The Spectator

in three volumes: volume 3

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


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No. 417

Saturday, June 28, 1712


Quem tu Melpomene semel
Nascentem placido lumine videris,
Non illum labor Isthmius
Clarabit pugilem, non equus impiger, &c.
Sed quæ Tibur aquæ fertile perfluunt,
Et Spissæ nemorum comæ
Fingent Æolio carmine nobilem.


We may observe, that any single Circumstance of what we have formerly seen often raises up a whole Scene of Imagery, and awakens numberless1 Ideas that before slept in the Imagination; such a particular Smell or Colour is able to fill the Mind, on a sudden, with the Picture of the Fields or Gardens, where we first met with it, and to bring up into View all the Variety of Images that once attended it. Our Imagination takes the Hint, and leads us unexpectedly into Cities or Theatres, Plains or Meadows. We may further observe, when the Fancy thus reflects on the Scenes that have past in it formerly, those which were at first pleasant to behold, appear more so upon Reflection, and that the Memory heightens the Delightfulness of the Original. A Cartesian would account for both these Instances in the following Manner.

The Sett of Ideas, which we received from such a Prospect or Garden, having entered the Mind at the same time, have a Sett of Traces belonging to them in the Brain, bordering very near upon one another; when, therefore, any one of these Ideas arises in the Imagination, and consequently dispatches a flow of Animal Spirits to its proper Trace, these Spirits, in the Violence of their Motion, run not only into the Trace, to which they were more particularly directed, but into several of those that lie about it: By this means they awaken other Ideas of the same Sett, which immediately determine a new Dispatch of Spirits, that in the same manner open other Neighbouring Traces, till at last the whole Sett of them is blown up, and the whole Prospect or Garden flourishes in the Imagination. But because the Pleasure we received from these Places far surmounted, and overcame the little Disagreeableness we found in them; for this Reason there was at first a wider Passage worn in the Pleasure Traces, and, on the contrary, so narrow a one in those which belonged to the disagreeable Ideas, that they were quickly stopt up, and rendered incapable of receiving any Animal Spirits, and consequently of exciting any unpleasant Ideas in the Memory.

It would be in vain to enquire, whether the Power of Imagining Things strongly proceeds from any greater Perfection in the Soul, or from any nicer Texture in the Brain of one Man than of another. But this is certain, that a noble Writer should be born with this Faculty in its full Strength and Vigour, so as to be able to receive lively Ideas from outward Objects, to retain them long, and to range them together, upon Occasion, in such Figures and Representations as are most likely to hit the Fancy of the Reader. A Poet should take as much Pains in forming his Imagination, as a Philosopher in cultivating his Understanding. He must gain a due Relish of the Works of Nature, and be thoroughly conversant in the various Scenary of a Country Life.

When he is stored with Country Images, if he would go beyond Pastoral, and the lower kinds of Poetry, he ought to acquaint himself with the Pomp and Magnificence of Courts. He should be very well versed in every thing that is noble and stately in the Productions of Art, whether it appear in Painting or Statuary, in the great Works of Architecture which are in their present Glory, or in the Ruins of those which2 flourished in former Ages.

Such Advantages as these help to open a Man's Thoughts, and to enlarge his Imagination, and will therefore have their Influence on all kinds of Writing, if the Author knows how to make right use of them. And among those of the learned Languages who excel in this Talent, the most perfect in their several kinds, are perhaps Homer, Virgil, and Ovid. The first strikes the Imagination wonderfully with what is Great, the second with what is Beautiful, and the last with what is Strange. Reading the Iliad is like travelling through a Country uninhabited, where the Fancy is entertained with a thousand Savage Prospects of vast Desarts, wide uncultivated Marshes, huge Forests, mis-shapen Rocks and Precipices. On the contrary, the Æneid is like a well ordered Garden, where it is impossible to find out any Part unadorned, or to cast our Eyes upon a single Spot, that does not produce some beautiful Plant or Flower. But when we are in the Metamorphoses, we are walking on enchanted Ground, and see nothing but Scenes of Magick lying round us.

Homer is in his Province, when he is describing a Battel or a Multitude, a Heroe or a God. Virgil is never better pleased, than when he is in his Elysium, or copying out an entertaining Picture. Homer's Epithets generally mark out what is Great, Virgil's what is Agreeable. Nothing can be more Magnificent than the Figure Jupiter makes in the first Iliad, no more Charming than that of Venus in the first Æneid.
Greek: Ae, kaì kyanéaesin ep' ophrysi neuse Kroníôn,
  Ambrósiai d' ára chaitai eperrhôsanto ánaktos
  Kratòs ap' athanátoio mégan d' élélixen lympos.
Dixit et avertens roseâ cervice refulsit:
Ambrosiæque comæ; divinum vertice odorem
Spiravere: Pedes vestis defluxit ad imos:
Et vera incessu patuit Dea—
Homer's Persons are most of them God-like and Terrible; Virgil has scarce admitted any into his Poem, who are not Beautiful, and has taken particular Care to make his Heroe so.
—lumenque juventæ
Purpureum, et lætos oculis afflavit honores.
In a Word, Homer fills his Readers with Sublime Ideas, and, I believe, has raised the Imagination of all the good Poets that have come after him. I shall only instance Horace, who immediately takes Fire at the first Hint of any Passage in the Iliad or Odyssey, and always rises above himself, when he has Homer in his View. Virgil has drawn together, into his Æneid, all the pleasing Scenes his Subject is capable of admitting, and in his Georgics has given us a Collection of the most delightful Landskips that can be made out of Fields and Woods, Herds of Cattle, and Swarms of Bees.

Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, has shewn us how the Imagination may be affected by what is Strange. He describes a Miracle in every Story, and always gives us the Sight of some new Creature at the end of it. His Art consists chiefly in well-timing his Description, before the first Shape is quite worn off, and the new one perfectly finished; so that he every where entertains us with something we never saw before, and shews Monster after Monster, to the end of the Metamorphoses.

If I were to name a Poet that is a perfect Master in all these Arts of working on the Imagination, I think Milton may pass for one: And if his Paradise Lost falls short of the Æneid or Iliad in this respect, it proceeds rather from the Fault of the Language in which it is written, than from any Defect of Genius in the Author. So Divine a Poem in English, is like a stately Palace built of Brick, where one may see Architecture in as great a Perfection as in one of Marble, tho' the Materials are of a coarser Nature. But to consider it only as it regards our present Subject: What can be conceived greater than the Battel of Angels, the Majesty of Messiah, the Stature and Behaviour of Satan and his Peers? What more beautiful than Pandæmonium, Paradise, Heaven, Angels, Adam and Eve? What more strange, than the Creation of the World, the several Metamorphoses of the fallen Angels, and the surprising Adventures their Leader meets with in his Search after Paradise? No other Subject could have furnished a Poet with Scenes so proper to strike the Imagination, as no other Poet could have painted those Scenes in more strong and lively Colours.


Footnote 1:   a Thousand
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   that



Whereas the Proposal called the Multiplication Table
is under an Information from the Attorney General,
in Humble Submission and Duty to her Majesty
the said Undertaking is laid down, and Attendance is this Day given ...
in order to repay such Sums
as have been paid into the said Table without Deduction.


No. 418

Monday, June 30, 1712


—ferat et rubus asper amomum.translation


The Pleasures of these Secondary Views of the Imagination, are of a wider and more Universal Nature than those it has when joined with Sight; for not only what is Great, Strange or Beautiful, but any Thing that is Disagreeable when looked upon, pleases us in an apt Description. Here, therefore, we must enquire after a new Principle of Pleasure, which is nothing else but the Action of the Mind, which compares the Ideas that arise from Words, with the Ideas that arise from the Objects themselves; and why this Operation of the Mind is attended with so much Pleasure, we have before considered. For this Reason therefore, the Description of a Dunghill is pleasing to the Imagination, if the Image be represented to our Minds by suitable Expressions; tho' perhaps, this may be more properly called the Pleasure of the Understanding than of the Fancy, because we are not so much delighted with the Image that is contained in the Description, as with the Aptness of the Description to excite the Image.

But if the Description of what is Little, Common, or Deformed, be acceptable to the Imagination, the Description of what is Great, Surprising or Beautiful, is much more so; because here we are not only delighted with comparing the Representation with the Original, but are highly pleased with the Original itself. Most Readers, I believe, are more charmed with Milton's Description of Paradise, than of Hell; they are both, perhaps, equally perfect in their Kind, but in the one the Brimstone and Sulphur are not so refreshing to the Imagination, as the Beds of Flowers and the Wilderness of Sweets in the other.

There is yet another Circumstance which recommends a Description more than all the rest, and that is if it represents to us such Objects as are apt to raise a secret Ferment in the Mind of the Reader, and to work, with Violence, upon his Passions. For, in this Case, we are at once warmed and enlightened, so that the Pleasure becomes more Universal, and is several ways qualified to entertain us. Thus in Painting, it is pleasant to look on the Picture of any Face, where the Resemblance is hit, but the Pleasure increases, if it be the Picture of a Face that is Beautiful, and is still greater, if the Beauty be softened with an Air of Melancholy or Sorrow. The two leading Passions which the more serious Parts of Poetry endeavour to stir up in us, are Terror and Pity. And here, by the way, one would wonder how it comes to pass, that such Passions as are very unpleasant at all other times, are very agreeable when excited by proper Descriptions. It is not strange, that we should take Delight in such Passions as are apt to produce Hope, Joy, Admiration, Love, or the like Emotions in us, because they never rise in the Mind without an inward Pleasure which attends them. But how comes it to pass, that we should take delight in being terrified or dejected by a Description, when we find so much Uneasiness in the Fear or Grief which1 we receive from any other Occasion?

If we consider, therefore, the Nature of this Pleasure, we shall find that it does not arise so properly from the Description of what is terrible, as from the Reflection we make on our selves at the time of reading it. When we look on such hideous Objects, we are not a little pleased to think we are in no Danger of them. We consider them at the same time, as Dreadful and Harmless; so that the more frightful Appearance they make, the greater is the Pleasure we receive from the Sense of our own Safety. In short, we look upon the Terrors of a Description, with the same Curiosity and Satisfaction that we survey a dead Monster.
Informe cadaver
Protrahitur, nequeunt expleri corda tuendo
Terribiles oculos: vultum, villosaque satis
Pectora semiferi, atque extinctos faucibus ignes

It is for the same Reason that we are delighted with the reflecting upon Dangers that are past, or in looking on a Precipice at a distance, which would fill us with a different kind of Horror, if we saw it hanging over our Heads.

In the like manner, when we read of Torments, Wounds, Deaths, and the like dismal Accidents, our Pleasure does not flow so properly from the Grief which such melancholy Descriptions give us, as from the secret Comparison which we make between our selves and the Person who2 suffers. Such Representations teach us to set a just Value upon our own Condition, and make us prize our good Fortune, which exempts us from the like Calamities. This is, however, such a kind of Pleasure as we are not capable of receiving, when we see a Person actually lying under the Tortures that we meet with in a Description; because in this case, the Object presses too close upon our Senses, and bears so hard upon us, that it does not give us Time or Leisure to reflect on our selves. Our Thoughts are so intent upon the Miseries of the Sufferer, that we cannot turn them upon our own Happiness. Whereas, on the contrary, we consider the Misfortunes we read in History or Poetry, either as past, or as fictitious, so that the Reflection upon our selves rises in us insensibly, and over-bears the Sorrow we conceive for the Sufferings of the Afflicted.

But because the Mind of Man requires something more perfect in Matter, than what it finds there, and can never meet with any Sight in Nature which sufficiently answers its highest Ideas of Pleasantness; or, in other Words, because the Imagination can fancy to it self Things more Great, Strange, or Beautiful, than the Eye ever saw, and is still sensible of some Defect in what it has seen; on this account it is the part of a Poet to humour the Imagination in its own Notions, by mending and perfecting Nature where he describes a Reality, and by adding greater Beauties than are put together in Nature, where he describes a Fiction.

He is not obliged to attend her in the slow Advances which she makes from one Season to another, or to observe her Conduct, in the successive Production of Plants and Flowers. He may draw into his Description all the Beauties of the Spring and Autumn, and make the whole Year contribute something to render it the more agreeable. His Rose-trees, Wood-bines, and Jessamines may flower together, and his Beds be cover'd at the same time with Lillies, Violets, and Amaranths. His Soil is not restrained to any particular Sett of Plants, but is proper either for Oaks or Mirtles, and adapts itself to the Products of every Climate. Oranges may grow wild in it; Myrrh may be met with in every Hedge, and if he thinks it proper to have a Grove of Spices, he can quickly command Sun enough to raise it. If all this will not furnish out an agreeable Scene, he can make several new Species of Flowers, with richer Scents and higher Colours than any that grow in the Gardens of Nature. His Consorts of Birds may be as full and harmonious, and his Woods as thick and gloomy as he pleases. He is at no more Expence in a long Vista, than a short one, and can as easily throw his Cascades from a Precipice of half a Mile high, as from one of twenty Yards. He has his Choice of the Winds, and can turn the Course of his Rivers in all the Variety of Meanders, that are most delightful to the Reader's Imagination. In a word, he has the modelling of Nature in his own Hands, and may give her what Charms he pleases, provided he does not reform her too much, and run into Absurdities, by endeavouring to excel.


Footnote 1:   that
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Footnote 2:   that


No. 419

Tuesday, July 1, 1712


—mentis gratissimus Error.translation


There is a kind of Writing, wherein the Poet quite loses Sight of Nature, and entertains his Reader's Imagination with the Characters and Actions of such Persons as have many of them no Existence, but what he bestows on them. Such are Fairies, Witches, Magicians, Demons, and departed Spirits. This Mr. Dryden calls the Fairy Way of Writing, which is, indeed, more difficult than any other that depends on the Poet's Fancy, because he has no Pattern to follow in it, and must work altogether out of his own Invention.

There is a very odd Turn of Thought required for this sort of Writing, and it is impossible for a Poet to succeed in it, who has not a particular Cast of Fancy, and an Imagination naturally fruitful and superstitious. Besides this, he ought to be very well versed in Legends and Fables, antiquated Romances, and the Traditions of Nurses and old Women, that he may fall in with our natural Prejudices, and humour those Notions which we have imbibed in our Infancy. For otherwise he will be apt to make his Fairies talk like People of his own Species, and not like other Setts of Beings, who converse with different Objects, and think in a different Manner from that of Mankind;
Sylvis deducti caveant, me Judice, Fauni
Ne velut innati triviis ac pœne forenses
Aut nimium teneris juvenentur versibus

I do not say with Mr. Bays in the Rehearsal, that Spirits must not be confined to speak Sense, but it is certain their Sense ought to be a little discoloured, that it may seem particular, and proper to the Person and the Condition of the Speaker.

These Descriptions raise a pleasing kind of Horrour in the Mind of the Reader, and amuse his Imagination with the Strangeness and Novelty of the Persons who are represented in them. They bring up into our Memory the Stories we have heard in our Childhood, and favour those secret Terrors and Apprehensions to which the Mind of Man is naturally subject. We are pleased with surveying the different Habits and Behaviours of Foreign Countries, how much more must we be delighted and surprised when we are led, as it were, into a new Creation, and see the Persons and Manners of another Species? Men of cold Fancies, and Philosophical Dispositions, object to this kind of Poetry, that it has not Probability enough to affect the Imagination. But to this it may be answered, that we are sure, in general, there are many Intellectual Beings in the World besides our selves, and several Species of Spirits, who are subject to different Laws and &œlig;conomies from those of Mankind; when we see, therefore, any of these represented naturally, we cannot look upon the Representation as altogether impossible; nay, many are prepossest with such false Opinions, as dispose them to believe these particular Delusions; at least, we have all heard so many pleasing Relations in favour of them, that we do not care for seeing through the Falshood, and willingly give our selves up to so agreeable an Imposture.

The Ancients have not much of this Poetry among them, for, indeed, almost the whole Substance of it owes its Original to the Darkness and Superstition of later Ages, when pious Frauds were made use of to amuse Mankind, and frighten them into a Sense of their Duty. Our Forefathers look'd upon Nature with more Reverence and Horrour, before the World was enlightened by Learning and Philosophy, and lov'd to astonish themselves with the Apprehensions of Witchcraft, Prodigies, Charms and Enchantments. There was not a Village in England, that had not a Ghost in it, the Church-yards were all haunted, every large Common had a Circle of Fairies belonging to it, and there was scarce a Shepherd to be met with who had not seen a Spirit.

Among all the Poets of this Kind our English are much the best, by what I have yet seen; whether it be that we abound with more Stories of this Nature, or that the Genius of our Country is fitter for this sort of Poetry. For the English are naturally fanciful, and very often disposed by that Gloominess and Melancholy of Temper, which is so frequent in our Nation, to many wild Notions and Visions, to which others are not so liable.

Among the English, Shakespear has incomparably excelled all others. That noble Extravagance of Fancy which he had in so great Perfection, thoroughly qualified him to touch this weak superstitious Part of his Reader's Imagination; and made him capable of succeeding, where he had nothing to support him besides the Strength of his own Genius. There is something so wild and yet so solemn in the Speeches of his Ghosts, Fairies, Witches and the like Imaginary Persons, that we cannot forbear thinking them natural, tho' we have no rule by which to judge of them, and must confess, if there are such Beings in the World, it looks highly probable that they should talk and act as he has represented them.

There is another sort of imaginary Beings, that we sometimes meet with among the Poets, when the Author represents any Passion, Appetite, Virtue or Vice, under a visible Shape, and makes it a Person or an Actor in his Poem. Of this Nature are the Descriptions of Hunger and Envy in Ovid, of Fame in Virgil, and of Sin and Death in Milton. We find a whole Creation of the like Shadowy Persons in Spencer, who had an admirable Talent in Representations of this kind. I have discoursed of these Emblematical Persons in former Papers, and shall therefore only mention them in this Place. Thus we see how many Ways Poetry addresses it self to the Imagination, as it has not only the whole Circle of Nature for its Province, but makes new Worlds of its own, shews us Persons who are not to be found in Being, and represents even the Faculties of the Soul, with her several Virtues and Vices, in a sensible Shape and Character.

I shall, in my two following Papers, consider in general, how other kinds of Writing are qualified to please the Imagination, with which I intend to conclude this Essay.



No. 420

Wednesday, July 2, 1712


Quocunque volunt mentem Auditoris agunto.translation


As the Writers in Poetry and Fiction borrow their several Materials from outward Objects, and join them together at their own Pleasure, there are others who are obliged to follow Nature more closely, and to take entire Scenes out of her. Such are Historians, natural Philosophers, Travellers, Geographers, and in a Word, all who describe visible Objects of a real Existence.

It is the most agreeable Talent of an Historian, to be able to draw up his Armies and fight his Battels in proper Expressions, to set before our Eyes the Divisions, Cabals, and Jealousies of great Men, and to lead us Step by Step into the several Actions and Events of his History. We love to see the Subject unfolding it self by just Degrees, and breaking upon us insensibly, that so we may be kept in a pleasing Suspense, and have time given us to raise our Expectations, and to side with one of the Parties concerned in the Relation. I confess this shews more the Art than the Veracity of the Historian, but I am only to speak of him as he is qualified to please the Imagination. And in this respect Livy has, perhaps, excelled all who went before him, or have written since his Time. He describes every thing in so lively a Manner, that his whole History is an admirable Picture, and touches on such proper Circumstances in every Story, that his Reader becomes a kind of Spectator, and feels in himself all the Variety of Passions which are correspondent to the several Parts of the Relation.

But among this Sett of Writers there are none who more gratifie and enlarge the Imagination, than the Authors of the new Philosophy, whether we consider their Theories of the Earth or Heavens, the Discoveries they have made by Glasses, or any other of their Contemplations on Nature. We are not a little pleased to find every green Leaf swarm with Millions of Animals, that at their largest Growth are not visible to the naked Eye. There is something very engaging to the Fancy, as well as to our Reason, in the Treatises of Metals, Minerals, Plants, and Meteors. But when we survey the whole Earth at once, and the several Planets that lie within its Neighbourhood, we are filled with a pleasing Astonishment, to see so many Worlds hanging one above another, and sliding round their Axles in such an amazing Pomp and Solemnity. If, after this, we contemplate those wild Fields of Æther, that reach in Height as far as from Saturn to the fixt Stars, and run abroad almost to an Infinitude, our Imagination finds its Capacity filled with so immense a Prospect, and puts it self upon the Stretch to comprehend it. But if we yet rise higher, and consider the fixt Stars as so many vast Oceans of Flame, that are each of them attended with a different Sett of Planets, and still discover new Firmaments and new Lights that are sunk farther in those unfathomable Depths of Æther, so as not to be seen by the strongest of our Telescopes, we are lost in such a Labyrinth of Suns and Worlds, and confounded with the Immensity and Magnificence of Nature.

Nothing is more pleasant to the Fancy, than to enlarge it self by Degrees, in its Contemplation of the various Proportions which1 its several Objects bear to each other, when it compares the Body of Man to the Bulk of the whole Earth, the Earth to the Circle it describes round the Sun, that Circle to the Sphere of the fixt Stars, the sphere of the fixt Stars to the Circuit of the whole Creation, the whole Creation it self to the infinite Space that is every where diffused about it; or when the Imagination works downward, and considers the Bulk of a human Body in respect of an Animal, a hundred times less than a Mite, the particular Limbs of such an Animal, the different Springs which2 actuate the Limbs, the Spirits which set these Springs a going, and the proportionable Minuteness of these several Parts, before they have arrived at their full Growth and Perfection. But if, after all this, we take the least Particle of these Animal Spirits, and consider its Capacity of being Wrought into a World, that shall contain within those narrow Dimensions a Heaven and Earth, Stars and Planets, and every different Species of living Creatures, in the same Analogy and Proportion they bear to each other in our own Universe; such a Speculation, by reason of its Nicety, appears ridiculous to those who have not turned their Thoughts that way, though at the same time it is founded on no less than the Evidence of a Demonstration. Nay, we might yet carry it farther, and discover in the smallest Particle of this little World a new and inexhausted Fund of Matter, capable of being spun out into another Universe.

I have dwelt the longer on this Subject, because I think it may shew us the proper Limits, as well as the Defectiveness of our Imagination; how it is confined to a very small Quantity of Space, and immediately stopt in its Operations, when it endeavours to take in any thing that is very great, or very little. Let a Man try to conceive the different Bulk of an Animal, which is twenty, from another which is a hundred times less than a Mite, or to compare, in his Thoughts, a length of a thousand Diameters of the Earth, with that of a Million, and he will quickly find that he has no different Measures in his Mind, adjusted to such extraordinary Degrees of Grandeur or Minuteness. The Understanding, indeed, opens an infinite Space on every side of us, but the Imagination, after a few faint Efforts, is immediately at a stand, and finds her self swallowed up in the Immensity of the Void that surrounds it: Our Reason can pursue a Particle of Matter through an infinite Variety of Divisions, but the Fancy soon loses sight of it, and feels in it self a kind of Chasm, that wants to be filled with Matter of a more sensible Bulk. We can neither widen, nor contract the Faculty to the Dimensions of either Extreme. The Object is too big for our Capacity, when we would comprehend the Circumference of a World, and dwindles into nothing, when we endeavour after the Idea of an Atome.

It is possible this defect of Imagination may not be in the Soul it self, but as it acts in Conjunction with the Body. Perhaps there may not be room in the Brain for such a variety of Impressions, or the Animal Spirits may be incapable of figuring them in such a manner, as is necessary to excite so very large or very minute Ideas. However it be, we may well suppose that Beings of a higher Nature very much excel us in this respect, as it is probable the Soul of Man will be infinitely more perfect hereafter in this Faculty, as well as in all the rest; insomuch that, perhaps, the Imagination will be able to keep Pace with the Understanding, and to form in it self distinct Ideas of all the different Modes and Quantities of Space.


Footnote 1:   that
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Footnote 2:   that


No. 421

Thursday, July 3, 1712


Ignotis errare locis, ignota videre
Flumina gaudebat; studio minuente laborem.


The Pleasures of the Imagination are not wholly confined to such particular Authors as are conversant in material Objects, but are often to be met with among the Polite Masters of Morality, Criticism, and other Speculations abstracted from Matter, who, tho' they do not directly treat of the visible Parts of Nature, often draw from them their Similitudes, Metaphors, and Allegories. By these Allusions a Truth in the Understanding is as it were reflected by the Imagination; we are able to see something like Colour and Shape in a Notion, and to discover a Scheme of Thoughts traced out upon Matter. And here the Mind receives a great deal of Satisfaction, and has two of its Faculties gratified at the same time, while the Fancy is busie in copying after the Understanding, and transcribing Ideas out of the Intellectual World into the Material.

The Great Art of a Writer shews it self in the Choice of pleasing Allusions, which are generally to be taken from the great or beautiful Works of Art or Nature; for though whatever is New or Uncommon is apt to delight the Imagination, the chief Design of an Allusion being to illustrate and explain the Passages of an Author, it should be always borrowed from what is more known and common, than the Passages which are to be explained.

Allegories, when well chosen, are like so many Tracks of Light in a Discourse, that make every thing about them clear and beautiful. A noble Metaphor, when it is placed to an Advantage, casts a kind of Glory round it, and darts a Lustre through a whole Sentence: These different Kinds of Allusion are but so many different Manners of Similitude, and, that they may please the Imagination, the Likeness ought to be very exact, or very agreeable, as we love to see a Picture where the Resemblance is just, or the Posture and Air graceful. But we often find eminent Writers very faulty in this respect; great Scholars are apt to fetch their Comparisons and Allusions from the Sciences in which they are most conversant, so that a Man may see the Compass of their Learning in a Treatise on the most indifferent Subject. I have read a Discourse upon Love, which none but a profound Chymist could understand, and have heard many a Sermon that should only have been preached before a Congregation of Cartesians. On the contrary, your Men of Business usually have recourse to such Instances as are too mean and familiar. They are for drawing the Reader into a Game of Chess or Tennis, or for leading him from Shop to Shop, in the Cant of particular Trades and Employments. It is certain, there may be found an infinite Variety of very agreeable Allusions in both these kinds, but for the generality, the most entertaining ones lie in the Works of Nature, which are obvious to all Capacities, and more delightful than what is to be found in Arts and Sciences.

It is this Talent of affecting the Imagination, that gives an Embellishment to good Sense, and makes one Man's Compositions more agreeable than another's. It sets off all Writings in general, but is the very Life and highest Perfection of Poetry: Where it shines in an Eminent Degree, it has preserved several Poems for many Ages, that have nothing else to recommend them; and where all the other Beauties are present, the Work appears dry and insipid, if this single one be wanting. It has something in it like Creation; It bestows a kind of Existence, and draws up to the Reader's View several Objects which are not to be found in Being. It makes Additions to Nature, and gives a greater Variety to God's Works. In a Word, it is able to beautifie and adorn the most illustrious Scenes in the Universe, or to fill the Mind with more glorious Shows and Apparitions, than can be found in any Part of it.

We have now discovered the several Originals of those Pleasures that gratify the Fancy; and here, perhaps, it would not be very difficult to cast under their proper Heads those contrary Objects, which are apt to fill it with Distaste and Terrour; for the Imagination is as liable to Pain as Pleasure. When the Brain is hurt by any Accident, or the Mind disordered by Dreams or Sickness, the Fancy is over-run with wild dismal Ideas, and terrified with a thousand hideous Monsters of its own framing.
Eumenidum veluti demens videt Agmina Pentheus,
Et solem geminum, et duplices se ostendere Thebas.
Aut Agamemnonius scenis agitatus Orestes,
Armatam facibus matrem et serpentibus atris
Cum videt, ultricesque sedent in limine Diræ.

There is not a Sight in Nature so mortifying as that of a Distracted Person, when his Imagination is troubled, and his whole Soul disordered and confused. Babylon in Ruins is not so melancholy a Spectacle. But to quit so disagreeable a Subject, I shall only consider, by way of Conclusion, what an infinite Advantage this Faculty gives an Almighty Being over the Soul of Man, and how great a measure of Happiness or Misery we are capable of receiving from the Imagination only.

We have already seen the Influence that one Man has over the Fancy of another, and with what Ease he conveys into it a Variety of Imagery; how great a Power then may we suppose lodged in him, who knows all the ways of affecting the Imagination, who can infuse what Ideas he pleases, and fill those Ideas with Terrour and Delight to what Degree he thinks fit? He can excite Images in the Mind, without the help of Words, and make Scenes rise up before us and seem present to the Eye without the Assistance of Bodies or Exterior Objects. He can transport the Imagination with such beautiful and glorious Visions, as cannot possibly enter into our present Conceptions, or haunt it with such ghastly Spectres and Apparitions, as would make us hope for Annihilation, and think Existence no better than a Curse. In short, he can so exquisitely ravish or torture the Soul through this single Faculty, as might suffice to make up the whole Heaven or Hell of any finite Being.

This Essay on the Pleasures of the Imagination having been published in separate Papers, I shall conclude it with a Table of the principal Contents in each Paper.

[Vol. 2 link]

Paper I
The Perfection of our Sight above our other Senses. The Pleasures of the Imagination arise originally from Sight. The Pleasures of the Imagination divided under two Heads. The Pleasures of the Imagination in some Respects equal to those of the Understanding. The Extent of the Pleasures of the Imagination. The Advantages a Man receives from a Relish of these Pleasures. In what Respect they are preferable to those of the Understanding.
[Vol. 2 link]

Paper II
Three Sources of all the Pleasures of the Imagination, in our Survey of outward Objects. How what is Great pleases the Imagination. How what is New pleases the Imagination. How what is Beautiful in our own Species, pleases the Imagination. How what is Beautiful in general pleases the Imagination. What other Accidental Causes may contribute to the heightening of these Pleasures.
[Vol. 2 link]

Paper III
Why the Necessary Cause of our being pleased with what is Great, New, or Beautiful, unknown. Why the Final Cause more known and more useful. The Final Cause of our being pleased with what is Great. The Final Cause of our being pleased with what is New. The Final Cause of our being pleased with what is Beautiful in our own Species. The Final Cause of our being pleased with what is Beautiful in general.
[Vol. 2 link]

Paper IV
The Works of Nature more pleasant to the Imagination than those of Art. The Works of Nature still more pleasant, the more they resemble those of Art. The Works of Art more pleasant, the more they resemble those of Nature. Our English Plantations and Gardens considered in the foregoing Light.
[Vol. 2 link]

Paper V
Of Architecture as it affects the Imagination. Greatness in Architecture relates either to the Bulk or to the Manner. Greatness of Bulk in the Ancient Oriental Buildings. The ancient Accounts of these Buildings confirm'd,
  1. From the Advantages, for raising such Works, in the first Ages of the World and in the Eastern Climates:
  1. From several of them which are still extant.
Instances how Greatness of Manner affects the Imagination. A French Author's Observation on this Subject. Why Concave and Convex Figures give a Greatness of Manner to Works of Architecture. Every thing that pleases the Imagination in Architecture is either Great, Beautiful, or New.
[Vol. 2 link]

Paper VI
The Secondary Pleasures of the Imagination. The several Sources of these Pleasures (Statuary, Painting, Description and Musick) compared together. The Final Cause of our receiving Pleasure from these several Sources. Of Descriptions in particular. The Power of Words over the Imagination. Why one Reader more pleased with Descriptions than another.
Paper VII How a whole Set of Ideas Hang together, &c. A Natural Cause assigned for it. How to perfect the Imagination of a Writer. Who among the Ancient Poets had this Faculty in its greatest Perfection. Homer excelled in Imagining what is Great; Virgil in Imagining what is Beautiful; Ovid in imagining what is New. Our own Country-man Milton very perfect in all three respects.
Paper VIII Why any thing that is unpleasant to behold, pleases the Imagination when well described. Why the Imagination receives a more Exquisite Pleasure from the Description of what is Great, New, or Beautiful. The Pleasure still heightned, if—what is described raises Passion in the Mind. Disagreeable Passions pleasing when raised by apt Descriptions. Why Terror and Grief are pleasing to the Mind when excited by Descriptions. A particular Advantage the Writers in Poetry and Fiction have to please the Imagination. What Liberties are allowed them.
Paper IX Of that kind of Poetry which Mr. Dryden calls the Fairy Way of Writing. How a Poet should be Qualified for it. The Pleasures of the Imagination that arise from it. In this respect why the Moderns excell the Ancients. Why the English excell the Moderns. Who the Best among the English. Of Emblematical Persons.
Paper X What Authors please the Imagination who have nothing to do with Fiction. How History pleases the Imagination. How the Authors of the new Philosophy please the Imagination. The Bounds and Defects of the Imagination. Whether these Defects are Essential to the Imagination.
Paper XI How those please the Imagination who treat of Subjects abstracted from Matter, by Allusions taken from it. What Allusions most pleasing to the Imagination. Great Writers how Faulty in this Respect. Of the Art of Imagining in General. The Imagination capable of Pain as well as Pleasure. In what Degree the Imagination is capable either of Pain or Pleasure.



No. 422

Friday, July 4, 1712


Hæc scripsi non otii abundantia sed amoris erga te.translation

Tull. Epis.

I do not know any thing which gives greater Disturbance to Conversation, than the false Notion some People have of Raillery. It ought certainly to be the first Point to be aimed at in Society, to gain the good Will of those with whom you converse. The Way to that, is to shew you are well inclined towards them: What then can be more absurd, than to set up for being extremely sharp and biting, as the Term is, in your Expressions to your Familiars? A Man who has no good Quality but Courage, is in a very ill way towards making an agreeable Figure in the World, because that which he has superior to other People cannot be exerted, without raising himself an Enemy. Your Gentleman of a Satyrical Vein is in the like Condition. To say a Thing which perplexes the Heart of him you speak to, or brings Blushes into his Face, is a degree of Murder; and it is, I think, an unpardonable Offence to shew a Man you do not care, whether he is pleased or displeased. But won't you then take a Jest? Yes: but pray let it be a Jest. It is no Jest to put me, who am so unhappy as to have an utter Aversion to speaking to more than one Man at a time, under a Necessity to explain my self in much Company, and reducing me to Shame and Derision, except I perform what my Infirmity of Silence disables me to do.

Callisthenes has great Wit accompanied with that Quality (without which a Man can have no Wit at all) a Sound Judgment. This Gentleman rallies the best of any Man I know, for he forms his Ridicule upon a Circumstance which you are in your Heart not unwilling to grant him, to wit, that you are Guilty of an Excess in something which is in it self laudable. He very well understands what you would be, and needs not fear your Anger for declaring you are a little too much that Thing. The Generous will bear being reproached as Lavish, and the Valiant, Rash, without being provoked to Resentment against their Monitor. What has been said to be a Mark of a good Writer, will fall in with the Character of a good Companion. The good Writer makes his Reader better pleased with himself, and the agreeable Man makes his Friends enjoy themselves, rather than him, while he is in their Company. Callisthenes does this with inimitable Pleasantry. He whispered a Friend the other Day, so as to be overheard by a young Officer, who gave Symptoms of Cocking upon the Company, That Gentleman has very much of the Air of a General Officer. The Youth immediately put on a Composed Behaviour, and behaved himself suitably to the Conceptions he believed the Company had of him. It is to be allowed that Callisthenes will make a Man run into impertinent Relations, to his own Advantage, and express the Satisfaction he has in his own dear self till he is very ridiculous, but in this case the Man is made a Fool by his own Consent, and not exposed as such whether he will or no. I take it therefore that to make Raillery agreeable, a Man must either not know he is rallied, or think never the worse of himself if he sees he is.

Acetus is of a quite contrary Genius, and is more generally admired than Callisthenes, but not with Justice. Acetus has no regard to the Modesty or Weakness of the Person he rallies; but if his Quality or Humility gives him any Superiority to the Man he would fall upon, he has no Mercy in making the Onset. He can be pleased to see his best Friend out of Countenance, while the Laugh is loud in his own Applause. His Raillery always puts the Company into little Divisions and separate Interests, while that of Callisthenes cements it, and makes every Man not only better pleased with himself, but also with all the rest in the Conversation.

To rally well, it is absolutely necessary that Kindness must run thro' all you say, and you must ever preserve the Character of a Friend to support your Pretensions to be free with a Man. Acetus ought to be banished human Society, because he raises his Mirth upon giving Pain to the Person upon whom he is pleasant. Nothing but the Malevolence, which is too general towards those who excell, could make his Company tolerated; but they with whom he converses, are sure to see some Man sacrificed where-ever he is admitted, and all the Credit he has for Wit is owing to the Gratification it gives to other Men's Ill-nature.

Minutius has a Wit that conciliates a Man's Love at the same time that it is exerted against his Faults. He has an Art of keeping the Person he rallies in Countenance, by insinuating that he himself is guilty of the same Imperfection. This he does with so much Address, that he seems rather to bewail himself, than fall upon his Friend.

It is really monstrous to see how unaccountably it prevails among Men, to take the Liberty of displeasing each other. One would think sometimes that the Contention is, who shall be most disagreeable, Allusions to past Follies, Hints which revive what a Man has a Mind to forget for ever, and deserves that all the rest of the World should, are commonly brought forth even in Company of Men of Distinction. They do not thrust with the Skill of Fencers, but cut up with the Barbarity of Butchers. It is, methinks, below the Character of Men of Humanity and Good-manners, to be capable of Mirth while there is any one of the Company in Pain and Disorder. They who have the true Taste of Conversation, enjoy themselves in a Communication of each other's Excellencies, and not in a Triumph over their Imperfections. Fortius would have been reckoned a Wit, if there had never been a Fool in the World: He wants not Foils to be a Beauty, but has that natural Pleasure in observing Perfection in others, that his own Faults are overlooked out of Gratitude by all his Acquaintance.

After these several Characters of Men who succeed or fail in Raillery, it may not be amiss to reflect a little further what one takes to be the most agreeable Kind of it; and that to me appears when the Satyr is directed against Vice, with an Air of Contempt of the Fault, but no Ill-will to the Criminal. Mr. Congreve's Doris is a Master-piece in this Kind. It is the Character of a Woman utterly abandoned, but her Impudence by the finest Piece of Raillery is made only Generosity.
Peculiar therefore is her Way,
Whether by Nature taught,
I shall not undertake to say,
Or by experience bought;

For who o'er Night obtain'd her Grace,
She can next Day disown,
And stare upon the strange Man's Face,
As one she ne'er had known,

So well she can the Truth disguise,
Such artful Wonder frame,
The Lover or distrusts his Eyes,
Or thinks 'twas all a Dream.

Some censure this as lewd or low,
Who are to Bounty blind;
For to forget what we bestow,
Bespeaks a noble Mind.


No. 423

Satday, July 5, 1712


—Nuper Idoneus.translation


I look upon my self as a Kind of Guardian to the Fair, and am always watchful to observe any thing which concerns their Interest. The present Paper shall be employed in the Service of a very fine young Woman; and the Admonitions I give her, may not be unuseful to the rest of the Sex. Gloriana shall be the Name of the Heroine in To-day's Entertainment; and when I have told you that she is rich, witty, young and beautiful, you will believe she does not want Admirers. She has had since she came to Town about twenty five of those Lovers, who make their Addresses by way of Jointure and Settlement. These come and go, with great Indifference on both Sides; and as beauteous as she is, a Line in a Deed has had Exception enough against it, to outweigh the Lustre of her Eyes, the Readiness of her Understanding, and the Merit of her general Character. But among the Crowd of such cool Adorers, she has two who are very assiduous in their Attendance. There is something so extraordinary and artful in their Manner of Application, that I think it but common Justice to alarm her in it. I have done it in the following Letter.


'I have for some time taken Notice of two Gentlemen who attend you in all publick Places, both of whom have also easie Access to you at your own House: But the Matter is adjusted between them, and Damon, who so passionately addresses you, has no Design upon you; but Strephon, who seems to be indifferent to you, is the Man, who is, as they have settled it, to have you. The Plot was laid over a Bottle of Wine; and Strephon, when he first thought of you, proposed to Damon to be his Rival. The manner of his breaking of it to him, I was so placed at a Tavern, that I could not avoid hearing. Damon, said he with a deep Sigh, I have long languished for that Miracle of Beauty Gloriana, and if you will be very stedfastly my Rival, I shall certainly obtain her. Do not, continued he, be offended at this Overture; for I go upon the Knowledge of the Temper of the Woman, rather than any Vanity that I should profit by an Opposition of your Pretensions to those of your humble Servant. Gloriana has very good Sense, a quick Relish of the Satisfactions of Life, and will not give her self, as the Crowd of Women do, to the Arms of a Man to whom she is indifferent. As she is a sensible Woman, Expressions of Rapture and Adoration will not move her neither; but he that has her must be the Object of her DeSir e, not her Pity. The Way to this End I take to be, that a Man's general Conduct should be agreeable, without addressing in particular to the Woman he loves. Now, Sir , if you will be so kind as to sigh and die for Gloriana, I will carry it with great Respect towards her, but seem void of any Thoughts as a Lover. By this Means I shall be in the most amiable Light of which I am capable; I shall be received with Freedom, you with Reserve. Damon, who has himself no Designs of Marriage at all, easily fell into the Scheme; and you may observe, that where-ever you are Damon appears also. You see he carries on an unaffecting Exactness in his Dress and Manner, and strives always to be the very Contrary of Strephon. They have already succeeded so far, that your Eyes are ever in Search of Strephon, and turn themselves of Course from Damon. They meet and compare Notes upon your Carriage; and the Letter which, was brought to you the other Day, was a Contrivance to remark your Resentment. When you saw the Billet subscribed Damon, and turned away with a scornful Air, and cried Impertinence! you gave Hopes to him that shuns you, without mortifying him that languishes for you. What I am concerned for, Madam, is, that in the disposal of your Heart, you should know what you are doing, and examine it before it is lost. Strephon contradicts you in Discourse with the Civility of one who has a Value for you, but gives up nothing like one that loves you. This seeming Unconcern gives this Behaviour the advantage of Sincerity, and insensibly obtains your good Opinion, by appearing disinterested in the purchase of it. If you watch these Correspondents hereafter, you will find that Strephon makes his Visit of Civility immediately after Damon has tired you with one of Love. Tho' you are very discreet, you will find it no easie matter to escape the Toils so well laid, as when one studies to be disagreeable in Passion, the other to be pleasing without it. All the Turns of your Temper are carefully watched, and their quick and faithful Intelligence gives your Lovers irresistible Advantage. You will please, Madam, to be upon your guard, and take all the necessary Precautions against one who is amiable to you before you know he is enamoured.

I am, Madam,
Your most Obedient Servant.

Strephon makes great Progress in this Lady's good Graces, for most Women being actuated by some little Spirit of Pride and Contradiction, he has the good effects of both those Motives by this Covert-Way of Courtship. He received a Message Yesterday from Damon in the following Words, superscribed With Speed.
'All goes well; she is very angry at me, and I dare say hates me in earnest. It is a good time to Visit.
The Comparison of Strephon's Gayety to Damon's Languishment, strikes her Imagination with a Prospect of very agreeable Hours with such a Man as the former, and Abhorrence of the insipid Prospect with one like the latter. To know when a Lady is displeased with another, is to know the best time of advancing your self. This method of two Persons playing into each other's Hand is so dangerous, that I cannot tell how a Woman could be able to withstand such a Siege. The Condition of Gloriana, I am afraid, is irretrievable, for Strephon has had so many Opportunities of pleasing without suspicion, that all which is left for her to do is to bring him, now she is advised, to an Explanation of his Passion, and beginning again, if she can conquer the kind Sentiments she has already conceived for him. When one shews himself a Creature to be avoided, the other proper to be fled to for Succour, they have the whole Woman between them, and can occasionally rebound her Love and Hatred from one to the other, in such a manner as to keep her at a distance from all the rest of the World, and cast Lots for the Conquest.

N. B. I have many other Secrets which concern the Empire of Love, but I consider that while I alarm my Women, I instruct my Men.



No. 424

Monday, July 7, 1712


Est Ulubris, animus si te non deficit—translation


London, June 24.

Mr. Spectator,

'A man who has it in his Power to chuse his own Company, would certainly be much to blame should he not, to the best of his Judgment, take such as are of a Temper most suitable to his own; and where that Choice is wanting, or where a Man is mistaken in his Choice, and yet under a Necessity of continuing in the same Company, it will certainly be to his Interest to carry himself as easily as possible.

'In this I am sensible I do but repeat what has been said a thousand times, at which however I think no Body has any Title to take Exception, but they who never failed to put this in Practice—Not to use any longer Preface, this being the Season of the Year in which great Numbers of all sorts of People retire from this Place of Business and Pleasure to Country Solitude, I think it not improper to advise them to take with them as great a Stock of Good-humour as they can; for tho' a Country-Life is described as the most pleasant of all others, and though it may in Truth be so, yet it is so only to those who know how to enjoy Leisure and Retirement.

'As for those who can't live without the constant helps of Business or Company, let them consider, that in the Country there is no Exchange, there are no Play-houses, no Variety of Coffee-houses, nor many of those other Amusements which serve here as so many Reliefs from the repeated Occurrences in their own Families; but that there the greatest Part of their Time must be spent within themselves, and consequently it behoves them to consider how agreeable it will be to them before they leave this dear Town.

'I remember, Mr. SPECTATOR, we were very well entertained last Year, with the Advices you gave us from Sir Roger's Country Seat; which I the rather mention, because 'tis almost impossible not to live pleasantly, where the Master of a Family is such a one as you there describe your Friend, who cannot therefore (I mean as to his domestick Character) be too often recommended to the Imitation of others. How amiable is that Affability and Benevolence with which he treats his Neighbours, and every one, even the meanest of his own Family! And yet how seldom imitated? instead of which we commonly meet with ill-natured Expostulations, Noise, and Chidings—And this I hinted, because the Humour and Disposition of the Head, is what chiefly influences all the other Parts of a Family.

'An Agreement and kind Correspondence between Friends and Acquaintance, is the greatest Pleasure of Life. This is an undoubted Truth, and yet any Man who judges from the Practice of the World, will be almost persuaded to believe the contrary; for how can we suppose People should be so industrious to make themselves uneasie? What can engage them to entertain and foment Jealousies of one another upon every the least Occasion? Yet so it is, there are People who (as it should seem) delight in being troublesome and vexatious, who (as Tully speaks) Mira sunt alacritate ad litigandum, Have a certain Chearfulness in wrangling. And thus it happens, that there are very few Families in which there are not Feuds and Animosities, tho' 'tis every one's Interest, there more particularly, to avoid 'em, because there (as I would willingly hope) no one gives another Uneasiness, without feeling some share of it—But I am gone beyond what I designed, and had almost forgot what I chiefly proposed; which was, barely to tell you, how hardly we who pass most of our Time in Town dispense with a long Vacation in the Country, how uneasie we grow to our selves and to one another when our Conversation is confined, insomuch that by Michaelmas 'tis odds but we come to downright squabbling, and make as free with one another to our Faces, as we do with the rest of the World behind their Backs. After I have told you this, I am to deSir e that you would now and then give us a Lesson of Good-humour, a Family-Piece; which, since we are all very fond of you, I hope may have some Influence upon us—

'After these plain Observations give me leave to give you an Hint of what a Set of Company of my Acquaintance, who are now gone into the Country, and have the Use of an absent Nobleman's Seat, have settled among themselves, to avoid the Inconveniencies above mentioned. They are a Collection of ten or twelve, of the same good Inclination towards each other, but of very different Talents and Inclinations: From hence they hope, that the Variety of their Tempers will only create Variety of Pleasures. But as there always will arise, among the same People, either for want of Diversity of Objects, or the like Causes, a certain Satiety, which may grow into ill Humour or Discontent, there is a large Wing of the House which they design to employ in the Nature of an Infirmary. Whoever says a peevish thing, or acts any thing which betrays a Sowerness or Indisposition to Company, is immediately to be conveyed to his Chambers in the Infirmary; from whence he is not to be relieved, till by his Manner of Submission, and the Sentiments expressed in his Petition for that Purpose, he appears to the Majority of the Company to be again fit for Society. You are to understand, that all ill-natured Words or uneasie Gestures are sufficient Cause for Banishment; speaking impatiently to Servants, making a Man repeat what he says, or any thing that betrays Inattention or Dishumour, are also criminal without Reprieve: But it is provided, that whoever observes the ill-natured Fit coming upon himself, and voluntarily retires, shall be received at his return from the Infirmary with the highest Marks of Esteem. By these and other wholesome Methods it is expected that if they cannot cure one another, yet at least they have taken Care that the ill Humour of one shall not be troublesome to the rest of the Company. There are many other Rules which the Society have established for the Preservation of their Ease and Tranquility, the Effects of which, with the Incidents that arise among them, shall be communicated to you from Time to Time for the publick Good, by,

Sir ,
Your most humble Servant,
R. O.


No. 425

Tuesday, July 8, 1712


Frigora mitescunt Zephyris, Ver proterit Æstas
Interitura, simul
Pomifer Autumnus fruges effuderit, et mox
Bruma recurrit iners



'There is hardly any thing gives me a more sensible Delight, than the Enjoyment of a cool still Evening after the Uneasiness of a hot sultry Day. Such a one I passed not long ago, which made me rejoice when the Hour as come for the Sun to set, that I might enjoy the Freshness of the Evening in my Garden, which then affords me the pleasantest Hours I pass in the whole Four and twenty. I immediately rose from my Couch, and went down into it. You descend at first by twelve Stone Steps into a large Square divided into four Grass-plots, in each of which is a Statue of white Marble. This is separated from a large Parterre by a low Wall, and from thence, thro' a Pair of Iron Gates, you are led into a long broad Walk of the finest Turf, set on each Side with tall Yews, and on either Hand bordered by a Canal, which on the Right divides the Walk from a Wilderness parted into Variety of Allies and Arbours, and on the Left from a kind of Amphitheatre, which is the Receptacle of a great Number of Oranges and Myrtles. The Moon shone bright, and seemed then most agreeably to supply the Place of the Sun, obliging me with as much Light as was necessary to discover a thousand pleasing Objects, and at the same time divested of all Power of Heat. The Reflection of it in the Water, the Fanning of the Wind rustling on the Leaves, the Singing of the Thrush and Nightingale, and the Coolness of the Walks, all conspired to make me lay aside all displeasing Thoughts, and brought me into such a Tranquility of Mind, as is I believe the next Happiness to that of hereafter. In this sweet Retirement I naturally fell into the Repetition of some Lines out of a Poem of Milton's, which he entitles Il Penseroso, the Ideas of which were exquisitely suited to my present Wandrings of Thought.
Sweet Bird! that shun'st the Noise of Folly,
Most musical! most melancholy!
Thee Chauntress, oft the Woods among,
I wooe to hear thy Evening Song:
And missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth-shaven Green,
To behold the wandring Moon,
Riding near her highest Noon,
Like one that hath been led astray,
Thro' the Heavn's wide pathless Way,
And oft, as if her Head she bow'd,
Stooping thro' a fleecy Cloud.
Then let some strange mysterious Dream
Wave with his Wings in airy Stream,
Of lively Portraiture displaid,
Softly on my Eyelids laid;
And as I wake, sweet Musick breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by Spirits to Mortals Good,
Or th' unseen Genius of the Wood.
I reflected then upon the sweet Vicissitudes of Night and Day, on the charming Disposition of the Seasons, and their Return again in a perpetual Circle; and oh! said I, that I could from these my declining Years return again to my first Spring of Youth and Vigour; but that, alas! is impossible: All that remains within my Power, is to soften the Inconveniences I feel, with an easie contented Mind, and the Enjoyment of such Delights as this Solitude affords me. In this Thought I sate me down on a Bank of Flowers and dropt into a Slumber, which whether it were the Effect of Fumes and Vapours, or my present Thoughts, I know not; but methought the Genius of the Garden stood before me, and introduced into the Walk where I lay this Drama and different Scenes of the Revolution of the Year, which whilst I then saw, even in my Dream, I resolved to write down, and send to the SPECTATOR. The first Person whom I saw advancing towards me was a Youth of a most beautiful Air and Shape, tho' he seemed not yet arrived at that exact Proportion and Symmetry of Parts which a little more time would have given him; but however, there was such a Bloom in his Countenance, such Satisfaction and Joy, that I thought it the most deSir able Form that I had ever seen. He was cloathed in a flowing Mantle of green Silk, interwoven with Flowers: He had a Chaplet of Roses on his Head, and a Narcissus in his Hand; Primroses and Violets sprang up under his Feet, and all Nature was cheer'd at his Approach. Flora was on one Hand and Vertumnus on the other in a Robe of changeable Silk. After this I was surprized to see the Moon-beams reflected with a sudden Glare from Armour, and to see a Man compleatly armed advancing with his Sword drawn. I was soon informed by the Genius it was Mars, who had long usurp'd a Place among the Attendants of the Spring. He made Way for a softer Appearance, it was Venus, without any Ornament but her own Beauties, not so much as her own Cestus, with which she had incompass'd a Globe, which she held in her right Hand, and in her left she had a Sceptre of Gold. After her followed the Graces with their Arms intwined within one another, their Girdles were loosed, and they moved to the Sound of soft Musick, striking the Ground alternately with their Feet: Then came up the three Months which belong to this Season. As March advanced towards me, there was methought in his Look a louring Roughness, which ill befitted a Month which was ranked in so soft a Season; but as he came forwards his Features became insensibly more mild and gentle: He smooth'd his Brow, and looked with so sweet a Countenance that I could not but lament his Departure, though he made way for April. He appeared in the greatest Gaiety imaginable, and had a thousand Pleasures to attend him: His Look was frequently clouded, but immediately return'd to its first Composure, and remained fixed in a Smile. Then came May attended by Cupid, with his Bow strung, and in a Posture to let fly an Arrow: As he passed by methought I heard a confused Noise of soft Complaints, gentle Ecstacies, and tender Sighs of Lovers; Vows of Constancy, and as many Complainings of Perfidiousness; all which the Winds wafted away as soon as they had reached my Hearing. After these I saw a Man advance in the full Prime and Vigour of his Age, his Complexion was sanguine and ruddy, his Hair black, and fell down in beautiful Ringlets not beneath his Shoulders, a Mantle of Hair-colour'd Silk hung loosely upon him: He advanced with a hasty Step after the Spring, and sought out the Shade and cool Fountains which plaid in the Garden. He was particularly well pleased when a Troop of Zephyrs fanned him with their Wings: He had two Companions who walked on each Side that made him appear the most agreeable, the one was Aurora with Fingers of Roses, and her Feet dewy, attired in grey: The other was Vesper in a Robe of Azure beset with Drops of Gold, whose Breath he caught whilst it passed over a Bundle of Honey-Suckles and Tuberoses which he held in his Hand. Pan and Ceres followed them with four Reapers, who danced a Morrice to the Sound of Oaten Pipes and Cymbals. Then came the Attendant Months. June retained still some small Likeness of the Spring; but the other two seemed to step with a less vigorous Tread, especially August, who seem'd almost to faint whilst for half the Steps he took the Dog-Star levelled his Rays full at his Head: They passed on and made Way for a Person that seemed to bend a little under the Weight of Years; his Beard and Hair, which were full grown, were composed of an equal Number of black and grey; he wore a Robe which he had girt round him of a yellowish Cast, not unlike the Colour of fallen Leaves, which he walked upon. I thought he hardly made Amends for expelling the foregoing Scene by the large Quantity of Fruits which he bore in his Hands. Plenty walked by his Side with an healthy fresh Countenance, pouring out from an Horn all the various Product of the Year. Pomona followed with a Glass of Cyder in her Hand, with Bacchus in a Chariot drawn by Tygers, accompanied by a whole Troop of Satyrs, Fauns, and Sylvans. September, who came next, seem'd in his Looks to promise a new Spring, and wore the Livery of those Months. The succeeding Month was all soiled with the Juice of Grapes, as if he had just come from the Wine-Press. November, though he was in this Division, yet, by the many Stops he made seemed rather inclined to the Winter, which followed close at his Heels. He advanced in the Shape of an old Man in the Extremity of Age: The Hair he had was so very white it seem'd a real Snow; his Eyes were red and piercing, and his Beard hung with a great Quantity of Icicles: He was wrapt up in Furrs, but yet so pinched with Excess of Cold that his Limbs were all contracted and his Body bent to the Ground, so that he could not have supported himself had it not been for Comus the God of Revels, and Necessity the Mother of Fate, who sustained him on each side. The Shape and Mantle of Comus was one of the things that most surprized me; as he advanced towards me, his Countenance seemed the most deSir able I had ever seen: On the fore Part of his Mantle was pictured Joy, Delight, and Satisfaction, with a thousand Emblems of Merriment, and Jests with Faces looking two Ways at once; but as he passed from me I was amazed at a Shape so little correspondent to his Face: His Head was bald, and all the rest of his Limbs appeared old and deformed. On the hinder Part of his Mantle was represented Murder with dishevelled Hair and a Dagger all bloody, Anger in a Robe of Scarlet, and Suspicion squinting with both Eyes; but above all the most conspicuous was the Battel of the Lapithæ and the Centaurs. I detested so hideous a Shape, and turned my Eyes upon Saturn, who was stealing away behind him with a Scythe in one Hand, and an Hour-glass in t'other unobserved. Behind Necessity was Vesta the Goddess of Fire with a Lamp which was perpetually supply'd with Oyl; and whose Flame was eternal. She cheered the rugged Brow of Necessity, and warmed her so far as almost to make her assume the Features and Likeness of Choice. December, January, and February, passed on after the rest all in Furrs; there was little Distinction to be made amongst them, and they were only more or less displeasing as they discovered more or less Haste towards the grateful Return of Spring.


No. 426

Wednesday, July 9, 1712


—Quid non mortalia Pectora cogis
Auri sacra fames—


A very agreeable Friend of mine, the other Day, carrying me in his Coach into the Country to Dinner, fell into Discourse concerning the Care of Parents due to their Children, and the Piety of Children towards their Parents. He was reflecting upon the Succession of particular Virtues and Qualities there might be preserved from one Generation to another, if these Regards were reciprocally held in Veneration: But as he never fails to mix an Air of Mirth and good Humour with his good Sense and Reasoning, he entered into the following Relation.

I will not be confident in what Century, or under what Reign it happened, that this Want of mutual Confidence and right Understanding between Father and Son was fatal to the Family of the Valentines in Germany. Basilius Valentinus was a Person who had arrived at the utmost Perfection in the Hermetick Art, and initiated his Son Alexandrinus in the same Mysteries: But as you know they are not to be attained but by the Painful, the Pious, the Chaste, and Pure of Heart, Basilius did not open to him, because of his Youth, and the Deviations too natural to it, the greatest Secrets of which he was Master, as well knowing that the Operation would fail in the Hands of a Man so liable to Errors in Life as Alexandrinus. But believing, from a certain Indisposition of Mind as well as Body, his Dissolution was drawing nigh, he called Alexandrinus to him, and as he lay on a Couch, over-against which his Son was seated, and prepared by sending out Servants one after another, and Admonition to examine that no one over-heard them, he revealed the most important of his Secrets with the Solemnity and Language of an Adept. My Son, said he, many have been the Watchings, long the Lucubrations, constant the Labours of thy Father, not only to gain a great and plentiful Estate to his Posterity, but also to take Care that he should have no Posterity. Be not amazed, my Child; I do not mean that thou shalt be taken from me, but that I will never leave thee, and consequently cannot be said to have Posterity. Behold, my dearest Alexandrinus, the Effect of what was propagated in nine Months: We are not to contradict Nature but to follow and to help her; just as long as an Infant is in the Womb of its Parent, so long are these Medicines of Revification in preparing. Observe this small Phial and this little Gallipot, in this an Unguent, in the other a Liquor. In these, my child, are collected such Powers, as shall revive the Springs of Life when they are yet but just ceased, and give new Strength, new Spirits, and, in a Word, wholly restore all the Organs and Senses of the human Body to as great a Duration, as it had before enjoyed from its Birth to the Day of the Application of these my Medicines. But, my beloved Son, Care must be taken to apply them within ten Hours after the Breath is out of the Body, while yet the Clay is warm with its late Life, and yet capable of Resuscitation. I find my Frame grown crasie with perpetual Toil and Meditation; and I conjure you, as soon as I am dead, to anoint me with this Unguent; and when you see me begin to move, pour into my Lips this inestimable Liquor, else the Force of the Ointment will be ineffectual. By this Means you will give me Life as I have you, and we will from that Hour mutually lay aside the Authority of having bestowed Life on each other, but live as Brethren, and prepare new Medicines against such another Period of Time as will demand another Application of the same Restoratives. In a few Days after these wonderful Ingredients were delivered to Alexandrinus, Basilius departed this Life. But such was the pious Sorrow of the Son at the Loss of so excellent a Father, and the first Transports of Grief had so wholly disabled him from all manner of Business, that he never thought of the Medicines till the Time to which his Father had limited their Efficacy was expired. To tell the Truth, Alexandrinus was a Man of Wit and Pleasure, and considered his Father had lived out his natural Time, his Life was long and uniform, suitable to the Regularity of it; but that he himself, poor Sinner, wanted a new Life, to repent of a very bad one hitherto; and in the Examination of his Heart, resolved to go on as he did with this natural Being of his, but repent very faithfully and spend very piously the Life to which he should be restored by Application of these Rarities, when Time should come, to his own Person.

It has been observed, that Providence frequently punishes the Self-love of Men who would do immoderately for their own Off-spring, with Children very much below their Characters and Qualifications, insomuch that they only transmit their Names to be born by those who give daily Proofs of the Vanity of the Labour and Ambition of their Progenitors.

It happened thus in the Family of Basilius; for Alexandrinus began to enjoy his ample Fortune in all the Extremities of Houshold Expence, Furniture, and insolent Equipage; and this he pursued till the Day of his own Departure began, as he grew sensible, to approach. As Basilius was punished with a Son very unlike him, Alexandrinus was visited with one of his own Disposition. It is natural that ill Men should be suspicious, and Alexandrinus, besides that Jealousie, had Proofs of the vitious Disposition of his Son Renatus, for that was his Name.

Alexandrinus, as I observed, having very good Reasons for thinking it unsafe to trust the real Secret of his Phial and Gallypot to any Man living, projected to make sure Work, and hope for his Success depending from the Avarice, not the Bounty of his Benefactor.

With this Thought he called Renatus to his Bed-side, and bespoke him in the most pathetick Gesture and Accent. As much, my Son, as you have been addicted to Vanity and Pleasure, as I also have been before you, you nor I could escape the Fame, or the good Effects of the profound Knowledge of our Progenitor, the Renowned Basilius. His Symbol is very well known in the Philosophick World, and I shall never forget the venerable Air of his Countenance, when he let me into the profound Mysteries of the Smaragdine Table of Hermes. It is true, said he, and far removed from all Colour of Deceit, That which is Inferior is like that which is Superior, by which are acquired and perfected all the Miracles of a certain Work. The Father is the Sun, the Mother the Moon: the Wind is the Womb, the Earth is the Nurse of it, and Mother of all Perfection. All this must be received with Modesty and Wisdom. The Chymical People carry in all their Jargon a whimsical sort of Piety, which is ordinary with great Lovers of Money, and is no more but deceiving themselves, that their Regularity and Strictness of Manners for the Ends of this World, has some Affinity to the Innocence of Heart which must recommend them to the next. Renatus wondered to hear his Father talk so like an Adept, and with such a Mixture of Piety, while Alexandrinus observing his Attention fixed, proceeded: This Phial, Child, and this little Earthen-Pot will add to thy Estate so much, as to make thee the richest Man in the German Empire. I am going to my Long Home, but shall not return to common Dust. Then he resumed a Countenance of Alacrity, and told him, That if within an Hour after his Death he anointed his whole Body, and poured down his Throat that Liquor which he had from old Basilius, the Corps would be converted into pure Gold. I will not pretend to express to you the unfeigned Tendernesses that passed between these two extraordinary Persons; but if the Father recommended the Care of his Remains with Vehemence and Affection, the Son was not behind-hand in professing that he would not cut the least Bit off him, but upon the utmost Extremity, or to provide for his younger Brothers and Sisters.

Well, Alexandrinus died, and the Heir of his Body (as our Term is) could not forbear in the Wantonness of his Heart, to measure the Length and Breadth of his beloved Father, and cast up the ensuing Value of him before he proceeded to Operation. When he knew the immense Reward of his Pains, he began the Work: But lo! when he had anointed the Corps all over, and began to apply the Liquor, the Body stirred, and Renatus, in a Fright, broke the Phial1.

Footnote 1:   This tale is from the Description of the memorable Sea and Land Travels through Persia to the East Indies, by Johann Albrecht von Mandelslo, translated from the German of Olearius, by J. B. B. Bk v. p. 189. Basil Valentine, whom it makes the hero of a story after the manner of the romances of Virgil the Enchanter, was an able chemist (in those days an alchemist) of the sixteenth century, who is believed to have been a Benedictine monk of Erfurth, and is not known to have had any children. He was the author of the Currus Triumphalis Antimonii, mentioned in a former note. His name was familiar through several books in French, especially L'Azoth des Philosophes, avec les 12 Clefs de Philosophie (Paris, 1660), and a Testament de Basile Valentine (London, 1671).
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No. 427

Thursday, July 10, 1712


Quartum a rerum turpitudine abes, tantum Te a verborum libertate sejungas.translation


It is a certain Sign of an ill Heart to be inclined to Defamation. They who are harmless and innocent, can have no Gratification that way; but it ever arises from a Neglect of what is laudable in a Man's self, and an Impatience of seeing it in another. Else why should Virtue provoke? Why should Beauty displease in such a Degree, that a Man given to Scandal never lets the Mention of either pass by him without offering something to the Diminution of it? A Lady the other Day at a Visit being attacked somewhat rudely by one, whose own Character has been very roughly treated, answered a great deal of Heat and Intemperance very calmly, Good Madam spare me, who am none of your Match; I speak Ill of no Body, and it is a new Thing to me to be spoken ill of. Little Minds think Fame consists in the Number of Votes they have on their Side among the Multitude, whereas it is really the inseparable Follower of good and worthy Actions. Fame is as natural a Follower of Merit, as a Shadow is of a Body. It is true, when Crowds press upon you, this Shadow cannot be seen, but when they separate from around you, it will again appear. The Lazy, the Idle, and the Froward, are the Persons who are most pleas'd with the little Tales which pass about the Town to the Disadvantage of the rest of the World. Were it not for the Pleasure of speaking Ill, there are Numbers of People who are too lazy to go out of their own Houses, and too ill-natur'd to open their Lips in Conversation. It was not a little diverting the other Day to observe a Lady reading a Post-Letter, and at these Words, After all her Airs, he has heard some Story or other, and the Match is broke off, give Orders in the midst of her Reading, Put to the Horses. That a young Woman of Merit has missed an advantagious Settlement, was News not to be delayed, lest some Body else should have given her malicious Acquaintance that Satisfaction before her. The Unwillingness to receive good Tidings is a Quality as inseparable from a Scandal-Bearer, as the Readiness to divulge bad. But, alas, how wretchedly low and contemptible is that State of Mind, that cannot be pleased but by what is the Subject of Lamentation. This Temper has ever been in the highest Degree odious to gallant Spirits. The Persian Soldier, who was heard reviling Alexander the Great, was well admonished by his Officer; Sir , you are paid to fight against Alexander, and not to rail at him.

Cicero in one of his Pleadings1, defending his Client from general Scandal, says very handsomely, and with much Reason, There are many who have particular Engagements to the Prosecutor: There are many who are known to have ill-will to him for whom I appear; there are many who are naturally addicted to Defamation, and envious of any Good to any Man, who may have contributed to spread Reports of this kind: For nothing is so swift as Scandal, nothing is more easily sent abroad, nothing received with more Welcome, nothing diffuses it self so universally. I shall not deSir e, that if any Report to our Disadvantage has any Ground for it, you would overlook or extenuate it: But if there be any thing advanced without a Person who can say whence he had it, or which is attested by one who forgot who told him it, or who had it from one of so little Consideration that he did not then think it worth his Notice, all such Testimonies as these, I know, you will think too slight to have any Credit against the Innocence and Honour of your Fellow-Citizen. When an ill Report is traced, it very often vanishes among such as the Orator has here recited. And how despicable a Creature must that be, who is in Pain for what passes among so frivolous a People? There is a Town in Warwickshire of good Note, and formerly pretty famous for much Animosity and Dissension, the chief Families of which have now turned all their Whispers, Backbitings, Envies, and private Malices, into Mirth and Entertainment, by means of a peevish old Gentlewoman, known by the Title of the Lady Bluemantle. This Heroine had for many Years together out-done the whole Sisterhood of Gossips in Invention, quick Utterance, and unprovoked Malice. This good Body is of a lasting Constitution, though extremely decayed in her Eyes, and decrepid in her Feet. The two Circumstances of being always at Home from her Lameness, and very attentive from her Blindness, make her Lodgings the Receptacle of all that passes in Town, Good or Bad; but for the latter, she seems to have the better Memory. There is another Thing to be noted of her, which is, That as it is usual with old People, she has a livelier Memory of Things which passed when she was very young, than of late Years. Add to all this, that she does not only not love any Body, but she hates every Body. The Statue in Rome does not serve to vent Malice half so well, as this old Lady does to disappoint it. She does not know the Author of any thing that is told her, but can readily repeat the Matter it self; therefore, though she exposes all the whole Town, she offends no one Body in it. She is so exquisitely restless and peevish, that she quarrels with all about her, and sometimes in a Freak will instantly change her Habitation. To indulge this Humour, she is led about the Grounds belonging to the same House she is in, and the Persons to whom she is to remove, being in the Plot, are ready to receive her at her own Chamber again. At stated Times, the Gentlewoman at whose House she supposes she is at the Time, is sent for to quarrel with, according to her common Custom: When they have a Mind to drive the Jest, she is immediately urged to that Degree, that she will board in a Family with which she has never yet been; and away she will go this Instant, and tell them all that the rest have been saying of them. By this means she has been an Inhabitant of every House in the Place without stirring from the same Habitation; and the many Stories which every body furnishes her with to favour that Deceit, make her the general Intelligencer of the Town of all that can be said by one Woman against another. Thus groundless Stories die away, and sometimes Truths are smothered under the general Word: When they have a Mind to discountenance a thing, Oh! that is in my Lady Bluemantle's Memoirs.

Whoever receives Impressions to the Disadvantage of others without Examination, is to be had in no other Credit for Intelligence than this good Lady Bluemantle, who is subjected to have her Ears imposed upon for want of other Helps to better Information. Add to this, that other Scandal-Bearers suspend the Use of these Faculties which she has lost, rather than apply them to do Justice to their Neighbours; and I think, for the Service of my fair Readers, to acquaint them, that there is a voluntary Lady Bluemantle at every Visit in Town.


Footnote 1:   Orat. pro Cu. Plancio. A little beyond the middle.
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No. 428

Friday, July 11, 1712


Occupet extremum Scabies—translation


It is an impertinent and unreasonable Fault in Conversation, for one Man to take up all the Discourse. It may possibly be objected to me my self, that I am guilty in this kind, in entertaining the Town every Day, and not giving so many able Persons who have it more in their Power, and as much in their Inclination, an Opportunity to oblige Mankind with their Thoughts. Besides, said one whom I overheard the other Day, why must this Paper turn altogether upon Topicks of Learning and Morality? Why should it pretend only to Wit, Humour, or the like? Things which are useful only to amuse Men of Literature and superior Education. I would have it consist also of all Things which may be necessary or useful to any Part of Society, and the mechanick Arts should have their Place as well as the Liberal. The Ways of Gain, Husbandry, and Thrift, will serve a greater Number of People, than Discourses upon what was well said or done by such a Philosopher, Heroe, General, or Poet. I no sooner heard this Critick talk of my Works, but I minuted what he had said; and from that Instant resolved to enlarge the Plan of my Speculations, by giving Notice to all Persons of all Orders, and each Sex, that if they are pleased to send me Discourses, with their Names and Places of Abode to them, so that I can be satisfied the Writings are authentick, such their Labours shall be faithfully inserted in this Paper. It will be of much more Consequence to a Youth in his Apprenticeship, to know by what Rules and Arts such a one became Sheriff of the City of London, than to see the Sign of one of his own Quality with a Lion's Heart in each Hand. The World indeed is enchanted with romantick and improbable Atchievements, when the plain Path to respective Greatness and Success in the Way of Life a Man is in, is wholly overlooked. Is it possible that a young Man at present could pass his Time better, than in reading the History of Stocks, and knowing by what secret Springs they have had such sudden Ascents and Falls in the same Day? Could he be better conducted in his Way to Wealth, which is the great Article of Life, than in a Treatise dated from Change-Alley by an able Proficient there? Nothing certainly could be more useful, than to be well instructed in his Hopes and Fears; to be diffident when others exult, and with a secret Joy buy when others think it their Interest to sell. I invite all Persons who have any thing to say for the Profitable Information of the Publick, to take their Turns in my Paper: They are welcome, from the late noble Inventor of the Longitude1, to the humble Author of Strops for Razors. If to carry Ships in Safety, to give Help to People tost in a troubled Sea, without knowing to what Shoar they bear, what Rocks to avoid, or what Coast to pray for in their Extremity, be a worthy Labour, and an Invention that deserves a Statue; at the same Time, he who has found a Means to let the Instrument which is to make your Visage less horrible2, and your Person more smug, easie in the Operation, is worthy of some kind of good Reception: If Things of high Moment meet with Renown, those of little Consideration, since of any Consideration, are not to be despised. In order that no Merit may lye hid and no Art unimproved, I repeat it, that I call Artificers, as well as Philosophers, to my Assistance in the Publick Service. It would be of great Use if we had an exact History of the Successes of every great Shop within the City-Walls, what Tracts of Land have been purchased by a constant Attendance within a Walk of thirty Foot. If it could also be noted in the Equipage of those who are ascended from the Successful Trade of their Ancestors into Figure and Equipage, such Accounts would quicken Industry in the Pursuit of such Acquisitions, and discountenance Luxury in the Enjoyment of them.

To diversifie these kinds of Informations, the Industry of the Female World is not to be unobserved: She to whose Houshold Virtues it is owing, that Men do Honour to her Husband, should be recorded with Veneration; she who had wasted his Labours, with Infamy. When we are come into Domestick Life in this manner, to awaken Caution and Attendance to the main Point, it would not be amiss to give now and then a Touch of Tragedy, and describe the3 most dreadful of all human Conditions, the Case of Bankruptcy; how Plenty, Credit, Chearfulness, full Hopes, and easy Possessions, are in an Instant turned into Penury, faint Aspects, Diffidence, Sorrow, and Misery; how the Man, who with an open Hand the Day before could administer to the Extremities of others, is shunned today by the Friend of his Bosom. It would be useful to shew how just this is on the Negligent, how lamentable on the Industrious. A Paper written by a Merchant, might give this Island a true Sense of the Worth and Importance of his Character: It might be visible from what he could say, That no Soldier entring a Breach adventures more for Honour, than the Trader does for Wealth to his Country. In both Cases the Adventurers have their own Advantage, but I know no Cases wherein every Body else is a Sharer in the Success.

It is objected by Readers of History, That the Battels in those Narrations are scarce ever to be understood. This Misfortune is to be ascribed to the Ignorance of Historians in the Methods of drawing up, changing the Forms of a Battalia, and the Enemy retreating from, as well as approaching to, the Charge. But in the Discourses from the Correspondents, whom I now invite, the Danger will be of another kind; and it is necessary to caution them only against using Terms of Art, and describing Things that are familiar to them in Words unknown to their Readers. I promise my self a great Harvest of new Circumstances, Persons, and Things from this Proposal; and a World, which many think they are well acquainted with, discovered as wholly new. This Sort of Intelligence will give a lively Image of the Chain and mutual Dependance of humane Society, take off impertinent Prejudices, enlarge the Minds of those, whose Views are confined to their own Circumstances; and, in short, if the Knowing in several Arts, Professions, and Trades will exert themselves, it cannot but produce a new Field of Diversion, an Instruction more agreeable than has yet appeared.


Footnote 1:   If this means the Marquis of Worcester, the exact ascertainment of the longitude was not one of his century of Inventions. The sextant had its origin in the mind of Sir Isaac Newton, who was knighted in 1705, and living at this time, but its practical inventor was Thomas Godfrey, a glazier at Philadelphia. Godfrey's instrument is said to have been seen by John Hadley, or that English philosopher, after whom the instrument is named, invented it at the same time, about 1730. Honours of invention were assigned to both Godfrey and Hadley. Means of exact observation of the heavenly bodies would not suffice for exact determining of longitude until the sailor was provided with a timepiece that could be relied upon in all climates for a true uniform standard of time. The invention of such a time-piece, for which Parliament offered a reward of £20,000, was the real solution of the difficulty, and this we owe to the Yorkshireman John Harrison, a carpenter and son of a carpenter, who had a genius for clockmaking, and was stimulated to work at the construction of marine chronometers by living in sight of the sea. He came to London in 1728, and after fifty years of labour finished in 1759 a chronometer which, having stood the test of two voyages, obtained for him the offered reward of £20,000. Harrison died in 1776 at the age of 83.
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Footnote 2:   horrid

Footnote 3:   that


No. 429

Saturday, July 12, 1712


—Populumque falsis dedocet uti


Since I gave an Account of an agreeable Set of Company which were gone down into the Country, I have received Advices from thence, that the Institution of an Infirmary for those who should be out of Humour, has had very good Effects. My Letters mention particular Circumstances of two or three Persons, who had the good Sense to retire of their own Accord, and notified that they were withdrawn, with the Reasons of it, to the Company, in their respective Memorials.

The Memorial of Mrs. Mary Dainty, Spinster,

Humbly Sheweth,

That conscious of her own want of Merit, accompanied with a Vanity of being admired, she had gone into Exile of her own accord.

She is sensible, that a vain Person is the most insufferable Creature living in a well-bred Assembly.

That she deSir ed, before she appeared in publick again, she might have Assurances, that tho' she might be thought handsome, there might not more Address or Compliment be paid to her, than to the rest of the Company.

That she conceived it a kind of Superiority, that one Person should take upon him to commend another.

Lastly, That she went into the Infirmary, to avoid a particular Person who took upon him to profess an Admiration of her.

She therefore prayed, that to applaud out of due place, might be declar'd an Offence, and punished in the same Manner with Detraction, in that the latter did but report Persons defective, and the former made them so.

All which is submitted, &c.
There appeared a Delicacy and Sincerity in this Memorial very uncommon, but my Friend informs me, that the Allegations of it were groundless, insomuch that this Declaration of an Aversion to being praised, was understood to be no other than a secret Trap to purchase it, for which Reason it lies still on the Table unanswered.
The humble Memorial of the Lady Lydia Loller, Sheweth,

That the Lady Lydia is a Woman of Quality; married to a private Gentleman.

That she finds her self neither well nor ill.

That her Husband is a Clown.

That Lady Lydia cannot see Company. That she deSir es the Infirmary may be her Apartment during her stay in the Country.

That they would please to make merry with their Equals.

That Mr. Loller might stay with them if he thought fit.
It was immediately resolved, that Lady Lydia was still at London.
The humble Memorial of Thomas Sudden, Esq., of the Inner-Temple, Sheweth,

That Mr. Sudden is conscious that he is too much given to Argumentation.

That he talks loud.

That he is apt to think all things matter of Debate.

That he stayed behind in Westminster-Hall, when the late Shake of the Roof happened, only because a Council of the other Side asserted it was coming down.

That he cannot for his Life consent to any thing.

That he stays in the Infirmary to forget himself.

That as soon as he has forgot himself, he will wait on the Company.
His Indisposition was allowed to be sufficient to require a Cessation from Company.
The Memorial of Frank Jolly, Sheweth,

That he hath put himself into the Infirmary, in regard he is sensible of a certain rustick Mirth which renders him unfit for polite Conversation.

That he intends to prepare himself by Abstinence and thin Diet to be one of the Company.

That at present he comes into a Room as if he were an Express from Abroad.

That he has chosen an Apartment with a matted Anti-Chamber, to practise Motion without being heard.

That he bows, talks, drinks, eats, and helps himself before a Glass, to learn to act with Moderation.

That by reason of his luxuriant Health he is oppressive to Persons of composed Behaviour.

That he is endeavouring to forget the Word Pshaw, Pshaw.

That he is also weaning himself from his Cane.

That when he has learnt to live without his said Cane, he will wait on the Company, &c.
The Memorial of John Rhubarb, Esq.,


That your Petitioner has retired to the Infirmary, but that he is in perfect good Health, except that he has by long Use. and for want of Discourse, contracted an Habit of Complaint that he is sick.

That he wants for nothing under the Sun, but what to say, and therefore has fallen into this unhappy Malady of complaining that he is sick.

That this Custom of his makes him, by his own Confession, fit only for the Infirmary, and therefore he has not waited for being sentenced to it.

That he is conscious there is nothing more improper than such a Complaint in good Company, in that they must pity, whether they think the Lamenter ill or not; and that the Complainant must make a silly Figure, whether he is pitied or not.

Your Petitioner humbly prays, that he may have Time to know how he does, and he will make his Appearance.
The Valetudinarian was likewise easily excused; and this Society being resolved not only to make it their Business to pass their Time agreeably for the present Season, but also to commence such Habits in themselves as may be of Use in their future Conduct in general, are very ready to give into a fancied or real Incapacity to join with their Measures, in order to have no Humourist, proud Man, impertinent or sufficient ellow, break in upon their Happiness. Great Evils seldom happen to disturb Company; but Indulgence in Particularities of Humour, is the Seed of making half our Time hang in Suspence, or waste away under real Discomposures.

Among other Things it is carefully provided that there may not be disagreeable Familiarities. No one is to appear in the publick Rooms undressed, or enter abruptly into each other's Apartment without intimation. Every one has hitherto been so careful in his Behaviour, that there has but one Offender in ten Days Time been sent into the Infirmary, and that was for throwing away his Cards at Whist.

He has offered his Submission in the following Terms.
The humble Petition of Jeoffry Hotspur, Esq.,


Though the Petitioner swore, stamped, and threw down his Cards, he has all imaginable Respect for the Ladies, and the whole Company.

That he humbly deSir es it may be considered in the Case of Gaming, there are many Motives which provoke to Disorder.

That the DeSir e of Gain, and the DeSir e of Victory, are both thwarted in Losing.

That all Conversations in the World have indulged Human Infirmity in this Case.

Your Petitioner therefore most humbly prays, that he may be restored to the Company, and he hopes to bear ill Fortune with a good Grace for the future, and to demean himself so as to be no more than chearful when he wins, than grave when he loses.


No. 430

Monday, July 14, 1712


Quære peregrinum vicinia rauca reclamat.translation


Sir ,

As you are Spectator-General, you may with Authority censure whatsoever looks ill, and is offensive to the Sight; the worst Nusance of which kind, methinks, is the scandalous Appearance of Poor in all Parts of this wealthy City. Such miserable Objects affect the compassionate Beholder with dismal Ideas, discompose the Chearfulness of his Mind, and deprive him of the Pleasure that he might otherwise take in surveying the Grandeur of our Metropolis. Who can without Remorse see a disabled Sailor, the Purveyor of our Luxury, destitute of Necessaries? Who can behold an honest Soldier, that bravely withstood the Enemy, prostrate and in Want amongst his Friends? It were endless to mention all the Variety of Wretchedness, and the numberless Poor, that not only singly, but in Companies, implore your Charity. Spectacles of this Nature every where occur; and it is unaccountable, that amongst the many lamentable Cries that infest this Town, your Comptroller-General should not take notice of the most shocking, viz. those of the Needy and Afflicted. I can't but think he wav'd it meerly out of good Breeding, chusing rather to stifle his Resentment, than upbraid his Countrymen with Inhumanity; however, let not Charity be sacrificed to Popularity, and if his Ears were deaf to their Complaints, let not your Eyes overlook their Persons. There are, I know, many Impostors among them. Lameness and Blindness are certainly very often acted; but can those that have their Sight and Limbs, employ them better than in knowing whether they are counterfeited or not? I know not which of the two misapplies his Senses most, he who pretends himself blind to move Compassion, or he who beholds a miserable Object without pitying it. But in order to remove such Impediments, I wish, Mr. SPECTATOR, you would give us a Discourse upon Beggars, that we may not pass by true Objects of Charity, or give to Impostors. I looked out of my Window the other Morning earlier than ordinary, and saw a blind Beggar, an Hour before the Passage he stands in is frequented, with a Needle and Thread, thriftily mending his Stockings: My Astonishment was still greater, when I beheld a lame Fellow, whose Legs were too big to walk within an Hour after, bring him a Pot of Ale. I will not mention the Shakings, Distortions, and Convulsions which many of them practise to gain an Alms; but sure I am, they ought to be taken Care of in this Condition, either by the Beadle or the Magistrate. They, it seems, relieve their Posts according to their Talents. There is the Voice of an old Woman never begins to beg 'till nine in the Evening, and then she is destitute of Lodging, turned out for want of Rent, and has the same ill Fortune every Night in the Year. You should employ an Officer to hear the Distress of each Beggar that is constant at a particular Place, who is ever in the same Tone, and succeeds because his Audience is continually changing, tho' he does not alter his Lamentation. If we have nothing else for our Money, let us have more Invention to be cheated with. All which is submitted to your Spectatorial Vigilance: and I am,
Sir ,
Your most humble Servant.

Sir ,

I was last Sunday highly transported at our Parish-Church; the Gentleman in the Pulpit pleaded movingly in Behalf of the poor Children, and they for themselves much more forcibly by singing an Hymn; And I had the Happiness to be a Contributor to this little religious Institution of Innocents, and am sure I never disposed of Money more to my Satisfaction and Advantage. The inward Joy I find in my self, and the Good-will I bear to Mankind, make me heartily wish those pious Works may be encouraged, that the present Promoters may reap the Delight, and Posterity the Benefit of them. But whilst we are building this beautiful Edifice, let not the old Ruins remain in View to sully the Prospect: Whilst we are cultivating and improving this young hopeful Offspring, let not the ancient and helpless Creatures be shamefully neglected. The Crowds of Poor, or pretended Poor, in every Place, are a great Reproach to us, and eclipse the Glory of all other Charity. It is the utmost Reproach to Society, that there should be a poor Man unrelieved, or a poor Rogue unpunished. I hope you will think no Part of Human Life out of your Consideration, but will, at your Leisure, give us the History of Plenty and Want, and the natural Gradations towards them, calculated for the Cities of London and Westminster.
I am, Sir ,
Your most Humble Servant
T. D.


I beg you would be pleased to take Notice of a very great Indecency, which is extreamly common, though, I think, never yet under your Censure. It is, Sir , the strange Freedoms some ill-bred married People take in Company: The unseasonable Fondness of some Husbands, and the ill-timed Tenderness of some Wives. They talk and act, as if Modesty was only fit for Maids and Batchelors, and that too before both. I was once, Mr. SPECTATOR, where the Fault I speak of was so very flagrant, that (being, you must know, a very bashful Fellow, and several young Ladies in the Room) I protest I was quite out of Countenance. Lucina, it seems, was breeding, and she did nothing but entertain the Company with a Discourse upon the Difficulty of Reckoning to a Day, and said she knew those who were certain to an Hour; then fell a laughing at a silly unexperienced Creature, who was a Month above her Time. Upon her Husband's coming in, she put several Questions to him; which he not caring to resolve, Well, cries Lucina, I shall have 'em all at Night—But lest I should seem guilty of the very Fault I write against, I shall only intreat Mr. Spectator to correct such Misdemeanors;
For higher of the Genial Bed by far,
And with mysterious Reverence, I deem.1
I am, Sir ,

Your humble Servant

T. Meanwell.

Footnote 1:   Paradise Lost, Bk VIII. 11. 598-9.
return to footnote mark


No. 431

Tuesday, July 15, 1712


Quid Dulcius hominum generi a Natura datum est quam sui cuique liberi?translation


I have lately been casting in my Thoughts the several Unhappinesses of Life, and comparing the Infelicities of old Age to those of Infancy. The Calamities of Children are due to the Negligence and Misconduct of Parents, those of Age to the past Life which led to it. I have here the History of a Boy and Girl to their Wedding-Day, and I think I cannot give the Reader a livelier Image of the insipid way which Time uncultivated passes, than by entertaining him with their authentick Epistles, expressing all that was remarkable in their Lives, 'till the Period of their Life above mentioned. The Sentence at the Head of this Paper, which is only a warm Interrogation, What is there in Nature so dear as a Man's own Children to him? is all the Reflection I shall at present make on those who are negligent or cruel in the Education of them.


I am now entring into my One and Twentieth Year, and do not know that I had one Day's thorough Satisfaction since I came to Years of any Reflection, till the Time they say others lose their Liberty, the Day of my Marriage. I am Son to a Gentleman of a very great Estate, who resolv'd to keep me out of the Vices of the Age; and in order to it never let me see any Thing that he thought could give me the least Pleasure. At ten Years old I was put to a Grammar-School, where my Master received Orders every Post to use me very severely, and have no regard to my having a great Estate. At Fifteen I was removed to the University, where I liv'd, out of my Father's great Discretion, in scandalous Poverty and Want, till I was big enough to be married, and I was sent for to see the Lady who sends you the Underwritten. When we were put together, we both considered that we could not be worse than we were in taking one another, out of a DeSir e of Liberty entered into Wedlock. My Father says I am now a Man, and may speak to him like another Gentleman.

I am, Sir ,

Your most humble Servant

Richard Rentfree.


