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filled with gloves, silks, and ribbands, that I can look upon it as nothing else but a toy-shop. A ma. tron of my acquaintance, complaining of her daughter's vanity, was observing, that she had all of a sudden beld up her head higher than ordinary, and taken an air that showed a secret satisfaction in herself, mixed with a scorn of others. “I did not know," says my friend, “ what to make of the carriage of this fantastical girl, until I was informed by her elder sister, that she had a pair of striped garters on." This odd turn of mind often makes the sex unhappy, and disposes them to be struck with every thing that makes a show, however trilling and superficial.
Many a lady has fetched a sigh at the toss of a wig*, and been ruined by the tapping of a snuffbox. It is impossible to describe all the execution that was done by the shoulder-knot, while that fashion prevailed, or to reckon up all the virgins that have fallen a sacrifice to a pair of fringed gloves. A sincere heart has not made half so many conquests as an open wuistcoat ; and I should be glad to see an able head make so good a figure in a woman's company as a pair of red heels. A Grecian bero, when he was asked whether he could play upon the lute, thought he had made a very good reply, when he answered, “ No; but I can make a great city of a little one.” Notwithstanding his boasted wisdom, I appeal to the heart of any Toast in town, whether she would not think the lutenist preferable to the statesman ? I do not speak this out of any aversion that I have to the sex: on the con. trary, I have always had a tenderness for them ; but, I must confess, it troubles me very much, to
* A Tye. A,
see the generality of them place their affections on improper objects, and give up all the pleasures of life for gewgaws and trifles.
Mrs. Margery Bickerstaff, my great aunt, had a thousand pounds to her portion, which our family was desirous of keeping among themselves, and therefore used all possible means to turn off her thoughts from marriage. The method they took was, in any time of danger, to throw a new gown or petticoat in her way. When she was about twenty-five years of age, she fell in love with a man of an agreeable temper and equal fortune, and would certainly have married him, had not my grandfather, Sir Jacob, dressed her up in a suit of flowered satin ; upon which she set so immoderate a value upon herself, that the lover was contemned and discarded. In the fortieth year of her age, she was again smitten; but very luckily transferred her passion to a tippet, which was presented to her by another relation who was in the plot. This, with a white sarsnet hood, kept her safe in the family until fifty. About sixty, which generally produces a kind of latter spring in amorous constitutions, my aunt Margery had again a colt's tooth in her head; and would certainly have eloped from the mansionhouse, had not her brother Simon, who was a wise man and a scholar, advised to dress her in cherry. coloured ribbands, which was the only expedient that could have been found out by the wit of man to preserve the thousand pounds in our family, part of which I enjoy at this time,
The discourse puts me in mind of an humourist mentioned by Horace, called Eutrapelus, who, when he designed to do a man a mischief, made him a present of a gay suit; and brings to my memory another passage of the same author, when he de
scribes the most ornamental dress that a woman can appear in with two words, Simplex Munditiis, which I have quoted for the benefit of my female readers.
N° 152. THURSDAY, MARCH 30, 1710.
Dü, quibus imperium est animarüm, umbrâque silentes,
Virg. Æn. yi. 264.
From my own Apartment, March 29. A MAN who confines his speculations to the time present, has bút a very narrow province to employ his thoughts in. For this reason, persons of studi ous and contemplative natures often entertain themselyes with the history of past ages, or raise schetnes and conjectures upon futurity. For my own part, I love to rauge through that half of eternity which is still to come, rather than look on that which is already run out; because I know I have a real sbare and interest in the one, whereas all that was tradh acted in the other can be only matter of curiosity to
Upon this account, I have been always very much delighted with meditating on the soul's immortality, and in reading the several notions which the wisest of men, both antient and modern, bave entertained on that subject. What the opinions of the greatest philosophers have been, I have several times hinted at, and shall give an account of them from time to time as occasion requires. It may likewise be worth while to consider, what men of the most exalted genius and elevated imagination have thought of this matter. Among these, Homer stands up as a prodigy of mankind, that looks down upon the rest of human creatures, as a species beneath him. Since be is the most antient heathen author, we may guess from his relation, what were the common opinions in his time concerning the state of the soul after death.
Ulysses, he tells us, made a voyage to the regious of the dead, in order to consult Tiresias how he should return to his own country, and recommend himself to the favour of the gods. The poet scarce introduces a single person, who doth not suggest some useful precept to bis reader, and designs his description of the dead for the amendment of the living.
Ulysses, after having made a very plenteous sacrifice, sat him down by the pool of holy blood, which attracted a prodigious assembly of ghosts of all ages and conditions, that hovered about the hero, and feasted upon the steams of his oblation. The first he knew was the shade of Elpenor, who, to show the activity of a spirit above that of body, is represented as arrived there long before Ulysses, notwithstanding the winds and seas had contributed all their force to basten bis voyage thither. This Elpenor, to inspire the reader with a detestation of drunkenness, and at the same time with a religious care of doing proper honours to the dead, describes bimself as haviug broken his neck in a debauch of wiņe; and begs lysses, that for the repose of his soul, he would build a monument over him, and perform funeral rites to his memory. Ulysses, with great sorrow of heart, promises to fulfil his request, and is immediately diverted to an object much more moving than the former. The ghost of his own mother Anticlea, whom he still thougbt living, appears to him among the multitudes of shades that surrounded hinn; and sits down at a small distance from bim by the lake of blood, without speaking to him, or knowing who he was. Ulysses was exceedingly troubled at the sight, and could not forbear weeping as he looked upon her: but being all along set forth as a pattern of consummate wisdom, he makes his affection give way to prudence; and therefore, upon bis seeing Tiresias, does not reveal himself to his mother, until he bad consulted that great prophet, who was the occasion of this his descent into the empire of the dead. Tiresias have ing cautioned bim to keep himself and his companions free from the guilt of sacrilege, and to pay his devotions to all the gods, promises him a safe return to his kingdom and family, and a happy old age in the enjoyment of them.
The poet having thus with great art kept the cu. riosity of his reader in suspense, represents his wise man, after the dispatch of business with Tiresias, as yielding himself up to the calls of natural af section, and making himself known to his mother. Her eyes are no sooner opened, but she cries out in tears, o iny sou !" and inquires into the occasions that brought him thither, and the fortune that attended hiin.
Ulysses on the other hand, desires to know what the sickness was tbat had sent her into those regions,