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His preferring annihilation to shame or misery is also highly suitable to his character; as the comfort he draws from their disturbing the peace of heaven, that if it be not victory it is revenge, is a sentiment truly diabolical, and becoming the bitterness of this implacable spirit.
Belial is described in the first book as the idol of the lewd and luxurious. He is in the second book, pursuant to that description, characterized as timorous and slothful; and if we look into the sixth book, we find him celebrated in the battle of angels for nothing but that scoffing speech which he makes to Satan, on their supposed advantage over the enemy. As his appearance is uniform, and of a piece in these three several views, we find his sentiments in the infernal assembly every way conformable to his character. Such are his apprehensions of a second battle, his horrors of annihilation, his preferring to be miserable, rather than not to be.' I need not observe, that the contrast of thought in this speech, and that which precedes it, gives an agreeable variety to the debate. Mammon's character is so fully drawn in the first book, that the poet adds nothing to it in the second. We were before told, that he was the first who taught mankind to ransack the earth for gold and silver, and that he was the architect of Pandemonium, or the infernal palace, where the evil spirits were to meet in council. His speech in this book is every way suitable to so depraved a character. How proper is that reflection of their being unable to taste the happiness of heaven, were they actually there, in the mouth of one, who, while he was in heaven, is said to have had his mind dazzled with the outward pomps and glories of the place, and to have been more intent on the riches of the pavement than on the beatific vision. I shall also leave the reader to judge how agreeable the following senti
ments are to the same character:
-This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
And with the majesty of darkness round
Beelzebub, who is reckoned the second in dignity that fell, and is, in the first book, the second that awakens out of the trance, and confers with Satan upon the situation of their affairs, maintains his rank in the book now before us. There is a wonderful majesty described in his rising up to speak. He acts as a kind of moderator between the two opposite parties, and proposes a third undertaking, which the whole assembly gives into. The motion he makes of detaching one of their body in search of a vised by Satan, and cursorily proposed by new world is grounded upon a project dehim in the following lines of the first book:
Space may produce new worlds, whereof so rife
It is on this project that Beelzebub grounds his proposal:
What if we find
Some easier enterprise? There is a place,
The reader may observe how just it was, not to omit in the first book the project upon which the whole poem turns; as also that the prince of the fallen angels was the only proper person to give it birth, and that the next to him in dignity was the fittest to second and support it.
There is besides, I think, something wonderfully beautiful, and very apt to affect the reader's imagination, in this ancient prophecy or report in heaven, concerning the creation of man. Nothing could more show the dignity of the species, than this tradition which ran of them before their existence. They are represented to have been the talk of heaven before they were created. Virgil, in compliment to the Roman commonwealth, makes the heroes of it appear in their state of pre-existence; but Milton does a far greater honour to mankind in general, as he gives us a glimpse of them even before they are in being.
The rising of this great assembly is described in a very sublime and poetical
Their rising all at once was as the sound
The diversions of the fallen angels, with this quotation. He will likewise observe the particular account of their place of how naturally the three persons concerned habitation, are described with great preg-in this allegory are tempted by one comnancy of thought, and copiousness of in- mon interest to enter into a confederacy tovention. The diversions are every way gether, and how properly Sin is made the suitable to beings who had nothing left portress of hell, and the only being that can them but strength and knowledge misap- open the gates to that world of tortures. plied. Such are their contentions at the race and in feats of arms, with their entertainment in the following lines:
likewise very strong, and full of sublime The descriptive part of this allegory is ideas. The figure of Death, the regal crown upon his head, his menace of Satan, his advancing to the combat, the outcry at his birth, are circumstances too noble to be to this king of terrors. I need not mention past over in silence, and extremely suitable the justness of thought which is observed in the generation of these several symbothe first revolt of Satan, that Death aplical persons; that Sin was produced upon peared soon after he was cast into hell, ceived at the gate of this place of torments. and that the terrors of conscience were conThe description of the gates is very poetical, as the opening of them is full of Milton's spirit:
Others with vast Typhæan rage more fell
Their music is employed in celebrating their own criminal exploits, and their discourse in sounding the unfathomable depths of fate, free-will, and foreknowledge.
The several circumstances in the description of hell are finely imagined; as the four rivers which disgorge themselves into the sea of fire, the extremes of cold and heat, and the river of oblivion. The monstrous animals produced in that infernal world are represented by a single line, which gives us a more horrid idea of them than a much longer description would have done:
This episode of the fallen spirits and their place of habitation, comes in very happily to unbend the mind of the reader from its attention to the debate. An ordinary poet would indeed have spun out so many circumstances to a great length, and by that means have weakened, instead of illustrated the principal fable.
The flight of Satan to the gates of hell is finely imaged.
