The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

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to have a Fondness for what one does ones self, yet I assure you I would not have any thing of mine displace a single Line of yours.

I. Haste, my Rain-Deer, and let us nimbly go
Our am’rous Journey through this dreery Waste;
Haste, my Rain-Deer! still still thou art too slow;
Impetuous Love demands the Lightning’s Haste.

II.  Around us far the Rushy Moors are spread: 
Soon will the Sun withdraw her chearful Ray: 
Darkling and tir’d we shall the Marshes tread,
No Lay unsung to cheat the tedious Way.

III.  The wat’ry Length of these unjoyous Moors
Does all the flow’ry Meadow’s Pride excel,
Through these I fly to her my Soul adores;
Ye flowery Meadows, empty Pride, Farewel.

IV.  Each Moment from the Charmer I’m confin’d,
My Breast is tortur’d with impatient Fires;
Fly, my Rain-Deer, fly swifter than the Wind,
Thy tardy Feet wing with my fierce Desires.

V. Our pleasing Toil will then be soon o’erpaid,
And thou, in Wonder lost, shalt view my Fair,
Admire each Feature of the lovely Maid,
Her artless Charms, her Bloom, her sprightly Air,

VI.  But lo! with graceful Motion there she swims,
Gently moving each ambitious Wave;
The crowding Waves transported clasp her Limbs: 
When, when, oh when, shall I such Freedoms have!

VII.  In vain, you envious Streams, so fast you flow,
To hide her from a Lover’s ardent Gaze: 
From ev’ry Touch you more transparent grow,
And all reveal’d the beauteous Wanton plays.


[Footnote 1:  See No. 366 and note.]

* * * * *

No. 407.  Tuesday, June 17, 1712.  Addison.

  ‘—­abest facundis Gratia dictis.’


Most Foreign Writers who have given any Character of the English Nation, whatever Vices they ascribe to it, allow in general, that the People are naturally Modest.  It proceeds perhaps from this our National Virtue, that our Orators are observed to make use of less Gesture or Action than those of other Countries.  Our Preachers stand stock-still in the Pulpit, and will not so much as move a Finger to set off the best Sermons in the World.  We meet with the same speaking Statues at our Bars, and in all publick Places of Debate.  Our Words flow from us in a smooth continued Stream, without those Strainings of the Voice, Motions of the Body, and Majesty of the Hand, which are so much celebrated in the Orators of Greece and Rome.  We can talk of Life and Death in cold Blood, and keep our Temper in a Discourse which turns upon every thing that is dear to us.  Though our Zeal breaks out in the finest Tropes and Figures, it is not able to stir a Limb about us.  I have heard it observed more than once by those who have seen Italy, that an untravelled Englishman cannot relish all the Beauties of Italian Pictures, because the Postures which are expressed in them are often such as are peculiar to that Country.  One who has not seen an Italian in the Pulpit, will not know what to make of that noble Gesture in Raphael’s Picture of St. Paul preaching at Athens, where the Apostle is represented as lifting up both his Arms, and pouring out the Thunder of his Rhetorick amidst an Audience of Pagan Philosophers.

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