Page images

cloister, whither had escaped also a lady most exactly dressed from head to foot. Will made no scruple to acquaint us, that she saluted him very familiarly by his name, and turning immediately to the knight, she said, she supposed that was his good friend Sir Roger de Coverley: upon which nothing less could follow than Sir Roger's approach to salutation, with Madam, the same, at your service.' She was dressed in a black tabby mantua and petticoat, without ribands; her linen striped muslin, and in the whole in an agreeable second mourning; decent dresses being often affected by the creatures of the town, at once consulting cheapness and the pretension to modesty. She went on with a familiar easy air, 'Your friend, Mr. Honeycomb, is a little surprised to see a woman here alone and unattended; but I dismissed my coach at the gate, and tripped it down to my counsel's chambers; for lawyers' fees take up too much of a small disputed jointure to admit any other expenses but mere necessaries.' Mr. Honeycomb begged they might have the honour of setting her down, for Sir Roger's servant was gone to call a coach. In the interim the footman returned with 'no coach to be had;' and there appeared nothing to be done but trusting herself with Mr. Honeycomb and his friend, to wait at the tavern at the gate for a coach, or be subjected to all the impertinence she must meet with in that public place. Mr. Honeycomb, being a man of honour, determined the choice of the first, and Sir Roger, as the better man, took the lady by the hand, leading her through all the shower, covering her, with his hat, and gallanting a familiar acquaintance through rows of young fellows, who winked at Sukey in the state she marched off, Will Honeycomb bringing up the rear.

Much importunity prevailed upon the fair one to admit of a collation, where, after declaring she had

no stomach, and having eaten a couple of chickens, devoured a truss of sallad, and drunk a full bottle to her share, she sung the Old Man's Wish to Sir Roger. The knight left the room for some time after supper, and writ the following billet, which he conveyed to Sukey, and Sukey to her friend Will Honeycomb. Will has given it to Sir Andrew Freeport, who read it last night to the club.


'I am not so mere a country gentleman, but I can guess at the law business you had at the Temple. If you would go down to the country, and leave off all your vanities but your singing, let me know at my lodgings in Bow-street, Covent-garden, and you shall be encouraged by your humble servant,


My good friend could not well stand the raillery which was rising upon him; but to put a stop to it, I delivered Will Honeycomb the following letter, and desired him to read it to the board.


'Having seen a translation of one of the chapters in the Canticles into English verse inserted among your late papers, I have ventured to send you the seventh chapter of the Proverbs in a poetical dress. If you think it worthy appearing among your speculations, it will be a sufficient reward for the trouble of Your constant reader, A. B.

My son, th' instruction that my words impart,
Grave on the living tablet of thy heart:
And all the wholesome precepts that I give,
Observe with strictest reverence, and live.

Let all thy homage be to Wisdom paid,
Seek her protection, and implore her aid;
That she may keep thy soul from harm secure,
And turn thy footsteps from the harlot's door,
Who with curs'd charms lures the unwary in,
And soothes with flattery their souls to sin,

Once from my window, as I cast mine eye On those that passed in giddy numbers by, A youth among the foolish youths I spy'd, Who took not sacred Wisdom for his guide.

Just as the sun withdrew his cooler light,
And evening soft led on the shades of night,
He stole in covert twilight to his fate,

And pass'd the corner near the harlot's gate!
When lo, a woman comes!-

Loose her attire, and such her glaring dress,
So aptly did the harlot's mind express:
Subtle she is, and practis'd in the arts
By which the wanton conquer heedless hearts:
Stubborn and loud she is ; she hates her home;
Varying her place and form, she loves to roam:
Now she's within, now in the street doth stray,
Now at each corner stands, and waits her prey.
The youth she seiz'd; and laying now aside
All modesty, the female's justest pride,
She said with an embrace, "Here at my house
Peace-offerings are, this day I paid my vows.
I therefore came abroad to meet my dear,
And lo, in happy hour, I find thee here.
My chamber I've adorn'd, and o'er my bed
Are cov'rings of the richest tap'stry spread;
With linen it is deck'd from Egypt brought,
And carvings by the curious artist wrought :
It wants no glad perfume Arabia yields
In all her citron groves and spicy fields;
Here all her store of richest odours meets,
I'll lay thee in a wilderness of sweets;
Whatever to the sense can grateful be
I have collected there. --I want but thee.
My husband's gone a journey far away,
Much gold he took abroad, and long will stay,
He named for his return a distant day."

Upon her tongue did such smooth mischief dwell, And from her lips such welcome flatt'ry fell, Th' unguarded youth, in silken fetters ty'd, Resign'd his reason, and with ease comply'd. Thus does the ox to his own slaughter go, And thus is senseless of th' impending blow; Thus flies the simple bird into the snare, That skilful fowlers for his life prepare. But let my sons attend. Attend may they Whom youthful vigour may to sin betray;



Let them false charmers fly, and guard their hearts
Against the wily wanton's pleasing arts;
With care direct their steps, nor turn astray
To tread the paths of her deceitful way;
Lest they too late of her fell pow'r complain,
And fall, where many mightier have been slain."

N° 411. SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 1712.




The perfection of our sight above our other senses. The pleasures
of the imagination arise originally from sight. The pleasures
of the imagination divided under two heads. The pleasures of
the imagination in some respects equal to those of the under-
standing. The extent of the pleasures of the imagination. The
advantages a man receives from a relish of these pleasures. In
what respect they are preferable to those of the understanding.
Avia Pieridum peragro loca, nullius antè
Trita solo: juvat integros accedere fontes,
Atque haurire
LUCR. i. 925.

In wild unclear'd, to Muses a retreat,
O'er ground untrod before, I devious roam,
And deep-enamour'd into latent springs
Presume to peep at coy virgin Naiads.

OUR sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our senses. It fills the mind with the largest variety of ideas, converses with its objects at the greatest distance, and continues the longest in action without being tired or satiated with its proper enjoyments. The sense of feeling can indeed give us a notion of extension, shape, and all other ideas that enter at the eye, except colours; but at the same

time it is very much straitened, and confined in its operations to the number, bulk, and distance of its particular objects. Our sight seems designed to supply all these defects, and may be considered as a more delicate and diffusive kind of touch, that spreads itself over an infinite multitude of bodies, comprehends the largest figures, and brings into our reach some of the most remote parts of the universe.

It is this sense which furnishes the imagination with its ideas; so that by 'the pleasures of the imagination,' or 'fancy' (which I shall use promiscuously), I here mean such as arise from visible objects, either when we have them actually in our view, or when we call up their ideas into our minds by paintings, statues, descriptions, or any the like occasion. We cannot indeed have a single image in the fancy that did not make its first entrance through the sight; but we have the power of retaining, altering, and compounding those images which we have once received, into all the varieties of picture and vision that are most agreeable to the imagination: for by this faculty a man in a dungeon is capable of entertaining himself with scenes and landscapes more beautiful than any that can be found in the whole compass of


There are few words in the English language which are employed in a more loose and uncircumscribed sense than those of the fancy and the imagination. I therefore thought it necessary to fix and determine the notion of these two words, as I intend to make use of them in the thread of my following speculations, that the reader may conceive rightly what is the subject which I proceed upon. I must therefore desire him to remember, that by the pleasures of the imagination,' I mean only such pleasures as arise originally from sight, and that I divide these


« PreviousContinue »