I grew tall and wild at my Mother's, who is a gay Widow, and did not care for shewing me 'till about two Years and a half ago; at which time my Guardian Uncle sent me to a Boarding-School, with Orders to contradict me in nothing, for I had been misused enough already. I had not been there above a Month, when being in the Kitchin, I saw some Oatmeal on the Dresser; I put two or three Corns in my Mouth, liked it, stole a Handful, went into my Chamber, chewed it, and for two Months after never failed taking Toll of every Pennyworth of Oatmeal that came into the House: But one Day playing with a Tobacco-pipe between my Teeth, it happened to break in my Mouth, and the spitting out the Pieces left such a delicious Roughness on my Tongue, that I could not be satisfied 'till I had champed up the remaining Part of the Pipe. I forsook the Oatmeal, and stuck to the Pipes three Months, in which Time I had dispensed with thirty seven foul Pipes, all to the Boles; They belonged to an old Gentleman, Father to my Governess—He lock'd up the clean ones. I left off eating of Pipes, and fell to licking of Chalk. I was soon tired of this; I then nibbled all the red Wax of our last Ball-Tickets, and three Weeks after the black Wax from the Burying-Tickets of the old Gentleman. Two Months after this I liv'd upon Thunder-bolts, a certain long, round bluish Stone, which I found among the Gravel in our Garden. I was wonderfully delighted with this; but Thunder-bolts growing scarce, I fasten'd Tooth and Nail upon our Garden-Wall, which I stuck to almost a Twelvemonth, and had in that time peeled and devoured half a Foot towards our Neighbour's Yard. I now thought my self the happiest Creature in the World, and I believe in my Conscience, I had eaten quite through, had I had it in my Chamber; but now I became lazy, and unwilling to stir, and was obliged to seek Food nearer Home. I then took a strange Hankering to Coals; I fell to scranching 'em, and had already consumed, I am certain, as much as would have dressed my Wedding Dinner, when my Uncle came for me Home. He was in the Parlour with my Governess when I was called down. I went in, fell on my Knees, for he made me call him Father; and when I expected the Blessing I asked, the good Gentleman, in a Surprize, turns himself to my Governess, and asks, Whether this (pointing to me) was his Daughter? This (added he) is the very Picture of Death. My Child was a plump-fac'd, hale, fresh-coloured Girl; but this looks as if she was half-starved, a mere Skeleton. My Governess, who is really a good Woman, assured my Father I had wanted for nothing; and withal told him I was continually eating some Trash or other, and that I was almost eaten up with the Green-sickness, her Orders being never to cross me. But this magnified but little with my Father, who presently, in a kind of Pett, paying for my Board, took me home with him. I had not been long at home, but one Sunday at Church (I shall never forget it) I saw a young neighbouring Gentleman that pleased me hugely; I liked him of all Men I ever saw in my Life, and began to wish I could be as pleasing to him. The very next Day he came, with his Father, a visiting to our House: We were left alone together, with Directions on both Sides to be in Love with one another, and in three Weeks time we were married. I regained my former Health and Complexion, and am now as happy as the Day is long. Now, Mr. SPEC., I deSir e you would find out some Name for these craving Damsels, whether dignified or distinguished under some or all of the following Denominations, (to wit) Trash-eaters, Oatmeal-chewers, Pipe-champers, Chalk-lickers, Wax-nibbles, Coal-Scranchers, Wall-peelers, or Gravel-diggers: And, good Sir , do your utmost endeavour to prevent (by exposing) this unaccountable Folly, so prevailing among the young ones of our Sex, who may not meet with such sudden good Luck as,

Sir ,
Your constant Reader,
and very humble Servant
Sabina Green,
Now Sabina Rentfree.


No. 432

Wednesday, July 16, 1712


Inter-strepit anser olores.translation


Oxford, July 14.


According to a late Invitation in one of your Papers to every Man who pleases to write, I have sent you the following short Dissertation against the Vice of being prejudiced.

Your most humble Servant.

Man is a sociable Creature, and a Lover of Glory; whence it is that when several Persons are united in the same Society, they are studious to lessen the Reputation of others, in order to raise their own. The Wise are content to guide the Springs in Silence, and rejoice in Secret at their regular Progress: To prate and triumph is the Part allotted to the Trifling and Superficial: The Geese were providentially ordained to save the Capitol. Hence it is, that the Invention of Marks and Devices to distinguish Parties, is owing to the Beaux and Belles of this Island. Hats moulded into different Cocks and Pinches, have long bid mutual Defiance; Patches have been set against Patches in Battel-aray; Stocks have risen or fallen in Proportion to Head-Dresses; and Peace or War been expected, as the White or the Red Hood hath prevailed. These are the Standard-Bearers in our contending Armies, the Dwarfs and Squires who carry the Impresses of the Giants or Knights, not born to fight themselves, but to prepare the Way for the ensuing Combat.

It is Matter of Wonder to reflect how far Men of weak Understanding and strong Fancy are hurried by their Prejudices, even to the believing that the whole Body of the adverse Party are a Band of Villains and Dæmons. Foreigners complain, that the English are the proudest Nation under Heaven. Perhaps they too have their Share; but be that as it will, general Charges against Bodies of Men is the Fault I am writing against. It must be own'd, to our Shame, that our common People, and most who have not travelled, have an irrational Contempt for the Language, Dress, Customs, and even the Shape and Minds of other Nations. Some Men otherwise of Sense, have wondered that a great Genius should spring out of Ireland; and think you mad in affirming, that fine Odes have been written in Lapland.

This Spirit of Rivalship, which heretofore reigned in the Two Universities, is extinct, and almost over betwixt College and College: In Parishes and Schools the Thirst of Glory still obtains. At the Seasons of Football and Cock-fighting, these little Republicks reassume their national Hatred to each other. My Tenant in the Country is verily perswaded, that the Parish of the Enemy hath not one honest Man in it.

I always hated Satyrs against Woman, and Satyrs against Man; I am apt to suspect a Stranger who laughs at the Religion of The Faculty; My Spleen rises at a dull Rogue, who is severe upon Mayors and Aldermen; and was never better pleased than with a Piece of Justice executed upon the Body of a Templer, who was very arch upon Parsons.

The Necessities of Mankind require various Employments; and whoever excels in his Province is worthy of Praise. All Men are not educated after the same Manner, nor have all the same Talents. Those who are deficient deserve our Compassion, and have a Title to our Assistance. All cannot be bred in the same Place; but in all Places there arise, at different Times, such Persons as do Honour to their Society, which may raise Envy in little Souls, but are admired and cherished by generous Spirits.

It is certainly a great Happiness to be educated in Societies of great and eminent Men. Their Instructions and Examples are of extraordinary Advantage. It is highly proper to instill such a Reverence of the governing Persons, and Concern for the Honour of the Place, as may spur the growing Members to worthy Pursuits and honest Emulation: But to swell young Minds with vain Thoughts of the Dignity of their own Brotherhood, by debasing and villifying all others, doth them a real Injury. By this means I have found that their Efforts have become languid, and their Prattle irksome, as thinking it sufficient Praise that they are Children of so illustrious and ample a Family. I should think it a surer as well as more generous Method, to set before the Eyes of Youth such Persons as have made a noble Progress in Fraternities less talk'd of; which seems tacitly to reproach their Sloth, who loll so heavily in the Seats of mighty Improvement: Active Spirits hereby would enlarge their Notions, whereas by a servile Imitation of one, or perhaps two, admired Men in their own Body, they can only gain a secondary and derivative kind of Fame. These Copiers of Men, like those of Authors or Painters, run into Affectations of some Oddness, which perhaps was not disagreeable in the Original, but sits ungracefully on the narrow-soul'd Transcriber.

By such early Corrections of Vanity, while Boys are growing into Men, they will gradually learn not to censure superficially; but imbibe those Principles of general Kindness and Humanity, which alone can make them easie to themselves, and beloved by others.

Reflections of this nature have expunged all Prejudices out of my Heart, insomuch that, tho' I am a firm Protestant, I hope to see the Pope and Cardinals without violent Emotions; and tho' I am naturally grave, I expect to meet good Company at Paris.

I am, Sir ,
Your obedient Servant


I find you are a general Undertaker, and have by your Correspondents or self an Insight into most things: which makes me apply my self to you at present in the sorest Calamity that ever befel Man. My Wife has taken something ill of me, and has not spoke one Word, good or bad, to me, or any Body in the Family, since Friday was Seven-night. What must a Man do in that Case? Your Advice would be a great Obligation to,

Sir , Your most humble Servant,

Ralph Thimbleton.


When you want a Trifle to fill up a Paper, in inserting this you will lay an Obligation on

Your humble Servant,
July 15th, 1712.
Dear Olivia,

It is but this Moment I have had the Happiness of knowing to whom I am obliged for the Present I received the second of April. I am heartily sorry it did not come to Hand the Day before; for I can't but think it very hard upon People to lose their Jest, that offer at one but once a Year. I congratulate my self however upon the Earnest given me of something further intended in my Favour, for I am told, that the Man who is thought worthy by a Lady to make a Fool of, stands fair enough in her Opinion to become one Day her Husband. Till such time as I have the Honour of being sworn, I take Leave to subscribe my self,

Dear Olivia, Your Fool Elect,



No. 433

Thursday, July 17, 1712


Perlege Mæonio cantatas carmine Ranas,
Et frontem nugis solvere disce meis.


The Moral World, as consisting of Males and Females, is of a mixt Nature, and filled with several Customs, Fashions and Ceremonies, which would have no place in it, were there but One Sex. Had our Species no Females in it, Men would be quite different Creatures from what they are at present; their Endeavours to please the opposite Sex, polishes and refines them out of those Manners which are most Natural to them, and often sets them upon modelling themselves, not according to the Plans which they approve in their own Opinions, but according to those Plans which they think are most agreeable to the Female World. In a Word, Man would not only be unhappy, but a rude unfinished Creature, were he conversant with none but those of his own Make.

Women, on the other side, are apt to form themselves in every thing with regard to that other half of reasonable Creatures, with whom they are here blended and confused; their Thoughts are ever turned upon appearing amiable to the other Sex; they talk, and move, and smile, with a Design upon us; every Feature of their Faces, every part of their Dress is filled with Snares and Allurements. There would be no such Animals as Prudes or Coquets in the World, were there not such an Animal as Man. In short, it is the Male that gives Charms to Womankind, that produces an Air in their Faces, a Grace in their Motions, a Softness in their Voices, and a Delicacy in their Complections.

As this mutual Regard between the two Sexes tends to the Improvement of each of them, we may observe that Men are apt to degenerate into rough and brutal Natures, who live as if there were no such things as Women in the World; as on the contrary, Women, who have an Indifference or Aversion for their Counter-parts in human Nature, are generally Sower and Unamiable, Sluttish and Censorious.

I am led into this Train of Thoughts by a little Manuscript which is lately fallen into my Hands, and which I shall communicate to the Reader, as I have done some other curious Pieces of the same Nature, without troubling him with any Enquiries about the Author of it. It contains a summary Account of two different States which bordered upon one another. The one was a Commonwealth of Amazons, or Women without Men; the other was a Republick of Males that had not a Woman in their whole Community. As these two States bordered upon one another, it was their way, it seems, to meet upon their Frontiers at a certain Season of the Year, where those among the Men who had not made their Choice in any former Meeting, associated themselves with particular Women, whom they were afterwards obliged to look upon as their Wives in every one of these yearly Rencounters. The Children that sprung from this Alliance, if Males, were sent to their respective Fathers, if Females, continued with their Mothers. By means of this Anniversary Carnival, which lasted about a Week, the Commonwealths were recruited from time to time, and supplied with their respective Subjects.

These two States were engaged together in a perpetual League, Offensive and Defensive, so that if any Foreign Potentate offered to attack either of them, both the Sexes fell upon him at once, and quickly brought him to Reason. It was remarkable that for many Ages this Agreement continued inviolable between the two States, notwithstanding, as was said before, they were Husbands and Wives; but this will not appear so wonderful, if we consider that they did not live together above a Week in a Year.

In the Account which my Author gives of the Male Republick, there were several Customs very remarkable. The Men never shaved their Beards, or pared their Nails above once in a Twelvemonth, which was probably about the time of the great annual Meeting upon their Frontiers. I find the Name of a Minister of State in one Part of their History, who was fined for appearing too frequently in clean Linnen; and of a certain great General who was turned out of his Post for Effeminacy, it having been proved upon him by several credible Witnesses that he washed his Face every Morning. If any Member of the Commonwealth had a soft Voice, a smooth Face, or a supple Behaviour, he was banished into the Commonwealth of Females, where he was treated as a Slave, dressed in Petticoats, and set a Spinning. They had no Titles of Honour among them, but such as denoted some Bodily Strength or Perfection, as such an one the Tall, such an one the Stocky, such an one the Gruff. Their publick Debates were generally managed with Kicks and Cuffs, insomuch that they often came from the Council Table with broken Shins, black Eyes, and bloody Noses. When they would reproach a Man in the most bitter Terms, they would tell him his Teeth were white, or that he had a fair Skin, and a soft Hand. The greatest Man I meet with in their History, was one who could lift Five hundred Weight, and wore such a prodigious Pair of Whiskers as had never been seen in the Commonwealth before his Time. These Accomplishments it seems had rendred him so popular, that if he had not died very seasonably, it is thought he might have enslaved the Republick. Having made this short Extract out of the History of the Male Commonwealth, I shall look into the History of the neighbouring State which consisted of Females, and if I find any thing in it, will not fail to Communicate it to the Publick.



No. 434

Friday, July 18, 1712


Quales Threiciæ cùm flumina Thermodoontis
Pulsant, et pictis bellantur Amazones armis:
Seu circum Hippolyten, seu cùm se Martia curru
Penthesilea refert, magnoque ululante tumultu
Fæminea exultant lunatis agmina peltis.


Having carefully perused the Manuscript I mentioned in my Yesterday's Paper, so far as it relates to the Republick of Women, I find in it several Particulars which may very well deserve the Reader's Attention.

The Girls of Quality, from six to twelve Years old, were put to publick Schools, where they learned to Box and play at Cudgels, with several other Accomplishments of the same Nature; so that nothing was more usual than to see a little Miss returning Home at Night with a broken Pate, or two or three Teeth knocked out of her Head. They were afterwards taught to ride the great Horse, to Shoot, Dart, or Sling, and listed into several Companies, in order to perfect themselves in Military Exercises. No Woman was to be married till she had killed her Man. The Ladies of Fashion used to play with young Lions instead of Lap-dogs, and when they made any Parties of Diversion, instead of entertaining themselves at Ombre or Piquet, they would wrestle and pitch the Bar for a whole Afternoon together. There was never any such thing as a Blush seen, or a Sigh heard, in the Commonwealth. The Women never dressed but to look terrible, to which end they would sometimes after a Battel paint their Cheeks with the Blood of their Enemies. For this Reason likewise the Face which had the most Scars was looked upon as the most beautiful. If they found Lace, Jewels, Ribbons, or any Ornaments in Silver or Gold among the Booty which they had taken, they used to dress their Horses with it, but never entertained a Thought of wearing it themselves. There were particular Rights and Privileges allowed to any Member of the Commonwealth, who was a Mother of three Daughters. The Senate was made up of old Women; for by the Laws of the Country none was to be a Councellor of State that was not past Child-bearing. They used to boast their Republick had continued Four thousand Years, which is altogether improbable, unless we may suppose, what I am very apt to think, that they measured their Time by Lunar Years.

There was a great Revolution brought about in this Female Republick, by means of a neighbouring King, who had made War upon them several Years with various Success, and at length overthrew them in a very great Battel. This Defeat they ascribe to several Causes; some say that the Secretary of State having been troubled with the Vapours, had committed some fatal Mistakes in several Dispatches about that Time. Others pretend, that the first Minister being big with Child, could not attend the Publick Affairs, as so great an Exigency of State required; but this I can give no manner of Credit to, since it seems to contradict a Fundamental Maxim in their Government which I have before mentioned. My Author gives the most probable Reason of this great Disaster; for he affirms, that the General was brought to Bed, or (as others say) Miscarried the very Night before the Battel: However it was, this signal Overthrow obliged them to call in the Male Republick to their Assistance; but notwithstanding their Common Efforts to repulse the Victorious Enemy, the War continued for many Years before they could entirely bring it to a happy Conclusion.

The Campaigns which both Sexes passed together made them so well acquainted with one another, that at the End of the War they did not care for parting. In the Beginning of it they lodged in separate Camps, but afterwards as they grew more familiar, they pitched their Tents promiscuously.

From this time the Armies being Chequered with both Sexes, they polished apace. The Men used to invite their Fellow-Soldiers into their Quarters, and would dress their Tents with Flowers and Boughs, for their Reception. If they chanced to like one more than another, they would be cutting her Name in the Table, or Chalking out her Figure upon a Wall, or talking of her in a kind of rapturous Language, which by degrees improved into Verse and Sonnet. These were as the first Rudiments of Architecture, Painting, and Poetry among this Savage People. After any Advantage over the Enemy, both Sexes used to Jump together and make a Clattering with their Swords and Shields, for Joy, which in a few Years produced several Regular Tunes and Sett Dances.

As the two Armies romped on these Occasions, the Women complained of the thick bushy Beards and long Nails of their Confederates, who thereupon took care to prune themselves into such Figures as were most pleasing to their Female Friends and Allies.

When they had taken any Spoils from the Enemy, the Men would make a Present of every thing that was Rich and Showy to the Women whom they most admired, and would frequently dress the Necks, or Heads, or Arms of their Mistresses, with any thing which they thought appeared Gay or Pretty. The Women observing that the Men took delight in looking upon them, when they were adorned with such Trappings and Gugaws, set their Heads at Work to find out new Inventions, and to outshine one another in all Councils of War or the like solemn Meetings. On the other hand, the Men observing how the Women's Hearts were set upon Finery, begun to Embellish themselves and look as agreeably as they could in the Eyes of their Associates. In short, after a few Years conversing together, the Women had learnt to Smile, and the Men to Ogle, the Women grew Soft, and the Men Lively.

When they had thus insensibly formed one another, upon the finishing of the War, which concluded with an entire Conquest of their common Enemy, the Colonels in one Army Married the Colonels in the other; the Captains in the same Manner took the Captains to their Wives: The whole Body of common Soldiers were matched, after the Example of their Leaders. By this means the two Republicks incorporated with one another, and became the most Flourishing and Polite Government in the Part of the World which they Inhabited.



No. 435

Saturday, July 19, 1712


Nec duo sunt at forma duplex, nec fæmina dici
Nec puer ut possint, neutrumque et utrumque videntur.


Most of the Papers I give the Publick are written on Subjects that never vary, but are for ever fixt and immutable. Of this kind are all my more serious Essays and Discourses; but there is another sort of Speculations, which I consider as Occasional Papers, that take their Rise from the Folly, Extravagance, and Caprice of the present Age. For I look upon my self as one set to watch the Manners and Behaviour of my Countrymen and Contemporaries, and to mark down every absurd Fashion, ridiculous Custom, or affected Form of Speech that makes its Appearance in the World, during the Course of these my Speculations. The Petticoat no sooner begun to swell, but I observed its Motions. The Party-patches had not time to muster themselves before I detected them. I had Intelligence of the Coloured Hood the very first time it appeared in a Publick Assembly. I might here mention several other the like Contingent Subjects, upon which I have bestowed distinct Papers. By this Means I have so effectually quashed those Irregularities which gave Occasion to 'em, that I am afraid Posterity will scarce have a sufficient Idea of them, to relish those Discourses which were in no little Vogue at the time when they were written. They will be apt to think that the Fashions and Customs I attacked were some Fantastick Conceits of my own, and that their Great-Grand-mothers could not be so whimsical as I have represented them. For this Reason, when I think on the Figure my several Volumes of Speculations will make about a Hundred Years hence, I consider them as so many Pieces of old Plate, where the Weight will be regarded, but the Fashion lost.

Among the several Female Extravagancies I have already taken Notice of, there is one which still keeps its Ground. I mean that of the Ladies who dress themselves in a Hat and Feather, a Riding-coat and a Perriwig, or at least tie up their Hair in a Bag or Ribbond, in imitation of the smart Part of the opposite Sex. As in my Yesterday's Paper I gave an Account of the Mixture of two Sexes in one Commonwealth, I shall here take notice of this Mixture of two Sexes in one Person. I have already shewn my Dislike of this Immodest Custom more than once; but in Contempt of every thing I have hitherto said, I am informed that the Highways about this great City are still very much infested with these Female Cavaliers.

I remember when I was at my Friend Sir Roger De Coverly's about this time Twelve-month, an Equestrian Lady of this Order appeared upon the Plains which lay at a distance from his House. I was at that time walking in the Fields with my old Friend; and as his Tenants ran out on every side to see so strange a Sight, Sir ROGER asked one of them who came by us what it was? To which the Country Fellow reply'd, 'Tis a Gentlewoman, saving your Worship's Presence, in a Coat and Hat. This produced a great deal of Mirth at the Knight's House, where we had a Story at the same time of another of his Tenants, who meeting this Gentleman-like Lady on the High-way, was asked by her whether that was Coverly-Hall, the Honest Man seeing only the Male Part of the Querist, replied, Yes, Sir ; but upon the second Question, whether Sir Roger De Coverly was a married Man, having dropped his Eye upon the Petticoat, he changed his Note into No, Madam.

Had one of these Hermaphrodites appeared in Juvenal's Days, with what an Indignation should we have seen her described by that excellent Satyrist. He would have represented her in a Riding Habit, as a greater Monster than the Centaur. He would have called for Sacrifices or Purifying Waters, to expiate the Appearance of such a Prodigy. He would have invoked the Shades of Portia or Lucretia, to see into what the Roman Ladies had transformed themselves.

For my own part, I am for treating the Sex with greater Tenderness, and have all along made use of the most gentle Methods to bring them off from any little Extravagance into which they are sometimes unwarily fallen: I think it however absolutely necessary to keep up the Partition between the two Sexes, and to take Notice of the smallest Encroachments which the one makes upon the other. I hope therefore that I shall not hear any more Complaints on this Subject. I am sure my She-Disciples who peruse these my daily Lectures, have profited but little by them, if they are capable of giving into such an Amphibious Dress. This I should not have mentioned, had not I lately met one of these my Female Readers in Hyde Park, who looked upon me with a masculine Assurance, and cocked her Hat full in my Face.

For my part, I have one general Key to the Behaviour of the Fair Sex. When I see them singular in any Part of their Dress, I conclude it is not without some Evil Intention; and therefore question not but the Design of this strange Fashion is to smite more effectually their Male Beholders. Now to set them right in this Particular, I would fain have them consider with themselves whether we are not more likely to be struck by a Figure entirely Female, than with such an one as we may see every Day in our Glasses: Or, if they please, let them reflect upon their own Hearts, and think how they would be affected should they meet a Man on Horseback, in his Breeches and Jack-Boots, and at the same time dressed up in a Commode and a Night-raile.

I must observe that this Fashion was first of all brought to us from France, a Country which has Infected all the Nations of Europe with its Levity. I speak not this in derogation of a whole People, having more than once found fault with those general Reflections which strike at Kingdoms or Commonwealths in the Gross: A piece of Cruelty, which an ingenious Writer of our own compares to that of Caligula, who wished the Roman People had all but one Neck, that he might behead them at a Blow. I shall therefore only Remark, that as Liveliness and Assurance are in a peculiar manner the Qualifications of the French Nation, the same Habits and Customs will not give the same Offence to that People, which they produce among those of our own Country. Modesty is our distinguishing Character, as Vivacity is theirs: And when this our National Virtue appears in that Female Beauty, for which our British Ladies are celebrated above all others in the Universe, it makes up the most amiable Object that the Eye of Man can possibly behold.



No. 436

Monday, July 21, 1712


Verso pollice vulgi
Quemlibet occidunt Populariter.


Being a Person of insatiable Curiosity, I could not forbear going on Wednesday last to a Place of no small Renown for the Gallantry of the lower Order of Britons, namely, to the Bear-Garden at Hockley in the Hole1; where (as a whitish brown Paper, put into my Hands in the Street, informed me) there was to be a Tryal of Skill to be exhibited between two Masters of the Noble Science of Defence, at two of the Clock precisely. I was not a little charm'd with the Solemnity of the Challenge, which ran thus:
I James Miller, Serjeant, (lately come from the Frontiers of Portugal) Master of the noble Science of Defence, hearing in most Places where I have been of the great Fame of Timothy Buck of London, Master of the said Science, do invite him to meet me, and exercise at the several Weapons following, viz.

Back-Sword Single Falchon
Sword and Dagger Case of Falchons
Sword and Buckler Quarter Staff
If the generous Ardour in James Miller to dispute the Reputation of Timothy Buck, had something resembling the old Heroes of Romance, Timothy Buck return'd Answer in the same Paper with the like Spirit, adding a little Indignation at being challenged, and seeming to condescend to fight James Miller, not in regard to Miller himself, but in that, as the Fame went out, he had fought Parkes of Coventry2. The Acceptance of the Combat ran in these Words:
I Timothy Buck of Clare-Market, Master of the Noble Science of Defence, hearing he did fight Mr. Parkes of Coventry, will not fail (God Willing) to meet this fair Inviter at the Time and Place appointed, deSir ing a clear Stage and no Favour.

Vivat Regina.
I shall not here look back on the Spectacles of the Greeks and Romans of this kind, but must believe this Custom took its rise from the Ages of Knight-Errantry; from those who lov'd one Woman so well, that they hated all Men and Women else; from those who would fight you, whether you were or were not of their Mind; from those who demanded the Combat of their Contemporaries, both for admiring their Mistress or discommending her. I cannot therefore but lament, that the terrible Part of the ancient Fight is preserved, when the amorous Side of it is forgotten. We have retained the Barbarity, but lost the Gallantry of the old Combatants. I could wish, methinks, these Gentlemen had consulted me in the Promulgation of the Conflict. I was obliged by a fair young Maid whom I understood to be called Elizabeth Preston, Daughter of the Keeper of the Garden, with a Glass of Water; whom I imagined might have been, for Form's sake, the general Representative of the Lady sought for, and from her Beauty the proper Amarillis on these Occasions. It would have ran better in the Challenge, I James Miller, Serjeant, who have travelled Parts abroad, and came last from the Frontiers of Portugal, for the Love of Elizabeth Preston, do assert, That the said Elizabeth is the Fairest of Women. Then the Answer; I Timothy Buck, who have stay'd in Great Britain during all the War in Foreign Parts, for the Sake of Susanna Page, do deny that Elizabeth Preston is so fair as the said Susanna Page. Let Susanna Page look on, and I deSir e of James Miller no Favour.

This would give the Battel quite another Turn; and a proper Station for the Ladies, whose Complexion was disputed by the Sword, would animate the Disputants with a more gallant Incentive than the Expectation of Money from the Spectators; tho' I would not have that neglected, but thrown to that Fair One, whose Lover was approved by the Donor.

Yet, considering the Thing wants such Amendments, it was carried with great Order. James Miller came on first, preceded by two disabled Drummers, to shew, I suppose, that the Prospect of maimed Bodies did not in the least deter him. There ascended with the daring Miller a Gentleman, whose Name I could not learn, with a dogged Air, as unsatisfied that he was not Principal. This Son of Anger lowred at the whole Assembly, and weighing himself as he march'd around from Side to Side, with a stiff Knee and Shoulder, he gave Intimations of the Purpose he smothered till he saw the Issue of this Encounter. Miller had a blue Ribband tied round the Sword Arm; which Ornament I conceive to be the Remain of that Custom of wearing a Mistress's Favour on such Occasions of old.

Miller is a Man of six Foot eight Inches Height, of a kind but bold Aspect, well-fashioned, and ready of his Limbs: and such Readiness as spoke his Ease in them, was obtained from a Habit of Motion in Military Exercise.

The Expectation of the Spectators was now almost at its Height, and the Crowd pressing in, several active Persons thought they were placed rather according to their Fortune than their Merit, and took it in their Heads to prefer themselves from the open Area, or Pitt, to the Galleries. This Dispute between Desert and Property brought many to the Ground, and raised others in proportion to the highest Seats by Turns for the Space of ten Minutes, till Timothy Buck came on, and the whole Assembly giving up their Disputes, turned their Eyes upon the Champions. Then it was that every Man's Affection turned to one or the other irresistibly. A judicious Gentleman near me said, I could methinks be Miller's Second, but I had rather have Buck for mine. Miller had an Audacious Look, that took the Eye; Buck a perfect Composure, that engaged the Judgment. Buck came on in a plain Coat, and kept all his Air till the Instant of Engaging; at which time he undress'd to his Shirt, his Arm adorned with a Bandage of red Ribband. No one can describe the sudden Concern in the whole Assembly; the most tumultuous Crowd in Nature was as still and as much engaged, as if all their Lives depended on the first Blow. The Combatants met in the Middle of the Stage, and shaking Hands as removing all Malice, they retired with much Grace to the Extremities of it; from whence they immediately faced about, and approached each other, Miller with an Heart full of Resolution, Buck with a watchful untroubled Countenance; Buck regarding principally his own Defence, Miller chiefly thoughtful of annoying his Opponent. It is not easie to describe the many Escapes and imperceptible Defences between two Men of quick Eyes and ready Limbs, but Miller's Heat laid him open to the Rebuke of the calm Buck, by a large Cut on the Forehead. Much Effusion of Blood covered his Eyes in a Moment, and the Huzzas of the Crowd undoubtedly quickened the Anguish. The Assembly was divided into Parties upon their different ways of Fighting; while a poor Nymph in one of the Galleries apparently suffered for Miller, and burst into a Flood of Tears. As soon as his Wound was wrapped up, he came on again with a little Rage, which still disabled him further. But what brave Man can be wounded into more Patience and Caution? The next was a warm eager Onset, which ended in a decisive Stroke on the Left Leg of Miller. The Lady in the Gallery, during this second Strife, covered her Face; and for my Part, I could not keep my Thoughts from being mostly employed on the Consideration of her unhappy Circumstance that Moment, hearing the Clash of Swords, and apprehending Life or Victory concerned her Lover in every Blow, but not daring to satisfie her self on whom they fell. The Wound was exposed to the View of all who could delight in it, and sowed up on the Stage. The surly Second of Miller declared at this Time, that he would that Day Fortnight fight Mr. Buck at the same Weapons, declaring himself the Master of the renowned Gorman; but Buck denied him the Honour of that couragious Disciple, and asserting that he himself had taught that Champion, accepted the Challenge.

There is something in Nature very unaccountable on such Occasions, when we see the People take a certain painful Gratification in beholding these Encounters. Is it Cruelty that administers this Sort of Delight? Or is it a Pleasure which is taken in the Exercise of Pity? It was methought pretty remarkable, that the Business of the Day being a Tryal of Skill, the Popularity did not run so high as one would have expected on the Side of Buck. Is it that People's Passions have their Rise in Self-Love, and thought themselves (in spite of all the Courage they had) liable to the Fate of Miller, but could not so easily think themselves qualified like Buck?

Tully speaks of this Custom with less Horrour than one would expect, though he confesses it was much abused in his Time, and seems directly to approve of it under its first Regulations, when Criminals only fought before the People. Crudele Gladiatorum spectaculum et inhumanum nonnullis videri solet; et haud scio annon ita sit ut nunc fit; cum vero sontes ferro depugnabant, auribus fortasse multa, oculis quidem nulla, poterat esse fortior contra dolorem et mortem disciplina. The Shows of Gladiators may be thought barbarous and inhumane, and I know not but it is so as it is now practised; but in those Times when only Criminals were Combatants, the Ear perhaps might receive many better Instructions, but it is impossible that any thing which affects our Eyes, should fortifie us so well against Pain and Death. 3


Footnote 1:   See note on p. 118, vol. i. [Volume 1 links: Footnote 2 of No. 31.]
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   John Sparkes of Coventry has this piece of biography upon his tombstone:
'To the memory of Mr. John Sparkes, a native of this city; he was a man of a mild disposition, a gladiator by profession, who, after having fought 350 battles in the principal parts of Europe with honour and applause, at length quitted the stage, sheathed his sword, and, with Christian resignation, submitted to the grand victor in the 52nd year of his age.

Anno salutis humanæ, 1733.'
Serjeant James Miller afterwards became a captain, and fought in Scotland, under the Duke of Cumberland in 1745.

Footnote 3:   Tuscul. Quaest. lib. II., De Tolerando Dolore.


No. 437

Tuesday, July 22, 1712

Tune impune hæc facias? Tune hic homines adolescentulos
Imperitos rerum, eductos libere, in fraudem illicis?
Sollicitando, et pollicitando eorum animos lactas?
Ac meritricios amores nuptiis conglutinas?

Ter. And.translation

The other Day passed by me in her Chariot a Lady with that pale and wan Complexion, which we sometimes see in young People, who are fallen into Sorrow and private Anxiety of Mind, which antedate Age and Sickness. It is not three Years ago since she was gay, airy, and a little towards Libertine in her Carriage; but, methought, I easily forgave her that little Insolence, which she so severely pays for in her present Condition. Favilla, of whom I am speaking, is married to a sullen Fool with Wealth: Her Beauty and Merit are lost upon the Dolt, who is insensible of Perfection in any thing. Their Hours together are either painful or insipid: The Minutes she has to herself in his Absence, are not sufficient to give Vent at her Eyes to the Grief and Torment of his last Conversation. This poor Creature was sacrificed with a Temper (which, under the Cultivation of a Man of Sense, would have made the most agreeable Companion) into the Arms of this loathsome Yoak-fellow by Sempronia. Sempronia is a good Lady, who supports herself in an affluent Condition, by contracting Friendship with rich young Widows and Maids of plentiful Fortunes at their own Disposal, and bestowing her Friends upon worthless indigent Fellows; on the other Side, she ensnares inconsiderate and rash Youths of great Estates into the Arms of vitious Women. For this Purpose, she is accomplished in all the Arts which can make her acceptable at impertinent Visits; she knows all that passes in every Quarter, and is well acquainted with all the favourite Servants, Busiebodies, Dependants, and poor Relations of all Persons of Condition in the whole Town. At the Price of a good Sum of Money, Sempronia, by the Instigation of Favilla's Mother, brought about the Match for the Daughter, and the Reputation of this, which is apparently, in point of Fortune, more than Favilla could expect, has gained her the Visits and frequent Attendance of the Crowd of Mothers, who had rather see their Children miserable in great Wealth, than the happiest of the Race of Mankind in a less conspicuous State of Life. When Sempronia is so well acquainted with a Woman's Temper and Circumstance, that she believes Marriage would be acceptable to her, and advantageous to the Man who shall get her; her next Step is to look out for some one, whose Condition has some secret Wound in it, and wants a Sum, yet, in the Eye of the World, not unsuitable to her. If such is not easily had, she immediately adorns a worthless Fellow with what Estate she thinks convenient, and adds as great a Share of good Humour and Sobriety as is requisite: After this is settled, no Importunities, Arts, and Devices are omitted to hasten the Lady to her Happiness. In the general indeed she is a Person of so strict Justice, that she marries a poor Gallant to a rich Wench, and a Moneyless Girl to a Man of Fortune. But then she has no manner of Conscience in the Disparity, when she has a Mind to impose a poor Rogue for one of an Estate, she has no Remorse in adding to it, that he is illiterate, ignorant, and unfashioned; but makes those Imperfections Arguments of the Truth of his Wealth, and will, on such an Occasion, with a very grave Face, charge the People of Condition with Negligence in the Education of their Children. Exception being made t'other Day against an ignorant Booby of her own Cloathing, whom she was putting off for a rich Heir, Madam, said she, you know there is no making Children who know they have Estates attend their Books.

Sempronia, by these Arts, is loaded with Presents, importuned for her Acquaintance, and admired by those who do not know the first Taste of Life, as a Woman of exemplary good Breeding. But sure, to murder and to rob are less Iniquities, than to raise Profit by Abuses, as irreparable as taking away Life; but more grievous, as making it lastingly unhappy. To rob a Lady at Play of Half her Fortune, is not so ill, as giving the whole and her self to an unworthy Husband. But Sempronia can administer Consolation to an unhappy Fair at Home, by leading her to an agreeable Gallant elsewhere. She can then preach the general Condition of all the Married World, and tell an unexperienced young Woman the Methods of softning her Affliction, and laugh at her Simplicity and Want of Knowledge, with an Oh! my Dear, you will know better.

The Wickedness of Sempronia, one would think, should be superlative; but I cannot but esteem that of some Parents equal to it; I mean such as sacrifice the greatest Endowments and Qualifications to base Bargains. A Parent who forces a Child of a liberal and ingenious Spirit into the Arms of a Clown or a Blockhead, obliges her to a Crime too odious for a Name. It is in a Degree the unnatural Conjunction of rational and brutal Beings. Yet what is there so common, as the bestowing an accomplished Woman with such a Disparity. And I could name Crowds who lead miserable Lives, or want of Knowledge in their Parents, of this Maxim, that good Sense and good Nature always go together. That which is attributed to Fools, and called good Nature, is only an Inability of observing what is faulty, which turns in Marriage, into a Suspicion of every thing as such, from a Consciousness of that Inability.

Mr. Spectator,

'I am entirely of your Opinion with Relation to the Equestrian Females, who affect both the Masculine and Feminine Air at the same time; and cannot forbear making a Presentment against another Order of them who grow very numerous and powerful; and since our Language is not very capable of good compound Words, I must be contented to call them only the Naked Shouldered. These Beauties are not contented to make Lovers where-ever they appear, but they must make Rivals at the same time. Were you to see Gatty walk the Park at high Mall, you would expect those who followed her and those who met her could immediately draw their Swords for her. I hope, Sir , you will provide for the future, that Women may stick to their Faces for doing any future Mischief and not allow any but direct Traders in Beauty to expose more than the fore Part of the Neck, unless you please to allow this After-Game to those who are very defective in the Charms of the Countenance. I can say, to my Sorrow, the present Practice is very unfair, when to look back is Death; and it may be said of our Beauties, as a great Poet did of Bullets,
They kill and wound like Parthians as they fly.
I submit this to your Animadversion; and am, for the little while I have left,

Your humble Servant, the languishing Philanthus.

P. S. Suppose you mended my Letter, and made a Simile about the Porcupine, but I submit that also.


No. 438

Wednesday, July 23, 1712


—Animum rege qui nisi paret


It is a very common Expression, That such a one is very good-natur'd, but very passionate. The Expression indeed is very good-natur'd, to allow passionate People so much Quarter: But I think a passionate Man deserves the least Indulgence Imaginable. It is said, it is soon over; that is, all the Mischief he does is quickly dispatch'd, which, I think, is no great Recommendation to Favour. I have known one of these good-natur'd passionate Men say in a mix'd Company even to his own Wife or Child, such Things as the most inveterate Enemy of his Family would not have spoke, even in Imagination. It is certain that quick Sensibility is inseparable from a ready Understanding; but why should not that good Understanding call to it self all its Force on such Occasions, to master that sudden Inclination to Anger. One of the greatest Souls now in the World1 is the most subject by Nature to Anger, and yet so famous from a Conquest of himself this Way, that he is the known Example when you talk of Temper and Command of a Man's Self. To contain the Spirit of Anger, is the worthiest Discipline we can put our selves to. When a Man has made any Progress this way, a frivolous Fellow in a Passion, is to him as contemptible as a froward Child. It ought to be the Study of every Man, for his own Quiet and Peace. When he stands combustible and ready to flame upon every thing that touches him, Life is as uneasie to himself as it is to all about him. Syncropius leads, of all Men living, the most ridiculous Life; he is ever offending, and begging Pardon. If his Man enters the Room without what he sent for, That Blockhead, begins he—Gentlemen, I ask your Pardon, but Servants now a-days—The wrong Plates are laid, they are thrown into the Middle of the Room; his Wife stands by in Pain for him, which he sees in her Face, and answers as if he had heard all she was thinking; Why, what the Devil! Why don't you take Care to give Orders in these things? His Friends sit down to a tasteless Plenty of every thing, every Minute expecting new Insults from his impertinent Passions. In a Word, to eat with, or visit Syncropius, is no other than going to see him exercise his Family, exercise their Patience, and his own Anger.

It is monstrous that the Shame and Confusion in which this good-natured angry Man must needs behold his Friends while he thus lays about him, does not give him so much Reflection as to create an Amendment. This is the most scandalous Disuse of Reason imaginable; all the harmless Part of him is no more than that of a Bull-Dog, they are tame no longer than they are not offended. One of these good-natured angry Men shall, in an Instant, assemble together so many Allusions to secret Circumstances, as are enough to dissolve the Peace of all the Families and Friends he is acquainted with, in a Quarter of an Hour, and yet the next Moment be the best-natured Man in the whole World. If you would see Passion in its Purity, without Mixture of Reason, behold it represented in a mad Hero, drawn by a mad Poet. Nat Lee makes his Alexander say thus:
Away, begon, and give a Whirlwind Room,
Or I will blow you up like Dust! Avaunt;
Madness but meanly represents my Toil.
Eternal Discord!
Fury! Revenge! Disdain and Indignation!
Tear my swoln Breast, make way for Fire and Tempest.
My Brain is burst, Debate and Reason quench'd;
The Storm is up, and my hot bleeding Heart
Splits with the Rack, while Passions, like the Wind,
Rise up to Heav'n, and put out all the Stars.
Every passionate Fellow in Town talks half the Day with as little Consistency, and threatens Things as much out of his Power.

The next disagreeable Person to the outrageous Gentleman, is one of a much lower Order of Anger, and he is what we commonly call a peevish Fellow. A peevish Fellow is one who has some Reason in himself for being out of Humour, or has a natural Incapacity for Delight, and therefore disturbs all who are happier than himself with Pishes and Pshaws, or other well-bred Interjections, at every thing that is said or done in his Presence. There should be Physick mixed in the Food of all which these Fellows eat in good Company. This Degree of Anger passes, forsooth, for a Delicacy of Judgment, that won't admit of being easily pleas'd: but none above the Character of wearing a peevish Man's Livery, ought to bear with his ill Manners. All Things among Men of Sense and Condition should pass the Censure, and have the Protection, of the Eye of Reason.

No Man ought to be tolerated in an habitual Humour, Whim, or Particularity of Behaviour, by any who do not wait upon him for Bread. Next to the peevish Fellow is the Snarler. This Gentleman deals mightily in what we call the Irony, and as those sort of People exert themselves most against these below them, you see their Humour best, in their Talk to their Servants. That is so like you, You are a fine Fellow, Thou art the quickest Head-piece, and the like. One would think the Hectoring, the Storming, the Sullen, and all the different Species and Subordinations of the Angry should be cured, by knowing they live only as pardoned Men; and how pityful is the Condition of being only suffered? But I am interrupted by the pleasantest Scene of Anger and the Disappointment of it that I have ever known, which happened while I was yet Writing, and I overheard as I sat in the Backroom at a French Bookseller's. There came into the Shop a very learned Man with an erect Solemn Air, and tho' a Person of great Parts otherwise, slow in understanding anything which makes against himself. The Composure of the faulty Man, and the whimsical Perplexity of him that was justly angry, is perfectly New: After turning over many Volumes, said the Seller to the Buyer, Sir , you know I have long asked you to send me back the first Volume of French Sermons I formerly lent you; Sir , said the Chapman, I have often looked for it but cannot find it; It is certainly lost, and I know not to whom I lent it, it is so many Years ago; then, Sir , here is the other Volume, I'll send you home that, and please to pay for both. My Friend, reply'd he, canst thou be so Senseless as not to know that one Volume is as imperfect in my Library as in your Shop? Yes, Sir , but it is you have lost the first Volume, and to be short I will be Paid. Sir , answered the Chapman, you are a young Man, your Book is lost, and learn by this little Loss to bear much greater Adversities, which you must expect to meet with. Yes, Sir , I'll bear when I must, but I have not lost now, for I say you have it and shall pay me. Friend, you grow Warm, I tell you the Book is lost, and I foresee in the Course even of a prosperous Life, that you will meet Afflictions to make you Mad, if you cannot bear this Trifle. Sir , there is in this Case no need of bearing, for you have the Book. I say, Sir , I have not the Book. But your Passion will not let you hear enough to be informed that I have it not. Learn Resignation of your self to the Distresses of this Life: Nay do not fret and fume, it is my Duty to tell you that you are of an impatient Spirit, and an impatient Spirit is never without Woe. Was ever any thing like this? Yes, Sir , there have been many things like this. The Loss is but a Trifle, but your Temper is Wanton, and incapable of the least Pain; therefore let me advise you, be patient, the Book is lost, but do not you for that Reason lose your self.


Footnote 1:   Lord Somers.
return to footnote mark


No. 439

Thursday, July 24, 1712


Hi narrata ferunt alio: mensuraque ficti
Crescit; et auditis aliquid novus adjicit auctor.


Ovid describes the Palace of Fame1 as situated in the very Center of the Universe, and perforated with so many Windows and Avenues as gave her the Sight of every thing that was done in the Heavens, in the Earth, and in the Sea. The Structure of it was contrived in so admirable a manner, that it Eccho'd every Word which was spoken in the whole Compass of Nature; so that the Palace, says the Poet, was always filled with a confused Hubbub of low dying Sounds, the Voices being almost spent and worn out before they arrived at this General Rendezvous of Speeches and Whispers.

I consider Courts with the same Regard to the Governments which they superintend, as Ovid's Palace of Fame with regard to the Universe. The Eyes of a watchful Minister run through the whole People. There is scarce a Murmur or Complaint that does not reach his Ears. They have News-gatherers and Intelligencers distributed into their several Walks and Quarters, who bring in their respective Quotas, and make them acquainted with the Discourse and Conversation of the whole Kingdom or Common-wealth where they are employed. The wisest of Kings, alluding to these invisible and unsuspected Spies, who are planted by Kings and Rulers over their Fellow-Citizens, as well as to those Voluntary Informers that are buzzing about the Ears of a great Man, and making their Court by such secret Methods of Intelligence, has given us a very prudent Caution: Curse not the King, no not in thy Thought, and Curse not the Rich in thy Bedchamber: For a Bird of the Air shall carry the Voice, and that which hath Wings shall tell the matter.2

As it is absolutely necessary for Rulers to make use of other People's Eyes and Ears, they should take particular Care to do it in such a manner, that it may not bear too hard on the Person whose Life and Conversation are enquired into. A Man who is capable of so infamous a Calling as that of a Spy, is not very much to be relied upon. He can have no great Ties of Honour, or Checks of Conscience, to restrain him in those covert Evidences, where the Person accused has no Opportunity of vindicating himself. He will be more industrious to carry that which is grateful, than that which is true.

There will be no Occasion for him, if he does not hear and see things worth Discovery; so that he naturally inflames every Word and Circumstance, aggravates what is faulty, perverts what is good, and misrepresents what is indifferent. Nor is it to be doubted but that such ignominious Wretches let their private Passions into these their clandestine Informations, and often wreck their particular Spite or Malice against the Person whom they are set to watch. It is a pleasant Scene enough, which an Italian Author describes between a Spy, and a Cardinal who employed him. The Cardinal is represented as minuting down every thing that is told him. The Spy begins with a low Voice, Such an one, the Advocate, whispered to one of his Friends, within my Hearing, that your Eminence was a very great Poultron; and after having given his Patron time to take it down, adds that another called him a Mercenary Rascal in a publick Conversation. The Cardinal replies, Very well, and bids him go on. The Spy proceeds, and loads him with Reports of the same Nature, till the Cardinal rises in great Wrath, calls him an impudent Scoundrel, and kicks him out of the Room.

It is observed of great and heroick Minds, that they have not only shewn a particular Disregard to those unmerited Reproaches which have been cast upon 'em, but have been altogether free from that Impertinent Curiosity of enquiring after them, or the poor Revenge of resenting them. The Histories of Alexander and Cæsar are full of this kind of Instances. Vulgar Souls are of a quite contrary Character. Dionysius, the Tyrant of Sicily, had a Dungeon which was a very curious Piece of Architecture; and of which, as I am informed, there are still to be seen some Remains in that Island. It was called Dionysius's Ear, and built with several little Windings and Labyrinths in the form of a real Ear. The Structure of it made it a kind of whispering Place, but such a one as gathered the Voice of him who spoke into a Funnel, which was placed at the very Top of it. The Tyrant used to lodge all his State-Criminals, or those whom he supposed to be engaged together in any Evil Designs upon him, in this Dungeon. He had at the same time an Apartment over it, where he used to apply himself to the Funnel, and by that Means over-hear every thing that was whispered in the3 Dungeon. I believe one may venture to affirm, that a Cæsar or an Alexander would rather have died by the Treason, than have used such disingenuous Means for the detecting of it. A Man, who in ordinary Life is very Inquisitive after every thing which is spoken ill of him, passes his Time but very indifferently. He is wounded by every Arrow that is shot at him, and puts it in the Power of every insignificant Enemy to disquiet him. Nay, he will suffer from what has been said of him, when it is forgotten by those who said or heard it. For this Reason I could never bear one of those officious Friends, that would be telling every malicious Report, every idle Censure that passed4 upon me. The Tongue of Man is so petulant, and his Thoughts so variable, that one should not lay too great a Stress upon any present Speeches and Opinions. Praise and Obloquy proceed very frequently out of the same Mouth upon the same Person, and upon the same Occasion. A generous Enemy will sometimes bestow Commendations, as the dearest Friend cannot sometimes refrain from speaking Ill. The Man who is indifferent in either of these Respects, gives his Opinion at random, and praises or disapproves as he finds himself in Humour.

I shall conclude this Essay with Part of a Character, which is finely drawn by the Earl of Clarendon, in the first Book of his History, and which gives us the lively Picture of a great Man teizing himself with an absurd Curiosity.
'He had not that Application and Submission, and Reverence for the Queen, as might have been expected from his Wisdom and Breeding; and often crossed her Pretences and DeSir es with more Rudeness than was natural to him. Yet he was impertinently sollicitous to know what her Majesty said of him in private, and what Resentments she had towards him. And when by some Confidents, who had their Ends upon him from those Offices, he was informed of some bitter Expressions fallen from her Majesty, he was so exceedingly afflicted and tormented with the Sense of it, that sometimes by passionate Complaints and Representations to the King; sometimes by more dutiful Addresses and Expostulations with the Queen, in bewailing his Misfortune; he frequently exposed himself, and left his Condition worse than it was before, and the Eclaircisment commonly ended in the Discovery of the Persons from whom he had received his most secret Intelligence.'5

Footnote 1:  Metamorphoses, Bk xii.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Eccl. x. 20.

Footnote 3:   this

Footnote 4:   passes

Footnote 5:  Written of Lord Treasurer Western, Earl of Portland.


No. 440

Friday, July 25, 1712


Vivere si rectè nescis, discede peritis.


I have already given my Reader an Account of a Sett of merry Fellows, who are passing their Summer together in the Country, being provided of a great House, where there is not only a convenient Apartment for every particular Person, but a large Infirmary for the Reception of such of them as are any way indisposed, or out of Humour. Having lately received a Letter from the Secretary of this Society, by Order of the whole Fraternity, which acquaints me with their Behaviour during the last Week, I shall here make a Present of it to the Publick.


'We are glad to find that you approve the Establishment which we have here made for the retrieving of good Manners and agreeable Conversation, and shall use our best Endeavours so to improve our selves in this our Summer Retirement, that we may next Winter serve as Patterns to the Town. But to the end that this our Institution may be no less Advantageous to the Publick than to our selves, we shall communicate to you one Week of our Proceedings, deSir ing you at the same time, if you see any thing faulty in them, to favour us with your Admonitions. For you must know, Sir , that it has been proposed among us to chuse you for our Visitor, to which I must further add, that one of the College having declared last Week, he did not like the Spectator of the Day, and not being able to assign any just Reasons for such his Dislike, he was sent to the Infirmary Nemine Contradicente.

'On Monday the Assembly was in very good Humour, having received some Recruits of French Claret that Morning: when unluckily, towards the middle of the Dinner, one of the Company swore at his Servant in a very rough manner, for having put too much Water in his Wine. Upon which the President of the Day, who is always the Mouth of the Company, after having convinced him of the Impertinence of his Passion, and the Insult it had made upon the Company, ordered his Man to take him from the Table and convey him to the Infirmary. There was but one more sent away that Day; this was a Gentleman who is reckoned by some Persons one of the greatest Wits, and by others one of the greatest Boobies about Town. This you will say is a strange Character, but what makes it stranger yet, it is a very true one, for he is perpetually the Reverse of himself, being always merry or dull to Excess. We brought him hither to divert us, which he did very well upon the Road, having lavished away as much Wit and Laughter upon the Hackney Coachman as might have served him during his whole Stay here, had it been duly managed. He had been lumpish for two or three Days, but was so far connived at, in hopes of Recovery, that we dispatched one of the briskest Fellows among the Brotherhood into the Infirmary, for having told him at Table he was not merry. But our President observing that he indulged himself in this long Fit of Stupidity, and construing it as a Contempt of the College, ordered him to retire into the Place prepared for such Companions. He was no sooner got into it, but his Wit and Mirth returned upon him in so violent a manner, that he shook the whole Infirmary with the Noise of it, and had so good an Effect upon the rest of the Patients, that he brought them all out to Dinner with him the next Day.

'On Tuesday we were no sooner sat down, but one of the Company complained that his Head aked; upon which another asked him, in an insolent manner, what he did there then; this insensibly grew into some warm Words; so that the President, in order to keep the Peace, gave directions to take them both from the Table, and lodge them in the Infirmary. Not long after, another of the Company telling us, he knew by a Pain in his Shoulder that we should have some Rain, the President ordered him to be removed, and placed as a Weather-glass in the Apartment above mentioned.

'On Wednesday a Gentleman having received a Letter written in a Woman's Hand, and changing Colour twice or thrice as he read it, deSir ed leave to retire into the Infirmary. The President consented, but denied him the Use of Pen, Ink and Paper, till such time as he had slept upon it. One of the Company being seated at the lower end of the Table, and discovering his secret Discontent by finding fault with every Dish that was served up, and refusing to Laugh at any thing that was said, the President told him, that he found he was in an uneasie Seat, and deSir ed him to accommodate himself better in the Infirmary. After Dinner a very honest Fellow chancing to let a Punn fall from him, his Neighbour cryed out, to the Infirmary; at the same time pretending to be Sick at it, as having the same Natural Antipathy to a Punn, which some have to a Cat. This produced a long Debate. Upon the whole, the Punnster was Acquitted and his Neighbour sent off.

'On Thursday there was but one Delinquent. This was a Gentleman of strong Voice, but weak Understanding. He had unluckily engaged himself in a Dispute with a Man of excellent Sense, but of a modest Elocution. The Man of Heat replied to every Answer of his Antagonist with a louder Note than ordinary, and only raised his Voice when he should have enforced his Argument. Finding himself at length driven to an Absurdity, he still reasoned in a more clamorous and confused manner, and to make the greater Impression upon his Hearers, concluded with a loud Thump upon the Table. The President immediately ordered him to be carried off, and dieted with Water-gruel, till such time as he should be sufficiently weakened for Conversation.

'On Friday there passed very little remarkable, saving only, that several Petitions were read of the Persons in Custody, deSir ing to be released from their Confinement, and vouching for one another's good Behaviour for the future.

'On Saturday we received many Excuses from Persons who had found themselves in an unsociable Temper, and had voluntarily shut themselves up. The Infirmary was indeed never so full as on this Day, which I was at some loss to account for, till upon my going Abroad I observed that it was an Easterly Wind. The Retirement of most of my Friends has given me Opportunity and Leisure of writing you this Letter, which I must not conclude without assuring you, that all the Members of our College, as well those who are under Confinement, as those who are at Liberty, are your very humble Servants, tho' none more than, &c.'


No. 441

Saturday, July 26, 1712


Si fractus illabatur orbis
Impavidum ferient ruinæ.


Man, considered in himself, is a very helpless and a very wretched Being. He is subject every Moment to the greatest Calamities and Misfortunes. He is beset with Dangers on all sides, and may become unhappy by numberless Casualties, which he could not foresee, nor have prevented, had he foreseen them.

It is our Comfort, while we are obnoxious to so many Accidents, that we are under the Care of one who directs Contingencies, and has in his Hands the Management of every Thing that is capable of annoying or offending us; who knows the Assistance we stand in need of, and is always ready to bestow it on those who ask it of him.

The natural Homage, which such a Creature bears to so infinitely Wise and Good a Being, is a firm Reliance on him for the Blessings and Conveniences of Life, and an habitual Trust in him for Deliverance out of all such Dangers and Difficulties as may befall us.

The Man, who always lives in this Disposition of Mind, has not the same dark and melancholy Views of Human Nature, as he who considers himself abstractedly from this Relation to the Supreme Being. At the same time that he reflects upon his own Weakness and Imperfection, he comforts himself with the Contemplation of those Divine Attributes, which are employed for his Safety and his Welfare. He finds his Want of Foresight made up by the Omniscience of him who is his Support. He is not sensible of his own want of Strength, when he knows that his Helper is Almighty. In short, the Person who has a firm trust on the Supreme Being is Powerful in his Power, Wise by his Wisdom, Happy by his Happiness. He reaps the Benefit of every Divine Attribute, and loses his own Insufficiency in the Fullness of Infinite Perfection.

To make our Lives more easie to us, we are commanded to put our Trust in him, who is thus able to relieve and succour us; the Divine Goodness having made such a Reliance a Duty, notwithstanding we should have been miserable had it been forbidden us.

Among several Motives, which might be made use of to recommend this Duty to us, I shall only take notice of those that follow.

The first and strongest is, that we are promised, He will not fail those who put their Trust in him.

But without considering the Supernatural Blessing which accompanies this Duty, we may observe that it has a natural Tendency to its own Reward, or in other Words, that this firm Trust and Confidence in the great Disposer of all Things, contributes very much to the getting clear of any Affliction, or to the bearing it manfully. A Person who believes he has his Succour at hand, and that he acts in the sight of his Friend, often excites himself beyond his Abilities, and does Wonders that are not to be matched by one who is not animated with such a Confidence of Success. I could produce Instances from History, of Generals, who out of a Belief that they were under the Protection of some invisible Assistant, did not only encourage their Soldiers to do their utmost, but have acted themselves beyond what they would have done, had they not been inspired by such a Belief. I might in the same manner show how such a Trust in the Assistance of an Almighty Being, naturally produces Patience, Hope, Cheerfulness, and all other Dispositions of Mind that alleviate those Calamities which we are not able to remove.

The Practice of this Virtue administers great Comfort to the Mind of Man in Times of Poverty and Affliction, but most of all in the Hour of Death. When the Soul is hovering in the last Moments of its Separation1, when it is just entring on another State of Existence, to converse with Scenes, and Objects, and Companions that are altogether new, what can support her under such Tremblings of Thought, such Fear, such Anxiety, such Apprehensions, but the casting of all her Cares upon him who first gave her Being, who has conducted her through one Stage of it, and will be always with her to Guide and Comfort her in her Progress2 through Eternity?

David has very beautifully represented this steady Reliance on God Almighty in his twenty third Psalm, which is a kind of Pastoral Hymn, and filled with those Allusions which are usual in that kind of Writing. As the Poetry is very exquisite, I shall present my Reader with the following Translation of it3.

I The Lord my Pasture shall prepare,
And feed me with a Shepherd's Care;
His Presence shall my Wants supply,
And guard me with a watchful Eye;
My Noon-day Walks he shall attend,
And all my Mid-night Hours defend.
II When in the sultry Glebe I faint,
Or on the thirsty Mountain pant;
To fertile Vales, and dewy Meads
My weary wand'ring Steps he leads;
Where peaceful Rivers, soft and slow,
Amid the verdant Landskip flow.
III Tho' in the Paths of Death I tread,
With gloomy Horrors overspread,
My steadfast Heart shall fear no Ill,
For thou, O Lord, art with me still;
Thy friendly Crook shall give me Aid,
And guide me through the dreadful Shade.
IV Tho' in a bare and rugged Way,
Through devious lonely Wilds I stray,
Thy Bounty shall my Pains beguile;
The barren Wilderness shall smile,
With sudden Greens and Herbage crown'd,
And Streams shall murmur all around.


Footnote 1:   Dissolution
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   text

Footnote 3:   By Addison


No. 442

Monday, July 28, 1712


—Scribimus Indocti Doctique—


I do not know whether I enough explained my self to the World, when I invited all Men to be assistant to me in this my Work of Speculation; for I have not yet acquainted my Readers, that besides the Letters and valuable Hints I have from Time to Time received from my Correspondents, I have by me several curious and extraordinary Papers sent with a Design (as no one will doubt when they are published) that they might be printed entire, and without any Alteration, by way of Spectator. I must acknowledge also, that I my self being the first Projector of the Paper, thought I had a Right to make them my own, by dressing them in my own Style, by leaving out what would not appear like mine, and by adding whatever might be proper to adapt them to the Character and Genius of my Paper, with which it was almost impossible these could exactly correspond, it being certain that hardly two Men think alike, and therefore so many Men so many Spectators. Besides, I must own my Weakness for Glory is such, that if I consulted that only, I might be so far sway'd by it, as almost to wish that no one could write a Spectator besides myself; nor can I deny, but upon the first Perusal of those Papers, I felt some secret Inclinations of Ill-will towards the Persons who wrote them. This was the Impression I had upon the first reading them; but upon a late Review (more for the Sake of Entertainment than Use) regarding them with another Eye than I had done at first, (for by converting them as well as I could to my own Use, I thought I had utterly disabled them from ever offending me again as Spectators) I found my self moved by a Passion very different from that of Envy; sensibly touched with Pity, the softest and most generous of all Passions, when I reflected what a cruel Disapointment the Neglect of those Papers must needs have been to the Writers who impatiently longed to see them appear in Print, and who, no doubt, triumphed to themselves in the Hopes of having a Share with me in the Applause of the Publick; a Pleasure so great, that none but those who have experienced it can have a Sense of it. In this Manner of viewing these Papers, I really found I had not done them Justice, there being something so extremely natural and peculiarly good in some of them, that I will appeal to the World whether it was possible to alter a Word in them without doing them a manifest Hurt and Violence; and whether they can ever appear rightly, and, as they ought, but in their own native Dress and Colours: And therefore I think I should not only wrong them, but deprive the World of a considerable Satisfaction, should I any longer delay the making them publick.

After I have published a few of these Spectators, I doubt not but I shall find the Success of them to equal, if not surpass, that of the best of my own. An Author should take all Methods to humble himself in the Opinion he has of his own Performances. When these Papers appear to the World, I doubt not but they will be followed by many others; and I shall not repine, though I my self shall have left me but very few Days to appear in Publick: But preferring the general Weal and Advantage to any Consideration of my self, I am resolved for the Future to publish any Spectator that deserves it, entire, and without any Alteration; assuring the World (if there can be Need of it) that it is none of mine and if the Authors think fit to subscribe their Names, I will add them.

I think the best way of promoting this generous and useful Design, will be by giving out Subjects or Themes of all Kinds whatsoever, on which (with a Preamble of the extraordinary Benefit and Advantage that may accrue thereby to the Publick) I will invite all manner of Persons, whether Scholars, Citizens, Courtiers, Gentlemen of the Town or Country, and all Beaux, Rakes, Smarts, Prudes, Coquets, Housewives, and all Sorts of Wits, whether Male or Female, and however distinguished, whether they be True-Wits, Whole, or Half-Wits, or whether Arch, Dry, Natural, Acquired, Genuine, or Deprav'd Wits; and Persons of all sorts of Tempers and Complexions, whether the Severe, the Delightful, the Impertinent, the Agreeable, the Thoughtful, Busie, or Careless; the Serene or Cloudy, Jovial or Melancholy, Untowardly or Easie; the Cold, Temperate, or Sanguine; and of what Manners or Dispositions soever, whether the Ambitious or Humble-minded, the Proud or Pitiful, Ingenious or Base-minded, Good or Ill-natur'd, Publick-spirited or Selfish; and under what Fortune or Circumstance soever, whether the Contented or Miserable, Happy or Unfortunate, High or Low, Rich or Poor (whether so through Want of Money, or DeSir e of more) Healthy or Sickly, Married or Single; nay, whether Tall or Short, Fat or Lean; and of what Trade, Occupation, Profession, Station, Country, Faction, Party, Persuasion, Quality, Age or Condition soever, who have ever made Thinking a Part of their Business or Diversion, and have any thing worthy to impart on these Subjects to the World, according to their several and respective Talents or Genius's, and as the Subject given out hits their Tempers, Humours, or Circumstances, or may be made profitable to the Publick by their particular Knowledge or Experience in the Matter proposed, to do their utmost on them by such a Time; to the End they may receive the inexpressible and irresistible Pleasure of seeing their Essay allowed of and relished by the rest of Mankind.

I will not prepossess the Reader with too great Expectation of the extraordinary Advantages which must redound to the Publick by these Essays, when the different Thoughts and Observations of all Sorts of Persons, according to their Quality, Age, Sex, Education, Professions, Humours, Manners and Conditions, &c. shall be set out by themselves in the clearest and most genuine Light, and as they themselves would wish to have them appear to the World.

The Thesis propos'd for the present Exercise of the Adventurers to write Spectators, is Money, on which Subject all Persons are deSir ed to send their Thoughts within Ten Days after the Date hereof.


Contents, p. 2

No. 443

Tuesday, July 29, 1712


Sublatam ex oculis Quærimus invidi.


Camillia to the Spectator.

Venice, July 10, N. S.


'I Take it extreamly ill, that you do not reckon conspicuous Persons of your Nation are within your Cognizance, tho' out of the Dominions of Great Britain. I little thought in the green Years of my Life, that I should ever call it an Happiness to be out of dear England; but as I grew to Woman, I found my self less acceptable in Proportion to the Encrease of my Merit. Their Ears in Italy are so differently formed from the Make of yours in England, that I never come upon the Stage, but a general Satisfaction appears in every Countenance of the whole People. When I dwell upon a Note, I behold all the Men accompanying me with Heads enclining and falling of their Persons on one Side, as dying away with me. The Women too do Justice to my Merit, and no ill-natur'd worthless Creature cries, The vain Thing, when I am rapt up in the Performance of my Part, and sensibly touched with the Effect my Voice has upon all who hear me. I live here distinguished as one whom Nature has been liberal to in a graceful Person, an exalted Mein, and Heavenly Voice. These Particularities in this strange Country, are Arguments for Respect and Generosity to her who is possessed of them. The Italians see a thousand Beauties I am sensible I have no Pretence to, and abundantly make up to me the Injustice I received in my own Country, of disallowing me what I really had. The Humour of Hissing, which you have among you, I do not know any thing of; and their Applauses are uttered in Sighs, and bearing a Part at the Cadences of Voice with the Persons who are performing. I am often put in Mind of those complaisant Lines of my own Countryman1, when he is calling all his Faculties together to hear Arabella;
Let all be hush'd, each softest Motion cease,
Be ev'ry loud tumultuous Thought at Peace;
And ev'ry ruder Gasp of Breath
Be calm, as in the Arms of Death:
And thou, most fickle, most uneasie Part,
Thou restless Wanderer, my Heart,
Be still; gently, ah! gently leave,
Thou busie, idle Thing, to heave.
Stir not a Pulse: and let my Blood,
That turbulent, unruly Flood,
Be softly staid;
Let me be all but my Attention dead.
'The whole City of Venice is as still when I am singing, as this Polite Hearer was to Mrs. Hunt. But when they break that Silence, did you know the Pleasure I am in, when every Man utters his Applause, by calling me aloud the Dear Creature, the Angel, the Venus; What Attitude she moves with!—Hush, she sings again! We have no boistrous Wits who dare disturb an Audience, and break the publick Peace meerly to shew they dare. Mr. SPECTATOR, I write this to you thus in Haste, to tell you I am so very much at ease here, that I know nothing but Joy; and I will not return, but leave you in England to hiss all Merit of your own Growth off the Stage. I know, Sir , you were always my Admirer, and therefore I am yours,

P. S. I am ten times better dressed than ever I was in England.


'The Project in yours of the 11th Instant, of furthering the Correspondence and Knowledge of that considerable Part of Mankind, the Trading World, cannot but be highly commendable. Good Lectures to young Traders may have very good Effects on their Conduct: but beware you propagate no false Notions of Trade; let none of your Correspondents impose on the World, by putting forth base Methods in a good Light, and glazing them over with improper Terms. I would have no Means of Profit set for Copies to others, but such as are laudable in themselves. Let not Noise be called Industry, nor Impudence Courage. Let not good Fortune be imposed on the World for good Management, nor Poverty be called Folly; impute not always Bankruptcy to Extravagance, nor an Estate to Foresight; Niggardliness is not good Husbandry, nor Generosity Profusion.

'Honestus is a well-meaning and judicious Trader, hath substantial Goods, and trades with his own Stock; husbands his Money to the best Advantage, without taking all Advantages of the Necessities of his Workmen, or grinding the Face of the Poor. Fortunatus is stocked with Ignorance, and consequently with Self-Opinion; the Quality of his Goods cannot but be suitable to that of his Judgment. Honestus pleases discerning People, and keeps their Custom by good Usage; makes modest Profit by modest Means, to the decent Support of his Family: Whilst Fortunatus blustering always, pushes on, promising much, and performing little, with Obsequiousness offensive to People of Sense; strikes at all, catches much the greater Part; raises a considerable Fortune by Imposition on others, to the Disencouragement and Ruin of those who trade in the same Way.

'I give here but loose Hints, and beg you to be very circumspect in the Province you have now undertaken: If you perform it successfully, it will be a very great Good; for nothing is more wanting, than that Mechanick Industry were set forth with the Freedom and Greatness of Mind which ought always to accompany a Man of a liberal Education.

Your humble Servant,

R. C.

From my Shop under the Royal-Exchange, July 14.

July 24, 1712.


'Notwithstanding the repeated Censures that your Spectatorial Wisdom has passed upon People more remarkable for Impudence than Wit, there are yet some remaining, who pass with the giddy Part of Mankind for sufficient Sharers of the latter, who have nothing but the former Qualification to recommend them. Another timely Animadversion is absolutely necessary; be pleased therefore once for all to let these Gentlemen know, that there is neither Mirth nor Good Humour in hooting a young Fellow out of Countenance; nor that it will ever constitute a Wit, to conclude a tart Piece of Buffoonry with a what makes you blush? Pray please to inform them again, That to speak what they know is shocking, proceeds from ill Nature, and a Sterility of Brain; especially when the Subject will not admit of Raillery, and their Discourse has no Pretension to Satyr but what is in their Design to disoblige. I should be very glad too if you would take Notice, that a daily Repetition of the same over-bearing Insolence is yet more insupportable, and a Confirmation of very extraordinary Dulness. The sudden Publication of this, may have an Effect upon a notorious Offender of this Kind, whose Reformation would redound very much to the Satisfaction and Quiet of

Your most humble Servant,

F. B.3

Footnote 1:   William Congreve upon Arabella Hunt.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Mrs. Tofts, see note on p. 85, vol, i. [Volume 1 links: Footnote 3 of No. 22.]

Footnote 3:  Said to be the initials of Francis Beasniffe.

Contents, p. 2

No. 444

Wednesday, July 30, 1712


Parturiunt montes.


It gives me much Despair in the Design of reforming the World by my Speculations, when I find there always arise, from one Generation to another, successive Cheats and Bubbles, as naturally as Beasts of Prey, and those which are to be their Food. There is hardly a Man in the World, one would think, so ignorant, as not to know that the ordinary Quack Doctors, who publish their great Abilities in little brown Billets, distributed to all who pass by, are to a Man Impostors and Murderers; yet such is the Credulity of the Vulgar, and the Impudence of these Professors, that the Affair still goes on, and new Promises of what was never done before are made every Day. What aggravates the Just is, that even this Promise has been made as long as the Memory of Man can trace it, and yet nothing performed, and yet still prevails. As I was passing along to-day, a Paper given into my Hand by a Fellow without a Nose tells us as follows what good News is come to Town, to wit, that there is now a certain Cure for the French Disease, by a Gentleman just come from his Travels.
In Russel-Court, over-against the Cannon-Ball, at the Surgeon's Arms in Drury-Lane, is lately come from his Travels a Surgeon who has practised Surgery and Physick both by Sea and Land these twenty four Years. He (by the Blessing) cures the Yellow Jaundice, Green Sickness, Scurvy, Dropsy, Surfeits, long Sea Voyages, Campains, and Womens Miscarriages, Lying-Inn, &c. as some People that has been lame these thirty Years can testifie; in short, he cureth all Diseases incident to Men, Women, or Children2.
If a Man could be so indolent as to look upon this Havock of the human Species which is made by Vice and Ignorance, it would be a good ridiculous Work to comment upon the Declaration of this accomplished Traveller. There is something unaccountably taking among the Vulgar in those who come from a great Way off. Ignorant People of Quality, as many there are of such, doat excessively this Way; many Instances of which every Man will suggest to himself without my Enumeration of them. The Ignorants of lower Order, who cannot, like the upper Ones, be profuse of their Money to those recommended by coming from a Distance, are no less complaisant than the others, for they venture their Lives from the same Admiration.

The Doctor is lately come from his Travels, and has practised both by Sea and Land, and therefore Cures the Green Sickness, long Sea Voyages, Campains, and Lying-Inn. Both by Sea and Land!—I will not answer for the Distempers called Sea Voyages and Campains; But I dare say, those of Green Sickness and Lying-Inn might be as well taken Care of if the Doctor staid a-shoar. But the Art of managing Mankind, is only to make them stare a little, to keep up their Astonishment, to let nothing be familiar to them, but ever to have something in your Sleeve, in which they must think you are deeper than they are. There is an ingenious Fellow, a Barber, of my Acquaintance, who, besides his broken Fiddle and a dryed Sea-Monster, has a Twine-Cord, strained with two Nails at each End, over his Window, and the Words Rainy, Dry, Wet, and so forth, written, to denote the Weather according to the Rising or Falling of the Cord. We very great Scholars are not apt to wonder at this: But I observed a very honest Fellow, a chance Customer, who sate in the Chair before me to be shaved, fix his Eye upon this Miraculous Performance during the Operation upon his Chin and Face. When those and his Head also were cleared of all Incumbrances and Excrescences, he looked at the Fish, then at the Fiddle, still grubling in his Pockets, and casting his Eye again at the Twine, and the Words writ on each Side; then altered his mind as to Farthings, and gave my Friend a Silver Six-pence. The Business, as I said, is to keep up the Amazement; and if my Friend had had only the Skeleton and Kitt, he must have been contented with a less Payment. But the Doctor we were talking of, adds to his long Voyages the Testimony of some People that has been thirty Years lame. When I received my Paper, a sagacious Fellow took one at the same time, and read till he came to the Thirty Years Confinement of his Friends, and went off very well convinced of the Doctor's Sufficiency. You have many of these prodigious Persons, who have had some extraordinary Accident at their Birth, or a great Disaster in some Part of their Lives. Any thing, however foreign from the Business the People want of you, will convince them of your Ability in that you profess. There is a Doctor in Mouse-Alley near Wapping, who sets up for curing Cataracts upon the Credit of having, as his Bill sets forth, lost an Eye in the Emperor's Service. His Patients come in upon this, and he shews the Muster-Roll, which confirms that he was in his Imperial Majesty's Troops; and he puts out their Eyes with great Success. Who would believe that a Man should be a Doctor for the Cure of bursten Children, by declaring that his Father and Grandfather were born3 bursten? But Charles Ingoltson, next Door to the Harp in Barbican, has made a pretty Penny by that Asseveration. The Generality go upon their first Conception, and think no further; all the rest is granted. They take it, that there is something uncommon in you, and give you Credit for the rest. You may be sure it is upon that I go, when sometimes, let it be to the Purpose or not, I keep a Latin Sentence in my Front; and I was not a little pleased when I observed one of my Readers say, casting his Eye on my twentieth Paper, More Latin still? What a prodigious Scholar is this Man! But as I have here taken much Liberty with this learned Doctor, I must make up all I have said by repeating what he seems to be in Earnest in, and honestly promise to those who will not receive him as a great Man; to wit, That from Eight to Twelve, and from Two till Six, he attends for the good of the Publick to bleed for Three Pence.


Footnote 1:  
Dignum tanto feret hic promissor hiatu

return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   In the first issue the whole bill was published. Two-thirds of it, including its more infamous part, was omitted from the reprint, and the reader will, I hope, excuse me the citation of it in this place.

Footnote 3:   both

Contents, p. 2

No. 445

Thursday, July 31, 1712


Tanti non es ais. Sapis, Luperce.


This is the Day on which many eminent Authors will probably Publish their Last Words. I am afraid that few of our Weekly Historians, who are Men that above all others delight in War, will be able to subsist under the Weight of a Stamp, and an approaching Peace. A Sheet of Blank Paper that must have this new Imprimatur clapt upon it, before it is qualified to Communicate any thing to the Publick, will make its way in the World but very heavily. In short, the Necessity of carrying a Stamp1, and the Improbability of notifying a Bloody Battel, will, I am afraid, both concur to the sinking of those thin Folios, which have every other Day retailed to us the History of Europe for several Years last past. A Facetious Friend of mine, who loves a Punn, calls this present Mortality among Authors, The Fall of the Leaf.

I remember, upon Mr. Baxter's Death, there was Published a Sheet of very good Sayings, inscribed, The last Words of Mr. Baxter. The Title sold so great a Number of these Papers, that about a Week after there came out a second Sheet, inscrib'd, More last Words of Mr. Baxter. In the same manner, I have Reason to think, that several Ingenious Writers, who have taken their Leave of the Publick, in farewell Papers, will not give over so, but intend to appear again, tho' perhaps under another Form, and with a different Title. Be that as it will, it is my Business, in this place, to give an Account of my own Intentions, and to acquaint my Reader with the Motives by which I Act, in this great Crisis of the Republick of Letters.

I have been long debating in my own Heart, whether I should throw up my Pen, as an Author that is cashiered by the Act of Parliament, which is to Operate within these Four and Twenty Hours, or whether I should still persist in laying my Speculations, from Day to Day, before the Publick. The Argument which prevails with me most on the first side of the Question is, that I am informed by my Bookseller he must raise the Price of every single Paper to Two-Pence, or that he shall not be able to pay the Duty of it. Now as I am very deSir ous my Readers should have their Learning as cheap as possible, it is with great Difficulty that I comply with him in this Particular.

However, upon laying my Reasons together in the Balance, I find that those which plead for the Continuance of this Work, have much the greater Weight. For, in the first Place, in Recompence for the Expence to which this will put my Readers, it is to be hoped they may receive from every Paper so much Instruction, as will be a very good Equivalent. And, in order to this, I would not advise any one to take it in, who after the Perusal of it, does not find himself Two-pence the wiser, or the better Man for it; or who upon Examination, does not believe that he has had Two-pennyworth of Mirth or Instruction for his Money.

But I must confess there is another Motive which prevails with me more than the former. I consider that the Tax on Paper was given for the Support of the Government; and as I have Enemies, who are apt to pervert every thing I do or say, I fear they would ascribe the laying down my Paper, on such an Occasion, to a Spirit of Malecontentedness, which I am resolved none shall ever justly upbraid me with. No, I shall glory in contributing my utmost to the Weal Publick; and if my Country receives Five or Six Pounds a-day by my Labours, I shall be very well pleased to find my self so useful a Member. It is a received Maxim, that no honest Man should enrich himself by Methods that are prejudicial to the Community in which he lives; and by the same Rule I think we may pronounce the Person to deserve very well of his Countrymen, whose Labours bring more into the publick Coffers, than into his own Pocket.

Since I have mentioned the Word Enemies, I must explain my self so far as to acquaint my Reader, that I mean only the insignificant Party Zealots on both sides; Men of such poor narrow Souls, that they are not capable of thinking on any thing but with an Eye to Whig or Tory. During the Course of this Paper, I have been accused by these despicable Wretches of Trimming, Time-serving, Personal Reflection, secret Satire, and the like. Now, tho' in these my Compositions, it is visible to any Reader of Common Sense, that I consider nothing but my Subject, which is always of an indifferent Nature; how is it possible for me to write so clear of Party, as not to lie open to the Censures of those who will be applying every Sentence, and finding out Persons and Things in it, which it has no regard to?

Several Paltry Scriblers and Declaimers have done me the Honour to be dull upon me in Reflections of this Nature; but notwithstanding my Name has been sometimes traduced by this contemptible Tribe of Men, I have hitherto avoided all Animadversions upon 'em. The Truth of it is, I am afraid of making them appear considerable by taking Notice of them, for they are like those imperceptible Insects which are discover'd by the Microscope, and cannot be made the Subject of Observation without being magnified.

Having mentioned those few who have shewn themselves the Enemies of this Paper, I should be very ungrateful to the Publick, did not I at the same time testifie my Gratitude to those who are its Friends, in which Number I may reckon many of the most distinguished Persons of all Conditions, Parties and Professions in the Isle of Great-Britain. I am not so vain as to think this Approbation is so much due to the Performance as to the Design. There is, and ever will be, Justice enough in the World, to afford Patronage and Protection for those who endeavour to advance Truth and Virtue, without regard to the Passions and Prejudices of any particular Cause or Faction. If I have any other Merit in me, it is that I have new-pointed all the Batteries of Ridicule. They have been generally planted against Persons who have appeared Serious rather than Absurd; or at best, have aimed rather at what is Unfashionable than what is Vicious. For my own part, I have endeavoured to make nothing Ridiculous that is not in some measure Criminal. I have set up the Immoral Man as the Object of Derision: In short, if I have not formed a new Weapon against Vice and Irreligion, I have at least shewn how that Weapon may be put to a right Use, which has so often fought the Battels of Impiety and Profaneness.


Footnote 1:  The Stamp Act was to take effect from the first of August. Censorship of the press began in the Church soon after the invention of printing. The ecclesiastical superintendence introduced in 1479 and 1496 was more completely established by a bull of Leo X. in 1515, which required Bishops and Inquisitors to examine all books before printing, and suppress heretical opinions. The Church of Rome still adheres to the Index Librorum Prohibitorum begun by the Council of Trent in 1546; and there is an Index Expurgatorius for works partly prohibited, or to be read after expurgation. In accordance with this principle, the licensing of English books had been in the power of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his delegates before the decree of the Star Chamber in 1637, which ordered that all books of Divinity, Physic, Philosophy, and Poetry should be licensed either by the Archbishop of Canterbury or by the Bishop of London personally or through their appointed substitutes. The object of this decree was to limit the reprint of old books of divinity, &c. Thus Foxe's Book of Martyrs was denied a license. In 1640 Sir Edward Dering complained to Parliament that
'the most learned labours of our ancient and best divines must now be corrected and defaced with a deleatur by the supercilious pen of my Lord's young chaplain, fit, perhaps, for the technical arts, but unfit to hold the chair of Divinity.'
(Rushworth's Hist. Coll. iv. 55.) Historical works seem to have been submitted to the Secretary of State for his sanction. To May's poem of the Victorious Reign of King Edward the Third is prefixed,
'I have perused this Book, and conceive it very worthy to be published. Io. Coke, Knight, Principal Secretary of State, Whitehall, 17 of November, 1634.'
But Aleyn's metrical History of Henry VII. (1638) is licensed by the Bishop of London's domestic chaplain, who writes:
'Perlegi historicum hoc poema, dignumque judico quod Typis mandetur. Tho. Wykes R. P. Episc. Lond. Chapell. Domest.'
The first newspaper had been the Weekly Newes, first published May 23, 1622, at a time when, says Sir Erskine May (in his Constitutional History of England, 1760-1860),
'political discussion was silenced by the licenser, the Star Chamber, the dungeon, the pillory, mutilation, and branding.'
The contest between King and Commons afterwards developed the free controversial use of tracts and newspapers, but the Parliament was not more tolerant than the king, and against the narrow spirit of his time Milton rose to his utmost height, fashioning after the masterpiece of an old Greek orator who sought to stir the blood of the Athenians, his Areopagitica, or Defence of the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing. In the reign of Charles II. the Licensing Act (13 and 14 Charles II. cap. 33) placed the control of printing in the Government, confined exercise of the printer's art to London, York, and the Universities, and limited the number of the master printers to twenty. Government established a monopoly of news in the London Gazette.
'Authors and printers of obnoxious works,' says Sir E. May, citing cases in notes, were hung, 'quartered, and mutilated, exposed in the pillory and flogged, or fined and imprisoned, according to the temper of their judges: their productions were burned by the common hangman. Freedom of opinion was under interdict: even news could not be published without license... James II. and his infamous judges carried the Licensing Act into effect with barbarous severity. But the Revolution brought indulgence even to the Jacobite Press; and when the Commons, in 1695, refused to renew the Licensing Act, a censorship of the press was for ever renounced by the law of England.'
There remained, however, a rigorous interpretation of the libel laws; Westminster Hall accepting the traditions of the Star Chamber. Still there was enough removal of restriction to ensure the multiplication of newspapers and the blending of intelligence with free political discussion. In Queen Anne's reign the virulence of party spirit produced bitter personal attacks and willingness on either side to bring an antagonist under the libel laws. At the date of this Spectator paper Henry St. John, who had been made Secretary of State at the age of 32, was 34 years old, and the greatest commoner in England, as Swift said, turning the whole Parliament, who can do nothing without him. This great position and the future it might bring him he was throwing away for a title, and becoming Viscount Bolingbroke. His last political act as a commoner was to impose the halfpenny stamp upon newspapers and sheets like those of the Spectator. Intolerant of criticism, he had in the preceding session brought to the bar of the House of Commons, under his warrant as Secretary of State, fourteen printers and publishers. In the beginning of 1712, the Queen's message had complained that by seditious papers and factious rumours designing men had been able to sink credit, and the innocent had suffered. On the 12th of February a committee of the whole house was appointed to consider how to stop the abuse of the liberty of the press. Some were for a renewal of the Licensing Act, some for requiring writers' names after their articles. The Government carried its own design of a half-penny stamp by an Act (10 Anne, cap. 19) passed on the 10th of June, which was to come in force on the 1st of August, 1712, and be in force for 32 years.
'Do you know,' wrote Swift to Stella five days after the date of this Spectator paper, 'Do you know that all Grub street is dead and gone last week? No more ghosts or murders now for love or money... Every single half sheet pays a halfpenny to the Queen. The Observator is fallen; the Medleys are jumbled together with the Flying Post; the Examiner is deadly sick; the Spectator keeps up and doubles its price; I know not how long it will last.'
It so happened that the mortality was greatest among Government papers. The Act presently fell into abeyance, was revived in 1725, and thenceforth maintained the taxation of newspapers until the abolition of the Stamp in 1859. One of its immediate effects was a fall in the circulation of the Spectator. The paper remained unchanged, and some of its subscribers seem to have resented the doubling of the tax upon them, by charging readers an extra penny for each halfpenny with which it had been taxed. (See No. 488.)
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 2

No. 446

Friday, August 1, 1712


Quid deceat, quid non; quò Virtus, quò ferat Error.


Since two or three Writers of Comedy who are now living have taken their Farewell of the Stage, those who succeed them finding themselves incapable of rising up to their Wit, Humour and good Sense, have only imitated them in some of those loose unguarded Strokes, in which they complied with the corrupt Taste of the more Vicious Part of their Audience. When Persons of a low Genius attempt this kind of Writing, they know no difference between being Merry and being Lewd. It is with an Eye to some of these degenerate Compositions that I have written the following Discourse.

Were our English Stage but half so virtuous as that of the Greeks or Romans, we should quickly see the Influence of it in the Behaviour of all the Politer Part of Mankind. It would not be fashionable to ridicule Religion, or its Professors; the Man of Pleasure would not be the compleat Gentleman; Vanity would be out of Countenance, and every Quality which is Ornamental to Human Nature, would meet with that Esteem which is due to it.

If the English Stage were under the same Regulations the Athenian was formerly, it would have the same Effect that had, in recommending the Religion, the Government, and Publick Worship of its Country. Were our Plays subject to proper Inspections and Limitations, we might not only pass away several of our vacant Hours in the highest Entertainments; but should always rise from them wiser and better than we sat down to them.

It is one of the most unaccountable things in our Age, that the Lewdness of our Theatre should be so much complained of, so well exposed, and so little redressed. It is to be hoped, that some time or other we may be at leisure to restrain the Licentiousness of the Theatre, and make it contribute its Assistance to the Advancement of Morality, and to the Reformation of the Age. As Matters stand at present, Multitudes are shut out from this noble Diversion, by reason of those Abuses and Corruptions that accompany it. A Father is often afraid that his Daughter should be ruin'd by those Entertainments, which were invented for the Accomplishment and Refining of Human Nature. The Athenian and Roman Plays were written with such a Regard to Morality, that Socrates used to frequent the one, and Cicero the other.

It happened once indeed, that Cato dropped into the Roman Theatre, when the Floralia were to be represented; and as in that Performance, which was a kind of Religious Ceremony, there were several indecent Parts to be acted, the People refused to see them whilst Cato was present. Martial on this Hint made the following Epigram, which we must suppose was applied to some grave Friend of his, that had been accidentally present at some such Entertainment.
Nosces jocosæ dulce cum sacrum Floræ,
Festosque lusus, et licentiam vulgi,
Cur in Theatrum Cato severe venisti?
An ideo tantum veneras, ut exires?

Why dost thou come, great Censor of the Age,
To see the loose Diversions of the Stage?
With awful Countenance and Brow severe,
What in the Name of Goodness dost thou here?
See the mixt Crowd! how Giddy, Lewd and Vain!
Didst thou come in but to go out again?
An Accident of this Nature might happen once in an Age among the Greeks or Romans; but they were too wise and good to let the constant Nightly Entertainment be of such a Nature, that People of the most Sense and Virtue could not be at it. Whatever Vices are represented upon the Stage, they ought to be so marked and branded by the Poet, as not to appear either laudable or amiable in the Person who is tainted with them. But if we look into the English Comedies above mentioned, we would think they were formed upon a quite contrary Maxim, and that this Rule, tho' it held good upon the Heathen Stage, was not be regarded in Christian Theatres. There is another Rule likewise, which was observed by Authors of Antiquity, and which these modern Genius's have no regard to, and that was never to chuse an improper Subject for Ridicule. Now a Subject is improper for Ridicule, if it is apt to stir up Horrour and Commiseration rather than Laughter. For this Reason, we do not find any Comedy in so polite an Author as Terence, raised upon the Violations of the Marriage-Bed. The Falshood of the Wife or Husband has given Occasion to noble Tragedies, but a Scipio or a Lelius would have look'd upon Incest or Murder to have been as proper Subjects for Comedy. On the contrary, Cuckoldom is the Basis of most of our Modern Plays. If an Alderman appears upon the Stage, you may be sure it is in order to be Cuckolded. An Husband that is a little grave or elderly, generally meets with the same Fate. Knights and Baronets, Country Squires, and Justices of the Quorum, come up to Town for no other Purpose. I have seen poor Dogget Cuckolded in all these Capacities. In short, our English Writers are as frequently severe upon this innocent unhappy Creature, commonly known by the Name of a Cuckold, as the Ancient Comick Writers were upon an eating Parasite or a vain-glorious Soldier.

At the same time the Poet so contrives Matters, that the two Criminals are the Favourites of the Audience. We sit still, and wish well to them through the whole Play, are pleased when they meet with proper Opportunities, and out of humour when they are disappointed. The Truth of it is, the accomplished Gentleman upon the English Stage, is the Person that is familiar with other Men's Wives, and indifferent to his own; as the fine Woman is generally a Composition of Sprightliness and Falshood. I do not know whether it proceeds from Barrenness of Invention, Depravation of Manners, or Ignorance of Mankind, but I have often wondered that our ordinary Poets cannot frame to themselves the Idea of a Fine Man who is not a Whore-master, or of a Fine Woman that is not a Jilt.

