The Spectator, Volume 2.
Addison and Steele
Part 16 out of 19
which was as follows.
"Sir, you give me inexpressible Sorrow for the Anguish with which I
see you overwhelmed. I am removed to all Intents and Purposes from
the Interests of human Life, therefore I am to begin to think like
one wholly unconcerned in it. I do not consider you as one by whose
Error I have lost my Life; no, you are my Benefactor, as you have
hasten'd my Entrance into a happy Immortality. This is my Sense of
this Accident; but the World in which you live may have Thoughts of
it to your Disadvantage, I have therefore taken Care to provide for
you in my Will, and have placed you above what you have to fear from
While this excellent Woman spoke these Words, Festeau looked as if he
received a Condemnation to die, instead of a Pension for his Life.
Madam de Villacerfe lived till Eight of [the] Clock the next Night;
and tho she must have laboured under the most exquisite Torments, she
possessed her Mind with so wonderful a Patience, that one may rather
say she ceased to breathe than she died at that hour. You who had not
the happiness to be personally known to this Lady, have nothing but to
rejoyce in the Honour you had of being related to so great Merit; but
we who have lost her Conversation, cannot so easily resign our own
Happiness by Reflection upon hers.
I am, SIR,
Your affectionate Kinsman,
and most obedient humble Servant,
There hardly can be a greater Instance of an Heroick Mind, than the
unprejudiced Manner in which this Lady weighed this Misfortune. The
regard of Life itself could not make her overlook the Contrition of the
unhappy Man, whose more than Ordinary Concern for her was all his Guilt.
It would certainly be of singular Use to human Society to have an exact
Account of this Lady's ordinary Conduct, which was Crowned by so
uncommon Magnanimity. Such Greatness was not to be acquired in her last
Article, nor is it to be doubted but it was a constant Practice of all
that is praise-worthy, which made her capable of beholding Death, not as
the Dissolution, but Consummation of her Life.
* * * * *
No. 369. Saturday, May 3, 1712. Addison.
'Segnius irritant animos demissa per aures
Quam quae sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus--'
Milton, after having represented in Vision the History of Mankind to the
first great Period of Nature, dispatches the remaining part of it in
Narration. He has devised a very handsome Reason for the Angels
proceeding with Adam after this manner; though doubtless the true Reason
was the Difficulty which the Poet would have found to have shadowed out
so mixed and complicated a Story in visible Objects. I could wish,
however, that the Author had done it, whatever Pains it might have cost
him. To give my Opinion freely, I think that the exhibiting part of the
History of Mankind in Vision, and part in Narrative, is as if an
History-Painter should put in Colours one half of his Subject, and write
down the remaining part of it. If Milton's Poem flags any where, it is
in this Narration, where in some places the Author has been so attentive
to his Divinity, that he has neglected his Poetry. The Narration,
however, rises very happily on several Occasions, where the Subject is
capable of Poetical Ornaments, as particularly in the Confusion which he
describes among the Builders of Babel, and in his short Sketch of the
Plagues of Egypt. The Storm of Hail and Fire, with the Darkness that
overspread the Land for three Days, are described with great Strength.
The beautiful Passage which follows, is raised upon noble Hints in
--Thus with ten Wounds
The River-Dragon tamed at length submits
To let his Sojourners depart, and oft
Humbles his stubborn Heart; but still as Ice
More harden'd after Thaw, till in his Rage
Pursuing whom he late dismissed, the Sea
Swallows him with his Host, but them lets pass
As on dry Land between two Chrystal Walls,
Aw'd by the Rod of Moses so to stand
The River-Dragon is an Allusion to the Crocodile, which inhabits the
Nile, from whence Egypt derives her Plenty. This Allusion is taken from
that Sublime Passage in Ezekiel, Thus saith the Lord God, behold I am
against thee, Pharaoh King of Egypt, the great Dragon that lieth in the
midst of his Rivers, which hath said, my River is mine own, and I have
made it for my self. Milton has given us another very noble and poetical
Image in the same Description, which is copied almost Word for Word out
of the History of Moses.
All Night he will pursue, but his Approach
Darkness defends between till morning Watch;
Then through the fiery Pillar and the Cloud
God looking forth, will trouble all his Host,
And craze their Chariot Wheels: when by command
Moses once more his potent Rod extends
Over the Sea: the Sea his Rod obeys:
On their embattell'd Ranks the Waves return
And overwhelm their War--
As the principal Design of this Episode was to give Adam an Idea of the
Holy Person, who was to reinstate human Nature in that Happiness and
Perfection from which it had fallen, the Poet confines himself to the
Line of Abraham, from whence the Messiah was to Descend. The Angel is
described as seeing the Patriarch actually travelling towards the Land
of Promise, which gives a particular Liveliness to this part of the
I see him, but thou canst not, with what Faith
He leaves his Gods, his Friends, his Native Soil,
Ur of Chaldaea, passing now the Ford
To Haran, after him a cumbrous Train
Of Herds and Flocks, and numerous Servitude,
Not wand'ring poor, but trusting all his Wealth
With God, who call'd him, in a Land unknown.
Canaan he now attains, I see his Tents
Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighbouring Plain
Of Moreh, there by Promise he receives
Gifts to his Progeny of all that Land,
From Hamath Northward to the Desart South.
(Things by their Names I call, though yet unnamed.)
As Virgil's Vision in the sixth AEneid probably gave Milton the Hint of
this whole Episode, the last Line is a Translation of that Verse, where
Anchises mentions the Names of Places, which they were to bear
Haec tum nomina erunt, nunc sunt sine nomine terrae.
The Poet has very finely represented the Joy and Gladness of Heart which
rises in Adam upon his discovery of the Messiah. As he sees his Day at a
distance through Types and Shadows, he rejoices in it: but when he finds
the Redemption of Man compleated, and Paradise again renewed, he breaks
forth in Rapture and Transport;
O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense!
That all this Good of Evil shall produce, &c.
I have hinted in my sixth Paper on Milton, that an Heroick Poem,
according to the Opinion of the best Criticks, ought to end happily, and
leave the Mind of the Reader, after having conducted it through many
Doubts and Fears, Sorrows and Disquietudes, in a State of Tranquility
and Satisfaction. Milton's Fable, which had so many other Qualifications
to recommend it, was deficient in this Particular. It is here therefore,
that the Poet has shewn a most exquisite Judgment, as well as the finest
Invention, by finding out a Method to supply this natural Defect in his
Subject. Accordingly he leaves the Adversary of Mankind, in the last
View which he gives us of him, under the lowest State of Mortification
and Disappointment. We see him chewing Ashes, grovelling in the Dust,
and loaden with supernumerary Pains and Torments. On the contrary, our
two first Parents are comforted by Dreams and Visions, cheared with
Promises of Salvation, and, in a manner, raised to a greater Happiness
than that which they had forfeited: In short, Satan is represented
miserable in the height of his Triumphs, and Adam triumphant in the
height of Misery.
Milton's Poem ends very nobly. The last Speeches of Adam and the
Arch-Angel are full of Moral and Instructive Sentiments. The Sleep that
fell upon Eve, and the Effects it had in quieting the Disorders of her
Mind, produces the same kind of Consolation in the Reader, who cannot
peruse the last beautiful Speech which is ascribed to the Mother of
Mankind, without a secret Pleasure and Satisfaction.
Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, I know;
For God is also in Sleep, and Dreams advise,
Which he hath sent propitious, some great Good
Presaging, since with Sorrow and Heart's Distress
Wearied I fell asleep: but now lead on;
In me is no delay: with thee to go,
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
Is to go hence unwilling: thou to me
Art all things under Heav'n, all Places thou,
Who for my wilful Crime art banish'd hence.
This farther Consolation yet secure
I carry hence; though all by me is lost,
Such Favour, I unworthy, am vouchsafed,
By me the promised Seed shall all restore.
The following Lines, which conclude the Poem, rise in a most glorious
Blaze of Poetical Images and Expressions.
Heliodorus in his AEthiopicks acquaints us, that the Motion of the Gods
differs from that of Mortals, as the former do not stir their Feet, nor
proceed Step by Step, but slide o'er the Surface of the Earth by an
uniform Swimming of the whole Body. The Reader may observe with how
Poetical a Description Milton has attributed the same kind of Motion to
the Angels who were to take Possession of Paradise.
So spake our Mother Eve, and Adam heard
Well pleas'd, but answered not; for now too nigh
Th' Archangel stood, and from the other Hill
To their fix'd Station, all in bright Array
The Cherubim descended; on the Ground
Gliding meteorous, as evening Mist
Ris'n from a River, o'er the Marish glides,
And gathers ground fast at the Lab'rer's Heel
Homeward returning. High in Front advanced,
The brandishd Sword of God before them blaz'd
Fierce as a Comet--
The Author helped his Invention in the following Passage, by reflecting
on the Behaviour of the Angel, who, in Holy Writ, has the Conduct of Lot
and his Family. The Circumstances drawn from that Relation are very
gracefully made use of on this Occasion.
In either Hand the hast'ning Angel caught
Our ling'ring Parents, and to th' Eastern Gate
Led them direct; and down the Cliff as fast
To the subjected Plain; then disappear'd.
They looking back, &c.
The Scene  which our first Parents are surprized with, upon their
looking back on Paradise, wonderfully strikes the Reader's Imagination,
as nothing can be more natural than the Tears they shed on that
They looking back, all th' Eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy Seat,
Wav'd over by that flaming Brand, the Gate
With dreadful Faces throng'd and fiery Arms:
Some natural Tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;
The World was all before them, where to chuse
Their Place of Rest, and Providence their Guide.
