The Spectator, Volume 2.
Addison and Steele

Part 10 out of 19

Affairs. If one of them asks another, what a-clock it is, the other is
to answer him indirectly, and, if possible, to turn off the Question. If
he is desired to change a Louis d'or, he must beg Time to consider of
it. If it be enquired of him, whether the King is at Versailles or
Marly, he must answer in a Whisper. If he be asked the News of the late
Gazette, or the Subject of a Proclamation, he is to reply, that he has
not yet read it: Or if he does not care for explaining himself so far,
he needs only draw his Brow up in Wrinkles, or elevate the Left

The Fourth Professor is to teach the whole Art of Political Characters
and Hieroglyphics; and to the End that they may be perfect also in this
Practice, they are not to send a Note to one another (tho it be but to
borrow a Tacitus or a Machiavil) which is not written in Cypher.

Their Fifth Professor, it is thought, will be chosen out of the Society
of Jesuits, and is to be well read in the Controversies of probable
Doctrines, mental Reservation, and the Rights of Princes. This Learned
Man is to instruct them in the Grammar, Syntax, and construing Part of
Treaty-Latin; how to distinguish between the Spirit and the Letter, and
likewise demonstrate how the same Form of Words may lay an Obligation
upon any Prince in Europe, different from that which it lays upon his
Most Christian Majesty. He is likewise to teach them the Art of finding
Flaws, Loop-holes, and Evasions, in the most solemn Compacts, and
particularly a great Rabbinical Secret, revived of late Years by the
Fraternity of Jesuits, namely, that contradictory Interpretations, of
the same Article may both of them be true and valid.

When our Statesmen are sufficiently improved by these several
Instructors, they are to receive their last Polishing from one who is to
act among them as Master of the Ceremonies. This Gentleman is to give
them Lectures upon those important Points of the Elbow Chair, and the
Stair Head, to instruct them in the different Situations of the
Right-Hand, and to furnish them with Bows and Inclinations of all Sizes,
Measures and Proportions. In short, this Professor is to give the
Society their Stiffening, and infuse into their Manners that beautiful
Political Starch, which may qualifie them for Levees, Conferences,
Visits, and make them shine in what vulgar Minds are apt to look upon as
Trifles. I have not yet heard any further Particulars, which are to be
observed in this Society of unfledged Statesmen; but I must confess, had
I a Son of five and twenty, that should take it into his Head at that
Age to set up for a Politician, I think I should go near to disinherit
him for a Block-head. Besides, I should be apprehensive lest the same
Arts which are to enable him to negotiate between Potentates might a
little infect his ordinary behaviour between Man and Man. There is no
Question but these young Machiavil's will, in a little time, turn their
College upside-down with Plots and Stratagems, and lay as many Schemes
to Circumvent one another in a Frog or a Sallad, as they may hereafter
put in Practice to over-reach a Neighbouring Prince or State.

We are told, that the Spartans, tho they punished Theft in their young
Men when it was discovered, looked upon it as Honourable if it
succeeded. Provided the Conveyance was clean and unsuspected, a Youth
might afterwards boast of it. This, say the Historians, was to keep them
sharp, and to hinder them from being imposed upon, either in their
publick or private Negotiations. Whether any such Relaxations of
Morality, such little jeux desprit, ought not to be allowed in this
intended Seminary of Politicians, I shall leave to the Wisdom of their

In the mean time we have fair Warning given us by this doughty Body of
Statesmen: and as Sylla saw many Marius's in Caesar, so I think we may
discover many Torcys in this College of Academicians. Whatever we think
of our selves, I am afraid neither our Smyrna or St. James's will be a
Match for it. Our Coffee-houses are, indeed, very good Institutions, but
whether or no these our British Schools of Politicks may furnish out as
able Envoys and Secretaries as an Academy that is set apart for that
Purpose, will deserve our serious Consideration, especially if we
remember that our Country is more famous for producing Men of Integrity
than Statesmen; and that on the contrary, French Truth and British
Policy make a Conspicuous Figure in NOTHING, as the Earl of Rochester
has very well observed in his admirable Poem upon that Barren Subject.


* * * * *

No. 306. Wednesday, February 20, 1712. Steele.

Quae forma, ut se tibi semper



I write this to communicate to you a Misfortune which frequently
happens, and therefore deserves a consolatory Discourse on the
Subject. I was within this Half-Year in the Possession of as much
Beauty and as many Lovers as any young Lady in England. But my
Admirers have left me, and I cannot complain of their Behaviour. I
have within that Time had the Small-Pox; and this Face, which
(according to many amorous Epistles which I have by me) was the Seat
of all that is beautiful in Woman, is now disfigured with Scars. It
goes to the very Soul of me to speak what I really think of my Face;
and tho I think I did not over-rate my Beauty while I had it, it has
extremely advanc'd in its value with me now it is lost. There is one
Circumstance which makes my Case very particular; the ugliest Fellow
that ever pretended to me, was and is most in my Favour, and he treats
me at present the most unreasonably. If you could make him return an
Obligation which he owes me, in liking a Person that is not
amiable;--But there is, I fear, no Possibility of making Passion move
by the Rules of Reason and Gratitude. But say what you can to one who
has survived her self, and knows not how to act in a new Being. My
Lovers are at the Feet of my Rivals, my Rivals are every Day bewailing
me, and I cannot enjoy what I am, by reason of the distracting
Reflection upon what I was. Consider the Woman I was did not die of
old Age, but I was taken off in the Prime of my Youth, and according
to the Course of Nature may have Forty Years After-Life to come. I
have nothing of my self left which I like, but that
I am, SIR,
Your most humble Servant,

When Lewis of France had lost the Battle of Ramelies, the Addresses to
him at that time were full of his Fortitude, and they turned his
Misfortune to his Glory; in that, during his Prosperity, he could never
have manifested his heroick Constancy under Distresses, and so the World
had lost the most eminent Part of his Character. Parthenissa's Condition
gives her the same Opportunity; and to resign Conquests is a Task as
difficult in a Beauty as an Hero. In the very Entrance upon this Work
she must burn all her Love-Letters; or since she is so candid as not to
call her Lovers who follow her no longer Unfaithful, it would be a very
good beginning of a new Life from that of a Beauty, to send them back to
those who writ them, with this honest Inscription, Articles of a
Marriage Treaty broken off by the Small-Pox. I have known but one
Instance, where a Matter of this Kind went on after a like Misfortune,
where the Lady, who was a Woman of Spirit, writ this Billet to her

If you flattered me before I had this terrible Malady, pray come and
see me now: But if you sincerely liked me, stay away; for I am not the

The Lover thought there was something so sprightly in her Behaviour,
that he answered,

I am not obliged, since you are not the same Woman, to let you know
whether I flattered you or not; but I assure you, I do not, when I
tell you I now like you above all your Sex, and hope you will bear
what may befall me when we are both one, as well as you do what
happens to your self now you are single; therefore I am ready to take
such a Spirit for my Companion as soon as you please.

If Parthenissa can now possess her own Mind, and think as little of her
Beauty as she ought to have done when she had it, there will be no great
Diminution of her Charms; and if she was formerly affected too much with
them, an easie Behaviour will more than make up for the Loss of them.
Take the whole Sex together, and you find those who have the strongest
Possession of Mens Hearts are not eminent for their Beauty: You see it
often happen that those who engage Men to the greatest Violence, are
such as those who are Strangers to them would take to be remarkably
defective for that End. The fondest Lover I know, said to me one Day in
a Crowd of Women at an Entertainment of Musick, You have often heard me
talk of my Beloved: That Woman there, continued he, smiling when he had
fixed my Eye, is her very Picture. The Lady he shewed me was by much the
least remarkable for Beauty of any in the whole Assembly; but having my
Curiosity extremely raised, I could not keep my Eyes off of her. Her
Eyes at last met mine, and with a sudden Surprize she looked round her
to see who near her was remarkably handsome that I was gazing at. This
little Act explain'd the Secret: She did not understand herself for the
Object of Love, and therefore she was so. The Lover is a very honest
plain Man; and what charmed him was a Person that goes along with him in
the Cares and Joys of Life, not taken up with her self, but sincerely
attentive with a ready and chearful Mind, to accompany him in either.

I can tell Parthenissa for her Comfort, That the Beauties, generally
speaking, are the most impertinent and disagreeable of Women. An
apparent Desire of Admiration, a Reflection upon their own Merit, and a
precious Behaviour in their general Conduct, are almost inseparable
Accidents in Beauties. All you obtain of them is granted to Importunity
and Sollicitation for what did not deserve so much of your Time, and you
recover from the Possession of it, as out of a Dream.

You are ashamed of the Vagaries of Fancy which so strangely mis-led you,
and your Admiration of a Beauty, merely as such, is inconsistent with a
tolerable Reflection upon your self: The chearful good-humoured
Creatures, into whose Heads it never entred that they could make any Man
unhappy, are the Persons formed for making Men happy. There's Miss Liddy
can dance a Jigg, raise Paste, write a good Hand, keep an Account, give
a reasonable Answer, and do as she is bid; while her elder Sister Madam
Martha is out of Humour, has the Spleen, learns by Reports of People of
higher Quality new Ways of being uneasie and displeased. And this
happens for no Reason in the World, but that poor Liddy knows she has no
such thing as a certain Negligence that is so becoming, that there is
not I know not what in her Air: And that if she talks like a Fool, there
is no one will say, Well! I know not what it is, but every Thing pleases
when she speaks it.

Ask any of the Husbands of your great Beauties, and they'll tell you
that they hate their Wives Nine Hours of every Day they pass together.
There is such a Particularity for ever affected by them, that they are
incumbered with their Charms in all they say or do. They pray at publick
Devotions as they are Beauties. They converse on ordinary Occasions as
they are Beauties. Ask Belinda what it is a Clock, and she is at a stand
whether so great a Beauty should answer you. In a Word, I think, instead
of offering to administer Consolation to Parthenissa, I should
congratulate her Metamorphosis; and however she thinks she was not in
the least insolent in the Prosperity of her Charms, she was enough so to
find she may make her self a much more agreeable Creature in her present
Adversity. The Endeavour to please is highly promoted by a Consciousness
that the Approbation of the Person you would be agreeable to, is a
Favour you do not deserve; for in this Case Assurance of Success is the
most certain way to Disappointment. Good-Nature will always supply the
Absence of Beauty, but Beauty cannot long supply the Absence of

P. S.

Madam, February 18.
I have yours of this Day, wherein you twice bid me not to disoblige
you, but you must explain yourself further before I know what to do.
Your most obedient Servant,


[Footnote 1: Mr. John Duncombe ascribed this letter to his relative,
John Hughes, and said that by Parthenissa was meant a Miss Rotherham,
afterwards married to the Rev. Mr. Wyatt, master of Felsted School, in
Essex. The name of Parthenissa is from the heroine of a romance by Roger
Boyle, Earl of Orrery.]

