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With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
The variety of images in this passage is infinitely pleasing, and the recapitulation of each particular image, with a little varying of the expression, makes one of the finest turns of words that I have ever seen; which I rather mention, because Mr. Dryden has said, in his preface to Juvenal, that he could meet with no turn of words in Milton.
It may be further observed, that though the sweetness of these verses has something in it of a pastoral, yet it excels the ordinary kind, as much as the scene of it is above an ordinary field or meadow. I might here, since I am accidentally led into this subject, show several passages in Milton that have as excellent turns of this nature as any of our English poets whatsoever; but shall only mention that which follows, in which he describes the fallen angels engaged in the intricate disputes of predestination, free-will, and fore knowledge; and, to humour the perplexity, makes a kind of labyrinth in the very words that describe it.
occasion for it. He performs the most ordinary
Paradise Lost, book ii, ver. 55"
Sheer-lane January, 2.
I WENT on Friday last to the opera, and was surprised to find a thin house at so noble an entertainment, until I heard that the tumbler was not to make his appearance that night. For my own part, I was fully satisfied with the sight of an actor, who, by the grace and propriety of his action and gesture, does honour to a human figure, as much as the other vilifies and degrades it. Every one will easily imagine I mean signior Nicolini, who sets off the character he bears in an opera by his action, as much as he does the words of it by his voice. Every limb, and every finger, contri-quarters. butes to the part he acts, insomuch that a deaf man might go along with him in the sense of it. There is scarce a beautiful posture in an old statue which he does not plant himself in, as the different circumstances of the story give
that all the esquires in the pit were abused by his antagonist as much as he was.' This public accusation made all the esquires of that county, and several of other parts, my professed enemies. I do not in the least question but that he will proceed in his hostilities; and I am informed, that part of his design in coming to town, was to carry the war into my own I do therefore solemnly declare, notwithstanding that I am a great lover of art and ingenuity, that if I hear he opens any of his people's mouths against me, I shall not fail to write a critique upon his whole performance; for I must confess, that I have naturally so strong a desire of praise, that I cannot bear reproach, though from a piece of timber. As
for Punch, who takes all opportunities of be- | discourse bold and intrepid; and as every one
But, perhaps, it may look trivial to insist so much upon men's persons; I shall, therefore, turn my thoughts rather to examine their behaviour, and consider, whether the several parts are written up to that character which Mr. Powell piques himself upon, of an able and udicious dramatist. I have for this purpose provided myself with the works of above twenty French critics, and shall examine, by the rules which they have laid down upon the art of the stage, whether the unity of time, place, and action, be rightly observed in any one of this celebrated author's productions; as also, whether in the parts of his several actors, and that of Punch in particular, there is not sometimes an impropriety of sentiments, and an impurity
Since I am upon the subject of my adversaries, I shall here publish a short letter, which I have received from a well-wisher, and is as follows:
'You cannot but know, there are many scribblers, and others, who revile you and your writings. It is wondered that you do not exert yourself, and crush them at once. I am, Sir, with great respect,
'Your most humble admirer and disciple.'
He was knighted very young, not in the ordinary form, but by the common consent of mankind.
In answer to this, I shall act like my predecessor Æsop, and give him a fable instead of a reply.
It happened one day, as a stout and honest mastiff, that guarded the village where he lived against thieves and robbers, was very gravely walking, with one of his puppies by his side, all the little dogs in the street gathered about him, and barked at him. The little puppy was so offended at this affront done to his sire, that he asked him why he would not fall upon them, and tear them to pieces? To which the sire answered, with great composure of mind, If there were no curs, I should be no mastiff.'
White's Chocolate-house, January 2.
I came in here to-day at an hour when only the dead appear in places of resort and gallantry, and saw hung up the escutcheon of sir Hannibal, a gentleman who used to frequent this place, and was taken up and interred by the company of upholders, as having been seen here at an unlicensed hour. The coat of the deceased is, three bowls and a jack in a green field; the crest, a dice-box, with the king of clubs and pam for supporters. Some days ago the body was carried out of town with great pomp and ceremony, in order to be buried with No. 116.] Thursday, January 5, 1709-10. his ancestors at the Peak. It is a maxim in morality, that we are to speak nothing but truth of the living, nothing but good of the dead. As I have carefully observed the first during his life-time, I shall acquit myself as to the latter now he is deceased.