If I might presume to offer at the smallest Alteration in this divine
Work, I should think the Poem would end better with the Passage here
quoted, than with the two Verses which follow:
They hand in hand, with wandering Steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary Way.
These two Verses, though they have their Beauty, fall very much below
the foregoing Passage, and renew in the Mind of the Reader that Anguish
which was pretty well laid by that Consideration,
The world was all before them, where to chuse
Their Place of Rest, and Providence their Guide.
The Number of Books in Paradise Lost is equal to those of the AEneid.
Our Author in his first Edition had divided his Poem into ten Books, but
afterwards broke the seventh and the eleventh each of them into two
different Books, by the help of some small Additions. This second
Division was made with great Judgment, as any one may see who will be at
the pains of examining it. It was not done for the sake of such a
Chimerical Beauty as that of resembling Virgil in this particular, but
for the more just and regular Disposition of this great Work.
Those who have read Bossu, and many of the Criticks who have written
since his Time, will not pardon me if I do not find out the particular
Moral which is inculcated in Paradise Lost. Though I can by no means
think, with the last mentioned French Author, that an Epick Writer first
of all pitches upon a certain Moral, as the Ground-Work and Foundation
of his Poem, and afterwards finds out a Story to it: I am, however, of
opinion, that no just Heroick Poem ever was or can be made, from whence
one great Moral may not be deduced. That which reigns in Milton, is the
most universal and most useful that can be imagined; it is in short
this, That Obedience to the Will of God makes Men happy, and that
Disobedience makes them miserable. This is visibly the Moral of the
principal Fable, which turns upon Adam and Eve, who continued in
Paradise, while they kept the command that was given them, and were
driven out of it as soon as they had transgressed. This is likewise the
Moral of the principal Episode, which shews us how an innumerable
Multitude of Angels fell from their State of Bliss, and were cast into
Hell upon their Disobedience. Besides this great Moral, which may be
looked upon as the Soul of the Fable, there are an Infinity of
Under-Morals which are to be drawn from the several parts of the Poem,
and which makes this Work more useful and Instructive than any other
Poem in any Language.
Those who have criticized on the Odyssey, the Iliad, and AEneid, have
taken a great deal of Pains to fix the Number of Months and Days
contained in the Action of each of those Poems. If any one thinks it
worth his while to examine this Particular in Milton, he will find that
from Adam's first Appearance in the fourth Book, to his Expulsion from
Paradise in the twelfth, the Author reckons ten Days. As for that part
of the Action which is described in the three first Books, as it does
not pass within the Regions of Nature, I have before observed that it is
not subject to any Calculations of Time.
I have now finished my Observations on a Work which does an Honour to
the English Nation. I have taken a general View of it under these four
Heads, the Fable, the Characters, the Sentiments, and the Language, and
made each of them the Subject of a particular Paper. I have in the next
Place spoken of the Censures which our Author may incur under each of
these Heads, which I have confined to two Papers, though I might have
enlarged the Number, if I had been disposed to dwell on so ungrateful a
Subject. I believe, however, that the severest Reader will not find any
little Fault in Heroick Poetry, which this Author has fallen into, that
does not come under one of those Heads among which I have distributed
his several Blemishes. After having thus treated at large of Paradise
Lost, I could not think it sufficient to have celebrated this Poem in
the whole, without descending to Particulars. I have therefore bestowed
a Paper upon each Book, and endeavoured not only to [prove ] that the
Poem is beautiful in general, but to point out its Particular Beauties,
and to determine wherein they consist. I have endeavoured to shew how
some Passages are beautiful by being Sublime, others by being Soft,
others by being Natural; which of them are recommended by the Passion,
which by the Moral, which by the Sentiment, and which by the Expression.
I have likewise endeavoured to shew how the Genius of the Poet shines by
a happy Invention, a distant Allusion, or a judicious Imitation; how he
has copied or improved Homer or Virgil, and raised his own Imaginations
by the Use which he has made of several Poetical Passages in Scripture.
I might have inserted also several Passages of Tasso, which our Author
[has ] imitated; but as I do not look upon Tasso to be a sufficient
Voucher, I would not perplex my Reader with such Quotations, as might do
more Honour to the Italian than the English Poet. In short, I have
endeavoured to particularize those innumerable kinds of Beauty, which it
would be tedious to recapitulate, but which are essential to Poetry, and
which may be met with in the Works of this great Author. Had I thought,
at my first engaging in this design, that it would have led me to so
great a length, I believe I should never have entered upon it; but the
kind Reception which it has met with among those whose Judgments I have
a value for, as well as the uncommon Demands which my Bookseller tells
me have been made for these particular Discourses, give me no reason to
repent of the Pains I have been at in composing them.
[Footnote 1: Prospect]
[Footnote 2: shew]
[Footnote 3: has likewise]
* * * * *
No. 370. Monday, May 5, 1712. Steele.
'Totus Mundus agit Histrionem.'
Many of my fair Readers, as well as very gay and well-received Persons
of the other Sex, are extremely perplexed at the Latin Sentences at the
Head of my Speculations; I do not know whether I ought not to indulge
them with Translations of each of them: However, I have to-day taken
down from the Top of the Stage in Drury-Lane a bit of Latin which often
stands in their View, and signifies that the whole World acts the
Player. It is certain that if we look all round us, and behold the
different Employments of Mankind, you hardly see one who is not, as the
Player is, in an assumed Character. The Lawyer, who is vehement and loud
in a Cause wherein he knows he has not the Truth of the Question on his
Side, is a Player as to the personated Part, but incomparably meaner
than he as to the Prostitution of himself for Hire; because the
Pleader's Falshood introduces Injustice, the Player feigns for no other
end but to divert or instruct you. The Divine, whose Passions transport
him to say any thing with any View but promoting the Interests of true
Piety and Religion, is a Player with a still greater Imputation of
Guilt, in proportion to his depreciating a Character more sacred.
Consider all the different Pursuits and Employments of Men, and you will
find half their Actions tend to nothing else but Disguise and Imposture;
and all that is done which proceeds not from a Man's very self, is the
Action of a Player. For this Reason it is that I make so frequent
mention of the Stage: It is, with me, a Matter of the highest
Consideration what Parts are well or ill performed, what Passions or
Sentiments are indulged or cultivated, and consequently what Manners and
Customs are transfused from the Stage to the World, which reciprocally
imitate each other. As the Writers of Epick Poems introduce shadowy
Persons, and represent Vices and Virtues under the Characters of Men and
Women; so I, who am a SPECTATOR in the World, may perhaps sometimes make
use of the Names of the Actors on the Stage, to represent or admonish
those who transact Affairs in the World. When I am commending Wilks for
representing the Tenderness of a Husband and a Father in Mackbeth, the
Contrition of a reformed Prodigal in Harry the Fourth, the winning
Emptiness of a young Man of Good-nature and Wealth in the Trip to the
Jubilee, --the Officiousness of an artful Servant in the Fox: 
when thus I celebrate Wilks, I talk to all the World who are engaged in
any of those Circumstances. If I were to speak of Merit neglected,
mis-applied, or misunderstood, might not I say Estcourt has a great
Capacity? But it is not the Interest of others who bear a Figure on the
Stage that his Talents were understood; it is their Business to impose
upon him what cannot become him, or keep out of his hands any thing in
which he would Shine. Were one to raise a Suspicion of himself in a Man
who passes upon the World for a fine Thing, in order to alarm him, one
might say, if Lord Foppington  were not on the Stage, (Cibber acts
the false Pretensions to a genteel Behaviour so very justly), he would
have in the generality of Mankind more that would admire than deride
him. When we come to Characters directly Comical, it is not to be
imagin'd what Effect a well-regulated Stage would have upon Men's
Manners. The Craft of an Usurer, the Absurdity of a rich Fool, the
awkward Roughness of a Fellow of half Courage, the ungraceful Mirth of a
Creature of half Wit, might be for ever put out of Countenance by proper
Parts for Dogget. Johnson by acting Corbacchio  the other Night, must
have given all who saw him a thorough Detestation of aged Avarice. The
Petulancy of a peevish old Fellow, who loves and hates he knows not why,
is very excellently performed by the Ingenious Mr. William Penkethman in
the Fop's Fortune; where, in the Character of Don Cholerick Snap
Shorto de Testy, he answers no Questions but to those whom he likes, and
wants no account of any thing from those he approves. Mr. Penkethman is
also Master of as many Faces in the Dumb-Scene as can be expected from a
Man in the Circumstances of being ready to perish out of Fear and
Hunger: He wonders throughout the whole Scene very masterly, without
neglecting his Victuals. If it be, as I have heard it sometimes
mentioned, a great Qualification for the World to follow Business and
Pleasure too, what is it in the Ingenious Mr. Penkethman to represent a
Sense of Pleasure and Pain at the same time; as you may see him do this
As it is certain that a Stage ought to be wholly suppressed, or
judiciously encouraged, while there is one in the Nation, Men turned for
regular Pleasure cannot employ their Thoughts more usefully, for the
Diversion of Mankind, than by convincing them that it is in themselves
to raise this Entertainment to the greatest Height. It would be a great
Improvement, as well as Embellishment to the Theatre, if Dancing were
more regarded, and taught to all the Actors. One who has the Advantage
of such an agreeable girlish Person as Mrs. Bicknell, joined with her
Capacity of Imitation, could in proper Gesture and Motion represent all
the decent Characters of Female Life. An amiable Modesty in one Aspect
of a Dancer, an assumed Confidence in another, a sudden Joy in another,
a falling off with an Impatience of being beheld, a Return towards the
Audience with an unsteady Resolution to approach them, and a well-acted
Sollicitude to please, would revive in the Company all the fine Touches
of Mind raised in observing all the Objects of Affection or Passion they
had before beheld. Such elegant Entertainments as these, would polish
the Town into Judgment in their Gratifications; and Delicacy in Pleasure
is the first step People of Condition take in Reformation from Vice.
