« PreviousContinue »
us on such also who have just enough to clothe them. ch An old acquaintance of mine, of ninety pounds a year, who has naturally the vanity of being a man and of fashion deep at his heart, is very much put to ce it to bear the mortality of princes. He made a - to new black suit upon the death of the King of Spain, ows he turned it for the King of Portugal, and he now ent keeps his chamber while it is scowering for the Emperor. He is a good economist in his extravaand gance, and makes only a fresh black button upon his iron-grey suit for any potentate of small territories; he, indeed, adds his crape hat-band for a prince whose exploits he has admired in the Gazette; but whatever compliments may be made on these occasions, the true mourners are the mercers, silkmen, lacemen, and milliners. A prince of a merciful and royal disposition would reflect with great anxiety upon the prospect of his death, if he considered what numbers would be reduced to misery by that accident only. He would think it of moment enough to direct, that in the notification of his departure, the honour done to him might be con- restrained to those of the household of the prince e of to whom it should be signified. He would think a pre- general mourning to be in a less degree the same s of ceremony which is practised in barbarous nations, ent I of killing their slaves to attend the obsequies of has their kings.
-iour I had been wonderfully at a loss for many The months together, to guess at the character of a man r the who came now and then to our coffee-house. He d its ever ended a newspaper with this reflection, Well, nuch I see all the foreign princes are in good health.' at of If you asked, Pray, sir, what says the Postman ch as from Vienna? He answered, Make us thankful, nade the German princes are all well.'- What does he f the say from Barcelona ?- He does not speak but uited that the country agrees very well with the new st as- queen.' After very much inquiry, I found this s; to man of universal loyalty was a wholesale dealer about in silks and ribbons. His way is, it seems, if he loom hires a weaver or workman, to have it inserted in s, or his articles, that all this shall be well and truly ocess performed, provided no foreign potentate shall dewful part this life within the time above mentioned.' s and It happens in all public mournings, that the many e and trades which depend upon our habits, are during in air that folly either pinched with present want, or ter1 son rified with the apparent approach of it. All the on of atonement which men can make for wanton exe ce- penses (which is a sort of insulting the scarcity unho, in der which others labour) is, that the superfluities ers to of the wealthy give supplies to the necessities of death the poor; but instead of any other good arising inity. from the affectation of being in courtly habits of 1, are mourning, all order seems to be destroyed by it; > foot and the true honour which one court does to an⚫ may other on that occasion, loses its force and efficacy. usher, When a foreign minister beholds the court of a nanarch tion (which flourishes in riches and plenty) lay aside longs. upon the loss of his master, all marks of splenogly-dour and magnificence, though the head of such a whis-joyful people he will conceive a greater idea of the to the honour done to his master, than when he sees the generality of the people in the same habit. When pear one is afraid to ask the wife of a tradesman whom world she has lost of her family, and after some prepalady, ration endeavours to know whom she mourns for; nbow, how ridiculous is it to hear her explain herself, 1ourn, 'That we have lost one of the house of Austria!' revail Princes are elevated so highly above the rest of hange mankind, that it is a presumptuous distinction to take a part in honours done to their memories, except we have authority for it, by being related
in a particular manner to the court which pays that veneration to their friendship, and seems to express on such an occasion the sense of the uncertainty of human life in general, by assuming the habit of sorrow, though in the full possession of triumph and royalty.
N° 65. TUESDAY, MAY 15, 1711.
-Demetri, teque Trelli,
lutes her with a pretty phrase of, How now, Double Tripe? Upon the mention of a countrygentlewoman, whom he knows nothing of, (no one can imagine why) he will lay his life she is some awkward ill-fashioned country toad, who, not hav ing above four dozen of hairs on her head, has adorned her baldness with a large white fruz, that she may look sparkishly in the fore-front of the king's box at an old play. Unnatural mixture of senseless common-place!
As to the generosity of his temper, he tells his poor footman, If he did not wait better,' he would turn him away, in the insolent phrase of, 'I'll uncase you.'
Now for Mrs. Harriot. She laughs at obedience to an absent mother, whose tenderness Busy describes to be very exquisite, for that she is so pleased with finding Harriot again, that she cannot chide her for being out of the way. This witty daughter, and fine lady, has so little respect for this good woman, that she ridicules her air in taking leave, and cries, In what struggle is my poor mother yonder! See, see, her head tottering, her eyes staring, and her under-lip trembling. But all this is atoned for, because she has more wit than is usual in her sex, and as much malice, thou_h she is as wild as you could wish her, and has a demureness in her looks that makes it so surprising! Then to recommend her as a fit spouse for his hero, the poet makes her speak her sense of marap-riage very ingenuously: I think,' says she, I might be brought to endure him, and that is all a reasonable woman should expect in an husband.' It is methinks unnatural, that we are not made to understand how, she that was bred under a silly pious old mother, that would never trust her out of her sight, came to be so polite.
