« ПредишнаНапред »
put her to death, if any such violence was offered to himself. This Joseph was much delighted with Mariamne's conversation, and endeavoured with all his art and rhetoric to set out the excess of Herod's passion for her: but when he still found her cold and incredulous, he inconsiderately told her, as a certain instance of her lord's affection, the private orders he had left behind him, which plainly showed, according to Joseph's interpretation, that he could neither live nor die without her. This barbarous instance of a wild, unreasonable passion quite put out for a time those little remains of affection she still had for her lord: for now her thoughts were so wholly taken up with the cruelty of his orders, that she could not consider the kindness that produced them, and therefore represented him in her imagination rather under the frightful idea of a murderer than a lover. Herod was at length acquitted, and dismissed by Mark Antony, when his soul was all in flames for his Mariamne; but before their meeting, he was not a little alarmed at the report he had heard of his uncle's conversation and familiarity with her in his absence. This, therefore, was the first discourse he entertained her with, in which she found it no easy matter to quiet his suspicions. But at last he appeared so well satisfied of her innocence, that, from reproaches and wranglings, he fell to tears and embraces. Both of them wept very tenderly at their reconciliation, and Herod poured out his whole soul to her in the warmest protestations of love and constancy; when, amidst all his sighs and languishings, she asked him, whether the private orders he left with his uncle Joseph were an instance of such an inflamed affection. The jealous king was immediately roused at so unexpected a question, and concluded his uncle must have been too familiar with her, before he would have discovered such a secret. In short, he put his uncle to death, and very difficultly prevailed upon himself to spare Mariamne.
After this he was forced on a second journey into Egypt, when he committed his lady to the care of Sohemus, with the same private orders he had before given his uncle, if any mischief befell himself. In the mean while Mariamne so won upon Sohemus by her presents and obliging conversation, that she drew all the secret from him, with which Herod had intrusted him; so that after his return, when he flew to her with all the transports of joy and love, she received him
coldly with sighs and tears, and all the marks of indifference and aversion. This reception so stirred up his indignation, that he had certainly slain her with his own hands, had not he feared he himself should have become the greater sufferer by it. It was not long after this, when he had another violent return of love upon him; Mariamne was therefore sent for to him, whom he endeavoured to soften and reconcile with all possible conjugal caresses and endearments; but she declined his embraces, and answered all his fondness with bitter invectives for the death of her father and her brother. This behaviour so incensed Herod, that he very hardly refrained from striking her; when, in the heat of their quarrel, there came in a witness, suborned by some of Mariamne's enemies, who accused her to the king of a design to poison him. Herod was now prepared to hear anything in her prejudice, and immediately ordered her servant to be stretched upon the rack; who, in the extremity of his tortures, confest, that his mistress's aversion to the king arose from something Sohemus had told her; but as for any design of poisoning, he utterly disowned the least knowledge of it. This confession. quickly proved fatal to Sohemus, who now lay under the same suspicions and sentence that Joseph had before him on the like occasion. Nor would Herod rest here, but accused her with great vehemence of a design upon his life, and, by his authority with the judges, had her publicly condemned and executed. Herod soon after her death grew melancholy and dejected, retiring from the public administration of affairs into a solitary forest, and there abandoning himself to all the black considerations which naturally arise from a passion made up of love, remorse, pity, and despair. He used to rave for his Mariamne, and to call upon her in his distracted fits; and in all probability would soon have followed her, had not his thoughts been seasonably called off from so sad an object by public storms, which at that time very nearly threatened him.
No. 173. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18.
-Remove fera monstra, tuæque
Saxificos vultus, quæcunque ea, tolle Medusa. OVID. MET.
IN a late paper I mentioned the project of an ingenious author for the erecting of several handicraft prizes to be con
tended for by our British artisans, and the influence they might have towards the improvement of our several manufactures. I have since that been very much surprised by the following advertisement which I find in the Post-Boy of the 11th instant, and again repeated in the Post-Boy of the 15th.
"ON the 9th of October next will be run for upon Coleshill Heath, in Warwickshire, a plate of six guineas value, 3 heats, by any horse, mare, or gelding, that hath not won above the value of 51., the winning horse to be sold for 107., to carry 10 stone weight, if 14 hands high; if above or under, to carry or be allowed weight for inches, and to be entered Friday the 15th at the Swan in Coleshill, before 6 in the evening. Also a plate of less value to be run for by asses. The same day a gold ring to be grinned for by men.
The first of these diversions, that is to be exhibited by the 101. race-horses, may probably have its use; but the two last, in which the asses and men are concerned, seem to me altogether extraordinary and unaccountable. Why they should keep running asses at Coleshill, or how making mouths turns to account in Warwickshire, more than in any other parts of England, I cannot comprehend. I have looked over all the Olympic games, and do not find anything in them like an ass-race, or a match at grinning. However it be, I am informed, that several asses are now kept in bodyclothes, and sweated every morning upon the heath; and that all the country-fellows within ten miles of the Swan grin an hour or two in their glasses every morning, in order to qualify themselves for the 9th of October. The prize which is proposed to be grinned for, has raised such an ambition among the common people of out-grinning one another, that many very discerning persons are afraid it should spoil most of the faces in the county; and that a Warwickshire man will be known by his grin, as Roman Catholics imagine a Kentish man is by his tail. The gold ring which is made the prize of deformity, is just the reverse of the golden apple that was formerly made the prize of beauty, and should carry for its posie the old motto inverted,
Or, to accommodate it to the capacity of the combatants,
The frightfull'st grinner
Be the winner.
In the mean while I would advise a Dutch painter to be present at this great, controversy of faces, in order to make a collection of the most remarkable grins that shall be there exhibited.
I must not here omit an account which I lately received of one of these grinning matches from a gentleman, who, upon reading the above-mentioned advertisement, entertained a coffee-house with the following narrative. Upon the taking of Namur, among other public rejoicings made on that occasion, there was a gold ring given by a Whig justice of the peace to be grinned for. The first competitor that entered the lists, was a black, swarthy Frenchman, who accidentally passed that way, and being a man naturally of a withered. look and hard features, promised himself good success. He was placed upon a table in the great point of view, and looking upon the company like Milton's death,
Grinn'd horribly a ghastly smile.—
His muscles were so drawn together on each side of his face that he showed twenty teeth at a grin, and put the country in some pain, lest a foreigner should carry away the honour of the day; but upon a further trial they found he was master only of the merry grin.
The next that mounted the table was a Malecontent in those days, and a great master of the whole art of grinning, but particularly excelled in the angry grin. He did his part so well, that he is said to have made half a dozen women miscarry; but the justice being apprized by one who stood near him, that the fellow who grinned in his face was a Jacobite, and being unwilling that a disaffected person should win the gold ring, and be looked upon as the best grinner in the country, he ordered the oaths to be tendered unto him upon his quitting the table, which the grinner refusing, he was set aside as an unqualified person. There were several other grotesque figures that presented themselves, which it would be too tedious to describe. I must not, however, omit a plough-man, who live in the further part of the country, and being very lucky in a pair of long lanthorn-jaws, wrung his face into such a hideous grimace, that every feature of it appeared under a different distortion. The whole company stood astonished at such a complicated grin, and were ready to assign the prize to him, had it not been proved by one of his antagonists that he had practised with verjuice
for some days before, and had a crab found upon him at the very time of grinning; upon which the best judges of grinning declared it as their opinion, that he was not to be looked upon as a fair grinner, and therefore ordered him to be set aside as a cheat.
The prize, it seems, fell at length upon a cobbler, Giles Gorgon by name, who produced several new grins of his own invention, having been used to cut faces for many years together over his last. At the very first grin he cast every human feature out of his countenance, at the second he became the face of a spout, at the third a baboon, at the fourth the head of a bass-viol, and at the fifth a pair of nut-crackers. The whole assembly wondered at his accomplishments, and bestowed the ring on him unanimously; but, what he esteemed more than all the rest, a country wench whom he had wooed in vain for above five years before, was so charmed with his grins, and the applauses which he received on all sides, that she married him the week following, and to this day wears the prize upon her finger, the cobbler having made use of it as his wedding-ring.
This paper might perhaps seem very impertinent, if it grew serious in the conclusion. I would nevertheless leave it to the consideration of those who are the patrons of this monstrous trial of skill, whether or no they are not guilty, in some measure, of an affront to their species, in treating after this manner the Human Face Divine, and turning that part of us, which has so great an image impressed upon it, into the image of a monkey; whether the raising such silly competitions among the ignorant, proposing prizes for such useless accomplishments, filling the common people's heads with such senseless ambitions, and inspiring them with such absurd ideas of superiority and pre-eminence, has not in it something immoral as well as ridiculous.
No. 177. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22.
-Quis enim bonus, aut face dignus
Arcanâ, qualem Gereris vult esse sacerdos,
Ulla aliena sibi credat mala ?
IN one of my last week's papers I treated of good-nature, as it is the effect of constitution; I shall now speak of it as