Mrs. Bicknell has the only Capacity for this sort of Dancing of any on
the Stage; and I dare say all who see her Performance tomorrow Night,
when sure the Romp will do her best for her own Benefit, will be of my
[Footnote 1: Farquhar's Constant Couple, or A Trip to the Jubilee.]
[Footnote 2: Ben Jonson's Volpone.]
[Footnote 3: In Colley Cibber's Careless Husband.]
[Footnote 4: In Ben Jonson's Volpone.]
[Footnote 5: Cibber's Love makes a Man, or The Fop's Fortune.]
For the Benefit of Mr. Penkethman. At the Desire of Several Ladies of
Quality. By Her Majesty's Company of Comedians. At the Theatre Royal
in Drury Lane, this present Monday, being the 5th of May, will be
presented a Comedy called Love makes a Man, or The Fop's Fortune. The
Part of Don Lewis, alias Don Choleric Snap Shorto de Testy, by Mr.
Penkethman; Carlos, Mr. Wilks; Clodio, alias Don Dismallo Thick-Scullo
de Half Witto, Mr. Cibber; and all the other Parts to the best
Advantage. With a new Epilogue, spoken by Mr. Penkethman, riding on an
Ass. By her Majesty's Command no Persons are to be admitted behind the
Scenes. And To-Morrow, being Tuesday, will be presented, A Comedy
call'd The Constant Couple, or A Trip to the Jubilee. For the Benefit
of Mrs. Bicknell.
To do as kind a service to Mrs. Bicknell as to Mr. Penkethman on the
occasion of their benefits is the purpose of the next paragraph of
* * * * *
No. 371. Tuesday, May 6, 1712. Addison.
'Jamne igitur laudas quod se sapientibus unus
I shall communicate to my Reader the following Letter for the
Entertainment of this Day.
You know very well that our Nation is more famous for that sort of Men
who are called Whims and Humourists, than any other Country in the
World; for which reason it is observed that our English Comedy excells
that of all other Nations in the Novelty and Variety of its
Among those innumerable Setts of Whims which our Country produces,
there are none whom I have regarded with more Curiosity than those who
have invented any particular kind of Diversion for the Entertainment
of themselves or their Friends. My Letter shall single out those who
take delight in sorting a Company that has something of Burlesque and
Ridicule in its Appearance. I shall make my self understood by the
following Example. One of the Wits of the last Age, who was a Man of a
good Estate , thought he never laid out his Money better than in a
Jest. As he was one Year at the Bath, observing that in the great
Confluence of fine People, there were several among them with long
Chins, a part of the Visage by which he himself was very much
distinguished, he invited to dinner half a Score of these remarkable
Persons who had their Mouths in the Middle of their Faces. They had no
sooner placed themselves about the Table, but they began to stare upon
one another, not being able to imagine what had brought them together.
Our English Proverb says,
Tis merry in the Hall,
When Beards wag all.
It proved so in the Assembly I am now speaking of, who seeing so many
Peaks of Faces agitated with Eating, Drinking, and Discourse, and
observing all the Chins that were present meeting together very often
over the Center of the Table, every one grew sensible of the Jest, and
came into it with so much Good-Humour, that they lived in strict
Friendship and Alliance from that Day forward.
The same Gentleman some time after packed together a Set of Oglers, as
he called them, consisting of such as had an unlucky Cast in their
Eyes. His Diversion on this Occasion was to see the cross Bows,
mistaken Signs, and wrong Connivances that passed amidst so many
broken and refracted Rays of Sight.
The third Feast which this merry Gentleman exhibited was to the
Stammerers, whom he got together in a sufficient Body to fill his
Table. He had ordered one of his Servants, who was placed behind a
Skreen, to write down their Table-Talk, which was very easie to be
done without the help of Short-hand. It appears by the Notes which
were taken, that tho' their Conversation never fell, there were not
above twenty Words spoken during the first Course; that upon serving
up the second, one of the Company was a quarter of an Hour in telling
them, that the Ducklins and [Asparagus ] were very good; and that
another took up the same time in declaring himself of the same
Opinion. This Jest did not, however, go off so well as the former; for
one of the Guests being a brave Man, and fuller of Resentment than he
knew how to express, went out of the Room, and sent the facetious
Inviter a Challenge in Writing, which though it was afterwards dropp'd
by the Interposition of Friends, put a Stop to these ludicrous
Now, Sir, I dare say you will agree with me, that as there is no Moral
in these Jests, they ought to be discouraged, and looked upon rather
as pieces of Unluckiness than Wit. However, as it is natural for one
Man to refine upon the Thought of another, and impossible for any
single Person, how great soever his Parts may be, to invent an Art,
and bring it to its utmost Perfection; I shall here give you an
account of an honest Gentleman of my Acquaintance who upon hearing the
Character of the Wit above mentioned, has himself assumed it, and
endeavoured to convert it to the Benefit of Mankind. He invited half a
dozen of his Friends one day to Dinner, who were each of them famous
for inserting several redundant Phrases in their Discourse, as d'y
hear me, d'ye see, that is, and so Sir. Each of the Guests making
frequent use of his particular Elegance, appeared so ridiculous to his
Neighbour, that he could not but reflect upon himself as appearing
equally ridiculous to the rest of the Company: By this means, before
they had sat long together, every one talking with the greatest
Circumspection, and carefully avoiding his favourite Expletive, the
Conversation was cleared of its Redundancies, and had a greater
Quantity of Sense, tho' less of Sound in it.
The same well-meaning Gentleman took occasion, at another time, to
bring together such of his Friends as were addicted to a foolish
habitual Custom of Swearing. In order to shew the Absurdity of the
Practice, he had recourse to the Invention above mentioned, having
placed an Amanuensis in a private part of the Room. After the second
Bottle, when Men open their Minds without Reserve, my honest Friend
began to take notice of the many sonorous but unnecessary Words that
had passed in his House since their sitting down at Table, and how
much good Conversation they had lost by giving way to such superfluous
Phrases. What a Tax, says he, would they have raised for the Poor, had
we put the Laws in Execution upon one another? Every one of them took
this gentle Reproof in good part: Upon which he told them, that
knowing their Conversation would have no Secrets in it, he had ordered
it to be taken down in Writing, and for the humour sake would read it
to them, if they pleased. There were ten Sheets of it, which might
have been reduced to two, had there not been those abominable
Interpolations I have before mentioned. Upon the reading of it in cold
Blood, it looked rather like a Conference of Fiends than of Men. In
short, every one trembled at himself upon hearing calmly what he had
pronounced amidst the Heat and Inadvertency of Discourse.
I shall only mention another Occasion wherein he made use of the same
Invention to cure a different kind of Men, who are the Pests of all
polite Conversation, and murder Time as much as either of the two
former, though they do it more innocently; I mean that dull Generation
of Story-tellers. My Friend got together about half a dozen of his
Acquaintance, who were infected with this strange Malady. The first
Day one of them sitting down, entered upon the Siege of Namur, which
lasted till four a-clock, their time of parting. The second Day a
North-Britain took possession of the Discourse, which it was
impossible to get out of his Hands so long as the Company staid
together. The third Day was engrossed after the same manner by a Story
of the same length. They at last began to reflect upon this barbarous
way of treating one another, and by this means awakened out of that
Lethargy with which each of them had been seized for several Years.
As you have somewhere declared, that extraordinary and uncommon
Characters of Mankind are the Game which you delight in, and as I look
upon you to be the greatest Sportsman, or, if you please, the Nimrod
among this Species of Writers, I thought this Discovery would not be
unacceptable to you.
[Footnote 1: George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, Drydens Zimri, and the
author of the Rehearsal.]
[Footnote 2: [Sparrow-grass] and in first Reprint.]
* * * * *
372. Wednesday, May 7, 1712. Steele.
'Pudet haec opprobria nobis
[Et dici potuisse et non potuisse refelli.]'
May 6, 1712.
