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there erect an unicorn's head for the ladies, and will so contrive it that they may put in their intelligence at the top of the horn, which shall convey it into a little receptacle at the bottom, prepared for that purpose. Out of these two magazines I shall supply the town from time to time with what may tend to their edification, and at the same time carry on an epistolary correspondence between the two heads, not a little beneficial both to the public and to myself. As both these monsters will be very insatiable, and devour great quantities of paper, there will no small use redound from them to that manufacture in particular.
The following letter having been left with the keeper of the lion, with a request from the writer that it may be the first morsel which is put into his mouth, I shall communicate it to the public as it came to my hand, without examining whether it be proper nourishment, as I intend to do for the future.
Your predecessor, the Spectator, endeavoured, but in vain, to improve the charms of the fair sex, by exposing their dress whenever it launched into extremities. Among the rest, the great petticoat came under his consideration, but in contradiction to whatever he has said, they still resolutely persist in this fashion. The form of their bottom is not, I confess, altogether the same; for whereas, before, it was of an orbicular make, they now look as if they were pressed, so that they seem to deny access to any part but the middle. Many are the inconveniences that accrue to her Majesty's loving subjects from the said petticoats, as hurting men's shins, sweeping down the ware of industrious females in the street, &c. I saw a young lady fall down, the , other day, and believe me, sir, she very much resembled an overturned bell without a clapper. Many other disasters I could tell you of that befall themselves as well as others, by means of this unwieldy garment. I wish, Mr. Guardian, you would join with me in showing your dislike of such a monstrous fashion, and I hope when the ladies see it is the opinion of two of the wisest men in England, they will be convinced of their folly. “I am, sir, your daily reader and admirer,
No. 115, THURSDAY, JULY 23.
Ingenium par materiæ
Juv. WHEN I read rules of criticism, I immediately inquire after the works of the author who has written them, and by that means discover what it is he likes in a composition ; for there is no question but every man aims at least at what he thinks beautiful in others. If I find by his own manner of writing that he is heavy and tasteless, I throw aside his criticisms with a secret indignation, to see a man without genius or politeness dictating to the world on subjects which Ifind are above his reach.
If the critic has published nothing but rules and observations in criticism, I then consider whether there be a propriety and elegance in his thoughts and words, clearness and delicacy in his remarks, wit and good-breeding in his raillery; but if, in the place of all these, I find nothing but dogmatical stupidity, I must beg such a writer's pardon if I have no manner of deference for his judgment, and refuse to conform myself to his taste.
So Macer and Mundungus school the times,
MR. CONGREVE to SIR R. TEMPLE. The greatest critics among the ancients are those who have the most excelled in all other kinds of composition, and have shown the height of good writing even in the precepts which they have given for it.
Among the moderns likewise, no critic has ever pleased, or been looked upon as authentic, who did not show, by his practice, that he was a master of the theory. I have now one before me, who after having given many proofs of his performances both in poetry and prose, obliged the world with several critical works. The author I mean is Strada. His prolusion on the style of the most famous among the ancient Latin poets who are extant, and have written in epic verse, is one of the most entertaining, as well as the most just, pieces of criticism that I have ever read. I shall make the plan of it the subject of this day's paper.
It is commonly known, that Pope Leo the Tenth was a great patron of learning, and used to be present at the performances, conversations, and disputes, of all the most polite writers of his time. Upon this bottom Strada founds the following narrative. When this pope was at his villa, that stood upon an eminence on the banks of the Tiber, the poets contrived the following pageant or machine for his entertainment. They made a huge floating mountain, that was split at the top in imitation of Parnassus. There were several marks on it that distinguished it for the habitation of heroic poets. Of all the Muses, Calliope only made ber appearance. It was covered up and down with groves of laurel. Pegasus appeared hanging off the side of a rock, with a fountain running from his heel. This floating Parnassus fell down the river to the sound of trumpets, and in a kind of epic measure, for it was rowed forward by six huge wheels, three on each side, that by their constant motion carried on the machine until it arrived before the pope's villa.
The representatives of the ancient poets were disposed in stations suitable to their respective characters. Statius was posted on the highest of the two summits, which was fashioned in the form of a precipice, and hung over the rest of the mountain in a dreadful manner, so that people regarded him with the same terror and curiosity as they look upon a daring rope-dancer whom they expect to fall every moment.
