Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

manners. He then proceeds to inform me, that, in the most exact astrological schemes, the lion is observed to affect, in a more particular manner, the legs and the neck, as well as to allay the power of the Scorpion, in those parts which are allotted to that fiery constellation. From hence, he very naturally prognosticates that my lion will meet with great success, in the attacks he has made on the untuckered stays and short petticoat; and that, in a few months, there will not be a female bosom or ancle uncovered in Great Britain. He concludes, that by the rules of his art, he foresaw, five years ago, that both the pope and myself should, about this time, unite our endeavours in this particular, and that sundry mutations and revolutions would happen in the female dress.

I have another letter by me, from a person of a more volatile and airy genius, who, finding this great propension in the fair sex to go uncovered, and, thinking it impossible to reclaim them entirely from it

, is for compounding the matter with them, and finding out a middle expedient between nakedness and clothing. He proposes, therefore, that they should imitate their great grandmothers, the Briths or Picts, and paint the parts of their bodies which are uncovered with such figures as shall be most to their fancy. "The bosom of the coquette,” says he may bear the figure of a Cupid, with a bow in his hand, and his arrow upon the string. The prude might have a Pallas, with a shield and Gorgon's head.” In short, by this method, he thinks every woman might make very agreeable discoveries of herself, and at the same time show us what she would be at. But, by my correspondent's good leave, I can by no means consent to spoil the skin of my pretty countrywomen. They could find no colours half so charming as those which are natural to them; and though, like the old Picts, they painted the sun itself upon their bodies, they would still change for the worse, and conceal something more beautiful than what they exhibited.

I shall, therefore, persist in my first design, and éndeavour to bring about the reformation in neck and legs, which I have so long aimed at.

Let them but raise their stays and let down their petticoats, and I have done. However, as I will give them space to consider of it, I design this for the last time that my lion shall roar upon the subject during this season, which I give public notice of for the sake of my correspondents, that they may not be at an unnecessary trouble or expence in furnishing me with any informations relating to the tucker before the beginning of next winter, when I may again resume that point, if I find occasion for it. I shall not, however, let it drop, without acquainting my reader that I have written a letter to the pope upon it, in order to encourage him in his present good intentions, and that we may act by concert in this matter. Here follows the copy of

my letter.

To Pope Clement the Eighth, Nestor Ironside,

greeting DEAR BROTHER, “I have heard, with great satisfaction, that you have forbidden your priests to confess any woman, who appears before them without a tucker, in which you please me well. I do

I do agree with you, that it is impossible for the good man to discharge his office, as he ought, who gives an ear to those alluring penitents that discover their hearts and necks to him at the same time. I am labouring, as much as in me lies, to stir up the same spirit of modesty among the women of this island, and should be glad we might assist one another in so good a work. In order to it, I desire that you will send me over the length of a Roman lady's neck, as it stood before your late prohibition. We have some, here, who have necks of one, two, and three foot in length, some that have necks which reach down to their middles, and, indeed, some who may be said to be all neck and no body. I hope, at the same time you observe the stays

of
your

female subjects, that you have also an eye to their petticoats, which rise in this island daily. When the petticoat reaches but to the knee, and the stays fall to the fifth rib, (which I hear is to be the standard of each, as it has been lately settled in a junto of the sex), I will take care to send you one of either sort, which I advertise you of beforehand, that you may not compute the stature of our English women from the length of their garments.

In the mean time, I have desired the master of a véssel, who tells me that he shall touch at Civita Vecchia, to present you with a certain female machine, which, I believe, will puzzle your infallibility to discover the use of it. Not to keep you in suspense, it is what we call, in this country, a hoopedpetticoat. I shall only beg of you to let me know whether you find any garment of this nature among all the relics of your female saints, and, in particular, whether it was ever worn by any of your twenty thousand virgin martyrs.

Yours, usque ad aras,

NESTOR IRONSIDE."

I must not dismiss this letter, without declaring myself a good Protestant, as I hint in the subscribing part of it. This I thimk necessary to take notice of, lest I should be accused, by an author of unexampled stupidity, for corresponding with the head of the Romish church.

No. 152. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4.

Quin potiùs pacem æternam puctosque hymenæos
Exercemus

VinG. THERE is. no rule in Longinus which I more admire, than that wherein he advises an author, who would attain to the sublime, and writes for eternity, to consider, when he is engaged in his.composition, what Homer or Plato, or any other of those heroes in the learn, ed world, would have said or thought upon the same occasion, : I have often practised this rule, with regard to the best authors among the ancients, as well as among the moderns. With what success, I must leave to the judgment of others. I may, at least, venture to say, with Mr. Dryden, where he professes to have imitated Shakespear's style, țhạt, in imitating such great authors, I have always excelled myself.

I have, also, by this means, revived several antiquated ways of writing, which, though very instructive and entertaining, had been laid aside, and forgotten for some ages.

I shall in this place only mention those allegories, wherein virtues, vices, and human passions, are introduced as real actors. Though this kind of composition was practised by the finest authors among the ancients, our countryman, Spenser, is the last writer of note who has applied himself to it with success.

That an allegory may be both delightful and instructive; in the first place, the fable of it ought to be perfect, and, if possible, to be filled with surprising turns and incidents. In the next, there ought to be useful morals and reflections couched under it, which still receive a greater value from their being pew and uncommon; as also from their appearing difficult to have been thrown into emblematical types and shadows.

I was once thinking to have written a whole canto in the spirit of Spenser, and, in order to it, contrived a fable of imaginary persons and characters. . I raised it on that common dispute between the comparative perfections and pre-eminence of the two sexes, each of which have very frequently had their advocates among the men of letters. Since I have not time to accomplish this work, I shall present my reader with the naked fable, reserving the embellishments of verse and poetry to another opportunity.

The two sexes, contending for superiority, were once at war with each other, which was chiefly carried on by their auxiliaries. The males were drawn up on the one side of a very spacious plain, the females on the other; between them was left a very large interval for their auxiliaries to engage in.. At each extremity of this middle space lay encamped several bodies of neutral forces, who waited for the event of the battle before they would declare themselves, that they might then act as they saw occasion.

The main body of the male auxiliaries was commanded by Fortitude; that of the female by Beauty. Fortitude. began the onset on Beauty, but found, to his cost, that she had such a particular witchcraft in her looks, as withered all his strength. She played upon him so many smiles and glances, that she quite weakened and disarmed him.

In short, he was ready to call for quarter, had not Wisdom come to his aid : this was the commander of the male right wing, and would have turned the fate of the day, had not he been timely opposed by Cunning, who commanded the left wing of the female auxiliaries. Cunning was the chief engineer of the fair army; but, upon this occasion, was posted, as I have here said, to receive the attacks of Wisdom. It was very entertaining to see the workings of these two antagonists; the conduct of the one, and the stratagems of the other. Never was there a more equal match. Those who beheld it gave the victory sometimes to the one, and sometimes to the other, though most declared the advantage was on the side of the female commander.

In the mean time the conflict was very great in the left wing of the army, where the battle began to turn to the male side, This wing was commanded by an old experienced officer, called Patience, and on the female side by a general known by the name of Scorn. The latter, that fought after the manner of the Parthians, had the better of it all the beginning of the

« ForrigeFortsæt »