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There is no charm in the female sex, that can supply the place of virtue. Without innocence, beauty is unlovely, and quality contemptible, good-breeding degenerates into wantonness, and wit into impudence. It is observed, that all the virtues are represented by both painters and statuaries under female shapes, but if any one of them has a more particular title to that sex, it is modesty. I shall leave it to the divines to guard them against the opposite vice, as they may be overpower'd by temptations: It is sufficient for me to have warned them against it, as they may be led astray by instinct.
/ defirt this paper may be read with more than ordinaryattention, at all tea-tables within the cities of London and Westminster.. X
N" 396 "Wednesday, June 4.
Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Feria, Baralipton *.
HAVING a,great deal of business upon my hands at present 1 shall, beg the reader's leave to present him with a letter that I received about half a year ago from a gentlemen of Cambridge, who stiles himself Peter de£>uir. I have kept it by me some months, and though I did not know at sirst what to make of it, upon my reading it over very frequently I have at last, discovered several conceits in it: I would not therefore have my reader discouraged if he does not take them at the sirst perusal.
To the Spectator. From St. John's College Cambridge, Feb. 3, 17-12-. SIR,
THE monopoly of puns in this university ha» been an immemorial privilege of the Jabnians; and we can't help resenting the late invasion of our
* A barbanus verse, invented by the Logicians,
'antient right as to that particular, by a little preten'der to clenching in a,heighbouring college, who in an
* application to you by way of letter, a while ago, stiled
* himself Philobrune. Dear Sir, as you are by cha'raster a profest well-wisher to speculation, you will 'excuse a remark which this gentleman's passion for « the Brunette has suggested to a biother theorist:
* *tis an offer towards a mechanical account of his
* lapse to punning, for he belongs to a set of mortals 'who value themselves upon an uncommon mastery in 'the more humane and polite parts of letters. A conr
* quest by one of this species of females gives a very
* odd turn to the intellectuals of the captivated person,
* and very disferent from that way of thinking which
* a triumph from the eyes of another, more emphatU
« cally of the fair sex, does generally occasion. It sills «. the imaginatioa with an assemblage of such ideas and
* pictures as are hardly any thing but shade, such as 'night, the devil, c5V. These portraitures very near 'overpower the light of the understanding, almost be
* night the faculties, and give that melancholy tincture '* to the most sanguine complexion, which this gentle
* man calls an inclination to be in a brown-study, and '- is usually attended with worse consequences, in cafe
. •- of a repulse. During this twilight of intellects, the
* patient is extremely apt, as love is the most witty *- pasiion in nature, to offer at some pert sallies now « and then, by way of flourish, upon the amiable in»'chantress, and unsortunately stumbles upon that mun'grel miscreated (to speak in MilionU) kind of wit, vul
* garly. termed the pun. It would not be much amiss
'- to consult Dr. T W (who is certainly a very
** able projector, and whose system of divinity" and spi'ritual mechanics obtains very much among the bet~ *- ter part of our under-graduates) whether a general
« inter-marriage, injoined by parliament, between this 'sisterhood of the olive beauties, and the fraternity of
* the people called quakers, would not be a very ser
* viceable expedient, and abate that overflow oi light 'which shines within them so powerfully, that it daz'zles their eyes, and dances them into a thousand va
* garies of error and enthusiasm. These reflexions
* may'may impart some light towards a discovery os the
* origin of punning among us, and the foundation of
* its prevailing so long in this famous body. 'Tis nQto
* rious from the instance under consideration, that it
* must be owing chiefly to the use of brown jugs,
* muddy belch, and the fumes of a certain memorable
* place of rendezvous with us at meals, known by the
* name of Staintoat Hole: For the atmosphere of the
* kitchen, like the tail of a comet, predominates least 'about the sire, but resides behind and sills the fragrant
* receptacle above-mentioned. Besides, 'tis farther ob
* servable, that the delicate spirits among us, who de
* clare against these nauseous proceedings, sip tea, and 'put up for critic and amour, profess likewise an 'equal abhorrence for punning, the ancient innocent
* diversion of this society. After all, Sir, tho' it may ap
* pear something absurd, that I seem to approach you 'with the air of an advocate for punning, (you who 'have justisied your censures of the practice in a set
* dissertation upon that subject;) yet I'm consident, « you'll think it abundantly atoned for by observing,
* that this humbler exercise may be as instrumental in « diverting us from any innovating schemes and hypo« thesis in wit, as dwelling upon honest orthodox logic 'would be in securing us from heresy in religion. Had
* Mr. W «'s researches been consined within the
'bounds of Rarnui or CracLenlhorf that learned news'monger might have acquiesced in what the holy ora
* cles pronounced upon the deluge, like other chris'tians; and had the surprising Mr. L y been con
* tent with the employment of resining upon Shake/pear's
* points and quibbles, (for which he must be allowed to
* have a superlative genius) and now and then penning
* a catch or a ditty, instead of indicting odes, and fon'nets, the gentlemen of the Ron Gout in the pit would
* never have been put to all that grimace in damning
* the frippery of state, the poverty and languor of
* thought, the unnatural wit, and inartisicial structure
* of his dramas.
