« ForrigeFortsæt »
upon this occasion. It is owing to the good principles of these his Majesty's fair and faithful subjects, that our country-women appear no less amiable in the eyes of the male world, than they have done in former ages. For where a great number of flowers grow, the ground at a distance seems entirely covered with them, and we must walk into it, before we can distinguish the several weeds that spring up in such a beautiful mass of colours. Our great concern is, to find deformity can arise among so many charms, and that the most lovely parts of the creation can make themselves the most disagreeable. But it is an observation of the philosophers, that the best things may be corrupted into the worst; and the ancients did not scruple to affirm, that the Furies and the Graces were of the same sex.
As I should do the nation and themselves good service, if I could draw the ladies, who still hold out against his Majesty, into the interest of our present establishment, I shall propose to their serious consideration, the several inconveniencies which those among them undergo, who have not yet surrendered to the government.
They should first reflect on the great sufferings and persecutions to which they expose themselves by the obstinacy of their behaviour. They lose their elections in every club where they are set up for toasts. They are obliged by their principles to stick a patch on the most unbecoming side of their foreheads. They forego the advantage of birth-day suits. They are insulted by the loyalty of claps and hisses every time they appear at a play. They receive no benefit from the army, and are never the better for all the young fellows that wear hats and feathers. They are forced to live in the country and feed their chickens; at the same time that they might show themselves at court, and appear in brocade, if they behaved themselves well. In short, what must go to the heart of every fine woman, they throw themselves quite out of the fashion.
The above-mentioned motive must have an influence upon the gay part of the sex; and as for those who are acted by more sublime and moral principles, they should consider, that they cannot signalize themselves as malecontents, without breaking through all the amiable instincts and softer virtues, which are peculiarly ornamental to womankind. Their timorous, gentle, modest behaviour; their affability, meekness, good-breeding, and many other beautiful disposi
tions of mind, must be sacrificed to a blind and furious zeal for they do not know what. A man is startled when he sees a pretty bosom heaving with such party-rage, as is disagreeable even in that sex, which is of a more coarse and rugged make. And yet such is our misfortune, that we sometimes see a pair of stays ready to burst with sedition; and hear the most masculine passions exprest in the sweetest voices. I have lately been told of a country-gentlewoman, pretty much famed for this virility of behaviour in party-disputes, who, upon venting her notions very freely in a strange place, was carried before an honest justice of the peace. This prudent magistrate observing her to be a large black woman, and finding by her discourse that she was no better than a rebel in a riding-hood, began to suspect her for my Lord Nithisdale; till a stranger came to her rescue, who assured him, with tears in his eyes, that he was her husband.
In the next place, our British ladies may consider, that by interesting themselves so zealously in the affairs of the public, they are engaged, without any necessity, in the crimes which are often committed even by the best of parties, and which they are naturally exempted from by the privilege of their sex. The worst character a female could formerly arrive at, was of being an ill woman; but by their present conduct, she may likewise deserve the character of an ill subject. They come in for their share of political guilt, and have found a way to make themselves much greater criminals than their mothers before them.
I have great hopes that these motives, when they are assisted by their own reflections, will incline the fair ones of the adverse party to come over to the national interest, in which their own is so highly concerned; especially if they consider, that by these superfluous employments which they take upon them as partisans, they do not only dip themselves in an unnecessary guilt, but are obnoxious to a grief and anguish of mind, which doth not properly fall within their lot. And here I would advise every one of these exasperated ladies, who indulge that opprobrious eloquence which is so much in fashion, to reflect on Æsop's fable of the viper. "This little animal, (says the old moralist,) chancing to meet with a file, began to lick it with her tongue till the blood came; which gave her a very silly satisfaction, as imagining the blood came from the file, notwithstanding all the smart was in her own tongue."
No. 27. FRIDAY, MARCH 23.
-dii visa secundant. LUCR.
It is an old observation, that a time of peace is always a time of prodigies; for as our news-writers must adorn their papers with that which the critics call "The Marvellous," they are forced in a dead calm of affairs, to ransack every element for proper amusements, and either to astonish their readers from time to time with a strange and wonderful sight, or be content to lose their custom. The sea is generally filled with monsters when there are no fleets upon it. Mount Etna immediately began to rage upon the extinction of the rebellion: and woe to the people of Catanea, if the peace continues; for they are sure to be shaken every week with earthquakes, till they are relieved by the siege of some other great town in Europe. The air has likewise contributed its quota of prodigies. We had a blazing star by the last mail from Genoa; and in the present dearth of battles, have been very opportunely entertained, by persons of undoubted credit, with a civil war in the clouds, where our sharpsighted malecontents discovered many objects invisible to an eye that is dimmed by Whig principles.
