Richard Steele.

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exceeding fierce that they would not loose their hold, tho' they were
cut to pieces Limb by Limb, and that they would hang upon their Prey by
their Teeth when they had nothing but a Mouth left, there is to be a
scene of _Hockley in the Hole_, [2] in which is to be represented all
the Diversions of that Place, the Bull-baiting only excepted, which
cannot possibly be exhibited in the Theatre, by Reason of the Lowness of
the Roof. The several Woods in _Asia_, which _Alexander_ must be
supposed to pass through, will give the Audience a Sight of Monkies
dancing upon Ropes, with many other Pleasantries of that ludicrous
Species. At the same time, if there chance to be any Strange Animals in
Town, whether Birds or Beasts, they may be either let loose among the
Woods, or driven across the Stage by some of the Country People of
_Asia_. In the last great Battel, Pinkethman [3] is to personate King
_Porus_ upon an _Elephant_, and is to be encountered by _Powell_ [4]
representing _Alexander_ the Great upon a Dromedary, which nevertheless
Mr. _Powell_ is desired to call by the Name of _Bucephalus_. Upon the
Close of this great decisive Battel, when the two Kings are thoroughly
reconciled, to shew the mutual Friendship and good Correspondence that
reigns between them, they both of them go together to a Puppet-Show, in
which the ingenious Mr. _Powell, junior_ [5] may have an Opportunity of
displaying his whole Art of Machinery, for the Diversion of the two
Monarchs. Some at the Table urged that a Puppet-Show was not a suitable
Entertainment for _Alexander_ the Great; and that it might be introduced
more properly, if we suppose the Conqueror touched upon that part of
_India_ which is said to be inhabited by the Pigmies. But this Objection
was looked upon as frivolous, and the Proposal immediately over-ruled.
Our Projector further added, that after the Reconciliation of these two
Kings they might invite one another to Dinner, and either of them
entertain his Guest with the _German Artist_, Mr. _Pinkethman's_ Heathen
Gods, [6] or any of the like Diversions, which shall then chance to be
in vogue.

This Project was receiv'd with very great Applause by the whole Table.
Upon which the Undertaker told us, that he had not yet communicated to
us above half his Design; for that _Alexander_ being a _Greek_, it was
his Intention that the whole Opera should be acted in that Language,
which was a Tongue he was sure would wonderfully please the Ladies,
especially when it was a little raised and rounded by the _Ionick_
Dialect; and could not but be [acceptable [8]] to the whole Audience,
because there are fewer of them who understand _Greek_ than _Italian_.
The only Difficulty that remained, was, how to get Performers, unless we
could persuade some Gentlemen of the Universities to learn to sing, in
order to qualify themselves for the Stage; but this Objection soon
vanished, when the Projector informed us that the _Greeks_ were at
present the only Musicians in the _Turkish_ Empire, and that it would be
very easy for our Factory at _Smyrna_ to furnish us every Year with a
Colony of Musicians, by the Opportunity of the _Turkey_ Fleet; besides,
says he, if we want any single Voice for any lower Part in the Opera,
_Lawrence_ can learn to speak _Greek_, as well as he does _Italian_, in
a Fortnight's time.

The Projector having thus settled Matters, to the good liking of all
that heard him, he left his Seat at the Table, and planted himself
before the Fire, where I had unluckily taken my Stand for the
Convenience of over-hearing what he said. Whether he had observed me to
be more attentive than ordinary, I cannot tell, but he had not stood by
me above a Quarter of a Minute, but he turned short upon me on a sudden,
and catching me by a Button of my Coat, attacked me very abruptly after
the following manner.

Besides, Sir, I have heard of a very extraordinary Genius for Musick
that lives in _Switzerland_, who has so strong a Spring in his
Fingers, that he can make the Board of an Organ sound like a Drum, and
if I could but procure a Subscription of about Ten Thousand Pound
every Winter, I would undertake to fetch him over, and oblige him by
Articles to set every thing that should be sung upon the _English_
Stage.

After this he looked full in my Face, expecting I would make an Answer,
when by good Luck, a Gentleman that had entered the Coffee-house since
the Projector applied himself to me, hearing him talk of his _Swiss_
Compositions, cry'd out with a kind of Laugh,

Is our Musick then to receive further Improvements from _Switzerland!_
[8]

This alarmed the Projector, who immediately let go my Button, and turned
about to answer him. I took the Opportunity of the Diversion, which
seemed to be made in favour of me, and laying down my Penny upon the
Bar, retired with some Precipitation.

C.



