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No. 146.] Friday, August 28, 1713.
Primus hominum leonen manu tract are atistis, et ostendere mansuefactum, Hanno e clarissiinis Penorum traditur. - Poin.
Hanno, a noble Carthagenian, is reported to have been the first man who ventured to handle a lion, and bring him up taine.
The generality of my readers, I find, are so well pleased with the story of the lion, in my paper of the twentieth instant, and with my friend's design of compiling a history of that noble species of animals, that a great many ingenious persons have promised me their assist. ance to bring in materials for the work, from all the storehouses of ancient and modern learning, as well as from oral tradition. For a farther encouragement of the undertaking, a considerable number of virtuosi have offered, when my collection shall swell into a reasonable bulk, to contribute very handsomely, by way of subscription, towards the printing of them in folio, on a large royal paper, curiously adorned with variety of forests, deserts, rocks, and caves, and lions of all sorts and sizes, upon copper-plates, by the best hands. A rich old bachelor of Lion'sinn (who is zealous for the honour of the place in which he was educated) sends me word I may depend upon a hundred pounds from him, towards the embellishing of the work; assuring me, at the same time, that he will set his clerk to search the records, and inquire into the antiquities of that house, that there may be no stone left unturned to make the book complete. Considering the volumes that have been written upon insects and reptiles, and the vast expense and pains some philosophers have been at to discover, by the help of glasses, their almost imperceptible qualities and perfections; it will not, I hope, be thought unreasonable, if the lion (whose majestic form lies open to the naked eye) should take up a first-rate folio.
A worthy merchant, and a friend of mine, sends me the following letter, to be inserted in my commentaries upon lions.
‘SIR,-Since one of your correspondents has of late entertained the public with a very remarkable and ancient piece of history, in honour of the grandees of the forest; and since it is probable you may in time collect a great many curious records and amazing circumstances, which may contribute to make these animals respected over the face of the whole carth ; I am not a little ambitious to have the glory of contributing somewhat to so generous an undertaking. If you throw your work into the form of chronicle, I am in hopes I may furnish out a page in it towards the latter end of the volume, by a narration of a modern date, which I had in the year 1700, from the gentleman to whom it happened. “About sixty years ago, when the plague raged at Naples, sir George Davis (consul there for the English nation) retired to Florence. It happened one day he went out of curiosity to see the great duke's lions. At the farther end, in one of the dens, lay a lion, which the keepers in three years' time could not tame, with all the art and gentle usage imaginable. Sir George
no sooner appeared at the grates of the den, but the lion ran to him with all the marks of joy and transport he was capable of expressing. He reared himself up and licked his hand, which this gentleman put in through the grates. The keeper, affrighted, took him by the arm and pulled him away, begging him not to hazard his life by going so near the fiercest creature of that kind that ever entered those dens. However, nothing would satisfy sir George, notwithstanding all that could be said to dissuade him, but he must go into the den to him. The very instant he entered, the lion threw his paws upon his shoulders, and licked his face, and ran to and fro in the den, fawning, and full of joy, like a dog at the sight of his master. After several embraces and salutations exchanged on both sides, they parted very good friends. The rumour of this interview between the lion and the stranger rung immediately through the whole city, and sir George was very near passing for a saint among the people. The great duke, when he heard of it, sent for sir George, who waited upon his highness to the den, and to satisfy his curiosity, gave him the following account of what seemed so strange to the duke and his followers.
“A captain of a ship from Barbary gave me this lion when he was a young whelp. I brought him up tame; but when I thought him too large to be suffered to run about the house, I built a den for him in my court-yard; from that time he was never permitted to go loose, except when I brought him within doors to show him to my friends. When he was five years old, in his gamesome tricks, he did some mischief by pawing and playing with people. Having griped a man one day a little too hard, I ordered him to be shot, for fear of incurring the guilt of what might happen ; upon this a friend who was then at dinner with me, begged him : how he came here I know not.”