I have already declared my opinion of the allegory concerning Sin and Death, which is, however, a very finished piece in its kind, when it is not considered as a part of an epic poem. The genealogy of the several persons is contrived with great delicacy. Sin is the daughter of Satan, and Death the offspring of Sin. The incestuous mixture between Sin and Death produces those monsters and hell-hounds which from time to time enter into their mother, and tear the bowels of her who gave them birth.
These are the terrors of an evil conscience, and the proper fruits of Sin, which naturally rise from the apprehensions of Death. This last beautiful moral is, I think, clearly intimated in the speech of Sin, where, complaining of this her dreadful issue, she adds:
Before mine eyes in opposition sits
I need not mention to the reader the beautiful circumstance in the last part of
-On a sudden open fly
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound
are several imaginary persons described, In Satan's voyage through the chaos there as residing in that immense waste of matter. This may perhaps be conformable to the taste of those critics who are pleased and manners ascribed to it; but for my own with nothing in a poet which has not life ges in this description which carry in them a part, I am pleased most with those passagreater measure of probability, and are such as might possibly have happened. Of this kind is his first mounting in the smoke that rises from the infernal pit, his falling into a cloud of nitre, and the like combustible materials, that by their explosion still hurried him forward in his voyage; his springing upward like a pyramid of fire, with his laborious passage through that confusion of elements which the poet calls
The womb of nature, and perhaps her grave. chaos from the utmost verge of the creaThe glimmering light which shot into the tion, with the distant discovery of the earth that hung close by the moon, are wonderfully beautiful and poetical. L.
heartily; and my father and mother were for it a great while, but now they say I can do better; but I think I cannot. They bid me not love him, and I cannot unlove him. What must I do? Speak quickly. 'BIDDY DOW-BAKE.' Feb. 19, 1712. 'DEAR SPEC, I have loved a lady entirely for this year and a half, though for a great part of the time (which has contributed not a little to my pain) I have been debarred the liberty of conversing with her. The grounds of our difference was this; that when we had enquired into each other's circumstances, we found that at our first setting out into the world, we should owe five hundred pounds more than her fortune would pay off. My estate is seven hundred pounds a-year, besides the benefit of tin mines. Now, dear Spec, upon this state of the case, and the lady's positive declaration that there is still no other objection, I beg you will not fail to insert this, with your opinion, as soon as possible, whether this ought to be esteemed a just cause or impediment why we should not be joined; and you will for ever oblige yours sincerely, DICK LOVESICK.'.
Sir, if I marry this lady by the assistance of your opinion, you may expect a favour for it.'
able regard to you, but as it is, I beg we may be strangers for the future. Adieu.
'SIR,-I hope you will not think it is any manner of disrespect to your person or merit, that the intended nuptials between us are interrupted. My father says he has a much better offer for me than you can make, and has ordered me to break off the treaty between us. If it had proceeded, I should have behaved myself with all suit
This great indifference on this subject, and the mercenary motives for making alliances, is what I think lies naturally before thoughts upon it. My answer to Lydia was you, and I beg of you to give me your as follows, which I hope you will approve; for you are to know the woman's family affect a wonderful ease on these occasions, though they expect it should be painfully received on the man's side.
'MADAM,-I have received yours, and knew the prudence of your house so well, that I always took care to be ready to obey your commands, though they should be to see you no more. Pray give my service to all the good family. Adieu. CLITOPHON. 'The opera subscription is full.’
letter and report the common usages on The censor of marriage to consider this such treaties, with how many pounds or acres are generally esteemed sufficient reason for preferring a new to an old pretender; with his opinion what is proper to be determined in such cases for the future. See No. 308, let. 1.
'MR. SPECTATOR,-There is an elderly
'MR. SPECTATOR,-I have the misfor-person lately left off business and settled in tune to be one of those unhappy men who our town, in order, as he thinks, to retire are distinguished by the name of discarded from the world; but he has brought with lovers; but I am the less mortified at my him such an inclination to tale-bearing, disgrace, because the young lady is one of that he disturbs both himself and all our those creatures who set up for negligence neighbourhood. Notwithstanding this frailof men, are forsooth the most rigidly virtu- ty, the honest gentleman is so happy as to ous in the world, and yet their nicety will have no enemy: at the same time he has permit them at the command of parents to not one friend who will venture to acquaint go to bed to the most utter stranger that him with his weakness. It is not to be can be proposed to them. As to me myself, doubted, but if this failing were set in a proI was introduced by the father of my mis- per light, he would quickly perceive the tress; but find I owe my being at first re- indecency and evil consequences of it. ceived to a comparison of my estate with Now, sir, this being an infirmity which I that of a former lover, and that I am now hope may be corrected, and knowing that in like manner turned off to give way to an he pays much deference to you, I beg that humble servant still richer than I am. when you are at leisure to give us a specuWhat makes this treatment the more ex-lation on gossiping, you would think of my travagant is, that the young lady is in the neighbour. You will hereby oblige several management of this way of fraud, and who will be glad to find a reformation in obeys her father's orders on those occasions their grey-haired friend: and how becomwithout any manner of reluctance, but does ing will it be for him, instead of pouring it with the same air that one of your men forth words at all adventures, to set a of the world would signify the necessity of watch before the door of his mouth, to reaffairs for turning another out of office. frain his tongue, to check its impetuosity, When I came home last night, I found this and guard against the sallies of that little letter from my mistress: pert, forward, busy person; which, under member of society! In compliance with a sober conduct, might prove a useful those intimations, I have taken the liberty to make this address to you. I am, sir, your 'PHILANTHROPOS.'
