Page images
PDF
EPUB

considered a fine work of art, hut so deficient in dramatic interest, that it is not brought upon the stage. His poetical Letter from Italy has been very much admired. He held various public offices of importance, and engaged with interest in the politics of his day. He married the Countess-dowager of Warwick, but was unhappy in the connection. “ His quarrels with Pope and Steele throw some disagreeable shades among the lights and beauties of the picture ; but enough will still remain to establish Addison's title to the character of a good man and a sincere Christian."

(From the tragedy of Cato.")

CATO'S SOLILOQUY. (Cato alone, in a thoughtful posture. Plato's book on the Immortality of the Soul in his

hand, and a drawn sword on the table by him.)
It must be so — Plato, thou reasonest well !
Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing after immortality ?
Or whence this secret dread, and inward horror,
Of falling into nought? Why shrinks the soul
Back on herself, and startles at destruction ?
'Tis the divinity that stirs within us;
'Tis heaven itself, that points out a hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man.
Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful thought!
Through what variety of untried being,
Through what new scenes and changes must we pass ?
The wide, the unbounded prospect, lies before me;
But shadows, clouds and darkness, rest upon it.
Here will I hold. If there's a power above us-
And that there is, all nature cries aloud
Through all her works -- he must delight in virtue;
And that which he delights in must be happy.
But when? or where? This world was made for Cæsar.
I'm weary of conjectures. This must end them.

(Laying his hand on his sword.)
Thus am I doubly armed; my death and life,
My bane and antidote, are both before me:
This in a moment brings me to an end;
But this informs me I shall never die.
The soul, secured in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.

The stars shall fade

away,

the

sun himself
Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years ;
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the wars of elements,
The wrecks of matter and the crush of worlds.
What means this heaviness that hangs upon me?
This lethargy which creeps through all my senses?
Nature, oppressed, and harassed out with care,
Sinks down to rest. This once I'll favor her,
That my awakened soul may take her flight,
Renewed in all her strength, and fresh with life,
An offering fit for heaven. Let guilt or fear
Disturb man's rest; Cato knows neither of them;
Indifferent in his choice to sleep or die.

ON THE USE OF THE FAN. MR. SPECTATOR : - Women are armed with fans, as men with swords, and sometimes do more execution with them. To the end, therefore, that ladies may be entire mistresses of the weapon which they bear, I have erected an academy for the training up of young women in the exercise of the fan, according to the most fashionable airs and motions that are now practised at court. The ladies who carry fans under me are drawn up, twice a day, in my great hall, where they are instructed in the use of their arms, and exercised by the following words of command: Handle your fans, Unfurl your fans, Discharge your fans, Ground your fans, Recover your fans, Flutter your fans. By the right observation of these few plain words of command, a woman of a tolerable genius, who will apply herself diligently to her exercise for the space of but one half-year, shall be able to give her fan all the graces that can possibly enter into that little modish machine.

But to the end that my readers may form to themselves a right notion of this exercise, I beg leave to explain it to them in all its parts. When my female regiment is drawn up in array, with every one her weapon in her hand, upon my giving

a

the word to “ Handle their fans,” each of them shakes her fan at me with a smile, then gives her right hand woman a tap upon the shoulder, then presses her lip with the extremity of her fan, then lets her arms fall in easy motion, and stands in readiness to receive the next word of command. All this is done with a close fan, and is generally learned in the first week.

The next motion is that of unfurling the fan, in which are comprehended several little flirts and vibrations, as also gradual and deliberate openings, with many voluntary fallings asunder in the fan itself, that are seldom learned under a month's practice. This part of the exercise pleases the spectators more than any other, as it discovers, on a sudden, an infinite number of cupids, garlands, altars, birds, beasts, rainbows, and the like agreeable figures, that display themselves to view, whilst every one in the regiment holds a picture in her hand.

Upon my giving the word to “Discharge their fans,” they give one general crack, that may be heard at a considerable distance, when the wind sits fair. This is one of the most difficult parts of the exercise; but I have several ladies with me, who, at their first entrance, could not give a pop hard enough to be heard at the further end of the room, who can now discharge a fan in such a manner that it shall make a report like a pocket-pistol. I have likewise taken care - in order to hinder young women from letting off their fans in the wrong places, or on unsuitable occasions to show upon what subject the crack of a fan may come in properly; I have likewise invented a fan, with which a girl of sixteen, by the help of a little wind, which is enclosed about one of the largest sticks, can make as loud a crack as a woman of fifty with an ordinary fan.

