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Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

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Title: The Spectator, Volume 1
       Eighteenth-Century Periodical Essays

Author: Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

Posting Date: March 26, 2014 [EBook #9334]
Release Date: November, 2005
First Posted: September 24, 2003

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Jon Ingram, Clytie Sidall and PG Distributed Proofreaders

original title-page

The Spectator

in three volumes: volume 1

A New Edition

Reproducing the Original Text
Both as First Issued
and as Corrected by its Authors

with Introduction, Notes, and Index

edited by Henry Morley


Table of Contents

List of Original Advertisements Included

original advertisement

Each In Three Vols., Price 10s. 6d.

Charles Knight's Shakspere.

Napier's History of the Peninsular War. with Maps and Plans.

Longfellow's Works — poems — prose — Dante.

Boswell's Life Of Johnson. with Illustrations.

Motley's Rise Of The Dutch Republic.

Byron's Poetical Works.


When Richard Steele, in number 555 of his Spectator, signed its last paper and named those who had most helped him 'to keep up the spirit of so long and approved a performance,' he gave chief honour to one who had on his page, as in his heart, no name but Friend. This was
'the gentleman of whose assistance I formerly boasted in the Preface and concluding Leaf of my Tatlers. I am indeed much more proud of his long-continued Friendship, than I should be of the fame of being thought the author of any writings which he himself is capable of producing. I remember when I finished the Tender Husband, I told him there was nothing I so ardently wished, as that we might some time or other publish a work, written by us both, which should bear the name of The Monument, in Memory of our Friendship.'
Why he refers to such a wish, his next words show. The seven volumes of the Spectator, then complete, were to his mind The Monument, and of the Friendship it commemorates he wrote,
'I heartily wish what I have done here were as honorary to that sacred name as learning, wit, and humanity render those pieces which I have taught the reader how to distinguish for his.'
So wrote Steele; and the Spectator will bear witness how religiously his friendship was returned. In number 453, when, paraphrasing David's Hymn on Gratitude, the 'rising soul' of Addison surveyed the mercies of his God, was it not Steele whom he felt near to him at the Mercy-seat as he wrote
Thy bounteous hand with worldly bliss
Has made my cup run o'er,
And in a kind and faithful Friend
Has doubled all my store?
The Spectator, Steele-and-Addison's Spectator, is a monument befitting the most memorable friendship in our history. Steele was its projector, founder, editor, and he was writer of that part of it which took the widest grasp upon the hearts of men. His sympathies were with all England. Defoe and he, with eyes upon the future, were the truest leaders of their time. It was the firm hand of his friend Steele that helped Addison up to the place in literature which became him. It was Steele who caused the nice critical taste which Addison might have spent only in accordance with the fleeting fashions of his time, to be inspired with all Addison's religious earnestness, and to be enlivened with the free play of that sportive humour, delicately whimsical and gaily wise, which made his conversation the delight of the few men with whom he sat at ease. It was Steele who drew his friend towards the days to come, and made his gifts the wealth of a whole people. Steele said in one of the later numbers of his Spectator, No. 532, to which he prefixed a motto that assigned to himself only the part of whetstone to the wit of others,
'I claim to myself the merit of having extorted excellent productions from a person of the greatest abilities, who would not have let them appear by any other means.'
There were those who argued that he was too careless of his own fame in unselfish labour for the exaltation of his friend, and, no doubt, his rare generosity of temper has been often misinterpreted. But for that Addison is not answerable. And why should Steele have defined his own merits? He knew his countrymen, and was in too genuine accord with the spirit of a time then distant but now come, to doubt that, when he was dead, his whole life's work would speak truth for him to posterity.

The friendship of which this work is the monument remained unbroken from boyhood until death. Addison and Steele were schoolboys together at the Charterhouse. Addison was a dean's son, and a private boarder; Steele, fatherless, and a boy on the foundation. They were of like age. The register of Steele's baptism, corroborated by the entry made on his admission to the Charterhouse (which also implies that he was baptized on the day of his birth) is March 12, 1671, Old Style; New Style, 1672. Addison was born on May-day, 1672. Thus there was a difference of only seven weeks.

Steele's father according to the register, also named Richard, was an attorney in Dublin. Steele seems to draw from experience — although he is not writing as of himself or bound to any truth of personal detail — when in No. 181 of the Tatler he speaks of his father as having died when he was not quite five years of age, and of his mother as 'a very beautiful woman, of a noble spirit.' The first Duke of Ormond is referred to by Steele in his Dedication to the Lying Lover as the patron of his infancy; and it was by this nobleman that a place was found for him, when in his thirteenth year, among the foundation boys at the Charterhouse, where he first met with Joseph Addison. Addison, who was at school at Lichfield in 1683-4-5, went to the Charterhouse in 1686, and left in 1687, when he was entered of Queen's College, Oxford. Steele went to Oxford two years later, matriculating at Christ Church, March 13, 1689-90, the year in which Addison was elected a Demy of Magdalene. A letter of introduction from Steele, dated April 2, 1711, refers to the administration of the will of 'my uncle Gascoigne, to whose bounty I owe a liberal education.' This only representative of the family ties into which Steele was born, an 'uncle' whose surname is not that of Steele's mother before marriage, appears, therefore, to have died just before or at the time when the Spectator undertook to publish a sheetful of thoughts every morning, and — Addison here speaking for him — looked forward to
'leaving his country, when he was summoned out of it, with the secret satisfaction of thinking that he had not lived in vain.'
To Steele's warm heart Addison's friendship stood for all home blessings he had missed. The sister's playful grace, the brother's love, the mother's sympathy and simple faith in God, the father's guidance, where were these for Steele, if not in his friend Addison?

Addison's father was a dean; his mother was the sister of a bishop; and his ambition as a schoolboy, or his father's ambition for him, was only that he should be one day a prosperous and pious dignitary of the Church. But there was in him, as in Steele, the genius which shaped their lives to its own uses, and made them both what they are to us now. Joseph Addison was born into a home which the steadfast labour of his father, Lancelot, had made prosperous and happy. Lancelot Addison had earned success. His father, Joseph's grandfather, had been also a clergyman, but he was one of those Westmoreland clergy of whose simplicity and poverty many a joke has been made. Lancelot got his education as a poor child in the Appleby Grammar School; but he made his own way when at College; was too avowed a Royalist to satisfy the Commonwealth, and got, for his zeal, at the Restoration, small reward in a chaplaincy to the garrison at Dunkirk. This was changed, for the worse, to a position of the same sort at Tangier, where he remained eight years. He lost that office by misadventure, and would have been left destitute if Mr. Joseph Williamson had not given him a living of £120 a-year at Milston in Wiltshire. Upon this Lancelot Addison married Jane Gulstone, who was the daughter of a Doctor of Divinity, and whose brother became Bishop of Bristol. In the little Wiltshire parsonage Joseph Addison and his younger brothers and sisters were born. The essayist was named Joseph after his father's patron, afterwards Sir Joseph Williamson, a friend high in office. While the children grew, the father worked. He showed his ability and loyalty in books on West Barbary, and Mahomet, and the State of the Jews; and he became one of the King's chaplains in ordinary at a time when his patron Joseph Williamson was Secretary of State. Joseph Addison was then but three years old. Soon afterwards the busy father became Archdeacon of Salisbury, and he was made Dean of Lichfield in 1683, when his boy Joseph had reached the age of 11. When Archdeacon of Salisbury, the Rev. Lancelot Addison sent Joseph to school at Salisbury; and when his father became Dean of Lichfield, Joseph was sent to school at Lichfield, as before said, in the years 1683-4-5. And then he was sent as a private pupil to the Charterhouse. The friendship he there formed with Steele was ratified by the approval of the Dean. The desolate boy with the warm heart, bright intellect, and noble aspirations, was carried home by his friend, at holiday times, into the Lichfield Deanery, where, Steele wrote afterwards to Congreve in a Dedication of the Drummer,
'were things of this nature to be exposed to public view, I could show under the Dean's own hand, in the warmest terms, his blessing on the friendship between his son and me; nor had he a child who did not prefer me in the first place of kindness and esteem, as their father loved me like one of them.'
Addison had two brothers, of whom one traded and became Governor of Fort George in India, and the other became, like himself, a Fellow of Magdalene College, Oxford. Of his three sisters two died young, the other married twice, her first husband being a French refugee minister who became a Prebendary of Westminster. Of this sister of Addison's, Swift said she was 'a sort of wit, very like him. I was not fond of her.'

In the latter years of the seventeenth century, when Steele and Addison were students at Oxford, most English writers were submissive to the new strength of the critical genius of France. But the English nation had then newly accomplished the great Revolution that secured its liberties, was thinking for itself, and calling forth the energies of writers who spoke for the people and looked to the people for approval and support. A new period was then opening, of popular influence on English literature. They were the young days of the influence now full grown, then slowly getting strength and winning the best minds away from an imported Latin style adapted to the taste of patrons who sought credit for nice critical discrimination. In 1690 Addison had been three years, Steele one year, at Oxford. Boileau was then living, fifty-four years old; and Western Europe was submissive to his sway as the great monarch of literary criticism. Boileau was still living when Steele published his Tatler, and died in the year of the establishment of the Spectator. Boileau, a true-hearted man, of genius and sense, advanced his countrymen from the nice weighing of words by the Précieuses and the grammarians, and by the French Academy, child of the intercourse between those ladies and gentlemen. He brought ridicule on the inane politeness of a style then in its decrepitude, and bade the writers of his time find models in the Latin writers who, like Virgil and Horace, had brought natural thought and speech to their perfection. In the preceding labour for the rectifying of the language, preference had been given to French words of Latin origin. French being one of those languages in which Latin is the chief constituent, this was but a fair following of the desire to make it run pure from its source.

If the English critics who, in Charles the Second's time, submitted to French law, had seen its spirit, instead of paying blind obedience to the letter, they also would have looked back to the chief source of their language. Finding this to be not Latin but Saxon, they would have sought to give it strength and harmony, by doing then what, in the course of nature, we have learnt again to do, now that the patronage of literature has gone from the cultivated noble who appreciates in much accordance with the fashion of his time, and passed into the holding of the English people. Addison and Steele lived in the transition time between these periods. They were born into one of them and — Steele immediately, Addison through Steele's influence upon him — they were trusty guides into the other. Thus the Spectator is not merely the best example of their skill. It represents also, perhaps best represents, a wholesome Revolution in our Literature. The essential character of English Literature was no more changed than characters of Englishmen were altered by the Declaration of Right which Prince William of Orange had accepted with the English Crown, when Addison had lately left and Steele was leaving Charterhouse for Oxford. Yet change there was, and Steele saw to the heart of it, even in his College days.

Oxford, in times not long past, had inclined to faith in divine right of kings. Addison's father, a church dignitary who had been a Royalist during the Civil War, laid stress upon obedience to authority in Church and State. When modern literature was discussed or studied at Oxford there would be the strongest disposition to maintain the commonly accepted authority of French critics, who were really men of great ability, correcting bad taste in their predecessors, and conciliating scholars by their own devout acceptance of the purest Latin authors as the types of a good style or proper method in the treatment of a subject. Young Addison found nothing new to him in the temper of his University, and was influenced, as in his youth every one must and should be, by the prevalent tone of opinion in cultivated men. But he had, and felt that he had, wit and genius of his own. His sensitive mind was simply and thoroughly religious, generous in its instincts, and strengthened in its nobler part by close communion with the mind of his friend Steele.

May we not think of the two friends together in a College chamber, Addison of slender frame, with features wanting neither in dignity nor in refinement, Steele of robust make, with the radiant 'short face' of the Spectator, by right of which he claimed for that worthy his admission to the Ugly Club. Addison reads Dryden, in praise of whom he wrote his earliest known verse; or reads endeavours of his own, which his friend Steele warmly applauds. They dream together of the future; Addison sage, but speculative, and Steele practical, if rash. Each is disposed to find God in the ways of life, and both avoid that outward show of irreligion, which, after the recent Civil Wars, remains yet common in the country, as reaction from an ostentatious piety which laid on burdens of restraint; a natural reaction which had been intensified by the base influence of a profligate King. Addison, bred among the preachers, has a little of the preacher's abstract tone, when talk between the friends draws them at times into direct expression of the sacred sense of life which made them one.

Apart also from the mere accidents of his childhood, a speculative turn in Addison is naturally stronger than in Steele. He relishes analysis of thought. Steele came as a boy from the rough world of shame and sorrow; his great, kindly heart is most open to the realities of life, the state and prospects of his country, direct personal sympathies; actual wrongs, actual remedies. Addison is sensitive, and has among strangers the reserve of speech and aspect which will pass often for coldness and pride, but is, indeed, the shape taken by modesty in thoughtful men whose instinct it is to speculate and analyze, and who become self-conscious, not through conceit, but because they cannot help turning their speculations also on themselves. Steele wholly comes out of himself as his heart hastens to meet his friend. He lives in his surroundings, and, in friendly intercourse, fixes his whole thought on the worth of his companion. Never abating a jot of his ideal of a true and perfect life, or ceasing to uphold the good because he cannot live to the full height of his own argument, he is too frank to conceal the least or greatest of his own shortcomings. Delight and strength of a friendship like that between Steele and Addison are to be found, as many find them, in the charm and use of a compact where characters differ so much that one lays open as it were a fresh world to the other, and each draws from the other aid of forces which the friendship makes his own. But the deep foundations of this friendship were laid in the religious earnestness that was alike in both; and in religious earnestness are laid also the foundations of this book, its Monument.

Both Addison and Steele wrote verse at College. From each of them we have a poem written at nearly the same age: Addison's in April, 1694, Steele's early in 1695. Addison drew from literature a metrical 'Account of the Greatest English Poets.' Steele drew from life the grief of England at the death of William's Queen, which happened on the 28th of December, 1694.

Addison, writing in that year, and at the age of about 23, for a College friend,
A short account of all the Muse-possest,
That, down from Chaucer's days to Dryden's times
Have spent their noble rage in British rhymes,
was so far under the influence of French critical authority, as accepted by most cultivators of polite literature at Oxford and wherever authority was much respected, that from 'An Account of the Greatest English Poets' he omitted Shakespeare. Of Chaucer he then knew no better than to say, what might have been said in France, that
... age has rusted what the Poet writ,
Worn out his language, and obscured his wit:
In vain he jests in his unpolish'd strain,
And tries to make his readers laugh in vain.
Old Spenser next, warm'd with poetic rage,
In ancient tales amused a barb'rous age;
But now the mystic tale, that pleased of yore,
Can charm an understanding age no more.
It cost Addison some trouble to break loose from the critical cobweb of an age of periwigs and patches, that accounted itself 'understanding,' and the grand epoch of our Elizabethan literature, 'barbarous.' Rymer, one of his critics, had said, that
'in the neighing of an horse, or in the growling of a mastiff, there is a meaning, there is as lively expression, and, may I say, more humanity than many times in the tragical flights of Shakespeare.'
Addison, with a genius of his own helped to free movement by the sympathies of Steele, did break through the cobwebs of the critics; but he carried off a little of their web upon his wings. We see it when in the Spectator he meets the prejudices of an 'understanding age,' and partly satisfies his own, by finding reason for his admiration of Chevy Chase and the Babes in the Wood, in their great similarity to works of Virgil. We see it also in some of the criticisms which accompany his admirable working out of the resolve to justify his true natural admiration of the poetry of Milton, by showing that Paradise Lost was planned after the manner of the ancients, and supreme even in its obedience to the laws of Aristotle. In his Spectator papers on Imagination he but half escapes from the conventions of his time, which detested the wildness of a mountain pass, thought Salisbury Plain one of the finest prospects in England, planned parks with circles and straight lines of trees, despised our old cathedrals for their 'Gothic' art, and saw perfection in the Roman architecture, and the round dome of St. Paul's. Yet in these and all such papers of his we find that Addison had broken through the weaker prejudices of the day, opposing them with sound natural thought of his own. Among cultivated readers, lesser moulders of opinion, there can be no doubt that his genius was only the more serviceable in amendment of the tastes of his own time, for friendly understanding and a partial sharing of ideas for which it gave itself no little credit.

It is noticeable, however, that in his Account of the Greatest English Poets, young Addison gave a fifth part of the piece to expression of the admiration he felt even then for Milton. That his appreciation became critical, and, although limited, based on a sense of poetry which brought him near to Milton, Addison proved in the Spectator by his eighteen Saturday papers upon Paradise Lost. But it was from the religious side that he first entered into the perception of its grandeur. His sympathy with its high purpose caused him to praise, in the same pages that commended Paradise Lost to his countrymen, another 'epic,' Blackmore's Creation, a dull metrical treatise against atheism, as a work which deserved to be looked upon as
'one of the most useful and noble productions of our English verse. The reader,' he added, of a piece which shared certainly with Salisbury Plain the charms of flatness and extent of space, 'the reader cannot but be pleased to find the depths of philosophy enlivened with all the charms of poetry, and to see so great a strength of reason amidst so beautiful a redundancy of the imagination.'
The same strong sympathy with Blackmore's purpose in it blinded Dr. Johnson also to the failure of this poem, which is Blackmore's best. From its religious side, then, it may be that Addison, when a student at Oxford, first took his impressions of the poetry of Milton. At Oxford he accepted the opinion of France on Milton's art, but honestly declared, in spite of that, unchecked enthusiasm:
Whate'er his pen describes I more than see,
Whilst every verse, arrayed in majesty,
Bold and sublime, my whole attention draws,
And seems above the critic's nicer laws.
This chief place among English poets Addison assigned to Milton, with his mind fresh from the influences of a father who had openly contemned the Commonwealth, and by whom he had been trained so to regard Milton's service of it that of this he wrote:
Oh, had the Poet ne'er profaned his pen,
To varnish o'er the guilt of faithless men;
His other works might have deserved applause
But now the language can't support the cause,
While the clean current, tho' serene and bright,
Betrays a bottom odious to the sight.
If we turn now to the verse written by Steele in his young Oxford days, and within twelve months of the date of Addison's lines upon English poets, we have what Steele called The Procession. It is the procession of those who followed to the grave the good Queen Mary, dead of small-pox, at the age of 32. Steele shared his friend Addison's delight in Milton, and had not, indeed, got beyond the sixth number of the Tatler before he compared the natural beauty and innocence of Milton's Adam and Eve with Dryden's treatment of their love. But the one man for whom Steele felt most enthusiasm was not to be sought through books, he was a living moulder of the future of the nation. Eagerly intent upon King William, the hero of the Revolution that secured our liberties, the young patriot found in him also the hero of his verse. Keen sense of the realities about him into which Steele had been born, spoke through the very first lines of this poem:
The days of man are doom'd to pain and strife,
Quiet and ease are foreign to our life;
No satisfaction is, below, sincere,
Pleasure itself has something that's severe.
Britain had rejoiced in the high fortune of King William, and now a mourning world attended his wife to the tomb. The poor were her first and deepest mourners, poor from many causes; and then Steele pictured, with warm sympathy, form after form of human suffering. Among those mourning poor were mothers who, in the despair of want, would have stabbed infants sobbing for their food,
But in the thought they stopp'd, their locks they tore,
Threw down the steel, and cruelly forbore.
The innocents their parents' love forgive,
Smile at their fate, nor know they are to live.
To the mysteries of such distress the dead queen penetrated, by her 'cunning to be good.' After the poor, marched the House of Commons in the funeral procession. Steele gave only two lines to it:
With dread concern, the awful Senate came,
Their grief, as all their passions, is the same.
The next Assembly dissipates our fears,
The stately, mourning throng of British Peers.
A factious intemperance then characterized debates of the Commons, while the House of Lords stood in the front of the Revolution, and secured the permanency of its best issues. Steele describes, as they pass, Ormond, Somers, Villars, who leads the horse of the dead queen, that 'heaves into big sighs when he would neigh' — the verse has in it crudity as well as warmth of youth — and then follow the funeral chariot, the jewelled mourners, and the ladies of the court,
Their clouded beauties speak man's gaudy strife,
The glittering miseries of human life.
I yet see, Steele adds, this queen passing to her coronation in the place whither she now is carried to her grave. On the way, through acclamations of her people, to receive her crown,
She unconcerned and careless all the while
Rewards their loud applauses with a smile,
With easy Majesty and humble State
Smiles at the trifle Power, and knows its date.
But now
What hands commit the beauteous, good, and just,
The dearer part of William, to the dust?
In her his vital heat, his glory lies,
In her the Monarch lived, in her he dies.
No form of state makes the Great Man forego
The task due to her love and to his woe;
Since his kind frame can't the large suffering bear
In pity to his People, he's not here:
For to the mighty loss we now receive
The next affliction were to see him grieve.
If we look from these serious strains of their youth to the literary expression of the gayer side of character in the two friends, we find Addison sheltering his taste for playful writing behind a Roman Wall of hexameter. For among his Latin poems in the Oxford Musæ Anglicanæ are eighty or ninety lines of resonant Latin verse upon 'Machinæ Gesticulantes, anglice A Puppet-show.' Steele, taking life as he found it, and expressing mirth in his own way of conversation, wrote an English comedy, and took the word of a College friend that it was valueless. There were two paths in life then open to an English writer. One was the smooth and level way of patronage; the other a rough up-hill track for men who struggled in the service of the people. The way of patronage was honourable. The age had been made so very discerning by the Romans and the French that a true understanding of the beauties of literature was confined to the select few who had been taught what to admire. Fine writing was beyond the rude appreciation of the multitude. Had, therefore, the reading public been much larger than it was, men of fastidious taste, who paid as much deference to polite opinion as Addison did in his youth, could have expected only audience fit but few, and would have been without encouragement to the pursuit of letters unless patronage rewarded merit. The other way had charms only for the stout-hearted pioneer who foresaw where the road was to be made that now is the great highway of our literature. Addison went out into the world by the way of his time; Steele by the way of ours.

Addison, after the campaign of 1695, offered to the King the homage of a paper of verses on the capture of Namur, and presented them through Sir John Somers, then Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. To Lord Somers he sent with them a flattering dedicatory address. Somers, who was esteemed a man of taste, was not unwilling to 'receive the present of a muse unknown.' He asked Addison to call upon him, and became his patron. Charles Montagu, afterwards Earl of Halifax, critic and wit himself, shone also among the statesmen who were known patrons of letters. Also to him, who was a prince of patrons 'fed with soft dedication all day long,' Addison introduced himself. To him, in 1697, as it was part of his public fame to be a Latin scholar, Addison, also a skilful Latinist, addressed, in Latin, a paper of verses on the Peace of Ryswick. With Somers and Montagu for patrons, the young man of genius who wished to thrive might fairly commit himself to the service of the Church, for which he had been bred by his father; but Addison's tact and refinement promised to be serviceable to the State, and so it was that, as Steele tells us, Montagu made Addison a layman.
'His arguments were founded upon the general pravity and corruption of men of business, who wanted liberal education. And I remember, as if I had read the letter yesterday, that my Lord ended with a compliment, that, however he might be represented as no friend to the Church, he never would do it any other injury than keeping Mr. Addison out of it.'
To the good offices of Montagu and Somers, Addison was indebted, therefore, in 1699, for a travelling allowance of £300 a year. The grant was for his support while qualifying himself on the continent by study of modern languages, and otherwise, for diplomatic service. It dropped at the King's death, in the spring of 1702, and Addison was cast upon his own resources; but he throve, and lived to become an Under-Secretary of State in days that made Prior an Ambassador, and rewarded with official incomes Congreve, Rowe, Hughes, Philips, Stepney, and others. Throughout his honourable career prudence dictated to Addison more or less of dependence on the friendship of the strong. An honest friend of the popular cause, he was more ready to sell than give his pen to it; although the utmost reward would at no time have tempted him to throw his conscience into the bargain. The good word of Halifax obtained him from Godolphin, in 1704, the Government order for a poem on the Battle of Blenheim, with immediate earnest of payment for it in the office of a Commissioner of Appeal in the Excise worth £200 a year. For this substantial reason Addison wrote the Campaign; and upon its success, he obtained the further reward of an Irish Under-secretaryship.

The Campaign is not a great poem. Reams of Campaigns would not have made Addison's name, what it now is, a household word among his countrymen. The 'Remarks on several Parts of Italy, &c.,' in which Addison followed up the success of his Campaign with notes of foreign travel, represent him visiting Italy as 'Virgil's Italy,' the land of the great writers in Latin, and finding scenery or customs of the people eloquent of them at every turn. He crammed his pages with quotation from Virgil and Horace, Ovid and Tibullus, Propertius, Lucan, Juvenal and Martial, Lucretius, Statius, Claudian, Silius Italicus, Ausonius, Seneca, Phædrus, and gave even to his 'understanding age' an overdose of its own physic for all ills of literature. He could not see a pyramid of jugglers standing on each other's shoulders, without observing how it explained a passage in Claudian which shows that the Venetians were not the inventors of this trick. But Addison's short original accounts of cities and states that he saw are pleasant as well as sensible, and here and there, as in the space he gives to a report of St. Anthony's sermon to the fishes, or his short account of a visit to the opera at Venice, there are indications of the humour that was veiled, not crushed, under a sense of classical propriety. In his account of the political state of Naples and in other passages, there is mild suggestion also of the love of liberty, a part of the fine nature of Addison which had been slightly warmed by contact with the generous enthusiasm of Steele. In his poetical letter to Halifax written during his travels Addison gave the sum of his prose volume when he told how he felt himself
... on classic ground.
For here the Muse so oft her harp hath strung,
That not a mountain rears its head unsung;
Renown'd in verse each shady thicket grows,
And ev'ry stream in heav'nly numbers flows.
But he was writing to a statesman of the Revolution, who was his political patron, just then out of office, and propriety suggested such personal compliment as calling the Boyne a Tiber, and Halifax an improvement upon Virgil; while his heart was in the closing emphasis, also proper to the occasion, which dwelt on the liberty that gives their smile to the barren rocks and bleak mountains of Britannia's isle, while for Italy, rich in the unexhausted stores of nature, proud Oppression in her valleys reigns, and tyranny usurps her happy plains. Addison's were formal raptures, and he knew them to be so, when he wrote,
I bridle in my struggling Muse with pain,
That longs to launch into a bolder strain.
Richard Steele was not content with learning to be bold. Eager, at that turning point of her national life, to serve England with strength of arm, at least, if not with the good brains which he was neither encouraged nor disposed to value highly, Steele's patriotism impelled him to make his start in the world, not by the way of patronage, but by enlisting himself as a private in the Coldstream Guards. By so doing he knew that he offended a relation, and lost a bequest. As he said of himself afterwards,
'when he mounted a war-horse, with a great sword in his hand, and planted himself behind King William III against Louis XIV, he lost the succession to a very good estate in the county of Wexford, in Ireland, from the same humour which he has preserved, ever since, of preferring the state of his mind to that of his fortune.'
Steele entered the Duke of Ormond's regiment, and had reasons for enlistment. James Butler, the first Duke, whom his father served, had sent him to the Charterhouse. That first Duke had been Chancellor of the University at Oxford, and when he died, on the 21st of July, 1688, nine months before Steele entered to Christchurch, his grandson, another James Butler, succeeded to the Dukedom. This second Duke of Ormond was also placed by the University of Oxford in his grandfather's office of Chancellor. He went with King William to Holland in 1691, shared the defeat of William in the battle of Steinkirk in August, 1692, and was taken prisoner in July, 1693, when King William was defeated at Landen. These defeats encouraged the friends of the Stuarts, and in 1694, Bristol, Exeter and Boston adhered to King James. Troops were raised in the North of England to assist his cause. In 1696 there was the conspiracy of Sir George Barclay to seize William on the 15th of February. Captain Charnock, one of the conspirators, had been a Fellow of Magdalene. On the 23rd of February the plot was laid before Parliament. There was high excitement throughout the country. Loyal Associations were formed. The Chancellor of the University of Oxford was a fellow-soldier of the King's, and desired to draw strength to his regiment from the enthusiasm of the time. Steele's heart was with the cause of the Revolution, and he owed also to the Ormonds a kind of family allegiance. What was more natural than that he should be among those young Oxford men who were tempted to enlist in the Chancellor's own regiment for the defence of liberty? Lord Cutts, the Colonel of the Regiment, made Steele his Secretary, and got him an Ensign's commission. It was then that he wrote his first book, the Christian Hero, of which the modest account given by Steele himself long afterwards, when put on his defence by the injurious violence of faction, is as follows:
'He first became an author when an Ensign of the Guards, a way of life exposed to much irregularity; and being thoroughly convinced of many things, of which he often repented, and which he more often repeated, he writ, for his own private use, a little book called the Christian Hero, with a design principally to fix upon his own mind a strong impression of virtue and religion, in opposition to a stronger propensity towards unwarrantable pleasures. This secret admiration was too weak; he therefore printed the book with his name, in hopes that a standing testimony against himself, and the eyes of the world (that is to say, of his acquaintance) upon him in a new light, would make him ashamed of understanding and seeming to feel what was virtuous, and living so contrary a life.'
Among his brother soldiers, and fresh from the Oxford worship of old classical models, the religious feeling that accompanies all true refinement, and that was indeed part of the English nature in him as in Addison, prompted Steele to write this book, in which he opposed to the fashionable classicism of his day a sound reflection that the heroism of Cato or Brutus had far less in it of true strength, and far less adaptation to the needs of life, than the unfashionable Christian Heroism set forth by the Sermon on the Mount.

According to the second title of this book it is 'an Argument, proving that no Principles but those of Religion are sufficient to make a Great Man.' It is addressed to Lord Cutts in a dedication dated from the Tower-Yard, March 23, 1701, and is in four chapters, of which the first treats of the heroism of the ancient world, the second connects man with his Creator, by the Bible Story and the Life and Death of Christ, the third defines the Christian as set forth by the character and teaching of St. Paul, applying the definition practically to the daily life of Steele's own time. In the last chapter he descends from the consideration of those bright incentives to a higher life, and treats of the ordinary passions and interests of men, the common springs of action (of which, he says, the chief are Fame and Conscience) which he declares to be best used and improved when joined with religion; and here all culminates in a final strain of patriotism, closing with the character of King William, 'that of a glorious captain, and (what he much more values than the most splendid titles) that of a sincere and honest man.' This was the character of William which, when, in days of meaner public strife, Steele quoted it years afterwards in the Spectator, he broke off painfully and abruptly with a
... Fuit Ilium, et ingens
Steele's Christian Hero obtained many readers. Its fifth edition was appended to the first collection of the Tatler into volumes, at the time of the establishment of the Spectator. The old bent of the English mind was strong in Steele, and he gave unostentatiously a lively wit to the true service of religion, without having spoken or written to the last day of his life a word of mere religious cant. One officer thrust a duel on him for his zeal in seeking to make peace between him and another comrade. Steele, as an officer, then, or soon afterwards, made a Captain of Fusiliers, could not refuse to fight, but stood on the defensive; yet in parrying a thrust his sword pierced his antagonist, and the danger in which he lay quickened that abiding detestation of the practice of duelling, which caused Steele to attack it in his plays, in his Tatler, in his Spectator, with persistent energy.

Of the Christian Hero his companions felt, and he himself saw, that the book was too didactic. It was indeed plain truth out of Steele's heart, but an air of superiority, freely allowed only to the professional man teaching rules of his own art, belongs to a too didactic manner. Nothing was more repugnant to Steele's nature than the sense of this. He had defined the Christian as 'one who is always a benefactor, with the mien of a receiver.' And that was his own character, which was, to a fault, more ready to give than to receive, more prompt to ascribe honour to others than to claim it for himself. To right himself, Steele wrote a light-hearted comedy, The Funeral, or Grief à la Mode; but at the core even of that lay the great earnestness of his censure against the mockery and mummery of grief that should be sacred; and he blended with this, in the character of Lawyer Puzzle, a protest against mockery of truth and justice by the intricacies of the law. The liveliness of this comedy made Steele popular with the wits; and the inevitable touches of the author's patriotism brought on him also the notice of the Whigs. Party men might, perhaps, already feel something of the unbending independence that was in Steele himself, as in this play he made old Lord Brumpton teach it to his son:
'But be them honest, firm, impartial;
Let neither love, nor hate, nor faction move thee;
Distinguish words from things, and men from crimes.'
King William, perhaps, had he lived, could fairly have recognized in Steele the social form of that sound mind which in Defoe was solitary. In a later day it was to Steele a proud recollection that his name, to be provided for, 'was in the last table-book ever worn by the glorious and immortal William III.'

The Funeral, first acted with great success in 1702, was followed in the next year by The Tender Husband, to which Addison contributed some touches, for which Addison wrote a Prologue, and which Steele dedicated to Addison, who would 'be surprised,' he said, 'in the midst of a daily and familiar conversation, with an address which bears so distant an air as a public dedication.' Addison and his friend were then thirty-one years old. Close friends when boys, they are close friends now in the prime of manhood. It was after they had blended wits over the writing of this comedy that Steele expressed his wish for a work, written by both, which should serve as The Monument to their most happy friendship. When Addison and Steele were amused together with the writing of this comedy, Addison, having lost his immediate prospect of political employment, and his salary too, by King William's death in the preceding year, had come home from his travels. On his way home he had received, in September, at the Hague, news of his father's death. He wrote from the Hague, to Mr. Wyche,
'At my first arrival I received the news of my father's death, and ever since have been engaged in so much noise and company, that it was impossible for me to think of rhyming in it.'
As his father's eldest son, he had, on his return to England, family affairs to arrange, and probably some money to receive. Though attached to a party that lost power at the accession of Queen Anne, and waiting for new employment, Addison — who had declined the Duke of Somerset's over-condescending offer of a hundred a year and all expenses as travelling tutor to his son, the Marquis of Hertford — was able, while lodging poorly in the Haymarket, to associate in London with the men by whose friendship he hoped to rise, and was, with Steele, admitted into the select society of wits, and men of fashion who affected wit and took wits for their comrades, in the Kitcat Club. When in 1704 Marlborough's victory at Blenheim revived the Whig influence, the suggestion of Halifax to Lord Treasurer Godolphin caused Addison to be applied to for his poem of the Campaign. It was after the appearance of this poem that Steele's play was printed, with the dedication to his friend, in which he said,
'I look upon my intimacy with you as one of the most valuable enjoyments of my life. At the same time I make the town no ill compliment for their kind acceptance of this comedy, in acknowledging that it has so far raised my opinion of it, as to make me think it no improper memorial of an inviolable Friendship. I should not offer it to you as such, had I not been very careful to avoid everything that might look ill-natured, immoral, or prejudicial to what the better part of mankind hold sacred and honourable.'
This was the common ground between the friends. Collier's Short View of the Profaneness and Immorality of the English Stage had been published in 1698; it attacked a real evil, if not always in the right way, and Congreve's reply to it had been a failure. Steele's comedies with all their gaiety and humour were wholly free from the garnish of oaths and unwholesome expletives which his contemporaries seemed to think essential to stage emphasis. Each comedy of his was based on seriousness, as all sound English wit has been since there have been writers in England. The gay manner did not conceal all the earnest thoughts that might jar with the humour of the town; and thus Steele was able to claim, by right of his third play, 'the honour of being the only English dramatist who had had a piece damned for its piety.'

This was the Lying Lover, produced in 1704, an adaptation from Corneille in which we must allow that Steele's earnestness in upholding truth and right did cause him to spoil the comedy. The play was afterwards re-adapted by Foote as the Liar, and in its last form, with another change or two, has been revived at times with great success. It is worth while to note how Steele dealt with the story of this piece. Its original is a play by Alarcon, which Corneille at first supposed to have been a play by Lope de Vega. Alarcon, or, to give him his full style, Don Juan Ruiz de Alarcon y Mendoza, was a Mexican-born Spaniard of a noble family which had distinguished itself in Mexico from the time of the conquest, and took its name of Alarcon from a village in New Castile. The poet was a humpbacked dwarf, a thorough, but rather haughty, Spanish gentleman, poet and wit, who wrote in an unusually pure Spanish style; a man of the world, too, who came to Spain in or about the year 1622, and held the very well-paid office of reporter to the Royal Council of the Indies. When Alarcon, in 1634, was chosen by the Court to write a festival drama, and, at the same time, publishing the second part of his dramatic works, vehemently reclaimed plays for which, under disguised names, some of his contemporaries had taken credit to themselves, there was an angry combination against him, in which Lope de Vega, Gongora, and Quevedo were found taking part. All that Alarcon wrote was thoroughly his own, but editors of the 17th century boldly passed over his claims to honour, and distributed his best works among plays of other famous writers, chiefly those of Rojas and Lope de Vega. This was what deceived Corneille, and caused him to believe and say that Alarcon's la Verdad sospechosa, on which, in 1642, he founded his Menteur, was a work of Lope de Vega's. Afterwards Corneille learnt how there had been in this matter lying among editors. He gave to Alarcon the honour due, and thenceforth it is chiefly by this play that Alarcon has been remembered out of Spain. In Spain, when in 1852 Don Juan Hartzenbusch edited Alarcon's comedies for the Biblioteca de Autores Españoles, he had to remark on the unjust neglect of that good author in Spain also, where the poets and men of letters had long wished in vain for a complete edition of his works. Lope de Vega, it may be added, was really the author of a sequel to la Verdad sospechosa, which Corneille adapted also as a sequel to his Menteur, but it was even poorer than such sequels usually are.

The Lying Lover in Alarcon's play is a Don Garcia fresh from his studies in Salamanca, and Steele's Latine first appears there as a Tristan, the gracioso of old Spanish comedy. The two ladies are a Jacinta and Lucrecia. Alarcon has in his light and graceful play no less than three heavy fathers, of a Spanish type, one of whom, the father of Lucrecia, brings about Don Garcia's punishment by threatening to kill him if he will not marry his daughter; and so the Liar is punished for his romancing by a marriage with the girl he does not care for, and not marrying the girl he loves.

Corneille was merciful, and in the fifth act bred in his Menteur a new fancy for Lucrece, so that the marriage at cross purposes was rather agreeable to him.

Steele, in adapting the Menteur as his Lying Lover, altered the close in sharp accordance with that 'just regard to a reforming age,' which caused him (adapting a line in his 'Procession' then unprinted) to write in his Prologue to it, 'Pleasure must still have something that's severe.' Having translated Corneille's translations of Garcia and Tristan (Dorante and Cliton) into Young Bookwit and Latine, he transformed the servant into a college friend, mumming as servant because, since 'a prating servant is necessary in intrigues,' the two had 'cast lots who should be the other's footman for the present expedition.' Then he adapted the French couplets into pleasant prose comedy, giving with a light touch the romancing of feats of war and of an entertainment on the river, but at last he turned desperately serious, and sent his Young Bookwit to Newgate on a charge of killing the gentleman — here called Lovemore — who was at last to win the hand of the lady whom the Liar loved. In his last act, opening in Newgate, Steele started with blank verse, and although Lovemore of course was not dead, and Young Bookwit got at last more than a shadow of a promise the other lady in reward for his repentance, the changes in construction of the play took it beyond the bounds of comedy, and were, in fact, excellent morality but not good art. And this is what Steele means when he says that he had his play damned for its piety.

With that strong regard for the drama which cannot well be wanting to the man who has an artist's vivid sense of life, Steele never withdrew his good will from the players, never neglected to praise a good play, and, I may add, took every fair occasion of suggesting to the town the subtlety of Shakespeare's genius. But he now ceased to write comedies, until towards the close of his life he produced with a remarkable success his other play, the Conscious Lovers. And of that, by the way, Fielding made his Parson Adams say that Cato and the Conscious Lovers were the only plays he ever heard of, fit for a Christian to read, 'and, I must own, in the latter there are some things almost solemn enough for a sermon.'

Perhaps it was about this time that Addison wrote his comedy of the Drummer, which had been long in his possession when Steele, who had become a partner in the management of Drury Lane Theatre, drew it from obscurity, suggested a few changes in it, and produced it — not openly as Addison's — upon the stage. The published edition of it was recommended also by a preface from Steele in which he says that he liked this author's play the better
'for the want of those studied similies and repartees which we, who have writ before him, have thrown into our plays, to indulge and gain upon a false taste that has prevailed for many years in the British theatre. I believe the author would have condescended to fall into this way a little more than he has, had he before the writing of it been often present at theatrical representations. I was confirmed in my thoughts of the play by the opinion of better judges to whom it was communicated, who observed that the scenes were drawn after Molière's manner, and that an easy and natural vein of humour ran through the whole. I do not question but the reader will discover this, and see many beauties that escaped the audience; the touches being too delicate for every taste in a popular assembly. My brother-sharers' (in the Drury Lane patent) 'were of opinion, at the first reading of it, that it was like a picture in which the strokes were not strong enough to appear at a distance. As it is not in the common way of writing, the approbation was at first doubtful, but has risen every time it has been acted, and has given an opportunity in several of its parts for as just and good actions as ever I saw on the stage.'
Addison's comedy was not produced till 1715, the year after his unsuccessful attempt to revive the Spectator, which produced what is called the eighth volume of that work. The play, not known to be his, was so ill spoken of that he kept the authorship a secret to the last, and Tickell omitted it from the collection of his patron's works. But Steele knew what was due to his friend, and in 1722 manfully republished the piece as Addison's, with a dedication to Congreve and censure of Tickell for suppressing it. If it be true that the Drummer made no figure on the stage though excellently acted, 'when I observe this,' said Steele, 'I say a much harder thing of this than of the comedy.' Addison's Drummer is a gentleman who, to forward his suit to a soldier's widow, masquerades as the drumbeating ghost of her husband in her country house, and terrifies a self-confident, free-thinking town exquisite, another suitor, who believes himself brought face to face with the spirit world, in which he professes that he can't believe. 'For my part, child, I have made myself easy in those points.' The character of a free-thinking exquisite is drawn from life without exaggeration, but with more than a touch of the bitter contempt Addison felt for the atheistic coxcomb, with whom he was too ready to confound the sincere questioner of orthodox opinion. The only passages of his in the Spectator that border on intolerance are those in which he deals with the free-thinker; but it should not be forgotten that the commonest type of free-thinker in Queen Anne's time was not a thoughtful man who battled openly with doubt and made an independent search for truth, but an idler who repudiated thought and formed his character upon tradition of the Court of Charles the Second. And throughout the Spectator we may find a Christian under-tone in Addison's intolerance of infidelity, which is entirely wanting when the moralist is Eustace Budgell. Two or three persons in the comedy of the Drummer give opportunity for good character-painting in the actor, and on a healthy stage, before an audience able to discriminate light touches of humour and to enjoy unstrained although well-marked expression of varieties of character, the Drummer would not fail to be a welcome entertainment.

But our sketch now stands at the year 1705, when Steele had ceased for a time to write comedies. Addison's Campaign had brought him fame, and perhaps helped him to pay, as he now did, his College debts, with interest. His Remarks on Italy, now published, were, as Tickell says, 'at first but indifferently relished by the bulk of readers;' and his Drummer probably was written and locked in his desk. There were now such days of intercourse as Steele looked back to when with undying friendship he wrote in the preface to that edition of the Drummer produced by him after Addison's death:
'He was above all men in that talent we call humour, and enjoyed it in such perfection, that I have often reflected, after a night spent with him apart from all the world, that I had had the pleasure of conversing with an intimate acquaintance of Terence and Catullus, who had all their wit and nature, heightened with humour more exquisite and delightful than any other man ever possessed.' And again in the same Preface, Steele dwelt upon 'that smiling mirth, that delicate satire and genteel raillery, which appeared in Mr. Addison when he was free from that remarkable bashfulness which is a cloak that hides and muffles merit; and his abilities were covered only by modesty, which doubles the beauties which are seen, and gives credit and esteem to all that are concealed.'
Addison had the self-consciousness of a sensitive and speculative mind. This, with a shy manner among those with whom he was not intimate, passed for cold self-assertion. The 'little senate' of his intimate friends was drawn to him by its knowledge of the real warmth of his nature. And his friendships, like his religion, influenced his judgment. His geniality that wore a philosophic cloak before the world, caused him to abandon himself in the Spectator, even more unreservedly than Steele would have done, to iterated efforts for the help of a friend like Ambrose Philips, whose poems to eminent babies, 'little subject, little wit,' gave rise to the name of Namby-pamby. Addison's quietness with strangers was against a rapid widening of his circle of familiar friends, and must have made the great-hearted friendship of Steele as much to him as his could be to Steele. In very truth it 'doubled all his store.' Steele's heart was open to enjoyment of all kindly intercourse with men. In after years, as expression of thought in the literature of nations gained freedom and sincerity, two types of literature were formed from the types of mind which Addison and Steele may be said to have in some measure represented. Each sought advance towards a better light, one part by dwelling on the individual duties and responsibilities of man, and his relation to the infinite; the other by especial study of man's social ties and liberties, and his relation to the commonwealth of which he is a member. Goethe, for instance, inclined to one study; Schiller to the other; and every free mind will incline probably to one or other of these centres of opinion. Addison was a cold politician because he was most himself when analyzing principles of thought, and humours, passions, duties of the individual. Steele, on the contrary, braved ruin for his convictions as a politician, because his social nature turned his earnestness into concern for the well-being of his country, and he lived in times when it was not yet certain that the newly-secured liberties were also finally secured. The party was strong that desired to re-establish ancient tyrannies, and the Queen herself was hardly on the side of freedom.

In 1706, the date of the union between England and Scotland, Whig influence had been strengthened by the elections of the preceding year, and Addison was, early in 1706, made Under-Secretary of State to Sir Charles Hedges, a Tory, who was superseded before the end of the year by Marlborough's son-in-law, the Earl of Sunderland, a Whig under whom Addison, of course, remained in office, and who was, thenceforth, his active patron. In the same year the opera of Rosamond was produced, with Addison's libretto. It was but the third, or indeed the second, year of operas in England, for we can hardly reckon as forming a year of opera the Italian intermezzi and interludes of singing and dancing, performed under Clayton's direction, at York Buildings, in 1703. In 1705, Clayton's Arsinoe, adapted and translated from the Italian, was produced at Drury Lane. Buononcini's Camilla was given at the house in the Haymarket, and sung in two languages, the heroine's part being in English and the hero's in Italian. Thomas Clayton, a second-rate musician, but a man with literary tastes, who had been introducer of the opera to London, argued that the words of an opera should be not only English, but the best of English, and that English music ought to illustrate good home-grown literature. Addison and Steele agreed heartily in this. Addison was persuaded to write words for an opera by Clayton — his Rosamond — and Steele was persuaded afterwards to speculate in some sort of partnership with Clayton's efforts to set English poetry to music in the entertainments at York Buildings, though his friend Hughes warned him candidly that Clayton was not much of a musician. Rosamond was a failure of Clayton's and not a success of Addison's. There is poor jesting got by the poet from a comic Sir Trusty, who keeps Rosamond's bower, and has a scolding wife. But there is a happy compliment to Marlborough in giving to King Henry a vision at Woodstock of the glory to come for England, and in a scenic realization of it by the rising of Blenheim Palace, the nation's gift to Marlborough, upon the scene of the Fair Rosamond story. Indeed there can be no doubt that it was for the sake of the scene at Woodstock, and the opportunity thus to be made, that Rosamond was chosen for the subject of the opera. Addison made Queen Eleanor give Rosamond a narcotic instead of a poison, and thus he achieved the desired happy ending to an opera.

Believe your Rosamond alive.
King. O happy day! O pleasing view!
My Queen forgives —
Queen. — My lord is true.
King. No more I'll change.
Queen. No more I'll grieve.
Both. But ever thus united live.

That is to say, for three days, the extent of the life of the opera. But the literary Under-Secretary had saved his political dignity with the stage tribute to Marlborough, which backed the closet praise in the Campaign.

In May, 1707, Steele received the office of Gazetteer, until then worth £60, but presently endowed by Harley with a salary of £300 a year. At about the same time he was made one of the gentlemen ushers to Queen Anne's husband, Prince George of Denmark. In the same year Steele married. Of his most private life before this date little is known. He had been married to a lady from Barbadoes, who died in a few months. From days referred to in the 'Christian Hero' he derived a daughter of whom he took fatherly care. In 1707 Steele, aged about 35, married Miss (or, as ladies come of age were then called, Mrs.) Mary Scurlock, aged 29. It was a marriage of affection on both sides. Steele had from his first wife an estate in Barbadoes, which produced, after payment of the interest on its encumbrances, £670 a year. His appointment as Gazetteer, less the £45 tax on it, was worth £255 a year, and his appointment on the Prince Consort's household another hundred. Thus the income upon which Steele married was rather more than a thousand a year, and Miss Scurlock's mother had an estate of about £330 a year. Mary Scurlock had been a friend of Steele's first wife, for before marriage she recalls Steele to her mother's mind by saying, 'It is the survivor of the person to whose funeral I went in my illness.'
'Let us make our regards to each other,' Steele wrote just before marriage, 'mutual and unchangeable, that whilst the world around us is enchanted with the false satisfactions of vagrant desires, our persons may be shrines to each other, and sacred to conjugal faith, unreserved confidence, and heavenly society.'
There remains also a prayer written by Steele before first taking the sacrament with his wife, after marriage. There are also letters and little notes written by Steele to his wife, treasured by her love, and printed by a remorseless antiquary, blind to the sentence in one of the first of them:
'I beg of you to shew my letters to no one living, but let us be contented with one another's thoughts upon our words and actions, without the intervention of other people, who cannot judge of so delicate a circumstance as the commerce between man and wife.'
But they are printed for the frivolous to laugh at and the wise to honour. They show that even in his most thoughtless or most anxious moments the social wit, the busy patriot, remembered his 'dear Prue,' and was her lover to the end. Soon after marriage, Steele took his wife to a boarding-school in the suburbs, where they saw a young lady for whom Steele showed an affection that caused Mrs. Steele to ask, whether she was not his daughter. He said that she was. 'Then,' said Mrs. Steele, 'I beg she may be mine too.' Thenceforth she lived in their home as Miss Ousley, and was treated as a daughter by Steele's wife. Surely this was a woman who deserved the love that never swerved from her. True husband and true friend, he playfully called Addison her rival. In the Spectator there is a paper of Steele's (No. 142) representing some of his own love-letters as telling what a man said and should be able to say of his wife after forty years of marriage. Seven years after marriage he signs himself, 'Yours more than you can imagine, or I express.' He dedicates to her a volume of the Lady's Library, and writes of her ministrations to him:
'if there are such beings as guardian angels, thus are they employed. I will no more believe one of them more good in its inclinations than I can conceive it more charming in its form than my wife.'
In the year before her death he was signing his letters with 'God bless you!' and 'Dear Prue, eternally yours.' That Steele made it a duty of his literary life to contend against the frivolous and vicious ridicule of the ties of marriage common in his day, and to maintain their sacred honour and their happiness, readers of the Spectator cannot fail to find.

Steele, on his marriage in 1707, took a house in Bury Street, St. James's, and in the following year went to a house at Hampton, which he called in jest the Hovel. Addison had lent him a thousand pounds for costs of furnishing and other immediate needs. This was repaid within a year, and when, at the same time, his wife's mother was proposing a settlement of her money beneficial to himself, Steele replied that he was far from desiring, if he should survive his wife, 'to turn the current of the estate out of the channel it would have been in, had I never come into the family.' Liberal always of his own to others, he was sometimes without a guinea, and perplexed by debt. But he defrauded no man. When he followed his Prue to the grave he was in no man's debt, though he left all his countrymen his debtors, and he left more than their mother's fortune to his two surviving children. One died of consumption a year afterwards, the other married one of the Welsh Judges, afterwards Lord Trevor.

The friendship — equal friendship — between Steele and Addison was as unbroken as the love between Steele and his wife. Petty tales may have been invented or misread. In days of malicious personality Steele braved the worst of party spite, and little enough even slander found to throw against him. Nobody in their lifetime doubted the equal strength and sincerity of the relationship between the two friends. Steele was no follower of Addison's. Throughout life he went his own way, leading rather than following; first as a playwright; first in conception and execution of the scheme of the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian; following his own sense of duty against Addison's sense of expediency in passing from the Guardian to the Englishman, and so to energetic movement upon perilous paths as a political writer, whose whole heart was with what he took to be the people's cause.

When Swift had been writing to Addison that he thought Steele 'the vilest of mankind,' in writing of this to Swift, Steele complained that the Examiner, — in which Swift had a busy hand, — said Addison had 'bridled him in point of politics,' adding,
'This was ill hinted both in relation to him and me. I know no party; but the truth of the question is what I will support as well as I can, when any man I honour is attacked.'
John Forster, whose keen insight into the essentials of literature led him to write an essay upon each of the two great founders of the latest period of English literature, Defoe and Steele, has pointed out in his masterly essay upon Steele that Swift denies having spoken of Steele as bridled by his friend, and does so in a way that frankly admits Steele's right to be jealous of the imputation. Mr. Forster justly adds that throughout Swift's intimate speech to Stella,
'whether his humours be sarcastic or polite, the friendship of Steele and Addison is for ever suggesting some annoyance to himself, some mortification, some regret, but never once the doubt that it was not intimate and sincere, or that into it entered anything inconsistent with a perfect equality.'
Six months after Addison's death Steele wrote (in No. 12 of the Theatre, and I am again quoting facts cited by John Forster),
'that there never was a more strict friendship than between himself and Addison, nor had they ever any difference but what proceeded from their different way of pursuing the same thing; the one waited and stemmed the torrent, while the other too often plunged into it; but though they thus had lived for some years past, shunning each other, they still preserved the most passionate concern for their mutual welfare; and when they met they were as unreserved as boys, and talked of the greatest affairs, upon which they saw where they differed, without pressing (what they knew impossible) to convert each other.'
As to the substance or worth of what thus divided them, Steele only adds the significant expression of his hope that, if his family is the worse, his country may be the better, 'for the mortification he has undergone.'

Such, then, was the Friendship of which the Spectator is the abiding Monument. The Spectator was a modified continuation of the Tatler, and the Tatler was suggested by a portion of Defoe's Review. The Spectator belongs to the first days of a period when the people at large extended their reading power into departments of knowledge formerly unsought by them, and their favour was found generally to be more desirable than that of the most princely patron. This period should date from the day in 1703 when the key turned upon Defoe in Newgate, the year of the production of Steele's Tender Husband, and the time when Addison was in Holland on the way home from his continental travels. Defoe was then forty-two years old, Addison and Steele being about eleven years younger.

In the following year, 1704, the year of Blenheim — Defoe issued, on the 19th of February, No. 1 of 'A Weekly Review of the Affairs of France: Purg'd from the Errors and Partiality of News-Writers and Petty-Statesmen, of all Sides,' and in the introductory sketch of its plan, said:
'After our Serious Matters are over, we shall at the end of every Paper, Present you with a little Diversion, as anything occurs to make the World Merry; and whether Friend or Foe, one Party or another, if anything happens so scandalous as to require an open Reproof, the World may meet with it there.'
Here is the first 'little Diversion'; the germ of Tatlers and Spectators which in after years amused and edified the town.
Mercure Scandale:


Advice from the Scandalous Club.
Translated out of French.

This Society is a Corporation long since established in Paris, and we cannot compleat our Advices from France, without entertaining the World with everything we meet with from that Country.

And, tho Corresponding with the Queens Enemies is prohibited; yet since the Matter will be so honest, as only to tell the World of what everybody will own to be scandalous, we reckon we shall be welcome.

This Corporation has been set up some months, and opend their first Sessions about last Bartholomew Fair; but having not yet obtaind a Patent, they have never, till now, made their Resolves publick.

The Business of this Society is to censure the Actions of Men, not of Parties, and in particular, those Actions which are made publick so by their Authors, as to be, in their own Nature, an Appeal to the general Approbation.

They do not design to expose Persons but things; and of them, none but such as more than ordinarily deserve it; they who would not be censurd by this Assembly, are desired to act with caution enough, not to fall under their Hands; for they resolve to treat Vice, and Villanous Actions, with the utmost Severity.

The First considerable Matter that came before this Society, was about Bartholomew Fair; but the Debates being long, they were at last adjourned to the next Fair, when we suppose it will be decided; so being not willing to trouble the World with anything twice over, we refer that to next August.

On the 10th of September last, there was a long Hearing, before the Club, of a Fellow that said he had killd the Duke of Bavaria. Now as David punishd the Man that said he had killd King Saul, whether it was so or no, twas thought this Fellow ought to be delivered up to Justice, tho the Duke of Bavaria was alive.

Upon the whole, twas voted a scandalous Thing, That News. Writers shoud kill Kings and Princes, and bring them to life again at pleasure; and to make an Example of this Fellow, he was dismissd, upon Condition he should go to the Queens-bench once a Day, and bear Fuller, his Brother of the Faculty, company two hours for fourteen Days together; which cruel Punishment was executed with the utmost Severity.

The Club has had a great deal of trouble about the News-Writers, who have been continually brought before them for their ridiculous Stories, and imposing upon Mankind; and tho the Proceedings have been pretty tedious, we must give you the trouble of a few of them in our next.
The addition to the heading, 'Translated out of French,' appears only in No. 1, and the first title Mercure Scandale (adopted from a French book published about 1681) having been much criticized for its grammar and on other grounds, was dropped in No. 18. Thenceforth Defoe's pleasant comment upon passing follies appeared under the single head of Advice from the Scandalous Club. Still the verbal Critics exercised their wits upon the title.
'We have been so often on the Defence of our Title,' says Defoe, in No. 38, 'that the world begins to think Our Society wants Employment ... If Scandalous must signify nothing but Personal Scandal, respecting the Subject of which it is predicated; we desire those gentlemen to answer for us how Post-Man or Post-Boy can signify a News-Paper, the Post Man or Post Boy being in all my reading properly and strictly applicable, not to the Paper, but to the Person bringing or carrying the News? Mercury also is, if I understand it, by a Transmutation of Meaning, from a God turned into a Book — From hence our Club thinks they have not fair Play, in being deny'd the Privilege of making an Allegory as well as other People.'
In No. 46 Defoe made, in one change more, a whimsical half concession of a syllable, by putting a sign of contraction in its place, and thenceforth calling this part of his Review, Advice from the Scandal Club. Nothing can be more evident than the family likeness between this forefather of the Tatler and Spectator and its more familiar descendants. There is a trick of voice common to all, and some papers of Defoe's might have been written for the Spectator. Take the little allegory, for instance, in No. 45, which tells of a desponding young Lady brought before the Society, as found by Rosamond's Pond in the Park in a strange condition, taken by the mob for a lunatic, and whose clothes were all out of fashion, but whose face, when it was seen, astonished the whole society by its extraordinary sweetness and majesty. She told how she had been brought to despair, and her name proved to be — Modesty. In letters, questions, and comments also which might be taken from Defoe's Monthly Supplementary Journal to the Advice from the Scandal Club, we catch a likeness to the spirit of the Tatler and Spectator now and then exact. Some censured Defoe for not confining himself to the weightier part of his purpose in establishing the Review. He replied, in the Introduction to his first Monthly Supplement, that many men
'care but for a little reading at a time,' and said, 'thus we wheedle them in, if it may be allow'd that Expression, to the Knowledge of the World, who rather than take more Pains, would be content with their Ignorance, and search into nothing.'
Single-minded, quick-witted, and prompt to act on the first suggestion of a higher point of usefulness to which he might attain, Steele saw the mind of the people ready for a new sort of relation to its writers, and he followed the lead of Defoe. But though he turned from the more frivolous temper of the enfeebled playhouse audience, to commune in free air with the country at large, he took fresh care for the restraint of his deep earnestness within the bounds of a cheerful, unpretending influence. Drop by drop it should fall, and its strength lie in its persistence. He would bring what wit he had out of the playhouse, and speak his mind, like Defoe, to the people themselves every post-day. But he would affect no pedantry of moralizing, he would appeal to no passions, he would profess himself only 'a Tatler.' Might he not use, he thought, modestly distrustful of the charm of his own mind, some of the news obtained by virtue of the office of Gazetteer that Harley had given him, to bring weight and acceptance to writing of his which he valued only for the use to which it could be put. For, as he himself truly says in the Tatler,
'wit, if a man had it, unless it be directed to some useful end, is but a wanton, frivolous quality; all that one should value himself upon in this kind is that he had some honourable intention in it.'
Swift, not then a deserter to the Tories, was a friend of Steele's, who, when the first Tatler appeared, had been amusing the town at the expense of John Partridge, astrologer and almanac-maker, with 'Predictions for the year 1708,' professing to be written by Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq. The first prediction was of the death of Partridge,
'on the 29th of March next, about eleven at night, of a raging fever.'
Swift answered himself, and also published in due time
'The Accomplishment of the first of Mr. Bickerstaff's Predictions: being an account of the death of Mr. Partridge, the almanack-maker, upon the 29th instant.'
Other wits kept up the joke, and, in his next year's almanac (that for 1709), Partridge advertised that,
'whereas it has been industriously given out by Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., and others, to prevent the sale of this year's almanack, that John Partridge is dead, this may inform all his loving countrymen that he is still living, in health, and they are knaves that reported it otherwise.'
Steele gave additional lightness to the touch of his Tatler, which first appeared on the 12th of April, 1709, by writing in the name of Isaac Bickerstaff, and carrying on the jest, that was to his serious mind a blow dealt against prevailing superstition. Referring in his first Tatler to this advertisement of Partridge's, he said of it,
'I have in another place, and in a paper by itself, sufficiently convinced this man that he is dead; and if he has any shame, I do not doubt but that by this time he owns it to all his acquaintance. For though the legs and arms and whole body of that man may still appear and perform their animal functions, yet since, as I have elsewhere observed, his art is gone, the man is gone.'
To Steele, indeed, the truth was absolute, that a man is but what he can do.

In this spirit, then, Steele began the Tatler, simply considering that his paper was to be published 'for the use of the good people of England,' and professing at the outset that he was an author writing for the public, who expected from the public payment for his work, and that he preferred this course to gambling for the patronage of men in office. Having pleasantly shown the sordid spirit that underlies the mountebank's sublime professions of disinterestedness,
'we have a contempt,' he says, 'for such paltry barterers, and have therefore all along informed the public that we intend to give them our advices for our own sakes, and are labouring to make our lucubrations come to some price in money, for our more convenient support in the service of the public. It is certain that many other schemes have been proposed to me, as a friend offered to show me in a treatise he had writ, which he called, The whole Art of Life; or, The Introduction to Great Men, illustrated in a Pack of Cards. But being a novice at all manner of play, I declined the offer.'
Addison took these cards, and played an honest game with them successfully. When, at the end of 1708, the Earl of Sunderland, Marlborough's son-in-law, lost his secretaryship, Addison lost his place as under-secretary; but he did not object to go to Ireland as chief secretary to Lord Wharton, the new Lord-lieutenant, an active party man, a leader on the turf with reputation for indulgence after business hours according to the fashion of the court of Charles II.

Lord Wharton took to Ireland Clayton to write him musical entertainments, and a train of parasites of quality. He was a great borough-monger, and is said at one critical time to have returned thirty members. He had no difficulty, therefore, in finding Addison a seat, and made him in that year, 1709, M.P. for Malmesbury. Addison only once attempted to speak in the House of Commons, and then, embarrassed by encouraging applause that welcomed him he stammered and sat down. But when, having laid his political cards down for a time, and at ease in his own home, pen in hand, he brought his sound mind and quick humour to the aid of his friend Steele, he came with him into direct relation with the English people. Addison never gave posterity a chance of knowing what was in him till, following Steele's lead, he wrote those papers in Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian, wherein alone his genius abides with us, and will abide with English readers to the end. The Tatler, the Spectator, and the Guardian were, all of them, Steele's, begun and ended by him at his sole discretion. In these three journals Steele was answerable for 510 papers; Addison for 369. Swift wrote two papers, and sent about a dozen fragments. Congreve wrote one article in the Tatler; Pope wrote thrice for the Spectator, and eight times for the Guardian. Addison, who was in Ireland when the Tatler first appeared, only guessed the authorship by an expression in an early number; and it was not until eighty numbers had been issued, and the character of the new paper was formed and established, that Addison, on his return to London, joined the friend who, with his usual complete absence of the vanity of self-assertion, finally ascribed to the ally he dearly loved, the honours of success.

It was the kind of success Steele had desired — a widely-diffused influence for good. The Tatlers were penny papers published three times a week, and issued also for another halfpenny with a blank half-sheet for transmission by post, when any written scraps of the day's gossip that friend might send to friend could be included. It was through these, and the daily Spectators which succeeded them, that the people of England really learnt to read. The few leaves of sound reason and fancy were but a light tax on uncultivated powers of attention. Exquisite grace and true kindliness, here associated with familiar ways and common incidents of everyday life, gave many an honest man fresh sense of the best happiness that lies in common duties honestly performed, and a fresh energy, free as Christianity itself from malice — for so both Steele and Addison meant that it should be — in opposing themselves to the frivolities and small frauds on the conscience by which manliness is undermined.

A pamphlet by John Gay — The Present State of Wit, in a Letter to a Friend in the Country — was dated May 3, 1711, about two months after the Spectator had replaced the Tatler. And thus Gay represents the best talk of the town about these papers:
"Before I proceed further in the account of our weekly papers, it will be necessary to inform you that at the beginning of the winter, to the infinite surprise of all the Town, Mr. Steele flung up his Tatler, and instead of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esquire, subscribed himself Richard Steele to the last of those papers, after a handsome compliment to the Town for their kind acceptance of his endeavours to divert them.

The chief reason he thought fit to give for his leaving off writing was, that having been so long looked on in all public places and companies as the Author of those papers, he found that his most intimate friends and acquaintance were in pain to speak or act before him.

The Town was very far from being satisfied with this reason, and most people judged the true cause to be, either
However that were, his disappearance seemed to be bewailed as some general calamity. Every one wanted so agreeable an amusement, and the Coffee-houses began to be sensible that the Esquire's Lucubrations alone had brought them more customers than all their other newspapers put together.

It must indeed be confessed that never man threw up his pen, under stronger temptations to have employed it longer. His reputation was at a greater height, than I believe ever any living author's was before him. It is reasonable to suppose that his gains were proportionably considerable. Every one read him with pleasure and good-will; and the Tories, in respect to his other good qualities, had almost forgiven his unaccountable imprudence in declaring against them.

Lastly, it was highly improbable that, if he threw off a Character, the ideas of which were so strongly impressed in every one's mind, however finely he might write in any new form, that he should meet with the same reception.

To give you my own thoughts of this gentleman's writings I shall, in the first place, observe, that there is a noble difference between him and all the rest of our gallant and polite authors. The latter have endeavoured to please the Age by falling in with them, and encouraging them in their fashionable vices and false notions of things. It would have been a jest, some time since, for a man to have asserted that anything witty could be said in praise of a married state, or that Devotion and Virtue were any way necessary to the character of a Fine Gentleman. Bickerstaff ventured to tell the Town that they were a parcel of fops, fools, and coquettes; but in such a manner as even pleased them, and made them more than half inclined to believe that he spoke truth.

Instead of complying with the false sentiments or vicious tastes of the Age — either in morality, criticism, or good breeding — he has boldly assured them that they were altogether in the wrong; and commanded them, with an authority which perfectly well became him, to surrender themselves to his arguments for Virtue and Good Sense.

It is incredible to conceive the effect his writings have had on the Town; how many thousand follies they have either quite banished or given a very great check to; how much countenance they have added to Virtue and Religion; how many people they have rendered happy, by shewing them it was their own fault if they were not so; and, lastly, how entirely they have convinced our young fops and young fellows of the value and advantages of Learning.

He has indeed rescued it out of the hands of pedants and fools, and discovered the true method of making it amiable and lovely to all mankind. In the dress he gives it, it is a most welcome guest at tea-tables and assemblies, and is relished and caressed by the merchants on the Change. Accordingly there is not a Lady at Court, nor a Banker in Lombard Street, who is not verily persuaded that Captain Steele is the greatest scholar and best Casuist of any man in England.

Lastly, his writings have set all our Wits and men of letters on a new way of thinking, of which they had little or no notion before: and, although we cannot say that any of them have come up to the beauties of the original, I think we may venture to affirm, that every one of them writes and thinks much more justly than they did some time since.

The vast variety of subjects which Mr. Steele has treated of, in so different manners, and yet all so perfectly well, made the World believe that it was impossible they should all come from the same hand. This set every one upon guessing who was the Esquire's friend? and most people at first fancied it must be Doctor Swift; but it is now no longer a secret, that his only great and constant assistant was Mr. Addison.

This is that excellent friend to whom Mr. Steele owes so much; and who refuses to have his name set before those pieces, which the greatest pens in England would be proud to own. Indeed, they could hardly add to this Gentleman's reputation: whose works in Latin and English poetry long since convinced the World, that he was the greatest Master in Europe in those two languages.

I am assured, from good hands, that all the visions, and other tracts of that way of writing, with a very great number of the most exquisite pieces of wit and raillery through the Lucubrations are entirely of this Gentleman's composing: which may, in some measure, account for that different Genius, which appears in the winter papers, from those of the summer; at which time, as the Examiner often hinted, this friend of Mr. Steele was in Ireland.

Mr. Steele confesses in his last Volume of the Tatlers that he is obliged to Dr. Swift for his Town Shower, and the Description of the Morn, with some other hints received from him in private conversation.

I have also heard that several of those Letters, which came as from unknown hands, were written by Mr. Henley: which is an answer to your query, 'Who those friends are whom Mr. Steele speaks of in his last Tatler?'

But to proceed with my account of our other papers. The expiration of Bickerstaff's Lucubrations was attended with much the same consequences as the death of Meliboeus's Ox in Virgil: as the latter engendered swarms of bees, the former immediately produced whole swarms of little satirical scribblers.

One of these authors called himself the Growler, and assured us that, to make amends for Mr. Steele's silence, he was resolved to growl at us weekly, as long as we should think fit to give him any encouragement. Another Gentleman, with more modesty, called his paper the Whisperer; and a third, to please the Ladies, christened his the Tell tale.

At the same-time came out several Tatlers; each of which, with equal truth and wit, assured us that he was the genuine Isaac Bickerstaff.

It may be observed that when the Esquire laid down his pen; though he could not but foresee that several scribblers would soon snatch it up, which he might (one would think) easily have prevented: he scorned to take any further care about it, but left the field fairly open to any worthy successor. Immediately, some of our Wits were for forming themselves into a Club, headed by one Mr. Harrison, and trying how they could shoot in this Bow of Ulysses; but soon found that this sort of writing requires so fine and particular a manner of thinking, with so exact a knowledge of the World, as must make them utterly despair of success.

They seemed indeed at first to think that what was only the garnish of the former Tatlers, was that which recommended them; and not those Substantial Entertainments which they everywhere abound in. According they were continually talking of their Maid, Night Cap, Spectacles, and Charles Lillie. However there were, now and then, some faint endeavours at Humour and sparks of Wit: which the Town, for want of better entertainment, was content to hunt after through a heap of impertinences; but even those are, at present, become wholly invisible and quite swallowed up in the blaze of the Spectator.

You may remember, I told you before, that one cause assigned for the laying down the Tatler was, Want of Matter; and, indeed, this was the prevailing opinion in Town: when we were surprised all at once by a paper called the Spectator, which was promised to be continued every day; and was written in so excellent a style, with so nice a judgment, and such a noble profusion of wit and humour, that it was not difficult to determine it could come from no other hands but those which had penned the Lucubrations.

This immediately alarmed these gentlemen, who, as it is said Mr. Steele phrases it, had 'the Censorship in Commission.' They found the new Spectator came on like a torrent, and swept away all before him. They despaired ever to equal him in wit, humour, or learning; which had been their true and certain way of opposing him: and therefore rather chose to fall on the Author; and to call out for help to all good Christians, by assuring them again and again that they were the First, Original, True, and undisputed Isaac Bickerstaff.

Meanwhile, the Spectator, whom we regard as our Shelter from that flood of false wit and impertinence which was breaking in upon us, is in every one's hands; and a constant for our morning conversation at tea-tables and coffee-houses. We had at first, indeed, no manner of notion how a diurnal paper could be continued in the spirit and style of our present Spectators: but, to our no small surprise, we find them still rising upon us, and can only wonder from whence so prodigious a run of Wit and Learning can proceed; since some of our best judges seem to think that they have hitherto, in general, outshone even the Esquire's first Tatlers.

Most people fancy, from their frequency, that they must be composed by a Society: I withal assign the first places to Mr. Steele and his Friend.
So far John Gay, whose discussion of the Tatlers and Spectators appeared when only fifty-five numbers of the Spectator had been published.

There was high strife of faction; and there was real peril to the country by a possible turn of affairs after Queen Anne's death, that another Stuart restoration, in the name of divine right of kings, would leave rights of the people to be reconquered in civil war. The chiefs of either party were appealing to the people, and engaging all the wit they could secure to fight on their side in the war of pamphlets. Steele's heart was in the momentous issue. Both he and Addison had it in mind while they were blending their calm playfulness with all the clamour of the press. The spirit in which these friends worked, young Pope must have felt; for after Addison had helped him in his first approach to fame by giving honour in the Spectator to his Essay on Criticism, and when he was thankful for that service, he contributed to the Spectator his Messiah. Such offering clearly showed how Pope interpreted the labour of the essayists.

In the fens of Lincolnshire the antiquary Maurice Johnson collected his neighbours of Spalding.
'Taking care,' it is said, 'not to alarm the country gentlemen by any premature mention of antiquities, he endeavoured at first to allure them into the more flowery paths of literature. In 1709 a few of them were brought together every post-day at the coffee-house in the Abbey Yard; and after one of the party had read aloud the last published number of the Tatler, they proceeded to talk over the subject among themselves.'
Even in distant Perthshire
'the gentlemen met after church on Sunday to discuss the news of the week; the Spectators were read as regularly as the Journal.'
So the political draught of bitterness came sweetened with the wisdom of good-humour. The good-humour of the essayists touched with a light and kindly hand every form of affectation, and placed every-day life in the light in which it would be seen by a natural and honest man. A sense of the essentials of life was assumed everywhere for the reader, who was asked only to smile charitably at its vanities. Steele looked through all shams to the natural heart of the Englishman, appealed to that, and found it easily enough, even under the disguise of the young gentleman cited in the 77th Tatler,
'so ambitious to be thought worse than he is that in his degree of understanding he sets up for a free-thinker, and talks atheistically in coffee-houses all day, though every morning and evening, it can be proved upon him, he regularly at home says his prayers.'
But as public events led nearer to the prospect of a Jacobite triumph that would have again brought Englishmen against each other sword to sword, there was no voice of warning more fearless than Richard Steele's. He changed the Spectator for the Guardian, that was to be, in its plan, more free to guard the people's rights, and, standing forward more distinctly as a politician, he became member for Stockbridge. In place of the Guardian, which he had dropped when he felt the plan of that journal unequal to the right and full expression of his mind, Steele took for a periodical the name of Englishman, and under that name fought, with then unexampled abstinence from personality, against the principles upheld by Swift in his Examiner. Then, when the Peace of Utrecht alarmed English patriots, Steele in a bold pamphlet on The Crisis expressed his dread of arbitrary power and a Jacobite succession with a boldness that cost him his seat in Parliament, as he had before sacrificed to plain speaking his place of Gazetteer.

Of the later history of Steele and Addison a few words will suffice. This is not an account of their lives, but an endeavour to show why Englishmen must always have a living interest in the Spectator, their joint production. Steele's Spectator ended with the seventh volume. The members of the Club were all disposed of, and the journal formally wound up; but by the suggestion of a future ceremony of opening the Spectator's mouth, a way was made for Addison, whenever he pleased, to connect with the famous series an attempt of his own for its revival. A year and a half later Addison made this attempt, producing his new journal with the old name and, as far as his contributions went, not less than the old wit and earnestness, three times a week instead of daily. But he kept it alive only until the completion of one volume. Addison had not Steele's popular tact as an editor. He preached, and he suffered drier men to preach, while in his jest he now and then wrote what he seems to have been unwilling to acknowledge. His eighth volume contains excellent matter, but the subjects are not always well chosen or varied judiciously, and one understands why the Spectator took a firmer hold upon society when the two friends in the full strength of their life, aged about forty, worked together and embraced between them a wide range of human thought and feeling. It should be remembered also that Queen Anne died while Addison's eighth volume was appearing, and the change in the Whig position brought him other occupation of his time.

In April, 1713, in the interval between the completion of the true Spectator and the appearance of the supplementary volume, Addison's tragedy of Cato, planned at College; begun during his foreign travels, retouched in England, and at last completed, was produced at Drury Lane. Addison had not considered it a stage play, but when it was urged that the time was proper for animating the public with the sentiments of Cato, he assented to its production. Apart from its real merit the play had the advantage of being applauded by the Whigs, who saw in it a Whig political ideal, and by the Tories, who desired to show that they were as warm friends of liberty as any Whig could be.

Upon the death of Queen Anne Addison acted for a short time as secretary to the Regency, and when George I appointed Addison's patron, the Earl of Sunderland, to the Lord-lieutenancy of Ireland, Sunderland took Addison with him as chief secretary. Sunderland resigned in ten months, and thus Addison's secretaryship came to an end in August, 1716. Addison was also employed to meet the Rebellion of 1715 by writing the Freeholder. He wrote under this title fifty-five papers, which were published twice a week between December, 1715, and June, 1716; and he was rewarded with the post of Commissioner for Trade and Colonies. In August, 1716, he married the Countess Dowager of Warwick, mother to the young Earl of Warwick, of whose education he seems to have had some charge in 1708. Addison settled upon the Countess £4000 in lieu of an estate which she gave up for his sake. Henceforth he lived chiefly at Holland House. In April, 1717, Lord Sunderland became Secretary of State, and still mindful of Marlborough's illustrious supporter, he made Addison his colleague. Eleven months later, ill health obliged Addison to resign the seals; and his death followed, June 17, 1719, at the age of 47.

Steele's political difficulties ended at the death of Queen Anne. The return of the Whigs to power on the accession of George I brought him the office of Surveyor of the Royal Stables at Hampton Court; he was also first in the Commission of the peace for Middlesex, and was made one of the deputy lieutenants of the county. At the request of the managers Steele's name was included in the new patent required at Drury Lane by the royal company of comedians upon the accession of a new sovereign. Steele also was returned as M.P. for Boroughbridge, in Yorkshire, was writer of the Address to the king presented by the Lord-lieutenant and the deputy lieutenants of Middlesex, and being knighted on that occasion, with two other of the deputies, became in the spring of the year, 1714, Sir Richard Steele. Very few weeks after the death of his wife, in December, 1718, Sunderland, at a time when he had Addison for colleague, brought in a bill for preventing any future creations of peers, except when an existing peerage should become extinct. Steele, who looked upon this as an infringement alike of the privileges of the crown and of the rights of the subject, opposed the bill in Parliament, and started in March, 1719, a paper called the Plebeian, in which he argued against a measure tending, he said, to the formation of an oligarchy. Addison replied in the Old Whig, and this, which occurred within a year of the close of Addison's life, was the main subject of political difference between them. The bill, strongly opposed, was dropped for that session, and reintroduced (after Addison's death) in the December following, to be thrown out by the House of Commons.

Steele's argument against the government brought on him the hostility of the Duke of Newcastle, then Lord Chamberlain; and it was partly to defend himself and his brother patentees against hostile action threatened by the Duke, that Steele, in January, 1720, started his paper called the Theatre. But he was dispossessed of his government of the theatre, to which a salary of £600 a-year had been attached, and suffered by the persecution of the court until Walpole's return to power. Steele was then restored to his office, and in the following year, 1722, produced his most successful comedy, The Conscious Lovers. After this time his health declined; his spirits were depressed. He left London for Bath. His only surviving son, Eugene, born while the Spectator was being issued, and to whom Prince Eugene had stood godfather, died at the age of eleven or twelve in November, 1723. The younger also of his two daughters was marked for death by consumption. He was broken in health and fortune when, in 1726, he had an attack of palsy which was the prelude to his death. He died Sept. 1, 1729, at Carmarthen, where he had been boarding with a mercer who was his agent and receiver of rents. There is a pleasant record that
'he retained his cheerful sweetness of temper to the last; and would often be carried out, of a summer's evening, where the country lads and lasses were assembled at their rural sports, — and, with his pencil, gave an order on his agent, the mercer, for a new gown to the best dancer.'
Two editions of the Spectator, the tenth and eleventh, were published by Tonson in the year of Steele's death. These and the next edition, dated 1739, were without the translations of the mottos, which appear, however, in the edition of 1744. Notes were first added by Dr. Percy, the editor of the Reliques of Ancient Poetry, and Dr. Calder. Dr. John Calder, a native of Aberdeen, bred to the dissenting ministry, was for some time keeper of Dr. Williams's Library in Redcross Street. He was a candidate for the office given to Dr. Abraham Rees, of editor and general super-intendent of the new issue of Chambers's Cyclopædia, undertaken by the booksellers in 1776, and he supplied to it some new articles. The Duke of Northumberland warmly patronized Dr. Calder, and made him his companion in London and at Alnwick Castle as Private Literary Secretary. Dr. Thomas Percy, who had constituted himself cousin and retainer to the Percy of Northumberland, obtained his bishopric of Dromore in 1782, in the following year lost his only son, and suffered from that failure in eyesight, which resulted in a total blindness.

Having become intimately acquainted with Dr. Calder when at Northumberland House and Alnwick, Percy intrusted to him the notes he had collected for illustrating the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian. These were after-wards used, with additions by Dr. Calder, in the various editions of those works, especially in the six-volume edition of the Tatler, published by John Nichols in 1786, where Percy's notes have a P. attached to them, and Dr. Calder's are signed 'Annotator.' The Tatler was annotated fully, and the annotated Tatler has supplied some pieces of information given in the present edition of the Spectator. Percy actually edited two volumes for R. Tonson in 1764, but the work was stopped by the death of the bookseller, and the other six were added to them in 1789. They were slightly annotated, both as regards the number and the value of the notes; but Percy and Calder lived when Spectator traditions were yet fresh, and oral information was accessible as to points of personal allusion or as to the authorship of a few papers or letters which but for them might have remained anonymous. Their notes are those of which the substance has run through all subsequent editions. Little, if anything, was added to them by Bisset or Chalmers; the energies of those editors having been chiefly directed to the preserving or multiplying of corruptions of the text. Percy, when telling Tonson that he had completed two volumes of the Spectator, said that he had corrected 'innumerable corruptions' which had then crept in, and could have come only by misprint. Since that time not only have misprints been preserved and multiplied, but punctuation has been deliberately modernized, to the destruction of the freshness of the original style, and editors of another 'understanding age' have also taken upon themselves by many a little touch to correct Addison's style or grammar.

This volume reprints for the first time in the present century the text of the Spectator as its authors left it. A good recent edition contains in the first 18 papers, which are a fair sample of the whole, 88 petty variations from the proper text (at that rate, in the whole work more than 3000) apart from the recasting of the punctuation, which is counted as a defect only in two instances, where it has changed the sense. Chalmers's text, of 1817, was hardly better, and about two-thirds of the whole number of corruptions had already appeared in Bisset's edition of 1793, from which they were transferred. Thus Bisset as well as Chalmers in the Dedication to Vol. I turned the 'polite parts of learning' into the 'polite arts of learning,' and when the silent gentleman tells us that many to whom his person is well known speak of him 'very currently by Mr. What-d'ye-call him,' Bisset before Chalmers rounded the sentence into 'very correctly by the appellation of Mr. What-d'ye-call him.' But it seems to have been Chalmers who first undertook to correct, in the next paper, Addison's grammar, by turning 'have laughed to have seen' into 'have laughed to see' and transformed a treaty 'with London and Wise,' — a firm now of historical repute, — for the supply of flowers to the opera, into a treaty 'between London and Wise,' which most people would take to be a very different matter. If the present edition has its own share of misprints and oversights, at least it inherits none; and it contains no wilful alteration of the text.

The papers as they first appeared in the daily issue of a penny (and after the stamp was imposed two-penny) folio half-sheet, have been closely compared with the first issue in guinea octavos, for which they were revised, and with the last edition that appeared before the death of Steele.

The original text is here given precisely as it was left after revision by its authors; and there is shown at the same time the amount and character of the revision.
Thus the reader has here both the original texts of the Spectator. The Essays, as revised by their authors for permanent use, form the main text of the present volume. But if the words or passages in brackets be omitted; the words or passages in corresponding foot-notes, — where there are such foot-notes, — being substituted for them; the text becomes throughout that of the Spectator as it first came out in daily numbers. Again and again the essayists indulge in banter on the mystery of the Latin and Greek mottos; and what confusion must enter into the mind of the unwary reader who finds Pope's Homer quoted at the head of a Spectator long before Addison's word of applause to the young poet's Essay on Criticism. In the large number of notes here added to a revision of those bequeathed to us by Percy and Calder, the object has been to give information which may contribute to some nearer acquaintance with the writers of the book, and enjoyment of allusions to past manners and events. H. M.

Footnote 1:   "Sentences omitted, or words altered;" not, of course, the immaterial variations of spelling into which compositors slipped in the printing office. In the Athenaeum of May 12, 1877, is an answer to misapprehensions on this head by the editor of a Clarendon Press volume of Selections from Addison.
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Original Dedication

To The Right Honourable John Lord Sommers, Baron Of Evesham1.

My Lord,

I should not act the Part of an impartial Spectator, if I Dedicated the following Papers to one who is not of the most consummate and most acknowledged Merit.

None but a person of a finished Character can be the proper Patron of a Work, which endeavours to Cultivate and Polish Human Life, by promoting Virtue and Knowledge, and by recommending whatsoever may be either Useful or Ornamental to Society.

I know that the Homage I now pay You, is offering a kind of Violence to one who is as solicitous to shun Applause, as he is assiduous to deserve it. But, my Lord, this is perhaps the only Particular in which your Prudence will be always disappointed.

While Justice, Candour, Equanimity, a Zeal for the Good of your Country, and the most persuasive Eloquence in bringing over others to it, are valuable Distinctions, You are not to expect that the Publick will so far comply with your Inclinations, as to forbear celebrating such extraordinary Qualities. It is in vain that You have endeavoured to conceal your Share of Merit, in the many National Services which You have effected. Do what You will, the present Age will be talking of your Virtues, tho' Posterity alone will do them Justice.

Other Men pass through Oppositions and contending Interests in the ways of Ambition, but Your Great Abilities have been invited to Power, and importuned to accept of Advancement. Nor is it strange that this should happen to your Lordship, who could bring into the Service of Your Sovereign the Arts and Policies of Ancient Greece and Rome; as well as the most exact knowledge of our own Constitution in particular, and of the interests of Europe in general; to which I must also add, a certain Dignity in Yourself, that (to say the least of it) has been always equal to those great Honours which have been conferred upon You.

It is very well known how much the Church owed to You in the most dangerous Day it ever saw, that of the Arraignment of its Prelates; and how far the Civil Power, in the Late and present Reign, has been indebted to your Counsels and Wisdom.

But to enumerate the great Advantages which the publick has received from your Administration, would be a more proper Work for an History, than an Address of this Nature.

Your Lordship appears as great in your Private Life, as in the most Important Offices which You have born. I would therefore rather chuse to speak of the Pleasure You afford all who are admitted into your Conversation, of Your Elegant Taste in all the Polite Parts of Learning, of Your great Humanity and Complacency of Manners, and of the surprising Influence which is peculiar to You in making every one who Converses with your Lordship prefer You to himself, without thinking the less meanly of his own Talents. But if I should take notice of all that might be observed in your Lordship, I should have nothing new to say upon any other Character of Distinction.

I am,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's

Most Obedient,

Most Devoted

Humble Servant,

The Spectator.

Footnote 1:   In 1695, when a student at Oxford, aged 23, Joseph Addison had dedicated 'to the Right Honourable Sir George Somers, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal,' a poem written in honour of King William III after his capture of Namur in sight of the whole French Army under Villeroi. This was Addison's first bid for success in Literature; and the twenty-seven lines in which he then asked Somers to 'receive the present of a Muse unknown,' were honourably meant to be what Dr. Johnson called 'a kind of rhyming introduction to Lord Somers.' If you, he said to Somers then —
'If you, well pleas'd, shall smile upon my lays,
Secure of fame, my voice I'll boldly raise,
For next to what you write, is what you praise.'
Somers did smile, and at once held out to Addison his helping hand. Mindful of this, and of substantial friendship during the last seventeen years, Addison joined Steele in dedicating to his earliest patron the first volume of the Essays which include his best security of fame.

At that time, John Somers, aged 61, and retired from political life, was weak in health and high in honours earned by desert only. He was the son of an attorney at Worcester, rich enough to give him a liberal education at his City Grammar School and at Trinity College, Oxford, where he was entered as a Gentleman Commoner. He left the University, without taking a degree, to practise law. Having a strong bent towards Literature as well as a keen, manly interest in the vital questions which concerned the liberties of England under Charles the Second, he distinguished himself by political tracts which maintained constitutional rights. He rose at the bar to honour and popularity, especially after his pleading as junior counsel for Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Six Bishops, Lloyd, Turner, Lake, Ken, White, and Trelawney, who signed the petition against the King's order for reading in all churches a Declaration for Liberty of Conscience, which they said 'was founded upon such a dispensing power as hath been often declared illegal in Parliament.' Somers earned the gratitude of a people openly and loudly triumphing in the acquittal of the Seven Bishops. He was active also in co-operation with those who were planning the expulsion of the Stuarts and the bringing over of the Prince of Orange. During the Interregnum he, and at the same time also Charles Montague, afterwards Lord Halifax, first entered Parliament. He was at the conference with the Lords upon the question of declaring the Throne vacant. As Chairman of the Committee appointed for the purpose, it was Somers who drew up the Declaration of Right, which, in placing the Prince and Princess of Orange on the throne, set forth the grounds of the Revolution and asserted against royal encroachment the ancient rights and liberties of England. For these services and for his rare ability as a constitutional lawyer, King William, in the first year of his reign, made Somers Solicitor-General. In 1692 he became Attorney-General as Sir John Somers, and soon afterwards, in March 1692-3, the Great Seal, which had been four years in Commission, was delivered to his keeping, with a patent entitling him to a pension of £2000 a year from the day he quitted office. He was then also sworn in as Privy Councillor. In April 1697 Somers as Lord Keeper delivered up the Great Seal, and received it back with the higher title of Lord Chancellor. He was at the same time created Baron Somers of Evesham; Crown property was also given to him to support his dignity. One use that he made of his influence was to procure young Addison a pension, that he might be forwarded in service of the State. Party spirit among his political opponents ran high against Somers. At the close of 1699 they had a majority in the Commons, and deprived him of office, but they failed before the Lords in an impeachment against him. In Queen Anne's reign, between 1708 and 1710, the constitutional statesman, long infirm of health, who had been in retirement serving Science as President of the Royal Society, was serving the State as President of the Council. But in 1712, when Addison addressed to him this Dedication of the first Volume of the first reprint of the Spectator, he had withdrawn from public life, and four years afterwards he died of a stroke of apoplexy.