Your very bumble servant,
Peter de Quir. N° 397 Thursday, July 5.
Dolor ipse disertum
Fecerat < - - Ovid. Metam. 1. 13. v. 225. For grief inspir'd me then with eloquence.
D r Y D E N.
AS the Stoic philosophers discard all passions in general, they will not allow a wife man so much as to pity the afflictions of another. If thou seest thy friend in trouble, fays Epitletus, thou may est put on a look of sorrow and condole with him, but take care that thy sorrow be not real. The more rigid of this sect would not comply so far as to shew even such an outward appearance of grief, but when one told them of any calamity that had befallen even the nearest of their acquaintance, would immediately reply, What is that to me ? Ifyou aggravated the circumstances of the affliction, and shewed how one misfortune was followed by another, the answer was still, All this may be true, and what is it to me?
For my own part, f am of opinion, compassion does not only resine and civilize human nature, but has something in it more pleasing and agreeable than what can be met with in such an indolent happiness, such an indisference to mankind as that in which the Stoics placed their wisdom. As love is the most delightful passion, pity is nothing else but love softened by a degree of sorrow : In shoit, it is a kind of pleasing anguish, as well as generous sympathy, that knits mankind together, and blends them in the fame common lot.
Those who have laid down rules for rhetoric or poetry, advise the writer to work himself up, if possible to the pitch of sorrow which he endeavours to produce in others, There are none therefore who stir up pity so much as those who indite their own sufferings. Grief has a natural eloquence belonging to it, and breaks out in more moving sentiments than can be supplied by the sinest imagination. Nature on this occasion dictates a thousand passionate things which cannot be supplied by art.
It is for this reason that the short speeches or sentences which we often meet with in histories, make a deeper impression on the mind of the reader, than the most laboured strokes in a well-written tragedy. Truth and matter of fact sets the person actually before us in the one, whom siction places at a greater distance.from, us in the other. I do not remember to have seen any ancient of modem story more affecting than a letter of Ann of Bohgney wife to King Henry the eighth, and mother toQueen Elizabeth, which is still extant in the Cotlon. library, as written by her own hand.
Shakefpear himself could not have made her talk in a strain so suitable to her condition and character. One sees in it the expostulation of a flighted lover, the resentments of an injur'd woman, and the sorrows of an imprisoned queen. I need not acquaint my reader that this princess was then underprosecution for disloyalty to the King's bed, and that (he was afterwards publicly beheaded upon the fame account, tho' this prosecution was believed by many to proceed, as she herself intimates', rather from the King's love to Jane Seymour, than from, any actual crime in Ann of Bologne.
Shteen Ann Boleyn'j last letter to King Henry.
Cotton Lib,« "\TO U R Grace's displeasure, and my OtbaC. 10. < imprisonment are things so strange unto « me, as what to write, or what to excuse, I am alto*- gether ignorant. Whereas you send unto me, (willing me to consess a truth, and to obtain your favour) by *- such an one, whom you know to be mine ancient 'professed enemy, I no sooner received this message by « him, than I rightly conceived your meaning; and, if,
• as you fay, consessing a truth indeed may procure my 'safety, I shall with all willingness and duty perform
* your command.
* But let not your Grace ever imagine, that your «- poor wife will ever be brought to acknowledge a fault, ,