The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,123 pages of information about The Spectator, Volume 2..
and endeavoured not only to [prove [2]] that the Poem is beautiful in general, but to point out its Particular Beauties, and to determine wherein they consist.  I have endeavoured to shew how some Passages are beautiful by being Sublime, others by being Soft, others by being Natural; which of them are recommended by the Passion, which by the Moral, which by the Sentiment, and which by the Expression.  I have likewise endeavoured to shew how the Genius of the Poet shines by a happy Invention, a distant Allusion, or a judicious Imitation; how he has copied or improved Homer or Virgil, and raised his own Imaginations by the Use which he has made of several Poetical Passages in Scripture.  I might have inserted also several Passages of Tasso, which our Author [has [3]] imitated; but as I do not look upon Tasso to be a sufficient Voucher, I would not perplex my Reader with such Quotations, as might do more Honour to the Italian than the English Poet.  In short, I have endeavoured to particularize those innumerable kinds of Beauty, which it would be tedious to recapitulate, but which are essential to Poetry, and which may be met with in the Works of this great Author.  Had I thought, at my first engaging in this design, that it would have led me to so great a length, I believe I should never have entered upon it; but the kind Reception which it has met with among those whose Judgments I have a value for, as well as the uncommon Demands which my Bookseller tells me have been made for these particular Discourses, give me no reason to repent of the Pains I have been at in composing them.


[Footnote 1:  Prospect]

[Footnote 2:  shew]

[Footnote 3:  has likewise]

* * * * *

No. 370.  Monday, May 5, 1712.  Steele.

  ‘Totus Mundus agit Histrionem.’

Many of my fair Readers, as well as very gay and well-received Persons of the other Sex, are extremely perplexed at the Latin Sentences at the Head of my Speculations; I do not know whether I ought not to indulge them with Translations of each of them:  However, I have to-day taken down from the Top of the Stage in Drury-Lane a bit of Latin which often stands in their View, and signifies that the whole World acts the Player.  It is certain that if we look all round us, and behold the different Employments of Mankind, you hardly see one who is not, as the Player is, in an assumed Character.  The Lawyer, who is vehement and loud in a Cause wherein he knows he has not the Truth of the Question on his Side, is a Player as to the personated Part, but incomparably meaner than he as to the Prostitution of himself for Hire; because the Pleader’s Falshood introduces Injustice, the Player feigns for no other end but to divert or instruct you.  The Divine, whose Passions transport him to say any thing with any View but promoting the

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