Pars minima est ipsa puella sui.
Sheer-lane, January 4.
THE Court being prepared for proceeding on the cause of the petticoat, I gave orders to bring in a criminal, who was taken up as she went out of the puppet-show about three nights ago, and was now standing in the street, with He was in his person between round and a great concourse of people about her. Wom Aquare; in the motion and gesture of his body was brought me, that she had endeavoured he was unaffected and free, as not having too twice or thrice to come in, but could not do great a respect for superiors. He was in his it by reason of her petticoat, which was too
in, and ordered to produce what they had to say against the popular cry which was raised against it. They answered the objections with great strength and solidity of argument, and expatiated in very florid harangues, which they did not fail to set off and furbelow, if I may be allowed the metaphor, with many periodical sentences and turns of oratory. The chief arguments for their client were taken, first, from the great benefit that might arise to our wool.
large for the entrance of my house, though I had ordered both the folding-doors to be thrown open for its reception. Upon this, I desired the jury of matrons, who stood at my right hand, to inform themselves of her condition, and know whether there were any private reasons why she might not make her appearance separate from her petticoat. This was managed with great discretion, and had such an effect, that upon the return of the verdict from the bench of matrons, I issued out an order forth-len manufactory from this invention, which was calculated as follows. The common petticoat has not above four yards in the circumference; whereas this over our heads had more in the semi-diameter; so that, by allowing it twenty-four yards in the circumference, the five millions of woollen petticoats which, according to sir William Petty, supposing what ought to be supposed in a well-governed state, that all petticoats are made of that stuff, would amount to thirty millions of those the ancient mode. A prodigious improvement of the woollen trade! and what could not fail to sink the power of France in a few years.
To introduce the second argument, they begged leave to read a petition of the ropemakers, wherein it was represented, that the demand for cords, and the price of them, were much risen since this fashion came up.' At this, all the company who were present lifted up their eyes into the vault; and, I must confess, we did discover many traces of cordage, which were interwoven in the stiffening of the drapery.
with, that the criminal should be stripped of her encumbrances, until she became little enough to enter my house.' I had before given directions for an engine of several legs, that could contract or open itself like the top of an umbrella, in order to place the petticoat upon it, by which means I might take a leisurely survey of it, as it should appear in its proper dimensions. This was all done accordingly; and, forthwith, upon the closing of the engine, the petticoat was brought into court. I then directed the machine to be set upon the table, and dilated in such a manner as to show the garment in its utmost circumference; but my great hall was too narrow for the experiment; for, before it was half unfolded, it described so immoderate a circle, that the lower part of it brushed upon my face as I sat in my chair of judicature. I then enquired for the person that belonged to the petticoat; and, to my great surprise, was directed to a very beautiful young damsel, with so pretty a face and shape, that I bid her come out of the crowd, and seated her upon a little crock at my left hand. 'My pretty maid,' said I, do you own yourself to have been the inhabitant of the garment before us?' The girl I found, had good sense, and told me, with a smile, that, notwithstand-fashion, and the benefit which would thereby ing it was her own petticoat, she should be accrue to that branch of the British trade. very glad to see an example made of it; and that she wore it for no other reason, but that she had a mind to look as big and burly as other persons of her quality; that she had kept out of it as long as she could, and until she began to appear little in the eyes of her acquaintance; that, if she laid it aside, people would think she was not made like other women.' I always give great allowances to the fair sex upon account of the fashion, and, therefore was not displeased with the defence of my pretty criminal. I then ordered the vest which stood before us to be drawn up by a pulley to the top of my great hall, and afterwards to be spread open by the engine it was placed upon, in such a manner, that it formed a very splendid and ample canopy over our heads, and covered the whole court of judicature with a kind of silken rotunda, in its form not unlike the cupola of Saint Paul's. I entered upon the whole cause with great satisfaction as I sat under the shadow of it.
A third argument was founded upon a petition of the Greenland trade, which likewise represented the great consumption of whalebone which would be occasioned by the present
The counsel for the petticoat were now called
To conclude, they gently touched upon the weight and unwieldiness of the garment, which, they insinuated, might be of great use to preserve the honour of families.