I have sometimes thought of compiling a System of Ethics out of the Writings of these corrupt Poets, under the Title of Stage Morality. But I have been diverted from this Thought, by a Project which has been executed by an ingenious Gentleman of my Acquaintance. He has compos'd, it seems, the History of a young Fellow, who has taken all his Notions of the World from the Stage, and who has directed himself in every Circumstance of his Life and Conversation, by the Maxims and Examples of the Fine Gentlemen in English Comedies. If I can prevail upon him to give me a Copy of this new-fashioned Novel, I will bestow on it a Place in my Works, and question not but it may have as good an Effect upon the Drama, as Don Quixote had upon Romance.


Contents, p. 2

No. 447

Saturday, August 2, 1712


Greek: Phaemì polychroníaen melétaen émmenai, phíle kaì dàe
        Tataen anthrôpoisi teletôsan physin einai.translation

There is not a Common Saying which has a better turn of Sense in it, than what we often hear in the Mouths of the Vulgar, that Custom is a second Nature. It is indeed able to form the Man anew, and to give him Inclinations and Capacities altogether different from those he was born with. Dr. Plot, in his History of Staffordshire1, tells us of an Ideot that chancing to live within the Sound of a Clock, and always amusing himself with counting the Hour of the Day whenever the Clock struck, the Clock being spoiled by some Accident, the Ideot continued to strike and count the Hour without the help of it, in the same manner as he had done when it was entire. Though I dare not vouch for the Truth of this Story, it is very certain that Custom has a Mechanical Effect upon the Body, at the same time that it has a very extraordinary Influence upon the Mind.

I shall in this Paper consider one very remarkable Effect which Custom has upon Human Nature; and which, if rightly observed, may lead us into very useful Rules of Life. What I shall here take notice of in Custom, is its wonderful Efficacy in making every thing pleasant to us. A Person who is addicted to Play or Gaming, though he took but little delight in it at first, by degrees contracts so strong an Inclination towards it, and gives himself up so entirely to it, that it seems the only End of his Being. The Love of a retired or busie Life will grow upon a Man insensibly, as he is conversant in the one or the other, till he is utterly unqualified for relishing that to which he has been for some time disused. Nay, a Man may Smoak, or Drink, or take Snuff, till he is unable to pass away his Time without it; not to mention our Delight in any particular Study, Art, or Science, rises and improves in Proportion to the Application which we bestow upon it. Thus what was at first an Exercise, becomes at length an Entertainment. Our Employments are changed into our Diversions. The Mind grows fond of those Actions she is accustomed to, and is drawn with Reluctancy from those Paths in which she has been used to walk.

Not only such Actions as were at first Indifferent to us, but even such as were Painful, will by Custom and Practice become pleasant. Sir Francis Bacon observes in his Natural Philosophy, that our Taste is never pleased better, than with those things which at first created a Disgust in it. He gives particular Instances of Claret, Coffee, and other Liquors, which the palate seldom approves upon the first Taste; but when it has once got a Relish of them, generally retains it for Life. The Mind is constituted after the same manner, and after having habituated her self to any particular Exercise or Employment, not only loses her first Aversion towards it, but conceives a certain Fondness and Affection for it. I have heard one of the greatest Genius's this Age has produced2, who had been trained up in all the Polite Studies of Antiquity assure me, upon his being obliged to search into several Rolls and Records, that notwithstanding such an Employment was at first very dry and irksome to him, he at last took an incredible Pleasure in it, and preferred it even to the reading of Virgil or Cicero. The Reader will observe, that I have not here considered Custom as it makes things easie, but as it renders them delightful; and though others have often made the same Reflections, it is possible they may not have drawn those Uses from it, with which I intend to fill the remaining Part of this Paper.

If we consider attentively this Property of Human Nature, it may instruct us in very fine Moralities. In the first place, I would have no Man discouraged with that kind of Life or Series of Action, in which the Choice of others, or his own Necessities, may have engaged him. It may perhaps be very disagreeable to him at first; but Use and Application will certainly render it not only less painful, but pleasing and satisfactory.

In the second place I would recommend to every one that admirable Precept which Pythagoras3 is said to have given to his Disciples, and which that Philosopher must have drawn from the Observation I have enlarged upon. Optimum vitæ genus eligito, nam consuetudo faciet jucundissimum, Pitch upon that Course of Life which is the most Excellent, and Custom will render it the most Delightful. Men, whose Circumstances will permit them to chuse their own Way of Life, are inexcusable if they do not pursue that which their Judgment tells them is the most laudable. The Voice of Reason is more to be regarded than the Bent of any present Inclination, since by the Rule above mentioned, Inclination will at length come over to Reason, though we can never force Reason to comply with Inclination.

In the third place, this Observation may teach the most sensual and irreligious Man, to overlook those Hardships and Difficulties which are apt to discourage him from the Prosecution of a Virtuous Life. The Gods, said Hesiod4, have placed Labour before Virtue, the Way to her is at first rough and difficult, but grows more smooth and easier the further you advance in it. The Man who proceeds in it, with Steadiness and Resolution, will in a little time find that her Ways are Ways of Pleasantness, and that all her Paths are Peace.

To enforce this Consideration, we may further observe that the Practice of Religion will not only be attended with that Pleasure, which naturally accompanies those Actions to which we are habituated, but with those Supernumerary Joys of Heart, that rise from the Consciousness of such a Pleasure, from the Satisfaction of acting up to the Dictates of Reason, and from the Prospect of an happy Immortality.

In the fourth place, we may learn from this Observation which we have made on the Mind of Man, to take particular Care, when we are once settled in a regular Course of Life, how we too frequently indulge our selves in any of the most innocent Diversions and Entertainments, since the Mind may insensibly fall off from the Relish of virtuous Actions, and, by degrees, exchange that Pleasure which it takes in the Performance of its Duty, for Delights of a much more inferior and unprofitable Nature.

The last Use which I shall make of this remarkable Property in Human Nature, of being delighted with those Actions to which it is accustomed, is to shew how absolutely necessary it is for us to gain Habits of Virtue in this Life, if we would enjoy the Pleasures of the next. The State of Bliss we call Heaven will not be capable of affecting those Minds, which are not thus qualified for it; we must, in this World, gain a Relish of Truth and Virtue, if we would be able to taste that Knowledge and Perfection, which are to make us happy in the next. The Seeds of those spiritual Joys and Raptures, which are to rise up and Flourish in the Soul to all Eternity, must be planted in her, during this her present State of Probation. In short, Heaven is not to be looked upon only as the Reward, but as the natural Effect of a religious Life.

On the other hand, those evil Spirits, who, by long Custom, have contracted in the Body Habits of Lust and Sensuality, Malice and Revenge, an Aversion to every thing that is good, just or laudable, are naturally seasoned and prepared for Pain and Misery. Their Torments have already taken root in them, they cannot be happy when divested of the Body, unless we may suppose, that Providence will, in a manner, create them anew, and work a Miracle in the Rectification of their Faculties. They may, indeed, taste a kind of malignant Pleasure in those Actions to which they are accustomed, whilst in this Life; but when they are removed from all those Objects which are here apt to gratifie them, they will naturally become their own Tormentors, and cherish in themselves those painful Habits of Mind, which are called, in5 Scripture Phrase, the Worm which never dies. This Notion of Heaven and Hell is so very conformable to the Light of Nature, that it was discovered by several of the most exalted Heathens. It has been finely improved by many Eminent Divines of the last Age, as in particular by Arch-Bishop Tillotson and Dr. Sherlock, but there is none who has raised such noble Speculations upon it as Dr. Scott6 in the First Book of his Christian Life, which is one of the finest and most rational Schemes of Divinity, that is written in our Tongue, or in any other. That Excellent Author has shewn how every particular Custom and Habit of Virtue will, in its own Nature, produce the Heaven, or a State of Happiness, in him who shall hereafter practise it: As on the contrary, how every Custom or Habit of Vice will be the natural Hell of him in whom it subsists.


Footnote 1:   Natural History of Staffordshire, by Robert Plot, L.L.D., fol. 1686. Dr. Plot wrote also a Natural History of Oxfordshire, and was a naturalist of mark, one of the Secretaries of the Royal Society, First Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum, Historiographer Royal, and Archivist of the Herald's Office. He died in 1696, aged 55.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Dr. Atterbury

Footnote 3:   Diogenes Laertius, Bk. viii.

Footnote 4:  
The paths of Virtue must be reached by toil,
Arduous and long, and on a rugged soil,
Thorny the gate, but when the top you gain,
Fair is the future and the prospect plain.
Works and Days, Bk. i. (Cooke's Translation).

Footnote 5:   in the

Footnote 6:   John Scott, a young tradesman of Chippenham, Wilts., prevailed on his friends to send him to Oxford, and became D. D. in 1685. He was minister of St. Thomas's, Southwark, Rector of St. Giles in the Fields, Prebendary of St. Paul's, Canon of Windsor, and refused a Bishopric. He was a strong opponent of the Catholics, and his Christian Life, in folio, and 5 vols. 8vo, became very popular. He died in 1694.

Contents, p. 2

No. 448

Monday, August 4, 1712


Fœdius hoc aliquid quandoque audebis.


The first Steps towards Ill are very carefully to be avoided, for Men insensibly go on when they are once entered, and do not keep up a lively Abhorrence of the least Unworthiness. There is a certain frivolous Falshood that People indulge themselves in, which ought to be had in greater Detestation than it commonly meets with: What I mean is a Neglect of Promises made on small and indifferent Occasions, such as Parties of Pleasure, Entertainments, and sometimes Meetings out of Curiosity in Men of like Faculties to be in each other's Company. There are many Causes to which one may assign this light Infidelity. Jack Sippet never keeps the Hour he has appointed to come to a Friend's to Dinner; but he is an insignificant Fellow who does it out of Vanity. He could never, he knows, make any Figure in Company, but by giving a little Disturbance at his Entry, and therefore takes Care to drop in when he thinks you are just seated. He takes his Place after having discomposed every Body, and deSir es there may be no Ceremony; then does he begin to call himself the saddest Fellow, in disappointing so many Places as he was invited to elsewhere. It is the Fop's Vanity to name Houses of better Chear, and to acquaint you that he chose yours out of ten Dinners which he was obliged to be at that Day. The last Time I had the Fortune to eat with him, he was imagining how very fat he should have been had he eaten all he had ever been invited to. But it is impertinent to dwell upon the Manners of such a Wretch as obliges all whom he disappoints, though his Circumstances constrain them to be civil to him. But there are those that every one would be glad to see, who fall into the same detestable Habit. It is a merciless thing that any one can be at Ease, and suppose a Set of People who have a Kindness for him, at that Moment waiting out of Respect to him, and refusing to taste their Food or Conversation with the utmost Impatience. One of these Promisers sometimes shall make his Excuses for not coming at all, so late that half the Company have only to lament, that they have neglected Matters of Moment to meet him whom they find a Trifler. They immediately repent of the Value they had for him; and such Treatment repeated, makes Company never depend upon his Promise any more; so that he often comes at the Middle of a Meal, where he is secretly slighted by the Persons with whom he eats, and cursed by the Servants, whose Dinner is delayed by his prolonging their Master's Entertainment. It is wonderful, that Men guilty this Way, could never have observed, that the whiling Time, the gathering together, and waiting a little before Dinner, is the most awkwardly passed away of any Part in the four and twenty Hours. If they did think at all, they would reflect upon their Guilt, in lengthning such a Suspension of agreeable Life. The constant offending this Way, has, in a Degree, an Effect upon the Honesty of his Mind who is guilty of it, as common Swearing is a kind of habitual Perjury: It makes the Soul unattentive to what an Oath is, even while it utters it at the Lips. Phocion beholding a wordy Orator while he was making a magnificent Speech to the People full of vain Promises, Methinks, said he, I am now fixing my Eyes upon a Cypress Tree, it has all the Pomp and Beauty imaginable in its Branches, Leaves, and Height, but alas it bears no Fruit.

Though the Expectation which is raised by impertinent Promisers is thus barren, their Confidence, even after Failures, is so great, that they subsist by still promising on. I have heretofore discoursed of the insignificant Liar, the Boaster, and the Castle-Builder, and treated them as no ill-designing Men, (tho' they are to be placed among the frivolously false ones) but Persons who fall into that Way purely to recommend themselves by their Vivacities; but indeed I cannot let heedless Promisers, though in the most minute Circumstances, pass with so slight a Censure. If a Man should take a Resolution to pay only Sums above an hundred Pounds, and yet contract with different People Debts of five and ten, how long can we suppose he will keep his Credit? This Man will as long support his good Name in Business, as he will in Conversation, who without Difficulty makes Assignations which he is indifferent whether he keeps or not.

I am the more severe upon this Vice, because I have been so unfortunate as to be a very great Criminal my self. Sir Andrew Freeport, and all other my Friends who are scrupulous to Promises of the meanest Consideration imaginable from an Habit of Virtue that way, have often upbraided me with it. I take Shame upon my self for this Crime, and more particularly for the greatest I ever committed of the Sort, that when as agreeable a Company of Gentlemen and Ladies as ever were got together, and I forsooth, Mr. SPECTATOR, to be of the Party with Women of Merit, like a Booby as I was, mistook the time of Meeting, and came the Night following. I wish every Fool who is negligent in this Kind, may have as great a Loss as I had in this; for the same Company will never meet more, but are dispersed into various Parts of the World, and I am left under the Compunction that I deserve, in so many different Places to be called a Trifler.

This Fault is sometimes to be accounted for, when deSir able People are fearful of appearing precious and reserved by Denials; but they will find the Apprehension of that Imputation will betray them into a childish Impotence of Mind, and make them promise all who are so kind to ask it of them. This leads such soft Creatures into the Misfortune of seeming to return Overtures of Good-will with Ingratitude. The first Steps in the Breach of a Man's Integrity are much more important than Men are aware of. The Man who scruples breaking his Word in little Things would not suffer in his own Conscience so great Pain for Failures of Consequence, as he who thinks every little Offence against Truth and Justice a Disparagement. We should not make any thing we our selves disapprove habitual to us, if we would be sure of our Integrity.

I remember a Falshood of the trivial Sort, tho' not in relation to Assignations, that exposed a Man to a very uneasie Adventure. Will. Trap and Jack Stint were Chamber-fellows in the Inner-Temple about 25 Years ago. They one Night sate in the Pit together at a Comedy, where they both observed and liked the same young Woman in the Boxes. Their Kindness for her entered both Hearts deeper than they imagined. Stint had a good Faculty at writing Letters of Love, and made his Address privately that way; while Trap proceeded in the ordinary Course, by Money and her Waiting-Maid. The Lady gave them both Encouragement, receiving Trap into the utmost Favour, and answering at the same time Stint's Letters, and giving him appointments at third Places. Trap began to suspect the Epistolary Correspondence of his Friend, and discovered also that Stint opened all his Letters which came to their common Lodgings, in order to form his own Assignations. After much Anxiety and Restlessness, Trap came to a Resolution, which he thought would break off their Commerce with one another without any hazardous Explanation. He therefore writ a Letter in a feigned Hand to Mr. Trap at his Chambers in the Temple. Stint, according to Custom, seized and opened it, and was not a little surpriz'd to find the Inside directed to himself, when, with great Perturbation of Spirit, he read as follows.
Mr. Stint,

You have gained a slight Satisfaction at the Expence of doing a very heinous Crime. At the Price of a faithful Friend you have obtained an inconstant Mistress. I rejoice in this Expedient I have thought of to break my Mind to you, and tell you, You are a base Fellow, by a Means which does not expose you to the Affront except you deserve it. I know, Sir , as criminal as you are, you have still Shame enough to avenge yourself against the Hardiness of any one that should publickly tell you of it. I therefore, who have received so many secret Hurts from you, shall take Satisfaction with Safety to my self. I call you Base, and you must bear it, or acknowledge it; I triumph over you that you cannot come at me; nor do I think it dishonourable to come in Armour to assault him, who was in Ambuscade when he wounded me. What need more be said to convince you of being guilty of the basest Practice imaginable, than that it is such as has made you liable to be treated after this Manner, while you your self cannot in your own Conscience but allow the Justice of the Upbraidings of Your Injured Friend, Ralph Trap.

Contents, p. 2

No. 449

Tuesday, August 5, 1712


—Tibi scriptus, Matrona, libellus—


When I reflect upon my Labours for the Publick, I cannot but observe, that Part of the Species, of which I profess my self a Friend and Guardian, is sometimes treated with Severity; that is, there are in my Writings many Descriptions given of ill Persons, and not yet any direct Encomium made of those who are good. When I was convinced of this Error, I could not but immediately call to Mind several of the Fair Sex of my Acquaintance, whose Characters deserve to be transmitted to Posterity in Writings which will long outlive mine. But I do not think that a Reason why I should not give them their Place in my Diurnal as long as it will last. For the Service therefore of my Female Readers, I shall single out some Characters of Maids, Wives and Widows, which deserve the Imitation of the Sex. She who shall lead this small illustrious Number of Heroines shall be the amiable Fidelia.

Before I enter upon the particular Parts of her Character, it is necessary to Preface, that she is the only Child of a decrepid Father, whose Life is bound up in hers. This Gentleman has used Fidelia from her Cradle with all the Tenderness imaginable, and has view'd her growing Perfections with the Partiality of a Parent, that soon thought her accomplished above the Children of all other Men, but never thought she was come to the utmost Improvement of which she her self was capable. This Fondness has had very happy Effects upon his own Happiness, for she reads, she dances, she sings, uses her Spinet and Lute to the utmost Perfection: And the Lady's Use of all these Excellencies, is to divert the old Man in his easie Chair, when he is out of the Pangs of a Chronical Distemper. Fidelia is now in the twenty third Year of her Age; but the Application of many Lovers, her vigorous time of Life, her quick Sense of all that is truly gallant and elegant in the Enjoyment of a plentiful Fortune, are not able to draw her from the Side of her good old Father. Certain it is, that there is no kind of Affection so pure and angelick as that of a Father to a Daughter. He beholds her both with, and without Regard to her Sex. In Love to our Wives there is DeSir e, to our Sons there is Ambition; but in that to our Daughters, there is something which there are no Words to express. Her Life is designed wholly Domestick, and she is so ready a Friend and Companion, that every thing that passes about a Man, is accompanied with the Idea of her Presence. Her Sex also is naturally so much exposed to Hazard, both as to Fortune and Innocence, that there is, perhaps, a new Cause of Fondness arising from that Consideration also. None but Fathers can have a true Sense of these sort of Pleasures and Sensations; but my Familiarity with the Father of Fidelia, makes me let drop the Words which I have heard him speak, and observe upon his Tenderness towards her.

Fidelia on her Part, as I was going to say, as accomplished as she is, with all her Beauty, Wit, Air, and Mien, employs her whole Time in Care and Attendance upon her Father. How have I been charmed to see one of the most beauteous Women the Age has produced on her Knees helping on an old Man's Slipper! Her filial Regard to him is what she makes her Diversion, her Business, and her Glory. When she was asked by a Friend of her deceased Mother to admit of the Courtship of her Son, she answer'd, That she had a great Respect and Gratitude to her for the Overture in Behalf of one so near to her, but that during her Father's Life, she would admit into her Heart no Value for any thing that should interfere with her Endeavour to make his Remains of Life as happy and easie as could be expected in his Circumstances. The Lady admonished her of the Prime of Life with a Smile; which Fidelia answered with a Frankness that always attends unfeigned Virtue. It is true, Madam, there is to be sure very great Satisfactions to be expected in the Commerce of a Man of Honour, whom one tenderly loves; but I find so much Satisfaction in the Reflection, how much I mitigate a good Man's Pains, whose Welfare depends upon my Assiduity about him, that I wittingly exclude the loose Gratifications of Passion for the solid Reflections of Duty. I know not whether any Man's Wife would be allow'd, and (what I still more fear) I know not whether I, a Wife, should be willing to be as officious as I am at present about my Parent. The happy Father has her Declaration that she will not marry during his Life, and the Pleasure of seeing that Resolution not uneasie to her. Were one to paint filial Affection in its utmost Beauty, he could not have a more lively Idea of it than in beholding Fidelia serving her Father at his Hours of Rising, Meals, and Rest.

When the general Crowd of Female Youth are consulting their Glasses, preparing for Balls, Assemblies, or Plays; for a young Lady, who could be regarded among the foremost in those Places, either for her Person, Wit, Fortune, or Conversation, and yet contemn all these Entertainments, to sweeten the heavy Hours of a decrepid Parent, is a Resignation truly heroick. Fidelia performs the Duty of a Nurse with all the Beauty of a Bride; nor does she neglect her Person, because of her Attendance on him, when he is too ill to receive Company, to whom she may make an Appearance.

Fidelia, who gives him up her Youth, does not think it any great Sacrifice to add to it the Spoiling of her Dress. Her Care and Exactness in her Habit, convince her Father of the Alacrity of her Mind; and she has of all Women the best Foundation for affecting the Praise of a seeming Negligence. What adds to the Entertainment of the good old Man is, that Fidelia, where Merit and Fortune cannot be overlook'd by Epistolary Lovers, reads over the Accounts of her Conquests, plays on her Spinet the gayest Airs, (and while she is doing so, you would think her formed only for Gallantry) to intimate to him the Pleasures she despises for his Sake.

Those who think themselves the Patterns of good Breeding and Gallantry, would be astonished to hear that in those Intervals when the old Gentleman is at Ease, and can bear Company, there are at his House in the most regular Order, Assemblies of People of the highest Merit; where there is Conversation without Mention of the Faults of the Absent, Benevolence between Men and Women without Passion, and the highest Subjects of Morality treated of as natural and accidental Discourse; All which is owing to the Genius of Fidelia, who at once makes her Father's Way to another World easie, and her self capable of being an Honour to his Name in this.


'I was the other Day at the Bear-Garden, in hopes to have seen your short Face; but not being so fortunate, I must tell you by way of Letter, That there is a Mystery among the Gladiators which has escaped your Spectatorial Penetration. For being in a Box at an Ale-house, near that renowned Seat of Honour above-mentioned, I over-heard two Masters of the Science agreeing to quarrel on the next Opportunity. This was to happen in the Company of a Set of the Fraternity of Basket-Hilts, who were to meet that Evening. When this was settled, one asked the other, Will you give Cuts or receive? the other answered, Receive. It was replied, Are you a passionate Man? No, provided you cut no more nor no deeper than we agree. I thought it my Duty to acquaint you with this, that the People may not pay their Money for Fighting, and be cheated.

Your Humble Servant,

Scabbard Rusty.

Contents, p. 2

No. 450

Wednesday, August 6, 1712


—Quærenda pecunia primum
Virtus post nummos.


All Men, through different Paths, make at the same common thing, Money; and it is to her we owe the Politician, the Merchant, and the Lawyer; nay, to be free with you, I believe to that also we are beholden for our Spectator. I am apt to think, that could we look into our own Hearts, we should see Money ingraved in them in more lively and moving Characters than Self-Preservation; for who can reflect upon the Merchant hoisting Sail in a doubtful Pursuit of her, and all Mankind sacrificing their Quiet to her, but must perceive that the Characters of Self-Preservation (which were doubtless originally the brightest) are sullied, if not wholly defaced; and that those of Money (which at first was only valuable as a Mean to Security) are of late so brightened, that the Characters of Self-Preservation, like a less Light set by a greater, are become almost imperceptible? Thus has Money got the upper Hand of what all Mankind formerly thought most dear, viz. Security; and I wish I could say she had here put a Stop to her Victories; but, alas! common Honesty fell a Sacrifice to her. This is the Way Scholastick Men talk of the greatest Good in the World; but I, a Tradesman, shall give you another Account of this Matter in the plain Narrative of my own Life. I think it proper, in the first Place, to acquaint my Readers, that since my setting out in the World, which was in the Year 1660, I never wanted Money; having begun with an indifferent good Stock in the Tobacco-Trade, to which I was bred; and by the continual Successes, it has pleased Providence to bless my Endeavours with, am at last arrived at what they call a Plumb1. To uphold my Discourse in the Manner of your Wits or Philosophers, by speaking fine things, or drawing Inferences, as they pretend, from the Nature of the Subject, I account it vain; having never found any thing in the Writings of such Men, that did not favour more of the Invention of the Brain, or what is styled Speculation, than of sound Judgment or profitable Observation. I will readily grant indeed, that there is what the Wits call Natural in their Talk; which is the utmost those curious Authors can assume to themselves, and is indeed all they endeavour at, for they are but lamentable Teachers. And, what, I pray, is Natural? That which is pleasing and easie: And what are Pleasing and Easie? Forsooth, a new Thought or Conceit dressed up in smooth quaint Language, to make you smile and wag your Head, as being what you never imagined before, and yet wonder why you had not; meer frothy Amusements! fit only for Boys or silly Women to be caught with.

'It is not my present Intention to instruct my Readers in the Methods of acquiring Riches; that may be the Work of another Essay; but to exhibit the real and solid Advantages I have found by them in my long and manifold Experience; nor yet all the Advantages of so worthy and valuable a Blessing, (for who does not know or imagine the Comforts of being warm or living at Ease? And that Power and Preheminence are their inseperable Attendants?) But only to instance the great Supports they afford us under the severest Calamities and Misfortunes; to shew that the Love of them is a special Antidote against Immorality and Vice, and that the same does likewise naturally dispose Men to Actions of Piety and Devotion: All which I can make out by my own Experience, who think my self no ways particular from the rest of Mankind, nor better nor worse by Nature than generally other Men are.

'In the Year 1665, when the Sickness was, I lost by it my Wife and two Children, which were all my Stock. Probably I might have had more, considering I was married between 4 and 5 Years; but finding her to be a teeming Woman, I was careful, as having then little above a Brace of thousand Pounds, to carry on my Trade and maintain a Family with. I loved them as usually Men do their Wives and Children, and therefore could not resist the first Impulses of Nature on so wounding a Loss; but I quickly roused my self, and found Means to alleviate, and at last conquer my Affliction, by reflecting how that she and her Children having been no great Expence to me, the best Part of her Fortune was still left; that my Charge being reduced to my self, a Journeyman, and a Maid, I might live far cheaper than before; and that being now a childless Widower, I might perhaps marry a no less deserving Woman, and with a much better Fortune than she brought, which was but £800. And to convince my Readers that such Considerations as these were proper and apt to produce such an Effect, I remember it was the constant Observation at that deplorable Time, when so many Hundreds were swept away daily, that the Rich ever bore the Loss of their Families and Relations far better than the Poor; the latter having little or nothing before-hand, and living from Hand to Mouth, placed the whole Comfort and Satisfaction of their Lives in their Wives and Children, and were therefore inconsolable.

'The following Year happened the Fire; at which Time, by good Providence, it was my Fortune to have converted the greatest Part of my Effects into ready Money, on the Prospect of an extraordinary Advantage which I was preparing to lay Hold on. This Calamity was very terrible and astonishing, the Fury of the Flames being such, that whole Streets, at several distant Places, were destroyed at one and the same Time, so that (as it is well known) almost all our Citizens were burnt out of what they had. But what did I then do? I did not stand gazing on the Ruins of our noble Metropolis; I did not shake my Head, wring my Hands, sigh, and shed Tears; I consider'd with my self what could this avail; I fell a plodding what Advantages might be made of the ready Cash I had, and immediately bethought my self what wonderful Pennyworths might be bought of the Goods, that were saved out of the Fire. In short, with about £2000 and a little Credit, I bought as much Tobacco as rais'd my Estate to the Value of £10000 I then looked on the Ashes of our City, and, the Misery of its late Inhabitants, as an Effect of the just Wrath and Indignation of Heaven towards a sinful and perverse People.

'After this I married again, and that Wife dying, I took another; but both proved to be idle Baggages: the first gave me a great deal of Plague and Vexation by her Extravagancies, and I became one of the Bywords of the City. I knew it would be to no manner of Purpose to go about to curb the Fancies and Inclinations of Women, which fly out the more for being restrained; but what I could I did. I watched her narrowly, and by good Luck found her in the Embraces (for which I had two Witnesses with me) of a wealthy Spark of the Court-end of the Town; of whom I recovered 15000 Pounds, which made me Amends for what she had idly squanderd, and put a Silence to all my Neighbours, taking off my Reproach by the Gain they saw I had by it. The last died about two Years after I married her, in Labour of three Children. I conjecture they were begotten by a Country Kinsman of hers, whom, at her Recommendation, I took into my Family, and gave Wages to as a Journeyman. What this Creature expended in Delicacies and high Diet with her Kinsman (as well as I could compute by the Poulterers, Fishmongers, and Grocers Bills) amounted in the said two Years to one hundred eighty six Pounds, four Shillings, and five Pence Half-penny. The fine Apparel, Bracelets, Lockets, and Treats, &c. of the other, according to the best Calculation, came in three Years and about three Quarters to Seven hundred forty four Pounds, seven Shillings and nine Pence. After this I resolv'd never to marry more, and found I had been a Gainer by my Marriages, and the Damages granted me for the Abuses of my Bed, (all Charges deducted) eight thousand three hundred Pounds within a Trifle.

'I come now to shew the good Effects of the Love of Money on the Lives of Men towards rendring them honest, sober, and religious. When I was a young Man, I had a Mind to make the best of my Wits, and over-reached a Country Chap in a Parcel of unsound Goods; to whom, upon his upbraiding, and threatning to expose me for it, I returned the Equivalent of his Loss; and upon his good Advice, wherein he clearly demonstrated the Folly of such Artifices, which can never end but in Shame, and the Ruin of all Correspondence, I never after transgressed. Can your Courtiers, who take Bribes, or your Lawyers or Physicians in their Practice, or even the Divines who intermeddle in worldly Affairs, boast of making but one Slip in their Lives, and of such a thorough and lasting Reformation? Since my coming into the World I do not remember I was ever overtaken in Drink, save nine times, one at the Christening of my first Child, thrice at our City Feasts, and five times at driving of Bargains. My Reformation I can attribute to nothing so much as the Love and Esteem of Money, for I found my self to be extravagant in my Drink, and apt to turn Projector, and make rash Bargains. As for Women, I never knew any, except my Wives: For my Reader must know, and it is what he may confide in as an excellent Recipe, That the Love of Business and Money is the greatest Mortifier of inordinate DeSir es imaginable, as employing the Mind continually in the careful Oversight of what one has, in the eager Quest after more, in looking after the Negligences and Deceits of Servants, in the due Entring and Stating of Accounts, in hunting after Chaps, and in the exact Knowledge of the State of Markets; which Things whoever thoroughly attends, will find enough and enough to employ his Thoughts on every Moment of the Day; So that I cannot call to Mind, that in all the Time I was a Husband, which, off and on, was about twelve Years, I ever once thought of my Wives but in Bed. And, lastly, for Religion, I have ever been a constant Churchman, both Forenoons and Afternoons on Sundays, never forgetting to be thankful for any Gain or Advantage I had had that Day; and on Saturday Nights, upon casting up my Accounts, I always was grateful for the Sum of my Week's Profits, and at Christmas for that of the whole Year. It is true, perhaps, that my Devotion has not been the most fervent; which, I think, ought to be imputed to the Evenness and Sedateness of my Temper, which never would admit of any Impetuosities of any Sort: And I can remember that in my Youth and Prime of Manhood, when my Blood ran brisker, I took greater Pleasure in Religious Exercises than at present, or many Years past, and that my Devotion sensibly declined as Age, which is dull and unwieldly, came upon me.

'I have, I hope, here proved, that the Love of Money prevents all Immorality and Vice; which if you will not allow, you must, that the Pursuit of it obliges Men to the same Kind of Life as they would follow if they were really virtuous: Which is all I have to say at present, only recommending to you, that you would think of it, and turn ready Wit into ready Money as fast as you can. I conclude,

Your Servant,
Ephraim Weed.'

Footnote 1:   £100,000.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 2

No. 451

Thursday, August 7, 1712


—Jam sævus apertam
In rabiem cæpit verti jocus, et per honestas
Ire minax impunè domos—

There is nothing so scandalous to a Government, and detestable in the Eyes of all good Men, as defamatory Papers and Pamphlets; but at the same time there is nothing so difficult to tame, as a Satyrical Author. An angry Writer, who cannot appear in Print, naturally vents his Spleen in Libels and Lampoons. A gay old Woman, says the Fable, seeing all her Wrinkles represented in a large Looking-glass, threw it upon the Ground in a Passion, and broke it into a thousand Pieces, but as she was afterwards surveying the Fragments with a spiteful kind of Pleasure, she could not forbear uttering her self in the following Soliloquy. What have I got by this revengeful Blow of mine, I have only multiplied my Deformity, and see an hundred ugly Faces, where before I saw but one.

It has been proposed, to oblige every Person that writes a Book, or a Paper, to swear himself the Author of it, and enter down in a publick Register his Name and Place of Abode.

This, indeed, would have effectually suppressed all printed Scandal, which generally appears under borrowed Names, or under none at all. But it is to be feared, that such an Expedient would not only destroy Scandal, but Learning. It would operate promiscuously, and root up the Corn and Tares together. Not to mention some of the most celebrated Works of Piety, which have proceeded from Anonymous Authors, who have made it their Merit to convey to us so great a Charity in secret: There are few Works of Genius that come out at first with the Author's Name. The Writer generally makes a Tryal of them in the World before he owns them; and, I believe, very few, who are capable of Writing, would set Pen to Paper, if they knew, before-hand, that they must not publish their Productions but on such Conditions. For my own part, I must declare, the Papers I present the Publick are like Fairy Favours, which shall last no longer than while the Author is concealed.

That which makes it particularly difficult to restrain these Sons of Calumny and Defamation is, that all Sides are equally guilty of it, and that every dirty Scribler is countenanced by great Names, whose Interests he propagates by such vile and infamous Methods. I have never yet heard of a Ministry, who have inflicted an exemplary Punishment on an Author that has supported their Cause with Falsehood and Scandal, and treated, in a most cruel manner, the names of those who have been looked upon as their Rivals and Antagonists. Would a Government set an everlasting Mark of their Displeasure upon one of those infamous Writers, who makes his Court to them by tearing to Pieces the Reputation of a Competitor, we should quickly see an End put to this Race of Vermin, that are a Scandal to Government, and a Reproach to Human Nature. Such a Proceeding would make a Minister of State shine in History, and would fill all Mankind with a just Abhorrence of Persons who should treat him unworthily, and employ against him those Arms which he scorned to make use of against his Enemies.

I cannot think that any one will be so unjust as to imagine, what I have here said is spoken with a Respect to any Party or Faction. Every one who has in him the Sentiments either of a Christian or a Gentleman, cannot but be highly offended at this wicked and ungenerous Practice, which is so much in use among us at present, that it is become a kind of National Crime, and distinguishes us from all the Governments that lie about us. I cannot but look upon the finest Strokes of Satyr which are aimed at particular Persons, and which are supported even with the Appearances of Truth, to be the Marks of an evil Mind, and highly Criminal in themselves. Infamy, like other Punishments, is under the Direction and Distribution of the Magistrate, and not of any private Person. Accordingly we learn from a Fragment of Cicero, that tho' there were very few Capital Punishments in the twelve Tables, a Libel or Lampoon which took away the good Name of another, was to be punished by Death. But this is far from being our Case. Our Satyr is nothing but Ribaldry, and Billingsgate. Scurrility passes for Wit; and he who can call Names in the greatest Variety of Phrases, is looked upon to have the shrewdest Pen. By this Means the Honour of Families is ruined, the highest Posts and greatest Titles are render'd cheap and vile in the Sight of the People; the noblest Virtues, and most exalted Parts, exposed to the Contempt of the Vicious and the Ignorant. Should a Foreigner, who knows nothing of our private Factions, or one who is to act his Part in the World when our present Heats and Animosities are forgot, should, I say, such an one form to himself a Notion of the greatest Men of all Sides in the British Nation, who are now living, from the Characters which are given them in some or other of those abominable Writings which are daily Published among us, what a Nation of Monsters must we appear!

As this cruel Practice tends to the utter Subversion of all Truth and Humanity among us, it deserves the utmost Detestation and Discouragement of all who have either the Love of their Country, or the Honour of their Religion at Heart. I would therefore earnestly recommend it to the Consideration of those who deal in these pernicious Arts of Writing; and of those who take Pleasure in the Reading of them. As for the first, I have spoken of them in former Papers, and have not stuck to rank them with the Murderer and Assassin. Every honest Man sets as high a Value upon a good Name, as upon Life it self; and I cannot but think that those who privily assault the one, would destroy the other, might they do it with the same Secrecy and Impunity.

As for Persons who take Pleasure in the reading and dispersing of such detestable Libels, I am afraid they fall very little short of the Guilt of the first Composers. By a Law of the Emperors Valentinian and Valens, it was made Death for any Person not only to write a Libel, but if he met with one by chance, not to tear or burn it. But because I would not be thought singular in my Opinion of this Matter, I shall conclude my Paper with the Words of Monsieur Bayle, who was a Man of great Freedom of Thought, as well as of exquisite Learning and Judgment.
I cannot imagine, that a Man who disperses a Libel is less deSir ous of doing Mischief than the Author himself. But what shall we say of the Pleasure which a Man takes in the reading of a Defamatory Libel? Is it not an heinous Sin in the Sight of God? We must distinguish in this Point. This Pleasure is either an agreeable Sensation we are afflicted with, when we meet with a witty Thought which is well expressed, or it is a Joy which we conceive from the Dishonour of the Person who is defamed. I will say nothing to the first of these Cases; for perhaps some would think that my Morality is not severe enough, if I should affirm that a Man is not Master of those agreeable Sensations, any more than of those occasioned by Sugar or Honey, when they touch his Tongue; but as to the second, every one will own that Pleasure to be a heinous Sin. The Pleasure in the first Case is of no Continuance; it prevents our Reason and Reflection, and may be immediately followed by a secret Grief, to see our Neighbour's Honour blasted. If it does not cease immediately, it is a Sign that we are not displeased with the Ill-nature of the Satyrist, but are glad to see him defame his Enemy by all kinds of Stories; and then we deserve the Punishment to which the Writer of the Libel is subject. I shall here add the Words of a Modern Author. St. Gregory upon excommunicating those Writers who had dishonoured Castorius, does not except those who read their Works; because, says he, if Calumnies have always been the delight of the Hearers, and a gratification of those Persons who have no other Advantage over honest Men, is not he who takes Pleasure in reading them as guilty as he who composed them? It is an uncontested Maxim, that they who approve an Action would certainly do it if they could; that is, if some Reason of Self-love did not hinder them. There is no difference, says Cicero, between advising a Crime, and approving it when committed. The Roman Law confirmed this Maxim, having subjected the Approvers and Authors of this Evil to the same Penalty. We may therefore conclude, that those who are pleased with reading Defamatory Libels, so far as to approve the Authors and Dispersers of them, are as guilty as if they had composed them: for if they do not write such Libels themselves, it is because they have not the Talent of Writing, or because they will run no hazard1.
The Author produces other Authorities to confirm his Judgment in this particular.


Footnote 1:   Dissertation upon Defamatory Libels. §17.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 2

No. 452

Friday, August 8, 1712


Est natura Hominum Novitatis avida.

Plin. apud Lill.translation

There is no Humour in my Countrymen, which I am more enclined to wonder at, than their general Thirst after News. There are about half a Dozen Ingenious Men, who live very plentifully upon this Curiosity of their Fellow-Subjects. They all of them receive the same Advices from abroad, and very often in the same Words; but their Way of Cooking it is so different, that there is no Citizen, who has an Eye to the publick Good, that can leave the Coffee-house with Peace of Mind before he has given every one of them a Reading. These several Dishes of News are so very agreeable to the Palate of my Countrymen, that they are not only pleased with them when they are served up hot, but when they are again set cold before them, by those penetrating Politicians, who oblige the Publick with their Reflections and Observations upon every piece of Intelligence that is sent us from abroad. The Text is given us by one set of Writers, and the Comment by another.

But notwithstanding we have the same Tale told us in so many different papers, and if occasion requires in so many Articles of the same Paper; notwithstanding a Scarcity of Foreign Posts we hear the same Story repeated, by different Advices from Paris, Brussels, the Hague, and from every great Town in Europe; notwithstanding the Multitude of Annotations, Explanations, Reflections, and various Readings which it passes through, our Time lies heavy on our Hands till the Arrival of a fresh Mail: We long to receive further particulars, to hear what will be the next Step, or what will be the Consequences of that which has been already taken. A Westerly Wind keeps the whole Town in Suspence, and puts a Stop to Conversation.

This general Curiosity has been raised and inflamed by our late Wars, and, if rightly directed, might be of good Use to a Person who has such a Thirst awakened in him. Why should not a Man, who takes Delight in reading every thing that is new, apply himself to History, Travels, and other Writings of the same kind, where he will find perpetual Fuel for his Curiosity, and meet with much more Pleasure and Improvement, than in these Papers of the Week? An honest Tradesman, who languishes a whole Summer in Expectation of a Battel, and perhaps is balked at last, may here meet with half a dozen in a Day. He may read the News of a whole Campaign, in less time than he now bestows upon the Products of any single Post. Fights, Conquests and Revolutions lye thick together. The Reader's Curiosity is raised and satisfied every Moment, and his Passions disappointed or gratified, without being detained in a State of uncertainty from Day to Day, or lying at the Mercy of Sea and1 Wind. In short, the Mind is not here kept in a perpetual Gape after Knowledge, nor punished with that Eternal Thirst, which is the Portion of all our modern News-mongers and Coffee-house Politicians.

All Matters of Fact, which a Man did not know before, are News to him; and I do not see how any Haberdasher in Cheapside is more concerned in the present Quarrel of the Cantons, than he was in that of the League. At least, I believe every one will allow me, it is of more Importance to an Englishman to know the History of his Ancestors, than that of his Contemporaries who live upon the Banks of the Danube or the Borysthenes. As for those who are of another Mind, I shall recommend to them the following Letter, from a Projector, who is willing to turn a Penny by this remarkable Curiosity of his Countrymen.


'You must have observed, that Men who frequent Coffee-houses, and delight in News, are pleased with every thing that is Matter of Fact, so it be what they have not heard before. A Victory, or a Defeat, are equally agreeable to them. The shutting of a Cardinal's Mouth pleases them one Post, and the opening of it another. They are glad to hear the French Court is removed to Marli, and are afterwards as much delighted with its Return to Versailles. They read the Advertisements with the same Curiosity as the Articles of publick News; and are as pleased to hear of a Pye-bald Horse that is stray'd out of a Field near Islington, as of a whole Troop that has been engaged in any Foreign Adventure. In short, they have a Relish for every thing that is News, let the matter of it be what it will; or to speak more properly, they are Men of a Voracious Appetite, but no Taste. Now, Sir , since the great Fountain of News, I mean the War, is very near being dried up; and since these Gentlemen have contracted such an inextinguishable Thirst after it; I have taken their Case and my own into Consideration, and have thought of a Project which may turn to the Advantage of us both. I have Thoughts of publishing a daily Paper, which shall comprehend in it all the most remarkable Occurences in every little Town, Village and Hamlet, that lye within ten Miles of London, or in other Words, within the Verge of the Penny-Post. I have pitched upon this Scene of Intelligence for two Reasons; first, because the Carriage of Letters will be very cheap; and secondly, because I may receive them every Day. By this means my Readers will have their News fresh and fresh, and many worthy Citizens who cannot Sleep with any Satisfaction at present, for want of being informed how the World goes, may go to Bed contentedly, it being my Design to put out my Paper every Night at nine-a-Clock precisely. I have already established Correspondences in these several Places, and received very good Intelligence.

By my last Advices from Knights-bridge I hear that a Horse was clapped into the Pound on the third Instant, and that he was not released when the Letters came away.

We are informed from Pankridge2 that a dozen Weddings were lately celebrated in the Mother Church of that Place, but are referred to their next Letters for the Names of the Parties concerned.

Letters from Brompton advise. That the Widow Bligh had received several Visits from John Milldew, which affords great matter of Speculation in those Parts.

By a Fisherman which lately touched at Hammersmith, there is Advice from Putney, that a certain Person well known in that Place, is like to lose his Election for Church-warden; but this being Boat-news, we cannot give entire Credit to it.

Letters from Paddington bring little more, than that William Squeak, the Sow-gelder, passed through that Place the 5th Instant.

They advise from Fulham, that things remained there in the same State they were. They had Intelligence, just as the Letters came away, of a Tub of excellent Ale just set abroach at Parson's Green; but this wanted Confirmation.

I have here, Sir , given you a Specimen of the News with which I intend to entertain the Town, and which, when drawn up regularly in the Form of a News Paper, will, I doubt not, be very acceptable to many of those Publick-spirited Readers, who take more delight in acquainting themselves with other People's Business than their own. I hope a Paper of this kind, which lets us know what is done near home, may be more useful to us, than those which are filled with Advices from Zug and Bender, and make some amends for that Dearth of Intelligence, which we may justly apprehend from times of Peace. If I find that you receive this Project favourably, I will shortly trouble you with one or two more; and in the mean time am, most worthy Sir , with all due Respect,

Your most Obedient,
and most Humble Servant.

Footnote 1:   or
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Pancras.

Contents, p. 2

No. 453

Saturday, August 9, 1712


Non usitatâ nec tenui ferar


There is not a more pleasing Exercise of the Mind than Gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward Satisfaction, that the Duty is sufficiently rewarded by the Performance. It is not like the Practice of many other Virtues, difficult and painful, but attended with so much Pleasure, that were there no positive Command which enjoin'd it, nor any Recompence laid up for it hereafter, a generous Mind would indulge in it, for the natural Gratification that accompanies it.

If Gratitude is due from Man to Man, how much more from Man to his Maker? The Supream Being does not only confer upon us those Bounties which proceed more immediately from his Hand, but even those Benefits which are conveyed to us by others. Every Blessing we enjoy, by what Means soever it may be derived upon us, is the Gift of him who is the great Author of Good, and Father of Mercies.

If Gratitude, when exerted towards one another, naturally produces a very pleasing Sensation in the Mind of a Grateful Man; it exalts the Soul into Rapture, when it is employed on this great Object of Gratitude; on this Beneficent Being who has given us every thing we already possess, and from whom we expect every thing we yet hope for.

Most of the Works of the Pagan Poets were either direct Hymns to their Deities, or tended indirectly to the Celebration of their respective Attributes and Perfections. Those who are acquainted with the Works of the Greek and Latin Poets which are still extant, will upon Reflection find this Observation so true, that I shall not enlarge upon it. One would wonder that more of our Christian Poets have not turned their Thoughts this way, especially if we consider, that our Idea of the Supream Being is not only infinitely more Great and Noble than what could possibly enter into the Heart of an Heathen, but filled with every thing that can raise the Imagination, and give an Opportunity for the sublimest Thoughts and Conceptions.

Plutarch tells of a Heathen who was singing an Hymn to Diana, in which he celebrated her for her Delight in Human Sacrifices, and other Instances of Cruelty and Revenge; upon which a Poet who was present at this piece of Devotion, and seems to have had a truer Idea of the Divine Nature, told the Votary, by way of Reproof, that in recompence for his Hymn, he heartily wished he might have a Daughter of the same Temper with the Goddess he celebrated. It was indeed impossible to write the Praises of one of those false Deities, according to the Pagan Creed, without a mixture of Impertinence and Absurdity.

The Jews, who before the Times of Christianity were the only People that had the Knowledge of the True God, have set the Christian World an Example how they ought to employ this Divine Talent of which I am speaking. As that Nation produced Men of great Genius, without considering them as inspired Writers, they have transmitted to us many Hymns and Divine Odes, which excel those that are delivered down to us by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, in the Poetry, as much as in the Subject to which it was consecrated. This I think might easily be shewn, if there were occasion for it.

I have already communicated to the Publick some Pieces of Divine Poetry, and as they have met with a very favourable Reception, I shall from time to time publish any Work of the same nature which has not yet appeared in Print1, and may be acceptable to my Readers.

I When all thy Mercies, O my God,
My rising Soul surveys;
Transported with the View, I'm lost
In Wonder, Love, and Praise:
II O how shall Words with equal Warmth
The Gratitude declare
That glows within my ravish'd Heart?
But thou canst read it there.
III Thy Providence my Life sustain'd,
And all my Wants redrest,
When in the silent Womb I lay,
And hung upon the Breast.
IV To all my weak Complaints and Cries,
Thy Mercy lent an Ear,
Ere yet my feeble Thoughts had learnt
To form themselves in Pray'r.
V Unnumbered Comforts to my Soul
Thy tender Care bestow'd,
Before my infant Heart conceiv'd
From whom those Comforts flow'd.
VI When in the slippery Paths of Youth
With heedless Steps I ran,
Thine Arm unseen convey'd me safe
And led me up to Man.
VII Through hidden Dangers, Toils, and Deaths,
It gently clear'd my Way,
And through the pleasing Snares of Vice,
More to be fear'd than they.
VIII When worn with Sickness oft hast thou
With Health renew'd my Face,
And when in Sins and Sorrows sunk
Revived my Soul with Grace.
IX 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.
X Ten thousand thousand precious Gifts
My Daily Thanks employ,
Nor is the least a chearful Heart,
That tastes those Gifts with Joy.
XI Through every Period of my Life
Thy Goodness I'll pursue;
And after Death in distant Worlds
The Glorious Theme renew.
XII When Nature fails, and Day and Night
Divide thy Works no more,
My Ever-grateful Heart, O Lord,
Thy Mercy shall adore.
XIII Through all Eternity to Thee
A joyful Song I'll raise,
For oh! Eternity's too short
To utter all thy Praise.


Footnote 1:   By himself.
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Contents, p. 2

No. 454

Monday, August 11, 1712


Sine me, Vacivum tempus ne quod dem mihi Laboris.

Ter. Heau.translation

It is an inexpressible Pleasure to know a little of the World, and be of no Character or Significancy in it. To be ever unconcerned, and ever looking on new Objects with an endless Curiosity, is a Delight known only to those who are turned for Speculation: Nay, they who enjoy it, must value Things only as they are the Objects of Speculation, without drawing any worldly Advantage to themselves from them, but just as they are what contribute to their Amusement, or the Improvement of the Mind. I lay one Night last Week at Richmond; and being restless, not out of Dissatisfaction, but a certain busie Inclination one sometimes has, I rose at Four in the Morning, and took Boat for London, with a Resolution to rove by Boat and Coach for the next Four and twenty Hours, till the many different Objects I must needs meet with should tire my Imagination, and give me an Inclination to a Repose more profound than I was at that Time capable of. I beg People's Pardon for an odd Humour I am guilty of, and was often that Day, which is saluting any Person whom I like, whether I know him or not. This is a Particularity would be tolerated in me, if they considered that the greatest Pleasure I know I receive at my Eyes, and that I am obliged to an agreeable Person for coming abroad into my View, as another is for a Visit of Conversation at their own Houses.

The Hours of the Day and Night are taken up in the Cities of London and Westminster by People as different from each other as those who are born in different Centuries. Men of Six a Clock give way to those of Nine, they of Nine to the Generation of Twelve, and they of Twelve disappear, and make Room for the fashionable World, who have made Two a Clock the Noon of the Day.

When we first put off from Shore, we soon fell in with a Fleet of Gardeners bound for the several Market-Ports of London; and it was the most pleasing Scene imaginable to see the Chearfulness with which those industrious People ply'd their Way to a certain Sale of their Goods. The Banks on each Side are as well peopled, and beautified with as agreeable Plantations, as any Spot on the Earth; but the Thames it self, loaded with the Product of each Shore, added very much to the Landskip. It was very easie to observe by their Sailing, and the Countenances of the ruddy Virgins, who were Super-Cargoes, the Parts of the Town to which they were bound. There was an Air in the Purveyors for Covent-Garden, who frequently converse with Morning Rakes, very unlike the seemly Sobriety of those bound for Stocks Market.

Nothing remarkable happened in our Voyage; but I landed with Ten Sail of Apricock Boats at Strand-Bridge, after having put in at Nine-Elms, and taken in Melons, consigned by Mr. Cuffe of that Place, to Sarah Sewell and Company, at their Stall in Covent-Garden. We arrived at Strand-Bridge at Six of the Clock, and were unloading: when the Hackney Coachmen of the foregoing Night took their leave of each other at the Dark-House, to go to Bed before the Day was too far spent, Chimney-Sweepers pass'd by us as we made up to the Market, and some Raillery happened between one of the Fruit Wenches and those black Men, about the Devil and Eve, with Allusion to their several Professions. I could not believe any Place more entertaining than Covent-Garden; where I strolled from one Fruit-Shop to another, with Crowds of agreeable young Women around me, who were purchasing Fruit for their respective Families. It was almost eight of the Clock before I could leave that Variety of Objects. I took Coach and followed a Young Lady, who tripped into another just before me, attended by her Maid. I saw immediately she was of the Family of the Vainloves. There are a set of these who of all Things affect the Play of Blindman's-Buff, and leading Men into Love for they know not whom, who are fled they know not where. This sort of Woman is usually a janty Slattern; she hangs on her Cloaths, plays her Head, varies her Posture, and changes Place incessantly, and all with an Appearance of striving at the same time to hide her self, and yet give you to understand she is in Humour to laugh at you. You must have often seen the Coachmen make Signs with their Fingers as they drive by each other, to intimate how much they have got that Day. They can carry on that Language to give Intelligence where they are driving. In an Instant my Coachman took the Wink to pursue, and the Lady's Driver gave the Hint that he was going through Long-Acre towards St. James's: While he whipped up James-Street, we drove for King-Street, to save the Pass at St. Martin's-Lane. The Coachmen took care to meet, jostle, and threaten each other for Way, and be entangled at the End of Newport-Street and Long-Acre. The Fright, you must believe, brought down the Lady's Coach Door, and obliged her, with her Mask off, to enquire into the Bustle, when she sees the Man she would avoid. The Tackle of the Coach-Window is so bad she cannot draw it up again, and she drives on sometimes wholly discovered, and sometimes half escaped, according to the Accident of Carriages in her Way. One of these Ladies keeps her Seat in a Hackney-Coach, as well as the best Rider does on a managed Horse. The laced Shooe of her left Foot, with a careless Gesture, just appearing on the opposite Cushion, held her both firm, and in a proper Attitude to receive the next Jolt.

As she was an excellent Coach Woman, many were the Glances at each other which we had for an Hour and an Half in all Parts of the Town by the Skill of our Drivers; till at last my Lady was conveniently lost with Notice from her Coachman to ours to make off, and he should hear where she went. This Chase was now at an End, and the Fellow who drove her came to us, and discovered that he was ordered to come again in an Hour, for that she was a Silk-Worm. I was surprized with this Phrase, but found it was a Cant among the Hackney Fraternity for their best Customers, Women who ramble twice or thrice a Week from Shop to Shop, to turn over all the Goods in Town without buying any thing. The Silk-worms are, it seems, indulged by the Tradesmen; for tho' they never buy, they are ever talking of new Silks, Laces and Ribbands, and serve the Owners in getting them Customers as their common Dunners do in making them pay.

The Day of People of Fashion began now to Break, and Carts and Hacks were mingled with Equipages of Show and Vanity; when I resolved to walk it out of Cheapness; but my unhappy Curiosity is such, that I find it always my Interest to take Coach, for some odd Adventure among Beggars, Ballad-Singers, or the like, detains and throws me into Expence. It happened so immediately; for at the Corner of Warwick Street, as I was listening to a new Ballad, a ragged Rascal, a Beggar who knew me, came up to me, and began to turn the Eyes of the good Company upon me, by telling me he was extream Poor, and should die in the Street for want of Drink, except I immediately would have the Charity to give him Six-pence to go into the next Ale-house and save his Life. He urged, with a melancholy Face, that all his Family had died of Thirst. All the Mob have Humour, and two or three began to take the Jest; by which Mr. Sturdy carried his Point, and let me sneak off to a Coach. As I drove along, it was a pleasing Reflection to see the World so prettily chequered since I left Richmond, and the Scene still filling with Children of a new Hour. This Satisfaction encreased as I moved towards the City; and gay Signs, well disposed Streets, magnificent publick Structures, and wealthy Shops, adorned with contented Faces, made the Joy still rising till we came into the Centre of the City, and Centre of the World of Trade, the Exchange of London. As other men in the Crowds about me were pleased with their Hopes and Bargains, I found my Account in observing them, in Attention to their several Interests. I, indeed, looked upon my self as the richest Man that walked the Exchange that Day; for my Benevolence made me share the Gains of every Bargain that was made. It was not the least of my Satisfactions in my Survey, to go up Stairs, and pass the Shops of agreeable Females; to observe so many pretty Hands busie in the Foldings of Ribbands, and the utmost Eagerness of agreeable Faces in the sale of Patches, Pins, and Wires, on each Side the Counters, was an Amusement, in which I should longer have indulged my self, had not the dear Creatures called to me to ask what I wanted, when I could not answer, only To look at you. I went to one of the Windows which opened to the Area below, where all the several Voices lost their Distinction, and rose up in a confused Humming; which created in me a Reflection that could not come into the Mind of any but of one a little too studious; for I said to my self, with a kind of Pun in Thought, What Nonsense is all the Hurry of this World to those who are above it? In these, or not much wiser Thoughts, I had like to have lost my Place at the Chop-House, where every Man according to the natural Bashfulness or Sullenness of our Nation, eats in a publick Room a Mess of Broth, or Chop of Meat, in dumb Silence, as if they had no pretence to speak to each other on the Foot of being Men, except they were of each other's Acquaintance.

I went afterwards to Robin's, and saw People who had dined with me at the Five-penny Ordinary just before, give Bills for the Value of large Estates; and could not but behold with great Pleasure, Property lodged in, and transferred in a Moment from such as would never be Masters of half as much as is seemingly in them, and given from them every Day they live. But before Five in the Afternoon I left the City, came to my common Scene of Covent-Garden, and passed the Evening at Will's in attending the Discourses of several Sets of People, who relieved each other within my Hearing on the Subjects of Cards, Dice, Love, Learning, and Politicks. The last Subject kept me till I heard the Streets in the Possession of the Bellman, who had now the World to himself, and cry'd, Past Two of Clock. This rous'd me from my Seat, and I went to my Lodging, led by a Light, whom I put into the Discourse of his private &œlig;conomy, and made him give me an Account of the Charge, Hazard, Profit and Loss of a Family that depended upon a Link, with a Design to end my trivial Day with the Generosity of Six-pence, instead of a third Part of that Sum. When I came to my Chambers I writ down these Minutes; but was at a Loss what Instruction I should propose to my Reader from the Enumeration of so many Insignificant Matters and Occurrences; and I thought it of great Use, if they could learn with me to keep their Minds open to Gratification, and ready to receive it from any thing it meets with. This one Circumstance will make every Face you see give you the Satisfaction you now take in beholding that of a Friend; will make every Object a pleasing one; will make all the Good which arrives to any Man, an Encrease of Happiness to your self.


Contents, p. 2

No. 455

Tuesday, August 12, 1712


—Ergo Apis Matinæ
More modoque
Grata Carpentis thyma per laborem

The following Letters have in them Reflections which will seem of Importance both to the Learned World and to Domestick Life. There is in the first an Allegory so well carry'd on, that it cannot but be very pleasing to those who have a Taste of good Writing; and the other Billets may have their Use in common Life.


As I walked t'other Day in a fine Garden, and observed the great Variety of Improvements in Plants and Flowers beyond what they otherwise would have been, I was naturally led into a Reflection upon the Advantages of Education, or Moral Culture; how many good Qualities in the Mind are lost, for want of the like due Care in nursing and skilfully managing them, how many Virtues are choaked, by the Multitude of Weeds which are suffered to grow among them; how excellent Parts are often starved and useless, by being planted in a wrong Soil; and how very seldom do these Moral Seeds produce the noble Fruits which might be expected from them, by a Neglect of proper Manuring, necessary Pruning, and an artful Management of our tender Inclinations and first Spring of Life: These obvious Speculations made me at length conclude, that there is a sort of vegetable Principle in the Mind of every Man when he comes into the World. In Infants the Seeds lie buried and undiscovered, till after a while they sprout forth in a kind of rational Leaves, which are Words; and in due Season the Flowers begin to appear in Variety of beautiful Colours, and all the gay Pictures of youthful Fancy and Imagination; at last the Fruit knits and is formed, which is green, perhaps, first, and soure, unpleasant to the Taste, and not fit to be gathered; till ripened by due Care and Application, it discovers itself in all the noble Productions of Philosophy, Mathematicks, close Reasoning, and handsome Argumentation: And these Fruits, when they arrive at a just Maturity, and are of a good Kind, afford the most vigorous Nourishment to the Minds of Men. I reflected further on the intellectual Leaves beforementioned, and found almost as great a Variety among them as in the vegetable World. I could easily observe the smooth shining Italian Leaves; the nimble French Aspen always in Motion; the Greek and Latin Evergreens, the Spanish Myrtle, the English Oak, the Scotch Thistle, the Irish Shambrogue, the prickly German and Dutch Holly, the Polish and Russian Nettle, besides a vast Number of Exoticks imported from Asia, Africk, and America. I saw several barren Plants, which bore only Leaves, without any Hopes of Flower or Fruit: The Leaves of some were fragrant and well-shaped, of others ill-scented and irregular. I wonder'd at a Set of old whimsical Botanists, who spent their whole Lives in the Contemplation of some withered Ægyptian, Coptick, Armenian, or Chinese Leaves, while others made it their Business to collect in voluminous Herbals all the several Leaves of some one Tree. The Flowers afforded a most diverting Entertainment, in a wonderful Variety of Figures, Colours and Scents; however, most of them withered soon, or at best are but Annuals. Some professed Florists make them their constant Study and Employment, and despise all Fruit; and now and then a few fanciful People spend all their Time in the Cultivation of a single Tulip, or a Carnation: But the most agreeable Amusement seems to be the well chusing, mixing, and binding together these Flowers, in pleasing Nosegays to present to Ladies. The Scent of Italian Flowers is observed, like their other Perfume, to be too strong, and to hurt the Brain; that of the French with glaring, gaudy Colours, yet faint and languid; German and Northern Flowers have little or no Smell, or sometimes an unpleasant one. The Antients had a Secret to give a lasting Beauty, Colour, and Sweetness to some of their choice Flowers, which flourish to this Day, and which few of the Moderns can effect. These are becoming enough and agreeable in their Season, and do often handsomely adorn an Entertainment, but an Over-fondness of them seems to be a Disease. It rarely happens to find a Plant vigorous enough, to have (like an Orange-Tree) at once beautiful shining Leaves, fragrant Flowers, and delicious nourishing Fruit.

Sir , Yours, &c.

August 6, 1712.

Dear SPEC,

You have given us in your Spectator of Saturday last, a very excellent Discourse upon the Force of Custom, and its wonderful Efficacy in making every thing pleasant to us. I cannot deny but that I received above Two penny-worth of Instruction from your Paper, and in the general was very well pleased with it; but I am, without a Compliment, sincerely troubled that I cannot exactly be of your Opinion, That it makes every thing pleasing to us. In short, I have the Honour to be yoked to a young Lady, who is, in plain English, for her Standing, a very eminent Scold. She began to break her Mind very freely both to me and to her Servants about two Months after our Nuptials; and tho' I have been accustomed to this Humour of hers this three Years, yet, I do not know what's the Matter with me, but I am no more delighted with it than I was at the very first. I have advised with her Relations about her, and they all tell me that her Mother and her Grandmother before her were both taken much after the same Manner; so that since it runs in the Blood, I have but small Hopes of her Recovery. I should be glad to have a little of your Advice in this Matter: I would not willingly trouble you to contrive how it may be a Pleasure to me; if you will but put me in a Way that I may bear it with Indifference, I shall rest satisfied.

Dear SPEC, Your very humble Servant.

P. S. I must do the poor Girl the Justice to let you know, that this Match was none of her own chusing, (or indeed of mine either;) in Consideration of which I avoid giving her the least Provocation; and indeed we live better together than usually Folks do who hated one another when they were first joined: To evade the Sin against Parents, or at least to extenuate it, my Dear rails at my Father and Mother, and I curse hers for making the Match.


I like the Theme you lately gave out extremely, and should be as glad to handle it as any Man living: But I find myself no better qualified to write about Money, than about my Wife; for, to tell you a Secret which I deSir e may go no further, I am Master of neither of those Subjects.


Pill Garlick.

Aug. 8, 1712.


I deSir e you would print this in Italick, so as it may be generally taken Notice of. It is designed only to admonish all Persons, who speak either at the Bar, Pulpit, or any publick Assembly whatsoever, how they discover their Ignorance in the Use of Similes. There are in the Pulpit it self, as well as other Places, such gross Abuses in this Kind, that I give this Warning to all I know, I shall bring them for the Future before your Spectatorial Authority. On Sunday last, one, who shall be nameless, reproving several of his Congregation for standing at Prayers, was pleased to say, One would think, like the Elephant, you had no Knees. Now I my self saw an Elephant in Bartholomew-Fair kneel down to take on his Back the ingenious Mr. William Penkethman.

Your most humble Servant.

Contents, p. 2

No. 456

Wednesday, August 13, 1712


De quo libelli in celeberrimis locis proponuntur
Huic ne perire quidem tacite conceditur.


Otway, in his Tragedy of Venice Preserv'd, has described the Misery of a Man, whose Effects are in the Hands of the Law, with great Spirit. The Bitterness of being the Scorn and Laughter of base Minds, the Anguish of being insulted by Men hardened beyond the Sense of Shame or Pity, and the Injury of a Man's Fortune being wasted, under Pretence of Justice, are excellently aggravated in the following Speech of Pierre to Faffeir1:
I pass'd this very Moment by thy Doors,
And found them guarded by a Troop of Villains:
The Sons of publick Rapine were destroying.
They told me, by the Sentence of the Law,
They had Commission to seize all thy Fortune:
Nay more
, Priuli's cruel Hand had sign'd it.
Here stood a Ruffian with a horrid Face,
Lording it o'er a Pile of massy Plate,
Tumbled into a Heap for publick Sale.
There was another making villanous Jests
At thy Undoing: He had ta'en Possession
Of all thy ancient most domestick Ornaments:
Rich Hangings intermix'd and wrought with Gold;
The very Bed, which on thy Wedding Night
Received thee to the Arms of
The Scene of all thy Joys, was violated
By the coarse Hands of filthy Dungeon Villains,
And thrown amongst the common Lumber.
Nothing indeed can be more unhappy than the Condition of Bankrupcy. The Calamity which happens to us by ill Fortune, or by the Injury of others, has in it some Consolation; but what arises from our own Misbehaviour or Error, is the State of the most exquisite Sorrow. When a Man considers not only an ample Fortune, but even the very Necessaries of Life, his Pretence to Food it self at the Mercy of his Creditors, he cannot but look upon himself in the State of the Dead, with his Case thus much worse, that the last Office is performed by his Adversaries, instead of his Friends. From this Hour the cruel World does not only take Possession of his whole Fortune, but even of every thing else, which had no Relation to it. All his indifferent Actions have new Interpretations put upon them; and those whom he has favoured in his former Life, discharge themselves of their Obligations to him, by joining in the Reproaches of his Enemies. It is almost incredible that it should be so; but it is too often seen that there is a Pride mixed with the Impatience of the Creditor, and there are who would rather recover their own by the Downfal of a prosperous Man, than be discharged to the common Satisfaction of themselves and their Creditors. The wretched Man, who was lately Master of Abundance, is now under the Direction of others; and the Wisdom, &œlig;conomy, good Sense and Skill in human Life before, by reason of his present Misfortune, are of no Use to him in the Disposition of any thing. The Incapacity of an Infant or a Lunatick, is designed for his Provision and Accommodation; but that of a Bankrupt, without any Mitigation in respect of the Accidents by which it arrived, is calculated for his utter Ruin, except there be a Remainder ample enough after the Discharge of his Creditors to bear also the Expence of rewarding those by whose Means the Effect of all his Labours was transferred from him. This Man is to look on and see others giving Directions upon what Terms and Conditions his Goods are to be purchased, and all this usually done not with an Air of Trustees to dispose of his Effects, but Destroyers to divide and tear them to Pieces.

There is something sacred in Misery to great and good Minds; for this Reason all wise Lawgivers have been extremely tender how they let loose even the Man who has Right on his Side, to act with any Mixture of Resentment against the Defendant. Virtuous and modest Men, though they be used with some Artifice, and have it in their Power to avenge themselves, are slow in the Application of that Power, and are ever constrained to go into rigorous Measures. They are careful to demonstrate themselves not only Persons injured, but also that to bear it longer, would be a Means to make the Offender injure others, before they proceed. Such Men clap their Hands upon their Hearts, and consider what it is to have at their Mercy the Life of a Citizen. Such would have it to say to their own Souls, if possible, That they were merciful when they could have destroyed, rather than when it was in their Power to have spared a Man, they destroyed. This is a Due to the common Calamity of Human Life, due in some measure to our very Enemies. They who scruple doing the least Injury, are cautious of exacting the utmost Justice.

Let any one who is conversant in the Variety of Human Life reflect upon it, and he will find the Man who wants Mercy has a Taste of no Enjoyment of any Kind. There is a natural Disrelish of every thing which is good in his very Nature, and he is born an Enemy to the World. He is ever extremely partial to himself in all his Actions, and has no Sense of Iniquity but from the Punishment which shall attend it. The Law of the Land is his Gospel, and all his Cases of Conscience are determined by his Attorney. Such Men know not what it is to gladden the Heart of a miserable Man, that Riches are the Instruments of serving the Purposes of Heaven or Hell, according to the Disposition of the Possessor. The wealthy can torment or gratifie all who are in their Power, and chuse to do one or other as they are affected with Love or Hatred to Mankind. As for such who are insensible of the Concerns of others, but merely as they affect themselves, these Men are to be valued only for their Mortality, and as we hope better Things from their Heirs. I could not but read with great Delight a Letter from an eminent Citizen, who has failed, to one who was intimate with him in his better Fortune, and able by his Countenance to retrieve his lost Condition.
Sir ,

It is in vain to multiply Words and make Apologies for what is never to be defended by the best Advocate in the World, the Guilt of being Unfortunate. All that a Man in my Condition can do or say, will be received with Prejudice by the Generality of Mankind, but I hope not with you: You have been a great Instrument in helping me to get what I have lost, and I know (for that Reason, as well as Kindness to me) you cannot but be in pain to see me undone. To shew you I am not a Man incapable of bearing Calamity, I will, though a poor Man, lay aside the Distinction between us, and talk with the Frankness we did when we were nearer to an Equality: As all I do will be received with Prejudice, all you do will be looked upon with Partiality. What I deSir e of you, is, that you, who are courted by all, would smile upon me who am shunned by all. Let that Grace and Favour which your Fortune throws upon you, be turned to make up the Coldness and Indifference that is used towards me. All good and generous Men will have an Eye of Kindness for me for my own Sake, and the rest of the World will regard me for yours. There is an happy Contagion in Riches, as well as a destructive one in Poverty; the Rich can make rich without parting with any of their Store, and the Conversation of the Poor makes Men poor, though they borrow nothing of them. How this is to be accounted for I know not? but Men's Estimation follows us according to the Company we keep. If you are what you were to me, you can go a great Way towards my Recovery; if you are not, my good Fortune, if ever it returns, will return by slower Approaches.

I am Sir ,
Your Affectionate Friend,
and Humble Servant.
This was answered with a Condescension that did not, by long impertinent Professions of Kindness, insult his Distress, but was as follows.
Dear Tom,

I am very glad to hear that you have Heart enough to begin the World a second Time. I assure you, I do not think your numerous Family at all diminished (in the Gifts of Nature for which I have ever so much admired them) by what has so lately happened to you. I shall not only countenance your Affairs with my Appearance for you, but shall accommodate you with a considerable Sum at common Interest for three Years. You know I could make more of it; but I have so great a Love for you that I can wave Opportunities of Gain to help you: For I do not care whether they say of me after I am dead, that I had an hundred or fifty thousand Pounds more than I wanted when I was living.

Your obliged humble Servant.

Footnote 1:   Act I., sc. 2.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 2

No. 457

Thursday, August 14, 1712


—Multa et præclara minantis.


I shall this Day lay before my Reader a Letter, written by the same Hand with that of last Friday, which contained Proposals for a Printed News-paper, that should take in the whole Circle of the Penny-Post.

Sir ,

The kind Reception you gave my last Friday's Letter, in which I broached my Project of a News-Paper, encourages me to lay before you two or three more; for, you must know, Sir , that we look upon you to be the Lowndes of the learned World, and cannot think any Scheme practicable or rational before you have approved of it, tho' all the Money we raise by it is on our own Funds, and for our private Use.

I have often thought that a News-Letter of Whispers, written every Post, and sent about the Kingdom, after the same Manner as that of Mr. Dyer, Mr. Dawkes, or any other Epistolary Historian, might be highly gratifying to the Publick, as well as beneficial to the Author. By Whispers I mean those Pieces of News which are communicated as Secrets, and which bring a double Pleasure to the Hearer; first, as they are private History, and in the next place as they have always in them a Dash of Scandal. These are the two chief Qualifications in an Article of News, which1 recommend it, in a more than ordinary Manner, to the Ears of the Curious. Sickness of Persons in high Posts, Twilight Visits paid and received by Ministers of State, Clandestine Courtships and Marriages, Secret Amours, Losses at Play, Applications for Places, with their respective Successes or Repulses, are the Materials in which I chiefly intend to deal. I have two Persons, that are each of them the Representative of a Species, who are to furnish me with those Whispers which I intend to convey to my Correspondents. The first of these is Peter Hush, descended from the ancient Family of the Hushes. The other is the old Lady Blast, who has a very numerous Tribe of Daughters in the two great Cities of London and Westminster. Peter Hush has a whispering Hole in most of the great Coffee-houses about Town. If you are alone with him in a wide Room, he carries you up into a Corner of it, and speaks in your Ear. I have seen Peter seat himself in a Company of seven or eight Persons, whom he never saw before in his Life; and after having looked about to see there was no one that overheard him, has communicated to them in a low Voice, and under the Seal of Secrecy, the Death of a great Man in the Country, who was perhaps a Fox-hunting the very Moment this Account was given2 of him. If upon your entring into a Coffee-house you see a Circle of Heads bending over the Table, and lying close by one another, it is ten to one but my Friend Peter is among them. I have known Peter publishing the Whisper of the Day by eight a-Clock in the Morning at Garraway's, by twelve at Will's, and before two at the Smyrna. When Peter has thus effectually launched a Secret, I have been very well pleased to hear People whispering it to one another at second Hand, and spreading it about as their own; for you must know, Sir , the great Incentive to Whispering is the Ambition which every one has of being thought in the Secret, and being look'd upon as a Man who has Access to greater People than one would imagine. After having given you this Account of Peter Hush, I proceed to that virtuous Lady, the old Lady Blast, who is to communicate to me the private Transactions of the Crimp Table, with all the Arcana of the Fair Sex. The Lady Blast, you must understand, has such a particular Malignity in her Whisper, that it blights like an Easterly Wind, and withers every Reputation that it breathes upon. She has a particular Knack at making private Weddings, and last Winter married above five Women of Quality to their Footmen. Her Whisper can make an innocent young Woman big with Child, or fill an healthful young Fellow with Distempers that are not to be named. She can turn a Visit into an Intrigue, and a distant Salute into an Assignation. She can beggar the Wealthy, and degrade the Noble. In short, she can whisper Men Base or Foolish, Jealous or Ill-natured, or, if Occasion requires, can tell you the Slips of their Great Grandmothers, and traduce the Memory of honest Coachmen that have been in their Graves above these hundred Years. By these and the like Helps, I question not but I shall furnish out a very handsome News-Letter. If you approve my Project, I shall begin to whisper by the very next Post, and question not but every one of my Customers will be very well pleased with me, when he considers that every Piece of News I send him is a Word in his Ear, and lets him into a Secret.

Having given you a Sketch of this Project, I shall, in the next Place, suggest to you another for a Monthly Pamphlet, which I shall likewise submit to your Spectatorial Wisdom. I need not tell you, Sir , that there are several Authors in France, Germany, and Holland, as well as in our own Country, who publish every Month, what they call An Account of the Works of the Learned, in which they give us an Abstract of all such Books as are printed in any Part of Europe. Now, Sir , it is my Design to publish every Month, An Account of the Works of the Unlearned. Several late Productions of my own Countrymen, who many of them make a very eminent Figure in the Illiterate World, Encourage me in this Undertaking. I may, in this Work, possibly make a Review of several Pieces which have appeared in the Foreign Accounts above-mentioned, tho' they ought not to have been taken Notice of in Works which bear such a Title. I may, likewise, take into Consideration, such Pieces as appear, from time to time, under the Names of those Gentlemen who Compliment one another, in Publick Assemblies, by the Title of the Learned Gentlemen. Our Party-Authors will also afford me a great Variety of Subjects, not to mention Editors, Commentators, and others, who are often Men of no Learning, or, what is as bad, of no Knowledge. I shall not enlarge upon this Hint; but if you think any thing can be made of it, I shall set about it with all the Pains and Application that so useful a Work deserves.

I am ever,

Most Worthy Sir , &c.

Footnote 1:   that
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   giving

Contents, p. 2

No. 458

Friday, August 15, 1712


Greek: 'Lidôs ouk agáthae—Hes.

—Pudor malus—


I could not Smile at the Account that was Yesterday given me of a modest young Gentleman, who being invited to an Entertainment, though he was not used to drink, had not the Confidence to refuse his Glass in his Turn, when on a sudden he grew so flustered that he took all the Talk of the Table into his own Hands, abused every one of the Company, and flung a Bottle at the Gentleman's Head who treated him. This has given me Occasion to reflect upon the ill Effects of a vicious Modesty, and to remember the Saying of Brutus, as it is quoted by Plutarch, that the Person has had but an ill Education, who has not been taught to deny any thing. This false kind of Modesty has, perhaps, betrayed both Sexes into as many Vices as the most abandoned Impudence, and is the more inexcusable to Reason, because it acts to gratify others rather than it self, and is punished with a kind of Remorse, not only like other vicious Habits when the Crime is over, but even at the very time that it is committed.

Nothing is more amiable than true Modesty, and nothing is more contemptible than the false. The one guards Virtue, the other betrays it. True Modesty is ashamed to do any thing that is repugnant to the Rules of right Reason: False Modesty is ashamed to do any thing that is opposite to the Humour of the Company. True Modesty avoids every thing that is criminal, false Modesty every thing that is unfashionable. The latter is only a general undetermined Instinct; the former is that Instinct, limited and circumscribed by the Rules of Prudence and Religion.

We may conclude that Modesty to be false and vicious, which engages a Man to do any thing that is ill or indiscreet, or which restrains him from doing any thing that is of a contrary Nature. How many Men, in the common Concerns of Life, lend Sums of Money which they are not able to spare, are bound for Persons whom they have but little Friendship for, give Recommendatory Characters of Men whom they are not acquainted with, bestow Places on those whom they do not esteem, live in such a Manner as they themselves do not approve, and all this meerly because they have not the Confidence to resist Solicitation, Importunity or Example?

Nor does this false Modesty expose us only to such Actions as are indiscreet, but very often to such as are highly criminal. When Xenophanes1 was called timorous, because he would not venture his Money in a Game at Dice: I confess, said he, that I am exceeding timorous, for I dare not do any ill thing. On the contrary, a Man of vicious Modesty complies with every thing, and is only fearful of doing what may look singular in the Company where he is engaged. He falls in with the Torrent, and lets himself go to every Action or Discourse, however unjustifiable in it self, so it be in Vogue among the present Party. This, tho' one of the most common, is one of the most ridiculous Dispositions in Human Nature, that Men should not be ashamed of speaking or acting in a dissolute or irrational Manner, but that one who is in their Company should be ashamed of governing himself by the Principles of Reason and Virtue.

In the second place we are to consider false Modesty, as it restrains a Man from doing what is good and laudable. My Reader's own Thoughts will suggest to him many Instances and Examples under this Head. I shall only dwell upon one Reflection, which I cannot make without a Secret Concern. We have in England a particular Bashfulness in every thing that regards Religion. A well-bred Man is obliged to conceal any Serious Sentiment of this Nature, and very often to appear a greater Libertine than he is, that he may keep himself in Countenance among the Men of Mode. Our Excess of Modesty makes us shamefaced in all the Exercises of Piety and Devotion. This Humour prevails upon us daily; insomuch, that at many well-bred Tables, the Master of the House is so very Modest a Man, that he has not the Confidence to say Grace at his own Table: A Custom which is not only practised by all the Nations about us, but was never omitted by the Heathens themselves. English Gentlemen who travel into Roman-Catholick Countries, are not a little surprized to meet with People of the best Quality kneeling in their Churches, and engaged in their private Devotions, tho' it be not at the Hours of Publick Worship. An Officer of the Army, or a Man of Wit and Pleasure in those Countries, would be afraid of passing not only for an irreligious, but an ill-bred Man, should he be seen to go to Bed, or sit down at Table, without offering up his Devotions on such Occasions. The same Show of Religion appears in all the Foreign Reformed Churches, and enters so much into their Ordinary Conversation, that an Englishman is apt to term them Hypocritical and Precise.

This little Appearance of a Religious Deportment in our Nation, may proceed in some measure from that Modesty which is natural to us, but the great occasion of it is certainly this. Those Swarms of Sectaries that overran the Nation in the time of the great Rebellion, carried their Hypocrisie so high, that they had converted our whole Language into a Jargon of Enthusiasm; insomuch that upon the Restoration Men thought they could not recede too far from the Behaviour and Practice of those Persons, who had made Religion a Cloak to so many Villanies. This led them into the other Extream, every Appearance of Devotion was looked upon as Puritannical, and falling into the Hands of the Ridiculers who flourished in that Reign, and attacked every thing that was Serious, it has ever since been out of Countenance among us. By this means we are gradually fallen into that Vicious Modesty which has in some measure worn out from among us the Appearance of Christianity in Ordinary Life and Conversation, and which distinguishes us from all our Neighbours2.

Hypocrisie cannot indeed be too much detested, but at the same time is to be preferred to open Impiety. They are both equally destructive to the Person who is possessed with them; but in regard to others, Hypocrisie is not so pernicious as bare-faced Irreligion. The due Mean to be observed is to be sincerely Virtuous, and at the same time to let the World see we are so. I do not know a more dreadful Menace in the Holy Writings, than that which is pronounced against those who have this perverted Modesty, to be ashamed before Men in a Particular of such unspeakable Importance.


Footnote 1:   Xenophon
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   the Nations that lie about us.

Footnote 3:   No letter affixed in the first issue.

Contents, p. 2

No. 459

Saturday, August 16, 1712


—quicquid dignum sapiente bonoque est.


Religion may be considered under two General Heads. The first comprehends what we are to believe, the other what we are to practise. By those things which we are to believe, I mean whatever is revealed to us in the Holy Writings, and which we could not have obtained the Knowledge of by the Light of Nature; by the things which we are to practise, I mean all those Duties to which we are directed by Reason or Natural Religion. The first of these I shall distinguish by the Name of Faith, the Second by that of Morality.

If we look into the more Serious Part of Mankind, we find many who lay so great a Stress upon Faith, that they neglect Morality; and many who build so much upon Morality, that they do not pay a due Regard to Faith. The perfect Man should be defective in neither of these Particulars, as will be very evident to those who consider the Benefits which arise from each of them, and which I shall make the Subject of this Day's Paper.

Notwithstanding this general Division of Christian Duty into Morality and Faith, and that they have both their peculiar Excellencies, the first has the Pre-eminence in several Respects.

I have only touched on these several Heads, which every one who is conversant in Discourses of this Nature will easily enlarge upon in his own Thoughts, and draw Conclusions from them which may be useful to him in the Conduct of his Life. One I am sure is so obvious, that he cannot miss it, namely that a Man cannot be perfect in his Scheme of Morality, who does not strengthen and support it with that of the Christian Faith.

Besides this, I shall lay down two or three other Maxims which I think we may deduce from what has been said.

There is likewise another Maxim which I think may be drawn from the foregoing Considerations, which is this, that we should, in all dubious Points, consider any ill Consequences that may arise from them, supposing they should be Erroneous, before we give up our Assent to them.

For example, In that disputable Point of Prosecuting Men for Conscience Sake, besides the imbittering their Minds with Hatred, Indignation, and all the Vehemence of Resentment, and ensnaring them to profess what they do not believe; we cut them off from the Pleasures and Advantages of Society, afflict their Bodies, distress their Fortunes, hurt their Reputations, ruin their Families, make their Lives painful, or put an End to them. Sure when I see such dreadful Consequences rising from a Principle, I would be as fully convinced of the Truth of it, as of a Mathematical Demonstration, before I would venture to act upon it, or make it a part of my Religion.

In this Case the Injury done our Neighbour is plain and evident, the Principle that puts us upon doing it, of a dubious and disputable Nature. Morality seems highly violated by the one, and whether or no a Zeal for what a Man thinks the true System of Faith may justifie it, is very uncertain. I cannot but think, if our Religion produce Charity as well as Zeal, it will not be for shewing it self by such cruel Instances. But, to conclude with the Words of an excellent Author1, We have just enough Religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love, one another.


Footnote 1:   Probably Tillotson. The thought is expanded in part of his sermon on the Example of Jesus in doing good. It appears in another form in his sermon for the 5th of November, 1678, where he applies to our religious hatreds the saying that the richest and noblest wines make the sharpest vinegar; again in another form in his sermon at the Yorkshire Feast.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 2

No. 460

Monday, August 18, 1712


—Decipimur Specie Recti—


Our defects and Follies are too often unknown to us; nay, they are so far from being known to us, that they pass for Demonstrations of our Worth. This makes us easy in the midst of them, fond to shew them, fond to improve in them, and to be esteemed for them. Then it is that a thousand unaccountable Conceits, gay Inventions, and extravagant Actions must afford us Pleasures, and display us to others in the Colours which we ourselves take a Fancy to glory in: And indeed there is something so amusing for the time in this State of Vanity and ill-grounded Satisfaction, that even the wiser World has chosen an exalted Word to describe its Enchantments, and called it the Paradise of Fools.

Perhaps the latter part of this Reflection may seem a false Thought to some, and bear another Turn than what I have given: but it is at present none of my Business to look after it, who am going to confess that I have been lately amongst them in a Vision.

Methought I was transported to a Hill, green, flowery, and of an easie Ascent. Upon the broad Top of it resided squinteyed Error, and popular Opinion with many Heads; two that dealt in Sorcery, and were famous for bewitching People with the Love of themselves. To these repaired a Multitude from every Side, by two different Paths which lead towards each of them. Some who had the most assuming Air, went directly of themselves to Errour, without expecting a Conductor; others of a softer Nature went first to popular Opinion, from whence as she influenced and engaged them with their own Praises, she delivered them over to his Government.

When we had ascended to an open Part of the Summit where Opinion abode, we found her entertaining several who had arrived before us. Her Voice was pleasing; she breathed Odours as she spoke: She seemed to have a Tongue for every one; every one thought he heard of something that was valuable in himself, and expected a Paradise, which she promised as the Reward of his Merit. Thus were we drawn to follow her, till she should bring us where it was to be bestowed: And it was observable, that all the Way we went, the Company was either praising themselves for their Qualifications, or one another for those Qualifications which they took to be conspicuous in their own Characters, or dispraising others for wanting theirs, or vying in the Degrees of them.

At last we approached a Bower, at the Entrance of which Errour was seated. The Trees were thick-woven, and the Place where he sat artfully contrived to darken him a little. He was disguised in a whitish Robe, which he had put on, that he might appear to us with a nearer Resemblance to Truth: And as she has a Light whereby she manifests the Beauties of Nature to the Eyes of her Adorers, so he had provided himself with a magical Wand, that he might do something in Imitation of it, and please with Delusions. This he lifted solemnly, and muttering to himself, bid the Glories which he kept under Enchantment to appear before us. Immediately we cast our Eyes on that part of the Sky to which he pointed, and observed a thin blue Prospect, which cleared as Mountains in a Summer Morning when the Mists go off, and the Palace of Vanity appeared to Sight.

The Foundation hardly seemed a Foundation, but a Set of curling Clouds, which it stood upon by magical Contrivance. The Way by which we ascended was painted like a Rainbow; and as we went the Breeze that played about us bewitched the Senses. The Walls were gilded all for Show; the lowest Set of Pillars were of the slight fine Corinthian Order, and the Top of the Building being rounded, bore so far the Resemblance of a Bubble.

At the Gate the Travellers neither met with a Porter, nor waited till one should appear; every one thought his Merits a sufficient Passport, and pressed forward. In the Hall we met with several Phantoms, that rov'd amongst us, and rang'd the Company according to their Sentiments. There was decreasing Honour, that had nothing to shew in but an old Coat of his Ancestors Atchievements: There was Ostentation, that made himself his own constant Subject, and Gallantry strutting upon his Tiptoes. At the upper End of the Hall stood a Throne, whose Canopy glitter'd with all the Riches that Gayety could contrive to lavish on it; and between the gilded Arms sat Vanity, deck'd in the Peacock's Feathers, and acknowledged for another Venus by her Votaries. The Boy who stood beside her for a Cupid, and who made the World to bow before her, was called Self-Conceit. His Eyes had every now and then a Cast inwards to the Neglect of all Objects about him; and the Arms which he made use of for Conquest, were borrowed from those against whom he had a Design. The Arrow which he shot at the Soldier, was fledged from his own Plume of Feathers; the Dart he directed against the Man of Wit, was winged from the Quills he writ with; and that which he sent against those who presumed upon their Riches, was headed with Gold out of their Treasuries: He made Nets for Statesmen from their own Contrivances; he took Fire from the Eyes of Ladies, with which he melted their Hearts; and Lightning from the Tongues of the Eloquent, to enflame them with their own Glories. At the Foot of the Throne sat three false Graces. Flattery with a Shell of Paint, Affectation with a Mirrour to practise at, and Fashion ever changing the Posture of her Cloaths. These applied themselves to secure the Conquests which Self-Conceit had gotten, and had each of them their particular Polities. Flattery gave new Colours and Complections to all Things. Affectation new Airs and Appearances, which, as she said, were not vulgar, and Fashion both concealed some home Defects, and added some foreign external Beauties

As I was reflecting upon what I saw, I heard a Voice in the Crowd, bemoaning the Condition of Mankind, which is thus managed by the Breath of Opinion, deluded by Errour, fired by Self-Conceit, and given up to be trained in all the Courses of Vanity, till Scorn or Poverty come upon us. These Expressions were no sooner handed about, but I immediately saw a general Disorder, till at last there was a Parting in one Place, and a grave old Man, decent and resolute, was led forward to be punished for the Words he had uttered. He appeared inclined to have spoken in his own Defence, but I could not observe that any one was willing to hear him. Vanity cast a scornful Smile at him; Self-Conceit was angry; Flattery, who knew him for Plain-dealing, put on a Vizard, and turned away; Affectation tossed her Fan, made Mouths, and called him Envy or Slander; and Fashion would have it, that at least he must be Ill-Manners. Thus slighted and despised by all, he was driven out for abusing People of Merit and Figure; and I heard it firmly resolved, that he should be used no better wherever they met with him hereafter.