[Footnote 1: An advertisement of Mrs. Salmon's wax-work in the 'Tatler'
for Nov. 30, 1710, specifies among other attractions the Turkish
Seraglio in wax-work, the Fatal Sisters that spin, reel, and cut the
thread of man's life, 'an Old Woman flying from Time, who shakes his
head and hour-glass with sorrow at seeing age so unwilling to die.
Nothing but life can exceed the motions of the heads, hands, eyes, &c.,
of these figures, &c.']


[Footnote 2: Hockley-in-the-Hole, memorable for its Bear Garden, was on
the outskirt of the town, by Clerkenwell Green; with Mutton Lane on the
East and the fields on the West. By Town's End Lane (called Coppice Row
since the levelling of the coppice-crowned knoll over which it ran)
through Pickled-Egg Walk (now Crawford's Passage) one came to
Hockley-in-the-Hole or Hockley Hole, now Ray Street. The leveller has
been at work upon the eminences that surrounded it. In Hockley Hole,
dealers in rags and old iron congregated. This gave it the name of Rag
Street, euphonized into Ray Street since 1774. In the _Spectator's_
time its Bear Garden, upon the site of which there are now metal works,
was a famous resort of the lowest classes. 'You must go to
Hockley-in-the-Hole, child, to learn valour,' says Mr. Peachum to Filch
in the _Beggar's Opera_.]


[Footnote 3: William Penkethman was a low comedian dear to the gallery
at Drury Lane as 'Pinkey,' very popular also as a Booth Manager at
Bartholomew Fair. Though a sour critic described him as 'the Flower of
Bartholomew Fair and the Idol of the Rabble; a Fellow that overdoes
everything, and spoils many a Part with his own Stuff,' the _Spectator_
has in another paper given honourable fame to his skill as a comedian.
Here there is but the whimsical suggestion of a favourite showman and
low comedian mounted on an elephant to play King Porus.]


[Footnote 4: George Powell, who in 1711 and 1712 appeared in such
characters as Falstaff, Lear, and Cortez in 'the Indian Emperor,' now
and then also played the part of the favourite stage hero, Alexander the
Great in Lee's _Rival Queens_. He was a good actor, spoilt by
intemperance, who came on the stage sometimes warm with Nantz brandy,
and courted his heroines so furiously that Sir John Vanbrugh said they
were almost in danger of being conquered on the spot. His last new part
of any note was in 1713, Portius in Addison's Cato. He lived on for a
few wretched years, lost to the public, but much sought by sheriff's
officers.]


[Footnote 5: 'Powell junior' of the Puppet Show (see note [Footnote 2 of
No. 14], p. 59, _ante_) was a more prosperous man than his namesake of
Drury Lane. In De Foe's 'Groans of Great Britain,' published in 1813, we
read:

'I was the other Day at a Coffee-House when the following
Advertisement was thrown in. - _At_ Punch's _Theatre in the Little
Piazza, Covent-Garden, this present Evening will be performed an
Entertainment, called,_ The History of Sir Richard Whittington,
_shewing his Rise from a Scullion to be Lord-Mayor of London, with the
Comical Humours of Old Madge, the jolly Chamber-Maid, and the
Representation of the Sea, and the Court of Great Britain, concluding
with the Court of Aldermen, and_ Whittington _Lord-Mayor, honoured
with the Presence of K. Hen. VIII. and his Queen Anna Bullen, with
other diverting Decorations proper to the Play, beginning at 6
o'clock_. Note, _No money to be returned after the Entertainment is
begun._ Boxes, 2s. Pit, 1s. _Vivat Regina_.

On enquiring into the Matter, I find this has long been a noble
Diversion of our Quality and Gentry; and that Mr. Powell, by
Subscriptions and full Houses, has gathered such Wealth as is ten
times sufficient to buy all the Poets in England; that he seldom goes
out without his Chair, and thrives on this incredible Folly to that
degree, that, were he a Freeman, he might hope that some future
Puppet-Show might celebrate his being Lord Mayor, as he has done Sir
R. Whittington.']


[Footnote 6:

'Mr. Penkethman's Wonderful Invention call'd the Pantheon: or, the
Temple of the Heathen Gods. The Work of several Years, and great
Expense, is now perfected; being a most surprising and magnificent
Machine, consisting of 5 several curious Pictures, the Painting and
contrivance whereof is beyond Expression Admirable. The Figures, which
are above 100, and move their Heads, Legs, Arms, and Fingers, so
exactly to what they perform, and setting one Foot before another,
like living Creatures, that it justly deserves to be esteem'd the
greatest Wonder of the Age. To be seen from 10 in the Morning till 10
at Night, in the Little Piazza, Covent Garden, in the same House where
Punch's Opera is. Price 1s. 6d., 1s., and the lowest, 6d.'

This Advertisement was published in 46 and a few following numbers of
the _Spectator_.]


[Footnote 7: wonderfully acceptable]


[Footnote 8: The satire is against Heidegger. See note [Footnote 1 of
No. 14], p. 56, _ante_.]





* * * * *





No. 32. Friday, April 6, 1711. Steele.



'Nil illi larvâ aut tragicis opus esse Cothurnis.'

Hor.


The late Discourse concerning the Statutes of the _Ugly-Club_,
having been so well received at _Oxford_, that, contrary to the
strict Rules of the Society, they have been so partial as to take my own
Testimonial, and admit me into that select Body; I could not restrain
the Vanity of publishing to the World the Honour which is done me. It is
no small Satisfaction, that I have given Occasion for the President's
shewing both his Invention and Reading to such Advantage as my
Correspondent reports he did: But it is not to be doubted there were
many very proper Hums and Pauses in his Harangue, which lose their
Ugliness in the Narration, and which my Correspondent (begging his
Pardon) has no very good Talent at representing. I very much approve of
the Contempt the Society has of Beauty: Nothing ought to be laudable in
a Man, in which his Will is not concerned; therefore our Society can
follow Nature, and where she has thought fit, as it were, to mock
herself, we can do so too, and be merry upon the Occasion.


Mr. SPECTATOR,

'Your making publick the late Trouble I gave you, you will find to
have been the Occasion of this: Who should I meet at the Coffee-house
Door t'other Night, but my old Friend Mr. President? I saw somewhat
had pleased him; and as soon as he had cast his Eye upon me,

"Oho, Doctor, rare News from _London_, (says he); the SPECTATOR has
made honourable Mention of the Club (Man) and published to the World
his sincere Desire to be a Member, with a recommendatory Description
of his Phiz: And tho' our Constitution has made no particular
Provision for short Faces, yet, his being an extraordinary Case, I
believe we shall find an Hole for him to creep in at; for I assure
you he is not against the Canon; and if his Sides are as compact as
his Joles, he need not disguise himself to make one of us."

I presently called for the Paper to see how you looked in Print; and
after we had regaled our selves a while upon the pleasant Image of our
Proselite, Mr. President told me I should be his Stranger at the next
Night's Club: Where we were no sooner come, and Pipes brought, but Mr.
President began an Harangue upon your Introduction to my Epistle;
setting forth with no less Volubility of Speech than Strength of
Reason, "That a Speculation of this Nature was what had been long and
much wanted; and that he doubted not but it would be of inestimable
Value to the Publick, in reconciling even of Bodies and Souls; in
composing and quieting the Minds of Men under all corporal
Redundancies, Deficiencies, and Irregularities whatsoever; and making
every one sit down content in his own Carcase, though it were not
perhaps so mathematically put together as he could wish." And again,
"How that for want of a due Consideration of what you first advance,
_viz._ that our Faces are not of our own choosing, People had been
transported beyond all good Breeding, and hurried themselves into
unaccountable and fatal Extravagancies: As, how many impartial
Looking-Glasses had been censured and calumniated, nay, and sometimes
shivered into ten thousand Splinters, only for a fair Representation
of the Truth? How many Headstrings and Garters had been made
accessory, and actually forfeited, only because Folks must needs
quarrel with their own Shadows? And who (continues he) but is deeply
sensible, that one great Source of the Uneasiness and Misery of human
Life, especially amongst those of Distinction, arises from nothing in
the World else, but too severe a Contemplation of an indefeasible
Contexture of our external Parts, or certain natural and invincible
Disposition to be fat or lean? When a little more of Mr. SPECTATOR'S
Philosophy would take off all this; and in the mean time let them
observe, that there's not one of their Grievances of this Sort, but
perhaps in some Ages of the World has been highly in vogue; and may be
so again, nay, in some Country or other ten to one is so at this Day.
My Lady _Ample_ is the most miserable Woman in the World, purely of
her own making: She even grudges her self Meat and Drink, for fear she
should thrive by them; and is constantly crying out, In a Quarter of a
Year more I shall be quite out of all manner of Shape! Now [the[1]]
Lady's Misfortune seems to be only this, that she is planted in a
wrong Soil; for, go but t'other Side of the Water, it's a Jest at
_Harlem_ to talk of a Shape under eighteen Stone. These wise Traders
regulate their Beauties as they do their Butter, by the Pound; and
Miss _Cross_, when she first arrived in the _Low-Countries_, was not
computed to be so handsom as Madam _Van Brisket_ by near half a Tun.
On the other hand, there's 'Squire _Lath_, a proper Gentleman of
Fifteen hundred Pound _per Annum_, as well as of an unblameable Life
and Conversation; yet would not I be the Esquire for half his Estate;
for if it was as much more, he'd freely pare with it all for a pair of
Legs to his Mind: Whereas in the Reign of our first King _Edward_ of
glorious Memory, nothing more modish than a Brace of your fine taper
Supporters; and his Majesty without an Inch of Calf, managed Affairs
in Peace and War as laudably as the bravest and most politick of his
Ancestors; and was as terrible to his Neighbours under the Royal Name
of _Long-shanks_, as _Coeur de Lion_ to the _Saracens_ before him. If
we look farther back into History we shall find, that _Alexander_ the
Great wore his Head a little over the left Shoulder; and then not a
Soul stirred out 'till he had adjusted his Neck-bone; the whole
Nobility addressed the Prince and each other obliquely, and all
Matters of Importance were concerted and carried on in the
_Macedonian_ Court with their Polls on one Side. For about the first
Century nothing made more Noise in the World than _Roman_ Noses, and
then not a Word of them till they revived again in Eighty eight. [2]
Nor is it so very long since _Richard_ the Third set up half the Backs
of the Nation; and high Shoulders, as well as high Noses, were the Top
of the Fashion. But to come to our selves, Gentlemen, tho' I find by
my quinquennial Observations that we shall never get Ladies enough to
make a Party in our own Country, yet might we meet with better Success
among some of our Allies. And what think you if our Board sate for a
_Dutch_ Piece? Truly I am of Opinion, that as odd as we appear in
Flesh and Blood, we should be no such strange Things in Metzo-Tinto.
But this Project may rest 'till our Number is compleat; and this being
our Election Night, give me leave to propose Mr. SPECTATOR: You see
his Inclinations, and perhaps we may not have his Fellow."

I found most of them (as it is usual in all such Cases) were prepared;
but one of the Seniors (whom by the by Mr. President had taken all
this Pains to bring over) sate still, and cocking his Chin, which
seemed only to be levelled at his Nose, very gravely declared,

"That in case he had had sufficient Knowledge of you, no Man should
have been more willing to have served you; but that he, for his
part, had always had regard to his own Conscience, as well as other
Peoples Merit; and he did not know but that you might be a handsome
Fellow; for as for your own Certificate, it was every Body's
Business to speak for themselves."

Mr. President immediately retorted,

"A handsome Fellow! why he is a Wit (Sir) and you know the Proverb;"

and to ease the old Gentleman of his Scruples, cried,

"That for Matter of Merit it was all one, you might wear a Mask."

This threw him into a Pause, and he looked, desirous of three Days to
consider on it; but Mr. President improved the Thought, and followed
him up with an old Story,

"That Wits were privileged to wear what Masks they pleased in all
Ages; and that a Vizard had been the constant Crown of their
Labours, which was generally presented them by the Hand of some
Satyr, and sometimes of _Apollo_ himself:"

For the Truth of which he appealed to the Frontispiece of several
Books, and particularly to the _English Juvenal_, [3] to which he
referred him; and only added,

"That such Authors were the _Larvati_ [4] or _Larvâ donati_ of the
Ancients."

This cleared up all, and in the Conclusion you were chose Probationer;
and Mr. President put round your Health as such, protesting,

"That tho' indeed he talked of a Vizard, he did not believe all the
while you had any more Occasion for it than the Cat-a-mountain;"

so that all you have to do now is to pay your Fees, which here are
very reasonable if you are not imposed upon; and you may stile your
self _Informis Societatis Socius_: Which I am desired to acquaint you
with; and upon the same I beg you to accept of the Congratulation of,

SIR,

Your oblig'd humble Servant,

R. A. C.

Oxford March 21.



[Footnote 1: this]


[Footnote 2: At the coming of William III.]


[Footnote 3: The third edition of Dryden's Satires of Juvenal and
Persius, published in 1702, was the first 'adorn'd with Sculptures.' The
Frontispiece represents at full length Juvenal receiving a mask of Satyr
from Apollo's hand, and hovered over by a Cupid who will bind the Head
to its Vizard with a Laurel Crown.]


[Footnote 4: Larvati were bewitched persons; from Larva, of which the
original meaning is a ghost or spectre; the derived meanings are, a Mask
and a Skeleton.]





* * * * *





No. 33 Saturday, April 7, 1711. Steele.


