Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

proper way, when they assume these odd manners. But of other Authors 'tis expected they shou'd be better bred. They are oblig'd to preserve a moro conversible Habit; which is no small misfortune to 'em. For if their Meditation and Resvery be obstructed by the fear of a nonconforming Mein in Conversation, they may happen to be so much the worse Authors for being finer Gentlemen. Their Fervency of gi. nation may possibly be as strong as either the Philosopher's or the Poet's. But being deny'd an equal Benefit of Discharge, and with-held from the wholesom manner of Relief in private; 'tis no wonder if they appear with so much Froth and Scum in publick.

'Tis observable, that the writers of MEMOIRS and Essays are chiefly subject to this frothy Distemper. Nor can it be doubted that this is the true Reason why these Gentlemen entertain the World so lavishly with what relates to themselves. For having had no opportunity of privately conversing with themselves, or exercising their own Genius, so as to make Acquaintance with it, or prove its Strength : they immediately fall to work in a wrong place, and exhibit on the Stage of the World that Practice, which they shou'd have kept to themselves; if they design'd that either they, or the World, shou'd be the better for their Moralitys. Who indeed can endure to hear an Empirick talk of his own Constitution, how he governs and manages it, what Diet agrees best with it, and what his Practice is with himself? The Proverb, no doubt, is very just, Physician cure thy-self. Yet methinks one shou'd have but an ill time, to be present at these bodily Operations. Nor is the Reader in truth any better entertain'd,' when he is oblig'd to assist at the experimental Discussions of his practising Author, who all the while is in reality doing no better, than taking his physick in publick.

For this reason, I hold it very indecent for anyone to publish his Meditations, Occasional Reflections, Solitary Thoughts, or other such Exercises as come under the notion of this self-discoursing Practice. And the modestest Title I can conceive for such Works, wou'd be that of a certain Author, who call'd them his Cruditys. 'Tis the Unhappiness of those Wits, who conceive suddenly, but without being able to go out their full time, that after many Miscarriages and Abortions, they can bring nothing well-shapen or perfect into the World. They are not however the less fond of their Off-spring, which in a manner they beget in publick. For so publick-spirited they are, that they can never afford themselves the least time to think in private, for their own particular benefit and use. For this reason, tho they are often retir'd, they are never by themselves. The World is ever of the Party. They have their Author-Character in view, and are always considering how this or that Thought wou'd serve to compleat some Set of Contemplations, or furnish out the Common-Place-Book, from whence these treasur'd Riches are to flow in plenty on the necessitous World.

But if our Candidates for Authorship happen to be of the sanctify'd kind; 'tis not to be imagin'd how much further still their Charity is apt to extend. So exceeding great is their Indulgence and Tenderness for Mankind, that they are unwilling the least Sample of their devout Exercise shou'd be lost. Tho there are already so many Formularys and Rituals appointed for this Species of Soliloquy ; they can allow nothing to lie conceal'd, which passes in this religious Commerce and way of Dialogue between them and their Soul.

These may be term'd a sort of Pseudo-Asceticks, who can have no real Converse either with themselves, or with Heaven; whilst they look thus a-squint upon the World, and carry Titles and Editions along with 'em in their Meditations.

And altho the Books of this sort, by a common Idiom, are call'd good Books ; the Authors, for certain, are a sorry Race: For religious Cruditys are undoubtedly the worst of any. A Saint-Author of all Men least values Politeness. He scorns to confine that Spirit, in which he writes, to Rules of Criti. cism and profane Learning. Nor is he inclin'd in any respect to play the Critick on himself, or regulate his Style or Lan. guage by the Standard of good Coinpany, and People of the better sort. He is above the Consideration of that which in a narrow sense we call Manners. Nor is he apt to examine any other faults than those which he calls Sins : Tho a Sinner against Good-Breeding, and the Laws of Decency, will no more be esteem'd a good Author, than will a Sinner against Grammar, good Argument, or good Sense. And if Moderation and Temper are not of the Party with a Writer; let his Cause be ever so good, I doubt whether he will be able to recommend it with great advantage to the World.

