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many others, that I believe think I have 'encouraged « them from my window : but pray let me have your opi« nion of the use of the window in a beautiful lady; and ..how often she may look out at the same man, without • being supposed to have a mind to jump out to him.
• Aurelia Careless, Twice.
« Mr. Spectator, I
Have for some time made love to a lady, who re
ceived it with all the kind returns I ought to expect : • but without any provocation, that I know of, she has of • late shunned me with the utmost abhorrence, insomuch • that she went out of church last Sunday in the midst of • divine service, upon my coming into the same pew. Pray, Sir, what must I do in this business? " Your servant,
Euphues.' Let her alone ten days. · Mr. Spectator,
York, Jan. 20, 1711-12. : WI
E have in this town a sort of people who pre
tend to wit, and write lampoons : I have lately • been the subject of one of them. The scribbler had not • genius enough in verse to turn my age, as indeed I am « an old maid, into raillery, for affecting a youthier turn • than is consistent with my time of day; and therefore • he makes the title of his Madrigal, the character of Mrs.
Judith Lovebane, born in the year 1680. What I • desire of you is, that you disallow that a coxcomb, "who pretends to write verse, fhould put the most maslicious thing he can say in prose. This I humbly con• ceive will disable our country wits, who indeed take a
great deal of pains to say any thing in rhyme, though they say it very ill.
Your humble servant,
« Susanna Lovebane,'
• Mr. Spectator, WF
E are several of us, gentlemen and ladies, who
board in the same house, and after dinner one • of our company, an agreeable man enough otherwise, ' stands up and reads your paper to us all. We are the
civilest people in the world to one another, and therefore • I am forced to this way of defiring our reader, when he • is doing this office, not to stand afore the fire. This ' will be a general good to our family this cold weather. • He will, I know, take it to be our common request • when he comes to these words, “ Pray, Sir, sit down;" • which I desire you to insert, and you will particularly oblige • Your daily reader,
· Charity Frost.' ESIR, I AM a great lover of dancing, but cannot perform fo
well as some others ; however, by my out-of-the-way ' capers, and some original grimaces, I do not fail to divert ' the company, particularly the ladies, who laugh im
moderately all the time. Some, who pretend to be my friends, tell me they do it in derision, and would advise
me to leave it off, withal that I make myself ridiculous. • I do not know what to do in this affair, but I am re• folved not to give over upon any account, until I have the opinion of the Spectator.
• Your humble servant,
• John Trott." IF Mr. Trott is not aukward out of time, he has a right
to he he will interrupt others; and I am of opinion he should fit still. Given under my hand this fifth of February, 1711-12.
Saturday, February 9,
-velut A Egregio in perfos reprendas corpore navos.
Hor. Sat.-6. lib. 1. ver. 66.. As perfect beauties often have a mole. CREECH.
I shall enter on the subject of this without further preface, and remark the several defects which appear in the fable, the characters, the sentiments, and the language of Milton's Paradise Lost; not doubting but the reader will pardon me, if I alledge at the same time whatever may be said for the extenuation of such defects. The first imperfection which I shall observe in the fable is, that the event of it is unhappy.
The fable of every poem is, according to Aristotle's division, either simple or implex. It is called simple when there is no change of fortune in it; implex, when the fortune of the chief actor changes from bad to good, or from good to bad. The implex fable is thought the most perfect ; I suppose, because it is more proper to ftir up the passions of the reader, and to surprise him with a greater variety of accidents.
The implex fable is therefore of two kinds ; in the first the chief actor makes his way through a long series of dangers and difficulties, until he arrives at honour and prosperity, as we see in the story of Ulysses. In the fecond, the chief actor in the poem falls from some eminent pitch of honour and prosperity, into misery and disgrace. Thus we see Adam and Eve sinking from a state of innocence and happiness, into the most abject condition of fin and sorrow.
