« PrécédentContinuer »
been under this discipline. He tells me he | being in a great doubt about the orthograhad the honour to dance before the emperor phy of the word bagnio. I consulted sevehimself, not without the applause and ac- ral dictionaries, but found no relief: at last clamations both of his imperial majesty and having recourse both to the bagnio in Newthe whole ring; though I dare say, neither gate street, and to that in Chancery-lane, J, nor any of his acquaintance, ever dreamt and finding the original manuscripts upon he would have merited any reputation by the sign-posts of each to agree literally with his activity.
my own spelling, I returned home full of 'I can assure you, Mr. Spectator, I was satisfaction in order to despatch this epistle.' very near being qualified to have given you a faithful and painful account of this most of the circumstances of human life into
"MR. SPECTATOR—As you have taken walking bagnio, if I may so call it, myself. Going the other night along Fleet-street, your consideration, we the underwritten and having, out of curiosity, just entered thought it not improper for us also to reinto discourse with a wandering female who present to you our condition. We are three was travelling the same way, a couple of ladies who live in the country, and the fellows advanced towards us, drew their greatest improvement we make is by readswords, and cried out to each other, “A ing. We have taken a small journal of our sweat! a sweat!" Whereon, suspecting
lives, and find it extremely opposite to your they were some of the ring-leaders of the last Tuesday's speculation. We rise by bagnio, I also drew my sword, and demand seven, and pass the beginning of each day ed a parley; but finding none would be in devotion, and looking into those affairs granted me, and perceiving others behind that fall within the occurrences of a retired them filing off with great diligence to take life; in the afternoon we sometimes enjoy me in flank, I began to sweat for fear of be- the good company of some friend or neighmyself to a pair of heels, which I had good other for the whole night at ten o'clock. We ing forced to it: but very luckily betaking bour, or else work or read: at night we rereason to believe would do me justice, I instantly got possession of a very snug corner
take particular care never to be sick of a which post I maintained for above half an we think more laudable, that of being very in a neighbouring alley that lay in my rear; Sunday, Mr. Spectator, we are all very good
maids, but ambitious of characters which hour with great firmness and resolution, though not letting this success so far over- good wives. If any of your correspondents come me as to make me unmindful of the inquire for a spouse for an honest country circumspection that was necessary to be gentleman,
whose estate is not dipped, and observed upon my advancing
again towards wants a wife that can save half his revenue, the street; by which prudence and good and yet make a better figure than any of his management I made a handsome and or- neighbours of the same estate, with finer derly retreat, having suffered no other from, sir, your courteous readers,
bred women, you shall have further notice damage in this action than the loss of my baggage, and the dislocation of one of my
MARTHA BUŠIE, bra shoe heels, which last I am just now inform
DEBORAH THRIFTY, ed is in a fair way of recovery. These
ALICE EARLY.'. sweaters, by what I can learn from my friend, and by as near a view as I was able to take of them myself, seem to me to have at pre- No. 333.] Saturday, March 22, 1711-12. sent but a rude kind of discipline among
-vocat in certamina divos.-Virg. them. It is probable, if you would take a little pains with them, they might be brought
He calls embattled deities to arms. into better order. But I'lí leave this to your We are now entering upon the sixth book own discretion; and will only add, that if of Paradise Lost, in which the poet deyou think it worth while to insert this by scribes the battle of the angels; having way of caution to those who have a mind to raised his reader's expectation, and prepreserve their skins whole from this sort of pared him for it by several passages in the cupping, and tell them at the same time the preceding books. I omitted quoting these hazard of treating with night-walkers, you passages in my observations on the former will perhaps oblige others, as well as your books, having purposely reserved them for very humble servant,
the opening of this, the subject of which JACK LIGHTFOOT.
gave occasion to them. The author's ima*P. S. My friend will have me acquaint gination was so inflamed with this great you, that though he would not willingly de- scene of action, that wherever he speaks of tract from the merit of that extraordinary it, he rises, if possible, above himself. Thus, strokesman Mr. Sprightly, yet it is his real where he mentions Satan in the beginning opinion, that some of those fellows who are of his poem, employed as rubbers to this new-fashioned
-Him the almighty Power bagnio, have struck as bold strokes as ever Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky, he did in his life.
With hideous ruin and combustion, down I had sent this four-and-twenty hours
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire, sooner, if I had not had the misfortune of Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms.
We have likewise several noble hints of it | days' engagement, which does not appear m the infernal conference:
natural, and agreeable enough to the ideas O prince! O chief of many throned powers,
most readers would conceive of a fight beThat led the embattled seraphim to war,
tween two armies of angels. Too well I see and rue the dire event,
The second day's engagement is apt to That with sad overthrow and foul defeat
startle an imagination which has not been Hath lose us heav'n; and all this mighty host In horrible destruction laid thus low.
raised and qualified for such a description But see! the angry victor has recall'd
by the reading of the ancient poets, and of His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Homer in particular. It was certainly a Back to the gates of heav'n. The sulphurous hail Shot after usin storm, o'erblown, hath laid
very bold thought in our author, to ascribe The fiery surge, that from the precipice
the first use of artillery to the rebel angels. Of heav'n received us falling; and ihe ihunder, But as such a pernicious invention may be Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage, Perhaps has spent his shafts, and ceases now
well supposed to have proceeded from such To bellow through the vast and boundless deep. authors, so it enters very properly into the There are several other very sublime thoughts of that being, who is all along deimages on the same subject in the first book, Maker. Such engines were the only instru
scribed as aspiring to the majesty of his as also in the second:
ments he could have made use of to imitate What when we fled amain, pursued and struck those thunders, that in all poetry, both saWith heav'n's afflicting thunder, and besought The deep to shelter us; this hell then seem'd
cred and profane, are represented as the A refuge from those wounds
arms of the Almighty. The tearing up the In short, the poet never mentions any
hills was not altogether so daring a thought thing of this battle, but in such images of as the former. We are, in some measure, greatness and terror as are suitable to the prepared for such an incident by the desubject. Among several others I cannot scription of the giants’ war, which we meet forbear quoting that passage where the made this circumstance the more proper
with among the ancient poets. What still Power, who is described as presiding over for the poet's use, is the opinion of many, the chaos, speaks in the second book:
learned men, that the fable of the giants? Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,
war, which makes as great a noise in anWith fault'ring speech and visage incompos'd, Answer'd: “I know thee, stranger, who thou art,
tiquity, and gave birth to the sublimest That mighty leading angel, who of Jate
description in Hesiod's works, was an alleMade head against heav'n's King, though overthrown gory founded upon this very tradition of a I saw and heard; for such a numerous host Fled not in silence through the frighted deep
fight between the good and bad angels. With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
It may, perhaps, be worth while to conConfusion worse confounded; and heaven's gates sider with what judgment Milton, in this Pour'd out by millions her victorious bands
narration, has avoided every thing that is Pursuing
mean and trivial in the description of the It required great pregnancy of invention, Latin and Greek poets; and at the same and strength of imagination, to fill this bat- time improved every great hint which he tle with such circumstances as should raise met with in their works upon this subject. and astonish the mind of the reader; and at Homer, in that passage which Longinus has the same time an exactness of judgment, to celebrated for its sublimeness, and which avoid every thing that might appear light Virgil and Ovid have copied after him, tells or trivial. Those who look into Homer us, that the giants threw Ossa upon Olymare surprised to find his battles still rising pus, and Pelion upon Ossa. He adds an one above another, and improving in horror epithet to Pelion (suvorsoundow) which very to the conclusion of the Iliad. Milton's fight much swells the idea, by bringing up to the of angels is wrought up with the same beau- reader's imagination all the woods that grew ty. It is ushered in with such signs of wrath upon it. There is further a greater beauty as are suitable to Omnipotence incensed. in his singling out by names these three reThe first engagement is carried on under a markable mountains so well known to the cope of fire, occasioned by the flights of in- Greeks. This last is such a beauty, as the numerable burning darts and arrows which scene of Milton's war could not possibly are discharged from either host. The se- furnish him with. Claudian, in his fragcond onset is still more terrible, as it is filled ment upon the giants' war, has given full with those artificial thunders, which seem scope to that wildness of imagination which to make the victory doubtful, and produce was natural to him. He tells us that the a kind of consternation even in the good an-giants tore up whole islands by the roots, gels. This is followed by the tearing up of and threw them at the gods. He describes mountains and promontories; till in the last one of them in particular taking up Lemnos place Messiah comes forth in the fulness of in his arms, and whirling it to the skies, majesty and terror. The pomp of his ap- with all Vulcan's shop in the midst of it. pearance, amidst the roarings of his thun- Another tears up mount Ida, with the river ders, the flashes of his lightnings, and the Enipeus, which ran down the sides of it; noise of his chariot wheels, is described but the poet, not content to describe him with the utmost flights of human imagina- with this mountain upon his shoulders, tells tion.
