« PreviousContinue »
WednesI was last Night to visit a Lady whom I much esteem, and always took for my Friend; but met with so very February different á Reception from what I expected, that I cannot 13, 1712. help applying my self to you on this Occasion. In the Room of that Civility and Familiarity I used to be treated with by her, an affected Strangeness in her Looks and Coldness in her Behaviour, plainly told me I was not the welcome Guest which the Regard and Tenderness she has often expressed for me gave me Reason to flatter my self to think I was. Sir, this is certainly a great Fault, and I assure you a very common one ; therefore I hope you will think it a fit Subject for some Part of a Spectator. Be pleased to acquaint us how we must behave our selves towards this valetudinary Friend, ship, subject to so many Heats and Colds; and you will oblige,
Your humble Servant,
Miranda • Sir, I cannot forbear acknowledging the Delight your late Spectators on Saturdays have given me; for it is writ in the honest Spirit of Criticism, and called to my Mind the following four Lines I had read long since in a Prologue
to a Play called Julius Caesar, which has deserved a better Ć Fate, The Verses are addressed to the little Criticks.
Shew your small Talent, and let that suffice yer
You 'll ne'er arrive at Knowing when to praise.
Thursday, February 14.
Dilapsam in cineres facem-Hor,
Accomplishments, either of Body or Mind, which have once made us remarkable in the World, that we
No. 301. endeavour to perswade our selves it is not in the Power Thursday, of Time to rob us of them. We are eternally pursuing February the same Methods which first procured us the Applauses 14, 1712.
of Mankind. It is from this Notion that an Author writes on, tho' he is come to Dotage; without ever considering that his Memory is impair'd, and that he hath lost that Life, and those Spirits, which_formerly raised his Fancy, and fired his Imagination. The same Folly hinders a Man from submitting his Behaviour to his Age, and makes Clodius, who was a celebrated Dancer at five and twenty, still love to hobble in a Minuet, tho' he is past Threescore. It is this, in a Word, which fills the Town with elderly Fops, and superannuated Coquets.
Canidia, a Lady of this latter Species, passed by me yesterday in her Coach Canidia was an haughty Beauty of the last Age, and was followed by Crouds of Adorers, whose Passions only pleased her, as they gave her Op. portunities of playing the Tyrant She then contracted that awful Cast of the Eye and forbidding Frown, which she has not yet laid aside, and has still all the Insolence of Beauty without its Charms. If she now attracts the Eyes of any Beholders, it is only by being remarkably ridiculous ; even her own Sex laugh at her Affectation; and the Men, who always enjoy an ill-natured Pleasure in seeing an imperious Beauty humbled and neglected, regard her with the same Satisfaction that a free Nation sees a Tyrant in Disgrace.
WILL HONEYCOMB, who is a great Admirer of the Gallantries in King Charles the Second's Reign, lately communicated to me a Letter written by a Wit of that Age to his Mistress, who, it seems, was
a Lady of Canidia's Humour ; and tho' I do not always approve of my Friend WILL'S Taste, I liked this Letter so well, that I took a Copy of it, with which I shall here present
whether my Dreams can make any Impression on you. No. 301. To this End I shall give you an Account of a very Thursday, odd one which my Fancy presented to me last Night,
February within a few Hours after I left you.
14, 1712. Methought I was unaccountably conveyed into the most delicious Place my Eyes ever beheld, it was a large Valley divided by a River of the purest Water I had ever seen.
The Ground on each side of it rose by an easy Ascent, and was cover'd with Flowers of an infinite Variety, which as they were reflected in the Water doubled the Beauties of the Place, or rather formed an imaginary Scene more beautiful than the real. On each Side of the River was a Range of lofty Trees, whose Boughs were loaden with almost as many Birds as Leaves. Every Tree was full of Harmony,
I had not gone far in this pleasant Valley, when I perceived that it was terminated by a most magnificent Temple. The Structure was ancient, and regular. On the Top of it was figured the God Saturn, in the same Shape and Dress that the Poets usually represent Time.