* * * * *

No. 307. Thursday, February 21, 1712. Budgell.

--Versate diu quid ferre recusent
Quid valeant humeri--


I am so well pleased with the following Letter, that I am in hopes it
will not be a disagreeable Present to the Publick.

Though I believe none of your Readers more admire your agreeable
manner of working up Trifles than my self, yet as your Speculations
are now swelling into Volumes, and will in all Probability pass down
to future Ages, methinks I would have no single Subject in them,
wherein the general Good of Mankind is concern'd, left unfinished.

I have a long time expected with great Impatience that you would
enlarge upon the ordinary Mistakes which are committed in the
Education of our Children. I the more easily flattered my self that
you would one time or other resume this Consideration, because you
tell us that your 168th Paper was only composed of a few broken Hints;
but finding myself hitherto disappointed, I have ventur'd to send you
my own Thoughts on this Subject.

I remember Pericles in his famous Oration at the Funeral of those
Athenian young Men who perished in the Samian Expedition, has a
Thought very much celebrated by several Ancient Criticks, namely, That
the Loss which the Commonwealth suffered by the Destruction of its
Youth, was like the Loss which the Year would suffer by the
Destruction of the Spring. The Prejudice which the Publick sustains
from a wrong Education of Children, is an Evil of the same Nature, as
it in a manner starves Posterity, and defrauds our Country of those
Persons who, with due Care, might make an eminent Figure in their
respective Posts of Life.

I have seen a Book written by Juan Huartes,[1] a Spanish Physician,
entitled Examen de Ingenios, wherein he lays it down as one of his
first Positions, that Nothing but Nature can qualifie a Man for
Learning; and that without a proper Temperament for the particular Art
or Science which he studies, his utmost Pains and Application,
assisted by the ablest Masters, will be to no purpose.

He illustrates this by the Example of Tully's Son Marcus.

Cicero, in order to accomplish his Son in that sort of Learning which
he designed him for, sent him to Athens, the most celebrated Academy
at that time in the World, and where a vast Concourse, out of the most
Polite Nations, could not but furnish a young Gentleman with a
Multitude of great Examples, and Accidents that might insensibly have
instructed him in his designed Studies: He placed him under the Care
of Cratippus, who was one of the greatest Philosophers of the Age,
and, as if all the Books which were at that time written had not been
sufficient for his Use, he composed others on purpose for him:
Notwithstanding all this, History informs us, that Marcus proved a
meer Blockhead, and that Nature, (who it seems was even with the Son
for her Prodigality to the Father) rendered him incapable of improving
by all the Rules of Eloquence, the Precepts of Philosophy, his own
Endeavours, and the most refined Conversation in Athens. This Author
therefore proposes, that there should be certain Tryers or Examiners
appointed by the State to inspect the Genius of every particular Boy,
and to allot him the Part that is most suitable to his natural

Plato in one of his Dialogues tells us, that Socrates, who was the
Son of a Midwife, used to say, that as his Mother, tho she was very
skilful in her Profession, could not deliver a Woman, unless she was
first with Child; so neither could he himself raise Knowledge out of a
Mind, where Nature had not planted it.

Accordingly the Method this Philosopher took, of instructing his
Scholars by several Interrogatories or Questions, was only helping the
Birth, and bringing their own Thoughts to Light.

The Spanish Doctor above mentioned, as his Speculations grow more
refined, asserts that every kind of Wit has a particular Science
corresponding to it, and in which alone it can be truly Excellent. As
to those Genius's, which may seem to have an equal Aptitude for
several things, he regards them as so many unfinished Pieces of Nature
wrought off in haste.

There are, indeed, but very few to whom Nature has been so unkind,
that they are not capable of shining in some Science or other. There
is a certain Byass towards Knowledge in every Mind, which may be
strengthened and improved by proper Applications.

The Story of Clavius [2] is very well known; he was entered in a
College of Jesuits, and after having been tryed at several Parts of
Learning, was upon the Point of being dismissed as an hopeless
Blockhead, till one of the Fathers took it into his Head to make an
assay of his Parts in Geometry, which it seems hit his Genius so
luckily that he afterwards became one of the greatest Mathematicians
of the Age. It is commonly thought that the Sagacity of these Fathers,
in discovering the Talent of a young Student, has not a little
contributed to the Figure which their Order has made in the World.

How different from this manner of Education is that which prevails in
our own Country? Where nothing is more usual than to see forty or
fifty Boys of several Ages, Tempers and Inclinations, ranged together
in the same Class, employed upon the same Authors, and enjoyned the
same Tasks? Whatever their natural Genius may be, they are all to be
made Poets, Historians, and Orators alike. They are all obliged to
have the same Capacity, to bring in the same Tale of Verse, and to
furnish out the same Portion of Prose. Every Boy is bound to have as
good a Memory as the Captain of the Form. To be brief, instead of
adapting Studies to the particular Genius of a Youth, we expect from
the young Man, that he should adapt his Genius to his Studies. This, I
must confess, is not so much to be imputed to the Instructor, as to
the Parent, who will never be brought to believe, that his Son is not
capable of performing as much as his Neighbours, and that he may not
make him whatever he has a Mind to.

If the present Age is more laudable than those which have gone before
it in any single Particular, it is in that generous Care which several
well-disposed Persons have taken in the Education of poor Children;
and as in these Charity-Schools there is no Place left for the
over-weening Fondness of a Parent, the Directors of them would make
them beneficial to the Publick, if they considered the Precept which I
have been thus long inculcating. They might easily, by well examining
the Parts of those under their Inspection, make a just Distribution of
them into proper Classes and Divisions, and allot to them this or that
particular Study, as their Genius qualifies them for Professions,
Trades, Handicrafts, or Service by Sea or Land.

How is this kind of Regulation wanting in the three great

Dr. South complaining of Persons who took upon them Holy Orders, tho
altogether unqualified for the Sacred Function, says somewhere, that
many a Man runs his Head against a Pulpit, who might have done his
Country excellent Service at a Plough-tail.

In like manner many a Lawyer, who makes but an indifferent Figure at
the Bar, might have made a very elegant Waterman, and have shined at
the Temple Stairs, tho he can get no Business in the House.

I have known a Corn-cutter, who with a right Education would have
been an excellent Physician.

To descend lower, are not our Streets filled with sagacious Draymen,
and Politicians in Liveries? We have several Taylors of six Foot high,
and meet with many a broad pair of Shoulders that are thrown away upon
a Barber, when perhaps at the same time we see a pigmy Porter reeling
under a Burthen, who might have managed a Needle with much Dexterity,
or have snapped his Fingers with great Ease to himself, and Advantage
to the Publick.

The Spartans, tho they acted with the Spirit which I am here
speaking of, carried it much farther than what I propose: Among them
it was not lawful for the Father himself to bring up his Children
after his own Fancy. As soon as they were seven Years old they were
all listed in several Companies, and disciplined by the Publick. The
old Men were Spectators of their Performances, who often raised
Quarrels among them, and set them at Strife with one another, that by
those early Discoveries they might see how their several Talents lay,
and without any regard to their Quality, dispose of them accordingly
for the Service of the Commonwealth. By this Means Sparta soon became
the Mistress of Greece, and famous through the whole World for her
Civil and Military Discipline.

If you think this Letter deserves a place among your Speculations, I
may perhaps trouble you with some other Thoughts on the same Subject.
I am, &c.


[Footnote 1: Juan Huarte was born in French Navarre, and obtained much
credit in the sixteenth century for the book here cited. It was
translated into Latin and French. The best edition is of Cologne, 1610.]

[Footnote 2: Christopher Clavius, a native of Bamberg, died in 1612,
aged 75, at Rome, whither he had been sent by the Jesuits, and where he
was regarded as the Euclid of his age. It was Clavius whom Pope Gregory
XIII. employed in 1581 to effect the reform in the Roman Calendar
promulgated in 1582, when the 5th of October became throughout Catholic
countries the 15th of the New Style, an improvement that was not
admitted into Protestant England until 1752. Clavius wrote an Arithmetic
and Commentaries on Euclid, and justified his reform of the Calendar
against the criticism of Scaliger.]

* * * * *

No. 308. Friday, February 22, 1712. Steele.

Jam proterva
Fronte petet Lalage maritum.



I give you this Trouble in order to propose my self to you as an
Assistant in the weighty Cares which you have thought fit to undergo
for the publick Good. I am a very great Lover of Women, that is to say
honestly, and as it is natural to study what one likes, I have
industriously applied my self to understand them. The present
Circumstance relating to them, is, that I think there wants under you,
as SPECTATOR, a Person to be distinguished and vested in the Power and
Quality of a Censor on Marriages. I lodge at the Temple, and know, by
seeing Women come hither, and afterwards observing them conducted by
their Council to Judges Chambers, that there is a Custom in Case of
making Conveyance of a Wife's Estate, that she is carried to a Judges
Apartment and left alone with him, to be examined in private whether
she has not been frightened or sweetned by her Spouse into the Act she
is going to do, or whether it is of her own free Will. Now if this be
a Method founded upon Reason and Equity, why should there not be also
a proper Officer for examining such as are entring into the State of
Matrimony, whether they are forced by Parents on one Side, or moved by
Interest only on the other, to come together, and bring forth such
awkward Heirs as are the Product of half Love and constrained
Compliances? There is no Body, though I say it my self, would be
fitter for this Office than I am: For I am an ugly Fellow of great Wit
and Sagacity. My Father was an hail Country-Squire, my Mother a witty
Beauty of no Fortune: The Match was made by Consent of my Mothers
Parents against her own: and I am the Child of a Rape on the
Wedding-Night; so that I am as healthy and as homely as my Father, but
as sprightly and agreeable as my Mother. It would be of great Ease to
you if you would use me under you, that Matches might be better
regulated for the future, and we might have no more Children of
Squabbles. I shall not reveal all my Pretensions till I receive your
Answer; and am, Sir,
Your most humble Servant,
Mules Palfrey.

