After these several Characters of Men who succeed or fail in Raillery, it may not be amiss to reflect a little further what one takes to be the most agreeable Kind of it; and that to me appears when the Satyr is directed against Vice, with an Air of Contempt of the Fault, but no Ill-will to the Criminal. Mr. Congreve’s Doris is a Master-piece in this Kind. It is the Character of a Woman utterly abandoned, but her Impudence by the finest Piece of Raillery is made only Generosity.
’Peculiar therefore is her Way,
Whether by Nature taught,
I shall not undertake to say,
Or by experience bought;
For who o’er Night obtain’d
She can next Day disown,
And stare upon the strange Man’s Face,
As one she ne’er had known,
So well she can the Truth disguise,
Such artful Wonder frame,
The Lover or distrusts his Eyes,
Or thinks ’twas all a Dream.
Some censure this as lewd or low,
Who are to Bounty blind;
For to forget what we bestow,
Bespeaks a noble Mind.’
* * * * *
No. 423. Saturday, July 5, 1712. Steele.
I look upon my self as a Kind of Guardian to the Fair, and am always watchful to observe any thing which concerns their Interest. The present Paper shall be employed in the Service of a very fine young Woman; and the Admonitions I give her, may not be unuseful to the rest of the Sex. Gloriana shall be the Name of the Heroine in To-day’s Entertainment; and when I have told you that she is rich, witty, young and beautiful, you will believe she does not want Admirers. She has had since she came to Town about twenty five of those Lovers, who make their Addresses by way of Jointure and Settlement. These come and go, with great Indifference on both Sides; and as beauteous as she is, a Line in a Deed has had Exception enough against it, to outweigh the Lustre of her Eyes, the Readiness of her Understanding, and the Merit of her general Character. But among the Crowd of such cool Adorers, she has two who are very assiduous in their Attendance. There is something so extraordinary and artful in their Manner of Application, that I think it but common Justice to alarm her in it. I have done it in the following Letter.