us that the river flowed down his back as There is nothing in the first and last | he held it up in that posture. It is visible
And all his armour stain'd
Down cloven to the waist, with shatter'd arms
to every judicious reader, that such ideas Not long divisible; and from the gash
A stream of nectarous humour issuing flow'd savour more of the burlesque than of the
Sanguine, (such as celestial spirits may bleed) sublime. They proceed from a wantonness of imagination, and rather divert the Homer tells us in the same manner, that mind than astonish it. Milton has taken
upon every thing that is sublime in these several Aowed from the wound an ichor, or pure
Diomede's wounding the gods, there passages, and composes out of them the fol- kind of blood, which was not bred from lowing great image:
mortal viands; and that though the pain was * From their foundations loos'ning to and fro, exquisitely great, the wound soon closed up They plack'd the seated hills, with all their load,
and healed in those beings who are vested Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops Uplifting bore them in their hands.
with immortality. We have the full majesty of Homer in this
I question not but Milton, in his descripshort description, improved by the imagi- tion of his furious Moloch flying from the nation of Claudian, without its puerilities. battle, and bellowing with the wound he
I need not point out the description of the had received, had his eye on Mars in the fallen angels seeing the promontories hang- Iliad; who, upon his
being wounded, is reing over their heads in such a dreadful presented as retiring out of the fight, and manner, with the other numberless beau- making an outcry louder than that of a ties in this book, which are so conspicuous, whole army when it begins the charge. that they cannot escape the notice of the Homer adds, that the Greeks and Trojans most ordinary reader.
who were engaged in a general battle, were There are indeed so many wonderful terrified on each side with the bellowing of strokes of poetry in this book, and such a this wounded deity. The reader will easily variety of sublime ideas, that it would have observe how Milton has kept all the horror, been impossible to have given them a place of this image without running into the ridiwithin the bounds of this paper. Besides cule of it: that I find it in a great measure done to my
-Where the might of Gabriel fought, hand at the end of my lord Roscommon's
And with fierce ensigns piered the deop array
Of Moloch, furious king! who him defyd. Essay on Translated Poetry, I shall refer
And at lus chariot-wheels to drag him bound my reader thither for some of the master- Threatend, nor from the Holy One of heav'n strokes of the sixth book of Paradise Lost,
Refraind his tongue blasphemous: but anon though at the same time there are many And uncouth pain, fled bellowingothers which that noble author has not
Milton has likewise raised his description taken notice of. Milton, notwithstanding the sublime ge- the poetical parts of scripture. The Mes
in this book with many images taken out of nius he was master of, has in this book siah's chariot, as I have before taken notice, drawn to his assistance all the helps he is formed upon a vision of Ezekiel, who, as could meet with among the ancient poets. Grotius observes, has very much in him of The sword of Michael, which makes so Homer's spirit in the pactical parts of his great a havoc among the bad angels, was given him, we are told, out of the armoury
prophecy. of God:
The following lines, in that glorious com
mission which is given the Messiah to exof Michael from the armoury of God
tirpate the host of rebel angels, is drawn Was giv'n him, temper'd so, that neither keen
from a sublime passage in the psalms: Nor solid might resist that edge: it met
Go then, thou mightiest, in thy Father's might! The sword of Satan, with steep force to smite
Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheels Descending, and in half cut sheer
That take heav'n's basis; bring forth all my war, · This passage is a copy of that in Virgil, My bow, my thunder, my almighty arms wherein the poet tells us, that the sword of
Gird on, and sword on thy puissant thigh. LI Æneas, which was given him by a deity,
The reader will easily discover many broke into pieces the sword of Turnus, other strokes of the same nature. which came from a mortal forge. As the There is no question but Milton had moral in this place is divine, so by the way heated his imagination with the fight of the we may observe, that the bestowing on a gods in Homer, before he entered into this man who is favoured by heaven such an engagement of the angels. Homer there allegorical weapon is very conformable to gives us a scene of men, heroes, and gods, the old eastern way of thinking. Not only mixed together in battle. Mars animates Homer has made use of it, but we find the the contending armies, and lifts up his voice Jewish hero in the book of Maccabees, who in such a manner, that it is heard distinctly had fought the battles of the chosen people amidst all the shouts and confusion of the with so much glory and success, receiving fight. Jupiter at the same time thunders in his dream a sword from the hand of the over their heads; while Neptune raises prophet Jeremiah. The following passage, such a tempest, that the whole field of wherein Satan is described as wounded battle, and all the tops of the mountains, by the sword of Michael, is in imitation of shake about them. The poet tells, that Homer:
Pluto himself, whose habitation was in the The griding sword with discontinuous wound
very centre of the earth, was so affrighted Pass through him; but th' ethereal substance clos'd, at the shock, that he leapt from his throne. VOL. II. 5
-But the sword
Homer afterwards describes Vulcan as pour-stance) shows the Ill consequence of such ing down a storm of fire upon the river prepossessions. What I mean is the art, Xanthus, and Minerva as throwing a rock skill, accomplishment, or whatever you will at Mars; who, he tells us, covered seven call it, of dancing. I knew a gentleman of acres in his fall.