Of Somers as a patron Lord Macaulay wrote:
'He had traversed the whole vast range of polite literature, ancient and modern. He was at once a munificent and a severely judicious patron of genius and learning. Locke owed opulence to Somers. By Somers Addison was drawn forth from a cell in a college. In distant countries the name of Somers was mentioned with respect and gratitude by great scholars and poets who had never seen his face. He was the benefactor of Leclerc. He was the friend of Filicaja. Neither political nor religious differences prevented him from extending his powerful protection to merit. Hickes, the fiercest and most intolerant of all the non-jurors, obtained, by the influence of Somers, permission to study Teutonic antiquities in freedom and safety. Vertue, a Strict Roman Catholic, was raised, by the discriminating and liberal patronage of Somers, from poverty and obscurity to the first rank among the engravers of the age.'
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No. 1

Thursday, March 1, 1711


Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem
Cogitat, ut speciosa dehinc miracula promat


I have observed, that a Reader seldom peruses a Book with Pleasure 'till he knows whether the Writer of it be a black or a fair Man, of a mild or cholerick Disposition, Married or a Batchelor, with other Particulars of the like nature, that conduce very much to the right Understanding of an Author. To gratify this Curiosity, which is so natural to a Reader, I design this Paper, and my next, as Prefatory Discourses to my following Writings, and shall give some Account in them of the several persons that are engaged in this Work. As the chief trouble of Compiling, Digesting, and Correcting will fall to my Share, I must do myself the Justice to open the Work with my own History.

I was born to a small Hereditary Estate, which according to the tradition of the village where it lies,1 was bounded by the same Hedges and Ditches in William the Conqueror's Time that it is at present, and has been delivered down from Father to Son whole and entire, without the Loss or Acquisition of a single Field or Meadow, during the Space of six hundred Years. There runs2 a Story in the Family, that when my Mother was gone with Child of me about three Months, she dreamt that she was brought to Bed of a Judge. Whether this might proceed from a Law-suit which was then depending in the Family, or my Father's being a Justice of the Peace, I cannot determine; for I am not so vain as to think it presaged any Dignity that I should arrive at in my future Life, though that was the Interpretation which the Neighbourhood put upon it. The Gravity of my Behaviour at my very first Appearance in the World, and all the Time that I sucked, seemed to favour my Mother's Dream: For, as she has often told me, I threw away my Rattle before I was two Months old, and would not make use of my Coral till they had taken away the Bells from it.

As for the rest of my Infancy, there being nothing in it remarkable, I shall pass it over in Silence. I find that, during my Nonage, I had the reputation of a very sullen Youth, but was always a Favourite of my School-master, who used to say, that my parts were solid, and would wear well. I had not been long at the University, before I distinguished myself by a most profound Silence: For, during the Space of eight Years, excepting in the publick Exercises of the College, I scarce uttered the Quantity of an hundred Words; and indeed do not remember that I ever spoke three Sentences together in my whole Life. Whilst I was in this Learned Body, I applied myself with so much Diligence to my Studies, that there are very few celebrated Books, either in the Learned or the Modern Tongues, which I am not acquainted with.

Upon the Death of my Father I was resolved to travel into Foreign Countries, and therefore left the University, with the Character of an odd unaccountable Fellow, that had a great deal of Learning, if I would but show it. An insatiable Thirst after Knowledge carried me into all the Countries of Europe, in which3 there was any thing new or strange to be seen; nay, to such a Degree was my curiosity raised, that having read the controversies of some great Men concerning the Antiquities of Egypt, I made a Voyage to Grand Cairo, on purpose to take the Measure of a Pyramid; and, as soon as I had set my self right in that Particular, returned to my Native Country with great Satisfaction4.

I have passed my latter Years in this City, where I am frequently seen in most publick Places, tho' there are not above half a dozen of my select Friends that know me; of whom my next Paper shall give a more particular Account. There is no place of general5 Resort wherein I do not often make my appearance; sometimes I am seen thrusting my Head into a Round of Politicians at Will's6 and listning with great Attention to the Narratives that are made in those little Circular Audiences. Sometimes I smoak a Pipe at Child's7; and, while I seem attentive to nothing but the Post-Man8, over-hear the Conversation of every Table in the Room. I appear on Sunday nights at St. James's Coffee House9, and sometimes join the little Committee of Politicks in the Inner-Room, as one who comes there to hear and improve. My Face is likewise very well known at the Grecian,10 the Cocoa-Tree,11 and in the Theaters both of Drury Lane and the Hay-Market.12 I have been taken for a Merchant upon the Exchange for above these ten Years, and sometimes pass for a Jew in the Assembly of Stock-jobbers at Jonathan's.13 In short, where-ever I see a Cluster of People, I always mix with them, tho' I never open my Lips but in my own Club.

Thus I live in the World, rather as a Spectator of Mankind, than as one of the Species; by which means I have made my self a Speculative Statesman, Soldier, Merchant, and Artizan, without ever medling with any Practical Part in Life. I am very well versed in the Theory of an Husband, or a Father, and can discern the Errors in the Œconomy, Business, and Diversion of others, better than those who are engaged in them; as Standers-by discover Blots, which are apt to escape those who are in the Game. I never espoused any Party with Violence, and am resolved to observe an exact Neutrality between the Whigs and Tories, unless I shall be forc'd to declare myself by the Hostilities of either side. In short, I have acted in all the parts of my Life as a Looker-on, which is the Character I intend to preserve in this Paper.

I have given the Reader just so much of my History and Character, as to let him see I am not altogether unqualified for the Business I have undertaken. As for other Particulars in my Life and Adventures, I shall insert them in following Papers, as I shall see occasion. In the mean time, when I consider how much I have seen, read, and heard, I begin to blame my own Taciturnity; and since I have neither Time nor Inclination to communicate the Fulness of my Heart in Speech, I am resolved to do it in Writing; and to Print my self out, if possible, before I Die. I have been often told by my Friends that it is Pity so many useful Discoveries which I have made, should be in the Possession of a Silent Man. For this Reason therefore, I shall publish a Sheet full of Thoughts every Morning, for the Benefit of my Contemporaries; and if I can any way contribute to the Diversion or Improvement of the Country in which I live, I shall leave it, when I am summoned out of it, with the secret Satisfaction of thinking that I have not Lived in vain.

There are three very material Points which I have not spoken to in this Paper, and which, for several important Reasons, I must keep to my self, at least for some Time: I mean, an Account of my Name, my Age, and my Lodgings. I must confess I would gratify my Reader in any thing that is reasonable; but as for these three Particulars, though I am sensible they might tend very much to the Embellishment of my Paper, I cannot yet come to a Resolution of communicating them to the Publick. They would indeed draw me out of that Obscurity which I have enjoyed for many Years, and expose me in Publick Places to several Salutes and Civilities, which have been always very disagreeable to me; for the greatest pain I can suffer, is14 the being talked to, and being stared at. It is for this Reason likewise, that I keep my Complexion and Dress, as very great Secrets; tho' it is not impossible, but I may make Discoveries of both in the Progress of the Work I have undertaken.

After having been thus particular upon my self, I shall in to-Morrow's Paper give an Account of those Gentlemen who are concerned with me in this Work. For, as I have before intimated, a Plan of it is laid and concerted (as all other Matters of Importance are) in a Club. However, as my Friends have engaged me to stand in the Front, those who have a mind to correspond with me, may direct their Letters To the Spectator, at Mr. Buckley's, in Little Britain15. For I must further acquaint the Reader, that tho' our Club meets only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have appointed a Committee to sit every Night, for the Inspection of all such Papers as may contribute to the Advancement of the Public Weal.


Footnote 1:  I find by the writings of the family,
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   goes

Footnote 3:   where

Footnote 4:   This is said to allude to a description of the Pyramids of Egypt, by John Greaves, a Persian scholar and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, who studied the principle of weights and measures in the Roman Foot and the Denarius, and whose visit to the Pyramids in 1638, by aid of his patron Laud, was described in his Pyramidographia. That work had been published in 1646, sixty-five years before the appearance of the Spectator, and Greaves died in 1652. But in 1706 appeared a tract, ascribed to him by its title-page, and popular enough to have been reprinted in 1727 and 1745, entitled, The Origine and Antiquity of our English Weights and Measures discovered by their near agreement with such Standards that are now found in one of the Egyptian Pyramids. It based its arguments on measurements in the Pyramidographia, and gave to Professor Greaves, in Addison's time, the same position with regard to Egypt that has been taken in our time by the Astronomer-Royal for Scotland, Professor Piazzi Smyth.

Footnote 5:  publick

Footnote 6:   Will's Coffee House, which had been known successively as the Red Cow and the Rose before it took a permanent name from Will Urwin, its proprietor, was the corner house on the north side of Russell Street, at the end of Bow Street, now No. 21. Dryden's use of this Coffee House caused the wits of the town to resort there, and after Dryden's death, in 1700, it remained for some years the Wits' Coffee House. There the strong interest in current politics took chiefly the form of satire, epigram, or entertaining narrative. Its credit was already declining in the days of the Spectator; wit going out and card-play coming in.

Footnote 7:   Child's Coffee House was in St. Paul's Churchyard. Neighbourhood to the Cathedral and Doctors' Commons made it a place of resort for the Clergy. The College of Physicians had been first established in Linacre's House, No. 5, Knightrider Street, Doctors' Commons, whence it had removed to Amen Corner, and thence in 1674 to the adjacent Warwick Lane. The Royal Society, until its removal in 1711 to Crane Court, Fleet Street, had its rooms further east, at Gresham College. Physicians, therefore, and philosophers, as well as the clergy, used Child's as a convenient place of resort.

Footnote 8:   The Postman, established and edited by M. Fonvive, a learned and grave French Protestant, who was said to make £600 a year by it, was a penny paper in the highest repute, Fonvive having secured for his weekly chronicle of foreign news a good correspondence in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Flanders, Holland. John Dunton, the bookseller, in his Life and Errors, published in 1705, thus characterized the chief newspapers of the day:
'the Observator is best to towel the Jacks, the Review is best to promote peace, the Flying Post is best for the Scotch news, the Postboy is best for the English and Spanish news, the Daily Courant is the best critic, the English Post is the best collector, the London Gazette has the best authority, and the Postman is the best for everything.'

Footnote 9:   St. James's Coffee House was the last house but one on the south-west corner of St. James's Street; closed about 1806. On its site is now a pile of buildings looking down Pall Mall. Near St. James's Palace, it was a place of resort for Whig officers of the Guards and men of fashion. It was famous also in Queen Anne's reign, and long after, as the house most favoured Whig statesmen and members of Parliament, who could there privately discuss their party tactics.

Footnote 10:   The Grecian Coffee House was in Devereux Court, Strand, and named from a Greek, Constantine, who kept it. Close to the Temple, it was a place of resort for the lawyers. Constantine's Greek had tempted also Greek scholars to the house, learned Professors and Fellows of the Royal Society. Here, it is said, two friends quarrelled so bitterly over a Greek accent that they went out into Devereux Court and fought a duel, in which one was killed on the spot.
cross-reference: return to Footnote 1 of No. 49

Footnote 11:  The Cocoa Tree was a Chocolate House in St. James's Street, used by Tory statesmen and men of fashion as exclusively as St. James's Coffee House, in the same street, was used by Whigs of the same class. It afterwards became a Tory club.

Footnote 12:   Drury Lane had a theatre in Shakespeare's time, 'the Phoenix,' called also 'the Cockpit.' It was destroyed in 1617 by a Puritan mob, re-built, and occupied again till the stoppage of stage-plays in 1648. In that theatre Marlowe's Jew of Malta, Massinger's New Way to Pay Old Debts, and other pieces of good literature, were first produced. Its players under James I were 'the Queen's servants.' In 1656 Davenant broke through the restriction upon stage-plays, and took actors and musicians to 'the Cockpit,' from Aldersgate Street. After the Restoration, Davenant having obtained a patent, occupied, in Portugal Row, the Lincoln's Inn Theatre, and afterwards one on the site of Dorset House, west of Whitefriars, the last theatre to which people went in boats. Sir William Davenant, under the patronage of the Duke of York, called his the Duke's Players. Thomas Killigrew then had 'the Cockpit' in Drury Lane, his company being that of the King's Players, and it was Killigrew who, dissatisfied with the old 'Cockpit,' opened, in 1663, the first Drury Lane Theatre, nearly upon the site now occupied by D.L. No. 4. The original theatre, burnt in 1671-2, was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren, and opened in 1674 with a Prologue by Dryden. That (D.L. No. 2) was the house visited by the Spectator. It required rebuilding in 1741 (D.L. No. 3); and was burnt down, and again rebuilt, in 1809, as we now have it (D.L. No. 4). There was no Covent Garden Theatre till after the Spectator's time, in 1733, when that house was first opened by Rich, the harlequin, under the patent granted to the Duke's Company.

In 1711 the other great house was the theatre in the Haymarket, recently built by Sir John Vanbrugh, author of The Provoked Wife, and architect of Blenheim. This Haymarket Theatre, on the site of that known as 'Her Majesty's,' was designed and opened by Vanbrugh in 1706, thirty persons of quality having subscribed a hundred pounds each towards the cost of it. He and Congreve were to write the plays, and Betterton was to take charge of their performance. The speculation was a failure; partly because the fields and meadows of the west end of the town cut off the poorer playgoers of the City, who could not afford coach-hire; partly because the house was too large, and its architecture swallowed up the voices of the actors. Vanbrugh and Congreve opened their grand west-end theatre with concession to the new taste of the fashionable for Italian Opera. They began with a translated opera set to Italian music, which ran only for three nights. Sir John Vanbrugh then produced his comedy of The Confederacy, with less success than it deserved. In a few months Congreve abandoned his share in the undertaking. Vanbrugh proceeded to adapt for his new house three plays of Molière. Then Vanbrugh, still failing, let the Haymarket to Mr. Owen Swiney, a trusted agent of the manager of Drury Lane, who was to allow him to draw what actors he pleased from Drury Lane and divide profits. The recruited actors in the Haymarket had better success. The secret league between the two theatres was broken. In 1707 the Haymarket was supported by a subscription headed by Lord Halifax. But presently a new joint patentee brought energy into the counsels of Drury Lane. Amicable restoration was made to the Theatre Royal of the actors under Swiney at the Haymarket; and to compensate Swiney for his loss of profit, it was agreed that while Drury Lane confined itself to the acting of plays, he should profit by the new taste for Italian music, and devote the house in the Haymarket to opera. Swiney was content. The famous singer Nicolini had come over, and the town was impatient to hear him. This compact held for a short time. It was broken then by quarrels behind the scenes. In 1709 Wilks, Dogget, Cibber, and Mrs. Oldfield treated with Swiney to be sharers with him in the Haymarket as heads of a dramatic company. They contracted the width of the theatre, brought down its enormously high ceiling, thus made the words of the plays audible, and had the town to themselves, till a lawyer, Mr. William Collier, M.P. for Truro, in spite of the counter-attraction of the trial of Sacheverell, obtained a license to open Drury Lane, and produced an actress who drew money to Charles Shadwell's comedy, The Fair Quaker of Deal. At the close of the season Collier agreed with Swiney and his actor-colleagues to give up to them Drury Lane with its actors, take in exchange the Haymarket with its singers, and be sole Director of the Opera; the actors to pay Collier two hundred a year for the use of his license, and to close their house on the Wednesdays when an opera was played.

This was the relative position of Drury Lane and the Haymarket theatres when the Spectator first appeared. Drury Lane had entered upon a long season of greater prosperity than it had enjoyed for thirty years before. Collier, not finding the Haymarket as prosperous as it was fashionable, was planning a change of place with Swiney, and he so contrived, by lawyer's wit and court influence, that in the winter following 1711 Collier was at Drury Lane with a new license for himself, Wilks, Dogget, and Cibber; while Swiney, transferred to the Opera, was suffering a ruin that caused him to go abroad, and be for twenty years afterwards an exile from his country.

Footnote 13:   Jonathan's Coffee House, in Change Alley, was the place of resort for stock-jobbers. It was to Garraway's, also in Change Alley, that people of quality on business in the City, or the wealthy and reputable citizens, preferred to go.

Footnote 14:   pains ... are.

Footnote 15:   The Spectator in its first daily issue was
'Printed for Sam. Buckley, at the Dolphin in Little Britain; and sold by A. Baldwin in Warwick Lane.'

Footnote 16:   The initials appended to the papers in their daily issue were placed, in a corner of the page, after the printer's name.


No. 2

Friday, March 2, 1711


... Ast Alii sex
Et plures uno conclamant ore.


The first of our Society is a Gentleman of Worcestershire, of antient Descent, a Baronet, his Name Sir Roger De Coverly.1 His great Grandfather was Inventor of that famous Country-Dance which is call'd after him. All who know that Shire are very well acquainted with the Parts and Merits of Sir Roger. He is a Gentleman that is very singular in his Behaviour, but his Singularities proceed from his good Sense, and are Contradictions to the Manners of the World, only as he thinks the World is in the wrong. However, this Humour creates him no Enemies, for he does nothing with Sourness or Obstinacy; and his being unconfined to Modes and Forms, makes him but the readier and more capable to please and oblige all who know him. When he is in town he lives in Soho Square2: It is said, he keeps himself a Batchelour by reason he was crossed in Love by a perverse beautiful Widow of the next County to him. Before this Disappointment, Sir Roger was what you call a fine Gentleman, had often supped with my Lord Rochester3 and Sir George Etherege4, fought a Duel upon his first coming to Town, and kick'd Bully Dawson5 in a publick Coffee-house for calling him Youngster. But being ill-used by the above-mentioned Widow, he was very serious for a Year and a half; and tho' his Temper being naturally jovial, he at last got over it, he grew careless of himself and never dressed afterwards; he continues to wear a Coat and Doublet of the same Cut that were in Fashion at the Time of his Repulse, which, in his merry Humours, he tells us, has been in and out twelve Times since he first wore it. 'Tis said Sir Roger grew humble in his Desires after he had forgot this cruel Beauty, insomuch that it is reported he has frequently offended in Point of Chastity with Beggars and Gypsies: but this is look'd upon by his Friends rather as Matter of Raillery than Truth. He is now in his Fifty-sixth Year, cheerful, gay, and hearty, keeps a good House in both Town and Country; a great Lover of Mankind; but there is such a mirthful Cast in his Behaviour, that he is rather beloved than esteemed. His Tenants grow rich, his Servants look satisfied, all the young Women profess Love to him, and the young Men are glad of his Company: When he comes into a House he calls the Servants by their Names, and talks all the way Up Stairs to a Visit. I must not omit that Sir Roger is a Justice of the Quorum; that he fills the chair at a Quarter-Session with great Abilities, and three Months ago, gained universal Applause by explaining a Passage in the Game-Act.

The Gentleman next in Esteem and Authority among us, is another Batchelour, who is a Member of the Inner Temple: a Man of great Probity, Wit, and Understanding; but he has chosen his Place of Residence rather to obey the Direction of an old humoursome Father, than in pursuit of his own Inclinations. He was plac'd there to study the Laws of the Land, and is the most learned of any of the House in those of the Stage. Aristotle and Longinus are much better understood by him than Littleton or Cooke. The Father sends up every Post Questions relating to Marriage-Articles, Leases, and Tenures, in the Neighbourhood; all which Questions he agrees with an Attorney to answer and take care of in the Lump. He is studying the Passions themselves, when he should be inquiring into the Debates among Men which arise from them. He knows the Argument of each of the Orations of Demosthenes and Tully, but not one Case in the Reports of our own Courts. No one ever took him for a Fool, but none, except his intimate Friends, know he has a great deal of Wit. This Turn makes him at once both disinterested and agreeable: As few of his Thoughts are drawn from Business, they are most of them fit for Conversation. His Taste of Books is a little too just for the Age he lives in; he has read all, but Approves of very few. His Familiarity with the Customs, Manners, Actions, and Writings of the Antients, makes him a very delicate Observer of what occurs to him in the present World. He is an excellent Critick, and the Time of the Play is his Hour of Business; exactly at five he passes through New Inn, crosses through Russel Court; and takes a turn at Will's till the play begins; he has his shoes rubb'd and his Perriwig powder'd at the Barber's as you go into the Rose6 — It is for the Good of the Audience when he is at a Play, for the Actors have an Ambition to please him.

The Person of next Consideration is Sir Andrew Freeport, a Merchant of great Eminence in the City of London: A Person of indefatigable Industry, strong Reason, and great Experience. His Notions of Trade are noble and generous, and (as every rich Man has usually some sly Way of Jesting, which would make no great Figure were he not a rich Man) he calls the Sea the British Common. He is acquainted with Commerce in all its Parts, and will tell you that it is a stupid and barbarous Way to extend Dominion by Arms; for true Power is to be got by Arts and Industry. He will often argue, that if this Part of our Trade were well cultivated, we should gain from one Nation; and if another, from another. I have heard him prove that Diligence makes more lasting Acquisitions than Valour, and that Sloth has ruin'd more Nations than the Sword. He abounds in several frugal Maxims, amongst which the greatest Favourite is, 'A Penny saved is a Penny got.' A General Trader of good Sense is pleasanter Company than a general Scholar; and Sir Andrew having a natural unaffected Eloquence, the Perspicuity of his Discourse gives the same Pleasure that Wit would in another Man. He has made his Fortunes himself; and says that England may be richer than other Kingdoms, by as plain Methods as he himself is richer than other Men; tho' at the same Time I can say this of him, that there is not a point in the Compass, but blows home a Ship in which he is an Owner.

Next to Sir Andrew in the Club-room sits Captain Sentry7, a Gentleman of great Courage, good Understanding, but Invincible Modesty. He is one of those that deserve very well, but are very awkward at putting their Talents within the Observation of such as should take notice of them. He was some Years a Captain, and behaved himself with great Gallantry in several Engagements, and at several Sieges; but having a small Estate of his own, and being next Heir to Sir Roger, he has quitted a Way of Life in which no Man can rise suitably to his Merit, who is not something of a Courtier, as well as a Soldier. I have heard him often lament, that in a Profession where Merit is placed in so conspicuous a View, Impudence should get the better of Modesty. When he has talked to this Purpose, I never heard him make a sour Expression, but frankly confess that he left the World, because he was not fit for it. A strict Honesty and an even regular Behaviour, are in themselves Obstacles to him that must press through Crowds who endeavour at the same End with himself, the Favour of a Commander. He will, however, in this Way of Talk, excuse Generals, for not disposing according to Men's Desert, or enquiring into it: For, says he, that great Man who has a Mind to help me, has as many to break through to come at me, as I have to come at him: Therefore he will conclude, that the Man who would make a Figure, especially in a military Way, must get over all false Modesty, and assist his Patron against the Importunity of other Pretenders, by a proper Assurance in his own Vindication. He says it is a civil Cowardice to be backward in asserting what you ought to expect, as it is a military Fear to be slow in attacking when it is your Duty. With this Candour does the Gentleman speak of himself and others. The same Frankness runs through all his Conversation. The military Part of his Life has furnished him with many Adventures, in the Relation of which he is very agreeable to the Company; for he is never over-bearing, though accustomed to command Men in the utmost Degree below him; nor ever too obsequious, from an Habit of obeying Men highly above him.

But that our Society may not appear a Set of Humourists unacquainted with the Gallantries and Pleasures of the Age, we have among us the gallant Will. Honeycomb8, a Gentleman who, according to his Years, should be in the Decline of his Life, but having ever been very careful of his Person, and always had a very easy Fortune, Time has made but very little Impression, either by Wrinkles on his Forehead, or Traces in his Brain. His Person is well turned, and of a good Height. He is very ready at that sort of Discourse with which Men usually entertain Women. He has all his Life dressed very well, and remembers Habits as others do Men. He can smile when one speaks to him, and laughs easily. He knows the History of every Mode, and can inform you from which of the French King's Wenches our Wives and Daughters had this Manner of curling their Hair, that Way of placing their Hoods; whose Frailty was covered by such a Sort of Petticoat, and whose Vanity to show her Foot made that Part of the Dress so short in such a Year. In a Word, all his Conversation and Knowledge has been in the female World: As other Men of his Age will take Notice to you what such a Minister said upon such and such an Occasion, he will tell you when the Duke of Monmouth danced at Court such a Woman was then smitten, another was taken with him at the Head of his Troop in the Park. In all these important Relations, he has ever about the same Time received a kind Glance, or a Blow of a Fan, from some celebrated Beauty, Mother of the present Lord such-a-one. If you speak of a young Commoner that said a lively thing in the House, he starts up,
'He has good Blood in his Veins, Tom Mirabell begot him, the Rogue cheated me in that Affair; that young Fellow's Mother used me more like a Dog than any Woman I ever made Advances to.'
This Way of Talking of his, very much enlivens the Conversation among us of a more sedate Turn; and I find there is not one of the Company but myself, who rarely speak at all, but speaks of him as of that Sort of Man, who is usually called a well-bred fine Gentleman. To conclude his Character, where Women are not concerned, he is an honest worthy Man.

I cannot tell whether I am to account him whom I am next to speak of, as one of our Company; for he visits us but seldom, but when he does, it adds to every Man else a new Enjoyment of himself. He is a Clergyman, a very philosophick Man, of general Learning, great Sanctity of Life, and the most exact good Breeding. He has the Misfortune to be of a very weak Constitution, and consequently cannot accept of such Cares and Business as Preferments in his Function would oblige him to: He is therefore among Divines what a Chamber-Counsellor is among Lawyers. The Probity of his Mind, and the Integrity of his Life, create him Followers, as being eloquent or loud advances others. He seldom introduces the Subject he speaks upon; but we are so far gone in Years, that he observes when he is among us, an Earnestness to have him fall on some divine Topick, which he always treats with much Authority, as one who has no Interests in this World, as one who is hastening to the Object of all his Wishes, and conceives Hope from his Decays and Infirmities. These are my ordinary Companions.


Footnote 1:  The character of Sir Roger de Coverley is said to have been drawn from Sir John Pakington, of Worcestershire, a Tory, whose name, family, and politics are represented by a statesman of the present time. The name, on this its first appearance in the Spectator, is spelt Coverly; also in the first reprint.
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Footnote 2:   Soho Square was then a new and most fashionable part of the town. It was built in 1681. The Duke of Monmouth lived in the centre house, facing the statue. Originally the square was called King Square. Pennant mentions, on Pegg's authority, a tradition that, on the death of Monmouth, his admirers changed the name to Soho, the word of the day at the field of Sedgemoor. But the ground upon which the Square stands was called Soho as early as the year 1632. 'So ho' was the old call in hunting when a hare was found.

Footnote 3:   John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, b. 1648, d. 1680. His licentious wit made him a favourite of Charles II. His strength was exhausted by licentious living at the age of one and thirty. His chief work is a poem upon 'Nothing.' He died repentant of his wasted life, in which, as he told Burnet, he had 'for five years been continually drunk,' or so much affected by frequent drunkenness as in no instance to be master of himself.

Footnote 4:  Sir George Etherege, b. 1636, d. 1694. 'Gentle George' and 'Easy Etherege,' a wit and friend of the wits of the Restoration. He bought his knighthood to enable him to marry a rich widow who required a title, and died of a broken neck, by tumbling down-stairs when he was drunk and lighting guests to their apartments. His three comedies, The Comical Revenge, She Would if she Could, and The Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling Flutter, excellent embodiments of the court humour of his time, were collected and printed in 8vo in 1704, and reprinted, with addition of five poems, in 1715.

Footnote 5:   Bully Dawson, a swaggering sharper of Whitefriars, is said to have been sketched by Shadwell in the Captain Hackum of his comedy called The Squire of Alsatia.

Footnote 6:   The Rose Tavern was on the east side of Brydges Street, near Drury Lane Theatre, much favoured by the looser sort of play-goers. Garrick, when he enlarged the Theatre, made the Rose Tavern a part of it.

Footnote 7:   Captain Sentry was by some supposed to have been drawn from Colonel Kempenfelt, the father of the Admiral who went down with the Royal George.

Footnote 8:  Will. Honeycomb was by some found in a Colonel Cleland.

Footnote 9:   Steele's signature was R till No. 91; then T, and occasionally R, till No. 134; then always T.

Addison signed C till No. 85, when he first used L; and was L or C till No. 265, then L, till he first used I in No. 372. Once or twice using L, he was I till No. 405, which he signed O, and by this letter he held, except for a return to C (with a single use of O), from 433 to 477.


No. 3

Thursday, March 1, 1711


Quoi quisque ferè studio devinctus adhæret:
Aut quibus in rebus multùm sumus antè morati:
Atque in quâ ratione fuit contenta magis mens;
In somnis eadem plerumque videmur obire

Lucr. L. 4.

In one of my late Rambles, or rather Speculations, I looked into the great Hall where the Bank1 is kept, and was not a little pleased to see the Directors, Secretaries, and Clerks, with all the other Members of that wealthy Corporation, ranged in their several Stations, according to the Parts they act in that just and regular Œconomy. This revived in my Memory the many Discourses which I had both read and heard, concerning the Decay of Publick Credit, with the Methods of restoring it, and which, in my Opinion, have always been defective, because they have always been made with an Eye to separate Interests and Party Principles.

The Thoughts of the Day gave my Mind Employment for the whole Night, so that I fell insensibly into a kind of Methodical Dream, which disposed all my Contemplations into a Vision or Allegory, or what else the Reader shall please to call it.

Methoughts I returned to the Great Hall, where I had been the Morning before, but to my Surprize, instead of the Company that I left there, I saw, towards the Upper-end of the Hall, a beautiful Virgin seated on a Throne of Gold. Her Name (as they told me) was Publick Credit. The Walls, instead of being adorned with Pictures and Maps, were hung with many Acts of Parliament written in Golden Letters. At the Upper end of the Hall was the Magna Charta2, with the Act of Uniformity3 on the right Hand, and the Act of Toleration4 on the left. At the Lower end of the Hall was the Act of Settlement5, which was placed full in the Eye of the Virgin that sat upon the Throne. Both the Sides of the Hall were covered with such Acts of Parliament as had been made for the Establishment of Publick Funds. The Lady seemed to set an unspeakable Value upon these several Pieces of Furniture, insomuch that she often refreshed her Eye with them, and often smiled with a Secret Pleasure, as she looked upon them; but at the same time showed a very particular Uneasiness, if she saw any thing approaching that might hurt them. She appeared indeed infinitely timorous in all her Behaviour: And, whether it was from the Delicacy of her Constitution, or that she was troubled with the Vapours, as I was afterwards told by one who I found was none of her Well-wishers, she changed Colour, and startled at everything she heard. She was likewise (as I afterwards found) a greater Valetudinarian than any I had ever met with, even in her own Sex, and subject to such Momentary Consumptions, that in the twinkling of an Eye, she would fall away from the most florid Complexion, and the most healthful State of Body, and wither into a Skeleton. Her Recoveries were often as sudden as her Decays, insomuch that she would revive in a Moment out of a wasting Distemper, into a Habit of the highest Health and Vigour.

I had very soon an Opportunity of observing these quick Turns and Changes in her Constitution. There sat at her Feet a Couple of Secretaries, who received every Hour Letters from all Parts of the World; which the one or the other of them was perpetually reading to her; and according to the News she heard, to which she was exceedingly attentive, she changed Colour, and discovered many Symptoms of Health or Sickness.

Behind the Throne was a prodigious Heap of Bags of Mony, which were piled upon one another so high that they touched the Ceiling. The Floor on her right Hand, and on her left, was covered with vast Sums of Gold that rose up in Pyramids on either side of her: But this I did not so much wonder at, when I heard, upon Enquiry, that she had the same Virtue in her Touch, which the Poets tell us a Lydian King was formerly possessed of; and that she could convert whatever she pleased into that precious Metal.

After a little Dizziness, and confused Hurry of Thought, which a Man often meets with in a Dream, methoughts the Hall was alarm'd, the Doors flew open, and there entered half a dozen of the most hideous Phantoms that I had ever seen (even in a Dream) before that Time. They came in two by two, though match'd in the most dissociable Manner, and mingled together in a kind of Dance. It would be tedious to describe their Habits and Persons; for which Reason I shall only inform my Reader that the first Couple were Tyranny and Anarchy, the second were Bigotry and Atheism, the third the Genius of a Common-Wealth, and a young Man of about twenty-two Years of Age6, whose Name I could not learn. He had a Sword in his right Hand, which in the Dance he often brandished at the Act of Settlement; and a Citizen, who stood by me, whispered in my Ear, that he saw a Spunge in his left Hand. The Dance of so many jarring Natures put me in mind of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, in the Rehearsal7, that danced together for no other end but to eclipse one another.

The Reader will easily suppose, by what has been before said, that the Lady on the Throne would have been almost frightened to Distraction, had she seen but any one of these Spectres; what then must have been her Condition when she saw them all in a Body? She fainted and dyed away at the sight.
Et neq; jam color est misto candore rubori;
Nec Vigor, et Vires, et quæ modò visa placebant;
Nec Corpus remanet ...

Ov. Met. Lib. 3.
There was as great a Change in the Hill of Mony Bags, and the Heaps of Mony, the former shrinking, and falling into so many empty Bags, that I now found not above a tenth part of them had been filled with Mony. The rest that took up the same Space, and made the same Figure as the Bags that were really filled with Mony, had been blown up with Air, and called into my Memory the Bags full of Wind, which Homer tells us his Hero received as a present from Æolus. The great Heaps of Gold, on either side of the Throne, now appeared to be only Heaps of Paper, or little Piles of notched Sticks, bound up together in Bundles, like Bath-Faggots.

Whilst I was lamenting this sudden Desolation that had been made before me, the whole Scene vanished: In the Room of the frightful Spectres, there now entered a second Dance of Apparitions very agreeably matched together, and made up of very amiable Phantoms. The first Pair was Liberty, with Monarchy at her right Hand: The Second was Moderation leading in Religion; and the third a Person whom I had never seen8, with the genius of Great Britain. At their first Entrance the Lady reviv'd, the Bags swell'd to their former Bulk, the Piles of Faggots and Heaps of Paper changed into Pyramids of Guineas9: And for my own part I was so transported with Joy, that I awaked, tho' I must confess I would fain have fallen asleep again to have closed my Vision, if I could have done it.

Footnote 1:   The Bank of England was then only 17 years old. It was founded in 1694, and grew out of a loan of £1,200,000 for the public service, for which the lenders — so low was the public credit — were to have 8 per cent. interest, four thousand a year for expense of management, and a charter for 10 years, afterwards renewed from time to time, as the 'Governor and Company of the Bank of England.'
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Footnote 2:  Magna Charta Libertatum, the Great Charter of Liberties obtained by the barons of King John, June 16, 1215, not only asserted rights of the subject against despotic power of the king, but included among them right of insurrection against royal authority unlawfully exerted.

Footnote 3:   The Act of Uniformity, passed May 19, 1662, withheld promotion in the Church from all who had not received episcopal ordination, and required of all clergy assent to the contents of the Prayer Book on pain of being deprived of their spiritual promotion. It forbade all changes in matters of belief otherwise than by the king in Parliament. While it barred the unconstitutional exercise of a dispensing power by the king, and kept the settlement of its faith out of the hands of the clergy and in those of the people, it was so contrived also according to the temper of the majority that it served as a test act for the English Hierarchy, and cast out of the Church, as Nonconformists, those best members of its Puritan clergy, about two thousand in number, whose faith was sincere enough to make them sacrifice their livings to their sense of truth.

Footnote 4:   The Act of Toleration, with which Addison balances the Act of Uniformity, was passed in the first year of William and Mary, and confirmed in the 10th year of Queen Anne, the year in which this Essay was written. By it all persons dissenting from the Church of England, except Roman Catholics and persons denying the Trinity, were relieved from such acts against Nonconformity as restrained their religious liberty and right of public worship, on condition that they took the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, subscribed a declaration against transubstantiation, and, if dissenting ministers, subscribed also to certain of the Thirty-Nine Articles.

Footnote 5:  The Act of Settlement was that which, at the Revolution, excluded the Stuarts and settled the succession to the throne of princes who have since governed England upon the principle there laid down, not of divine right, but of an original contract between prince and people, the breaking of which by the prince may lawfully entail forfeiture of the crown.

Footnote 6:   James Stuart, son of James II, born June 10, 1688, was then in the 23rd year of his age.

Footnote 7:  The Rehearsal was a witty burlesque upon the heroic dramas of Davenant, Dryden, and others, written by George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, the Zimri of Dryden's 'Absalom and Achitophel,' 'that life of pleasure and that soul of whim,' who, after running through a fortune of £50,000 a year, died, says Pope, 'in the worst inn's worst room.' His Rehearsal, written in 1663-4, was first acted in 1671. In the last act the poet Bayes, who is showing and explaining a Rehearsal of his play to Smith and Johnson, introduces an Eclipse which, as he explains, being nothing else but an interposition, &c.
'Well, Sir, then what do I, but make the earth, sun, and moon, come out upon the stage, and dance the hey' ... 'Come, come out, eclipse, to the tune of Tom Tyler.'

Enter Luna. Luna:  Orbis, O Orbis! Come to me, thou little rogue, Orbis!

Enter the Earth.

Orb.:   Who calls Terra-firma pray?


Enter Sol, to the tune of Robin Hood, &c.

While they dance Bayes cries, mightily taken with his device,

'Now the Earth's before the Moon; now the Moon's before the Sun: there's the Eclipse again.'

Footnote 8:   The elector of Hanover, who, in 1714, became King George I.

Footnote 9:   In the year after the foundation of the Bank of England, Mr. Charles Montague, — made in 1700 Baron and by George I, Earl of Halifax, then (in 1695) Chancellor of the Exchequer, — restored the silver currency to a just standard. The process of recoinage caused for a time scarcity of coin and stoppage of trade. The paper of the Bank of England fell to 20 per cent. discount. Montague then collected and paid public debts from taxes imposed for the purpose and invented (in 1696), to relieve the want of currency, the issue of Exchequer bills. Public credit revived, the Bank capital increased, the currency sufficed, and. says Earl Russell in his Essay on the English Government and Constitution,
'from this time loans were made of a vast increasing amount with great facility, and generally at a low interest, by which the nation were enabled to resist their enemies. The French wondered at the prodigious efforts that were made by so small a power, and the abundance with which money was poured into its treasury... Books were written, projects drawn up, edicts prepared, which were to give to France the same facilities as her rival; every plan that fiscal ingenuity could strike out, every calculation that laborious arithmetic could form, was proposed, and tried, and found wanting; and for this simple reason, that in all their projects drawn up in imitation of England, one little element was omitted, videlicet, her free constitution.'
That is what Addison means by his allegory.


No. 4

Monday, March 5, 1711


.. Egregii Mortalem altique silenti!


An Author, when he first appears in the World, is very apt to believe it has nothing to think of but his Performances. With a good Share of this Vanity in my Heart, I made it my Business these three Days to listen after my own Fame; and, as I have sometimes met with Circumstances which did not displease me, I have been encountered by others which gave me much Mortification. It is incredible to think how empty I have in this time observed some Part of the Species to be, what mere Blanks they are when they first come abroad in the Morning, how utterly they are at a Stand, until they are set a going by some Paragraph in a News-Paper: Such Persons are very acceptable to a young Author, for they desire no more in anything but to be new, to be agreeable. If I found Consolation among such, I was as much disquieted by the Incapacity of others. These are Mortals who have a certain Curiosity without Power of Reflection, and perused my Papers like Spectators rather than Readers. But there is so little Pleasure in Enquiries that so nearly concern our selves (it being the worst Way in the World to Fame, to be too anxious about it), that upon the whole I resolv'd for the future to go on in my ordinary Way; and without too much Fear or Hope about the Business of Reputation, to be very careful of the Design of my Actions, but very negligent of the Consequences of them.

It is an endless and frivolous Pursuit to act by any other Rule than the Care of satisfying our own Minds in what we do. One would think a silent Man, who concerned himself with no one breathing, should be very liable to Misinterpretations; and yet I remember I was once taken up for a Jesuit, for no other reason but my profound Taciturnity. It is from this Misfortune, that to be out of Harm's Way, I have ever since affected Crowds. He who comes into Assemblies only to gratify his Curiosity, and not to make a Figure, enjoys the Pleasures of Retirement in a more exquisite Degree, than he possibly could in his Closet; the Lover, the Ambitious, and the Miser, are followed thither by a worse Crowd than any they can withdraw from. To be exempt from the Passions with which others are tormented, is the only pleasing Solitude. I can very justly say with the antient Sage, I am never less alone than when alone. As I am insignificant to the Company in publick Places, and as it is visible I do not come thither as most do, to shew my self; I gratify the Vanity of all who pretend to make an Appearance, and often have as kind Looks from well-dressed Gentlemen and Ladies, as a Poet would bestow upon one of his Audience. There are so many Gratifications attend this publick sort of Obscurity, that some little Distastes I daily receive have lost their Anguish; and I did the other day,1 without the least Displeasure overhear one say of me,
That strange Fellow,
and another answer,
I have known the Fellow's Face for these twelve Years, and so must you; but I believe you are the first ever asked who he was.
There are, I must confess, many to whom my Person is as well known as that of their nearest Relations, who give themselves no further Trouble about calling me by my Name or Quality, but speak of me very currently by Mr what-d-ye-call-him.

To make up for these trivial Disadvantages, I have the high Satisfaction of beholding all Nature with an unprejudiced Eye; and having nothing to do with Men's Passions or Interests, I can with the greater Sagacity consider their Talents, Manners, Failings, and Merits.

It is remarkable, that those who want any one Sense, possess the others with greater Force and Vivacity. Thus my Want of, or rather Resignation of Speech, gives me all the Advantages of a dumb Man. I have, methinks, a more than ordinary Penetration in Seeing; and flatter my self that I have looked into the Highest and Lowest of Mankind, and make shrewd Guesses, without being admitted to their Conversation, at the inmost Thoughts and Reflections of all whom I behold. It is from hence that good or ill Fortune has no manner of Force towards affecting my Judgment. I see Men flourishing in Courts, and languishing in Jayls, without being prejudiced from their Circumstances to their Favour or Disadvantage; but from their inward Manner of bearing their Condition, often pity the Prosperous and admire the Unhappy.

Those who converse with the Dumb, know from the Turn of their Eyes and the Changes of their Countenance their Sentiments of the Objects before them. I have indulged my Silence to such an Extravagance, that the few who are intimate with me, answer my Smiles with concurrent Sentences, and argue to the very Point I shak'd my Head at without my speaking. Will. Honeycomb was very entertaining the other Night at a Play to a Gentleman who sat on his right Hand, while I was at his Left. The Gentleman believed Will. was talking to himself, when upon my looking with great Approbation at a young thing2 in a Box before us, he said,
'I am quite of another Opinion: She has, I will allow, a very pleasing Aspect, but, methinks, that Simplicity in her Countenance is rather childish than innocent.'
When I observed her a second time, he said,
'I grant her Dress is very becoming, but perhaps the Merit of Choice is owing to her Mother; for though,' continued he, 'I allow a Beauty to be as much to be commended for the Elegance of her Dress, as a Wit for that of his Language; yet if she has stolen the Colour of her Ribbands from another, or had Advice about her Trimmings, I shall not allow her the Praise of Dress, any more than I would call a Plagiary an Author.'
When I threw my Eye towards the next Woman to her, Will. spoke what I looked, according to his romantic imagination, in the following Manner.
'Behold, you who dare, that charming Virgin. Behold the Beauty of her Person chastised by the Innocence of her Thoughts. Chastity, Good-Nature, and Affability, are the Graces that play in her Countenance; she knows she is handsome, but she knows she is good. Conscious Beauty adorned with conscious Virtue! What a Spirit is there in those Eyes! What a Bloom in that Person! How is the whole Woman expressed in her Appearance! Her Air has the Beauty of Motion, and her Look the Force of Language.'
It was Prudence to turn away my Eyes from this Object, and therefore I turned them to the thoughtless Creatures who make up the Lump of that Sex, and move a knowing Eye no more than the Portraitures of insignificant People by ordinary Painters, which are but Pictures of Pictures.

Thus the working of my own Mind, is the general Entertainment of my Life; I never enter into the Commerce of Discourse with any but my particular Friends, and not in Publick even with them. Such an Habit has perhaps raised in me uncommon Reflections; but this Effect I cannot communicate but by my Writings. As my Pleasures are almost wholly confined to those of the Sight, I take it for a peculiar Happiness that I have always had an easy and familiar Admittance to the fair Sex. If I never praised or flattered, I never belyed or contradicted them. As these compose half the World, and are by the just Complaisance and Gallantry of our Nation the more powerful Part of our People, I shall dedicate a considerable Share of these my Speculations to their Service, and shall lead the young through all the becoming Duties of Virginity, Marriage, and Widowhood. When it is a Woman's Day, in my Works, I shall endeavour at a Stile and Air suitable to their Understanding. When I say this, I must be understood to mean, that I shall not lower but exalt the Subjects I treat upon. Discourse for their Entertainment, is not to be debased but refined. A Man may appear learned without talking Sentences; as in his ordinary Gesture he discovers he can dance, tho' he does not cut Capers. In a Word, I shall take it for the greatest Glory of my Work, if among reasonable Women this Paper may furnish Tea-Table Talk. In order to it, I shall treat on Matters which relate to Females as they are concern'd to approach or fly from the other Sex, or as they are tyed to them by Blood, Interest, or Affection. Upon this Occasion I think it but reasonable to declare, that whatever Skill I may have in Speculation, I shall never betray what the Eyes of Lovers say to each other in my Presence. At the same Time I shall not think my self obliged by this Promise, to conceal any false Protestations which I observe made by Glances in publick Assemblies; but endeavour to make both Sexes appear in their Conduct what they are in their Hearts. By this Means Love, during the Time of my Speculations, shall be carried on with the same Sincerity as any other Affair of less Consideration. As this is the greatest Concern, Men shall be from henceforth liable to the greatest Reproach for Misbehaviour in it. Falsehood in Love shall hereafter bear a blacker Aspect than Infidelity in Friendship or Villany in Business. For this great and good End, all Breaches against that noble Passion, the Cement of Society, shall be severely examined. But this and all other Matters loosely hinted at now and in my former Papers, shall have their proper Place in my following Discourses: The present writing is only to admonish the World, that they shall not find me an idle but a very busy Spectator.

Footnote 1:   can
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Footnote 2:   blooming Beauty


No. 5

Tuesday, March 6, 1711


Spectatum admissi risum teneatis?


An Opera may be allowed to be extravagantly lavish in its Decorations, as its only Design is to gratify the Senses, and keep up an indolent Attention in the Audience. Common Sense however requires that there should be nothing in the Scenes and Machines which may appear Childish and Absurd. How would the Wits of King Charles's time have laughed to have seen Nicolini exposed to a Tempest in Robes of Ermin, and sailing in an open Boat upon a Sea of Paste-Board? What a Field of Raillery would they have been let into, had they been entertain'd with painted Dragons spitting Wild-fire, enchanted Chariots drawn by Flanders Mares, and real Cascades in artificial Land-skips? A little Skill in Criticism would inform us that Shadows and Realities ought not to be mix'd together in the same Piece; and that Scenes, which are designed as the Representations of Nature, should be filled with Resemblances, and not with the Things themselves. If one would represent a wide Champain Country filled with Herds and Flocks, it would be ridiculous to draw the Country only upon the Scenes, and to crowd several Parts of the Stage with Sheep and Oxen. This is joining together Inconsistencies, and making the Decoration partly Real, and partly Imaginary. I would recommend what I have here said, to the Directors, as well as to the Admirers, of our Modern Opera.

As I was walking in the Streets about a Fortnight ago, I saw an ordinary Fellow carrying a Cage full of little Birds upon his Shoulder; and as I was wondering with my self what Use he would put them to, he was met very luckily by an Acquaintance, who had the same Curiosity. Upon his asking him what he had upon his Shoulder, he told him, that he had been buying Sparrows for the Opera. Sparrows for the Opera, says his Friend, licking his lips, what are they to be roasted? No, no, says the other, they are to enter towards the end of the first Act, and to fly about the Stage.

This strange Dialogue awakened my Curiosity so far that I immediately bought the Opera, by which means I perceived the Sparrows were to act the part of Singing Birds in a delightful Grove: though, upon a nearer Enquiry I found the Sparrows put the same Trick upon the Audience, that Sir Martin Mar-all1 practised upon his Mistress; for, though they flew in Sight, the Musick proceeded from a Consort of Flagellets and Bird-calls which was planted behind the Scenes. At the same time I made this Discovery, I found by the Discourse of the Actors, that there were great Designs on foot for the Improvement of the Opera; that it had been proposed to break down a part of the Wall, and to surprize the Audience with a Party of an hundred Horse, and that there was actually a Project of bringing the New River into the House, to be employed in Jetteaus and Water-works. This Project, as I have since heard, is post-poned 'till the Summer-Season; when it is thought the Coolness that proceeds from Fountains and Cascades will be more acceptable and refreshing to People of Quality. In the mean time, to find out a more agreeable Entertainment for the Winter-Season, the Opera of Rinaldo2 is filled with Thunder and Lightning, Illuminations, and Fireworks; which the Audience may look upon without catching Cold, and indeed without much Danger of being burnt; for there are several Engines filled with Water, and ready to play at a Minute's Warning, in case any such Accident should happen. However, as I have a very great Friendship for the Owner of this Theater, I hope that he has been wise enough to insure his House before he would let this Opera be acted in it.

It is no wonder, that those Scenes should be very surprizing, which were contrived by two Poets of different Nations, and raised by two Magicians of different Sexes. Armida (as we are told in the Argument) was an Amazonian Enchantress, and poor Seignior Cassani (as we learn from the Persons represented) a Christian Conjuror (Mago Christiano). I must confess I am very much puzzled to find how an Amazon should be versed in the Black Art, or how a good Christian for such is the part of the magician should deal with the Devil.

To consider the Poets after the Conjurers, I shall give you a Taste of the Italian, from the first Lines of his Preface.
Eccoti, benigno Lettore, un Parto di poche Sere, che se ben nato di Notte, non è però aborto di Tenebre, mà si farà conoscere Figlio d'Apollo con qualche Raggio di Parnasso.

Behold, gentle Reader, the Birth of a few Evenings, which, tho' it be the Offspring of the Night, is not the Abortive of Darkness, but will make it self known to be the Son of
Apollo, with a certain Ray of Parnassus.
He afterwards proceeds to call Minheer Hendel3, the Orpheus of our Age, and to acquaint us, in the same Sublimity of Stile, that he Composed this Opera in a Fortnight. Such are the Wits, to whose Tastes we so ambitiously conform our selves. The Truth of it is, the finest Writers among the Modern Italians express themselves in such a florid form of Words, and such tedious Circumlocutions, as are used by none but Pedants in our own Country; and at the same time, fill their Writings with such poor Imaginations and Conceits, as our Youths are ashamed of, before they have been Two Years at the University. Some may be apt to think that it is the difference of Genius which produces this difference in the Works of the two Nations; but to show there is nothing in this, if we look into the Writings of the old Italians, such as Cicero and Virgil, we shall find that the English Writers, in their way of thinking and expressing themselves, resemble those Authors much more than the modern Italians pretend to do. And as for the Poet himself from whom the Dreams of this Opera are taken, I must entirely agree with Monsieur Boileau, that one Verse in Virgil is worth all the Clincant or Tinsel of Tasso.

But to return to the Sparrows; there have been so many Flights of them let loose in this Opera, that it is feared the House will never get rid of them; and that in other Plays, they may make their Entrance in very wrong and improper Scenes, so as to be seen flying in a Lady's Bed-Chamber, or perching upon a King's Throne; besides the Inconveniences which the Heads of the Audience may sometimes suffer from them. I am credibly informed, that there was once a Design of casting into an Opera the Story of Whittington and his Cat, and that in order to it, there had been got together a great Quantity of Mice; but Mr. Rich, the Proprietor of the Play-House, very prudently considered that it would be impossible for the Cat to kill them all, and that consequently the Princes of his Stage might be as much infested with Mice, as the Prince of the Island was before the Cat's arrival upon it; for which Reason he would not permit it to be Acted in his House. And indeed I cannot blame him; for, as he said very well upon that Occasion, I do not hear that any of the Performers in our Opera, pretend to equal the famous Pied Piper, who made all the Mice of a great Town in Germany4 follow his Musick, and by that means cleared the Place of those little Noxious Animals.

Before I dismiss this Paper, I must inform my Reader, that I hear there is a Treaty on Foot with London and Wise5 (who will be appointed Gardeners of the Play-House,) to furnish the Opera of Rinaldo and Armida with an Orange-Grove; and that the next time it is Acted, the Singing Birds will be Personated by Tom-Tits: The undertakers being resolved to spare neither Pains nor Mony, for the Gratification of the Audience.


Footnote 1:   Dryden's play of Sir Martin Mar-all was produced in 1666. It was entered at Stationers' Hall as by the duke of Newcastle, but Dryden finished it. In Act 5 the foolish Sir Martin appears at a window with a lute, as if playing and singing to Millicent, his mistress, while his man Warner plays and sings. Absorbed in looking at the lady, Sir Martin foolishly goes on opening and shutting his mouth and fumbling on the lute after the man's song, a version of Voiture's L'Amour sous sa Loi, is done. To which Millicent says,
'A pretty-humoured song — but stay, methinks he plays and sings still, and yet we cannot hear him — Play louder, Sir Martin, that we may have the Fruits on't.'
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Footnote 2:   Handel had been met in Hanover by English noblemen who invited him to England, and their invitation was accepted by permission of the elector, afterwards George I, to whom he was then Chapel-master. Immediately upon Handel's arrival in England, in 1710, Aaron Hill, who was directing the Haymarket Theatre, bespoke of him an opera, the subject being of Hill's own devising and sketching, on the story of Rinaldo and Armida in Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered. G. Rossi wrote the Italian words. Rinaldo, brought out in 1711, on the 24th of February, had a run of fifteen nights, and is accounted one of the best of the 35 operas composed by Handel for the English stage. Two airs in it, Cara sposa and Lascia ch'io pianga (the latter still admired as one of the purest expressions of his genius), made a great impression. In the same season the Haymarket produced Hamlet as an opera by Gasparini, called Ambleto, with an overture that had four movements ending in a jig. But as was Gasparini so was Handel in the ears of Addison and Steele. They recognized in music only the sensual pleasure that it gave, and the words set to music for the opera, whatever the composer, were then, as they have since been, almost without exception, insults to the intellect.

Footnote 3:   Addison's spelling, which is as good as ours, represents what was the true and then usual pronunciation of the name of Haendel.

Footnote 4:   The Pied Piper of Hamelin (i.e. Hameln).
'Hamelin town's in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side.'
The old story has been annexed to English literature by the genius of Robert Browning.

Footnote 5:   Evelyn, in the preface to his translation of Quintinye's Complete Gardener (1701), says that the nursery of Messrs. London and Wise far surpassed all the others in England put together. It exceeded 100 acres in extent. George London was chief gardener first to William and Mary, then to Queen Anne. London and Wise's nursery belonged at this time to a gardener named Swinhoe, but kept the name in which it had become famous.


No. 6

Wednesday, March 7, 1711


Credebant hoc grande Nefas, et Morte piandum,
Si Juvenis Vetulo non assurrexerat ...


I know no Evil under the Sun so great as the Abuse of the Understanding, and yet there is no one Vice more common. It has diffus'd itself through both Sexes, and all Qualities of Mankind; and there is hardly that Person to be found, who is not more concerned for the Reputation of Wit and Sense, than Honesty and Virtue. But this unhappy Affectation of being Wise rather than Honest, Witty than Good-natur'd, is the Source of most of the ill Habits of Life. Such false Impressions are owing to the abandon'd Writings of Men of Wit, and the awkward Imitation of the rest of Mankind.

For this Reason, Sir Roger was saying last Night, that he was of Opinion that none but Men of fine Parts deserve to be hanged. The Reflections of such Men are so delicate upon all Occurrences which they are concern'd in, that they should be expos'd to more than ordinary Infamy and Punishment, for offending against such quick Admonitions as their own Souls give them, and blunting the fine Edge of their Minds in such a Manner, that they are no more shock'd at Vice and Folly, than Men of slower Capacities. There is no greater Monster in Being, than a very ill Man of great Parts: He lives like a Man in a Palsy, with one Side of him dead. While perhaps he enjoys the Satisfaction of Luxury, of Wealth, of Ambition, he has lost the Taste of Good-will, of Friendship, of Innocence. Scarecrow, the Beggar in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, who disabled himself in his Right Leg, and asks Alms all Day to get himself a warm Supper and a Trull at Night, is not half so despicable a Wretch as such a Man of Sense. The Beggar has no Relish above Sensations; he finds Rest more agreeable than Motion; and while he has a warm Fire and his Doxy, never reflects that he deserves to be whipped. Every Man who terminates his Satisfaction and Enjoyments within the Supply of his own Necessities and Passions, is, says Sir Roger, in my Eye as poor a Rogue as Scarecrow. But, continued he, for the loss of publick and private Virtue we are beholden to your Men of Parts forsooth; it is with them no matter what is done, so it is done with an Air. But to me who am so whimsical in a corrupt Age as to act according to Nature and Reason, a selfish Man in the most shining Circumstance and Equipage, appears in the same Condition with the Fellow above-mentioned, but more contemptible in Proportion to what more he robs the Publick of and enjoys above him. I lay it down therefore for a Rule, That the whole Man is to move together; that every Action of any Importance is to have a Prospect of publick Good; and that the general Tendency of our indifferent Actions ought to be agreeable to the Dictates of Reason, of Religion, of good Breeding; without this, a Man, as I have before hinted, is hopping instead of walking, he is not in his entire and proper Motion.

While the honest Knight was thus bewildering himself in good Starts, I look'd intentively upon him, which made him I thought collect his Mind a little. What I aim at, says he, is, to represent, That I am of Opinion, to polish our Understandings and neglect our Manners is of all things the most inexcusable. Reason should govern Passion, but instead of that, you see, it is often subservient to it; and, as unaccountable as one would think it, a wise Man is not always a good Man. This Degeneracy is not only the Guilt of particular Persons, but also at some times of a whole People; and perhaps it may appear upon Examination, that the most polite Ages are the least virtuous. This may be attributed to the Folly of admitting Wit and Learning as Merit in themselves, without considering the Application of them. By this Means it becomes a Rule not so much to regard what we do, as how we do it. But this false Beauty will not pass upon Men of honest Minds and true Taste. Sir Richard Blackmore says, with as much good Sense as Virtue, It is a mighty Dishonour and Shame to employ excellent Faculties and abundance of Wit, to humour and please Men in their Vices and Follies. The great Enemy of Mankind, notwithstanding his Wit and Angelick Faculties, is the most odious Being in the whole Creation. He goes on soon after to say very generously, That he undertook the writing of his Poem to rescue the Muses out of the Hands of Ravishers, to restore them to their sweet and chaste Mansions, and to engage them in an Employment suitable to their Dignity1. This certainly ought to be the Purpose of every man who appears in Publick; and whoever does not proceed upon that Foundation, injures his Country as fast as he succeeds in his Studies. When Modesty ceases to be the chief Ornament of one Sex, and Integrity of the other, Society is upon a wrong Basis, and we shall be ever after without Rules to guide our Judgment in what is really becoming and ornamental. Nature and Reason direct one thing, Passion and Humour another: To follow the Dictates of the two latter, is going into a Road that is both endless and intricate; when we pursue the other, our Passage is delightful, and what we aim at easily attainable.

I do not doubt but England is at present as polite a Nation as any in the World; but any Man who thinks can easily see, that the Affectation of being gay and in fashion has very near eaten up our good Sense and our Religion. Is there anything so just, as that Mode and Gallantry should be built upon exerting ourselves in what is proper and agreeable to the Institutions of Justice and Piety among us? And yet is there anything more common, than that we run in perfect Contradiction to them? All which is supported by no other Pretension, than that it is done with what we call a good Grace.

Nothing ought to be held laudable or becoming, but what Nature it self should prompt us to think so. Respect to all kind of Superiours is founded methinks upon Instinct; and yet what is so ridiculous as Age? I make this abrupt Transition to the Mention of this Vice more than any other, in order to introduce a little Story, which I think a pretty Instance that the most polite Age is in danger of being the most vicious.
'It happen'd at Athens, during a publick Representation of some Play exhibited in honour of the Common-wealth that an old Gentleman came too late for a Place suitable to his Age and Quality. Many of the young Gentlemen who observed the Difficulty and Confusion he was in, made Signs to him that they would accommodate him if he came where they sate: The good Man bustled through the Crowd accordingly; but when he came to the Seats to which he was invited, the Jest was to sit close, and expose him, as he stood out of Countenance, to the whole Audience. The Frolick went round all the Athenian Benches. But on those Occasions there were also particular Places assigned for Foreigners: When the good Man skulked towards the Boxes appointed for the Lacedemonians, that honest People, more virtuous than polite, rose up all to a Man, and with the greatest Respect received him among them. The Athenians being suddenly touched with a Sense of the Spartan Virtue, and their own Degeneracy, gave a Thunder of Applause; and the old Man cry'd out, The Athenians understand what is good, but the Lacedemonians practise it.'

Footnote 1:   Richard Blackmore, born about 1650, d. 1729, had been knighted in 1697, when he was made physician in ordinary to King William. He was a thorough Whig, earnestly religious, and given to the production of heroic poems. Steele shared his principles and honoured his sincerity. When this essay was written, Blackmore was finishing his best poem, the Creation, in seven Books, designed to prove from nature the existence of a God. It had a long and earnest preface of expostulation with the atheism and mocking spirit that were the legacy to his time of the Court of the Restoration. The citations in the text express the purport of what Blackmore had written in his then unpublished but expected work, but do not quote from it literally.
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No. 7

Thursday, March 8, 1711


Somnia, terrores magicos, miracula, Sagas,
Nocturnos lemures, portentaque Thessala rides?


Going Yesterday to Dine with an old Acquaintance, I had the Misfortune to find his whole Family very much dejected. Upon asking him the Occasion of it, he told me that his Wife had dreamt a strange Dream the Night before, which they were afraid portended some Misfortune to themselves or to their Children. At her coming into the Room, I observed a settled Melancholy in her Countenance, which I should have been troubled for, had I not heard from whence it proceeded. We were no sooner sat down, but, after having looked upon me a little while,
My dear, says she, turning to her husband, you may now see the Stranger that was in the Candle last Night.
Soon after this, as they began to talk of Family Affairs, a little Boy at the lower end of the Table told her, that he was to go into Join-hand on Thursday:
Thursday, says she, no, Child, if it please God, you shall not begin upon Childermas-day; tell your Writing-Master that Friday will be soon enough.
I was reflecting with my self on the Odness of her Fancy, and wondering that any body would establish it as a Rule to lose a Day in every Week. In the midst of these my Musings she desired me to reach her a little Salt upon the Point of my Knife, which I did in such a Trepidation and hurry of Obedience, that I let it drop by the way; at which she immediately startled, and said it fell towards her. Upon this I looked very blank; and, observing the Concern of the whole Table, began to consider my self, with some Confusion, as a Person that had brought a Disaster upon the Family. The Lady however recovering her self, after a little space, said to her Husband with a Sigh,
My Dear, Misfortunes never come Single.
My Friend, I found, acted but an under Part at his Table, and being a Man of more Goodnature than Understanding, thinks himself obliged to fall in with all the Passions and Humours of his Yoke-fellow:
Do not you remember, Child, says she, that the Pidgeon-House fell the very Afternoon that our careless Wench spilt the Salt upon the Table?

, says he, my Dear, and the next Post brought us an Account of the Battel of Almanza1.
The Reader may guess at the figure I made, after having done all this Mischief. I dispatched my Dinner as soon as I could, with my usual Taciturnity; when, to my utter Confusion, the Lady seeing me quitting2 my Knife and Fork, and laying them across one another upon my Plate, desired me that I would humour her so far as to take them out of that Figure, and place them side by side. What the Absurdity was which I had committed I did not know, but I suppose there was some traditionary Superstition in it; and therefore, in obedience to the Lady of the House, I disposed of my Knife and Fork in two parallel Lines, which is the figure I shall always lay them in for the future, though I do not know any Reason for it.

It is not difficult for a Man to see that a Person has conceived an Aversion to him. For my own part, I quickly found, by the Lady's Looks, that she regarded me as a very odd kind of Fellow, with an unfortunate Aspect: For which Reason I took my leave immediately after Dinner, and withdrew to my own Lodgings. Upon my Return home, I fell into a profound Contemplation on the Evils that attend these superstitious Follies of Mankind; how they subject us to imaginary Afflictions, and additional Sorrows, that do not properly come within our Lot. As if the natural Calamities of Life were not sufficient for it, we turn the most indifferent Circumstances into Misfortunes, and suffer as much from trifling Accidents, as from real Evils. I have known the shooting of a Star spoil a Night's Rest; and have seen a Man in Love grow pale and lose his Appetite, upon the plucking of a Merry-thought. A Screech-Owl at Midnight has alarmed a Family, more than a Band of Robbers; nay, the Voice of a Cricket hath struck more Terrour, than the Roaring of a Lion. There is nothing so inconsiderable which3 may not appear dreadful to an Imagination that is filled with Omens and Prognosticks. A Rusty Nail, or a Crooked Pin, shoot up into Prodigies.

I remember I was once in a mixt Assembly, that was full of Noise and Mirth, when on a sudden an old Woman unluckily observed there were thirteen of us in Company. This Remark struck a pannick Terror into several who4 were present, insomuch that one or two of the Ladies were going to leave the Room; but a Friend of mine, taking notice that one of our female Companions was big with Child, affirm'd there were fourteen in the Room, and that, instead of portending one of the Company should die, it plainly foretold one of them should be born. Had not my Friend found this Expedient to break the Omen, I question not but half the Women in the Company would have fallen sick that very Night.

An old Maid, that is troubled with the Vapours, produces infinite Disturbances of this kind among her Friends and Neighbours. I know a Maiden Aunt, of a great Family, who is one of these Antiquated Sybils, that forebodes and prophesies from one end of the Year to the other. She is always seeing Apparitions, and hearing Death-Watches; and was the other Day almost frighted out of her Wits by the great House-Dog, that howled in the Stable at a time when she lay ill of the Tooth-ach. Such an extravagant Cast of Mind engages Multitudes of People, not only in impertinent Terrors, but in supernumerary Duties of Life, and arises from that Fear and Ignorance which are natural to the Soul of Man. The Horrour with which we entertain the Thoughts of Death (or indeed of any future Evil), and the Uncertainty of its Approach, fill a melancholy Mind with innumerable Apprehensions and Suspicions, and consequently dispose it to the Observation of such groundless Prodigies and Predictions. For as it is the chief Concern of Wise-Men, to retrench the Evils of Life by the Reasonings of Philosophy; it is the Employment of Fools, to multiply them by the Sentiments of Superstition.

For my own part, I should be very much troubled were I endowed with this Divining Quality, though it should inform me truly of every thing that can befall me. I would not anticipate the Relish of any Happiness, nor feel the Weight of any Misery, before it actually arrives.

I know but one way of fortifying my Soul against these gloomy Presages and Terrours of Mind, and that is, by securing to my self the Friendship and Protection of that Being, who disposes of Events, and governs Futurity. He sees, at one View, the whole Thread of my Existence, not only that Part of it which I have already passed through, but that which runs forward into all the Depths of Eternity. When I lay me down to Sleep, I recommend my self to his Care; when I awake, I give my self up to his Direction. Amidst all the Evils that threaten me, I will look up to him for Help, and question not but he will either avert them, or turn them to my Advantage. Though I know neither the Time nor the Manner of the Death I am to die, I am not at all sollicitous about it, because I am sure that he knows them both, and that he will not fail to comfort and support me under them.


Footnote 1:  : Fought April 25 (O.S. 14), 1707, between the English, under Lord Galway, a Frenchman, with Portuguese, Dutch, and Spanish allies, and a superior force of French and Spaniards, under an Englishman, the Duke of Berwick, natural son of James II. Deserted by many of the foreign troops, the English were defeated.
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Footnote 2:  cleaning

Footnote 3:   that

Footnote 4:   that


No. 8

Friday, March 9, 1711


At Venus obscuro gradientes ære sepsit,
Et multo Nebulæ circum Dea fudit amictu,
Cernere ne quis eos ...


I shall here communicate to the World a couple of Letters, which I believe will give the Reader as good an Entertainment as any that I am able to furnish him1 with, and therefore shall make no Apology for them.
'To the Spectator, &c.


I am one of the Directors of the Society for the Reformation of Manners, and therefore think myself a proper Person for your Correspondence. I have thoroughly examined the present State of Religion in Great-Britain, and am able to acquaint you with the predominant Vice of every Market-Town in the whole Island. I can tell you the Progress that Virtue has made in all our Cities, Boroughs, and Corporations; and know as well the evil Practices that are committed in Berwick or Exeter, as what is done in my own Family. In a Word, Sir, I have my Correspondents in the remotest Parts of the Nation, who send me up punctual Accounts from time to time of all the little Irregularities that fall under their Notice in their several Districts and Divisions.

I am no less acquainted with the particular Quarters and Regions of this great Town, than with the different Parts and Distributions of the whole Nation. I can describe every Parish by its Impieties, and can tell you in which of our Streets Lewdness prevails, which Gaming has taken the Possession of, and where Drunkenness has got the better of them both. When I am disposed to raise a Fine for the Poor, I know the Lanes and Allies that are inhabited by common Swearers. When I would encourage the Hospital of Bridewell, and improve the Hempen Manufacture, I am very well acquainted with all the Haunts and Resorts of Female Night-walkers.

After this short Account of my self, I must let you know, that the Design of this Paper is to give you Information of a certain irregular Assembly which I think falls very properly under your Observation, especially since the Persons it is composed of are Criminals too considerable for the Animadversions of our Society. I mean, Sir, the Midnight Masque, which has of late been frequently held in one of the most conspicuous Parts of the Town, and which I hear will be continued with Additions and Improvements. As all the Persons who compose this lawless Assembly are masqued, we dare not attack any of them in our Way, lest we should send a Woman of Quality to Bridewell, or a Peer of Great-Britain to the Counter: Besides, that their Numbers are so very great, that I am afraid they would be able to rout our whole Fraternity, tho' we were accompanied with all our Guard of Constables. Both these Reasons which secure them from our Authority, make them obnoxious to yours; as both their Disguise and their Numbers will give no particular Person Reason to think himself affronted by you.

If we are rightly inform'd, the Rules that are observed by this new Society are wonderfully contriv'd for the Advancement of Cuckoldom. The Women either come by themselves, or are introduced by Friends, who are obliged to quit them upon their first Entrance, to the Conversation of any Body that addresses himself to them. There are several Rooms where the Parties may retire, and, if they please, show their Faces by Consent. Whispers, Squeezes, Nods, and Embraces, are the innocent Freedoms of the Place. In short, the whole Design of this libidinous Assembly seems to terminate in Assignations and Intrigues; and I hope you will take effectual Methods, by your publick Advice and Admonitions, to prevent such a promiscuous Multitude of both Sexes from meeting together in so clandestine a Manner.'

I am,

Your humble Servant,

And Fellow Labourer,

T. B.

Not long after the Perusal of this Letter I received another upon the same Subject; which by the Date and Stile of it, I take to be written by some young Templer.
Middle Temple, 1710-11.


When a Man has been guilty of any Vice or Folly, I think the best Attonement he can make for it is to warn others not to fall into the like. In order to this I must acquaint you, that some Time in February last I went to the Tuesday's Masquerade. Upon my first going in I was attacked by half a Dozen female Quakers, who seemed willing to adopt me for a Brother; but, upon a nearer Examination, I found they were a Sisterhood of Coquets, disguised in that precise Habit. I was soon after taken out to dance, and, as I fancied, by a Woman of the first Quality, for she was very tall, and moved gracefully. As soon as the Minuet was over, we ogled one another through our Masques; and as I am very well read in Waller, I repeated to her the four following Verses out of his poem to Vandike.
'The heedless Lover does not know
Whose Eyes they are that wound him so;
But confounded with thy Art,
Enquires her Name that has his Heart.'
I pronounced these Words with such a languishing Air, that I had some Reason to conclude I had made a Conquest. She told me that she hoped my Face was not akin to my Tongue; and looking upon her Watch, I accidentally discovered the Figure of a Coronet on the back Part of it. I was so transported with the Thought of such an Amour, that I plied her from one Room to another with all the Gallantries I could invent; and at length brought things to so happy an Issue, that she gave me a private Meeting the next Day, without Page or Footman, Coach or Equipage. My Heart danced in Raptures; but I had not lived in this golden Dream above three Days, before I found good Reason to wish that I had continued true to my Landress. I have since heard by a very great Accident, that this fine Lady does not live far from Covent-Garden, and that I am not the first Cully whom she has passed herself upon for a Countess.

Thus, Sir, you see how I have mistaken a Cloud for a Juno; and if you can make any use of this Adventure for the Benefit of those who may possibly be as vain young Coxcombs as my self, I do most heartily give you Leave.'

I am,


Your most humble admirer,

B. L.

I design to visit the next Masquerade my self, in the same Habit I wore at Grand Cairo2; and till then shall suspend my Judgment of this Midnight Entertainment.


Footnote 1:   them
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Footnote 2:   See Spectator No. 1.


No. 9

Saturday, March 10, 1711


Tigris agit rabidâ cum tigride pacem
Perpetuam, sævis inter se convenit ursis.


Man is said to be a Sociable Animal, and, as an Instance of it, we may observe, that we take all Occasions and Pretences of forming ourselves into those little Nocturnal Assemblies, which are commonly known by the name of Clubs. When a Sett of Men find themselves agree in any Particular, tho' never so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of Fraternity, and meet once or twice a Week, upon the Account of such a Fantastick-Resemblance. I know a considerable Market-town, in which there was a Club of Fat-Men, that did not come together (as you may well suppose) to entertain one another with Sprightliness and Wit, but to keep one another in Countenance: The Room, where the Club met, was something of the largest, and had two Entrances, the one by a Door of a moderate Size, and the other by a Pair of Folding-Doors. If a Candidate for this Corpulent Club could make his Entrance through the first he was looked upon as unqualified; but if he stuck in the Passage, and could not force his Way through it, the Folding-Doors were immediately thrown open for his Reception, and he was saluted as a Brother. I have heard that this Club, though it consisted but of fifteen Persons, weighed above three Tun.

In Opposition to this Society, there sprung up another composed of Scare-Crows and Skeletons, who being very meagre and envious, did all they could to thwart the Designs of their Bulky Brethren, whom they represented as Men of Dangerous Principles; till at length they worked them out of the Favour of the People, and consequently out of the Magistracy. These Factions tore the Corporation in Pieces for several Years, till at length they came to this Accommodation; that the two Bailiffs of the Town should be annually chosen out of the two Clubs; by which Means the principal Magistrates are at this Day coupled like Rabbets, one fat and one lean.

Every one has heard of the Club, or rather the Confederacy, of the Kings. This grand Alliance was formed a little after the Return of King Charles the Second, and admitted into it Men of all Qualities and Professions, provided they agreed in this Sir-name of King, which, as they imagined, sufficiently declared the Owners of it to be altogether untainted with Republican and Anti-Monarchical Principles.

A Christian Name has likewise been often used as a Badge of Distinction, and made the Occasion of a Club. That of the Georges, which used to meet at the Sign of the George, on St. George's day, and swear Before George, is still fresh in every one's Memory.

There are at present in several Parts of this City what they call Street-Clubs, in which the chief Inhabitants of the Street converse together every Night. I remember, upon my enquiring after Lodgings in Ormond-Street, the Landlord, to recommend that Quarter of the Town, told me there was at that time a very good Club in it; he also told me, upon further Discourse with him, that two or three noisy Country Squires, who were settled there the Year before, had considerably sunk the Price of House-Rent; and that the Club (to prevent the like Inconveniencies for the future) had thoughts of taking every House that became vacant into their own Hands, till they had found a Tenant for it, of a Sociable Nature and good Conversation.

The Hum-Drum Club, of which I was formerly an unworthy Member, was made up of very honest Gentlemen, of peaceable Dispositions, that used to sit together, smoak their Pipes, and say nothing 'till Midnight. The Mum Club (as I am informed) is an Institution of the same Nature, and as great an Enemy to Noise.

After these two innocent Societies, I cannot forbear mentioning a very mischievous one, that was erected in the Reign of King Charles the Second: I mean the Club of Duellists, in which none was to be admitted that had not fought his Man. The President of it was said to have killed half a dozen in single Combat; and as for the other Members, they took their Seats according to the number of their Slain. There was likewise a Side-Table for such as had only drawn Blood, and shown a laudable Ambition of taking the first Opportunity to qualify themselves for the first Table. This Club, consisting only of Men of Honour, did not continue long, most of the Members of it being put to the Sword, or hanged, a little after its Institution.

Our Modern celebrated Clubs are founded upon Eating and Drinking, which are Points wherein most Men agree, and in which the Learned and Illiterate, the Dull and the Airy, the Philosopher and the Buffoon, can all of them bear a Part. The Kit-Cat1 it self is said to have taken its Original from a Mutton-Pye. The Beef-Steak2 and October3 Clubs, are neither of them averse to Eating and Drinking, if we may form a Judgment of them from their respective Titles.

When Men are thus knit together, by Love of Society, not a Spirit of Faction, and do not meet to censure or annoy those that are absent, but to enjoy one another: When they are thus combined for their own Improvement, or for the Good of others, or at least to relax themselves from the Business of the Day, by an innocent and chearful Conversation, there may be something very useful in these little Institutions and Establishments.

I cannot forbear concluding this Paper with a Scheme of Laws that I met with upon a Wall in a little Ale-house: How I came thither I may inform my Reader at a more convenient time. These Laws were enacted by a Knot of Artizans and Mechanicks, who used to meet every Night; and as there is something in them, which gives us a pretty Picture of low Life, I shall transcribe them Word for Word.
Rules to be observed in the Two-penny Club, erected in this Place, for the Preservation of Friendship and good Neighbourhood.
  1. Every Member at his first coming in shall lay down his Two Pence.
  2. Every Member shall fill his Pipe out of his own Box.
  3. If any Member absents himself he shall forfeit a Penny for the Use of the Club, unless in case of Sickness or Imprisonment.
  4. If any Member swears or curses, his Neighbour may give him a Kick upon the Shins.
  5. If any Member tells Stories in the Club that are not true, he shall forfeit for every third Lie an Half-Penny.
  6. If any Member strikes another wrongfully, he shall pay his Club for him.
  7. If any Member brings his Wife into the Club, he shall pay for whatever she drinks or smoaks.
  8. If any Member's Wife comes to fetch him Home from the Club, she shall speak to him without the Door.
  9. If any Member calls another Cuckold, he shall be turned out of the Club.
  10. None shall be admitted into the Club that is of the same Trade with any Member of it.
  11. None of the Club shall have his Cloaths or Shoes made or mended, but by a Brother Member.
  12. No Non-juror shall be capable of being a Member.
The Morality of this little Club is guarded by such wholesome Laws and Penalties, that I question not but my Reader will be as well pleased with them, as he would have been with the Leges Convivales of Ben. Johnson4, the Regulations of an old Roman Club cited by Lipsius, or the rules of a Symposium in an ancient Greek author.


Footnote 1:   The Kit-Cat Club met at a famous Mutton-Pie house in Shire Lane, by Temple Bar. The house was kept by Christopher Cat, after whom his pies were called Kit-Cats. The club originated in the hospitality of Jacob Tonson, the bookseller, who, once a week, was host at the house in Shire Lane to a gathering of writers. In an occasional poem on the Kit-Cat Club, attributed to Sir Richard Blackmore, Jacob is read backwards into Bocaj, and we are told
One Night in Seven at this convenient Seat
Indulgent Bocaj did the Muses treat;
Their Drink was gen'rous Wine and Kit-Cat's Pyes their Meat.
Hence did th' Assembly's Title first arise,
And Kit-Cat Wits spring first from Kit-Cat's Pyes.
About the year 1700 this gathering of wits produced a club in which the great Whig chiefs were associated with foremost Whig writers, Tonson being Secretary. It was as much literary as political, and its 'toasting glasses,' each inscribed with lines to a reigning beauty, caused Arbuthnot to derive its name from 'its pell mell pack of toasts'
'Of old Cats and young Kits.'
Tonson built a room for the Club at Barn Elms to which each member gave his portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller, who was himself a member. The pictures were on a new-sized canvas adapted to the height of the walls, whence the name 'kit-cat' came to be applied generally to three-quarter length portraits.
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Footnote 2:   The Beef-Steak Club, founded in Queen Anne's time, first of its name, took a gridiron for badge, and had cheery Dick Estcourt the actor for its providore. It met at a tavern in the Old Jewry that had old repute for broiled steaks and 'the true British quintessence of malt and hops.'

Footnote 3:   The October Club was of a hundred and fifty Tory squires, Parliament men, who met at the Bell Tavern, in King Street, Westminster, and there nourished patriotism with October ale. The portrait of Queen Anne that used to hang in its Club room is now in the Town Council-chamber at Salisbury.

Footnote 4:   In Four and Twenty Latin sentences engraven in marble over the chimney, in the Apollo or Old Devil Tavern at Temple Bar; that being his club room.


No. 10

Monday, March 12, 1711


Non aliter quàm qui adverso vix flumine lembum
Remigiis subigit: si brachia fortè remisit,
Atque illum in præceps prono rapit alveus amni.


It is with much Satisfaction that I hear this great City inquiring Day by Day after these my Papers, and receiving my Morning Lectures with a becoming Seriousness and Attention. My Publisher tells me, that there are already Three Thousand of them distributed every Day: So that if I allow Twenty Readers to every Paper, which I look upon as a modest Computation, I may reckon about Threescore thousand Disciples in London and Westminster, who I hope will take care to distinguish themselves from the thoughtless Herd of their ignorant and unattentive Brethren. Since I have raised to myself so great an Audience, I shall spare no Pains to make their Instruction agreeable, and their Diversion useful. For which Reasons I shall endeavour to enliven Morality with Wit, and to temper Wit with Morality, that my Readers may, if possible, both Ways find their account in the Speculation of the Day. And to the End that their Virtue and Discretion may not be short transient intermitting Starts of Thought, I have resolved to refresh their Memories from Day to Day, till I have recovered them out of that desperate State of Vice and Folly, into which the Age is fallen. The Mind that lies fallow but a single Day, sprouts up in Follies that are only to be killed by a constant and assiduous Culture. It was said of Socrates, that he brought Philosophy down from Heaven, to inhabit among Men; and I shall be ambitious to have it said of me, that I have brought Philosophy out of Closets and Libraries, Schools and Colleges, to dwell in Clubs and Assemblies, at Tea-tables, and in Coffee-houses.

I would therefore in a very particular Manner recommend these my Speculations to all well-regulated Families, that set apart an Hour in every Morning for Tea and Bread and Butter; and would earnestly advise them for their Good to order this Paper to be punctually served up, and to be looked upon as a Part of the Tea Equipage.

Sir Francis Bacon observes, that a well-written Book, compared with its Rivals and Antagonists, is like Moses's Serpent, that immediately swallow'd up and devoured those of the Ægyptians. I shall not be so vain as to think, that where the Spectator appears, the other publick Prints will vanish; but shall leave it to my Readers Consideration, whether, Is it not much better to be let into the Knowledge of ones-self, than to hear what passes in Muscovy or Poland; and to amuse our selves with such Writings as tend to the wearing out of Ignorance, Passion, and Prejudice, than such as naturally conduce to inflame Hatreds, and make Enmities irreconcileable.

In the next Place, I would recommend this Paper to the daily Perusal of those Gentlemen whom I cannot but consider as my good Brothers and Allies, I mean the Fraternity of Spectators who live in the World without having any thing to do in it; and either by the Affluence of their Fortunes, or Laziness of their Dispositions, have no other Business with the rest of Mankind but to look upon them. Under this Class of Men are comprehended all contemplative Tradesmen, titular Physicians, Fellows of the Royal Society, Templers that are not given to be contentious, and Statesmen that are out of business. In short, every one that considers the World as a Theatre, and desires to form a right Judgment of those who are the Actors on it.

There is another Set of Men that I must likewise lay a Claim to, whom I have lately called the Blanks of Society, as being altogether unfurnish'd with Ideas, till the Business and Conversation of the Day has supplied them. I have often considered these poor Souls with an Eye of great Commiseration, when I have heard them asking the first Man they have met with, whether there was any News stirring? and by that Means gathering together Materials for thinking. These needy Persons do not know what to talk of, till about twelve a Clock in the Morning; for by that Time they are pretty good Judges of the Weather, know which Way the Wind sits, and whether the Dutch Mail be come in. As they lie at the Mercy of the first Man they meet, and are grave or impertinent all the Day long, according to the Notions which they have imbibed in the Morning, I would earnestly entreat them not to stir out of their Chambers till they have read this Paper, and do promise them that I will daily instil into them such sound and wholesome Sentiments, as shall have a good Effect on their Conversation for the ensuing twelve Hours.

But there are none to whom this Paper will be more useful than to the female World. I have often thought there has not been sufficient Pains taken in finding out proper Employments and Diversions for the Fair ones. Their Amusements seem contrived for them rather as they are Women, than as they are reasonable Creatures; and are more adapted to the Sex, than to the Species. The Toilet is their great Scene of Business, and the right adjusting of their Hair the principal Employment of their Lives. The sorting of a Suit of Ribbons is reckoned a very good Morning's Work; and if they make an Excursion to a Mercer's or a Toy-shop, so great a Fatigue makes them unfit for any thing else all the Day after. Their more serious Occupations are Sowing and Embroidery, and their greatest Drudgery the Preparation of Jellies and Sweetmeats. This, I say, is the State of ordinary Women; tho' I know there are Multitudes of those of a more elevated Life and Conversation, that move in an exalted Sphere of Knowledge and Virtue, that join all the Beauties of the Mind to the Ornaments of Dress, and inspire a kind of Awe and Respect, as well as Love, into their Male-Beholders. I hope to encrease the Number of these by publishing this daily Paper, which I shall always endeavour to make an innocent if not an improving Entertainment, and by that Means at least divert the Minds of my female Readers from greater Trifles. At the same Time, as I would fain give some finishing Touches to those which are already the most beautiful Pieces in humane Nature, I shall endeavour to point out all those Imperfections that are the Blemishes, as well as those Virtues which are the Embellishments, of the Sex. In the mean while I hope these my gentle Readers, who have so much Time on their Hands, will not grudge throwing away a Quarter of an Hour in a Day on this Paper, since they may do it without any Hindrance to Business.

I know several of my Friends and Well-wishers are in great Pain for me, lest I should not be able to keep up the Spirit of a Paper which I oblige myself to furnish every Day: But to make them easy in this Particular, I will promise them faithfully to give it over as soon as I grow dull. This I know will be Matter of great Raillery to the small Wits; who will frequently put me in mind of my Promise, desire me to keep my Word, assure me that it is high Time to give over, with many other little Pleasantries of the like Nature, which men of a little smart Genius cannot forbear throwing out against their best Friends, when they have such a Handle given them of being witty. But let them remember, that I do hereby enter my Caveat against this Piece of Raillery.



No. 11

Tuesday, March 13, 1711


Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas.


Arietta is visited by all Persons of both Sexes, who may have any Pretence to Wit and Gallantry. She is in that time of Life which is neither affected with the Follies of Youth or Infirmities of Age; and her Conversation is so mixed with Gaiety and Prudence, that she is agreeable both to the Young and the Old. Her Behaviour is very frank, without being in the least blameable; and as she is out of the Tract of any amorous or ambitious Pursuits of her own, her Visitants entertain her with Accounts of themselves very freely, whether they concern their Passions or their Interests. I made her a Visit this Afternoon, having been formerly introduced to the Honour of her Acquaintance, by my friend Will. Honeycomb, who has prevailed upon her to admit me sometimes into her Assembly, as a civil, inoffensive Man. I found her accompanied with one Person only, a Common-Place Talker, who, upon my Entrance, rose, and after a very slight Civility sat down again; then turning to Arietta, pursued his Discourse, which I found was upon the old Topick, of Constancy in Love. He went on with great Facility in repeating what he talks every Day of his Life; and, with the Ornaments of insignificant Laughs and Gestures, enforced his Arguments by Quotations out of Plays and Songs, which allude to the Perjuries of the Fair, and the general Levity of Women. Methought he strove to shine more than ordinarily in his Talkative Way, that he might insult my Silence, and distinguish himself before a Woman of Arietta's Taste and Understanding. She had often an Inclination to interrupt him, but could find no Opportunity, 'till the Larum ceased of its self; which it did not 'till he had repeated and murdered the celebrated Story of the Ephesian Matron1.

Arietta seemed to regard this Piece of Raillery as an Outrage done to her Sex; as indeed I have always observed that Women, whether out of a nicer Regard to their Honour, or what other Reason I cannot tell, are more sensibly touched with those general Aspersions, which are cast upon their Sex, than Men are by what is said of theirs.

