Page images
PDF
EPUB

presented, every body was so rashly habited, that when they came to speak to each other, a nymph with a crook had not a word to say but in the pert style of the pit bawdry; and a man in the habit of a philosopher was speechless, till an occasion offered of expressing himself in the refuse of the tyring rooms. We had & judge that danced a minuet, with a quaker for his partner, while half a dozen harlequins stood by as spectators : a Turk drank me off two bottles of wine, and a Jew eat me up half a ham of bacon. If I can bring my design to bear, and make the maskers preserve their characters in my assemblies I hope you will allow there is a foundation laid for more elegant and improving gallantries than any the town at present affords; and consequently that you will give your approbation to the endeavours of, Sir,

* Your most obedient humble servant." I am very glad the following epistle obliges me to mention Mr. Powell a second time in the same paper; for indeed there cannot be too great encouragement given to his skill in motions, * provided he is under proper restrictions.

“SIR,

"The opera at the Haymarket, and that under the little Piazza in Covent Garden, being at present the two leading diversions of the town, and Mr. Powell professing in his advertisements to set up Whittington and his Čat against Rinaldo and Armida, my curiosity led me, the beginning of last week, to view both these performances, and make my observations

upon

them. “First, therefore, I cannot but observe, that Mr. Powell wisely forbearing to give his company a bill of fare beforehand, every scene is new and unexpected; whereas it is certain, that the undertakers of the Haymarket, having raised too great an expectation in their printed opera, very much disappointed their audience on the stage.

“The King of Jerusalem is obliged to come from the city on foot, instead of being drawn in a triumphant chariot by white horses, as my opera-book had promised me; and thus, while I expected Armida's dragons should rush forward towards Argantes, I found the hero was obliged to go to Armida, and hand her out of her coach. We had also but a very short allowance of thunder and lightning; though I cannot in this place omit doing justice to the boy who had the direction of the two painted dragons, and made them spit fire and smoke. He flashed out his rosin in such just proportions, and in such due time, that I could not forbear conceiving hopes of his being one day a most excellent player. I

Puppet-shews were formerly so called.

I might extend the allegory, by mentioning several of the children of Fals Hamour, who are more in number than the sands of the 50. sad might in particular enumerate the many sons and daugbters which he has begot in this island. But as this would be a very invidious task, I shall only observe in general, that Felse Humour differs from the True, as a monkey does from a

First of all. He is exceedingly given to little apish tricks and bufooneries.

Secondly. He so much delights in mimicry, that it is all one to him whether he exposes by it vice and folly, luxury and avarice; 67, cu the contrary, virtue and wisdom, pain and poverty.

Thirdly. He is wonderfully unlucky, insomuch that he will bite the band that feeds him, and endeavour to ridicule both friends and foes indifferently. For having but small talents, he must be Try wbere he can, not where he should.

Fourthly. Being entirely void of reason, he pursues no point either of morality or instruction, but is ludicrous only for the sake of being so.

Fifthly. Being incapable of having anything but mock representations, his ridicule is always personal, and aimed at the vicious nonor the writer; not at the vice, or the writing.

I have here only pointed at the whole species of false humourists; bat as one of my principal designs in this paper is to beat down that malignant spirit which discovers itself in the writings of the present age, I shall not scruple, for the future, to single out any of the small wits that infest the world with such compositions as are ill-natured, immoral, and absurd. This is the only exception which I shall make to the general rule I have prescribed myself, of attacking multitudes, since every honest man ought to look upon himself as in a natural state of war with the libeller and hampooner, and to annoy them wherever they fall in his way. This is but retaliating upon them, and treating them as they treat thers. ADDISON.

C.

No. 15. SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 1710-11.

Parva leves capiunt animos

OVID. ARS. AM, 159.
Light minds are pleased with trifles.

When I was in France, I used to gaze with great astonishment at the splendid equipages and party-coloured habits of that fantastic nation. I was one day in particular contemplating a lady that sat in a coach adorned with gilded Cupids, and finely painted with the loves of Venus and Adonis. The coach was drawn by six milk-white horses, and loaded behind with the same number of powdered footmen. Just before the lady were a couple of beautiful pages, that were stuck among the harness, and by their gay dresses and smiling features, looked like the elder brothers of the little boys that were carved and painted in every corner of the coach.

The lady was the unfortunate Cleanthe, who afterwards gave an occasion to a pretty melancholy novel. She had, for several years, received the addresses of a gentleman, whom, after a long and intimate acquaintance, she forsook, upon the account of this shining equipage which had been offered to her by one of great riches, but a crazy constitution. The circumstances in which I saw her were, it seems, the disguises only of a broken heart, and a kind of pageantry to cover distress ; for in two months after, she was carried to her grave with the same pomp and magnificence; being sent thither partly by the loss of one lover, and partly by the possession of another.