On this account, I wou'd principally recommend our Exercise of Self-Conrerse to all such Persons as are addicted to write after the manner of holy Advisers ; especially if they lie under an indispensible Necessity of being Talkers or Haranguers in the same kind. For to discharge frequently and vehemently in publick, is a great hindrance to the way of private Exercise; which consists chiefly in Controul. But where, instead of Controul, Debate or Argument, the chief Exercise of the Wit consists in uncontroulable Harangues and Reasonings, which must neither be question'd nor contradicted: there is great danger, lest the Party, thro’ this Habit, shou'd suffer much by Cruditys, Indigestions, Choler, Bile, and particularly by a certain Tumour or Flatulency, which renders him of all Men the least able to apply the wholesom Regimen of Self-Practice. 'Tis no wonder if such quaint Practitioners grow to an enormous size of Absurdity, whilst they continue in the reverse of that Practice, by which alone we correct the Redundancy of Humours, and chasten the Exuberance of Conceit and Fancy.

A REMARKABLE Instance of the want of this sovereign Remedy may be drawn from our common great Talkers, who engross the greatest part of the Conversations of the World, and are the forwardest to speak in publick Assemblys. Many of these have a sprightly Genius, attended with a mighty Heat and Ebullition of Fancy. But 'tis a certain observation in our Science, that they who are great Talkers in Company, have never been any Talkers by themselves, nor us'd to these private Discussions of our home Regimen. For which reason their Froth abounds. Nor can they discharge any thing without some mixture of it. But when they carry their attempts beyond ordinary Discourse, and wou'd rise to the Capacity of Authors, the Case grows worse with 'em. Their Page can carry none of the Advantages of their person. They can no-way bring into Paper those Airs they give themselves in Discourse. The turns of Voice and Action, with which they help out many a lame Thought and incoherent Sentence, must here be laid aside ; and the Speech taken to pieces, compar'd together and examin'd from head to foot. So that unless the Party has been us’d to play the Critick thorowly upon himself, he will hardly be found proof against the Criticisms of others. His thoughts can never appear very correct; unless they have been us'd to sound Correction by themselves, and been well-form'd and disciplin'd before they are brought into the Field. 'Tis the hardest thing in the world to be a good Thinker, without being a strong SelfExaminer, and thorow-pac'd Dialogist, in this solitary way.

When the third Earl of Shaftesbury died, aged forty-four, Alexander Pope was

a young man of








five-and-twenty. Pope was born in 1688, and On the 12th of March, 1713, Richard Steele, who educated as a Roman Catholic. By that faith-the had issued the last number of his Spectator on the faith of his parents—he abided to the last, resenting 6th of December, 1712, began The Guardian, another the persecution that it suffered in his time, although series of daily essays. In this, as the political quesindifferent as to its dogmas. In 1709, at the age tions of the day became more urgent, he was to be of twenty-one, Pope had in the sixth part of the free to speak his mind upon them, and so use his “Poetical Miscellanies," published by Jacob Tonson, pen as guardian of the liberties obtained by the several of his pieces printed. There was “ January | English Revolution, though he associated the name and May ; or, The Merchant's Tale, from Chaucer, of the paper, as usual, with a distinct character, Mr. by Mr. Alexander Pope." There was "The Episode Nestor Ironside, guardian to the Lizard family. In of Sarpedon, translated from the Twelfth and Six- some early numbers of The Guardian appeared a teenth Books of Homer's “Iliad,' by Mr. Alexander short series of papers upon pastoral poetry. Pope Pope.” The same volume opened with Pastorals, saw in them the hand of Addison's henchman, by Mr. Philips,” and closed with “Pastorals, by Thomas Tickell, and was nettled to find that they Mr. Alexander Pope.” It also included lines “ To closed with much praise of the pastorals of Addison's the Author of Rosamond,” an opera, by Mr. Tickell ; | friend, Ambrose Philips, and no mention of his, that and two poems, one by Wycherley in praise of the had appeared in the same volume, unless by a distant genius of young Pope. Now the “ Pastorals” by allusion that might be taken for disapprobation of Mr. Philips were by Ambrose Philips, who was their form. Pope then asked and obtained leave of seventeen years older than Pope, a man of Addison's Steele to add one paper to the series, and No. 40 of age, and a most intimate friend of Addison's. Thomas The Guardian contained accordingly, from Pope's Tickell was a young man who first won Addison's hand, the following ironical comparison between goodwill by praising the worst piece he wrote—the opera of “Rosamond ”—and who soon became, as Pope afterwards considered, Addison's familiar hench