When she had a little recovered her self from the serious Anger she was in, she replied in the following manner.
Sir, when I consider, how perfectly new all you have said on this Subject is, and that the Story you have given us is not quite two thousand Years Old, I cannot but think it a Piece of Presumption to dispute with you: But your Quotations put me in Mind of the Fable of the Lion and the Man. The Man walking with that noble Animal, showed him, in the Ostentation of Human Superiority, a Sign of a Man killing a Lion. Upon which the Lion said very justly, We Lions are none of us Painters, else we could show a hundred Men killed by Lions, for one Lion killed by a Man. You Men are Writers, and can represent us Women as Unbecoming as you please in your Works, while we are unable to return the Injury. You have twice or thrice observed in your Discourse, that Hypocrisy is the very Foundation of our Education; and that an Ability to dissemble our affections, is a professed Part of our Breeding. These, and such other Reflections, are sprinkled up and down the Writings of all Ages, by Authors, who leave behind them Memorials of their Resentment against the Scorn of particular Women, in Invectives against the whole Sex. Such a Writer, I doubt not, was the celebrated Petronius, who invented the pleasant Aggravations of the Frailty of the Ephesian Lady; but when we consider this Question between the Sexes, which has been either a Point of Dispute or Raillery ever since there were Men and Women, let us take Facts from plain People, and from such as have not either Ambition or Capacity to embellish their Narrations with any Beauties of Imagination. I was the other Day amusing myself with Ligon's Account of Barbadoes; and, in Answer to your well-wrought Tale, I will give you (as it dwells upon my Memory) out of that honest Traveller, in his fifty fifth page, the History of Inkle and Yarico2.

Mr. Thomas Inkle of London, aged twenty Years, embarked in the Downs, on the good Ship called the Achilles, bound for the West Indies, on the 16th of June 1647, in order to improve his Fortune by Trade and Merchandize. Our Adventurer was the third Son of an eminent Citizen, who had taken particular Care to instill into his Mind an early Love of Gain, by making him a perfect Master of Numbers, and consequently giving him a quick View of Loss and Advantage, and preventing the natural Impulses of his Passions, by Prepossession towards his Interests. With a Mind thus turned, young Inkle had a Person every way agreeable, a ruddy Vigour in his Countenance, Strength in his Limbs, with Ringlets of fair Hair loosely flowing on his Shoulders. It happened, in the Course of the Voyage, that the Achilles, in some Distress, put into a Creek on the Main of America, in search of Provisions. The Youth, who is the Hero of my Story, among others, went ashore on this Occasion. From their first Landing they were observed by a Party of Indians, who hid themselves in the Woods for that Purpose. The English unadvisedly marched a great distance from the Shore into the Country, and were intercepted by the Natives, who slew the greatest Number of them. Our Adventurer escaped among others, by flying into a Forest. Upon his coming into a remote and pathless Part of the Wood, he threw himself tired and breathless on a little Hillock, when an Indian Maid rushed from a Thicket behind him: After the first Surprize, they appeared mutually agreeable to each other. If the European was highly charmed with the Limbs, Features, and wild Graces of the Naked American; the American was no less taken with the Dress, Complexion, and Shape of an European, covered from Head to Foot. The Indian grew immediately enamoured of him, and consequently sollicitous for his Preservation: She therefore conveyed him to a Cave, where she gave him a Delicious Repast of Fruits, and led him to a Stream to slake his Thirst. In the midst of these good Offices, she would sometimes play with his Hair, and delight in the Opposition of its Colour to that of her Fingers: Then open his Bosome, then laugh at him for covering it. She was, it seems, a Person of Distinction, for she every day came to him in a different Dress, of the most beautiful Shells, Bugles, and Bredes. She likewise brought him a great many Spoils, which her other Lovers had presented to her; so that his Cave was richly adorned with all the spotted Skins of Beasts, and most Party-coloured Feathers of Fowls, which that World afforded. To make his Confinement more tolerable, she would carry him in the Dusk of the Evening, or by the favour of Moon-light, to unfrequented Groves, and Solitudes, and show him where to lye down in Safety, and sleep amidst the Falls of Waters, and Melody of Nightingales. Her Part was to watch and hold him in her Arms, for fear of her Country-men, and wake on Occasions to consult his Safety. In this manner did the Lovers pass away their Time, till they had learn'd a Language of their own, in which the Voyager communicated to his Mistress, how happy he should be to have her in his Country, where she should be Cloathed in such Silks as his Wastecoat was made of, and be carried in Houses drawn by Horses, without being exposed to Wind or Weather. All this he promised her the Enjoyment of, without such Fears and Alarms as they were there tormented with. In this tender Correspondence these Lovers lived for several Months, when Yarico, instructed by her Lover, discovered a Vessel on the Coast, to which she made Signals, and in the Night, with the utmost Joy and Satisfaction accompanied him to a Ships-Crew of his Country-Men, bound for Barbadoes. When a Vessel from the Main arrives in that Island, it seems the Planters come down to the Shoar, where there is an immediate Market of the Indians and other Slaves, as with us of Horses and Oxen.

To be short, Mr. Thomas Inkle, now coming into English Territories, began seriously to reflect upon his loss of Time, and to weigh with himself how many Days Interest of his Mony he had lost during his Stay with Yarico. This Thought made the Young Man very pensive, and careful what Account he should be able to give his Friends of his Voyage. Upon which Considerations, the prudent and frugal young Man sold Yarico to a Barbadian Merchant; notwithstanding that the poor Girl, to incline him to commiserate her Condition, told him that she was with Child by him: But he only made use of that Information, to rise in his Demands upon the Purchaser.
I was so touch'd with this Story, (which I think should be always a Counterpart to the Ephesian Matron) that I left the Room with Tears in my Eyes; which a Woman of Arietta's good Sense, did, I am sure, take for greater Applause, than any Compliments I could make her.


Footnote 1:   Told in the prose Satyricon ascribed to Petronius, whom Nero called his Arbiter of Elegance. The tale was known in the Middle Ages from the stories of the Seven Wise Masters. She went down into the vault with her husband's corpse, resolved to weep to death or die of famine; but was tempted to share the supper of a soldier who was watching seven bodies hanging upon trees, and that very night, in the grave of her husband and in her funeral garments, married her new and stranger guest.
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Footnote 2:  A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes. By Richard Ligon, Gent., fol. 1673. The first edition had appeared in 1657. Steele's beautiful story is elaborated from the following short passage in the page he cites. After telling that he had an Indian slave woman 'of excellent shape and colour,' who would not be wooed by any means to wear clothes, Mr. Ligon says:
'This Indian dwelling near the Sea Coast, upon the Main, an English ship put in to a Bay, and sent some of her Men a shoar, to try what victuals or water they could find, for in some distress they were: But the Indians perceiving them to go up so far into the Country, as they were sure they could not make a safe retreat, intercepted them in their return, and fell upon them, chasing them into a Wood, and being dispersed there, some were taken, and some kill'd: But a young man amongst them straggling from the rest, was met by this Indian maid, who upon the first sight fell in love with him, and hid him close from her Countrymen (the Indians) in a Cave, and there fed him, till they could safely go down to the shoar, where the ship lay at anchor, expecting the return of their friends. But at last, seeing them upon the shoar, sent the long-Boat for them, took them aboard, and brought them away. But the youth, when he came ashoar in the Barbadoes, forgot the kindness of the poor maid, that had ventured her life for his safety, and sold her for a slave, who was as free born as he: And so poor Yarico for her love, lost her liberty.'


No. 12

Wednesday, March 14, 1711


... Veteres avias tibi de pulmone revello.


At my coming to London, it was some time before I could settle my self in a House to my likeing. I was forced to quit my first Lodgings, by reason of an officious Land-lady, that would be asking every Morning how I had slept. I then fell into an honest Family, and lived very happily for above a Week; when my Land-lord, who was a jolly good-natur'd Man, took it into his head that I wanted Company, and therefore would frequently come into my Chamber to keep me from being alone. This I bore for Two or Three Days; but telling me one Day that he was afraid I was melancholy, I thought it was high time for me to be gone, and accordingly took new Lodgings that very Night. About a Week after, I found my jolly Land-lord, who, as I said before was an honest hearty Man, had put me into an Advertisement of the Daily Courant, in the following Words.
Whereas a melancholy Man left his Lodgings on Thursday last in the Afternoon, and was afterwards seen going towards Islington; If any one can give Notice of him to R. B., Fishmonger in the Strand, he shall be very well rewarded for his Pains.
As I am the best Man in the World to keep my own Counsel, and my Land-lord the Fishmonger not knowing my Name, this Accident of my Life was never discovered to this very Day.

I am now settled with a Widow-woman, who has a great many Children, and complies with my Humour in everything. I do not remember that we have exchang'd a Word together these Five Years; my Coffee comes into my Chamber every Morning without asking for it; if I want Fire I point to my Chimney, if Water, to my Bason: Upon which my Land-lady nods, as much as to say she takes my Meaning, and immediately obeys my Signals. She has likewise model'd her Family so well, that when her little Boy offers to pull me by the Coat or prattle in my Face, his eldest Sister immediately calls him off and bids him not disturb the Gentleman. At my first entering into the Family, I was troubled with the Civility of their rising up to me every time I came into the Room; but my Land-lady observing, that upon these Occasions I always cried Pish and went out again, has forbidden any such Ceremony to be used in the House; so that at present I walk into the Kitchin or Parlour without being taken notice of, or giving any Interruption to the Business or Discourse of the Family. The Maid will ask her Mistress (tho' I am by) whether the Gentleman is ready to go to Dinner, as the Mistress (who is indeed an excellent Housewife) scolds at the Servants as heartily before my Face as behind my Back. In short, I move up and down the House and enter into all Companies, with the same Liberty as a Cat or any other domestick Animal, and am as little suspected of telling anything that I hear or see.

I remember last Winter there were several young Girls of the Neighbourhood sitting about the Fire with my Land-lady's Daughters, and telling Stories of Spirits and Apparitions. Upon my opening the Door the young Women broke off their Discourse, but my Land-lady's Daughters telling them that it was no Body but the Gentleman (for that is the Name which I go by in the Neighbourhood as well as in the Family), they went on without minding me. I seated myself by the Candle that stood on a Table at one End of the Room; and pretending to read a Book that I took out of my Pocket, heard several dreadful Stories of Ghosts as pale as Ashes that had stood at the Feet of a Bed, or walked over a Churchyard by Moonlight: And of others that had been conjured into the Red-Sea, for disturbing People's Rest, and drawing their Curtains at Midnight; with many other old Women's Fables of the like Nature. As one Spirit raised another, I observed that at the End of every Story the whole Company closed their Ranks and crouded about the Fire: I took Notice in particular of a little Boy, who was so attentive to every Story, that I am mistaken if he ventures to go to bed by himself this Twelvemonth. Indeed they talked so long, that the Imaginations of the whole Assembly were manifestly crazed, and I am sure will be the worse for it as long as they live. I heard one of the Girls, that had looked upon me over her Shoulder, asking the Company how long I had been in the Room, and whether I did not look paler than I used to do. This put me under some Apprehensions that I should be forced to explain my self if I did not retire; for which Reason I took the Candle in my Hand, and went up into my Chamber, not without wondering at this unaccountable Weakness in reasonable Creatures, that they should1 love to astonish and terrify one another.

Were I a Father, I should take a particular Care to preserve my Children from these little Horrours of Imagination, which they are apt to contract when they are young, and are not able to shake off when they are in Years. I have known a Soldier that has enter'd a Breach, affrighted at his own Shadow; and look pale upon a little scratching at his Door, who the Day before had march'd up against a Battery of Cannon. There are Instances of Persons, who have been terrify'd, even to Distraction, at the Figure of a Tree or the shaking of a Bull-rush. The Truth of it is, I look upon a sound Imagination as the greatest Blessing of Life, next to a clear Judgment and a good Conscience. In the mean Time, since there are very few whose Minds are not more or less subject to these dreadful Thoughts and Apprehensions, we ought to arm our selves against them by the Dictates of Reason and Religion, to pull the old Woman out of our Hearts (as Persius expresses it in the Motto of my Paper), and extinguish those impertinent Notions which we imbibed at a Time that we were not able to judge of their Absurdity. Or if we believe, as many wise and good Men have done, that there are such Phantoms and Apparitions as those I have been speaking of, let us endeavour to establish to our selves an Interest in him who holds the Reins of the whole Creation in his Hand, and moderates them after such a Manner, that it is impossible for one Being to break loose upon another without his Knowledge and Permission.

For my own Part, I am apt to join in Opinion with those who believe that all the Regions of Nature swarm with Spirits; and that we have Multitudes of Spectators on all our Actions, when we think our selves most alone: But instead of terrifying my self with such a Notion, I am wonderfully pleased to think that I am always engaged with such an innumerable Society in searching out the Wonders of the Creation, and joining in the same Consort of Praise and Adoration.

Milton2 has finely described this mixed Communion of Men and Spirits in Paradise; and had doubtless his Eye upon a Verse in old Hesiod3, which is almost Word for Word the same with his third Line in the following Passage.
Nor think, though Men were none,
That Heav'n would want Spectators, God want praise:
Millions of spiritual Creatures walk the Earth
Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep;
All these with ceaseless Praise his Works behold
Both Day and Night. How often from the Steep
Of echoing Hill or Thicket, have we heard
Celestial Voices to the midnight Air,
Sole, or responsive each to others Note,
Singing their great Creator: Oft in bands,
While they keep Watch, or nightly Rounding walk,
With heav'nly Touch of instrumental Sounds,
In full harmonick Number join'd, their Songs
Divide the Night, and lift our Thoughts to Heav'n.

Footnote 1:   who
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Paradise Lost, B. IV, lines 675-688.

Footnote 3:   In Bk. I of the Works and Days, description of the Golden Age, when the good after death
Yet still held state on earth, and guardians were
Of all best mortals still surviving there,
Observ'd works just and unjust, clad in air,
And gliding undiscovered everywhere.
Chapman's Translation.


No. 13

Thursday, March 15, 1711


Dic mi hi si fueris tu leo qualis eris?


There is nothing that of late Years has afforded Matter of greater Amusement to the Town than Signior Nicolini's Combat with a Lion in the Hay-Market1` which has been very often exhibited to the general Satisfaction of most of the Nobility and Gentry in the Kingdom of Great Britain. Upon the first Rumour of this intended Combat, it was confidently affirmed, and is still believed by many in both Galleries, that there would be a tame Lion sent from the Tower every Opera Night, in order to be killed by Hydaspes; this Report, tho' altogether groundless, so universally prevailed in the upper Regions of the Play-House, that some of the most refined Politicians in those Parts of the Audience, gave it out in Whisper, that the Lion was a Cousin-German of the Tyger who made his Appearance in King William's days, and that the Stage would be supplied with Lions at the public Expence, during the whole Session. Many likewise were the Conjectures of the Treatment which this Lion was to meet with from the hands of Signior Nicolini; some supposed that he was to Subdue him in Recitativo, as Orpheus used to serve the wild Beasts in his time, and afterwards to knock him on the head; some fancied that the Lion would not pretend to lay his Paws upon the Hero, by Reason of the received Opinion, that a Lion will not hurt a Virgin. Several, who pretended to have seen the Opera in Italy, had informed their Friends, that the Lion was to act a part in High Dutch, and roar twice or thrice to a thorough Base, before he fell at the Feet of Hydaspes. To clear up a Matter that was so variously reported, I have made it my Business to examine whether this pretended Lion is really the Savage he appears to be, or only a Counterfeit.

But before I communicate my Discoveries, I must acquaint the Reader, that upon my walking behind the Scenes last Winter, as I was thinking on something else, I accidentally jostled against a monstrous Animal that extreamly startled me, and, upon my nearer Survey of it, appeared to be a Lion-Rampant. The Lion, seeing me very much surprized, told me, in a gentle Voice, that I might come by him if I pleased:
For (says he) I do not intend to hurt anybody.
I thanked him very kindly, and passed by him. And in a little time after saw him leap upon the Stage, and act his Part with very great Applause. It has been observed by several, that the Lion has changed his manner of Acting twice or thrice since his first Appearance; which will not seem strange, when I acquaint my Reader that the Lion has been changed upon the Audience three several times. The first Lion was a Candle-snuffer, who being a Fellow of a testy, cholerick Temper over-did his Part, and would not suffer himself to be killed so easily as he ought to have done; besides, it was observ'd of him, that he grew more surly every time he came out of the Lion; and having dropt some Words in ordinary Conversation, as if he had not fought his best, and that he suffered himself to be thrown upon his Back in the Scuffle, and that he would wrestle with Mr Nicolini for what he pleased, out of his Lion's Skin, it was thought proper to discard him: And it is verily believed to this Day, that had he been brought upon the Stage another time, he would certainly have done Mischief. Besides, it was objected against the first Lion, that he reared himself so high upon his hinder Paws, and walked in so erect a Posture, that he looked more like an old Man than a Lion. The second Lion was a Taylor by Trade, who belonged to the Play-House, and had the Character of a mild and peaceable Man in his Profession. If the former was too furious, this was too sheepish, for his Part; insomuch that after a short modest Walk upon the Stage, he would fall at the first Touch of Hydaspes, without grappling with him, and giving him an Opportunity of showing his Variety of Italian Tripps: It is said, indeed, that he once gave him a Ripp in his flesh-colour Doublet, but this was only to make work for himself, in his private Character of a Taylor. I must not omit that it was this second Lion who2 treated me with so much Humanity behind the Scenes. The Acting Lion at present is, as I am informed, a Country Gentleman, who does it for his Diversion, but desires his Name may be concealed. He says very handsomely in his own Excuse, that he does not Act for Gain, that he indulges an innocent Pleasure in it, and that it is better to pass away an Evening in this manner, than in Gaming and Drinking: But at the same time says, with a very agreeable Raillery upon himself, that if his name should be known, the ill-natured World might call him, The Ass in the Lion's skin. This Gentleman's Temper is made out of such a happy Mixture of the Mild and the Cholerick, that he out-does both his predecessors, and has drawn together greater Audiences than have been known in the Memory of Man.

I must not conclude my Narrative, without taking Notice of a groundless Report that has been raised, to a Gentleman's Disadvantage, of whom I must declare my self an Admirer; namely, that Signior Nicolini and the Lion have been seen sitting peaceably by one another, and smoking a Pipe together, behind the Scenes; by which their common Enemies would insinuate, it is but a sham Combat which they represent upon the Stage: But upon Enquiry I find, that if any such Correspondence has passed between them, it was not till the Combat was over, when the Lion was to be looked upon as dead, according to the received Rules of the Drama. Besides, this is what is practised every day in Westminster-Hall, where nothing is more usual than to see a Couple of Lawyers, who have been rearing each other to pieces in the Court, embracing one another as soon as they are out of it.

I would not be thought, in any part of this Relation, to reflect upon Signior Nicolini, who, in Acting this Part only complies with the wretched Taste of his Audience; he knows very well, that the Lion has many more Admirers than himself; as they say of the famous Equestrian Statue on the Pont-Neuf at Paris, that more People go to see the Horse, than the King who sits upon it. On the contrary, it gives me a just Indignation, to see a Person whose Action gives new Majesty to Kings, Resolution to Heroes, and Softness to Lovers, thus sinking from the Greatness of his Behaviour, and degraded into the Character of the London Prentice. I have often wished that our Tragœdians would copy after this great Master in Action. Could they make the same use of their Arms and Legs, and inform their Faces with as significant Looks and Passions, how glorious would an English Tragedy appear with that Action which is capable of giving a Dignity to the forced Thoughts, cold Conceits, and unnatural Expressions of an Italian Opera. In the mean time, I have related this Combat of the Lion, to show what are at present the reigning Entertainments of the Politer Part of Great Britain.

Audiences have often been reproached by Writers for the Coarseness of their Taste, but our present Grievance does not seem to be the Want of a good Taste, but of Common Sense.


Footnote 1:   The famous Neapolitan actor and singer, Cavalier Nicolino Grimaldi, commonly called Nicolini, had made his first appearance in an opera called Pyrrhus and Demetrius, which was the last attempt to combine English with Italian. His voice was a soprano, but afterwards descended into a fine contralto, and he seems to have been the finest actor of his day. Prices of seats at the opera were raised on his coming from 7s. 6d. to 10s. for pit and boxes, and from 10s. 6d. to 15s. for boxes on the stage. When this paper was written he had appeared also in a new opera on Almahide, and proceeded to those encounters with the lion in the opera of Hydaspes, by a Roman composer, Francesco Mancini, first produced May 23, 1710, which the Spectator has made memorable. It had been performed 21 times in 1710, and was now reproduced and repeated four times. Nicolini, as Hydaspes in this opera, thrown naked into an amphitheatre to be devoured by a lion, is so inspired with courage by the presence of his mistress among the spectators that (says Mr Sutherland Edwards in his History of the Opera)
'after appealing to the monster in a minor key, and telling him that he may tear his bosom, but cannot touch his heart, he attacks him in the relative major, and strangles him.'
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   that


No. 14

Friday, March 16, 1711


... Teque his, Infelix, exue monstris.


I was reflecting this Morning upon the Spirit and Humour of the publick Diversions Five and twenty Years ago, and those of the present Time; and lamented to my self, that though in those Days they neglected their Morality, they kept up their Good Sense; but that the beau Monde, at present, is only grown more childish, not more innocent, than the former. While I was in this Train of Thought, an odd Fellow, whose Face I have often seen at the Play-house, gave me the following Letter with these words, Sir, The Lyon presents his humble Service to you, and desired me to give this into your own Hands.
From my Den in the Hay-market, March 15.


'I have read all your Papers, and have stifled my Resentment against your Reflections upon Operas, till that of this Day, wherein you plainly insinuate, that Signior Grimaldi and my self have a Correspondence more friendly than is consistent with the Valour of his Character, or the Fierceness of mine. I desire you would, for your own Sake, forbear such Intimations for the future; and must say it is a great Piece of Ill-nature in you, to show so great an Esteem for a Foreigner, and to discourage a Lyon that is your own Country-man.

I take notice of your Fable of the Lyon and Man, but am so equally concerned in that Matter, that I shall not be offended to which soever of the Animals the Superiority is given. You have misrepresented me, in saying that I am a Country-Gentleman, who act only for my Diversion; whereas, had I still the same Woods to range in which I once had when I was a Fox-hunter, I should not resign my Manhood for a Maintenance; and assure you, as low as my Circumstances are at present, I am so much a Man of Honour, that I would scorn to be any Beast for Bread but a Lyon.

Yours, &c.

I had no sooner ended this, than one of my Land-lady's Children brought me in several others, with some of which I shall make up my present Paper, they all having a Tendency to the same Subject, viz. the Elegance of our present Diversions.
Covent Garden, March 13.


'I Have been for twenty Years Under-Sexton of this Parish of St. Paul's, Covent-Garden, and have not missed tolling in to Prayers six times in all those Years; which Office I have performed to my great Satisfaction, till this Fortnight last past, during which Time I find my Congregation take the Warning of my Bell, Morning and Evening, to go to a Puppett-show set forth by one Powell, under the Piazzas. By this Means, I have not only lost my two Customers, whom I used to place for six Pence a Piece over against Mrs Rachel Eyebright, but Mrs Rachel herself is gone thither also. There now appear among us none but a few ordinary People, who come to Church only to say their Prayers, so that I have no Work worth speaking of but on Sundays. I have placed my Son at the Piazzas, to acquaint the Ladies that the Bell rings for Church, and that it stands on the other side of the Garden; but they only laugh at the Child.

I desire you would lay this before all the World, that I may not be made such a Tool for the Future, and that Punchinello may chuse Hours less canonical. As things are now, Mr Powell has a full Congregation, while we have a very thin House; which if you can Remedy, you will very much oblige,

Sir, Yours, &c.'

The following Epistle I find is from the Undertaker of the Masquerade1.

'I Have observed the Rules of my Masque so carefully (in not enquiring into Persons), that I cannot tell whether you were one of the Company or not last Tuesday; but if you were not and still design to come, I desire you would, for your own Entertainment, please to admonish the Town, that all Persons indifferently are not fit for this Sort of Diversion. I could wish, Sir, you could make them understand, that it is a kind of acting to go in Masquerade, and a Man should be able to say or do things proper for the Dress in which he appears. We have now and then Rakes in the Habit of Roman Senators, and grave Politicians in the Dress of Rakes. The Misfortune of the thing is, that People dress themselves in what they have a Mind to be, and not what they are fit for. There is not a Girl in the Town, but let her have her Will in going to a Masque, and she shall dress as a Shepherdess. But let me beg of them to read the Arcadia, or some other good Romance, before they appear in any such Character at my House. The last Day we presented, every Body was so rashly habited, that when they came to speak to each other, a Nymph with a Crook had not a Word to say but in the pert Stile of the Pit Bawdry; and a Man in the Habit of a Philosopher was speechless, till an occasion offered of expressing himself in the Refuse of the Tyring-Rooms. We had a Judge that danced a Minuet, with a Quaker for his Partner, while half a dozen Harlequins stood by as Spectators: A Turk drank me off two Bottles of Wine, and a Jew eat me up half a Ham of Bacon. If I can bring my Design to bear, and make the Maskers preserve their Characters in my Assemblies, I hope you will allow there is a Foundation laid for more elegant and improving Gallantries than any the Town at present affords; and consequently that you will give your Approbation to the Endeavours of,

Sir, Your most obedient humble servant.'

I am very glad the following Epistle obliges me to mention Mr Powell a second Time in the same Paper; for indeed there cannot be too great Encouragement given to his Skill in Motions, provided he is under proper Restrictions.

'The Opera at the Hay-Market, and that under the little Piazza in Covent-Garden, being at present the Two leading Diversions of the Town; and Mr Powell professing in his Advertisements to set up Whittington and his Cat against Rinaldo and Armida, my Curiosity led me the Beginning of last Week to view both these Performances, and make my Observations upon them.

First therefore, I cannot but observe that Mr Powell wisely forbearing to give his Company a Bill of Fare before-hand, every Scene is new and unexpected; whereas it is certain, that the Undertakers of the Hay-Market, having raised too great an Expectation in their printed Opera, very much disappointed their Audience on the Stage. The King of Jerusalem is obliged to come from the City on foot, instead of being drawn in a triumphant Chariot by white Horses, as my Opera-Book had promised me; and thus, while I expected Armida's Dragons should rush forward towards Argantes, I found the Hero was obliged to go to Armida, and hand her out of her Coach. We had also but a very short Allowance of Thunder and Lightning; tho' I cannot in this Place omit doing Justice to the Boy who had the Direction of the Two painted Dragons, and made them spit Fire and Smoke: He flash'd out his Rosin in such just Proportions, and in such due Time, that I could not forbear conceiving Hopes of his being one Day a most excellent Player. I saw, indeed, but Two things wanting to render his whole Action compleat, I mean the keeping his Head a little lower, and hiding his Candle.

I observe that Mr Powell and the Undertakers had both the same Thought, and I think, much about the same time, of introducing Animals on their several Stages, though indeed with very different Success. The Sparrows and Chaffinches at the Hay-Market fly as yet very irregularly over the Stage; and instead of perching on the Trees and performing their Parts, these young Actors either get into the Galleries or put out the Candles; whereas Mr Powell has so well disciplined his Pig, that in the first Scene he and Punch dance a Minuet together. I am informed however, that Mr Powell resolves to excell his Adversaries in their own Way; and introduce Larks in his next Opera of Susanna, or Innocence betrayed, which will be exhibited next Week with a Pair of new Elders2.

The Moral of Mr Powell's Drama is violated I confess by Punch's national Reflections on the French, and King Harry's laying his Leg upon his Queen's Lap in too ludicrous a manner before so great an Assembly.

As to the Mechanism and Scenary, every thing, indeed, was uniform, and of a Piece, and the Scenes were managed very dexterously; which calls on me to take Notice, that at the Hay-Market the Undertakers forgetting to change their Side-Scenes, we were presented with a Prospect of the Ocean in the midst of a delightful Grove; and tho' the Gentlemen on the Stage had very much contributed to the Beauty of the Grove, by walking up and down between the Trees, I must own I was not a little astonished to see a well-dressed young Fellow in a full-bottomed Wigg, appear in the Midst of the Sea, and without any visible Concern taking Snuff.

I shall only observe one thing further, in which both Dramas agree; which is, that by the Squeak of their Voices the Heroes of each are Eunuchs; and as the Wit in both Pieces are equal, I must prefer the Performance of Mr Powell, because it is in our own Language.

'I am, &c.'

Footnote 1:   Masquerades took rank as a leading pleasure of the town under the management of John James Heidegger, son of a Zurich clergyman, who came to England in 1708, at the age of 50, as a Swiss negotiator. He entered as a private in the Guards, and attached himself to the service of the fashionable world, which called him 'the Swiss Count,' and readily accepted him as leader. In 1709 he made five hundred guineas by furnishing the spectacle for Motteux's opera of Tomyris, Queen of Scythia. When these papers were written he was thriving upon the Masquerades, which he brought into fashion and made so much a rage of the town that moralists and satirists protested, and the clergy preached against them. A sermon preached against them by the Bishop of London, January 6th, 1724, led to an order that no more should take place than the six subscribed for at the beginning of the month. Nevertheless they held their ground afterwards by connivance of the government. In 1728, Heidegger was called in to nurse the Opera, which throve by his bold puffing. He died, in 1749, at the age of 90, claiming chief honour to the Swiss for ingenuity.
'I was born,' he said, 'a Swiss, and came to England without a farthing, where I have found means to gain, £5000 a-year, — and to spend it. Now I defy the ablest Englishman to go to Switzerland and either gain that income or spend it there.'
return to footnote mark
cross-reference: return to Footnote 8 of No. 31

Footnote 2:   The History of Susanna had been an established puppet play for more than two generations. An old copy of verses on Bartholomew Fair in the year 1665, describing the penny and twopenny puppet plays, or, as they had been called in and since Queen Elizabeth's time, 'motions,' says
Their Sights are so rich, is able to bewitch
The heart of a very fine man-a;
Here's 'Patient Grisel' here, and 'Fair Rosamond' there,
And 'the History of Susanna.'
Pepys tells of the crowd waiting, in 1667, to see Lady Castlemaine come out from the puppet play of Patient Grisel.

The Powell mentioned in this essay was a deformed cripple whose Puppet-Show, called Punch's Theatre, owed its pre-eminence to his own power of satire. This he delivered chiefly through Punch, the clown of the puppets, who appeared in all plays with so little respect to dramatic rule that Steele in the Tatler (for May 17, 1709) represents a correspondent at Bath, telling how, of two ladies, Prudentia and Florimel, who would lead the fashion, Prudentia caused Eve in the Puppet-Show of the Creation of the World to be
'made the most like Florimel that ever was seen,' and 'when we came to Noah's Flood in the show, Punch and his wife were introduced dancing in the ark.'
Of the fanatics called French Prophets, who used to assemble in Moorfields in Queen Anne's reign, Lord Chesterfield remembered that
'the then Ministry, who loved a little persecution well enough, was, however, so wise as not to disturb their madness, and only ordered one Powell, the master of a famous Puppet-Show, to make Punch turn Prophet; which he did so well, that it soon put an end to the prophets and their prophecies. The obscure Dr Sacheverell's fortune was made by a parliamentary prosecution' (from Feb. 27 to March 23, 1709-10) 'much about the same time the French Prophets were totally extinguished by a Puppet-Show'

(Misc. Works, ed. Maty., Vol. II, p. 523, 555).
This was the Powell who played in Covent Garden during the time of week-day evening service, and who, taking up Addison's joke against the opera from No. 5 of the Spectator, produced Whittington and his Cat as a rival to Rinaldo and Armida. [See also a note to No. 31.]
cross-reference: return to Footnote 5 of No. 31


original advertisement

On the first of April will be performed at the Play-house in the Hay-market, an Opera call'd

The Cruelty of Atreus.

N. B. The Scene wherein Thyestes eats his own Children,
is to be performed by the famous Mr Psalmanazar1,
lately arrived from Formosa;
The whole Supper being set to Kettle-drums.


Advertisement Footnote 1:   George Psalmanazar, who never told his real name and precise birthplace, was an impostor from Languedoc, and 31 years old in 1711. He had been educated in a Jesuit college, where he heard stories of the Jesuit missions in Japan and Formosa, which suggested to him how he might thrive abroad as an interesting native. He enlisted as a soldier, and had in his character of Japanese only a small notoriety until, at Sluys, a dishonest young chaplain of Brigadier Lauder's Scotch regiment, saw through the trick and favoured it, that he might recommend himself to the Bishop of London for promotion. He professed to have converted Psalmanazar, baptized him, with the Brigadier for godfather, got his discharge from the regiment, and launched him upon London under the patronage of Bishop Compton. Here Psalmanazar, who on his arrival was between nineteen and twenty years old, became famous in the religious world. He supported his fraud by invention of a language and letters, and of a Formosan religion. To oblige the Bishop he translated the church catechism into 'Formosan,' and he published in 1704 'an historical and geographical Description of Formosa,' of which a second edition appeared in the following year. It contained numerous plates of imaginary scenes and persons. His gross and puerile absurdities in print and conversation — such as his statements that the Formosans sacrificed eighteen thousand male infants every year, and that the Japanese studied Greek as a learned tongue, — excited a distrust that would have been fatal to the success of his fraud, even with the credulous, if he had not forced himself to give colour to his story by acting the savage in men's eyes. But he must really, it was thought, be a savage who fed upon roots, herbs, and raw flesh. He made, however, so little by the imposture, that he at last confessed himself a cheat, and got his living as a well-conducted bookseller's hack for many years before his death, in 1763, aged 84. In 1711, when this jest was penned, he had not yet publicly eaten his own children, i.e. swallowed his words and declared his writings forgeries. In 1716 there was a subscription of £20 or £30 a year raised for him as a Formosan convert. It was in 1728 that he began to write that formal confession of his fraud, which he left for publication after his death, and whereby he made his great public appearance as Thyestes.

This jest against Psalmanazar was expunged from the first reprint of the Spectator in 1712, and did not reappear in the lifetime of Steele or Addison, or until long after it had been amply justified.
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No. 15

Saturday, March 17, 1711


Parva leves capiunt animos ...


When I was in France, I used to gaze with great Astonishment at the Splendid Equipages and Party-coloured Habits, of that Fantastick Nation. I was one Day in particular contemplating a Lady that sate in a Coach adorned with gilded Cupids, and finely painted with the Loves of Venus and Adonis. The Coach was drawn by six milk-white Horses, and loaden behind with the same Number of powder'd Foot-men. Just before the Lady were a Couple of beautiful Pages, that were stuck among the Harness, and by their gay Dresses, and smiling Features, looked like the elder Brothers of the little Boys that were carved and painted in every Corner of the Coach.

The Lady was the unfortunate Cleanthe, who afterwards gave an Occasion to a pretty melancholy Novel. She had, for several Years, received the Addresses of a Gentleman, whom, after a long and intimate Acquaintance, she forsook, upon the Account of this shining Equipage which had been offered to her by one of great Riches, but a Crazy Constitution. The Circumstances in which I saw her, were, it seems, the Disguises only of a broken Heart, and a kind of Pageantry to cover Distress; for in two Months after, she was carried to her Grave with the same Pomp and Magnificence: being sent thither partly by the Loss of one Lover, and partly by the Possession of another.

I have often reflected with my self on this unaccountable Humour in Woman-kind, of being smitten with every thing that is showy and superficial; and on the numberless Evils that befall the Sex, from this light, fantastical Disposition. I my self remember a young Lady that was very warmly sollicited by a Couple of importunate Rivals, who, for several Months together, did all they could to recommend themselves, by Complacency of Behaviour, and Agreeableness of Conversation. At length, when the Competition was doubtful, and the Lady undetermined in her Choice, one of the young Lovers very luckily bethought himself of adding a supernumerary Lace to his Liveries, which had so good an Effect that he married her the very Week after.

The usual Conversation of ordinary Women, very much cherishes this Natural Weakness of being taken with Outside and Appearance. Talk of a new-married Couple, and you immediately hear whether they keep their Coach and six, or eat in Plate: Mention the Name of an absent Lady, and it is ten to one but you learn something of her Gown and Petticoat. A Ball is a great Help to Discourse, and a Birth-Day furnishes Conversation for a Twelve-month after. A Furbelow of precious Stones, an Hat buttoned with a Diamond, a Brocade Waistcoat or Petticoat, are standing Topicks. In short, they consider only the Drapery of the Species, and never cast away a Thought on those Ornaments of the Mind, that make Persons Illustrious in themselves, and Useful to others. When Women are thus perpetually dazling one anothers Imaginations, and filling their Heads with nothing but Colours, it is no Wonder that they are more attentive to the superficial Parts of Life, than the solid and substantial Blessings of it. A Girl, who has been trained up in this kind of Conversation, is in danger of every Embroidered Coat that comes in her Way. A Pair of fringed Gloves may be her Ruin. In a word, Lace and Ribbons, Silver and Gold Galloons, with the like glittering Gew-Gaws, are so many Lures to Women of weak Minds or low Educations, and, when artificially displayed, are able to fetch down the most airy Coquet from the wildest of her Flights and Rambles.

True Happiness is of a retired Nature, and an Enemy to Pomp and Noise; it arises, in the first place, from the Enjoyment of ones self; and, in the next, from the Friendship and Conversation of a few select Companions. It loves Shade and Solitude, and naturally haunts Groves and Fountains, Fields and Meadows: In short, it feels every thing it wants within itself, and receives no Addition from Multitudes of Witnesses and Spectators. On the contrary, false Happiness loves to be in a Crowd, and to draw the Eyes of the World upon her. She does not receive any Satisfaction from the Applauses which she gives her self, but from the Admiration which she raises in others. She flourishes in Courts and Palaces, Theatres and Assemblies, and has no Existence but when she is looked upon.

Aurelia, tho' a Woman of Great Quality, delights in the Privacy of a Country Life, and passes away a great part of her Time in her own Walks and Gardens. Her Husband, who is her Bosom Friend and Companion in her Solitudes, has been in Love with her ever since he knew her. They both abound with good Sense, consummate Virtue, and a mutual Esteem; and are a perpetual Entertainment to one another. Their Family is under so regular an Œconomy, in its Hours of Devotion and Repast, Employment and Diversion, that it looks like a little Common-Wealth within it self. They often go into Company, that they may return with the greater Delight to one another; and sometimes live in Town not to enjoy it so properly as to grow weary of it, that they may renew in themselves the Relish of a Country Life. By this means they are Happy in each other, beloved by their Children, adored by their Servants, and are become the Envy, or rather the Delight, of all that know them.

How different to this is the Life of Fulvia! she considers her Husband as her Steward, and looks upon Discretion and good House-Wifery, as little domestick Virtues, unbecoming a Woman of Quality. She thinks Life lost in her own Family, and fancies herself out of the World, when she is not in the Ring, the Play-House, or the Drawing-Room: She lives in a perpetual Motion of Body and Restlessness of Thought, and is never easie in any one Place, when she thinks there is more Company in another. The missing of an Opera the first Night, would be more afflicting to her than the Death of a Child. She pities all the valuable Part of her own Sex, and calls every Woman of a prudent modest retired Life, a poor-spirited, unpolished Creature. What a Mortification would it be to Fulvia, if she knew that her setting her self to View, is but exposing her self, and that she grows Contemptible by being Conspicuous.

I cannot conclude my Paper, without observing that Virgil has very finely touched upon this Female Passion for Dress and Show, in the Character of Camilla; who, tho' she seems to have shaken off all the other Weaknesses of her Sex, is still described as a Woman in this Particular. The Poet tells us, that, after having made a great Slaughter of the Enemy, she unfortunately cast her Eye on a Trojan who1 wore an embroidered Tunick, a beautiful Coat of Mail, with a Mantle of the finest Purple. A Golden Bow, says he, Hung upon his Shoulder; his Garment was buckled with a Golden Clasp, and his Head was covered with an Helmet of the same shining Mettle. The Amazon immediately singled out this well-dressed Warrior, being seized with a Woman's Longing for the pretty Trappings that he was adorned with:
... Totumque incauta per agmen
Fæmineo prædæ et spoliorum ardebat amore.
This heedless Pursuit after these glittering Trifles, the Poet (by a nice concealed Moral) represents to have been the Destruction of his Female Hero. C.

Footnote 1:   that
return to footnote mark


No. 16

Monday, March 19, 1711


Quid verum atque decens curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum.


I have receiv'd a Letter, desiring me to be very satyrical upon the little Muff that is now in Fashion; another informs me of a Pair of silver Garters buckled below the Knee, that have been lately seen at the Rainbow Coffee-house in Fleet-street1; a third sends me an heavy Complaint against fringed Gloves. To be brief, there is scarce an Ornament of either Sex which one or other of my Correspondents has not inveighed against with some Bitterness, and recommended to my Observation. I must therefore, once for all inform my Readers, that it is not my Intention to sink the Dignity of this my Paper with Reflections upon Red-heels or Top-knots, but rather to enter into the Passions of Mankind, and to correct those depraved Sentiments that give Birth to all those little Extravagancies which appear in their outward Dress and Behaviour. Foppish and fantastick Ornaments are only Indications of Vice, not criminal in themselves. Extinguish Vanity in the Mind, and you naturally retrench the little Superfluities of Garniture and Equipage. The Blossoms will fall of themselves, when the Root that nourishes them is destroyed.

I shall therefore, as I have said, apply my Remedies to the first Seeds and Principles of an affected Dress, without descending to the Dress it self; though at the same time I must own, that I have Thoughts of creating an Officer under me to be entituled, The Censor of small Wares, and of allotting him one Day in a Week for the Execution of such his Office. An Operator of this Nature might act under me with the same Regard as a Surgeon to a Physician; the one might be employ'd in healing those Blotches and Tumours which break out in the Body, while the other is sweetning the Blood and rectifying the Constitution. To speak truly, the young People of both Sexes are so wonderfully apt to shoot out into long Swords or sweeping Trains, bushy Head-dresses or full-bottom'd Perriwigs, with several other Incumbrances of Dress, that they stand in need of being pruned very frequently lest they should2 be oppressed with Ornaments, and over-run with the Luxuriency of their Habits. I am much in doubt, whether I should give the Preference to a Quaker that is trimmed close and almost cut to the Quick, or to a Beau that is loaden with such a Redundance of Excrescencies. I must therefore desire my Correspondents to let me know how they approve my Project, and whether they think the erecting of such a petty Censorship may not turn to the Emolument of the Publick; for I would not do any thing of this Nature rashly and without Advice.

There is another Set of Correspondents to whom I must address my self, in the second Place; I mean such as fill their Letters with private Scandal, and black Accounts of particular Persons and Families. The world is so full of Ill-nature, that I have Lampoons sent me by People who3 cannot spell, and Satyrs compos'd by those who scarce know how to write. By the last Post in particular I receiv'd a Packet of Scandal that is not legible; and have a whole Bundle of Letters in Womens Hands that are full of Blots and Calumnies, insomuch that when I see the Name Cælia, Phillis, Pastora, or the like, at the Bottom of a Scrawl, I conclude on course that it brings me some Account of a fallen Virgin, a faithless Wife, or an amorous Widow. I must therefore inform these my Correspondents, that it is not my Design to be a Publisher of Intreagues and Cuckoldoms, or to bring little infamous Stories out of their present lurking Holes into broad Day light. If I attack the Vicious, I shall only set upon them in a Body: and will not be provoked by the worst Usage that I can receive from others, to make an Example of any particular Criminal. In short, I have so much of a Drawcansir4 in me, that I shall pass over a single Foe to charge whole Armies. It is not Lais or Silenus, but the Harlot and the Drunkard, whom I shall endeavour to expose; and shall consider the Crime as it appears in a Species, not as it is circumstanced in an Individual. I think it was Caligula who wished the whole City of Rome had but one Neck, that he might behead them at a Blow. I shall do out of Humanity what that Emperor would have done in the Cruelty of his Temper, and aim every Stroak at a collective Body of Offenders. At the same Time I am very sensible, that nothing spreads a Paper like private Calumny and Defamation; but as my Speculations are not under this Necessity, they are not exposed to this Temptation.

In the next Place I must apply my self to my Party-Correspondents, who are continually teazing me to take Notice of one anothers Proceedings. How often am I asked by both Sides, if it is possible for me to be an unconcerned Spectator of the Rogueries that are committed by the Party which is opposite to him that writes the Letter. About two Days since I was reproached with an old Grecian Law, that forbids any Man to stand as a Neuter or a Looker-on in the Divisions of his Country. However, as I am very sensible my5 Paper would lose its whole Effect, should it run into the Outrages of a Party, I shall take Care to keep clear of every thing which6 looks that Way. If I can any way asswage private Inflammations, or allay publick Ferments, I shall apply my self to it with my utmost Endeavours; but will never let my Heart reproach me with having done any thing towards encreasing7 those Feuds and Animosities that extinguish Religion, deface Government, and make a Nation miserable.

What I have said under the three foregoing Heads, will, I am afraid, very much retrench the Number of my Correspondents: I shall therefore acquaint my Reader, that if he has started any Hint which he is not able to pursue, if he has met with any surprizing Story which he does not know how to tell, if he has discovered any epidemical Vice which has escaped my Observation, or has heard of any uncommon Virtue which he would desire to publish; in short, if he has any Materials that can furnish out an innocent Diversion, I shall promise him my best Assistance in the working of them up for a publick Entertainment.

This Paper my Reader will find was intended for an answer to a Multitude of Correspondents; but I hope he will pardon me if I single out one of them in particular, who has made me so very humble a Request, that I cannot forbear complying with it.
To the Spectator.

March 15, 1710-11.


'I Am at present so unfortunate, as to have nothing to do but to mind my own Business; and therefore beg of you that you will be pleased to put me into some small Post under you. I observe that you have appointed your Printer and Publisher to receive Letters and Advertisements for the City of London, and shall think my self very much honoured by you, if you will appoint me to take in Letters and Advertisements for the City of Westminster and the Dutchy of Lancaster. Tho' I cannot promise to fill such an Employment with sufficient Abilities, I will endeavour to make up with Industry and Fidelity what I want in Parts and Genius. I am,


Your most obedient servant

Charles Lillie.'


Footnote 1:  The Rainbow, near the Inner Temple Gate, in Fleet Street, was the second Coffee-house opened in London. It was opened about 1656, by a barber named James Farr, part of the house still being occupied by the bookseller's shop which had been there for at least twenty years before. Farr also, at first, combined his coffee trade with the business of barber, which he had been carrying on under the same roof. Farr was made rich by his Coffee-house, which soon monopolized the Rainbow. Its repute was high in the Spectator's time; and afterwards, when coffee-houses became taverns, it lived on as a reputable tavern till the present day.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   that they may not

Footnote 3:   that

Footnote 4:   Drawcansir in the Duke of Buckingham's Rehearsal parodies the heroic drama of the Restoration, as by turning the lines in Dryden's Tyrannic Love,
Spite of myself, I'll stay, fight, love, despair;
And all this I can do, because I dare,
I drink, I huff, I strut, look big and stare;
And all this I can do, because I dare.
When, in the last act, a Battle is fought between Foot and great Hobby-Horses
'At last, Drawcansir comes in and Kills them all on both Sides,' explaining himself in lines that begin,

Others may boast a single man to kill;
But I the blood of thousands daily spill.

Footnote 5:   that my

Footnote 6:   that

Footnote 7:   the encreasing


No. 17

Tuesday, March 20, 1711


... Tetrum ante Omnia vultum.


Since our Persons are not of our own Making, when they are such as appear Defective or Uncomely, it is, methinks, an honest and laudable Fortitude to dare to be Ugly; at least to keep our selves from being abashed with a Consciousness of Imperfections which we cannot help, and in which there is no Guilt. I would not defend an haggard Beau, for passing away much time at a Glass, and giving Softnesses and Languishing Graces to Deformity. All I intend is, that we ought to be contented with our Countenance and Shape, so far, as never to give our selves an uneasie Reflection on that Subject. It is to the ordinary People, who are not accustomed to make very proper Remarks on any Occasion, matter of great Jest, if a Man enters with a prominent Pair of Shoulders into an Assembly, or is distinguished by an Expansion of Mouth, or Obliquity of Aspect. It is happy for a Man, that has any of these Oddnesses about him, if he can be as merry upon himself, as others are apt to be upon that Occasion: When he can possess himself with such a Chearfulness, Women and Children, who were at first frighted at him, will afterwards be as much pleased with him. As it is barbarous in others to railly him for natural Defects, it is extreamly agreeable when he can Jest upon himself for them.

Madam Maintenon's first Husband was an Hero in this Kind, and has drawn many Pleasantries from the Irregularity of his Shape, which he describes as very much resembling the Letter Z1. He diverts himself likewise by representing to his Reader the Make of an Engine and Pully, with which he used to take off his Hat. When there happens to be any thing ridiculous in a Visage, and the Owner of it thinks it an Aspect of Dignity, he must be of very great Quality to be exempt from Raillery: The best Expedient therefore is to be pleasant upon himself. Prince Harry and Falstaffe, in Shakespear, have carried the Ridicule upon Fat and Lean as far as it will go. Falstaffe is Humourously called Woolsack, Bed-presser, and Hill of Flesh; Harry a Starveling, an Elves-Skin, a Sheath, a Bowcase, and a Tuck. There is, in several incidents of the Conversation between them, the Jest still kept up upon the Person. Great Tenderness and Sensibility in this Point is one of the greatest Weaknesses of Self-love; for my own part, I am a little unhappy in the Mold of my Face, which is not quite so long as it is broad: Whether this might not partly arise from my opening my Mouth much seldomer than other People, and by Consequence not so much lengthning the Fibres of my Visage, I am not at leisure to determine. However it be, I have been often put out of Countenance by the Shortness of my Face, and was formerly at great Pains in concealing it by wearing a Periwigg with an high Foretop, and letting my Beard grow. But now I have thoroughly got over this Delicacy, and could be contented it were much shorter, provided it might qualify me for a Member of the Merry Club, which the following Letter gives me an Account of. I have received it from Oxford, and as it abounds with the Spirit of Mirth and good Humour, which is natural to that Place, I shall set it down Word for Word as it came to me.
'Most Profound Sir,

Having been very well entertained, in the last of your Speculations that I have yet seen, by your Specimen upon Clubs, which I therefore hope you will continue, I shall take the Liberty to furnish you with a brief Account of such a one as perhaps you have not seen in all your Travels, unless it was your Fortune to touch upon some of the woody Parts of the African Continent, in your Voyage to or from Grand Cairo. There have arose in this University (long since you left us without saying any thing) several of these inferior Hebdomadal Societies, as the Punning Club, the Witty Club, and amongst the rest, the Handsom Club; as a Burlesque upon which, a certain merry Species, that seem to have come into the World in Masquerade, for some Years last past have associated themselves together, and assumed the name of the Ugly Club: This ill-favoured Fraternity consists of a President and twelve Fellows; the Choice of which is not confin'd by Patent to any particular Foundation (as St. John's Men would have the World believe, and have therefore erected a separate Society within themselves) but Liberty is left to elect from any School in Great Britain, provided the Candidates be within the Rules of the Club, as set forth in a Table entituled The Act of Deformity. A Clause or two of which I shall transmit to you.
  1. That no Person whatsoever shall be admitted without a visible Quearity in his Aspect, or peculiar Cast of Countenance; of which the President and Officers for the time being are to determine, and the President to have the casting Voice.
  2. That a singular Regard be had, upon Examination, to the Gibbosity of the Gentlemen that offer themselves, as Founders Kinsmen, or to the Obliquity of their Figure, in what sort soever.
  3. That if the Quantity of any Man's Nose be eminently miscalculated, whether as to Length or Breadth, he shall have a just Pretence to be elected.
'Lastly, That if there shall be two or more Competitors for the same Vacancy, cæteris paribus, he that has the thickest Skin to have the Preference.

Every fresh Member, upon his first Night, is to entertain the Company with a Dish of Codfish, and a Speech in praise of Æsop2; whose portraiture they have in full Proportion, or rather Disproportion, over the Chimney; and their Design is, as soon as their Funds are sufficient, to purchase the Heads of Thersites, Duns Scotus, Scarron, Hudibras, and the old Gentleman in Oldham3, with all the celebrated ill Faces of Antiquity, as Furniture for the Club Room.

As they have always been profess'd Admirers of the other Sex, so they unanimously declare that they will give all possible Encouragement to such as will take the Benefit of the Statute, tho' none yet have appeared to do it.

The worthy President, who is their most devoted Champion, has lately shown me two Copies of Verses composed by a Gentleman of his Society; the first, a Congratulatory Ode inscrib'd to Mrs. Touchwood, upon the loss of her two Fore-teeth; the other, a Panegyrick upon Mrs. Andirons left Shoulder. Mrs. Vizard (he says) since the Small Pox, is grown tolerably ugly, and a top Toast in the Club; but I never hear him so lavish of his fine things, as upon old Nell Trot, who constantly officiates at their Table; her he even adores, and extolls as the very Counterpart of Mother Shipton; in short, Nell (says he) is one of the Extraordinary Works of Nature; but as for Complexion, Shape, and Features, so valued by others, they are all meer Outside and Symmetry, which is his Aversion. Give me leave to add, that the President is a facetious, pleasant Gentleman, and never more so, than when he has got (as he calls 'em) his dear Mummers about him; and he often protests it does him good to meet a Fellow with a right genuine Grimmace in his Air, (which is so agreeable in the generality of the French Nation;) and as an Instance of his Sincerity in this particular, he gave me a sight of a List in his Pocket-book of all of this Class, who for these five Years have fallen under his Observation, with himself at the Head of 'em, and in the Rear (as one of a promising and improving Aspect),

Sir, Your Obliged and Humble Servant,

Alexander Carbuncle.

[Sidenote: Oxford, March 12, 1710.]


Footnote 1:  Abbé Paul Scarron, the burlesque writer, high in court favour, was deformed from birth, and at the age of 27 lost the use of all his limbs. In 1651, when 41 years old, Scarron married Frances d'Aubigné, afterwards Madame de Maintenon; her age was then 16, and she lived with Scarron until his death, which occurred when she was 25 years old and left her very poor. Scarron's comparison of himself to the letter Z is in his address 'To the Reader who has Never seen Me,' prefixed to his Relation Véritable de tout ce qui s'est passé en l'autre Monde, au combat des Parques et des Poëtes, sur la Mort de Voiture. This was illustrated with a burlesque plate representing himself as seen from the back of his chair, and surrounded by a wondering and mocking world. His back, he said, was turned to the public, because the convex of his back is more convenient than the concave of his stomach for receiving the inscription of his name and age.
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Footnote 2:   The Life of Æsop, ascribed to Planudes Maximus, a monk of Constantinople in the fourteenth century, and usually prefixed to the Fables, says that he was
'the most deformed of all men of his age, for he had a pointed head, flat nostrils, a short neck, thick lips, was black, pot-bellied, bow-legged, and hump-backed; perhaps even uglier than Homer's Thersites.'

Footnote 3:   The description of Thersites in the second book of the Iliad is thus translated by Professor Blackie:
The most
Ill-favoured wight was he, I ween, of all the Grecian host.
With hideous squint the railer leered: on one foot he was lame;
Forward before his narrow chest his hunching shoulders came;
Slanting and sharp his forehead rose, with shreds of meagre hair.
Controversies between the Scotists and Thomists, followers of the teaching of Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas, caused Thomist perversion of the name of Duns into its use as Dunce and tradition of the subtle Doctor's extreme personal ugliness. Doctor Subtilis was translated The Lath Doctor.

Scarron we have just spoken of. Hudibras's outward gifts are described in Part I., Canto i., lines 240-296 of the poem.
His beard
In cut and dye so like a tile
A sudden view it would beguile:
The upper part thereof was whey;
The nether, orange mix'd with grey.
This hairy meteor, &c.
The 'old Gentleman in Oldham' is Loyola, as described in Oldham's third satire on the Jesuits, when
Summon'd together, all th' officious band
The orders of their bedrid, chief attend.
Raised on his pillow he greets them, and, says Oldham,
Like Delphic Hag of old, by Fiend possest,
He swells, wild Frenzy heaves his panting breast,
His bristling hairs stick up, his eyeballs glow,
And from his mouth long strakes of drivel flow.


No. 18

Wednesday, March 21, 1711


Equitis quoque jam migravit ab aure voluptas
Omnis ad incertos oculos et gaudia vana.


It is my Design in this Paper to deliver down to Posterity a faithful Account of the Italian Opera, and of the gradual Progress which it has made upon the English Stage: For there is no Question but our great Grand-children will be very curious to know the Reason why their Fore-fathers used to sit together like an Audience of Foreigners in their own Country, and to hear whole Plays acted before them in a Tongue which they did not understand.

Arsinoe1 was the first Opera that gave us a Taste of Italian Musick. The great Success this Opera met with, produced some Attempts of forming Pieces upon Italian Plans, which2 should give a more natural and reasonable Entertainment than what can be met with in the elaborate Trifles of that Nation. This alarm'd the Poetasters and Fidlers of the Town, who were used to deal in a more ordinary Kind of Ware; and therefore laid down an establish'd Rule, which is receiv'd as such to this Day3, That nothing is capable of being well set to Musick, that is not Nonsense.

This Maxim was no sooner receiv'd, but we immediately fell to translating the Italian Operas; and as there was no great Danger of hurting the Sense of those extraordinary Pieces, our Authors would often make Words of their own which4 were entirely foreign to the Meaning of the Passages they5 pretended to translate; their chief Care being to make the Numbers of the English Verse answer to those of the Italian, that both of them might go to the same Tune. Thus the famous Song in Camilla,
Barbara si t' intendo, &c.

Barbarous Woman, yes, I know your Meaning,
which expresses the Resentments of an angry Lover, was translated into that English lamentation:
Frail are a Lovers Hopes, &c.
And it was pleasant enough to see the most refined Persons of the British Nation dying away and languishing to Notes that were filled with a Spirit of Rage and Indignation. It happen'd also very frequently, where the Sense was rightly translated, the necessary Transposition of Words which6 were drawn out of the Phrase of one Tongue into that of another, made the Musick appear very absurd in one Tongue that was very natural in the other. I remember an Italian verse that ran thus Word for Word,
And turned my Rage, into Pity;
which the English for Rhime sake translated,
And into Pity turn'd my Rage.
By this Means the soft Notes that were adapted to Pity in the Italian, fell upon the word Rage in the English; and the angry Sounds that were turn'd to Rage in the Original, were made to express Pity in the Translation. It oftentimes happen'd likewise, that the finest Notes in the Air fell upon the most insignificant Words in the Sentence. I have known the Word And pursu'd through the whole Gamut, have been entertained with many a melodious The, and have heard the most beautiful Graces Quavers and Divisions bestowed upon Then, For, and From; to the eternal Honour of our English Particles7. The next Step to our Refinement, was the introducing of Italian Actors into our Opera; who sung their Parts in their own Language, at the same Time that our Countrymen perform'd theirs in our native Tongue. The King or Hero of the Play generally spoke in Italian, and his Slaves answered him in English: The Lover frequently made his Court, and gained the Heart of his Princess in a Language which she did not understand. One would have thought it very difficult to have carry'd on Dialogues after this Manner, without an Interpreter between the Persons that convers'd together; but this was the State of the English Stage for about three Years.

At length the Audience grew tir'd of understanding Half the Opera, and therefore to ease themselves Entirely of the Fatigue of Thinking, have so order'd it at Present that the whole Opera is performed in an unknown Tongue. We no longer understand the Language of our own Stage; insomuch that I have often been afraid, when I have seen our Italian Performers chattering in the Vehemence of Action, that they have been calling us Names, and abusing us among themselves; but I hope, since we do put such an entire Confidence in them, they will not talk against us before our Faces, though they may do it with the same Safety as if it were8` behind our Backs. In the mean Time I cannot forbear thinking how naturally an Historian, who writes Two or Three hundred Years hence, and does not know the Taste of his wise Fore-fathers, will make the following Reflection, In the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century, the Italian Tongue was so well understood in England, that Operas were acted on the publick Stage in that Language.

One scarce knows how to be serious in the Confutation of an Absurdity that shews itself at the first Sight. It does not want any great Measure of Sense to see the Ridicule of this monstrous Practice; but what makes it the more astonishing, it is not the Taste of the Rabble, but of Persons of the greatest Politeness, which has establish'd it.

If the Italians have a Genius for Musick above the English, the English have a Genius for other Performances of a much higher Nature, and capable of giving the Mind a much nobler Entertainment. Would one think it was possible (at a Time when an Author lived that was able to write the Phædra and Hippolitus9 for a People to be so stupidly fond of the Italian Opera, as scarce to give a Third Days Hearing to that admirable Tragedy? Musick is certainly a very agreeable Entertainment, but if it would take the entire Possession of our Ears, if it would make us incapable of hearing Sense, if it would exclude Arts that have a much greater Tendency to the Refinement of humane Nature: I must confess I would allow it no better Quarter than Plato has done, who banishes it out of his Common-wealth.

At present, our Notions of Musick are so very uncertain, that we do not know what it is we like, only, in general, we are transported with any thing that is not English: so if it be of a foreign Growth, let it be Italian, French, or High-Dutch, it is the same thing. In short, our English Musick is quite rooted out, and nothing yet planted in its stead.

When a Royal Palace is burnt to the Ground, every Man is at Liberty to present his Plan for a new one; and tho' it be but indifferently put together, it may furnish several Hints that may be of Use to a good Architect. I shall take the same Liberty in a following Paper, of giving my Opinion upon the Subject of Musick, which I shall lay down only in a problematical Manner to be considered by those who are Masters in the Art.


Footnote 1:  Arsinoe was produced at Drury Lane in 1705, with Mrs. Tofts in the chief character, and her Italian rival, Margarita de l'Epine, singing Italian songs before and after the Opera. The drama was an Italian opera translated into English, and set to new music by Thomas Clayton, formerly band master to William III. No. 20 of the Spectator and other numbers from time to time advertised
The Passion of Sappho, and Feast of Alexander: Set to Musick by Mr. Thomas Clayton, as it is performed at his house in York Buildings.
It was the same Clayton who set to music Addison's unsuccessful opera of Rosamond, written as an experiment in substituting homegrown literature for the fashionable nonsense illustrated by Italian music. Thomas Clayton's music to Rosamond was described as 'a jargon of sounds.' Camilla, composed by Marco Antonio Buononcini, and said to contain beautiful music, was produced at Sir John Vanbrugh's Haymarket opera in 1705, and sung half in English, half in Italian; Mrs. Tofts singing the part of the Amazonian heroine in English, and Valentini that of the hero in Italian.
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Footnote 2:   that

Footnote 3:   very day

Footnote 4:   that

Footnote 5:   which they

Footnote 6:   that

Footnote 7:   It was fifty years after this that Churchill wrote of Mossop in the Rosciad,
In monosyllables his thunders roll,
He, she, it, and, we, ye, they, fright the soul.

Footnote 8:   was

Footnote 9:   The Tragedy of Phædra and Hippolitus, acted without success in 1707, was the one play written by Mr. Edmund Smith, a merchant's son who had been educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, and who had ended a dissolute life at the age of 42 (in 1710), very shortly before this paper was written. Addison's regard for the play is warmed by friendship for the unhappy writer. He had, indeed, written the Prologue to it, and struck therein also his note of war against the follies of Italian Opera.
Had Valentini, musically coy,
Shunned Phædra's Arms, and scorn'd the puffer'd Joy,
It had not moved your Wonder to have seen
An Eunich fly from an enamour'd Queen;
How would it please, should she in English speak,
And could Hippolitus reply in Greek!
The Epilogue to this play was by Prior. Edmund Smith's relation to Addison is shown by the fact that, in dedicating the printed edition of his Phædra and Hippolitus to Lord Halifax, he speaks of Addison's lines on the Peace of Ryswick as 'the best Latin Poem since the Æneid.'


No. 19

Thursday, March 22, 1711


Dii benefecerunt, inopis me quodque pusilli
Finxerunt animi, rarî et perpauca loquentis


Observing one Person behold another, who was an utter Stranger to him, with a Cast of his Eye which, methought, expressed an Emotion of Heart very different from what could be raised by an Object so agreeable as the Gentleman he looked at, I began to consider, not without some secret Sorrow, the Condition of an Envious Man. Some have fancied that Envy has a certain Magical Force in it, and that the Eyes of the Envious have by their Fascination blasted the Enjoyments of the Happy. Sir Francis Bacon says1, Some have been so curious as to remark the Times and Seasons when the Stroke of an Envious Eye is most effectually pernicious, and have observed that it has been when the Person envied has been in any Circumstance of Glory and Triumph. At such a time the Mind of the Prosperous Man goes, as it were, abroad, among things without him, and is more exposed to the Malignity. But I shall not dwell upon Speculations so abstracted as this, or repeat the many excellent Things which one might collect out of Authors upon this miserable Affection; but keeping in the road of common Life, consider the Envious Man with relation to these three Heads, His Pains, His Reliefs, and His Happiness.

The Envious Man is in Pain upon all Occasions which ought to give him Pleasure. The Relish of his Life is inverted, and the Objects which administer the highest Satisfaction to those who are exempt from this Passion, give the quickest Pangs to Persons who are subject to it. All the Perfections of their Fellow-Creatures are odious: Youth, Beauty, Valour and Wisdom are Provocations of their Displeasure. What a Wretched and Apostate State is this! To be offended with Excellence, and to hate a Man because we Approve him! The Condition of the Envious Man is the most Emphatically miserable; he is not only incapable of rejoicing in another's Merit or Success, but lives in a World wherein all Mankind are in a Plot against his Quiet, by studying their own Happiness and Advantage. Will. Prosper is an honest Tale-bearer, he makes it his business to join in Conversation with Envious Men. He points to such an handsom Young Fellow, and whispers that he is secretly married to a Great Fortune: When they doubt, he adds Circumstances to prove it; and never fails to aggravate their Distress, by assuring 'em that to his knowledge he has an Uncle will leave him some Thousands. Will. has many Arts of this kind to torture this sort of Temper, and delights in it. When he finds them change colour, and say faintly They wish such a Piece of News is true, he has the Malice to speak some good or other of every Man of their Acquaintance.

The Reliefs of the Envious Man are those little Blemishes and Imperfections, that discover themselves in an Illustrious Character. It is matter of great Consolation to an Envious Person, when a Man of Known Honour does a thing Unworthy himself: Or when any Action which was well executed, upon better Information appears so alter'd in its Circumstances, that the Fame of it is divided among many, instead of being attributed to One. This is a secret Satisfaction to these Malignants; for the Person whom they before could not but admire, they fancy is nearer their own Condition as soon as his Merit is shared among others. I remember some Years ago there came out an Excellent Poem, without the Name of the Author. The little Wits, who were incapable of Writing it, began to pull in Pieces the supposed Writer. When that would not do, they took great Pains to suppress the Opinion that it was his. That again failed. The next Refuge was to say it was overlook'd by one Man, and many Pages wholly written by another. An honest Fellow, who sate among a Cluster of them in debate on this Subject, cryed out,
Gentlemen, if you are sure none of you yourselves had an hand in it, you are but where you were, whoever writ it.
But the most usual Succour to the Envious, in cases of nameless Merit in this kind, is to keep the Property, if possible, unfixed, and by that means to hinder the Reputation of it from falling upon any particular Person. You see an Envious Man clear up his Countenance, if in the Relation of any Man's Great Happiness in one Point, you mention his Uneasiness in another. When he hears such a one is very rich he turns Pale, but recovers when you add that he has many Children. In a Word, the only sure Way to an Envious Man's Favour, is not to deserve it.

But if we consider the Envious Man in Delight, it is like reading the Seat of a Giant in a Romance; the Magnificence of his House consists in the many Limbs of Men whom he has slain. If any who promised themselves Success in any Uncommon Undertaking miscarry in the Attempt, or he that aimed at what would have been Useful and Laudable, meets with Contempt and Derision, the Envious Man, under the Colour of hating Vainglory, can smile with an inward Wantonness of Heart at the ill Effect it may have upon an honest Ambition for the future.

Having throughly considered the Nature of this Passion, I have made it my Study how to avoid the Envy that may acrue to me from these my Speculations; and if I am not mistaken in my self, I think I have a Genius to escape it. Upon hearing in a Coffee-house one of my Papers commended, I immediately apprehended the Envy that would spring from that Applause; and therefore gave a Description of my Face the next Day2; being resolved as I grow in Reputation for Wit, to resign my Pretensions to Beauty. This, I hope, may give some Ease to those unhappy Gentlemen, who do me the Honour to torment themselves upon the Account of this my Paper. As their Case is very deplorable, and deserves Compassion, I shall sometimes be dull, in Pity to them, and will from time to time administer Consolations to them by further Discoveries of my Person. In the meanwhile, if any one says the Spectator has Wit, it may be some Relief to them, to think that he does not show it in Company. And if any one praises his Morality they may comfort themselves by considering that his Face is none of the longest.


Footnote 1:  
We see likewise, the Scripture calleth Envy an Evil Eye: And the Astrologers call the evil influences of the stars, Evil Aspects; so that still there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the act of envy, an ejaculation or irradiation of the eye. Nay some have been so curious as to note that the times when the stroke or percussion of an envious eye doth most hurt, are, when the party envied is beheld in glory or triumph; for that sets an edge upon Envy; And besides, at such times, the spirits of the persons envied do come forth most into the outward parts, and so meet the blow.
Bacon's Essays: IX Of Envy.
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Footnote 2:   In No. 17.


No. 20

Friday, March 23, 1711


Greek: Kynos ommat' ech_on


Among the other hardy Undertakings which I have proposed to my self, that of the Correction of Impudence is what I have very much at Heart. This in a particular Manner is my Province as Spectator; for it is generally an Offence committed by the Eyes, and that against such as the Offenders would perhaps never have an Opportunity of injuring any other Way. The following Letter is a Complaint of a Young Lady, who sets forth a Trespass of this Kind with that Command of herself as befits Beauty and Innocence, and yet with so much Spirit as sufficiently expresses her Indignation. The whole Transaction is performed with the Eyes; and the Crime is no less than employing them in such a Manner, as to divert the Eyes of others from the best use they can make of them, even looking up to Heaven.

There never was (I believe) an acceptable Man, but had some awkward Imitators. Ever since the Spectator appear'd, have I remarked a kind of Men, whom I choose to call Starers, that without any Regard to Time, Place, or Modesty, disturb a large Company with their impertinent Eyes. Spectators make up a proper Assembly for a Puppet-Show or a Bear-Garden; but devout Supplicants and attentive Hearers, are the Audience one ought to expect in Churches. I am, Sir, Member of a small pious congregation near one of the North Gates of this City; much the greater Part of us indeed are Females, and used to behave our selves in a regular attentive Manner, till very lately one whole Isle has been disturbed with one of these monstrous Starers: He's the Head taller than any one in the Church; but for the greater Advantage of exposing himself, stands upon a Hassock, and commands the whole Congregation, to the great Annoyance of the devoutest part of the Auditory; for what with Blushing, Confusion, and Vexation, we can neither mind the Prayers nor Sermon. Your Animadversion upon this Insolence would be a great favour to,


Your most humble servant,

S. C.

I have frequently seen of this Sort of Fellows; and do not think there can be a greater Aggravation of an Offence, than that it is committed where the Criminal is protected by the Sacredness of the Place which he violates. Many Reflections of this Sort might be very justly made upon this Kind of Behaviour, but a Starer is not usually a Person to be convinced by the Reason of the thing; and a Fellow that is capable of showing an impudent Front before a whole Congregation, and can bear being a publick Spectacle, is not so easily rebuked as to amend by Admonitions. If therefore my Correspondent does not inform me, that within Seven Days after this Date the Barbarian does not at least stand upon his own Legs only, without an Eminence, my friend Will. Prosper has promised to take an Hassock opposite to him, and stare against him in Defence of the Ladies. I have given him Directions, according to the most exact Rules of Opticks, to place himself in such a Manner that he shall meet his Eyes wherever he throws them: I have Hopes that when Will. confronts him, and all the Ladies, in whose Behalf he engages him, cast kind Looks and Wishes of Success at their Champion, he will have some Shame, and feel a little of the Pain he has so often put others to, of being out of Countenance.

It has indeed been Time out of Mind generally remarked, and as often lamented, that this Family of Starers have infested publick Assemblies: And I know no other Way to obviate so great an Evil, except, in the Case of fixing their Eyes upon Women, some Male Friend will take the Part of such as are under the Oppression of Impudence, and encounter the Eyes of the Starers wherever they meet them. While we suffer our Women to be thus impudently attacked, they have no Defence, but in the End to cast yielding Glances at the Starers: And in this Case, a Man who has no Sense of Shame has the same Advantage over his Mistress, as he who has no Regard for his own Life has over his Adversary. While the Generality of the World are fetter'd by Rules, and move by proper and just Methods, he who has no Respect to any of them, carries away the Reward due to that Propriety of Behaviour, with no other Merit but that of having neglected it.

I take an impudent Fellow to be a sort of Out-law in Good-Breeding, and therefore what is said of him no Nation or Person can be concerned for: For this Reason one may be free upon him. I have put my self to great Pains in considering this prevailing Quality which we call Impudence, and have taken Notice that it exerts it self in a different Manner, according to the different Soils wherein such Subjects of these Dominions as are Masters of it were born. Impudence in an Englishman is sullen and insolent, in a Scotchman it is untractable and rapacious, in an Irishman absurd and fawning: As the Course of the World now runs, the impudent Englishman behaves like a surly Landlord, the Scot, like an ill-received Guest, and the Irishman, like a Stranger who knows he is not welcome. There is seldom anything entertaining either in the Impudence of a South or North Briton; but that of an Irishman is always comick. A true and genuine Impudence is ever the Effect of Ignorance, without the least Sense of it. The best and most successful Starers now in this Town are of that Nation: They have usually the Advantage of the Stature mentioned in the above Letter of my Correspondent, and generally take their Stands in the Eye of Women of Fortune; insomuch that I have known one of them, three Months after he came from Plough, with a tolerable good Air lead out a Woman from a Play, which one of our own Breed, after four years at Oxford and two at the Temple, would have been afraid to look at.

I cannot tell how to account for it, but these People have usually the Preference to our own Fools, in the Opinion of the sillier Part of Womankind. Perhaps it is that an English Coxcomb is seldom so obsequious as an Irish one; and when the Design of pleasing is visible, an Absurdity in the Way toward it is easily forgiven.

But those who are downright impudent, and go on without Reflection that they are such, are more to be tolerated, than a Set of Fellows among us who profess Impudence with an Air of Humour, and think to carry off the most inexcusable of all Faults in the World, with no other Apology than saying in a gay Tone, I put an impudent Face upon the Matter. No, no Man shall be allowed the Advantages of Impudence, who is conscious that he is such: If he knows he is impudent, he may as well be otherwise; and it shall be expected that he blush, when he sees he makes another do it: For nothing can attone for the want of Modesty, without which Beauty is ungraceful, and Wit detestable.



No. 21

Saturday, March 24, 17111


Locus est et phiribus Umbris.


I am sometimes very much troubled, when I reflect upon the three great Professions of Divinity, Law, and Physick; how they are each of them over-burdened with Practitioners, and filled with Multitudes of Ingenious Gentlemen that starve one another.

We may divide the Clergy into Generals, Field-Officers, and Subalterns. Among the first we may reckon Bishops, Deans, and Arch-Deacons. Among the second are Doctors of Divinity, Prebendaries, and all that wear Scarfs. The rest are comprehended under the Subalterns. As for the first Class, our Constitution preserves it from any Redundancy of Incumbents, notwithstanding Competitors are numberless. Upon a strict Calculation, it is found that there has been a great Exceeding of late Years in the Second Division, several Brevets having been granted for the converting of Subalterns into Scarf-Officers; insomuch that within my Memory the price of Lute-string is raised above two Pence in a Yard. As for the Subalterns, they are not to be numbred. Should our Clergy once enter into the corrupt Practice of the Laity, by the splitting of their Free-holds, they would be able to carry most of the Elections in England.

The Body of the Law is no less encumbered with superfluous Members, that are like Virgil's Army, which he tells us was so crouded2, many of them had not Room to use their Weapons. This prodigious Society of Men may be divided into the Litigious and Peaceable. Under the first are comprehended all those who are carried down in Coach-fulls to Westminster-Hall every Morning in Term-time. Martial's description of this Species of Lawyers is full of Humour:
Iras et verba locant.
Men that hire out their Words and Anger; that are more or less passionate according as they are paid for it, and allow their Client a quantity of Wrath proportionable to the Fee which they receive from him. I must, however, observe to the Reader, that above three Parts of those whom I reckon among the Litigious, are such as are only quarrelsome in their Hearts, and have no Opportunity of showing their Passion at the Bar. Nevertheless, as they do not know what Strifes may arise, they appear at the Hall every Day, that they may show themselves in a Readiness to enter the Lists, whenever there shall be Occasion for them.

The Peaceable Lawyers are, in the first place, many of the Benchers of the several Inns of Court, who seem to be the Dignitaries of the Law, and are endowed with those Qualifications of Mind that accomplish a Man rather for a Ruler, than a Pleader. These Men live peaceably in their Habitations, Eating once a Day, and Dancing once a Year3, for the Honour of their Respective Societies.

Another numberless Branch of Peaceable Lawyers, are those young Men who being placed at the Inns of Court in order to study the Laws of their Country, frequent the Play-House more than Westminster-Hall, and are seen in all publick Assemblies, except in a Court of Justice. I shall say nothing of those Silent and Busie Multitudes that are employed within Doors in the drawing up of Writings and Conveyances; nor of those greater Numbers that palliate their want of Business with a Pretence to such Chamber-Practice.

If, in the third place, we look into the Profession of Physick, we shall find a most formidable Body of Men: The Sight of them is enough to make a Man serious, for we may lay it down as a Maxim, that When a Nation abounds in Physicians, it grows thin of People. Sir William Temple is very much puzzled to find a Reason why the Northern Hive, as he calls it, does not send out such prodigious Swarms, and over-run the World with Goths and Vandals, as it did formerly4; but had that Excellent Author observed that there were no Students in Physick among the Subjects of Thor and Woden, and that this Science very much flourishes in the North at present, he might have found a better Solution for this Difficulty, than any of those he has made use of. This Body of Men, in our own Country, may be described like the British Army in Cæsar's time: Some of them slay in Chariots, and some on Foot. If the Infantry do less Execution than the Charioteers, it is, because they cannot be carried so soon into all Quarters of the Town, and dispatch so much Business in so short a Time. Besides this Body of Regular Troops, there are Stragglers, who, without being duly listed and enrolled, do infinite Mischief to those who are so unlucky as to fall into their Hands.

There are, besides the above-mentioned, innumerable Retainers to Physick, who, for want of other Patients, amuse themselves with the stifling of Cats in an Air Pump, cutting up Dogs alive, or impaling of Insects upon the point of a Needle for Microscopical Observations; besides those that are employed in the gathering of Weeds, and the Chase of Butterflies: Not to mention the Cockle-shell-Merchants and Spider-catchers.

When I consider how each of these Professions are crouded with Multitudes that seek their Livelihood in them, and how many Men of Merit there are in each of them, who may be rather said to be of the Science, than the Profession; I very much wonder at the Humour of Parents, who will not rather chuse to place their Sons in a way of Life where an honest Industry cannot but thrive, than in Stations where the greatest Probity, Learning and Good Sense may miscarry. How many Men are Country-Curates, that might have made themselves Aldermen of London by a right Improvement of a smaller Sum of Mony than what is usually laid out upon a learned Education? A sober, frugal Person, of slender Parts and a slow Apprehension, might have thrived in Trade, tho' he starves upon Physick; as a Man would be well enough pleased to buy Silks of one, whom he would not venture to feel his Pulse. Vagellius is careful, studious and obliging, but withal a little thick-skull'd; he has not a single Client, but might have had abundance of Customers. The Misfortune is, that Parents take a Liking to a particular Profession, and therefore desire their Sons may be of it. Whereas, in so great an Affair of Life, they should consider the Genius and Abilities of their Children, more than their own Inclinations.

It is the great Advantage of a trading Nation, that there are very few in it so dull and heavy, who may not be placed in Stations of Life which may give them an Opportunity of making their Fortunes. A well-regulated Commerce is not, like Law, Physick or Divinity, to be overstocked with Hands; but, on the contrary, flourishes by Multitudes, and gives Employment to all its Professors. Fleets of Merchantmen are so many Squadrons of floating Shops, that vend our Wares and Manufactures in all the Markets of the World, and find out Chapmen under both the Tropicks.


Footnote 1:   At this time, and until the establishment of New Style, from 1752, the legal year began in England on the 25th of March, while legally in Scotland, and by common usage throughout the whole kingdom, the customary year began on the 1st of January. The Spectator dated its years, according to custom, from the first of January; and so wrote its first date March 1, 1711. But we have seen letters in it dated in a way often adopted to avoid confusion (1710-11) which gave both the legal and the customary reckoning. March 24 being the last day of the legal year 1710, in the following papers, until December 31, the year is 1711 both by law and custom. Then again until March 24, while usage will be recognizing a new year, 1712, it will be still for England (but not for Scotland) 1711 to the lawyers. The reform initiated by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, and not accepted for England and Ireland until 1751, had been adopted by Scotland from the 1st of January, 1600.

[This reform was necessary to make up for the inadequate shortness of the previous calendar (relative to the solar year), which had resulted in some months' discrepancy by the eighteenth century.]
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Footnote 2:  that

Footnote 3:   In Dugdale's Origines Juridiciales we read how in the Middle Temple, on All Saints' Day, when the judges and serjeants who had belonged to the Inn were feasted,
'the music being begun, the Master of the Revels was twice called. At the second call, the Reader with the white staff advanced, and began to lead the measures, followed by the barristers and students in order; and when one measure was ended, the Reader at the cupboard called for another.'

Footnote 4:   See Sir W. Temple's Essay on Heroic Virtue, Section 4.
'This part of Scythia, in its whole Northern extent, I take to have been the vast Hive out of which issued so many mighty swarms of barbarous nations,' &c. And again, 'Each of these countries was like a mighty hive, which, by the vigour of propagation and health of climate, growing too full of people, threw out some new swarm at certain periods of time, that took wing and sought out some new abode, expelling or subduing the old inhabitants, and seating themselves in their rooms, if they liked the conditions of place and commodities of life they met with; if not, going on till they found some other more agreeable to their present humours and dispositions.' He attributes their successes and their rapid propagation to the greater vigour of life in the northern climates; and the only reason he gives for the absence of like effects during the continued presence of like causes is, that Christianity abated their enthusiasm and allayed 'the restless humour of perpetual wars and actions.'


No. 22

Monday, March 26, 1711


Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic incredulus odi.


The word Spectator being most usually understood as one of the Audience at Publick Representations in our Theatres, I seldom fail of many Letters relating to Plays and Operas. But, indeed, there are such monstrous things done in both, that if one had not been an Eye-witness of them, one could not believe that such Matters had really been exhibited. There is very little which concerns human Life, or is a Picture of Nature, that is regarded by the greater Part of the Company. The Understanding is dismissed from our Entertainments. Our Mirth is the Laughter of Fools, and our Admiration the Wonder of Idiots; else such improbable, monstrous, and incoherent Dreams could not go off as they do, not only without the utmost Scorn and Contempt, but even with the loudest Applause and Approbation. But the Letters of my Correspondents will represent this Affair in a more lively Manner than any Discourse of my own; I shall therefore1 give them to my Reader with only this Preparation, that they all come from Players, and that the business of Playing is now so managed that you are not to be surprised when I say one or two of them2 are rational, others sensitive and vegetative Actors, and others wholly inanimate. I shall not place these as I have named them, but as they have Precedence in the Opinion of their Audiences.
"Mr. Spectator,

Your having been so humble as to take Notice of the Epistles of other Animals, emboldens me, who am the wild Boar that was killed by Mrs. Tofts3, to represent to you, That I think I was hardly used in not having the Part of the Lion in Hydaspes given to me. It would have been but a natural Step for me to have personated that noble Creature, after having behaved my self to Satisfaction in the Part above-mention'd: But that of a Lion, is too great a Character for one that never trod the Stage before but upon two Legs. As for the little Resistance which I made, I hope it may be excused, when it is considered that the Dart was thrown at me by so fair an Hand. I must confess I had but just put on my Brutality; and Camilla's charms were such, that b-holding her erect Mien, hearing her charming Voice, and astonished with her graceful Motion, I could not keep up to my assumed Fierceness, but died like a Man.

I am Sir,

Your most humble Servan.

Thomas Prone."

Mr. Spectator,

This is to let you understand, that the Play-House is a Representation of the World in nothing so much as in this Particular, That no one rises in it according to his Merit. I have acted several Parts of Household-stuff with great Applause for many Years: I am one of the Men in the Hangings in the Emperour of the Moon4; I have twice performed the third Chair in an English Opera; and have rehearsed the Pump in the Fortune-Hunters5. I am now grown old, and hope you will recommend me so effectually, as that I may say something before I go off the Stage: In which you will do a great Act of Charity to

Your most humble servant,

William Serene."

"Mr. Spectator,

Understanding that Mr. Serene has writ to you, and desired to be raised from dumb and still Parts; I desire, if you give him Motion or Speech, that you would advance me in my Way, and let me keep on in what I humbly presume I am a Master, to wit, in representing human and still Life together. I have several times acted one of the finest Flower-pots in the same Opera wherein Mr. Serene is a Chair; therefore, upon his promotion, request that I may succeed him in the Hangings, with my Hand in the Orange-Trees.

Your humble servant,

Ralph Simple."

Drury Lane, March 24, 1710-11.


I saw your Friend the Templar this Evening in the Pit, and thought he looked very little pleased with the Representation of the mad Scene of the Pilgrim. I wish, Sir, you would do us the Favour to animadvert frequently upon the false Taste the Town is in, with Relation to Plays as well as Operas. It certainly requires a Degree of Understanding to play justly; but such is our Condition, that we are to suspend our Reason to perform our Parts. As to Scenes of Madness, you know, Sir, there are noble Instances of this Kind in Shakespear; but then it is the Disturbance of a noble Mind, from generous and humane Resentments: It is like that Grief which we have for the decease of our Friends: It is no Diminution, but a Recommendation of humane Nature, that in such Incidents Passion gets the better of Reason; and all we can think to comfort ourselves, is impotent against half what we feel. I will not mention that we had an Idiot in the Scene, and all the Sense it is represented to have, is that of Lust. As for my self, who have long taken Pains in personating the Passions, I have to Night acted only an Appetite: The part I play'd is Thirst, but it is represented as written rather by a Drayman than a Poet. I come in with a Tub about me, that Tub hung with Quart-pots; with a full Gallon at my Mouth6. I am ashamed to tell you that I pleased very much, and this was introduced as a Madness; but sure it was not humane Madness, for a Mule or an ass7 may have been as dry as ever I was in my Life.

I am, Sir, Your most obedient And humble servant."

"From the Savoy in the Strand.

Mr. Spectator,

If you can read it with dry Eyes, I give you this trouble to acquaint you, that I am the unfortunate King Latinus, and believe I am the first Prince that dated from this Palace since John of Gaunt. Such is the Uncertainty of all human Greatness, that I who lately never moved without a Guard, am now pressed as a common Soldier, and am to sail with the first fair Wind against my Brother Lewis of France. It is a very hard thing to put off a Character which one has appeared in with Applause: This I experienced since the Loss of my Diadem; for, upon quarrelling with another Recruit, I spoke my Indignation out of my Part in recitativo:
... Most audacious Slave, Dar'st thou an angry Monarch's Fury brave?8
The Words were no sooner out of my Mouth, when a Serjeant knock'd me down, and ask'd me if I had a Mind to Mutiny, in talking things no Body understood. You see, Sir, my unhappy Circumstances; and if by your Mediation you can procure a Subsidy for a Prince (who never failed to make all that beheld him merry at his Appearance) you will merit the Thanks of

Your friend,

The King of Latium."

Footnote 1:   therefore shall
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Footnote 2:   whom

Footnote 3:   In the opera of Camilla:

Camilla. That Dorinda's my Name.
Linco. Well, I know't, I'll take care.
Camilla. And my Life scarce of late —
Linco. You need not repeat.
Prenesto. Help me! oh help me!
A wild Boar struck by Prenesto.
Huntsman. Let's try to assist him.
Linco. Ye Gods, what Alarm!
Huntsman. Quick run to his aid.
Enter Prenesto: The Boar pursuing him.
Prenesto. O Heav'ns! who defends me?
Camilla. My Arm.
She throws a Dart, and kills the Boar.
Linco. Dorinda of nothing afraid,
She's sprightly and gay, a valiant Maid,
And as bright as the Day.
Camilla. Take Courage, Hunter, the Savage is dead.

Katherine Tofts, the daughter of a person in the family of Bishop Burnet, had great natural charms of voice, person, and manner. Playing with Nicolini, singing English to his Italian, she was the first of our prime donne in Italian Opera. Mrs. Tofts had made much money when in 1709 she quitted the stage with disordered intellect; her voice being then unbroken, and her beauty in the height of its bloom. Having recovered health, she married Mr. Joseph Smith, a rich patron of arts and collector of books and engravings, with whom she went to Venice, when he was sent thither as English Consul. Her madness afterwards returned, she lived, therefore, says Sir J. Hawkins,
'sequestered from the world in a remote part of the house, and had a large garden to range in, in which she would frequently walk, singing and giving way to that innocent frenzy which had seized her in the earlier part of her life.'
She identified herself with the great princesses whose loves and sorrows she had represented in her youth, and died about the year 1760.

Footnote 4:   The Emperor of the Moon is a farce, from the French, by Mrs. Aphra Behn, first acted in London in 1687. It was originally Italian, and had run 80 nights in Paris as Harlequin I'Empereur dans le Monde de la Lune. In Act II. sc. 3,
'The Front of the Scene is only a Curtain or Hangings to be drawn up at Pleasure.'
Various gay masqueraders, interrupted by return of the Doctor, are carried by Scaramouch behind the curtain. The Doctor enters in wrath, vowing he has heard fiddles. Presently the curtain is drawn up and discovers where Scaramouch has
'plac'd them all in the Hanging in which they make the Figures, where they stand without Motion in Postures.'
Scaramouch professes that the noise was made by putting up this piece of Tapestry,
'the best in Italy for the Rareness of the Figures, sir.'
While the Doctor is admiring the new tapestry, said to have been sent him as a gift, Harlequin, who is
'placed on a Tree in the Hangings, hits him on the 'Head with his Truncheon.'
The place of a particular figure in the picture, with a hand on a tree, is that supposed to be aspired to by the Spectator's next correspondent.

