« PreviousContinue »
It is certainly the greatest honour we can do our country, to distinguish strangers of merit who apply to us with modesty and diffidence, which generally accompanies merit. No opportunity of this kind ought to be neglected ; and a modeft behaviour should alarm us to examine whether we do not lose something excellent under that disadvantage in the poffeffor of that quality. My skill in paintings, where one is not directed by the passion of the pictures, is fo inconsiderable, that I am in very great perplexity when I offer to speak of any performances of painters of landskapes, buildings, or single figures. This makes me at a loss how to mention the pieces which Mr. Boul exposes to sale by auction on Wednesday next in Shandois-street: But having heard him commended by those who have bought of him heretofore for great integrity in his dealing, and overheard him himself (though a laudable painter) say, Nothing of his own was fit to come into the room with those he had to fell, I feared I fhould lose an occasion of serving a man of worth, in omitting to speak of his auction.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20.
εγώ τι παθω και τι και δύσσος»; ουχ υπακούεις Τα βαίταν αποδυς είς κύματα τηνα αλεύμαι *Ωπες τώς θύννως σκοπιαζεται 'Oλπις ο γριπες. Κήκα μη 'ποθάνω, το γε μαν τεόν αδυ τέτυκλαι.
THEOCR. IN my last Thurfday's paper I made mention of a
place called The Lover's Leap, which I find has raised a great curiosity among several of my correrpondents. I there told them that this leap was ufed to be taken from a promontory of Leucas. This Leucas was formerly a part of Acarnania, being joined to it by a narrow neck of land, which the sea
has by length of time overflowed and washed away; so that at present Leucas is divided from the continent, and is a little island in the Ionian fea. The promontory of this island, from whence the lover took his leap, was formerly called Leucate. If the reader has a mind to know both the island and the promontory by their modern titles, he will find in his map the ancient island of Laucas under the name of St. Mauro, and the ancient promontory of Laucate under the name of The Cape of St. Mauro.
Since I am engaged thus far in antiquity, I must observe that Theocritus in the motto prefixed to my paper, describes one of his despairing shepherds addressing himself to his mistress after the following manner : Alas! What will become of me! Wretch that I am ! Will you not hear me? I will throw off my clothes, and take a leap into that part of the sea which is so much frequented by Olphis the fisherman. And though I sbould escape with my life, I know you will be pleased with it. I shall leave it with the criticks to determine whether the place, which this Thepherd fo particularly points out, was not the a. bove-mentioned Leucate, or at least some other Lover's Leap, which was supposed to have had the fame effect. I cannot believe, as all the interpreters do, that the thepherd means fomething farther here than that he would drown himself, since he represents the issue of his leap as doubtful, by adding, That if he should escape with life, he knows his mistress would be pleased with it ; which is according to our interpretation, that she would rejoice a. ny way to get rid of a Lover who was so troublefome to her.
After this short preface, I Mall present my reader with some letters which I have received upon this subject. The first is sent me by a physician.
« Mr. SPECTATOR, : THE Lover's Leap, which you mention in your
223d paper, was generally, I believe, a very • effectual cure for Love, and not only for Love,
but for all other evils. In short, Sir, I am a. • fraid it was such a leap as that which Hero took
rid of lier passion for Leander. A man is • in no danger of breaking his heart, who breaks : his neck to prevent it. I know very well the
wonders which ancient authors relate concerning • this leap; and in particular, that very many per.
fons who tried it, escaped not only with their s lives but their limbs. If by this means they got ' rid of their Love, though it may be abfcribed to " the reasons you give for it; why may not we sup
pose that the cold bath into which they plunged " themselves, had also some share in their cure? A
leap into the sea or into any creek of salt waters, very
often gives a new motion to the spirits, and a new turn to the blood; for which reason we
prescribe it in distempers which no oiher medi• cine will reach. I could produce a quotation • out of a very venerable author, in which the < frenxy produced by Love, is compared to that • which is produced by the biting of a mad dog. • But as this comparison is a little too course for
your paper, and might look as if it were cited to • ridicule the author who has made use of it ; I * fhall only hint at it, and desire you to consider
whether, if the frenzy produced by these diffe< rent causes be of the same nature, it may not very properly be cured by the fame means.
I am, Sir,
« and well-wisher,
• ASCULAPIUS.' Mr. SPECTATOR, I AM a young woman crossed in Love My story is very long and melancholy. To give
you the heads of it: A young Gentleman, after having made his applications to me for three years together, and filled my head with a thoufand dreams of happiness, fome few days since, • married another. Pray tell me in what part of • the world your promontory lies, which you call • The Lover's Leap, and whether one may go to it
by land ? But, alas, I am afraid it has lost • its virtue, and that a woman of our times would • find no more relief in taking such a leap, than in • finging an him to Venus. So that I must cry out • with Dido in Dryden’s Virgil, oh! cruel heaven, that made no cure for Love!
• Your difconfolate fervant,
• MISTER SPICTATUR, MY
heart is so full of lofes and passions for
Mrs. Gwinifred, and she is so pettish and over-run with cholers against me, that if I had • the good happiness to have my dwelling (which “ is placed by my creat-cranfather upon the pottom
of an hill) no farther distance but twenty mile from the Lofer's Leap, I would indeed indeafour to preak my neck upon it. on purpose. Now, good Mister SPICTATUR of Crete Pritain, you must know it there is in Caernarvansbire a very
pig mountain, the clory of all Wales, which is ' named Penmenmaure, and you must also know ' it is no great journey on foot from me ; but the ' road is ftony and bad for shooes. Now, there is
upon the forehead of this mountain a very high • rock, (like a parih steeple) that cometh a huge · deal over the Tea ; so that when I am in my me.
lancholies, and I do throw myself from it, I do • desire my fery good friend to tell me in his Spic. • tatur, if I thall be cure of my griefous lofes; for • there is the sea clear as glass, and as creen as the
• leek : Then likewife if I be drown, and preak
my neck, if Mrs. Gwinifred will not lofe me afterwards. Pray be speedy in your answers, for I
am in crete hatte, and it is my tesires to do my • business without loss of time. I remain with cor'dial affections, your ever lofing friend,
• DAVYTH AP SHENKYN, · P.S. My law-suits have brought me to London, but I have lost my causes; and so have made my
resolutions to go down and leap before the frosts • begin ; for I am apt to take colds.'
Ridicule, perhaps, is a better expedient against Love than fober advice, and I am of opinion, that Hudibras and Don Quixote may be as effectual to cure the extravagancies of this paffion, as any of the old philosophers. I shall therefore publish very speedily the translation of a little Greek manufcript, which is fent me by a learned friend. It appears. to have been a piece of those records which were kept in the temple of Apollo, that stood upon the promontory of Leucate. The reader will find it to be a summary account of several persons who tried the Lover's Leap, and of the success they found in it. As there seem to be in it some ana., chronisms and deviations from the ancient orthography, I am not wholly satisfied myself that it is authentick, and not rather the production of one of those Grecian fophisters, who have imposed upon the world several spurious works of this nature. I speak this by way of precaution, because I know there are several writers of uncominon erudition, who would not fail to 'expose my ignorance, if they caught me tripping in a manner of fo great moment.