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Title: The Spectator, Volume 2.

Author: Addison and Steele

Release Date: February 9, 2004 [EBook #11010]

Language: English

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The Spectator

in three volumes: volume 2

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Reproducing the Original Text
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and as Corrected by its Authors

with Introduction, Notes, and Index

edited by Henry Morley


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Table of Contents

List of Original Advertisements Included

No. 203

Tuesday, October 1, 1711


Phœbe pater, si das hujus mihi nominis usum,
Nec fals, Clymene culpam sub imagine celat;
Pignora da, Genitor

Ov. Met.

There is a loose Tribe of Men whom I have not yet taken Notice of, that ramble into all the Corners of this great City, in order to seduce such unfortunate Females as fall into their Walks. These abandoned Profligates raise up Issue in every Quarter of the Town, and very often, for a valuable Consideration, father it upon the Church-warden. By this means there are several Married Men who have a little Family in most of the Parishes of London and Westminster, and several Batchelors who are undone by a Charge of Children.

When a Man once gives himself this Liberty of preying at large, and living upon the Common, he finds so much Game in a populous City, that it is surprising to consider the Numbers which he sometimes propagates. We see many a young Fellow who is scarce of Age, that could lay his Claim to the Jus trium Liberorum, or the Privileges which were granted by the Roman Laws to all such as were Fathers of three Children: Nay, I have heard a Rake who1 was not quite five and twenty, declare himself the Father of a seventh Son, and very prudently determine to breed him up a Physician. In short, the Town is full of these young Patriarchs, not to mention several batter'd Beaus, who, like heedless Spendthrifts that squander away their Estates before they are Masters of them, have raised up their whole Stock of Children before Marriage.

I must not here omit the particular Whim of an Impudent Libertine, that had a little Smattering of Heraldry; and observing how the Genealogies of great Families were often drawn up in the Shape of Trees, had taken a Fancy to dispose of his own illegitimate Issue in a Figure of the same kind.
Nec longum tempus et ingens
Exiit ad cœlum ramis felicibus arbos,
Miraturque novas frondes, et non sua poma.

The Trunk of the Tree was mark'd with his own Name, Will Maple. Out of the Side of it grew a large barren Branch, Inscribed Mary Maple, the Name of his unhappy Wife. The Head was adorned with five huge Boughs. On the Bottom of the first was written in Capital Characters Kate Cole, who branched out into three Sprigs, viz. William, Richard, and Rebecca. Sal Twiford gave Birth to another Bough, that shot up into Sarah, Tom, Will, and Frank. The third Arm of the Tree had only a single Infant in it, with a Space left for a second, the Parent from whom it sprung being near her Time when the Author took this Ingenious Device into his Head. The two other great Boughs were very plentifully loaden with Fruit of the same kind; besides which there were many Ornamental Branches that did not bear. In short, a more flourishing Tree never came out of the Herald's Office.

What makes this Generation of Vermin so very prolifick, is the indefatigable Diligence with which they apply themselves to their Business. A Man does not undergo more Watchings and Fatigues in a Campaign, than in the Course of a vicious Amour. As it is said of some Men, that they make their Business their Pleasure, these Sons of Darkness may be said to make their Pleasure their Business. They might conquer their corrupt Inclinations with half the Pains they are at in gratifying them.

Nor is the Invention of these Men less to be admired than their Industry or Vigilance. There is a Fragment of Apollodorus the Comick Poet (who was Contemporary with Menander) which is full of Humour as follows: Thou mayest shut up thy Doors, says he, with Bars and Bolts: It will be impossible for the Blacksmith to make them so fast, but a Cat and a Whoremaster will find a Way through them. In a word, there is no Head so full of Stratagems as that of a Libidinous Man.

Were I to propose a Punishment for this infamous Race of Propagators, it should be to send them, after the second or third Offence, into our American Colonies, in order to people those Parts of her Majesty's Dominions where there is a want of Inhabitants, and in the Phrase of Diogenes, to Plant Men. Some Countries punish this Crime with Death; but I think such a Banishment would be sufficient, and might turn this generative Faculty to the Advantage of the Publick.

In the mean time, till these Gentlemen may be thus disposed of, I would earnestly exhort them to take Care of those unfortunate Creatures whom they have brought into the World by these indirect Methods, and to give their spurious Children such an Education as may render them more virtuous than their Parents. This is the best Atonement they can make for their own Crimes, and indeed the only Method that is left them to repair their past Mis-carriages.

I would likewise desire them to consider, whether they are not bound in common Humanity, as well as by all the Obligations of Religion and Nature, to make some Provision for those whom they have not only given Life to, but entail'd upon them, tho' very unreasonably, a Degree of Shame and Disgrace3. And here I cannot but take notice of those depraved Notions which prevail among us, and which must have taken rise from our natural Inclination to favour a Vice to which we are so very prone, namely, that Bastardy and Cuckoldom should be look'd upon as Reproaches, and that the Ignominy4 which is only due to Lewdness and Falsehood, should fall in so unreasonable a manner upon the Persons who are5 innocent.

I have been insensibly drawn into this Discourse by the following Letter, which is drawn up with such a Spirit of Sincerity, that I question not but the Writer of it has represented his Case in a true and genuine Light.


'I am one of those People who by the general Opinion of the World are counted both Infamous and Unhappy.

'My Father is a very eminent Man in this Kingdom, and one who bears considerable Offices in it. I am his Son, but my Misfortune is, That I dare not call him Father, nor he without Shame own me as his Issue, I being illegitimate, and therefore deprived of that endearing Tenderness and unparallel'd Satisfaction which a good Man finds in the Love and Conversation of a Parent: Neither have I the Opportunities to render him the Duties of a Son, he having always carried himself at so vast a Distance, and with such Superiority towards me, that by long Use I have contracted a Timorousness when before him, which hinders me from declaring my own Necessities, and giving him to understand the Inconveniencies I undergo.

'It is my Misfortune to have been neither bred a Scholar, a Soldier, nor to any kind of Business, which renders me Entirely uncapable of making Provision for my self without his Assistance; and this creates a continual Uneasiness in my Mind, fearing I shall in Time want Bread; my Father, if I may so call him, giving me but very faint Assurances of doing any thing for me.

'I have hitherto lived somewhat like a Gentleman, and it would be very hard for me to labour for my Living. I am in continual Anxiety for my future Fortune, and under a great Unhappiness in losing the sweet Conversation and friendly Advice of my Parents; so that I cannot look upon my self otherwise than as a Monster, strangely sprung up in Nature, which every one is ashamed to own.

'I am thought to be a Man of some natural Parts, and by the continual Reading what you have offered the World, become an Admirer thereof, which has drawn me to make this Confession; at the same time hoping, if any thing herein shall touch you with a Sense of Pity, you would then allow me the Favour of your Opinion thereupon; as also what Part I, being unlawfully born, may claim of the Man's Affection who begot me, and how far in your Opinion I am to be thought his Son, or he acknowledged as my Father. Your Sentiments and Advice herein will be a great Consolation and Satisfaction to,
Your Admirer and Humble Servant,
W. B.


Footnote 1:   that
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:  Georg. II. v. 89.

Footnote 3:   Infamy.

Footnote 4:   Shame

Footnote 5:   suffer and are


No. 204

Wednesday, October 24, 1711


Urit grata protervitas,
Et vultus nimium lubricùs aspici.


I am not at all displeased that I am become the Courier of Love, and that the Distressed in that Passion convey their Complaints to each other by my Means. The following Letters have lately come to my hands, and shall have their Place with great Willingness. As to the Reader's Entertainment, he will, I hope, forgive the inserting such Particulars as to him may perhaps seem frivolous, but are to the Persons who wrote them of the highest Consequence. I shall not trouble you with the Prefaces, Compliments, and Apologies made to me before each Epistle when it was desired to be inserted; but in general they tell me, that the Persons to whom they are addressed have Intimations, by Phrases and Allusions in them, from whence they came.

To the Sothades1.

"The Word, by which I address you, gives you, who understand Portuguese, a lively Image of the tender Regard I have for you. The Spectator'S late Letter from Statira gave me the Hint to use the same Method of explaining my self to you. I am not affronted at the Design your late Behaviour discovered you had in your Addresses to me; but I impute it to the Degeneracy of the Age, rather than your particular Fault. As I aim at nothing more than being yours, I am willing to be a Stranger to your Name, your Fortune, or any Figure which your Wife might expect to make in the World, provided my Commerce with you is not to be a guilty one. I resign gay Dress, the Pleasure of Visits, Equipage, Plays, Balls, and Operas, for that one Satisfaction of having you for ever mine. I am willing you shall industriously conceal the only Cause of Triumph which I can know in this Life. I wish only to have it my Duty, as well as my Inclination, to study your Happiness. If this has not the Effect this Letter seems to aim at, you are to understand that I had a mind to be rid of you, and took the readiest Way to pall you with an Offer of what you would never desist pursuing while you received ill Usage. Be a true Man; be my Slave while you doubt me, and neglect me when you think I love you. I defy you to find out what is your present Circumstance with me; but I know while I can keep this Suspence.

I am your admired


"It is a strange State of Mind a Man is in, when the very Imperfections of a Woman he loves turn into Excellencies and Advantages. I do assure you, I am very much afraid of venturing upon you. I now like you in spite of my Reason, and think it an ill Circumstance to owe one's Happiness to nothing but Infatuation. I can see you ogle all the young Fellows who look at you, and observe your Eye wander after new Conquests every Moment you are in a publick Place; and yet there is such a Beauty in all your Looks and Gestures, that I cannot but admire you in the very Act of endeavouring to gain the Hearts of others. My Condition is the same with that of the Lover in the Way of the World2, I have studied your Faults so long, that they are become as familiar to me, and I like them as well as I do my own. Look to it, Madam, and consider whether you think this gay Behaviour will appear to me as amiable when an Husband, as it does now to me a Lover. Things are so far advanced, that we must proceed; and I hope you will lay it to Heart, that it will be becoming in me to appear still your Lover, but not in you to be still my Mistress. Gaiety in the Matrimonial Life is graceful in one Sex, but exceptionable in the other. As you improve these little Hints, you will ascertain the Happiness or Uneasiness of,
Madam, Your most obedient,
Most humble Servant

'When I sat at the Window, and you at the other End of the Room by my Cousin, I saw you catch me looking at you. Since you have the Secret at last, which I am sure you should never have known but by Inadvertency, what my Eyes said was true. But it is too soon to confirm it with my Hand, therefore shall not subscribe my Name.

'There were other Gentlemen nearer, and I know no Necessity you were under to take up that flippant Creature's Fan last Night; but you shall never touch a Stick of mine more, that's pos.

To Colonel R——s3 in Spain.

'Before this can reach the best of Husbands and the fondest Lover, those tender Names will be no more of Concern to me. The Indisposition in which you, to obey the Dictates of your Honour and Duty, left me, has increased upon me; and I am acquainted by my Physicians I cannot live a Week longer. At this time my Spirits fail me; and it is the ardent Love I have for you that carries me beyond my Strength, and enables me to tell you, the most painful Thing in the Prospect of Death, is, that I must part with you. But let it be a Comfort to you, that I have no Guilt hangs upon me, no unrepented Folly that retards me; but I pass away my last Hours in Reflection upon the Happiness we have lived in together, and in Sorrow that it is so soon to have an End. This is a Frailty which I hope is so far from criminal, that methinks there is a kind of Piety in being so unwilling to be separated from a State which is the Institution of Heaven, and in which we have lived according to its Laws. As we know no more of the next Life, but that it will be an happy one to the Good, and miserable to the Wicked, why may we not please ourselves at least, to alleviate the Difficulty of resigning this Being, in imagining that we shall have a Sense of what passes below, and may possibly be employed in guiding the Steps of those with whom we walked with Innocence when mortal? Why may not I hope to go on in my usual Work, and, tho' unknown to you, be assistant in all the Conflicts of your Mind? Give me leave to say to you, O best of Men, that I cannot figure to myself a greater Happiness than in such an Employment: To be present at all the Adventures to which human Life is exposed, to administer Slumber to thy Eyelids in the Agonies of a Fever, to cover thy beloved Face in the Day of Battle, to go with thee a Guardian Angel incapable of Wound or Pain, where I have longed to attend thee when a weak, a fearful Woman: These, my Dear, are the Thoughts with which I warm my poor languid Heart; but indeed I am not capable under my present Weakness of bearing the strong Agonies of Mind I fall into, when I form to myself the Grief you will be in upon your first hearing of my Departure. I will not dwell upon this, because your kind and generous Heart will be but the more afflicted, the more the Person for whom you lament offers you Consolation. My last Breath will, if I am my self, expire in a Prayer for you. I shall never see thy Face again.

'Farewell for ever. T.

Footnote 1:   Saudades. To have saudades of anything is to yearn with desire towards it. Saudades da Patria is home sickness. To say Tenho Saudades without naming an object would be taken to mean I am all yearning to call a certain gentleman or lady mine.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   In Act I. sc. 3, of Congreve's Way of the World, Mirabell says of Millamant,
'I like her with all her faults, nay, like her for her faults. Her 'follies are so natural, or so artful, that they become her; and those affectations which in another woman would be odious, serve but to make her more agreeable. I'll tell thee, Fainall, she once used me with that insolence, that in revenge I took her to pieces, sifted her, and separated her failings; I studied 'em and got 'em by rote. The Catalogue was so large, that I was not without hopes one day or other to hate her heartily: to which end I so used myself to think of 'em, that at length, contrary to my design and expectation, they gave me every hour less and less disturbance; 'till in a few days it became habitual to me to remember 'em without being displeased. They are now grown as familiar to me as my own frailties; and, in all probability, in a little time longer I shall like 'em as well.'

Footnote 3:  The name was commonly believed to be Rivers, when this Paper was published.


No. 205

Thursday, October 25, 1711


Decipimur specie recti


When I meet with any vicious Character that is not generally known, in order to prevent its doing Mischief, I draw it at length, and set it up as a Scarecrow; by which means I do not only make an Example of the Person to whom it belongs, but give Warning to all Her Majesty's Subjects, that they may not suffer by it. Thus, to change the Allusion1, I have marked out several of the Shoals and Quicksands of Life, and am continually employed in discovering those which2 are still concealed, in order to keep the Ignorant and Unwary from running upon them. It is with this Intention that I publish the following Letter, which brings to light some Secrets of this Nature.

Mr. Spectator,

'There are none of your Speculations which I read over with greater Delight, than those which are designed for the Improvement of our Sex. You have endeavoured to correct our unreasonable Fears and Superstitions, in your Seventh and Twelfth Papers; our Fancy for Equipage, in your Fifteenth; our Love of Puppet-Shows, in your Thirty-First; our Notions of Beauty, in your Thirty-Third; our Inclination for Romances, in your Thirty-Seventh; our Passion for French Fopperies, in your Forty-Fifth; our Manhood and Party-zeal, in your Fifty-Seventh; our Abuse of Dancing, in your Sixty-Sixth and Sixty-Seventh; our Levity, in your Hundred and Twenty-Eighth; our Love of Coxcombs, in your Hundred and Fifty-Fourth, and Hundred and Fifty-Seventh; our Tyranny over the Henpeckt, in your Hundred and Seventy-Sixth. You have described the Pict in your Forty-first; the Idol, in your Seventy-Third; the Demurrer, in your Eighty-Ninth; the Salamander, in your Hundred and Ninety-Eighth. You have likewise taken to pieces our Dress, and represented to us the Extravagancies we are often guilty of in that Particular. You have fallen upon our Patches, in your Fiftieth and Eighty-First; our Commodes, in your Ninety-Eighth; our Fans in your Hundred and Second; our Riding Habits in your Hundred and Fourth; our Hoop-petticoats, in your Hundred and Twenty-Seventh; besides a great many little Blemishes which you have touched upon in your several other Papers, and in those many Letters that are scattered up and down your Works. At the same Time we must own, that the Compliments you pay our Sex are innumerable, and that those very Faults which you represent in us, are neither black in themselves nor, as you own, universal among us. But, Sir, it is plain that these your Discourses are calculated for none but the fashionable Part of Womankind, and for the Use of those who are rather indiscreet than vicious. But, Sir, there is a Sort of Prostitutes in the lower Part of our Sex, who are a Scandal to us, and very well deserve to fall under your Censure. I know it would debase your Paper too much to enter into the Behaviour of these Female Libertines; but as your Remarks on some Part of it would be a doing of Justice to several Women of Virtue and Honour, whose Reputations suffer by it, I hope you will not think it improper to give the Publick some Accounts of this Nature. You must know, Sir, I am provoked to write you this Letter by the Behaviour of an infamous Woman, who having passed her Youth in a most shameless State of Prostitution, is now one of those who gain their Livelihood by seducing others, that are younger than themselves, and by establishing a criminal Commerce between the two Sexes. Among several of her Artifices to get Money, she frequently perswades a vain young Fellow, that such a Woman of Quality, or such a celebrated Toast, entertains a secret Passion for him, and wants nothing but an Opportunity of revealing it: Nay, she has gone so far as to write Letters in the Name of a Woman of Figure, to borrow Money of one of these foolish Roderigo's3, which she has afterwards appropriated to her own Use. In the mean time, the Person who has lent the Money, has thought a Lady under Obligations to him, who scarce knew his Name; and wondered at her Ingratitude when he has been with her, that she has not owned the Favour, though at the same time he was too much a Man of Honour to put her in mind of it.

'When this abandoned Baggage meets with a Man who has Vanity enough to give Credit to Relations of this nature, she turns him to very good Account, by repeating Praises that were never uttered, and delivering Messages that were never sent. As the House of this shameless Creature is frequented by several Foreigners, I have heard of another Artifice, out of which she often raises Money. The Foreigner sighs after some British Beauty, whom he only knows by Fame: Upon which she promises, if he can be secret, to procure him a Meeting. The Stranger, ravished at his good Fortune, gives her a Present, and in a little time is introduced to some imaginary Title; for you must know that this cunning Purveyor has her Representatives upon this Occasion, of some of the finest Ladies in the Kingdom. By this Means, as I am informed, it is usual enough to meet with a German Count in foreign Countries, that shall make his Boasts of Favours he has received from Women of the highest Ranks, and the most unblemished Characters. Now, Sir, what Safety is there for a Woman's Reputation, when a Lady may be thus prostituted as it were by Proxy, and be reputed an unchaste Woman; as the Hero in the ninth Book of Dryden's Virgil is looked upon as a Coward, because the Phantom which appeared in his Likeness ran away from Turnus? You may depend upon what I relate to you to be Matter of Fact, and the Practice of more than one of these female Pandars. If you print this Letter, I may give you some further Accounts of this vicious Race of Women.
Your humble Servant,

I shall add two other Letters on different Subjects to fill up my Paper.

Mr. Spectator,

'I am a Country Clergyman, and hope you will lend me your Assistance in ridiculing some little Indecencies which cannot so properly be exposed from the Pulpit.

'A Widow Lady, who straggled this Summer from London into my Parish for the Benefit of the Air, as she says, appears every Sunday at Church with many fashionable Extravagancies, to the great Astonishment of my Congregation.

'But what gives us the most Offence is her theatrical Manner of Singing the Psalms. She introduces above fifty Italian Airs into the hundredth Psalm, and whilst we begin All People in the old solemn Tune of our Forefathers, she in a quite different Key runs Divisions on the Vowels, and adorns them with the Graces of Nicolini; if she meets with Eke or Aye, which are frequent in the Metre of Hopkins and Sternhold4, we are certain to hear her quavering them half a Minute after us to some sprightly Airs of the Opera.

'I am very far from being an Enemy to Church Musick; but fear this Abuse of it may make my Parish ridiculous, who already look on the Singing Psalms as an Entertainment, and no Part of their Devotion: Besides, I am apprehensive that the Infection may spread, for Squire Squeekum, who by his Voice seems (if I may use the Expression) to be cut out for an Italian Singer, was last Sunday practising the same Airs.

'I know the Lady's Principles, and that she will plead the Toleration, which (as she fancies) allows her Non-Conformity in this Particular; but I beg you to acquaint her, That Singing the Psalms in a different Tune from the rest of the Congregation, is a Sort of Schism not tolerated by that Act.

I am, Sir,
Your very humble Servant,

R. S.

Mr. Spectator,

'In your Paper upon Temperance, you prescribe to us a Rule of drinking, out of Sir William Temple, in the following Words; The first Glass for myself, the second for my Friends, the third for Good-humour, and the fourth for mine Enemies. Now, Sir, you must know, that I have read this your Spectator, in a Club whereof I am a Member; when our President told us, there was certainly an Error in the Print, and that the Word Glass should be Bottle; and therefore has ordered me to inform you of this Mistake, and to desire you to publish the following Errata: In the Paper of Saturday, Octob. 13, Col. 3. Line 11, for Glass read Bottle.

L. Yours, Robin Good-fellow.

Footnote 1:   Metaphor
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   that

Footnote 3:   As the Roderigo whose money Iago used.

Footnote 4:   Thomas Sternhold who joined Hopkins, Norton, and others in translation of the Psalms, was groom of the robes to Henry VIII. and Edward VI.


No. 206

Friday, October 26, 1711


Quanto quisque sibi plura negaverit,
A Diis plura feret—


There is a Call upon Mankind to value and esteem those who set a moderate Price upon their own Merit; and Self-denial is frequently attended with unexpected Blessings, which in the End abundantly recompense such Losses as the Modest seem to suffer in the ordinary Occurrences of Life. The Curious tell us, a Determination in our Favour or to our Disadvantage is made upon our first Appearance, even before they know any thing of our Characters, but from the Intimations Men gather from our Aspect. A Man, they say, wears the Picture of his Mind in his Countenance; and one Man's Eyes are Spectacles to his who looks at him to read his Heart. But tho' that Way of raising an Opinion of those we behold in Publick is very fallacious, certain it is, that those, who by their Words and Actions take as much upon themselves, as they can but barely demand in the strict Scrutiny of their Deserts, will find their Account lessen every Day. A modest Man preserves his Character, as a frugal Man does his Fortune; if either of them live to the Height of either, one will find Losses, the other Errors, which he has not Stock by him to make up. It were therefore a just Rule, to keep your Desires, your Words and Actions, within the Regard you observe your Friends have for you; and never, if it were in a Man's Power, to take as much as he possibly might either in Preferment or Reputation. My Walks have lately been among the mercantile Part of the World; and one gets Phrases naturally from those with whom one converses: I say then, he that in his Air, his Treatment of others, or an habitual Arrogance to himself, gives himself Credit for the least Article of more Wit, Wisdom, Goodness, or Valour than he can possibly produce if he is called upon, will find the World break in upon him, and consider him as one who has cheated them of all the Esteem they had before allowed him. This brings a Commission of Bankruptcy upon him; and he that might have gone on to his Life's End in a prosperous Way, by aiming at more than he should, is no longer Proprietor of what he really had before, but his Pretensions fare as all Things do which are torn instead of being divided.

There is no one living would deny Cinna the Applause of an agreeable and facetious Wit; or could possibly pretend that there is not something inimitably unforced and diverting in his Manner of delivering all his Sentiments in Conversation, if he were able to conceal the strong Desire of Applause which he betrays in every Syllable he utters. But they who converse with him, see that all the Civilities they could do to him, or the kind Things they could say to him, would fall short of what he expects; and therefore instead of shewing him the Esteem they have for his Merit, their Reflections turn only upon that they observe he has of it himself.

If you go among the Women, and behold Gloriana trip into a Room with that theatrical Ostentation of her Charms, Mirtilla with that soft Regularity in her Motion, Chloe with such an indifferent Familiarity, Corinna with such a fond Approach, and Roxana with such a Demand of Respect in the great Gravity of her Entrance; you find all the Sex, who understand themselves and act naturally, wait only for their Absence, to tell you that all these Ladies would impose themselves upon you; and each of them carry in their Behaviour a Consciousness of so much more than they should pretend to, that they lose what would otherwise be given them.

I remember the last time I saw Macbeth, I was wonderfully taken with the Skill of the Poet, in making the Murderer form Fears to himself from the Moderation of the Prince whose Life he was going to take away. He says of the King, He bore his Faculties so meekly; and justly inferred from thence, That all divine and human Power would join to avenge his Death, who had made such an abstinent Use of Dominion. All that is in a Man's Power to do to advance his own Pomp and Glory, and forbears, is so much laid up against the Day of Distress; and Pity will always be his Portion in Adversity, who acted with Gentleness in Prosperity.

The great Officer who foregoes the Advantages he might take to himself, and renounces all prudential Regards to his own Person in Danger, has so far the Merit of a Volunteer; and all his Honours and Glories are unenvied, for sharing the common Fate with the same Frankness as they do who have no such endearing Circumstances to part with. But if there were no such Considerations as the good Effect which Self-denial has upon the Sense of other Men towards us, it is of all Qualities the most desirable for the agreeable Disposition in which it places our own Minds. I cannot tell what better to say of it, than that it is the very Contrary of Ambition; and that Modesty allays all those Passions and Inquietudes to which that Vice exposes us. He that is moderate in his Wishes from Reason and Choice, and not resigned from Sourness, Distaste, or Disappointment, doubles all the Pleasures of his Life. The Air, the Season, a Sun-shiny1 Day, or a fair Prospect, are Instances of Happiness, and that which he enjoys in common with all the World, (by his Exemption from the Enchantments by which all the World are bewitched) are to him uncommon Benefits and new Acquisitions. Health is not eaten up with Care, nor Pleasure interrupted by Envy. It is not to him of any Consequence what this Man is famed for, or for what the other is preferred. He knows there is in such a Place an uninterrupted Walk; he can meet in such a Company an agreeable Conversation: He has no Emulation, he is no Man's Rival, but every Man's Well-wisher; can look at a prosperous Man, with a Pleasure in reflecting that he hopes he is as happy as himself; and has his Mind and his Fortune (as far as Prudence will allow) open to the Unhappy and to the Stranger.

Lucceius has Learning, Wit, Humour, Eloquence, but no ambitious Prospects to pursue with these Advantages; therefore to the ordinary World he is perhaps thought to want Spirit, but known among his Friends to have a Mind of the most consummate Greatness. He wants no Man's Admiration, is in no Need of Pomp. His Cloaths please him if they are fashionable and warm; his Companions are agreeable if they are civil and well-natured. There is with him no Occasion for Superfluity at Meals, for Jollity in Company, in a word, for any thing extraordinary to administer Delight to him. Want of Prejudice and Command of Appetite are the Companions which make his Journey of Life so easy, that he in all Places meets with more Wit, more good Cheer and more good Humour, than is necessary to make him enjoy himself with Pleasure and Satisfaction.


Footnote 1:   Sun-shine, and in the first reprint.
return to footnote mark


No. 207

Saturday, October 27, 1711


Omnibus in terris, quœ sunt à Gadibus usque
Auroram et Gangem, pauci dignoscere possunt
Vera bona, atque illis multùm diversa, remotâ
Erroris nebulâ—


In my last Saturday's Paper I laid down some Thoughts upon Devotion in general, and shall here shew what were the Notions of the most refined Heathens on this Subject, as they are represented in Plato's Dialogue upon Prayer, entitled, Alcibiades the Second, which doubtless gave Occasion to Juvenal's tenth Satire, and to the second Satire of Persius; as the last of these Authors has almost transcribed the preceding Dialogue, entitled Alcibiades the First, in his Fourth Satire.

The Speakers in this Dialogue upon Prayer, are Socrates and Alcibiades; and the Substance of it (when drawn together out of the Intricacies and Digressions) as follows.

Socrates meeting his Pupil Alcibiades, as he was going to his Devotions, and observing his Eyes to be fixed upon the Earth with great Seriousness and Attention, tells him, that he had reason to be thoughtful on that Occasion, since it was possible for a Man to bring down Evils upon himself by his own Prayers, and that those things, which the Gods send him in Answer to his Petitions, might turn to his Destruction: This, says he, may not only happen when a Man prays for what he knows is mischievous in its own Nature, as Œdipus implored the Gods to sow Dissension between his Sons; but when he prays for what he believes would be for his Good, and against what he believes would be to his Detriment. This the Philosopher shews must necessarily happen among us, since most Men are blinded with Ignorance, Prejudice, or Passion, which hinder them from seeing such things as are really beneficial to them. For an Instance, he asks Alcibiades, Whether he would not be thoroughly pleased and satisfied if that God, to whom he was going to address himself, should promise to make him the Sovereign of the whole Earth? Alcibiades answers, That he should doubtless look upon such a Promise as the greatest Favour that he could bestow upon him. Socrates then asks him, If after receiving1 this great Favour he would be contented to lose his Life? or if he would receive it though he was sure he should make an ill Use of it? To both which Questions Alcibiades answers in the Negative. Socrates then shews him, from the Examples of others, how these might very probably be the Effects of such a Blessing. He then adds, That other reputed Pieces of Good-fortune, as that of having a Son, or procuring the highest Post in a Government, are subject to the like fatal Consequences; which nevertheless, says he, Men ardently desire, and would not fail to pray for, if they thought their Prayers might be effectual for the obtaining of them. Having established this great Point, That all the most apparent Blessings in this Life are obnoxious to such dreadful Consequences, and that no Man knows what in its Events would prove to him a Blessing or a Curse, he teaches Alcibiades after what manner he ought to pray.

In the first Place, he recommends to him, as the Model of his Devotions, a short Prayer, which a Greek Poet composed for the Use of his Friends, in the following Words; O Jupiter, give us those Things which are good for us, whether they are such Things as we pray for, or such Things as we do not pray for: and remove from us those Things which are hurtful, though they are such Things as we pray for.

In the second Place, that his Disciple may ask such Things as are expedient for him, he shews him, that it is absolutely necessary to apply himself to the Study of true Wisdom, and to the Knowledge of that which is his chief Good, and the most suitable to the Excellency of his Nature.

In the third and last Place he informs him, that the best Method he could make use of to draw down Blessings upon himself, and to render his Prayers acceptable, would be to live in a constant Practice of his Duty towards the Gods, and towards Men. Under this Head he very much recommends a Form of Prayer the Lacedemonians made use of, in which they petition the Gods, to give them all good Things so long as they were virtuous. Under this Head likewise he gives a very remarkable Account of an Oracle to the following Purpose.

When the Athenians in the War with the Lacedemonians received many Defeats both by Sea and Land, they sent a Message to the Oracle of Jupiter Ammon, to ask the Reason why they who erected so many Temples to the Gods, and adorned them with such costly Offerings; why they who had instituted so many Festivals, and accompanied them with such Pomps and Ceremonies; in short, why they who had slain so many Hecatombs at their Altars, should be less successful than the Lacedemonians, who fell so short of them in all these Particulars. To this, says he, the Oracle made the following Reply; I am better pleased with the Prayer of the Lacedemonians, than with all the Oblations of the Greeks. As this Prayer implied and encouraged Virtue in those who made it, the Philosopher proceeds to shew how the most vicious Man might be devout, so far as Victims could make him, but that his Offerings were regarded by the Gods as Bribes, and his Petitions as Blasphemies. He likewise quotes on this Occasion two Verses out of Homer2, in which the Poet says, That the Scent of the Trojan Sacrifices was carried up to Heaven by the Winds; but that it was not acceptable to the Gods, who were displeased with Priam and all his People.

The Conclusion of this Dialogue is very remarkable. Socrates having deterred Alcibiades from the Prayers and Sacrifice which he was going to offer, by setting forth the above-mentioned Difficulties of performing that Duty as he ought, adds these Words, We must therefore wait till such Time as we may learn how we ought to behave ourselves towards the Gods, and towards Men. But when will that Time come, says Alcibiades, and who is it that will instruct us? For I would fain see this Man, whoever he is. It is one, says Socrates, who takes care of you; but as Homer tells us3, that Minerva removed the Mist from Diomedes his Eyes, that he might plainly discover both Gods and Men; so the Darkness that hangs upon your Mind must be removed before you are able to discern what is Good and what is Evil. Let him remove from my Mind, says Alcibiades, the Darkness, and what else he pleases, I am determined to refuse nothing he shall order me, whoever he is, so that I may become the better Man by it. The remaining Part of this Dialogue is very obscure: There is something in it that would make us think Socrates hinted at himself, when he spoke of this Divine Teacher who was to come into the World, did not he own that he himself was in this respect as much at a Loss, and in as great Distress as the rest of Mankind.

Some learned Men look upon this Conclusion as a Prediction of our Saviour, or at least that Socrates, like the High-Priest4, prophesied unknowingly, and pointed at that Divine Teacher who was to come into the World some Ages after him. However that may be, we find that this great Philosopher saw, by the Light of Reason, that it was suitable to the Goodness of the Divine Nature, to send a Person into the World who should instruct Mankind in the Duties of Religion, and, in particular, teach them how to Pray.

Whoever reads this Abstract of Plato's Discourse on Prayer, will, I believe, naturally make this Reflection, That the great Founder of our Religion, as well by his own Example, as in the Form of Prayer which he taught his Disciples, did not only keep up to those Rules which the Light of Nature had suggested to this great Philosopher, but instructed his Disciples in the whole Extent of this Duty, as well as of all others. He directed them to the proper Object of Adoration, and taught them, according to the third Rule above-mentioned, to apply themselves to him in their Closets, without Show or Ostentation, and to worship him in Spirit and in Truth. As the Lacedemonians in their Form of Prayer implored the Gods in general to give them all good things so long as they were virtuous, we ask in particular that our Offences may be forgiven, as we forgive those of others. If we look into the second Rule which Socrates has prescribed, namely, That we should apply ourselves to the Knowledge of such Things as are best for us, this too is explain'd at large in the Doctrines of the Gospel, where we are taught in several Instances to regard those things as Curses, which appear as Blessings in the Eye of the World; and on the contrary, to esteem those things as Blessings, which to the Generality of Mankind appear as Curses. Thus in the Form which is prescribed to us we only pray for that Happiness which is our chief Good, and the great End of our Existence, when we petition the Supreme Being for the coming of his Kingdom, being solicitous for no other temporal Blessings but our daily Sustenance. On the other side, We pray against nothing but Sin, and against Evil in general, leaving it with Omniscience to determine what is really such. If we look into the first of Socrates his Rules of Prayer, in which he recommends the above-mentioned Form of the ancient Poet, we find that Form not only comprehended, but very much improved in the Petition, wherein we pray to the Supreme Being that his Will may be done: which is of the same Force with that Form which our Saviour used, when he prayed against the most painful and most ignominious of Deaths, Nevertheless not my Will, but thine be done. This comprehensive Petition is the most humble, as well as the most prudent, that can be offered up from the Creature to his Creator, as it supposes the Supreme Being wills nothing but what is for our Good, and that he knows better than ourselves what is so.


Footnote 1:   having received, and in first reprint.
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Footnote 2:   Iliad, viii. 548, 9.

Footnote 3:   Iliad, v. 127.

Footnote 4:  John xi. 49.


No. 208

Thursday, October 1, 1711


—Veniunt spectentur ut ipsæ.


I have several Letters of People of good Sense, who lament the Depravity or Poverty of Taste the Town is fallen into with relation to Plays and publick Spectacles. A Lady in particular observes, that there is such a Levity in the Minds of her own Sex, that they seldom attend any thing but Impertinences. It is indeed prodigious to observe how little Notice is taken of the most exalted Parts of the best Tragedies in Shakespear; nay, it is not only visible that Sensuality has devoured all Greatness of Soul, but the Under-Passion (as I may so call it) of a noble Spirit, Pity, seems to be a Stranger to the Generality of an Audience. The Minds of Men are indeed very differently disposed; and the Reliefs from Care and Attention are of one Sort in a great Spirit, and of another in an ordinary one. The Man of a great Heart and a serious Complexion, is more pleased with Instances of Generosity and Pity, than the light and ludicrous Spirit can possibly be with the highest Strains of Mirth and Laughter: It is therefore a melancholy Prospect when we see a numerous Assembly lost to all serious Entertainments, and such Incidents, as should move one sort of Concern, excite in them a quite contrary one. In the Tragedy of Macbeth, the other Night2, when the Lady who is conscious of the Crime of murdering the King, seems utterly astonished at the News, and makes an Exclamation at it, instead of the Indignation which is natural to the Occasion, that Expression is received with a loud Laugh: They were as merry when a Criminal was stabbed. It is certainly an Occasion of rejoycing when the Wicked are seized in their Designs; but I think it is not such a Triumph as is exerted by Laughter.

You may generally observe, that the Appetites are sooner moved than the Passions: A sly Expression which alludes to Bawdry, puts a whole Row into a pleasing Smirk; when a good Sentence that describes an inward Sentiment of the Soul, is received with the greatest Coldness and Indifference. A Correspondent of mine, upon this Subject, has divided the Female Part of the Audience, and accounts for their Prepossession against this reasonable Delight in the following Manner. The Prude, says he, as she acts always in Contradiction, so she is gravely sullen at a Comedy, and extravagantly gay at a Tragedy. The Coquette is so much taken up with throwing her Eyes around the Audience, and considering the Effect of them, that she cannot be expected to observe the Actors but as they are her Rivals, and take off the Observation of the Men from her self. Besides these Species of Women, there are the Examples, or the first of the Mode: These are to be supposed too well acquainted with what the Actor was going to say to be moved at it. After these one might mention a certain flippant Set of Females who are Mimicks, and are wonderfully diverted with the Conduct of all the People around them, and are Spectators only of the Audience. But what is of all the most to be lamented, is the Loss of a Party whom it would be worth preserving in their right Senses upon all Occasions, and these are those whom we may indifferently call the Innocent or the Unaffected. You may sometimes see one of these sensibly touched with a well-wrought Incident; but then she is immediately so impertinently observed by the Men, and frowned at by some insensible Superior of her own Sex, that she is ashamed, and loses the Enjoyment of the most laudable Concern, Pity. Thus the whole Audience is afraid of letting fall a Tear, and shun as a Weakness the best and worthiest Part of our Sense.

Pray settle what is to be a proper Notification of a Person's being in Town, and how that differs according to People's Quality. Sir,

'As you are one that doth not only pretend to reform, but effects it amongst People of any Sense; makes me (who are one of the greatest of your Admirers) give you this Trouble to desire you will settle the Method of us Females knowing when one another is in Town: For they have now got a Trick of never sending to their Acquaintance when they first come; and if one does not visit them within the Week which they stay at home, it is a mortal Quarrel. Now, dear Mr. Spec, either command them to put it in the Advertisement of your Paper, which is generally read by our Sex, or else order them to breathe their saucy Footmen (who are good for nothing else) by sending them to tell all their Acquaintance. If you think to print this, pray put it into a better Style as to the spelling Part. The Town is now filling every Day, and it cannot be deferred, because People take Advantage of one another by this Means and break off Acquaintance, and are rude: Therefore pray put this in your Paper as soon as you can possibly, to prevent any future Miscarriages of this Nature. I am, as I ever shall be,

Dear Spec,
Your most obedient
Humble Servant,

Mary Meanwell.

Mr. Spectator,

October the 20th.

'I have been out of Town, so did not meet with your Paper dated September the 28th, wherein you, to my Heart's Desire, expose that cursed Vice of ensnaring poor young Girls, and drawing them from their Friends. I assure you without Flattery it has saved a Prentice of mine from Ruin; and in Token of Gratitude as well as for the Benefit of my Family, I have put it in a Frame and Glass, and hung it behind my Counter. I shall take Care to make my young ones read it every Morning, to fortify them against such pernicious Rascals. I know not whether what you writ was Matter of Fact, or your own Invention; but this I will take my Oath on, the first Part is so exactly like what happened to my Prentice, that had I read your Paper then, I should have taken your Method to have secured a Villain. Go on and prosper.

Your most obliged Humble Servant,

Mr. Spectator,

'Without Raillery, I desire you to insert this Word for Word in your next, as you value a Lover's Prayers. You see it is an Hue and Cry after a stray Heart (with the Marks and Blemishes underwritten) which whoever shall bring to you, shall receive Satisfaction. Let me beg of you not to fail, as you remember the Passion you had for her to whom you lately ended a Paper.
Noble, Generous, Great, and Good,
But never to be understood;
Fickle as the Wind, still changing,
After every Female ranging,
Panting, trembling, sighing, dying,
But addicted much to Lying:
When the Siren Songs repeats,
Equal Measures still it beats;
Who-e'er shall wear it, it will smart her,
And who-e'er takes it, takes a Tartar

Footnote 1:   Spectaret Populum ludis attentius ipsis.-Hor.
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Footnote 2:   Acted Saturday, October 20.


No. 209

Tuesday, October 30, 1711


Greek: Gynaikòs oudi chraem' anaer laeízetai, Esthlaes ámeinon, oude rhígion kakaes.

There are no Authors I am more pleased with than those who shew human Nature in a Variety of Views, and describe the several Ages of the World in their different Manners. A Reader cannot be more rationally entertained, than by comparing the Virtues and Vices of his own Times with those which prevailed in the Times of his Forefathers; and drawing a Parallel in his Mind between his own private Character, and that of other Persons, whether of his own Age, or of the Ages that went before him. The Contemplation of Mankind under these changeable Colours, is apt to shame us out of any particular Vice, or animate us to any particular Virtue, to make us pleased or displeased with our selves in the most proper Points, to clear our Minds of Prejudice and Prepossession, and rectify that Narrowness of Temper which inclines us to think amiss of those who differ from our selves.

If we look into the Manners of the most remote Ages of the World, we discover human Nature in her Simplicity; and the more we come downwards towards our own Times, may observe her hiding herself in Artifices and Refinements, Polished insensibly out of her Original Plainness, and at length entirely lost under Form and Ceremony, and (what we call) good Breeding. Read the Accounts of Men and Women as they are given us by the most ancient Writers, both Sacred and Prophane, and you would think you were reading the History of another Species.

Among the Writers of Antiquity, there are none who instruct us more openly in the Manners of their respective Times in which they lived, than those who have employed themselves in Satyr, under what Dress soever it may appear; as there are no other Authors whose Province it is to enter so directly into the Ways of Men, and set their Miscarriages in so strong a Light.

Simonides1, a Poet famous in his Generation, is, I think, Author of the oldest Satyr that is now extant; and, as some say, of the first that was ever written. This Poet flourished about four hundred Years after the Siege of Troy; and shews, by his way of Writing, the Simplicity, or rather Coarseness, of the Age in which he lived. I have taken notice, in my Hundred and sixty first Speculation, that the Rule of observing what the French call the bienséance, in an Allusion, has been found out of later Years; and that the Ancients, provided there was a Likeness in their Similitudes, did not much trouble themselves about the Decency of the Comparison. The Satyr or Iambicks of Simonides, with which I shall entertain my Readers in the present Paper, are a remarkable Instance of what I formerly advanced. The Subject of this Satyr is Woman. He describes the Sex in their several Characters, which he derives to them from a fanciful Supposition raised upon the Doctrine of Præexistence. He tells us, That the Gods formed the Souls of Women out of those Seeds and Principles which compose several Kinds of Animals and Elements; and that their Good or Bad Dispositions arise in them according as such and such Seeds and Principles predominate in their Constitutions. I have translated the Author very faithfully, and if not Word for Word (which our Language would not bear) at least so as to comprehend every one of his Sentiments, without adding any thing of my own. I have already apologized for this Author's Want of Delicacy, and must further premise, That the following Satyr affects only some of the lower part of the Sex, and not those who have been refined by a Polite Education, which was not so common in the Age of this Poet.

In the Beginning God made the Souls of Womankind out of different Materials, and in a separate State from their Bodies.

The Souls of one Kind of Women were formed out of those Ingredients which compose a Swine. A Woman of this Make is a Slut in her House and a Glutton at her Table. She is uncleanly in her Person, a Slattern in her Dress, and her Family is no better than a Dunghill.

A Second Sort of Female Soul was formed out of the same Materials that enter into the Composition of a Fox. Such an one is what we call a notable discerning Woman, who has an Insight into every thing, whether it be good or bad. In this Species of Females there are some Virtuous and some Vicious.

A Third Kind of Women were made up of Canine Particles. These are what we commonly call Scolds, who imitate the Animals of which they were taken, that are always busy and barking, that snarl at every one who comes in their Way, and live in perpetual Clamour.

The Fourth Kind of Women were made out of the Earth. These are your Sluggards, who pass away their Time in Indolence and Ignorance, hover over the Fire a whole Winter, and apply themselves with Alacrity to no kind of Business but Eating.

The Fifth Species of Females were made out of the Sea. These are Women of variable uneven Tempers, sometimes all Storm and Tempest, sometimes all Calm and Sunshine. The Stranger who sees one of these in her Smiles and Smoothness would cry her up for a Miracle of good Humour; but on a sudden her Looks and her Words are changed, she is nothing but Fury and Outrage, Noise and Hurricane.

The Sixth Species were made up of the Ingredients which compose an Ass, or a Beast of Burden. These are naturally exceeding slothful, but, upon the Husband's exerting his Authority, will live upon hard Fare, and do every thing to please him. They are however far from being averse to Venereal Pleasure, and seldom refuse a Male Companion.

The Cat furnished Materials for a Seventh Species of Women, who are of a melancholy, froward, unamiable Nature, and so repugnant to the Offers of Love, that they fly in the Face of their Husband when he approaches them with conjugal Endearments. This Species of Women are likewise subject to little Thefts, Cheats and Pilferings.

The Mare with a flowing Mane, which was never broke to any servile Toil and Labour, composed an Eighth Species of Women. These are they who have little Regard for their Husbands, who pass away their Time in Dressing, Bathing, and Perfuming; who throw their Hair into the nicest Curls, and trick it up with the fairest Flowers and Garlands. A Woman of this Species is a very pretty Thing for a Stranger to look upon, but very detrimental to the Owner, unless it be a King or Prince who takes a Fancy to such a Toy.

The Ninth Species of Females were taken out of the Ape. These are such as are both ugly and ill-natured, who have nothing beautiful in themselves, and endeavour to detract from or ridicule every thing which appears so in others.

The Tenth and last Species of Women were made out of the Bee; and happy is the Man who gets such an one for his Wife. She is altogether faultless and unblameable; her Family flourishes and improves by her good Management. She loves her Husband, and is beloved by him. She brings him a Race of beautiful and virtuous Children. She distinguishes her self among her Sex. She is surrounded with Graces. She never sits among the loose Tribe of Women, nor passes away her Time with them in wanton Discourses. She is full of Virtue and Prudence, and is the best Wife that Jupiter can bestow on Man.

I shall conclude these Iambicks with the Motto of this Paper, which is a Fragment of the same Author: A Man cannot possess any Thing that is better than a good Woman, nor any thing that is worse than a bad one.

As the Poet has shewn a great Penetration in this Diversity of Female Characters, he has avoided the Fault which Juvenal and Monsieur Boileau are guilty of, the former in his sixth, and the other in his last Satyr, where they have endeavoured to expose the Sex in general, without doing Justice to the valuable Part of it. Such levelling Satyrs are of no Use to the World, and for this Reason I have often wondered how the French Author above-mentioned, who was a Man of exquisite Judgment, and a Lover of Virtue, could think human Nature a proper Subject for Satyr in another of his celebrated Pieces, which is called The Satyr upon Man. What Vice or Frailty can a Discourse correct, which censures the whole Species alike, and endeavours to shew by some Superficial Strokes of Wit, that Brutes are the more excellent Creatures of the two? A Satyr should expose nothing but what is corrigible, and make a due Discrimination between those who are, and those who are not the proper Objects of it.


Footnote 1:   Of the poems of Simonides, contemporary of Æschylus, only fragments remain. He died about 467 B.C.
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No. 210

Wednesday, October 31, 1711

John Hughes

Nescio quomodo inhæret in mentibus quasi seculorum quoddam augurium futurorum; idque in maximis ingeniis altissimisque animis et existit maxime et apparet facillime.

Cic. Tusc. Quæst.

To the Spectator.


'I am fully persuaded that one of the best Springs of generous and worthy Actions, is the having generous and worthy Thoughts of our selves. Whoever has a mean Opinion of the Dignity of his Nature, will act in no higher a Rank than he has allotted himself in his own Estimation. If he considers his Being as circumscribed by the uncertain Term of a few Years, his Designs will be contracted into the same narrow Span he imagines is to bound his Existence. How can he exalt his Thoughts to any thing great and noble, who only believes that, after a short Turn on the Stage of this World, he is to sink into Oblivion, and to lose his Consciousness for ever?

'For this Reason I am of Opinion, that so useful and elevated a Contemplation as that of the Soul's Immortality cannot be resumed too often. There is not a more improving Exercise to the human Mind, than to be frequently reviewing its own great Privileges and Endowments; nor a more effectual Means to awaken in us an Ambition raised above low Objects and little Pursuits, than to value our selves as Heirs of Eternity.

'It is a very great Satisfaction to consider the best and wisest of Mankind in all Nations and Ages, asserting, as with one Voice, this their Birthright, and to find it ratify'd by an express Revelation. At the same time if we turn our Thoughts inward upon our selves, we may meet with a kind of secret Sense concurring with the Proofs of our own Immortality.

'You have, in my Opinion, raised a good presumptive Argument from the increasing Appetite the Mind has to Knowledge, and to the extending its own Faculties, which cannot be accomplished, as the more restrained Perfection of lower Creatures may, in the Limits of a short Life. I think another probable Conjecture may be raised from our Appetite to Duration it self, and from a Reflection on our Progress through the several Stages of it: We are complaining, as you observe in a former Speculation, of the Shortness of Life, and yet are perpetually hurrying over the Parts of it, to arrive at certain little Settlements, or imaginary Points of Rest, which are dispersed up and down in it.

'Now let us consider what happens to us when we arrive at these imaginary Points of Rest: Do we stop our Motion, and sit down satisfied in the Settlement we have gain'd? or are we not removing the Boundary, and marking out new Points of Rest, to which we press forward with the like Eagerness, and which cease to be such as fast as we attain them? Our Case is like that of a Traveller upon the Alps, who should fancy that the Top of the next Hill must end his Journey, because it terminates his Prospect; but he no sooner arrives as it, than he sees new Ground and other Hills beyond it, and continues to travel on as before1.

'This is so plainly every Man's Condition in Life, that there is no one who has observed any thing, but may observe, that as fast as his Time wears away, his Appetite to something future remains. The Use therefore I would make of it is this, That since Nature (as some love to express it) does nothing in vain, or, to speak properly, since the Author of our Being has planted no wandering Passion in it, no Desire which has not its Object, Futurity is the proper Object of the Passion so constantly exercis'd about it; and this Restlessness in the present, this assigning our selves over to further Stages of Duration, this successive grasping at somewhat still to come, appears to me (whatever it may to others) as a kind of Instinct or natural Symptom which the Mind of Man has of its own Immortality.

'I take it at the same time for granted, that the Immortality of the Soul is sufficiently established by other Arguments: And if so, this Appetite, which otherwise would be very unaccountable and absurd, seems very reasonable, and adds Strength to the Conclusion. But I am amazed when I consider there are Creatures capable of Thought, who, in spite of every Argument, can form to themselves a sullen Satisfaction in thinking otherwise. There is something so pitifully mean in the inverted Ambition of that Man who can hope for Annihilation, and please himself to think that his whole Fabrick shall one Day crumble into Dust, and mix with the Mass of inanimate Beings, that it equally deserves our Admiration and Pity. The Mystery of such Mens Unbelief is not hard to be penetrated; and indeed amounts to nothing more than a sordid Hope that they shall not be immortal, because they dare not be so.

'This brings me back to my first Observation, and gives me Occasion to say further, That as worthy Actions spring from worthy Thoughts, so worthy Thoughts are likewise the Consequence of worthy Actions: But the Wretch who has degraded himself below the Character of Immortality, is very willing to resign his Pretensions to it, and to substitute in its Room a dark negative Happiness in the Extinction of his Being.

'The admirable Shakespear has given us a strong Image of the unsupported Condition of such a Person in his last Minutes, in the second Part of King Henry the Sixth, where Cardinal Beaufort, who had been concerned in the Murder of the good Duke Humphrey, is represented on his Death-bed. After some short confused Speeches which shew an Imagination disturbed with Guilt, just as he is expiring, King Henry standing by him full of Compassion, says,
Lord Cardinal! if thou think'st on Heaven's Bliss,
Hold up thy Hand, make Signal of that Hope!
He dies, and makes no Sign
'The Despair which is here shewn, without a Word or Action on the Part of the dying Person, is beyond what could be painted by the most forcible Expressions whatever.

'I shall not pursue this Thought further, but only add, That as Annihilation is not to be had with a Wish, so it is the most abject Thing in the World to wish it. What are Honour, Fame, Wealth, or Power when compared with the generous Expectation of a Being without End, and a Happiness adequate to that Being?

'I shall trouble you no further; but with a certain Gravity which these Thoughts have given me, I reflect upon some Things People say of you, (as they will of Men who distinguish themselves) which I hope are not true; and wish you as good a Man as you are an Author.

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble Servant
T. D.


Footnote 1:  
'Hills peep o'er Hills, and Alps on Alps arise.'
Pope's Essay on Criticism, then newly published.
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No. 211

Thursday, November 1, 1711


Fictis meminerit nos jocari Fabulis.


Having lately translated the Fragment of an old Poet which describes Womankind under several Characters, and supposes them to have drawn their different Manners and Dispositions from those Animals and Elements out of which he tells us they were compounded; I had some Thoughts of giving the Sex their Revenge, by laying together in another Paper the many vicious Characters which prevail in the Male World, and shewing the different Ingredients that go to the making up of such different Humours and Constitutions. Horace has a Thought1 which is something akin to this, when, in order to excuse himself to his Mistress, for an Invective which he had written against her, and to account for that unreasonable Fury with which the Heart of Man is often transported, he tells us that, when Prometheus made his Man of Clay, in the kneading up of his Heart, he season'd it with some furious Particles of the Lion. But upon turning this Plan to and fro in my Thoughts, I observed so many unaccountable Humours in Man, that I did not know out of what Animals to fetch them. Male Souls are diversify'd with so many Characters, that the World has not Variety of Materials sufficient to furnish out their different Tempers and Inclinations. The Creation, with all its Animals and Elements, would not be large enough to supply their several Extravagancies.

Instead therefore of pursuing the Thought of Simonides, I shall observe, that as he has exposed the vicious Part of Women from the Doctrine of Præexistence, some of the ancient Philosophers have, in a manner, satirized the vicious Part of the human Species in general, from a Notion of the Soul's Postexistence, if I may so call it; and that as Simonides describes Brutes entering into the Composition of Women, others have represented human Souls as entering into Brutes. This is commonly termed the Doctrine of Transmigration, which supposes that human Souls, upon their leaving the Body, become the Souls of such Kinds of Brutes as they most resemble in their Manners; or to give an Account of it as Mr. Dryden has described it in his Translation of Pythagoras his Speech in the fifteenth Book of Ovid, where that Philosopher dissuades his Hearers from eating Flesh:
Thus all things are but alter'd, nothing dies,
And here and there th' unbody'd Spirit flies:
By Time, or Force, or Sickness dispossess'd,
And lodges where it lights, in Bird or Beast,
Or hunts without till ready Limbs it find,
And actuates those according to their Kind:
From Tenement to Tenement is toss'd:
The Soul is still the same, the Figure only lost.
Then let not Piety be put to Flight,
To please the Taste of Glutton-Appetite;
But suffer inmate Souls secure to dwell,
Lest from their Seats your Parents you expel;
With rabid Hunger feed upon your Kind,
Or from a Beast dislodge a Brother's Mind.
Plato in the Vision of Erus the Armenian, which I may possibly make the Subject of a future Speculation, records some beautiful Transmigrations; as that the Soul of Orpheus, who was musical, melancholy, and a Woman-hater, entered into a Swan; the Soul of Ajax, which was all Wrath and Fierceness, into a Lion; the Soul of Agamemnon, that was rapacious and imperial, into an Eagle; and the Soul of Thersites, who was a Mimick and a Buffoon, into a Monkey2.

Mr. Congreve, in a Prologue to one of his Comedies3, has touch'd upon this Doctrine with great Humour.
Thus Aristotle's Soul of old that was,
May now be damn'd to animate an Ass;
Or in this very House, for ought we know,
Is doing painful Penance in some Beau.
I shall fill up this Paper with some Letters which my last Tuesday's Speculation has produced. My following Correspondents will shew, what I there observed, that the Speculation of that Day affects only the lower Part of the Sex.

From my House in the Strand, October 30, 1711.

Mr. Spectator,

'Upon reading your Tuesday's Paper, I find by several Symptoms in my Constitution that I am a Bee. My Shop, or, if you please to call it so, my Cell, is in that great Hive of Females which goes by the Name of The New Exchange; where I am daily employed in gathering together a little Stock of Gain from the finest Flowers about the Town, I mean the Ladies and the Beaus. I have a numerous Swarm of Children, to whom I give the best Education I am able: But, Sir, it is my Misfortune to be married to a Drone, who lives upon what I get, without bringing any thing into the common Stock. Now, Sir, as on the one hand I take care not to behave myself towards him like a Wasp, so likewise I would not have him look upon me as an Humble-Bee; for which Reason I do all I can to put him upon laying up Provisions for a bad Day, and frequently represent to him the fatal Effects his4 Sloth and Negligence may bring upon us in our old Age. I must beg that you will join with me in your good Advice upon this Occasion, and you will for ever oblige

Your humble Servant,


Picadilly, October 31, 1711.


'I am joined in Wedlock for my Sins to one of those Fillies who are described in the old Poet with that hard Name you gave us the other Day. She has a flowing Mane, and a Skin as soft as Silk: But, Sir, she passes half her Life at her Glass, and almost ruins me in Ribbons. For my own part, I am a plain handicraft Man, and in Danger of breaking by her Laziness and Expensiveness. Pray, Master, tell me in your next Paper, whether I may not expect of her so much Drudgery as to take care of her Family, and curry her Hide in case of Refusal.

Your loving Friend,

Barnaby Brittle.

Cheapside, October 30.

Mr. Spectator,

I am mightily pleased with the Humour of the Cat, be so kind as to enlarge upon that Subject.

Yours till Death,

Josiah Henpeck.

P. S. You must know I am married to a Grimalkin.

Wapping, October 31, 1711.


'Ever since your Spectator of Tuesday last came into our Family, my Husband is pleased to call me his Oceana, because the foolish old Poet that you have translated says, That the Souls of some Women are made of Sea-Water. This, it seems, has encouraged my Sauce-Box to be witty upon me. When I am angry, he cries Pr'ythee my Dear be calm; when I chide one of my Servants, Pr'ythee Child do not bluster. He had the Impudence about an Hour ago to tell me, That he was a Sea-faring Man, and must expect to divide his Life between Storm and Sunshine. When I bestir myself with any Spirit in my Family, it is high Sea in his House; and when I sit still without doing any thing, his Affairs forsooth are Wind-bound. When I ask him whether it rains, he makes Answer, It is no Matter, so that it be fair Weather within Doors. In short, Sir, I cannot speak my Mind freely to him, but I either swell or rage, or do something that is not fit for a civil Woman to hear. Pray, Mr. Spectator, since you are so sharp upon other Women, let us know what Materials your Wife is made of, if you have one. I suppose you would make us a Parcel of poor-spirited tame insipid Creatures; but, Sir, I would have you to know, we have as good Passions in us as your self, and that a Woman was never designed to be a Milk-Sop.

Martha Tempest.

Footnote 1:   Odes, I. 16.
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Footnote 2:   In the Timæus Plato derives woman and all the animals from man, by successive degradations. Cowardly or unjust men are born again as women. Light, airy, and superficial men, who carried their minds aloft without the use of reason, are the materials for making birds, the hair being transmuted into feathers and wings. From men wholly without philosophy, who never looked heavenward, the more brutal land animals are derived, losing the round form of the cranium by the slackening and stopping of the rotations of the encephalic soul. Feet are given to these according to the degree of their stupidity, to multiply approximations to the earth; and the dullest become reptiles who drag the whole length of their bodies on the ground. Out of the very stupidest of men come those animals which are not judged worthy to live at all upon earth and breathe this air, these men become fishes, and the creatures who breathe nothing but turbid water, fixed at the lowest depths and almost motionless, among the mud. By such transitions, he says, the different races of animals passed originally and still pass into each other.

Footnote 3:   In the Epilogue to Love for Love.

Footnote 4:   that his


No. 212

Friday, November 2, 1711


—Eripe turpi
Colla jugo, liber, liber dic, sum age—


Mr. Spectator,

'I Never look upon my dear Wife, but I think of the Happiness Sir Roger De Coverley enjoys, in having such a Friend as you to expose in proper Colours the Cruelty and Perverseness of his Mistress. I have very often wished you visited in our Family, and were acquainted with my Spouse; she would afford you for some Months at least Matter enough for one Spectator a Week. Since we are not so happy as to be of your Acquaintance, give me leave to represent to you our present Circumstances as well as I can in Writing. You are to know then that I am not of a very different Constitution from Nathaniel Henroost, whom you have lately recorded in your Speculations; and have a Wife who makes a more tyrannical Use of the Knowledge of my easy Temper than that Lady ever pretended to. We had not been a Month married, when she found in me a certain Pain to give Offence, and an Indolence that made me bear little Inconveniences rather than dispute about them. From this Observation it soon came to that pass, that if I offered to go abroad, she would get between me and the Door, kiss me, and say she could not part with me; and then down again I sat. In a Day or two after this first pleasant Step towards confining me, she declared to me, that I was all the World to her, and she thought she ought to be all the World to me. If, she said, my Dear loves me as much as I love him, he will never be tired of my Company. This Declaration was followed by my being denied to all my Acquaintance; and it very soon came to that pass, that to give an Answer at the Door before my Face, the Servants would ask her whether I was within or not; and she would answer No with great Fondness, and tell me I was a good Dear. I will not enumerate more little Circumstances to give you a livelier Sense of my Condition; but tell you in general, that from such Steps as these at first, I now live the Life of a Prisoner of State; my Letters are opened, and I have not the Use of Pen, Ink and Paper, but in her Presence. I never go abroad, except she sometimes takes me with her in her Coach to take the Air, if it may be called so, when we drive, as we generally do, with the Glasses up. I have overheard my Servants lament my Condition, but they dare not bring me Messages without her Knowledge, because they doubt my Resolution to stand by 'em. In the midst of this insipid Way of Life, an old Acquaintance of mine, Tom Meggot, who is a Favourite with her, and allowed to visit me in her Company because he sings prettily, has roused me to rebel, and conveyed his Intelligence to me in the following Manner. My Wife is a great Pretender to Musick, and very ignorant of it; but far gone in the Italian Taste. Tom goes to Armstrong, the famous fine Writer of Musick, and desires him to put this Sentence of Tully1 in the Scale of an Italian Air, and write it out for my Spouse from him.
An ille mihi liber cui mulier imperat? Cui leges imponit, præscribit, jubet, vetat quod videtur? Qui nihil imperanti negare, nihil recusare audet? Poscit? dandum est. Vocat? veniendum. Ejicit? abeundum. Minitatur? extimiscendum.

Does he live like a Gentlemanwho is commanded by a Woman? He to whom she gives Law, grants and denies what she pleases? who can neither deny her any thing she asks, or refuse to do any thing she commands
'To be short, my Wife was extremely pleased with it; said the Italian was the only Language for Musick; and admired how wonderfully tender the Sentiment was, and how pretty the Accent is of that Language, with the rest that is said by Rote on that Occasion. Mr. Meggot is sent for to sing this Air, which he performs with mighty Applause; and my Wife is in Ecstasy on the Occasion, and glad to find, by my being so much pleased, that I was at last come into the Notion of the Italian; for, said she, it grows upon one when one once comes to know a little of the Language; and pray, Mr. Meggot, sing again those Notes, Nihil Imperanti negare, nihil recusare. You may believe I was not a little delighted with my Friend Tom's Expedient to alarm me, and in Obedience to his Summons I give all this Story thus at large; and I am resolved, when this appears in the Spectator, to declare for my self. The manner of the Insurrection I contrive by your Means, which shall be no other than that Tom Meggot, who is at our Tea-table every Morning, shall read it to us; and if my Dear can take the Hint, and say not one Word, but let this be the Beginning of a new Life without farther Explanation, it is very well; for as soon as the Spectator is read out, I shall, without more ado, call for the Coach, name the Hour when I shall be at home, if I come at all; if I do not, they may go to Dinner. If my Spouse only swells and says nothing, Tom and I go out together, and all is well, as I said before; but if she begins to command or expostulate, you shall in my next to you receive a full Account of her Resistance and Submission, for submit the dear thing must to,


Your most obedient humble Servant,

Anthony Freeman.

P. S. I hope I need not tell you that I desire this may be in your very next.

Footnote 1:   Paradox V. on the Thesis that All who are wise are Free, and the fools Slaves.
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No. 213

Saturday, November 3, 1711


—Mens sibi conscia recti.


It is the great Art and Secret of Christianity, if I may use that Phrase, to manage our Actions to the best Advantage, and direct them in such a manner, that every thing we do may turn to Account at that great Day, when every thing we have done will be set before us.

In order to give this Consideration its full Weight, we may cast all our Actions under the Division of such as are in themselves either Good, Evil, or Indifferent. If we divide our Intentions after the same Manner, and consider them with regard to our Actions, we may discover that great Art and Secret of Religion which I have here mentioned.

A good Intention joined to a good Action, gives it its proper Force and Efficacy; joined to an Evil Action, extenuates its Malignity, and in some Cases may take it wholly away; and joined to an indifferent Action turns it to a Virtue, and makes it meritorious as far as human Actions can be so.

In the next Place, to consider in the same manner the Influence of an Evil Intention upon our Actions. An Evil Intention perverts the best of Actions, and makes them in reality, what the Fathers with a witty kind of Zeal have termed the Virtues of the Heathen World, so many shining Sins. It destroys the Innocence of an indifferent Action, and gives an evil Action all possible Blackness and Horror, or in the emphatical Language of Sacred Writ, makes Sin exceeding sinful1.

If, in the last Place, we consider the Nature of an indifferent Intention, we shall find that it destroys the Merit of a good Action; abates, but never takes away, the Malignity of an evil Action; and leaves an indifferent Action in its natural State of Indifference.

It is therefore of unspeakable Advantage to possess our Minds with an habitual good Intention, and to aim all our Thoughts, Words, and Actions at some laudable End, whether it be the Glory of our Maker, the Good of Mankind, or the Benefit of our own Souls.

This is a sort of Thrift or Good-Husbandry in moral Life, which does not throw away any single Action, but makes every one go as far as it can. It multiplies the Means of Salvation, increases the Number of our Virtues, and diminishes that of our Vices.

There is something very devout, though not solid, in Acosta's Answer to Limborch2, who objects to him the Multiplicity of Ceremonies in the Jewish Religion, as Washings, Dresses, Meats, Purgations, and the like. The Reply which the Jew makes upon this Occasion, is, to the best of my Remembrance, as follows: 'There are not Duties enough (says he) in the essential Parts of the Law for a zealous and active Obedience. Time, Place, and Person are requisite, before you have an Opportunity of putting a Moral Virtue into Practice. We have, therefore, says he, enlarged the Sphere of our Duty, and made many Things, which are in themselves indifferent, a Part of our Religion, that we may have more Occasions of shewing our Love to God, and in all the Circumstances of Life be doing something to please him.

Monsieur St. Evremond has endeavoured to palliate the Superstitions of the Roman Catholick Religion with the same kind of Apology, where he pretends to consider the differing Spirit of the Papists and the Calvinists, as to the great Points wherein they disagree. He tells us, that the former are actuated by Love, and the other by Fear; and that in their Expressions of Duty and Devotion towards the Supreme Being, the former seem particularly careful to do every thing which may possibly please him, and the other to abstain from every thing which may possibly displease him3.

But notwithstanding this plausible Reason with which both the Jew and the Roman Catholick would excuse their respective Superstitions, it is certain there is something in them very pernicious to Mankind, and destructive to Religion; because the Injunction of superfluous Ceremonies makes such Actions Duties, as were before indifferent, and by that means renders Religion more burdensome and difficult than it is in its own Nature, betrays many into Sins of Omission which they could not otherwise be guilty of, and fixes the Minds of the Vulgar to the shadowy unessential Points, instead of the more weighty and more important Matters of the Law.

This zealous and active Obedience however takes place in the great Point we are recommending; for, if, instead of prescribing to our selves indifferent Actions as Duties, we apply a good Intention to all our most indifferent Actions, we make our very Existence one continued Act of Obedience, we turn our Diversions and Amusements to our eternal Advantage, and are pleasing him (whom we are made to please) in all the Circumstances and Occurrences of Life.

It is this excellent Frame of Mind, this holy Officiousness (if I may be allowed to call it such) which is recommended to us by the Apostle in that uncommon Precept, wherein he directs us to propose to ourselves the Glory of our Creator in all our most indifferent Actions, whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do.4

A Person therefore who is possessed with such an habitual good Intention, as that which I have been here speaking of, enters upon no single Circumstance of Life, without considering it as well-pleasing to the great Author of his Being, conformable to the Dictates of Reason, suitable to human Nature in general, or to that particular Station in which Providence has placed him. He lives in a perpetual Sense of the Divine Presence, regards himself as acting, in the whole Course of his Existence, under the Observation and Inspection of that Being, who is privy to all his Motions and all his Thoughts, who knows all his Down-sitting and his Up-rising, who is about his Path, and about his Bed, and spieth out all his Ways.5 In a word, he remembers that the Eye of his Judge is always upon him, and in every Action he reflects that he is doing what is commanded or allowed by Him who will hereafter either reward or punish it. This was the Character of those holy Men of old, who in that beautiful Phrase of Scripture are said to have walked with God?6.

When I employ myself upon a Paper of Morality, I generally consider how I may recommend the particular Virtue which I treat of, by the Precepts or Examples of the ancient Heathens; by that Means, if possible, to shame those who have greater Advantages of knowing their Duty, and therefore greater Obligations to perform it, into a better Course of Life; Besides that many among us are unreasonably disposed to give a fairer hearing to a Pagan Philosopher, than to a Christian Writer.

I shall therefore produce an Instance of this excellent Frame of Mind in a Speech of Socrates, which is quoted by Erasmus.

This great Philosopher on the Day of his Execution, a little before the Draught of Poison was brought to him, entertaining his Friends with a Discourse on the Immortality of the Soul, has these Words:
Whether or no God will approve of my Actions, I know not; but this I am sure of, that I have at all Times made it my Endeavour to please him, and I have a good Hope that this my Endeavour will be accepted by him.
We find in these Words of that great Man the habitual good Intention which I would here inculcate, and with which that divine Philosopher always acted. I shall only add, that Erasmus, who was an unbigotted Roman Catholick, was so much transported with this Passage of Socrates, that he could scarce forbear looking upon him as a Saint, and desiring him to pray for him; or as that ingenious and learned Writer has expressed himself in a much more lively manner:
When I reflect on such a Speech pronounced by such a Person, I can scarce forbear crying out, Sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis: O holy Socrates, pray for us7.

Footnote 1:   Rom. vii. 16.
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Footnote 2:   Arnica Collatio de Veritate Relig. Christ. cum Erudito Judæo, published in 1687, by Philippe de Limborch, who was eminent as a professor of Theology at Amsterdam from 1667 until his death, in 1712, at the age of 79. But the learned Jew was the Spanish Physician Isaac Orobio, who was tortured for three years in the prisons of the Inquisition on a charge of Judaism. He admitted nothing, was therefore set free, and left Spain for Toulouse, where he practised physic and passed as a Catholic until he settled at Amsterdam. There he made profession of the Jewish faith, and died in the year of the publication of Limborch's friendly discussion with him.

The Uriel Acosta, with whom Addison confounds Orobio, was a gentleman of Oporto who had embraced Judaism, and, leaving Portugal, had also gone to Amsterdam. There he was circumcised, but was persecuted by the Jews themselves, and eventually whipped in the synagogue for attempting reformation of the Jewish usages, in which, he said, tradition had departed from the law of Moses. He took his thirty-nine lashes, recanted, and lay across the threshold of the synagogue for all his brethren to walk over him. Afterwards he endeavoured to shoot his principal enemy, but his pistol missed fire. He had another about him, and with that he shot himself. This happened about the year 1640, when Limborch was but a child of six or seven.

Footnote 3:   Sur la Religion. Œuvres (Ed. 1752), Vol. III. pp. 267, 268.

Footnote 4:   I Cor. x. 31.

Footnote 5:   Psalm cxxxix. 2, 3.

Footnote 6:   Genesis v.22; vi. 9

Footnote 7:   Erasm. Apophthegm. Bk. III.


No. 214

Monday, November 5, 1711


Perierunt tempora longi

Juv. 1

I did some time ago lay before the World the unhappy Condition of the trading Part of Mankind, who suffer by want of Punctuality in the Dealings of Persons above them; but there is a Set of Men who are much more the Objects of Compassion than even those, and these are the Dependants on great Men, whom they are pleased to take under their Protection as such as are to share in their Friendship and Favour. These indeed, as well from the Homage that is accepted from them, as the hopes which are given to them, are become a Sort of Creditors; and these Debts, being Debts of Honour, ought, according to the accustomed Maxim, to be first discharged.

When I speak of Dependants, I would not be understood to mean those who are worthless in themselves, or who, without any Call, will press into the Company of their Betters. Nor, when I speak of Patrons, do I mean those who either have it not in their Power, or have no Obligation to assist their Friends; but I speak of such Leagues where there is Power and Obligation on the one Part, and Merit and Expectation on the other.

The Division of Patron and Client, may, I believe, include a Third of our Nation; the Want of Merit and real Worth in the Client, will strike out about Ninety-nine in a Hundred of these; and the Want of Ability in Patrons, as many of that Kind. But however, I must beg leave to say, that he who will take up another's Time and Fortune in his Service, though he has no Prospect of rewarding his Merit towards him, is as unjust in his Dealings as he who takes up Goods of a Tradesman without Intention or Ability to pay him. Of the few of the Class which I think fit to consider, there are not two in ten who succeed, insomuch that I know a Man of good Sense who put his Son to a Blacksmith, tho' an Offer was made him of his being received as a Page to a Man of Quality2. There are not more Cripples come out of the Wars than there are from those great Services; some through Discontent lose their Speech, some their Memories, others their Senses or their Lives; and I seldom see a Man thoroughly discontented, but I conclude he has had the Favour of some great Man. I have known of such as have been for twenty Years together within a Month of a good Employment, but never arrived at the Happiness of being possessed of any thing.

There is nothing more ordinary, than that a Man who is got into a considerable Station, shall immediately alter his manner of treating all his Friends, and from that Moment he is to deal with you as if he were your Fate. You are no longer to be consulted, even in Matters which concern your self, but your Patron is of a Species above you, and a free Communication with you is not to be expected. This perhaps may be your Condition all the while he bears Office, and when that is at an End, you are as intimate as ever you were, and he will take it very ill if you keep the Distance he prescribed you towards him in his Grandeur. One would think this should be a Behaviour a Man could fall into with the worst Grace imaginable; but they who know the World have seen it more than once. I have often, with secret Pity, heard the same Man who has professed his Abhorrence against all Kind of passive Behaviour, lose Minutes, Hours, Days, and Years in a fruitless Attendance on one who had no Inclination to befriend him. It is very much to be regarded, that the Great have one particular Privilege above the rest of the World, of being slow in receiving Impressions of Kindness, and quick in taking Offence. The Elevation above the rest of Mankind, except in very great Minds, makes Men so giddy, that they do not see after the same Manner they did before: Thus they despise their old Friends, and strive to extend their Interests to new Pretenders. By this means it often happens, that when you come to know how you lost such an Employment, you will find the Man who got it never dreamed of it; but, forsooth, he was to be surprized into it, or perhaps sollicited to receive it. Upon such Occasions as these a Man may perhaps grow out of Humour; and if you are so, all Mankind will fall in with the Patron, and you are an Humourist and untractable if you are capable of being sour at a Disappointment: But it is the same thing, whether you do or do not resent ill Usage, you will be used after the same Manner; as some good Mothers will be sure to whip their Children till they cry, and then whip them for crying.

There are but two Ways of doing any thing with great People, and those are by making your self either considerable or agreeable: The former is not to be attained but by finding a Way to live without them, or concealing that you want them; the latter is only by falling into their Taste and Pleasures: This is of all the Employments in the World the most servile, except it happens to be of your own natural Humour. For to be agreeable to another, especially if he be above you, is not to be possessed of such Qualities and Accomplishments as should render you agreeable in your self, but such as make you agreeable in respect to him. An Imitation of his Faults, or a Compliance, if not Subservience, to his Vices, must be the Measures of your Conduct. When it comes to that, the unnatural State a Man lives in, when his Patron pleases, is ended; and his Guilt and Complaisance are objected to him, tho' the Man who rejects him for his Vices was not only his Partner but Seducer. Thus the Client (like a young Woman who has given up the Innocence which made her charming) has not only lost his Time, but also the Virtue which could render him capable of resenting the Injury which is done him.

It would be endless to recount the Tricks3 of turning you off from themselves to Persons who have less Power to serve you, the Art of being sorry for such an unaccountable Accident in your Behaviour, that such a one (who, perhaps, has never heard of you) opposes your Advancement; and if you have any thing more than ordinary in you, you are flattered with a Whisper, that 'tis no Wonder People are so slow in doing for a Man of your Talents, and the like.

After all this Treatment, I must still add the pleasantest Insolence of all, which I have once or twice seen; to wit, That when a silly Rogue has thrown away one Part in three of his Life in unprofitable Attendance, it is taken wonderfully ill that he withdraws, and is resolved to employ the rest for himself.

When we consider these things, and reflect upon so many honest Natures (which one who makes Observation of what passes, may have seen) that have miscarried by such sort of Applications, it is too melancholy a Scene to dwell upon; therefore I shall take another Opportunity to discourse of good Patrons, and distinguish such as have done their Duty to those who have depended upon them, and were not able to act without their Favour. Worthy Patrons are like Plato's Guardian Angels, who are always doing good to their Wards; but negligent Patrons are like Epicurus's Gods, that lie lolling on the Clouds, and instead of Blessings pour down Storms and Tempests on the Heads of those that are offering Incense to them4.

Footnote 1:  
Dulcis inexperta cultura potentis amici,
Expertus metuit
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Footnote 2:   A son of one of the inferior gentry received as page by a nobleman wore his lord's livery, but had it of more costly materials than were used for the footmen, and was the immediate attendant of his patron, who was expected to give him a reputable start in life when he came of age. Percy notes that a lady who described to him the custom not very long after it had become obsolete, remembered her own husband's giving £500 to set up such a page in business.

Footnote 3:   Trick

Footnote 4:   The Dæmon or Angel which, in the doctrine of Immortality according to Socrates or Plato, had the care of each man while alive, and after death conveyed him to the general place of judgment (Phædon, p. 130), is more properly described as a Guardian Angel than the gods of Epicurus can be said to pour storms on the heads of their worshippers. Epicurus only represented them as inactive and unconcerned with human affairs.


No. 215

Tuesday, November 6, 1711


—Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes
Emollit mores, nec sinit esse feros.


I consider an Human Soul without Education like Marble in the Quarry, which shews none of its inherent Beauties, 'till the Skill of the Polisher fetches out the Colours, makes the Surface shine, and discovers every ornamental Cloud, Spot, and Vein that runs through the Body of it. Education, after the same manner, when it works upon a noble Mind, draws out to View every latent Virtue and Perfection, which without such Helps are never able to make their Appearance.

If my Reader will give me leave to change the Allusion so soon upon him, I shall make use of the same Instance to illustrate the Force of Education, which Aristotle has brought to explain his Doctrine of Substantial Forms, when he tells us that a Statue lies hid in a Block of Marble; and that the Art of the statuary only clears away the superfluous Matter, and removes the Rubbish. The Figure is in the Stone, the Sculptor only finds it. What Sculpture is to a Block of Marble, Education is to a Human Soul. The Philosopher, the Saint, or the Hero, the Wise, the Good, or the Great Man, very often lie hid and concealed in a Plebeian, which a proper Education might have disinterred, and have brought to Light. I am therefore much delighted with Reading the Accounts of Savage Nations, and with contemplating those Virtues which are wild and uncultivated; to see Courage exerting it self in Fierceness, Resolution in Obstinacy, Wisdom in Cunning, Patience in Sullenness and Despair.

Mens Passions operate variously, and appear in different kinds of Actions, according as they are more or less rectified and swayed by Reason. When one hears of Negroes, who upon the Death of their Masters, or upon changing their Service, hang themselves upon the next Tree, as it frequently happens in our American Plantations, who can forbear admiring their Fidelity, though it expresses it self in so dreadful a manner? What might not that Savage Greatness of Soul which appears in these poor Wretches on many Occasions, be raised to, were it rightly cultivated? And what Colour of Excuse can there be for the Contempt with which we treat this Part of our Species; That we should not put them upon the common foot of Humanity, that we should only set an insignificant Fine upon the Man who murders them; nay, that we should, as much as in us lies, cut them off from the Prospects of Happiness in another World as well as in this, and deny them that which we look upon as the proper Means for attaining it?

Since I am engaged on this Subject, I cannot forbear mentioning a Story which I have lately heard, and which is so well attested, that I have no manner of Reason to suspect the Truth of it. I may call it a kind of wild Tragedy that passed about twelve Years ago at St. Christophers, one of our British Leeward Islands. The Negroes who were the persons concerned in it, were all of them the Slaves of a Gentleman who is now in England.

This Gentleman among his Negroes had a young Woman, who was look'd upon as a most extraordinary Beauty by those of her own Complexion. He had at the same time two young Fellows who were likewise Negroes and Slaves, remarkable for the Comeliness of their Persons, and for the Friendship which they bore to one another. It unfortunately happened that both of them fell in love with the Female Negro above mentioned, who would have been very glad to have taken either of them for her Husband, provided they could agree between themselves which should be the Man. But they were both so passionately in Love with her, that neither of them could think of giving her up to his Rival; and at the same time were so true to one another, that neither of them would think of gaining her without his Friend's Consent. The Torments of these two Lovers were the Discourse of the Family to which they belonged, who could not forbear observing the strange Complication of Passions which perplexed the Hearts of the poor Negroes, that often dropped Expressions of the Uneasiness they underwent, and how impossible it was for either of them ever to be happy.

After a long Struggle between Love and Friendship, Truth and Jealousy, they one Day took a Walk together into a Wood, carrying their Mistress along with them: Where, after abundance of Lamentations, they stabbed her to the Heart, of which she immediately died. A Slave who was at his Work not far from the Place where this astonishing Piece of Cruelty was committed, hearing the Shrieks of the dying Person, ran to see what was the Occasion of them. He there discovered the Woman lying dead upon the Ground, with the two Negroes on each side of her, kissing the dead Corps, weeping over it, and beating their Breasts in the utmost Agonies of Grief and Despair. He immediately ran to the _English_ Family with the News of what he had seen; who upon coming to the Place saw the Woman dead, and the two Negroes expiring by her with Wounds they had given themselves.

We see in this amazing Instance of Barbarity, what strange Disorders are bred in the minds of those Men whose Passions are not regulated by Virtue, and disciplined by Reason. Though the Action which I have recited is in it self full of Guilt and Horror, it proceeded from a Temper of Mind which might have produced very noble Fruits, had it been informed and guided by a suitable Education.

It is therefore an unspeakable Blessing to be born in those Parts of the World where Wisdom and Knowledge flourish; tho' it must be confest, there are, even in these Parts, several poor uninstructed Persons, who are but little above the Inhabitants of those Nations of which I have been here speaking; as those who have had the Advantages of a more liberal Education, rise above one another by several different Degrees of Perfection. For to return to our Statue in the Block of Marble, we see it sometimes only begun to be chipped, sometimes rough-hewn and but just sketched into an human Figure; sometimes we see the Man appearing distinctly in all his Limbs and Features, sometimes we find the Figure wrought up to a great Elegancy, but seldom meet with any to which the Hand of a Phidias or Praxiteles could not give several nice Touches and Finishings.

Discourses of Morality, and Reflections upon human Nature, are the best Means we can make use of to improve our Minds, and gain a true Knowledge of our selves, and consequently to recover our Souls out of the Vice, Ignorance, and Prejudice, which naturally cleave to them. I have all along profest myself in this Paper a Promoter of these great Ends; and I flatter my self that I do from Day to Day contribute something to the polishing of Mens Minds: at least my Design is laudable, whatever the Execution may be. I must confess I am not a little encouraged in it by many Letters, which I receive from unknown Hands, in Approbation of my Endeavours; and must take this Opportunity of returning my Thanks to those who write them, and excusing my self for not inserting several of them in my Papers, which I am sensible would be a very great Ornament to them. Should I publish the Praises which are so well penned, they would do Honour to the Persons who write them; but my publishing of them would I fear be a sufficient Instance to the World that I did not deserve them.



No. 216

Wednesday, November 7, 1711


Siquidem hercle possis, nil prius, neque fortius:
Verum si incipies, neque perficies naviter,
Atque ubi pati non poteris, cum nemo expetet,
Infecta pace ultrò ad eam venies indicans
Te amare, et ferre non posse: Actum est, ilicet,
Perîsti: eludet ubi te victum senserit.


To Mr. Spectator,

Sir, This is to inform you, that Mr. Freeman1 had no sooner taken Coach, but his Lady was taken with a terrible Fit of the Vapours, which,'tis feared will make her miscarry, if not endanger her Life; therefore, dear Sir, if you know of any Receipt that is good against this fashionable reigning Distemper, be pleased to communicate it for the Good of the Publick, and you will oblige


A. Noewill.

Mr. Spectator,

'The Uproar was so great as soon as I had read the Spectator concerning Mrs. Freeman, that after many Revolutions in her Temper, of raging, swooning, railing, fainting, pitying herself, and reviling her Husband, upon an accidental coming in of a neighbouring Lady (who says she has writ to you also) she had nothing left for it but to fall in a Fit. I had the Honour to read the Paper to her, and have a pretty good Command of my Countenance and Temper on such Occasions; and soon found my historical Name to be Tom Meggot in your Writings, but concealed my self till I saw how it affected Mrs. Freeman. She looked frequently at her Husband, as often at me; and she did not tremble as she filled Tea, till she came to the Circumstance of Armstrong's writing out a Piece of Tully for an Opera Tune: Then she burst out, She was exposed, she was deceiv'd, she was wronged and abused. The Tea-cup was thrown in the Fire; and without taking Vengeance on her Spouse, she said of me, That I was a pretending Coxcomb, a Medler that knew not what it was to interpose in so nice an Affair as between a Man and his Wife. To which Mr. Freeman; Madam, were I less fond of you than I am, I should not have taken this Way of writing to the Spectator, to inform a Woman whom God and Nature has placed under my Direction with what I request of her; but since you are so indiscreet as not to take the Hint which I gave you in that Paper, I must tell you, Madam, in so many Words, that you have for a long and tedious Space of Time acted a Part unsuitable to the Sense you ought to have of the Subordination in which you are placed. And I must acquaint you once for all, that the Fellow without, ha Tom! (here the Footman entered and answered Madam) 'Sirrah don't you know my Voice; look upon me when I speak to you: I say, Madam, this Fellow here is to know of me my self, whether I am at Leisure to see Company or not. I am from this Hour Master of this House; and my Business in it, and every where else, is to behave my self in such a Manner, as it shall be hereafter an Honour to you to bear my Name; and your Pride, that you are the Delight, the Darling, and Ornament of a Man of Honour, useful and esteemed by his Friends; and I no longer one that has buried some Merit in the World, in Compliance to a froward Humour which has grown upon an agreeable Woman by his Indulgence. Mr. Freeman ended this with a Tenderness in his Aspect and a downcast Eye, which shewed he was extremely moved at the Anguish he saw her in; for she sat swelling with Passion, and her Eyes firmly fixed on the Fire; when I, fearing he would lose all again, took upon me to provoke her out of that amiable Sorrow she was in, to fall upon me; upon which I said very seasonably for my Friend, That indeed Mr. Freeman was become the common Talk of the Town; and that nothing was so much a Jest, as when it was said in Company Mr. Freeman had promised to come to such a Place. Upon which the good Lady turned her Softness into downright Rage, and threw the scalding Tea-Kettle upon your humble Servant; flew into the Middle of the Room, and cried out she was the unfortunatest of all Women: Others kept Family Dissatisfactions for Hours of Privacy and Retirement: No Apology was to be made to her, no Expedient to be found, no previous Manner of breaking what was amiss in her; but all the World was to be acquainted with her Errors, without the least Admonition. Mr. Freeman was going to make a soft'ning Speech, but I interposed; Look you, Madam, I have nothing to say to this Matter, but you ought to consider you are now past a Chicken; this Humour, which was well enough in a Girl, is insufferable in one of your Motherly Character. With that she lost all Patience, and flew directly at her Husband's Periwig. I got her in my Arms, and defended my Friend: He making Signs at the same time that it was too much; I beckoning, nodding, and frowning over her Shoulder, that he2 was lost if he did not persist. In this manner 3 flew round and round the Room in a Moment, 'till the Lady I spoke of above and Servants entered; upon which she fell on a Couch as breathless. I still kept up my Friend; but he, with a very silly Air, bid them bring the Coach to the Door, and we went off, I forced to bid the Coachman drive on. We were no sooner come to my Lodgings, but all his Wife's Relations came to enquire after him; and Mrs. Freeman's Mother writ a Note, wherein she thought never to have seen this Day, and so forth.