Footnote 5:   'The Fortune Hunters, or Two Fools Well Met,' a Comedy first produced in 1685, was the only work of James Carlile, a player who quitted the stage to serve King William III in the Irish Wars, and was killed at the battle of Aghrim. The crowning joke of the second Act of the Fortune Hunters is the return at night of Mr. Spruce, an Exchange man, drunk and musical, to the garden-door of his house, when Mrs. Spruce is just taking leave of young Wealthy. Wealthy hides behind the pump. The drunken husband, who has been in a gutter, goes to the pump to clean himself, and seizes a man's arm instead of a pump-handle. He works it as a pump-handle, and complains that ' the pump's dry;' upon which Young Wealthy empties a bottle of orange-flower water into his face.

Footnote 6:  In the third act of Fletcher's comedy of the Pilgrim, Pedro, the Pilgrim, a noble gentleman, has shown to him the interior of a Spanish mad-house, and discovers in it his mistress Alinda, who, disguised in a boy's dress, was found in the town the night before a little crazed, distracted, and so sent thither. The scene here shows various shapes of madness,
Some of pity
That it would make ye melt to see their passions,
And some as light again.
One is an English madman who cries,
Give me some drink,
Fill me a thousand pots and froth 'em, froth 'em!
Upon which a keeper says:
Those English are so malt-mad, there's no meddling with 'em.
When they've a fruitful year of barley there,
All the whole Island's thus.
We read in the text how they had produced on the stage of Drury Lane that madman on the previous Saturday night; this Essay appearing on the breakfast tables upon Monday morning.

Footnote 7:   horse

Footnote 8:   King Latinus to Turnus in Act II., sc. 10, of the opera of Camilla. Posterity will never know in whose person 'Latinus, king of Latium and of the Volscians,' abdicated his crown at the opera to take the Queen of England's shilling. It is the only character to which, in the opera book, no name of a performer is attached. It is a part of sixty or seventy lines in tyrant's vein; but all recitative. The King of Latium was not once called upon for a song.


original advertisement

For the Good of the Publick.

Within two Doors of the Masquerade lives an eminent Italian Chirurgeon,
arriv'd from the Carnaval at Venice,
of great Experience in private Cures.
Accommodations are provided, and Persons admitted in their masquing Habits.

He has cur'd since his coming thither, in less than a Fortnight,
Four Scaramouches,
a Mountebank Doctor,
Two Turkish Bassas,
Three Nuns,
and a Morris Dancer.

"Venienti occurrite morbo."

N. B. Any Person may agree by the Great, and be kept in Repair by the Year.
The Doctor draws Teeth without pulling off your Mask.


No. 23

Tuesday, March 27, 17111


Savit atrox Volscens, nec teli conspicit usquam
Auctorem nec quo se ardens immittere possit.


There is nothing that more betrays a base, ungenerous Spirit, than the giving of secret Stabs to a Man's Reputation. Lampoons and Satyrs, that are written with Wit and Spirit, are like poison'd Darts, which not only inflict a Wound, but make it incurable. For this Reason I am very much troubled when I see the Talents of Humour and Ridicule in the Possession of an ill-natured Man. There cannot be a greater Gratification to a barbarous and inhuman Wit, than to stir up Sorrow in the Heart of a private Person, to raise Uneasiness among near Relations, and to expose whole Families to Derision, at the same time that he remains unseen and undiscovered. If, besides the Accomplishments of being Witty and Ill-natured, a Man is vicious into the bargain, he is one of the most mischievous Creatures that can enter into a Civil Society. His Satyr will then chiefly fall upon those who ought to be the most exempt from it. Virtue, Merit, and every thing that is Praise-worthy, will be made the Subject of Ridicule and Buffoonry. It is impossible to enumerate the Evils which arise from these Arrows that fly in the dark, and I know no other Excuse that is or can be made for them, than that the Wounds they give are only Imaginary, and produce nothing more than a secret Shame or Sorrow in the Mind of the suffering Person. It must indeed be confess'd, that a Lampoon or a Satyr do not carry in them Robbery or Murder; but at the same time, how many are there that would not rather lose a considerable Sum of Mony, or even Life it self, than be set up as a Mark of Infamy and Derision? And in this Case a Man should consider, that an Injury is not to be measured by the Notions of him that gives, but of him that receives it.

Those who can put the best Countenance upon the Outrages of this nature which are offered them, are not without their secret Anguish. I have often observed a Passage in Socrates's Behaviour at his Death, in a Light wherein none of the Criticks have considered it. That excellent Man, entertaining his Friends a little before he drank the Bowl of Poison with a Discourse on the Immortality of the Soul, at his entering upon it says, that he does not believe any the most Comick Genius can censure him for talking upon such a Subject at such a Time. This passage, I think, evidently glances upon Aristophanes, who writ a Comedy on purpose to ridicule the Discourses of that Divine Philosopher2: It has been observed by many Writers, that Socrates was so little moved at this piece of Buffoonry, that he was several times present at its being acted upon the Stage, and never expressed the least Resentment of it. But, with Submission, I think the Remark I have here made shows us, that this unworthy Treatment made an impression upon his Mind, though he had been too wise to discover it.

When Julius Cæsar was Lampoon'd by Catullus, he invited him to a Supper, and treated him with such a generous Civility, that he made the Poet his friend ever after3. Cardinal Mazarine gave the same kind of Treatment to the learned Quillet, who had reflected upon his Eminence in a famous Latin Poem. The Cardinal sent for him, and, after some kind Expostulations upon what he had written, assured him of his Esteem, and dismissed him with a Promise of the next good Abby that should fall, which he accordingly conferr'd upon him in a few Months after. This had so good an Effect upon the Author, that he dedicated the second Edition of his Book to the Cardinal, after having expunged the Passages which had given him offence4.

Sextus Quintus was not of so generous and forgiving a Temper. Upon his being made Pope, the statue of Pasquin was one Night dressed in a very dirty Shirt, with an Excuse written under it, that he was forced to wear foul Linnen, because his Laundress was made a Princess. This was a Reflection upon the Pope's Sister, who, before the Promotion of her Brother, was in those mean Circumstances that Pasquin represented her. As this Pasquinade made a great noise in Rome, the Pope offered a Considerable Sum of Mony to any Person that should discover the Author of it. The Author, relying upon his Holiness's Generosity, as also on some private Overtures which he had received from him, made the Discovery himself; upon which the Pope gave him the Reward he had promised, but at the same time, to disable the Satyrist for the future, ordered his Tongue to be cut out, and both his Hands to be chopped off5. Aretine6 is too trite an instance. Every one knows that all the Kings of Europe were his tributaries. Nay, there is a Letter of his extant, in which he makes his Boasts that he had laid the Sophi of Persia under Contribution.

Though in the various Examples which I have here drawn together, these several great Men behaved themselves very differently towards the Wits of the Age who had reproached them, they all of them plainly showed that they were very sensible of their Reproaches, and consequently that they received them as very great Injuries. For my own part, I would never trust a Man that I thought was capable of giving these secret Wounds, and cannot but think that he would hurt the Person, whose Reputation he thus assaults, in his Body or in his Fortune, could he do it with the same Security. There is indeed something very barbarous and inhuman in the ordinary Scriblers of Lampoons. An Innocent young Lady shall be exposed, for an unhappy Feature. A Father of a Family turn'd to Ridicule, for some domestick Calamity. A Wife be made uneasy all her Life, for a misinterpreted Word or Action. Nay, a good, a temperate, and a just Man, shall be put out of Countenance, by the Representation of those Qualities that should do him Honour. So pernicious a thing is Wit, when it is not tempered with Virtue and Humanity.

I have indeed heard of heedless, inconsiderate Writers, that without any Malice have sacrificed the Reputation of their Friends and Acquaintance to a certain Levity of Temper, and a silly Ambition of distinguishing themselves by a Spirit of Raillery and Satyr: As if it were not infinitely more honourable to be a Good-natured Man than a Wit. Where there is this little petulant Humour in an Author, he is often very mischievous without designing to be so. For which Reason I always lay it down as a Rule, that an indiscreet Man is more hurtful than an ill-natured one; for as the former will only attack his Enemies, and those he wishes ill to, the other injures indifferently both Friends and Foes. I cannot forbear, on this occasion, transcribing a Fable out of Sir Roger l'Estrange7, which accidentally lies before me.
'A company of Waggish Boys were watching of Frogs at the side of a Pond, and still as any of 'em put up their Heads, they'd be pelting them down again with Stones. Children (says one of the Frogs), you never consider that though this may be Play to you, 'tis Death to us.'
As this Week is in a manner set apart and dedicated to Serious Thoughts8, I shall indulge my self in such Speculations as may not be altogether unsuitable to the Season; and in the mean time, as the settling in our selves a Charitable Frame of Mind is a Work very proper for the Time, I have in this Paper endeavoured to expose that particular Breach of Charity which has been generally over-looked by Divines, because they are but few who can be guilty of it.


Footnote 1:   At the top of this paper in a 12mo copy of the Spectator, published in 1712, and annotated by a contemporary Spanish merchant, is written, 'The character of Dr Swift.' This proves that the writer of the note had an ill opinion of Dr Swift and a weak sense of the purport of what he read. Swift, of course, understood what he read. At this time he was fretting under the sense of a chill in friendship between himself and Addison, but was enjoying his Spectators. A week before this date, on the 16th of March, he wrote,
'Have you seen the Spectators yet, a paper that comes out every day? It is written by Mr. Steele, who seems to have gathered new life and have a new fund of wit; it is in the same nature as his Tatlers, and they have all of them had something pretty. I believe Addison and he club.'
Then he adds a complaint of the chill in their friendship. A month after the date of this paper Swift wrote in his journal,
'The Spectator is written by Steele with Addison's help; 'tis often very pretty.'
Later in the year, in June and September, he records dinner and supper with his friends of old time, and says of Addison,
'I yet know no man half so agreeable to me as he is.'
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Plato's Phædon, § 40. The ridicule of Socrates in The Clouds of Aristophanes includes the accusation that he displaced Zeus and put in his place Dinos, — Rotation. When Socrates, at the point of death, assents to the request that he should show grounds for his faith
'that when the man is dead, the soul exists and retains thought and power,' Plato represents him as suggesting: Not the sharpest censor 'could say that in now discussing such matters, I am dealing with what does not concern me.'

Footnote 3:   The bitter attack upon Cæsar and his parasite Mamurra was not withdrawn, but remains to us as No. 29 of the Poems of Catullus. The doubtful authority for Cæsar's answer to it is the statement in the Life of Julius Cæsar by Suetonius that, on the day of its appearance, Catullus apologized and was invited to supper; Cæsar abiding also by his old familiar friendship with the poet's father. This is the attack said to be referred to in one of Cicero's letters to Atticus (the last of Bk. XIII), in which he tells how Cæsar was
'after the eighth hour in the bath; then he heard De Mamurrâ; did not change countenance; was anointed; lay down; took an emetic.'

Footnote 4:   Claude Quillet published a Latin poem in four books, entitled 'Callipædia, seu de pulchræ prolis habendâ ratione,' at Leyden, under the name of Calvidius Lætus, in 1655. In discussing unions harmonious and inharmonious he digressed into an invective against marriages of Powers, when not in accordance with certain conditions; and complained that France entered into such unions prolific only of ill, witness her gift of sovereign power to a Sicilian stranger.
'Trinacriis devectus ab oris advena.'
Mazarin, though born at Rome, was of Sicilian family. In the second edition, published at Paris in 1656, dedicated to the cardinal Mazarin, the passages complained of were omitted for the reason and with the result told in the text; the poet getting 'une jolie Abbaye de 400 pistoles,' which he enjoyed until his death (aged 59) in 1661.

Footnote 5:   Pasquino is the name of a torso, perhaps of Menelaus supporting the dead body of Patroclus, in the Piazza di Pasquino in Rome, at the corner of the Braschi Palace. To this modern Romans affixed their scoffs at persons or laws open to ridicule or censure. The name of the statue is accounted for by the tradition that there was in Rome, at the beginning of the 16th century, a cobbler or tailor named Pasquino, whose humour for sharp satire made his stall a place of common resort for the idle, who would jest together at the passers-by. After Pasquino's death his stall was removed, and in digging up its floor there was found the broken statue of a gladiator. In this, when it was set up, the gossips who still gathered there to exercise their wit, declared that Pasquino lived again. There was a statue opposite to it called Marforio — perhaps because it had been brought from the Forum of Mars — with which the statue of Pasquin used to hold witty conversation; questions affixed to one receiving soon afterwards salted answers on the other. It was in answer to Marforio's question, Why he wore a dirty shirt? that Pasquin's statue gave the answer cited in the text, when, in 1585, Pope Sixtus V had brought to Rome, and lodged there in great state, his sister Camilla, who had been a laundress and was married to a carpenter. The Pope's bait for catching the offender was promise of life and a thousand doubloons if he declared himself, death on the gallows if his name were disclosed by another.

Footnote 6:   The satirist Pietro d'Arezzo (Aretino), the most famous among twenty of the name, was in his youth banished from Arezzo for satire of the Indulgence trade of Leo XI. But he throve instead of suffering by his audacity of bitterness, and rose to honour as the Scourge of Princes, il Flagello de' Principi. Under Clement VII he was at Rome in the Pope's service. Francis I of France gave him a gold chain. Emperor Charles V gave him a pension of 200 scudi. He died in 1557, aged 66, called by himself and his compatriots, though his wit often was beastly, Aretino 'the divine.'

Footnote 7:   From the Fables of Æsop and other eminent Mythologists, with 'Morals and Reflections. By Sir Roger l'Estrange. The vol. contains Fables of Æsop, Barlandus, Anianus, Abstemius, Poggio the Florentine, Miscellany from a Common School Book, and a Supplement of Fables out of several authors, in which last section is that of the Boys and Frogs, which Addison has copied out verbatim. Sir R. l'Estrange had died in 1704, aged 88.

Footnote 8:   Easter Day in 1711 fell on the 1st of April.


No. 24

Wednesday, March 28, 1711


Accurrit quidam notus mihi nomine tantum;
Arreptaque manu, Quid agis dulcissime rerum?


There are in this Town a great Number of insignificant People, who are by no means fit for the better sort of Conversation, and yet have an impertinent Ambition of appearing with those to whom they are not welcome. If you walk in the Park, one of them will certainly joyn with you, though you are in Company with Ladies; if you drink a Bottle, they will find your Haunts. What makes such Fellows1 the more burdensome is, that they neither offend nor please so far as to be taken Notice of for either. It is, I presume, for this Reason that my Correspondents are willing by my Means to be rid of them. The two following Letters are writ by Persons who suffer by such Impertinence. A worthy old Batchelour, who sets in for his Dose of Claret every Night at such an Hour, is teized by a Swarm of them; who because they are sure of Room and good Fire, have taken it in their Heads to keep a sort of Club in his Company; tho' the sober Gentleman himself is an utter Enemy to such Meetings.
Mr. Spectator,

'The Aversion I for some Years have had to Clubs in general, gave me a perfect Relish for your Speculation on that Subject; but I have since been extremely mortified, by the malicious World's ranking me amongst the Supporters of such impertinent Assemblies. I beg Leave to state my Case fairly; and that done, I shall expect Redress from your judicious Pen.

I am, Sir, a Batchelour of some standing, and a Traveller; my Business, to consult my own Humour, which I gratify without controuling other People's; I have a Room and a whole Bed to myself; and I have a Dog, a Fiddle, and a Gun; they please me, and injure no Creature alive. My chief Meal is a Supper, which I always make at a Tavern. I am constant to an Hour, and not ill-humour'd; for which Reasons, tho' I invite no Body, I have no sooner supp'd, than I have a Crowd about me of that sort of good Company that know not whither else to go. It is true every Man pays his Share, yet as they are Intruders, I have an undoubted Right to be the only Speaker, or at least the loudest; which I maintain, and that to the great Emolument of my Audience. I sometimes tell them their own in pretty free Language; and sometimes divert them with merry Tales, according as I am in Humour. I am one of those who live in Taverns to a great Age, by a sort of regular Intemperance; I never go to Bed drunk, but always flustered; I wear away very gently; am apt to be peevish, but never angry. Mr. Spectator, if you have kept various Company, you know there is in every Tavern in Town some old Humourist or other, who is Master of the House as much as he that keeps it. The Drawers are all in Awe of him; and all the Customers who frequent his Company, yield him a sort of comical Obedience. I do not know but I may be such a Fellow as this my self. But I appeal to you, whether this is to be called a Club, because so many Impertinents will break in upon me, and come without Appointment? Clinch of Barnet2 has a nightly Meeting, and shows to every one that will come in and pay; but then he is the only Actor. Why should People miscall things?

If his is allowed to be a Consort, why mayn't mine be a Lecture? However, Sir, I submit it to you, and am,


Your most obedient, Etc.

Tho. Kimbow.'

Good Sir,

'You and I were press'd against each other last Winter in a Crowd, in which uneasy Posture we suffer'd together for almost Half an Hour. I thank you for all your Civilities ever since, in being of my Acquaintance wherever you meet me. But the other Day you pulled off your Hat to me in the Park, when I was walking with my Mistress: She did not like your Air, and said she wonder'd what strange Fellows I was acquainted with. Dear Sir, consider it is as much as my Life is Worth, if she should think we were intimate; therefore I earnestly intreat you for the Future to take no Manner of Notice of,


Your obliged humble Servant,

Will. Fashion.'

A like3 Impertinence is also very troublesome to the superior and more intelligent Part of the fair Sex. It is, it seems, a great Inconvenience, that those of the meanest Capacities will pretend to make Visits, tho' indeed they are qualify'd rather to add to the Furniture of the House (by filling an empty Chair) than to the Conversation they come into when they visit. A Friend of mine hopes for Redress in this Case, by the Publication of her Letter in my Paper; which she thinks those she would be rid of will take to themselves. It seems to be written with an Eye to one of those pert giddy unthinking Girls, who, upon the Recommendation only of an agreeable Person and a fashionable Air, take themselves to be upon a Level with Women of the greatest Merit.
Madam, 'I take this Way to acquaint you with what common Rules and Forms would never permit me to tell you otherwise; to wit, that you and I, tho' Equals in Quality and Fortune, are by no Means suitable Companions. You are, 'tis true, very pretty, can dance, and make a very good Figure in a publick Assembly; but alass, Madam, you must go no further; Distance and Silence are your best Recommendations; therefore let me beg of you never to make me any more Visits. You come in a literal Sense to see one, for you have nothing to say. I do not say this that I would by any Means lose your Acquaintance; but I would keep it up with the Strictest Forms of good Breeding. Let us pay Visits, but never see one another: If you will be so good as to deny your self always to me, I shall return the Obligation by giving the same Orders to my Servants. When Accident makes us meet at a third Place, we may mutually lament the Misfortune of never finding one another at home, go in the same Party to a Benefit-Play, and smile at each other and put down Glasses as we pass in our Coaches. Thus we may enjoy as much of each others Friendship as we are capable: For there are some People who are to be known only by Sight, with which sort of Friendship I hope you will always honour,

Your most obedient humble Servant
Mary Tuesday.

P.S. I subscribe my self by the Name of the Day I keep, that my supernumerary Friends may know who I am.

Footnote 1:   these People
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Clinch of Barnet, whose place of performance was at the corner of Bartholomew Lane, behind the Royal Exchange, imitated, according to his own advertisement,
'the Horses, the Huntsmen and a Pack of Hounds, a Sham Doctor, an old Woman, the Bells, the Flute, the Double Curtell (or bassoon) and the Organ, — all with his own Natural Voice, to the greatest perfection.'
The price of admission was a shilling.

Footnote 3:   This


original advertisement

To prevent all Mistakes that may happen
among Gentlemen of the other End of the Town,
who come but once a Week to St.
James's Coffee-house,
either by miscalling the Servants,
or requiring such things from them as are not properly within their respective Provinces;
this is to give Notice, that
Kidney, Keeper of the Book-Debts of the outlying Customers,
and Observer of those who go off without paying,
having resigned that Employment,
is succeeded by
John Sowton;
to whose Place of Enterer of Messages and first Coffee-Grinder,

William Bird is promoted;
Samuel Burdock comes as Shooe-Cleaner
in the Room of the said


No. 25

Thursday, March 29, 1711


... Ægrescitque medendo.


The following Letter will explain it self, and needs no Apology.

'I am one of that sickly Tribe who are commonly known by the Name of Valetudinarians, and do confess to you, that I first contracted this ill Habit of Body, or rather of Mind, by the Study of Physick. I no sooner began to peruse Books of this Nature, but I found my Pulse was irregular, and scarce ever read the Account of any Disease that I did not fancy my self afflicted with. Dr. Sydenham's learned Treatise of Fevers1 threw me into a lingring Hectick, which hung upon me all the while I was reading that excellent Piece. I then applied my self to the Study of several Authors, who have written upon Phthisical Distempers, and by that means fell into a Consumption, till at length, growing very fat, I was in a manner shamed out of that Imagination. Not long after this I found in my self all the Symptoms of the Gout, except Pain, but was cured of it by a Treatise upon the Gravel, written by a very Ingenious Author, who (as it is usual for Physicians to convert one Distemper into another) eased me of the Gout by giving me the Stone. I at length studied my self into a Complication of Distempers; but accidentally taking into my Hand that Ingenious Discourse written by Sanctorius2, I was resolved to direct my self by a Scheme of Rules, which I had collected from his Observations. The Learned World are very well acquainted with that Gentleman's Invention; who, for the better carrying on of his Experiments, contrived a certain Mathematical Chair, which was so Artifically hung upon Springs, that it would weigh any thing as well as a Pair of Scales. By this means he discovered how many Ounces of his Food pass'd by Perspiration, what quantity of it was turned into Nourishment, and how much went away by the other Channels and Distributions of Nature.

Having provided myself with this Chair, I used to Study, Eat, Drink, and Sleep in it; insomuch that I may be said, for these three last Years, to have lived in a Pair of Scales. I compute my self, when I am in full Health, to be precisely Two Hundred Weight, falling short of it about a Pound after a Day's Fast, and exceeding it as much after a very full Meal; so that it is my continual Employment, to trim the Ballance between these two Volatile Pounds in my Constitution. In my ordinary Meals I fetch my self up to two Hundred Weight and a half pound3; and if after having dined I find my self fall short of it, I drink just so much Small Beer, or eat such a quantity of Bread, as is sufficient to make me weight. In my greatest Excesses I do not transgress more than the other half Pound; which, for my Healths sake, I do the first Monday in every Month. As soon as I find my self duly poised after Dinner, I walk till I have perspired five Ounces and four Scruples; and when I discover, by my Chair, that I am so far reduced, I fall to my Books, and Study away three Ounces more. As for the remaining Parts of the Pound, I keep no account of them. I do not dine and sup by the Clock, but by my Chair, for when that informs me my Pound of Food is exhausted I conclude my self to be hungry, and lay in another with all Diligence. In my Days of Abstinence I lose a Pound and an half, and on solemn Fasts am two Pound lighter than on other Days in the Year.

I allow my self, one Night with another, a Quarter of a Pound of Sleep within a few Grains more or less; and if upon my rising I find that I have not consumed my whole quantity, I take out the rest in my Chair. Upon an exact Calculation of what I expended and received the last Year, which I always register in a Book, I find the Medium to be two hundred weight, so that I cannot discover that I am impaired one Ounce in my Health during a whole Twelvemonth. And yet, Sir, notwithstanding this my great care to ballast my self equally every Day, and to keep my Body in its proper Poise, so it is that I find my self in a sick and languishing Condition. My Complexion is grown very sallow, my Pulse low, and my Body Hydropical. Let me therefore beg you, Sir, to consider me as your Patient, and to give me more certain Rules to walk by than those I have already observed, and you will very much oblige

Your Humble Servant.'

This Letter puts me in mind of an Italian Epitaph written on the Monument of a Valetudinarian; Stavo ben, ma per star Meglio, sto qui: Which it is impossible to translate4. The Fear of Death often proves mortal, and sets People on Methods to save their Lives, which infallibly destroy them. This is a Reflection made by some Historians, upon observing that there are many more thousands killed in a Flight than in a Battel, and may be applied to those Multitudes of Imaginary Sick Persons that break their Constitutions by Physick, and throw themselves into the Arms of Death, by endeavouring to escape it. This Method is not only dangerous, but below the Practice of a Reasonable Creature. To consult the Preservation of Life, as the only End of it, To make our Health our Business, To engage in no Action that is not part of a Regimen, or course of Physick, are Purposes so abject, so mean, so unworthy human Nature, that a generous Soul would rather die than submit to them. Besides that a continual Anxiety for Life vitiates all the Relishes of it, and casts a Gloom over the whole Face of Nature; as it is impossible we should take Delight in any thing that we are every Moment afraid of losing.

I do not mean, by what I have here said, that I think any one to blame for taking due Care of their Health. On the contrary, as Cheerfulness of Mind, and Capacity for Business, are in a great measure the Effects of a well-tempered Constitution, a Man cannot be at too much Pains to cultivate and preserve it. But this Care, which we are prompted to, not only by common Sense, but by Duty and Instinct, should never engage us in groundless Fears, melancholly Apprehensions and imaginary Distempers, which are natural to every Man who is more anxious to live than how to live. In short, the Preservation of Life should be only a secondary Concern, and the Direction of it our Principal. If we have this Frame of Mind, we shall take the best Means to preserve Life, without being over-sollicitous about the Event; and shall arrive at that Point of Felicity which Martial has mentioned as the Perfection of Happiness, of neither fearing nor wishing for Death.

In answer to the Gentleman, who tempers his Health by Ounces and by Scruples, and instead of complying with those natural Sollicitations of Hunger and Thirst, Drowsiness or Love of Exercise, governs himself by the Prescriptions of his Chair, I shall tell him a short Fable.

Jupiter, says the Mythologist, to reward the Piety of a certain Country-man, promised to give him whatever he would ask. The Country-man desired that he might have the Management of the Weather in his own Estate: He obtained his Request, and immediately distributed Rain, Snow, and Sunshine, among his several Fields, as he thought the Nature of the Soil required. At the end of the Year, when he expected to see a more than ordinary Crop, his Harvest fell infinitely short of that of his Neighbours: Upon which (says the fable) he desired Jupiter to take the Weather again into his own Hands, or that otherwise he should utterly ruin himself.


Footnote 1:   Dr. Thomas Sydenham died in 1689, aged 65. He was the friend of Boyle and Locke, and has sometimes been called the English Hippocrates; though brethren of an older school endeavoured, but in vain, to banish him as a heretic out of the College of Physicians. His Methodus Curandi Febres was first published in 1666.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Sanctorius, a Professor of Medicine at Padua, who died in 1636, aged 75, was the first to discover the insensible perspiration, and he discriminated the amount of loss by it in experiments upon himself by means of his Statical Chair. His observations were published at Venice in 1614, in his Ars de Static Medicind, and led to the increased use of Sudorifics. A translation of Sanctorius by Dr. John Quincy appeared in 1712, the year after the publication of this essay. The Art of Static Medicine was also translated into French by M. Le Breton, in 1722. Dr. John Quincy became well known as the author of a Complete Dispensatory (1719, &c.).

Footnote 3:   an half

Footnote 4:   The old English reading is:
'I was well; I would be better; and here I am.'

Contents p.2

No. 26

Friday, March 30, 1711


Pallida mors aquo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas
Regumque turres, O beate Sexti,
Vitæ summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam.
Jam te premet nox, fabulæque manes,
Et domus exilis Plutonia.


When I am in a serious Humour, I very often walk by my self in Westminster Abbey; where the Gloominess of the Place, and the Use to which it is applied, with the Solemnity of the Building, and the Condition of the People who lye in it, are apt to fill the Mind with a kind of Melancholy, or rather Thoughtfulness, that is not disagreeable. I Yesterday pass'd a whole Afternoon in the Church-yard, the Cloysters, and the Church, amusing myself with the Tomb-stones and Inscriptions that I met with in those several Regions of the Dead. Most of them recorded nothing else of the buried Person, but that he was born upon one Day and died upon another: The whole History of his Life, being comprehended in those two Circumstances, that are common to all Mankind. I could not but look upon these Registers of Existence, whether of Brass or Marble, as a kind of Satyr upon the departed Persons; who had left no other Memorial of them, but that they were born and that they died. They put me in mind of several Persons mentioned in the Battles of Heroic Poems, who have sounding Names given them, for no other Reason but that they may be killed, and are celebrated for nothing but being knocked on the Head.
Greek: Glaukon te, Medónta te, Thersilochón te — Homer

Glaucumque, Medontaque, Thersilochumque. ­ Virg.
The Life of these Men is finely described in Holy Writ by the Path of an Arrow which is immediately closed up and lost. Upon my going into the Church, I entertain'd my self with the digging of a Grave; and saw in every Shovel-full of it that was thrown up, the Fragment of a Bone or Skull intermixt with a kind of fresh mouldering Earth that some time or other had a Place in the Composition of an humane Body. Upon this, I began to consider with my self, what innumerable Multitudes of People lay confus'd together under the Pavement of that ancient Cathedral; how Men and Women, Friends and Enemies, Priests and Soldiers, Monks and Prebendaries, were crumbled amongst one another, and blended together in the same common Mass; how Beauty, Strength, and Youth, with Old-age, Weakness, and Deformity, lay undistinguish'd in the same promiscuous Heap of Matter.

After having thus surveyed this great Magazine of Mortality, as it were in the Lump, I examined it more particularly by the Accounts which I found on several of the Monuments which1 are raised in every Quarter of that ancient Fabrick. Some of them were covered with such extravagant Epitaphs, that, if it were possible for the dead Person to be acquainted with them, he would blush at the Praises which his Friends have2 bestowed upon him. There are others so excessively modest, that they deliver the Character of the Person departed in Greek or Hebrew, and by that Means are not understood once in a Twelve-month. In the poetical Quarter, I found there were Poets who3 had no Monuments, and Monuments which had4 no Poets. I observed indeed that the present War5 had filled the Church with many of these uninhabited Monuments, which had been erected to the Memory of Persons whose Bodies were perhaps buried in the Plains of Blenheim, or in the Bosom of the Ocean.

I could not but be very much delighted with several modern Epitaphs, which are written with great Elegance of Expression and Justness of Thought, and therefore do Honour to the Living as well as to the Dead. As a Foreigner is very apt to conceive an Idea of the Ignorance or Politeness of a Nation from the Turn of their publick Monuments and Inscriptions, they should be submitted to the Perusal of Men of Learning and Genius before they are put in Execution. Sir Cloudesly Shovel's Monument has very often given me great Offence: Instead of the brave rough English Admiral, which was the distinguishing Character of that plain gallant Man6, he is represented on his Tomb by the Figure of a Beau, dress'd in a long Perriwig, and reposing himself upon Velvet Cushions under a Canopy of State, The Inscription is answerable to the Monument; for, instead of celebrating the many remarkable Actions he had performed in the service of his Country, it acquaints us only with the Manner of his Death, in which it was impossible for him to reap any Honour. The Dutch, whom we are apt to despise for want of Genius, shew an infinitely greater Taste of Antiquity and Politeness in their Buildings and Works of this Nature, than what we meet with in those of our own Country. The Monuments of their Admirals, which have been erected at the publick Expence, represent them like themselves; and are adorned with rostral Crowns and naval Ornaments, with beautiful Festoons of Seaweed, Shells, and Coral.

But to return to our Subject. I have left the Repository of our English Kings for the Contemplation of another Day, when I shall find my Mind disposed for so serious an Amusement. I know that Entertainments of this Nature, are apt to raise dark and dismal Thoughts in timorous Minds and gloomy Imaginations; but for my own Part, though I am always serious, I do not know what it is to be melancholy; and can, therefore, take a View of Nature in her deep and solemn Scenes, with the same Pleasure as in her most gay and delightful ones. By this Means I can improve my self with those Objects, which others consider with Terror. When I look upon the Tombs of the Great, every Emotion of Envy dies in me; when I read the Epitaphs of the Beautiful, every inordinate Desire goes out; when I meet with the Grief of Parents upon a Tombstone, my Heart melts with Compassion; when I see the Tomb of the Parents themselves, I consider the Vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow: When I see Kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival Wits placed Side by Side, or the holy Men that divided the World with their Contests and Disputes, I reflect with Sorrow and Astonishment on the little Competitions, Factions and Debates of Mankind. When I read the several Dates of the Tombs, of some that dy'd Yesterday, and some six hundred Years ago, I consider that great Day when we shall all of us be Contemporaries, and make our Appearance together.


Footnote 1:   that
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   had

Footnote 3:   that

Footnote 4:   that

Footnote 5:   At the close of the reign of William III the exiled James II died, and France proclaimed his son as King of England. William III thus was enabled to take England with him into the European War of the Spanish Succession. The accession of Queen Anne did not check the movement, and, on the 4th of May, 1702, war was declared against France and Spain by England, the Empire, and Holland. The war then begun had lasted throughout the Queen's reign, and continued, after the writing of the Spectator Essays, until the signing of the Peace of Utrecht on the 11th of April, 1713, which was not a year and a half before the Queen's death, on the 1st of August, 1714. In this war Marlborough had among his victories, Blenheim, 1704, Ramilies, 1706, Oudenarde, 1708, Malplaquet, 1709. At sea Sir George Rooke had defeated the French fleet off Vigo, in October, 1702, and in a bloody battle off Malaga, in August, 1704, after his capture of Gibraltar.

Footnote 6:   Sir Cloudesly Shovel, a brave man of humble birth, who, from a cabin boy, became, through merit, an admiral, died by the wreck of his fleet on the Scilly Islands as he was returning from an unsuccessful attack on Toulon. His body was cast on the shore, robbed of a ring by some fishermen, and buried in the sand. The ring discovering his quality, he was disinterred, and brought home for burial in Westminster Abbey.

Contents p.2

No. 27

Saturday, March 31, 1711


Ut nox longa, quibus Mentitur arnica, diesque
Longa videtur opus debentibus, ut piger Annus
Pupillis, quos dura premit Custodia matrum,
Sic mihi Tarda fluunt ingrataque Tempora, quæ spem
Consiliumque morantur agendi Gnaviter, id quod
Æquè pauperibus prodest, Locupletibus aquè,
Æquè neglectum pueris senibusque nocebit.


There is scarce a thinking Man in the World, who is involved in the Business of it, but lives under a secret Impatience of the Hurry and Fatigue he suffers, and has formed a Resolution to fix himself, one time or other, in such a State as is suitable to the End of his Being. You hear Men every Day in Conversation profess, that all the Honour, Power, and Riches which they propose to themselves, cannot give Satisfaction enough to reward them for half the Anxiety they undergo in the Pursuit, or Possession of them. While Men are in this Temper (which happens very frequently) how inconsistent are they with themselves? They are wearied with the Toil they bear, but cannot find in their Hearts to relinquish it; Retirement is what they want, but they cannot betake themselves to it; While they pant after Shade and Covert, they still affect to appear in the most glittering Scenes of Life: But sure this is but just as reasonable as if a Man should call for more Lights, when he has a mind to go to Sleep.

Since then it is certain that our own Hearts deceive us in the Love of the World, and that we cannot command our selves enough to resign it, tho' we every Day wish our selves disengaged from its Allurements; let us not stand upon a Formal taking of Leave, but wean our selves from them, while we are in the midst of them.

It is certainly the general Intention of the greater Part of Mankind to accomplish this Work, and live according to their own Approbation, as soon as they possibly can: But since the Duration of Life is so incertain, and that has been a common Topick of Discourse ever since there was such a thing as Life it self, how is it possible that we should defer a Moment the beginning to Live according to the Rules of Reason?

The Man of Business has ever some one Point to carry, and then he tells himself he'll bid adieu to all the Vanity of Ambition: The Man of Pleasure resolves to take his leave at least, and part civilly with his Mistress: But the Ambitious Man is entangled every Moment in a fresh Pursuit, and the Lover sees new Charms in the Object he fancy'd he could abandon. It is, therefore, a fantastical way of thinking, when we promise our selves an Alteration in our Conduct from change of Place, and difference of Circumstances; the same Passions will attend us where-ever we are, till they are Conquered, and we can never live to our Satisfaction in the deepest Retirement, unless we are capable of living so in some measure amidst the Noise and Business of the World.

I have ever thought Men were better known, by what could be observed of them from a Perusal of their private Letters, than any other way. My Friend, the Clergyman1, the other Day, upon serious Discourse with him concerning the Danger of Procrastination, gave me the following Letters from Persons with whom he lives in great Friendship and Intimacy, according to the good Breeding and good Sense of his Character. The first is from a Man of Business, who is his Convert; The second from one of whom he conceives good Hopes; The third from one who is in no State at all, but carried one way and another by starts.

'I know not with what Words to express to you the Sense I have of the high Obligation you have laid upon me, in the Penance you enjoined me of doing some Good or other, to a Person of Worth, every Day I live. The Station I am in furnishes me with daily Opportunities of this kind: and the Noble Principle with which you have inspired me, of Benevolence to all I have to deal with, quickens my Application in every thing I undertake. When I relieve Merit from Discountenance, when I assist a Friendless Person, when I produce conceal'd Worth, I am displeas'd with my self, for having design'd to leave the World in order to be Virtuous. I am sorry you decline the Occasions which the Condition I am in might afford me of enlarging your Fortunes; but know I contribute more to your Satisfaction, when I acknowledge I am the better Man, from the Influence and Authority you have over,
Your most Oblig'd and Most Humble, Servant,
R. O.'


'I am intirely convinced of the Truth of what you were pleas'd to say to me, when I was last with you alone. You told me then of the silly way I was in; but you told me so, as I saw you loved me, otherwise I could not obey your Commands in letting you know my Thoughts so sincerely as I do at present. I know the Creature for whom I resign so much of my Character is all that you said of her; but then the Trifler has something in her so undesigning and harmless, that her Guilt in one kind disappears by the Comparison of her Innocence in another. Will you, Virtuous Men, allow no alteration of Offences? Must Dear Chloe2 be called by the hard Name you pious People give to common Women? I keep the solemn Promise I made you, in writing to you the State of my Mind, after your kind Admonition; and will endeavour to get the better of this Fondness, which makes me so much her humble Servant, that I am almost asham'd to Subscribe my self
T. D.'


'There is no State of Life so Anxious as that of a Man who does not live according to the Dictates of his own Reason. It will seem odd to you, when I assure you that my Love of Retirement first of all brought me to Court; but this will be no Riddle, when I acquaint you that I placed my self here with a Design of getting so much Mony as might enable me to Purchase a handsome Retreat in the Country. At present my Circumstances enable me, and my Duty prompts me, to pass away the remaining Part of my Life in such a Retirement as I at first proposed to my self; but to my great Misfortune I have intirely lost the Relish of it, and shou'd now return to the Country with greater Reluctance than I at first came to Court. I am so unhappy, as to know that what I am fond of are Trifles, and that what I neglect is of the greatest Importance: In short, I find a Contest in my own Mind between Reason and Fashion. I remember you once told me, that I might live in the World, and out of it, at the same time. Let me beg of you to explain this Paradox more at large to me, that I may conform my Life, if possible, both to my Duty and my Inclination.
I am,
Your most humble Servant,


Footnote 1:   See the close of No. 2.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   blank left

Contents p.2

No. 28

Monday, April 2, 1711


... Neque semper arcum
Tendit Apollo.


I shall here present my Reader with a Letter from a Projector, concerning a new Office which he thinks may very much contribute to the Embellishment of the City, and to the driving Barbarity out of our Streets. I consider it as a Satyr upon Projectors in general, and a lively Picture of the whole Art of Modern Criticism.1

'Observing that you have Thoughts of creating certain Officers under you for the Inspection of several petty Enormities which you your self cannot attend to; and finding daily Absurdities hung out upon the Sign-Posts of this City2, to the great Scandal of Foreigners, as well as those of our own Country, who are curious Spectators of the same: I do humbly propose, that you would be pleased to make me your Superintendant of all such Figures and Devices, as are or shall be made use of on this Occasion; with full Powers to rectify or expunge whatever I shall find irregular or defective. For want of such an Officer, there is nothing like sound Literature and good Sense to be met with in those Objects, that are everywhere thrusting themselves out to the Eye, and endeavouring to become visible. Our streets are filled with blue Boars, black Swans, and red Lions; not to mention flying Pigs, and Hogs in Armour, with many other Creatures more extraordinary than any in the desarts of Africk. Strange! that one who has all the Birds and Beasts in Nature to chuse out of, should live at the Sign of an Ens Rationis!

My first Task, therefore, should be, like that of Hercules, to clear the City from Monsters. In the second Place, I would forbid, that Creatures of jarring and incongruous Natures should be joined together in the same Sign; such as the Bell and the Neats-tongue, the Dog and Gridiron. The Fox and Goose may be supposed to have met, but what has the Fox and the Seven Stars to do together? and when did the Lamb3 and Dolphin ever meet, except upon a Sign-Post? As for the Cat and Fiddle, there is a Conceit in it, and therefore, I do not intend that anything I have here said should affect it. I must however observe to you upon this Subject, that it is usual for a young Tradesman, at his first setting up, to add to his own Sign that of the Master whom he serv'd; as the Husband, after Marriage, gives a Place to his Mistress's Arms in his own Coat. This I take to have given Rise to many of those Absurdities which are committed over our Heads, and, as I am inform'd, first occasioned the three Nuns and a Hare, which we see so frequently joined together. I would, therefore, establish certain Rules, for the determining how far one Tradesman may give the Sign of another, and in what Cases he may be allowed to quarter it with his own.

In the third place, I would enjoin every Shop to make use of a Sign which bears some Affinity to the Wares in which it deals. What can be more inconsistent, than to see a Bawd at the Sign of the Angel, or a Taylor at the Lion? A Cook should not live at the Boot, nor a Shoemaker at the roasted Pig; and yet, for want of this Regulation, I have seen a Goat set up before the Door of a Perfumer, and the French King's Head at a Sword-Cutler's.

An ingenious Foreigner observes, that several of those Gentlemen who value themselves upon their Families, and overlook such as are bred to Trade, bear the Tools of their Fore-fathers in their Coats of Arms. I will not examine how true this is in Fact: But though it may not be necessary for Posterity thus to set up the Sign of their Fore-fathers; I think it highly proper for those who actually profess the Trade, to shew some such Marks of it before their Doors.

When the Name gives an Occasion for an ingenious Sign-post, I would likewise advise the Owner to take that Opportunity of letting the World know who he is. It would have been ridiculous for the ingenious Mrs. Salmon4 to have lived at the Sign of the Trout; for which Reason she has erected before her House the Figure of the Fish that is her Namesake. Mr. Bell has likewise distinguished himself by a Device of the same Nature: And here, Sir, I must beg Leave to observe to you, that this particular Figure of a Bell has given Occasion to several Pieces of Wit in this Kind. A Man of your Reading must know, that Abel Drugger gained great Applause by it in the Time of Ben Johnson5. Our Apocryphal Heathen God6 is also represented by this Figure; which, in conjunction with the Dragon, make a very handsome picture in several of our Streets. As for the Bell-Savage, which is the Sign of a savage Man standing by a Bell, I was formerly very much puzzled upon the Conceit of it, till I accidentally fell into the reading of an old Romance translated out of the French; which gives an Account of a very beautiful Woman who was found in a Wilderness, and is called in the French la belle Sauvage; and is everywhere translated by our Countrymen the Bell-Savage. This Piece of Philology will, I hope, convince you that I have made Sign posts my Study, and consequently qualified my self for the Employment which I sollicit at your Hands. But before I conclude my Letter, I must communicate to you another Remark, which I have made upon the Subject with which I am now entertaining you, namely, that I can give a shrewd Guess at the Humour of the Inhabitant by the Sign that hangs before his Door. A surly cholerick Fellow generally makes Choice of a Bear; as Men of milder Dispositions, frequently live at the Lamb. Seeing a Punch-Bowl painted upon a Sign near Charing Cross, and very curiously garnished, with a couple of Angels hovering over it and squeezing a Lemmon into it, I had the Curiosity to ask after the Master of the House, and found upon Inquiry, as I had guessed by the little Agréemens upon his Sign, that he was a Frenchman. I know, Sir, it is not requisite for me to enlarge upon these Hints to a Gentleman of your great Abilities; so humbly recommending my self to your Favour and Patronage,

I remain, &c.

I shall add to the foregoing Letter, another which came to me by the same Penny-Post.
From my own Apartment near Charing-Cross.

Honoured Sir

'Having heard that this Nation is a great Encourager of Ingenuity, I have brought with me a Rope-dancer that was caught in one of the Woods belonging to the Great Mogul. He is by Birth a Monkey; but swings upon a Rope, takes a pipe of Tobacco, and drinks a Glass of Ale, like any reasonable Creature. He gives great Satisfaction to the Quality; and if they will make a Subscription for him, I will send for a Brother of his out of Holland, that is a very good Tumbler, and also for another of the same Family, whom I design for my Merry-Andrew, as being an excellent mimick, and the greatest Drole in the Country where he now is. I hope to have this Entertainment in a Readiness for the next Winter; and doubt not but it will please more than the Opera or Puppet-Show. I will not say that a Monkey is a better Man than some of the Opera Heroes; but certainly he is a better Representative of a Man, than the most artificial Composition of Wood and Wire. If you will be pleased to give me a good Word in your paper, you shall be every Night a Spectator at my Show for nothing.

I am, &c.


Footnote 1:   It is as follows.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   In the Spectator's time numbering of houses was so rare that in Hatton's New View of London, published in 1708, special mention is made of the fact that
'in Prescott Street, Goodman's Fields, instead of signs the houses are distinguished by numbers, as the staircases in the Inns of Court and Chancery.'

Footnote 3:   sheep

Footnote 4:   The sign before her Waxwork Exhibition, in Fleet Street, near Temple Bar, was the Golden Salmon. She had very recently removed to this house from her old establishment in St. Martin's le Grand.

Footnote 5:   Ben Jonson's Alchemist having taken gold from Abel Drugger, the Tobacco Man, for the device of a sign — 'a good lucky one, a thriving sign' — will give him nothing so commonplace as a sign copied from the constellation he was born under, but says:

Subtle He shall have a bel, that's Abel;
And by it standing one whose name is Dee
In a rug grown, there's D and rug, that's Drug:
And right anenst him a dog snarling er,
There's Drugger, Abel Drugger. That's his sign.
And here's now mystery and hieroglyphic.
Face Abel, thou art made.
Drugger Sir, I do thank his worship.


Footnote 6:   Bel, in the apocryphal addition to the Book of Daniel, called the History of the Destruction of Bel and the Dragon.

Contents p.2

No. 29

Tuesday, April 3, 1711


... Sermo linguâ concinnus utrâque
Suavior: ut Chio nota si commista Falerni est.


There is nothing that has more startled our English Audience, than the Italian Recitativo at its first Entrance upon the Stage. People were wonderfully surprized to hear Generals singing the Word of Command, and Ladies delivering Messages in Musick. Our Country-men could not forbear laughing when they heard a Lover chanting out a Billet-doux, and even the Superscription of a Letter set to a Tune. The Famous Blunder in an old Play of Enter a King and two Fidlers Solus, was now no longer an Absurdity, when it was impossible for a Hero in a Desart, or a Princess in her Closet, to speak anything unaccompanied with Musical Instruments.

But however this Italian method of acting in Recitativo might appear at first hearing, I cannot but think it much more just than that which prevailed in our English Opera before this Innovation: The Transition from an Air to Recitative Musick being more natural than the passing from a Song to plain and ordinary Speaking, which was the common Method in Purcell's Operas.

The only Fault I find in our present Practice, is the making use of Italian Recitative with English Words.

To go to the Bottom of this Matter, I must observe, that the Tone, or (as the French call it) the Accent of every Nation in their ordinary Speech is altogether different from that of every other People, as we may see even in the Welsh and Scotch, who1 border so near upon us. By the Tone or Accent, I do not mean the Pronunciation of each particular Word, but the Sound of the whole Sentence. Thus it is very common for an English Gentleman, when he hears a French Tragedy, to complain that the Actors all of them speak in a Tone; and therefore he very wisely prefers his own Country-men, not considering that a Foreigner complains of the same Tone in an English Actor.

For this Reason, the Recitative Musick in every Language, should be as different as the Tone or Accent of each Language; for otherwise, what may properly express a Passion in one Language, will not do it in another. Every one who has been long in Italy knows very well, that the Cadences in the Recitativo bear a remote Affinity to the Tone of their Voices in ordinary Conversation, or to speak more properly, are only the Accents of their Language made more Musical and Tuneful.

Thus the Notes of Interrogation, or Admiration, in the Italian Musick (if one may so call them) which resemble their Accents in Discourse on such Occasions, are not unlike the ordinary Tones of an English Voice when we are angry; insomuch that I have often seen our Audiences extreamly mistaken as to what has been doing upon the Stage, and expecting to see the Hero knock down his Messenger, when he has been asking2 him a Question, or fancying that he quarrels with his Friend, when he only bids him Good-morrow.

For this Reason the Italian Artists cannot agree with our English Musicians in admiring Purcell's Compositions3, and thinking his Tunes so wonderfully adapted to his Words, because both Nations do not always express the same Passions by the same Sounds.

I am therefore humbly of Opinion, that an English Composer should not follow the Italian Recitative too servilely, but make use of many gentle Deviations from it, in Compliance with his own Native Language. He may Copy out of it all the lulling Softness and Dying Falls (as Shakespear calls them), but should still remember that he ought to accommodate himself to an English Audience, and by humouring the Tone of our Voices in ordinary Conversation, have the same Regard to the Accent of his own Language, as those Persons had to theirs whom he professes to imitate. It is observed, that several of the singing Birds of our own Country learn to sweeten their Voices, and mellow the Harshness of their natural Notes, by practising under those that come from warmer Climates. In the same manner, I would allow the Italian Opera to lend our English Musick as much as may grace and soften it, but never entirely to annihilate and destroy it. Let the Infusion be as strong as you please, but still let the Subject Matter of it be English.

A Composer should fit his Musick to the Genius of the People, and consider that the Delicacy of Hearing, and Taste of Harmony, has been formed upon those Sounds which every Country abounds with: In short, that Musick is of a Relative Nature, and what is Harmony to one Ear, may be Dissonance to another.

The same Observations which I have made upon the Recitative part of Musick may be applied to all our Songs and Airs in general.

Signior Baptist Lully4 acted like a Man of Sense in this Particular. He found the French Musick extreamly defective, and very often barbarous: However, knowing the Genius of the People, the Humour of their Language, and the prejudiced Ears he5 had to deal with he did not pretend to extirpate the French Musick, and plant the Italian in its stead; but only to Cultivate and Civilize it with innumerable Graces and Modulations which he borrow'd from the Italian. By this means the French Musick is now perfect in its kind; and when you say it is not so good as the Italian, you only mean that it does not please you so well; for there is scarce a Frenchman who would not wonder to hear you give the Italian such a Preference. The Musick of the French is indeed very properly adapted to their Pronunciation and Accent, as their whole Opera wonderfully favours the Genius of such a gay airy People. The Chorus in which that Opera abounds, gives the Parterre frequent Opportunities of joining in Consort with the Stage. This Inclination of the Audience to Sing along with the Actors, so prevails with them, that I have sometimes known the Performer on the Stage do no more in a Celebrated Song, than the Clerk of a Parish Church, who serves only to raise the Psalm, and is afterwards drown'd in the Musick of the Congregation. Every Actor that comes on the Stage is a Beau. The Queens and Heroines are so Painted, that they appear as Ruddy and Cherry-cheek'd as Milk-maids. The Shepherds are all Embroider'd, and acquit themselves in a Ball better than our English Dancing Masters. I have seen a couple of Rivers appear in red Stockings; and Alpheus, instead of having his Head covered with Sedge and Bull-Rushes, making Love in a fair full-bottomed Perriwig, and a Plume of Feathers; but with a Voice so full of Shakes and Quavers that I should have thought the Murmurs of a Country Brook the much more agreeable Musick.

I remember the last Opera I saw in that merry Nation was the Rape of Proserpine, where Pluto, to make the more tempting Figure, puts himself in a French Equipage, and brings Ascalaphus along with him as his Valet de Chambre. This is what we call Folly and Impertinence; but what the French look upon as Gay and Polite.

I shall add no more to what I have here offer'd, than that Musick, Architecture, and Painting, as well as Poetry, and Oratory, are to deduce their Laws and Rules from the general Sense and Taste of Mankind, and not from the Principles of those Arts themselves; or, in other Words, the Taste is not to conform to the Art, but the Art to the Taste. Music is not design'd to please only Chromatick Ears, but all that are capable ef distinguishing harsh from disagreeable Notes. A Man of an ordinary Ear is a Judge whether a Passion is express'd in proper Sounds, and whether the Melody of those Sounds be more or less pleasing.


Footnote 1:  : that
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:  only asking

Footnote 3:   Henry Purcell died of consumption in 1695, aged 37.
'He was,' says Mr. Hullah, in his Lectures on the History of Modern Music, 'the first Englishman to demonstrate the possibility of a national opera. No Englishman of the last century succeeded in following Purcell's lead into this domain of art; none, indeed, would seem to have understood in what his excellence consisted, or how his success was attained. His dramatic music exhibits the same qualities which had already made the success of Lulli. ... For some years after Purcell's death his compositions, of whatever kind, were the chief, if not the only, music heard in England. His reign might have lasted longer, but for the advent of a musician who, though not perhaps more highly gifted, had enjoyed immeasurably greater opportunities of cultivating his gifts,'
Handel, who had also the advantage of being born thirty years later.

Footnote 4:  John Baptist Lulli, a Florentine, died in 1687, aged 53. In his youth he was an under-scullion in the kitchen of Madame de Montpensier, niece to Louis XIV. The discovery of his musical genius led to his becoming the King's Superintendent of Music, and one of the most influential composers that has ever lived. He composed the occasional music for Molière's comedies, besides about twenty lyric tragedies; which succeeded beyond all others in France, not only because of his dramatic genius, which enabled him to give to the persons of these operas a musical language fitted to their characters and expressive of the situations in which they were placed; but also, says Mr. Hullah, because
'Lulli being the first modern composer who caught the French ear, was the means, to a great extent, of forming the modern French taste.'
His operas kept the stage for more than a century.

Footnote 5:   that he

Footnote 6:   not

Contents p.2

No. 30

Wednesday, April 4, 17111


Si, Mimnermus uti censet, sine amore Focisque
Nil est Fucundum; vivas in amore Focisque.


One common Calamity makes Men extremely affect each other, tho' they differ in every other Particular. The Passion of Love is the most general Concern among Men; and I am glad to hear by my last Advices from Oxford, that there are a Set of Sighers in that University, who have erected themselves into a Society in honour of that tender Passion. These Gentlemen are of that Sort of Inamoratos, who are not so very much lost to common Sense, but that they understand the Folly they are guilty of; and for that Reason separate themselves from all other Company, because they will enjoy the Pleasure of talking incoherently, without being ridiculous to any but each other. When a Man comes into the Club, he is not obliged to make any Introduction to his Discourse, but at once, as he is seating himself in his Chair, speaks in the Thread of his own Thoughts, 'She gave me a very obliging Glance, She Never look'd so well in her Life as this Evening,' or the like Reflection, without Regard to any other Members of the Society; for in this Assembly they do not meet to talk to each other, but every Man claims the full Liberty of talking to himself. Instead of Snuff-boxes and Canes, which are the usual Helps to Discourse with other young Fellows, these have each some Piece of Ribbon, a broken Fan, or an old Girdle, which they play with while they talk of the fair Person remember'd by each respective Token. According to the Representation of the Matter from my Letters, the Company appear like so many Players rehearsing behind the Scenes; one is sighing and lamenting his Destiny in beseeching Terms, another declaring he will break his Chain, and another in dumb-Show, striving to express his Passion by his Gesture. It is very ordinary in the Assembly for one of a sudden to rise and make a Discourse concerning his Passion in general, and describe the Temper of his Mind in such a Manner, as that the whole Company shall join in the Description, and feel the Force of it. In this Case, if any Man has declared the Violence of his Flame in more pathetick Terms, he is made President for that Night, out of respect to his superior Passion.

We had some Years ago in this Town a Set of People who met and dressed like Lovers, and were distinguished by the Name of the Fringe-Glove Club; but they were Persons of such moderate Intellects even before they were impaired by their Passion, that their Irregularities could not furnish sufficient Variety of Folly to afford daily new Impertinencies; by which Means that Institution dropp'd. These Fellows could express their Passion in nothing but their Dress; but the Oxonians are Fantastical now they are Lovers, in proportion to their Learning and Understanding before they became such. The Thoughts of the ancient Poets on this agreeable Phrenzy, are translated in honour of some modern Beauty; and Chloris is won to Day, by the same Compliment that was made to Lesbia a thousand Years ago. But as far as I can learn, the Patron of the Club is the renowned Don Quixote. The Adventures of that gentle Knight are frequently mention'd in the Society, under the colour of Laughing at the Passion and themselves: But at the same Time, tho' they are sensible of the Extravagancies of that unhappy Warrior, they do not observe, that to turn all the Reading of the best and wisest Writings into Rhapsodies of Love, is a Phrenzy no less diverting than that of the aforesaid accomplish'd Spaniard. A Gentleman who, I hope, will continue his Correspondence, is lately admitted into the Fraternity, and sent me the following Letter.

'Since I find you take Notice of Clubs, I beg Leave to give you an Account of one in Oxford, which you have no where mention'd, and perhaps never heard of. We distinguish our selves by the Title of the Amorous Club, are all Votaries of Cupid, and Admirers of the Fair Sex. The Reason that we are so little known in the World, is the Secrecy which we are obliged to live under in the University. Our Constitution runs counter to that of the Place wherein we live: For in Love there are no Doctors, and we all profess so high Passion, that we admit of no Graduates in it. Our Presidentship is bestow'd according to the Dignity of Passion; our Number is unlimited; and our Statutes are like those of the Druids, recorded in our own Breasts only, and explained by the Majority of the Company. A Mistress, and a Poem in her Praise, will introduce any Candidate: Without the latter no one can be admitted; for he that is not in love enough to rhime, is unqualified for our Society. To speak disrespectfully of any Woman, is Expulsion from our gentle Society. As we are at present all of us Gown-men, instead of duelling when we are Rivals, we drink together the Health of our Mistress. The Manner of doing this sometimes indeed creates Debates; on such Occasions we have Recourse to the Rules of Love among the Antients.
Nævia sex Cyathis, septem Justina bibatur.
This Method of a Glass to every Letter of her Name, occasioned the other Night a Dispute of some Warmth. A young Student, who is in Love with Mrs. Elizabeth Dimple, was so unreasonable as to begin her Health under the Name of Elizabetha; which so exasperated the Club, that by common Consent we retrenched it to Betty. We look upon a Man as no Company, that does not sigh five times in a Quarter of an Hour; and look upon a Member as very absurd, that is so much himself as to make a direct Answer to a Question. In fine, the whole Assembly is made up of absent Men, that is, of such Persons as have lost their Locality, and whose Minds and Bodies never keep Company with one another. As I am an unfortunate Member of this distracted Society, you cannot expect a very regular Account of it; for which Reason, I hope you will pardon me that I so abruptly subscribe my self,


Your most obedient,

humble Servant,

T. B.

I forgot to tell you, that Albina, who has six Votaries in this Club, is one of your Readers.'


Footnote 1:   To this number of the Spectator was added in the original daily issue an announcement of six places at which were to be sold Compleat Setts of this Paper for the Month of March.
return to footnote mark

Contents p.2

No. 31

Thursday, April 5, 1711


Sit mihi fas audita loqui!


Last Night, upon my going into a Coffee-House not far from the Hay-Market Theatre, I diverted my self for above half an Hour with overhearing the Discourse of one, who, by the Shabbiness of his Dress, the Extravagance of his Conceptions, and the Hurry of his Speech, I discovered to be of that Species who are generally distinguished by the Title of Projectors. This Gentleman, for I found he was treated as such by his Audience, was entertaining a whole Table of Listners with the Project of an Opera, which he told us had not cost him above two or three Mornings in the Contrivance, and which he was ready to put in Execution, provided he might find his Account in it. He said, that he had observed the great Trouble and Inconvenience which Ladies were at, in travelling up and down to the several Shows that are exhibited in different Quarters of the Town. The dancing Monkies are in one place; the Puppet-Show in another; the Opera in a third; not to mention the Lions, that are almost a whole Day's Journey from the Politer Part of the Town. By this means People of Figure are forced to lose half the Winter after their coming to Town, before they have seen all the strange Sights about it. In order to remedy this great Inconvenience, our Projector drew out of his Pocket the Scheme of an Opera, Entitled, The Expedition of Alexander the Great; in which he had disposed of all the remarkable Shows about Town, among the Scenes and Decorations of his Piece. The Thought, he confessed, was not originally his own, but that he had taken the Hint of it from several Performances which he had seen upon our Stage: In one of which there was a Rary-Show; in another, a Ladder-dance; and in others a Posture-man, a moving Picture, with many Curiosities of the like nature.

This Expedition of Alexander opens with his consulting the oracle at Delphos, in which the dumb Conjuror, who has been visited by so many Persons of Quality of late Years, is to be introduced as telling him his Fortune; At the same time Clench of Barnet is represented in another Corner of the Temple, as ringing the Bells of Delphos, for joy of his arrival. The Tent of Darius is to be Peopled by the Ingenious Mrs. Salmon1, where Alexander is to fall in Love with a Piece of Wax-Work, that represents the beautiful Statira. When Alexander comes into that Country, in which Quintus Curtius tells us the Dogs were so exceeding fierce that they would not loose their hold, tho' they were cut to pieces Limb by Limb, and that they would hang upon their Prey by their Teeth when they had nothing but a Mouth left, there is to be a scene of Hockley in the Hole2, in which is to be represented all the Diversions of that Place, the Bull-baiting only excepted, which cannot possibly be exhibited in the Theatre, by Reason of the Lowness of the Roof. The several Woods in Asia, which Alexander must be supposed to pass through, will give the Audience a Sight of Monkies dancing upon Ropes, with many other Pleasantries of that ludicrous Species. At the same time, if there chance to be any Strange Animals in Town, whether Birds or Beasts, they may be either let loose among the Woods, or driven across the Stage by some of the Country People of Asia. In the last great Battel, Pinkethman3 is to personate King Porus upon an Elephant, and is to be encountered by Powell4 representing Alexander the Great upon a Dromedary, which nevertheless Mr. Powell is desired to call by the Name of Bucephalus. Upon the Close of this great decisive Battel, when the two Kings are thoroughly reconciled, to shew the mutual Friendship and good Correspondence that reigns between them, they both of them go together to a Puppet-Show, in which the ingenious Mr. Powell, junior5 may have an Opportunity of displaying his whole Art of Machinery, for the Diversion of the two Monarchs. Some at the Table urged that a Puppet-Show was not a suitable Entertainment for Alexander the Great; and that it might be introduced more properly, if we suppose the Conqueror touched upon that part of India which is said to be inhabited by the Pigmies. But this Objection was looked upon as frivolous, and the Proposal immediately over-ruled. Our Projector further added, that after the Reconciliation of these two Kings they might invite one another to Dinner, and either of them entertain his Guest with the German Artist, Mr. Pinkethman's Heathen Gods6, or any of the like Diversions, which shall then chance to be in vogue.

This Project was receiv'd with very great Applause by the whole Table. Upon which the Undertaker told us, that he had not yet communicated to us above half his Design; for that Alexander being a Greek, it was his Intention that the whole Opera should be acted in that Language, which was a Tongue he was sure would wonderfully please the Ladies, especially when it was a little raised and rounded by the Ionick Dialect; and could not but be acceptable7 to the whole Audience, because there are fewer of them who understand Greek than Italian. The only Difficulty that remained, was, how to get Performers, unless we could persuade some Gentlemen of the Universities to learn to sing, in order to qualify themselves for the Stage; but this Objection soon vanished, when the Projector informed us that the Greeks were at present the only Musicians in the Turkish Empire, and that it would be very easy for our Factory at Smyrna to furnish us every Year with a Colony of Musicians, by the Opportunity of the Turkey Fleet; besides, says he, if we want any single Voice for any lower Part in the Opera, Lawrence can learn to speak Greek, as well as he does Italian, in a Fortnight's time.

The Projector having thus settled Matters, to the good liking of all that heard him, he left his Seat at the Table, and planted himself before the Fire, where I had unluckily taken my Stand for the Convenience of over-hearing what he said. Whether he had observed me to be more attentive than ordinary, I cannot tell, but he had not stood by me above a Quarter of a Minute, but he turned short upon me on a sudden, and catching me by a Button of my Coat, attacked me very abruptly after the following manner.
Besides, Sir, I have heard of a very extraordinary Genius for Musick that lives in Switzerland, who has so strong a Spring in his Fingers, that he can make the Board of an Organ sound like a Drum, and if I could but procure a Subscription of about Ten Thousand Pound every Winter, I would undertake to fetch him over, and oblige him by Articles to set every thing that should be sung upon the English Stage.
After this he looked full in my Face, expecting I would make an Answer, when by good Luck, a Gentleman that had entered the Coffee-house since the Projector applied himself to me, hearing him talk of his Swiss Compositions, cry'd out with a kind of Laugh,
Is our Musick then to receive further Improvements from Switzerland!8
This alarmed the Projector, who immediately let go my Button, and turned about to answer him. I took the Opportunity of the Diversion, which seemed to be made in favour of me, and laying down my Penny upon the Bar, retired with some Precipitation.


Footnote 1:   An advertisement of Mrs. Salmon's wax-work in the Tatler for Nov. 30, 1710, specifies among other attractions the Turkish Seraglio in wax-work, the Fatal Sisters that spin, reel, and cut the thread of man's life,
'an Old Woman flying from Time, who shakes his head and hour-glass with sorrow at seeing age so unwilling to die. Nothing but life can exceed the motions of the heads, hands, eyes, &c., of these figures, &c.'
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Hockley-in-the-Hole, memorable for its Bear Garden, was on the outskirt of the town, by Clerkenwell Green; with Mutton Lane on the East and the fields on the West. By Town's End Lane (called Coppice Row since the levelling of the coppice-crowned knoll over which it ran) through Pickled-Egg Walk (now Crawford's Passage) one came to Hockley-in-the-Hole or Hockley Hole, now Ray Street. The leveller has been at work upon the eminences that surrounded it. In Hockley Hole, dealers in rags and old iron congregated. This gave it the name of Rag Street, euphonized into Ray Street since 1774. In the Spectator's time its Bear Garden, upon the site of which there are now metal works, was a famous resort of the lowest classes. 'You must go to Hockley-in-the-Hole, child, to learn valour,' says Mr. Peachum to Filch in the Beggar's Opera.

Footnote 3:   William Penkethman was a low comedian dear to the gallery at Drury Lane as 'Pinkey,' very popular also as a Booth Manager at Bartholomew Fair. Though a sour critic described him as
'the Flower of Bartholomew Fair and the Idol of the Rabble; a Fellow that overdoes everything, and spoils many a Part with his own Stuff,'
the Spectator has in another paper given honourable fame to his skill as a comedian. Here there is but the whimsical suggestion of a favourite showman and low comedian mounted on an elephant to play King Porus.

Footnote 4:   George Powell, who in 1711 and 1712 appeared in such characters as Falstaff, Lear, and Cortez in the Indian Emperor, now and then also played the part of the favourite stage hero, Alexander the Great in Lee's Rival Queens. He was a good actor, spoilt by intemperance, who came on the stage sometimes warm with Nantz brandy, and courted his heroines so furiously that Sir John Vanbrugh said they were almost in danger of being conquered on the spot. His last new part of any note was in 1713, Portius in Addison's Cato. He lived on for a few wretched years, lost to the public, but much sought by sheriff's officers.

Footnote 5:   'Powell junior' of the Puppet Show (see note, p. 59, ante) was a more prosperous man than his namesake of Drury Lane. In De Foe's Groans of Great Britain, published in 1813, we read: '
I was the other Day at a Coffee-House when the following Advertisement was thrown in.
At Punch's Theatre in the Little Piazza, Covent-Garden, this present Evening will be performed an Entertainment, called, The History of Sir Richard Whittington, shewing his Rise from a Scullion to be Lord-Mayor of London, with the Comical Humours of Old Madge, the jolly Chamber-Maid, and the Representation of the Sea, and the Court of Great Britain, concluding with the Court of Aldermen, and Whittington Lord-Mayor, honoured with the Presence of K. Hen. VIII and his Queen Anna Bullen, with other diverting Decorations proper to the Play, beginning at 6 o'clock. Note, No money to be returned after the Entertainment is begun. Boxes, 2s. Pit, 1s. Vivat Regina.
On enquiring into the Matter, I find this has long been a noble Diversion of our Quality and Gentry; and that Mr. Powell, by Subscriptions and full Houses, has gathered such Wealth as is ten times sufficient to buy all the Poets in England; that he seldom goes out without his Chair, and thrives on this incredible Folly to that degree, that, were he a Freeman, he might hope that some future Puppet-Show might celebrate his being Lord Mayor, as he has done Sir R. Whittington.'

Footnote 6:  
'Mr. Penkethman's Wonderful Invention call'd the Pantheon: or, the Temple of the Heathen Gods. The Work of several Years, and great Expense, is now perfected; being a most surprising and magnificent Machine, consisting of 5 several curious Pictures, the Painting and contrivance whereof is beyond Expression Admirable. The Figures, which are above 100, and move their Heads, Legs, Arms, and Fingers, so exactly to what they perform, and setting one Foot before another, like living Creatures, that it justly deserves to be esteem'd the greatest Wonder of the Age. To be seen from 10 in the Morning till 10 at Night, in the Little Piazza, Covent Garden, in the same House where Punch's Opera is. Price 1s. 6d., 1s., and the lowest, 6d.'
This Advertisement was published in 46 and a few following numbers of the Spectator.

Footnote 7:   wonderfully acceptable

Footnote 8:   The satire is against Heidegger. See note, p. 56, ante.

Contents p.2

No. 32

Friday, April 6, 1711


Nil illi larvâ aut tragicis opus esse Cothurnis.


The late Discourse concerning the Statutes of the Ugly-Club, having been so well received at Oxford, that, contrary to the strict Rules of the Society, they have been so partial as to take my own Testimonial, and admit me into that select Body; I could not restrain the Vanity of publishing to the World the Honour which is done me. It is no small Satisfaction, that I have given Occasion for the President's shewing both his Invention and Reading to such Advantage as my Correspondent reports he did: But it is not to be doubted there were many very proper Hums and Pauses in his Harangue, which lose their Ugliness in the Narration, and which my Correspondent (begging his Pardon) has no very good Talent at representing. I very much approve of the Contempt the Society has of Beauty: Nothing ought to be laudable in a Man, in which his Will is not concerned; therefore our Society can follow Nature, and where she has thought fit, as it were, to mock herself, we can do so too, and be merry upon the Occasion.
Mr. Spectator,

'Your making publick the late Trouble I gave you, you will find to have been the Occasion of this: Who should I meet at the Coffee-house Door t'other Night, but my old Friend Mr. President? I saw somewhat had pleased him; and as soon as he had cast his Eye upon me,
"Oho, Doctor, rare News from London, (says he); the Spectator has made honourable Mention of the Club (Man) and published to the World his sincere Desire to be a Member, with a recommendatory Description of his Phiz: And tho' our Constitution has made no particular Provision for short Faces, yet, his being an extraordinary Case, I believe we shall find an Hole for him to creep in at; for I assure you he is not against the Canon; and if his Sides are as compact as his Joles, he need not disguise himself to make one of us."
I presently called for the Paper to see how you looked in Print; and after we had regaled our selves a while upon the pleasant Image of our Proselite, Mr. President told me I should be his Stranger at the next Night's Club: Where we were no sooner come, and Pipes brought, but Mr. President began an Harangue upon your Introduction to my Epistle; setting forth with no less Volubility of Speech than Strength of Reason,
"That a Speculation of this Nature was what had been long and much wanted; and that he doubted not but it would be of inestimable Value to the Publick, in reconciling even of Bodies and Souls; in composing and quieting the Minds of Men under all corporal Redundancies, Deficiencies, and Irregularities whatsoever; and making every one sit down content in his own Carcase, though it were not perhaps so mathematically put together as he could wish." And again, "How that for want of a due Consideration of what you first advance, viz. that our Faces are not of our own choosing, People had been transported beyond all good Breeding, and hurried themselves into unaccountable and fatal Extravagancies: As, how many impartial Looking-Glasses had been censured and calumniated, nay, and sometimes shivered into ten thousand Splinters, only for a fair Representation of the Truth? How many Headstrings and Garters had been made accessory, and actually forfeited, only because Folks must needs quarrel with their own Shadows? And who (continues he) but is deeply sensible, that one great Source of the Uneasiness and Misery of human Life, especially amongst those of Distinction, arises from nothing in the World else, but too severe a Contemplation of an indefeasible Contexture of our external Parts, or certain natural and invincible Disposition to be fat or lean? When a little more of Mr. Spectator's Philosophy would take off all this; and in the mean time let them observe, that there's not one of their Grievances of this Sort, but perhaps in some Ages of the World has been highly in vogue; and may be so again, nay, in some Country or other ten to one is so at this Day. My Lady Ample is the most miserable Woman in the World, purely of her own making: She even grudges her self Meat and Drink, for fear she should thrive by them; and is constantly crying out, In a Quarter of a Year more I shall be quite out of all manner of Shape! Now the1 Lady's Misfortune seems to be only this, that she is planted in a wrong Soil; for, go but t'other Side of the Water, it's a Jest at Harlem to talk of a Shape under eighteen Stone. These wise Traders regulate their Beauties as they do their Butter, by the Pound; and Miss Cross, when she first arrived in the Low-Countries, was not computed to be so handsom as Madam Van Brisket by near half a Tun. On the other hand, there's 'Squire Lath, a proper Gentleman of Fifteen hundred Pound per Annum, as well as of an unblameable Life and Conversation; yet would not I be the Esquire for half his Estate; for if it was as much more, he'd freely pare with it all for a pair of Legs to his Mind: Whereas in the Reign of our first King Edward of glorious Memory, nothing more modish than a Brace of your fine taper Supporters; and his Majesty without an Inch of Calf, managed Affairs in Peace and War as laudably as the bravest and most politick of his Ancestors; and was as terrible to his Neighbours under the Royal Name of Long-shanks, as Coeur de Lion to the Saracens before him. If we look farther back into History we shall find, that Alexander the Great wore his Head a little over the left Shoulder; and then not a Soul stirred out 'till he had adjusted his Neck-bone; the whole Nobility addressed the Prince and each other obliquely, and all Matters of Importance were concerted and carried on in the Macedonian Court with their Polls on one Side. For about the first Century nothing made more Noise in the World than Roman Noses, and then not a Word of them till they revived again in Eighty eight2. Nor is it so very long since Richard the Third set up half the Backs of the Nation; and high Shoulders, as well as high Noses, were the Top of the Fashion. But to come to our selves, Gentlemen, tho' I find by my quinquennial Observations that we shall never get Ladies enough to make a Party in our own Country, yet might we meet with better Success among some of our Allies. And what think you if our Board sate for a Dutch Piece? Truly I am of Opinion, that as odd as we appear in Flesh and Blood, we should be no such strange Things in Metzo-Tinto. But this Project may rest 'till our Number is compleat; and this being our Election Night, give me leave to propose Mr. Spectator: You see his Inclinations, and perhaps we may not have his Fellow."
I found most of them (as it is usual in all such Cases) were prepared; but one of the Seniors (whom by the by Mr. President had taken all this Pains to bring over) sate still, and cocking his Chin, which seemed only to be levelled at his Nose, very gravely declared,
"That in case he had had sufficient Knowledge of you, no Man should have been more willing to have served you; but that he, for his part, had always had regard to his own Conscience, as well as other Peoples Merit; and he did not know but that you might be a handsome Fellow; for as for your own Certificate, it was every Body's Business to speak for themselves."
Mr. President immediately retorted,
"A handsome Fellow! why he is a Wit (Sir) and you know the Proverb;"
and to ease the old Gentleman of his Scruples, cried,
"That for Matter of Merit it was all one, you might wear a Mask."
This threw him into a Pause, and he looked, desirous of three Days to consider on it; but Mr. President improved the Thought, and followed him up with an old Story,
"That Wits were privileged to wear what Masks they pleased in all Ages; and that a Vizard had been the constant Crown of their Labours, which was generally presented them by the Hand of some Satyr, and sometimes of Apollo himself:"
For the Truth of which he appealed to the Frontispiece of several Books, and particularly to the English Juvenal3, to which he referred him; and only added,
"That such Authors were the Larvati4 or Larvâ donati of the Ancients."
This cleared up all, and in the Conclusion you were chose Probationer; and Mr. President put round your Health as such, protesting,
"That tho' indeed he talked of a Vizard, he did not believe all the while you had any more Occasion for it than the Cat-a-mountain;"
so that all you have to do now is to pay your Fees, which here are very reasonable if you are not imposed upon; and you may stile your self Informis Societatis Socius: Which I am desired to acquaint you with; and upon the same I beg you to accept of the Congratulation of,


Your oblig'd humble Servant,

R. A. C.

Oxford March 21.

Footnote 1:   this
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:  At the coming of William III.

Footnote 3:   The third edition of Dryden's Satires of Juvenal and Persius, published in 1702, was the first 'adorn'd with Sculptures.' The Frontispiece represents at full length Juvenal receiving a mask of Satyr from Apollo's hand, and hovered over by a Cupid who will bind the Head to its Vizard with a Laurel Crown.

Footnote 4:   Larvati were bewitched persons; from Larva, of which the original meaning is a ghost or spectre; the derived meanings are, a Mask and a Skeleton.

Contents p.2

No. 33

Saturday, April 7, 1711


Fervidus tecum Puer, et solutis
Gratiæ zonis, properentque Nymphæ,
Et parum comis sine te Juventas,

Hor. ad Venerem.

A friend of mine has two Daughters, whom I will call Lætitia and Daphne; The Former is one of the Greatest Beauties of the Age in which she lives, the Latter no way remarkable for any Charms in her Person. Upon this one Circumstance of their Outward Form, the Good and Ill of their Life seems to turn. Lætitia has not, from her very Childhood, heard any thing else but Commendations of her Features and Complexion, by which means she is no other than Nature made her, a very beautiful Outside. The Consciousness of her Charms has rendered her insupportably Vain and Insolent, towards all who have to do with her. Daphne, who was almost Twenty before one civil Thing had ever been said to her, found her self obliged to acquire some Accomplishments to make up for the want of those Attractions which she saw in her Sister. Poor Daphne was seldom submitted to in a Debate wherein she was concerned; her Discourse had nothing to recommend it but the good Sense of it, and she was always under a Necessity to have very well considered what she was to say before she uttered it; while Lætitia was listened to with Partiality, and Approbation sate in the Countenances of those she conversed with, before she communicated what she had to say. These Causes have produced suitable Effects, and Lætitia is as insipid a Companion, as Daphne is an agreeable one. Lætitia, confident of Favour, has studied no Arts to please; Daphne, despairing of any Inclination towards her Person, has depended only on her Merit. Lætitia has always something in her Air that is sullen, grave and disconsolate. Daphne has a Countenance that appears chearful, open and unconcerned. A young Gentleman saw Lætitia this Winter at a Play, and became her Captive. His Fortune was such, that he wanted very little Introduction to speak his Sentiments to her Father. The Lover was admitted with the utmost Freedom into the Family, where a constrained Behaviour, severe Looks, and distant Civilities, were the highest Favours he could obtain of Lætitia; while Daphne used him with the good Humour, Familiarity, and Innocence of a Sister: Insomuch that he would often say to her, Dear Daphne; wert thou but as Handsome as Lætitia! — She received such Language with that ingenuous and pleasing Mirth, which is natural to a Woman without Design. He still Sighed in vain for Lætitia, but found certain Relief in the agreeable Conversation of Daphne. At length, heartily tired with the haughty Impertinence of Lætitia, and charmed with repeated Instances of good Humour he had observed in Daphne, he one Day told the latter, that he had something to say to her he hoped she would be pleased with. — Faith Daphne, continued he, I am in Love with thee, and despise thy Sister sincerely. The Manner of his declaring himself gave his Mistress occasion for a very hearty Laughter. — Nay, says he, I knew you would Laugh at me, but I'll ask your Father. He did so; the Father received his Intelligence with no less Joy than Surprize, and was very glad he had now no Care left but for his Beauty, which he thought he could carry to Market at his Leisure. I do not know any thing that has pleased me so much a great while, as this Conquest of my Friend Daphne's. All her Acquaintance congratulate her upon her Chance. Medley, and laugh at that premeditating Murderer her Sister. As it is an Argument of a light Mind, to think the worse of our selves for the Imperfections of our Persons, it is equally below us to value our selves upon the Advantages of them. The Female World seem to be almost incorrigibly gone astray in this Particular; for which Reason, I shall recommend the following Extract out of a Friend's Letter to the Profess'd Beauties, who are a People almost as unsufferable as the Profess'd Wits.
Monsieur St. Evremont1 has concluded one of his Essays, with affirming that the last Sighs of a Handsome Woman are not so much for the loss of her Life, as of her Beauty. Perhaps this Raillery is pursued too far, yet it is turn'd upon a very obvious Remark, that Woman's strongest Passion is for her own Beauty, and that she values it as her Favourite Distinction. From hence it is that all Arts, which pretend to improve or preserve it, meet with so general a Reception among the Sex. To say nothing of many False Helps and Contraband Wares of Beauty, which are daily vended in this great Mart, there is not a Maiden-Gentlewoman, of a good Family in any County of South-Britain, who has not heard of the Virtues of May-Dew, or is unfurnished with some Receipt or other in Favour of her Complexion; and I have known a Physician of Learning and Sense, after Eight Years Study in the University, and a Course of Travels into most Countries of Europe, owe the first raising of his Fortunes to a Cosmetick Wash.

This has given me Occasion to consider how so Universal a Disposition in Womankind, which springs from a laudable Motive, the Desire of Pleasing, and proceeds upon an Opinion, not altogether groundless, that Nature may be helped by Art, may be turn'd to their Advantage. And, methinks, it would be an acceptable Service to take them out of the Hands of Quacks and Pretenders, and to prevent their imposing upon themselves, by discovering to them the true Secret and Art of improving Beauty.

In order to this, before I touch upon it directly, it will be necessary to lay down a few Preliminary Maxims, viz. From these few Principles, thus laid down, it will be easie to prove, that the true Art of assisting Beauty consists in Embellishing the whole Person by the proper Ornaments of virtuous and commendable Qualities. By this Help alone it is that those who are the Favourite Work of Nature, or, as Mr. Dryden expresses it, the Porcelain Clay of human Kind2, become animated, and are in a Capacity of exerting their Charms: And those who seem to have been neglected by her, like Models wrought in haste, are capable, in a great measure, of finishing what She has left imperfect.

It is, methinks, a low and degrading Idea of that Sex, which was created to refine the Joys, and soften the Cares of Humanity, by the most agreeable Participation, to consider them meerly as Objects of Sight. This is abridging them of their natural Extent of Power, to put them upon a Level with their Pictures at Kneller's. How much nobler is the Contemplation of Beauty heighten'd by Virtue, and commanding our Esteem and Love, while it draws our Observation? How faint and spiritless are the Charms of a Coquet, when compar'd with the real Loveliness of Sophronia's Innocence, Piety, good Humour and Truth; Virtues which add a new Softness to her Sex, and even beautify her Beauty! That Agreeableness, which must otherwise have appeared no longer in the modest Virgin, is now preserv'd in the tender Mother, the prudent Friend, and the faithful Wife. Colours, artfully spread upon Canvas, may entertain the Eye, but not affect the Heart; and she, who takes no care to add to the natural Graces of her Person any excelling Qualities, may be allowed still to amuse, as a Picture, but not to triumph as a Beauty.

When Adam is introduced by Milton describing Eve in Paradise, and relating to the Angel the Impressions he felt upon seeing her at her first Creation, he does not represent her like a Grecian Venus by her Shape or Features, but by the Lustre of her Mind which shone in them, and gave them their Power of charming.
Grace was in all her Steps, Heaven in her Eye,
In all her Gestures Dignity and Love.
Without this irradiating Power the proudest Fair One ought to know, whatever her Glass may tell her to the contrary, that her most perfect Features are Uninform'd and Dead.

I cannot better close this Moral, than by a short Epitaph written by Ben Johnson, with a Spirit which nothing could inspire but such an Object as I have been describing.
Underneath this Stone doth lie
As much Virtue as cou'd die,
Which when alive did Vigour give
To as much Beauty as cou'd live3.
I am, Sir,
Your most humble Servant,
R. B.


Footnote 1:   Charles de St. Denis, Sieur de St. Evremond, died in 1703, aged 95, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His military and diplomatic career in France was closed in 1661, when his condemnations of Mazarin, although the Cardinal was then dead, obliged him to fly from the wrath of the French Court to Holland and afterwards to England, where Charles II granted him a pension of £300 a-year. At Charles's death the pension lapsed, and St. Evremond declined the post of cabinet secretary to James II. After the Revolution he had William III for friend, and when, at last, he was invited back, in his old age, to France, he chose to stay and die among his English friends. In a second volume of Miscellany Essays by Monsieur de St. Evremont, done into English by Mr. Brown (1694), an Essay Of the Pleasure that Women take in their Beauty ends (p. 135) with the thought quoted by Steele.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   In Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, act I, says Muley Moloch, Emperor of Barbary,
Ay; There look like the Workmanship of Heav'n:
This is the Porcelain Clay of Human Kind.

Footnote 3:   The lines are in the Epitaph on Elizabeth L.H.
'One name was Elizabeth,
The other, let it sleep in death.'
But Steele, quoting from memory, altered the words to his purpose. Ben Johnson's lines were:
Underneath this stone doth lie,
As much Beauty as could die,
Which in Life did Harbour give
To more Virtue than doth live.

Contents p.2

No. 34

Monday, April 9, 1711


... parcit
Cognatis maculis similis fera ...


The Club of which I am a Member, is very luckily composed of such persons as are engaged in different Ways of Life, and disputed as it were out of the most conspicuous Classes of Mankind: By this Means I am furnished with the greatest Variety of Hints and Materials, and know every thing that passes in the different Quarters and Divisions, not only of this great City, but of the whole Kingdom. My Readers too have the Satisfaction to find, that there is no Rank or Degree among them who have not their Representative in this Club, and that there is always some Body present who will take Care of their respective Interests, that nothing may be written or published to the Prejudice or Infringement of their just Rights and Privileges.

I last Night sat very late in company with this select Body of Friends, who entertain'd me with several Remarks which they and others had made upon these my Speculations, as also with the various Success which they had met with among their several Ranks and Degrees of Readers. Will. Honeycomb told me, in the softest Manner he could, That there were some Ladies (but for your Comfort, says Will., they are not those of the most Wit) that were offended at the Liberties I had taken with the Opera and the Puppet-Show: That some of them were likewise very much surpriz'd, that I should think such serious Points as the Dress and Equipage of Persons of Quality, proper Subjects for Raillery.

He was going on, when Sir Andrew Freeport took him up short, and told him, That the Papers he hinted at had done great Good in the City, and that all their Wives and Daughters were the better for them: And further added, That the whole City thought themselves very much obliged to me for declaring my generous Intentions to scourge Vice and Folly as they appear in a Multitude, without condescending to be a Publisher of particular Intrigues and Cuckoldoms. In short, says Sir Andrew, if you avoid that foolish beaten Road of falling upon Aldermen and Citizens, and employ your Pen upon the Vanity and Luxury of Courts, your Paper must needs be of general Use.

Upon this my Friend the Templar told Sir Andrew, That he wondered to hear a Man of his Sense talk after that Manner; that the City had always been the Province for Satyr; and that the Wits of King Charles's Time jested upon nothing else during his whole Reign. He then shewed, by the Examples of Horace, Juvenal, Boileau, and the best Writers of every Age, that the Follies of the Stage and Court had never been accounted too sacred for Ridicule, how great so-ever the Persons might be that patronized them. But after all, says he, I think your Raillery has made too great an Excursion, in attacking several Persons of the Inns of Court; and I do not believe you can shew me any Precedent for your Behaviour in that Particular. My good Friend Sir Roger De Coverley, who had said nothing all this while, began his Speech with a Pish! and told us. That he wondered to see so many Men of Sense so very serious upon Fooleries. Let our good Friend, says he, attack every one that deserves it: I would only advise you, Mr. Spectator, applying himself to me, to take Care how you meddle with Country Squires: They are the Ornaments of the English Nation; Men of good Heads and sound Bodies! and let me tell you, some of them take it ill of you that you mention Fox-hunters with so little Respect.

Captain Sentry spoke very sparingly on this Occasion. What he said was only to commend my Prudence in not touching upon the Army, and advised me to continue to act discreetly in that Point.

By this Time I found every subject of my Speculations was taken away from me by one or other of the Club; and began to think my self in the Condition of the good Man that had one Wife who took a Dislike to his grey Hairs, and another to his black, till by their picking out what each of them had an Aversion to, they left his Head altogether bald and naked.

