Imatges de pÓgina
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$85. Painting disagreeable in Women. § 85. Painting disagreeable in Women. A lady's face, like the coat in the Tale of a Tub, if left alone, will wear well; but if you offer to load it with foreign ornaments, you destroy the original ground.

Among other matter of wonder on my first coming to town, I was much surprised at the general appearance of youth among the ladies. At present there is no distinction in their complexions, between a beauty in her teens and a lady in her grand climacteric; yet at the same time I

could not but take notice of the wonderful variety in the face of the same lady. I have known an olive beauty on Monday grow very ruddy and blooming on Tuesday; turn pale on Wednesday; come round to the olive hue again on Thursday; and, in a word, change her complexion as often as her gown. I was amazed to find no old aunts in this town, except a few unfashionable people, whom nobody knows; the rest still continuing in the zenith of their youth and health, and falling off, like timely fruit, without any previous decay. All this was a mystery that I could not unriddle, till, on being introduced to some ladies, I unluckily improved the hue of my lips at the expence of a fair one, who unthinkingly had turned her cheek; and found that my kisses were given (as is observed in the epigram) like those of Pyramus, through a wall. I then discovered, that this surprising youth and beauty was all counterfeit; and that (as Hamlet says) “God nad given them one face, and they had made themselves another."

I have mentioned the accident of my carrying off half a lady's face by a salute, that your courtly dames may learn to put on their faces a little tighter; but as for my own daughters, while such fashions prevail, they shall still remain in Yorkshire. There, I think, they are pretty safe; for this unnatural fashion will hardly make its way into the country, as this vamped complexion would not stand against the rays of the sun, and would inevitably melt away in a country dance.

The ladies have, indeed, been always the greatest enemies to their own beauty, and seem to have a design against their own faces. At one time the whole countenance was eclipsed in a black velvet mask; at another it was blotted with patches: and at present it is crusted over with plaster of Paris. In those battered belles who still aim at conquest, the practice is in some sort excusable; but it is surely as ridiculous in a young lady to give up beauty for paint, as it would be to draw a good set of teeth merely to fill their places with a row of ivory.

Indeed, so common is the fashion among the young as well as the old, that when I am in a group of beauties, I consider them as so many pretty pictures; looking about me with as little emotion as I do at Hud-on's: and if any thing fills me with admiration, it is the judicious arrangement of the tints, and delicate touches of the painter. Art very often seems almost to vie with nature: but my attention is too frequently diverted by considering the texture and hue of the skin beneath; and the picture fails to charm, while my thoughts are engrossed by the wood and canvass. Connoisseur.

§ 86. On the Progress of the Arts.

The natural progress of the works of men is from rudeness to convenience, from convenience to elegance, and from elegance to nicety.

The first labour is enforced by necessity. The savage finds himself incommoded by heat and cold, by rain and wind; he shelters himself in the hollow of a rock, and learns to dig a cave where there was none before. He finds the sun and the wind excluded by the thicket, and when the accidents of the chase, or the convenience of pasturage, leads him into more open places, he forms a thicket for himself, by planting stakes at proper distances, and laying branches from one to another.

The next gradation of skill and industry produces a house, closed with doors, and divided by partitions; and apartments are multiplied and disposed according to the various degrees of power or invention: improvement succeeds improvement, as he that is freed from a greater evil grows impatient of a less, till ease in time is advanced to pleasure.

The mind, set free from the importunities of natural want, gains leisure to go

in search of superfluous gratifications, and adds to the uses of habitation the delights of prospect. Then begins the reign of symmetry; orders of architecture are invented, and one part of the edifice is conformed to another, without any other reason than that the eye may not be offended.

The passage is very short from elegance to luxury. Ionic and Corinthian columns are soon succeeded by gilt cornices, inlaid floors, and petty ornaments, which shew rather the wealth than the taste of the possessor. Idler.

§ 87. The Study of Astronomy peculiar

ly delightful.

In fair weather, when my heart is cheered, and I feel that exaltation of spirits which results from light and warmth, joined with a beautiful prospect of nature, I regard myself as one placed by the hand of God in the midst of an ample theatre, in which the sun, moon, and stars, the fruits also and vegetables of the earth, perpetually changing their positions or their aspects, exhibit an elegant entertainment to the understanding as well as to the eye.