I am Sexton of the Parish of Covent-Garden, and complained to you some
time ago, that as I was tolling in to Prayers at Eleven in the
Morning, Crowds of People of Quality hastened to assemble at a
Puppet-Show on the other Side of the Garden. I had at the same time a
very great Disesteem for Mr. Powell and his little thoughtless
Commonwealth, as if they had enticed the Gentry into those Wandrings:
But let that be as it will, I now am convinced of the honest
Intentions of the said Mr. Powell and Company; and send this to
acquaint you, that he has given all the Profits which shall arise
to-morrow Night by his Play to the use of the poor Charity-Children of
this Parish. I have been informed, Sir, that in Holland all Persons
who set up any Show, or act any Stage-Play, be the Actors either of
Wood and Wire, or Flesh and Blood, are obliged to pay out of their
Gain such a Proportion to the honest and industrious Poor in the
Neighbourhood: By this means they make Diversion and Pleasure pay a
Tax to Labour and Industry. I have been told also, that all the time
of Lent, in Roman Catholick Countries, the Persons of Condition
administred to the Necessities of the Poor, and attended the Beds of
Lazars and diseased Persons. Our Protestant Ladies and Gentlemen are
so much to seek for proper ways of passing Time, that they are obliged
to Punchinello for knowing what to do with themselves. Since the Case
is so, I desire only you would intreat our People of Quality, who are
not to be interrupted in their Pleasure to think of the Practice of
any moral Duty, that they would at least fine for their Sins, and give
something to these poor Children; a little out of their Luxury and
Superfluity, would attone, in some measure, for the wanton Use of the
rest of their Fortunes. It would not, methinks, be amiss, if the
Ladies who haunt the Cloysters and Passages of the Play-house, were
upon every Offence obliged to pay to this excellent Institution of
Schools of Charity: This Method would make Offenders themselves do
Service to the Publick. But in the mean time I desire you would
publish this voluntary Reparation which Mr. Powell does our Parish,
for the Noise he has made in it by the constant rattling of Coaches,
Drums, Trumpets, Triumphs, and Battels. The Destruction of Troy
adorned with Highland Dances, are to make up the Entertainment of all
who are so well disposed as not to forbear a light Entertainment, for
no other Reason but that it is to do a good Action.
I am, SIR,
Your most humble Servant,
I am credibly informed, that all the Insinuations which a certain
Writer made against Mr. Powell at the Bath, are false and groundless.
My Employment, which is that of a Broker, leading me often into
Taverns about the Exchange, has given me occasion to observe a certain
Enormity, which I shall here submit to your Animadversion. In three or
four of these Taverns, I have, at different times, taken notice of a
precise Set of People with grave Countenances, short Wiggs, black
Cloaths, or dark Camlet trimmd with Black, and mourning Gloves and
Hatbands, who meet on certain Days at each Tavern successively, and
keep a sort of moving Club. Having often met with their Faces, and
observed a certain slinking Way in their dropping in one after
another, I had the Curiosity to enquire into their Characters, being
the rather moved to it by their agreeing in the Singularity of their
Dress; and I find upon due Examination they are a Knot of
Parish-Clarks, who have taken a fancy to one another, and perhaps
settle the Bills of Mortality over their Half-pints. I have so great a
Value and Veneration for any who have but even an assenting Amen in
the Service of Religion, that I am afraid lest these Persons should
incur some Scandal by this Practice; and would therefore have them,
without Raillery, advised to send the Florence and Pullets home to
their own Houses, and not pretend to live as well as the Overseers of
I am, SIR,
Your most humble Servant,
I was last Wednesday Night at a Tavern in the City, among a Set of Men
who call themselves the Lawyer's Club. You must know, Sir, this Club
consists only of Attorneys; and at this Meeting every one proposes the
Cause he has then in hand to the Board, upon which each Member gives
his Judgment according to the Experience he has met with. If it
happens that any one puts a Case of which they have had no Precedent,
it is noted down by their Clerk Will. Goosequill, (who registers all
their Proceedings) that one of them may go the next Day with it to a
Counsel. This indeed is commendable, and ought to be the principal End
of their Meeting; but had you been there to have heard them relate
their Methods of managing a Cause, their Manner of drawing out their
Bills, and, in short, their Arguments upon the several ways of abusing
their Clients, with the Applause that is given to him who has done it
most artfully, you would before now have given your Remarks on them.
They are so conscious that their Discourses ought to be kept secret,
that they are very cautious of admitting any Person who is not of
their Profession. When any who are not of the Law are let in, the
Person who introduces him, says, he is a very honest Gentleman, and he
is taken in, as their Cant is, to pay Costs. I am admitted upon the
Recommendation of one of their Principals, as a very honest
good-natured Fellow that will never be in a Plot, and only desires to
drink his Bottle and smoke his Pipe. You have formerly remarked upon
several Sorts of Clubs; and as the Tendency of this is only to
increase Fraud and Deceit, I hope you will please to take Notice of it.
I am (with Respect)
Your humble Servant,
* * * * *
No. 373. Thursday, May 8, 1712. Budgell.
'[Fallit enim Vitium specie virtutis et umbra.'
Mr. Locke, in his Treatise of Human Understanding, has spent two
Chapters upon the Abuse of Words.  The first and most palpable Abuse
of Words, he says, is, when they are used without clear and distinct
Ideas: The second, when we are so inconstant and unsteady in the
Application of them, that we sometimes use them to signify one Idea,
sometimes another. He adds, that the Result of our Contemplations and
Reasonings, while we have no precise Ideas fixed to our Words, must
needs be very confused and absurd. To avoid this Inconvenience, more
especially in moral Discourses, where the same Word should constantly be
used in the same Sense, he earnestly recommends the use of Definitions.
A Definition, says he, is the only way whereby the precise Meaning of
Moral Words can be known. He therefore accuses those of great
Negligence, who Discourse of Moral things with the least Obscurity in
the Terms they make use of, since upon the forementioned ground he does
not scruple to say, that he thinks Morality is capable of Demonstration
as well as the Mathematicks.
I know no two Words that have been more abused by the different and
wrong Interpretations which are put upon them, than those two, Modesty
and Assurance. To say such an one is a modest Man, sometimes indeed
passes for a good Character; but at present is very often used to
signify a sheepish awkard Fellow, who has neither Good-breeding,
Politeness, nor any Knowledge of the World.
Again, A Man of Assurance, tho at first it only denoted a Person of a
free and open Carriage, is now very usually applied to a profligate
Wretch, who can break through all the Rules of Decency and Morality
without a Blush.
I shall endeavour therefore in this Essay to restore these Words to
their true Meaning, to prevent the Idea of Modesty from being confounded
with that of Sheepishness, and to hinder Impudence from passing for
If I was put to define Modesty, I would call it The Reflection of an
Ingenuous Mind, either when a Man has committed an Action for which he
censures himself, or fancies that he is exposed to the Censure of
For this Reason a Man truly Modest is as much so when he is alone as in
Company, and as subject to a Blush in his Closet, as when the Eyes of
Multitudes are upon him.
I do not remember to have met with any Instance of Modesty with which I
am so well pleased, as that celebrated one of the young Prince, whose
Father being a tributary King to the Romans, had several Complaints laid
against him before the Senate, as a Tyrant and Oppressor of his
Subjects. The Prince went to Rome to defend his Father; but coming into
the Senate, and hearing a Multitude of Crimes proved upon him, was so
oppressed when it came to his turn to speak, that he was unable to utter
a Word. The Story tells us, that the Fathers were more moved at this
Instance of Modesty and Ingenuity, than they could have been by the most
Pathetick Oration; and, in short, pardoned the guilty Father for this
early Promise of Virtue in the Son.
I take Assurance to be the Faculty of possessing a Man's self, or of
saying and doing indifferent things without any Uneasiness or Emotion in
the Mind. That which generally gives a Man Assurance is a moderate
Knowledge of the World, but above all a Mind fixed and determined in it
self to do nothing against the Rules of Honour and Decency. An open and
assured Behaviour is the natural Consequence of such a Resolution. A Man
thus armed, if his Words or Actions are at any time misinterpreted,
retires within himself, and from the Consciousness of his own Integrity,
assumes Force enough to despise the little Censures of Ignorance or
Every one ought to cherish and encourage in himself the Modesty and
Assurance I have here mentioned.
A Man without Assurance is liable to be made uneasy by the Folly or
Ill-nature of every one he converses with. A Man without Modesty is lost
to all Sense of Honour and Virtue.
It is more than probable, that the Prince above-mentioned possessed both
these Qualifications in a very eminent degree. Without Assurance he
would never have undertaken to speak before the most august Assembly in
the World; without Modesty he would have pleaded the Cause he had taken
upon him, tho it had appeared ever so Scandalous.
From what has been said, it is plain, that Modesty and Assurance are
both amiable, and may very well meet in the same Person. When they are
thus mixed and blended together, they compose what we endeavour to
express when we say a modest Assurance; by which we understand the just
Mean between Bashfulness and Impudence.
I shall conclude with observing, that as the same Man may be both Modest
and Assured, so it is also possible for the same Person to be both
Impudent and Bashful.
We have frequent Instances of this odd kind of Mixture in People of
depraved Minds and mean Education; who tho' they are not able to meet a
Man's Eyes, or pronounce a Sentence without Confusion, can Voluntarily
commit the greatest Villanies, or most indecent Actions.
Such a Person seems to have made a Resolution to do Ill even in spite of
himself, and in defiance of all those Checks and Restraints his Temper
and Complection seem to have laid in his way.
Upon the whole, I would endeavour to establish this Maxim, That the
Practice of Virtue is the most proper Method to give a Man a becoming
Assurance in his Words and Actions. Guilt always seeks to shelter it
self in one of the Extreams, and is sometimes attended with both.
Appellat paetumm pater; et pullum, male parvus
Si cui filius est; ut abortivus fuit olim
Sisyphus: hunc varum, distortis cruribus; illum
Balbutit scaurum, pravis fullum male talis.
[Footnote 2: Book III., Chapters 10, 11. Words are the subject of this
book; ch. 10 is on the Abuse of Words; ch. 11 of the Remedies of the
foregoing imperfections and abuses.]
* * * * *
No. 374. Friday, May 9, 1712. Steele.
'Nil actum reputans si quid superesset agendum.'