‘Here sir George Davis ended, and thereupon the duke of Tuscany assured him, that he had the lion from that very friend of his. I am, sir, your most obedient servant, and constant reader, &c."
Having in my paper of the twenty-first of July, showed my dislike of the ridiculous custom of garnishing a new-married couple, and setting a gloss upon their persons, which is to last no longer than the honey-moon ; I think it may be much for the emolument of my disciples of both sexes, to make then sensible in the next place, of the folly of launching out into extravagant expenses, and a more magnificent way of living immediately upon marriage. If the bride and bridegroom happen to be persons of any rank, they come into all public places, and go upon all visits with so gay an equipage, and so glittering an appearance, as if they were making so many public entries. But to judicious minds, and to men of experience in this life, the gilt chariot, the coach and six, the gaudy liveries, the supernumerary train of ser. vants, the great house, the sumptuous table, the services of plate, the embroidered clothes, the rich brocades, and the profusion of jewels, that upon this occasion break out at once, are so many symptoms of madness in the happy pair, and prognostications of their future misery. I remember a country neighbour of my lady Lizard's, squire Wiseacre by maine, who enjoyed a very clear estate of five hundred pounds per annum, and by living frugally upon it was be. forehand in the world. This gentleman unfortunately fell in love with Mrs. Fanny Flippant, the then reigning toast in those parts. In a word, he married her, and to give a lasting proof of his affection, consented to make both her and himself miserable by setting out in the high mode of wedlock. He, in less than the space of five years, was reduced to starve in prison for debt; and his lady, with a son and three daughters, became a burden to the parish. The conduct of Frank Foresight was the very reverse to squire Wiseacre's. He had lived a bachelor some years about this town, in the best of companies; kept a chariot and four footmen, besides six saddle-horses; he did not exceed, but went to the utmost stretch of his income; but when he married the beautiful Clarinda, (who brought him a plentiful fortune) he dis. missed two of his footmen, four of the saddlehorses, and his chariot; and kept only a chair for the use of his lady. Embroidered clothes and laced linen were quite laid aside; he was married in a plain drugget, and from that time forward, in all the accommodations of life, never coveted anything beyond cleanliness and conveniency. When any of his acquaintance asked him the reason of this sudden change, he would answer, “In single life I could easily compute my wants, and provide against them ; but the condition of life I am now engaged in, is attended with a thousand unforeseen casualties, as well as a great many distant, but unavoidable expenses. The happiness or misery, in this world, of a future progeny, will probably depend upon my good or ill husbandry. I shall never think I have discharged my duty until I have laid up a provision for three or four children at least.” “But, pr’ythee, Frank,’ says a pert coxcomb that stood by, “why shouldst thou reckon thy chickens before’ upon which he cut him short, and replied, ‘It is no matter; a brave man can never want heirs, while there is one man of worth living.” This precautious way of reasoning and acting has proved to Mr. Foresight and his lady an uninterrupted source of felicity. Wedlock sits light and easy upon them ; and they are at present happy in two sons and a daughter, who a great many years hence will feel the good effects of their parents' prudence. My memory fails me in recollecting where I have read, that in some parts of Holland it is provided by law, that every man, before he marries, shall be obliged to plant a certain number of trees, proportionable to his circumstances, as a pledge to the government for the mainte
nance of his children. Every honest as well as every prudent man should do something equivalent to this, by retrenching all superfluous and idle expenses, instead of following the extravagant practice of persons, who sacrifice everything to their present vanity, and never are a day beforehand in thought. I know not what delight splendid nuptials may afford to the generality of the great world: I could never be present at any of them without a heavy heart. It is with pain I refrain from tears, when I see the bride thoughtlessly jigging it about the room, dishonoured with jewels, and dazzling the eyes of the whole assembly at the expense of her children’s future subsistence. How singular, in the age we live in, is the moderate behaviour of young Sophia, and how amiable does she appear in the eyes of wise men : Her lover, a little before marriage, acquainted her,
that he intended to lay out a thousand pounds
for a present in jewels; but before he did it, desired to know what sort would be most acceptable to her. “Sir, replied Sophia, ‘I thank you for your kind and generous intentions, and only beg they may be executed in another manner; be pleased only to give me the money, and I will try to lay it out to a better advantage. I am not,’ continues she, “at all fond of those expensive trifles; neither do I think the wearing of diamonds can be any addition, nor the absence of them any diminution, to my happiness. I should be ashamed to appear in public for a few days in a dress which does not become me at all times. Besides, I see by that modest plain garb of yours, that you are not yourself affected with the gayety of apparel. When I an your wife, my only care will be to keep my person clean and neat for you, and not to make it fine for others.' The gentleman, transported with this excellent turn of mind in his mistress, presented her with the money in new gold. She purchased an annuity with it; out of the income of which, at every revolution of her weddingday, she makes her husband some pretty present, as a token of her gratitude, and a fresh pledge of her love; part of it she yearly distributes among her indigent and best deserving neighbours; and the small remainder she lays out in something useful for herself, or the children.