PASTORALS man. The “Pastorals” of Philips in the “Miscellany”

Compulerantque greges Corydon and Thyrsis in unum : were prefaced by a few words in commendation of

illo Corydon, Corydon est tempore nobis.

VIRG, Ecl. 7. v. 2 and ult. pastoral poetry, which named Spenser with Virgil, and they were to a certain extent based on appre

Their sheep and goats togetber graz'd the plainsciation of Spenser's “Shepherd's Calendar," with

Since when ? 'tis Corydon amoug the swains,

Young Corydon without a rival reigus.-DRYDEN. Colinet, Thenot-names taken by Spenser from Clement Marot Lanquet, and Hobbinol among I designed to have troubled the reader with no farther the shepherds, and Hobbinol in love with Rosa- discourses of Pastorals, but being informed that I am taxed lind. Pope's “ Pastorals," one for each of the four of partiality in not mentioning an author, whose eclogues seasons, were, on the contrary, entirely inspired by are published in the sume volume with Mr. Philips's; I shall the ancients. Damon, Strephon, Daphnis, Alexis, employ this paper in observations upon him, written in the Lycidas, and Thyrsis were the shepherds. If, theo- free spirit of criticism, and without apprehension of offendretically, Ambrose Philips was right in seeking escape ing the gentleman, whose character it is, that he takes the from the weak French-classical style by following greatest care of his works before they are published, and has one of our own great poets of a stronger time, there

the least concern for them afterwards. was practically one difficulty in his way–he was not I have laid it down as the first rule of pastoral, that its himself a great poet, and he followed Spenser feebly

idea should be taken from the manners of the Golden Age, at a distance. If, theoretically, Pope was wrong in

and the moral form'd upon the representation of innocence; following the devices of an age that called itself

'tis therefore plain that any deviations from that design Augustan, and deserves to keep the name if we now

degrade a poem from being true pastoral. In this view it take it to mean that the reign of Queen Anne was

will appear that Virgil can only have two of his eclogues distinguished in literature by a great deal of weak

allowed to be such: His first and ninth must be rejected, cant about Augustus, there was practically one ad

because they describe the ravages of armies, and oppressions

of the innocent; Corydon's criminal passion for Alexis vantage in his case, that he was himself a poet.

throws out the second; the calumny and railing in the third In 1711 Pope's “Essay on Criticism ” appeared, and

are not proper to that state of concord; the eighth represents Addison, in a paper of The Spectator, made its worth known throughout the country. Pope was grateful,

unlawful ways of procuring love by enchantments, and in.

troduces a shepherd whom an inviting precipice tempts to and contributed to The Spectator his “ Messiah," a

self-murder, As to the fourth, sixth, and tenth, they are piece of right “ Augustan” ingenuity, showing how


given up by Heinsius, Salmasius, Rapin, and the critics in very much Isaiah was like Virgil. Such evidence

general. They likewise observe that but eleven of all the of the politeness of the prophet must in Queen Idyllia of Theocritus are

Idyllia of Theocritus are to be admitted as pastorals; and Anne's day greatly have commended him to the

even out of that number, the greater part will be excluded attention of the virtuoso. In the same year, 1712, for one or other of the reasons above-mentioned. So that Pope's age being twenty-four, Pope published in when I remark'd in a former paper, that Virgil's eclogues, Lintot's “Miscellany” a translation of the first book takon all together, are rather Select Poems than Pastorals; of the “ Thebaid of Statius, and that daintiest of I might have said the same thing, with no less truth, of mock heroics, “The Rape of the Lock," in its first Theocritus. The reason of this I take to be yet unobserved form, of which the two Cantos were afterwards (in by the critics, viz., “They never meant them all for pas1714) expanded to five, with addition of the “ torals.” Which it is plain Philips hath done, and in that chinery” of sylphs and gnomes.

particular excelled both Theocritus and Virgil.

