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key; and thus be fomething, in their habits, like thofe animals which are dreft by nature.
FROM how much ridicule would a regudation in these things preferve the women of this country! at present you fee the lady who is gracefully formed like the pea-hen, walking in the public gardens with the bob-tail of the duck, and the goofe-like dame waddling with the unnatural long train, which follows fo gracefully behind the majestic march of the peacock.
THIS is yet a further proof, that the fenfe of beauty is not the prevailing taste of the English; if it was, fuch unbecoming and shifting fashions could never take place amongst them; their milliners drefs them like no creatures of God's creation; and after having tarried two months in fome little country-town, and exercised their invention in making caps, ruffles, and mantlets; they all return to London piping hot, and, amufing their customers with a Paris-voyage, chriften this cap with the name of Pompadour; that handkerchief, Orleans; this mantlet, Conti, or any great name; fometimes Q 3 they
they borrow words from the religious orders, and call them Capuchins or Cordiliers, and thus fpread univerfal difgrace on the taste of France, which has never beheld fuch frightful dreffes fince the days of Hugh Capel.
HAPPY woman that gets the first cap of a new cut, and proves, that the imitators in drefs, like thofe in poetry, have more fervility than genius, and are ignorant of their own pro-. per force.
SUPPOSE, Madam, I get a subscription from the ladies of this nation, to fend an ambaffadress to implore your prefence in these realms, to prefide over the government in fafhions.
You may be ftiled the fecretary of modes and graces, and have as much honor, and as many places to bestow on your favourites as a fecretary of ftate, all to females, I am convinced you would bring your divifion in adminiftration to greater exactness than it is in the government, and not running in debt, reduce your• felf to the patching an old coat with a new
piece, because you have not money enough to buy a new one.
IT is as certainly true in governments and nations, as in old cloaths and new wine; that the firft is fpoiled by patching, and the latter loft by being too foon fhut up: The first speaks the fyftem of leaving things unattended to fo long, that they can fcarce be repaired. by a new piece of expedient, and the preci pitation of corking up schemes before they have fufficiently fermented, is fignified by the latter; by which it comes to pass, that the poor old coat of England is become more rent by thefe new pieces; and the money, fuddenly raised, as fuddenly diffipated by ineffectual explosions in the application.
PRAY Madam, forgive this manner of finishing my letter in politics, which differs from its first fetting out as much as the differtation written by a Bishop of Ireland on tar-water, which beginning with tar, ends, I think with predestination, or something as far from the origi ginal; yet he calls it a chain of reasoning. I am, Madam,
Your most obedient fervant.
To the Countess of
MONGST the many works of literature, in which this nation and the French are rivals; that of theatrical entertainments has been as much controverted as any whatever: each in its turn has afferted the fuperiority of its writers above the other.
SHAKESPEARE by the English, and Corneille by the French, are cited as proofs of the fuperiority of English and French genius, and each advocate equally hardy in sustaining the glory of his nation.
YET, Madam, after as candid and impartial a difquifition of that which conftitutes genius, as I am capable of making, I frankly confefs, to me it appears, that Shakespeare was the more exalted being, in all that conftitutes true fuperiority
ority of foul. Regularity of plan, in dramatic performances, is the work of art; conception of character, and their fupport thro' a whole theatric piece, the child of genius. Many men, nay all the French writers in tragedy, have reduced their productions for the stage, to the rules of the drama; yet, how few of them, or of any nation, have exalted and finifhed the ideas of perfonage in their pieces, to any degree of fublimity, and perfection.
FROM this difference we must neceffarily
conclude, that the power of conceiving and pre
ferving juft characters in writing, is more rarely
found, than that of planning a play; rules can teach one, which can effectuate nothing in the other; and many men may defign, what not one in a million can execute.
FROM this, muft it not be concluded, that if Shakespeare exceeded the French writers in conceiving, and justly fuftaining characters in tragedy, that he was of a fuperior genius to the greateft of the French nation?
THIS, you, madam, who understand both languages, fhall decide; but permit me to point