Mr. Spectator,

I am one of those unfortunate Men within the City-Walls, who am
married to a Woman of Quality, but her Temper is something different
from that of Lady Anvil. My Lady's whole Time and Thoughts are spent
in keeping up to the Mode both in Apparel and Furniture. All the Goods
in my House have been changed three times in seven Years. I have had
seven Children by her; and by our Marriage Articles she was to have
her Apartment new furnished as often as she lay in. Nothing in our
House is useful but that which is fashionable; my Pewter holds out
generally half a Year, my Plate a full Twelvemonth; Chairs are not fit
to sit in that were made two Years since, nor Beds fit for any thing
but to sleep in that have stood up above that Time. My Dear is of
Opinion that an old-fashioned Grate consumes Coals, but gives no Heat:
If she drinks out of Glasses of last Year, she cannot distinguish Wine
from Small-Beer. Oh dear Sir you may guess all the rest. Yours.

P. S. I could bear even all this, if I were not obliged also to eat
fashionably. I have a plain Stomach, and have a constant Loathing of
whatever comes to my own Table; for which Reason I dine at the
Chop-House three Days a Week: Where the good Company wonders they
never see you of late. I am sure by your unprejudiced Discourses you
love Broth better than Soup.

Wills, Feb. 19.

Mr. Spectator,
You may believe you are a Person as much talked of as any Man in Town.
I am one of your best Friends in this House, and have laid a Wager you
are so candid a Man and so honest a Fellow, that you will print this
Letter, tho it is in Recommendation of a new Paper called The
Historian. [1] I have read it carefully, and find it written with
Skill, good Sense, Modesty, and Fire. You must allow the Town is
kinder to you than you deserve; and I doubt not but you have so much
Sense of the World, Change of Humour, and instability of all humane
Things, as to understand, that the only Way to preserve Favour, is to
communicate it to others with Good-Nature and Judgment. You are so
generally read, that what you speak of will be read. This with Men of
Sense and Taste is all that is wanting to recommend The Historian.
I am, Sir,
Your daily Advocate,
Reader Gentle.

I was very much surprised this Morning, that any one should find out my
Lodging, and know it so well, as to come directly to my Closet-Door, and
knock at it, to give me the following Letter. When I came out I opened
it, and saw by a very strong Pair of Shoes and a warm Coat the Bearer
had on, that he walked all the Way to bring it me, tho dated from York.
My Misfortune is that I cannot talk, and I found the Messenger had so
much of me, that he could think better than speak. He had, I observed, a
polite Discerning hid under a shrewd Rusticity: He delivered the Paper
with a Yorkshire Tone and a Town Leer.

Mr. Spectator,
The Privilege you have indulged John Trot has proved of very bad
Consequence to our illustrious Assembly, which, besides the many
excellent Maxims it is founded upon, is remarkable for the
extraordinary Decorum always observed in it. One Instance of which is
that the Carders, (who are always of the first Quality) never begin to
play till the French-Dances are finished, and the Country-Dances
begin: But John Trot having now got your Commission in his Pocket,
(which every one here has a profound Respect for) has the Assurance to
set up for a Minuit-Dancer. Not only so, but he has brought down upon
us the whole Body of the Trots, which are very numerous, with their
Auxiliaries the Hobblers and the Skippers, by which Means the Time is
so much wasted, that unless we break all Rules of Government, it must
redound to the utter Subversion of the Brag-Table, the discreet
Members of which value Time as Fribble's Wife does her Pin-Money. We
are pretty well assured that your Indulgence to Trot was only in
relation to Country-Dances; however we have deferred the issuing an
Order of Council upon the Premisses, hoping to get you to join with
us, that Trot, nor any of his Clan, presume for the future to dance
any but Country-Dances, unless a Horn-Pipe upon a Festival-Day. If you
will do this you will oblige a great many Ladies, and particularly
Your most humble Servant,
Eliz. Sweepstakes.
York, Feb. 16.

I never meant any other than that Mr. Trott should confine himself to
Country-Dances. And I further direct, that he shall take out none but
his own Relations according to their Nearness of Blood, but any
Gentlewoman may take out him.

London, Feb. 21.

The Spectator.


[Footnote 1: Steele's papers had many imitations, as the Historian, here
named; the Rhapsody, Observator, Moderator, Growler, Censor, Hermit,
Surprize, Silent Monitor, Inquisitor, Pilgrim, Restorer, Instructor,
Grumbler, &c. There was also in 1712 a Rambler, anticipating the name of
Dr. Johnsons Rambler of 1750-2.]

* * * * *

No. 309. Saturday, February 23, 1712. Addison.

Di, quibus imperium est animarum, umbraeque silentes,
Et Chaos, et Phlegethon, loca nocte silentia late;
Sit mihi fas audita loqui! sit numine vestro
Pandere res alta terra et caligine mersas.


I have before observed in general, that the Persons whom Milton
introduces into his Poem always discover such Sentiments and Behaviour,
as are in a peculiar manner conformable to their respective Characters.
Every Circumstance in their Speeches and Actions is with great Justness
and Delicacy adapted to the Persons who speak and act. As the Poet very
much excels in this Consistency of his Characters, I shall beg Leave to
consider several Passages of the Second Book in this Light. That
superior Greatness and Mock-Majesty, which is ascribed to the Prince of
the fallen Angels, is admirably preserved in the Beginning of this Book.
His opening and closing the Debate; his taking on himself that great
Enterprize at the Thought of which the whole Infernal Assembly trembled;
his encountering the hideous Phantom who guarded the Gates of Hell, and
appeared to him in all his Terrors, are Instances of that proud and
daring Mind which could not brook Submission even to Omnipotence.

Satan was now at hand, and from his Seat
The Monster moving onward came as fast
With horrid strides, Hell trembled as he strode,
Th' undaunted Fiend what this might be admir'd,
Admired, not fear'd--

The same Boldness and Intrepidity of Behaviour discovers it self in the
several Adventures which he meets with during his Passage through the
Regions of unformed Matter, and particularly in his Address to those
tremendous Powers who are described as presiding over it.

The Part of Moloch is likewise in all its Circumstances full of that
Fire and Fury which distinguish this Spirit from the rest of the fallen
Angels. He is described in the first Book as besmeared with the Blood of
Human Sacrifices, and delighted with the Tears of Parents and the Cries
of Children. In the Second Book he is marked out as the fiercest Spirit
that fought in Heaven: and if we consider the Figure which he makes in
the Sixth Book, where the Battle of the Angels is described, we find it
every way answerable to the same furious enraged Character.

--Where the might of Gabriel fought,
And with fierce Ensigns pierc'd the deep array
Of Moloc, furious King, who him defy'd,
And at his chariot wheels to drag him bound
Threatened, nor from the Holy one of Heavn
Refrain'd his tongue blasphemous; but anon
Down cloven to the waste, with shatter'd arms
And uncouth pain fled bellowing.--

It may be worth while to observe, that Milton has represented this
violent impetuous Spirit, who is hurried only by such precipitate
Passions, as the first that rises in that Assembly, to give his Opinion
upon their present Posture of Affairs. Accordingly he declares himself
abruptly for War, and appears incensed at his Companions, for losing so
much Time as even to deliberate upon it. All his Sentiments are Rash,
Audacious and Desperate. Such is that of arming themselves with their
Tortures, and turning their Punishments upon him who inflicted them.

--No, let us rather chuse,
Arm'd with Hell flames and fury, all at once
O'er Heavens high tow'rs to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the Torturer; when to meet the Noise
Of his almighty Engine he shall hear
Infernal Thunder, and for Lightning see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his Angels; and his throne it self
Mixt with Tartarean Sulphur, and strange Fire,
His own invented Torments--

His preferring Annihilation to Shame or Misery, is also highly suitable
to his Character; as the Comfort he draws from their disturbing the
Peace of Heaven, that if it be not Victory it is Revenge, is a Sentiment
truly Diabolical, and becoming the Bitterness of this implacable Spirit.

Belial is described in the first Book, as the Idol of the Lewd and
Luxurious. He is in the Second Book, pursuant to that Description,
characterised as timorous and slothful; and if we look in the Sixth
Book, we find him celebrated in the Battel of Angels for nothing but
that scoffing Speech which he makes to Satan, on their supposed
Advantage over the Enemy. As his Appearance is uniform, and of a Piece,
in these three several Views, we find his Sentiments in the Infernal
Assembly every way conformable to his Character. Such are his
Apprehensions of a second Battel, his Horrors of Annihilation, his
preferring to be miserable rather than not to be. I need not observe,
that the Contrast of Thought in this Speech, and that which precedes it,
gives an agreeable Variety to the Debate.

Mammon's Character is so fully drawn in the First Book, that the Poet
adds nothing to it in the Second. We were before told, that he was the
first who taught Mankind to ransack the Earth for Gold and Silver, and
that he was the Architect of Pandaemonium, or the Infernal Place, where
the Evil Spirits were to meet in Council. His Speech in this Book is
every way suitable to so depraved a Character. How proper is that
Reflection, of their being unable to taste the Happiness of Heaven were
they actually there, in the Mouth of one, who while he was in Heaven, is
said to have had his Mind dazled with the outward Pomps and Glories of
the Place, and to have been more intent on the Riches of the Pavement,
than on the Beatifick Vision. I shall also leave the Reader to judge how
agreeable the following Sentiments are to the same Character.

--This deep World
Of Darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
Thick cloud and dark doth Heavns all-ruling Sire
Chuse to reside, his Glory umobscured,
And with the Majesty of Darkness round
Covers his Throne; from whence deep Thunders roar
Mustering their Rage, and Heavn resembles Hell?
As he our Darkness, cannot we his Light
Imitate when we please? This desart Soil
Wants not her hidden Lustre, Gems and Gold;
Nor want we Skill or Art, from whence to raise
Magnificence; and what can Heavn shew more?

