« PreviousContinue »
continued true to her alone, until his marriage with the beautiful Elfrida. *** N° 606. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13.
-Löngum cantu folata laborem,
VIRG, Georg. i. ver. 294.
• Mr. SPECTATOR, : I HAVE a couple of nieces under my direction, *:
who fo often run gadding abroad, that I do not know where to have them. Their dress, • their tea, and their visits, take
all their time, • and they go to bed as tired with doing nothing,
I am after quilting a whole under-petticoat. • The only time they are not idle, is while they ' read your SPECTATORS ;, which being dedio cated to the interests of virtue, I desire you to ."
recommend the long neglected art of needle-work. • Those hours which in this age are thrown away
in dress, play, visits, and the like, were employed, . in my time, in writing out receipts, or working • beds, chairs, and hangings, for the family: For
my part, I have plied my needle thefe fifty years, S and by my good-will would never have it out of my hand. It grieves my heart to see a couple of proud idle flirts fipping their teas for a whole after
noon,. in a great room hung round with the in"dustry of their great-grandmother. Pray, Sir, • take the laudable mystery of embroidery into your
ferious confideration; and, as you have a great I deal of the virtue of the laft age in you, conti.
your endeavours to reform the present. I am, br. S3
; In obedience to the commands of my venerable correspondent, I have duly weighed this important fubject, 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 modesty 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 lurveying heroes flain by their needle, or little Cupids which they have brought into the world without pain !
This is, methinks, the most proper way wherein a Lady can show a fine genius, and I cannot forbear wishing, that several writers of that sex had chosen to apply themselves rather to tapestry than rhime. Your pastoral poetesses may vent their fancy in rural landscapes, and place dispairing shepherds under filken willows, or drown them in a stream of mohair. The heroic writers may work up battles as fuccessfully, and inflame them with gold or stain them with criinfon. Even those who have only a a turn to a fong or an epigram, may put many valurable stitches-into a purse, and croud 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 neverthelefs infist upon her working, if it be only to keep her out of harm's way.
Another argument for bufying good women in works of fancy, is, because it takes them off from fcandal, the usual attendant of tea-tables, and all
other unactive scenes of life. While they are form ing their birds and beaits, their neighbours will be allowed to be fathers of their own children: And Whig and Tory will be but seldom mentioned, where the great dispute is, whether blue or red is the more proper colour. How much greater glory would Sophronia do the General, if the would chuse 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 there pretty arts are encouraged. It is manifeft that this way of life not only keeps fair Ladies from running out into expences, but is at the same time an actual improvement.
How memorable would that matron be, who shall have it inscribed upon her monument, • That the wrought out the whole bible in tapestry, • and died in a good old age, after having covered 6 three hundred yards of wall in the mansion-house.'
The premises being considered, I humbly submit the following proposals to all mothers in Great Britain:
.I. That no young virgin whatsoever be allowed to receive the addreffes of her first lover, but in a fuit of her own embroidering,
II. That before every fresh fervant, she be obliged to appear with a new ftomacher at the least.
III. That no one be actually married until the hath the child-bed 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 needle-work, and make the virgins of Great Britain exceedingly nimblefingered in their business.
There is a memorable custom of the Grecian Ladies in this particular, preferved in Homer, which ! hope will have a very good effect with my countrywomen, 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, loft Ulyffes at fea, The 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 soe gave to every youth:apart,
Thus jbe. Nor did my friends mistrust the guile, ,
press'd on ev'ry fide, Her task be ended, and commenc'd a bride.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15.
Dicite lo Paan, et lo bis dicite Paan :
Ovid. Ars. Am. 1. i. ver. 1.
ANON. · Mr. SPECTATOR, Having in your paper of Monday last publish
ed my report on the case of Mrs Fanny 5 Fickle, wherein I have taken notice, that love
comes after marriage ; I hope your readers are fatisfied of this truth, that as love generally produces matrimony, so it often happens that matrimony produces love. • It perhaps requires niore virtues to make a
good husband or wife, than what go to the • finishing any the most thining character whatsoever.
Discretion seems absolutely neceffary, 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, hath cele• brated him for the just returns of fidelity and • truth to his Penelope; insomuch that he refused • the careffes of a goddefs for her fake, and to use • the exprcfiion of the best of Pagan authors, -ve'trilam suain prætulit immortalitati, his old woman 6 was dearer to hiin than immortality.
Virtue is the next neceffary qualification for this domestic character, as it naturally produces conftancy and mutual esteem. Thus Brutus and Parcia were more remarkable for virtue and af