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Ev’n when proud Crsar, 'midst triumphal cars,
EPILOGUE TO CATO, BY DR. GARTH. spoken by MRs. PonteR.
What odd fantastic things we women do:
To give you pain, themselves they punish most.
No. 34.] Monday, April 20, 1713.
Mores multorem widit
He many men and many manners saw.
It is a most vexatious thing to an old man, who endeavours to square his notions by reason, and to talk from reflection and experience, to fall in with a circle of young ladies at their af. ternoon tea-table. This happened very lately to be my fate. The conversation, for the first half-hour, was so very rambling, that it is hard to say what was talked of, or who spoke least to the purpose. The various motions of the fan, the tossings of the head, intermixed with all the pretty kinds of laughter, made up the greatest part of the discourse. At last, this
modish way of shining and being witty, settled into something like conversation, and the talk ran upon “fine gentlemen.” From the several characters that were given, and the exceptions that were made, as this or that gentleman happened to be named, I found that a lady is not difficult to be pleased, and that the town swarms with fine gentlemen. A nimble pair of heels, a smooth complexion, a full-bottom wig, a laced shirt, an embroidered suit, a pair of fringed gloves, a hat and feather; any one or more of these and the like accomplishments ennobles a man, and raises him above the vulgar, in a female imagination. On the contrary, a modest serious behaviour, a plain dress, a thick pair of shoes, a leathern belt, a waistcoat not lined with silk, and such like imperfections, degrade a man, and are so many blots in his escutcheon. I could not forbear smiling at one of the prettiest and liveliest of this gay assembly, who excepted to the gentility of sir William Hearty, because he wore a frieze coat, and breakfasted upon toast and ale. I pretended to admire the fineness of her taste; and to strike in with her in ridiculing those awkward healthy gentlemen that seem to make nourishment the chief end of eating. I gave her an account of an honest Yorkshire gentleman, who (when I was a traveller) used to invite his acquaintance at Paris to break their fast with him upon cold roast beef and mum. There was, I remember, a little French marquis, who was often pleased to rally him unmercifully upon beef and pudding, of which our countryman would despatch a pound or two with great alacrity, while his antagonist was piddling at a mushroom, or the haunch of a frog. I could perceive the lady was pleased with what I said, and we parted very good friends, by virtue of a maxim I always observe, Never to contradict or reason with a sprightly female. I went home, however, full of a great many serious reflections upon what had passed, and though, in complaisance I disguised my sentiments, to keep up the good humour of my fair companions, and to avoid being looked upon as a testy old fellow, yet out of the good-will I bear to the sex, and to prevent for the future their being imposed upon by counterfeits, I shall give them the distinguishing marks of “a true fine gentleman.” When a good artist would express any remarkable character in sculpture, he endeavours to work up his figure into all the perfections his imagination can form; and to imitate not so much what is, as what may or ought to be. I shall follow their example, in the idea I am going to trace out of a fine gentleman, by assembling together such qualifications as seem requisite to make the character complete. In order to this I shall premise in general, that by a fine gentleman I mean a man completely qualified as well for the service and good, as for the ornament and delight of society. When I consider the frame of mind peculiar to a gentleman, I suppose it graced with all the dignity and elevation of spirit that human nature is capable of... To this I would have joined a clear understanding, a reason free from prejudice, a steady judgment, and an extensive knowledgeWhen I think of the heart of a gentleman, I imagine it firm and intrepid, void of all inordinate passions, and full of tenderness, compassion, and benevolence. When I view the fine gentleman with regard to his manners, methinks I see him modest without bashfulness, frank and affable without impertinence, obliging and complaisant without servility, cheerful and in good humour without noise. These amiable qualities are not easily obtained; neither are there many men that have a genius to excel this way. A finished gentleman is perhaps the most uncommon of all the great characters in life. Besides the natural endowments with which this distinguished man is to be born, he must run through a long series of education. Before he makes his appearance and shines in the world, he must be principled in religion, instructed in all the moral virtues, and led through the whole course of the polite arts and sciences. He should be no stranger to courts and to camps; he must travel to open his mind, to enlarge his views, to learn the policies and interests of foreign states, as well as to fashion and polish himself, and to get clear of national prejudices, of which every country has its share. To all these more essential improvements, he must not forget to add the fashionable ornaments of life, such as are the languages and the bodily exercises most in vogue; neither would I have him think even dress itself beneath his notice. It is no very uncommon thing in the world to meet with men of probity; there are likewise a great many men of honour to be found. Men of courage, men of sense, and men of letters are frequent; but a true fine gentleman is what one seldom sees. He is properly a compound of the various good qualities that embellish mankind. As the great poet animates all the different parts of learning by the force of his genius, and irradiates all the compass of his knowledge by the lustre and brightness of his imagination; so all the great and solid perfections of life appear in the finished gentleman, with a beautiful gloss and varnish; every thing he says or does is accompanied with a manner or rather a charm, that draws the admiration and good-will of every beholder.