great abilities, who bewailed the want of As Homer has introduced into his battle this part of his education to the end of a of the gods every thing that is great and very honourable life. He observed that terrible in nature, Milton has filled his fight there was not occasion for the common use of good and bad angels with all the hike cir- of great talents; that they are but seldom in cumstances of horror. The shout of armies, demand; and that these very great talents the rattling of brazen chariots, the hurling were often rendered useless to a man for of rocks and mountains, the earthquake, want of small attainments. A good mien the fire, the thunder, are all of them em- |(a becoming motion, gesture, and aspect) ployed to lift up the reader's imagination, is natural to some men; but even these and give him a suitable idea of so great an would be highly more graceful in their caraction. With what art has the poet repre- riage, if what they do from the force of nasented the whole body of the earth trem- ture were confirmed and heightened from bling, even before it was created!
the force of reason. Toone who has not at all All heav'n resounded; and had earth been then,
considered it, to mention the force of reason All earth had to its centre shook
on such a subject will appear fantastical; In how sublime and just a manner does but when you have a little attended to it, an he afterwards describe the whole heaven assembly of men will have quite another shaking under the wheels of the Messiah's view; and they will tell you, it is evident chariot, with that exception to the throne from plain and infallible rules, why this of God!
man, with those beautiful features, and a
well-fashioned person, is not so agreeable as -Under his burning wheels The steadfast empyrean shook throughout,
he who sits by him without any of those adAll but the throne itself of God
vantages. When we read, we do it without Notwithstanding the Messiah appears the shape of the letters; but habit makes us
any exerted act of memory that presents clothed with so much terror and majesty, do it mechanically, without staying, like the poet has still found means to make his children, to recollect and join those letters. readers conceive an idea of him beyond A man who has not had the regard of his what he himself is able to describe:
gesture in any part of his education, will Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'd find himself unable to act with freedom beHis thunder in mid volley; for he meant Not to destroy, but root them out of heaven.
fore new company, as a child that is but now In a word, Milton's genius, which was so It is for the advancement of the pleasure
learning would be to read without hesitation. great in itself, and so strengthened by all the helps of learning, appears in this
book we receive in being agreeable to each other every way equal to his subject, which was
in ordinary life, that one would wish dancing the most sublime that could enter into the it really is, to a proper deportment in mat
were generally understood, as conducive, as thoughts of a poet. As he knew all the arts of affecting the mind, he has given it cer- A man of learning and sense is distinguished
ters that appear the most remote from it.' tain resting-places and opportunities of re, from others as he is such, though he never covering itself from time to time; several speeches, reflections, similitudes, and the runs upon points too difficult for the rest of like reliefs, being interspersed to diversify of the arm, and the most ordinary motion,
the world; in like manner the reaching out his narration, and ease the attention of the discovers whether a man ever learnt to reader.
know what is the true harmony and composure of his limbs and countenance. Who
ever has seen Booth in the character of No. 334.) Monday, March 24, 1711-12. Pyrrhus, march to his throne to receive -Voluisti, in suo genere, unumquemque nostrum conceptions are expressed in the very steps
Orestes, is convinced that majestic and great que recta essent probari, quam quæ prava sunt fastidiis but, perhaps, though no other man could adhærescere.
perform that incident as well as he does, he You would have each of his be a kind of Roscius in his himself would do it with a yet greater elevaway: and you have said, that fastidious men are not so tion were he a dancer. This is so dangerous a much pleased with what is right, as disgusted at what subject to treat with gravity, that I shall not is wrong.
at present enter into it any further: but the It is very natural to take for our whole author of the following letter has treated it lives a light impression of a thing, which at in the essay he speaks of in such a manner, first fell into contempt with us for want of that I am beholden to him for a resolution, consideration. The real use of a certain that I will never hereafter think meanly of qualification (which the wiser part of man- any thing, till I have heard what they who kind look upon as at the best an indifferent have another opinion of it have to say in its thing, and generally a frivolous circum- defence.