I had already seen the Meaning of most part of that Warning which he had given, and was considering how the latter Words should be fulfilled, when a mighty Noise was heard without, and the Door was blackned by a numerous Train of Harpies crowding in upon us. Folly and Broken Credit were seen in the House before they entered. Trouble, Shame, Infamy, Scorn and Poverty brought up the Rear. Vanity, with her Cupid and Graces, disappeared; her Subjects ran into Holes and Corners; but many of them were found and carried off (as I was told by one who stood near me) either to Prisons or Cellars, Solitude, or little Company, the meaner Arts or the viler Crafts of Life. But these, added he with a disdainful Air, are such who would fondly live here, when their Merits neither matched the Lustre of the Place, nor their Riches its Expences. We have seen such Scenes as these before now; the Glory you saw will all return when the Hurry is over. I thanked him for his Information, and believing him so incorrigible as that he would stay till it was his Turn to be taken, I made off to the Door, and overtook some few, who, though they would not hearken to Plain-dealing, were now terrified to good purpose by the Example of others: But when they had touched the Threshold, it was a strange Shock to them to find that the Delusion of Errour was gone, and they plainly discerned the Building to hang a little up in the Air without any real Foundation. At first we saw nothing but a desperate Leap remained for us, and I a thousand times blamed my unmeaning Curiosity that had brought me into so much Danger. But as they began to sink lower in their own Minds, methought the Palace sunk along with us, till they were arrived at the due Point of Esteem which they ought to have for themselves; then the Part of the Building in which they stood touched the Earth, and we departing out, it retired from our Eyes. Now, whether they who stayed in the Palace were sensible of this Descent, I cannot tell; it was then my Opinion that they were not. However it be, my Dream broke up at it, and has given me Occasion all my Life to reflect upon the fatal Consequences of following the Suggestions of Vanity.


'I write to you to deSir e, that you would again touch upon a certain Enormity, which is chiefly in Use among the Politer and better-bred Part of Mankind; I mean the Ceremonies, Bows, Courtsies, Whisperings, Smiles, Winks, Nods, with other familiar Arts of Salutation, which take up in our Churches so much Time, that might be better employed, and which seem so utterly inconsistent with the Duty and true Intent of our entering into those Religious Assemblies. The Resemblance which this bears to our indeed proper Behaviour in Theatres, may be some Instance of its Incongruity in the above-mentioned Places. In Roman Catholick Churches and Chappels abroad, I my self have observed, more than once, Persons of the first Quality, of the nearest Relation, and intimatest Acquaintance passing by one another unknowing as it were and unknown, and with so little Notices of each other, that it looked like having their Minds more suitably and more solemnly engaged; at least it was an Acknowledgment that they ought to have been so. I have been told the same even of the Mahometans, with relation to the Propriety of their Demeanour in the Conventions of their erroneous Worship: And I cannot but think either of them sufficient and laudable Patterns for our Imitation in this Particular.

'I cannot help upon this Occasion remarking on the excellent Memories of those Devotionists, who upon returning from Church shall give a particular Account how two or three hundred People were dressed; a Thing, by reason of its Variety, so difficult to be digested and fixed in the Head, that 'tis a Miracle to me how two poor Hours of Divine Service can be Time sufficient for so elaborate an undertaking, the Duty of the Place too being jointly and, no doubt, oft pathetically performed along with it. Where it is said in Sacred Wit, that the Woman ought to have a Covering on her Head, because of the Angels2 that last Word is by some thought to be metaphorically used, and to signify young Men. Allowing this Interpretation to be right, the Text may not appear to be wholly foreign to our present Purpose.

'When you are in a Disposition proper for writing on such a Subject, I earnestly recommend this to you, and am,

Sir ,

Your very humble Servant.

Footnote 1:   Thomas Parnell, the writer of this allegory, was the son of a commonwealthsman, who at the Restoration ceased to live on his hereditary lands at Congleton, in Cheshire, and bought an estate in Ireland. Born in 1679, at Dublin, where he became M.A. of Trinity College, in 1700 he was ordained after taking his degree, and in 1705 became Archdeacon of Clogher. At the same time he took a wife, who died in 1711. Parnell had been an associate of the chief Whig writers, had taste as a poet, and found pleasure in writing for the papers of the time. When the Whigs went out of power in Queen Anne's reign, Parnell connected himself with the Tories. On the warm recommendation of Swift, he obtained a prebend in 1713, and in May, 1716, a vicarage in the diocese of Dublin, worth £400 a year. He died in July, 1717, aged 38. Inheriting his father's estates in Cheshire and Ireland, Pamell was not in need. Wanting vigour and passion, he was neither formidable nor bitter as a political opponent, and in 1712 his old friends, Steele and Addison, were glad of a paper from him; though, with Swift, he had gone over to the other side in politics.
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Footnote 2:   I Corinthians xi. 10.

Contents, p. 2

No. 461

Tuesday, August 19, 1712


—Non Ego credulus illis—


For want of Time to substitute something else in the Room of them, I am at present obliged to publish Compliments above my Desert in the following Letters. It is no small Satisfaction, to have given Occasion to ingenious Men to employ their Thoughts upon sacred Subjects, from the Approbation of such Pieces of Poetry as they have seen in my Saturday's Papers. I shall never publish Verse on that Day but what is written by the same Hand; yet shall I not accompany those Writings with Eulogiums, but leave them to speak for themselves.



'You very much promote the Interests of Virtue, while you reform the Taste of a Prophane Age, and persuade us to be entertained with Divine Poems, while we are distinguished by so many thousand Humours, and split into so many different Sects and Parties; yet Persons of every Party, Sect, and Humour are fond of conforming their Taste to yours. You can transfuse your own Relish of a Poem into all your Readers, according to their Capacity to receive; and when you recommend the pious Passion that reigns in the Verse, we seem to feel the Devotion, and grow proud and pleas'd inwardly, that we have Souls capable of relishing what the Spectator approves.

'Upon reading the Hymns that you have published in some late Papers, I had a Mind to try Yesterday whether I could write one. The 114th Psalm appears to me an admirable Ode, and I began to turn it into our Language. As I was describing the Journey of Israel from Egypt, and added the Divine Presence amongst them, I perceived a Beauty in the Psalm which was entirely new to me, and which I was going to lose; and that is, that the Poet utterly conceals the Presence of God in the Beginning of it, and rather lets a Possessive Pronoun go without a Substantive, than he will so much as mention any thing of Divinity there. Judah was his Sanctuary, and Israel his Dominion or Kingdom. The Reason now seems evident, and this Conduct necessary: For if God had appeared before, there could be no wonder why the Mountains should leap and the Sea retire; therefore that this Convulsion of Nature may be brought in with due Surprise, his Name is not mentioned till afterward, and then with a very agreeable Turn of Thought God is introduced at once in all his Majesty. This is what I have attempted to imitate in a Translation without Paraphrase, and to preserve what I could of the Spirit of the sacred Author.

'If the following Essay be not too incorrigible, bestow upon it a few Brightnings from your Genius, that I may learn how to write better, or to write no more.

Your daily Admirer, and humble Servant1, &c.

I When Israel, freed from Pharaoh's Hand,
Left the proud Tyrant and his Land,
The Tribes with chearful Homage own
Their King, and Judah was his Throne.
II Across the Deep their Journey lay,
The Deep divides to make them Way;
The Streams of Jordan saw, and fed
With backward Current to their Head.
III The Mountains shook like frighted Sheep,
Like Lambs the little Hillocks leap;
Not Sinai on her Base could stand,
Conscious of Sovereign Power at hand.
IV What Power could make the Deep divide?
Make Jordan backward roll his Tide?
Why did ye leap, ye little Hills?
And whence the Fright that Sinai feels?
V Let every Mountain, every Flood
Retire, and know th' approaching God,
The King of Israel: See him here;
Tremble thou Earth, adore and fear.
VI He thunders, and all Nature mourns:
The Rock to standing Pools he turns;
Flints spring with Fountains at his Word,
And Fires and Seas confess their Lord.


There are those who take the Advantage of your putting an Half-penny Value upon your self above the rest of our daily Writers, to defame you in publick Conversation, and strive to make you unpopular upon the Account of this said Half-penny. But if I were you, I would insist upon that small Acknowledgment for the superior Merit of yours, as being a Work of Invention. Give me Leave therefore to do you Justice, and say in your Behalf what you cannot your self, which is, That your Writings have made Learning a more necessary Part of good Breeding than it was before you appeared: That Modesty is become fashionable, and Impudence stands in need of some Wit, since you have put them both in their proper Lights. Prophaneness, Lewdness, and Debauchery are not now Qualifications, and a Man may be a very fine Gentleman, tho' he is neither a Keeper nor an Infidel.

I would have you tell the Town the Story of the Sybills, if they deny giving you Two-Pence. Let them know, that those sacred Papers were valued at the same Rate after two Thirds of them were destroyed, as when there was the whole Set. There are so many of us who will give you your own Price, that you may acquaint your Non-Conformist Readers, That they shall not have it, except they come in within such a Day, under Three-pence. I don't know, but you might bring in the Date Obolum Belisario with a good Grace. The Witlings come in Clusters to two or three Coffee-houses which have left you off, and I hope you will make us, who fine to your Wit, merry with their Characters who stand out against it.

I am your most humble Servant.

P. S. I have lately got the ingenious Authors of Blacking for Shoes, Powder for colouring the Hair, Pomatum for the Hands, Cosmetick for the Face, to be your constant Customers; so that your Advertisements will as much adorn the outward Man, as your Paper does the inward2.

Footnote 1:   This letter and the version of the 114th Psalm are by Dr Isaac Watts, who was at this time 38 years old, broken down by an attack of illness, and taking rest and change with his friend Sir Thomas Abney, at Theobalds. Isaac Watts, the son of a Nonconformist schoolmaster at Southampton, had injured his health by excessive study. After acting for a time as tutor to the son of Sir John Hartupp, he preached his first sermon in 1698, and three years later became pastor of the Nonconformist congregation in Mark Lane. By this office he abided, and with Sir Thomas Abney also he abided; his visit to Theobalds, in 1712, being, on all sides, so agreeable that he stayed there for the remaining 36 years of his life. There he wrote his Divine and Moral Songs for children, his Hymns, and his metrical version of the Psalms. But his Horæ Lyricæ, published in 1709, had already attracted much attention when he contributed this Psalm to the Spectator. In the Preface to that collection of Poems chiefly of the Lyric kind, in Three Books, sacred, I. to Devotion and Piety. II. To Virtue, Honour, and Friendship. III. To the Memory of the Dead, he had argued that Poesy, whose original is divine, had been desecrated to the vilest purpose, enticed unthinking youth to sin, and fallen into discredit among some weaker Christians. 'They submit indeed to use it in divine psalmody, but they love the driest translation of the Psalms best.' Watts bade them look into their Bibles and observe the boldness of its poetic imagery, rejected the dictum of Boileau, that
De la foy d'un Chrétien les mystères terribles
D'ornemens egayéz ne sont point susceptibles;
and pointed to the way he had chosen for himself as a Biblical rhymer. Poesy, he reminds his readers, is, as his title indicates, not the business of his life.
'And if I seized those hours of leisure, wherein my soul was in a more sprightly frame, to entertain them or myself with a divine or moral song, I hope I shall find an easy pardon.'
Watts died in 1748, aged 74.
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Footnote 2:  Written in jest, but 'The Famous Spanish Blacking for Gentlemen's Shoes,' and 'The famous Bavarian Red Liquor which gives such a delightful blushing colour to the cheeks,' had long been advertised in the Spectator.

Contents, p. 2

No. 462

Wednesday, August 20, 1712


Nil ego prætulerem Jucundo sanus amico.


People are not aware of the very great Force which Pleasantry in Company has upon all those with whom a Man of that Talent converses. His Faults are generally overlooked by all his Acquaintance, and a certain Carelessness that constantly attends all his Actions, carries him on with greater Success, than Diligence and Assiduity does others who have no Share of this Endowment. Dacinthus breaks his Word upon all Occasions both trivial and important; and when he is sufficiently railed at for that abominable Quality, they who talk of him end with, After all he is a very pleasant Fellow. Dacinthus is an ill-natured Husband, and yet the very Women end their Freedom of Discourse upon this Subject, But after all he is very pleasant Company. Dacinthus is neither in point of Honour, Civility, good Breeding, or good Nature unexceptionable, and yet all is answered, For he is a very pleasant Fellow. When this Quality is conspicuous in a Man who has, to accompany it, manly and virtuous Sentiments, there cannot certainly be any thing which can give so pleasing Gratification as the Gaiety of such a Person; but when it is alone, and serves only to gild a Crowd of ill Qualities, there is no Man so much to be avoided as your pleasant Fellow. A very pleasant Fellow shall turn your good Name to a Jest, make your Character contemptible, debauch your Wife or Daughter, and yet be received by the rest of the World with Welcome where-ever he appears. It is very ordinary with those of this Character to be attentive only to their own Satisfactions, and have very little Bowels for the Concerns or Sorrows of other Men; nay, they are capable of purchasing their own Pleasures at the Expence of giving Pain to others. But they who do not consider this sort of Men thus carefully, are irresistibly exposed to his Insinuations. The Author of the following Letter carries the Matter so high, as to intimate that the Liberties of England have been at the Mercy of a Prince merely as he was of this pleasant Character.

Mr. Spectator,

'There is no one Passion which all Mankind so naturally give into as Pride, nor any other Passion which appears in such different Disguises: It is to be found in all Habits and all Complexions. Is it not a Question, whether it does more Harm or Good in the World? And if there be not such a Thing as what we may call a virtuous and laudable Pride?

'It is this Passion alone, when misapplyed, that lays us so open to Flatterers; and he who can agreeably condescend to sooth our Humour or Temper, finds always an open Avenue to our Soul; especially if the Flatterer happen to be our Superior.

'One might give many Instances of this in a late English Monarch, under the Title of, The Gayeties of King Charles II. This Prince was by Nature extreamly familiar, of very easie Access, and much delighted to see and be seen; and this happy Temper, which in the highest Degree gratified his Peoples Vanity, did him more Service with his loving Subjects than all his other Virtues, tho' it must be confessed he had many. He delighted, tho' a mighty King, to give and take a Jest, as they say; and a Prince of this fortunate Disposition, who were inclined to make an ill Use of his Power, may have any thing of his People, be it never so much to their Prejudice. But this good King made generally a very innocent Use, as to the Publick, of this ensnaring Temper; for, 'tis well known, he pursued Pleasure more than Ambition: He seemed to glory in being the first Man at Cock-matches, Horse-races, Balls, and Plays; he appeared highly delighted on those Occasions, and never failed to warm and gladden the Heart of every Spectator. He more than once dined with his good Citizens of London on their Lord-Mayor's Day, and did so the Year that Sir Robert Viner was Mayor. Sir Robert was a very loyal Man, and, if you will allow the Expression, very fond of his Sovereign; but what with the Joy he felt at Heart for the Honour done him by his Prince, and thro' the Warmth he was in with continual toasting Healths to the Royal Family, his Lordship grew a little fond of his Majesty, and entered into a Familiarity not altogether so graceful in so publick a Place. The King understood very well how to extricate himself on all kinds of Difficulties, and with an Hint to the Company to avoid Ceremony, stole off and made towards his Coach, which stood ready for him in Guild-Hall Yard: But the Mayor liked his Company so well, and was grown so intimate, that he pursued him hastily, and catching him fast by the Hand, cryed out with a vehement Oath and Accent, Sir , You shall stay and take t'other Bottle. The airy Monarch looked kindly at him over his Shoulder, and with a Smile and graceful Air, (for I saw him at the Time, and do now) repeated this Line of the old Song;
He that's drunk is as great as a King.
and immediately turned1 back and complied with his Landlord.

I give you this Story, Mr. SPECTATOR, because, as I said, I saw the Passage; and I assure you it's very true, and yet no common one; and when I tell you the Sequel, you will say I have yet a better Reason for't. This very Mayor afterwards erected a Statue of his merry Monarch in Stocks-Market2, and did the Crown many and great Services; and it was owing to this Humour of the King, that his Family had so great a Fortune shut up in the Exchequer of their pleasant Sovereign. The many good-natured Condescensions of this Prince are vulgarly known: and it is excellently said of him by a great Hand which writ his Character, That he was not a King a Quarter of an Hour together in his whole Reign3. He would receive Visits even from Fools and half Mad-men, and at Times I have met with People who have Boxed, fought at Back-sword, and taken Poison before King Charles II. In a Word, he was so pleasant a Man, that no one could be sorrowful under his Government. This made him capable of baffling, with the greatest Ease imaginable, all Suggestions of Jealousie, and the People could not entertain Notions of any thing terrible in him, whom they saw every way agreeable. This Scrap of the familiar Part of that Prince's History I thought fit to send you, in compliance to the Request you lately made to your Correspondents.

I am, Sir ,
Your most humble Servant.

Footnote 1:   return'd
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Footnote 2:  Stocks-market, upon the site of which the Mansion House was built in 1738, received its name from a pair of stocks erected near it as early as the year 1281. Sir Robert Viner here erected, in 1675, his white marble statue of Charles II., that he bought a bargain at Leghorn. It was a statue of John Sobieski trampling on a Turk, which had been left on the sculptor's hands, but his worship the Mayor caused a few alterations to be made for the conversion of Sobieski into Charles, and the Turk (still with a turban on his head) into Oliver Cromwell. After the building of the Mansion House this statue lay as lumber in an inn yard till, in 1779, the Corporation gave it to a descendant of the Mayor, who had the reason above given for reverencing Charles II.

Footnote 3:   Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham.

Contents, p. 2

No. 463

Thursday, August 21, 1712


Omnia quæ sensu volvuntur vota diurno
Pectore sopito reddit amica quies.
Venator defessa toro cùm membra reponit
Mens tamen ad sylvas et sua lustra redit.
Judicibus lites, aurigis somnia currus,
Vanaque nocturnis meta cavetur equis.
Me quoque Musarum studium sub nocte silenti
Artibus assuetis sollicitare solet.


I was lately entertaining my self with comparing Homer's Ballance, in which Jupiter is represented as weighing the Fates of Hector and Achilles, with a Passage of Virgil, wherein that Deity is introduced as weighing the Fates of Turnus and Æneas. I then considered how the same way of thinking prevailed in the Eastern Parts of the World, as in those noble Passages of Scripture, wherein we are told, that the great King of Babylon the Day before his Death, had been weighed in the Ballance, and been found wanting. In other Places of the Holy Writings, the Almighty is described as weighing the Mountains in Scales, making the Weight for the Winds, knowing the Ballancings of the Clouds, and in others, as weighing the Actions of Men, and laying their Calamities together in a Ballance. Milton, as I have observed in a former Paper, had an Eye to several of these foregoing Instances, in that beautiful Description1 wherein he represents the Arch-Angel and the Evil Spirit as addressing themselves for the Combat, but parted by the Ballance which appeared in the Heavens and weighed the Consequences of such a Battel.
Th' Eternal to prevent such horrid fray
Hung forth in Heav'n his golden Scales, yet seen
Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion Sign,
Wherein all things created first he weigh'd,
The pendulous round Earth with ballanc'd Air
In counterpoise, now ponders all events,
Battels and Realms; in these he puts two weights
The sequel each of parting and of fight,
The latter quick up flew, and kickt the Beam:
Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend.

Satan, I know thy Strength, and thou know'st mine,
Neither our own, but giv'n; what folly then
To boast what Arms can do, since thine no more
Than Heav'n permits; nor mine, though doubled now
To trample thee as mire: For proof look up,
And read thy Lot in yon celestial Sign
Where thou art weigh'd, and shewn how light, how weak,
If thou resist. The Fiend look'd up, and knew
His mounted Scale aloft; nor more, but fled
Murm'ring, and with him fled the Shades of Night.
These several amusing Thoughts having taken Possession of my Mind some time before I went to sleep, and mingling themselves with my ordinary Ideas, raised in my Imagination a very odd kind of Vision. I was, methought, replaced in my Study, and seated in my Elbow Chair, where I had indulged the foregoing Speculations, with my Lamp burning by me, as usual. Whilst I was here meditating on several Subjects of Morality, and considering the Nature of many Virtues and Vices, as Materials for those Discourses with which I daily entertain the Publick; I saw, methought, a Pair of Golden Scales hanging by a Chain of the same Metal over the Table that stood before me; when on a sudden, there were great Heaps of Weights thrown down on each side of them. I found upon examining these Weights, they shewed the Value of every thing that is in Esteem among Men. I made an Essay of them, by putting the Weight of Wisdom in one Scale, and that of Riches in another, upon which the latter, to shew its comparative Lightness, immediately flew up and kickt the Beam.

But, before I proceed, I must inform my Reader, that these Weights did not exert their Natural Gravity, 'till they were laid in the Golden Ballance, insomuch that I could not guess which was light or heavy, whilst I held them in my Hand. This I found by several Instances; for upon my laying a Weight in one of the Scales, which was inscribed by the Word Eternity; tho' I threw in that of Time, Prosperity, Affliction, Wealth, Poverty, Interest, Success, with many other Weights, which in my Hand seemed very ponderous, they were not able to stir the opposite Ballance, nor could they have prevailed, though assisted with the Weight of the Sun, the Stars, and the Earth.

Upon emptying the Scales, I laid several Titles and Honours, with Pomps, Triumphs, and many Weights of the like Nature, in one of them, and seeing a little glittering Weight lie by me, I threw it accidentally into the other Scale, when, to my great Surprize, it proved so exact a Counterpoise, that it kept the Ballance in an Equilibrium. This little glittering Weight was inscribed upon the Edges of it with the Word Vanity. I found there were several other Weights which were equally Heavy, and exact Counterpoises to one another; a few of them I tried, as Avarice and Poverty, Riches and Content, with some others.

There were likewise several Weights that were of the same Figure, and seemed to Correspond with each other, but were entirely different when thrown into the Scales; as Religion and Hypocrisie, Pedantry and Learning, Wit and Vivacity, Superstition and Devotion, Gravity and Wisdom, with many others.

I observed one particular Weight lettered on both sides, and upon applying my self to the Reading of it, I found on one side written, In the Dialect of Men, and underneath it, Calamities; on the other side was written, In the Language of the Gods, and underneath, Blessings. I found the Intrinsick value of this Weight to be much greater than I imagined, for it overpowered Health, Wealth, Good Fortune, and many other Weights, which were much more ponderous in my Hand than the other.

There is a Saying among the Scotch, that an Ounce of Mother is worth a Pound of Clergy; I was sensible of the Truth of this Saying, when I saw the Difference between the Weight of Natural Parts, and that of Learning. The Observation which I made upon these two Weights opened to me a new Field of Discoveries, for notwithstanding the Weight of Natural Parts was much heavier than that of Learning; I observed that it weighed an hundred times heavier than it did before, when I put Learning into the same Scale with it. I made the same Observation upon Faith and Morality, for notwithstanding the latter out-weighed the former separately, it received a thousand times more additional Weight from its Conjunction with the former, than what it had by it self. This odd Phænomenon shewed it self, in other Particulars, as in Wit and Judgment, Philosophy and Religion, Justice and Humanity, Zeal and Charity, Depth of Sense and Perspicuity of Style, with innumerable other Particulars too long to be mentioned in this Paper.

As a Dream seldom fails of dashing Seriousness with Impertinence, Mirth with Gravity, methought I made several other Experiments of a more ludicrous Nature, by one of which I found that an English Octavo was very often heavier than a French Folio; and by another, that an old Greek or Latin Author weighed down a whole Library of Moderns. Seeing one of my Spectators lying by me, I laid it into one of the Scales, and flung a two-penny Piece into the other. The Reader will not enquire into the Event, if he remembers the first Tryal which I have recorded in this Paper. I afterwards threw both the Sexes into the Ballance; but as it is not for my Interest to disoblige either of them, I shall deSir e to be excused from telling the Result of this Experiment. Having an Opportunity of this Nature in my Hands, I could not forbear throwing into one Scale the Principles of a Tory, and into the other those of a Whig; but as I have all along declared this to be a Neutral Paper, I shall likewise deSir e to be silent under this Head also, though upon examining one of the Weights, I saw the Word TEKEL Engraven on it in Capital Letters.

I made many other Experiments, and though I have not Room for them all in this Day's Speculation, I may perhaps reserve them for another. I shall only add, that upon my awaking I was sorry to find my Golden Scales vanished, but resolved for the future to learn this Lesson from them, not to despise or value any Things for their Appearances, but to regulate my Esteem and Passions towards them according to their real and intrinsick Value.


Footnote 1:   Paradise Lost, end of Book IV.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 2

No. 464

Friday, August 22, 1712


Auream quisquis mediocritatem
Diligit, tutus caret obsoleti
Sordibus tecti, caret invidendâ
Sobrius aulâ.


I am wonderfully pleased when I meet with any Passage in an old Greek or Latin Author, that is not blown upon, and which I have never met with in a Quotation. Of this kind is a beautiful Saying in Theognis; Vice is covered by Wealth, and Virtue by Poverty; or to give it in the Verbal Translation, Among Men there are some who have their Vices concealed by Wealth, and others who have their Virtues concealed by Poverty. Every Man's Observation will supply him with Instances of Rich Men, who have several Faults and Defects that are overlooked, if not entirely hidden, by means of their Riches; and, I think, we cannot find a more Natural Description of a Poor Man, whose Merits are lost in his Poverty, than that in the Words of the Wise Man. There was a little City, and a few Men within it; and there came a great King against it, and besieged it, and built great Bulwarks against it: Now there was found in it a poor Wise Man, and he, by his Wisdom, delivered the City; yet no Man remembered that same poor Man. Then said I, Wisdom is better than Strength; nevertheless, the poor Man's Wisdom is despised, and his Words are not heard.1

The middle Condition seems to be the most advantageously situated for the gaining of Wisdom. Poverty turns our Thoughts too much upon the supplying of our Wants, and Riches upon enjoying our Superfluities; and, as Cowley has said in another Case, It is hard for a Man to keep a steady Eye upon Truth, who is always in a Battel or a Triumph.

If we regard Poverty and Wealth, as they are apt to produce Virtues or Vices in the Mind of Man, one may observe, that there is a Set of each of these growing out of Poverty, quite different from that which rises out of Wealth. Humility and Patience, Industry and Temperance, are very often the good Qualities of a poor Man. Humanity and Good-nature, Magnanimity, and a Sense of Honour, are as often the Qualifications of the Rich. On the contrary, Poverty is apt to betray a Man into Envy, Riches into Arrogance. Poverty is too often attended with Fraud, vicious Compliance, Repining, Murmur and Discontent; Riches expose a Man to Pride and Luxury, a foolish Elation of Heart, and too great a Fondness for the present World. In short, the middle Condition is most eligible to the Man who would improve himself in Virtue; as I have before shewn, it is the most advantageous for the gaining of Knowledge. It was upon this Consideration that Agur founded his Prayer, which for the Wisdom of it is recorded in Holy Writ. Two things have I required of thee, deny me them not before I die. Remove far from me Vanity and Lies; give me neither Poverty, nor Riches; feed me with Food convenient for me. Lest I be full and deny thee, and say, who is the Lord? or lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.2

I shall fill the remaining Part of my Paper with a very pretty Allegory, which is wrought into a Play3 by Aristophanes the Greek Comedian. It seems originally designed as a Satyr upon the Rich, though, in some Parts of it, 'tis like the foregoing Discourse, a kind of Comparison between Wealth and Poverty.

Chremylus, who was an old and a good Man, and withal exceeding Poor, being deSir ous to leave some Riches to his Son, consults the Oracle of Apollo upon the Subject. The Oracle bids him follow the first Man he should see upon his going out of the Temple. The Person he chanced to see was to Appearance an old sordid blind Man, but upon his following him from Place to Place, he at last found by his own Confession, that he was Plutus the God of Riches, and that he was just come out of the House of a Miser. Plutus further told him, that when he was a Boy, he used to declare, that as soon as he came to Age he would distribute Wealth to none but virtuous and just Men; upon which Jupiter, considering the pernicious Consequences of such a Resolution, took his Sight away from him, and left him to strole about the World in the Blind Condition wherein Chremylus beheld him. With much ado Chremylus prevailed upon him to go to his House, where he met an old Woman in a tattered Raiment, who had been his Guest for many Years, and whose Name was Poverty. The old Woman refusing to turn out so easily as he would have her, he threatned to banish her not only from his own House, but out of all Greece, if she made any more Words upon the Matter. Poverty on this Occasion pleads her Cause very notably, and represents to her old Landlord, that should she be driven out of the Country, all their Trades, Arts and Sciences would be driven out with her; and that if every one was Rich, they would never be supplied with those Pomps, Ornaments and Conveniences of Life which made Riches deSir able. She likewise represented to him the several Advantages which she bestowed upon her Votaries, in regard to their Shape, their Health, and their Activity, by preserving them from Gouts, Dropsies, Unweildiness, and Intemperance. But whatever she had to say for her self, she was at last forced to troop off. Chremylus immediately considered how he might restore Plutus to his Sight; and in order to it conveyed him to the Temple of Æsculapius, who was famous for Cures and Miracles of this Nature. By this means the Deity recovered his Eyes, and begun to make a right use of them, by enriching every one that was4 distinguished by Piety towards the Gods, and Justice towards Men5 and at the same time by taking away his Gifts from the Impious and Undeserving. This produces several merry Incidents, till in the last Act Mercury descends with great Complaints from the Gods, that since the Good Men were grown Rich they had received no Sacrifices, which is confirmed by a Priest of Jupiter, who enters with a Remonstrance, that since this late Innovation he was reduced to a starving Condition, and could not live upon his Office. Chremylus, who in the beginning of the Play was Religious in his Poverty, concludes it with a Proposal which was relished by all the Good Men who were now grown rich as well as himself, that they should carry Plutus in a Solemn Procession to the Temple, and Install him in the Place of Jupiter. This Allegory instructed the Athenians in two Points, first, as it vindicated the Conduct of Providence in its ordinary Distributions of Wealth; and in the next Place, as it shewed the great Tendency of Riches to corrupt the Morals of those who possessed them.


Footnote 1:   Eccl. ix. 14-16.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Proverbs xxx. 7-9.

Footnote 3:   The Plutus.

Footnote 4:   were

Footnote :   Man

Contents, p. 2

No. 465

Saturday, August 23, 1712


Quâ ratione queas traducere leniter ævum:
Ne te semper inops agitet vexetque cupido;
Ne pavor et rerum mediocriter utilium Spes.


Having endeavoured in my last Saturday's Paper to shew the great Excellency of Faith, I here consider what are proper Means of strengthning and confirming it in the Mind of Man. Those who delight in reading Books of Controversie, which are written on both sides of the Question in Points of Faith, do very seldom arrive at a fixed and settled Habit of it. They are one Day entirely convinced of its important Truths, and the next meet with something that shakes and disturbs them. The Doubt which1 was laid revives again, and shews it self in new Difficulties, and that generally for this Reason, because the Mind which is perpetually tost in Controversies and Disputes, is apt to forget the Reasons which had once set it at rest, and to be disquieted with any former Perplexity, when it appears in a new Shape, or is started by a different Hand. As nothing is more laudable than an Enquiry after Truth, so nothing is more irrational than to pass away our whole Lives, without determining our selves one way or other in those Points which are of the last Importance to us. There are indeed many things from which we may with-hold our Assent; but in Cases by which we are to regulate our Lives, it is the greatest Absurdity to be wavering and unsettled, without closing with that Side which appears the most safe and [the] most probable. The first Rule therefore which I shall lay down is this, that when by Reading or Discourse we find our selves thoroughly convinced of the Truth of any Article, and of the Reasonableness of our Belief in it, we should never after suffer our selves to call it into question. We may perhaps forget the Arguments which occasioned our Conviction, but we ought to remember the Strength they had with us, and therefore still to retain the Conviction which they once produced. This is no more than what we do in every common Art or Science, nor is it possible to act otherwise, considering the Weakness and Limitation of our Intellectual Faculties. It was thus, that Latimer, one of the glorious Army of Martyrs who introduced the Reformation in England, behaved himself in that great Conference which was managed between the most learned among the Protestants and Papists in the Reign of Queen Mary. This venerable old Man knowing how his Abilities were impaired by Age, and that it was impossible for him to recollect all those Reasons which had directed him in the Choice of his Religion, left his Companions who were in the full Possession of their Parts and Learning, to baffle and confound their Antagonists by the Force of Reason. As for himself he only repeated to his Adversaries the Articles in which he firmly believed, and in the Profession of which he was determined to die. It is in this manner that the Mathematician proceeds upon the Propositions which he has once demonstrated; and though the Demonstration may have slipt out of his Memory, he builds upon the Truth, because he knows it was demonstrated. This Rule is absolutely necessary for weaker Minds, and in some measure for Men of the greatest Abilities; but to these last I would propose, in the second place, that they should lay up in their Memories, and always keep by them in a readiness, those Arguments which appear to them of the greatest Strength, and which cannot be got over by all the Doubts and Cavils of Infidelity.

But, in the third place, there is nothing which strengthens Faith more than Morality. Faith and Morality naturally produce each other. A Man is quickly convinced of the Truth of Religion, who finds it is not against his Interest that it should be true. The Pleasure he receives at Present, and the Happiness which he promises himself from it hereafter, will both dispose him very powerfully to give Credit to it, according to the ordinary Observation that we are easie to believe what we wish. It is very certain, that a Man of sound Reason cannot forbear closing with Religion upon an impartial Examination of it; but at the same time it is as certain, that Faith is kept alive in us, and gathers Strength from Practice more than from Speculation.

There is still another Method which is more Persuasive than any of the former, and that is an habitual Adoration of the Supreme Being, as well in constant Acts of mental Worship, as in outward Forms. The devout Man does not only believe but feels there is a Deity. He has actual Sensations of Him; his Experience concurs with his Reason; he sees him more and more in all his Intercourses with him, and even in this Life almost loses his Faith in Conviction.

The last Method which I shall mention for the giving Life to a Man's Faith, is frequent Retirement from the World, accompanied with religious Meditation. When a Man thinks of any thing in the Darkness of the Night, whatever deep Impressions it may make in his Mind, they are apt to vanish as soon as the Day breaks about him. The Light and Noise of the Day, which are perpetually soliciting his Senses, and calling off his Attention, wear out of his Mind the Thoughts that imprinted themselves in it, with so much Strength, during the Silence and Darkness of the Night. A Man finds the same Difference as to himself in a Crowd and in a Solitude: the Mind is stunned and dazzled amidst that Variety of Objects which press upon her in a great City: She cannot apply herself to the Consideration of these Things which are of the utmost Concern to her. The Cares or Pleasures of the World strike in with every Thought, and a Multitude of vicious Examples give2 a kind of Justification to3 our Folly. In our Retirements every thing disposes us to be serious. In Courts and Cities we are entertained with the Works of Men; in the Country with those of God. One is the Province of Art, the other of Nature. Faith and Devotion naturally grow in the Mind of every reasonable Man, who sees the Impressions of Divine Power and Wisdom in every Object on which he casts his Eye. The Supream Being has made the best Arguments for his own Existence, in the Formation of the Heavens and the Earth, and these are Arguments which a Man of Sense cannot forbear attending to, who is out of the Noise and Hurry of Human Affairs. Aristotle says, that should a Man live under Ground, and there converse with Works of Art and Mechanism, and should afterwards be brought up into the open Day, and see the several Glories of the Heaven and Earth, he would immediately pronounce them the Works of such a Being as we define God to be. The Psalmist has very beautiful Strokes of Poetry to this Purpose, in that exalted Strain, The Heavens declare the Glory of God: And the Firmament showeth his handy-work. One Day telleth another: And one Night certifieth another. There is neither Speech nor Language: But their Voices are heard among them. Their Sound is gone out into all Lands: And their Words into the Ends of the World.4 As such a bold and sublime manner of Thinking furnishes very noble Matter for an Ode, the Reader may see it wrought into the following one5.

I The Spacious Firmament on high
With all the blue Etherial Sky,
And spangled Heav'ns, a Shining Frame,
Their great Original proclaim:
Th' unwearied Sun, from Day to Day,
Does his Creator's Pow'r display,
And publishes to every Land
The Work of an Almighty Hand.
II Soon as the Evening Shades prevail,
The Moon takes up the wondrous Tale,
And nightly to the listning Earth
Repeats the Story of her Birth:
Whilst all the Stars that round her burn,
And all the Planets in their turn,
Confirm the Tidings as they rowl,
And spread the Truth from Pole to Pole.
III What though, in solemn Silence, all
Move round the dark terrestrial Ball?
What tho' nor real Voice nor Sound
Amid their radiant Orbs be found?
In Reason's Ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious Voice,
For ever singing, as they shine,
'The Hand that made us is Divine?'


Footnote 1:   that

Footnote 2:   give us

Footnote 3:   in

Footnote 4:   Psalm xix. 1-3.

Footnote 5:   By Addison.

Contents, p. 2

No. 466

Monday, August 25, 1712


—Vera incessu patuit Dea.


When Æneas, the Hero of Virgil, is lost in the Wood, and a perfect Stranger in the Place on which he is landed, he is accosted by a Lady in an Habit for the Chase. She enquires of him, Whether he has seen pass by that Way any young Woman dressed as she was? Whether she were following the Sport in the Wood, or any other Way employed, according to the Custom of Huntresses? The Hero answers with the Respect due to the beautiful Appearance she made, tells her, He saw no such Person as she enquired for: but intimates, that he knows her to be of the Deities, and deSir es she would conduct a Stranger. Her Form from her first Appearance manifested she was more than mortal; but tho' she was certainly a Goddess, the Poet does not make her known to be the Goddess of Beauty till she moved: All the Charms of an agreeable Person are then in their highest Exertion, every Limb and Feature appears with its respective Grace. It is from this Observation, that I cannot help being so passionate an Admirer as I am of good Dancing1. As all Art is an Imitation of Nature, this is an Imitation of Nature in its highest Excellence, and at a Time when she is most agreeable. The Business of Dancing is to display Beauty, and for that Reason all Distortions and Mimickries, as such, are what raise Aversion instead of Pleasure: But Things that are in themselves excellent, are ever attended with Imposture and false Imitation. Thus, as in Poetry there are laborious Fools who write Anagrams and Acrosticks, there are Pretenders in Dancing, who think meerly to do what others cannot, is to excel. Such Creatures should be rewarded like him who had acquired a Knack of throwing a Grain of Corn through the Eye of a Needle, with a Bushel to keep his Hand in Use. The Dancers2 on our Stages are very faulty in this Kind; and what they mean by writhing themselves into such Postures, as it would be a Pain for any of the Spectators to stand in, and yet hope to please those Spectators, is unintelligible. Mr. Prince has a Genius, if he were encouraged, would prompt them to better things. In all the Dances he invents, you see he keeps close to the Characters he represents. He does not hope to please by making his Performers move in a manner in which no one else ever did, but by Motions proper to the Characters he represents. He gives to Clowns and Lubbards clumsie Graces, that is, he makes them Practise what they would think Graces: And I have seen Dances of his, which might give Hints that would be useful to a Comick Writer. These Performances have pleas'd the Taste of such as have not Reflection enough to know their Excellence, because they are in Nature; and the distorted Motions of others have offended those who could not form Reasons to themselves for their Displeasure, from their being a Contradiction to Nature.

When one considers the inexpressible Advantage there is in arriving at some Excellence in this Art, it is monstrous to behold it so much neglected. The following Letter has in it something very natural on this Subject.


I am a Widower with but one Daughter; she was by Nature much inclined to be a Romp, and I had no way of educating her, but commanding a young Woman, whom I entertained to take Care of her, to be very watchful in her Care and Attendance about her. I am a Man of Business, and obliged to be much abroad. The Neighbours have told me, that in my Absence our Maid has let in the Spruce Servants in the Neighbourhood to Junketings, while my Girl play'd and romped even in the Street. To tell you the plain Truth, I catched her once, at eleven Years old, at Chuck-Farthing among the Boys. This put me upon new Thoughts about my Child, and I determined to place her at a Boarding-School, and at the same Time gave a very discreet young Gentlewoman her Maintenance at the same Place and Rate, to be her Companion. I took little Notice of my Girl from Time to Time, but saw her now and then in good Health, out of Harm's way, and was satisfied. But by much Importunity I was lately prevailed with to go to one of their Balls. I cannot express to you the anxiety my silly Heart was in, when I saw my Romp, now fifteen, taken out: I never felt the pangs of a Father upon me so strongly in my whole Life before; and I could not have suffered more, had my whole Fortune been at Stake. My Girl came on with the most becoming Modesty I had ever seen, and casting a respectful Eye, as if she feared me more than all the Audience, I gave a Nod, which, I think, gave her all the Spirit she assumed upon it, but she rose properly to that Dignity of Aspect. My Romp, now the most graceful Person of her Sex, assumed a Majesty which commanded the highest Respect; and when she turned to me, and saw my Face in Rapture, she fell into the prettiest Smile, and I saw in all her Motion that she exulted in her Father's Satisfaction. You, Mr. SPECTATOR, will, better than I can tell you, imagine to yourself all the different Beauties and Changes of Aspect in an accomplished young Woman, setting forth all her Beauties with a Design to please no one so much as her Father. My Girl's Lover can never know half the Satisfaction that I did in her that Day. I could not possibly have imagined, that so great Improvement could have been wrought by an Art that I always held in it self ridiculous and contemptible. There is, I am convinced, no Method like this, to give young Women a Sense of their own Value and Dignity; and I am sure there can be none so expeditious to communicate that Value to others. As for the flippant insipidly Gay and wantonly Forward, whom you behold among Dancers, that Carriage is more to be attributed to the perverse Genius of the Performers, than imputed to the Art it self. For my Part, my Child has danced her self into my Esteem, and I have as great an Honour for her as ever I had for her Mother, from whom she derived those latent good Qualities which appeared in her Countenance when she was dancing; for my Girl, tho' I say it my self, shewed in one Quarter of an Hour the innate Principles of a modest Virgin, a tender Wife, a generous Friend, a kind Mother, and an indulgent Mistress. I'll strain hard but I will purchase for her an Husband suitable to her Merit. I am your Convert in the Admiration of what I thought you jested when you recommended; and if you please to be at my House on Thursday next, I make a Ball for my Daughter, and you shall see her Dance, or, if you will do her that Honour, dance with her. I am, Sir ,

Your most humble Servant


I have some time ago spoken of a Treatise written by Mr. Weaver on this Subject, which is now, I understand, ready to be published. This Work sets this Matter in a very plain and advantageous Light; and I am convinced from it, that if the Art was under proper Regulations, it would be a mechanick way of implanting insensibly in Minds, not capable of receiving it so well by any other Rules, a Sense of good Breeding and Virtue.

Were any one to see Mariamne Dance, let him be never so sensual a Brute, I defie him to entertain any Thoughts but of the highest Respect and Esteem towards her. I was shewed last Week a Picture in a Lady's Closet, for which she had an hundred different Dresses, that she could clap on round the Face, on purpose to demonstrate the force of Habits in the diversity of the same Countenance. Motion, and change of Posture and Aspect, has an Effect no less surprising on the Person of Mariamne when she Dances.

Chloe is extremely pretty, and as silly as she is pretty. This Ideot has a very good Ear, and a most agreeable Shape; but the Folly of the Thing is such, that it Smiles so impertinently, and affects to please so sillily, that while she Dances you see the Simpleton from Head to Foot. For you must know (as Trivial as this Art is thought to be) no one ever was a good Dancer, that had not a good Understanding. If this be a Truth, I shall leave the Reader to judge from that Maxim, what Esteem they ought to have for such Impertinents as fly, hop, caper, tumble, twirl, turn round, and jump over their Heads, and, in a Word, play a thousand Pranks which many Animals can do better than a Man, instead of performing to Perfection what the human Figure only is capable of Performing.

It may perhaps appear odd, that I, who set up for a mighty Lover, at least, of Virtue, should take so much Pains to recommend what the soberer Part of Mankind look upon to be a Trifle; but under Favour of the soberer Part of Mankind, I think they have not enough considered this Matter, and for that Reason only disesteem it. I must also, in my own Justification, say that I attempt to bring into the Service of Honour and Virtue every Thing in Nature that can pretend to give elegant Delight. It may possibly be proved, that Vice is in it self destructive of Pleasure, and Virtue in it self conducive to it. If the Delights of a free Fortune were under proper Regulations, this Truth would not want much Argument to support it; but it would be obvious to every Man, that there is a strict Affinity between all Things that are truly laudable and beautiful, from the highest Sentiment of the Soul, to the most indifferent Gesture of the Body.


Footnote 1:   See Nos. [Volume 1 links: 66, 67], [Volume 2 links: 334, 370, 376].
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Dancing

Contents, p. 2

No. 467

Tuesday, August 26, 1712

John Hughes?

Quodcunque meæ poterunt Audere Camænæ
Seu Tibi par poterunt, seu, quod spes abnuit ultra;
Sive minus; certeque canent minus; omne vovemus
Hoc tibi; ne tanto careat mihi nomine Charta.

Tibull. ad Messalam.translation

The Love of Praise is a Passion deeply fixed in the Mind of every extraordinary Person, and those who are most affected with it, seem most to partake of that Particle of the Divinity which distinguishes Mankind from the Inferior Creation. The Supreme Being it self is most pleased with Praise and Thanksgiving; the other Part of our Duty is but an Acknowledgment of our Faults, whilst this is the immediate Adoration of his Perfections. 'Twas an excellent Observation, That we then only despise Commendation when we cease to deserve it: and we have still extant two Orations of Tully and Pliny, spoken to the greatest and best Princes of all the Roman Emperors1, who, no doubt, heard with the greatest Satisfaction, what even the most disinterested Persons, and at so large a Distance of Time, cannot read without Admiration. Cæsar thought his Life consisted in the Breath of Praise, when he professed he had lived long enough for himself when he had for his Glory; others have sacrificed themselves for a Name which was not to begin till they were dead, giving away themselves to purchase a Sound which was not to commence till they were out of hearing: But by Merit and superior Excellencies not only to gain, but, whilst living, to enjoy a great and universal Reputation, is the last Degree of Happiness which we can hope for here. Bad Characters are dispersed abroad with Profusion, I hope for example Sake, and (as Punishments are designed by the Civil Power) more for the deterring the Innocent, than the chastising the Guilty. The Good are less frequent, whether it be that there are indeed fewer Originals of this Kind to copy after, or that, thro' the Malignity of our Nature, we rather delight in the Ridicule than the Virtues we find in others. However, it is but just, as well as pleasing, even for Variety, sometimes to give the World a Representation of the bright Side of humane Nature, as well as the dark and gloomy: The DeSir e of Imitation may, perhaps, be a greater Incentive to the Practice of what is good, than the Aversion we may conceive at what is blameable; the one immediately directs you what you should do, whilst the other only shews you what you should avoid: And I cannot at present do this with more Satisfaction, than by endeavouring to do some Justice to the Character of Manilius2.

It would far exceed my present Design, to give a particular Description of Manilius thro' all the Parts of his excellent Life: I shall now only draw him in his Retirement, and pass over in Silence the various Arts, the courtly Manners, and the undesigning Honesty by which he attained the Honours he has enjoyed, and which now give a Dignity and Veneration to the Ease he does enjoy. Tis here that he looks back with Pleasure on the Waves and Billows thro' which he has steered to so fair an Haven; he is now intent upon the Practice of every Virtue, which a great Knowledge and Use of Mankind has discovered to be the most useful to them. Thus in his private domestick Employments he is no less glorious than in his publick; for 'tis in Reality a more difficult Task to be conspicuous in a sedentary inactive Life, than in one that is spent in Hurry and Business; Persons engaged in the latter, like Bodies violently agitated, from the Swiftness of their Motion have a Brightness added to them, which often vanishes when they are at Rest; but if it then still remain, it must be the Seeds of intrinsick Worth that thus shine out without any foreign Aid or Assistance.

His Liberality in another might almost bear the Name of Profusion; he seems to think it laudable even in the Excess, like that River which most enriches when it overflows: But Manilius has too perfect a Taste of the Pleasure of doing good, ever to let it be out of his Power; and for that Reason he will have a just &œlig;conomy, and a splendid Frugality at home, the Fountain from whence those Streams should flow which he disperses abroad. He looks with Disdain on those who propose their Death as the Time when they are to begin their Munificence; he will both see and enjoy (which he then does in the highest Degree) what he bestows himself; he will be the living Executor of his own Bounty, whilst they who have the Happiness to be within his Care and Patronage at once, pray for the Continuation of his Life, and their own good Fortune. No one is out of the reach of his Obligations; he knows how, by proper and becoming Methods, to raise himself to a Level with those of the highest Rank; and his good Nature is a sufficient Warrant against the Want of those who are so unhappy as to be in the very lowest. One may say of him, as Pindar bids his Muse say of Theron3:
Swear, that Theron sure has sworn,
No one near him should be Poor.
Swear, that none e'er had such a graceful Art,
Fortune's Free-Gifts as freely to impart,
With an unenvious Hand, and an unbounded Heart.
Never did Atticus succeed better in gaining the universal Love and Esteem of all Men; nor steer with more Success betwixt the Extreams of two contending Parties. 'Tis his peculiar Happiness, that while he espouses neither with an intemperate Zeal, he is not only admired, but, what is a more rare and unusual Felicity, he is beloved and caressed by both and I never yet saw any Person of whatsoever Age or Sex, but was immediately struck with the Merit of Manilius. There are many who are acceptable to some particular Persons, whilst the rest of Mankind look upon them with Coldness and Indifference but he is the first whose entire good Fortune it is ever to please and to be pleased, where-ever he comes to be admired, and where-ever he is absent to be lamented. His Merit fares like the Pictures of Raphael, which are either seen with Admiration by all, or at least no one dare own he has no Taste for a Composition which has received so universal an Applause. Envy and Malice find it against their Interest to indulge Slander and Obloquy. 'Tis as hard for an Enemy to detract from as for a Friend to add to his Praise. An Attempt upon his Reputation is a sure lessening of one's own; and there is but one Way to injure him, which is to refuse him his just Commendations, and be obstinately silent.

It is below him to catch the Sight with any Care of Dress; his outward Garb is but the Emblem of his Mind, it is genteel, plain, and unaffected; he knows that Gold and Embroidery can add nothing to the Opinion which all have of his Merit, and that he gives a Lustre to the plainest Dress, whilst 'tis impossible the richest should communicate any to him. He is still the principal Figure in the Room: He first engages your Eye, as if there were some Point of Light which shone stronger upon him than on any other Person.

He puts me in mind of a Story of the famous Bussy d'Amboise4, who at an Assembly at Court, where every one appeared with the utmost Magnificence, relying upon his own superior Behaviour, instead of adorning himself like the rest, put on that Day a plain Suit of Cloaths, and dressed all his Servants in the most costly gay Habits he could procure: The Event was, that the Eyes of the whole Court were fixed upon him, all the rest looked like his Attendants, whilst he alone had the Air of a Person of Quality and Distinction.

Like Aristippus, whatever Shape or Condition he appears in, it still sits free and easie upon him; but in some Part of his Character, 'tis true, he differs from him; for as he is altogether equal to the Largeness of his present Circumstances, the Rectitude of his Judgment has so far corrected the Inclinations of his Ambition, that he will not trouble himself with either the DeSir es or Pursuits of any thing beyond his present Enjoyments.

A thousand obliging Things flow from him upon every Occasion, and they are always so just and natural, that it is impossible to think he was at the least Pains to look for them. One would think it were the Dæmon of good Thoughts that discovered to him those Treasures, which he must have blinded others from seeing, they lay so directly in their Way. Nothing can equal the Pleasure is taken in hearing him speak, but the Satisfaction one receives in the Civility and Attention he pays to the Discourse of others. His Looks are a silent Commendation of what is good and praise-worthy, and a secret Reproof to what is licentious and extravagant. He knows how to appear free and open without Danger of Intrusion, and to be cautious without seeming reserved. The Gravity of his Conversation is always enlivened with his Wit and Humour, and the Gaiety of it is tempered with something that is instructive, as well as barely agreeable. Thus with him you are sure not to be merry at the Expence of your Reason, nor serious with the Loss of your good Humour; but, by a happy mixture in his Temper, they either go together, or perpetually succeed each other. In fine, his whole Behaviour is equally distant from Constraint and Negligence, and he commands your Respect, whilst he gains your Heart.

There is in his whole Carriage such an engaging Softness, that one cannot persuade one's self he is ever actuated by those rougher Passions, which, where-ever they find Place, seldom fail of shewing themselves in the outward Demeanour of the Persons they belong to: But his Constitution is a just Temperature between Indolence on one hand and Violence on the other. He is mild and gentle, where-ever his Affairs will give him Leave to follow his own Inclinations; but yet never failing to exert himself with Vigour and Resolution in the Service of his Prince, his Country, or his Friend.


Footnote 1:   Julius Cæsar and Trajan. Cicero most flattered Cæsar in the speech pro Marcello, but the memorable speech of his before Cæsar was that for Ligarius, who had borne arms against the new master of Rome in the African campaign. Cæsar had said,
'Why might we not as well once more hear a speech from Cicero? There is no doubt that Ligarius is a bad man and an enemy.'
Yet the effect of the speech was that Cæsar was stirred with emotion, changed colour, and at reference to the battle of Pharsalia,
'he was,' says Plutarch, 'so affected that his body trembled, and some of the papers he held dropped from his hands, and thus he was overpowered, and acquitted Ligarius.'
Of Pliny the younger there remains a fulsome Panegyric upon Trajan.
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Footnote 2:   Lord Cowper?

Footnote 3:   Second Olympic Ode.

Footnote 4:   Bussy d'Amboise had become famous in England through a tragedy by George Chapman, often presented in the time of James I., and revived after the Restoration. In 1691 Chapman's play was produced with some changes by Thomas D'Urfey. The man himself killed a relation in the massacre of St. Bartholomew, to get a title, and was trapped and killed by the Comte de Montsoreau, whose wife he went to seduce.

Contents, p. 2

No. 468

Wednesday, August 27, 1712


Erat Homo ingeniosus, acutus, acer, et qui plurimum et salis haberet et fellis, nec candoris minus.

Plin. Epist.translation

My Paper is in a kind a Letter of News, but it regards rather what passes in the World of Conversation than that of Business. I am very sorry that I have at present a Circumstance before me, which is of very great Importance to all who have a Relish for Gayety, Wit, Mirth, or Humour; I mean the Death of poor Dick Eastcourt1. I have been oblig'd to him for so many Hours of Jollity, that it is but a small Recompence, tho' all I can give him, to pass a Moment or two in Sadness for the Loss of so agreeable a Man. Poor Eastcourt! the last Time I saw him we were plotting to shew the Town his great Capacity for acting in its full Light, by introducing him as dictating to a Set of young Players, in what manner to speak this Sentence, and utter t'other Passion—He had so exquisite a Discerning of what was defective in any Object before him, that in an Instant he could shew you the ridiculous Side of what would pass for beautiful and just, even to Men of no ill Judgment, before he had pointed at the Failure. He was no less skilful in the Knowledge of Beauty; and, I dare say, there is no one who knew him well, but can repeat more well-turned Compliments, as well as smart Repartees, of Mr. Eastcourt's, than of any other Man in England. This was easily to be observed in his inimitable Faculty of telling a Story, in which he would throw in natural and unexpected Incidents to make his Court to one Part, and rally the other Part of the Company: Then he would vary the Usage he gave them, according as he saw them bear kind or sharp Language. He had the Knack to raise up a pensive Temper, and mortifie an impertinently gay one, with the most agreeable Skill imaginable. There are a thousand things which crowd into my Memory, which make me too much concerned to tell on about him. Hamlet holding up the Skull which the Grave-digger threw to him, with an Account that it was the Head of the King's Jester, falls into very pleasing Reflections, and cries out to his Companion,
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a Fellow of infinite Jest, of most excellent Fancy; he hath born me on his Back a thousand times: And how abhorred my Imagination is now, my Gorge rises at it. Here hung those Lips that I have kiss'd I know not how oft. Where be your Gibes now, your Gambols, your Songs, your Flashes of Merriment, that were wont to set the Table on a Roar: No one now to mock your own Jeerings: quite Chop-fallen. Now get you to my Lady's Chamber, and tell her, Let her paint an Inch thick, to this Favour she must come. Make her laugh at that.
It is an Insolence natural to the Wealthy, to affix, as much as in them lies, the Character of a Man to his Circumstances. Thus it is ordinary with them to praise faintly the good Qualities of those below them, and say, It is very extraordinary in such a Man as he is, or the like, when they are forced to acknowledge the Value of him whose Lowness upbraids their Exaltation. It is to this Humour only, that it is to be ascribed, that a quick Wit in Conversation, a nice Judgment upon any Emergency, that could arise, and a most blameless inoffensive Behaviour, could not raise this Man above being received only upon the Foot of contributing to Mirth and Diversion. But he was as easy under that Condition, as a Man of so excellent Talents was capable; and since they would have it, that to divert was his Business, he did it with all the seeming Alacrity imaginable, tho' it stung him to the Heart that it was his Business. Men of Sense, who could taste his Excellencies, were well satisfied to let him lead the Way in Conversation, and play after his own Manner; but Fools who provoked him to Mimickry, found he had the Indignation to let it be at their Expence who called for it, and he would shew the Form of conceited heavy Fellows as Jests to the Company at their own Request, in Revenge for interrupting him from being a Companion to put on the Character of a Jester.

What was peculiarly excellent in this memorable Companion, was, that in the Accounts he gave of Persons and Sentiments, he did not only hit the Figure of their Faces, and Manner of their Gestures, but he would in his Narration fall into their very Way of thinking, and this when he recounted Passages, wherein Men of the best Wit were concerned, as well as such wherein were represented Men of the lowest Rank of Understanding. It is certainly as great an Instance of Self-love to a Weakness, to be impatient of being mimick'd, as any can be imagined. There were none but the Vain, the Formal, the Proud, or those who were incapable of amending their Faults, that dreaded him; to others he was in the highest Degree pleasing; and I do not know any Satisfaction of any indifferent kind I ever tasted so much, as having got over an Impatience of seeing my self in the Air he could put me when I have displeased him. It is indeed to his exquisite Talent this way, more than any Philosophy I could read on the Subject, that my Person is very little of my Care; and it is indifferent to me what is said of my Shape, my Air, my Manner, my Speech, or my Address. It is to poor Eastcourt I chiefly owe that I am arrived at the Happiness of thinking nothing a Diminution to me, but what argues a Depravity of my Will.

It has as much surprized me as any thing in Nature, to have it frequently said, That he was not a good Player: But that must be owing to a Partiality for former Actors in the Parts in which he succeeded them, and judging by Comparison of what was liked before, rather than by the Nature of the Thing. When a Man of his Wit and Smartness could put on an utter Absence of common Sense in his Face as he did in the Character of Bulfinch in the Northern Lass2 and an Air of insipid Cunning and Vivacity in the Character of Pounce in the Tender Husband3, it is Folly to dispute his Capacity and Success, as he was an Actor.

Poor Eastcourt! let the Vain and Proud be at Rest; thou wilt no more disturb their Admiration of their dear selves, and thou art no longer to drudge in raising the Mirth of Stupids, who know nothing of thy Merit, for thy Maintenance.

It is natural for the Generality of Mankind to run into Reflections upon our Mortality, when Disturbers of the World are laid at Rest, but to take no Notice when they who can please and divert are pulled from us: But for my Part, I cannot but think the Loss of such Talents as the Man of whom I am speaking was Master of, a more melancholy Instance of Mortality, than the Dissolution of Persons of never so high Characters in the World, whose Pretensions were that they were noisy and mischievous.

But I must grow more succinct, and as a SPECTATOR, give an Account of this extraordinary Man, who, in his Way, never had an Equal in any Age before him, or in that wherein he lived. I speak of him as a Companion, and a Man qualified for Conversation. His Fortune exposed him to an Obsequiousness towards the worst Sort of Company, but his excellent Qualities rendered him capable of making the best Figure in the most refined. I have been present with him among Men of the most delicate Taste a whole Night, and have known him (for he saw it was deSir ed) keep the Discourse to himself the most Part of it, and maintain his good Humour with a Countenance in a Language so delightful, without Offence to any Person or Thing upon Earth, still preserving the Distance his Circumstances obliged him to; I say, I have seen him do all this in such a charming manner, that I am sure none of those I hint at will read this, without giving him some Sorrow for their abundant Mirth, and one Gush of Tears for so many Bursts of Laughter. I wish it were any Honour to the pleasant Creature's Memory, that my Eyes are too much suffused to let me go on—.4


Footnote 1:   See p. 204, vol. ii. [Volume 2 links: Footnote 1 of No. 264.]
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Footnote 2:   By Richard Brome, first acted in 1632.

Footnote 3:   By Steele.

Footnote 4:  
go on—

It is a felicity his Friends may rejoice in, that he had his Senses, and used them as he ought to do, in his last Moments. It is remarkable that his Judgment was in its calm Perfection to the utmost Article, for when his Wife out of her fondness, deSir ed she might send for a certain illiterate Humourist (whom he had accompanied in a thousand mirthful Moments, and whose Insolence makes Fools think he assumes from conscious Merit) he answered, 'Do what you please, but he won't come near me.' Let poor Eastcourt's Negligence about this Message convince the unwary of a triumphant Empiric's Ignorance and Inhumanity.
This passage, omitted from the reprint, expresses Steele's anger at the neglect of Estcourt in his last hours by Dr. John Radcliffe, one of the chief physicians of the time, who as a rough-spoken humourist made many enemies, and was condemned as an empiric by many of his professional brethren. When called, in 1699, to attend King William, who asked his opinion on his swollen ankles, he said, 'I would not have your Majesty's two legs for your three kingdoms.' His maxim for making a fortune was to use all men ill, but Mead, it has been observed, made more money by the opposite method. Not very long after this bitter censure of Radcliffe for neglect of Estcourt, attempts were made to censure him formally in the House of Commons for refusal to attend in the last illness of Queen Anne, although requested to do so by the Privy Council. He denied that he had been asked to attend. He died himself three months after the Queen (in 1714, aged 64), his last days embittered by the public odium following the charge of disrespect to his dying sovereign. He died unmarried, and left the greater part of his money to beneficent uses, among them the erection of an infirmary and of the Radcliffe Library in Oxford.

Contents, p. 2

No. 469

Thursday, August 28, 1712


Detrahere aliquid altieri, et hominem hominis incommodo suum augere commodum, magis est contra naturam, quam mors, quam paupertas, quam dolor, quam cætera quæ possunt aut corpori accidere, aut rebus externis.


I am perswaded there are few Men of generous Principles, who would seek after great Places, were it not rather to have an Opportunity in their Hands of obliging their particular Friends, or those whom they look upon as Men of Worth, than to procure Wealth and Honour for themselves. To an honest Mind the best Perquisites of a Place are the Advantages it gives a Man of doing Good.

Those who are under the great Officers of State, and are the Instruments by which they act, have more frequent Opportunities for the Exercise of Compassion, and Benevolence, than their Superiors themselves. These Men know every little Case that is to come before the Great Man, and if they are possessed with honest Minds, will consider Poverty as a Recommendation in the Person who applies himself to them, and make the Justice of his Cause the most powerful Solicitor in his Behalf. A Man of this Temper, when he is in a Post of Business, becomes a Blessing to the Publick: He patronizes the Orphan and the Widow, assists the Friendless, and guides the Ignorant: He does not reject the Person's Pretensions, who does not know how to explain them, or refuse doing a good Office for a Man because he cannot pay the Fee of it. In short, tho' he regulates himself in all his Proceedings by Justice and Equity, he finds a thousand Occasions for all the Good-natured Offices of1 Generosity and Compassion.

A Man is unfit for such a Place of Trust, who is of a sower untractable Nature, or has any other Passion that makes him uneasie to those who approach him. Roughness of Temper is apt to discountenance the Timorous or Modest. The proud Man discourages those from approaching him, who are of a mean Condition, and who most want his Assistance. The impatient Man will not give himself time to be informed of the Matter that lies before him. An Officer with one or more of these unbecoming Qualities, is sometimes looked upon as a proper Person to keep off Impertinence and Solicitation from his Superior; but this is a kind of Merit, that can never attone for the Injustice which may very often arise from it.

There are two other vicious Qualities which render a Man very unfit for such a Place of Trust. The first of these is a Dilatory Temper, which commits innumerable Cruelties without Design. The Maxim which several have laid down for a Man's Conduct in ordinary Life should be inviolable with a Man in Office, never to think of doing that To-morrow which may be done To-day. A Man who defers doing what ought to be done, is guilty of Injustice so long as he defers it. The Dispatch of a good Office is very often as beneficial to the Solicitor as the good Office it self. In short, if a Man compared the Inconveniences which another suffers by his Delays, with the trifling Motives and Advantages which he himself may reap by such a Delay, he would never be guilty of a Fault which very often does an irreparable Prejudice to the Person who depends upon him, and which might be remedied with little Trouble to himself.

But in the last Place, there is no Man so improper to be employed in Business, as he who is in any degree capable of Corruption; and such an one is the Man, who, upon any Pretence whatsoever, receives more than what is the stated and unquestioned Fee of his Office. Gratifications, Tokens of Thankfulness, Dispatch Money, and the like specious Terms, are the Pretences under which Corruption very frequently shelters it self. An honest Man will however look on all these Methods as unjustifiable, and will enjoy himself better in a moderate Fortune that is gained with honour and Reputation, than in an overgrown Estate that is cankered with the Acquisitions of Rapine and Exaction. Were all our Offices discharged with such an inflexible Integrity, we should not see Men in all Ages, who grow up to exorbitant Wealth with the Abilities which are to be met with in an ordinary Mechanick. I cannot but think that such a Corruption proceeds chiefly from Mens employing the first that offer themselves, or those who have the Character of shrewd worldly Men, instead of searching out such as have had a liberal Education, and have been trained up in the Studies of Knowledge and Virtue.

It has been observed, that Men of Learning who take to Business, discharge it generally with greater Honesty than Men of the World. The chief Reason for it I take to be as follows. A Man that has spent his Youth in Reading, has been used to find Virtue extolled, and Vice stigmatized. A Man that has past his Time in the World, has often seen Vice triumphant, and Virtue discountenanced. Extortion, Rapine and Injustice, which are branded with Infamy in Books, often give a Man a Figure in the World; while several Qualities which are celebrated in Authors, as Generosity, Ingenuity and Good-Nature, impoverish and ruin him. This cannot but have a proportionable Effect on Men, whose Tempers and Principles are equally Good and Vicious.

There would be at least this Advantage in employing Men of Learning and Parts in Business, that their Prosperity would set more gracefully on them, and that we should not see many worthless Persons shot up into the greatest Figures of Life.


Footnote 1:   Opportunities of exercising his
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 2

No. 470

Friday, August 29, 1712


Turpe est difficiles babere nugas,
Et stultus est labor ineptiarum.


I have been very often disappointed of late Years, when upon examining the new Edition of a Classick Author, I have found above half the Volume taken up with various Readings. When I have expected to meet with a learned Note upon a doubtful Passage in a Latin Poet, I have only been informed, that such or such Ancient Manuscripts for an et write an ac, or of some other notable Discovery of the like Importance. Indeed, when a different Reading gives us a different Sense, or a new Elegance in an Author, the Editor does very well in taking Notice of it; but when he only entertains us with the several ways of spelling the same Word, and gathers together the various Blunders and Mistakes of twenty or thirty different Transcribers, they only take up the Time of the learned Reader, and puzzle the Minds of the Ignorant. I have often fancied with my self how enraged an old Latin Author would be, should he see the several Absurdities in Sense and Grammar, which are imputed to him by some or other of these various Readings. In one he speaks Nonsense; in another, makes use of a Word that was never heard of: And indeed there is scarce a Solecism in Writing which the best Author is not guilty of, if we may be at Liberty to read him in the Words of some Manuscript, which the laborious Editor has thought fit to examine in the Prosecution of his Work.

I question not but the Ladies and pretty Fellows will be very curious to understand what it is that I have been hitherto talking of. I shall therefore give them a Notion of this Practice, by endeavouring to write after the manner of several Persons who make an eminent Figure in the Republick of Letters. To this end we will suppose that the following Song1 is an old Ode which I present to the Publick in a new Edition, with the several various Readings which I find of it in former Editions, and in Ancient Manuscripts. Those who cannot relish the various Readings, will perhaps find their Account in the Song, which never before appeared in Print.
My Love was fickle once and changing,
Nor e'er would settle in my Heart;
From Beauty still to Beauty ranging,
In ev'ry Face I found a Dart.

'Twas first a charming Shape enslav'd me,
An Eye then gave the fatal Stroke;
'Till by her Wit
Corinna sav'd me,
And all my former Fetters broke.

But now a long and lasting Anguish
Belvidera I endure;
Hourly I Sigh and hourly Languish,
Nor hope to find the wonted Cure.

For here the false unconstant Lover,
After a thousand Beauties shown,
Does new surprizing Charms discover,
And finds Variety in One.

Various Readings.

Stanza the First, Verse the First. And changing.] The and in some Manuscripts is written thus, &, but that in the Cotton Library writes it in three distinct Letters.

Verse the Second, Nor e'er would.] Aldus reads it ever would; but as this would hurt the Metre, we have restored it to its genuine Reading, by observing that Synæresis which had been neglected by ignorant Transcribers.

Ibid. In my Heart.] Scaliger, and others, on my Heart.

Verse the Fourth, I found a Dart.] The Vatican Manuscript for I reads it, but this must have been the Hallucination of the Transcriber, who probably mistook the Dash of the I for a T.

Stanza the Second, Verse the Second. The fatal Stroke.] Scioppius, Salmasius and many others, for the read a, but I have stuck to the usual Reading.

Verse the Third, Till by her Wit.] Some Manuscripts have it his Wit, others your, others their Wit. But as I find Corinna to be the Name of a Woman in other Authors, I cannot doubt but it should be her.

Stanza the third, Verse the First. A long and lasting Anguish.] The German Manuscript reads a lasting Passion, but the Rhyme will not admit it.

Verse the Second. For Belvidera I endure.] Did not all the Manuscripts reclaim, I should change Belvidera into Pelvidera; Pelvis being used by several of the Ancient Comick Writers for a Looking-glass, by which means the Etymology of the Word is very visible, and Pelvidera will signifie a Lady who often looks in her Glass; as indeed she had very good reason, if she had all those Beauties which our Poet here ascribes to her.

Verse the Third. Hourly I sigh and hourly languish.] Some for the Word hourly read daily, and others nightly; the last has great Authorities of its side.

Verse the Fourth. The wonted Cure.] The Elder Stevens reads wanted Cure.

Stanza the Fourth, Verse the Second. After a thousand Beauties] In several Copies we meet with a Hundred Beauties by the usual Errour of the Transcribers, who probably omitted a Cypher, and had not Taste enough to know that the Word Thousand was ten Times a greater Compliment to the Poet's Mistress than an Hundred.

Verse the Fourth. And finds Variety in one] Most of the Ancient Manuscripts have it in two. Indeed so many of them concur in this last reading, that I am very much in doubt whether it ought not to take place. There are but two Reasons which incline me to the Reading as I have published it; First, because the Rhime, and, Secondly, because the Sense is preserved by it. It might likewise proceed from the Oscitancy of Transcribers, who, to dispatch their Work the sooner, use to write all Numbers in Cypher, and seeing the Figure 1 following by a little Dash of the Pen, as is customary in old Manuscripts, they perhaps mistook the Dash for a second Figure, and by casting up both together composed out of them the Figure 2. But this I shall leave to the Learned, without determining any thing in a Matter of so great Uncertainty.


Footnote 1:   Song, which by the way is a beautiful Descant upon a single Thought, like the Compositions of the best Ancient Lyrick Poets, I say we will suppose this Song
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 2

No. 471

Saturday, August 30, 1712


Greek: 'En elpísin chràe toùs sophoùs échein bíon.—Euripid.translation

The Time present seldom affords sufficient Employment to the Mind of Man. Objects of Pain or Pleasure, Love or Admiration, do not lie thick enough together in Life to keep the Soul in constant Action, and supply an immediate Exercise to its Faculties. In order, therefore, to remedy this Defect, that the Mind may not want Business, but always have Materials for thinking, she is endowed with certain Powers, that can recall what is passed, and anticipate what is to come.

That wonderful Faculty, which we call the Memory, is perpetually looking back, when we have nothing present to entertain us. It is like those Repositories in several Animals, that are filled with Stores of their former Food, on which they may ruminate when their present Pasture fails.

As the Memory relieves the Mind in her vacant Moments, and prevents any Chasms of Thought by Ideas of what is past, we have other Faculties that agitate and employ her upon what is to come. These are the Passions of Hope and Fear.

By these two Passions we reach forward into Futurity, and bring up to our present Thoughts Objects that lie hid in the remotest Depths of Time. We suffer Misery, and enjoy Happiness, before they are in Being; we can set the Sun and Stars forward, or lose sight of them by wandring into those retired Parts of Eternity, when the Heavens and Earth shall be no more.

By the way, who can imagine that the Existence of a Creature is to be circumscribed by Time, whose Thoughts are not? But I shall, in this Paper, confine my self to that particular Passion which goes by the Name of Hope.

Our Actual Enjoyments are so few and transient, that Man would be a very miserable Being, were he not endowed with this Passion, which gives him a Taste of those good Things that may possibly come into his Possession. We should hope for every thing that is good, says the old Poet Linus, because there is nothing which may not be hoped for, and nothing but what the Gods are able to give us1. Hope quickens all the still Parts of Life, and keeps the Mind awake in her most Remiss and Indolent Hours. It gives habitual Serenity and good Humour. It is a kind of Vital Heat in the Soul, that cheers and gladdens her, when she does not attend to it. It makes Pain easie, and Labour pleasant.

Beside these several Advantages which rise from Hope, there is another which is none of the least, and that is, its great Efficacy in preserving us from setting too high a value on present Enjoyments. The saying of Cæsar is very well known. When he had given away all his Estate in Gratuities among his Friends, one of them asked what he had left for himself; to which that great Man replied, Hope. His Natural Magnanimity hindered him from prizing what he was certainly possessed of, and turned all his Thoughts upon something more valuable that be had in View. I question not but every Reader will draw a Moral from this Story, and apply it to himself without my Direction.

The old Story of Pandora's Box (which many of the Learned believe was formed among the Heathens upon the Tradition of the Fall of Man) shews us how deplorable a State they thought the present Life, without Hope: To set forth the utmost Condition of Misery they tell us, that our Forefather, according to the Pagan Theology, had a great Vessel presented him by Pandora: Upon his lifting up the Lid of it, says the Fable, there flew out all the Calamities and Distempers incident to Men, from which, till that time, they had been altogether exempt. Hope, who had been enclosed in the Cup with so much bad Company, instead of flying off with the rest, stuck so close to the Lid of it, that it was shut down upon her.

I shall make but two Reflections upon what I have hitherto said. First, that no kind of Life is so happy as that which is full of Hope, especially when the Hope is well grounded, and when the Object of it is of an exalted kind, and in its Nature proper to make the Person happy who enjoys it. This Proposition must be very evident to those who consider how few are the present Enjoyments of the most happy Man, and how insufficient to give him an entire Satisfaction and Acquiescence in them.

My next Observation is this, that a Religious Life is that which most abounds in a well-grounded Hope, and such an one as is fixed on Objects that are capable of making us entirely happy. This Hope in a Religious Man, is much more sure and certain than the Hope of any Temporal Blessing, as it is strengthened not only by Reason, but by Faith. It has at the same time its Eye perpetually fixed on that State, which implies in the very Notion of it the most full and the most compleat Happiness.

I have before shewn how the Influence of Hope in general sweetens Life, and makes our present Condition supportable, if not pleasing; but a Religious Hope has still greater Advantages. It does not only bear up the Mind under her Sufferings, but makes her rejoice in them, as they may be the Instruments of procuring her the great and ultimate End of all her Hope.

Religious Hope has likewise this Advantage above any other kind of Hope, that it is able to revive the dying Man, and to fill his Mind not only with secret Comfort and Refreshment, but sometimes with Rapture and Transport. He triumphs in his Agonies, whilst the Soul springs forward with Delight to the great Object which she has always had in view, and leaves the Body with an Expectation of being re-united to her in a glorious and joyful Resurrection.

I shall conclude this Essay with those emphatical Expressions of a lively Hope, which the Psalmist made use of in the midst of those Dangers and Adversities which surrounded him; for the following Passage had its present and personal, as well as its future and prophetick Sense.
I have set the Lord always before me: Because he is at my right Hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my Heart is glad, and my Glory rejoiceth: my Flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my Soul in Hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see Corruption. Thou wilt shew me the Path of Life: in thy Presence is Fullness of Joy, at thy right Hand there are Pleasures for evermore2.

Footnote 1:  Translation of the fragment on Hope.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Psal. xvi. 8—ii.

Contents, p. 3

No. 472

Monday, September 1, 1712


Solamenque mali—


I received some time ago a Proposal, which had a Preface to it, wherein the Author discoursed at large of the innumerable Objects of Charity in a Nation, and admonished the Rich, who were afflicted with any Distemper of Body, particularly to regard the Poor in the same Species of Affliction, and confine their Tenderness to them, since it is impossible to assist all who are presented to them. The Proposer had been relieved from a Malady in his Eyes by an Operation performed by Sir William Read, and being a Man of Condition, had taken a Resolution to maintain three poor blind Men during their Lives, in Gratitude for that great Blessing. This Misfortune is so very great and unfrequent, that one would think, an Establishment for all the Poor under it might be easily accomplished, with the Addition of a very few others to those Wealthy who are in the same Calamity. However, the Thought of the Proposer arose from a very good Motive, and the parcelling of our selves out, as called to particular Acts of Beneficence, would be a pretty Cement of Society and Virtue. It is the ordinary Foundation for Mens holding a Commerce with each other, and becoming familiar, that they agree in the same sort of Pleasure; and sure it may also be some Reason for Amity, that they are under one common Distress. If all the Rich who are lame in the Gout, from a Life of Ease, Pleasure, and Luxury, would help those few who have it without a previous Life of Pleasure, and add a few of such laborious Men, who are become lame from unhappy Blows, Falls, or other Accidents of Age or Sickness; I say, would such gouty Persons administer to the Necessities of Men disabled like themselves, the Consciousness of such a Behaviour would be the best Julep, Cordial, and Anodine in the feverish, faint and tormenting Vicissitudes of that miserable Distemper. The same may be said of all other, both bodily and intellectual Evils. These Classes of Charity would certainly bring down Blessings upon an Age and People; and if Men were not petrifyed with the Love of this World, against all Sense of the Commerce which ought to be among them, it would not be an unreasonable Bill for a poor Man in the Agony of Pain, aggravated by Want and Poverty, to draw upon a sick Alderman after this Form;
Mr. Basil Plenty,

Sir ,

You have the Gout and Stone, with Sixty thousand Pound Sterling; I have the Gout and Stone, not worth one Farthing; I shall pray for you, and deSir e you would pay the Bearer Twenty Shillings for Value received from,

Sir ,
Your humble Servant,
Lazarus Hopeful.

Aug. 29, 1712.
The Reader's own Imagination will suggest to him the Reasonableness of such Correspondence; and diversify them into a thousand Forms; but I shall close this as I began upon the Subject of Blindness. The following Letter seems to be written by a Man of Learning, who is returned to his Study after a Suspence of an Ability to do so. The Benefit he reports himself to have received, may well claim the handsomest Encomium he can give the Operator.


'Ruminating lately on your admirable Discourses on the Pleasures of the Imagination, I began to consider to which of our Senses we are obliged for the greatest and most important Share of those Pleasures; and I soon concluded that it was to the Sight: That is the Sovereign of the Senses, and Mother of all the Arts and Sciences, that have refined the Rudeness of the uncultivated Mind to a Politeness that distinguishes the fine Spirits from the barbarous Goût of the great Vulgar and the small. The Sight is the obliging Benefactress, that bestows on us the most transporting Sensations that we have from the various and wonderful Products of Nature. To the Sight we owe the amazing Discoveries of the Height, Magnitude, and Motion of the Planets; their several Revolutions about their common Centre of Light, Heat, and Motion, the Sun. The Sight travels yet farther to the fixed Stars, and furnishes the Understanding with solid Reasons to prove, that each of them is a Sun moving on its own Axis in the Centre of its own Vortex or Turbillion, and performing the same Offices to its dependant Planets, that our glorious Sun does to this. But the Enquiries of the Sight will not be stopped here, but make their Progress through the immense Expanse to the Milky Way, and there divide the blended Fires of the Galaxy into infinite and different Worlds, made up of distinct Suns, and their peculiar Equipages of Planets, till unable to pursue this Track any farther, it deputes the Imagination to go on to new Discoveries, till it fill the unbounded Space with endless Worlds.

The Sight informs the Statuary's Chizel with Power to give Breath to lifeless Brass and Marble, and the Painter's Pencil to swell the flat Canvas with moving Figures actuated by imaginary Souls. Musick indeed may plead another Original, since Jubal, by the different Falls of his Hammer on the Anvil, discovered by the Ear the first rude Musick that pleasd the Antediluvian Fathers; but then the Sight has not only reduced those wilder Sounds into artful Order and Harmony, but conveys that Harmony to the most distant Parts of the World without the Help of Sound. To the Sight we owe not only all the Discoveries of Philosophy, but all the Divine Imagery of Poetry that transports the intelligent Reader of Homer, Milton, and Virgil.

As the Sight has polished the World, so does it supply us with the most grateful and lasting Pleasure. Let Love, let Friendship, paternal Affection, filial Piety, and conjugal Duty, declare the Joys the Sight bestows on a Meeting after Absence. But it would be endless to enumerate all the Pleasures and Advantages of Sight; every one that has it, every Hour he makes use of it, finds them, feels them, enjoys them.

Thus as our greatest Pleasures and Knowledge are derived from the Sight, so has Providence been more curious in the Formation of its Seat, the Eye, than of the Organs of the other Senses. That stupendous Machine is compos'd in a wonderful Manner of Muscles, Membranes, and Humours. Its Motions are admirably directed by the Muscles; the Perspicuity of the Humours transmit the Rays of Light; the Rays are regularly refracted by their Figure, the black Lining of the Sclerotes effectually prevents their being confounded by Reflection. It is wonderful indeed to consider how many Objects the Eye is fitted to take in at once, and successively in an Instant, and at the same time to make a Judgment of their Position, Figure, or Colour. It watches against our Dangers, guides our Steps, and lets in all the visible Objects, whose Beauty and Variety instruct and delight.

The Pleasures and Advantages of Sight being so great, the Loss must be very grievous; of which Milton, from Experience, gives the most sensible Idea, both in the third Book of his Paradise Lost, and in his Sampson Agonistes.

To Light in the former.
—Thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovereign vital Lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these Eyes, that roul in vain
To find thy piercing Ray, but find no Dawn.
And a little after,
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet Approach of Ev'n and Morn,
Or Sight of vernal Bloom, or Summer's Rose,
Or Flocks or Herds, or human Face divine;
But Cloud instead, and ever-during Dark
Surround me: From the chearful Ways of Men
Cut off, and for the Book of Knowledge fair,
Presented—with an universal Blank
Of Nature's Works, to me expung'd and raz'd,
And Wisdom at one Entrance quite shut out.
Again, in Sampson Agonistes.
—But Chief of all,
O Loss of Sight! of thee I most complain;
Blind among Enemies! O worse than Chains,
Dungeon, or Beggary, or decrepid Age!
Light, the prime Work of God, to me extinct,
And all her various Objects of Delight

—Still as a Fool,
In Power of others, never in my own,
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than Half:
O dark! dark! dark! amid the Blaze of Noon:
Irrecoverably dark, total Eclipse,
Without all Hopes of Day!
The Enjoyment of Sight then being so great a Blessing, and the Loss of it so terrible an Evil, how excellent and valuable is the Skill of that Artist which can restore the former, and redress the latter? My frequent Perusal of the Advertisements in the publick News-Papers (generally the most agreeable Entertainment they afford) has presented me with many and various Benefits of this kind done to my Countrymen by that skilful Artist Dr. Grant, Her Majesty's Oculist Extraordinary, whose happy Hand has brought and restored to Sight several Hundreds in less than Four Years. Many have received Sight by his Means, who came blind from their Mother's Womb, as in the famous Instance of Jones of Newington1. I my self have been cured by him of a Weakness in my Eyes next to Blindness, and am ready to believe any thing that is reported of his Ability this way; and know that many, who could not purchase his Assistance with Money, have enjoy'd it from his Charity. But a List of Particulars would swell my Letter beyond its Bounds, what I have said being sufficient to comfort those who are in the like Distress, since they may conceive Hopes of being no longer miserable in this Kind, while there is yet alive so able an Oculist as Dr. Grant.

I am the Spectator's humble Servant,

Footnote 1:   A Full and True Account of a Miraculous Cure of a young Man in Newington, &c, was a pamphlet of 15 pages, published in 1709. William Jones was not born blind, and little benefited by the operation of the Doctor Grant, who in this pamphlet puffed himself.
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Contents, p. 3

No. 473

Tuesday, September 2, 1712


Quid? si quis vultu torvo ferus et pede nudo
Exiguæque togæ simulet textore Catonem;
Virtutemne repræsentet moresque Catonis?



Sir ,

I am now in the Country, and employ most of my Time in reading, or thinking upon what I have read. Your paper comes constantly down to me, and it affects me so much, that I find my Thoughts run into your Way; and I recommend to you a Subject upon which you have not yet touched, and that is the Satisfaction some Men seem to take in their Imperfections, I think one may call it glorying in their Insufficiency; a certain great Author is of Opinion it is the contrary to Envy, tho perhaps it may proceed from it. Nothing is so common, as to hear Men of this Sort, speaking of themselves, add to their own Merit (as they think) by impairing it, in praising themselves for their Defects, freely allowing they commit some few frivolous Errors, in order to be esteemed persons of uncommon Talents and great Qualifications. They are generally professing an injudicious Neglect of Dancing, Fencing and Riding, as also an unjust Contempt for Travelling and the Modern Languages; as for their Part (say they) they never valued or troubled their Head about them. This panegyrical Satyr on themselves certainly is worthy of your Animadversion. I have known one of these Gentlemen think himself obliged to forget the Day of an Appointment, and sometimes even that you spoke to him; and when you see em, they hope youll pardon 'em, for they have the worst Memory in the World. One of em started up tother Day in some Confusion, and said, Now I think on't, I'm to meet Mr. Mortmain the Attorney about some Business, but whether it is to Day or to Morrow, faith, I can't tell. Now to my certain Knowledge he knew his Time to a Moment, and was there accordingly. These forgetful Persons have, to heighten their Crime, generally the best Memories of any People, as I have found out by their remembring sometimes through Inadvertency. Two or three of em that I know can say most of our modern Tragedies by Heart. I asked a Gentleman the other Day that is famous for a Good Carver, (at which Acquisition he is out of Countenance, imagining it may detract from some of his more essential Qualifications) to help me to something that was near him; but he excused himself, and blushing told me, Of all things he could never carve in his Life; though it can be proved upon him, that he cuts up, disjoints, and uncases with incomparable Dexterity. I would not be understood as if I thought it laudable for a Man of Quality and Fortune to rival the Aquisitions of Artificers, and endeavour to excel in little handy Qualities; No, I argue only against being ashamed at what is really Praiseworthy. As these Pretences to Ingenuity shew themselves several Ways, you'll often see a Man of this Temper ashamed to be clean, and setting up for Wit only from Negligence in his Habit. Now I am upon this Head, I can't help observing also upon a very different Folly proceeding from the same Cause. As these above-mentioned arise from affecting an Equality with Men of greater Talents from having the same Faults, there are others who would come at a Parallel with those above them, by possessing little Advantages which they want. I heard a young Man not long ago, who has sense, comfort himself in his Ignorance of Greek, Hebrew, and the Orientals: At the same Time that he published his Aversion to those Languages, he said that the Knowledge of 'em was rather a Diminution than an Advancement of a Man's Character: tho' at the same Time I know he languishes and repines he is not Master of them himself. Whenever I take any of these fine Persons, thus detracting from what they don't understand, I tell them I will complain to you, and say I am sure you will not allow it an Exception against a thing, that he who contemns it is an Ignorant in it.

I am, Sir ,
Your most humble Servant,

S. P.


I am a Man of a very good Estate, and am honourably in Love. I hope you will allow, when the ultimate Purpose is honest, there may be, without Trespass against Innocence, some Toying by the Way. People of Condition are perhaps too distant and formal on those Occasions; but, however that is, I am to confess to you, that I have writ some Verses to atone for my Offence. You profess'd Authors are a little severe upon us, who write like Gentlemen: But if you are a Friend to Love, you will insert my Poem. You cannot imagine how much Service it will do me with my Fair one, as well as Reputation with all my Friends, to have something of mine in the Spectator. My Crime was, that I snatch'd a Kiss, and my Poetical Excuse as follows:

I Belinda, see from yonder Flowers
The Bee flies loaded to its Cell;
Can you perceive what it devours?
Are they impar'd in Show or Smell?
II So, tho' I robb'd you of a Kiss,
Sweeter than their Ambrosial Dew;
Why are you angry at my Bliss?
Has it at all impoverish'd you?
III 'Tis by this Cunning I contrive,
In spight of your unkind Reserve,
To keep my famish'd Love alive,
Which you inhumanly would starve.

I am, Sir ,
Your humble Servant,
Timothy Stanza.

Aug. 23, 1712.