In a word, Sir, I am afraid we are upon a thing we have no Talents for; and I can observe already, my Friend looks upon me rather as a Man that knows a Weakness of him that he is ashamed of, than one who has rescu'd him from Slavery. Mr. Spectator, I am but a young Fellow, and if Mr. Freeman submits, I shall be looked upon as an Incendiary, and never get a Wife as long as I breathe. He has indeed sent Word home he shall lie at Hampstead to-night; but I believe Fear of the first Onset after this Rupture has too great a Place in this Resolution. Mrs. Freeman has a very pretty Sister; suppose I delivered him up, and articled with the Mother for her for bringing him home. If he has not Courage to stand it, (you are a great Casuist) is it such an ill thing to bring my self off, as well as I can? What makes me doubt my Man, is, that I find he thinks it reasonable to expostulate at least with her; and Capt. SENTREY will tell you, if you let your Orders be disputed, you are no longer a Commander. I wish you could advise me how to get clear of this Business handsomely.


Tom Meggot.

Footnote 1:   See No. 212
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   we

Footnote 3:   he


No. 217

Thursday, November 1, 1711


—Tunc fœmina simplex,
Et pariter toto repetitur clamor ab antro.

Juv. Sat. 6.

I shall entertain my Reader to-day with some Letters from my Correspondents. The first of them is the Description of a Club, whether real or imaginary I cannot determine; but am apt to fancy, that the Writer of it, whoever she is, has formed a kind of Nocturnal Orgie out of her own Fancy: Whether this be so or not, her Letter may conduce to the Amendment of that kind of Persons who are represented in it, and whose Characters are frequent enough in the World.

Mr. Spectator,

'In some of your first Papers you were pleased to give the Publick a very diverting Account of several Clubs and nocturnal Assemblies; but I am a Member of a Society which has wholly escaped your Notice, I mean a Club of She-Romps. We take each a Hackney-Coach, and meet once a Week in a large upper Chamber, which we hire by the Year for that Purpose; our Landlord and his Family, who are quiet People, constantly contriving to be abroad on our Club-Night. We are no sooner come together than we throw off all that Modesty and Reservedness with which our Sex are obliged to disguise themselves in publick Places. I am not able to express the Pleasure we enjoy from Ten at Night 'till four in the Morning, in being as rude as you Men can be, for your Lives. As our Play runs high the Room is immediately filled with broken Fans, torn Petticoats, Lappets of Head-dresses, Flounces, Furbelows, Garters, and Working-Aprons. I had forgot to tell you at first, that besides the Coaches we come in our selves, there is one which stands always empty to carry off our dead Men, for so we call all those Fragments and Tatters with which the Room is strewed, and which we pack up together in Bundles and put into the aforesaid Coach. It is no small Diversion for us to meet the next Night at some Member's Chamber, where every one is to pick out what belonged to her from this confused Bundle of Silks, Stuffs, Laces, and Ribbons. I have hitherto given you an Account of our Diversion on ordinary Club-Nights; but must acquaint you farther, that once a Month we demolish a Prude, that is, we get some queer formal Creature in among us, and unrig her in an Instant. Our last Month's Prude was so armed and fortified in Whalebone and Buckram that we had much ado to come at her; but you would have died with laughing to have seen how the sober awkward Thing looked when she was forced out of her Intrenchments. In short, Sir,'tis impossible to give you a true Notion of our Sports, unless you would come one Night amongst us; and tho' it be directly against the Rules of our Society to admit a Male Visitant, we repose so much Confidence in your Silence and Taciturnity, that 'twas agreed by the whole Club, at our last Meeting, to give you Entrance for one Night as a Spectator.

I am, Your Humble Servant,

Kitty Termagant.

P. S. We shall demolish a Prude next Thursday.

Tho' I thank Kitty for her kind Offer, I do not at present find in my self any Inclination, to venture my Person with her and her romping Companions. I should regard my self as a second Clodius intruding on the Mysterious Rites of the Bona Dea, and should apprehend being Demolished as much as the Prude.

The following Letter comes from a Gentleman, whose Taste I find is much too delicate to endure the least Advance towards Romping. I may perhaps hereafter improve upon the Hint he has given me, and make it the Subject of a whole Spectator; in the mean time take it as it follows in his own Words.

Mr. Spectator,

'It is my Misfortune to be in Love with a young Creature who is daily committing Faults, which though they give me the utmost Uneasiness, I know not how to reprove her for, or even acquaint her with. She is pretty, dresses well, is rich, and good-humour'd; but either wholly neglects, or has no Notion of that which Polite People have agreed to distinguish by the Name of Delicacy. After our Return from a Walk the other Day she threw her self into an Elbow-Chair, and professed before a large Company, that she was all over in a Sweat. She told me this Afternoon that her Stomach aked; and was complaining Yesterday at Dinner of something that stuck in her Teeth. I treated her with a Basket of Fruit last Summer, which she eat so very greedily, as almost made me resolve never to see her more. In short, Sir, I begin to tremble whenever I see her about to speak or move. As she does not want Sense, if she takes these Hints I am happy; if not, I am more than afraid, that these Things which shock me even in the Behaviour of a Mistress, will appear insupportable in that of a Wife.

I am, Sir, Yours, &c.

My next Letter comes from a Correspondent whom I cannot but very much value, upon the Account which she gives of her self.

Mr. Spectator,

I am happily arrived at a State of Tranquillity, which few People envy, I mean that of an old Maid; therefore being wholly unconcerned in all that Medley of Follies which our Sex is apt to contract from their silly Fondness of yours, I read your Railleries on us without Provocation. I can say with Hamlet,
—Man delights not me,
Nor Woman neither—
Therefore, dear Sir, as you never spare your own Sex, do not be afraid of reproving what is ridiculous in ours, and you will oblige at least one Woman, who is

Your humble Servant,
Susannah Frost.

Mr. Spectator,

I am Wife to a Clergyman, and cannot help thinking that in your Tenth or Tithe-Character of Womankind1 you meant my self, therefore I have no Quarrel against you for the other Nine Characters.

Your humble Servant,

Footnote 1:   See No. 209.
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No. 218

Friday, November 9, 1711


Quid de quoque viro et cui dicas sæpe caveto.


I happened the other Day, as my Way is, to strole into a little Coffee-house beyond Aldgate; and as I sat there, two or three very plain sensible Men were talking of the Spectator. One said, he had that Morning drawn the great Benefit Ticket; another wished he had; but a third shaked his Head and said, It was pity that the Writer of that Paper was such a sort of Man, that it was no great Matter whether he had it or no. He is, it seems, said the good Man, the most extravagant Creature in the World; has run through vast Sums, and yet been in continual Want; a Man, for all he talks so well of Œconomy, unfit for any of the Offices of Life, by reason of his Profuseness. It would be an unhappy thing to be his Wife, his Child, or his Friend; and yet he talks as well of those Duties of Life as any one. Much Reflection has brought me to so easy a Contempt for every thing which is false, that this heavy Accusation gave me no manner of Uneasiness; but at the same Time it threw me into deep Thought upon the Subject of Fame in general; and I could not but pity such as were so weak, as to value what the common People say out of their own talkative Temper to the Advantage or Diminution of those whom they mention, without being moved either by Malice or Good-will. It will be too long to expatiate upon the Sense all Mankind have of Fame, and the inexpressible Pleasure which there is in the Approbation of worthy Men, to all who are capable of worthy Actions; but methinks one may divide the general Word Fame into three different Species, as it regards the different Orders of Mankind who have any Thing to do with it. Fame therefore may be divided into Glory, which respects the Hero; Reputation, which is preserved by every Gentleman; and Credit, which must be supported by every Tradesman. These Possessions in Fame are dearer than Life to these Characters of Men, or rather are the Life of those Characters. Glory, while the Hero pursues great and noble Enterprizes, is impregnable; and all the Assailants of his Renown do but shew their Pain and Impatience of its Brightness, without throwing the least Shade upon it. If the Foundation of an high Name be Virtue and Service, all that is offered against it is but Rumour, which is too short-liv'd to stand up in Competition with Glory, which is everlasting.

Reputation, which is the Portion of every Man who would live with the elegant and knowing Part of Mankind, is as stable as Glory, if it be as well founded; and the common Cause of human Society is thought concerned when we hear a Man of good Behaviour calumniated: Besides which, according to a prevailing Custom amongst us, every Man has his Defence in his own Arm; and Reproach is soon checked, put out of Countenance, and overtaken by Disgrace.

The most unhappy of all Men, and the most exposed to the Malignity or Wantonness of the common Voice, is the Trader. Credit is undone in Whispers. The Tradesman's Wound is received from one who is more private and more cruel than the Ruffian with the Lanthorn and Dagger. The Manner of repeating a Man's Name, As; Mr. Cash, Oh! do you leave your Money at his Shop? Why, do you know Mr. Searoom? He is indeed a general Merchant. I say, I have seen, from the Iteration of a Man's Name, hiding one Thought of him, and explaining what you hide by saying something to his Advantage when you speak, a Merchant hurt in his Credit; and him who, every Day he lived, literally added to the Value of his Native Country, undone by one who was only a Burthen and a Blemish to it. Since every Body who knows the World is sensible of this great Evil, how careful ought a Man to be in his Language of a Merchant? It may possibly be in the Power of a very shallow Creature to lay the Ruin of the best Family in the most opulent City; and the more so, the more highly he deserves of his Country; that is to say, the farther he places his Wealth out of his Hands, to draw home that of another Climate.

In this Case an ill Word may change Plenty into Want, and by a rash Sentence a free and generous Fortune may in a few Days be reduced to Beggary. How little does a giddy Prater imagine, that an idle Phrase to the Disfavour of a Merchant may be as pernicious in the Consequence, as the Forgery of a Deed to bar an Inheritance would be to a Gentleman? Land stands where it did before a Gentleman was calumniated, and the State of a great Action is just as it was before Calumny was offered to diminish it, and there is Time, Place and Occasion expected to unravel all that is contrived against those Characters; but the Trader who is ready only for probable Demands upon him, can have no Armour against the Inquisitive, the Malicious, and the Envious, who are prepared to fill the Cry to his Dishonour. Fire and Sword are slow Engines of Destruction, in Comparison of the Babbler in the Case of the Merchant.

For this Reason I thought it an imitable Piece of Humanity of a Gentleman of my Acquaintance, who had great Variety of Affairs, and used to talk with Warmth enough against Gentlemen by whom he thought himself ill dealt with; but he would never let any thing be urged against a Merchant (with whom he had any Difference) except in a Court of Justice. He used to say, that to speak ill of a Merchant, was to begin his Suit with Judgment and Execution. One cannot, I think, say more on this Occasion, than to repeat, That the Merit of the Merchant is above that of all other Subjects; for while he is untouched in his Credit, his Hand-writing is a more portable Coin for the Service of his Fellow-Citizens, and his Word the Gold of Ophir to the Country wherein he resides.



No. 219

Saturday, November 10, 1711


Vix ea nostra voco—


There are but few Men, who are not ambitious of distinguishing themselves in the Nation or Country where they live, and of growing considerable among those with whom they converse. There is a kind of Grandeur and Respect, which the meanest and most insignificant Part of Mankind endeavour to procure in the little Circle of their Friends and Acquaintance. The poorest Mechanick, nay the Man who lives upon common Alms, gets him his Set of Admirers, and delights in that Superiority which he enjoys over those who are in some Respects beneath him. This Ambition, which is natural to the Soul of Man, might methinks receive a very happy turn; and, if it were rightly directed, contribute as much to a Person's Advantage, as it generally does to his Uneasiness and Disquiet.

I shall therefore put together some Thoughts on this Subject, which I have not met with in other Writers: and shall set them down as they have occurred to me, without being at the Pains to Connect or Methodise them.

All Superiority and Preeminence that one Man can have over another, may be reduced to the Notion of Quality, which, considered at large, is either that of Fortune, Body, or Mind. The first is that which consists in Birth, Title, or Riches, and is the most foreign to our Natures, and what we can the least call our own of any of the three Kinds of Quality. In relation to the Body, Quality arises from Health, Strength, or Beauty, which are nearer to us, and more a Part of our selves than the former. Quality, as it regards the Mind, has its Rise from Knowledge or Virtue; and is that which is more essential to us, and more intimately united with us than either of the other two.

The Quality of Fortune, tho' a Man has less Reason to value himself upon it than on that of the Body or Mind, is however the kind of Quality which makes the most shining Figure in the Eye of the World.

As Virtue is the most reasonable and genuine Source of Honour, we generally find in Titles an Imitation of some particular Merit that should recommend Men to the high Stations which they possess. Holiness is ascribed to the Pope; Majesty to Kings; Serenity or Mildness of Temper to Princes; Excellence or Perfection to Ambassadors; Grace to Archbishops; Honour to Peers; Worship or Venerable Behaviour to Magistrates; and Reverence, which is of the same Import as the former, to the inferior Clergy.

In the Founders of great Families, such Attributes of Honour are generally correspondent with the Virtues of the Person to whom they are applied; but in the Descendants they are too often the Marks rather of Grandeur than of Merit. The Stamp and Denomination still continues, but the Intrinsick Value is frequently lost.

The Death-Bed shews the Emptiness of Titles in a true Light. A poor dispirited Sinner lies trembling under the Apprehensions of the State he is entring on; and is asked by a grave Attendant how his Holiness does? Another hears himself addressed to under the Title of Highness or Excellency, who lies under such mean Circumstances of Mortality as are the Disgrace of Human Nature. Titles at such a time look rather like Insults and Mockery than Respect.

The truth of it is, Honours are in this World under no Regulation; true Quality is neglected, Virtue is oppressed, and Vice triumphant. The last Day will rectify this Disorder, and assign to every one a Station suitable to the Dignity of his Character; Ranks will be then adjusted, and Precedency set right.

Methinks we should have an Ambition, if not to advance our selves in another World, at least to preserve our Post in it, and outshine our Inferiors in Virtue here, that they may not be put above us in a State which is to Settle the Distinction for Eternity.

Men in Scripture are called Strangers and Sojourners upon Earth, and Life a Pilgrimage. Several Heathen, as well as Christian Authors, under the same kind of Metaphor, have represented the World as an Inn, which was only designed to furnish us with Accommodations in this our Passage. It is therefore very absurd to think of setting up our Rest before we come to our Journey's End, and not rather to take care of the Reception we shall there meet, than to fix our Thoughts on the little Conveniences and Advantages which we enjoy one above another in the Way to it.

Epictetus makes use of another kind of Allusion, which is very beautiful, and wonderfully proper to incline us to be satisfied with the Post in which Providence has placed us. We are here, says he, as in a Theatre, where every one has a Part allotted to him. The great Duty which lies upon a Man is to act his Part in Perfection. We may indeed say, that our Part does not suit us, and that we could act another better. But this (says the Philosopher) is not our Business. All that we are concerned in is to excel in the Part which is given us. If it be an improper one, the Fault is not in us, but in him who has cast our several Parts, and is the great Disposer of the Drama1.

The Part that was acted by this Philosopher himself was but a very indifferent one, for he lived and died a Slave. His Motive to Contentment in this Particular, receives a very great Inforcement from the above-mentioned Consideration, if we remember that our Parts in the other World will be new cast, and that Mankind will be there ranged in different Stations of Superiority and Præeminence, in Proportion as they have here excelled one another in Virtue, and performed in their several Posts of Life the Duties which belong to them.

There are many beautiful Passages in the little Apocryphal Book, entitled, The Wisdom of Solomon, to set forth the Vanity of Honour, and the like temporal Blessings which are in so great Repute among Men, and to comfort those who have not the Possession of them. It represents in very warm and noble Terms this Advancement of a good Man in the other World, and the great Surprize which it will produce among those who are his Superiors in this. Then shall the righteous Man stand in great Boldness before the Face of such as have afflicted him, and made no Account of his Labours. When they see it, they shall be troubled with terrible Fear, and shall be amazed at the Strangeness of his Salvation, so far beyond all that they looked for. And they repenting and groaning for Anguish of Spirit, shall say within themselves; This was he whom we had sometime in Derision, and a Proverb of Reproach. We Fools accounted his Life Madness, and his End to be without Honour. How is he numbered among the Children of God, and his Lot is among the Saints!2

If the Reader would see the Description of a Life that is passed away in Vanity and among the Shadows of Pomp and Greatness, he may see it very finely drawn in the same Place3. In the mean time, since it is necessary in the present Constitution of things, that Order and Distinction should be kept in the World, we should be happy, if those who enjoy the upper Stations in it, would endeavour to surpass others in Virtue, as much as in Rank, and by their Humanity and Condescension make their Superiority easy and acceptable to those who are beneath them: and if, on the contrary, those who are in meaner Posts of Life, would consider how they may better their Condition hereafter, and by a just Deference and Submission to their Superiors, make them happy in those Blessings with which Providence has thought fit to distinguish them.


Footnote 1:   Epict. Enchirid. ch. 23.
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Footnote 2:   Wisd., ch. v. 1-5.

Footnote 3:   Ch. v. 8-14.


No. 220

Monday, November 12, 1711


Rumoresque serit varios



'Why will you apply to my Father for my Love? I cannot help it if he will give you my Person; but I assure you it is not in his Power, nor even in my own, to give you my Heart. Dear Sir, do but consider the ill Consequence of such a Match; you are Fifty-five, I Twenty-one. You are a Man of Business, and mightily conversant in Arithmetick and making Calculations; be pleased therefore to consider what Proportion your Spirits bear to mine; and when you have made a just Estimate of the necessary Decay on one Side, and the Redundance on the other, you will act accordingly. This perhaps is such Language as you may not expect from a young Lady; but my Happiness is at Stake, and I must talk plainly. I mortally hate you; and so, as you and my Father agree, you may take me or leave me: But if you will be so good as never to see me more, you will for ever oblige,

Your most humble Servant,


Mr. Spectator2,

'There are so many Artifices and Modes of false Wit, and such a Variety of Humour discovers it self among its Votaries, that it would be impossible to exhaust so fertile a Subject, if you would think fit to resume it. The following Instances may, if you think fit, be added by Way of Appendix to your Discourses on that Subject.

'That Feat of Poetical Activity mentioned by Horace, of an Author who could compose two hundred Verses while he stood upon one Leg3, has been imitated (as I have heard) by a modern Writer; who priding himself on the Hurry of his Invention, thought it no small Addition to his Fame to have each Piece minuted with the exact Number of Hours or Days it cost him in the Composition. He could taste no Praise till he had acquainted you in how short Space of Time he had deserved it; and was not so much led to an Ostentation of his Art, as of his Dispatch.
—Accipe si vis,
Accipe jam tabulas; detur nobis locus, hora,
Custodes: videamus uter plus scribere possit.

'This was the whole of his Ambition; and therefore I cannot but think the Flights of this rapid Author very proper to be opposed to those laborious Nothings which you have observed were the Delight of the German Wits, and in which they so happily got rid of such a tedious Quantity of their Time.

'I have known a Gentleman of another Turn of Humour, who, despising the Name of an Author, never printed his Works, but contracted his Talent, and by the help of a very fine Diamond which he wore on his little Finger, was a considerable Poet upon Glass. He had a very good Epigrammatick Wit; and there was not a Parlour or Tavern Window where he visited or dined for some Years, which did not receive some Sketches or Memorials of it. It was his Misfortune at last to lose his Genius and his Ring to a Sharper at Play; and he has not attempted to make a Verse since.

'But of all Contractions or Expedients for Wit, I admire that of an ingenious Projector whose Book I have seen4. This Virtuoso being a Mathematician, has, according to his Taste, thrown the Art of Poetry into a short Problem, and contrived Tables by which any one without knowing a Word of Grammar or Sense, may, to his great Comfort, be able to compose or rather to erect Latin Verses. His Tables are a kind of Poetical Logarithms, which being divided into several Squares, and all inscribed with so many incoherent Words, appear to the Eye somewhat like a Fortune-telling Screen. What a Joy must it be to the unlearned Operator to find that these Words, being carefully collected and writ down in Order according to the Problem, start of themselves into Hexameter and Pentameter Verses? A Friend of mine, who is a Student in Astrology, meeting with this Book, performed the Operation, by the Rules there set down; he shewed his Verses to the next of his Acquaintance, who happened to understand Latin; and being informed they described a Tempest of Wind, very luckily prefixed them, together with a Translation, to an Almanack he was just then printing, and was supposed to have foretold the last great Storm5.

'I think the only Improvement beyond this, would be that which the late Duke of Buckingham mentioned to a stupid Pretender to Poetry, as the Project of a Dutch Mechanick, viz. a Mill to make Verses. This being the most compendious Method of all which have yet been proposed, may deserve the Thoughts of our modern Virtuosi who are employed in new Discoveries for the publick Good: and it may be worth the while to consider, whether in an Island where few are content without being thought Wits, it will not be a common Benefit, that Wit as well as Labour should be made cheap.

I am, Sir, Your humble Servant, &c.

Mr. Spectator,

'I often dine at a Gentleman's House, where there are two young Ladies, in themselves very agreeable, but very cold in their Behaviour, because they understand me for a Person that is to break my Mind, as the Phrase is, very suddenly to one of them. But I take this Way to acquaint them, that I am not in Love with either of them, in Hopes they will use me with that agreeable Freedom and Indifference which they do all the rest of the World, and not to drink to one another only, but sometimes cast a kind Look, with their Service to,

Sir, Your humble Servant.

Mr. Spectator,

'I am a young Gentleman, and take it for a Piece of Good-breeding to pull off my Hat when I see any thing particularly charming in any Woman, whether I know her or not. I take care that there is nothing ludicrous or arch in my Manner, as if I were to betray a Woman into a Salutation by Way of Jest or Humour; and yet except I am acquainted with her, I find she ever takes it for a Rule, that she is to look upon this Civility and Homage I pay to her supposed Merit, as an Impertinence or Forwardness which she is to observe and neglect. I wish, Sir, you would settle the Business of salutation; and please to inform me how I shall resist the sudden Impulse I have to be civil to what gives an Idea of Merit; or tell these Creatures how to behave themselves in Return to the Esteem I have for them. My Affairs are such, that your Decision will be a Favour to me, if it be only to save the unnecessary Expence of wearing out my Hat so fast as I do at present.

'There are some that do know me, and won't bow to me.

I am, Sir,


Footnote 1:  
—Aliena negotia centum
Per caput, et circa saliunt latus
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Footnote 2:   This letter is by John Hughes.

Footnote 3:  
—in hora saepe ducentos,
Ut magnum, versus dictabat stans pede in uno.
Sat. I. iv. 10.

Footnote 4:   A pamphlet by John Peter, Artificial Versifying, a New Way to make Latin Verses. Lond. 1678.

Footnote 5:   Of Nov. 26, 1703, which destroyed in London alone property worth a million.


No. 221

Tuesday, November 13, 1711


—Ab Ovo
Usque ad Mala—


When I have finished any of my Speculations, it is my Method to consider which of the ancient Authors have touched upon the Subject that I treat of. By this means I meet with some celebrated Thought upon it, or a Thought of my own expressed in better Words, or some Similitude for the Illustration of my Subject. This is what gives Birth to the Motto of a Speculation, which I rather chuse to take out of the Poets than the Prose-writers, as the former generally give a finer Turn to a Thought than the latter, and by couching it in few Words, and in harmonious Numbers, make it more portable to the Memory.

My Reader is therefore sure to meet with at least one good Line in every Paper, and very often finds his Imagination entertained by a Hint that awakens in his Memory some beautiful Passage of a Classick Author.

It was a Saying of an ancient Philosopher, which I find some of our Writers have ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, who perhaps might have taken occasion to repeat it, That a good Face is a Letter of Recommendation1. It naturally makes the Beholders inquisitive into the Person who is the Owner of it, and generally prepossesses them in his Favour. A handsome Motto has the same Effect. Besides that, it always gives a Supernumerary Beauty to a Paper, and is sometimes in a manner necessary when the Writer is engaged in what may appear a Paradox to vulgar Minds, as it shews that he is supported by good Authorities, and is not singular in his Opinion.

I must confess, the Motto is of little Use to an unlearned Reader, for which Reason I consider it only as a Word to the Wise. But as for my unlearned Friends, if they cannot relish the Motto, I take care to make Provision for them in the Body of my Paper. If they do not understand the Sign that is hung out, they know very well by it, that they may meet with Entertainment in the House; and I think I was never better pleased than with a plain Man's Compliment, who, upon his Friend's telling him that he would like the Spectator much better if he understood the Motto, replied, That good Wine needs no Bush.

I have heard of a Couple of Preachers in a Country Town, who endeavoured which should outshine one another, and draw together the greatest Congregation. One of them being well versed in the Fathers, used to quote every now and then a Latin Sentence to his illiterate Hearers, who it seems found themselves so edified by it, that they flocked in greater Numbers to this learned Man than to his Rival. The other finding his Congregation mouldering every Sunday, and hearing at length what was the Occasion of it, resolved to give his Parish a little Latin in his Turn; but being unacquainted with any of the Fathers, he digested into his Sermons the whole Book of Quæ Genus, adding however such Explications to it as he thought might be for the Benefit of his People. He afterwards entered upon As in præsenti2, which he converted in the same manner to the Use of his Parishioners. This in a very little time thickned his Audience, filled his Church, and routed his Antagonist.

The natural Love to Latin which is so prevalent in our common People, makes me think that my Speculations fare never the worse among them for that little Scrap which appears at the Head of them; and what the more encourages me in the Use of Quotations in an unknown Tongue is, that I hear the Ladies, whose Approbation I value more than that of the whole Learned World, declare themselves in a more particular manner pleased with my Greek Mottos.

Designing this Day's Work for a Dissertation upon the two Extremities of my Paper, and having already dispatch'd my Motto, I shall, in the next place, discourse upon those single Capital Letters, which are placed at the End of it, and which have afforded great Matter of Speculation to the Curious. I have heard various Conjectures upon this Subject. Some tell us that C is the Mark of those Papers that are written by the Clergyman, though others ascribe them to the Club in general: That the Papers marked with R were written by my Friend Sir Roger: That L signifies the Lawyer, whom I have described in my second Speculation; and that T stands for the Trader or Merchant: But the Letter X, which is placed at the End of some few of my Papers, is that which has puzzled the whole Town, as they cannot think of any Name which begins with that Letter, except Xenophon and Xerxes, who can neither of them be supposed to have had any Hand in these Speculations.

In Answer to these inquisitive Gentlemen, who have many of them made Enquiries of me by Letter, I must tell them the Reply of an ancient Philosopher, who carried something hidden under his Cloak. A certain Acquaintance desiring him to let him know what it was he covered so carefully; I cover it, says he, on purpose that you should not know. I have made use of these obscure Marks for the same Purpose. They are, perhaps, little Amulets or Charms to preserve the Paper against the Fascination and Malice of evil Eyes; for which Reason I would not have my Reader surprized, if hereafter he sees any of my Papers marked with a Q, a Z, a Y, an &c., or with the Word Abracadabra3.

I shall, however, so far explain my self to the Reader, as to let him know that the Letters, C, L, and X, are Cabalistical, and carry more in them than it is proper for the World to be acquainted with. Those who are versed in the Philosophy of Pythagoras, and swear by the Tetrachtys4, that is, the Number Four, will know very well that the Number Ten, which is signified by the Letter X, (and which has so much perplexed the Town) has in it many particular Powers; that it is called by Platonick Writers the Complete Number; that One, Two, Three and Four put together make up the Number Ten; and that Ten is all. But these are not Mysteries for ordinary Readers to be let into. A Man must have spent many Years in hard Study before he can arrive at the Knowledge of them.

We had a Rabbinical Divine in England, who was Chaplain to the Earl of Essex in Queen Elizabeth's Time, that had an admirable Head for Secrets of this Nature. Upon his taking the Doctor of Divinity's Degree, he preached before the University of Cambridge, upon the First Verse of the First Chapter of the First Book of Chronicles, in which, says he, you have the three following Words,
Adam, Sheth, Enosh
He divided this short Text into many Parts, and by discovering several Mysteries in each Word, made a most Learned and Elaborate Discourse. The Name of this profound Preacher was Doctor Alabaster, of whom the Reader may find a more particular Account in Doctor Fuller's Book of English Worthies5. This Instance will, I hope, convince my Readers that there may be a great deal of fine Writing in the Capital Letters which bring up the Rear of my Paper, and give them some Satisfaction in that Particular. But as for the full Explication of these Matters, I must refer them to Time, which discovers all things.


Footnote 1:   Diogenes Laertius, Bk. V. ch. I.
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Footnote 2:   Quæ Genus and As in Præsenti were the first words in collections of rules then and until recently familiar as part of the standard Latin Grammar, Lilly's, to which Erasmus and Colet contributed, and of which Wolsey wrote the original Preface.

Footnote 3:   Abraxas, which in Greek letters represents 365, the number of the deities supposed by the Basilidians to be subordinate to the All Ruling One, was a mystical name for the supreme God, and was engraved as a charm on stones together with the figure of a human body (Cadaver), with cat's head and reptile's feet. From this the name Abracadabra may have arisen, with a sense of power in it as a charm. Serenus Sammonicus, a celebrated physician who lived about A.D. 210, who had, it is said, a library of 62,000 volumes, and was killed at a banquet by order of Caracalla, said in an extant Latin poem upon Medicine and Remedies, that fevers were cured by binding to the body the word Abracadabra written in this fashion:
and so on, till there remained only the initial A. His word was taken, and this use of the charm was popular even in the Spectator's time. It is described by Defoe in his History of the Plague.

Footnote 4:   The number Four was called Tetractys by the Pythagoreans, who accounted it the most powerful of numbers, because it was the foundation of them all, and as a square it signified solidity. They said it was at the source of Nature, four elements, four seasons, &c., to which later speculators added the four rivers of Paradise, four evangelists, and association of the number four with God, whose name was a mystical Tetra grammaton, Jod, He, Vau, He.

Footnote 5:   Where it is explained that Adam meaning Man; Seth, placed; and Enosh, Misery: the mystic inference is that Man was placed in Misery.


No. 222

Wednesday, November 14, 1711


Cur alter fratrum cessare, et ludere, et ungi,
Præferat Herodis palmetis pinguibus


Mr. Spectator,

'There is one thing I have often look'd for in your Papers, and have as often wondered to find my self disappointed; the rather, because I think it a Subject every way agreeable to your Design, and by being left unattempted by others, seems reserved as a proper Employment for you; I mean a Disquisition, from whence it proceeds, that Men of the brightest Parts, and most comprehensive Genius, compleatly furnished with Talents for any Province in humane Affairs; such as by their wise Lessons of Œconomy to others have made it evident, that they have the justest Notions of Life and of true Sense in the Conduct of it—: from what unhappy contradictious Cause it proceeds, that Persons thus finished by Nature and by Art, should so often fail in the Management of that which they so well understand, and want the Address to make a right Application of their own Rules. This is certainly a prodigious Inconsistency in Behaviour, and makes much such a Figure in Morals as a monstrous Birth in Naturals, with this Difference only, which greatly aggravates the Wonder, that it happens much more frequently; and what a Blemish does it cast upon Wit and Learning in the general Account of the World? And in how disadvantageous a Light does it expose them to the busy Class of Mankind, that there should be so many Instances of Persons who have so conducted their Lives in spite of these transcendent Advantages, as neither to be happy in themselves, nor useful to their Friends; when every Body sees it was entirely in their own Power to be eminent in both these Characters? For my part, I think there is no Reflection more astonishing, than to consider one of these Gentlemen spending a fair Fortune, running in every Body's Debt without the least Apprehension of a future Reckoning, and at last leaving not only his own Children, but possibly those of other People, by his Means, in starving Circumstances; while a Fellow, whom one would scarce suspect to have a humane Soul, shall perhaps raise a vast Estate out of Nothing, and be the Founder of a Family capable of being very considerable in their Country, and doing many illustrious Services to it. That this Observation is just, Experience has put beyond all Dispute. But though the Fact be so evident and glaring, yet the Causes of it are still in the Dark; which makes me persuade my self, that it would be no unacceptable Piece of Entertainment to the Town, to inquire into the hidden Sources of so unaccountable an Evil. I am,
Your most Humble Servant

What this Correspondent wonders at, has been Matter of Admiration ever since there was any such thing as humane Life. Horace reflects upon this Inconsistency very agreeably in the Character of Tigellius, whom he makes a mighty Pretender to Œconomy, and tells you, you might one Day hear him speak the most philosophick Things imaginable concerning being contented with a little, and his Contempt of every thing but mere Necessaries, and in Half a Week after spend a thousand Pound. When he says this of him with Relation to Expence, he describes him as unequal to himself in every other Circumstance of Life. And indeed, if we consider lavish Men carefully, we shall find it always proceeds from a certain Incapacity of possessing themselves, and finding Enjoyment in their own Minds. Mr. Dryden has expressed this very excellently in the Character of Zimri1.
A Man so various, that he seem'd to be
Not one, but all Mankind's Epitome.
Stiff in Opinion, always in the Wrong,
Was every Thing by Starts, and Nothing long;
But in the Course of one revolving Moon,
Was Chymist, Fidler, Statesman, and Buffoon.
Then all for Women, Painting, Rhiming, Drinking,
Besides ten thousand Freaks that died in thinking;
Blest Madman, who could every Hour employ
In something new to wish or to enjoy!
In squandering Wealth was his peculiar Art,
Nothing went unrewarded but Desert.
This loose State of the Soul hurries the Extravagant from one Pursuit to another; and the Reason that his Expences are greater than another's, is, that his Wants are also more numerous. But what makes so many go on in this Way to their Lives End, is, that they certainly do not know how contemptible they are in the Eyes of the rest of Mankind, or rather, that indeed they are not so contemptible as they deserve. Tully says, it is the greatest of Wickedness to lessen your paternal Estate. And if a Man would thoroughly consider how much worse than Banishment it must be to his Child, to ride by the Estate which should have been his had it not been for his Father's Injustice to him, he would be smitten with the Reflection more deeply than can be understood by any but one who is a Father. Sure there can be nothing more afflicting than to think it had been happier for his Son to have been born of any other Man living than himself.

It is not perhaps much thought of, but it is certainly a very important Lesson, to learn how to enjoy ordinary Life, and to be able to relish your Being without the Transport of some Passion or Gratification of some Appetite. For want of this Capacity, the World is filled with Whetters, Tipplers, Cutters, Sippers, and all the numerous Train of those who, for want of Thinking, are forced to be ever exercising their Feeling or Tasting. It would be hard on this Occasion to mention the harmless Smoakers of Tobacco and Takers of Snuff.

The slower Part of Mankind, whom my Correspondent wonders should get Estates, are the more immediately formed for that Pursuit: They can expect distant things without Impatience, because they are not carried out of their Way either by violent Passion or keen Appetite to any thing. To Men addicted to Delights, Business is an Interruption; to such as are cold to Delights, Business is an Entertainment. For which Reason it was said to one who commended a dull Man for his Application,
No Thanks to him; if he had no Business, he would have nothing to do.

Footnote 1:   i. e. The Duke of Buckingham, in Part I. of Absalom and Achitophel.
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No. 223

Thursday, November 15, 1711


O suavis Anima! qualem te dicam bonam
Antehac fuisse, tales cùm sint reliquiæ!


When I reflect upon the various Fate of those Multitudes of Ancient Writers who flourished in Greece and Italy, I consider Time as an Immense Ocean, in which many noble Authors are entirely swallowed up, many very much shattered and damaged, some quite disjointed and broken into pieces, while some have wholly escaped the Common Wreck; but the Number of the last is very small.
Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto.
Among the mutilated Poets of Antiquity, there is none whose Fragments are so beautiful as those of Sappho. They give us a Taste of her Way of Writing, which is perfectly conformable with that extraordinary Character we find of her, in the Remarks of those great Criticks who were conversant with her Works when they were entire. One may see by what is left of them, that she followed Nature in all her Thoughts, without descending to those little Points, Conceits, and Turns of Wit with which many of our modern Lyricks are so miserably infected. Her Soul seems to have been made up of Love and Poetry; She felt the Passion in all its Warmth, and described it in all its Symptoms. She is called by ancient Authors the Tenth Muse; and by Plutarch is compared to Cacus the Son of Vulcan, who breathed out nothing but Flame. I do not know, by the Character that is given of her Works, whether it is not for the Benefit of Mankind that they are lost. They were filled with such bewitching Tenderness and Rapture, that it might have been dangerous to have given them a Reading.

An Inconstant Lover, called Phaon, occasioned great Calamities to this Poetical Lady. She fell desperately in Love with him, and took a Voyage into Sicily in Pursuit of him, he having withdrawn himself thither on purpose to avoid her. It was in that Island, and on this Occasion, she is supposed to have made the Hymn to Venus, with a Translation of which I shall present my Reader. Her Hymn was ineffectual for the procuring that Happiness which she prayed for in it. Phaon was still obdurate, and Sappho so transported with the Violence of her Passion, that she was resolved to get rid of it at any Price.

There was a Promontory in Acarnania called Leucrate1 on the Top of which was a little Temple dedicated to Apollo. In this Temple it was usual for despairing Lovers to make their Vows in secret, and afterwards to fling themselves from the Top of the Precipice into the Sea, where they were sometimes taken up alive. This Place was therefore called, The Lover's Leap; and whether or no the Fright they had been in, or the Resolution that could push them to so dreadful a Remedy, or the Bruises which they often received in their Fall, banished all the tender Sentiments of Love, and gave their Spirits another Turn; those who had taken this Leap were observed never to relapse into that Passion. Sappho tried the Cure, but perished in the Experiment.

After having given this short Account of Sappho so far as it regards the following Ode, I shall subjoin the Translation of it as it was sent me by a Friend, whose admirable Pastorals and Winter-Piece have been already so well received2. The Reader will find in it that Pathetick Simplicity which is so peculiar to him, and so suitable to the Ode he has here Translated. This Ode in the Greek (besides those Beauties observed by Madam Dacier) has several harmonious Turns in the Words, which are not lost in the English. I must farther add, that the Translation has preserved every Image and Sentiment of Sappho, notwithstanding it has all the Ease and Spirit of an Original. In a Word, if the Ladies have a mind to know the Manner of Writing practised by the so much celebrated Sappho, they may here see it in its genuine and natural Beauty, without any foreign or affected Ornaments.

An Hymn to Venus

I O Venus, Beauty of the Skies,
To whom a Thousand Temples rise,
Gayly false in gentle Smiles,
Full of Love's perplexing Wiles;
O Goddess! from my Heart remove
The wasting Cares and Pains of Love.
II If ever thou hast kindly heard
A Song in soft Distress preferr'd,
Propitious to my tuneful Vow,
O gentle Goddess! hear me now.
Descend, thou bright, immortal Guest,
In all thy radiant Charms confest.
III Thou once didst leave Almighty Jove,
And all the Golden Roofs above:
The Carr thy wanton Sparrows drew;
Hov'ring in Air they lightly flew,
As to my Bower they wing'd their Way:
I saw their quiv'ring Pinions play.
IV The Birds dismist (while you remain)
Bore back their empty Carr again:
Then You, with Looks divinely mild,
In ev'ry heav'nly Feature smil'd,
And ask'd what new Complaints I made,
And why I call'd you to my Aid?
V What Phrenzy in my Bosom rag'd,
And by what Care to be asswag'd?
What gentle Youth I could allure,
Whom in my artful Toiles secure?
Who does thy tender Heart subdue,
Tell me, my
Sappho, tell me Who?
VI Tho' now he Shuns thy longing Arms,
He soon shall court thy slighted Charms;
Tho' now thy Off'rings he despise,
He soon to thee shall Sacrifice;
Tho' now he freeze, he soon shall burn,
And be thy Victim in his turn.
VII Celestial Visitant, once more
Thy needful Presence I implore!
In Pity come and ease my Grief,
Bring my distemper'd Soul Relief;
Favour thy Suppliant's hidden Fires,
And give me All my Heart desires.

Madam Dacier observes, there is something very pretty in that Circumstance of this Ode, wherein Venus is described as sending away her Chariot upon her Arrival at Sappho's Lodgings, to denote that it was not a short transient Visit which she intended to make her. This Ode was preserved by an eminent Greek Critick3, who inserted it intire in his Works, as a Pattern of Perfection in the Structure of it.

Longinus has quoted another Ode of this great Poetess, which is likewise admirable in its Kind, and has been translated by the same Hand with the foregoing one. I shall oblige my Reader with it in another Paper. In the mean while, I cannot but wonder, that these two finished Pieces have never been attempted before by any of our Countrymen. But the Truth of it is, the Compositions of the Ancients, which have not in them any of those unnatural Witticisms that are the Delight of ordinary Readers, are extremely difficult to render into another Tongue, so as the Beauties of the Original may not appear weak and faded in the Translation.


Footnote 1:   Leucas
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Footnote 2:   Ambrose Philips, whose Winter Piece appeared in No. 12 of the Tatler, and whose six Pastorals preceded those of Pope. Philips's Pastorals had appeared in 1709 in a sixth volume of a Poetical Miscellany issued by Jacob Tonson. The first four volumes of that Miscellany had been edited by Dryden, the fifth was collected after Dryden's death, and the sixth was notable for opening with the Pastorals of Ambrose Philips and closing with those of young Pope which Tonson had volunteered to print, thereby, said Wycherley, furnishing a Jacob's ladder by which Pope mounted to immortality. In a letter to his friend Mr. Henry Cromwell, Pope said, generously putting himself out of account, that there were no better eclogues in our language than those of Philips; but when afterwards Tickell in the Guardian, criticising Pastoral Poets from Theocritus downwards, exalted Philips and passed over Pope, the slighted poet took his revenge by sending to Steele an amusing one paper more upon Pastorals. This was ironical exaltation of the worst he could find in Philips over the best bits of his own work, which Steele inserted (it is No. 40 of the Guardian). Hereupon Philips, it is said, stuck up a rod in Button's Coffee House, which he said was to be used on Pope when next he met him. Pope retained his wrath, and celebrated Philips afterwards under the character of Macer, saying of this Spectator time,
When simple Macer, now of high renown,
First sought a Poet's fortune in the town,
'Twas all the ambition his high soul could feel,
To wear red stockings, and to dine with Steele.

Footnote 3:   Dionysius of Halicarnassus.


No. 224

Friday, November 16, 1711


—Fulgente trahit constrictos Gloria curru
Non minus ignotos generosis

Hor. Sat. 6.

If we look abroad upon the great Multitudes of Mankind, and endeavour to trace out the Principles of Action in every Individual, it will, I think, seem highly probable that Ambition runs through the whole Species, and that every Man in Proportion to the Vigour of his Complection is more or less actuated by it. It is indeed no uncommon thing to meet with Men, who by the natural Bent of their Inclinations, and without the Discipline of Philosophy, aspire not to the Heights of Power and Grandeur; who never set their Hearts upon a numerous Train of Clients and Dependancies, nor other gay Appendages of Greatness; who are contented with a Competency, and will not molest their Tranquillity to gain an Abundance: But it is not therefore to be concluded that such a Man is not Ambitious; his Desires may have cut out another Channel, and determined him to other Pursuits; the Motive however may be still the same; and in these Cases likewise the Man may be equally pushed on with the Desire of Distinction.

Though the pure Consciousness of worthy Actions, abstracted from the Views of popular Applause, be to a generous Mind an ample Reward, yet the Desire of Distinction was doubtless implanted in our Natures as an additional Incentive to exert our selves in virtuous Excellence.

This Passion indeed, like all others, is frequently perverted to evil and ignoble Purposes; so that we may account for many of the Excellencies and Follies of Life upon the same innate Principle, to wit, the Desire of being remarkable: For this, as it has been differently cultivated by Education, Study and Converse, will bring forth suitable Effects as it falls in with an ingenuous1 Disposition, or a corrupt Mind; it does accordingly express itself in Acts of Magnanimity or selfish Cunning, as it meets with a good or a weak Understanding. As it has been employed in embellishing the Mind, or adorning the Outside, it renders the Man eminently Praise-worthy or ridiculous. Ambition therefore is not to be confined only to one Passion or Pursuit; for as the same Humours, in Constitutions otherwise different, affect the Body after different Manners, so the same aspiring Principle within us sometimes breaks forth upon one Object, sometimes upon another.

It cannot be doubted, but that there is as great Desire of Glory in a Ring of Wrestlers or Cudgel-Players, as in any other more refined Competition for Superiority. No Man that could avoid it, would ever suffer his Head to be broken but out of a Principle of Honour. This is the secret Spring that pushes them forward; and the Superiority which they gain above the undistinguish'd many, does more than repair those Wounds they have received in the Combat. 'Tis Mr. Waller's Opinion, that Julius Cæsar, had he not been Master of the Roman Empire, would in all Probability have made an excellent Wrestler.
Great Julius on the Mountains bred,
A Flock perhaps or Herd had led;
He that the World subdued, had been
But the best Wrestler on the Green.
That he subdued the World, was owing to the Accidents of Art and Knowledge; had he not met with those Advantages, the same Sparks of Emulation would have kindled within him, and prompted him to distinguish himself in some Enterprize of a lower Nature. Since therefore no Man's Lot is so unalterably fixed in this Life, but that a thousand Accidents may either forward or disappoint his Advancement, it is, methinks, a pleasant and inoffensive Speculation, to consider a great Man as divested of all the adventitious Circumstances of Fortune, and to bring him down in one's Imagination to that low Station of Life, the Nature of which bears some distant Resemblance to that high one he is at present possessed of. Thus one may view him exercising in Miniature those Talents of Nature, which being drawn out by Education to their full Length, enable him for the Discharge of some important Employment. On the other Hand, one may raise uneducated Merit to such a Pitch of Greatness as may seem equal to the possible Extent of his improved Capacity.

Thus Nature furnishes a Man with a general Appetite of Glory, Education determines it to this or that particular Object. The Desire of Distinction is not, I think, in any Instance more observable than in the Variety of Outsides and new Appearances, which the modish Part of the World are obliged to provide, in order to make themselves remarkable; for any thing glaring and particular, either in Behaviour or Apparel, is known to have this good Effect, that it catches the Eye, and will not suffer you to pass over the Person so adorned without due Notice and Observation. It has likewise, upon this Account, been frequently resented as a very great Slight, to leave any Gentleman out of a Lampoon or Satyr, who has as much Right to be there as his Neighbour, because it supposes the Person not eminent enough to be taken notice of. To this passionate Fondness for Distinction are owing various frolicksome and irregular Practices, as sallying out into Nocturnal Exploits, breaking of Windows, singing of Catches, beating the Watch, getting Drunk twice a Day, killing a great Number of Horses; with many other Enterprizes of the like fiery Nature: For certainly many a Man is more Rakish and Extravagant than he would willingly be, were there not others to look on and give their Approbation.

One very Common, and at the same time the most absurd Ambition that ever shewed it self in Humane Nature, is that which comes upon a Man with Experience and old Age, the Season when it might be expected he should be wisest; and therefore it cannot receive any of those lessening Circumstances which do, in some measure, excuse the disorderly Ferments of youthful Blood: I mean the Passion for getting Money, exclusive of the Character of the Provident Father, the Affectionate Husband, or the Generous Friend. It may be remarked, for the Comfort of honest Poverty, that this Desire reigns most in those who have but few good Qualities to recommend them. This is a Weed that will grow in a barren Soil. Humanity, Good Nature, and the Advantages of a Liberal Education, are incompatible with Avarice. 'Tis strange to see how suddenly this abject Passion kills all the noble Sentiments and generous Ambitions that adorn Humane Nature; it renders the Man who is over-run with it a peevish and cruel Master, a severe Parent, an unsociable Husband, a distant and mistrustful Friend. But it is more to the present Purpose to consider it as an absurd Passion of the Heart, rather than as a vicious Affection of the Mind. As there are frequent Instances to be met with of a proud Humility, so this Passion, contrary to most others, affects Applause, by avoiding all Show and Appearance; for this Reason it will not sometimes endure even the common Decencies of Apparel. A covetous Man will call himself poor, that you may sooth his Vanity by contradicting him. Love and the Desire of Glory, as they are the most natural, so they are capable of being refined into the most delicate and rational Passions. 'Tis true, the wise Man who strikes out of the secret Paths of a private Life, for Honour and Dignity, allured by the Splendour of a Court, and the unfelt Weight of publick Employment, whether he succeeds in his Attempts or no, usually comes near enough to this painted Greatness to discern the Dawbing; he is then desirous of extricating himself out of the Hurry of Life, that he may pass away the Remainder of his Days in Tranquillity and Retirement.

It may be thought then but common Prudence in a Man not to change a better State for a worse, nor ever to quit that which he knows he shall take up again with Pleasure; and yet if human Life be not a little moved with the gentle Gales of Hopes and Fears, there may be some Danger of its stagnating in an unmanly Indolence and Security. It is a known Story of Domitian, that after he had possessed himself of the Roman Empire, his Desires turn'd upon catching Flies. Active and Masculine Spirits in the Vigour of Youth neither can nor ought to remain at Rest: If they debar themselves from aiming at a noble Object, their Desires will move downwards, and they will feel themselves actuated by some low and abject Passion.

Thus if you cut off the top Branches of a Tree, and will not suffer it to grow any higher, it will not therefore cease to grow, but will quickly shoot out at the Bottom. The Man indeed who goes into the World only with the narrow Views of Self-interest, who catches at the Applause of an idle Multitude, as he can find no solid Contentment at the End of his Journey, so he deserves to meet with Disappointments in his Way; but he who is actuated by a noble Principle, whose Mind is so far enlarged as to take in the Prospect of his Country's Good, who is enamoured with that Praise which is one of the fair Attendants of Virtue, and values not those Acclamations which are not seconded by the impartial Testimony of his own Mind; who repines not at the low Station which Providence has at present allotted him, but yet would willingly advance himself by justifiable Means to a more rising and advantageous Ground; such a Man is warmed with a generous Emulation; it is a virtuous Movement in him to wish and to endeavour that his Power of doing Good may be equal to his Will.

The Man who is fitted out by Nature, and sent into the World with great Abilities, is capable of doing great Good or Mischief in it. It ought therefore to be the Care of Education to infuse into the untainted Youth early Notices of Justice and Honour, that so the possible Advantages of good Parts may not take an evil Turn, nor be perverted to base and unworthy Purposes. It is the Business of Religion and Philosophy not so much to extinguish our Passions, as to regulate and direct them to valuable well-chosen Objects: When these have pointed out to us which Course we may lawfully steer, 'tis no Harm to set out all our Sail; if the Storms and Tempests of Adversity should rise upon us, and not suffer us to make the Haven where we would be, it will however prove no small Consolation to us in these Circumstances, that we have neither mistaken our Course, nor fallen into Calamities of our own procuring.

Religion therefore (were we to consider it no farther than as it interposes in the Affairs of this Life) is highly valuable, and worthy of great Veneration; as it settles the various Pretensions, and otherwise interfering Interests of mortal Men, and thereby consults the Harmony and Order of the great Community; as it gives a Man room to play his Part, and exert his Abilities; as it animates to Actions truly laudable in themselves, in their Effects beneficial to Society; as it inspires rational Ambitions, correct Love, and elegant Desires.


Footnote 1:   ingenious
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Footnote 2:   In the Poem To Zelinda.


No. 225

Saturday, November 17, 1711


Nullum numen abest si sit Prudentia


I have often thought if the Minds of Men were laid open, we should see but little Difference between that of the Wise Man and that of the Fool. There are infinite Reveries, numberless Extravagancies, and a perpetual Train of Vanities which pass through both. The great Difference is that the first knows how to pick and cull his Thoughts for Conversation, by suppressing some, and communicating others; whereas the other lets them all indifferently fly out in Words. This sort of Discretion, however, has no Place in private Conversation between intimate Friends. On such Occasions the wisest Men very often talk like the weakest; for indeed the Talking with a Friend is nothing else but thinking aloud.

Tully has therefore very justly exposed a Precept delivered by some Ancient Writers, That a Man should live with his Enemy in such a manner, as might leave him room to become his Friend; and with his Friend in such a manner, that if he became his Enemy, it should not be in his Power to hurt him. The first Part of this Rule, which regards our Behaviour towards an Enemy, is indeed very reasonable, as well as very prudential; but the latter Part of it which regards our Behaviour towards a Friend, savours more of Cunning than of Discretion, and would cut a Man off from the greatest Pleasures of Life, which are the Freedoms of Conversation with a Bosom Friend. Besides, that when a Friend is turned into an Enemy, and (as the Son of Sirach calls him) a Bewrayer of Secrets, the World is just enough to accuse the Perfidiousness of the Friend, rather than the Indiscretion of the Person who confided in him.

Discretion does not only shew it self in Words, but in all the Circumstances of Action; and is like an Under-Agent of Providence, to guide and direct us in the ordinary Concerns of Life.

There are many more shining Qualities in the Mind of Man, but there is none so useful as Discretion; it is this indeed which gives a Value to all the rest, which sets them at work in their proper Times and Places, and turns them to the Advantage of the Person who is possessed of them. Without it Learning is Pedantry, and Wit Impertinence; Virtue itself looks like Weakness; the best Parts only qualify a Man to be more sprightly in Errors, and active to his own Prejudice.

Nor does Discretion only make a Man the Master of his own Parts, but of other Mens. The discreet Man finds out the Talents of those he Converses with, and knows how to apply them to proper Uses. Accordingly if we look into particular Communities and Divisions of Men, we may observe that it is the discreet Man, not the Witty, nor the Learned, nor the Brave, who guides the Conversation, and gives Measures to the Society. A Man with great Talents, but void of Discretion, is like Polyphemus in the Fable, Strong and Blind, endued with an irresistible Force, which for want of Sight is of no Use to him.

Though a Man has all other Perfections, and wants Discretion, he will be of no great Consequence in the World; but if he has this single Talent in Perfection, and but a common Share of others, he may do what he pleases in his particular Station of Life.

At the same time that I think Discretion the most useful Talent a Man can be Master of, I look upon Cunning to be the Accomplishment of little, mean, ungenerous Minds. Discretion points out the noblest Ends to us, and pursues the most proper and laudable Methods of attaining them: Cunning has only private selfish Aims, and sticks at nothing which may make them succeed. Discretion has large and extended Views, and, like a well-formed Eye, commands a whole Horizon: Cunning is a Kind of Short-sightedness, that discovers the minutest Objects which are near at hand, but is not able to discern things at a distance. Discretion, the more it is discovered, gives a greater Authority to the Person who possesses it: Cunning, when it is once detected, loses its Force, and makes a Man incapable of bringing about even those Events which he might have done, had he passed only for a plain Man. Discretion is the Perfection of Reason, and a Guide to us in all the Duties of Life; Cunning is a kind of Instinct, that only looks out after our immediate Interest and Welfare. Discretion is only found in Men of strong Sense and good Understandings: Cunning is often to be met with in Brutes themselves, and in Persons who are but the fewest Removes from them. In short Cunning is only the Mimick of Discretion, and may pass upon weak Men, in the same manner as Vivacity is often mistaken for Wit, and Gravity for Wisdom.

The Cast of Mind which is natural to a discreet Man, makes him look forward into Futurity, and consider what will be his Condition Millions of Ages hence, as well as what it is at present. He knows that the Misery or Happiness which are reserv'd for him in another World, lose nothing of their Reality by being placed at so great Distance from him. The Objects do not appear little to him because they are remote. He considers that those Pleasures and Pains which lie hid in Eternity, approach nearer to him every Moment, and will be present with him in their full Weight and Measure, as much as those Pains and Pleasures which he feels at this very Instant. For this Reason he is careful to secure to himself that which is the proper Happiness of his Nature, and the ultimate Design of his Being. He carries his Thoughts to the End of every Action, and considers the most distant as well as the most immediate Effects of it. He supersedes every little Prospect of Gain and Advantage which offers itself here, if he does not find it consistent with his Views of an Hereafter. In a word, his Hopes are full of Immortality, his Schemes are large and glorious, and his Conduct suitable to one who knows his true Interest, and how to pursue it by proper Methods.

I have, in this Essay upon Discretion, considered it both as an Accomplishment and as a Virtue, and have therefore described it in its full Extent; not only as it is conversant about worldly Affairs, but as it regards our whole Existence; not only as it is the Guide of a mortal Creature, but as it is in general the Director of a reasonable Being. It is in this Light that Discretion is represented by the Wise Man, who sometimes mentions it under the Name of Discretion, and sometimes under that of Wisdom. It is indeed (as described in the latter Part of this Paper) the greatest Wisdom, but at the same time in the Power of every one to attain. Its Advantages are infinite, but its Acquisition easy; or to speak of her in the Words of the Apocryphal Writer whom I quoted in my last Saturday's Paper,
Wisdom is glorious, and never fadeth away, yet she is easily seen of them that love her, and found of such as seek her. She preventeth them that desire her, in making herself first known unto them. He that seeketh her early, shall have no great Travel: for he shall find her sitting at his Doors. To think therefore upon her is Perfection of Wisdom, and whoso watcheth for her shall quickly be without Care. For she goeth about seeking such as are worthy of her, sheweth her self favourably unto them in the Ways, and meeteth them in every Thought1.

Footnote 1:  Wisdom vi. 12-16.
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No. 226

Monday, November 19, 17111


—Mutum est pictura poema.

Hor. 2

I have very often lamented and hinted my Sorrow in several Speculations, that the Art of Painting is made so little Use of to the Improvement of our Manners. When we consider that it places the Action of the Person represented in the most agreeable Aspect imaginable, that it does not only express the Passion or Concern as it sits upon him who is drawn, but has under those Features the Height of the Painter's Imagination. What strong Images of Virtue and Humanity might we not expect would be instilled into the Mind from the Labours of the Pencil? This is a Poetry which would be understood with much less Capacity, and less Expence of Time, than what is taught by Writings; but the Use of it is generally perverted, and that admirable Skill prostituted to the basest and most unworthy Ends. Who is the better Man for beholding the most beautiful Venus, the best wrought Bacchanal, the Images of sleeping Cupids, languishing Nymphs, or any of the Representations of Gods, Goddesses, Demy-gods, Satyrs, Polyphemes, Sphinxes, or Fauns? But if the Virtues and Vices, which are sometimes pretended to be represented under such Draughts, were given us by the Painter in the Characters of real Life, and the Persons of Men and Women whose Actions have rendered them laudable or infamous; we should not see a good History-Piece without receiving an instructive Lecture. There needs no other Proof of this Truth, than the Testimony of every reasonable Creature who has seen the Cartons in Her Majesty's Gallery at Hampton—Court: These are Representations of no less Actions than those of our Blessed Saviour and his Apostles. As I now sit and recollect the warm Images which the admirable Raphael has raised, it is impossible even from the faint Traces in one's Memory of what one has not seen these two Years, to be unmoved at the Horror and Reverence which appear in the whole Assembly when the mercenary Man fell down dead; at the Amazement of the Man born blind, when he first receives Sight; or at the graceless Indignation of the Sorcerer, when he is struck blind. The Lame, when they first find Strength in their Feet, stand doubtful of their new Vigour. The heavenly Apostles appear acting these great Things, with a deep Sense of the Infirmities which they relieve, but no Value of themselves who administer to their Weakness. They know themselves to be but Instruments; and the generous Distress they are painted in when divine Honours are offered to them, is a Representation in the most exquisite Degree of the Beauty of Holiness. When St. Paul is preaching to the Athenians, with what wonderful Art are almost all the different Tempers of Mankind represented in that elegant Audience? You see one credulous of all that is said, another wrapt up in deep Suspence, another saying there is some Reason in what he says, another angry that the Apostle destroys a favourite Opinion which he is unwilling to give up, another wholly convinced and holding out his Hands in Rapture; while the Generality attend, and wait for the Opinion of those who are of leading Characters in the Assembly. I will not pretend so much as to mention that Chart on which is drawn the Appearance of our Blessed Lord after his Resurrection. Present Authority, late Suffering, Humility and Majesty, Despotick Command, and Divine3 Love, are at once seated in his celestial Aspect. The Figures of the Eleven Apostles are all in the same Passion of Admiration, but discover it differently according to their Characters. Peter receives his Master's Orders on his Knees with an Admiration mixed with a more particular Attention: The two next with a more open Ecstasy, though still constrained by the Awe of the Divine4 Presence: The beloved Disciple, whom I take to be the Right of the two first Figures, has in his Countenance Wonder drowned in Love; and the last Personage, whose Back is towards the Spectators, and his Side towards the Presence, one would fancy to be St. Thomas, as abashed by the Conscience of his former Diffidence; which perplexed Concern it is possible Raphael thought too hard a Task to draw but by this Acknowledgment of the Difficulty to describe it.

The whole Work is an Exercise of the highest Piety in the Painter; and all the Touches of a religious Mind are expressed in a Manner much more forcible than can possibly be performed by the most moving Eloquence. These invaluable Pieces are very justly in the Hands of the greatest and most pious Sovereign in the World; and cannot be the frequent Object of every one at their own Leisure: But as an Engraver is to the Painter what a Printer is to an Author, it is worthy Her Majesty's Name, that she has encouraged that Noble Artist, Monsieur Dorigny5, to publish these Works of Raphael. We have of this Gentleman a Piece of the Transfiguration, which, I think, is held a Work second to none in the World.

Methinks it would be ridiculous in our People of Condition, after their large Bounties to Foreigners of no Name or Merit, should they overlook this Occasion of having, for a trifling Subscription, a Work which it is impossible for a Man of Sense to behold, without being warmed with the noblest Sentiments that can be inspired by Love, Admiration, Compassion, Contempt of this World, and Expectation of a better.

It is certainly the greatest Honour we can do our Country, to distinguish Strangers of Merit who apply to us with Modesty and Diffidence, which generally accompanies Merit. No Opportunity of this Kind ought to be neglected; and a modest Behaviour should alarm us to examine whether we do not lose something excellent under that Disadvantage in the Possessor of that Quality. My Skill in Paintings, where one is not directed by the Passion of the Pictures, is so inconsiderable, that I am in very great Perplexity when I offer to speak of any Performances of Painters of Landskips, Buildings, or single Figures. This makes me at a loss how to mention the Pieces which Mr. Boul exposes to Sale by Auction on Wednesday next in Shandois-street: But having heard him commended by those who have bought of him heretofore for great Integrity in his Dealing, and overheard him himself (tho' a laudable Painter) say, nothing of his own was fit to come into the Room with those he had to sell, I fear'd I should lose an Occasion of serving a Man of Worth, in omitting to speak of his Auction.


Footnote 1:   Swift to Stella, Nov. 18, 1711.
'Do you ever read the SpectatorS? I never do; they never come in my way; I go to no coffee-houses. They say abundance of them are very pretty; they are going to be printed in small volumes; I'll bring them over with me.'
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Footnote 2:  
Pictura Poesis erit.

Footnote 3:   Brotherly

Footnote 4:   cœlestial

Footnote 5:   Michel Dorigny, painter and engraver, native of St. Quentin, pupil and son-in-law of Simon Vouet, whose style he adopted, was Professor in the Paris Academy of Painting, and died at the age of 48, in 1665. His son and Vouet's grandson, Nicolo Dorigny, in aid of whose undertaking Steele wrote this paper in the Spectator, had been invited from Rome by several of the nobility, to produce, with licence from the Queen, engravings from Raphael's Cartoons, at Hampton Court. He offered eight plates 19 inches high, and from 25 to 30 inches long, for four guineas subscription, although, he said in his Prospectus, the five prints of Alexander's Battles after Lebrun were often sold for twenty guineas.

Contents, p.2


There is arrived from Italy
a Painter
who acknowledges himself the greatest Person of the Age in that Art,
and is willing to be as renowned in this Island
as he declares he is in Foreign Parts.

The Doctor paints the Poor for nothing.

No. 227

Tuesday, November 20, 1711


Greek: 'Ô moi egô tí páthô; ti ho dússuos; ouch hypakoúeis;
Tàn Baítan apodùs eis kúmata tàena aleumai
Hômer tôs thúnnôs skopiázetai Olpis ho gripéus.
Káeka màe pothánô, tó ge màn teòn hadù tétuktai.'


In my last Thursday's Paper I made mention of a Place called The Lover's Leap, which I find has raised a great Curiosity among several of my Correspondents. I there told them that this Leap was used to be taken from a Promontory of Leucas. This Leucas was formerly a Part of Acarnania, being joined to1 it by a narrow Neck of Land, which the Sea has by length of Time overflowed and washed away; so that at present Leucas is divided from the Continent, and is a little Island in the Ionian Sea. The Promontory of this Island, from whence the Lover took his Leap, was formerly called Leucate. If the Reader has a mind to know both the Island and the Promontory by their modern Titles, he will find in his Map the ancient Island of Leucas under the Name of St. Mauro, and the ancient Promontory of Leucate under the Name of The Cape of St. Mauro.

Since I am engaged thus far in Antiquity, I must observe that Theocritus in the Motto prefixed to my Paper, describes one of his despairing Shepherds addressing himself to his Mistress after the following manner,
Alas! What will become of me! Wretch that I am! Will you not hear me? I'll throw off my Cloaths, and take a Leap into that Part of the Sea which is so much frequented by Olphis the Fisherman. And tho' I should escape with my Life, I know you will be pleased with it.
I shall leave it with the Criticks to determine whether the Place, which this Shepherd so particularly points out, was not the above-mentioned Leucate, or at least some other Lover's Leap, which was supposed to have had the same Effect. I cannot believe, as all the Interpreters do, that the Shepherd means nothing farther here than that he would drown himself, since he represents the Issue of his Leap as doubtful, by adding, That if he should escape with Life2, he knows his Mistress would be pleased with it; which is, according to our Interpretation, that she would rejoice any way to get rid of a Lover who was so troublesome to her.

After this short Preface, I shall present my Reader with some Letters which I have received upon this Subject. The first is sent me by a Physician.

Mr. Spectator,

'The Lover's Leap, which you mention in your 223d Paper, was generally, I believe, a very effectual Cure for Love, and not only for Love, but for all other Evils. In short, Sir, I am afraid it was such a Leap as that which Hero took to get rid of her Passion for Leander. A Man is in no Danger of breaking his Heart, who breaks his Neck to prevent it. I know very well the Wonders which ancient Authors relate concerning this Leap; and in particular, that very many Persons who tried it, escaped not only with their Lives but their Limbs. If by this Means they got rid of their Love, tho' it may in part be ascribed to the Reasons you give for it; why may not we suppose that the cold Bath into which they plunged themselves, had also some Share in their Cure? A Leap into the Sea or into any Creek of Salt Waters, very often gives a new Motion to the Spirits, and a new Turn to the Blood; for which Reason we prescribe it in Distempers which no other Medicine will reach. I could produce a Quotation out of a very venerable Author, in which the Frenzy produced by Love, is compared to that which is produced by the Biting of a mad Dog. But as this Comparison is a little too coarse for your Paper, and might look as if it were cited to ridicule the Author who has made use of it; I shall only hint at it, and desire you to consider whether, if the Frenzy produced by these two different Causes be of the same Nature, it may not very properly be cured by the same Means.

I am, Sir,

Your most humble Servant, and Well-wisher,


Mr. Spectator,

'I am a young Woman crossed in Love. My Story is very long and melancholy. To give you the heads of it: A young Gentleman, after having made his Applications to me for three Years together, and filled my Head with a thousand Dreams of Happiness, some few Days since married another. Pray tell me in what Part of the World your Promontory lies, which you call The Lover's Leap, and whether one may go to it by Land? But, alas, I am afraid it has lost its Virtue, and that a Woman of our Times would find no more Relief in taking such a Leap, than in singing an Hymn to Venus. So that I must cry out with Dido in Dryden's Virgil,
Ah! cruel Heaven, that made no Cure for Love!
Your disconsolate Servant,


Mister Spictatur,

' My Heart is so full of Lofes and Passions for Mrs. Gwinifrid, and she is so pettish and overrun with Cholers against me, that if I had the good Happiness to have my Dwelling (which is placed by my Creat-Cranfather upon the Pottom of an Hill) no farther Distance but twenty Mile from the Lofer's Leap, I would indeed indeafour to preak my Neck upon it on Purpose. Now, good Mister Spictatur of Crete Prittain, you must know it there is in Caernaruanshire a fery pig Mountain, the Glory of all Wales, which is named Penmainmaure, and you must also know, it iss no great Journey on Foot from me; but the Road is stony and bad for Shooes. Now, there is upon the Forehead of this Mountain a very high Rock, (like a Parish Steeple) that cometh a huge deal over the Sea; so when I am in my Melancholies, and I do throw myself from it, I do desire my fery good Friend to tell me in his Spictatur, if I shall be cure of my grefous Lofes; for there is the Sea clear as Glass, and as creen as the Leek: Then likewise if I be drown, and preak my Neck, if Mrs. Gwinifrid will not lose me afterwards. Pray be speedy in your Answers, for I am in crete Haste, and it is my Tesires to do my Pusiness without Loss of Time. I remain with cordial Affections, your ever lofing Friend,

Davyth ap Shenkyn.'

P. S. 'My Law-suits have brought me to London, but I have lost my Causes; and so have made my Resolutions to go down and leap before the Frosts begin; for I am apt to take Colds.'

Ridicule, perhaps, is a better Expedient against Love than sober Advice, and I am of Opinion, that Hudibras and Don Quixote may be as effectual to cure the Extravagancies of this Passion, as any of the old Philosophers. I shall therefore publish, very speedily, the Translation of a little Greek Manuscript, which is sent me by a learned Friend. It appears to have been a Piece of those Records which were kept in the little Temple of Apollo, that stood upon the Promontory of Leucate. The Reader will find it to be a Summary Account of several Persons who tried the Lover's Leap, and of the Success they found in it. As there seem to be in it some Anachronisms and Deviations from the ancient Orthography, I am not wholly satisfied myself that it is authentick, and not rather the Production of one of those Grecian Sophisters, who have imposed upon the World several spurious Works of this Nature. I speak this by way of Precaution, because I know there are several Writers, of uncommon Erudition, who would not fail to expose my Ignorance, if they caught me tripping in a Matter of so great Moment3.


Footnote 1:   divided from
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Footnote 2:   his Life.

Footnote 3:   The following Advertisement appeared in Nos. 227-234, 237, 247 and 248, with the word certainly before be ready after the first insertion:

pointing hand There is now Printing by Subscription two Volumes of the SpectatorS on a large Character in Octavo; the Price of the two Vols. well Bound and Gilt two Guineas. Those who are inclined to Subscribe, are desired to make their first Payments to Jacob Tonson, Bookseller in the Strand, the Books being so near finished, that they will be ready for the Subscribers at or before Christmas next.

The Third and Fourth Volumes of the Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., are ready to be delivered at the same Place.

N .B. The Author desires that such Gentlemen who have not received their Books for which they have Subscribed, would be pleased to signify the same to Mr. Tonson.

Contents, p.2

No. 228

Wednesday, November 21, 1711


Percunctatorem fugito, nam Garrulus idem est.


There is a Creature who has all the Organs of Speech, a tolerable good Capacity for conceiving what is said to it, together with a pretty proper Behaviour in all the Occurrences of common Life; but naturally very vacant of Thought in it self, and therefore forced to apply it self to foreign Assistances. Of this Make is that Man who is very inquisitive. You may often observe, that tho' he speaks as good Sense as any Man upon any thing with which he is well acquainted, he cannot trust to the Range of his own Fancy to entertain himself upon that Foundation, but goes on to still new Enquiries. Thus, tho' you know he is fit for the most polite Conversation, you shall see him very well contented to sit by a Jockey, giving an Account of the many Revolutions in his Horse's Health, what Potion he made him take, how that agreed with him, how afterwards he came to his Stomach and his Exercise, or any the like Impertinence; and be as well pleased as if you talked to him on the most important Truths. This Humour is far from making a Man unhappy, tho' it may subject him to Raillery; for he generally falls in with a Person who seems to be born for him, which is your talkative Fellow. It is so ordered, that there is a secret Bent, as natural as the Meeting of different Sexes, in these two Characters, to supply each other's Wants. I had the Honour the other Day to sit in a publick Room, and saw an inquisitive Man look with an Air of Satisfaction upon the Approach of one of these Talkers.

The Man of ready Utterance sat down by him, and rubbing his Head, leaning on his Arm, and making an uneasy Countenance, he began; 'There is no manner of News To-day. I cannot tell what is the Matter with me, but I slept very ill last Night; whether I caught Cold or no, I know not, but I fancy I do not wear Shoes thick enough for the Weather, and I have coughed all this Week: It must be so, for the Custom of washing my Head Winter and Summer with cold Water, prevents any Injury from the Season entering that Way; so it must come in at my Feet; But I take no notice of it: as it comes so it goes. Most of our Evils proceed from too much Tenderness; and our Faces are naturally as little able to resist the Cold as other Parts. The Indian answered very well to an European, who asked him how he could go naked; I am all Face.'

I observed this Discourse was as welcome to my general Enquirer as any other of more Consequence could have been; but some Body calling our Talker to another Part of the Room, the Enquirer told the next Man who sat by him, that Mr. such a one, who was just gone from him, used to wash his Head in cold Water every Morning; and so repeated almost verbatim all that had been said to him. The Truth is, the Inquisitive are the Funnels of Conversation; they do not take in any thing for their own Use, but merely to pass it to another: They are the Channels through which all the Good and Evil that is spoken in Town are conveyed. Such as are offended at them, or think they suffer by their Behaviour, may themselves mend that Inconvenience; for they are not a malicious People, and if you will supply them, you may contradict any thing they have said before by their own Mouths. A farther Account of a thing is one of the gratefullest Goods that can arrive to them; and it is seldom that they are more particular than to say, The Town will have it, or I have it from a good Hand: So that there is room for the Town to know the Matter more particularly, and for a better Hand to contradict what was said by a good one.

I have not known this Humour more ridiculous than in a Father, who has been earnestly solicitous to have an Account how his Son has passed his leisure Hours; if it be in a Way thoroughly insignificant, there cannot be a greater Joy than an Enquirer discovers in seeing him follow so hopefully his own Steps: But this Humour among Men is most pleasant when they are saying something which is not wholly proper for a third Person to hear, and yet is in itself indifferent. The other Day there came in a well-dressed young Fellow, and two Gentlemen of this Species immediately fell a whispering his Pedigree. I could overhear, by Breaks, She was his Aunt; then an Answer, Ay, she was of the Mother's Side: Then again in a little lower Voice, His Father wore generally a darker Wig; Answer, Not much. But this Gentleman wears higher Heels to his Shoes.

As the Inquisitive, in my Opinion, are such merely from a Vacancy in their own Imaginations, there is nothing, methinks, so dangerous as to communicate Secrets to them; for the same Temper of Enquiry makes them as impertinently communicative: But no Man, though he converses with them, need put himself in their Power, for they will be contented with Matters of less Moment as well. When there is Fuel enough, no matter what it is—Thus the Ends of Sentences in the News Papers, as, This wants Confirmation, This occasions many Speculations, and Time will discover the Event, are read by them, and considered not as mere Expletives.

One may see now and then this Humour accompanied with an insatiable Desire of knowing what passes, without turning it to any Use in the world but merely their own Entertainment. A Mind which is gratified this Way is adapted to Humour and Pleasantry, and formed for an unconcerned Character in the World; and, like my self, to be a mere Spectator. This Curiosity, without Malice or Self-interest, lays up in the Imagination a Magazine of Circumstances which cannot but entertain when they are produced in Conversation. If one were to know, from the Man of the first Quality to the meanest Servant, the different Intrigues, Sentiments, Pleasures, and Interests of Mankind, would it not be the most pleasing Entertainment imaginable to enjoy so constant a Farce, as the observing Mankind much more different from themselves in their secret Thoughts and publick Actions, than in their Night-caps and long Periwigs?

Mr. Spectator,

'Plutarch tells us, that Caius Gracchus, the Roman, was frequently hurried by his Passion into so loud and tumultuous a way of Speaking, and so strained his Voice as not to be able to proceed. To remedy this Excess, he had an ingenious Servant, by Name Licinius, always attended him with a Pitch-pipe, or Instrument to regulate the Voice; who, whenever he heard his Master begin to be high, immediately touched a soft Note; at which,'tis said, Caius would presently abate and grow calm.

'Upon recollecting this Story, I have frequently wondered that this useful Instrument should have been so long discontinued; especially since we find that this good Office of Licinius has preserved his Memory for many hundred Years, which, methinks, should have encouraged some one to have revived it, if not for the publick Good, yet for his own Credit. It may be objected, that our loud Talkers are so fond of their own Noise, that they would not take it well to be check'd by their Servants: But granting this to be true, surely any of their Hearers have a very good Title to play a soft Note in their own Defence. To be short, no Licinius appearing and the Noise increasing, I was resolved to give this late long Vacation to the Good of my Country; and I have at length, by the Assistance of an ingenious Artist, (who works to the Royal Society) almost compleated my Design, and shall be ready in a short Time to furnish the Publick with what Number of these Instruments they please, either to lodge at Coffee-houses, or carry for their own private Use. In the mean time I shall pay that Respect to several Gentlemen, who I know will be in Danger of offending against this Instrument, to give them notice of it by private Letters, in which I shall only write, Get a Licinius.

'I should now trouble you no longer, but that I must not conclude without desiring you to accept one of these Pipes, which shall be left for you with Buckley; and which I hope will be serviceable to you, since as you are silent yourself you are most open to the Insults of the Noisy.

I am, Sir, &c.

W. B.

'I had almost forgot to inform you, that as an Improvement in this Instrument, there will be a particular Note, which I call a Hush-Note; and this is to be made use of against a long Story, Swearing, Obsceneness, and the like.

Contents, p.2

No. 229

Thursday, November 22, 1711


—Spirat adhuc amor,
Vivuntque commissi calores
Æoliæ fidibus puellæ.


Among the many famous Pieces of Antiquity which are still to be seen at Rome, there is the Trunk of a Statue1 which has lost the Arms, Legs, and Head; but discovers such an exquisite Workmanship in what remains of it, that Michael Angelo declared he had learned his whole Art from it. Indeed he studied it so attentively, that he made most of his Statues, and even his Pictures in that Gusto, to make use of the Italian Phrase; for which Reason this maimed Statue is still called Michael Angelo's School.

A Fragment of Sappho, which I design for the Subject of this Paper2, is in as great Reputation among the Poets and Criticks, as the mutilated Figure above-mentioned is among the Statuaries and Painters. Several of our Countrymen, and Mr. Dryden in particular, seem very often to have copied after it in their Dramatick Writings; and in their Poems upon Love.

Whatever might have been the Occasion of this Ode, the English Reader will enter into the Beauties of it, if he supposes it to have been written in the Person of a Lover sitting by his Mistress. I shall set to View three different Copies of this beautiful Original: The first is a Translation by Catullus, the second by Monsieur Boileau, and the last by a Gentleman whose Translation of the Hymn to Venus has been so deservedly admired.

Ad Lesbiam

Ille mî par esse deo videtur,
Ille, si fas est, superare divos,
Qui sedens adversus identidem te,
Spectat, et audit.

Dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis
Eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,
Lesbia, adspexi, nihil est super mî

Quod loquar amens.

Lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus
Flamnia dimanat, sonitu suopte
Tinniunt aures, gemina teguntur
Lumina nocte.

My learned Reader will know very well the Reason why one of these Verses is printed in Roman Letter3; and if he compares this Translation with the Original, will find that the three first Stanzas are rendred almost Word for Word, and not only with the same Elegance, but with the same short Turn of Expression which is so remarkable in the Greek, and so peculiar to the Sapphick Ode. I cannot imagine for what Reason Madam Dacier has told us, that this Ode of Sappho is preserved entire in Longinus, since it is manifest to any one who looks into that Author's Quotation of it, that there must at least have been another Stanza, which is not transmitted to us.

The second Translation of this Fragment which I shall here cite, is that of Monsieur Boileau.

Heureux! qui prés de toi, pour toi seule soûpire:
Qui jouït du plaisir de t'entendre parler:
Qui te voit quelquefois doucement lui soûrire.
Les Dieux, dans son bonheur, peuvent-ils l'égaler?

Je sens de veine en veine une subtile flamme
Courir par tout mon corps, si-tost que je te vois:
Et dans les doux transports, où s'egare mon ame,
Je ne sçaurois trouver de langue, ni de voix.

Un nuage confus se répand sùr ma vuë,
Je n'entens plus, je tombe en de douces langueurs;
Et pâle, sans haleine, interdite, esperduë,
Un frisson me saisit, je tremble, je me meurs.

The Reader will see that this is rather an Imitation than a Translation. The Circumstances do not lie so thick together, and follow one another with that Vehemence and Emotion as in the Original. In short, Monsieur Boileau has given us all the Poetry, but not all the Passion of this famous Fragment. I shall, in the last Place, present my Reader with the English Translation.

I Blest as th'immortal Gods is he,
The Youth who fondly sits by thee,
And hears and sees thee all the while
Softly speak and sweetly smile.
II 'Twas this deprived my Soul of Rest,
And raised such Tumults in my Breast;
For while I gaz'd, in Transport tost,
My Breath was gone, my Voice was lost:
III My Bosom glowed; the subtle Flame
Ran quick through all my vital Frame;
O'er my dim Eyes a Darkness hung;
My Ears with hollow Murmurs rung.
IV In dewy Damps my Limbs were chil'd;
My Blood with gentle Horrors thrill'd;
My feeble Pulse forgot to play;
I fainted, sunk, and dy'd away.

Instead of giving any Character of this last Translation, I shall desire my learned Reader to look into the Criticisms which Longinus has made upon the Original. By that means he will know to which of the Translations he ought to give the Preference. I shall only add, that this Translation is written in the very Spirit of Sappho, and as near the Greek as the Genius of our Language will possibly suffer.

Longinus has observed, that this Description of Love in Sappho is an exact Copy of Nature, and that all the Circumstances which follow one another in such an Hurry of Sentiments, notwithstanding they appear repugnant to each other, are really such as happen in the Phrenzies of Love.

I wonder, that not one of the Criticks or Editors, through whose Hands this Ode has passed, has taken Occasion from it to mention a Circumstance related by Plutarch. That Author in the famous Story of Antiochus, who fell in Love with Stratonice, his Mother-in-law, and (not daring to discover his Passion) pretended to be confined to his Bed by Sickness, tells us, that Erasistratus, the Physician, found out the Nature of his Distemper by those Symptoms of Love which he had learnt from Sappho's Writings4. Stratonice was in the Room of the Love-sick Prince, when these Symptoms discovered themselves to his Physician; and it is probable, that they were not very different from those which Sappho here describes in a Lover sitting by his Mistress. This Story of Antiochus is so well known, that I need not add the Sequel of it, which has no Relation to my present Subject.


Footnote 1:   The Belvidere Torso.
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Footnote 2:  The other translation by Ambrose Philips. See note to No. 223.

Footnote 3:   Wanting in copies then known, it is here supplied by conjecture.

Footnote 4:  In Plutarch's Life of Demetrius.
'When others entered Antiochus was entirely unaffected. But when Stratonice came in, as she often did, he shewed all the symptoms described by Sappho, the faltering voice, the burning blush, the languid eye, the sudden sweat, the tumultuous pulse; and at length, the passion overcoming his spirits, a swoon and mortal paleness.'

Contents, p.2

No. 230

Friday, November 23, 1711


Homines ad Deos nullâ re propiùs accedunt, quam salutem Hominibus dando.


Human Nature appears a very deformed, or a very beautiful Object, according to the different Lights in which it is viewed. When we see Men of inflamed Passions, or of wicked Designs, tearing one another to pieces by open Violence, or undermining each other by secret Treachery; when we observe base and narrow Ends pursued by ignominious and dishonest Means; when we behold Men mixed in Society as if it were for the Destruction of it; we are even ashamed of our Species, and out of Humour with our own Being: But in another Light, when we behold them mild, good, and benevolent, full of a generous Regard for the publick Prosperity, compassionating each1 other's Distresses, and relieving each other's Wants, we can hardly believe they are Creatures of the same Kind. In this View they appear Gods to each other, in the Exercise of the noblest Power, that of doing Good; and the greatest Compliment we have ever been able to make to our own Being, has been by calling this Disposition of Mind Humanity. We cannot but observe a Pleasure arising in our own Breast upon the seeing or hearing of a generous Action, even when we are wholly disinterested in it. I cannot give a more proper Instance of this, than by a Letter from Pliny, in which he recommends a Friend in the most handsome manner, and, methinks, it would be a great Pleasure to know the Success of this Epistle, though each Party concerned in it has been so many hundred Years in his Grave.


What I should gladly do for any Friend of yours, I think I may now with Confidence request for a Friend of mine. Arrianus Maturius is the most considerable Man of his Country; when I call him so, I do not speak with Relation to his Fortune, though that is very plentiful, but to his Integrity, Justice, Gravity, and Prudence; his Advice is useful to me in Business, and his Judgment in Matters of Learning: His Fidelity, Truth, and good Understanding, are very great; besides this, he loves me as you do, than which I cannot say any thing that signifies a warmer Affection. He has nothing that's aspiring; and though he might rise to the highest Order of Nobility, he keeps himself in an inferior Rank; yet I think my self bound to use my Endeavours to serve and promote him; and would therefore find the Means of adding something to his Honours while he neither expects nor knows it, nay, though he should refuse it. Something, in short, I would have for him that may be honourable, but not troublesome; and I entreat that you will procure him the first thing of this kind that offers, by which you will not only oblige me, but him also; for though he does not covet it, I know he will be as grateful in acknowledging your Favour as if he had asked it2.

Mr. Spectator,

The Reflections in some of your Papers on the servile manner of Education now in Use, have given Birth to an Ambition, which, unless you discountenance it, will, I doubt, engage me in a very difficult, tho not ungrateful Adventure. I am about to undertake, for the sake of the British Youth, to instruct them in such a manner, that the most dangerous Page in Virgil or Homer may be read by them with much Pleasure, and with perfect Safety to their Persons.