While I was thus musing with my self, my worthy Friend the Clergy-man, who, very luckily for me, was at the Club that Night, undertook my Cause. He told us, That he wondered any Order of Persons should think themselves too considerable to be advis'd: That it was not Quality, but Innocence which exempted Men from Reproof; That Vice and Folly ought to be attacked where-ever they could be met with, and especially when they were placed in high and conspicuous Stations of Life. He further added, That my Paper would only serve to aggravate the Pains of Poverty, if it chiefly expos'd those who are already depressed, and in some measure turn'd into Ridicule, by the Meanness of their Conditions and Circumstances. He afterwards proceeded to take Notice of the great Use this Paper might be of to the Publick, by reprehending those Vices which are too trivial for the Chastisement of the Law, and too fantastical for the Cognizance of the Pulpit. He then advised me to prosecute my Undertaking with Chearfulness; and assured me, that whoever might be displeased with me, I should be approved by all those whose Praises do Honour to the Persons on whom they are bestowed. The whole Club pays a particular Deference to the Discourse of this Gentleman, and are drawn into what he says as much by the candid and ingenuous Manner with which he delivers himself, as by the Strength of Argument and Force of Reason which he makes use of. Will. Honeycomb immediately agreed, that what he had said was right; and that for his Part, he would not insist upon the Quarter which he had demanded for the Ladies. Sir Andrew gave up the City with the same Frankness. The Templar would not stand out; and was followed by Sir Roger and the Captain: Who all agreed that I should be at Liberty to carry the War into what Quarter I pleased; provided I continued to combat with Criminals in a Body, and to assault the Vice without hurting the Person.

This Debate, which was held for the Good of Mankind, put me in Mind of that which the Roman Triumvirate were formerly engaged in, for their Destruction. Every Man at first stood hard for his Friend, till they found that by this Means they should spoil their Proscription: And at length, making a Sacrifice of all their Acquaintance and Relations, furnished out a very decent Execution.

Having thus taken my Resolution to march on boldly in the Cause of Virtue and good Sense, and to annoy their Adversaries in whatever Degree or Rank of Men they may be found: I shall be deaf for the future to all the Remonstrances that shall be made to me on this Account. If Punch grow extravagant, I shall reprimand him very freely: If the Stage becomes a Nursery of Folly and Impertinence, I shall not be afraid to animadvert upon it. In short, If I meet with any thing in City, Court, or Country, that shocks Modesty or good Manners, I shall use my utmost Endeavours to make an Example of it. I must however intreat every particular Person, who does me the Honour to be a Reader of this Paper, never to think himself, or any one of his Friends or Enemies, aimed at in what is said: For I promise him, never to draw a faulty Character which does not fit at least a Thousand People; or to publish a single Paper, that is not written in the Spirit of Benevolence and with a Love to Mankind.


Contents p.2

No. 35

Tuesday, April 10, 1711


Risu inepto res ineptior milla est.


Among all kinds of Writing, there is none in which Authors are more apt to miscarry than in Works of Humour, as there is none in which they are more ambitious to excell. It is not an Imagination that teems with Monsters, an Head that is filled with extravagant Conceptions, which is capable of furnishing the World with Diversions of this nature; and yet if we look into the Productions of several Writers, who set up for Men of Humour, what wild irregular Fancies, what unnatural Distortions of Thought, do we meet with? If they speak Nonsense, they believe they are talking Humour; and when they have drawn together a Scheme of absurd, inconsistent Ideas, they are not able to read it over to themselves without laughing. These poor Gentlemen endeavour to gain themselves the Reputation of Wits and Humourists, by such monstrous Conceits as almost qualify them for Bedlam; not considering that Humour should always lye under the Check of Reason, and that it requires the Direction of the nicest Judgment, by so much the more as it indulges it self in the most boundless Freedoms. There is a kind of Nature that is to be observed in this sort of Compositions, as well as in all other, and a certain Regularity of Thought which1 must discover the Writer to be a Man of Sense, at the same time that he appears altogether given up to Caprice: For my part, when I read the delirious Mirth of an unskilful Author, I cannot be so barbarous as to divert my self with it, but am rather apt to pity the Man, than to laugh at any thing he writes.

The deceased Mr. Shadwell, who had himself a great deal of the Talent, which I am treating of, represents an empty Rake, in one of his Plays, as very much surprized to hear one say that breaking of Windows was not Humour2; and I question not but several English Readers will be as much startled to hear me affirm, that many of those raving incoherent Pieces, which are often spread among us, under odd Chimerical Titles, are rather the Offsprings of a Distempered Brain, than Works of Humour.

It is indeed much easier to describe what is not Humour, than what is; and very difficult to define it otherwise than as Cowley has done Wit, by Negatives. Were I to give my own Notions of it, I would deliver them after Plato's manner, in a kind of Allegory, and by supposing Humour to be a Person, deduce to him all his Qualifications, according to the following Genealogy. Truth was the Founder of the Family, and the Father of Good Sense. Good Sense was the Father of Wit, who married a Lady of a Collateral Line called Mirth, by whom he had Issue Humour. Humour therefore being the youngest of this Illustrious Family, and descended from Parents of such different Dispositions, is very various and unequal in his Temper; sometimes you see him putting on grave Looks and a solemn Habit, sometimes airy in his Behaviour and fantastick in his Dress: Insomuch that at different times he appears as serious as a Judge, and as jocular as a Merry-Andrew. But as he has a great deal of the Mother in his Constitution, whatever Mood he is in, he never fails to make his Company laugh.

But since there is an Impostor3 abroad, who takes upon him4 the Name of this young Gentleman, and would willingly pass for him in the World; to the end that well-meaning Persons may not be imposed upon by Cheats5, I would desire my Readers, when they meet with this Pretender,6 to look into his Parentage, and to examine him strictly, whether or no he be remotely allied to Truth, and lineally descended from Good Sense; if not, they may conclude him a Counterfeit. They may likewise distinguish him by a loud and excessive Laughter, in which he seldom gets his Company to join with him. For, as True Humour generally looks serious, whilst every Body laughs about him7; False Humour is always laughing, whilst every Body about him looks serious. I shall only add, if he has not in him a Mixture of both Parents, that is, if he would pass for the Offspring of Wit without Mirth, or Mirth without Wit, you may conclude him to be altogether Spurious, and a Cheat.

The Impostor, of whom I am speaking, descends Originally from Falsehood, who was the Mother of Nonsense, who was brought to Bed of a Son called Frenzy, who Married one of the Daughters of Folly, commonly known by the Name of Laughter, on whom he begot that Monstrous Infant of which I have been here speaking. I shall set down at length the Genealogical Table of False Humour, and, at the same time, place under it the Genealogy of True Humour, that the Reader may at one View behold their different Pedigrees and Relations.

Falsehood Truth
| |
Nonsense Good Sense
| |
   Frenzy=Laughter    Wit=Mirth
| |
False Humour Humour

I might extend the Allegory, by mentioning several of the Children of False Humour, who are more in Number than the Sands of the Sea, and might in particular enumerate the many Sons and Daughters which he has begot in this Island. But as this would be a very invidious Task, I shall only observe in general, that False Humour differs from the True, as a Monkey does from a Man.
  1. He is exceedingly given to little Apish Tricks and Buffooneries.
  2. He so much delights in Mimickry, that it is all one to him whether he exposes by it Vice and Folly, Luxury and Avarice; or, on the contrary, Virtue and Wisdom, Pain and Poverty.
  3. He is wonderfully unlucky, insomuch that he will bite the Hand that feeds him, and endeavour to ridicule both Friends and Foes indifferently. For having but small Talents, he must be merry where he can, not where he should.
  4. Being entirely void of Reason, he pursues no Point either of Morality or Instruction, but is ludicrous only for the sake of being so.
  5. Being incapable of any thing but Mock-Representations, his Ridicule is always Personal, and aimed at the Vicious Man, or the Writer; not at the Vice, or at the Writing.
I have here only pointed at the whole Species of False Humourists; but as one of my principal Designs in this Paper is to beat down that malignant Spirit, which discovers it self in the Writings of the present Age, I shall not scruple, for the future, to single out any of the small Wits, that infest the World with such Compositions as are ill-natured, immoral and absurd. This is the only Exception which I shall make to the general Rule I have prescribed my self, of attacking Multitudes: Since every honest Man ought to look upon himself as in a Natural State of War with the Libeller and Lampooner, and to annoy them where-ever they fall in his way. This is but retaliating upon them, and treating them as they treat others.


Footnote 1:   that
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Wit, in the town sense, is talked of to satiety in Shadwell's plays; and window-breaking by the street rioters called 'Scowrers,' who are the heroes of an entire play of his, named after them, is represented to the life by a street scene in the third act of his Woman Captain.

Footnote 3:   are several Impostors

Footnote 4:   take upon them

Footnote 5:   Counterfeits

Footnote 6:   any of these Pretenders

Footnote 7:   that is about him

Contents p.2

No. 36

Wednesday, April 11, 1711


... Immania monstra
Perferimus ...


I shall not put my self to any further Pains for this Day's Entertainment, than barely to publish the Letters and Titles of Petitions from the Play-house, with the Minutes I have made upon the Latter for my Conduct in relation to them.
Drury-Lane, April1 the 9th.

'Upon reading the Project which is set forth in one of your late Papers2, of making an Alliance between all the Bulls, Bears, Elephants, and Lions, which are separately exposed to publick View in the Cities of London and Westminster; together with the other Wonders, Shows, and Monsters, whereof you made respective Mention in the said Speculation; We, the chief Actors of this Playhouse, met and sat upon the said Design. It is with great Delight that We expect the Execution of this Work; and in order to contribute to it, We have given Warning to all our Ghosts to get their Livelihoods where they can, and not to appear among us after Day-break of the 16th Instant. We are resolved to take this Opportunity to part with every thing which does not contribute to the Representation of humane Life; and shall make a free Gift of all animated Utensils to your Projector. The Hangings you formerly mentioned are run away; as are likewise a Set of Chairs, each of which was met upon two Legs going through the Rose Tavern at Two this Morning. We hope, Sir, you will give proper Notice to the Town that we are endeavouring at these Regulations; and that we intend for the future to show no Monsters, but Men who are converted into such by their own Industry and Affectation. If you will please to be at the House to-night, you will see me do my Endeavour to show some unnatural Appearances which are in vogue among the Polite and Well-bred. I am to represent, in the Character of a fine Lady Dancing, all the Distortions which are frequently taken for Graces in Mien and Gesture. This, Sir, is a Specimen of the Method we shall take to expose the Monsters which come within the Notice of a regular Theatre; and we desire nothing more gross may be admitted by you Spectators for the future. We have cashiered three Companies of Theatrical Guards, and design our Kings shall for the future make Love and sit in Council without an Army: and wait only your Direction, whether you will have them reinforce King Porus or join the Troops of Macedon. Mr. Penkethman resolves to consult his Pantheon of Heathen Gods in Opposition to the Oracle of Delphos, and doubts not but he shall turn the Fortunes of Porus when he personates him. I am desired by the Company to inform you, that they submit to your Censures; and shall have you in greater Veneration than Hercules was in of old, if you can drive Monsters from the Theatre; and think your Merit will be as much greater than his, as to convince is more than to conquer.

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient Servant

When I acquaint you with the great and unexpected Vicissitudes of my Fortune, I doubt not but I shall obtain your Pity and Favour. I have for many Years last past been Thunderer to the Play-house; and have not only made as much Noise out of the Clouds as any Predecessor of mine in the Theatre that ever bore that Character, but also have descended and spoke on the Stage as the bold Thunder in The Rehearsal.3

When they got me down thus low, they thought fit to degrade me further, and make me a Ghost. I was contented with this for these two last Winters; but they carry their Tyranny still further, and not satisfied that I am banished from above Ground, they have given me to understand that I am wholly to depart their Dominions, and taken from me even my subterraneous Employment. Now, Sir, what I desire of you is, that if your Undertaker thinks fit to use Fire-Arms (as other Authors have done) in the Time of Alexander, I may be a Cannon against Porus, or else provide for me in the Burning of Persepolis, or what other Method you shall think fit.

Salmoneus of Covent-Garden.'

The Petition of all the Devils of the Play-house in behalf of themselves and Families, setting forth their Expulsion from thence, with Certificates of their good Life and Conversation, and praying Relief. The Petition of the Grave-digger in Hamlet, to command the Pioneers in the Expedition of Alexander. The Petition of William Bullock, to be Hephestion to Penkethman the Great.4

The caricature here, and in following lines, is of a passage in Sir Robert Stapylton's Slighted Maid: 'I am the Evening, dark as Night,' &c.

In the Spectator's time the Rehearsal was an acted play, in which Penkethman had the part of the gentleman Usher, and Bullock was one of the two Kings of Brentford; Thunder was Johnson, who played also the Grave-digger in Hamlet and other reputable parts.

Footnote 1:  March was written by an oversight left in the first reprint uncorrected.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   No. 31.

Footnote 3:   Mr. Bayes, the poet, in the Duke of Buckingham's Rehearsal, after showing how he has planned a Thunder and Lightning Prologue for his play, says,

Come out, Thunder and Lightning.
Enter Thunder and Lightning..
Thun I am the bold Thunder.
Bayes Mr. Cartwright, prithee speak that a little louder, and with a hoarse voice. I am the bold Thunder: pshaw! Speak it me in a voice that thunders it out indeed: I am the bold Thunder.
Thun I am the bold Thunder.
Light The brisk Lightning, I.


Footnote 4:   William Bullock was a good and popular comedian, whom some preferred to Penkethman, because he spoke no more than was set down for him, and did not overact his parts. He was now with Penkethman, now with Cibber and others, joint-manager of a theatrical booth at Bartholomew Fair. When this essay was written Bullock and Penkethman were acting together in a play called Injured Love, produced at Drury Lane on the 7th of April, Bullock as 'Sir Bookish Outside,' Penkethman as 'Tipple,' a Servant. Penkethman, Bullock and Dogget were in those days Macbeth's three witches. Bullock had a son on the stage capable of courtly parts, who really had played Hephestion in the Rival Queens, in a theatre opened by Penkethman at Greenwich in the preceding summer.

Contents p.2

original advertisement

A Widow Gentlewoman,
wellborn both by Father and Mother's Side,
being the Daughter of
Thomas Prater, once an eminent Practitioner in the Law,
and of
Letitia Tattle, a Family well known in all Parts of this Kingdom,
having been reduc'd by Misfortunes to wait on several great Persons,
and for some time to be Teacher at a Boarding-School of young Ladies;
giveth Notice to the Publick,
That she hath lately taken a House near
Bloomsbury-Square, commodiously situated next the Fields in a good Air;
where she teaches all sorts of Birds of the loquacious Kinds, as Parrots, Starlings, Magpies, and others,
to imitate human Voices in greater Perfection than ever yet was practis'd.
They are not only instructed to pronounce Words distinctly, and in a proper Tone and Accent,
but to speak the Language with great Purity and Volubility of Tongue,
together with all the fashionable Phrases and Compliments now in use either at Tea-Tables or visiting Days.
Those that have good Voices may be taught to sing the newest Opera-Airs,
and, if requir'd, to speak either
Italian or French, paying something extraordinary above the common Rates.
They whose Friends are not able to pay the full Prices may be taken as Half-boarders.
She teaches such as are design'd for the Diversion of the Publick,
and to act in enchanted Woods on the Theatres, by the Great.
As she has often observ'd with much Concern how indecent an Education is usually given these innocent Creatures,
which in some Measure is owing to their being plac'd in Rooms next the Street,
where, to the great Offence of chaste and tender Ears,
they learn Ribaldry, obscene Songs, and immodest Expressions from Passengers and idle People,
and also to cry Fish and Card-matches, with other useless Parts of Learning to Birds who have rich Friends,
she has fitted up proper and neat Apartments for them in the back Part of her said House;
where she suffers none to approach them but her self, and a Servant Maid who is deaf and dumb,
and whom she provided on purpose to prepare their Food and cleanse their Cages;
having found by long Experience how hard a thing it is for those to keep Silence who have the Use of Speech,
and the Dangers her Scholars are expos'd to by the strong Impressions that are made by harsh Sounds and vulgar Dialects.
In short, if they are Birds of any Parts or Capacity,
she will undertake to render them so accomplish'd in the Compass of a Twelve-month,
that they shall be fit Conversation for such Ladies as love to chuse their Friends and Companions out of this Species


No. 37

Thursday, April 12, 1711


... Non illa colo calathisve Minervæ
Fœmineas assueta manus ...


Some Months ago, my Friend Sir Roger, being in the Country, enclosed a Letter to me, directed to a certain Lady whom I shall here call by the Name of Leonora, and as it contained Matters of Consequence, desired me to deliver it to her with my own Hand. Accordingly I waited upon her Ladyship pretty early in the Morning, and was desired by her Woman to walk into her Lady's Library, till such time as she was in a Readiness to receive me. The very Sound of a Lady's Library gave me a great Curiosity to see it; and as it was some time before the Lady came to me, I had an Opportunity of turning over a great many of her Books, which were ranged together in a very beautiful Order. At the End of the Folios (which were finely bound and gilt) were great Jars of China placed one above another in a very noble Piece of Architecture. The Quartos were separated from the Octavos by a Pile of smaller Vessels, which rose in a delightful1 Pyramid. The Octavos were bounded by Tea Dishes of all Shapes Colours and Sizes, which were so disposed on a wooden Frame, that they looked like one continued Pillar indented with the finest Strokes of Sculpture, and stained with the greatest Variety of Dyes. That Part of the Library which was designed for the Reception of Plays and Pamphlets, and other loose Papers, was enclosed in a kind of Square, consisting of one of the prettiest Grotesque Works that ever I saw, and made up of Scaramouches, Lions, Monkies, Mandarines, Trees, Shells, and a thousand other odd Figures in China Ware. In the midst of the Room was a little Japan Table, with a Quire of gilt Paper upon it, and on the Paper a Silver Snuff-box made in the Shape of a little Book. I found there were several other Counterfeit Books upon the upper Shelves, which were carved in Wood, and served only to fill up the Number, like Fagots in the muster of a Regiment. I was wonderfully pleased with such a mixt kind of Furniture, as seemed very suitable both to the Lady and the Scholar, and did not know at first whether I should fancy my self in a Grotto, or in a Library.

Upon my looking into the Books, I found there were some few which the Lady had bought for her own use, but that most of them had been got together, either because she had heard them praised, or because she had seen the Authors of them. Among several that I examin'd, I very well remember these that follow2. I was taking a Catalogue in my Pocket-Book of these, and several other Authors, when Leonora entred, and upon my presenting her with the Letter from the Knight, told me, with an unspeakable Grace, that she hoped Sir Roger was in good Health: I answered Yes, for I hate long Speeches, and after a Bow or two retired. Leonora was formerly a celebrated Beauty, and is still a very lovely Woman. She has been a Widow for two or three Years, and being unfortunate in her first Marriage, has taken a Resolution never to venture upon a second. She has no Children to take care of, and leaves the Management of her Estate to my good Friend Sir Roger. But as the Mind naturally sinks into a kind of Lethargy, and falls asleep, that is not agitated by some Favourite Pleasures and Pursuits, Leonora has turned all the Passions of her Sex into a Love of Books and Retirement. She converses chiefly with Men (as she has often said herself), but it is only in their Writings; and admits of very few Male-Visitants, except my Friend Sir Roger, whom she hears with great Pleasure, and without Scandal. As her Reading has lain very much among Romances, it has given her a very particular Turn of Thinking, and discovers it self even in her House, her Gardens, and her Furniture. Sir Roger has entertained me an Hour together with a Description of her Country-Seat, which is situated in a kind of Wilderness, about an hundred Miles distant from London, and looks like a little Enchanted Palace. The Rocks about her are shaped into Artificial Grottoes covered with Wood-Bines and Jessamines. The Woods are cut into shady Walks, twisted into Bowers, and filled with Cages of Turtles. The Springs are made to run among Pebbles, and by that means taught to Murmur very agreeably. They are likewise collected into a Beautiful Lake that is Inhabited by a Couple of Swans, and empties it self by a little Rivulet which runs through a Green Meadow, and is known in the Family by the Name of The Purling Stream. The Knight likewise tells me, that this Lady preserves her Game better than any of the Gentlemen in the Country, not (says Sir Roger) that she sets so great a Value upon her Partridges and Pheasants, as upon her Larks and Nightingales. For she says that every Bird which is killed in her Ground, will spoil a Consort, and that she shall certainly miss him the next Year.

When I think how odly this Lady is improved by Learning, I look upon her with a Mixture of Admiration and Pity. Amidst these Innocent Entertainments which she has formed to her self, how much more Valuable does she appear than those of her Sex, who3 employ themselves in Diversions that are less Reasonable, tho' more in Fashion? What Improvements would a Woman have made, who is so Susceptible of Impressions from what she reads, had she been guided to such Books as have a Tendency to enlighten the Understanding and rectify the Passions, as well as to those which are of little more use than to divert the Imagination?

But the manner of a Lady's Employing her self usefully in Reading shall be the Subject of another Paper, in which I design to recommend such particular Books as may be proper for the Improvement of the Sex. And as this is a Subject of a very nice Nature, I shall desire my Correspondents to give me their Thoughts upon it.


Footnote 1:   very delightful
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Footnote 2:   John Ogilby, or Ogilvy, who died in 1676, aged 76, was originally a dancing-master, then Deputy Master of the Revels in Dublin; then, after the outbreak of the Irish Rebellion, a student of Latin and Greek in Cambridge. Finally, he settled down as a cosmographer. He produced translations of both Virgil and Homer into English verse. His Virgil, published in 1649, was handsomely printed and the first which gave the entire works in English, nearly half a century before Dryden's which appeared in 1697.

The translation of Juvenal and Persius by Dryden, with help of his two sons, and of Congreve, Creech, Tate, and others, was first published in 1693. Dryden translated Satires 1, 3, 6, 10, and 16 of Juvenal, and the whole of Persius. His Essay on Satire was prefixed.

Cassandra and Cleopatra were romances from the French of Gautier de Costes, Seigneur de la Calprenède, who died in 1663. He published Cassandra in 10 volumes in 1642, Cleopatra in 12 volumes in 1656, besides other romances. The custom was to publish these romances a volume at a time. A pretty and rich widow smitten with the Cleopatra while it was appearing, married La Calprenède upon condition that he finished it, and his promise to do so was formally inserted in the marriage contract. The English translations of these French Romances were always in folio. Cassandra, translated by Sir Charles Cotterell, was published in 1652; Cleopatra in 1668, translated by Robert Loveday. Astræa was a pastoral Romance of the days of Henri IV by Honoré D'Urfe, which had been translated by John Pyper in 1620, and was again translated by a Person 'of Quality' in 1657. It was of the same school as Sir Philip Sydney's Arcadia, first published after his death by his sister Mary, Countess of Pembroke, in 1590, and from her, for whom, indeed, it had been written, called the Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia.

Sir Isaac Newton was living in the Spectator's time. He died in 1727, aged 85. John Locke had died in 1704. His Essay on the Human Understanding was first published in 1690. Sir William Temple had died in 1699, aged 71.

The Grand Cyrus, by Magdeleine de Scudéri, was the most famous of the French Romances of its day. The authoress, who died in 1701, aged 94, was called the Sappho of her time. Cardinal Mazarin left her a pension by his will, and she had a pension of two thousand livres from the king. Her Grand Cyrus, published in 10 volumes in 1650, was translated (in one volume, folio) in 1653. Clelia, presently afterwards included in the list of Leonora's books, was another very popular romance by the same authoress, published in 10 volumes, a few years later, immediately translated into English by John Davies, and printed in the usual folio form.

Dr. William Sherlock, who after some scruple about taking the oaths to King William, did so, and was made Dean of St. Paul's, published his very popular Practical Discourse concerning Death, in 1689. He died in 1707.

Father Nicolas Malebranche, in the Spectator's time, was living in enjoyment of his reputation as one of the best French writers and philosophers. The foundations of his fame had been laid by his Recherche de la Vérité, of which the first volume appeared in 1673. An English translation of it, by Thomas Taylor, was published (in folio) in 1694. He died in 1715, Aged 77.

Thomas D'Urfey was a licentious writer of plays and songs, whose tunes Charles II would hum as he leant on their writer's shoulder. His New Poems, with Songs appeared in 1690. He died in 1723, aged 95.

The New Atalantis was a scandalous book by Mary de la Riviere Manley, a daughter of Sir Roger Manley, governor of Guernsey. She began her career as the victim of a false marriage, deserted and left to support herself; became a busy writer and a woman of intrigue, who was living in the Spectator's time, and died in 1724, in the house of Alderman Barber, with whom she was then living. Her New Atalantis, published in 1709, was entitled Secret Memoirs and Manners of several Persons of Quality of both sexes, from the New Atalantis, an Island in the Mediterranean. Under feigned names it especially attacked members of Whig families, and led to proceedings for libel.

La Ferte was a dancing master of the days of the Spectator, who in Nos. 52 and 54 advertised his School 'in Compton Street, Soho, over against St. Ann's Church Back-door,' adding that, 'at the desire of several gentlemen in the City,' he taught dancing on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the neighhourhood of the Royal Exchange.

Footnote 3:   that

Contents p.2

No. 38

Friday, April 13, 1711


Cupias non placuisse nimis.


A Late Conversation which I fell into, gave me an Opportunity of observing a great deal of Beauty in a very handsome Woman, and as much Wit in an ingenious Man, turned into Deformity in the one, and Absurdity in the other, by the meer Force of Affectation. The Fair One had something in her Person upon which her Thoughts were fixed, that she attempted to shew to Advantage in every Look, Word, and Gesture. The Gentleman was as diligent to do Justice to his fine Parts, as the Lady to her beauteous Form: You might see his Imagination on the Stretch to find out something uncommon, and what they call bright, to entertain her; while she writhed her self into as many different Postures to engage him. When she laughed, her Lips were to sever at a greater Distance than ordinary to shew her Teeth: Her Fan was to point to somewhat at a Distance, that in the Reach she may discover the Roundness of her Arm; then she is utterly mistaken in what she saw, falls back, smiles at her own Folly, and is so wholly discomposed, that her Tucker is to be adjusted, her Bosom exposed, and the whole Woman put into new Airs and Graces. While she was doing all this, the Gallant had Time to think of something very pleasant to say next to her, or make some unkind Observation on some other Lady to feed her Vanity. These unhappy Effects of Affectation, naturally led me to look into that strange State of Mind which so generally discolours the Behaviour of most People we meet with.

The learned Dr. Burnet1, in his Theory of the Earth, takes Occasion to observe, That every Thought is attended with Consciousness and Representativeness; the Mind has nothing presented to it but what is immediately followed by a Reflection or Conscience, which tells you whether that which was so presented is graceful or unbecoming. This Act of the Mind discovers it self in the Gesture, by a proper Behaviour in those whose Consciousness goes no further than to direct them in the just Progress of their present Thought or Action; but betrays an Interruption in every second Thought, when the Consciousness is employed in too fondly approving a Man's own Conceptions; which sort of Consciousness is what we call Affectation.

As the Love of Praise is implanted in our Bosoms as a strong Incentive to worthy Actions, it is a very difficult Task to get above a Desire of it for things that should be wholly indifferent. Women, whose Hearts are fixed upon the Pleasure they have in the Consciousness that they are the Objects of Love and Admiration, are ever changing the Air of their Countenances, and altering the Attitude of their Bodies, to strike the Hearts of their Beholders with new Sense of their Beauty. The dressing Part of our Sex, whose Minds are the same with the sillyer Part of the other, are exactly in the like uneasy Condition to be regarded for a well-tied Cravat, an Hat cocked with an unusual Briskness, a very well-chosen Coat, or other Instances of Merit, which they are impatient to see unobserved.

But this apparent Affectation, arising from an ill-governed Consciousness, is not so much to be wonder'd at in such loose and trivial Minds as these: But when you see it reign in Characters of Worth and Distinction, it is what you cannot but lament, not without some Indignation. It creeps into the Heart of the wise Man, as well as that of the Coxcomb. When you see a Man of Sense look about for Applause, and discover an itching Inclination to be commended; lay Traps for a little Incense, even from those whose Opinion he values in nothing but his own Favour; Who is safe against this Weakness? or who knows whether he is guilty of it or not? The best Way to get clear of such a light Fondness for Applause, is to take all possible Care to throw off the Love of it upon Occasions that are not in themselves laudable; but, as it appears, we hope for no Praise from them. Of this Nature are all Graces in Mens Persons, Dress and bodily Deportment; which will naturally be winning and attractive if we think not of them, but lose their Force in proportion to our Endeavour to make them such.

When our Consciousness turns upon the main Design of Life, and our Thoughts are employed upon the chief Purpose either in Business or Pleasure, we shall never betray an Affectation, for we cannot be guilty of it: But when we give the Passion for Praise an unbridled Liberty, our Pleasure in little Perfections, robs us of what is due to us for great Virtues and worthy Qualities. How many excellent Speeches and honest Actions are lost, for want of being indifferent where we ought? Men are oppressed with regard to their Way of speaking and acting; instead of having their Thought bent upon what they should do or say, and by that Means bury a Capacity for great things, by their fear of failing in indifferent things. This, perhaps, cannot be called Affectation; but it has some Tincture of it, at least so far, as that their Fear of erring in a thing of no Consequence, argues they would be too much pleased in performing it.

It is only from a thorough Disregard to himself in such Particulars, that a Man can act with a laudable Sufficiency: His Heart is fixed upon one Point in view; and he commits no Errors, because he thinks nothing an Error but what deviates from that Intention.

The wild Havock Affectation makes in that Part of the World which should be most polite, is visible where ever we turn our Eyes: It pushes Men not only into Impertinencies in Conversation, but also in their premeditated Speeches. At the Bar it torments the Bench, whose Business it is to cut off all Superfluities in what is spoken before it by the Practitioner; as well as several little Pieces of Injustice which arise from the Law it self. I have seen it make a Man run from the Purpose before a Judge, who was, when at the Bar himself, so close and logical a Pleader, that with all the Pomp of Eloquence in his Power, he never spoke a Word too much2.

It might be born even here, but it often ascends the Pulpit it self; and the Declaimer, in that sacred Place, is frequently so impertinently witty, speaks of the last Day it self with so many quaint Phrases, that there is no Man who understands Raillery, but must resolve to sin no more: Nay, you may behold him sometimes in Prayer for a proper Delivery of the great Truths he is to utter, humble himself with so very well turned Phrase, and mention his own Unworthiness in a Way so very becoming, that the Air of the pretty Gentleman is preserved, under the Lowliness of the Preacher.

I shall end this with a short Letter I writ the other Day to a very witty Man, over-run with the Fault I am speaking of.
Dear Sir,

'I Spent some Time with you the other Day, and must take the Liberty of a Friend to tell you of the unsufferable Affectation you are guilty of in all you say and do. When I gave you an Hint of it, you asked me whether a Man is to be cold to what his Friends think of him? No; but Praise is not to be the Entertainment of every Moment: He that hopes for it must be able to suspend the Possession of it till proper Periods of Life, or Death it self. If you would not rather be commended than be Praiseworthy, contemn little Merits; and allow no Man to be so free with you, as to praise you to your Face. Your Vanity by this Means will want its Food. At the same time your Passion for Esteem will be more fully gratified; Men will praise you in their Actions: Where you now receive one Compliment, you will then receive twenty Civilities. Till then you will never have of either, further than


Your humble Servant.'


Footnote 1:   Dr. Thomas Burnet, who produced in 1681 the Telluris Theoria Sacra, translated in 1690 as the Sacred Theory of the Earth, was living in the Spectator's time. He died in 1715, aged 80. He was for 30 years Master of the Charter-house, and set himself against James II in refusing to admit a Roman Catholic as a Poor Brother. Burnet's Theory, a romance that passed for science in its day, was opposed in 1696 by Whiston in his New Theory of the Earth (one all for Fire, the other all for Water), and the new Romance was Science even in the eyes of Locke. Addison, from Oxford in 1699, addressed a Latin ode to Burnet.
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Footnote 2:   Lord Cowper.

Contents p.2

No. 39

Saturday, April 14, 1711


Multa fero, ut placem genus irritabile vatum,
Cum scribo.


As a perfect Tragedy is the Noblest Production of Human Nature, so it is capable of giving the Mind one of the most delightful and most improving Entertainments. A virtuous Man (says Seneca) struggling with Misfortunes, is such a Spectacle as Gods might look upon with Pleasure1: And such a Pleasure it is which one meets with in the Representation of a well-written Tragedy. Diversions of this kind wear out of our Thoughts every thing that is mean and little. They cherish and cultivate that Humanity which is the Ornament of our Nature. They soften Insolence, sooth Affliction, and subdue the Mind to the Dispensations of Providence.

It is no Wonder therefore that in all the polite Nations of the World, this part of the Drama has met with publick Encouragement.

The modern Tragedy excels that of Greece and Rome, in the Intricacy and Disposition of the Fable; but, what a Christian Writer would be ashamed to own, falls infinitely short of it in the Moral Part of the Performance.

This I may2 shew more at large hereafter; and in the mean time, that I may contribute something towards the Improvement of the English Tragedy, I shall take notice, in this and in other following Papers, of some particular Parts in it that seem liable to Exception.

Aristotle3 observes, that the Iambick Verse in the Greek Tongue was the most proper for Tragedy: Because at the same time that it lifted up the Discourse from Prose, it was that which approached nearer to it than any other kind of Verse. For, says he, we may observe that Men in Ordinary Discourse very often speak Iambicks, without taking notice of it. We may make the same Observation of our English Blank Verse, which often enters into our Common Discourse, though we do not attend to it, and is such a due Medium between Rhyme and Prose, that it seems wonderfully adapted to Tragedy. I am therefore very much offended when I see a Play in Rhyme, which is as absurd in English, as a Tragedy of Hexameters would have been in Greek or Latin. The Solæcism is, I think, still greater, in those Plays that have some Scenes in Rhyme and some in Blank Verse, which are to be looked upon as two several Languages; or where we see some particular Similies dignifyed with Rhyme, at the same time that everything about them lyes in Blank Verse. I would not however debar the Poet from concluding his Tragedy, or, if he pleases, every Act of it, with two or three Couplets, which may have the same Effect as an Air in the Italian Opera after a long Recitativo, and give the Actor a graceful Exit. Besides that we see a Diversity of Numbers in some Parts of the Old Tragedy, in order to hinder the Ear from being tired with the same continued Modulation of Voice. For the same Reason I do not dislike the Speeches in our English Tragedy that close with an Hemistick, or half Verse, notwithstanding the Person who speaks after it begins a new Verse, without filling up the preceding one; Nor with abrupt Pauses and Breakings-off in the middle of a Verse, when they humour any Passion that is expressed by it.

Since I am upon this Subject, I must observe that our English Poets have succeeded much better in the Style, than in the Sentiments of their Tragedies. Their Language is very often Noble and Sonorous, but the Sense either very trifling or very common. On the contrary, in the Ancient Tragedies, and indeed in those of Corneille and Racine4 tho' the Expressions are very great, it is the Thought that bears them up and swells them. For my own part, I prefer a noble Sentiment that is depressed with homely Language, infinitely before a vulgar one that is blown up with all the Sound and Energy of Expression. Whether this Defect in our Tragedies may arise from Want of Genius, Knowledge, or Experience in the Writers, or from their Compliance with the vicious Taste of their Readers, who are better Judges of the Language than of the Sentiments, and consequently relish the one more than the other, I cannot determine. But I believe it might rectify the Conduct both of the one and of the other, if the Writer laid down the whole Contexture of his Dialogue in plain English, before he turned it into Blank Verse; and if the Reader, after the Perusal of a Scene, would consider the naked Thought of every Speech in it, when divested of all its Tragick Ornaments. By this means, without being imposed upon by Words, we may judge impartially of the Thought, and consider whether it be natural or great enough for the Person that utters it, whether it deserves to shine in such a Blaze of Eloquence, or shew itself in such a Variety of Lights as are generally made use of by the Writers of our English Tragedy.

I must in the next place observe, that when our Thoughts are great and just, they are often obscured by the sounding Phrases, hard Metaphors, and forced Expressions in which they are cloathed. Shakespear is often very Faulty in this Particular. There is a fine Observation in Aristotle to this purpose, which I have never seen quoted. The Expression, says he, ought to be very much laboured in the unactive Parts of the Fable, as in Descriptions, Similitudes, Narrations, and the like; in which the Opinions, Manners and Passions of Men are not represented; for these (namely the Opinions, Manners and Passions) are apt to be obscured by Pompous Phrases, and Elaborate Expressions5. Horace, who copied most of his Criticisms after Aristotle, seems to have had his Eye on the foregoing Rule in the following Verses:
Et Tragicus plerumque dolet Sermone pedestri,
Telephus et Peleus, cum pauper et exul uterque,
Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba,
Si curat cor Spectantis tetigisse querelâ.
Tragedians too lay by their State, to grieve
Peleus and Telephus, Exit'd and Poor,
Forget their Swelling and Gigantick Words.

(Ld. Roscommon.)
Among our Modern English Poets, there is none who was better turned for Tragedy than Lee6; if instead of favouring the Impetuosity of his Genius, he had restrained it, and kept it within its proper Bounds. His Thoughts are wonderfully suited to Tragedy, but frequently lost in such a Cloud of Words, that it is hard to see the Beauty of them: There is an infinite Fire in his Works, but so involved in Smoak, that it does not appear in half its Lustre. He frequently succeeds in the Passionate Parts of the Tragedy, but more particularly where he slackens his Efforts, and eases the Style of those Epithets and Metaphors, in which he so much abounds. What can be more Natural, more Soft, or more Passionate, than that Line in Statira's Speech, where she describes the Charms of Alexander's Conversation?
Then he would talk: Good Gods! how he would talk!
That unexpected Break in the Line, and turning the Description of his Manner of Talking into an Admiration of it, is inexpressibly Beautiful, and wonderfully suited, to the fond Character of the Person that speaks it. There is a Simplicity in the Words, that outshines the utmost Pride of Expression.

Otway7 has followed Nature in the Language of his Tragedy, and therefore shines in the Passionate Parts, more than any of our English Poets. As there is something Familiar and Domestick in the Fable of his Tragedy, more than in those of any other Poet, he has little Pomp, but great Force in his Expressions. For which Reason, though he has admirably succeeded in the tender and melting Part of his Tragedies, he sometimes falls into too great a Familiarity of Phrase in those Parts, which, by Aristotle's Rule, ought to have been raised and supported by the Dignity of Expression. It has been observed by others, that this Poet has founded his Tragedy of Venice Preserved on so wrong a Plot, that the greatest Characters in it are those of Rebels and Traitors. Had the Hero of his Play discovered the same good Qualities in the Defence of his Country, that he showed for its Ruin and Subversion, the Audience could not enough pity and admire him: But as he is now represented, we can only say of him what the Roman Historian says of Catiline, that his Fall would have been Glorious (si pro Patriâ sic concidisset) had he so fallen in the Service of his Country.


Footnote 1:   From Seneca on Providence:
"De Providentiâ, sive Quare Bonis Viris Mala Accidant cum sit Providentia' § 2,

'Ecce spectaculum dignum, ad quod respiciat intentus operi suo Deus: ecce par Deo dignum, vir fortis cum malâ fortunâ compositus, utique si et provocavit."
So also Minutius Felix, Adversus Gentes:
"Quam pulchrum spectaculum Deo, cum Christianus cum dolore congueditur? cum adversus minas, et supplicia, et tormenta componitur? cum libertatem suam adversus reges ac Principes erigit."
Epictetus also bids the endangered man remember that he has been sent by God as an athlete into the arena.
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Footnote 2:   shall

Footnote 3:  Poetics, Part I. § 7. Also in the Rhetoric, bk III. ch. i.

Footnote 4:  These chiefs of the French tragic drama died, Corneille in 1684, and his brother Thomas in 1708; Racine in 1699.

Footnote 5:   It is the last sentence in Part III of the Poetics.

Footnote 6:   Nathaniel Lee died in 1692 of injury received during a drunken frolic. Disappointed of a fellowship at Cambridge, he turned actor; failed upon the stage, but prospered as a writer for it. His career as a dramatist began with Nero, in 1675, and he wrote in all eleven plays. His most successful play was the Rival Queens, or the Death of Alexander the Great, produced in 1677. Next to it in success, and superior in merit, was his Theodosius, or the Force of Love, produced in 1680. He took part with Dryden in writing the very successful adaptation of Œdipus, produced in 1679, as an English Tragedy based upon Sophocles and Seneca. During two years of his life Lee was a lunatic in Bedlam.

Footnote 7:   Thomas Otway died of want in 1685, at the age of 34. Like Lee, he left college for the stage, attempted as an actor, then turned dramatist, and produced his first tragedy, Alcibiades, in 1675, the year in which Lee produced also his first tragedy, Nero. Otway's second play, Don Carlos, was very successful, but his best were, the Orphan, produced in 1680, remarkable for its departure from the kings and queens of tragedy for pathos founded upon incidents in middle life, and Venice Preserved, produced in 1682.

Contents p.2

No. 40

Monday, April 16, 1711


Ac ne forte putes, me, que facere ipse recusem,
Cum recte tractant alii, laudare maligne;
Ille per extentum funem mihi fosse videtur
Ire Poeta, meum qui pectus inaniter angit,
Irritat, mulcet, falsis terroribus implet,
Ut magus; et modo me Thebis, modo ponit Athenis.


The English Writers of Tragedy are possessed with a Notion, that when they represent a virtuous or innocent Person in Distress, they ought not to leave him till they have delivered him out of his Troubles, or made him triumph over his Enemies. This Error they have been led into by a ridiculous Doctrine in modern Criticism, that they are obliged to an equal Distribution of Rewards and Punishments, and an impartial Execution of poetical Justice. Who were the first that established this Rule I know not; but I am sure it has no Foundation in Nature, in Reason, or in the Practice of the Ancients. We find that Good and Evil happen alike to all Men on this side the Grave; and as the principal Design of Tragedy is to raise Commiseration and Terror in the Minds of the Audience, we shall defeat this great End, if we always make Virtue and Innocence happy and successful. Whatever Crosses and Disappointments a good Man suffers in the Body of the Tragedy, they will make but small Impression on our Minds, when we know that in the last Act he is to arrive at the End of his Wishes and Desires. When we see him engaged in the Depth of his Afflictions, we are apt to comfort our selves, because we are sure he will find his Way out of them: and that his Grief, how great soever it may be at present, will soon terminate in Gladness. For this Reason the ancient Writers of Tragedy treated Men in their Plays, as they are dealt with in the World, by making Virtue sometimes happy and sometimes miserable, as they found it in the Fable which they made choice of, or as it might affect their Audience in the most agreeable Manner. Aristotle considers the Tragedies that were written in either of these Kinds, and observes, That those which ended unhappily had always pleased the People, and carried away the Prize in the publick Disputes of the Stage, from those that ended happily1. Terror and Commiseration leave a pleasing Anguish in the Mind; and fix the Audience in such a serious Composure of Thought as is much more lasting and delightful than any little transient Starts of Joy and Satisfaction. Accordingly, we find, that more of our English Tragedies have succeeded, in which the Favourites of the Audience sink under their Calamities, than those in which they recover themselves out of them. The best Plays of this Kind are The Orphan, Venice Preserved, Alexander the Great, Theodosius, All for Love, Œdipus, Oroonoko, Othello2, &c. King Lear is an admirable Tragedy of the same Kind, as Shakespear wrote it; but as it is reformed according to the chymerical Notion of Poetical Justice, in my humble Opinion it has lost half its Beauty. At the same time I must allow, that there are very noble Tragedies which have been framed upon the other Plan, and have ended happily; as indeed most of the good Tragedies, which have been written since the starting of the above-mentioned Criticism, have taken this Turn: As The Mourning Bride, Tamerlane, Ulysses, Phædra and Hippolitus, with most of Mr. Dryden's3. I must also allow, that many of Shakespear's, and several of the celebrated Tragedies of Antiquity, are cast in the same Form. I do not therefore dispute against this Way of writing Tragedies, but against the Criticism that would establish this as the only Method; and by that Means would very much cramp the English Tragedy, and perhaps give a wrong Bent to the Genius of our Writers.

The Tragi-Comedy, which is the Product of the English Theatre, is one of the most monstrous Inventions that ever entered into a Poet's Thoughts. An Author might as well think of weaving the Adventures of Æneas and Hudibras into one Poem, as of writing such a motly Piece of Mirth and Sorrow. But the Absurdity of these Performances is so very visible, that I shall not insist upon it.

The same Objections which are made to Tragi-Comedy, may in some Measure be applied to all Tragedies that have a double Plot in them; which are likewise more frequent upon the English Stage, than upon any other: For though the Grief of the Audience, in such Performances, be not changed into another Passion, as in Tragi-Comedies; it is diverted upon another Object, which weakens their Concern for the principal Action, and breaks the Tide of Sorrow, by throwing it into different Channels. This Inconvenience, however, may in a great Measure be cured, if not wholly removed, by the skilful Choice of an Under-Plot, which may bear such a near Relation to the principal Design, as to contribute towards the Completion of it, and be concluded by the same Catastrophe.

There is also another Particular, which may be reckoned among the Blemishes, or rather the false Beauties, of our English Tragedy: I mean those particular Speeches, which are commonly known by the Name of Rants. The warm and passionate Parts of a Tragedy, are always the most taking with the Audience; for which Reason we often see the Players pronouncing, in all the Violence of Action, several Parts of the Tragedy which the Author writ with great Temper, and designed that they should have been so acted. I have seen Powell very often raise himself a loud Clap by this Artifice. The Poets that were acquainted with this Secret, have given frequent Occasion for such Emotions in the Actor, by adding Vehemence to Words where there was no Passion, or inflaming a real Passion into Fustian. This hath filled the Mouths of our Heroes with Bombast; and given them such Sentiments, as proceed rather from a Swelling than a Greatness of Mind. Unnatural Exclamations, Curses, Vows, Blasphemies, a Defiance of Mankind, and an Outraging of the Gods, frequently pass upon the Audience for tow'ring Thoughts, and have accordingly met with infinite Applause.

I shall here add a Remark, which I am afraid our Tragick Writers may make an ill use of. As our Heroes are generally Lovers, their Swelling and Blustring upon the Stage very much recommends them to the fair Part of their Audience. The Ladies are wonderfully pleased to see a Man insulting Kings, or affronting the Gods, in one Scene, and throwing himself at the Feet of his Mistress in another. Let him behave himself insolently towards the Men, and abjectly towards the Fair One, and it is ten to one but he proves a Favourite of the Boxes. Dryden and Lee, in several of their Tragedies, have practised this Secret with good Success.

But to shew how a Rant pleases beyond the most just and natural Thought that is not pronounced with Vehemence, I would desire the Reader when he sees the Tragedy of Œdipus, to observe how quietly the Hero is dismissed at the End of the third Act, after having pronounced the following Lines, in which the Thought is very natural, and apt to move Compassion;
To you, good Gods, I make my last Appeal;
Or clear my Virtues, or my Crimes reveal.
If in the Maze of Fate I blindly run,
And backward trod those Paths I sought to shun;
Impute my Errors to your own Decree:
My Hands are guilty, but my Heart is free.
Let us then observe with what Thunder-claps of Applause he leaves the Stage, after the Impieties and Execrations at the End of the fourth Act4; and you will wonder to see an Audience so cursed and so pleased at the same time;
O that as oft have at Athens seen,
[Where, by the Way, there was no Stage till many Years after Œdipus.]
The Stage arise, and the big Clouds descend;
So now, in very Deed, I might behold
This pond'rous Globe, and all yen marble Roof,
Meet like the Hands of
Jove, and crush Mankind.
For all the Elements,

Footnote 1:   Here Aristotle is not quite accurately quoted. What he says of the tragedies which end unhappily is, that Euripides was right in preferring them,
'and as the strongest proof of it we find that upon the stage, and in the dramatic contests, such tragedies, if they succeed, have always the most tragic effect.'
Poetics, Part II. § 12.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Of the two plays in this list, besides Othello, which have not been mentioned in the preceding notes, All for Love, produced in 1678, was Dryden's Antony and Cleopatra, Oroonoko, first acted in, 1678, was a tragedy by Thomas Southerne, which included comic scenes. Southerne, who held a commission in the army, was living in the Spectator's time, and died in 1746, aged 86. It was in his best play, Isabella, or the Fatal Marriage, that Mrs. Siddons, in 1782, made her first appearance on the London stage.

Footnote 3:   Congreve's Mourning Bride was first acted in 1697; Rowe's Tamerlane (with a hero planned in complement to William III) in 1702; Rowe's Ulysses in 1706; Edmund Smith's Phædra and Hippolitus in 1707.

Footnote 4:   The third Act of Œdipus was by Dryden, the fourth by Lee. Dryden wrote also the first Act, the rest was Lee's.

Contents p.2

original advertisement

Having spoken of Mr. Powell,
as sometimes raising himself Applause from the ill Taste of an Audience;
I must do him the Justice to own,
that he is excellently formed for a Tragoedian,
and, when he pleases, deserves the Admiration of the best Judges;
as I doubt not but he will in the
Conquest of Mexico,
which is acted for his own Benefit To-morrow Night.


No. 41

Tuesday, April 17, 1711


Tu non inventa reperta es.


Compassion for the Gentleman who writes the following Letter, should not prevail upon me to fall upon the Fair Sex, if it were not that I find they are frequently Fairer than they ought to be. Such Impostures are not to be tolerated in Civil Society; and I think his Misfortune ought to be made publick, as a Warning for other Men always to Examine into what they Admire.

Supposing you to be a Person of general Knowledge, I make my Application to you on a very particular Occasion. I have a great Mind to be rid of my Wife, and hope, when you consider my Case, you will be of Opinion I have very just Pretensions to a Divorce. I am a mere Man of the Town, and have very little Improvement, but what I have got from Plays. I remember in The Silent Woman the Learned Dr. Cutberd, or Dr. Otter (I forget which) makes one of the Causes of Separation to be Error Personæ, when a Man marries a Woman, and finds her not to be the same Woman whom he intended to marry, but another1. If that be Law, it is, I presume, exactly my Case. For you are to know, Mr. Spectator, that there are Women who do not let their Husbands see their Faces till they are married.

Not to keep you in suspence, I mean plainly, that Part of the Sex who paint. They are some of them so Exquisitely skilful this Way, that give them but a Tolerable Pair of Eyes to set up with, and they will make Bosoms, Lips, Cheeks, and Eye-brows, by their own Industry. As for my Dear, never Man was so Enamour'd as I was of her fair Forehead, Neck, and Arms, as well as the bright Jett of her Hair; but to my great Astonishment, I find they were all the Effects of Art: Her Skin is so Tarnished with this Practice, that when she first wakes in a Morning, she scarce seems young enough to be the Mother of her whom I carried to Bed the Night before. I shall take the Liberty to part with her by the first Opportunity, unless her Father will make her Portion suitable to her real, not her assumed, Countenance. This I thought fit to let him and her know by your Means.

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient,
humble Servant

I cannot tell what the Law, or the Parents of the Lady, will do for this Injured Gentleman, but must allow he has very much Justice on his Side. I have indeed very long observed this Evil, and distinguished those of our Women who wear their own, from those in borrowed Complexions, by the Picts and the British. There does not need any great Discernment to judge which are which. The British have a lively, animated Aspect; The Picts, tho' never so Beautiful, have dead, uninformed Countenances. The Muscles of a real Face sometimes swell with soft Passion, sudden Surprize, and are flushed with agreeable Confusions, according as the Objects before them, or the Ideas presented to them, affect their Imagination. But the Picts behold all things with the same Air, whether they are Joyful or Sad; the same fixed Insensibility appears upon all Occasions. A Pict, tho' she takes all that Pains to invite the Approach of Lovers, is obliged to keep them at a certain Distance; a Sigh in a Languishing Lover, if fetched too near her, would dissolve a Feature; and a Kiss snatched by a Forward one, might transfer the Complexion of the Mistress to the Admirer. It is hard to speak of these false Fair Ones, without saying something uncomplaisant, but I would only recommend to them to consider how they like coming into a Room new Painted; they may assure themselves, the near Approach of a Lady who uses this Practice is much more offensive.

Will. Honeycomb told us, one Day, an Adventure he once had with a Pict. This Lady had Wit, as well as Beauty, at Will; and made it her Business to gain Hearts, for no other Reason, but to rally the Torments of her Lovers. She would make great Advances to insnare Men, but without any manner of Scruple break off when there was no Provocation. Her Ill-Nature and Vanity made my Friend very easily Proof against the Charms of her Wit and Conversation; but her beauteous Form, instead of being blemished by her Falshood and Inconstancy, every Day increased upon him, and she had new Attractions every time he saw her. When she observed Will. irrevocably her Slave, she began to use him as such, and after many Steps towards such a Cruelty, she at last utterly banished him. The unhappy Lover strove in vain, by servile Epistles, to revoke his Doom; till at length he was forced to the last Refuge, a round Sum of Money to her Maid. This corrupt Attendant placed him early in the Morning behind the Hangings in her Mistress's Dressing-Room. He stood very conveniently to observe, without being seen. The Pict begins the Face she designed to wear that Day, and I have heard him protest she had worked a full half Hour before he knew her to be the same Woman. As soon as he saw the Dawn of that Complexion, for which he had so long languished, he thought fit to break from his Concealment, repeating that of Cowley:
Th' adorning Thee, with so much Art,
Is but a barbarous Skill;
'Tis like the Pois'ning of a Dart,
Too apt before to kill2.
The Pict stood before him in the utmost Confusion, with the prettiest Smirk imaginable on the finished side of her Face, pale as Ashes on the other. Honeycomb seized all her Gallypots and Washes, and carried off his Han kerchief full of Brushes, Scraps of Spanish Wool, and Phials of Unguents. The Lady went into the Country, the Lover was cured.

It is certain no Faith ought to be kept with Cheats, and an Oath made to a Pict is of it self void. I would therefore exhort all the British Ladies to single them out, nor do I know any but Lindamira, who should be Exempt from Discovery; for her own Complexion is so delicate, that she ought to be allowed the covering it with Paint, as a Punishment for choosing to be the worst Piece of Art extant, instead of the Masterpiece of Nature. As for my part, who have no Expectations from Women, and consider them only as they are Part of the Species, I do not half so much fear offending a Beauty, as a Woman of Sense; I shall therefore produce several Faces which have been in Publick this many Years, and never appeared. It will be a very pretty Entertainment in the Playhouse (when I have abolished this Custom) to see so many Ladies, when they first lay it down, incog., in their own Faces.

In the mean time, as a Pattern for improving their Charms, let the Sex study the agreeable Statira. Her Features are enlivened with the Chearfulness of her Mind, and good Humour gives an Alacrity to her Eyes. She is Graceful without affecting an Air, and Unconcerned without appearing Careless. Her having no manner of Art in her Mind, makes her want none in her Person.

How like is this Lady, and how unlike is a Pict, to that Description Dr. Donne gives of his Mistress?
Her pure and eloquent Blood
Spoke in her Cheeks, and so distinctly wrought,
That one would almost say her Body thought3.

Footnote 1:   Ben Jonson's Epicœne, or the Silent Woman, kept the stage in the Spectator's time, and was altered by G. Colman for Drury Lane, in 1776. Cutbeard in the play is a barber, and Thomas Otter a Land and Sea Captain.
Tom Otter's bull, bear, and horse is known all over England, in rerum naturâ.
In the fifth act Morose, who has married a Silent Woman and discovered her tongue after marriage, is played upon by the introduction of Otter, disguised as a Divine, and Cutbeard, as a Canon Lawyer, to explain to him
for how many causes a man may have divortium legitimum, a lawful divorce.
Cutbeard, in opening with burlesque pedantry a budget of twelve impediments which make the bond null, is thus supported by Otter:

Cutb. The first is impedimentum erroris.
Otter. Of which there are several species.
Cutb Ay, as error personæ.
Otter If you contract yourself to one person, thinking her another.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   This is fourth of five stanzas to The Waiting-Maid, in the collection of poems called The Mistress.

Footnote 3:   Donne's Funeral Elegies, on occasion of the untimely death of Mistress Elizabeth Drury. Of the Progress of the Soul, Second Anniversary. It is the strain not of a mourning lover, but of a mourning friend. Sir Robert Drury was so cordial a friend that he gave to Donne and his wife a lodging rent free in his own large house in Drury Lane,
'and was also,' says Isaac Walton, 'a cherisher of his studies, and such a friend as sympathized with him and his, in all their joys and sorrows.'
The lines quoted by Steele show that the sympathy was mutual; but the poetry in them is a flash out of the clouds of a dull context. It is hardly worth noticing that Steele, quoting from memory, puts 'would' for 'might' in the last line. Sir Robert's daughter Elizabeth, who, it is said, was to have been the wife of Prince Henry, eldest son of James I, died at the age of fifteen in 1610.

Contents p.2

original advertisement

A young Gentlewoman of about Nineteen Years of Age
(bred in the Family of a Person of Quality lately deceased,)
who Paints the finest Flesh-colour,
wants a Place,
and is to be heard of at the House of
Grotesque a Dutch Painter in Barbican.

N.B. She is also well-skilled in the Drapery-part,
and puts on Hoods and mixes Ribbons
so as to suit the Colours of the Face
with great Art and Success


No. 42

Wednesday, April 18, 1711


Garganum inugire putes nemus aut mare Thuscum,
Tanto cum strepitu ludi spectantur; et artes,
Divitiæque peregrina, quibus oblitus actor
Cum stetit in Scena, concurrit dextera lævæ.
Dixit adhuc aliquid? Nil sane. Quid placet ergo?
Lana Tarentino violas imitata veneno.


Aristotle1 has observed, That ordinary Writers in Tragedy endeavour to raise Terror and Pity in their Audience, not by proper Sentiments and Expressions, but by the Dresses and Decorations of the Stage. There is something of this kind very ridiculous in the English Theatre. When the Author has a mind to terrify us, it thunders; When he would make us melancholy, the Stage is darkened. But among all our Tragick Artifices, I am the most offended at those which are made use of to inspire us with magnificent Ideas of the Persons that speak. The ordinary Method of making an Hero, is to clap a huge Plume of Feathers upon his Head, which rises so very high, that there is often a greater Length from his Chin to the Top of his Head, than to the sole of his Foot. One would believe, that we thought a great Man and a tall Man the same thing. This very much embarrasses the Actor, who is forced to hold his Neck extremely stiff and steady all the while he speaks; and notwithstanding any Anxieties which he pretends for his Mistress, his Country, or his Friends, one may see by his Action, that his greatest Care and Concern is to keep the Plume of Feathers from falling off his Head. For my own part, when I see a Man uttering his Complaints under such a Mountain of Feathers, I am apt to look upon him rather as an unfortunate Lunatick, than a distressed Hero. As these superfluous Ornaments upon the Head make a great Man, a Princess generally receives her Grandeur from those additional Incumbrances that fall into her Tail: I mean the broad sweeping Train that follows her in all her Motions, and finds constant Employment for a Boy who stands behind her to open and spread it to Advantage. I do not know how others are affected at this Sight, but, I must confess, my Eyes are wholly taken up with the Page's Part; and as for the Queen, I am not so attentive to any thing she speaks, as to the right adjusting of her Train, lest it should chance to trip up her Heels, or incommode her, as she walks to and fro upon the Stage. It is, in my Opinion, a very odd Spectacle, to see a Queen venting her Passion in a disordered Motion, and a little Boy taking care all the while that they do not ruffle the Tail of her Gown. The Parts that the two Persons act on the Stage at the same Time, are very different: The Princess is afraid lest she should incur the Displeasure of the King her Father, or lose the Hero her Lover, whilst her Attendant is only concerned lest she should entangle her Feet in her Petticoat.

We are told, That an ancient Tragick Poet, to move the Pity of his Audience for his exiled Kings and distressed Heroes, used to make the Actors represent them in Dresses and Cloaths that were thread-bare and decayed. This Artifice for moving Pity, seems as ill-contrived, as that we have been speaking of to inspire us with a great Idea of the Persons introduced upon the Stage. In short, I would have our Conceptions raised by the Dignity of Thought and Sublimity of Expression, rather than by a Train of Robes or a Plume of Feathers.

Another mechanical Method of making great Men, and adding Dignity to Kings and Queens, is to accompany them with Halberts and Battle-axes. Two or three Shifters of Scenes, with the two Candle-snuffers, make up a compleat Body of Guards upon the English Stage; and by the Addition of a few Porters dressed in Red Coats, can represent above a Dozen Legions. I have sometimes seen a Couple of Armies drawn up together upon the Stage, when the Poet has been disposed to do Honour to his Generals. It is impossible for the Reader's Imagination to multiply twenty Men into such prodigious Multitudes, or to fancy that two or three hundred thousand Soldiers are fighting in a Room of forty or fifty Yards in Compass. Incidents of such a Nature should be told, not represented.
Non tamen intus
Digna geri promes in scenam: multaque tolles
Ex oculis, qua mox narret facundia prœsens.


Yet there are things improper for a Scene,
Which Men of Judgment only will relate.

(L. Roscom.)
I should therefore, in this Particular, recommend to my Countrymen the Example of the French Stage, where the Kings and Queens always appear unattended, and leave their Guards behind the Scenes. I should likewise be glad if we imitated the French in banishing from our Stage the Noise of Drums, Trumpets, and Huzzas; which is sometimes so very great, that when there is a Battle in the Hay-Market Theatre, one may hear it as far as Charing-Cross.

I have here only touched upon those Particulars which are made use of to raise and aggrandize Persons in Tragedy; and shall shew in another Paper the several Expedients which are practised by Authors of a vulgar Genius to move Terror, Pity, or Admiration, in their Hearers.

The Tailor and the Painter often contribute to the Success of a Tragedy more than the Poet. Scenes affect ordinary Minds as much as Speeches; and our Actors are very sensible, that a well-dressed Play his sometimes brought them as full Audiences, as a well-written one. The Italians have a very good Phrase to express this Art of imposing upon the Spectators by Appearances: They call it the Fourberia della Scena, The Knavery or trickish Part of the Drama. But however the Show and Outside of the Tragedy may work upon the Vulgar, the more understanding Part of the Audience immediately see through it and despise it.

A good Poet will give the Reader a more lively Idea of an Army or a Battle in a Description, than if he actually saw them drawn up in Squadrons and Battalions, or engaged in the Confusion of a Fight. Our Minds should be opened to great Conceptions and inflamed with glorious Sentiments by what the Actor speaks, more than by what he appears. Can all the Trappings or Equipage of a King or Hero give Brutus half that Pomp and Majesty which he receives from a few Lines in Shakespear?


Footnote 1:   Poetics, Part II. § 13.
return to footnote mark

Contents p.2

No. 43

Thursday, April 19, 1711


Ha tibi erunt artes; pacisque imponere morem,
Parcere Subjectis, et debellare Superbos.


There are Crowds of Men, whose great Misfortune it is that they were not bound to Mechanick Arts or Trades; it being absolutely necessary for them to be led by some continual Task or Employment. These are such as we commonly call dull Fellows; Persons, who for want of something to do, out of a certain Vacancy of Thought, rather than Curiosity, are ever meddling with things for which they are unfit. I cannot give you a Notion of them better than by presenting you with a Letter from a Gentleman, who belongs to a Society of this Order of Men, residing at Oxford.
Oxford, April 13, 1711.
Four a Clock in the Morning.


'In some of your late Speculations, I find some Sketches towards an History of Clubs: But you seem to me to shew them in somewhat too ludicrous a Light. I have well weighed that Matter, and think, that the most important Negotiations may best be carried on in such Assemblies. I shall therefore, for the Good of Mankind, (which, I trust, you and I are equally concerned for) propose an Institution of that Nature for Example sake.

I must confess, the Design and Transactions of too many Clubs are trifling, and manifestly of no consequence to the Nation or Publick Weal: Those I'll give you up. But you must do me then the Justice to own, that nothing can be more useful or laudable than the Scheme we go upon. To avoid Nicknames and Witticisms, we call ourselves The Hebdomadal Meeting: Our President continues for a Year at least, and sometimes four or five: We are all Grave, Serious, Designing Men, in our Way: We think it our Duty, as far as in us lies, to take care the Constitution receives no Harm, — Ne quid detrimenti Res capiat publica — To censure Doctrines or Facts, Persons or Things, which we don't like; To settle the Nation at home, and to carry on the War abroad, where and in what manner we see fit: If other People are not of our Opinion, we can't help that. 'Twere better they were. Moreover, we now and then condescend to direct, in some measure, the little Affairs of our own University.

Verily, Mr. Spectator, we are much offended at the Act for importing French Wines1: A Bottle or two of good solid Edifying Port, at honest George's, made a Night chearful, and threw off Reserve. But this plaguy French Claret will not only cost us more Mony, but do us less Good: Had we been aware of it, before it had gone too far, I must tell you, we would have petitioned to be heard upon that Subject. But let that pass.

I must let you know likewise, good Sir, that we look upon a certain Northern Prince's March, in Conjunction with Infidels2, to be palpably against our Goodwill and Liking; and, for all Monsieur Palmquist3, a most dangerous Innovation; and we are by no means yet sure, that some People are not at the Bottom on't. At least, my own private Letters leave room for a Politician well versed in matters of this Nature, to suspect as much, as a penetrating Friend of mine tells me.

We think we have at last done the business with the Malecontents in Hungary, and shall clap up a Peace there4.

What the Neutrality Army5 is to do, or what the Army in Flanders, and what two or three other Princes, is not yet fully determined among us; and we wait impatiently for the coming in of the next Dyer's6 who, you must know, is our Authentick Intelligence, our Aristotle in Politics. And 'tis indeed but fit there should be some Dernier Resort, the Absolute Decider of all Controversies.

We were lately informed, that the Gallant Train'd Bands had patroll'd all Night long about the Streets of London: We indeed could not imagine any Occasion for it, we guessed not a Tittle on't aforehand, we were in nothing of the Secret; and that City Tradesmen, or their Apprentices, should do Duty, or work, during the Holidays, we thought absolutely impossible: But Dyer being positive in it, and some Letters from other People, who had talked with some who had it from those who should know, giving some Countenance to it, the Chairman reported from the Committee, appointed to examine into that Affair, That 'twas Possible there might be something in't. I have much more to say to you, but my two good Friends and Neighbours, Dominick and Slyboots, are just come in, and the Coffee's ready. I am, in the mean time,

Mr. Spectator,

Your Admirer, and

Humble Servant,

Abraham Froth.

You may observe the Turn of their Minds tends only to Novelty, and not Satisfaction in any thing. It would be Disappointment to them, to come to Certainty in any thing, for that would gravel them, and put an end to their Enquiries, which dull Fellows do not make for Information, but for Exercise. I do not know but this may be a very good way of accounting for what we frequently see, to wit, that dull Fellows prove very good Men of Business. Business relieves them from their own natural Heaviness, by furnishing them with what to do; whereas Business to Mercurial Men, is an Interruption from their real Existence and Happiness. Tho' the dull Part of Mankind are harmless in their Amusements, it were to be wished they had no vacant Time, because they usually undertake something that makes their Wants conspicuous, by their manner of supplying them. You shall seldom find a dull Fellow of good Education, but (if he happens to have any Leisure upon his Hands,) will turn his Head to one of those two Amusements, for all Fools of Eminence, Politicks or Poetry. The former of these Arts, is the Study of all dull People in general; but when Dulness is lodged in a Person of a quick Animal Life, it generally exerts it self in Poetry. One might here mention a few Military Writers, who give great Entertainment to the Age, by reason that the Stupidity of their Heads is quickened by the Alacrity of their Hearts. This Constitution in a dull Fellow, gives Vigour to Nonsense, and makes the Puddle boil, which would otherwise stagnate. The British Prince, that Celebrated Poem, which was written in the Reign of King Charles the Second, and deservedly called by the Wits of that Age Incomparable7, was the Effect of such an happy Genius as we are speaking of. From among many other Disticks no less to be quoted on this Account, I cannot but recite the two following Lines.
A painted Vest Prince Voltager had on,
Which from a Naked
Pict his Grandsire won.
Here if the Poet had not been Vivacious, as well as Stupid, he could not, in the Warmth and Hurry of Nonsense, have been capable of forgetting that neither Prince Voltager, nor his Grandfather, could strip a Naked Man of his Doublet; but a Fool of a colder Constitution, would have staid to have Flea'd the Pict, and made Buff of his Skin, for the Wearing of the Conqueror.

To bring these Observations to some useful Purpose of Life, what I would propose should be, that we imitated those wise Nations, wherein every Man learns some Handycraft-Work. Would it not employ a Beau prettily enough, if instead of eternally playing with a Snuff-box, he spent some part of his Time in making one? Such a Method as this, would very much conduce to the Publick Emolument, by making every Man living good for something; for there would then be no one Member of Human Society, but would have some little Pretension for some Degree in it; like him who came to Will's Coffee-house, upon the Merit of having writ a Posie of a Ring.


Footnote 1:  Like the chopping in two of the Respublica in the quotation just above of the well-known Roman formula by which consuls were to see ne quid Respublica detrimenti capiat, this is a jest on the ignorance of the political wiseacres. Port wine had been forced on England in 1703 in place of Claret, and the drinking of it made an act of patriotism, — which then meant hostility to France, — by the Methuen treaty, so named from its negotiator, Paul Methuen, the English Minister at Lisbon. It is the shortest treaty upon record, having only two clauses, one providing that Portugal should admit British cloths; the other that England should admit Portuguese wines at one-third less duty than those of France. This lasted until 1831, and so the English were made Port wine drinkers. Abraham Froth and his friends of the Hebdomadal Meeting, all 'Grave, Serious, Designing Men in their Way' have a confused notion in 1711 of the Methuen Treaty of 1703 as 'the Act for importing French wines,' with which they are much offended. The slowness and confusion of their ideas upon a piece of policy then so familiar, gives point to the whimsical solemnity of their 'Had we been aware,' &c.
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Footnote 2:   The subject of Mr. Froth's profound comment is now the memorable March of Charles XII of Sweden to the Ukraine, ending on the 8th of July, 1709, in the decisive battle of Pultowa, that established the fortune of Czar Peter the Great, and put an end to the preponderance of Sweden in northern Europe. Charles had seemed to be on his way to Moscow, when he turned south and marched through desolation to the Ukraine, whither he was tempted by Ivan Mazeppa, a Hetman of the Cossacks, who, though 80 years old, was ambitious of independence to be won for him by the prowess of Charles XII. Instead of 30,000 men Mazeppa brought to the King of Sweden only himself as a fugitive with 40 or 50 attendants; but in the spring of 1809 he procured for the wayworn and part shoeless army of Charles the alliance of the Saporogue Cossacks. Although doubled by these and by Wallachians, the army was in all but 20,000 strong with which he then determined to besiege Pullowa; and there, after two months' siege, he ventured to give battle to a relieving army of 60,000 Russians. Of his 20,000 men, 9000 were left on that battle-field, and 3000 made prisoners. Of the rest — all that survived of 54,000 Swedes with whom he had quitted Saxony to cross the steppes of Russia, and of 16,000 sent to him as reinforcement afterwards — part perished, and they who were left surrendered on capitulation, Charles himself having taken refuge at Bender in Bessarabia with the Turks, Mr. Froth's Infidels.

Footnote 3:   Perhaps Monsieur Palmquist is the form in which these 'Grave, Serious, Designing Men in their Way' have picked up the name of Charles's brave general, Count Poniatowski, to whom he owed his escape after the battle of Pultowa, and who won over Turkey to support his failing fortunes. The Turks, his subsequent friends, are the 'Infidels' before-mentioned, the wise politicians being apparently under the impression that they had marched with the Swedes out of Saxony.

Footnote 4:   Here Mr. Froth and his friends were truer prophets than anyone knew when this number of the Spectator appeared, on the 19th of April. The news had not reached England of the death of the Emperor Joseph I on the 17th of April. During his reign, and throughout the war, the Hungarians, desiring independence, had been fighting on the side of France. The Archduke Charles, now become Emperor, was ready to give the Hungarians such privileges, especially in matters of religion, as restored their friendship.
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Footnote 5:   After Pultowa, Frederick IV of Denmark, Augustus II of Poland, and Czar Peter, formed an alliance against Sweden; and in the course of 1710 the Emperor of Germany, Great Britain, and the States-General concluded two treaties guaranteeing the neutrality of all the States of the Empire. This suggests to Mr. Froth and his friends the idea that there is a 'Neutrality Army' operating somewhere.

Footnote 6:   Dyer was a Jacobite printer, whose News-letter was twice in trouble for 'misrepresenting the proceedings of the House,' and who, in 1703, had given occasion for a proclamation against 'printing and spreading false 'news.'

Footnote 7:   'The British Princes, an Heroick Poem,' by the Hon. Edward Howard, was published in 1669. The author produced also five plays, and a volume of Poems and Essays, with a Paraphrase on Cicero's Lælius in Heroic Verse. The Earls of Rochester and Dorset devoted some verses to jest both on The British Princes and on Edward Howard's Plays. Even Dr. Sprat had his rhymed joke with the rest, in lines to a Person of Honour 'upon his Incomparable, Incomprehensible Poem, intitled The British Princes.' Edward Howard did not print the nonsense here ascribed to him. It was a burlesque of his lines:
'A vest as admir'd Vortiger had on,
Which from this Island's foes his Grandsire won.'

Contents p.2

No. 44

Friday, April 20, 1711


Tu, quid ego et populus mecum desideret, audi.


Among the several Artifices which are put in Practice by the Poets to fill the Minds of an1 Audience with Terror, the first Place is due to Thunder and Lightning, which are often made use of at the Descending of a God, or the Rising of a Ghost, at the Vanishing of a Devil, or at the Death of a Tyrant. I have known a Bell introduced into several Tragedies with good Effect; and have seen the whole Assembly in a very great Alarm all the while it has been ringing. But there is nothing which delights and terrifies our English Theatre so much as a Ghost, especially when he appears in a bloody Shirt. A Spectre has very often saved a Play, though he has done nothing but stalked across the Stage, or rose through a Cleft of it, and sunk again without speaking one Word. There may be a proper Season for these several Terrors; and when they only come in as Aids and Assistances to the Poet, they are not only to be excused, but to be applauded. Thus the sounding of the Clock in Venice Preserved2, makes the Hearts of the whole Audience quake; and conveys a stronger Terror to the Mind than it is possible for Words to do. The Appearance of the Ghost in Hamlet is a Master-piece in its kind, and wrought up with all the Circumstances that can create either Attention or Horror. The Mind of the Reader is wonderfully prepared for his Reception by the Discourses that precede it: His Dumb Behaviour at his first Entrance, strikes the Imagination very strongly; but every time he enters, he is still more terrifying. Who can read the Speech with which young Hamlet accosts him, without trembling?

Hor. Look, my Lord, it comes!
Ham. Angels and Ministers of Grace defend us!
Be thou a Spirit of Health, or Goblin damn'd;
Bring with thee Airs from Heav'n, or Blasts from Hell;
Be thy Events wicked or charitable;
Thou com'st in such a questionable Shape
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee
King, Father, Royal Dane: Oh! Oh! Answer me,
Let me not burst in Ignorance; but tell
Why thy canoniz'd Bones, hearsed in Death,
Have burst their Cearments? Why the Sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble Jaws
To cast thee up again? What may this mean?
That thou dead Coarse again in compleat Steel
Revisit'st thus the Glimpses of the Moon,
Making Night hideous?

I do not therefore find Fault with the Artifices above-mentioned when they are introduced with Skill, and accompanied by proportionable Sentiments and Expressions in the Writing.

For the moving of Pity, our principal Machine is the Handkerchief; and indeed in our common Tragedies, we should not know very often that the Persons are in Distress by any thing they say, if they did not from time to time apply their Handkerchiefs to their Eyes. Far be it from me to think of banishing this Instrument of Sorrow from the Stage; I know a Tragedy could not subsist without it: All that I would contend for, is, to keep it from being misapplied. In a Word, I would have the Actor's Tongue sympathize with his Eyes.

A disconsolate Mother, with a Child in her Hand, has frequently drawn Compassion from the Audience, and has therefore gained a place in several Tragedies. A Modern Writer, that observed how this had took in other Plays, being resolved to double the Distress, and melt his Audience twice as much as those before him had done, brought a Princess upon the Stage with a little Boy in one Hand and a Girl in the other. This too had a very good Effect. A third Poet, being resolved to out-write all his Predecessors, a few Years ago introduced three Children, with great Success: And as I am informed, a young Gentleman, who is fully determined to break the most obdurate Hearts, has a Tragedy by him, where the first Person that appears upon the Stage, is an afflicted Widow in her mourning Weeds, with half a Dozen fatherless Children attending her, like those that usually hang about the Figure of Charity. Thus several Incidents that are beautiful in a good Writer, become ridiculous by falling into the Hands of a bad one.

But among all our Methods of moving Pity or Terror, there is none so absurd and barbarous, and what more exposes us to the Contempt and Ridicule of our Neighbours, than that dreadful butchering of one another, which is so very frequent upon the English Stage. To delight in seeing Men stabbed, poysoned, racked, or impaled, is certainly the Sign of a cruel Temper: And as this is often practised before the British Audience, several French Criticks, who think these are grateful Spectacles to us, take occasion from them to represent us as a People that delight in Blood3. It is indeed very odd, to see our Stage strowed with Carcasses in the last Scene of a Tragedy; and to observe in the Ward-robe of a Play-house several Daggers, Poniards, Wheels, Bowls for Poison, and many other Instruments of Death. Murders and Executions are always transacted behind the Scenes in the French Theatre; which in general is very agreeable to the Manners of a polite and civilized People: But as there are no Exceptions to this Rule on the French Stage, it leads them into Absurdities almost as ridiculous as that which falls under our present Censure. I remember in the famous Play of Corneille, written upon the Subject of the Horatii and Curiatii; the fierce young hero who had overcome the Curiatii one after another, (instead of being congratulated by his Sister for his Victory, being upbraided by her for having slain her Lover,) in the Height of his Passion and Resentment kills her. If any thing could extenuate so brutal an Action, it would be the doing of it on a sudden, before the Sentiments of Nature, Reason, or Manhood could take Place in him. However, to avoid publick Blood-shed, as soon as his Passion is wrought to its Height, he follows his Sister the whole length of the Stage, and forbears killing her till they are both withdrawn behind the Scenes. I must confess, had he murder'd her before the Audience, the Indecency might have been greater; but as it is, it appears very unnatural, and looks like killing in cold Blood. To give my Opinion upon this Case; the Fact ought not to have been represented, but to have been told, if there was any Occasion for it.

It may not be unacceptable to the Reader, to see how Sophocles has conducted a Tragedy under the like delicate Circumstances. Orestes was in the same Condition with Hamlet in Shakespear, his Mother having murdered his Father, and taken possession of his Kingdom in Conspiracy with her Adulterer. That young Prince therefore, being determined to revenge his Father's Death upon those who filled his Throne, conveys himself by a beautiful Stratagem into his Mother's Apartment with a Resolution to kill her. But because such a Spectacle would have been too shocking to the Audience, this dreadful Resolution is executed behind the Scenes: The Mother is heard calling out to her Son for Mercy; and the Son answering her, that she shewed no Mercy to his Father; after which she shrieks out that she is wounded, and by what follows we find that she is slain. I do not remember that in any of our Plays there are Speeches made behind the Scenes, though there are other Instances of this Nature to be met with in those of the Ancients: And I believe my Reader will agree with me, that there is something infinitely more affecting in this dreadful Dialogue between the Mother and her Son behind the Scenes, than could have been in anything transacted before the Audience. Orestes immediately after meets the Usurper at the Entrance of his Palace; and by a very happy Thought of the Poet avoids killing him before the Audience, by telling him that he should live some Time in his present Bitterness of Soul before he would dispatch him; and by ordering him to retire into that Part of the Palace where he had slain his Father, whose Murther he would revenge in the very same Place where it was committed. By this means the Poet observes that Decency, which Horace afterwards established by a Rule, of forbearing to commit Parricides or unnatural Murthers before the Audience.
Nec coram populo natos Medea trucidet.

Let not
Medea draw her murth'ring Knife,
And spill her Children's Blood upon the Stage.
The French have therefore refin'd too much upon Horace's Rule, who never designed to banish all Kinds of Death from the Stage; but only such as had too much Horror in them, and which would have a better Effect upon the Audience when transacted behind the Scenes. I would therefore recommend to my Countrymen the Practice of the ancient Poets, who were very sparing of their publick Executions, and rather chose to perform them behind the Scenes, if it could be done with as great an Effect upon the Audience. At the same time I must observe, that though the devoted Persons of the Tragedy were seldom slain before the Audience, which has generally something ridiculous in it, their Bodies were often produced after their Death, which has always in it something melancholy or terrifying; so that the killing on the Stage does not seem to have been avoided only as an Indecency, but also as an Improbability.
Nec pueros coram populo Medea trucidet;
Aut humana palam coquat exta nefarius
Aut in avem Progne vertatur, Cadmus in anguem,
Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic, incredulus odi


Medea must not draw her murth'ring Knife,
Atreus there his horrid Feast prepare.
Cadmus and Progne's Metamorphosis,
(She to a Swallow turn'd, he to a Snake)
And whatsoever contradicts my Sense,
I hate to see, and never can believe.

(Ld. Roscommon.)4
I have now gone through the several Dramatick Inventions which are made use of by the Ignorant Poets to supply the Place of Tragedy, and by the Skilful to improve it; some of which I could wish entirely rejected, and the rest to be used with Caution. It would be an endless Task to consider Comedy in the same Light, and to mention the innumerable Shifts that small Wits put in practice to raise a Laugh. Bullock in a short Coat, and Norris in a long one, seldom fail of this Effect5. In ordinary Comedies, a broad and a narrow brim'd Hat are different Characters. Sometimes the Wit of the Scene lies in a Shoulder-belt, and Sometimes in a Pair of Whiskers. A Lover running about the Stage, with his Head peeping out of a Barrel, was thought a very good Jest in King Charles the Second's time; and invented by one of the first Wits of that Age6. But because Ridicule is not so delicate as Compassion, and because7 the Objects that make us laugh are infinitely more numerous than those that make us weep, there is a much greater Latitude for comick than tragick Artifices, and by Consequence a much greater Indulgence to be allowed them.


Footnote 1:   the
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Footnote 2:   In Act V The toll of the passing bell for Pierre in the parting scene between Jaffier and Belvidera.

Footnote 3:  Thus Rene Rapin, — whom Dryden declared alone
'sufficient, were all other critics lost, to teach anew the rules of writing,'
said in his Reflections on Aristotle's Treatise of Poetry, translated by Rymer in 1694,
The English, our Neighbours, love Blood in their Sports, by the quality of their Temperament: These are Insulaires, separated from the rest of men; we are more humane ... The English have more of Genius for Tragedy than other People, as well by the Spirit of their Nation, which delights in Cruelty, as also by the Character of their Language, which is proper for Great Expressions.'

Footnote 4:   The Earl of Roscommon, who died in 1684, aged about 50, besides his Essay on Translated Verse, produced, in 1680, a Translation of Horace's Art of Poetry into English Blank Verse, with Remarks. Of his Essay, Dryden said:
'The Muse's Empire is restored again
In Charles his reign, and by Roscommon's pen.'

Footnote 5:   Of Bullock see note, p. 138, ante. Norris had at one time, by his acting of Dicky in Farquhar's Trip to the Jubilee, acquired the name of Jubilee Dicky.

Footnote 6:   Sir George Etherege. It was his first play, The Comical Revenge, or Love in a Tub, produced in 1664, which introduced him to the society of Rochester, Buckingham, &c.

Footnote 7:  as

Contents p.2

No. 45

Saturday, April 21, 1711


Natio Comæda est.


There is nothing which I more desire than a safe and honourable Peace1, tho' at the same time I am very apprehensive of many ill Consequences that may attend it. I do not mean in regard to our Politicks, but to our Manners. What an Inundation of Ribbons and Brocades will break in upon us? What Peals of Laughter and Impertinence shall we be exposed to? For the Prevention of these great Evils, I could heartily wish that there was an Act of Parliament for Prohibiting the Importation of French Fopperies.

The Female Inhabitants of our Island have already received very strong Impressions from this ludicrous Nation, tho' by the Length of the War (as there is no Evil which has not some Good attending it) they are pretty well worn out and forgotten. I remember the time when some of our well-bred Country-Women kept their Valet de Chambre, because, forsooth, a Man was much more handy about them than one of their own Sex. I myself have seen one of these Male Abigails tripping about the Room with a Looking-glass in his Hand, and combing his Lady's Hair a whole Morning together. Whether or no there was any Truth in the Story of a Lady's being got with Child by one of these her Handmaids I cannot tell, but I think at present the whole Race of them is extinct in our own Country.

About the Time that several of our Sex were taken into this kind of Service, the Ladies likewise brought up the Fashion of receiving Visits in their Beds2. It was then look'd upon as a piece of Ill Breeding, for a Woman to refuse to see a Man, because she was not stirring; and a Porter would have been thought unfit for his Place, that could have made so awkward an Excuse. As I love to see every thing that is new, I once prevailed upon my Friend Will. Honeycomb to carry me along with him to one of these Travelled Ladies, desiring him, at the same time, to present me as a Foreigner who could not speak English, that so I might not be obliged to bear a Part in the Discourse. The Lady, tho' willing to appear undrest, had put on her best Looks, and painted her self for our Reception. Her Hair appeared in a very nice Disorder, as the Night-Gown which was thrown upon her Shoulders was ruffled with great Care. For my part, I am so shocked with every thing which looks immodest in the Fair Sex, that I could not forbear taking off my Eye from her when she moved in her Bed, and was in the greatest Confusion imaginable every time she stired a Leg or an Arm. As the Coquets, who introduced this Custom, grew old, they left it off by Degrees; well knowing that a Woman of Threescore may kick and tumble her Heart out, without making any Impressions.

Sempronia is at present the most profest Admirer of the French Nation, but is so modest as to admit her Visitants no further than her Toilet. It is a very odd Sight that beautiful Creature makes, when she is talking Politicks with her Tresses flowing about her Shoulders, and examining that Face in the Glass, which does such Execution upon all the Male Standers-by. How prettily does she divide her Discourse between her Woman and her Visitants? What sprightly Transitions does she make from an Opera or a Sermon, to an Ivory Comb or a Pincushion? How have I been pleased to see her interrupted in an Account of her Travels, by a Message to her Footman; and holding her Tongue, in the midst of a Moral Reflexion, by applying the Tip of it to a Patch?

There is nothing which exposes a Woman to greater dangers, than that Gaiety and Airiness of Temper, which are natural to most of the Sex. It should be therefore the Concern of every wise and virtuous Woman, to keep this Sprightliness from degenerating into Levity. On the contrary, the whole Discourse and Behaviour of the French is to make the Sex more Fantastical, or (as they are pleased to term it,) more awakened, than is consistent either with Virtue or Discretion. To speak Loud in Publick Assemblies, to let every one hear you talk of Things that should only be mentioned in Private or in Whisper, are looked upon as Parts of a refined Education. At the same time, a Blush is unfashionable, and Silence more ill-bred than any thing that can be spoken. In short, Discretion and Modesty, which in all other Ages and Countries have been regarded as the greatest Ornaments of the Fair Sex, are considered as the Ingredients of narrow Conversation, and Family Behaviour.

Some Years ago I was at the Tragedy of Macbeth, and unfortunately placed myself under a Woman of Quality that is since Dead; who, as I found by the Noise she made, was newly returned from France. A little before the rising of the Curtain, she broke out into a loud Soliloquy, When will the dear Witches enter? and immediately upon their first Appearance, asked a Lady that sat three Boxes from her, on her Right-hand, if those Witches were not charming Creatures. A little after, as Betterton was in one of the finest Speeches of the Play, she shook her Fan at another Lady, who sat as far on the Left hand, and told her with a Whisper, that might be heard all over the Pit, We must not expect to see Balloon to-night3. Not long after, calling out to a young Baronet by his Name, who sat three Seats before me, she asked him whether Macbeth's Wife was still alive; and before he could give an Answer, fell a talking of the Ghost of Banquo. She had by this time formed a little Audience to herself, and fixed the Attention of all about her. But as I had a mind to hear the Play, I got out of the Sphere of her Impertinence, and planted myself in one of the remotest Corners of the Pit.

This pretty Childishness of Behaviour is one of the most refined Parts of Coquetry, and is not to be attained in Perfection, by Ladies that do not Travel for their Improvement. A natural and unconstrained Behaviour has something in it so agreeable, that it is no Wonder to see People endeavouring after it. But at the same time, it is so very hard to hit, when it is not Born with us, that People often make themselves Ridiculous in attempting it.

A very ingenious French Author4 tells us, that the Ladies of the Court of France, in his Time, thought it Ill-breeding, and a kind of Female Pedantry, to pronounce an hard Word right; for which Reason they took frequent occasion to use hard Words, that they might shew a Politeness in murdering them. He further adds, that a Lady of some Quality at Court, having accidentally made use of an hard Word in a proper Place, and pronounced it right, the whole Assembly was out of Countenance for her.

I must however be so just to own, that there are many Ladies who have Travelled several Thousand of Miles without being the worse for it, and have brought Home with them all the Modesty, Discretion and good Sense that they went abroad with. As on the contrary, there are great Numbers of Travelled Ladies, who5 have lived all their Days within the Smoke of London. I have known a Woman that never was out of the Parish of St. James's, betray6 as many Foreign Fopperies in her Carriage, as she could have Gleaned up in half the Countries of Europe.


Footnote 1:   At this date the news would just have reached England of the death of the Emperor Joseph and accession of Archduke Charles to the German crown. The Archduke's claim to the crown of Spain had been supported as that of a younger brother of the House of Austria, in whose person the two crowns of Germany and Spain were not likely to be united. When, therefore, Charles became head of the German empire, the war of the Spanish succession changed its aspect altogether, and the English looked for peace. That of 1711 was, in fact, Marlborough's last campaign; peace negotiations were at the same time going on between France and England, and preliminaries were signed in London in October of this year, 1711. England was accused of betraying the allied cause; but the changed political conditions led to her withdrawal from it, and her withdrawal compelled the assent of the allies to the general peace made by the Treaty of Utrecht, which, after tedious negotiations, was not signed until the 11th of April, 1713, the continuous issue of the Spectator having ended, with Vol. VII., in December, 1712.
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Footnote 2:   The custom was copied from the French Précieuses, at a time when courir les ruelles (to take the run of the bedsides) was a Parisian phrase for fashionable morning calls upon the ladies. The ruelle is the little path between the bedside and the wall.

Footnote 3:  Balloon was a game like tennis played with a foot-ball; but the word may be applied here to a person. It had not the-sense which now first occurs to the mind of a modern reader. Air balloons are not older than 1783.

Footnote 4:   Describing perhaps one form of reaction against the verbal pedantry and Phébus of the Précieuses.

Footnote 5:   that

Footnote 6:   with

Contents p.2

No. 46

Monday, April 23, 1711


Non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum.


When I want Materials for this Paper, it is my Custom to go abroad in quest of Game; and when I meet any proper Subject, I take the first Opportunity of setting down an Hint of it upon Paper. At the same time I look into the Letters of my Correspondents, and if I find any thing suggested in them that may afford Matter of Speculation, I likewise enter a Minute of it in my Collection of Materials. By this means I frequently carry about me a whole Sheetful of Hints, that would look like a Rhapsody of Nonsense to any Body but myself: There is nothing in them but Obscurity and Confusion, Raving and Inconsistency. In short, they are my Speculations in the first Principles, that (like the World in its Chaos) are void of all Light, Distinction, and Order.

About a Week since there happened to me a very odd Accident, by Reason of one of these my Papers of Minutes which I had accidentally dropped at Lloyd's1 Coffee-house, where the Auctions are usually kept. Before I missed it, there were a Cluster of People who had found it, and were diverting themselves with it at one End of the Coffee-house: It had raised so much Laughter among them before I had observed what they were about, that I had not the Courage to own it. The Boy of the Coffee-house, when they had done with it, carried it about in his Hand, asking every Body if they had dropped a written Paper; but no Body challenging it, he was ordered by those merry Gentlemen who had before perused it, to get up into the Auction Pulpit, and read it to the whole Room, that if any one would own it they might. The Boy accordingly mounted the Pulpit, and with a very audible Voice read as follows.

Sir Roger de Coverly's Country Seat — Yes, for I hate long Speeches — Query, if a good Christian may be a Conjurer — Childermas-day, Saltseller, House-Dog, Screech-owl, Cricket — Mr. Thomas Inkle of London, in the good Ship called The Achilles. Yarico — Ægrescitique medendo — Ghosts — The Lady's Library — Lion by Trade a Taylor — Dromedary called Bucephalus — Equipage the Lady's summum bonumCharles Lillie to be taken notice of2 — Short Face a Relief to Envy — Redundancies in the three Professions — King Latinus a Recruit — Jew devouring an Ham of Bacon — Westminster AbbeyGrand Cairo — Procrastination — April Fools — Blue Boars, Red Lions, Hogs in Armour — Enter a King and two Fidlers solus — Admission into the Ugly Club — Beauty, how improveable — Families of true and false Humour — The Parrot's School-Mistress — Face half Pict half British — no Man to be an Hero of Tragedy under Six foot — Club of Sighers — Letters from Flower-Pots, Elbow-Chairs, Tapestry-Figures, Lion, Thunder — The Bell rings to the Puppet-Show — Old-Woman with a Beard married to a smock-faced Boy — My next Coat to be turned up with Blue — Fable of Tongs and Gridiron — Flower Dyers — The Soldier's Prayer — Thank ye for nothing, says the Gally-Pot — Pactolus in Stockings, with golden Clocks to them — Bamboos, Cudgels, Drumsticks — Slip of my Landlady's eldest Daughter — The black Mare with a Star in her Forehead — The Barber's Pole — Will. Honeycomb's Coat-pocket — Cæsar's Behaviour and my own in Parallel Circumstances — Poem in Patch-work — Nulli gravis est percussus Achilles — The Female Conventicler — The Ogle Master.
The reading of this Paper made the whole Coffee-house very merry; some of them concluded it was written by a Madman, and others by some Body that had been taking Notes out of the Spectator. One who had the Appearance of a very substantial Citizen, told us, with several politick Winks and Nods, that he wished there was no more in the Paper than what was expressed in it: That for his part, he looked upon the Dromedary, the Gridiron, and the Barber's Pole, to signify something more than what is usually meant by those Words; and that he thought the Coffee-man could not do better than to carry the Paper to one of the Secretaries of State. He further added, that he did not like the Name of the outlandish Man with the golden Clock in his Stockings. A young Oxford Scholar3, who chanced to be with his Uncle at the Coffee-house, discover'd to us who this Pactolus was; and by that means turned the whole Scheme of this worthy Citizen into Ridicule. While they were making their several Conjectures upon this innocent Paper, I reach'd out my Arm to the Boy, as he was coming out of the Pulpit, to give it me; which he did accordingly. This drew the Eyes of the whole Company upon me; but after having cast a cursory Glance over it, and shook my Head twice or thrice at the reading of it, I twisted it into a kind of Match, and litt my Pipe with it. My profound Silence, together with the Steadiness of my Countenance, and the Gravity of my Behaviour during this whole Transaction, raised a very loud Laugh on all Sides of me; but as I had escaped all Suspicion of being the Author, I was very well satisfied, and applying myself to my Pipe, and the Post-man, took no further Notice of any thing that passed about me.

My Reader will find, that I have already made use of above half the Contents of the foregoing Paper; and will easily Suppose, that those Subjects which are yet untouched were such Provisions as I had made for his future Entertainment. But as I have been unluckily prevented by this Accident, I shall only give him the Letters which relate to the two last Hints. The first of them I should not have published, were I not informed that there is many a Husband who suffers very much in his private Affairs by the indiscreet Zeal of such a Partner as is hereafter mentioned; to whom I may apply the barbarous Inscription quoted by the Bishop of Salisbury in his Travels4; Dum nimia pia est, facta est impia.

'I am one of those unhappy Men that are plagued with a Gospel-Gossip, so common among Dissenters (especially Friends). Lectures in the Morning, Church-Meetings at Noon, and Preparation Sermons at Night, take up so much of her Time, 'tis very rare she knows what we have for Dinner, unless when the Preacher is to be at it. With him come a Tribe, all Brothers and Sisters it seems; while others, really such, are deemed no Relations. If at any time I have her Company alone, she is a meer Sermon Popgun, repeating and discharging Texts, Proofs, and Applications so perpetually, that however weary I may go to bed, the Noise in my Head will not let me sleep till towards Morning. The Misery of my Case, and great Numbers of such Sufferers, plead your Pity and speedy Relief, otherwise must expect, in a little time, to be lectured, preached, and prayed into Want, unless the Happiness of being sooner talked to Death prevent it.

I am, &c.
R. G

The second Letter relating to the Ogling Master, runs thus.
Mr. Spectator,

'I am an Irish Gentleman, that have travelled many Years for my Improvement; during which time I have accomplished myself in the whole Art of Ogling, as it is at present practised in all the polite Nations of Europe. Being thus qualified, I intend, by the Advice of my Friends, to set up for an Ogling-Master. I teach the Church Ogle in the Morning, and the Play-house Ogle by Candle-light. I have also brought over with me a new flying Ogle fit for the Ring; which I teach in the Dusk of the Evening, or in any Hour of the Day by darkning one of my Windows. I have a Manuscript by me called The Compleat Ogler, which I shall be ready to show you upon any Occasion. In the mean time, I beg you will publish the Substance of this Letter in an Advertisement, and you will very much oblige,

Yours, &c.

Footnote 1:   Lloyd's Coffee House was first established in Lombard Street, at the corner of Abchurch Lane. Pains were taken to get early Ship news at Lloyd's, and the house was used by underwriters and insurers of Ships' cargoes. It was found also to be a convenient place for sales. A poem called The Wealthy Shopkeeper, printed in 1700, says of him,
Now to Lloyd's Coffee-house he never fails,
To read the Letters, and attend the Sales.
It was afterwards removed to Pope's Head Alley, as 'the New Lloyd's Coffee House;' again removed in 1774 to a corner of the Old Royal Exchange; and in the building of the new Exchange was provided with the rooms now known as 'Lloyd's Subscription Rooms,' an institution which forms part of our commercial system.
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Footnote 2:   Charles Lillie, the perfumer in the Strand, at the corner of Beaufort Buildings — where the business of a perfumer is at this day carried on — appears in the 16th, 18th, and subsequent numbers of the Spectator, together with Mrs. Baldwin of Warwick Lane, as a chief agent for the sale of the Paper. To the line which had run
'London: Printed for Sam. Buckley, at the Dolphin in Little Britain; and Sold by A. Baldwin in Warwick-Lane; where Advertisements are taken in;'
there was then appended:
'as also by Charles Lillie, Perfumer, at the Corner of Beaufort-Buildings in the Strand'.
Nine other agents, of whom complete sets could be had, were occasionally set forth together with these two in an advertisement; but only these are in the colophon.

Footnote 3:   Oxonian

Footnote 4:   Gilbert Burnet, author of the History of the Reformation, and History of his own Time, was Bishop of Salisbury from 1689 to his death in 1715. Addison here quotes:
'Some Letters containing an Account of what seemed most remarkable in Travelling through Switzerland, Italy, some parts of Germany, &c., in the Years 1685 and 1686. Written by G. Burnet, D.D., to the Honourable R. B.'
In the first letter, which is from Zurich, Dr. Burnet speaks of many Inscriptions at Lyons of the late and barbarous ages, as Bonum Memoriam, and Epitaphium hunc. Of 23 Inscriptions in the Garden of the Fathers of Mercy, he quotes one which must be towards the barbarous age, as appears by the false Latin in 'Nimia' He quotes it because he has 'made a little reflection on it,' which is, that its subject, Sutia Anthis, to whose memory her husband Cecalius Calistis dedicates the inscription which says
'quædum Nimia pia fuit, facta est Impia'

(who while she was too pious, was made impious),
must have been publicly accused of Impiety, or her husband would not have recorded it in such a manner; that to the Pagans Christianity was Atheism and Impiety; and that here, therefore, is a Pagan husband's testimony to the better faith, that the Piety of his wife made her a Christian.

Contents p.2

No. 47

Tuesday, April 24, 1711


Ride si sapis.


Mr. Hobbs, in his Discourse of Human Nature1, which, in my humble Opinion, is much the best of all his Works, after some very curious Observations upon Laughter, concludes thus:
'The Passion of Laughter is nothing else but sudden Glory arising from some sudden Conception of some Eminency in ourselves by Comparison with the Infirmity of others, or with our own formerly: For Men laugh at the Follies of themselves past, when they come suddenly to Remembrance, except they bring with them any present Dishonour.'
According to this Author, therefore, when we hear a Man laugh excessively, instead of saying he is very Merry, we ought to tell him he is very Proud. And, indeed, if we look into the bottom of this Matter, we shall meet with many Observations to confirm us in his Opinion. Every one laughs at some Body that is in an inferior State of Folly to himself. It was formerly the Custom for every great House in England to keep a tame Fool dressed in Petticoats, that the Heir of the Family might have an Opportunity of joking upon him, and diverting himself with his Absurdities. For the same Reason Idiots are still in Request in most of the Courts of Germany, where there is not a Prince of any great Magnificence, who has not two or three dressed, distinguished, undisputed Fools in his Retinue, whom the rest of the Courtiers are always breaking their Jests upon.

The Dutch, who are more famous for their Industry and Application, than for Wit and Humour, hang up in several of their Streets what they call the Sign of the Gaper, that is, the Head of an Idiot dressed in a Cap and Bells, and gaping in a most immoderate manner: This is a standing Jest at Amsterdam.

Thus every one diverts himself with some Person or other that is below him in Point of Understanding, and triumphs in the Superiority of his Genius, whilst he has such Objects of Derision before his Eyes. Mr. Dennis has very well expressed this in a Couple of humourous Lines, which are part of a Translation of a Satire in Monsieur Boileau2.
Thus one Fool lolls his Tongue out at another,
And shakes his empty Noddle at his Brother.
Mr. Hobbs's Reflection gives us the Reason why the insignificant People above-mentioned are Stirrers up of Laughter among Men of a gross Taste: But as the more understanding Part of Mankind do not find their Risibility affected by such ordinary Objects, it may be worth the while to examine into the several Provocatives of Laughter in Men of superior Sense and Knowledge.

In the first Place I must observe, that there is a Set of merry Drolls, whom the common People of all Countries admire, and seem to love so well, that they could eat them, according to the old Proverb: I mean those circumforaneous Wits whom every Nation calls by the Name of that Dish of Meat which it loves best. In Holland they are termed Pickled Herrings; in France, Jean Pottages; in Italy, Maccaronies; and in Great Britain, Jack Puddings. These merry Wags, from whatsoever Food they receive their Titles, that they may make their Audiences laugh, always appear in a Fool's Coat, and commit such Blunders and Mistakes in every Step they take, and every Word they utter, as those who listen to them would be ashamed of.

But this little Triumph of the Understanding, under the Disguise of Laughter, is no where more visible than in that Custom which prevails every where among us on the first Day of the present Month, when every Body takes it in his Head to make as many Fools as he can. In proportion as there are more Follies discovered, so there is more Laughter raised on this Day than on any other in the whole Year. A Neighbour of mine, who is a Haberdasher by Trade, and a very shallow conceited Fellow, makes his Boasts that for these ten Years successively he has not made less than an hundred April Fools. My Landlady had a falling out with him about a Fortnight ago, for sending every one of her Children upon some Sleeveless Errand, as she terms it. Her eldest Son went to buy an Halfpenny worth of Inkle at a Shoe-maker's; the eldest Daughter was dispatch'd half a Mile to see a Monster; and, in short, the whole Family of innocent Children made April Fools. Nay, my Landlady herself did not escape him. This empty Fellow has laughed upon these Conceits ever since.

This Art of Wit is well enough, when confined to one Day in a Twelvemonth; but there is an ingenious Tribe of Men sprung up of late Years, who are for making April Fools every Day in the Year. These Gentlemen are commonly distinguished by the Name of Biters; a Race of Men that are perpetually employed in laughing at those Mistakes which are of their own Production.

Thus we see, in proportion as one Man is more refined than another, he chooses his Fool out of a lower or higher Class of Mankind: or, to speak in a more Philosophical Language, That secret Elation and Pride of Heart, which is generally called Laughter, arises in him from his comparing himself with an Object below him, whether it so happens that it be a Natural or an Artificial Fool. It is indeed very possible, that the Persons we laugh at may in the main of their Characters be much wiser Men than ourselves; but if they would have us laugh at them, they must fall short of us in those Respects which stir up this Passion.

I am afraid I shall appear too Abstracted in my Speculations, if I shew that when a Man of Wit makes us laugh, it is by betraying some Oddness or Infirmity in his own Character, or in the Representation which he makes of others; and that when we laugh at a Brute or even at an inanimate thing, it is at some Action or Incident that bears a remote Analogy to any Blunder or Absurdity in reasonable Creatures.

But to come into common Life: I shall pass by the Consideration of those Stage Coxcombs that are able to shake a whole Audience, and take notice of a particular sort of Men who are such Provokers of Mirth in Conversation, that it is impossible for a Club or Merry-meeting to subsist without them; I mean, those honest Gentlemen that are always exposed to the Wit and Raillery of their Well-wishers and Companions; that are pelted by Men, Women, and Children, Friends and Foes, and, in a word, stand as Butts in Conversation, for every one to shoot at that pleases. I know several of these Butts, who are Men of Wit and Sense, though by some odd Turn of Humour, some unlucky Cast in their Person or Behaviour, they have always the Misfortune to make the Company merry. The Truth of it is, a Man is not qualified for a Butt, who has not a good deal of Wit and Vivacity, even in the ridiculous side of his Character. A stupid Butt is only fit for the Conversation of ordinary People: Men of Wit require one that will give them Play, and bestir himself in the absurd Part of his Behaviour. A Butt with these Accomplishments frequently gets the Laugh of his side, and turns the Ridicule upon him that attacks him. Sir John Falstaff was an Hero of this Species, and gives a good Description of himself in his Capacity of a Butt, after the following manner; Men of all Sorts (says that merry Knight) take a pride to gird at me. The Brain of Man is not able to invent any thing that tends to Laughter more than I invent, or is invented on me. I am not only Witty in my self, but the Cause that Wit is in other Men3.


Footnote 1:   Chap. ix. § 13. Thomas Hobbes's Human Nature was published in 1650. He died in 1679, aged 91.
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Footnote 2:   Boileau's 4th satire. John Dennis was at this time a leading critic of the French school, to whom Pope afterwards attached lasting ridicule. He died in 1734, aged 77.

Footnote 3:   Henry IV Part II Act I § 2.

Contents p.2

No. 48

Wednesday, April 25, 1711


... Per multas aditum sibi sæpe figuras
Repperit ...


My Correspondents take it ill if I do not, from Time to Time let them know I have received their Letters. The most effectual Way will be to publish some of them that are upon important Subjects; which I shall introduce with a Letter of my own that I writ a Fortnight ago to a Fraternity who thought fit to make me an honorary Member.
To the President and Fellows of the Ugly Club.

May it please your Deformities,

I have received the Notification of the Honour you have done me, in admitting me into your Society. I acknowledge my Want of Merit, and for that Reason shall endeavour at all Times to make up my own Failures, by introducing and recommending to the Club Persons of more undoubted Qualifications than I can pretend to. I shall next Week come down in the Stage-Coach, in order to take my Seat at the Board; and shall bring with me a Candidate of each Sex. The Persons I shall present to you, are an old Beau and a modern Pict. If they are not so eminently gifted by Nature as our Assembly expects, give me Leave to say their acquired Ugliness is greater than any that has ever appeared before you. The Beau has varied his Dress every Day of his Life for these thirty Years last past, and still added to the Deformity he was born with. The Pict has still greater Merit towards us; and has, ever since she came to Years of Discretion, deserted the handsome Party, and taken all possible Pains to acquire the Face in which I shall present her to your Consideration and Favour.

I desire to know whether you admit People of Quality.

I am, Gentlemen,
Your most obliged
Humble Servant,

April 7.

Mr. Spectator,

To shew you there are among us of the vain weak Sex, some that have Honesty and Fortitude enough to dare to be ugly, and willing to be thought so; I apply my self to you, to beg your Interest and Recommendation to the Ugly Club. If my own Word will not be taken, (tho' in this Case a Woman's may) I can bring credible Witness of my Qualifications for their Company, whether they insist upon Hair, Forehead, Eyes, Cheeks, or Chin; to which I must add, that I find it easier to lean to my left Side than my right. I hope I am in all respects agreeable: And for Humour and Mirth, I'll keep up to the President himself. All the Favour I'll pretend to is, that as I am the first Woman has appeared desirous of good Company and agreeable Conversation, I may take and keep the upper End of the Table. And indeed I think they want a Carver, which I can be after as ugly a Manner as they can wish. I desire your Thoughts of my Claim as soon as you can. Add to my Features the Length of my Face, which is full half Yard; tho' I never knew the Reason of it till you gave one for the Shortness of yours. If I knew a Name ugly enough to belong to the above-described Face, I would feign one; but, to my unspeakable Misfortune, my Name is the only disagreeable Prettiness about me; so prithee make one for me that signifies all the Deformity in the World: You understand Latin, but be sure bring it in with my being in the Sincerity of my Heart,
Your most frightful Admirer,
and Servant

Mr. Spectator,

I Read your Discourse upon Affectation, and from the Remarks made in it examined my own Heart so strictly, that I thought I had found out its most secret Avenues, with a Resolution to be aware of you for the future. But alas! to my Sorrow I now understand, that I have several Follies which I do not know the Root of. I am an old Fellow, and extremely troubled with the Gout; but having always a strong Vanity towards being pleasing in the Eyes of Women, I never have a Moment's Ease, but I am mounted in high-heel'd Shoes with a glased Wax-leather Instep. Two Days after a severe Fit I was invited to a Friend's House in the City, where I believed I should see Ladies; and with my usual Complaisance crippled my self to wait upon them: A very sumptuous Table, agreeable Company, and kind Reception, were but so many importunate Additions to the Torment I was in. A Gentleman of the Family observed my Condition; and soon after the Queen's Health, he, in the Presence of the whole Company, with his own Hand degraded me into an old Pair of his own Shoes. This operation, before fine Ladies, to me (who am by Nature a Coxcomb) was suffered with the same Reluctance as they admit the Help of Men in their greatest Extremity. The Return of Ease made me forgive the rough Obligation laid upon me, which at that time relieved my Body from a Distemper, and will my Mind for ever from a Folly. For the Charity received I return my Thanks this Way.
Your most humble Servant.
Epping, April 18.


We have your Papers here the Morning they come out, and we have been very well entertained with your last, upon the false Ornaments of Persons who represent Heroes in a Tragedy. What made your Speculation come very seasonably amongst us is, that we have now at this Place a Company of Strolers, who are very far from offending in the impertinent Splendor of the Drama. They are so far from falling into these false Gallantries, that the Stage is here in its Original Situation of a Cart. Alexander the Great was acted by a Fellow in a Paper Cravat. The next Day, the Earl of Essex1 seemed to have no Distress but his Poverty: And my Lord Foppington2 the same Morning wanted any better means to shew himself a Fop, than by wearing Stockings of different Colours. In a Word, tho' they have had a full Barn for many Days together, our Itinerants are still so wretchedly poor, that without you can prevail to send us the Furniture you forbid at the Play-house, the Heroes appear only like sturdy Beggars, and the Heroines Gipsies. We have had but one Part which was performed and dressed with Propriety, and that was Justice Clodpate3: This was so well done that it offended Mr. Justice Overdo4; who, in the midst of our whole Audience, was (like Quixote in the Puppet-Show) so highly provok'd, that he told them, If they would move compassion, it should be in their own Persons, and not in the Characters of distressed Princes and Potentates: He told them, If they were so good at finding the way to People's Hearts, they should do it at the End of Bridges or Church-Porches, in their proper Vocation of Beggars. This, the Justice says, they must expect, since they could not be contented to act Heathen Warriors, and such Fellows as Alexander, but must presume to make a Mockery of one of the Quorum. Your Servant.


Footnote 1:   In The Unhappy Favourite, or the Earl of Essex, a Tragedy of John Banks, first acted in 1682.
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Footnote 2:   Lord Foppington is in the Colley Cibber's Careless Husband, first acted in 1794.

Footnote 3:   Justice Clodpate is in the Shadwell's Epsons Wells, first acted in 1676.

Footnote 4:   Adam Overdo is the Justice of the Peace, who in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair goes disguised
'for the good of the Republic in the Fair and the weeding out of enormity.'

Contents p.2

No. 49

Thursday, April 26, 1711


... Hominem pagina nostra sapit.


It is very natural for a Man who is not turned for Mirthful Meetings of Men, or Assemblies of the fair Sex, to delight in that sort of Conversation which we find in Coffee-houses. Here a Man, of my Temper, is in his Element; for if he cannot talk, he can still be more agreeable to his Company, as well as pleased in himself, in being only an Hearer. It is a Secret known but to few, yet of no small use in the Conduct of Life, that when you fall into a Man's Conversation, the first thing you should consider is, whether he has a greater Inclination to hear you, or that you should hear him. The latter is the more general Desire, and I know very able Flatterers that never speak a Word in Praise of the Persons from whom they obtain daily Favours, but still practise a skilful Attention to whatever is uttered by those with whom they converse. We are very Curious to observe the Behaviour of Great Men and their Clients; but the same Passions and Interests move Men in lower Spheres; and I (that have nothing else to do but make Observations) see in every Parish, Street, Lane, and Alley of this Populous City, a little Potentate that has his Court, and his Flatterers who lay Snares for his Affection and Favour, by the same Arts that are practised upon Men in higher Stations.

In the Place I most usually frequent, Men differ rather in the Time of Day in which they make a Figure, than in any real Greatness above one another. I, who am at the Coffee-house at Six in a Morning, know that my Friend Beaver the Haberdasher has a Levy of more undissembled Friends and Admirers, than most of the Courtiers or Generals of Great-Britain. Every Man about him has, perhaps, a News-Paper in his Hand; but none can pretend to guess what Step will be taken in any one Court of Europe, 'till Mr. Beaver has thrown down his Pipe, and declares what Measures the Allies must enter into upon this new Posture of Affairs. Our Coffee-house is near one of the Inns of Court, and Beaver has the Audience and Admiration of his Neighbours from Six 'till within a Quarter of Eight, at which time he is interrupted by the Students of the House; some of whom are ready dress'd for Westminster, at Eight in a Morning, with Faces as busie as if they were retained in every Cause there; and others come in their Night-Gowns to saunter away their Time, as if they never designed to go thither. I do not know that I meet, in any of my Walks, Objects which move both my Spleen and Laughter so effectually, as these young Fellows at the Grecian, Squire's, Searle's1, and all other Coffee-houses adjacent to the Law, who rise early for no other purpose but to publish their Laziness. One would think these young Virtuoso's take a gay Cap and Slippers, with a Scarf and Party-coloured Gown, to be Ensigns of Dignity; for the vain Things approach each other with an Air, which shews they regard one another for their Vestments. I have observed, that the Superiority among these proceeds from an Opinion of Gallantry and Fashion: The Gentleman in the Strawberry Sash, who presides so much over the rest, has, it seems, subscribed to every Opera this last Winter, and is supposed to receive Favours from one of the Actresses.

When the Day grows too busie for these Gentlemen to enjoy any longer the Pleasures of their Deshabilé, with any manner of Confidence, they give place to Men who have Business or good Sense in their Faces, and come to the Coffee-house either to transact Affairs or enjoy Conversation. The Persons to whose Behaviour and Discourse I have most regard, are such as are between these two sorts of Men: Such as have not Spirits too Active to be happy and well pleased in a private Condition, nor Complexions too warm to make them neglect the Duties and Relations of Life. Of these sort of Men consist the worthier Part of Mankind; of these are all good Fathers, generous Brothers, sincere Friends, and faithful Subjects. Their Entertainments are derived rather from Reason than Imagination: Which is the Cause that there is no Impatience or Instability in their Speech or Action. You see in their Countenances they are at home, and in quiet Possession of the present Instant, as it passes, without desiring to quicken it by gratifying any Passion, or prosecuting any new Design. These are the Men formed for Society, and those little Communities which we express by the Word Neighbourhoods.

The Coffee-house is the Place of Rendezvous to all that live near it, who are thus turned to relish calm and ordinary Life. Eubulus presides over the middle Hours of the Day, when this Assembly of Men meet together. He enjoys a great Fortune handsomely, without launching into Expence; and exerts many noble and useful Qualities, without appearing in any publick Employment. His Wisdom and Knowledge are serviceable to all that think fit to make use of them; and he does the office of a Council, a Judge, an Executor, and a Friend to all his Acquaintance, not only without the Profits which attend such Offices, but also without the Deference and Homage which are usually paid to them. The giving of Thanks is displeasing to him. The greatest Gratitude you can shew him is to let him see you are the better Man for his Services; and that you are as ready to oblige others, as he is to oblige you.

In the private Exigencies of his Friends he lends, at legal Value, considerable Sums, which he might highly increase by rolling in the Publick Stocks. He does not consider in whose Hands his Mony will improve most, but where it will do most Good.

Eubulus has so great an Authority in his little Diurnal Audience, that when he shakes his Head at any Piece of publick News, they all of them appear dejected; and on the contrary, go home to their Dinners with a good Stomach and cheerful Aspect, when Eubulus seems to intimate that Things go well. Nay, their Veneration towards him is so great, that when they are in other Company they speak and act after him; are Wise in his Sentences, and are no sooner sat down at their own Tables, but they hope or fear, rejoice or despond as they saw him do at the Coffee-house. In a word, every Man is Eubulus as soon as his Back is turned. Having here given an Account of the several Reigns that succeed each other from Day-break till Dinner-time, I shall mention the Monarchs of the Afternoon on another Occasion, and shut up the whole Series of them with the History of Tom the Tyrant; who, as first Minister of the Coffee-house, takes the Government upon him between the Hours of Eleven and Twelve at Night, and gives his Orders in the most Arbitrary manner to the Servants below him, as to the Disposition of Liquors, Coal and Cinders.


Footnote 1:   The Grecian (see note, p. 7, ante,) was by the Temple; Squire's, by Gray's Inn; Serle's, by Lincoln's Inn. Squire's, a roomy, red-brick house, adjoined the gate of Gray's Inn, in Fulwood's Rents, Holborn, then leading to Gray's Inn Walks, which lay open to the country. Squire, the establisher of this coffee-house, died in 1717. Serle's was near Will's, which stood at the corner of Serle Street and Portugal Street, Lincoln's Inn.
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Contents p.2

No. 50

Friday, April 27, 17111


Nunquam aliud Natura, aliud Sapientia dixit.


When the four Indian Kings were in this Country about a Twelvemonth ago2, I often mixed with the Rabble, and followed them a whole Day together, being wonderfully struck with the Sight of every thing that is new or uncommon. I have, since their Departure, employed a Friend to make many Inquiries of their Landlord the Upholsterer, relating to their Manners and Conversation, as also concerning the Remarks which they made in this Country: For, next to the forming a right Notion of such Strangers, I should be desirous of learning what Ideas they have conceived of us.

The Upholsterer finding my Friend very inquisitive about these his Lodgers, brought him some time since a little Bundle of Papers, which he assured him were written by King Sa Ga Yean Qua Rash Tow, and, as he supposes, left behind by some Mistake. These Papers are now translated, and contain abundance of very odd Observations, which I find this little Fraternity of Kings made during their Stay in the Isle of Great Britain. I shall present my Reader with a short Specimen of them in this Paper, and may perhaps communicate more to him hereafter. In the Article of London are the following Words, which without doubt are meant of the Church of St. Paul.
'On the most rising Part of the Town there stands a huge House, big enough to contain the whole Nation of which I am King. Our good Brother E Tow O Koam, King of the Rivers, is of opinion it was made by the Hands of that great God to whom it is consecrated. The Kings of Granajah and of the Six Nations believe that it was created with the Earth, and produced on the same Day with the Sun and Moon. But for my own Part, by the best Information that I could get of this Matter, I am apt to think that this prodigious Pile was fashioned into the Shape it now bears by several Tools and Instruments of which they have a wonderful Variety in this Country. It was probably at first an huge mis-shapen Rock that grew upon the Top of the Hill, which the Natives of the Country (after having cut it into a kind of regular Figure) bored and hollowed with incredible Pains and Industry, till they had wrought in it all those beautiful Vaults and Caverns into which it is divided at this Day. As soon as this Rock was thus curiously scooped to their Liking, a prodigious Number of Hands must have been employed in chipping the Outside of it, which is now as smooth as the Surface of a Pebble3; and is in several Places hewn out into Pillars that stand like the Trunks of so many Trees bound about the Top with Garlands of Leaves. It is probable that when this great Work was begun, which must have been many Hundred Years ago, there was some Religion among this People; for they give it the Name of a Temple, and have a Tradition that it was designed for Men to pay their Devotions in. And indeed, there are several Reasons which make us think that the Natives of this Country had formerly among them some sort of Worship; for they set apart every seventh Day as sacred: But upon my going into one of these4 holy Houses on that Day, I could not observe any Circumstance of Devotion in their Behaviour: There was indeed a Man in Black who was mounted above the rest, and seemed to utter something with a great deal of Vehemence; but as for those underneath him, instead of paying their Worship to the Deity of the Place, they were most of them bowing and curtisying to one another, and a considerable Number of them fast asleep.

The Queen of the Country appointed two Men to attend us, that had enough of our Language to make themselves understood in some few Particulars. But we soon perceived these two were great Enemies to one another, and did not always agree in the same Story. We could make a Shift to gather out of one of them, that this Island was very much infested with a monstrous Kind of Animals, in the Shape of Men, called Whigs; and he often told us, that he hoped we should meet with none of them in our Way, for that if we did, they would be apt to knock us down for being Kings.

Our other Interpreter used to talk very much of a kind of Animal called a Tory, that was as great a Monster as the Whig, and would treat us as ill for being Foreigners. These two Creatures, it seems, are born with a secret Antipathy to one another, and engage when they meet as naturally as the Elephant and the Rhinoceros. But as we saw none of either of these Species, we are apt to think that our Guides deceived us with Misrepresentations and Fictions, and amused us with an Account of such Monsters as are not really in their Country.

These Particulars we made a shift to pick out from the Discourse of our Interpreters; which we put together as well as we could, being able to understand but here and there a Word of what they said, and afterwards making up the Meaning of it among ourselves. The Men of the Country are very cunning and ingenious in handicraft Works; but withal so very idle, that we often saw young lusty raw-boned Fellows carried up and down the Streets in little covered Rooms by a Couple of Porters, who are hired for that Service. Their Dress is likewise very barbarous, for they almost strangle themselves about the Neck, and bind their Bodies with many Ligatures, that we are apt to think are the Occasion of several Distempers among them which our Country is entirely free from. Instead of those beautiful Feathers with which we adorn our Heads, they often buy up a monstrous Bush of Hair, which covers their Heads, and falls down in a large Fleece below the Middle of their Backs; with which they walk up and down the Streets, and are as proud of it as if it was of their own growth.

We were invited to one of their publick Diversions, where we hoped to have seen the great Men of their Country running down a Stag or pitching a Bar, that we might have discovered who were the Persons of the greatest Abilities among them5; but instead of that, they conveyed us into a huge Room lighted up with abundance of Candles, where this lazy People sat still above three Hours to see several Feats of Ingenuity performed by others, who it seems were paid for it.

As for the Women of the Country, not being able to talk with them, we could only make our Remarks upon them at a Distance. They let the Hair of their Heads grow to a great Length; but as the Men make a great Show with Heads of Hair that are not of their own, the Women, who they say have very fine Heads of Hair, tie it up in a Knot, and cover it from being seen. The Women look like Angels, and would be more beautiful than the Sun, were it not for little black Spots that are apt to break out in their Faces, and sometimes rise in very odd Figures. I have observed that those little Blemishes wear off very soon; but when they disappear in one Part of the Face, they are very apt to break out in another, insomuch that I have seen a Spot upon the Forehead in the Afternoon, which was upon the Chin in the Morning6.'
The Author then proceeds to shew the Absurdity of Breeches and Petticoats, with many other curious Observations, which I shall reserve for another Occasion. I cannot however conclude this Paper without taking notice, That amidst these wild Remarks there now and then appears something very reasonable. I cannot likewise forbear observing, That we are all guilty in some Measure of the same narrow way of Thinking, which we meet with in this Abstract of the Indian Journal; when we fancy the Customs, Dress, and Manners of other Countries are ridiculous and extravagant, if they do not resemble those of our own.


Footnote 1:   Swift writes to Stella, in his Journal, 28th April, 1711:
'The Spectator is written by Steele, with Addison's help; 'tis often very pretty. Yesterday it was made of a noble hint I gave him long ago for his Tatlers, about an Indian, supposed to write his travels into England. I repent he ever had it. I intended to have written a book on that subject. I believe he has spent it all in one paper, and all the under hints there are mine too; but I never see him or Addison.'
The paper, it will be noticed, was not written by Steele.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   The four kings Te Yee Neen Ho Ga Prow, Sa Ga Yean Qua Rash Tow, E Tow O Koam, and Oh Nee Yeath Ton Now Prow, were chiefs of the Iroquois Indians who had been persuaded by adjacent British colonists to come and pay their respects to Queen Anne, and see for themselves the untruth of the assertion made among them by the Jesuits, that the English and all other nations were vassals to the French king. They were said also to have been told that the Saviour was born in France and crucified in England.

Footnote 3:   polished Marble

Footnote 4:   those

Footnote 5:   Men of the greatest Perfections in their Country

Footnote 6:   There was, among other fancies, a patch cut to the pattern of a coach and horses. Suckling, in verses upon the Black Spots worn by my Lady D. E., had called them her
... Mourning weeds for Hearts forlorn,
Which, though you must not love, you could not scorn,

Contents p.2

No. 51

Saturday, April 28, 1711


Torquet ab Obscenis jam nunc Sermonibus Aurem.


Mr. Spectator,

'My Fortune, Quality, and Person are such as render me as Conspicuous as any Young Woman in Town. It is in my Power to enjoy it in all its Vanities, but I have, from a very careful Education, contracted a great Aversion to the forward Air and Fashion which is practised in all Publick Places and Assemblies. I attribute this very much to the Stile and Manners of our Plays: I was last Night at the Funeral, where a Confident Lover in the Play, speaking of his Mistress, cries out:
Oh that Harriot! to fold these Arms about the Waste of that Beauteous strugling, and at last yielding Fair!1
Such an Image as this ought, by no means, to be presented to a Chaste and Regular Audience. I expect your Opinion of this Sentence, and recommend to your Consideration, as a Spectator, the conduct of the Stage at present with Relation to Chastity and Modesty.

I am, Sir,
Your Constant Reader
and Well-wisher.

The Complaint of this Young Lady is so just, that the Offence is great2 enough to have displeased Persons who cannot pretend to that Delicacy and Modesty, of which she is Mistress. But there is a great deal to be said in Behalf of an Author: If the Audience would but consider the Difficulty of keeping up a sprightly Dialogue for five Acts together, they would allow a Writer, when he wants Wit, and can't please any otherwise, to help it out with a little Smuttiness. I will answer for the Poets, that no one ever writ Bawdy for any other Reason but Dearth of Invention. When the Author cannot strike out of himself any more of that which he has superior to those who make up the Bulk of his Audience, his natural Recourse is to that which he has in common with them; and a Description which gratifies a sensual Appetite will please, when the Author has nothing about him to delight3 a refined Imagination. It is to such a Poverty we must impute this and all other Sentences in Plays, which are of this Kind, and which are commonly termed Luscious Expressions.

This Expedient, to supply the Deficiencies of Wit, has been used more or less, by most of the Authors who have succeeded on the Stage; tho' I know but one who has professedly writ a Play upon the Basis of the Desire of Multiplying our Species, and that is the Polite Sir George Etherege; if I understand what the Lady would be at, in the Play called She would if She could. Other Poets have, here and there, given an Intimation that there is this Design, under all the Disguises and Affectations which a Lady may put on; but no Author, except this, has made sure Work of it, and put the Imaginations of the Audience upon this one Purpose, from the Beginning to the End of the Comedy. It has always fared accordingly; for whether it be, that all who go to this Piece would if they could, or that the Innocents go to it, to guess only what She would if She could, the Play has always been well received. It lifts an heavy empty Sentence, when there is added to it a lascivious Gesture of Body; and when it is too low to be raised even by that, a flat Meaning is enlivened by making it a double one. Writers, who want Genius, never fail of keeping this Secret in reserve, to create a Laugh, or raise a Clap. I, who know nothing of Women but from seeing Plays, can give great Guesses at the whole Structure of the fair Sex, by being innocently placed in the Pit, and insulted by the Petticoats of their Dancers; the Advantages of whose pretty Persons are a great Help to a dull Play. When a Poet flags in writing Lusciously, a pretty Girl can move Lasciviously, and have the same good Consequence for the Author. Dull Poets in this Case use their Audiences, as dull Parasites do their Patrons; when they cannot longer divert them4 with their Wit or Humour, they bait their5 Ears with something which is agreeable to their6 Temper, though below their7 Understanding. Apicius cannot resist being pleased, if you give him an Account of a delicious Meal; or Clodius, if you describe a Wanton Beauty: Tho' at the same time, if you do not awake those Inclinations in them, no Men are better Judges of what is just and delicate in Conversation. But as I have before observed, it is easier to talk to the Man, than to the Man of Sense.

It is remarkable, that the Writers of least Learning are best skilled in the luscious Way. The Poetesses of the Age have done Wonders in this kind; and we are obliged to the Lady who writ Ibrahim8, for introducing a preparatory Scene to the very Action, when the Emperor throws his Handkerchief as a Signal for his Mistress to follow him into the most retired Part of the Seraglio. It must be confessed his Turkish Majesty went off with a good Air, but, methought, we made but a sad Figure who waited without. This ingenious Gentlewoman, in this piece of Bawdry, refined upon an Author of the same Sex9, who, in the Rover, makes a Country Squire strip to his Holland Drawers. For Blunt is disappointed, and the Emperor is understood to go on to the utmost. The Pleasantry of stripping almost Naked has been since practised (where indeed it should have begun) very successfully at Bartholomew Fair.

It is not here to be omitted, that in one of the above-mentioned Female Compositions, the Rover is very frequently sent on the same Errand; as I take it, above once every Act. This is not wholly unnatural; for, they say, the Men-Authors draw themselves in their chief Characters, and the Women-Writers may be allowed the same Liberty. Thus, as the Male Wit gives his Hero a [good] Fortune, the Female gives her Heroin a great Gallant, at the End of the Play. But, indeed, there is hardly a Play one can go to, but the Hero or fine Gentleman of it struts off upon the same account, and leaves us to consider what good Office he has put us to, or to employ our selves as we please. To be plain, a Man who frequents Plays would have a very respectful Notion of himself, were he to recollect how often he has been used as a Pimp to ravishing Tyrants, or successful Rakes. When the Actors make their Exit on this good Occasion, the Ladies are sure to have an examining Glance from the Pit, to see how they relish what passes; and a few lewd Fools are very ready to employ their Talents upon the Composure or Freedom of their Looks. Such Incidents as these make some Ladies wholly absent themselves from the Play-House; and others never miss the first Day of a Play, lest it should prove too luscious to admit their going with any Countenance to it on the second.

If Men of Wit, who think fit to write for the Stage, instead of this pitiful way of giving Delight, would turn their Thoughts upon raising it from good natural Impulses as are in the Audience, but are choked up by Vice and Luxury, they would not only please, but befriend us at the same time. If a Man had a mind to be new in his way of Writing, might not he who is now represented as a fine Gentleman, tho' he betrays the Honour and Bed of his Neighbour and Friend, and lies with half the Women in the Play, and is at last rewarded with her of the best Character in it; I say, upon giving the Comedy another Cast, might not such a one divert the Audience quite as well, if at the Catastrophe he were found out for a Traitor, and met with Contempt accordingly? There is seldom a Person devoted to above one Darling Vice at a time, so that there is room enough to catch at Men's Hearts to their Good and Advantage, if the Poets will attempt it with the Honesty which becomes their Characters.

There is no Man who loves his Bottle or his Mistress, in a manner so very abandoned, as not to be capable of relishing an agreeable Character, that is no way a Slave to either of those Pursuits. A Man that is Temperate, Generous, Valiant, Chaste, Faithful and Honest, may, at the same time, have Wit, Humour, Mirth, Good-breeding, and Gallantry. While he exerts these latter Qualities, twenty Occasions might be invented to shew he is Master of the other noble Virtues. Such Characters would smite and reprove the Heart of a Man of Sense, when he is given up to his Pleasures. He would see he has been mistaken all this while, and be convinced that a sound Constitution and an innocent Mind are the true Ingredients for becoming and enjoying Life. All Men of true Taste would call a Man of Wit, who should turn his Ambition this way, a Friend and Benefactor to his Country; but I am at a loss what Name they would give him, who makes use of his Capacity for contrary Purposes.


Footnote 1:   The Play is by Steele himself, the writer of this Essay. Steele's Plays were as pure as his Spectator Essays, absolutely discarding the customary way of enforcing feeble dialogues by the spurious force of oaths, and aiming at a wholesome influence upon his audience. The passage here recanted was a climax of passion in one of the lovers of two sisters, Act II., sc. I, and was thus retrenched in subsequent editions:

Campley. Oh that Harriot! to embrace that beauteous ­
Lord Hardy. Ay, Tom; but methinks your Head runs too much on the Wedding Night only, to make your Happiness lasting; mine is fixt on the married State; I expect my Felicity from Lady Sharlot, in her Friendship, her Constancy, her Piety, her household Cares, her maternal Tenderness — You think not of any excellence of your Mistress that is more than skin deep.

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   gross

Footnote 3:   else to gratifie

Footnote 4:  him

Footnote 5:   his

Footnote 6:   his

Footnote 7:   his

Footnote 8:   Mary Fix, whose Tragedy of Ibrahim XII, Emperor of the Turks, was first acted in 1696.

Footnote 9:   Mrs. Aphra Behn, whose Rover, or the Banished Cavaliers, is a Comedy in two Parts; first acted, Part I in 1677, Part II in 1681.

Contents p.2

No. 52

Thursday, April 2, 1711


Omnes ut Tecum meritis pro Talibus annos
Exigat, et pulchra faciat Te prole parentem.


An ingenious Correspondent, like a sprightly Wife, will always have the last Word. I did not think my last Letter to the deformed Fraternity would have occasioned any Answer, especially since I had promised them so sudden a Visit: But as they think they cannot shew too great a Veneration for my Person, they have already sent me up an Answer. As to the Proposal of a Marriage between my self and the matchless Hecatissa, I have but one Objection to it; which is, That all the Society will expect to be acquainted with her; and who can be sure of keeping a Woman's Heart long, where she may have so much Choice? I am the more alarmed at this, because the Lady seems particularly smitten with Men of their Make.

I believe I shall set my Heart upon her; and think never the worse of my Mistress for an Epigram a smart Fellow writ, as he thought, against her; it does but the more recommend her to me. At the same time I cannot but discover that his Malice is stolen from Martial.
Tacta places, Audit a places, si non videare
Tota places, neutro, si videare, places.

Whilst in the Dark on thy soft Hand I hung,
And heard the tempting Siren in thy Tongue,
What Flames, what Darts, what Anguish I endured!
But when the Candle entered I was cur'd.

'Your Letter to us we have received, as a signal Mark of your Favour and brotherly Affection. We shall be heartily glad to see your short Face in Oxford: And since the Wisdom of our Legislature has been immortalized in your Speculations, and our personal Deformities in some sort by you recorded to all Posterity; we hold ourselves in Gratitude bound to receive with the highest Respect, all such Persons as for their extraordinary Merit you shall think fit, from Time to Time, to recommend unto the Board. As for the Pictish Damsel, we have an easy Chair prepared at the upper End of the Table; which we doubt not but she will grace with a very hideous Aspect, and much better become the Seat in the native and unaffected Uncomeliness of her Person, than with all the superficial Airs of the Pencil, which (as you have very ingeniously observed) vanish with a Breath, and the most innocent Adorer may deface the Shrine with a Salutation, and in the literal Sense of our Poets, snatch and imprint his balmy Kisses, and devour her melting Lips: In short, the only Faces of the Pictish Kind that will endure the Weather, must be of Dr. Carbuncle's Die; tho' his, in truth, has cost him a World the Painting; but then he boasts with Zeuxes, In eternitatem pingo; and oft jocosely tells the Fair Ones, would they acquire Colours that would stand kissing, they must no longer Paint but Drink for a Complexion: A Maxim that in this our Age has been pursued with no ill Success; and has been as admirable in its Effects, as the famous Cosmetick mentioned in the Post-man, and invented by the renowned British Hippocrates of the Pestle and Mortar; making the Party, after a due Course, rosy, hale and airy; and the best and most approved Receipt now extant for the Fever of the Spirits. But to return to our Female Candidate, who, I understand, is returned to herself, and will no longer hang out false Colours; as she is the first of her Sex that has done us so great an Honour, she will certainly, in a very short Time, both in Prose and Verse, be a Lady of the most celebrated Deformity now living; and meet with Admirers here as frightful as herself. But being a long-headed Gentlewoman, I am apt to imagine she has some further Design than you have yet penetrated; and perhaps has more mind to the Spectator than any of his Fraternity, as the Person of all the World she could like for a Paramour: And if so, really I cannot but applaud her Choice; and should be glad, if it might lie in my Power, to effect an amicable Accommodation betwixt two Faces of such different Extremes, as the only possible Expedient to mend the Breed, and rectify the Physiognomy of the Family on both Sides. And again, as she is a Lady of very fluent Elocution, you need not fear that your first Child will be born dumb, which otherwise you might have some Reason to be apprehensive of. To be plain with you, I can see nothing shocking in it; for tho she has not a Face like a John-Apple, yet as a late Friend of mine, who at Sixty-five ventured on a Lass of Fifteen, very frequently, in the remaining five Years of his Life, gave me to understand, That, as old as he then seemed, when they were first married he and his Spouse could1 make but Fourscore; so may Madam Hecatissa very justly allege hereafter, That, as long-visaged as she may then be thought, upon their Wedding-day Mr. Spectator and she had but Half an Ell of Face betwixt them: And this my very worthy Predecessor, Mr. Sergeant Chin, always maintained to be no more than the true oval Proportion between Man and Wife. But as this may be a new thing to you, who have hitherto had no Expectations from Women, I shall allow you what Time you think fit to consider on't; not without some Hope of seeing at last your Thoughts hereupon subjoin'd to mine, and which is an Honour much desired by,


Your assured Friend,
and most humble Servant,

Hugh Gobling2, Præses.'

The following Letter has not much in it, but as it is written in my own Praise I cannot for my Heart suppress it.

'You proposed, in your Spectator of last Tuesday, Mr. Hobbs's Hypothesis for solving that very odd Phænomenon of Laughter. You have made the Hypothesis valuable by espousing it your self; for had it continued Mr. Hobbs's, no Body would have minded it. Now here this perplexed Case arises. A certain Company laughed very heartily upon the Reading of that very Paper of yours: And the Truth on it is, he must be a Man of more than ordinary Constancy that could stand it out against so much Comedy, and not do as we did. Now there are few Men in the World so far lost to all good Sense, as to look upon you to be a Man in a State of Folly inferior to himself. Pray then how do you justify your Hypothesis of Laughter?

Thursday, the 26th of
the Month of Fools.

Your most humble

Q. R.'


'In answer to your Letter, I must desire you to recollect yourself; and you will find, that when you did me the Honour to be so merry over my Paper, you laughed at the Idiot, the German Courtier, the Gaper, the Merry-Andrew, the Haberdasher, the Biter, the Butt, and not at

Your humble Servant,

The Spectator.'

Footnote 1:   could both
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Goblin

Contents p.2

No. 53

Tuesday, May 1, 1711


... Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus.


My Correspondents grow so numerous, that I cannot avoid frequently inserting their Applications to me.
Mr Spectator,

'I am glad I can inform you, that your Endeavours to adorn that Sex, which is the fairest Part of the visible Creation, are well received, and like to prove not unsuccessful. The Triumph of Daphne over her Sister Letitia has been the Subject of Conversation at Several Tea-Tables where I have been present; and I have observed the fair Circle not a little pleased to find you considering them as reasonable Creatures, and endeavouring to banish that Mahometan Custom which had too much prevailed even in this Island, of treating Women as if they had no Souls. I must do them the Justice to say, that there seems to be nothing wanting to the finishing of these lovely Pieces of Human Nature, besides the turning and applying their Ambition properly, and the keeping them up to a Sense of what is their true Merit. Epictetus, that plain honest Philosopher, as little as he had of Gallantry, appears to have understood them, as well as the polite St. Evremont, and has hit this Point very luckily1. When young Women, says he, arrive at a certain Age, they hear themselves called Mistresses, and are made to believe that their only Business is to please the Men; they immediately begin to dress, and place all their Hopes in the adorning of their Persons; it is therefore, continues he, worth the while to endeavour by all means to make them sensible that the Honour paid to them is only, upon account of their conducting themselves with Virtue, Modesty, and Discretion.

Now to pursue the Matter yet further, and to render your Cares for the Improvement of the Fair Ones more effectual, I would propose a new method, like those Applications which are said to convey their virtues by Sympathy; and that is, in order to embellish the Mistress, you should give a new Education to the Lover, and teach the Men not to be any longer dazzled by false Charms and unreal Beauty. I cannot but think that if our Sex knew always how to place their Esteem justly, the other would not be so often wanting to themselves in deserving it. For as the being enamoured with a Woman of Sense and Virtue is an Improvement to a Man's Understanding and Morals, and the Passion is ennobled by the Object which inspires it; so on the other side, the appearing amiable to a Man of a wise and elegant Mind, carries in it self no small Degree of Merit and Accomplishment. I conclude therefore, that one way to make the Women yet more agreeable is, to make the Men more virtuous. I am, Sir,

Your most humble Servant,

R. B.'

April 26.


'Yours of Saturday last I read, not without some Resentment; but I will suppose when you say you expect an Inundation of Ribbons and Brocades, and to see many new Vanities which the Women will fall into upon a Peace with France, that you intend only the unthinking Part of our Sex: And what Methods can reduce them to Reason is hard to imagine.

But, Sir, there are others yet, that your Instructions might be of great Use to, who, after their best Endeavours, are sometimes at a loss to acquit themselves to a Censorious World: I am far from thinking you can altogether disapprove of Conversation between Ladies and Gentlemen, regulated by the Rules of Honour and Prudence; and have thought it an Observation not ill made, that where that was wholly denied, the Women lost their Wit, and the Men their Good-manners. 'Tis sure, from those improper Liberties you mentioned, that a sort of undistinguishing People shall banish from their Drawing-Rooms the best-bred Men in the World, and condemn those that do not. Your stating this Point might, I think, be of good use, as well as much oblige,


Your Admirer, and
most humble Servant,

Anna Bella.'

No Answer to this, till Anna Bella sends a Description of those she calls the Best-bred Men in the World.
Mr. Spectator,

'I am a Gentleman who for many Years last past have been well known to be truly Splenatick, and that my Spleen arises from having contracted so great a Delicacy, by reading the best Authors, and keeping the most refined Company, that I cannot bear the least Impropriety of Language, or Rusticity of Behaviour. Now, Sir, I have ever looked upon this as a wise Distemper; but by late Observations find that every heavy Wretch, who has nothing to say, excuses his Dulness by complaining of the Spleen. Nay, I saw, the other Day, two Fellows in a Tavern Kitchen set up for it, call for a Pint and Pipes, and only by Guzling Liquor to each other's Health, and wafting Smoke in each other's Face, pretend to throw off the Spleen. I appeal to you, whether these Dishonours are to be done to the Distemper of the Great and the Polite. I beseech you, Sir, to inform these Fellows that they have not the Spleen, because they cannot talk without the help of a Glass at their Mouths, or convey their Meaning to each other without the Interposition of Clouds. If you will not do this with all Speed, I assure you, for my part, I will wholly quit the Disease, and for the future be merry with the Vulgar.

I am, Sir,

Your humble Servant.


'This is to let you understand, that I am a reformed Starer, and conceived a Detestation for that Practice from what you have writ upon the Subject. But as you have been very severe upon the Behaviour of us Men at Divine Service, I hope you will not be so apparently partial to the Women, as to let them go wholly unobserved. If they do everything that is possible to attract our Eyes, are we more culpable than they for looking at them? I happened last Sunday to be shut into a Pew, which was full of young Ladies in the Bloom of Youth and Beauty. When the Service began, I had not Room to kneel at the Confession, but as I stood kept my eyes from wandring as well as I was able, till one of the young Ladies, who is a Peeper, resolved to bring down my Looks, and fix my Devotion on her self. You are to know, Sir, that a Peeper works with her Hands, Eyes, and Fan; one of which is continually in Motion, while she thinks she is not actually the Admiration of some Ogler or Starer in the Congregation. As I stood utterly at a loss how to behave my self, surrounded as I was, this Peeper so placed her self as to be kneeling just before me. She displayed the most beautiful Bosom imaginable, which heaved and fell with some Fervour, while a delicate well-shaped Arm held a Fan over her Face. It was not in Nature to command ones Eyes from this Object; I could not avoid taking notice also of her Fan, which had on it various Figures, very improper to behold on that Occasion. There lay in the Body of the Piece a Venus, under a Purple Canopy furled with curious Wreaths of Drapery, half naked, attended with a Train of Cupids, who were busied in Fanning her as she slept. Behind her was drawn a Satyr peeping over the silken Fence, and threatening to break through it. I frequently offered to turn my Sight another way, but was still detained by the Fascination of the Peeper's Eyes, who had long practised a Skill in them, to recal the parting Glances of her Beholders. You see my Complaint, and hope you will take these mischievous People, the Peepers, into your Consideration: I doubt not but you will think a Peeper as much more pernicious than a Starer, as an Ambuscade is more to be feared than an open Assault.

I am, Sir,

Your most Obedient Servant.'

This Peeper using both Fan and Eyes to be considered as a Pict, and proceed accordingly.
King Latinus to the Spectator, Greeting.

'Tho' some may think we descend from our Imperial Dignity, in holding Correspondence with a private Litterato2; yet as we have great Respect to all good Intentions for our Service, we do not esteem it beneath us to return you our Royal Thanks for what you published in our Behalf, while under Confinement in the Inchanted Castle of the Savoy, and for your Mention of a Subsidy for a Prince in Misfortune. This your timely Zeal has inclined the Hearts of divers to be aiding unto us, if we could propose the Means. We have taken their Good will into Consideration, and have contrived a Method which will be easy to those who shall give the Aid, and not unacceptable to us who receive it. A Consort of Musick shall be prepared at Haberdashers-Hall for Wednesday the Second of May, and we will honour the said Entertainment with our own Presence, where each Person shall be assessed but at two Shillings and six Pence. What we expect from you is, that you publish these our Royal Intentions, with Injunction that they be read at all Tea-Tables within the Cities of London and Westminster; and so we bid you heartily Farewell.

Latinus, King of the Volscians.'

Given at our Court in Vinegar-Yard, Story the Third from the Earth.

April 28, 1711.

Footnote 1:   Epictetus his Morals, with Simplicius his Comment, was translated by George Stanhope in 1694. The citation above is a free rendering of the sense of cap. 62 of the Morals.
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Footnote 2:   Litterati

Contents p.2

No. 54

Wednesday, May 2, 1711


... Sirenua nos exercet inertia.


The following Letter being the first that I have received from the learned University of Cambridge, I could not but do my self the Honour of publishing it. It gives an Account of a new Sect of Philosophers which has arose in that famous Residence of Learning; and is, perhaps, the only Sect this Age is likely to produce.
Cambridge, April 26.

Mr. Spectator,

'Believing you to be an universal Encourager of liberal Arts and Sciences, and glad of any Information from the learned World, I thought an Account of a Sect of Philosophers very frequent among us, but not taken Notice of, as far as I can remember, by any Writers either ancient or modern, would not be unacceptable to you. The Philosophers of this Sect are in the Language of our University called Lowngers. I am of Opinion, that, as in many other things, so likewise in this, the Ancients have been defective; viz. in mentioning no Philosophers of this Sort. Some indeed will affirm that they are a kind of Peripateticks, because we see them continually walking about. But I would have these Gentlemen consider, that tho' the ancient Peripateticks walked much, yet they wrote much also; (witness, to the Sorrow of this Sect, Aristotle and others): Whereas it is notorious that most of our Professors never lay out a Farthing either in Pen, Ink, or Paper. Others are for deriving them from Diogenes, because several of the leading Men of the Sect have a great deal of the cynical Humour in them, and delight much in Sun-shine. But then again, Diogenes was content to have his constant Habitation in a narrow Tub; whilst our Philosophers are so far from being of his Opinion, that it's Death to them to be confined within the Limits of a good handsome convenient Chamber but for half an Hour. Others there are, who from the Clearness of their Heads deduce the Pedigree of Lowngers from that great Man (I think it was either Plato or Socrates1) who after all his Study and Learning professed, That all he then knew was, that he knew nothing. You easily see this is but a shallow Argument, and may be soon confuted.

I have with great Pains and Industry made my Observations from time to time upon these Sages; and having now all Materials ready, am compiling a Treatise, wherein I shall set forth the Rise and Progress of this famous Sect, together with their Maxims, Austerities, Manner of living, &c. Having prevailed with a Friend who designs shortly to publish a new Edition of Diogenes Laertius, to add this Treatise of mine by way of Supplement; I shall now, to let the World see what may be expected from me (first begging Mr. Spectator's Leave that the World may see it) briefly touch upon some of my chief Observations, and then subscribe my self your humble Servant. In the first Place I shall give you two or three of their Maxims: The fundamental one, upon which their whole System is built, is this, viz. That Time being an implacable Enemy to and Destroyer of all things, ought to be paid in his own Coin, and be destroyed and murdered without Mercy by all the Ways that can be invented. Another favourite Saying of theirs is, That Business was designed only for Knaves, and Study for Blockheads. A third seems to be a ludicrous one, but has a great Effect upon their Lives; and is this, That the Devil is at Home. Now for their Manner of Living: And here I have a large Field to expatiate in; but I shall reserve Particulars for my intended Discourse, and now only mention one or two of their principal Exercises. The elder Proficients employ themselves in inspecting mores hominum multorum, in getting acquainted with all the Signs and Windows in the Town. Some are arrived at so great Knowledge, that they can tell every time any Butcher kills a Calf, every time any old Woman's Cat is in the Straw; and a thousand other Matters as important. One ancient Philosopher contemplates two or three Hours every Day over a Sun-Dial; and is true to the Dial,
... As the Dial to the Sun, Although it be not shone upon2.
Our younger Students are content to carry their Speculations as yet no farther than Bowling-greens, Billiard-Tables, and such like Places. This may serve for a Sketch of my Design; in which I hope I shall have your Encouragement. I am,



I must be so just as to observe I have formerly seen of this Sect at our other University; tho' not distinguished by the Appellation which the learned Historian, my Correspondent, reports they bear at Cambridge. They were ever looked upon as a People that impaired themselves more by their strict Application to the Rules of their Order, than any other Students whatever. Others seldom hurt themselves any further than to gain weak Eyes and sometimes Head-Aches; but these Philosophers are seized all over with a general Inability, Indolence, and Weariness, and a certain Impatience of the Place they are in, with an Heaviness in removing to another.

The Lowngers are satisfied with being merely Part of the Number of Mankind, without distinguishing themselves from amongst them. They may be said rather to suffer their Time to pass, than to spend it, without Regard to the past, or Prospect of the future. All they know of Life is only the present Instant, and do not taste even that. When one of this Order happens to be a Man of Fortune, the Expence of his Time is transferr'd to his Coach and Horses, and his Life is to be measured by their Motion, not his own Enjoyments or Sufferings. The chief Entertainment one of these Philosophers can possibly propose to himself, is to get a Relish of Dress: This, methinks, might diversifie the Person he is weary of (his own dear self) to himself. I have known these two Amusements make one of these Philosophers make a tolerable Figure in the World; with a variety of Dresses in publick Assemblies in Town, and quick Motion of his Horses out of it, now to Bath, now to Tunbridge, then to Newmarket, and then to London, he has in Process of Time brought it to pass, that his Coach and his Horses have been mentioned in all those Places. When the Lowngers leave an Academick Life, and instead of this more elegant way of appearing in the polite World, retire to the Seats of their Ancestors, they usually join a Pack of Dogs, and employ their Days in defending their Poultry from Foxes: I do not know any other Method that any of this Order has ever taken to make a Noise in the World; but I shall enquire into such about this Town as have arrived at the Dignity of being Lowngers by the Force of natural Parts, without having ever seen an University; and send my Correspondent, for the Embellishment of his Book, the Names and History of those who pass their Lives without any Incidents at all; and how they shift Coffee-houses and Chocolate-houses from Hour to Hour, to get over the insupportable Labour of doing nothing. R.

Footnote 1:   Socrates in his Apology, or Defence before his Judges, as reported by Plato. The oracle having said that there was none wiser than he, he had sought to confute the oracle, and found the wise man of the world foolish through belief in his own wisdom.
'When I left him I reasoned thus with myself, I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing, whereas I, as I do not know anything, do not fancy that I do.'
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Footnote 2:  
True as Dial to the Sun,
Although it be not shined upon.
Hudibras. Part III. c. 2.

Footnote 3:   This Letter may be by Laurence Eusden. See Note to No. 78.

Contents p.2

No. 55

Thursday, May 3, 1711


... Intus, et in jecore ægro
Nascuntur Domini ...


Most of the Trades, Professions, and Ways of Living among Mankind, take their Original either from the Love of Pleasure or the Fear of Want. The former, when it becomes too violent, degenerates into Luxury, and the latter into Avarice. As these two Principles of Action draw different Ways, Persius has given us a very humourous Account of a young Fellow who was rouzed out of his Bed, in order to be sent upon a long Voyage, by Avarice, and afterwards over-persuaded and kept at Home by Luxury. I shall set down at length the Pleadings of these two imaginary Persons, as they are in the Original with Mr. Dryden's Translation of them.
Mane, piger, stertis: surge, inquit Avaritia; eja
Surge. Negas, Instat, surge inquit. Non queo. Surge.
Et quid agam? Rogitas? Saperdas advehe Ponto,
Castoreum, stuppas, hebenum, thus, lubrica Coa.
Tolle recens primus piper è siliente camelo.
Verte aliquid; jura. Sed Jupiter Audiet. Eheu!
Baro, regustatum digito terebrare salinum
Contentus perages, si vivere cum Jove tendis.
Jam pueris pellem succinctus et ænophorum aptas;
Ocyus ad Navem. Nil obstat quin trabe vasta
Ægæum rapias, nisi solers Luxuria ante
Seductum moneat; quo deinde, insane ruis? Quo?
Quid tibi vis? Calido sub pectore mascula bilis
Intumuit, quam non extinxerit urna cicutæ?
Tun' mare transilias? Tibi torta cannabe fulto
Cœna sit in transtro? Veientanúmque rubellum
Exhalet vapida læsum pice sessilis obba?
Quid petis? Ut nummi, quos hic quincunce modesto
Nutrieras, pergant avidos sudare deunces?
Indulge genio: carpamus dulcia; nostrum est
Quod vivis; cinis, et manes, et fabula fies.
Vive memor lethi: fugit hora. Hoc quod loquor, inde est.
En quid agis? Duplici in diversum scinderis hamo.
Hunccine, an hunc sequeris! — —

Whether alone, or in thy Harlot's Lap,
When thou wouldst take a lazy Morning's Nap;
Up, up, says Avarice; thou snor'st again,
Stretchest thy Limbs, and yawn'st, but all in vain.
The rugged Tyrant no Denial takes;
At his Command th' unwilling Sluggard wakes.
What must I do? he cries; What? says his Lord:
Why rise, make ready, and go streight Aboard:
With Fish, from Euxine Seas, thy Vessel freight;
Flax, Castor, Coan Wines, the precious Weight
Of Pepper and Sabean Incense, take
With thy own Hands, from the tir'd Camel's Back,
And with Post-haste thy running Markets make.
Be sure to turn the Penny; Lye and Swear,
'Tis wholsome Sin: But Jove, thou say'st, will hear.
Swear, Fool, or Starve; for the Dilemma's even:
A Tradesman thou! and hope to go to Heav'n?

Resolv'd for Sea, the Slaves thy Baggage pack,
Each saddled with his Burden on his Back.
Nothing retards thy Voyage, now; but He,
That soft voluptuous Prince, call'd Luxury;
And he may ask this civil Question; Friend,
What dost thou make a Shipboard? To what End?
Art thou of Bethlem's noble College free?
Stark, staring mad, that thou wouldst tempt the Sea?
Cubb'd in a Cabbin, on a Mattress laid,
On a brown George, with lousy Swobbers fed;
Dead Wine, that stinks of the Borachio, sup
From a foul Jack, or greasy Maple Cup!
Say, wouldst thou bear all this, to raise the Store,
From Six i'th' Hundred to Six Hundred more?
Indulge, and to thy Genius freely give:
For, not to live at Ease, is not, to live:
Death stalks behind thee, and each flying Hour
Does some loose Remnant of thy Life devour.
Live, while thou liv'st; for Death will make us all,
A Name, a Nothing but an Old Wife's Tale.
Speak, wilt thou Avarice or Pleasure choose
To be thy Lord? Take one, and one refuse.
When a Government flourishes in Conquests, and is secure from foreign Attacks, it naturally falls into all the Pleasures of Luxury; and as these Pleasures are very expensive, they put those who are addicted to them upon raising fresh Supplies of Mony, by all the Methods of Rapaciousness and Corruption; so that Avarice and Luxury very often become one complicated Principle of Action, in those whose Hearts are wholly set upon Ease, Magnificence, and Pleasure. The most Elegant and Correct of all the Latin Historians observes, that in his time, when the most formidable States of the World were subdued by the Romans, the Republick sunk into those two Vices of a quite different Nature, Luxury and Avarice1: And accordingly describes Catiline as one who coveted the Wealth of other Men, at the same time that he squander'd away his own. This Observation on the Commonwealth, when it was in its height of Power and Riches, holds good of all Governments that are settled in a State of Ease and Prosperity. At such times Men naturally endeavour to outshine one another in Pomp and Splendor, and having no Fears to alarm them from abroad, indulge themselves in the Enjoyment of all the Pleasures they can get into their Possession; which naturally produces Avarice, and an immoderate Pursuit after Wealth and Riches.

As I was humouring my self in the Speculation of these two great Principles of Action, I could not forbear throwing my Thoughts into a little kind of Allegory or Fable, with which I shall here present my Reader.

There were two very powerful Tyrants engaged in a perpetual War against each other: The Name of the first was Luxury, and of the second Avarice. The Aim of each of them was no less than Universal Monarchy over the Hearts of Mankind. Luxury had many Generals under him, who did him great Service, as Pleasure, Mirth, Pomp and Fashion. Avarice was likewise very strong in his Officers, being faithfully served by Hunger, Industry, Care and Watchfulness: He had likewise a Privy-Counsellor who was always at his Elbow, and whispering something or other in his Ear: The Name of this Privy-Counsellor was Poverty. As Avarice conducted himself by the Counsels of Poverty, his Antagonist was entirely guided by the Dictates and Advice of Plenty, who was his first Counsellor and Minister of State, that concerted all his Measures for him, and never departed out of his Sight. While these two great Rivals were thus contending for Empire, their Conquests were very various. Luxury got Possession of one Heart, and Avarice of another. The Father of a Family would often range himself under the Banners of Avarice, and the Son under those of Luxury. The Wife and Husband would often declare themselves on the two different Parties; nay, the same Person would very often side with one in his Youth, and revolt to the other in his old Age. Indeed the Wise Men of the World stood Neuter; but alas! their Numbers were not considerable. At length, when these two Potentates had wearied themselves with waging War upon one another, they agreed upon an Interview, at which neither of their Counsellors were to be present. It is said that Luxury began the Parley, and after having represented the endless State of War in which they were engaged, told his Enemy, with a Frankness of Heart which is natural to him, that he believed they two should be very good Friends, were it not for the Instigations of Poverty, that pernicious Counsellor, who made an ill use of his Ear, and filled him with groundless Apprehensions and Prejudices. To this Avarice replied, that he looked upon Plenty (the first Minister of his Antagonist) to be a much more destructive Counsellor than Poverty, for that he was perpetually suggesting Pleasures, banishing all the necessary Cautions against Want, and consequently undermining those Principles on which the Government of Avarice was founded. At last, in order to an Accommodation, they agreed upon this Preliminary; That each of them should immediately dismiss his Privy-Counsellor. When things were thus far adjusted towards a Peace, all other differences were soon accommodated, insomuch that for the future they resolved to live as good Friends and Confederates, and to share between them whatever Conquests were made on either side. For this Reason, we now find Luxury and Avarice taking Possession of the same Heart, and dividing the same Person between them. To which I shall only add, that since the discarding of the Counsellors above-mentioned, Avarice supplies Luxury in the room of Plenty, as Luxury prompts Avarice in the place of Poverty.


Footnote 1:  
Alieni appetens, sui profusus.
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Contents p.2

No. 56

Friday, May 4, 1711


Felices errore suo ...


The Americans believe that all Creatures have Souls, not only Men and Women, but Brutes, Vegetables, nay even the most inanimate things, as Stocks and Stones. They believe the same of all the Works of Art, as of Knives, Boats, Looking-glasses: And that as any of these things perish, their Souls go into another World, which is inhabited by the Ghosts of Men and Women. For this Reason they always place by the Corpse of their dead Friend a Bow and Arrows, that he may make use of the Souls of them in the other World, as he did of their wooden Bodies in this. How absurd soever such an Opinion as this may appear, our European Philosophers have maintained several Notions altogether as improbable. Some of Plato's followers in particular, when they talk of the World of Ideas, entertain us with Substances and Beings no less extravagant and chimerical. Many Aristotelians have likewise spoken as unintelligibly of their substantial Forms. I shall only instance Albertus Magnus, who in his Dissertation upon the Loadstone observing that Fire will destroy its magnetick Vertues, tells us that he took particular Notice of one as it lay glowing amidst an Heap of burning Coals, and that he perceived a certain blue Vapour to arise from it, which he believed might be the substantial Form, that is, in our West-Indian Phrase, the Soul of the Loadstone1.

There is a Tradition among the Americans, that one of their Countrymen descended in a Vision to the great Repository of Souls, or, as we call it here, to the other World; and that upon his Return he gave his Friends a distinct Account of every thing he saw among those Regions of the Dead. A Friend of mine, whom I have formerly mentioned, prevailed upon one of the Interpreters of the Indian Kings2, to inquire of them, if possible, what Tradition they have among them of this Matter: Which, as well as he could learn by those many Questions which he asked them at several times, was in Substance as follows.

The Visionary, whose Name was Marraton, after having travelled for a long Space under an hollow Mountain, arrived at length on the Confines of this World of Spirits; but could not enter it by reason of a thick Forest made up of Bushes, Brambles and pointed Thorns, so perplexed and interwoven with one another, that it was impossible to find a Passage through it. Whilst he was looking about for some Track or Path-way that might be worn in any Part of it, he saw an huge Lion crouched under the Side of it, who kept his Eye upon him in the same Posture as when he watches for his Prey. The Indian immediately started back, whilst the Lion rose with a Spring, and leaped towards him. Being wholly destitute of all other Weapons, he stooped down to take up an huge Stone in his Hand; but to his infinite Surprize grasped nothing, and found the supposed Stone to be only the Apparition of one. If he was disappointed on this Side, he was as much pleased on the other, when he found the Lion, which had seized on his left Shoulder, had no Power to hurt him, and was only the Ghost of that ravenous Creature which it appeared to be. He no sooner got rid of his impotent Enemy, but he marched up to the Wood, and after having surveyed it for some Time, endeavoured to press into one Part of it that was a little thinner than the rest; when again, to his great Surprize, he found the Bushes made no Resistance, but that he walked through Briars and Brambles with the same Ease as through the open Air; and, in short, that the whole Wood was nothing else but a Wood of Shades. He immediately concluded, that this huge Thicket of Thorns and Brakes was designed as a kind of Fence or quick-set Hedge to the Ghosts it inclosed; and that probably their soft Substances might be torn by these subtle Points and Prickles, which were too weak to make any Impressions in Flesh and Blood. With this Thought he resolved to travel through this intricate Wood; when by Degrees he felt a Gale of Perfumes breathing upon him, that grew stronger and sweeter in Proportion as he advanced. He had not proceeded much further when he observed the Thorns and Briars to end, and give place to a thousand beautiful green Trees covered with Blossoms of the finest Scents and Colours, that formed a Wilderness of Sweets, and were a kind of Lining to those ragged Scenes which he had before passed through. As he was coming out of this delightful Part of the Wood, and entering upon the Plains it inclosed, he saw several Horsemen rushing by him, and a little while after heard the Cry of a Pack of Dogs. He had not listned long before he saw the Apparition of a milk-white Steed, with a young Man on the Back of it, advancing upon full Stretch after the Souls of about an hundred Beagles that were hunting down the Ghost of an Hare, which ran away before them with an unspeakable Swiftness. As the Man on the milk-white Steed came by him, he looked upon him very attentively, and found him to be the young Prince Nicharagua, who died about Half a Year before, and, by reason of his great Vertues, was at that time lamented over all the Western Parts of America.

He had no sooner got out of the Wood, but he was entertained with such a Landskip of flowry Plains, green Meadows, running Streams, sunny Hills, and shady Vales, as were not to be represented3 by his own Expressions, nor, as he said, by the Conceptions of others. This happy Region was peopled with innumerable Swarms of Spirits, who applied themselves to Exercises and Diversions according as their Fancies led them. Some of them were tossing the Figure of a Colt; others were pitching the Shadow of a Bar; others were breaking the Apparition of a4 Horse; and Multitudes employing themselves upon ingenious Handicrafts with the Souls of departed Utensils; for that is the Name which in the Indian Language they give their Tools when they are burnt or broken. As he travelled through this delightful Scene, he was very often tempted to pluck the Flowers that rose every where about him in the greatest Variety and Profusion, having never seen several of them in his own Country: But he quickly found that though they were Objects of his Sight, they were not liable to his Touch. He at length came to the Side of a great River, and being a good Fisherman himself stood upon the Banks of it some time to look upon an Angler that had taken a great many Shapes of Fishes, which lay flouncing up and down by him.

I should have told my Reader, that this Indian had been formerly married to one of the greatest Beauties of his Country, by whom he had several Children. This Couple were so famous for their Love and Constancy to one another, that the Indians to this Day, when they give a married Man Joy of his Wife, wish that they may live together like Marraton and Yaratilda. Marraton had not stood long by the Fisherman when he saw the Shadow of his beloved Yaratilda, who had for some time fixed her Eye upon him, before he discovered her. Her Arms were stretched out towards him, Floods of Tears ran down her Eyes; her Looks, her Hands, her Voice called him over to her; and at the same time seemed to tell him that the River was impassable. Who can describe the Passion made up of Joy, Sorrow, Love, Desire, Astonishment, that rose in the Indian upon the Sight of his dear Yaratilda? He could express it by nothing but his Tears, which ran like a River down his Cheeks as he looked upon her. He had not stood in this Posture long, before he plunged into the Stream that lay before him; and finding it to be nothing but the Phantom of a River, walked on the Bottom of it till he arose on the other Side. At his Approach Yaratilda flew into his Arms, whilst Marraton wished himself disencumbered of that Body which kept her from his Embraces. After many Questions and Endearments on both Sides, she conducted him to a Bower which she had dressed with her own Hands with all the Ornaments that could be met with in those blooming Regions. She had made it gay beyond Imagination, and was every day adding something new to it. As Marraton stood astonished at the unspeakable Beauty of her Habitation, and ravished with the Fragrancy that came from every Part of it, Yaratilda told him that she was preparing this Bower for his Reception, as well knowing that his Piety to his God, and his faithful Dealing towards Men, would certainly bring him to that happy Place whenever his Life should be at an End. She then brought two of her Children to him, who died some Years before, and resided with her in the same delightful Bower, advising him to breed up those others which were still with him in such a Manner, that they might hereafter all of them meet together in this happy Place.

The Tradition tells us further, that he had afterwards a Sight of those dismal Habitations which are the Portion of ill Men after Death; and mentions several Molten Seas of Gold, in which were plunged the Souls of barbarous Europeans, who5 put to the Sword so many Thousands of poor Indians for the sake of that precious Metal: But having already touched upon the chief Points of this Tradition, and exceeded the Measure of my Paper, I shall not give any further Account of it.


Footnote 1:   Albertus Magnus, a learned Dominican who resigned, for love of study, his bishopric of Ratisbon, died at Cologne in 1280. In alchemy a distinction was made between stone and spirit, as between body and soul, substance and accident. The evaporable parts were called, in alchemy, spirit and soul and accident.
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Footnote 2:   See No. 50.

Footnote 3:   described

Footnote 4:   an

Footnote 5:   that

Contents p.3

No. 57

Saturday, May 5, 1711


Quem præstare potest mulier galeata pudorem,
Quæ fugit à Sexu!


When the Wife of Hector, in Homer's Iliads, discourses with her Husband about the Battel in which he was going to engage, the Hero, desiring her to leave that Matter to his Care, bids her go to her Maids and mind her Spinning1: by which the Poet intimates, that Men and Women ought to busy themselves in their proper Spheres, and on such Matters only as are suitable to their respective Sex.

I am at this time acquainted with a young Gentleman, who has passed a great Part of his Life in the Nursery, and, upon Occasion, can make a Caudle or a Sack-Posset better than any Man in England. He is likewise a wonderful Critick in Cambrick and Muslins, and will talk an Hour together upon a Sweet-meat. He entertains his Mother every Night with Observations that he makes both in Town and Court: As what Lady shews the nicest Fancy in her Dress; what Man of Quality wears the fairest Whig; who has the finest Linnen, who the prettiest Snuff-box, with many other the like curious Remarks that may be made in good Company.

On the other hand I have very frequently the Opportunity of seeing a Rural Andromache, who came up to Town last Winter, and is one of the greatest Fox-hunters in the Country. She talks of Hounds and Horses, and makes nothing of leaping over a Six-bar Gate. If a Man tells her a waggish Story, she gives him a Push with her Hand in jest, and calls him an impudent Dog; and if her Servant neglects his Business, threatens to kick him out of the House. I have heard her, in her Wrath, call a Substantial Trades-man a Lousy Cur; and remember one Day, when she could not think of the Name of a Person, she described him in a large Company of Men and Ladies, by the Fellow with the Broad Shoulders.

If those Speeches and Actions, which in their own Nature are indifferent, appear ridiculous when they proceed from a wrong Sex, the Faults and Imperfections of one Sex transplanted into another, appear black and monstrous. As for the Men, I shall not in this Paper any further concern my self about them: but as I would fain contribute to make Womankind, which is the most beautiful Part of the Creation, entirely amiable, and wear out all those little Spots and Blemishes that are apt to rise among the Charms which Nature has poured out upon them, I shall dedicate this Paper to their Service. The Spot which I would here endeavour to clear them of, is that Party-Rage which of late Years is very much crept into their Conversation. This is, in its Nature, a Male Vice, and made up of many angry and cruel Passions that are altogether repugnant to the Softness, the Modesty, and those other endearing Qualities which are natural to the Fair Sex. Women were formed to temper Mankind, and sooth them into Tenderness and Compassion, not to set an Edge upon their Minds, and blow up in them those Passions which are too apt to rise of their own Accord. When I have seen a pretty Mouth uttering Calumnies and Invectives, what would not I have given to have stopt it? How have I been troubled to see some of the finest Features in the World grow pale, and tremble with Party-Rage? Camilla is one of the greatest Beauties in the British Nation, and yet values her self more upon being the Virago of one Party, than upon being the Toast of both. The Dear Creature, about a Week ago, encountered the fierce and beautiful Penthesilea across a Tea-Table; but in the Height of her Anger, as her Hand chanced to shake with the Earnestness of the Dispute, she scalded her Fingers, and spilt a Dish of Tea upon her Petticoat. Had not this Accident broke off the Debate, no Body knows where it would have ended.

There is one Consideration which I would earnestly recommend to all my Female Readers, and which, I hope, will have some weight with them. In short, it is this, that there is nothing so bad for the Face as Party-Zeal. It gives an ill-natured Cast to the Eye, and a disagreeable Sourness to the Look; besides, that it makes the Lines too strong, and flushes them worse than Brandy. I have seen a Woman's Face break out in Heats, as she has been talking against a great Lord, whom she had never seen in her Life; and indeed never knew a Party-Woman that kept her Beauty for a Twelvemonth. I would therefore advise all my Female Readers, as they value their Complexions, to let alone all Disputes of this Nature; though, at the same time, I would give free Liberty to all superannuated motherly Partizans to be as violent as they please, since there will be no Danger either of their spoiling their Faces, or of their gaining Converts. 2For my own part, I think a Man makes an odious and despicable Figure, that is violent in a Party: but a Woman is too sincere to mitigate the Fury of her Principles with Temper and Discretion, and to act with that Caution and Reservedness which are requisite in our Sex. When this unnatural Zeal gets into them, it throws them into ten thousand Heats and Extravagancies; their generous Souls3 set no Bounds to their Love or to their Hatred; and whether a Whig or Tory, a Lap-Dog or a Gallant, an Opera or a Puppet-Show, be the Object of it, the Passion, while it reigns, engrosses the whole Woman.

I remember when Dr. Titus Oates4 was in all his Glory, I accompanied my Friend Will. Honeycomb5 in a Visit to a Lady of his Acquaintance: We were no sooner sat down, but upon casting my Eyes about the Room, I found in almost every Corner of it a Print that represented the Doctor in all Magnitudes and Dimensions. A little after, as the Lady was discoursing my Friend, and held her Snuff-box in her Hand, who should I see in the Lid of it but the Doctor. It was not long after this, when she had Occasion for her Handkerchief, which upon the first opening discovered among the Plaits of it the Figure of the Doctor. Upon this my Friend Will., who loves Raillery, told her, That if he was in Mr. Truelove's Place (for that was the Name for her Husband) she should be made as uneasy by a Handkerchief as ever Othello was. I am afraid, said she, Mr. Honeycomb, 5 you are a Tory; tell me truly, are you a Friend to the Doctor or not? Will., instead of making her a Reply, smiled in her Face (for indeed she was very pretty) and told her that one of her Patches was dropping off. She immediately adjusted it, and looking a little seriously, Well, says she, I'll be hang'd if you and your silent Friend there are not against the Doctor in your Hearts, I suspected as much by his saying nothing. Upon this she took her Fan into her Hand, and upon the opening of it again displayed to us the Figure of the Doctor, who was placed with great Gravity among the Sticks of it. In a word, I found that the Doctor had taken Possession of her Thoughts, her Discourse, and most of her Furniture; but finding my self pressed too close by her Question, I winked upon my Friend to take his Leave, which he did accordingly.


Footnote 1:   Hector's parting from Andromache, at the close of Book VI:
No more — but hasten to thy tasks at home,
There guide the spindle, and direct the loom;
Me glory summons to the martial scene,
The field of combat is the sphere for men.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Not a new paragraph in the first issue.

Footnote 3:   "Souls (I mean those of ordinary Women).: This, however, was cancelled by an Erratum in the next number.

Footnote 4:   Addison was six years old when Titus Oates began his 'Popish Plot' disclosures. Under a name which called up recollections of the vilest trading upon theological intolerance, he here glances at Dr. Henry Sacheverell, whose trial (Feb. 27-March 20, 1710) for his sermons in praise of the divine right of kings and contempt of the Whigs, and his sentence of suspension for three years, had caused him to be admired enthusiastically by all party politicians who were of his own way of thinking. The change of person pleasantly puts 'Tory' for 'Whig,' and avoids party heat by implying a suggestion that excesses are not all on one side. Sacheverell had been a College friend of Addison's. He is the 'dearest Harry' for whom, at the age of 22, Addison wrote his metrical 'Account of the greatest English Poets' which omitted Shakespeare from the list.

Footnotes 5:   Honycombe

Contents p.3

No. 58

Monday, May 7, 1711


Ut pictura poesis erit ...


Nothing is so much admired, and so little understood, as Wit. No Author that I know of has written professedly upon it; and as for those who make any Mention of it, they only treat on the Subject as it has accidentally fallen in their Way, and that too in little short Reflections, or in general declamatory Flourishes, without entering into the Bottom of the Matter. I hope therefore I shall perform an acceptable Work to my Countrymen, if I treat at large upon this Subject; which I shall endeavour to do in a Manner suitable to it, that I may not incur the Censure which a famous Critick bestows upon one who had written a Treatise upon the Sublime in a low groveling Stile. I intend to lay aside a whole Week for this Undertaking, that the Scheme of my Thoughts may not be broken and interrupted; and I dare promise my self, if my Readers will give me a Week's Attention, that this great City will be very much changed for the better by next Saturday Night. I shall endeavour to make what I say intelligible to ordinary Capacities; but if my Readers meet with any Paper that in some Parts of it may be a little out of their Reach, I would not have them discouraged, for they may assure themselves the next shall be much clearer.

As the great and only End of these my Speculations is to banish Vice and Ignorance out of the Territories of Great-Britain, I shall endeavour as much as possible to establish among us a Taste of polite Writing. It is with this View that I have endeavoured to set my Readers right in several Points relating to Operas and Tragedies; and shall from time to time impart my Notions of Comedy, as I think they may tend to its Refinement and Perfection. I find by my Bookseller that these Papers of Criticism, with that upon Humour, have met with a more kind Reception than indeed I could have hoped for from such Subjects; for which Reason I shall enter upon my present Undertaking with greater Chearfulness.

In this, and one or two following Papers, I shall trace out the History of false Wit, and distinguish the several Kinds of it as they have prevailed in different Ages of the World. This I think the more necessary at present, because I observed there were Attempts on foot last Winter to revive some of those antiquated Modes of Wit that have been long exploded out of the Commonwealth of Letters. There were several Satyrs and Panegyricks handed about in Acrostick, by which Means some of the most arrant undisputed Blockheads about the Town began to entertain ambitious Thoughts, and to set up for polite Authors. I shall therefore describe at length those many Arts of false Wit, in which a Writer does not show himself a Man of a beautiful Genius, but of great Industry.

The first Species of false Wit which I have met with is very venerable for its Antiquity, and has produced several Pieces which have lived very near as long as the Iliad it self: I mean those short Poems printed among the minor Greek Poets, which resemble the Figure of an Egg, a Pair of Wings, an Ax, a Shepherd's Pipe, and an Altar.

1As for the first, it is a little oval Poem, and may not improperly be called a Scholar's Egg. I would endeavour to hatch it, or, in more intelligible Language, to translate it into English, did not I find the Interpretation of it very difficult; for the Author seems to have been more intent upon the Figure of his Poem, than upon the Sense of it.

The Pair of Wings consist of twelve Verses, or rather Feathers, every Verse decreasing gradually in its Measure according to its Situation in the Wing. The subject of it (as in the rest of the Poems which follow) bears some remote Affinity with the Figure, for it describes a God of Love, who is always painted with Wings.

The Ax methinks would have been a good Figure for a Lampoon, had the Edge of it consisted of the most satyrical Parts of the Work; but as it is in the Original, I take it to have been nothing else but the Posy of an Ax which was consecrated to Minerva, and was thought to have been the same that Epeus made use of in the building of the Trojan Horse; which is a Hint I shall leave to the Consideration of the Criticks. I am apt to think that the Posy was written originally upon the Ax, like those which our modern Cutlers inscribe upon their Knives; and that therefore the Posy still remains in its ancient Shape, tho' the Ax it self is lost.

The Shepherd's Pipe may be said to be full of Musick, for it is composed of nine different Kinds of Verses, which by their several Lengths resemble the nine Stops of the old musical Instrument, that2 is likewise the Subject of the Poem3.

The Altar is inscribed with the Epitaph of Troilus the Son of Hecuba; which, by the way, makes me believe, that these false Pieces of Wit are much more ancient than the Authors to whom they are generally ascribed; at least I will never be perswaded, that so fine a Writer as Theocritus could have been the Author of any such simple Works.