As I was advancing to satisfy my Curiosity by a nearer View, I was stopped by an object far more beautiful than
I had before discovered in the whole Place. I fancy, Madam, you will easily guess that this could hardly be any Thing but your self; in reality it was so ; you lay extended on the Flowers by the side of the River, so that your Hands which were thrown in a negligent Posture, almost touched the Water. Your Eyes were closed; but if your Sleep deprived me of the Satisfaction of seeing them, it left me at leisure to contemplate several other Charms, which disappear when your Eyes are open, I could not but admire the Tranquillity you slept in, especially when I considered the Uneasiness you produce in so many others.
While I was wholly taken up in these Reflections, the Doors of the Temple flew open, with a very great Noise ; and lifting up my Eyes, I saw two Figures, in humane Shape, coming into the Valley, Upon a nearer Survey, I found them to be Youth and Love The first was encircled with a kind of Purple Light, that spread a Glory over all the Place; the other held a flaming
No. 301. Torch in his Hand. I could observe, that all the Way Thursday,
1, as they came towards us, the Colours of the Flowers February appeared more lively, the Trees shot out in Blossoms, 14, 1712.
the Birds threw themselves into Pairs, and serenaded them as they passed. The whole Face of Nature glowed with new Beauties. They were no sooner arrived at the Place where you lay, when they seated themselves on each side of you, On their Approach, methought
new Bloom arise in your Face, and new Charms diffuse themselves over your whole Person You appeared more than Mortal; but, to my great Surprise, continued fast asleep, tho' the two Deities made several gentle Efforts to awaken you.
After a short Time, YOUTH (displaying a pair of Wings, which I had not before taken Notice of) flew off. Love still remained, and holding the Torch which he had in his Hand before your Face, you still appeared as beautiful as ever. The glaring of the Light in your Eyes at length awaken'd you, when, to my great Sur prise, instead of acknowledging the Favour of the Deity, you frowned upon him, and struck the Torch out of his Hand into the River, The God after having regarded you with a Look that spoke at once his Pity and Displeasure, flew away. Immediately a Kind of Gloom overspread the whole Place. At the same Time I saw an hideous Spectre enter at one End of the Valley. His Eyes were sunk into his Head, his Face was pale and withered, and his Skin puckered up in Wrinkles, As he walked on the Sides of the Bank the River froze, the Flowers faded, the Trees shed their Blossoms, the Birds dropp'd from off the Boughs, and fell dead at his Feet. By these Marks I knew him to be Old-AGE: You were seized with the utmost Horror and Amaze ment at his Approach. You endeavoured to have fled, but the Phantome caught you in his Arms. You may easily guess at the Change you suffered in this Embrace For my own Part, tho' I am still too full of the dreadful Idea, I will not shock you with a Description of it: I was so startled at the Sight that my Sleep immediately left me, and I found my self awake, at leisure to con sider of a Dream which seems too extraordinary to be
without a Meaning. I am, Madam, with the greatest No. 301. Passion,
Thursday Your most obedient,
1712. Most humble Servant, &c.'
Friday, February 15.
READ what I give for the Entertainment of this
Day with a great deal of Pleasure, and publish it just as it came to my Hands. I shall be very glad to find there are many guessed at for Emilia.
• Mr. SPECTATOR If this paper has the good Fortune to be honoured with a Place in your Writings, I shall be the more pleased, because the Character of Emilia is not an imaginary but a real one. I have industriously obscured the whole by the Addition of one or two
Circumstances of no Consequence, that the Person it is drawn from might still be concealed; and that the
Writer of it might not be in the least suspected, and for some other Reasons, I chuse not to give it the Form of a Letter - But if, besides the Faults of the Composition, there be any Thing in it more proper for a Corre spondent than the SPECTATOR himself to write, I submit it to your better Judgment, to receive any other Model
you think fit
Your very humble Servant.' There is Nothing which gives one so pleasing a prospect of humane Nature, as the Contemplation of : Wisdom and Beauty: The latter is the peculiar Portion
of that Sex which is therefore called Fair; but the happy Concurrence of both these Excellencies in the
same Person, is a Character too. celestial to be frequently met with Beauty is an over-weaning self-sufficient Thing, careless of providing it self any more substantial