Page images
PDF
EPUB

This Adventure occafioned my throwing together a few Hints upon Cleanliness, which I fhall confider as one of Half-Virtues, as Ariftotle calls them, and fhall recommend it under the three following Heads. As it is a Mark of Politeness: As it produces Love; and as it bears Analogy to Purity of Mind.

First, IT is a Mark of Politeness. It is univerfally agreed upon, that no one, unadorned with this Virtue, can go into Company without giving a manifeft Offence. The cafier or higher any one's Fortune is, this Duty rifes proportionably. The different Nations of the World are as much diftinguished by their Cleanlinefs, as by their Arts and Sciences. The more any Country is civilized, the more they confult this Part of Politenefs. We need but compare our Ideas of a Female Hottentot and an English Beauty, to be fatisfied of the Truth of what hath been advanced.

IN the next Place, Cleanliness may be faid to be the Fofter-Mother of Love. Beauty indeed most commonly produces that Paffion in the Mind, but Cleanliness pre. Terves it. An indifferent Face and Perfon, kept in perpetual Neatness, hath won many a Heart from a pretty Slattern. Age itself is not unamiable, while it is preferved clean and unfullied: Like a Piece of Metal conftantly kept fmooth and bright, we look on it with more Pleafure than on a new Veffel that is canker'd with Ruft..

I might obferve farther, that as Cleanliness renders us agreeable to others, fo it makes us easy to ourselves; that it is an excellent Prefervative of Health ; and that several Vices, deftructive both to Mind and Body are inconfiftent with the Habit of it. But these Reflections I fhall leave to the Leifure of my Readers, and shall observe in the third Place, that it bears a great Analogy with Purity of Mind, and naturally infpires refined Sentiments and Paffions.

WE find from Experience, that through the Prevalence of Custom, the most vicious Actions lofe their Horror, by being made familiar to us. On the contrary, those who live in the Neigbourhood of good Examples, fly from the first Appearance of what is fhocking. It fares with us much after the fame Manner, as to our Ideas. Our

Senfes,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

No. 631. Senfes, which are the Inlets to all the Images conveyed to the Mind, can only tranfmit the Impreffion of fuch things as ufually furround them. So that pure and unfullied Thoughts are naturally fuggefted to the Mind, by thofe Objects that perpetually encompass us, when they are beautiful and elegant in their kind.

IN the Eaft.where the Warmth of the Climate makes Cleanliness more immediately neceffary than in colder Countries, it is made one Part of their Religion: The Jewish Law, (and the Mahometan, which in fome things copies after it) is filled with Bathings, Purifications, and other Rites of the like Nature. Though there is the above-named convenient Reafon to be affigned for these Ceremonies, the chief Intention undoubtedly was to typify inward Purity and Cleannefs of Heart by thofe outward Wafhings. We read feveral Injunctions of this Kind in the Book of Deutoronomy, which confirm this Truth; and which are but ill accounted for by faying, as fome do, that they were only inftituted for Convenience in the Defart, which otherwise could not have been habitable for fo many Years..

I fhall conclude this Effay, with a Story which I have fomewhere read in an Account of Mahometan Superstitions.

A Dervife of great Sanctity one Morning had the Miffortune as he took up a Christal Cup, which was confecrated to the Prophet, to let it fall upon the Ground, and dafh it in Pieces. His Son coming in, fome time after, he stretched out his Hands to bless him, as his Manner was every Morning; But the Youth going out stumbled over the Threshold and broke his Arm. As the old Man wondered at thefe Events, a Caravan passed by in its way from Mecca. The Dervife approach'd it to beg a Bleffing; but as he ftroak'd one of the Holy Camels, he received a Kick from the Beast that forely bruifed him. His Sorrow and Amazement increased upon him, till he recollected that through Hurry and Inadvertency he had that Morning come abroad without washing his Hands.

Mon

[ocr errors][merged small]

TH

Ex lebo numerum, reddarque tenebris. Virg.