Could I prevail so far as to be honoured with the Protection of some few of them, (for I am not Hero enough to rescue many) my Design is to retire with them to an agreeable Solitude; though within the Neighbourhood of a City, for the Convenience of their being instructed in Musick, Dancing, Drawing, Designing, or any other such Accomplishments, which it is conceived may make as proper Diversions for them, and almost as pleasant, as the little sordid Games which dirty School-boys are so much delighted with. It may easily be imagined, how such a pretty Society, conversing with none beneath themselves, and sometimes admitted as perhaps not unentertaining Parties amongst better Company, commended and caressed for their little Performances, and turned by such Conversations to a certain Gallantry of Soul, might be brought early acquainted with some of the most polite English Writers. This having given them some tolerable Taste of Books, they would make themselves Masters of the Latin Tongue by Methods far easier than those in Lilly, with as little Difficulty or Reluctance as young Ladies learn to speak French, or to sing Italian Operas. When they had advanced thus far, it would be time to form their Taste something more exactly: One that had any true Relish of fine Writing, might, with great Pleasure both to himself and them, run over together with them the best Roman Historians, Poets, and Orators, and point out their more remarkable Beauties; give them a short Scheme of Chronology, a little View of Geography, Medals, Astronomy, or what else might best feed the busy inquisitive Humour so natural to that Age. Such of them as had the least Spark of Genius, when it was once awakened by the shining Thoughts and great Sentiments of those admired Writers, could not, I believe, be easily withheld from attempting that more difficult Sister Language, whose exalted Beauties they would have heard so often celebrated as the Pride and Wonder of the whole Learned World. In the mean while, it would be requisite to exercise their Style in Writing any light Pieces that ask more of Fancy than of Judgment: and that frequently in their Native Language, which every one methinks should be most concerned to cultivate, especially Letters, in which a Gentleman must have so frequent Occasions to distinguish himself. A Set of genteel good-natured Youths fallen into such a Manner of Life, would form almost a little Academy, and doubtless prove no such contemptible Companions, as might not often tempt a wiser Man to mingle himself in their Diversions, and draw them into such serious Sports as might prove nothing less instructing than the gravest Lessons. I doubt not but it might be made some of their Favourite Plays, to contend which of them should recite a beautiful Part of a Poem or Oration most gracefully, or sometimes to join in acting a Scene of Terence, Sophocles, or our own Shakespear. The Cause of Milo might again be pleaded before more favourable Judges, Cæsar a second time be taught to tremble, and another Race of Athenians be afresh enraged at the Ambition of another Philip. Amidst these noble Amusements, we could hope to see the early Dawnings of their Imagination daily brighten into Sense, their Innocence improve into Virtue, and their unexperienced Good-nature directed to a generous Love of their Country.

I am, &c.

Footnote 1:   of each
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Footnote 2:   Pliny, Jun, Epist. Bk. II. Ep. 2. Thus far the paper is by John Hughes.

Contents, p.2

No. 231

Saturday, November 24, 1711


O Pudor! O Pietas!


Looking over the Letters which I have lately received from from my Correspondents, I met with the following one, which is written with such a Spirit of Politeness, that I could not but be very much pleased with it my self, and question not but it will be as acceptable to the Reader.

Mr. Spectator1,

You, who are no Stranger to Publick Assemblies, cannot but have observed the Awe they often strike on such as are obliged to exert any Talent before them. This is a sort of elegant Distress, to which ingenuous Minds are the most liable, and may therefore deserve some remarks in your Paper. Many a brave Fellow, who has put his Enemy to Flight in the Field, has been in the utmost Disorder upon making a Speech before a Body of his Friends at home: One would think there was some kind of Fascination in the Eyes of a large Circle of People, when darting altogether upon one Person. I have seen a new Actor in a Tragedy so bound up by it as to be scarce able to speak or move, and have expected he would have died above three Acts before the Dagger or Cup of Poison were brought in. It would not be amiss, if such an one were at first introduced as a Ghost or a Statue, till he recovered his Spirits, and grew fit for some living Part.

As this sudden Desertion of one's self shews a Diffidence, which is not displeasing, it implies at the same time the greatest Respect to an Audience that can be. It is a sort of mute Eloquence, which pleads for their Favour much better than Words could do; and we find their Generosity naturally moved to support those who are in so much Perplexity to entertain them. I was extremely pleased with a late Instance of this Kind at the Opera of Almahide, in the Encouragement given to a young Singer2, whose more than ordinary Concern on her first Appearance, recommended her no less than her agreeable Voice, and just Performance. Meer Bashfulness without Merit is awkward; and Merit without Modesty, insolent. But modest Merit has a double Claim to Acceptance, and generally meets with as many Patrons as Beholders.

I am, &c.

It is impossible that a Person should exert himself to Advantage in an Assembly, whether it be his Part either to sing or speak, who lies under too great Oppressions of Modesty. I remember, upon talking with a Friend of mine concerning the Force of Pronunciation, our Discourse led us into the Enumeration of the several Organs of Speech which an Orator ought to have in Perfection, as the Tongue, the Teeth the Lips, the Nose, the Palate, and the Wind-pipe. Upon which, says my Friend, you have omitted the most material Organ of them all, and that is the Forehead.

But notwithstanding an Excess of Modesty obstructs the Tongue, and renders it unfit for its Offices, a due Proportion of it is thought so requisite to an Orator, that Rhetoricians have recommended it to their Disciples as a Particular in their Art. Cicero tells us that he never liked an Orator who did not appear in some little Confusion at the Beginning of his Speech, and confesses that he himself never entered upon an Oration without Trembling and Concern. It is indeed a kind of Deference which is due to a great Assembly, and seldom fails to raise a Benevolence in the Audience towards the Person who speaks. My Correspondent has taken notice that the bravest Men often appear timorous on these Occasions, as indeed we may observe, that there is generally no Creature more impudent than a Coward.
—Linguá melior, sedfrigida bello
A bold Tongue and a feeble Arm are the Qualifications of Drances in Virgil; as Homer, to express a Man both timorous and sawcy, makes use of a kind of Point, which is very rarely to be met with in his Writings; namely, that he had the Eyes of a Dog, but the Heart of a Deer3.

A just and reasonable Modesty does not only recommend Eloquence, but sets off every great Talent which a Man can be possessed of. It heightens all the Virtues which it accompanies like the Shades in Paintings, it raises and rounds every Figure, and makes the Colours more beautiful, though not so glaring as they would be without it.

Modesty is not only an Ornament, but also a Guard to Virtue. It is a kind of quick and delicate Feeling in the Soul, which makes her shrink and withdraw her self from every thing that has Danger in it. It is such an exquisite Sensibility, as warns her to shun the first Appearance of every thing which is hurtful.

I cannot at present recollect either the Place or Time of what I am going to mention; but I have read somewhere in the History of Ancient Greece, that the Women of the Country were seized with an unaccountable Melancholy, which disposed several of them to make away with themselves. The Senate, after having tried many Expedients to prevent this Self-Murder, which was so frequent among them, published an Edict, That if any Woman whatever should lay violent Hands upon her self, her Corps should be exposed naked in the Street, and dragged about the City in the most publick Manner. This Edict immediately put a Stop to the Practice which was before so common. We may see in this Instance the Strength of Female Modesty, which was able to overcome the Violence even of Madness and Despair. The Fear of Shame in the Fair Sex, was in those Days more prevalent than that of Death.

If Modesty has so great an Influence over our Actions, and is in many Cases so impregnable a Fence to Virtue; what can more undermine Morality than that Politeness which reigns among the unthinking Part of Mankind, and treats as unfashionable the most ingenuous Part of our Behaviour; which recommends Impudence as good Breeding, and keeps a Man always in Countenance, not because he is Innocent, but because he is Shameless?

Seneca thought Modesty so great a Check to Vice, that he prescribes to us the Practice of it in Secret, and advises us to raise it in ourselves upon imaginary Occasions, when such as are real do not offer themselves; for this is the Meaning of his Precept, that when we are by ourselves, and in our greatest Solitudes, we should fancy that Cato stands before us, and sees every thing we do. In short, if you banish Modesty out of the World, she carries away with her half the Virtue that is in it.

After these Reflections on Modesty, as it is a Virtue; I must observe, that there is a vicious Modesty, which justly deserves to be ridiculed, and which those Persons very often discover, who value themselves most upon a well-bred Confidence. This happens when a Man is ashamed to act up to his Reason, and would not upon any Consideration be surprized in the Practice of those Duties, for the Performance of which he was sent into the World. Many an impudent Libertine would blush to be caught in a serious Discourse, and would scarce be able to show his Head, after having disclosed a religious Thought. Decency of Behaviour, all outward Show of Virtue, and Abhorrence of Vice, are carefully avoided by this Set of Shame-faced People, as what would disparage their Gayety of Temper, and infallibly bring them to Dishonour. This is such a Poorness of Spirit, such a despicable Cowardice, such a degenerate abject State of Mind, as one would think Human Nature incapable of, did we not meet with frequent Instances of it in ordinary Conversation.

There is another Kind of vicious Modesty which makes a Man ashamed of his Person, his Birth, his Profession, his Poverty, or the like Misfortunes, which it was not in his Choice to prevent, and is not in his Power to rectify. If a Man appears ridiculous by any of the afore-mentioned Circumstances, he becomes much more so by being out of Countenance for them. They should rather give him Occasion to exert a noble Spirit, and to palliate those Imperfections which are not in his Power, by those Perfections which are; or to use a very witty Allusion of an eminent Author, he should imitate Cæsar, who, because his Head was bald, cover'd that Defect with Laurels.


Footnote 1:   This letter is by John Hughes.
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Footnote 2:   Mrs. Barbier

Footnote 3:   Iliad, i. 225.

Contents, p.2

No. 232

Monday, November 26, 1711


Nihil largiundo gloriam adeptus est.


My wise and good Friend, Sir Andrew Freeport, divides himself almost equally between the Town and the Country: His Time in Town is given up to the Publick, and the Management of his private Fortune; and after every three or four Days spent in this Manner, he retires for as many to his Seat within a few Miles of the Town, to the Enjoyment of himself, his Family, and his Friend. Thus Business and Pleasure, or rather, in Sir Andrew, Labour and Rest, recommend each other. They take their Turns with so quick a Vicissitude, that neither becomes a Habit, or takes Possession of the whole Man; nor is it possible he should be surfeited with either. I often see him at our Club in good Humour, and yet sometimes too with an Air of Care in his Looks: But in his Country Retreat he is always unbent, and such a Companion as I could desire; and therefore I seldom fail to make one with him when he is pleased to invite me.

The other Day, as soon as we were got into his Chariot, two or three Beggars on each Side hung upon the Doors, and solicited our Charity with the usual Rhetorick of a sick Wife or Husband at home, three or four helpless little Children all starving with Cold and Hunger. We were forced to part with some Money to get rid of their Importunity; and then we proceeded on our Journey with the Blessings and Acclamations of these People.
'Well then', says Sir Andrew, 'we go off with the Prayers and good Wishes of the Beggars, and perhaps too our Healths will be drunk at the next Ale-house: So all we shall be able to value ourselves upon, is, that we have promoted the Trade of the Victualler and the Excises of the Government. But how few Ounces of Wooll do we see upon the Backs of those poor Creatures? And when they shall next fall in our Way, they will hardly be better dressd; they must always live in Rags to look like Objects of Compassion. If their Families too are such as they are represented, tis certain they cannot be better clothed, and must be a great deal worse fed: One would think Potatoes should be all their Bread, and their Drink the pure Element; and then what goodly Customers are the Farmers like to have for their Wooll, Corn and Cattle? Such Customers, and such a Consumption, cannot choose but advance the landed Interest, and hold up the Rents of the Gentlemen.

'But of all Men living, we Merchants, who live by Buying and Selling, ought never to encourage Beggars. The Goods which we export are indeed the Product of the lands, but much the greatest Part of their Value is the Labour of the People: but how much of these People's Labour shall we export whilst we hire them to sit still? The very Alms they receive from us, are the Wages of Idleness. I have often thought that no Man should be permitted to take Relief from the Parish, or to ask it in the Street, till he has first purchased as much as possible of his own Livelihood by the Labour of his own Hands; and then the Publick ought only to be taxed to make good the Deficiency. If this Rule was strictly observed, we should see every where such a Multitude of new Labourers, as would in all probability reduce the Prices of all our Manufactures. It is the very Life of Merchandise to buy cheap and sell dear. The Merchant ought to make his Outset as cheap as possible, that he may find the greater Profit upon his Returns; and nothing will enable him to do this like the Reduction of the Price of Labour upon all our Manufactures. This too would be the ready Way to increase the Number of our Foreign Markets: The Abatement of the Price of the Manufacture would pay for the Carriage of it to more distant Countries; and this Consequence would be equally beneficial both to the Landed and Trading Interests. As so great an Addition of labouring Hands would produce this happy Consequence both to the Merchant and the Gentle man; our Liberality to common Beggars, and every other Obstruction to the Increase of Labourers, must be equally pernicious to both.
Sir Andrew then went on to affirm, That the Reduction of the Prices of our Manufactures by the Addition of so many new Hands, would be no Inconvenience to any Man: But observing I was something startled at the Assertion, he made a short Pause, and then resumed the Discourse.
'It may seem, says he, a Paradox, that the Price of Labour should be reduced without an Abatement of Wages, or that Wages can be abated without any Inconvenience to the Labourer, and yet nothing is more certain than that both those Things may happen. The Wages of the Labourers make the greatest Part of the Price of every Thing that is useful; and if in Proportion with the Wages the Prices of all other Things should be abated, every Labourer with less Wages would be still able to purchase as many Necessaries of Life; where then would be the Inconvenience? But the Price of Labour may be reduced by the Addition of more Hands to a Manufacture, and yet the Wages of Persons remain as high as ever. The admirable Sir William Petty2 has given Examples of this in some of his Writings: One of them, as I remember, is that of a Watch, which I shall endeavour to explain so as shall suit my present Purpose. It is certain that a single Watch could not be made so cheap in Proportion by one only Man, as a hundred Watches by a hundred; for as there is vast Variety in the Work, no one Person could equally suit himself to all the Parts of it; the Manufacture would be tedious, and at last but clumsily performed: But if an hundred Watches were to be made by a hundred Men, the Cases may be assigned to one, the Dials to another, the Wheels to another, the Springs to another, and every other Part to a proper Artist; as there would be no need of perplexing any one Person with too much Variety, every one would be able to perform his single Part with greater Skill and Expedition; and the hundred Watches would be finished in one fourth Part of the Time of the first one, and every one of them at one fourth Part of the Cost, tho' the Wages of every Man were equal. The Reduction of the Price of the Manufacture would increase the Demand of it, all the same Hands would be still employed and as well paid. The same Rule will hold in the Clothing, the Shipping, and all the other Trades whatsoever. And thus an Addition of Hands to our Manufactures will only reduce the Price of them; the Labourer will still have as much Wages, and will consequently be enabled to purchase more Conveniencies of Life; so that every Interest in the Nation would receive a Benefit from the Increase of our Working People.

Besides, I see no Occasion for this Charity to common Beggars, since every Beggar is an Inhabitant of a Parish, and every Parish is taxed to the Maintenance of their own Poor3.

For my own part, I cannot be mightily pleased with the Laws which have done this, which have provided better to feed than employ the Poor. We have a Tradition from our Forefathers, that after the first of those Laws was made, they were insulted with that famous Song;
Hang Sorrow, and cast away Care,
The Parish is bound to find us, &c.
And if we will be so good-natured as to maintain them without Work, they can do no less in Return than sing us The Merry Beggars.

What then? Am I against all Acts of Charity? God forbid! I know of no Virtue in the Gospel that is in more pathetical Expressions recommended to our Practice.
I was hungry and ye4 gave me no Meat, thirsty and ye gave me no Drink, naked and ye clothed me not, a Stranger and ye took me not in, sick and in prison and ye visited me not.
Our Blessed Saviour treats the Exercise or Neglect of Charity towards a poor Man, as the Performance or Breach of this Duty towards himself. I shall endeavour to obey the Will of my Lord and Master: And therefore if an industrious Man shall submit to the hardest Labour and coarsest Fare, rather than endure the Shame of taking Relief from the Parish, or asking it in the Street, this is the Hungry, the Thirsty, the Naked; and I ought to believe, if any Man is come hither for Shelter against Persecution or Oppression, this is the Stranger, and I ought to take him in. If any Countryman of our own is fallen into the Hands of Infidels, and lives in a State of miserable Captivity, this is the Man in Prison, and I should contribute to his Ransom. I ought to give to an Hospital of Invalids, to recover as many useful Subjects as I can; but I shall bestow none of my Bounties upon an Alms-house of idle People; and for the same Reason I should not think it a Reproach to me if I had withheld my Charity from those common Beggars. But we prescribe better Rules than we are able to practise; we are ashamed not to give into the mistaken Customs of our Country: But at the same time, I cannot but think it a Reproach worse than that of common Swearing, that the Idle and the Abandoned are suffered in the Name of Heaven and all that is sacred, to extort from Christian and tender Minds a Supply to a profligate Way of Life, that is always to be supported, but never relieved.

Footnote 1:   Or Henry Martyn?
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Surveyor-general of Ireland to Charles II. See his Discourse of Taxes (1689).

Footnote 3:   Our idle poor till the time of Henry VIII. lived upon alms. After the dissolution of the monasteries experiments were made for their care, and by a statute 43 Eliz. overseers were appointed and Parishes charged to maintain their helpless poor and find work for the sturdy. In Queen Anne's time the Poor Law had been made more intricate and troublesome by the legislation on the subject that had been attempted after the Restoration.

Footnote 4:   you throughout, and in first reprint.

Footnote 5:   X.

Contents, p.2

No. 233

Tuesday, November 27, 1711


—Tanquam hec sint nostri medicina furoris,
Aut Deus ille malis hominum mitescere discat.

I shall, in this Paper, discharge myself of the Promise I have made to the Publick, by obliging them with a Translation of the little Greek Manuscript, which is said to have been a Piece of those Records that were preserved in the Temple of Apollo, upon the Promontory of Leucate: It is a short History of the Lover's Leap, and is inscribed, An Account of Persons Male and Female, who offered up their Vows in the Temple of the Pythian Apollo, in the Forty sixth Olympiad, and leaped from the Promontory of Leucate into the Ionian Sea, in order to cure themselves of the Passion of Love.

This Account is very dry in many Parts, as only mentioning the Name of the Lover who leaped, the Person he leaped for, and relating, in short, that he was either cured, or killed, or maimed by the Fall. It indeed gives the Names of so many who died by it, that it would have looked like a Bill of Mortality, had I translated it at full length; I have therefore made an Abridgment of it, and only extracted such particular Passages as have something extraordinary, either in the Case, or in the Cure, or in the Fate of the Person who is mentioned in it. After this short Preface take the Account as follows.
Battus, the Son of Menalcas the Sicilian, leaped for Bombyca the Musician: Got rid of his Passion with the Loss of his Right Leg and Arm, which were broken in the Fall.

Melissa, in Love with Daphnis, very much bruised, but escaped with Life.

Cynisca, the Wife of Æschines, being in Love with Lycus; and Æschines her Husband being in Love with Eurilla; (which had made this married Couple very uneasy to one another for several Years) both the Husband and the Wife took the Leap by Consent; they both of them escaped, and have lived very happily together ever since.

Larissa, a Virgin of Thessaly, deserted by Plexippus, after a Courtship of three Years; she stood upon the Brow of the Promontory for some time, and after having thrown down a Ring, a Bracelet, and a little Picture, with other Presents which she had received from Plexippus, she threw her self into the Sea, and was taken up alive.

N. B. Larissa, before she leaped, made an Offering of a Silver Cupid in the Temple of Apollo.

Simaetha, in Love with Daphnis the Myndian, perished in the Fall.

Charixus, the Brother of Sappho, in Love with Rhodope the Courtesan, having spent his whole Estate upon her, was advised by his Sister to leap in the Beginning of his Amour, but would not hearken to her till he was reduced to his last Talent; being forsaken by Rhodope, at length resolved to take the Leap. Perished in it.

Aridæus, a beautiful Youth of Epirus, in Love with Praxinoe, the Wife of Thespis, escaped without Damage, saving only that two of his Fore-Teeth were struck out and his Nose a little flatted.

Cleora, a Widow of Ephesus, being inconsolable for the Death of her Husband, was resolved to take this Leap in order to get rid of her Passion for his Memory; but being arrived at the Promontory, she there met with Dimmachus the Miletian, and after a short Conversation with him, laid aside the Thoughts of her Leap, and married him in the Temple of Apollo.

N. B. Her Widow's Weeds are still to be seen hanging up in the Western Corner of the Temple.

Olphis, the Fisherman, having received a Box on the Ear from Thestylis the Day before, and being determined to have no more to do with her, leaped, and escaped with Life.

Atalanta, an old Maid, whose Cruelty had several Years before driven two or three despairing Lovers to this Leap; being now in the fifty fifth Year of her Age, and in Love with an Officer of Sparta, broke her Neck in the Fall.

Hipparchus being passionately fond of his own Wife who was enamoured of Bathyllus, leaped, and died of his Fall; upon which his Wife married her Gallant.

Tettyx, the Dancing-Master, in Love with Olympia an Athenian Matron, threw himself from the Rock with great Agility, but was crippled in the Fall.

Diagoras, the Usurer, in Love with his Cook-Maid; he peeped several times over the Precipice, but his Heart misgiving him, he went back, and married her that Evening.

Cinædus, after having entered his own Name in the Pythian Records, being asked the Name of the Person whom he leaped for, and being ashamed to discover it, he was set aside, and not suffered to leap.

Eunica, a Maid of Paphos, aged Nineteen, in Love with Eurybates. Hurt in the Fall, but recovered.

N. B. This was her second Time of Leaping.

Hesperus, a young Man of Tarentum, in Love with his Master's Daughter. Drowned, the Boats not coming in soon enough to his Relief.

Sappho, the Lesbian, in Love with Phaon, arrived at the Temple of Apollo, habited like a Bride in Garments as white as Snow. She wore a Garland of Myrtle on her Head, and carried in her Hand the little Musical Instrument of her own Invention. After having sung an Hymn to Apollo, she hung up her Garland on one Side of his Altar, and her Harp on the other. She then tuck'd up her Vestments, like a Spartan Virgin, and amidst thousands of Spectators, who were anxious for her Safety, and offered up Vows for her Deliverance, marched1 directly forwards to the utmost Summit of the Promontory, where after having repeated a Stanza of her own Verses, which we could not hear, she threw herself off the Rock with such an Intrepidity as was never before observed in any who had attempted that dangerous Leap. Many who were present related, that they saw her fall into the Sea, from whence she never rose again; tho' there were others who affirmed, that she never came to the Bottom of her Leap, but that she was changed into a Swan as she fell, and that they saw her hovering in the Air under that Shape. But whether or no the Whiteness and Fluttering of her Garments might not deceive those who looked upon her, or whether she might not really be metamorphosed into that musical and melancholy Bird, is still a Doubt among the Lesbians.

Alcæus, the famous Lyrick Poet, who had for some time been passionately in Love with Sappho, arrived at the Promontory of Leucate that very Evening, in order to take the Leap upon her Account; but hearing that Sappho had been there before him, and that her Body could be no where found, he very generously lamented her Fall, and is said to have written his hundred and twenty fifth Ode upon that Occasion.

Leaped in this Olympiad 2502
Males 124
Females 126
Cured 1203
Males 51
Females 69

Footnote 1:   she marched
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   350, and in first reprint.

Footnote 3:   150, corrected by an Erratum.

Contents, p.2

No. 234

Wednesday, November 28, 1711


Vellum in amicitia erraremus.


You very often hear People, after a Story has been told with some entertaining Circumstances, tell it over again with Particulars that destroy the Jest, but give Light into the Truth of the Narration. This sort of Veracity, though it is impertinent, has something amiable in it, because it proceeds from the Love of Truth, even in frivolous Occasions. If such honest Amendments do not promise an agreeable Companion, they do a sincere Friend; for which Reason one should allow them so much of our Time, if we fall into their Company, as to set us right in Matters that can do us no manner of Harm, whether the Facts be one Way or the other. Lies which are told out of Arrogance and Ostentation a Man should detect in his own Defence, because he should not be triumphed over; Lies which are told out of Malice he should expose, both for his own sake and that of the rest of Mankind, because every Man should rise against a common Enemy: But the officious Liar many have argued is to be excused, because it does some Man good, and no Man hurt. The Man who made more than ordinary speed from a Fight in which the Athenians were beaten, and told them they had obtained a complete Victory, and put the whole City into the utmost Joy and Exultation, was check'd by the Magistrates for his Falshood; but excused himself by saying, O Athenians! am I your Enemy because I gave you two happy Days? This Fellow did to a whole People what an Acquaintance of mine does every Day he lives in some eminent Degree to particular Persons. He is ever lying People into good Humour, and, as Plato said, it was allowable in Physicians to lie to their Patients to keep up their Spirits, I am half doubtful whether my Friend's Behaviour is not as excusable. His Manner is to express himself surprised at the Chearful Countenance of a Man whom he observes diffident of himself; and generally by that means makes his Lie a Truth. He will, as if he did not know any thing2 of the Circumstance, ask one whom he knows at Variance with another, what is the meaning that Mr. such a one, naming his Adversary, does not applaud him with that Heartiness which formerly he has heard him? He said indeed, (continues he) I would rather have that Man for my Friend than any Man in England; but for an Enemy—This melts the Person he talks to, who expected nothing but downright Raillery from that Side. According as he sees his Practices succeeded, he goes to the opposite Party, and tells him, he cannot imagine how it happens that some People know one another so little; you spoke with so much Coldness of a Gentleman who said more Good of you, than, let me tell you, any Man living deserves. The Success of one of these Incidents was, that the next time that one of the Adversaries spied the other, he hems after him in the publick Street, and they must crack a Bottle at the next Tavern, that used to turn out of the other's Way to avoid one another's Eyeshot. He will tell one Beauty she was commended by another, nay, he will say she gave the Woman he speaks to, the Preference in a Particular for which she her self is admired. The pleasantest Confusion imaginable is made through the whole Town by my Friend's indirect Offices; you shall have a Visit returned after half a Year's Absence, and mutual Railing at each other every Day of that Time. They meet with a thousand Lamentations for so long a Separation, each Party naming herself for the greater Delinquent, if the other can possibly be so good as to forgive her, which she has no Reason in the World, but from the Knowledge of her Goodness, to hope for. Very often a whole Train of Railers of each Side tire their Horses in setting Matters right which they have said during the War between the Parties; and a whole Circle of Acquaintance are put into a thousand pleasing Passions and Sentiments, instead of the Pangs of Anger, Envy, Detraction, and Malice.

To the Spectator.

Devonshire, Nov. 14, 1711.


There arrived in this Neighbourhood two Days ago one of your gay Gentlemen of the Town, who being attended at his Entry with a Servant of his own, besides a Countryman he had taken up for a Guide, excited the Curiosity of the Village to learn whence and what he might be. The Countryman (to whom they applied as most easy of Access) knew little more than that the Gentleman came from London to travel and see Fashions, and was, as he heard say, a Free-thinker: What Religion that might be, he could not tell; and for his own Part, if they had not told him the Man was a Free-thinker, he should have guessed, by his way of talking, he was little better than a Heathen; excepting only that he had been a good Gentleman to him, and made him drunk twice in one Day, over and above what they had bargained for.

I do not look upon the Simplicity of this, and several odd Inquiries with which I shall not trouble you to be wondered at, much less can I think that our Youths of fine Wit, and enlarged Understandings, have any Reason to laugh. There is no Necessity that every Squire in Great Britain should know what the Word Free-thinker stands for; but it were much to be wished, that they who value themselves upon that conceited Title were a little better instructed in what it ought to stand for; and that they would not perswade themselves a Man is really and truly a Free-thinker in any tolerable Sense, meerly by virtue of his being an Atheist, or an Infidel of any other Distinction. It may be doubted, with good Reason, whether there ever was in Nature a more abject, slavish, and bigotted Generation than the Tribe of Beaux Esprits, at present so prevailing in this Island. Their Pretension to be Free-thinkers, is no other than Rakes have to be Free-livers, and Savages to be Free-men, that is, they can think whatever they have a Mind to, and give themselves up to whatever Conceit the Extravagancy of their Inclination, or their Fancy, shall suggest; they can think as wildly as they talk and act, and will not endure that their Wit should be controuled by such formal Things as Decency and common Sense: Deduction, Coherence, Consistency, and all the Rules of Reason they accordingly disdain, as too precise and mechanical for Men of a liberal Education.

This, as far as I could ever learn from their Writings, or my own Observation, is a true Account of the British Free-thinker. Our Visitant here, who gave occasion to this Paper, has brought with him a new System of common Sense, the Particulars of which I am not yet acquainted with, but will lose no Opportunity of informing my self whether it contain any thing3 worth Mr. Spectator'S Notice. In the mean time, Sir, I cannot but think it would be for the good of Mankind, if you would take this Subject into your own Consideration, and convince the hopeful Youth of our Nation, that Licentiousness is not Freedom; or, if such a Paradox will not be understood, that a Prejudice towards Atheism is not Impartiality.

I am, Sir, Your most humble Servant,


Footnote 1:  
Splendide mendax.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   think

Footnote 3:   think

Contents, p.2

No. 235

Thursday, November 29, 1711


Vincentum strepitus

There is nothing which lies more within the Province of a Spectator than publick Shows and Diversions; and as among these there are none which can pretend to vie with those elegant Entertainments that are exhibited in our Theatres, I think it particularly incumbent on me to take Notice of every thing that is remarkable in such numerous and refined Assemblies.

It is observed, that of late Years there has been a certain Person in the upper Gallery of the Playhouse, who when he is pleased with any Thing that is acted upon the Stage, expresses his Approbation by a loud Knock upon the Benches or the Wainscot, which may be heard over the whole Theatre. This Person is commonly known by the Name of the Trunk-maker in the upper Gallery. Whether it be, that the Blow he gives on these Occasions resembles that which is often heard in the Shops of such Artizans, or that he was supposed to have been a real Trunk-maker, who after the finishing of his Day's Work used to unbend his Mind at these publick Diversions with his Hammer in his Hand, I cannot certainly tell. There are some, I know, who have been foolish enough to imagine it is a Spirit which haunts the upper Gallery, and from Time to Time makes those strange Noises; and the rather, because he is observed to be louder than ordinary every Time the Ghost of Hamlet appears. Others have reported, that it is a dumb Man, who has chosen this Way of uttering himself when he is transported with any Thing he sees or hears. Others will have it to be the Playhouse Thunderer, that exerts himself after this Manner in the upper Gallery, when he has nothing to do upon the Roof.

But having made it my Business to get the best Information I could in a Matter of this Moment, I find that the Trunk-maker, as he is commonly called, is a large black Man, whom no body knows. He generally leans forward on a huge Oaken Plant with great Attention to every thing that passes upon the Stage. He is never seen to smile; but upon hearing any thing that pleases him, he takes up his Staff with both Hands, and lays it upon the next Piece of Timber that stands in his Way with exceeding Vehemence: After which, he composes himself in his former Posture, till such Time as something new sets him again at Work.

It has been observed, his Blow is so well timed, that the most judicious Critick could never except against it. As soon as any shining Thought is expressed in the Poet, or any uncommon Grace appears in the Actor, he smites the Bench or Wainscot. If the Audience does not concur with him, he smites a second Time, and if the Audience is not yet awaked, looks round him with great Wrath, and repeats the Blow a third Time, which never fails to produce the Clap. He sometimes lets the Audience begin the Clap of themselves, and at the Conclusion of their Applause ratifies it with a single Thwack.

He is of so great Use to the Play-house, that it is said a former Director of it, upon his not being able to pay his Attendance by reason of Sickness, kept one in Pay to officiate for him till such time as he recovered; but the Person so employed, tho' he laid about him with incredible Violence, did it in such wrong Places, that the Audience soon found out that it was not their old Friend the Trunk-maker.

It has been remarked, that he has not yet exerted himself with Vigour this Season. He sometimes plies at the Opera; and upon Nicolini's first Appearance, was said to have demolished three Benches in the Fury of his Applause. He has broken half a dozen Oaken Plants upon Dogget1 and seldom goes away from a Tragedy of Shakespear, without leaving the Wainscot extremely shattered.

The Players do not only connive at his obstreperous Approbation, but very cheerfully repair at their own Cost whatever Damages he makes. They had once a Thought of erecting a kind of Wooden Anvil for his Use that should be made of a very sounding Plank, in order to render his Stroaks more deep and mellow; but as this might not have been distinguished from the Musick of a Kettle-Drum, the Project was laid aside.

In the mean while, I cannot but take notice of the great Use it is to an Audience, that a Person should thus preside over their Heads like the Director of a Consort, in order to awaken their Attention, and beat time to their Applauses; or, to raise my Simile, I have sometimes fancied the Trunk-maker in the upper Gallery to be like Virgils Ruler of the Wind, seated upon the Top of a Mountain, who, when he struck his Sceptre upon the Side of it, roused an Hurricane, and set the whole Cavern in an Uproar2.

It is certain, the Trunk-maker has saved many a good Play, and brought many a graceful Actor into Reputation, who would not otherwise have been taken notice of. It is very visible, as the Audience is not a little abashed, if they find themselves betrayed into a Clap, when their Friend in the upper Gallery does not come into it; so the Actors do not value themselves upon the Clap, but regard it as a meer Brutum fulmen, or empty Noise, when it has not the Sound of the Oaken Plant in it. I know it has been given out by those who are Enemies to the Trunk-maker, that he has sometimes been bribed to be in the Interest of a bad Poet, or a vicious Player; but this is a Surmise which has no Foundation: his Stroaks are always just, and his Admonitions seasonable; he does not deal about his Blows at Random, but always hits the right Nail upon the Head. The3 inexpressible Force wherewith he lays them on, sufficiently shows the Evidence and Strength of his Conviction. His Zeal for a good Author is indeed outrageous, and breaks down every Fence and Partition, every Board and Plank, that stands within the Expression of his Applause.

As I do not care for terminating my Thoughts in barren Speculations, or in Reports of pure Matter of Fact, without drawing something from them for the Advantage of my Countrymen, I shall take the Liberty to make an humble Proposal, that whenever the Trunk-maker shall depart this Life, or whenever he shall have lost the Spring of his Arm by Sickness, old Age, Infirmity, or the like, some able-bodied Critick should be advanced to this Post, and have a competent Salary settled on him for Life, to be furnished with Bamboos for Operas, Crabtree-Cudgels for Comedies, and Oaken Plants for Tragedy, at the publick Expence. And to the End that this Place should be always disposed of according to Merit, I would have none preferred to it, who has not given convincing Proofs both of a sound Judgment and a strong Arm, and who could not, upon Occasion, either knock down an Ox, or write a Comment upon Horace's Art of Poetry. In short, I would have him a due Composition of Hercules and Apollo, and so rightly qualified for this important Office, that the Trunk-maker may not be missed by our Posterity.


Footnote 1:   Thomas Doggett, an excellent comic actor, who was for many years joint-manager with Wilkes and Cibber, died in 1721, and bequeathed the Coat and Badge that are rowed for by Thames Watermen every first of August, from London Bridge to Chelsea.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Æneid I. 85.

Footnote 3:   That.

Contents, p.2

No. 236

Friday, November 30, 1711


—Dare Jura maritis.


Mr. Spectator,

'You have not spoken in so direct a manner upon the Subject of Marriage as that important Case deserves. It would not be improper to observe upon the Peculiarity in the Youth of Great Britain, of railing and laughing at that Institution; and when they fall into it, from a profligate Habit of Mind, being insensible of the Satisfaction1 in that Way of Life, and treating their Wives with the most barbarous Disrespect.

'Particular Circumstances and Cast of Temper, must teach a Man the Probability of mighty Uneasinesses in that State, (for unquestionably some there are whose very Dispositions are strangely averse to conjugal Friendship;) but no one, I believe, is by his own natural Complexion prompted to teaze and torment another for no Reason but being nearly allied to him: And can there be any thing more base, or serve to sink a Man so much below his own distinguishing Characteristick, (I mean Reason) than returning Evil for Good in so open a Manner, as that of treating an helpless Creature with Unkindness, who has had so good an Opinion of him as to believe what he said relating to one of the greatest Concerns of Life, by delivering her Happiness in this World to his Care and Protection? Must not that Man be abandoned even to all manner of Humanity, who can deceive a Woman with Appearances of Affection and Kindness, for no other End but to torment her with more Ease and Authority? Is any Thing more unlike a Gentleman, than when his Honour is engaged for the performing his Promises, because nothing but that can oblige him to it, to become afterwards false to his Word, and be alone the Occasion of Misery to one whose Happiness he but lately pretended was dearer to him than his own? Ought such a one to be trusted in his common Affairs? or treated but as one whose Honesty consisted only in his Incapacity of being otherwise?

'There is one Cause of this Usage no less absurd than common, which takes place among the more unthinking Men: and that is the Desire to appear to their Friends free and at Liberty, and without those Trammels they have so much ridiculed. To avoid2 this they fly into the other Extream, and grow Tyrants that they may seem Masters. Because an uncontroulable Command of their own Actions is a certain Sign of entire Dominion, they won't so much as recede from the Government even in one Muscle, of their Faces. A kind Look they believe would be fawning, and a civil Answer yielding the Superiority. To this must we attribute an Austerity they betray in every Action: What but this can put a Man out of Humour in his Wife's Company, tho' he is so distinguishingly pleasant every where else? The Bitterness of his Replies, and the Severity of his Frowns to the tenderest of Wives, clearly demonstrate, that an ill-grounded Fear of being thought too submissive, is at the Bottom of this, as I am willing to call it, affected Moroseness; but if it be such only, put on to convince his Acquaintance of his entire Dominion, let him take Care of the Consequence, which will be certain, and worse than the present Evil; his seeming Indifference will by Degrees grow into real Contempt, and if it doth not wholly alienate the Affections of his Wife for ever from him, make both him and her more miserable than if it really did so.

However inconsistent it may appear, to be thought a well-bred Person has no small Share in this clownish Behaviour: A Discourse therefore relating to good Breeding towards a loving and a tender Wife, would be of great Use to this Sort of Gentlemen. Could you but once convince them, that to be civil at least is not beneath the Character of a Gentleman, nor even tender Affection towards one who would make it reciprocal, betrays any Softness or Effeminacy that the most masculine Disposition need be ashamed of; could you satisfy them of the Generosity of voluntary Civility, and the Greatness of Soul that is conspicuous in Benevolence without immediate Obligations; could you recommend to People's Practice the Saying of the Gentleman quoted in one of your Speculations, That he thought it incumbent upon him to make the Inclinations of a Woman of Merit go along with her Duty: Could you, I say, perswade these Men of the Beauty and Reasonableness of this Sort of Behaviour, I have so much Charity for some of them at least, to believe you would convince them of a Thing they are only ashamed to allow: Besides, you would recommend that State in its truest, and consequently its most agreeable Colours; and the Gentlemen who have for any Time been such professed Enemies to it, when Occasion should serve, would return you their Thanks for assisting their Interest in prevailing over their Prejudices. Marriage in general would by this Means be a more easy and comfortable Condition; the Husband would be no where so well satisfied as in his own Parlour, nor the Wife so pleasant as in the Company of her Husband: A Desire of being agreeable in the Lover would be increased in the Husband, and the Mistress be more amiable by becoming the Wife. Besides all which, I am apt to believe we should find the Race of Men grow wiser as their Progenitors grew kinder, and the Affection of the Parents would be conspicuous in the Wisdom of their Children; in short, Men would in general be much better humoured than they are, did not they so frequently exercise the worst Turns of their Temper where they ought to exert the best.

MR. Spectator,

I am a Woman who left the Admiration of this whole Town, to throw myself (for3 Love of Wealth) into the Arms of a Fool. When I married him, I could have had any one of several Men of Sense who languished for me; but my Case is just. I believed my superior Understanding would form him into a tractable Creature. But, alas, my Spouse has Cunning and Suspicion, the inseparable Companions of little Minds; and every Attempt I make to divert, by putting on an agreeable Air, a sudden Chearfulness, or kind Behaviour, he looks upon as the first Act towards an Insurrection against his undeserved Dominion over me. Let every one who is still to chuse, and hopes to govern a Fool, remember


St. Martins, November 25.

Mr. Spectator,

This is to complain of an evil Practice which I think very well deserves a Redress, though you have not as yet taken any Notice of it: If you mention it in your Paper, it may perhaps have a very good Effect. What I mean is the Disturbance some People give to others at Church, by their Repetition of the Prayers after the Minister, and that not only in the Prayers, but also the Absolution and the Commandments fare no better, winch are in a particular Manner the Priest's Office: This I have known done in so audible a manner, that sometimes their Voices have been as loud as his. As little as you would think it, this is frequently done by People seemingly devout. This irreligious Inadvertency is a Thing extremely offensive: But I do not recommend it as a Thing I give you Liberty to ridicule, but hope it may be amended by the bare Mention.

Sir, Your very humble Servant,

T. S.

Footnote 1:   Satisfactions
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Footnote 2:  For this Reason should they appear the least like what they were so much used to laugh at, they would become the Jest of themselves, and the Object of that Raillery they formerly bestowed on others. To avoid &c.

Footnote 3:   by, and in first reprint.

Contents, p.2

No. 237

Saturday, December 1, 1711


Visu carentem magna pars veri latet.

Senec. in Œdip.

It is very reasonable to believe, that Part of the Pleasure which happy Minds shall enjoy in a future State, will arise from an enlarged Contemplation of the Divine Wisdom in the Government of the World, and a Discovery of the secret and amazing Steps of Providence, from the Beginning to the End of Time. Nothing seems to be an Entertainment more adapted to the Nature of Man, if we consider that Curiosity is one of the strongest and most lasting Appetites implanted in us, and that Admiration is one of our most pleasing Passions; and what a perpetual Succession of Enjoyments will be afforded to both these, in a Scene so large and various as shall then be laid open to our View in the Society of superior Spirits, who perhaps will join with us in so delightful a Prospect!

It is not impossible, on the contrary, that Part of the Punishment of such as are excluded from Bliss, may consist not only in their being denied this Privilege, but in having their Appetites at the same time vastly encreased, without any Satisfaction afforded to them. In these, the vain Pursuit of Knowledge shall, perhaps, add to their Infelicity, and bewilder them into Labyrinths of Error, Darkness, Distraction and Uncertainty of every thing but their own evil State. Milton has thus represented the fallen Angels reasoning together in a kind of Respite from their Torments, and creating to themselves a new Disquiet amidst their very Amusements; he could not properly have described the Sports of condemned Spirits, without that Cast of Horror and Melancholy he has so judiciously mingled with them.
Others apart sate on a Hill retired,
In Thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high
Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate,
First Fate, Freewill, Foreknowledge absolute,
And found no End in wandring Mazes lost.
In our present Condition, which is a middle State, our Minds are, as it were, chequered with Truth and Falshood; and as our Faculties are narrow, and our Views imperfect, it is impossible but our Curiosity must meet with many Repulses. The Business of Mankind in this Life being rather to act than to know, their Portion of Knowledge is dealt to them accordingly.

From hence it is, that the Reason of the Inquisitive has so long been exercised with Difficulties, in accounting for the promiscuous Distribution of Good and Evil to the Virtuous and the Wicked in this World. From hence come all those pathetical Complaints of so many tragical Events, which happen to the Wise and the Good; and of such surprising Prosperity, which is often the Lot2` of the Guilty and the Foolish; that Reason is sometimes puzzled, and at a loss what to pronounce upon so mysterious a Dispensation.

Plato expresses his Abhorrence of some Fables of the Poets, which seem to reflect on the Gods as the Authors of Injustice; and lays it down as a Principle, That whatever is permitted to befal a just Man, whether Poverty, Sickness, or any of those Things which seem to be Evils, shall either in Life or Death conduce to his Good. My Reader will observe how agreeable this Maxim is to what we find delivered by a greater Authority. Seneca has written a Discourse purposely on this Subject3, in which he takes Pains, after the Doctrine of the Stoicks, to shew that Adversity is not in itself an Evil; and mentions a noble Saying of Demetrius, That nothing would be more unhappy than a Man who had never known Affliction. He compares Prosperity to the Indulgence of a fond Mother to a Child, which often proves his Ruin; but the Affection of the Divine Being to that of a wise Father who would have his Sons exercised with Labour, Disappointment, and Pain, that they may gather Strength, and improve their Fortitude. On this Occasion the Philosopher rises into the celebrated Sentiment, That there is not on Earth a Spectator more worthy the Regard of a Creator intent on his Works than a brave Man superior to his Sufferings; to which he adds, That it must be a Pleasure to Jupiter himself to look down from Heaven, and see Cato amidst the Ruins of his Country preserving his Integrity.

This Thought will appear yet more reasonable, if we consider human Life as a State of Probation, and Adversity as the Post of Honour in it, assigned often to the best and most select Spirits.

But what I would chiefly insist on here, is, that we are not at present in a proper Situation to judge of the Counsels by which Providence acts, since but little arrives at our Knowledge, and even that little we discern imperfectly; or according to the elegant Figure in Holy Writ, We see but in part, and as in a Glass darkly. It is to be considered, that Providence4 in its Œconomy regards the whole System of Time and Things together, so that we cannot discover the beautiful Connection between Incidents which lie widely separated in Time, and by losing so many Links of the Chain, our Reasonings become broken and imperfect. Thus those Parts in the moral World which have not an absolute, may yet have a relative Beauty, in respect of some other Parts concealed from us, but open to his Eye before whom Past, Present, and To come, are set together in one Point of View: and those Events, the Permission of which seems now to accuse his Goodness, may in the Consummation of Things both magnify his Goodness, and exalt his Wisdom. And this is enough to check our Presumption, since it is in vain to apply our Measures of Regularity to Matters of which we know neither the Antecedents nor the Consequents, the Beginning nor the End.

I shall relieve my Reader from this abstracted Thought, by relating here a Jewish Tradition concerning Moses5 which seems to be a kind of Parable, illustrating what I have last mentioned. That great Prophet, it is said, was called up by a Voice from Heaven to the top of a Mountain; where, in a Conference with the Supreme Being, he was permitted to propose to him some Questions concerning his Administration of the Universe. In the midst of this Divine Colloquy6 he was commanded to look down on the Plain below. At the Foot of the Mountain there issued out a clear Spring of Water, at which a Soldier alighted from his Horse to drink. He was no sooner gone than a little Boy came to the same Place, and finding a Purse of Gold which the Soldier had dropped, took it up and went away with it. Immediately after this came an infirm old Man, weary with Age and Travelling, and having quenched his Thirst, sat down to rest himself by the Side of the Spring. The Soldier missing his Purse returns to search for it, and demands it of the old Man, who affirms he had not seen it, and appeals to Heaven in witness of his Innocence. The Soldier not believing his Protestations, kills him. Moses fell on his Face with Horror and Amazement, when the Divine Voice thus prevented his Expostulation: 'Be not surprised, Moses, nor ask why the Judge of the whole Earth has suffer'd this Thing to come to pass: The Child is the Occasion that the Blood of the old Man is spilt; but know, that the old Man whom thou saw'st, was the Murderer of that Child's Father7.

Footnote 1:   Paradise Lost, B. II. v. 557-561.
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Footnote 2:   In Saturday's Spectator, for 'reward' read 'lot.' Erratum in No. 238.

Footnote 3:  De Constantia Sapientis.

Footnote 4:   Since Providence, therefore, and in 1st rep.

Footnote 5:   Henry More's Divine Dialogues.

Footnote 6:  Conference

Footnote 7:  No letter appended to original issue or reissue. Printed in Addison's Works, 1720. The paper has been claimed for John Hughes in the Preface to his Poems (1735).

Contents, p.2

No. 238

Monday, December 3, 1711


Nequicquam populo bibulas donaveris Aures;
Respue quod non es

Persius, Sat. 4.

Among all the Diseases of the Mind, there is not one more epidemical or more pernicious than the Love of Flattery. For as where the Juices of the Body are prepared to receive a malignant Influence, there the Disease rages with most Violence; so in this Distemper of the Mind, where there is ever a Propensity and Inclination to suck in the Poison, it cannot be but that the whole Order of reasonable Action must be overturn'd, for, like Musick, it
So softens and disarms the Mind,
That not one Arrow can Resistance find.
First we flatter ourselves, and then the Flattery of others is sure of Success. It awakens our Self-Love within, a Party which is ever ready to revolt from our better Judgment, and join the Enemy without. Hence it is, that the Profusion of Favours we so often see poured upon the Parasite, are represented to us, by our Self-Love, as Justice done to Man, who so agreeably reconciles us to our selves. When we are overcome by such soft Insinuations and ensnaring Compliances, we gladly recompense the Artifices that are made use of to blind our Reason, and which triumph over the Weaknesses of our Temper and Inclinations.

But were every Man perswaded from how mean and low a Principle this Passion is derived, there can be no doubt but the Person who should attempt to gratify it, would then be as contemptible as he is now successful. 'Tis the Desire of some Quality we are not possessed of, or Inclination to be something we are not, which are the Causes of our giving ourselves up to that Man, who bestows upon us the Characters and Qualities of others; which perhaps suit us as ill and were as little design'd for our wearing, as their Cloaths. Instead of going out of our own complectional Nature into that of others, 'twere a better and more laudable Industry to improve our own, and instead of a miserable Copy become a good Original; for there is no Temper, no Disposition so rude and untractable, but may in its own peculiar Cast and Turn be brought to some agreeable Use in Conversation, or in the Affairs of Life. A Person of a rougher Deportment, and less tied up to the usual Ceremonies of Behaviour, will, like Manly in the Play1, please by the Grace which Nature gives to every Action wherein she is complied with; the Brisk and Lively will not want their Admirers, and even a more reserved and melancholy Temper may at some times be agreeable.

When there is not Vanity enough awake in a Man to undo him, the Flatterer stirs up that dormant Weakness, and inspires him with Merit enough to be a Coxcomb. But if Flattery be the most sordid Act that can be complied with, the Art of Praising justly is as commendable: For 'tis laudable to praise well; as Poets at one and the same time give Immortality, and receive it themselves for a Reward: Both are pleased, the one whilst he receives the Recompence of Merit, the other whilst he shews he knows now to discern it; but above all, that Man is happy in this Art, who, like a skilful Painter, retains the Features and Complection, but still softens the Picture into the most agreeable Likeness.

There can hardly, I believe, be imagin'd a more desirable Pleasure, than that of Praise unmix'd with any Possibility of Flattery. Such was that which Germanicus enjoyed, when, the Night before a Battle, desirous of some sincere Mark of the Esteem of his Legions for him, he is described by Tacitus listening in a Disguise to the Discourse of a Soldier, and wrapt up in the Fruition of his Glory, whilst with an undesigned Sincerity they praised his noble and majestick Mien, his Affability, his Valour, Conduct, and Success in War. How must a Man have his Heart full-blown with Joy in such an Article of Glory as this? What a Spur and Encouragement still to proceed in those Steps which had already brought him to so pure a Taste of the greatest of mortal Enjoyments?

It sometimes happens, that even Enemies and envious Persons bestow the sincerest Marks of Esteem when they least design it. Such afford a greater Pleasure, as extorted by Merit, and freed from all Suspicion of Favour or Flattery. Thus it is with Malvolio; he has Wit, Learning, and Discernment, but temper'd with an Allay of Envy, Self-Love and Detraction: Malvolio turns pale at the Mirth and good Humour of the Company, if it center not in his Person; he grows jealous and displeased when he ceases to be the only Person admired, and looks upon the Commendations paid to another as a Detraction from his Merit, and an Attempt to lessen the Superiority he affects; but by this very Method, he bestows such Praise as can never be suspected of Flattery. His Uneasiness and Distastes are so many sure and certain Signs of another's Title to that Glory he desires, and has the Mortification to find himself not possessed of.

A good Name is fitly compared to a precious Ointment2, and when we are praised with Skill and Decency, 'tis indeed the most agreeable Perfume, but if too strongly admitted into a Brain of a less vigorous and happy Texture, 'twill, like too strong an Odour, overcome the Senses, and prove pernicious to those Nerves 'twas intended to refresh. A generous Mind is of all others the most sensible of Praise and Dispraise; and a noble Spirit is as much invigorated with its due Proportion of Honour and Applause, as 'tis depressed by Neglect and Contempt: But 'tis only Persons far above the common Level who are thus affected with either of these Extreams; as in a Thermometer, 'tis only the purest and most sublimated Spirit that is either contracted or dilated by the Benignity or Inclemency of the Season.

Mr. Spectator,

'The Translations which you have lately given us from the Greek, in some of your last Papers, have been the Occasion of my looking into some of those Authors; among whom I chanced on a Collection of Letters which pass under the Name of Aristænetus. Of all the Remains of Antiquity, I believe there can be Nothing produc'd of an Air so gallant and polite; each Letter contains a little Novel or Adventure, which is told with all the Beauties of Language and heightened with a Luxuriance of Wit. There are several of them translated3, but with such wide Deviations from the Original, and in a Style so far differing from the Authors, that the Translator seems rather to have taken Hints for the expressing his own Sense and Thoughts, than to have endeavoured to render those of Aristænetus. In the following Translation, I have kept as near the Meaning of the Greek as I could, and have only added a few Words to make the Sentences in English fit together a little better than they would otherwise have done. The Story seems to be taken from that of Pygmalion and the Statue in Ovid: Some of the Thoughts are of the same Turn, and the whole is written in a kind of Poetical Prose.
Philopinax to Chromation.

"Never was Man more overcome with so fantastical a Passion as mine. I have painted a beautiful Woman, and am despairing, dying for the Picture. My own Skill has undone me; 'tis not the Dart of Venus, but my own Pencil has thus wounded me. Ah me! with what Anxiety am I necessitated to adore my own Idol? How miserable am I, whilst every one must as much pity the Painter as he praises the Picture, and own my Torment more than equal to my Art. But why do I thus complain? Have there not been more unhappy and unnatural Passions than mine? Yes, I have seen the Representations of Phædra, Narcissus, and Pasiphæ. Phædra was unhappy in her Love; that of Pasiphæ was monstrous; and whilst the other caught at his beloved Likeness, he destroyed the watery Image, which ever eluded his Embraces. The Fountain represented Narcissus to himself, and the Picture both that and him, thirsting after his adored Image. But I am yet less unhappy, I enjoy her Presence continually, and if I touch her, I destroy not the beauteous Form, but she looks pleased, and a sweet Smile sits in the charming Space which divides her Lips. One would swear that Voice and Speech were issuing out, and that one's Ears felt the melodious Sound. How often have I, deceived by a Lover's Credulity, hearkned if she had not something to whisper me? and when frustrated of my Hopes, how often have I taken my Revenge in Kisses from her Cheeks and Eyes, and softly wooed her to my Embrace, whilst she (as to me it seem'd) only withheld her Tongue the more to inflame me. But, Madman that I am, shall I be thus taken with the Representation only of a beauteous Face, and flowing Hair, and thus waste myself and melt to Tears for a Shadow? Ah, sure 'tis something more, 'tis a Reality! for see her Beauties shine out with new Lustre, and she seems to upbraid me with such unkind Reproaches. Oh may I have a living Mistress of this Form, that when I shall compare the Work of Nature with that of Art, I may be still at a loss which to choose, and be long perplex'd with the pleasing Uncertainty.

Footnote 1:   Wycherley's Plain Dealer.
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Footnote 2:   Eccles, vii. I.

Footnote 3:   In a volume of translated Letters on Wit, Politicks, and Morality, edited by Abel Boyer, in 1701. The letters ascribed to Aristænetus of Nicer in Bithynis, who died A.D. 358, but which were written after the fifth century, were afterwards translated as Letters of Love and Gallantry, written in Greek by Aristænetus. This volume, 12mo (1715), was dedicated to Eustace Budgell, who is named in the Preface as the author of the Spectator papers signed X.

Contents, p.2

No. 239

Tuesday, December 4, 1711


Bella, horrida bella!


I have sometimes amused myself with considering the several Methods of managing a Debate which have obtained m the World.

The first Races of Mankind used to dispute, as our ordinary People do now-a-days, in a kind of wild Logick, uncultivated by Rules of Art.

Socrates introduced a catechetical Method of Arguing. He would ask his Adversary Question upon Question, till he had convinced him out of his own Mouth that his Opinions were wrong. This Way of Debating drives an Enemy up into a Corner, seizes all the Passes through which he can make an Escape, and forces him to surrender at Discretion.

Aristotle changed this Method of Attack, and invented a great Variety of little Weapons, call'd Syllogisms. As in the Socratick Way of Dispute you agree to every thing which your Opponent advances, in the Aristotelick you are still denying and contradicting some Part or other of what he says. Socrates conquers you by Stratagem, Aristotle by Force: The one takes the Town by Sap, the other Sword in Hand.

The Universities of Europe, for many Years, carried on their Debates by Syllogism, insomuch that we see the Knowledge of several Centuries laid out into Objections and Answers, and all the good Sense of the Age cut and minced into almost an Infinitude of Distinctions.

When our Universities found that there was no End of Wrangling this Way, they invented a kind of Argument, which is not reducible to any Mood or Figure in Aristotle. It was called the Argumentum Basilinum (others write it Bacilinum or Baculinum) which is pretty well express'd in our English Word Club-Law. When they were not able to confute their Antagonist, they knock'd him down. It was their Method in these polemical Debates, first to discharge their Syllogisms, and afterwards to betake themselves to their Clubs, till such Time as they had one Way or other confounded their Gainsayers. There is in Oxford a narrow Defile1, (to make use of a military Term) where the Partizans used to encounter, for which Reason it still retains the Name of Logic-Lane. I have heard an old Gentleman, a Physician, make his Boasts, that when he was a young Fellow he marched several Times at the Head of a Troop of Scotists,2 and cudgel'd a Body of Smiglesians3 half the length of High-street, 'till they had dispersed themselves for Shelter into their respective Garrisons.

This Humour, I find, went very far in Erasmus's Time. For that Author tells us4, That upon the Revival of Greek Letters, most of the Universities in Europe were divided into Greeks and Trojans. The latter were those who bore a mortal Enmity to the Language of the Grecians, insomuch that if they met with any who understood it, they did not fail to treat him as a Foe. Erasmus himself had, it seems, the Misfortune to fall into the Hands of a Party of Trojans, who laid him on with so many Blows and Buffets that he never forgot their Hostilities to his dying Day.

There is a way of managing an Argument not much unlike the former, which is made use of by States and Communities, when they draw up a hundred thousand Disputants on each Side, and convince one another by Dint of Sword. A certain Grand Monarch5 was so sensible of his Strength in this way of Reasoning, that he writ upon his Great Guns—Ratio ultima Regum, The Logick of Kings; but, God be thanked, he is now pretty well baffled at his own Weapons. When one was to do with a Philosopher of this kind, one should remember the old Gentleman's Saying, who had been engaged in an Argument with one of the Roman Emperors6. Upon his Friend's telling him, That he wonder'd he would give up the Question, when he had visibly the Better of the Dispute; I am never asham'd, says he, to be confuted by one who is Master of fifty Legions.

I shall but just mention another kind of Reasoning, which may be called arguing by Poll; and another which is of equal Force, in which Wagers are made use of as Arguments, according to the celebrated Line in Hudibras7.

But the most notable way of managing a Controversy, is that which we may call Arguing by Torture. This is a Method of Reasoning which has been made use of with the poor Refugees, and which was so fashionable in our Country during the Reign of Queen Mary, that in a Passage of an Author quoted by Monsieur Bayle8 it is said the Price of Wood was raised in England, by reason of the Executions that were made in Smithfield. These Disputants convince their Adversaries with a Sorites9, commonly called a Pile of Faggots. The Rack is also a kind of Syllogism which has been used with good Effect, and has made Multitudes of Converts. Men were formerly disputed out of their Doubts, reconciled to Truth by Force of Reason, and won over to Opinions by the Candour, Sense and Ingenuity of those who had the Right on their Side; but this Method of Conviction operated too slowly. Pain was found to be much more enlightning than Reason. Every Scruple was looked upon as Obstinacy, and not to be removed but by several Engines invented for that Purpose. In a Word, the Application of Whips, Racks, Gibbets, Gallies, Dungeons, Fire and Faggot, in a Dispute, may be look'd upon as Popish Refinements upon the old Heathen Logick.

There is another way of Reasoning which seldom fails, tho' it be of a quite different Nature to that I have last mentioned. I mean, convincing a Man by ready Money, or as it is ordinarily called, bribing a Man to an Opinion. This Method has often proved successful, when all the others have been made use of to no purpose. A Man who is furnished with Arguments from the Mint, will convince his Antagonist much sooner than one who draws them from Reason and Philosophy. Gold is a wonderful Clearer of the Understanding; it dissipates every Doubt and Scruple in an Instant; accommodates itself to the meanest Capacities; silences the Loud and Clamorous, and brings over the most Obstinate and Inflexible. Philip of Macedon was a Man of most invincible Reason this Way. He refuted by it all the Wisdom of Athens, confounded their Statesmen, struck their Orators dumb, and at length argued them out of all their Liberties.

Having here touched upon the several Methods of Disputing, as they have prevailed in different Ages of the World, I shall very suddenly give my Reader an Account of the whole Art of Cavilling; which shall be a full and satisfactory Answer to all such Papers and Pamphlets as have yet appeared against the Spectator.


Footnote 1:   Defile
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Footnote 2:   The followers of the famous scholastic philosopher, Duns Scotus (who taught at Oxford and died in 1308), were Realists, and the Scotists were as Realists opposed to the Nominalists, who, as followers of Thomas Aquinas, were called Thomists. Abuse, in later time, of the followers of Duns gave its present sense to the word Dunce.

Footnote 3:   The followers of Martin Simglecius a Polish Jesuit, who taught Philosophy for four years and Theology for ten years at Vilna, in Lithuania, and died at Kalisch in 1618. Besides theological works he published a book of Disputations upon Logic.

Footnote 4:   Erasm. Epist.

Footnote 5:   Louis XIV.

Footnote 6:   Adrian, cited in Bacon's Apophthegms.

Footnote 7:   Hudibras, Pt. II. c. i, v. 297. See [Volume 1 links:note to No. 145. ]

Footnote 8:   And. Ammonius in Bayle's Life of him, but the saying was of the reign of Henry VIII.

Footnote 9:   A Sorites, in Logic,—from Greek: sôrós a heap—is a pile of syllogisms so compacted that the conclusion of one serves as a premiss to the next.

Contents, p.2

No. 240

Wednesday, December 5, 1711


—Aliter not fit, Avite, liber.


Mr. Spectator,

I am of one of the most genteel Trades in the City, and understand thus much of liberal Education, as to have an ardent Ambition of being useful to Mankind, and to think That the chief End of Being as to this Life. I had these good Impressions given me from the handsome Behaviour of a learned, generous, and wealthy Man towards me when I first began the World. Some Dissatisfaction between me and my Parents made me enter into it with less Relish of Business than I ought; and to turn off this Uneasiness I gave my self to criminal Pleasures, some Excesses, and a general loose Conduct. I know not what the excellent Man above-mentioned saw in me, but he descended from the Superiority of his Wisdom and Merit, to throw himself frequently into my Company. This made me soon hope that I had something in me worth cultivating, and his Conversation made me sensible of Satisfactions in a regular Way, which I had never before imagined. When he was grown familiar with me, he opened himself like a good Angel, and told me, he had long laboured to ripen me into a Preparation to receive his Friendship and Advice, both which I should daily command, and the Use of any Part of his Fortune, to apply the Measures he should propose to me, for the Improvement of my own. I assure you, I cannot recollect the Goodness and Confusion of the good Man when he spoke to this Purpose to me, without melting into Tears; but in a word, Sir, I must hasten to tell you, that my Heart burns with Gratitude towards him, and he is so happy a Man, that it can never be in my Power to return him his Favours in Kind, but I am sure I have made him the most agreeable Satisfaction I could possibly, in being ready to serve others to my utmost Ability, as far as is consistent with the Prudence he prescribes to me. Dear Mr. Spectator, I do not owe to him only the good Will and Esteem of my own Relations, (who are People of Distinction) the present Ease and Plenty of my Circumstances, but also the Government of my Passions, and Regulation of my Desires. I doubt not, Sir, but in your Imagination such Virtues as these of my worthy Friend, bear as great a Figure as Actions which are more glittering in the common Estimation. What I would ask of you, is to give us a whole Spectator upon Heroick Virtue in common Life, which may incite Men to the same generous Inclinations, as have by this admirable Person been shewn to, and rais'd in,

Sir, Your most humble Servant.

Mr. Spectator,

I am a Country Gentleman, of a good plentiful Estate, and live as the rest of my Neighbours with great Hospitality. I have been ever reckoned among the Ladies the best Company in the World, and have Access as a sort of Favourite. I never came in Publick but I saluted them, tho' in great Assemblies, all round, where it was seen how genteelly I avoided hampering my Spurs in their Petticoats, while I moved amongst them; and on the other side how prettily they curtsied and received me, standing in proper Rows, and advancing as fast as they saw their Elders, or their Betters, dispatch'd by me. But so it is, Mr. Spectator, that all our good Breeding is of late lost by the unhappy Arrival of a Courtier, or Town Gentleman, who came lately among us: This Person where-ever he came into a Room made a profound Bow, and fell back, then recovered with a soft Air, and made a Bow to the next, and so to one or two more, and then took the Gross of the Room, by passing by them in a continued Bow till he arrived at the Person he thought proper particularly to entertain. This he did with so good a Grace and Assurance, that it is taken for the present Fashion; and there is no young Gentlewoman within several Miles of this Place has been kissed ever since his first Appearance among us. We Country Gentlemen cannot begin again and learn these fine and reserved Airs; and our Conversation is at a Stand, till we have your Judgment for or against Kissing, by way of Civility or Salutation; which is impatiently expected by your Friends of both Sexes, but by none so much as

Your humble Servant,

Rustick Sprightly.

December 3, 1711.

Mr. Spectator,

I was the other Night at Philaster1, where I expected to hear your famous Trunk-maker, but was happily disappointed of his Company, and saw another Person who had the like Ambition to distinguish himself in a noisy manner, partly by Vociferation or talking loud, and partly by his bodily Agility. This was a very lusty Fellow, but withal a sort of Beau, who getting into one of the Side-boxes on the Stage before the Curtain drew, was disposed to shew the whole Audience his Activity by leaping over the Spikes; he pass'd from thence to one of the entering Doors, where he took Snuff with a tolerable good Grace, display'd his fine Cloaths, made two or three feint Passes at the Curtain with his Cane, then faced about and appear'd at t'other Door: Here he affected to survey the whole House, bow'd and smil'd at random, and then shew'd his Teeth, which were some of them indeed very white: After this he retired behind the Curtain, and obliged us with several Views of his Person from every Opening.

During the Time of Acting, he appear'd frequently in the Prince's Apartment, made one at the Hunting-match, and was very forward in the Rebellion. If there were no Injunctions to the contrary, yet this Practice must be confess'd to diminish the Pleasure of the Audience, and for that Reason presumptuous and unwarrantable: But since her Majesty's late Command has made it criminal2, you have Authority to take Notice of it.

Sir, Your humble Servant,

Charles Easy.

Footnote 1:   Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster had been acted on the preceding Friday, Nov. 30. The Hunt is in the Fourth Act, the Rebellion in the Fifth.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   At this time there had been added to the playbills the line
By her Majesty's Command no Person is to be admitted behind the Scenes.

Contents, p.2

No. 241

Thursday, December 6, 1711


—Semperque relinqui
Sola sibi, semper longam incomitata videtur
Ire viam—


Mr. Spectator,

Though you have considered virtuous Love inmost of its Distresses, I do not remember that you have given us any Dissertation upon the Absence of Lovers, or laid down any Methods how they should support themselves under those long Separations which they are sometimes forced to undergo. I am at present in this unhappy Circumstance, having parted with the best of Husbands, who is abroad in the Service of his Country, and may not possibly return for some Years. His warm and generous Affection while we were together, with the Tenderness which he expressed to me at parting, make his Absence almost insupportable. I think of him every Moment of the Day, and meet him every Night in my Dreams. Every thing I see puts me in mind of him. I apply myself with more than ordinary Diligence to the Care of his Family and his Estate; but this, instead of relieving me, gives me but so many Occasions of wishing for his Return. I frequent the Rooms where I used to converse with him, and not meeting him there, sit down in his Chair, and fall a weeping. I love to read the Books he delighted in, and to converse with the Persons whom he esteemed. I visit his Picture a hundred times a Day, and place myself over-against it whole Hours together. I pass a great part of my Time in the Walks where I used to lean upon his Arm, and recollect in my Mind the Discourses which have there passed between us: I look over the several Prospects and Points of View which we used to survey together, fix my Eye upon the Objects which he has made me take notice of, and call to mind a thousand [agreeable] Remarks which he has made on those Occasions. I write to him by every Conveyance, and contrary to other People, am always in good Humour when an East-Wind blows, because it seldom fails of bringing me a Letter from him. Let me entreat you, Sir, to give me your Advice upon this Occasion, and to let me know how I may relieve my self in this my Widowhood.

I am, Sir, Your most humble Servant,


Absence is what the Poets call Death in Love, and has given Occasion to abundance of beautiful Complaints in those Authors who have treated of this Passion in Verse. Ovid's Epistles are full of them. Otway's Monimia talks very tenderly upon this Subject1.
It was not kind
To leave me like a Turtle, here alone,
To droop and mourn the Absence of my Mate.
When thou art from me, every Place is desert:
And I, methinks, am savage and forlorn.
Thy Presence only 'tis can make me blest,
Heal my unquiet Mind, and tune my Soul.
The Consolations of Lovers on these Occasions are very extraordinary. Besides those mentioned by Asteria, there are many other Motives of Comfort, which are made use of by absent Lovers.

I remember in one of Scudery's Romances, a Couple of honourable Lovers agreed at their parting to set aside one half Hour in the Day to think of each other during a tedious Absence. The Romance tells us, that they both of them punctually observed the Time thus agreed upon; and that whatever Company or Business they were engaged in, they left it abruptly as soon as the Clock warned them to retire. The Romance further adds, That the Lovers expected the Return of this stated Hour with as much Impatience, as if it had been a real Assignation, and enjoyed an imaginary Happiness that was almost as pleasing to them as what they would have found from a real Meeting. It was an inexpressible Satisfaction to these divided Lovers, to be assured that each was at the same time employ'd in the same kind of Contemplation, and making equal Returns of Tenderness and Affection.

If I may be allowed to mention a more serious Expedient for the alleviating of Absence, I shall take notice of one which I have known two Persons practise, who joined Religion to that Elegance of Sentiments with which the Passion of Love generally inspires its Votaries. This was, at the Return of such an Hour, to offer up a certain Prayer for each other, which they had agreed upon before their Parting. The Husband, who is a Man that makes a Figure in the polite World, as well as in his own Family, has often told me, that he could not have supported an Absence of three Years without this Expedient.

Strada, in one of his Prolusions,2 gives an Account of a chimerical Correspondence between two Friends by the Help of a certain Loadstone, which had such Virtue in it, that if it touched two several Needles, when one of the Needles so touched began3, to move, the other, tho' at never so great a Distance, moved at the same Time, and in the same Manner. He tells us, that the two Friends, being each of them possessed of one of these Needles, made a kind of a Dial-plate, inscribing it with the four and twenty Letters, in the same manner as the Hours of the Day are marked upon the ordinary Dial-plate. They then fixed one of the Needles on each of these Plates in such a manner, that it could move round without Impediment, so as to touch any of the four and twenty Letters. Upon their Separating from one another into distant Countries, they agreed to withdraw themselves punctually into their Closets at a certain Hour of the Day, and to converse with one another by means of this their Invention. Accordingly when they were some hundred Miles asunder, each of them shut himself up in his Closet at the Time appointed, and immediately cast his Eye upon his Dial-plate. If he had a mind to write any thing to his Friend, he directed his Needle to every Letter that formed the Words which he had occasion for, making a little Pause at the end of every Word or Sentence, to avoid Confusion. The Friend, in the mean while, saw his own sympathetick Needle moving of itself to every Letter which that of his Correspondent pointed at. By this means they talked together across a whole Continent, and conveyed their Thoughts to one another in an Instant over Cities or Mountains, Seas or Desarts.

If Monsieur Scudery, or any other Writer of Romance, had introduced a Necromancer, who is generally in the Train of a Knight-Errant, making a Present to two Lovers of a Couple of those above-mentioned Needles, the Reader would not have been a little pleased to have seen them corresponding with one another when they were guarded by Spies and Watches, or separated by Castles and Adventures.

In the mean while, if ever this Invention should be revived or put in practice, I would propose, that upon the Lover's Dial-plate there should be written not only the four and twenty Letters, but several entire Words which have always a Place in passionate Epistles, as Flames, Darts, Die, Language, Absence, Cupid, Heart, Eyes, Hang, Drown, and the like. This would very much abridge the Lover's Pains in this way of writing a Letter, as it would enable him to express the most useful and significant Words with a single Touch of the Needle.


Footnote 1:  Orphan, Act II.
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Footnote 2:   In one of Strada's Prolusions he; Lib. II. Prol. 6.

Footnote 3:   begun, and in first reprint.

Contents, p.2

No. 242

Friday, December 7, 1711


Creditur, ex medio quia res arcessit, habere
Sudoris minimum—


Mr. Spectator,

Your Speculations do not so generally prevail over Men's Manners as I could wish. A former Paper of yours1 concerning the Misbehaviour of People, who are necessarily in each other's Company in travelling, ought to have been a lasting Admonition against Transgressions of that Kind: But I had the Fate of your Quaker, in meeting with a rude Fellow in a Stage-Coach, who entertained two or three Women of us (for there was no Man besides himself) with Language as indecent as was ever heard upon the Water. The impertinent Observations which the Coxcomb made upon our Shame and Confusion were such, that it is an unspeakable Grief to reflect upon them. As much as you have declaimed against Duelling, I hope you will do us the Justice to declare, that if the Brute has Courage enough to send to the Place where he saw us all alight together to get rid of him, there is not one of us but has a Lover who shall avenge the Insult. It would certainly be worth your Consideration, to look into the frequent Misfortunes of this kind, to which the Modest and Innocent are exposed, by the licentious Behaviour of such as are as much Strangers to good Breeding as to Virtue. Could we avoid hearing what we do not approve, as easily as we can seeing what is disagreeable, there were some Consolation; but since in a Box at a Play,2 in an Assembly of Ladies, or even in a Pew at Church, it is in the Power of a gross Coxcomb to utter what a Woman cannot avoid hearing, how miserable is her Condition who comes within the Power of such Impertinents? And how necessary is it to repeat Invectives against such a Behaviour? If the Licentious had not utterly forgot what it is to be modest, they would know that offended Modesty labours under one of the greatest Sufferings to which human Life can be exposed. If one of these Brutes could reflect thus much, tho' they want Shame, they would be moved, by their Pity, to abhor an impudent Behaviour in the Presence of the Chaste and Innocent. If you will oblige us with a Spectator on this Subject, and procure it to be pasted against every Stage-Coach in Great-Britain, as the Law of the Journey, you will highly oblige the whole Sex, for which you have professed so great an Esteem; and in particular, the two Ladies my late Fellow-Sufferers, and,

Sir, Your most humble Servant,

Rebecca Ridinghood.

Mr. Spectator,

The Matter which I am now going to send you, is an unhappy Story in low Life, and will recommend it self, so that you must excuse the Manner of expressing it. A poor idle drunken Weaver in Spittle-Fields has a faithful laborious Wife, who by her Frugality and Industry had laid by her as much Money as purchased her a Ticket in the present Lottery. She had hid this very privately in the Bottom of a Trunk, and had given her Number to a Friend and Confident, who had promised to keep the Secret, and bring her News of the Success. The poor Adventurer was one Day gone abroad, when her careless Husband, suspecting she had saved some Money, searches every Corner, till at length he finds this same Ticket; which he immediately carries abroad, sells, and squanders away the Money without the Wife's suspecting any thing of the Matter. A Day or two after this, this Friend, who was a Woman, comes and brings the Wife word, that she had a Benefit of Five Hundred Pounds. The poor Creature over-joyed, flies up Stairs to her Husband, who was then at Work, and desires him to leave his Loom for that Evening, and come and drink with a Friend of his and hers below. The Man received this chearful Invitation as bad Husbands sometimes do, and after a cross Word or two told her he wou'dn't come. His Wife with Tenderness renewed her Importunity, and at length said to him, My Love! I have within these few Months, unknown to you, scraped together as much Money as has bought us a Ticket in the Lottery, and now here is Mrs. Quick come3 to tell me, that 'tis come up this Morning a Five hundred Pound Prize. The Husband replies immediately, You lye, you Slut, you have no Ticket, for I have sold it. The poor Woman upon this Faints away in a Fit, recovers, and is now run distracted. As she had no Design to defraud her Husband, but was willing only to participate in his good Fortune, every one pities her, but thinks her Husband's Punishment but just. This, Sir, is Matter of Fact, and would, if the Persons and Circumstances were greater, in a well-wrought Play be called Beautiful Distress. I have only sketched it out with Chalk, and know a good Hand can make a moving Picture with worse Materials.

Sir, &c.

Mr. Spectator,

I am what the World calls a warm Fellow, and by good Success in Trade I have raised myself to a Capacity of making some Figure in the World; but no matter for that. I have now under my Guardianship a couple of Nieces, who will certainly make me run mad; which you will not wonder at, when I tell you they are Female Virtuosos, and during the three Years and a half that I have had them under my Care, they never in the least inclined their Thoughts towards any one single Part of the Character of a notable Woman. Whilst they should have been considering the proper Ingredients for a Sack-posset, you should hear a Dispute concerning the magnetick4, Virtue of the Loadstone, or perhaps the Pressure of the Atmosphere: Their Language is peculiar to themselves, and they scorn to express themselves on the meanest Trifle with Words that are not of a Latin Derivation. But this were supportable still, would they suffer me to enjoy an uninterrupted Ignorance; but, unless I fall in with their abstracted Idea of Things (as they call them) I must not expect to smoak one Pipe in Quiet. In a late Fit of the Gout I complained of the Pain of that Distemper when my Niece Kitty begged Leave to assure me, that whatever I might think, several great Philosophers, both ancient and modern, were of Opinion, that both Pleasure and Pain were imaginary Distinctions5, and that there was no such thing as either in rerum Natura. I have often heard them affirm that the Fire was not hot; and one Day when I, with the Authority of an old Fellow, desired one of them to put my blue Cloak on my Knees; she answered, Sir, I will reach the Cloak; but take notice, I do not do it as allowing your Description; for it might as well be called Yellow as Blue; for Colour is nothing but the various Infractions of the Rays of the Sun. Miss Molly told me one Day; That to say Snow was white, is allowing a vulgar Error; for as it contains a great Quantity of nitrous Particles, it might more reasonably be supposed to6 be black. In short, the young Husseys would persuade me, that to believe one's Eyes is a sure way to be deceived; and have often advised me, by no means, to trust any thing so fallible as my Senses. What I have to beg of you now is, to turn one Speculation to the due Regulation of Female Literature, so far at least, as to make it consistent with the Quiet of such whose Fate it is to be liable to its Insults; and to tell us the Difference between a Gentleman that should make Cheesecakes and raise Paste, and a Lady that reads Locke, and understands the Mathematicks. In which you will extreamly oblige

Your hearty Friend and humble Servant,

Abraham Thrifty.

Footnote 1:   [Volume 1 link: No. 132  ].
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   at a Box in a Play, and in first reprint.

Footnote 3:   comes, and in first reprint.

Footnote 4:   magnetical, and in first reprint.

Footnote 5:   Distractions, and in first reprint.

Footnote 6:  may more seasonably, and in first reprint.

Contents, p.2

No. 243

Saturday, December 8, 1711


Formam quidem ipsam, Marce fili, et tanquam faciem Honesti vides: quæ si oculis cerneretur, mirabiles amores (ut ait Plato) excitaret Sapientiæ.—

Tull. Offic.

I do not remember to have read any Discourse written expressly upon the Beauty and Loveliness of Virtue, without considering it as a Duty, and as the Means of making us happy both now and hereafter. I design therefore this Speculation as an Essay upon that Subject, in which I shall consider Virtue no further than as it is in it self of an amiable Nature, after having premised, that I understand by the Word Virtue such a general Notion as is affixed to it by the Writers of Morality, and which by devout Men generally goes under the Name of Religion, and by Men of the World under the Name of Honour.

Hypocrisy it self does great Honour, or rather Justice, to Religion, and tacitly acknowledges it to be an Ornament to human Nature. The Hypocrite would not be at so much Pains to put on the Appearance of Virtue, if he did not know it was the most proper and effectual means to gain the Love and Esteem of Mankind.

We learn from Hierodes, it was a common Saying among the Heathens, that the Wise Man hates no body, but only loves the Virtuous.

Tully has a very beautiful Gradation of Thoughts to shew how amiable Virtue is. We love a virtuous Man, says he, who lives in the remotest Parts of the Earth, though we are altogether out of the Reach of his Virtue, and can receive from it no Manner of Benefit; nay, one who died several Ages ago, raises a secret Fondness and Benevolence for him in our Minds, when we read his Story: Nay, what is still more, one who has been the Enemy of our Country, provided his Wars were regulated by Justice and Humanity, as in the Instance of Pyrrhus whom Tully mentions on this Occasion in Opposition to Hannibal. Such is the natural Beauty and Loveliness of Virtue.

Stoicism, which was the Pedantry of Virtue, ascribes all good Qualifications, of what kind soever, to the virtuous Man. Accordingly Cato1 in the Character Tully has left of him, carried Matters so far, that he would not allow any one but a virtuous Man to be handsome. This indeed looks more like a Philosophical Rant than the real Opinion of a Wise Man; yet this was what Cato very seriously maintained. In short, the Stoics thought they could not sufficiently represent the Excellence of Virtue, if they did not comprehend in the Notion of it all possible Perfection[s]; and therefore did not only suppose, that it was transcendently beautiful in it self, but that it made the very Body amiable, and banished every kind of Deformity from the Person in whom it resided.

It is a common Observation, that the most abandoned to all Sense of Goodness, are apt to wish those who are related to them of a different Character; and it is very observable, that none are more struck with the Charms of Virtue in the fair Sex, than those who by their very Admiration of it are carried to a Desire of ruining it.

A virtuous Mind in a fair Body is indeed a fine Picture in a good Light, and therefore it is no Wonder that it makes the beautiful Sex all over Charms.

As Virtue in general is of an amiable and lovely Nature, there are some particular kinds of it which are more so than others, and these are such as dispose us to do Good to Mankind. Temperance and Abstinence, Faith and Devotion, are in themselves perhaps as laudable as any other Virtues; but those which make a Man popular and beloved, are Justice, Charity, Munificence, and, in short, all the good Qualities that render us beneficial to each other. For which Reason even an extravagant Man, who has nothing else to recommend him but a false Generosity, is often more beloved and esteemed than a Person of a much more finished Character, who is defective in this Particular.

The two great Ornaments of Virtue, which shew her in the most advantageous Views, and make her altogether lovely, are Chearfulness and Good-Nature. These generally go together, as a Man cannot be agreeable to others who is not easy within himself. They are both very requisite in a virtuous Mind, to keep out Melancholy from the many serious Thoughts it is engaged in, and to hinder its natural Hatred of Vice from souring into Severity and Censoriousness.

If Virtue is of this amiable Nature, what can we think of those who can look upon it with an Eye of Hatred and Ill-will, or can suffer their Aversion for a Party to blot out all the Merit of the Person who is engaged in it. A Man must be excessively stupid, as well as uncharitable, who believes that there is no Virtue but on his own Side, and that there are not Men as honest as himself who may differ from him in Political Principles. Men may oppose one another in some Particulars, but ought not to carry their Hatred to those Qualities which are of so amiable a Nature in themselves, and have nothing to do with the Points in Dispute. Men of Virtue, though of different Interests, ought to consider themselves as more nearly united with one another, than with the vicious Part of Mankind, who embark with them in the same civil Concerns. We should bear the same Love towards a Man of Honour, who is a living Antagonist, which Tully tells us in the forementioned Passage every one naturally does to an Enemy that is dead. In short, we should esteem Virtue though in a Foe, and abhor Vice though in a Friend.

I speak this with an Eye to those cruel Treatments which Men of all Sides are apt to give the Characters of those who do not agree with them. How many Persons of undoubted Probity, and exemplary Virtue, on either Side, are blackned and defamed? How many Men of Honour exposed to publick Obloquy and Reproach? Those therefore who are either the Instruments or Abettors in such Infernal Dealings, ought to be looked upon as Persons who make use of Religion to promote their Cause, not of their Cause to promote Religion.


Footnote 1:   we find that Cato &c.
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Contents, p.2

No. 244

Monday, December 10, 1711


—Judex et callidus audis.


Covent-Garden, Dec. 7.

Mr. Spectator,

I cannot, without a double Injustice, forbear expressing to you the Satisfaction which a whole Clan of Virtuosos have received from those Hints which you have lately given the Town on the Cartons of the inimitable Raphael. It1 should be methinks the Business of a Spectator to improve the Pleasures of Sight, and there cannot be a more immediate Way to it than recommending the Study and Observation of excellent Drawings and Pictures. When I first went to view those of Raphael which you have celebrated, I must confess 1 was but barely pleased; the next time I liked them better, but at last as I grew better acquainted with them, I fell deeply in love with them, like wise Speeches they sunk deep into my Heart; for you know, Mr. Spectator, that a Man of Wit may extreamly affect one for the Present, but if he has not Discretion, his Merit soon vanishes away, while a Wise Man that has not so great a Stock of Wit, shall nevertheless give you a far greater and more lasting Satisfaction: Just so it is in a Picture that is smartly touched but not well studied; one may call it a witty Picture, tho' the Painter in the mean time may be in Danger of being called a Fool. On the other hand, a Picture that is thoroughly understood in the Whole, and well performed in the Particulars, that is begun on the Foundation of Geometry, carried on by the Rules of Perspective, Architecture, and Anatomy, and perfected by a good Harmony, a just and natural Colouring, and such Passions and Expressions of the Mind as are almost peculiar to Raphael; this is what you may justly style a wise Picture, and which seldom fails to strike us Dumb, till we can assemble all our Faculties to make but a tolerable Judgment upon it. Other Pictures are made for the Eyes only, as Rattles are made for Childrens Ears; and certainly that Picture that only pleases the Eye, without representing some well-chosen Part of Nature or other, does but shew what fine Colours are to be sold at the Colour-shop, and mocks the Works of the Creator. If the best Imitator of Nature is not to be esteemed the best Painter, but he that makes the greatest Show and Glare of Colours; it will necessarily follow, that he who can array himself in the most gaudy Draperies is best drest, and he that can speak loudest the best Orator. Every Man when he looks on a Picture should examine it according to that share of Reason he is Master of, or he will be in Danger of making a wrong Judgment. If Men as they walk abroad would make more frequent Observations on those Beauties of Nature which every Moment present themselves to their View, they would be better Judges when they saw her well imitated at home: This would help to correct those Errors which most Pretenders fall into, who are over hasty in their Judgments, and will not stay to let Reason come in for a share in the Decision. 'Tis for want of this that Men mistake in this Case, and in common Life, a wild extravagant Pencil for one that is truly bold and great, an impudent Fellow for a Man of true Courage and Bravery, hasty and unreasonable Actions for Enterprizes of Spirit and Resolution, gaudy Colouring for that which is truly beautiful, a false and insinuating Discourse for simple Truth elegantly recommended. The Parallel will hold through all the Parts of Life and Painting too; and the Virtuosos above-mentioned will be glad to see you draw it with your Terms of Art. As the Shadows in Picture represent the serious or melancholy, so the Lights do the bright and lively Thoughts: As there should be but one forcible Light in a Picture which should catch the Eye and fall on the Hero, so there should be but one Object of our Love, even the Author of Nature. These and the like Reflections well improved, might very much contribute to open the Beauty of that Art, and prevent young People from being poisoned by the ill Gusto of an extravagant Workman that should be imposed upon us.
I am, Sir,
Your most humble Servant

Mr. Spectator,

Though I am a Woman, yet I am one of those who confess themselves highly pleased with a Speculation you obliged the World with some time ago2, from an old Greek Poet you call Simonides, in relation to the several Natures and Distinctions of our own Sex. I could not but admire how justly the Characters of Women in this Age, fall in with the Times of Simonides, there being no one of those Sorts I have not at some time or other of my Life met with a Sample of. But, Sir, the Subject of this present Address, are a Set of Women comprehended, I think, in the Ninth Specie of that Speculation, called the Apes; the Description of whom I find to be, "That they are such as are both ugly and ill-natured, who have nothing beautiful themselves, and endeavour to detract from or ridicule every thing that appears so in others." Now, Sir, this Sect, as I have been told, is very frequent in the great Town where you live; but as my Circumstance of Life obliges me to reside altogether in the Country, though not many Miles from London, I can't have met with a great Number of 'em, nor indeed is it a desirable Acquaintance, as I have lately found by Experience. You must know, Sir, that at the Beginning of this Summer a Family of these Apes came and settled for the Season not far from the Place where I live. As they were Strangers in the Country, they were visited by the Ladies about 'em, of whom I was, with an Humanity usual in those that pass most of their Time in Solitude. The Apes lived with us very agreeably our own Way till towards the End of the Summer, when they began to bethink themselves of returning to Town; then it was, Mr. Spectator, that they began to set themselves about the proper and distinguishing Business of their Character; and, as 'tis said of evil Spirits, that they are apt to carry away a Piece of the House they are about to leave, the Apes, without Regard to common Mercy, Civility, or Gratitude, thought fit to mimick and fall foul on the Faces, Dress, and Behaviour of their innocent Neighbours, bestowing abominable Censures and disgraceful Appellations, commonly called Nicknames, on all of them; and in short, like true fine Ladies, made their honest Plainness and Sincerity Matter of Ridicule. I could not but acquaint you with these Grievances, as well at the Desire of all the Parties injur'd, as from my own Inclination. I hope, Sir, if you can't propose entirely to reform this Evil, you will take such Notice of it in some of your future Speculations, as may put the deserving Part of our Sex on their Guard against these Creatures; and at the same time the Apes may be sensible, that this sort of Mirth is so far from an innocent Diversion, that it is in the highest Degree that Vice which is said to comprehend all others3.

