Imágenes de páginas

I shall conclude this essay upon laughter with observing, that the metaphor of laughing, applied to fields and meadows when they are in flower, or to trees when they are in blossom, runs through all languages; which I have not observed of any other metaphor, excepting that of fire and burning when they are applied to love. This thews that we naturally regard laughter, as what is in itself both amiable and beautiful. For this reafon likewife Venus has gained the title of Quropsidns, the laughterloving dame, as Waller has translated it, and is represented by Horace as the goddess who delights in laughter. Milton in a joyous afsembly of imaginary persons, has given us a very poetical figure of laughter. His whole band of mirth is so finely described, that I shall set down the paffage at length.

“ But come thou goddess fair and free,
“ In heav'n yclep'à Euphrosynè,
“ And by men, heart-easing mirth,
“ Whom lovely Venus at a birth,
“ With two sister graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore :
“ Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee
“ Jest and youthful jollity,

Quips and cranks, and wanton wiles,
“ Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles,
“ Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
" And love to live in dimple fleek :

Sport that wrinkled care derides,
Anil Laughter holding both his fides.
« Come, and trip it, as you go,
On the light fantastic toe ;
“And in thy right hand lead with thee
The mountain nymph, sweet liberty ;
And if I give thee honour due,
" Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free.”


N° 250.

Monday, December 17.

Difce docendus adhuc, quæ cenfet amiculus, ut fi
Cæcus iter monftrare velit ; tamen aspice se quid
Et nos, quod cures proprium feciffe, loquamur.

Hor. Ep. 17. lib. 1. ver. 3.
Yet hear what thy unskilful friend can fay,
As if one blind pretends to fhew the way ;
Yet fee a-while, if what is fairly shown
Be good, and such as you may make your own.

CREECH, . • Mr. SPECTATOR, You see the nature of my request by the Latin • motto which I address to you. I am very sensible I

ought not to use inany words to you, who are one • of but few; but the following piece, as it relates to * speculation in propriety of speech, being a curiosity in • its kind, begs your patience. It was found in a poeti• cal virtuoso's closet among his rarities; and since the • several treatises of thumbs, ears, and nofes, have * obliged the world, this of eyes is at your service.

• The first eye of confequence, under the invisible Au"thor of all, is the visible luminary of the universe. This

glorious spectator is said never to open his eyes at his

rising in the morning, without having a whole kingdom • of adorers in Persian filk waiting at his levée. Millions • of creatures derive their sight from this original, who • besides his being the great director of optics, is the • surest test whether eyes be of the same species with • that of an eagle, or that of an owl : the one he em• boldens with a manly assurance to look, speak, act or ' plead before the faces of a numerous assembly ; the • other he dazzles out of countenance into a sheepish . dejectedness. The fun. proof eye dares lead up a dance • in a full court ; and without blinking at the lustre of

beauty, can distribute an eye of proper complaisance

• him.


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to a room crouded with company, each of which de' serves particular regard : while the other sneaks from ' conversation, like a fearful debtor, who never dares to • look out, but when he can see no body, and no body

· The next instance of optics is the famous Argus, ' who, to speak the language of Cambridge, was one of ' an hundred ; and being used as a spy in the affairs of

jealousy, was obliged to have all his eyes about him. • We have no account of the particular colouřs, cafts ' and turns of this body of eyes, but as he was pimp ' for his mistress Juno, it is probable he used all the mo

dern leers, lly glances, and other ocular activities to • serve his purpose. Some look upon him as the then

king at arms to the heathenish deities; and make no more of his

eyes than so many spangles of his herald's coat.

• The next upon the optic lift is old Janus, who stood ' in a double-sighted capacity, like a person placed be. twixt two opposite looking-glasses, and so took a fort • of retrospective cast at one view. Copies of this double• faced way are not yet out of fashion with many pro

fessions, and the ingenious artists pretend to keep up . this species by doubled-headed canes and spoons ; but

there is no mark of this faculty, except in the emble'matical way of a wise general having an eye to both • front and rear, or a pious man taking a review and prospect of his past and future state at the same time.