HE Love of Symmetry and Order, which is natural to the Mind of Man, betrays him fometimes into very whimfical Fancies. This noble Principle, fays a French Author, loves to amuse it felf on the moft trifling Occafions. You may fee a profound Philofopher, fays he, walk for an Hour together in his Chamber, and induftriously treading, at every Step, upon every other Board in the Flooring. Every Reader will recollect feveral Inftances of this Nature without

my Affiftance. I think it was Gregorio Leti who had publifhed as many Books as he was Years old; which was a Rule he had laid down and punctually obferved to the Year of his Death. It was, perhaps, a Thought of the like Nature which determined Homer himself to divide each of his Poems into as many Books, as there are Letters in the Greek Alphabet. Herodotus has in the fame manner adapted his Books to the Number of the Mufes, for which Reafon many a learned Man hath wished there had been more than Nine of that Sifterhood.

SEVERAL Epic Poems have religiously followed Virgil as to the Number of his Books; and even Milton is thought by many to have changed the Number of his Books from ten to twelve, for no other Reafon, as Cowley tells us, it was his Defign, had he finished his Davideis, to have also imitated the Eneid in this Particular. I believe every one will agree with me, that a Perfection of this Nature hath no Foundation in Reafon; and, with due Respect to these great Names, may be looked upon as fomething whimsical.

I mention these great Examples in Defence of my Bookfeller, who occafioned this eighth Volume of Spectators, because, as he faid, he thought feven a very odd Number. On the other Side, several grave Reasons were urged on this important Subject; as in particular, that feven was the precife Number of the wife Men, and that the moft beautiful Conftellation in the Heavens was compofed of fever Stars. This he allowed to be true, but still infifted, that seven was an odd Number; fuggefting at the fame Time that if he were provided with a fufficient Stock of leading Papers, he fhould find Friends ready enough to carry on the Work. Having by this means got his Veffel launched and fet afloat, he hath committed the Steerage of it, from Time to Time, to fuch as he thought capable of conducting it.

THE Clofe of this Volume, which the Town may now expect in a little Time, may poffibly afcribe each Sheet to its proper Author.

IT were no hard Task to continue this Paper a confiderable Time longer, by the help of large Contributions fent from unknown Hands.

I cannot give the Town a better Opinion of the SPECTATOR'S Correfpondents, than by publishing the following Letter, with a very fine Copy of Verfes upon a Subject perfectly new.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

Mr. SPECTATOR,

Dublin, Nov. 30. 1714. OU lately recommended to your Female Read

thers, who used to lay out a great Part of their Time in Needle-work: I entirely agree with you in your Sentiments, and think it would not be of lefs Advantage to themselves, and their Pofterity, than to the Reputation of many of their good Neighbours, if they past many of thofe Hours in this innocent Entertain6 ment, which are loft at the Tea Table. I would, however, humbly offer to your Confideration, the Cafe of the poetical Ladies; who, though they may be ́willing to take any Advice given them by the SPECTATOR, yet can't fo eafily quit their Pen and Ink,

[ocr errors]

6 as

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

as you may imagine. Pray allow them, at least now and then, to indulge themselves in other Amusements ⚫ of Fancy, when they are tired with ftooping to their Tapestry. There is a very particular kind of Work, which of late feveral Ladies here in our Kingdom are very fond of, which feems very well adapted to a poetical Genius: It is the making of Grotto's. I know a Lady who has a very beautiful one, composed by her felf, nor is there one Shell in it not ftuck up by her own Hands. I here fend you a Poem to the fair Architect, which I would not offer to herself, till I knew whether this Method of a Lady's paffing her Time were approved of by the British SPECTATOR, ' which with the Poem, I fubmit to your Cenfure, who am,

[ocr errors]

Your conftant Reader,

and bumble Servant,

A. B.

on her Grotto.

To Mrs.

A Grotto fo compleat, with fuch Defign,

What Hands, Calypfo cou'd have form'd but thine?
Each chequer'd Pebble, and each shining Shell,
So well proportion'd, and difpos'd fo well,
Surprizing Luftre from thy Thought receive,
Affuming Beauties more than Nature gave.
To her their various Shapes and gloffy Hue,
Their curious Symmetry they owe to you.

Not fam'd Amphion's Lute, whofe powerful Call
Made willing Stones dance to the Theban Wall,
In more harmonious Ranks cou'd make them fall.
Not Ev'ning Cloud a brighter Arch can show,
Nor richer Colours paint the heav'nly Bow.

Where can unpolish'd Nature boast a Piece,
In all her moffy Cells exact as this?
At the gay parti-colour'd Scene we start,
For chance too regular, too rude for Art.

Charm'

« EelmineJätka »