When the fans are thus discharged, the word of command, in course, is to “Ground their fans.” This teaches a lady to quit her fan gracefully, when she throws it aside, in order to take up a pack of cards, adjust a curl of hair, replace a falling pin, or apply herself to any other matter of importance. This part of the exercise, as it only consists in tossing a fan, with an air, upon a long table, which stands by for that purpose, may be leared in two days' time, as well as in a twelvemonth.

When my female regiment is thus disarmed, I generally let

а

[ocr errors]

ever

them walk about the room for some time; when, on a sudden, like ladies that look upon their watches, after a long visit, they all of them hasten to their arms, catch them up in a hurry, and place themselves in their proper stations, upon my calling out, “ Recover your fans.” This part of the exercise is not difficult, provided a woman applies her thoughts to it.

The fluttering the fan is the last, and indeed the master. piece of the whole exercise; but if a lady does not misspend her time, she may make herself mistress of it in three months. I generally lay aside the dog-days, and the hot time of the summer, for the teaching of this part of the exercise; for, as soon as

I

pronounce, “Flutter your fans,” the place is filled with so many zephyrs and gentle breezes, as are very refreshing in that season of the year, though they might be dangerous, to ladies of a tender constitution, in any other.

There is an infinite variety of motions to be made use of in the flutter of a fan. There is the angry flutter, the modest flutter, the timorous flutter, the confused flutter, the merry

flutter, and the amorous flutter. Not to be tedious, there is scarce any emotion in the mind which does not produce a suitable agitation in the fan, insomuch that if I only see the fan of a disciplined lady, I know very well whether she laughs, frowns, or blushes. I have seen a fan so very angry, that it would have been dangerous for the absent lover who provoked it to have come within the wind of it; and, at other times, so very languishing, that I have been glad, for the lady's sake, the lover was at a sufficient distance from it. I need not add, that a fan is either a prude or a coquette, according to the nature of the person who bears it. To conclude my letter, I must acquaint you, that I have, from my own. observations, compiled a little treatise for the use of my scholars, entitled, “ The Passions of the Fan," which I will communicate to you, if you think it may be of use to the public. I shall have a general review on Thursday next, to which you shall be very welcome, if you will honor it with your presence.

I am, &c.

THE MOUNTAIN OF MISERIES.

It is a celebrated thought of Socrates, that if all the misfortunes of mankind were cast into a public stock, in order to be equally distributed among the whole species, those who now think themselves the most unhappy would prefer the share they are already possessed of, before that which would fall to them by such a division. Horace has carried this thought a great deal further, which iinplies that the hardships or misfortunes we lie under are more easy to us than those of any other person would be, in case we could change conditions with him.

As I was ruminating upon these two remarks, and seated in my elbow-chair, I insensibly fell asleep; when, on a sudden, methought there was a proclaination made by Jupiter, that every mortal should bring in his griefs and calamities, and throw them together in a heap. There was a large plain appointed for this purpose.

I took

my

stand in the centre of it, and saw, with a great deal of pleasure, the whole human species, marching one after another, and throwing down their several loads, which immediately grew up into a prodigious mountain, that seemed to rise above the clouds.

There was a certain lady, of thin, airy shape, who was very active in this solemnity. She carried a magnifying-glass in one of her hands, and was clothed in a loose, flowing robe, embroidered with several figures of fiends and spectres, that discovered themselves in a thousand chimerical shapes, as her garments hovered in the wind. There was something wild and distracted in her looks. Her name was Fancy. She led to the appointed place, after having very officiously assisted him in making up his pack, and laying it upon his shoulders. My heart melted within me, to see my fellow-creatures groaning under their respective burdens, and to consider that prodigious bulk of human calamities which lay before me.

There were, however, several persons who gave me great diversion. Upon this occasion, I observed one bringing in a parcel, very carefully concealed under an old embroidered coat, which, upon his throwing it into the heap, I discovered to be

up every mortal

« PreviousContinue »