Sir ,

Having a little Time upon my Hands, I could not think of bestowing it better, than in writing an Epistle to the SPECTATOR, which I now do, and am,

Sir , Your humble Servant,

P. S. If you approve of my Style, I am likely enough to become your Correspondent. I deSir e your Opinion of it. I design it for that Way of Writing called by the Judicious the Familiar.

Contents, p.3

Dedication of the Seventh Volume of The Spectator

To Mr Methuen1.


It is with very great Pleasure I take an Opportunity of publishing the Gratitude I owe You, for the Place You allow me in your Friendship and Familiarity. I will not acknowledge to You that I have often had You in my Thoughts, when I have endeavoured to Draw, in some Parts of these Discourses, the Character of a Good-natured, Honest, and Accomplished Gentleman. But such Representations give my Reader an Idea of a Person blameless only, or only laudable for such Perfections as extend no farther than to his own private Advantage and Reputation.

But when I speak of You, I Celebrate One who has had the Happiness of Possessing also those Qualities which make a Man useful to Society, and of having had Opportunities of Exerting them in the most Conspicuous Manner.

The Great Part You had, as British Embassador, in Procuring and Cultivating the Advantageous Commerce between the Courts of England and Portugal, has purchased you the lasting Esteem of all who understand the Interest of either Nation.

Those Personal Excellencies which are overrated by the ordinary World, and too much neglected by Wise Men, You have applied with the justest Skill and Judgment. The most graceful Address in Horsemanship, in the Use of the Sword, and in Dancing, has been employed by You as lower Arts, and as they have occasionally served to recover, or introduce the Talents of a skilful Minister.

But your Abilities have not appear'd only in one Nation. When it was your Province to Act as Her Majesty's Minister at the Court of Savoy, at that time encamped, You accompanied that Gallant Prince thro' all the Vicissitudes of his Fortune, and shared, by His Side, the Dangers of that Glorious Day in which He recovered His Capital. As far as it regards Personal Qualities, You attained, in that one Hour, the highest Military Reputation. The Behaviour of our Minister in the Action, and the good Offices done the Vanquished in the Name of the Queen of England, gave both the Conqueror and the Captive the most lively Examples of the Courage and Generosity of the Nation He represented.

Your Friends and Companions in your Absence frequently talk these things of You, and You cannot hide from us, (by the most discreet Silence in any Thing which regards Your self) that the frank Entertainment we have at your Table, your easie Condescension in little Incidents of Mirth and Diversion, and general Complacency of Manners, are far from being the greatest Obligations we have to You. I do assure You there is not one of your Friends has a Greater Sense of your Merit in general, and of the Favours You every Day do us, than,

Sir ,
Your most Obedient, and
most Humble Servant,
Richard Steele.

Footnote 1:   Paul Methuen, at the date of this Dedication M.P. for Brackley, and forty-two years old, was a lawyer who had distinguished himself as a diplomatist at the Court of Lisbon in 1703, and arranged the very short commercial treaty between Great Britain and Portugal which bears his name. Methuen then represented England at the Court of the Duke of Savory, who deserted the French cause at the end of 1602, and the ambassador proved his courage also as a combatant when he took part in the defence and rescue of Turin from the French in 1706. After his return to England Paul Methuen was made (in 1709) a Commissioner of the Admirality. In the year 1713 he first sat in Parliament as member of Brackley. He held afterwards various offices in the States, as those of Commissioner of the Treasury, Comptroller of the Household, Treasurer of the Household, Commissioner for inspecting the Law, was made Sir Paul Methuen, Knight of the Bath, and attained his highest dignity as Lord Chancellor of Ireland before his death in 1757, at the age of 86. The seventh volume, to which this Dedication is prefixed, is the last of the original Spectator. With the eighth volume, representing an unsuccessful attempt made to revive it, some time after its demise, Steele had nothing to do, and that volume is not inscribed to any living person.
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Contents, p. 3

No. 474

Wednesday, September 3, 1712


Asperitas agrestis et inconcinna.



Being of the Number of those that have lately retired from the Center of Business and Pleasure, my Uneasiness in the Country where I am, arises rather from the Society than the Solitude of it. To be obliged to receive and return Visits from and to a Circle of Neighbours, who through Diversity of Age or Inclinations, can neither be entertaining or serviceable to us, is a vile Loss of Time, and a Slavery from which a Man should deliver himself, if possible: For why must I lose the remaining part of my Life, because they have thrown away the former Part of theirs? It is to me an insupportable Affliction, to be tormented with the Narrations of a Set of People, who are warm in their Expressions of the quick Relish of that Pleasure which their Dogs and Horses have a more delicate Taste of. I do also in my Heart detest and abhor that damnable Doctrine and Position of the Necessity of a Bumper, though to one's own Toast; for though 'tis pretended that these deep Politicians are used only to inspire Gaiety, they certainly drown that Chearfulness which would survive a moderate Circulation. If at these Meetings it were left to every Stranger either to fill his Glass according to his own Inclination, or to make his Retreat when he finds he has been sufficiently obedient to that of others, these Entertainments would be governed with more good Sense, and consequently with more good Breeding, than at present they are. Indeed where any of the Guests are known to measure their Fame or Pleasure by their Glass, proper Exhortations might be used to these to push their Fortunes in this sort of Reputation; but where 'tis unseasonably insisted on to a modest Stranger, this Drench may be said to be swallowed with the same Necessity, as if it had been tendered in the Horn1 for that purpose, with this aggravating Circumstance, that it distresses the Entertainer's Guest in the same degree as it relieves his Horses.

To attend without Impatience an Account of five-barr'd Gates, double Ditches, and Precipices, and to survey the Orator with deSir ing Eyes, is to me extremely difficult, but absolutely necessary, to be upon tolerable Terms with him: but then the occasional Burstings out into Laughter, is of all other Accomplishments the most requisite. I confess at present I have not that command of these Convulsions, as is necessary to be good Company; therefore I beg you would publish this Letter, and let me be known all at once for a queer Fellow, and avoided. It is monstrous to me, that we, who are given to Reading and calm Conversation, should ever be visited by these Roarers: But they think they themselves, as Neighbours, may come into our Rooms with the same Right, that they and their Dogs hunt in our Grounds.

Your Institution of Clubs I have always admir'd, in which you constantly endeavoured the Union of the metaphorically Defunct, that is such as are neither serviceable to the Busy and Enterprizing part of Mankind, nor entertaining to the Retir'd and Speculative. There should certainly therefore in each County be established a Club of the Persons whose Conversations I have described, who for their own private, as also the publick Emolument, should exclude, and be excluded all other Society. Their Attire should be the same with their Huntsmen's, and none should be admitted into this green Conversation-Piece, except he had broke his Collar-bone thrice. A broken Rib or two might also admit a Man without the least Opposition. The President must necessarily have broken his Neck, and have been taken up dead once or twice: For the more Maims this Brotherhood shall have met with, the easier will their Conversation flow and keep up; and when any one of these vigorous Invalids had finished his Narration of the Collar-bone, this naturally would introduce the History of the Ribs. Besides, the different Circumstances of their Falls and Fractures would help to prolong and diversify their Relations. There should also be another Club of such Men, who have not succeeded so well in maiming themselves, but are however in the constant Pursuit of these Accomplishments. I would by no means be suspected by what I have said to traduce in general the Body of Fox-hunters; for whilst I look upon a reasonable Creature full-speed after a Pack of Dogs, by way of Pleasure, and not of Business, I shall always make honourable mention of it.

But the most irksome Conversation of all others I have met with in the Neighbourhood, has been among two or three of your Travellers, who have overlooked Men and Manners, and have passed through Franceand Italywith the same Observation that the Carriers and Stage-Coachmen do through Great-Britain;that is, their Stops and Stages have been regulated according to the Liquor they have met with in their Passage. They indeed remember the Names of abundance of Places, with the particular Fineries of certain Churches: But their distinguishing Mark is certain Prettinesses of Foreign Languages, the Meaning of which they could have better express'd in their own. The Entertainment of these fine Observers, Shakespearhas described to consist
In talking of the Alps and Appennines,
The Pyrenean, and the River Po.
and then concludes with a Sigh,
Now this is worshipful Society!
I would not be thought in all this to hate such honest Creatures as Dogs; I am only unhappy that I cannot partake in their Diversions. But I love them so well, as Dogs, that I often go with my Pockets stuffed with Bread to dispense my Favours, or make my way through them at Neighbours' Houses. There is in particular a young Hound of great Expectation, Vivacity, and Enterprize, that attends my Flights where-ever he spies me. This Creature observes my Countenance, and behaves himself accordingly. His Mirth, his Frolick, and Joy upon the Sight of me has been observed, and I have been gravely deSir ed not to encourage him so much, for it spoils his Parts; but I think he shews them sufficiently in the several Boundings, Friskings, and Scourings, when he makes his Court to me: But I foresee in a little time he and I must keep Company with one another only, for we are fit for no other in these Parts. Having informd you how I do pass my time in the Country where I am, I must proceed to tell you how I would pass it, had I such a Fortune as would put me above the Observance of Ceremony and Custom.

My Scheme of a Country Life then should be as follows. As I am happy in three or four very agreeable Friends, these I would constantly have with me; and the Freedom we took with one another at School and the University, we would maintain and exert upon all Occasions with great Courage. There should be certain Hours of the Day to be employ'd in Reading, during which time it should be impossible for any one of us to enter the other's Chamber, unless by Storm. After this we would communicate the Trash or Treasure we had met with, with our own Reflections upon the Matter; the Justness of which we would controvert with good-humour'd Warmth, and never spare one another out of the complaisant Spirit of Conversation, which makes others affirm and deny the same matter in a quarter of an Hour. If any of the Neighbouring Gentlemen, not of our Turn, should take it in their heads to visit me, I should look upon these Persons in the same degree Enemies to my particular state of Happiness, as ever the French were to that of the Publick, and I would be at an annual Expence in Spies to observe their Motions. Whenever I should be surprized with a Visit, as I hate Drinking. I would be brisk in swilling Bumpers, upon this Maxim, That it is better to trouble others with my Impertinence, than to be troubled my self with theirs. The Necessity of an Infirmary makes me resolve to fall into that Project; and as we should be but Five, the Terrors of an involuntary Separation, which our Number cannot so well admit of, would make us exert our selves, in opposition to all the particulars mentioned in your Institution of that equitable Confinement. This my way of Life I know would subject me to the Imputation of a morose, covetous and singular Fellow. These and all other hard words, with all manner of insipid Jests, and all other Reproach, would be matter of Mirth to me and my Friends: Besides, I would destroy the Application of the Epithets Morose and Covetous, by a yearly Relief of my undeservedly necessitous Neighbours, and by treating my Friends and Domesticks with an Humanity that should express the Obligation to lie rather on my side; and for the word Singular, I was always of opinion every Man must be so, to be what one would deSir e him.

Your very humble Servant,
J. R.3


About two Years ago I was called upon by the younger part of a Country Family, by my Mother's side related to me, to visit Mr. Campbell, the dumb Man4; for they told me that that was chiefly what brought them to Town, having heard Wonders of him in Essex. I, who always wanted Faith in Matters of that kind, was not easily prevailed on to go; but lest they should take it ill, I went with them; when to my surprize, Mr. Campbell related all their past Life, (in short, had he not been prevented, such a Discovery would have come out, as would have ruined the next design of their coming to Town, viz. buying Wedding-Cloaths.) Our Names—though he never heard of us before—and we endeavoured to conceal—were as familiar to him as to our selves. To be sure, Mr. SPECTATOR, he is a very learned and wise Man. Being impatient to know my Fortune, having paid my respects in a Family-Jacobus, he told me (after his manner) among several other things, that in a Year and nine Months I should fall ill of a new Fever, be given over by my Physicians, but should with much difficulty recover: That the first time I took the Air afterwards, I should be address'd to by a young Gentleman of a plentiful Fortune, good Sense, and a generous Spirit. Mr. SPECTATOR, he is the purest Man in the World, for all he said is come to pass, and I am the happiest She in Kent. I have been in quest of Mr. Campbell these three Months, and cannot find him out. Now hearing you are a dumb Man too, I thought you might correspond, and be able to tell me something; for I think my self highly oblig'd to make his Fortune, as he has mine. 'Tis very possible your Worship, who has Spies all over this Town, can inform me how to send to him: If you can, I Beseech you be as speedy as possible, and you will highly oblige

Your constant Reader and Admirer,
Dulcibella Thankley.

Ordered, That the Inspector I employ about Wonders, enquire at the Golden-Lion, opposite to the Half-Moon Tavern in Drury-Lane, into the Merit of this Silent Sage, and report accordingly.


Footnote 1:   Used for giving a drench to horses.
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Footnote 2:  Falconbridge in King John Act. I sc. i.

Footnote 3:   This letter was by Steele's old college friend, Richard Parker, who took his degree of M.A. in 1697, became fellow of Merton, and died Vicar of Embleton, in Northumberland. This is the friend whose condemnation of the comedy written by him in student days Steele had accepted without question.

Footnote 4:   See note p. 421, vol. ii. [Volume 2 links: Footnote 4 of No. 323.]

Contents, p. 3

No. 475

Thursday, September 4, 1712


—Quæ res in se neque Consilium neque modum
Habet ullum, eam consilio regere non potes.


It is an old Observation, which has been made of Politicians who would rather ingratiate themselves with their Sovereign, than promote his real Service, that they accommodate their Counsels to his Inclinations, and advise him to such Actions only as his Heart is naturally set upon. The Privy-Counsellor of one in Love must observe the same Conduct, unless he would forfeit the Friendship of the Person who deSir es his Advice. I have known several odd Cases of this Nature. Hipparchus was going to marry a common Woman, but being resolved to do nothing without the Advice of his Friend Philander, he consulted him upon the Occasion. Philander told him his Mind freely, and represented his Mistress to him in such strong Colours, that the next Morning he received a Challenge for his Pains, and before Twelve a Clock was run through the Body by the Man who had asked his Advice. Celia was more prudent on the like occasion; she deSir ed Leonilla to give her Opinion freely upon a young Fellow who made his Addresses to her. Leonilla, to oblige her, told her with great Frankness, that, she looked upon him as one of the most worthless—Celia, foreseeing what a Character she was to expect, begged her not to go on, for that she had been privately married to him above a Fortnight. The truth of it is, a Woman seldom asks Advice before she has bought her Wedding-Cloaths. When she has made her own Choice, for Form's sake she sends a Congé d'elire to her Friends.

If we look into the secret Springs and Motives that set People at work in these Occasions, and put them upon asking Advice, which they never intend to take; I look upon it to be none of the least, that they are incapable of keeping a Secret which is so very pleasing to them. A Girl longs to tell her Confident, that she hopes to be married in a little time, and, in order to talk of the pretty Fellow that dwells so much in her Thoughts, asks her very gravely, what she would advise her to do in a case of so much Difficulty. Why else should Melissa, who had not a Thousand Pound in the World, go into every Quarter of the Town to ask her Acquaintance whether they would advise her to take Tom Townly, that made his Addresses to her with an Estate of Five Thousand a Year? 'Tis very pleasant on this occasion, to hear the Lady propose her Doubts, and to see the Pains she is at to get over them.

I must not here omit a Practice that is in use among the vainer Part of our own Sex, who will often ask a Friend's Advice, in relation to a Fortune whom they are never likely to come at. Will. Honeycomb, who is now on the Verge of Threescore, took me aside not long since, and asked me in his most serious Look, whether I would advise him to marry my Lady Betty Single, who, by the way, is one of the greatest Fortunes about Town. I star'd him full in the Face upon so strange a Question; upon which he immediately gave me an Inventory of her Jewels and Estate, adding, that he was resolved to do nothing in a matter of such Consequence without my Approbation. Finding he would have an Answer, I told him, if he could get the Lady's Consent, he had mine. This is about the Tenth Match which, to my knowledge, Will, has consulted his Friends upon, without ever opening his Mind to the Party herself.

I have been engaged in this Subject by the following Letter, which comes to me from some notable young Female Scribe, who, by the Contents of it, seems to have carried Matters so far, that she is ripe for asking Advice; but as I would not lose her Good-Will, nor forfeit the Reputation which I have with her for Wisdom, I shall only communicate the Letter to the Publick, without returning any Answer to it.

Mr. SPECTATOR, Now, Sir , the thing is this: Mr. Shapely is the prettiest Gentleman about Town. He is very tall, but not too tall neither. He dances like a Angel. His Mouth is made I don't know how, but 'tis the prettiest that I ever saw in my Life. He is always laughing, for he has an infinite deal of Wit. If you did but see how he rolls his Stockins! He has a thousand pretty Fancies, and I am sure, if you saw him, you would like him. He is a very good Scholar, and can talk Latin as fast as English. I wish you could but see him dance. Now you must understand poor Mr. Shapely has no Estate; but how can he help that, you know? And yet my Friends are so unreasonable as to be always teazing me about him, because he has no Estate: but I am sure he has that that is better than an Estate; for he is a Good-natured, Ingenious, Modest, Civil, Tall, Well-bred, Handsome Man, and I am obliged to him for his Civilities ever since I saw him. I forgot to tell you that he has black Eyes, and looks upon me now and then as if he had tears in them. And yet my Friends are so unreasonable, that they would have me be uncivil to him. I have a good Portion which they cannot hinder me of, and I shall be fourteen on the 29th Day of August next, and am therefore willing to settle in the World as soon as I can, and so is Mr. Shapely. But every body I advise with here is poor Mr. Shapely's Enemy. I deSir e therefore you will give me your Advice, for I know you are a wise Man; and if you advise me well, I am resolved to follow it. I heartily wish you could see him dance, and am,

Sir ,
Your most humble Servant,

B. D.

He loves your Spectators mightily.

Contents, p. 3

No. 476

Friday, September 5, 1712


—lucidus Ordo—


Among my Daily-Papers which I bestow on the Publick, there are some which are written with Regularity and Method, and others that run out into the Wildness of those Compositions which go by the Names of Essays. As for the first, I have the whole Scheme of the Discourse in my Mind before I set Pen to Paper. In the other kind of Writing, it is sufficient that I have several Thoughts on a Subject, without troubling my self to range them in such order, that they may seem to grow out of one another, and be disposed under the proper Heads. Seneca and Montaigne are Patterns for Writing in this last kind, as Tully and Aristotle excel in the other. When I read an Author of Genius who writes without Method, I fancy myself in a Wood that abounds with a great many noble Objects, rising among one another in the greatest Confusion and Disorder. When I read a methodical Discourse, I am in a regular Plantation, and can place my self in its several Centres, so as to take a view of all the Lines and Walks that are struck from them. You may ramble in the one a whole Day together, and every Moment discover something or other that is new to you; but when you have done, you will have but a confused imperfect Notion of the Place: In the other, your Eye commands the whole Prospect, and gives you such an Idea of it, as is not easily worn out of the Memory.

Irregularity and want of Method are only supportable in Men of great Learning or Genius, who are often too full to be exact, and therefore chuse to throw down their Pearls in Heaps before the Reader, rather than be at the Pains of stringing them.

Method is of advantage to a Work, both in respect to the Writer and the Reader. In regard to the first, it is a great help to his Invention. When a Man has plann'd his Discourse, he finds a great many Thoughts rising out of every Head, that do not offer themselves upon the general Survey of a Subject. His Thoughts are at the same time more intelligible, and better discover their Drift and Meaning, when they are placed in their proper Lights, and follow one another in a regular Series, than when they are thrown together without Order and Connexion. There is always an Obscurity in Confusion, and the same Sentence that would have enlightened the Reader in one part of a Discourse, perplexes him in another. For the same reason likewise every Thought in a methodical Discourse shews it1` self in its greatest Beauty, as the several Figures in a piece of Painting receive new Grace from their Disposition in the Picture. The Advantages of a Reader from a methodical Discourse, are correspondent with those of the Writer. He comprehends every thing easily, takes it in with Pleasure, and retains it long.

Method is not less requisite in ordinary Conversation than in Writing, provided a Man would talk to make himself understood. I, who hear a thousand Coffee-house Debates every Day, am very sensible of this want of Method in the Thoughts of my honest Countrymen. There is not one Dispute in ten which is managed in those Schools of Politicks, where, after the three first Sentences, the Question is not entirely lost. Our Disputants put me in mind of the Cuttle-Fish, that when he is unable to extricate himself, blackens all the Water about him till he becomes invisible. The Man who does not know how to methodize his Thoughts, has always, to borrow a Phrase from the Dispensary, a barren Superfluity of Words;2 the Fruit is lost amidst the Exuberance of Leaves.

Tom Puzzle is one of the most Eminent Immethodical Disputants of any that has fallen under my Observation. Tom has read enough to make him very Impertinent; his Knowledge is sufficient to raise Doubts, but not to clear them. It is pity that he has so much Learning, or that he has not a great deal more. With these Qualifications Tom sets up for a Free-thinker, finds a great many things to blame in the Constitution of his Country, and gives shrewd Intimations that he does not believe another World. In short, Puzzle is an Atheist as much as his Parts will give him leave. He has got about half a dozen common-place Topicks, into which he never fails to turn the Conversation, whatever was the Occasion of it: Tho' the matter in debate be about Doway or Denain, it is ten to one but half his Discourse runs upon the Unreasonableness of Bigottry and Priest-craft. This makes Mr. Puzzle the Admiration of all those who have less Sense than himself, and the Contempt of those who have more. There is none in Town whom Tom dreads so much as my Friend Will Dry. Will, who is acquainted with Tom's Logick, when he finds him running off the Question, cuts him short with a What then? We allow all this to be true, but what is it to our present Purpose? I have known Tom eloquent half an hour together, and triumphing, as he thought, in the Superiority of the Argument, when he has been non-plus'd on a sudden by Mr. Dry's deSir ing him to tell the Company what it was that he endeavoured to prove. In short, Dry is a Man of a clear methodical Head, but few Words, and gains the same Advantage over Puzzle, that a small Body of regular Troops would gain over a numberless undisciplined Militia.


Footnote 1:   its
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   It is said of Colon in the second Canto,
Hourly his learn'd Impertinence affords
A barren Superfinity of Words.

Contents, p. 3

No. 477

Saturday, September 6, 1712


—An me ludit amabilis
Insania? audire et videor pios
Errare per lucos, amœnæ
Quos et aquæ subeunt et auræ.


Sir ,

Having lately read your Essay on the Pleasures of the Imagination, I was so taken with your Thoughts upon some of our English Gardens, that I cannot forbear troubling you with a Letter upon that Subject. I am one, you must know, who am looked upon as an Humorist in Gardening. I have several Acres about my House, which I call my Garden, and which a skilful Gardener would not know what to call. It is a Confusion of Kitchin and Parterre, Orchard and Flower-Garden, which lie so mixt and interwoven with one another, that if a Foreigner who had seen nothing of our Country should be convey'd into my Garden at his first landing, he would look upon it as a natural Wilderness, and one of the uncultivated Parts of our Country. My Flowers grow up in several Parts of the Garden in the greatest Luxuriancy and Profusion. I am so far from being fond of any particular one, by reason of its Rarity, that if I meet with any one in a Field which pleases me, I give it a place in my Garden. By this means, when a Stranger walks with me, he is surprized to see several large Spots of Ground cover'd with ten thousand different Colours, and has often singled out Flowers that he might have met with under a common Hedge, in a Field, or in a Meadow, as some of the greatest Beauties of the Place. The only Method I observe in this Particular, is to range in the same Quarter the Products of the same Season, that they may make their Appearance together, and compose a Picture of the greatest Variety. There is the same Irregularity in my Plantations, which run into as great a Wildness as their Natures will permit. I take in none that do not naturally rejoice in the Soil, and am pleased when I am walking in a Labyrinth of my own raising, not to know whether the next Tree I shall meet with is an Apple or an Oak, an Elm or a Pear-Tree. My Kitchin has likewise its particular Quarters assigned it; for besides the wholesome Luxury which that Place abounds with, I have always thought a Kitchin-Garden a more pleasant Sight than the finest Orangery, or artificial Greenhouse. I love to see everything in its Perfection, and am more pleased to survey my Rows of Coleworts and Cabbages, with a thousand nameless Pot-herbs, springing up in their full Fragrancy and Verdure, than to see the tender Plants of Foreign Countries kept alive by artificial Heats, or withering in an Air and Soil that are not adapted to them. I must not omit, that there is a Fountain rising in the upper part of my Garden, which forms a little wandring Rill, and administers to the Pleasure as well as the Plenty of the Place. I have so conducted it, that it visits most of my Plantations; and have taken particular Care to let it run in the same manner as it would do in an open Field, so that it generally passes through Banks of Violets and Primroses, Plats of Willow, or other Plants, that seem to be of its own producing. There is another Circumstance in which I am very particular, or, as my Neighbours call me, very whimsical: As my Garden invites into it all the Birds of the Country, by offering them the Conveniency of Springs and Shades, Solitude and Shelter, I do not suffer any one to destroy their Nests in the Spring, or drive them from their usual Haunts in Fruit-time. I value my Garden more for being full of Blackbirds than Cherries, and very frankly give them Fruit for their Songs. By this means I have always the Musick of the Season in its Perfection, and am highly delighted to see the Jay or the Thrush hopping about my Walks, and shooting before my Eye across the several little Glades and Alleys that I pass thro'. I think there are as many kinds of Gardening as of Poetry: Your Makers of Parterres and Flower-Gardens, are Epigrammatists and Sonneteers in this Art: Contrivers of Bowers and Grotto's, Treillages and Cascades, are Romance Writers. Wise and London are our heroick Poets; and if, as a Critick, I may single out any Passage of their Works to commend, I shall take notice of that Part in the upper Garden at Kensington, which was at first nothing but a Gravel-Pit. It must have been a fine Genius for Gardening, that could have thought of forming such an unsightly Hollow into so beautiful an Area, and to have hit the Eye with so uncommon and agreeable a Scene as that which it is now wrought into. To give this particular Spot of Ground the greater Effect, they have made a very pleasing Contrast; for as on one side of the Walk you see this hollow Basin, with its several little Plantations lying so conveniently under the Eye of the Beholder; on the other side of it there appears a seeming Mount, made up of Trees rising one higher than another in proportion as they approach the Center. A Spectator, who has not heard this Account of it, would think this Circular Mount was not only a real one, but that it had been actually scooped out of that hollow Space which I have before mention'd. I never yet met with any one who had walked in this Garden, who was not struck with that Part of it which I have here mention'd. As for my self, you will find, by the Account which I have already given you, that my Compositions in Gardening are altogether after the Pindarick Manner, and run into the beautiful Wildness of Nature, without affecting the nicer Elegancies of Art. What I am now going to mention, will, perhaps, deserve your Attention more than any thing I have yet said. I find that in the Discourse which I spoke of at the Beginning of my Letter, you are against filling an English Garden with Ever-Greens; and indeed I am so far of your Opinion, that I can by no means think the Verdure of an Ever-Green comparable to that which shoots out annually, and clothes our Trees in the Summer-Season. But I have often wonder'd that those who are like my self, and love to live in Gardens, have never thought of contriving a Winter Garden, which would consist of such Trees only as never cast their Leaves. We have very often little Snatches of Sunshine and fair Weather in the most uncomfortable Parts of the Year; and have frequently several Days in November and January that are as agreeable as any in the finest Months. At such times, therefore, I think there could not be a greater Pleasure, than to walk in such a Winter-Garden as I have proposed. In the Summer-Season the whole Country blooms, and is a kind of Garden, for which reason we are not so sensible of those Beauties that at this time may be every where met with; but when Nature is in her Desolation, and presents us with nothing but bleak and barren Prospects, there is something unspeakably chearful in a Spot of Ground which is covered with Trees that smile amidst all the Rigours of Winter, and give us a View of the most gay Season in the midst of that which is the most dead and melancholy. I have so far indulged my self in this Thought, that I have set apart a whole Acre of Ground for the executing of it. The Walls are covered with Ivy instead of Vines. The Laurel, the Hornbeam, and the Holly, with many other Trees and Plants of the same nature, grow so thick in it, that you cannot imagine a more lively Scene. The glowing Redness of the Berries, with which they are hung at this time, vies with the Verdure of their Leaves, and are apt to inspire the Heart of the Beholder with that vernal Delight which you have somewhere taken notice of in your former papers1. It is very pleasant, at the same time, to see the several kinds of Birds retiring into this little Green Spot, and enjoying themselves among the Branches and Foliage, when my great Garden, which I have before mention'd to you, does not afford a single Leaf for their Shelter.

You must know, Sir , that I look upon the Pleasure which we take in a Garden, as one of the most innocent Delights in Human Life. A Garden was the Habitation of our first Parents before the Fall. It is naturally apt to fill the Mind with Calmness and Tranquillity, and to lay all its turbulent Passions at rest. It gives us a great insight into the Contrivance and Wisdom of Providence, and suggests innumerable Subjects for Meditation. I cannot but think the very Complacency and Satisfaction which a Man takes in these Works of Nature, to be a laudable, if not a virtuous Habit of Mind. For all which Reasons I hope you will pardon the Length of my present Letter. I am,


Footnote 1:   In [Volume 2 link: No. 393.]
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 3

No. 478

Monday, September 8, 1712


Quem penes Arbitrium est, et Jus et Norma—


It happened lately, that a Friend of mine, who had many things to buy for his Family, would oblige me to walk with him to the Shops. He was very nice in his way, and fond of having every thing shewn, which at first made me very uneasy; but as his Humour still continu'd, the things which I had been staring at along with him, began to fill my Head, and led me into a Set of amusing Thoughts concerning them.

I fancied it must be very surprizing to any one who enters into a detail of Fashions, to consider how far the Vanity of Mankind has laid it self out in Dress, what a prodigious number of People it maintains, and what a Circulation of Money it occasions. Providence in this Case makes use of the Folly which we will not give up, and it becomes instrumental to the Support of those who are willing to labour. Hence it is that Fringe-Makers, Lace-Men, Tire-Women, and a number of other Trades, which would be useless in a simple State of Nature, draw their Subsistence; tho' it is seldom seen that such as these are extremely rich, because their original Fault of being founded upon Vanity, keeps them poor by the light Inconstancy of its Nature. The Variableness of Fashion turns the Stream of Business which flows from it now into one Channel, and anon into another; so that different Sets of People sink or flourish in their turns by it.

From the Shops we retir'd to the Tavern, where I found my Friend express so much satisfaction for the Bargains he had made, that my moral Reflections, (if I had told them) might have pass'd for a Reproof; so I chose rather to fall in with him, and let the Discourse run upon the use of Fashions.

Here we remembred how much Man is govern'd by his Senses, how lively he is struck by the Objects which appear to him in an agreeable manner, how much Clothes contribute to make us agreeable Objects, and how much we owe it to our selves that we should appear so.

We considered Man as belonging to Societies; Societies as form'd of different Ranks; and different Ranks distinguished by Habits, that all proper Duty or Respect might attend their Appearance.

We took notice of several Advantages which are met with in the Occurrences of Conversation. How the bashful Man has been sometimes so rais'd, as to express himself with an Air of Freedom, when he imagines that his Habit introduces him to Company with a becoming Manner: And again, how a Fool in fine Clothes shall be suddenly heard with Attention, till he has betray'd himself; whereas a Man of Sense appearing with a Dress of Negligence, shall be but coldly received, till he be proved by Time, and established in a Character. Such things as these we cou'd recollect to have happen'd to our knowledge so very often, that we concluded the Author had his Reasons, who advises his Son to go in Dress rather above his Fortune than under it.

At last the Subject seem'd so considerable, that it was proposed to have a Repository built for Fashions, as there are Chambers for Medals and other Rarities. The Building may be shap'd as that which stands among the Pyramids, in the Form of a Woman's Head. This may be rais'd upon Pillars, whose Ornaments shall bear a just relation to the Design. Thus there may be an Imitation of Fringe carv'd in the Base, a sort of Appearance of Lace in the Frieze, and a Representation of curling Locks, with Bows of Ribband sloping over them, may fill up the Work of the Cornish. The Inside may be divided into two Apartments appropriated to each Sex. The Apartments may be fill'd with Shelves, on which Boxes are to stand as regularly as Books in a Library. These are to have Folding-Doors, which being open'd, you are to behold a Baby dressed out in some Fashion which has flourish'd, and standing upon a Pedestal, where the time of its Reign is mark'd down. For its further Regulation, let it be order'd, that every one who invents a Fashion shall bring in his Box, whose Front he may at pleasure have either work'd or painted with some amorous or gay Device, that, like Books with gilded Leaves and Covers, it may the sooner draw the Eyes of the Beholders. And to the end that these may be preserv'd with all due Care, let there be a Keeper appointed, who shall be a Gentleman qualify'd with a competent Knowledge in Clothes; so that by this means the Place, will be a comfortable Support for some Beau who has spent his Estate in dressing.

The Reasons offer'd by which we expected to gain the Approbation of the Publick, were as follows.

First, That every one who is considerable enough to be a Mode, and has any Imperfection of Nature or Chance, which it is possible to hide by the Advantage of Clothes, may, by coming to this Repository, be furnish'd her self, and furnish all who are under the same Misfortune, with the most agreeable Manner of concealing it; and that on the other side, every one who has any Beauty in Face or Shape, may also be furnished with the most agreeable Manner of shewing it.

Secondly, That whereas some of our young Gentlemen who travel, give us great reason to suspect that they only go abroad to make or improve a Fancy for Dress, a Project of this nature may be a means to keep them at home, which is in effect the keeping of so much Money in the Kingdom. And perhaps the Balance of Fashion in Europe, which now leans upon the side of France, may be so alter'd for the future, that it may become as common with Frenchmen to come to England for their finishing Stroke of Breeding, as it has been for Englishmen to go to France for it.

Thirdly, Whereas several great Scholars, who might have been otherwise useful to the World, have spent their time in studying to describe the Dresses of the Ancients from dark Hints, which they are fain to interpret and support with much Learning, it will from henceforth happen, that they shall be freed from the Trouble, and the World from useless Volumes. This Project will be a Registry, to which Posterity may have recourse, for the clearing such obscure Passages as tend that way in Authors; and therefore we shall not for the future submit our selves to the Learning of Etymology, which might persuade the Age to come, that the Farthingal was worn for Cheapness, or the Furbeloe for Warmth.

Fourthly, Whereas they who are old themselves, have often a way of railing at the Extravagance of Youth, and the whole Age in which their Children live; it is hoped that this ill Humour will be much suppress'd, when we can have recourse to the Fashions of their Times, produce them in our Vindication, and be able to shew that it might have been as expensive in Queen Elizabeth's time only to wash and quill a Ruff, as it is now to buy Cravats or Neck-Handkerchiefs.

We deSir e also to have it taken Notice of, That because we would shew a particular respect to Foreigners, which may induce them to perfect their Breeding here in a Knowledge which is very proper for pretty Gentlemen, we have conceived the Motto for the House in the Learned Language. There is to be a Picture over the Door, with a Looking-Glass and a Dressing-Chair in the Middle of it: Then on one side are to be seen, above one another, Patch-Boxes, Pin-Cushions, and little Bottles; on the other, Powder Baggs, Puffs, Combs and Brushes; beyond these, Swords with fine Knots, whose Points are hidden, and Fans almost closed, with the Handles downward, are to stand out interchangeably from the Sides till they meet at the Top, and form a Semicircle over the rest of the Figures: Beneath all, the Writing is to run in this pretty sounding Manner:
Adeste, O quotquot sunt, Veneres, Gratiæ, Cupidines1,
En vobis adsunt in promptu
Faces, Vincula, Spicula,
Hinc eligite, sumite, regite.
I am, Sir ,
Your most humble Servant,
A. B.

The Proposal of my Correspondent I cannot but look upon as an ingenious Method of placing Persons (whose Parts make them ambitious to exert themselves in frivolous things) in a Rank by themselves. In order to this, I would propose, That there be a Board of Directors of the fashionable Society; and because it is a Matter of too much Weight for a private Man to determine alone, I should be highly obliged to my Correspondents if they would give in Lists of Persons qualify'd for this Trust. If the chief Coffee-houses, the Conversations of which Places are carry'd on by Persons, each of whom has his little number of Followers and Admirers, would name from among themselves two or three to be inserted, they should be put up with great Faithfulness. Old Beaus are to be presented in the first place; but as that Sect, with relation to Dress, is almost extinct, it will, I fear, be absolutely necessary to take in all Time-Servers, properly so deem'd; that is, such as, without any Conviction of Conscience or View of Interest, change with the World, and that merely from a Terror of being out of Fashion. Such also, who from Facility of Temper, and too much Obsequiousness, are vicious against their Will, and follow Leaders whom they do not approve, for Want of Courage to go their own Way, are capable Persons for this Superintendency. Those who are both to grow old, or would do any thing contrary to the Course and Order of things, out of Fondness to be in Fashion, are proper Candidates. To conclude, those who are in Fashion without apparent Merit, must be supposed to have latent Qualities, which would appear in a Post of Direction; and therefore are to be regarded in forming these Lists. Any who shall be pleased, according to these, or what further Qualifications may occur to himself, to send a List, is deSir ed to do it within fourteen days after this Date.

N. B. The Place of the Physician to this Society, according to the last mentioned Qualification, is already engag'd.


Footnote 1:  
All ye Venuses, Graces, and Cupids, attend:
See prepared to your hands
Darts, torches, and bands:
Your weapons here choose, and your empire extend.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 3

No. 479

Tuesday, September 9, 1712


—Dare Jure maritis.


Many are the Epistles I every day receive from Husbands, who complain of Vanity, Pride, but above all Ill-nature, in their Wives. I cannot tell how it is, but I think I see in all their Letters that the Cause of their Uneasiness is in themselves; and indeed I have hardly ever observed the married Condition unhappy, but from want of Judgment or Temper in the Man. The truth is, we generally make Love in a Style, and with Sentiments very unfit for ordinary Life: They are half Theatrical, half Romantick. By this Means we raise our Imaginations to what is not to be expected in human Life; and because we did not beforehand think of the Creature we were enamoured of as subject to Dishumour, Age, Sickness, Impatience or Sullenness, but altogether considered her as the Object of Joy, human Nature it self is often imputed to her as her particular Imperfection or Defect.

I take it to be a Rule proper to be observed in all Occurrences of Life, but more especially in the domestick or matrimonial Part of it, to preserve always a Disposition to be pleased. This cannot be supported but by considering things in their right light, and as Nature has form'd them, and not as our own Fancies or Appetites would have them. He then who took a young Lady to his Bed, with no other Consideration than the Expectation of Scenes of Dalliance, and thought of her (as I said before) only as she was to administer to the Gratification of DeSir e; as that DeSir e flags, will, without her Fault, think her Charms and her Merit abated: From hence must follow Indifference, Dislike, Peevishness, and Rage. But the Man who brings his Reason to support his Passion, and beholds what he loves as liable to all the Calamities of human Life both in Body and Mind, and even at the best what must bring upon him new Cares and new Relations; such a Lover, I say, will form himself accordingly, and adapt his Mind to the Nature of his Circumstances. This latter Person will be prepared to be a Father, a Friend, an Advocate, a Steward for People yet unborn, and has proper Affections ready for every Incident in the Marriage State. Such a Man can hear the Cries of Children with Pity instead of Anger; and when they run over his Head, he is not disturb'd at their Noise, but is glad of their Mirth and Health. Tom Trusty has told me, that he thinks it doubles his Attention to the most intricate Affair he is about, to hear his Children, for whom all his Cares are applied, make a Noise in the next Room: On the other side Will Sparkish cannot put on his Perriwig, or adjust his Cravat at the Glass, for the Noise of those damned Nurses and squaling1 Brats; and then ends with a gallant Reflection upon the Comforts of Matrimony, runs out of the Hearing, and drives to the Chocolate-house.

According as the Husband is dispos'd in himself, every Circumstance of his Life is to give him Torment or Pleasure. When the Affection is well-placed, and supported by the Considerations of Duty, Honour, and Friendship, which are in the highest Degree engaged in this Alliance, there can nothing rise in the common Course of Life, or from the Blows or Favours of Fortune, in which a Man will not find Matters of some Delight unknown to a single Condition.

He who sincerely loves his Wife and Family, and studies to improve that Affection in himself, conceives Pleasure from the most indifferent things; while the married Man, who has not bid adieu to the Fashions and false Gallantries of the Town, is perplexed with every thing around him. In both these Cases Men cannot, indeed, make a sillier Figure, than in repeating such Pleasures and Pains to the rest of the World; but I speak of them only, as they sit upon those who are involved in them. As I visit all sorts of People, I cannot indeed but smile, when the good Lady tells her Husband what extraordinary things the Child spoke since he went out. No longer than yesterday I was prevail'd with to go home with a fond Husband: and his Wife told him, that his Son, of his own head, when the Clock in the Parlour struck two, said, Pappa would come home to Dinner presently. While the Father has him in a rapture in his Arms, and is drowning him with Kisses, the Wife tells me he is but just four Years old. Then they both struggle for him, and bring him up to me, and repeat his Observation of two a-Clock. I was called upon, by Looks upon the Child, and then at me, to say something; and I told the Father, that this Remark of the Infant of his coming home, and joining the Time with it, was a certain Indication that he would be a great Historian and Chronologer. They are neither of them Fools, yet received my Compliment with great Acknowledgment of my Prescience. I fared very well at Dinner, and heard many other notable Sayings of their Heir, which would have given very little Entertainment to one less turned to Reflection than I was; but it was a pleasing Speculation to remark on the Happiness of a Life, in which things of no Moment give Occasion of Hope, Self-Satisfaction, and Triumph. On the other Hand, I have known an ill-natur'd Coxcomb, who was hardly improved in any thing but Bulk, for want of this Disposition, silence the whole Family, as a Set of silly Women and Children, for recounting things which were really above his own Capacity.

When I say all this, I cannot deny but there are perverse Jades that fall to Mens Lots, with whom it requires more than common Proficiency in Philosophy to be able to live. When these are joined to Men of warm Spirits, without Temper or Learning, they are frequently corrected with Stripes; but one of our famous Lawyers is of Opinion, That this ought to be used sparingly. As I remember, those are his very Words2; but as it is proper to draw some spiritual Use out of all Afflictions, I should rather recommend to those who are visited with Women of Spirit, to form themselves for the World by Patience at home. Socrates, who is by all Accounts the undoubted Head of the Sect of the Hen-peck'd, own'd and acknowledged that he ow'd great part of his Virtue to the Exercise which his useful Wife constantly gave it. There are several good Instructions may be drawn from his wise Answers to People of less Fortitude than himself on her Subject. A Friend, with Indignation, asked how so good a Man could live with so violent a Creature? He observ'd to him, That they who learn to keep a good Seat on horseback, mount the least managable they can get, and when they have master'd them, they are sure never to be discomposed on the Backs of Steeds less restive.3 At several times, to different Persons, on the same Subject, he has said, My dear Friend, you are beholden to Xantippe, that I bear so well your flying out in a Dispute. To another, My Hen clacks very much, but she brings me Chickens. They that live in a trading Street, are not disturbed at the Passage of Carts. I would have, if possible, a wise Man be contented with his Lot, even with a Shrew; for tho' he cannot make her better, he may, you see, make himself better by her means.

But instead of pursuing my Design of Displaying Conjugal Love in its natural Beauties and Attractions, I am got into Tales to the disadvantage of that State of Life. I must say, therefore, that I am verily persuaded that whatever is delightful in human Life, is to be enjoy'd in greater Perfection in the marry'd, than in the single Condition. He that has this Passion in Perfection, in Occasions of Joy can say to himself, besides his own Satisfaction, How happy will this make my Wife and Children? Upon Occurrences of Distress or Danger can comfort himself, But, all this while my Wife and Children are safe. There is something in it that doubles Satisfactions, because others participate them; and dispels Afflictions, because others are exempt from them. All who are marry'd without this Relish of their Circumstance, are in either a tasteless Indolence and Negligence, which is hardly to be attain'd, or else live in the hourly Repetition of sharp Answers, eager Upbraidings, and distracting Reproaches. In a word the married State, with and without the Affection suitable to it, is the compleatest Image of Heaven and Hell we are capable of receiving in this Life.


Footnote 1:   squalwing
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Henry de Bracton in his treatise of live books de Legibus et Dounsuetudinibus Anglia, written about the middle of the thirteen centry, says (Bk. I. ch. x.)
quædam sunt sub virga, ut uxores, &c.
but qualifies private right with the secondary claim of the community.

Footnote 3:   Xenophon's Symposium, Bk. II.

Contents, p. 3

No. 480

Wednesday, September 10, 1712


Responsare cupidinibus, contemnere honores,
Fortis, et in seipso totus teres, atque rotundus.


The other Day looking over those old Manuscripts, of which I have formerly given some Account, and which relate to the Character of the mighty Pharamond of France, and the close Friendship between him and his Friend Eucrate1; I found, among the Letters which had been in the custody of the latter, an Epistle from a Country Gentleman to Pharamond, wherein he excuses himself from coming to Court. The Gentleman, it seems, was contented with his Condition, had formerly been in the King's Service, but at the writing the following Letter, had, from Leisure and Reflection, quite another Sense of things than that which he had in the more active Part of his Life.

Monsieur Chezluy to Pharamond.

Dread Sir ,

I have from your own Hand (enclosed under the Cover of Mr. Eucrate of your Majesty's Bed-Chamber) a Letter which invites me to Court. I understand this great Honour to be done me out of Respect and Inclination to me, rather than Regard to your own Service: For which Reason I beg leave to lay before your Majesty my Reasons for declining to depart from Home; and will not doubt but, as your Motive in deSir ing my Attendance was to make me an happier Man, when you think that will not be effected by my Remove, you will permit me to stay where I am. Those who have an Ambition to appear in Courts, have ever an Opinion that their Persons or their Talents are particularly formed for the Service or Ornament of that Place; or else are hurried by downright DeSir e of Gain, or what they call Honour, or take upon themselves whatever the Generosity of their Master can give them Opportunities to grasp at. But your Goodness shall not be thus imposed upon by me: I will therefore confess to you, that frequent Solitude, and long Conversation with such who know no Arts which polish Life, have made me the plainest Creature in your Dominions. Those less Capacities of moving with a good Grace, bearing a ready Affability to all around me, and acting with ease before many, have quite left me. I am come to that, with regard to my Person, that I consider it only as a Machine I am obliged to take Care of, in order to enjoy my Soul in its Faculties with Alacrity; well remembering, that this Habitation of Clay will in a few years be a meaner Piece of Earth than any Utensil about my House. When this is, as it really is, the most frequent Reflection I have, you will easily imagine how well I should become a Drawing-Room: Add to this, What shall a Man without DeSir es do about the generous Pharamond? Monsieur Eucrate has hinted to me, that you have thoughts of distinguishing me with Titles. As for my self, in the Temper of my present Mind, Appellations of Honour would but embarrass Discourse, and new Behaviour towards me perplex me in every Habitude of Life. I am also to acknowledge to you, that my Children, of whom your Majesty condescended to enquire, are all of them mean, both in their Persons and Genius. The Estate my eldest Son is Heir to, is more than he can enjoy with a good Grace. My Self-love will not carry me so far, as to impose upon Mankind the Advancement of Persons (merely for their being related to me) into high Distinctions, who ought for their own Sakes, as well as that of the Publick, to affect Obscurity. I wish, my generous Prince, as it is in your power to give Honours and Offices, it were also to give Talents suitable to them: Were it so, the noble Pharamond would reward the Zeal of my Youth with Abilities to do him Service in my Age.

'Those who accept of Favour without Merit, support themselves in it at the Expence of your Majesty. Give me Leave to tell you, Sir , this is the Reason that we in the Country hear so often repeated the Word Prerogative. That Part of your Law which is reserved in your self for the readier Service and Good of the Publick, slight Men are eternally buzzing in our Ears to cover their own Follies and Miscarriages. It would be an Addition to the high Favour you have done me, if you would let Eucrate send me word how often, and in what Cases you allow a Constable to insist upon the Prerogative. From the highest to the lowest Officer in your Dominions, something of their own Carriage they would exempt from Examination under the Shelter of the Word Prerogative. I would fain, most noble Pharamond, see one of your Officers assert your Prerogative by good and gracious Actions. When is it used to help the Afflicted, to rescue the Innocent, to comfort the Stranger? Uncommon Methods, apparently undertaken to attain worthy Ends, would never make Power invidious. You see, Sir , I talk to you with the Freedom your noble Nature approves, in all whom you admit to your Conversation.

'But, to return to your Majesty's Letter, I humbly conceive, that all Distinctions are useful to Men, only as they are to act in Publick; and it would be a romantick Madness, for a Man to be a Lord in his Closet. Nothing can be honourable to a Man apart from the World, but the Reflection upon worthy Actions; and he that places Honour in a Consciousness of Well-doing, will have but little Relish for any outward Homage that is paid him, since what gives him distinction to himself, cannot come within the Observation of his Beholders. Thus all the Words of Lordship, Honour, and Grace, are only Repetitions to a Man that the King has order'd him to be called so; but no Evidences that there is any thing in himself that would give the Man who applies to him those Ideas, without the Creation of his Master.

'I have, most noble Pharamond, all Honours and all Titles in your own Approbation; I triumph in them as they are your Gift, I refuse them as they are to give me the Observation of others. Indulge me, my Noble Master, in this Chastity of Renown; let me know my self in the Favour of Pharamond; and look down upon the Applause of the People.

I am,
in all Duty and Loyally,
Your Majesty's most obedient
Subject and Servant
Jean Chezluy.

Sir ,

'I need not tell you with what Disadvantages Men of low Fortunes and great Modesty come into the World; what wrong Measures their Diffidence of themselves, and Fear of offending, often obliges them to take; and what a Pity it is that their greatest Virtues and Qualities, that should soonest recommend them, are the main Obstacle in the way of their Preferment.

'This, Sir , is my Case; I was bred at a Country-School, where I learned Latin and Greek. The Misfortunes of my Family forced me up to Town, where a Profession of the politer sort has protected me against Infamy and Want. I am now Clerk to a Lawyer, and, in times of Vacancy and Recess from Business, have made my self Master of Italian and French; and tho' the Progress I have made in my Business has gain'd me Reputation enough for one of my standing, yet my Mind suggests to me every day, that it is not upon that Foundation I am to build my Fortune.

'The Person I have my present Dependance upon, has it in his Nature, as well as in his Power, to advance me, by recommending me to a Gentleman that is going beyond Sea in a publick Employment. I know the printing this Letter would point me out to those I want Confidence to speak to, and I hope it is not in your Power to refuse making any Body happy.

September 9, 1712.
Yours, &c.

M. D.2

Footnote 1:   See [Volume 1 links: Nos. 76, 84, 97.]
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Mr. Robert Harper, who died an eminent conveyancer of Lincoln's Inn. He sent his letter on the 9th of August, and it appeared September the 10th with omissions and alterations by Steele.

Contents, p. 3

No. 481

Thursday, September 11, 1712


—Uti non
Compositus melius cum Bitho Bacchius, in jus
Acres procurrunt—


It is something1 pleasant enough to consider the different Notions, which different Persons have of the same thing. If Men of low Condition very often set a Value on Things, which are not prized by those who are in an higher Station of Life, there are many things these esteem which are in no Value among Persons of an inferior Rank. Common People are, in particular, very much astonished, when they hear of those solemn Contests and Debates, which are made among the Great upon the Punctilio's of a publick Ceremony, and wonder to hear that any Business of Consequence should be retarded by those little Circumstances, which they represent to themselves as trifling and insignificant. I am mightily pleased with a Porter's Decision in one of Mr. Southern's Plays2, which is founded upon that fine Distress of a Virtuous Woman's marrying a second Husband, while her first was yet living. The first Husband, who was suppos'd to have been dead, returning to his House after a long Absence, raises a noble Perplexity for the Tragick Part of the Play. In the mean while, the Nurse and the Porter conferring upon the Difficulties that would ensue in such a Case, honest Sampson thinks the matter may be easily decided, and solves it very judiciously, by the old Proverb, that if his first Master be still living, The Man must have his Mare again. There is nothing in my time which has so much surprized and confounded the greatest part of my honest Countrymen, as the present Controversy between Count Rechteren and Monsieur Mesnager, which employs the wise Heads of so many Nations, and holds all the Affairs of Europe in suspence3.

Upon my going into a Coffee-house yesterday, and lending an ear to the next Table, which was encompassed with a Circle of inferior Politicians, one of them, after having read over the News very attentively, broke out into the following Remarks. I am afraid, says he, this unhappy Rupture between the Footmen at Utrecht will retard the Peace of Christendom. I wish the Pope may not be at the Bottom of it. His Holiness has a very good hand at fomenting a Division, as the poor Suisse Cantons have lately experienced to their Cost. If Mounsieur4 What-d'ye-call-him's Domesticks will not come to an Accommodation, I do not know how the Quarrel can be ended, but by a Religious War.

Why truly, says a Wiseacre that sat by him, were I as the King of France, I would scorn to take part with the Footmen of either side: Here's all the Business of Europe stands still, because Mounsieur Mesnager's Man has had his Head broke. If Count Rectrum had given them a Pot of Ale after it, all would have been well, without any of this Bustle; but they say he's a warm Man, and does not care to be made Mouths at.

Upon this, one, that had held his Tongue hitherto, began5 to exert himself; declaring, that he was very well pleased the Plenipotentiaries of our Christian Princes took this matter into their serious Consideration; for that Lacqueys were never so saucy and pragmatical, as they are now-a-days, and that he should be glad to see them taken down in the Treaty of Peace, if it might be done without prejudice to the Publick Affairs.

One who sat at the other End of the Table, and seemed to be in the Interests of the French King, told them, that they did not take the matter right, for that his most Christian Majesty did not resent this matter because it was an Injury done to Monsieur Mesnager's Footmen; for, says he, what are Monsieur Mesnager's Footmen to him? but because it was done to his Subjects. Now, says he, let me tell you, it would look very odd for a Subject of France to have a bloody Nose, and his Sovereign not to take Notice of it. He is obliged in Honour to defend his People against Hostilities; and if the Dutch will be so insolent to a Crowned Head, as, in any wise, to cuff or kick those who are under His Protection, I think he is in the right to call them to an Account for it.

This Distinction set the Controversy upon a new Foot, and seemed to be very well approved by most that heard it, till a little warm Fellow, who declared himself a Friend to the House of Austria, fell most unmercifully upon his Gallick Majesty, as encouraging his Subjects to make Mouths at their Betters, and afterwards screening them from the Punishment that was due to their Insolence. To which he added that the French Nation was so addicted to Grimace, that if there was not a Stop put to it at the General Congress, there would be no walking the Streets for them in a time of Peace, especially if they continued Masters of the West-Indies. The little Man proceeded with a great deal of warmth, declaring that if the Allies were of his Mind, he would oblige the French King to burn his Gallies, and tolerate the Protestant Religion in his Dominions, before he would Sheath his Sword. He concluded with calling Mounsieur Mesnager an Insignificant Prig.

The Dispute was now growing very Warm, and one does not know where it would have ended, had not a young Man of about One and Twenty, who seems to have been brought up with an Eye to the Law, taken the Debate into his Hand, and given it as his Opinion, that neither Count Rechteren nor Mo[u]nsieur Mesnager had behaved themselves right in this Affair. Count Rechteren, says he, should have made Affidavit that his Servants had been affronted, and then Mounsieur Mesnager would have done him Justice, by taking away their Liveries from 'em, or some other way that he might have thought the most proper; for let me tell you, if a Man makes a Mouth at me, I am not to knock the Teeth out of it for his Pains. Then again, as for Mo[u]nsieur Mesnager, upon his Servants being beaten, why! he might have had his Action of Assault and Battery. But as the case now stands, if you will have my Opinion, I think they ought to bring it to Referees.

I heard a great deal more of this Conference, but I must confess with little Edification; for all I could learn at last from these honest Gentlemen, was, that the matter in Debate was of too high a Nature for such Heads as theirs, or mine, to Comprehend.


Footnote 1:   sometimes
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   The Fatal Marriage, or the Innocent Adultery.

Footnote 3:   The negotiations for Peace which were going on at Utrecht had been checked by the complaint of Count Rechteren, deputy for the Province of Overyssel. On the 24th of July the French, under Marshal Villars, had obtained a great victory at Denain, capturing the Earl of Albemarle, the Princes of Anhalt, of Holstein, Nassau Seeken, and 2500 men, under the eyes of Prince Eugene, who was stopped at the bridge of Prouy on his way to rescue and entreated by the deputies of the States-general to retire. The allies lost a thousand killed and fifteen hundred drowned; the French only five hundred, and sixty flags were sent as trophies to Versailles. The insecure position taken by the Earl of Albemarle had been forced on Prince Eugene by the Dutch deputies, who found the arrangement cheapest.
'Tell me,' he said, 'of the conquests of Alexander. He had no Dutch deputies in his army.'
Count Rechteren, deputy for Overyssel, complained that, a few days after this battle, when he was riding in his carriage by the gate of M. Ménager, the French Plenipotentiary, that gentleman's lackeys insulted his lackeys with grimaces and indecent gestures. He sent his secretary to complain to M. Ménager, demand satisfaction, and say that if it were not given, he should take it. Ménager replied, in writing, that although this was but an affair between lackeys, he was far from approving ill behaviour in his servants towards other servants, particularly towards servants of Count Rechteren, and he was ready to send to the Count those lackeys whom he had seen misbehaving, or even those whom his other servants should point out as guilty of the offensive conduct. Rechteren, when the answer arrived, was gone to the Hague, and it was forwarded to his colleague, M. MoÎrman. Upon his return to Utrecht, Rechteren sent his secretary again to Ménager, with the complaint as before, and received the answer as before. He admitted that he had not himself seen the grimaces and insulting gestures, but he ought, he said, to be at liberty to send his servants into Ménager's house for the detection of the offenders. A few days afterwards Ménager and Rechteren were on the chief promenade of Utrecht, with others who were Plenipotentiaries of the United Provinces, and after exchange of civilities, Rechteren said that he was still awaiting satisfaction. Ménager replied as before, and said that his lackeys all denied the charge against them. Ménager refused also to allow the accusers of his servants to come into his house and be their judges. Rechteren said he would have justice yet upon master and men. He was invested with a sovereign power as well as Ménager. He was not a man to take insults. He spoke some words in Dutch to his attendants, and presently Ménager's lackeys came with complaint that the lackeys of Rechteren tripped them up behind, threw them upon their faces, and threatened them with knives. Rechteren told the French Plenipotentiary that he would pay them for doing that, and discharge them if they did not do it. Rechteren's colleagues did what they could to cover or excuse his folly, and begged that the matter might not appear in a despatch to France or be represented to the States-general, but be left to the arbitration of the English Plenipotentiaries. This the French assented to, but they now demanded satisfaction against Rechteren, and refused to accept the excuse made for him, that he was drunk. He might, under other circumstances, says M. Torcy, the French minister of the time, in his account of the Peace Negociations, have dismissed the petty quarrel of servants by accepting such an excuse but, says M. de Torcy,
'it was deSir able to retard the Conferences, and this dispute gave a plausible reason.'
Therefore until the King of France and Bolingbroke had come to a complete understanding, the King of France ordered his three Plenipotentiaries to keep the States-general busy, with the task of making it clear to his French Majesty whether Rechteren's violence was sanctioned by them, or whether he had acted under private passion, excited by the Ministers of the House of Austria. Then they must further assent to a prescribed form of disavowal, and deprive Rechteren of his place as a deputy. This was the high policy of the affair of the lackeys, which, as Addison says, held all the affairs of Europe in suspense, a policy avowed with all complacency by the high politician who was puller of the strings. (Memoires de Torcy, Vol. iii. pp. 411-13.)

Footnote 4:   It is Monsieur in the first issue and also in the first reprint.

Footnote 5:   begun

Contents, p. 3

No. 482

Friday, September 12, 1712


Floriferis ut apes in saltibus omnia libant.


When I have published any single Paper that falls in with the Popular Taste, and pleases more than ordinary, it always brings me in a great return of Letters. My Tuesday's Discourse, wherein I gave several Admonitions to the Fraternity of the Henpeck'd, has already produced me very many Correspondents; the Reason I cannot guess at, unless it be that such a Discourse is of general Use, and every married Man's Money. An honest Tradesman, who dates his Letter from Cheapside, sends me Thanks in the name of a Club, who, he tells me, meet as often as their Wives will give them leave, and stay together till they are sent for home. He informs me, that my Paper has administered great Consolation to their whole Club, and deSir es me to give some further Account of Socrates, and to acquaint them in whose Reign he lived, whether he was a Citizen or a Courtier, whether he buried Xantippe, with many other particulars: For that by his Sayings he appears to have been a very Wise Man and a good Christian. Another, who writes himself Benjamin Bamboo, tells me, that being coupled with a Shrew, he had endeavoured to tame her by such lawful means as those which I mentioned in my last Tuesday's Paper, and that in his Wrath he had often gone further than Bracton allows in those cases; but that for the future he was resolved to bear it like a Man of Temper and Learning, and consider her only as one who lives in his House to teach him Philosophy. Tom Dapperwit says, that he agrees with me in that whole Discourse, excepting only the last Sentence, where I affirm the married State to be either an Heaven or an Hell. Tom has been at the charge of a Penny upon this occasion, to tell me, that by his Experience it is neither one nor the other, but rather that middle kind of State, commonly known by the Name of Purgatory.

The Fair Sex have likewise obliged me with their Reflections upon the same Discourse. A Lady, who calls herself Euterpe, and seems a Woman of Letters, asks me whether I am for establishing the Salick Law in every Family, and why it is not fit that a Woman who has Discretion and Learning should sit at the Helm, when the Husband is weak and illiterate? Another, of a quite contrary Character, subscribes herself Xantippe, and tells me, that she follows the Example of her Name-sake; for being married to a Bookish Man, who has no Knowledge of the World, she is forced to take their Affairs into her own Hands, and to spirit him up now and then, that he may not grow musty, and unfit for Conversation.

After this Abridgment of some Letters which are come to my hands upon this Occasion, I shall publish one of them at large.


You have given us a lively Picture of that kind of Husband who comes under the Denomination of the Hen-peck'd; but I do not remember that you have ever touched upon one that is of the quite different Character, and who, in several Places of England, goes by the Name of a Cot-Quean. I have the Misfortune to be joined for Life with one of this Character, who in reality is more a Woman than I am1. He was bred up under the Tuition of a tender Mother, till she had made him as good a House-wife as her self. He could preserve Apricots, and make Gellies, before he had been two Years out of the Nursery. He was never suffered to go abroad, for fear of catching Cold: when he should have been hunting down a Buck, he was by his Mother's Side learning how to Season it, or put it in Crust; and was making Paper-Boats with his Sisters, at an Age when other young Gentlemen are crossing the Seas, or travelling into Foreign Countries. He has the whitest Hand that you ever saw in your Life, and raises Paste better than any Woman in England. These Qualifications make him a sad Husband: He is perpetually in the Kitchin, and has a thousand Squabbles with the Cook-maid. He is better acquainted with the Milk-Score, than his Steward's Accounts. I fret to Death when I hear him find fault with a Dish that is not dressed to his liking, and instructing his Friends that dine with him in the best Pickle for a Walnut, or Sauce for an Haunch of Venison. With all this, he is a very good-natured Husband, and never fell out with me in his Life but once, upon the over-roasting of a Dish of Wild-Fowl: At the same time I must own I would rather he was a Man of a rough Temper, that would treat me harshly sometimes, than of such an effeminate busy Nature in a Province that does not belong to him. Since you have given us the Character of a Wife who wears the Breeches, pray say something of a Husband that wears the Petticoat. Why should not a Female Character be as ridiculous in a Man, as a Male Character in one of our Sex?

I am, &c.

Footnote 1:   my self.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 3

No. 483

Saturday, September 13, 1712


Nec Deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus


We cannot be guilty of a greater Act of Uncharitableness, than to interpret the Afflictions which befal our Neighbours, as Punishments and Judgments. It aggravates the Evil to him who suffers, when he looks upon himself as the Mark of Divine Vengeance, and abates the Compassion of those towards him, who regard him in so dreadful a Light. This Humour of turning every Misfortune into a Judgment, proceeds from wrong Notions of Religion, which, in its own nature, produces Goodwill towards Men, and puts the mildest Construction upon every Accident that befalls them. In this case, therefore, it is not Religion that sours a Man's Temper, but it is his Temper that sours his Religion: People of gloomy unchearful Imaginations, or of envious malignant Tempers, whatever kind of Life they are engaged in, will discover their natural Tincture of Mind in all their Thoughts, Words, and Actions. As the finest Wines have often the Taste of the Soil, so even the most religious Thoughts often draw something that is particular from the Constitution of the Mind in which they arise. When Folly or Superstition strike in with this natural Depravity of Temper, it is not in the power, even of Religion it self, to preserve the Character of the Person who is possessed with it, from appearing highly absurd and ridiculous.

An old Maiden Gentlewoman, whom I shall conceal under the Name of Nemesis, is the greatest Discoverer of Judgments that I have met with. She can tell you what Sin it was that set such a Man's House on fire, or blew down his Barns. Talk to her of an unfortunate young Lady that lost her Beauty by the Small-Pox, she fetches a deep Sigh, and tells you, that when she had a fine Face she was always looking on it in her Glass. Tell her of a Piece of good Fortune that has befallen one of her Acquaintance; and she wishes it may prosper with her, but her Mother used one of her Nieces very barbarously. Her usual Remarks turn upon People who had great Estates, but never enjoyed them, by reason of some Flaw in their own, or their Father's Behaviour. She can give you the Reason why such a one died Childless: Why such an one was cut off in the Flower of his Youth: Why such an one was Unhappy in her Marriage: Why one broke his Leg on such a particular Spot of Ground, and why another was killed with a Back-Sword, rather than with any other kind of Weapon. She has a Crime for every Misfortune that can befal any of her Acquaintance, and when she hears of a Robbery that has been made, or a Murder that has been committed, enlarges more on the Guilt of the suffering Person, than on that of the Thief, or the Assassin. In short, she is so good a Christian, that whatever happens to her self is a Tryal, and whatever happens to her Neighbours is a Judgment.

The very Description of this Folly, in ordinary Life, is sufficient to expose it; but when it appears in a Pomp and Dignity of Style, it is very apt to amuse and terrify the Mind of the Reader. Herodotus and Plutarch very often apply their Judgments as impertinently as the old Woman I have before mentioned, though their manner of relating them, makes the Folly it self appear venerable. Indeed, most Historians, as well Christian as Pagan, have fallen into this idle Superstition, and spoken of ill Success1, unforeseen Disasters, and terrible Events, as if they had been let into the Secrets of Providence, and made acquainted with that private Conduct by which the World is governed. One would think several of our own Historians in particular had many Revelations of this kind made to them. Our old English Monks seldom let any of their Kings depart in Peace, who had endeavoured to diminish the Power or Wealth of which the Ecclesiasticks were in those times possessed. William the Conqueror's Race generally found their Judgments in the New Forest, where their Father had pulled down Churches and Monasteries. In short, read one of the Chronicles written by an Author of this frame of Mind, and you would think you were reading an History of the Kings of Israel or Judah, where the Historians were actually inspired, and where, by a particular Scheme of Providence, the Kings were distinguished by Judgments or Blessings, according as they promoted Idolatry or the Worship of the true God.

I cannot but look upon this manner of judging upon Misfortunes, not only to be very uncharitable, in regard to the Person whom they befall, but very presumptuous in regard to him who is supposed to inflict them. It is a strong Argument for a State of Retribution hereafter, that in this World virtuous Persons are very often unfortunate, and vicious Persons prosperous; which is wholly repugnant to the Nature of a Being who appears infinitely wise and good in all his Works, unless we may suppose that such a promiscuous and undistinguishing Distribution of Good and Evil, which was necessary for carrying on the Designs of Providence in this Life, will be rectified and made amends for in another. We are not therefore to expect that Fire should fall from Heaven in the ordinary Course of Providence; nor when we see triumphant Guilt or depressed Virtue in particular Persons, that Omnipotence will make bare its holy Arm in the Defence of the one, or Punishment of the other. It is sufficient that there is a Day set apart for the hearing and requiting of both according to their respective Merits.

The Folly of ascribing Temporal Judgments to any particular Crimes, may appear from several Considerations. I shall only mention two: First, That, generally speaking, there is no Calamity or Affliction, which is supposed to have happened as a Judgment to a vicious Man, which does not sometimes happen to Men of approved Religion and Virtue. When Diagoras the Atheist2 was on board one of the Athenian Ships, there arose a very violent Tempest; upon which the Mariners told him, that it was a just Judgment upon them for having taken so impious a Man on board. Diagoras begged them to look upon the rest of the Ships that were in the same Distress, and ask'd them whether or no Diagoras was on board every Vessel in the Fleet. We are all involved in the same Calamities, and subject to the same Accidents: and when we see any one of the Species under any particular Oppression, we should look upon it as arising from the common Lot of human Nature, rather than from the Guilt of the Person who suffers.

Another Consideration, that may check our Presumption in putting such a Construction upon a Misfortune, is this, That it is impossible for us to know what are Calamities, and what are Blessings. How many Accidents have pass'd for Misfortunes, which have turned to the Welfare and Prosperity of the Persons in whose Lot they have fallen? How many Disappointments have, in their Consequences, saved a man from Ruin? If we could look into the Effects of every thing, we might be allowed to pronounce boldly upon Blessings and Judgments; but for a Man to give his Opinion of what he sees but in part, and in its Beginnings, is an unjustifiable Piece of Rashness and Folly. The Story of Biton and Clitobus, which was in great Reputation among the Heathens, (for we see it quoted by all the ancient Authors, both Greek and Latin, who have written upon the Immortality of the Soul,) may teach us a Caution in this Matter. These two Brothers, being the Sons of a Lady who was Priestess to Juno, drew their Mother's Chariot to the Temple at the time of a great Solemnity, the Persons being absent who by their Office were to have drawn her Chariot on that Occasion. The Mother was so transported with this Instance of filial Duty, that she petition'd her Goddess to bestow upon them the greatest Gift that could be given to Men; upon which they were both cast into a deep Sleep, and the next Morning found dead in the Temple. This was such an Event, as would have been construed into a Judgment, had it happen'd to the two Brothers after an Act of Disobedience, and would doubtless have been represented as such by any Ancient Historian who had given us an Account of it.


Footnote 1:   Successes
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Diagoras the Melian, having attacked the popular religion and the Eleusinian mysteries, had a price set on his head, and left Athens B.C. 411. The Athenians called him Atheist, and destroyed his writings. The story in the text is from the third book of Cicero de Natura Deorum.

Contents, p. 3

No. 484

Monday, September 15, 1712


Neque cuiquam tam statim clarum ingenium est, ut possit emergere; nisi illi materia, occasio, fautor etiam, commendatorque contingat.

Plin. Epist.translation


Of all the young Fellows who are in their Progress thro' any Profession, none seem to have so good a Title to the Protection of the Men of Eminence in it as the modest Man; not so much because his Modesty is a certain Indication of his Merit, as because 'tis a certain Obstacle to the producing of it. Now, as of all Professions this Virtue is thought to be more particularly unnecessary in that of the Law than in any other, I shall only apply my self to the Relief of such who follow this Profession with this Disadvantage. What aggravates the matter is, that those Persons who, the better to prepare themselves for this Study, have made some Progress in others, have, by addicting themselves to Letters, encreased their natural Modesty, and consequently heighten'd the Obstruction to this sort of Preferment; so that every one of these may emphatically be said to be such a one as laboureth and taketh pains, and is still the more behind. It may be a Matter worth discussing then, Why that which made a Youth so amiable to the Ancients, should make him appear so ridiculous to the Moderns? and, Why in our days there should be Neglect, and even Oppression of young Beginners, instead of that Protection which was the Pride of theirs? In the Profession spoken of, 'tis obvious to every one whose Attendance is required at Westminster-Hall, with what Difficulty a Youth of any Modesty has been permitted to make an Observation, that could in no wise detract from the Merit of his Elders, and is absolutely necessary for the advancing his own. I have often seen one of these not only molested in his Utterance of something very pertinent, but even plunder'd of his Question, and by a strong Serjeant shoulder'd out of his Rank, which he has recover'd with much Difficulty and Confusion. Now as great part of the Business of this Profession might be dispatched by one that perhaps
—Abest virtute diserti
Messalæ, nec scit quantum Causellius Aulus—

so I can't conceive the Injustice done to the Publick, if the Men of Reputation in this Calling would introduce such of the young ones into Business, whose Application to this Study will let them into the Secrets of it, as much as their Modesty will hinder them from the Practice: I say, it would be laying an everlasting Obligation upon a young Man, to be introduc'd at first only as a Mute, till by this Countenance, and a Resolution to support the good Opinion conceiv'd of him in his Betters, his Complexion shall be so well settled, that the Litigious of this Island may be secure of his obstreperous Aid. If I might be indulged to speak in the Style of a Lawyer, I would say, That any one about thirty years of Age, might make a common Motion to the Court with as much Elegance and Propriety as the most aged Advocates in the Hall.

I can't advance the Merit of Modesty by any Argument of my own so powerfully, as by enquiring into the Sentiments the greatest among the Ancients of different Ages entertain'd upon this Virtue. If we go back to the Days of Solomon, we shall find Favour a necessary Consequence to a shame-fac'd Man. Pliny, the greatest Lawyer and most Elegant Writer of the Age he lived in, in several of his Epistles is very sollicitous in recommending to the Publick some young Men of his own Profession, and very often undertakes to become an Advocate, upon condition that some one of these his Favourites might be joined with him, in order to produce the Merit of such, whose Modesty otherwise would have suppressed it. It may seem very marvellous to a saucy Modern, that Multum sanguinis, multum verecundiæ, multum sollicitudinis in ore; to have the Face first full of Blood, then the Countenance dashed with Modesty, and then the whole Aspect as of one dying with Fear, when a Man begins to speak; should be esteem'd by Pliny the necessary Qualifications of a fine Speaker1. Shakespear has also express'd himself in the same favourable Strain of Modesty, when he says,
—In the Modesty of fearful Duty
I read as much as from the rattling Tongue
Of saucy and audacious Eloquence—
Now since these Authors have profess'd themselves for the Modest Man, even in the utmost Confusions of Speech and Countenance, why should an intrepid Utterance and a resolute Vociferation thunder so successfully in our Courts of Justice? And why should that Confidence of Speech and Behaviour, which seems to acknowledge no Superior, and to defy all Contradiction, prevail over that Deference and Resignation with which the Modest Man implores that favourable Opinion which the other seems to command?

As the Case at present stands, the best Consolation that I can administer to those who cannot get into that Stroke of Business (as the Phrase is) which they deserve, is to reckon every particular Acquisition of Knowledge in this Study as a real Increase of their Fortune; and fully to believe, that one day this imaginary Gain will certainly be made out by one more substantial. I wish you would talk to us a little on this Head, you would oblige,

Sir ,

Your most humble Servant.

The Author of this Letter is certainly a Man of good Sense; but I am perhaps particular in my Opinion on this Occasion; for I have observed, that under the Notion of Modesty, Men have indulged themselves in a Spiritless Sheepishness, and been for ever lost to themselves, their Families, their Friends, and their Country. When a Man has taken care to pretend to nothing but what he may justly aim at, and can execute as well as any other, without Injustice to any other; it is ever want of Breeding or Courage to be brow-beaten or elbow'd out of his honest Ambition. I have said often, Modesty must be an Act of the Will, and yet it always implies Self-Denial: For if a Man has an ardent DeSir e to do what is laudable for him to perform, and, from an unmanly Bashfulness, shrinks away, and lets his Merit languish in Silence, he ought not to be angry at the World that a more unskilful Actor succeeds in his Part, because he has not Confidence to come upon the Stage himself. The Generosity my Correspondent mentions of Pliny, cannot be enough applauded. To cherish the Dawn of Merit, and hasten its Maturity, was a Work worthy a noble Roman and a liberal Scholar. That Concern which is described in the Letter, is to all the World the greatest Charm imaginable: but then the modest Man must proceed, and shew a latent Resolution in himself; for the Admiration of his Modesty arises from the Manifestation of his Merit. I must confess we live in an Age wherein a few empty Blusterers carry away the Praise of Speaking, while a Crowd of Fellows over-stock'd with Knowledge are run down by them. I say Over-stock'd, because they certainly are so as to their Service of Mankind, if from their very Store they raise to themselves Ideas of Respect, and Greatness of the Occasion, and I know not what, to disable themselves from explaining their Thoughts. I must confess, when I have seen Charles Frankair rise up with a commanding Mien, and Torrent of handsome Words, talk a Mile off the Purpose, and drive down twenty bashful Boobies of ten times his Sense, who at the same time were envying his Impudence and despising his Understanding, it has been matter of great Mirth to me; but it soon ended in a secret Lamentation, that the Fountains of every thing praiseworthy in these Realms, the Universities, should be so muddied with a false Sense of this Virtue, as to produce Men capable of being so abused. I will be bold to say, that it is a ridiculous Education which does not qualify a Man to make his best Appearance before the greatest Man and the finest Woman to whom he can address himself. Were this judiciously corrected in the Nurseries of Learning, pert Coxcombs would know their Distance: But we must bear with this false Modesty in our young Nobility and Gentry, till they cease at Oxford and Cambridge to grow dumb in the Study of Eloquence.


Footnote 1:   The citation is from a charming letter in which Pliny (Bk. v. letter 17) tells Spurinna the pleasure he had just received from a recitation by a noble youth in the house of Calpurnius Piso, and how, when it was over, he gave the youth many kisses and praises, congratulated his mother and his brother, in whom, as the reciter tried his powers, first fear for him and then delight in him was manifest. To the sentences quoted above the next is
'Etenim, nescio quo pacto, magis in studiis homines timor quam fiducia decet.'

'I don't know how it is, but in brain-work mistrust better becomes men than self-confidence.'
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   Midsummer Night's Dream, Act v. sc. 1.

Contents, p. 3

No. 485

Tuesday, September 16, 1712


Nihil tam firmum est, cui periculum non sit, etiam ab Invalido.

Quint. Curt.translation


'My Lord Clarendon has observed, That few Men have done more harm than those who have been thought to be able to do least; and there cannot be a greater Error, than to believe a Man whom we see qualified with too mean Parts to do good, to be therefore incapable of doing hurt. There is a Supply of Malice, of Pride, of Industry, and even of Folly, in the Weakest, when he sets his heart upon it, that makes a strange progress in Mischief1. What may seem to the Reader the greatest Paradox in the Reflection of the Historian, is, I suppose, that Folly, which is generally thought incapable of contriving or executing any Design, should be so formidable to those whom it exerts it self to molest. But this will appear very plain, if we remember that Solomon says, It is as Sport to a Fool to do mischief; and that he might the more emphatically express the calamitous Circumstances of him who falls under the displeasure of this wanton Person, the same Author adds further, That a Stone is heavy, and the Sand weighty, but a Fool's Wrath is heavier than them both. It is impossible to suppress my own Illustration upon this Matter, which is, That as the Man of Sagacity bestirs himself to distress his Enemy by Methods probable and reducible to Reason, so the same Reason will fortify his Enemy to elude these his regular Efforts; but your Fool projects, acts, and concludes with such notable Inconsistence, that no regular Course of Thought can evade or counterplot his prodigious Machinations. My Frontispiece, I believe, may be extended to imply, That several of our Misfortunes arise from Things, as well as Persons, that seem of very little consequence. Into what tragical Extravagancies does Shakespear hurry Othello upon the loss of an Handkerchief only? and what Barbarities does Desdemona suffer from a slight Inadvertency in regard to this fatal Trifle? If the Schemes of all enterprizing Spirits were to be carefully examined, some intervening Accident, not considerable enough to occasion any Debate upon, or give 'em any apprehension of ill Consequence from it, will be found to be the occasion of their ill Success, rather than any Error in Points of Moment and Difficulty, which naturally engag'd their maturest Deliberations. If you go to the Levée of any great Man, you will observe him exceeding gracious to several very insignificant Fellows; and this upon this Maxim, That the Neglect of any Person must arise from the mean Opinion you have of his Capacity to do you any Service or Prejudice; and that this calling his Sufficiency in question, must give him Inclination, and where this is, there never wants Strength or Opportunity to annoy you. There is no body so weak of Invention, that can't aggravate or make some little Stories to vilify his Enemy; and there are very few but have good Inclinations to hear 'em, and 'tis infinite Pleasure to the Majority of Mankind to level a Person superior to his Neighbours. Besides, in all matter of Controversy, that Party which has the greatest Abilities labours under this Prejudice, that he will certainly be supposed, upon Account of his Abilities, to have done an Injury, when perhaps he has received one. It would be tedious to enumerate the Strokes that Nations and particular Friends have suffer'd from Persons very contemptible.

I Think Henry IV. of France, so formidable to his Neighbours, could no more be secur'd against the resolute Villany of Ravillac, than Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, could be against that of Felton. And there is no incens'd Person so destitute, but can provide himself with a Knife or a Pistol, if he finds stomach to apply them. That Things and Persons of no moment should give such powerful Revolutions to the progress of those of the greatest, seems a providential Disposition to baffle and abate the Pride of human Sufficiency; as also to engage the Humanity and Benevolence of Superiors to all below 'em, by letting them into this Secret, that the Stronger depends upon the Weaker.

I am, Sir ,
Your very humble Servant.

Temple, Paper-Buildings.

Dear Sir ,

'I received a Letter from you some time ago, which I should have answered sooner, had you informed me in yours to what part of this Island I might have directed my Impertinence; but having been let into the Knowledge of that Matter, this handsome Excuse is no longer serviceable. My Neighbour Prettyman shall be the Subject of this Letter; who falling in with the Spectator's Doctrine concerning the Month of May, began from that Season to dedicate himself to the Service of the Fair in the following Manner. I observed at the Beginning of the Month he bought him a new Night-gown, either side to be worn outwards, both equally gorgeous and attractive; but till the End of the Month I did not enter so fully into the knowledge of his Contrivance, as the Use of that Garment has since suggested to me. Now you must know that all new Clothes raise and warm the Bearer's Imagination into a Conceit of his being a much finer Gentleman than he was before, banishing all Sobriety and Reflection, and giving him up to Gallantry and Amour. Inflam'd therefore with this way of thinking, and full of the Spirit of the Month of May, did this merciless Youth resolve upon the Business of Captivating. At first he confin'd himself to his Room only, now and then appearing at his Window in his Night-gown, and practising that easy Posture which expresses the very Top and Dignity of Languishment. It was pleasant to see him diversify his Loveliness, sometimes obliging the Passengers only with a Side-Face, with a Book in his Hand; sometimes being so generous as to expose the whole in the fulness of its Beauty; at the other times, by a judicious throwing back of his Perriwig, he would throw in his Ears. You know he is that Sort of Person which the Mob call a handsome jolly Man; which Appearance can't miss of Captives in this part of the Town. Being emboldened by daily Success, he leaves his Room with a Resolution to extend his Conquests; and I have apprehended him in his Night-gown smiting in all Parts of this Neighbourhood.

This I, being of an amorous Complection, saw with Indignation, and had Thoughts of purchasing a Wig in these Parts; into which, being at a greater Distance from the Earth, I might have thrown a very liberal Mixture of white Horse-hair, which would make a fairer, and consequently a handsomer Appearance, while my Situation would secure me against any Discoveries. But the Passion to the handsome Gentleman seems to be so fixed to that part of the Building, that it will be extremely difficult to divert it to mine; so that I am resolved to stand boldly to the Complection of my own Eye-brow, and prepare me an immense Black Wig of the same sort of Structure with that of my Rival. Now, tho' by this I shall not, perhaps, lessen the number of the Admirers of his Complection, I shall have a fair Chance to divide the Passengers by the irresistible Force of mine.

I expect sudden Dispatches from you, with Advice of the Family you are in now, how to deport my self upon this so delicate a Conjuncture; with some comfortable Resolutions in favour of the handsome black Man against the handsome fair one.

I am, Sir ,

Your most humble Servant


N. B. He who writ this, is a black Man two Pair of Stairs; the Gentleman of whom he writes, is fair, and one Pair of Stairs.


'I only say, that it is impossible for me to say how much I am


Robin Shorter.

P. S. 'I shall think it a little hard, if you do not take as much notice of this Epistle, as you have of the ingenious Mr. Short's. I am not afraid to let the World see which is the Deeper Man of the two.

Footnote 1:   When this was quoted Clarendon had been dead only 38 years, and his History of the Rebellion, first published in Queen Anne's reign, was almost a new Book. It was published at Oxford in three folio volumes, which appeared in the successive years 1702, 3,4, and in this year, 1712, there had appeared a new edition of it (the sixth).
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 3


London, September 15.

Whereas a young Woman on horseback,
in an Equestrian Habit on the 13th Instant in the Evening,
met the Spectator within a Mile and an half of this Town,
and flying in the Face of Justice,
pull'd off her Hat, in which there was a Feather,
with the Mein and Air of a young Officer,
saying at the same time,
Your Servant Mr. SPEC. or Words to that Purpose;
This is to give Notice,
that if any Person can discover the Name,
and Place of Abode of the said Offender,
so as she can be brought to Justice,
the Informant shall have all fitting Encouragement.

No. 486

Wednesday, September 17, 1712


—Audire est operæ pretium procedere recte
Qui mechis non vultis—



'There are very many of my Acquaintance Followers of Socrates, with more particular regard to that part of his Philosophy which we, among, our selves, call his Domesticks; under which Denomination, or Title, we include all the Conjugal Joys and Sufferings. We have indeed, with very great Pleasure, observed the Honour you do the whole Fraternity of the Hen-peck'd, in placing that illustrious Man at our Head, and it does in a very great measure baffle the Raillery of pert Rogues, who have no advantage above us, but in that they are single. But when you look about into the Crowd of Mankind, you will find the Fair Sex reigns with greater Tyranny over Lovers than Husbands. You shall hardly meet one in a thousand who is wholly exempt from their Dominion, and those that are so, are capable of no Taste of Life, and breathe and walk about the Earth as Insignificants. But I am going to deSir e your further Favour in behalf of our harmless Brotherhood, and hope you will shew in a true light the un-married Hen-peck'd, as well as you have done Justice to us, who submit to the Conduct of our Wives. I am very particularly acquainted with one who is under entire Submission to a kind Girl, as he calls her; and tho' he knows I have been Witness both to the ill Usage he has received from her, and his Inability to resist her Tyranny, he still pretends to make a Jest of me for a little more than ordinary Obsequiousness to my Spouse. No longer than Tuesday last he took me with him to visit his Mistress; and he having, it seems, been a little in Disgrace before, thought by bringing me with him she would constrain herself, and insensibly fall into general Discourse with him; and so he might break the Ice, and save himself all the ordinary Compunctions and Mortifications she used to make him suffer before she would be reconciled after any Act of Rebellion on his Part. When we came into the Room, we were received with the utmost Coldness; and when he presented me as Mr. Such-a-one, his very good Friend, she just had Patience to suffer my Salutation; but when he himself, with a very gay Air, offered to follow me, she gave him a thundering Box on the Ear, called him pitiful poor-spirited Wretch, how durst he see her Face? His Wig and Hat fell on different Parts of the Floor. She seized the Wig too soon for him to recover it, and kicking it down Stairs, threw herself into an opposite Room, pulling the Door after her with a Force, that you would have thought the Hinges would have given Way. We went down, you must think, with no very good Countenances; and as we sneaked off, and were driving home together, he confessed to me, that her Anger was thus highly raised, because he did not think fit to fight a Gentleman who had said she was what she was; but, says he, a kind Letter or two, or fifty pieces, will put her in Humour again. I asked him why he did not part with her; he answered, he loved her with all the Tenderness imaginable, and she had too many Charms to be abandoned for a little Quickness of Spirit. Thus does this illegitimate Hen-pecked over-look the Hussy's having no Regard to his very Life and Fame, in putting him upon an infamous Dispute about her Reputation; yet has he the Confidence to laugh at me, because I obey my poor Dear in keeping out of Harm's Way, and not staying too late from my own Family, to pass through the Hazards of a Town full of Ranters and Debauchees. You that are a Philosopher should urge in our behalf, that when we bear with a froward Woman, our Patience is preserved, in consideration that a breach with her might be a Dishonour to Children who are descended from us, and whose Concern makes us tolerate a thousand Frailties, for fear they should redound Dishonour upon the Innocent. This and the like Circumstances, which carry with them the most valuable Regards of human Life, may be mentioned for our long Suffering; but in the case of Gallants, they swallow ill Usage from one to whom they have no Obligation, but from a base Passion, which it is mean to indulge, and which it would be glorious to overcome.

'These Sort of Fellows are very numerous, and some have been conspicuously such, without Shame; nay they have carried on the Jest in the very Article of Death, and, to the Diminution of the Wealth and Happiness of their Families, in bar of those honourably near to them, have left immense Wealth to their Paramours. What is this but being a Cully in the Grave! Sure this is being Hen-peck'd with a Vengeance! But without dwelling upon these less frequent Instances of eminent Cullyism, what is there so common as to hear a Fellow curse his Fate that he cannot get rid of a Passion to a Jilt, and quote an Half-Line out of a Miscellany Poem to prove his Weakness is natural? If they will go on thus, I have nothing to say to it: But then let them not pretend to be free all this while, and laugh at us poor married Patients.

'I have known one Wench in this Town carry an haughty Dominion over her Lovers so well, that she has at the same time been kept by a Sea-Captain in the Straits, a Merchant in the City, a Country Gentleman in Hampshire, and had all her Correspondences managed by one she kept for her own Uses. This happy Man (as the Phrase is) used to write very punctually every Post, Letters for the Mistress to transcribe. He would sit in his Night-Gown and Slippers, and be as grave giving an Account, only changing Names, that there was nothing in those idle Reports they had heard of such a Scoundrel as one of the other Lovers was; and how could he think she could condescend so low, after such a fine Gentleman as each of them? For the same Epistle said the same thing to and of every one of them. And so Mr. Secretary and his Lady went to Bed with great Order.

'To be short, Mr. SPECTATOR, we Husbands shall never make the Figure we ought in the Imaginations of young Men growing up in the World, except you can bring it about that a Man of the Town shall be as infamous a Character as a Woman of the Town. But of all that I have met in my time, commend me to Betty Duall: She is the Wife of a Sailor, and the kept Mistress of a Man of Quality; she dwells with the latter during the Sea-faring of the former. The Husband asks no Questions, sees his Apartments furnished with Riches not his, when he comes into Port, and the Lover is as joyful as a Man arrived at his Haven when the other puts to Sea. Betty is the most eminently victorious of any of her Sex, and ought to stand recorded the only Woman of the Age in which she lives, who has possessed at the same time two Abused, and two Contented...

