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No. 366 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 366
Wednesday, April 30, 1712. Steele.
‘Pone me pigris ubi nulla campis
Arbor aestiva 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.