« AnteriorContinuar »
No 320.) Friday, March 7, 1711-12. riages have as constant and regular a cor-non pronuba Juno,
respondence as the funeral-men have with Non Hymenæus adest, non illi gratia lecto: vintners and apothecaries. All bachelors are Eumenides stravere torum
under their immediate inspection: and my
Orid. Met. Lib. 6. 428. Nor Hymen, nor the Graces here preside,
friend produced to me a report given in to Nor Juno to befriend the blooming bride;
their board, wherein an old uncle of mine, But fiends with fun'ral brands the process led, who came to town with me, and myself, were And furies waited at the genial bed.-Crocal.
inserted, and we stood thus: theuncle smoky, MR. SPECTATOR, You have given rotten, poor; the nephew raw, but no fool; many hints in your papers to the disadvan- sound at present, very rich. My informatage of persons of your own sex, who lay tion did not end here; but my friend's ad. plots upon women. Among other hard vices are so good, that he could show me a words you have published the term “ Male copy of the letter sent to the young lady Coquettes," and have been very severe upon who is to have me; which I enclose to you: such as give themselves the liberty of a little dalliance of heart, and playing fast
“Madam—This is to let you know that and loose between love and indifference, you are to be married to a beau that comes until perhaps an easy young girl is reduced the Park. You cannot but know a virgin fop;
out on Thursday, six in the evening. Be at to sighs, dreams, and tears, and languishes they have a mind to look saucy, but are out away her life for a careless coxcomb, who of countenance. The board has denied him looks astonished, and wonders at such an effect from what in him was all but com•
to several good families. I wish you joy.
“CORINNÅ." mon civility. Thus you have treated the men who are irresolute in marriage; but if What makes' my correspondent's case you design to be impartial, pray be so honest the more deplorable is, that, as I find by as to print the information I now give you the report from my censor of marriages, of a certain set of women who never coquet the friend he speaks of is employed by the for the matter, but, with a high hand, inquisition to take him in, as the phrase marry whom they please to whom they is. After all that is told him, he has inforplease. As for my part, I should not have mation only of one woman that is laid for concerned myself with them, but that I him, and that the wrong one; for the lady understand that I am pitched upon by them commissioners have devoted him to another to be married, against my will, to one I than the person against whom they have never saw in my life. It has been my mis- employed their agent his friend to alarm fortune, sir, very innocently, to rejoice in a him. The plot is laid so well about this plentiful fortune, of which I am master, to young gentleman, that he has no friend to bespeak a fine chariot, to give directions retire to, no place to appear in, or part of for two or three handsome snuff-boxes, and the kingdom to fly into, but he must fall as many suits of fine clothes; but before any into the notice, and be subject to the power of these were ready I heard reports of my of the inquisition. They have their emissabeing to be married to two or three differ- ries and substitutes in all parts of this united ent young women. Upon my taking notice kingdom. The first step they usually take, of it to a young gentleman who is often in is to find from a correspondence, by their my company, he told me smiling, I was in messengers and whisperers, with some dothe inquisition. You may believe I was not mestic of the bachelor, (who is to be hunted a little startled at what he meant, and into the toils they have laid for him,) what more so, when he asked me if I had be- are his manners, his familiarities, his good spoke any thing of late that was fine. I qualities, or vices; not as the good in him told him several; upon which he produced is a recommendation, or the ill a diminua description of my person, from the trades- tion, but as they affect to contribute
to the men whom I had employed, and told me main inquiry, what estate he has in him. that they had certainly informed against When this point is well reported to the me. Mr. Spectator, whatever the world board, they can take in a wild roaring foxmay think of me, I am more coxcomb than hunter, as easily as a soft, gentle young fop fool, and I grew very inquisitive upon this of the town. The way is to make all places head, not a little pleased with the novelty. uneasy to him, but the scenes in which they My friend told me, there were a certain set have allotted him to act. His brother huntsof women of fashion, whereof the number men, bottle companions, his fraternity of of six made a committee, who sat thrice a fops, shall be brought into the conspiracy week, under the title of “ The Inquisition against him. Then this matter is not laid on Maids and Bachelors.” It seems, when- in so barefaced a manner before him as to ever there comes such an unthinking gay have it intimated, Mrs. Such-a-one would thing as myself to town, he must want all make him a very proper wife; but by the manner of necessaries, or be put into the force of their correspondence, they shall inquisition by the first tradesman he em- make it (as Mr. Waller said of the marploys. They have constant intelligence with riage of the dwarfs,) as impracticable to cane-shops, perfumers, toy-men, coach- have any woman besides her they design makers, and china-houses. From these him, as it would have been in Adam to several places these undertakers for mar- have refused Eve. The man named by
Hor. Ars Poct. v. 99.