Beelzebub, who is reckoned the second in Dignity that fell, and is, in
the First Book, the second that awakens out of the Trance, and confers
with Satan upon the Situation of their Affairs, maintains his Rank in
the Book now before us. There is a wonderful Majesty described in his
rising up to speak. He acts as a kind of Moderator between the two
opposite Parties, and proposes a third Undertaking, which the whole
Assembly gives into. The Motion he makes of detaching one of their Body
in search of a new World is grounded upon a Project devised by Satan,
and cursorily proposed by him in the following Lines of the first Book.

Space may produce new Worlds, whereof so rife
There went a Fame in Heavn, that he erelong
Intended to create, and therein plant
A Generation, whom his choice Regard
Should favour equal to the Sons of Heaven:
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
Our first Eruption, thither or elsewhere:
For this Infernal Pit shall never hold
Celestial Spirits in Bondage, nor th' Abyss
Long under Darkness cover. But these Thoughts
Full Counsel must mature:--

It is on this Project that Beelzebub grounds his Proposal.

--What if we find
Some easier Enterprise? There is a Place
(If ancient and prophetick Fame in Heavn
Err not) another World, the happy Seat
Of some new Race call'd MAN, about this Time
To be created like to us, though less
In Power and Excellence, but favoured more
Of him who rules above; so was his Will
Pronounc'd among the Gods, and by an Oath,
That shook Heavns whole Circumference, confirm'd.

The Reader may observe how just it was not to omit in the First Book the
Project upon which the whole Poem turns: As also that the Prince of the
fallen Angels was the only proper Person to give it Birth, and that the
next to him in Dignity was the fittest to second and support it.

There is besides, I think, something wonderfully Beautiful, and very apt
to affect the Readers Imagination in this ancient Prophecy or Report in
Heaven, concerning the Creation of Man. Nothing could shew more the
Dignity of the Species, than this Tradition which ran of them before
their Existence. They are represented to have been the Talk of Heaven,
before they were created. Virgil, in compliment to the Roman
Commonwealth, makes the Heroes of it appear in their State of
Pre-existence; but Milton does a far greater Honour to Man-kind in
general, as he gives us a Glimpse of them even before they are in Being.

The rising of this great Assembly is described in a very Sublime and
Poetical Manner.

Their rising all at once was as the Sound
Of Thunder heard remote--

The Diversions of the fallen Angels, with the particular Account of
their Place of Habitation, are described with great Pregnancy of
Thought, and Copiousness of Invention. The Diversions are every way
suitable to Beings who had nothing left them but Strength and Knowledge
misapplied. Such are their Contentions at the Race, and in Feats of
Arms, with their Entertainment in the following Lines.

Others with vast Typhaean rage more fell
Rend up both Rocks and Hills, and ride the Air
In Whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild Uproar.

Their Musick is employed in celebrating their own criminal Exploits, and
their Discourse in sounding the unfathomable Depths of Fate, Free-will
and Fore-knowledge.

The several Circumstances in the Description of Hell are finely
imagined; as the four Rivers which disgorge themselves into the Sea of
Fire, the Extreams of Cold and Heat, and the River of Oblivion. The
monstrous Animals produced in that Infernal World are represented by a
single Line, which gives us a more horrid Idea of them, than a much
longer Description would have done.

--Nature breeds,
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious Things,
Abominable, inutterable, and worse
Than Fables yet have feign'd, or Fear conceiv'd,
Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire.

This Episode of the fallen Spirits, and their Place of Habitation, comes
in very happily to unbend the Mind of the Reader from its Attention to
the Debate. An ordinary Poet would indeed have spun out so many
Circumstances to a great Length, and by that means have weakned, instead
of illustrated, the principal Fable.

The Flight of Satan to the Gates of Hell is finely imaged. I have
already declared my Opinion of the Allegory concerning Sin and Death,
which is however a very finished Piece in its kind, when it is not
considered as a Part of an Epic Poem. The Genealogy of the several
Persons is contrived with great Delicacy. Sin is the Daughter of Satan,
and Death the Offspring of Sin. The incestuous Mixture between Sin and
Death produces those Monsters and Hell-hounds which from time to time
enter into their Mother, and tear the Bowels of her who gave them Birth.
These are the Terrors of an evil Conscience, and the proper Fruits of
Sin, which naturally rise from the Apprehensions of Death. This last
beautiful Moral is, I think, clearly intimated in the Speech of Sin,
where complaining of this her dreadful Issue, she adds,

Before mine Eyes in Opposition sits
Grim Death my Son and Foe, who sets them on,
And me his Parent would full soon devour
For want of other Prey, but that he knows
His End with mine involv'd--

I need not mention to the Reader the beautiful Circumstance in the last
Part of this Quotation. He will likewise observe how naturally the three
Persons concerned in this Allegory are tempted by one common Interest to
enter into a Confederacy together, and how properly Sin is made the
Portress of Hell, and the only Being that can open the Gates to that
World of Tortures.

The descriptive Part of this Allegory is likewise very strong, and full
of Sublime Ideas. The Figure of Death, [the Regal Crown upon his Head,]
his Menace of Satan, his advancing to the Combat, the Outcry at his
Birth, are Circumstances too noble to be past over in Silence, and
extreamly suitable to this King of Terrors. I need not mention the
Justness of Thought which is observed in the Generation of these several
Symbolical Persons; that Sin was produced upon the first Revolt of
Satan, that Death appear'd soon after he was cast into Hell, and that
the Terrors of Conscience were conceived at the Gate of this Place of
Torments. The Description of the Gates is very poetical, as the opening
of them is full of Milton's Spirit.

--On a sudden open fly
With impetuous Recoil and jarring Sound
Th' infernal Doors, and on their Hinges grate
Harsh Thunder, that the lowest Bottom shook
Of Erebus. She open'd, but to shut
Excell'd her Powr; the Gates wide open stood,
That with extended Wings a banner'd Host
Under spread Ensigns marching might pass through
With Horse and Chariots rank'd in loose Array;
So wide they stood, and like a Furnace Mouth
Cast forth redounding Smoak and ruddy Flame.

In Satan's Voyage through the Chaos there are several Imaginary Persons
described, as residing in that immense Waste of Matter. This may perhaps
be conformable to the Taste of those Criticks who are pleased with
nothing in a Poet which has not Life and Manners ascribed to it; but for
my own Part, I am pleased most with those Passages in this Description
which carry in them a greater Measure of Probability, and are such as
might possibly have happened. Of this kind is his first mounting in the
Smoke that rises from the Infernal Pit, his falling into a Cloud of
Nitre, and the like combustible Materials, that by their Explosion still
hurried him forward in his Voyage; his springing upward like a Pyramid
of Fire, with his laborious Passage through that Confusion of Elements
which the Poet calls

The Womb of Nature, and perhaps her Grave.

The Glimmering Light which shot into the Chaos from the utmost Verge of
the Creation, with the distant discovery of the Earth that hung close by
the Moon, are wonderfully Beautiful and Poetical.


* * * * *

No. 310. Monday, February 25, 1712. Steele.

Connubio Jungam stabili--



I am a certain young Woman that love a certain young Man very
heartily; and my Father and Mother were for it a great while, but now
they say I can do better, but I think I cannot. They bid me love him,
and I cannot unlove him. What must I do? speak quickly.

Biddy Dow-bake.

Dear SPEC,

Feb. 19, 1712.

I have lov'd a Lady entirely for this Year and Half, tho for a great
Part of the Time (which has contributed not a little to my Pain) I
have been debarred the Liberty of conversing with her. The Grounds of
our Difference was this; that when we had enquired into each others
Circumstances, we found that at our first setting out into the World,
we should owe five hundred Pounds more than her Fortune would pay off.
My Estate is seven hundred Pounds a Year, besides the benefit of
Tin-Mines. Now, dear SPEC, upon this State of the Case, and the Lady's
positive Declaration that there is still no other Objection, I beg
you'll not fail to insert this, with your Opinion as soon as possible,
whether this ought to be esteemed a just Cause or Impediment why we
should not be join'd, and you will for ever oblige

Yours sincerely,
Dick Lovesick.

P. S. Sir, if I marry this Lady by the Assistance of your Opinion, you
may expect a Favour for it.


I have the misfortune to be one of those unhappy Men who are
distinguished by the Name of discarded Lovers; but I am the less
mortified at my Disgrace, because the young Lady is one of those
Creatures who set up for Negligence of Men, are forsooth the most
rigidly Virtuous in the World, and yet their Nicety will permit them,
at the Command of Parents, to go to Bed to the most utter Stranger
that can be proposed to them. As to me my self, I was introduced by
the Father of my Mistress; but find I owe my being at first received
to a Comparison of my Estate with that of a former Lover, and that I
am now in like manner turned off, to give Way to an humble Servant
still richer than I am. What makes this Treatment the more extravagant
is, that the young Lady is in the Management of this way of Fraud, and
obeys her Fathers Orders on these Occasions without any Manner of
Reluctance, and does it with the same Air that one of your Men of the
World would signifie the Necessity of Affairs for turning another out
of Office. When I came home last Night I found this Letter from my


I hope you will not think it is any manner of Disrespect to your
Person or Merit, that the intended Nuptials between us are
interrupted. My Father says he has a much better Offer for me than
you can make, and has ordered me to break off the Treaty between us.
If it had proceeded, I should have behaved my self with all suitable
Regard to you, but as it is, I beg we may be Strangers for the
Future. Adieu.


This great Indifference on this Subject, and the mercenary Motives for
making Alliances, is what I think lies naturally before you, and I beg
of you to give me your Thoughts upon it. My Answer to Lydia was as
follows, which I hope you will approve; for you are to know the
Woman's Family affect a wonderful Ease on these Occasions, tho they
expect it should be painfully received on the Man's Side.


"I have received yours, and knew the Prudence of your House so well,
that I always took Care to be ready to obey your Commands, tho they
should be to see you no more. Pray give my Service to all the good


The Opera Subscription is full.


Memorandum. The Censor of Marriage to consider this Letter, and report
the common Usages on such Treaties, with how many Pounds or Acres are
generally esteemed sufficient Reason for preferring a new to an old
Pretender; with his Opinion what is proper to be determined in such
Cases for the future.


