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laugh or dimple; she looks upon all the other kinds of laughter as excesses of levity; and is never seen upon the most extravagant jests to disorder her countenance with the ruffle of a smile. Her lips are composed with a primness peculiar to her character, all her modesty seems collected into her face, and she but very rarely takes the freedom to sink her cheek into a dimple.
The young widow is only a Chian for a time ; her smiles are confined by decorum, and she is obliged to make her face sympathise with her habit: she looks demure by art, and by the strictest rules of decency is never allowed the smile till the first offer or advance towards her is over.
The effeminate fop, who by the long exercise of his countenance at the glass, hath reduced it to an exact discipline, may claim a place in this clan. You see him upon any occasion, to give spirit to his discourse, admire his own eloquence by a dimple.
The Ionics are those ladies that take a greater liberty with their features; yet even these may be said to smother a laugh, as the former to stifle a smile.
The beau is an Ionic out of complaisance, and practises the smile the better to sympathise with the fair. He will sometimes join in a laugh to humour the spleen of a lady, or applaud a piece of wit of his own, but always takes care to confine his mouth within the rules of good breeding ; he takes the laugh from the ladies, but is never guilty of so great an indecorum as to begin it.
The Ionic laugh is of universal use to men of power at their levees ; and is esteemed by judicious placehunters a more particular mark of distinction than the
whisper. A young gentleman of my acquaintance valued himself upon his success, having obtained this favour after the attendance of three months only.
A judicious author some years since published a collection of sonnets, which he very successfully called Laugh and be fat; or, Pills to purge Melancholy. cannot sufficiently admire the facetious title of these volumes, and must censure the world of ingratitude, while they are so negligent in rewarding the jocose labours of my friend Mr. D'Urfey, who was so large a contributor to this treatise, and to whose humorous production so many rural squires in the remotest parts of this island are obliged for the dignity and state which corpulency gives them. The story of the sick man's breaking an imposthume by a sudden fit of laughter, is too well known to need a recital. It is my opinion, that the above pills would be extremely proper to be taken with asses' milk, and mightily contribute towards the renewing and restoring decayed lungs. Democritus is generally represented to us as a man of the largest size, which we may attribute to his frequent exercise of his risible faculty. I remember Juvenal says of him :
Perpetuo risu pulmonem agitare solebat.-Sat. x. 33.
He shook his sides with a perpetual laugh. That sort of man whom a late writer has called the Butt is a great promoter of this healthful agitation, and is generally stocked with so much good-humour, as to strike in with the gaiety of conversation, though some innocent blunder of his own be the subject of the raillery.
I shall range all old amorous dotards under the
denomination of Grinners ; when a young blooming wench touches their fancy, by an endeavour to recall youth into their cheeks, they immediately overstrain their muscular features, and shrivel their countenance into this frightful merriment.
The wag is of the same kind, and by the same artifice labours to support his impotence of wit ; but he very frequently calls in the horse - laugh to his assistance.
There are another kind of grinners, which the ancients call Megarics ; and some moderns have, not injudiciously, given them the name of the Sneerers. These always indulge their merit at the expense of their friends, and all their ridicule consists in unseasonable ill-nature. I could wish these laughers would consider, that let them do what they can, there is no laughing away their own follies by laughing at other people's.
The mirth of the tea- table is for the most part Megaric; and in visits the ladies themselves very seldom scruple the sacrificing a friendship to a laugh of this denomination.
The coquette hath a great deal of the Megaric in her; but, in short, she is a proficient in laughter, and can run through the whole exercise of the features ; she subdues the formal lover with the dimple, accosts the fop with a smile, joins with the wit in the downright laugh ; to vary the air of her countenance frequently raillies with the grin ; and when she has ridiculed her lover quite out of his understanding, to complete his misfortunes, strikes him dumb with the horse-laugh.
The horse-laugh is a distinguishing characteristic
of the rural hoyden, and it is observed to be the last symptom of rusticity that forsakes her under the discipline of the boarding-school.
Punsters, I find, very much contribute towards the Sardonic, and the extremes of either wit or folly seldom fail of raising this noisy kind of applause. As the ancient physicians held the Sardonic laugh very beneficial to the lungs, I should, methinks, advise all my countrymen of consumptive and hectical constitutions to associate with the most facetious punsters of the age. Persius hath very elegantly described a Sardonic laughter in the following line :
Ingeminat tremulos naso crispante cachinnos.-Sat, iii. 87.
Laughter is a vent of any sudden joy that strikes upon the mind, which being too volatile and strong, breaks out in this tremor of the voice. make use of this metaphor when they would describe nature in her richest dress, for beauty is never so lovely as when adorned with the smile, and conversation never sits easier upon us, than when we now and then discharge ourselves in a symphony of laughter, which may not improperly be called, The Chorus of Conversation.
Guardian, No. 29.
A MAN advanced in years that thinks fit to look back upon his former life, and call that only life which was passed with satisfaction and enjoyment, excluding all parts which were not pleasant to him, will find himself very young, if not in his infancy. Sickness, ill-humour and idleness will have robbed him of a great share of that space we ordinarily call our life. It is therefore the duty of every man that would be true to himself, to obtain, if possible, a disposition to be pleased, and place himself in a constant aptitude for the satisfactions of his being. Instead of this, you hardly see a man who is not uneasy in proportion to his advancement in the arts of life. An affected delicacy is the common improvement we meet with in those who pretend to be refined above others. They do not aim at true pleasures themselves, but turn their thoughts upon observing the false pleasures of other men. Such people are valetudinarians in society, and they should no more come into company than a sick man should come into the air. If a man is too weak to bear what is a refreshment to men in health, he must still keep his chamber. When any one in Sir Roger's company complains he is out of order, he immediately calls for some posset-drink for him ; for which reason that sort of people who are ever bewailing