'Fervidus tecum Puer, et solutis
Gratiæ zonis, properentque Nymphæ,
Et parum comis sine te Juventas,
Mercuriusque.'

Hor. 'ad Venerem.'


A friend of mine has two Daughters, whom I will call _Lætitia_ and
_Daphne_; The Former is one of the Greatest Beauties of the Age in which
she lives, the Latter no way remarkable for any Charms in her Person.
Upon this one Circumstance of their Outward Form, the Good and Ill of
their Life seems to turn. _Lætitia_ has not, from her very Childhood,
heard any thing else but Commendations of her Features and Complexion,
by which means she is no other than Nature made her, a very beautiful
Outside. The Consciousness of her Charms has rendered her insupportably
Vain and Insolent, towards all who have to do with her. _Daphne_, who
was almost Twenty before one civil Thing had ever been said to her,
found her self obliged to acquire some Accomplishments to make up for
the want of those Attractions which she saw in her Sister. Poor _Daphne_
was seldom submitted to in a Debate wherein she was concerned; her
Discourse had nothing to recommend it but the good Sense of it, and she
was always under a Necessity to have very well considered what she was
to say before she uttered it; while _Lætitia_ was listened to with
Partiality, and Approbation sate in the Countenances of those she
conversed with, before she communicated what she had to say. These
Causes have produced suitable Effects, and _Lætitia_ is as insipid a
Companion, as _Daphne_ is an agreeable one. _Lætitia_, confident of
Favour, has studied no Arts to please; _Daphne_, despairing of any
Inclination towards her Person, has depended only on her Merit.
_Lætitia_ has always something in her Air that is sullen, grave and
disconsolate. _Daphne_ has a Countenance that appears chearful, open and
unconcerned. A young Gentleman saw _Lætitia_ this Winter at a Play, and
became her Captive. His Fortune was such, that he wanted very little
Introduction to speak his Sentiments to her Father. The Lover was
admitted with the utmost Freedom into the Family, where a constrained
Behaviour, severe Looks, and distant Civilities, were the highest
Favours he could obtain of _Lætitia_; while _Daphne_ used him with the
good Humour, Familiarity, and Innocence of a Sister: Insomuch that he
would often say to her, _Dear_ Daphne; _wert thou but as Handsome as
Lætitia!_ - She received such Language with that ingenuous and pleasing
Mirth, which is natural to a Woman without Design. He still Sighed in
vain for _Lætitia_, but found certain Relief in the agreeable
Conversation of _Daphne_. At length, heartily tired with the haughty
Impertinence of _Lætitia_, and charmed with repeated Instances of good
Humour he had observed in _Daphne_, he one Day told the latter, that he
had something to say to her he hoped she would be pleased with. - _Faith
Daphne,_ continued he, _I am in Love with thee, and despise thy Sister
sincerely_. The Manner of his declaring himself gave his Mistress
occasion for a very hearty Laughter. - _Nay,_ says he, _I knew you would
Laugh at me, but I'll ask your Father._ He did so; the Father received
his Intelligence with no less Joy than Surprize, and was very glad he
had now no Care left but for his _Beauty_, which he thought he could
carry to Market at his Leisure. I do not know any thing that has pleased
me so much a great while, as this Conquest of my Friend _Daphne's_. All
her Acquaintance congratulate her upon her Chance. Medley, and laugh at
that premeditating Murderer her Sister. As it is an Argument of a light
Mind, to think the worse of our selves for the Imperfections of our
Persons, it is equally below us to value our selves upon the Advantages
of them. The Female World seem to be almost incorrigibly gone astray in
this Particular; for which Reason, I shall recommend the following
Extract out of a Friend's Letter to the Profess'd Beauties, who are a
People almost as unsufferable as the Profess'd Wits.

Monsieur St. _Evremont_ [1] has concluded one of his Essays, with
affirming that the last Sighs of a Handsome Woman are not so much for
the loss of her Life, as of her Beauty. Perhaps this Raillery is
pursued too far, yet it is turn'd upon a very obvious Remark, that
Woman's strongest Passion is for her own Beauty, and that she values
it as her Favourite Distinction. From hence it is that all Arts, which
pretend to improve or preserve it, meet with so general a Reception
among the Sex. To say nothing of many False Helps and Contraband Wares
of Beauty, which are daily vended in this great Mart, there is not a
Maiden-Gentlewoman, of a good Family in any County of _South-Britain_,
who has not heard of the Virtues of _May_-Dew, or is unfurnished with
some Receipt or other in Favour of her Complexion; and I have known a



Online LibraryRichard SteeleThe Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 With Translations and Index for the Series → online text (page 18 of 228)