These arguments would have wrought very much upon me, as I then told the company in a long and elaborate discourse, had I not considered the great and additional expense which such fashions would bring upon fathers d husbands; and, therefore, by no means to be thought of until some years after a peace. I further urged, that it would be a prejudice to the ladies themselves, who could never expect to have any money in the pocket, if they laid out so much on the petticoat. To this I added, the great temptation it might give to virgins, of acting in security like married women, and by that means give a check to matrimony, an institution always encouraged by wise societies.
At the same time, in answer to the severa, petitions produced on that side, I showed one subscribed by the women of several persons o quality, humbly setting forth, that, since the
introduction of this mode, their respective la- | such a proportion of these blessings as is vested dies had, instead of bestowing on them their in himself, and in his own private property. cast gowns, cut them into shreads, and mixed By this means, every man that does himself them with the cordage and buckram, to com- any real service does me a kindness. I come plete the stiffening of their under petticoats.' in for my share in all the good that happens to For which, and sundry other reasons, I pro- a man of merit and virtue, and partake of many nounced the petticoat a forfeiture: but, to gifts of fortune and power that I was never show that I did not make that judgment for born to. There is nothing in particular in the sake of filthy lucre, I ordered it to be folded which I so much rejoice as the deliverance of up, and sent it as a present to a widow-gen- good and generous spirits out of dangers, diffitlewoman, who has five daughters; desiring culties, and distresses. And because the world she would make each of them a petticoat out does not supply instances of this kind to furnish of it, and send me back the remainder, which out sufficient entertainments for such a huI design to cut into stomachers, caps, facings manity and benevolence of temper, I have ever of my waistcoat-sleeves, and other garnitures delighted in reading the history of ages past, suitable to my age and quality. which draws together into a narrow compass I the great occurrences and events that are but thinly sown in those tracts of time, which lie within our own knowledge and observation. When I see the life of a great man, who has deserved well of his country, after having struggled through all the oppositions of prejudice and envy, breaking out with lustre, and shining forth in all the splendour of success, I close my book, and am a happy man for a whole evening.
But since, in history, events are of a mixed nature, and often happen alike to the worthless and the deserving, insomuch, that we frequently see a virtuous man dying in the midst of disappointments and calamities, and the vicious ending their days in prosperity and peace, I love to amuse myself with the accounts I meet with in fabulous histories and fictions; for in this kind of writing we have always the pleasure of seeing vice punished, and virtue rewarded, Indeed, were we able to view a man in the whole circle of his existence, we should have the satisfaction of seeing it close with happiness or misery, according to his proper merit but though our view of him is interrupted by death before the finishing of his adventures, if I may so speak, we may be sure that the conclusion and catastrophe is altogether suitable to his behaviour. On the contrary, the whole being of a man, considered as a hero or a knight-errant, is comprehended within the limits of a poem or romance, and, therefore, always ends to our satisfaction; so that inventions of this kind are like food and exercise to a good-natured disposition, which they please and gratify at the same time that they nourish and strengthen. The greater the
Sheer-lane, January 6.
WHEN I look into the frame and constitution of my own mind, there is no part of it which I observe with greater satisfaction, than that tenderness and concern which it bears for the good and happiness of mankind. My own cir-affliction is in which we see our favourites in cumstances are indeed so narrow and scanty, these relations engaged, the greater is the pleathat I should taste but very little pleasure, sure we take in seeing them relieved. could I receive it only from those enjoyments which are in my own possession; but by this great tincture of humanity, which I find in all my thoughts and reflections, I am happier than any single person can be, with all the wealth, strength, beauty, and success, that can be conferred upon a mortal, if he only relishes
Among the many feigned histories which I have met with in my reading, there is none in which the hero's perplexity is greater, and the winding out of it more difficult, than that in a French author whose name I have forgot. It so happens, that the hero's mistress was the sister of his most intimate friend, who for cer
I would not be understood, that, while discard this monstrous invention, I am an enemy to the proper ornaments of the fair sex. On the contrary, as the hand of nature has poured on them such a profusion of charms and graces, and sent them into the world more amiable and finished than the rest of her works; so I would have them bestow upon themselves all the additional beauties that art can supply them with, provided it does not interfere with, disguise, or pervert those of nature.
