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No. XVII. TUESDAY, MARCH 20,
Tetrum antc onmia vultum.
A vilage rough,
SINCE our persons are not of our own making, when
they are fuc as appear defective or uncomely, it is, methinks, an honest and laudable fortitude to dare to be ugly; at least to keep ourselves from being abashed with a consciousnefs of imperfections which we cannot help, and in which there is no guilt. I would not defend an haggard bcau for passing away much time at a glass, and giving foftnesses and languishing graces to deformity; all I intend is, that we ought to be contented with our countenance and lhape, fo far as never to give ourselves aii uneasy reflection on that subject. It is to the ordinary people, iho are not accufiomed to make very proper remarks on any occasion, matter of great jest, if a man enters with a proininent pair of shoulders into an aflembly, or is distinguished by an expansion of mouth, or obliquity of aspect. It is happy for a man that has any of thefe oddnettes about him, if he can be as merry upon himself as others are apt to be upon that occafion; when he can poiicfs hintelf with such a cheerfulness, women and children, who are at first frighted at him, will afterwards be as much pleased with him. As it is barbarous in others to rally him for natural defects, it is extremely agreeable when he can jest upon himself for them.
Madam Maintenon's first husband was an hero in this kind, and has drawn many pleasantries from the irregularity of his shape; which he describes as very much refembling the letter Z. He diverts himfelf likewise, by representing to his reader the make of an engine and pully, with which he used to take off his hat. When there happens to be any thing ridiculous in a visage, and the owner of it thinks it an aspect of dignity, he must be of very great quality to be exempt from raillery: the best
expedient therefore is to be pleasant upon himself. Prince Harry and Falstaff, in Shakespeare, have carried the ridicule upon fat and lean as far as it will go. Faltaff is humorously called Woolfack, Bedpresser, and Hill of Flesh : Harry, a Starvling, an Elves-skin, a Sheath, a Bow-case, and a Tuk. There is, in several incidents of the conversation between them, the jest still kept up upon the perfon. Great tenderness and sensibility in this point is one of the greatest weaknesses of self-love. For my own part. I am a little unhappy in the mold of my face, which is not quite so long as it is broad. Whether this might not partly arise from my opening my mouth much feldomer than other people, and by contequence not to much lengthening the fibres of my visage, I am not at leisure to determine. However it be, I have been often put out of countenance by the shortness of
my face; and was formerly at great pains in concealing it by wearing a perriwig with an high fore-top, and letting my beard grow. But now I have thoroughly got over this delicacy, and could be contented with a much shorter, provided it might qualify me for a meinber of the Me
Club; which the following letrer gives ine an account of. I have received it from Oxford; and as it abounds with the spirit of mirth and good-humour which is natural to that place, I shall set it down word for word as it came
• Most profound Sir, •HAVING been very well entertained in the last of your Speculations that I have yet feen, by your Specia men upon Clubs, which I therefore hope you will
continue, I shall take the liberty to furnith you with a • brief account of such a one as perhaps you have not « seen in all your travels, unless it was your fortune to 'touch upon some of the woody parts of the African
continent, in your voyage to or from Grand Cairo. • There have arole in this university (long since you left • us without saying any thing) leveral of these hcbdoma
dal societies; as the Punning Club, the Witry Club, and, amongst the rest, the Handsome Club; as a bur
lesque upon which, a certain merry species, that seem to have come into the world in masquerade, for joine years last part have associated themselves together, and assumed the name of the Ugly Club. This ill-favoured fraternity consists of a President and twelve Fellows; the choice of which is not confined by patent to any particular foundation (as St. John's Men would have the world believe, and have therefore erected a separate
fociety within themselves) but liberty is left to elect • from any school in Great Britain, provided the candi• dates be within the rules of the Club, as set forth in a • table, intituled, “ The Act of Deformity.” A clause or two of which I shall transmit to you.