most obscure servant,
you in behalf of myself, and many more of 'MR. SPECTATOR,-This is to petition
'It is further our humble request, that you would substitute advertisements in the place of such epistles; and that in order hereunto Mr. Buckley may be authorized to take up of your zealous friend Mr. Charles Lillie, any quantity of words he shall from time to time have occasion for.
your gentle readers, that at any time when I fore my house more than once this winter. you may have private reasons against let- My kinswoman likewise informs me that ting us know what you think yourself, you the girl has talked to her twice or thrice of would be pleased to pardon us such letters a gentleman in a fair wig, and that she of your correspondents as seem to be of no loves to go to church more than ever she use but to the printer. did in her life. She gave me the slip about a week ago, upon which my whole house was in alarm. I immediately despatched a hue and cry after her to the 'Change, to her mantua-maker, and to the young ladies that visit her; but after above an hour's search she returned of herself, having been taking a walk, as she told me, by Rosamond's pond. I have hereupon turned off her woman, doubled her guards, and given new instructions to my relation, who, to give her her due, keeps a watchful eye over all her motions. This, sir, keeps me often watch when my daughter sleeps, as I in perpetual anxiety, and makes me very am afraid she is even with me in her turn. Now, sir, what I would desire of you is, to represent to this fluttering tribe of young fellows, who are for making their fortunes by these indirect means, that stealing a man's daughter for the sake of her portion, is but a kind of a tolerated robbery; and that they make but a poor amends to the father, whom they plunder after this manner, by going to bed with his child. Dear sir, be speedy in your thoughts on this sub ject, that, if possible, they may appear be fore the disbanding of the army. I am, sir, your most humble servant,
The many useful parts of knowledge which may be communicated to the public this way, will, we hope, be a consideration in favour of your petitioners. And your petitioners, &c.'
Note.-That particular regard be had to this petition; and the papers marked letter R may be carefully examined for the fu
No. 311.] Tuesday, February 26, 1711-12.
Inde faces ardent, veniunt a dote sagittæ.
Juv. Sat, vi. 137.
Themistocles, the great Athenian gene
MR. SPECTATOR,-I am amazed that, among all the variety of characters with which you have enriched your speculations, you have never given us a picture of those audacious young fellows among us who commonly go by the name of the fortune-ral, being asked whether he would rather stealers. You must know, sir, I am one who choose to marry his daughter to an indigent live in a continual apprehension of this sort man of merit, or to a worthless man of an of people, that lie in wait, day and night estate, replied, that he should prefer a man for our children, and may be considered as without an estate to an estate without a a kind of kidnappers within the law. I am man. The worst of it is, our modern forthe father of a young heiress, whom I be- tune-hunters are those who turn their heads gin to look upon as marriageable, and who that way, because they are good for nothing has looked upon herself as such for above else. If a young fellow finds he can make these six years. She is now in the eighteenth nothing of Coke and Littleton he provides year of her age. The fortune-hunters have himself with a ladder of ropes, and by that already cast their eyes upon her, and take means very often enters upon the precare to plant themselves in her view when-mises. ever she appears in any public assembly. I have myself caught a young jackanapes, with a pair of silver-fringed gloves, in the very fact. You must know, Sir, I have kept her as a prisoner of state, ever since she was in her teens. Her chamber windows are cross-barred; she is not permitted to go out of the house but with her keeper, who is a staid relation of my own; I have likewise forbid her the use of pen and ink, for this twelvemonth last past, and do not suffer a band-box to be carried into her room before it has been searched. Notwithstanding these precautions, I am at my wit's end, for fear of any sudden surprise. There were, two or three nights ago, some fiddles heard in the street, which I am afraid portend me no good: not to mention a tall Irishman, that has been seen walking be
The same art of scaling has likewise been practised with good success by many military engineers. Stratagems of this nature make parts and industry supe:fluous, and cut short the way to riches.