I consider woman as a beautiful romantic animal, that may be adorned with furs and feathers, pearls and diamonds, ores and silks. The lynx shall cast its skin at her feet to make her a tippet; the peacock, parrot, and swan shall pay contributions to her muff; the sea shall be searched for shells, and the rocks for gems; and every part of nature furnish out its share towards the embellishment of a creature that is the most consummate work of it. All this I shall indulge them in; but as for the petticoat I have been speaking of, I neither can nor will allow it.
No. 117.] Saturday, January 7, 1709-10.
Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis.
tain reasons was given out to be dead, while
In the midst of these our innocent endear
he was preparing to leave his country in questments, she snatched a paper of verses out of of adventures. The hero having heard of his my hand, and ran away with them. I was friend's death, immediately repaired to his mis- following her, when on a sudden the ground, tress, to condole with her, and comfort her. though at a considerable distance from the Upon his arrival in her garden, he discovered verge of the precipice, sunk under ber, and at a distance a man clasped in her arms, and threw her down from so prodigious a height embraced with the most endearing tenderness. upon such a range of rocks, as would have What should he do? It did not consist with dashed her into ten thousand pieces, had her the gentleness of a knight-errant either to kill body been made of adamant. It is much easier his mistress, or the man whom she was pleased for my reader to imagine my state of mind upon to favour. At the same time, it would have such an occasion, than for me to express it. I spoiled a romance, should he have laid violent said to myself, it is not in the power of heaven hands on himself. In short, he immediately to relieve me! when I awaked, equally transentered upon his adventures; and, after a long ported and astonished, to see myself drawn out series of exploits, found out by degrees that of an affliction which the very moment before the person he saw in his mistress's arms was appeared to me altogether inextricable. her own brother, taking leave of her before he left his country, and the embrace she gave him nothing else but the affectionate farewell of a sister: so that he had at once the two greatest satisfactions that could enter into the heart of man, in finding his friend alive, whom he thought dead; and his mistress faithful, whom he had believed inconstant.
The impressions of grief and horror were so lively on this occasion, that while they lasted they made me more miserable than I was at the real death of this beloved person, which happened a few months after, at a time when the match between us was concluded; inasmuch as the imaginary death was untimely, and I myself in a sort an accessary; whereas her real decease had at least these alleviations, of being natural and inevitable.
The memory of the dream I have related still dwells so strongly upon me, that I can never read the description of Dover-cliff in Shakspeare's tragedy of King Lear, without a fresh sense of my escape. The prospect from that place is drawn with such proper incidents, that whoever can read it without growing giddy must have a good head, or a very bad one.
There are indeed some disasters so very fatal, that it is impossible for any accidents to rectify them. Of this kind was that of poor Lucretia ; and yet we see Ovid has found an expedient even in this case. He describes a beautiful and royal virgin walking on the sea shore, where she was discovered by Neptune, and violated after a long and unsuccessful importunity. To mitigate her sorrow, he offers her whatever she could wish for. Never certainly was the wit of woman more puzzled in finding out a stratagem to retrieve her honour. Had she desired to be changed into a stock or stone, a beast, fish, or fow!, she would have been a loser by it: or, had she desired to have been made a seanymph, or a goddess, her immortality would but have perpetuated her disgrace. Give me, therefore,' said she,' such a shape as may make me incapable of suffering again the like calamity, or of being reproached for what I have already suffered.' To be short, she was turned into a man, and, by that only means, avoided the danger and imputation she so much dreaded. No. 118 ] Tuesday, January 10, 1709-10.
I was once myself in agonies of grief that are unutterable, and in so great a distraction of mind that I thought myself even out of the possibility of receiving comfort. The occasion was as follows. When I was a youth in a part of the army which was then quartered at Dover, I fell in love with an agreeable young woman, of a good family in those parts, and had the satisfaction of seeing my addresses kindly received, which oc casioned the perplexity I am going to relate. We were in a calm evening diverting our-plaints from such different hands, that I shall selves upon the top of the cliff with the prospect disoblige multitudes of my correspondents, if of the sea, and trifling away the time in such I do not take notice of them. Some of the little fondnesses as are most ridiculous to people deceased, who, I thought, had been laid quietly in business, and most agreeable to those in love. in their graves, are such hobgoblins in public
From my own Apartment, January 8. I THOUGHT to have given over my prosecution of the dead for this season, having by me many other projects for the reformation of mankind; but I have received so many com
Come on, sir, here's the place: stand still! how fearful
Lusisti satis, edisti satis, atque bibisti,