Imágenes de páginas

not esteem him covetous. How then can I reconcile his neglect of himself, and his zeal for others ? I have long suspected him to be a " little pious :" but no man ever hid his vice with greater caution, than he does his virtue. It was the praise of a great Roman, “ that he had rather be, than appear, good.” But such is the weakness of Lotius, that I dare say he had rather be esteemed irreligious than devout. By I know not what impatience of raillery, he is wonderfully fearful of being thought too great a believer. A hundred little devices are made use of to hide a time of private devotion; and he will allow you any suspicion of his being ill employed, so you do not tax him with being well. But alas ! how mean is such a behaviour! To boast of virtue, is a most ridiculous way of disappointing the merit of it, but not so pitiful as that of being ashamed of it. How unhappy is the wretch, who makes the most absolute and independent motive of action the cause of perplexity and inconstancy! How different a figure does Cælicolo make with all who know him! His great and superior mind, frequently exalted by the raptures of heavenly meditation, is to all his friends of the same use, as if an angel were to appear at the decision of their disputes. They very well understand, he is as much disinterested and unbiassed as such a being. He considers all applications made to him, as those addresses will affect his own application to Heaven. All his determinations are delivered with a beautiful humility; and he pronounces his decisions with the air of one who is more frequently a supplicant than a judge.

Thus humble, and thus great, is the man who is moved by piety, and exalted by devotion. But behold this recommended by the masterly hand of a great divine I have heretofore made bold with.

“ It is such a pleasure as can never cloy or overwork the mind; a delight that grows and improves under thought and reflection; and while it exercises, does also endear itself to the mind. All pleasures that affect the body must needs weary, because they transport; and all transportation is a violence; and no violence can be lasting; but determines upon the falling of the spirits, which are not able to keep up that height of motion that the pleasure of the senses raises them to. And therefore how inevitably does an immoderate laughter end in a sigh, which is only nature's recovering itself after a force done to it! but the religious pleasure of a well-disposed mind moves gently, and therefore constantly. It does not affect by rapture and ecstacy, but is like the pleasure of health, greater and stronger than those that call up the senses with grosser and more affecting impressions! No man's body is as strong as his appetites ; but Heaven has corrected the boundlessness of his voluptuous desires by stinting bis strength, and contracting his capacities. The pleasure of the religious man is an easy and a portable pleasuro, such an one as he carries about in his bosom, without alarming either the eye or the envy of the worlr. A man putting all his pleasures into this one, is lice a traveller putting all his goods into one jewel; tre value is the same, and the convenience greater.'

# Dr. South.

N° 212. THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 1710.

From my own Apartment, August 16. I have had much importunity to answer the following letter.


Reading over a volume of yours, I find the words Simplex Munditiis mentioned as a description of a very well-dressed woman.

I beg of you, for the sake of the sex, to explain these terms. I canpot comprehend what my brother means, when he tells me, they signify my own name, whick is, Sir,

Your humble servant,

PLAIN ENGLISH.” I think the lady's brother has given us a very good idea of that elegant expression; it being the greatest beauty of speech to be close and intelligible. To this end, nothing is to be more carefully consulted than plainness. In a lady's attire this is the single excellence; for to be, what some people call, fine, is the same vice in that case, as to be florid, is in writing or speaking. I have studied and writ on this important subject, until I almost despair of making reformation in the females of this island; where we have more beauty than in any spot in the universe, if we did not disguise it by false garniture, and detract from it by impertinent improvements. I have by me a treatise concerning pinners, which, I have some hopes, will contribute to the amendment of the present head-dresses, to which I have solid and unanswerable objections. But most of errors in that, and other particulars of adorning the head, are crept into the world from the ignorance of modern tirewomen; for it is come to that pass, that an aukward creature in the first year of her apprenticeship, that can hardly stick a pin, shall take upon her to dress a woman of the first quality. However, it is certain, that there requires in a good tirewoman a perfect skill in optics; for all the force of ornament is to contribute to the intention of the eyes. Thus she, who has a mind to look killing, must arm her face accordingly, and not leave her eyes and cheeks undressed. There is Araminta, who is so sensible of this, that she never will see even her own husband, without a hood on. Can any one living bear to see Miss Gruel, lean as she is, with her hair tied back after the modern way? But such is the folly of our ladies, that because one who is a beauty, out of ostentation of her being such, takes care to wear something that she knows cannot be of any consequence to her complexion; I say, our women run on so heedlessly in the fashion, that though it is the interest of some to hide as much of their faces as possible, yet because a leading Toast appeared with a backward head-dress, the rest shall follow the mode, without observing that the author of the fashion assumed it because it could become no one but herself.

Flavia* is ever well-dressed, and always the genteelest woman

you meet : but the make of her mind very much contributes to the ornament of her body. She has the greatest simplicity of manners, of any of her sex. This makes every thing look

* Mr. Ann Oldfield, the actress.

native about her, and her cloaths are so exactly fitted that they appear, as it were, part of her person. Every one that sees her knows her to be of quality; but her distinction is owing to her manner and not to her habit. Her beauty is full of attraction but not of allurement. There is such a composure in her looks, and propriety in her dress, that you would think it impossible she should change the garb, you one day see her in, for any thing so becoming, until you next day see her in another. There is no other mystery in this, but that however she is apparelled, she is herself the same: for there is so immediate a relation between our thoughts and gestures, that a woman must think well to look well.

But this weighty subject I must put off for some other matters, in which my correspondents are urgent for answers; which I shall do where I can, and appeal to the judgment of others where I cannot.

6 MR. BICKERSTAFF. August 15, 1710.

Taking the air the other day on horseback in the green-lane that leads to Southgate, I discovered coming towards me a person well mounted in a mask and I accordingly expected, as any one would, to have been robbed. But when we came up with each other, the spark, to my greater surprize, very peaceably gave me the way; which made me take courage enough to ask him, if he masqueraded, or how? He made me no answer, bat still continued incognito. This was certainly an ass, in a lion's skin; a harmless bull-beggar, who delights to fright innocent people, and set them a gallopping. I bethought myself of putting as good a jest upon him, and had turned my horse, with a


[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »