No. 527. Tuesday, November 4, 1712.

Facile invenies, et pejorem, et pejus moratam, Meliorem neque tu reperes, neque sol videt.'
Plautus in Sticho.

I am so tender of my Women-Readers, that I cannot defer the Publication of any thing which concerns their Happiness or Quiet. The Repose of a married Woman is consulted in the first of the following Letters, and the Felicity of a Maiden Lady in the second. I call it a Felicity to have the Addresses of an agreeable Man: and I think I have not any where seen a prettier Application of a Poetical Story than that of his, in making the Tale of Cephalus and Procris the History-Picture of a Fan in so gallant a manner as he addresses it. [1] But see the Letters.


'Tis now almost three months since I was in Town about some Business; and the Hurry of it being over, took Coach one Afternoon, and drove to see a Relation, who married about six Years ago a wealthy Citizen. I found her at home, but her Husband gone to the Exchange, and expected back within an Hour at the farthest. After the usual Salutations of Kindness, and a hundred Questions about Friends in the Country, we sat down to Piquet, played two or three Games, and drank Tea. I should have told you that this was my second time of seeing her since Marriage, but before she lived at the same Town where I went to School; so that the Plea of a Relation, added to the Innocence of my Youth, prevailed upon her good Humour to indulge me in a Freedom of Conversation as often, and oftner, than the strict Discipline of the School would allow of. You may easily imagine after such an Acquaintance we might be exceeding merry without any Offence, as in calling to mind how many Inventions I had been put to in deluding the Master, how many Hands forged for Excuses, how many times been sick in perfect Health; for I was then never sick but at School, and only then because out of her Company. We had whiled away three Hours after this manner, when I found it past Five; and not expecting her Husband would return till late, rose up, told her I should go early next Morning for the Country: She kindly answered she was afraid it would be long before she saw me again; so I took my leave and parted. Now, Sir, I had not been got home a Fortnight, when I received a Letter from a Neighbour of theirs, that ever since that fatal Afternoon the Lady had been most inhumanly treated, and the Husband publickly stormed that he was made a Member of too numerous a Society. He had, it seems, listened most of the time my Cousin and I were together. As jealous Ears always hear double, so he heard enough to make him mad; and as jealous Eyes always see thro' Magnifying Glasses, so he was certain it could not be I whom he had seen, a beardless Stripling, but fancied he saw a gay Gentleman of the Temple, ten Years older than my self; and for that reason, I presume, durst not come in, nor take any Notice when I went out. He is perpetually asking his Wife if she does not think the time long (as she said she should) till she see her Cousin again. Pray, Sir, what can be done in this Case? I have writ to him to assure him I was at his House all that afternoon expecting to see him: His Answer is, 'tis only a Trick of hers, and that he neither can nor will believe me. The parting Kiss I find mightily nettles him, and confirms him in all his Errors. Ben. Johnson, as I remember, makes a Foreigner in one of his Comedies, admire the desperate Valour of the bold English, who let out their Wives to all Encounters. The general Custom of Salutation should Excuse the Favour done me, or you should lay down Rules when such Distinctions are to be given or omitted. You cannot imagine, Sir, how troubled I am for this unhappy Lady's Misfortune; and beg you would insert this Letter, that the Husband may reflect upon this Accident coolly. It is no small Matter, the Ease of a virtuous Woman for her whole Life: I know she will conform to any Regularities (tho' more strict than the common Rules of our Country require) to which his particular Temper shall incline him to oblige her. This Accident puts me in mind how generously Pisistratus the Athenian Tyrant behaved himself on a like Occasion, when he was instigated by his Wife to put to death a young Gentleman, because being passionately fond of his Daughter, he kissed her in publick as he met her in the Street; What (says he) shall we do to those who are our Enemies, if we do thus to those who are our Friends? I will not trouble you much longer, but am exceedingly concern'd lest this Accident may cause a virtuous Lady to lead a miserable Life with a Husband, who has no Grounds for his Jealousy but what I have faithfully related, and ought to be reckon'd none. 'Tis to be fear'd too, if at last he sees his Mistake, yet People will be as slow and unwilling in disbelieving Scandal as they are quick and forward in believing it. I shall endeavour to enliven this plain honest Letter, with Ovid's Relation about Cybele's Image. The Ship wherein it was aboard was stranded at the mouth of the Tyber, and the Men were unable to move it, till Claudia, a Virgin, but suspected of Unchastity, by a slight Pull hawled it in. The Story is told in the fourth Book of the Fasti.

'Parent of Gods, began the weeping Fair,
Reward or punish, but oh! hear my Pray'r.
If Lewdness e'er defil'd my Virgin Bloom,
From Heav'n with Justice I receive my Doom;
But if my Honour yet has known no Stain,
Thou, Goddess, thou my Innocence maintain;
Thou, whom the nicest Rules of Goodness sway'd,
Vouchsafe to follow an unblemish'd Maid.
She spoke, and touch'd the Cord with glad Surprize,
(The truth was witness'd by ten thousand Eyes)
The pitying Goddess easily comply'd,
Follow'd in triumph, and adorn'd her Guide;
While_ Claudia, _blushing still far past Disgrace,
March'd silent on with a slow solemn Pace:
Nor yet from some was all Distrust remov'd,
Tho' Heav'n such Virtue by such Wonders prov'd.'

I am, Sir, Your very humble Servant, Philagnotes.


'You will oblige a languishing Lover, if you will please to print the enclosed Verses in your next Paper. If you remember the Metamorphosis, you know Procris, the fond Wife of Cephalus, is said to have made her Husband, who delighted in the Sports of the Wood, a Present of an unerring Javelin. In process of time he was so much in the Forest, that his Lady suspected he was pursuing some Nymph, under the pretence of following a Chace more innocent. Under this Suspicion she hid herself among the Trees, to observe his Motions. While she lay conceal'd, her Husband, tired with the Labour of Hunting, came within her hearing. As he was fainting with Heat, he cried out, Aura veni; Oh charming Air approach.

'The unfortunate Wife, taking the Word Air to be the name of a Woman, began to move among the Bushes; and the Husband believing it a Deer, threw his Javelin and kill'd her. This History painted on a Fan, which I presented to a Lady, gave occasion to my growing poetical.

'Come gentle Air! th'_ Æolian _Shepherd said,
While_ Procris _panted in the secret Shade;
Come gentle Air! the fairer_ Delia _cries,
While at her Feet her Swain expiring lies.
Lo the glad Gales o'er all her Beauties stray,
Breathe on her Lips, and in her Bosom play.
In_ Delia's _Hand this Toy is fatal found,
Nor did that fabled Dart more surely wound.
Both Gifts destructive to the Givers prove,
Alike both Lovers fall by those they love:
Yet guiltless too this bright Destroyer lives,
At random wounds, nor knows the Wound she gives.
She views the Story with attentive Eyes,
And pities_ Procris, _while her Lover dies.'

[Footnote 1: This second letter and the verses were from Pope.]

Translation of motto:
PLAUTUS in Stichor.
'You will easily find a worse woman; a better the sun never shone