[ocr errors]

Our other pastoral writer, in expressing the same thought, deviates into downright poetry.

Streph. In spring the fields, in autumn hills I love,
At morn the plains, at noon the shady grove,
But Delia always; forc'd from Delia's sight,
Nor plains at iorn, nor groves at noon delight.

Daph. Sylvia's like autumn ripe, yet mild as May,
More bright than noon, yet fresh as early day;
Ev'n spring displeases when she shines not here:

But blest with her, 'tis spring throughout the year. In the first of these authors, two shepherds thus innocently describe the behaviour of their mistresses.

to fly;

[ocr errors]

As simplicity is the distinguishing characteristick of pastoral, Virgil has been thought guilty of too courtly a stile : His language is perfectly pure, and he often forgets he is among peasants. I have frequently wondered that since he was so conversant in the writings of Ennius, he had not imitated the rusticity of the Doric, as well, by the help of the old obsolete Roman language, as Philips hath by the antiquated English: For example, might he not have said Quoi instead of Cui; Quoijum for Cujum ; volt for vult, &c., as well as our modern hath Welladay for Alas, Whilome for of old, make mock for deride, and witless younglings for simple lambs, &c., by which means he had attained as much of the air of Theocritus, as Philips hath of Spenser.

Mr. Pope hath fallen into the same error with Virgil. His clowns do not converse in all the simplicity proper to the country: His names are borrowed from Theocritus and Virgil, which are improper to the scene of his pastorals. He introduces Daphnis, Alexis and Thyrsis on British plains, as Virgil had done before him on the Mantuan : whercas Philips, who hath the strictest regard to propriety, makes choice of names peculiar to the country, and more agrecable to a reader of delicacy ; such as Hobbinol, Lobbin, Cuddy, and Colin Clout.

So easy as pastoral writing may seem (in the simplicity we have described it), yet it requires great reading, both of the ancients and moderns, to be a master of it. Philips hath given us manifest proofs of his knowledge of books; it must be confessed his competitor hath imitated some single thoughts of the ancients well enough, if we consider he had not the happiness of an university education; but he hath dispersed them here and there, without that order and method which Mr. Philips observes, whose whole third pastoral is an instance how well he hath studied the fifth of Virgil, and how judiciously reduced Virgil's thoughts to the standard of pastoral; as his contention of Colin Clout and the Nightingale, shows with what exactness he hath imitated Strada.

When I remarked it as a principal fault to introduce fruits and flowers of a foreign growth in descriptions where the scene lies in our country, I did not design that observation should extend also to animals, or the sensitive life; for Philips hath with great judgment described wolves in England in his first pastoral. Nor would I have a poet slavishly confine himself as Mr. Pope hath done) to one particular season of the year, one certain time of the day, and one unbroken scene in each eclogue. 'Tis plain Spenser neglected this pedantry, who in his pastoral of November mentions the mournful song of the nightingale.

Hobb, As Marian bath'd, by chance I passed by;
She blush'd, and at me cast a side-long eye:
Then swift beneath the crystal wave she try'd
Her beauteous form, but all in vain, to hide.

Lang. As I to cool me bath'd one sultry day,
Fond Lydia lurking in the sedges lay,
The wanton langh'd, and seem'd in hast

Yet often stopp'd and often turu'd her eye. The other modern (who it must be confessed hath a knack of versifying) hath it as follows.

Streph. Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain,
Then, hid in shades, eludes her eager swain
But feigus a laugh, to see me search around,
And by that langh the willing fair is found.