the commission for Mıs. Such-a-one shall day at a neighbouring coffee-house, where neither be in fashion, nor dare ever ap- we have what I may call a lazy club. We pear in company, should he attempt to generally come in night-gowns, with our evade their determination.
stockings about our heels, and sometimes The female sex wholly govern domestic but one on. Our salutation at entrance is a life; and by this means, when they think yawn and a stretch, and then without more fit, they can sow dissensions between the ceremony we take our place at the lollingdearest friends, nay, make father and son table, where our discourse is, what I fear irreconcilable enemies, in spite of all the you would not read out, therefore shall not ties of gratitude on one part, and the duty insert. But I assure you, sir, I heartily of protection to be paid on the other. The lament this loss of time, and am now reladies of the inquisition understand this per- solved, (if possible, with double diligence,) fectly well; and where love is not a motive to retrieve it, being effectually awakened to a man's choosing one whom they allot, by the arguments of Mr. Slack, out of the they can with very much art insinuate sto- senseless stupidity that has so long posries to the disadvantage of his honesty or sessed me. And to demonstrate that penicourage, until the creature is too much tence accompanies my confessions, and condispirited to bear up against a general ill stancy my resolutions, I have locked my reception, which he every where meets door for a year, and desire you would let with, and in due time falls into their ap- my companions know I am not within. I pointed wedlock for shelter. I have a long am with great respect, sir, your most obeletter bearing date the fourth instant, which dient servant, gives me a large account of the policies of T.
•N. B.' this court; and find there is now before them a very refractory, person who has escaped all their machinations for two No. 321.] Saturday, March 8, 1711-12. years last past; but they have prevented two successive matches which were of his Nec satis est pulchra esse poemata, dulcia sunto. own inclination; the one by a report that his mistress was to be married, and the very
Tis not enough a poem's finely writ;
It must affect and captivate the soul.- Roscommon. day appointed, wedding-clothes bought, and all things ready for her being given to an- Those who know how many volumes other; the second time by insinuating to all have been written on the poems of Homer his mistress's friends and acquaintance, that and Virgil will easily pardon the length of he had been false to several other women, my discourse upon Milton. The Paradise and the like. The poor man is now re- Lost is looked upon by the best judges, as duced to profess he designs to lead a single the greatest production, or at least the life; but the inquisition give out to all his noblest work of genius in our language, acquaintance, that nothing is intended but and therefore deserves to be set before an the gentleman's own welfare and happi- English reader in its full beauty. For this
When this is urged, he talks still reason, though I have endeavoured to give more humbly, and protests he aims only at a general idea of its graces and imperfeca life without pain or reproach; pleasure, tions in my first six papers, I thought myhonour, and riches, are things for which he self obliged to bestow one upon every book has no taste. But notwithstanding all this, in particular. The first three books I have and what else he may defend himself with, already despatched, and am now entering as that the lady is too old or too young, of a upon the fourth. I need not acquaint my suitable humour, or the quite contrary, and reader that there are multitudes of beauthat it is impossible they can ever do other ties in this great author, especially in the than wrangle from June to January, every descriptive parts of this poem, which I body tells him all this is spleen, and he have not touched upon; it being my intenmust have a wife; while all the members tion to point out those only which appear of the inquisition are unanimous in a certain to me the most exquisite, or those which woman for him, and they think they al- are not so obvious to ordinary readers. together are better able to judge than he, Every one that has read the critics who or any other private person whatsoever. have written upon the Odyssey, the Iliad,
and the Æneid, knows very well, that • Temple, March 3, 1711. though they agree in their opinions of the SIR,-Your speculation this day on the great beauties in those poems, they have subject of idleness has employed me ever nevertheless each of them discovered sevesince I read it, in sorrowful reflections on ral master-strokes, which have escaped the my having loitered away the term (or rather observation of the rest. In the same manthe vacation) of ten years in this place, and ner, I question not but any writer, who shall unhappily suffered a good chamber and treat of this subject after me may find sevestudy to lie idle as long. My books (except ral beauties in Milton, which I have not those I have taken to sleep upon,) have taken notice of. I must likewise observe, been totally neglected, and iny Lord Coke that as the greatest masters of critical leartand other venerable authors were never so ing differ among one another, as to some slighted in their lives. I spend most of the particular points in an epic poem, I have
not bound myself scrupulously to the rules forth into a speech that is softened with which any one of them has laid down upon several transient touches of remorse and that art, but have taken the liberty some- self-accusation: but at length he confirms times to join with one, and sometimes with himself in impenitence, and in his design another, and sometimes to differ from all of of drawing man into his own state of guilt them, when I have thought that the reason and misery. This conflict of passions is of the thing was on my side.