It was impossible for a Man to succeed in these Performances who was not a kind of Painter, or at least a Designer: He was first of all to draw the Out-line of the Subject which he intended to write upon, and afterwards conform the Description to the Figure of his Subject. The Poetry was to contract or dilate itself according to the Mould in which it was cast. In a word, the Verses were to be cramped or extended to the Dimensions of the Frame that was prepared for them; and to undergo the Fate of those Persons whom the Tyrant Procrustes used to lodge in his Iron Bed; if they were too short, he stretched them on a Rack, and if they were too long, chopped off a Part of their Legs, till they fitted the Couch which he had prepared for them.

Mr. Dryden hints at this obsolete kind of Wit in one of the following Verses, in his Mac Flecno; which an English Reader cannot understand, who does not know that there are those little Poems abovementioned in the Shape of Wings and Altars.
... Chuse for thy Command
Some peaceful Province in Acrostick Land;
There may'st thou Wings display, and
Altars raise,
And torture one poor Word a thousand Ways.
This Fashion of false Wit was revived by several Poets of the last Age, and in particular may be met with among Mr. Herbert's Poems; and, if I am not mistaken, in the Translation of Du Bartas.4 — I do not remember any other kind of Work among the Moderns which more resembles the Performances I have mentioned, than that famous Picture of King Charles the First, which has the whole Book of Psalms written in the Lines of the Face and the Hair of the Head. When I was last at Oxford I perused one of the Whiskers; and was reading the other, but could not go so far in it as I would have done, by reason of the Impatience of my Friends and Fellow-Travellers, who all of them pressed to see such a Piece of Curiosity. I have since heard, that there is now an eminent Writing-Master in Town, who has transcribed all the Old Testament in a full-bottomed Periwig; and if the Fashion should introduce the thick kind of Wigs which were in Vogue some few Years ago, he promises to add two or three supernumerary Locks that shall contain all the Apocrypha. He designed this Wig originally for King William, having disposed of the two Books of Kings in the two Forks of the Foretop; but that glorious Monarch dying before the Wig was finished, there is a Space left in it for the Face of any one that has a mind to purchase it.

But to return to our ancient Poems in Picture, I would humbly propose, for the Benefit of our modern Smatterers in Poetry, that they would imitate their Brethren among the Ancients in those ingenious Devices. I have communicated this Thought to a young Poetical Lover of my Acquaintance, who intends to present his Mistress with a Copy of Verses made in the Shape of her Fan; and, if he tells me true, has already finished the three first Sticks of it. He has likewise promised me to get the Measure of his Mistress's Marriage-Finger, with a Design to make a Posy in the Fashion of a Ring, which shall exactly fit it. It is so very easy to enlarge upon a good Hint, that I do not question but my ingenious Readers will apply what I have said to many other Particulars; and that we shall see the Town filled in a very little time with Poetical Tippets, Handkerchiefs, Snuff-Boxes, and the like Female Ornaments. I shall therefore conclude with a Word of Advice to those admirable English Authors who call themselves Pindarick Writers5, that they would apply themselves to this kind of Wit without Loss of Time, as being provided better than any other Poets with Verses of all Sizes and Dimensions.


Footnote 1:   Not a new paragraph in the first issue.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   which

Footnote 3:   The Syrinx of Theocritus consists of twenty verses, so arranged that the length of each pair is less than that of the pair before, and the whole resembles the ten reeds of the mouth organ or Pan pipes Greek: syrigx. The Egg is, by tradition, called Anacreon's. Simmias of Rhodes, who lived about B.C. 324, is said to have been the inventor of shaped verses. Butler in his Character of a Small Poet said of Edward Benlowes:
'As for Altars and Pyramids in poetry, he has outdone all men that way; for he has made a gridiron and a frying-pan in verse, that besides the likeness in shape, the very tone and sound of the words did perfectly represent the noise that is made by those utensils.'

Footnote 4:   But a devout earnestness gave elevation to George Herbert's ingenious conceits. Joshua Sylvester's dedication to King James the First of his translation of the Divine Weeks and Works of Du Bartas has not this divine soul in its oddly-fashioned frame. It begins with a sonnet on the Royal Anagram 'James Stuart: A just Master;' celebrates his Majesty in French and Italian, and then fills six pages with verse built in his Majesty's honour, in the form of bases and capitals of columns, inscribed each with the name of one of the Muses. Puttenham's Art of Poetry, published in 1589, book II., ch. ii. contains the fullest account of the mysteries and varieties of this sort of versification.

Footnote 5:   When the tyranny of French criticism had imprisoned nearly all our poetry in the heroic couplet, outside exercise was allowed only to those who undertook to serve under Pindar.

Contents p.3

No. 59

Tuesday, May 8, 1711


Operose Nihil agunt.


There is nothing more certain than that every Man would be a Wit if he could, and notwithstanding Pedants of a pretended Depth and Solidity are apt to decry the Writings of a polite Author, as Flash and Froth, they all of them shew upon Occasion that they would spare no pains to arrive at the Character of those whom they seem to despise. For this Reason we often find them endeavouring at Works of Fancy, which cost them infinite Pangs in the Production. The Truth of it is, a Man had better be a Gally-Slave than a Wit, were one to gain that Title by those Elaborate Trifles which have been the Inventions of such Authors as were often Masters of great Learning but no Genius.

In my last Paper I mentioned some of these false Wits among the Ancients, and in this shall give the Reader two or three other Species of them, that flourished in the same early Ages of the World. The first I shall produce are the Lipogrammiatists1 or Letter-droppers of Antiquity, that would take an Exception, without any Reason, against some particular Letter in the Alphabet, so as not to admit it once into a whole Poem. One Tryphiodorus was a great Master in this kind of Writing. He composed an Odyssey or Epick Poem on the Adventures of Ulysses, consisting of four and twenty Books, having entirely banished the Letter A from his first Book, which was called Alpha (as Lucus a non Lucendo) because there was not an Alpha in it. His second Book was inscribed Beta for the same Reason. In short, the Poet excluded the whole four and twenty Letters in their Turns, and shewed them, one after another, that he could do his Business without them.

It must have been very pleasant to have seen this Poet avoiding the reprobate Letter, as much as another would a false Quantity, and making his Escape from it through the several Greek Dialects, when he was pressed with it in any particular Syllable. For the most apt and elegant Word in the whole Language was rejected, like a Diamond with a Flaw in it, if it appeared blemished with a wrong Letter. I shall only observe upon this Head, that if the Work I have here mentioned had been now extant, the Odyssey of Tryphiodorus, in all probability, would have been oftner quoted by our learned Pedants, than the Odyssey of Homer. What a perpetual Fund would it have been of obsolete Words and Phrases, unusual Barbarisms and Rusticities, absurd Spellings and complicated Dialects? I make no question but it would have been looked upon as one of the most valuable Treasuries of the Greek Tongue.

I find likewise among the Ancients that ingenious kind of Conceit, which the Moderns distinguish by the Name of a Rebus2, that does not sink a Letter but a whole Word, by substituting a Picture in its Place. When Cæsar was one of the Masters of the Roman Mint, he placed the Figure of an Elephant upon the Reverse of the Publick Mony; the Word Cæsar signifying an Elephant in the Punick Language. This was artificially contrived by Cæsar, because it was not lawful for a private Man to stamp his own Figure upon the Coin of the Commonwealth. Cicero, who was so called from the Founder of his Family, that was marked on the Nose with a little Wen like a Vetch (which is Cicer in Latin) instead of Marcus Tullius Cicero, order'd the Words Marcus Tullius with the Figure of a Vetch at the End of them to be inscribed on a publick Monument3. This was done probably to shew that he was neither ashamed of his Name or Family, notwithstanding the Envy of his Competitors had often reproached him with both. In the same manner we read of a famous Building that was marked in several Parts of it with the Figures of a Frog and a Lizard: Those Words in Greek having been the Names of the Architects, who by the Laws of their Country were never permitted to inscribe their own Names upon their Works. For the same Reason it is thought, that the Forelock of the Horse in the Antique Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius, represents at a Distance the Shape of an Owl, to intimate the Country of the Statuary, who, in all probability, was an Athenian. This kind of Wit was very much in Vogue among our own Countrymen about an Age or two ago, who did not practise it for any oblique Reason, as the Ancients abovementioned, but purely for the sake of being Witty. Among innumerable Instances that may be given of this Nature, I shall produce the Device of one Mr Newberry, as I find it mentioned by our learned Cambden in his Remains. Mr Newberry, to represent his Name by a Picture, hung up at his Door the Sign of a Yew-Tree, that had several Berries upon it, and in the midst of them a great golden N hung upon a Bough of the Tree, which by the Help of a little false Spelling made up the Word N-ew-berry.

I shall conclude this Topick with a Rebus, which has been lately hewn out in Free-stone, and erected over two of the Portals of Blenheim House, being the Figure of a monstrous Lion tearing to Pieces a little Cock. For the better understanding of which Device, I must acquaint my English Reader that a Cock has the Misfortune to be called in Latin by the same Word that signifies a Frenchman, as a Lion is the Emblem of the English Nation. Such a Device in so noble a Pile of Building looks like a Punn in an Heroick Poem; and I am very sorry the truly ingenious Architect would suffer the Statuary to blemish his excellent Plan with so poor a Conceit: But I hope what I have said will gain Quarter for the Cock, and deliver him out of the Lion's Paw.

I find likewise in ancient Times the Conceit of making an Eccho talk sensibly, and give rational Answers. If this could be excusable in any Writer, it would be in Ovid, where he introduces the Eccho as a Nymph, before she was worn away into nothing but a Voice. The learned Erasmus, tho' a Man of Wit and Genius, has composed a Dialogue4 upon this silly kind of Device, and made use of an Eccho who seems to have been a very extraordinary Linguist, for she answers the Person she talks with in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, according as she found the Syllables which she was to repeat in any one of those learned Languages. Hudibras, in Ridicule of this false kind of Wit, has described Bruin bewailing the Loss of his Bear to a solitary Eccho, who is of great used to the Poet in several Disticks, as she does not only repeat after him, but helps out his Verse, and furnishes him with Rhymes.
He rag'd, and kept as heavy a Coil as
Stout Hercules for loss of
Forcing the Valleys to repeat
The Accents of his sad Regret;
He beat his Breast, and tore his Hair,
For Loss of his dear Crony Bear,
That Eccho from the hollow Ground
His Doleful Wailings did resound
More wistfully, but many times,
Then in small Poets Splay-foot Rhymes,
That make her, in her rueful Stories
To answer to Introgatories,
And most unconscionably depose
Things of which She nothing knows:
And when she has said all she can say,
'Tis wrested to the Lover's Fancy.
Quoth he, O whither, wicked
Art thou fled to my — Eccho, Ruin?
I thought th' hadst scorn'd to budge a Step
for Fear. (Quoth Eccho)
Marry guep.
Am not I here to take thy Part!
Then what has quell'd thy stubborn Heart?
Have these Bones rattled, and this Head
So often in thy Quarrel bled?
Nor did I ever winch or grudge it,
For thy dear Sake. (Quoth she)
Mum budget.
Think'st thou 'twill not be laid i' th' Dish.
Thou turn'dst thy Back? Quoth Eccho
, Pish.
To run from those th' hadst overcome
Thus cowardly? Quoth Eccho
, Mum.
But what a-vengeance makes thee fly
From me too, as thine Enemy?
Or if thou hadst not Thought of me,
Nor what I have endur'd for Thee,
Yet Shame and Honour might prevail
To keep thee thus for turning tail;
For who will grudge to spend his Blood in
His Honour's Cause? Quoth she
, A Pudding.

Footnote 1:   From Greek: leíp_o, I omit, Greek: grámma, a letter. In modern literature there is a Pugna Porcorum (pig-fight) of which every word begins with a p, and there are Spanish odes from which all vowels but one are omitted. The earliest writer of Lipogrammatic verse is said to have been the Greek poet Lasus, born in Achaia 538 B.C. Lope de Vega wrote five novels, each with one of the five vowels excluded from it.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:  This French name for an enigmatical device is said to be derived from the custom of the priests of Picardy at carnival time to set up ingenious jests upon current affairs, 'de rebus quæ geruntur.'

Footnote 3:  Addison takes these illustrations from the chapter on Rebus or Name devises, in that pleasant old book, Camden's Remains, which he presently cites. The next chapter in the Remains is upon Anagrams.

Footnote 4:   Colloquia Familiaria, under the title Echo. The dialogue is ingeniously contrived between a youth and Echo.

Contents p.3

No. 60

Wednesday, May 9, 1711


Hoc est quod palles? Cur quis non prandeat, Hoc est?

Per. Sat. 3.

Several kinds of false Wit that vanished in the refined Ages of the World, discovered themselves again in the Times of Monkish Ignorance.

As the Monks were the Masters of all that little Learning which was then extant, and had their whole Lives entirely disengaged from Business, it is no wonder that several of them, who wanted Genius for higher Performances, employed many Hours in the Composition of such Tricks in Writing as required much Time and little Capacity. I have seen half the Æneid turned into Latin Rhymes by one of the Beaux Esprits of that dark Age; who says in his Preface to it, that the Æneid wanted nothing but the Sweets of Rhyme to make it the most perfect Work in its Kind. I have likewise seen an Hymn in Hexameters to the Virgin Mary, which filled a whole Book, tho' it consisted but of the eight following Words.
Tot, tibi, sunt, Virgo, dotes, quot, sidera, Cælo.

Thou hast as many Virtues, O Virgin, as there are Stars in Heaven.
The Poet rung the changes1 upon these eight several Words, and by that Means made his Verses almost as numerous as the Virtues and the Stars which they celebrated. It is no wonder that Men who had so much Time upon their Hands did not only restore all the antiquated Pieces of false Wit, but enriched the World with Inventions of their own. It was to this Age that we owe the Production of Anagrams2, which is nothing else but a Transmutation of one Word into another, or the turning of the same Set of Letters into different Words; which may change Night into Day, or Black into White, if Chance, who is the Goddess that presides over these Sorts of Composition, shall so direct. I remember a witty Author, in Allusion to this kind of Writing, calls his Rival, who (it seems) was distorted, and had his Limbs set in Places that did not properly belong to them, The Anagram of a Man.

When the Anagrammatist takes a Name to work upon, he considers it at first as a Mine not broken up, which will not shew the treasure it contains till he shall have spent many Hours in the Search of it: For it is his Business to find out one Word that conceals it self in another, and to examine the Letters in all the Variety of Stations in which they can possibly be ranged. I have heard of a Gentleman who, when this Kind of Wit was in fashion, endeavoured to gain his Mistress's Heart by it. She was one of the finest Women of her Age, and known3 by the Name of the Lady Mary Boon. The Lover not being able to make any thing of Mary, by certain Liberties indulged to this kind of Writing, converted it into Moll; and after having shut himself up for half a Year, with indefatigable Industry produced an Anagram. Upon the presenting it to his Mistress, who was a little vexed in her Heart to see herself degraded into Moll Boon, she told him, to his infinite Surprise, that he had mistaken her Sirname, for that it was not Boon but Bohun.
... Ibi omnis
Effusus labor ...
The lover was thunder-struck with his Misfortune, insomuch that in a little time after he lost his Senses, which indeed had been very much impaired by that continual Application he had given to his Anagram.

The Acrostick4 was probably invented about the same time with the Anagram, tho' it is impossible to decide whether the Inventor of the one of the other were5 the greater Blockhead. The Simple Acrostick is nothing but the Name or Title of a Person or Thing made out of the initial Letters of several Verses, and by that Means written, after the Manner of the Chinese, in a perpendicular Line. But besides these there are Compound Acrosticks, where the principal Letters stand two or three deep. I have seen some of them where the Verses have not only been edged by a Name at each Extremity, but have had the same Name running down like a Seam through the Middle of the Poem.

There is another near Relation of the Anagrams and Acrosticks, which is commonly called6 a Chronogram. This kind of Wit appears very often on many modern Medals, especially those of Germany7, when they represent in the Inscription the Year in which they were coined. Thus we see on a Medal of Gustavus Adolphus the following Words, CHRISTVS DUX ERGO TRIVMPHVS. If you take the pains to pick the Figures out of the several Words, and range them in their proper Order, you will find they amount to MDCXVVVII, or 1627, the Year in which the Medal was stamped: For as some of the Letters distinguish themselves from the rest, and overtop their Fellows, they are to be considered in a double Capacity, both as Letters and as Figures. Your laborious German Wits will turn over a whole Dictionary for one of these ingenious Devices. A Man would think they were searching after an apt classical Term, but instead of that they are looking out a Word that has an L, and M, or a D in it. When therefore we meet with any of these Inscriptions, we are not so much to look in 'em for the Thought, as for the Year of the Lord.

The Boutz Rimez8 were the Favourites of the French Nation for a whole Age together, and that at a Time when it abounded in Wit and Learning. They were a List of Words that rhyme to one another, drawn up by another Hand, and given to a Poet, who was to make a Poem to the Rhymes in the same Order that they were placed upon the List: The more uncommon the Rhymes were, the more extraordinary was the Genius of the Poet that could accommodate his Verses to them. I do not know any greater Instance of the Decay of Wit and Learning among the French (which generally follows the Declension of Empire) than the endeavouring to restore this foolish Kind of Wit. If the Reader will be at the trouble to see Examples of it, let him look into the new Mercure Galant; where the Author every Month gives a List of Rhymes to be filled up by the Ingenious, in order to be communicated to the Publick in the Mercure for the succeeding Month. That for the Month of November last, which now lies before me, is as follows.

- - - - - - - - - - - - Lauriers
- - - - - - - - - - - - Guerriers
- - - - - - - - - - - - Musette
- - - - - - - - - - - - Lisette
- - - - - - - - - - - - Cesars
- - - - - - - - - - - - Etendars
- - - - - - - - - - - - Houlette
- - - - - - - - - - - - Folette

One would be amazed to see so learned a Man as Menage talking seriously on this Kind of Trifle in the following Passage.
Monsieur de la Chambre has told me that he never knew what he was going to write when he took his Pen into his Hand; but that one Sentence always produced another. For my own part, I never knew what I should write next when I was making Verses. In the first place I got all my Rhymes together, and was afterwards perhaps three or four Months in filling them up. I one Day shewed Monsieur Gombaud a Composition of this Nature, in which among others I had made use of the four following Rhymes, Amaryllis, Phillis, Marne, Arne, desiring him to give me his Opinion of it. He told me immediately, that my Verses were good for nothing. And upon my asking his Reason, he said, Because the Rhymes are too common; and for that Reason easy to be put into Verse. Marry, says I, if it be so, I am very well rewarded for all the Pains I have been at. But by Monsieur Gombaud's Leave, notwithstanding the Severity of the Criticism, the Verses were good.
Vid. Menagiana. Thus far the learned Menage, whom I have translated Word for Word9.

The first Occasion of these Bouts Rimez made them in some manner excusable, as they were Tasks which the French Ladies used to impose on their Lovers. But when a grave Author, like him above-mentioned, tasked himself, could there be anything more ridiculous? Or would not one be apt to believe that the Author played booty10, and did not make his List of Rhymes till he had finished his Poem?

I shall only add, that this Piece of false Wit has been finely ridiculed by Monsieur Sarasin, in a Poem intituled, La Defaite des Bouts-Rimez, The Rout of the Bouts-Rimez.11

I must subjoin to this last kind of Wit the double Rhymes, which are used in Doggerel Poetry, and generally applauded by ignorant Readers. If the Thought of the Couplet in such Compositions is good, the Rhyme adds little12 to it; and if bad, it will not be in the Power of the Rhyme to recommend it. I am afraid that great Numbers of those who admire the incomparable Hudibras, do it more on account of these Doggerel Rhymes than of the Parts that really deserve admiration. I am sure I have heard the
Pulpit, Drum Ecclesiastick,
Was beat with fist instead of a Stick,
There was an ancient sage Philosopher
Who had read
Alexander Ross over,
more frequently quoted, than the finest Pieces of Wit in the whole Poem.


Footnote 1:   chymes
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   This is an error. Greek: Anagrámma meant in old Greek what it now means. Lycophron, who lived B.C. 280, and wrote a Greek poem on Cassandra, was famous for his Anagrams, of which two survive. The Cabalists had a branch of their study called Themuru, changing, which made mystical anagrams of sacred names.

Footnote 3:   was called

Footnote 4:   The invention of Acrostics is attributed to Porphyrius Optatianus, a writer of the 4th century. But the arguments of the Comedies of Plautus are in form of acrostics, and acrostics occur in the original Hebrew of the Book of Psalms.

Footnote 5:   was

Footnote 6:   known by the name of

Footnote 7:   The Chronogram was popular also, especially among the Germans, for inscriptions upon marble or in books. More than once, also, in Germany and Belgium a poem was written in a hundred hexameters, each yielding a chronogram of the date it was to celebrate.

Footnote 8:   Bouts rimés are said to have been suggested to the wits of Paris by the complaint of a verse turner named Dulot, who grieved one day over the loss of three hundred sonnets; and when surprise was expressed at the large number, said they were the 'rhymed ends,' that only wanted filling up.

Footnote 9:   Menagiana, vol. I. p. 174, ed. Amst. 1713. The Menagiana were published in 4 volumes, in 1695 and 1696. Gilles Menage died at Paris in 1692, aged 79. He was a scholar and man of the world, who had a retentive memory, and, says Bayle,
'could say a thousand good things in a thousand pleasing ways.'
The repertory here quoted from is the best of the numerous collections of 'ana.'

Footnote 10:   double

Footnote 11:   Jean François Sarasin, whose works were first collected by Menage, and published in 1656, two years after his death. His defeat of the Bouts-Rimés, has for first title Dulot Vaincu is in four cantos, and was written in four or five days.

Footnote 12:   nothing

Contents p.3

No. 61

Thursday, May 10, 1711


Non equidem studeo, bullalis ut mihi nugis
Pagina turgescal, dare pondus idonea fumo.


There is no kind of false Wit which has been so recommended by the Practice of all Ages, as that which consists in a Jingle of Words, and is comprehended under the general Name of Punning. It is indeed impossible to kill a Weed, which the Soil has a natural Disposition to produce. The Seeds of Punning are in the Minds of all Men, and tho' they may be subdued by Reason, Reflection and good Sense, they will be very apt to shoot up in the greatest Genius, that is not broken and cultivated by the Rules of Art. Imitation is natural to us, and when it does not raise the Mind to Poetry, Painting, Musick, or other more noble Arts, it often breaks out in Punns and Quibbles.

Aristotle, in the Eleventh Chapter of his Book of Rhetorick, describes two or three kinds of Punns, which he calls Paragrams, among the Beauties of good Writing, and produces Instances of them out of some of the greatest Authors in the Greek Tongue. Cicero has sprinkled several of his Works with Punns, and in his Book where he lays down the Rules of Oratory, quotes abundance of Sayings as Pieces of Wit, which also upon Examination prove arrant Punns. But the Age in which the Punn chiefly flourished, was the Reign of King James the First. That learned Monarch was himself a tolerable Punnster, and made very few Bishops or Privy-Counsellors that had not some time or other signalized themselves by a Clinch, or a Conundrum. It was therefore in this Age that the Punn appeared with Pomp and Dignity. It had before been admitted into merry Speeches and ludicrous Compositions, but was now delivered with great Gravity from the Pulpit, or pronounced in the most solemn manner at the Council-Table. The greatest Authors, in their most serious Works, made frequent use of Punns. The Sermons of Bishop Andrews, and the Tragedies of Shakespear, are full of them. The Sinner was punned into Repentance by the former, as in the latter nothing is more usual than to see a Hero weeping and quibbling for a dozen Lines together.

I must add to these great Authorities, which seem to have given a kind of Sanction to this Piece of false Wit, that all the Writers of Rhetorick have treated of Punning with very great Respect, and divided the several kinds of it into hard Names, that are reckoned among the Figures of Speech, and recommended as Ornaments in Discourse. I remember a Country School-master of my Acquaintance told me once, that he had been in Company with a Gentleman whom he looked upon to be the greatest Paragrammatist among the Moderns. Upon Inquiry, I found my learned Friend had dined that Day with Mr. Swan, the famous Punnster; and desiring him to give me some Account of Mr. Swan's Conversation, he told me that he generally talked in the Paranomasia, that he sometimes gave into the Plocè, but that in his humble Opinion he shined most in the Antanaclasis.

I must not here omit, that a famous University of this Land was formerly very much infested with Punns; but whether or no this might not arise from the Fens and Marshes in which it was situated, and which are now drained, I must leave to the Determination of more skilful Naturalists.

After this short History of Punning, one would wonder how it should be so entirely banished out of the Learned World, as it is at present, especially since it had found a Place in the Writings of the most ancient Polite Authors. To account for this, we must consider, that the first Race of Authors, who were the great Heroes in Writing, were destitute of all Rules and Arts of Criticism; and for that Reason, though they excel later Writers in Greatness of Genius, they fall short of them in Accuracy and Correctness. The Moderns cannot reach their Beauties, but can avoid their Imperfections. When the World was furnished with these Authors of the first Eminence, there grew up another Set of Writers, who gained themselves a Reputation by the Remarks which they made on the Works of those who preceded them. It was one of the Employments of these Secondary Authors, to distinguish the several kinds of Wit by Terms of Art, and to consider them as more or less perfect, according as they were founded in Truth. It is no wonder therefore, that even such Authors as Isocrates, Plato, and Cicero, should have such little Blemishes as are not to be met with in Authors of a much inferior Character, who have written since those several Blemishes were discovered. I do not find that there was a proper Separation made between Punns and true1 Wit by any of the Ancient Authors, except Quintilian and Longinus. But when this Distinction was once settled, it was very natural for all Men of Sense to agree in it. As for the Revival of this false Wit, it happened about the time of the Revival of Letters; but as soon as it was once detected, it immediately vanished and disappeared. At the same time there is no question, but as it has sunk in one Age and rose in another, it will again recover it self in some distant Period of Time, as Pedantry and Ignorance shall prevail upon Wit and Sense. And, to speak the Truth, I do very much apprehend, by some of the last Winter's Productions, which had their Sets of Admirers, that our Posterity will in a few Years degenerate into a Race of Punnsters: At least, a Man may be very excusable for any Apprehensions of this kind, that has seen Acrosticks handed about the Town with great Secrecy and Applause; to which I must also add a little Epigram called the Witches Prayer, that fell into Verse when it was read either backward or forward, excepting only that it Cursed one way and Blessed the other. When one sees there are actually such Pains-takers among our British Wits, who can tell what it may end in? If we must Lash one another, let it be with the manly Strokes of Wit and Satyr; for I am of the old Philosopher's Opinion, That if I must suffer from one or the other, I would rather it should be from the Paw of a Lion, than the Hoof of an Ass. I do not speak this out of any Spirit of Party. There is a most crying Dulness on both Sides. I have seen Tory Acrosticks and Whig Anagrams, and do not quarrel with either of them, because they are Whigs or Tories, but because they are Anagrams and Acrosticks.

But to return to Punning. Having pursued the History of a Punn, from its Original to its Downfal, I shall here define it to be a Conceit arising from the use of two Words that agree in the Sound, but differ in the Sense. The only way therefore to try a Piece of Wit, is to translate it into a different Language: If it bears the Test, you may pronounce it true; but if it vanishes in the Experiment, you may conclude it to have been a Punn. In short, one may say of a Punn, as the Countryman described his Nightingale, that it is vox et præterea nihil, a Sound, and nothing but a Sound. On the contrary, one may represent true Wit by the Description which Aristinetus makes of a fine Woman; when she is dressed she is Beautiful, when she is undressed she is Beautiful; or as Mercerus has translated it [more Emphatically]
Induitur, formosa est: Exuitur, ipsa forma est.

Footnote 1:   fine
return to footnote mark

Contents p.3

No. 62

Friday, May 11, 1711


Scribendi rectè sapere est et principium et fons.


Mr. Lock has an admirable Reflexion upon the Difference of Wit and Judgment, whereby he endeavours to shew the Reason why they are not always the Talents of the same Person. His Words are as follows:
And hence, perhaps, may be given some Reason of that common Observation, That Men who have a great deal of Wit and prompt Memories, have not always the clearest Judgment, or deepest Reason. For Wit lying most in the Assemblage of Ideas, and putting those together with Quickness and Variety, wherein can be found any Resemblance or Congruity, thereby to make up pleasant Pictures and agreeable Visions in the Fancy; Judgment, on the contrary, lies quite on the other Side, In separating carefully one from another, Ideas wherein can be found the least Difference, thereby to avoid being misled by Similitude, and by Affinity to take one thing for another. This is a way of proceeding quite contrary to Metaphor and Allusion; wherein, for the most part, lies that Entertainment and Pleasantry of Wit which strikes so lively on the Fancy, and is therefore so acceptable to all People.1
This is, I think, the best and most Philosophical Account that I have ever met with of Wit, which generally, though not always, consists in such a Resemblance and Congruity of Ideas as this Author mentions. I shall only add to it, by way of Explanation, That every Resemblance of Ideas is not that which we call Wit, unless it be such an one that gives Delight and Surprise to the Reader: These two Properties seem essential to Wit, more particularly the last of them. In order therefore that the Resemblance in the Ideas be Wit, it is necessary that the Ideas should not lie too near one another in the Nature of things; for where the Likeness is obvious, it gives no Surprize. To compare one Man's Singing to that of another, or to represent the Whiteness of any Object by that of Milk and Snow, or the Variety of its Colours by those of the Rainbow, cannot be called Wit, unless besides this obvious Resemblance, there be some further Congruity discovered in the two Ideas that is capable of giving the Reader some Surprize. Thus when a Poet tells us, the Bosom of his Mistress is as white as Snow, there is no Wit in the Comparison; but when he adds, with a Sigh, that it is as cold too, it then grows into Wit. Every Reader's Memory may supply him with innumerable Instances of the same Nature. For this Reason, the Similitudes in Heroick Poets, who endeavour rather to fill the Mind with great Conceptions, than to divert it with such as are new and surprizing, have seldom any thing in them that can be called Wit. Mr. Lock's Account of Wit, with this short Explanation, comprehends most of the Species of Wit, as Metaphors, Similitudes, Allegories, Ænigmas, Mottos, Parables, Fables, Dreams, Visions, dramatick Writings, Burlesque, and all the Methods of Allusion: As there are many other Pieces of Wit, (how remote soever they may appear at first sight, from the foregoing Description) which upon Examination will be found to agree with it.

As true Wit generally consists in this Resemblance and Congruity of Ideas, false Wit chiefly consists in the Resemblance and Congruity sometimes of single Letters, as in Anagrams, Chronograms, Lipograms, and Acrosticks: Sometimes of Syllables, as in Ecchos and Doggerel Rhymes: Sometimes of Words, as in Punns and Quibbles; and sometimes of whole Sentences or Poems, cast into the Figures of Eggs, Axes, or Altars: Nay, some carry the Notion of Wit so far, as to ascribe it even to external Mimickry; and to look upon a Man as an ingenious Person, that can resemble the Tone, Posture, or Face of another.

As true Wit consists in the Resemblance of Ideas, and false Wit in the Resemblance of Words, according to the foregoing Instances; there is another kind of Wit which consists partly in the Resemblance of Ideas, and partly in the Resemblance of Words; which for Distinction Sake I shall call mixt Wit. This kind of Wit is that which abounds in Cowley, more than in any Author that ever wrote. Mr. Waller has likewise a great deal of it. Mr. Dryden is very sparing in it. Milton had a Genius much above it. Spencer is in the same Class with Milton. The Italians, even in their Epic Poetry, are full of it. Monsieur Boileau, who formed himself upon the Ancient Poets, has every where rejected it with Scorn. If we look after mixt Wit among the Greek Writers, we shall find it no where but in the Epigrammatists. There are indeed some Strokes of it in the little Poem ascribed to Musœus, which by that, as well as many other Marks, betrays it self to be a modern Composition. If we look into the Latin Writers, we find none of this mixt Wit in Virgil, Lucretius, or Catullus; very little in Horace, but a great deal of it in Ovid, and scarce any thing else in Martial.

Out of the innumerable Branches of mixt Wit, I shall choose one Instance which may be met with in all the Writers of this Class. The Passion of Love in its Nature has been thought to resemble Fire; for which Reason the Words Fire and Flame are made use of to signify Love. The witty Poets therefore have taken an Advantage from the doubtful Meaning of the Word Fire, to make an infinite Number of Witticisms. Cowley observing the cold Regard of his Mistress's Eyes, and at the same Time their Power of producing Love in him, considers them as Burning-Glasses made of Ice; and finding himself able to live in the greatest Extremities of Love, concludes the Torrid Zone to be habitable. When his Mistress has read his Letter written in Juice of Lemmon by holding it to the Fire, he desires her to read it over a second time by Love's Flames. When she weeps, he wishes it were inward Heat that distilled those Drops from the Limbeck. When she is absent he is beyond eighty, that is, thirty Degrees nearer the Pole than when she is with him. His ambitious Love is a Fire that naturally mounts upwards; his happy Love is the Beams of Heaven, and his unhappy Love Flames of Hell. When it does not let him sleep, it is a Flame that sends up no Smoak; when it is opposed by Counsel and Advice, it is a Fire that rages the more by the Wind's blowing upon it. Upon the dying of a Tree in which he had cut his Loves, he observes that his written Flames had burnt up and withered the Tree. When he resolves to give over his Passion, he tells us that one burnt like him for ever dreads the Fire. His Heart is an Ætna, that instead of Vulcan's Shop incloses Cupid's Forge in it. His endeavouring to drown his Love in Wine, is throwing Oil upon the Fire. He would insinuate to his Mistress, that the Fire of Love, like that of the Sun (which produces so many living Creatures) should not only warm but beget. Love in another Place cooks Pleasure at his Fire. Sometimes the Poet's Heart is frozen in every Breast, and sometimes scorched in every Eye. Sometimes he is drowned in Tears, and burnt in Love, like a Ship set on Fire in the Middle of the Sea.

The Reader may observe in every one of these Instances, that the Poet mixes the Qualities of Fire with those of Love; and in the same Sentence speaking of it both as a Passion and as real Fire, surprizes the Reader with those seeming Resemblances or Contradictions that make up all the Wit in this kind of Writing. Mixt Wit therefore is a Composition of Punn and true Wit, and is more or less perfect as the Resemblance lies in the Ideas or in the Words: Its Foundations are laid partly in Falsehood and partly in Truth: Reason puts in her Claim for one Half of it, and Extravagance for the other. The only Province therefore for this kind of Wit, is Epigram, or those little occasional Poems that in their own Nature are nothing else but a Tissue of Epigrams. I cannot conclude this Head of mixt Wit, without owning that the admirable Poet out of whom I have taken the Examples of it, had as much true Wit as any Author that ever writ; and indeed all other Talents of an extraordinary Genius.

It may be expected, since I am upon this Subject, that I should take notice of Mr. Dryden's Definition of Wit; which, with all the Deference that is due to the Judgment of so great a Man, is not so properly a Definition of Wit, as of good writing in general. Wit, as he defines it, is
'a Propriety of Words and Thoughts adapted to the Subject.'2
If this be a true Definition of Wit, I am apt to think that Euclid was3 the greatest Wit that ever set Pen to Paper: It is certain that never was a greater Propriety of Words and Thoughts adapted to the Subject, than what that Author has made use of in his Elements. I shall only appeal to my Reader, if this Definition agrees with any Notion he has of Wit: If it be a true one I am sure Mr. Dryden was not only a better Poet, but a greater Wit than Mr. Cowley; and Virgil a much more facetious Man than either Ovid or Martial.

Bouhours, whom I look upon to be the most penetrating of all the French Criticks, has taken pains to shew, that it is impossible for any Thought to be beautiful which is not just, and has not its Foundation in the Nature of things: That the Basis of all Wit is Truth; and that no Thought can be valuable, of which good Sense is not the Ground-work4. Boileau has endeavoured to inculcate the same Notions in several Parts of his Writings, both in Prose and Verse5. This is that natural Way of Writing, that beautiful Simplicity, which we so much admire in the Compositions of the Ancients; and which no Body deviates from, but those who want Strength of Genius to make a Thought shine in its own natural Beauties. Poets who want this Strength of Genius to give that Majestick Simplicity to Nature, which we so much admire in the Works of the Ancients, are forced to hunt after foreign Ornaments, and not to let any Piece of Wit of what kind soever escape them. I look upon these writers as Goths in Poetry, who, like those in Architecture, not being able to come up to the beautiful Simplicity of the old Greeks and Romans, have endeavoured to supply its place with all the Extravagancies of an irregular Fancy. Mr. Dryden makes a very handsome Observation, on Ovid's writing a Letter from Dido to Æneas, in the following Words6.
'Ovid' says he, (speaking of Virgil's Fiction of Dido and Æneas) 'takes it up after him, even in the same Age, and makes an Ancient Heroine of Virgil's new-created Dido; dictates a Letter for her just before her Death to the ungrateful Fugitive; and, very unluckily for himself, is for measuring a Sword with a Man so much superior in Force to him on the same Subject. I think I may be Judge of this, because I have translated both. The famous Author of the Art of Love has nothing of his own; he borrows all from a greater Master in his own Profession, and, which is worse, improves nothing which he finds: Nature fails him, and being forced to his old Shift, he has Recourse to Witticism. This passes indeed with his soft Admirers, and gives him the Preference to Virgil in their Esteem.'
Were not I supported by so great an Authority as that of Mr. Dryden, I should not venture to observe, That the Taste of most of our English Poets, as well as Readers, is extremely Gothick. He quotes Monsieur Segrais7 for a threefold Distinction of the Readers of Poetry: In the first of which he comprehends the Rabble of Readers, whom he does not treat as such with regard to their Quality, but to their Numbers and Coarseness of their Taste. His Words are as follow:
'Segrais has distinguished the Readers of Poetry, according to their Capacity of judging, into three Classes. [He might have said the same of Writers too, if he had pleased.] In the lowest Form he places those whom he calls Les Petits Esprits, such things as are our Upper-Gallery Audience in a Play-house; who like nothing but the Husk and Rind of Wit, prefer a Quibble, a Conceit, an Epigram, before solid Sense and elegant Expression: These are Mob Readers. If Virgil and Martial stood for Parliament-Men, we know already who would carry it. But though they make the greatest Appearance in the Field, and cry the loudest, the best on't is they are but a sort of French Huguenots, or Dutch Boors, brought over in Herds, but not Naturalized; who have not Lands of two Pounds per Annum in Parnassus, and therefore are not privileged to poll. Their Authors are of the same Level, fit to represent them on a Mountebank's Stage, or to be Masters of the Ceremonies in a Bear-garden: Yet these are they who have the most Admirers. But it often happens, to their Mortification, that as their Readers improve their Stock of Sense, (as they may by reading better Books, and by Conversation with Men of Judgment) they soon forsake them.'
I must not dismiss this Subject without8 observing that as Mr. Lock in the Passage above-mentioned has discovered the most fruitful Source of Wit, so there is another of a quite contrary Nature to it, which does likewise branch it self out into several kinds. For not only the Resemblance, but the Opposition of Ideas, does very often produce Wit; as I could shew in several little Points, Turns and Antitheses, that I may possibly enlarge upon in some future Speculation.


Footnote 1:   Essay concerning Human Understanding, Bk II. ch. II (p. 68 of ed. 1690; the first).
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:  
'If Wit has truly been defined as a Propriety of Thoughts and Words, then that definition will extend to all sorts of Poetry ... Propriety of Thought is that Fancy which arises naturally from the Subject, or which the Poet adapts to it. Propriety of Words is the cloathing of these Thoughts with such Expressions as are naturally proper to them.'
Dryden's Preface to Albion and Albanius.

Footnote 3:   is

Footnote 4:   Dominique Bouhours, a learned and accomplished Jesuit, who died in 1702, aged 75, was a Professor of the Humanities, in Paris, till the headaches by which he was tormented until death compelled him to resign his chair. He was afterwards tutor to the two young Princes of Longueville, and to the son of the minister Colbert. His best book was translated into English in 1705, as
'The Art of Criticism: or the Method of making a Right Judgment upon Subjects of Wit and Learning. Translated from the best Edition of the French, of the Famous Father Bouhours, by a Person of Quality. In Four Dialogues.'
Here he says:
'Truth is the first Quality, and, as it were, the foundation of Thought; the fairest is the faultiest, or, rather, those which pass for the fairest, are not really so, if they want this Foundation.... I do not understand your Doctrine, replies Philanthus, and I can scarce persuade myself that a witty Thought should be always founded on Truth: On the contrary, I am of the opinion of a famous Critic (i.e. Vavassor in his book on Epigrams) that Falsehood gives it often all its Grace, and is, as it were, the Soul of it,'
&c., pp, 6, 7, and the following.

Footnote 5:   As in the lines
Tout doit tendre au Bon Sens: mais pour y parvenir
Le chemin est glissant et penible a tenir.
Art. Poétique, chant 1.

And again,
Aux dépens du Bon Sens gardez de plaisanter.
Art. Poétique, chant 3.

Footnote 6:   Dedication of his translation of the Æneid to Lord Normanby, near the middle; when speaking of the anachronism that made Dido and Æneas contemporaries.

Footnote 7:   Jean Regnauld de Segrais, b. 1624, d. 1701, was of Caen, where he was trained by Jesuits for the Church, but took to Literature, and sought thereby to support four brothers and two sisters, reduced to want by the dissipations of his father. He wrote, as a youth, odes, songs, a tragedy, and part of a romance. Attracting, at the age of 20, the attention of a noble patron, he became, in 1647, and remained for the next 24 years, attached to the household of Mlle. de Montpensier. He was a favoured guest among the Précieuses of the Hotel Rambouillet, and was styled, for his acquired air of bon ton, the Voiture of Caen. In 1671 he was received by Mlle. de La Fayette. In 1676 he married a rich wife, at Caen, his native town, where he settled and revived the local 'Academy.' Among his works were translations into French verse of the Æneid and Georgics. In the dedication of his own translation of the Æneid by an elaborate essay to Lord Normanby, Dryden refers much, and with high respect, to the dissertation prefixed by Segrais to his French version, and towards the end (on p. 80 where the essay occupies 100 pages), writes as above quoted. The first parenthesis is part of the quotation.

Footnote 8:   "would not break the thread of this discourse without;" and an Erratum appended to the next Number says, 'for without read with.'

Contents p.3

No. 63

Saturday, May 12, 1711


Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam
Jungere si velit et varías inducere plumas
Undique collatis membris, ut turpiter atrum
Desinat in piscem mulier formosa supernè;
Spectatum admissi risum teneatis amici?
Credite, Pisones, isti tabulæ fore librum
Persimilem, cujus, velut ægri somnia, vanæ
Finguntur species ...


It is very hard for the Mind to disengage it self from a Subject in which it has been long employed. The Thoughts will be rising of themselves from time to time, tho' we give them no Encouragement; as the Tossings and Fluctuations of the Sea continue several Hours after the Winds are laid.

It is to this that I impute my last Night's Dream or Vision, which formed into one continued Allegory the several Schemes of Wit, whether False, Mixed, or True, that have been the Subject of my late Papers.

Methoughts I was transported into a Country that was filled with Prodigies and Enchantments, governed by the Goddess of Falsehood, entitled the Region of False Wit. There is nothing in the Fields, the Woods, and the Rivers, that appeared natural. Several of the Trees blossomed in Leaf-Gold, some of them produced Bone-Lace, and some of them precious Stones. The Fountains bubbled in an Opera Tune, and were filled with Stags, Wild-Boars, and Mermaids, that lived among the Waters; at the same time that Dolphins and several kinds of Fish played upon the Banks or took their Pastime in the Meadows. The Birds had many of them golden Beaks, and human Voices. The Flowers perfumed the Air with Smells of Incense, Amber-greese, and Pulvillios1; and were so interwoven with one another, that they grew up in Pieces of Embroidery. The Winds were filled with Sighs and Messages of distant Lovers. As I was walking to and fro in this enchanted Wilderness, I could not forbear breaking out into Soliloquies upon the several Wonders which lay before me, when, to my great Surprize, I found there were artificial Ecchoes in every Walk, that by Repetitions of certain Words which I spoke, agreed with me, or contradicted me, in every thing I said. In the midst of my Conversation with these invisible Companions, I discovered in the Centre of a very dark Grove a monstrous Fabrick built after the Gothick manner, and covered with innumerable Devices in that barbarous kind of Sculpture. I immediately went up to it, and found it to be a kind of Heathen Temple consecrated to the God of Dullness. Upon my Entrance I saw the Deity of the Place dressed in the Habit of a Monk, with a Book in one Hand and a Rattle in the other. Upon his right Hand was Industry, with a Lamp burning before her; and on his left Caprice, with a Monkey sitting on her Shoulder. Before his Feet there stood an Altar of a very odd Make, which, as I afterwards found, was shaped in that manner to comply with the Inscription that surrounded it. Upon the Altar there lay several Offerings of Axes, Wings, and Eggs, cut in Paper, and inscribed with Verses. The Temple was filled with Votaries, who applied themselves to different Diversions, as their Fancies directed them. In one part of it I saw a Regiment of Anagrams, who were continually in motion, turning to the Right or to the Left, facing about, doubling their Ranks, shifting their Stations, and throwing themselves into all the Figures and Countermarches of the most changeable and perplexed Exercise.

Not far from these was a Body of Acrosticks, made up of very disproportioned Persons. It was disposed into three Columns, the Officers planting themselves in a Line on the left Hand of each Column. The Officers were all of them at least Six Foot high, and made three Rows of very proper Men; but the Common Soldiers, who filled up the Spaces between the Officers, were such Dwarfs, Cripples, and Scarecrows, that one could hardly look upon them without laughing. There were behind the Acrosticks two or three Files of Chronograms, which differed only from the former, as their Officers were equipped (like the Figure of Time) with an Hour-glass in one Hand, and a Scythe in the other, and took their Posts promiscuously among the private Men whom they commanded.

In the Body of the Temple, and before the very Face of the Deity, methought I saw the Phantom of Tryphiodorus the Lipogrammatist, engaged in a Ball with four and twenty Persons, who pursued him by Turns thro' all the Intricacies and Labyrinths of a Country Dance, without being able to overtake him.

Observing several to be very busie at the Western End of the Temple, I inquired into what they were doing, and found there was in that Quarter the great Magazine of Rebus's. These were several Things of the most different Natures tied up in Bundles, and thrown upon one another in heaps like Faggots. You might behold an Anchor, a Night-rail, and a Hobby-horse bound up together. One of the Workmen seeing me very much surprized, told me, there was an infinite deal of Wit in several of those Bundles, and that he would explain them to me if I pleased; I thanked him for his Civility, but told him I was in very great haste at that time. As I was going out of the Temple, I observed in one Corner of it a Cluster of Men and Women laughing very heartily, and diverting themselves at a Game of Crambo. I heard several Double Rhymes as I passed by them, which raised a great deal of Mirth.

Not far from these was another Set of merry People engaged at a Diversion, in which the whole Jest was to mistake one Person for another. To give Occasion for these ludicrous Mistakes, they were divided into Pairs, every Pair being covered from Head to Foot with the same kind of Dress, though perhaps there was not the least Resemblance in their Faces. By this means an old Man was sometimes mistaken for a Boy, a Woman for a Man, and a Black-a-moor for an European, which very often produced great Peals of Laughter. These I guessed to be a Party of Punns. But being very desirous to get out of this World of Magick, which had almost turned my Brain, I left the Temple, and crossed over the Fields that lay about it with all the Speed I could make. I was not gone far before I heard the Sound of Trumpets and Alarms, which seemed to proclaim the March of an Enemy; and, as I afterwards found, was in reality what I apprehended it. There appeared at a great Distance a very shining Light, and, in the midst of it, a Person of a most beautiful Aspect; her Name was Truth. On her right Hand there marched a Male Deity, who bore several Quivers on his Shoulders, — and grasped several Arrows in his Hand. His Name was Wit. The Approach of these two Enemies filled all the Territories of False Wit with an unspeakable Consternation, insomuch that the Goddess of those Regions appeared in Person upon her Frontiers, with the several inferior Deities, and the different Bodies of Forces which I had before seen in the Temple, who were now drawn up in Array, and prepared to give their Foes a warm Reception. As the March of the Enemy was very slow, it gave time to the several Inhabitants who bordered upon the Regions of Falsehood to draw their Forces into a Body, with a Design to stand upon their Guard as Neuters, and attend the Issue of the Combat.

I must here inform my Reader, that the Frontiers of the Enchanted Region, which I have before described, were inhabited by the Species of Mixed Wit, who made a very odd Appearance when they were mustered together in an Army. There were Men whose Bodies were stuck full of Darts, and Women whose Eyes were Burning-glasses: Men that had Hearts of Fire, and Women that had Breasts of Snow. It would be endless to describe several Monsters of the like Nature, that composed this great Army; which immediately fell asunder and divided itself into two Parts, the one half throwing themselves behind the Banners of Truth, and the others behind those of Falsehood.

The Goddess of Falsehood was of a Gigantick Stature, and advanced some Paces before the Front of her Army: but as the dazling Light, which flowed from Truth, began to shine upon her, she faded insensibly; insomuch that in a little Space she looked rather like an huge Phantom, than a real Substance. At length, as the Goddess of Truth approached still nearer to her, she fell away entirely, and vanished amidst the Brightness of her Presence; so that there did not remain the least Trace or Impression of her Figure in the Place where she had been seen.

As at the rising of the Sun the Constellations grow thin, and the Stars go out one after another, till the whole Hemisphere is extinguished; such was the vanishing of the Goddess: And not only of the Goddess her self, but of the whole Army that attended her, which sympathized with their Leader, and shrunk into Nothing, in proportion as the Goddess disappeared. At the same time the whole Temple sunk, the Fish betook themselves to the Streams, and the wild Beasts to the Woods: The Fountains recovered their Murmurs, the Birds their Voices, the Trees their Leaves, the Flowers their Scents, and the whole Face of Nature its true and genuine Appearance. Tho' I still continued asleep, I fancied my self as it were awakened out of a Dream, when I saw this Region of Prodigies restored to Woods and Rivers, Fields and Meadows.

Upon the removal of that wild Scene of Wonders, which had very much disturbed my Imagination, I took a full Survey of the Persons of Wit and Truth; for indeed it was impossible to look upon the first, without seeing the other at the same time. There was behind them a strong and compact Body of Figures. The Genius of Heroic Poetry appeared with a Sword in her Hand, and a Lawrel on her Head. Tragedy was crowned with Cypress, and covered with Robes dipped in Blood. Satyr had Smiles in her Look, and a Dagger under her Garment. Rhetorick was known by her Thunderbolt; and Comedy by her Mask. After several other Figures, Epigram marched up in the Rear, who had been posted there at the Beginning of the Expedition, that he might not revolt to the Enemy, whom he was suspected to favour in his Heart. I was very much awed and delighted with the Appearance of the God of Wit; there was something so amiable and yet so piercing in his Looks, as inspired me at once with Love and Terror. As I was gazing on him, to my unspeakable Joy, he took a Quiver of Arrows from his Shoulder, in order to make me a Present of it; but as I was reaching out my Hand to receive it of him, I knocked it against a Chair, and by that means awaked.


Footnote 1:   Scent bags. Ital. Polviglio; from Pulvillus, a little cushion.
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No. 64

Monday, May 14, 1711


... Hic vivimus Ambitiosa
Paupertate omnes ...


The most improper things we commit in the Conduct of our Lives, we are led into by the Force of Fashion. Instances might be given, in which a prevailing Custom makes us act against the Rules of Nature, Law and common Sense: but at present I shall confine my Consideration of the Effect it has upon Men's Minds, by looking into our Behaviour when it is the Fashion to go into Mourning. The Custom of representing the Grief we have for the Loss of the Dead by our Habits, certainly had its Rise from the real Sorrow of such as were too much distressed to take the proper Care they ought of their Dress. By Degrees it prevailed, that such as had this inward Oppression upon their Minds, made an Apology for not joining with the rest of the World in their ordinary Diversions, by a Dress suited to their Condition. This therefore was at first assumed by such only as were under real Distress; to whom it was a Relief that they had nothing about them so light and gay as to be irksome to the Gloom and Melancholy of their inward Reflections, or that might misrepresent them to others. In process of Time this laudable Distinction of the Sorrowful was lost, and Mourning is now worn by Heirs and Widows. You see nothing but Magnificence and Solemnity in the Equipage of the Relict, and an Air of1 Release from Servitude in the Pomp of a Son who has lost a wealthy Father. This Fashion of Sorrow is now become a generous Part of the Ceremonial between Princes and Sovereigns, who in the Language of all Nations are stiled Brothers to each other, and put on the Purple upon the Death of any Potentate with whom they live in Amity. Courtiers, and all who wish themselves such, are immediately seized with Grief from Head to Foot upon this Disaster to their Prince; so that one may know by the very Buckles of a Gentleman-Usher, what Degree of Friendship any deceased Monarch maintained with the Court to which he belongs. A good Courtier's Habit and Behaviour is hieroglyphical on these Occasions: He deals much in Whispers, and you may see he dresses according to the best Intelligence.

The general Affectation among Men, of appearing greater than they are, makes the whole World run into the Habit of the Court. You see the Lady, who the Day before was as various as a Rainbow, upon the Time appointed for beginning to mourn, as dark as a Cloud. This Humour does not prevail only on those whose Fortunes can support any Change in their Equipage, not on those only whose Incomes demand the Wantonness of new Appearances; but on such also who have just enough to cloath them. An old Acquaintance of mine, of Ninety Pounds a Year, who has naturally the Vanity of being a Man of Fashion deep at his Heart, is very much put to it to bear the Mortality of Princes. He made a new black Suit upon the Death of the King of Spain, he turned it for the King of Portugal, and he now keeps his Chamber while it is scouring for the Emperor2. He is a good Œconomist in his Extravagance, and makes only a fresh black Button upon his Iron-gray Suit for any Potentate of small Territories; he indeed adds his Crape Hatband for a Prince whose Exploits he has admired in the _Gazette_. But whatever Compliments may be made on these Occasions, the true Mourners are the Mercers, Silkmen, Lacemen and Milliners. A Prince of merciful and royal Disposition would reflect with great Anxiety upon the Prospect of his Death, if he considered what Numbers would be reduced to Misery by that Accident only: He would think it of Moment enough to direct, that in the Notification of his Departure, the Honour done to him might be restrained to those of the Houshold of the Prince to whom it should be signified. He would think a general Mourning to be in a less Degree the same Ceremony which is practised in barbarous Nations, of killing their Slaves to attend the Obsequies of their Kings.

I had been wonderfully at a Loss for many Months together, to guess at the Character of a Man who came now and then to our Coffee-house: He ever ended a News-paper with this Reflection, Well, I see all the Foreign Princes are in good Health. If you asked, Pray, Sir, what says the Postman from Vienna? he answered, Make us thankful, the German Princes are all well: What does he say from Barcelona? He does not speak but that the Country agrees very well with the new Queen. After very much Enquiry, I found this Man of universal Loyalty was a wholesale Dealer in Silks and Ribbons: His Way is, it seems, if he hires a Weaver, or Workman, to have it inserted in his Articles,
'That all this shall be well and truly performed, provided no foreign Potentate shall depart this Life within the Time above-mentioned.'
It happens in all publick Mournings, that the many Trades which depend upon our Habits, are during that Folly either pinched with present Want, or terrified with the apparent Approach of it. All the Atonement which Men can make for wanton Expences (which is a sort of insulting the Scarcity under which others labour) is, that the Superfluities of the Wealthy give Supplies to the Necessities of the Poor: but instead of any other Good arising from the Affectation of being in courtly Habits of Mourning, all Order seems to be destroyed by it; and the true Honour which one Court does to another on that Occasion, loses its Force and Efficacy. When a foreign Minister beholds the Court of a Nation (which flourishes in Riches and Plenty) lay aside, upon the Loss of his Master, all Marks of Splendor and Magnificence, though the Head of such a joyful People, he will conceive greater Idea of the Honour done his Master, than when he sees the Generality of the People in the same Habit. When one is afraid to ask the Wife of a Tradesman whom she has lost of her Family; and after some Preparation endeavours to know whom she mourns for; how ridiculous is it to hear her explain her self, That we have lost one of the House of Austria! Princes are elevated so highly above the rest of Mankind, that it is a presumptuous Distinction to take a Part in Honours done to their Memories, except we have Authority for it, by being related in a particular Manner to the Court which pays that Veneration to their Friendship, and seems to express on such an Occasion the Sense of the Uncertainty of human Life in general, by assuming the Habit of Sorrow though in the full possession of Triumph and Royalty.


Footnote 1:   of a
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Footnote 2:  The death of Charles II of Spain, which gave occasion for the general war of the Spanish succession, took place in 1700. John V, King of Portugal, died in 1706, and the Emperor Joseph I died on the 17th of April, 1711, less than a month before this paper was written. The black suit that was now 'scouring for the Emperor' was, therefore, more than ten years old, and had been turned five years ago.

Contents p.3

No. 65

Tuesday, May 15, 1711


... Demetri teque Tigelli
Discipularum inter jubeo plorare cathedras.


After having at large explained what Wit is, and described the false Appearances of it, all that Labour seems but an useless Enquiry, without some Time be spent in considering the Application of it. The Seat of Wit, when one speaks as a Man of the Town and the World, is the Play-house; I shall therefore fill this Paper with Reflections upon the Use of it in that Place. The Application of Wit in the Theatre has as strong an Effect upon the Manners of our Gentlemen, as the Taste of it has upon the Writings of our Authors. It may, perhaps, look like a very presumptuous Work, though not Foreign from the Duty of a Spectator, to tax the Writings of such as have long had the general Applause of a Nation; But I shall always make Reason, Truth, and Nature the Measures of Praise and Dispraise; if those are for me, the Generality of Opinion is of no Consequence against me; if they are against me, the general Opinion cannot long support me.

Without further Preface, I am going to look into some of our most applauded Plays, and see whether they deserve the Figure they at present bear in the Imagination of Men, or not.

In reflecting upon these Works, I shall chiefly dwell upon that for which each respective Play is most celebrated. The present Paper shall be employed upon Sir Fopling Flutter1. The received Character of this Play is, That it is the Pattern of Genteel Comedy. Dorimant and Harriot are the Characters of greatest Consequence, and if these are Low and Mean, the Reputation of the Play is very Unjust.

I will take for granted, that a fine Gentleman should be honest in his Actions, and refined in his Language. Instead of this, our Hero in this Piece is a direct Knave in his Designs, and a Clown in his Language. Bellair is his Admirer and Friend; in return for which, because he is forsooth a greater Wit than his said Friend, he thinks it reasonable to persuade him to marry a young Lady, whose Virtue, he thinks, will last no longer than till she is a Wife, and then she cannot but fall to his Share, as he is an irresistible fine Gentleman. The Falshood to Mrs. Loveit, and the Barbarity of Triumphing over her Anguish for losing him, is another Instance of his Honesty, as well as his Good-nature. As to his fine Language; he calls the Orange-Woman, who, it seems, is inclined to grow Fat, An Over-grown Jade, with a Flasket of Guts before her; and salutes her with a pretty Phrase of How now, Double Tripe? Upon the mention of a Country Gentlewoman, whom he knows nothing of, (no one can imagine why) he will lay his Life she is some awkward ill-fashioned Country Toad, who not having above four Dozen of Hairs on her Head, has adorned her Baldness with a large white Fruz, that she may look Sparkishly in the Forefront of the King's Box at an old Play. Unnatural Mixture of senseless Common-Place!

As to the Generosity of his Temper, he tells his poor Footman, If he did not wait better — he would turn him away, in the insolent Phrase of, I'll uncase you.

Now for Mrs. Harriot: She laughs at Obedience to an absent Mother, whose Tenderness Busie describes to be very exquisite, for that she is so pleased with finding Harriot again, that she cannot chide her for being out of the way. This Witty Daughter, and fine Lady, has so little Respect for this good Woman, that she Ridicules her Air in taking Leave, and cries, In what Struggle is my poor Mother yonder? See, see, her Head tottering, her Eyes staring, and her under Lip trembling. But all this is atoned for, because she has more Wit than is usual in her Sex, and as much Malice, tho' she is as Wild as you would wish her and has a Demureness in her Looks that makes it so surprising! Then to recommend her as a fit Spouse for his Hero, the Poet makes her speak her Sense of Marriage very ingeniously: I think, says she, I might be brought to endure him, and that is all a reasonable Woman should expect in an Husband. It is, methinks, unnatural that we are not made to understand how she that was bred under a silly pious old Mother, that would never trust her out of her sight, came to be so Polite. It cannot be denied, but that the Negligence of every thing, which engages the Attention of the sober and valuable Part of Mankind, appears very well drawn in this Piece: But it is denied, that it is necessary to the Character of a Fine Gentleman, that he should in that manner trample upon all Order and Decency. As for the Character of Dorimant, it is more of a Coxcomb than that of Fopling. He says of one of his Companions, that a good Correspondence between them is their mutual Interest. Speaking of that Friend, he declares, their being much together makes the Women think the better of his Understanding, and judge more favourably of my Reputation. It makes him pass upon some for a Man of very good Sense, and me upon others for a very civil Person.

This whole celebrated Piece is a perfect Contradiction to good Manners, good Sense, and common Honesty; and as there is nothing in it but what is built upon the Ruin of Virtue and Innocence, according to the Notion of Merit in this Comedy, I take the Shoemaker to be, in reality, the Fine Gentleman of the Play: For it seems he is an Atheist, if we may depend upon his Character as given by the Orange-Woman, who is her self far from being the lowest in the Play. She says of a Fine Man who is Dorimant's Companion, There is not such another Heathen in the Town, except the Shoemaker. His Pretension to be the Hero of the Drama appears still more in his own Description of his way of Living with his Lady. There is, says he, never a Man in Town lives more like a Gentleman with his Wife than I do; I never mind her Motions; she never enquires into mine. We speak to one another civilly, hate one another heartily; and because it is Vulgar to Lye and Soak together, we have each of us our several Settle-Bed. That of Soaking together is as good as if Dorimant had spoken it himself; and, I think, since he puts Human Nature in as ugly a Form as the Circumstances will bear, and is a staunch Unbeliever, he is very much Wronged in having no part of the good Fortune bestowed in the last Act.

To speak plainly of this whole Work, I think nothing but being lost to a sense of Innocence and Virtue can make any one see this Comedy, without observing more frequent Occasion to move Sorrow and Indignation, than Mirth and Laughter. At the same time I allow it to be Nature, but it is Nature in its utmost Corruption and Degeneracy2.


Footnote 1:   The Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling Flutter, by Sir George Etherege, produced in 1676. Etherege painted accurately the life and morals of the Restoration, and is said to have represented himself in Bellair; Beau Hewit, the son of a Herefordshire Baronet, in Sir Fopling; and to have formed Dorimant upon the model of the Earl of Rochester.
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Footnote 2:   To this number of the Spectator is appended the first advertisement of Pope's Essay on Criticism.
This Day is publish'd An Essay on Criticism.

Printed for W. Lewis in Russell street Covent-Garden;
and Sold by W. Taylor, at the Ship in Pater Noster Row;
T. Osborn, in Gray's Inn near the Walks;
T. Graves, in St. James's Street;
and T. Morphew, near Stationers-Hall.

Price 1s.


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No. 66

Wednesday, May 16, 1711


Motus doceri gaudet Ionicos
Matura Virgo, et fingitur artubus
Jam nunc, et incestos amores
De Tenero meditatur Ungui.


The two following Letters are upon a Subject of very great Importance, tho' expressed without an Air of Gravity.
To the Spectator.

I Take the Freedom of asking your Advice in behalf of a Young Country Kinswoman of mine who is lately come to Town, and under my Care for her Education. She is very pretty, but you can't imagine how unformed a Creature it is. She comes to my Hands just as Nature left her, half-finished, and without any acquired Improvements. When I look on her I often think of the Belle Sauvage mentioned in one of your Papers. Dear Mr. Spectator, help me to make her comprehend the visible Graces of Speech, and the dumb Eloquence of Motion; for she is at present a perfect Stranger to both. She knows no Way to express her self but by her Tongue, and that always to signify her Meaning. Her Eyes serve her yet only to see with, and she is utterly a Foreigner to the Language of Looks and Glances. In this I fancy you could help her better than any Body. I have bestowed two Months in teaching her to Sigh when she is not concerned, and to Smile when she is not pleased; and am ashamed to own she makes little or no Improvement. Then she is no more able now to walk, than she was to go at a Year old. By Walking you will easily know I mean that regular but easy Motion, which gives our Persons so irresistible a Grace as if we moved to Musick, and is a kind of disengaged Figure, or, if I may so speak, recitative Dancing. But the want of this I cannot blame in her, for I find she has no Ear, and means nothing by Walking but to change her Place. I could pardon too her Blushing, if she knew how to carry her self in it, and if it did not manifestly injure her Complexion.

They tell me you are a Person who have seen the World, and are a Judge of fine Breeding; which makes me ambitious of some Instructions from you for her Improvement: Which when you have favoured me with, I shall further advise with you about the Disposal of this fair Forrester in Marriage; for I will make it no Secret to you, that her Person and Education are to be her Fortune.
I am, Sir,
Your very humble Servant

Sir, Being employed by Celimene to make up and send to you her Letter, I make bold to recommend the Case therein mentioned to your Consideration, because she and I happen to differ a little in our Notions. I, who am a rough Man, am afraid the young Girl is in a fair Way to be spoiled: Therefore pray, Mr. Spectator, let us have your Opinion of this fine thing called Fine Breeding; for I am afraid it differs too much from that plain thing called Good Breeding.
Your most humble Servant1.
The general Mistake among us in the Educating our Children, is, That in our Daughters we take care of their Persons and neglect their Minds: in our Sons we are so intent upon adorning their Minds, that we wholly neglect their Bodies. It is from this that you shall see a young Lady celebrated and admired in all the Assemblies about Town, when her elder Brother is afraid to come into a Room. From this ill Management it arises, That we frequently observe a Man's Life is half spent before he is taken notice of; and a Woman in the Prime of her Years is out of Fashion and neglected. The Boy I shall consider upon some other Occasion, and at present stick to the Girl: And I am the more inclined to this, because I have several Letters which complain to me that my Female Readers have not understood me for some Days last past, and take themselves to be unconcerned in the present Turn of my Writings. When a Girl is safely brought from her Nurse, before she is capable of forming one simple Notion of any thing in Life, she is delivered to the Hands of her Dancing-Master; and with a Collar round her Neck, the pretty wild Thing is taught a fantastical Gravity of Behaviour, and forced to a particular Way of holding her Head, heaving her Breast, and moving with her whole Body; and all this under Pain of never having an Husband, if she steps, looks, or moves awry. This gives the young Lady wonderful Workings of Imagination, what is to pass between her and this Husband that she is every Moment told of, and for whom she seems to be educated. Thus her Fancy is engaged to turn all her Endeavours to the Ornament of her Person, as what must determine her Good and Ill in this Life; and she naturally thinks, if she is tall enough, she is wise enough for any thing for which her Education makes her think she is designed. To make her an agreeable Person is the main Purpose of her Parents; to that is all their Cost, to that all their Care directed; and from this general Folly of Parents we owe our present numerous Race of Coquets. These Reflections puzzle me, when I think of giving my advice on the Subject of managing the wild Thing mentioned in the Letter of my Correspondent. But sure there is a middle Way to be followed; the Management of a young Lady's Person is not to be overlooked, but the Erudition of her Mind is much more to be regarded. According as this is managed, you will see the Mind follow the Appetites of the Body, or the Body express the Virtues of the Mind.

Cleomira dances with all the Elegance of Motion imaginable; but her Eyes are so chastised with the Simplicity and Innocence of her Thoughts, that she raises in her Beholders Admiration and good Will, but no loose Hope or wild Imagination. The true Art in this Case is, To make the Mind and Body improve together; and if possible, to make Gesture follow Thought, and not let Thought be employed upon Gesture


Footnote 1:   John Hughes is the author of these two letters, and, Chalmers thinks, also of the letters signed R. B. in Nos. 33 and 53. He was in 1711 thirty-two years old. John Hughes, the son of a citizen of London, was born at Marlborough, educated at the private school of a Dissenting minister, where he had Isaac Watts for schoolfellow, delicate of health, zealous for poetry and music, and provided for by having obtained, early in life, a situation in the Ordnance Office. He died of consumption at the age of 40, February 17, 1719-20, on the night of the first production of his Tragedy of The Siege of Damascus. Verse of his was in his lifetime set to music by Purcell and Handel. In 1712 an opera of Calypso and Telemachus, to which Hughes wrote the words, was produced with success at the Haymarket. In translations, in original verse, and especially in prose, he merited the pleasant little reputation that he earned; but his means were small until, not two years before his death, Lord Cowper gave him the well-paid office of Secretary to the Commissioners of the Peace. Steele has drawn the character of his friend Hughes as that of a religious man exempt from every sensual vice, an invalid who could take pleasure in seeing the innocent happiness of the healthy, who was never peevish or sour, and who employed his intervals of ease in drawing and designing, or in music and poetry.
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No. 67

Thursday, May 17, 1711


Saltare elegantius quam necesse est probæ.


Lucian, in one of his Dialogues, introduces a Philosopher chiding his Friend for his being a Lover of Dancing, and a Frequenter of Balls2. The other undertakes the Defence of his Favourite Diversion, which, he says, was at first invented by the Goddess Rhea, and preserved the Life of Jupiter himself, from the Cruelty of his Father Saturn. He proceeds to shew, that it had been Approved by the greatest Men in all Ages; that Homer calls Merion a Fine Dancer; and says, That the graceful Mien and great Agility which he had acquired by that Exercise, distinguished him above the rest in the Armies, both of Greeks and Trojans.

He adds, that Pyrrhus gained more Reputation by Inventing the Dance which is called after his Name, than by all his other Actions: That the Lacedæmonians, who were the bravest People in Greece, gave great Encouragement to this Diversion, and made their Hormus (a Dance much resembling the French Brawl) famous over all Asia: That there were still extant some Thessalian Statues erected to the Honour of their best Dancers: And that he wondered how his Brother Philosopher could declare himself against the Opinions of those two Persons, whom he professed so much to admire, Homer and Hesiod; the latter of which compares Valour and Dancing together; and says, That the Gods have bestowed Fortitude on some Men, and on others a Disposition for Dancing.

Lastly, he puts him in mind that Socrates, (who, in the Judgment of Apollo, was the wisest of Men) was not only a professed Admirer of this Exercise in others, but learned it himself when he was an old Man.

The Morose Philosopher is so much affected by these, and some other Authorities, that he becomes a Convert to his Friend, and desires he would take him with him when he went to his next Ball.

I love to shelter my self under the Examples of Great Men; and, I think, I have sufficiently shewed that it is not below the Dignity of these my Speculations to take notice of the following Letter, which, I suppose, is sent me by some substantial Tradesman about Change.

'I am a Man in Years, and by an honest Industry in the World have acquired enough to give my Children a liberal Education, tho' I was an utter Stranger to it my self. My eldest Daughter, a Girl of Sixteen, has for some time been under the Tuition of Monsieur Rigadoon, a Dancing-Master in the City; and I was prevailed upon by her and her Mother to go last Night to one of his Balls. I must own to you, Sir, that having never been at any such Place before, I was very much pleased and surprized with that Part of his Entertainment which he called French Dancing. There were several young Men and Women, whose Limbs seemed to have no other Motion, but purely what the Musick gave them. After this Part was over, they began a Diversion which they call Country Dancing, and wherein there were also some things not disagreeable, and divers Emblematical Figures, Compos'd, as I guess, by Wise Men, for the Instruction of Youth.

Among the rest, I observed one, which, I think, they call Hunt the Squirrel, in which while the Woman flies the Man pursues her; but as soon as she turns, he runs away, and she is obliged to follow.

The Moral of this Dance does, I think, very aptly recommend Modesty and Discretion to the Female Sex.

But as the best Institutions are liable to Corruptions, so, Sir, I must acquaint you, that very great Abuses are crept into this Entertainment. I was amazed to see my Girl handed by, and handing young Fellows with so much Familiarity; and I could not have thought it had been in the Child. They very often made use of a most impudent and lascivious Step called Setting, which I know not how to describe to you, but by telling you that it is the very reverse of Back to Back. At last an impudent young Dog bid the Fidlers play a Dance called Mol Patley3, and after having made two or three Capers, ran to his Partner, locked his Arms in hers, and whisked her round cleverly above Ground in such manner, that I, who sat upon one of the lowest Benches, saw further above her Shoe than I can think fit to acquaint you with. I could no longer endure these Enormities; wherefore just as my Girl was going to be made a Whirligig, I ran in, seized on the Child, and carried her home.

Sir, I am not yet old enough to be a Fool. I suppose this Diversion might be at first invented to keep up a good Understanding between young Men and Women, and so far I am not against it; but I shall never allow of these things. I know not what you will say to this Case at present, but am sure that had you been with me you would have seen matter of great Speculation.

I am

Yours, &c.

I must confess I am afraid that my Correspondent had too much Reason to be a little out of Humour at the Treatment of his Daughter, but I conclude that he would have been much more so, had he seen one of those kissing Dances in which Will. Honeycomb assures me they are obliged to dwell almost a Minute on the Fair One's Lips, or they will be too quick for the Musick, and dance quite out of Time.

I am not able however to give my final Sentence against this Diversion; and am of Mr. Cowley's Opinion4, that so much of Dancing at least as belongs to the Behaviour and an handsome Carriage of the Body, is extreamly useful, if not absolutely necessary.

We generally form such Ideas of People at first Sight, as we are hardly ever persuaded to lay aside afterwards: For this Reason, a Man would wish to have nothing disagreeable or uncomely in his Approaches, and to be able to enter a Room with a good Grace.

I might add, that a moderate Knowledge in the little Rules of Good-breeding gives a Man some Assurance, and makes him easie in all Companies. For want of this, I have seen a Professor of a Liberal Science at a Loss to salute a Lady; and a most excellent Mathematician not able to determine whether he should stand or sit while my Lord drank to him.

It is the proper Business of a Dancing-Master to regulate these Matters; tho' I take it to be a just Observation, that unless you add something of your own to what these fine Gentlemen teach you, and which they are wholly ignorant of themselves, you will much sooner get the Character of an Affected Fop, than of a Well-bred Man.

As for Country Dancing, it must indeed be confessed, that the great Familiarities between the two Sexes on this Occasion may sometimes produce very dangerous Consequences; and I have often thought that few Ladies Hearts are so obdurate as not to be melted by the Charms of Musick, the Force of Motion, and an handsome young Fellow who is continually playing before their Eyes, and convincing them that he has the perfect Use of all his Limbs.

But as this kind of Dance is the particular Invention of our own Country, and as every one is more or less a Proficient in it, I would not Discountenance it; but rather suppose it may be practised innocently by others, as well as myself, who am often Partner to my Landlady's Eldest Daughter.


Having heard a good Character of the Collection of Pictures which is to be Exposed to Sale on Friday next; and concluding from the following Letter, that the Person who Collected them is a Man of no unelegant Taste, I will be so much his Friend as to Publish it, provided the Reader will only look upon it as filling up the Place of an Advertisement.
From the three Chairs in the Piazza, Covent-Garden.

May 16, 1711.


'As you are Spectator, I think we, who make it our Business to exhibit any thing to publick View, ought to apply our selves to you for your Approbation. I have travelled Europe to furnish out a Show for you, and have brought with me what has been admired in every Country through which I passed. You have declared in many Papers, that your greatest Delights are those of the Eye, which I do not doubt but I shall gratifie with as Beautiful Objects as yours ever beheld. If Castles, Forests, Ruins, Fine Women, and Graceful Men, can please you, I dare promise you much Satisfaction, if you will Appear at my Auction on Friday next. A Sight is, I suppose, as grateful to a Spectator, as a Treat to another Person, and therefore I hope you will pardon this Invitation from,


Your most Obedient
Humble Servant,

J. Graham.

Footnote 1:   Eustace Budgell, the contributor of this and of about three dozen other papers to the Spectator, was, in 1711, twenty-six years old, and by the death of his father, Gilbert Budgell, D.D., obtained, in this year, encumbered by some debt, an income of £950. He was first cousin to Addison, their mothers being two daughters of Dr. Nathaniel Gulstone, and sisters to Dr. Gulstone, bishop of Bristol. He had been sent in 1700 to Christ Church, Oxford, where he spent several years. When, in 1709, Addison went to Dublin as secretary to Lord Wharton, in his Irish administration, he took with him his cousin Budgell as a private secretary. During Addison's first stay in Ireland Budgell lived with him, and paid careful attention to his duties. To this relationship and friendship Budgell was indebted for the insertion of papers of his in the Spectator. Addison not only gratified his literary ambition, but helped him to advancement in his service of the government. On the accession of George I. Budgell was appointed Secretary to the Lords Justices of Ireland and Deputy Clerk of the Council; was chosen also Honorary Bencher of the Dublin Inns of Court and obtained a seat in the Irish Parliament. In 1717, when Addison became Secretary of State for Ireland, he appointed Eustace Budgell to the post of Accountant and Comptroller-General of the Irish Revenue, which was worth nearly £400 a-year. In 1718, anger at being passed over in an appointment caused Budgell to charge the Duke of Bolton, the newly-arrived Lord-Lieutenant, with folly and imbecility. For this he was removed from his Irish appointments. He then ruined his hope of patronage in England, lost three-fourths of his fortune in the South Sea Bubble, and spent the other fourth in a fruitless attempt to get into Parliament. While struggling to earn bread as a writer, he took part in the publication of Dr. Matthew Tindal's Christianity as Old as the Creation, and when, in 1733, Tindal died, a Will was found which, to the exclusion of a favourite nephew, left £2100 (nearly all the property) to Budgell. The authenticity of the Will was successfully contested, and thereby Budgell disgraced. He retorted on Pope for some criticism upon this which he attributed to him, and Pope wrote in the prologue to his Satires,
Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on my quill,
And write whate'er he please, — except my Will.
At last, in May, 1737, Eustace Budgell filled his pockets with stones, hired a boat, and drowned himself by jumping from it as it passed under London Bridge. There was left on his writing-table at home a slip of paper upon which he had written,
'What Cato did, and Addison approved, cannot be wrong.'
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   The Dialogue Of Dancing between Lucian and Crato is here quoted from a translation then just published in four volumes,
'of the Works of Lucian, translated from the Greek by several Eminent Hands, 1711.'
The dialogue is in Vol. III, pp. 402-432, translated 'by Mr. Savage of the Middle Temple.'

Footnote 3:   Moll Peatley was a popular and vigorous dance, dating, at least, from 1622.

Footnote 4:   In his scheme of a College and School, published in 1661, as a Proposition for the Advancement of Experimental Philosophy, among the ideas for training boys in the school is this, that
'in foul weather it would not be amiss for them to learn to Dance, that is, to learn just so much (for all beyond is superfluous, if not worse) as may give them a graceful comportment of their bodies.'

Contents p.3

No. 68

Friday, May 18, 1711


Nos duo turba sumus ...


One would think that the larger the Company is, in which we are engaged, the greater Variety of Thoughts and Subjects would be started in Discourse; but instead of this, we find that Conversation is never so much straightened and confined as in numerous Assemblies. When a Multitude meet together upon any Subject of Discourse, their Debates are taken up chiefly with Forms and general Positions; nay, if we come into a more contracted Assembly of Men and Women, the Talk generally runs upon the Weather, Fashions, News, and the like publick Topicks. In Proportion as Conversation gets into Clubs and Knots of Friends, it descends into Particulars, and grows more free and communicative: But the most open, instructive, and unreserved Discourse, is that which passes between two Persons who are familiar and intimate Friends. On these Occasions, a Man gives a Loose to every Passion and every Thought that is uppermost, discovers his most retired Opinions of Persons and Things, tries the Beauty and Strength of his Sentiments, and exposes his whole Soul to the Examination of his Friend.

Tully was the first who observed, that Friendship improves Happiness and abates Misery, by the doubling of our Joy and dividing of our Grief; a Thought in which he hath been followed by all the Essayers upon Friendship, that have written since his Time. Sir Francis Bacon has finely described other Advantages, or, as he calls them, Fruits of Friendship; and indeed there is no Subject of Morality which has been better handled and more exhausted than this. Among the several fine things which have been spoken of it, I shall beg leave to quote some out of a very ancient Author, whose Book would be regarded by our Modern Wits as one of the most shining Tracts of Morality that is extant, if it appeared under the Name of a Confucius, or of any celebrated Grecian Philosopher: I mean the little Apocryphal Treatise entitled, The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach. How finely has he described the Art of making Friends, by an obliging and affable Behaviour? And laid down that Precept which a late excellent Author has delivered as his own,
'That we should have many Well-wishers, but few 'Friends.'

Sweet Language will multiply Friends; and a fair-speaking Tongue will increase kind Greetings. Be in Peace with many, nevertheless have but one Counsellor of a thousand1.
With what Prudence does he caution us in the Choice of our Friends? And with what Strokes of Nature (I could almost say of Humour) has he described the Behaviour of a treacherous and self-interested Friend?
If thou wouldst get a Friend, prove him first, and be not hasty to credit him: For some Man is a Friend for his own Occasion, and will not abide in the Day of thy Trouble. And there is a Friend, who being turned to Enmity and Strife will discover thy Reproach.
Some Friend is a Companion at the Table, and will not continue in the Day of thy Affliction: But in thy Prosperity he will be as thy self, and will be bold over thy Servants. If thou be brought low he will be against thee, and hide himself from thy Face.2
What can be more strong and pointed than the following Verse?
Separate thy self from thine Enemies, and take heed of thy Friends.
In the next Words he particularizes one of those Fruits of Friendship which is described at length by the two famous Authors above-mentioned, and falls into a general Elogium of Friendship, which is very just as well as very sublime.
A faithful Friend is a strong Defence; and he that hath found such an one, hath found a Treasure. Nothing doth countervail a faithful Friend, and his Excellency is unvaluable. A faithful Friend is the Medicine of Life; and they that fear the Lord shall find him. Whoso feareth the Lord shall direct his Friendship aright; for as he is, so shall his Neighbour (that is, his Friend) be also.3
I do not remember to have met with any Saying that has pleased me more than that of a Friend's being the Medicine of Life, to express the Efficacy of Friendship in healing the Pains and Anguish which naturally cleave to our Existence in this World; and am Wonderfully pleased with the Turn in the last Sentence, That a virtuous Man shall as a Blessing meet with a Friend who is as virtuous as himself. There is another Saying in the same Author, which would have been very much admired in an Heathen Writer;
Forsake not an old Friend, for the new is not comparable to him: A new Friend is as new Wine; When it is old thou shalt drink it with Pleasure.4
With what Strength of Allusion and Force of Thought, has he described the Breaches and Violations of Friendship?
Whoso casteth a Stone at the Birds frayeth them away; and he that upbraideth his Friend, breaketh Friendship. Tho' thou drawest a Sword at a Friend yet despair not, for there may be a returning to Favour: If thou hast opened thy Mouth against thy Friend fear not, for there may be a Reconciliation; except for Upbraiding, or Pride, or disclosing of Secrets, or a treacherous Wound; for, for these things every Friend will depart.5
We may observe in this and several other Precepts in this Author, those little familiar Instances and Illustrations, which are so much admired in the moral Writings of Horace and Epictetus. There are very beautiful Instances of this Nature in the following Passages, which are likewise written upon the same Subject:
Whoso discovereth Secrets, loseth his Credit, and shall never find a Friend to his Mind. Love thy Friend, and be faithful unto him; but if thou bewrayest his Secrets, follow no more after him: For as a Man hath destroyed his Enemy, so hast thou lost the Love of thy Friend; as one that letteth a Bird go out of his Hand, so hast thou let thy Friend go, and shalt not get him again: Follow after him no mere, for he is too far off; he is as a Roe escaped out of the Snare. As for a Wound it may be bound up, and after reviling there may be Reconciliation; but he that bewrayeth Secrets, is without Hope.6
Among the several Qualifications of a good Friend, this wise Man has very justly singled out Constancy and Faithfulness as the principal: To these, others have added Virtue, Knowledge, Discretion, Equality in Age and Fortune, and as Cicero calls it, Morum Comitas, a Pleasantness of Temper7. If I were to give my Opinion upon such an exhausted Subject, I should join to these other Qualifications a certain.Æquability or Evenness of Behaviour. A Man often contracts a Friendship with one whom perhaps he does not find out till after a Year's Conversation; when on a sudden some latent ill Humour breaks out upon him, which he never discovered or suspected at his first entering into an Intimacy with him. There are several Persons who in some certain Periods of their Lives are inexpressibly agreeable, and in others as odious and detestable. Martial has given us a very pretty Picture of one of this Species in the following Epigram:
Difficilis, facilis, jucundus, acerbus es idem,
Nec tecum possum vivere, nec sine te.

In all thy Humours, whether grave or mellow,
Thou'rt such a touchy, testy, pleasant Fellow;
Hast so much Wit, and Mirth, and Spleen about thee,
There is no living with thee, nor without thee.
It is very unlucky for a Man to be entangled in a Friendship with one, who by these Changes and Vicissitudes of Humour is sometimes amiable and sometimes odious: And as most Men are at some Times in an admirable Frame and Disposition of Mind, it should be one of the greatest Tasks of Wisdom to keep our selves well when we are so, and never to go out of that which is the agreeable Part of our Character.


Footnote 1:   Ecclesiasticus vii. 5, 6.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Ecclesiasticus vi. 7, and following verses.

Footnote 3:   Ecclesiasticus vi. 15-18.

Footnote 4:   Ecclesiasticus ix. 10.

Footnote 5:   Ecclesiasticus ix, 20-22.

Footnote 6:   Ecclesiasticus xxvii. 16, &c.

Footnote 7:   Cicero de Amicitiâ, and in the De Officiis he says (Bk.II.),
'difficile dicta est, quantopere conciliet animos hominum comitas, affabilitasque sermonia.'

Contents p.3

No. 69

Saturday, May 19, 1711


Hic segetes, illic veniunt felicius uvæ:
Arborei fœtus alibi, atque injussa virescunt
Gramina. Nonne vides, croceos ut Tmolus odores,
India mittit ebur, molles sua thura Sabæi?
At Chalybes nudi ferrum, virosaque Pontus
Castorea, Eliadum palmas Epirus equarum?
Continuo has leges æternaque fœdera certis
Imposuit Natura locis ...


There is no Place in the Town which I so much love to frequent as the Royal-Exchange. It gives me a secret Satisfaction, and in some measure, gratifies my Vanity, as I am an Englishman, to see so rich an Assembly of Countrymen and Foreigners consulting together upon the private Business of Mankind, and making this Metropolis a kind of Emporium for the whole Earth. I must confess I look upon High-Change to be a great Council, in which all considerable Nations have their Representatives. Factors in the Trading World are what Ambassadors are in the Politick World; they negotiate Affairs, conclude Treaties, and maintain a good Correspondence between those wealthy Societies of Men that are divided from one another by Seas and Oceans, or live on the different Extremities of a Continent. I have often been pleased to hear Disputes adjusted between an Inhabitant of Japan and an Alderman of London, or to see a Subject of the Great Mogul entering into a League with one of the Czar of Muscovy. I am infinitely delighted in mixing with these several Ministers of Commerce, as they are distinguished by their different Walks and different Languages: Sometimes I am justled among a Body of Armenians; Sometimes I am lost in a Crowd of Jews; and sometimes make one in a Groupe of Dutchmen. I am a Dane, Swede, or Frenchman at different times; or rather fancy my self like the old Philosopher, who upon being asked what Countryman he was, replied, That he was a Citizen of the World.

Though I very frequently visit this busie Multitude of People, I am known to no Body there but my Friend, Sir Andrew, who often smiles upon me as he sees me bustling in the Crowd, but at the same time connives at my Presence without taking any further Notice of me. There is indeed a Merchant of Egypt, who just knows me by sight, having formerly remitted me some Mony to Grand Cairo1; but as I am not versed in the Modern Coptick, our Conferences go no further than a Bow and a Grimace.

This grand Scene of Business gives me an infinite Variety of solid and substantial Entertainments. As I am a great Lover of Mankind, my Heart naturally overflows with Pleasure at the sight of a prosperous and happy Multitude, insomuch that at many publick Solemnities I cannot forbear expressing my Joy with Tears that have stolen down my Cheeks. For this Reason I am wonderfully delighted to see such a Body of Men thriving in their own private Fortunes, and at the same time promoting the Publick Stock; or in other Words, raising Estates for their own Families, by bringing into their Country whatever is wanting, and carrying out of it whatever is superfluous.

Nature seems to have taken a particular Care to disseminate her Blessings among the different Regions of the World, with an Eye to this mutual Intercourse and Traffick among Mankind, that the Natives of the several Parts of the Globe might have a kind of Dependance upon one another, and be united together by their common Interest. Almost every Degree produces something peculiar to it. The Food often grows in one Country, and the Sauce in another. The Fruits of Portugal are corrected by the Products of Barbadoes: The Infusion of a China Plant sweetned with the Pith of an Indian Cane. The Philippick Islands give a Flavour to our European Bowls. The single Dress of a Woman of Quality is often the Product of a hundred Climates. The Muff and the Fan come together from the different Ends of the Earth. The Scarf is sent from the Torrid Zone, and the Tippet from beneath the Pole. The Brocade Petticoat rises out of the Mines of Peru, and the Diamond Necklace out of the Bowels of Indostan.