Thunder and lightning, rain and hail, the painted bow and the glaring comet, are decorations of this mighty theatre; and the sable hemisphere studded with spangles, the blue vault at noon, the glorious gildings and the rich colours in the horizon, I look on as so many successive


When I consider things in this light, methinks it is a sort of impiety to have no attention to the course of nature, and the revolutions of the heavenly bodies. To be regardless of those phenomena that are placed within our view, on purpose to entertain our faculties, and display the wisdom and power of our Creator, is an affront to Providence of the same kind, (I hope it was not impious to make such a simile) as it would be to a good poet to sit out his play without minding the plot or beauties of it. And yet how few are there who attend to the drama of nature, its artificial structure, and those admirable scenes whereby the passions of a philosopher are gratefully agitated, and his soul affected with the sweet emotions of joy and surprise.

How many fox-hunters and rural squires are to be found over all Great Britain, who are ignorant that they have

lived all this time in a planet; that the sun is several thousand times bigger than the earth; and that there are several other worlds within our view, greater and more glorious than our own! " Ay, but," says some illiterate fellow, "I enjoy the world, and leave it to others to contemplate it." Yes, you eat, and drink, and run about upon it; that is, you enjoy as a brute; but to enjoy as a rational being, is to know it, to be sensible of its greatness and beauty, to be delighted with its harmony, and, by these reflections, to obtain just sentiments of the almighty mind that framed it.

The man who, unembarrassed with vulgar cares, leisurely attends to the flux of things in heaven and things on earth, and observes the laws by which they are governed, hath secured to himself an easy and convenient seat, where he beholds with pleasure all that passes on the stage of nature, while those about him are, some fast asleep, and others struggling for the highest places, or turning their eyes from the entertainment prepared by Providence, to play at push-pin with one


Within this ample circumference of the world, the glorious lights that are hung on high, the meteors in the middle region, the various livery of the earth, and the profusion of good things that distinguish the seasons, yield a prospect which annihilates all human grandeur. Tatler.

§ 88. The planetary and terrestrial Worlds comparatively considered.

To us, who dwell on its surface, the earth is by far the most extensive orb that our eyes can any where behold: it is also clothed with verdure, distinguished by trees, and adorned with variety of beautiful decorations; whereas, to a spectator placed on one of the planets, it wears an uniform aspect, looks all luminous, and no larger than a spot. To beings who still dwell at greater distances, it entirely disappears.

That which we call alternately the morning and the evening star (as in one part of the orbit she rides foremost in the procession of night, in the other ushers in and anticipates the dawn) is a planetary world, which with the four others that so wonderfully vary their mystic dance, are in themselves dark bodies and shine only by reflection; have fields, and seas, and

skies of their own; are furnished with all accommodations for animal subsistence, and are supposed to be the abodes of intellectual life; all which, together with our earthly habitation, are dependent on that grand dispenser of divine munificence, the sun; receive their light from the distribution of his rays, and derive their comfort from his benign agency. The sun, which seems to perform its daily stages through the sky, is in this respect fixed and immovable; 'tis the great axle of heaven, about which the globe we inhabit, and other more spacious orbs, wheel their stated courses. The sun, though seemingly smaller than the dial it illuminates, is abundantly larger than this whole earth, on which so many lofty mountains rise, and such vast oceans roll. A line extending from side to side through the centre of that resplendent orb, would measure more than eight hundred thousand miles; a girdle formed to go round its circumference would require a length of millions. Were its solid contents to be estimated, the account would overwhelm our understanding, and be almost beyond the power of language to express. Are we startled at these reports of philosophy? Are we ready to cry out in a transport of surprise, "How mighty is the Being who kindled such a prodigious fire, and keeps alive from age to age such an enormous mass of flame!" let us attend our philosophic guides, and we shall be brought acquainted with speculations more enlarged and more inflaming.

This sun, with all his attendant planets, is but a very little part of the grand machine of the universe: every star, though in appearance no bigger than the diamond that glitters upon a lady's ring, is really a vast globe, like the sun in size and in glory; no less spacious, no less luminous, than the radiant source of the day: so that every star is not barely a world, but the centre of a magnificent system; has a retinue of worlds, irradiated by its beams, and revolving round its attractive influence, all which are lost to our sight in unmeasurable wilds of ether. That the stars appear like so many diminutive and scarce distinguishable points, is owing to their immense and inconceivable distance. Immense and inconceivable indeed it is, since a ball, shot from a loaded cannon, and flying with unabated rapidity, must travel at this impetuous rate almost seven hundred thousand years, before it could

reach the nearest of these twinkling luminaries.

While, beholding this vast expanse, I learn my own extreme meanness, I would also discover the abject littleness of all terrestrial things. What is the earth, with all her ostentatious scenes, compared with this astonishing grand furniture of the skies? What, but a dim speck, hardly perceivable in the map of the universe? It is observed by a very judicious writer, that if the sun himself, which enlightens that part of the creation, was extinguished, and all the host of planetary worlds, which move about him, were annihilated, they would not be missed by an eye that can take in the whole compass of nature, any more than a grain of sand upon the sea-shore. The bulk of which they consist, and the space which they occupy, is so exceedingly little in comparison of the whole, that their loss would leave scarce a blank in the immensity of God's works. If then, not our globe only, but this whole system, be so very diminutive, what is a kingdom or a country? What are a few lordships, or the so much admired patrimonies of those who are styled wealthy? When I measure them with my own little pittance, they swell into proud and bloated dimensions: but when I take the universe for my standard, how scanty is their size, how contemptible their figure! they shrink into pompous nothings. Spectator.

$89. The Character of Toby Bumper.

It is one of the greatest advantages of education, that it encourages an ingenuous spirit, and cultivates a liberal disposition. We do not wonder that a lad who has never been sent to school, and whose faculties have been suffered to rust at the hall-house, should form too close an intimacy with his best friends, the groom and the game-keeper; but it would amaze us to see a boy well educated cherish this ill-placed pride, of being, as it is called, the head of the company. A person of this humble ambition will be very well content to pay the reckoning, for the honour of being distinguished by the title of the gentleman,' while he is unwilling to associate with men of fashion, lest they should be his superiors in rank or fortune; or with men of parts, lest they should exceed him in abilities. Sometimes indeed it happens that a person of genius and learning will

stoop to receive incense of mean and illiterate flatterers in a porter-house and cidercellar; and I remember to have heard of a poet, who was once caught in a brothel, in the very fact of reading his verses to the good old mother, and a circle of her daughters.

There are some few, who have been led into low company, merely from an af affectation of humour, and from a desire of seeing the droller scenes of life, have descended to associate with the meanest of the mob, and picked their cronies from lanes and alleys. The most striking instance I know of this low passion for drollery, is Toby Bumper, a young fellow of family and fortune, and not without talents, who has taken more than ordinary pains to degrade himself; and is now almost become as low a character, as any of those whom he has chosen for his companions. Toby will drink purl in a morning, smoke his pipe in a nightcellar, dive for a dinner, or eat black puddings at Bartholomew-fair, for the humour of the thing. He has also studied, and practises, all the plebeian arts and exercises, under the best masters; and has disgraced himself with every impolite accomplishment. He has had many a set-to with Buckhorse; and has now and then the honour of receiving a fall from the great Broughton himself. Nobody is better known among the hackney-coachmen, as a brother-whip; at the noble game of prison-bars, he is a match even for the natives of Essex and Cheshire; and he is frequently engaged at the Artillery ground with Faulkner and Dingate at cricket; and is himself esteemed as good a bat as either of the Bennets. Another of Toby's favourite amusements is, to attend the executions at Tyburn; and it once happened that one of his familiar intimates was unfortunately brought thither; when Toby carried his regard to his deceased friend so far, as to get himself knocked down in endea vouring to rescue the body from the surgeons.

As Toby affects to mimic, in every particular, the art and manner of the vulgar, he never fails to enrich his conversation with their emphatic oaths and expressive dialect, which recommends him as a man of excellent humour and high fun, among the Choice Spirits at Comus's Court, or at the meeting of the Sons of sound Sense and Satisfaction. He is also particularly famous for singing those cant songs,

drawn up in the barbarous dialect of sharpers and pick-pockets; the humour of which he often heightens, by screwing up his mouth, and rolling about a large quid of tobacco between his jaws. These and other like accomplishments frequently promote him to the chair in these facetious societies.

Toby' has indulged the same notions of humour, even in his amours; and is wellknown to every street-walker from Cheapside to Charing-cross. This has given several shocks to his constitution, and often involved him in unlucky scrapes. He has been frequently bruised, beaten, and kicked, by the bullies of Wapping and Fleet-ditch; and was once soundly drubbed by a soldier for engaging with his trull. The last time I saw him he was laid up with two black eyes, and a broken pate, which he got in a midnight skirmish, about a mistress, in a nightcellar. Connoisseur.

§ 90. Causes of National Characters.

The vulgar are very apt to carry all national characters to extremes; and having once established it as a principle, that any people are knavish, or cowardly, or ignorant, they will admit of no exception, but comprehend every individual under the same character. Men of sense condemn these undistinguishing judgments; though at the same time they allow, that each nation has a peculiar set of manners, and that some particular qualities are more frequently to be met with among one people than among their neighbours. The common people in Switzerland have surely more probity than those of the same rank in Ireland; and every prudent man will, from that circumstance alone, make a difference in the trust which he reposes in each. We have reason to expect greater wit and gaiety in a Frenchman than in a Spaniard, though Cervantes was born in Spain. An Englishman will naturally be thought to have more wit than a Dane, though Tycho Brahe was a native of Denmark.

Different reasons are assigned for these national characters, while some account for them from moral, and others from physical causes. By moral causes I mean all circumstances which are fitted to work on the mind, as motives or reasons, and which render a peculiar set of manners habitual to us. Of this kind are the nature of the government, the revolutions of public affairs, the plenty or penury in

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which the people live, the situation of the nation with regard to its neighbours, and such like circumstances. By physi cal causes, I mean those qualities of the air and climate, which are supposed to work insensibly on the temper, by altering the tone and habit of the body, and giving a particular complexion; which, though reflection and reason may sometimes overcome, yet will it prevail among the generality of mankind, and have an influence on their manners.

That the character of a nation will very much depend on moral causes must be evident to the most superficial observer; since a nation is nothing but a collection of individuals, and the manners of individuals are frequently determined by these causes. As poverty and hard labour debase the minds of the common people, and render them unfit for any science and ingenious profession, so where any government becomes very oppressive to all its subjects, it must have a proportional effect on their temper and genius, and must banish all the liberal arts from amongst them.

The same principle of moral causes fixes the characters of different professions, and alters even the disposition which the particular members receive from the hand of nature. A soldier and a priest are different characters, in all nations and all ages, and this difference is founded on circumstances, whose operations is external and unalterable.

The uncertainty of their life makes soldiers lavish and generous, as well as brave their idleness, as well as the large societies which they form in camps or garrisons, inclines them to pleasure and gallantry; by their frequent change of company they acquire good breeding and an openness of behaviour; being employed only against a public and open enemy, they become candid, honest, and undesigning; and as they use more the labour of the body than the mind, they are commonly thoughtless and ignorant.

"Tis a trite but not altogether, a false maxim, that priests of all religions are the same; and though the character of the profession will not in every instance prevail over the personal character, yet is it sure always to predominate with the greater number. For as chemists observe, that spirits when raised to a certain height are all thesame, from whatever materials they be extracted; so these men being

elevated above humanity, acquire an uniform character which is entirely their own, and which is, in my opinion, generally speaking, not the most amiable that is to be met with in human society; it is in most points opposite to that of a soldier, as is the way of life from which it is derived. Hume's Essays.


The Characters of Gamesters. The whole tribe of gamesters may be ranked under two divisions: Every man who makes carding, dicing, and betting his daily practice, is either a dupe or a sharper; two characters equally the ob jects of envy and admiration. The dupe is generally a person of great fortune and weak intellects:

"Who will as tenderly be led by th' nose,
"As asses are."

He plays, not that he has any delight in cards and dice, but because it is the fashion; and if whist or bazard are proposed, he will no more refuse to make one at the table, than among a set of hard drinkers, he would object drinking his glass in turn, because he is not dry.

There are some few instances of men of sense, as well as family and fortune, who have been dupes and bubbles. Such an unaccountable itch of play has seized them, that they have sacrificed every thing to it, and have seemed wedded to seven's the main, and the odd trick. There is not a more melancholy object than a gentleman of sense thus infatuated. He makes

himself and family a prey to a gang of villains more infamous than highwaymen; and perhaps, when his ruin is completed, he is glad to join with the very scoundrels that destroyed him, and live upon the spoil of others, whom he can draw into the same follies that proved so

fatal to himself.

Here we may take a survey of the character of a sharper; and that he may have no room to complain of foul play, let us begin with his excellences. You will perhaps be startled, Mr. Town, when I mentioned the excellences of a sharper; but a gamester, who makes a decent figure in the world, must be endued with many amiable qualities, which would undoubtedly appear with great lustre, were they not eclipsed by the odious character affixed to his trade. In order to carry on the common business of his profession, he must be a man of quick and lively parts, attended with a stoical calmness of tem

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