THERE is a kind of apophthegm, which I have frequently met with in my reading, to this purpose: ‘That there are few, if any books, out of which a man of learning may not extract something for his use.' I have often experienced the truth of this maxim, when calling in at my bookseller's, I have taken the book next to my hand off the counter, to employ the minutes I have been obliged to linger away there, in waiting for one friend or other. Yesterday when I came there, the Turkish tales happened to lie in my way: upon opening of that amusing author, I happened to dip upon a short tale, which gave me a great many serious reflections. The very same fable may fall into the hands of a great many men of wit and pleasure, who, it is probable, will read it with their usual levity; but since it may as probably divert and instruct a great many persons of plain and virtuous minds, I shall make no scruple of making it the entertainment of this day’s paper. The moral to be drawn from it is entirely Christian, and is so very obvious, that I shall leave to every reader the pleasure of picking it out for himself. I shall only premise, to obviate any offence that may be taken, that a great many notions in the Mahometan religion are borrowed from the holy scriptures.
The History of Santon Barsisa.
There was formerly a santon whose name was Barsisa, which, for the space of a hundred years, very servently applied himself to prayers; and scarce ever went out of the grotto in which he made his residence, for fear of exposing himself to the danger of offending God. He fasted in the day-time, and watched in the night. All the inhabitants of the country had such a great veneration for him, and so highly valued his prayers, that they commonly applied to him when they had any favour to beg of Heaven. When he made vows for the health of a sick person, the patient was immediately cured. It happened that the daughter of the king of that country fell into a dangerous distenper, the cause of which the physicians could not dis. cover, yet they continued prescribing remedies by guess; but instead of helping the princess, they only augmented her disease. In the mean time the king was inconsolable, for he passion. ately loved his daughter; wherefore, one day, finding all human assistance vain, he declared it as his opinion that the princess ought to be sent to the santon Barsisa. All the beys applauded his sentiment, and the king's olicers conducted her to the santon, who, notwithstanding his frozen age, could not see such a beauty without being sensibly moved. He gazed on her with pleasure; and the devil taking this opportunity, whispered in his ear thus: ‘O santon don't let slip such a fortunate minute: tell the king's servants that it is requisite for the princess to pass this night in the grotto, to see whether it will please God to cure her; that you will put up a prayer for her, and that they need only coine to fetch her to-morrow." How weak is man the santon followed the devil's advice, and did what he suggested to him. But the officers, before they would yield to leave the princess, sent one of their number to know the king's pleasure. That monarch, who had an entire confidence in Barsisa, never in the least scrupled the trusting of his daughter with him, ‘ I consent,” said he, “that she stay with that holy man, and that he keep her as long as he pleases: I am wholly satisfied on that head." When the officers had received the king's answer, they all retired, and the princess remained alone with the hermit. Night being come, the
devil presented himself to the santon, saying, ‘Canst thou let slip so favourable an opportunity with so charming a creature ? Fear not her telling of the violence you offer her; if she were even so indiscreet as to reveal it, who will believe her The court, the city, and all the world, are too much prepossessed in your favour to give any credit to such a report. You may do any thing unpunished, when armed by the great reputation for wisdom which you have acquired.’ The unfortunate Barsisa was so weak as to hearken to the enemy of mankind. He approached the princess, took her into his arms, and in a moment cancelled a virtue of a hundred years duration. He had no sooner perpetrated his crime, than a thousand avenging horrors haunted him night and day. He thus accosts the devil: ‘Oh, wretch,' says he, “it is thou which hast destroyed me! Thou hast encompassed me for a whole age, and endeavoured to seduce me; and now at last thou hast gained thy end.' 'Oh, santon" answered the devil, ‘do not reproach me with the pleasure thou hast enjoyed. Thou may st repent; but what is unhappy for thee is, that the princess is impregnated, and thy sin will become public. Thou wilt become the laughingstock of those who admire and reverence thee at present, and the king will put thee to an ignominious death.’ Barsisa, terrified by this discourse, says to the devil, ‘What shall I do to prevent the publication of my shame?’ ‘To hinder the know. ledge of your crime, you ought to commit a fresh one,' answered the devil. ‘Kill the prin. cess, bury her at the corner of the grotto, and when the king's messengers coine to-morrow, tell them you have cured her, and that she went from the grotto very early in the morning. They will believe you, and search for her all over the city and country; and the king her father will be in great pain for her, but after several vain searches it will wear off.” The hermit, abandoned by God, pursuant to this advice, killed the princess, buried her in a corner of the grotto, and the next day told the officers what the devil bid him say. They made diligent inquiry for the king's daughter, but not being able to hear of her, they despaired of finding her, when the devil told them that all their search for the princess was vain; and relating what had passed betwixt her and the santon, he told them the place where she was interred.— The officers immediately went to the grotto, seized Barsisa, and found the princess's body in the place to which the devil had directed thern; whereupon they took up the corpse, and carried that and the santon to the palace. When the king saw his daughter dead, and was informed of the whole event, he broke out into tears and bitter lamentations; and assenbling the doctors, he laid the santon's crime before them, and asked their advice how he should be punished. All the doctors condemned him to death, upon which the king ordered him to be hanged. Accordingly, a gibbet was erected: the herinit went up the ladder, and when he was going to be turned off, the devil whispered in his ear these words: “O, santon' if you will worship me, I will extricate you out of this dif.
ficulty, and transport you two thousand leagues |
No. 149.) Tuesday, September 1, 1713.
Uratur vestis amore tuæ. Ovid. Your very dress shall captivate his heart.
I have in a former precaution, endeavoured to show the mechanism of an epic poem, and given the reader prescriptions whereby he may, without the scarce ingredient of a genius, cowlpose the several parts of that great work. I shall now treat of an affair of more general importance, and make dress the subject of the fol. lowing paper. Dress is grown of universal use in the conduct of life. Civilities and respect are only paid to appearance. It is a varnish that gives a lustre to every action, a passe par tout that introduces us into all polite assemblies, and the only certain method of making most of the youth of our nation conspicuous. There was formerly an absurd notion among the men of letters, that to establish themselves in the character of wits, it was absolutely necessary to show a contempt of dress. This injudicious affectation of theirs flattened all their conversation, took off the force of every expres. sion, and incapacitated a female audience from giving attention to any thing they said. While the man of dress catches their eyes as well as ears, and at every ludicrous turn obtains a laugh of applause by way of compliment. I shall lay down as an established maxim, which hath been received in all ages, that no person can dress without a genius. A genius is never to be acquired by art, but is the gift of nature; it may be discovered even in infancy. Little master will smile when you shake his plume of feathers before him, and thrust its little knuckles in papa's full-bottom; miss will toy with her mother's Mechlin lace, and gaze on the gaudy colours of a fan; she smacks her lips for a kiss at the appearance of a gentleman in embroidery, and is frighted at the indecency of the house-maid's blue-apron: as she grows up, the dress of her baby begins to be her care, and you will see a genteel fancy open itself in the ornaments of the little machine. We have a kind of sketch of dress, if I may so call it, among us, which, as the invention was foreign, is called a dishabille: every thing is thrown on with a loose and careless air; yet a genius discovers itself even through this neg. ligence of dress, just as you may see the mas. terly hand of a painter in three or four swift strokes of the pencil.
The most fruitful in geniuses is the French nation; we owe most of our jaunty fashions now in vogue, to some adept beau among them. Their ladies exert the whole scope of their fancies upon every new petticoat; every head-dress undergoes a change; and not a lady of genius will appear in the same shape two days together; so that we may impute the scarcity of geniuses in our climate to the stagnation of fashions. The ladies among us have a superior genius to the men; which have for some years past shot out in several exorbitant inventions for the greater coysumption of our manufacture. While the men have contented themselves with the retrenchment of the hat, or the various scallop of the pocket, the ladies have sunk the head-dress, inclosed themselves in the circumference of the hoop-petticoat; surbelows and flounces have been disposed of at will, the stays have been lowered behind, for the better displaying the beauties of the neck; not to mention the various rolling of the sleeve, and those other nice circumstances of dress upon which every lady employs her fancy at pleasure. The sciences of poetry and dress have so near an alliance to ench other, that the rules of the one, with very little variation, may serve for the other. As in a poem, all the several parts of it must have a harmony with the whole; so to keep to the propriety of dress, the coat, waistcoat, and breeches, must be of the same piece. As Aristotle obliges all dramatic writers to a strict observance of time, place, and action, in order to compose a just work of this kind of poetry; so it is absolutely necessary for a person that applies himself to the study of dress, to have a strict regard to these three particulars. To begin with the time. What is more absurd than the velvet gown in summer ? and what is more agreeable in the winter’ The muff and fur are preposterous in June, which are charmingly supplied by the Turkey handkerchief and the san. Lvery thing must be suitable to the season, and there can be no propriety in dress without a strict regard to time. You must have no less respect to place. What gives a lady a more easy air than the wrapping grown in the morning at the tea-table . The Bath countenances the men of dress in showing themselves at the pump in their Indian nightgowns, without the least indecorum. Action is what gives the spirit both to writing and dress. Nothing appears graceful without action; the head, the arms, the legs, must all conspire to give a habit a genteel air. What distinguishes the air of the court from that of the country but action? A lady, by the careless toss of her head, will show a set of ribands to advantage; by a pinch of snuff judiciously taken will display the glittering ornament of her little finger; by the new modelling her tucker, at one view present you with a fine turned hand, and a rising bosom. In order to be a proficient in action, I cannot sufficiently recommend the science of dancing: this will give the feet an easy gait, and the arms a gracefulness of notion. If a person have not a strict regard to these three above-mentioned rules of antiquity, the richest
dress will appear stiff and affected, and the most gay habit fantastical and tawdry. As different sorts of poetry require a different style: the elegy, tender and mournful; the ode, gay and sprightly; the epic, sublime, &c, so must the widow confess her grief in the veil; the bride frequently makes her joy and exultation conspicuous in the silver brocade; and the plume and the scarlet dye is requisite to give the soldier a martial air. There is another kind of occasional dress in use among the ladies; I mean the riding-habit, which some have not injudiciously styled the hermaphroditical, by reason of its masculine and feminine composition; but I shall rather choose to call it the "Pindaric, as its first institution was at a Newmarket horse-race, and as it is a mixture of the sublimity of the epic with the easy softness of the ode. There sometimes arises a great genius in dress, who cannot content himself with merely copying from others, but will, as he sees occasion, strike out into the long pocket, slashed sleeve, or something particular in the disposition of his lace, or the flourish of his embroide. ry. Such a person, like the masters of other sciences, will show that he hath a manner of his own. On the contrary, there are some pretenders to dress who shine out but by halves; whether it be for want of genius or money. A dancing. master of the lowest rank seldom fails of the scarlet stocking and the red heel; and shows a particular respect to the leg and soot, to which he owes his subsistence; when at the same time perhaps all the superior ornament of his body is neglected. We may say of these sort of dress. ers what Horace says of his patch-work poets:
“Purpureus late qui splendeat u ans et alter Assuitur pannus' Ars Poet. ver, 15.
— A few florid lines Shine thro' th' insipid dulness of the rest." Roscommon.
Others who lay the stress of beauty in their face, exert all their extrovarance in the peri. wig, which is a kind of index of the mind; the full-bottom, formally combed all before, denotes the lawyer and the politician; the smart tie-wig with a black riband, shows a man of fierceness of temper; and he that burdens himself with a superfluity of white hair which flows down the back, and mantles in waving curls over the shoulders, is generally observed to be less curi. ous in the furniture of the inward recesses of the scull, and lays himsel’onen to the application of that censure which Milton applies to the fair sex, * of outward form Elaborate, of inward, less exact.”
A lady of genius will give a genteel air to her whole dress by a well-fancied suit of knots, as a judicious writer gives a spirit to a whole sentence by a single expression. As words grow old, and new ones enrich the language, so there is a constant succession of dress; the fringe succeeds the lace, the stays shorten or extend the waist, the riband undergoes divers variations, the head-dress receives frequent rises and , falls every year; and in short, the whole woulan
throughout, as curious observers of dress have remarked, is changed from top to toe, in the pe. riod of five years. A poet will now and then, to serve his purpose, coin a word, so will a lady of genius venture at an innovation in the fashion; but as Isorace advises, that all new-minted words should have a Greek derivation to give them an indisputable authority, so I would counsel all our improvers of fashion always to take the hint from France, which may as properly be called the “sountain of dress,' as Greece was of literature. Dress may bear a parallel to poetry with respect to moving the passions. The greatest motive to love, as daily experience shows us, is dress. I have known a lady at sight fly to a red feather, and readily give her hand to a fringed pair of gloves. At another time I have seen the awkward appearance of her rural hum. ble servant move her indignation; she is jealous every time her rival hath a new suit; and in a rage when her woman pins her mantua to disadvantage. Unhappy, unguarded woman alas! what moving rhetoric has she often found in the seducing full-bottom who can tell the resistless eloquence of the embroidered coat, the gold snuff-box, and the amber-headed cane : I shall conclude these criticisms with some general remarks upon the milliner, the mantuamaker, and the lady's woman, these being the three chief on which all the circumstances of dress depend. The milliner must be thoroughly versed in physiognomy; in the choice of ribands she must have a particular regard to the complexion, and must ever be mindful to cut the head-dress to the dimensions of the face. When she meets with a countenance of large diameter, she must draw the dress forward to the face, and let the lace encroach a little upon the cheek, which casts an agreeable shade, and takes off from its masculine figure; the little oval face requires the diminutive commode, just on the tip of the crown of the head: she must have a regard to the several ages of women: the head-dress must give the mother a more sedate mien than the virgin; and age must not be made ridiculous with the flaunting airs of youth. There is a beauty that is peculiar to the several stages of life, and as much propriety must be observed in the drcss of the old, as the young. The mantua-maker must be an expert anatomist; and must, is judiciously chosen, have a name of French termination; she must know how to hide all the defects in the proportions of the body, and inust be able to mould the shape by the stays, so as to preserve the intestines, that while sile corrects the body, she may not interiore with the pleasures of the palate. The lady's woman must have all the qualities of a critic in poetry; as her dress, like the critic's learning, is at second-hand, she must, like him, have a ready talent at censure, and her tongue must be deeply versed in detraction; she imust be sure to asperse the characters of the ladies of most eminent virtue and beauty, to indulge her lady's spleen; and as it hath been remarked, that critics are the most fawning sycophants to their patrons, so must our female eritic be a thorough proficient in lattery : she must