There is an elderly Person, lately left off Business and settled in
our Town, in order, as he thinks, to retire from the World; but he has
brought with him such an Inclination to Talebearing, that he disturbs
both himself and all our Neighbourhood. Notwithstanding this Frailty,
the honest Gentleman is so happy as to have no Enemy: At the same time
he has not one Friend who will venture to acquaint him with his
Weakness. It is not to be doubted but if this Failing were set in a
proper Light, he would quickly perceive the Indecency and evil
Consequences of it. Now, Sir, this being an Infirmity which I hope may
be corrected, and knowing that he pays much Deference to you, I beg
that when you are at Leisure to give us a Speculation on Gossiping,
you would think of my Neighbour: You will hereby oblige several who
will be glad to find a Reformation in their gray-hair'd Friend: And
how becoming will it be for him, instead of pouring forth Words at all
Adventures to set a Watch before the Door of his Mouth, to refrain his
Tongue, to check its Impetuosity, and guard against the Sallies of
that little, pert, forward, busie Person; which, under a sober
Conduct, might prove a useful Member of a Society. In Compliance with
whose Intimations, I have taken the Liberty to make this Address to

I am, SIR,

Your most obscure Servant



Feb. 16, 1712.

This is to Petition you in Behalf of my self and many more of your
gentle Readers, that at any time when you have private Reasons against
letting us know what you think your self, you would be pleased to
pardon us such Letters of your Correspondents as seem to be of no use
but to the Printer.

It is further our humble Request, that you would substitute
Advertisements in the Place of such Epistles; and that in order
hereunto Mr. Buckley may be authorized to take up of your zealous
Friend Mr. Charles Lillie, any Quantity of Words he shall from time to
time have occasion for.

The many useful parts of Knowledge which may be communicated to the
Publick this Way, will, we hope, be a Consideration in favour of your

And your Petitioners, &c.

Note, That particular Regard be had to this Petition; and the Papers
marked Letter R may be carefully examined for the future. [1]


[Footnote 1: R. is one of Steele's signatures, but he had not used it
since No. 134 for August 3, 1711, every paper of his since that date
having been marked with a T.]

* * * * *

No. 311. Tuesday, February 26, 1712. Addison.

Nec Veneris pharetris macer est; aut lampade fervet:
Inde faces ardent, veniunt a dote sagittae.



I am amazed that among all the Variety of Characters, with which you
have enriched your Speculations, you have never given us a Picture of
those audacious young Fellows among us, who commonly go by the Name of
Fortune-Stealers. You must know, Sir, I am one who live in a continual
Apprehension of this sort of People that lye in wait, Day and Night,
for our Children, and may be considered as a kind of Kidnappers within
the Law. I am the Father of a Young Heiress, whom I begin to look upon
as Marriageable, and who has looked upon her self as such for above
these Six Years. She is now in the Eighteenth Year of her Age. The
Fortune-hunters have already cast their Eyes upon her, and take care
to plant themselves in her View whenever she appears in any Publick
Assembly. I have my self caught a young Jackanapes with a pair of
Silver Fringed Gloves, in the very Fact. You must know, Sir, I have
kept her as a Prisoner of State ever since she was in her Teens. Her
Chamber Windows are cross-barred, she is not permitted to go out of
the House but with her Keeper, who is a stay'd Relation of my own; I
have likewise forbid her the use of Pen and Ink for this Twelve-Month
last past, and do not suffer a Ban-box to be carried into her Room
before it has been searched. Notwithstanding these Precautions, I am
at my Wits End for fear of any sudden Surprize. There were, two or
three Nights ago, some Fiddles heard in the Street, which I am afraid
portend me no Good; not to mention a tall Irish-Man, that has been
seen walking before my House more than once this Winter. My Kinswoman
likewise informs me, that the Girl has talked to her twice or thrice
of a Gentleman in a Fair Wig, and that she loves to go to Church more
than ever she did in her Life. She gave me the slip about a Week ago,
upon which my whole House was in Alarm. I immediately dispatched a Hue
and Cry after her to the Change, to her Mantua-maker, and to the young
Ladies that Visit her; but after above an Hours search she returned
of herself, having been taking a Walk, as she told me, by Rosamond's
Pond. I have hereupon turned off her Woman, doubled her Guards, and
given new Instructions to my Relation, who, to give her her due, keeps
a watchful Eye over all her Motions. This, Sir, keeps me in a
perpetual Anxiety, and makes me very often watch when my Daughter
sleeps, as I am afraid she is even with me in her turn. Now, Sir, what
I would desire of you is, to represent to this fluttering Tribe of
young Fellows, who are for making their Fortunes by these indirect
Means, that stealing a Man's Daughter for the sake of her Portion, is
but a kind of Tolerated Robbery; and that they make but a poor Amends
to the Father, whom they plunder after this Manner, by going to bed
with his Child. Dear Sir, be speedy in your Thoughts on this Subject,
that, if possible, they may appear before the Disbanding of the Army.

I am, SIR,

Your most humble Servant,

Tim. Watchwell.

Themistocles, the great Athenian General, being asked whether he would
chuse to marry his Daughter to an indigent Man of Merit, or to a
worthless Man of an Estate, replied, That he should prefer a Man without
an Estate, to an Estate without a Man. The worst of it is, our Modern
Fortune-Hunters are those who turn their Heads that way, because they
are good for nothing else. If a young Fellow finds he can make nothing
of Cook and Littleton, he provides himself with a Ladder of Ropes, and
by that means very often enters upon the Premises.

The same Art of Scaling has likewise been practised with good Success by
many military Ingineers. Stratagems of this nature make Parts and
Industry superfluous, and cut short the way to Riches.

Nor is Vanity a less Motive than Idleness to this kind of Mercenary
Pursuit. A Fop who admires his Person in a Glass, soon enters into a
Resolution of making his Fortune by it, not questioning but every Woman
that falls in his way will do him as much Justice as he does himself.
When an Heiress sees a Man throwing particular Graces into his Ogle, or
talking loud within her Hearing, she ought to look to her self; but if
withal she observes a pair of Red-Heels, a Patch, or any other
Particularity in his Dress, she cannot take too much care of her Person.
These are Baits not to be trifled with, Charms that have done a world of
Execution, and made their way into Hearts which have been thought
impregnable. The Force of a Man with these Qualifications is so well
known, that I am credibly informed there are several Female Undertakers
about the Change, who upon the Arrival of a likely Man out of a
neighbouring Kingdom, will furnish him with proper Dress from Head to
Foot, to be paid for at a double Price on the Day of Marriage.

We must however distinguish between Fortune-Hunters and
Fortune-Stealers. The first are those assiduous Gentlemen who employ
their whole Lives in the Chace, without ever coming at the Quarry.
Suffenus has combed and powdered at the Ladies for thirty Years
together, and taken his Stand in a Side Box, till he has grown wrinkled
under their Eyes. He is now laying the same Snares for the present
Generation of Beauties, which he practised on their Mothers. Cottilus,
after having made his Applications to more than you meet with in Mr.
Cowley's Ballad of Mistresses, was at last smitten with a City Lady of
20,000L. Sterling: but died of old Age before he could bring Matters to
bear. Nor must I here omit my worthy Friend Mr. HONEYCOMB, who has often
told us in the Club, that for twenty years successively, upon the death
of a Childless rich Man, he immediately drew on his Boots, called for
his Horse, and made up to the Widow. When he is rallied upon his ill
Success, WILL, with his usual Gaiety tells us, that he always found [her
[1]] Pre-engaged.

Widows are indeed the great Game of your Fortune-Hunters. There is
scarce a young Fellow in the Town of six Foot high, that has not passed
in Review before one or other of these wealthy Relicts. Hudibrass's
Cupid, who

--took his Stand
Upon a Widows Jointure Land, [2]

is daily employed in throwing Darts, and kindling Flames. But as for
Widows, they are such a Subtle Generation of People, that they may be
left to their own Conduct; or if they make a false Step in it, they are
answerable for it to no Body but themselves. The young innocent
Creatures who have no Knowledge and Experience of the World, are those
whose Safety I would principally consult in this Speculation. The
stealing of such an one should, in my Opinion, be as punishable as a
Rape. Where there is no Judgment there is no Choice; and why the
inveigling a Woman before she is come to Years of Discretion, should not
be as Criminal as the seducing of her before she is ten Years old, I am
at a Loss to comprehend.


[Footnote 1: them]

[Footnote 2: Hudibras, Part I., Canto 3, II. 310-11.]

* * * * *

No. 312. Wednesday, February 27, 1712. Steele.

Quod huic Officium, quae laus, quod Decus erit tanti, quod adipisci
cum colore Corporis velit, qui dolorem summum malum sibi persuaserit?
Quam porro quis ignominiam, quam turpitudinem non pertulerit, ut
effugiat dolorem, si id summum malum esse decrevit?

Tull. de Dolore tolerando.

It is a very melancholy Reflection, that Men are usually so weak, that
it is absolutely necessary for them to know Sorrow and Pain to be in
their right Senses. Prosperous People (for Happy there are none) are
hurried away with a fond Sense of their present Condition, and
thoughtless of the Mutability of Fortune: Fortune is a Term which we
must use in such Discourses as these, for what is wrought by the unseen
Hand of the Disposer of all Things. But methinks the Disposition of a
Mind which is truly great, is that which makes Misfortunes and Sorrows
little when they befall our selves, great and lamentable when they
befall other Men. The most unpardonable Malefactor in the World going to
his Death and bearing it with Composure, would win the Pity of those who
should behold him; and this not because his Calamity is deplorable, but
because he seems himself not to deplore it: We suffer for him who is
less sensible of his own Misery, and are inclined to despise him who
sinks under the Weight of his Distresses. On the other hand, without any
Touch of Envy, a temperate and well-govern'd Mind looks down on such as
are exalted with Success, with a certain Shame for the Imbecility of
human Nature, that can so far forget how liable it is to Calamity, as to
grow giddy with only the Suspence of Sorrow, which is the Portion of all
Men. He therefore who turns his Face from the unhappy Man, who will not
look again when his Eye is cast upon modest Sorrow, who shuns Affliction
like a Contagion, does but pamper himself up for a Sacrifice, and
contract in himself a greater Aptitude to Misery by attempting to escape
it. A Gentleman where I happened to be last Night, fell into a Discourse
which I thought shewed a good Discerning in him: He took Notice that
whenever Men have looked into their Heart for the Idea of true
Excellency in human Nature, they have found it to consist in Suffering
after a right Manner and with a good Grace. Heroes are always drawn
bearing Sorrows, struggling with Adversities, undergoing all kinds of
Hardships, and having in the Service of Mankind a kind of Appetite to
Difficulties and Dangers. The Gentleman went on to observe, that it is
from this secret Sense of the high Merit which there is in Patience
under Calamities, that the Writers of Romances, when they attempt to
furnish out Characters of the highest Excellence, ransack Nature for
things terrible; they raise a new Creation of Monsters, Dragons, and
Giants: Where the Danger ends, the Hero ceases; when he won an Empire,
or gained his Mistress, the rest of his Story is not worth relating. My
Friend carried his Discourse so far as to say, that it was for higher
Beings than Men to join Happiness and Greatness in the same Idea; but
that in our Condition we have no Conception of superlative Excellence,
or Heroism, but as it is surrounded with a Shade of Distress.