Nor is vanity a less motive than idleness to this kind of mercenary pursuit. A fop, who admires his person in a glass, socn enters into a resolution of making his fortune by it, not questioning but every woman that falls in his way will do him as much justice as he does himself. When an heiress sees a man throwing particular graces into his ogle, or talking loud within her hearing, she ought to look to herself; but if withal she observes a pair of red heels, a patch, or any other particularity in his dress, she cannot take too much care of her person. These are baits not to be
trifled with, charms that have done a world | No. 312.] Wednesday, Feb. 27, 1711-12. of execution, and made their way into hearts Quod huic officium, quæ laus, quod decus erit tanti, which have been thought impregnable.quod adipisci cum dolore corporis velit, qui dolorem The force of a man with these qualifica- summum malum sibi persuaserit? Quam porro quis tions is so well known, that I am credibly ignominium, quam turpitudinem non pertulerit, ut effuinformed there are several female under-giat dolorem, si id summum malum esse decreverit. takers about the 'Change, who, upon the arrival of a likely man out of a neighbouring kingdom, will furnish him with a proper dress from head to foot, to be paid for at a double price on the day of marriage.
We must, however, distinguish between fortune-hunters and fortune-stealers. The first are those assiduous gentlemen who employ their whole lives in the chase, without ever coming to the quarry. Suffenus has combed and powdered at the ladies for thirty years together; and taken his stand in a side-box, until he has grown wrinkled under their eyes. He is now laying the same snares for the present generation of beauties, which he practised on their mothers. Cottilus, after having made his application to more than you meet with in Mr. Cowley's ballad of mistresses, was at last smitten with a city lady of 20,000/. sterling; but died of old age before he could bring matters to bear. Nor must I here omit my worthy friend Mr. Honeycomb, who has often told us in the club, that for twenty years successively upon the death of a childless rich man, he immediately drew on his boots, called for his horse, and made up to the widow. When he is rallied upon his ill success, Will, with his usual gaiety, tells us, that he always found her pre-engaged.
Widows are indeed the great game of your fortune-hunters. There is scarce a young fellow in the town of six foot high that has not passed in review before one or other of these wealthy relicts. Hudibras's Cupid, who
is daily employed in throwing darts and kindling flames. But as for widows, they are such a subtle generation of people, that they may be left to their own conduct; or if they make a false step in it, they are answerable for it to nobody but themselves. The young innocent creatures who have no knowledge and experience of the world, are those whose safety I would principally consult in this speculation. The stealing of such an one should, in my opinion, be as punishable as a rape. Where there is no judgment there is no choice; and why the inveigling a woman before she comes to years of discretion should not be as criminal as the seducing of her before she is ten years old, I am at a loss to comprehend.
Tully. What duty, what praise, or what honour will he think worth enduring bodily pain for, who has persuaded himself that pain is the chief evil? Nay, to what ignominy, to what baseness, will he not stoop, to avoid pain, if he has determined it to be the chief evil?
It is a very melancholy reflection, that men are usually so weak, that it is absolutely necessary for them to know sorrow and pain, to be in their right senses. Prosperous people (for happy there are none) are hurried away with a fond sense of their present condition, and thoughtless of the mutability of fortune. Fortune is a term which we must use, in such discourses as these, for what is wrought by the unseen hand of the Disposer of all things. But methinks the disposition of a mind which is truly great, is that which makes misfortunes and sorrows little when they befal ourselves, great and lamentable when they The most unpardonable befal other men. malefactor in the world going to his death, and bearing it with composure, would win the pity of those who should behold him; and this not because his calamity is deplorable, but because he seems himself not to We suffer for him who is less deplore it. sensible of his own misery, and are inclined to despise him who sinks under the weight of his distresses. On the other hand, without any touch of envy, a temperate and well-governed mind looks down on such as are exalted with success, with a certain shame for the imbecility of human nature, that can so far forget how liable it is to calamity, as to grow giddy with only the suspense of sorrow, which is the portion of all men. He therefore who turns his face from the unhappy man, who will not look again when his eye is cast upon modest sorrow, who shuns affliction like a contagion, does but pamper himself up for a sacrifice, and contract in himself a greater aptitude to misery by attempting to escape it. A gen tleman, where I happened to be last night, fell into a discourse which I thought showed a good discerning in him. He took notice, that whenever men have looked into their heart for the idea of true excellence in human nature, they have found it to consist in suffering after a right manner, and with a good grace. Heroes are always drawn bearing sorrows, struggling with adversities, undergoing all kinds of hardships, and having, in the service of mankind, a kind of appetite to difficulties and dangers. The gentleman went on to observe, that it is from this secret sense of the high merit which there is in patience under calamities, that the writers of romances when
➡ See Grey's edit. of Hudibras, vol. 1. part i. canto iii. they attempt to furnish out characters of the highest excellence, ransack nature for
v. 212, 213.