Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

lities. You see by these few hints, Mr. Spectator, what a comfortable life I lead. To be still more open and free with you, I have been passionately fond of a young lady (whom give me leave to call Miranda) now for these three years. I have often urged the matter home to my parents with all the submission of a son, but the impatience of a lover. Pray, Sir, think of three years : what inexpressible scenes of inquietude, what variety of misery must I have gone through in three long whole years! Miranda's fortune is equal to those I have mentioned; but her relations are not intimates with mine. Ah! there's the rub! Miranda's person, wit, and humour, are what the nicest fancy could imagine ; and, though we know you to be so elegant a judge of beauty, yet there is none among all your various characters of fine women preferable to Miranda. In aword, she is never guilty of doing any thing but one amiss (if she can be thought to do amiss by me), in being as blind to my faults, as she is to her own perfections. I am, Sir, Your very humble obedient servant,

DUSTERERASTUS.' • MR. SPECTATOR,

When you spent so much time as you did lately in censuring the ambitious young gentlemen 'who ride in triumph through town and country on coachboxes, I wished you had employed those moments in consideration of what passes sometimes withinside of those vehicles. I am sure I suffered sufficiently by the insolence and ill breeding of some persons who_travelled lately with me in a stagecoach out of Essex to London. I am sure, when you have heard what I have to say, you will think there are persons under the character of gentlemen, that are fit to be no where else but in the coach-box. Sir, I am a young woman of a sober and religious education, and have preserved that character; but on Monday was fortnight, it was my misfortune to come to London. I was no sooner clapped in the coach, but, to my great surprise, two persons in the habit of gentlemen attacked me with such indecent discourse as I cannot repeat to you, so you may conclude not fit for me to hear. I had no relief but the hopes of a speedy end of my short journey. Sir, form to yourself what a persecution this must needs be to a virtuous and a chaste mind; and, in order to your proper handling such a subject, fancy your wife or daughter, if you had any, in such circumstances, and what treatment you would then think due to such dragoons. One of them was called a captain, and entertained us with nothing but filthy stupid questions, or lewd songs, all the way. Ready to burst with shame and indignation, I repined that nature had not allowed us as easily to shut our ears as our eyes. But was not this a kind of rape ? Why should there be accessaries in ravishment any more than murder ? Why should not every contributor to the abuse of chastity suffer death? I am sure these shameless hell-hounds deserved it highly. Can you exert yourself better than on such an occasion ? If you do not do it effectually, I will read no more of your papers. Has every impertinent fellow a privilege to torment me, who pay my coach-hire as well as he? Sir, pray consider us in this respect as the weakest sex, who have nothing to defend ourselves; and I think it is as gentleman-like to challenge a woman to fight as to talk obscenely in her company, especially when she has not power to stir. Pray let me tell

you can make fit for public view. I knew a gentleman, who having a very good opinion of the gentlemen of the army, invited ten or twelve of them to sup with him; and at the same time invited two or three friends who were very 'severe against the manners and morals of gentlemen of that profession. It happened one of them brought two captains of his regiment newly come into the army, who at first onset engaged the company with very

you a story

which

lewd healths and suitable discourse. You may easily imagine the confusion of the entertainer, who finding some of his friends very uneasy, desired to tell them the story of a great man, one Mr. Locke (whom I find you frequently mention), that being invited to dine with the then Lords Halifax, Anglesey, and Shaftesbury, immediately after dinner, instead of conversation, the cards were called for, where the bad or good success produced the usual passions of gaming. Mr. Locke retiring to a window, and writing, my Lord Anglesey, desired to know what he was writing : “Why, my lords,” answered he," I could not sleep last night for the pleasure and improvement I expected from the conversation of the greatest men of the age.” This so sensibly stung them, that they gladly compounded to throw their cards in the fire, if he would his paper, and so a conversation ensued fit for such persons. This story pressed so hard upon the young captains, together with the concurrence of their superior officers, that the young fellows left the company in confusion. Sir, I know you hate long things; but if you like it, you may contract it, or how you will ; but I think it has a moral in it.

But, Sir, I am told you are a famous mechanic as well as a looker-on, and therefore humbly propose you would invent some padlock, with full power under your hand and seal, for all modest persons, either men or women, to clap upon the mouths of all such impertinent impudent fellows: and I wish you would publish a proclamation that no modest person, who has a value for her countenance, and consequently would not be put out of it, presume to travel after such a day without one of them in their

6

[ocr errors]

but a very

• MR. SPECTATOR,
'I was the other day in company with five or six
men of some learning : where, chancing to mention
the famous verses which the Emperor Adrian spoke
on his death-bed, they were all agreed that it was a
piece of gaiety unworthy that prince in those cir-
cumstances. I could not but dissent from this opi-
nion. Methinks it was by no means a gay
serious soliloquy to his soul at the point of his de-
parture : in which sense I naturally took the verses
at my first reading them, when I was very young,
and before I knew what interpretation the world ge-
nerally put upon them.

Animula vagula, blandula,
Hospes comesque corporis,
Quæ nunc abibis in loca?
Pallidula, rigida, nudula,

Nec (ut soles) dabis joca !
6“ Alas, my soul; thou pleasing companion of this
body, thou fleeting thing that art now deserting it,
whither art thou flying? to what unknown' region?
Thou art all trembling, fearful, and pensive. Now
what is become of thy former wit and humour?
Thou shalt jest and be gay no more.”

'I confess I cannot apprehend where lies the trifling in all this; it is the most natural and obvious reflection imaginable to a dying man: and, if we consider the emperor was a heathen, that doubt concerning the future fate of his soul will seem so far from being the effect of want of thought, that it was scarce reasonable he should think otherwise : not to mention that here is a plain confession included of his belief in its immortality. The diminutive epithets of vagula, blandula, and the rest, appear not to me as expressions of levity, but rather of endearment and concern: such as we find in Catullus, and the authors of Hendecasyllabi after him, where they are

used to express the utmost love and tenderness for their mistresses. If you

think me right in my notion of the last words of Adrian, be pleased to insert this in the Spectator; if not, to suppress it.

I am, &c.' •TO THE SUPPOSED AUTHOR OF THE SPECTATOR.

In courts licentious, and a shameless stage,
How long the war shall wit with virtue wage ?
Enchanted by this prostituted fair,
Our youth run beadlong in the fatal snare;
In height of raptore clasp unheeded pains,
And sack pollution through their tingling veins.

Thy spotless thoughts unshocked the priest may hear,
And the pure vestal in her bosom wear.
To conscious blushes and diminished pride
Thy glass betrays what treach'rous love would hide ;
Nor harsh thy precepts, but, infus’d by stealth,
Please while they cure, and cheat us into health.
Thy works in Chloe's toilet gain a part,
And with his tailor share the fopling's heart:
Lash'd in thy satire the penurious cit
Laughs at bimself, and finds no harm in wit:
From felon gamesters the raw 'squire is free,
And Britain owes her rescu'd oaks to thee*.
His miss the frolic viscountt dreads to toast,
Or his third cure the shallow templar boast;
And the rash fool who scorn'd the beaten road,
Dares quake at thunder, and confess his God.

The brainless stripling, who, expellid to town,
Damn’d the stiff college and pedantic gown,
Aw'd by thy name is dumb, and thrice a week
Spells uncouth Latin, and pretends to Greek.
A saunt'ring tribe ! such, born to wide estates,
With yea' and 'no' in senates hold debates :
At length despis’d, each to his fields retires,
First with the dogs, and king amidst the 'squires ;
From pert to stupid sinks supinely down,
In youth a coxcomb, and in age a clown.

• Mr. Tickell here alludes to Steele's papers against the sharpers, &c. in the Tatler, and particularly to a letter in Tat. No. 73, signed Will Trusty, and written by Mr. Jobn Hughes.

Viscount Bolingbroke.

« ForrigeFortsett »