Imatges de pÓgina

enter into that state. As to the consideration of riches, my circumstances are such, that I cannot be suspected to make my addresses to her on such low motives as avarice or ambition. If ever innocence, wit, and beauty, united their utmost charms, they have in her. I wish you would expatiate a little on this subject, and admonish her parents that it may be from the very imperfection of human nature itself, and not any personal frailty of her or me, that our inclinations baffled at present may alter; and while we are arguing with ourselves to put off the enjoyment of our present passions, our affections may change their objects in the operation. It is a very delicate subject to talk upon; but if it were but hinted, I am in hopes it would give the parties concerned some reflexion that might expedite our happiness. There is a possibility, and I hope I may say it without imputation of immodesty to her I love with the highest honour; I say there is a possibility this delay may be as painful to her as it is to me; if it be as much, it must be more, by reason of the severe rules the sex are under, in being denied even the relief of complaint. If you oblige me in this, and I succeed, I promise you a place at my wedding, and a treatment suitable to your spectatorial dignity.

Your most humble servant,


SIR, 'I YESTERDAY heard a young gentleman, that looked as if he was just come to the gown and a scarf, upon evil-speaking; which subject you know archbishop Tillotson has so nobly handled in a sermon in his folio. As soon as ever he had named his text, and had opened a little the drift of his discourse, I was in great hopes he had been one

of sir Roger's chaplains. I have conceived so great an idea of the charming discourse above, that I should have thought one part of my sabbath very well spent in hearing a repetition of it. But, alas! Mr. Spectator, this reverend divine gave us his grace's sermon, and yet I do not know how; even I, that I am sure have read it at least twenty times, could not tell what to make of it, and was at a loss sometimes to guess what the man aimed at. He was so just indeed, as to give us all the heads and the sub-divisions of the sermon; and farther I think there was not one beautiful thought in it but what we had. But then, sir, this gentleman made so many pretty additions; and he could never give us a paragraph of the sermon, but he introduced it with something which methought looked more like a design to show his own ingenuity than to instruct the people. In short, he added and curtailed in such a manner, that he vexed me; insomuch that I could not forbear thinking, (what I confess I ought not to have thought in so holy a place) that this young spark was as justly blameable as Bullock or Penkethman, when they mend a noble play of Shakspeare or Jonson. Pray, sir, take this into your consideration; and, if we must be entertained with the works of any of those great men, desire these gentlemen to give them us as they find them, that so when we read them to our families at home they may the better remember they have heard them at church.


Your humble servant.'

N° 540. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19, 1712.

-Non deficit alter.

VIRG. Æn. vi. 143.

A second is not wanting.


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THERE is no part of your writings which I have in more esteem than your criticism upon Milton. It is an honourable and candid endeavour to set the works of our noble writers in the graceful light which they deserve. You will lose much of my kind inclination towards you, if you do not attempt the encomium of Spenser also, or at least indulge my passion for that charming author so far as to print the loose hints I now give you on that subject.

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Spenser's general plan is the representation of six virtues-holiness, temperance, chastity, friendship, justice, and courtesy-in six legends by six persons. The six personages are supposed, under proper allegories suitable to their respective characters, to do all that is necessary for the full manifestation of the respective virtues which they are to


These one might undertake to show under the several heads are admirably drawn; no images improper, and most surprisingly beautiful. The Redcross Knight runs through the whole steps of the Christian life; Guyon does all that temperance can possibly require; Britomartis (a woman) observes the true rules of unaffected chastity; Arthegal is in every respect of life strictly and wisely just: Calidore is rightly courteous.

In short, in Fairy-land, where knights-errant have a full scope to range, and to do even what Ariostos or Orlandos could not do in the world without breaking into credibility, Spenser's knights have, under those six heads, given a full and truly poetical system of Christian, public, and low life.

'His legend of friendship is more diffuse, and yet even there the allegory is finely drawn, only the heads various; one knight could not there support all the parts.

To do honour to his country, prince Arthur is an universal hero; in holiness, temperance, chastity, and justice, super-excellent. For the same reason, and to compliment queen Elizabeth, Gloriana, queen of fairies, whose court was the asylum of the oppressed, represents that glorious queen. At her commands all these knights set forth, and only at hers the Redcross Knight destroys the dragon, Guyon overturns the Bower of Bliss, Arthegal (i. e. Justice) beats down Geryoneo (i. e. Philip II. king of Spain) to rescue Belge (i. e. Holland), and he beats the Grantorto (the same Philip in another light) to restore Irena (i. e. Peace to Europe).

Chastity being the first female virtue, Britomartis is a Briton; her part is fine, though it requires explication. His style is very poetical; no puns, affectations of wit, forced antitheses, or any of that low tribe.

• His old words are all true English, and numbers exquisite; and since of words there is the multa renascentur, since they are all proper, such a poem should not (any more than Milton's) consist all of it of common ordinary words. See instances of descriptions.

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Causeless jealousy in Britomartis, v. 6, 14, in its


"Like as a wayward child, whose sounder sleep
Is broken with some fearful dreams affright,
With froward will doth set himself to weep,
Ne can be still'd for all his nurse's might,

But kicks and squalls, and shrieks for fell despite;
Now scratching her, and her loose locks misusing,
Now seeking darkness, and now seeking light;
Then craving suck, and then the suck refusing:

Such was this lady's loves in her loves fond accusing."

Curiosity occasioned by jealousy, upon occasion of her lover's absence. Ibid. Stan. 8, 9.

" Then as she look'd long, at last she spy'd
One coming towards her with hasty speed,
Well ween'd she then, ere him she plain descry'd,
That it was one sent from her love indeed:
Whereat her heart was fill'd with hope and dread,
Ne would she stay till he in place could come,
But ran to meet him forth to know his tiding's sommes
Even in the door him meeting, she begun.

And where is he, thy lord, and how far hence?
Declare at once; and hath he lost or won?"

Care and his house are described thus, iv. 6, 33, 34, 35.

"Not far away, nor meet for any guest,

They spy'd a little cottage, like some poor man's nest.


"There entering in, they found the good man's self,
Full busily unto his work ybent,

Who was so weel a wretched wearish elf,

With hollow eyes and raw-bone cheeks far spent,

As if he had in prison long been pent.

Full black and griesly did his face appear,
Besmear'd with smoke that nigh his eye-sight blent,
With rugged beard and hoary shaggy heare,

The which he never wont to comb, or comely shear,

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