ADWERTISEMENT. For the benefit of my female readers.
N. B. The gilt chariot, the diamond ring, the gold snuff-box, and brocade sword-knot, are no essential parts of a fine gentleman; but may be used by him, provided he casts his eye upon them but once a-day.
No. 35.] Tuesday, April 21, 1713.
O vitae Philosophia dux, virtutis indagatrix! Cicero. Ophilosophy, thouguide of life, and discoverer of virtue.
“To Nestor Ironside, Esquire.
‘SIR,--I am a man who have spent great part of that time in rambling through foreign countries which young gentlemen usually pass at the university; by which course of life, although I have acquired no small insight into the man
ners and conversation of men, yet I could not make proportionable advances in the way of science and speculation. In my return through France, as I was one day setting forth this my case to a certain gentleman of that nation, with whom I had contracted a friendship; after some pause, he conducted me into his closet, and opening a little amber cabinet, took from thence a small box of snuff, which he said was given him by an uncle of his, the author of The Voyage to the World of Descartes; and, with many professions of gratitude and affection, made me a present of it, telling me, at the same time, that he knew no readier way to furnish and adorn a mind with knowledge in the arts and sciences, than that same snuff rightly applied. “You must know,” said he, “that Descartes was the first who discovered a certain part of the brain, called by anatomists the Pineal Gland, to be the immediate receptacle of the soul, where she is affected with all sorts of perceptions, and exerts all her operations by the intercourse of the animal spirits which run through the nerves that are thence extended to all parts of the body.” He added, “that the same philosopher having considered the body as a machine, or piece of clock-work, which performed all the vital operations without the concurrence of the will, began to think a way may be found out for separating the soul for some time from the body, without any injury to the latter; and that, after much meditation on that subject, the above-mentioned virtuoso composed the snuff he then gave me; which, if taken in a certain quantity, would not fail to disengage my soul from my body. Your soul (continued he) being at liberty to transport herself with a thought wherever she pleases, may enter into the pineal gland of the most learned philosopher, and being so placed, become spectator of all the ideas in his mind, which would instruct her in a much less time than the usual methods.” I returned him thanks, and accepted his present, and with it a paper of directions. ‘You may imagine it was no small improvement and diversion, to pass my time in the pineal glands of philosophers, poets, beaux, mathematicians, ladies, and statesmen. One while to trace a theorem in mathematics through a long labyrinth of intricate turns, and subtleties of thought; another to be conscious of the sublime ideas and comprehensive views of a philosopher, without any fatigue or wasting of my own spirits. Sometimes to wander through perfumed groves, or enameled meadows, in the fancy of a poet; at others to be present when a battle or a storm raged, or a glittering palace rose in his imagination; or to behold the plea. sures of a country life, the passion of a generous love, or the warmth of devotion wrought up to rapture. Or (to use the words of a very ingenious author) to ‘Behold the raptures which a writer knows, When in his breast a vein of fancy glows, Behold his business while he works the mine, Behold his temper when he sees it shine.” Essay on the different Styles of Poetry. ‘These gave me inconceivable pleasure. Nor was it an unpleasant entertainment, sometimes to descend from these sublime and magnificent ideas to the impertinences of a beau, the dry schemes of a coffee-house politician, or the tender images in the mind of a young lady. And, as in order to frame a right idea of human happiness, I thought it expedient to make a trial of the various manners wherein men of different pursuits were affected, I one day entered into the pineal gland of a certain person, who seemed very fit to give me an insight into all that which constitutes the happiness of him who is called a Man of Pleasure. But I found myself not a little disappointed in my notion of the pleasures which attend a voluptuary, who has shaken off the restraints of reason.