There is a Fault, which, tho' common, wants a Name. It is the very
contrary to Procrastination: As we lose the present Hour by delaying
from Day to Day to execute what we ought to do immediately; so most of
us take Occasion to sit still and throw away the Time in our Possession,
by Retrospect on what is past, imagining we have already acquitted our
selves, and established our Characters in the sight of Mankind. But when
we thus put a Value upon our selves for what we have already done, any
further than to explain our selves in order to assist our future
Conduct, that will give us an over-weening opinion of our Merit to the
prejudice of our present Industry. The great Rule, methinks, should be
to manage the Instant in which we stand, with Fortitude, Equanimity, and
Moderation, according to Men's respective Circumstances. If our past
Actions reproach us, they cannot be attoned for by our own severe
Reflections so effectually as by a contrary Behaviour. If they are
praiseworthy, the Memory of them is of no use but to act suitably to
them. Thus a good present Behaviour is an implicit Repentance for any
Miscarriage in what is past; but present Slackness will not make up for
past Activity. Time has swallowed up all that we Contemporaries did
Yesterday, as irrevocably as it has the Actions of the Antediluvians:
But we are again awake, and what shall we do to-Day, to-Day which passes
while we are yet speaking? Shall we remember the Folly of last Night, or
resolve upon the Exercise of Virtue tomorrow? Last Night is certainly
gone, and To-morrow may never arrive: This Instant make use of. Can you
oblige any Man of Honour and Virtue? Do it immediately. Can you visit a
sick Friend? Will it revive him to see you enter, and suspend your own
Ease and Pleasure to comfort his Weakness, and hear the Impertinencies
of a Wretch in Pain? Don't stay to take Coach, but be gone. Your
Mistress will bring Sorrow, and your Bottle Madness: Go to
neither.--Such Virtues and Diversions as these are mentioned because
they occur to all Men. But every Man is sufficiently convinced, that to
suspend the use of the present Moment, and resolve better for the future
only, is an unpardonable Folly: What I attempted to consider, was the
Mischief of setting such a Value upon what is past, as to think we have
done enough. Let a Man have filled all the Offices of Life with the
highest Dignity till Yesterday, and begin to live only to himself
to-Day, he must expect he will in the Effects upon his Reputation be
considered as the Man who died Yesterday. The Man who distinguishes
himself from the rest, stands in a Press of People; those before him
intercept his Progress, and those behind him, if he does not urge on,
will tread him down. Caesar, of whom it was said, that he thought nothing
done while there was anything left for him to do, went on in performing
the greatest Exploits, without assuming to himself a Privilege of taking
Rest upon the Foundation of the Merit of his former Actions. It was the
manner of that glorious Captain to write down what Scenes he passed
through, but it was rather to keep his Affairs in Method, and capable of
a clear Review in case they should be examined by others, than that he
built a Renown upon any thing which was past. I shall produce two
Fragments of his to demonstrate, that it was his Rule of Life to support
himself rather by what he should perform than what he had done already.
In the Tablet which he wore about him the same Year, in which he
obtained the Battel of Pharsalia, there were found these loose Notes for
his own Conduct: It is supposed, by the Circumstances they alluded to,
that they might be set down the Evening of the same Night.
My Part is now but begun, and my Glory must be sustained by the Use I
make of this Victory; otherwise my Loss will be greater than that of
Pompey. Our personal Reputation will rise or fall as we bear our
respective Fortunes. All my private Enemies among the Prisoners shall
be spared. I will forget this, in order to obtain such another Day.
Trebutius is ashamed to see me: I will go to his Tent, and be
reconciled in private. Give all the Men of Honour, who take part with
me, the Terms I offered before the Battel. Let them owe this to their
Friends who have been long in my Interests. Power is weakened by the
full Use of it, but extended by Moderation. Galbinius is proud, and
will be servile in his present Fortune; let him wait. Send for
Stertinius: He is modest, and his Virtue is worth gaining. I have
cooled my Heart with Reflection; and am fit to rejoice with the Army
to-morrow. He is a popular General who can expose himself like a
private Man during a Battel; but he is more popular who can rejoice
but like a private Man after a Victory.
What is particularly proper for the Example of all who pretend to
Industry in the Pursuit of Honour and Virtue, is, That this Hero was
more than ordinarily sollicitous about his Reputation, when a common
Mind would have thought it self in Security, and given it self a Loose
to Joy and Triumph. But though this is a very great Instance of his
Temper, I must confess I am more taken with his Reflections when he
retired to his Closet in some Disturbance upon the repeated ill Omens of
Calphurnia's Dream the Night before his Death. The literal Translation
of that Fragment shall conclude this Paper.
Be it so [then. ] If I am to die to-Morrow, that is what I am to do
to-Morrow: It will not be then, because I am willing it should be
then; nor shall I escape it, because I am unwilling. It is in the Gods
when, but in my self how I shall die. If Calphurnia's Dreams are Fumes
of Indigestion, how shall I behold the Day after to-morrow? If they
are from the Gods, their Admonition is not to prepare me to escape
from their Decree, but to meet it. I have lived to a Fulness of Days
and of Glory; what is there that Caesar has not done with as much
Honour as antient Heroes? Caesar has not yet died; Caesar is prepared to
[Footnote 1: [than]]
* * * * *
No. 375. Saturday, May 10, 1712. Hughes.
'Non possidentem multa vocaveris
Recte beatum: rectius occupat
Nomen beati, qui Deorum
Muneribus sapienter uti,
Duramque callet Pauperiem pati,
Pejusque Letho flagitium timet.'
I have more than once had occasion to mention a noble Saying of Seneca
the Philosopher, That a virtuous Person struggling with Misfortunes, and
rising above them, is an Object on which the Gods themselves may look
down with Delight.  I shall therefore set before my Reader a Scene of
this kind of Distress in private Life, for the Speculation of this Day.
An eminent Citizen, who had lived in good Fashion and Credit, was by a
Train of Accidents, and by an unavoidable Perplexity in his Affairs,
reduced to a low Condition. There is a Modesty usually attending
faultless Poverty, which made him rather chuse to reduce his Manner of
Living to his present Circumstances, than sollicit his Friends in order
to support the Shew of an Estate when the Substance was gone. His Wife,
who was a Woman of Sense and Virtue, behaved her self on this Occasion
with uncommon Decency, and never appear'd so amiable in his Eyes as now.
Instead of upbraiding him with the ample Fortune she had brought, or the
many great Offers she had refused for his sake, she redoubled all the
Instances of her Affection, while her Husband was continually pouring
out his Heart to her in Complaints that he had ruined the best Woman in
the World. He sometimes came home at a time when she did not expect him,
and surpriz'd her in Tears, which she endeavour'd to conceal, and always
put on an Air of Chearfulness to receive him. To lessen their Expence,
their eldest Daughter (whom I shall call Amanda) was sent into the
Country, to the House of an honest Farmer, who had married a Servant of
the Family. This young Woman was apprehensive of the Ruin which was
approaching, and had privately engaged a Friend in the Neighbourhood to
give her an account of what passed from time to time in her Father's
Affairs. Amanda was in the Bloom of her Youth and Beauty, when the Lord
of the Manor, who often called in at the Farmer's House as he followd
his Country Sports, fell passionately in love with her. He was a Man of
great Generosity, but from a loose Education had contracted a hearty
Aversion to Marriage. He therefore entertained a Design upon Amanda's
Virtue, which at present he thought fit to keep private. The innocent
Creature, who never suspected his Intentions, was pleased with his
Person; and having observed his growing Passion for her, hoped by so
advantageous a Match she might quickly be in a capacity of supporting
her impoverish'd Relations. One day as he called to see her, he found
her in Tears over a Letter she had just receiv'd from her Friend, which
gave an Account that her Father had lately been stripped of every thing
by an Execution. The Lover, who with some Difficulty found out the Cause
of her Grief, took this occasion to make her a Proposal. It is
impossible to express Amanda's Confusion when she found his Pretensions
were not honourable. She was now deserted of all her Hopes, and had no
Power to speak; but rushing from him in the utmost Disturbance, locked
her self up in her Chamber. He immediately dispatched a Messenger to her
Father with the following Letter.
I have heard of your Misfortune, and have offer'd your Daughter, if
she will live with me, to settle on her Four hundred Pounds a year,
and to lay down the Sum for which you are now distressed. I will be
so ingenuous as to tell you that I do not intend Marriage: But if you
are wise, you will use your Authority with her not to be too nice,
when she has an opportunity of saving you and your Family, and of
making her self happy.
I am, &c.
This Letter came to the Hands of Amanda's Mother; she opend and read it
with great Surprize and Concern. She did not think it proper to explain
her self to the Messenger, but desiring him to call again the next
Morning, she wrote to her Daughter as follows.
Your Father and I have just now receiv'd a Letter from a Gentleman who
pretends Love to you, with a Proposal that insults our Misfortunes,
and would throw us to a lower Degree of Misery than any thing which is
come upon us. How could this barbarous Man think, that the tenderest
of Parents would be tempted to supply their Wants by giving up the
best of Children to Infamy and Ruin? It is a mean and cruel Artifice
to make this Proposal at a time when he thinks our Necessities must
compel us to any thing; but we will not eat the Bread of Shame; and
therefore we charge thee not to think of us, but to avoid the Snare
which is laid for thy Virtue. Beware of pitying us: It is not so bad
as you have perhaps been told. All things will yet be well, and I
shall write my Child better News.