It is certainly the proper Education we should give our selves, to be
prepared for the ill Events and Accidents we are to meet with in a Life
sentenced to be a Scene of Sorrow: But instead of this Expectation, we
soften our selves with Prospects of constant Delight, and destroy in our
Minds the Seeds of Fortitude and Virtue, which should support us in
Hours of Anguish. The constant Pursuit of Pleasure has in it something
insolent and improper for our Being. There is a pretty sober Liveliness
in the Ode of Horace to Delius, where he tells him, loud Mirth, or
immoderate Sorrow, Inequality of Behaviour either in Prosperity or
Adversity, are alike ungraceful in Man that is born to die. Moderation
in both Circumstances is peculiar to generous Minds: Men of that Sort
ever taste the Gratifications of Health, and all other Advantages of
Life, as if they were liable to part with them, and when bereft of them,
resign them with a Greatness of Mind which shews they know their Value
and Duration. The Contempt of Pleasure is a certain Preparatory for the
Contempt of Pain: Without this, the Mind is as it were taken suddenly by
any unforeseen Event; but he that has always, during Health and
Prosperity, been abstinent in his Satisfactions, enjoys, in the worst of
Difficulties, the Reflection, that his Anguish is not aggravated with
the Comparison of past Pleasures which upbraid his present Condition.
Tully tells us a Story after Pompey, which gives us a good Taste of the
pleasant Manner the Men of Wit and Philosophy had in old Times of
alleviating the Distresses of Life by the Force of Reason and
Philosophy. Pompey, when he came to Rhodes, had a Curiosity to visit the
famous Philosopher Possidonius; but finding him in his sick Bed, he
bewailed the Misfortune that he should not hear a Discourse from him:
But you may, answered Possidonius; and immediately entered into the
Point of Stoical Philosophy, which says Pain is not an Evil. During the
Discourse, upon every Puncture he felt from his Distemper, he smiled and
cried out, Pain, Pain, be as impertinent and troublesome as you please,
I shall never own that thou art an Evil.

Mr. Spectator,
Having seen in several of your Papers, a Concern for the Honour of the
Clergy, and their doing every thing as becomes their Character, and
particularly performing the publick Service with a due Zeal and
Devotion; I am the more encouraged to lay before them, by your Means,
several Expressions used by some of them in their Prayers before
Sermon, which I am not well satisfied in: As their giving some Titles
and Epithets to great Men, which are indeed due to them in their
several Ranks and Stations, but not properly used, I think, in our
Prayers. Is it not Contradiction to say, Illustrious, Right, Reverend,
and Right Honourable poor Sinners? These Distinctions are suited only
to our State here, and have no place in Heaven: We see they are
omitted in the Liturgy; which I think the Clergy should take for their
Pattern in their own Forms of [Devotion. [1]] There is another
Expression which I would not mention, but that I have heard it several
times before a learned Congregation, to bring in the last Petition of
the Prayer in these Words, O let not the Lord be angry and I will
speak but this once; as if there was no Difference between Abraham's
interceding for Sodom, for which he had no Warrant as we can find, and
our asking those Things which we are required to pray for; they would
therefore have much more Reason to fear his Anger if they did not make
such Petitions to him. There is another pretty Fancy: When a young Man
has a Mind to let us know who gave him his Scarf, he speaks a
Parenthesis to the Almighty, Bless, as I am in Duty bound to pray, the
right honourable the Countess; is not that as much as to say, Bless
her, for thou knowest I am her Chaplain?

Your humble Servant,

J. O.


[Footnote 1: Devotion. Another Expression which I take to be improper,
is this, the whole Race of Mankind, when they pray for all Men; for Race
signifies Lineage or Descent; and if the Race of Mankind may be used for
the present generation, (though I think not very fitly) the whole Race
takes in all from the Beginning to the End of the World. I don't
remember to have met with that Expression in their sense anywhere but in
the old Version of Psal. 14, which those Men, I suppose, have but little
Esteem for. And some, when they have prayed for all Schools and Nurserys
of good Learning and True Religion, especially the two Universities, add
these Words, Grant that from them and all other Places dedicated to thy
Worship and Service, may come forth such Persons. But what do they mean
by all other Places? It seems to me that this is either a Tautology, as
being the same with all Schools and Nurserys before expressed, or else
it runs too far; for there are general Places dedicated to the Divine
Service which cannot properly be intended here.]

* * * * *

No. 313. Thursday, February 28, 1712. Budgell.

Exigite ut mores teneros ceu pollice ducat,
Ut si quis cera vultum facit.


I shall give the following Letter no other Recommendation, than by
telling my Readers that it comes from the same Hand with that of last


I send you, according to my Promise, some farther Thoughts on the
Education of Youth, in which I intend to discuss that famous Question,
_Whether the Education at a publick School, or under a private Tutor,
is to be preferred_?

As some of the greatest Men in most Ages have been of very different
Opinions in this Matter, I shall give a short Account of what I think
may be best urged on both sides, and afterwards leave every Person to
determine for himself.

It is certain from _Suetonius_, that the Romans thought the Education
of their Children a business properly belonging to the Parents
themselves; and Plutarch, in the Life of Marcus Cato, tells us, that
as soon as his Son was capable of Learning, Cato would suffer no Body
to Teach him but himself, tho he had a Servant named Chilo, who was
an excellent Grammarian, and who taught a great many other Youths.

On the contrary, the Greeks seemed more inclined to Publick Schools
and Seminaries.

A private Education promises in the first place Virtue and
Good-Breeding; a publick School Manly Assurance, and an early
Knowledge in the Ways of the World.

Mr. Locke in his celebrated Treatise of Education [1], confesses
that there are Inconveniencies to be feared on both sides; If, says
he, I keep my Son at Home, he is in danger of becoming my young
Master; If I send him Abroad, it is scarce possible to keep him from
the reigning Contagion of Rudeness and Vice. He will perhaps be more
Innocent at Home, but more ignorant of the World, and more sheepish
when he comes Abroad. However, as this learned Author asserts, That
Virtue is much more difficult to be attained than Knowledge of the
World; and that Vice is a more stubborn, as well as a more dangerous
Fault than Sheepishness, he is altogether for a private Education; and
the more so, because he does not see why a Youth, with right
Management, might not attain the same Assurance in his Fathers House,
as at a publick School. To this end he advises Parents to accustom
their Sons to whatever strange Faces come to the House; to take them
with them when they Visit their Neighbours, and to engage them in
Conversation with Men of Parts and Breeding.

It may be objected to this Method, that Conversation is not the only
thing necessary, but that unless it be a Conversation with such as are
in some measure their Equals in Parts and Years, there can be no room
for Emulation, Contention, and several of the most lively Passions of
the Mind; which, without being sometimes moved by these means, may
possibly contract a Dulness and Insensibility.

One of the greatest Writers our Nation ever produced observes, That a
Boy who forms Parties, and makes himself Popular in a School or a
College, would act the same Part with equal ease in a Senate or a
Privy Council; and Mr. Osborn speaking like a Man versed in the Ways
of the World, affirms, that the well laying and carrying on of a
design to rob an Orchard, trains up a Youth insensibly to Caution,
Secrecy and Circumspection, and fits him for Matters of greater

In short, a private Education seems the most natural Method for the
forming of a virtuous Man; a Publick Education for making a Man of
Business. The first would furnish out a good Subject for Plato's
Republick, the latter a Member for a Community over-run with Artifice
and Corruption.

It must however be confessed, that a Person at the head of a publick
School has sometimes so many Boys under his Direction, that it is
impossible he should extend a due proportion of his Care to each of
them. This is, however, in reality, the Fault of the Age, in which we
often see twenty Parents, who tho each expects his Son should be made
a Scholar, are not contented altogether to make it worth while for any
Man of a liberal Education to take upon him the Care of their

In our great Schools indeed this Fault has been of late Years
rectified, so that we have at present not only Ingenious Men for the
chief Masters, but such as have proper Ushers and Assistants under
them; I must nevertheless own, that for want of the same Encouragement
in the Country, we have many a promising Genius spoiled and abused in
those Seminaries.

I am the more inclined to this Opinion, having my self experienced
the Usage of two Rural Masters, each of them very unfit for the Trust
they took upon them to discharge. The first imposed much more upon me
than my Parts, tho none of the weakest, could endure; and used me
barbarously for not performing Impossibilities. The latter was of
quite another Temper; and a Boy, who would run upon his Errands, wash
his Coffee-pot, or ring the Bell, might have as little Conversation
with any of the Classicks as he thought fit. I have known a Lad at
this Place excused his Exercise for assisting the Cook-maid; and
remember a Neighbouring Gentleman's Son was among us five Years, most
of which time he employed in airing and watering our Masters grey
Pad. I scorned to Compound for my Faults, by doing any of these
Elegant Offices, and was accordingly the best Scholar, and the worst
used of any Boy in the School.

I shall conclude this Discourse with an Advantage mentioned by
Quintilian, as accompanying a Publick way of Education, which I have
not yet taken notice of; namely, That we very often contract such
Friendships at School, as are a Service to us all the following Part
of our Lives.

