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«* best offer which shall be made to her. With th«' "prospect she puts off declaring herself in favour of "Faiio, until she sees what lovers will fall into her ** snares, which she lays in all public places with all "the art of gesture and glances. This resolution she "has herself told me: Though I love him better than "life, I would not gain him by betraying Chora; or *' committing such a trespass against modesty, as letting "him know myself that I love him. You are an astro"loger, What'(hall I do?
This Lady has said very justly, that the condition of a woman in love is of all others the most miserable. Poor Diana! how must me be racked with jealousy, when Faiio talks of Chora f how with indignation, when* Chora makes a property of Faiio? A female lover is in, the condition of a ghost, that wanders about its beloved treasure, without power to speak until it is spoken to. I desire Diana to continue in this circumstance; for 1 see an eye of comfort in her case, and will take all proper measures to extricate her out of this unhappy game of cross-purposes. Since Chora is upon the catch with her charms, and has no particular regard for Faiio, I strait place a couple of special fellows in her way, who shall both address to her, and have each a better estate than Faiio. They are both already taken with her, and are preparing for being of her Tetinue the ensuing winter.
To women of this worldly turn, as I apprehend Chora to be, we must reckon backward in cur computation of roerit; and when a fair Lady thinks only of making her spouse a convenient domestic, the notion os wort brand value is altered, and the lover is the more acceptable, the k-ss he is considerable. The two 1 mail throw into the way of Chora, are Orson Thicket and Mr. Walter' Wisdom. Orson is an huntsman, whose father's death,, and some difficulties about legacies, brought out of the woods to town last November. He was at that time one of those country savages, who despise the softness they irteet in town and court; and professedly stiew their strength and roughness in every motion and gesture, in scorn of our bowing and cringing. He was, at his first
appearappearance, very remarkable for that piece os good breeding peculiar to natural Brians, to wit, defiance, and shewed every one he met he was as good a man as he. But in the midst of all this fierceness, he would . sometimes attend the discourse of a man of sense, and look at trie charms of a beauty with his eyes and mouth open. He was in this posture when, in the beginning of last December, he was shot by Cleara from a side-box ■ From that moment he softened into humanity, forgot his dogs and horses, and now moves and speaks with civility and address.
Wat. Wisdom, by the death of an elder brother, came to a great estate, when he had proceeded just far enough, in his studies to be very impertinent, and at the years when the law gives him possession of his fortune, and his? own constitution is too warm for the management of it. Orson is learning to fence and dance, to please and fight for his mistress; and Walter preparing fine horses, and. a jingling chariot, to enchant her. All persons concerned will appear at the next Opera, where will begin the wild-goose chace? and I doubt, Fabia will see himself so over-looked for Orson or Walter, as to turn his eyes on the modest passion and becoming languor in the Countenance of Diana; it being my design to supply yyith the art of love ail those who preserve the sincet« j>assion o»v it.
White's Chocolate-house, November 33.
An ingenious and worthy Gentleman, my ancient friend, fell into discourse with me this evening, upon the force and efficacy which the writings of good Poets, have on the minds of their intelligent readers; and re-j commended to me his sense of the matter, thrown together in the following manner, which he desired me to communicate to the youth of Great-Britain in my Essays j which I choose to do in his own words. »
I have always been of opinion, fays he, that virtue, finks deepest into the heart of man, when it comes recommended by the powerful charms of poetry. Themost active principle in dur mind is the imagination: To it a good Poet makes his court perpetually, and by
this faculty takes care to gain it first. Oar passions and inclinations come over next; and oar reason surrenders itself, with pleasure, in the end. Thus the whole Soul is insensibly betrayed into morality, by bribing the fancy with beautiful and agreeable images of those very things, that in the books of the philosophers appear austere, and have at the best but a kind of forbidden aspect. Id a word, the Poets do, as it were, strew the rough paths of virtue fb full of flowers, that we are not sensible of the uneasiness of them; and imagine ourselves in the midst of pleasures, and the most bewitching allurements, at the time we are making a progress in the severest duties of life.
