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queen's health, he in the presence of the whole company, with his own hands, de#. me into an old pair of his own shoes. his operation before fire ladies, to me who am by nature a coxcomb) was sufered with the same reluctance as they admit the help of men in their greatest extremity. . The return of ease made me forgive the rough obligation laid on me, which at that time relieved my body from a distemper, and will my mind for ever from a folly. For the charity received, I return my thanks this way. Your most humble servant.” “Epping, April 18. ‘SIR,-We have your papers here the morning they come out, and we have been very well entertained with your last, upon the false ornaments of persons who represent heroes in a tragedy. What made your speculation come very seasonably among us is, that we have now at this place a company of strollers, who are far from offending in the impertinent splendour of the drama. They are so far from falling into these false gallantries, that the stage is here in its original situation of a cart. Alexander the Great was acted by a fellow in a aper cravat. The next day the Earl of ssex seemed to have no distress but his poverty; and my Lord Foppington the same morning wanted any better means to show himself a fop, than by wearing stockings of different colours. In a word, though they have had a full barn for many days together, our itinerants are so wretchedly poor, that without you can prevail to send us the furniture you forbid at the playhouse, the heroes appear only like so beggars, and the heroines gypsies. §. have had but one part which was performed and dressed with propriety, and that was justice Clodpate. This was so well done, that it offended Mr. Justice Overdo, who in the midst of our whole audience, was (like Quixote in the puppet-show) so highly provoked, that he told #. if they would move compassion, it should be in their own persons, and not in the characters of distressed princes and potentates. He told them if they were so good at finding the way to people's hearts, they should do it at the end of bridges or church porches, in their proper vocation of beggars. This, the justice . they must expect, since they could not be contented to act heathen warriors, and such fellows as Alexander, but must presume to make a mockery of one of the quorum. Your servant.” R.
No. 49.] Thursday, Ahril 26, 1711.
Hominem pagina nostra sapit.—JMart. Men and their manners I describe. It is very natural for a man who is not turned for mirthful meetings of men, or assemblies of the fair sex, to delight in that sort of conversation which we find in cof
fee-houses. Here a man of my temper is in his element; for if he cannot talk, he can still be more agreeable to his company, as well as pleased in himself, in being only a hearer. It is a secret known but to few, yet of no small use in the conduct of life, that when you fall into a man’s conversation, the first thing you should consider is, whether he has a greater inclination to hear ou, or that you should hear him. The atter is the more general desire, and I know very able flatterers that never speak a word in praise of the persons from whom they obtain daily favours, but still practise a skilful attention to whatever is uttered by those with whom they converse. We are very curious to observe the behaviour of great men and their clients: but the same passions and interests move men in lower spheres; and I (that have nothing else to do but make observations) see in every parish, street, lane, and alley of this populous city, a little potentate that has his court and his flatterers, who lay snares for his affection and favour, by the same arts that are practised upon men in higher stations. In the place I most usually frequent, men differ rather in the time of day in which they make a figure, than in any real greatness above one another. I, who am at the coffee-house at six in the morning, know that my friend Beaver, the haberdasher, has a levee of more undissembled friends and admirers, than most of the courtiers or generals of Great Britain. Every man about him has, perhaps, a newspaper in his hand; but none can pretend to guess what step will be taken in any one court of Europe, till Mr. Beaver has thrown down his pipe, and declares what measures the allies must enter into upon this new posture of affairs. Our coffee-house is near one of the inns of court, and Beaver has the audience and admiration of his neighbours from six till within a quarter of eight, at which time he is interrupted by the students of the house; some of whom are ready dressed for Westminster at eight in the morning, with faces as busy as if they were retained in every cause there; and others come in their nightgowns to saunter away their time, as if they never designed to go thither. I do not know that I meet in any of my walks, objects which move both my spleen and laughter so effectually, as those young fellows at the Grecian, Squire's, Searle's, and all other coffee-houses adjacent to the law, who rise early for no other purpose but to publish their laziness. One would think these young virtuosos take a gay cap and slippers, with a scarf and party-coloured gown, to be ensigns of dignity; for the vain things approach each other with an air, which shows the regard one another for their vestments. have observed that the superiority among these proceeds from an opinion of gallantry and fashion. The gentleman in the strawberry