Demetrius and Tigellius, know your place; Go bence, and whine among the school-boy race. AFTER having at large explained what wit is, and described the false appearances of it, all that labour seems but an useless inquiry, without some time be spent in considering the application of it. The seat of wit, when one speaks as a man of the town and the world, is the playhouse: I shall therefore fill this paper with reflections upon the use of it in that place. The application of wit in the theatre has as strong an effect upon the manners of our gentlemen, as the taste of it has upon the writings of our authors. It may, perhaps, look like a very presumptuous work, though not foreign from the duty of a Spectator, to tax the writings of such as have long had the general plause of a nation; but I shall always make reason, truth, and nature the measures of praise and dispraise; if those are for me, the generality of opinion is of no consequence against me; if they are against me, the general opinion cannot long support me.
Without further preface, I am going to look into some of our most applauded plays, and see whether they deserve the figure they at present bear in the imaginations of men, or not.
It cannot be denied, but that the negligence of every thing which engages the attention of the sober and valuable part of mankind, appears very well drawn in this piece. But it is denied, that it is necessary to the character of a fine gentleman, that he should in that manner trample upon all or
In reflecting upon those works, I shall chiefly dwell upon that for which each respective play is most celebrated. The present paper shall be em-der and decency. As for the character of Doriploved upon Sir Fopling Flutter*. The received character of this play is, that it is the pattern of genteel comedy. Dorimant and Harriot are the characters of greatest consequence; and if these are low and mean, the reputation of the play is very unjust.
I will take for granted, that a fine gentleman should be honest in his actions, and refined in his language. Instead of this, our hero in this piece is a direct knave in his designs, and a clown in his language. Bellair is his admirer and friend; in return for which, because he is forsooth a greater wit than his said friend, he thinks it reasonable to persuade him to marry a young lady, whose virtue, he thinks, will last no longer than till she is a wife, and then she cannot but fall to his share, as he is an irresistible fine gentleman. The falsehood to Mrs. Loveit, and the barbarity of triumphing over her anguish for losing him, is another instance of his honesty, as well as his good-nature. As to his fine language; he calls the orange-woman, who, it seems, is inclined to grow fat, An overgrown jade, with a flasket of guts before her;' and sa
In the Man of Mode. Sir Fopling was Beau Hewit, son of Sir Thomas Hewit, of Pishiobary in Hertfordshire, bart. the author's own character was represented in that of Bellair; or, as some think, in Medley. Dorimant (as Davies tells us, Dram. Misc. Vol. III. 178.) was formed from two originals; the witty Earl of Dorset, and the licentious Wilmot Earl of Rochester.
mant, it is more of a coxcomb than that of Fopling. He says of one of his companions, that a good correspondence between them is their mutual interest. Speaking of that friend, he declares, their being much together makes the women think the better of his understanding, and judge more favourably of my reputation. It makes him pass upon some for a man of a very good sense, and me upon others for a very civil person.'
This whole celebrated piece is a perfect contradiction to good manners, good sense, and common honesty; and as there is nothing in it but what is built upon the ruin of virtue and innocence, according to the notion of merit in this comedy, I take the Shoemaker to be, in reality, the fine gentleman of the play: for it seems he is an atheist, if we may depend upon his character, as given by the orange-woman, who is herself far from being the lowest in the play. She says of a fine man, who is Dorimant's companion, there is not such another heathen in the town, except the Shoemaker.' His pretension to be the hero of the Drama appears still more in his own description of his way of living with his lady. There is,' says he, never a man in town lives more like a gentleman with his wife than I do; I never mind her motions; she never inquires into mine. We speak to one another civilly, hate one another heartily; and because it is vulgar to lie and soak together, we have each of us our several settle-bed.' That
ad voured me with, I shall further advise with you nu- about the disposal of this fair forester in marriage; ce for I will make it no secret to you, that her perery son and education are to be her fortune.
