to Aristotle's division, either simple or implex. It is called simple when there is no change of fortune in it: implex, when the fortune of the chief actor changes from bad to good, or from good to bad. The implex fable is thought the most perfect: I suppose, because it is more proper tostir up the passions of the reader, and to surprise him with a greater variety of accidents.
The implex fable is therefore of two kinds : in the first, the chief actor makes his way through a long series of dangers and difficulties, until he arrives at honour and prosperity, as we see in the stories of Ulysses and Æneas : in the second, the chief actor in the poem falls from some eminent pitch of honour and prosperity, into misery and disgrace. Thus we see Adam and Eve sinking from a state of innocence and happiness, into the most abject condition of sin and sorrow.
The most taking tragedies among the ancients were built on this last sort of implex fable, particularly the tragedy of Edipus, which proceeds upon a story, if we may believe Aristotle, the most proper for tragedy that could be invented by the wit of
I have taken some pains in a former paper to shew, that this kind of implex fable, wherein the event is unhappy, is more apt to affect an audience than that of the first kind; notwithstanding many excellent pieces among the ancients, as well as most of those which have been written of late years in our own country, are raised upon contrary plans. I must however own, that I think this kind of fable which is the most perfect in tragedy, is not so proper for an heroic poem.
Milton seems to have been sensible of this imperfection in his fable, and has therefore endeavoured to cure it by several expedients; particularly by the mortification which the great adversary of mankind meets with upon his return to the assembly of infernal spirits, as it is described in a beautiful passage of the third book; and likewise by the vision wherein Adam, at the close of the poem, sees his offspring triumphing over his great enemy, and himself restored to a happier paradise than that from which he fell.
There is another objection against Milton's fable,