I have been interrupted. I know not how I was moved to say things
would mend. As I was going on I was startled by a Noise of one that
knocked at the Door, and hath brought us an unexpected Supply of a
Debt which had long been owing. Oh! I will now tell thee all. It is
some days I have lived almost without Support, having conveyd what
little Money I could raise to your poor Father--Thou wilt weep to
think where he is, yet be assured he will be soon at Liberty. That
cruel Letter would have broke his Heart, but I have concealed it from
him. I have no Companion at present besides little Fanny, who stands
watching my Looks as I write, and is crying for her Sister. She says
she is sure you are not well, having discover'd that my present
Trouble is about you. But do not think I would thus repeat my Sorrows,
to grieve thee: No, it is to intreat thee not to make them
insupportable, by adding what would be worse than all. Let us bear
chearfully an Affliction, which we have not brought on our selves, and
remember there is a Power who can better deliver us out of it than by
the Loss of thy Innocence. Heaven preserve my dear Child.
The Messenger, notwithstanding he promised to deliver this Letter to
Amanda, carry'd it first to his Master, who he imagined would be glad to
have an Opportunity of giving it into her Hands himself. His Master was
impatient to know the Success of his Proposal, and therefore broke open
the Letter privately to see the Contents. He was not a little moved at
so true a Picture of Virtue in Distress: But at the same time was
infinitely surprized to find his Offers rejected. However, he resolved
not to suppress the Letter, but carefully sealed it up again, and
carried it to Amanda. All his Endeavours to see her were in vain, till
she was assured he brought a Letter from her Mother. He would not part
with it, but upon Condition that she should read it without leaving the
Room. While she was perusing it, he fixed his Eyes on her Face with the
deepest Attention: Her Concern gave a new Softness to her Beauty, and
when she burst into Tears, he could no longer refrain from bearing a
Part of her Sorrow, and telling her, that he too had read the Letter and
was resolvd to make Reparation for having been the Occasion of it. My
Reader will not be displeased to see this Second Epistle which he now
wrote to Amanda's Mother.
I am full of Shame, and will never forgive my self, if I have not your
Pardon for what I lately wrote. It was far from my Intention to add
Trouble to the Afflicted; nor could any thing, but my being a Stranger
to you, have betray'd me into a Fault, for which, if I live, I shall
endeavour to make you amends, as a Son. You cannot be unhappy while
Amanda is your Daughter: nor shall be, if any thing can prevent it,
which is in the power of, MADAM,
Your most obedient
This Letter he sent by his Steward, and soon after went up to Town
himself, to compleat the generous Act he had now resolved on. By his
Friendship and Assistance Amanda's Father was quickly in a condition of
retrieving his perplex'd Affairs. To conclude, he Marry'd Amanda, and
enjoyd the double Satisfaction of having restored a worthy Family to
their former Prosperity, and of making himself happy by an Alliance to
[Footnote 1: See note on p. 148 [Footnote 1 of No. 39], vol. i.]
* * * * *
No. 376. Monday, May 12, 1712. Steele.
'--Pavone ex Pythagoreo--'
I have observed that the Officer you some time ago appointed as
Inspector of Signs, has not done his Duty so well as to give you an
Account of very many strange Occurrences in the publick Streets, which
are worthy of, but have escaped your Notice. Among all the Oddnesses
which I have ever met with, that which I am now telling you of gave me
most Delight. You must have observed that all the Criers in the Street
attract the Attention of the Passengers, and of the Inhabitants in the
several Parts, by something very particular in their Tone it self, in
the dwelling upon a Note, or else making themselves wholly
unintelligible by a Scream. The Person I am so delighted with has
nothing to sell, but very gravely receives the Bounty of the People,
for no other Merit but the Homage they pay to his Manner of signifying
to them that he wants a Subsidy. You must, sure, have heard speak of
an old Man, who walks about the City, and that part of the Suburbs
which lies beyond the Tower, performing the Office of a Day-Watchman,
followed by a Goose, which bears the Bob of his Ditty, and confirms
what he says with a Quack, Quack. I gave little heed to the mention of
this known Circumstance, till, being the other day in those Quarters,
I passed by a decrepit old Fellow with a Pole in his Hand, who just
then was bawling out, Half an Hour after one a-Clock, and immediately
a dirty Goose behind him made her Response, Quack, Quack. I could not
forbear attending this grave Procession for the length of half a
Street, with no small amazement to find the whole Place so familiarly
acquainted with a melancholy Mid-night Voice at Noon-day, giving them
the Hour, and exhorting them of the Departure of Time, with a Bounce
at their Doors. While I was full of this Novelty, I went into a
Friend's House, and told him how I was diverted with their whimsical
Monitor and his Equipage. My Friend gave me the History; and
interrupted my Commendation of the Man, by telling me the Livelihood
of these two Animals is purchased rather by the good Parts of the
Goose, than of the Leader: For it seems the Peripatetick who walked
before her was a Watchman in that Neighbourhood; and the Goose of her
self by frequent hearing his Tone, out of her natural Vigilance, not
only observed, but answer'd it very regularly from Time to Time. The
Watchman was so affected with it, that he bought her, and has taken
her in Partner, only altering their Hours of Duty from Night to Day.
The Town has come into it, and they live very comfortably. This is the
Matter of Fact: Now I desire you, who are a profound Philosopher, to
consider this Alliance of Instinct and Reason; your Speculation may
turn very naturally upon the Force the superior Part of Mankind may
have upon the Spirits of such as, like this Watchman, may be very near
the Standard of Geese. And you may add to this practical Observation,
how in all Ages and Times the World has been carry'd away by odd
unaccountable things, which one would think would pass upon no
Creature which had Reason; and, under the Symbol of this Goose, you
may enter into the Manner and Method of leading Creatures, with their
Eyes open, thro' thick and thin, for they know not what, they know not
All which is humbly submitted to your Spectatorial Wisdom by,
Your most humble Servant,
I have for several Years had under my Care the Government and
Education of young Ladies, which Trust I have endeavour'd to discharge
with due regard to their several Capacities and Fortunes: I have left
nothing undone to imprint in every one of them an humble courteous
Mind, accompanied with a graceful becoming Mein, and have made them
pretty much acquainted with the Houshold Part of Family-Affairs; but
still I find there is something very much wanting in the Air of my
Ladies, different from what I observe in those that are esteemed your
fine bred Women. Now, Sir, I must own to you, I never suffered my
Girls to learn to Dance; but since I have read your Discourse of
Dancing, where you have described the Beauty and Spirit there is in
regular Motion, I own my self your Convert, and resolve for the future
to give my young Ladies that Accomplishment. But upon imparting my
Design to their Parents, I have been made very uneasy, for some Time,
because several of them have declared, that if I did not make use of
the Master they recommended, they would take away their Children.
There was Colonel Jumper's Lady, a Colonel of the Train-Bands, that
has a great Interest in her Parish; she recommends Mr. Trott for the
prettiest Master in Town, that no Man teaches a Jigg like him, that
she has seen him rise six or seven Capers together with the greatest
Ease imaginable, and that his Scholars twist themselves more ways than
the Scholars of any Master in Town: besides there is Madam Prim, an
Alderman's Lady, recommends a Master of her own Name, but she declares
he is not of their Family, yet a very extraordinary Man in his way;
for besides a very soft Air he has in Dancing, he gives them a
particular Behaviour at a Tea-Table, and in presenting their
Snuff-Box, to twirl, flip, or flirt a Fan, and how to place Patches to
the best advantage, either for Fat or Lean, Long or Oval Faces: for my
Lady says there is more in these Things than the World Imagines. But I
must confess the major Part of those I am concern'd with leave it to
me. I desire therefore, according to the inclosed Direction, you would
send your Correspondent who has writ to you on that Subject to my
House. If proper Application this way can give Innocence new Charms,
and make Virtue legible in the Countenance, I shall spare no Charge to
make my Scholars in their very Features and Limbs bear witness how
careful I have been in the other Parts of their Education.
I am, SIR,
Your most humble Servant,
* * * * *
No. 377. Tuesday, May 13, 1712. Addison.
'Quid quisque vitet, nunquam homini satis
Cautum est in horas--'
Love was the Mother of Poetry, and still produces, among the most
ignorant and barbarous, a thousand imaginary Distresses and Poetical
Complaints. It makes a Footman talk like Oroondates, and converts a
brutal Rustick into a gentle Swain. The most ordinary Plebeian or
Mechanick in Love, bleeds and pines away with a certain Elegance and
Tenderness of Sentiments which this Passion naturally inspires.
These inward Languishings of a Mind infected with this Softness, have
given birth to a Phrase which is made use of by all the melting Tribe,
from the highest to the lowest, I mean that of dying for Love.
Romances, which owe their very Being to this Passion, are full of these
metaphorical Deaths. Heroes and Heroines, Knights, Squires, and Damsels,
are all of them in a dying Condition. There is the same kind of
Mortality in our Modern Tragedies, where every one gasps, faints, bleeds
and dies. Many of the Poets, to describe the Execution which is done by
this Passion, represent the Fair Sex as Basilisks that destroy with
their Eyes; but I think Mr. Cowley has with greater Justness of Thought
compared a beautiful Woman to a Porcupine, that sends an Arrow from
every Part. 
I have often thought, that there is no way so effectual for the Cure of
this general Infirmity, as a Man's reflecting upon the Motives that
produce it. When the Passion proceeds from the Sense of any Virtue or
Perfection in the Person beloved, I would by no means discourage it; but
if a Man considers that all his heavy Complaints of Wounds and Deaths
rise from some little Affectations of Coquetry, which are improved into
Charms by his own fond Imagination, the very laying before himself the
Cause of his Distemper, may be sufficient to effect the Cure of it.