Contents, p. 3

No. 487

Thursday, September 18, 1712


—Cum prostrata sopore
Urget membra quies, et mem sine pondere ludit—


Tho' there are many Authors, who have written on Dreams, they have generally considered them only as Revelations of what has already happened in distant parts of the World, or as Presages of what is to happen in future Periods of time.

I shall consider this Subject in another Light, as Dreams may give us some Idea of the great Excellency of an Human Soul, and some Intimation of its Independency on Matter. In the first Place, our Dreams are great Instances of that Activity which is natural to the human Soul, and which it is not in the power of Sleep to deaden or abate. When the Man appears tired and worn out with the Labours of the Day, this active part in his Composition is still busied and unwearied. When the Organs of Sense want their due Repose and necessary Reparations, and the Body is no longer able to keep pace with that spiritual Substance to which it is united, the Soul exerts her self in her several Faculties, and continues in Action till her Partner is again qualified to bear her Company. In this case Dreams look like the Relaxations and Amusements of the Soul, when she is disincumbred of her Machine, her Sports and Recreations, when she has laid her Charge asleep.

In the Second Place, Dreams are an Instance of that Agility and Perfection which is natural to the Faculties of the Mind, when they are disengaged from the Body. The Soul is clogged and retarded in her Operations, when she acts in Conjunction with a Companion that is so heavy and unwieldy in its Motions. But in Dreams it is wonderful to observe with what a Sprightliness and Alacrity she exerts her self. The slow of Speech make unpremeditated Harangues, or converse readily in Languages that they are but little acquainted with. The Grave abound in Pleasantries, the Dull in Repartees and Points of Wit. There is not a more painful Action of the Mind, than Invention; yet in Dreams it works with that Ease and Activity, that we are not sensible when the Faculty is employed. For instance, I believe every one, some time or other, dreams that he is reading Papers, Books, or Letters; in which case the Invention prompts so readily, that the Mind is imposed upon, and mistakes its own Suggestions for the Compositions of another.

I shall, under this Head, quote a Passage out of the Religio Medici1, in which the ingenious Author gives an account of himself in his dreaming and his waking Thoughts.
We are somewhat more than our selves in our Sleeps, and the Slumber of the Body seems to be but the Waking of the Soul. It is the Litigation of Sense, but the Liberty of Reason; and our waking Conceptions do not match the Fancies of our Sleeps. At my Nativity my Ascendant was the watery Sign of Scorpius: I was born in the Planetary Hour of Saturn, and I think I have a piece of that leaden Planet in me. I am no way facetious, nor disposed for the Mirth and Galliardize of Company; yet in one Dream I can compose a whole Comedy, behold the Action, apprehend the Jests, and laugh my self awake at the Conceits thereof. Were my Memory as faithful as my Reason is then fruitful, I would never study but in my Dreams; and this time also would I chuse for my Devotions: but our grosser Memories have then so little hold of our abstracted Understandings, that they forget the Story, and can only relate to our awaked Souls a confused and broken Tale of that that has passed—Thus it is observed that Men sometimes, upon the Hour of their Departure, do speak and reason above themselves; for then the Soul beginning to be freed from the Ligaments of the Body, begins to reason like her self, and to discourse in a strain above Mortality.
We may likewise observe in the third Place, that the Passions affect the Mind with greater Strength when we are asleep, than when we are awake. Joy and Sorrow give us more vigorous Sensations of Pain or Pleasure at this time, than at any other. Devotion likewise, as the excellent Author above-mentioned has hinted, is in a very particular manner heightned and inflamed, when it rises in the Soul at a time that the Body is thus laid at Rest. Every Man's Experience will inform him in this matter, though it is very probable, that this may happen differently, in different Constitutions. I shall conclude this Head with the two following Problems, which I shall leave to the Solution of my Reader. Supposing a Man always happy in his Dreams, and miserable in his waking Thoughts, and that his Life was equally divided between them, whether would he be more happy or miserable? Were a Man a King in his Dreams, and a Beggar awake, and dreamt as consequentially, and in as continued unbroken Schemes as he thinks when awake, whether he would be in reality a King or Beggar, or rather whether he would not be both?

There is another Circumstance, which methinks gives us a very high Idea of the Nature of the Soul, in regard to what passes in Dreams, I mean that innumerable Multitude and Variety of Ideas which then arise in her. Were that active watchful Being only conscious of her own Existence at such a time, what a painful Solitude would her Hours of Sleep be? Were the Soul sensible of her being alone in her sleeping Moments, after the same manner that she is sensible of it while awake, the time would hang very heavy on her, as it often actually does when she Dreams that she is in such a Solitude?
—Semperque relinqui
Sola sili, semper longam incomitata videtur
Ire viam—

But this Observation I only make by the way. What I would here remark, is that wonderful Power in the Soul, of producing her own Company on these Occasions. She converses with numberless Beings of her own Creation, and is transported into ten thousand Scenes of her own raising. She is herself the Theatre, the Actors, and the Beholder. This puts me in mind of a Saying which I am infinitely pleased with, and which Plutarch ascribes to Heraclitus, That all Men whilst they are awake are in one common World; but that each of them, when he is asleep, is in a World of his own.2 The waking Man is conversant in the World of Nature, when he sleeps he retires to a private World that is particular to himself. There seems something in this Consideration that intimates to us a natural Grandeur and Perfection in the Soul, which is rather to be admired than explained.

I must not omit that Argument for the Excellency of the Soul, which I have seen quoted out of Tertullian3, namely, its Power of divining in Dreams. That several such Divinations have been made, none can question, who believes the Holy Writings, or who has but the least degree of a common Historical Faith; there being innumerable Instances of this nature in several Authors, both Antient and Modern, Sacred and Profane. Whether such dark Presages, such Visions of the Night proceed from any latent Power in the Soul, during this her state of Abstraction, or from any Communication with the Supreme Being, or from any operation of Subordinate Spirits, has been a great Dispute among the Learned; the matter of Fact is, I think, incontestable, and has been looked upon as such by the greatest Writers, who have been never suspected either of Superstition or Enthusiasm.

I do not suppose, that the Soul in these Instances is entirely loose and unfettered from the Body: It is sufficient, if she is not so far sunk, and immersed in Matter, nor intangled and perplexed in her Operations, with such Motions of Blood and Spirits, as when she actuates the Machine in its waking Hours. The Corporeal Union is slackned enough to give the Mind more Play. The Soul seems gathered within herself, and recovers that Spring which is broke and weakned, when she operates more in concert with the Body.

The Speculations I have here made, if they are not Arguments, they are at least strong Intimations, not only of the Excellency of an Human Soul, but of its Independence on the Body; and if they do not prove, do at least confirm these two great Points, which are established by many other Reasons that are altogether unanswerable.


Footnote 1:  Part ii. § 11.
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Footnote 2:   The reference is in the little book On Superstition, where Plutarch quotes Heraclitus to add this comment of his own:
But to the superstitious man there is no common world, for neither does he use right reason when awake, nor is he freed, when sleeping, from his perturbations.

Footnote 3:   Tertullian, in his book On the Soul, has seven chapters (43-49) on Sleep and Dreams, with abundant recognition of divine communications to the soul in sleep, and quotations of several authors, sacred and profane.

Contents, p. 3

No. 488

Friday, September 19, 1712


Quanti emptæ? parvi. Quanti ergo? octo assibus. Eheu!


I find, by several Letters which I receive daily, that many of my Readers would be better pleased to pay Three Half-Pence for my Paper, than Two-Pence. The ingenious T. W. tells me, that I have deprived him of the best Part of his Breakfast, for that since the rise of my Paper, he is forced every Morning to drink his Dish of Coffee by it self, without the Addition of the Spectator, that used to be better than Lace to it. Eugenius informs me very obligingly, that he never thought he should have disliked any Passage in my Paper, but that of late there have been two Words in every one of them, which he could heartily wish left out, viz. Price Two-Pence. I have a Letter from a Soap-boiler, who condoles with me very affectionately, upon the necessity we both lie under of setting an higher Price on our Commodities, since the late Tax has been laid upon them, and deSir ing me, when I write next on that Subject, to speak a Word or two upon the present Duties on Castile-Soap. But there is none of these my Correspondents, who writes with a greater Turn of good Sense and Elegance of Expression, than the generous Philomedes, who advises me to value every Spectator at Six Pence, and promises that he himself will engage for above a Hundred of his Acquaintance, who shall take it in at that Price.

Letters from the Female World are likewise come to me, in great quantities, upon the same Occasion; and as I naturally bear a great Deference to this Part of our Species, I am very glad to find that those who approve my Conduct in this Particular, are much more numerous than those who condemn it. A large Family of Daughters have drawn me up a very handsome Remonstrance, in which they set forth, that their Father having refused to take in theSpectator, since the additional Price was set upon it, they offered him unanimously to bate him the Article of Bread and Butter in the Tea-Table Account, provided the Spectator might be served up to them every Morning as usual. Upon this the old Gentleman, being pleased, it seems, with their DeSir e of improving themselves, has granted them the continuance both of the Spectator and their Bread and Butter; having given particular Orders, that the Tea-Table shall be set forth every Morning with its Customary Bill of Fare, and without any manner of Defalcation. I thought my self obliged to mention this Particular, as it does Honour to this worthy Gentleman; and if the young Lady Lætitia, who sent me this Account, will acquaint me with his Name, I will insert it at length in one of my Papers, if he deSir es it.

I should be very glad to find out any Expedient that might alleviate the Expence which this my Paper brings to any of my Readers; and, in order to it, must propose two Points to their Consideration. First, that if they retrench any the smallest Particular in their ordinary Expence, it will easily make up the Half Penny a Day, which we have now under Consideration. Let a Lady sacrifice but a single Ribband to her Morning Studies, and it will be sufficient: Let a Family burn but a Candle a Night less than the usual Number, and they may take in the Spectator without Detriment to their private Affairs.

In the next Place, if my Readers will not go to the Price of buying my Papers by Retail, let them have Patience, and they may buy them in the Lump, without the Burthen of a Tax upon them. My Speculations, when they are sold single, like Cherries upon the Stick, are Delights for the Rich and Wealthy; after some time they come to Market in greater Quantities, and are every ordinary Man's Money. The Truth of it is, they have a certain Flavour at their first Appearance, from several accidental Circumstances of Time, Place and Person, which they may lose if they are not taken early; but in this case every Reader is to consider, whether it is not better for him to be half a Year behind-hand with the fashionable and polite part of the World, than to strain himself beyond his Circumstances. My Bookseller has now about Ten Thousand of the Third and Fourth Volumes, which he is ready to publish, having already disposed of as large an Edition both of the First and Second Volume. As he is a Person whose Head is very well turned to his Business, he thinks they would be a very proper Present to be made to Persons at Christenings, Marriages, Visiting-Days, and the like joyful Solemnities, as several other Books are frequently given at Funerals. He has printed them in such a little portable Volume, that many of them may be ranged together upon a single Plate; and is of Opinion, that a Salver of Spectators would be as acceptable an Entertainment to the Ladies, as a Salver of Sweetmeats.

I shall conclude this Paper with an Epigram lately sent to the Writer of the Spectator, after having returned my Thanks to the ingenious Author of it.
Sir ,

'Having heard the following Epigram very much commended, I wonder that it has not yet had a place in any of your Papers: I think the Suffrage of our Poet Laureat should not be overlooked, which shews the Opinion he entertains of your Paper, whether the Notion he proceeds upon be true or false. I make bold to convey it to you, not knowing if it has yet come to your Hands.
Sir ,

'Having heard the following Epigram very much commended, I wonder that it has not yet had a place in any of your Papers: I think the Suffrage of our Poet Laureat should not be overlooked, which shews the Opinion he entertains of your Paper, whether the Notion he proceeds upon be true or false. I make bold to convey it to you, not knowing if it has yet come to your Hands.

By Mr. Tate1.
--Aliusque et idem


'When first the Tatler to a Mute was turn'd,
Great Britain for her Censor's Silence mourn'd.
Robb'd of his sprightly Beams, she wept the Night,
'Till the
Spectator rose, and blaz'd as bright.
So the first Man the Sun's first Setting view'd,
And sigh'd, till circling Day his Joys renew'd;
Yet doubtful how that second Sun to name,
Whether a bright Successor, or the same.
So we: but now from this Suspense are freed,
Since all agree, who both with Judgment read,
'Tis the same Sun, and does himself succeed.'

Footnote 1:   Nahum Tate, born and educated at Dublin, and befriended in his youth by Dryden and Dorset, was at this time 60 years old, and poet-laureate, having in 1692 succeeded in that office Thomas Shadwell, the Whig substitute for Dryden. Besides his version of the Psalms produced in concert with his friend Dr. Nicholas Brady, Tate produced his own notion of an improvement upon Shakespeare's King Lear and nine dramatic pieces, with other poetry, of which the above lines are a specimen. Tate was in his younger days the writer of the second part of Dryden's Absalom and Achithophel, to which Dryden himself contributed only the characters of Julian Johnson as Ben Jochanan, of Shadwell as Og, and of Settle as Doeg. His salary as poet-laureate was £100 a year, and a butt of canary. He died three years after the date of this Spectator a poor man who had made his home in the Mint to escape his creditors.
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Contents, p. 3

No. 489

Saturday, September 20, 1712


Greek: Bathyrrheítao méga sthénos '‘keaneio—Hom.translation

Sir ,

Upon reading your Essay concerning the Pleasures of the Imagination, I find, among the three Sources of those Pleasures which you have discovered, that Greatness is one. This has suggested to me the reason why, of all Objects that I have ever seen, there is none which affects my Imagination so much as the Sea or Ocean. I cannot see the Heavings of this prodigious Bulk of Waters, even in a Calm, without a very pleasing Astonishment; but when it is worked up in a Tempest, so that the Horizon on every side is nothing but foaming Billows and floating Mountains, it is impossible to describe the agreeable Horrour that rises from such a Prospect. A troubled Ocean, to a Man who sails upon it, is, I think, the biggest Object that he can see in motion, and consequently gives his Imagination one of the highest kinds of Pleasure that can arise from Greatness. I must confess, it is impossible for me to survey this World of fluid Matter, without thinking on the Hand that first poured it out, and made a proper Channel for its Reception. Such an Object naturally raises in my Thoughts the Idea of an Almighty Being, and convinces me of his Existence as much as a metaphysical Demonstration. The Imagination prompts the Understanding, and by the Greatness of the sensible Object, produces in it the Idea of a Being who is neither circumscribed by Time nor Space.

As I have made several Voyages upon the Sea, I have often been tossed in Storms, and on that occasion have frequently reflected on the Descriptions of them in ancient Poets. I remember Longinus highly recommends one in Homer, because the Poet has not amused himself with little Fancies upon the occasion, as Authors of an inferiour Genius, whom he mentions, had done, but because he has gathered together those Circumstances which are the most apt to terrify the Imagination, and which really happen in the raging of a Tempest1. It is for the same reason, that I prefer the following Description of a Ship in a Storm, which the Psalmist has made, before any other I have ever met with.
They that go down to the Sea in Ships, that do Business in great Waters: These see the Works of the Lord, and his Wonders in the Deep. For he commandeth and raiseth the stormy Wind, which lifteth up the Waters thereof. They mount up to the Heaven, they go down again to the Depths, their Soul is melted because of Trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken Man, and are at their Wits End. Then they cry unto the Lord in their Trouble, and he bringeth them out of their Distresses. He maketh the Storm a Calm, so that the Waves thereof are still. Then they are glad because they be quiet, so he bringeth them unto their deSir ed Haven.2
By the way, how much more comfortable, as well as rational, is this System of the Psalmist, than the Pagan Scheme in Virgil, and other Poets, where one Deity is represented as raising a Storm, and another as laying it? Were we only to consider the Sublime in this Piece of Poetry, what can be nobler than the Idea it gives us of the Supreme Being thus raising the Tumult among the Elements, and recovering them out of their Confusion; thus troubling and becalming Nature?

Great Painters do not only give us Landskips of Gardens, Groves, and Meadows, but very often employ their Pencils upon Sea-Pieces: I could wish you would follow their Example. If this small Sketch may deserve a Place among your Works, I shall accompany it with a divine Ode, made by a Gentleman3 upon the Conclusion of his Travels.

I r1c2
I How are thy Servants blest, O Lord!
How sure is their Defence!
Eternal Wisdom is their Guide,
Their Help Omnipotence.
II In foreign Realms, and Lands remote,
Supported by thy Care,
Thro' burning Climes I pass'd unhurt,
And breath'd in tainted Air.
III Thy Mercy sweeten'd ev'ry Soil,
Made ev'ry Region please;
The hoary Alpine Hills it warm'd,
And smooth'd the Tyrrhene Seas:
IV Think, O my Soul, devoutly think,
How with affrighted Eyes
Thou saw'st the wide extended Deep
In all its Horrors rise!
V Confusion dwelt in ev'ry Face,
And Fear in ev'ry Heart;
When Waves on Waves, and Gulphs in Gulphs,
O'ercame the Pilot's Art.
VI Yet then from all my Griefs, O Lord,
Thy Mercy set me free,
Whilst in the Confidence of Pray'r
My Soul took hold on thee;
VII For tho' in dreadful Whirles we hung
High on the broken Wave,
I knew thou wert not slow to Hear,
Nor impotent to Save.
VIII The Storm was laid, the Winds retir'd,
Obedient to thy Will;
The Sea that roar'd at thy Command,
At thy Command was still.
IX In midst of Dangers, Fears and Death,
Thy Goodness I'll adore,
And praise Thee for Thy Mercies past;
And humbly hope for more.
X My Life, if thou preserv'st my Life,
Thy Sacrifice shall be;
And Death, if Death must be my Doom,
Shall join my Soul to thee.

Footnote 1:   On the Sublime, § 10, where he compares a description of the terrors of the sea in a lost poem on the Arimaspians, by Aristaeus the Procomnesian, with the passage in the 15th Book of the Iliad, which Pope thus translates:
He bursts upon them all:
Bursts as a wave that from the cloud impends,
And swell'd with tempests on the ship descends;
White are the decks with foam; the winds aloud
Howl o'er the masts, and sing through every shroud:
Pale, trembling, tir'd, the sailors freeze with fears,
And instant death on every wave appears.
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Footnote 2:  Psalm cvii. 23-30.

Footnote 3:   Addison.

Footnote 4:   Appended to this number is the following Advertisement.
The Author of the Spectator having received the Pastoral Hymn in his 441st Paper, set to Musick by one of the most Eminent Composers of our own Country and by a Foreigner, who has not put his name to his ingenious Letter, thinks himself obliged to return his thanks to those Gentlemen for the Honour they have done him.

Contents, p. 3

No. 490

Monday, September 22, 1712


Domus et placens Uxor.


I have very long entertain'd an Ambition to make the Word Wife the most agreeable and delightful Name in Nature. If it be not so in it self, all the wiser Part of Mankind from the Beginning of the World to this Day has consented in an Error: But our Unhappiness in England has been, that a few loose Men of Genius for Pleasure, have turn'd it all to the Gratification of ungovern'd DeSir es, in spite of good Sense, Form and Order; when, in truth, any Satisfaction beyond the Boundaries of Reason, is but a Step towards Madness and Folly. But is the Sense of Joy and Accomplishment of DeSir e no way to be indulged or attain'd? and have we Appetites given us not to be at all gratify'd? Yes certainly. Marriage is an Institution calculated for a constant Scene of as much Delight as our Being is capable of. Two Persons who have chosen each other out of all the Species, with design to be each other's mutual Comfort and Entertainment, have in that Action bound themselves to be good-humour'd, affable, discreet, forgiving, patient and joyful, with respect to each other's Frailties and Perfections, to the End of their Lives. The wiser of the two (and it always happens one of them is such) will for her or his own sake, keep things from Outrage with the utmost Sanctity. When this Union is thus preserved (as I have often said) the most indifferent Circumstance administers Delight. Their Condition is an endless Source of new Gratifications. The married Man can say, If I am unacceptable to all the World beside, there is one whom I entirely love, that will receive me with Joy and Transport, and think herself obliged to double her Kindness and Caresses of me from the Gloom with which she sees me overcast. I need not dissemble the Sorrow of my Heart to be agreeable there, that very Sorrow quickens her Affection.

This Passion towards each other, when once well fixed, enters into the very Constitution, and the Kindness flows as easily and silently as the Blood in the Veins. When this Affection is enjoy'd in the most sublime Degree, unskilful Eyes see nothing of it; but when it is subject to be chang'd, and has an Allay in it that may make it end in Distaste, it is apt to break into Rage, or overflow into Fondness, before the rest of the World.

Uxander and Viramira are amorous and young, and have been married these two Years; yet do they so much distinguish each other in Company, that in your Conversation with the Dear Things you are still put to a Sort of Cross-Purposes. Whenever you address your self in ordinary Discourse to Viramira, she turns her Head another way, and the Answer is made to the dear Uxander: If you tell a merry Tale, the Application is still directed to her Dear; and when she should commend you, she says to him, as if he had spoke it, That is, my Dear, so pretty—This puts me in mind of what I have somewhere read in the admired Memoirs of the famous Cervantes, where, while honest Sancho Pana is putting some necessary humble Question concerning Rozinante, his Supper, or his Lodgings, the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance is ever improving the harmless lowly Hints of his Squire to the poetical Conceit, Rapture and Flight, in Contemplation of the dear Dulcinea of his Affections.

On the other side, Dictamnus and Moria are ever squabbling, and you may observe them all the time they are in Company in a State of Impatience. As Uxander and Viramira wish you all gone, that they may be at freedom for Dalliance; Dictamnus and Moria wait your Absence, that they may speak their harsh Interpretations on each other's Words and Actions during the time you were with them.

It is certain that the greater Part of the Evils attending this Condition of Life, arises from Fashion. Prejudice in this Case is turn'd the wrong way, and instead of expecting more Happiness than we shall meet with in it, we are laugh'd into a Prepossession, that we shall be disappointed if we hope for lasting Satisfactions.

With all Persons who have made good Sense the Rule of Action, Marriage is describ'd as the State capable of the highest human Felicity. Tully has Epistles full of affectionate Pleasure, when he writes to his Wife, or speaks of his Children. But above all the Hints of this kind I have met with in Writers of ancient date, I am pleas'd with an Epigram of Martial1 in honour of the Beauty of his Wife Cleopatra. Commentators say it was written the day after his Wedding-Night. When his Spouse was retir'd to the Bathing-room in the Heat of the Day, he, it seems, came in upon her when she was just going into the Water. To her Beauty and Carriage on this occasion we owe the following Epigram, which I shew'd my Friend Will. Honeycomb in French, who has translated it as follows, without understanding the Original. I expect it will please the English better than the Latin Reader.
When my bright Consort, now nor Wife nor Maid,
Asham'd and wanton, of Embrace afraid,
Fled to the Streams, the Streams my Fair betray'd;
To my fond Eyes she all transparent stood,
She blush'd, I smil'd at the slight covering Flood.
Thus thro' the Glass the Lovely Lilly glows,
Thus thro' the ambient Gem shines forth the Rose.
I saw new Charms, and plung'd to seize my Store,
Kisses I snatch'd, the Waves prevented more.
My Friend would not allow that this luscious Account could be given of a Wife, and therefore used the Word Consort; which, he learnedly said, would serve for a Mistress as well, and give a more Gentlemanly Turn to the Epigram. But, under favour of him and all other such fine Gentlemen, I cannot be persuaded but that the Passion a Bridegroom has for a virtuous young Woman, will, by little and little, grow into Friendship, and then it is ascended to a2 higher Pleasure than it was in its first Fervour. Without this happens, he is a very unfortunate Man who has enter'd into this State, and left the Habitudes of Life he might have enjoy'd with a faithful Friend. But when the Wife proves capable of filling serious as well as joyous Hours, she brings Happiness unknown to Friendship itself. Spencer speaks of each kind of Love with great Justice, and attributes the highest Praise to Friendship; and indeed there is no disputing that Point, but by making that Friendship take Place3 between two married Persons.
Hard is the Doubt, and difficult to deem,
When all three kinds of Love together meet,
And to dispart the Heart with Power extreme,
Whether shall weigh the Ballance down; to wit,
The dear Affection unto Kindred sweet,
Or raging Fire of Love to Womenkind,
Or Zeal of Friends combin'd by Virtues meet.
But, of them all, the Band of virtuous Mind
Methinks the gentle Heart should most assured bind.

For natural Affection soon doth cease,
And quenched is with
Cupid's greater Flame;
But faithful Friendship doth them both suppress,
And them with mastering Discipline does tame,
Through Thoughts aspiring to eternal Fame.
For as the Soul doth rule the Earthly Mass,
And all the Service of the Body frame;
So Love of Soul doth Love of Body pass,
No less than perfect Gold surmounts the meanest Brass.

Footnote 1:  Lib. iv. ep. 22.
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Footnote 2:   an

Footnote 3:   its Place

Contents, p. 3

No. 491

Tuesday, September 23, 1712


Digna satis fortuna revisit.


It is common with me to run from Book to Book to exercise my Mind with many Objects, and qualify my self for my daily Labours. After an Hour spent in this loitering Way of Reading, something will remain to be Food to the Imagination. The Writings that please me most on such Occasions are Stories, for the Truth of which there is good Authority. The Mind of Man is naturally a Lover of Justice, and when we read a Story wherein a Criminal is overtaken, in whom there is no Quality which is the Object of Pity, the Soul enjoys a certain Revenge for the Offence done to its Nature, in the wicked Actions committed in the preceding Part of the History. This will be better understood by the Reader from the following Narration1 it self, than from any thing which I can say to introduce it.

When Charles Duke of Burgundy, surnamed The Bold, reigned over spacious Dominions now swallowed up by the Power of France, he heaped many Favours and Honours upon Claudius Rhynsault, a German, who had serv'd him in his Wars against the Insults of his Neighbours. A great part of Zealand was at that time in Subjection to that Dukedom. The Prince himself was a Person of singular Humanity and Justice. Rhynsault, with no other real Quality than Courage, had Dissimulation enough to pass upon his generous and unsuspicious Master for a Person of blunt Honesty and Fidelity, without any Vice that could bias him from the Execution of Justice. His Highness prepossessed to his Advantage, upon the Decease of the Governour of his chief Town of Zealand, gave Rhynsault that Command. He was not long seated in that Government, before he cast his Eyes upon Sapphira, a Woman of Exquisite Beauty, the Wife of Paul Danvelt, a wealthy Merchant of the City under his Protection and Government. Rhynsault was a Man of a warm Constitution, and violent Inclination to Women, and not unskilled in the soft Arts which win their Favour. He knew what it was to enjoy the Satisfactions which are reaped from the Possession of Beauty, but was an utter Stranger to the Decencies, Honours and Delicacies that attend the Passion towards them in elegant Minds. However he had so much of the World, that he had a great share of the Language which usually prevails upon the weaker Part of that Sex, and he could with his Tongue utter a Passion with which his Heart was wholly untouch'd. He was one of those brutal Minds which can be gratified with the Violation of Innocence and Beauty, without the least Pity, Passion or Love to that with which they are so much delighted. Ingratitude is a Vice inseparable to a lustful Man; and the Possession of a Woman by him who has no thought but allaying a Passion painful to himself, is necessarily followed by Distaste and Aversion. Rhynsault being resolv'd to accomplish his Will on the Wife of Danvelt, left no Arts untried to get into a Familiarity at her House; but she knew his Character and Disposition too well, not to shun all Occasions that might ensnare her into his Conversation. The Governor despairing of Success by ordinary Means, apprehended and Imprisoned her Husband, under pretence of an Information that he was guilty of a Correspondence with the Enemies of the Duke, to betray the Town into their Possession. This Design had its deSir ed Effect; and the Wife of the unfortunate Danvelt, the day before that which was appointed for his Execution, presented herself in the Hall of the Governor's House, and as he pass'd thro' the Apartment, threw her self at his Feet, and holding his Knees, beseeched his Mercy. Rhynsault beheld her with a dissembled Satisfaction, and assuming an Air of Thought and Authority, he bid her arise, and told her she must follow him to his Closet; and asking her whether she knew the Hand of the Letter he pulled out of his Pocket, went from her, leaving this Admonition aloud, If you will save your Husband, you must give me an account of all you know without Prevarication; for every body is satisfied he was too fond of you to be able to hide from you the Names of the rest of the Conspirators, or any other Particulars whatsoever. He went to his Closet, and soon after the Lady was sent to for an Audience. The Servant knew his distance when Matters of State were to be debated; and the Governor, laying aside the Air with which he had appear'd in publick, began to be the Supplicant, to rally an Affliction, which it was in her Power easily to remove, and relieve an innocent Man from his Imprisonment. She easily perceiv'd his Intention, and, bathed in Tears, began to deprecate so wicked a Design. Lust, like Ambition, takes all the Faculties of the Mind and Body into its Service and Subjection. Her becoming Tears, her honest Anguish, the wringing of her Hands, and the many Changes of her Posture and Figure in the Vehemence of speaking, were but so many Attitudes in which he beheld her Beauty, and further Incentives of his DeSir e. All Humanity was lost in that one Appetite, and he signified to her in so many plain Terms, that he was unhappy till he had possess'd her, and nothing less shou'd be the Price of her Husband's Life; and she must, before the following Noon, pronounce the Death or Enlargement of Danvelt. After this Notification, when he saw Sapphira enough again distracted to make the Subject of their Discourse to common Eyes appear different from what it was, he called Servants to conduct her to the Gate. Loaded with insupportable Affliction, she immediately repairs to her Husband, and having signified to his Gaolers, that she had a Proposal to make to her Husband from the Governor, she was left alone with him, reveal'd to him all that had pass'd, and represented the endless Conflict she was in between Love to his Person, and Fidelity to his Bed. It is easie to imagine the sharp Affliction this honest Pair was in upon such an Incident, in Lives not us'd to any but ordinary Occurrences. The Man was bridled by Shame from speaking what his Fear prompted, upon so near an approach of Death; but let fall Words that signify'd to her, he should not think her polluted, though she had not yet confess'd to him that the Governor had violated her Person, since he knew her Will had no part in the Action. She parted from him with this oblique Permission to save a Life he had not Resolution enough to resign for the safety of his Honour.

The next Morning the unhappy Sapphira attended the Governor, and being led into a remote Apartment, submitted to his DeSir es. Rhynsault commended her Charms, claim'd a Familiarity after what had pass'd between them, and with an Air of Gaiety in the Language of a Gallant, bid her return, and take her Husband out of Prison: But, continu'd he, my Fair one must not be offended that I have taken care he should not be an Interruption to our future Assignations. These last Words foreboded what she found when she came to the Gaol, her Husband executed by the Order of Rhynsault.

It was remarkable that the Woman, who was full of Tears and Lamentations during the whole Course of her Affliction, uttered neither Sigh nor Complaint, but stood fix'd with Grief at this Consummation of her Misfortunes. She betook herself to her abode, and after having in Solitude paid her Devotions to him who is the Avenger of Innocence, she repair'd privately to Court. Her Person and a certain Grandeur of Sorrow negligent of Forms gain'd her Passage into the Presence of the Duke her Sovereign. As soon as she came into the Presence, she broke forth into the following words, Behold, O mighty Charles, a Wretch weary of Life, though it has always been spent with Innocence and Virtue. It is not in your power to redress my Injuries, but it is to avenge them. And if the Protection of the Distress'd, and the Punishment of Oppressors, is a Task worthy a Prince, I bring the Duke of Burgundy ample matter for doing Honour to his own great Name, and wiping Infamy off of mine.

When she had spoke this, she deliver'd the Duke a Paper reciting her Story. He read it with all the Emotions that Indignation and Pity could raise in a Prince jealous of his Honour in the Behaviour of his Officers, and Prosperity of his Subjects.

Upon an appointed Day, Rhynsault was sent for to Court, and in the Presence of a few of the Council, confronted by Sapphira: the Prince asking, Do you know that Lady? Rhynsault, as soon as he could recover his Surprize, told the Duke he would marry her, if his Highness would please to think that a Reparation. The Duke seem'd contented with this Answer, and stood by during the immediate Solemnization of the Ceremony. At the Conclusion of it he told Rhynsault, Thus far have you done as constrain'd by my Authority: I shall not be satisfied of your kind Usage of her, without you sign a Gift of your whole Estate to her after your Decease. To the Performance of this also the Duke was a Witness. When these two Acts were executed, the Duke turn'd to the Lady, and told her, it now remains for me to put you in quiet Possession of what your Husband has so bountifully bestow'd on you; and order'd the immediate Execution of Rhynsault.


Footnote 1:   Founded upon note N to the Memoir of Charles of Burgundy in Bayle's Dictionary, where the authorities cited are Pontus Heuterus and others. It is not in Comines.
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Contents, p. 3

No. 492

Wednesday, September 24, 1712


Quicquid est boni moris Levitate extinguiter.


Tunbridge, Sept. 18.

Dear Mr.

'I am a young Woman of Eighteen Years of Age, and, I do assure you, a Maid of unspotted Reputation, founded upon a very careful Carriage in all my Looks, Words and Actions. At the same time I must own to you, that it is with much constraint to Flesh and Blood that my Behaviour is so strictly irreproachable; for I am naturally addicted to Mirth, to Gaiety, to a Free Air, to Motion and Gadding. Now what gives me a great deal of Anxiety, and is some Discouragement in the Pursuit of Virtue, is, that the young Women who run into greater Freedoms with the Men are more taken Notice of than I am. The Men are such unthinking Sots, that they do not prefer her who restrains all her Passions and Affections and keeps much within the Bounds of what is lawful, to her who goes to the utmost Verge of Innocence, and parlies at the very Brink of Vice, whether she shall be a Wife or a Mistress. But I must appeal to your Spectatorial Wisdom, who, I find, have passed very much of your Time in the Study of Woman, whether this is not a most unreasonable Proceeding. I have read somewhere, that Hobbes of Malmesbury asserts, that continent Persons have more of what they contain, than those who give a loose to their DeSir es. According to this Rule, let there be equal Age, equal Wit, and equal Good-Humour, in the Woman of Prudence, and her of Liberty; what Stores has he to expect, who takes the former? What Refuse must he be contented with, who chuses the latter? Well, but I sate down to write to you to vent my Indignation against several pert Creatures who are address'd to and courted in this Place, while poor I, and two or three like me, are wholly unregarded.

Every one of these affect gaining the Hearts of your Sex: This is generally attempted by a particular manner of carrying themselves with Familiarity. Glycera has a dancing Walk, and keeps Time in her ordinary Gate. Chloe, her Sister, who is unwilling to interrupt her Conquests, comes into the Room before her with a familiar Run. Dulcissa takes Advantage of the Approach of the Winter, and has introduc'd a very pretty Shiver; closing up her Shoulders, and shrinking as she moves. All that are in this Mode carry their Fans between both Hands before them. Dulcissa herself, who is Author of this Air, adds the pretty Run to it; and has also, when she is in very good Humour, a taking Familiarity in throwing herself into the lowest Seat in the Room, and letting her hoop'd Petticoats fall with a lucky Decency about her. I know she practices this way of sitting down in her Chamber; and indeed she does it as well as you may have seen an Actress fall down dead in a Tragedy. Not the least Indecency in her Posture. If you have observ'd what pretty Carcasses are carry'd off at the end of a Verse at the Theatre, it will give you a Notion how Dulcissa plumps into a Chair. Here's a little Country Girl that's very cunning, that makes her use of being young and unbred, and outdoes the Insnarers, who are almost twice her Age. The Air that she takes is to come into Company after a Walk, and is very successfully out of Breath upon occasion. Her Mother is in the Secret, and calls her Romp, and then looks round to see what young Men stare at her.

It would take up more than can come into one of your Papers, to enumerate all the particular Airs of the younger Company in this Place. But I cannot omit Dulceorella, whose manner is the most indolent imaginable, but still as watchful of Conquest as the busiest Virgin among us. She has a peculiar Art of staring at a young Fellow, till she sees she has got him, and inflam'd him by so much Observation. When she sees she has him, and he begins to toss his Head upon it, she is immediately short-sighted, and labours to observe what he is at a distance with her Eyes half shut. Thus the Captive, that thought her first struck, is to make very near Approaches, or be wholly disregarded. This Artifice has done more Execution than all the ogling of the rest of the Women here, with the utmost Variety of half Glances, attentive Heedlessnesses, childish Inadvertencies, haughty Contempts, or artificial Oversights. After I have said thus much of Ladies among us who fight thus regularly, I am to complain to you of a Set of Familiar Romps, who have broken thro' all common Rules, and have thought of a very effectual way of shewing more Charms than all of us. These, Mr. SPECTATOR, are the Swingers. You are to know these careless pretty Creatures are very Innocents again; and it is to be no matter what they do, for 'tis all harmless Freedom. They get on Ropes, as you must have seen the Children, and are swung by their Men Visitants. The Jest is, that Mr. such a one can name the Colour of Mrs. Such-a-one's Stockings; and she tells him, he is a lying Thief, so he is, and full of Roguery; and she'll lay a Wager, and her Sister shall tell the Truth if he says right, and he can't tell what Colour her Garters are of. In this Diversion there are very many pretty Shrieks, not so much for fear of falling, as that their Petticoats shou'd untye: For there is a great care had to avoid Improprieties; and the Lover who swings the Lady, is to tye her Clothes very close with his Hatband, before she admits him to throw up her Heels.

'Now, Mr. SPECTATOR, except you can note these Wantonnesses in their Beginnings, and bring us sober Girls into Observation, there is no help for it, we must swim with the Tide; the Coquets are too powerful a Party for us. To look into the Merit of a regular and well-behav'd Woman, is a slow thing. A loose trivial Song gains the Affections, when a wise Homily is not attended to. There is no other way but to make war upon them, or we must go over to them. As for my Part, I will shew all the World it is not for want of Charms that I stand so long unasked; and if you do not take measures for the immediate Redress of us Rigids, as the Fellows call us, I can move with a speaking Mien, can look significantly, can lisp, can trip, can loll, can start, can blush, can rage, can weep, if I must do it, and can be frighted as agreeably as any She in England. All which is humbly submitted to your Spectatorial Consideration with all Humility, by

Your most humble Servant,

Matilda Mohair.

Contents, p. 3

No. 493

Thursday, September 25, 1712


Qualem commendes etiam atque etiam adspice, ne mox
Incutiant aliena tibi peccata pudorem.


It is no unpleasant matter of Speculation to consider the recommendatory Epistles that pass round this Town from Hand to Hand, and the abuse People put upon one another in that kind. It is indeed come to that pass, that instead of being the Testimony of Merit in the Person recommended, the true reading of a Letter of this sort is,
The Bearer hereof is so uneasie to me, that it will be an Act of Charity in you to take him off my Hands; whether you prefer him or not, it is all one, for I have no manner of Kindness for him, or Obligation to him or his; and do what you please as to that.
As negligent as Men are in this respect, a point of Honour is concerned in it; and there is nothing a Man should be more ashamed of, than passing a worthless Creature into the Service or Interests of a Man who has never injured you. The Women indeed are a little too keen in their Resentments, to trespass often this Way: But you shall sometimes know that the Mistress and the Maid shall quarrel, and give each other very free Language, and at last the Lady shall be pacified to turn her out of Doors, and give her a very good Word to any body else. Hence it is that you see, in a Year and Half's time, the same Face a Domestick in all parts of the Town. Good-breeding and Good-nature lead People in a great Measure to this Injustice: When Suitors of no Consideration will have Confidence enough to press upon their Superiors, those in Power are tender of speaking the Exceptions they have against them, and are mortgaged into Promises out of their Impatience of Importunity. In this latter Case, it would be a very useful Enquiry to know the History of Recommendations: There are, you must know, certain Abettors of this way of Torment, who make it a Profession to manage the Affairs of Candidates: These Gentlemen let out their Impudence to their Clients, and supply any Defective Recommendation, by informing how such and such a Man is to be attacked. They will tell you, get the least Scrap from Mr. Such-a-one, and leave the rest to them. When one of these Undertakers have your Business in hand, you may be sick, absent in Town or Country, and the Patron shall be worried, or you prevail. I remember to have been shewn a Gentleman some Years ago, who punish'd a whole People for their Facility in giving their Credentials. This Person had belonged to a Regiment which did Duty in the West-Indies, and by the Mortality of the Place happened to be commanding Officer in the Colony. He oppressed his Subjects with great frankness, till he became sensible that he was heartily hated by every Man under his Command. When he had carried his Point, to be thus detestable, in a pretended Fit of Dishumour, and feigned Uneasiness of living where he found he was so universally unacceptable, he communicated to the chief Inhabitants a Design he had to return for England, provided they would give him ample Testimonials of their Approbation. The Planters came into it to a Man; and in proportion to his deserving the quite contrary, the Words Justice, Generosity, and Courage, were inserted in his Commission, not omitting the general Good-liking of People of all Conditions in the Colony. The Gentleman returns for England, and within few Months after came back to them their Governour on the Strength of their own Testimonials.

Such a Rebuke as this cannot indeed happen to easy Recommenders, in the ordinary course of things from one hand to another; but how would a Man bear to have it said to him, the Person I took into Confidence on the Credit you gave him, has proved false, unjust, and has not answered any way the Character you gave me of him?

I cannot but conceive very good hopes of that Rake Jack Toper of the Temple, for an honest Scrupulousness in this Point. A Friend of his meeting with a Servant that had formerly lived with Jack, and having a mind to take him, sent to him to know what Faults the Fellow had, since he could not please such a careless Fellow as he was. His Answer was as follows:
Sir ,

'Thomas that lived with me was turned away because he was too good for me. You know I live in Taverns; he is an orderly sober Rascal, and thinks much to sleep in an Entry till two in a Morning. He told me one day when he was dressing me, that he wondered I was not dead before now, since I went to Dinner in the Evening, and went to Supper at two in the Morning. We were coming down Essex-street one Night a little flustrated, and I was giving him the Word to alarm the Watch; he had the Impudence to tell me it was against the Law. You that are married, and live one Day after another the same Way, and so on the whole Week, I dare say will like him, and he will be glad to have his Meat in due Season. The Fellow is certainly very Honest. My Service to your Lady.

Yours, J. T.
Now this was very fair Dealing. Jack knew very well, that though the Love of Order made a Man very awkward in his Equipage, it was a valuable Quality among the Queer People who live by Rule; and had too much good Sense and good Nature to let the Fellow starve, because he was not fit to attend his Vivacities.

I shall end this Discourse with a Letter of Recommendation from Horace to Claudius Nero. You will see in that Letter a Slowness to ask a Favour, a strong Reason for being unable to deny his good Word any longer, and that it is a Service to the Person to whom he recommends, to comply with what is asked: All which are necessary Circumstances, both in Justice and Good-breeding, if a Man would ask so as to have reason to complain of a Denial; and indeed a Man should not in strictness ask otherwise. In hopes the Authority of Horace, who perfectly understood how to live with great Men, may have a good Effect towards amending this Facility in People of Condition, and the Confidence of those who apply to them without Merit, I have translated the Epistle1.
To Claudius Nero.

Sir ,

'Septimus, who waits upon you with this, is very well acquainted with the place you are pleased to allow me in your Friendship. For when he beseeches me to recommend him to your Notice, in such a manner as to be received by you, who are delicate in the choice of your Friends and Domesticks, he knows our Intimacy, and understands my Ability to serve him better than I do myself. I have defended my self against his Ambition to be yours, as long as I possibly could; but fearing the Imputation of hiding my Power in you out of mean and selfish Considerations, I am at last prevailed upon to give you this Trouble. Thus, to avoid the Appearance of a greater Fault, I have put on this Confidence. If you can forgive this Transgression of Modesty in behalf of a Friend, receive this Gentleman into your Interests and Friendship, and take it from me that he is an honest and brave Man.

Footnote 1:  This is a translation from Horace of the verse of No. 9 in Book I. of his Epistles; showing how it would read in the customary prose form of a letter of introduction.
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Contents, p. 3

No. 494

Friday, September 26, 1712


Ægritudinem laudare, unam rem maximè detestabilem, quorum est tandem Philosophorum?


About an Age ago it was the fashion in England, for every one that would be thought religious, to throw as much Sanctity as possible into his Face, and in particular to abstain from all Appearances of Mirth and Pleasantry, which were looked upon as the Marks of a Carnal Mind. The Saint was of a sorrowful Countenance, and generally eaten up with Spleen and Melancholy. A Gentleman, who was lately a great Ornament to the Learned World1, has diverted me more than once with an Account of the Reception which he met with from a very famous Independent Minister, who was Head of a College in those times2. This Gentleman was then a young Adventurer in the Republick of Letters, and just fitted out for the University with a good Cargo of Latin and Greek. His Friends were resolved that he should try his Fortune at an Election which was drawing near in the College, of which the Independent Minister whom I have before mentioned was Governor. The Youth, according to Custom, waited on him in order to be examined. He was received at the Door by a Servant, who was one of that gloomy Generation that were then in fashion. He conducted him, with great Silence and Seriousness, to a long Gallery which was darkned at Noon-day, and had only a single Candle burning in it. After a short stay in this melancholy Apartment, he was led into a Chamber hung with Black, where he entertained himself for some time by the glimmering of a Taper, till at length the Head of the College came out to him, from an inner Room, with half a Dozen Night Caps upon his Head, and a religious Horror in his Countenance. The young Man trembled; but his Fears encreased when, instead of being ask'd what Progress he had made in Learning, he was examined how he abounded in Grace. His Latin and Greek stood him in little stead; he was to give an account only of the state of his Soul, whether he was of the Number of the Elect; what was the Occasion of his Conversion; upon what Day of the Month, and Hour of the Day it happened; how it was carried on, and when compleated. The whole Examination was summed up with one short Question, namely, Whether he was prepared for Death? The Boy, who had been bred up by honest Parents, was frighted out of his Wits at the Solemnity of the Proceeding, and by the last dreadful Interrogatory; so that upon making his Escape out of this House of Mourning, he could never be brought a second time to the Examination, as not being able to go through the Terrors of it.

Notwithstanding this general Form and Outside of Religion is pretty well worn out among us, there are many Persons, who, by a natural Unchearfulness of Heart, mistaken Notions of Piety, or Weakness of Understanding, love to indulge this uncomfortable way of Life, and give up themselves a Prey to Grief and Melancholy. Superstitious Fears and groundless Scruples cut them off from the Pleasures of Conversation, and all those social Entertainments, which are not only innocent, but laudable; as if Mirth was made for Reprobates, and Chearfulness of Heart denied those who are the only Persons that have a proper Title to it.

Sombrius is one of these Sons of Sorrow. He thinks himself obliged in Duty to be sad and disconsolate. He looks on a sudden fit of Laughter as a Breach of his Baptismal Vow. An innocent Jest startles him like Blasphemy. Tell him of one who is advanced to a Title of Honour, he lifts up his Hands and Eyes; describe a publick Ceremony, he shakes his Head; shew him a gay Equipage, he blesses himself. All the little Ornaments of Life are Pomps and Vanities. Mirth is wanton, and Wit profane. He is scandalized at Youth for being lively, and at Childhood for being playful. He sits at a Christening, or a Marriage Feast, as at a Funeral; sighs at the Conclusion of a merry Story, and grows devout when the rest of the Company grow pleasant. After all, Sombrius is a religious Man, and would have behaved himself very properly, had he lived when Christianity was under a general Persecution.

I would by no means presume to tax such Characters with Hypocrisy, as is done too frequently; that being a Vice which I think none but He, who knows the Secrets of Men's Hearts, should pretend to discover in another, where the Proofs of it do not amount to a Demonstration. On the contrary, as there are many excellent Persons, who are weighed down by this habitual Sorrow of Heart, they rather deserve our Compassion than our Reproaches. I think, however, they would do well to consider, whether such a Behaviour does not deter Men from a Religious Life, by representing it as an unsociable State, that extinguishes all Joy and Gladness, darkens the Face of Nature, and destroys the Relish of Being it self.

I have, in former Papers, shewn how great a Tendency there is to Chearfulness in Religion, and how such a Frame of Mind is not only the most lovely, but the most commendable in a virtuous Person. In short, those who represent Religion in so unamiable a Light, are like the Spies sent by Moses to make a Discovery of the Land of Promise, when by their Reports they discouraged the People from entering upon it. Those who shew us the Joy, the Chearfulness, the Good-humour, that naturally spring up in this happy State, are like the Spies bringing along with them the Clusters of Grapes, and delicious Fruits, that might invite their Companions into the pleasant Country which produced them.

An eminent Pagan Writer3 has made a Discourse, to shew that the Atheist, who denies a God, does him less Dishonour than the Man who owns his Being, but at the same time believes him to be cruel, hard to please, and terrible to Human Nature. For my own part, says he, I would rather it should be said of me, that there was never any such Man as Plutarch, than that Plutarch was ill-natured, capricious, or inhuman.

If we may believe our Logicians, Man is distinguished from all other Creatures by the Faculty of Laughter. He has an Heart capable of Mirth, and naturally disposed to it. It is not the Business of Virtue to extirpate the Affections of the Mind, but to regulate them. It may moderate and restrain, but was not designed to banish Gladness from the Heart of Man. Religion contracts the Circle of our Pleasures, but leaves it wide enough for her Votaries to expatiate in. The Contemplation of the Divine Being, and the Exercise of Virtue, are in their own Nature so far from excluding all Gladness of Heart, that they are perpetual Sources of it. In a word, the true Spirit of Religion cheers, as well as composes the Soul; it banishes indeed all Levity of Behaviour, all vicious and dissolute Mirth, but in exchange fills the Mind with a perpetual Serenity, uninterrupted Chearfulness, and an habitual Inclination to please others, as well as to be pleased in it self.


Footnote 1:  Supposed to be Anthony Henley, a gentleman of property, who corresponded with Swift, was a friend of Steele's, and contributed some unidentified papers to the Tatler. He died in August, 1711.
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Footnote 2:   Dr. Thomas Goodwin, who was born in 1600, and educated at Cambridge. He was one of those who, like Milton's tutor, Dr. Thomas Young, went to Holland to escape from persecution, and was pastor of the English church at Arnheim, till in the Civil Wars he came to London, and sat at Westminster as one of the Assembly of Divines. In 1649 Cromwell made him President of Magdalen College As Oliver Cromwell's chaplain, he prayed with and for him in his last illness. At the Restoration, Dr. Goodwin was deprived of his post at Oxford, and he then preached in London to an Assembly of Independents till his death, in 1679. His works were collected in five volumes folio.

Footnote 3:   Plutarch, in his short Treatise On Superstition.

Contents, p. 3

No. 495

Saturday, September 27, 1712


Duris ut ilex tonsa bipennibus
Nigræ feraci frondis in Algido,
Per damna, per cades, ab ipso
Ducit opes animumque ferro.


As I am one, who, by my Profession, am obliged to look into all kinds of Men, there are none whom I consider with so much Pleasure, as those who have any thing new or extraordinary in their Characters, or Ways of living. For this reason I have often amused my self with Speculations on the Race of People called Jews, many of whom I have met with in most of the considerable Towns which I have passed through in the Course of my Travels. They are, indeed, so disseminated through all the trading parts of the World, that they are become the Instruments by which the most distant Nations converse with one another, and by which Mankind are knit together in a general Correspondence: They are like the Pegs and Nails in a great Building, which, though they are but little valued in themselves, are absolutely necessary to keep the whole Frame together.

That I may not fall into any common beaten Tracks of Observation, I shall consider this People in three Views: First, with regard to their Number; Secondly, their Dispersion; and, Thirdly, their Adherence to their Religion: and afterwards endeavour to shew, First, what Natural Reasons, and, Secondly, what Providential Reasons may be assigned for these three remarkable Particulars.

The Jews are looked upon by many to be as numerous at present, as they were formerly in the Land of Canaan.

This is wonderful, considering the dreadful Slaughter made of them under some of the Roman Emperors, which Historians describe by the Death of many Hundred Thousands in a War; and the innumerable Massacres and Persecutions they have undergone in Turkey, as well as in all Christian Nations of the World. The Rabbins, to express the great Havock which has been sometimes made of them, tell us, after their usual manner of Hyperbole, that there were such Torrents of Holy Blood shed as carried Rocks of an hundred Yards in Circumference above three Miles into the Sea.

Their Dispersion is the second remarkable Particular in this People. They swarm over all the East; and are settled in the remotest Parts of China: They are spread through most of the Nations of Europe and Africk, and many Families of them are established in the West-Indies: not to mention whole Nations bordering on Prester-John's Country, and some discovered in the inner Parts of America, if we may give any Credit to their own Writers.

Their firm Adherence to their Religion, is no less remarkable than their Numbers and Dispersion, especially considering it as persecuted or contemned over the Face of the whole Earth. This is likewise the more remarkable, if we consider the frequent Apostacies of this People, when they lived under their Kings, in the Land of Promise, and within sight of their Temple.

If in the next place we examine, what may be the Natural Reasons for these three Particulars which we find in the Jews, and which are not to be found in any other Religion or People, I can, in the first place, attribute their Numbers to nothing but their constant Employment, their Abstinence, their Exemption from Wars, and above all, their frequent Marriages; for they look on Celibacy as an accursed State, and generally are married before Twenty, as hoping the Messiah may descend from them.

The Dispersion of the Jews into all the Nations of the Earth, is the second remarkable Particular of that People, though not so hard to be accounted for. They were always in Rebellions and Tumults while they had the Temple and Holy City in View, for which reason they have often been driven out of their old Habitations in the Land of Promise. They have as often been banished out of most other Places where they have settled, which must very much disperse and scatter a People, and oblige them to seek a Livelihood where they can find it. Besides, the whole People is now a Race of such Merchants as are Wanderers by Profession, and at the same time, are in most if not all Places incapable of either Lands or Offices, that might engage them to make any Part of the World their Home.

This Dispersion would probably have lost their Religion, had it not been secured by the Strength of its Constitution: For they are to live all in a Body, and generally within the same Enclosure; to marry among themselves, and to eat no Meats that are not killed or prepared their own way. This shuts them out from all Table Conversation, and the most agreeable Intercourses of Life; and, by consequence, excludes them from the most probable Means of Conversion.

If, in the last place, we consider what Providential Reason may be assigned for these three Particulars, we shall find that their Numbers, Dispersion, and Adherence to their Religion, have furnished every Age, and every Nation of the World, with the strongest Arguments for the Christian Faith, not only as these very Particulars are foretold of them, but as they themselves are the Depositaries of these and all the other Prophecies, which tend to their own Confusion. Their Number furnishes us with a sufficient Cloud of Witnesses that attest the Truth of the Old Bible. Their Dispersion spreads these Witnesses thro' all parts of the World. The Adherence to their Religion makes their Testimony unquestionable. Had the whole Body of the Jews been converted to Christianity, we should certainly have thought all the Prophecies of the old Testament, that relate to the Coming and History of our Blessed Saviour, forged by Christians, and have looked upon them, with the Prophecies of the Sybils, as made many Years after the Events they pretended to foretell.


Contents, p. 3

No. 496

Monday, September 29, 1712


Gnatum pariter uti his decuit aut etiam amplius,
Quod illa ætas magis ad hæc utenda idonea est.

Terent. Heaut. A. 1. Sc. 1.translation


'Those Ancients who were the most accurate in their Remarks on the Genius and Temper of Mankind, by considering the various Bent and Scope of our Actions throughout the Progress of Life, have with great Exactness allotted Inclinations and Objects of DeSir e particular to every Stage, according to the different Circumstances of our Conversation and Fortune, thro' the several Periods of it. Hence they were disposed easily to excuse those Excesses which might possibly arise from a too eager Pursuit of the Affections more immediately proper to each State: They indulged the Levity of Childhood with Tenderness, overlooked the Gayety of Youth with Good-nature, tempered the forward Ambition and Impatience of ripen'd Manhood with Discretion, and kindly imputed the tenacious Avarice of old Men to their want of relish for any other Enjoyment. Such Allowances as these were no less advantageous to common Society than obliging to particular Persons; for by maintaining a Decency and Regularity in the Course of Life, they supported the Dignity of human Nature, which then suffers the greatest Violence when the Order of things is inverted; and in nothing is it more remarkably vilify'd and ridiculous, than when Feebleness preposterously attempts to adorn it self with that outward Pomp and Lustre, which serve only to set off the Bloom of Youth with better advantage. I was insensibly carried into Reflections of this nature, by just now meeting Paulino (who is in his Climacterick) bedeck'd with the utmost Splendour of Dress and Equipage, and giving an unbounded Loose to all manner of Pleasure, whilst his only Son is debarr'd all innocent Diversion, and may be seen frequently solacing himself in the Mall with no other Attendance than one antiquated Servant of his Father's for a Companion and Director.

'It is a monstrous want of Reflection, that a Man cannot consider, that when he cannot resign the Pleasures of Life in his Decay of Appetite and Inclination to them, his Son must have a much uneasier Task to resist the Impetuosity of growing DeSir es. The Skill therefore should, methinks, be to let a Son want no lawful Diversion, in proportion to his future Fortune, and the Figure he is to make in the World. The first Step towards Virtue that I have observed in young Men of Condition that have run into Excesses, has been that they had a regard to their Quality and Reputation in the Management of their Vices. Narrowness in their Circumstances has made many Youths, to supply themselves as Debauchees, commence Cheats and Rascals. The Father who allows his Son to his utmost ability avoids this latter Evil, which as to the World is much greater than the former. But the contrary Practice has prevail'd so much among some Men, that I have known them deny them what was merely necessary for Education suitable to their Quality. Poor young Antonio is a lamentable Instance of ill Conduct in this kind. The young Man did not want natural Talents; but the Father of him was a Coxcomb, who affected being a fine Gentleman so unmercifully, that he could not endure in his sight, or the frequent mention of one, who was his Son, growing into Manhood, and thrusting him out of the gay World. I have often thought the Father took a secret Pleasure in reflecting that when that fine House and Seat came into the next hands, it would revive his Memory, as a Person who knew how to enjoy them, from Observation of the Rusticity and Ignorance of his Successor. Certain it is that a Man may, if he will, let his Heart close to the having no regard to any thing but his dear self, even with exclusion of his very Children. I recommend this Subject to your Consideration, and am,

Sir , Your most humble Servant,

T. B.

London, Sept. 26, 1712.


'I am just come from Tunbridge, and have since my return read Mrs. Matilda Mohair's Letter to you: She pretends to make a mighty Story about the Diversion of Swinging in that Place. What was done, was only among Relations; and no Man swung any Woman who was not second Cousin at farthest. She is pleased to say, care was taken that the Gallants tied the Ladies Legs before they were wafted into the Air. Since she is so spiteful, I'll tell you the plain Truth; there was no such Nicety observed, since we were all, as I just now told you, near Relations; but Mrs. Mohair her self has been swung there, and she invents all this Malice, because it was observed she has crooked Legs, of which I was an Eye-Witness.

Your humble Servant,

Rachel Shoestring.

Tunbridge, Sept. 26, 1712.


'We have just now read your Paper, containing Mrs. Mohair's Letter. It is an Invention of her own from one end to the other; and I deSir e you would print the enclosed Letter by it self, and shorten it so as to come within the Compass of your Half-Sheet. She is the most malicious Minx in the World, for all she looks so innocent. Don't leave out that Part about her being in love with her Father's Butler, which makes her shun Men; for that is the truest of it all.

Your humble Servant,

Sarah Trice.

P. S. 'She has crooked Legs.'

Tunbridge, Sept. 26, 1712. Mr. SPECTATOR,

'All that Mrs. Mohair is so vexed at against the good Company of this Place, is, that we all know she has crooked Legs. This is certainly true. I don't care for putting my Name, because one would not be in the Power of the Creature.

Your humble Servant unknown.

Tunbridge, Sept. 26, 1712.


'That insufferable Prude Mrs. Mohair, who has told such Stories of the Company here, is with Child, for all her nice Airs and her crooked Legs. Pray be sure to put her in for both those two Things, and you'll oblige every Body here, especially

Your humble Servant,

Alice Bluegarter.'

Contents, p. 3

No. 497

Thursday, September 30, 1712


Greek: Houtós esti galeôtaes gérôn.—Menander.translation

A favour well bestow'd, is almost as great an Honour to him who confers it, as to him who receives it. What indeed makes for the superior Reputation of the Patron in this case, is, that he is always surrounded with specious Pretences of unworthy Candidates, and is often alone in the kind Inclination he has towards the Well-deserving. Justice is the first Quality in the Man who is in a Post of Direction; and I remember to have heard an old Gentleman talk of the Civil Wars, and in his Relation give an Account of a General Officer, who with this one Quality, without any shining Endowments, became so peculiarly beloved and honoured, that all Decisions between Man and Man were laid before him by the Parties concerned in a private Way; and they would lay by their Animosities implicitly, if he bid them be Friends, or submit themselves in the Wrong without Reluctance, if he said it, without waiting the Judgment of Court-Martials. His Manner was to keep the Dates of all Commissions in his Closet, and wholly dismiss from the Service such who were deficient in their Duty; and after that, took Care to prefer according to the Order of Battel. His Familiars were his entire Friends, and could have no interested Views in courting his Acquaintance; for his Affection was no Step to their Preferment, tho' it was to their Reputation. By this means a kind Aspect, a Salutation, a Smile, and giving out his Hand, had the weight of what is esteem'd by vulgar Minds more substantial. His Business was very short, and he who had nothing to do but Justice, was never affronted with a Request of a familiar daily Visitant for what was due to a brave Man at a Distance. Extraordinary Merit he used to recommend to the King for some Distinction at home, till the Order of Battel made way for his rising in the Troops. Add to this, that he had an excellent Manner of getting rid of such whom he observed were good at an Halt, as his Phrase was. Under this Description he comprehended all those who were contented to live without Reproach, and had no Promptitude in their Minds towards Glory. These Fellows were also recommended to the King, and taken off of the General's hands into Posts wherein Diligence and common Honesty were all that were necessary. This General had no weak Part in his Line; but every Man had as much Care upon him, and as much Honour to lose as himself. Every Officer could answer for what pass'd where he was, and the General's Presence was never necessary any where, but where he had placed himself at the first Disposition, except that Accident happen'd from extraordinary Efforts of the Enemy which he could not foresee; but it was remarkable that it never fell out from Failure in his own Troops. It must be confess'd, the World is just so much out of order, as an unworthy Person possesses what should be in the Direction of him who has better Pretensions to it.

Instead of such a Conduct as this old Fellow us'd to describe in his General, all the Evils which have ever happen'd among Mankind have arose from the wanton Disposition of the Favours of the Powerful. It is generally all that Men of Modesty and Virtue can do, to fall in with some whimsical Turn in a Great Man, to make way for things of real and absolute Service. In the time of Don Sebastian of Portugal, or some time since, the first Minister would let nothing come near him but what bore the most profound Face of Wisdom and Gravity. They carry'd it so far, that, for the greater Shew of their profound Knowledge, a Pair of Spectacles tied on their Noses, with a black Ribband round their Heads, was what compleated the Dress of those who made their court at his Levee, and none with naked Noses were admitted to his Presence. A blunt honest Fellow, who had a Command in the Train of Artillery, had attempted to make an Impression upon the Porter day after day in vain, till at length he made his appearance in a very thoughtful dark sute of Clothes, and two Pair of Spectacles on at once. He was conducted from Room to Room with great deference, to the Minister; and carrying on the Farce of the Place, he told his Excellence, That he had pretended in this manner to be wiser than he really was, but with no ill Intention; but he was honest Such-a-one of the Train, and he came to tell him that they wanted Wheel-barrows and Pick-axes. The thing happened not to displease, the Great Man was seen to smile, and the successful Officer was reconducted with the same profound Ceremony out of the House.

When Leo X. reigned Pope of Rome, his Holiness, tho' a Man of Sense, and of an excellent Taste of Letters, of all things affected Fools, Buffoons, Humourists, and Coxcombs: Whether it were from Vanity, and that he enjoy'd no Talents in other Men but what were inferiour to him, or whatever it was, he carried it so far, that his whole Delight was in finding out new Fools, and, as our Phrase is, playing them off, and making them shew themselves to advantage. A Priest of his former Acquaintance suffered a great many Disappointments in attempting to find access to him in a regular Character, till at last in despair he retired from Rome, and returned in an Equipage so very fantastical, both as to the Dress of himself and Servants, that the whole Court were in an Emulation who should first introduce him to his Holiness1. What added to the Expectation his Holiness had of the Pleasure he should have in his Follies, was, that this Fellow, in a Dress the most exquisitely ridiculous, deSir ed he might speak to him alone, for he had Matters of the highest Importance, upon which he wanted a Conference. Nothing could be denied to a Coxcomb of so great hope; but when they were apart, the Impostor revealed himself, and spoke as follows:
Do not be surprized, most holy Father, at seeing, instead of a Coxcomb to laugh at, your old Friend who has taken this way of Access to admonish you of your own Folly. Can any thing shew your Holiness how unworthily you treat Mankind, more than my being put upon this Difficulty to speak with you? It is a degree of Folly to delight to see it in others, and it is the greatest Insolence imaginable to rejoice in the Disgrace of human Nature. It is a criminal Humility in a Person of your Holiness's Understanding, to believe you cannot excel but in the Conversation of Half-wits, Humorists, Coxcombs, and Buffoons. If your Holiness has a mind to be diverted like a rational Man, you have a great opportunity for it, in disrobing all the Impertinents you have favour'd, of all their Riches and Trappings at once, and bestowing them on the Humble, the Virtuous, and the Meek. If your Holiness is not concerned for the sake of Virtue and Religion, be pleased to reflect, that for the sake of your own Safety it is not proper to be so very much in jest. When the Pope is thus merry, the People will in time begin to think many things, which they have hitherto beheld with great Veneration, are in themselves Objects of Scorn and Derision. If they once get a Trick of knowing how to laugh, your Holiness's saying this Sentence in one Night-Cap and t'other with the other, the change of your Slippers, bringing you your Staff in the midst of a Prayer, then stripping you of one Vest and clapping on a second during divine Service, will be found out to have nothing in it. Consider, Sir , that at this rate a Head will be reckoned never the wiser for being Bald; and the ignorant will be apt to say, that going bare-foot does not at all help on in the way to Heaven. The red Cap and the Coul will fall under the same Contempt; and the Vulgar will tell us to our Faces that we shall have no Authority over them, but from the Force of our Arguments, and the Sanctity of our Lives.

Footnote 1:   Founded on Note F to Bayle's account of Leo X.
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Contents, p. 3

No. 498

Wednesday, October 1, 1712


—Frustra retinacula tendens
Fertur equis Auriga, neque audit currus habenas.

To the SPECTATOR-GENERAL of Great Britain.

From the farther end of the Widow's Coffee-house in Devereaux Court, Monday Evening, twenty eight Minutes and a Half past Six.

Dear Dumb,

'In short, to use no further Preface, if I should tell you that I have seen a Hackney-Coachman, when he has come to set down his Fare, which has consisted of two or three very fine Ladies, hand them out, and salute every one of them with an Air of Familiarity, without giving the least Offence, you would perhaps think me guilty of a Gasconade. But to clear my self from that Imputation, and to explain this Matter to you, I assure you that there are many Illustrious Youths within this City, who frequently recreate themselves by driving of a Hackney-Coach: But those whom, above all others, I would recommend to you, are the young Gentlemen belonging to our Inns of Court. We have, I think, about a dozen Coachmen, who have Chambers here in the Temple; and as it is reasonable to believe others will follow their Example, we may perhaps in time (if it shall be thought convenient) be drove to Westminster by our own Fraternity, allowing every fifth Person to apply his Meditations in this way, which is but a modest Computation, as the Humour is now likely to take. It is to be hop'd likewise, that there are in the other Nurseries of the Law to be found a proportionable number of these hopeful Plants, springing up to the everlasting Renown of their native Country. Of how long standing this Humour has been, I know not; the first time I had any particular Reason to take notice of it, was about this time twelvemonth, when being upon Hampstead-Heath with some of these studious young Men, who went thither purely for the Sake of Contemplation, nothing would serve them but I must go thro' a Course of this Philosophy too; and being ever willing to embelish my self with any commendable Qualification, it was not long e'er they persuaded me into the Coach-box; nor indeed much longer, before I underwent the Fate of my Brother Phaeton, for having drove about fifty Paces with pretty good Success, through my own natural Sagacity, together with the good Instructions of my Tutors, who, to give them their due, were on all Hands encouraging and assisting me in this laudable Undertaking; I say, Sir , having drove about fifty Paces with pretty good Success, I must needs be exercising the Lash, which the Horses resented so ill from my Hands, that they gave a sudden Start, and thereby pitched me directly upon my Head, as I very well remembered about Half an Hour afterwards, which not only deprived me of all the Knowledge I had gain'd for fifty Yards before, but had like to have broken my Neck into the Bargain. After such a severe Reprimand, you may imagine I was not very easily prevail'd with to make a second Attempt; and indeed, upon mature Deliberation, the whole Science seem'd, at least to me, to be surrounded with so many Difficulties, that notwithstanding the unknown Advantages which might have accrued to me thereby, I gave over all Hopes of attaining it; and I believe had never thought of it more, but that my Memory has been lately refreshed by seeing some of these ingenious Gentlemen ply in the open Streets, one of which I saw receive so suitable a Reward of his Labours, that tho' I know you are no Friend to Story-telling, yet I must beg leave to trouble you with this at large.

'About a fortnight since, as I was diverting my self with a pennyworth of Walnuts at the Temple-Gate, a lively young Fellow in a Fustian Jacket shot by me, beckon'd a Coach, and told the Coachman he wanted to go as far as Chelsey: They agreed upon the Price, and this young Gentleman mounts the Coach-box; the Fellow staring at him, deSir 'd to know if he should not drive till they were out of Town? No, no, replied he: He was then going to climb up to him, but received another Check, and was then ordered to get into the Coach, or behind it, for that he wanted no Instructors; but be sure you Dog you, says he, don't you bilk me. The Fellow thereupon surrender'd his Whip, scratch'd his Head, and crept into the Coach. Having my self occasion to go into the Strand about the same Time, we started both together; but the Street being very full of Coaches, and he not so able a Coachman as perhaps he imagined himself, I had soon got a little Way before him; often, however, having the curiosity to cast my Eye back upon him, to observe how he behaved himself in this high Station; which he did with great Composure till he came to the Pass, which is a Military Term the Brothers of the Whip have given the Strait at St. Clement's Church: when he was arrived near this Place, where are always Coaches in waiting, the Coachmen began to suck up the Muscles of their Cheeks, and to tip the Wink upon each other, as if they had some Roguery in their Heads, which I was immediately convinced of; for he no sooner came within Reach, but the first of them with his Whip took the exact Dimension of his Shoulders, which he very ingeniously call'd Endorsing; and indeed I must say, that every one of them took due Care to endorse him as he came thro' their Hands. He seem'd at first a little uneasy under the Operation, and was going in all haste to take the Numbers of their Coaches; but at length by the Mediation of the worthy Gentleman in the Coach, his Wrath was asswaged, and he prevail'd upon to pursue his Journey; tho' indeed I thought they had clapt such a Spoke in his Wheel, as had disabled him from being a Coachman for that Day at least: For I am only mistaken, Mr. Spec. if some of these Endorsements were not wrote in so strong a Hand, that they are still legible. Upon my enquiring the Reason of this unusual Salutation, they told me, that it was a Custom among them, whenever they saw a Brother tottering or unstable in his Post, to lend him a hand in order to settle him again therein: For my part I thought their Allegations but reasonable, and so march'd off. Besides our Coachmen, we abound in divers other Sorts of ingenious robust Youth, who, I hope, will not take it ill if I refer giving you an account of their several Recreations to another Opportunity. In the mean time, if you would but bestow a little of your wholesome Advice upon our Coachmen, it might perhaps be a Reprieve to some of their Necks. As I understand you have several Inspectors under you, if you would but send one amongst us here in the Temple, I am persuaded he would not want Employment. But I leave this to your own Consideration, and am,

'Sir , Your very humble Servant,

'Moses Greenbag.

'P. S. I have heard our Criticks in the Coffee-houses hereabout talk mightily of the Unity of Time and Place: According to my Notion of the Matter, I have endeavoured at something like it in the Beginning of my Epistle. I deSir e to be inform'd a little as to that Particular. In my next I design to give you some account of excellent Watermen, who are bred to the Law, and far outdo the Land-Students above-mentioned.'

Contents, p. 3

No. 499

Thursday, October 2, 1712


—Nimis uncis
Naribus indulges—


My Friend Will. Honeycomb has told me, for above this half Year, that he had a great mind to try his Hand at a Spectator, and that he would fain have one of his writing in my Works. This Morning I received from him the following Letter, which, after having rectified some little Orthographical Mistakes, I shall make a Present of to the Publick.

Dear SPEC.

'I was, about two Nights ago, in Company with very agreeable young People of both Sexes, where talking of some of your Papers which are written on Conjugal Love, there arose a Dispute among us, whether there were not more bad Husbands in the World than bad Wives. A Gentleman, who was Advocate for the Ladies, took this occasion to tell us the story of a famous Siege in Germany, which I have since found related in my Historical Dictionary, after the following manner. When the Emperor Conrade the Third had besieged Guelphus, Duke of Bavaria, in the City of Hensberg, the Women finding that the Town could not possibly hold out long, petitioned the Emperor that they might depart out of it, with so much as each of them could carry. The Emperor knowing they could not convey away many of their Effects, granted them their Petition; When the Women, to his great Surprize, came out of the Place with every one her Husband upon her back. The Emperor was so moved at the sight, that he burst into Tears, and after having very much extolled the Women for their conjugal Affection, gave the Men to their Wives, and received the Duke into his Favour.

'The Ladies did not a little triumph at this Story, asking us at the same time, whether in our Consciences we believed that the Men of any Town in Great Britain would, upon the same Offer, and at the same Conjuncture, have loaden themselves with their Wives; or rather, whether they would not have been glad of such an opportunity to get rid of them? To this my very good Friend Tom Dapperwit, who took upon him to be the Mouth of our Sex, replied, that they would be very much to blame if they would not do the same good Office for the Women, considering that their Strength would be greater, and their Burdens lighter. As we were amusing our selves with Discourses of this nature, in order to pass away the Evening, which now begins to grow tedious, we fell into that laudable and primitive Diversion of Questions and Commands. I was no sooner vested with the regal Authority, but I enjoined all the Ladies, under pain of my Displeasure, to tell the Company ingenuously, in case they had been in the Siege abovementioned, and had the same Offers made them as the good Women of that Place, what every one of them would have brought off with her, and have thought most worth the saving? There were several merry Answers made to my Question, which entertained us till Bed-time. This filled my Mind with such a huddle of Ideas, that upon my going to sleep, I fell into the following Dream.

'I saw a Town of this Island, which shall be nameless, invested on every side, and the Inhabitants of it so straitned as to cry for Quarter. The General refused any other Terms than those granted to the abovementioned Town of Hensberg, namely, that the married Women might come out with what they could bring along with them. Immediately the City-Gates flew open, and a Female Procession appeared. Multitudes of the Sex following one another in a row, and staggering under their respective Burdens. I took my Stand upon an Eminence in the Enemies Camp, which was appointed for the general Rendezvous of these Female Carriers, being very deSir ous to look into their several Ladings. The first of them had a huge Sack upon her Shoulders, which she set down with great Care: Upon the opening of it, when I expected to have seen her Husband shot out of it, I found it was filled with China-Ware. The next appeared in a more decent Figure, carrying a handsome young Fellow upon her Back: I could not forbear commending the young Woman for her Conjugal Affection, when to my great Surprize, I found that she had left the good Man at home, and brought away her Gallant. I saw the third, at some distance, with a little withered Face peeping over her Shoulder, whom I could not suspect for any but her Spouse, till upon her setting him down I heard her call him dear Pugg, and found him to be her Favourite Monkey. A fourth brought a huge Bale of Cards along with her; and the fifth a Bolonia Lap-Dog; for her Husband, it seems, being a very Burly Man, she thought it would be less trouble for her to bring away little Cupid. The next was the Wife of a rich Usurer, loaden with a Bag of Gold; she told us that her Spouse was very old, and by the course of Nature could not expect to live long; and that to shew her tender regards for him, she had saved that which the poor Man loved better than his Life. The next came towards us with her Son upon her Back, who, we were told, was the greatest Rake in the Place, but so much the Mother's Darling, that she left her Husband behind with a large Family of hopeful Sons and Daughters, for the sake of this Graceless Youth.

'It would be endless to mention the several Persons, with their several Loads that appeared to me in this strange Vision. All the Place about me was covered with packs of Ribbands, Brocades, Embroidery, and Ten thousand other Materials, sufficient to have furnished a whole Street of Toy-shops. One of the Women, having an Husband who was none of the heaviest, was bringing him off upon her Shoulders, at the same time that she carried a great bundle of Flanders-lace under her Arm; but finding herself so overloaden, that she could not save both of them, she dropp'd the good Man, and brought away the Bundle. In short, I found but one Husband among this great Mountain of Baggage, who was a lively Cobler, that kick'd and spurr'd all the while his Wife was carrying him on, and, as it was said, had scarce passed a Day in his Life without giving her the Discipline of the Strap.

'I cannot conclude my Letter, Dear Spec., without telling thee one very odd Whim in this my Dream, I saw, methoughts, a dozen Women employed in bringing off one Man; I could not guess who it should be, till upon his nearer approach I discover'd thy short Phiz. The Women all declared that it was for the sake of thy Works, and not thy Person, that they brought thee off, and that it was on condition that thou should'st continue the Spectator. If thou thinkest this Dream will make a tolerable one, it is at thy Service, from,

'Dear Spec.

'Thine, Sleeping and Waking,

'Will. Honeycomb.'

The Ladies will see, by this Letter, what I have often told them, that Will. is one of those old-fashioned Men of Wit and Pleasure of the Town, that shews his Parts by Raillery on Marriage, and one who has often tried his Fortune that way without Success. I cannot however dismiss his Letter, without observing, that the true Story on which it is built does Honour to the Sex, and that in order to abuse them, the Writer is obliged to have recourse to Dream and Fiction1.

Footnote 1:   At the end of this number and in all following numbers there is a change in the colophon, caused by the addition of Tonson's name to Buckley's. It runs henceforth thus:
LONDON: Printed for S. Buckley and J. Tonson: And Sold by A. Baldwin in Warwick-Lane. But an announcement at the head of the advertisement sets forth that Advertisements for this Paper continue to be taken in by S. Buckley at the Dolphin in Little-Britain, J. Tonson at Shakespear's Head in the Strand, C. Lillie at the Corner of Beauford Buildings, and A. Baldwin in Warwick-Lane.
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Contents, p. 3

No. 500

Friday, October 3, 1712


—Huc natas adjice septem,
Et totidem juvenes, et mox generosque nurusque.
Quærite nunc, habeat quam nostra superbia causam.

Ov. Met.translation

Sir ,

'You who are so well acquainted with the Story of Socrates, must have read how, upon his making a Discourse concerning Love, he pressed his Point with so much Success, that all the Batchelors in his Audience took a Resolution to Marry by the first Opportunity, and that all the married Men immediately took Horse and galloped home to their Wives. I am apt to think your Discourses, in which you have drawn so many agreeable Pictures of Marriage, have had a very good Effect this way in England. We are obliged to you, at least for having taken off that Senseless Ridicule, which for many Years the Witlings of the Town have turned upon their Fathers and Mothers. For my own part, I was born in Wedlock, and I don't care who knows it; For which Reason, among many others, I should look upon my self as a most insufferable Coxcomb, did I endeavour to maintain that Cuckoldom was inseparable from Marriage, or to make use of Husband and Wife as Terms of Reproach. Nay, Sir , I will go one step further, and declare to you before the whole World, that I am a married Man, and at the same time I have so much Assurance as not to be ashamed of what I have done.

'Among the several Pleasures that accompany this state of Life, and which you have described in your former Papers, there are two you have not taken Notice of, and which are seldom cast into the Account, by those who write on this Subject. You must have observed, in your Speculations on Human Nature, that nothing is more gratifying to the Mind of Man than Power or Dominion; and this I think my self amply possessed of, as I am the Father of a Family. I am perpetually taken up in giving out Orders, in prescribing Duties, in hearing Parties, in administring Justice, and in distributing Rewards and Punishments. To speak in the Language of the Centurion, I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my Servant, Do This, and he doth it. In short, Sir , I look upon my Family as a Patriarchal Sovereignty, in which I am my self both King and Priest. All great Governments are nothing else but Clusters of these little private Royalties, and therefore I consider the Masters of Families as small Deputy-Governors presiding over the several little Parcels and Divisions of their Fellow Subjects. As I take great pleasure in the Administration of my Government in particular, so I look upon my self not only as a more useful, but as a much greater and happier Man than any Batchelor in England of my1 Rank and Condition.

'There is another accidental Advantage in Marriage, which has likewise fallen to my share, I mean the having a Multitude of Children. These I cannot but regard as very great Blessings. When I see my little Troop before me, I rejoice in the Additions which I have made to my Species, to my Country, and to my Religion, in having produced such a Number of reasonable Creatures, Citizens, and Christians. I am pleased to see my self thus perpetuated; and as there is no Production comparable to that of a human Creature, I am more proud of having been the Occasion of ten such glorious Productions, than if I had built a hundred Pyramids at my own Expence, or published as many Volumes of the finest Wit and Learning. In what a beautiful Light has the Holy Scripture represented Abdon, one of the Judges of Israel, who had forty Sons and thirty Grandsons, that rode on Threescore and Ten Ass-Colts, according to the Magnificence of the Eastern Countries? How must the Heart of the old Man rejoice, when he saw such a beautiful Procession of his own Descendants, such a numerous Cavalcade of his own raising? For my own part, I can sit in my Parlour with great content, when I take a review of half a dozen of my little Boys mounting upon Hobby-Horses, and of as many little Girls tutoring their Babies, each of them endeavouring to excel the rest, and to do something that may gain my Favour and Approbation. I cannot question but he who has blessed me with so many Children, will assist my Endeavours in providing for them. There is one thing I am able to give each of them, which is a virtuous Education. I think it is Sir Francis Bacon's Observation, that in a numerous Family of Children the eldest is often spoiled by the Prospect of an Estate, and the youngest by being the Darling of the Parent; but that some one or other in the middle, who has not perhaps been regarded, has made his way in the World, and over-topped the rest. It is my Business to implant in every one of my Children the same Seeds of Industry, and the same honest Principles. By this Means I think I have a fair Chance, that one or other of them may grow considerable in some or other way of Life, whether it be in the Army, or in the Fleet, in Trade, or any of the three learned Professions; for you must know, Sir , that from long Experience and Observation, I am persuaded of what seems a Paradox to most of those with whom I converse, namely, That a Man who has many Children, and gives them a good Education, is more likely to raise a Family, than he who has but one, notwithstanding he leaves him his whole Estate. For this reason I cannot forbear amusing my self with finding out a General, an Admiral, or an Alderman of London, a Divine, a Physician, or a Lawyer, among my little People who are now perhaps in Petticoats; and when I see the Motherly Airs of my little Daughters when they are playing with their Puppets, I cannot but flatter my self that their Husbands and Children will be happy in the Possession of such Wives and Mothers.

'If you are a Father, you will not perhaps think this Letter impertinent: but if you are a single Man, you will not know the Meaning of it, and probably throw it into the Fire: Whatever you determine of it, you may assure yourself that it comes from one who is

'Your most humble Servant, and Well-wisher,


Footnote 1:   my own

Contents, p. 3

No. 501

Saturday, October 4, 1712


Durum: sed levius sit patientiâ
Quicquid corrigere est nefas.


As some of the finest Compositions among the Ancients are in Allegory, I have endeavoured, in several of my Papers, to revive that way of Writing, and hope I have not been altogether unsuccessful in it; for I find there is always a great Demand for those particular Papers, and cannot but observe that several Authors have endeavoured of late to excel in Works of this Nature. Among these, I do not know any one who has succeeded better than a very ingenious Gentleman, to whom I am much obliged for the following Piece, and who was the Author of the Vision in the CCCCLXth Paper. O.

How are we tortured with the Absence of what we covet to possess, when it appears to be lost to us! What Excursions does the Soul make in Imagination after it! And how does it turn into it self again, more foolishly fond and dejected, at the Disappointment? Our Grief, instead of having recourse to Reason, which might restrain it, searches to find a further Nourishment. It calls upon Memory to relate the several Passages and Circumstances of Satisfactions which we formerly enjoyed: the Pleasures we purchased by those Riches that are taken from us; or the Power and Splendour of our departed Honours; or the Voice, the Words, the Looks, the Temper, and Affections of our Friends that are deceased. It needs must happen from hence that the Passion should often swell to such a Size as to burst the Heart which contains it, if Time did not make these Circumstances less strong and lively, so that Reason should become a more equal Match for the Passion, or if another DeSir e which becomes more present did not overpower them with a livelier Representation. These are Thoughts which I had, when I fell into a kind of Vision upon this Subject, and may therefore stand for a proper Introduction to a Relation of it.

I found my self upon a naked Shore, with Company whose afflicted Countenances witnessed their Conditions. Before us flowed a Water deep, silent, and called the River of Tears, which issuing from two Fountains on an upper Ground, encompassed an Island that lay before us. The Boat which plied in it was old and shattered, having been sometimes overset by the Impatience and Haste of single Passengers to arrive at the other side. This immediately was brought to us by Misfortune who steers it, and we were all preparing to take our places, when there appeared a Woman of a mild and composed Behaviour, who began to deter us from it, by representing the Dangers which would attend our Voyage. Hereupon some who knew her for Patience, and some of those too who till then cry'd the loudest, were persuaded by her, and returned back. The rest of us went in, and she (whose Good-nature would not suffer her to forsake Persons in Trouble) deSir ed leave to accompany us, that she might at least administer some small Comfort or Advice while we sailed. We were no sooner embarked but the Boat was push'd off, the Sheet was spread; and being filled with Sighs, which are the Winds of that Country, we made a passage to the farther Bank, through several Difficulties of which the most of us seemed utterly regardless.

When we landed, we perceived the Island to be strangely overcast with Fogs, which no Brightness could pierce, so that a kind of gloomy Horror sat always brooding over it. This had something in it very shocking to easy Tempers, insomuch that some others, whom Patience had by this time gained over, left us here, and privily convey'd themselves round the Verge of the Island to find a Ford by which she told them they might escape.

For my part, I still went along with those who were for piercing into the Centre of the Place; and joining our selves to others whom we found upon the same Journey, we marched solemnly as at a Funeral, through bordering Hedges of Rosemary, and through a Grove of Yew-trees, which love to overshadow Tombs and flourish in Church-yards. Here we heard on every side the Wailings and Complaints of several of the Inhabitants, who had cast themselves disconsolately at the Feet of Trees; and as we chanced to approach any of these, we might perceive them wringing their Hands, beating their Breasts, tearing their Hair, or after some other manner visibly agitated with Vexation. Our Sorrows were heightened by the Influence of what we heard and saw, and one of our Number was wrought up to such a Pitch of Wildness, as to talk of hanging himself upon a Bough which shot temptingly across the Path we travelled in; but he was restrained from it by the kind Endeavours of our above-mentioned Companion.

We had now gotten into the most dusky silent part of the Island, and by the redoubled Sounds of Sighs, which made a doleful Whistling in the Branches, the thickness of Air which occasioned faintish Respiration, and the violent Throbbings of Heart which more and more affected us, we found that we approached the Grotto of Grief. It was a wide, hollow, and melancholy Cave, sunk deep in a Dale, and watered by Rivulets that had a Colour between Red and Black. These crept slow and half congealed amongst its Windings, and mixed their heavy Murmur with the Echo of Groans that rolled through all the Passages. In the most retired Part of it sat the Doleful Being her self; the Path to her was strowed with Goads, Stings and Thorns; and her Throne on which she sat was broken into a Rock, with ragged Pieces pointing upwards for her to lean upon. A heavy Mist hung above her, her Head oppressed with it reclined upon her Arm: Thus did she reign over her disconsolate Subjects, full of her self to stupidity, in eternal Pensiveness, and the profoundest Silence. On one side of her stood Dejection just dropping into a Swoon, and Paleness wasting to a Skeleton; on the other side were Care inwardly tormented with Imaginations, and Anguish suffering outward Troubles to suck the Blood from her Heart in the shape of Vultures. The whole Vault had a genuine Dismalness in it, which a few scattered Lamps, whose bluish Flames arose and sunk in their Urns, discovered to our Eyes with Encrease. Some of us fell down, overcome and spent with what they suffered in the way, and were given over to those Tormentors that stood on either hand of the Presence; others, galled and mortified with Pain, recover'd the Entrance, where Patience, whom we had left behind, was still waiting to receive us.

With her (whose Company was now become more grateful to us by the want we had found of her) we winded round the Grotto, and ascended at the back of it, out of the mournful Dale in whose Bottom it lay. On this Eminence we halted, by her Advice, to pant for Breath; and lifting our Eyes, which till then were fixed downwards, felt a sullen sort of Satisfaction, in observing through the Shades what Numbers had entred the Island. The Satisfaction, which appears to have Ill-nature in it, was excusable, because it happened at a time when we were too much taken up with our own concern, to have respect to that of others; and therefore we did not consider them as suffering, but ourselves as not suffering in the most forlorn Estate. It had also the Ground-work of Humanity and Compassion in it, tho' the Mind was then too dark and too deeply engaged to perceive it; but as we proceeded onwards, it began to discover it self, and from observing that others were unhappy, we came to question one another, when it was that we met, and what were the sad Occasions that brought us together. Then we heard our Stories, we compared them, we mutually gave and received Pity, and so by degrees became tolerable Company.

A considerable part of the troublesome Road was thus deceived; at length the Openings among the Trees grew larger, the Air seemed thinner, it lay with less oppression upon us, and we could now and then discern tracks in it of a lighter Greyness, like the Breakings of Day, short in duration, much enlivening, and called in that Country Gleams of Amusement. Within a short while these Gleams began to appear more frequent, and then brighter and of a longer continuance; the Sighs that hitherto filled the Air with so much Dolefulness, altered to the Sound of common Breezes, and in general the Horrors of the Island were abated.

When we had arrived at last at the Ford by which we were to pass out, we met with those fashionable Mourners who had been ferried over along with us, and who being unwilling to go as far as we, had coasted by the Shore to find the place, where they waited our coming; that by shewing themselves to the World only at the time when we did, they might seem also to have been among the Troubles of the Grotto. Here the Waters that rolled on the other side so deep and silent, were much dried up, and it was an easier matter for us to wade over.

