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tankards, and, like the virgin Tarpeia,* oppressed by the costly ornaments which her benefactors lay upon her.
I need not mention the ceremony of the green gown, which is also peculiar to this gay season.
The same periodical love-fit spreads through the whole sex, as Mr. Dryden well observes in his description of this merry month.
For thee sweet month, the groves green liv'ries wear,
Accordingly, among the works of the great masters in painting, who have drawn this genial season of the year, we often observe Cupids confused with Zephyrs, flying up and down promiscuously in several parts of the picture. I cannot but add from my own experience, that about this time of the year love-letters come up to me in great numbers, from all quarters of the nation.
I received an epistle in particular by the last post from a Yorkshire gentleman, who makes heavy complaints of one Želinda, whom it seems he has courted unsuccessfully these three years past. He tells me that he designs to try her this May; and if he does not carry his point, he will never think of her more.
Having thus fairly admonished the female sex, and laid before them the dangers they are exposed to in this critical month, I shall in the next place lay down some rules and directions for the better
* T. Livii Hist. Dec. I. lib. i. cap. xi.
avoiding those calentures which are so very frequent in this season.
In the first place, I would advise them never to venture abroad in the fields, but in the company of a parent, a guardian, or some other sober discreet person. I have before shown how apt they are to trip in the flowery meadow; and shall fur. ther observe to them, that Proserpine was out a maying when she met with that fatal adventure to which Milton alludes when he mentions
That fair field Of Enna, where Proserpine gath’ring flowers, Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis Was gather'dSince I am going into quotations, I shall conclude this head with Virgil's advice to young people, while they are gathering wild strawberries and nosegays,
that they should have a care of the snake in the grass.
In the second place, I cannot but approve those prescriptions which our astrological physicians give in their almanacks for this month: such as are 'a spare and simple diet, with a moderate use of phlebotomy.'
Under this head of abstinence I shall also advise my fair readers to be in a particular manner careful how they meddle with romances, chocolate, novels, and the like inflamers, which I look upon as very dangerous to be made use of during this great carnival of nature.
As I have often declared that I have nothing more at heart than the honour of my dear countrywomen, I would beg them to consider, whenever their resolutions begin to fail them, that there are but one and thirty-days of this soft season, and that if they can but weather out this one month, the rest of the year will be easy to them. As for
t! at part of the fair sex who stay in town, I would advise them to be particularly cautious how they give themselves up to their most innocent enterments. If they cannot forbear the playhouse, I would recommend tragedy to them rather than comedy; and should think the puppet-show much safer for them than the opera, all the while the sun is in Gemini.
The reader will observe, that this paper is written for the use of those ladies who think it worth while to war against nature in the cause of honour. As for that abandoned crew, who do not think virtue worth contending for, but give up their reputation at the first summons, such warnings and premonitions are thrown away upon them. A prostitute is the same easy creature in all months of the year, and makes no difference between May and December.
No. 366. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 1712:
Pone me pigris ubi nulla campis
HoR. 1. Od. xxii. 17.
Shall hear me sing of Celia's smiles;
THERE are such wild inconsistencies in the thoughts of a man in love, that I have often reflec
ted there can be no reason for allowing him more liberty than others possessed with frenzy, but that his distemper has no malevolence in it to any mortal. That devotion to his mistress kindles in his mind a general tenderness, which exerts itself towards every object as well as his fair one. When this passion is represented by writers, it is common with them to endeavour at certain quaintnesses and turns of imagination, which are apparently the work of a mind at ease ; but the men of true taste can easily distinguish the exertion of a mind which overflows with tender sentiments, and the labour of one which is only describing distress. In performances of this kind, the most absurd of all things is to be witty; every sentiment must grow out of the occasion, and be suitable to the circumstances of the character. Where this is transgressed, the humble servant in all the fine things he says, is but showing his mistress how well he can dress, instead of saying how well he loves. Lace and drapery is as much a man, as wit and turn is passion.
• The following verses are a translation of a Lapland love-song, which I met with in Scheffer's history of that country.* I was agreeably surprised to find a spirit of tenderness and poetry in a region which I never suspected for delicacy. In hotter climates, though altogether uncivilized, I had not wondered if I had found some sweet wild notes among the natives, where they live in groves of oranges, and hear the melody of birds about them. But a Lapland lyric, breathing sentiments of love and poetry, not unworthy old Greece or
* This Lapland love-sopg is ascribed to Mr. Ambrose Philips.
Rome; a regular ode from a climate pinched with frost, and cursed with darkness so great a part of the year; where it is amazing that the poor natives should get food, or be tempted to propagate their species-this, I confess, seemed a greater mira. cle to me than the famous stories of their drums, their winds, and enchantments.
• I am the bolder in commending this northern song, because I have faithfully kept to the sentiments, without adding or diminishing; and pretend to no greater praise from my translation, than they who smooth and clean the furs of that country which have suffered by carriage. The numbers in the original are as loose and unequal as those in which the British ladies sport their Pindarics; and perhaps the fairest of them might not think it a disagreeable present from a lover. But I have ventured to bind it in stricter measures, as being more proper for our tongue, though perhaps wilder graces may better suit the genius of the Laponian language.
'It will be necessary to imagine that the author of this song, not having the liberty of visiting his mistress at her father's house, was in hopes of spying her at a distance in her fields.
“ Thou rising sun, whose gladsome ray