I am, Sir, Your humble Servant,

Constantia Field.

Footnote 1:   In No. 226. Signor Dorigny's scheme was advertised in Nos. 205, 206, 207, 208, and 210.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   No. 209.

Footnote 3:   Ingratitude.
Ingratum si dixeris, omnia dixeris.

Contents, p.2

No. 245

Tuesday, December 11, 1711


Ficta Voluptatis causâ sint proxima Veris.


There is nothing which one regards so much with an Eye of Mirth and Pity as Innocence, when it has in it a Dash of Folly. At the same time that one esteems the Virtue, one is tempted to laugh at the Simplicity which accompanies it. When a Man is made up wholly of the Dove, without the least Grain of the Serpent in his Composition, he becomes ridiculous in many Circumstances of Life, and very often discredits his best Actions. The Cordeliers tell a Story of their Founder St. Francis, that as he passed the Streets in the Dusk of the Evening, he discovered a young Fellow with a Maid in a Corner; upon which the good Man, say they, lifted up his Hands to Heaven with a secret Thanksgiving, that there was still so much Christian Charity in the World. The Innocence of the Saint made him mistake the Kiss of a Lover for a Salute of Charity. I am heartily concerned when I see a virtuous Man without a competent Knowledge of the World; and if there be any Use in these my Papers, it is this, that without presenting Vice under any false alluring Notions, they give my Reader an Insight into the Ways of Men, and represent human Nature in all its changeable Colours. The Man who has not been engaged in any of the Follies of the World, or, as Shakespear expresses it, hackney'd in the Ways of Men, may here find a Picture of its Follies and Extravagancies. The Virtuous and the Innocent may know in Speculation what they could never arrive at by Practice, and by this Means avoid the Snares of the Crafty, the Corruptions of the Vicious, and the Reasonings of the Prejudiced. Their Minds may be opened without being vitiated.

It is with an Eye to my following Correspondent, Mr. Timothy Doodle, who seems a very well-meaning Man, that I have written this short Preface, to which I shall subjoin a Letter from the said Mr. Doodle.


I could heartily wish that you would let us know your Opinion upon several innocent Diversions which are in use among us, and which are very proper to pass away a Winter Night for those who do not care to throw away their Time at an Opera, or at the Play-house. I would gladly know in particular, what Notion you have of Hot-Cockles; as also whether you think that Questions and Commands, Mottoes, Similes, and Cross-Purposes have not more Mirth and Wit in them, than those publick Diversions which are grown so very fashionable among us. If you would recommend to our Wives and Daughters, who read your Papers with a great deal of Pleasure, some of those Sports and Pastimes that may be practised within Doors, and by the Fire-side, we who are Masters of Families should be hugely obliged to you. I need not tell you that I would have these Sports and Pastimes not only merry but innocent, for which Reason I have not mentioned either Whisk or Lanterloo, nor indeed so much as One and Thirty. After having communicated to you my Request upon this Subject, I will be so free as to tell you how my Wife and I pass away these tedious Winter Evenings with a great deal of Pleasure. Tho' she be young and handsome, and good-humoured to a Miracle, she does not care for gadding abroad like others of her Sex. There is a very friendly Man, a Colonel in the Army, whom I am mightily obliged to for his Civilities, that comes to see me almost every Night; for he is not one of those giddy young Fellows that cannot live out of a Play-house. When we are together, we very often make a Party at Blind-Man's Buff, which is a Sport that I like the better, because there is a good deal of Exercise in it. The Colonel and I are blinded by Turns, and you would laugh your Heart out to see what Pains my Dear takes to hoodwink us, so that it is impossible for us to see the least Glimpse of Light. The poor Colonel sometimes hits his Nose against a Post, and makes us die with laughing. I have generally the good Luck not to hurt myself, but am very often above half an Hour before I can catch either of them; for you must know we hide ourselves up and down in Corners, that we may have the more Sport. I only give you this Hint as a Sample of such Innocent Diversions as I would have you recommend; and am,
Most esteemed Sir, your ever loving Friend,
Timothy Doodle.

The following Letter was occasioned by my last Thursday's Paper upon the Absence of Lovers, and the Methods therein mentioned of making such Absence supportable.


Among the several Ways of Consolation which absent Lovers make use of while their Souls are in that State of Departure, which you say is Death in Love, there are some very material ones that have escaped your Notice. Among these, the first and most received is a crooked Shilling, which has administered great Comfort to our Forefathers, and is still made use of on this Occasion with very good Effect in most Parts of Her Majesty's Dominions. There are some, I know, who think a Crown-Piece cut into two equal Parts, and preserved by the distant Lovers, is of more sovereign Virtue than the former. But since Opinions are divided in this Particular, why may not the same Persons make use of both? The Figure of a Heart, whether cut in Stone or cast in Metal, whether bleeding upon an Altar, stuck with Darts, or held in the Hand of a Cupid, has always been looked upon as Talismanick in Distresses of this Nature. I am acquainted with many a brave Fellow, who carries his Mistress in the Lid of his Snuff-box, and by that Expedient has supported himself under the Absence of a whole Campaign. For my own Part, I have tried all these Remedies, but never found so much Benefit from any as from a Ring, in which my Mistress's Hair is platted together very artificially in a kind of True-Lover's Knot. As I have received great Benefit from this Secret, I think myself obliged to communicate it to the Publick, for the Good of my Fellow-Subjects. I desire you will add this Letter as an Appendix to your Consolations upon Absence, and am, Your very humble Servant,
T. B.

I shall conclude this Paper with a Letter from an University Gentleman, occasioned by my last Tuesday's Paper, wherein I gave some Account of the great Feuds which happened formerly in those learned Bodies, between the modern Greeks and Trojans.

Sir, This will give you to understand, that there is at present in the Society, whereof I am a Member, a very considerable Body of Trojans, who, upon a proper Occasion, would not fail to declare ourselves. In the mean while we do all we can to annoy our Enemies by Stratagem, and are resolved by the first Opportunity to attack Mr. Joshua Barnes1, whom we look upon as the Achilles of the opposite Party. As for myself, I have had the Reputation ever since I came from School, of being a trusty Trojan, and am resolved never to give Quarter to the smallest Particle of Greek, where-ever I chance to meet it. It is for this Reason I take it very ill of you, that you sometimes hang out Greek Colours at the Head of your Paper, and sometimes give a Word of the Enemy even in the Body of it. When I meet with any thing of this nature, I throw down your Speculations upon the Table, with that Form of Words which we make use of when we declare War upon an Author. Græcum est, non potest legi.2 I give you this Hint, that you may for the future abstain from any such Hostilities at your Peril.


Footnote 1:   Professor of Greek at Cambridge, who edited Homer, Euripides, Anacreon, &c., and wrote in Greek verse a History of Esther. He died in 1714.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:  
It is Greek. It cannot be read.
This passed into a proverb from Franciscus Accursius, a famous Jurisconsult and son of another Accursius, who was called the Idol of the Jurisconsults. Franciscus Accursius was a learned man of the 13th century, who, in expounding Justinian, whenever he came to one of Justinian's quotations from Homer, said Græcum est, nec potest legi. Afterwards, in the first days of the revival of Greek studies in Europe, it was often said, as reported by Claude d'Espence, for example, that to know anything of Greek made a man suspected, to know anything of Hebrew almost made him a heretic.

Contents, p.2

No. 246

Wednesday, December 12, 1711


Greek: Ouch ara soi ge patàer aen ippóra Paeleùs
Oudè Thétis máetaer, glaukàe dè d' étikte thálassa
Pétrai t' aelíbatoi, hóti toi nóos estìn apaenàes.

Mr. Spectator,

As your Paper is Part of the Equipage of the Tea-Table, I conjure you to print what I now write to you; for I have no other Way to communicate what I have to say to the fair Sex on the most important Circumstance of Life, even the Care of Children. I do not understand that you profess your Paper is always to consist of Matters which are only to entertain the Learned and Polite, but that it may agree with your Design to publish some which may tend to the Information of Mankind in general; and when it does so, you do more than writing Wit and Humour. Give me leave then to tell you, that of all the Abuses that ever you have as yet endeavoured to reform, certainly not one wanted so much your Assistance as the Abuse in nursing1 Children. It is unmerciful to see, that a Woman endowed with all the Perfections and Blessings of Nature, can, as soon as she is delivered, turn off her innocent, tender, and helpless Infant, and give it up to a Woman that is (ten thousand to one) neither in Health nor good Condition, neither sound in Mind nor Body, that has neither Honour nor Reputation, neither Love nor Pity for the poor Babe, but more Regard for the Money than for the whole Child, and never will take further Care of it than what by all the Encouragement of Money and Presents she is forced to; like Æsop's Earth, which would not nurse the Plant of another Ground, altho' never so much improved, by reason that Plant was not of its own Production. And since another's Child is no more natural to a Nurse than a Plant to a strange and different Ground, how can it be supposed that the Child should thrive? and if it thrives, must it not imbibe the gross Humours and Qualities of the Nurse, like a Plant in a different Ground, or like a Graft upon a different Stock? Do not we observe, that a Lamb sucking a Goat changes very much its Nature, nay even its Skin and Wooll into the Goat Kind? The Power of a Nurse over a Child, by infusing into it, with her Milk, her Qualities and Disposition, is sufficiently and daily observed: Hence came that old Saying concerning an ill-natured and malicious Fellow, that he had imbibed his Malice with his Nurse's Milk, or that some Brute or other had been his Nurse. Hence Romulus and Remus were said to have been nursed by a Wolf, Telephus the Son of Hercules by a Hind, Pelias the Son of Neptune by a Mare, and Ægisthus by a Goat; not that they had actually suck'd such Creatures, as some Simpletons have imagin'd, but that their Nurses had been of such a Nature and Temper, and infused such into them.

'Many Instances may be produced from good Authorities and daily Experience, that Children actually suck in the several Passions and depraved Inclinations of their Nurses, as Anger, Malice, Fear, Melancholy, Sadness, Desire, and Aversion. This Diodorus, lib. 2, witnesses, when he speaks, saying, That Nero the Emperor's Nurse had been very much addicted to Drinking; which Habit Nero received from his Nurse, and was so very particular in this, that the People took so much notice of it, as instead of Tiberius Nero, they call'd him Biberius Mero. The same Diodorus also relates of Caligula, Predecessor to Nero, that his Nurse used to moisten the Nipples of her Breast frequently with Blood, to make Caligula take the better Hold of them; which, says Diodorus, was the Cause that made him so blood-thirsty and cruel all his Life-time after, that he not only committed frequent Murder by his own Hand, but likewise wished that all human Kind wore but one Neck, that he might have the Pleasure to cut it off. Such like Degeneracies astonish the Parents, who not knowing after whom the Child can take, see2 one to incline to Stealing, another to Drinking, Cruelty, Stupidity; yet all these are not minded. Nay it is easy to demonstrate, that a Child, although it be born from the best of Parents, may be corrupted by an ill-tempered Nurse. How many Children do we see daily brought into Fits, Consumptions, Rickets, &c., merely by sucking their Nurses when in a Passion or Fury? But indeed almost any Disorder of the Nurse is a Disorder to the Child, and few Nurses can be found in this Town but what labour under some Distemper or other. The first Question that is generally asked a young Woman that wants to be a Nurse, Why3 she should be a Nurse to other People's Children; is answered, by her having an ill Husband, and that she must make Shift to live. I think now this very Answer is enough to give any Body a Shock if duly considered; for an ill Husband may, or ten to one if he does not, bring home to his Wife an ill Distemper, or at least Vexation and Disturbance. Besides as she takes the Child out of meer Necessity, her Food will be accordingly, or else very coarse at best; whence proceeds an ill-concocted and coarse Food for the Child; for as the Blood, so is the Milk; and hence I am very well assured proceeds the Scurvy, the Evil, and many other Distempers. I beg of you, for the Sake of the many poor Infants that may and will be saved, by weighing this Case seriously, to exhort the People with the utmost Vehemence to let the Children suck their own Mothers4, both for the Benefit of Mother and Child. For the general Argument, that a Mother is weakned by giving suck to her Children, is vain and simple; I will maintain that the Mother grows stronger by it, and will have her Health better than she would have otherwise: She will find it the greatest Cure and Preservative for the Vapours and future Miscarriages, much beyond any other Remedy whatsoever: Her Children will be like Giants, whereas otherwise they are but living Shadows and like unripe Fruit; and certainly if a Woman is strong enough to bring forth a Child, she is beyond all Doubt strong enough to nurse it afterwards. It grieves me to observe and consider how many poor Children are daily ruin'd by careless Nurses; and yet how tender ought they to be of a poor Infant, since the least Hurt or Blow, especially upon the Head, may make it senseless, stupid, or otherwise miserable for ever?

'But I cannot well leave this Subject as yet; for it seems to me very unnatural, that a Woman that has fed a Child as Part of her self for nine Months, should have no Desire to nurse it farther, when brought to Light and before her Eyes, and when by its Cry it implores her Assistance and the Office of a Mother. Do not the very cruellest of Brutes tend their young ones with all the Care and Delight imaginable? For how can she be call'd a Mother that will not nurse her young ones? The Earth is called the Mother of all Things, not because she produces, but because she maintains and nurses what she produces. The Generation of the Infant is the Effect of Desire, but the Care of it argues Virtue and Choice. I am not ignorant but that there are some Cases of Necessity where a Mother cannot give Suck, and then out of two Evils the least must be chosen; but there are so very few, that I am sure in a Thousand there is hardly one real Instance; for if a Woman does but know that her Husband can spare about three or six Shillings a Week extraordinary, (altho' this is but seldom considered) she certainly, with the Assistance of her Gossips, will soon perswade the good Man to send the Child to Nurse, and easily impose upon him by pretending In-disposition. This Cruelty is supported by Fashion, and Nature gives Place to Custom.
Sir, Your humble Servant.

Footnote 1:   nursing of, and in first reprint.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   seeing, and in 1st r.

Footnote 3:   is, why, and in 1st. r.

Footnote 4:   Mother,

Contents, p.2

No. 247

Thursday, December 13, 1711


Greek: —Tôn d' akámatos rhéei audàe Ek stomátôn haedeia—Hes.

We are told by some antient Authors, that Socrates was instructed in Eloquence by a Woman, whose Name, if I am not mistaken, was Aspasia. I have indeed very often looked upon that Art as the most proper for the Female Sex, and I think the Universities would do well to consider whether they should not fill the Rhetorick Chairs with She Professors.

It has been said in the Praise of some Men, that they could Talk whole Hours together upon any Thing; but it must be owned to the Honour of the other Sex, that there are many among them who can Talk whole Hours together upon Nothing. I have known a Woman branch out into a long Extempore Dissertation upon the Edging of a Petticoat, and chide her Servant for breaking a China Cup, in all the Figures of Rhetorick.

Were Women admitted to plead in Courts of Judicature, I am perswaded they would carry the Eloquence of the Bar to greater Heights than it has yet arrived at. If any one doubts this, let him but be present at those Debates which frequently arise among the Ladies of the1 British Fishery.

The first Kind therefore of Female Orators which I shall take notice of, are those who are employed in stirring up the Passions, a Part of Rhetorick in which Socrates his Wife had perhaps made a greater Proficiency than his above-mentioned Teacher.

The second Kind of Female Orators are those who deal in Invectives, and who are commonly known by the Name of the Censorious. The Imagination and Elocution of this Set of Rhetoricians is wonderful. With what a Fluency of Invention, and Copiousness of Expression, will they enlarge upon every little Slip in the Behaviour of another? With how many different Circumstances, and with what Variety of Phrases, will they tell over the same Story? I have known an old Lady make an unhappy Marriage the Subject of a Month's Conversation. She blamed the Bride in one Place; pitied her in another; laughed at her in a third; wondered at her in a fourth; was angry with her in a fifth; and in short, wore out a Pair of Coach-Horses in expressing her Concern for her. At length, after having quite exhausted the Subject on this Side, she made a Visit to the new-married Pair, praised the Wife for the prudent Choice she had made, told her the unreasonable Reflections which some malicious People had cast upon her, and desired that they might be better acquainted. The Censure and Approbation of this Kind of Women are therefore only to be consider'd as Helps to Discourse.

A third Kind of Female Orators may be comprehended under the Word Gossips. Mrs. Fiddle Faddle is perfectly accomplished in this Sort of Eloquence; she launches out into Descriptions of Christenings, runs Divisions upon an Headdress, knows every Dish of Meat that is served up in her Neighbourhood, and entertains her Company a whole Afternoon together with the Wit of her little Boy, before he is able to speak.

The Coquet may be looked upon as a fourth Kind of Female Orator. To give her self the larger Field for Discourse, she hates and loves in the same Breath, talks to her Lap-dog or Parrot, is uneasy in all kinds of Weather, and in every Part of the Room: She has false Quarrels and feigned Obligations to all the Men of her Acquaintance; sighs when she is not sad, and Laughs when she is not Merry. The Coquet is in particular a great Mistress of that Part of Oratory which is called Action, and indeed seems to speak for no other Purpose, but as it gives her an Opportunity of stirring a Limb, or varying a Feature, of glancing her Eyes, or playing with her Fan.

As for News-mongers, Politicians, Mimicks, Story-Tellers, with other Characters of that nature, which give Birth to Loquacity, they are as commonly found among the Men as the Women; for which Reason I shall pass them over in Silence.

I have often been puzzled to assign a Cause why Women should have this Talent of a ready Utterance in so much greater Perfection than Men. I have sometimes fancied that they have not a retentive Power, or the Faculty of suppressing their Thoughts, as Men have, but that they are necessitated to speak every Thing they think, and if so, it would perhaps furnish a very strong Argument to the Cartesians, for the supporting of their Doctrine2, that the Soul always thinks. But as several are of Opinion that the Fair Sex are not altogether Strangers to the Art of Dissembling and concealing their Thoughts, I have been forced to relinquish that Opinion, and have therefore endeavoured to seek after some better Reason. In order to it, a Friend of mine, who is an excellent Anatomist, has promised me by the first Opportunity to dissect a Woman's Tongue, and to examine whether there may not be in it certain Juices which render it so wonderfully voluble or3 flippant, or whether the Fibres of it may not be made up of a finer or more pliant Thread, or whether there are not in it some particular Muscles which dart it up and down by such sudden Glances and Vibrations; or whether in the last Place, there may not be certain undiscovered Channels running from the Head and the Heart, to this little Instrument of Loquacity, and conveying into it a perpetual Affluence of animal Spirits. Nor must I omit the Reason which Hudibras has given, why those who can talk on Trifles speak with the greatest Fluency; namely, that the Tongue is like a Race-Horse, which runs the faster the lesser Weight it carries.

Which of these Reasons soever may be looked upon as the most probable, I think the Irishman's Thought was very natural, who after some Hours Conversation with a Female Orator, told her, that he believed her Tongue was very glad when she was asleep, for that it had not a Moment's Rest all the while she was awake.

That excellent old Ballad of The Wanton Wife of Bath has the following remarkable Lines.
I think, quoth Thomas, Womens Tongues Of Aspen Leaves are made.
And Ovid, though in the Description of a very barbarous Circumstance, tells us, That when the Tongue of a beautiful Female was cut out, and thrown upon the Ground, it could not forbear muttering even in that Posture.
—Comprensam forcipe linguam
Abstulit ense fero. Radix micat ultima linguæ,
Ipsa jacet, terræque tremens immurmurat atræ;
Utque salire solet mutilatæ cauda colubræ
If a tongue would be talking without a Mouth, what could it have done when it had all its Organs of Speech, and Accomplices of Sound about it? I might here mention the Story of the Pippin-Woman, had not I some Reason to look upon it as fabulous.

I must confess I am so wonderfully charmed with the Musick of this little Instrument, that I would by no Means discourage it. All that I aim at by this Dissertation is, to cure it of several disagreeable Notes, and in particular of those little Jarrings and Dissonances which arise from Anger, Censoriousness, Gossiping and Coquetry. In short, I would always have it tuned by Good-Nature, Truth, Discretion and Sincerity.


Footnote 1:   that belong to our
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Opinion,

Footnote 3:   and

Footnote 4:   Met. I. 6, v. 556.

Contents, p.2

No. 248

Friday, December 14, 1711


Hoc maximè Officii est, ut quisque maximè opis indigeat, ita ei potissimùm opitulari.


There are none who deserve Superiority over others in the Esteem of Mankind, who do not make it their Endeavour to be beneficial to Society; and who upon all Occasions which their Circumstances of Life can administer, do not take a certain unfeigned Pleasure in conferring Benefits of one kind or other. Those whose great Talents and high Birth have placed them in conspicuous Stations of Life, are indispensably obliged to exert some noble Inclinations for the Service of the World, or else such Advantages become Misfortunes, and Shade and Privacy are a more eligible Portion. Where Opportunities and Inclinations are given to the same Person, we sometimes see sublime Instances of Virtue, which so dazzle our Imaginations, that we look with Scorn on all which in lower Scenes of Life we may our selves be able to practise. But this is a vicious Way of Thinking; and it bears some Spice of romantick Madness, for a Man to imagine that he must grow ambitious, or seek Adventures, to be able to do great Actions. It is in every Man's Power in the World who is above meer Poverty, not only to do Things worthy but heroick. The great Foundation of civil Virtue is Self-Denial; and there is no one above the Necessities of Life, but has Opportunities of exercising that noble Quality, and doing as much as his Circumstances will bear for the Ease and Convenience of other Men; and he who does more than ordinarily Men practise upon such Occasions as occur in his Life, deserves the Value of his Friends as if he had done Enterprizes which are usually attended with the highest Glory. Men of publick Spirit differ rather in their Circumstances than their Virtue; and the Man who does all he can in a low Station, is more a1 Hero than he who omits any worthy Action he is able to accomplish in a great one. It is not many Years ago since Lapirius, in Wrong of his elder Brother, came to a great Estate by Gift of his Father, by reason of the dissolute Behaviour of the First-born. Shame and Contrition reformed the Life of the disinherited Youth, and he became as remarkable for his good Qualities as formerly for his Errors. Lapirius, who observed his Brother's Amendment, sent him on a New-Years Day in the Morning the following Letter:
Honoured Brother,

I enclose to you the Deeds whereby my Father gave me this House and Land: Had he lived 'till now, he would not have bestowed it in that Manner; he took it from the Man you were, and I restore it to the Man you are. I am,

Your affectionate Brother, and humble Servant,

P. T.
As great and exalted Spirits undertake the Pursuit of hazardous Actions for the Good of others, at the same Time gratifying their Passion for Glory; so do worthy Minds in the domestick Way of Life deny themselves many Advantages, to satisfy a generous Benevolence which they bear to their Friends oppressed with Distresses and Calamities. Such Natures one may call Stores of Providence, which are actuated by a secret Celestial Influence to undervalue the ordinary Gratifications of Wealth, to give Comfort to an Heart loaded with Affliction, to save a falling Family, to preserve a Branch of Trade in their Neighbourhood, and give Work to the Industrious, preserve the Portion of the helpless Infant, and raise the Head of the mourning Father. People whose Hearts are wholly bent towards Pleasure, or intent upon Gain, never hear of the noble Occurrences among Men of Industry and Humanity. It would look like a City Romance, to tell them of the generous Merchant who the other Day sent this Billet to an eminent Trader under Difficulties to support himself, in whose Fall many hundreds besides himself had perished; but because I think there is more Spirit and true Gallantry in it than in any Letter I have ever read from Strepkon to Phillis, I shall insert it even in the mercantile honest Stile in which it was sent.

'I Have heard of the Casualties which have involved you in extreme Distress at this Time; and knowing you to be a Man of great Good-Nature, Industry and Probity, have resolved to stand by you. Be of good Chear, the Bearer brings with him five thousand Pounds, and has my Order to answer your drawing as much more on my Account. I did this in Haste, for fear I should come too late for your Relief; but you may value your self with me to the Sum of fifty thousand Pounds; for I can very chearfully run the Hazard of being so much less rich than I am now, to save an honest Man whom I love.

Your Friend and Servant,
W. S.2
I think there is somewhere in Montaigne Mention made of a Family-book, wherein all the Occurrences that happened from one Generation of that House to another were recorded. Were there such a Method in the Families, which are concerned in this Generosity, it would be an hard Task for the greatest in Europe to give, in their own, an Instance of a Benefit better placed, or conferred with a more graceful Air. It has been heretofore urged, how barbarous and inhuman is any unjust Step made to the Disadvantage of a Trader; and by how much such an Act towards him is detestable, by so much an Act of Kindness towards him is laudable. I remember to have heard a Bencher of the Temple tell a Story of a Tradition in their House, where they had formerly a Custom of chusing Kings for such a Season, and allowing him his Expences at the Charge of the Society: One of our Kings, said my Friend, carried his Royal Inclination a little too far, and there was a Committee ordered to look into the Management of his Treasury. Among other Things it appeared, that his Majesty walking incog, in the Cloister, had overheard a poor Man say to another, Such a small Sum would make me the happiest Man in the World. The King out of his Royal Compassion privately inquired into his Character, and finding him a proper Object of Charity, sent him the Money. When the Committee read their Report, the House passed his Account with a Plaudite without further Examination, upon the Recital of this Article in them.

For making a Man happy: £ s. d.
10 0 0


Footnote 1:   an
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   W. P. corrected by an Erratum in No. 152 to W.S.

Contents, p.2

No. 249

Saturday, December 15, 1711


Greek: Gélôs akairos en brotois deinòn kakòn.

When I make Choice of a Subject that has not been treated on by others, I throw together my Reflections on it without any Order or Method, so that they may appear rather in the Looseness and Freedom of an Essay, than in the Regularity of a Set Discourse. It is after this Manner that I shall consider Laughter and Ridicule in my present Paper.

Man is the merriest Species of the Creation, all above and below him are Serious. He sees things in a different Light from other Beings, and finds his Mirth arising from Objects that perhaps cause something like Pity or Displeasure in higher Natures. Laughter is indeed a very good Counterpoise to the Spleen; and it seems but reasonable that we should be capable of receiving Joy from what is no real Good to us, since we can receive Grief from what is no real Evil.

I have in my [Volume 1 link:Forty-seventh Paper] raised a Speculation on the Notion of a Modern Philosopher1, who describes the first Motive of Laughter to be a secret Comparison which we make between our selves, and the Persons we laugh at; or, in other Words, that Satisfaction which we receive from the Opinion of some Pre-eminence in our selves, when we see the Absurdities of another or when we reflect on any past Absurdities of our own. This seems to hold in most Cases, and we may observe that the vainest Part of Mankind are the most addicted to this Passion.

I have read a Sermon of a Conventual in the Church of Rome, on those Words of the Wise Man, I said of Laughter, it is mad; and of Mirth, what does it? Upon which he laid it down as a Point of Doctrine, that Laughter was the Effect of Original Sin, and that Adam could not laugh before the Fall.

Laughter, while it lasts, slackens and unbraces the Mind, weakens the Faculties, and causes a kind of Remissness and Dissolution in all the Powers of the Soul: And thus far it may be looked upon as a Weakness in the Composition of Human Nature. But if we consider the frequent Reliefs we receive from it, and how often it breaks the Gloom which is apt to depress the Mind and damp our Spirits, with transient unexpected Gleams of Joy, one would take care not to grow too Wise for so great a Pleasure of Life.

The Talent of turning Men into Ridicule, and exposing to Laughter those one converses with, is the Qualification of little ungenerous Tempers. A young Man with this Cast of Mind cuts himself off from all manner of Improvement. Every one has his Flaws and Weaknesses; nay, the greatest Blemishes are often found in the most shining Characters; but what an absurd Thing is it to pass over all the valuable Parts of a Man, and fix our Attention on his Infirmities to observe his Imperfections more than his Virtues; and to make use of him for the Sport of others, rather than for our own Improvement?

We therefore very often find, that Persons the most accomplished in Ridicule are those who are very shrewd at hitting a Blot, without exerting any thing masterly in themselves. As there are many eminent Criticks who never writ a good Line, there are many admirable Buffoons that animadvert upon every single Defect in another, without ever discovering the least Beauty of their own. By this Means, these unlucky little Wits often gain Reputation in the Esteem of Vulgar Minds, and raise themselves above Persons of much more laudable Characters.

If the Talent of Ridicule were employed to laugh Men out of Vice and Folly, it might be of some Use to the World; but instead of this, we find that it is generally made use of to laugh Men out of Virtue and good Sense, by attacking every thing that is Solemn and Serious, Decent and Praiseworthy in Human Life.

We may observe, that in the First Ages of the World, when the great Souls and Master-pieces of Human Nature were produced, Men shined by a noble Simplicity of Behaviour, and were Strangers to those little Embellishments which are so fashionable in our present Conversation. And it is very remarkable, that notwithstanding we fall short at present of the Ancients in Poetry, Painting, Oratory, History, Architecture, and all the noble Arts and Sciences which depend more upon Genius than Experience, we exceed them as much in Doggerel, Humour, Burlesque, and all the trivial Arts of Ridicule. We meet with more Raillery among the Moderns, but more Good Sense among the Ancients.

The two great Branches of Ridicule in Writing are Comedy and Burlesque. The first ridicules Persons by drawing them in their proper Characters, the other by drawing them quite unlike themselves. Burlesque is therefore of two kinds; the first represents mean Persons in the Accoutrements of Heroes, the other describes great Persons acting and speaking like the basest among the People. Don Quixote is an Instance of the first, and Lucian's Gods of the second. It is a Dispute among the Criticks, whether Burlesque Poetry runs best in Heroick Verse, like that of the Dispensary;2 or in Doggerel, like that of Hudibras. I think where the low Character is to be raised, the Heroick is the proper Measure; but when an Hero is to be pulled down and degraded, it is done best in Doggerel.

If Hudibras had been set out with as much Wit and Humour in Heroick Verse as he is in Doggerel, he would have made a much more agreeable Figure than he does; though the generality of his Readers are so wonderfully pleased with the double Rhimes, that I do not expect many will be of my Opinion in this Particular.

I shall conclude this Essay upon Laughter with observing that the Metaphor of Laughing, applied to Fields and Meadows when they are in Flower, or to Trees when they are in Blossom, runs through all Languages; which I have not observed of any other Metaphor, excepting that of Fire and Burning when they are applied to Love. This shews that we naturally regard Laughter, as what is in it self both amiable and beautiful. For this Reason likewise Venus has gained the Title of Greek: Philomeídaes the Laughter-loving Dame, as Waller has Translated it, and is represented by Horace as the Goddess who delights in Laughter. Milton, in a joyous Assembly of imaginary Persons3, has given us a very Poetical Figure of Laughter. His whole Band of Mirth is so finely described, that I shall set4 down the Passage at length.
But come thou Goddess fair and free,
In Heaven yeleped
And by Men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely
Venus at a Birth,
With two Sister Graces more,
To Ivy-crowned
Bacchus bore:
Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful jollity,
Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles,
Nods, and Becks, and wreathed Smiles,
Such as hang on
Hebe's Cheek,
And love to live in Dimple sleek:
Sport that wrinkled Care derides,

And Laughter holding both his Sides.
Come, and trip it, as you go,
On the light fantastick Toe:
And in thy right Hand lead with thee
The Mountain Nymph, sweet Liberty;
And if I give thee Honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy Crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved Pleasures free.

Footnote 1:   Hobbes.
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Footnote 2:   Sir Samuel Garth, poet and physician, who was alive at this time (died in 1719), satirized a squabble among the doctors in his poem of the Dispensary.
The piercing Caustics ply their spiteful Pow'r;
Emetics ranch, and been Cathartics sour.
The deadly Drugs in double Doses fly;
And Pestles peal a martial Symphony.

Footnote 3:   L'Allegro.

Footnote 4:   set it

Contents, p.2

No. 250

Monday, December 17, 1711

Disce docendus adhuc, quæ censet amiculus, ut si
Cæcus iter monstrare velit; tamen aspice si quid
Et nos, quod cures proprium fecisse, loquamur.


Mr. Spectator,

'You see the Nature of my Request by the Latin Motto which I address to you. I am very sensible I ought not to use many Words to you, who are one of but few; but the following Piece, as it relates to Speculation in Propriety of Speech, being a Curiosity in its Kind, begs your Patience. It was found in a Poetical Virtuoso's Closet among his Rarities; and since the several Treatises of Thumbs, Ears, and Noses, have obliged the World, this of Eyes is at your Service.

'The first Eye of Consequence (under the invisible Author of all) is the visible Luminary of the Universe. This glorious Spectator is said never to open his Eyes at his Rising in a Morning, without having a whole Kingdom of Adorers in Persian Silk waiting at his Levée. Millions of Creatures derive their Sight from this Original, who, besides his being the great Director of Opticks, is the surest Test whether Eyes be of the same Species with that of an Eagle, or that of an Owl: The one he emboldens with a manly Assurance to look, speak, act or plead before the Faces of a numerous Assembly; the other he dazzles out of Countenance into a sheepish Dejectedness. The Sun-Proof Eye dares lead up a Dance in a full Court; and without blinking at the Lustre of Beauty, can distribute an Eye of proper Complaisance to a Room crowded with Company, each of which deserves particular Regard; while the other sneaks from Conversation, like a fearful Debtor, who never dares to look out, but when he can see no body, and no body him.

The next Instance of Opticks is the famous Argus, who (to speak in the Language of Cambridge) was one of an Hundred; and being used as a Spy in the Affairs of Jealousy, was obliged to have all his Eyes about him. We have no Account of the particular Colours, Casts and Turns of this Body of Eyes; but as he was Pimp for his Mistress Juno, 'tis probable he used all the modern Leers, sly Glances, and other ocular Activities to serve his Purpose. Some look upon him as the then King at Arms to the Heathenish Deities; and make no more of his Eyes than as so many Spangles of his Herald's Coat.

The next upon the Optick List is old Janus, who stood in a double-sighted Capacity, like a Person placed betwixt two opposite Looking-Glasses, and so took a sort of retrospective Cast at one View. Copies of this double-faced Way are not yet out of Fashion with many Professions, and the ingenious Artists pretend to keep up this Species by double-headed Canes and Spoons1; but there is no Mark of this Faculty, except in the emblematical Way of a wise General having an Eye to both Front and Rear, or a pious Man taking a Review and Prospect of his past and future State at the same Time.

I must own, that the Names, Colours, Qualities, and Turns of Eyes vary almost in every Head; for, not to mention the common Appellations of the Black, the Blue, the White, the Gray, and the like; the most remarkable are those that borrow their Titles from Animals, by Vertue of some particular Quality or Resemblance they bear to the Eyes of the respective Creatures; as that of a greedy rapacious Aspect takes its Name from the Cat, that of a sharp piercing Nature from the Hawk, those of an amorous roguish Look derive their Title even from the Sheep, and we say such an one has a Sheep's Eye, not so much to denote the Innocence as the simple Slyness of the Cast: Nor is this metaphorical Inoculation a modern Invention, for we find Homer taking the Freedom to place the Eye of an Ox, Bull, or Cow in one of his principal Goddesses, by that frequent Expression of
Greek: Boôpis pótnia haerae
Now as to the peculiar Qualities of the Eye, that fine Part of our Constitution seems as much the Receptacle and Seat of our Passions, Appetites and Inclinations as the Mind it self; and at least it is the outward Portal to introduce them to the House within, or rather the common Thorough-fare to let our Affections pass in and out. Love, Anger, Pride, and Avarice, all visibly move in those little Orbs. I know a young Lady that can't see a certain Gentleman pass by without shewing a secret Desire of seeing him again by a Dance in her Eye-balls; nay, she can't for the Heart of her help looking Half a Street's Length after any Man in a gay Dress. You can't behold a covetous Spirit walk by a Goldsmith's Shop without casting a wistful Eye at the Heaps upon the Counter. Does not a haughty Person shew the Temper of his Soul in the supercilious Rowl of his Eye? and how frequently in the Height of Passion does that moving Picture in our Head start and stare, gather a Redness and quick Flashes of Lightning, and make all its Humours sparkle with Fire, as Virgil finely describes it.
—Ardentis ab ore
Scintillæ absistunt: oculis micat acribus ignis.
As for the various Turns of the Eye-sight, such as the voluntary or involuntary, the half or the whole Leer, I shall not enter into a very particular Account of them; but let me observe, that oblique Vision, when natural, was anciently the Mark of Bewitchery and magical Fascination, and to this Day 'tis a malignant ill Look; but when 'tis forced and affected it carries a wanton Design, and in Play-houses, and other publick Places, this ocular Intimation is often an Assignation for bad Practices: But this Irregularity in Vision, together with such Enormities as Tipping the Wink, the Circumspective Rowl, the Side-peep through a thin Hood or Fan, must be put in the Class of Heteropticks, as all wrong Notions of Religion are ranked under the general Name of Heterodox. All the pernicious Applications of Sight are more immediately under the Direction of a Spectator; and I hope you will arm your Readers against the Mischiefs which are daily done by killing Eyes, in which you will highly oblige your wounded unknown Friend,
T. B.

Mr. Spectator,

You professed in several Papers your particular Endeavours in the Province of Spectator, to correct the Offences committed by Starers, who disturb whole Assemblies without any Regard to Time, Place or Modesty. You complained also, that a Starer is not usually a Person to be convinced by Reason of the Thing, nor so easily rebuked, as to amend by Admonitions. I thought therefore fit to acquaint you with a convenient Mechanical Way, which may easily prevent or correct Staring, by an Optical Contrivance of new Perspective-Glasses, short and commodious like Opera Glasses, fit for short-sighted People as well as others, these Glasses making the Objects appear, either as they are seen by the naked Eye, or more distinct, though somewhat less than Life, or bigger and nearer. A Person may, by the Help of this Invention, take a View of another without the Impertinence of Staring; at the same Time it shall not be possible to know whom or what he is looking at. One may look towards his Right or Left Hand, when he is supposed to look forwards: This is set forth at large in the printed Proposals for the Sale of these Glasses, to be had at Mr. Dillon's in Long-Acre, next Door to the White-Hart. Now, Sir, as your Spectator has occasioned the Publishing of this Invention for the Benefit of modest Spectators, the Inventor desires your Admonitions concerning the decent Use of it; and hopes, by your Recommendation, that for the future Beauty may be beheld without the Torture and Confusion which it suffers from the Insolence of Starers. By this means you will relieve the Innocent from an Insult which there is no Law to punish, tho' it is a greater Offence than many which are within the Cognizance of Justice.

I am, Sir,

Your most humble Servant,

Abraham Spy.

Footnote 1:   Apostle spoons and others with fancy heads upon their handles.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   The ox-eyed, venerable Juno.

Footnote 3:   Æn. 12, v. 101.

Contents, p.2

No. 251

Tuesday, December 18, 1711


Lingua centum sunt, oraque centum.
Ferrea Vox.


There is nothing which more astonishes a Foreigner, and frights a Country Squire, than the Cries of London. My good Friend Sir Roger often declares, that he cannot get them out of his Head or go to Sleep for them, the first Week that he is in Town. On the contrary, Will. Honeycomb calls them the Ramage de la Ville, and prefers them to the Sounds of Larks and Nightingales, with all the Musick of the Fields and Woods. I have lately received a Letter from some very odd Fellow upon this Subject, which I shall leave with my Reader, without saying any thing further of it.


"I am a Man of all Business, and would willingly turn my Head to any thing for an honest Livelihood. I have invented several Projects for raising many Millions of Money without burthening the Subject, but I cannot get the Parliament to listen to me, who look upon me, forsooth, as a Crack, and a Projector; so that despairing to enrich either my self or my Country by this Publick-spiritedness, I would make some Proposals to you relating to a Design which I have very much at Heart, and which may procure me a1 handsome Subsistence, if you will be pleased to recommend it to the Cities of Londonand Westminster.

The Post I would aim at, is to be Comptroller-General of the London Cries, which are at present under no manner of Rules or Discipline. I think I am pretty well qualified for this Place, as being a Man of very strong Lungs, of great Insight into all the Branches of our BritishTrades and Manufactures, and of a competent Skill in Musick.

The Cries of Londonmay be divided into Vocal and Instrumental. As for the latter they are at present under a very great Disorder. A Freeman of Londonhas the Privilege of disturbing a whole Street for an Hour together, with the Twanking of a Brass-Kettle or a Frying-Pan. The Watchman's Thump at Midnight startles us in our Beds, as much as the Breaking in of a Thief. The Sowgelder's Horn has indeed something musical in it, but this is seldom heard within the Liberties. I would therefore propose, that no Instrument of this Nature should be made use of, which I have not tuned and licensed, after having carefully examined in what manner it may affect the Ears of her Majesty's liege Subjects.

Vocal Cries are of a much larger Extent, and indeed so full of Incongruities and Barbarisms, that we appear a distracted City to Foreigners, who do not comprehend the Meaning of such enormous Outcries. Milk is generally sold in a note above Ela, and in Sounds so exceeding2 shrill, that it often sets our Teeth on3 Edge. The Chimney-sweeper is confined4 to no certain Pitch; he sometimes utters himself in the deepest Base, and sometimes in the sharpest Treble; sometimes in the highest, and sometimes in the lowest Note of the Gamut. The same Observation might be made on the Retailers of Small-coal, not to mention broken Glasses or Brick-dust. In these therefore, and the like Cases, it should be my Care to sweeten and mellow the Voices of these itinerant Tradesmen, before they make their Appearance in our Streets; as also to accommodate their Cries to their respective Wares; and to take care in particular, that those may not make the most Noise who have the least to sell, which is very observable in the Venders of Card-matches, to whom I cannot but apply that old Proverb of Much Cry but little Wool.

'Some of these last mentioned Musicians are so very loud in the Sale of these trifling Manufactures, that an honest Splenetick Gentleman of my Acquaintance bargained with one of them never to come into the Street where he lived: But what was the Effect of this Contract? Why, the whole Tribe of Card-match-makers which frequent that Quarter, passed by his Door the very next Day, in hopes of being bought off after the same manner.

'It is another great Imperfection in our LondonCries, that there is no just Time nor Measure observed in them. Our News should indeed be published in a very quick Time, because it is a Commodity that will not keep cold. It should not, however, be cried with the same Precipitation as Fire: Yet this is generally the Case. A Bloody Battle alarms the Town from one End to another in an Instant. Every Motion of the Frenchis Published in so great a Hurry, that one would think the Enemy were at our Gates. This likewise I would take upon me to regulate in such a manner, that there should be some Distinction made between the spreading of a Victory, a March, or an Incampment, a Dutch, a Portugalor a SpanishMail. Nor must I omit under this Head, those excessive Alarms with which several boisterous Rusticks infest our Streets in Turnip Season; and which are more inexcusable, because these are Wares which are in no Danger of Cooling upon their Hands.

'There are others who affect a very slow Time, and are, in my Opinion, much more tuneable than the former; the Cooper in particular swells his last Note in an hollow Voice, that is not without its Harmony; nor can I forbear being inspired with a most agreeable Melancholy, when I hear that sad and solemn Air with which the Public are very often asked, if they have any Chairs to mend? Your own Memory may suggest to you many other lamentable Ditties of the same Nature, in which the Musick is wonderfully languishing and melodious.

'I am always pleased with that particular Time of the Year which is proper for the pickling of Dill and Cucumbers; but alas, this Cry, like the Song of the Nightingale5, is not heard above two Months. It would therefore be worth while to consider, whether the same Air might not in some Cases be adapted to other Words.

'It might likewise deserve our most serious Consideration, how far, in a well-regulated City, those Humourists are to be tolerated, who, not contented with the traditional Cries of their Forefathers, have invented particular Songs and Tunes of their own: Such as was, not many Years since, the Pastryman, commonly known by the Name of the Colly-Molly-Puff; and such as is at this Day the Vender of Powder and Wash-balls, who, if I am rightly informed, goes under the Name of Powder-Watt.

'I must not here omit one particular Absurdity which runs through this whole vociferous Generation, and which renders their Cries very often not only incommodious, but altogether useless to the Publick; I mean, that idle Accomplishment which they all of them aim at, of Crying so as not to be understood. Whether or no they have learned this from several of our affected Singers, I will not take upon me to say; but most certain it is, that People know the Wares they deal in rather by their Tunes than by their Words; insomuch that I have sometimes seen a Country Boy run out to buy Apples of a Bellows-mender, and Gingerbread from a Grinder of Knives and Scissars. Nay so strangely infatuated are some very eminent Artists of this particular Grace in a Cry, that none but then Acquaintance are able to guess at their Profession; for who else can know, that Work if I had it, should be the Signification of a Corn-Cutter?

'Forasmuch therefore as Persons of this Rank are seldom Men of Genius or Capacity, I think it would be very proper, that some Man of good Sense and sound Judgment should preside over these Publick Cries, who should permit none to lift up their Voices in our Streets, that have not tuneable Throats, and are not only able to overcome the Noise of the Croud, and the Rattling of Coaches, but also to vend their respective Merchandizes in apt Phrases, and in the most distinct and agreeable Sounds. I do therefore humbly recommend my self as a Person rightly qualified for this Post; and if I meet with fitting Encouragement, shall communicate some other Projects which I have by me, that may no less conduce to the Emolument of the Public.'

I am

, &c.,

Ralph Crotchet.

Footnote 1:   an
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:  exceedingly

Footnote 3:   an

Footnote 4:   contained

Footnote 5:   Nightingales

Contents, p.2

Dedication of the Fourth Volume of The Spectator

To The Duke of Marlborough1.


As it is natural to have a Fondness for what has cost us so much Time and Attention to produce, I hope Your Grace will forgive an endeavour to preserve this Work from Oblivion, by affixing to it Your memorable Name.

I shall not here presume to mention the illustrious Passages of Your Life, which are celebrated by the whole Age, and have been the Subject of the most sublime Pens; but if I could convey You to Posterity in your private Character, and describe the Stature, the Behaviour and Aspect of the Duke of Marlborough, I question not but it would fill the Reader with more agreeable Images, and give him a more delightful Entertainment than what can be found in the following, or any other Book.

One cannot indeed without Offence, to Your self, observe, that You excel the rest of Mankind in the least, as well as the greatest Endowments. Nor were it a Circumstance to be mentioned, if the Graces and Attractions of Your Person were not the only Preheminence You have above others, which is left, almost, unobserved by greater Writers.

Yet how pleasing would it be to those who shall read the surprising Revolutions in your Story, to be made acquainted with your ordinary Life and Deportment? How pleasing would it be to hear that the same Man who had carried Fire and Sword into the Countries of all that had opposed the Cause of Liberty, and struck a Terrour into the Armies of France, had, in the midst of His high Station, a Behaviour as gentle as is usual in the first Steps towards Greatness? And if it were possible to express that easie Grandeur, which did at once perswade and command; it would appear as clearly to those to come, as it does to his Contemporaries, that all the great Events which were brought to pass under the Conduct of so well-govern'd a Spirit, were the Blessings of Heaven upon Wisdom and Valour: and all which seem adverse fell out by divine Permission, which we are not to search into.

You have pass'd that Year of Life wherein the most able and fortunate Captain, before Your Time, declared he had lived enough both to Nature and to Glory2; and Your Grace may make that Reflection with much more Justice. He spoke it after he had arrived at Empire, by an Usurpation upon those whom he had enslaved; but the Prince of Mindleheim may rejoice in a Sovereignty which was the Gift of Him whose Dominions he had preserved.

Glory established upon the uninterrupted Success of honourable Designs and Actions is not subject to Diminution; nor can any Attempts prevail against it, but in the Proportion which the narrow Circuit of Rumour bears to the unlimited Extent of Fame.

We may congratulate Your Grace not only upon your high Atchievements, but likewise upon the happy Expiration of Your Command, by which your Glory is put out of the Power of Fortune: And when your Person shall be so too, that the Author and Disposer of all things may place You in that higher Mansion of Bliss and Immortality which is prepared for good Princes, Lawgivers, and Heroes, when He in His due Time removes them from the Envy of Mankind, is the hearty Prayer of,

My Lord,
Your Grace's
Most Obedient,
Most Devoted
Humble Servant
The Spectator.

Footnote 1:   John Churchill, afterwards Duke of Marlborough, was at this time 62 years old, and past the zenith of his fame. He was born at Ashe, in Devonshire, in 1650, the son of Sir Winston Churchill, an adherent of Charles I. At the age of twelve John Churchill was placed as page in the household of the Duke of York. He first distinguished himself as a soldier in the defence of Tangier against the Moors. Between 1672 and 1677 he served in the auxiliary force sent by our King Charles II. to his master, Louis XIV. In 1672, after the siege of Maestricht, Churchill was praised by Louis at the head of his army, and made Lieutenant-colonel. Continuing in the service of the Duke of York, Churchill, about 1680, married Sarah Jennings, favourite of the Princess Anne. In 1682 Charles II. made Churchill a Baron, and three years afterwards he was made Brigadier-general when sent to France to announce the accession of James II. On his return he was made Baron Churchill of Sandridge. He helped to suppress Monmouth's insurrection, but before the Revolution committed himself secretly to the cause of the Prince of Orange; was made, therefore, by William III., Earl of Marlborough and Privy Councillor. After some military service he was for a short time imprisoned in the Tower on suspicion of treasonous correspondence with the exiled king. In 1697 he was restored to favour, and on the breaking out of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1701 he was chief commander of the Forces in the United Provinces. In this war his victories made him the most famous captain of the age. In December, 1702, he was made Duke, with a pension of five thousand a year. In the campaign of 1704 Marlborough planned very privately, and executed on his own responsibility, the boldest and most distant march that had ever been attempted in our continental wars. France, allied with Bavaria, was ready to force the way to Vienna, but Marlborough, quitting the Hague, carried his army to the Danube, where he took by storm a strong entrenched camp of the enemy upon the Schellenberg, and cruelly laid waste the towns and villages of the Bavarians, who never had taken arms; but, as he said, 'we are now going to burn and destroy the Elector's country, to oblige him to hearken to terms.' On the 13th of August, the army of Marlborough having been joined by the army under Prince Eugene, battle was given to the French and Bavarians under Marshal Tallard, who had his head-quarters at the village of Plentheim, or Blenheim. At the cost of eleven thousand killed and wounded in the armies of Marlborough and Eugene, and fourteen thousand killed and wounded on the other side, a decisive victory was secured, Tallard himself being made prisoner, and 26 battalions and 12 squadrons capitulating as prisoners of war. 121 of the enemy's standards and 179 colours were brought home and hung up in Westminster Hall. Austria was saved, and Louis XIV. utterly humbled at the time when he had expected confidently to make himself master of the destinies of Europe.

For this service Marlborough was made by the Emperor a Prince of the Empire, and his 'Most Illustrious Cousin' as the Prince of Mindelsheim. At home he was rewarded with the manor of Woodstock, upon which was built for him the Palace of Blenheim, and his pension of £5000 from the Post-office was annexed to his title. There followed other victories, of which the series was closed with that of Malplaquet, in 1709, for which a national thanksgiving was appointed. Then came a change over the face of home politics. England was weary of the war, which Marlborough was accused of prolonging for the sake of the enormous wealth he drew officially from perquisites out of the different forms of expenditure upon the army. The Tories gathered strength, and in the beginning of 1712 a commission on a charge of taking money from contractors for bread, and 2 1/2 per cent, from the pay of foreign troops, having reported against him, Marlborough was dismissed from all his employments. Sarah, his duchess, had also been ousted from the Queen's favour, and they quitted England for a time, Marlborough writing, 'Provided that my destiny does not involve any prejudice to the public, I shall be very content with it; and shall account myself happy in a retreat in which I may be able wisely to reflect on the vicissitudes of this world.' It was during this season of his unpopularity that Steele and Addison dedicated to the Duke of Marlborough the fourth volume of the Spectator.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Julius Cæsar.

Contents, p.2

No. 252

Wednesday, December 19, 1711


Erranti, passimque oculos per cuncta ferenti.


Mr. Spectator,

'I am very sorry to find by your Discourse upon the Eye, 1 that you have not thoroughly studied the Nature and Force of that Part of a beauteous Face. Had you ever been in Love, you would have said ten thousand things, which it seems did not occur to you: Do but reflect upon the Nonsense it makes Men talk, the Flames which it is said to kindle, the Transport it raises, the Dejection it causes in the bravest Men; and if you do believe those things are expressed to an Extravagance, yet you will own, that the Influence of it is very great which moves Men to that Extravagance. Certain it is, that the whole Strength of the Mind is sometimes seated there; that a kind Look imparts all, that a Year's Discourse could give you, in one Moment. What matters it what she says to you, see how she looks, is the Language of all who know what Love is. When the Mind is thus summed up and expressed in a Glance, did you never observe a sudden Joy arise in the Countenance of a Lover? Did you never see the Attendance of Years paid, over-paid in an Instant? You a Spectator, and not know that the Intelligence of Affection is carried on by the Eye only; that Good-breeding has made the Tongue falsify the Heart, and act a Part of continual Constraint, while Nature has preserved the Eyes to her self, that she may not be disguised or misrepresented. The poor Bride can give her Hand, and say, I do, with a languishing Air, to the Man she is obliged by cruel Parents to take for mercenary Reasons, but at the same Time she cannot look as if she loved; her Eye is full of Sorrow, and Reluctance sits in a Tear, while the Offering of the Sacrifice is performed in what we call the Marriage Ceremony. Do you never go to Plays? Cannot you distinguish between the Eyes of those who go to see, from those who come to be seen? I am a Woman turned of Thirty, and am on the Observation a little; therefore if you or your Correspondent had consulted me in your Discourse on the Eye, I could have told you that the Eye of Leonora is slyly watchful while it looks negligent: she looks round her without the Help of the Glasses you speak of, and yet seems to be employed on Objects directly before her. This Eye is what affects Chance-medley, and on a sudden, as if it attended to another thing, turns all its Charms against an Ogler. The Eye of Lusitania is an Instrument of premeditated Murder; but the Design being visible, destroys the Execution of it; and with much more Beauty than that of Leonora, it is not half so mischievous. There is a brave Soldier's Daughter in Town, that by her Eye has been the Death of more than ever her Father made fly before him. A beautiful Eye makes Silence eloquent, a kind Eye makes Contradiction an Assent, an enraged Eye makes Beauty deformed. This little Member gives Life to every other Part about us, and I believe the Story of Argus implies no more than that the Eye is in every Part, that is to say, every other Part would be mutilated, were not its Force represented more by the Eye than even by it self. But this is Heathen Greek to those who have not conversed by Glances. This, Sir, is a Language in which there can be no Deceit, nor can a Skilful Observer be imposed upon by Looks even among Politicians and Courtiers. If you do me the Honour to print this among your Speculations, I shall in my next make you a Present of Secret History, by Translating all the Looks of the next Assembly of Ladies and Gentlemen into Words, to adorn some future Paper.
I am, Sir,
Your faithful Friend,
Mary Heartfree.

Dear Mr. Spectator,
I have a Sot of a Husband that lives a very scandalous Life, and wastes away his Body and Fortune in Debaucheries; and is immoveable to all the Arguments I can urge to him. I would gladly know whether in some Cases a Cudgel may not be allowed as a good Figure of Speech, and whether it may not be lawfully used by a Female Orator.
Your humble Servant,
Barbara Crabtree.

Mr. Spectator2,

Though I am a Practitioner in the Law of some standing, and have heard many eminent Pleaders in my Time, as well as other eloquent Speakers of both Universities, yet I agree with you, that Women are better qualified to succeed in Oratory than the Men, and believe this is to be resolved into natural Causes. You have mentioned only the Volubility of their Tongue; but what do you think of the silent Flattery of their pretty Faces, and the Perswasion which even an insipid Discourse carries with it when flowing from beautiful Lips, to which it would be cruel to deny any thing? It is certain too, that they are possessed of some Springs of Rhetorick which Men want, such as Tears, fainting Fits, and the like, which I have seen employed upon Occasion with good Success. You must know I am a plain Man and love my Money; yet I have a Spouse who is so great an Orator in this Way, that she draws from me what Sum she pleases. Every Room in my House is furnished with Trophies of her Eloquence, rich Cabinets, Piles of China, Japan Screens, and costly Jars; and if you were to come into my great Parlour, you would fancy your self in an India Ware-house: Besides this she keeps a Squirrel, and I am doubly taxed to pay for the China he breaks. She is seized with periodical Fits about the Time of the Subscriptions to a new Opera, and is drowned in Tears after having seen any Woman there in finer Cloaths than herself: These are Arts of Perswasion purely Feminine, and which a tender Heart cannot resist. What I would therefore desire of you, is, to prevail with your Friend who has promised to dissect a Female Tongue, that he would at the same time give us the Anatomy of a Female Eye, and explain the Springs and Sluices which feed it with such ready Supplies of Moisture; and likewise shew by what means, if possible, they may be stopped at a reasonable Expence: Or, indeed, since there is something so moving in the very Image of weeping Beauty, it would be worthy his Art to provide, that these eloquent Drops may no more be lavished on Trifles, or employed as Servants to their wayward Wills; but reserved for serious Occasions in Life, to adorn generous Pity, true Penitence, or real Sorrow.
I am, &c.

Footnote 1:  
quis Temeros oculus mihi fascinat Agnos
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   This letter is by John Hughes.

Contents, p.2

No. 253

Thursday, December 20, 1711


Indignor quicquam reprehendi, non quia crasse
Compositum, illepideve putetur, sed quia nuper.


There is nothing which more denotes a great Mind, than the Abhorrence of Envy and Detraction. This Passion reigns more among bad Poets, than among any other Set of Men.

As there are none more ambitious of Fame, than those who are conversant in Poetry, it is very natural for such as have not succeeded in it to depreciate the Works of those who have. For since they cannot raise themselves to the Reputation of their Fellow-Writers, they must endeavour to sink it to their own Pitch, if they would still keep themselves upon a Level with them.

The greatest Wits that ever were produced in one Age, lived together in so good an Understanding, and celebrated one another with so much Generosity, that each of them receives an additional Lustre from his Contemporaries, and is more famous for having lived with Men of so extraordinary a Genius, than if he had himself been the sole Wonder1 of the Age. I need not tell my Reader, that I here point at the Reign of Augustus, and I believe he will be of my Opinion, that neither Virgil nor Horace would have gained so great a Reputation in the World, had they not been the Friends and Admirers of each other. Indeed all the great Writers of that Age, for whom singly we have so great an Esteem, stand up together as Vouchers for one another's Reputation. But at the same time that Virgil was celebrated by Gallus, Propertius, Horace, Varius, Tucca and Ovid, we know that Bavius and Maevius were his declared Foes and Calumniators.

In our own Country a Man seldom sets up for a Poet, without attacking the Reputation of all his Brothers in the Art. The Ignorance of the Moderns, the Scribblers of the Age, the Decay of Poetry, are the Topicks of Detraction, with which he makes his Entrance into the World: But how much more noble is the Fame that is built on Candour and Ingenuity, according to those beautiful Lines of Sir John Denham, in his Poem on Fletcher's Works!
But whither am I strayed? I need not raise
Trophies to thee from other Mens Dispraise:
Nor is thy Fame on lesser Ruins built,
Nor needs thy juster Title the foul Guilt
Of Eastern Kings, who, to secure their Reign,
Must have their Brothers, Sons, and Kindred slain.
I am sorry to find that an Author, who is very justly esteemed among the best Judges, has admitted some Stroaks of this Nature into a very fine Poem; I mean The Art of Criticism, which was publish'd some Months since, and is a Master-piece in its kind2. The Observations follow one another like those in Horace's Art of Poetry, without that methodical Regularity which would have been requisite in a Prose Author. They are some of them uncommon, but such as the Reader must assent to, when he sees them explained with that Elegance and Perspicuity in which they are delivered. As for those which are the most known, and the most received, they are placed in so beautiful a Light, and illustrated with such apt Allusions, that they have in them all the Graces of Novelty, and make the Reader, who was before acquainted with them, still more convinced of their Truth and Solidity. And here give me leave to mention what Monsieur Boileau has so very well enlarged upon in the Preface to his Works, that Wit and fine Writing doth not consist so much in advancing Things that are new, as in giving Things that are known an agreeable Turn. It is impossible for us, who live in the latter Ages of the World, to make Observations in Criticism, Morality, or in any Art or Science, which have not been touched upon by others. We have little else left us, but to represent the common Sense of Mankind in more strong, more beautiful, or more uncommon Lights. If a Reader examines Horace's Art of Poetry, he will find but very few Precepts in it, which he may not meet with in Aristotle, and which were not commonly known by all the Poets of the Augustan Age. His Way of expressing and applying them, not his Invention of them, is what we are chiefly to admire.

For this Reason I think there is nothing in the World so tiresome as the Works of those Criticks who write in a positive Dogmatick Way, without either Language, Genius, or Imagination. If the Reader would see how the best of the Latin Criticks writ, he may find their Manner very beautifully described in the Characters of Horace, Petronius, Quintilian, and Longinus, as they are drawn in the Essay of which I am now speaking.

Since I have mentioned Longinus, who in his Reflections has given us the same kind of Sublime, which he observes in the several passages that occasioned them; I cannot but take notice, that our English Author has after the same manner exemplified several of his Precepts in the very Precepts themselves. I shall produce two or three Instances of this Kind. Speaking of the insipid Smoothness which some Readers are so much in Love with, he has the following Verses.
These Equal Syllables alone require,
Tho' oft the
Ear the open Vowels tire,
Expletives their feeble Aid do join,
And ten low Words oft creep in one dull Line.
The gaping of the Vowels in the second Line, the Expletive do in the third, and the ten Monosyllables in the fourth, give such a Beauty to this Passage, as would have been very much admired in an Ancient Poet. The Reader may observe the following Lines in the same View.
A needless Alexandrine ends the Song,
That like a wounded Snake, drags its slow Length along
And afterwards,
'Tis not enough no Harshness gives Offence,
The Sound must seem an Eccho to the Sense.
Soft is the Strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth Stream in smoother Numbers flows;
But when loud Surges lash the sounding Shore,
The hoarse rough Verse shou'd like the Torrent roar.
When Ajax strives some Rock's vast Weight to throw,
The Line too labours, and the Words move slow;
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the Plain,
Flies o'er th' unbending Corn, and skims along the Main.
The beautiful Distich upon Ajax in the foregoing Lines, puts me in mind of a Description in Homer's Odyssey, which none of the Criticks have taken notice of3. It is where Sisyphus is represented lifting his Stone up the Hill, which is no sooner carried to the top of it, but it immediately tumbles to the Bottom. This double Motion of the Stone is admirably described in the Numbers of these Verses; As in the four first it is heaved up by several Spondees intermixed with proper Breathing places, and at last trundles down in a continual Line of Dactyls.
Greek: Kaì màen Sisyphon eiseidon, kratér' alge' échonta,
  Laan Bastázonta pelôrion amphotéraesin.
  Aetoi ho mèn skaeriptómenos chersín te posín te,
  Laan anô ôtheske potì lóphon, all' hote mélloi
  Akron hyperbaléein, tot' apostrépsaske krataiis,
  Autis épeita pédonde kylíndeto laas anaidáes.
It would be endless to quote Verses out of Virgil which have this particular Kind of Beauty in the Numbers; but I may take an Occasion in a future Paper to shew several of them which have escaped the Observation of others.

I cannot conclude this Paper without taking notice that we have three Poems in our Tongue, which are of the same Nature, and each of them a Master-Piece in its Kind; the Essay on Translated Verse4, the Essay on the Art of Poetry5, and the Essay upon Criticism.

Footnote 1:   single Product
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   At the time when this paper was written Pope was in his twenty-fourth year. He wrote to express his gratitude to Addison and also to Steele. In his letter to Addison he said,
'Though it be the highest satisfaction to find myself commended by a Writer whom all the world commends, yet I am not more obliged to you for that than for your candour and frankness in acquainting me with the error I have been guilty of in speaking too freely of my brother moderns.'
The only moderns of whom he spoke slightingly were men of whom after-time has ratified his opinion: John Dennis, Sir Richard Blackmore, and Luke Milbourne. When, not long afterwards, Dennis attacked with his criticism Addison's Cato, to which Pope had contributed the Prologue, Pope made this the occasion of a bitter satire on Dennis, called The Narrative of Dr. Robert Norris (a well-known quack who professed the cure of lunatics) upon the Frenzy J. D. Addison then, through Steele, wrote to Pope's publisher of this 'manner of treating Mr. Dennis,' that he 'could not be privy' to it, and 'was sorry to hear of it.' In 1715, when Pope issued to subscribers the first volume of Homer, Tickell's translation of the first book of the Iliad appeared in the same week, and had particular praise at Button's from Addison, Tickell's friend and patron. Pope was now indignant, and expressed his irritation in the famous satire first printed in 1723, and, finally, with the name of Addison transformed to Atticus, embodied in the Epistle to Arbuthnot published in 1735. Here, while seeing in Addison a man
Blest with each talent and each art to please, And born to live, converse, and write with ease,
he said that should he, jealous of his own supremacy, 'damn with faint praise,' as one
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint the fault and hesitate dislike,
Who when two wits on rival themes contest,
Approves of both, but likes the worse the best:
Like Cato, give his little Senate laws,
And sits attentive to his own applause;
While wits and templars every sentence raise:
And wonder with a foolish face of praise:
Who would not laugh if such a man there be?
Who would not weep if Addison were he?
But in this Spectator paper young Pope's Essay on Criticism certainly was not damned with faint praise by the man most able to give it a firm standing in the world.

Footnote 3:   Odyssey Bk. XI. In Ticknell's edition of Addison's works the latter part of this sentence is omitted; the same observation having been made by Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

Footnote 4:   Wentworth Dillon, Earl of Roscommon, author of the 'Essay on Translated Verse', was nephew and godson to Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. He was born in Ireland, in 1633, educated at the Protestant University of Caen, and was there when his father died. He travelled in Italy, came to England at the Restoration, held one or two court offices, gambled, took a wife, and endeavoured to introduce into England the principals of criticism with which he had found the polite world occupied in France. He planned a society for refining our language and fixing its standard. During the troubles of King James's reign he was about to leave the kingdom, when his departure was delayed by gout, of which he died in 1684. A foremost English representative of the chief literary movement of his time, he translated into blank verse Horace's Art of Poetry, and besides a few minor translations and some short pieces of original verse, which earned from Pope the credit that
in all Charles's days
Roscommon only boasts unspotted lays,
he wrote in heroic couplets an 'Essay on Translated Verse' that was admired by Dryden, Addison, and Pope, and was in highest honour wherever the French influence upon our literature made itself felt. Roscommon believed in the superior energy of English wit, and wrote himself with care and frequent vigour in the turning of his couplets. It is from this poem that we get the often quoted lines,
Immodest words admit of no Defence:
For Want of Decency is Want of Sense.

Footnote 5:  The other piece with which Addison ranks Pope's Essay on Criticism, was by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, who was living when the Spectator first appeared. He died, aged 72, in the year 1721. John Sheffield, by the death of his father, succeeded at the age of nine to the title of Earl of Mulgrave. In the reign of Charles II he served by sea and land, and was, as well as Marlborough, in the French service. In the reign of James II. he was admitted into the Privy Council, made Lord Chamberlain, and, though still Protestant, attended the King to mass. He acquiesced in the Revolution, but remained out of office and disliked King William, who in 1694 made him Marquis of Normanby. Afterwards he was received into the Cabinet Council, with a pension of £3000. Queen Anne, to whom Walpole says he had made love before her marriage, highly favoured him. Before her coronation she made him Lord Privy Seal, next year he was made first Duke of Normanby, and then of Buckinghamshire, to exclude any latent claimant to the title, which had been extinct since the miserable death of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, the author of the Rehearsal. When the Spectator appeared John Sheffield had just built Buckingham House—now a royal palace—on ground granted by the Crown, and taken office as Lord Chamberlain. He wrote more verse than Roscommon and poorer verse. The Essay on Poetry, in which he followed the critical fashion of the day, he was praised into regarding as a masterpiece. He was continually polishing it, and during his lifetime it was reissued with frequent variations. It is polished quartz, not diamond; a short piece of about 360 lines, which has something to say of each of the chief forms of poetry, from songs to epics. Sheffield shows most natural force in writing upon plays, and here in objecting to perfect characters, he struck out the often-quoted line
A faultless monster which the world ne'er saw.
When he comes to the epics he is, of course, all for Homer and Virgil.
Read Homer once, and you can read no more;
For all books else appear so mean, so poor,
Verse will seem Prose; but still persist to read,
And Homer will be all the Books you need
And then it is supposed that 'some Angel' had disclosed to M. Bossu, the French author of the treatise upon Epic Poetry then fashionable, the sacred mysteries of Homer. John Sheffield had a patronizing recognition for the genius of Shakespeare and Milton, and was so obliging as to revise Shakespeare's Julius Cæsar and confine the action of that play within the limits prescribed in the French gospel according to the Unities. Pope, however, had in the Essay on Criticism reckoned Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, among the sounder few
Who durst assert the juster ancient Cause
And have restored Wit's Fundamental Laws.
Such was the Muse, whose Rules and Practice tell,
Nature's chief Masterpiece is writing well
With those last words which form the second line in the Essay on Poetry Pope's citation has made many familiar. Addison paid young Pope a valid compliment in naming him as a critic in verse with Roscommon, and, what then passed on all hands for a valid compliment, in holding him worthy also to be named as a poet in the same breath with the Lord Chamberlain.

Contents, p.2

No. 254

Friday, December 21, 1711


Greek: Semnòs érôs aretaes, ho dè kyprídos áchos ophéllei.

When I consider the false Impressions which are received by the Generality of the World, I am troubled at none more than a certain Levity of Thought, which many young Women of Quality have entertained, to the Hazard of their Characters, and the certain Misfortune of their Lives. The first of the following Letters may best represent the Faults I would now point at, and the Answer to it the Temper of Mind in a contrary Character.

My dear Harriot,

If thou art she, but oh how fallen, how changed, what an Apostate! how lost to all that's gay and agreeable! To be married I find is to be buried alive; I can't conceive it more dismal to be shut up in a Vault to converse with the Shades of my Ancestors, than to be carried down to an old Manor-House in the Country, and confined to the Conversation of a sober Husband and an awkward Chamber-maid. For Variety I suppose you may entertain yourself with Madam in her Grogram Gown, the Spouse of your Parish Vicar, who has by this time I am sure well furnished you with Receipts for making Salves and Possets, distilling Cordial Waters, making Syrups, and applying Poultices.

Blest Solitude! I wish thee Joy, my Dear, of thy loved Retirement, which indeed you would perswade me is very agreeable, and different enough from what I have here described: But, Child, I am afraid thy Brains are a little disordered with Romances and Novels: After six Months Marriage to hear thee talk of Love, and paint the Country Scenes so softly, is a little extravagant; one would think you lived the Lives of Sylvan Deities, or roved among the Walks of Paradise, like the first happy Pair. But pr'ythee leave these Whimsies, and come to Town in order to live and talk like other Mortals. However, as I am extremely interested in your Reputation, I would willingly give you a little good Advice at your first Appearance under the Character of a married Woman: 'Tis a little Insolence in me perhaps, to advise a Matron; but I am so afraid you'll make so silly a Figure as a fond Wife, that I cannot help warning you not to appear in any publick Places with your Husband, and never to saunter about St. James's Park together: If you presume to enter the Ring at Hide-Park together, you are ruined for ever; nor must you take the least notice of one another at the Play-house or Opera, unless you would be laughed at for a very loving Couple most happily paired in the Yoke of Wedlock. I would recommend the Example of an Acquaintance of ours to your Imitation; she is the most negligent and fashionable Wife in the World; she is hardly ever seen in the same Place with her Husband, and if they happen to meet, you would think them perfect Strangers: She never was heard to name him in his Absence, and takes care he shall never be the Subject of any Discourse that she has a Share in. I hope you'll propose this Lady as a Pattern, tho' I am very much afraid you'll be so silly to think Portia, &c. Sabine and Roman Wives much brighter Examples. I wish it may never come into your Head to imitate those antiquated Creatures so far, as to come into Publick in the Habit as well as Air of a Roman Matron. You make already the Entertainment at Mrs. Modish's Tea-Table; she says, she always thought you a discreet Person, and qualified to manage a Family with admirable Prudence: she dies to see what demure and serious Airs Wedlock has given you, but she says she shall never forgive your Choice of so gallant a Man as Bellamour to transform him to a meer sober Husband; 'twas unpardonable: You see, my Dear, we all envy your Happiness, and no Person more than
Your humble Servant,

Be not in pain, good Madam, for my Appearance in Town; I shall frequent no publick Places, or make any Visits where the Character of a modest Wife is ridiculous. As for your wild Raillery on Matrimony, 'tis all Hypocrisy; you, and all the handsome young Women of our Acquaintance, shew yourselves to no other Purpose than to gain a Conquest over some Man of Worth, in order to bestow your Charms and Fortune on him. There's no Indecency in the Confession, the Design is modest and honourable, and all your Affectation can't disguise it.

I am married, and have no other Concern but to please the Man I Love; he's the End of every Care I have; if I dress, 'tis for him; if I read a Poem or a Play, 'tis to qualify myself for a Conversation agreeable to his Taste: He's almost the End of my Devotions; half my Prayers are for his Happiness. I love to talk of him, and never hear him named but with Pleasure and Emotion. I am your Friend, and wish your Happiness, but am sorry to see by the Air of your Letter that there are a Set of Women who are got into the Common-Place Raillery of every Thing that is sober, decent, and proper: Matrimony and the Clergy are the Topicks of People of little Wit and no Understanding. I own to you, I have learned of the Vicar's Wife all you tax me with: She is a discreet, ingenious, pleasant, pious Woman; I wish she had the handling of you and Mrs. Modish; you would find, if you were too free with her, she would soon make you as charming as ever you were, she would make you blush as much as if you had never been fine Ladies. The Vicar, Madam, is so kind as to visit my Husband, and his agreeable Conversation has brought him to enjoy many sober happy Hours when even I am shut out, and my dear Master is entertained only with his own Thoughts. These Things, dear Madam, will be lasting Satisfactions, when the fine Ladies, and the Coxcombs by whom they form themselves, are irreparably ridiculous, ridiculous in old Age.
I am, Madam, your most humble Servant,
Mary Home.

Dear Mr. Spectator,

You have no Goodness in the World, and are not in earnest in any thing you say that is serious, if you do not send me a plain Answer to this: I happened some Days past to be at the Play, where during the Time of Performance, I could not keep my Eyes off from a beautiful young Creature who sat just before me, and who I have been since informed has no Fortune. It would utterly ruin my Reputation for Discretion to marry such a one, and by what I can learn she has a Character of great Modesty, so that there is nothing to be thought on any other Way. My Mind has ever since been so wholly bent on her, that I am much in danger of doing something very extravagant without your speedy Advice to,

Sir, Your most humble Servant.

I am sorry I cannot answer this impatient Gentleman, but by another Question.
Dear Correspondent, Would you marry to please other People, or your self?

Contents, p.2

No. 255

Saturday, December 22, 1711


Laudis amore tumes? sunt certa piacula, quæ te
Ter pure lecto poterunt recreare libello.


The Soul, considered abstractedly from its Passions, is of a remiss and sedentary Nature, slow in its Resolves, and languishing in its Executions. The Use therefore of the Passions is to stir it up, and to put it upon Action, to awaken the Understanding, to enforce the Will, and to make the whole Man more vigorous and attentive in the Prosecutions of his Designs. As this is the End of the Passions in general, so it is particularly of Ambition, which pushes the Soul to such Actions as are apt to procure Honour and Reputation to the Actor. But if we carry our Reflections higher, we may discover further Ends of Providence in implanting this Passion in Mankind.

It was necessary for the World, that Arts should be invented and improved, Books written and transmitted to Posterity, Nations conquered and civilized: Now since the proper and genuine Motives to these and the like great Actions, would only influence virtuous Minds; there would be but small Improvements in the World, were there not some common Principle of Action working equally with all Men. And such a Principle is Ambition or a Desire of Fame, by which great1 Endowments are not suffered to lie idle and useless to the Publick, and many vicious Men over-reached, as it were, and engaged contrary to their natural Inclinations in a glorious and laudable Course of Action. For we may further observe, that Men of the greatest Abilities are most fired with Ambition: And that on the contrary, mean and narrow Minds are the least actuated by it: whether it be that a Man's Sense of his own2 Incapacities makes him3 despair of coming at Fame, or that he has4 not enough range of Thought to look out for any Good which does not more immediately relate to his5 Interest or Convenience, or that Providence, in the very Frame of his Soul6, would not subject him7 to such a Passion as would be useless to the World, and a Torment to himself8.

Were not this Desire of Fame very strong, the Difficulty of obtaining it, and the Danger of losing it when obtained, would be sufficient to deter a Man from so vain a Pursuit.

How few are there who are furnished with Abilities sufficient to recommend their Actions to the Admiration of the World, and to distinguish themselves from the rest of Mankind? Providence for the most part sets us upon a Level, and observes a kind of Proportion in its Dispensation towards us. If it renders us perfect in one Accomplishment, it generally leaves us defective in another, and seems careful rather of preserving every Person from being mean and deficient in his Qualifications, than of making any single one eminent or extraordinary.

And among those who are the most richly endowed by Nature, and accomplished by their own Industry, how few are there whose Virtues are not obscured by the Ignorance, Prejudice or Envy of their Beholders? Some Men cannot discern between a noble and a mean Action. Others are apt to attribute them to some false End or Intention; and others purposely misrepresent or put a wrong Interpretation on them. But the more to enforce this Consideration, we may observe that those are generally most unsuccessful in their Pursuit after Fame, who are most desirous of obtaining it. It is Salust's Remark upon Cato, that the less he coveted Glory, the more he acquired it9.

Men take an ill-natur'd Pleasure in crossing our Inclinations, and disappointing us in what our Hearts are most set upon. When therefore they have discovered the passionate Desire of Fame in the Ambitious Man (as no Temper of Mind is more apt to show it self) they become sparing and reserved in their Commendations, they envy him the Satisfaction of an Applause, and look on their Praises rather as a Kindness done to his Person, than as a Tribute paid to his Merit. Others who are free from this natural Perverseness of Temper grow wary in their Praises of one, who sets too great a Value on them, lest they should raise him too high in his own Imagination, and by Consequence remove him to a greater Distance from themselves.

But further, this Desire of Fame naturally betrays the ambitious Man into such Indecencies as are a lessening to his Reputation. He is still afraid lest any of his Actions should be thrown away in private, lest his Deserts should be concealed from the Notice of the World, or receive any Disadvantage from the Reports which others make of them. This often sets him on empty Boasts and Ostentations of himself, and betrays him into vain fantastick Recitals of his own Performances: His Discourse generally leans one Way, and, whatever is the Subject of it, tends obliquely either to the detracting from others, or to the extolling of himself. Vanity is the natural Weakness of an ambitious Man, which exposes him to the secret Scorn and Derision of those he converses with, and ruins the Character he is so industrious to advance by it. For tho' his Actions are never so glorious, they lose their Lustre when they are drawn at large, and set to show by his own Hand; and as the World is more apt to find fault than to commend, the Boast will probably be censured when the great Action that occasioned it is forgotten.

Besides this very Desire of Fame is looked on as a Meanness and10 Imperfection in the greatest Character. A solid and substantial Greatness of Soul looks down with a generous Neglect on the Censures and Applauses of the Multitude, and places a Man beyond the little Noise and Strife of Tongues. Accordingly we find in our selves a secret Awe and Veneration for the Character of one who moves above us in a regular and illustrious Course of Virtue, without any regard to our good or ill Opinions of him, to our Reproaches or Commendations. As on the contrary it is usual for us, when we would take off from the Fame and Reputation of an Action, to ascribe it to Vain-Glory, and a Desire of Fame in the Actor. Nor is this common Judgment and Opinion of Mankind ill-founded: for certainly it denotes no great Bravery of Mind to be worked up to any noble Action by so selfish a Motive, and to do that out of a Desire of Fame, which we could not be prompted to by a disinterested Love to Mankind, or by a generous Passion for the Glory of him that made us.

Thus is Fame a thing difficult to be obtained by all, but particularly by those who thirst after it, since most Men have so much either of Ill-nature, or of Wariness, as not to gratify or11 sooth the Vanity of the Ambitious Man, and since this very Thirst after Fame naturally betrays him into such Indecencies as are a lessening to his Reputation, and is it self looked upon as a Weakness in the greatest Characters.

In the next Place, Fame is easily lost, and as difficult to be preserved as it was at first to be acquired. But this I shall make the Subject of a following Paper


Footnote 1:   all great
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   the Sense of their own

Footnote 3:   them

Footnote 4:   they have

Footnote 5:   their

Footnote 6:   their Souls

Footnote 7:   them

Footnote 8:   themselves

Footnote 9:   Sallust. Bell. Catil. c. 49.

Footnote 10:   and an

Footnote 11:   and

Contents, p.2

No. 256

Monday, December 24, 1711


Greek: Pháelae gár te kakàe péletai koúphae mèn aeirai Reia mál,
  argalén de phérein.

There are many Passions and Tempers of Mind which naturally dispose us to depress and vilify the Merit of one rising in the Esteem of Mankind. All those who made their Entrance into the World with the same Advantages, and were once looked on as his Equals, are apt to think the Fame of his Merits a Reflection on their own Indeserts; and will therefore take care to reproach him with the Scandal of some past Action, or derogate from the Worth of the present, that they may still keep him on the same Level with themselves. The like Kind of Consideration often stirs up the Envy of such as were once his Superiors, who think it a Detraction from their Merit to see another get ground upon them and overtake them in the Pursuits of Glory; and will therefore endeavour to sink his Reputation, that they may the better preserve their own. Those who were once his Equals envy and defame him, because they now see him their Superior; and those who were once his Superiors, because they look upon him as their Equal.

But further, a Man whose extraordinary Reputation thus lifts him up to the Notice and Observation of Mankind draws a Multitude of Eyes upon him that will narrowly inspect every Part of him, consider him nicely in all Views, and not be a little pleased when they have taken him in the worst and most disadvantageous Light. There are many who find a Pleasure in contradicting the common Reports of Fame, and in spreading abroad the Weaknesses of an exalted Character. They publish their ill-natur'd Discoveries with a secret Pride, and applaud themselves for the Singularity of their Judgment which has searched deeper than others, detected what the rest of the World have overlooked, and found a Flaw in what the Generality of Mankind admires. Others there are who proclaim the Errors and Infirmities of a great Man with an inward Satisfaction and Complacency, if they discover none of the like Errors and Infirmities in themselves; for while they are exposing another's Weaknesses, they are tacitly aiming at their own Commendations, who are not subject to the like Infirmities, and are apt to be transported with a secret kind of Vanity to see themselves superior in some respects to one of a sublime and celebrated Reputation. Nay, it very often happens, that none are more industrious in publishing the Blemishes of an extraordinary Reputation, than such as lie open to the same Censures in their own Characters, as either hoping to excuse their own Defects by the Authority of so high an Example, or raising an imaginary Applause to themselves for resembling a Person of an exalted Reputation, though in the blameable Parts of his Character. If all these secret Springs of Detraction fail, yet very often a vain Ostentation of Wit sets a Man on attacking an established Name, and sacrificing it to the Mirth and Laughter of those about him. A Satyr or a Libel on one of the common Stamp, never meets with that Reception and Approbation among its Readers, as what is aimed at a Person whose Merit places him upon an Eminence, and gives him a more conspicuous Figure among Men. Whether it be that we think it shews greater Art to expose and turn to ridicule a Man whose Character seems so improper a Subject for it, or that we are pleased by some implicit kind of Revenge to see him taken down and humbled in his Reputation, and in some measure reduced to our own Rank, who had so far raised himself above us in the Reports and Opinions of Mankind.

Thus we see how many dark and intricate Motives there are to Detraction and Defamation, and how many malicious Spies are searching into the Actions of a great Man, who is not always the best prepared for so narrow an Inspection. For we may generally observe, that our Admiration of a famous Man lessens upon our nearer Acquaintance with him; and that we seldom hear the Description of a celebrated Person, without a Catalogue of some notorious Weaknesses and Infirmities. The Reason may be, because any little Slip is more conspicuous and observable in his Conduct than in another's, as it is not of a piece with the rest of his Character, or because it is impossible for a Man at the same time to be attentive to the more important Part1 of his Life, and to keep a watchful Eye over all the inconsiderable Circumstances of his Behaviour and Conversation; or because, as we have before observed, the same Temper of Mind which inclines us to a Desire of Fame, naturally betrays us into such Slips and Unwarinesses as are not incident to Men of a contrary Disposition.

After all it must be confess'd, that a noble and triumphant Merit often breaks through and dissipates these little Spots and Sullies in its Reputation; but if by a mistaken Pursuit after Fame, or through human Infirmity, any false Step be made in the more momentous Concerns of Life, the whole Scheme of ambitious Designs is broken and disappointed. The smaller Stains and Blemishes may die away and disappear amidst the Brightness that surrounds them; but a Blot of a deeper Nature casts a Shade on all the other Beauties, and darkens the whole Character. How difficult therefore is it to preserve a great Name, when he that has acquired it is so obnoxious to such little Weaknesses and Infirmities as are no small Diminution to it when discovered, especially when they are so industriously proclaimed, and aggravated by such as were once his Superiors or Equals; by such as would set to show their Judgment or their Wit, and by such as are guilty or innocent of the same Slips or Misconducts in their own Behaviour?

But were there none of these Dispositions in others to censure a famous Man, nor any such Miscarriages in himself, yet would he meet with no small Trouble in keeping up his Reputation in all its Height and Splendour. There must be always a noble Train of Actions to preserve his Fame in Life and Motion. For when it is once at a Stand, it naturally flags and languishes. Admiration is a very short-liv'd Passion, that immediately decays upon growing familiar with its Object, unless it be still fed with fresh Discoveries, and kept alive by a new perpetual Succession of Miracles rising up to its View. And even the greatest Actions of a celebrated Person2 labour under this Disadvantage, that however surprising and extraordinary they may be, they are no more than what are expected from him; but on the contrary, if they fall any thing below the Opinion that is conceived of him, tho' they might raise the Reputation of another, they are a Diminution to his.

One would think there should be something wonderfully pleasing in the Possession of Fame, that, notwithstanding all these mortifying Considerations, can engage a Man in so desperate a Pursuit; and yet if we consider the little Happiness that attends a great Character, and the Multitude of Disquietudes to which the Desire of it subjects an ambitious Mind, one would be still the more surprised to see so many restless Candidates for Glory.

Ambition raises a secret Tumult in the Soul, it inflames the Mind, and puts it into a violent Hurry of Thought: It is still reaching after an empty imaginary Good, that has not in it the Power to abate or satisfy it. Most other Things we long for can allay the Cravings of their proper Sense, and for a while set the Appetite at Rest: But Fame is a Good so wholly foreign to our Natures, that we have no Faculty in the Soul adapted to it, nor any Organ in the Body to relish it; an Object of Desire placed out of the Possibility of Fruition. It may indeed fill the Mind for a while with a giddy kind of Pleasure, but it is such a Pleasure as makes a Man restless and uneasy under it; and which does not so much satisfy the present Thirst, as it excites fresh Desires, and sets the Soul on new Enterprises. For how few ambitious Men are there, who have got as much Fame as they desired, and whose Thirst after it has not been as eager in the very Height of their Reputation, as it was before they became known and eminent among Men? There is not any Circumstance in Cæsar's Character which gives me a greater Idea of him, than a Saying which Cicero tells us3 he frequently made use of in private Conversation, That he was satisfied with his Share of Life and Fame, Se satis vel ad Naturam, vel ad Gloriam vixisse. Many indeed have given over their Pursuits after Fame, but that has proceeded either from the Disappointments they have met in it, or from their Experience of the little Pleasure which attends it, or from the better Informations or natural Coldness of old Age; but seldom from a full Satisfaction and Acquiescence in their present Enjoyments of it.