Daph. The sprightly Sylvia trips along the green ;
She runs, but hopes she does not run unseen ;
While a kind glance at her pursuer flies,

How much at variance are her feet and eyes ! There is nothing the writers of this kind of poetry are fonder of, than descriptions of pastoral presents. Philips says thus of a sheephook.

Of season'd elm ; where studs of brass appear,
To speak the giver's name, the month and year,
The hook of polish'd steel, the handle turn'd,

And richly by the graver's skill adorn'd.
The other of a bowl embossed with figures,

where wanton ivy twines,
And swelling elusters bend the curling vines;
Four figures rising from the work appear,
The various seasons of the rolling year ;
And what is that which binds the radiant sky,

Where twelve bright signs in beauteous order lie. The simplicity of the swain in this place, who forgets the name of the Zodiack, is no ill imitation of Virgil ; but how much more plainly and unaffectedly would Philips have dressed his thought in his Doric ?

And what that height, which girds the Welkin sheen,

Where twelve gay sigus in meet array are seen. If the reader would indulge his curiosity any farther in the comparison of particulars, he may read the first pastoral of Philips with the second of his contemporary, and the fourth and sixth of the former, with the fourth and first of the latter; where several parallel places will occur to every

Sad Philomel her song in tears doth steep

And Mr. Philips, by a poetical creation, hath raised up finer beds of flowers than the most industrious gardener; his roses, lilies, and daffodils blow in the same season.

But the better to discover the merits of our two contemporary pastoral writers, I shall endeavour to draw a parallel of them, by setting several of their particular thoughts in the same light, whereby it will be obvious how much Philips hath the advantage. With what simplicity he introduces two shepherds singing alternately :


Hobl. Come, Rosaliud, O come, for without thee
What pleasure can the country have for me?
Come, Rosalind, 0 come: my brinded kine,
My snowy sheep, my farm, and all is thine.

Lang. Come, Rosalind, 0 come; here shady bowers,
Here are cool fountains, and here springing flow'rs.
Come, Rosalind; here ever let us stay,
And sweetly waste our live-long time away.

Having now shown some parts, in which these two writers may be compared, it is a justice I owe to Mr. Philips, to discover those in which no man can compare with him. First, that beautiful rusticity, of which I shall only produce two instances, out of a hundred not yet quoted.

O woful day! O day of woe, quoth he,

And woful I, who live the day to see! That simplicity of diction, the melancholy flowing of the numbers, the solemnity of the sound, and the easy turn of the words, in this Dirge (to make use of our author's expression) are extremely clegant.


In another of his pastorals a shepherd utters a Dirge not I am loth to shew my fondness for antiquity so far as to much inferior to the former, in the following lines,

prefer this ancient British author to our present English Ah me the while! ah me, the luckless day!

writers of pastoral; but I cannot avoid making this obvious Ah luckless lad, the rather might I say;

remark, that both Spenser and Philips have hit into the same Ah silly Il more silly than my sheep,

road with this old West Country Bard of ours. Which on the flow'ry plains I once did keep.

After all that hath been said, I hope none can think it any How he still charms the ear with these artful repetitions of

injustice to Mr. Pope, that I forebore to mention him as a the epithets; and how significant is the last verse! I defy pastoral writer; since upon the whole he is of the same class the most common reader to repeat them without feeling some with Moschus and Bion, whom we have excluded that rank ; motions of compassion.

and of whose eclogues, as well as some of Virgil's, it may be In the next place I shall rank his Proverbs, in which I said, that according to the description we have given of this formerly observed he excels: For example,

sort of Poetry, they are by no means Pastorals, but “

thing better.”
A rolling stone is ever bare of moss ;
And, to their cost, green years old proverbs cross.
He that late lies down, as late will rise,

Steele's Guardian appeared for the last time on
And, sluggard-like, till noon-day snoring lies.
Against ill-luck all cunning foresight fails ;

the 1st of October, 1713, when danger of a reaction Whether we sleep or wake it nought avails.

toward absolutism, which was by no means ima-Nor fear, from upright sentence, wrong.

