As I have often declared, that I have nothing more at heart than the Honour of my dear Country-Women, 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 that 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 Entertainments. If they cannot forbear the Play-house, 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 abandon’d 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.
[Footnote 1: [is] and in first Reprint.]
[Footnote 2: This quotation is made up of two passages in Dryden’s version of Chaucer’s Knights Tale, Palamon and Arcite. The first four lines are from Bk. ii. 11. 663-666, the other four lines are from Bk. i. 11. 176-179.]
[Footnote 3: Paradise Lost, Bk. iv. 11. 268-271.]
* * * * *
No. 366. Wednesday, April 30, 1712. Steele.
’Pone me pigris ubi nulla campis
Arbor aestiva recreatur aura,
Dulce ridentem Lalagen amabo,
There are such wild Inconsistencies in the Thoughts of a Man in love, that I have often reflected 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 it self 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 Rule is transgressed, the humble Servant, in all the fine things he says, is but shewing 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.