Nor is Fame only unsatisfying in it self, but the Desire of it lays us open to many accidental Troubles which those are free from who have no such a tender Regard for it. How often is the ambitious Man cast down and disappointed, if he receives no Praise where he expected it? Nay how often is he mortified with the very Praises he receives, if they do not rise so high as he thinks they ought, which they seldom do unless increased by Flattery, since few Men have so good an Opinion of us as we have of our selves? But if the ambitious Man can be so much grieved even with Praise it self, how will he be able to bear up under Scandal and Defamation? For the same Temper of Mind which makes him desire Fame, makes him hate Reproach. If he can be transported with the extraordinary Praises of Men, he will be as much dejected by their Censures. How little therefore is the Happiness of an ambitious Man, who gives every one a Dominion over it, who thus subjects himself to the good or ill Speeches of others, and puts it in the Power of every malicious Tongue to throw him into a Fit of Melancholy, and destroy his natural Rest and Repose of Mind? Especially when we consider that the World is more apt to censure than applaud, and himself fuller of Imperfections than Virtues.

We may further observe, that such a Man will be more grieved for the Loss of Fame, than he could have been pleased with the Enjoyment of it. For tho' the Presence of this imaginary Good cannot make us happy, the Absence of it may make us miserable: Because in the Enjoyment of an Object we only find that Share of Pleasure which it is capable of giving us, but in the Loss of it we do not proportion our Grief to the real Value it bears, but to the Value our Fancies and Imaginations set upon it.

So inconsiderable is the Satisfaction that Fame brings along with it, and so great the Disquietudes, to which it makes us liable. The Desire of it stirs up very uneasy Motions in the Mind, and is rather inflamed than satisfied by the Presence of the Thing desired. The Enjoyment of it brings but very little Pleasure, tho' the Loss or Want of it be very sensible and afflicting; and even this little Happiness is so very precarious, that it wholly depends on the Will of others. We are not only tortured by the Reproaches which are offered us, but are disappointed by the Silence of Men when it is unexpected; and humbled even by their Praises4.


Footnote 1:   Parts
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Name

Footnote 3:   Oratio pro M. Marcello.

Footnote 4:   I shall conclude this Subject in my next Paper.

Contents, p.2

No. 257

Tuesday, December 25, 17111


Greek: Ouch' ehudei Diòs
          Ophthalmós eggùs d' ésti kaì parôn pónô.—Incert. ex Stob.

That I might not lose myself upon a Subject of so great Extent as that of Fame, I have treated it in a particular Order and Method. I have first of all considered the Reasons why Providence may have implanted in our Mind such a Principle of Action. I have in the next Place shewn from many Considerations, first, that Fame is a thing difficult to be obtained, and easily lost; Secondly, that it brings the ambitious Man very little Happiness, but subjects him to much Uneasiness and Dissatisfaction. I shall in the last Place shew, that it hinders us from obtaining an End which we have Abilities to acquire, and which is accompanied with Fulness of Satisfaction. I need not tell my Reader, that I mean by this End that Happiness which is reserved for us in another World, which every one has Abilities to procure, and which will bring along with it Fulness of Joy and Pleasures for evermore.

How the Pursuit after Fame may hinder us in the Attainment of this great End, I shall leave the Reader to collect from the three following Considerations.

First, Because the strong Desire of Fame breeds several vicious Habits in the Mind.

Secondly, Because many of those Actions, which are apt to procure Fame, are not in their Nature conducive to this our ultimate Happiness.

Thirdly, Because if we should allow the same Actions to be the proper Instruments, both of acquiring Fame, and of procuring this Happiness, they would nevertheless fail in the Attainment of this last End, if they proceeded from a Desire of the first.

These three Propositions are self-evident to those who are versed in Speculations of Morality. For which Reason I shall not enlarge upon them, but proceed to a Point of the same Nature, which may open to us a more uncommon Field of Speculation.

From what has been already observed, I think we may make a natural Conclusion, that it is the greatest Folly to seek the Praise or Approbation of any Being, besides the Supreme, and that for these two Reasons, Because no other Being can make a right Judgment of us, and esteem us according to our Merits; and because we can procure no considerable Benefit or Advantage from the Esteem and Approbation of any other Being.

In the first Place, No other Being can make a right Judgment of us, and esteem us according to our Merits. Created Beings see nothing but our Outside, and can therefore only frame a Judgment of us from our exterior Actions and Behaviour; but how unfit these are to give us a right Notion of each other's Perfections, may appear from several Considerations. There are many Virtues, which in their own Nature are incapable of any outward Representation: Many silent Perfections in the Soul of a good Man, which are great Ornaments to human Nature, but not able to discover themselves to the Knowledge of others; they are transacted in private, without Noise or Show, and are only visible to the great Searcher of Hearts. What Actions can express the entire Purity of Thought which refines and sanctifies a virtuous Man? That secret Rest and Contentedness of Mind, which gives him a Perfect Enjoyment of his present Condition? That inward Pleasure and Complacency, which he feels in doing Good? That Delight and Satisfaction which he takes in the Prosperity and Happiness of another? These and the like Virtues are the hidden Beauties of a Soul, the secret Graces which cannot be discovered by a mortal Eye, but make the Soul lovely and precious in His Sight, from whom no Secrets are concealed. Again, there are many Virtues which want an Opportunity of exerting and shewing themselves in Actions. Every Virtue requires Time and Place, a proper Object and a fit Conjuncture of Circumstances, for the due Exercise of it. A State of Poverty obscures all the Virtues of Liberality and Munificence. The Patience and Fortitude of a Martyr or Confessor lie concealed in the flourishing Times of Christianity. Some Virtues are only seen in Affliction, and some in Prosperity; some in a private, and others in a publick Capacity. But the great Sovereign of the World beholds every Perfection in its Obscurity, and not only sees what we do, but what we would do. He views our Behaviour in every Concurrence of Affairs, and sees us engaged in all the Possibilities of Action. He discovers the Martyr and Confessor without the Tryal of Flames and Tortures, and will hereafter entitle many to the Reward of Actions, which they had never the Opportunity of Performing. Another Reason why Men cannot form a right Judgment of us is, because the same Actions may be aimed at different Ends, and arise from quite contrary Principles. Actions are of so mixt a Nature, and so full of Circumstances, that as Men pry into them more or less, or observe some Parts more than others, they take different Hints, and put contrary Interpretations on them; so that the same Actions may represent a Man as hypocritical and designing to one, which make him appear a Saint or Hero to another. He therefore who looks upon the Soul through its outward Actions, often sees it through a deceitful Medium, which is apt to discolour and pervert the Object: So that on this Account also, He is the only proper Judge of our Perfections, who does not guess at the Sincerity of our Intentions from the Goodness of our Actions, but weighs the Goodness of our Actions by the Sincerity of our Intentions.

But further; it is impossible for outward Actions to represent the Perfections of the Soul, because they can never shew the Strength of those Principles from whence they proceed. They are not adequate Expressions of our Virtues, and can only shew us what Habits are in the Soul, without discovering the Degree and Perfection of such Habits. They are at best but weak Resemblances of our Intentions, faint and imperfect Copies that may acquaint us with the general Design, but can never express the Beauty and Life of the Original. But the great Judge of all the Earth knows every different State and Degree of human Improvement, from those weak Stirrings and Tendencies of the Will which have not yet formed themselves into regular Purposes and Designs, to the last entire Finishing and Consummation of a good Habit. He beholds the first imperfect Rudiments of a Virtue in the Soul, and keeps a watchful Eye over it in all its Progress, 'till it has received every Grace it is capable of, and appears in its full Beauty and Perfection. Thus we see that none but the Supreme Being can esteem us according to our proper Merits, since all others must judge of us from our outward Actions, which can never give them a just Estimate of us, since there are many Perfections of a Man which are not capable of appearing in Actions; many which, allowing no natural Incapacity of shewing themselves, want an Opportunity of doing it; or should they all meet with an Opportunity of appearing by Actions, yet those Actions maybe misinterpreted, and applied to wrong Principles; or though they plainly discovered the Principles from whence they proceeded, they could never shew the Degree, Strength and Perfection of those Principles.

And as the Supreme Being is the only proper Judge of our Perfections, so is He the only fit Rewarder of them. This is a Consideration that comes home to our Interest, as the other adapts it self to our Ambition. And what could the most aspiring, or the most selfish Man desire more, were he to form the Notion of a Being to whom he would recommend himself, than such a Knowledge as can discover the least Appearance of Perfection in him, and such a Goodness as will proportion a Reward to it.

Let the ambitious Man therefore turn all his Desire of Fame this Way; and, that he may propose to himself a Fame worthy of his Ambition, let him consider that if he employs his Abilities to the best Advantage, the Time will come when the supreme Governor of the World, the great Judge of Mankind, who sees every Degree of Perfection in others, and possesses all possible Perfection in Himself, shall proclaim His Worth before Men and Angels, and pronounce to him in the Presence of the whole Creation that best and most significant of Applauses, Well done, thou good and faithful Servant, enter thou into thy Master's Joy.


Footnote 1:   This being Christmas Day, Addison has continued to it a religious strain of thought.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p.3

No. 258

Wednesday, December 26, 1711


Divide et Impera.

Pleasure and Recreation of one Kind or other are absolutely necessary to relieve our Minds and Bodies from too constant Attention and Labour: Where therefore publick Diversions are tolerated, it behoves Persons of Distinction, with their Power and Example, to preside over them in such a Manner as to check any thing that tends to the Corruption of Manners, or which is too mean or trivial for the Entertainment of reasonable Creatures. As to the Diversions of this Kind in this Town, we owe them to the Arts of Poetry and Musick: My own private Opinion, with Relation to such Recreations, I have heretofore given with all the Frankness imaginable; what concerns those Arts at present the Reader shall have from my Correspondents. The first of the Letters with which I acquit myself for this Day, is written by one who proposes to improve our Entertainments of Dramatick Poetry, and the other comes from three Persons, who, as soon as named, will be thought capable of advancing the present State of Musick.

Mr. Spectator,

'I am considerably obliged to you for your speedy Publication of my last in yours of the 18th Instant, and am in no small Hopes of being settled in the Post of Comptroller of the Cries. Of all the Objections I have hearkened after in publick Coffee-houses there is but one that seems to carry any Weight with it, viz. That such a Post would come too near the Nature of a Monopoly. Now, Sir, because I would have all Sorts of People made easy, and being willing to have more Strings than one to my Bow; in case that of Comptroller should fail me, I have since formed another Project, which, being grounded on the dividing a present Monopoly, I hope will give the Publick an Equivalent to their full Content. You know, Sir, it is allowed that the Business of the Stage is, as the Latin has it, Jucunda et Idonea dicere Vitæ. Now there being but one Dramatick Theatre licensed for the Delight and Profit of this extensive Metropolis, I do humbly propose, for the Convenience of such of its Inhabitants as are too distant from Covent-Garden, that another Theatre of Ease may be erected in some spacious Part of the City; and that the Direction thereof may be made a Franchise in Fee to me, and my Heirs for ever. And that the Town may have no Jealousy of my ever coming to an Union with the Set of Actors now in being, I do further propose to constitute for my Deputy my near Kinsman and Adventurer, Kit Crotchet1, whose long Experience and Improvements in those Affairs need no Recommendation. 'Twas obvious to every Spectator what a quite different Foot the Stage was upon during his Government; and had he not been bolted out of his Trap-Doors, his Garrison might have held out for ever, he having by long Pains and Perseverance arriv'd at the Art of making his Army fight without Pay or Provisions. I must confess it, with a melancholy Amazement, I see so wonderful a Genius laid aside, and the late Slaves of the Stage now become its Masters, Dunces that will be sure to suppress all Theatrical Entertainments and Activities that they are not able themselves to shine in!

Every Man that goes to a Play is not obliged to have either Wit or Understanding; and I insist upon it, that all who go there should see something which may improve them in a Way of which they are capable. In short, Sir, I would have something done as well as said on the Stage. A Man may have an active Body, though he has not a quick Conception; for the Imitation therefore of such as are, as I may so speak, corporeal Wits or nimble Fellows, I would fain ask any of the present Mismanagers, Why should not Rope-dancers, Vaulters, Tumblers, Ladder-walkers, and Posture-makers appear again on our Stage? After such a Representation, a Five-bar Gate would be leaped with a better Grace next Time any of the Audience went a Hunting. Sir, these Things cry loud for Reformation and fall properly under the Province of Spectator General; but how indeed should it be otherwise, while Fellows (that for Twenty Years together were never paid but as their Master was in the Humour) now presume to pay others more than ever they had in their Lives; and in Contempt of the Practice of Persons of Condition, have the Insolence to owe no Tradesman a Farthing at the End of the Week. Sir, all I propose is the publick Good; for no one can imagine I shall ever get a private Shilling by it: Therefore I hope you will recommend this Matter in one of your this Week's Papers, and desire when my House opens you will accept the Liberty of it for the Trouble you have receiv'd from,
Your Humble Servant,
Ralph Crotchet.

P. S. I have Assurances that the Trunk-maker will declare for us.

Mr. Spectator,

"We whose Names are subscribed2, think you the properest Person to signify what we have to offer the Town in Behalf of our selves, and the Art which we profess, Musick. We conceive Hopes of your Favour from the Speculations on the Mistakes which the Town run into with Regard to their Pleasure of this Kind; and believing your Method of judging is, that you consider Musick only valuable, as it is agreeable to, and heightens the Purpose of Poetry, we consent that That is not only the true Way of relishing that Pleasure, but also, that without it a Composure of Musick is the same thing as a Poem, where all the Rules of Poetical Numbers are observed, tho' the Words have no Sense or Meaning; to say it shorter, meer musical Sounds are in our Art no other than nonsense Verses are in Poetry. Musick therefore is to aggravate what is intended by Poetry; it must always have some Passion or Sentiment to express, or else Violins, Voices, or any other Organs of Sound, afford an Entertainment very little above the Rattles of Children. It was from this Opinion of the Matter, that when Mr. Clayton had finished his Studies in Italy, and brought over the Opera of Arsinoe, that Mr. Haym and Mr. Dieupart, who had the Honour to be well known and received among the Nobility and Gentry, were zealously inclined to assist, by their Solicitations, in introducing so elegant an Entertainment as the Italian Musick grafted upon English Poetry. For this End Mr. Dieupart and Mr. Haym, according to their several Opportunities, promoted the Introduction of Arsinoe, and did it to the best Advantage so great a Novelty would allow. It is not proper to trouble you with Particulars of the just Complaints we all of us have to make; but so it is, that without Regard to our obliging Pains, we are all equally set aside in the present Opera. Our Application therefore to you is only to insert this Letter, in your Papers, that the Town may know we have all Three joined together to make Entertainments of Musick for the future at Mr. Clayton's House in York-buildings. What we promise ourselves, is, to make a Subscription of two Guineas, for eight Times; and that the Entertainment, with the Names of the Authors of the Poetry, may be printed, to be sold in the House, with an Account of the several Authors of the Vocal as well as the Instrumental Musick for each Night; the Money to be paid at the Receipt of the Tickets, at Mr. Charles Lillie's. It will, we hope, Sir, be easily allowed, that we are capable of undertaking to exhibit by our joint Force and different Qualifications all that can be done in Musick; but lest you should think so dry a thing as an Account of our Proposal should be a Matter unworthy your Paper, which generally contains something of publick Use; give us leave to say, that favouring our Design is no less than reviving an Art, which runs to ruin by the utmost Barbarism under an Affectation of Knowledge. We aim at establishing some settled Notion of what is Musick, as recovering from Neglect and Want very many Families who depend upon it, at making all Foreigners who pretend to succeed in England to learn the Language of it as we our selves have done, and not be so insolent as to expect a whole Nation, a refined and learned Nation, should submit to learn them. In a word, Mr. Spectator, with all Deference and Humility, we hope to behave ourselves in this Undertaking in such a Manner, that all English Men who have any Skill in Musick may be furthered in it for their Profit or Diversion by what new Things we shall produce; never pretending to surpass others, or asserting that any Thing which is a Science is not attainable by all Men of all Nations who have proper Genius for it: We say, Sir, what we hope for is not expected will arrive to us by contemning others, but through the utmost Diligence recommending ourselves.
We are, Sir,
Your most humble Servants
Thomas Clayton,
Nicolino Haym,
Charles Dieupart.

Footnote 1:  Christopher Rich, of whom Steele wrote in No. 12 of the Tatler as Divito, who
'has a perfect art in being unintelligible in discourse and uncomeatable in business. But he, having no understanding in his polite way, brought in upon us, to get in his money, ladder-dancers, rope-dancers, jugglers, and mountebanks, to strut in the place of Shakespeare's heroes and Jonson's humorists.'
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Footnote 2:  Thomas Clayton (see note on p. 72) had set Dryden's Alexander's Feast to music at the request of Steele and John Hughes; but its performance at his house in York Buildings was a failure. Clayton had adapted English words to Italian airs in the drama written for him by Motteux, of Arsinoe, Queen of Cyprus, and called it his own opera. Steele and Addison were taken by his desire to nationalize the opera, and put native music to words that were English and had literature in them. After Camilla at Drury Lane, produced under the superintendence of Nicolino Haym, Addison's Rosamond was produced, with music by Clayton and Mrs. Tofts in the part of Queen Eleanor. The music killed the piece on the third night of performance. The coming of Handel and his opera of Rinaldo set Mr. Clayton aside, but the friendship of Steele and Addison abided with him, and Steele seems to have had a share in his enterprises at York Buildings. Of his colleagues who join in the signing of this letter, Nicola Francesco Haym was by birth a Roman, and resident in London as a professor of music. He published two good operas of sonatas for two violins and a bass, and joined Clayton and Dieupart in the service of the opera, until Handel's success superseded them. Haym was also a man of letters, who published two quartos upon Medals, a notice of rare Italian Books, an edition of Tasso's Gerusalemme, and two tragedies of his own. He wrote a History of Music in Italian, and issued proposals for its publication in English, but had no success. Finally he turned picture collector, and was employed in that quality by Dr. Mead and Sir Robert Walpole.

Charles Dieupart, a Frenchman, was a fine performer on the violin and harpsichord. At the representation of Arsinoe and the other earliest operas, he played the harpsichord and Haym the violoncello. Dieupart, after the small success of the design set forth in this letter, taught the harpsichord in families of distinction, but wanted self-respect enough to save him from declining into a player at obscure ale-houses, where he executed for the pleasure of dull ears solos of Corelli with the nicety of taste that never left him. He died old and poor in 1740.

Contents, p.3

No. 259

Thursday, December 27, 1711


Quod decet honestum est, et quod honestum est decet.


There are some Things which cannot come under certain Rules, but which one would think could not need them. Of this kind are outward Civilities and Salutations. These one would imagine might be regulated by every Man's Common Sense without the Help of an Instructor; but that which we call Common Sense suffers under that Word; for it sometimes implies no more than that Faculty which is common to all Men, but sometimes signifies right Reason, and what all Men should consent to. In this latter Acceptation of the Phrase, it is no great Wonder People err so much against it, since it is not every one who is possessed of it, and there are fewer, who against common Rules and Fashions, dare obey its Dictates. As to Salutations, which I was about to talk of, I observe as I strole about Town, there are great Enormities committed with regard to this Particular. You shall sometimes see a Man begin the Offer of a Salutation, and observe a forbidding Air, or escaping Eye, in the Person he is going to salute, and stop short in the Pole of his Neck. This in the Person who believed he could do it with a good Grace, and was refused the Opportunity, is justly resented with a Coldness the whole ensuing Season. Your great Beauties, People in much Favour, or by any Means or for any Purpose overflattered, are apt to practise this which one may call the preventing Aspect, and throw their Attention another Way, lest they should confer a Bow or a Curtsie upon a Person who might not appear to deserve that Dignity. Others you shall find so obsequious, and so very courteous, as there is no escaping their Favours of this Kind. Of this Sort may be a Man who is in the fifth or sixth Degree of Favour with a Minister; this good Creature is resolved to shew the World, that great Honours cannot at all change his Manners; he is the same civil Person he ever was; he will venture his Neck to bow out of a Coach in full Speed, at once, to shew he is full of Business, and yet is not so taken up as to forget his old Friend. With a Man, who is not so well formed for Courtship and elegant Behaviour, such a Gentleman as this seldom finds his Account in the Return of his Compliments, but he will still go on, for he is in his own Way, and must not omit; let the Neglect fall on your Side, or where it will, his Business is still to be well-bred to the End. I think I have read, in one of our English Comedies, a Description of a Fellow that affected knowing every Body, and for Want of Judgment in Time and Place, would bow and smile in the Face of a Judge sitting in the Court, would sit in an opposite Gallery and smile in the Minister's Face as he came up into the Pulpit, and nod as if he alluded to some Familiarities between them in another Place. But now I happen to speak of Salutation at Church, I must take notice that several of my Correspondents have importuned me to consider that Subject, and settle the Point of Decorum in that Particular.

I do not pretend to be the best Courtier in the World, but I have often on publick Occasions thought it a very great Absurdity in the Company (during the Royal Presence) to exchange Salutations from all Parts of the Room, when certainly Common Sense should suggest, that all Regards at that Time should be engaged, and cannot be diverted to any other Object, without Disrespect to the Sovereign. But as to the Complaint of my Correspondents, it is not to be imagined what Offence some of them take at the Custom of Saluting in Places of Worship. I have a very angry Letter from a Lady, who tells me of one of her Acquaintance, who, out of meer Pride and a Pretence to be rude, takes upon her to return no Civilities done to her in Time of Divine Service, and is the most religious Woman for no other Reason but to appear a Woman of the best Quality in the Church. This absurd Custom had better be abolished than retained, if it were but to prevent Evils of no higher a Nature than this is; but I am informed of Objections much more considerable: A Dissenter of Rank and Distinction was lately prevailed upon by a Friend of his to come to one of the greatest Congregations of the Church of England about Town: After the Service was over, he declared he was very well satisfied with the little Ceremony which was used towards God Almighty; but at the same time he feared he should not be able to go through those required towards one another: As to this Point he was in a State of Despair, and feared he was not well-bred enough to be a Convert. There have been many Scandals of this Kind given to our Protestant Dissenters from the outward Pomp and Respect we take to our selves in our Religious Assemblies. A Quaker who came one Day into a Church, fixed his Eyes upon an old Lady with a Carpet larger than that from the Pulpit before her, expecting when she would hold forth. An Anabaptist who designs to come over himself, and all his Family, within few Months, is sensible they want Breeding enough for our Congregations, and has sent his two eldest1 Daughters to learn to dance, that they may not misbehave themselves at Church: It is worth considering whether, in regard to awkward People with scrupulous Consciences, a good Christian of the best Air in the World ought not rather to deny herself the Opportunity of shewing so many Graces, than keep a bashful Proselyte without the Pale of the Church.

Footnote 1:   elder
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Contents, p.3

No. 260

Friday, December 28, 1711


Singula de nobis anni prædantur euntes.


Mr. Spectator,

I am now in the Sixty fifth Year of my Age, and having been the greater Part of my Days a Man of Pleasure, the Decay of my Faculties is a Stagnation of my Life. But how is it, Sir, that my Appetites are increased upon me with the Loss of Power to gratify them? I write this, like a Criminal, to warn People to enter upon what Reformation they may please to make in themselves in their Youth, and not expect they shall be capable of it from a fond Opinion some have often in their Mouths, that if we do not leave our Desires they will leave us. It is far otherwise; I am now as vain in my Dress, and as flippant if I see a pretty Woman, as when in my Youth I stood upon a Bench in the Pit to survey the whole Circle of Beauties. The Folly is so extravagant with me, and I went on with so little Check of my Desires, or Resignation of them, that I can assure you, I very often meerly to entertain my own Thoughts, sit with my Spectacles on, writing Love-Letters to the Beauties that have been long since in their Graves. This is to warm my Heart with the faint Memory of Delights which were once agreeable to me; but how much happier would my Life have been now, if I could have looked back on any worthy Action done for my Country? If I had laid out that which I profused in Luxury and Wantonness, in Acts of Generosity or Charity? I have lived a Batchelor to this Day; and instead of a numerous Offspring, with which, in the regular Ways of Life, I might possibly have delighted my self, I have only to amuse my self with the Repetition of Old Stories and Intrigues which no one will believe I ever was concerned in. I do not know whether you have ever treated of it or not; but you cannot fall on a better Subject, than that of the Art of growing old. In such a Lecture you must propose, that no one set his Heart upon what is transient; the Beauty grows wrinkled while we are yet gazing at her. The witty Man sinks into a Humourist imperceptibly, for want of reflecting that all Things around him are in a Flux, and continually changing: Thus he is in the Space of ten or fifteen Years surrounded by a new Set of People whose Manners are as natural to them as his Delights, Method of Thinking, and Mode of Living, were formerly to him and his Friends. But the Mischief is, he looks upon the same kind of Errors which he himself was guilty of with an Eye of Scorn, and with that sort of Ill-will which Men entertain against each other for different Opinions: Thus a crasie Constitution, and an uneasie Mind is fretted with vexatious Passions for young Mens doing foolishly what it is Folly to do at all. Dear Sir, this is my present State of Mind; I hate those I should laugh at, and envy those I contemn. The Time of Youth and vigorous Manhood passed the Way in which I have disposed of it, is attended with these Consequences; but to those who live and pass away Life as they ought, all Parts of it are equally pleasant; only the Memory of good and worthy Actions is a Feast which must give a quicker Relish to the Soul than ever it could possibly taste in the highest Enjoyments or Jollities of Youth. As for me, if I sit down in my great Chair and begin to ponder, the Vagaries of a Child are not more ridiculous than the Circumstances which are heaped up in my Memory. Fine Gowns, Country Dances, Ends of Tunes, interrupted Conversations, and midnight Quarrels, are what must necessarily compose my Soliloquy. I beg of you to print this, that some Ladies of my Acquaintance, and my Years, may be perswaded to wear warm Night-caps this cold Season: and that my old Friend Jack Tawdery may buy him a Cane, and not creep with the Air of a Strut. I must add to all this, that if it were not for one Pleasure, which I thought a very mean one 'till of very late Years, I should have no one great Satisfaction left; but if I live to the 10th of March, 1714, and all my Securities are good, I shall be worth Fifty thousand Pound.

I am, Sir,
Your most humble Servant,

Jack Afterday.

Mr. Spectator,

You will infinitely oblige a distressed Lover, if you will insert in your very next Paper, the following Letter to my Mistress. You must know, I am not a Person apt to despair, but she has got an odd Humour of stopping short unaccountably, and, as she her self told a Confident of hers, she has cold Fits. These Fits shall last her a Month or six Weeks together; and as she falls into them without Provocation, so it is to be hoped she will return from them without the Merit of new Services. But Life and Love will not admit of such Intervals, therefore pray let her be admonished as follows.

I Love you, and I honour you: therefore pray do not tell me of waiting till Decencies, till Forms, till Humours are consulted and gratified. If you have that happy Constitution as to be indolent for ten Weeks together, you should consider that all that while I burn in Impatiences and Fevers; but still you say it will be Time enough, tho' I and you too grow older while we are yet talking. Which do you think the more reasonable, that you should alter a State of Indifference for Happiness, and that to oblige me, or I live in Torment, and that to lay no Manner of Obligation upon you? While I indulge your Insensibility I am doing nothing; if you favour my Passion, you are bestowing bright Desires, gay Hopes, generous Cares, noble Resolutions and transporting Raptures upon, Madam,

Your most devoted humble Servant.

Mr. Spectator,

Here's a Gentlewoman lodges in the same House with me, that I never did any Injury to in my whole Life; and she is always railing at me to those that she knows will tell me of it. Don't you think she is in Love with me? or would you have me break my Mind yet or not?
Your Servant,
T. B.

Mr. Spectator,

I am a Footman in a great Family, and am in Love with the House-maid. We were all at Hot-cockles last Night in the Hall these Holidays; when I lay down and was blinded, she pulled off her Shoe, and hit me with the Heel such a Rap, as almost broke my Head to Pieces. Pray, Sir, was this Love or Spite?

Contents, p.3

No. 261

Saturday, December 29, 1711


Greek: Gámos gàr anphrôpoisin euktaion kakón—Frag. Vet. Poet.

My Father, whom I mentioned in my first Speculation, and whom I must always name with Honour and Gratitude, has very frequently talked to me upon the Subject of Marriage. I was in my younger Years engaged, partly by his Advice, and partly by my own Inclinations in the Courtship of a Person who had a great deal of Beauty, and did not at my first Approaches seem to have any Aversion to me; but as my natural Taciturnity hindred me from showing my self to the best Advantage, she by degrees began to look upon me as a very silly Fellow, and being resolved to regard Merit more than any Thing else in the Persons who made their Applications to her, she married a Captain of Dragoons who happened to be beating up for Recruits in those Parts.

This unlucky Accident has given me an Aversion to pretty Fellows ever since, and discouraged me from trying my Fortune with the Fair Sex. The Observations which I made in this Conjuncture, and the repeated Advices which I received at that Time from the good old Man above-mentioned, have produced the following Essay upon Love and Marriage.

The pleasantest Part of a Man's Life is generally that which passes in Courtship, provided his Passion be sincere, and the Party beloved kind with Discretion. Love, Desire, Hope, all the pleasing Motions of the Soul rise in the Pursuit.

It is easier for an artful Man who is not in Love, to persuade his Mistress he has a Passion for her, and to succeed in his Pursuits, than for one who loves with the greatest Violence. True Love has ten thousand Griefs, Impatiences and Resentments, that render a Man unamiable in the Eyes of the Person whose Affection he sollicits: besides, that it sinks his Figure, gives him Fears, Apprehensions and Poorness of Spirit, and often makes him appear ridiculous where he has a mind to recommend himself.

Those Marriages generally abound most with Love and Constancy, that are preceded by a long Courtship. The Passion should strike Root, and gather Strength before Marriage be grafted on it. A long Course of Hopes and Expectations fixes the Idea in our Minds, and habituates us to a Fondness of the Person beloved.

There is Nothing of so great Importance to us, as the good Qualities of one to whom we join ourselves for Life; they do not only make our present State agreeable, but often determine our Happiness to all Eternity. Where the Choice is left to Friends, the chief Point under Consideration is an Estate: Where the Parties chuse for themselves, their Thoughts turn most upon the Person. They have both their Reasons. The first would procure many Conveniencies and Pleasures of Life to the Party whose Interests they espouse; and at the same time may hope that the Wealth of their Friend will turn to their own Credit and Advantage. The others are preparing for themselves a perpetual Feast. A good Person does not only raise, but continue Love, and breeds a secret Pleasure and Complacency in the Beholder, when the first Heats of Desire are extinguished. It puts the Wife or Husband in Countenance both among Friends and Strangers, and generally fills the Family with a healthy and beautiful Race of Children.

I should prefer a Woman that is agreeable in my own Eye, and not deformed in that of the World, to a Celebrated Beauty. If you marry one remarkably beautiful, you must have a violent Passion for her, or you have not the proper Taste of her Charms; and if you have such a Passion for her, it is odds but it would1 be imbittered with Fears and Jealousies.

Good-Nature and Evenness of Temper will give you an easie Companion for Life; Virtue and good Sense, an agreeable Friend; Love and Constancy, a good Wife or Husband. Where we meet one Person with all these Accomplishments, we find an hundred without any one of them. The World, notwithstanding, is more intent on Trains and Equipages, and all the showy Parts of Life; we love rather to dazzle the Multitude, than consult our proper Interests; and, as I have elsewhere observed, it is one of the most unaccountable Passions of human Nature, that we are at greater Pains to appear easie and happy to others, than really to make our selves so. Of all Disparities, that in Humour makes the most unhappy Marriages, yet scarce enters into our Thoughts at the contracting of them. Several that are in this Respect unequally yoked, and uneasie for Life, with a Person of a particular Character, might have been pleased and happy with a Person of a contrary one, notwithstanding they are both perhaps equally virtuous and laudable in their Kind.

Before Marriage we cannot be too inquisitive and discerning in the Faults of the Person beloved, nor after it too dim-sighted and superficial. However perfect and accomplished the Person appears to you at a Distance, you will find many Blemishes and Imperfections in her Humour, upon a more intimate Acquaintance, which you never discovered or perhaps suspected. Here therefore Discretion and Good-nature are to shew their Strength; the first will hinder your Thoughts from dwelling on what is disagreeable, the other will raise in you all the Tenderness of Compassion and Humanity, and by degrees soften those very Imperfections into Beauties.

Marriage enlarges the Scene of our Happiness and Miseries. A Marriage of Love is pleasant; a Marriage of Interest easie; and a Marriage, where both meet, happy. A happy Marriage has in it all the Pleasures of Friendship, all the Enjoyments of Sense and Reason, and indeed, all the Sweets of Life. Nothing is a greater Mark of a degenerate and vicious Age, than the common Ridicule which2 passes on this State of Life. It is, indeed, only happy in those who can look down with Scorn or Neglect on the Impieties of the Times, and tread the Paths of Life together in a constant uniform Course of Virtue.

Footnote 1:   will
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Footnote 2:   that

Contents, p.3

No. 262

Monday, December 31, 1711


Nulla venenato Littera mista Joco est.


I think myself highly obliged to the Publick for their kind Acceptance of a Paper which visits them every Morning, and has in it none of those Seasonings that recommend so many of the Writings which are in Vogue among us.

As, on the one Side, my Paper has not in it a single Word of News, a Reflection in Politics, nor a Stroak of Party; so on the other, there are no Fashionable Touches of Infidelity, no obscene Ideas, no Satyrs upon Priesthood, Marriage, and the like popular Topics of Ridicule; no private Scandal, nor any Thing that may tend to the Defamation of particular Persons, Families, or Societies.

There is not one of these above-mentioned Subjects that would not sell a very indifferent Paper, could I think of gratifying the Publick by such mean and base Methods. But notwithstanding I have rejected every Thing that savours of Party, every Thing that is loose and immoral, and every Thing that might create Uneasiness in the Minds of particular Persons, I find that the Demand of my Papers has encreased every Month since their first Appearance in the World. This does not perhaps reflect so much Honour upon my self, as on my Readers, who give a much greater Attention to Discourses of Virtue and Morality, than ever I expected, or indeed could hope.

When I broke loose from that great Body of Writers who have employed their Wit and Parts in propagating Vice and Irreligion, I did not question but I should be treated as an odd kind of Fellow that had a mind to appear singular in my Way of Writing: But the general Reception I have found, convinces me that the World is not so corrupt as we are apt to imagine; and that if those Men of Parts who have been employed in vitiating the Age had endeavour'd to rectify and amend it, they needed not1 have sacrificed their good Sense and Virtue to their Fame and Reputation. No Man is so sunk in Vice and Ignorance, but there are still some hidden Seeds of Goodness and Knowledge in him; which give him a Relish of such Reflections and Speculations as have an Aptness2 to improve the Mind, and make the Heart better.

I have shewn in a former Paper, with how much Care I have avoided all such Thoughts as are loose, obscene or immoral; and I believe my Reader would still think the better of me, if he knew the Pains I am at in qualifying what I write after such a manner, that nothing may be interpreted as aimed at private Persons. For this Reason when I draw any faulty Character, I consider all those Persons to whom the Malice of the World may possibly apply it, and take care to dash it with such particular Circumstances as may prevent all such ill-natured Applications. If I write any Thing on a black Man, I run over in my Mind all the eminent Persons in the Nation who are of that Complection: When I place an imaginary Name at the Head of a Character, I examine every Syllable and Letter of it, that it may not bear any Resemblance to one that is real. I know very well the Value which every Man sets upon his Reputation, and how painful it is to be exposed to the Mirth and Derision of the Publick, and should therefore scorn to divert my Reader, at the Expence of any private Man.

As I have been thus tender of every particular Person's Reputation, so I have taken more than ordinary Care not to give Offence to those who appear in the higher Figures of Life. I would not make myself merry even with a Piece of Paste-board that is invested with a Publick Character; for which Reason I have never glanced upon the late designed Procession of his Holiness and his Attendants3, notwithstanding it might have afforded Matter to many ludicrous Speculations. Among those Advantages, which the Publick may reap from this Paper, it is not the least, that it draws Mens Minds off from the Bitterness of Party, and furnishes them with Subjects of Discourse that may be treated without Warmth or Passion. This is said to have been the first Design of those Gentlemen who set on Foot the Royal Society4; and had then a very good Effect, as it turned many of the greatest Genius's of that Age to the Disquisitions of natural Knowledge, who, if they had engaged in Politicks with the same Parts and Application, might have set their Country in a Flame. The Air-Pump, the Barometer, the Quadrant, and the like Inventions were thrown out to those busie Spirits, as Tubs and Barrels are to a Whale, that he may let the Ship sail on without Disturbance, while he diverts himself with those innocent Amusements.

I have been so very scrupulous in this Particular of not hurting any Man's Reputation that I have forborn mentioning even such Authors as I could not name without Honour. This I must confess to have been a Piece of very great Self-denial: For as the Publick relishes nothing better than the Ridicule which turns upon a Writer of any Eminence, so there is nothing which a Man that has but a very ordinary Talent in Ridicule may execute with greater Ease. One might raise Laughter for a Quarter of a Year together upon the Works of a Person who has published but a very few Volumes. For which Reason5 I am astonished, that those who have appeared against this Paper have made so very little of it. The Criticisms which I have hitherto published, have been made with an Intention rather to discover Beauties and Excellencies in the Writers of my own Time, than to publish any of their Faults and Imperfections. In the mean while I should take it for a very great Favour from some of my underhand Detractors, if they would break all Measures with me so far, as to give me a Pretence for examining their Performances with an impartial Eye: Nor shall I look upon it as any Breach of Charity to criticise the Author, so long as I keep clear of the Person.

In the mean while, 'till I am provoked to such Hostilities, I shall from time to time endeavour to do Justice to those who have distinguished themselves in the politer Parts of Learning, and to point out such Beauties in their Works as may have escaped the Observation of others.

As the first Place among our English Poets is due to Milton; and as I have drawn more Quotations out of him than from any other, I shall enter into a regular Criticism upon his Paradise Lost, which I shall publish every Saturday 'till I have given my Thoughts upon that Poem. I shall not however presume to impose upon others my own particular Judgment on this Author, but only deliver it as my private Opinion. Criticism is of a very large Extent, and every particular Master in this Art has his favourite Passages in an Author, which do not equally strike the best Judges. It will be sufficient for me if I discover many Beauties or Imperfections which others have not attended to, and I should be very glad to see any of our eminent Writers publish their Discoveries on the same Subject. In short, I would always be understood to write my Papers of Criticism in the Spirit which Horace has expressed in those two famous Lines;
—Si quid novisti rectius istis,
Candidus imperti; si non, his utere mecum,

'If you have made any better Remarks of your own, communicate them with Candour; if not, make use of these I present you with.'

Footnote 1:  not to
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Footnote 2:   Aptness in them

Footnote 3:   Fifteen images in waxwork, prepared for a procession on the 17th November, Queen Elizabeth's birthday, had been seized under a Secretary of State's warrant. Swift says, in his Journal to Stella, that the devil which was to have waited on the Pope was saved from burning because it was thought to resemble the Lord Treasurer.

Footnote 4:   The Royal Society was incorporated in 1663 as the Royal Society of London 'for promoting Natural Knowledge.' In the same year there was an abortive insurrection in the North against the infamy of Charles II.'s government.

Footnote 5:  Reasons

Contents, p.3

No. 263

Tuesday, January 1, 1712


Gratulor quod eum quem necesse erat diligere, qualiscunque esset, talem habemus ut libenter quoque diligamus.

Trebonius apud Tull.

Mr, Spectator,

I am the happy Father of a very towardly Son, in whom I do not only see my Life, but also my Manner of Life, renewed. It would be extremely beneficial to Society, if you would frequently resume Subjects which serve to bind these sort of Relations faster, and endear the Ties of Blood with those of Good-will, Protection, Observance, Indulgence, and Veneration. I would, methinks, have this done after an uncommon Method, and do not think any one, who is not capable of writing a good Play, fit to undertake a Work wherein there will necessarily occur so many secret Instincts, and Biasses of human Nature which would pass unobserved by common Eyes. I thank Heaven I have no outrageous Offence against my own excellent Parents to answer for; but when I am now and then alone, and look back upon my past Life, from my earliest Infancy to this Time, there are many Faults which I committed that did not appear to me, even till I my self became a Father. I had not till then a Notion of the Earnings of Heart, which a Man has when he sees his Child do a laudable Thing, or the sudden Damp which seizes him when he fears he will act something unworthy. It is not to be imagined, what a Remorse touched me for a long Train of childish Negligencies of my Mother, when I saw my Wife the other Day look out of the Window, and turn as pale as Ashes upon seeing my younger Boy sliding upon the Ice. These slight Intimations will give you to understand, that there are numberless little Crimes which Children take no notice of while they are doing, which upon Reflection, when they shall themselves become Fathers, they will look upon with the utmost Sorrow and Contrition, that they did not regard, before those whom they offended were to be no more seen. How many thousand Things do I remember, which would have highly pleased my Father, and I omitted for no other Reason, but that I thought what he proposed the Effect of Humour and old Age, which I am now convinced had Reason and good Sense in it. I cannot now go into the Parlour to him, and make his Heart glad with an Account of a Matter which was of no Consequence, but that I told it, and acted in it. The good Man and Woman are long since in their Graves, who used to sit and plot the Welfare of us their Children, while, perhaps, we were sometimes laughing at the old Folks at another End of the House. The Truth of it is, were we merely to follow Nature in these great Duties of Life, tho' we have a strong Instinct towards the performing of them, we should be on both Sides very deficient. Age is so unwelcome to the Generality of Mankind, and Growth towards Manhood so desirable to all, that Resignation to Decay is too difficult a Task in the Father; and Deference, amidst the Impulse of gay Desires, appears unreasonable to the Son. There are so few who can grow old with a good Grace, and yet fewer who can come slow enough into the World, that a Father, were he to be actuated by his Desires, and a Son, were he to consult himself only, could neither of them behave himself as he ought to the other. But when Reason interposes against Instinct, where it would carry either out of the Interests of the other, there arises that happiest Intercourse of good Offices between those dearest Relations of human Life. The Father, according to the Opportunities which are offered to him, is throwing down Blessings on the Son, and the Son endeavouring to appear the worthy Offspring of such a Father. It is after this manner that Camillus and his firstborn dwell together. Camillus enjoys a pleasing and indolent old Age, in which Passion is subdued, and Reason exalted. He waits the Day of his Dissolution with a Resignation mixed with Delight, and the Son fears the Accession of his Father's Fortune with Diffidence, lest he should not enjoy or become it as well as his Predecessor. Add to this, that the Father knows he leaves a Friend to the Children of his Friends, an easie Landlord to his Tenants, and an agreeable Companion to his Acquaintance. He believes his Son's Behaviour will make him frequently remembered, but never wanted. This Commerce is so well cemented, that without the Pomp of saying, Son, be a Friend to such a one when I am gone; Camillus knows, being in his Favour, is Direction enough to the grateful Youth who is to succeed him, without the Admonition of his mentioning it. These Gentlemen are honoured in all their Neighbourhood, and the same Effect which the Court has on the Manner of a Kingdom, their Characters have on all who live within the Influence of them.

My Son and I are not of Fortune to communicate our good Actions or Intentions to so many as these Gentlemen do; but I will be bold to say, my Son has, by the Applause and Approbation which his Behaviour towards me has gained him, occasioned that many an old Man, besides my self, has rejoiced. Other Men's Children follow the Example of mine, and I have the inexpressible Happiness of overhearing our Neighbours, as we ride by, point to their Children, and say, with a Voice of Joy, There they go.

'You cannot, Mr. Spectator, pass your time better than insinuating the Delights which these Relations well regarded bestow upon each other. Ordinary Passions are no longer such, but mutual Love gives an Importance to the most indifferent things, and a Merit to Actions the most insignificant. When we look round the World, and observe the many Misunderstandings which are created by the Malice and Insinuation of the meanest Servants between People thus related, how necessary will it appear that it were inculcated that Men would be upon their Guard to support a Constancy of Affection, and that grounded upon the Principles of Reason, not the Impulses of Instinct.

It is from the common Prejudices which Men receive from their Parents, that Hatreds are kept alive from one Generation to another; and when Men act by Instinct, Hatreds will descend when good Offices are forgotten. For the Degeneracy of human Life is such, that our Anger is more easily transferred to our Children than our Love. Love always gives something to the Object it delights in, and Anger spoils the Person against whom it is moved of something laudable in him. From this Degeneracy therefore, and a sort of Self-Love, we are more prone to take up the Ill-will of our Parents, than to follow them in their Friendships.

One would think there should need no more to make Men keep up this sort of Relation with the utmost Sanctity, than to examine their own Hearts. If every Father remembered his own Thoughts and Inclinations when he was a Son, and every Son remembered what he expected from his Father, when he himself was in a State of Dependance, this one Reflection would preserve Men from being dissolute or rigid in these several Capacities. The Power and Subjection between them, when broken, make them more emphatically Tyrants and Rebels against each other, with greater Cruelty of Heart, than the Disruption of States and Empires can possibly produce. I shall end this Application to you with two Letters which passed between a Mother and Son very lately, and are as follows.

If the Pleasures, which I have the Grief to hear you pursue in Town, do not take up all your Time, do not deny your Mother so much of it, as to read seriously this Letter. You said before Mr. Letacre, that an old Woman might live very well in the Country upon half my Jointure, and that your Father was a fond Fool to give me a Rent-Charge of Eight hundred a Year to the Prejudice of his Son. What Letacre said to you upon that Occasion, you ought to have born with more Decency, as he was your Father's well-beloved Servant, than to have called him Country-put. In the first place, Frank, I must tell you, I will have my Rent duly paid, for I will make up to your Sisters for the Partiality I was guilty of, in making your Father do so much as he has done for you. I may, it seems, live upon half my Jointure! I lived upon much less, Frank, when I carried you from Place to Place in these Arms, and could neither eat, dress, or mind any thing for feeding and tending you a weakly Child, and shedding Tears when the Convulsions you were then troubled with returned upon you. By my Care you outgrew them, to throw away the Vigour of your Youth in the Arms of Harlots, and deny your Mother what is not yours to detain. Both your Sisters are crying to see the Passion which I smother; but if you please to go on thus like a Gentleman of the Town, and forget all Regards to your self and Family, I shall immediately enter upon your Estate for the Arrear due to me, and without one Tear more contemn you for forgetting the Fondness of your Mother, as much as you have the Example of your Father. O Frank, do I live to omit writing myself,
Your Affectionate Mother, A.T.

I will come down to-morrow and pay the Money on my Knees. Pray write so no more. I will take care you never shall, for I will be for ever hereafter,
Your most dutiful Son,

I will bring down new Heads for my Sisters. Pray let all be forgotten.

Contents, p.3

No. 264

Wednesday, January 2, 1712


—Secretum iter et fallentis Semita vitæ.


It has been from Age to Age an Affectation to love the Pleasure of Solitude, amongst those who cannot possibly be supposed qualified for passing Life in that Manner. This People have taken up from reading the many agreeable things which have been writ on that Subject, for which we are beholden to excellent Persons who delighted in being retired and abstracted from the Pleasures that enchant the Generality of the World. This Way of Life is recommended indeed with great Beauty, and in such a Manner as disposes the Reader for the time to a pleasing Forgetfulness, or Negligence of the particular Hurry of Life in which he is engaged, together with a Longing for that State which he is charmed with in Description. But when we consider the World it self, and how few there are capable of a religious, learned, or philosophick Solitude, we shall be apt to change a Regard to that sort of Solitude, for being a little singular in enjoying Time after the Way a Man himself likes best in the World, without going so far as wholly to withdraw from it. I have often observed, there is not a Man breathing who does not differ from all other Men, as much in the Sentiments of his Mind, as the Features of his Face. The Felicity is, when anyone is so happy as to find out and follow what is the proper Bent of this Genius, and turn all his Endeavours to exert himself according as that prompts him. Instead of this, which is an innocent Method of enjoying a Man's self, and turning out of the general Tracks wherein you have Crowds of Rivals, there are those who pursue their own Way out of a Sowrness and Spirit of Contradiction: These Men do every thing which they are able to support, as if Guilt and Impunity could not go together. They choose a thing only because another dislikes it; and affect forsooth an inviolable Constancy in Matters of no manner of Moment. Thus sometimes an old Fellow shall wear this or that sort of Cut in his Cloaths with great Integrity, while all the rest of the World are degenerated into Buttons, Pockets and Loops unknown to their Ancestors. As insignificant as even this is, if it were searched to the Bottom, you perhaps would find it not sincere, but that he is in the Fashion in his Heart, and holds out from mere Obstinacy. But I am running from my intended Purpose, which was to celebrate a certain particular Manner of passing away Life, and is a Contradiction to no Man. but a Resolution to contract none of the exorbitant Desires by which others are enslaved. The best way of separating a Man's self from the World, is to give up the Desire of being known to it. After a Man has preserved his Innocence, and performed all Duties incumbent upon him, his Time spent his own Way is what makes his Life differ from that of a Slave. If they who affect Show and Pomp knew how many of their Spectators derided their trivial Taste, they would be very much less elated, and have an Inclination to examine the Merit of all they have to do with: They would soon find out that there are many who make a Figure below what their Fortune or Merit entities them to, out of mere Choice, and an elegant Desire of Ease and Disincumbrance. It would look like Romance to tell you in this Age of an old Man who is contented to pass for an Humourist, and one who does not understand the Figure he ought to make in the World, while he lives in a Lodging of Ten Shillings a Week with only one Servant: While he dresses himself according to the Season in Cloth or in Stuff, and has no one necessary Attention to any thing but the Bell which calls to Prayers twice a Day. I say it would look like a Fable to report that this Gentleman gives away all which is the Overplus of a great Fortune, by secret Methods to other Men. If he has not the Pomp of a numerous Train, and of Professors of Service to him, he has every Day he lives the Conscience that the Widow, the Fatherless, the Mourner, and the Stranger bless his unseen Hand in their Prayers. This Humourist gives up all the Compliments which People of his own Condition could make to him, for the Pleasures of helping the Afflicted, supplying the Needy, and befriending the Neglected. This Humourist keeps to himself much more than he wants, and gives a vast Refuse of his Superfluities to purchase Heaven, and by freeing others from the Temptations of Worldly Want, to carry a Retinue with him thither. Of all Men who affect living in a particular Way, next to this admirable Character, I am the most enamoured of Irus, whose Condition will not admit of such Largesses, and perhaps would not be capable of making them, if it were. Irus, tho' he is now turned of Fifty, has not appeared in the World, in his real Character, since five and twenty, at which Age he ran out a small Patrimony, and spent some Time after with Rakes who had lived upon him: A Course of ten Years time, passed in all the little Alleys, By-Paths, and sometimes open Taverns and Streets of this Town, gave Irus a perfect Skill in judging of the Inclinations of Mankind, and acting accordingly. He seriously considered he was poor, and the general Horror which most Men have of all who are in that Condition. Irus judg'd very rightly, that while he could keep his Poverty a Secret, he should not feel the Weight of it; he improved this Thought into an Affectation of Closeness and Covetousness. Upon this one Principle he resolved to govern his future Life; and in the thirty sixth Year of his Age he repaired to Long-lane, and looked upon several Dresses which hung there deserted by their first Masters, and exposed to the Purchase of the best Bidder. At this Place he exchanged his gay Shabbiness of Cloaths fit for a much younger Man, to warm ones that would be decent for a much older one. Irus came out thoroughly equipped from Head to Foot, with a little oaken Cane in the Form of a substantial Man that did not mind his Dress, turned of fifty. He had at this time fifty Pounds in ready Money; and in this Habit, with this Fortune, he took his present Lodging in St. John Street, at the Mansion-House of a Taylor's Widow, who washes and can clear-starch his Bands. From that Time to this, he has kept the main Stock, without Alteration under or over to the value of five Pounds. He left off all his old Acquaintance to a Man, and all his Arts of Life, except the Play of Backgammon, upon which he has more than bore his Charges. Irus has, ever since he came into this Neighbourhood, given all the Intimations, he skilfully could, of being a close Hunks worth Money: No body comes to visit him, he receives no Letters, and tells his Money Morning and Evening. He has, from the publick Papers, a Knowledge of what generally passes, shuns all Discourses of Money, but shrugs his Shoulder when you talk of Securities; he denies his being rich with the Air, which all do who are vain of being so: He is the Oracle of a Neighbouring Justice of Peace, who meets him at the Coffeehouse; the Hopes that what he has must come to Somebody, and that he has no Heirs, have that Effect where ever he is known, that he every Day has three or four Invitations to dine at different Places, which he generally takes care to choose in such a manner, as not to seem inclined to the richer Man. All the young Men respect him, and say he is just the same Man he was when they were Boys. He uses no Artifice in the World, but makes use of Men's Designs upon him to get a Maintenance out of them. This he carries on by a certain Peevishness, (which he acts very well) that no one would believe could possibly enter into the Head of a poor Fellow. His Mein, his Dress, his Carriage, and his Language are such, that you would be at a loss to guess whether in the Active Part of his Life he had been a sensible Citizen, or Scholar that knew the World. These are the great Circumstances in the Life of Irus, and thus does he pass away his Days a Stranger to Mankind; and at his Death, the worst that will be said of him will be, that he got by every Man who had Expectations from him, more than he had to leave him.

I have an Inclination to print the following Letters; for that I have heard the Author of them has some where or other seen me, and by an excellent Faculty in Mimickry my Correspondents tell me he can assume my Air, and give my Taciturnity a Slyness which diverts more than any Thing I could say if I were present. Thus I am glad my Silence is attoned for to the good Company in Town. He has carried his Skill in Imitation so far, as to have forged a Letter from my Friend Sir Roger in such a manner, that any one but I who am thoroughly acquainted with him, would have taken it for genuine.

Mr. Spectator,

Having observed in Lilly's Grammar how sweetly Bacchus and Apollo run in a Verse: I have (to preserve the Amity between them) call'd in Bacchus to the Aid of my Profession of the Theatre. So that while some People of Quality are bespeaking Plays of me to be acted upon such a Day, and others, Hogsheads for their Houses against such a Time; I am wholly employ'd in the agreeable Service of Wit and Wine: Sir, I have sent you Sir Roger de Coverley's Letter to me, which pray comply with in Favour of the Bumper Tavern. Be kind, for you know a Player's utmost Pride is the Approbation of the Spectator.

I am your Admirer, tho' unknown,
Richard Estcourt1

To Mr. Estcourt at his House in Covent-Garden.
Coverley, December the 18th, 1711.

Old Comical Ones,

The Hogsheads of Neat Port came safe, and have gotten thee good Reputation in these Parts; and I am glad to hear, that a Fellow who has been laying out his Money ever since he was born, for the meer Pleasure of Wine, has bethought himself of joining Profit and Pleasure together. Our Sexton (poor Man) having received Strength from thy Wine since his fit of the Gout, is hugely taken with it: He says it is given by Nature for the Use of Families, that no Steward's Table can be without it, that it strengthens Digestion, excludes Surfeits, Fevers and Physick; which green Wines of any kind can't do. Pray get a pure snug Room, and I hope next Term to help fill your Bumper with our People of the Club; but you must have no Bells stirring when the Spectator comes; I forbore ringing to Dinner while he was down with me in the Country. Thank you for the little Hams and Portugal Onions; pray keep some always by you. You know my Supper is only good Cheshire Cheese, best Mustard, a golden Pippin, attended with a Pipe of John Sly's Best. Sir Harry has stoln all your Songs, and tells the Story of the 5th of November to Perfection.

Yours to serve you,
Roger de Coverley.

We've lost old John since you were here.'

Footnote 1:   Richard Estcourt, born at Tewkesbury in 1688, and educated in the Latin school there, stole from home at the age of 15 to join a travelling company of comedians at Worcester, and, to avoid detection, made his first appearance in woman's clothes as Roxana in Alexander the Great. He was discovered, however, pursued, brought home, carried to London, and bound prentice to an apothecary in Hatton Garden. He escaped again, wandered about England, went to Ireland, and there obtained credit as an actor; then returned to London, and appeared at Drury Lane, where his skill as a mimic enabled him to perform each part in the manner of the actor who had obtained chief credit by it. His power of mimicry made him very diverting in society, and as he had natural politeness with a sprightly wit, his company was sought and paid for at the entertainments of the great. 'Dick Estcourt' was a great favourite with the Duke of Marlborough, and when men of wit and rank joined in establishing the Beefsteak Club they made Estcourt their Providore, with a small gold gridiron, for badge, hung round his neck by a green ribbon. Estcourt was a writer for the stage as well as actor, and had shown his agreement with the Spectator's dramatic criticisms by ridiculing the Italian opera with an interlude called Prunella. In the Numbers of the Spectator for December 28 and 29 Estcourt had advertised that he would on the 1st of January open 'the Bumper' Tavern in James's Street, Westminster, and had laid in
'neat natural wines, fresh and in perfection; being bought by Brooke and Hellier, by whom the said Tavern will from time to time be supplied with the best growths that shall be imported; to be sold by wholesale as well as retail, with the utmost fidelity by his old servant, trusty Anthony, who has so often adorned both the theatres in England and Ireland; and as he is a person altogether unknowing in the wine trade, it cannot be doubted but that he will deliver the wine in the same natural purity that he receives it from the said merchants; and on these assurances he hopes that all his friends and acquaintance will become his customers, desiring a continuance of their favours no longer than they shall find themselves well served.'
This is the venture which Steele here backs for his friend with the influence of the Spectator.
return to footnote mark
cross-reference: return to Footnote 3 of No. 358

Contents, p.3

No. 265

Thursday, January 3, 1712


Dixerit e multis aliquis, quid virus in angues
Adjicis? et rabidæ tradis ovile lupæ?


One of the Fathers, if I am rightly informed, has defined a Woman to be Greek: xôon philokôsmon an Animal that delights in Finery. I have already treated of the Sex in two or three Papers, conformably to this Definition, and have in particular observed, that in all Ages they have been more careful then the Men to adorn that Part of the Head, which we generally call the Outside.

This Observation is so very notorious, that when in ordinary Discourse we say a Man has a fine Head, a long Head, or a good Head, we express ourselves metaphorically, and speak in relation to his Understanding; whereas when we say of a Woman, she has a fine, a long or a good Head, we speak only in relation to her Commode.

It is observed among Birds, that Nature has lavished all her Ornaments upon the Male, who very often appears in a most beautiful Head-dress: Whether it be a Crest, a Comb, a Tuft of Feathers, or a natural little Plume, erected like a kind of Pinacle on the very Top of the Head. As Nature on the contrary1 has poured out her Charms in the greatest Abundance upon the Female Part of our Species, so they are very assiduous in bestowing upon themselves the finest Garnitures of Art. The Peacock in all his Pride, does not display half the Colours that appear in the Garments of a British Lady, when she is dressed either for a Ball or a Birth-day.

But to return to our Female Heads. The Ladies have been for some time in a kind of moulting Season, with regard to that Part of their Dress, having cast great Quantities of Ribbon, Lace, and Cambrick, and in some measure reduced that Part of the human Figure to the beautiful globular Form, which is natural to it. We have for a great while expected what kind of Ornament would be substituted in the Place of those antiquated Commodes. But our Female Projectors were all the last Summer so taken up with the Improvement of their Petticoats, that they had not time to attend to any thing else; but having at length sufficiently adorned their lower Parts, they now begin to turn their Thoughts upon the other Extremity, as well remembring the old Kitchen Proverb, that if you light your Fire at both Ends, the middle will shift for it self.

I am engaged in this Speculation by a Sight which I lately met with at the Opera. As I was standing in the hinder Part of the Box, I took notice of a little Cluster of Women sitting together in the prettiest coloured Hoods that I ever saw. One of them was Blue, another Yellow, and another Philomot2; the fourth was of a Pink Colour, and the fifth of a pale Green. I looked with as much Pleasure upon this little party-coloured Assembly, as upon a Bed of Tulips, and did not know at first whether it might not be an Embassy of Indian Queens; but upon my going about into the Pit, and taking them in Front, I was immediately undeceived, and saw so much Beauty in every Face, that I found them all to be English. Such Eyes and Lips, Cheeks and Foreheads, could be the Growth of no other Country. The Complection of their Faces hindred me from observing any farther the Colour of their Hoods, though I could easily perceive by that unspeakable Satisfaction which appeared in their Looks, that their own Thoughts were wholly taken up on those pretty Ornaments they wore upon their Heads.

I am informed that this Fashion spreads daily, insomuch that the Whig and Tory Ladies begin already to hang out different Colours, and to shew their Principles in their Head-dress. Nay if I may believe my Friend Will. Honeycomb, there is a certain old Coquet of his Acquaintance who intends to appear very suddenly in a Rainbow Hood, like the Iris in Dryden's Virgil, not questioning but that among such a variety of Colours she shall have a Charm for every Heart.

My Friend Will., who very much values himself upon his great Insights into Gallantry, tells me, that he can already guess at the Humour a Lady is in by her Hood, as the Courtiers of Morocco know the Disposition of their present Emperor by the Colour of the Dress which he puts on. When Melesinda wraps her Head in Flame Colour, her Heart is set upon Execution. When she covers it with Purple, I would not, says he, advise her Lover to approach her; but if she appears in White, it is Peace, and he may hand her out of her Box with Safety.

Will, informs me likewise, that these Hoods may be used as Signals. Why else, says he, does Cornelia always put on a Black Hood when her Husband is gone into the Country?

Such are my Friend Honeycomb's Dreams of Gallantry. For my own part, I impute this Diversity of Colours in the Hoods to the Diversity of Complexion in the Faces of my pretty Country Women. Ovid in his Art of Love has given some Precepts as to this Particular, though I find they are different from those which prevail among the Moderns. He recommends a Red striped Silk to the pale Complexion; White to the Brown, and Dark to the Fair. On the contrary my Friend Will., who pretends to be a greater Master in this Art than Ovid, tells me, that the palest Features look the most agreeable in white Sarsenet; that a Face which is overflushed appears to advantage in the deepest Scarlet, and that the darkest Complexion is not a little alleviated by a Black Hood. In short, he is for losing the Colour of the Face in that of the Hood, as a Fire burns dimly, and a Candle goes half out, in the Light of the Sun. This, says he, your Ovid himself has hinted, where he treats of these Matters, when he tells us that the blue Water Nymphs are dressed in Sky coloured Garments; and that Aurora, who always appears in the Light of the Rising Sun, is robed in Saffron.

Whether these his Observations are justly grounded I cannot tell: but I have often known him, as we have stood together behind the Ladies, praise or dispraise the Complexion of a Face which he never saw, from observing the Colour of her Hood, and has been very seldom out in these his Guesses.

As I have Nothing more at Heart than the Honour and Improvement of the Fair Sex3, I cannot conclude this Paper without an Exhortation to the British Ladies, that they would excel the Women of all other Nations as much in Virtue and good Sense, as they do in Beauty; which they may certainly do, if they will be as industrious to cultivate their Minds, as they are to adorn their Bodies: In the mean while I shall recommend to their most serious Consideration the Saying of an old Greek Poet,
Greek: Gynaikì kósmos ho trópos, k' ou chrysía.

Footnote 1:   On the contrary as Nature
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Feuille mort, the russet yellow of dead leaves.

Footnote 3:  
'I will not meddle with the Spectator. Let him fair-sex it to the world's end.'
Swift's Journal to Stella.

Footnote 4:   T. corrected by an erratum in No. 268.

Contents, p.3

No. 266

Friday, January 4, 1712


Id vero est, quod ego mihi puto palmarium,
Me reperisse, quomodo adolescentulus
Meretricum ingenia et mores possit noscere:
Mature ut cum cognórit perpetuo oderit.

Ter. Eun. Act. 5, Sc. 4.

No Vice or Wickedness which People fall into from Indulgence to Desires which are natural to all, ought to place them below the Compassion of the virtuous Part of the World; which indeed often makes me a little apt to suspect the Sincerity of their Virtue, who are too warmly provoked at other Peoples personal Sins. The unlawful Commerce of the Sexes is of all other the hardest to avoid; and yet there is no one which you shall hear the rigider Part of Womankind speak of with so little Mercy. It is very certain that a modest Woman cannot abhor the Breach of Chastity too much; but pray let her hate it for her self, and only pity it in others. Will. Honeycomb calls these over-offended Ladies, the Outragiously Virtuous.

I do not design to fall upon Failures in general, with relation to the Gift of Chastity, but at present only enter upon that large Field, and begin with the Consideration of poor and publick Whores. The other Evening passing along near Covent-Garden, I was jogged on the Elbow as I turned into the Piazza, on the right Hand coming out of James-street, by a slim young Girl of about Seventeen, who with a pert Air asked me if I was for a Pint of Wine. I do not know but I should have indulged my Curiosity in having some Chat with her, but that I am informed the Man of the Bumper knows me; and it would have made a Story for him not very agreeable to some Part of my Writings, though I have in others so frequently said that I am wholly unconcerned in any Scene I am in, but meerly as a Spectator. This Impediment being in my Way, we stood under1 one of the Arches by Twilight; and there I could observe as exact Features as I had ever seen, the most agreeable Shape, the finest Neck and Bosom, in a Word, the whole Person of a Woman exquisitely Beautiful. She affected to allure me with a forced Wantonness in her Look and Air; but I saw it checked with Hunger and Cold: Her Eyes were wan and eager, her Dress thin and tawdry, her Mein genteel and childish. This strange Figure gave me much Anguish of Heart, and to avoid being seen with her I went away, but could not forbear giving her a Crown. The poor thing sighed, curtisied, and with a Blessing, expressed with the utmost Vehemence, turned from me. This Creature is what they call newly come upon the Town, but who, I suppose, falling into cruel Hands was left in the first Month from her Dishonour, and exposed to pass through the Hands and Discipline of one of those Hags of Hell whom we call Bawds. But lest I should grow too suddenly grave on this Subject, and be my self outragiously good, I shall turn to a Scene in one of Fletcher's Plays, where this Character is drawn, and the Œconomy of Whoredom most admirably described. The Passage I would point to is in the third Scene of the second Act of The Humorous Lieutenant. Leucippe who is Agent for the King's Lust, and bawds at the same time for the whole Court, is very pleasantly introduced, reading her Minutes as a Person of Business, with two Maids, her Under-Secretaries, taking Instructions at a Table before her. Her Women, both those under her present Tutelage, and those which she is laying wait for, are alphabetically set down in her Book; and as she is looking over the Letter C, in a muttering Voice, as if between Soliloquy and speaking out, she says,
Her Maidenhead will yield me; let me see now;
She is not Fifteen they say: For her Complexion
Cloe, Cloe, Cloe, here I have her,
Cloe, the Daughter of a Country Gentleman;
Here Age upon Fifteen. Now her Complexion,
A lovely brown; here 'tis; Eyes black and rolling,
The Body neatly built; she strikes a Lute well,
Sings most enticingly: These Helps consider'd,
Her Maidenhead will amount to some three hundred,
Or three hundred and fifty Crowns, 'twill bear it handsomly.
Her Father's poor, some little Share deducted,
To buy him a Hunting Nag
These Creatures are very well instructed in the Circumstances and Manners of all who are any Way related to the Fair One whom they have a Design upon. As Cloe is to be purchased with 3502 Crowns, and the Father taken off with a Pad; the Merchant's Wife next to her, who abounds in Plenty, is not to have downright Money, but the mercenary Part of her Mind is engaged with a Present of Plate and a little Ambition. She is made to understand that it is a Man of Quality who dies for her. The Examination of a young Girl for Business, and the crying down her Value for being a slight Thing, together with every other Circumstance in the Scene, are inimitably excellent, and have the true Spirit of Comedy; tho' it were to be wished the Author had added a Circumstance which should make Leucippe's Baseness more odious.

It must not be thought a Digression from my intended Speculation, to talk of Bawds in a Discourse upon Wenches; for a Woman of the Town is not thoroughly and properly such, without having gone through the Education of one of these Houses. But the compassionate Case of very many is, that they are taken into such Hands without any the least Suspicion, previous Temptation, or Admonition to what Place they are going. The last Week I went to an Inn in the City to enquire for some Provisions which were sent by a Waggon out of the Country; and as I waited in one of the Boxes till the Chamberlain had looked over his Parcel, I heard an old and a young Voice repeating the Questions and Responses of the Church-Catechism. I thought it no Breach of good Manners to peep at a Crevice, and look in at People so well employed; but who should I see there but the most artful Procuress in the Town, examining a most beautiful Country-Girl, who had come up in the same Waggon with my Things, Whether she was well educated, could forbear playing the Wanton with Servants, and idle fellows, of which this Town, says she, is too full: At the same time, Whether she knew enough of Breeding, as that if a Squire or a Gentleman, or one that was her Betters, should give her a civil Salute, she should curtsy and be humble, nevertheless. Her innocent forsooths, yes's, and't please you's, and she would do her Endeavour, moved the good old Lady to take her out of the Hands of a Country Bumpkin her Brother, and hire her for her own Maid. I staid till I saw them all marched out to take Coach; the brother loaded with a great Cheese, he prevailed upon her to take for her Civilities to his Sister. This poor Creature's Fate is not far off that of her's whom I spoke of above, and it is not to be doubted, but after she has been long enough a Prey to Lust she will be delivered over to Famine; the Ironical Commendation of the Industry and Charity of these antiquated Ladies, these3 Directors of Sin, after they can no longer commit it, makes up the Beauty of the inimitable Dedication to the Plain-Dealer4, and is a Masterpiece of Raillery on this Vice. But to understand all the Purleues of this Game the better, and to illustrate this Subject in future Discourses, I must venture my self, with my Friend Will, into the Haunts of Beauty and Gallantry; from pampered Vice in the Habitations of the Wealthy, to distressed indigent Wickedness expelled the Harbours of the Brothel.


Footnote 1:  under in
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   fifty

Footnote 3:   . These

Footnote 4:   Wycherley's Plain-Dealer having given offence to many ladies, was inscribed in a satirical billet doux dedicatory 'To My Lady B .'

Contents, p.3

No. 267

Saturday, January 5, 1712


Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graii.1


There is nothing in Nature more irksome than2 general Discourses, especially when they turn chiefly upon Words. For this Reason I shall wave the Discussion of that Point which was started some Years since, whether Milton's Paradise Lost may be called an Heroick Poem? Those who will not give it that Title, may call it (if they please) a Divine Poem. It will be sufficient to its Perfection, if it has in it all the Beauties of the highest kind of Poetry; and as for those who alledge3 it is not an Heroick Poem, they advance no more to the Diminution of it, than if they should say Adam is not Æneas, nor Eve Helen.

I shall therefore examine it by the Rules of Epic Poetry, and see whether it falls short of the Iliad or Æneid, in the Beauties which are essential to that kind of Writing. The first thing to be considered in an Epic Poem, is the Fable4, which is perfect or imperfect, according as the Action which it relates is more or less so. This Action should have three Qualifications in it. First, It should be but One Action. Secondly, It should be an entire Action; and, Thirdly, It should be a great Action5. To consider the Action of the Iliad, Æneid, and Paradise Lost, in these three several Lights. Homer to preserve the Unity of his Action hastens into the Midst of Things, as Horace has observed6: Had he gone up to Leda's Egg, or begun much later, even at the Rape of Helen, or the Investing of Troy, it is manifest that the Story of the Poem would have been a Series of several Actions. He therefore opens his Poem with the Discord of his Princes, and artfully7 interweaves, in the several succeeding Parts of it, an Account of every Thing material which relates to them8 and had passed before that fatal Dissension. After the same manner, Æneas makes his first Appearance in the Tyrrhene Seas, and within Sight of Italy, because the Action proposed to be celebrated was that of his settling himself in Latium. But because it was necessary for the Reader to know what had happened to him in the taking of Troy, and in the preceding Parts of his Voyage, Virgil makes his Hero relate it by way of Episode in the second and third Books of the Æneid. The Contents of both which Books come before those of the first Book in the Thread of the Story, tho' for preserving of this Unity of Action they follow them in the Disposition of the Poem. Milton, in imitation of these two great Poets, opens his Paradise Lost with an Infernal Council plotting the Fall of Man, which is the Action he proposed to celebrate; and as for those great Actions, which preceded, in point of Time, the Battle of the Angels, and the Creation of the World, (which would have entirely destroyed the Unity of his principal Action, had he related them in the same Order that they happened) he cast them into the fifth, sixth, and seventh Books, by way of Episode to this noble Poem.

Aristotle himself allows, that Homer has nothing to boast of as to the Unity of his Fable9, tho' at the same time that great Critick and Philosopher endeavours to palliate this Imperfection in the Greek Poet, by imputing it in some measure to the very Nature of an Epic Poem. Some have been of opinion, that the Æneid also labours10 in this Particular, and has Episodes which may be looked upon as Excrescencies rather than as Parts of the Action. On the contrary, the Poem, which we have now under our Consideration, hath no other Episodes than such as naturally arise from the Subject, and yet is filled with such a Multitude of astonishing Incidents11, that it gives us at the same time a Pleasure of the greatest Variety, and of the greatest Simplicity; uniform in its Nature, tho' diversified in the Execution.12

I must observe also, that as Virgil, in the Poem which was designed to celebrate the Original of the Roman Empire, has described the Birth of its great Rival, the Carthaginian Commonwealth: Milton, with the like Art, in his Poem on the Fall of Man, has related the Fall of those Angels who are his professed Enemies. Besides the many other Beauties in such an Episode, its running parallel with the great Action of the Poem hinders it from breaking the Unity so much as another Episode would have done, that had not so great an Affinity with the principal Subject. In short, this is the same kind of Beauty which the Criticks admire in The Spanish Frier, or The Double Discovery13 where the two different Plots look like Counter-parts and Copies of one another.

The second Qualification required in the Action of an Epic Poem, is, that it should be an entire Action: An Action is entire when it is complete in all its Parts; or, as Aristotle describes it, when it consists of a Beginning, a Middle, and an End. Nothing should go before it, be intermixed with it, or follow after it, that is not related to it. As on the contrary, no single Step should be omitted in that just and regular Progress which it must be supposed to take from its Original to its Consummation. Thus we see the Anger of Achilles in its Birth, its Continuance and Effects; and Æneas's Settlement in Italy, carried on thro' all the Oppositions in his Way to it both by Sea and Land. The Action in Milton excels (I think) both the former in this Particular; we see it contrived in Hell, executed upon Earth, and punished by Heaven. The Parts of it are told in the most distinct Manner, and grow out of one another in the most natural Order.14

The third Qualification of an Epic Poem is its Greatness. The Anger of Achilles was of such Consequence, that it embroiled the Kings of Greece, destroyed the Heroes of Troy, and engaged all the Gods in Factions. Æneas's Settlement in Italy produced the Cæsars, and gave Birth to the Roman Empire. Milton's Subject was still greater than either of the former; it does not determine the Fate of single Persons or Nations, but of a whole Species. The united Powers of Hell are joined together for the Destruction of Mankind, which they affected in part, and would have completed, had not Omnipotence it self interposed. The principal Actors are Man in his greatest Perfection, and Woman in her highest Beauty. Their Enemies are the fallen Angels: The Messiah their Friend, and the Almighty their Protector. In short, every thing that is great in the whole Circle of Being, whether within the Verge of Nature, or out of it, has a proper Part assigned it in this noble Poem.

In Poetry, as in Architecture, not only the Whole, but the principal Members, and every Part of them, should be Great. I will not presume to say, that the Book of Games in the Æneid, or that in the Iliad, are not of this Nature, nor to reprehend Virgil's Simile of the Top15, and many other of the same kind16 in the Iliad, as liable to any Censure in this Particular; but I think we may say, without derogating from17 those wonderful Performances, that there is an unquestionable Magnificence in every Part of Paradise Lost, and indeed a much greater than could have been formed upon any Pagan System.

But Aristotle, by the Greatness of the Action, does not only mean that it should be great in its Nature, but also in its Duration, or in other Words that it should have a due Length in it, as well as what we properly call Greatness. The just Measure of this kind of Magnitude, he explains by the following Similitude.18 An Animal, no bigger than a Mite, cannot appear perfect to the Eye, because the Sight takes it in at once, and has only a confused Idea of the Whole, and not a distinct Idea of all its Parts; if on the contrary you should suppose an Animal of ten thousand Furlongs in length, the Eye would be so filled with a single Part of it, that it could not give the Mind an Idea of the Whole. What these Animals are to the Eye, a very short or a very long Action would be to the Memory. The first would be, as it were, lost and swallowed up by it, and the other difficult to be contained in it. Homer and Virgil have shewn their principal Art in this Particular; the Action of the Iliad, and that of the Æneid, were in themselves exceeding short, but are so beautifully extended and diversified by the Invention19 of Episodes, and the Machinery of Gods, with the like poetical Ornaments, that they make up an agreeable Story, sufficient to employ the Memory without overcharging it. Milton's Action is enriched with such a Variety of Circumstances, that I have taken as much Pleasure in reading the Contents of his Books, as in the best invented Story I ever met with. It is possible, that the Traditions, on which the Iliad and Æneid were built, had more Circumstances in them than the History of the Fall of Man, as it is related in Scripture. Besides, it was easier for Homer and Virgil to dash the Truth with Fiction, as they were in no danger of offending the Religion of their Country by it. But as for Milton, he had not only a very few Circumstances upon which to raise his Poem, but was also obliged to proceed with the greatest Caution in every thing that he added out of his own Invention. And, indeed, notwithstanding all the Restraints he was under, he has filled his Story with so many surprising Incidents, which bear so close an Analogy with what is delivered in Holy Writ, that it is capable of pleasing the most delicate Reader, without giving Offence to the most scrupulous.

The modern Criticks have collected from several Hints in the Iliad and Æneid the Space of Time, which is taken up by the Action of each of those Poems; but as a great Part of Milton's Story was transacted in Regions that lie out of the Reach of the Sun and the Sphere of Day, it is impossible to gratify the Reader with such a Calculation, which indeed would be more curious than instructive; none of the Criticks, either Ancient or Modern, having laid down Rules to circumscribe the Action of an Epic Poem with any determin'd Number of Years, Days or Hours.

This Piece of Criticism on Milton's Paradise Lost shall be carried on in the following Saturdays Papers.


Footnote 1:  
'Give place to him, Writers of Rome and Greece.'
This application to Milton of a line from the last elegy (25th) in the second book of Propertius is not only an example of Addison's felicity in choice of motto for a paper, but was so bold and well-timed that it must have given a wholesome shock to the minds of many of the Spectator's readers. Addison was not before Steele in appreciation of Milton and diffusion of a true sense of his genius. Milton was the subject of the first piece of poetical criticism in the Tatler; where, in his sixth number, Steele, having said that 'all Milton's 'thoughts are wonderfully just and natural,' dwelt on the passage in which Adam tells his thoughts upon first falling asleep, soon after his creation. This passage he contrasts with 'the same apprehension of Annihilation' ascribed to Eve in a much lower sense by Dryden in his operatic version of Paradise Lost. In Tatlers and Spectators Steele and Addison had been equal contributors to the diffusion of a sense of Milton's genius. In Addison it had been strong, even when, at Oxford, in April, 1694, a young man trained in the taste of the day, he omitted Shakespeare from a rhymed 'Account of the chief English Poets,' but of Milton said:
'Whate'er his pen describes I more than see,
Whilst ev'ry verse, array'd in majesty,
Bold and sublime, my whole attention draws,
And seems above the critics' nicer laws
Eighteen years older than he was when he wrote that, Addison now prepares by a series of Saturday Essays,—the Saturday Paper which reached many subscribers only in time for Sunday reading, being always set apart in the Spectator for moral or religious topics, to show that, judged also by Aristotle and the "critics' nicer laws," Milton was even technically a greater epic poet than either Homer or Virgil. This nobody had conceded. Dryden, the best critic of the outgoing generation, had said in the Dedication of the Translations of Juvenal and Persius, published in 1692,
"As for Mr. Milton, whom we all admire with so much Justice, his Subject, is not that of an Heroick Poem, properly so call'd: His Design is the Losing of our Happiness; his Event is not prosperous, like that of all other Epique Works" (Dryden's French spelling of the word Epic is suggestive. For this new critical Mode was one of the fashions that had been imported from Paris); "His Heavenly Machines are many, and his Human Persons are but two. But I will not take Mr. Rymer's work out of his Hands: He has promised the World a Critique on that Author; wherein, tho' he will not allow his Poem for Heroick, I hope he will grant us, that his Thoughts are elevated, his Words sounding, and that no Man has so happily copy'd the manner of Homer; or so copiously translated his Grecisms and the Latin Elegancies of Virgil. 'Tis true he runs into a Flat of Thought, sometimes for a Hundred Lines together, but 'tis when he is got into a Track of Scripture ... Neither will I justify Milton for his Blank Verse, tho' I may excuse him, by the Example of Hanabal Caro and other Italians who have used it: For whatever Causes he alledges for the abolishing of Rhime (which I have not now the leisure to examine), his own particular Reason is plainly this, that Rhime was not his Talent; he had neither the Ease of doing it, nor the Graces of it."
So Dryden, who appreciated Milton better than most of his critical neighbours, wrote of him in 1692. The promise of Rymer to discuss Milton was made in 1678, when, on the last page of his little book, The Tragedies of the Last Age consider'd and examined by the Practice of the Ancients and by the Common Sense of all Ages, in a letter to Fleetwold Shepheard, Esq. (father of two ladies who contribute an occasional letter to the Spectator), he said:
"With the remaining Tragedies I shall also send you some reflections on that Paradise Lost of Milton's, which some are pleased to call a Poem, and assert Rhime against the slender Sophistry wherewith he attaques it."
But two years after the appearance of Dryden's Juvenal and Persius Rymer prefixed to his translation of Réné Rapin's Reflections on Aristotle's Poesie some Reflections of his own on Epic Poets. Herein he speaks under the head Epic Poetry of Chaucer, 'in whose time language was not capable of heroic character;' or Spenser, who "wanted a true Idea, and lost himself by following an unfaithful guide, besides using a stanza which is in no wise proper for our language;" of Sir William Davenant, who, in Gondibert, "has some strokes of an extraordinary judgment," but "is for unbeaten tracks and new ways of thinking;" "his heroes are foreigners;" of Cowley, in whose Davideis "David is the least part of the Poem," and there is want of the "one illustrious and perfect action which properly is the subject of an Epick Poem": all failing through ignorance or negligence of the Fundamental Rules or Laws of Aristotle. But he contemptuously passes over Milton without 'mention.' Réné Rapin, that great French oracle of whom Dryden said, in the Preface to his own conversion of Paradise Lost into an opera, that he was 'alone sufficient, were all other critics lost, to teach anew the Art of Writing,' Réné Rapin in the work translated and introduced by Rymer, worshipped in Aristotle the one God of all orthodox critics. Of his Laws he said,
'There is no arriving at Perfection but by these Rules, and they certainly go astray that take a different course.... And if a Poem made by these Rules fails of success, the fault lies not in the Art, but in the Artist; all who have writ of this Art, have followed no other Idea but that of Aristotle.'
Again as to Style,
'to say the truth, what is good on this subject is all taken from Aristotle, who is the only source whence good sense is to be drawn, when one goes about to write.'
This was the critical temper Addison resolved to meet on its own ground and do battle with for the honour of that greatest of all Epic Poets to whom he fearlessly said that all the Greeks and Latins must give place. In so doing he might suggest here and there cautiously, and without bringing upon himself the discredit of much heresy,—indeed, without being much of a heretic, —that even the Divine Aristotle sometimes fell short of perfection. The conventional critics who believed they kept the gates of Fame would neither understand nor credit him. Nine years after these papers appeared, Charles Gildon, who passed for a critic of considerable mark, edited with copious annotation as 'the Laws of Poetry' (1721), the Duke of Buckingham's 'Essay on Poetry,' Roscommon's 'Essay on Translated Verse,' and Lord Lansdowne 'on Unnatural Flights in Poetry,' and in the course of comment Gildon said that
'Mr. Addison in the Spectators, in his criticisms upon Milton, seems to have mistaken the matter, in endeavouring to bring that poem to the rules of the epopœia, which cannot be done ... It is not an Heroic Poem, but a Divine one, and indeed of a new species. It is plain that the proposition of all the heroic poems of the ancients mentions some one person as the subject of their poem... But Milton begins his poem of things, and not of men.'
The Gildons are all gone; and when, in the next generation after theirs, national life began, in many parts of Europe, strongly to assert itself in literature against the pedantry of the French critical lawgivers, in Germany Milton's name was inscribed on the foremost standard of the men who represented the new spirit of the age. Gottsched, who dealt French critical law from Leipzig, by passing sentence against Milton in his 'Art of Poetry' in 1737, raised in Bodmer an opponent who led the revolt of all that was most vigorous in German thought, and put an end to French supremacy. Bodmer, in a book published in 1740 Vom Wunderbaren in der Poesie, justified and exalted Milton, and brought Addison to his aid by appending to his own work a translation of these Milton papers out of the Spectator. Gottsched replied; Bodmer retorted. Bodmer translated Paradise Lost; and what was called the English or Milton party (but was, in that form, really a German national party) were at last left masters of the field. It was right that these papers of Addison should be brought in as aids during the contest. Careful as he was to conciliate opposing prejudices, he was yet first in the field, and this motto to the first of his series of Milton papers, 'Yield place to him, Writers of Greece and Rome,' is as the first trumpet note of the one herald on a field from which only a quick ear can yet distinguish among stir of all that is near, the distant tramp of an advancing host.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   so irksom as

Footnote 3:   say

Footnote 4:   Aristotle, Poetics, III. § I, after a full discussion of Tragedy, begins by saying,
'with respect to that species of Poetry which imitates by Narration ... it is obvious, that the Fable ought to be dramatically constructed, like that of Tragedy, and that it should have for its Subject one entire and perfect action, having a beginning, a middle, and an end;'
forming a complete whole, like an animal, and therein differing, Aristotle says, from History, which treats not of one Action, but of one Time, and of all the events, casually connected, which happened to one person or to many during that time.

Footnote 5:   Poetics, I. § 9.
'Epic Poetry agrees so far with Tragic as it is an imitation of great characters and actions.'
Aristotle (from whose opinion, in this matter alone, his worshippers departed, right though he was) ranked a perfect tragedy above a perfect epic; for, he said,
'all the parts of the Epic poem are to be found in Tragedy, not all those of Tragedy in the Epic poem.'

Footnote 6:  
Nec reditum Diomedis ab interitu Meleagri,
Nec gemino bellum Trojanum orditur ab ovo,
Semper ad eventum festinat, et in medias res,
Non secus ac notas, auditorem rapit—
De Arte Poet. II. 146-9.

Footnote 7:   with great Art

Footnote 8:   the Story

Footnote 9:   Poetics, V. § 3. In arguing the superiority of Tragic to Epic Poetry, Aristotle says,
'there is less Unity in all Epic imitation; as appears from this—that any Epic Poem will furnish matter for several Tragedies ... The Iliad, for example, and the Odyssey, contain many such subordinate parts, each of which has a certain Magnitude and Unity of its own; yet is the construction of those Poems as perfect, and as nearly approaching to the imitation of a single action, as possible.'

Footnote 10:   labours also

Footnote 11:  Circumstances

Footnote 12:   Simplicity.

Footnote 13:   Dryden's Spanish Friar has been praised also by Johnson for the happy coincidence and coalition of the tragic and comic plots, and Sir Walter Scott said of it, in his edition of Dryden's Works, that
'the felicity does not consist in the ingenuity of his original conception, but in the minutely artificial strokes by which the reader is perpetually reminded of the dependence of the one part of the Play on the other. These are so frequent, and appear so very natural, that the comic plot, instead of diverting our attention from the tragic business, recalls it to our mind by constant and unaffected allusion. No great event happens in the higher region of the camp or court that has not some indirect influence upon the intrigues of Lorenzo and Elvira; and the part which the gallant is called upon to act in the revolution that winds up the tragic interest, while it is highly in character, serves to bring the catastrophe of both parts of the play under the eye of the spectator, at one and the same time.'

Footnote 14:   Method

Footnote 15:   Æneid, Bk. VII. 11. 378-384, thus translated by Dryden:
'And as young striplings whip the top for sport,
On the smooth pavement of an empty court,
The wooden engine files and whirls about,
Admir'd, with clamours, of the beardless rout;
They lash aloud, each other they provoke,
And lend their little souls at every stroke:
Thus fares the Queen, and thus her fury blows
Amidst the crowds, and trundles as she goes.'

Footnote 16:   nature

Footnote 17:   offence to

Footnote 18:  Poetics, II. section 4, where it is said of the magnitude of Tragedy.

Footnote 19:  Intervention

Contents, p.3

No. 268

Monday, January 7, 1712


—Minus aptus acutis
Naribus Horum Hominum.


Mr. Spectator1,

'As you are Spectator-General, I apply myself to you in the following Case; viz. I do not wear a Sword, but I often divert my self at the Theatre, where I frequently see a Set of Fellows pull plain People, by way of Humour and2 Frolick, by the Nose, upon frivolous or no Occasions. A Friend of mine the other Night applauding what a graceful Exit Mr. Wilks made, one of these Nose-wringers overhearing him, pinched him by the nose. I was in the Pit the other Night, (when it was very much crowded) a Gentleman leaning upon me, and very heavily, I very civilly requested him to remove his Hand; for which he pulled me by the Nose. I would not resent it in so publick a Place, because I was unwilling to create a Disturbance; but have since reflected upon it as a thing that is unmanly and disingenuous, renders the Nose-puller odious, and makes the Person pulled by the Nose look little and contemptible. This Grievance I humbly request you would endeavour to redress.

I am your Admirer, &c.

James Easy.

Mr. Spectator,

Your Discourse of the 29th of December on Love and Marriage is of so useful a Kind, that I cannot forbear adding my Thoughts to yours on that Subject. Methinks it is a Misfortune, that the Marriage State, which in its own Nature is adapted to give us the compleatest Happiness this Life is capable of, should be so uncomfortable a one to so many as it daily proves. But the Mischief generally proceeds from the unwise Choice People make for themselves, and Expectation of Happiness from Things not capable of giving it. Nothing but the good Qualities of the Person beloved can be a Foundation for a Love of Judgment and Discretion; and whoever expects Happiness from any Thing but Virtue, Wisdom, Good-humour, and a Similitude of Manners, will find themselves widely mistaken. But how few are there who seek after these things, and do not rather make Riches their chief if not their only Aim? How rare is it for a Man, when he engages himself in the Thoughts of Marriage, to place his Hopes of having in such a Woman a constant, agreeable Companion? One who will divide his Cares and double his Joys? Who will manage that Share of his Estate he intrusts to her Conduct with Prudence and Frugality, govern his House with Œconomy and Discretion, and be an Ornament to himself and Family? Where shall we find the Man who looks out for one who places her chief Happiness in the Practice of Virtue, and makes her Duty her continual Pleasure? No: Men rather seek for Money as the Complement of all their Desires; and regardless of what kind of Wives they take, they think Riches will be a Minister to all kind of Pleasures, and enable them to keep Mistresses, Horses, Hounds, to drink, feast, and game with their Companions, pay their Debts contracted by former Extravagancies, or some such vile and unworthy End; and indulge themselves in Pleasures which are a Shame and Scandal to humane Nature. Now as for the Women; how few of them are there who place the Happiness of their Marriage in the having a wise and virtuous Friend? one who will be faithful and just to all, and constant and loving to them? who with Care and Diligence will look after and improve the Estate, and without grudging allow whatever is prudent and convenient? Rather, how few are there who do not place their Happiness in outshining others in Pomp and Show? and that do not think within themselves when they have married such a rich Person, that none of their Acquaintance shall appear so fine in their Equipage, so adorned in their Persons, or so magnificent in their Furniture as themselves? Thus their Heads are filled with vain Ideas; and I heartily wish I could say that Equipage and Show were not the Chief Good of so many Women as I fear it is.

After this Manner do both Sexes deceive themselves, and bring Reflections and Disgrace upon the most happy and most honourable State of Life; whereas if they would but correct their depraved Taste, moderate their Ambition, and place their Happiness upon proper Objects, we should not find Felicity in the Marriage State such a Wonder in the World as it now is.

Sir, if you think these Thoughts worth inserting among3 your own, be pleased to give them a better Dress, and let them pass abroad; and you will oblige Your Admirer,

A. B.

Mr. Spectator,

As I was this Day walking in the Street, there happened to pass by on the other Side of the Way a Beauty, whose Charms were so attracting that it drew my Eyes wholly on that Side, insomuch that I neglected my own Way, and chanced to run my Nose directly against a Post; which the Lady no sooner perceived, but fell out into a Fit of Laughter, though at the same time she was sensible that her self was the Cause of my Misfortune, which in my Opinion was the greater Aggravation of her Crime. I being busy wiping off the Blood which trickled down my Face, had not Time to acquaint her with her Barbarity, as also with my Resolution, viz. never to look out of my Way for one of her Sex more: Therefore, that your humble Servant may be revenged, he desires you to insert this in one of your next Papers, which he hopes will be a Warning to all the rest of the Women Gazers, as well as to poor

Anthony Gape.

Mr. Spectator,

I desire to know in your next, if the merry Game of The Parson has lost his Cloak, is not mightily in Vogue amongst the fine Ladies this Christmas; because I see they wear Hoods of all Colours, which I suppose is for that Purpose: If it is, and you think it proper, I will carry some of those Hoods with me to our Ladies in Yorkshire; because they enjoyned me to bring them something from London that was very New. If you can tell any Thing in which I can obey their Commands more agreeably, be pleased to inform me, and you will extremely oblige

Your humble Servant

Oxford, Dec. 29.

Mr. Spectator,

Since you appear inclined to be a Friend to the Distressed, I beg you would assist me in an Affair under which I have suffered very much. The reigning Toast of this Place is Patetia; I have pursued her with the utmost Diligence this Twelve-month, and find nothing stands in my Way but one who flatters her more than I can. Pride is her Favourite Passion; therefore if you would be so far my Friend as to make a favourable Mention of her in one of your Papers, I believe I should not fail in my Addresses. The Scholars stand in Rows, as they did to be sure in your Time, at her Pew-door: and she has all the Devotion paid to her by a Crowd of Youths who are unacquainted with the Sex, and have Inexperience added to their Passion: However, if it succeeds according to my Vows, you will make me the happiest Man in the World, and the most obliged amongst all

Your humble Servants.

Mr. Spectator,

I came to4 my Mistress's Toilet this Morning, for I am admitted when her Face is stark naked: She frowned, and cryed Pish when I said a thing that I stole; and I will be judged by you whether it was not very pretty. Madam, said I, you shall5 forbear that Part of your Dress; it may be well in others, but you cannot place a Patch where it does not hide a Beauty.

Footnote 1:   This Letter was written by Mr. James Heywood, many years wholesale linen-draper on Fish-street Hill, who died in 1776, at the age of 90. His 'Letters and Poems' were (including this letter at p.100) in a second edition, in 12mo, in 1726.
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Footnote 2:   or

Footnote 3:   amongst

Footnote 4:   at

Footnote 5:   should

Contents, p.3

No. 269

Tuesday, January 8, 1712


—Ævo rarissima nostro


I was this Morning surprised with a great knocking at the Door, when my Landlady's Daughter came up to me, and told me, that there was a Man below desired to speak with me. Upon my asking her who it was, she told me it was a very grave elderly Person, but that she did not know his Name. I immediately went down to him, and found him to be the Coachman of my worthy Friend Sir Roger De Coverley. He told me that his Master came to Town last Night, and would be glad to take a Turn with me in Gray's-Inn Walks. As I was wondring in my self what had brought Sir Roger to Town, not having lately received any Letter from him, he told me that his Master was come up to get a Sight of Prince Eugene1 and that he desired I would immediately meet him.

I was not a little pleased with the Curiosity of the old Knight, though I did not much wonder at it, having heard him say more than once in private Discourse, that he looked upon Prince Eugenio (for so the Knight always calls him) to be a greater Man than Scanderbeg.

I was no sooner come into Grays-Inn Walks, but I heard my Friend upon the Terrace hemming twice or thrice to himself with great Vigour, for he loves to clear his Pipes in good Air (to make use of his own Phrase) and is not a little pleased with any one who takes notice of the Strength which he still exerts in his Morning Hems.

I was touched with a secret Joy at the Sight of the good old Man, who before he saw me was engaged in Conversation with a Beggar-Man that had asked an Alms of him. I could hear my Friend chide him for not finding out some Work; but at the same time saw him put his Hand in his Pocket and give him Six-pence.

Our Salutations were very hearty on both Sides, consisting of many kind Shakes of the Hand, and several affectionate Looks which we cast upon one another. After which the Knight told me my good Friend his Chaplain was very well, and much at my Service, and that the Sunday before he had made a most incomparable Sermon out of Dr. Barrow. I have left, says he, all my Affairs in his Hands, and being willing to lay an Obligation upon him, have deposited with him thirty Marks, to be distributed among his poor Parishioners.

He then proceeded to acquaint me with the Welfare of Will Wimble. Upon which he put his Hand into his Fob and presented me in his Name with a Tobacco-Stopper, telling me that Will had been busy all the Beginning of the Winter in turning great Quantities of them; and that he made2 a Present of one to every Gentleman in the Country who has good Principles, and smoaks. He added, that poor Will was at present under great Tribulation, for that Tom Touchy had taken the Law of him for cutting some Hazel Sticks out of one of his Hedges.

Among other Pieces of News which the Knight brought from his Country-Seat, he informed me that Moll White was dead; and that about a Month after her Death the Wind was so very high, that it blew down the End of one of his Barns. But for my own part, says Sir Roger, I do not think that the old Woman had any hand in it.

He afterwards fell into an Account of the Diversions which had passed in his House during the Holidays; for Sir Roger, after the laudable Custom of his Ancestors, always keeps open House at Christmas. I learned from him that he had killed eight fat Hogs for the Season, that he had dealt about his Chines very liberally amongst his Neighbours, and that in particular he had sent a string of Hogs-puddings with a pack of Cards to every poor Family in the Parish. I have often thought, says Sir Roger, it happens very well that Christmas should fall out in the Middle of the Winter. It is the most dead uncomfortable Time of the Year, when the poor People would suffer very much from their Poverty and Cold3, if they had not good Cheer, warm Fires, and Christmas Gambols to support them. I love to rejoice their poor Hearts at this season, and to see the whole Village merry in my great Hall. I allow a double Quantity of Malt to my small Beer, and set it a running for twelve Days to every one that calls for it. I have always a Piece of cold Beef and a Mince-Pye upon the Table, and am wonderfully pleased to see my Tenants pass away a whole Evening in playing their innocent Tricks, and smutting one another. Our Friend Will Wimble is as merry as any of them, and shews a thousand roguish Tricks upon these Occasions.

I was very much delighted with the Reflection of my old Friend, which carried so much Goodness in it. He then launched out into the Praise of the late Act of Parliament4 for securing the Church of England, and told me, with great Satisfaction, that he believed it already began to take Effect, for that a rigid Dissenter, who chanced to dine at his House on Christmas Day, had been observed to eat very plentifully of his Plumb-porridge.

After having dispatched all our Country Matters, Sir Roger made several Inquiries concerning the Club, and particularly of his old Antagonist Sir Andrew Freeport. He asked me with a kind of Smile, whether Sir Andrew had not taken Advantage of his Absence, to vent among them some of his Republican Doctrines; but soon after gathering up his Countenance into a more than ordinary Seriousness, Tell me truly, says he, don't you think Sir Andrew had a Hand in the Pope's Procession—-but without giving me time to answer him, Well, well, says he, I know you are a wary Man, and do not care to talk of publick Matters.

The Knight then asked me, if I had seen Prince Eugenio, and made me promise to get him a Stand in some convenient Place where he might have a full Sight of that extraordinary Man, whose Presence does so much Honour to the British Nation. He dwelt very long on the Praises of this Great General, and I found that, since I was with him in the Country, he had drawn many Observations together out of his reading in Baker's Chronicle, and other Authors, who5 always lie in his Hall Window, which very much redound to the Honour of this Prince.

Having passed away the greatest Part of the Morning in hearing the Knight's Reflections, which were partly private, and partly political, he asked me if I would smoak a Pipe with him over a Dish of Coffee at Squire's. As I love the old Man, I take Delight in complying with every thing that is agreeable to him, and accordingly waited on him to the Coffee-house, where his venerable Figure drew upon us the Eyes of the whole Room. He had no sooner seated himself at the upper End of the high Table, but he called for a clean Pipe, a Paper of Tobacco, a Dish of Coffee, a Wax-Candle, and the Supplement with such an Air of Cheerfulness and Good-humour, that all the Boys in the Coffee-room (who seemed to take pleasure in serving him) were at once employed on his several Errands, insomuch that no Body else could come at a Dish of Tea, till the Knight had got all his Conveniences about him.


Footnote 1:   Prince Eugene was at this in London, and caressed by courtiers who had wished to prevent his coming, for he was careful to mark his friendship for the Duke of Marlborough, who was the subject of hostile party intrigues. During his visit he stood godfather to Steel's second son, who was named, after, Eugene.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   had made

Footnote 3:   Cold and Poverty

Footnote 4:   The Act against Occasional Conformity, 10 Ann. cap. 2.

Footnote 5:   that

Contents, p.3

No. 270

Wednesday, January 9, 1712


Discit enim citius, meminitque libentius illud,
Quod quis deridet, quam quod probat.


I do not know that I have been in greater Delight for these many Years, than in beholding the Boxes at the Play the last Time The Scornful Lady1 was acted. So great an Assembly of Ladies placed in gradual Rows in all the Ornaments of Jewels, Silk and Colours, gave so lively and gay an Impression to the Heart, that methought the Season of the Year was vanished; and I did not think it an ill Expression of a young Fellow who stood near me, that called the Boxes Those Beds of Tulips. It was a pretty Variation of the Prospect, when any one of these fine Ladies rose up and did Honour to herself and Friend at a Distance, by curtisying; and gave Opportunity to that Friend to shew her Charms to the same Advantage in returning the Salutation. Here that Action is as proper and graceful, as it is at Church unbecoming and impertinent. By the way, I must take the Liberty to observe that I did not see any one who is usually so full of Civilities at Church, offer at any such Indecorum during any Part of the Action of the Play.

Such beautiful Prospects gladden our Minds, and when considered in general, give innocent and pleasing Ideas. He that dwells upon any one Object of Beauty, may fix his Imagination to his Disquiet; but the Contemplation of a whole Assembly together, is a Defence against the Encroachment of Desire: At least to me, who have taken pains to look at Beauty abstracted from the Consideration of its being the Object of Desire; at Power, only as it sits upon another, without any Hopes of partaking any Share of it; at Wisdom and Capacity, without any Pretensions to rival or envy its Acquisitions: I say to me, who am really free from forming any Hopes by beholding the Persons of beautiful Women, or warming my self into Ambition from the Successes of other Men, this World is not only a meer Scene, but a very pleasant one. Did Mankind but know the Freedom which there is in keeping thus aloof from the World, I should have more Imitators, than the powerfullest Man in the Nation has Followers. To be no Man's Rival in Love, or Competitor in Business, is a Character which if it does not recommend you as it ought to Benevolence among those whom you live with, yet has it certainly this Effect, that you do not stand so much in need of their Approbation, as you would if you aimed at it more, in setting your Heart on the same things which the Generality doat on. By this means, and with this easy Philosophy, I am never less at a Play than when I am at the Theatre; but indeed I am seldom so well pleased with the Action as in that Place, for most Men follow Nature no longer than while they are in their Night-Gowns, and all the busy Part of the Day are in Characters which they neither become or act in with Pleasure to themselves or their Beholders. But to return to my Ladies: I was very well pleased to see so great a Crowd of them assembled at a Play, wherein the Heroine, as the Phrase is, is so just a Picture of the Vanity of the Sex in tormenting their Admirers. The Lady who pines for the Man whom she treats with so much Impertinence and Inconstancy, is drawn with much Art and Humour. Her Resolutions to be extremely civil, but her Vanity arising just at the Instant that she resolved to express her self kindly, are described as by one who had studied the Sex. But when my Admiration is fixed upon this excellent Character, and two or three others in the Play, I must confess I was moved with the utmost Indignation at the trivial, senseless, and unnatural Representation of the Chaplain. It is possible there may be a Pedant in Holy Orders, and we have seen one or two of them in the World; but such a Driveler as Sir Roger, so bereft of all manner of Pride, which is the Characteristick of a Pedant, is what one would not believe could come into the Head of the same Man who drew the rest of the Play. The Meeting between Welford and him shews a Wretch without any Notion of the Dignity of his Function; and it is out of all common Sense that he should give an Account of himself as one sent four or five Miles in a Morning on Foot for Eggs. It is not to be denied, but his Part and that of the Maid whom he makes Love to, are excellently well performed; but a Thing which is blameable in it self, grows still more so by the Success in the Execution of it. It is so mean a Thing to gratify a loose Age with a scandalous Representation of what is reputable among Men, not to say what is sacred, that no Beauty, no Excellence in an Author ought to attone for it; nay, such Excellence is an Aggravation of his Guilt, and an Argument that he errs against the Conviction of his own Understanding and Conscience. Wit should be tried by this Rule, and an Audience should rise against such a Scene, as throws down the Reputation of any thing which the Consideration of Religion or Decency should preserve from Contempt. But all this Evil arises from this one Corruption of Mind, that makes Men resent Offences against their Virtue, less than those against their Understanding. An Author shall write as if he thought there was not one Man of Honour or Woman of Chastity in the House, and come off with Applause: For an Insult upon all the Ten Commandments, with the little Criticks, is not so bad as the Breach of an Unity of Time or Place. Half Wits do not apprehend the Miseries that must necessarily flow from Degeneracy of Manners; nor do they know that Order is the Support of Society. Sir Roger and his Mistress are Monsters of the Poets own forming; the Sentiments in both of them are such as do not arise in Fools of their Education. We all know that a silly Scholar, instead of being below every one he meets with, is apt to be exalted above the Rank of such as are really his Superiors: His Arrogance is always founded upon particular Notions of Distinction in his own Head, accompanied with a pedantick Scorn of all Fortune and Preheminence, when compared with his Knowledge and Learning. This very one Character of Sir Roger, as silly as it really is, has done more towards the Disparagement of Holy Orders, and consequently of Virtue it self, than all the Wit that Author or any other could make up for in the Conduct of the longest Life after it. I do not pretend, in saying this, to give myself Airs of more Virtue than my Neighbours, but assert it from the Principles by which Mankind must always be governed. Sallies of Imagination are to be overlooked, when they are committed out of Warmth in the Recommendation of what is Praise worthy; but a deliberate advancing of Vice, with all the Wit in the World, is as ill an Action as any that comes before the Magistrate, and ought to be received as such by the People.


Footnote 1:   Beaumont and Fletcher's. Vol. II.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p.3

No. 271

Thursday, January 10, 1712


Mille trahens varios adverso sole colores.


I receive a double Advantage from the Letters of my Correspondents, first as they shew me which of my Papers are most acceptable to them; and in the next place as they furnish me with Materials for new Speculations. Sometimes indeed I do not make use of the Letter it self, but form the Hints of it into Plans of my own Invention; sometimes I take the Liberty to change the Language or Thought into my own Way of Speaking and Thinking, and always (if it can be done without Prejudice to the Sense) omit the many Compliments and Applauses which are usually bestowed upon me.

Besides the two Advantages above-mentioned which I receive from the Letters that are sent me, they give me an Opportunity of lengthning out my Paper by the skilful Management of the subscribing Part at the End of them, which perhaps does not a little conduce to the Ease, both of my self and Reader.

Some will have it, that I often write to my self, and am the only punctual Correspondent I have. This Objection would indeed be material, were the Letters I communicate to the Publick stuffed with my own Commendations: and if, instead of endeavouring to divert or instruct my Readers, I admired in them the Beauty of my own Performances. But I shall leave these wise Conjecturers to their own Imaginations, and produce the three following Letters for the Entertainment of the Day.


'I was last Thursday in an Assembly of Ladies, where there were Thirteen different coloured Hoods. Your Spectator of that Day lying upon the Table, they ordered me to read it to them, which I did with a very clear Voice, 'till I came to the Greek Verse at the End of it. I must confess I was a little startled at its popping upon me so unexpectedly. However, I covered my Confusion as well as I could, and after having mutter'd two or three hard Words to my self, laugh'd heartily, and cried, A very good Jest, Faith. The Ladies desired me to explain it to them; but I begged their pardon for that, and told them, that if it had been proper for them to hear, they may be sure the Author would not have wrapp'd it up in Greek. I then let drop several Expressions, as if there was something in it that was not fit to be spoken before a Company of Ladies. Upon which the Matron of the Assembly, who was dressed in a Cherry-coloured Hood, commended the Discretion of the Writer for having thrown his filthy Thoughts into Greek, which was likely to corrupt but few of his Readers. At the same time she declared herself very well pleased, that he had not given a decisive Opinion upon the new-fashioned Hoods; for to tell you truly, says she, I was afraid he would have made us ashamed to shew our Heads. Now, Sir, you must know, since this unlucky Accident happened to me in a Company of Ladies, among whom I passed for a most ingenious Man, I have consulted one who is well versed in the Greek Language, and he assures me upon his Word, that your late Quotation means no more, than that Manners and not Dress are the Ornaments of a Woman. If this comes to the Knowledge of my Female Admirers, I shall be very hard put to it to bring my self off handsomely. In the mean while I give you this Account, that you may take care hereafter not to betray any of your Well-wishers into the like Inconveniencies. It is in the Number of these that I beg leave to subscribe my self,

Tom Trippit.

Mr. Spectator,

' Your Readers are so well pleased with your Character of Sir Roger De Coverley, that there appeared a sensible Joy in every Coffee-house, upon hearing the old Knight was come to Town. I am now with a Knot of his Admirers, who make it their joint Request to you, that you would give us publick Notice of the Window or Balcony where the Knight intends to make his Appearance. He has already given great Satisfaction to several who have seen him at Squire's Coffee-house. If you think fit to place your short Face at Sir Roger's Left Elbow, we shall take the Hint, and gratefully acknowledge so great a Favour.

I am, Sir,
Your most Devoted
Humble Servant,

C. D.


' Knowing that you are very Inquisitive after every thing that is Curious in Nature, I will wait on you if you please in the Dusk of the Evening, with my Show upon my Back, which I carry about with me in a Box, as only consisting of a Man, a Woman, and an Horse. The two first are married, in which State the little Cavalier has so well acquitted himself, that his Lady is with Child. The big-bellied Woman, and her Husband, with their whimsical Palfry, are so very light, that when they are put together into a Scale, an ordinary Man may weigh down the whole Family. The little Man is a Bully in his Nature; but when he grows cholerick I confine him to his Box till his Wrath is over, by which Means I have hitherto prevented him from doing Mischief. His Horse is likewise very vicious, for which Reason I am forced to tie him close to his Manger with a Pack-thread. The Woman is a Coquet. She struts as much as it is possible for a Lady of two Foot high, and would ruin me in Silks, were not the Quantity that goes to a large Pin-Cushion sufficient to make her a Gown and Petticoat. She told me the other Day, that she heard the Ladies wore coloured Hoods, and ordered me to get her one of the finest Blue. I am forced to comply with her Demands while she is in her present Condition, being very willing to have more of the same Breed. I do not know what she may produce me, but provided it be a Show I shall be very well satisfied. Such Novelties should not, I think, be concealed from the British Spectator; for which Reason I hope you will excuse this Presumption in

Your most Dutiful,
most Obedient,
and most Humble Servant
S. T.

Contents, p.3

No. 272

Friday, January 11, 1712


Longa est injuria, longæ


Mr. Spectator,

The Occasion of this Letter is of so great Importance, and the Circumstances of it such, that I know you will but think it just to insert it, in Preference of all other Matters that can present themselves to your Consideration. I need not, after I have said this, tell you that I am in Love. The Circumstances of my Passion I shall let you understand as well as a disordered Mind will admit. That cursed Pickthank Mrs. Jane! Alas, I am railing at one to you by her Name as familiarly as if you were acquainted with her as well as my self: But I will tell you all, as fast as the alternate Interruptions of Love and Anger will give me Leave. There is a most agreeable young Woman in the World whom I am passionately in Love with, and from whom I have for some space of Time received as great Marks of Favour as were fit for her to give, or me to desire. The successful Progress of the Affair of all others the most essential towards a Man's Happiness, gave a new Life and Spirit not only to my Behaviour and Discourse, but also a certain Grace to all my Actions in the Commerce of Life in all Things tho' never so remote from Love. You know the predominant Passion spreads its self thro' all a Man's Transactions, and exalts or depresses him2 according to the Nature of such Passion. But alas, I have not yet begun my Story, and what is making Sentences and Observations when a Man is pleading for his Life? To begin then: This Lady has corresponded with me under the Names of Love, she my Belinda, I her Cleanthes. Tho' I am thus well got into the Account of my Affair, I cannot keep in the Thread of it so much as to give you the Character of Mrs. Jane, whom I will not hide under a borrowed Name; but let you know that this Creature has been since I knew her very handsome, (tho' I will not allow her even she has been for the future) and during the Time of her Bloom and Beauty was so great a Tyrant to her Lovers, so over-valued her self and under-rated all her Pretenders, that they have deserted her to a Man; and she knows no Comfort but that common one to all in her Condition, the Pleasure of interrupting the Amours of others. It is impossible but you must have seen several of these Volunteers in Malice, who pass their whole Time in the most labourous Way of Life in getting Intelligence, running from Place to Place with new Whispers, without reaping any other Benefit but the Hopes of making others as unhappy as themselves. Mrs. Jane happened to be at a Place where I, with many others well acquainted with my Passion for Belinda, passed a Christmas Evening. There was among the rest a young Lady so free in Mirth, so amiable in a just Reserve that accompanied it; I wrong her to call it a Reserve, but there appeared in her a Mirth or Chearfulness which was not a Forbearance of more immoderate Joy, but the natural Appearance of all which could flow from a Mind possessed of an Habit of Innocence and Purity. I must have utterly forgot Belinda to have taken no Notice of one who was growing up to the same womanly Virtues which shine to Perfection in her, had I not distinguished one who seemed to promise to the World the same Life and Conduct with my faithful and lovely Belinda. When the Company broke up, the fine young Thing permitted me to take Care of her Home. Mrs. Jane saw my particular Regard to her, and was informed of my attending her to her Father's House. She came early to Belinda the next Morning, and asked her if Mrs. Such-a-one had been with her? No. If Mr. Such-a-one's Lady? No. Nor your Cousin Such-a-one? No. Lord, says Mrs. Jane, what is the Friendship of Woman?—Nay, they may laugh at it. And did no one tell you any thing of the Behaviour of your Lover Mr. What d'ye call last Night? But perhaps it is nothing to you that he is to be married to young Mrs.—on Tuesday next? Belinda was here ready to die with Rage and Jealousy. Then Mrs. Jane goes on: I have a young Kinsman who is Clerk to a Great Conveyancer, who shall shew you the rough Draught of the Marriage Settlement. The World says her Father gives him Two Thousand Pounds more than he could have with you. I went innocently to wait on Belinda as usual, but was not admitted; I writ to her, and my Letter was sent back unopened. Poor Betty her Maid, who is on my Side, has been here just now blubbering, and told me the whole Matter. She says she did not think I could be so base; and that she is now odious to her Mistress for having so often spoke well of me, that she dare not mention me more. All our Hopes are placed in having these Circumstances fairly represented in the Spectator, which Betty says she dare not but bring up as soon as it is brought in; and has promised when you have broke the Ice to own this was laid between us: And when I can come to an Hearing, the young Lady will support what we say by her Testimony, that I never saw her but that once in my whole Life. Dear Sir, do not omit this true Relation, nor think it too particular; for there are Crowds of forlorn Coquets who intermingle themselves with other Ladies, and contract Familiarities out of Malice, and with no other Design but to blast the Hopes of Lovers, the Expectation of Parents, and the Benevolence of Kindred. I doubt not but I shall be,
Your most obliged
humble Servant

Will's Coffee-house, Jan. 10.

The other Day entering a Room adorned with the Fair Sex, I offered, after the usual Manner, to each of them a Kiss; but one, more scornful than the rest, turned her Cheek. I did not think it proper to take any Notice of it till I had asked your Advice.
Your humble Servant, E. S.

The Correspondent is desir'd to say which Cheek the Offender turned to him.


Footnote 1:  
Ubi visus eris nostra medicabilis arte Fac monitis fugias otia prima meis.
Ovid. Rem. Am.
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Footnote 2:   it

Contents, p.3


From the Parish-Vestry, January 9.

All Ladies who come to Church in the New-fashioned Hoods,
are desired to be there before Divine Service begins,
lest they divert the Attention of the Congregation.


No. 273

Saturday, January 12, 1712


Notandi sunt tibi Mores.


Having examined the Action of Paradise Lost, let us in the next place consider the Actors. This is Aristotle's Method of considering, first the Fable, and secondly1 the Manners; or, as we generally call them in English, the Fable and the Characters.

Homer has excelled all the Heroic Poets that ever wrote, in the Multitude and Variety of his Characters. Every God that is admitted into this Poem, acts a Part which would have been suitable to no other Deity. His Princes are as much distinguished by their Manners, as by their Dominions; and even those among them, whose Characters seem wholly made up of Courage, differ from one another as to the particular kinds of Courage in which they excel. In short, there is scarce a Speech or Action in the Iliad, which the Reader may not ascribe to the Person that speaks or acts, without seeing his Name at the Head of it.

Homer does not only outshine all other Poets in the Variety, but also in the Novelty of his Characters. He has introduced among his Grecian Princes a Person who had lived thrice the Age of Man, and conversed with Theseus, Hercules, Polyphemus, and the first Race of Heroes. His principal Actor is the Son2 of a Goddess, not to mention the Offspring of other Deities, who have3 likewise a Place in his Poem, and the venerable Trojan Prince, who was the Father of so many Kings and Heroes. There is in these several Characters of Homer, a certain Dignity as well as Novelty, which adapts them in a more peculiar manner to the Nature of an Heroic Poem. Tho' at the same time, to give them the greater Variety, he has described a Vulcan, that is a Buffoon among his Gods, and a Thersites among his Mortals.

Virgil falls infinitely short of Homer in the Characters of his Poem, both as to their Variety and Novelty. Æneas is indeed a perfect Character, but as for Achates, tho' he is stiled the Hero's Friend, he does nothing in the whole Poem which may deserve that Title. Gyas, Mnesteus, Sergestus and Cloanthus, are all of them Men of the same Stamp and Character.
Fortemque Gyan, fortemque Cloanthum.
There are indeed several very Natural Incidents on the Part of Ascanius; as that of Dido cannot be sufficiently admired. I do not see any thing new or particular in Turnus. Pallas and Evander are remote Copies of Hector and Priam, as Lausus and Mezentius are almost Parallels to Pallas and Evander. The Characters of Nisus and Eurialus are beautiful, but common. We must not forget the Parts of Sinon, Camilla, and some few others, which are fine Improvements on the Greek Poet. In short, there is neither that Variety nor Novelty in the Persons of the Æneid, which we meet with in those of the Iliad.

If we look into the Characters of Milton, we shall find that he has introduced all the Variety his Fable4 was capable of receiving. The whole Species of Mankind was in two Persons at the Time to which the Subject of his Poem is confined. We have, however, four distinct Characters in these two Persons. We see Man and Woman in the highest Innocence and Perfection, and in the most abject State of Guilt and Infirmity. The two last Characters are, indeed, very common and obvious, but the two first are not only more magnificent, but more new5 than any Characters either in Virgil or Homer, or indeed in the whole Circle of Nature.

Milton was so sensible of this Defect in the Subject of his Poem, and of the few Characters it would afford him, that he has brought into it two Actors of a Shadowy and Fictitious Nature, in the Persons of Sin and Death6, by which means he has wrought into7 the Body of his Fable a very beautiful and well-invented Allegory. But notwithstanding the Fineness of this Allegory may attone for it in some measure; I cannot think that Persons of such a Chymerical Existence are proper Actors in an Epic Poem; because there is not that measure of Probability annexed to them, which is requisite in Writings of this kind, as I shall shew more at large hereafter.

Virgil has, indeed, admitted Fame as an Actress in the Æneid, but the Part she acts is very short, and none of the most admired Circumstances in that Divine Work. We find in Mock-Heroic Poems, particularly in the Dispensary and the Lutrin8 several Allegorical Persons of this Nature which are very beautiful in those Compositions, and may, perhaps, be used as an Argument, that the Authors of them were of Opinion, such9 Characters might have a Place in an Epic Work. For my own part, I should be glad the Reader would think so, for the sake of the Poem I am now examining, and must further add, that if such empty unsubstantial Beings may be ever made use of on this Occasion, never were any more nicely imagined, and employed in more proper Actions, than those of which I am now speaking.

Another Principal Actor in this Poem is the great Enemy of Mankind. The Part of Ulysses in Homer's Odyssey is very much admired by Aristotle,10 as perplexing that Fable with very agreeable Plots and Intricacies, not only by the many Adventures in his Voyage, and the Subtility of his Behaviour, but by the various Concealments and Discoveries of his Person in several Parts of that Poem. But the Crafty Being I have now mentioned, makes a much longer Voyage than Ulysses, puts in practice many more Wiles and Stratagems, and hides himself under a greater Variety of Shapes and Appearances, all of which are severally detected, to the great Delight and Surprize of the Reader.

We may likewise observe with how much Art the Poet has varied several Characters of the Persons that speak to his infernal Assembly. On the contrary, how has he represented the whole Godhead exerting it self towards Man in its full Benevolence under the Three-fold Distinction of a Creator, a Redeemer and a Comforter!

Nor must we omit the Person of Raphael, who amidst his Tenderness and Friendship for Man, shews such a Dignity and Condescension in all his Speech and Behaviour, as are suitable to a Superior Nature. The Angels are indeed as much diversified in Milton, and distinguished by their proper Parts, as the Gods are in Homer or Virgil. The Reader will find nothing ascribed to Uriel, Gabriel, Michael, or Raphael, which is not in a particular manner suitable to their respective Characters.

There is another Circumstance in the principal Actors of the Iliad and Æneid, which gives a peculiar11 Beauty to those two Poems, and was therefore contrived with very great Judgment. I mean the Authors having chosen for their Heroes, Persons who were so nearly related to the People for whom they wrote. Achilles was a Greek, and Æneas the remote Founder of Rome. By this means their Countrymen (whom they principally proposed to themselves for their Readers) were particularly attentive to all the Parts of their Story, and sympathized with their Heroes in all their Adventures. A Roman could not but rejoice in the Escapes, Successes and Victories of Æneas, and be grieved at any Defeats, Misfortunes or Disappointments that befel him; as a Greek must have had the same Regard for Achilles. And it is plain, that each of those Poems have lost this great Advantage, among those Readers to whom their Heroes are as Strangers, or indifferent Persons.

Milton's Poem is admirable in this respect, since it is impossible for any of its Readers, whatever Nation, Country or People he may belong to, not to be related to the Persons who are the principal Actors in it; but what is still infinitely more to its Advantage, the principal Actors in this Poem are not only our Progenitors, but our Representatives. We have an actual Interest in every thing they do, and no less than our utmost Happiness is concerned, and lies at Stake in all their Behaviour.

I shall subjoin as a Corollary to the foregoing Remark, an admirable Observation out of Aristotle, which hath been very much misrepresented in the Quotations of some Modern Criticks.
'If a Man of perfect and consummate Virtue falls into a Misfortune, it raises our Pity, but not our Terror, because we do not fear that it may be our own Case, who do not resemble the Suffering Person. But as that great Philosopher adds, If we see a Man of Virtue mixt with Infirmities, fall into any Misfortune, it does not only raise our Pity but our Terror; because we are afraid that the like Misfortunes may happen to our selves, who resemble the Character of the Suffering Person.'
I shall take another Opportunity to observe, that a Person of an absolute and consummate Virtue should never be introduced in Tragedy, and shall only remark in this Place, that the foregoing Observation of Aristotle12 tho' it may be true in other Occasions, does not hold in this; because in the present Case, though the Persons who fall into Misfortune are of the most perfect and consummate Virtue, it is not to be considered as what may possibly be, but what actually is our own Case; since we are embarked with them on the same Bottom, and must be Partakers of their Happiness or Misery.

In this, and some other very few Instances, Aristotle's Rules for Epic Poetry (which he had drawn from his Reflections upon Homer) cannot be supposed to quadrate exactly with the Heroic Poems which have been made since his Time; since it is plain his Rules would still have been13 more perfect, could he have perused the Æneid which was made some hundred Years after his Death.

In my next, I shall go through other Parts of Milton's Poem; and hope that what I shall there advance, as well as what I have already written, will not only serve as a Comment upon Milton, but upon Aristotle.


Footnote 1:   These are what Aristotle means by the Fable and &c.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Offspring

Footnote 3:   Son of Aurora who has

Footnote 4:   that his Poem

Footnote 5:   It was especially for the novelty of Paradise Lost, that John Dennis had in 1704 exalted Milton above the ancients. In putting forward a prospectus of a large projected work upon 'the Grounds of Criticism in Poetry,' he gave as a specimen of the character of his work, the substance of what would be said in the beginning of the Criticism upon Milton. Here he gave Milton supremacy on ground precisely opposite to that chosen by Addison. He described him as
'one of the greatest and most daring Genius's that has appear'd in the World, and who has made his country a glorious present of the most lofty, but most irregular Poem, that has been produc'd by the Mind of Man. That great Man had a desire to give the World something like an Epick Poem; but he resolv'd at the same time to break thro' the Rules of Aristotle. Not that he was ignorant of them, or contemned them.... Milton was the first who in the space of almost 4000 years resolv'd for his Country's Honour and his own, to present the World with an Original Poem; that is to say, a Poem that should have his own thoughts, his own images, and his own spirit. In order to this he was resolved to write a Poem, that, by virtue of its extraordinary Subject, cannot so properly be said to be against the Rules as it may be affirmed to be above them all ... We shall now shew for what Reasons the choice of Milton's Subject, as it set him free from the obligation which he lay under to the Poetical Laws, so it necessarily threw him upon new Thoughts, new Images, and an Original Spirit. In the next place we shall shew that his Thoughts, his Images, and by consequence too, his Spirit are actually new, and different from those of Homer and Virgil. Thirdly, we shall shew, that besides their Newness, they have vastly the Advantage of Homer and Virgil.']

Footnote 6:   Paradise Lost, Book II.

Footnote 7:   interwoven in

Footnote 8:   Sir Samuel Garth in his Dispensary, a mock-heroic poem upon a dispute, in 1696, among doctors over the setting up of a Dispensary in a room of the College of Physicians for relief of the sick poor, houses the God of Sloth within the College, and outside, among other allegories, personifies Disease as a Fury to whom the enemies of the Dispensary offer libation. Boileau in his Lutrin a mock-heroic poem written in 1673 on a dispute between two chief personages of the chapter of a church in Paris, la Sainte Chapelle, as to the position of a pulpit, had with some minor allegory, chiefly personified Discord, and made her enter into the form of an old precentor, very much as in Garth's poem the Fury Disease
'Shrill Colon's person took,
In morals loose, but most precise in look.'

Footnote 9:   that such

Footnote 10:   Poetics II. § 17; III. §6.

Footnote 11:   particular

Footnote 12:   1 Poetics II. § ii. But Addison misquotes the first clause. Aristotle says that when a wholly virtuous man falls from prosperity into adversity,
'this is neither terrible nor piteous, but Greek: miaron shocking. Then he adds that our pity is excited by undeserved misfortune, and our terror by some resemblance between the sufferer and ourselves.'

Footnote 13:   have been still

Contents, p.3

No. 274

Monday, January 14, 1712


Audire est operæ pretium, procedere recte
Qui mœchis non vultis.


I have upon several Occasions (that have occurred since I first took into my Thoughts the present State of Fornication) weighed with my self, in behalf of guilty Females, the Impulses of Flesh and Blood, together with the Arts and Gallantries of crafty Men; and reflect with some Scorn that most Part of what we in our Youth think gay and polite, is nothing else but an Habit of indulging a Pruriency that Way. It will cost some Labour to bring People to so lively a Sense of this, as to recover the manly Modesty in the Behaviour of my Men Readers, and the bashful Grace in the Faces of my Women; but in all Cases which come into Debate, there are certain things previously to be done before we can have a true Light into the Subject Matter; therefore it will, in the first Place, be necessary to consider the impotent Wenchers and industrious Haggs, who are supplied with, and are constantly supplying new Sacrifices to the Devil of Lust. You are to know then, if you are so happy as not to know it already, that the great Havock which is made in the Habitations of Beauty and Innocence, is committed by such as can only lay waste and not enjoy the Soil. When you observe the present State of Vice and Virtue, the Offenders are such as one would think should have no Impulse to what they are pursuing; as in Business, you see sometimes Fools pretend to be Knaves, so in Pleasure, you will find old Men set up for Wenchers. This latter sort of Men are the great Basis and Fund of Iniquity in the Kind we are speaking of: You shall have an old rich Man often receive Scrawls from the several Quarters of the Town, with Descriptions of the new Wares in their Hands, if he will please to send Word when he will be waited on. This Interview is contrived, and the Innocent is brought to such Indecencies as from Time to Time banish Shame and raise Desire. With these Preparatives the Haggs break their Wards by little and little, 'till they are brought to lose all Apprehensions of what shall befall them in the Possession of younger Men. It is a common Postscript of an Hagg to a young Fellow whom she invites to a new Woman, She has, I assure you, seen none but old Mr. Such-a-one. It pleases the old Fellow that the Nymph is brought to him unadorned, and from his Bounty she is accommodated with enough to dress her for other Lovers. This is the most ordinary Method of bringing Beauty and Poverty into the Possession of the Town: But the particular Cases of kind Keepers, skilful Pimps, and all others who drive a separate Trade, and are not in the general Society or Commerce of Sin, will require distinct Consideration. At the same time that we are thus severe on the Abandoned, we are apt to represent the Case of others with that Mitigation as the Circumstances demand. Calling Names does no Good; to speak worse of any thing than it deserves, does only take off from the Credit of the Accuser, and has implicitly the Force of an Apology in the Behalf of the Person accused. We shall therefore, according as the Circumstances differ, vary our Appellations of these Criminals: Those who offend only against themselves, and are not Scandals to Society, but out of Deference to the sober Part of the World, have so much Good left in them as to be ashamed, must not be huddled in the common Word due to the worst of Women; but Regard is to be had to their Circumstances when they fell, to the uneasy Perplexity under which they lived under senseless and severe Parents, to the Importunity of Poverty, to the Violence of a Passion in its Beginning well grounded, and all other Alleviations which make unhappy Women resign the Characteristick of their Sex, Modesty. To do otherwise than thus, would be to act like a Pedantick Stoick, who thinks all Crimes alike, and not like an impartial Spectator, who looks upon them with all the Circumstances that diminish or enhance the Guilt. I am in Hopes, if this Subject be well pursued, Women will hereafter from their Infancy be treated with an Eye to their future State in the World; and not have their Tempers made too untractable from an improper Sourness or Pride, or too complying from Familiarity or Forwardness contracted at their own Houses. After these Hints on this Subject, I shall end this Paper with the following genuine Letter; and desire all who think they may be concerned in future Speculations on this Subject, to send in what they have to say for themselves for some Incidents in their Lives, in order to have proper Allowances made for their Conduct.

January 5, 1711.

Mr. Spectator,

'The Subject of your Yesterday's Paper is of so great Importance, and the thorough handling of it may be so very useful to the Preservation of many an innocent young Creature, that I think every one is obliged to furnish you with what Lights he can, to expose the pernicious Arts and Practices of those unnatural Women called Bawds. In order to this the enclosed is sent you, which is verbatim the Copy of a Letter written by a Bawd of Figure in this Town to a noble Lord. I have concealed the Names of both, my Intention being not to expose the Persons but the Thing.
I am,
Your humble Servant
My Lord,
'I having a great Esteem for your Honour, and a better Opinion of you than of any of the Quality, makes me acquaint you of an Affair that I hope will oblige you to know. I have a Niece that came to Town about a Fortnight ago. Her Parents being lately dead she came to me, expecting to a found me in so good a Condition as to a set her up in a Milliner's Shop. Her Father gave Fourscore Pounds with her for five Years: Her Time is out, and she is not Sixteen; as pretty a black Gentlewoman as ever you saw, a little Woman, which I know your Lordship likes: well shaped, and as fine a Complection for Red and White as ever I saw; I doubt not but your Lordship will be of the same Opinion. She designs to go down about a Month hence except I can provide for her, which I cannot at present. Her Father was one with whom all he had died with him, so there is four Children left destitute; so if your Lordship thinks fit to make an Appointment where I shall wait on you with my Niece, by a Line or two, I stay for your Answer; for I have no Place fitted up since I left my House, fit to entertain your Honour. I told her she should go with me to see a Gentleman a very good Friend of mine; so I desire you to take no Notice of my Letter by reason she is ignorant of the Ways of the Town. My Lord, I desire if you meet us to come alone; for upon my Word and Honour you are the first that ever I mentioned her to. So I remain,

Your Lordship's
Most humble Servant to Command.

'I beg of you to burn it when you've read it.

Contents, p.3

No. 275

Tuesday, January 15, 1712


—tribus Anticyris caput insanabile—


I was Yesterday engaged in an Assembly of Virtuosos, where one of them produced many curious Observations which he had lately made in the Anatomy of an Human Body. Another of the Company communicated to us several wonderful Discoveries, which he had also made on the same Subject, by the Help of very fine Glasses. This gave Birth to a great Variety of uncommon Remarks, and furnished Discourse for the remaining Part of the Day.

The different Opinions which were started on this Occasion, presented to my Imagination so many new Ideas, that by mixing with those which were already there, they employed my Fancy all the last Night, and composed a very wild Extravagant Dream.

I was invited, methoughts, to the Dissection of a Beau's Head and of a Coquet's Heart, which were both of them laid on a Table before us. An imaginary Operator opened the first with a great deal of Nicety, which, upon a cursory and superficial View, appeared like the Head of another Man; but upon applying our Glasses to it, we made a very odd Discovery, namely, that what we looked upon as Brains, were not such in reality, but an Heap of strange Materials wound up in that Shape and Texture, and packed together with wonderful Art in the several Cavities of the Skull. For, as Homer tells us, that the Blood of the Gods is not real Blood, but only something like it; so we found that the Brain of a Beau is not real Brain, but only something like it.

The Pineal Gland, which many of our Modern Philosophers suppose to be the Seat of the Soul, smelt very strong of Essence and Orange-flower Water, and was encompassed with a kind of Horny Substance, cut into a thousand little Faces or Mirrours, which were imperceptible to the naked Eye, insomuch that the Soul, if there had been any here, must have been always taken up in contemplating her own Beauties.

We observed a long Antrum or Cavity in the Sinciput, that was filled with Ribbons, Lace and Embroidery, wrought together in a most curious Piece of Network, the Parts of which were likewise imperceptible to the naked Eye. Another of these Antrums or Cavities was stuffed with invisible Billetdoux, Love-Letters, pricked Dances, and other Trumpery of the same Nature. In another we found a kind of Powder, which set the whole Company a Sneezing, and by the Scent discovered it self to be right Spanish. The several other Cells were stored with Commodities of the same kind, of which it would be tedious to give the Reader an exact Inventory.

There was a large Cavity on each side of the Head, which I must not omit. That on the right Side was filled with Fictions, Flatteries, and Falshoods, Vows, Promises, and Protestations; that on the left with Oaths and Imprecations. There issued out a Duct from each of these Cells, which ran into the Root of the Tongue, where both joined together, and passed forward in one common Duct to the Tip of it. We discovered several little Roads or Canals running from the Ear into the Brain, and took particular care to trace them out through their several Passages. One of them extended itself to a Bundle of Sonnets and little musical Instruments. Others ended in several Bladders which were filled either with Wind or Froth. But the latter Canal entered into a great Cavity of the Skull, from whence there went another Canal into the Tongue. This great Cavity was filled with a kind of Spongy Substance, which the French Anatomists call Galimatias, and the English, Nonsense.

The Skins of the Forehead were extremely tough and thick, and, what very much surprized us, had not in them any single Blood-Vessel that we were able to discover, either with or without our Glasses; from whence we concluded, that the Party when alive must have been entirely deprived of the Faculty of Blushing.

The Os Cribriforme was exceedingly stuffed, and in some Places damaged with Snuff. We could not but take notice in particular of that small Muscle which is not often discovered in Dissections, and draws the Nose upwards, when it expresses the Contempt which the Owner of it has, upon seeing any thing he does not like, or hearing any thing he does not understand. I need not tell my learned Reader, this is that Muscle which performs the Motion so often mentioned by the Latin Poets, when they talk of a Man's cocking his Nose, or playing the Rhinoceros.

We did not find any thing very remarkable in the Eye, saving only, that the Musculi Amatorii, or, as we may translate it into English, the Ogling Muscles, were very much worn and decayed with use; whereas on the contrary, the Elevator, or the Muscle which turns the Eye towards Heaven, did not appear to have been used at all.

I have only mentioned in this Dissection such new Discoveries as we were able to make, and have not taken any notice of those Parts which are to be met with in common Heads. As for the Skull, the Face, and indeed the whole outward Shape and Figure of the Head, we could not discover any Difference from what we observe in the Heads of other Men. We were informed, that the Person to whom this Head belonged, had passed for a Man above five and thirty Years; during which time he Eat and Drank like other People, dressed well, talked loud, laught frequently, and on particular Occasions had acquitted himself tolerably at a Ball or an Assembly; to which one of the Company added, that a certain Knot of Ladies took him for a Wit. He was cut off in the Flower of his Age by the Blow of a Paring-Shovel, having been surprized by an eminent Citizen, as he was tendring some Civilities to his Wife.

When we had thoroughly examined this Head with all its Apartments, and its several kinds of Furniture, we put up the Brain, such as it was, into its proper Place, and laid it aside under a broad Piece of Scarlet Cloth, in order to be prepared, and kept in a great Repository of Dissections; our Operator telling us that the Preparation would not be so difficult as that of another Brain, for that he had observed several of the little Pipes and Tubes which ran through the Brain were already filled with a kind of Mercurial Substance, which he looked upon to be true Quick-Silver.

He applied himself in the next Place to the Coquet's Heart, which he likewise laid open with great Dexterity. There occurred to us many Particularities in this Dissection; but being unwilling to burden my Reader's Memory too much, I shall reserve this Subject for the Speculation of another Day.


Contents, p.3

No. 276

Wednesday, January 16, 1712


Errori nomen virtus posuisset honestum.


Mr. Spectator,
'I hope you have Philosophy enough to be capable of bearing the Mention of your Faults. Your Papers which regard the fallen Part of the Fair Sex, are, I think, written with an Indelicacy, which makes them unworthy to be inserted in the Writings of a Moralist who knows the World. I cannot allow that you are at Liberty to observe upon the Actions of Mankind with the Freedom which you seem to resolve upon; at least if you do, you should take along with you the Distinction of Manners of the World, according to the Quality and Way of Life of the Persons concerned. A Man of Breeding speaks of even Misfortune among Ladies without giving it the most terrible Aspect it can bear: And this Tenderness towards them, is much more to be preserved when you speak of Vices. All Mankind are so far related, that Care is to be taken, in things to which all are liable, you do not mention what concerns one in Terms which shall disgust another. Thus to tell a rich Man of the Indigence of a Kinsman of his, or abruptly inform a virtuous Woman of the Lapse of one who till then was in the same degree of Esteem with her self, is in a kind involving each of them in some Participation of those Disadvantages. It is therefore expected from every Writer, to treat his Argument in such a Manner, as is most proper to entertain the sort of Readers to whom his Discourse is directed. It is not necessary when you write to the Tea-table, that you should draw Vices which carry all the Horror of Shame and Contempt: If you paint an impertinent Self-love, an artful Glance, an assumed Complection, you say all which you ought to suppose they can possibly be guilty of. When you talk with this Limitation, you behave your self so as that you may expect others in Conversation may second your Raillery; but when you do it in a Stile which every body else forbears in Respect to their Quality, they have an easy Remedy in forbearing to read you, and hearing no more of their Faults. A Man that is now and then guilty of an Intemperance is not to be called a Drunkard; but the Rule of polite Raillery, is to speak of a Man's Faults as if you loved him. Of this Nature is what was said by Cæsar: When one was railing with an uncourtly Vehemence, and broke out, What must we call him who was taken in an Intrigue with another Man's Wife? Cæsar answered very gravely, A careless Fellow. This was at once a Reprimand for speaking of a Crime which in those Days had not the Abhorrence attending it as it ought, as well as an Intimation that all intemperate Behaviour before Superiors loses its Aim, by accusing in a Method unfit for the Audience. A Word to the Wise. All I mean here to say to you is, That the most free Person of Quality can go no further than being a kind Woman1; and you should never say of a Man of Figure worse, than that he knows the World.

I am, Sir,
Your most humble Servant,
Francis Courtly.

Mr. Spectator,
'I am a Woman of an unspotted Reputation, and know nothing I have ever done which should encourage such Insolence; but here was one the other Day, and he was dressed like a Gentleman too, who took the Liberty to name the Words Lusty Fellow in my Presence. I doubt not but you will resent it in Behalf of,

Your Humble Servant,

Mr. Spectator,
'You lately put out a dreadful Paper, wherein you promise a full Account of the State of criminal Love; and call all the Fair who have transgressed in that Kind by one very rude Name which I do not care to repeat: But 1 desire to know of you whether I am or I am not of those? My Case is as follows. I am kept by an old Batchelour, who took me so young, that I knew not how he came by me: He is a Bencher of one of the Inns of Court, a very gay healthy old Man; which is a lucky thing for him, who has been, he tells me, a Scowrer, a Scamperer, a Breaker of Windows, an Invader of Constables, in the Days of Yore when all Dominion ended with the Day, and Males and Females met helter skelter, and the Scowrers drove before them all who pretended to keep up Order or Rule to the Interruption of Love and Honour. This is his way of Talk, for he is very gay when he visits me; but as his former Knowledge of the Town has alarmed him into an invincible Jealousy, he keeps me in a pair of Slippers, neat Bodice, warm Petticoats, and my own Hair woven in Ringlets, after a Manner, he says, he remembers. I am not Mistress of one Farthing of Money, but have all Necessaries provided for me, under the Guard of one who procured for him while he had any Desires to gratify. I know nothing of a Wench's Life, but the Reputation of it: I have a natural Voice, and a pretty untaught Step in Dancing. His Manner is to bring an old Fellow who has been his Servant from his Youth, and is gray-headed: This Man makes on the Violin a certain Jiggish Noise to which I dance, and when that is over I sing to him some loose Air, that has more Wantonness than Musick in it. You must have seen a strange window'd House near Hide-Park, which is so built that no one can look out of any of the Apartments; my Rooms are after that manner, and I never see Man, Woman, or Child, but in Company with the two Persons above-mentioned. He sends me in all the Books, Pamphlets, Plays, Operas and Songs that come out; and his utmost Delight in me as a Woman, is to talk over old Amours in my Presence, to play with my Neck, say the Time was, give me a Kiss, and bid me be sure to follow the Directions of my Guardian (the above-mentioned Lady) and I shall never want. The Truth of my Case is, I suppose, that I was educated for a Purpose he did not know he should be unfit for when I came to Years. Now, Sir, what I ask of you, as a Casuist, is to tell me how far in these Circumstances I am innocent, though submissive; he guilty, though impotent?
I am,
Your constant Reader,


To the Man called the Spectator.

'Forasmuch as at the Birth of thy Labour, thou didst promise upon thy Word, that letting alone the Vanities that do abound, thou wouldst only endeavour to strengthen the crooked Morals of this our Babylon, I gave Credit to thy fair Speeches, and admitted one of thy Papers, every Day save Sunday, into my House; for the Edification of my Daughter Tabitha, and to the end that Susannah the Wife of my Bosom might profit thereby. But alas, my Friend, I find that thou art a Liar, and that the Truth is not in thee; else why didst thou in a Paper which thou didst lately put forth, make mention of those vain Coverings for the Heads of our Females, which thou lovest to liken unto Tulips, and which are lately sprung up amongst us? Nay why didst thou make mention of them in such a seeming, as if thou didst approve the Invention, insomuch that my Daughter Tabitha beginneth to wax wanton, and to lust after these foolish Vanities? Surely thou dost see with the Eyes of the Flesh. Verily therefore, unless thou dost speedily amend and leave off following thine own Imaginations, I will leave off thee.

Thy Friend as hereafter thou dost demean thyself,
Hezekiah Broadbrim.

Footnote 1:   an unkind
return to footnote mark

Contents, p.3

No. 277

Thursday, January 17, 1712


—fas est et ab hoste doceri. Virg.

Mr. Spectator,
'I am so great a Lover of whatever is French, that I lately discarded an humble Admirer, because he neither spoke that Tongue, nor drank Claret. I have long bewailed, in secret, the Calamities of my Sex during the War, in all which time we have laboured under the insupportable Inventions of English Tire-Women, who, tho' they sometimes copy indifferently well, can never compose with that Goût they do in France.

I was almost in Despair of ever more seeing a Model from that dear Country, when last Sunday I over-heard a Lady, in the next Pew to me, whisper another, that at the Seven Stars in King-street Covent-garden, there was a Madamoiselle compleatly dressed just come from Paris.

I was in the utmost Impatience during the remaining part of the Service, and as soon as ever it was over, having learnt the Milleners Addresse, I went directly to her House in King-street, but was told that the French Lady was at a Person of Qualitys in Pall-mall, and would not be back again till very late that Night. I was therefore obliged to renew my Visit very early this Morning, and had then a full View of the dear Moppet from Head to Foot.

You cannot imagine, worthy Sir, how ridiculously I find we have all been trussed up during the War, and how infinitely the French Dress excels ours.

The Mantua has no Leads in the Sleeves, and I hope we are not lighter than the French Ladies, so as to want that kind of Ballast; the Petticoat has no Whale-bone; but fits with an Air altogether galant and degagé: the Coiffeure is inexpressibly pretty, and in short, the whole Dress has a thousand Beauties in it, which I would not have as yet made too publick.

I thought fit, however, to give this Notice, that you may not be surprized at my appearing à la mode de Paris on the next Birth-Night. I am, Sir,
Your humble Servant,


Within an Hour after I had read this Letter, I received another from the Owner of the Puppet.

'On Saturday last, being the 12th Instant, there arrived at my House in King-street, Covent-Garden, a French Baby for the Year 1712. I have taken the utmost Care to have her dressed by the most celebrated Tyre-women and Mantua-makers in Paris, and do not find that I have any Reason to be sorry for the Expence I have been at in her Cloaths and Importation: However, as I know no Person who is so good a Judge of Dress as your self, if you please to call at my House in your Way to the City, and take a View of her, I promise to amend whatever you shall disapprove in your next Paper, before I exhibit her as a Pattern to the Publick.
I am, Sir,
Your most humble Admirer,
and most obedient Servant,

Betty Cross-stitch.

As I am willing to do any thing in reason for the Service of my Country-women, and had much rather prevent Faults than find them, I went last Night to the House of the above-mentioned Mrs. Cross-stitch. As soon as I enter'd, the Maid of the Shop, who, I suppose, was prepared for my coming, without asking me any Questions, introduced me to the little Damsel, and ran away to call her Mistress.

The Puppet was dressed in a Cherry-coloured Gown and Petticoat, with a short working Apron over it, which discovered her Shape to the most Advantage. Her Hair was cut and divided very prettily, with several Ribbons stuck up and down in it. The Millener assured me, that her Complexion was such as was worn by all the Ladies of the best Fashion in Paris. Her Head was extreamly high, on which Subject having long since declared my Sentiments, I shall say nothing more to it at present. I was also offended at a small Patch she wore on her Breast, which I cannot suppose is placed there with any good Design.

Her Necklace was of an immoderate Length, being tied before in such a manner that the two Ends hung down to her Girdle; but whether these supply the Place of Kissing-Strings in our Enemy's Country, and whether our British Ladies have any occasion for them, I shall leave to their serious Consideration.

After having observed the Particulars of her Dress, as I was taking a view of it altogether, the Shop-maid, who is a pert Wench, told me that Mademoiselle had something very Curious in the tying of her Garters; but as I pay a due Respect even to a pair of Sticks when they are in Petticoats, I did not examine into that Particular.

Upon the whole I was well enough pleased with the Appearance of this gay Lady, and the more so because she was not Talkative, a Quality very rarely to be met with in the rest of her Countrywomen.

As I was taking my leave, the Millener farther informed me, that with the Assistance of a Watchmaker, who was her Neighbour, and the ingenious Mr. Powell, she had also contrived another Puppet, which by the help of several little Springs to be wound up within it, could move all its Limbs, and that she had sent it over to her Correspondent in Paris to be taught the various Leanings and Bendings of the Head, the Risings of the Bosom, the Curtesy and Recovery, the genteel Trip, and the agreeable Jet, as they are now practised in the Court of France.

She added that she hoped she might depend upon having my Encouragement as soon as it arrived; but as this was a Petition of too great Importance to be answered extempore, I left her without a Reply, and made the best of my way to Will. Honeycomb's Lodgings, without whose Advice I never communicate any thing to the Publick of this Nature.


Contents, p.3

No. 278

Friday, January 18, 1712


Sermones ego mallem
Repentes per humum.


Mr. Spectator,

Your having done considerable Service in this great City, by rectifying the Disorders of Families, and several Wives having preferred your Advice and Directions to those of their Husbands, emboldens me to apply to you at this Time. I am a Shop-keeper, and tho but a young Man, I find by Experience that nothing but the utmost Diligence both of Husband and Wife (among trading People) can keep Affairs in any tolerable Order. My Wife at the Beginning of our Establishment shewed her self very assisting to me in my Business as much as could lie in her Way, and I have Reason to believe twas with her Inclination; but of late she has got acquainted with a Schoolman, who values himself for his great Knowledge in the Greek Tongue. He entertains her frequently in the Shop with Discourses of the Beauties and Excellencies of that Language; and repeats to her several Passages out of the Greek Poets, wherein he tells her there is unspeakable Harmony and agreeable Sounds that all other Languages are wholly unacquainted with. He has so infatuated her with his Jargon, that instead of using her former Diligence in the Shop, she now neglects the Affairs of the House, and is wholly taken up with her Tutor in learning by Heart Scraps of Greek, which she vents upon all Occasions. She told me some Days ago, that whereas I use some Latin Inscriptions in my Shop, she advised me with a great deal of Concern to have them changed into Greek; it being a Language less understood, would be more conformable to the Mystery of my Profession; that our good Friend would be assisting to us in this Work; and that a certain Faculty of Gentlemen would find themselves so much obliged to me, that they would infallibly make my Fortune: In short her frequent Importunities upon this and other Impertinences of the like Nature make me very uneasy; and if your Remonstrances have no more Effect upon her than mine, I am afraid I shall be obliged to ruin my self to procure her a Settlement at Oxford with her Tutor, for she's already too mad for Bedlam. Now, Sir, you see the Danger my Family is exposed to, and the Likelihood of my Wife's becoming both troublesome and useless, unless her reading her self in your Paper may make her reflect. She is so very learned that I cannot pretend by Word of Mouth to argue with her. She laughed out at your ending a Paper in Greek, and said 'twas a Hint to Women of Literature, and very civil not to translate it to expose them to the Vulgar. You see how it is with,

Your humble Servant.

Mr. Spectator,
If you have that Humanity and Compassion in your Nature that you take such Pains to make one think you have, you will not deny your Advice to a distressed Damsel, who intends to be determined by your Judgment in a Matter of great Importance to her. You must know then, There is an agreeable young Fellow, to whose Person, Wit, and Humour no body makes any Objection, that pretends to have been long in Love with me. To this I must add, (whether it proceeds from the Vanity of my Nature, or the seeming Sincerity of my Lover, I won't pretend to say) that I verily believe he has a real Value for me; which if true, you'll allow may justly augment his Merit for his Mistress. In short, I am so sensible of his good Qualities, and what I owe to his Passion, that I think I could sooner resolve to give up my Liberty to him than any body else, were there not an Objection to be made to his Fortunes, in regard they don't answer the utmost mine may expect, and are not sufficient to secure me from undergoing the reproachful Phrase so commonly used, That she has played the Fool. Now, tho' I am one of those few who heartily despise Equipage, Diamonds, and a Coxcomb, yet since such opposite Notions from mine prevail in the World, even amongst the best, and such as are esteemed the most prudent People, I can't find in my Heart to resolve upon incurring the Censure of those wise Folks, which I am conscious I shall do, if when I enter into a married State, I discover a Thought beyond that of equalling, if not advancing my Fortunes. Under this Difficulty I now labour, not being in the least determined whether I shall be governed by the vain World, and the frequent Examples I meet with, or hearken to the Voice of my Lover, and the Motions I find in my Heart in favour of him. Sir, Your Opinion and Advice in this Affair, is the only thing I know can turn the Ballance; and which I earnestly intreat I may receive soon; for till I have your Thoughts upon it, I am engaged not to give my Swain a final Discharge.

Besides the particular Obligation you will lay on me, by giving this Subject Room in one of your Papers, tis possible it may be of use to some others of my Sex, who will be as grateful for the Favour as,
Your Humble Servant,


P. S. To tell you the Truth I am Married to Him already, but pray say something to justify me.

Mr. Spectator,
You will forgive Us Professors of Musick if We make a second Application to You, in order to promote our Design of exhibiting Entertainments of Musick in York-Buildings. It is industriously insinuated that Our Intention is to destroy Operas in General, but we beg of you to insert this plain Explanation of our selves in your Paper. Our Purpose is only to improve our Circumstances, by improving the Art which we profess. We see it utterly destroyed at present; and as we were the Persons who introduced Operas, we think it a groundless Imputation that we should set up against the Opera in it self. What we pretend to assert is, That the Songs of different Authors injudiciously put together, and a Foreign Tone and Manner which are expected in every thing now performed among us, has put Musick it self to a stand; insomuch that the Ears of the People cannot now be entertained with any thing but what has an impertinent Gayety, without any just Spirit, or a Languishment of Notes, without any Passion or common Sense. We hope those Persons of Sense and Quality who have done us the Honour to subscribe, will not be ashamed of their Patronage towards us, and not receive Impressions that patronising us is being for or against the Opera, but truly promoting their own Diversions in a more just and elegant Manner than has been hitherto performed. We are, Sir,
Your most humble Servants,

Thomas Clayton.
Nicolino Haym.
Charles Dieupart1.

There will be no Performances in York-buildings till after that of the Subscription.


Footnote 1:   See No. 258.
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Contents, p.3

No. 279

Saturday, January 19, 1712


Reddere personæ scit convenientia cuique.


We have already taken a general Survey of the Fable and Characters in Milton's Paradise Lost. The Parts which remain to be considered, according to Aristotle's Method, are the Sentiments and the Language1.

Before I enter upon the first of these, I must advertise my Reader, that it is my Design as soon as I have finished my general Reflections on these four several Heads, to give particular Instances out of the Poem which is now before us of Beauties and Imperfections which may be observed under each of them, as also of such other Particulars as may not properly fall under any of them. This I thought fit to premise, that the Reader may not judge too hastily of this Piece of Criticism, or look upon it as Imperfect, before he has seen the whole Extent of it.

The Sentiments in an Epic Poem are the Thoughts and Behaviour which the Author ascribes to the Persons whom he introduces, and are just when they are conformable to the Characters of the several Persons. The Sentiments have likewise a relation to Things as well as Persons, and are then perfect when they are such as are adapted to the Subject. If in either of these Cases the Poet endeavours to argue or explain, to magnify or diminish, to raise2 Love or Hatred, Pity or Terror, or any other Passion, we ought to consider whether the Sentiments he makes use of are proper for those3 Ends. Homer is censured by the Criticks for his Defect as to this Particular in several parts of the Iliad and Odyssey, tho' at the same time those, who have treated this great Poet with Candour, have attributed this Defect to the Times in which he lived4. It was the Fault of the Age, and not of Homer, if there wants that Delicacy in some of his Sentiments which now appears in the Works of Men of a much inferior Genius. Besides, if there are Blemishes in any particular Thoughts, there is an infinite Beauty in the greatest Part of them. In short, if there are many Poets who would not have fallen into the Meanness of some of his Sentiments, there are none who could have risen up to the Greatness of others. Virgil has excelled all others in the Propriety of his Sentiments. Milton shines likewise very much in this Particular: Nor must we omit one Consideration which adds to his Honour and Reputation. Homer and Virgil introduced Persons whose Characters are commonly known among Men, and such as are to be met with either in History, or in ordinary Conversation. Milton's Characters, most of them, lie out of Nature, and were to be formed purely by his own Invention. It shews a greater Genius in Shakespear to have drawn his Calyban, than his Hotspur or Julius Cæsar: The one was to be supplied out of his own Imagination, whereas the other might have been formed upon Tradition, History and Observation. It was much easier therefore for Homer to find proper Sentiments for an Assembly of Grecian Generals, than for Milton to diversify his infernal Council with proper Characters, and inspire them with a Variety of Sentiments. The Lovers of Dido and Æneas are only Copies of what has passed between other Persons. Adam and Eve, before the Fall, are a different Species from that of Mankind, who are descended from them; and none but a Poet of the most unbounded Invention, and the most exquisite Judgment, could have filled their Conversation and Behaviour with so many apt5 Circumstances during their State of Innocence.

Nor is it sufficient for an Epic Poem to be filled with such Thoughts as are Natural, unless it abound also with such as are Sublime. Virgil in this Particular falls short of Homer. He has not indeed so many Thoughts that are Low and Vulgar; but at the same time has not so many Thoughts that are Sublime and Noble. The Truth of it is, Virgil seldom rises into very astonishing Sentiments, where he is not fired by the Iliad. He every where charms and pleases us by the Force of his own Genius; but seldom elevates and transports us where he does not fetch his Hints from Homer.

Milton's chief Talent, and indeed his distinguishing Excellence, lies in the Sublimity of his Thoughts. There are others of the Moderns who rival him in every other part of Poetry; but in the Greatness of his Sentiments he triumphs over all the Poets both Modern and Ancient, Homer only excepted. It is impossible for the Imagination of Man to distend itself with greater Ideas, than those which he has laid together in his first, second, and sixth Books. The seventh, which describes the Creation of the World, is likewise wonderfully Sublime, tho' not so apt to stir up Emotion in the Mind of the Reader, nor consequently so perfect in the Epic Way of Writing, because it is filled with less Action. Let the judicious Reader compare what Longinus has observed6 on several Passages in Homer, and he will find Parallels for most of them in the Paradise Lost.

From what has been said we may infer, that as there are two kinds of Sentiments, the Natural and the Sublime, which are always to be pursued in an Heroic Poem, there are also two kinds of Thoughts which are carefully to be avoided. The first are such as are affected and unnatural; the second such as are mean and vulgar. As for the first kind of Thoughts, we meet with little or nothing that is like them in Virgil: He has none of those trifling7 Points and Puerilities that are so often to be met with in Ovid, none of the Epigrammatick Turns of Lucan, none of those swelling Sentiments which are so frequent in Statins and Claudian, none of those mixed Embellishments of Tasso. Every thing is just and natural. His Sentiments shew that he had a perfect Insight into human Nature, and that he knew every thing which was the most proper to affect it8.

Mr. Dryden has in some Places, which I may hereafter take notice of, misrepresented Virgil's way of thinking as to this Particular, in the Translation he has given us of the Æneid. I do not remember that Homer any where falls into the Faults above-mentioned, which were indeed the false Refinements of later Ages. Milton, it must be confest, has sometimes erred in this Respect, as I shall shew more at large in another Paper; tho' considering how all the Poets of the Age in which he writ were infected with this wrong way of thinking, he is rather to be admired that he did not give more into it, than that he did sometimes comply with the vicious Taste which still prevails so much among Modern Writers.

But since several Thoughts may be natural which are low and groveling, an Epic Poet should not only avoid such Sentiments as are unnatural or affected, but also such as are mean9 and vulgar. Homer has opened a great Field of Raillery to Men of more Delicacy than Greatness of Genius, by the Homeliness of some of his Sentiments. But, as I have before said, these are rather to be imputed to the Simplicity of the Age in which he lived, to which I may also add, of that which he described, than to any Imperfection in that Divine Poet. Zoilus10 among the Ancients, and Monsieur Perrault,11 among the Moderns, pushed their Ridicule very far upon him, on account of some such Sentiments. There is no Blemish to be observed in Virgil under this Head, and but a very few in Milton.

I shall give but one Instance of this Impropriety of Thought12 in Homer, and at the same time compare it with an Instance of the same Nature, both in Virgil and Milton. Sentiments which raise Laughter, can very seldom be admitted with any Decency into an Heroic Poem, whose Business it is to excite Passions of a much nobler Nature. Homer, however, in his Characters of Vulcan13 and Thersites14, in his Story of Mars and Venus,15 in his Behaviour of Irus16 and in other Passages, has been observed to have lapsed into the Burlesque Character, and to have departed from that serious Air which seems essential to the Magnificence of an Epic Poem. I remember but one Laugh in the whole Æneid, which rises in the fifth Book, upon Monætes, where he is represented as thrown overboard, and drying himself upon a Rock. But this Piece. of Mirth is so well timed, that the severest Critick can have nothing to say against it; for it is in the Book of Games and Diversions, where the Reader's Mind may be supposed to be sufficiently relaxed for such an Entertainment. The only Piece of Pleasantry in Paradise Lost, is where the Evil Spirits are described as rallying the Angels upon the Success of their new invented Artillery. This Passage I look upon to be the most exceptionable in the whole Poem, as being nothing else but a String of Punns, and those too very indifferent ones.
Satan beheld their Plight,
And to his Mates thus in Derision call'd.
O Friends, why come not on those Victors proud?
Ere-while they fierce were coming, and when we,
To entertain them fair with open Front,
And Breast, (what could we more?) propounded terms
Of Composition, straight they chang'd their Minds,*
Flew off, and into strange Vagaries fell
As they would dance: yet for a Dance they seem'd
Somewhat extravagant, and wild; perhaps
For Joy of offer'd Peace; but I suppose
If our Proposals once again were
We should compel them to a quick Result.
To whom thus Belial in like gamesome Mood:
Leader, the Terms we sent were Terms of
Of hard Contents, and full of force urg'd home;
Such as we might perceive amus'd them all,
stumbled many: who receives them right,
Had need, from Head to Foot, will
Not understood, this Gift they have besides,
They shew us when our Foes
walk not upright.
Thus they among themselves in pleasant vein
Stood scoffing

Footnote 1:   It is in Part II. of the Poetics, when treating of Tragedy, that Aristotle lays down his main principles. Here after treating of the Fable and the Manners, he proceeds to the Diction and the Sentiments. By Fable, he says (§ 2),
'I mean the contexture of incidents, or the Plot. By Manners, I mean, whatever marks the Character of the Persons. By Sentiments, whatever they say, whether proving any thing, or delivering a general sentiment, &c.'
In dividing Sentiments from Diction, he says (§22): The Sentiments include whatever is the Object of speech, Diction (§ 23-25) the words themselves. Concerning Sentiment, he refers his reader to the rhetoricians.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   argues or explains, magnifies or diminishes, raises

Footnote 3:   these

Footnote 4:   René le Bossu says in his treatise on the Epic, published in 1675, Bk, vi. ch. 3:
'What is base and ignoble at one time and in one country, is not always so in others. We are apt to smile at Homer's comparing Ajax to an Ass in his Iliad. Such a comparison now-a-days would be indecent and ridiculous; because it would be indecent and ridiculous for a person of quality to ride upon such a steed. But heretofore this Animal was in better repute: Kings and princes did not disdain the best so much as mere tradesman do in our time. 'Tis just the same with many other smiles which in Homer's time were allowable. We should now pity a Poet that should be so silly and ridiculous as to compare a Hero to a piece of Fat. Yet Homer does it in a comparison he makes of Ulysses... The reason is that in these Primitive Times, wherein the Sacrifices ... were living creatures, the Blood and the Fat were the most noble, the most august, and the most holy things.'

Footnote 5:   such Beautiful

Footnote 6:  Longimus on the Sublime, I. § 9. of Discord, Homer says (Pope's tr.):
While scarce the skies her horrid head can bound,
She stalks on earth.

(Iliad iv.)
Of horses of the gods:
Far as a shepherd from some spot on high
O'er the wide main extends his boundless eye,
Through such a space of air, with thund'ring sound,
At one long leap th' immortal coursers bound.

(Iliad v.)
Longinus quotes also from the Iliad xix., the combat of the Gods, the description of Neptune, Iliad xi., and the Prayer of Ajax, Iliad xvii.

Footnote 7:   little

Footnote 8:   affect it. I remember but one line in him which has been objected against, by the Criticks, as a point of Wit. It is in his ninth Book, where Juno, speaking of the Trojans, how they survived the Ruins of their City, expresses her self in the following words;
Num copti potuere copi, num incense cremorunt Pergama?
Were the Trojans taken even after they were Captives, or did Troy burn even when it was in Flames?

Footnote 9:   low

Footnote 10:  Zoilus, who lived about 270 B. C., in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, made himself famous for attacks upon Homer and on Plato and Isocrates, taking pride in the title of Homeromastix. Circe's men turned into swine Zoilus ridiculed as weeping porkers. When he asked sustenance of Ptolemy he was told that Homer sustained many thousands, and as he claimed to be a better man than Homer, he ought to be able to sustain himself. The tradition is that he was at last crucified, stoned, or burnt for his heresy.

Footnote 11:   Charles Perrault, brother of Claude Perrault the architect and ex-physician, was himself Controller of Public Buildings under Colbert, and after his retirement from that office, published in 1690 his Parallel between the Ancients and Moderns, taking the side of the moderns in the controversy, and dealing sometimes disrespectfully with Homer. Boileau replied to him in Critical Reflections on Longinus.

Footnote 12:   Sentiments

Footnote 13:   Iliad, Bk. i., near the close.

Footnote 14:   Iliad, Bk. ii.

Footnote 15:   Bk. v., at close.

Footnote 16:   Odyssey, Bk. xviii

Footnote 17:   Paradise Lost, Bk. vi. 1. 609, &c. Milton meant that the devils should be shown as scoffers, and their scoffs as mean.

Contents, p.3

No. 280

Monday, January 21, 1712


Principibus Placuisse viris non ultima I laus est.


The Desire of Pleasing makes a Man agreeable or unwelcome to those with whom he converses, according to the Motive from which that Inclination appears to flow. If your Concern for pleasing others arises from innate Benevolence, it never fails of Success; if from a Vanity to excel, its Disappointment is no less certain. What we call an agreeable Man, is he who is endowed with the1 natural Bent to do acceptable things from a Delight he takes in them meerly as such; and the Affectation of that Character is what constitutes a Fop. Under these Leaders one may draw up all those who make any Manner of Figure, except in dumb Show. A rational and select Conversation is composed of Persons, who have the Talent of Pleasing with Delicacy of Sentiments flowing from habitual Chastity of Thought; but mixed Company is frequently made up of Pretenders to Mirth, and is usually pestered with constrained, obscene, and painful Witticisms. Now and then you meet with a Man so exactly formed for Pleasing, that it is no matter what he is doing or saying, that is to say, that there need no Manner of Importance in it, to make him gain upon every Body who hears or beholds him. This Felicity is not the Gift of Nature only, but must be attended with happy Circumstances, which add a Dignity to the familiar Behaviour which distinguishes him whom we call an agreeable Man. It is from this that every Body loves and esteems Polycarpus. He is in the Vigour of his Age and the Gayety of Life, but has passed through very conspicuous Scenes in it; though no Soldier, he has shared the Danger, and acted with great Gallantry and Generosity on a decisive Day of Battle. To have those Qualities which only make other Men conspicuous in the World as it were supernumerary to him, is a Circumstance which gives Weight to his most indifferent Actions; for as a known Credit is ready Cash to a Trader, so is acknowledged Merit immediate Distinction, and serves in the Place of Equipage to a Gentleman. This renders Polycarpus graceful in Mirth, important in Business, and regarded with Love in every ordinary Occurrence. But not to dwell upon Characters which have such particular Recommendations to our Hearts, let us turn our Thoughts rather to the Methods of Pleasing which must carry Men through the World who cannot pretend to such Advantages. Falling in with the particular Humour or Manner of one above you, abstracted from the general Rules of good Behaviour, is the Life of a Slave. A Parasite differs in nothing from the meanest Servant, but that the Footman hires himself for bodily Labour, subjected to go and come at the Will of his Master, but the other gives up his very Soul: He is prostituted to speak, and professes to think after the Mode of him whom he courts. This Servitude to a Patron, in an honest Nature, would be more grievous than that of wearing his Livery; therefore we will speak of those Methods only which are worthy and ingenuous.

The happy Talent of Pleasing either those above you or below you, seems to be wholly owing to the Opinion they have of your Sincerity. This Quality is to attend the agreeable Man in all the Actions of his Life; and I think there need no more be said in Honour of it, than that it is what forces the Approbation even of your Opponents. The guilty Man has an Honour for the Judge who with Justice pronounces against him the Sentence of Death it self. The Author of the Sentence at the Head of this Paper, was an excellent Judge of human Life, and passed his own in Company the most agreeable that ever was in the World. Augustus lived amongst his Friends as if he had his Fortune to make in his own Court: Candour and Affability, accompanied with as much Power as ever Mortal was vested with, were what made him in the utmost Manner agreeable among a Set of admirable Men, who had Thoughts too high for Ambition, and Views too large to be gratified by what he could give them in the Disposal of an Empire, without the Pleasures of their mutual Conversation. A certain Unanimity of Taste and Judgment, which is natural to all of the same Order in the Species, was the Band of this Society; and the Emperor assumed no Figure in it but what he thought was his Due from his private Talents and Qualifications, as they contributed to advance the Pleasures and Sentiments of the Company.

Cunning People, Hypocrites, all who are but half virtuous, or half wise, are incapable of tasting the refined Pleasure of such an equal Company as could wholly exclude the Regard of Fortune in their Conversations. Horace, in the Discourse from whence I take the Hint of the present Speculation, lays down excellent Rules for Conduct in Conversation with Men of Power; but he speaks it with an Air of one who had no Need of such an Application for any thing which related to himself. It shews he understood what it was to be a skilful Courtier, by just Admonitions against Importunity, and shewing how forcible it was to speak Modestly of your own Wants. There is indeed something so shameless in taking all Opportunities to speak of your own Affairs, that he who is guilty of it towards him upon whom he depends, fares like the Beggar who exposes his Sores, which instead of moving Compassion makes the Man he begs of turn away from the Object.

I cannot tell what is become of him, but I remember about sixteen Years ago an honest Fellow, who so justly understood how disagreeable the Mention or Appearance of his Wants would make him, that I have often reflected upon him as a Counterpart of Irus, whom I have formerly mentioned. This Man, whom I have missed for some Years in my Walks, and have heard was someway employed about the Army, made it a Maxim, That good Wigs, delicate Linen, and a chearful Air, were to a poor Dependent the same that working Tools are to a poor Artificer. It was no small Entertainment to me, who knew his Circumstances, to see him, who had fasted two Days, attribute the Thinness they told him of to the Violence of some Gallantries he had lately been guilty of. The skilful Dissembler carried this on with the utmost Address; and if any suspected his Affairs were narrow, it was attributed to indulging himself in some fashionable Vice rather than an irreproachable Poverty, which saved his Credit with those on whom he depended.

The main Art is to be as little troublesome as you can, and make all you hope for come rather as a Favour from your Patron than Claim from you. But I am here prating of what is the Method of Pleasing so as to succeed in the World, when there are Crowds who have, in City, Town, Court, and Country, arrived at considerable Acquisitions, and yet seem incapable of acting in any constant Tenour of Life, but have gone on from one successful Error to another: Therefore I think I may shorten this Enquiry after the Method of Pleasing; and as the old Beau said to his Son, once for all, Pray, Jack, be a fine Gentleman, so may I, to my Reader, abridge my Instructions, and finish the Art of Pleasing in a Word, Be rich.


Footnote 1:   that
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Contents, p.3

No. 281

Tuesday, January 22, 1712


Pectoribus inhians spirantia consulit exta.


Having already given an Account of the Dissection of a Beau's Head, with the several Discoveries made on that Occasion; I shall here, according to my Promise, enter upon the Dissection of a Coquet's Heart, and communicate to the Public such Particularities as we observed in that curious Piece of Anatomy.

I should perhaps have waved this Undertaking, had not I been put in mind of my Promise by several of my unknown Correspondents, who are very importunate with me to make an Example of the Coquet, as I have already done of the Beau. It is therefore in Compliance with the Request of Friends, that I have looked over the Minutes of my former Dream, in order to give the Publick an exact Relation to it, which I shall enter upon without further Preface.

Our Operator, before he engaged in this Visionary Dissection, told us, that there was nothing in his Art more difficult than to lay open the Heart of a Coquet, by reason of the many Labyrinths and Recesses which are to be found in it, and which do not appear in the Heart of any other Animal.

He desired us first of all to observe the Pericardium, or outward Case of the Heart, which we did very attentively; and by the help of our Glasses discern'd in it Millions of little Scars, which seem'd to have been occasioned by the Points of innumerable Darts and Arrows, that from time to time had glanced upon the outward Coat; though we could not discover the smallest Orifice, by which any of them had entered and pierced the inward Substance.

Every Smatterer in Anatomy knows that this Pericardium, or Case of the Heart, contains in it a thin reddish Liquor, supposed to be bred from the Vapours which exhale out of the Heart, and, being stopt here, are condensed into this watry Substance. Upon examining this Liquor, we found that it had in it all the Qualities of that Spirit which is made use of in the Thermometer, to shew the Change of Weather.

Nor must I here omit an Experiment one of the Company assured us he himself had made with this Liquor, which he found in great Quantity about the Heart of a Coquet whom he had formerly dissected. He affirmed to us, that he had actually inclosed it in a small Tube made after the manner of a Weather Glass; but that instead of acquainting him with the Variations of the Atmosphere, it shewed him the Qualities of those Persons who entered the Room where it stood. He affirmed also, that it rose at the Approach of a Plume of Feathers, an embroidered Coat, or a Pair of fringed Gloves; and that it fell as soon as an ill-shaped Perriwig, a clumsy Pair of Shoes, or an unfashionable Coat came into his House: Nay, he proceeded so far as to assure us, that upon his Laughing aloud when he stood by it, the Liquor mounted very sensibly, and immediately sunk again upon his looking serious. In short, he told us, that he knew very well by this Invention whenever he had a Man of Sense or a Coxcomb in his Room.

Having cleared away the Pericardium, or the Case and Liquor above-mentioned, we came to the Heart itself. The outward Surface of it was extremely slippery, and the Mufro, or Point, so very cold withal, that, upon endeavouring to take hold of it it glided through the Fingers like a smooth Piece of Ice.

The Fibres were turned and twisted in a more intricate and perplexed manner than they are usually found in other Hearts; insomuch that the whole Heart was wound up together in a Gordian Knot, and must have had very irregular and unequal Motions, whilst it was employed in its Vital Function.

One thing we thought very observable, namely, that, upon examining all the Vessels which came into it or issued out of it, we could not discover any Communication that it had with the Tongue.

We could not but take Notice likewise, that several of those little Nerves in the Heart which are affected by the Sentiments of Love, Hatred, and other Passions, did not descend to this before us from the Brain, but from the Muscles which lie about the Eye.