sash, who presides so much over the rest, has, itseems, subscribed to every opera this last winter, and is supposed to receive favours from one of the actresses. When the day grows too busy for these gentlemen to enjoy any longer the pleasures of their dishabille, with any manner of confidence, they give place to men who have business or good sense in their faces, and come to the coffee-house either to transact affairs, or enjoy conversation. The persons to whose behaviour and discourse I have most regard, are such as are between these two sorts of men; such as have not spirits too active to be happy and well pleased in a private condition, nor complexions too warm to make them neglect the duties and relations of life. Of these sort of men consist the worthier part of mankind; of these are all fathers, generous brothers, sincere friends, and faithful subjects. Their entertainments are derived rather from reason than imagination; which is the cause that there is no impatience or instability in their speech or action. You see in their countenances they are at home, and in quiet possession of the resent instant as it passes, without desiring to quicken it by gratifying o passion, or prosecuting any new design. These are the men formed for society, and those little communities which we express by the word neighbourhood. he coffee-house is the place of rendezvous to all that live near it, who are thus turned to relish calm and ordinary life. Eubulus presides over the middle hours of the day, when this assembly of men meet together. He enjoys a great fortune handsomely, without launching into expense; and exerts many noble and useful qualities, without appearing in any public employment. His wisdom and knowledge are serviceable to all that think fit to make use of them; and he does the office of a counsel, a judge, an executor, and a friend to all his acquaintance, not only without the profits which attend such offices, but also without the deference and homage which are usually paid to them. The giving of thanks is o: to him. The greatest gratitude you can show him, is to let him see you are a better man for his services; and that you are as ready to oblige others, as he is to oblige you. In the private exigencies of his friends, he lends at legal value considerable sums which he might highly increase by rolling in the public stocks. #. does not consider in whose hands his money will improve most, but where it will do most good. Eubulus has so great an authority in his little diurnal audience, that when he shakes his head at any piece of public news, they all of them appear dejected; and on the contrary, go home to their dinners with a §. stomach and cheerful aspect when ubulus seems to intimate that things go well. Nay, their veneration towards him is so great, that when they are in other company they speak and act after him: are
wise in his sentences, and are no sooner sat down at their own tables, but they hope or fear, rejoice or despond, as they saw him do at the coffee-house. In a word, eve man is Eubulus as soon as his back is turned. Having here given an account of the several reigns that succeed each other from day-break till dinner-time, I shall mention the monarchs of the afternoon on another occasion, and shut up the whole series of them with the history of Tom the Tyrant;” who, as the first minister of the coffee-house, takes the government upon him between the hours of eleven and twelve at night, and gives his orders in the most arbitrary manner to the servants below him, as to the disposition of liquors, coals, and cinders.
No. 50.] Friday, Ahril 27, 1711. Nunquam aliud natura, aliud sapientia dixit. Jur. Sat. xiv. 321. Good taste and nature always speak the same.
WHEN the four Indian kings were in this country, about a twelvemonth ago, I often mixed with the rabble and followed them a whole day, together, being wonderfully struck with the sight of every thing that is new or uncommon. I have, since their departure, employed a friend to make many inquiries of their landlord the upholsterer, relating to their manners and conversation, as also concerning the remarks which they made in this country: for, next to the forming a right notion of such strangers, I should be desirous of learning what ideas they have conceived of us. The upholsterer finding my friend very inquisitive about these his lodgers, brought him some time since a little bundle of pars, which he assured him were written y king Sa Ga Yean Qua Rash Tow, and, as he supposes, left behind by some mistake. These papers are now translated, and contain abundance of very odd observations, which I find this little fraternity of kings made during their stay in the isle of Great Britain. I shall P. my reader with a short specimen of them in this paper, and may perhaps communicate more to him hereafter. In the article of London are the following words, which without doubt are meant of the church of St. Paul: “On the most rising part of the town there stands a huge house, big enough to contain the whole nation of which I am king. Our good brother E.Tow O Koam, king of the Rivers, is of opinion it was made by the hands of that great God to whom it is consecrated. The kings of Granajah and of the Six Nations believe that it was created with the earth, and produced on the same day with the sun and moon. But for my own part, by the best information that I could get of this matter, I am apt to
* The waiter of that coffee-house, frequently nicknamed Sir Thomas.