It is in this view that I have looked over the several Bundles of
Letters which I have received from Dying People, and composed out of
them the following Bill of Mortality, which I shall lay before my Reader
without any further Preface, as hoping that it may be useful to him in
discovering those several Places where there is most Danger, and those
fatal Arts which are made use of to destroy the Heedless and Unwary.
Lysander, slain at a Puppet-show on the third of September.
Thirsis, shot from a Casement in Pickadilly.
T. S., wounded by Zehinda's Scarlet Stocking, as she was
stepping out of a Coach.
Will. Simple, smitten at the Opera by the Glance of an Eye that was
aimed at one who stood by him.
Tho. Vainlove, lost his Life at a Ball.
Tim. Tattle, kill'd by the Tap of a Fan on his left Shoulder by
Coquetilla, as he was talking carelessly with her in a
Sir Simon Softly, murder'd at the Play-house in Drury-lane by a Frown.
Philander, mortally wounded by Cleora, as she was adjusting her
Ralph Gapely, Esq., hit by a random Shot at the Ring.
F. R., caught his Death upon the Water, April the 31st.
W. W., killed by an unknown Hand, that was playing with the
Glove off upon the Side of the Front-Box in Drury-Lane.
Sir Christopher Crazy, Bart.,
hurt by the Brush of a Whalebone Petticoat.
Sylvius, shot through the Sticks of a Fan at St. James's Church.
Damon, struck thro' the Heart by a Diamond Necklace.
Edward Callow, Esqrs.,
standing in a Row, fell all four at the same time, by an
Ogle of the Widow Trapland.
Tom. Rattle, chancing to tread upon a Lady's Tail as he came out of
the Play-house, she turned full upon him, and laid him
dead upon the Spot.
Dick Tastewell, slain by a Blush from the Queen's Box in the third Act
of the Trip to the Jubilee.
Samuel Felt, Haberdasher,
wounded in his Walk to Islington by Mrs. Susannah
Crossstich, as she was clambering over a Stile.
M. P., &c., put to Death in the last Birth-Day Massacre.
Roger Blinko, cut off in the Twenty-first Year of his Age by a
Musidorus, slain by an Arrow that flew out of a Dimple in Belinda's
Ned Courtly presenting Flavia with her Glove (which she had dropped
on purpose) she receivd it, and took away his Life with a
John Gosselin having received a slight Hurt from a Pair of blue Eyes,
as he was making his Escape was dispatch'd by a Smile.
Strephon, killed by Clarinda as she looked down into the Pit.
shot flying by a Girl of Fifteen, who unexpectedly popped
her Head upon him out of a Coach.
Josiah Wither, aged threescore and three, sent to his long home by
Elizabeth Jet-well, Spinster.
Jack Freelove, murderd by Melissa in her Hair.
William Wiseaker, Gent.,
drown'd in a Flood of Tears by Moll Common.
John Pleadwell, Esq., of the Middle Temple, Barrister at Law,
assassinated in his Chambers the sixth Instant by Kitty Sly, who
pretended to come to him for his Advice.
They are all weapon, and they dart
Like Porcupines from every Part.
* * * * *
No. 378. Wednesday, May 14, 1712. Pope.
'Aggredere, O magnos, aderit jam tempus, honores.'
I will make no Apology for entertaining the Reader with the following
Poem, which is written by a great Genius, a Friend of mine, in the
Country, who is not ashamd to employ his Wit in the Praise of his Maker.
A sacred Eclogue, compos'd of several Passages of Isaiah the Prophet.
Written in Imitation of Virgil's POLLIO.
Ye Nymphs of Solyma! begin the Song:
To heav'nly Themes sublimer Strains belong.
The Mossy Fountains, and the Sylvan Shades,
The Dreams of Pindus and th' Aonian Maids,
Delight no more--O Thou my Voice inspire,
Who touch'd Isaiah's [hallow'd ] Lips with Fire!
Rapt into future Times, the Bard begun;
A Virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son!
[Isaiah, From Jesse's Root behold a Branch arise,
Cap. II. Whose sacred Flow'r with Fragrance fills the Skies.
v. 1.] Th' AEthereal Spirit o'er its Leaves shall move,
And on its Top descends the Mystick Dove.
[Cap. 45. Ye Heav'ns! from high the dewy Nectar pour,
v. 8.] And in soft Silence shed the kindly Show'r!
[Cap. 25. The Sick and Weak, the healing Plant shall aid,
v. 4.] From Storms a Shelter, and from Heat a Shade.
All Crimes shall cease, and ancient Fraud shall fail;
[Cap. 9. Returning Justice lift aloft her Scale;
v. 7.] Peace o'er the World her Olive Wand extend,
And white-rob'd Innocence from Heav'n descend.
Swift fly the Years, and rise th' expected Morn!
Oh spring to Light, Auspicious Babe, be born!
See Nature hastes her earliest Wreaths to bring,
With all the Incense of the breathing Spring:
[Cap. 35. See lofty Lebanon his Head advance,
v. 2.] See nodding Forests on the Mountains dance,
See spicy Clouds from lowly Sharon rise,
And Carmels flow'ry Top perfumes the Skies!
[Cap. 40. Hark! a glad Voice the lonely Desart chears;
v. 3, 4.] Prepare the Way! a God, a God appears:
A God! a God! the vocal Hills reply,
The Rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
Lo Earth receives him from the bending Skies!
Sink down ye Mountains, and ye Vallies rise!
With Heads declin'd, ye Cedars, Homage pay!
Be smooth ye Rocks, ye rapid Floods give way!
The SAVIOUR comes! by ancient Bards foretold;
v. 18.] Hear him, ye Deaf, and all ye Blind behold!
[Cap. 35. He from thick Films shall purge the visual Ray,
v. 5, 6.] And on the sightless Eye-ball pour the Day.
'Tis he th' obstructed Paths of Sound shall clear,
And bid new Musick charm th' unfolding Ear,
The Dumb shall sing, the Lame his Crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding Roe;
[No Sigh, no Murmur the wide World shall hear,
From ev'ry Face he wipes off ev'ry Tear.
[Cap. 25. In Adamantine Chains shall Death be bound,
v. 8.] And Hell's grim Tyrant feel th' eternal Wound. ]
[Cap. 30. As the good Shepherd tends his fleecy Care,
v. xx.] Seeks freshest Pastures and the purest Air,
Explores the lost, the wand'ring Sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by night protects;
The tender Lambs he raises in his Arms,
Feeds from his Hand, and in his Bosom warms:
Mankind shall thus his Guardian Care engage,
The promis'd Father of the future Age. 
No more shall Nation against Nation rise, 
No ardent Warriors meet with hateful Eyes,
Nor Fields with gleaming Steel be coverd o'er,
The Brazen Trumpets kindle Rage no more;
But useless Lances into Scythes shall bend,
And the broad Falchion in a Plow-share end.
Then Palaces shall rise; the joyful Son 
Shall finish what his short-liv'd Sire begun;
Their Vines a Shadow to their Race shall yield,
And the same Hand that sow'd shall reap the Field.
The Swain in barren Desarts with Surprize 
Sees Lillies spring, and sudden Verdure rise;
And Starts, amidst the thirsty Wilds, to hear,
New Falls of Water murmuring in his Ear:
On rifted Rocks, the Dragon's late Abodes,
The green Reed trembles, and the Bulrush nods.
Waste sandy Vallies, once perplexd with Thorn, 
The spiry Fir and shapely Box adorn:
To leafless Shrubs the flow'ring Palms succeed,
And od'rous Myrtle to the noisome Weed.
The Lambs with Wolves shall graze the verdant Mead 
And Boys in flow'ry Bands the Tyger lead;
The Steer and Lion at one Crib shall meet,
And harmless Serpents Lick the Pilgrim's Feet.
The smiling Infant in his Hand shall take
The crested Basilisk and speckled Snake;
Pleas'd, the green Lustre of the Scales survey,
And with their forky Tongue and pointless Sting shall
Rise, crown'd with Light, imperial Salem rise! 
Exalt thy tow'ry Head, and lift thy Eyes!
See, a long Race thy spacious Courts adorn; 
See future Sons and Daughters yet unborn
In crowding Ranks on ev'ry side arise,
Demanding Life, impatient for the Skies!
See barb'rous Nations at thy Gates attend, 
Walk in thy Light, and in thy Temple bend.
See thy bright Altars throng'd with prostrate Kings,
And heap'd with Products of Sabaean Springs! 
For thee Idume's spicy Forests blow;
And seeds of Gold in Ophir's Mountains glow.
See Heav'n its sparkling Portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a Flood of Day!
No more the rising Sun shall gild the Morn, 
Nor Evening Cynthia fill her silver Horn,
But lost, dissolv'd in thy superior Rays;
One Tide of Glory, one unclouded Blaze
O'erflow thy Courts: The LIGHT HIMSELF shall shine
Reveal'd; and God's eternal Day be thine!
The Seas shall waste, the Skies in Smoke decay; 
Rocks fall to Dust, and Mountains melt away;
But fix'd His Word, His saving Pow'r remains:
Thy Realm for ever lasts! thy own Messiah reigns.
[Footnote 1: Thus far Steele.]
[Footnote 2: [hollow'd]]
[Before him Death, the grisly Tyrant, flies;
He wipes the Tears for ever from our Eyes.]