Upon weighing the Heart in my Hand, I found it to be extreamly light, and consequently very hollow, which I did not wonder at, when upon looking into the Inside of it, I saw Multitudes of Cells and Cavities running one within another, as our Historians describe the Apartments of Rosamond's Bower. Several of these little Hollows were stuffed with innumerable sorts of Trifles, which I shall forbear giving any particular Account of, and shall therefore only take Notice of what lay first and uppermost, which, upon our unfolding it and applying our Microscopes to it, appeared to be a Flame-coloured Hood.

We were informed that the Lady of this Heart, when living, received the Addresses of several who made Love to her, and did not only give each of them Encouragement, but made every one she conversed with believe that she regarded him with an Eye of Kindness; for which Reason we expected to have seen the Impression of Multitudes of Faces among the several Plaits and Foldings of the Heart; but to our great Surprize not a single Print of this nature discovered it self till we came into the very Core and Center of it. We there observed a little Figure, which, upon applying our Glasses to it, appeared dressed in a very fantastick manner. The more I looked upon it, the more I thought I had seen the Face before, but could not possibly recollect either the Place or Time; when, at length, one of the Company, who had examined this Figure more nicely than the rest, shew'd us plainly by the Make of its Face, and the several Turns of its Features, that the little Idol which was thus lodged in the very Middle of the Heart was the deceased Beau, whose Head I gave some Account of in my last Tuesday's Paper.

As soon as we had finished our Dissection, we resolved to make an Experiment of the Heart, not being able to determine among our selves the Nature of its Substance, which differ'd in so many Particulars from that of the Heart in other Females. Accordingly we laid it into a Pan of burning Coals, when we observed in it a certain Salamandrine Quality, that made it capable of living in the midst of Fire and Flame, without being consumed, or so much as singed.

As we were admiring this strange Phœnomenon, and standing round the Heart in a Circle, it gave a most prodigious Sigh or rather Crack, and dispersed all at once in Smoke and Vapour. This imaginary Noise, which methought was louder than the burst of a Cannon, produced such a violent Shake in my Brain, that it dissipated the Fumes of Sleep, and left me in an Instant broad awake.


Contents, p.3

No. 282

Wednesday, January 23, 1712


Spes incerta futuri.


It is a lamentable thing that every Man is full of Complaints, and constantly uttering Sentences against the Fickleness of Fortune, when People generally bring upon themselves all the Calamities they fall into, and are constantly heaping up Matter for their own Sorrow and Disappointment. That which produces the greatest Part of the Delusions2 of Mankind, is a false Hope which People indulge with so sanguine a Flattery to themselves, that their Hearts are bent upon fantastical Advantages which they had no Reason to believe should ever have arrived to them. By this unjust Measure of calculating their Happiness, they often mourn with real Affliction for imaginary Losses. When I am talking of this unhappy way of accounting for our selves, I cannot but reflect upon a particular Set of People, who, in their own Favour, resolve every thing that is possible into what is probable, and then reckon on that Probability as on what must certainly happen. Will. Honeycomb, upon my observing his looking on a Lady with some particular Attention, gave me an Account of the great Distresses which had laid waste that her very fine Face, and had given an Air of Melancholy to a very agreeable Person, That Lady, and a couple of Sisters of hers, were, said Will., fourteen Years ago, the greatest Fortunes about Town; but without having any Loss by bad Tenants, by bad Securities, or any Damage by Sea or Land, are reduced to very narrow Circumstances. They were at that time the most inaccessible haughty Beauties in Town; and their Pretensions to take upon them at that unmerciful rate, was rais'd upon the following Scheme, according to which all their Lovers were answered.

'Our Father is a youngish Man, but then our Mother is somewhat older, and not likely to have any Children: His Estate, being £800 per Annum, at 20 Years Purchase, is worth £16,000. Our Uncle who is above 50, has £400 per Annum, which at the foresaid Rate, is £8000. There's a Widow Aunt, who has £10,000 at her own Disposal left by her Husband, and an old Maiden Aunt who has £6000. Then our Father's Mother has £900 per Annum, which is worth £18,000 and £10,000 each of us has of her own, which can't be taken from us. These summ'd up together stand thus.

Father's £800→ £16000
Uncle's £400→ £8000
Aunts' £10000
+£6000→ £16000
Grandmother £900→ £18000
Own each £1000→ £3000
Total £61000 This equally divided between us three, amounts to £20000; and, allowance being given for Enlargement upon common Fame, we may lawfully pass for £30000 Fortunes.

In Prospect of this, and the Knowledge of her own personal Merit, every one was contemptible in their Eyes, and they refus'd those Offers which had been frequently made 'em. But mark the End: The Mother dies, the Father is married again, and has a Son, on him was entail'd the Father's, Uncle's, and Grand-mother's Estate. This cut off £43,000. The Maiden Aunt married a tall Irishman, and with her went the £6000. The Widow died, and left but enough to pay her Debts and bury her; so that there remained for these three Girls but their own £1000. They had by this time passed their Prime, and got on the wrong side of Thirty; and must pass the Remainder of their Days, upbraiding Mankind that they mind nothing but Money, and bewailing that Virtue, Sense and Modesty are had at present in no manner of Estimation.

I mention this Case of Ladies before any other, because it is the most irreparable: For tho' Youth is the Time less capable of Reflection, it is in that Sex the only Season in which they can advance their Fortunes. But if we turn our Thoughts to the Men, we see such Crowds of Unhappy from no other Reason, but an ill-grounded Hope, that it is hard to say which they rather deserve, our Pity or Contempt. It is not unpleasant to see a Fellow after grown old in Attendance, and after having passed half a Life in Servitude, call himself the unhappiest of all Men, and pretend to be disappointed because a Courtier broke his Word. He that promises himself any thing but what may naturally arise from his own Property or Labour, and goes beyond the Desire of possessing above two Parts in three even of that, lays up for himself an encreasing Heap of Afflictions and Disappointments. There are but two Means in the World of gaining by other Men, and these are by being either agreeable or considerable. The Generality of Mankind do all things for their own sakes; and when you hope any thing from Persons above you, if you cannot say, I can be thus agreeable or thus serviceable, it is ridiculous to pretend to the Dignity of being unfortunate when they leave you; you were injudicious, in hoping for any other than to be neglected, for such as can come within these Descriptions of being capable to please or serve your Patron, when his Humour or Interests call for their Capacity either way.

It would not methinks be an useless Comparison between the Condition of a Man who shuns all the Pleasures of Life, and of one who makes it his Business to pursue them. Hope in the Recluse makes his Austerities comfortable, while the luxurious Man gains nothing but Uneasiness from his Enjoyments. What is the Difference in the Happiness of him who is macerated by Abstinence, and his who is surfeited with Excess? He who resigns the World, has no Temptation to Envy, Hatred, Malice, Anger, but is in constant Possession of a serene Mind; he who follows the Pleasures of it, which are in their very Nature disappointing, is in constant Search of Care, Solicitude, Remorse, and Confusion.

January the 14th, 1712.

Mr. Spectator,

I am a young Woman and have my Fortune to make; for which Reason I come constantly to Church to hear Divine Service, and make Conquests: But one great Hindrance in this my Design, is, that our Clerk, who was once a Gardener, has this Christmas so over-deckt the Church with Greens, that he has quite spoilt my Prospect, insomuch that I have scarce seen the young Baronet I dress at these three Weeks, though we have both been very constant at our Devotions, and don't sit above three Pews off. The Church, as it is now equipt, looks more like a Green-house than a Place of Worship: The middle Isle is a very pretty shady Walk, and the Pews look like so many Arbours of each Side of it. The Pulpit itself has such Clusters of Ivy, Holly, and Rosemary about it, that a light Fellow in our Pew took occasion to say, that the Congregation heard the Word out of a Bush, like Moses. Sir Anthony Love's Pew in particular is so well hedged, that all my Batteries have no Effect. I am obliged to shoot at random among the Boughs, without taking any manner of Aim. Mr. Spectator, unless youll give Orders for removing these Greens, I shall grow a very awkward Creature at Church, and soon have little else to do there but to say my Prayers. I am in haste,

Dear Sir,
Your most Obedient Servant,
Jenny Simper.

Footnote 1:   Et nulli rei nisi Pœnitentiæ natus.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Pollutions

Contents, p.3

No. 283

Thursday, January 24, 1712


Magister artis et largitor ingeni


Lucian1 rallies the Philosophers in his Time, who could not agree whether they should admit Riches into the number of real Goods; the Professors of the Severer Sects threw them quite out, while others as resolutely inserted them.

I am apt to believe, that as the World grew more Polite, the rigid Doctrines of the first were wholly discarded; and I do not find any one so hardy at present, as to deny that there are very great Advantages in the Enjoyment of a plentiful Fortune. Indeed the best and wisest of Men, tho' they may possibly despise a good Part of those things which the World calls Pleasures, can, I think, hardly be insensible of that Weight and Dignity which a moderate Share of Wealth adds to their Characters, Councils, and Actions.

We find it is a General Complaint in Professions and Trades, that the richest Members of them are chiefly encouraged, and this is falsly imputed to the Ill-nature of Mankind, who are ever bestowing their Favours on such as least want them. Whereas if we fairly consider their Proceedings in this Case, we shall find them founded on undoubted Reason: Since supposing both equal in their natural Integrity, I ought, in common Prudence, to fear foul Play from an Indigent Person, rather than from one whose Circumstances seem to have placed him above the bare Temptation of Money.

This Reason also makes the Common-wealth regard her richest Subjects, as those who are most concerned for her Quiet and Interest, and consequently fittest to be intrusted with her highest Imployments. On the contrary, Cataline's Saying to those Men of desperate Fortunes, who applied themselves to him, and of whom he afterwards composed his Army, that they had nothing to hope for but a Civil War, was too true not to make the Impressions he desired.

I believe I need not fear but that what I have said in Praise of Money, will be more than sufficient with most of my Readers to excuse the Subject of my present Paper, which I intend as an Essay on The Ways to raise a Man's Fortune, or, The Art of growing Rich.

The first and most infallible Method towards the attaining of this End, is Thrift: All Men are not equally qualified for getting Money, but it is in the Power of every one alike to practise this Virtue, and I believe there are very few Persons, who, if they please to reflect on their past Lives, will not find that had they saved all those Little Sums which they have spent unnecessarily, they might at present have been Masters of a competent Fortune. Diligence justly claims the next Place to Thrift: I find both these excellently well recommended to common use in the three following Italian Proverbs,
Never do that by Proxy which you can do yourself.
Never defer that 'till To-morrow which you can do To-day.
Never neglect small Matters and Expences.
A third Instrument of growing Rich, is Method in Business, which, as well as the two former, is also attainable by Persons of the meanest Capacities.

The famous De Wit, one of the greatest Statesmen of the Age in which he lived, being asked by a Friend, How he was able to dispatch that Multitude of Affairs in which he was engaged? reply'd, That his whole Art consisted in doing one thing at once. If, says he, I have any necessary Dispatches to make, I think of nothing else 'till those are finished; If any Domestick Affairs require my Attention, I give myself up wholly to them 'till they are set in Order.

In short, we often see Men of dull and phlegmatick Tempers, arriving to great Estates, by making a regular and orderly Disposition of their Business, and that without it the greatest Parts and most lively Imaginations rather puzzle their Affairs, than bring them to an happy Issue.

From what has been said, I think I may lay it down as a Maxim, that every Man of good common Sense may, if he pleases, in his particular Station of Life, most certainly be Rich. The Reason why we sometimes see that Men of the greatest Capacities are not so, is either because they despise Wealth in Comparison of something else; or at least are not content to be getting an Estate, unless they may do it their own way, and at the same time enjoy all the Pleasures and Gratifications of Life.

But besides these ordinary Forms of growing Rich, it must be allowed that there is Room for Genius, as well in this as in all other Circumstances of Life.

Tho' the Ways of getting Money were long since very numerous; and tho' so many new ones have been found out of late Years, there is certainly still remaining so large a Field for Invention, that a Man of an indifferent Head might easily sit down and draw up such a Plan for the Conduct and support of his Life, as was never yet once thought of.

We daily see Methods put in practice by hungry and ingenious Men, which demonstrate the Power of Invention in this Particular.

It is reported of Scaramouch, the first famous Italian Comedian, that being at Paris and in great Want, he bethought himself of constantly plying near the Door of a noted Perfumer in that City, and when any one came out who had been buying Snuff, never failed to desire a Taste of them: when he had by this Means got together a Quantity made up of several different Sorts, he sold it again at a lower Rate to the same Perfumer, who finding out the Trick, called it Tabac de mille fleures, or Snuff of a thousand Flowers. The Story farther tells us, that by this means he got a very comfortable Subsistence, 'till making too much haste to grow Rich, he one Day took such an unreasonable Pinch out of the Box of a Swiss Officer, as engaged him in a Quarrel, and obliged him to quit this Ingenious Way of Life.

Nor can I in this Place omit doing Justice to a Youth of my own Country, who, tho' he is scarce yet twelve Years old, has with great Industry and Application attained to the Art of beating the Grenadiers March on his Chin. I am credibly informed that by this means he does not only maintain himself and his Mother, but that he is laying up Money every Day, with a Design, if the War continues, to purchase a Drum at least, if not a Colours.

I shall conclude these Instances with the Device of the famous Rabelais, when he was at a great Distance from Paris, and without Money to bear his Expences thither. This ingenious Author being thus sharp set, got together a convenient Quantity of Brick-Dust, and having disposed of it into several Papers, writ upon one Poyson for Monsieur, upon a second, Poyson for the Dauphin, and on a third, Poyson for the King. Having made this Provision for the Royal Family of France, he laid his Papers so that his Landlord, who was an Inquisitive Man, and a good Subject, might get a Sight of them.

The Plot succeeded as he desired: The Host gave immediate Intelligence to the Secretary of State. The Secretary presently sent down a Special Messenger, who brought up the Traitor to Court, and provided him at the King's Expence with proper Accommodations on the Road. As soon as he appeared he was known to be the Celebrated Rabelais, and his Powder upon Examination being found very Innocent, the Jest was only laught at; for which a less eminent Drole would have been sent to the Gallies.

Trade and Commerce might doubtless be still varied a thousand Ways, out of which would arise such Branches as have not yet been touched. The famous Doily is still fresh in every one's Memory, who raised a Fortune by finding out Materials for such Stuffs as might at once be cheap and genteel. I have heard it affirmed, that had not he discovered this frugal Method of gratifying our Pride, we should hardly have been able2 to carry on the last War.

I regard Trade not only as highly advantageous to the Commonwealth in general; but as the most natural and likely Method of making a Man's Fortune, having observed, since my being a Spectator in the World, greater Estates got about Change, than at Whitehall or at St. James's. I believe I may also add, that the first Acquisitions are generally attended with more Satisfaction, and as good a Conscience.

I must not however close this Essay, without observing that what has been said is only intended for Persons in the common ways of Thriving, and is not designed for those Men who from low Beginnings push themselves up to the Top of States, and the most considerable Figures in Life. My Maxim of Saving is not designed for such as these, since nothing is more usual than for Thrift to disappoint the Ends of Ambition; it being almost impossible that the Mind should be3 intent upon Trifles, while it is at the same time forming some great Design.

I may therefore compare these Men to a great Poet, who, as Longinus says, while he is full of the most magnificent Ideas, is not always at leisure to mind the little Beauties and Niceties of his Art.

I would however have all my Readers take great care how they mistake themselves for uncommon Genius's, and Men above Rule, since it is very easy for them to be deceived in this Particular.


Footnote 1:   In his Auction of Philosophers.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   able so well

Footnote 3:   descend to and be

Contents, p.3

No. 284

Thursday, January 1, 1712


Posthabui tamen illorum mea seria Ludo.


An unaffected Behaviour is without question a very great Charm; but under the Notion of being unconstrained and disengaged, People take upon them to be unconcerned in any Duty of Life. A general Negligence is what they assume upon all Occasions, and set up for an Aversion to all manner of Business and Attention. I am the carelessest Creature in the World, I have certainly the worst Memory of any Man living, are frequent Expressions in the Mouth of a Pretender of this sort. It is a professed Maxim with these People never to think; there is something so solemn in Reflexion, they, forsooth, can never give themselves Time for such a way of employing themselves. It happens often that this sort of Man is heavy enough in his Nature to be a good Proficient in such Matters as are attainable by Industry; but alas! he has such an ardent Desire to be what he is not, to be too volatile, to have the Faults of a Person of Spirit, that he professes himself the most unfit Man living for any manner of Application. When this Humour enters into the Head of a Female, she gently professes Sickness upon all Occasions, and acts all things with an indisposed Air: She is offended, but her Mind is too lazy to raise her to Anger, therefore she lives only as actuated by a violent Spleen and gentle Scorn. She has hardly Curiosity to listen to Scandal of her Acquaintance, and has never Attention enough to hear them commended. This Affectation in both Sexes makes them vain of being useless, and take a certain Pride in their Insignificancy.

Opposite to this Folly is another no less unreasonable, and that is the Impertinence of being always in a Hurry. There are those who visit Ladies, and beg Pardon afore they are well seated in their Chairs, that they just called in, but are obliged to attend Business of Importance elsewhere the very next Moment: Thus they run from Place to Place, professing that they are obliged to be still in another Company than that which they are in. These Persons who are just a going somewhere else should never be detained; let2 all the World allow that Business is to be minded, and their Affairs will be at an end. Their Vanity is to be importuned, and Compliance with their Multiplicity of Affairs would effectually dispatch 'em. The Travelling Ladies, who have half the Town to see in an Afternoon, may be pardoned for being in constant Hurry; but it is inexcusable in Men to come where they have no Business, to profess they absent themselves where they have. It has been remarked by some nice Observers and Criticks, that there is nothing discovers the true Temper of a Person so much as his Letters. I have by me two Epistles, which are written by two People of the different Humours above-mentioned. It is wonderful that a Man cannot observe upon himself when he sits down to write, but that he will gravely commit himself to Paper the same Man that he is in the Freedom of Conversation. I have hardly seen a Line from any of these Gentlemen, but spoke them as absent from what they were doing, as they profess they are when they come into Company. For the Folly is, that they have perswaded themselves they really are busy. Thus their whole Time is spent in suspense of the present Moment to the next, and then from the next to the succeeding, which to the End of Life is to pass away with Pretence to many things, and Execution of nothing.

Sir, The Post is just going out, and I have many other Letters of very great Importance to write this Evening, but I could not omit making my Compliments to you for your Civilities to me when I was last in Town. It is my Misfortune to be so full of Business, that I cannot tell you a Thousand Things which I have to say to you. I must desire you to communicate the Contents of this to no one living; but believe me to be, with the greatest Fidelity,
Your most Obedient,
Humble Servant
Stephen Courier.


I hate Writing, of all Things in the World; however, though I have drunk the Waters, and am told I ought not to use my Eyes so much, I cannot forbear writing to you, to tell you I have been to the last Degree hipped since I saw you. How could you entertain such a Thought, as that I should hear of that silly Fellow with Patience? Take my Word for it, there is nothing in it; and you may believe it when so lazy a Creature as I am undergo the Pains to assure you of it by taking Pen, Ink, and Paper in my Hand. Forgive this, you know I shall not often offend in this Kind. I am very much Your Servant,
Bridget Eitherdown.

The Fellow is of your Country, pr'ythee send me Word how ever whether he has so great an Estate.

Jan. 24, 1712.

Mr. Spectator,

'I am Clerk of the Parish from whence Mrs. Simper sends her Complaint, in your Yesterday's Spectator. I must beg of you to publish this as a publick Admonition to the aforesaid Mrs. Simper, otherwise all my honest Care in the Disposition of the Greens in the Church will have no Effect: I shall therefore with your Leave lay before you the whole Matter. I was formerly, as she charges me, for several Years a Gardener in the County of Kent: But I must absolutely deny, that 'tis out of any Affection I retain for my old Employment that I have placed my Greens so liberally about the Church, but out of a particular Spleen I conceived against Mrs. Simper (and others of the same Sisterhood) some time ago. As to herself, I had one Day set the Hundredth Psalm, and was singing the first Line in order to put the Congregation into the Tune, she was all the while curtsying to Sir Anthony in so affected and indecent a manner, that the Indignation I conceived at it made me forget my self so far, as from the Tune of that Psalm to wander into Southwell Tune, and from thence into Windsor Tune, still unable to recover my self till I had with the utmost Confusion set a new one. Nay, I have often seen her rise up and smile and curtsy to one at the lower End of the Church in the midst of a Gloria Patri; and when I have spoke the Assent to a Prayer with a long Amen uttered with decent Gravity, she has been rolling her Eyes around about in such a Manner, as plainly shewed, however she was moved, it was not towards an Heavenly Object. In fine, she extended her Conquests so far over the Males, and raised such Envy in the Females, that what between Love of those and the Jealousy of these, I was almost the only Person that looked in the Prayer-Book all Church-time. I had several Projects in my Head to put a Stop to this growing Mischief; but as I have long lived in Kent, and there often heard how the Kentish Men evaded the Conqueror, by carrying green Boughs over their Heads, it put me in mind of practising this Device against Mrs. Simper. I find I have preserved many a young Man from her Eye-shot by this Means; therefore humbly pray the Boughs may be fixed, till she shall give Security for her peaceable Intentions.

Your Humble Servant,

Francis Sternhold.

Footnote 1:  
Strenua nos exercet inertia.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   but

Contents, p.3

No. 285

Saturday, January 26, 1712


Ne, quicunque Deus, quicunque adhibebitur heros,
Regali conspectus in auro nuper et ostro,
Migret in Obscuras humili sermone tabernas:
Aut, dum vitat humum, nubes et inania captet.


Having already treated of the Fable, the Characters, and Sentiments in the Paradise Lost, we are in the last Place to consider the Language; and as the Learned World is very much divided upon Milton as to this Point, I hope they will excuse me if I appear particular in any of my Opinions, and encline to those who judge the most advantageously of the Author.

It is requisite that the Language of an Heroic Poem should be both Perspicuous and Sublime1. In proportion as either of these two Qualities are wanting, the Language is imperfect. Perspicuity is the first and most necessary Qualification; insomuch that a good-natur'd Reader sometimes overlooks a little Slip even in the Grammar or Syntax, where it is impossible for him to mistake the Poet's Sense. Of this Kind is that Passage in Milton, wherein he speaks of Satan.
—God and his Son except,
Created thing nought valu'd he nor shunn'd.
And that in which he describes Adam and Eve.
Adam the goodliest Man of Men since born
His Sons, the fairest of her Daughters Eve.
It is plain, that in the former of these Passages according to the natural Syntax, the Divine Persons mentioned in the first Line are represented as created Beings; and that, in the other, Adam and Eve are confounded with their Sons and Daughters. Such little Blemishes as these, when the Thought is great and natural, we should, with Horace2 impute to a pardonable Inadvertency, or to the Weakness of human Nature, which cannot attend to each minute Particular, and give the last Finishing to every Circumstance in so long a Work. The Ancient Criticks therefore, who were acted by a Spirit of Candour, rather than that of Cavilling, invented certain Figures of Speech, on purpose to palliate little Errors of this nature in the Writings of those Authors who had so many greater Beauties to attone for them.

If Clearness and Perspicuity were only to be consulted, the Poet would have nothing else to do but to cloath his Thoughts in the most plain and natural Expressions. But since it often happens that the most obvious Phrases, and those which are used in ordinary Conversation, become too familiar to the Ear, and contract a kind of Meanness by passing through the Mouths of the Vulgar, a Poet should take particular Care to guard himself against Idiomatick Ways of Speaking. Ovid and Lucan have many Poornesses of Expression upon this Account, as taking up with the first Phrases that offered, without putting themselves to the Trouble of looking after such as would not only have been natural, but also elevated and sublime. Milton has but few Failings in this Kind, of which, however, you may meet with some Instances, as3 in the following Passages.
Embrios and Idiots, Eremites and Fryars,
White, Black, and Grey,—with all their Trumpery,
Here Pilgrims roam—

—A while discourse they hold,
No fear lest Dinner cool;—when thus began
Our Author—

Who of all Ages to succeed, but feeling
The Evil on him brought by me, will curse
My Head, ill fare our Ancestor impure,
For this we may thank Adam—
The Great Masters in Composition, knew very well that many an elegant Phrase becomes improper for a Poet or an Orator, when it has been debased by common Use. For this Reason the Works of Ancient Authors, which are written in dead Languages, have a great Advantage over those which are written in Languages that are now spoken. Were there any mean Phrases or Idioms in Virgil and Homer, they would not shock the Ear of the most delicate Modern Reader, so much as they would have done that of an old Greek or Roman, because we never hear them pronounced in our Streets, or in ordinary Conversation.

It is not therefore sufficient, that the Language of an Epic Poem be Perspicuous, unless it be also Sublime. To this end it ought to deviate from the common Forms and ordinary Phrases of Speech. The Judgment of a Poet very much discovers it self in shunning the common Roads of Expression, without falling into such ways of Speech as may seem stiff and unnatural; he must not swell into a false Sublime, by endeavouring to avoid the other Extream. Among the Greeks, Æschylus, and sometimes Sophocles, were guilty of this Fault; among the Latins, Claudian and Statius; and among our own Countrymen, Shakespear and Lee. In these Authors the Affectation of Greatness often hurts the Perspicuity of the Stile, as in many others the Endeavour after Perspicuity prejudices its Greatness.

Aristotle has observed, that the Idiomatick Stile may be avoided, and the Sublime formed, by the following Methods4.

First, by the Use of Metaphors : Such are those of Milton.5
Imparadised in one another's Arms.

—And in his Hand a Reed
Stood waving tipt with Fire.—

The grassie Clods now calv'd,—

Spangled with Eyes—
In these and innumerable other Instances, the Metaphors are very bold but just; I must however observe that the Metaphors are not so thick sown in Milton which always savours too much of Wit; that they never clash with one another, which, as Aristotle observes, turns a Sentence into a kind of an Enigma or Riddle6; and that he seldom has recourse to them where the proper and natural Words will do as well.

Another way of raising the Language, and giving it a Poetical Turn, is to make use of the Idioms of other Tongues. Virgil is full of the Greek Forms of Speech, which the Criticks call Hellenisms, as Horace in his Odes abounds with them much more than Virgil. I need not mention the several Dialects which Homer has made use of for this end. Milton, in conformity with the Practice of the Ancient Poets, and with Aristotle's Rule, has infused a great many Latinisms, as well as Græcisms, and sometimes Hebraisms, into the Language of his Poem; as towards the Beginning of it.
Nor did they not perceive the evil Plight
In which they were, or the fierce Pains not feel,
Yet to their Gen'ral's Voice they soon obey'd.—

—Who shall tempt with wand'ring Feet
The dark unbottom'd Infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable Obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his airy Flight
Upborn with indefatigable Wings
Over the vast Abrupt!

—So both ascend
In the Visions of God— Book 2.
Under this Head may be reckon'd the placing the Adjective after the Substantive, the Transposition of Words, the turning the Adjective into a Substantive, with several other Foreign Modes of Speech which this Poet has naturalized to give his Verse the greater Sound, and throw it out of Prose.

The third Method mentioned by Aristotle is what agrees with the Genius of the Greek Language more than with that of any other Tongue, and is therefore more used by Homer than by any other Poet. I mean the lengthning of a Phrase by the Addition of Words, which may either be inserted or omitted, as also by the extending or contracting of particular Words by the Insertion or Omission of certain Syllables. Milton has put in practice this Method of raising his Language, as far as the Nature of our Tongue will permit, as in the Passage above-mentioned, Eremite, for what is Hermit, in common Discourse. If you observe the Measure of his Verse, he has with great Judgment suppressed a Syllable in several Words, and shortned those of two Syllables into one, by which Method, besides the above-mentioned Advantage, he has given a greater Variety to his Numbers. But this Practice is more particularly remarkable in the Names of Persons and of Countries, as Beëlzebub, Hessebon, and in many other Particulars, wherein he has either changed the Name, or made use of that which is not the most commonly known, that he might the better depart from the Language of the Vulgar.

The same Reason recommended to him several old Words, which also makes his Poem appear the more venerable, and gives it a greater Air of Antiquity.

I must likewise take notice, that there are in Milton several Words of his own coining, as Cerberean, miscreated, Hell-doom'd, Embryon Atoms, and many others. If the Reader is offended at this Liberty in our English Poet, I would recommend him to a Discourse in Plutarch7, which shews us how frequently Homer has made use of the same Liberty.

Milton, by the above-mentioned Helps, and by the Choice of the noblest Words and Phrases which our Tongue would afford him, has carried our Language to a greater Height than any of the English Poets have ever done before or after him, and made the Sublimity of his Stile equal to that of his Sentiments.

I have been the more particular in these Observations on Milton's Stile, because it is that Part of him in which he appears the most singular. The Remarks I have here made upon the Practice of other Poets, with my Observations out of Aristotle, will perhaps alleviate the Prejudice which some have taken to his Poem upon this Account; tho' after all, I must confess that I think his Stile, tho' admirable in general, is in some places too much stiffened and obscured by the frequent Use of those Methods, which Aristotle has prescribed for the raising of it.

This Redundancy of those several Ways of Speech, which Aristotle calls foreign Language, and with which Milton has so very much enriched, and in some Places darkned the Language of his Poem, was the more proper for his use, because his Poem is written in Blank Verse. Rhyme, without any other Assistance, throws the Language off from Prose, and very often makes an indifferent Phrase pass unregarded; but where the Verse is not built upon Rhymes, there Pomp of Sound, and Energy of Expression, are indispensably necessary to support the Stile, and keep it from falling into the Flatness of Prose.

Those who have not a Taste for this Elevation of Stile, and are apt to ridicule a Poet when he departs from the common Forms of Expression, would do well to see how Aristotle has treated an Ancient Author called Euclid8, for his insipid Mirth upon this Occasion. Mr. Dryden used to call these9 sort of Men his Prose-Criticks.

I should, under this Head of the Language, consider Milton's Numbers, in which he has made use of several Elisions, which are not customary among other English Poets, as may be particularly observed in his cutting off the Letter Y, when it precedes a Vowel.10 This, and some other Innovation in the Measure of his Verse, has varied his Numbers in such a manner, as makes them incapable of satiating the Ear, and cloying the Reader, which the same uniform Measure would certainly have done, and which the perpetual Returns of Rhime never fail to do in long Narrative Poems. I shall close these Reflections upon the Language of Paradise Lost, with observing that Milton has copied after Homer rather than Virgil in the length of his Periods, the Copiousness of his Phrases, and the running of his Verses into one another.


Footnote 1:   Aristotle, Poetics, ii. §26.
'The excellence of Diction consists in being perspicuous without being mean.'
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:  
Verum ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis
Offendar maculis, quas aut incuria fudit,
Aut humana parum cavit natura.
De Ar. Poet., II. 351-3.

Footnote 3:   see an Instance or two

Footnote 4:   Poetics, ii. § 26

Footnote 5:   ,like those in Milton

Footnote 6:  
'That language is elevated and remote from the vulgar idiom which employs unusual words: by unusual, I mean foreign, metaphorical, extended—all, in short, that are not common words. Yet, should a poet compose his Diction entirely of such words, the result would be either an enigma or a barbarous jargon: an enigma if composed of metaphors, a barbarous jargon if composed of foreign words. For the essence of an enigma consists in putting together things apparently inconsistent and impossible, and at the same time saying nothing but what is true. Now this cannot be effected by the mere arrangement of words; by the metaphorical use of them it may.'

Footnote 7:   On Life and Poetry of Homer, wrongly ascribed to Plutarch, Bk. I. § 16.

Footnote 8:   Poetics, II. § 26.
'A judicious intermixture is requisite ... It is without reason, therefore, that some critics have censured these modes of speech, and ridiculed the poet for the use of them; as old Euclid did, objecting that versification would be an easy business, if it were permitted to lengthen words at pleasure, and then giving a burlesque example of that sort of diction... In the employment of all the species of unusual words, moderation is necessary: for metaphors, foreign words, or any of the others improperly used, and with a design to be ridiculous, would produce the same effect. But how great a difference is made by a proper and temperate use of such words may be seen in heroic verse. Let any one put common words in the place of the metaphorical, the foreign, and others of the same kind, and he will be convinced of the truth of what I say.'
He then gives two or three examples of the effect of changing poetical for common words. As, that (in plays now lost)
'the same Iambic verse occurs in Æschylus and Euripides; but by means of a single alteration—the substitution of a foreign for a common and usual word—one of these verses appears beautiful, the other ordinary. For Æschylus in his Philoctetes says, "The poisonous wound that eats my flesh." But Euripides for Greek: esthiei "eats" says Greek:
  thoinatai "banquets on."'

Footnote 9:   this

Footnote 10:   This is not particularly observed. On the very first page of P. L. we have a line with the final y twice sounded before a vowel,
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song.
Again a few lines later,
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert Eternal Providence.
Ten lines farther we read of the Serpent
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge.
We have only an apparent elision of y a few lines later in his aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers,
for the line would be ruined were the y to be omitted by a reader. The extreme shortness of the two unaccented syllables, y and a, gives them the quantity of one in the metre, and allows by the turn of voice a suggestion of exuberance, heightening the force of the word glory. Three lines lower Milton has no elision of the y before a vowel in the line,
Against the throne and monarchy of God.
Nor eight lines after that in the words 'day and night.' There is elision of y in the line,
That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfall.
But none a few lines lower down in
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heaven.
When the y stands by itself, unaccented, immediately after an accented syllable, and precedes a vowel that is part of another unaccented syllable standing immediately before an accented one, Milton accepts the consequence, and does not attempt to give it the force of a distinct syllable. But Addison's vague notion that it was Milton's custom to cut off the final y when it precedes a vowel, and that for the sake of being uncommon, came of inaccurate observation. For the reasons just given, the y of the word glory runs into the succeeding syllable, and most assuredly is not cut off, when we read of
the excess
Of Glory obscured: as when the sun, new ris'n,
Looks through the horizontal misty air,
but the y in ' misty ' stands as a full syllable because the word air is accented. So again in
Death as oft accused
Of tardy execution, since denounc'd
The day of his offence.
The y of ' tardy' is a syllable because the vowel following it is accented; the y also of ' day' remains, because, although an unaccented vowel follows, it is itself part of an accented syllable.

Contents, p.3

No. 286

Monday, January 28, 1712


Nomina Honesta prætenduntur vitiis.


York, Jan. 18, 1712.

Mr. Spectator,

I pretend not to inform a Gentleman of so just a Taste, whenever he pleases to use it; but it may not be amiss to inform your Readers, that there is a false Delicacy as well as a true one. True Delicacy, as I take it, consists in Exactness of Judgment and Dignity of Sentiment, or if you will, Purity of Affection, as this is opposed to Corruption and Grossness. There are Pedants in Breeding as well as in Learning. The Eye that cannot bear the Light is not delicate but sore. A good Constitution appears in the Soundness and Vigour of the Parts, not in the Squeamishness of the Stomach; And a false Delicacy is Affectation, not Politeness. What then can be the Standard of Delicacy but Truth and Virtue? Virtue, which, as the Satyrist long since observed, is real Honour; whereas the other Distinctions among Mankind are meerly titular. Judging by that Rule, in my Opinion, and in that of many of your virtuous Female Readers, you are so far from deserving Mr. Courtly's Accusation, that you seem too gentle, and to allow too many Excuses for an enormous Crime, which is the Reproach of the Age, and is in all its Branches and Degrees expresly forbidden by that Religion we pretend to profess; and whose Laws, in a Nation that calls it self Christian, one would think should take Place of those Rules which Men of corrupt Minds, and those of weak Understandings follow. I know not any thing more pernicious to good Manners, than the giving fair Names to foul Actions; for this confounds Vice and Virtue, and takes off that natural Horrour we have to Evil. An innocent Creature, who would start at the Name of Strumpet, may think it pretty to be called a Mistress, especially if her Seducer has taken care to inform her, that a Union of Hearts is the principal Matter in the Sight of Heaven, and that the Business at Church is a meer idle Ceremony. Who knows not that the Difference between obscene and modest Words expressing the same Action, consists only in the accessary Idea, for there is nothing immodest in Letters and Syllables. Fornication and Adultery are modest Words: because they express an Evil Action as criminal, and so as to excite Horrour and Aversion: Whereas Words representing the Pleasure rather than the Sin, are for this Reason indecent and dishonest. Your Papers would be chargeable with something worse than Indelicacy, they would be Immoral, did you treat the detestable Sins of Uncleanness in the same manner as you rally an impertinent Self-love and an artful Glance; as those Laws would be very unjust, that should chastise Murder and Petty Larceny with the same Punishment. Even Delicacy requires that the Pity shewn to distressed indigent Wickedness, first betrayed into, and then expelled the Harbours of the Brothel, should be changed to Detestation, when we consider pampered Vice in the Habitations of the Wealthy. The most free Person of Quality, in Mr. Courtly's Phrase, that is, to speak properly, a Woman of Figure who has forgot her Birth and Breeding, dishonoured her Relations and her self, abandoned her Virtue and Reputation, together with the natural Modesty of her Sex, and risqued her very Soul, is so far from deserving to be treated with no worse Character than that of a kind Woman, (which is doubtless Mr. Courtly's Meaning, if he has any,) that one can scarce be too severe on her, in as much as she sins against greater Restraints, is less exposed, and liable to fewer Temptations, than Beauty in Poverty and Distress. It is hoped therefore, Sir, that you will not lay aside your generous Design of exposing that monstrous Wickedness of the Town, whereby a Multitude of Innocents are sacrificed in a more barbarous Manner than those who were offered to Moloch. The Unchaste are provoked to see their Vice exposed, and the Chaste cannot rake into such Filth without Danger of Defilement; but a meer Spectator may look into the Bottom, and come off without partaking in the Guilt. The doing so will convince us you pursue publick Good, and not meerly your own Advantage: But if your Zeal slackens, how can one help thinking that Mr. Courtly's Letter is but a Feint to get off from a Subject, in which either your own, or the private and base Ends of others to whom you are partial, or those of whom you are afraid, would not endure a Reformation?

I am, Sir, your humble Servant and Admirer, so long as you tread in the Paths of Truth, Virtue, and Honour.

Mr. Spectator,

Trin. Coll. Cantab. Jan. 12, 1711-12.

It is my Fortune to have a Chamber-Fellow, with whom, tho' I agree very well in many Sentiments, yet there is one in which we are as contrary as Light and Darkness. We are both in Love: his Mistress is a lovely Fair, and mine a lovely Brown. Now as the Praise of our Mistresses Beauty employs much of our Time, we have frequent Quarrels in entering upon that Subject, while each says all he can to defend his Choice. For my own part, I have racked my Fancy to the utmost; and sometimes, with the greatest Warmth of Imagination, have told him, That Night was made before Day, and many more fine Things, tho' without any effect: Nay, last Night I could not forbear saying with more Heat than Judgment, that the Devil ought to be painted white. Now my Desire is, Sir, that you would be pleased to give us in Black and White your Opinion in the Matter of Dispute between us; which will either furnish me with fresh and prevailing Arguments to maintain my own Taste, or make me with less Repining allow that of my Chamber-Fellow. I know very well that I have Jack Cleveland1 and Bond's Horace on my Side; but then he has such a Band of Rhymers and Romance-Writers, with which he opposes me, and is so continually chiming to the Tune of Golden Tresses, yellow Locks, Milk, Marble, Ivory, Silver, Swan, Snow, Daisies, Doves, and the Lord knows what; which he is always sounding with so much Vehemence in my Ears, that he often puts me into a brown Study how to answer him; and I find that I am in a fair Way to be quite confounded, without your timely Assistance afforded to,


Your humble Servant,


Footnote 1:   Cleveland celebrates brown beauties in his poem of 'the Senses Festival.' John Bond, who published Commentaries on Horace and Persius, Antony à Wood calls 'a polite and rare critic whose labours have advanced the Commonwealth of Learning very much.'
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Z.

Contents, p.3

No. 287

Tuesday, January 29, 1712


Greek: Ô philtátae gae maeter, hos semnòn sphódr' ei Tois noun echousi ktaema—Menand.

I look upon it as a peculiar Happiness, that were I to choose of what Religion I would be, and under what Government I would live, I should most certainly give the Preference to that Form of Religion and Government which is established in my own Country. In this Point I think I am determined by Reason and Conviction; but if I shall be told that I am acted by Prejudice, I am sure it is an honest Prejudice, it is a Prejudice that arises from the Love of my Country, and therefore such an one as I will always indulge. I have in several Papers endeavoured to express my Duty and Esteem for the Church of England, and design this as an Essay upon the Civil Part of our Constitution, having often entertained my self with Reflections on this Subject, which I have not met with in other Writers.

That Form of Government appears to me the most reasonable, which is most conformable to the Equality that we find in human Nature, provided it be consistent with publick Peace and Tranquillity. This is what may properly be called Liberty, which exempts one Man from Subjection to another so far as the Order and Œconomy of Government will permit.

Liberty should reach every Individual of a People, as they all share one common Nature; if it only spreads among particular Branches, there had better be none at all, since such a Liberty only aggravates the Misfortune of those who are depriv'd of it, by setting before them a disagreeable Subject of Comparison. This Liberty is best preserved, where the Legislative Power is lodged in several Persons, especially if those Persons are of different Ranks and Interests; for where they are of the same Rank, and consequently have an Interest to manage peculiar to that Rank, it differs but little from a Despotical Government in a single Person. But the greatest Security a People can have for their Liberty, is when the Legislative Power is in the Hands of Persons so happily distinguished, that by providing for the particular Interests of their several Ranks, they are providing for the whole Body of the People; or in other Words, when there is no Part of the People that has not a common Interest with at least one Part of the Legislators.

If there be but one Body of Legislators, it is no better than a Tyranny; if there are only two, there will want a casting Voice, and one of them must at length be swallowed up by Disputes and Contentions that will necessarily arise between them. Four would have the same Inconvenience as two, and a greater Number would cause too much Confusion. I could never read a Passage in Polybius, and another in Cicero, to this Purpose, without a secret Pleasure in applying it to the English Constitution, which it suits much better than the Roman. Both these great Authors give the Pre-eminence to a mixt Government, consisting of three Branches, the Regal, the Noble, and the Popular. They had doubtless in their Thoughts the Constitution of the Roman Commonwealth, in which the Consul represented the King, the Senate the Nobles, and the Tribunes the People. This Division of the three Powers in the Roman Constitution was by no means so distinct and natural, as it is in the English Form of Government. Among several Objections that might be made to it, I think the Chief are those that affect the Consular Power, which had only the Ornaments without the Force of the Regal Authority. Their Number had not a casting Voice in it; for which Reason, if one did not chance to be employed Abroad, while the other sat at Home, the Publick Business was sometimes at a Stand, while the Consuls pulled two different Ways in it. Besides, I do not find that the Consuls had ever a Negative Voice in the passing of a Law, or Decree of Senate, so that indeed they were rather the chief Body of the Nobility, or the first Ministers of State, than a distinct Branch of the Sovereignty, in which none can be looked upon as a Part, who are not a Part of the Legislature. Had the Consuls been invested with the Regal Authority to as great a Degree as our Monarchs, there would never have been any Occasions for a Dictatorship, which had in it the Power of all the three Orders, and ended in the Subversion of the whole Constitution.

Such an History as that of Suelonius, which gives us a Succession of Absolute Princes, is to me an unanswerable Argument against Despotick Power. Where the Prince is a Man of Wisdom and Virtue, it is indeed happy for his People that he is absolute; but since in the common Run of Mankind, for one that is Wise and Good you find ten of a contrary Character, it is very dangerous for a Nation to stand to its Chance, or to have its publick Happiness or Misery depend on the Virtues or Vices of a single Person. Look into the History1 I have mentioned, or into any Series of Absolute Princes, how many Tyrants must you read through, before you come to an Emperor that is supportable. But this is not all; an honest private Man often grows cruel and abandoned, when converted into an absolute Prince. Give a Man Power of doing what he pleases with Impunity, you extinguish his Fear, and consequently overturn in him one of the great Pillars of Morality. This too we find confirmed by Matter of Fact. How many hopeful Heirs apparent to grand Empires, when in the Possession of them, have become such Monsters of Lust and Cruelty as are a Reproach to Human Nature.

Some tell us we ought to make our Governments on Earth like that in Heaven, which, say they, is altogether Monarchical and Unlimited. Was Man like his Creator in Goodness and Justice, I should be for following this great Model; but where Goodness and Justice are not essential to the Ruler, I would by no means put myself into his Hands to be disposed of according to his particular Will and Pleasure.

It is odd to consider the Connection between Despotic Government and Barbarity, and how the making of one Person more than Man, makes the rest less. About nine Parts of the World in ten are in the lowest State of Slavery, and consequently sunk into the most gross and brutal Ignorance. European Slavery is indeed a State of Liberty, if compared with that which prevails in the other three Divisions of the World; and therefore it is no Wonder that those who grovel under it have many Tracks of Light among them, of which the others are wholly destitute.

Riches and Plenty are the natural Fruits of Liberty, and where these abound, Learning and all the Liberal Arts will immediately lift up their Heads and flourish. As a Man must have no slavish Fears and Apprehensions hanging upon his Mind, who2 will indulge the Flights of Fancy or Speculation, and push his Researches into all the abstruse Corners of Truth, so it is necessary for him to have about him a Competency of all the Conveniencies of Life.

The first thing every one looks after, is to provide himself with Necessaries. This Point will engross our Thoughts 'till it be satisfied. If this is taken care of to our Hands, we look out for Pleasures and Amusements; and among a great Number of idle People, there will be many whose Pleasures will lie in Reading and Contemplation. These are the two great Sources of Knowledge, and as Men grow wise they naturally love to communicate their Discoveries; and others seeing the Happiness of such a Learned Life, and improving by their Conversation, emulate, imitate, and surpass one another, till a Nation is filled with Races of wise and understanding Persons. Ease and Plenty are therefore the great Cherishers of Knowledge: and as most of the Despotick Governments of the World have neither of them, they are naturally over-run with Ignorance and Barbarity. In Europe, indeed, notwithstanding several of its Princes are absolute, there are Men famous for Knowledge and Learning; but the Reason is because the Subjects are many of them rich and wealthy, the Prince not thinking fit to exert himself in his full Tyranny like the Princes of the Eastern Nations, lest his Subjects should be invited to new-mould their Constitution, having so many Prospects of Liberty within their View. But in all Despotic Governments, tho' a particular Prince may favour Arts and Letters, there is a natural Degeneracy of Mankind, as you may observe from Augustus's Reign, how the Romans lost themselves by Degrees till they fell to an Equality with the most barbarous Nations that surrounded them. Look upon Greece under its free States, and you would think its Inhabitants lived in different Climates, and under different Heavens, from those at present; so different are the Genius's which are formed under Turkish Slavery and Grecian Liberty.

Besides Poverty and Want, there are other Reasons that debase the Minds of Men, who live under Slavery, though I look on this as the Principal. This natural Tendency of Despotic Power to Ignorance and Barbarity, tho' not insisted upon by others, is, I think, an unanswerable Argument against that Form of Government, as it shews how repugnant it is to the Good of Mankind, and the Perfection of human Nature, which ought to be the great Ends of all Civil Institutions.


Footnote 1:   Historian
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   that

Contents, p.3

No. 288

Wednesday, January 30, 1712


—Pavor est utrique molestus.


Mr. Spectator,

'When you spoke of the Jilts and Coquets, you then promised to be very impartial, and not to spare even your own Sex, should any of their secret or open Faults come under your Cognizance; which has given me Encouragement to describe a certain Species of Mankind under the Denomination of Male Jilts. They are Gentlemen who do not design to marry, yet, that they may appear to have some Sense of Gallantry, think they must pay their Devoirs to one particular Fair; in order to which they single out from amongst the Herd of Females her to whom they design to make their fruitless Addresses. This done, they first take every Opportunity of being in her Company, and then never fail upon all Occasions to be particular to her, laying themselves at her Feet, protesting the Reality of their Passion with a thousand Oaths, solliciting a Return, and saying as many fine Things as their Stock of Wit will allow; and if they are not deficient that way, generally speak so as to admit of a double Interpretation; which the credulous Fair is apt to turn to her own Advantage, since it frequently happens to be a raw, innocent, young Creature, who thinks all the World as sincere as her self, and so her unwary Heart becomes an easy Prey to those deceitful Monsters, who no sooner perceive it, but immediately they grow cool, and shun her whom they before seemed so much to admire, and proceed to act the same common-place Villany towards another. A Coxcomb flushed with many of these infamous Victories shall say he is sorry for the poor Fools, protest and vow he never thought of Matrimony, and wonder talking civilly can be so strangely misinterpreted. Now, Mr. Spectator, you that are a professed Friend to Love, will, I hope, observe upon those who abuse that noble Passion, and raise it in innocent Minds by a deceitful Affectation of it, after which they desert the Enamoured. Pray bestow a little of your Counsel to those fond believing Females who already have or are in Danger of broken Hearts; in which you will oblige a great Part of this Town, but in a particular Manner,

Sir Your (yet Heart-whole) Admirer,
and devoted humble Servant,

Melainie's Complaint is occasioned by so general a Folly, that it is wonderful one could so long overlook it. But this false Gallantry proceeds from an Impotence of Mind, which makes those who are guilty of it incapable of pursuing what they themselves approve. Many a Man wishes a Woman his Wife whom he dares not take for such. Tho' no one has Power over his Inclinations or Fortunes, he is a Slave to common Fame. For this Reason I think Melainia gives them too soft a Name in that of Male Coquets. I know not why Irresolution of Mind should not be more contemptible than Impotence of Body; and these frivolous Admirers would be but tenderly used, in being only included in the same Term with the Insufficient another Way. They whom my Correspondent calls Male Coquets, shall hereafter be called Fribblers. A Fribbler is one who professes Rapture and Admiration for the Woman to whom he addresses, and dreads nothing so much as her Consent. His Heart can flutter by the Force of Imagination, but cannot fix from the Force of Judgment. It is not uncommon for the Parents of young Women of moderate Fortune to wink at the Addresses of Fribblers, and expose their Children to the ambiguous Behaviour which Melainia complains of, till by the Fondness to one they are to lose, they become incapable of Love towards others, and by Consequence in their future Marriage lead a joyless or a miserable Life. As therefore I shall in the Speculations which regard Love be as severe as I ought on Jilts and Libertine Women, so will I be as little merciful to insignificant and mischievous Men. In order to this, all Visitants who frequent Families wherein there are young Females, are forthwith required to declare themselves, or absent from Places where their Presence banishes such as would pass their Time more to the Advantage of those whom they visit. It is a Matter of too great Moment to be dallied with; and I shall expect from all my young People a satisfactory Account of Appearances. Strephon has from the Publication hereof seven Days to explain the Riddle he presented to Eudamia; and Chloris an Hour after this comes to her Hand, to declare whether she will have Philotas, whom a Woman of no less Merit than her self, and of superior Fortune, languishes to call her own.

To the Spectator.

'Since so many Dealers turn Authors, and write quaint Advertisements in praise of their Wares, one who from an Author turn'd Dealer may be allowed for the Advancement of Trade to turn Author again. I will not however set up like some of 'em, for selling cheaper than the most able honest Tradesman can; nor do I send this to be better known for Choice and Cheapness of China and Japan Wares, Tea, Fans, Muslins, Pictures, Arrack, and other Indian Goods. Placed as I am in Leadenhall-street, near the India-Company, and the Centre of that Trade, Thanks to my fair Customers, my Warehouse is graced as well as the Benefit Days of my Plays and Operas; and the foreign Goods I sell seem no less acceptable than the foreign Books I translated, Rabelais and Don Quixote: This the Criticks allow me, and while they like my Wares they may dispraise my Writing. But as 'tis not so well known yet that I frequently cross the Seas of late, and speaking Dutch and French, besides other Languages, I have the Conveniency of buying and importing rich Brocades, Dutch Atlasses, with Gold and Silver, or without, and other foreign Silks of the newest Modes and best Fabricks, fine Flanders Lace, Linnens, and Pictures, at the best Hand: This my new way of Trade I have fallen into I cannot better publish than by an Application to you. My Wares are fit only for such as your Readers; and I would beg of you to print this Address in your Paper, that those whose Minds you adorn may take the Ornaments for their Persons and Houses from me. This, Sir, if I may presume to beg it, will be the greater Favour, as I have lately received rich Silks and fine Lace to a considerable Value, which will be sold cheap for a quick Return, and as I have also a large Stock of other Goods. Indian Silks were formerly a great Branch of our Trade; and since we must not sell 'em, we must seek Amends by dealing in others. This I hope will plead for one who would lessen the Number of Teazers of the Muses, and who, suiting his Spirit to his Circumstances, humbles the Poet to exalt the Citizen. Like a true Tradesman, I hardly ever look into any Books but those of Accompts. To say the Truth, I cannot, I think, give you a better Idea of my being a downright Man of Traffick, than by acknowledging I oftener read the Advertisements, than the Matter of even your Paper. I am under a great Temptation to take this Opportunity of admonishing other Writers to follow my Example, and trouble the Town no more; but as it is my present Business to increase the Number of Buyers rather than Sellers, I hasten to tell you that I am,
Sir, Your most humble,
and most obedient Servant,
Peter Motteux.

Footnote 1:   Peter Anthony Motteux, the writer of this letter, was born in Normandy, and came as a refugee to England at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Here he wrote about 14 plays, translated Bayle's Dictionary, Montaigne's Essays, and Don Quixote, and established himself also as a trader in Leadenhall Street. He had a wife and a fine young family when (at the age of 56, and six years after the date of this letter) he was found dead in a house of ill fame near Temple Bar under circumstances that caused a reward of fifty pounds to be offered for the discovery of his murderer.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p.4

No. 289

Thursday, January 31, 1712


Vitæ summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam.


Upon taking my Seat in a Coffee-house I often draw the Eyes of the whole Room upon me, when in the hottest Seasons of News, and at a time that perhaps the Dutch Mail is just come in, they hear me ask the Coffee-man for his last Week's Bill of Mortality: I find that I have been sometimes taken on this occasion for a Parish Sexton, sometimes for an Undertaker, and sometimes for a Doctor of Physick. In this, however, I am guided by the Spirit of a Philosopher, as I take occasion from hence to reflect upon the regular Encrease and Diminution of Mankind, and consider the several various Ways through which we pass from Life to Eternity. I am very well pleased with these Weekly Admonitions, that bring into my Mind such Thoughts as ought to be the daily Entertainment of every reasonable Creature; and can consider, with Pleasure to my self, by which of those Deliverances, or, as we commonly call them, Distempers, I may possibly make my Escape out of this World of Sorrows, into that Condition of Existence, wherein I hope to be Happier than it is possible for me at present to conceive.

But this is not all the Use I make of the above-mentioned Weekly Paper. A Bill of Mortality1 is in my Opinion an unanswerable Argument for a Providence. How can we, without supposing our selves under the constant Care of a Supreme Being, give any possible Account for that nice Proportion, which we find in every great City, between the Deaths and Births of its Inhabitants, and between the Number of Males and that of Females, who are brought into the World? What else could adjust in so exact a manner the Recruits of every Nation to its Losses, and divide these new Supplies of People into such equal Bodies of both Sexes? Chance could never hold the Balance with so steady a Hand. Were we not counted out by an intelligent Supervisor, we should sometimes be over-charged with Multitudes, and at others waste away into a Desart: We should be sometimes a populus virorum, as Florus elegantly expresses it, a Generation of Males, and at others a Species of Women. We may extend this Consideration to every Species of living Creatures, and consider the whole animal World as an huge Army made up of innumerable Corps, if I may use that Term, whose Quotas have been kept entire near five thousand Years, in so wonderful a manner, that there is not probably a single Species lost during this long Tract of Time. Could we have general Bills of Mortality of every kind of Animal, or particular ones of every Species in each Continent and Island, I could almost say in every Wood, Marsh or Mountain, what astonishing Instances would they be of that Providence which watches over all its Works?

I have heard of a great Man in the Romish Church, who upon reading those Words in the Vth Chapter of Genesis, And all the Days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty Years, and he died; and all the Days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve Years, and he died; and all the Days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty nine Years, and he died; immediately shut himself up in a Convent, and retired from the World, as not thinking any thing in this Life worth pursuing, which had not regard to another.

The Truth of it is, there is nothing in History which is so improving to the Reader, as those Accounts which we meet with of the Deaths of eminent Persons, and of their Behaviour in that dreadful Season. I may also add, that there are no Parts in History which affect and please the Reader in so sensible a manner. The Reason I take to be this, because there is no other single Circumstance in the Story of any Person, which can possibly be the Case of every one who reads it. A Battle or a Triumph are Conjunctures in which not one Man in a Million is likely to be engaged; but when we see a Person at the Point of Death, we cannot forbear being attentive to every thing he says or does, because we are sure that some time or other we shall our selves be in the same melancholy Circumstances. The General, the Statesman, or the Philosopher, are perhaps Characters which we may never act in; but the dying Man is one whom, sooner or later, we shall certainly resemble.

It is, perhaps, for the same kind of Reason that few Books, written2 in English, have been so much perused as Dr. Sherlock's Discourse upon Death; though at the same time I must own, that he who has not perused this Excellent Piece, has not perhaps read one of the strongest Persuasives to a Religious Life that ever was written in any Language.

The Consideration, with which I shall close this Essay upon Death, is one of the most ancient and most beaten Morals that has been recommended to Mankind. But its being so very common, and so universally received, though it takes away from it the Grace of Novelty, adds very much to the Weight of it, as it shews that it falls in with the general Sense of Mankind. In short, I would have every one consider, that he is in this Life nothing more than a Passenger, and that he is not to set up his Rest here, but to keep an attentive Eye upon that State of Being to which he approaches every Moment, and which will be for ever fixed and permanent. This single Consideration would be sufficient to extinguish the Bitterness of Hatred, the Thirst of Avarice, and the Cruelty of Ambition.

I am very much pleased with the Passage of Antiphanes a very ancient Poet, who lived near an hundred Years before Socrates, which represents the Life of Man under this View, as I have here translated it Word for Word. Be not grieved, says he, above measure for thy deceased Friends. They3 are not dead, but have only finished that Journey which it is necessary for every one of us to take: We ourselves must go to that great Place of Reception in which they are all of them assembled, and in this general Rendezvous of Mankind, live together in another State of Being.

I think I have, in a former Paper, taken notice of those beautiful Metaphors in Scripture, where Life is termed a Pilgrimage, and those who pass through it are called Strangers and Sojourners upon Earth. I shall conclude this with a Story, which I have somewhere read in the Travels of Sir John Chardin4; that Gentleman after having told us, that the Inns which receive the Caravans in Persia, and the Eastern Countries, are called by the Name of Caravansaries, gives us a Relation to the following Purpose.

A Dervise, travelling through Tartary, being arrived at the Town of Balk, went into the King's Palace by Mistake, as thinking it to be a publick Inn or Caravansary. Having looked about him for some time, he enter'd into a long Gallery, where he laid down his Wallet, and spread his Carpet, in order to repose himself upon it after the Manner of the Eastern Nations. He had not been long in this Posture before he was discovered by some of the Guards, who asked him what was his Business in that Place? The Dervise told them he intended to take up his Night's Lodging in that Caravansary. The Guards let him know, in a very angry manner, that the House he was in was not a Caravansary, but the King's Palace. It happened that the King himself passed through the Gallery during this Debate, and smiling at the Mistake of the Dervise, asked him how he could possibly be so dull as not to distinguish a Palace from a Caravansary? Sir, says the Dervise, give me leave to ask your Majesty a Question or two. Who were the Persons that lodged in this House when it was first built? The King replied, His Ancestors. And who, says the Dervise, was the last Person that lodged here? The King replied, His Father. And who is it, says the Dervise, that lodges here at present? The King told him, that it was he himself. And who, says the Dervise, will be here after you? The King answered, The young Prince his Son. 'Ah Sir, said the Dervise, a House that changes its Inhabitants so often, and receives such a perpetual Succession of Guests, is not a Palace but a Caravansary."


Footnote 1:   Bills of Mortality, containing the weekly number of Christenings and Deaths, with the cause of Death, were first compiled by the London Company of Parish Clerks (for 109 parishes) after the Plague in 1592. They did not give the age at death till 1728.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   which have been written

Footnote 3:   ; for they

Footnote 4:  Sir John Chardin was a jeweller's son, born at Paris, who came to England and was knighted by Charles II. He travelled into Persia and the East Indies, and his account of his voyages was translated into English, German, and Flemish. He was living when this paper appeared, but died in the following year, at the age of 70.

Contents, p.4

No. 290

Friday, February 1, 1712


Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba.


The Players, who know I am very much their Friend, take all Opportunities to express a Gratitude to me for being so. They could not have a better Occasion of Obliging me, than one which they lately took hold of. They desired my Friend Will. Honeycomb to bring me to the Reading of a new Tragedy; it is called The distressed Mother2. I must confess, tho' some Days are passed since I enjoyed that Entertainment, the Passions of the several Characters dwell strongly upon my Imagination; and I congratulate to the Age, that they are at last to see Truth and humane Life represented in the Incidents which concern Heroes and Heroines. The Stile of the Play is such as becomes those of the first Education, and the Sentiments worthy those of the highest Figure. It was a most exquisite Pleasure to me, to observe real Tears drop from the Eyes of those who had long made it their Profession to dissemble Affliction; and the Player, who read, frequently throw down the Book, till he had given vent to the Humanity which rose in him at some irresistible Touches of the imagined Sorrow. We have seldom had any Female Distress on the Stage, which did not, upon cool Examination, appear to flow from the Weakness rather than the Misfortune of the Person represented: But in this Tragedy you are not entertained with the ungoverned Passions of such as are enamoured of each other merely as they are Men and Women, but their Regards are founded upon high Conceptions of each other's Virtue and Merit; and the Character which gives Name to the Play, is one who has behaved her self with heroic Virtue in the most important Circumstances of a Female Life, those of a Wife, a Widow, and a Mother. If there be those whose Minds have been too attentive upon the Affairs of Life, to have any Notion of the Passion of Love in such Extremes as are known only to particular Tempers, yet, in the above-mentioned Considerations, the Sorrow of the Heroine will move even the Generality of Mankind. Domestick Virtues concern all the World, and there is no one living who is not interested that Andromache should be an imitable Character. The generous Affection to the Memory of her deceased Husband, that tender Care for her Son, which is ever heightned with the Consideration of his Father, and these Regards preserved in spite of being tempted with the Possession of the highest Greatness, are what cannot but be venerable even to such an Audience as at present frequents the English Theatre. My Friend Will Honeycomb commended several tender things that were said, and told me they were very genteel; but whisper'd me, that he feared the Piece was not busy enough for the present Taste. To supply this, he recommended to the Players to be very careful in their Scenes, and above all Things, that every Part should be perfectly new dressed. I was very glad to find that they did not neglect my Friend's Admonition, because there are a great many in his Class of Criticism who may be gained by it; but indeed the Truth is, that as to the Work it self, it is every where Nature. The Persons are of the highest Quality in Life, even that of Princes; but their Quality is not represented by the Poet with Direction that Guards and Waiters should follow them in every Scene, but their Grandeur appears in Greatness of Sentiments, flowing from Minds worthy their Condition. To make a Character truly Great, this Author understands that it should have its Foundation in superior Thoughts and Maxims of Conduct. It is very certain, that many an honest Woman would make no Difficulty, tho' she had been the Wife of Hector, for the sake of a Kingdom, to marry the Enemy of her Husband's Family and Country; and indeed who can deny but she might be still an honest Woman, but no Heroine? That may be defensible, nay laudable in one Character, which would be in the highest Degree exceptionable in another. When Cato Uticensis killed himself, Cottius a Roman of ordinary Quality and Character did the same thing; upon which one said, smiling, 'Cottius might have lived, tho' Cæsar has seized the Roman Liberty.' Cottius's Condition might have been the same, let things at the upper End of the World pass as they would. What is further very extraordinary in this Work, is, that the Persons are all of them laudable, and their Misfortunes arise rather from unguarded Virtue than Propensity to Vice. The Town has an Opportunity of doing itself Justice in supporting the Representation of Passion, Sorrow, Indignation, even Despair itself, within the Rules of Decency, Honour and Good-breeding; and since there is no one can flatter himself his Life will be always fortunate, they may here see Sorrow as they would wish to bear it whenever it arrives.

Mr. Spectator,

I am appointed to act a Part in the new Tragedy called The Distressed Mother: It is the celebrated Grief of Orestes which I am to personate; but I shall not act it as I ought, for I shall feel it too intimately to be able to utter it. I was last Night repeating a Paragraph to my self, which I took to be an Expression of Rage, and in the middle of the Sentence there was a Stroke of Self-pity which quite unmanned me. Be pleased, Sir, to print this Letter, that when I am oppressed in this manner at such an Interval, a certain Part of the Audience may not think I am out; and I hope with this Allowance to do it to Satisfaction. I am, Sir,
Your most humble Servant,
George Powell.

Mr. Spectator,

'As I was walking t'other Day in the Park, I saw a Gentleman with a very short Face; I desire to know whether it was you. Pray inform me as soon as you can, lest I become the most heroick Hecatissa's Rival.

Your humble Servant to command,


Dear Madam,

It is not me you are in love with, for I was very ill and kept my Chamber all that Day.

Your most humble Servant,

The Spectator.


Footnote 1:  
Spirat Tragicum satis, et fœliciter Audet.
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Footnote 2:   This is a third blast of the Trumpet on behalf of Ambrose Philips, who had now been adapting Racine's Andromaque.

Contents, p.4

No. 291

Saturday, February 2, 1712


Ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis
Offendor maculis, quas aut Incuria fudit,
Aut Humana parum cavit Natura.


I have now considered Milton's Paradise Lost under those four great Heads of the Fable, the Characters, the Sentiments, and the Language; and have shewn that he excels, in general, under each of these Heads. I hope that I have made several Discoveries which may appear new, even to those who are versed in Critical Learning. Were I indeed to chuse my Readers, by whose Judgment I would stand or fall, they should not be such as are acquainted only with the French and Italian Criticks, but also with the Ancient and Moderns who have written in either of the learned Languages. Above all, I would have them well versed in the Greek and Latin Poets, without which a Man very often fancies that he understands a Critick, when in Reality he does not comprehend his Meaning.

It is in Criticism, as in all other Sciences and Speculations; one who brings with him any implicit Notions and Observations which he has made in his reading of the Poets, will find his own Reflections methodized and explained, and perhaps several little Hints that had passed in his Mind, perfected and improved in the Works of a good Critick; whereas one who has not these previous Lights is very often an utter Stranger to what he reads, and apt to put a wrong Interpretation upon it.

Nor is it sufficient, that a Man who sets up for a Judge in Criticism, should have perused the Authors above mentioned, unless he has also a clear and Logical Head. Without this Talent he is perpetually puzzled and perplexed amidst his own Blunders, mistakes the Sense of those he would confute, or if he chances to think right, does not know how to convey his Thoughts to another with Clearness and Perspicuity. Aristotle, who was the best Critick, was also one of the best Logicians that ever appeared in the World.

Mr. Lock's Essay on Human Understanding1 would be thought a very odd Book for a Man to make himself Master of, who would get a Reputation by Critical Writings; though at the same time it is very certain, that an Author who has not learned the Art of distinguishing between Words and Things, and of ranging his Thoughts, and setting them in proper Lights, whatever Notions he may have, will lose himself in Confusion and Obscurity. I might further observe, that there is not a Greek or Latin Critick who has not shewn, even in the Style of his Criticisms, that he was a Master of all the Elegance and Delicacy of his Native Tongue.

The Truth of it is, there is nothing more absurd, than for a Man to set up for a Critick, without a good Insight into all the Parts of Learning; whereas many of those who have endeavoured to signalize themselves by Works of this Nature among our English Writers, are not only defective in the above-mentioned Particulars, but plainly discover, by the Phrases which they make use of, and by their confused way of thinking, that they are not acquainted with the most common and ordinary Systems of Arts and Sciences. A few general Rules extracted out of the French Authors2, with a certain Cant of Words, has sometimes set up an Illiterate heavy Writer for a most judicious and formidable Critick.

One great Mark, by which you may discover a Critick who has neither Taste nor Learning, is this, that he seldom ventures to praise any Passage in an Author which has not been before received and applauded by the Publick, and that his Criticism turns wholly upon little Faults and Errors. This part of a Critick is so very easie to succeed in, that we find every ordinary Reader, upon the publishing of a new Poem, has Wit and Ill-nature enough to turn several Passages of it into Ridicule, and very often in the right Place. This Mr. Dryden has very agreeably remarked in those two celebrated Lines,
Errors, like Straws, upon the Surface flow;
He who would search for Pearls must dive below3.
A true Critick ought to dwell rather upon Excellencies than Imperfections, to discover the concealed Beauties of a Writer, and communicate to the World such things as are worth their Observation. The most exquisite Words and finest Strokes of an Author are those which very often appear the most doubtful and exceptionable to a Man who wants a Relish for polite Learning; and they are these, which a sower undistinguishing Critick generally attacks with the greatest Violence. Tully observes, that it is very easie to brand or fix a Mark upon what he calls Verbum ardens4, or, as it may be rendered into English, a glowing bold Expression, and to turn it into Ridicule by a cold ill-natured Criticism. A little Wit is equally capable of exposing a Beauty, and of aggravating a Fault; and though such a Treatment of an Author naturally produces Indignation in the Mind of an understanding Reader, it has however its Effect among the Generality of those whose Hands it falls into, the Rabble of Mankind being very apt to think that every thing which is laughed at with any Mixture of Wit, is ridiculous in it self.

Such a Mirth as this is always unseasonable in a Critick, as it rather prejudices the Reader than convinces him, and is capable of making a Beauty, as well as a Blemish, the Subject of Derision. A Man, who cannot write with Wit on a proper Subject, is dull and stupid, but one who shews it in an improper Place, is as impertinent and absurd. Besides, a Man who has the Gift of Ridicule is apt to find Fault with any thing that gives him an Opportunity of exerting his beloved Talent, and very often censures a Passage, not because there is any Fault in it, but because he can be merry upon it. Such kinds of Pleasantry are very unfair and disingenuous in Works of Criticism, in which the greatest Masters, both Ancient and Modern, have always appeared with a serious and instructive Air.

As I intend in my next Paper to shew the Defects in Milton's Paradise Lost, I thought fit to premise these few Particulars, to the End that the Reader may know I enter upon it, as on a very ungrateful Work, and that I shall just point at the Imperfections, without endeavouring to enflame them with Ridicule. I must also observe with Longinus5, that the Productions of a great Genius, with many Lapses and Inadvertencies, are infinitely preferable to the Works of an inferior kind of Author, which are scrupulously exact and conformable to all the Rules of correct Writing.

I shall conclude my Paper with a Story out of Boccalini6 which sufficiently shews us the Opinion that judicious Author entertained of the sort of Criticks I have been here mentioning. A famous Critick, says he, having gathered together all the Faults of an eminent Poet, made a Present of them to Apollo, who received them very graciously, and resolved to make the Author a suitable Return for the Trouble he had been at in collecting them. In order to this, he set before him a Sack of Wheat, as it had been just threshed out of the Sheaf. He then bid him pick out the Chaff from among the Corn, and lay it aside by it self. The Critick applied himself to the Task with great Industry and Pleasure, and after having made the due Separation, was presented by Apollo with the Chaff for his Pains7.


Footnote 1:   First published in 1690.
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Footnote 2:   Dryden accounted among critics 'the greatest of his age' to be Boilean and Rapin. Boileau was the great master of French criticism. René Rapin, born at Tours in 1621, taught Belles Lettres with extraordinary success among his own order of Jesuits, wrote famous critical works, was one of the best Latin poets of his time, and died at Paris in 1687. His Whole Critical Works were translated by Dr. Basil Kennett in two volumes, which appeared in 1705. The preface of their publisher said of Rapin that
'he has long dictated in this part of letters. He is acknowledged as the great arbitrator between the merits of the best writers; and during the course of almost thirty years there have been few appeals from his sentence.'
(See also a note on p. 168, vol. i. [Volume 1 links:Footnote 3 of No. 44]) René le Bossu, the great French authority on Epic Poetry, born in 1631, was a regular canon of St. Genevieve, and taught the Humanities in several religious houses of his order. He died, subprior of the Abbey of St. Jean de Cartres, in 1680. He wrote, besides his Treatise upon Epic Poetry, a parallel between the philosophies of Aristotle and Descartes, which appeared a few months earlier (in 1674) with less success. Another authority was Father Bouhours, of whom see note on p. 236, vol. i. [Volume 1 links:Footnote 4 of No. 62. ] Another was Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle. called by Voltaire the most universal genius of his age. He was born at Rouen in 1657, looking so delicate that he was baptized in a hurry, and at 16 was unequal to the exertion of a game at billiards, being caused by any unusual exercise to spit blood, though he lived to the age of a hundred, less one month and two days. He was taught by the Jesuits, went to the bar to please his father, pleaded a cause, lost it, and gave up the profession to devote his time wholly to literature and philosophy. He went to Paris, wrote plays and the 'Dialogues of the Dead,' living then with his uncle, Thomas Corneille. A discourse on the Eclogue prefixed to his pastoral poems made him an authority in this manner of composition. It was translated by Motteux for addition to the English translation of Bossu on the Epic, which had also appended to it an Essay on Satire by another of these French critics, André Dacier. Dacier, born at Castres in 1651, was educated at Saumur under Taneguy le Févre, who was at the same time making a scholar of his own daughter Anne. Dacier and the young lady became warmly attached to one another, married, united in abjuring Protestantism, and were for forty years, in the happiest concord, man and wife and fellow-scholars. Dacier and his wife, as well as Fontenelle, were alive when the Spectator was appearing; his wife dying, aged 69, in 1720, the husband, aged 71, in 1722. André Dacier translated and annotated the Poetics of Aristotle in 1692, and that critical work was regarded as his best performance.

Footnote 3:  Annus Mirabilis, st. 39.

Footnote 4:   Ad Brutum. Orator. Towards the beginning:
'Facile est enim verbum aliquod ardens (ut ita dicam) notare, idque restinctis jam animorum incendiis, irridere.'

Footnote 5:   On the Sublime, § 36.

Footnote 6:   Trajan Boccalini, born at Rome in 1554, was a satirical writer famous in Italy for his fine criticism and bold satire. Cardinals Borghese and Cajetan were his patrons. His 'Ragguagli di Parnasso' and 'la Secretaria di Parnasso,' in which Apollo heard the complaints of the world, and dispensed justice in his court on Parnassus, were received with delight. Afterwards, in his 'Pietra di Parangone,' he satirized the Court of Spain, and, fearing consequences, retired to Venice, where in 1613 he was attacked in his bed by four ruffians, who beat him to death with sand-bags. Boccalini's Ragguagli di Parnasso has been translated into English, in 1622, as 'News from Parnassus.' Also, in 1656, as 'Advertisements from Parnassus,' by H. Carey, Earl of Monmouth. This translation was reprinted in 1669 and 1674, and again in 1706 by John Hughes, one of the contributors to the Spectator.

Footnote 7:   To this number of the Spectator, and to several numbers since that for January 8, in which it first appeared, is added an advertisement that, The First and Second Volumes of the Spectator in 8vo are now ready to be delivered to the subscribers by J. Tonson, at Shakespeare's Head, over-against Catherine Street in the Strand.

Contents, p.4

No. 292

Monday, February 4, 1712


Illam, quicquid agit, quoquo Vestigia flectit,
Componit furlim, subsequiturque decor.

Tibull. L. 4.

As no one can be said to enjoy Health, who is only not sick, without he feel within himself a lightsome and invigorating Principle, which will not suffer him to remain idle, but still spurs him on to Action: so in the Practice of every Virtue, there is some additional Grace required, to give a Claim of excelling in this or that particular Action. A Diamond may want polishing, though the Value be still intrinsically the same; and the same Good may be done with different Degrees of Lustre. No man should be contented with himself that he barely does well, but he should perform every thing in the best and most becoming Manner that he is able.

Tully tells us he wrote his Book of Offices, because there was no Time of Life in which some correspondent Duty might not be practised; nor is there a Duty without a certain Decency accompanying it, by which every Virtue 'tis join'd to will seem to be doubled. Another may do the same thing, and yet the Action want that Air and Beauty which distinguish it from others; like that inimitable Sun-shine Titian is said to have diffused over his Landschapes; which denotes them his, and has been always unequalled by any other Person.

There is no one Action in which this Quality I am speaking of will be more sensibly perceived, than in granting a Request or doing an Office of Kindness. Mummius, by his Way of consenting to a Benefaction, shall make it lose its Name; while Carus doubles the Kindness and the Obligation: From the first the desired Request drops indeed at last, but from so doubtful a Brow, that the Obliged has almost as much Reason to resent the Manner of bestowing it, as to be thankful for the Favour it self. Carus invites with a pleasing Air, to give him an Opportunity of doing an Act of Humanity, meets the Petition half Way, and consents to a Request with a Countenance which proclaims the Satisfaction of his Mind in assisting the Distressed.

The Decency then that is to be observed in Liberality, seems to consist in its being performed with such Cheerfulness, as may express the God-like Pleasure is to be met with in obliging one's Fellow-Creatures; that may shew Good-nature and Benevolence overflowed, and do not, as in some Men, run upon the Tilt, and taste of the Sediments of a grutching uncommunicative Disposition.

Since I have intimated that the greatest Decorum is to be preserved in the bestowing our good Offices, I will illustrate it a little by an Example drawn from private Life, which carries with it such a Profusion of Liberality, that it can be exceeded by nothing but the Humanity and Good-nature which accompanies it. It is a Letter of Pliny's1 which I shall here translate, because the Action will best appear in its first Dress of Thought, without any foreign or ambitious Ornaments.
Pliny to Quintilian.

Tho I am fully acquainted with the Contentment and just Moderation of your Mind, and the Conformity the Education you have given your Daughter bears to your own Character; yet since she is suddenly to be married to a Person of Distinction, whose Figure in the World makes it necessary for her to be at a more than ordinary Expence in Cloaths and Equipage suitable to her Husbands Quality; by which, tho her intrinsick Worth be not augmented, yet will it receive both Ornament and Lustre: And knowing your Estate to be as moderate as the Riches of your Mind are abundant, I must challenge to my self some part of the Burthen; and as a Parent of your Child. I present her with Twelve hundred and fifty Crowns towards these Expences; which Sum had been much larger, had I not feared the Smallness of it would be the greatest Inducement with you to accept of it. Farewell.
Thus should a Benefaction be done with a good Grace, and shine in the strongest Point of Light; it should not only answer all the Hopes and Exigencies of the Receiver, but even out-run his Wishes: 'Tis this happy manner of Behaviour which adds new Charms to it, and softens those Gifts of Art and Nature, which otherwise would be rather distasteful than agreeable. Without it, Valour would degenerate into Brutality, Learning into Pedantry, and the genteelest Demeanour into Affectation. Even Religion its self, unless Decency be the Handmaid which waits upon her, is apt to make People appear guilty of Sourness and ill Humour: But this shews Virtue in her first original Form, adds a Comeliness to Religion, and gives its Professors the justest Title to the Beauty of Holiness. A Man fully instructed in this Art, may assume a thousand Shapes, and please in all: He may do a thousand Actions shall become none other but himself; not that the Things themselves are different, but the Manner of doing them.

If you examine each Feature by its self, Aglaura and Callidea are equally handsome; but take them in the Whole, and you cannot suffer the Comparison: Tho one is full of numberless nameless Graces, the other of as many nameless Faults.

The Comeliness of Person, and Decency of Behaviour, add infinite Weight to what is pronounced by any one. 'Tis the want of this that often makes the Rebukes and Advice of old rigid Persons of no Effect, and leave a Displeasure in the Minds of those they are directed to: But Youth and Beauty, if accompanied with a graceful and becoming Severity, is of mighty Force to raise, even in the most Profligate, a Sense of Shame. In Milton, the Devil is never described ashamed but once, and that at the Rebuke of a beauteous Angel.
So spake the Cherub, and his grave Rebuke,
Severe in youthful Beauty, added Grace
Invincible: Abash'd the Devil stood,
And felt how awful Goodness is, and saw
Virtue in her own Shape ho'w lovely I saw, and pin'd
His Loss2.
The Care of doing nothing unbecoming has accompanied the greatest Minds to their last Moments. They avoided even an indecent Posture in the very Article of Death. Thus Cæsar gathered his Robe about him, that he might not fall in a manner unbecoming of himself: and the greatest Concern that appeared in the Behaviour of Lucretia, when she stabbed her self, was, that her Body should lie in an Attitude worthy the Mind which had inhabited it.
Ne non procumbat honeste
Extrema hæc etiam cura, cadentis erat3.

'Twas her last Thought, How decently to fall.

Mr. Spectator,
I am a young Woman without a Fortune; but of a very high Mind: That is, Good Sir, I am to the last degree Proud and Vain. I am ever railing at the Rich, for doing Things, which, upon Search into my Heart, I find I am only angry because I cannot do the same my self. I wear the hooped Petticoat, and am all in Callicoes when the finest are in Silks. It is a dreadful thing to be poor and proud; therefore if you please, a Lecture on that Subject for the Satisfaction of
Your Uneasy Humble Servant,

Footnote 1:   Bk. vi. ep. 32.
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Footnote 2:   Par. L., Bk. iv. 11. 844-9.

Footnote 3:   Ovid. Fast., iii. 833.

Contents, p.4

No. 293

Tuesday, February 5, 1712


Greek: Pasin gàr euphronousi summachei túchae.

The famous Gratian1 in his little Book wherein he lays down Maxims for a Man's advancing himself at Court, advises his Reader to associate himself with the Fortunate, and to shun the Company of the Unfortunate; which, notwithstanding the Baseness of the Precept to an honest Mind, may have something useful in it for those who push their Interest in the World. It is certain a great Part of what we call good or ill Fortune, rises out of right or wrong Measures, and Schemes of Life. When I hear a Man complain of his being unfortunate in all his Undertakings, I shrewdly suspect him for a very weak Man in his Affairs. In Conformity with this way of thinking, Cardinal Richelieu used to say, that Unfortunate and Imprudent were but two Words for the same Thing. As the Cardinal himself had a great Share both of Prudence and Good-Fortune, his famous Antagonist, the Count d'Olivarez, was disgraced at the Court of Madrid, because it was alledged against him that he had never any Success in his Undertakings. This, says an Eminent Author, was indirectly accusing him of Imprudence.

Cicero recommended Pompey to the Romans for their General upon three Accounts, as he was a Man of Courage, Conduct, and Good-Fortune. It was perhaps, for the Reason above-mentioned, namely, that a Series of Good-Fortune supposes a prudent Management in the Person whom it befalls, that not only Sylla the Dictator, but several of the Roman Emperors, as is still to be seen upon their Medals, among their other Titles, gave themselves that of Felix or Fortunate. The Heathens, indeed, seem to have valued a Man more for his Good-Fortune than for any other Quality, which I think is very natural for those who have not a strong Belief of another World. For how can I conceive a Man crowned with many distinguishing Blessings, that has not some extraordinary Fund of Merit and Perfection in him, which lies open to the Supreme Eye, tho' perhaps it is not discovered by my Observation? What is the Reason Homer's and Virgil's Heroes do not form a Resolution, or strike a Blow, without the Conduct and Direction of some Deity? Doubtless, because the Poets esteemed it the greatest Honour to be favoured by the Gods, and thought the best Way of praising a Man was to recount those Favours which naturally implied an extraordinary Merit in the Person on whom they descended.

Those who believe a future State of Rewards and Punishments act very absurdly, if they form their Opinions of a Man's Merit from his Successes. But certainly, if I thought the whole Circle of our Being was concluded between our Births and Deaths, I should think a Man's Good-Fortune the Measure and Standard of his real Merit, since Providence would have no Opportunity of rewarding his Virtue and Perfections, but in the present Life. A Virtuous Unbeliever, who lies under the Pressure of Misfortunes, has reason to cry out, as they say Brutus did a little before his Death, O Virtue, I have worshipped thee as a Substantial Good, but I find thou art an empty Name.

But to return to our first Point. Tho' Prudence does undoubtedly in a great measure produce our good or ill Fortune in the World, it is certain there are many unforeseen Accidents and Occurrences, which very often pervert the finest Schemes that can be laid by Human Wisdom. The Race is not always to the Swift, nor the Battle to the Strong. Nothing less than infinite Wisdom can have an absolute Command over Fortune; the highest Degree of it which Man can possess, is by no means equal to fortuitous Events, and to such Contingencies as may rise in the Prosecution of our Affairs. Nay, it very often happens, that Prudence, which has always in it a great Mixture of Caution, hinders a Man from being so fortunate as he might possibly have been without it. A Person who only aims at what is likely to succeed, and follows closely the Dictates of Human Prudence, never meets with those great and unforeseen Successes, which are often the effect of a Sanguine Temper, or a more happy Rashness; and this perhaps may be the Reason, that according to the common Observation, Fortune, like other Females, delights rather in favouring the young than the old.

Upon the whole, since Man is so short-sighted a Creature, and the Accidents which may happen to him so various, I cannot but be of Dr. Tillotson's Opinion in another Case, that were there any Doubt of a Providence, yet it certainly would be very desirable there should be such a Being of infinite Wisdom and Goodness, on whose Direction we might rely in the Conduct of Human Life.

It is a great Presumption to ascribe our Successes to our own Management, and not to esteem our selves upon any Blessing, rather as it is the Bounty of Heaven, than the Acquisition of our own Prudence. I am very well pleased with a Medal which was struck by Queen Elizabeth, a little after the Defeat of the Invincible Armada, to perpetuate the Memory of that extraordinary Event. It is well known how the King of Spain, and others, who were the Enemies of that great Princess, to derogate from her Glory, ascribed the Ruin of their Fleet rather to the Violence of Storms and Tempests, than to the Bravery of the English. Queen Elizabeth, instead of looking upon this as a Diminution of her Honour, valued herself upon such a signal Favour of Providence, and accordingly in2 the Reverse of the Medal above mentioned, has represented a Fleet beaten by a Tempest, and falling foul upon one another, with that Religious Inscription, Afflavit Deus et dissipantur. He blew with his Wind, and they were scattered.

It is remarked of a famous Grecian General, whose Name I cannot at present recollect3, and who had been a particular Favourite of Fortune, that upon recounting his Victories among his Friends, he added at the End of several great Actions, And in this Fortune had no Share. After which it is observed in History, that he never prospered in any thing he undertook.

As Arrogance, and a Conceitedness of our own Abilities, are very shocking and offensive to Men of Sense and Virtue, we may be sure they are highly displeasing to that Being who delights in an humble Mind, and by several of his Dispensations seems purposely to shew us, that our own Schemes or Prudence have no Share in our Advancements.

Since on this Subject I have already admitted several Quotations which have occurred to my Memory upon writing this Paper, I will conclude it with a little Persian Fable. A Drop of Water fell out of a Cloud into the Sea, and finding it self lost in such an Immensity of fluid Matter, broke out into the following Reflection: 'Alas! What an insignificant4 Creature am I in this prodigious Ocean of Waters; my Existence is of no Concern5 to the Universe, I am reduced to a Kind of Nothing, and am less then the least of the Works of God.' It so happened, that an Oyster, which lay in the Neighbourhood of this Drop, chanced to gape and swallow it up in the midst of this its6 humble Soliloquy. The Drop, says the Fable, lay a great while hardning in the Shell, 'till by Degrees it was ripen'd into a Pearl, which falling into the Hands of a Diver, after a long Series of Adventures, is at present that famous Pearl which is fixed on the Top of the Persian Diadem.


Footnote 1:  Balthasar Gracian, a Spanish Jesuit, who died in 1658, rector of the Jesuits' College of Tarragona, wrote many books in Spanish on Politics and Society, among others the one here referred to on the Courtier; which was known to Addison, doubtless, through the French translation by Amelot de la Houssaye.
return to footnote mark
cross-reference: return to Footnote 3 of No. 379

Footnote 2:   Corrected by an erratum to you see in, but in reprint altered by the addition of has represented.

Footnote 3:   Timotheus the Athenian.

Footnote 4:  Altered by an erratum to inconsiderable to avoid the repetition 'insignificant,' and insignificancy;' but in the reprint the second word was changed.

Footnote 5:   significancy

Footnote 6:   his

Contents, p.4

No. 294

Wednesday, February 6, 1712


Difficile est plurimum virtutem revereri qui semper secunda fortuna sit usus.

Tull. ad Herennium.

Insolence is the Crime of all others which every Man is most apt to rail at; and yet is there one Respect in which almost all Men living are guilty of it, and that is in the Case of laying a greater Value upon the Gifts of Fortune than we ought. It is here in England come into our very Language, as a Propriety of Distinction, to say, when we would speak of Persons to their Advantage, they are People of Condition. There is no doubt but the proper Use of Riches implies that a Man should exert all the good Qualities imaginable; and if we mean by a Man of Condition or Quality, one who, according to the Wealth he is Master of, shews himself just, beneficent, and charitable, that Term ought very deservedly to be had in the highest Veneration; but when Wealth is used only as it is the Support of Pomp and Luxury, to be rich is very far from being a Recommendation to Honour and Respect. It is indeed the greatest Insolence imaginable, in a Creature who would feel the Extreams of Thirst and Hunger, if he did not prevent his Appetites before they call upon him, to be so forgetful of the common Necessity of Human Nature, as never to cast an Eye upon the Poor and Needy. The Fellow who escaped from a Ship which struck upon a Rock in the West, and join'd with the Country People to destroy his Brother Sailors and make her a Wreck, was thought a most execrable Creature; but does not every Man who enjoys the Possession of what he naturally wants, and is unmindful of the unsupplied Distress of other Men, betray the same Temper of Mind? When a Man looks about him, and with regard to Riches and Poverty beholds some drawn in Pomp and Equipage, and they and their very Servants with an Air of Scorn and Triumph overlooking the Multitude that pass by them; and, in the same Street, a Creature of the same Make crying out in the Name of all that is Good and Sacred to behold his Misery, and give him some Supply against Hunger and Nakedness, who would believe these two Beings were of the same Species? But so it is, that the Consideration of Fortune has taken up all our Minds, and, as I have often complained, Poverty and Riches stand in our Imaginations in the Places of Guilt and Innocence. But in all Seasons there will be some Instances of Persons who have Souls too large to be taken with popular Prejudices, and while the rest of Mankind are contending for Superiority in Power and Wealth, have their Thoughts bent upon the Necessities of those below them. The Charity-Schools which have been erected of late Years, are the greatest Instances of publick Spirit the Age has produced: But indeed when we consider how long this Sort of Beneficence has been on Foot, it is rather from the good Management of those Institutions, than from the Number or Value of the Benefactions to them, that they make so great a Figure. One would think it impossible, that in the Space of fourteen Years there should not have been five thousand Pounds bestowed in Gifts this Way, nor sixteen hundred Children, including Males and Females, put out to Methods of Industry. It is not allowed me to speak of Luxury and Folly with the severe Spirit they deserve; I shall only therefore say, I shall very readily compound with any Lady in a Hoop-Petticoat, if she gives the Price of one half Yard of the Silk towards Cloathing, Feeding and Instructing an Innocent helpless Creature of her own Sex in one of these Schools. The Consciousness of such an Action will give her Features a nobler Life on this illustrious Day1, than all the Jewels that can hang in her Hair, or can be clustered at her Bosom. It would be uncourtly to speak in harsher Words to the Fair, but to Men one may take a little more Freedom. It is monstrous how a Man can live with so little Reflection, as to fancy he is not in a Condition very unjust and disproportioned to the rest of Mankind, while he enjoys Wealth, and exerts no Benevolence or Bounty to others. As for this particular Occasion of these Schools, there cannot any offer more worthy a generous Mind. Would you do an handsome thing without Return? do it for an Infant that is not sensible of the Obligation: Would you do it for publick Good? do it for one who will be an honest Artificer: Would you do it for the Sake of Heaven? give it to one who shall be instructed in the Worship of him for whose Sake you gave it. It is methinks a most laudable Institution this, if it were of no other Expectation than that of producing a Race of good and useful Servants, who will have more than a liberal, a religious Education. What would not a Man do, in common Prudence, to lay out in Purchase of one about him, who would add to all his Orders he gave the Weight of the Commandments to inforce an Obedience to them? for one who would consider his Master as his Father, his Friend, and Benefactor, upon the easy Terms, and in Expectation of no other Return but moderate Wages and gentle Usage? It is the common Vice of Children to run too much among the Servants; from such as are educated in these Places they would see nothing but Lowliness in the Servant, which would not be disingenuous in the Child. All the ill Offices and defamatory Whispers which take their Birth from Domesticks, would be prevented, if this Charity could be made universal; and a good Man might have a Knowledge of the whole Life of the Persons he designs to take into his House for his own Service, or that of his Family or Children, long before they were admitted. This would create endearing Dependencies: and the Obligation would have a paternal Air in the Master, who would be relieved from much Care and Anxiety from the Gratitude and Diligence of an humble Friend attending him as his Servant. I fall into this Discourse from a Letter sent to me, to give me Notice that Fifty Boys would be Cloathed, and take their Seats (at the Charge of some generous Benefactors) in St. Bride's Church on Sunday next. I wish I could promise to my self any thing which my Correspondent seems to expect from a Publication of it in this Paper; for there can be nothing added to what so many excellent and learned Men have said on this Occasion: But that there may be something here which would move a generous Mind, like that of him who writ to me, I shall transcribe an handsome Paragraph of Dr. Snape's Sermon on these Charities, which my Correspondent enclosed with this Letter.
The wise Providence has amply compensated the Disadvantages of the Poor and Indigent, in wanting many of the Conveniencies of this Life, by a more abundant Provision for their Happiness in the next. Had they been higher born, or more richly endowed, they would have wanted this Manner of Education, of which those only enjoy the Benefit, who are low enough to submit to it; where they have such Advantages without Money, and without Price, as the Rich cannot purchase with it. The Learning which is given, is generally more edifying to them, than that which is sold to others: Thus do they become more exalted in Goodness, by being depressed in Fortune, and their Poverty is, in Reality, their Preferment2.

Footnote 1:   Queen Anne's birthday. She was born Feb. 6, 1665, and died Aug. 1, 1714, aged 49.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   From January 24 there occasionally appears the advertisement.
'Just Published.

'A very neat Pocket Edition of the Spectator, in two volumes 12mo. Printed for S. Buckley, at the Dolphin, in Little Britain, and J. Tonson, at Shakespear's Head, over-against Catherine-Street in the Strand.'

Contents, p.4

No. 295

Thursday, February 7, 1712


Prodiga non sentit pereuntem fæmina censum:
At velut exhaustâ redivivus pullulet arcâ
Nummus, et è pleno semper tollatur acervo,
Non unquam reputat quanti sibi gandia constent.


Mr. Spectator,

I am turned of my great Climacteric, and am naturally a Man of a meek Temper. About a dozen Years ago I was married, for my Sins, to a young Woman of a good Family, and of an high Spirit; but could not bring her to close with me, before I had entered into a Treaty with her longer than that of the Grand Alliance. Among other Articles, it was therein stipulated, that she should have £400 a Year for Pin-money, which I obliged my self to pay Quarterly into the hands of one who had acted as her Plenipotentiary in that Affair. I have ever since religiously observed my part in this solemn Agreement. Now, Sir, so it is, that the Lady has had several Children since I married her; to which, if I should credit our malicious Neighbours, her Pin-money has not a little contributed. The Education of these my Children, who, contrary to my Expectation, are born to me every Year, streightens me so much, that I have begged their Mother to free me from the Obligation of the above-mentioned Pin-money, that it may go towards making a Provision for her Family. This Proposal makes her noble Blood swell in her Veins, insomuch that finding me a little tardy in her last Quarter's Payment, she threatens me every Day to arrest me; and proceeds so far as to tell me, that if I do not do her Justice, I shall die in a Jayl. To this she adds, when her Passion will let her argue calmly, that she has several Play-Debts on her Hand, which must be discharged very suddenly, and that she cannot lose her Money as becomes a Woman of her Fashion, if she makes me any Abatements in this Article. I hope, Sir, you will take an Occasion from hence to give your Opinion upon a Subject which you have not yet touched, and inform us if there are any Precedents for this Usage among our Ancestors; or whether you find any mention of Pin-money in Grotius, Puffendorf, or any other of the Civilians.

I am ever
the humblest of your Admirers,
Josiah Fribble, Esq.

As there is no Man living who is a more professed Advocate for the Fair Sex than my self, so there is none that would be more unwilling to invade any of their ancient Rights and Privileges; but as the Doctrine of Pin-money is of a very late Date, unknown to our Great Grandmothers, and not yet received by many of our Modern Ladies, I think it is for the Interest of both Sexes to keep it from spreading.

Mr. Fribble may not, perhaps, be much mistaken where he intimates, that the supplying a Man's Wife with Pin-money, is furnishing her with Arms against himself, and in a manner becoming accessary to his own Dishonour. We may indeed, generally observe, that in proportion as a Woman is more or less Beautiful, and her Husband advanced in Years, she stands in need of a greater or less number of Pins, and upon a Treaty of Marriage, rises or falls in her Demands accordingly. It must likewise be owned, that high Quality in a Mistress does very much inflame this Article in the Marriage Reckoning.

But where the Age and Circumstances of both Parties are pretty much upon a level, I cannot but think the insisting upon Pin-money is very extraordinary; and yet we find several Matches broken off upon this very Head. What would a Foreigner, or one who is a Stranger to this Practice, think of a Lover that forsakes his Mistress, because he is not willing to keep her in Pins; but what would he think of the Mistress, should he be informed that she asks five or six hundred Pounds a Year for this use? Should a Man unacquainted with our Customs be told the Sums which are allowed in Great Britain, under the Title of Pin-money, what a prodigious Consumption of Pins would he think there was in this Island? A Pin a Day, says our frugal Proverb, is a Groat a Year, so that according to this Calculation, my Friend Fribble's Wife must every Year make use of Eight Millions six hundred and forty thousand new Pins.

I am not ignorant that our British Ladies allege they comprehend under this general Term several other Conveniencies of Life; I could therefore wish, for the Honour of my Countrywomen, that they had rather called it Needle-Money, which might have implied something of Good-housewifry, and not have given the malicious World occasion to think, that Dress and Trifles have always the uppermost Place in a Woman's Thoughts.

I know several of my fair Reasoners urge, in defence of this Practice, that it is but a necessary Provision they make for themselves, in case their Husband proves a Churl or a Miser; so that they consider this Allowance as a kind of Alimony, which they may lay their Claim to, without actually separating from their Husbands. But with Submission, I think a Woman who will give up her self to a Man in Marriage, where there is the least Room for such an Apprehension, and trust her Person to one whom she will not rely on for the common Necessaries of Life, may very properly be accused (in the Phrase of an homely Proverb) of being Penny wise and Pound foolish.

It is observed of over-cautious Generals, that they never engage in a Battel without securing a Retreat, in case the Event should not answer their Expectations; on the other hand, the greatest Conquerors have burnt their Ships, or broke down the Bridges behind them, as being determined either to succeed or die in the Engagement. In the same manner I should very much suspect a Woman who takes such Precautions for her Retreat, and contrives Methods how she may live happily, without the Affection of one to whom she joins herself for Life. Separate Purses between Man and Wife are, in my Opinion, as unnatural as separate Beds. A Marriage cannot be happy, where the Pleasures, Inclinations, and Interests of both Parties are not the same. There is no greater Incitement to Love in the Mind of Man, than the Sense of a Person's depending upon him for her Ease and Happiness; as a Woman uses all her Endeavours to please the Person whom she looks upon as her Honour, her Comfort, and her Support.

For this Reason I am not very much surprized at the Behaviour of a rough Country 'Squire, who, being not a little shocked at the Proceeding of a young Widow that would not recede from her Demands of Pin-money, was so enraged at her mercenary Temper, that he told her in great Wrath, 'As much as she thought him her Slave, he would shew all the World he did not care a Pin for her.' Upon which he flew out of the Room, and never saw her more.

Socrates, in Plato's Altibiades, says, he was informed by one, who had travelled through Persia, that as he passed over a great Tract of Lands, and enquired what the Name of the Place was, they told him it was the Queen's Girdle; to which he adds, that another wide Field which lay by it, was called the Queen's Veil; and that in the same Manner there was a large Portion of Ground set aside for every part of Her Majesty's' Dress. These Lands might not be improperly called the Queen of Persia's Pin-money.

I remember my Friend Sir Roger, who I dare say never read this Passage in Plato, told me some time since, that upon his courting the Perverse Widow (of whom I have given an Account in former Papers) he had disposed of an hundred Acres in a Diamond-Ring, which he would have presented her with, had she thought fit to accept it; and that upon her Wedding-Day she should have carried on her Head fifty of the tallest Oaks upon his Estate. He further informed me that he would have given her a Cole-pit to keep her in clean Linnen, that he would have allowed her the Profits of a Windmill for her Fans, and have presented her once in three Years with the Sheering of his Sheep for her1 Under-Petticoats. To which the Knight always adds, that though he did not care for fine Cloaths himself, there should not have been a Woman in the Country better dressed than my Lady Coverley. Sir Roger perhaps, may in this, as well as in many other of his Devices, appear something odd and singular, but if the Humour of Pin-money prevails, I think it would be very proper for every Gentleman of an Estate to mark out so many Acres of it under the Title of The Pins.


Footnote 1:   to keep her in
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Contents, p.4

No. 296

Friday, February 8, 1712


Nugis addere pondus.


Dear Spec.

Having lately conversed much with the Fair Sex on the Subject of your Speculations, (which since their Appearance in Publick, have been the chief Exercise of the Female loquacious Faculty) I found the fair Ones possess'd with a Dissatisfaction at your prefixing Greek Motto's to the Frontispiece of your late Papers; and, as a Man of Gallantry, I thought it a Duty incumbent on me to impart it to you, in Hopes of a Reformation, which is only to be effected by a Restoration of the Latin to the usual Dignity in your Papers, which of late, the Greek, to the great Displeasure of your Female Readers, has usurp'd; for tho' the Latin has the Recommendation of being as unintelligible to them as the Greek, yet being written of the same Character with their Mother-Tongue, by the Assistance of a Spelling-Book it's legible; which Quality the Greek wants: And since the Introduction of Operas into this Nation, the Ladies are so charmed with Sounds abstracted from their Ideas, that they adore and honour the Sound of Latin as it is old Italian. I am a Sollicitor for the Fair Sex, and therefore think my self in that Character more likely to be prevalent in this Request, than if I should subscribe myself by my proper Name.

I desire you may insert this in one of your Speculations, to shew my Zeal for removing the Dissatisfaction of the Fair Sex, and restoring you to their Favour.


I was some time since in Company with a young Officer, who entertained us with the Conquest he had made over a Female Neighbour of his; when a Gentleman who stood by, as I suppose, envying the Captain's good Fortune, asked him what Reason he had to believe the Lady admired him? Why, says he, my Lodgings are opposite to hers, and she is continually at her Window either at Work, Reading, taking Snuff, or putting her self in some toying Posture on purpose to draw my Eyes that Way. The Confession of this vain Soldier made me reflect on some of my own Actions; for you must know, Sir, I am often at a Window which fronts the Apartments of several Gentlemen, who I doubt not have the same Opinion of me. I must own I love to look at them all, one for being well dressed, a second for his fine Eye, and one particular one, because he is the least Man I ever saw; but there is something so easie and pleasant in the Manner of my little Man, that I observe he is a Favourite of all his Acquaintance. I could go on to tell you of many others that I believe think I have encouraged them from my Window: But pray let me have your Opinion of the Use of the Window in a beautiful Lady: and how often she may look out at the same Man, without being supposed to have a Mind to jump out to him. Yours,
Aurelia Careless.'


Mr. Spectator,

'I have for some Time made Love to a Lady, who received it with all the kind Returns I ought to expect. But without any Provocation, that I know of, she has of late shunned me with the utmost Abhorrence, insomuch that she went out of Church last Sunday in the midst of Divine Service, upon my coming into the same Pew. Pray, Sir, what must I do in this Business?
Your Servant,

Let her alone Ten Days.

York, Jan. 20, 1711-12.

Mr. Spectator,

'We have in this Town a sort of People who pretend to Wit and write Lampoons: I have lately been the Subject of one of them. The Scribler had not Genius enough in Verse to turn my Age, as indeed I am an old Maid, into Raillery, for affecting a youthier Turn than is consistent with my Time of Day; and therefore he makes the Title to his Madrigal, The Character of Mrs. Judith Lovebane, born in the Year 16801. What I desire of you is, That you disallow that a Coxcomb who pretends to write Verse, should put the most malicious Thing he can say in Prose. This I humbly conceive will disable our Country Wits, who indeed take a great deal of Pains to say any thing in Rhyme, tho' they say it very ill.
I am, Sir,
Your Humble Servant,
Susanna Lovebane.'

Mr. Spectator,
'We are several of us, Gentlemen and Ladies, who Board in the same House, and after Dinner one of our Company (an agreeable Man enough otherwise) stands up and reads your Paper to us all. We are the civillest People in the World to one another, and therefore I am forced to this way of desiring our Reader, when he is doing this Office, not to stand afore the Fire. This will be a general Good to our Family this cold Weather. He will, I know, take it to be our common Request when he comes to these Words, Pray, Sir, sit down; which I desire you to insert, and you will particularly oblige
Your Daily Reader,
Charity Frost.'


I am a great Lover of Dancing, but cannot perform so well as some others; however, by my Out-of-the-Way Capers, and some original Grimaces, I don't fail to divert the Company, particularly the Ladies, who laugh immoderately all the Time. Some, who pretend to be my Friends, tell me they do it in Derision, and would advise me to leave it off, withal that I make my self ridiculous. I don't know what to do in this Affair, but I am resolved not to give over upon any Account, 'till I have the Opinion of the Spectator.
Your humble Servant,
John Trott.'

If Mr. Trott is not awkward out of Time, he has a Right to Dance let who will Laugh: But if he has no Ear he will interrupt others; and I am of Opinion he should sit still. Given under my Hand this Fifth of February, 1711-12.
The Spectator.


Footnote 1:   1750
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Contents, p.4

No. 297

Saturday, February 9, 1712


—velut si
Egregio inspersos reprendas corpore nævos.


After what I have said in my last Saturday's Paper, I shall enter on the Subject of this without further Preface, and remark the several Defects which appear in the Fable, the Characters, the Sentiments, and the Language of Milton's Paradise Lost; not doubting but the Reader will pardon me, if I alledge at the same time whatever may be said for the Extenuation of such Defects. The first Imperfection which I shall observe in the Fable is that the Event of it is unhappy.

The Fable of every Poem is, according to Aristotle's Division, either Simple or Implex1. It is called Simple when there is no change of Fortune in it: Implex, when the Fortune of the chief Actor changes from Bad to Good, or from Good to Bad. The Implex Fable is thought the most perfect; I suppose, because it is more proper to stir up the Passions of the Reader, and to surprize him with a greater Variety of Accidents.

The Implex Fable is therefore of two kinds: In the first the chief Actor makes his Way through a long Series of Dangers and Difficulties, till he arrives at Honour and Prosperity, as we see in the Story of Ulysses2. In the second, the chief Actor in the Poem falls from some eminent Pitch of Honour and Prosperity, into Misery and Disgrace. Thus we see Adam and Eve sinking from a State of Innocence and Happiness, into the most abject Condition of Sin and Sorrow.

The most taking Tragedies among the Ancients were built on this last sort of Implex Fable, particularly the Tragedy of Œdipus, which proceeds upon a Story, if we may believe Aristotle, the most proper for Tragedy that could be invented by the Wit of Man3. I have taken some Pains in a former Paper to shew, that this kind of Implex Fable, wherein the Event is unhappy, is more apt to affect an Audience than that of the first kind; notwithstanding many excellent Pieces among the Ancients, as well as most of those which have been written of late Years in our own Country, are raised upon contrary Plans. I must however own, that I think this kind of Fable, which is the most perfect in Tragedy, is not so proper for an Heroic Poem.

Milton seems to have been sensible of this Imperfection in his Fable, and has therefore endeavoured to cure it by several Expedients; particularly by the Mortification which the great Adversary of Mankind meets with upon his Return to the Assembly of Infernal Spirits, as it is described in a,4 beautiful Passage of the Tenth Book; and likewise by the Vision wherein Adam at the close of the Poem sees his Off-spring triumphing over his great Enemy, and himself restored to a happier Paradise than that from which he fell.

There is another Objection against Milton's Fable, which is indeed almost the same with the former, tho' placed in a different Light, namely, That the Hero in the Paradise Lost is unsuccessful, and by no means a Match for his Enemies. This gave Occasion to Mr. Dryden's Reflection, that the Devil was in reality Milton's Hero5.

I think I have obviated this Objection in my first Paper. The Paradise Lost is an Epic or a Narrative Poem, and he that looks for an Hero in it, searches for that which Milton never intended; but6 if he will needs fix the Name of an Hero upon any Person in it, 'tis certainly the Messiah who is the Hero, both in the Principal Action, and in the chief Episodes7. Paganism could not furnish out a real Action for a Fable greater than that of the Iliad or Æneid, and therefore an Heathen could not form a higher Notion of a Poem than one of that kind, which they call an Heroic. Whether Milton's is not of a sublimer8 Nature I will not presume to determine: It is sufficient that I shew there is in the Paradise Lost all the Greatness of Plan, Regularity of Design, and masterly Beauties which we discover in Homer and Virgil.

I must in the next Place observe, that Milton has interwoven in the Texture of his Fable some Particulars which do not seem to have Probability enough for an Epic Poem, particularly in the Actions which he ascribes to Sin and Death, and the Picture which he draws of the Limbo of Vanity, with other Passages in the second Book. Such Allegories rather savour of the Spirit of Spenser and Ariosto, than of Homer and Virgil.

In the Structure of his Poem he has likewise admitted of too many Digressions. It is finely observed by Aristotle, that the Author of an Heroic Poem should seldom speak himself, but throw as much of his Work as he can into the Mouths of those who are his Principal Actors9.

Aristotle has given no reason for this Precept; but I presume it is because the Mind of the Reader is more awed and elevated when he hears Æneas or Achilles speak, than when Virgil or Homer talk in their own Persons. Besides that assuming the Character of an eminent Man is apt to fire the Imagination, and raise the Ideas of the Author. Tully tells us10, mentioning his Dialogue of Old Age, in which Cato is the chief Speaker, that upon a Review of it he was agreeably imposed upon, and fancied that it was Cato, and not he himself, who uttered his Thoughts on that Subject.

If the Reader would be at the Pains to see how the Story of the Iliad and the Æneid is delivered by those Persons who act in it, he will be surprized to find how little in either of these Poems proceeds from the Authors. Milton has, in the general disposition of his Fable, very finely observed this great Rule; insomuch that there is scarce a third Part of it which comes from the Poet; the rest is spoken either by Adam and Eve, or by some Good or Evil Spirit who is engaged either in their Destruction or Defence.

From what has been here observed it appears, that Digressions are by no means to be allowed of in an Epic Poem. If the Poet, even in the ordinary course of his Narration, should speak as little as possible, he should certainly never let his Narration sleep for the sake of any Reflections of his own. I have often observed, with a secret Admiration, that the longest Reflection in the Æneid is in that Passage of the Tenth Book, where Turnus is represented as dressing himself in the Spoils of Pallas, whom he had slain. Virgil here lets his Fable stand still for the-sake of the following Remark. How is the Mind of Man ignorant of Futurity, and unable to bear prosperous Fortune with Moderation? The Time will come when Turnus shall wish that he had left the Body of Pallas untouched, and curse the Day on which he dressed himself in these Spoils. As the great Event of the Æneid, and the Death of Turnus, whom Æneas slew because he saw him adorned with the Spoils of Pallas, turns upon this Incident, Virgil went out of his way to make this Reflection upon it, without which so small a Circumstance might possibly have slipped out of his Reader's Memory. Lucan, who was an Injudicious Poet, lets drop his Story very frequently for the sake of his unnecessary Digressions, or his Diverticula, as Scaliger calls them.11 If he gives us an Account of the Prodigies which preceded the Civil War, he declaims upon the Occasion, and shews how much happier it would be for Man, if he did not feel his Evil Fortune before it comes to pass; and suffer not only by its real Weight, but by the Apprehension of it. Milton's Complaint for12 his Blindness, his Panegyrick on Marriage, his Reflections on Adam and Eve's going naked, of the Angels eating, and several other Passages in his Poem, are liable to the same Exception, tho' I must confess there is so great a Beauty in these very Digressions, that I would not wish them out of his Poem.

I have, in a former Paper, spoken of the Characters of Milton's Paradise Lost, and declared my Opinion, as to the Allegorical Persons who are introduced in it.

If we look into the Sentiments, I think they are sometimes defective under the following Heads: First, as there are several of them too much pointed, and some that degenerate even into Punns. Of this last kind I am afraid is that in the First Book, where speaking of the Pigmies, he calls them,
—The small Infantry
Warrdon by Cranes—
Another Blemish that13 appears in some of his Thoughts, is his frequent Allusion to Heathen Fables, which are not certainly of a Piece with the Divine Subject, of which he treats. I do not find fault with these Allusions, where the Poet himself represents them as fabulous, as he does in some Places, but where he mentions them as Truths and Matters of Fact. The Limits of my Paper will not give me leave to be particular in Instances of this kind; the Reader will easily remark them in his Perusal of the Poem.

A third fault in his Sentiments, is an unnecessary Ostentation of Learning, which likewise occurs very frequently. It is certain that both Homer and Virgil were Masters of all the Learning of their Times, but it shews it self in their Works after an indirect and concealed manner. Milton seems ambitious of letting us know, by his Excursions on Free-Will and Predestination, and his many Glances upon History, Astronomy, Geography, and the like, as well as by the Terms and Phrases he sometimes makes use of, that he was acquainted with the whole Circle of Arts and Sciences.

If, in the last place, we consider the Language of this great Poet, we must allow what I have hinted in a former Paper, that it is often too much laboured, and sometimes obscured by old Words, Transpositions, and Foreign Idioms. Seneca's Objection to the Style of a great Author, Riget ejus oratio, nihil in eâ placidum nihil lene, is what many Criticks make to Milton: As I cannot wholly refuse it, so I have already apologized for it in another Paper; to which I may further add, that Milton's Sentiments and Ideas were so wonderfully Sublime, that it would have been impossible for him to have represented them in their full Strength and Beauty, without having recourse to these Foreign Assistances. Our Language sunk under him, and was unequal to that Greatness of Soul, which furnished him with such glorious Conceptions.

A second Fault in his Language is, that he often affects a kind of Jingle in his Words, as in the following Passages, and many others:
And brought into the World a World of Woe.

—Begirt th' Almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging—

This tempted our attempt—

At one slight bound high overleapt all bound.
I know there are Figures for this kind of Speech, that some of the greatest Ancients have been guilty of it, and that Aristotle himself has given it a place in his Rhetorick among the Beauties of that Art.14 But as it is in its self poor and trifling, it is I think at present universally exploded by all the Masters of Polite Writing.

The last Fault which I shall take notice of in Milton's Style, is the frequent use of what the Learned call Technical Words , or Terms of Art. It is one of the great Beauties of Poetry, to make hard things intelligible, and to deliver what is abstruse of15 it self in such easy Language as may be understood by ordinary Readers: Besides, that the Knowledge of a Poet should rather seem born with him, or inspired, than drawn from Books and Systems. I have often wondered how Mr. Dryden could translate a Passage out of Virgil after the following manner.
Tack to the Larboard, and stand off to Sea.
Veer Star-board Sea and Land.
Milton makes use of Larboard in the same manner. When he is upon Building he mentions Doric Pillars, Pilasters, Cornice, Freeze, Architrave. When he talks of Heavenly Bodies, you meet with Eccliptic and Eccentric, the trepidation, Stars dropping from the Zenith, Rays culminating from the Equator. To which might be added many Instances of the like kind in several other Arts and Sciences.

I shall in my next Papers16 give an Account of the many particular Beauties in Milton, which would have been too long to insert under those general Heads I have already treated of, and with which I intend to conclude this Piece of Criticism.


Footnote 1:  Poetics, cap. x. Addison got his affected word 'implex' by reading Aristotle through the translation and notes of André Dacier. Implex was the word used by the French, but the natural English translation of Aristotle's Greek: haploì and Greek: peplegménoi is into simple and complicated.
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Footnote 2:   Stories of Achilles, Ulysses, and Æneas.

Footnote 3:   Poetics, cap. xi.

Footnote 4:   that

Footnote 5:   Dediction of the Æneid; where, after speaking of small claimants of the honours of the Epic, he says,
'Spencer has a better for his "Fairy Queen" had his action been finished, or been one; and Milton if the Devil had not been his hero, instead of Adam; if the giant had not foiled the knight, and driven him out of his stronghold, to wander through the world with his lady-errant; and if there had not been more machining persons that human in his poem.'

Footnote 6:   or

Footnote 7:   Episode

Footnote 8:   greater

Footnote 9:   Poetics, cap. xxv. The reason he gives is that when the Poet speaks in his own person 'he is not then the Imitator.' Other Poets than Homer, Aristotle adds,
'ambitious to figure throughout themselves, imitate but little and seldom. Homer, after a few preparatory lines, immediately introduces a man or woman or some other character, for all have their character.'
Of Lucan, as an example of the contrary practice, Hobbes said in his 'Discourse concerning the Virtues of an Heroic Poem,'
'No Heroic Poem raises such admiration of the Poet, as his hath done, though not so great admiration of the persons he introduceth.'

Footnote 10:   Letters to Atticus, Bk. xiii., Ep. 44.

Footnote 11:   Poetices, Lib. iii. cap. 25.

Footnote 12:   of

Footnote 13:   which

Footnote 14:   Rhetoric, iii. ch. II, where he cites such verbal jokes as, You wish him Greek: pérsai (i.e. to side with Persia—to ruin him), and the saying of Isocrates concerning Athens, that its sovereignty Greek: archàe was to the city a beginning Greek: archàe of evils. As this closes Addison's comparison of Milton's practice with Aristotle's doctrine (the following papers being expressions of his personal appreciation of the several books of Paradise Lost), we may note here that Milton would have been quite ready to have his work tried by the test Addison has been applying. In his letter to Samuel Hartlib, sketching his ideal of a good Education, he assigns to advanced pupils logic and then
'rhetoric taught out of the rules of Plato, Aristotle, Phalereus, Cicero, Hermogenes, Longinus. To which poetry would be made subsequent, or, indeed, rather precedent, as being less subtile and fine, but more simple, sensuous, and passionate. I mean not here the prosody of a verse, which they could not but have hit on before among the rudiments of grammar; but that sublime art which in Aristotle's Poetics, in Horace, and the Italian commentaries of Castelvetro, Tasso, Mazzoni, and others, teaches what the laws are of a true epic poem, what of a dramatic, what of a lyric, what decorum is, which is the grand masterpiece to observe. This would make them soon perceive what despicable creatures our common rhymers and play-writers be; and show them what religious, what glorious and magnificent use might be made of poetry, both in divine and human things.'

Footnote 15:   in

Footnote 16:   Saturday's Paper

Contents, p.4

No. 298

Monday, February 11, 1712


Nusquam Tuta fides.


'I am a Virgin, and in no Case despicable; but yet such as I am I must remain, or else become, 'tis to be feared, less happy: for I find not the least good Effect from the just Correction you some time since gave, that too free, that looser Part of our Sex which spoils the Men; the same Connivance at the Vices, the same easie Admittance of Addresses, the same vitiated Relish of the Conversation of the greatest of Rakes (or in a more fashionable Way of expressing one's self, of such as have seen the World most) still abounds, increases, multiplies.

'The humble Petition therefore of many of the most strictly virtuous, and of my self, is, That you'll once more exert your Authority, and that according to your late Promise, your full, your impartial Authority, on this sillier Branch of our Kind: For why should they be the uncontroulable Mistresses of our Fate? Why should they with Impunity indulge the Males in Licentiousness whilst single, and we have the dismal Hazard and Plague of reforming them when married? Strike home, Sir, then, and spare not, or all our maiden Hopes, our gilded Hopes of nuptial Felicity are frustrated, are vanished, and you your self, as well as Mr. Courtly, will, by smoothing over immodest Practices with the Gloss of soft and harmless Names, for ever forfeit our Esteem. Nor think that I'm herein more severe than need be: If I have not reason more than enough, do you and the World judge from this ensuing Account, which, I think, will prove the Evil to be universal.

'You must know then, that since your Reprehension of this Female Degeneracy came out, I've had a Tender of Respects from no less than five Persons, of tolerable Figure too as Times go: But the Misfortune is, that four of the five are professed Followers of the Mode. They would face me down, that all Women of good Sense ever were, and ever will be, Latitudinarians in Wedlock; and always did, and will, give and take what they profanely term Conjugal Liberty of Conscience.

'The two first of them, a Captain and a Merchant, to strengthen their Argument, pretend to repeat after a Couple, a Brace of Ladies of Quality and Wit, That Venus was always kind to Mars; and what Soul that has the least spark of Generosity, can deny a Man of Bravery any thing? And how pitiful a Trader that, whom no Woman but his own Wife will have Correspondence and Dealings with? Thus these; whilst the third, the Country Squire, confessed, That indeed he was surprized into good Breeding, and entered into the Knowledge of the World unawares. That dining t'other Day at a Gentleman's House, the Person who entertained was obliged to leave him with his Wife and Nieces; where they spoke with so much Contempt of an absent Gentleman for being slow at a Hint, that he had resolved never to be drowsy, unmannerly, or stupid for the future at a Friend's House; and on a hunting Morning, not to pursue the Game either with the Husband abroad, or with the Wife at home.

'The next that came was a Tradesman, no1 less full of the Age than the former; for he had the Gallantry to tell me, that at a late Junket which he was invited to, the Motion being made, and the Question being put, 'twas by Maid, Wife and Widow resolved nemine contradicente, That a young sprightly Journeyman is absolutely necessary in their Way of Business: To which they had the Assent and Concurrence of the Husbands present. I dropped him a Curtsy, and gave him to understand that was his Audience of Leave.

'I am reckoned pretty, and have had very many Advances besides these; but have been very averse to hear any of them, from my Observation on these above-mentioned, 'till I hoped some Good from the Character of my present Admirer, a Clergyman. But I find even amongst them there are indirect Practices in relation to Love, and our Treaty is at present a little in Suspence, 'till some Circumstances are cleared. There is a Charge against him among the Women, and the Case is this: It is alledged, That a certain endowed Female would have appropriated her self to and consolidated her self with a Church, which my Divine now enjoys; (or, which is the same thing, did prostitute her self to her Friend's doing this for her): That my Ecclesiastick, to obtain the one, did engage himself to take off the other that lay on Hand; but that on his Success in the Spiritual, he again renounced the Carnal.

I put this closely to him, and taxed him with Disingenuity. He to clear himself made the subsequent Defence, and that in the most solemn Manner possible: That he was applied to and instigated to accept of a Benefice: That a conditional Offer thereof was indeed made him at first, but with Disdain by him rejected: That when nothing (as they easily perceived) of this Nature could bring him to their Purpose, Assurance of his being entirely unengaged before-hand, and safe from all their After-Expectations (the only Stratagem left to draw him in) was given him: That pursuant to this the Donation it self was without Delay, before several reputable Witnesses, tendered to him gratis, with the open Profession of not the least Reserve, or most minute Condition; but that yet immediately after Induction, his insidious Introducer (or her crafty Procurer, which you will) industriously spread the Report, which had reached my Ears, not only in the Neighbourhood of that said Church, but in London, in the University, in mine and his own County, and where-ever else it might probably obviate his Application to any other Woman, and so confine him to this alone: And, in a Word, That as he never did make any previous Offer of his Service, or the least Step to her Affection; so on his Discovery of these Designs thus laid to trick him, he could not but afterwards, in Justice to himself, vindicate both his Innocence and Freedom by keeping his proper Distance.

'This is his Apology, and I think I shall be satisfied with it. But I cannot conclude my tedious Epistle, without recommending to you not only to resume your former Chastisement, but to add to your Criminals the Simoniacal Ladies, who seduce the sacred Order into the Difficulty of either breaking a mercenary Troth made to them whom they ought not to deceive, or by breaking or keeping it offending against him whom they cannot deceive. Your Assistance and Labours of this sort would be of great Benefit, and your speedy Thoughts on this Subject would be very seasonable to,

Sir, Your most obedient Servant,
Chastity Loveworth.'

Footnote 1:   nor
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Contents, p.4

No. 299

Tuesday, February 12, 1712


Malo Venusinam, quam te, Cornelia, Mater
Gracchorum, si cum magnis virtutibus affers
Grande supercilium, et numeras in dote triumphos.
Tolle tuum precor Annibalem victumque Syphacem
In castris, et cum totâ Carthagine migra.


It is observed, that a Man improves more by reading the Story of a Person eminent for Prudence and Virtue, than by the finest Rules and Precepts of Morality. In the same manner a Representation of those Calamities and Misfortunes which a weak Man suffers from wrong Measures, and ill-concerted Schemes of Life, is apt to make a deeper Impression upon our Minds, than the wisest Maxims and Instructions that can be given us, for avoiding the like Follies and Indiscretions on our own private Conduct. It is for this Reason that I lay before my Reader the following Letter, and leave it with him to make his own use of it, without adding any Reflections of my own upon the Subject Matter.

Mr. Spectator,

'Having carefully perused a Letter sent you by Josiah Fribble, Esq., with your subsequent Discourse upon Pin-Money, I do presume to trouble you with an Account of my own Case, which I look upon to be no less deplorable than that of Squire Fribble. I am a Person of no Extraction, having begun the World with a small parcel of Rusty Iron, and was for some Years commonly known by the Name of Jack Anvil1. I have naturally a very happy Genius for getting Money, insomuch that by the Age of Five and twenty I had scraped together Four thousand two hundred Pounds Five Shillings, and a few odd Pence. I then launched out into considerable Business, and became a bold Trader both by Sea and Land, which in a few Years raised me a very great2 Fortune. For these my Good Services I was Knighted in the thirty fifth Year of my Age, and lived with great Dignity among my City-Neighbours by the Name of Sir John Anvil. Being in my Temper very Ambitious, I was now bent upon making a Family, and accordingly resolved that my Descendants should have a Dash of Good Blood in their Veins. In order to this, I made Love to the Lady Mary Oddly, an Indigent young Woman of Quality. To cut short the Marriage Treaty, I threw her a Charte Blanche, as our News Papers call it, desiring her to write upon it her own Terms. She was very concise in her Demands, insisting only that the Disposal of my Fortune, and the Regulation of my Family, should be entirely in her Hands. Her Father and Brothers appeared exceedingly averse to this Match, and would not see me for some time; but at present are so well reconciled, that they Dine with me almost every Day, and have borrowed considerable Sums of me; which my Lady Mary very often twits me with, when she would shew me how kind her Relations are to me. She had no Portion, as I told you before, but what she wanted in Fortune, she makes up in Spirit. She at first changed my Name to Sir John Envil, and at present writes her self Mary Enville. I have had some Children by her, whom she has Christened with the Sirnames of her Family, in order, as she tells me, to wear out the Homeliness of their Parentage by the Father's Side. Our eldest Son is the Honourable Oddly Enville, Esq., and our eldest Daughter Harriot Enville. Upon her first coming into my Family, she turned off a parcel of very careful Servants, who had been long with me, and introduced in their stead a couple of Black-a-moors, and three or four very genteel Fellows in Laced Liveries, besides her French woman, who is perpetually making a Noise in the House in a Language which no body understands, except my Lady Mary. She next set her self to reform every Room of my House, having glazed all my Chimney-pieces with Looking-glass, and planted every Corner with such heaps of China, that I am obliged to move about my own House with the greatest Caution and Circumspection, for fear of hurting some of our Brittle Furniture. She makes an Illumination once a Week with Wax-Candles in one of the largest Rooms, in order, as she phrases it, to see Company. At which time she always desires me to be Abroad, or to confine my self to the Cock-loft, that I may not disgrace her among her Visitants of Quality. Her Footmen, as I told you before, are such Beaus that I do not much care for asking them Questions; when I do, they answer me with a sawcy Frown, and say that every thing, which I find Fault with, was done by my Lady Mary's Order. She tells me that she intends they shall wear Swords with their next Liveries, having lately observed the Footmen of two or three Persons of Quality hanging behind the Coach with Swords by their Sides. As soon as the first Honey-Moon was over, I represented to her the Unreasonableness of those daily Innovations which she made in my Family, but she told me I was no longer to consider my self as Sir John Anvil, but as her Husband; and added, with a Frown, that I did not seem to know who she was. I was surprized to be treated thus, after such Familiarities as had passed between us. But she has since given me to know, that whatever Freedoms she may sometimes indulge me in, she expects in general to be treated with the Respect that is due to her Birth and Quality. Our Children have been trained up from their Infancy with so many Accounts of their Mother's Family, that they know the Stories of all the great Men and Women it has produced. Their Mother tells them, that such an one commanded in such a Sea Engagement, that their Great Grandfather had a Horse shot under him at Edge-hill, that their Uncle was at the Siege of Buda, and that her Mother danced in a Ball at Court with the Duke of Monmouth; with abundance of Fiddle-faddle of the same Nature. I was, the other Day, a little out of Countenance at a Question of my little Daughter Harriot, who asked me, with a great deal of Innocence, why I never told them of the Generals and Admirals that had been in my Family. As for my Eldest Son Oddly, he has been so spirited up by his Mother, that if he does not mend his Manners I shall go near to disinherit him. He drew his Sword upon me before he was nine years old, and told me, that he expected to be used like a Gentleman; upon my offering to correct him for his Insolence, my Lady Mary stept in between us, and told me, that I ought to consider there was some Difference between his Mother and mine. She is perpetually finding out the Features of her own Relations in every one of my Children, tho', by the way, I have a little Chubfaced Boy as like me as he can stare, if I durst say so; but what most angers me, when she sees me playing with any of them upon my Knee, she has begged me more than once to converse with the Children as little as possibly, that they may not learn any of my awkward Tricks.

'You must farther know, since I am opening my Heart to you, that she thinks her self my Superior in Sense, as much as she is in Quality, and therefore treats me like a plain well-meaning Man, who does not know the World. She dictates to me in my own Business, sets me right in Point of Trade, and if I disagree with her about any of my Ships at Sea, wonders that I will dispute with her, when I know very well that her Great Grandfather was a Flag Officer.

'To compleat my Sufferings, she has teazed me for this Quarter of a3 Year last past, to remove into one of the Squares at the other End of the Town, promising for my Encouragement, that I shall have as good a Cock-loft as any Gentleman in the Square; to which the Honourable Oddly Enville, Esq., always adds, like a Jack-a-napes as he is, that he hopes 'twill be as near the Court as possible.

'In short, Mr. Spectator, I am so much out of my natural Element, that to recover my old Way of Life I would be content to begin the World again, and be plain Jack Anvil; but alas! I am in for Life, and am bound to subscribe my self, with great Sorrow of Heart,

Your humble Servant,

John Enville, Knt.'

Footnote 1:   This has been said to refer to a Sir Ambrose Crowley, who changed his name to Crawley.
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Footnote 2:   considerable corrected by an erratum in No. 301.

Footnote 3:   an

Contents, p.4

No. 300

Wednesday, February 13, 1712


Diversum vitio vitium prope majus.


Mr. Spectator,

'When you talk of the Subject of Love, and the Relations arising from it, methinks you should take Care to leave no Fault unobserved which concerns the State of Marriage. The great Vexation that I have observed in it, is, that the wedded Couple seem to want Opportunities of being often enough alone together, and are forced to quarrel and be fond before Company. Mr. Hotspur and his Lady, in a Room full of their Friends, are ever saying something so smart to each other, and that but just within Rules, that the whole Company stand in the utmost Anxiety and Suspence for fear of their falling into Extremities which they could not be present at. On the other Side, Tom Faddle and his pretty Spouse where-ever they come are billing at such a Rate, as they think must do our Hearts good who behold 'em. Cannot you possibly propose a Mean between being Wasps and Doves in Publick? I should think if you advised to hate or love sincerely it would be better: For if they would be so discreet as to hate from the very Bottom of their Hearts, their Aversion would be too strong for little Gibes every Moment; and if they loved with that calm and noble Value which dwells in the Heart, with a Warmth like that of Life-Blood, they would not be so impatient of their Passion as to fall into observable Fondness. This Method, in each Case, would save Appearances; but as those who offend on the fond Side are by much the fewer, I would have you begin with them, and go on to take Notice of a most impertinent Licence married Women take, not only to be very loving to their Spouses in Publick, but also make nauseous Allusions to private Familiarities, and the like. Lucina is a Lady of the greatest Discretion, you must know, in the World; and withal very much a Physician: Upon the Strength of these two Qualities there is nothing she will not speak of before us Virgins; and she every Day talks with a very grave Air in such a Manner, as is very improper so much as to be hinted at but to obviate the greatest Extremity. Those whom they call good Bodies, notable People, hearty Neighbours, and the purest goodest Company in the World, are the great Offenders in this Kind. Here I think I have laid before you an open Field for Pleasantry; and hope you will shew these People that at least they are not witty: In which you will save from many a Blush a daily Sufferer, who is very much

Your most humble Servant,
Susanna Loveworth.'

Mr. Spectator,

'In yours of Wednesday the 30th past, you and your Correspondent are very severe on a sort of Men, whom you call Male Coquets; but without any other Reason, in my Apprehension, than that of paying a shallow Compliment to the fair Sex, by accusing some Men of imaginary Faults, that the Women may not seem to be the more faulty Sex; though at the same time you suppose there are some so weak as to be imposed upon by fine Things and false Addresses. I can't persuade my self that your Design is to debar the Sexes the Benefit of each other's Conversation within the Rules of Honour; nor will you, I dare say, recommend to 'em, or encourage the common Tea-Table Talk, much less that of Politicks and Matters of State: And if these are forbidden Subjects of Discourse, then, as long as there are any Women in the World who take a Pleasure in hearing themselves praised, and can bear the Sight of a Man prostrate at their Feet, so long I shall make no Wonder that there are those of the other Sex who will pay them those impertinent Humiliations. We should have few People such Fools as to practise Flattery, if all were so wise as to despise it. I don't deny but you would do a meritorious Act, if you could prevent all Impositions on the Simplicity of young Women; but I must confess I don't apprehend you have laid the Fault on the proper Person, and if I trouble you with my Thoughts upon it I promise my self your Pardon. Such of the Sex as are raw and innocent, and most exposed to these Attacks, have, or their Parents are much to blame if they have not, one to advise and guard 'em, and are obliged themselves to take Care of 'em: but if these, who ought to hinder Men from all Opportunities of this sort of Conversation, instead of that encourage and promote it, the Suspicion is very just that there are some private Reasons for it; and I'll leave it to you to determine on which Side a Part is then acted. Some Women there are who are arrived at Years of Discretion, I mean are got out of the Hands of their Parents and Governours, and are set up for themselves, who yet are liable to these Attempts; but if these are prevailed upon, you must excuse me if I lay the Fault upon them, that their Wisdom is not grown with their Years. My Client, Mr. Strephon, whom you summoned to declare himself, gives you Thanks however for your Warning, and begs the Favour only to inlarge his Time for a Week, or to the last Day of the Term, and then he'll appear gratis, and pray no Day over.

Mr. Spectator,

'I was last Night to visit a Lady who I much esteem, and always took for my Friend; but met with so very different a Reception from what I expected, that I cannot help applying my self to you on this Occasion. In the room of that Civility and Familiarity I used to be treated with by her, an affected Strangeness in her Looks, and Coldness in her Behaviour, plainly told me I was not the welcome Guest which the Regard and Tenderness she has often expressed for me gave me Reason to flatter my self to think I was. Sir, this is certainly a great Fault, and I assure you a very common one; therefore I hope you will think it a fit Subject for some Part of a Spectator. Be pleased to acquaint us how we must behave our selves towards this valetudinary Friendship, subject to so many Heats and Colds, and you will oblige,
Sir, Your humble Servant,


'I cannot forbear acknowledging the Delight your late Spectators on Saturdays have given me; for it is writ in the honest Spirit of Criticism, and called to my Mind the following four Lines I had read long since in a Prologue to a Play called Julius Cæsar1 which has deserved a better Fate. The Verses are addressed to the little Criticks.
Shew your small Talent, and let that suffice ye;
But grow not vain upon it, I advise ye.
For every Fop can find out Faults in Plays:
You'll ne'er arrive at Knowing when to praise.
Yours, D. G.'

Footnote 1:   By William Alexander, Earl of Stirling (who died in 1640); one of his four 'Monarchicke Tragedies.' He received a grant of Nova Scotia to colonize, and was secretary of state for Scotland.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p.4

No. 301

Thursday, February 14, 1712


Possint ut Juvenes visere fervidi
Multo non sine risu,
Dilapsam in cineres facem.


We are generally so much pleased with any little Accomplishments, either of Body or Mind, which have once made us remarkable in the World, that we endeavour to perswade our selves it is not in the Power of Time to rob us of them. We are eternally pursuing the same Methods which first procured us the Applauses of Mankind. It is from this Notion that an Author writes on, tho' he is come to Dotage; without ever considering that his Memory is impaired, and that he has lost that Life, and those Spirits, which formerly raised his Fancy, and fired his Imagination. The same Folly hinders a Man from submitting his Behaviour to his Age, and makes Clodius, who was a celebrated Dancer at five and twenty, still love to hobble in a Minuet, tho' he is past Threescore. It is this, in a Word, which fills the Town with elderly Fops, and superannuated Coquets.

Canidia, a Lady of this latter Species, passed by me Yesterday in her Coach. Canidia was an haughty Beauty of the last Age, and was followed by Crowds of Adorers, whose Passions only pleased her, as they gave her Opportunities of playing the Tyrant. She then contracted that awful Cast of the Eye and forbidding Frown, which she has not yet laid aside, and has still all the Insolence of Beauty without its Charms. If she now attracts the Eyes of any Beholders, it is only by being remarkably ridiculous; even her own Sex laugh at her Affectation; and the Men, who always enjoy an ill-natured Pleasure in seeing an imperious Beauty humbled and neglected, regard her with the same Satisfaction that a free Nation sees a Tyrant in Disgrace.

Will. Honeycomb, who is a great Admirer of the Gallantries in King Charles the Second's Reign, lately communicated to me a Letter written by a Wit of that Age to his Mistress, who it seems was a Lady of Canidia's Humour; and tho' I do not always approve of my Friend Will's Taste, I liked this Letter so well, that I took a Copy of it, with which I shall here present my Reader.

To Cloe.

'Since my waking Thoughts have never been able to influence you in my Favour, I am resolved to try whether my Dreams can make any Impression on you. To this end I shall give you an Account of a very odd one which my Fancy presented to me last Night, within a few Hours after I left you.

'Methought I was unaccountably conveyed into the most delicious Place mine Eyes ever beheld, it was a large Valley divided by a River of the purest Water I had ever seen. The Ground on each Side of it rose by an easie Ascent, and was covered with Flowers of an infinite Variety, which as they were reflected in the Water doubled the Beauties of the Place, or rather formed an Imaginary Scene more beautiful than the real. On each Side of the River was a Range of lofty Trees, whose Boughs were loaden with almost as many Birds as Leaves. Every Tree was full of Harmony.

'I had not gone far in this pleasant Valley, when I perceived that it was terminated by a most magnificent Temple. The Structure was ancient, and regular. On the Top of it was figured the God Saturn, in the same Shape and Dress that the Poets usually represent Time.

'As I was advancing to satisfie my Curiosity by a nearer View, I was stopped by an Object far more beautiful than any I had before discovered in the whole Place. I fancy, Madam, you will easily guess that this could hardly be any thing but your self; in reality it was so; you lay extended on the Flowers by the side of the River, so that your Hands which were thrown in a negligent Posture, almost touched the Water. Your Eyes were closed; but if your Sleep deprived me of the Satisfaction of seeing them, it left me at leisure to contemplate several other Charms, which disappear when your Eyes are open. I could not but admire the Tranquility you slept in, especially when I considered the Uneasiness you produce in so many others.

'While I was wholly taken up in these Reflections, the Doors of the Temple flew open, with a very great Noise; and lifting up my Eyes, I saw two Figures, in human Shape, coming into the Valley. Upon a nearer Survey, I found them to be Youth and Love. The first was encircled with a kind of Purple Light, that spread a Glory over all the Place; the other held a flaming Torch in his Hand. I could observe, that all the way as they came towards us, the Colours of the Flowers appeared more lively, the Trees shot out in Blossoms, the Birds threw themselves into Pairs, and Serenaded them as they passed: The whole Face of Nature glowed with new Beauties. They were no sooner arrived at the Place where you lay, when they seated themselves on each Side of you. On their Approach, methought I saw a new Bloom arise in your Face, and new Charms diffuse themselves over your whole Person. You appeared more than Mortal; but, to my great Surprise, continued fast asleep, tho' the two Deities made several gentle Efforts to awaken you.

'After a short Time, Youth (displaying a Pair of Wings, which I had not before taken notice of) flew off. Love still remained, and holding the Torch which he had in his Hand before your Face, you still appeared as beautiful as ever. The glaring of the Light in your Eyes at length awakened you; when, to my great Surprise, instead of acknowledging the Favour of the Deity, you frowned upon him, and struck the Torch out of his Hand into the River. The God after having regarded you with a Look that spoke at once1 his Pity and Displeasure, flew away. Immediately a kind of Gloom overspread the whole Place. At the same time I saw an hideous Spectre enter at one end of the Valley. His Eyes were sunk into his Head, his Face was pale and withered, and his Skin puckered up in Wrinkles. As he walked on the sides of the Bank the River froze, the Flowers faded, the Trees shed their Blossoms, the Birds dropped from off the Boughs, and fell dead at his Feet. By these Marks I knew him to be Old-age. You were seized with the utmost Horror and Amazement at his Approach. You endeavoured to have fled, but the Phantome caught you in his Arms. You may easily guess at the Change you suffered in this Embrace. For my own Part, though I am still too full of the frightful2 Idea, I will not shock you with a Description of it. I was so startled at the Sight that my Sleep immediately left me, and I found my self awake, at leisure to consider of a Dream which seems too extraordinary to be without a Meaning. I am, Madam, with the greatest Passion,
Your most Obedient,
most Humble Servant, &c.'

Footnote 1:   the same time

Footnote 2:   dreadful

Contents, p.4

No. 302

Friday, February 15, 1712


Lachrymæque decoræ,
Gratior et pulchro veniens in corpore Virtus.

Vir. Æn. 5.

I read what I give for the Entertainment of this Day with a great deal of Pleasure, and publish it just as it came to my Hands. I shall be very glad to find there are many guessed at for Emilia.

Mr. Spectator1,

If this Paper has the good Fortune to be honoured with a Place in your Writings, I shall be the more pleased, because the Character of Emilia is not an imaginary but a real one. I have industriously obscured the whole by the Addition of one or two Circumstances of no Consequence, that the Person it is drawn from might still be concealed; and that the Writer of it might not be in the least suspected, and for other2 Reasons, I chuse not to give it the Form of a Letter: But if, besides the Faults of the Composition, there be any thing in it more proper for a Correspondent than the Spectator himself to write, I submit it to your better Judgment, to receive any other Model you think fit.
I am, Sir,
Your very humble Servant.'
There is nothing which gives one so pleasing a Prospect of human Nature, as the Contemplation of Wisdom and Beauty: The latter is the peculiar Portion of that Sex which is therefore called Fair; but the happy Concurrence of both these Excellencies in the same Person, is a Character too celestial to be frequently met with. Beauty is an over-weaning self-sufficient thing, careless of providing it self any more substantial Ornaments; nay so little does it consult its own Interests, that it too often defeats it self by betraying that Innocence which renders it lovely and desirable. As therefore Virtue makes a beautiful Woman appear more beautiful, so Beauty makes a virtuous Woman really more virtuous. Whilst I am considering these two Perfections gloriously united in one Person, I cannot help representing to my Mind the Image of Emilia.

Who ever beheld the charming Emilia, without feeling in his Breast at once the Glow of Love and the Tenderness of virtuous Friendship? The unstudied Graces of her Behaviour, and the pleasing Accents of her Tongue, insensibly draw you on to wish for a nearer Enjoyment of them; but even her Smiles carry in them a silent Reproof to the Impulses of licentious Love. Thus, tho' the Attractives of her Beauty play almost irresistibly upon you and create Desire, you immediately stand corrected not by the Severity but the Decency of her Virtue. That Sweetness and Good-humour which is so visible in her Face, naturally diffuses it self into every Word and Action: A Man must be a Savage, who at the Sight of Emilia, is not more inclined to do her Good than gratifie himself. Her Person, as it is thus studiously embellished by Nature, thus adorned with unpremeditated Graces, is a fit Lodging for a Mind so fair and lovely; there dwell rational Piety, modest Hope, and chearful Resignation.

Many of the prevailing Passions of Mankind do undeservedly pass under the Name of Religion; which is thus made to express itself in Action, according to the Nature of the Constitution in which it resides: So that were we to make a Judgment from Appearances, one would imagine Religion in some is little better than Sullenness and Reserve, in many Fear, in others the Despondings of a melancholly Complexion, in others the Formality of insignificant unaffecting Observances, in others Severity, in others Ostentation. In Emilia it is a Principle founded in Reason and enlivened with Hope; it does not break forth into irregular Fits and Sallies of Devotion, but is an uniform and consistent Tenour of Action; It is strict without Severity, compassionate without Weakness; it is the Perfection of that good Humour which proceeds from the Understanding, not the Effect of an easy Constitution.

By a generous Sympathy in Nature, we feel our selves disposed to mourn when any of our Fellow-Creatures are afflicted; but injured Innocence and Beauty in Distresses an Object that carries in it something inexpressibly moving: It softens the most manly Heart with the tenderest Sensations of Love and Compassion, till at length it confesses its Humanity, and flows out into Tears.

Were I to relate that part of Emilia's Life which has given her an Opportunity of exerting the Heroism of Christianity, it would make too sad, too tender a Story: But when I consider her alone in the midst of her Distresses, looking beyond this gloomy Vale of Affliction and Sorrow into the Joys of Heaven and Immortality, and when I see her in Conversation thoughtless and easie as if she were the most happy Creature in the World, I am transported with Admiration. Surely never did such a Philosophic Soul inhabit such a beauteous Form! For Beauty is often made a Privilege against Thought and Reflection; it laughs at Wisdom, and will not abide the Gravity of its Instructions.

Were I able to represent Emilia's Virtues in their proper Colours and their due Proportions, Love or Flattery might perhaps be thought to have drawn the Picture larger than Life; but as this is but an imperfect Draught of so excellent a Character, and as I cannot, will not hope to have any Interest in her Person, all that I can say of her is but impartial Praise extorted from me by the prevailing Brightness of her Virtues. So rare a Pattern of Female Excellence ought not to be concealed, but should be set out to the View and Imitation of the World; for how amiable does Virtue appear thus as it were made visible to us in so fair an Example!

Honoria's Disposition is of a very different Turn: Her Thoughts are wholly bent upon Conquest and arbitrary Power. That she has some Wit and Beauty no Body denies, and therefore has the Esteem of all her Acquaintance as a Woman of an agreeable Person and Conversation; but (whatever her Husband may think of it) that is not sufficient for Honoria: She waves that Title to Respect as a mean Acquisition, and demands Veneration in the Right of an Idol; for this Reason her natural Desire of Life is continually checked with an inconsistent Fear of Wrinkles and old Age.

Emilia cannot be supposed ignorant of her personal Charms, tho' she seems to be so; but she will not hold her Happiness upon so precarious a Tenure, whilst her Mind is adorned with Beauties of a more exalted and lasting Nature. When in the full Bloom of Youth and Beauty we saw her surrounded with a Crowd of Adorers, she took no Pleasure in Slaughter and Destruction, gave no false deluding Hopes which might encrease the Torments of her disappointed Lovers; but having for some Time given to the Decency of a Virgin Coyness, and examined the Merit of their several Pretensions, she at length gratified her own, by resigning herself to the ardent Passion of Bromius. Bromius was then Master of many good Qualities and a moderate Fortune, which was soon after unexpectedly encreased to a plentiful Estate. This for a good while proved his Misfortune, as it furnished his unexperienced Age with the Opportunities of Evil Company and a sensual Life. He might have longer wandered in the Labyrinths of Vice and Folly, had not Emilia's prudent Conduct won him over to the Government of his Reason. Her Ingenuity has been constantly employed in humanizing his Passions and refining his Pleasures. She shewed him by her own Example, that Virtue is consistent with decent Freedoms and good Humour, or rather, that it cannot subsist without 'em. Her good Sense readily instructed her, that a silent Example and an easie unrepining Behaviour, will always be more perswasive than the Severity of Lectures and Admonitions; and that there is so much Pride interwoven into the Make of human Nature, that an obstinate Man must only take the Hint from another, and then be left to advise and correct himself. Thus by an artful Train of Management and unseen Perswasions, having at first brought him not to dislike, and at length to be pleased with that which otherwise he would not have bore to hear of, she then knew how to press and secure this Advantage, by approving it as his Thoughts, and seconding it as his Proposal. By this Means she has gained an Interest in some of his leading Passions, and made them accessary to his Reformation.

There is another Particular of Emilia's Conduct which I can't forbear mentioning: To some perhaps it may at first Sight appear but a trifling inconsiderable Circumstance but for my Part, I think it highly worthy of Observation, and to be recommended to the Consideration of the fair Sex. I have often thought wrapping Gowns and dirty Linnen, with all that huddled Œconomy of Dress which passes under the general Name of a Mob, the Bane of conjugal Love, and one of the readiest Means imaginable to alienate the Affection of an Husband, especially a fond one. I have heard some Ladies, who have been surprized by Company in such a Deshabille, apologize for it after this Manner; Truly I am ashamed to be caught in this Pickle; but my Husband and I were sitting all alone by our selves, and I did not expect to see such good Company —This by the way is a fine Compliment to the good Man, which 'tis ten to one but he returns in dogged Answers and a churlish Behaviour, without knowing what it is that puts him out of Humour.

Emilia's Observation teaches her, that as little Inadvertencies and Neglects cast a Blemish upon a great Character; so the Neglect of Apparel, even among the most intimate Friends, does insensibly lessen their Regards to each other, by creating a Familiarity too low and contemptible. She understands the Importance of those Things which the Generality account Trifles; and considers every thing as a Matter of Consequence, that has the least Tendency towards keeping up or abating the Affection of her Husband; him she esteems as a fit Object to employ her Ingenuity in pleasing, because he is to be pleased for Life.

By the Help of these, and a thousand other nameless Arts, which 'tis easier for her to practise than for another to express, by the Obstinacy of her Goodness and unprovoked Submission, in spight of all her Afflictions and ill Usage, Bromius is become a Man of Sense and a kind Husband, and Emilia a happy Wife.

Ye guardian Angels to whose Care Heaven has entrusted its dear Emilia, guide her still forward in the Paths of Virtue, defend her from the Insolence and Wrongs of this undiscerning World; at length when we must no more converse with such Purity on Earth, lead her gently hence innocent and unreprovable to a better Place, where by an easie Transition from what she now is, she may shine forth an Angel of Light.

Footnote 1:  The character of Emilia in this paper was by Dr. Bromer, a clergyman. The lady is said to have been 'the mother of Mr. Ascham, of Conington, in Cambridgeshire, and grandmother of Lady Hatton.' The letter has been claimed also for John Hughes (Letters of John Hughes, &c., vol. iii. p. 8), and Emilia identified with Anne, Countess of Coventry.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   some other

Contents, p.4

No. 303

Saturday, February 16, 1712


—volet hæc sub luce videri,
Judicis argulum quæ non formidat acumen.


I have seen in the Works of a Modern Philosopher, a Map of the Spots in the Sun. My last Paper of the Faults and Blemishes in Milton's Paradise Lost, may be considered as a Piece of the same Nature. To pursue the Allusion: As it is observed, that among the bright Parts of the Luminous Body above mentioned, there are some which glow more intensely, and dart a stronger Light than others; so, notwithstanding I have already shewn Milton's Poem to be very beautiful in general, I shall now proceed to take Notice of such Beauties as appear to me more exquisite than the rest. Milton has proposed the Subject of his Poem in the following Verses.
Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought Death into the World and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blisful Seat,
Sing Heavenly Muse—
These Lines are perhaps as plain, simple and unadorned as any of the whole Poem, in which Particular the Author has conformed himself to the Example of Homer and the Precept of Horace.

His Invocation to a Work which turns in a great measure upon the Creation of the World, is very properly made to the Muse who inspired Moses in those Books from whence our Author drew his Subject, and to the Holy Spirit who is therein represented as operating after a particular manner in the first Production of Nature. This whole Exordium rises very happily into noble Language and Sentiment, as I think the Transition to the Fable is exquisitely beautiful and natural.

The Nine Days Astonishment, in which the Angels lay entranced after their dreadful Overthrow and Fall from Heaven, before they could recover either the use of Thought or Speech, is a noble Circumstance, and very finely imagined. The Division of Hell into Seas of Fire, and into firm Ground impregnated with the same furious Element, with that particular Circumstance of the Exclusion of Hope from those Infernal Regions, are Instances of the same great and fruitful Invention.

The Thoughts in the first Speech and Description of Satan, who is one of the Principal Actors in this Poem, are wonderfully proper to give us a full Idea of him. His Pride, Envy and Revenge, Obstinacy, Despair and Impenitence, are all of them very artfully interwoven. In short, his first Speech is a Complication of all those Passions which discover themselves separately in several other of his Speeches in the Poem. The whole part of this great Enemy of Mankind is filled with such Incidents as are very apt to raise and terrifie the Reader's Imagination. Of this nature, in the Book now before us, is his being the first that awakens out of the general Trance, with his Posture on the burning Lake, his rising from it, and the Description of his Shield and Spear.
Thus Satan talking to his nearest Mate,
With head up-lift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blazed, his other parts beside
Prone on the Flood, extended long and large,
Lay floating many a rood—

Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty Stature; on each hand the flames
Driv'n backward slope their pointing Spires, and roared
In Billows, leave i'th' midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky Air
That felt unusual weight—

—His pondrous Shield
Ethereal temper, massie, large and round,
Behind him cast; the broad circumference
Hung on his Shoulders like the Moon, whose orb
Thro' Optick Glass the Tuscan Artist views
At Ev'ning, from the top of Fesole,
Or in Valdarno, to descry new Lands,
Rivers, or Mountains, on her spotted Globe.
His Spear (to equal which the tallest pine
Hewn on Norwegian Hills to be the Mast
Of some great Admiral, were but a wand)
He walk'd with, to support uneasie Steps
Over the burning Marl—
To which we may add his Call to the fallen Angels that lay plunged and stupified in the Sea of Fire.
He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded—
But there is no single Passage in the whole Poem worked up to a greater Sublimity, than that wherein his Person is described in those celebrated Lines:
—He, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent
Stood like a Tower, &c.
His Sentiments are every way answerable to his Character, and suitable to a created Being of the most exalted and most depraved Nature. Such is that in which he takes Possession of his Place of Torments.
—Hail Horrors! hail
Infernal World! and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor, one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time.
And Afterwards,
—Here at least
We shall be free; th'Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure; and in my choice
To reign is worth Ambition, tho' in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.
Amidst those Impieties which this Enraged Spirit utters in other places of the Poem, the Author has taken care to introduce none that is not big with absurdity, and incapable of shocking a Religious Reader; his Words, as the Poet himself describes them, bearing only a Semblance of Worth, not Substance. He is likewise with great Art described as owning his Adversary to be Almighty. Whatever perverse Interpretation he puts on the Justice, Mercy, and other Attributes of the Supreme Being, he frequently confesses his Omnipotence, that being the Perfection he was forced to allow him, and the only Consideration which could support his Pride under the Shame of his Defeat.

Nor must I here omit that beautiful Circumstance of his bursting out in Tears, upon his Survey of those innumerable Spirits whom he had involved in the same Guilt and Ruin with himself.
—He now prepared
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half enclose him round
With all his Peers: Attention held them mute.
Thrice he assayed, and thrice in spite of Scorn
Tears such as Angels weep, burst forth—
The Catalogue of Evil Spirits has abundance of Learning in it, and a very agreeable turn of Poetry, which rises in a great measure from its1 describing the Places where they were worshipped, by those beautiful Marks of Rivers so frequent among the Ancient Poets. The Author had doubtless in this place Homer's Catalogue of Ships, and Virgil's List of Warriors, in his View. The Characters of Moloch and Belial prepare the Reader's Mind for their respective Speeches and Behaviour in the second and sixth Book. The Account of Thammuz is finely Romantick, and suitable to what we read among the Ancients of the Worship which was paid to that Idol.
—Thammuz came next behind.
Whose annual Wound in Lebanon allured
The Syrian Damsels to lament his fate,
In amorous Ditties all a Summer's day,
While smooth Adonis from his native Rock
Ran purple to the Sea, supposed with Blood
Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the Love tale
Infected Zion's Daughters with like Heat,
Whose wanton Passions in the sacred Porch
Ezekiel saw, when by the Vision led
His Eye survey'd the dark Idolatries
Of alienated Judah.—
The Reader will pardon me if I insert as a Note on this beautiful Passage, the Account given us by the late ingenious Mr. Maundrell2 of this Ancient Piece of Worship, and probably the first Occasion of such a Superstition.
'We came to a fair large River—doubtless the Ancient River Adonis, so famous for the Idolatrous Rites performed here in Lamentation of Adonis. We had the Fortune to see what may be supposed to be the Occasion of that Opinion which Lucian relates, concerning this River, viz. That this Stream, at certain Seasons of the Year, especially about the Feast of Adonis, is of a bloody Colour; which the Heathens looked upon as proceeding from a kind of Sympathy in the River for the Death of Adonis, who was killed by a wild Boar in the Mountains, out of which this Stream rises. Something like this we saw actually come to pass; for the Water was stain'd to a surprizing Redness; and, as we observ'd in Travelling, had discolour'd the Sea a great way into a reddish Hue, occasion'd doubtless by a sort of Minium, or red Earth, washed into the River by the Violence of the Rain, and not by any Stain from Adonis's Blood.'
The Passage in the Catalogue, explaining the manner how Spirits transform themselves by Contractions or Enlargement of their Dimensions, is introduced with great Judgment, to make way for several surprizing Accidents in the Sequel of the Poem. There follows one, at the very End of the first Book, which is what the French Criticks call Marvellous, but at the same time probable by reason of the Passage last mentioned. As soon as the Infernal Palace is finished, we are told the Multitude and Rabble of Spirits immediately shrunk themselves into a small Compass, that there might be Room for such a numberless Assembly in this capacious Hall. But it is the Poet's Refinement upon this Thought which I most admire, and which is indeed very noble in its self. For he tells us, that notwithstanding the vulgar, among the fallen Spirits, contracted their Forms, those of the first Rank and Dignity still preserved their natural Dimensions.
Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest Forms
Reduced their Shapes immense, and were at large,
Though without Number, still amidst the Hall
Of that Infernal Court. But far within,
And in their own Dimensions like themselves,
The great Seraphick Lords and Cherubim,
In close recess and secret conclave sate,
A thousand Demy-Gods on Golden Seats,
Frequent and full—
The Character of Mammon and the Description of the Pandæmonium, are full of Beauties.

There are several other Strokes in the first Book wonderfully poetical, and Instances of that Sublime Genius so peculiar to the Author. Such is the Description of Azazel's Stature, and of the Infernal Standard, which he unfurls; as also of that ghastly Light, by which the Fiends appear to one another in their Place of Torments.
The Seat of Desolation, void of Light,
Save what the glimm'ring of those livid Flames
Casts pale and dreadful—
The Shout of the whole Host of fallen Angels when drawn up in Battel Array:
—The universal Host up sent
A Shout that tore Hell's Concave, and beyond
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.
The Review, which the Leader makes of his Infernal Army:
—He thro' the armed files
Darts his experienc'd eye, and soon traverse
The whole Battalion mews, their Order due,
Their Visages and Stature as of Gods.
Their Number last he sums; and now his Heart
Distends with Pride, and hard'ning in his strength
The Flash of Light which appear'd upon the drawing of their Swords:
He spake: and to confirm his words outflew
Millions of flaming Swords, drawn from the thighs
Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden Blaze
Far round illumin'd Hell—
The sudden Production of the Pandæmonium;
Anon out of the Earth a Fabrick huge
Rose like an Exhalation, with the Sound
Of dulcet Symphonies and Voices sweet.
The Artificial Illuminations made in it:
—From the arched Roof
Pendent by subtle Magick, many a Row
Of Starry Lamps and blazing Crescets, fed
With Naphtha and Asphaltus, yielded Light
As from a Sky—
There are also several noble Similes and Allusions in the First Book of Paradise Lost. And here I must observe, that when Milton alludes either to Things or Persons, he never quits his Simile till it rises to some very great Idea, which is often foreign to the Occasion that gave Birth to it. The Resemblance does not, perhaps, last above a Line or two, but the Poet runs on with the Hint till he has raised out of it some glorious Image or Sentiment, proper to inflame the Mind of the Reader, and to give it that sublime kind of Entertainment, which is suitable to the Nature of an Heroick Poem. Those who are acquainted with Homer's and Virgil's way of Writing, cannot but be pleased with this kind of Structure in Milton's Similitudes. I am the more particular on this Head, because ignorant Readers, who have formed their Taste upon the quaint Similes, and little Turns of Wit, which are so much in Vogue among Modern Poets, cannot relish these Beauties which are of a much higher Nature, and are therefore apt to censure Milton's Comparisons in which they do not see any surprizing Points of Likeness. Monsieur Perrault was a Man of this viciated Relish, and for that very Reason has endeavoured to turn into Ridicule several of Homer's Similitudes, which he calls Comparisons a longue queue, Long-tail'd Comparisons3. I shall conclude this Paper on the First Book of Milton with the Answer which Monsieur Boileau makes to Perrault on this Occasion;
'Comparisons, says he, in Odes and Epic Poems, are not introduced only to illustrate and embellish the Discourse, but to amuse and relax the Mind of the Reader, by frequently disengaging him from too painful an Attention to the Principal Subject, and by leading him into other agreeable Images. Homer, says he, excelled in this Particular, whose Comparisons abound with such Images of Nature as are proper to relieve and diversifie his Subjects. He continually instructs the Reader, and makes him take notice, even in Objects which are every Day before our Eyes, of such Circumstances as we should not otherwise have observed.'
To this he adds, as a Maxim universally acknowledged,
'That it is not necessary in Poetry for the Points of the Comparison to correspond with one another exactly, but that a general Resemblance is sufficient, and that too much Nicety in this Particular favours of the Rhetorician and Epigrammatist.'
In short, if we look into the Conduct of Homer, Virgil and Milton, as the great Fable is the Soul of each Poem, so to give their Works an agreeable Variety, their Episodes are so many short Fables, and their Similes so many short Episodes; to which you may add, if you please, that their Metaphors are so many short Similes. If the Reader considers the Comparisons in the first Book of Milton, of the Sun in an Eclipse, of the Sleeping Leviathan, of the Bees swarming about their Hive, of the Fairy Dance, in the view wherein I have here placed them, he will easily discover the great Beauties that are in each of those Passages.


Footnote :   his
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   A journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem at Easter, A.D. 1697. By Henry Maundrell, M.A. It was published at Oxford in 1703, and was in a new edition in 1707. It reached a seventh edition in 1749. Maundrell was a Fellow of Exter College, which he left to take the appointment of chaplain to the English factory at Aleppo. The brief account of his journey is in the form of a diary, and the passage quoted is under the date, March 15, when they were two days' journey from Tripoli. The stream he identifies with the Adonis was called, he says, by Turks Ibrahim Pasha. It is near Gibyle, called by the Greeks Byblus, a place once famous for the birth and temple of Adonis. The extract from Paradise Lost and the passage from Maundrell were interpolated in the first reprint of the Spectator.

Footnote 3:   See note to No. 279. Charles Perrault made himself a lasting name by his Fairy Tales, a charming embodiment of French nursery traditions. The four volumes of his Paralièle des Anciens et des Modernes 1692-6, included the good general idea of human progress, but worked it out badly, dealing irreverently with Plato as well as Homer and Pindar, and exalting among the moderns not only Molière and Corneille, but also Chapelain, Scuderi, and Quinault, whom he called 'the greatest lyrical and dramatic poet that France ever had.' The battle had begun with a debate in the Academy: Racine having ironically complimented Perrault on the ingenuity with which he had elevated little men above the ancients in his poem (published 1687), le Siècle de Louis le Grand. Fontenelle touched the matter lightly, as Perrault's ally, in his Digression sur les Anciens et les Modernes but afterwards drew back, saying, 'I do not belong to the party which claims me for its chief.' The leaders on the respective sides, unequally matched, were Perrault and Boileau.

Contents, p.4

No. 304

Monday, February 18, 1712


Vulnus alit venis et cæco carpitur igni.


The Circumstances of my Correspondent, whose Letter I now insert, are so frequent, that I cannot want Compassion so much as to forbear laying it before the Town. There is something so mean and inhuman in a direct Smithfield Bargain for Children, that if this Lover carries his Point, and observes the Rules he pretends to follow, I do not only wish him Success, but also that it may animate others to follow his Example. I know not one Motive relating to this Life which would produce so many honourable and worthy Actions, as the Hopes of obtaining a Woman of Merit: There would ten thousand Ways of Industry and honest Ambition be pursued by young Men, who believed that the Persons admired had Value enough for their Passion to attend the Event of their good Fortune in all their Applications, in order to make their Circumstances fall in with the Duties they owe to themselves, their Families, and their Country; All these Relations a Man should think of who intends to go into the State of Marriage, and expects to make it a State of Pleasure and Satisfaction.

Mr. Spectator,

I have for some Years indulged a Passion for a young Lady of Age and Quality suitable to my own, but very much superior in Fortune. It is the Fashion with Parents (how justly I leave you to judge) to make all Regards give way to the Article of Wealth. From this one Consideration it is that I have concealed the ardent Love I have for her; but I am beholden to the Force of my Love for many Advantages which I reaped from it towards the better Conduct of my Life. A certain Complacency to all the World, a strong Desire to oblige where-ever it lay in my Power, and a circumspect Behaviour in all my Words and Actions, have rendered me more particularly acceptable to all my Friends and Acquaintance. Love has had the same good Effect upon my Fortune; and I have encreased in Riches in proportion to my Advancement in those Arts which make a man agreeable and amiable. There is a certain Sympathy which will tell my Mistress from these Circumstances, that it is I who writ this for her Reading, if you will please to insert it. There is not a downright Enmity, but a great Coldness between our Parents; so that if either of us declared any kind Sentiment for each other, her Friends would be very backward to lay an Obligation upon our Family, and mine to receive it from hers. Under these delicate Circumstances it is no easie Matter to act with Safety. I have no Reason to fancy my Mistress has any Regard for me, but from a very disinterested Value which I have for her. If from any Hint in any future Paper of yours she gives me the least Encouragement, I doubt not but I shall surmount all other Difficulties; and inspired by so noble a Motive for the Care of my Fortune, as the Belief she is to be concerned in it, I will not despair of receiving her one Day from her Father's own Hand.

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble Servant,

To his Worship the Spectator,

The humble Petition of Anthony Title-Page, Stationer, in the Centre of Lincolns-Inn-Fields,

That your Petitioner and his Fore-Fathers have been Sellers of Books for Time immemorial; That your Petitioner's Ancestor, Crouchback Title-Page, was the first of that Vocation in Britain; who keeping his Station (in fair Weather) at the Corner of Lothbury, was by way of Eminency called the Stationer, a Name which from him all succeeding Booksellers have affected to bear: That the Station of your Petitioner and his Father has been in the Place of his present Settlement ever since that Square has been built: That your Petitioner has formerly had the Honour of your Worship's Custom, and hopes you never had Reason to complain of your Penny-worths; that particularly he sold you your first Lilly's Grammar, and at the same Time a Wit's Commonwealth almost as good as new: Moreover, that your first rudimental Essays in Spectatorship were made in your Petitioner's Shop, where you often practised for Hours together, sometimes on his Books upon the Rails, sometimes on the little Hieroglyphicks either gilt, silvered, or plain, which the Egyptian Woman on the other Side of the Shop had wrought in Gingerbread, and sometimes on the English Youth, who in sundry Places there were exercising themselves in the traditional Sports of the Field.

From these Considerations it is, that your Petitioner is encouraged to apply himself to you, and to proceed humbly to acquaint your Worship, That he has certain Intelligence that you receive great Numbers of defamatory Letters designed by their Authors to be published, which you throw aside and totally neglect: Your Petitioner therefore prays, that you will please to bestow on him those Refuse Letters, and he hopes by printing them to get a more plentiful Provision for his Family; or at the worst, he may be allowed to sell them by the Pound Weight to his good Customers the Pastry-Cooks of London and Westminster. And your Petitioner shall ever pray, &c.

To the Spectator,

The humble Petition of Bartholomew Ladylove, of Round-Court in the Parish of St. Martins in the Fields, in Behalf of himself and Neighbours,


That your Petitioners have with great Industry and Application arrived at the most exact Art of Invitation or Entreaty: That by a beseeching Air and perswasive Address, they have for many Years last past peaceably drawn in every tenth Passenger, whether they intended or not to call at their Shops, to come in and buy; and from that Softness of Behaviour, have arrived among Tradesmen at the gentle Appellation of the Fawners.

That there have of late set up amongst us certain Persons of Monmouth-street and Long-lane, who by the Strength of their Arms, and Loudness of their Throats, draw off the Regard of all Passengers from your said Petitioners; from which Violence they are distinguished by the Name of the Worriers.

That while your Petitioners stand ready to receive Passengers with a submissive Bow, and repeat with a gentle Voice, Ladies, what do you want? pray look in here; the Worriers reach out their Hands at Pistol-shot, and seize the Customers at Arms Length.

That while the Fawners strain and relax the Muscles of their Faces in making Distinction between a Spinster in a coloured Scarf and an Handmaid in a Straw-Hat, the Worriers use the same Roughness to both, and prevail upon the Easiness of the Passengers, to the Impoverishment of your Petitioners.

Your Petitioners therefore most humbly pray, that the Worriers may not be permitted to inhabit the politer Parts of the Town; and that Round-Court may remain a Receptacle for Buyers of a more soft Education.

And your Petitioners, &c.

The Petition of the New-Exchange, concerning the Arts of Buying and Selling, and particularly valuing Goods by the Complexion of the Seller, will be considered on another Occasion.


Contents, p.4

No. 305

Tuesday, February 19, 1712


Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis
Tempus eget.


Our late News-Papers being full of the Project now on foot in the Court of France, for Establishing a Political Academy, and I my self having received Letters from several Virtuoso's among my Foreign Correspondents, which give some Light into that Affair, I intend to make it the Subject of this Day's Speculation. A general Account of this Project may be met with in the Daily Courant of last Friday in the following Words, translated from the Gazette of Amsterdam.
Paris, February 12.
''Tis confirmed that the King has resolved to establish a new Academy for Politicks, of which the Marquis de Torcy, Minister and Secretary of State, is to be Protector. Six Academicians are to be chosen, endowed with proper Talents, for beginning to form this Academy, into which no Person is to be admitted under Twenty-five Years of Age: They must likewise each have an Estate of Two thousand Livres a Year, either in Possession, or to come to 'em by Inheritance. The King will allow to each a Pension of a Thousand Livres. They are likewise to have able Masters to teach 'em the necessary Sciences, and to instruct them in all the Treaties of Peace, Alliance, and others, which have been made in several Ages past. These Members are to meet twice a Week at the Louvre. From this Seminary are to be chosen Secretaries to Ambassies, who by degrees may advance to higher Employments.
Cardinal Richelieu's Politicks made France the Terror of Europe. The Statesmen who have appeared in the Nation of late Years, have on the contrary rendered it either the Pity or Contempt of its Neighbours. The Cardinal erected that famous Academy which has carried all the Parts of Polite Learning to the greatest Height. His chief Design in that Institution was to divert the Men of Genius from meddling with Politicks, a Province in which he did not care to have any one else interfere with him. On the contrary, the Marquis de Torcy seems resolved to make several young Men in France as Wise as himself, and is therefore taken up at present in establishing a Nursery of Statesmen.

Some private Letters add, that there will also be erected a Seminary of Petticoat Politicians, who are to be brought up at the Feet of Madam de Maintenon, and to be dispatched into Foreign Courts upon any Emergencies of State; but as the News of this last Project has not been yet confirmed, I shall take no farther Notice of it.

Several of my Readers may doubtless remember that upon the Conclusion of the last War, which had been carried on so successfully by the Enemy, their Generals were many of them transformed into Ambassadors; but the Conduct of those who have commanded in the present War, has, it seems, brought so little Honour and Advantage to their great Monarch, that he is resolved to trust his Affairs no longer in the Hands of those Military Gentlemen.

The Regulations of this new Academy very much deserve our Attention. The Students are to have in Possession, or Reversion, an Estate of two thousand French Livres per Annum, which, as the present Exchange runs, will amount to at least one hundred and twenty six Pounds English. This, with the Royal Allowance of a Thousand Livres, will enable them to find themselves in Coffee and Snuff; not to mention News-Papers, Pen and Ink, Wax and Wafers, with the like Necessaries for Politicians.

A Man must be at least Five and Twenty before he can be initiated into the Mysteries of this Academy, tho' there is no Question but many grave Persons of a much more advanced Age, who have been constant Readers of the Paris Gazette, will be glad to begin the World a-new, and enter themselves upon this List of Politicians.

The Society of these hopeful young Gentlemen is to be under the Direction of six Professors, who, it seems, are to be Speculative Statesmen, and drawn out of the Body of the Royal Academy. These six wise Masters, according to my private Letters, are to have the following Parts allotted them.

The first is to instruct the Students in State Legerdemain, as how to take off the Impression of a Seal, to split a Wafer, to open a Letter, to fold it up again, with other the like ingenious Feats of Dexterity and Art. When the Students have accomplished themselves in this Part of their Profession, they are to be delivered into the Hands of their second Instructor, who is a kind of Posture-Master.

This Artist is to teach them how to nod judiciously, to shrug up their Shoulders in a dubious Case, to connive with either Eye, and in a Word, the whole Practice of Political Grimace.

The Third is a sort of Language-Master, who is to instruct them in the Style proper for a Foreign Minister in his ordinary Discourse. And to the End that this College of Statesmen may be thoroughly practised in the Political Style, they are to make use of it in their common Conversations, before they are employed either in Foreign or Domestick Affairs. If one of them asks another, what a-clock it is, the other is to answer him indirectly, and, if possible, to turn off the Question. If he is desired to change a Louis d'or, he must beg Time to consider of it. If it be enquired of him, whether the King is at Versailles or Marly, he must answer in a Whisper. If he be asked the News of the late Gazette, or the Subject of a Proclamation, he is to reply, that he has not yet read it: Or if he does not care for explaining himself so far, he needs only draw his Brow up in Wrinkles, or elevate the Left Shoulder.

The Fourth Professor is to teach the whole Art of Political Characters and Hieroglyphics; and to the End that they may be perfect also in this Practice, they are not to send a Note to one another (tho' it be but to borrow a Tacitus or a Machiavil) which is not written in Cypher.

Their Fifth Professor, it is thought, will be chosen out of the Society of Jesuits, and is to be well read in the Controversies of probable Doctrines, mental Reservation, and the Rights of Princes. This Learned Man is to instruct them in the Grammar, Syntax, and construing Part of Treaty-Latin; how to distinguish between the Spirit and the Letter, and likewise demonstrate how the same Form of Words may lay an Obligation upon any Prince in Europe, different from that which it lays upon his Most Christian Majesty. He is likewise to teach them the Art of finding Flaws, Loop-holes, and Evasions, in the most solemn Compacts, and particularly a great Rabbinical Secret, revived of late Years by the Fraternity of Jesuits, namely, that contradictory Interpretations, of the same Article may both of them be true and valid.

When our Statesmen are sufficiently improved by these several Instructors