The most taking tragedies among the ancients, were built on this laft fort of implex fable, particularly the tragedy of Edipus, which proceeds upon a story, if we may believe Aristotle, the most proper for tragedy that could be
invented by the wit of man. I have taken some pains in a former paper to shew, that this kind of implex fable, wherein the event is unhappy, is more apt to affect án audience than that of the first kind; notwithstanding many excellent pieces among the ancients, as well as most of those which have been written of late years in our own country, are raised upon contrary plans. I must however own, that I think this kind of fable, which is the most perfect in tragedy, is not so proper
for an heroic poem. Milton seems to have been fenfible of this imperfection in his fable, and has therefore endeavoured to cure it by several expedients; particularly by the mortification which the great adversary of mankind meets with upon his return to the assembly of infernal spirits, as it is described in a beautiful passage of the tenth book; and likewise by the vision wherein Adam at the close of the poem sees his offspring triumphing over his great enemy, and himself restored to a happier Paradise than that from which he fell.
There is another objection against Milton's fable, which is indeed almost the same with the former, though placed in a different light, namely, that the hero in the Paradise Lost is unsuccessful, and by no means a match for his enemies. This gave occasion to Mr. Dryden's reflexion, that the devil was in reality Milton's hero. I think I have obviated this objection in my first paper. The Paradise Loft is an epic or a narrative poem, and he that looks for an héro in it, searches for that which Milton never intended; but if he will needs fix the name of an hero upon any person in it, it is certainly the Messiah who is the hero, both in the principal action, and in the chief episode, Paganism could not furnish out a real action for a fable greater than that of the Iliad or Æneid, and therefore an heathen could not form an higher notion of a poem than one of that kind, which they call an heroic. Whether Milton's is not of a sublimer nature I will not presume to determine: it is sufficient that I shew there is in the Paradife Loft all the greatness of plan, regularity of design, and masterly beauties which we discover in Homer and Virgil.
Imust in the next place observe, that Milton has interwoven in the texture of his fable some particulars which do not seem to have probability enough for an epic poem... particularly in the actions which he ascribes to fin and
death, and the picture which he draws of the Limbo of Vanity, with other passages in the second book. Sech allegories rather favour of the spirit of Spenser and Ariosto, than of Homer and Virgil.
In the structure of his poem he has likewise admitted too many digreffions. It is finely observed by Aristotle, that the author of an heroic poem thould feldom speak himself, but throw as much of his work as he can into the mouths of those who are his principal actors. Aristotle has given no reason for this precept: bu: I presume it is because the mind of the reader is more awed and elevated when he heirs Æneas or Achilles speak, than when Virgil or Homer talk in their own persons. Besides, that assuming the character of an eminent man is apt to fire the imagination, and raise the ideas of the authcr. Tully tells us, mentioning his dialogue of old age, in which Cato is the chief spe:iker, that upon a review of it he was agreeably imposed upon, and fancied that it was Cato and not he himself, who uttered his thoughts on that fubject.
If the reader would be at the pains to see how the story of the Iliad and the Æneid is delivered by those persons who acr in it, he will be surprised to find how little in either of these poems proceeds from the authors. Milton has, in the general disposition of his fable, very finely observed this great rule; insomuch, that there is scarce a third part of it which comes from the poet; the rest is spoken either by Adam and Eve, or by some good or evil spirit who is engaged either in their destruction or defence.
From what has been here observed it appears, that digressions are by no means to be allowed of in an epic poem. If the poet, even in the ordinary course of his narration, should speak as little as poifible, he should certainly never let his narration sleep for the sake of any reflexions of his own. I have often observed, with a secret admiration, that the longest reflexicn in the lineid is in that passage of the tenth book, where Turnus is represented as dressing himself in the spoils of Pallas, whom he had llain. Virgil here lets his fable stand still for the sake of the following remark. " How is the inind of man “ ignorant of futurity, and unable to bear prosperous c. fortune with moderation! The time will come when 6. Turnus shall with that he had left the body of