The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,123 pages of information about The Spectator, Volume 2..
be the greatest Inducement with you to accept of it.  Farewell.

Thus should a Benefaction be done with a good Grace, and shine in the strongest Point of Light; it should not only answer all the Hopes and Exigencies of the Receiver, but even out-run his Wishes:  Tis this happy manner of Behaviour which adds new Charms to it, and softens those Gifts of Art and Nature, which otherwise would be rather distasteful than agreeable.  Without it, Valour would degenerate into Brutality, Learning into Pedantry, and the genteelest Demeanour into Affectation.  Even Religion its self, unless Decency be the Handmaid which waits upon her, is apt to make People appear guilty of Sourness and ill Humour:  But this shews Virtue in her first original Form, adds a Comeliness to Religion, and gives its Professors the justest Title to the Beauty of Holiness.  A Man fully instructed in this Art, may assume a thousand Shapes, and please in all:  He may do a thousand Actions shall become none other but himself; not that the Things themselves are different, but the Manner of doing them.

If you examine each Feature by its self, Aglaura and Callidea are equally handsome; but take them in the Whole, and you cannot suffer the Comparison:  Tho one is full of numberless nameless Graces, the other of as many nameless Faults.

The Comeliness of Person, and Decency of Behaviour, add infinite Weight to what is pronounced by any one.  Tis the want of this that often makes the Rebukes and Advice of old rigid Persons of no Effect, and leave a Displeasure in the Minds of those they are directed to:  But Youth and Beauty, if accompanied with a graceful and becoming Severity, is of mighty Force to raise, even in the most Profligate, a Sense of Shame.  In Milton, the Devil is never described ashamed but once, and that at the Rebuke of a beauteous Angel.

  So spake the Cherub, and his grave Rebuke,
  Severe in youthful Beauty, added Grace
  Invincible:  Abash’d the Devil stood,
  And felt how awful Goodness is, and saw
  Virtue in her own Shape how lovely I saw, and pin’d
  His Loss. [2]

The Care of doing nothing unbecoming has accompanied the greatest Minds to their last Moments.  They avoided even an indecent Posture in the very Article of Death.  Thus Caesar gathered his Robe about him, that he might not fall in a manner unbecoming of himself:  and the greatest Concern that appeared in the Behaviour of Lucretia, when she stabbed her self, was, that her Body should lie in an Attitude worthy the Mind which had inhabited it.

  Ne non procumbat honeste
  Extrema haec etiam cura, cadentis erat. [3]

  Twas her last Thought, How decently to fall.

Mr. SPECTATOR, I am a young Woman without a Fortune; but of a very high Mind:  That is, Good Sir, I am to the last degree Proud and Vain.  I am ever railing at the Rich, for doing Things, which, upon Search into my Heart, I find I am only angry because I cannot do the same my self.  I wear the hooped Petticoat, and am all in Callicoes when the finest are in Silks.  It is a dreadful thing to be poor and proud; therefore if you please, a Lecture on that Subject for the Satisfaction of Your Uneasy Humble Servant, JEZEBEL.


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