« ForrigeFortsett »
! mystery of embroidery into your serious con• sideration; and, as you have a great deal of the • virtue of the last age in you, continue your en"deavours to reform the present.
• I am, &c.' In obedience to the commands of my venerable correspondent, I have duly weighed this important subject, and promise myself, from the arguments here laid down, that all the fine ladies of England will be ready, as soon as their mourning is over*, to appear covered with the work of their own hands.
What a delightful entertainment must it be to the fair sex, whom their native modefty and the tenderness of men towards them exempts from public business, to pass their hours in imitating fruits and flowers, and transplanting all the beauties of nature into their own dress, or raising a new creation in their closets and apartments! How pleasing is the amusement of walking among the shades and groves planted by themselves, in furveying heroes slain by the needle, or little Cupids which they have brought into the world without pain!
This is, methinks, the most proper way wherein a lady can shew a fine genius; and I cannot forbear wishing that several writers of that fex had chosen to apply themselves rather to tapestry than rhyme. Your pastoral poetesses
* Public mourning on the death of Q. Anne, who died very seasonably, Aug. 1, 1714, in the soth year of her age, and 13th of her reign.
may vent their fancy in rural landscapes, and place despairing shepherds under filken willows, or drown them in a stream of mohair. The heroic writers may work up battles as successfully, and infiame them with gold, or stain them with crimson. Even those who have only a turn to a fong, or an epigram, may put many valuable stitches into a purse, and crowd a thousand graces into a pair of garters.
. If I may, without breach of good manners, imagine that any pretty creature is void of genius, and would perform her part herein but very aukwardly, I must nevertheless insist upon her working, if it be only to keep her out of harm's way.
Another argument for busying good women in works of fancy is, because it takes them off from scandal, the usual attendant of tea-tables, and all other inactive scenes of life. While they are forming their birds and beasts, their neighbours will be allowed to be the fathers of their own children; and Whig and Tory will be but seldom mentioned where the greatdispute is, whether blue or red is the more proper colour. How much greater glory would Sophronia do the general, if she would choose rather to work the battle of Blenheim in tapestry than signalize herself with so much vehemence against those who are Frenchmen in their hearts!
A third reason that I shall mention, is the profit that is brought to the family where these pretty arts are encouraged. It is manifest that this way of life not only keeps fair ladies from
running out into expenses, but is at the same time an actual improvement. How memorable would that matron be, who shall have it subscribed upon her monument · She that wrought out • the whole Bible in tapestry, and died in a good • old age, after having covered three hundred • yards of wall in the manfion house!'
The premises being considered, I humbly submit the following proposals to all mothers in Great-Britain :
1. That no young virgin whatsoever be allowed to receive the addresses of her first lover but in a suit of her own embroidering.
II. That before every fresh humble servant she be obliged to appear with a new stomacher at the least.
III. That no one be actually married until she hath the childbed pillows, &c. ready stitched, as likewise the mantle for the boy quite finished,
These laws, if I mistake not, would effectually restore the decayed art of needlework, and make the virgins of Great-Britain exceedingly nimble-fingered in their business.
There is a memorable custom of the Grecian ladies in this particular preserved in Homer, which I hope will have a very good effect with my country-women. A widow, in ancient times, could not, without indecency, receive a second husband, until she had woven a shroud for her deceased lord, or the next of kin to him. Accordingly, the chaste Penelope, having, as she thought, lost Ulysses at sea, employed her time in preparing a winding-sheet for Laertes,
the father of her husband. The story of her web being very famous, and yet not fufficiently known in its several circumstances, I shall give it to my reader, as Homer makes one of her wooers relate it.
“ Sweet hope she gave to every youth apart, . • With well-taught looks, and a deceitful heart: “ A web she wove of many a slender twine, “Of curious texture, and perplext design; “ My youths, the cry'd, my lord but newly dead, “Forbear a while to court my widow'd bed, “ Till I have wove, as solemn vows require, “ This web, a shroud for poor Ulysses' fire. “ His limbs, when fate the hero's soul demands, “ Shall claim this labour of his daughter's hands, “ Left all the dames of Greece my name despise, 6 While the great king without a covering lies.
“ Thus fhe: nor did my friends mistrust the guile! “ All day she sped the long laborious toil : “ But when the burning lamps supply'd the sun, “ Each night unravell’d what the day begun. “ Three live-long sumıners did the fraud prevail ; « The fourth her madens told th' ainazing tale. “ These eyes beheld, as close I took my stand, “ The backward labours of her faithless hand : “ Till, watch'd at length, and press’d on every fide, “ Her task the ended, and commenc'd a bride."
*** It does not certainly appear, that Steele had any great concern in this Eighth Volume of the SPECTATOR, which is said to have been principally conducted under the disection of ADDISON by Mr. E. BUDGELL.
N° 607. Friday, October 15, 1714.
Dicite lö Pæan, & lö bis dicite Pean:
Ovid. Ars Am. i. l. • Now lö Pæan fing, now wreaths prepare, ! • And with repeated lös fill the air: • The prey is fall’n in my successful toils.'
Anon. • Mr. SPECTATOR, "LJAVING in your Paper of Monday last * in published my report on the case of Mrs. • Fanny Fickle, wherein I have taken notice, • that love comes after marriage; I hope your 6 readers are satisfied of this truth, that as love
generally produces matrimony, fo it often • happens that matrimony produces love.
It perhaps requires more virtue to make a • good husband or wife than what go to the
finishing any the most shining character what• soever.
*Discretion seems absolutely necessary; and accordingly we find that the best husbands • have been most famous for their wisdom. Homer, who hath drawn a perfect pattern of a
prudent man, to make it the more complete, •ħath celebrated him for the just returns of fidelity and truth to his Penelope; insomuch that
* No boy.