All men agree, that licentious poems do, of all writings, soonest corrupt the heart: And why should we not be as universally persuaded, that the grave and serious performances of such as write in the most engaging manner, by a kind of divine impulse, must be the most effectual persuasives to goodness? If therefore I were blessed with a son, in order to the forming of his manners, which is making him truly my sen, I should be continually putting into his hand some fine Poet. Th« graceful sentences, and the manly sentiments, so frequently to be met with in every great and sublime writer, are, in my judgment, the most ornamental and valuable furniture that can be for a young Gentleman* head; methinks they shew like so much rich embroidery upon the brain. Let me add to this, that humanity and tenderness, without which there can be no true greatness in the mind, are inspired by the Muses in such pathetical language, that all we find in prose-authors towards the raising and improving of these passions, is, in comparison, but cold, or lukewarm at the best. There is besides a certain elevation of Soul, a sedate magnanimity, and a noble turn of virtue, that distinguishes the Hero from the plain, honest man, to which verse can only raise us. The bold metaphors, and sounding numbers, peculiar to the Poets, rouze up all our sleeping faculties, and alarm the whole powers of the Soul, much like that excellent trumpeter mentioned by Virgil;
■ Quo non prajiantlor alter
Ært citre viros, Martemque accendere cantu.
Virg, Æn. 6. v. 165.
■ None so renown'd With breathing brass to kindle fierce alarms.
I fell into this train of thinking this evening, upon reading a passage in a Mask writ by Milton, where twa brothers are introduced seeking aster their lister, whom they had lost in a dark night and thick wood. One of the brothers is apprehensive lest the wandering virgin mould be over-powered with fears, through the darkness and loneness of the time and place. This gives th« other occasion to make the following reflections, which, as I read them, made me forget my age, and renewed in me the warm desires after virtues, so natural to uacorrupted youth.
I do not think my sister so to seek,
Or so unprincipled in virtue's book,
And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever,
As that the single want of light and noise
(Not being in danger, as I trust (he is not)
Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,
And put them into misbecoming plight.
Virtue could see to do what virtue would
By her own radiant light, though sun and moo*
Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self
Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude:
Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation,
She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings,
That in the various bustle of resort
Were all too ruffled, and sometimes impair'd:
He that has light within his own clear breast,
May sit i' th' center, and enjoy bright day:
But he that hides a dark Soul and foul thoughts,
Benighted walks under the mid-day fun;
Himself is his own dungeon.
Saturday, N° 99. Saturday, November 26, 1709.
■ Spiral Trc.ricum sal is £s?felicittr audit.
Hor. Ep. 1.1. 2. v. 166.
He, fortunately bold, breathes tree Sublime.
WiWt Coftee-house, November 21.
IHave been this evening recollecting what passages, since I could first think, have left the strongest impressions upon my mind; and after strict enquiry, I ank convinced, that the impulses I have received from theatrical representations, have had a greater effect, than otherwise would have been wrought in me by the little occurrences of my private life. My old friends, Hart and Mohun, the one by his natural and proper force, th« other by his great lkill and art, never failed to lend m« Home full of such ideas as affected my behaviour, and made me insensibly more courteous and humane to my friends and acquaintance. It is not the business of a good Play to make every man an hero; but ic certainly gives him a livelier fense of virtue and merit than he had when he entered the theatre.
This rational pleasure, as I always call it, has for many years been very little tasted: But I am glad to find that the true spirit of it is reviving agairi amongst us, by aidue regard to what is presented, and by supportkig only one playhouse. It has been within the observation of the youngest amongst us, that while there were two houses, they did not outvie each Other by such representations as tended to the instruction and ornament of life, but by introducing mimical dances,, and fulsome buffooneries. For when an excellent tragedy was to be acted in one house, the ladder-dancer carried the whose town to the other: And indeed such an evil as this must