think that this prodigious pile was fashioned into the shape it now bears by several tools and instruments, of which they have a wonderful variety in this country. It was probably at first a huge misshapen rock, that grew upon the top of the hill, which the natives of the country (after having cut it into a kind of regular, figure) bored and hollowed with incredible pains and industry, till they had wrought in it all those beautiful vaults and caverns into which it is divided at this day. As soon as this rock was thus . scoo to their liking, a prodigious number of hands must have been employed in chipping the outside of it, which is now as smooth as the surface of a pebble; and is in several places hewn out into pillars that stand like the trunks of so many trees bound about the top with garlands of leaves. It is probable that when this at work was begun, which must have been many hundred years ago, there was some religion among this people; for they give it the name of a temple, and have a à. that it was designed for men to pay their devotions in. , And indeed there are several reasons which make us think that the natives of this country had formerly among them some sort of worship; for they set apart every seventh day as sacred: but upon myso into one of these holy houses on that day, I could not observe any circumstance of devotion in their behaviour. There was indeed a man in black, who was mounted above the rest, and seemed to utter something with a great deal of vehemence; but as for those underneath him, instead of paying their worship to the deity of the place, they were most of them bowing and curtseying to one another, and a considerable number of them fast asleep. “The queen of the country appointed two men to attend us, that had enough of our language to make themselves understood in some particulars. But we soon perceived these two were t enemies to one another, and did not always agree in the same story. We could make shift to gather out of one of them, that this island was very much infested with a monstrous kind of animals, in the shape of men, called whigs, and he often told us, that he hoped we should meet with none of them in our way, for that if we did, they would be apt to knock us down for being kings. “Qur other interpreter used to talk very much of a kind of animal called a tory, that was as great a monster as the whig, and would treat us as ill for being foreigners. These two creatures, it seems are born
with a secret antipathy to one another, and man
engage when they meet as naturally as the elephant and the rhinoceros. But as we saw none of either of these species, we are apt to think that our guides deceived us with misrepresentations and fictions, and amused us with an account of such monsters as are not really in their country. “These particulars we made a shift to
pick out from the discourse of our interpreters; which we put together as well as we could, being able to understand but here and there a word of what they said, and afterwards o the meaning of it among ourselves. The men of the country are very cunning and ingenious in handicraft works, but withal so very idle, that we often saw young, lusty, rawboned fellows, carried up and down the streets in little covered rooms, by a couple of porters, who are hired for that service. Their dress is likewise very barbarous, for they almost strangle themselves about the neck, and bind their bodies with several ligatures, that we are apt to think are the occasion of several distempers among them, which our country is entirely free from. Instead of those beautiful feathers with which we adorn our heads, they often buy up a monstrous bush of hair, which covers their heads, and falls down in a large fleece below the middle of their backs; and with which they walk up and down the streets, and are as proud of it as if it was of their
own 8. “We were invited to one of their public diversions, where we hoped to have seen the great men of their country running down a stag, or pitching a bar, that we might have discovered who were the persons of the greatest abilities among them; but instead of that, they conveyed us into a huge room lighted up with abundance of candles, where this o people sat still above three hours to see several feats of ingenuity performed by others, who it seems were paid for it. “As for the women of the country, not being able to talk with them, we could only make our remarks upon them at a distance. They let the hair of their heads grow to a great length; but as the men make a great show with heads of hair that are none of their own, the women, who they say have very fine heads of hair, tie it up in a knot, and cover it from being seen. The women look like angels, and would be more beautiful than the sun, were it not for little black spots that are apt to break out in their faces, and sometimes rise in very odd figures. I have observed that those little blemishes wear off very soon; but when they disappear in one part of the face, they are very apt to break out in another, insomuch that I have seen a spot upon the forehead in the afternoon, which was upon the chin in the morning.” The author then proceeds to show the absurdity of breeches and petticoats, with other curious observations, which I shall reserve for another occasion. I cannot however conclude this paper without taking notice, that amidst these wild remarks there now and then appears something very reasonable. I cannot likewise forbear observing, that we are all guilty in some measure of the same narrow way of thinking
which we meet with in this abstract of the
Indian journal, when we fancy the customs, dresses, and manners of other countries are ridiculous and extravagant, if they do not resemble those of our own, C.
