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cause the subjects are many of them rich and wealthy, the prince not thinking fit to exert himself in his full tyranny like the princes of the eastern nations, lest his subjects should be invited to new-mould their constitution, having so many prospects of liberty within their view. But in all despotic governments, though a particular prince may favour arts and letters, there is a natural degeneracy of mankind, as you may observe from Augustus's reign, how the Romans lost themselves by degrees, till they fell to an equality with the most barbarous nations that surrounded them. Look upon Greece under its free states, and you would think its inhabitants lived in different climates, and under different heavens, from those at present: so different are the geniuses which are formed under Turkish slavery and Grecian liberty.
Besides poverty and want, there are other reasons that debase the minds of men, who live under slavery, though I look upon this as the principal. This natural tendency of despotic power to ignorance and barbarity, though not insisted upon by others, is, I think, an unanswerable argument against that form of government, as it shows how repugnant it is to the good of mankind, and the perfection of human nature, which ought to be the great ends of all civil institutions. ADDISON.
No. 288. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30
-Pavor est utrique molestus. HOR.
When you spoke of the jilts and coquettes, you then promised to be very impartial, and not to spare even your own sex, should any of their secret or open faults come under your cognizance; which has given me encouragement to describe a certain species of mankind under the denomination of male jilts. They are gentlemen who do not design to marry; yet, that they may appear to have some sense of gallantry, think they must
pay their devoirs to one particular fair; in order to which they single out from amongst the herd of females her to whom they design to make their fruitless addresses. This done, they first take every opportunity of being in her company, and they never fail upon all occasions to be particular to her, laying themselves at her feet, protesting the reality of their passion with a thousand oaths, soliciting a return, and saying as many fine things as their stock of wit will allow; and if they are not deficient that way, generally speak so as to admit of a double interpretation; which the credulous fair is too apt to turn to her own advantage, since it frequently happens to be a raw, innocent young creature, who thinks all the world as sincere as herself, and so her unwary heart becomes an easy prey to those deceitful monsters, who no sooner perceive it, but imme
diately they grow cool, and shun her whom before they seemed so much to admire, and proceed to act the same common-place villany towards another. A coxcomb flushed with many of these infamous victories, shall say, he is sorry for the poor fools, protest and vow he never thought of matrimony, and wonder talking civilly can be so strangely misinterpreted. Now, Mr. Spectator, you that are a professed friend to love, will, Í hope, observe upon those who abuse that noble passion, and raise it in innocent minds by a deceitful affectation of it, after which they desert the enamoured. Pray bestow a little of your
counsel on those fond believing females, who already have or are in danger of having broken hearts; in which
you will oblige a great part of this town, but in a particular manner, Sir,
Your (yet heart-whole) admirer,
MELAINIA.' Melainia's complaint is occasioned by so general a folly, that it is wonderful one could so long overlook it. But this false gallantry proceeds from an impotence of mind, which makes those who are guilty of it incapable of pursuing what they themselves approve. Many a man wishes a woman his wife whom he dare not take for such. Though no one has power over his inclinations or fortunes, he is a slave to common fame. For this reason I think Melainia gives them too soft a name in that of male coquettes. I know not why irresolution of mind should not be more contemptible than impotence of body; and these frivolous admirers would be but tenderly used in
being only included in the same term with the insufficient another way. They whom my correspondent calls male coquettes shall hereafter be called fribblers. A fribbler is one who professes rapture and admiration for the woman to whom he addresses, and dreads nothing so much as her consent. His heart can flutter by the force of imagination, but can not fix from the force of judgment. It is not uncommon for the parents of young women of moderate fortune to wink at the addresses of fribblers, and expose their children to the ambiguous behaviour which Melainia complains of, till by the fondness to one they are to lose, they become incapable of love towards others, and by consequence in their future marriages lead a joyless or a miserable life. As therefore I shali, in the speculations which regard love, be as severe as 1 ought on jilts and libertinewomen, so will I be as little merciful to insignificant and mischievous men. (No. 300.) In order to this all visitants who frequent families wherein there are young females, are forthwith required to declare themselves, or absent from places where their presence banishes such as would
pass their time more to the advantage of those whom they visit. It is a matter of too great moment to be dallied with; and I shall expect from all my young people a satisfactory account of appearances. Strephon has from the publication hereof seven days to explain the riddle he presented to Eudamia; and Chloris an hour after this comes to her hand, to declare whether she will have Philotas, whom a woman, of no less merit than herself, and of superior fortune, languishes to call her own.
TO THE SPECTATOR.
Since so many dealers turn authors and write quaint advertisements in praise of their wares, one who from an author turned dealer may be al lowed, for the advancement of trade, to turn author again. I will not however set up like some of them, for selling cheaper than the most able honest tradesman can; nor do I send this to be better known for choice and cheapness of china and japan wares, tea, fans, muslins, pictures, arrack, and other Indian goods. Placed as I am in Leadenhall-street near the India Company, and the centre of that trade, thanks to my fair customers, my warehouse is graced as well as the benefit days of my plays and operas; and the foreign goods I sell seem no less acceptable than the foreign books I translated, Rabelais and Don Quixote: this the critics allow me; and while they like my wares, they may dispraise my writings. But as it is not so well known yet that I frequently cross the seas of late, and speaking Dutch and French, besides other languages, I have the convenience of buying and importing rich brocades, Dutch atlases, with gold and silver, or without, and other foreign silks of the newest modes and best fabrics, fine Flanders lace, linens, and pictures, at the best hand. This my new way of trade I have fallen into, I can not better publish than by an application to you. My wares are fit only for such as your readers; and I would beg of you to print this address in your paper, that those whose minds
take the ornaments for their persons and houses from me. This, sir,
you adorn may