I question not but this paper will fall in with the present humour, since it contains a very remarkable vision of a Highland seer,1 who is famous among the mountains, and known by the name of Second-sighted Sawney. Had he been able to write, we might probably have seen this vision sooner in print; for it happened to him early in the late hard winter; and is transmitted to me by a student at Glasgow, who took the whole relation from him, and stuck close to the facts, though he has delivered them in his own style.
"SAWNEY was descended of an ancient family, very much renowned for their skill in prognostics. Most of his ancestors were second-sighted, and his mother but narrowly escaped being burnt for a witch. As he was going out one morning very early to steal a sheep, he was seized on the sudden with a fit of second-sight. The face of the whole country about him was changed in the twinkling of an eye, and presented him with a wide prospect of new scenes and objects, which he had never seen till that day.
1 Mr. A. is much too complaisant to his Highland seer, in giving him the honour of so fine a vision as the following. He might have introduced it as a dream of his own with more propriety.
"He discovered at a great distance from him a large fabric, which cast such a glistering light about it, that it looked like a huge rock of diamond. Upon the top of it was planted. a standard, streaming in a strong northern wind, and embroidered with a mixture of thistles and flower-de-luces. As he was amusing himself with this strange sight, he heard a bagpipe at some distance behind him, and, turning about, saw a general, who seemed very much animated with the sound of it, marching towards him at the head of a numerous army. He learnt, upon inquiry, that they were making a procession to the structure which stood before him, and which he found was the Temple of Rebellion. He immediately struck in with them; but described this march to the temple with so much horror, that he shivered every joint all the while he spoke of it. They were forced to clamber over so many rocks, and to tread upon the brink of so many precipices, that they were very often in danger of their lives. Sawney declared, that, for his own part, he walked in fear of his neck every step he took. Upon their coming within a few furlongs of the temple, they passed through a very thick_grove, consecrated to a deity who was known by the name of Treason. They here dispersed themselves into abundance of labyrinths and covered walks which led to the temple. The path was so very slippery, the shade so exceeding gloomy, and the whole wood so full of echoes, that they were forced to march with the greatest wariness, circumspection, and-silence. They at length arrived at a great gate, which was the principal avenue to that magnificent fabric. Sawney stood some time at the entrance to observe the splendour of the building, and was not a little entertained with a prodigious number of statues, which were planted up and down in a spacious court that lay before it; but, upon examining it more nicely, he found the whole fabric, which made such a glittering appearance, and seemed impregnable, was composed of ice, and that the several statues, which seemed at a distance to be made of the whitest marble, were nothing else but so many figures in snow. The front of the temple was very curiously adorned with stars and garters, ducal coronets, generals' staffs, and many other emblems of honour wrought in the most beautiful frost-work. After having stood at gaze some time before this great gate, he discovered on it an inscription, signifying it to be the Gate of Perjury. There was erected near it a great Colossus in snow that had two faces,
and was drest like a Jesuit, with one of its hands upon a book, and the other grasping a dagger. Upon entering into the court, he took a particular survey of several of the figures. There was Sedition with a trumpet in her hand, and Rapine in the garb of a Highlander: Ambition, Envy, Disgrace, Poverty, and Disappointment, were all of them represented under their proper emblems. Among other statues, he observed that of Rumour whispering an idiot in the ear, who was the representative of Credulity; and Faction embracing with her hundred arms an old-fashioned figure in a steeple-crowned hat, that was designed to express a cunning old gipsy, called Passive-obedience. Zeal too had a place among the rest, with a bandage over her eyes, though one would not have expected to have seen her represented in snow. But the most remarkable object in this court-yard, was a huge tree that grew up before the porch of the temple, and was of the same kind with that, which Virgil tells us flourished at the entrance of the infernal regions. For it bore nothing but dreams, which hung in clusters under every leaf of it. The travellers refreshed themselves in the shade of this tree before they entered the Temple of Rebellion, and after their frights and fatigues, received great comfort in the fruit which fell from it. At length the gates of the temple flew open, and the crowd rushed into it. In the centre of it was a grim idol, with a sword in the right hand, and a firebrand in the left. The fore-part of the pedestal was curiously embossed with a triumph, while the back-part, that lay more out of sight, was filled with gibbets and axes. This dreadful idol is worshipped, like several of old, with human sacrifices, and his votaries were consulting among themselves, how to gratify him with hecatombs; when, on a sudden, they were surprised with the alarm of a great light which appeared in the southern part of the heavens, and made its progress directly towards them. This light appeared as a great mass of flame, or rather glory, like that of the sun in its strength. There were three figures in the midst of it, who were known by their several hieroglyphics, to be Religion, Loyalty, and Valour. The last had a graceful air, a blooming countenance, and a star upon its breast, which shot forth several pointed beams of a peculiar lustre. The glory which encompassed them, covered the place, and darted its rays with so much strength, that