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supposes them to have drawn their different manners and dispositions from those animals and elements out of which he tells us they were compounded; I had some thoughts of giving the sex their revenge, by laying together in another paper the many vicious characters which prevail in the male world, and showing the different ingredients that go to the making up of such different humours and constitutions. Horace has a thought which is something akin to this, when, in order to excuse himself to his mistress, for an invective which he had written against her, and to account for that unreasonable fury with which the heart of man is often transported, he tells us, that when Prometheus made his man of clay, in the kneading up of the heart he seasoned it with some furious particles of the lion. But upon turning this plan to and fro in my thoughts, I observed so many unaccountable humours in man, that I did not know out of what animals to fetch them. Male souls are diversified with so many characters that the world has not variety of materials sufficient to furnish out their different tempers and inclinations. The creation, with all its animals and elements, would not be large enough to supply their several extravagances.
Instead, therefore, of pursuing the thought of Simonides, I shall observe, that as he has exposed the vicious part of women from the doctrine of pre-existence, some of the ancient philosophers have, in a manner, satirized the vicious part of the human species in general, from a notion of the soul's post existence, if I may so call it; and that as Simonides describes brutes entering into the composition of women, others have represented human souls as entering ininto brutes. This is commonly termed the doctrine of transmigration, which supposes that human souls, upon their leaving the body, become the souls of such kinds of brutes as they most resemble in their manners; or to give an account of it, as Mr. Dryden has described it in his translation of Pythagoras his speech in the fifteenth book of Ovid, where that philosopher dissuades his hearers from eating flesh:
Thus all things are but altered, nothing dies,
From tenement to tenement is tossed:
To please the taste of glutton-appetite;
Or from a beast dislodge a brother's mind.
Plato, in the vision of Erus the Armenian, which I may possibly make the subject of a future speculation, records some beautiful transmigrations; as that the soul of Orpheus, who was musical, melancholy, and a woman-hater, entered into a swan; the soul of Ajax, which was all wrath and fierceness, into a lion; the soul of Agamemnon, that was rapacious and imperial, into an eagle; and the soul of Thersites, who was a mimic and a buffoon, into a monkey.
Mr. Congreve, in a prologue to one of his comedies, has touched upon this doctrine with great humour.
Thus Aristotle's soul, of old that was,
I shall fill up this paper with some letters, which my last Tuesday's speculation has produced. My following correspondents will show, what I there observed, that the speculation of that day affects only the lower part of the sex.
"From my house in the Strand, October 30, 1711.
Upon reading your Tuesday's paper, I find by several symptoms in my constitution, that I am a bee. My shop, or if you please to call it so, my cell, is in that great hive of females which goes by the name of the New-Exchange; where I am daily employed in gathering together a little stock of gain from the finest flowers about the town; I mean the ladies and the beaus. I have a numerous swarm of children, to whom I give the best education I am able: but, sir, it is my misfortune to be married to a drone, who lives upon what I get, without bringing anything into the common stock. Now, sir, as on the one hand I take care not to behave myself towards him like a wasp, so likewise I would not have him look upon me as a humble-bee; for which reason I do all I can to put him upon laying up provisions for a bad day, and
frequently represent to him the fatal effects his sloth and negligence may bring upon us in our old age. I must beg that you will join with me in your good advice upon this occasion. you will for ever oblige
"Your humble servant, MELISSA." "Piccadilly, October 31, 1711.
I am joined in wedlock, for my sins, to one of those fillies who are described in the old poet with that hard name you gave us the other day. She has a flowing mane, and a skin as soft as silk: but, sir, she passes half her life at her glass, and almost ruins me in ribbons. For my own part, I am a plain handicraft man, and in danger of breaking by her laziness and expensiveness. Pray, master, tell me in your next paper, whether I may not expect of her so much drudgery as to take care of her family, and curry her hide in case of refusal. "Your loving friend, BARNABY BRITTLE." "Cheapside, October 30.
I am mightily pleased with the humour of the cat ; be so kind as to enlarge upon that subject.
"Yours till death, JOSIAH HENPECK." “P. S. You must know I am married to a Grimalkin.”
“SIR, Ever since your Spectator of Tuesday last came into our family, my husband is pleased to call me his Oceana, because the foolish old poet that you have translated, says, That the souls of some women are made of sea-water. This, seems, has encouraged my sauce-box to be witty upon me. When I am angry, he cries, Pr'ythee, my dear, 'be calm;' when I chide one of my servants, Pr'ythee, child, 'do not bluster.' He had the impudence about an hour ago to tell me, that he was a seafaring man, and must expect to divide his life between 'storm and sunshine.' When I bestir myself with any spirit in my family, it is 'high sea' in his house; and when I sit still without doing anything, his affairs forsooth are 'wind-bound.' When I ask him whether it rains, he makes answer, It is no matter, so that it be 'fair weather' within doors. In short, sir, I cannot speak my mind freely
to him, but I either 'swell' or 'rage,' or do something that is not fit for a civil woman to hear. Pray, Mr. SPECTATOR, since you are so sharp upon other women, let us know what materials your wife is made of, if you have one. I suppose you would make us a parcel of poor-spirited, tame, insipid creatures; but, sir, I would have you to know, we have as good passions in us as yourself, and that a woman was never designed to be a milksop.
No. 213. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3.
-Mens sibi conscia recti. VIRG.
Ir is the great art and secret of Christianity, if I may use that phrase, to manage our actions to the best advantage, and direct them in such a manner, that everything we do may turn to account at that great day, when everything we have done will be set before us.
In order to give this consideration its full weight, we may cast all our actions under the division of such as are in themselves either good, evil, or indifferent. If we divide our intentions after the same manner, and consider them with regard to our actions, we may discover that great art and secret of religion which I have here mentioned.
A good intention joined to a good action, gives it its proper force and efficacy; joined to an evil action, extenuates its malignity, and in some cases may take it wholly away; and joined to an indifferent action, turns it to virtue, and makes it meritorious as far as human actions can be so.
In the next place, to consider in the same manner the influence of an evil intention upon our actions. An evil intention perverts the best of actions, and makes them in reality what the fathers with a witty kind of zeal have termed the virtues of the heathen world, so many "shining sins." destroys the innocence of an indifferent action, and gives an evil action all possible blackness and horror, or, in the emphatical language of sacred writ, makes "sin exceeding sinful."
If, in the last place, we consider the nature of an indifferent intention, we shall find that it destroys the merit of a good action; abates, but never takes away, the malignity of
an evil action; and leaves an indifferent action in its natural state of indifference.
It is therefore of unspeakable advantage to possess our minds with an habitual good intention, and to aim all our thoughts, words, and actions at some laudable end, whether it be the glory of our Maker, the good of mankind, or the benefit of our own souls.
This is a sort of thrift or good husbandry in moral life, which does not throw away any single action, but makes every one go as far as it can. It multiplies the means of salvation, increases the number of our virtues, and diminishes that of our vices.
There is something very devout, though not so solid, in Acosta's answer to Limborch, who objects to him the multiplicity of ceremonies in the Jewish religion, as washings, dresses, meats, purgations, and the like. The reply which the Jew makes upon this occasion, is, to the best of my remembrance, as follows: "There are not duties enough (says he) in the essential parts of the law for a zealous and active obedience. Time, place, and person are requisite, before you have an opportunity of putting a moral virtue into practice. We have therefore, says he, enlarged the sphere of our duty, and made many things, which are in themselves indifferent, a part of our religion, that we may have more occasion of showing our love to God, and in all the circumstances of life be doing something to please him.
Monsieur St. Evremont has endeavoured to palliate the superstitions of the Roman Catholic religion with the same kind of apology, where he pretends to consider the different spirit of the Papists and the Calvinists, as to the great points wherein they disagree. He tells us, that the former are actuated by love, and the other by fear; and that in their expressions of duty and devotion towards the Supreme Being, the former seem particularly careful to do everything which may possibly please him, and the other to abstain from everything that may possibly displease him.
But notwithstanding this plausible reason with which both the Jew and the Roman Catholic would excuse their respective superstitions, it is certain there is something in them very pernicious to mankind, and destructive to religion; because the injunction of superfluous ceremonies make such actions duties, as were before indifferent, and by that means