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ful purpose of life, what I would propose Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death, should be, that we imitated those wise na
Have burst their cearinents? Why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd. tions wherein every man learns some handi- Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws, craft-work.-Would it not employ a beau, To casi thee up again? What may this mean? prettily enough, if, instead of eternally
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon, playing with a snuff-box, he spent some Making night hideous ? part of his time in making one? Such a method as this would very much conduce I do not therefore find fault with the artito the public emolument, by making every fices above mentioned, when they are inman living good for something; for there troduced with skill, and accompanied by would then be no one member of human proportionable sentiment and expressions society, but would have some little pre- in the writing. tension for some degree in it; like him For the moving of pity, our principle mawho came to Will's coffee-house, upon the chine is the handkerchief: and indeed in merit of having writ a posy of a ring. R. our common tragedies, we should not know
very often that the persons are in distress
by any thing they say, if they did not from No.44.] Friday, April 20, 1711.
time to time apply their handkerchiefs to
their eyes. Far be it from me to think of Tu quid ego, et populus mecum desideret, audi.
banishing this instrument of sorrow from
Hor. Ars Poet. ver. 153. the stage; I know a tragedy could not subNow hear what every auditor expects.
sist without it: all that I would contend for,
is to keep it from being misapplied. In a AMONG the several artifices which are word, I would have the actor's tongue symput in practice by the poets to fill the minds pathize with his eyes. of an audience with terror, the first place A disconsolate mother, with a child in is due to thunder and lightning, which her hand, has frequently drawn compassion are often made use of at the descending from the audience, and has therefore gained of a god, or the rising of a shost, at the a place in several tragedies. A modern vanishing of a devil, or at the death of a writer, that observed how this had took
in tyrant. I have known a bell introduced other plays, being resolved to double the into several tragedies with good effect; and distress, and melt his audience twice as have seen the whole assembly in a very much as those before him had done, great alarm all the while it has been ring- brought a princess upon the stage with a ing. But there is nothing which delights little boy in one hand, and a girl in the and terrifies our English theatre so much other. This too had a very good effect. A as a ghost, especially when he appears in third poet being resolved to outwrite all his a bloody shirt. A spectre has very often predecessors, a few years ago introduced saved a play, though he has done nothing three children with great success: and, as I but stalked across the stage, or rose through am informed, a young gentleman, who is a cleft of it, and sunk again without speak- fully determined to break the most obduing one word. There may be a proper rate hearts, has a tragedy by him, where the season for these several terrors; and when first person that appears upon the stage is they only come in as aids and assistances an afflicted widow in her mourning weeds, to the poet, they are not only to be excused, with half a dozen fatherless children atbut to be applauded. Thus the sounding tending her, like those that usually hang of the clock in Venice Preserved, makes about the figure of Charity. Thus severa) the hearts of the whole audience quake; incidents that are beautiful in a good writer, and conveys a stronger terror to the mind become ridiculous by falling into the hands than it is possible for words to do. The ap- of a bad one. pearance of the ghost in Hamlet is a mas- But among all our methods of moving ter-piece in its kind, and wrought up with pity or terror, there is none so absurd and all the circumstances that can create either barbarous, and what more exposes us to attention or horror. The mind of the rea- the contempt and ridicule of our neighder is wonderfully prepared for his recep-bours, than that dreadful butchering of one tion by the discourses that precede it. His another, which is very frequent upon the dumb' behaviour at his first entrance, English stage. To delight in seeing men strikes the imagination very strongly; but stabbed, poisoned, racked, or impaled, is every time he enters, he is still more ter certainly the sign of a cruel temper: and as rifying. Who can read the speech with this is often practised before the British which young Hamlet accosts hím, without audience, several French critics, who think trembling.
these are grateful spectacles to us, take • Hor. Look, my lord, it comes !
occasion from them to represent us a peo• Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us ! ple that delight in blood. It is indeed very Be thog a spirit of health, or goblin damnd; Bring with thee airs from heav'n, or blasts from hell;
odd to see our stage strewed with carcases Be thy intents wicked or charitable;
in the last scenes of a tragedy; and to obThou com'st in such a questionable shape
serve in the wardrobe of the playhouse seThat I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet, King, Father, Royal Dane.-Oh! answer me.
veral daggers, poniards, wheels, bowls for Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
poison, and many other instruments of
Ars Poet. ver. 185.
death. Murders and executions are always before he would despatch him, and by ortransacted behind the scenes in the French dering him to retire into that part of the theatre; which in general is very agree- palace where he had slain his father, able to the manners of a polite and civilized whose murder he would revenge in the people: but as there are no exceptions to very same place where it was committed. this rule on the French stage, it leads them By this means the poet observes that deinto absurdities almost as ridiculous as that cency, which Horace afterwards establishwhich falls under our present censure. Ied by a rule, of forbearing to commit parremember in the famous play of Corneille, ricides or unnatural murders before the written upon the subject of the Horatii audience. and Curiatii; the fierce young hero who
* Nec pueros coram populo Medea trucidet.' had overcome the Curiatii one after another, (instead of being congratulated by his • Let not Medea draw her murd'ring knife, sister for his victory, being upbraided by And spill her children's blood upon the stage.' her for having slain her lover) in the height of his passion and resentment kills her. If
The French have, therefore, refined too any thing could extenuate so brutal an ac- much upon Horace's rule, who never detion, it would be the doing of it on a sudden, signed to banish all kinds of death from the before the sentiments of nature, reason, or stage: but only such as had too much hormanhood could take place in him. How- ror in them, and which would have a better ever, to avoid public bloodshed, as soon as effect upon the audience when transacted his passion is wrought to its height, he behind the scenes. I would therefore refollows his sister to the whole length of the commend to my countrymen the practice of stage, and forbears killing her till they are the ancient poets, who were very sparing of both withdrawn behind the scenes. I must their public executions, and rather chose to confess, had he murdered her before the perform them behind the scenes, if it could audience, the indecency might have been be done with as great an effect upon the augreater; but as it is, it appears very unna- dience. At the same time I must observe, tural, and looks like killing in cold blood. that though the devoted persons of the To give my opinion upon this case, the fact tragedy were seldom slain before the auought not to have been represented, but to dience, which has generally something ridihave been told, if there was any occasion culous in it, their bodies were often pro for it.
duced after their death, which has always It may not be unacceptable to the reader in it something melancholy or terrifying; to see how Sophocles has conducted a tra- so that the killing on the stage does not gedy under the like delicate circumstances. seem to have been avoided only as an indeOrestes was in the same condition with cency, but also as an improbability. Hamlet in Shakspeare, his mother having *Nec pueros coram populo Medea trucidet ; murdered his father, and taken possession
Aut humana palam coquat exta nefarius Atreus ;
Ant in avem Progne vertatur, Cadmus in anguem, of his kingdom in conspiracy with her adul
Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic, incredulis odi. terer. That young prince, therefore, being determined to revenge his father's death
• Medea must not draw her murd'ring knife, upon those who filled his throne, conveys Nor Atreus there his horrid feast prepare : himself by a beautiful stratagem into his
Cadmus and Progne's metamorphoses, mother's apartment, with a resolution to kill
(She to a swallow turn'd, he to a snake ;)
And whatsoever contradicts my sense, her. But because such a spectacle would I hate to see, and never can believe.'— Roscommon. have been too shocking to the audience, this dreadful resolution is executed behind the
I have now gone through the several scenes: the mother is heard calling out to of by the ignorant poets to supply the place
dramatic inventions which are made use her son for mercy; and the son answering of tragedy, and by the skilful to improve ther; after which she shrieks out she is it; some of which I could wish entirely rewounded, and by what follows we find that jected, and the rest to be used with caushe is slain. I do not remember that in tion. It would be an endless task to conany of our plays there are speeches made sider comedy, in the same light, and to behind the scenes
, though there are other mention the innumerable shifts that small instances of this nature to be met with in lock in a short coat, and Norris in a long
wits put in practice to raise a laugh. Bulthose of the ancients: and I believe my one, seldom
fail of this effect. In ordinary reader will agree with me, that there is something infinitely more affecting in this comedies, a broad and a narrow brimmed dreadful dialogue between the mother and the wit of the scene lies in a shoulder belt,
hat are different characters. Sometimes her son behind the scenes, than could have and sometimes
in a pair of whiskers A been in any thing transacted before the audience. Orestes immediately after meets
lover running about the stage, with his the usurper at the entrance of his pa
head peeping out of a barrel, * was thought lace; and by a very happy thought of a very good jest in King Charles the Sethe poet avoids killing him before the au
cond's time; and invented by one of the dience, by telling him that he should live some time in his present bitterness of soul Tub, by Sir George Etheridge.
* The comedy of The Comical Revenge, or Love in a
Hor. Are Podt.
first wits of that age. But because ridicule which looks immodest in the fair sex, that is not so delicate as compassion, and be- I could not forbear taking off my eye from cause the objects that make us laugh are her when she moved in bed, and was in the infinitely more numerous than those that greatest confusion imaginable every time make us weep, there is a much greater she stirred a leg, or an arm.
As the colatitude for comic than tragic artifices, quettes who introduced this custom grew and by consequence a much greater indul- old, they left it off by degrees; well knowgence to be allowed them.
C. ing that a woman of threescore may kick
and tumble her heart out, without making
any impression. No. 45.] Saturday, April 21, 1711. Sempronia is at present the most profess
ed admirer of the French nation, but is so Natio comoda est
Jud. Sat. iii. 100.
modest as to admit her visitants no further The nation is a company of players.
than her toilet. It is a very odd sight that THERE is nothing which I desire more beautiful creature makes, when she is talkthan a safe and honourable peace, though ing politics, with her tresses flowing about at the same time I am very apprehensive her shoulders, and examining that face in of many ill consequences that may attend the glass, which does such execution upon it. I do not mean in regard to our politics, all the male standers-by. How prettily but to our manners. What an inundation does she divide her discourse between her of ribands and brocades will break in upon women and her visitants! What sprightly us? What peals of laughter and imperti- transitions does she make from an opera or nence shall we be exposed to ? For the a sermon, to an ivory comb or a pin-cushprevention of those great evils, I could ion! How have I been pleased to see her heartily wish that there was an act of par- interrupted in an account of her travels, by liament for prohibiting the importation of a message to her footman; and holding her French fopperies.
tongue in the midst of a moral reflection, by The female inhabitants of our island have applying the tip of it to a patch. already received very strong impressions There is nothing which exposes a woman from this ludicrous nation, though by the to greater dangers, than that gayety and length of the war (as there is no evil which airiness of temper, which are natural to has not some good attending it) they are most of the sex. It should be therefore pretty well worn out and forgotten. I re- the concern of every wise and virtuous member the time when some of our well- woman to keep this sprightliness from debred country-women kept their valet de generating into levity. On the contrary, chambre; because, forsooth, a man was the whole discourse and behaviour of the much more handy about them than one of French is to make the sex more fantastical, their own sex. I myself have seen one of or (as they are pleased to term it) more these male Abigails tripping about the awakened, than is consistent either with room with a looking-glass in his hand, and virtue or discretion. To speak loud in pubcombing his lady's hair a whole morning lic assemblies, to let every one hear you together. Whether or no there was any talk of things that should only be mentioned truth in the story of a lady's being got with in private, or in whisper, are looked upon child by one of these her hand-maids, I as parts of a refined education. At the cannot tell; but I think at present the whole same time, a blush is unfashionable, and race of them is extinct in our own country. silence more ill-bred than any thing that
About the time that several of our sex can be spoken. In short, discretion and were taken into this kind of service, the modesty, which in all other ages and counladies likewise brought up the fashion of tries have been regarded as the greatest receiving visits in their beds. It was then ornaments of the fair sex, are considered looked upon as a piece of ill-breeding for a as the ingredients of narrow conversation, woman to refuse to see a man because she and family behaviour. was not stirring; and a porter would have Some years ago I was at the tragedy of been thought unfit for his place, that could Macbeth, and unfortunately placed myself have made so awkward an excuse. As I under a woman of quality that is since dead; love to see every thing that is new, I once who as I found by the noise she made was prevailed upon my friend Will Honey- newly returned from France. A little becomb to carry me along with him to one of fore the rising of the curtain, she broke out these travelled ladies, desiring him at the into a loud soliloquy, “When will the dear same time to present me as a foreigner witches enter?' and immediately upon their who could not speak English, that so I first appearance, asked a lady that sat three might not be obliged to bear a part in the boxes from her on her right hand, if those discourse. The lady, though willing to ap-witches were not charming creatures. A pear undrest, had put on her best looks, little after, as Betterton was in one of the and painted herself for our reception. Her finest speeches of the play, she shook her hair appeared in a very nice disorder, as fan at another lady, who sat as far on her the night-gown which was thrown upon her left hand, and told 'her with a whisper that shoulders was ruffled with great care. For might be heard all over the pit, We must my part, I am so shocked with every thing I not expect to see Balloon to-night.' Not
long after, calling out to a young baronet | confusion, raving and inconsistency. In by his name, who sat three seats before short, they are my speculations in the me, she asked him whether Macbeth's wife first principles, that (like the world in its was still alive; and before he could give an chaos) are void of all light, distinction, and answer, fell a talking of the ghost of Ban- order. quo. She had by this time formed a little About a week since there happened to audience to herself, and fixed the attention me a very odd accident, by reason of one of of all about her. But as I had a mind to these my papers of minutes which I had achear the play, I got out of the sphere of her cidentally dropped at Lloyd's coffee-house, impertinence, and planted myself in one of where the auctions are usually kept. Before the remotest corners of the pit.