'I am, SIR,
Your very humble servant,
The general mistake among us in the educating our children is, that in our daughters we take care of their persons, and neglect their minds; in our sons we are so intent upon adorning their minds, that we wholly neglect their bodies. It is from this that you shall see a young lady celebrated and admired in all the assemblies about town, when her elder brother is afraid to come into a room. From this ill management it arises, that we frequently observe a man's life is half spent before he is taken notice of; and a woman in the prime of her years is out of fashion and neglected. The boy I shall consider upon some other occasion, and at present stick to the girl: and I am the more inclined to this, because I have several letters which be- complain to me, that my female readers have not who understood me for some days last past, and take her themselves to be unconcerned in the present turn not of my writing. When a girl is safely brought mes from her nurse, before she is capable of forming ned, one simple notion of any thing in life, she is deen I livered to the hands of her dancing-master; and age with a collar round her neck, the pretty wild thing Dear is taught a fantastical gravity of behaviour, and end forced to a particular way of holding her head, elo- heaving her breast, and moving with her whole fect body; and all this under pain of never having an ress husband, if she steps, looks, or moves awry. This nify gives the young lady wonderful workings of imasee gination, what is to pass between her and this age husband, that she is every moment told of, and for ould whom she seems to be educated Thus her fancy wed is engaged to turn all her endeavours to the ornanot ment of her person, as what must determine her sed, good and ill in this life; and she naturally thinks, im- if she is tall enough, she is wise enough for any vto thing for which her education makes her think she By is designed. To make her an agreeable person is ular the main purpose of her parents; to that is all their rre- costs, to that all their care directed; and from this is a general folly of parents we owe our present nueak, merous race of coquettes. These reflections puzzle me, when I think of giving my advice on the subeans ject of managing the wild thing mentioned in the letter of my correspondent. But sure there is a middle way to be followed; the management of a y in-young lady's person is not to be overlooked, but the erudition of her mind is much more to be reseen garded. According as this is managed, you will hich see the mind follow the appetites of the body, or you the body express the virtues of the mind.
'BEING employed by Celimene to make up and send to you her letter, I make bold to recommend the case therein mentioned to your consideration, because she and I happen to differ a little in our notions. I, who am a rough man, am afraid the young girl is in a fair way to be spoiled: therefore, pray, Mr. Spectator, let us have your opinion of this fine thing called fine breeding; for I am afraid it differs too much from that plain thing called good breeding.
"Your most humble servant *."
This, and the preceding letter, were written by Hughes: See also Nos. 33 and 53.
Cleomira dances with all the elegance of motion | surprised with that part of his entertainment which imaginable; but her eyes are so chastised with the he called French dancing. There were several simplicity and innocence of her thoughts, that she young men and women, whose limbs seemed to raises in her beholders admiration and good-will, have no other motion but purely what the music but no loose hope or wild imagination. The true gave them. After this part was over, they began art in this case is, To make the mind and body a diversion which they call country dancing, and improve together; and if possible, to make gesture wherein there were also some things not disagreefollow thought, and not let thought be employed able, and divers emblematical figures, composed, as I guess, by wise men, for the instruction of youth.
Too fine a dancer for a virtuous woman. LUCIAN, in one of his dialogues, introduces a philosopher chiding his friend for his being a lover of dancing, and a frequenter of balls. The other undertakes the defence of his favourite diversion, which, he says, was at first invented by the goddess Rhea, and preserved the life of Jupiter himself, from the cruelty of his father Saturn. He proceeds to show, that it had been approved by the greatest men in all ages; that Homer calls Merion a fine dancer; and says, that the graceful mien and | great agility which he had acquired by that exercise distinguished him above the rest in the armies both of Greeks and Trojans.
He adds, that Pyrrhus gained more reputation by inventing the dance which is called after his name, than by all his other actions: that the Lacedæmonians, who were the bravest people in Greece, gave great encouragement to this diversion, and made their Hormus (a dance much resembling the French Brawl) famous over all Asia: that there were still extant some Thessalian statues erected to the honour of their best dancers: and that he wondered how his brother philosopher could declare himself against the opinions of those two persons, whom he professed so much to admire, Homer and Hesiod; the latter of which compares valour and dancing together, and says, that the gods have bestowed fortitude on some men, and on others a disposition for dancing.'
Lastly, he puts him in mind that Socrates (who) in the judgment of Apollo, was the wisest of men, was not only a professed admirer of this exercise in others, but learned it himself when he was an old man.
The morose philosopher is so much affected by these and some other authorities, that he becomes a convert to his friend, and desires he would take him with him when he went to his next ball.
Among the rest, I observed one, which I think they call Hunt the Squirrel," in which while the woman flies the man pursues her; but as soon as she turns, he runs away, and she is obliged to follow.
The moral of this dance does, I think, very aptly recommend modesty and discretion to the female sex.
But as the best institutions are liable to corruptions, so, sir, I must acquaint you, that very great abuses are crept into this entertainment. I was amazed to see my girl handed by and handing young fellows with so much familiarity; and I could not have thought it had been in the child. They very often made use of a most impudent and lascivious step called “ setting,” which I know not how to describe to you, but by telling you that it is the very reverse of “back to back." At last an impudent young dog bid the fiddlers play a dance called "Moll Pately,” and after having made two or three capers, ran to his partner, locked his arms in hers, and whisked her round cleverly above ground in such a manner, that I who sat upon one of the lowest benches, saw further above her shoe than I could think fit to acquaint you with. I could no longer endure these enormities; wherefore just as my girl was going to be made a whirligig, I ran in, seized on the child, and carried her home.