“His intellectuals, I observed, were grown unserviceable by too little use, and his senses were decayed and worn out by too much. That perfect inaction of the higher powers prevented appetite in prompting him to sensual gratifications; and the outrunning natural appetite produced a loathing instead of a pleasure. I there beheld the intemperate cravings of youth, without the enjoyments of it; and the weakness of old age, without its tranquillity. When the passions were teazed and roused by some powerful object, the effect was not to delight or sooth the mind, but to torture it between the returning extremes of appetites, and satiety. I saw a wretch racked at the same time, with a painful remembrance of past miscarriages, a ristaste of the present objects that solicit his senses, and a secret dread of futurity. And I could see no manner of relief or comfort in the soul of this miserable man, but what consisted in preventing his cure, by inflaming his passions, and suppressing his reason. But though it must be owned he had almost quenched that light which his Creator had set up in his soul, yet, in spite of all his efforts, I observed at cer. tain seasons frequent flashes of remorse strike through the gloom, and interrupt that satisfac. tion he enjoyed in hiding his own deformities from himself.
“I was also present at the original formation or production of a certain book in the mind of a free-thinker, and believing it may not be unacceptable to let you into the secret manner and internal principles by which that phenomenon was formed, I shall in my next give you an account of it. I am, in the mean time, your most obedient humble servant,
- * ULYSSES COSMOPOLITA.”
N. B. Mr. Ironside has lately received out of France ten pounds avoirdupois weight of this philosophical snuff, and gives notice that he will make use of it, in order to distinguish the real from the professed sentiments of all persons of eminence in court, city, town, and country.
No. 36.] Wednesday, April 22, 1713.
Punica se quantis attollet gloria rebus 1
What rebus's exalt the punnic fame !
THE gentleman who doth me the favour to write the following letter, saith as much for himself as the thing will bear. I am particularly pleased to find, that in his Apology for Punning
he only celebrates the art, as it is a part of conversation. I look upon premeditated quibbles, and puns committed to the press, as unpardonable crimes. There is as much difference betwixt these and the starts in common discourse, as betwixt casual rencounters, and murder with malice prepense.
“To Nestor Ironside, Esquire.
‘SIR,--I have from your writings conceived such an opinion of your benevolence to mankind, that I trust you will not suffer any art to be vilified which helps to polish and adorn us. I do not know any sort of wit that hath been used so reproachfully as the Pun: and I persuade myself that I shall merit your esteem, by recommending it to your protection; since there can be no greater glory to a generous soul, than to succour the distrest. I shall, therefore, without farther preface, offer to your consideration the following. Modest Apology for Punning; wherein I shall make use of no double meanings or equivocations: since I think it unnecessary to give it any other praises than truth and com. mon sense, its professed enemies are forced to grant. “In order to make this a useful work, I shall state the nature and extent of the pun, I shall discover the advantages that flow from it, the moral virtues that it produces, and the tendency that it hath to promote vigour of body and ease of mind. “The pun is defined by one, who seems to be no well-wisher to it, to be “A conceit arising from the use of two words that agree in the sound, but differ in the sense.” Now if this be the essence of the pun, how great must we allow the dignity of it to be, when we consider that it takes in most of the considerable parts of learning; for is it not most certain, that all learned disputes are rather about sounds than sense? Are not the controversies of divines about the different interpretations of terms ? Are not the disputations of philosophers about words, and all their pompous distinctions only so many unravellings of double meanings? Who ever lost his estate in Westminster-hall, but complained that he was quibbled out of his right? or what monarch ever broke a treaty, but by virtue of equivocation? In short, so great is the excellence of this art, so diffusive its influence, that when I go into a library, I say to myself, “What volumes of puns do I behold !” When I look upon the men of business, I cry out, “How powerful is the tribe of the quibblers:" When I see statesmen and ambassadors, I reflect, “How splendid the equipage of the quirk' in what pomp do the punsters appear !” “But as there are serious puns, such as I have instanced in, so likewise there are puns comical. These are what I would recommend to my countrymen; which I shall do by displaying the advantages flowing from them. “The first advantage of punning is, that it gives us the compass of our own language. This is very obvious. For the great business of the punster is to hunt out the several words in our tongue that agree in sound, and have various significations. By this means he will likewise enter into the nicety of spelling, an accomplishment regarded, only by middling people, and much neglected by persons of great and no quality. This error may produce unnecessary folios amongst grammarians yet unborn. But to proceed. A man of learning hath, in this manner of wit, great advantages; as indeed, what advantages do not flow from learning 2 If the pun fails