raised with a great deal of art, as the openWe may conclude the beauties of the ing of his speech to the sun is very bold fourth book under three heads. In the first and noble: are those pictures of still-life, which we
"O thou, that with surpassing glory crown'd, meet with in the description of Eden, Para- Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god dise, Adam's bower, &c. In the next are the of this new world; at whose sight all the stars machines, which comprehend the speeches
Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice; and add thy name, and behaviour of the good and bad angels. O sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams, In the last is the conduct of Adam and Eve, That bring to my remembrance from what state who are the principal actors in the poem.
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere.' In the description of Paradise, the poet This speech is, I think, the finest that is has observed Aristotle's rule of lavishing ascribed to Satan in the whole poem. The all the ornaments of diction on the weak evil spirit afterwards proceeds to make his unactive parts of the fable, which are not discoveries concerning our first parents, supported by the beauty of sentiments and and to learn after what manner they may characters. . Accordingly the reader may be best attacked. His bounding over the observe, that the expressions are more walls of Paradise: his sitting in the shape florid and elaborate in these descriptions, of a cormorant upon the tree of life, which than in most other parts of the poem. I stood in the centre of it, and overtopped all must further add, that though the draw the other trees of the garden; his alighting ings of gardens, rivers, rainbows, and the among the herd of animals, which are so like dead pieces of nature, are justly cen- beautifully represented as playing about sured in an heroic poem, when they run out Adam and Eve; together with his transinto an unnecessary length-the description forming himself into different shapes, in of Paradise would have been faulty, had order to hear their conversation; are cirnot the poet been very particular in it, notcumstances that give an agreeable surprise only as it is the scene of the principal ac- to the reader, and are devised with great tion, but as it is requisite to give us an idea art, to connect that series of adventures in of that happiness from which our first pa- which the poet has engaged this artificer rents fell. The plan of it is wonderfully of fraud. beautiful, and formed upon the short sketch The thought of Satan's transformation which we have of it in holy writ. Milton's into a cormorant, and placing himself on the exuberance of imagination has poured forth tree of life, seems raised upon that passage such a redundancy of ornaments on this in the Iliad, where two deities are described seat of happiness and innocence, that it as perching on the top of an oak in the would be endless to point out each par- shape of vultures. ticular.
His planting himself at the ear of Eve I must not quit this head without further under the form of a toad, in order to proobserving, that there is scarce a speech of duce vain dreams and imaginations, is a Adam or Eve in the whole poem, wherein circumstance of the same nature; as his the sentiments and allusions are not taken starting up in his own form is wonderfully from this their delightful habitation. The fine, both in the literal description, and in reader, during their whole course of action the moral which is concealed under it. His always finds himself in the walks of Para- answer upon his being discovered, and dedise. In short, as the critics have remarked, manded to give an account of himself, is that in those poems wherein shepherds are conformable to the pride and intrepidity of the actors, the thoughts ought always to of his character: take a tincture from the woods, fields, and
•Know ye not, then,' said Satan, fild with scorn, rivers; so we may observe, that our first
*Know ye not me!' Ye knew me once no mate parents seldom lose sight of their happy For you, there sitting where you durst not soar: station any thing they speak or do; and, Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
The lowest of your throngif the reader will give me leave to use the expression, that their thoughts are always Zephon's rebuke, with the influence it ‘paradisaical.'
had on Satan, is exquisitely graceful and We are in the next place to consider the moral. Satan is afterwards led away to machines of the fourth book. Satan being Gabriel, the chief of the guardian angels, now within the prospect of Eden, and look- who kept watch in Paradise. His disdainful ing round upon the glories of the creation, behaviour on this occasion is so remarkable is filled with sentiments different from those a beauty, that the most ordinary reader which he discovered whilst he was in hell. cannot but take notice of it. Gabriel's dis1 he place inspires him with thoughts more covering his approach at a distance is drawn adapted to it. He reflects upon the happy with great strength and liveliness of imagicondition from whence he fell, and breaks nation:
O friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet
below the genius of Milton. The descripHasting this way, and now by glimpse discern
tion of the host of armed angels walking Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade, And with them cornes a third of regal port,
their nightly round in Paradise is of another But faded splendour wan; why by his gait
spirit: And fierce demeanour seems the prince of Hell: Not likely to part hence without contest;
So saying on he led his radiant files, Stand firm, for in his look defiance low'rs.'
