The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,123 pages of information about The Spectator, Volume 2..

If Hudibras had been set out with as much Wit and Humour in Heroick Verse as he is in Doggerel, he would have made a much more agreeable Figure than he does; though the generality of his Readers are so wonderfully pleased with the double Rhimes, that I do not expect many will be of my Opinion in this Particular.

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 shews that we naturally regard Laughter, as what is in it self both amiable and beautiful.  For this Reason likewise Venus has gained the Title of [Greek:  Philomeidaes,] the Laughter-loving Dame, as Waller has Translated it, and is represented by Horace as the Goddess who delights in Laughter. Milton, in a joyous Assembly of imaginary Persons [3], has given us a very Poetical Figure of Laughter.  His whole Band of Mirth is so finely described, that I shall [set [4]] down [the Passage] at length.

But come thou Goddess fair and free, In Heaven ycleped Euphrosyne, 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 Hebes Cheek, And love to live in Dimple sleek:  Sport that wrinkled Care derides, And Laughter holding both his Sides. Come, and trip it, as you go, On the light fantastick 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.


[Footnote 1:  Hobbes.]

[Footnote 2:  Sir Samuel Garth, poet and physician, who was alive at this time (died in 1719), satirized a squabble among the doctors in his poem of the Dispensary.

  The piercing Caustics ply their spiteful Powr;
  Emetics ranch, and been Cathartics sour. 
  The deadly Drugs in double Doses fly;
  And Pestles peal a martial Symphony_.]

[Footnote 3:  L’Allegro.]

[Footnote 4:  [set it]]

* * * * *

No. 250.  Monday, December 17, 1711.

  Disce docendus adhuc, quae censet amiculus, ut si
  Caecus iter monstrare velit; tamen aspice si quid
  Et nos, quod cures proprium fecisse, loquamur.



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The Spectator, Volume 2. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.