The River being crossed, we were received upon the further Bank by our Friends and Acquaintance, whom Comfort had brought out to congratulate our Appearance in the World again. Some of these blamed us for staying so long away from them, others advised us against all Temptations of going back again; every one was cautious not to renew our Trouble, by asking any particulars of the Journey; and all concluded, that in a case of so much Melancholy and Affliction, we could not have made choice of a fitter Companion than Patience. Here Patience, appearing serene at her Praises, delivered us over to Comfort. Comfort smiled at his receiving the Charge; immediately the Sky purpled on that side to which he turned, and double Day at once broke in upon me.

Contents, p. 3

No. 502

Monday, October 6, 1712


Melius, pejus, prosit, obsit, nil vident nisi quod lubent.


When Men read, they taste the Matter with which they are entertained, according as their own respective Studies and Inclinations have prepared them, and make their Reflections accordingly. Some perusing Roman Writers, would find in them, whatever the Subject of the Discourses were, parts which implied the Grandeur of that People in their Warfare or their Politicks. As for my part, who am a meer SPECTATOR, I drew this Morning Conclusions of their Eminence in what I think great, to wit, in having worthy Sentiments, from the reading a Comedy of Terence. The Play was the Self-Tormentor. It is from the Beginning to the End a perfect Picture of human Life, but I did not observe in the whole one Passage that could raise a Laugh. How well disposed must that People be, who could be entertained with Satisfaction by so sober and polite Mirth? In the first Scene of the Comedy, when one of the old Men accuses the other of Impertinence for interposing in his Affairs, he answers, I am a Man, and cannot help feeling any Sorrow that can arrive at Man. It is said, this Sentence was received with an universal Applause. There cannot be a greater Argument of the general good Understanding of a People, than a sudden Consent to give their Approbation of a Sentiment which has no Emotion in it. If it were spoken with never so great Skill in the Actor, the Manner of uttering that Sentence could have nothing in it which could strike any but People of the greatest Humanity, nay People elegant and skilful in Observations upon it. It is possible he might have laid his Hand on his Breast, and with a winning Insinuation in his Countenance, expressed to his Neighbour that he was a Man who made his case his own; yet I'll engage a Player in Covent-Garden might hit such an Attitude a thousand times before he would have been regarded. I have heard that a Minister of State in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth had all manner of Books and Ballads brought to him, of what kind soever, and took great Notice how much they took with the People; upon which he would, and certainly might, very well judge of their present Dispositions, and the most proper way of applying them according to his own purposes1. What passes on the Stage, and the Reception it meets with from the Audience, is a very useful Instruction of this Kind. According to what you may observe there on our Stage, you see them often moved so directly against all common Sense and Humanity, that you would be apt to pronounce us a Nation of Savages. It cannot be called a Mistake of what is pleasant, but the very contrary to it is what most assuredly takes with them. The other Night an old Woman carried off with a Pain in her Side, with all the Distortions and Anguish of Countenance which is natural to one in that Condition, was laughed and clapped off the Stage. Terence's Comedy, which I am speaking of, is indeed written as if he hoped to please none but such as had as good a Taste as himself. I could not but reflect upon the natural Description of the innocent young Woman made by the Servant to his Master.
When I came to the House, said he, an old Woman opened the Door, and I followed her in, because I could by entring upon them unawares better observe what was your Mistress's ordinary manner of spending her Time, the only way of judging any one's Inclinations and Genius. I found her at her Needle in a sort of second Mourning, which she wore for an Aunt she had lately lost. She had nothing on but what shewed she dressed only for herself. Her Hair hung negligently about her Shoulders. She had none of the Arts with which others use to set themselves off, but had that Negligence of Person which is remarkable in those who are careful of their Minds—Then she had a Maid who was at work near her, that was a Slattern, because her Mistress was careless; which I take to be another Argument of your security in her; for the Go-betweens of Women of Intrigue are rewarded too well to be dirty. When you were named, I told her you deSir ed to see her, she threw down her Work for Joy, covered her Face, and decently hid her Tears2
He must be a very good Actor, and draw Attention rather from his own Character than the Words of the Author, that could gain it among us for this Speech, though so full of Nature and good Sense.

The intolerable Folly and Confidence of Players putting in Words of their own, does in a great measure feed the absurd Taste of the Audience. But however that is, it is ordinary for a Cluster of Coxcombs to take up the House to themselves, and equally insult both the Actors and the Company. These Savages, who want all manner of Regard and Deference to the rest of Mankind, come only to shew themselves to us, without any other Purpose than to let us know they despise us.

The gross of an Audience is composed of two sorts of People, those who know no Pleasure but of the Body, and those who improve or command corporeal Pleasures by the addition of fine Sentiments of the Mind. At present the intelligent part of the Company are wholly subdued, by the Insurrections of those who know no Satisfactions but what they have in common with all other Animals.

This is the reason that when a Scene tending to Procreation is acted, you see the whole Pit in such a Chuckle, and old Letchers, with Mouths open, stare at the loose Gesticulations on the Stage with shameful Earnestness; when the justest Pictures of human Life in its calm Dignity, and the properest Sentiments for the Conduct of it, pass by like meer Narration, as conducing only to somewhat much better which is to come after. I have seen the whole House at some times in so proper a Disposition, that indeed I have trembled for the Boxes, and feared the Entertainment would end in the Representation of the Rape of the Sabines.

I would not be understood in this Talk to argue, that nothing is tolerable on the Stage but what has an immediate Tendency to the Promotion of Virtue. On the contrary, I can allow, provided there is nothing against the Interests of Virtue, and is not offensive to Good-manners, that things of an indifferent nature may be represented. For this Reason I have no Exception to the well-drawn Rusticities in the Country-Wake3; and there is something so miraculously pleasant in Dogget's acting the aukward Triumph and comick Sorrow of Hob in different Circumstances, that I shall not be able to stay away whenever it is acted. All that vexes me is, that the Gallantry of taking the Cudgels for Gloucestershire, with the Pride of Heart in tucking himself up, and taking Aim at his Adversary, as well as the other's Protestation in the Humanity of low Romance, That he could not promise the Squire to break Hob's Head, but he would, if he could, do it in Love; then flourish and begin: I say, what vexes me is, that such excellent Touches as these, as well as the Squire's being out of all patience at Hob's Success, and venturing himself into the Croud, are Circumstances hardly taken Notice of, and the height of the Jest is only in the very Point that Heads are broken. I am confident, were there a Scene written, wherein Penkethman should break his Leg by wrestling with Bullock, and Dicky come in to set it, without one word said but what should be according to the exact Rules of Surgery in making this Extention, and binding up the Leg, the whole House should be in a Roar of Applause at the dissembled Anguish of the Patient, the help given by him who threw him down, and the handy Address and arch Looks of the Surgeon. To enumerate the entrance of Ghosts, the Embattling of Armies, the Noise of Heroes in Love, with a thousand other Enormities, would be to transgress the bounds of this Paper, for which reason it is possible they may have hereafter distinct Discourses; not forgetting any of the Audience who shall set up for Actors, and interrupt the Play on the Stage; and Players who shall prefer the Applause of Fools to that of the reasonable part of the Company.


Footnote 1:   Is this another version of the very wise man whom Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, in a letter to Montrose, said that he knew, who
'believed, that if a Man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation'?
Andrew Fletcher, who could not have known any of Elizabeth's statesmen, was yet alive when this paper was written.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:  Heautontimoroumenos, Act ii. sc. 2.

Footnote 2:   Dogget had been acting a few nights before in the Country Wake. The part of Hob was his own in every sense, he being the author of the farce, which afterwards was made into a very popular ballad opera called Flora, or Hob in the Well.

Contents, p. 4

No. 503

Tuesday, October 7, 1712


Deleo omnes dehinc ex animo Mulieres.



'You have often mention'd with great Vehemence and Indignation the Misbehaviour of People at Church; but I am at present to talk to you on that Subject, and complain to you of one, whom at the same time I know not what to accuse of, except it be looking too well there, and diverting the Eyes of the Congregation to that one Object. However I have this to say, that she might have stay'd at her own Parish, and not come to perplex those who are otherwise intent upon their Duty.

'Last Sunday was Seven-night I went into a Church not far from London-Bridge; but I wish I had been contented to go to my own Parish, I am sure it had been better for me: I say, I went to Church thither, and got into a Pew very near the Pulpit. I had hardly been accommodated with a Seat, before there entered into the Isle a young Lady in the very Bloom of Youth and Beauty, and dressed in the most elegant manner imaginable. Her Form was such, that it engaged the Eyes of the whole Congregation in an Instant, and mine among the rest. Tho' we were all thus fixed upon her, she was not in the least out of Countenance, or under the least Disorder, tho' unattended by any one, and not seeming to know particularly where to place her self. However, she had not in the least a confident Aspect, but moved on with the most graceful Modesty, every one making Way till she came to a Seat just over-against that in which I was placed. The Deputy of the Ward sat in that Pew, and she stood opposite to him; and at a Glance into the Seat, tho' she did not appear the least acquainted with the Gentleman, was let in, with a Confusion that spoke much Admiration at the Novelty of the Thing. The Service immediately began, and she compos'd her self for it with an Air of so much Goodness and Sweetness, that the Confession which she uttered so as to be heard where I sat, appeared an Act of Humiliation more than she had Occasion for. The Truth is, her Beauty had something so innocent, and yet so sublime, that we all gazed upon her like a Phantom. None of the Pictures which we behold of the best Italian Painters, have any thing like the Spirit which appeared in her Countenance, at the different Sentiments expressed in the several Parts of Divine Service: That Gratitude and Joy at a Thanksgiving, that Lowliness and Sorrow at the Prayers for the Sick and Distressed, that Triumph at the Passages which gave Instances of divine Mercy, which appeared respectively in her Aspect, will be in my Memory to my last Hour. I protest to you, Sir , she suspended the Devotion of every one around her; and the Ease she did every thing with, soon dispersed the churlish Dislike and Hesitation in approving what is excellent, too frequent amongst us, to a general Attention and Entertainment in observing her Behaviour. All the while that we were gazing at her, she took Notice of no Object about her, but had an Art of seeming awkwardly attentive, whatever else her Eyes were accidentally thrown upon. One Thing indeed was particular, she stood the whole Service, and never kneeled or sat; I do not question but that was to shew her self with the greater Advantage, and set forth to better Grace her Hands and Arms, lifted up with the most ardent Devotion, and her Bosom, the fairest Observation; while she, you must think, knew nothing of the Concern she gave others, any other than as an Example of Devotion, that threw her self out, without regard to Dress or Garment, all Contrition, and loose of all Worldly Regards, in Ecstasy of Devotion. Well, now the Organ was to play a Voluntary, and she was so skilful in Musick, and so touched with it, that she kept time not only with some Motion of her Head, but also with a different Air in her Countenance. When the Musick was strong and bold, she look'd exalted, but serious; when lively and airy, she was smiling and gracious; when the Notes were more soft and languishing, she was kind and full of Pity. When she had now made it visible to the whole Congregation, by her Motion and Ear, that she could dance, and she wanted now only to inform us that she could sing too, when the Psalm was given out, her Voice was distinguished above all the rest, or rather People did not exert their own in order to hear her. Never was any heard so sweet and so strong. The Organist observed it, and he thought fit to play to her only, and she swelled every Note; when she found she had thrown us all out, and had the last Verse to herself in such a manner as the whole Congregation was intent upon her, in the same manner as we see in the Cathedrals, they are on the Person who sings alone the Anthem. Well, it came at last to the Sermon, and our young Lady would not lose her Part in that neither; for she fixed her Eye upon the Preacher, and as he said any thing she approved, with one of Charles Mathers's fine Tablets she set down the Sentence, at once shewing her fine Hand, the Gold-Pen, her Readiness in Writing, and her Judgment in chusing what to write. To sum up what I intend by this long and particular Account, I mean to appeal to you, whether it is reasonable that such a Creature as this shall come from a jaunty Part of the Town, and give herself such violent Airs, to the disturbance of an innocent and inoffensive Congregation, with her Sublimities. The Fact, I assure you, was as I have related; but I had like to have forgot another very considerable Particular. As soon as Church was done, she immediately stepp'd out of her Pew, and fell into the finest pitty-pat Air, forsooth, wonderfully out of Countenance, tossing her Head up and down as she swam along the Body of the Church. I, with several others of the Inhabitants, follow'd her out, and saw her hold up her Fan to an Hackney-Coach at a Distance, who immediately came up to her, and she whipp'd into it with great Nimbleness, pull'd the Door with a bowing Mein, as if she had been used to a better Glass. She said aloud, You know where to go, and drove off. By this time the best of the Congregation was at the Church-Door, and I could hear some say, A very fine Lady; others, I'll warrant ye, she's no better than she should be; and one very wise old Lady said, She ought to have been taken up. Mr. SPECTATOR, I think this Matter lies wholly before you: for the Offence does not come under any Law, tho' it is apparent this Creature came among us only to give herself Airs, and enjoy her full Swing in being admir'd. I deSir e you would print this, that she may be confin'd to her own Parish; for I can assure you there is no attending any thing else in a Place where she is a Novelty. She has been talked of among us ever since under the Name of the Phantom: But I would advise her to come no more; for there is so strong a Party made by the Women against her, that she must expect they will not be excell'd a second time in so outrageous a manner, without doing her some Insult. Young Women, who assume after this rate, and affect exposing themselves to view in Congregations at t'other end of the Town, are not so mischievous, because they are rivall'd by more of the same Ambition, who will not let the rest of the Company be particular: But in the Name of the whole Congregation where I was, I deSir e you to keep these agreeable Disturbances out of the City, where Sobriety of Manners is still preserv'd, and all glaring and ostentatious Behaviour, even in things laudable, discountenanced. I wish you may never see the Phantom, and am,'

Sir ,

Your most humble Servant,

Ralph Wonder.

Contents, p. 4

No. 504

Wednesday, October 8, 1712


Lepus tute es, et pulpamentum quæris.


It is a great Convenience to those who want Wit to furnish out a Conversation, that there is something or other in all Companies where it is wanted substituted in its stead, which according to their Taste, does the Business as well. Of this nature is the agreeable Pastime in Country-Halls of Cross-purposes, Questions and Commands, and the like. A little superior to these are those who can play at Crambo, or cap Verses. Then above them are such as can make Verses, that is, Rhime; and among those who have the Latin Tongue, such as use to make what they call golden Verses. Commend me also to those who have not Brains enough for any of these Exercises, and yet do not give up their Pretensions to Mirth. These can slap you on the Back unawares, laugh loud, ask you how you do with a Twang on your Shoulders, say you are dull to-day, and laugh a Voluntary to put you in Humour; the laborious Way among the minor Poets, of making things come into such and such a Shape, as that of an Egg, an Hand, an Ax, or any thing that no body had ever thought on before for that purpose, or which would have cost a great deal of Pains to accomplish it if they did. But all these Methods, tho' they are mechanical, and may be arrived at with the smallest Capacity, do not serve an honest Gentleman who wants Wit for his Ordinary Occasions; therefore it is absolutely necessary that the Poor in Imagination should have something which may be serviceable to them at all Hours upon all common Occurrences. That which we call Punning is therefore greatly affected by Men of small Intellects. These Men need not be concerned with you for the whole Sentence; but if they can say a quaint thing, or bring in a Word which sounds like any one Word you have spoken to them they can turn the Discourse, or distract you so that you cannot go on, and by consequence if they cannot be as witty as you are, they can hinder your being any wittier than they are. Thus if you talk of a Candle, he can deal with you; and if you ask him to help you to some Bread, a Punster should think himself very ill-bred if he did not; and if he is not as well-bred as your self, he hopes for Grains of Allowance. If you do not understand that last Fancy, you must recollect that Bread is made of Grain; and so they go on for ever, without Possibility of being exhausted.

There are another Kind of People of small Faculties, who supply want of Wit with want of Breeding; and because Women are both by Nature and Education more offended at any thing which is immodest than we Men are, these are ever harping upon things they ought not to allude to, and deal mightily in double Meanings. Every one's own Observation will suggest Instances enough of this kind, without my mentioning any; for your double Meaners are dispersed up and down thro' all Parts of Town or City where there are any to offend, in order to set off themselves. These Men are mighty loud Laughers, and held very pretty Gentlemen with the sillier and unbred Part of Womankind. But above all already mentioned, or any who ever were, or ever can be in the World, the happiest and surest to be pleasant, are a Sort of People whom we have not indeed lately heard much of, and those are your Biters.

A Biter1 is one who tells you a thing you have no reason to disbelieve in it self; and perhaps has given you, before he bit you, no reason to disbelieve it for his saying it; and if you give him Credit, laughs in your Face, and triumphs that he has deceiv'd you. In a Word, a Biter is one who thinks you a Fool, because you do not think him a Knave. This Description of him one may insist upon to be a just one; for what else but a Degree of Knavery is it, to depend upon Deceit for what you gain of another, be it in point of Wit, or Interest, or any thing else?

This way of Wit is called Biting, by a Metaphor taken from Beasts of Prey, which devour harmless and unarmed Animals, and look upon them as their Food wherever they meet them. The Sharpers about Town very ingeniously understood themselves to be to the undesigning Part of Mankind what Foxes are to Lambs, and therefore used the Word Biting to express any Exploit wherein they had over-reach'd any innocent and inadvertent Man of his Purse. These Rascals of late Years have been the Gallants of the Town, and carried it with a fashionable haughty Air, to the discouragement of Modesty and all honest Arts. Shallow Fops, who are govern'd by the Eye, and admire every thing that struts in vogue, took up from the Sharpers the Phrase of Biting, and used it upon all Occasions, either to disown any nonsensical Stuff they should talk themselves, or evade the Force of what was reasonably said by others. Thus, when one of these cunning Creatures was enter'd into a Debate with you, whether it was practicable in the present State of Affairs to accomplish such a Proposition, and you thought he had let fall what destroy'd his Side of the Question, as soon as you look'd with an Earnestness ready to lay hold of it, he immediately cry'd, Bite, and you were immediately to acknowledge all that Part was in Jest. They carry this to all the Extravagance imaginable, and if one of these Witlings knows any Particulars which may give Authority to what he says, he is still the more ingenious if he imposes upon your Credulity. I remember a remarkable Instance of this Kind. There came up a shrewd young Fellow to a plain young Man, his Countryman, and taking him aside with a grave concern'd Countenance, goes on at this rate: I see you here, and have you heard nothing out of Yorkshire—You look so surpriz'd you could not have heard of it—and yet the Particulars are such, that it cannot be false: I am sorry I am got into it so far that I now must tell you; but I know not but it may be for your Service to know—on Tuesday last, just after Dinner—you know his Manner is to smoke, opening his Box, your Father fell down dead in an Apoplexy. The Youth shew'd the filial Sorrow which he ought—Upon which the witty Man cry'd, Bite, there was nothing in all this

To put an end to this silly, pernicious, frivolous Way at once, I will give the Reader one late Instance of a Bite, which no Biter for the future will ever be able to equal, tho' I heartily wish him the same Occasion. It is a Superstition with some Surgeons who beg the Bodies of condemn'd Malefactors, to go to the Gaol, and bargain for the Carcase with the Criminal himself. A good honest Fellow did so last Sessions, and was admitted to the condemned Men on the Morning wherein they died. The Surgeon communicated his Business, and fell into discourse with a little Fellow, who refused Twelve Shillings, and insisted upon Fifteen for his Body. The Fellow, who kill'd the Officer of Newgate, very forwardly, and like a Man who was willing to deal, told him, Look you, Mr. Surgeon, that little dry Fellow, who has been half-starved all his Life, and is now half-dead with Fear, cannot answer your Purpose. I have ever liv'd high and freely, my Veins are full, I have not pined in Imprisonment; you see my Crest swells to your Knife, and after Jack-Catch has done, upon my Honour you'll find me as sound as e'er a Bullock in any of the Markets. Come, for Twenty Shillings I am your Man—Says the Surgeon, Done, there's a Guinea—This witty Rogue took the Money, and as soon as he had it in his Fist, cries, Bite, I am to be hang'd in Chains.


Footnote 1:   See [Volume 1 link: No. 47]. Swift writes,
'I'll teach you a way to outwit Mrs. Johnson; it is a new fashioned way of being witty, and they call it a Bite. You must ask a bantering question, or tell some lie in a serious manner, then she will answer, or speak as if you were in earnest, and then cry you, "Madam, there's a Bite." I would not have you undervalue this, for it is the constant amusement in Court, and every where else among the great people; and I let you know it, in order to have it among you, and to teach you a new refinement.'
(Journal to Stella). Although 'bite' and 'biter' have not retained this sense, it remains in an occasional use of the word 'bitten.'
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Contents, p. 4

No. 505

Thursday, October 9, 1712


Non habeo denique nauci Marsum Augurem,
Non vicanos Aruspices, non de circo Astrologos,
Non Isiacos Conjectores, non Interpletes somnium:
Non enim sunt ii aut scientiâ, aut arte Divini,
Sed superstitiosi vates, impudentesque harioli,
Aut inertes, aut insani, aut quibus egestas imperat:
Qui sui questus causa fictas suscitant sententias,
Qui sibi semitam non sapiunt, alteri monstrant viam,
Quibus divitias pollicentur, ab iis drachmam petunt;
De divitiis deducant drachmam, reddant cœtera.


Those who have maintain'd that Men would be more miserable than Beasts, were their Hopes confin'd to this Life only; among other Considerations take notice that the latter are only afflicted with the Anguish of the present Evil, whereas the former are very often pained by the Reflection on what is passed, and the Fear of what is to come. This Fear of any Future Difficulties or Misfortunes is so natural to the Mind, that were a Man's Sorrows and Disquietudes summ'd up at the End of his Life, it would generally be found that he had suffer'd more from the Apprehension of such Evils as never happen'd to him, than from those Evils which had really befallen him. To this we may add, that among those Evils which befal us, there are many that have been more painful to us in the Prospect, than by their actual Pressure.

This natural Impatience to look into Futurity, and to know what Accidents may happen to us hereafter, has given birth to many ridiculous Arts and Inventions. Some found their Prescience on the Lines of a Man's Hand, others on the Features of his Face; some on the Signatures which Nature has impressed on his Body, and others on his own Hand-Writing: Some read Men's Fortunes in the Stars, as others have searched after them in the Entrails of Beasts, or the Flights of Birds. Men of the best Sense have been touched, more or less, with these groundless Horrours and Presages of Futurity, upon surveying the most indifferent Works of Nature. Can any thing be more surprizing than to consider Cicero, who made the greatest Figure at the Bar, and in the Senate of the Roman Commonwealth, and, at the same time, outshined all the Philosophers of Antiquity in his Library and in his Retirements, as busying himself in the College of Augurs, and observing, with a religious Attention, after what manner the Chickens peck'd the several Grains of Corn which were thrown to them?

Notwithstanding these Follies are pretty well worn out of the Minds of the Wise and Learned in the present Age, Multitudes of weak and ignorant Persons are still Slaves to them. There are numberless Arts of Prediction among the Vulgar, which are too trifling to enumerate; and infinite Observations, of Days, Numbers, Voices, and Figures, which are regarded by them as Portents and Prodigies. In short, every thing Prophesies to the superstitious Man, there is scarce a Straw or a rusty Piece of Iron that lies in his way by Accident.

It is not to be conceiv'd how many Wizards, Gypsies, and Cunning-Men are dispers'd thro' all the Countries and Market-Towns of Great-Britain, not to mention the Fortune-tellers and Astrologers, who live very comfortably upon the Curiosity of several well-dispos'd Persons in the Cities of London and Westminster.

Among the many pretended Arts of Divination, there is none which so universally amuses as that by Dreams. I have indeed observ'd in a late Speculation, that there have been sometimes, upon very extraordinary Occasions, supernatural Revelations made to certain Persons by this means; but as it is the chief Business of this Paper to root out popular Errors, I must endeavour to expose the Folly and Superstition of those Persons, who, in the common and ordinary course of Life, lay any stress upon things of so uncertain, shadowy, and chimerical a nature. This I cannot do more effectually than by the following Letter, which is dated from a Quarter of the Town that has always been the Habitation of some prophetick Philomath; it having been usual, time out of Mind, for all such People as have lost their Wits, to resort to that Place either for their Cure1 or for their Instruction.

Moor-Fields, Oct. 4, 1712.


'Having long consider'd whether there be any Trade wanting in this great City, after having survey'd very attentively all kinds of Ranks and Professions, I do not find in any Quarter of the Town an Oneirocritick, or, in plain English, an Interpreter of Dreams. For want of so useful a Person, there are several good People who are very much puzled in this Particular, and dream a whole Year together without being ever the wiser for it. I hope I am pretty well qualify'd for this Office, having studied by Candlelight all the Rules of Art which have been laid down upon this Subject. My great Uncle by my Wife's Side was a Scotch Highlander, and second-sighted. I have four Fingers and two Thumbs upon one Hand, and was born on the longest Night of the Year. My Christian and Sir -Name begin and end with the same Letters. I am lodg'd in Moorfields, in a House that for these fifty years has been always tenanted by a Conjurer.

'If you had been in Company, so much as my self, with ordinary Women of the Town, you must know that there are many of them who every day in their Lives, upon seeing or hearing of any thing that is unexpected, cry, My Dream is out; and cannot go to sleep in quiet the next night, till something or other has happen'd which has expounded the Visions of the preceding one. There are others who are in very great pain for not being able to recover the Circumstances of a Dream, that made strong Impressions upon them while it lasted. In short, Sir , there are many whose waking Thoughts are wholly employ'd on their sleeping ones. For the benefit therefore of this curious and inquisitive Part of my Fellow-Subjects, I shall in the first place tell those Persons what they dreamt of, who fancy they never dream at all. In the next place, I shall make out any Dream, upon hearing a single Circumstance of it; and in the last place, shall expound to them the good or bad Fortune which such Dreams portend. If they do not presage good luck, I shall deSir e nothing for my Pains; not questioning at the same time that those who consult me will be so reasonable as to afford me a moderate Share out of any considerable Estate, Profit or Emolument which I shall thus discover to them. I interpret to the Poor for nothing, on condition that their Names may be inserted in Publick Advertisements, to attest the Truth of such my Interpretations. As for People of Quality or others, who are indisposed, and do not care to come in Person, I can interpret their Dreams by seeing their Water. I set aside one Day in the Week for Lovers; and interpret by the great for any Gentlewoman who is turned of Sixty, after the rate of half a Crown per Week, with the usual Allowances for good Luck. I have several Rooms and Apartments fitted up, at reasonable rates, for such as have not Conveniences for dreaming at their own Houses.

Titus Trophonius.

N. B. I am not dumb.

Footnote 1:   Bedlam was then in Moorfields.
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Contents, p. 4

No. 506

Friday, October 10, 1712


Candida perpetuo reside, concordia, lecto,
Tamque pari semper sit Venus æqua jugo.
Diligat illa, senem quondam: Sed et ipsa marito,
Tunc quoque cum fuerit, non videatur anus.


The following Essay is written by the Gentleman, to whom the World is oblig'd for those several excellent Discourses which have been marked with the Letter X.

I have somewhere met with a Fable that made Wealth the Father of Love. It is certain a Mind ought, at least, to be free from the Apprehensions of Want and Poverty, before it can fully attend to all the Softnesses and Endearments of this Passion. Notwithstanding we see Multitudes of married People, who are utter Strangers to this delightful Passion amidst all the Affluence of the most plentiful Fortunes.

It is not sufficient to make a Marriage happy, that the Humours of two People should be alike; I could instance an hundred Pair, who have not the least Sentiment of Love remaining for one another, yet are so like in their Humours, that if they were not already married, the whole World would design them for Man and Wife.

The Spirit of Love has something so extremely fine in it, that it is very often disturbed and lost, by some little Accidents which the Careless and Unpolite never attend to, till it is gone past Recovery.

Nothing has more contributed to banish it from a married State, than too great a Familiarity, and laying aside the common Rules of Decency. Tho' I could give Instances of this in several Particulars, I shall only mention that of Dress. The Beaus and Belles about Town, who dress purely to catch one another, think there is no further occasion for the Bait, when their first Design has succeeded. But besides the too common Fault in point of Neatness, there are several others which I do not remember to have seen touched upon, but in one of our modern Comedies1, where a French Woman offering to undress and dress herself before the Lover of the Play, and assuring his Mistress that it was very useful in France, the Lady tells her that's a Secret in Dress she never knew before, and that she was so unpolish'd an English Woman, as to resolve never to learn even to dress before her Husband.

There is something so gross in the Carriage of some Wives, that they lose their Husbands Hearts for Faults, which, if a Man has either Good-Nature or Good-Breeding, he knows not how to tell them of. I am afraid, indeed, the Ladies are generally most faulty in this Particular, who, at their first giving into Love, find the Way so smooth and pleasant, that they fancy 'tis scarce possible to be tired in it.

There is so much Nicety and Discretion requir'd to keep Love alive after Marriage, and make Conversation still new and agreeable after twenty or thirty years, that I know nothing which seems readily to promise it, but an earnest endeavour to please on both sides, and superior good Sense on the part of Man.

By a Man of Sense, I mean one acquainted with Business and Letters.

A Woman very much settles her Esteem for a Man, according to the Figure he makes in the World, and the Character he bears among his own Sex. As Learning is the chief Advantage we have over them, it is, methinks, as scandalous and inexcusable for a Man of Fortune to be illiterate, as for a Woman not to know how to behave her self on the most ordinary Occasions. It is this which sets the two Sexes at the greatest Distance; a Woman is vexed and surpriz'd, to find nothing more in the Conversation of a Man, than in the common Tattle of her own Sex.

Some small Engagement at least in Business, not only sets a Man's Talents in the fairest Light, and allots him a Part to act, in which a Wife cannot well intermeddle; but gives frequent occasions for those little Absences, which, whatever seeming Uneasiness they may give, are some of the best Preservatives of Love and DeSir e.

Lætitia is pretty, modest, tender, and has Sense enough; she married Erastus, who is in a Post of some Business, and has a general Taste in most Parts of polite Learning. Lætitia, where ever she visits, has the pleasure to hear of something which was handsomely said or done by Erastus. Erastus, since his Marriage, is more gay in his Dress than ever, and in all Companies is as complaisant to Lætitia as to any other Lady. I have seen him give her her Fan, when it has dropped, with all the Gallantry of a Lover. When they take the Air together, Erastus is continually improving her Thoughts, and with a Turn of Wit and Spirit which is peculiar to him, giving her an Insight into things she had no notion of before. Lætitia is transported at having a new World thus open'd to her, and hangs upon the Man that gives her such agreeable Informations. Erastus has carried this Point still further, as he makes her daily not only more fond of him, but infinitely more satisfied with herself. Erastus finds a Justness or Beauty in whatever she says or observes, that Lætitia herself was not aware of; and, by his Assistance, she has discovered an hundred good Qualities and Accomplishments in herself, which she never before once dreamed of. Erastus, with the most artful Complaisance in the World, by several remote Hints, finds the means to make her say or propose almost whatever he has a mind to, which he always receives as her own Discovery, and gives her all the Reputation of it.

Erastus has a perfect Taste in Painting, and carried Lætitia with him the other day to see a Collection of Pictures. I sometimes visit this happy Couple. As we were last Week walking in the long Gallery before Dinner, I have lately laid out some Mony in Paintings, says Erastus; I bought that Venus and Adonis purely upon Lætitia's Judgment; it cost me three-score Guineas, and I was this morning offer'd a2 hundred for it. I turned towards Lætitia, and saw her Cheeks glow with Pleasure, while at the same time she cast a look upon Erastus, the most tender and affectionate I ever beheld.

Flavilla married Tom Tawdry; she was taken with his laced Coat and rich Sword-knot; she has the mortification to see Tom despised by all the worthy Part of his own Sex. Tom has nothing to do after Dinner, but to determine whether he will pare his Nails at St. James's, White's, or his own House. He has said nothing to Flavilla since they were married, which she might not have heard as well from her own Woman. He however takes great care to keep up the saucy ill-natur'd Authority of a Husband. Whatever Flavilla happens to assert, Tom immediately contradicts with an Oath, by way of Preface, and, My Dear, I must tell you, you talk most confoundedly silly. Flavilla had a Heart naturally as well dispos'd for all the Tenderness of Love as that of Lætitia; but as Love seldom continues long after Esteem, it is difficult to determine, at present, whether the unhappy Flavilla hates or despises the Person most, whom she is obliged to lead her whole Life with.


Footnote 1:   Steele's Funeral, or Grief à la Mode, Act III.
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Footnote 2:  an and in first reprint.

Contents, p. 4

No. 507

Saturday, October 11, 1712


Defendit numerus, junctæque umbone Phalanges.


There is something very Sublime, tho' very fanciful, in Plato's Description of the Supreme Being, That Truth is his Body, and Light his Shadow. According to this Definition, there is nothing so contradictory to his Nature, as Error and Falshood. The Platonists have so just a Notion of the Almighty's Aversion to every thing which is false and erroneous, that they looked upon Truth as no less necessary than Virtue, to qualifie an human Soul for the Enjoyment of a separate State. For this reason as they recommended Moral Duties to qualifie and season the Will for a future Life, so they prescribed several Contemplations and Sciences to rectifie the Understanding. Thus Plato has called Mathematical Demonstrations the Catharticks or Purgatives of the Soul, as being the most proper Means to cleanse it from Error, and to give it a Relish of Truth; which is the natural Food and Nourishment of the Understanding, as Virtue is the Perfection and Happiness of the Will.

There are many Authors who have shewn wherein the Malignity of a Lie consists, and set forth in proper Colours, the Heinousness of the Offence. I shall here consider one Particular Kind of this Crime, which has not been so much spoken to; I mean that abominable Practice of Party-lying. This Vice is so very predominant among us at present, that a Man is thought of no Principles, who does not propagate a certain System of Lies. The Coffee-Houses are supported by them, the Press is choaked with them, eminent Authors live upon them. Our Bottle-Conversation is so infected with them, that a Party-Lie is grown as fashionable an Entertainment, as a lively Catch or a merry Story: The Truth of it is, half the great Talkers in the Nation would be struck dumb, were this Fountain of Discourse dried up. There is however one Advantage resulting from this detestable Practice; the very Appearances of Truth are so little regarded, that Lies are at present discharg'd in the Air, and begin to hurt no Body. When we hear a Party-story from a Stranger, we consider whether he is a Whig or a Tory that relates it, and immediately conclude they are Words of course, in which the honest Gentleman designs to recommend his Zeal, without any Concern for his Veracity. A Man is looked upon as bereft of common Sense, that gives Credit to the Relations of Party-Writers; nay his own Friends shake their Heads at him, and consider him in no other Light than as an officious Tool or a well-meaning Ideot. When it was formerly the Fashion to husband a Lie, and trump it up in some extraordinary Emergency, it generally did Execution, and was not a little serviceable to the Faction that made use of it; but at present every Man is upon his Guard, the Artifice has been too often repeated to take Effect.

I have frequently wonder'd to see Men of Probity, who would scorn to utter a Falshood for their own particular Advantage, give so readily into a Lie when it becomes the Voice of their Faction, notwithstanding they are thoroughly sensible of it as such. How is it possible for those who are Men of Honour in their Persons, thus to become notorious Liars in their Party? If we look into the Bottom of this Matter, we may find, I think, three Reasons for it, and at the same time discover the Insufficiency of these Reasons to justify so Criminal a Practice. In the first place, Men are apt to think that the Guilt of a Lie, and consequently the Punishment, may be very much diminish'd, if not wholly worn out, by the Multitudes of those who partake in it. Tho' the Weight of a Falshood would be too heavy for one to bear, it grows light in their Imaginations, when it is shared among many. But in this Case a Man very much deceives himself; Guilt, when it spreads thro' numbers, is not so properly divided as multiplied: Every one is criminal in proportion to the Offence which he commits, not to the Number of those who are his Companions in it. Both the Crime and the Penalty lie as heavy upon every Individual of an offending Multitude, as they would upon any single Person had none shared with him in the Offence. In a word, the Division of Guilt is like that of Matter; tho' it may be separated into infinite Portions, every Portion shall have the whole Essence of Matter in it, and consist of as many Parts as the Whole did before it was divided.

But in the second place, tho' Multitudes, who join in a Lie, cannot exempt themselves from the Guilt, they may from the Shame of it. The Scandal of a Lie is in a manner lost and annihilated, when diffused among several Thousands; as a Drop of the blackest Tincture wears away and vanishes, when mixed and confused in a considerable Body of Water; the Blot is still in it, but is not able to discover it self. This is certainly a very great Motive to several Party-Offenders, who avoid Crimes, not as they are prejudicial to their Virtue, but to their Reputation. It is enough to shew the Weakness of this Reason, which palliates Guilt without removing it, that every Man who is influenced by it declares himself in effect an infamous Hypocrite, prefers the Appearance of Virtue to its Reality, and is determined in his Conduct neither by the Dictates of his own Conscience, the Suggestions of true Honour, nor the Principles of Religion.

The third and last great Motive for Mens joining in a popular Falshood, or, as I have hitherto called it, a Party-Lie, notwithstanding they are convinced of it as such, is the doing Good to a Cause which every Party may be supposed to look upon as the most meritorious. The Unsoundness of this Principle has been so often exposed, and is so universally acknowledged, that a Man must be an utter Stranger to the Principles, either of natural Religion or Christianity, who suffers himself to be guided by it. If a Man might promote the supposed Good of his Country by the blackest Calumnies and Falshoods, our Nation abounds more in Patriots than any other of the Christian World. When Pompey was deSir ed not to set Sail in a Tempest that would hazard his Life, It is necessary for me, says he, to Sail, but it is not necessary for me to Live1: Every Man should say to himself, with the same Spirit, It is my Duty to speak Truth, tho' it is not my Duty to be in an Office. One of the Fathers hath carried this Point so high, as to declare, He would not tell a Lie, tho' he were sure to gain Heaven by it. However extravagant such a Protestation may appear, every one will own, that a Man may say very reasonably, He would not tell a Lie, if he were sure to gain Hell by it; or, if you have a mind to soften the Expression, that he would not tell a Lie to gain any Temporal Reward by it, when he should run the hazard of losing much more than it was possible for him to gain.


Footnote 1:  Quoted from Plutarch's Life, § 50. Terser in the original:
Greek: Plein anágkae, zaen ouk anágkae.see previous image
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Contents, p. 4

No. 508

Monday, October 13, 1712


Omnes autem et habentur et dicuntur Tyranni, qui potestate sunt perpetua, in ea Civitate quæ libertate usa est.

Corn. Nepos.translation

The following Letters complain of what I have frequently observed with very much Indignation; therefore I shall give them to the Publick in the Words with which my Correspondents, who suffer under the Hardships mention'd in them, describe them.


'In former Ages all Pretensions to Dominion have been supported and submitted to, either upon Account of Inheritance, Conquest or Election; and all such Persons who have taken upon 'em any Soveraignty over their Fellow-Creatures upon any other Account, have been always called Tyrants, not so much because they were guilty of any particular Barbarities, as because every Attempt to such a Superiority was in its Nature tyrannical. But there is another sort of Potentates, who may with greater Propriety be call'd Tyrants, than those last mention'd, both as they assume a despotick Dominion over those as free as themselves, and as they support it by Acts of notable Oppression and Injustice; and these are the Rulers in all Clubs and Meetings. In other Governments, the Punishments of some have been alleviated by the Reward of others; but what makes the Reign of these Potentates so particularly grievous, is, that they are exquisite in punishing their Subjects, at the same time they have it not in their power to reward 'em. That the Reader may the better comprehend the Nature of these Monarchs, as well as the miserable State of those that are their Vassals, I shall give an Account of the King of the Company I am fallen into, whom for his particular Tyranny I shall call Dionysius; as also of the Seeds that sprung up to this odd sort of Empire.

'Upon all Meetings at Taverns, 'tis necessary some one of the Company should take it upon him to get all things in such order and readiness, as may contribute as much as possible to the Felicity of the Convention; such as hastening the Fire, getting a sufficient number of Candles, tasting the Wine with a judicious Smack, fixing the Supper, and being brisk for the Dispatch of it. Know then, that Dionysius went thro' these Offices with an Air that seem'd to express a Satisfaction rather in serving the Publick, than in gratifying any particular Inclination of his own. We thought him a Person of an exquisite Palate, and therefore by consent beseeched him to be always our Proveditor; which Post, after he had handsomely denied, he could do no otherwise than accept. At first he made no other use of his Power, than in recommending such and such things to the Company, ever allowing these Points to be disputable; insomuch that I have often carried the Debate for Partridge, when his Majesty has given Intimation of the high Relish of Duck, but at the same time has chearfully submitted, and devour'd his Partridge with most gracious Resignation. This Submission on his side naturally produc'd the like on ours; of which he in a little time made such barbarous Advantage, as in all those Matters, which before seem'd indifferent to him, to issue out certain Edicts as uncontroulable and unalterable as the Laws of the Medes and Persians. He is by turns outragious, peevish, froward and jovial. He thinks it our Duty for the little Offices, as Proveditor, that in Return all Conversation is to be interrupted or promoted by his Inclination for or against the present Humour of the Company. We feel, at present, in the utmost Extremity, the Insolence of Office; however, I being naturally warm, ventur'd to oppose him in a Dispute about a Haunch of Venison. I was altogether for roasting, but Dionysius declar'd himself for boiling with so much Prowess and Resolution, that the Cook thought it necessary to consult his own Safety rather than the Luxury of my Proposition. With the same Authority that he orders what we shall eat and drink, he also commands us where to do it, and we change our Taverns according as he suspects any Treasonable Practices in the settling the Bill by the Master, or sees any bold Rebellion in point of Attendance by the Waiters. Another Reason for changing the Seat of Empire, I conceive to be the Pride he takes in the Promulgation of our Slavery, tho' we pay our Club for our Entertainments even in these Palaces of our grand Monarch. When he has a mind to take the Air, a Party of us are commanded out by way of Life-Guard, and we march under as great Restrictions as they do. If we meet a neighbouring King, we give or keep the Way according as we are outnumber'd or not; and if the Train of each is equal in number, rather than give Battle, the Superiority is soon adjusted by a Desertion from one of 'em.

'Now, the Expulsion of these unjust Rulers out of all Societies, would gain a Man as everlasting a Reputation, as either of the Brutus's got from their Endeavours to extirpate Tyranny from among the Romans. I confess my self to be in a Conspiracy against the Usurper of our Club; and to shew my Reading, as well as my merciful Disposition, shall allow him till the Ides of March to dethrone himself. If he seems to affect Empire till that time, and does not gradually recede from the Incursions he has made upon our Liberties, he shall find a Dinner dress'd which he has no Hand in, and shall be treated with an Order, Magnificence and Luxury as shall break his proud Heart; at the same time that he shall be convinc'd in his Stomach he was unfit for his Post, and a more mild and skilful Prince receive the Acclamations of the People, and be set up in his Room: but, as Milton says,
—These Thoughts
Full Counsel must mature. Peace is despair'd,
And who can think Submission? War, then War
Open, or understood, must be resolved.
'I am, Sir , Your most obedient humble Servant.


'I am a young Woman at a Gentleman's Seat in the Country, who is a particular Friend of my Father's, and came hither to pass away a Month or two with his Daughters. I have been entertained with the utmost Civility by the whole Family, and nothing has been omitted which can make my Stay easy and agreeable on the Part of the Family; but there is a Gentleman here, a Visitant as I am, whose Behaviour has given me great Uneasinesses. When I first arrived here, he used me with the utmost Complaisance; but, forsooth, that was not with regard to my Sex, and since he has no Designs upon me, he does not know why he should distinguish me from a Man in things indifferent. He is, you must know, one of those familiar Coxcombs, who have observed some well-bred Men with a good Grace converse with Women, and say no fine things, but yet treat them with that sort of Respect which flows from the Heart and the Understanding, but is exerted in no Professions or Compliments. This Puppy, to imitate this Excellence, or avoid the contrary Fault of being troublesome in Complaisance, takes upon him to try his Talent upon me, insomuch that he contradicts me upon all Occasions, and one day told me I lied. If I had stuck him with my Bodkin, and behaved my self like a Man, since he won't treat me as a Woman, I had, I think, served him right. I wish, Sir , you would please to give him some Maxims of Behaviour in these Points, and resolve me if all Maids are not in point of Conversation to be treated by all Batchelors as their Mistresses? if not so, are they not to be used as gently as their Sisters? Is it sufferable, that the Fop of whom I complain should say, as he would rather have such a-one without a Groat, than me with the Indies? What right has any Man to make Suppositions of things not in his Power, and then declare his Will to the dislike of one that has never offended him? I assure you these are things worthy your Consideration, and I hope we shall have your Thoughts upon them. I am, tho' a Woman justly offended, ready to forgive all this, because I have no Remedy but leaving very agreeable Company sooner than I deSir e. This also is an heinous Aggravation of his Offence, that he is inflicting Banishment upon me. Your printing this Letter may perhaps be an Admonition to reform him: As soon as it appears I will write my Name at the End of it, and lay it in his Way; the making which just Reprimand, I hope you will put in the Power of,

Sir ,
Your constant Reader,
and humble Servant

Footnote 1:   Paradise Lost, i. 659-662.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 4

No. 509

Tuesday, October 14, 1712


Hominis frugi et temperantis functus officium.


The useful Knowledge in the following Letter shall have a Place in my Paper, tho' there is nothing in it which immediately regards the Polite or the Learned World; I say immediately, for upon Reflection every Man will find there is a remote Influence upon his own Affairs, in the Prosperity or Decay of the Trading Part of Mankind. My present Correspondent, I believe, was never in Print before; but what he says well deserves a general Attention, tho' delivered in his own homely Maxims, and a Kind of Proverbial Simplicity; which Sort of Learning has rais'd more Estates than ever were, or will be, from attention to Virgil, Horace, Tully, Seneca, Plutarch, or any of the rest, whom, I dare say, this worthy Citizen would hold to be indeed ingenious, but unprofitable Writers. But to the Letter.

Broadstreet, Oct. 10, 1712.


Sir ,

'I accuse you of many Discourses on the Subject of Money, which you have heretofore promis'd the Publick, but have not discharg'd your self thereof. But, forasmuch as you seem to depend upon Advice from others what to do in that Point, have sate down to write you the Needful upon that Subject. But, before I enter thereupon, I shall take this Opportunity to observe to you, that the thriving frugal Man shews it in every Part of his Expence, Dress, Servants, and House; and I must in the first place, complain to you, as SPECTATOR, that in these Particulars there is at this Time, throughout the City of London, a lamentable Change from that Simplicity of Manners, which is the true Source of Wealth and Prosperity. I just now said, the Man of Thrift shews Regularity in every thing; but you may, perhaps, laugh that I take Notice of such a Particular as I am going to do, for an Instance that this City is declining, if their antient &œlig;conomy is not restor'd. The Thing which gives me this Prospect, and so much Offence, is the Neglect of the Royal-Exchange, I mean the Edifice so called, and the Walks appertaining thereunto. The Royal-Exchange is a Fabrick that well deserves to be so called, as well to express that our Monarch's highest Glory and Advantage consists in being the Patrons of Trade, as that it is commodious for Business, and an Instance of the Grandeur both of Prince and People. But alas! at present it hardly seems to be set apart for any such Use or Purpose. Instead of the Assembly of honourable Merchants, substantial Tradesmen, and knowing Masters of Ships; the Mumpers, the Halt, the Blind, and the Lame; your Venders of Trash, Apples, Plumbs; your Ragamuffins, Rakeshames, and Wenches, have justled the greater Number of the former out of that Place. Thus it is, especially on the Evening-Change; so that what with the Din of Squalings, Oaths and Cries of Beggars, Men of the greatest Consequence in our City absent themselves from the Place. This Particular, by the way, is of evil Consequence; for if the Change be no Place for Men of the highest Credit to frequent, it will not be a Disgrace to those of less Abilities to absent. I remember the time when Rascally Company were kept out, and the unlucky Boys with Toys and Balls were whipped away by a Beadle. I have seen this done indeed of late, but then it has been only to chase the Lads from Chuck, that the Beadle might seize their Copper.

I must repeat the Abomination, that the Walnut Trade is carry'd on by old Women within the Walks, which makes the Place impassable by reason of Shells and Trash. The Benches around are so filthy, that no one can sit down, yet the Beadles and Officers have the Impudence at Christmas to ask for their Box, though they deserve the Strapado. I do not think it impertinent to have mentioned this, because it speaks a neglect in the Domestick Care of the City, and the Domestick is the truest Picture of a Man every where else.

But I designed to speak on the Business of Money and Advancement of Gain. The Man proper for this, speaking in the general, is of a sedate, plain, good Understanding, not apt to go out of his way, but so behaving himself at home, that Business may come to him. Sir William Turner, that valuable Citizen, has left behind him a most excellent Rule, and couched it in very few Words, suited to the meanest Capacity. He would say, Keep your Shop and your Shop will keep you. It must be confessed, that if a Man of a great Genius could add Steadiness to his Vivacities, or substitute slower Men of Fidelity to transact the methodical part of his Affairs, such a one would outstrip the rest of the World: But Business and Trade is not to be managed by the same Heads which write Poetry, and make Plans for the Conduct of Life in general. So tho' we are at this day beholden to the late witty and inventive Duke of Buckingham for the whole Trade and Manufacture of Glass, yet I suppose there is no one will aver, that, were his Grace yet living, they would not rather deal with my diligent Friend and Neighbour, Mr. Gumley, for any Goods to be prepared and delivered on such a Day, than he would with that illustrious Mechanick abovementioned.

'No, no, Mr. SPECTATOR, you Wits must not pretend to be rich; and it is possible the Reason may be, in some Measure, because you despise, or at least you do not value it enough to let it take up your chief Attention; which the Trader must do, or lose his Credit, which is to him what Honour, Reputation, Fame, or Glory is to other sort of Men.

'I shall not speak to the Point of Cash it self, till I see how you approve of these my Maxims in general: But, I think, a Speculation upon Many a Little makes a Mickle, A Penny sav'd is a Penny got, Penny wise and Pound foolish, It is Need that makes the old Wife trot, would be very useful to the World, and if you treated them with Knowledge would be useful to your self, for it would make Demands for your Paper among those who have no Notion of it at present. But of these Matters more hereafter. If you did this, as you excel many Writers of the present Age for Politeness, so you would outgo the Author of the true Strops of Razors for Use.

'I shall conclude this Discourse with an Explanation of a Proverb, which by vulgar Errour is taken and used when a Man is reduced to an Extremity, whereas the Propriety of the Maxim is to use it when you would say, there is Plenty, but you must make such a Choice, as not to hurt another who is to come after you.

'Mr. Tobias Hobson, from whom we have the Expression, was a very honourable Man, for I shall ever call the Man so who gets an Estate honestly. Mr. Tobias Hobson was a Carrier, and being a Man of great Abilities and Invention, and one that saw where there might good Profit arise, though the duller Men overlooked it; this ingenious Man was the first in this Island who let out Hackney-Horses. He lived in Cambridge, and observing that the Scholars rid hard, his manner was to keep a large Stable of Horses, with Boots, Bridles, and Whips to furnish the Gentlemen at once, without going from College to College to borrow, as they have done since the Death of this worthy Man: I say, Mr. Hobson kept a Stable of forty good Cattle, always ready and fit for travelling; but when a Man came for a Horse, he was led into the Stable, where there was great Choice, but he obliged him to take the Horse which stood next to the Stable-Door; so that every Customer was alike well served according to his Chance, and every Horse ridden with the same Justice: From whence it became a Proverb, when what ought to be your Election was forced upon you, to say, Hobson's Choice. This memorable Man stands drawn in Fresco at an Inn (which he used) in Bishopsgate-street, with an hundred Pound Bag under his Arm, with this Inscription upon the said Bag,

The fruitful Mother of an Hundred more.
'Whatever Tradesman will try the Experiment, and begin the day after you publish this my Discourse to treat his Customers all alike, and all reasonably and honestly, I will ensure him the same Success.

I am, Sir ,
Your loving Friend,

Hezekiah Thrift

Contents, p. 4

No. 510

Wednesday, October 15, 1712


—Si sapis
Neque præterquam quas ipse amor molestias
Habet addas; et illas, quas habet, recte feras.


I was the other day driving in a1 Hack thro' Gerrard-street, when my Eye was immediately catch'd with the prettiest Object imaginable, the Face of a very fair Girl, between Thirteen and Fourteen, fixed at the Chin to a painted Sash, and made part of the Landskip. It seemed admirably done, and upon throwing my self eagerly out of the Coach to look at it, it laugh'd and flung from the Window. This amiable Figure dwelt upon me; and I was considering the Vanity of the Girl, and her pleasant Coquettry in acting a Picture till she was taken Notice of, and raised the Admiration of her Beholders. This little Circumstance made me run into Reflections upon the Force of Beauty, and the wonderful Influence the Female Sex has upon the other part of the Species. Our Hearts are seized with their Enchantments, and there are few of us, but brutal Men, who by that Hardness lose the chief Pleasure in them, can resist their Insinuations, tho' never so much against our own Interest and Opinion. It is common with Women to destroy the good Effects a Man's following his own Way and Inclination might have upon his Honour and Fortune, by interposing their Power over him in matters wherein they cannot influence him, but to his Loss and Disparagement. I do not know therefore a Task so difficult in human Life, as to be proof against the Importunities of a Woman a Man loves. There is certainly no Armour against Tears, sullen Looks, or at best constrained Familiarities, in her whom you usually meet with Transport and Alacrity. Sir Walter Rawleigh was quoted in a Letter (of a very ingenious Correspondent of mine) on this Subject. That Author, who had lived in Courts, Camps, travelled through many Countries, and seen many Men under several Climates, and of as various Complections, speaks of our Impotence to resist the Wiles of Women, in very severe Terms. His words are as follows2:
What Means did the Devil find out, or what Instruments did his own Subtlety present him, as fittest and aptest to work his Mischief by? Even the unquiet Vanity of the Woman; so as by Adam's hearkening to the Voice of his Wife, contrary to the express Commandment of the living God, Mankind by that her Incantation became the subject of Labour, Sorrow, and Death; the Woman being given to Man for a Comforter and Companion, but not for a Counsellor. It is also to be noted by whom the Woman was tempted; even by the most ugly and unworthy of all Beasts, into whom the Devil entered and persuaded. Secondly, What was the Motive of her Disobedience? Even a deSir e to know what was most unfitting her Knowledge; an Affection which has ever since remained in all the Posterity of her Sex. Thirdly, What was it that moved the Man to yield to her Persuasions; even the same Cause which hath moved all Men since to the like Consent, namely, an Unwillingness to grieve her or make her sad, lest she should pine, and be overcome with Sorrow. But if Adam in the state of Perfection, and Solomon the Son of David, God's chosen Servant, and himself a Man endued with the greatest Wisdom, did both of them disobey their Creator by the Persuasion and for the Love they bare to a Woman, it is not so wonderful as lamentable, that other Men in succeeding Ages have been allured to so many inconvenient and wicked Practices by the Persuasion of their Wives, or other beloved Darlings, who cover over and shadow many malicious Purposes with a counterfeit Passion of dissimulate Sorrow and Unquietness.
The Motions of the Minds of Lovers are no where so well described, as in the Works of skillful Writers for the Stage. The Scene between Fulvia and Curius, in the second Act of Johnson's Catiline, is an excellent Picture of the Power of a Lady over her Gallant. The Wench plays with his Affections; and as a Man of all Places in the World wishes to make a good Figure with his Mistress, upon her upbraiding him with Want of Spirit, he alludes to Enterprizes which he cannot reveal but with the Hazard of his Life. When he is worked thus far, with a little Flattery of her Opinion of his Gallantry, and deSir e to know more of it out of her overflowing Fondness to him, he brags to her till his Life is in her Disposal.

When a Man is thus liable to be vanquished by the Charms of her he loves, the safest Way is to determine what is proper to be done, but to avoid all Expostulation with her before he executes what he has resolved. Women are ever too hard for us upon a Treaty, and one must consider how senseless a thing it is to argue with one whose Looks and Gestures are more prevalent with you, than your Reason and Arguments can be with her. It is a most miserable Slavery to submit to what you disapprove, and give up a Truth for no other Reason, but that you had not Fortitude to support you in asserting it. A Man has enough to do to conquer his own unreasonable Wishes and DeSir es; but he does that in vain, if he has those of another to gratify. Let his Pride be in his Wife and Family, let him give them all the Conveniences of Life in such a manner as if he were proud of them; but let it be his own innocent Pride, and not their exorbitant DeSir es, which are indulged by him. In this case all the little Arts imaginable are used to soften a Man's Heart, and raise his Passion above his Understanding; but in all Concessions of this Kind, a Man should consider whether the Present he makes flows from his own Love, or the Importunity of his Beloved: If from the latter, he is her Slave; if from the former, her Friend. We laugh it off, and do not weigh this Subjection to Women with that Seriousness which so important a Circumstance deserves. Why was Courage given to Man, if his Wife's Fears are to frustrate it? When this is once indulged, you are no longer her Guardian and Protector, as you were designed by Nature; but, in Compliance to her Weaknesses, you have disabled your self from avoiding the Misfortunes into which they will lead you both, and you are to see the Hour in which you are to be reproached by her self for that very Complaisance to her. It is indeed the most difficult Mastery over our selves we can possibly attain, to resist the Grief of her who charms us; but let the Heart ake, be the Anguish never so quick and painful, it is what must be suffered and passed through, if you think to live like a Gentleman, or be conscious to your self that you are a Man of Honesty. The old Argument, that You do not love me if you deny me this, which first was used to obtain a Trifle, by habitual Success will oblige the unhappy Man who gives Way to it, to resign the Cause even of his Country and his Honour.


Footnote 1:  an and in first reprint.
return to footnote mark

Footnote 2:   History of the World, Bk. i. ch. 4, sect. 4.

Contents, p. 4

No. 511

Thursday, October 16, 1712


Quis non invenit turbâ quod amaret in illâ?


Dear SPEC.

'Finding that my last Letter took, I do intend to continue my epistolary Correspondence with thee, on those dear confounded Creatures, Women. Thou knowest, all the little Learning I am Master of is upon that Subject; I never looked in a Book, but for their sakes. I have lately met with two pure Stories for a Spectator, which I am sure will please mightily, if they pass through thy Hands. The first of them I found by chance in a English Book called Herodotus, that lay in my Friend Dapperwit's Window, as I visited him one Morning. It luckily opened in the Place where I met with the following Account. He tells us that it was the Manner among the Persians to have several Fairs in the Kingdom, at which all the young unmarried Women were annually exposed to Sale. The Men who wanted Wives came hither to provide themselves: Every Woman was given to the highest Bidder, and the Mony which she fetched laid aside for the publick Use, to be employed as thou shalt hear by and by. By this means the richest People had the Choice of the Market, and culled out all the most extraordinary Beauties. As soon as the Fair was thus picked, the Refuse was to be distributed among the Poor, and among those who could not go to the Price of a Beauty Several of these married the Agreeables, without paying a Farthing for them, unless somebody chanced to think it worth his while to bid for them, in which Case the best Bidder was always the Purchaser. But now you must know, Spec. it happened in Persia as it does in our own Country, that there were as many ugly Women, as Beauties or Agreeables; so that by Consequence, after the Magistrates had put off a great many, there were still a great many that stuck upon their Hands. In order therefore to clear the Market, the Money which the Beauties had sold for, was disposed of among the Ugly; so that a poor Man, who could not afford to have a Beauty for his Wife, was forced to take up with a Fortune; the greatest Portion being always given to the most Deformed. To this the Author adds, that every poor Man was forced to live kindly with his Wife, or in case he repented of his Bargain, to return her Portion with her to the next publick Sale.

What I would recommend to thee on this Occasion is, to establish such an imaginary Fair in Great Britain: Thou couldst make it very pleasant, by matching Women of Quality with Coblers and Carmen, or describing Titles and Garters leading off in great Ceremony Shop-keepers and Farmers Daughters. Tho' to tell thee the Truth, I am confoundedly afraid that as the love of Mony prevails in our Island more than it did in Persia, we should find that some of our greatest Men would chuse out the Portions, and rival one another for the richest Piece of Deformity; and that on the contrary, the Toasts and Belles would be bought up by extravagant Heirs, Gamesters and Spendthrifts. Thou couldst make very pretty Reflections upon this Occasion in Honour of the Persian Politicks, who took care, by such Marriages, to beautify the upper part of the Species, and to make the greatest Persons in the Government the most graceful. But this I shall leave to thy judicious Pen.

'I have another Story to tell thee, which I likewise met with in a Book. It seems the General of the Tartars, after having laid siege to a strong Town in China, and taken it by Storm, would set to Sale all the Women that were found in it. Accordingly, he put each of them into a Sack, and after having thoroughly considered the Value of the Woman who was inclosed, marked the Price that was demanded for her upon the Sack. There were a great Confluence of Chapmen, that resorted from every Part, with a Design to purchase, which they were to do unsight unseen. The Book mentions a Merchant in particular, who observing one of the Sacks to be marked pretty high, bargained for it, and carried it off with him to his House. As he was resting with it upon a half-way Bridge, he was resolved to take a Survey of his Purchase: Upon opening the Sack, a little old Woman popped her Head out of it; at which the Adventurer was in so great a Rage, that he was going to shoot her out into the River. The old Lady, however, begged him first of all to hear her Story, by which he learned that she was sister to a great Mandarin, who would infallibly make the Fortune of his Brother-in-Law as soon as he should know to whose Lot she fell. Upon which the Merchant again tied her up in his Sack, and carried her to his House, where she proved an excellent Wife, and procured him all the Riches from her Brother that she had promised him.

'I fancy, if I was disposed to dream a second time, I could make a tolerable Vision upon this Plan. I would suppose all the unmarried Women in London and Westminster brought to Market in Sacks, with their respective Prices on each Sack. The first Sack that is sold is marked with five thousand Pound: Upon the opening of it, I find it filled with an admirable Housewife, of an agreeable Countenance: The Purchaser, upon hearing her good Qualities, pays down her Price very chearfully. The second I would open, should be a five hundred Pound Sack: The Lady in it, to our surprize, has the Face and Person of a Toast: As we are wondering how she came to be set at so low a Price, we hear that she would have been valued at ten thousand Pound, but that the Publick had made those Abatements for her being a Scold. I would afterwards find some beautiful, modest, and discreet Woman, that should be the top of the Market; and perhaps discover half a dozen Romps tyed up together in the same Sack, at one hundred Pound an Head. The Prude and the Coquet should be valued at the same Price, tho' the first should go off the better of the two. I fancy thou wouldst like such a Vision, had I time to finish it; because, to talk in thy own way, there is a Moral in it. Whatever thou may'st think of it, pr'ythee do not make any of thy queer Apologies for this Letter, as thou didst for my last. The Women love a gay lively Fellow, and are never angry at the Railleries of one who is their known Admirer. I am always bitter upon them, but well with them.



Contents, p. 4

No. 512

Friday, October 17, 1712


Lectorem delectando pariterque monendo.


There is nothing which we receive with so much Reluctance as Advice. We look upon the Man who gives it us as offering an Affront to our Understanding, and treating us like Children or Ideots. We consider the Instruction as an implicit Censure, and the Zeal which any one shews for our Good on such an Occasion as a Piece of Presumption or Impertinence. The Truth of it is, the Person who pretends to advise, does, in that particular, exercise a Superiority over us, and can have no other Reason for it, but that in comparing us with himself, he thinks us defective either in our Conduct or our Understanding. For these Reasons, there is nothing so difficult as the Art of making Advice agreeable; and indeed all the Writers, both Ancient and Modern, have distinguished themselves among one another, according to the Perfection at which they have arrived in this Art. How many Devices have been made use of, to render this bitter Potion palatable? Some convey their Instructions to us in the best chosen Words, others in the most harmonious Numbers, some in Points of Wit, and others in short Proverbs.

But among all the different Ways of giving Counsel, I think the finest, and that which pleases the most universally, is Fable, in whatsoever shape it appears. If we consider this way of instructing or giving Advice, it excels all others, because it is the least shocking, and the least subject to those Exceptions which I have before mentioned.

This will appear to us, if we reflect in the first place, that upon the reading of a Fable we are made to believe we advise ourselves. We peruse the Author for the sake of the Story, and consider the Precepts rather as our own Conclusions, than his Instructions. The Moral insinuates it self imperceptibly, we are taught by Surprise, and become wiser and better unawares. In short, by this method a Man is so far over-reached as to think he is directing himself, whilst he is following the Dictates of another, and consequently is not sensible of that which is the most unpleasing Circumstance in Advice.

In the next place, if we look into human Nature, we shall find that the Mind is never so much pleased, as when she exerts her self in any Action that gives her an Idea of her own Perfections and Abilities. This natural Pride and Ambition of the Soul is very much gratified in the reading of a Fable: for in Writings of this kind, the Reader comes in for half of the Performance; every thing appears to him like a Discovery of his own; he is busied all the while in applying Characters and Circumstances, and is in this respect both a Reader and a Composer. It is no wonder therefore that on such Occasions, when the Mind is thus pleased with it self, and amused with its own Discoveries, that it is highly delighted with the Writing which is the occasion of it. For this reason the Absalom and Achitophel1 was one of the most popular Poems that ever appeared in English. The poetry is indeed very fine, but had it been much finer, it would not have so much pleased, without a plan which gave the Reader an Opportunity of exerting his own Talents.

This oblique manner of giving Advice is so inoffensive, that if we look into ancient Histories, we find the wise Men of old very often chose to give Counsel to their Kings in Fables. To omit many which will occur to every one's Memory, there is a pretty Instance of this Nature in a Turkish Tale, which I do not like the worse for that little Oriental Extravagance which is mixed with it.

We are told that the Sultan Mahmoud, by his perpetual Wars abroad, and his Tyranny at home, had filled his Dominions with Ruin and Desolation, and half unpeopled the Persian Empire. The Visier to this great Sultan (whether an Humourist or an Enthusiast, we are not informed) pretended to have learned of a certain Dervise to understand the Language of Birds, so that there was not a Bird that could open his Mouth, but the Visier knew what it was he said. As he was one Evening with the Emperor, in their return from Hunting, they saw a couple of Owls upon a Tree that grew near an old Wall out of an Heap of Rubbish. I would fain know, says the Sultan, what those two Owls are saying to one another; listen to their Discourse, and give me an account of it. The Visier approached the Tree, pretending to be very attentive to the two Owls. Upon his return to the Sultan, Sir , says he, I have heard part of their Conversation, but dare not tell you what it is. The Sultan would not be satisfied with such an Answer, but forced him to repeat word for word every thing the Owls had said. You must know then, said the Visier, that one of these Owls has a Son, and the other a Daughter, between whom they are now upon a Treaty of Marriage. The Father of the Son said to the Father of the Daughter, in my hearing, Brother, I consent to this Marriage, provided you will settle upon your Daughter fifty ruined Villages for her Portion. To which the Father of the Daughter replied, Instead of fifty I will give her five hundred, if you please. God grant a long Life to Sultan Mahmoud; whilst he reigns over us, we shall never want ruined Villages.

The Story says, the Sultan was so touched with the Fable, that he rebuilt the Towns and Villages which had been destroyed, and from that time forward consulted the Good of his People2.

To fill up my Paper, I shall add a most ridiculous piece of natural Magic, which was taught by no less a Philosopher than Democritus, namely, that if the Blood of certain Birds, which he mentioned, were mixed together, it would produce a Serpent of such a wonderful Virtue, that whoever did eat it should be skill'd in the Language of Birds, and understand every thing they said to one another. Whether the Dervise abovementioned might not have eaten such a Serpent, I shall leave to the Determinations of the Learned.


Footnote 1:  Dryden's satire on the intrigues of the Duke of Monmouth and Lord Shaftesbury to exclude the King's brother from the Throne. Monmouth was Absalom, and Shaftesbury Achitophel.
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Footnote 2:   Pilpay's Fables.

Contents, p. 4

No. 513

Saturday, October 18, 1712


—Afflata est numine quando
Jam propiore Dei—


The following Letter comes to me from that excellent Man in Holy Orders, whom I have mentioned more than once as one of that Society who assist me in my Speculations. It is a Thought in Sickness, and of a very serious Nature, for which Reason I give it a place in the Paper of this Day.

Sir ,

'The Indisposition which has long hung upon me, is at last grown to such a1 Head, that it must quickly make an End of me, or of it self. You may imagine, that whilst I am in this bad state of Health, there are none of your Works which I read with greater Pleasure than your Saturday's Papers. I should be very glad if I could furnish you with any Hints for that Day's Entertainment. Were I able to dress up several Thoughts of a serious nature, which have made great Impressions on my Mind during a long Fit of Sickness, they might not be an improper Entertainment for that Occasion.

'Among all the Reflections which usually rise in the Mind of a sick Man, who has Time and Inclination to consider his approaching End, there is none more natural than that of his going to appear Naked and Unbodied before Him who made him. When a Man considers, that as soon as the vital Union is dissolved, he shall see that Supreme Being, whom he now contemplates at a Distance, and only in his Works; or, to speak more philosophically, when by some Faculty in the Soul he shall apprehend the Divine Being, and be more sensible of his Presence, than we are now of the Presence of any Object which the Eye beholds, a Man must be lost in Carelessness and Stupidity, who is not alarmed at such a Thought. Dr. Sherlock, in his excellent Treatise upon Death, has represented, in very strong and lively Colours, the State of the Soul in its first Separation from the Body, with regard to that invisible World which every where surrounds us, tho' we are not able to discover it through this grosser World of Matter, which is accommodated to our Senses in this Life. His Words are as follow.
That Death, which is our leaving this World, is nothing else but our putting off these Bodies, teaches us, that it is only our Union to these Bodies, which intercepts the sight of the other World: The other World is not at such a distance from us, as we may imagine; the Throne of God indeed is at a great remove from this Earth, above the third Heavens, where he displays his Glory to those blessed Spirits which encompass his Throne; but as soon as we step out of these Bodies, we step into the other World, which is not so properly another World, (for there is the same Heaven and Earth still) as a new state of Life. To live in these Bodies is to live in this World; to live out of them is to remove into the next: For while our Souls are confined to these Bodies, and can look only thro' these material Casements, nothing but what is material can affect us; nay, nothing but what is so gross, that it can reflect Light, and convey the Shapes and Colours of Things with it to the Eye: So that though within this visible World, there be a more glorious Scene of Things than what appears to us, we perceive nothing at all of it; for this Veil of Flesh parts the visible and invisible World: But when we put off these Bodies, there are new and surprizing Wonders present themselves to our Views; when these material Spectacles are taken off, the Soul, with its own naked Eyes, sees what was invisible before: And then we are in the other World, when we can see it, and converse with it: Thus St. Paul tell us, That when we are at home in the Body, we are absent from the Lord; but when we are absent from the Body, we are present with the Lord, 2 Cor. 5. 6, 8. And methinks this is enough to cure us of our Fondness for these Bodies, unless we think it more deSir able to be confined to a Prison, and to look through a Grate all our Lives, which gives us but a very narrow prospect, and that none of the best neither, than to be set at liberty to view all the Glories of the World. What would we give now for the least Glimpse of that invisible World, which the first step we take out of these Bodies will present us with? There are such things as Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, neither hath it entered into the Heart of Man to conceive: Death opens our Eyes, enlarges our Prospect, presents us with a new and more glorious World, which we can never see while we are shut up in Flesh; which should make us as willing to part with this Veil, as to take the Film off of our Eyes, which hinders our Sight.
'As a thinking Man cannot but be very much affected with the Idea of his appearing in the presence of that Being whom none can see and live; he must be much more affected when he considers that this Being whom he appears before, will examine all the Actions of his past Life, and reward or punish him accordingly. I must confess that I think there is no Scheme of Religion, besides that of Christianity, which can possibly support the most virtuous Person under this Thought. Let a Man's Innocence be what it will, let his Virtues rise to the highest pitch of Perfection attainable in this Life, there will be still in him so many secret Sins, so many human Frailties, so many Offences of Ignorance, Passion and Prejudice, so many unguarded Words and Thoughts, and in short, so many Defects in his best Actions, that, without the Advantages of such an Expiation and Atonement as Christianity has revealed to us, it is impossible that he should be cleared before his Sovereign Judge, or that he should be able to stand in his Sight. Our Holy Religion suggests to us the only Means whereby our Guilt may be taken away, and our imperfect Obedience accepted.

'It is this Series of Thought that I have endeavoured to express in the following Hymn, which I have composed during this my Sickness.

I When rising from the Bed of Death,
O'erwhelm'd with Guilt and Fear,
I see my Maker, Face to Face,
O how shall I appear!
II If yet, while Pardon may be found,
And Mercy may be sought,
My Heart with inward Horrour shrinks,
And trembles at the Thought;
III When thou, O Lord, shalt stand disclos'd
In Majesty severe,
And sit in Judgment on my Soul,
O how shall I appear!
IV But thou hast told the troubled Mind,
Who does her Sins lament,
The timely Tribute of her Tears
Shall endless Woe prevent.
V Then see the Sorrows of my Heart,
Ere yet it be too late;
And hear my Saviour's dying Groans,
To give those Sorrows Weight.
VI For never shall my Soul despair
Her Pardon to procure,
Who knows thine only Son has dy'd
To make her Pardon sure.

'There is a noble Hymn in French, which Monsieur Bayle has celebrated for a very fine one, and which the famous Author of the Art of Speaking calls an Admirable one, that turns upon a Thought of the same Nature. If I could have done it Justice in English, I would have sent it you translated; it was written by Monsieur Des Barreaux; who had been one of the greatest Wits and Libertines in France, but in his last Years was as remarkable a Penitent2.
Grand Dieu, tes jugemens sont remplis d'equité;
Toûjours tu prens plaiSir à nous tre propice:
Mais j'ai tant fait de mal, que jamais ta bonté
Ne me pardonnera sans choquer ta Justice.
Ouy, mon Dieu, la grandeur de mon impieté
Ne laisse à ton pouvoir que le choix du suplice:
Ton interest s' oppose a ma felicité;
Et ta clemence meme attend que je perisse.
Contente ton deSir puis qu'il t'est glorieux;
Offense toy des pleurs qui coulent de mes yeux;
Tonne, frappe, il est temps, rens moi guerre pour guerre.
J'adore en perissant la raison qui t'aigrit:
Mais dessus quel endroit tombera ton tonnerre,
Qui ne soit tout convert du sang de
Jesus Christ.
'If these Thoughts may be serviceable to you, I deSir e you would place them in a proper Light, and am ever, with great Sincerity,'

Sir , Yours, &c.

Footnote 1:   an in first reprint.
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Footnote 2:  Jacques Vallée Seigneur des Barreaux, born in Paris in 1602, was Counsellor of the Parliament of Paris, and gave up his charge to devote himself to pleasure. He was famous for his songs and verses, for his affability and generosity and irreligion. A few years before his death he was converted, and wrote the pious sonnet given above, which had been very widely praised and quoted. In his religious days he lived secluded at Châlon sur Saône, where he died, in 1673.

Contents, p. 4

No. 5141

Monday, October 20, 1712


Me Parnassi deserta per ardua, dulcis
Raptat Amor; juvat ire jugis qua nulla priorum
Castaliam molle divertitur Orbita Clivo.



'I came home a little later than usual the other Night, and not finding my self inclined to sleep, I took up Virgil to divert me till I should be more disposed to Rest. He is the Author whom I always chuse on such Occasions, no one writing in so divine, so harmonious, nor so equal a Strain, which leaves the Mind composed, and softened into an agreeable Melancholy; the Temper in which, of all others, I chuse to close the Day. The Passages I turned to were those beautiful Raptures in his Georgicks, where he professes himself entirely given up to the Muses, and smit with the Love of Poetry, passionately wishing to be transported to the cool Shades and Retirements of the Mountain Hæmus. I clos'd the Book and went to Bed. What I had just before been reading made so strong an Impression on my Mind, that Fancy seemed almost to fulfil to me the Wish of Virgil, in presenting to me the following Vision.

'Methought I was on a sudden plac'd in the Plains of Boeotia, where at the end of the Horizon I saw the Mountain Parnassus rising before me. The Prospect was of so large an Extent, that I had long wander'd about to find a Path which should directly lead me to it, had I not seen at some distance a Grove of Trees, which in a Plain that had nothing else remarkable enough in it to fix my Sight, immediately determined me to go thither. When I arrived at it, I found it parted out into a great Number of Walks and Alleys, which often widened into beautiful Openings, as Circles or Ovals, set round with Yews and Cypresses, with Niches, Grotto's, and Caves placed on the Sides, encompassed with Ivy. There was no Sound to be heard in the whole Place, but only that of a gentle Breeze passing over the Leaves of the Forest, every thing beside was buried in a profound Silence. I was captivated with the Beauty and Retirement of the Place, and never so much, before that Hour, was pleased with the Enjoyment of my self. I indulged the Humour, and suffered my self to wander without Choice or Design. At length, at the end of a Range of Trees, I saw three Figures seated on a Bank of Moss, with a silent Brook creeping at their Feet. I ador'd them as the tutelar Divinities of the Place, and stood still to take a particular View of each of them. The Middlemost, whose Name was Solitude, sat with her Arms across each other, and seemed rather pensive and wholly taken up with her own Thoughts, than any ways grieved or displeased. The only Companions which she admitted into that Retirement, was the Goddess Silence, who sat on her right Hand with her Finger on her Mouth, and on her left Contemplation, with her Eyes fixed upon the Heavens. Before her lay a celestial Globe, with several Schemes of Mathematical Theorems. She prevented my Speech with the greatest Affability in the World: Fear not, said she, I know your Request before you speak it; you would be led to the Mountain of the Muses; the only way to it lies thro' this Place, and no one is so often employ'd in conducting Persons thither as my self. When she had thus spoken, she rose from her Seat, and I immediately placed my self under her Direction; but whilst I passed through the Grove, I could not help enquiring of her who were the Persons admitted into that sweet Retirement. Surely, said I, there can nothing enter here but Virtue and virtuous Thoughts: The whole Wood seems design'd for the Reception and Reward of such Persons as have spent their Lives according to the Dictates of their Conscience and the Commands of the Gods. You imagine right, said she; assure your self this Place was at first designed for no other: Such it continued to be in the Reign of Saturn, when none entered here but holy Priests, Deliverers of their Country from Oppression and Tyranny, who repos'd themselves here after their Labours, and those whom the Study and Love of Wisdom had fitted for divine Conversation. But now it is become no less dangerous than it was before deSir able: Vice has learned so to mimick Virtue, that it often creeps in hither under its Disguise. See there! just before you, Revenge stalking by, habited in the Robe of Honour. Observe not far from him Ambition standing alone; if you ask him his Name, he will tell you it is Emulation or Glory. But the most frequent Intruder we have is Lust, who succeeds now the Deity to whom in better Days this Grove was entirely devoted. Virtuous Love, with Hymen, and the Graces attending him, once reign'd over this happy Place; a whole Train of Virtues waited on him, and no dishonourable Thought durst presume for Admittance: But now! how is the whole Prospect changed? and how seldom renewed by some few who dare despise sordid Wealth, and imagine themselves fit Companions for so charming a Divinity?

'The Goddess had no sooner said thus, but we were arriv'd at the utmost Boundaries of the Wood, which lay contiguous to a Plain that ended at the Foot of the Mountain. Here I kept close to my Guide, being sollicited by several Phantomes, who assured me they would shew me a nearer Way to the Mountain of the Muses. Among the rest Vanity was extremely importunate, having deluded infinite Numbers, whom I saw wandering at the Foot of the Hill. I turned away from this despicable Troop with Disdain, and addressing my self to my Guide, told her, that as I had some Hopes I should be able to reach up part of the Ascent, so I despaired of having Strength enough to attain the Plain on the Top. But being informed by her that it was impossible to stand upon the Sides, and that if I did not proceed onwards, I should irrecoverably fall down to the lowest Verge, I resolved to hazard any Labour and Hardship in the Attempt: So great a deSir e had I of enjoying the Satisfaction I hoped to meet with at the End of my Enterprize!

'There were two Paths, which led up by different Ways to the Summit of the Mountain; the one was guarded by the Genius which presides over the Moment of our Births. He had it in charge to examine the several Pretensions of those who deSir ed a Pass that Way, but to admit none excepting those only on whom Melpomene had look'd with a propitious Eye at the Hour of their Nativity. The other Way was guarded by Diligence, to whom many of those Persons apply'd who had met with a Denial the other Way; but he was so tedious in granting their Request, and indeed after Admittance the Way was so very intricate and laborious, that many after they had made some Progress, chose rather to return back than proceed, and very few persisted so long as to arrive at the End they proposed. Besides these two Paths, which at length severally led to the Top of the Mountain, there was a third made up of these two, which a little after the Entrance joined in one. This carried those happy Few, whose good Fortune it was to find it, directly to the Throne of Apollo. I don't know whether I should even now have had the Resolution to have demanded Entrance at either of these Doors, had I not seen a Peasant-like Man (followed by a numerous and lovely Train of Youths of both Sexes) insist upon Entrance for all whom he led up. He put me in mind of the Country Clown who is painted in the Map for leading Prince Eugene over the Alps. He had a Bundle of Papers in his Hand, and producing several, which he said, were given to him by Hands which he knew Apollo would allow as Passes; among which, methoughts, I saw some of my own Writing; the whole Assembly was admitted, and gave, by their Presence, a new Beauty and Pleasure to these happy Mansions. I found the Man did not pretend to enter himself, but served as a kind of Forester in the Lawns to direct Passengers, who by their own Merit, or Instructions he procured for them, had Virtue enough to travel that way. I looked very attentively upon this kind homely Benefactor, and forgive me, Mr. SPECTATOR, if I own to you I took him for your self. We were no sooner entered, but we were sprinkled three times with the Water of the Fountain Aganippe, which had Power to deliver us from all Harms, but only Envy, which reached even to the End of our Journey. We had not proceeded far in the middle Path when we arrived at the Summit of the Hill, where there immediately appeared to us two Figures, which extremely engaged my Attention: the one was a young Nymph in the Prime of her Youth and Beauty; she had Wings on her Shoulders and Feet, and was able to transport herself to the most distant Regions in the smallest Space of Time. She was continually varying her Dress, sometimes into the most natural and becoming Habits in the World, and at others into the most wild and freakish Garb that can be imagined. There stood by her a Man full-aged, and of great Gravity, who corrected her Inconsistences, by shewing them in his Mirror, and still flung her affected and unbecoming Ornaments down the Mountain, which fell in the Plain below, and were gathered up and wore with great Satisfaction by those that inhabited it. The Name of the Nymph was Fancy, the Daughter of Liberty, the most beautiful of all the Mountain-Nymphs. The other was Judgment, the Off-spring of Time, and the only Child he acknowledged to be his. A Youth, who sat upon a Throne just between them, was their genuine Offspring; his Name was Wit, and his Seat was composed of the Works of the most celebrated Authors. I could not but see with a secret Joy, that though the Greeks and Romans made the Majority, yet our own Countrymen were the next both in Number and Dignity. I was now at Liberty to take a full Prospect of that delightful Region. I was inspired with new Vigour and Life, and saw every thing in nobler and more pleasing Views than before; I breathed a purer Æther in a Sky which was a continued Azure, gilded with perpetual Sunshine. The two Summits of the Mountain rose on each Side, and formed in the midst a most delicious Vale, the Habitation of the Muses, and of such as had composed Works worthy of Immortality. Apollo was seated upon a Throne of Gold, and for a Canopy an aged Laurel spread its Boughs and its Shade over his Head. His Bow and Quiver lay at his Feet. He held his Harp in his Hand, whilst the Muses round about him celebrated with Hymns his Victory over the Serpent Python, and sometimes sung in softer Notes the Loves of Leucothoe and Daphnis. Homer, Virgil, and Milton were seated the next to them. Behind were a great Number of others, among whom I was surprized to see some in the Habit of Laplanders, who, notwithstanding the Uncouthness of their Dress, had lately obtained a Place upon the Mountain. I saw Pindar walking all alone, no one daring to accost him, till Cowley join'd himself to him; but growing weary of one who almost walked him out of breath, he left him for Horace and Anacreon, with whom he seemed infinitely delighted.

'A little further I saw another Groupe of Figures; I made up to them, and found it was Socrates dictating to Xenophon, and the Spirit of Plato; but most of all, Musoeus had the greatest Audience about him. I was at too great a Distance to hear what he said, or to discover the Faces of his Hearers; only I thought I now perceived Virgil, who had joined them, and stood in a Posture full of Admiration at the Harmony of his Words.

'Lastly, At the very Brink of the Hill I saw Boccalini sending Dispatches to the World below of what happened upon Parnassus; but I perceived he did it without leave of the Muses, and by stealth, and was unwilling to have them revised by Apollo. I could now from this Height and serene Sky behold the infinite Cares and Anxieties with which Mortals below sought out their way through the Maze of Life. I saw the Path of Virtue lie strait before them, whilst Interest, or some malicious Demon, still hurry'd them out of the Way. I was at once touched with Pleasure at my own Happiness, and Compassion at the sight of their inextricable Errors. Here the two contending Passions rose so high, that they were inconsistent with the sweet Repose I enjoy'd, and awaking with a sudden start, the only Consolation I could admit of for my Loss, was the Hopes that this Relation of my Dream will not displease you.'2

Footnote 1:   Room is made for this paper, in the original issue, by printing it in smaller type.
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Footnote 2:  This Advertisement follows:
A Letter written October 14, dated Middle Temple, has been overlooked, by reason it was not directed to the Spectator at the usual Places; and the Letter of the 18th, dated from the same Place, is groundless, the Author of the Paper of Friday last not having ever seen the Letter of the 14th. In all circumstances except the Place of Birth of the Person to whom the Letters were written, the Writer of them is misinformed.

Contents, p. 4

No. 515

Tuesday, October 21, 1712


Pudet me et miseret qui harum mores contabat mihi
Monuisse frustra—



'I am obliged to you for printing the Account I lately sent you of a Coquet who disturbed a sober Congregation in the City of London. That Intelligence ended at her taking Coach, and bidding the Driver go where he knew. I could not leave her so, but dogged her, as hard as she drove, to Paul's Church-Yard, where there was a Stop of Coaches attending Company coming out of the Cathedral. This gave me opportunity to hold up a Crown to her Coachman, who gave me the Signal, that he would hurry on, and make no Haste, as you know the Way is when they favour a Chase. By his many kind Blunders, driving against other Coaches, and slipping off some of his Tackle, I could keep up with him, and lodged my fine Lady in the Parish of St. James's. As I guessed when I first saw her at Church, her Business is to win Hearts and throw 'em away, regarding nothing but the Triumph. I have had the Happiness, by tracing her through all with whom I heard she was acquainted, to find one who was intimate with a Friend of mine, and to be introduced to her Notice. I have made so good use of my Time, as to procure from that Intimate of hers one of her Letters, which she writ to her when in the Country. This Epistle of her own may serve to alarm the World against her in ordinary Life, as mine, I hope, did those, who shall behold her at Church. The Letter was written last Winter to the Lady who gave it me; and I doubt not but you will find it the Soul of an happy self-loving Dame, that takes all the Admiration she can meet with, and returns none of it in Love to her Admirers.'
Dear Jenny,

"I am glad to find you are likely to be dispos'd of in Marriage so much to your Approbation as you tell me. You say you are afraid only of me, for I shall laugh at your Spouse's Airs. I beg of you not to fear it, for I am too nice a Discerner to laugh at any, but whom most other People think fine Fellows; so that your Dear may bring you hither as soon as his Horses are in Case enough to appear in Town, and you be very safe against any Raillery you may apprehend from me; for I am surrounded with Coxcombs of my own making, who are all ridiculous in a manner: your Good-man, I presume, can't exert himself. As Men who cannot raise their Fortunes, and are uneasy under the Incapacity of shining in Courts, rail at Ambition; so do awkard1 and insipid Women, who cannot warm the Hearts and charm the Eyes of Men, rail at Affectation: But she that has the Joy of seeing a Man's Heart leap into his Eyes at beholding her, is in no Pain for want of Esteem among a Crew of that Part of her own Sex, who have no Spirit but that of Envy, and no Language but that of Malice. I do not in this, I hope, express my self insensible of the Merit of Leodacia, who lowers her Beauty to all but her Husband, and never spreads her Charms but to gladden him who has a Right in them: I say, I do Honour to those who can be Coquets, and are not such; but I despise all who would be so, and in Despair of arriving at it themselves, hate and vilify all those who can. But, be that as it will, in Answer to your DeSir e of knowing my History: One of my chief present Pleasures is in Country-Dances: and, in Obedience to me, as well as the Pleasure of coming up to me with a good Grace, shewing themselves in their Address to others in my Presence, and the like Opportunities, they are all Proficients that Way: And I had the Happiness of being the other Night where we made six Couple, and every Woman's Partner a profess'd Lover of mine. The wildest Imagination cannot form to it self on any Occasion, higher Delight than I acknowledge my self to have been in all that Evening. I chose out of my Admirers a Set of Men who most love me, and gave them Partners of such of my own Sex who most envy'd me.

"My way is, when any Man who is my Admirer pretends to give himself Airs of Merit, as at this Time a certain Gentleman you know did, to mortify him by favouring in his Presence the most insignificant Creature I can find. At this Ball I was led into the Company by pretty Mr. Fanfly, who, you know, is the most obsequious, well-shaped, well-bred Woman's Man in Town. I at first Entrance declared him my Partner if I danced at all; which put the whole Assembly into a Grin, as forming no Terrours from such a Rival. But we had not been long in the Room, before I overheard the meritorious Gentleman above-mention'd say with an Oath, There is no Raillery in the Thing, she certainly loves the Puppy. My Gentleman, when we were dancing, took an Occasion to be very soft in his Oglings upon a Lady he danced with, and whom he knew of all Women I love most to outshine. The Contest began who should plague the other most. I, who do not care a Farthing for him, had no hard Task to out-vex him. I made Fanfly, with a very little Encouragement, cut Capers Coupee, and then sink with all the Air and Tenderness imaginable. When he perform'd this, I observed the Gentleman you know of fall into the same way, and imitate as well as he could the despised Fanfly. I cannot well give you, who are so grave a Country Lady, the Idea of the Joy we have when we see a stubborn Heart breaking, or a Man of Sense turning Fool for our sakes; but this happened to our Friend, and I expect his Attendance whenever I go to Church, to Court, to the Play, or the Park. This is a Sacrifice due to us Women of Genius, who have the Eloquence of Beauty, an easie Mein. I mean by an easie Mein, one which can be on Occasion easily affected: For I must tell you, dear Jenny, I hold one Maxim, which is an uncommon one, to wit, That our greatest Charms are owing to Affectation. 'Tis to That that our Arms can lodge so quietly just over our Hips, and the Fan can play without any Force or Motion but just of the Wrist. 'Tis to Affectation we owe the pensive Attention of Deidamia at a Tragedy, the scornful Approbation of Dulciamara at a Comedy, and the lowly Aspect of Lanquicelsa at a Sermon.

