« PredošláPokračovať »
most laborious way of life, in getting intelligence, running from place to place with new whispers, without reaping any other benefit but the hopes of making others as unhappy as themselves. Mrs. Jane happened to be at a place where I, with many others, well acquainted with my passion for Belinda, passed a Christmas evening. There was among the rest a young lady so free in mirth, so amiable in a just reserve that accompanied it:1 wrong her to call it a reserve, but there appeared in her a mirth or cheerfulness which was not s forbearance of some immoderate joy, but the natural appearance of all which could flow from a mind possessed of a habit of innocence and purity. I must have utterly forgot Belinda to have taken no notice of one who was growing up to the same womanly virtues which shine to perfection in her, had I not distinguished one who seemed to promise to the world the same life and conduct with my faithful and lovely Belinda. When the company broke up, the fine young thing permitted me to take care of her home. Mrs. Jane sau my particular regard to her, and was informed of my attending her to her father's house. She came early to Belinda the next morning, and asked her if Mrs. Such-a-one had been with her? No. If Mr. Such-a-one's lady? No. Nor your cousin Such-a-one? No. Lord, says Mrs. Jane, what is the friendship of woman?—Nay, they may well laugh at it. And did no one tell you any thing of the behaviour of your lover, Mr. What-d'ye-call, last night? But perhaps it is nothing to you that he is to be married to young Mrs. on Tuesday next? Belinda was here ready to die with rage and jealousy. Then Mrs Jane goes on :- I have a young kinsman who is clerk to a great conveyancer, who shall show you the rough draft of the marriage settlement. The world says, her father gives him two thousand pounds more than he could have with you.' I went innocently to wait on Belinda, as usual, but was not admitted; I writ to her, and
letter was sent back unopened. Poor Betty, her maid, who is on my side, has been here just now blubbering, and told me the whole matter. She says, she did not think I could be so base; and that she is now so odious to her mistress for having so often spoke so well of me, that she dare not mention me more. All our hopes are placed in having these circumstances fairly represented in the Spectator, which Betty says she dare not but bring up as soon as it is brought in; and has promised, when you have broke the ice, to own this was laid between us; and when I can come to a hearing, the young lady will support what we may say by her testimony, that I never saw her but that once in my whole life. Dear sir, do not omit this true relation, nor think it too particular; for there are crowds of forlorn coquettes who intermingle themselves with other ladies, and contract familiarities out of malice, and with no other design but to blast the hopes of lovers, the expectation of parents, and the benevolence of kindred. I doubt not but I shall be, sir, • Your most obliged humble servant,
Will's Coffee-House, Jan. 10. The other day entering a room adorned with the fair sex, I offered, after the usual manner, to each of them a kiss; but one, more scornful than the rest, turned her cheek. I did not think it proper to take any notice of it till I had asked your advice. - Your humble servant,
E. S. The correspondent is desired to say which cheek the offender turned to him.
All ladies who come to church in the newfashioned hoods, are desired to be there before divine service begins, lest they divert the attention of the congregation.
No 273. SATURDAY, JANUARY 12.
-Notandi sunt tibi mores.
Note well the manners.
HAVING examined the action of Paradise Lost, let us, in the next place, consider the actors. This is Aristotle's method of considering, first the fable, and secondly the manners; or, as we generally call them in English, the fable and the characters.
Homer has excelled all the heroic poets that ever wrote, in the multitude and variety of his characters. Every god that is admitted to his poem, acts a part which would have been suitable to no other deity. His princes are as much distinguished by their manners as by their dominions; and even those among them, whose characters seem wholly made up of courage, differ from one another as to the particular kinds of courage in which they excel.' In short, there is scarce a speech or action in the Iliad which the reader may not ascribe to the person who speaks or acts, without seeing his name at the head of it.
Homer does not only outshine all other poets in the variety, but also in the novelty of his characters. He has introduced among his Grecian princes a person who had lived thrice the age of man, and conversed with Theseus, Hercules, Polyphemus, and the first race of heroes. His principal actor is the son of a goddess, not to mention the offspring of other deities, who have likewise a place in his poem; and the venerable Trojan prince, who was the father of so many kings and heroes. There is in these several characters of Homer, a certain dignity, as well as novelty, which adapts them in a more peculiar manner to the nature of an heroic poem. Though, at the same time, to give them the greater variety, he has described a Vulcan that is a buffoon among his gods, and a Thersites among his mortals.
Virgil falls infinitely short of Homer in the characters of his poem, both as to their variety and novelty. Æneas is indeed a perfect character; but as for Achates, though he is styled the hero's friend, he does nothing in the whole poem which may deserve that title. Gyas, Mnestheus, Sergestus, and Cloanthes, are all of them men of the same stamp and character.
· Fortemque Gyan, fortemque Cloanthum. Virs.
There are indeed several natural incidents in the part of Ascanius; and that of Dido can not be sufficiently admired. I do not see any thing new or particular in Turnus. Pallas and Evander are remote copies of Hector and Priam, as Lausus and Mezentius are almost parallels to Pallas and Evander. The characters of Nisus and Euryalus are beautiful, but common. We must not forget the parts of Sinon, Camilla, and some few others, which are fine improvements on the Greek poet. In short, there is neither that variety nor novelty in the persons of the Æneid which we meet with in those of the Iliad.
If we look into the characters of Milton, we shall find that he has introduced all the variety his fable was capable of receiving. The whole species of mankind was in two persons at the time to which the subject of his poem is confined. We have, however, four distinct characters in these two persons. We see man and woman in the highest innocence and perfection, and in the most abject state of guilt and infirmity. The two last characters are indeed very common and obvious but the two first are not only more magnificent, but more new, than any characters either in Virgil or Homer, or indeed in the whole circle of nature.
Milton was so sensible of this defect in the subject of his poem, and of the few characters it would afford him, that he has brought into it two actors of a shadowy and fictitious nature, in the persons
of Sin and Death; by which means he has wrought into the body of his fable a very