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'SIR, “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
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."
young girl is in
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, beause I have several letters which complain to me, that
my female readers have not understood me for some days last past, and take themselves to be unconcerned in the
present turn of my writings. When a girl is safely brought from her nurse, before she is capable of forming one simple notion of any thing in life, she is
delivered to the hands of her dancing-master ; and
Cleomira dances with all the elegance of motioin imaginable ; but her eyes are so chastised with the simplicity and innocence of her thoughts, that she raises in her beholders admiration and good-will, but no loose hope or wild imagination. The true art in
* Erudition seems to be used here in an uncommon sense, for cultivation or instruction.
this case it to make the mind and body improve together; and, if possible, to make gesture follow thought, and not let thought be employed upon gesture.
No. 67. THURSDAY, MAY 17, 1711.
Saltare elegantiùs qudm necesse est probee.
SALL. B. CAT.
Too fine a dancer for a virtudus 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
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 : and there were still extant some Thessalian statues erected to the honour of their best dancers; and that he wondered I found this man of universal loyalty was a wholesale dealer in silks and ribbons. His way is, it seems,
if he hires a weaver or workman, to have it inserted in his articles, that all this shall be well and truly performed, provided no foreign potentate shall depart this life within the time abovementioned. It happens in all public mournings that the many trades which depend upon our habits, are during that folly either pinched with
present want, or terrified with the apparent approach of it. All the atonement which men can make for wanton expenses, which is a sort of insulting the scarcity under which others labour, is, that the superfluities of the wealthy give supplies to the necessities of the poor; but instead of any other good arising from the affectation of being in courtly habits of mourning, all order seems to be destroyed by it; and the true honour which one court does to another on that occasion loses its force and efficacy. When a foreign minister beholds the court of a nation, which flourishes in riches and plenty, lay aside, upon the loss of his master, all marks of splendor and magnificence, though the head of such a joyful people, he will conceive a greater idea of the honour done his master, than when he sees the generality of the people in the same habit. When one is afraid to ask the wife of a tradesman, whom she has lost of her family? and after some preparation endeavours to know whom she mourns for; how ridiculous is it to hear her explain herself, “That we have lost one of the house of Austria !' Princes are elevated so highly above the rest of 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
No. 65. TUESDAY, MAY 15, 1711.
Demetri, teque, Tigelli,
HOR, SAT. i. 10. 90.
Go hence, 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 applause of a nation; but I shall always 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.
In reflecting upon these works, I shall chiefly dwell upon that for which each respective play is most cele