I missed it, there were a cluster of people This pretty childishness of behaviour is who had found it, and were diverting themone of the most refined parts of coquetry, selves with it at one end of the coffee-house. and is not to be attained in perfection by It had raised so much laughter among them ladies that do not travel for their improve before I had observed what they were ment. A natural and unconstrained beha- about, that I had not the courage to own viour has something in it so agreeable, that it. The boy of the coffee-house, when they it is no wonder to see people endeavouring had done with it, carried it about in his after it. But at the same time it is so very hand, asking every body if they had drophard to hit, when it is not born with us, ped a written paper; but nobody chalthat people often make themselves ridicu- lenging it, he was ordered by those merry lous in attempting it.
gentlemen who had perused it, to get up A very ingenious French author tells us, into the auction pulpit, and read it to the that the ladies of the court of France, in his whole room, that if any one would own it, time, thought it ill-breeding, and a kind of they might. The boy accordingly mounted female pedantry, to pronounce a hard word the pulpit, and with a very audible voice right: for which reason they took frequent read as follows: occasion to use hard words, that they might show a politeness in murdering them. He
MINUTES. further adds, that a lady of some quality at Sir Roger de Coverley's country-seatcourt having accidently made use of a hard Yes, for I hate long speeches-Query, if a word in a proper place, and pronounced it good Christian may be a conjurer—Chilright, the whole assembly was out of coun- dermas-day, saltseller, house-dog, screechtenance for her.
owl, cricket-Mr. Thomas Inkle of LonI must however be so just as to own that don, in the good ship called the Achilles. there are many ladies who have travelled Yarico-Ægrescitque medendoGhosts several thousands of miles without being The Lady's Library-Lion by trade a taithe worse for it, and have brought home lor-Dromedary called Bucephalus Equiwith them all the modesty, discretion, and page the lady's summum bonum-Charles good sense, that they went abroad with. Lillie to be taken notice of_Short face a As on the contrary, there are great num- relief to envy--Redundancies in the three bers of travelled ladies who have lived all professions-King Latinus a recruit-Jew their days within the smoke of London. I devouring a ham of bacon-Westminsterhave known a woman that never was out of abbey-Grand Cairo--Procrastination the parish of St. James's betray as many April fools-Blue boars, red lions, hogs in foreign fopperies in her carriage, as she armour-Enter a King and two Fiddlers could have gleaned up in half the countries solus-Admission into the Ugly Clubof Europe.
Beauty how improveable-Families of true and false humour-The parrot's school
mistress-Face half Pict half British-No No.46.] Monday, April 23, 1711.
man to be a hero of a tragedy under six
feet-Club of sighers-Letters from flowerNon bene junctarum discordia semina rerum.
Ooid, Met. Lib. i. ver. 8. thunder- The bell rings to the puppets
pots, elbow-chairs, tapestry, figures, lion, The jarring seeds of ill-concerted things.
show-Old woman with a beard married When I want materials for this paper, to a smock-faced boy-My next coat to be it is my custom to go abroad in quest of turned up with blue–Fable of tongs and game; and when I meet any proper sub- gridiron--Flower dvers— The Soldier's ject, I take the first opportunity of setting prayer-Thank ye for nothing, says the down a hint upon paper. At the same galley-pot-Pactolus in stockings with goltime I look into the letters of my corres- den clocks to them-Bamboos, cudgels, pondents, and if I find any thing suggested drum-sticks Slip of my lady's eldest in them that may afford matter of specula- daughter–The black mare with a star in tion, I likewise enter a minute of it in my her forehead-The barber's pole Will collection of materials. By this means I Honeycomb's coat-pocket-Cæsar's behafrequently carry about me a whole shect- viour and my own in parallel circumstances ful of hints, that would look like a rhap- —Poem in patch-work--Nulli gravis est sody of nonsense to any body but myself. percussus Achilles-The female conventiThere is nothing in them but obscurity and cler-The ogle-master.
