« AnteriorContinua »
. what she says to you? see how she looks........is "the language of all who know what love is. When • the mind is thus summed up and expressed in a
glance, did you never observe a sudden joy arise • in the countenance of a lover? Did you never see
the attendance of years paid, over-paid, in an in• stant? You a Spectator, and not know that the in(telligence of affection is carried on by the eye only ; (that good breeding has made the tongue falsify the • heart, and act a part of continual constraint, while nature has preserved the eyes to herself, that she may not be disguised or misrepresented. The poor bride can give her hand, and say, “ I do," with a languishing air, to the man she is obliged by cruel parents to take for mercenary reasons, .but at the same time she cannot look as if she • loved ; her eye is full of sorrow, and reluctance (sits in a tear, while the offering of the sacrifice is • performed in what we call the marriage ceremony. • Do you never go to plays ? Cannot you distinguish " between the eyes of those who go to see, from those (who come to be seen ? I am a woman turned of “thirty, and am on the observation a little ; therefore • if you or your correspondent had consulted me in your discourse on the eye, I could have told you • that the eye of Leonora is slily watchful while it • looks negligent; she looks round her without the • help of the glasses you speak of, and yet seems to • be employed on objects directly before her. This
eye is what affects chance-medley, and on a sud• den, as if it attended to another thing, turns all its "charms against an ogler. The eye of Lusitania is • an instrument of premeditated murder; but the • design being visible, destroys the execution of it, 6 and with much more beauty than that of Leonora,
it is not half so mischievous. There is a brave 6 soldier's daughter in town, that by höreye has been • the death of more than ever her father made fly
before him. A beautiful eye makes silence eloquent, "a kind eye makes contradiction an assent, an en'raged eye makes beauty deformed. This little 'member gives life to every other part about us, and I believe the story of Argus implies no more than (that the eye is in every part, that is to say, every other part would be mutilated, were not its force represented more by the eye than by itself. But (this is heathen Greek to those who have not con(versed by glances. This, Sir, is a language in "which there can be no deceit, nor can a skilful observer be imposed upon by looks even among
politicians and courtiers. If you do me the honour • to print this among your speculations, I shall in 'my next make you a present of secret history, by
translating all the looks of the next assembly of • ladies and gentlemen into words, to adorn some future paper.
"I am, SIR,
DEAR MR. SPECTATOR,
"I HAVE a sot of a husband that lives a very scandalous life, and wastes away his body and fortune in debaucheries ; and is immoveable to all the arguments I can urge to him. I would gladly know whether in some cases a cudgel may not be allowed "as a good figure of speech, and whether it may not be lawfully used by a female orator.
• Your humble servant,
“THOUGH I am a practitioner of the law of some standing, and have heard many eminent pleaders in my time, as well as other eloquent speakers of both universities, yet I agree with you, that wo
men are better qualified to succeed in oratory than (the men, and believe this is to be resolved into natural causes. You have mentioned only the volubility of their tongue; but what do you think of the silent • flattery of their pretty faces, and the persuasion • which even an insipid discourse carries with it
when flowing from beautiful lips, to which it would be cruel to deny any thing? It is certain too, that they are possessed of some springs of rhetoric which men want, such as tears, fainting fits, and the like, 'which I have seen employed upon occasion with • good success. You must know I am a plain man and love my money ; yet I have a spouse who is so great an orator in this way, that she draws from me what sums she pleases. Every room in my "house is furnished with trophies of her eloquence, rich cabinets, piles of china, Japan screens, and costly jars ; and if you were to come into my great parlour, you would fancy yourself in an India ware"house : besides this, she keeps a squirrel, and I am doubly taxed to pay for the china he breaks. She • is seized with periodical fits about the time of the subscriptions to a new opera, and is drowned in
tears after having seen any woman there in finer clothes than herself: these are arts of persuasion purely feminine, and which a tender heart cannot
resist. What I would therefore desire of you is, to prevail with your friend who has promised to dis
sect a female tongue, that he would at the same 6 time give us the anatomy of the female eye, and
explain the springs and sluices which feed it with such ready supplies of moisture; and likewise show by what means, if possible, they may be stopped at a reasonable expence ; or, indeed, since there is something so moving in the very image of weeping beauty, it would be worthy his art to provide, that these eloquent drops may no more be lavished on trifles, or employed as servants to their
"wayward wills; but reserved for serious occasions ‘in life, to adorn generous pity, true penitence, or real sorrow. T
"I am, &c.'
No. CCLIII. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20.
Indignor quicquam reprehendi, non quia crasse
I lose my patience, and I own it too,
THERE is nothing which more denotes a great mind, than the abhorrence of envy and detraction. This passion reigns more among bad poets, than among any other set of men.
As there are none more ambitious of fame, than those who are conversant in poetry, it is very natural for such as have not succeeded in it to depreciate the works of those who have. For since they cannot raise themselves to the reputation of their fellow-writers, they must endeavour to sink it to their own pitch, if they would still keep themselves upon a level with them.
The greatest wits that ever were produced in one age, lived together in so good an understanding, and celebrated one another with so much generosity, that each of them receives an additional lustre from his contemporaries, and is more famous for having lived with men of so extraordinary a genius, than if he had himself been the sole wonder of the age. I need not tell my reader that I here point at the reign of Augustus, and I believe he will be of my opinion, that neither Virgil nor Horace would have gained
so great a reputation in the world, had they not been the friends and admirers of each other. Indeed, all the great writers of that age, for whom singly we have so great an esteem, stand up together as vouchers for one another's reputation. But at the same time that Virgil was celebrated by Gallus, Propertius, Horace, Varius, Tucca, and Ovid, we know the Bavius and Mævius were his declared foes and calumniators.
In our own country a man seldom sets up for a poet, without attacking the reputation of all his brothers in the art. The ignorance of the moderns, the scribblers of the age, the decay of poetry, are the topics of detraction, with which he makes his entrance into the world : but how much more noble is the fame that is built on candour and ingenuity, according to those beautiful lines of Sir John Denham, in his poem on Fletcher's works :
“ But whither am I stray'd? I need not raise
“ Must have their brothers, sons, and kindred slain.” I am sorry to find that an author who is very justly esteemed among the best judges, has admitted some strokes of this nature in a very fine poem ; I mean the Art of Criticism, which was published some months since, and is a master-piece in its kind. The observations follow one another like those in Horace's Art of Poetry, without that methodical regularity which would have been requisite in a prose author. They are some of them uncommon, but such as the reader must assent to, when he sees them explained with that elegance and perspicuity in which they are delivered. As for those which are the most known, and are most received, they are placed in so beautiful a light, and illustrated with such apt allusions,