1. That no person whatsoever fhall be admitted without a visible queerity in his aspect, or peculiar cast • of countenance; of which the President and Officers • for the time being are to determine; and the President to have the casting-voice.
• II. That a singular regard be had, upon examination, to the gibbosity of the gentlemen that offer themselves
as founders kinsinen; or to the obliquity of their • figure, in what sort soever.
* III. That if the quantity of any man's nose be eminently miscalculated, whether as to length or • breadth, he shall have a just pretence to be elected.
• Lastly, That if there shall be two or more competitors for the fame vacancy, Cecteris paribus, he that has 'the thickest skin to have the preference.
• Every fresh member, upon his first night, is to enter"tain the company with a dish of cod-fith, and a speech • in praise of Æfop; whose portraiture they have in full • proportion, or rather disproportion, over ihe chimney;
and their design is, as soon as their funds are sufficient, to purchase the heads of Therfites, Duns Scotus, Siar
ron, Hudibras, and the old gentleman in Oldham, with • all the celebrated ill faces of antiquity, as furniture for the Club-room.
* As they have always been profeffed admirers of the other sex, so they unanimously declare that they will give all possible encouragement to such as will take the
"benefit of the statute, though none yet have appeared to o do it.
• The worthy President, who is their most devoted champion, has lately shewn me two copies of verses, • composed by a gentleman of this focicty; the first, a
congratulatory ode inscribed to Mrs. Touchwood, upon • she loss of her two fore-teeth; the other a panegyric
upon Mrs. Andiron's left shoulder. Mrs. Vizard, he fays, fince the finall-pox, is grown tolerably ugly, and
a top toast of the Club; but I never heard him to lavish • of his fine things as upon old Nell Trott, who con
ftantly officiates at their table; her he even adores and . extols as the very counterpart of Mother Shipton. In • short, Nell, says he, is one of the extraordinary works 6 of nature; but a; for complexion, shape, and features, • lo valued by others, they are all mere outside and fyan'metry, which is his aversion. Give me leare io add,
that the President is a facetious pleasant gentleman, and • never more to than when he has got (as he calls thein)
his dear Mummers about him; and he often protests it • does him good to meet a fellow with a right genuine • grimace in his air (which is to agrecable in the general
ity of the French nation); and, as an instance of his s fincerity in this particular, he gave me a light of a list in • his pocket book of all of this class, who for thcse five • ycars have fallen under his obfervation, with himself at
the head of them, and in the rear (as one of a promising and improving atpeet)
Oxford, March 12, 1710. R
• Your obliged and
• humble servant, ALEXANDER CARBUNCLE,
No. XVIII. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21.
-- Equitis quoque jam migravit ab aure voluptas
Omnis ad incertos oculos, & gaudia vana. Hor.
IT is my design in this paper to deliver down to pofterity
a faithful account of the Italian Opera, and of the gradual progress which it has made upon the English ftage: for there is no question but our great-grandchildren will be very curious to know the reason why their forefathers used to fit together like an audience of foreigners in their own country, and to hear whole plays acted before them in a tongue which they did not understand.
Arsinoe was the first opera that gave us a taste of Ita-' lian inulic. The great success this opera met with produced fome attempts of forming pieces upon Italian plans, which flould give a more natural and reasonable entertainment than what can be met with in the elaborate triftes of that nation. This alarmed the poetasters and fiddlers of the town, who were uted to deal in a more ordinary kind of ware; and therefore laid down an established rule, which is received as such to this day, “ That "' nothing is capable of being well set to music that is not “ nonsente."
This maxim was no sooner received, but we immediately fell to translating the Italian operas; and as there was no great danger of hurting the sense of those extraordinary pieces, our authors would often make words of their own, which were intirely foreign to the meaning of the pasiages they pretended to translate; their chief care being to make the numbers of the English verse answer to those of the Italian, that both of them might go to the same tune. Thus the famous song in Camilla:
Barbara si t’intendo, &c.