ginary, pressed so much upon Steele's mind that he Lastly his elegant dialect, which alone might prove him the

gave himself entirely to the momentous questions eldest born of Spenser, and our only true Arcadian, I should

of the day. On the 6th of October he began The think it proper for the several writers of pastoral, to confine Englishman, which lasted until the 15th of February, themselves to their several counties : Spenser seems to have

1714. In that month he entered Parliament as been of this opinion; for he hath laid the scene of one of his

member for Stockbridge, in Dorset, and published a pastorals in Wales, where, with all the simplicity natural pamphlet called “The Crisis,” which endeavoured to to that part of our island, one shepherd bids the other Good- defend the settlement of the Crown by the Revolumorrow in an unusual and elegant manner.

tion. He did this, not by attack upon those who would Diggon Davy, I bid hur God-day:

be glad to see the Stuarts back, but by a very clear Or Diggon hur is, or I mis-say.

and temperate setting forth of what was gained by Diggon answers,

the Revolution, with recital at large of the Acts of Hur was hur while it was day-ligbt;

Settlement of the respective Crowns of England and But now hur is a most wretched wight, &c.

Scotland, and of the Act of the 12th and 13th years

of William III. “ for the further Limitation of the But the most beautiful example of this kind that I ever met with, is a very valuable piece which I chanced to find

Crown, and better securing the Rights and Liberties among some old manuscripts, entitled, “ A Pastoral Ballad;

of the Subjects,” of other Acts bearing on the settlewhich I think, for its nature and simplicity, may (notwith

ment of the English Crown, and of the articles of the standing the modesty of the title) be allowed a perfect

Act for a union of the two kingdoms of England pastoral : It is composed in the Somersetshire dialect, and

and Scotland, which received Royal Assent in the the names such as are proper to the country people. It may

fifth year of the reign of Anne. This pamphlet was be observed, as a farther beauty of this pastoral, the words suggested by a lawyer, who supplied its materials. Nymph, Dryad, Naiad, Fawn, Cupid, or Satyr, are not once It was submitted before publication to Addison and mentioned through the whole. I shall make no apology

to Whig statesmen for revision, pains being taken to for inserting some few lines of this excellent piece. Cicily make it simply a full and exact statement of facts to breaks thus into the subject, as she is going a milking;

the people who might be misled through ignorance. Cicily. Rager go vetch tha 'kee, or else tha zun

But party-spirit then was passionate. There was a Will quite be go, be vore c'have half a don.

Tory majority in the House of Commons, and for the Roger. Thou shouldst not ax ma tweece, but I've a be writing of " The Crisis” it expelled Steele from the To dreave our bull to bull tha parson's kee.

House on the 18th of March, 1714, by a majority of It is to be observed, that this whole dialogue is formed upon 245 to 152. It is difficult to say how far reaction the passion of jealousy ; and his mentioning the parson's might have gone if there had been no men bold as kine naturally revives the jealousy of the shepherdess Cicily, Steele to challenge it, or to what issue dealings with which she expresses as follows:

the Pretender might ultimately have been brought Cicily. Ah Rager, Rager, chez was zore avraid

had there been time for those who sought it to work When in yond vield you kiss'd tha parson's maid:

on towards the re-establishment of Stuart rule. But Is this the love that once to me you zed Wben from the wake thou broughtst me ginger-bread ?

the Queen died somewhat suddenly on the 1st of Roger. Cicily thou charg'st me false-I'll zwear to thee, August, 1714. Tha parson's maid is still a maid for me.

His interest in a struggle on which so much of the In which answer of his are express'd at once that “Spirit

future of England seemed to depend did not prevent of Religion," and that " Innocence of the Golden Age,” so

Steele from issuing in this year a “ Ladies' Library,” necessary to be observed by all writers of pastoral.

designed to aid in deepening the characters of women At the conclusion of this piece, the author reconciles the

and lifting them out of the frivolity that came of lovers, and ends the eclogue the most simply in the world.

their misdirected or neglected education. In Tatler, So Rager parted vor to vetch tha kee,

Spectator, and Guardian, he had sought, and Addison And vor her bucket in went Cicily.

had joined in his endeavour, to discredit fashionable

affectations among men that had come down out of 1 That is the kine or cows.

the days of Charles II., and were inconsistent with our

[ocr errors]

English reverence for home. The steady genial labour in aid of the establishment of woman as man's equal companion in life, the playful kindliness of satire that discouraged vanities and follies, and the noble

believed from their general and undistinguished aspersions that many of these men had any such relations as mothers, wives or sisters ; one of them makes a lover say in a tragedy,

Thou art woman, a true copy of the first,
In whom the race of all mankind was curst:
Your sex by beauty was to heaven ally'd,
But your great lord, the devil, taught you pride.
He too, an angel, till he durst rebel,
And you are, sure, the stars that with him fell.
Weep on! a stock of tears like vows you have,
And always ready when you would deceive.

OTWAY'S “Don Carlos."
Another says,

-Thy all is but a shew,
Rather than solid virtue ; all but a rib,
Crooked by Nature. Oh! why did God,
Creator wise, that peopled highest heaven
With spirits masculine, create at last
This novelty on earth ? this fair defect
Of nuture, and not fill the world at once
With men, as angels, without feminine,
Or find some other way to generate mankind ?

And a third,

Ah traitress! Ah ingrate ; Ah faithless mind!
Ah sex, invented first to damn mankind !
Nature took care to dress you up for sin ;
Adorn'd without, unfinish'd left within :
Hence by no judgment you your love direct;
Talk much, ne'er think, and still the wrong affect.
So much self-love in your composure's mix'd,
That love to others still remains unfis'd;
Greatness, and noise, and shew are your delight.
Yet wise men love you in their own despight :
And, finding in their native wit no ease,
Are forc'd to put your folly on to please.

DryDEN'S " Aureugzebe."

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

I shall conclude poetical testimonies to our disadvantage with one quotation more,

Intolerable vanity! Your sex
Was never in the right : you're always false.
Or silly; ev'n your dresses are not more
Fantastick than your appetites : you think
Of nothing twice: opinion you have none :
To day you're nice, to morrow not so free ;
Now smile, then frown, now sorrowful, then glad,
Now pleas'd, now not, and all you know not why.
Virtue you affect; inconstancy you practise ;
And when your loose desires once get dominion,
No hungry churl feeds coarser at a feast :
Every rank fool goes down.

Orway's "Orphan." It may be said for these writings, that there is something perhaps in the character of those that speak, which would circumstantiate the thing so as not to make it a reproach upon women as such. But to this it may be easily and justly answer'd, that if the author had right sentiments of woman in general, he might more emphatically aggravate an ill character, by comparison of an ill to an innocent and virtuous one, than by general calumnies without exception.

But I leave authors, who are so mean as to desire to please by falling in with corrupt imaginations, rather than affect a just tho' less extensive esteem by labouring to rectifie our affections by reason; of which number are the greater part of those who have succeeded in poetry, either in verse or prose on the stage.

When I apply myself to my French reading, I find women are still worse in proportion to the greater warmth of the climate ; and according to the descriptions of us in the wits of that nation, tho' they write in cool thought, and in prose, by way of plain opinion, we are made up of affectation, coquettry, falsehood, disguise, treachery, wantonness,


INTRODUCTION TO THE LADIES' LIBRARY. Being by nature more inclined to such enquiries as by general custom my sex is debarr'd from, I could not resist a strong propensity to reading; and having flattered myself that what I read dwelt with improvement upon my mind, I could not but conclude that a due regard being had to different circumstances of life, it is a great injustice to shut books of knowledge from the eyes of women.

Musing one day in this tract of thought, I turned over some books of French and English, written by the most polite writers of the age, and began to consider what account they gave of our composure, different from that of the other sex. But indeed, when I dipped into those writings, were it possible to conceive otherwise, I could not have

« ZurückWeiter »