I have often reflected with myself on this unaccountable humour in womankind, of being smitten with everything that is showy and superficial; and on the numberless evils that befal the sex from this light fantastical disposition. I myself remember a young lady that was very warmly solicited by a couple of importunate rivals, who, for several months together, did all they could to recommend themselves, by complacency of behaviour and agreeableness of conversation. At length, when the competition was doubtful, and the lady undetermined in her choice, one of the young lovers very luckily bethought himself of adding a supernumary lace to his liveries, which had so good an effect, that he married her the very week after.

The usual conversation of ordinary women, very much cherishes this natural weakness of being taken with outside and appearance. Talk of a new-married couple, and you immediately hear whether they keep their coach and six, or eat in plate. Mention the name

of an absent lady, and it is ten to one but you learn something of her gown and petticoat. A ball is a great help to discourse, and a birtb-day furnishes conversation for a twelvemonth after. A furbelow of precious stones, a hat buttoned with a diamond, a brocade waistcoat or petticoat, are standing topics. In short, they consider only the drapery of the species, and never cast away a thought on those ornaments of the mind that make persons illustrious in themselves, and useful to others. When women are thus perpetually dazzling one another's imaginations, and filling their heads with nothing but colours, it is no wonder that they are more attentive to the superficial parts of life, than the solid and substantial blessings of it. A girl, who has been trained up in this kind of conversation, is in danger of every embroidered coat that comes in her way. A pair of fringed gloves may be her ruin. In a word, lace and ribands, silver and gold galloons, with the like glittering gewgaws, are so many lures to women of weak minds and low educations, and when artificially displayed, are able to fetch down the most airy coquette from the wildest of her flights and rambles.

True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise : it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self; and in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions; it loves shade and solitude, and naturally hamts groves and fountains, fields and meadows; in short, it feels everything it wants within itself, and receives no addition from multitudes of witnesses and spectators. On the contrary, False Happiness loves to be in a crowd, and to draw the eyes of the world upon her. She does not receive any satisfaction from the applauses which she gives herself, but from the admiration which she raises in others. She fourishes in courts and palaces, theatres and assemblies, and has no existence but when she is looked upon.

Aurelia, though a woman of great quality, delights in the privacy of a country life, and passes away a great part of her time in her own walks and gardens. Her husband, who is her bosom friend and companion in her solitudes, has been in love with her ever since he knew her. They both abound with good sense, consummate virtue, and a mutual esteem; and are a perpetual entertainment to one another. Their family is under so regular an economy in its hours of devotion and repast, employment and diversion, that it looks like a little commonwealth within itself. They often go into company, that they may return with greater delight to one another; and sometimes live in town, not to enjoy it so properly, as to grow weary of it, that they may renew in. themselves the relish of a country life. By this means they are happy in each

VOL. I.

[graphic]

The petition of William Bullock,* to be Hephestion to Penk man the Great.t

Granted.

ADVERTISEMENT.

A widow gentlewoman, well born both by father and mother's being the daughter of Thomas Prater, once an eminent practitio in the law, and of Letitia Tattle, a family well-known in all pa of this kingdom, having been reduced by misfortunes to wait on veral great persons, and for some time to be a teacher at a board school of young ladies, giveth notice to the public, That she h lately taken a house near Bloomsbury Square, commodiously situa next the fields in a good air; where she teaches all sorts of birds the loquacious kinds, as parrots, starlings, magpies, and others, imitate human voices in greater perfection than ever was yet pr tised. They are not only instructed to pronounce words distine and in a proper tone and accent, but to speak the language u great purity and volubility of tongue, together with all the fashi able phrases and compliments now in use either at tea-tables, visiting-days. Those that have good voices may be taught to sing newest opera airs, and, if required, to speak either Italian or Fren paying something extraordinary above the common rates. 77 whose friends are not able to pay the full prices, may be taken half-boarders. She teaches such as are designed for the diversion the public, and to act in enchanted woods on the theatres, by the grec As she has often observed with much concern how indecent an edus tion is usually given these innocent creatures, which in some measu is owing to their being placed in rooms next the street, where, to 1 great offence of chaste and tender ears, they learn ribaldry, obsce songs, and immodest expressions from passengers, and idle people, also to cry fish and card-matches, with other useless parts of lear ing to birds who have rich friends, she has fitted up proper and ne apartments for them in the back part of her said house ; where s suffers none to approach them but herself, and a servant-maid vcl is deaf and dumb, and whom she provided on purpose to prepan their food, and cleanse their cages ; having found by long experiene how hard a thing it is for those to keep silence who have the use speech, and the dangers her scholars are exposed to, by the stron impressions that are made by harsh sounds, and vulgar dialects. I short, if they are birds of any parts or capacity, she will undertake i

See No. 44, and Tat., Nos. 7 and 188.
+ See Nos. 31 and 370, and Tat., Nos. 4, 7, 20, and 188.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »