« ZurückWeiter »
to market at his leisure. I do not know any thing that has pleased me so much a great while, as this conquest of my friend Daphne's. All her acquaintance congralulate her upon her chance-medley, and laugh at that premeditating murderer her sister. As it is an argument of a light mind, to think the worse of ourselves for the imperfections of our persons, it is equally below us to value ourselves upon the advantages of them. The female world seem to be almost incorrigibly gone astray in this particular; for which reason, I shall recommend the following extract out of a friend's letter to the professed beanties, who are a people almost as insufferable as the professed wits.
MONSIEUR ST.EVREMOND has concluded • one of his essays with affirming, that the last sighs of ( a handsome woman are not so much for the loss of • her life as of her beauty. Perhaps this raillery is
pursued too far, yet it is turned upon a very obvious ( remark, that woman's strongest passion is for her ! own beauty, and that she values it as her favourite + distinction. From hence it is that all arts, which • pretend to improve or preserve it, meet with so ge• neral a reception among the sex. To say nothing • of many false helps, and contraband wares of beau• ty, which are daily vended in this great mart, there • is not a maiden gentlewoman of a good family in 6 any county of South-Britain, who has not heard of • the virtues of May-dew, or is unfurnished with some 6 receipt or other in favour of her complexion ; and I
have known a physician of learning and sense, after o eight years study in the university, and a course of
travels into most countries in Europe, owe the first rising of his fortunes to a cosmetic wash.
• This has given me occasion to consider how so• universal a disposition in womankind, which springs
from a laudable motive, the desire of pleasing, and
I proceeds upon an opinion, not altogether groundless,
that nature may be helped by art, may be turned to ' their advantage. And, methinks, it would be an " acceptable service to take thein out of the hands of "quacks and pretenders, and to prevent their impose
ing upon themselves, by discovering to them the ( true secret and art of improving beauty.
« In order to this, before I touch upon it directly, it will be necessary to lay down a few preliminary ( maxims, viz.
• That no woman can be handsome by the force of 6 features alone, any more than she can be witty only 6 by the help of speech.
I That pride destroys all symmetry and grace, and 'affectation is a more terrible enemy to fine faces than the small-pox.
That no woman is capable of being beautiful, who ! is not incapable of being false.
And, that what would be odious in a friend, is de<formity in a mistress.
From these few principles, thus laid down, it will be easy to prove, that the irue art of assisting beauty
consists in embellishing the whole person by the • proper ornaments of virtuous and commendable " qualities. By this help alone it is, that those who " are the favourite work of nature, or, as Mr. Dryden e expresses it, the “ Porcelain clay of human kind," (become animated, and are in a capacity of exerting
their charms; and those who seem to hare been
neglected by her, like models wrought in haste, are ( capable in a great measure of finishing what she I has left imperfect.
" It is, methinks, a low and degrading idea of
that sex, which was created to refine the joys, and i softer the cares of humanity, by the most agreeable i pariicipation, to consider them merely as objects of
sight. This is abridging them at their natural ex
e tent of power, to put them on a level with their pic5 tures at Kneller's. How much nobler is the con• templation of beauty heightened by virtue, and com( manding our esteem and love, while it draws our ( observation? How vain and spiritless are the charms 6 of a coquette, when compared with the real loveli* ness of Sophronia's innocence, piety, good humour • and truth; virtues which add a new softness to her ! sex, and even beautify her beauty! That agree' ableness which must otherwise have appeared ( no longer in the modest virgin, is now preser6 ved in the tender mother, the prudent friend, and (the faithful wife. Colours artfully spread upon canvas may entertain the eye, but not affect the heart;
and she who takes no care to add to the natural " graces of her person any excelling qualities, may * be allowed still to amuse, as a picture, but not to I triumph as a beauty.
"When Adam is introduced by Milton, describing • Eve in paradise, and relating to the angel the + im pressions he felt upon seeing her at her first + creation, he does not represent her like a Grecian « Venus, by her shape or features, but by the lustre o of her mind which shone in them, and gave them " the power of charming.
• Grace was in all her steps, Heav’n in her eye,
" Without this irradiating power the proudest fair6 one ought to know, whatever her glass may tell her ' to the contrary, that her most perfect features are tuninformed and dead.
"I cannot better close this moral, than by a short
epitaph written by Ben Jonson, with a spirit which • nothing could inspire but such an object as I have. been describing;
From spotted skins the leopard does refrain. TATE. THE club of which I am a member, is very luckily composed of such persons as are engaged in different ways of life, and deputed as it were out of the most conspicuous classes of mankind; by this means
I am furnished with the greatest variety of hints and materials, and know every thing that passes in the different quarters and divisions, not only of this great city, but of the whole kingdom. My readers too have the satisfaction to find that there is no rank or degree among them who have not their representative in this club, and that there is always somebody present who will take care of their respective interests, that nothing may be written or published to the prejudice or infringement of their just rights and privileges.
I last night sat very late in company with this select body of friends, who entertained me with several
remarks which they and others had made upon these my speculations, as also with the various success which they had met with among their several ranks and degrees of readers. Will Honeycomb told me, in the softest manner he could, that there were some ladies (but for your comfort, says Will, they are not those of the most wit) that were offended at the liberties I had taken with the opera and the puppet-show; that some of them were likewise very much surprised, that I should think such serious points as the dress and equipage of persons of quality, proper subjects for raillery.
He was going on, when Sir Andrew Freeport took him up short, and told him, that the papers he hinted at had done great good in the city, and that all their wives and daughters were the better for them; and farther added, that the whole city thought theniselves very much obliged to me for declaring my generous intention to scourge vice and folly as they appear in a multitude, without condescending to be a publisher of particular intrigues and cuckoldoms. In short, says Sir Andrew, if you avoid that foolisli beaten road of falling upon aldermen and citizens, and employ your pen upon the vanity and luxury of courts, your paper must needs be of general use.
Upon this my friend the Templar told Sir Andrew, that he wondered to hear a man of his sense talk after that manner; that the city had always been the province for satire ; and that the wits of king Charles's time jested upon nothing else during his whole reign. He then shewed, by the examples of Horace, Juvenal, Boilean, and the best writers of every age, that the follies of the state and court had never been accounted too sacred for ridicule, how great soever the persons might be that patronized them. But after all, says he, I think your raillery has made too great an excursion, in attacking several persons of the Inns of Court;