« ForrigeFortsett »
of a female Hottentot and an English beauty to be satisfied of the truth of what hath been advanced.
In the next place, cleanliness may be said to be the foster-mother of love. Beauty indeed most commonly produces that passion in the mind, but cleanliness preserves it. An indifferent face and person, kept in perpetual neatness, hath won many a heart from a pretty flattern. Age itself is not unamiable, while it is preserved clean and unsullied: like a piece of metal constantly kept smooth and bright, we look on it with more pleasure than on a new vessel that is cankered with rust.
I might observe farther, that as cleanliness renders us agreeable to others, so it makes us easy to ourselves; that it is an excellent preservation of health; and that several vices, destructive both to mind and body, are inconsistent with the habit of it*. But these reflections I shall leave to the leisure of my readers, and shall observe, in the third place, that it bears a
* In 1776 the Royal Society deservedly adjudged Copley's medal to the memorable navigator Captain Cooke, for his successful care of his ship's crew in his voyage round the world. Sir John PRINGLE, in his anniversary discourse, when the medal was giveri, has the following remarkable passage, which is transcribed in aid and confirmation of what is said here.
« It is well known how much CLEANLINESS conduces to « health; but it is not so obvious how much it also tends to « good order and other virtues. That diligent officer was u persuaded that sich men as he could induce to be « more cleanly than they were disposed to be of themselves be« came at the same time more sober, more orderly, and more « attentive to their duty."
great analogy with purity of mind, and naturally inspires refined sentiments and passions.
We find from experience that, through the prevalence of custom, the most vicious actions lose their horror by being made familiar to us. On the contrary, those who live in the neighbourhood of good examples, fly from the first appearances of what is shocking. It fares with us much after the same manner as our ideas. Our senses, which are the inlets to all the images conveyed to the mind, can only transmit the impression of such things as usually surround them. So that
and unsullied thoughts are naturally suggested to the mind, by those objects that perpetually encompass us, when they are beautiful and elegant in their kind.
In the east, where the warmth of the climate makes cleanliness more immediately neceffary than in colder countries, it is made one part of their religion: the Jewish law, and the Mahometan, which in some things copies after it, is filled with bathings, purifications, and other rites of the like nature. Though there is the above-named convenient reason to be assigned for these ceremonies, the chicf intention undoubtedly was to typify inward purity and cleanliness of heart by those outward washings. We read several injunctions of this kind in the book of Deuteronomy, which confirm this truth; and which are but ill accounted for by saying as some do, that they were only instituted for convenience in the desert, which otherwise could not have been habitable for fo many years. Vol. VIII.
I shall conclude this Effay with a story which I have somewhere read in an account of Mahometan superstitions.
A Dervise of great fanctity one morning had the misfortune as he took up a crystal cup which was consecrated to the prophct, to let it fall upon the ground and dash it in pieces. His fon coming in some time after, he stretched out his hand to bless him, as his manner was every morning; but the youth going out stumbled over the threshold and broke his arm. As the old man wondered at these events a caravan passed by in its way from Mecca: the Dervise approached it to beg a blessing; but, as he stroaked one of the holy camels, he received a kick from the beast that sorely bruised him. His forrow and amazement increased upon him until he recollected that, through hurry and inadvertency, he had that morning come abroad without washing his hands.
Monday, December 13, 1714.
Expkbo numerum, reddorque tenebris.
Virg. Æn. vi. 545. the number I'll complete, Then to obscurity well pleas'd retreat."
THE love of symmetry and order, which
is natural to the mind of man, betrays him fometimes into very whimsical fancies. .
“ This noble principle,” says a French author, “ loves to amuse ittelf on the most trifling occa- fions. You may see a profound philosopher," ' says he, " walk for an hour together in his soʻchamber, and industriously treading, at every
step, upon every other board in the flooring." Every reader will recollect several instances of this nature without my aslistance. I think it was Gregorio Leti, who had published as many books as he was years old*; which was a rule he had laid down and punctually observed to the year of his death.
It was, perhaps, a thought of the like nature which determined Homer himself to divide each of his poems into as many books as there are letters in the Greek alphabet. Herodotus has in the same manner adapted his books to the number of the Muses, for which reason many a learned man hath wished there had been more than nine of that sisterhood.
Several epic poets have religiously followed Virgil as to the number of his books; and even Milton is thought by many to have changed the number of his books from ten to twelve for no other reason; as Cowley tells us, it was his design, had he finished his Davideis, to have also imitated the Æneid in this particular. I believe every one will agree with me that a perfection of this nature hath no foundation in reason; and,
* This voluminous writer boasted that he had been the author of a book and the father of a child for 20 years fuccellively. SWIFT counted the number of steps he made froin London to Chelsea. And it is said and demonstrated in the Parentalia, that Bishop Wren walked round the earth while a prisoner in the tower of London.
with due respect to these great names, may
be looked upon as something whimsical.
I mention there great examples in defence of my bookseller, who occasioned this eighth volume of SPECTATORS, because, as he laid, he thought leven a very odd number. On the other fide several grave reasons were urged on this important fubject; as, in particular, that seven was the precise number of the wise men, and that the most beautiful constellation in the heavens was composed of seven stars. This he allowed to be true, but still insisted that seven was an odd number : suggesting at the same time that, if he were provided with a sufficient fteck of leading Papers, he should find friends ready enough to carry on the work. Having by this means got his vefsel launched and set afloat, he hath committed the steerage of it, from time to time, to such as he thought capable of conducting it.
The close of this volume, which the town may now expect in a little time, may poslībly afcribe each sheet * to its proper author.
It were no hard talk to continue this paper a confiderable time longer by the help of large contributions fent from unknown hands.
I cannot give the town a better opinion of the SPECTATOR's correspondents than by publish
* Meaning cach half feet, i. e. every number; it is hardy ncccfiary to observe, that the performance of this promise was forgotten, fo that many of the Papers in this eighth volume, having no fignatures, are at this day, like fairy-favours, no satisfactory account can be given of the authors to whom we are indebted for them.