No. 51.] Saturday, Ahril 28, 1711.
Torquet ab obscoenis jam nunc sermonibus aurem.
He from the taste obscene reclaims our youth–Pope.
‘MR. SPECTAtoR,-Myfortune, quality, and person, are such as render me as conspicuous as any young woman in town. It is in my power to enjoy it in all its vanities, but I have from a very careful education, contracted a great aversion to the forward air and fashion which is practised in all public places and assemblies. I attribute this very much to the style and manner of our plays. I was last night at the Funeral, * where a confident lover in the play speaking of his mistress, cries out—“Oh that Harriet! to fold these arms about the waist of that beauteous, struggling, and at last yielding fair!” Such an image as this ought by no means to be presented to a chaste and regular audience. I expect your opinion of this sentence, and recommend to your consideration, as a Spectator, the conduct of the stage at present with relation to chastity and modesty. I am, Sir, your constant reader and well-wisher.”
The complaint of this young lady is so just, that the offence is gross enough to have displeased persons who cannot pretend to that delicacy and modesty, of which she is mistress. But there is a great deal to be said in behalf of an author. If the audience would but consider the difficulty of keeping up a sprightly dialogue for five acts together, they would allow a writer, when he wants wit, and cannot please any otherwise, to help it out with a little Smuttiness. I will answer for the poets, that no one ever writ bawdry, for any other reason but dearth of invention. When the author cannot strike out of himself any more of that which he has superior to those who make up the bulk of his audience, his natural recourse is to that which he has in common with them; and a description which gratifies a sensual appetite will please, when the author has nothing about him to delight a refined imagination. It is to such a poverty we must impute this and all other sentences in plays, which are of this kind, and which are commonly termed luscious expressions.
This expedient to supply the deficiencies of wit, has been used more or less by most of the authors who have succeeded on the stage; though I know but one who has professedly writ a play upon the basis of the
desire of multiplying our species, and that is the polite Sir §. #. if I understand what the lady would beat, in the play called She would if She could. Other poets have here and there given an intima-tion that there is this design, under all the disguises and affectations which a lady may put on; but no author, except this, has made sure work of it, and put the imaginations of the audience upon this one purpose from the beginning to the end of the Comedy. It has always fared accordingly; for whether it be that all who go to this piece would if they could, or that the innocents go to it, to guess only what she would if she could, the play has always been well received. It lifts a heavy empty sentence, when there is added to it a lascivious gesture of body; and when it is too low to raised even by that, a flat meaning is enlivened by making it a double one. Writers who want genius, never fail of keeping this secret in reserve, to create a laugh or raise a clap. I, who know nothing of women but from seeing plays, can give great guesses at the whole structure .# the fair sex, by bein innocently placed in the pit, and j by the petticoats of their dancers; the advantages of whose pretty o are a at help to a dull play. en a poet ags in writing lusciously, a pretty girl can move lasciviously, and have the same good consequence for the author. Dull poets in this case use their audiences, as dull parasites do their patrons; when they Cannot longer divert them with their wit or humour, they bait their ears with somethin which is agreeable to their temper, thoug below their understanding. Apicius cannot resist being pleased, if you give him an account of a delicious meal; or Clodius, if you describe a wanton beauty: though at the same time, if you do not awake those inclinations in them, no men are better judges of what is just and delicate in conversation. But as I have before observed, it is easier to talk to the man than to the man of sense. " It is remarkable that the writers of least learning are best skilled in the luscious way. The poetesses of the age have done wonders in this kind; and we are obliged to the lady who writ Ibrahim, f for introducing a preparatory scene to the very action, when the emperor throws his handkerchief as a signal for his mistress to follow him into the most retired part of the seraglio. It must be confessed his Turkish majesty went off with a good air, but methought we made but a sad figure who waited without. This ingenious gentlewoman, in this piece of bawdry, refined upon an author of the same sex, f who, in the Rover, makes a country 'squire strip to his Holland drawers. For Blunt is disappointed, and the emperor is understood to go on to the utmost. The pleasantry of stripping
* The Funeral, or Grief Alamode, a comedy by Sir Richard Steele.—Much to the honour of Sir Richard, he attended to the letter of his fair correspondent, and in a subsequent edition of his comedy, expunged all the ob
noxious passages. .