Sir, I am not yet old enough to be a fool. I suppose this diversion might be at first invented to keep up a good understanding between young men and women, and so far I am not against it; but I shall never allow of these things. I know not what you will say to this case at present, but am sure had you been with me, you would have seen matter of great speculation. I am
I must confess I am afraid that my correspondent had too much reason to be a little out of humour at the treatment of his daughter; but I conclude that he would have been much more so, had he seen one of those kissing dances, in which Will Honeycomb assures me they are obliged to dwell almost a minute on the fair one's lips, or they will be too quick for the music; and dance quite out of time.
I love to shelter myself under the examples of great men; and, I think, I have sufficiently showed that it is not below the dignity of these my specu- I am not able, however, to give my final sen. lations to take notice of the following letter, which, tence against this diversion; and am of Mr. CowI suppose, is sent me by some substantial trades-ley's opinion, that so much of dancing, at least, as man about 'Change.
'I Am a man in years, and by an honest industry in the world have acquired enough to give my children a liberal education, though I was an utter stranger to it myself. My eldest daughter, a girl of sixteen, has for some time been under the tuition of Monsieur Rigadoon, a dancing-master in the city; and I was prevailed upon by her and her mother to go last night to one of his balls. I must own to you, sir, that having never been to any such place before, I was very much pleased and
belongs to the behaviour and an handsome carriage of the body, is extremely useful, if not absolutely necessary.
We generally form such ideas of people at first sight, as we are hardly ever persuaded to lay aside afterwards: for this reason, a man would wish to have nothing disagreeable or uncomely in his ap|proaches, and to be able to enter a room with a good grace.
I might add, that a moderate knowledge in the little rules of good-breeding, gives a man some assurance, and makes him easy in all companies. For want of this, I have seen a professor of a
Nos duo turba sumus:
We two are a multitude.
ONE would think that the larger the company is in which we are engaged, the greater variety of on- thoughts and subjects would be started in discourse; wo but instead of this, we find that conversation is ery never so much straitened and confined as in nume ght rous assemblies. When a multitude meet together be on any subject of discourse, their debates are taken no- up chiefly with forms and general positions; nay, on- if we come into a more contracted assembly of on- men and women, the talk generally runs upon the his weather, fashions, news, and the like public topics. In proportion as conversation gets into clubs and en- knots of friends, it descends into particulars, and ore grows more free and communicative: but the most te- open, instructive, and unreserved discourse, is that sed which passes between two persons who are familiar and intimate friends. On these occasions, a man gives a loose to every passion and every thought ion that is uppermost, discovers his most retired opion nions of persons and things, tries the beauty and ing strength of his sentiments, and exposes his whole an soul to the examination of his friend.
Tully was the first who observed, that friendship ok improves happiness and abates misery, by the nt: doubling of our joy, and dividing of our grief; a thought in which he hath been followed by all the en. essayers upon friendship, that have written sincehis time. Sir Francis Bacon has finely described other advantages, or, as he calls them, fruits of ke friendship; and, indeed, there is no subject of W, morality which has been better handled and more ro- exhausted than this. Among the several fine things which have been spoken of it, I shall beg leave as to quote some out of a very ancient author, whose I book would be regarded by our modern wits as one of the most shining tracts of morality that is extant, if it appeared under the name of a Conful fucius, or of any celebrated Grecian philosopher: sts, I mean the little apocryphal treatise, entitled The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach.' How finely has he ou described the art of making friends, by an obliging A and affable behaviour! And laid down that pre sa cept, which a late excellent author has delivered ou as his own, That we should have many well-wishers,
OVID. Met. i. 355.
but few friends. Sweet language will multiply friends; and a fair-speaking tongue will increase kind greetings. Be in peace with many, nevertheless have but one counsellor of a thousand *.' With what prudence does he caution us in the choice of our friends! And with what strokes of nature (I could almost say of humour) has he described ed the behaviour of a treacherous and self-interested friend! If thou wouldest get a friend, prove him first, and be not hasty to credit him: for some en man is a friend for his own occasion, and will not abide in the day of thy trouble. And there is a eir friend, who being turned to enmity and strife will er- discover thy reproach.' Again, Some friend is a he companion at the table, and will not continue in the day of thy affliction: but in thy prosperity he will be as thyself, and will be bold over thy servants. If thou be brought low he will be against thee, and hide himself from thy face. What can
Ecclus. vi, 5, 6.