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N° 42. SATURDAY, JULY 16, 1709.
Celebrare domestica facta.
From my own Apartment, July 15. LOOKING over some old papers, I found a little treatise, written by my great-grandfather, concerning bribery, and thought his manner of treating that subject not unworthy iny remark. He there has a digression concerning a possibility, that in some circumstances a man may receive an injury, and yet be conscious to himself that he deserves it. There are abundance of fine things said on the subject; but the whole wrapped up in so much jingle and pun, which was the wit of those times, that it is scarce intelligible; but I thought the design was well enough in the following sketch of an old gentleman's poetry : for in this case, where two are rivals for the same thing, and propose to obtain it by presents, he that attempts the judge's honesty, by making him offers of reward, ought not to complain when he loses his cause by a better bidder. The good old doggrel runs thus :
" A poor man once a judge besought
To judge aright his cause,
This judger of the laws.
He glad away did trudge;
Before this partial judge.
A hog well fed this churl presents,
And craves a strain of law;
Thy doom has me undone ;
But now to ruin run.”
And see thy cause of foil;
And broke thy pot of oil!.”
Will's Coffee-house, July 15. THE discourse happened this evening to fall upon characters drawn in plays; and a gentleman remarked that there was no method in the world of knowing the taste of an age, or period of time, so good, as by the observations of the persons represented in their coniedies. There were several instances produced, as Ben Jonson's bringing in a fellow smoking, as a piece of foppery ? ; 'but,' said the gentleman who entertained us on this subject, this matter is no where so observable as in the difference of the characters of women on the stage in the last age, and in this. It is not to be supposed that it was a poverty of genius in Shakspeare, that his women made so small a figure in his dialogues 3; but it certainly is, that he drew women as they then were in life: for that
i This fable is taken from Whetstone's English Mirror, &c. London, 1586, 4to.
2 « Every Man in his Humour,” Com. 4to. 1598.
3 In Shakspeare's time, and for some years after, all the female parts in plays were acted by boys and men.
sex had not in those days that freedom in conversation; and their characters were only, that they were mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. There were not then among the ladies, shining wits, politicians, virtuosæ, free-thinkers, and disputants; nay, there was then hardly such a creature even as a coquette: but vanity had quite another turn, and the most conspicuous woman at that time of day was only the best housewife. Were it possible to bring into life an assembly of matrons of that age, and introduce the learned lady Woodby into their conipany, they would not believe the same nation could produce a creature so unlike any thing they ever saw in it.
. But these ancients would be as much astonished to see in the same age so illustrious a pattern to all who love things praise-worthy as the divine Aspasia 4. Methinks, I now see her walking in her garden like our first parent, with unaffected charms, before beauty had spectators, and bearing celestial conscious virtue in her aspect. Her countenance is the lively picture of her mind, which is the seat of honour, truth, compassion, knowledge, and innocence.
“ There dwells the scorn of vice, and pity too." • In the midst of the most ample fortune, and vene, ration of all that behold and know her, without the least affectation, she consults retirement, the contemplation of her own being, and that supreme Power which bestowed it. Without the learning of schools, or knowledge of a long course of arguments, she goes on in a steady course of uninterrupted piety and virtue, and adds to the severity and privacy of the last
4 This character of Aspasia was written by Congreve ; and the person alluded to was lady Elizabeth Hastings.
age all the freedom and ease of this. The language and mien of a court she is possessed of in the highest degree; but the simplicity and humble thoughts of a cottage are her more welcome entertainments. Aspasia is a female philosopher, who does not only live up to the resignation of the most retired lives of the ancient sages, but also to the schemes and plans which they thought beautiful, though inimitable. This lady is the most exact æconomist, without appearing busy; the most strictly virtuous, without tasting the praise of it, and shuns applause with as much industry as others do reproach. This character is so particular, that it will very easily be fixed on her only, by all that know her; but I dare say she will be the last that finds it out.
• But, alas! if we have one or two such ladies, how many dozens are there like the restless Poluglossa, who is acquainted with all the world but herself; who has the appearance of all, and possession of no one virtue: she has, indeed, in her practice the absence of vice, but her discourse is the continual history of it; and it is apparent, when she speaks of the criminal gratifications of others, that her innocence is only a restraint, with a certain mixture of envy. She is so perfectly opposite to the character of Aspasia, that as vice is terrible to her only as it is the object of reproach, so virtue is agreeable only as it is attended with applause.'
St. James's Coffee-house, July 15. It is now twelve of the clock at noon, and no mail come in; therefore I am not without hopes that the town will allow me the liberty which my brother news-writers take, in giving them what may be for their information in another kind, and indulge me in
doing an act of friendship, by publishing the following account of goods and moveables.
s This is to give notice, that a inagnificent palace, with great variety of gardens, statues, and waterworks, may be bought cheap in Drury-lane; where there are likewise several castles to be disposed of, very delightfully situated : as also groves, woods, forests, fountains, and country-seats, with very pleasant prospects on all sides of them; being the moveables of Christopher Rich, esquire, who is breaking up house-keeping', and has many curious pieces of furniture to dispose of, which may be seen between the hours of six and ten in the evening.
Spirits of right Nantz brandy, for lambent flames and apparitions.
Three bottles and an half of lightning.
A sea, consisting of a dozen large waves: the tenth bigger than ordinary, and a little damaged.
A dozen and half of clouds, trimmed with black, and well-conditioned.
A rainbow, a little faded.
A set of clouds after the French mode, streaked with lightning, and furbelowed.
A new moon, something decayed.
s The remainder of this paper was written by Addison.
6 From Cibber's Apology we learn, that Drury-lane Thea. tre was about this time shut up by an order from the lord chamberlain.