Claudian was seated on the other summit, which was lower, and at the same time more smooth and even than the former. It was observed likewise to be more barren, and to produce, on some spots of it, plants that are unknown to Italy, and such as the gardeners call exotics.
Lucretius was very busy about the roots of the mountain, being wholly intent upon the motion and management of the machine, which was under his conduct, and was, indeed, of his invention. He was sometimes so engaged among the wheels, and covered with machinery, that not above half the poet appeared to the spectators, though at other times, by the working of the engines, he was raised up and became as conspicuous as any of the brotherhood.
Ovid did not settle in any particular place, but ranged over all Parnassus with great nimbleness and activity. But
him for gone,
as he did not much care for the toil and pains that were requisite to climb the upper part of the hill, he was generally roving about the bottom of it.
But there was none who was placed in a more eminent station, and had a greater prospect under him, than Lucan. He vaulted upon Pegasus with all the heat and intrepidity of youth, and seemed desirous of mounting into the clouds upon the back of him. But as the hinder feet of the horse stuck to the mountain while the body reared up in the air, the poet, with great difficulty, kept himself from sliding off his back, insomuch that the people often gave and cried out every now and then, that he was tumbling.
Virgil, with great modesty in his looks, was seated by Calliope, in the midst of a plantation of laurels which grew thick about him, and almost covered him with their shade. He would not, perhaps, have been seen in this retirement, but that it was impossible to look upon Calliope without seeing Virgil at the same time..
This poetical masquerade was no sooner arrived before the pope's villa, but they received an invitation to land, which they did accordingly. The hall prepared for their reception was filled with an audience of the greatest eminence for quality and politeness. The poets took their places, and repeated each of them a poem written in the style and spirit of those immortal authors whom they represented. The subjects of these several poems, with the judgment passed upon each of them, may be an agreeable entertainment for another day's paper.
No. 116. FRIDAY, JULY 24.
- Ridiculum acri Fortius et melius
HOR. THERE are many little enormities in the world, which our preachers would be very glad to see removed; but at same time dare not meddle with them, for fear of betraying the dignity of the pulpit. Should they recommend the tucker in a pathetic discourse, their audiences would be apt to laugh out. I knew a parish, where the top woman of it used always to appear with a patch upon some part of her
forehead: the good man of the place preached at it with great zeal for almost a twelvemonth ; but instead of fetching out the spot which he perpetually aimed at, he only got the name of Parson Patch for his pains. Another is to this day called by the name of Doctor Topknot, for reasons of the same nature. I remember the clergy, during the time of Cromwell's usurpation, were very much taken up in 'reforming the female world, and showing the vanity of those outward ornaments in which the sex so much delights. I have heard a whole sermon against a white-wash, and have known a coloured ribbon made the mark of the unconverted. The clergy of the present age are not transported with these indiscreet fervours, as knowing that it is hard for a reformer to avoid ridicule, when he is severe upon subjects which are rather apt to produce mirth than seriousness. For this reason, I look upon myself to be of great use to these good men ; while they are employed in extirpating mortal sins, and crimes of a higher nature, I should be glad to rally the world out of indecencies and venial transgressions. While the Doctor is curing distempers that have the appearance of danger or death in them, the Merry Andrew has his separate packet for the meagrims and the tooth-ache.
Thus much I thought fit to premise, before I resume the subject which I have already handled, I mean the naked bosoms of our British ladies. I hope they will not take it ill of me, if I still beg that they will be covered. I shall here present them with a letter on that particular, as it was yesterday conveyed to me through the lion's mouth. It comes from a Quaker, and is as follows:
“ NESTOR IRONSIDE,
Our friends like thee. We rejoice to find thou beginnest to have a glimmering of the light in thee: we shall pray for thee, that thou mayest be more and more enlightened. Thou givest good advice to the women of this world to clothe themselves like unto our friends, and not to expose
their fleshly temptations, for it is against the record. Thy lion is a good lion; he roareth loud, and is heard a great way, even unto the sink of Babylon ; for the scarlet whore is governed by the voice of thy lion. Look on his order.
“Rome, July 8, 1713. 'A placard is published here, forbidding women, of whatsoever quality, to go with naked