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applauses and acknowledgments for what I have done, in having put a seasonable stop to this unaccountable humour of stripping, that was got among our British ladies. As I would much rather the world should know what is said to my praise, than to my disadvantage, I shall suppress what has been written to me by those who have reviled me on this occasion, and only publish those letters which approve my proceedings.
We are very
I am to give you thanks in the name of half a dozen superannuated beauties, for your paper of the 6th instant. We all of us pass for women of fifty, and a man of your sense knows how many additional years are always to be thrown into female computations of this nature. sensible that several young flirts about town had a design to cast us out of the fashionable world, and to leave us in the lurch by some of their late refinements. Two or three of them have been heard to say, that they would kill every old woman about town. In order to it, they began to throw off their clothes as fast as they could, and have played all those pranks which you have so seasonably taken notice of. We were forced to uncover after them, being unwilling to give out so soon, and be regarded as veterans in the beau monde. Some of us have already caught our deaths by it. For my own part, I have not been without a cold ever since this foolish fashion came up. I have followed it thus far with the hazard of my life, and how much further I must go nobody knows, if your paper does not bring us relief. You may assure yourself that all the antiquated necks about town are very much obliged to you. Whatever fires and flames are concealed in our bosoms (in which, perhaps, we vie with the youngest of the sex,) they are not sufficient to preserve us against the wind and weather.
In taking so many old women under your care, you have been a real Guardian to us, and saved the life of many of your contemporaries.
“Most venerable NESTOR,
I am very well pleased with this approbation of my good sisters. I must confess, I have always looked on the tucker
to be the decus et tutamen, the ornament and defence of the female neck. My good old lady, the Lady Lizard, condemned this fashion from the beginning, and has observed to me, with some concern, that her sex, at the same time they are letting down their stays, are tucking up their petticoats, which grow shorter and shorter every day. The leg discovers itself in proportion with the neck. But I may possibly take another occasion of handling this extremity, it being my design to keep a watchful eye over every part of the female sex, and to regulate them from head to foot. In the mean time, I shall fill
up my paper with a letter which comes to me from another of my obliged correspondents. "DEAR GUARDEE, This comes to you
from one of those untuckered ladies whom you were so sharp upon on Monday was se'nnight. I think myself mightily beholden to you for the reprehension you then gave us.
You must know I am a famous olive beauty. But though this complexion makes a very good face, when there are a couple of black sparkling eyes set in it, it makes but a very indifferent neck. Your fair women, therefore, thought of this fashion, to insult the olives and the brunettes. They know very well that a neck of ivory does not make so fine a show as one of alabaster. It is for this reason, Mr. Ironside, that they are so liberal in their discoveries. We know very well, that a woman of the whitest neck in the world is to you no more than a woman of snow; but Ovid, in Mr. Duke's translation of him, seems to look upon it with another eye, when he talks of Corinna, and mentions
-Her heaving breast, Courting the hand, and suing to be prest. “ Women of my complexion ought to be more modest, especially since our faces debar us from all artificial whitenings. Could you examine
of these ladies, who present you with such beautiful snowy chests, you would find that they are not all of a piece. Good Father Nestor, do not let us alone till you have shortened our necks, and reduced them to their ancient standard. “I am your most obliged humble servant,
OLIVIA." I shall have a just regard to Olivia's remonstrance, though, at the same time, I cannot but observe, that her modesty seems to be entirely the result of her complexion.
No. 110. FRIDAY, JULY 17.
-Non ego paucis
Hor. THE candour which Horace shows in the motto of my paper, is that which distinguishes a critic from a cavalier. He declares that he is not offended with those little faults in a poetical composition which may be imputed to inadvertency, or to the imperfection of human nature. The truth of it is, there can be no more a perfect work in the world than a perfect man. To
say of a celebrated piece that there are faults in it, is in effect to say no more, than that the author of it was a man.
critic that attacks an author in high reputation, as the slave in the Roman triumph, who was to call out to the conqueror, “Remember, sir, that you are a man.” I speak this in relation to the following letter, which criticises the works of a great poet, whose very faults have more beauty in them than the most elaborate compositions of many more correct writers. The remarks are very curious and just, and introduced by a compliment to the work of an author, who, I am sure, would not care for being praised at the expense of another's reputation. I must, therefore, desire my correspondent to excuse me, if I do not publish either the preface or conclusion of his letter, but only the critical part of it.
“Our tragedy writers have been notoriously defective in giving proper sentiments to the persons they introduce. Nothing is more common than to hear an heathen talking of angels and devils, the joys of heaven and the pains of hell, according to the Christian system. Lee's Alcander discovers himself to be a Cartesian in the first page of Edipus.
1 The tragedy of Cato, without doubt.
-The sun's sick too,
Shortly he 'll be an earthAs Dryden's Cleomenes is acquainted with the Copernican hypothesis two thousand years before its invention.
I am pleased with my own work; Jove was not more
Along the vast abyss“I have now Mr. Dryden's Don Sebastian before me, in which I find frequent allusions to ancient history, and the old mythology of the heathen. It is not very natural to suppose a king of Portugal would be borrowing thoughts out of Ovid’s Metamorphoses when he talked even to those of his own court; but to allude to these Roman fables when he talks to an emperor of Barbary, seems very extraordinary. But observe how he defies him out of the classics in the fol. lowing lines :
Why didst thou not engage me man to man,
To stare me into statue ?
the emperor, that is full as good as the Gorgon.
Oh that I had the fruitful heads of Hydra,
And hiss thee with the last“She afterwards, in allusion to Hercules, bids him 'lay down the lion's skin, and take the distaff;' and in the following speech utters her passion still more learnedly.
No, were we joined, e'en though it were in death,
And my divided flame should break from thine. “ The emperor of Barbary shows bimself acquainted with the Roman poets, as well as either of his prisoners, and answers the foregoing speech in the same classic strain.
Serpent, I will engender poison with thee.
“ Ovid seems to have been Muley Molock’s favourite author, witness the lines that follow.
She's still inexorable, still imperious
And loud, as if, like Bacchus, born in thunder. “ I shall conclude my remarks on his part, with that poetical complaint of his being in love, and leave my reader to consider how prettily it would sound in the mouth of an emperor
Into my soul, and my whole heart receives him.
-May we ne'er meet !
He gallops down the skies“ As for the Mufti, we will suppose that he was bred up a scholar, and not only versed in the law of Mahomet, but acquainted with all kinds of polite learning. For this reason, he is not at all surprised when Dorax calls him a Phaëton in one place, and in another tells him he is like Archimedes.
“ The Mufti afterwards mentions Ximenes, Albornoz, and Cardinal Wolsey, by name. The poet seems to think he may make
every person in his play know as much as himself, and talk as well as he could have done on the same occasion. At least I believe every reader will agree with me, that the above-mentioned sentiments, to which I might have added several others, would have been better suited to the court of Augustus, than that of Muley Molock. I grant they are beautiful in themselves, and much more so in that noble language which was peculiar to this great poet. I only observe that they are improper for the persons who make use of them. Dryden is, indeed, generally wrong in his sentiments. Let any one read the dialogue between Octavia and Cleopatra, and he will be amazed to hear a Roman lady's mouth filled with such obseene raillery. If the virtuous Octavia departs from her character, the loose Dolabella is no less inconsistent with himself, when, all of a sudden, he drops the Pagan, and talks in the sentiments of revealed religion.