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according to the old proverb, were forewarned, forearmed.'
One of these gentlemen tells me, that he would have given me an hundred pounds, rather than I should have published that paper; for that his mistress, who had promised to explain herself to him about the beginning of May, upon reading that discourse told him, that she would give him her answer in June.
Thyrsis acquaints me, that when he desired Sylvia to take a walk in the fields, she told him, the Spectator had forbidden her.
Another of my correspondents, who writes himself Mat Meager, complains that, whereas he constantly used to breakfast with his mistress upon chocolate, going to wait upon her the first of May, he found his usual treat very much changed for the worse, and has been forced to feed ever since upon green tea.
As I begun this critical season with a caveat to the ladies, I shall conclude it with a congratulation, and do most heartily wish them joy of their happy deliverance.
They may now reflect with pleasure on the dangers they have escaped, and look back with as much satisfaction on the perils that threatened them, as their great grandmothers did formerly on the burning plough-shares, after having passed through the ordeal trial. The instigations of the spring are now abated. The nightingale gives over her · love-labour'd song,' as Milton phrases it; the blossoms are fallen, and the beds of Howers swept away by the scythe of the mower.
I shall now allow my fair readers to return to their romances and chocolate, provided they make use of them with moderation, till about the middle of the month, when the sun shall have made soma
progress in the Crab. Nothing is more dangerous than too much confidence and security. The Trojans, who stood upon their guard all the while the Grecians lay before their city, when they fancied the siege was raised, and the danger past, were the very next night burnt in their beds. I must also observe, that as in some climates there is perpetual spring, so in some fem constitutions there is a perpetual May. These are a kind of valetudinarians in chastity, whom I would continue in a constant diet. I cannot think these wholly out of danger, till they have looked upon the other sex at least five years through a pair of spectacles. Will Honeycomb has often assured me, that it is much easier to steal one of this species, when she is passed her grand climacteric, than to carry off an icy girl on this side five-and-twenty ; and that a rake of his acquaintance, who had in vain endeavoured to gain the affections of a young lady of fifteen, had at last made his fortune by running away with her grandmother.
But as I do not design this speculation for the evergreens of the sex, I shall again apply myself to those who would willingly listen to the dictates of reason and virtue, and can now hear me in cold blood. If there are any who have forfeited their innocence, they must now consider themselves under that melancholy view in which Chamont regards his sister, in those beautiful lines:
Long she flourishid,
On the contrary, she who has observed the timely cautions I gave her, and lived up to the rules of modesty, will now flourish like
a rose in June,' with all her virgin blushes and sweetness about her. I must, however, desire these last to consider, how shameful it would be for a general, who has made a successful campaign, to be surprised in his winter quarters. It would be no less dishonourable for a lady to lose, in any
other month of the year, what she has been at the pains to preserve in May.
There is no charm in the female sex that can supply the place of virtue.
Without innocence, beauty is unlovely, and quality contemptible ; good-breeding degenerates into wantonness, and wit into impudence. It is observed, that all the virtues are represented by both painters and statuaries under female shapes ; but if any of them has a more particular title to that sex, it is modesty. I shall leave it to the divines to guard them against the opposite vice, as they may be overpowered by temptations. It is sufficient for me to have warned them against it, as they may be led astray by instinct.
I desire this paper may be read with more than ordinary attention, at all tea-tables within the cities of London and Westminster.
N° 396. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4, 1712.
Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Ferio, Baralipton.
Having a great deal of business. upon my hands at present, I shall beg the reader's leave to present him with a letter that I received about half a year ago from a gentleman at Cambridge, who styles himself Peter de Quir. I have kept it by me some months; and, though I did not know at first what to make of it, upon my reading it over very frequently I have at last discovered several conceits in it: I would not therefore have my reader discouraged if he does not take them at the first perasal.
TO THE SPECTATOR.
• From St. John's College, Cambridge, Feb. 3, 1712. · Sir,
• The monopoly of puns in this university has been an immemorial privilege of the Johnians*; and we can't help resenting the late invasion of our ancient right as to that particular, by a little pretender to clenching in a neighbouring college, who in application to you by way of letter, a while ago, styled himself Philobrune. 'Dear sir, as you are by character a profest well-wisher to speculation, you will excuse a remark which this gentleman's passion for the brunette has suggested to a brother theorist: it is an offer towards a me
The students of St. John's college.
chanical account of his lapse to punning, for he belongs to a set of mortals who value themselves upon an uncommon inastery in the more humane and polite parts of letters.
'A conquest by one of this species of females gives a very odd turn to the intellectuals of the captivated person, and very different from that way of thinking which a triumph from the eyes of another, more emphatically of the fair sex, does generally occasion. It fills the imagination with an assemblage of such ideas and pictures as are hardly any thing but shade, such as night, the devil, &c. These portraitures very near overpower the light of the understanding, almost benight the faculties, and give that melancholy tincture to the most sanguine complexion, which this gentleman calls an inclination to be in a brown-study, and is usually attended with worse consequences, in case of a repulse. During this twilight of intellects, the patient is extremely apt, as love is the most witty passion in nature, to offer at some pert sallies now and then, by way of flourish, upon the amiable enchantress, and unfortunately stumbles upon that mongrel miscreated (to speak in Miltonic) kind of wit, vulgarly termed the pun. It would not be much amiss to consult Dr. T
(who is certainly a very able projector, and whose system of divinity and spiritual mechanics obtains very much among the better part of our undergraduates) whether a general inter-marriage, enjoined by parliament, between this sisterhood of the olive-beauties, and the fraternity of the people called quakers, would not be a very serviceable expedient, and abate that overflow of light which shines within them so powerfully, that it dazzles their eyes, and dances them into a thousand vagaries of error and enthusiasm. These reflexions may impart some