Dazzling the moon;
as that account of the hymns which our The conference between Gabriel and first parents used to hear them sing in these Satan abounds with sentiments proper for their midnight walks is altogether divine, the occasion, and suitable to the persons of and inexpressibly amusing to the imaginatne two speakers. Satan clothing himself tion. with terror when he prepares for the com- We are in the last place, to consider the bat is truly sublime, and at least equal to parts which Adam and Eve act in the fourth Homer's description of Discord, celebrated book. The description of them, as they first by Longinus, or to that of Fame in Virgil, appeared to Satan, is exquisitely drawn, and who are both represented with their feet sufficient to make the fallen angel gaze upon standing upon the earth, and their heads them with all that astonishment, and those reaching above the clouds:
emotions of envy in which he is represented: While thus he spake, th' angelic squadron bright
Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall, Turn'd fiery red, sharp'ning in mooned horns
God-like erect, with native honour clad Their phalanx, and began to hem him round
In naked majesty, seem'd lords of all ;
And worthy seem'd; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure; Like Teneriffe, or Atlas, unremoved :
Severe, but in true filial freedom placd: His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest
For contemplation he and valour formd, Sat Horror plum'd.
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him. I must here take notice, that Milton is His fair large front, and eye sublime declar'd every where full of hints, and sometimes
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung literal translations, taken from the greatest Clust'ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad. of the Greek and Latin poets. But this I She, as a veil, down to her slender waist may reserve for a discourse by itself, be
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Dishevell’d, but in wanton ringlets wav'd. cause I would not break the thread of these
So pass'd they naked on, nor shunn'd the sight speculations, that are designed for English of God or angels, for they thought no ill: readers, with such reflections as would be
So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair
That ever since in love's embraces mel. of no use but to the learned. I must, however, observe in this place,
There is a fine spirit of poetry in the lines that the breaking off the combat between which follow, wherein they are described Gabriel and Satan, by the hanging out of as sitting on a bed of flowers by the side of the golden scales in heaven, is a refinement a fountain, amidst a mixed assembly of aniupon Homer's thought, who tells us, that
mals. before the battle between Hector and
The speeches of these two first lovers Achilles, Jupiter weighed the event of it flow equally from passion and sincerity. in a pair of scales. The reader may see
The professions they make to one another the whole passage in the 22d Iliad.
are full of warmth; but at the same time Virgil, before the last decisive combat founded on truth. In a word they are the describes Jupiter in the same manner, as
gallantries of Paradise:
-When Adam first of menweighing the fates of Turnus and Æneas.
'Sole partner and sole part of all these joys, Milton, though he fetched this beautiful Dearer thyself than all :circumstance from the Iliad and Æneid, But let us ever praise Him, and extol does not only insert it as a poetical embel
His bounty, following our delightful task,
To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers: lishment, like the author's above-mention- Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.' ed, but makes an artful use of it for the To whom thus Eve reply'd. 'O thou, for whom proper carrying on of his fable, and for the
And from whom I was form'd, flesh of thy flesh,
And without whom am to no end, my guide breaking off the combat between the two And head, what thou hast said is just and right. warriors, who were upon the point of en- For we to him indeed all praises owe gaging.. To this we may further add, that
And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoy Milton is the more justified in this passage,
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee,
Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou as we find the same noble allegory in holy Like consort to thyself canst no where find.' &c. writ, where a wicked prince, some few The remaining part of Eve's speech, in hours before he was assaulted and slain, is which she gives an account of herself upon said to have been 'weighed in the scales, her first creation, and the manner in which and to have been found wanting.'
she was brought to Adam, is, I think, as I must here take notice, under the head beautiful a passage as any in Milton, or of the machines, that Uriel's gliding down perhaps in any other poet whatsoever. to the earth upon a sun-beam, with the These passages are all worked off with so poet's device to make him descend, as well much art, that they are capable of pleasing in his return to the sun as in his coming the most delicate reader, without offending from it, is a prettiness that might have been the most severe. admired in a little fanciful poet, but seems "That day I oft remember, when from sleep,' &c.
A poet of less judgment and invention is a very good one, if it be true:' but as for than this great author, would have found the following relation, I should be glad were it very difficult to have filled these tender I sure it were false. It is told with such parts of the poem with sentiments proper simplicity, and there are so many artless for a state of innocence; to have described touches of distress in it, that I fear it comes the warmth of love, and the professions of too much from the heart. it, without artifice or hyperbole; to have made the man speak the most endearing
"MR. SPECTATOR,Some years ago it things without descending from his natural happened that I lived in the same house dignity, and the woman receiving them with a young gentleman of merit, with without departing from the modesty of her whose good qualities I was so much taken, character: in a word, to adjust the pre- as to make it my endeavour to show as rogatives of wisdom and beauty, and make many as I was able in myself. Familiar each appear to the other in its proper force converse improved general civilities into and loveliness. This mutual subordination an unfeigned passion on both sides. He of the two sexes is wonderfully kept up in watched an opportunity to declare himself the whole poem, as particularly in the to me; and I, who could not expect a man speech of Eve I have before mentioned, of so great an estate as his, received his adand upon the conclusion of it in the follow-dresses in such terms, as gave him no reaing lines:
son to believe I was displeased with them, So spake our general mother, and with eyes
though I did nothing to make him think me Of conjugal attraction unreprov'd,
more easy than was decent. His father was And meek surrender, half embracing lean'd
a very hard worldly man, and proud; so On our first father; half her swelling breast Naked met his, under the flowing gold
that there was no reason to believe he Of her loose tresses hid; be in delight
would easily be brought to think there was Both of her beauty and submissive charms
any thing in any woman's person, or chaSunild with superior love.
racter, that could balance the disadvantage The poet adds, that the devil turned of an unequal fortune. In the mean time away, with envy at the sight of so much the son continued his application to me, and happiness.
omitted no occasion of demonstrating the We have another view of our first pa- most disinterested passion imaginable to rents in their evening discourses, which is me; and in plain direct terms offered to full of pleasing images and sentiments suit- marry me privately, and keep it so till he able to their condition and characters. The should be so happy as to gain his father's speech of Eve in particular, is dressed up approbation, or become possessed of his in such a soft and natural turn of words estate. I passionately loved him, and you and sentiments, as cannot be sufficiently will believe I did not deny such a one what admired.
was my interest also to grant. However, I I shall close my reflections upon this was not so young as not to take the precaubook with observing the masterly transi- tion of carrying with me a faithful servant, tion which the poet makes to their evening who had been also my mother's maid, to be worship in the following lines:
present at the ceremony. When that was Thus at their shady lodge arriv'd, both stood,
over, I demanded a certificate to be signed Both turn'd, and under open sky ador'd
by the minister, my husband, and the serThe God that made both
sky, air, earth, and heav'n, vant I just now spoke of. After our nupWhich they be held, the moon's resplendent globe, And starry pole: “Thou also mad'st the night,
tials, we conversed together very familiarly Maker omnipotent, and thou the day,' &c. in the same house; but the restraints we
Most of the modern heroic poets have were generally under, and the interviews imitated the ancients, in beginning a speech
we had being stolen and interrupted, made without premising that the person said thus our behaviour to each other have rather or thus; but as it is easy to imitate the an- / the impatient fondness which is visible in cients in the omission of two or three words, lovers, than the regular and gratified affecit requires judgment to do it in such a man- tion, which is to be observed in man and ner as they shall not be missed, and that wife. This observation made the father the speech may begin naturally without very anxious for his son, and press him to them. There is a fine instance of this kind a match he had in his eye for him. To reout of Homer, in the twenty-third chapter and conceal the secret of our marriage,
lieve my husband from this importunity, of Longinus.
which I had reason to know would not be long in my power in town, it was resolved
that I should retire into a remote place in No. 322.] Monday, March 10, 1711-12. the country, and converse under feigned
names by letter. We long continued this Ad humum moerore gravi deducit et angit.
way of commerce; and I with my needle, a
few books, and reading over and over my -Grief wrings her soul, and bends it down to earth. husband's letters, passed my time in a
resigned expectation of better days. Be It is often said, after a man has heard a pleased to take notice, that within four story with extraordinary circumstances, “It months after I left my husband I was deli
Hor. Ars Poet, v. 110.