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'my attending her to her father's house. She came • early to Belinda the next morning, and asked her if • Mrs. Such-a one had been with her? No. If Mr. * Such-a-one's lady? No. Nor your cousin Such-a
one? No. Lord, says Mrs. Jane, what is the friendship of women ?.........Nay, they may well laugh at it. And did no one tell you any thing • of the behaviour of your lorer Mr. What-d'ye-call " last night? But perhaps it is nothing to you that • he is to be married to young Mrs.........on Tues• day next? Belinda was here ready to die with rage • and jealousy. Then Mrs. Jane goes on : I have • a young kinsman who is clerk to a great convey' ancer, who shall shew you the rough draught of * the marriage settlement. The world says her fa(ther gives him two thousand pounds more than he 6 could have with you. I went innocently to wait con Belinda as usual, but was not admitted : I writi • to her, and my letter was sent back unopened. • Poor Betty her maid, who is on my side, has been ( here just now blubbering, and told me the whole. ( matter. She says, she did not think I could be so • base ; and that she is now so odious to her mistress • for having so often spoke well of me, that she dare o not mention me more. All our hopes are placed • in having these circumstances fairly represented • in the Spectator, which Betty says she dare not • but bring up as soon as it is brought in, and has • promised when you have broke the ice to own this I was laid between us : and when I can come to an • hearing, the young lady will support what we say
by her testimony, that I never saw her but that once • in my whole life. Dear Sir, do not omit this true o relation, nor think it too particular; for there are o crowds of forlorn coquettes who intermingle themo selves with other ladies, and contract familiarities 6 cut of malice, and with no other design but to • blast the hopes of lovers, the expectation of parents,
6 and the benevolence of kindred. I doubt not but • I shall be, Sir, • Your most obliged humble servant,
Will's Coffee-house, Jan. 10.
• THE other day entering a room adorned with the fair sex, I offered, after the usual manner, to each of them a kiss; but one, more scornful than
the rest, turned her cheek. I did not think it • proper to take any notice of it until I had asked ' your advice.
" Your humble servant,
The correspondent is desired to say which cheek the offender turned to him.
From the parish vestry, January 9. “ All ladies who come to church in the new“ fashioned hoods, are desired to be there before “ divine service begins, lest they divert the attention « of the congregation. T
HAVING examined the action of Paradise Lost, let us in the next place consider the actors. This is Aristotle's method of considering, first the fable, and secondly the manners ; or, as we generally call them in English, the fable and the characters.
Homer has excelled all the heroic poets that ever wrote in the multitude and variety of his characters; every god that is admitted into his poem, acts a part which would have been suitable to no other deity. His princes are as much distinguished by their manners, as by their dominions; and even those among them, whose characters seem wholly made up of courage, differ from one another as to the particular kinds of courage in which they excel. In short, there is scarce a speech or action in the Iliad, which the reader may not ascribe to the person that speaks or acts, without seeing his name at the head of it.
Homer does not only outshine all other poets in the variety, but also in the novelty of his characters. He has introduced among his Grecian princes a person who has lived thrice the age of man, and conversed with Theseus, Hercules, Polyphemus, and the first race of heroes. His principal actor is the son of a goddess, not to mention the offspring of other deities, who have likewise a place in his poem, and the venerable Trojan prince, who was the father of so many kings and heroes. There is in these several characters of Homer, a certain dignity as well as novelty, which adapts them in a more peculiar manner to the nature of an heroic poem. Though at the same time, to give them the greater variety, he has
described a Vulcan, that is a buffoon among his gods, and a l'hersites among his mortals.
Virgil falls infinitely short of Homer in the characters of his poem, both as to their variety and novelty. Æneas is indeed a perfect character, but as for Achates, though he is styled the hero's friend, he does nothing in the whole poem which may deserve that title. Gyas, Mnestheus, Sergestus, and Cloanthus, are all of them men of the same stamp and character.
............" Fortemque Gyan, fortemque Cloanthum." There are indeed several natural incidents in the part of Ascanius ; as that of Dido cannot be sufficiently admired. I do not see any thing new or particular in Turnus. Pallas and Evander are remote copies of Hector and Priam, as Lausus and Mezentius are almost parallels to Pallas and Evander. The characters of Nysus and Euryalus are beautiful, but common. We must not forget the parts of Sinon, Camilla, and some few others, which are fine improvements on the Greek poet. In short, there is neither that variety nor novelty in the persons of the Æneid, which we meet with in those of the Iliad.
If we look into the characters of Milton, we shall find that he has introduced all the variety his fable was capable of receiving. The whole species of mankind was in two persons at the time to which the subject of his poem is confined. We have, however, four distinct characters in ese two persons. We see man and woman in the highest innocence and perfection, and in the most abject state of guilt and infirmity. The two last characters are, indeed, very common and obvious; but the two first are not only more magnificent, but more new than any characters either in Virgil or Homer, or indeed in the whole circle of nature.
Milton was so sensible of this defect in the subject of his poem, and of the few characters it would
afford him, that he has brought into it two actors of a shadowy and fictitious nature, in the persons of Sin and Death, by which means he has wrought into the body of his fable a very beautiful and well-invented allegory. But notwithstanding the fineness of this allegory may atone for it in some measure, I cannot think that persons of such a chimerical existence are proper actors in an epic poem; because there is not that measure of probability annexed to them which is requisite in writings of this kind, as I shall show more at large hereafter.
Virgil has, indeed, admitted Fame as an actress in the Æneid, but the part she acts is very short, and none of the most admired circumstances in that divine work. We find in mock-heroic poems, particularly in the Dispensary and the Lutrin, several allegorical persons of this nature, which are very beautiful in those compositions, and may perhaps be used as an argument, that the authors of them were of opinion, such characters might have a place in an epic work. For my own part I should be glad the reader would think so, for the sake of the poem I am now examining; and must further add, that if such empty unsubstantial beings may be ever made use of on this occasion, never were any more nicely imagined, and employed in more proper actions, than those of which I am now speaking.
Another principal actor in this poem is the great enemy of mankind. The part of Ulysses in Homer's Odyssey is very much admired by Aristotle, as perplexing that fable with very agreeable plots and intricacies, not only by the many adventures in his voyage, and the subtlety of his behaviour, but by the various concealments and discoveries of his person in several parts of that poem. But the crafty being I have now mentioned, makes a much longer voyage than Ulysses, puts in practice many more wiles and stratagems, and hides himself under a greater variety