No. 395. Tuesday, June 3, 1712. Budgell.

Quod nunc ratio est, Impetus ante fuit.'

Beware of the Ides of March, said the Roman Augur to Julius Cæsar: Beware of the Month of May, says the British Spectator to his fair Country-women. The Caution of the first was unhappily neglected, and Cæsar's Confidence cost him his Life. I am apt to flatter my self that my pretty Readers had much more regard to the Advice I gave them, since I have yet received very few Accounts of any notorious Trips made in the last Month.

But tho' I hope for the best, I shall not pronounce too positively on this point, till I have seen forty Weeks well over, at which Period of Time, as my good Friend Sir ROGER has often told me, he has more Business as a Justice of Peace, among the dissolute young People in the Country, than at any other Season of the Year.

Neither must I forget a Letter which I received near a Fortnight since from a Lady, who, it seems, could hold out no longer, telling me she looked upon the Month as then out, for that she had all along reckoned by the New Style.

On the other hand, I have great reason to believe, from several angry Letters which have been sent to me by disappointed Lovers, that my Advice has been of very signal Service to the fair Sex, who, according to the old Proverb, were Forewarned forearm'd.

One of these Gentlemen tells me, that he would have given me an hundred Pounds, rather than I should have publishd that Paper; for that his Mistress, who had promised to explain herself to him about the Beginning of May, upon reading that Discourse told him that she would give him her Answer in June.

Thyrsis acquaints me, that when he desired Sylvia to take a Walk in the Fields, she told him the Spectator had forbidden her.

Another of my Correspondents, who writes himself Mat Meager, complains, that whereas he constantly used to Breakfast with his Mistress upon Chocolate, going to wait upon her the first of May he found his usual Treat very much changed for the worse, and has been forced to feed ever since upon Green Tea.

As I begun this Critical Season with a Caveat to the Ladies, I shall conclude it with a Congratulation, and do most heartily wish them Joy of their happy Deliverance.

They may now reflect with Pleasure on the Dangers they have escaped, and look back with as much Satisfaction on their Perils that threat'ned them, as their Great-Grandmothers did formerly on the Burning Plough-shares, after having passed through the Ordeal Tryal. The Instigations of the Spring are now abated. The Nightingale gives over her Love-labourd Song, as Milton phrases it, the Blossoms are fallen, and the Beds of Flowers swept away by the Scythe of the Mower.

I shall now allow my Fair Readers to return to their Romances and Chocolate, provided they make use of them with Moderation, till about the middle of the Month, when the Sun shall have made some Progress in the Crab. Nothing is more dangerous, than too much Confidence and Security. The Trojans, who stood upon their Guard all the while the Grecians lay before their City, when they fancied the Siege was raised, and the Danger past, were the very next Night burnt in their Beds: I must also observe, that as in some Climates there is a perpetual Spring, so in some Female Constitutions there is a perpetual May: These are a kind of Valetudinarians in Chastity, whom I would continue in a constant Diet. I cannot think these wholly out of Danger, till they have looked upon the other Sex at least Five Years through a Pair of Spectacles. WILL. HONEYCOMB has often assured me, that its much easier to steal one of this Species, when she has passed her grand Climacterick, than to carry off an icy Girl on this side Five and Twenty; and that a Rake of his Acquaintance, who had in vain endeavoured to gain the Affections of a young Lady of Fifteen, had at last made his Fortune by running away with her Grandmother.

But as I do not design this Speculation for the Evergreens of the Sex, I shall again apply my self to those who would willingly listen to the Dictates of Reason and Virtue, and can now hear me in cold Blood. If there are any who have forfeited their Innocence, they must now consider themselves under that Melancholy View, in which Chamont regards his Sister, in those beautiful Lines.

--Long she flourish'd, Grew sweet to Sense, and lovely to the Eye; Till at the last a cruel Spoiler came, Cropt this fair Rose, and rifled all its Sweetness; Then cast it like a loathsome Weed away. [1]

On the contrary, she who has observed the timely Cautions I gave her, and lived up to the Rules of Modesty, will now Flourish like a Rose in June, with all her Virgin Blushes and Sweetness about her: I must, however, desire these last to consider, how shameful it would be for a General, who has made a Successful Campaign, to be surprized in his Winter Quarters: It would be no less dishonourable for a Lady to lose in any other Month of the Year, what she has been at the pains to preserve in May.

There is no Charm in the Female Sex, that can supply the place of Virtue. Without Innocence, Beauty is unlovely, and Quality contemptible, Good-breeding degenerates into Wantonness, and Wit into Impudence. It is observed, that all the Virtues are represented by both Painters and Statuaries under Female Shapes, but if any one of them has a more particular Title to that Sex, it is Modesty. I shall leave it to the Divines to guard them against the opposite Vice, as they may be overpowerd by Temptations; It is sufficient for me to have warned them against it, as they may be led astray by Instinct.

I desire this Paper may be read with more than ordinary Attention, at all Tea-Tables within the Cities of London and Westminster.


[Footnote 1: Otway's Orphan, Act IV.]

Translation of motto:
OVID, Rem. Amor. 10.
' 'Tis reason now, 'twas appetite before.