The reading of this paper made the ner, unless when the preacher is to be at it. whole coffee-house very merry; some of With hims come a tribe, all brothers and them concluded it was written by a mad- sisters it seems; while others really such, man; and others by somebody that had been are deemed no relations. If at any time I taking notes out of the Spectator. One have her company alone, she is a mere who had the appearance of a very substan- sermon pop-gun, repeating and dischargtial citizen, told us, with several political ing texts, proofs, and applications, so perwinks and nods, that he wished there was petually, that however weary I may go to no more in the paper than was expressed bed, the noise in my head will not let me in it: that for his part, he looked upon the sleep till towards morning. The misery dromedary, the gridiron, and the barber's of my case, and great numbers of such sufpole to signify something more than what ferers, plead your pity and speedy relief; was usually meant by those words: and that otherwise must expect, in a little time, to he thought the coffee-man could not do be lectured, preached, and prayed into better than to carry the paper to one of want, unless the happiness of being sooner the secretaries of state. He further added, talked to death prevent it. I am, &c. that he did not like the name of the out
R. G.' landish man with the golden clock in his stockings. A young Oxford scholar, who master, runs thus:
The second letter, relating to the oglingchanced to be with his uncle at the coffeehouse, discovered to us who this Pactolus
"Mr. SPECTATOR ---I am an Irish genwas; and by that means turned the whole tleman that have travelled many years for scheme of this worthy citizen into ridicule. my improvement; during which time I While they were making their several con- have accomplished myself in the whole jectures upon this innocent paper, I reached art of ogling, as it is at present practised out my arm to the boy as he was coming
in the polite nations of Europe. Being thus out of the pulpit, to give it me; which he qualified, I intend, by the advice of my did accordingly. This drew the eyes of the friends, to set up for an ogling-master. I whole company upon me; but after having the play-house ogle by candle-light. I cast a cursory glance over it, and shook have
also brought over with me a new flyit, I twisted it into a kind of match, and ing ogle fit for the ring; which I teach in lighted my pipe with it. My profound
si- the dusk of the evening, or in any hour of lence, together with the steadiness of my I have 'a manuscript by me called The
the day, by darkening one of my windows. countenance, and the gravity of my behaviour during this whole transaction, raised Complete Ogler, which I shall be ready to a very loud laugh on all sides of me; but as show you on any occasion. In the mean time I had escaped all suspicion of being the I beg you will publish the substance of this author, I was very well satisfied,
letter in an advertisement, and you will plying myself to my pipe and the Postman, very much oblige, Yours, &c. took no further notice of any thing that had passed about me.
My reader will find, that I have already No. 47.] Tuesday, April 24, 1711. made use of above half the contents of the
Ride si sapis- Mart. foregoing paper: and will easily suppose,
Laugh, if you are wise. that those subjects which are yet untouch- Mr. Hobbs,* in his Discourse of Human ed, were such provisions as I had made for Nature, which, in my humble opinion, is his future entertainment. But as I have much the best of all his works, after some been unluckily prevented by this accident, very curious observations upon laughter, I shall only give him the letters which re- concludes thus: “The passion of laughter lated to the two last hints. The first of is nothing else but sudden glory arising them I should not have published, were I from some sudden conception of some eminot informed that there is many a hus- nency in ourselves, by comparison with band who suffers very much in his private the infirmity of others, or with our own affairs by the indiscreet zeal of such a part- formerly; for men laugh at the follies of ner as is hereafter mentioned; to whom I themselves past, when they come suddenly may apply the barbarous inscription quoted to remembrance, except they bring with by the Bishop of Salisbury in his travels; them any present dishonour.' Dum nimis pia est facta est impia:
According to this author, therefore, when Through too much piety she became im- we hear a man laugh excessively, instead pious.'
of saying he is very merry, we ought to tell
him he is very proud. And indeed, if we “SIR, ---I am one of those unhappy men that are plagued with a gospel-gossip,
* Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury. "He is commonly so common among dissenters (especially and eae dogmatist in philosophy; but he was a dog.
a , friends.) Lectures in the morning, church- matist in both. The main principles of his Leviathan meetings at noon, and preparation sermons are as little founded in moral or evangelical truth, as at night, take up so much of her time, it is the rules he has laid down for squaring the circle are
in mathematical demonstration." He died in 1679, at very rare she knows what we have for din-1 the advanced age of 92.