"To tell you the plain Truth, I know no Pleasure but in being admir'd, and have yet never failed of attaining the Approbation of the Man whose Regard I had a Mind to. You see all the Men who make a Figure in the World (as wise a Look as they are pleased to put upon the Matter) are moved by the same Vanity as I am. What is there in Ambition, but to make other People's Wills depend upon yours? This indeed is not to be aim'd at by one who has a Genius no higher than to think of being a very good Housewife in a Country Gentleman's Family. The Care of Poultrey and Piggs are great Enemies to the Countenance: The vacant Look of a fine Lady is not to be preserved, if she admits any thing to take up her Thoughts but her own dear Person. But I interrupt you too long from your Cares, and my self from my Conquests."

I am, Madam, Your most humble Servant.
'Give me leave, Mr. SPECTATOR, to add her Friend's Answer to this Epistle, who is a very discreet ingenious Woman.'
Dear Gatty,

"I take your Raillery in very good Part, and am obliged to you for the free Air with which you speak of your own Gayeties. But this is but a barren superficial Pleasure; indeed2, Gatty, we are made for Man, and in serious Sadness I must tell you, whether you yourself know it or no, all these Gallantries tend to no other End but to be a Wife and Mother as fast as you can."

I am, Madam, Your most humble3 Servant.

Footnote 1:   Spelt generally in the first issue awkard, in the first reprint aukward.
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Footnote 2:   for indeed,

Footnote 3:   obedient

Contents, p. 4

No. 516

Wednesday, October 22, 1712


Immortale odium et nunquam sanabile vulnus.
Inde furor vulgo, quod Numina vicinorum
Odit uterque locus, quum solos credit habendos
Esse Deos quos ipse colat.


Of all the monstrous Passions and Opinions which have crept into the World, there is none so wonderful as that those who profess the common Name of Christians, should pursue each other with Rancour and Hatred for Differences in their Way of following the Example of their Saviour. It seems so natural that all who pursue the Steps of any Leader should form themselves after his Manners, that it is impossible to account for Effects so different from what we might expect from those who profess themselves Followers of the highest Pattern of Meekness and Charity, but by ascribing such Effects to the Ambition and Corruption of those who are so audacious, with Souls full of Fury, to serve at the Altars of the God of Peace.

The Massacres to which the Church of Rome has animated the ordinary People, are dreadful Instances of the Truth of this Observation; and whoever reads the History of the Irish Rebellion, and the Cruelties which ensued thereupon, will be sufficiently convinced to what Rage poor Ignorants may be worked up by those who profess Holiness, and become Incendiaries, and under the Dispensation of Grace, promote Evils abhorrent to Nature.

This Subject and Catastrophe, which deserve so well to be remarked by the Protestant World, will, I doubt not, be considered by the Reverend and Learned Prelate that Preaches to-morrow before many of the Descendants, of those who perished on that lamentable Day, in a manner suitable to the Occasion, and worthy his own great Virtue and Eloquence.

I shall not dwell upon it any further, but only transcribe out of a little Tract, called, The Christian Hero, published in 1701, what I find there in Honour of the renowned Hero William III. who rescued that Nation from the Repetition of the same Disasters. His late Majesty, of glorious Memory, and the most Christian King, are considered at the Conclusion of that Treatise as Heads of the Protestant and Roman Catholick World in the following Manner.
'There were not ever, before the Entrance of the Christian Name into the World, Men who have maintained a more renowned Carriage, than the two great Rivals who possess the full Fame of the present Age, and will be the Theme and Examination of the future. They are exactly form'd by Nature for those Ends to which Heaven seems to have sent them amongst us: Both animated with a restless DeSir e of Glory, but pursue it by different Means, and with different Motives. To one it consists in an extensive undisputed Empire over his Subjects, to the other in their rational and voluntary Obedience: One's Happiness is founded in their want of Power, the other's in their want of DeSir e to oppose him. The one enjoys the Summit of Fortune with the Luxury of a Persian, the other with the Moderation of a Spartan: One is made to oppress, the other to relieve the Oppressed: The one is satisfy'd with the Pomp and Ostentation of Power to prefer and debase his Inferiours, the other delighted only with the Cause and Foundation of it to cherish and protect 'em. To one therefore Religion is but a convenient Disguise, to the other a vigorous Motive of Action.

'For without such Ties of real and solid Honour, there is no way of forming a Monarch, but after the Machiavillian Scheme, by which a Prince must ever seem to have all Virtues, but really to be Master of none, but is to be liberal, merciful and just, only as they serve his Interests; while, with the noble Art of Hypocrisy, Empire would be to be extended, and new Conquests be made by new Devices, by which prompt Address his Creatures might insensibly give Law in the Business of Life, by leading Men in the Entertainment of it1.

'Thus when Words and Show are apt to pass for the substantial things they are only to express, there would need no more to enslave a Country but to adorn a Court; for while every Man's Vanity makes him believe himself capable of becoming Luxury, Enjoyments are a ready Bait for Sufferings, and the Hopes of Preferment Invitations to Servitude; which Slavery would be colour'd with all the Agreements, as they call it, imaginable. The noblest Arts and Artists, the finest Pens and most elegant Minds, jointly employ'd to set it off, with the various Embellishments of sumptuous Entertainments, charming Assemblies, and polished Discourses; and those apostate Abilities of Men, the adored Monarch might profusely and skilfully encourage, while they flatter his Virtue, and gild his Vice at so high a rate, that he, without Scorn of the one, or Love of the other, would alternately and occasionally use both: So that his Bounty should support him in his Rapines, his Mercy in his Cruelties.

'Nor is it to give things a more severe Look than is natural, to suppose such must be the Consequences of a Prince's having no other Pursuit than that of his own Glory; for, if we consider an Infant born into the World, and beholding it self the mightiest thing in it, it self the present Admiration and future Prospect of a fawning People, who profess themselves great or mean, according to the Figure he is to make amongst them, what Fancy would not be debauched to believe they were but what they professed themselves, his mere Creatures, and use them as such by purchasing with their Lives a boundless Renown, which he, for want of a more just Prospect, would place in the Number of his Slaves, and the Extent of his Territories? Such undoubtedly would be the tragical Effects of a Prince's living with no Religion, which are not to be surpassed but by his having a false one.

'If Ambition were spirited with Zeal, what would follow, but that his People should be converted into an Army, whose Swords can make Right in Power, and solve Controversy in Belief? And if Men should be stiff-neck'd to the Doctrine of that visible Church, let them be contented with an Oar and a Chain, in the midst of Stripes and Anguish, to contemplate on him, whose Yoke is easy, and whose Burthen is light.

'With a Tyranny begun on his own Subjects, and Indignation that others draw their Breath independent of his Frown or Smile, why should he not proceed to the Seizure of the World? And if nothing but the Thirst of Sway were the Motive of his Actions, why should Treaties be other than mere Words, or solemn national Compacts be any thing but an Halt in the March of that Army, who are never to lay down their Arms, till all Men are reduc'd to the necessity of hanging their Lives on his wayward Will; who might supinely, and at leisure, expiate his own Sins by other Mens Sufferings, while he daily meditates new Slaughter, and new Conquest?

'For mere Man, when giddy with unbridled Power, is an insatiate Idol, not to be appeased with Myriads offer'd to his Pride, which may be puffed up by the Adulation of a base and prostrate World, into an Opinion that he is something more than human, by being something less: And, alas, what is there that mortal Man will not believe of himself, when complimented with the Attributes of God? Can he then conceive Thoughts of a Power as Omnipresent as his! But should there be such a Foe of Mankind now upon Earth, have our Sins so far provoked Heaven, that we are left utterly naked to his Fury? Is there no Power, no Leader, no Genius, that can conduct and animate us to our Death or our Defence? Yes; our great God never gave one to feign by his Permission, but he gave to another also to reign by his Grace.

'All the Circumstances of the illustrious Life of our Prince, seem to have conspired to make him the Check and Bridle of Tyranny; for his Mind has been strengthened and confirmed by one continual Struggle, and Heaven has educated him by Adversity to a quick Sense of the Distresses and Miseries of Mankind, which he was born to redress: In just scorn of the trivial Glories and light Ostentations of Power, that glorious Instrument of Providence moves, like that, in a steddy, calm, and silent Course, independent either of Applause or Calumny; which renders him, if not in a political, yet in a moral, a philosophick, an heroick, and a Christian Sense, an absolute Monarch; who satisfy'd with this unchangeable, just, and ample Glory, must needs turn all his Regards from himself to the Service of others; for he begins his Enterprize with his own Share in the Success of them; for Integrity bears in it self its Reward, nor can that which depends not on Event ever know Disappointment.

'With the undoubted Character of a glorious Captain, and (what he much more values than the most splendid Titles) that of a sincere and honest Man, he is the Hope and Stay of Europe, an universal Good not to be engrossed by us only, for distant Potentates implore his Friendship, and injur'd Empires court his Assistance. He rules the World, not by an Invasion of the People of the Earth, but the Address of its Princes; and if that World should be again rous'd from the Repose which his prevailing Arms had given it, why should we not hope that there is an Almighty, by whose Influence the terrible Enemy that thinks himself prepar'd for Battel, may find he is but ripe for Destruction? and that there may be in the Womb of Time great Incidents, which may make the Catastrophe of a prosperous Life as unfortunate as the particular Scenes of it were successful? For there does not want a skilful Eye and resolute Arm to observe and grasp the Occasion: A Prince, who from2
—Fuit Ilium et ingens


Footnote 1:   The extract is from very near the close of Steele's Christian Hero. At this part a few lines have been omitted. In the original the paragraph closed thus:
'... the Entertainment of it, and making their great Monarch the Fountain of all that's delicate and refined, and his Court the Model for Opinions in Pleasure, as well as the Pattern in Dress; which might prevail so far upon an undiscerning world as (to accomplish it or its approaching Slavery) to make it receive a superfluous Babble for an Universal Language.'
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Footnote 2:  Here Steele abruptly breaks with Fuit Ilium—the glory has departed—on the sentence:
'A Prince who from just Notion of his Duty to that Being to whom he must be accountable, has in the Service of his Fellow Creatures a noble Contempt of Pleasures, and Patience of Labours, to whom 'tis Hereditary to be the Guardian and Asserter of the native Rights and Liberties of Mankind;'
A few more clauses to the sentence formed the summary of William's character before the book closed with a prayer that Heaven would guard his important life.

Contents, p. 4

No. 517

Thursday, October 23, 1712


Heu Pietas! heu prisca Fides!


We last night received a Piece of ill News at our Club, which very sensibly afflicted every one of us. I question not but my Readers themselves will be troubled at the hearing of it. To keep them no longer in Suspence, Sir Roger De Coverly is dead.1 He departed this Life at his House in the Country, after a few Weeks Sickness. Sir Andrew Freeport has a Letter from one of his Correspondents in those Parts, that informs him the old Man caught a Cold at the County-Sessions, as he was very warmly promoting an Address of his own penning, in which he succeeded according to his Wishes, But this Particular comes from a Whig-Justice of Peace, who was always Sir Roger's Enemy and Antagonist. I have Letters both from the Chaplain and Captain Sentry which mention nothing of it, but are filled with many Particulars to the Honour of the good old Man. I have likewise a Letter from the Butler, who took so much care of me last Summer when I was at the Knight's House. As my Friend the Butler mentions, in the Simplicity of his Heart, several Circumstances the others have passed over in Silence, I shall give my Reader a Copy of his Letter, without any Alteration or Diminution.

Honoured Sir ,

'Knowing that you was my old Master's good Friend, I could not forbear sending you the melancholy News of his Death, which has afflicted the whole Country, as well as his poor Servants, who loved him, I may say, better than we did our Lives. I am afraid he caught his Death the last County Sessions, where he would go to see Justice done to a poor Widow Woman, and her Fatherless Children, that had been wronged by a neighbouring Gentleman; for you know, Sir , my good Master was always the poor Man's Friend. Upon his coming home, the first Complaint he made was, that he had lost his Roast-Beef Stomach, not being able to touch a Sir loin, which was served up according to Custom; and you know he used to take great Delight in it. From that time forward he grew worse and worse, but still kept a good Heart to the last. Indeed we were once in great Hope2 of his Recovery, upon a kind Message that was sent him from the Widow Lady whom he had made love to the Forty last Years of his Life; but this only proved a Light'ning before Death. He has bequeathed to this Lady, as a token of his Love, a great Pearl Necklace, and a Couple of Silver Bracelets set with Jewels, which belonged to my good old Lady his Mother: He has bequeathed the fine white Gelding, that he used to ride a hunting upon, to his Chaplain, because he thought he would be kind to him, and has left you all his Books. He has, moreover, bequeathed to the Chaplain a very pretty Tenement with good Lands about it. It being a very cold Day when he made his Will, he left for Mourning, to every Man in the Parish, a great Frize-Coat, and to every Woman a black Riding-hood. It was a most moving Sight to see him take leave of his poor Servants, commending us all for our Fidelity, whilst we were not able to speak a Word for weeping. As we most of us are grown Gray-headed in our Dear Master's Service, he has left us Pensions and Legacies, which we may live very comfortably upon, the remaining part of our Days.

He has bequeath'd a great deal more in Charity, which is not yet come to my Knowledge, and it is peremptorily said in the Parish, that he has left Mony to build a Steeple to the Church; for he was heard to say some time ago, that if he lived two Years longer, Coverly Church should have a Steeple to it. The Chaplain tells every body that he made a very good End, and never speaks of him without Tears. He was buried according to his own Directions, among the Family of the Coverly's, on the Left Hand of his Father Sir Arthur. The Coffin was carried by Six of his Tenants, and the Pall held up by Six of the Quorum: The whole Parish follow'd the Corps with heavy Hearts, and in their Mourning Suits, the Men in Frize, and the Women in Riding-Hoods. Captain Sentry, my Master's Nephew, has taken Possession of the Hall-House, and the whole Estate. When my old Master saw him a little before his Death, he shook him by the Hand, and wished him Joy of the Estate which was falling to him, deSir ing him only to make good Use of it, and to pay the several Legacies, and the Gifts of Charity which he told him he had left as Quitrents upon the Estate. The Captain truly seems a courteous Man, though he says but little. He makes much of those whom my Master loved, and shews great Kindness to the old House-dog, that you know my poor Master was so fond of. It would have gone to your Heart to have heard the Moans the dumb Creature made on the Day of my Master's Death. He has ne'er joyed himself since; no more has any of us. 'Twas the melancholiest Day for the poor People that ever happened in Worcestershire. This being all from,

Honoured Sir ,

Your most Sorrowful Servant

Edward Biscuit.

P. S. 'My Master deSir ed, some Weeks before he died, that a Book which comes up to you by the Carrier should be given to Sir Andrew Freeport, in his Name.'

This Letter, notwithstanding the poor Butler's Manner of writing it, gave us such an Idea of our good old Friend, that upon the reading of it there was not a dry Eye in the Club. Sir Andrew opening the Book, found it to be a Collection of Acts of Parliament. There was in particular the Act of Uniformity, with some Passages in it marked by Sir Roger's own Hand. Sir Andrew found that they related to two or three Points, which he had disputed with Sir Roger the last time he appeared at the Club. Sir Andrew, who would have been merry at such an Incident on another Occasion, at the sight of the old Man's Hand-writing burst into Tears, and put the Book into his Pocket. Captain Sentry informs me, that the Knight has left Rings and Mourning for every one in the Club.


Footnote 1:   In No. 1 of the Bee (for February, 1733) Eustace Budgell, who set up that publication, and who probably was the intimate friend of Addison's to whom he there refers, said of Sir Roger de Coverley,
'Mr. Addison was so fond of this character that a little before he laid down the Spectator (foreseeing that some nimble gentleman would catch up his pen the moment he quitted it) he said to an intimate friend, with a certain warmth in his expression which he was not often guilty of, By God, I'll kill Sir Roger, that nobody else may murder him.'
Accordingly the whole Spectator No. 517 consists of nothing but an account of the old knight's death, and some moving circumstances which attended it. Steele had by this date resolved on bringing his Spectator to a close, and Addison's paper on the death of Sir Roger, the first of several which are to dispose of all members of the Spectator's Club and break up the Club itself, was the first clear warning to the public that he had such an intention.
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Footnote 2:   Hopes

Contents, p. 4

No. 518

Friday, October 24, 1712


—Miserum est alienæ incumbere famæ,
Ne collapsa ruant subductis tecta columnis.


This being a Day of Business with me, I must make the present Entertainment like a Treat at an House-warming, out of such Presents as have been sent me by my Guests. The first Dish which I serve up is a Letter come fresh to my Hand.


It is with inexpressible Sorrow that I hear of the Death of good Sir Roger, and do heartily condole with you upon so melancholy an Occasion. I think you ought to have blacken'd the Edges of a Paper which brought us so ill News, and to have had it stamped likewise in Black. It is expected of you that you should write his Epitaph, and, if possible, fill his Place in the Club with as worthy and diverting a Member. I question not but you will receive many Recommendations from the publick of such as will appear Candidates for that Post.

Since I am talking of Death, and have mentioned an Epitaph, I must tell you, Sir , that I have made discovery of a Church-Yard in which I believe you might spend an Afternoon, with great Pleasure to your self and to the Publick: It. belongs to the Church of Stebon-Heath, commonly called Stepney. Whether or no it be that the People of that Parish have a particular Genius for an Epitaph, or that there be some Poet among them who undertakes that Work by the Great, I can't tell; but there are more remarkable Inscriptions in that place than in any other I have met with, and I may say without Vanity, that there is not a Gentleman in England better read in Tomb-stones than my self, my Studies having laid very much in Church-yards. I shall beg leave to send you a Couple of Epitaphs, for a Sample of those I have just now mentioned. They are written in a different manner; the first being in the diffused and luxuriant, the second in the close contracted Style. The first has much of the Simple and Pathetick; the second is something Light, but Nervous. The first is thus:
Here Thomas Sapper lyes interred. Ah why!
Born in
New England, did in London dye;
Was the third Son of Eight, begot upon
His Mother
Martha by his Father John.
Much favoured by his Prince he 'gan to be,
But nipt by Death at th' Age of Twenty Three.
Fatal to him was that we Small-pox name,
By which his Mother and two Brethren came
Also to breathe their last nine Years before,
And now have left their Father to deplore
The loss of all his Children, with his Wife,
Who was the Joy and Comfort of his Life.
The Second is as follows:
Here lies the body of Daniel Saul,
Spittle-fields weaver, and that's all.
'I will not dismiss you, whilst I am upon this Subject, without sending a short Epitaph which I once met with, though I cannot possibly recollect the Place. The Thought of it is serious, and in my Opinion, the finest that I ever met with upon this Occasion. You know, Sir , it is usual, after having told us the Name of the Person who lies interr'd to lanch out into his Praises. This Epitaph takes a quite contrary Turn, having been made by the Person himself some time before his Death.
Hic jacet R. C. in expectatione diei supremi. Qualis erat dies iste indicabit.2

Here lieth R. C. in expectation of the last Day. What sort of a Man he was, that Day will discover.
I am, Sir , &c.

The following Letter is dated from Cambridge3.

Sir ,

'Having lately read among your Speculations, an Essay upon Phisiognomy, I cannot but think that if you made a Visit to this ancient University, you might receive very considerable Lights upon that Subject, there being scarce a young Fellow in it who does not give certain Indications of his particular Humour and Disposition conformable to the Rules of that Art. In Courts and Cities every body lays a Constraint upon his Countenance, and endeavours to look like the rest of the World; but the Youth of this Place, having not yet formed themselves by Conversation, and the Knowledge of the World, give their Limbs and Features their full Play.

'As you have considered Human Nature in all its Lights, you must be extremely well apprized, that there is a very close Correspondence between the outward and the inward Man; that scarce the least Dawning, the least Parturiency towards a Thought can be stirring in the Mind of Man, without producing a suitable Revolution in his Exteriors, which will easily discover it self to an Adept in the Theory of the Phiz. Hence it is, that the intrinsick Worth and Merit of a Son of Alma Mater is ordinarily calculated from the Cast of his Visage, the Contour of his Person, the Mechanism of his Dress, the Disposition of his Limbs, the Manner of his Gate and Air, with a number of Circumstances of equal Consequence and Information: The Practitioners in this Art often make use of a Gentleman's Eyes to give 'em Light into the Posture of his Brains; take a Handle from his Nose, to judge of the Size of his Intellects; and interpret the over-much Visibility and Pertness of one Ear, as an infallible mark of Reprobation, and a Sign the Owner of so saucy a Member fears neither God nor Man. In conformity to this Scheme, a contracted Brow, a lumpish down-cast Look, a sober sedate Pace, with both Hands dangling quiet and steddy in Lines exactly parallel to each Lateral Pocket of the Galligaskins, is Logick, Metaphysicks and Mathematicks in Perfection. So likewise the Belles Lettres are typified by a Saunter in the Gate; a Fall of one Wing of the Peruke backward, an Insertion of one Hand in the Fobb, and a negligent Swing of the other, with a Pinch of right and fine Barcelona between Finger and Thumb, a due Quantity of the same upon the upper Lip, and a Noddle-Case loaden with Pulvil. Again, a grave solemn stalking Pace is Heroick Poetry, and Politicks; an Unequal one, a Genius for the Ode, and the modern Ballad: and an open Breast, with an audacious Display of the Holland Shirt, is construed a fatal Tendency to the Art Military.

'I might be much larger upon these Hints, but I know whom I write to. If you can graft any Speculation upon them, or turn them to the Advantage of the Persons concerned in them, you will do a Work very becoming the British Spectator, and oblige'

Your very Humble Servant,

Tom. Tweer.

Footnote 1:   Of the two letters which form this number the second is by John Henley, known afterwards as 'Orator Henley,' of whom see a note to [Volume 2 link: No. 396.]
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Footnote 2:  The European Magazine for July, 1787, says that the exact copy of this Epitaph, which is on a Thomas Crouch, who died in 1679, runs thus:
Aperiet Deus tumulos et educet nos de sepulchris
Qualis eram, dies isti hæc cum venerit, scies.

Footnote 3:  By John Henley.

Contents, p. 4

No. 519

Saturday, October 25, 1712


Inde Hominum pecudumque genus, vitæque volantum,
Et quæ marmoreo fert Monstra sub æquore pontus.


Though there is a great deal of Pleasure in contemplating the material World, by which I mean that System of Bodies into which Nature has so curiously wrought the Mass of dead Matter, with the several Relations which those Bodies bear to one another; there is still, methinks, something more wonderful and surprizing in Contemplations on the World of Life, by which I mean all those Animals with which every Part of the Universe is furnished. The Material World is only the Shell of the Universe: The World of Life are its Inhabitants.

If we consider those parts of the Material World which lie the nearest to us, and are therefore subject to our Observations and Enquiries, it is amazing to consider the Infinity of Animals with which it is stocked. Every part of Matter is peopled: Every green Leaf swarms with Inhabitants. There is scarce a single Humour in the Body of a Man, or of any other Animal, in which our Glasses do not discover Myriads of living Creatures. The Surface of Animals is also covered with other Animals, which are in the same manner the Basis of other Animals, that live upon it; nay, we find in the most solid Bodies, as in Marble it self, innumerable Cells and Cavities that are crouded with such imperceptible Inhabitants, as are too little for the naked Eye to discover. On the other hand, if we look into the more bulky parts of Nature, we see the Seas, Lakes and Rivers teeming with numberless kinds of living Creatures: We find every Mountain and Marsh, Wilderness and Wood, plentifully stocked with Birds and Beasts, and every part of Matter affording proper Necessaries and Conveniencies for the Livelihood of Multitudes which inhabit it.

The Author of the Plurality of Worlds1 draws a very good Argument from this Consideration, for the peopling of every Planet; as indeed it seems very probable from the Analogy of Reason, that if no Part of Matter, which we are acquainted with, lies waste and useless, those great Bodies which are at such a Distance from us should not be desart and unpeopled, but rather that they should be furnished with Beings adapted to their respective Situations.

Existence is a Blessing to those Beings only which are endowed with Perception, and is in a manner thrown away upon dead Matter, any further than as it is subservient to Beings which are conscious of their Existence. Accordingly we find, from the Bodies which lie under our Observation, that Matter is only made as the Basis and Support of Animals, and that there is no more of the one, than what is necessary for the Existence of the other.

Infinite Goodness is of so communicative a nature, that it seems to delight in the conferring of Existence upon every Degree of Perceptive2 Being. As this is a Speculation, which I have often pursued with great Pleasure to my self, I shall enlarge farther upon it, by considering that part of the Scale of Beings which comes within our Knowledge.

There are some living Creatures which are raised but just above dead Matter. To mention only that Species of Shell-fish, which are form'd in the Fashion of a Cone, that grow to the Surface of several Rocks, and immediately die upon their being sever'd from the Place where they grow. There are many other Creatures but one Remove from these, which have no other Sense besides that of Feeling and Taste. Others have still an additional one of Hearing; others of Smell, and others of Sight. It is wonderful to observe, by what a gradual Progress the World of Life advances through a prodigious Variety of Species, before a Creature is form'd that is compleat in all its Senses; and even among these there is such a different Degree of Perfection in the Sense which one Animal enjoys beyond what appears in another, that though the Sense in different Animals be distinguished by the same common Denomination, it seems almost of a different Nature. If after this we look into the several inward Perfections of Cunning and Sagacity, or what we generally call Instinct, we find them rising after the same Manner, imperceptibly one above another, and receiving additional Improvements, according to the Species in which they are implanted. This Progress in Nature is so very gradual, that the most perfect of an inferior Species comes very near to the most imperfect of that which is immediately above it.

The exuberant and overflowing Goodness of the Supreme Being, whose Mercy extends to all his Works, is plainly seen, as I have before hinted, from his having made so very little Matter, at least what falls within our Knowledge, that does not swarm with Life: Nor is his Goodness less seen in the Diversity, than in the Multitude of living Creatures. Had he only made one Species of Animals, none of the rest would have enjoyed the Happiness of Existence; he has, therefore, specified in his Creation every degree of Life, every Capacity of Being. The whole Chasm in Nature, from a Plant to a Man, is filled up with diverse Kinds of Creatures, rising one over another, by such a gentle and easy Ascent, that the little Transitions and Deviations from one Species to another, are almost insensible. This intermediate Space is so well husbanded and managed, that there is scarce a degree of Perception which does not appear in some one part of the World of Life. Is the Goodness, or Wisdom of the divine Being, more manifested in this his Proceeding?

There is a Consequence, besides those I have already mentioned, which seems very naturally deducible from the foregoing Considerations. If the Scale of Being rises by such a regular Progress, so high as Man, we may by a parity of Reason suppose that it still proceeds gradually through those Beings which are of a Superior Nature to him; since there is an infinitely greater space and room for different Degrees of Perfection, between the Supreme Being and Man, than between Man and the most despicable Insect. This Consequence of so great a variety of Beings which are superior to us, from that variety which is inferior to us, is made by Mr. Lock, in a Passage which I shall here set down, after having premised, that notwithstanding there is such infinite room between Man and his Maker for the Creative Power to exert it self in, it is impossible that it should ever be filled up, since there will be still an infinite Gap or Distance between the highest created Being, and the Power which produced him.
That there should be more Species of intelligent Creatures above us, than there are of sensible and material below us, is probable to me from hence; That in all the visible corporeal World, we see no Chasms, or no Gaps. All quite down from us, the descent is by easy steps, and a continued Series of things, that in each remove differ very little one from the other. There are Fishes that have Wings, and are not Strangers to the airy Region: and there are some Birds, that are Inhabitants of the Water; whose Blood is cold as Fishes, and their Flesh so like in taste, that the Scrupulous are allowed them on Fish-days. There are Animals so near of kin both to Birds and Beasts, that they are in the middle between both: Amphibious Animals link the Terrestrial and Aquatick together; Seals live at Land and at Sea, and Porpoises have the warm Blood and Entrails of a Hog; not to mention what is confidently reported of Mermaids or Sea-Men. There are some Brutes, that seem to have as much Knowledge and Reason, as some that are called Men; and the Animal and Vegetable Kingdoms are so nearly join'd, that if you will take the lowest of one, and the highest of the other, there will scarce be perceived any great difference between them: and so on till we come to the lowest and the most inorganical parts of Matter, we shall find every where that the several Species are linked together, and differ but in almost insensible degrees. And when we consider the infinite Power and Wisdom of the Maker, we have reason to think that it is suitable to the magnificent Harmony of the Universe, and the great Design and infinite Goodness of the Architect, that the Species of Creatures should also, by gentle degrees, ascend upward from us towards his infinite Perfection, as we see they gradually descend from us downwards: Which if it be probable, we have reason then to be persuaded, that there are far more Species of Creatures above us, than there are beneath; we being in degrees of Perfection much more remote from the infinite Being of God, than we are from the lowest State of Being, and that which approaches nearest to nothing. And yet of all those distinct Species, we have no clear distinct Ideas3.
In this System of Being, there is no Creature so wonderful in its Nature, and which so much deserves our particular Attention, as Man, who fills up the middle Space between the Animal and Intellectual Nature, the visible and invisible World, and is that Link in the Chain of Beings, which has been often termed the nexus utriusque Mundi. So that he who in one respect is associated with Angels and Arch-Angels, may look upon a Being of infinitei Perfection as his Father, and the highest Order of Spirits as his Brethren, may in another respect say to Corruption, thou art my Father, and to the Worm, thou art my Mother and my Sister4.

Footnote 1:   Fontenelle, Entretiens sur la Pluralité des Mondes. Troisième Soir.
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Footnote 2:  Preceptive and in first reprint.

Footnote 3:   Essay concerning Human Understanding, Bk. III. ch. vi. § 12.

Footnote 4:   Job. xvii. 14.

Contents, p. 4

No. 520

Monday, October 27, 1712


Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus
Tant chari capitis!



'The just Value you have expressed for the Matrimonial State, is the Reason that I now venture to write to you, without Fear of being ridiculous; and confess to you, that though it is three Months since I lost a very agreeable Woman, who was my Wife, my Sorrow is still fresh; and I am often, in the midst of Company, upon any Circumstance that revives her Memory, with a Reflection what she would say or do on such an Occasion: I say, upon any Occurrence of that Nature, which I can give you a Sense of, though I cannot express it wholly, I am all over Softness, and am obliged to retire, and give Way to a few Sighs and Tears, before I can be easy. I cannot but recommend the Subject of Male Widowhood to you, and beg of you to touch upon it by the first Opportunity. To those who have not lived like Husbands during the Lives of their Spouses, this would be a tasteless Jumble of Words; but to such (of whom there are not a few) who have enjoyed that State with the Sentiments proper for it, you will have every Line, which hits the Sorrow, attended with a Tear of Pity and Consolation. For I know not by what Goodness of Providence it is, that every Gush of Passion is a step towards the Relief of it; and there is a certain Comfort in the very Act of Sorrowing, which, I suppose, arises from a secret Consciousness in the Mind, that the Affliction it is under flows from a virtuous Cause. My Concern is not indeed so outragious as at the first Transport; for I think it has subsided rather into a soberer State of Mind, than any actual Perturbation of Spirit. There might be Rules formed for Men's Behaviour on this great Incident, to bring them from that Misfortune into the Condition I am at present; which is, I think, that my Sorrow has converted all Roughness of Temper into Meekness, Good-nature, and Complacency: But indeed, when in a serious and lonely Hour I present my departed Consort to my Imagination, with that Air of Perswasion in her Countenance when I have been in Passion, that sweet Affability when I have been in good Humour, that tender Compassion when I have had any thing which gave me Uneasiness; I confess to you I am inconsolable, and my Eyes gush with Grief as if I had seen her but just then expire. In this Condition I am broken in upon by a charming young Woman, my Daughter, who is the Picture of what her Mother was on her Wedding-Day. The good Girl strives to comfort me; but how shall I let you know that all the Comfort she gives me is to make my Tears flow more easily? The Child knows she quickens my Sorrows, and rejoices my Heart at the same Time. Oh, ye Learned! tell me by what Word to speak a Motion of the Soul, for which there is no name. When she kneels and bids me be comforted, she is my Child; when I take her in my Arms, and bid her say no more, she is my very Wife, and is the very Comforter I lament the Loss of. I banish her the Room, and weep aloud that I have lost her Mother, and that I have her.

'Mr. SPECTATOR, I wish it were possible for you to have a Sense of these pleasing Perplexities; you might communicate to the guilty part of Mankind, that they are incapable of the Happiness which is in the very Sorrows of the Virtuous.

'But pray spare me a little longer; give me Leave to tell you the Manner of her Death. She took leave of all her Family, and bore the vain Application of Medicines with the greatest Patience imaginable. When the Physician told her she must certainly die, she deSir ed, as well as she could, that all who were present, except my self, might depart the Room. She said she had nothing to say, for she was resigned, and I knew all she knew that concerned us in this World; but she deSir ed to be alone, that in the presence of God only she might, without Interruption, do her last Duty to me, of thanking me for all my Kindness to her; adding, that she hoped in my last Moments I should feel the same Comfort for my Goodness to her, as she did in that she had acquitted herself with Honour, Truth and Virtue to me.

'I curb my self, and will not tell you that this Kindness cut my Heart in twain, when I expected an Accusation for some passionate Starts of mine, in some Parts of our Time together, to say nothing, but thank me for the Good, if there was any Good suitable to her own Excellence! All that I had ever said to her, all the Circumstances of Sorrow and Joy between us, crowded upon my Mind in the same Instant; and when immediately after I saw the Pangs of Death come upon that dear Body which I had often embraced with Transport, when I saw those cherishing Eyes begin to be ghastly, and their last Struggle to be to fix themselves on me, how did I lose all patience? She expired in my Arms, and in my Distraction I thought I saw her Bosom still heave. There was certainly Life yet still left; I cried she just now spoke to me: But alas! I grew giddy, and all things moved about me from the Distemper of my own Head; for the best of Women was breathless, and gone for ever.

'Now the Doctrine I would, methinks, have you raise from this Account I have given you is, That there is a certain Equanimity in those who are good and just, which runs into their very Sorrow, and disappoints the Force of it. Though they must pass through Afflictions in common with all who are in human Nature, yet their conscious Integrity shall undermine their Affliction; nay, that very Affliction shall add Force to their Integrity, from a Reflection of the Use of Virtue in the Hour of Affliction. I sat down with a Design to put you upon giving us Rules how to overcome such Griefs as these, but I should rather advise you to teach Men to be capable of them.

'You Men of Letters have what you call the fine Taste in their Apprehensions of what is properly done or said: There is something like this deeply grafted in the Soul of him who is honest and faithful in all his Thoughts and Actions. Every thing which is false, vicious or unworthy, is despicable to him, though all the World should approve it. At the same time he has the most lively Sensibility in all Enjoyments and Sufferings which it is proper for him to have, where any Duty of Life is concerned. To want Sorrow when you in Decency and Truth should be afflicted, is, I should think, a greater Instance of a Man's being a Blockhead, than not to know the Beauty of any Passage in Virgil. You have not yet observed, Mr. SPECTATOR, that the fine Gentlemen of this Age set up for Hardness of Heart, and Humanity has very little share in their Pretences. He is a brave Fellow who is always ready to kill a Man he hates, but he does not stand in the same Degree of Esteem who laments for the Woman he loves. I should fancy you might work up a thousand pretty Thoughts, by reflecting upon the Persons most susceptible of the sort of Sorrow I have spoken of; and I dare say you will find upon Examination, that they are the wisest and the bravest of Mankind who are most capable of it.

I am,
Sir ,
Your most humble Servant
F. J.
7∞ Octobris,

Footnote 1:   The Mr. Francham who wrote this letter was of Norwich, whence it is dated.
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Contents, p. 4

No. 521

Tuesday, October 28, 1712


Vera redit facies, dissimulata perit.

P. Arb.translation


I have been for many Years loud in this Assertion, That there are very few that can see or hear, I mean that can report what they have seen or heard; and this thro' Incapacity or Prejudice, one of which disables almost every Man who talks to you from representing things as he ought. For which Reason I am come to a Resolution of believing nothing I hear; and I contemn the Men given to Narration under the Appellation of a Matter of Fact Man: And according to me, a Matter of Fact Man is one whose Life and Conversation is spent in the Report of what is not Matter of Fact.

I remember when Prince Eugene was here, there was no knowing his Height or Figure, till you, Mr. SPECTATOR, gave the Publick Satisfaction in that Matter. In Relations, the Force of the Expression lies very often more in the Look, the Tone of Voice, or the Gesture, than the Words themselves; which being repeated in any other Manner by the Undiscerning, bear a very different Interpretation from their original Meaning. I must confess, I formerly have turn'd this Humour of mine to very good Account; for whenever I heard any Narration utter'd with extraordinary vehemence, and grounded upon considerable Authority, I was always ready to lay any Wager that it was not so. Indeed I never pretended to be so rash, as to fix the Matter in any particular Way in Opposition to theirs; but as there are a hundred Ways of any thing happening, besides that it has happen'd, I only controverted its falling out in that one Manner as they settled it, and left it to the Ninety nine other Ways, and consequently had more Probability of Success. I had arrived at a particular skill in warming a Man so far in his Narration, as to make him throw in a little of the Marvelous, and then, if he has much Fire, the next Degree is the Impossible. Now this is always the Time for fixing the Wager. But this requires the nicest Management, otherwise very probably the Dispute may arise to the old Determination by Battle. In these Conceits I have been very fortunate, and have won some Wagers of those who have professedly valued themselves upon Intelligence, and have put themselves to great Charge and Expence to be misinformed considerably sooner than the Rest of the World.

Having got a comfortable Sum by this my Opposition to publick Report, I have brought my self now to so great a Perfection in Inattention, more especially to Party Relations, that at the same time I seem with greedy Ears to devour up the Discourse, I certainly don't know one Word of it, but pursue my own Course of Thought, whether upon Business or Amusement, with much Tranquility: I say Inattention, because a late Act of Parliament has secur'd all Party-Lyars from the Penalty of a Wager1, and consequently made it unprofitable to attend them. However, good Breeding obliges a Man to maintain the Figure of the keenest Attention, the true Posture of which in a Coffee-house I take to consist in leaning over a Table, with the Edge of it pressing hard upon your Stomach; for the more Pain the Narration is received with, the more gracious is your bending over: Besides that the Narrator thinks you forget your Pain by the Pleasure of hearing him.

Fort Knock has occasioned several very perplexed and inelegant Heats and Animosities; and there was one t'other day in a Coffee-house where I was, that took upon him to clear that Business to me, for he said he was there. I knew him to be that sort of Man that had not strength of Capacity to be inform'd of any thing that depended merely upon his being an Eye-Witness, and therefore was fully satisfied he could give me no Information, for the very same Reason he believed he could, for he was there. However, I heard him with the same Greediness as Shakespear describes in the following Lines:
I saw a Smith stand on his Hammer, thus,
With open Mouth swallowing a Taylor's News.
I confess of late I have not been so much amazed at the Declaimers in Coffee-houses as I formerly was, being satisfied that they expect to be rewarded for their Vociferations. Of these Liars there are two Sorts. The Genius of the first consists in much Impudence and a strong Memory; the others have added to these Qualifications a good Understanding and smooth Language. These therefore have only certain Heads, which they are as eloquent upon as they can, and may be call'd Embellishers; the others repeat only what they hear from others as literally as their Parts or Zeal will permit, and are called Reciters. Here was a Fellow in Town some Years ago, who used to divert himself by telling a Lie at Charing-Cross in the Morning at eight of the Clock, and then following it through all Parts of the Town till eight at Night; at which time he came to a Club of his Friends, and diverted them with an Account what Censure it had at Will's in Covent-Garden, how dangerous it was believed to be at Child's, and what Inference they drew from it with Relation to Stocks at Jonathan's. I have had the Honour to travel with this Gentleman I speak of in Search of one of his Falshoods; and have been present when they have described the very Man they have spoken to, as him who first reported it, tall or short, black or fair, a Gentleman or a Raggamuffin, according as they liked the Intelligence. I have heard one of our ingenious Writers of News say, that when he has had a Customer come with an Advertisement of an Apprentice or a Wife run away, he has deSir ed the Advertiser to compose himself a little, before he dictated the Description of the Offender: For when a Person is put into a publick Paper by a Man who is angry with him, the real Description of such Person is hid in the Deformity with which the angry Man described him; therefore this Fellow always made his Customers describe him as he would the Day before he offended, or else he was sure he would never find him out. These and many other Hints I could suggest to you for the Elucidation of all Fictions; but I leave it to your own Sagacity to improve or neglect this Speculation.

I am, Sir ,

Your most obedient,

Humble Servant.

Postscript to the Spectator, Number 502.

N. B. There are in the Play of the Self-Tormentor of Terence's, which is allowed a most excellent Comedy, several Incidents which would draw Tears from any Man of Sense, and not one which would move his Laughter.


Footnote 1:   By 7 Anne, cap. 17, all wagers laid upon a contingency relating to the war with France were declared void.
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Contents, p. 4

No. 522

Wednesday, October 29, 1712


—Adjuro nunquam eam me deserturum,
Non, si capiundos mihi sciam esse inimicos omneis homines.
Hanc mihi expetivi, contigit: conveniunt mores: valeant
Qui inter nos dissidium volunt: hanc, nisi mors,
Mi adimet nemo.


I should esteem my self a very happy Man, if my Speculations could in the least contribute to the rectifying the Conduct of my Readers in one of the most important Affairs of Life, to wit their Choice in Marriage. This State is the Foundation of Community, and the chief Band of Society; and I do not think I can be too frequent on Subjects which may give Light to my unmarried Readers, in a particular which is so essential to their following Happiness or Misery. A virtuous Disposition, a good Understanding, an agreeable Person, and an easy Fortune, are the things which should be chiefly regarded on this Occasion. Because my present View is to direct a young Lady, who, I think, is now in doubt whom to take of many Lovers, I shall talk at this time to my female Reader. The Advantages, as I was going to say, of Sense, Beauty and Riches, are what are certainly the chief Motives to a prudent young Woman of Fortune for changing her Condition; but as she is to have her Eye upon each of these, she is to ask herself whether the Man who has most of these Recommendations in the Lump is not the most deSir able. He that has excellent Talents, with a moderate Estate, and an agreeable Person, is preferable to him who is only rich, if it were only that good Faculties may purchase Riches, but Riches cannot purchase worthy Endowments. I do not mean that Wit, and a Capacity to entertain, is what should be highly valued, except it is founded upon Good-nature and Humanity. There are many ingenious Men, whose Abilities do little else but make themselves and those about them uneasy: Such are those who are far gone in the Pleasures of the Town, who cannot support Life without quick Sensations and gay Reflections, and are Strangers to Tranquility, to right Reason, and a calm Motion of Spirits without Transport or Dejection. These ingenious Men, of all Men living, are most to be avoided by her who would be happy in a1 Husband. They are immediately sated with Possession, and must necessarily fly to new Acquisitions of Beauty, to pass away the whiling Moments and Intervals of Life; for with them every Hour is heavy that is not joyful. But there is a sort of Man of Wit and Sense, that can reflect upon his own Make, and that of his Partner, with the Eyes of Reason and Honour, and who believes he offends against both these, if he does not look upon the Woman (who chose him to be under his Protection in Sickness and Health) with the utmost Gratitude, whether from that Moment she is shining or defective in Person or Mind: I say, there are those who think themselves bound to supply with Good-nature the Failings of those who love them, and who always think those the Objects of Love and Pity, who came to their Arms the Objects of Joy and Admiration.

Of this latter sort is Lysander, a Man of Wit, Learning, Sobriety and Good-nature, of Birth and Estate below no Woman to accept, and of whom it might be said, should he succeed in his present Wishes, his Mistress rais'd his Fortune, but not that she made it. When a Woman is deliberating with herself whom she shall chuse of many near each other in other Pretensions, certainly he of best Understanding is to be preferr'd. Life hangs heavily in the repeated Conversation of one who has no Imagination to be fired at the several Occasions and Objects which come before him, or who cannot Strike out of his Reflections new Paths of pleasing Discourse. Honest Will Thrash and his Wife, tho' not married above four Months, have scarce had a Word to say to each other this six weeks; and one cannot form to one's self a sillier Picture, than these two Creatures in solemn Pomp and Plenty unable to enjoy their Fortunes, and at a full stop among a Crowd of Servants, to whose Taste of Life they are beholden for the little Satisfactions by which they can be understood to be so much as barely in Being. The Hours of the Day, the Distinctions of Noon and Night, Dinner and Supper, are the greatest Notices they are capable of. This is perhaps representing the Life of a very modest Woman, joined to a dull Fellow, more insipid than it really deserves; but I am sure it is not to exalt the Commerce with an ingenious Companion too high, to say that every new Accident or Object which comes into such a Gentleman's way, gives his Wife new Pleasures and Satisfactions. The Approbation of his Words and Actions is a continual new Feast to her, nor can she enough applaud her good Fortune in having her Life varied every hour, her Mind more improv'd, and her Heart more glad from every Circumstance which they meet with. He will lay out his Invention in forming new Pleasures and Amusements, and make the Fortune she has brought him subservient to the Honour and Reputation of her and hers. A Man of Sense who is thus oblig'd, is ever contriving the Happiness of her who did him so great a Distinction; while the Fool is ungrateful without Vice, and never returns a Favour because he is not sensible of it. I would, methinks, have so much to say for my self, that if I fell into the hands of him who treated me ill, he should be sensible when he did so: His Conscience should be of my side, whatever became of his Inclination. I do not know but it is the insipid Choice which has been made by those who have the Care of young Women, that the Marriage State it self has been liable to so much Ridicule. But a well-chosen Love, mov'd by Passion on both sides, and perfected by the Generosity of one Party, must be adorn'd with so many handsome Incidents on the other side, that every particular Couple would be an example in many Circumstances to all the rest of the Species. I shall end the Chat upon this Subject with a couple of Letters, one from a Lover who is very well acquainted with the way of Bargaining on these Occasions; and the other from his Rival, who has a less Estate, but great Gallantry of Temper. As for my Man of Prudence, he makes love, as he says, as if he were already a Father, and laying aside the Passion, comes to the Reason of the Thing.


My Counsel2 has perused the Inventory of your Estate, and consider'd what Estate you have, which it seems is only yours, and to the Male-Heirs of your Body; but, in Default of such Issue, to the right Heirs of your Uncle Edward for ever. Thus, Madam, I am advis'd you cannot (the Remainder not being in you) dock the Entail; by which means my Estate, which is Fee-Simple, will come by the Settlement propos'd to your Children begotten by me, whether they are Males or Females; but my Children begotten upon you will not inherit your Lands, except I beget a Son. Now, Madam, since things are so, you are a Woman of that Prudence, and understand the World so well, as not to expect I should give you more than you can give me.

I am, Madam,

(with great Respect)

Your most obedient humble Servant,
T. W.

The other Lover's Estate is less than this Gentleman's, but he express'd himself as follows.


I have given in my Estate to your Counsel3, and deSir ed my own Lawyer to insist upon no Terms which your Friends can propose for your certain Ease and Advantage: For indeed I have no notion of making Difficulties of presenting you with what cannot make me happy without you.

I am, Madam,

Your most devoted humble Servant,
B. T.

You must know the Relations have met upon this, and the Girl being mightily taken with the latter Epistle, she is laugh'd out, and Uncle Edward is to be dealt with to make her a suitable Match to the worthy Gentleman who has told her he does not care a farthing for her. All I hope for is, that the Lady Fair will make use of the first light Night to show B. T. she understands a Marriage is not to be considered as a common Bargain.


Footnote 1:   an and in first reprint.
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Footnote 2:   Spelt Council in the first issue and first reprint.

Footnote 3:   Spelt Council in the first issue and first reprint.

Contents, p. 4

No. 523

Thursday, October 30, 1712


—Nunc augur Apollo,
Nunc Lyciæ sortes, nunc et Jove missus ab ipso
Interpres Divûm fert horrida jussa per auras.
Scilicet is superis labor—


I am always highly delighted with the discovery of any rising Genius among my Countrymen. For this reason I have read over, with great pleasure, the late Miscellany published by Mr. Pope1, in which there are many excellent Compositions of that ingenious Gentleman. I have had a pleasure of the same kind, in perusing a Poem that is just publish'd on the Prospect of Peace, and which, I hope, will meet with such a Reward from its Patrons, as so noble a Performance deserves. I was particularly well pleased to find that the Author had not amused himself with Fables out of the Pagan Theology, and that when he hints at any thing of this2 nature, he alludes to it only as to a Fable.

Many of our Modern Authors, whose Learning very often extends no farther than Ovid's Metamorphosis, do not know how to celebrate a Great Man, without mixing a parcel of School-Boy Tales with the Recital of his Actions. If you read a Poem on a fine Woman, among the Authors of this Class, you shall see that it turns more upon Venus or Helen, that on the Party concerned. I have known a Copy of Verses on a great Hero highly commended; but upon asking to hear some of the beautiful Passages, the Admirer of it has repeated to me a Speech of Apollo, or a Description of Polypheme. At other times when I have search'd for the Actions of a great Man, who gave a Subject to the Writer, I have been entertained with the Exploits of a River-God, or have been forced to attend a Fury in her mischievous Progress, from one end of the Poem to the other. When we are at School it is necessary for us to be acquainted with the System of Pagan Theology, and may be allowed to enliven a Theme, or point an Epigram with an Heathen God; but when we would write a manly Panegyrick, that should carry in it all the Colours of Truth, nothing can be more ridiculous than to have recourse to our Jupiters and Junos.

No Thought is beautiful which is not just, and no Thought can be just which is not founded in Truth, or at least in that which passes for such.

In Mock-Heroick Poems, the Use of the Heathen Mythology is not only excusable but graceful, because it is the Design of such Compositions to divert, by adapting the fabulous Machines of the Ancients to low Subjects, and at the same time by ridiculing such kinds of Machinery in modern Writers. If any are of opinion, that there is a Necessity of admitting these Classical Legends into our serious Compositions, in order to give them a more Poetical Turn; I would recommend to their Consideration the Pastorals of Mr. Philips. One would have thought it impossible for this Kind of Poetry to have subsisted without Fawns and Satyrs, Wood Nymphs, and Water Nymphs, with all the Tribe of rural Deities. But we see he has given a new Life, and a more natural Beauty to this way of Writing by substituting in the place of these Antiquated Fables, the superstitious Mythology which prevails among the Shepherds of our own Country.

Virgil and Homer might compliment their Heroes, by interweaving the Actions of Deities with their Atchievements; but for a Christian Author to write in the Pagan Creed, to make Prince Eugene a Favourite of Mars, or to carry on a Correspondence between Bellona and the Marshal de Villars, would be downright Puerility, and unpardonable in a Poet that is past Sixteen. It is want of sufficient Elevation in a Genius to describe Realities, and place them in a shining Light, that makes him have recourse to such trifling antiquated Fables; as a Man may write a fine Description of Bacchus or Apollo, that does not know how to draw the Character of any of his Contemporaries.

In order therefore to put a stop to this absurd Practice, I shall publish the following Edict, by virtue of that Spectatorial Authority with which I stand invested.

'Whereas the Time of a General Peace is, in all appearance, drawing near, being inform'd that there are several ingenious Persons who intend to shew their Talents on so happy an Occasion, and being willing, as much as in me lies, to prevent that Effusion of Nonsense, which we have good Cause to apprehend; I do hereby strictly require every Person, who shall write on this Subject, to remember that he is a Christian, and not to Sacrifice his Catechism to his Poetry. In order to it, I do expect of him in the first place, to make his own Poem, without depending upon Phœbus for any part of it, or calling out for Aid upon any one of the Muses by Name. I do likewise positively forbid the sending of Mercury with any particular Message or Dispatch relating to the Peace, and shall by no means suffer Minerva to take upon her the Shape of any Plenipotentiary concerned in this Great Work. I do further declare, that I shall not allow the Destinies to have had an hand in the Deaths of the several thousands who have been slain in the late War, being of opinion that all such Deaths may be very well accounted for by the Christian System of Powder and Ball. I do therefore strictly forbid the Fates to cut the Thread of Man's Life upon any pretence whatsoever, unless it be for the sake of the Rhyme. And whereas I have good Reason to fear, that Neptune will have a great deal of Business on his Hands, in several Poems which we may now suppose are upon the Anvil, I do also prohibit his Appearance, unless it be done in Metaphor, Simile, or any very short Allusion, and that even here he be not permitted to enter, but with great Caution and Circumspection. I deSir e that the same Rule may be extended to his whole Fraternity of Heathen Gods, it being my design to condemn every Poem to the Flames in which Jupiter Thunders, or exercises any other Act of Authority which does not belong to him: In short, I expect that no Pagan Agent shall be introduc'd, or any Fact related which a Man cannot give Credit to with a good Conscience. Provided always, that nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to several of the Female Poets in this Nation, who shall be still left in full Possession of their Gods and Goddesses, in the same manner as if this Paper had never been written.


Footnote 1:   In this year, 1712, Bernard Lintot, having observed the success of Tonson's volumes of Miscellanies, produced a Miscellany edited by Pope (now 24 years old), and containing the first sketch of his Rape of the Lock, translations from Statius and Ovid, and other pieces. Addison's delight with the discovery of rising genius leads him to dispose in a sentence of 'that ingenious gentleman' who had just published a Rape of the Lock, and proceed to warm praise of his personal friends, Thomas Tickell and Ambrose Philips. In his Poem to his Excellency the Lord Privy Seal on the Prospect of Peace, Tickell invites Strafford to 'One hour, oh! listen while the Muses sing.'
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Footnote 2:   that

Contents, p. 4

No. 524

Friday, October 31, 1712


Nos populo damus—


When I first of all took it in my Head to write Dreams and Visions, I determin'd to Print nothing of that nature, which was not of my own Invention. But several laborious Dreamers have of late communicated to me Works of this Nature, which, for their Reputations and my own, I have hitherto suppressed. Had I printed every one that came to my Hands, my Book of Speculations would have been little else but a Book of Visions. Some of my Correspondents have indeed been so very modest, as to offer at an Excuse for their not being in a Capacity to dream better. I have by me, for example, the Dream of a young Gentleman not past Fifteen. I have likewise by me the Dream of a Person of Quality, and another called the Lady's Dream. In these, and other Pieces of the same nature, it is suppos'd the usual Allowances will be made to the Age, Condition and Sex of the Dreamer. To prevent this Inundation of Dreams, which daily flows in upon me, I shall apply to all Dreamers of Dreams, the Advice which Epictetus has couched, after his manner, in a very simple and concise Precept.
Never tell thy Dreams, says that Philosopher, for tho' thou thy self may'st take a Pleasure in telling thy Dream, another will take no Pleasure in hearing it.
After this short Preface, I must do Justice to two or three Visions which I have lately publish'd, and which I have owned to have been written by other Hands. I shall add a Dream to these, which comes to me from Scotland, by one who declares himself of that Country, and for all I know may be second-sighted. There is, indeed, something in it of the Spirit of John Bunyan; but at the same time a certain Sublime, which that Author was never master of. I shall publish it, because I question not but it will fall in with the Taste of all my popular Readers, and amuse the Imaginations of those who are more profound; declaring at the same time, that this is the last Dream which I intend to publish this Season.

Sir ,

'I was last Sunday in the Evening led into a serious Reflection on the Reasonableness of Virtue, and great Folly of Vice, from an excellent Sermon I had heard that Afternoon in my Parish-Church. Among other Observations, the Preacher shew'd us that the Temptations which the Tempter propos'd, were all on a Supposition, that we are either Madmen or Fools, or with an Intention to render us such; that in no other Affair we would suffer ourselves to be thus imposed upon, in a Case so plainly and clearly against our visible Interest. His illustrations and Arguments carried so much Persuasion and Conviction with them, that they remained a considerable while fresh, and working in my Memory; till at last the Mind, fatigued with Thought, gave way to the forcible Oppressions of Slumber and Sleep, whilst Fancy, unwilling yet to drop the Subject, presented me with the following Vision.

'Methought I was just awoke out of a Sleep, that I could never remember the beginning of; the Place where I found my self to be, was a wide and spacious Plain, full of People that wandered up and down through several beaten Paths, whereof some few were strait, and in direct lines, but most of them winding and turning like a Labyrinth; but yet it appear'd to me afterwards, that these last all met in one Issue, so that many that seemed to steer quite contrary Courses, did at length meet and face one another, to the no little Amazement of many of them.

'In the midst of the Plain there was a great Fountain: They called it the Spring of Self-Love; out of it issued two Rivulets to the Eastward and Westward, the Name of the first was Heavenly-Wisdom, its Water was wonderfully clear, but of a yet more wonderful Effect; the other's Name was Worldly-Wisdom, its Water was thick, and yet far from dormant or stagnating, for it was in a continual violent Agitation; which kept the Travellers whom I shall mention by and by, from being sensible of the Foulness and Thickness of the Water; which had this Effect, that it intoxicated those who drunk it, and made 'em mistake every Object that lay before them: both Rivulets were parted near their Springs into so many others, as there were strait and crooked Paths, which they attended all along to their respective Issues.

'I observ'd from the several Paths many now and then diverting, to refresh and otherwise qualify themselves for their Journey, to the respective Rivulets that ran near them; they contracted a very observable Courage and Steadiness in what they were about, by drinking these Waters. At the end of the Perspective of every strait Path, all which did end in one Issue and Point, appeared a high Pillar, all of Diamond, casting Rays as bright as those of the Sun into the Paths; which Rays had also certain sympathizing and alluring Virtues in them, so that whosoever had made some considerable progress in his Journey onwards towards the Pillar, by the repeated impression of these Rays upon him, was wrought into an habitual Inclination and Conversion of his Sight towards it, so that it grew at last in a matter natural to him to look and gaze upon it, whereby he was kept steddy in the strait Paths, which alone led to that radiant Body, the beholding of which was now grown a Gratification to his Nature.

'At the Issue of the crooked Paths there was a great black Tower, out of the Centre of which streamed a long Succession of Flames, which did rise even above the Clouds; it gave a very great Light to the whole Plain, which did sometimes outshine the Light, and opprest the Beams of the Adamantine Pillar; tho' by the Observation I made afterwards, it appeared that it was not for any Diminution of Light, but that this lay in the Travellers, who would sometimes step out of the strait Paths, where they lost the full Prospect of the Radiant Pillar, and saw it but side-ways: but the great Light from the black Tower, which was somewhat particularly scorching to them, would generally light and hasten them to their proper Climate again.

'Round about the black Tower there were, methoughts, many thousands of huge mis-shapen ugly Monsters; these had great Nets, which they were perpetually plying and casting towards the crooked Paths, and they would now and then catch up those that were nearest to them: these they took up streight, and whirled over the Walls into the flaming Tower, and they were no more seen nor heard of.

'They would sometimes cast their Nets towards the right Paths to catch the Stragglers, whose Eyes for want of frequent drinking at the Brook that ran by them grew dim, whereby they lost their way; these would sometimes very narrowly miss being catched away, but I could not hear whether any of these had ever been so unfortunate, that had been before very hearty in the strait Paths.

'I considered all these strange Sights with great Attention, till at last I was interrupted by a Cluster of the Travellers in the crooked Paths, who came up to me, bid me go along with them, and presently fell to singing and dancing; they took me by the Hand, and so carried me away along with them. After I had follow'd them a considerable while, I perceiv'd I had lost the black Tower of Light, at which I greatly wonder'd; but as I looked and gazed round about me, and saw nothing, I begun to fancy my first Vision had been but a Dream, and there was no such thing in reality: but then I consider'd, that if I could fancy to see what was not, I might as well have an Illusion wrought on me at present, and not see what was really before me. I was very much confirmed in this Thought, by the Effect I then just observ'd the Water of Worldly-Wisdom had upon me; for as I had drunk a little of it again, I felt a very sensible Effect in my Head; methought it distracted and disorder'd all there: this made me stop of a sudden, suspecting some Charm or Inchantment. As I was casting about within my self what I should do, and whom to apply to in this Case; I spy'd at some distance off me a Man beckning, and making signs to me to come over to him. I cry'd to him, I did not know the Way. He then called to me audibly, to step at least out of the Path I was in; for if I staid there any longer I was in danger to be catched in a great Net that was just hanging over me, and ready to catch me up; that he wonder'd I was so blind, or so distracted, as not to see so imminent and visible a Danger; assuring me, that as soon as I was out of that Way, he would come to me to lead me into a more secure Path. This I did, and he brought me his Palm full of the Water of Heavenly-Wisdom, which was of very great use to me, for my Eyes were streight cleared, and I saw the great black Tower just before me; but the great Net which I spy'd so near me, cast me in such a Terror, that I ran back as far as I could in one Breath, without looking behind me: then my Benefactor thus bespoke me, You have made the wonderful'st Escape in the World, the Water you used to drink is of a bewitching Nature, you would else have been mightily shocked at the Deformities and Meanness of the Place; for beside the Set of blind Fools, in whose Company you was, you may now observe many others who are only bewitched after another no less dangerous manner. Look a little that way, there goes a Crowd of Passengers, they have indeed so good a Head, as not to suffer themselves to be blinded by this bewitching Water; the black Tower is not vanished out of their sight, they see it whenever they look up to it; but see how they go side-ways, and with their Eyes downwards, as if they were mad, that they may thus rush into the Net, without being beforehand troubled at the Thought of so miserable a Destruction. Their Wills are so perverse, and their Hearts so fond of the Pleasures of the Place, that rather than forgo them they will run all Hazards, and venture upon all the Miseries and Woes before them.

'See there that other Company, tho' they should drink none of the bewitching Water, yet they take a Course bewitching and deluding; see how they chuse the crookedest Paths, whereby they have often the black Tower behind them, and sometimes see the radiant Column side-ways, which gives them some weak Glimpse of it. These Fools content themselves with that, not knowing whether any other have any more of its Influence and Light than themselves: this Road is called that of Superstition or Human Invention; they grossly over-look that which the Rules and Laws of the Place prescribe to them, and contrive some other Scheme and Set of Directions and Prescriptions for themselves, which they hope will serve their turn. He shewed me many other kind of Fools, which put me quite out of humour with the Place. At last he carried me to the right Paths, where I found true and solid Pleasure, which entertained me all the way, till we came in closer sight of the Pillar, where the Satisfaction increased to that measure that my Faculties were not able to contain it; in the straining of them I was violently waked, not a little grieved at the vanishing of so pleasing a Dream.

Glascow, Sept. 29.

Footnote 1:  The dream in this Paper is taken to have been the joint production of Alexander Dunlop, Professor of Greek in Glasgow University, and a Mr. Montgomery, who traded to Sweden, and of whom it is hinted that he disordered his wits by falling in love with Queen Christina. Alexander Dunlop, born (1684) in America, where his father was an exile till the Revolution, as Greek Professor at Glasgow, published a Grammar, which was used for many years in Scottish Universities. He died in 1742.
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Contents, p. 4

No. 525

Saturday, November 1, 1712

John Hughes

Greek: Hod' eís tò sôphron ep' aretàen t' ágôn érôs,
          Zaelôtos ánthrôpoisin—Eurip.translation

It is my Custom to take frequent Opportunities of enquiring from time to time, what Success my Speculations meet with in the Town. I am glad to find in particular, that my Discourses on Marriage have been well received. A Friend of mine gives me to understand, from Doctors-Commons, that more Licences have been taken out there of late than usual. I am likewise informed of several pretty Fellows, who have resolved to commence Heads of Families by the first favourable Opportunity: One of them writes me word, that he is ready to enter into the Bonds of Matrimony, provided I will give it him under my Hand (as I now do) that a Man may shew his Face in good Company after he is married, and that he need not be ashamed to treat a Woman with Kindness, who puts herself into his Power for Life.

I have other Letters on this Subject, which say that I am attempting to make a Revolution in the World of Gallantry, and that the Consequence of it will be, that a great deal of the sprightliest Wit and Satyr of the last Age will be lost. That a bashful Fellow, upon changing his Condition, will be no longer puzzled how to stand the Raillery of his facetious Companions; that he need not own he married only to plunder an Heiress of her Fortune, nor pretend that he uses her ill, to avoid the ridiculous1 Name of a fond Husband.

Indeed if I may speak my Opinion of great part of the Writings which once prevail'd among us under the Notion of Humour, they are such as would tempt one to think there had been an Association among the Wits of those times to rally Legitimacy out of our Island. A State of Wedlock was the common Mark for all the Adventurers in Farce and Comedy, as well as the Essayers in Lampoon and Satyr, to shoot at, and nothing was a more standing Jest in all Clubs of fashionable Mirth, and gay Conversation. It was determined among those airy Criticks, that the Appellation of a Sober Man should signify a Spiritless Fellow. And I am apt to think it was about the same Time, that Good-Nature, a Word so peculiarly elegant in our Language that some have affirmed it cannot well be expressed in any other, came first to be render'd suspicious, and in danger of being transferred from its original Sense to so distant an Idea as that of Folly.

I must confess it has been my Ambition, in the course of my Writings, to restore, as well as I was able, the proper Ideas of things. And as I have attempted this already on the Subject of Marriage, in several Papers, I shall here add some further Observations which occur to me on the same Head. Nothing seems to be thought, by our fine Gentlemen, so indispensable an Ornament in fashionable Life, as Love. A Knight Errant, says Don Quixot, without a Mistress, is like a Tree without Leaves and a Man of Mode among us, who has not some Fair One to sigh for, might as well pretend to appear dressed, without his Periwig. We have Lovers in Prose innumerable. All our Pretenders to Rhyme are professed Inamorato's; and there is scarce a Poet, good or bad, to be heard of, who has not some real or supposed Sacharissa to improve his Vein.

If Love be any Refinement, Conjugal Love must be certainly so in a much higher Degree. There is no comparison between the frivolous Affectation of attracting the Eyes of Women with whom you are only captivated by Way of Amusement, and of whom perhaps you know nothing more than their Features, and a regular and uniform Endeavour to make your self valuable, both as a Friend and Lover, to one whom you have chosen to be the Companion of your Life. The first is the Spring of a thousand Fopperies, silly Artifices, Falshoods, and perhaps Barbarities; or at best arises no higher than to a kind of Dancing-School Breeding, to give the Person a more sparkling Air. The latter is the Parent of substantial Virtues and agreeable Qualities, and cultivates the Mind while it improves the Behaviour. The Passion of Love to a Mistress, even where it is most sincere, resembles too much the Flame of a Fever; that to a Wife is like the Vital Heat.

I have often thought, if the Letters written by Men of Goodnature to their Wives, were to be compared with those written by Men of Gallantry to their Mistresses, the former, notwithstanding any Inequality of Style, would appear to have the Advantage. Friendship, Tenderness and Constancy, drest in a Simplicity of Expression, recommend themselves by a more native Elegance, than passionate Raptures, extravagant Encomiums, and slavish Adoration. If we were admitted to search the Cabinet of the beautiful Narcissa, among Heaps of Epistles from several Admirers, which are there preserv'd with equal Care, how few should we find but would make any one Sick in the Reading, except her who is flattered by them? But in how different a Style must the wise Benevolus, who converses with that good Sense and good Humour among all his Friends, write to a Wife who is the worthy Object of his utmost Affection? Benevolus, both in Publick and Private, on all Occasions of Life, appears to have every good Quality and deSir able Ornament. Abroad he is reverenced and esteemed; at home beloved and happy. The Satisfaction he enjoys there, settles into an habitual Complacency, which shines in his Countenance, enlivens his Wit, and seasons his Conversation: Even those of his Acquaintance, who have never seen him in his Retirement, are Sharers in the Happiness of it; and it is very much owing to his being the best and best beloved of Husbands, that he is the most stedfast of Friends, and the most agreeable of Companions.

There is a sensible Pleasure in contemplating such beautiful Instances of Domestick Life. The Happiness of the Conjugal State appears heighten'd to the highest degree it is capable of, when we see two Persons of accomplished Minds, not only united in the same Interests and Affections, but in their Taste of the same Improvements, Pleasures and Diversions. Pliny, one of the finest Gentlemen, and politest Writers of the Age in which he lived, has left us, in his Letter to Hispulla, his Wife's Aunt, one of the most agreeable Family-Pieces of this Kind I have ever met with. I shall end this Discourse with a Translation of it; and I believe the Reader will be of my opinion, that Conjugal Love is drawn in it with a Delicacy which makes it appear to be, as I have represented it, an Ornament as well as a Virtue.
Pliny to Hispulla2.

'As I remember the great Affection which was between you and your excellent Brother, and know you love his Daughter as your own, so as not only to express the Tenderness of the best of Aunts, but even to supply that of the best of Fathers; I am sure it will be a pleasure to you to hear that she proves worthy of her Father, worthy of you, and of your Ancestors. Her Ingenuity is admirable; her Frugality extraordinary. She loves me, the surest Pledge of her Virtue; and adds to this a wonderful Disposition to Learning, which she has acquir'd from her Affection to me. She reads my Writings, studies them, and even gets them by heart. You'd smile to see the Concern she is in when I have a Cause to plead, and the Joy she shews when it is over. She finds means to have the first News brought her of the Success I meet with in Court, how I am heard, and what Decree is made. If I recite any thing in publick, she cannot refrain from placing her self privately in some Corner to hear, where with the utmost delight she feasts upon my Applauses. Sometimes she sings my Verses, and accompanies them with the Lute, without any Master, except Love, the best of Instructors. From these Instances I take the most certain Omens of our perpetual and encreasing Happiness; since our Affection is not founded on my Youth and Person, which must gradually decay, but she is in love with the immortal Part of me, my Glory and Reputation. Nor indeed could less be expected from one who had the Happiness to receive her Education from you, who in your House was accustomed to every thing that was virtuous and decent, and even began to love me by your Recommendation. For, as you had always the greatest Respect for my Mother, you were pleased from my Infancy to form me, to commend me, and kindly to presage I should be one day what my Wife fancies I am. Accept therefore our united Thanks; mine, that you have bestowed her on me, and hers, that you have given me to her, as a mutual Grant of Joy and Felicity.'

Footnote 1:   scandalous
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Footnote 2:   Bk iv. ep. 19.

Contents, p. 4

No. 526

Monday, November 3, 1712


—Fortius utere Loris.


I am very loth to come to Extremities with the young Gentlemen mention'd in the following Letter, and do not care to chastise them with my own Hand, till I am forc'd by Provocations too great to be suffer'd without the absolute Destruction of my Spectatorial Dignity. The Crimes of these Offenders are placed under the Observation of one of my chief Officers, who is posted just at the entrance of the Pass between London and Westminster. As I have great Confidence in the Capacity, Resolution and Integrity of the Person deputed by me to give an Account of Enormities, I doubt not but I shall soon have before me all proper Notices which are requisite for the Amendment of Manners in Publick, and the Instruction of each Individual of the Human Species in what is due from him, in respect to the whole Body of Mankind. The present Paper shall consist only of the above-mentioned Letter, and the Copy of a Deputation which I have given to my trusty Friend Mr. John Sly; wherein he is charged to notify to me all that is necessary for my Animadversion upon the Delinquents mentioned by my Correspondent, as well as all others described in the said Deputation.

To the SPECTATOR-GENERAL of Great Britain.

'I grant it does look a little familiar, but I must call you

Dear Dumb,

'Being got again to the farther End of the Widow's Coffeehouse, I shall from hence give you some account of the Behaviour of our Hackney-Coachmen since my last. These indefatigable Gentlemen, without the least Design, I dare say, of Self-Interest or Advantage to themselves, do still ply as Volunteers Day and Night for the Good of their Country. I will not trouble you with enumerating many Particulars, but I must by no means omit to inform you of an Infant about six foot high, and between twenty and thirty Years of Age, who was seen in the Arms of a Hackney Coach-man driving by Will's Coffee-house in Covent-Garden, between the Hours of four and five in the Afternoon of that very Day, wherein you publish'd a Memorial against them. This impudent young Cur, tho' he could not sit in a Coach-box without holding, yet would he venture his Neck to bid defiance to your Spectatorial Authority, or to any thing that you countenanced. Who he was I know not, but I heard this Relation this Morning from a Gentleman who was an Eye-Witness of this his Impudence; and I was willing to take the first opportunity to inform you of him, as holding it extremely requisite that you should nip him in the Bud. But I am my self most concerned for my Fellow-Templers, Fellow-Students, and Fellow-Labourers in the Law, I mean such of them as are dignified and distinguish'd under the Denomination of Hackney-Coachmen. Such aspiring Minds have these ambitious young Men, that they cannot enjoy themselves out of a Coach-Box. It is however an unspeakable Comfort to me, that I can now tell you, that some of them are grown so bashful as to study only in the Nighttime, or in the Country. The other Night I spied one of our young Gentlemen very diligent at his Lucubrations in Fleet-Street; and by the way, I should be under some concern, lest this hard Student should one time or other crack his Brain with studying, but that I am in hopes Nature has taken care to fortify him in proportion to the great Undertakings he was design'd for. Another of my Fellow-Templers, on Thursday last, was getting up into his Study at the Bottom of Grays-Inn-Lane, in order, I suppose, to contemplate in the fresh Air. Now, Sir , my Request is, that the great Modesty of these two Gentlemen may be recorded as a Pattern to the rest; and if you would but give them two or three Touches with your own Pen, tho' you might not perhaps prevail with them to desist entirely from their Meditations, yet I doubt not but you would at least preserve them from being publick Spectacles of Folly in our Streets. I say, two or three Touches with your own Pen; for I have really observed, Mr. Spec, that those Spectators which are so prettily laced down the sides with little c's, how instructive soever they may be, do not carry with them that Authority as the others. I do again therefore deSir e, that for the sake of their dear Necks, you will bestow one Penful of your own Ink upon them. I know you are loth to expose them; and it is, I must confess, a thousand Pities that any young Gentleman, who is come of honest Parents, should be brought to publick Shame: And indeed I should be glad to have them handled a little tenderly at the first; but if fair means will not prevail, there is then no other Way to reclaim them, but by making use of some wholesome Severities; and I think it is better that a Dozen or two of such good-for-nothing Fellows should be made Examples of, than that the Reputation of some Hundreds of as hopeful young Gentlemen as my self should suffer thro' their Folly. It is not, however, for me to direct you what to do; but, in short, if our Coachmen will drive on this Trade, the very first of them that I do find meditating in the Street, I shall make Bold to take the Number of his Chambers, together with a Note of his Name, and dispatch them to you, that you may chastise him at your own Discretion.

I am, Dear Spec.
For ever Yours,

Moses Greenbag,
Esq., if you please.

P. S. 'Tom Hammercloth, one of our Coachmen, is now pleading at the Bar at the other end of the Room, but has a little too much Vehemence, and throws out his Arms too much to take his Audience with a good Grace.

To my Loving and Well-beloved John Sly, Haberdasher of Hats and Tobacconist, between the Cities of London and Westminster. Whereas frequent Disorders, Affronts, Indignities, Omissions, and Trespasses, for which there are no Remedies by any Form of Law, but which apparently disturb and disquiet the Minds of Men, happen near the Place of your Residence; and that you are, as well by your commodious Situation as the good Parts with which you are endowed, properly qualified for the Observation of the said Offences; I do hereby authorize and depute you from the hours of Nine in the Morning, till Four in the Afternoon, to keep a strict Eye upon all Persons and Things that are convey'd in Coaches, carried in Carts, or walk on Foot from the City of London to the City of Westminster, or from the City of Westminster to the City of London, within the said Hours. You are therefore not to depart from your Observatory at the end of Devereux-Court during the said space of each Day; but to observe the Behaviour of all Persons who are suddenly transported from stamping on Pebbles to sit at ease in Chariots, what Notice they take of their Foot-Acquaintance, and send me the speediest Advice, when they are guilty of overlooking, turning from, or appearing grave and distant to their old Friends. When Man and Wife are in the same Coach, you are to see whether they appear pleased or tired with each other, and whether they carry the due Mein in the Eye of the World between Fondness and Coldness. You are carefully to behold all such as shall have Addition of Honour or Riches, and Report whether they preserve the Countenance they had before such Addition. As to Persons on Foot, you are to be attentive whether they are pleased with their Condition, and are dress'd suitable to it; but especially to distinguish such as appear discreet, by a low-heel Shoe, with the decent Ornament of a Leather-Garter: To write down the Name of such Country Gentlemen as, upon the Approach of Peace, have left the Hunting for the Military Cock of the Hat: Of all who strut, make a Noise, and swear at the Drivers of Coaches to make haste, when they see it impossible they should pass: Of all young Gentlemen in Coach-boxes, who labour at a Perfection in what they are sure to be excelled by the meanest of the People. You are to do all that in you lies that Coaches and Passengers give way according to the Course of Business, all the Morning in Term-Time towards Westminster, the rest of the Year towards the Exchange. Upon these Directions, together with other secret Articles herein inclosed, you are to govern your self, and give Advertisement thereof to me at all convenient and spectatorial Hours, when Men of Business are to be seen. Hereof you are not to fail. Given under my Seal of Office.



Contents, p. 4

No. 527

Tuesday, November 4, 1712

Facile invenies, et pejorem, et pejus moratam,
Meliorem neque tu reperes, neque sol videt.

Plautus in Sticho.translation

I am so tender of my Women-Readers, that I cannot defer the Publication of any thing which concerns their Happiness or Quiet. The Repose of a married Woman is consulted in the first of the following Letters, and the Felicity of a Maiden Lady in the second. I call it a Felicity to have the Addresses of an agreeable Man: and I think I have not any where seen a prettier Application of a Poetical Story than that of his, in making the Tale of Cephalus and Procris the History-Picture of a Fan in so gallant a manner as he addresses it1. But see the Letters.


'Tis now almost three months since I was in Town about some Business; and the Hurry of it being over, took Coach one Afternoon, and drove to see a Relation, who married about six Years ago a wealthy Citizen. I found her at home, but her Husband gone to the Exchange, and expected back within an Hour at the farthest. After the usual Salutations of Kindness, and a hundred Questions about Friends in the Country, we sat down to Piquet, played two or three Games, and drank Tea. I should have told you that this was my second time of seeing her since Marriage, but before she lived at the same Town where I went to School; so that the Plea of a Relation, added to the Innocence of my Youth, prevailed upon her good Humour to indulge me in a Freedom of Conversation as often, and oftner, than the strict Discipline of the School would allow of. You may easily imagine after such an Acquaintance we might be exceeding merry without any Offence, as in calling to mind how many Inventions I had been put to in deluding the Master, how many Hands forged for Excuses, how many times been sick in perfect Health; for I was then never sick but at School, and only then because out of her Company. We had whiled away three Hours after this manner, when I found it past Five; and not expecting her Husband would return till late, rose up, told her I should go early next Morning for the Country: She kindly answered she was afraid it would be long before she saw me again; so I took my leave and parted. Now, Sir , I had not been got home a Fortnight, when I received a Letter from a Neighbour of theirs, that ever since that fatal Afternoon the Lady had been most inhumanly treated, and the Husband publickly stormed that he was made a Member of too numerous a Society. He had, it seems, listened most of the time my Cousin and I were together. As jealous Ears always hear double, so he heard enough to make him mad; and as jealous Eyes always see thro' Magnifying Glasses, so he was certain it could not be I whom he had seen, a beardless Stripling, but fancied he saw a gay Gentleman of the Temple, ten Years older than my self; and for that reason, I presume, durst not come in, nor take any Notice when I went out. He is perpetually asking his Wife if she does not think the time long (as she said she should) till she see her Cousin again. Pray, Sir , what can be done in this Case? I have writ to him to assure him I was at his House all that afternoon expecting to see him: His Answer is, 'tis only a Trick of hers, and that he neither can nor will believe me. The parting Kiss I find mightily nettles him, and confirms him in all his Errors. Ben. Johnson, as I remember, makes a Foreigner in one of his Comedies, admire the desperate Valour of the bold English, who let out their Wives to all Encounters. The general Custom of Salutation should Excuse the Favour done me, or you should lay down Rules when such Distinctions are to be given or omitted. You cannot imagine, Sir , how troubled I am for this unhappy Lady's Misfortune; and beg you would insert this Letter, that the Husband may reflect upon this Accident coolly. It is no small Matter, the Ease of a virtuous Woman for her whole Life: I know she will conform to any Regularities (tho' more strict than the common Rules of our Country require) to which his particular Temper shall incline him to oblige her. This Accident puts me in mind how generously Pisistratus the Athenian Tyrant behaved himself on a like Occasion, when he was instigated by his Wife to put to death a young Gentleman, because being passionately fond of his Daughter, he kissed her in publick as he met her in the Street; What (says he) shall we do to those who are our Enemies, if we do thus to those who are our Friends? I will not trouble you much longer, but am exceedingly concern'd lest this Accident may cause a virtuous Lady to lead a miserable Life with a Husband, who has no Grounds for his Jealousy but what I have faithfully related, and ought to be reckon'd none. 'Tis to be fear'd too, if at last he sees his Mistake, yet People will be as slow and unwilling in disbelieving Scandal as they are quick and forward in believing it. I shall endeavour to enliven this plain honest Letter, with Ovid's Relation about Cybele's Image. The Ship wherein it was aboard was stranded at the mouth of the Tyber, and the Men were unable to move it, till Claudia, a Virgin, but suspected of Unchastity, by a slight Pull hawled it in. The Story is told in the fourth Book of the Fasti.
Parent of Gods, began the weeping Fair,
Reward or punish, but oh! hear my Pray'r.
If Lewdness e'er defil'd my Virgin Bloom,
From Heav'n with Justice I receive my Doom;
But if my Honour yet has known no Stain,
Thou, Goddess, thou my Innocence maintain;
Thou, whom the nicest Rules of Goodness sway'd,
Vouchsafe to follow an unblemish'd Maid.
She spoke, and touch'd the Cord with glad Surprize,
(The truth was witness'd by ten thousand Eyes)
The pitying Goddess easily comply'd,
Follow'd in triumph, and adorn'd her Guide;
Claudia, blushing still far past Disgrace,
March'd silent on with a slow solemn Pace:
Nor yet from some was all Distrust remov'd,
Tho' Heav'n such Virtue by such Wonders prov'd.
I am, Sir ,
Your very humble Servant,


'You will oblige a languishing Lover, if you will please to print the enclosed Verses in your next Paper. If you remember the Metamorphosis, you know Procris, the fond Wife of Cephalus, is said to have made her Husband, who delighted in the Sports of the Wood, a Present of an unerring Javelin. In process of time he was so much in the Forest, that his Lady suspected he was pursuing some Nymph, under the pretence of following a Chace more innocent. Under this Suspicion she hid herself among the Trees, to observe his Motions. While she lay conceal'd, her Husband, tired with the Labour of Hunting, came within her hearing. As he was fainting with Heat, he cried out, Aura veni; Oh charming Air approach.

'The unfortunate Wife, taking the Word Air to be the name of a Woman, began to move among the Bushes; and the Husband believing it a Deer, threw his Javelin and kill'd her. This History painted on a Fan, which I presented to a Lady, gave occasion to my growing poetical.
Come gentle Air! th' Æolian Shepherd said,
Procris panted in the secret Shade;
Come gentle Air! the fairer
Delia cries,
While at her Feet her Swain expiring lies.
Lo the glad Gales o'er all her Beauties stray,
Breathe on her Lips, and in her Bosom play.
Delia's Hand this Toy is fatal found,
Nor did that fabled Dart more surely wound.
Both Gifts destructive to the Givers prove,
Alike both Lovers fall by those they love:
Yet guiltless too this bright Destroyer lives,
At random wounds, nor knows the Wound she gives.
She views the Story with attentive Eyes,
And pities
Procris, while her Lover dies.

Footnote 1:   This second letter and the verses were from Pope.
return to footnote mark

Contents, p. 4

No. 528

Wednesday, November 5, 1712


Dum potuit solite gemitum virtute repressit.



'I who now write to you, am a Woman loaded with Injuries, and the Aggravation of my Misfortune is, that they are such which are overlooked by the Generality of Mankind, and tho' the most afflicting imaginable, not regarded as such in the general Sense of the World. I have hid my Vexation from all Mankind; but have now taken Pen, Ink, and Paper, and am resolv'd to unbosom my self to you, and lay before you what grieves me and all the Sex. You have very often mentioned particular Hardships done to this or that Lady; but, methinks, you have not in any one Speculation directly pointed at the partial Freedom Men take, the unreasonable Confinement Women are obliged to, in the only Circumstance in which we are necessarily to have a Commerce with them, that of Love. The Case of Celibacy is the great Evil of our Nation; and the Indulgence of the vicious Conduct of Men in that State, with the Ridicule to which Women are exposed, though ever so virtuous, if long unmarried, is the Root of the greatest Irregularities of this Nation. To shew you, Sir , that tho' you never have given us the Catalogue of a Lady's Library as you promised, we read good Books of our own chusing, I shall insert on this occasion a Paragraph or two out of Echard's Roman History. In the 44th Page of the second Volume the Author observes, that Augustus, upon his Return to Rome at the end of a War, received Complaints that too great a Number of the young Men of Quality were unmarried. The Emperor thereupon assembled the whole Equestrian Order; and having separated the Married from the Single, did particular Honours to the former, but he told the latter, that is to say, Mr. SPECTATOR, he told the Batchelors,
"That their Lives and Actions had been so peculiar, that he knew not by what Name to call 'em; not by that of Men, for they performed nothing that was manly; not by that of Citizens, for the City might perish notwithstanding their Care; nor by that of Romans, for they designed to extirpate the Roman Name."
Then proceeding to shew his tender Care and hearty Affection for his People, he further told them,
"That their Course of Life was of such pernicious Consequence to the Glory and Grandeur of the Roman Nation, that he could not chuse but tell them, that all other Crimes put together could not equalize theirs: For they were guilty of Murder, in not suffering those to be born which should proceed from them; of Impiety, in causing the Names and Honours of their Ancestors to cease; and of Sacrilege, in destroying their Kind, which proceeded from the immortal Gods, and Human Nature, the principal thing consecrated to 'em: Therefore in this Respect they dissolved the Government, in disobeying its Laws; betrayed their Country, by making it barren and waste; nay and demolished their City, in depriving it of Inhabitants. And he was sensible that all this proceeded not from any kind of Virtue or Abstinence, but from a Looseness and Wantonness, which ought never to be encouraged in any Civil Government."
There are no Particulars dwelt upon that let us into the Conduct of these young Worthies, whom this great Emperor treated with so much Justice and Indignation; but any one who observes what passes in this Town, may very well frame to himself a Notion of their Riots and Debaucheries all Night, and their apparent Preparations for them all Day. It is not to be doubted but these Romans never passed any of their Time innocently but when they were asleep, and never slept but when they were weary and heavy with Excesses, and slept only to prepare themselves for the Repetition of them. If you did your Duty as a SPECTATOR, you would carefully examine into the Number of Births, Marriages, and Burials; and when you had deducted out of your Deaths all such as went out of the World without marrying, then cast up the number of both Sexes born within such a Term of Years last past, you might from the single People departed make some useful Inferences or Guesses how many there are left unmarried, and raise some useful Scheme for the Amendment of the Age in that particular. I have not Patience to proceed gravely on this abominable Libertinism; for I cannot but reflect, as I am writing to you, upon a certain lascivious Manner which all our young Gentlemen use in publick, and examine our Eyes with a Petulancy in their own, which is a downright Affront to Modesty. A disdainful Look on such an Occasion is return'd with a Countenance rebuked, but by averting their Eyes from the Woman of Honour and Decency to some flippant Creature, who will, as the Phrase is, be kinder. I must set down things as they come into my Head, without standing upon Order. Ten thousand to one but the gay Gentleman who stared, at the same time is an House-keeper; for you must know they have got into a Humour of late of being very regular in their Sins, and a young Fellow shall keep his four Maids and three Footmen with the greatest Gravity imaginable. There are no less than six of these venerable House-keepers of my Acquaintance. This Humour among young Men of Condition is imitated by all the World below them, and a general Dissolution of Manners arises from the one Source of Libertinism, without Shame or Reprehension in the Male Youth. It is from this one Fountain that so many Beautiful helpless young Women are sacrific'd and given up to Lewdness, Shame, Poverty and Disease. It is to this also that so many excellent young Women, who might be Patterns of conjugal Affection and Parents of a worthy Race, pine under unhappy Passions for such as have not Attention enough to observe, or Virtue enough to prefer them to their common Wenches. Now, Mr. SPECTATOR, I must be free to own to you, that I my self suffer a tasteless insipid Being, from a Consideration I have for a Man who would not, as he has said in my hearing, resign his Liberty, as he calls it, for all the Beauty and Wealth the whole Sex is possessed of. Such Calamities as these would not happen, if it could possibly be brought about, that by fining Batchelors as Papists Convict, or the like, they were distinguished to their disadvantage from the rest of the World, who fall in with the Measures of Civil Society. Lest you should think I speak this as being, according to the senseless rude Phrase, a malicious old Maid, I shall acquaint you I am a Woman of Condition not now three and twenty, and have had Proposals from at least ten different Men, and the greater Number of them have upon the Upshot refused me. Something or other is always amiss when the Lover takes to some new Wench: A Settlement is easily excepted against; and there is very little Recourse to avoid the vicious Part of our Youth, but throwing one's self away upon some lifeless Blockhead, who tho' he is without Vice, is also without Virtue. Now-a-days we must be contented if we can get Creatures which are not bad, good are not to be expected. Mr. SPECTATOR, I sat near you the other Day, and think I did not displease you Spectatorial Eyesight; which I shall be a better Judge of when I see whether you take notice of these Evils your own way, or print this Memorial dictated from the disdainful heavy Heart of,

Sir ,

Your most obedient humble Servant,

Rachael Welladay.

Contents, p. 4

No. 529

Thursday, November 6, 1712


Singula quæque locum teneant sortita decenter.


Upon the hearing of several late Disputes concerning Rank and Precedence, I could not forbear amusing my self with some Observations, which I have made upon the Learned World, as to this great P