I must own, that the names, colours, qualities, and • turns of eyes vary almoft in every head; for, not to • mention the common appellations of the black, the • blue, the white, the gray and the like; the most remark

able are those that borrow their titles from animals, by • virtue of some particular quality of resemblance they • bear to the eyes of the respective creatures; as that of

a greedy rapacious aspect takes its name from the cat, • that of a sharp piercing nature from the hawk, those

of an amorous roguish look derive their title even from " the sheep, and we say such an one has a sheep's eye,

not so much to denote the innocence as the simple syness of the cast: nor is this metaphorical inoculations

a modern invention, for we find Homer taking the free• dom to place the eye of an ox, bull, or cow in one of


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• his principal goddesses, by that frequent expression of

« Βοώπις πότνια "Ηρη

“ The ox-ey'd venerable Juno." Now as to the peculiar qualities of the eye, that fine part of our conftitution seems as much the receptacle • and seat of our passions, appetites and inclinations as the • mind itself; and at least it is as the outward portal to

introduce them to the house within, or rather the com

mon thoroughfare to let our affections pass in and out. • Love, anger, pride, and avarice, all visibly move in • those little orbs. I know a young lady that cannot see

a certain gentleman pass by without shewing a secret • desire of seeing him again by a dance in her eye-balls ;

nay, she cannot for the heart of her help looking half a street's length after any man in a gay dress. You cannot behold a covetous spirit walk by a goldsmith's shop without

cafting a wishful eye at the heaps upon the counter. Does not a haughty person shew the temper

of his soul in the supercilious roll of his eye ? and how frequently in the height of passion does that moving picture in our head start and stare, gather a redness and quick flashes of lightning, and makes all its humours sparkle with fire, as Virgil finely describes it.

Ardeniis ab ore
Scintilla abfiftunt : oculis micat acribus ignis.

Æn. 12. ver. 101.
From his wide nostrils Alies
A fiery steam, and sparkles from his eyes.” DRYDEN.
As for the various turns of the eye-light, such as the
voluntary or involuntary, the half or the whole leer, I
• shall not enter into a very particular account of them,
• but let me observe, that oblique vision, when natural,

was anciently the mark of bewitchery and magical fal

cination, and to this day it is a malignant ill look ; but • when it is forced and affected, it carries a wanton de

sign, and in play-houses, and other public places, this • ocular intimation is often an assignation for bad prac. tices : but this irregularity in vision, together with • such enormities as tipping the wink, the circumspec• tive roll, the side-peep through a thin hood or fan, • must be put in the class of heteroptics, as all wrong ' notions of religion are ranked under the general name

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of hetercdox. All the pernicious applications of sight

are more immediately under the direction of Spec' TATOR; and I hope you will arm your readers against • the mischiefs which are daily done by killing eyes, in s which

you will highly oblige your wounded unknown • friend,

«T. B.' • Mr. SPECTATOR, • YOU professed in several papers your particular ' endeavours in the province of SpeCTATOR, to correct ' the offences committed by starers who difturb whole • asseniblies without any regard to time, place or mo

desty. You complained also that a starer is not usually a

person to be convinced by the reason of the thing, nor • To easily rebuked, as to amend by admonitions. I thought . therefore fit to acquaint you with a convenient me• chanical way, which may easily prevent or correct

staring, by an optical contrivance of new perspectiveglasses, short and commodious like opera-glafles, fit for

short-sighted people as well as others, these glasses . making the objects appear, either as they are seen by • the naked eye, or piore distinct, though somewhat lefs * than life, or bigger and nearer. A person may, by the

help of this invention, take a view of another, without • the impertinence of staring : at the same time it shall

not be possible to know whom or what he is looking "at. One may look towards his right or left hand, when • he is fuppoted to look forwards : this is set forth at • large in the printed proposals for the fale of these

glailes, to be had at Mr. Dillon's in Long-Acre, next • door to the White-Hart. Now, fir, as your SPECTA

Tor has occasioned the publishing of this invention for • the benefit of modest spectators, the inventor desires

your admonitions concerning the decent use of it ; and hopes, by your recommendation, that for the future

beauty may be beheld without the torture and confu• fion which it suffers from the infolence of ftarers. By • this means you will relieve the innocent from an insult • which there is no law to punish, though it is a greater • offence than many which are within the cognizance of justice.

I am, Sir,

Your most humble servant, Q.


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