« ПредишнаНапред »
about her are shaped into artificial grottos covered with woodbines and jessamines. The woods are cut into shady walks, twisted into bowers, and filled with cages of turtles. The springs are made to run among pebbles, and by that means taught to murmur very agreeably. They are likewise collected into a beautiful lake that is inhabited by a couple of swans, and empties itself by a little rivulet which runs through a green meadow, and is known in the family by the name of The Purling Stream. The knight likewise tells me that this lady preserves her game better than any of the gentlemen in the country, not (says sir Roger) that she sets so great a value upon her partridges and pheasants, as upon her larks and nightingales. For she
that every bird which is killed in her ground will spoil a concert, and that she shall certainly miss him the next year.
When I think how oddly this lady is improved by learning, I look upon her with a mixture of admiration and pity. Amidst these innocent entertainments which she has formed to herself, how much more valuable does she appear than those of her sex, who employ themselves in diversions which are less reasonable, though more in fashion! What improvements would a woman have made, who is so susceptible of impressions from what she reads, had she been guided to such books as have a tendency to enlighten the understanding and rectify the passions, as well as to those which are of little more use than to divert the imagination!
ON LADICS PAINTING. STORY OF A PICT. No.41.
Compassion for the gentleman who writes the following letter should not prevail upon me to fall upon the fair sex, if it were not that I find they are frequently fairer than they ought to be. Such impostures are not to be tolerated in civil society; and I think his misfortune ought to be made public, as a warning for other men always to examine into what they admire.
• Supposing you to be a person of general knowledge, I make my application to you on a very particular occasion. I have a great inind to be rid of my wife, and hope, when you consider my case, you will be of opinion I have very just pretensions to a divorce. I am a mere man of the town, and have very
little improvement but what I have got from plays. I remember in The Silent Woman, the learned Dr. Cutberd, or Dr. Otter (I forget which), makes one of the causes of separation to be error persona, when a man marries a woman, and finds her not to be the same woman whom he intended to marry, but another. If that be law, it is, I presume, exactly my case. For you are to know, Mr. Spectator, that there are women who do not let their husbands see their faces till they are married.
'Not to keep you in suspense, I mean plainly that part of the sex who paint. They are some of them so exquisitely skilful this way, that, give them but a tolerable pair of eyes to set up with, and they will make bosom, lips, cheeks, and eye-brows, by their own in
dustry: dustry. As for my dear, never man was so enamoured as I was of her fair forehead, neck, and arms, as well as the bright jet of her hair ; but to my great astonishment I find they were all the effect of art. Her skin is so tarnished with this practice, that, when she first wakes in a morning, she scarce seems young enough to be the mother of her whom I carried to bed the night before. I shall take the liberty to part with her by the first opportunity, unless her father will make her portion suitable to her real, not her assumed countenance. This I thought fit to let him and her know by your
'I am, sir,
I cannot tell what the law, or the parents of the lady, will do for this injured gentleman, but must allow he has very much justice on his side. I have indeed very long observed this evil, and distinguished those of our women who wear their own, from those in borrowed complexions, by the Picts and the British. There does not need any great discernment to judge which are which. The British have a lively animated aspect; the Picts, though never so beautiful, have dead uninformed countenances. The muscles of a real face sometimes swell with soft passion, sudden surprise, and are flushed with agreeable confusions, according as the objects before them, or the ideas presented to them, affect their imagination. But the Picts behold all things with the same air, whether they are joyful or sad; the same fixed insensibility appears upon all occasions. A Pict, though she takes all that pains to invite the approach of lovers, is obliged to keep them at a certain distance; 8
embarrasses the actor, who is forced to hold his neck ex-
that the two persons act on the stage at the same time are very different. The princess is afraid lest she should incur the displeasure of the king her father, or lose the hero her lover, whilst her attendant is only concerned lest she should intangle her feet in her petticoat.
We are told that an antient tragic poet, to move the pity of his audience for his exiled kings and distressed heroes, used to make the actors represent them
in dresses and clothes that were threadbare and decayed. This artifice for moving pity seems as illcontrived as that we have been speaking of, to inspire us with a great idea of the persons introduced upon the stage. In short, I would have our conceptions raised by the dignity of thought and sublimity of expression, rather than by a train of robes or a plume of feathers.
Another mechanical method of making great men, and adding dignity to kings and queens, is to accompany them with halberts and battle-axes. Two or three shifters of scenes, with the two candle-snuffers, make up a complete body of guards upon the English stage; and, by the addition of a few porters dressed in red coats, can represent above a dozen legions. I have sometimes seen a couple of armies drawn up together upon the stage, when the poet'has been disposed to do honour to his generals. It is impossible for the reader's imagination to multiply twenty men into such prodigious multitudes, or to fancy that two or three hundred thousand soldiers are fighting in a room of forty or fifty yards in compass.' Incidents of such a nature should be told, not represented.
Non tamen intus
Hor. Ars Poet. ver. 182..
" Yet there are things improper for a scene,
I should therefore, in this particular, recommend to my countrymen the example of the French stage,