I shall give you, under this Head, a Story very well known to several
Persons, and which you may depend upon as a real Truth.

Every one, who is acquainted with Westminster-School, knows that
there is a Curtain which used to be drawn a-cross the Room, to
separate the upper School from the lower. A Youth happened, by some
Mischance, to tear the above-mentioned Curtain: The Severity of the
Master [2] was too well known for the Criminal to expect any Pardon
for such a Fault; so that the Boy, who was of a meek Temper, was
terrified to Death at the Thoughts of his Appearance, when his Friend,
who sat next to him, bad him be of good Cheer, for that he would take
the Fault on himself. He kept his word accordingly. As soon as they
were grown up to be Men the Civil War broke out, in which our two
Friends took the opposite Sides, one of them followed the Parliament,
the other the Royal Party.

As their Tempers were different, the Youth, who had torn the Curtain,
endeavoured to raise himself on the Civil List, and the other, who had
born the Blame of it, on the Military: The first succeeded so well,
that he was in a short time made a Judge under the Protector. The
other was engaged in the unhappy Enterprize of Penruddock and Groves
in the West. I suppose, Sir, I need not acquaint you with the Event of
that Undertaking. Every one knows that the Royal Party was routed, and
all the Heads of them, among whom was the Curtain Champion, imprisoned
at Exeter. It happened to be his Friends Lot at that time to go to
the Western Circuit: The Tryal of the Rebels, as they were then
called, was very short, and nothing now remained but to pass Sentence
on them; when the Judge hearing the Name of his old Friend, and
observing his Face more attentively, which he had not seen for many
Years, asked him, if he was not formerly a Westminster-Scholar; by the
Answer, he was soon convinced that it was his former generous Friend;
and, without saying any thing more at that time, made the best of his
Way to London, where employing all his Power and Interest with the
Protector, he saved his Friend from the Fate of his unhappy

The Gentleman, whose Life was thus preserv'd by the Gratitude of his
School-Fellow, was afterwards the Father of a Son, whom he lived to
see promoted in the Church, and who still deservedly fills one of the
highest Stations in it. [3]


[Footnote 1: Some Thoughts concerning Education, Sec. 70. The references to
Suetonius and Plutarch's Life of Cato are from the preceding section.]

[Footnote 2: Richard Busby; appointed in 1640.]

[Footnote 3: The allusion is to Colonel Wake, father of Dr. William
Wake, who was Bishop of Lincoln when this paper was written, and because
in 1716 Archbishop of Canterbury. The trials of Penruddock and his
friends were in 1685.]

* * * * *

No. 314. Friday, February 29, 1712. Steele.

Tandem desine Matrem
Tempestiva sequi viro.

Hor. Od. 23.

Feb. 7, 1711-12.


I am a young Man about eighteen Years of Age, and have been in Love
with a young Woman of the same Age about this half Year. I go to see
her six Days in the Week, but never could have the Happiness of being
with her alone. If any of her Friends are at home, she will see me in
their Company; but if they be not in the Way, she flies to her
Chamber. I can discover no Signs of her Aversion; but either a Fear of
falling into the Toils of Matrimony, or a childish Timidity, deprives
us of an Interview apart, and drives us upon the Difficulty of
languishing out our Lives in fruitless Expectation. Now, Mr.
SPECTATOR, if you think us ripe for Oeconomy, perswade the dear
Creature, that to pine away into Barrenness and Deformity under a
Mothers Shade, is not so honourable, nor does she appear so amiable,
as she would in full Bloom. [_There is a great deal left out before he
concludes_] Mr. SPECTATOR,
_Your humble Servant_,
Bob Harmless.

If this Gentleman be really no more than Eighteen, I must do him the
Justice to say he is the most knowing Infant I have yet met with. He
does not, I fear, yet understand, that all he thinks of is another
Woman; therefore, till he has given a further Account of himself, the
young Lady is hereby directed to keep close to her Mother. The

I cannot comply with the Request in Mr. Trott's Letter; but let it go
just as it came to my Hands, for being so familiar with the old
Gentleman, as rough as he is to him. Since Mr. Trott has an Ambition to
make him his Father-in-Law, he ought to treat him with more Respect;
besides, his Style to me might have been more distant than he has
thought fit to afford me: Moreover, his Mistress shall continue in her
Confinement, till he has found out which Word in his Letter is not
wrightly spelt.


I shall ever own my self your obliged humble Servant for the Advice
you gave me concerning my Dancing; which unluckily came too late: For,
as I said, I would not leave off Capering till I had your Opinion of
the Matter; was at our famous Assembly the Day before I received your
Papers, and there was observed by an old Gentleman, who was informed I
had a Respect for his Daughter; told me I was an insignificant little
Fellow, and said that for the future he would take Care of his Child;
so that he did not doubt but to crosse my amorous Inclinations. The
Lady is confined to her Chamber, and for my Part, am ready to hang my
self with the Thoughts that I have danced my self out of Favour with
her Father. I hope you will pardon the Trouble I give; but shall take
it for a mighty Favour, if you will give me a little more of your
Advice to put me in a write Way to cheat the old Dragon and obtain my
Mistress. I am once more,


Your obliged humble Servant, John Trott.

York, Feb. 23, 1711-12.

Let me desire you to make what Alterations you please, and insert this
as soon as possible. Pardon Mistake by Haste.

I never do pardon Mistakes by Haste. The SPECTATOR.

Feb. 27, 1711-12.


Pray be so kind as to let me know what you esteem to be the chief
Qualification of a good Poet, especially of one who writes Plays; and
you will very much oblige,

SIR, Your very humble Servant, N. B.

To be a very well-bred Man. The SPECTATOR.


You are to know that I am naturally Brave, and love Fighting as well
as any Man in England. This gallant Temper of mine makes me extremely
delighted with Battles on the Stage. I give you this Trouble to
complain to you, that Nicolini refused to gratifie me in that Part of
the Opera for which I have most Taste. I observe its become a Custom,
that whenever any Gentlemen are particularly pleased with a Song, at
their crying out Encore or Altro Volto, the Performer is so obliging
as to sing it over again. I was at the Opera the last time Hydaspes
was performed. At that Part of it where the Heroe engages with the
Lion, the graceful Manner with which he put that terrible Monster to
Death gave me so great a Pleasure, and at the same time so just a
Sense of that Gentleman's Intrepidity and Conduct, that I could not
forbear desiring a Repetition of it, by crying out Altro Volto in a
very audible Voice; and my Friends flatter me, that I pronounced those
Words with a tolerable good Accent, considering that was but the third
Opera I had ever seen in my Life. Yet, notwithstanding all this, there
was so little Regard had to me, that the Lion was carried off, and
went to Bed, without being killed any more that Night. Now, Sir, pray
consider that I did not understand a Word of what Mr. Nicolini said to
this cruel Creature; besides, I have no Ear for Musick; so that during
the long Dispute between em, the whole Entertainment I had was from
my Eye; Why then have not I as much Right to have a graceful Action
repeated as another has a pleasing Sound, since he only hears as I
only see, and we neither of us know that there is any reasonable thing
a doing? Pray, Sir, settle the Business of this Claim in the Audience,
and let us know when we may cry Altro Volto, Anglice, again, again,
for the Future. I am an Englishman, and expect some Reason or other to
be given me, and perhaps an ordinary one may serve; but I expect your

I am, SIR,
Your most humble Servant,
Toby Rentfree.

Nov. 29.


You must give me Leave, amongst the rest of your Female
Correspondents, to address you about an Affair which has already given
you many a Speculation; and which, I know, I need not tell you have
had a very happy Influence over the adult Part of our Sex: But as many
of us are either too old to learn, or too obstinate in the Pursuit of
the Vanities which have been bred up with us from our Infancy, and all
of us quitting the Stage whilst you are prompting us to act our Part
well; you ought, methinks, rather to turn your Instructions for the
Benefit of that Part of our Sex, who are yet in their native
Innocence, and ignorant of the Vices and that Variety of Unhappinesses
that reign amongst us.

I must tell you, Mr. SPECTATOR, that it is as much a Part of your
Office to oversee the Education of the female Part of the Nation, as
well as of the Male; and to convince the World you are not partial,
pray proceed to detect the Male Administration of Governesses as
successfully as you have exposed that of Pedagogues; and rescue our
Sex from the Prejudice and Tyranny of Education as well as that of
your own, who without your seasonable Interposition are like to
improve upon the Vices that are now in vogue.

I who know the Dignity of your Post, as SPECTATOR, and the Authority a
skilful Eye ought to bear in the Female World, could not forbear
consulting you, and beg your Advice in so critical a Point, as is that
of the Education of young Gentlewomen. Having already provided myself
with a very convenient House in a good Air, I'm not without Hope but
that you will promote this generous Design. I must farther tell you,
Sir, that all who shall be committed to my Conduct, beside the usual
Accomplishments of the Needle, Dancing, and the French Tongue, shall
not fail to be your constant Readers. It is therefore my humble
Petition, that you will entertain the Town on this important Subject,
and so far oblige a Stranger, as to raise a Curiosity and Enquiry in
my Behalf, by publishing the following Advertisement.

I am, SIR,
Your constant Admirer,
M. W.


* * * * *


The Boarding-School for young Gentlewomen, which was formerly kept on
Mile-End-Green, being laid down, there is now one set up almost opposite
to it at the two Golden-Balls, and much more convenient in every
Respect; where, beside the common Instructions given to young
Gentlewomen, they will be taught the whole Art of Paistrey and
Preserving, with whatever may render them accomplished. Those who please
to make Tryal of the Vigilance and Ability of the Persons concerned may
enquire at the two Golden-Balls on Mile-End-Green near Stepney, where
they will receive further Satisfaction.

This is to give Notice, that the SPECTATOR has taken upon him to be
Visitant of all Boarding-Schools, where young Women are educated; and
designs to proceed in the said Office after the same Manner that the
Visitants of Colleges do in the two famous Universities of this Land.

All Lovers who write to the SPECTATOR, are desired to forbear one
Expression which is in most of the Letters to him, either out of
Laziness, or want of Invention, and is true of not above two thousand
Women in the whole World; viz. She has in her all that is valuable in

* * * * *

No. 315 Saturday, March 1, 1712. Addison.

Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus


Horace advises a Poet to consider thoroughly the Nature and Force of his
Genius. [1] Milton seems to have known perfectly well, wherein his
Strength lay, and has therefore chosen a Subject entirely conformable to
those Talents, of which he was Master. As his Genius was wonderfully
turned to the Sublime, his Subject is the noblest that could have
entered into the Thoughts of Man. Every thing that is truly great and
astonishing, has a place in it. The whole System of the intellectual
World; the Chaos, and the Creation; Heaven, Earth and Hell; enter into
the Constitution of his Poem.

Having in the First and Second Books represented the Infernal World with
all its Horrors, the Thread of his Fable naturally leads him into the
opposite Regions of Bliss and Glory.

If Milton's Majesty forsakes him any where, it is in those Parts of his
Poem, where the Divine Persons are introduced as Speakers. One may, I
think, observe that the Author proceeds with a kind of Fear and
Trembling, whilst he describes the Sentiments of the Almighty. He dares
not give his Imagination its full Play, but chuses to confine himself to
such Thoughts as are drawn from the Books of the most Orthodox Divines,
and to such Expressions as may be met with in Scripture. The Beauties,
therefore, which we are to look for in these Speeches, are not of a
Poetical Nature, nor so proper to fill the Mind with Sentiments of
Grandeur, as with Thoughts of Devotion. The Passions, which they are
designed to raise, are a Divine Love and Religious Fear. The Particular
Beauty of the Speeches in the Third Book, consists in that Shortness and
Perspicuity of Style, in which the Poet has couched the greatest
Mysteries of Christianity, and drawn together, in a regular Scheme, the
whole Dispensation of Providence, with respect to Man. He has
represented all the abstruse Doctrines of Predestination, Free-Will and
Grace, as also the great Points of Incarnation and Redemption, (which
naturally grow up in a Poem that treats of the Fall of Man) with great
Energy of Expression, and in a clearer and stronger Light than I ever
met with in any other Writer. As these Points are dry in themselves to
the generality of Readers, the concise and clear manner in which he has
treated them, is very much to be admired, as is likewise that particular
Art which he has made use of in the interspersing of all those Graces of
Poetry, which the Subject was capable of receiving.

The Survey of the whole Creation, and of every thing that is transacted
in it, is a Prospect worthy of Omniscience; and as much above that, in
which Virgil has drawn his Jupiter, as the Christian Idea of the Supreme
Being is more Rational and Sublime than that of the Heathens. The
particular Objects on which he is described to have cast his Eye, are
represented in the most beautiful and lively Manner.

Now had th' Almighty Father from above,
(From the pure Empyrean where he sits
High thron'd above all height) bent down his Eye,
His own Works and their Works at once to view.
About him all the Sanctities of Heavn
Stood thick as Stars, and from his Sight received
Beatitude past uttrance: On his right
The radiant Image of his Glory sat,
His only Son. On earth he first beheld
Our two first Parents, yet the only two
Of Mankind, in the happy garden plac'd,
Reaping immortal fruits of Joy and Love;
Uninterrupted Joy, unrival'd Love
In blissful Solitude. He then surveyed
Hell and the Gulph between, and Satan there
Coasting the Wall of Heaven on this side Night,
In the dun air sublime; and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feel
On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
Firm land imbosom'd without firmament;
Uncertain which, in Ocean or in Air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.

Satan's Approach to the Confines of the Creation, is finely imaged in
the beginning of the Speech, which immediately follows. The Effects of
this Speech in the blessed Spirits, and in the Divine Person to whom it
was addressed, cannot but fill the Mind of the Reader with a secret
Pleasure and Complacency.

Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd
All Heavn, and in the blessed Spirits elect
Sense of new Joy ineffable diffus'd.
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious, in him all his Father shone
Substantially expressed, and in his face
Divine Compassion visibly appeared,
Love without end, and without measure Grace.

I need not point out the Beauty of that Circumstance, wherein the whole
Host of Angels are represented as standing Mute; nor shew how proper the
Occasion was to produce such a Silence in Heaven. The Close of this
Divine Colloquy, with the Hymn of Angels that follows upon it, are so
wonderfully Beautiful and Poetical, that I should not forbear inserting
the whole Passage, if the Bounds of my Paper would give me leave.

No sooner had th' Almighty ceas'd, but all
The multitudes of Angels with a shout
(Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
As from blest Voices) uttring Joy, Heavn rung
With Jubilee, and loud Hosannas fill'd
Th' eternal regions; &c. &c.--

Satan's Walk upon the Outside of the Universe, which, at a Distance,
appeared to him of a globular Form, but, upon his nearer Approach,
looked like an unbounded Plain, is natural and noble: As his Roaming
upon the Frontiers of the Creation between that Mass of Matter, which
was wrought into a World, and that shapeless unformed Heap of Materials,
which still lay in Chaos and Confusion, strikes the Imagination with
something astonishingly great and wild. I have before spoken of the
Limbo of Vanity, which the Poet places upon this outermost Surface of
the Universe, and shall here explain my self more at large on that, and
other Parts of the Poem, which are of the same Shadowy Nature.

Aristotle observes[1], that the Fable of an Epic Poem should abound in
Circumstances that are both credible and astonishing; or as the French
Criticks chuse to phrase it, the Fable should be filled with the
Probable and the Marvellous. This Rule is as fine and just as any in
Aristotle's whole Art of Poetry.

If the Fable is only Probable, it differs nothing from a true History;
if it is only Marvellous, it is no better than a Romance. The great
Secret therefore of Heroic Poetry is to relate such Circumstances, as
may produce in the Reader at the same time both Belief and Astonishment.
This is brought to pass in a well-chosen Fable, by the Account of such
things as have really happened, or at least of such things as have
happened according to the received Opinions of Mankind. Milton's Fable
is a Masterpiece of this Nature; as the War in Heaven, the Condition of
the fallen Angels, the State of Innocence, and Temptation of the
Serpent, and the Fall of Man, though they are very astonishing in
themselves, are not only credible, but actual Points of Faith.

The next Method of reconciling Miracles with Credibility, is by a happy
Invention of the Poet; as in particular, when he introduces Agents of a
superior Nature, who are capable of effecting what is wonderful, and
what is not to be met with in the ordinary course of things. Ulysses's
Ship being turned into a Rock, and AEneas's Fleet into a Shoal of Water
Nymphs; though they are very surprising Accidents, are nevertheless
probable, when we are told that they were the Gods who thus transformed
them. It is this kind of Machinery which fills the Poems both of Homer
and Virgil with such Circumstances as are wonderful, but not impossible,
and so frequently produce in the Reader the most pleasing Passion that
can rise in the Mind of Man, which is Admiration. If there be any
Instance in the AEneid liable to Exception upon this Account, it is in
the Beginning of the Third Book, where AEneas is represented as tearing
up the Myrtle that dropped Blood. To qualifie this wonderful
Circumstance, Polydorus tells a Story from the Root of the Myrtle, that
the barbarous Inhabitants of the Country having pierced him with Spears
and Arrows, the Wood which was left in his Body took Root in his Wounds,
and gave Birth to that bleeding Tree. This Circumstance seems to have
the Marvellous without the Probable, because it is represented as
proceeding from Natural Causes, without the Interposition of any God, or
other Supernatural Power capable of producing it. The Spears and Arrows
grow of themselves, without so much as the Modern Help of an
Enchantment. If we look into the Fiction of Milton's Fable, though we
find it full of surprizing Incidents, they are generally suited to our
Notions of the Things and Persons described, and tempered with a due
Measure of Probability. I must only make an Exception to the Limbo of
Vanity, with his Episode of Sin and Death, and some of the imaginary
Persons in his Chaos. These Passages are astonishing, but not credible;
the Reader cannot so far impose upon himself as to see a Possibility in
them; they are the Description of Dreams and Shadows, not of Things or
Persons. I know that many Criticks look upon the Stories of Circe,
Polypheme, the Sirens, nay the whole Odyssey and Iliad, to be
Allegories; but allowing this to be true, they are Fables, which
considering the Opinions of Mankind that prevailed in the Age of the
Poet, might possibly have been according to the Letter. The Persons are
such as might have acted what is ascribed to them, as the Circumstances
in which they are represented, might possibly have been Truths and
Realities. This Appearance of Probability is so absolutely requisite in
the greater kinds of Poetry, that Aristotle observes the Ancient Tragick
Writers made use of the Names of such great Men as had actually lived in
the World, tho the Tragedy proceeded upon Adventures they were never
engaged in, on purpose to make the Subject more Credible. In a Word,
besides the hidden Meaning of an Epic Allegory, the plain litteral Sense
ought to appear Probable. The Story should be such as an ordinary Reader
may acquiesce in, whatever Natural, Moral, or Political Truth may be
discovered in it by Men of greater Penetration.

Satan, after having long wandered upon the Surface, or outmost Wall of
the Universe, discovers at last a wide Gap in it, which led into the
Creation, and is described as the Opening through which the Angels pass
to and fro into the lower World, upon their Errands to Mankind. His
Sitting upon the Brink of this Passage, and taking a Survey of the whole
Face of Nature that appeared to him new and fresh in all its Beauties,
with the Simile illustrating this Circumstance, fills the Mind of the
Reader with as surprizing and glorious an Idea as any that arises in the
whole Poem. He looks down into that vast Hollow of the Universe with the
Eye, or (as Milton calls it in his first Book) with the Kenn of an
Angel. He surveys all the Wonders in this immense Amphitheatre that lye
between both the Poles of Heaven, and takes in at one View the whole
Round of the Creation.

His Flight between the several Worlds that shined on every side of him,
with the particular Description of the Sun, are set forth in all the
Wantonness of a luxuriant Imagination. His Shape, Speech and Behaviour
upon his transforming himself into an Angel of Light, are touched with
exquisite Beauty. The Poets Thought of directing Satan to the Sun,
which in the vulgar Opinion of Mankind is the most conspicuous Part of
the Creation, and the placing in it an Angel, is a Circumstance very
finely contrived, and the more adjusted to a Poetical Probability, as it
was a received Doctrine among the most famous Philosophers, that every
Orb had its Intelligence; and as an Apostle in Sacred Writ is said to


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