No. 366. Wednesday, April 30, 1712. Steele.

Pone me pigris ubi nulla campis Arbor æstiva recreatur aura, Dulce ridentem Lalagen amabo, Dulce loquentem.'

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.


The following Verses are a Translation of a Lapland Love-Song, which I met with in Scheffer's History of that Country. [1] I was agreeably surprized to find a Spirit of Tenderness and Poetry in a Region which I never suspected for Delicacy. In hotter Climates, tho' altogether uncivilized, I had not wonder'd if I had found some sweet wild Notes among the Natives, where they live in Groves of Oranges, and hear the Melody of Birds about them: But a Lapland Lyric, breathing Sentiments of Love and Poetry, not unworthy old Greece or Rome; a regular Ode from a Climate pinched with Frost, and cursed with Darkness so great a Part of the Year; where 'tis amazing that the poor Natives should get Food, or be tempted to propagate their Species: this, I confess, seemed a greater Miracle to me, than the famous Stories of their Drums, their Winds and Inchantments.

I am the bolder in commending this Northern Song, because I have faithfully kept to the Sentiments, without adding or diminishing; and pretend to no greater Praise from my Translation, than they who smooth and clean the Furs of that Country which have suffered by Carriage. The Numbers in the Original are as loose and unequal, as those in which the British Ladies sport their Pindaricks; and perhaps the fairest of them might not think it a disagreeable Present from a Lover: But I have ventured to bind it in stricter Measures, as being more proper for our Tongue, tho perhaps wilder Graces may better suit the Genius of the Laponian Language.

It will be necessary to imagine, that the Author of this Song, not having the Liberty of visiting his Mistress at her Father's House, was in hopes of spying her at a Distance in the Fields.

Thou rising Sun, whose gladsome Ray
Invites my Fair to Rural Play,
Dispel the Mist, and clear the Skies,
And bring my Orra to my Eyes.
Oh! were I sure my Dear to view,
I'd climb that Pine-Trees topmost Bough,
Aloft in Air that quivering plays,
And round and round for ever gaze.
My Orra Moor, where art thou laid?
What Wood conceals my sleeping Maid?
Fast by the Roots enrag'd I'll tear
The Trees that hide my promised Fair.
Oh! I cou'd ride the Clouds and Skies,
Or on the Raven's Pinions rise:
Ye Storks, ye Swans, a moment stay,
And waft a Lover on his Way.
My Bliss too long my Bride denies,
Apace the wasting Summer flies:
Nor yet the wintry Blasts I fear,
Not Storms or Night shall keep me here.
What may for Strength with Steel compare?
Oh! Love has Fetters stronger far:
By Bolts of Steel are Limbs confin'd,
But cruel Love enchains the Mind.
No longer then perplex thy Breast,
When Thoughts torment, the first are best;
'Tis mad to go, 'tis Death to stay,
Away to Orra, haste away.

April the 10th.


I am one of those despicable Creatures called a Chamber-Maid, and have lived with a Mistress for some time, whom I love as my Life, which has made my Duty and Pleasure inseparable. My greatest Delight has been in being imploy'd about her Person; and indeed she is very seldom out of Humour for a Woman of her Quality: But here lies my Complaint, Sir; To bear with me is all the Encouragement she is pleased to bestow upon me; for she gives her cast-off Cloaths from me to others: some she is pleased to bestow in the House to those that neither wants nor wears them, and some to Hangers-on, that frequents the House daily, who comes dressed out in them. This, Sir, is a very mortifying Sight to me, who am a little necessitous for Cloaths, and loves to appear what I am, and causes an Uneasiness, so that I can't serve with that Chearfulness as formerly; which my Mistress takes notice of, and calls Envy and Ill-Temper at seeing others preferred before me. My Mistress has a younger Sister lives in the House with her, that is some Thousands below her in Estate, who is continually heaping her Favours on her Maid; so that she can appear every Sunday, for the first Quarter, in a fresh Suit of Cloaths of her Mistress's giving, with all other things suitable: All this I see without envying, but not without wishing my Mistress would a little consider what a Discouragement it is to me to have my Perquisites divided between Fawners and Jobbers, which others enjoy intire to themselves. I have spoke to my Mistress, but to little Purpose; I have desired to be discharged (for indeed I fret my self to nothing) but that she answers with Silence. I beg, Sir, your Direction what to do, for I am fully resolved to follow your Counsel; who am Your Admirer and humble Servant, Constantia Comb-brush.

I beg that you would put it in a better Dress, and let it come abroad; that my Mistress, who is an Admirer of your Speculations, may see it.


[Footnote 1: John Scheffer, born in 1621, at Strasburg, was at the age of 27 so well-known for his learning, that he was invited to Sweden, where he received a liberal pension from Queen Christina as her librarian, and was also a Professor of Law and Rhetoric in the University of Upsala. He died in 1679. He was the author of 27 works, among which is his Lapponia, a Latin description of Lapland, published in 1673, of which an English version appeared at Oxford in folio, in 1674. The song is there given in the original Lapp, and in a rendering of Scheffers Latin less conventionally polished than that published by the Spectator, which is Ambrose Philipss translation of a translation. In the Oxford translation there were six stanzas of this kind:

With brightest beams let the Sun shine On Orra Moor. Could I be sure That from the top o' th' lofty Pine I Orra Moor might see, I to his highest Bough would climb, And with industrious Labour try Thence to descry My Mistress if that there she be. Could I but know amidst what Flowers Or in what Shade she stays, The gaudy Bowers, With all their verdant Pride, Their Blossoms and their Sprays, Which make my Mistress disappear; And her in envious Darkness hide, I from the Roots and Beds of Earth would tear.

In the same chapter another song is given of which there is a version in No. 406 of the Spectator.]

Translation of motto:
HOR. 1 Od. xxii. 17.
'Set me where on some pathless plain
The swarthy Africans complain,
To see the chariot of the sun
So near the scorching country run:
The burning zone, the frozen isles,
Shall hear me sing of Celia's smiles;
All cold, but in her breast, I will despise,
And dare all heat, but that of Celia's eyes.'