in English, he may have speedy recourse to the Latin, or the Greek, and so on. I have known wonders performed by this secret. I have heard the French assisted by the German, the Dutch mingle witir the Italian, and where the jingle hath seemed desperate in the Greek, I have known it revive in the Hebrew. My friend Dick Babel hath often, to show his parts, started a conceit at the equinoctial, and pursued it through all the degrees of latitude; and, after he had punned round the globe, hath sat down like Alexander, and mourned that he Jhad no more worlds to conquer. “Another advantage in punning is, that it ends disputes, or, what is all one, puns comical destroy puns serious. Any man that drinks a bottle knows very well, that about twelve, people that do not kiss, or cry, are apt to debate. This often occasions heats and heart-burnings, unless one of the disputants vouchsafes to end the matter with a joke. How often have Aristotle and Cartesius been reconciled by a merry conceit! how often have whigs and tories shook hands over a quibble! and the clashing of swords been prevented by the jingling of words! ‘Attention of mind is another benefit enjoyed by punsters. This is discoverable from the perpetual gape of the company where they are, and the earnest desire to know what was spoken last, if a word escapes any one at the table. I must add, that quick apprehension is required in the hearer, readily to take some things which are very far-fetched; as likewise great vivacity in the performer, to reconcile distant and even hostile ideas by the mere mimicry of words, and energy of sound. “Mirth or good-humour is the last advantage, that, out of a million, I shall produce to recommend punning. But this will more naturally fall in when I come to demonstrate its operation upon the mind and body. I shall now discover what moral virtues it promotes; and shall content myself with instancing in those which every reader will allow of “A punster is adorned with humility. This our adversaries will not deny; because they hold it to be a condescension in any man to trifle, as they arrogantly call it, with words. I must, however, confess, for my own share, I never punned out of the pride of my heart, nor did I ever know one of our fraternity, that seemed to be troubled with the thirst of glory. “The virtue called urbanity by the moralists, or a courtly behaviour, is much cultivated by this science. For the whole spirit of urbanity consists in a desire to please the company, and what else is the design of the punster? Accordingly we find such bursts of laughter, such agitations of the sides, such contortions of the limbs, such earnest attempts to recover the dying laugh, such transport in the enjoyment of it in equivocating assemblies, as men of common sense are amazed at, and own they never felt.
“But nothing more displays itself in the pun ster, than justice, the queen of all the virtues At the quibbling board every performer hath its due. The soul is struck at once, and the body recognizes the merit of each joke, by sudden and comical emotions. Indeed how should it be otherwise, where not only words but even syllables have justice done them; where no man invades the right of another, but, with perfect innocence and good-nature, takes as much delight in his neighbour's joy as in his own 7
“From what hath been advanced, it will easily appear, that this science contributes to ease of body, and serenity of mind. You have in a former precaution, advised your hectical read. ers to associate with those of our brotherhood who are, for the most part, of a corpulent make and a round vacant countenance. It is natural the next morning, after a merriment, to reflect how we behaved ourselves the night before: and I appeal to any one, whether it will not occasion greater peace of mind to consider, that he hath only been waging harmless war with words, than if he had stirred his brother to wrath, grieved the soul of his neighbour by calumny, or increased his own wealth by fraud. As for health of body, I look upon punning as a nos. trum, a Medicina Gymnastica, that throws off all the bad humours, and occasions such a brisk circulation of the blood, as keeps the lamp of life in a clear and constant flame. I speak, as all physicians ought to do, from experience. A friend of mine, who had the ague this spring was, after the failing of several medicines and charms, advised by me to enter into a course o quibbling. He threw his electuaries out at his window, and took Abracadabra off from his neck, and by the mere force of punning upon that long magical word, threw himself into a fine breathing sweat, and a quiet sleep. He is now in a fair way of recovery, and says pleasantly, he is less obliged to the Jesuits for their powder, than for their equivocation.
‘Sir, this is my Modest Apology for Punning, which I was the more encouraged to undertake, because we have a learned university where it is in request, and I am told that a famous club hath given it protection. If this meets with encouragement, I shall write a vindication of the rebus, and do justice to the conundrum. I have indeed looked philosophically into their natures, and made a sort of Arbor Porphyriana of the several subordinations and divisions of low wit. This the ladies perhaps may not understand; but I shall thereby give the beau an opportunity of showing their learning. I am, sir, with great respect, your most obedient humble servant.”
No. 37.] Thursday, April 23, 1713.
Meduce damnosas homines compescite curas. Ovid. Rem. Amor. ver, 69.
Learn, mortals, from my precepts to controul The furious passions that disturb the suul.