1 Mrs. Aphara Behn.
f Mrs. Mary Pix.
almost naked has been since practised (where indeed it should have been begun) very successfully at Bartholomew fair.” It is not to be here omitted, that in one of the above-mentioned female compositions, the Rover is very frequently sent on the same errand; as I take it, above once every act. This is not wholly unnatural; for, they say, the men authors draw themselves in their chief characters, and the women writers may be allowed the same liberty. Thus, as the male wit gives his hero a great fortune, the female gives her heroine a good gallant at the end of the play. But, indeed, there is hardly a play one can go to, but the hero or fine gentleman of it struts off upon the same account, and leaves us to consider what good office he has put us to, or to employ ourselves as we please. To be plain, a man who frequents plays would have a very respectful notion of himself, were he to recollect how often he has been used as a pimp to ravishing tyrants, or successful rakes. When the actors make their exit on this good occasion, the ladies are sure to have an examining glance from the pit, to see how they relish what passes; and a few lewd fools are
very ready to employ their talents upon the
composure or freedom of their looks. Such incidents as these make some ladies wholly absent themselves from the playhouse; and others never miss the first day of a play, lest it should prove too luscious to admit their § with any countenance to it on the secon If men of wit, who think fit to write for the stage, instead of this pitiful way of giving delight, would turn their thoughts upon raising it from such good natural impulses as are in the audience, but are choaked up by vice and luxury, they would not only ease, but befriend us at the same time. f a man had a mind to be new in his way of writing, might not he who is represented as a fine gentleman, though he betrays the honour and bed of his neighbour and friend, and lies with half the women in the play, and is at last rewarded with her of the best character in it; I say, upon giving the comedy another cast, might not such a one divert the audience quite as well, if at the catastrophe he were found out for a traitor, and met with contempt accordingly? There is seldom a person devoted to above one darling vice at a time, so that there is room enough to catch at men's hearts to their good and advantage, if the poets will attempt it with the honesty which becomes their character. There is no man who loves his bottle or his mistress, in a manner so very abandoned, as not to be capable of relishing an agreeable character, that is in no way a slave to either of those pursuits. A man that is temperate, generous, valiant, chaste,
* The appearance of Lady Mary, a rope-dancer at Bartholomew fair, gave occasion to this proper animad. version.
faithful, and honest, may, at the same time, have wit, humour, mirth, good breeding, and gallantry. While he exerts these latter qualities, twenty occasions might be invented to show he is master of the other noble virtues. Such characters would smite and reprove the heart of a man of sense, when he is given up to his pleasures. He would see he has been mistaken all this while, and be convinced that a sound constitution and an innocent mind, are the true in ients for becoming and enjoying life. All men of true taste would .." wit, who should turn his ambition this way, a friend and benefactor to his country; but I am at a loss what name they would give him, who makes use of his capacity for contrary purposes.
AN ingenious correspondent, like a o wife, will always have the last word. I did not think my last letter to the deformed fraternity would have occasioned any answer, especially since I had promised them so sudden a visit; but as they think they cannot show too great a veneration for my person, they have already sent me up an answer. As to the proposal of a marriage between myself and the matchless Hecatissa, I have but one objection to it; which is, that all the society will expect to be acquainted with her; and who can be sure of keeping a woman's heart long, where she may have so much choice? I am the more alarmed at this, because the lady seems particularly smitten with men of their make. I believe I shall set my heart upon her; and think never the worse of my mistress for an epigram a smart fellow writ, as he thought, against her; it does but the more j her to me. At the same time I cannot but discover that his malice is stolen from Martial: Tacta places, audita places, sinon videare, Tota places; neutro, si videare, places." “Whilst in the dark on thy soft hand I hung, And heard the tempting Syren in thy tongue, What flames, what darts, what anguish, I endurdi But when the candle enterd, I was curd." ‘Your letter to us we have received, as a signal mark of your favour and brotherly affection. We shall be heartily glad to see your short face in Oxford: and since the wisdom of our legislature has been immortalized in your speculations, and our personal deformities in some sort by you recorded to all posterity; we hold ourselves in gratitude bound to receive, with the highest respect, all such persons as for their extraordinary merit you shall think fit, from time to time, to recommend unto the board. As
a man of