Cic. de Gestue,
«Mr. SPECTATOR—Since there are scarce | some observations on modern dancing, both any of the arts and sciences that have not as to the stage, and that part of it so absolutebeen recommended to the world by the pens ly necessary for the qualification of gentleof some of the professors, masters, or lovers men and ladies; and have concluded with of them, whereby the usefulness, excel- some short remarks on the origin and prolence, and benefit arising from them, both as gress of the character by which dances are to the speculative and practical part, have writ down, and communicated to one masbeen made public, to the great advantage ter from another. If some great genius afand improvement of such arts and sciences; ter this would arise, and advance this art to why should dancing, an art celebrated by that perfection it seems capable of receiving, the ancients in so extraordinary a manner, what might not be expected from it? For, be totally neglected by the moderns, and if we consider the origin of arts and sciences, left destitute of any pen to recommend its we shall find that some of them took rise various excellencies and substantial merit to from beginnings so mean and
that it is very wonderful to think that ever The low ebb to which dancing is now such surprising structures should have been fallen, is altogether owing to this silence. raised upon such ordinary foundations. But The art is esteemed only as an amusing what cannot a great genius effect? Who trifle; it lies altogether uncultivated, and is would have thought that the clangorous unhappily fallen under the imputation of il-noise of smiths' hammers should have given literate and mechanic. As Terence, in one the first rise to music? Yet Macrobius in of his prologues, complains of the rope- his second book relates, that Pythagoras, in dancers drawing all the spectators from his passing by a smith's shop, found that the play, so we may well say, that capering and sounds proceeding from the hammers were tumbling is now preferred to, and supplies either more grave or acute, according to the the place of, just and regular dancing on our different weights of the hammers. The theatres. It is, therefore, in my opinion, philosopher, to improve this hint, suspends high time that some one should come to its different weights by strings of the same bigassistance, and relieve it from the many ness, and found in like manner that the gross and growing errors that have crept into sounds answered to the weights. This beit, and overcast its real beauties; and to set ing discovered, he finds out those numbers dancing in its true light, would show the which produced sounds that were consonant: usefulness and elegance of it, with the plea- as that two strings of the same substance and sure and instruction produced from it; and tension, the one being double the length of also lay down some fundamental rules, that the other, gave that interval which is callmight so tend to the improvement of its pro-ed diapason, or an eighth; the same was also fessors, and information of the spectators, effected from two strings of the same length that the first might be the better enabled to and size, the one having four times the tenperform, and the latter rendered more ca-sion of the other. By these steps, from so pable of judging what is (if there be any mean a beginning, did this great man rething) valuable in this art. 1
duce, what was only before noise to one of "Toencourage, therefore, some ingenious the most delightful sciences, by marrying pen capable of so generous an undertaking it to the mathematics; and by that means and in some measure to relieve dancing from caused it to be one of the most abstract and the disadvantages it at present lies under, I, demonstrative of sciences. Who knows, who teach to dance,* have attempted a therefore, but motion, whether decorous or small treatise as an Essay towards a History representative, may not (as it seems highly of Dancing: in which I have inquired into probable it may,) be taken into consideraits antiquity, origin, and use, and shown tion by some person capable of reducing it what esteem the ancients had for it. I have into a regular science, though not so demonlikewise considered the nature and perfec-strative as that proceeding from sounds, yet tion of all its several parts, and how benefi- sufficient to entitle it to a place among the cial and delightful it is, both as a qualifica- magnified arts? tion and an exercise; and endeavoured to Now, Mr. Spectator, as you have declaranswer all objections that have been mali- ed yourself visitor of dancing-schools, and ciously raised against it. I have proceeded this being an undertaking which more imto give an account of the particular dances mediately respects them, I think myself inof the Greeks and Romans, whether reli- dispensably obliged, before I proceed to the gious, warlike, or civil: and taken partico- publication of this my essay, to ask your lar notice of that part of dancing relating to advice; and hold it absolutely necessary to the ancient stage, in which the pantomimes have your approbation, in order to recomhad so great a share. Nor have I been mend my treatise to the perusal of the pawanting in giving an historical account of rents of such as learn to dance, as well as to some particular masters excellent in that the young ladies, to whom as visitor you surprising art; after which I have advanced ought to be a guardian.
I am, sir, * An Essay towards the History of Dancing, &c. By
Your most humble servant, si ohn Weaver, 12mo. 1712.
Salop, March 10, 1711-12.'