It is natural for an old man to be fond of
such entertainments as revive in his imagina
tion the agreeable impressions made upon it ii. - 5*
his youth: the set of wits and beauties he was first acquainted with, the balls and drawingrooms in which he made an agreeable figure, the music and actors he heard and saw when his life was fresh, and his spirits vigorous and quick, have usually the preference in his esteem to any succeeding pleasures that present themselves when his taste is grown more languid. It is for this reason I never see a picture of sir Peter Lely's, who drew so many of my first friends and acquaintance, without a sensible delight; and I am in raptures when I reflect on the compositions of the famous Mr. Henry Laws, long before Italian music was introduced into our nation. Above all, I am pleased in observ. ing that the tragedies of Shakspeare, which in my youthful days have so frequently filled my eyes with tears, hold their rank still, and are the great support of our theatre. It was with this agreeable prepossession of mind, I went some time ago, to see the old tragedy of Othello, and took my female wards with me, having promised them a little before to carry them to the first play of Shakspeare's which should be acted. Mrs. Cornelia who is a great reader, and never fails to peruse the play-bills, which are brought to her every day, gave me notice of it early in the morning. When I came to my lady Lizard's at dinner, I found the young folks all drest, and expecting the performance of my promise. I went with them at the proper time, placed them together in the boxes, and myself by them in a corner seat. As I have the chief scenes of the play by heart, I did not look much on the stage, but formed to myself a new satisfaction in keeping an eye on the faces of my little audience, and observing, as it were by reflection, the different passions of the play represented in their countenances. Mrs. Betty told us the names of several persons of distinction, as they took their places in the boxes, and entertained us with the history of a new marriage or two till the curtain drew up. I soon perceived that Mrs. Jane was touched with the love of Desdemona, and in a concern to see how she would come off with her parents. Annabella had a rambling eye, and for some time was more taken up with observing what gentleman looked at her, and with criticising the dress of the ladies, than with any thing that passed on the stage. Mrs. Cornelia, who I have often said is addicted to the study of romances, commended that speech in the play in which Othello mentions his ‘hair-breadth scapes in th’ imminent deadly breach, and recites his travels and adventures with which he had captivated the heart of Desdemona. The Sparkler looked several times frighted; and as the distress of the play was heightened, their different attention was collected, and fixed wholly on the stage, till I saw them all with a secret satisfaction, betrayed into tears. I have often considered this play as a noble, but irregular, production of a genius which had the power of animating the theatre beyond any writer we have ever known. The touches of nature in it are strong and masterly; but the economy of the fable, and in some particulars the probability, are too much neglected. If I would speak of it in the most severe terms, I
should say as Waller does of the Maid's Tra. gedy, “Great are its faults, but glorious is its flame.’
But it would be a poor employment in a critic to observe upon the faults, and show no taste for the beauties, in a work that has always struck the most sensible part of our audiences in a very forcible manner.
The chief subject of this piece is the passion of jealousy, which the poet has represented at large, in its birth, its various workings and agonies, and its horrid consequences. From this passion and the innocence and simplicity of the person suspected, arises a very moving distress,
It is a remark, as I remember, of a modern writer, who is thought to have penetrated deeply into the nature of the passions, that “the most extravagant love is nearest to the strongest hatred.’ The Moor is furious in both these extremes. His love is tempestuous, and mingled with a wildness peculiar to his character, which seems very artfully to prepare for the change which is to follow.
How savage, yet how ardent is that expression of the raptures of his heart, when, looking after Desdemona as she withdraws, he breaks out,
“Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul
But I do love thee; and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again.”
The deep and subtle villany of Iago, in working this change from love to jealousy, in so tumultuous a mind as that of Othello, prepossessed with a confidence in the disinterested affection of the man who is leading him on insensibly to his ruin, is likewise drawn with a masterly hand. Iago's broken hints, questions, and seeming care to hide the reason of them; his obscure suggestions to raise the curiosity of the Moor; his personated confusion, and refusing to explain himself while Othello is drawn on, and held in suspense till he grows impatient and angry; then his throwing in the poison, and naming to him in a caution the passion he would raise,
4. O beware of jealousy •
are inimitable strokes of art, in that scene which has always been justly esteemed one of the best which was ever represented on the theatre. . To return to the character of Othello; his strife of passions, his starts, his returns of love, and threatenings to Iago, who put his mind on the rack, his relapses afterwards to jealousy, his rage against his wife, and his asking pardon of Iago, whom he thinks he had abused for his fidelity to him, are touches which no one can overlook that has the sentiments of human nature, or has considered the heart of man in its frailties, its penances, and all the variety of its agitations. The torments which the Moor suffers are so exquisitely drawn, as to render him as much an object of compassion, even in the barbarous action of murdering Desdemona, as the innocent person herself who falls under his hand. But there is nothing in which the poet has more shown his judgment in this play, than in