If we consider our own Country in its natural Prospect, without any of the Benefits and Advantages of Commerce, what a barren uncomfortable Spot of Earth falls to our Share! Natural Historians tell us, that no Fruit grows Originally among us, besides Hips and Haws, Acorns and Pig-Nutts, with other Delicates of the like Nature; That our Climate of itself, and without the Assistances of Art, can make no further Advances towards a Plumb than to a Sloe, and carries an Apple to no greater a Perfection than a Crab: That our2 Melons, our Peaches, our Figs, our Apricots, and Cherries, are Strangers among us, imported in different Ages, and naturalized in our English Gardens; and that they would all degenerate and fall away into the Trash of our own Country, if they were wholly neglected by the Planter, and left to the Mercy of our Sun and Soil. Nor has Traffick more enriched our Vegetable World, than it has improved the whole Face of Nature among us. Our Ships are laden with the Harvest of every Climate: Our Tables are stored with Spices, and Oils, and Wines: Our Rooms are filled with Pyramids of China, and adorned with the Workmanship of Japan: Our Morning's Draught comes to us from the remotest Corners of the Earth: We repair our Bodies by the Drugs of America, and repose ourselves under Indian Canopies. My Friend Sir Andrew calls the Vineyards of France our Gardens; the Spice-Islands our Hot-beds; the Persians our Silk-Weavers, and the Chinese our Potters. Nature indeed furnishes us with the bare Necessaries of Life, but Traffick gives us greater Variety of what is Useful, and at the same time supplies us with every thing that is Convenient and Ornamental. Nor is it the least Part of this our Happiness, that whilst we enjoy the remotest Products of the North and South, we are free from those Extremities of Weather which3 give them Birth; That our Eyes are refreshed with the green Fields of Britain, at the same time that our Palates are feasted with Fruits that rise between the Tropicks.

For these Reasons there are no more useful Members in a Commonwealth than Merchants. They knit Mankind together in a mutual Intercourse of good Offices, distribute the Gifts of Nature, find Work for the Poor, add Wealth to the Rich, and Magnificence to the Great. Our English Merchant converts the Tin of his own Country into Gold, and exchanges his Wool for Rubies. The Mahometans are clothed in our British Manufacture, and the Inhabitants of the frozen Zone warmed with the Fleeces of our Sheep.

When I have been upon the 'Change, I have often fancied one of our old Kings standing in Person, where he is represented in Effigy, and looking down upon the wealthy Concourse of People with which that Place is every Day filled. In this Case, how would he be surprized to hear all the Languages of Europe spoken in this little Spot of his former Dominions, and to see so many private Men, who in his Time would have been the Vassals of some powerful Baron, negotiating like Princes for greater Sums of Mony than were formerly to be met with in the Royal Treasury! Trade, without enlarging the British Territories, has given us a kind of additional Empire: It has multiplied the Number of the Rich, made our Landed Estates infinitely more Valuable than they were formerly, and added to them an Accession of other Estates as Valuable as the Lands themselves.


Footnote 1:   A reference to the Spectator's voyage to Grand Cairo mentioned in No. 1.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   "these Fruits, in their present State, as well as our"

Footnote 3:   that

Contents p.3

No. 70

Monday, May 21, 1711


Interdum vulgus rectum videt.


When I travelled, I took a particular Delight in hearing the Songs and Fables that are come from Father to Son, and are most in Vogue among the common People of the Countries through which I passed; for it is impossible that any thing should be universally tasted and approved by a Multitude, tho' they are only the Rabble of a Nation, which hath not in it some peculiar Aptness to please and gratify the Mind of Man. Human Nature is the same in all reasonable Creatures; and whatever falls in with it, will meet with Admirers amongst Readers of all Qualities and Conditions. Molière, as we are told by Monsieur Boileau, used to read all his Comedies to an1 old Woman who2 was his Housekeeper, as she sat with him at her Work by the Chimney-Corner; and could foretel the Success of his Play in the Theatre, from the Reception it met at his Fire-side: For he tells us the Audience always followed the old Woman, and never failed to laugh in the same Place3.

I know nothing which more shews the essential and inherent Perfection of Simplicity of Thought, above that which I call the Gothick Manner in Writing, than this, that the first pleases all Kinds of Palates, and the latter only such as have formed to themselves a wrong artificial Taste upon little fanciful Authors and Writers of Epigram. Homer, Virgil, or Milton, so far as the Language of their Poems is understood, will please a Reader of plain common Sense, who would neither relish nor comprehend an Epigram of Martial, or a Poem of Cowley: So, on the contrary, an ordinary Song or Ballad that is the Delight of the common People, cannot fail to please all such Readers as are not unqualified for the Entertainment by their Affectation or Ignorance; and the Reason is plain, because the same Paintings of Nature which recommend it to the most ordinary Reader, will appear Beautiful to the most refined.

The old Song of Chevey Chase is the favourite Ballad of the common People of England; and Ben Johnson used to say he had rather have been the Author of it than of all his Works. Sir Philip Sidney in his Discourse of Poetry4 speaks of it in the following Words;
I never heard the old Song of Piercy and Douglas, that I found not my Heart more moved than with a Trumpet; and yet it is sung by some blind Crowder with no rougher Voice than rude Stile; which being so evil apparelled in the Dust and Cobweb of that uncivil Age, what would it work trimmed in the gorgeous Eloquence of Pindar?
For my own part I am so professed an Admirer of this antiquated Song, that I shall give my Reader a Critick upon it, without any further Apology for so doing.

The greatest Modern Criticks have laid it down as a Rule, that an Heroick Poem should be founded upon some important Precept of Morality, adapted to the Constitution of the Country in which the Poet writes. Homer and Virgil have formed their Plans in this View. As Greece was a Collection of many Governments, who suffered very much among themselves, and gave the Persian Emperor, who was their common Enemy, many Advantages over them by their mutual Jealousies and Animosities, Homer, in order to establish among them an Union, which was so necessary for their Safety, grounds his Poem upon the Discords of the several Grecian Princes who were engaged in a Confederacy against an Asiatick Prince, and the several Advantages which the Enemy gained by such their Discords. At the Time the Poem we are now treating of was written, the Dissentions of the Barons, who were then so many petty Princes, ran very high, whether they quarrelled among themselves, or with their Neighbours, and produced unspeakable Calamities to the Country5: The Poet, to deter Men from such unnatural Contentions, describes a bloody Battle and dreadful Scene of Death, occasioned by the mutual Feuds which reigned in the Families of an English and Scotch Nobleman: That he designed this for the Instruction of his Poem, we may learn from his four last Lines, in which, after the Example of the modern Tragedians, he draws from it a Precept for the Benefit of his Readers.
God save the King, and bless the Land
In Plenty, Joy, and Peace;
And grant henceforth that foul Debate
'Twixt Noblemen may cease.
The next Point observed by the greatest Heroic Poets, hath been to celebrate Persons and Actions which do Honour to their Country: Thus Virgil's Hero was the Founder of Rome, Homer's a Prince of Greece; and for this Reason Valerius Flaccus and Statius, who were both Romans, might be justly derided for having chosen the Expedition of the Golden Fleece, and the Wars of Thebes for the Subjects of their Epic Writings.

The Poet before us has not only found out an Hero in his own Country, but raises the Reputation of it by several beautiful Incidents. The English are the first who6 take the Field, and the last who7 quit it. The English bring only Fifteen hundred to the Battle, the Scotch Two thousand. The English keep the Field with Fifty three: The Scotch retire with Fifty five: All the rest on each side being slain in Battle. But the most remarkable Circumstance of this kind, is the different Manner in which the Scotch and English Kings receive8 the News of this Fight, and of the great Men's Deaths who commanded in it.
This News was brought to Edinburgh,
Where Scotland's King did reign,
That brave Earl
Douglas suddenly
Was with an Arrow slain.

O heavy News, King James did say,

Scotland can Witness be,
I have not any Captain more
Of such Account as he.

Like Tydings to King
Henry came
Within as short a Space,
Piercy of Northumberland
Was slain in Chevy-Chase.

Now God be with him, said our King,
Sith 'twill no better be,
I trust I have within my Realm
Five hundred as good as he.

Yet shall not
Scot nor Scotland say
But I will Vengeance take,
And be revenged on them all
For brave Lord
Piercy's Sake.

This Vow full well the King performed
After on
In one Day fifty Knights were slain,
With Lords of great Renown.

And of the rest of small Account
Did many Thousands dye,
At the same time that our Poet shews a laudable Partiality to his Countrymen, he represents the Scots after a Manner not unbecoming so bold and brave a People.
Earl Douglas on a milk-white Steed,
Most like a Baron bold,
Rode foremost of the Company
Whose Armour shone like Gold
His Sentiments and Actions are every Way suitable to an Hero. One of us two, says he, must dye: I am an Earl as well as your self, so that you can have no Pretence for refusing the Combat: However, says he, 'tis Pity, and indeed would be a Sin, that so many innocent Men should perish for our sakes, rather let you and I end our Quarrel in single Fight.9
Ere thus I will out-braved be,
One of us two shall dye;
I know thee well, an Earl thou art,
Lord Piercy, so am I.

But trust me
, Piercy, Pity it were,
And great Offence, to kill
Any of these our harmless Men,
For they have done no Ill.

Let thou and I the Battle try,
And set our Men aside;
Accurst be he, Lord
Piercy said,
By whom this is deny'd
When these brave Men had distinguished themselves in the Battle and a single Combat with each other, in the Midst of a generous Parly, full of heroic Sentiments, the Scotch Earl falls; and with his dying Words encourages his Men to revenge his Death, representing to them, as the most bitter Circumstance of it, that his Rival saw him fall.
With that there came an Arrow keen
Out of an
English Bow,
Which struck Earl
Douglas to the Heart
A deep and deadly Blow.

Who never spoke more Words than these,
Fight on, my merry Men all,
For why, my Life is at an End,
Piercy sees my Fall.
Merry Men, in the Language of those Times, is no more than a cheerful Word for Companions and Fellow-Soldiers. A Passage in the Eleventh Book of Virgil's Æneid is very much to be admired, where Camilla in her last Agonies instead of weeping over the Wound she had received, as one might have expected from a Warrior of her Sex, considers only (like the Hero of whom we are now speaking) how the Battle should be continued after her Death.
Tum sic exspirans, &c.

A gathering Mist overclouds her chearful Eyes;
And from her Cheeks the rosie Colour flies.
Then turns to her, whom, of her Female Train,
She trusted most, and thus she speaks with Pain.
Acca, 'tis past! He swims before my Sight,
Inexorable Death; and claims his Right.
Bear my last Words to Turnus, fly with Speed,
And bid him timely to my Charge succeed;
Repel the Trojans, and the Town relieve:
Turnus did not die in so heroic a Manner; tho' our Poet seems to have had his Eye upon Turnus's Speech in the last Verse,
Lord Piercy sees my Fall.
... Vicisti, et victum tendere palmas
Ausonii videre
Earl Piercy's Lamentation over his Enemy is generous, beautiful, and passionate; I must only caution the Reader not to let the Simplicity of the Stile, which one may well pardon in so old a Poet, prejudice him against the Greatness of the Thought.
Then leaving Life, Earl Piercy took
The dead Man by the Hand,
And said, Earl Douglas, for thy Life
Would I had lost my Land.

O Christ! my very heart doth bleed
With Sorrow for thy Sake;
For sure a more renowned Knight
Mischance did never take
That beautiful Line, Taking the dead Man by the Hand, will put the Reader in mind of Æneas's Behaviour towards Lausus, whom he himself had slain as he came to the Rescue of his aged Father.
At vero ut vultum vidit morientis, et ora,
Ora modis Anchisiades, pallentia miris;
Ingemuit, miserans graviter, dextramque tetendit, &c.

The pious Prince beheld young Lausus dead;
He grieved, he wept; then grasped his Hand, and said,
Poor hapless Youth! What Praises can be paid
To worth so great ...
I shall take another Opportunity to consider the other Part of this old Song.

Footnote 1:   a little
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   that

Footnote 3:   Besides the old woman, Molière is said to have relied on the children of the Comedians, read his pieces to them, and corrected passages at which they did not show themselves to be amused.

Footnote 4:   Defence of Poesy.

Footnote 5:   The author of Chevy Chase was not contemporary with the dissensions of the Barons, even if the ballad of the Hunting of the Cheviot was a celebration of the Battle of Otterbourne, fought in 1388, some 30 miles from Newcastle. The battle of Chevy Chase, between the Percy and the Douglas, was fought in Teviotdale, and the ballad which moved Philip Sidney's heart was written in the fifteenth century. It may have referred to a Battle of Pepperden, fought near the Cheviot Hills, between the Earl of Northumberland and Earl William Douglas of Angus, in 1436. The ballad quoted by Addison is not that of which Sidney spoke, but a version of it, written after Sidney's death, and after the best plays of Shakespeare had been written.

Footnote 6:   that

Footnote 7:   that

Footnote 8:   received

Footnote 9:   by a single Combat.

Contents p.3

No. 71

Tuesday, May 22, 1711


... Scribere jussit Amor.


The entire Conquest of our Passions is so difficult a Work, that they who despair of it should think of a less difficult Task, and only attempt to Regulate them. But there is a third thing which may contribute not only to the Ease, but also to the Pleasure of our Life; and that is refining our Passions to a greater Elegance, than we receive them from Nature. When the Passion is Love, this Work is performed in innocent, though rude and uncultivated Minds, by the mere Force and Dignity of the Object. There are Forms which naturally create Respect in the Beholders, and at once Inflame and Chastise the Imagination. Such an Impression as this gives an immediate Ambition to deserve, in order to please. This Cause and Effect are beautifully described by Mr. Dryden in the Fable of Cymon and Iphigenia. After he has represented Cymon so stupid, that
He Whistled as he went, for want of Thought,
he makes him fall into the following Scene, and shews its Influence upon him so excellently, that it appears as Natural as Wonderful.
It happen'd on a Summer's Holiday,
That to the Greenwood-shade he took his Way;
His Quarter-staff, which he cou'd ne'er forsake,
Hung half before, and half behind his Back.
He trudg'd along unknowing what he sought,
And whistled as he went, for want of Thought.

By Chance conducted, or by Thirst constrain'd,
The deep recesses of the Grove he gain'd;
Where in a Plain, defended by the Wood,
Crept thro' the matted Grass a Crystal Flood,
By which an Alabaster Fountain stood:
And on the Margin of the Fount was laid,
(Attended by her Slaves) a sleeping Maid,
Dian, and her Nymphs, when, tir'd with Sport,
To rest by cool
Eurotas they resort:
The Dame herself the Goddess well expressed,
Not more distinguished by her Purple Vest,
Than by the charming Features of her Face,
And even in Slumber a superior Grace:
Her comely Limbs composed with decent Care,
Her Body shaded with a slight Cymarr;
Her Bosom to the View was only bare:


The fanning Wind upon her Bosom blows,
To meet the fanning Wind the Bosom rose;
The fanning Wind and purling Streams continue her Repose.

The Fool of Nature stood with stupid Eyes
And gaping Mouth, that testify'd Surprize,
Fix'd on her Face, nor could remove his Sight,
New as he was to Love, and Novice in Delight:
Long mute he stood, and leaning on his Staff,
His Wonder witness'd with an Idiot Laugh;
Then would have spoke, but by his glimmering Sense
First found his want of Words, and fear'd Offence:
Doubted for what he was he should be known,
By his Clown-Accent, and his Country Tone
But lest this fine Description should be excepted against, as the Creation of that great Master, Mr. Dryden, and not an Account of what has really ever happened in the World; I shall give you, verbatim, the Epistle of an enamoured Footman in the Country to his Mistress2. Their Sirnames shall not be inserted, because their Passion demands a greater Respect than is due to their Quality. James is Servant in a great Family, and Elizabeth waits upon the Daughter of one as numerous, some Miles off of her Lover. James, before he beheld Betty, was vain of his Strength, a rough Wrestler, and quarrelsome Cudgel-Player; Betty a Publick Dancer at Maypoles, a Romp at Stool-Ball: He always following idle Women, she playing among the Peasants: He a Country Bully, she a Country Coquet. But Love has made her constantly in her Mistress's Chamber, where the young Lady gratifies a secret Passion of her own, by making Betty talk of James; and James is become a constant Waiter near his Master's Apartment, in reading, as well as he can, Romances. I cannot learn who Molly is, who it seems walked Ten Mile to carry the angry Message, which gave Occasion to what follows.
To Elizabeth ...
My Dear Betty, May 14, 1711.

Remember your bleeding Lover,
who lies bleeding at the ...
Where two beginning Paps were scarcely spy'd,
For yet their Places were but signify'd

Wounds Cupid made with the Arrows he borrowed at the Eyes of Venus, which is your sweet Person.

Nay more, with the Token you sent me for my Love and Service offered to your sweet Person; which was your base Respects to my ill Conditions; when alas! there is no ill Conditions in me, but quite contrary; all Love and Purity, especially to your sweet Person; but all this I take as a Jest.

But the sad and dismal News which Molly brought me, struck me to the Heart, which was, it seems, and is your ill Conditions for my Love and Respects to you.

For she told me, if I came Forty times to you, you would not speak with me, which Words I am sure is a great Grief to me.

Now, my Dear, if I may not be permitted to your sweet Company, and to have the Happiness of speaking with your sweet Person, I beg the Favour of you to accept of this my secret Mind and Thoughts, which hath so long lodged in my Breast; the which if you do not accept, I believe will go nigh to break my Heart.

For indeed, my Dear, I Love you above all the Beauties I ever saw in all my Life.

The young Gentleman, and my Masters Daughter, the Londoner that is come down to marry her, sat in the Arbour most part of last Night. Oh! dear Betty, must the Nightingales sing to those who marry for Mony, and not to us true Lovers! Oh my dear Betty, that we could meet this Night where we used to do in the Wood!

Now, my Dear, if I may not have the Blessing of kissing your sweet Lips, I beg I may have the Happiness of kissing your fair Hand, with a few Lines from your dear self, presented by whom you please or think fit. I believe, if Time would permit me, I could write all Day; but the Time being short, and Paper little, no more from your never-failing Lover till Death, James ...
Poor James! Since his Time and Paper were so short; I, that have more than I can use well of both, will put the Sentiments of his kind Letter (the Stile of which seems to be confused with Scraps he had got in hearing and reading what he did not understand) into what he meant to express.
Dear Creature, Can you then neglect him who has forgot all his Recreations and Enjoyments, to pine away his Life in thinking of you?

When I do so, you appear more amiable to me than Venus does in the most beautiful Description that ever was made of her. All this Kindness you return with an Accusation, that I do not love you: But the contrary is so manifest, that I cannot think you in earnest. But the Certainty given me in your Message by Molly, that you do not love me, is what robs me of all Comfort. She says you will not see me: If you can have so much Cruelty, at least write to me, that I may kiss the Impression made by your fair Hand. I love you above all things, and, in my Condition, what you look upon with Indifference is to me the most exquisite Pleasure or Pain. Our young Lady, and a fine Gentleman from London, who are to marry for mercenary Ends, walk about our Gardens, and hear the Voice of Evening Nightingales, as if for Fashion-sake they courted those Solitudes, because they have heard Lovers do so. Oh Betty! could I hear these Rivulets murmur, and Birds sing while you stood near me, how little sensible should I be that we are both Servants, that there is anything on Earth above us. Oh! I could write to you as long as I love you, till Death it self.

N.B. By the Words Ill-Conditions, James means in a Woman Coquetry, in a Man Inconstancy.


Footnote 1:   The next couplet Steele omits:
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   James Hirst, a servant to the Hon. Edward Wortley (who was familiar with Steele, and a close friend of Addison's), by mistake gave to his master, with a parcel of letters, one that he had himself written to his sweetheart. Mr. Wortley opened it, read it, and would not return it.
'No, James,' he said, 'you shall be a great man. This letter must appear in the Spectator.'
And so it did. The end of the love story is that Betty died when on the point of marriage to James, who, out of love to her, married her sister.

Contents p.3

No. 72

Wednesday, May 23, 1711


... Genus immortale manet, multosque per annos
Stat fortuna Domus, et avi numerantur avorum.


Having already given my Reader an Account of several extraordinary Clubs both ancient and modern, I did not design to have troubled him with any more Narratives of this Nature; but I have lately received Information of a Club which I can call neither ancient nor modern, that I dare say will be no less surprising to my Reader than it was to my self; for which Reason I shall communicate it to the Publick as one of the greatest Curiosities in its kind.

A Friend of mine complaining of a Tradesman who is related to him, after having represented him as a very idle worthless Fellow, who neglected his Family, and spent most of his Time over a Bottle, told me, to conclude his Character, that he was a Member of the Everlasting Club. So very odd a Title raised my Curiosity to enquire into the Nature of a Club that had such a sounding Name; upon which my Friend gave me the following Account.

The Everlasting Club consists of a hundred Members, who divide the whole twenty four Hours among them in such a Manner, that the Club sits Day and Night from one end of the Year to another1, no Party presuming to rise till they are relieved by those who are in course to succeed them. By this means a Member of the Everlasting Club never wants Company; for tho' he is not upon Duty himself, he is sure to find some who2 are; so that if he be disposed to take a Whet, a Nooning, an Evening's Draught, or a Bottle after Midnight, he goes to the Club and finds a Knot of Friends to his Mind.

It is a Maxim in this Club That the Steward never dies; for as they succeed one another by way of Rotation, no Man is to quit the great Elbow-chair which2 stands at the upper End of the Table, 'till his Successor is in a Readiness to fill it; insomuch that there has not been a Sede vacante in the Memory of Man.

This Club was instituted towards the End (or, as some of them say, about the Middle) of the Civil Wars, and continued without Interruption till the Time of the Great Fire3, which burnt them out and dispersed them for several Weeks. The Steward at that time maintained his Post till he had like to have been blown up with a neighbouring-House, (which was demolished in order to stop the Fire;) and would not leave the Chair at last, till he had emptied all the Bottles upon the Table, and received repeated Directions from the Club to withdraw himself. This Steward is frequently talked of in the Club, and looked upon by every Member of it as a greater Man, than the famous Captain mentioned in my Lord Clarendon, who2 was burnt in his Ship because he would not quit it without Orders. It is said that towards the close of 1700, being the great Year of Jubilee, the Club had it under Consideration whether they should break up or continue their Session; but after many Speeches and Debates it was at length agreed to sit out the other Century. This Resolution passed in a general Club Nemine Contradicente.

Having given this short Account of the Institution and Continuation of the Everlasting Club, I should here endeavour to say something of the Manners and Characters of its several Members, which I shall do according to the best Lights I have received in this Matter.

It appears by their Books in general, that, since their first Institution, they have smoked fifty Tun of Tobacco; drank thirty thousand Butts of Ale, One thousand Hogsheads of Red Port, Two hundred Barrels of Brandy, and a Kilderkin of small Beer. There has been likewise a great Consumption of Cards. It is also said, that they observe the law in Ben. Johnson's Club, which orders the Fire to be always kept in (focus perennis esto) as well for the Convenience of lighting their Pipes, as to cure the Dampness of the Club-Room. They have an old Woman in the nature of a Vestal, whose Business it is to cherish and perpetuate the Fire which2 burns from Generation to Generation, and has seen the Glass-house Fires in and out above an Hundred Times.

The Everlasting Club treats all other Clubs with an Eye of Contempt, and talks even of the Kit-Cat and October as of a couple of Upstarts. Their ordinary Discourse (as much as I have been able to learn of it) turns altogether upon such Adventures as have passed in their own Assembly; of Members who have taken the Glass in their Turns for a Week together, without stirring out of their Club; of others who2 have smoaked an Hundred Pipes at a Sitting; of others who2 have not missed their Morning's Draught for Twenty Years together: Sometimes they speak in Raptures of a Run of Ale in King Charles's Reign; and sometimes reflect with Astonishment upon Games at Whisk, which2 have been miraculously recovered by Members of the Society, when in all human Probability the Case was desperate.

They delight in several old Catches, which they sing at all Hours to encourage one another to moisten their Clay, and grow immortal by drinking; with many other edifying Exhortations of the like Nature.

There are four general Clubs held in a Year, at which Times they fill up Vacancies, appoint Waiters, confirm the old Fire-Maker or elect a new one, settle Contributions for Coals, Pipes, Tobacco, and other Necessaries.

The Senior Member has out-lived the whole Club twice over, and has been drunk with the Grandfathers of some of the present sitting Members.


Footnote 1:   The other
return to footnote mark

Footnotes 2:   (several): that
return (1)
return (2)
return (3)
return (4)
return (5, 6, 7)

Footnote 3:   Of London in 1666.

Contents p.3

No. 73

Thursday, May 24, 1711


... O Dea certé!


It is very strange to consider, that a Creature like Man, who is sensible of so many Weaknesses and Imperfections, should be actuated by a Love of Fame: That Vice and Ignorance, Imperfection and Misery should contend for Praise, and endeavour as much as possible to make themselves Objects of Admiration.

But notwithstanding Man's Essential Perfection is but very little, his Comparative Perfection may be very considerable. If he looks upon himself in an abstracted Light, he has not much to boast of; but if he considers himself with regard to it in others, he may find Occasion of glorying, if not in his own Virtues at least in the Absence of another's Imperfections. This gives a different Turn to the Reflections of the Wise Man and the Fool. The first endeavours to shine in himself, and the last to outshine others. The first is humbled by the Sense of his own Infirmities, the last is lifted up by the Discovery of those which he observes in other men. The Wise Man considers what he wants, and the Fool what he abounds in. The Wise Man is happy when he gains his own Approbation, and the Fool when he Recommends himself to the Applause of those about him.

But however unreasonable and absurd this Passion for Admiration may appear in such a Creature as Man, it is not wholly to be discouraged; since it often produces very good Effects, not only as it restrains him from doing any thing which1 is mean and contemptible, but as it pushes him to Actions which1 are great and glorious. The Principle may be defective or faulty, but the Consequences it produces are so good, that, for the Benefit of Mankind, it ought not to be extinguished.

It is observed by Cicero2, — that men of the greatest and the most shining Parts are the most actuated by Ambition; and if we look into the two Sexes, I believe we shall find this Principle of Action stronger in Women than in Men.

The Passion for Praise, which is so very vehement in the Fair Sex, produces excellent Effects in Women of Sense, who desire to be admired for that only which deserves Admiration:

And I think we may observe, without a Compliment to them, that many of them do not only live in a more uniform Course of Virtue, but with an infinitely greater Regard to their Honour, than what we find in the Generality of our own Sex. How many Instances have we of Chastity, Fidelity, Devotion? How many Ladies distinguish themselves by the Education of their Children, Care of their Families, and Love of their Husbands, which are the great Qualities and Atchievements of Womankind: As the making of War, the carrying on of Traffic, the Administration of Justice, are those by which Men grow famous, and get themselves a Name.

But as this Passion for Admiration, when it works according to Reason, improves the beautiful Part of our Species in every thing that is Laudable; so nothing is more Destructive to them when it is governed by Vanity and Folly. What I have therefore here to say, only regards the vain Part of the Sex, whom for certain Reasons, which the Reader will hereafter see at large, I shall distinguish by the Name of Idols. An Idol is wholly taken up in the Adorning of her Person. You see in every Posture of her Body, Air of her Face, and Motion of her Head, that it is her Business and Employment to gain Adorers. For this Reason your Idols appear in all publick Places and Assemblies, in order to seduce Men to their Worship. The Play-house is very frequently filled with Idols; several of them are carried in Procession every Evening about the Ring, and several of them set up their Worship even in Churches. They are to be accosted in the Language proper to the Deity. Life and Death are in their Power: Joys of Heaven and Pains of Hell are at their Disposal: Paradise is in their Arms, and Eternity in every Moment that you are present with them. Raptures, Transports, and Ecstacies are the Rewards which they confer: Sighs and Tears, Prayers and broken Hearts, are the Offerings which are paid to them. Their Smiles make Men happy; their Frowns drive them to Despair. I shall only add under this Head, that Ovid's Book of the Art of Love is a kind of Heathen Ritual, which contains all the forms of Worship which are made use of to an Idol.

It would be as difficult a Task to reckon up these different kinds of Idols, as Milton's was3 to number those that were known in Canaan, and the Lands adjoining. Most of them are worshipped, like Moloch, in Fire and Flames. Some of them, like Baal, love to see their Votaries cut and slashed, and shedding their Blood for them. Some of them, like the Idol in the Apocrypha, must have Treats and Collations prepared for them every Night. It has indeed been known, that some of them have been used by their incensed Worshippers like the Chinese Idols, who are Whipped and Scourged when they refuse to comply with the Prayers that are offered to them.

I must here observe, that those Idolaters who devote themselves to the Idols I am here speaking of, differ very much from all other kinds of Idolaters. For as others fall out because they Worship different Idols, these Idolaters quarrel because they Worship the same.

The Intention therefore of the Idol is quite contrary to the wishes of the Idolater; as the one desires to confine the Idol to himself, the whole Business and Ambition of the other is to multiply Adorers. This Humour of an Idol is prettily described in a Tale of Chaucer; He represents one of them sitting at a Table with three of her Votaries about her, who are all of them courting her Favour, and paying their Adorations: She smiled upon one, drank to another, and trod upon the other's Foot which was under the Table. Now which of these three, says the old Bard, do you think was the Favourite? In troth, says he, not one of all the three4.

The Behaviour of this old Idol in Chaucer, puts me in mind of the Beautiful Clarinda, one of the greatest Idols among the Moderns. She is Worshipped once a Week by Candle-light, in the midst of a large Congregation generally called an Assembly. Some of the gayest Youths in the Nation endeavour to plant themselves in her Eye, whilst she sits in form with multitudes of Tapers burning about her. To encourage the Zeal of her Idolaters, she bestows a Mark of her Favour upon every one of them, before they go out of her Presence. She asks a Question of one, tells a Story to another, glances an Ogle upon a third, takes a Pinch of Snuff from the fourth, lets her Fan drop by accident to give the fifth an Occasion of taking it up. In short, every one goes away satisfied with his Success, and encouraged to renew his Devotions on the same Canonical Hour that Day Sevennight.

An Idol may be Undeified by many accidental Causes. Marriage in particular is a kind of Counter-Apotheosis, or a Deification inverted. When a Man becomes familiar with his Goddess, she quickly sinks into a Woman.

Old Age is likewise a great Decayer of your Idol: The Truth of it is, there is not a more unhappy Being than a Superannuated Idol, especially when she has contracted such Airs and Behaviour as are only Graceful when her Worshippers are about her.

Considering therefore that in these and many other Cases the Woman generally outlives the Idol, I must return to the Moral of this Paper, and desire my fair Readers to give a proper Direction to their Passion for being admired; In order to which, they must endeavour to make themselves the Objects of a reasonable and lasting Admiration. This is not to be hoped for from Beauty, or Dress, or Fashion, but from those inward Ornaments which are not to be defaced by Time or Sickness, and which appear most amiable to those who are most acquainted with them.


Footnote 1:   that
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:  Tuscul. Quæst. Lib. v. § 243.

Footnote 3:   Paradise Lost, Bk. I.

Footnote 4:   The story is in The Remedy of Love Stanzas 5-10.

Contents p.3

No. 74

Friday, May 25, 1711


... Pendent opera interrupta ...


In my last Monday's Paper I gave some general Instances of those beautiful Strokes which please the Reader in the old Song of Chevey-Chase; I shall here, according to my Promise, be more particular, and shew that the Sentiments in that Ballad are extremely natural and poetical, and full of the1 majestick Simplicity which we admire in the greatest of the ancient Poets: For which Reason I shall quote several Passages of it, in which the Thought is altogether the same with what we meet in several Passages of the Æneid; not that I would infer from thence, that the Poet (whoever he was) proposed to himself any Imitation of those Passages, but that he was directed to them in general by the same Kind of Poetical Genius, and by the same Copyings after Nature.

Had this old Song been filled with Epigrammatical Turns and Points of Wit, it might perhaps have pleased the wrong Taste of some Readers; but it would never have become the Delight of the common People, nor have warmed the Heart of Sir Philip Sidney like the Sound of a Trumpet; it is only Nature that can have this Effect, and please those Tastes which are the most unprejudiced or the most refined. I must however beg leave to dissent from so great an Authority as that of Sir Philip Sidney, in the Judgment which he has passed as to the rude Stile and evil Apparel of this antiquated Song; for there are several Parts in it where not only the Thought but the Language is majestick, and the Numbers sonorous;2 at least, the Apparel is much more gorgeous than many of the Poets made use of in Queen Elizabeth's Time, as the Reader will see in several of the following Quotations.

What can be greater than either the Thought or the Expression in that Stanza,
To drive the Deer with Hound and Horn
Piercy took his Way;
The Child may rue that was unborn
The Hunting of that Day!
This way of considering the Misfortunes which this Battle would bring upon Posterity, not only on those who were born immediately after the Battle and lost their Fathers in it, but on those also who perished3 in future Battles which took their rise4 from this Quarrel of the two Earls, is wonderfully beautiful, and conformable to the Way of Thinking among the ancient Poets.
Audiet pugnas vilio parentum
Rara juventus

What can be more sounding and poetical, resemble more the majestic Simplicity of the Ancients, than the following Stanzas?
The stout Earl of Northumberland
A Vow to God did make,
His Pleasure in the
Scotish Woods
Three Summers Days to take.

With fifteen hundred Bowmen bold,
All chosen Men of Might,
Who knew full well, in time of Need,
To aim their Shafts aright.

The Hounds ran swiftly thro' the Woods
The nimble Deer to take,
And with their Cries the Hills and Dales
An Eccho shrill did make

... Vocat ingenti Clamore Cithseron
Taygetique canes, domitrixque Epidaurus equorum:
Et vox assensu nemorum ingeminata remugit.

Lo, yonder doth Earl Dowglas come,
His Men in Armour bright;
Full twenty Hundred
Scottish Spears,
All marching in our Sight

All Men of pleasant Tividale,
Fast by the River Tweed, etc
The Country of the Scotch Warriors, described in these two last Verses, has a fine romantick Situation, and affords a couple of smooth Words for Verse. If the Reader compares the forgoing six Lines of the Song with the following Latin Verses, he will see how much they are written in the Spirit of Virgil.
Adversi campo apparent, hastasque reductis
Protendunt longe dextris; et spicula vibrant;
Quique altum Preneste viri, quique arva Gabinæ
Junonis, gelidumque Anienem, et roscida rivis
Hernica saxa colunt: ... qui rosea rura Velini,
Qui Terticæ horrentes rupes, montemque Severum,
Casperiamque colunt, Forulosque et flumen Himellæ:
Qui Tiberim Fabarimque bibunt
But to proceed.
Earl Dowglas on a milk-white Steed,
Most like a Baron bold,
Rode foremost of the Company,
Whose Armour shone like Gold.
Turnus ut antevolans tardum precesserat agmen, &c. Vidisti, quo Turnus equo, quibus ibat in armis Aureus ...
Our English Archers bent their Bows
Their Hearts were good and true;
At the first Flight of Arrows sent,
Full threescore
Scots they slew.

They clos'd full fast on ev'ry side,
No Slackness there was found.
And many a gallant Gentleman
Lay gasping on the Ground.

With that there came an Arrow keen
Out of an
English Bow,
Which struck Earl
Dowglas to the Heart
A deep and deadly Blow.

Æneas was wounded after the same Manner by an unknown Hand in the midst of a Parly.
Has inter voces, media inter talia verba,
Ecce viro stridens alis allapsa sagitta est,
Incertum quâ pulsa manu ...
But of all the descriptive Parts of this Song, there are none more beautiful than the four following Stanzas which have a great Force and Spirit in them, and are filled with very natural Circumstances. The Thought in the third Stanza was never touched by any other Poet, and is such an one as would have shined in Homer or in Virgil.
So thus did both those Nobles die,
Whose Courage none could stain:
An English Archer then perceived
The noble Earl was slain.

He had a Bow bent in his Hand,
Made of a trusty Tree,
An Arrow of a Cloth-yard long
Unto the Head drew he.

Against Sir Hugh Montgomery
So right his Shaft he set,
The Gray-goose Wing that was thereon
In his Heart-Blood was wet.

This Fight did last from Break of Day
Till setting of the Sun;
For when they rung the Evening Bell
The Battle scarce was done.
One may observe likewise, that in the Catalogue of the Slain the Author has followed the Example of the greatest ancient Poets, not only in giving a long List of the Dead, but by diversifying it with little Characters of particular Persons.
And with Earl Dowglas there was slain
Sir Hugh Montgomery,
Sir Charles Carrel, that from the Field
One Foot would never fly:

Sir Charles Murrel of Ratcliff too,
His Sister's Son was he;
Sir David Lamb, so well esteem'd,
Yet saved could not be.
The familiar Sound in these Names destroys the Majesty of the Description; for this Reason I do not mention this Part of the Poem but to shew the natural Cast of Thought which appears in it, as the two last Verses look almost like a Translation of Virgil.
... Cadit et Ripheus justissimus unus
Qui fuit in Teucris et servantissimus æqui,
Diis aliter visum est ...
In the Catalogue of the English who5 fell, Witherington's Behaviour is in the same manner particularized very artfully, as the Reader is prepared for it by that Account which is given of him in the Beginning of the Battle ; though I am satisfied your little Buffoon Readers (who have seen that Passage ridiculed in Hudibras) will not be able to take the Beauty of it: For which Reason I dare not so much as quote it.
Then stept a gallant Squire forth,
Witherington was his Name,
Who said, I would not have it told
To Henry our King for Shame,

That e'er my Captain fought on Foot,
And I stood looking on.
We meet with the same Heroic Sentiments in Virgil.
Non pudet, O Rutuli, cunctis pro talibus unam
Objectare animam? numerone an viribus æqui
Non sumus ... ?
What can be more natural or more moving than the Circumstances in which he describes the Behaviour of those Women who had lost their Husbands on this fatal Day?
Next Day did many Widows come
Their Husbands to bewail;
They washed their Wounds in brinish Tears,
But all would not prevail.

Their Bodies bath'd in purple Blood,
They bore with them away;
They kiss'd them dead a thousand Times,
When they were clad in Clay.
Thus we see how the Thoughts of this Poem, which naturally arise from the Subject, are always simple, and sometimes exquisitely noble; that the Language is often very sounding, and that the whole is written with a true poetical Spirit.

If this Song had been written in the Gothic Manner, which is the Delight of all our little Wits, whether Writers or Readers, it would not have hit the Taste of so many Ages, and have pleased the Readers of all Ranks and Conditions. I shall only beg Pardon for such a Profusion of Latin Quotations; which I should not have made use of, but that I feared my own Judgment would have looked too singular on such a Subject, had not I supported it by the Practice and Authority of Virgil.


Footnote 1:   that
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   very sonorous;

Footnote 3:   should perish

Footnote 4:   should arise

Footnote 5:   that

Contents p.3

No. 75

Saturday, May 26, 1711


Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et status, et res.


It was with some Mortification that I suffered the Raillery of a Fine Lady of my Acquaintance, for calling, in one of my Papers, Dorimant a Clown. She was so unmerciful as to take Advantage of my invincible Taciturnity, and on that occasion, with great Freedom to consider the Air, the Height, the Face, the Gesture of him who could pretend to judge so arrogantly of Gallantry. She is full of Motion, Janty and lively in her Impertinence, and one of those that commonly pass, among the Ignorant, for Persons who have a great deal of Humour. She had the Play of Sir Fopling in her Hand, and after she had said it was happy for her there was not so charming a Creature as Dorimant now living, she began with a Theatrical Air and Tone of Voice to Read, by way of Triumph over me, some of his Speeches. 'Tis she, that lovely Hair, that easy Shape, those wanton Eyes, and all those melting Charms about her Mouth, which Medley spoke of; I'll follow the Lottery, and put in for a Prize with my Friend Bellair.
In Love the Victors from the Vanquish'd fly;
They fly that wound, and they pursue that dye,
Then turning over the Leaves, she reads alternately, and speaks,
And you and Loveit to her Cost shall find
I fathom all the Depths of Womankind
Oh the Fine Gentleman! But here, continues she, is the Passage I admire most, where he begins to Teize Loveit, and mimick Sir Fopling: Oh the pretty Satyr, in his resolving to be a Coxcomb to please, since Noise and Nonsense have such powerful Charms!
I, that I may Successful prove,
Transform my self to what you love
Then how like a Man of the Town, so Wild and Gay is that
The Wife will find a Diff'rence in our Fate,
You wed a Woman, I a good Estate
It would have been a very wild Endeavour for a Man of my Temper to offer any Opposition to so nimble a Speaker as my Fair Enemy is; but her Discourse gave me very many Reflections, when I had left her Company. Among others, I could not but consider, with some Attention, the false Impressions the generality (the Fair Sex more especially) have of what should be intended, when they say a Fine Gentleman; and could not help revolving that Subject in my Thoughts, and settling, as it were, an Idea of that Character in my own Imagination.

No Man ought to have the Esteem of the rest of the World, for any Actions which are disagreeable to those Maxims which prevail, as the Standards of Behaviour, in the Country wherein he lives. What is opposite to the eternal Rules of Reason and good Sense, must be excluded from any Place in the Carriage of a Well-bred Man. I did not, I confess, explain myself enough on this Subject, when I called Dorimant a Clown, and made it an Instance of it, that he called the Orange Wench, Double Tripe: I should have shewed, that Humanity obliges a Gentleman to give no Part of Humankind Reproach, for what they, whom they Reproach, may possibly have in Common with the most Virtuous and Worthy amongst us. When a Gentleman speaks Coarsly, he has dressed himself Clean to no purpose: The Cloathing of our Minds certainly ought to be regarded before that of our Bodies. To betray in a Man's Talk a corrupted Imagination, is a much greater Offence against the Conversation of Gentlemen, than any Negligence of Dress imaginable. But this Sense of the Matter is so far from being received among People even of Condition, that Vocifer passes for a fine Gentleman. He is Loud, Haughty, Gentle, Soft, Lewd, and Obsequious by turns, just as a little Understanding and great Impudence prompt him at the present Moment. He passes among the silly Part of our Women for a Man of Wit, because he is generally in Doubt. He contradicts with a Shrug, and confutes with a certain Sufficiency, in professing such and such a Thing is above his Capacity. What makes his Character the pleasanter is, that he is a professed Deluder of Women; and because the empty Coxcomb has no Regard to any thing that is of it self Sacred and Inviolable, I have heard an unmarried Lady of Fortune say, It is pity so fine a Gentleman as Vocifer is so great an Atheist. The Crowds of such inconsiderable Creatures that infest all Places of Assembling, every Reader will have in his Eye from his own Observation; but would it not be worth considering what sort of Figure a Man who formed himself upon those Principles among us, which are agreeable to the Dictates of Honour and Religion, would make in the familiar and ordinary Occurrences of Life?

I hardly have observed any one fill his several Duties of Life better than Ignotus. All the under Parts of his Behaviour and such as are exposed to common Observation, have their Rise in him from great and noble Motives. A firm and unshaken Expectation of another Life, makes him become this; Humanity and Good-nature, fortified by the Sense of Virtue, has the same Effect upon him, as the Neglect of all Goodness has upon many others. Being firmly established in all Matters of Importance, that certain Inattention which makes Men's Actions look easie appears in him with greater Beauty: By a thorough Contempt of little Excellencies, he is perfectly Master of them. This Temper of Mind leaves him under no Necessity of Studying his Air, and he has this peculiar Distinction, that his Negligence is unaffected.

He that can work himself into a Pleasure in considering this Being as an uncertain one, and think to reap an Advantage by its Discontinuance, is in a fair way of doing all things with a graceful Unconcern, and Gentleman-like Ease. Such a one does not behold his Life as a short, transient, perplexing State, made up of trifling Pleasures, and great Anxieties; but sees it in quite another Light; his Griefs are Momentary, and his Joys Immortal. Reflection upon Death is not a gloomy and sad Thought of Resigning every Thing that he Delights in, but it is a short Night followed by an endless Day. What I would here contend for is, that the more Virtuous the Man is, the nearer he will naturally be to the Character of Genteel and Agreeable. A Man whose Fortune is Plentiful, shews an Ease in his Countenance, and Confidence in his Behaviour, which he that is under Wants and Difficulties cannot assume. It is thus with the State of the Mind; he that governs his Thoughts with the everlasting Rules of Reason and Sense, must have something so inexpressibly Graceful in his Words and Actions, that every Circumstance must become him. The Change of Persons or Things around him do not at all alter his Situation, but he looks disinterested in the Occurrences with which others are distracted, because the greatest Purpose of his Life is to maintain an Indifference both to it and all its Enjoyments. In a word, to be a Fine Gentleman, is to be a Generous and a Brave Man. What can make a Man so much in constant Good-humour and Shine, as we call it, than to be supported by what can never fail him, and to believe that whatever happens to him was the best thing that could possibly befal him, or else he on whom it depends would not have permitted it to have befallen him at all?


Contents p.3

No. 76

Monday, May 28, 1711


Ut tu Fortunam, sic nos te, Celse, feremus.


There is nothing so common as to find a Man whom in the general Observations of his Carriage you take to be of an uniform Temper, subject to such unaccountable Starts of Humour and Passion, that he is as much unlike himself and differs as much from the Man you at first thought him, as any two distinct Persons can differ from each other. This proceeds from the Want of forming some Law of Life to our selves, or fixing some Notion of things in general, which may affect us in such Manner as to create proper Habits both in our Minds and Bodies. The Negligence of this, leaves us exposed not only to an unbecoming Levity in our usual Conversation, but also to the same Instability in our Friendships, Interests, and Alliances. A Man who is but a mere Spectator of what passes around him, and not engaged in Commerces of any Consideration, is but an ill Judge of the secret Motions of the Heart of Man, and by what Degrees it is actuated to make such visible Alterations in the same Person: But at the same Time, when a Man is no way concerned in the Effects of such Inconsistences in the Behaviour of Men of the World, the Speculation must be in the utmost Degree both diverting and instructive; yet to enjoy such Observations in the highest Relish, he ought to be placed in a Post of Direction, and have the dealing of their Fortunes to them. I have therefore been wonderfully diverted with some Pieces of secret History, which an Antiquary, my very good Friend, lent me as a Curiosity. They are memoirs of the private Life of Pharamond of France1.
'Pharamond, says my Author, was a Prince of infinite Humanity and Generosity, and at the same time the most pleasant and facetious Companion of his Time. He had a peculiar Taste in him (which would have been unlucky in any Prince but himself,) he thought there could be no exquisite Pleasure in Conversation but among Equals; and would pleasantly bewail himself that he always lived in a Crowd, but was the only man in France that never could get into Company. This Turn of Mind made him delight in Midnight Rambles, attended only with one Person of his Bed-chamber: He would in these Excursions get acquainted with Men (whose Temper he had a Mind to try) and recommend them privately to the particular Observation of his first Minister. He generally found himself neglected by his new Acquaintance as soon as they had Hopes of growing great; and used on such Occasions to remark, That it was a great Injustice to tax Princes of forgetting themselves in their high Fortunes, when there were so few that could with Constancy bear the Favour of their very Creatures.'
My Author in these loose Hints has one Passage that gives us a very lively Idea of the uncommon Genius of Pharamond. He met with one Man whom he had put to all the usual Proofs he made of those he had a mind to know thoroughly, and found him for his Purpose: In Discourse with him one Day, he gave him Opportunity of saying how much would satisfy all his Wishes. The Prince immediately revealed himself, doubled the Sum, and spoke to him in this manner.
'Sir, You have twice what you desired, by the Favour of Pharamond; but look to it, that you are satisfied with it, for 'tis the last you shall ever receive. I from this Moment consider you as mine; and to make you truly so, I give you my Royal Word you shall never be greater or less than you are at present. Answer me not, (concluded the Prince smiling) but enjoy the Fortune I have put you in, which is above my own Condition; for you have hereafter nothing to hope or to fear.'
His Majesty having thus well chosen and bought a Friend and Companion, he enjoyed alternately all the Pleasures of an agreeable private Man and a great and powerful Monarch: He gave himself, with his Companion, the Name of the merry Tyrant; for he punished his Courtiers for their Insolence and Folly, not by any Act of Publick Disfavour, but by humorously practising upon their Imaginations. If he observed a Man untractable to his Inferiors, he would find an Opportunity to take some favourable Notice of him, and render him insupportable. He knew all his own Looks, Words and Actions had their Interpretations; and his Friend Monsieur Eucrate (for so he was called) having a great Soul without Ambition, he could communicate all his Thoughts to him, and fear no artful Use would be made of that Freedom. It was no small Delight when they were in private to reflect upon all which had passed in publick.

Pharamond would often, to satisfy a vain Fool of Power in his Country, talk to him in a full Court, and with one Whisper make him despise all his old Friends and Acquaintance. He was come to that Knowledge of Men by long Observation, that he would profess altering the whole Mass of Blood in some Tempers, by thrice speaking to them. As Fortune was in his Power, he gave himself constant Entertainment in managing the mere Followers of it with the Treatment they deserved. He would, by a skilful Cast of his Eye and half a Smile, make two Fellows who hated, embrace and fall upon each other's Neck with as much Eagerness, as if they followed their real Inclinations, and intended to stifle one another. When he was in high good Humour, he would lay the Scene with Eucrate, and on a publick Night exercise tho Passions of his whole Court. He was pleased to see an haughty Beauty watch the Looks of the Man she had long despised, from Observation of his being taken notice of by Pharamond; and the Lover conceive higher Hopes, than to follow the Woman he was dying for the Day before. In a Court where Men speak Affection in the strongest Terms, and Dislike in the faintest, it was a comical Mixture of Incidents to see Disguises thrown aside in one Case and encreased on the other, according as Favour or Disgrace attended the respective Objects of Men's Approbation or Disesteem. Pharamond in his Mirth upon the Meanness of Mankind used to say,
'As he could take away a Man's Five Senses, he could give him an Hundred. The Man in Disgrace shall immediately lose all his natural Endowments, and he that finds Favour have the Attributes of an Angel.' He would carry it so far as to say, 'It should not be only so in the Opinion of the lower Part of his Court, but the Men themselves shall think thus meanly or greatly of themselves, as they are out or in the good Graces of a Court.'
A Monarch who had Wit and Humour like Pharamond, must have Pleasures which no Man else can ever have Opportunity of enjoying. He gave Fortune to none but those whom he knew could receive it without Transport: He made a noble and generous Use of his Observations; and did not regard his Ministers as they were agreeable to himself, but as they were useful to his Kingdom: By this means the King appeared in every Officer of State; and no Man had a Participation of the Power, who had not a Similitude of the Virtue of Pharamond.


Footnote 1:   Pharamond, or Faramond, was the subject of one of the romances of M. de Costes de la Calprenède, published at Paris (12 vols.) in 1661. It was translated into English (folio) by J. Phillips in 1677.
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Contents p.3

No. 77

Tuesday, May 29, 1711


Non convivere licet, nec urbe tota
Quisquam est tam propè tam proculque nobis.


My Friend Will Honeycomb is one of those Sort of Men who are very often absent in Conversation, and what the French call a reveur and a distrait. A little before our Club-time last Night we were walking together in Somerset Garden, where Will., had picked up a small Pebble of so odd a Make, that he said he would present it to a Friend of his, an eminent Virtuoso. After we had walked some time, I made a full stop with my Face towards the West, which Will., knowing to be my usual Method of asking what's a Clock, in an Afternoon, immediately pulled out his Watch, and told me we had seven Minutes good. We took a turn or two more, when, to my great Surprize, I saw him squirr away his Watch a considerable way into the Thames, and with great Sedateness in his Looks put up the Pebble, he had before found, in his Fob. As I have naturally an Aversion to much Speaking, and do not love to be the Messenger of ill News, especially when it comes too late to be useful, I left him to be convinced of his Mistake in due time, and continued my Walk, reflecting on these little Absences and Distractions in Mankind, and resolving to make them the Subject of a future Speculation.

I was the more confirmed in my Design, when I considered that they were very often Blemishes in the Characters of Men of excellent Sense; and helped to keep up the Reputation of that Latin Proverb1, which Mr. Dryden has Translated in the following Lines:
Great Wit to Madness sure is near ally'd,
And thin Partitions do their Bounds divide.
My Reader does, I hope, perceive, that I distinguish a Man who is Absent, because he thinks of something else, from one who is Absent, because he thinks of nothing at all: The latter is too innocent a Creature to be taken notice of; but the Distractions of the former may, I believe, be generally accounted for from one of these Reasons.

Either their Minds are wholly fixed on some particular Science, which is often the Case of Mathematicians and other learned Men; or are wholly taken up with some Violent Passion, such as Anger, Fear, or Love, which ties the Mind to some distant Object; or, lastly, these Distractions proceed from a certain Vivacity and Fickleness in a Man's Temper, which while it raises up infinite Numbers of Ideas in the Mind, is continually pushing it on, without allowing it to rest on any particular Image. Nothing therefore is more unnatural than the Thoughts and Conceptions of such a Man, which are seldom occasioned either by the Company he is in, or any of those Objects which are placed before him. While you fancy he is admiring a beautiful Woman, 'tis an even Wager that he is solving a Proposition in Euclid; and while you may imagine he is reading the Paris Gazette, it is far from being impossible, that he is pulling down and rebuilding the Front of his Country-house.

At the same time that I am endeavouring to expose this Weakness in others, I shall readily confess that I once laboured under the same Infirmity myself. The Method I took to conquer it was a firm Resolution to learn something from whatever I was obliged to see or hear. There is a way of Thinking if a Man can attain to it, by which he may strike somewhat out of any thing. I can at present observe those Starts of good Sense and Struggles of unimproved Reason in the Conversation of a Clown, with as much Satisfaction as the most shining Periods of the most finished Orator; and can make a shift to command my Attention at a Puppet-Show or an Opera, as well as at Hamlet or Othello. I always make one of the Company I am in; for though I say little myself, my Attention to others, and those Nods of Approbation which I never bestow unmerited, sufficiently shew that I am among them. Whereas Will. Honeycomb, tho' a Fellow of good Sense, is every Day doing and saying an hundred Things which he afterwards confesses, with a well-bred Frankness, were somewhat mal a propos, and undesigned.

I chanced the other Day to go into a Coffee-house, where Will, was standing in the midst of several Auditors whom he had gathered round him, and was giving them an Account of the Person and Character of Moll Hinton. My Appearance before him just put him in mind of me, without making him reflect that I was actually present. So that keeping his Eyes full upon me, to the great Surprize of his Audience, he broke off his first Harangue, and proceeded thus:
'Why now there's my Friend (mentioning me by my Name) he is a Fellow that thinks a great deal, but never opens his Mouth; I warrant you he is now thrusting his short Face into some Coffee-house about 'Change. I was his Bail in the time of the Popish-Plot, when he was taken up for a Jesuit.'
If he had looked on me a little longer, he had certainly described me so particularly, without ever considering what led him into it, that the whole Company must necessarily have found me out; for which Reason, remembering the old Proverb, Out of Sight out of Mind, I left the Room; and upon meeting him an Hour afterwards, was asked by him, with a great deal of Good-humour, in what Part of the World I had lived, that he had not seen me these three Days.

Monsieur Bruyere has given us the Character of an absent Man2, with a great deal of Humour, which he has pushed to an agreeable Extravagance; with the Heads of it I shall conclude my present Paper.
'Menalcas (says that excellent Author) comes down in a Morning, opens his Door to go out, but shuts it again, because he perceives that he has his Night-cap on; and examining himself further finds that he is but half-shaved, that he has stuck his Sword on his right Side, that his Stockings are about his Heels, and that his Shirt is over his Breeches. When he is dressed he goes to Court, comes into the Drawing-room, and walking bolt-upright under a Branch of Candlesticks his Wig is caught up by one of them, and hangs dangling in the Air. All the Courtiers fall a laughing, but Menalcas laughs louder than any of them, and looks about for the Person that is the Jest of the Company. Coming down to the Court-gate he finds a Coach, which taking for his own, he whips into it; and the Coachman drives off, not doubting but he carries his Master. As soon as he stops, Menalcas throws himself out of the Coach, crosses the Court, ascends the Staircase, and runs thro' all the Chambers with the greatest Familiarity, reposes himself on a Couch, and fancies himself at home. The Master of the House at last comes in, Menalcas rises to receive him, and desires him to sit down; he talks, muses, and then talks again. The Gentleman of the House is tired and amazed; Menalcas is no less so, but is every Moment in Hopes that his impertinent Guest will at last end his tedious Visit. Night comes on, when Menalcas is hardly undeceived.

When he is playing at Backgammon, he calls for a full Glass of Wine and Water; 'tis his turn to throw, he has the Box in one Hand and his Glass in the other, and being extremely dry, and unwilling to lose Time, he swallows down both the Dice, and at the same time throws his Wine into the Tables. He writes a Letter, and flings the Sand into the Ink-bottle; he writes a second, and mistakes the Superscription: A Nobleman receives one of them, and upon opening it reads as follows: I would have you, honest Jack, immediately upon the Receipt of this, take in Hay enough to serve me the Winter. His Farmer receives the other and is amazed to see in it, My Lord, I received your Grace's Commands with an entire Submission to — If he is at an Entertainment, you may see the Pieces of Bread continually multiplying round his Plate: 'Tis true the rest of the Company want it, as well as their Knives and Forks, which Menalcas does not let them keep long. Sometimes in a Morning he puts his whole Family in an hurry, and at last goes out without being able to stay for his Coach or Dinner, and for that Day you may see him in every Part of the Town, except the very Place where he had appointed to be upon a Business of Importance. You would often take him for every thing that he is not; for a Fellow quite stupid, for he hears nothing; for a Fool, for he talks to himself, and has an hundred Grimaces and Motions with his Head, which are altogether involuntary; for a proud Man, for he looks full upon you, and takes no notice of your saluting him: The Truth on't is, his Eyes are open, but he makes no use of them, and neither sees you, nor any Man, nor any thing else: He came once from his Country-house, and his own Footman undertook to rob him, and succeeded: They held a Flambeau to his Throat, and bid him deliver his Purse; he did so, and coming home told his Friends he had been robbed; they desired to know the Particulars, Ask my Servants, says Menalcas, for they were with me.

Footnote 1:   Seneca de Tranquill. Anim. cap. xv.
'Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixturâ dementiæ'
Dryden's lines are in Part I of Absalom and Achitophel.
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Footnote 2:   Caractères, Chap. xi. de l'Homme. La Bruyère's Menalque was identified with a M. de Brancas, brother of the Duke de Villars. The adventure of the wig is said really to have happened to him at a reception by the Queen-Mother. He was said also on his wedding-day to have forgotten that he had been married. He went abroad as usual, and only remembered the ceremony of the morning upon finding the changed state of his household when, as usual, he came home in the evening.

Contents p.3

No. 78

Wednesday, May 30, 1711


Cum Talis sis, Utinam noster esses!

The following Letters are so pleasant, that I doubt not but the Reader will be as much diverted with them as I was. I have nothing to do in this Day's Entertainment, but taking the Sentence from the End of the Cambridge Letter, and placing it at the Front of my Paper; to shew the Author I wish him my Companion with as much Earnestness as he invites me to be his.

'I Send you the inclosed, to be inserted (if you think them worthy of it) in your Spectators; in which so surprizing a Genius appears, that it is no Wonder if all Mankind endeavours to get somewhat into a Paper which will always live.

As to the Cambridge Affair, the Humour was really carried on in the Way I described it. However, you have a full Commission to put out or in, and to do whatever you think fit with it. I have already had the Satisfaction of seeing you take that Liberty with some things I have before sent you1.

Go on, Sir, and prosper. You have the best Wishes of

Sir, Your very Affectionate,
and Obliged Humble Servant.


Mr, Spectator,

'You well know it is of great Consequence to clear Titles, and it is of Importance that it be done in the proper Season; On which Account this is to assure you, that the Club Of Ugly Faces was instituted originally at Cambridge in the merry Reign of King Charles II. As in great Bodies of Men it is not difficult to find Members enough for such a Club, so (I remember) it was then feared, upon their Intention of dining together, that the Hall belonging to Clarehall, (the ugliest then in the Town, tho' now the neatest) would not be large enough Handsomely to hold the Company. Invitations were made to great Numbers, but very few accepted them without much Difficulty. One pleaded that being at London in a Bookseller's Shop, a Lady going by with a great Belly longed to kiss him. He had certainly been excused, but that Evidence appeared, That indeed one in London did pretend she longed to kiss him, but that it was only a Pickpocket, who during his kissing her stole away all his Money. Another would have got off by a Dimple in his Chin; but it was proved upon him, that he had, by coming into a Room, made a Woman miscarry, and frightened two Children into Fits. A Third alledged, That he was taken by a Lady for another Gentleman, who was one of the handsomest in the University; But upon Enquiry it was found that the Lady had actually lost one Eye, and the other was very much upon the Decline. A Fourth produced Letters out of the Country in his Vindication, in which a Gentleman offered him his Daughter, who had lately fallen in Love with him, with a good Fortune: But it was made appear that the young Lady was amorous, and had like to have run away with her Father's Coachman, so that it was supposed, that her Pretence of falling in Love with him was only in order to be well married. It was pleasant to hear the several Excuses which were made, insomuch that some made as much Interest to be excused as they would from serving Sheriff; however at last the Society was formed, and proper Officers were appointed; and the Day was fix'd for the Entertainment, which was in Venison Season. A pleasant Fellow of King's College (commonly called Crab from his sour Look, and the only Man who did not pretend to get off) was nominated for Chaplain; and nothing was wanting but some one to sit in the Elbow-Chair, by way of President, at the upper end of the Table; and there the Business stuck, for there was no Contention for Superiority there. This Affair made so great a Noise, that the King, who was then at Newmarket, heard of it, and was pleased merrily and graciously to say, He could not Be There himself, but he would Send them a Brace of Bucks.

I would desire you, Sir, to set this Affair in a true Light, that Posterity may not be misled in so important a Point: For when the wise Man who shall write your true History shall acquaint the World, That you had a Diploma sent from the Ugly Club at Oxford, and that by vertue of it you were admitted into it, what a learned Work will there be among future Criticks about the Original of that Club, which both Universities will contend so warmly for? And perhaps some hardy Cantabrigian Author may then boldly affirm, that the Word Oxford was an interpolation of some Oxonian instead of Cambridge. This Affair will be best adjusted in your Life-time; but I hope your Affection to your Mother will not make you partial to your Aunt.

To tell you, Sir, my own Opinion: Tho' I cannot find any ancient Records of any Acts of the Society of the Ugly Faces, considered in a publick Capacity; yet in a private one they have certainly Antiquity on their Side. I am perswaded they will hardly give Place to the Lowngers, and the Lowngers are of the same Standing with the University itself.

Tho' we well know, Sir, you want no Motives to do Justice, yet I am commission'd to tell you, that you are invited to be admitted ad eundem at Cambridge; and I believe I may venture safely to deliver this as the Wish of our Whole University.'

To Mr. Spectator.

The humble Petition of Who and Which.


'That your Petitioners being in a forlorn and destitute Condition, know not to whom we should apply ourselves for Relief, because there is hardly any Man alive who hath not injured us. Nay, we speak it with Sorrow, even You your self, whom we should suspect of such a Practice the last of all Mankind, can hardly acquit your self of having given us some Cause of Complaint. We are descended of ancient Families, and kept up our Dignity and Honour many Years, till the Jack-sprat THAT supplanted us. How often have we found ourselves slighted by the Clergy in their Pulpits, and the Lawyers at the Bar? Nay, how often have we heard in one of the most polite and august Assemblies in the Universe, to our great Mortification, these Words, That That that noble Lord urged; which if one of us had had Justice done, would have sounded nobler thus, That Which that noble Lord urged. Senates themselves, the Guardians of British Liberty, have degraded us, and preferred That to us; and yet no Decree was ever given against us. In the very Acts of Parliament, in which the utmost Right should be done to every Body, Word and Thing, we find our selves often either not used, or used one instead of another. In the first and best Prayer Children are taught, they learn to misuse us: Our Father Which art in Heaven, should be, Our Father Who art in Heaven; and even a Convocation after long Debates, refused to consent to an Alteration of it. In our general Confession we say, — Spare thou them, O God, Which confess their Faults, which ought to be, Who confess their Faults. What Hopes then have we of having Justice done so, when the Makers of our very Prayers and Laws, and the most learned in all Faculties, seem to be in a Confederacy against us, and our Enemies themselves must be our Judges.'

The Spanish Proverb says,
Il sabio muda consejo, il necio no;
i. e.
A wise Man changes his Mind, a Fool never will.
So that we think You, Sir, a very proper Person to address to, since we know you to be capable of being convinced, and changing your Judgment. You are well able to settle this Affair, and to you we submit our Cause. We desire you to assign the Butts and Bounds of each of us; and that for the future we may both enjoy our own. We would desire to be heard by our Counsel, but that we fear in their very Pleadings they would betray our Cause: Besides, we have been oppressed so many Years, that we can appear no other way, but in forma pauperis. All which considered, we hope you will be pleased to do that which to Right and Justice shall appertain.
And your Petitioners, &c.


Footnote 1:   This letter is probably by Laurence Eusden, and the preceding letter by the same hand would be the account of the Loungers in No. 54. Laurence Eusden, son of Dr. Eusden, Rector of Spalsworth, in Yorkshire, was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, took orders, and became Chaplain to Lord Willoughby de Broke. He obtained the patronage of Lord Halifax by a Latin version of his Lordship's poem on the Battle of the Boyne, in 1718. By the influence of the Duke of Newcastle, then Lord Chamberlain, he was made Poet-laureate, upon the death of Rowe. Eusden died, rector of Conington, Lincolnshire, in 1730, and his death was hastened by intemperance. Of the laurel left for Cibber Pope wrote in the Dunciad,
Know, Eusden thirsts no more for sack or praise;
He sleeps among the dull of ancient days.
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Contents p.3

No. 79

Thursday, May 31, 1711


Oderunt peccare boni virtutis amore.


I have received very many Letters of late from my Female Correspondents, most of whom are very angry with me for Abridging their Pleasures, and looking severely upon Things, in themselves, indifferent. But I think they are extremely Unjust to me in this Imputation: All that I contend for is, that those Excellencies, which are to be regarded but in the second Place, should not precede more weighty Considerations. The Heart of Man deceives him in spite of the Lectures of half a Life spent in Discourses on the Subjection of Passion; and I do not know why one may not think the Heart of Woman as Unfaithful to itself. If we grant an Equality in the Faculties of both Sexes, the Minds of Women are less cultivated with Precepts, and consequently may, without Disrespect to them, be accounted more liable to Illusion in Cases wherein natural Inclination is out of the Interests of Virtue. I shall take up my present Time in commenting upon a Billet or two which came from Ladies, and from thence leave the Reader to judge whether I am in the right or not, in thinking it is possible Fine Women may be mistaken.

The following Address seems to have no other Design in it, but to tell me the Writer will do what she pleases for all me.
Mr. Spectator, 'I am Young, and very much inclin'd to follow the Paths of Innocence: but at the same time, as I have a plentiful Fortune, and of Quality, I am unwilling to resign the Pleasures of Distinction, some little Satisfaction in being Admired in general, and much greater in being beloved by a Gentleman, whom I design to make my Husband. But I have a mind to put off entering into Matrimony till another Winter is over my Head, which, (whatever, musty Sir, you may think of the Matter) I design to pass away in hearing Music, going to Plays, Visiting, and all other Satisfactions which Fortune and Youth, protected by Innocence and Virtue, can procure for, '


Your most humble Servant,

M. T.

'My Lover does not know I like him, therefore having no Engagements upon me, I think to stay and know whether I may not like any one else better.'

I have heard Will. Honeycomb say,
A Woman seldom writes her Mind but in her Postscript.
I think this Gentlewoman has sufficiently discovered hers in this. I'll lay what Wager she pleases against her present Favourite, and can tell her that she will Like Ten more before she is fixed, and then will take the worst Man she ever liked in her Life. There is no end of Affection taken in at the Eyes only; and you may as well satisfie those Eyes with seeing, as controul any Passion received by them only. It is from loving by Sight that Coxcombs so frequently succeed with Women, and very often a Young Lady is bestowed by her Parents to a Man who weds her as Innocence itself, tho' she has, in her own Heart, given her Approbation of a different Man in every Assembly she was in the whole Year before. What is wanting among Women, as well as among Men, is the Love of laudable Things, and not to rest only in the Forbearance of such as are Reproachful.

How far removed from a Woman of this light Imagination is Eudosia! Eudosia has all the Arts of Life and good Breeding with so much Ease, that the Virtue of her Conduct looks more like an Instinct than Choice. It is as little difficult to her to think justly of Persons and Things, as it is to a Woman of different Accomplishments, to move ill or look awkward. That which was, at first, the Effect of Instruction, is grown into an Habit; and it would be as hard for Eudosia to indulge a wrong Suggestion of Thought, as it would be for Flavia the fine Dancer to come into a Room with an unbecoming Air.

But the Misapprehensions People themselves have of their own State of Mind, is laid down with much discerning in the following Letter, which is but an Extract of a kind Epistle from my charming mistress Hecatissa, who is above the Vanity of external Beauty, and is the best Judge of the Perfections of the Mind.
Mr. Spectator,

"I Write this to acquaint you, that very many Ladies, as well as myself, spend many Hours more than we used at the Glass, for want of the Female Library of which you promised us a Catalogue. I hope, Sir, in the Choice of Authors for us, you will have a particular Regard to Books of Devotion. What they are, and how many, must be your chief Care; for upon the Propriety of such Writings depends a great deal. I have known those among us who think, if they every Morning and Evening spend an Hour in their Closet, and read over so many Prayers in six or seven Books of Devotion, all equally nonsensical, with a sort of Warmth, (that might as well be raised by a Glass of Wine, or a Drachm of Citron) they may all the rest of their time go on in whatever their particular Passion leads them to. The beauteous Philautia, who is (in your Language) an Idol, is one of these Votaries; she has a very pretty furnished Closet, to which she retires at her appointed Hours: This is her Dressing-room, as well as Chapel; she has constantly before her a large Looking-glass, and upon the Table, according to a very witty Author,
Together lye her Prayer-book and Paint,
At once t' improve the Sinner and the Saint
It must be a good Scene, if one could be present at it, to see this Idol by turns lift up her Eyes to Heaven, and steal Glances at her own dear Person. It cannot but be a pleasing Conflict between Vanity and Humiliation. When you are upon this Subject, choose Books which elevate the Mind above the World, and give a pleasing Indifference to little things in it. For want of such Instructions, I am apt to believe so many People take it in their Heads to be sullen, cross and angry, under pretence of being abstracted from the Affairs of this Life, when at the same time they betray their Fondness for them by doing their Duty as a Task, and pouting and reading good Books for a Week together. Much of this I take to proceed from the Indiscretion of the Books themselves, whose very Titles of Weekly Preparations, and such limited Godliness, lead People of ordinary Capacities into great Errors, and raise in them a Mechanical Religion, entirely distinct from Morality. I know a Lady so given up to this sort of Devotion, that tho' she employs six or eight Hours of the twenty-four at Cards, she never misses one constant Hour of Prayer, for which time another holds her Cards, to which she returns with no little Anxiousness till two or three in the Morning. All these Acts are but empty Shows, and, as it were, Compliments made to Virtue; the Mind is all the while untouched with any true Pleasure in the Pursuit of it. From hence I presume it arises that so many People call themselves Virtuous, from no other Pretence to it but an Absence of Ill. There is Dulcianara is the most insolent of all Creatures to her Friends and Domesticks, upon no other Pretence in Nature but that (as her silly Phrase is) no one can say Black is her Eye. She has no Secrets, forsooth, which should make her afraid to speak her Mind, and therefore she is impertinently Blunt to all her Acquaintance, and unseasonably Imperious to all her Family. Dear Sir, be pleased to put such Books in our Hands, as may make our Virtue more inward, and convince some of us that in a Mind truly virtuous the Scorn of Vice is always accompanied with the Pity of it. This and other things are impatiently expected from you by our whole Sex; among the rest by,


Your most humble Servant,'


Contents p.3

No. 80

Friday, June 1, 1711


Cœlum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.


In the Year 1688, and on the same Day of that Year, were born in Cheapside, London, two Females of exquisite Feature and Shape; the one we shall call Brunetta, the other Phillis. A close Intimacy between their Parents made each of them the first Acquaintance the other knew in the World: They played, dressed Babies, acted Visitings, learned to Dance and make Curtesies, together. They were inseparable Companions in all the little Entertainments their tender Years were capable of: Which innocent Happiness continued till the Beginning of their fifteenth Year, when it happened that Mrs. Phillis had an Head-dress on which became her so very well, that instead of being beheld any more with Pleasure for their Amity to each other, the Eyes of the Neighbourhood were turned to remark them with Comparison of their Beauty. They now no longer enjoyed the Ease of Mind and pleasing Indolence in which they were formerly happy, but all their Words and Actions were misinterpreted by each other, and every Excellence in their Speech and Behaviour was looked upon as an Act of Emulation to surpass the other. These Beginnings of Disinclination soon improved into a Formality of Behaviour; a general Coldness, and by natural Steps into an irreconcilable Hatred.

These two Rivals for the Reputation of Beauty, were in their Stature, Countenance and Mien so very much alike, that if you were speaking of them in their Absence, the Words in which you described the one must give you an Idea of the other. They were hardly distinguishable, you would think, when they were apart, tho' extremely different when together. What made their Enmity the more entertaining to all the rest of their Sex was, that in Detraction from each other neither could fall upon Terms which did not hit herself as much as her Adversary. Their Nights grew restless with Meditation of new Dresses to outvie each other, and inventing new Devices to recal Admirers, who observed the Charms of the one rather than those of the other on the last Meeting. Their Colours failed at each other's Appearance, flushed with Pleasure at the Report of a Disadvantage, and their Countenances withered upon Instances of Applause. The Decencies to which Women are obliged, made these Virgins stifle their Resentment so far as not to break into open Violences, while they equally suffered the Torments of a regulated Anger. Their Mothers, as it is usual, engaged in the Quarrel, and supported the several Pretensions of the Daughters with all that ill-chosen Sort of Expence which is common with People of plentiful Fortunes and mean Taste. The Girls preceded their Parents like Queens of May, in all the gaudy Colours imaginable, on every Sunday to Church, and were exposed to the Examination of the Audience for Superiority of Beauty.

During this constant Straggle it happened, that Phillis one Day at publick Prayers smote the Heart of a gay West-Indian, who appear'd in all the Colours which can affect an Eye that could not distinguish between being fine and tawdry. This American in a Summer-Island Suit was too shining and too gay to be resisted by Phillis, and too intent upon her Charms to be diverted by any of the laboured Attractions of Brunetta. Soon after, Brunetta had the Mortification to see her Rival disposed of in a wealthy Marriage, while she was only addressed to in a Manner that shewed she was the Admiration of all Men, but the Choice of none. Phillis was carried to the Habitation of her Spouse in Barbadoes: Brunetta had the Ill-nature to inquire for her by every Opportunity, and had the Misfortune to hear of her being attended by numerous Slaves, fanned into Slumbers by successive Hands of them, and carried from Place to Place in all the Pomp of barbarous Magnificence. Brunetta could not endure these repeated Advices, but employed all her Arts and Charms in laying Baits for any of Condition of the same Island, out of a mere Ambition to confront her once more before she died. She at last succeeded in her Design, and was taken to Wife by a Gentleman whose Estate was contiguous to that of her Enemy's Husband. It would be endless to enumerate the many Occasions on which these irreconcileable Beauties laboured to excel each other; but in process of Time it happened that a Ship put into the Island consigned to a Friend of Phillis, who had Directions to give her the Refusal of all Goods for Apparel, before Brunetta could be alarmed of their Arrival. He did so, and Phillis was dressed in a few Days in a Brocade more gorgeous and costly than had ever before appeared in that Latitude. Brunetta languished at the Sight, and could by no means come up to the Bravery of her Antagonist. She communicated her Anguish of Mind to a faithful Friend, who by an Interest in the Wife of Phillis's Merchant, procured a Remnant of the same Silk for Brunetta. Phillis took pains to appear in all public Places where she was sure to meet Brunetta; Brunetta was now prepared for the Insult, and came to a public Ball in a plain black Silk Mantua, attended by a beautiful Negro Girl in a Petticoat of the same Brocade with which Phillis was attired. This drew the Attention of the whole Company, upon which the unhappy Phillis swooned away, and was immediately convey'd to her House. As soon as she came to herself she fled from her Husband's House, went on board a Ship in the Road, and is now landed in inconsolable Despair at Plymouth.


After the above melancholy Narration, it may perhaps be a Relief to the Reader to peruse the following Expostulation.
To Mr. Spectator.

The just Remonstrance of affronted That.

'Tho' I deny not the Petition of Mr. Who and Which, yet You should not suffer them to be rude and call honest People Names: For that bears very hard on some of those Rules of Decency, which You are justly famous for establishing. They may find fault, and correct Speeches in the Senate and at the Bar: But let them try to get themselves so often and with so much Eloquence repeated in a Sentence, as a great Orator doth frequently introduce me.

My Lords! (says he) with humble Submission, That that I say is this; that, That that that Gentleman has advanced, is not That, that he should have proved to your Lordships. Let those two questionary Petitioners try to do thus with their Who's and their Whiches.

What great advantage was I of to Mr. Dryden in his Indian Emperor,
You force me still to answer You in That,
to furnish out a Rhyme to Morat? And what a poor Figure would Mr. Bayes have made without his Egad and all That? How can a judicious Man distinguish one thing from another, without saying This here, or That there? And how can a sober Man without using the Expletives of Oaths (in which indeed the Rakes and Bullies have a great advantage over others) make a Discourse of any tolerable Length, without That is; and if he be a very grave Man indeed, without That is to say? And how instructive as well as entertaining are those usual Expressions in the Mouths of great Men, Such Things as That and The like of That.

I am not against reforming the Corruptions of Speech You mention, and own there are proper Seasons for the Introduction of other Words besides That; but I scorn as much to supply the Place of a Who or a Which at every Turn, as they are unequal always to fill mine; And I expect good Language and civil Treatment, and hope to receive it for the future: That, that I shall only add is, that I am,




Contents p.3

Dedication to the Second Volume as Originally Issued

To The Right Honourable

Charles Lord Hallifax1.

My Lord,

Similitude of Manners and Studies is usually mentioned as one of the strongest motives to Affection and Esteem; but the passionate Veneration I have for your Lordship, I think, flows from an Admiration of Qualities in You, of which, in the whole course of these Papers I have acknowledged myself incapable. While I busy myself as a Stranger upon Earth, and can pretend to no other than being a Looker-on, You are conspicuous in the Busy and Polite world, both in the World of Men, and that of Letters; While I am silent and unobserv'd in publick Meetings, You are admired by all that approach You as the Life and Genius of the Conversation. What an happy Conjunction of different Talents meets in him whose whole Discourse is at once animated by the Strength and Force of Reason, and adorned with all the Graces and Embellishments of Wit: When Learning irradiates common Life, it is then in its highest Use and Perfection; and it is to such as Your Lordship, that the Sciences owe the Esteem which they have with the active Part of Mankind. Knowledge of Books in recluse Men, is like that sort of Lanthorn which hides him who carries it, and serves only to pass through secret and gloomy Paths of his own; but in the Possession of a Man of Business, it is as a Torch in the Hand of one who is willing and able to shew those, who are bewildered, the Way which leads to their Prosperity and Welfare. A generous Concern for your Country, and a Passion for every thing which is truly Great and Noble, are what actuate all Your Life and Actions; and I hope You will forgive me that I have an Ambition this Book may be placed in the Library of so good a Judge of what is valuable, in that Library where the Choice is such, that it will not be a Disparagement to be the meanest Author in it. Forgive me, my Lord, for taking this Occasion of telling all the World how ardently I Love and Honour You; and that I am, with the utmost Gratitude for all Your Favours,

My Lord,
Your Lordship's
Most Obliged,
Most Obedient, and
Most Humble Servant,
The Spectator.

Footnote 1:   When the Spectators were reissued in volumes, Vol. I. ended with No. 80, and to the second volume, containing the next 89 numbers, this Dedication was prefixed.

Charles Montague, at the time of the dedication fifty years old, and within four years of the end of his life, was born, in 1661, at Horton, in Northamptonshire. His father was a younger son of the first Earl of Manchester. He was educated at Westminster School and at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Apt for wit and verse, he joined with his friend Prior in writing a burlesque on Dryden's Hind and Panther, 'Transversed to the Story of the Country and the City Mouse.' In Parliament in James the Second's reign, he joined in the invitation of William of Orange, and rose rapidly, a self-made man, after the Revolution. In 1691 he was a Lord of the Treasury; in April, 1694, he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in May, 1697, First Lord of the Treasury, retaining the Chancellorship and holding both offices till near the close of 1699. Of his dealing with the currency, see note on p. 19. In 1700 he was made Baron Halifax, and had secured the office of Auditor of the Exchequer, which was worth at least £4000 a year, and in war time twice as much. The Tories, on coming to power, made two unsuccessful attempts to fix on him charges of fraud. In October, 1714, George I. made him Earl of Halifax and Viscount Sunbury. Then also he again became Prime Minister. He was married, but died childless, in May, 1715. In 1699, when Somers and Halifax were the great chiefs of the Whig Ministry, they joined in befriending Addison, then 27 years old, who had pleased Somers with a piece of English verse and Montague with Latin lines upon the Peace of Ryswick.

Now, therefore, having dedicated the First volume of the Spectator to Somers, it is to Halifax that Steele and he inscribe the Second.

Of the defect in Charles Montague's character, Lord Macaulay writes that, when at the height of his fortune,
"He became proud even to insolence. Old companions ... hardly knew their friend Charles in the great man who could not forget for one moment that he was First Lord of the Treasury, that he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, that he had been a Regent of the kingdom, that he had founded the Bank of England, and the new East India Company, that he had restored the Currency, that he had invented the Exchequer Bills, that he had planned the General Mortgage, and that he had been pronounced, by a solemn vote of the Commons, to have deserved all the favours which he had received from the Crown. It was said that admiration of himself and contempt of others were indicated by all his gestures, and written in all the lines of his face."
return to footnote mark

Contents p.3

No. 81

Saturday, June 2, 1711


Qualis ubi audito venantum murmure Tigris
Horruit in maculas ...


About the Middle of last Winter I went to see an Opera at the Theatre in the Hay-Market, where I could not but take notice of two Parties of very fine Women, that had placed themselves in the opposite Side-Boxes, and seemed drawn up in a kind of Battle-Array one against another. After a short Survey of them, I found they were Patch'd differently; the Faces on one Hand, being spotted on the right Side of the Forehead, and those upon the other on the Left. I quickly perceived that they cast hostile Glances upon one another; and that their Patches were placed in those different Situations, as Party-Signals to distinguish Friends from Foes. In the Middle-Boxes, between these two opposite Bodies, were several Ladies who Patched indifferently on both Sides of their Faces, and seem'd to sit there with no other Intention but to see the Opera. Upon Inquiry I found, that the Body of Amazons on my Right Hand, were Whigs, and those on my Left, Tories; And that those who had placed themselves in the Middle Boxes were a Neutral Party, whose Faces had not yet declared themselves. These last, however, as I afterwards found, diminished daily, and took their Party with one Side or the other; insomuch that I observed in several of them, the Patches, which were before dispersed equally, are now all gone over to the Whig or Tory Side of the Face. The Censorious say, That the Men, whose Hearts are aimed at, are very often the Occasions that one Part of the Face is thus dishonoured, and lies under a kind of Disgrace, while the other is so much Set off and Adorned by the Owner; and that the Patches turn to the Right or to the Left, according to the Principles of the Man who is most in Favour. But whatever may be the Motives of a few fantastical Coquets, who do not Patch for the Publick Good so much as for their own private Advantage, it is certain, that there are several Women of Honour who patch out of Principle, and with an Eye to the Interest of their Country. Nay, I am informed that some of them adhere so stedfastly to their Party, and are so far from sacrificing their Zeal for the Publick to their Passion for any particular Person, that in a late Draught of Marriage-Articles a Lady has stipulated with her Husband, That, whatever his Opinions are, she shall be at liberty to Patch on which Side she pleases.

I must here take notice, that Rosalinda, a famous Whig Partizan, has most unfortunately a very beautiful Mole on the Tory Part of her Forehead; which being very conspicuous, has occasioned many Mistakes, and given an Handle to her Enemies to misrepresent her Face, as tho' it had Revolted from the Whig Interest. But, whatever this natural Patch may seem to intimate, it is well known that her Notions of Government are still the same. This unlucky Mole, however, has mis-led several Coxcombs; and like the hanging out of false Colours, made some of them converse with Rosalinda in what they thought the Spirit of her Party, when on a sudden she has given them an unexpected Fire, that has sunk them all at once. If Rosalinda is unfortunate in her Mole, Nigranilla is as unhappy in a Pimple, which forces her, against her Inclinations, to Patch on the Whig Side.

I am told that many virtuous Matrons, who formerly have been taught to believe that this artificial Spotting of the Face was unlawful, are now reconciled by a Zeal for their Cause, to what they could not be prompted by a Concern for their Beauty. This way of declaring War upon one another, puts me in mind of what is reported of the Tigress, that several Spots rise in her Skin when she is angry, or as Mr. Cowley has imitated the Verses that stand as the Motto on this Paper,
... She swells with angry Pride,
And calls forth all her Spots on ev'ry Side
When I was in the Theatre the Time above-mentioned, I had the Curiosity to count the Patches on both Sides, and found the Tory Patches to be about Twenty stronger than the Whig; but to make amends for this small Inequality, I the next Morning found the whole Puppet-Show filled with Faces spotted after the Whiggish Manner. Whether or no the Ladies had retreated hither in order to rally their Forces I cannot tell; but the next Night they came in so great a Body to the Opera, that they out-number'd the Enemy.

This Account of Party Patches, will, I am afraid, appear improbable to those who live at a Distance from the fashionable World: but as it is a Distinction of a very singular Nature, and what perhaps may never meet with a Parallel, I think I should not have discharged the Office of a faithful Spectator, had I not recorded it.

I have, in former Papers, endeavoured to expose this Party-Rage in Women, as it only serves to aggravate the Hatreds and Animosities that reign among Men, and in a great measure deprive the Fair Sex of those peculiar Charms with which Nature has endowed them.

When the Romans and Sabines were at War, and just upon the Point of giving Battel, the Women, who were allied to both of them, interposed with so many Tears and Intreaties, that they prevented the mutual Slaughter which threatned both Parties, and united them together in a firm and lasting Peace.

I would recommend this noble Example to our British Ladies, at a Time when their Country is torn with so many unnatural Divisions, that if they continue, it will be a Misfortune to be born in it. The Greeks thought it so improper for Women to interest themselves in Competitions and Contentions, that for this Reason, among others, they forbad them, under Pain of Death, to be present at the Olympick Games, notwithstanding these were the publick Diversions of all Greece.

As our English Women excel those of all Nations in Beauty, they should endeavour to outshine them in all other Accomplishments proper2 to the Sex, and to distinguish themselves as tender Mothers, and faithful Wives, rather than as furious Partizans. Female Virtues are of a Domestick Turn. The Family is the proper Province for Private Women to shine in. If they must be shewing their Zeal for the Publick, let it not be against those who are perhaps of the same Family, or at least of the same Religion or Nation, but against those who are the open, professed, undoubted Enemies of their Faith, Liberty and Country. When the Romans were pressed with a Foreign Enemy, the Ladies voluntarily contributed all their Rings and Jewels to assist the Government under a publick Exigence, which appeared so laudable an Action in the Eyes of their Countrymen, that from thenceforth it was permitted by a Law to pronounce publick Orations at the Funeral of a Woman in Praise of the deceased Person, which till that Time was peculiar to Men. Would our English Ladies, instead of sticking on a Patch against those of their own Country, shew themselves so truly Publick-spirited as to sacrifice every one her Necklace against the common Enemy, what Decrees ought not to be made in Favour of them?

Since I am recollecting upon this Subject such Passages as occur to my Memory out of ancient Authors, I cannot omit a Sentence in the celebrated Funeral Oration of Pericles3 which he made in Honour of those brave Athenians that were slain in a fight with the Lacedæmonians. After having addressed himself to the several Ranks and Orders of his Countrymen, and shewn them how they should behave themselves in the Publick Cause, he turns to the Female Part of his Audience;
'And as for you (says he) I shall advise you in very few Words: Aspire only to those Virtues that are peculiar to your Sex; follow your natural Modesty, and think it your greatest Commendation not to be talked of one way or other'.

Footnote 1:   Davideis, Bk III. But Cowley's Tiger is a Male.
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Footnote 2:   that are proper

Footnote 3:   Thucydides, Bk II.

Contents p.3


No. 82

Monday, June 4, 1711


... Caput domina venate sub hasta.


Passing under Ludgate1 the other Day, I heard a Voice bawling for Charity, which I thought I had somewhere heard before. Coming near to the Grate, the Prisoner called me by my Name, and desired I would throw something into the Box: I was out of Countenance for him, and did as he bid me, by putting in half a Crown. I went away, reflecting upon the strange Constitution of some Men, and how meanly they behave themselves in all Sorts of Conditions. The Person who begged of me is now, as I take it, Fifty; I was well acquainted with him till about the Age of Twenty-five; at which Time a good Estate fell to him by the Death of a Relation. Upon coming to this unexpected good Fortune, he ran into all the Extravagancies imaginable; was frequently in drunken Disputes, broke Drawers Heads, talked and swore loud, was unmannerly to those above him, and insolent to those below him. I could not but remark, that it was the same Baseness of Spirit which worked in his Behaviour in both Fortunes: The same little Mind was insolent in Riches, and shameless in Poverty. This Accident made me muse upon the Circumstances of being in Debt in general, and solve in my Mind what Tempers were most apt to fall into this Error of Life, as well as the Misfortune it must needs be to languish under such Pressures. As for my self, my natural Aversion to that sort of Conversation which makes a Figure with the Generality of Mankind, exempts me from any Temptations to Expence; and all my Business lies within a very narrow Compass, which is only to give an honest Man, who takes care of my Estate, proper Vouchers for his quarterly Payments to me, and observe what Linnen my Laundress brings and takes away with her once a Week: My Steward brings his Receipt ready for my Signing; and I have a pretty Implement with the respective Names of Shirts, Cravats, Handkerchiefs and Stockings, with proper Numbers to know how to reckon with my Laundress. This being almost all the Business I have in the World for the Care of my own Affairs, I am at full Leisure to observe upon what others do, with relation to their Equipage and Œconomy.

When I walk the Street, and observe the Hurry about me in this Town,
Where with like Haste, tho' diff'rent Ways they run;
Some to undo, and some to be undone;
I say, when I behold