This was an alteration which Steele had suggested, and in which young
Pope had acquiesced. Steele wrote:
I have turned to every verse and chapter, and think you have preserved
the sublime, heavenly spirit throughout the whole, especially at "Hark
a glad voice," and "The lamb with wolves shall graze." There is but
one line which I think is below the original:
He wipes the tears for ever from our eyes.
You have expressed it with a good and pious but not so exalted and
poetical a spirit as the prophet: The Lord God shall wipe away tears
from off all faces. If you agree with me in this, alter it by way of
paraphrase or otherwise, that when it comes into a volume it may be
[Footnote 4: Cap. 9. v. 6.]
[Footnote 5: Cap. 2. v. 4.]
[Footnote 6: Cap. 65. v. 21, 22.]
[Footnote 7: Cap 35. v. 1, 7.]
[Footnote 8: Cap. 41. v. 19. and Cap. 55. v. 13.]
[Footnote 9: Cap. 11. v. 6, 7, 8.]
[Footnote 10: Cap. 60. v. 1.]
[Footnote 11: Cap. 60. v. 4.]
[Footnote 12: Cap. 60. v. 3.]
[Footnote 13: Cap. 60. v. 6.]
[Footnote 14: Cap. 60. v. 19, 20.]
[Footnote 15: Cap. 51. v. 6. and Cap. 64. v. 10.]
* * * * *
No. 379. Thursday, May 15, 1712. Budgell.
'Scire tuum nihil est nisi te scire hoc sciat alter.'
I have often wondered at that ill-natur'd Position which has been
sometimes maintained in the Schools, and is comprizd in an old Latin
Verse, namely, that A Man's Knowledge is worth nothing, if he
communicates what he knows to any one besides.  There is certainly no
more sensible Pleasure to a good-natur'd Man, than if he can by any
means gratify or inform the Mind of another. I might add, that this
Virtue naturally carries its own reward along with it, since it is
almost impossible it should be exercised without the Improvement of the
Person who practices it. The reading of Books, and the daily Occurrences
of Life, are continually furnishing us with Matter for Thought and
Reflection. It is extremely natural for us to desire to see such our
Thoughts put into the Dress of Words, without which indeed we can scarce
have a clear and distinct Idea of them our selves: When they are thus
clothed in Expressions, nothing so truly shews us whether they are just
or false, as those Effects which they produce in the Minds of others.
I am apt to flatter my self, that in the Course of these my
Speculations, I have treated of several Subjects, and laid down many
such Rules for the Conduct of a Man's Life, which my Readers were either
wholly ignorant of before, or which at least those few who were
acquainted with them, looked upon as so many Secrets they have found out
for the Conduct of themselves, but were resolved never to have made
I am the more confirmed in this Opinion from my having received several
Letters, wherein I am censur'd for having prostituted Learning to the
Embraces of the Vulgar, and made her, as one of my Correspondents
phrases it, a common Strumpet: I am charged by another with laying open
the Arcana, or Secrets of Prudence, to the Eyes of every Reader.
The narrow Spirit which appears in the Letters of these my
Correspondents is the less surprizing, as it has shewn itself in all
Ages: There is still extant an Epistle written by Alexander the Great to
his Tutor Aristotle, upon that Philosopher's publishing some part of his
Writings; in which the Prince complains of his having made known to all
the World, those Secrets in Learning which he had before communicated to
him in private Lectures; concluding, That he had rather excel the rest
of Mankind in Knowledge than in Power. 
Luisa de Padilla, a Lady of great Learning, and Countess of Aranda, was
in like manner angry with the famous Gratian,  upon his publishing
his Treatise of the Discrete; wherein she fancied that he had laid open
those Maxims to common Readers, which ought only to have been reserved
for the Knowledge of the Great.
These Objections are thought by many of so much weight, that they often
defend the above-mentiond Authors, by affirming they have affected such
an Obscurity in their Style and Manner of Writing, that tho every one
may read their Works, there will be but very few who can comprehend
Persius, the Latin Satirist, affected Obscurity for another Reason; with
which however Mr. Cowley is so offended, that writing to one of his
Friends, You, says he, tell me, that you do not know whether Persius be
a good Poet or no, because you cannot understand him; for which very
Reason I affirm that he is not so.
However, this Art of writing unintelligibly has been very much improved,
and follow'd by several of the Moderns, who observing the general
Inclination of Mankind to dive into a Secret, and the Reputation many
have acquired by concealing their Meaning under obscure Terms and
Phrases, resolve, that they may be still more abstruse, to write without
any Meaning at all. This Art, as it is at present practised by many
eminent Authors, consists in throwing so many Words at a venture into
different Periods, and leaving the curious Reader to find out the
Meaning of them.
The Egyptians, who made use of Hieroglyphicks to signify several things,
expressed a Man who confined his Knowledge and Discoveries altogether
within himself, by the Figure of a Dark-Lanthorn closed on all sides,
which, tho' it was illuminated within, afforded no manner of Light or
Advantage to such as stood by it. For my own part, as I shall from time
to time communicate to the Publick whatever Discoveries I happen to
make, I should much rather be compared to an ordinary Lamp, which
consumes and wastes it self for the benefit of every Passenger.
I shall conclude this Paper with the Story of Rosicrucius's Sepulchre. I
suppose I need not inform my Readers that this Man was the Founder of
the Rosicrusian Sect, and that his Disciples still pretend to new
Discoveries, which they are never to communicate to the rest of Mankind.
A certain Person having occasion to dig somewhat deep in the Ground
where this Philosopher lay inter'd, met with a small Door having a Wall
on each side of it. His Curiosity, and the Hopes of finding some hidden
Treasure, soon prompted him to force open the Door. He was immediately
surpriz'd by a sudden Blaze of Light, and discover'd a very fair Vault:
At the upper end of it was a Statue of a Man in Armour sitting by a
Table, and leaning on his Left Arm. He held a Truncheon in his right
Hand, and had a Lamp burning before him. The Man had no sooner set one
Foot within the Vault, than the Statue erecting it self from its leaning
Posture, stood bolt upright; and upon the Fellow's advancing another
Step, lifted up the Truncheon in his Right Hand. The Man still ventur'd
a third Step, when the Statue with a furious Blow broke the Lamp into a
thousand Pieces, and left his Guest in a sudden Darkness.
Upon the Report of this Adventure, the Country People soon came with
Lights to the Sepulchre, and discovered that the Statue, which was made
of Brass, was nothing more than a Piece of Clock-work; that the Floor of
the Vault was all loose, and underlaid with several Springs, which, upon
any Man's entering, naturally produced that which had happend.
Rosicrucius, says his Disciples, made use of this Method, to shew the
World that he had re-invented the ever-burning Lamps of the Ancients,
tho' he was resolvd no one should reap any Advantage from the Discovery.
[Footnote 1: Nil proprium ducas quod mutarier potest.]
[Footnote 2: Aulus Gellius. Noct. Att., Bk xx., ch. 5.]
[Footnote 3: Baltazar Grecian's Discreto has been mentioned before in
the Spectator, being well-known in England through a French translation.
See note on p. 303, ante [Footnote 1 of No. 293]. Gracian, in Spain,
became especially popular as a foremost representative of his time in
transferring the humour for conceits--cultismo, as it was called--from
verse to prose. He began in 1630 with a prose tract, the Hero, laboured
in short ingenious sentences, which went through six editions. He wrote
also an Art of Poetry after the new style. His chief work was the
Criticon, an allegory of the Spring, Autumn, and Winter of life. The
Discreto was one of his minor works. All that he wrote was published,
not by himself, but by a friend, and in the name of his brother Lorenzo,
who was not an ecclesiastic.]
[Footnote 4: Rosicrucius had been made fashionable by the Abbe de
Villars who was assassinated in 1675. His Comte de Gabalis was a popular
little book in the Spectators time. I suppose I need not inform my
readers that there never was a Rosicrucius or a Rosicrucian sect. The
Rosicrucian pamphlets which appeared in Germany at the beginning of the
17th century, dating from the Discovery of the Brotherhood of the
Honourable Order of the Rosy Cross, a pamphlet published in 1610, by a
Lutheran clergyman, Valentine Andreae, were part of a hoax designed
perhaps originally as means of establishing a sort of charitable masonic
society of social reformers. Missing that aim, the Rosicrucian story
lived to be adorned by superstitious fancy, with ideas of mystery and
magic, which in the Comte de Gabalis were methodized into a consistent
romance. It was from this romance that Pope got what he called the
Rosicrucian machinery of his Rape of the Lock. The Abbe de Villars,
professing to give very full particulars, had told how the Rosicrucians
assigned sylphs to the air, gnomes to the earth, nymphs to the water,
salamanders to the fire.]
* * * * *
No. 380. Friday, May 16, 1712. Steele
'Rivalem patienter habe--'
Thursday, May 8, 1712.
The Character you have in the World of being the Lady's Philosopher,
and the pretty Advice I have seen you give to others in your Papers,
make me address my self to you in this abrupt Manner, and to desire
your Opinion what in this Age a Woman may call a Lover. I have lately
had a Gentleman that I thought made Pretensions to me, insomuch that
most of my Friends took Notice of it and thought we were really
married; which I did not take much Pains to undeceive them, and
especially a young Gentlewoman of my particular Acquaintance which was
then in the Country. She coming to Town, and seeing our Intimacy so
great, she gave her self the Liberty of taking me to task concerning
it: I ingenuously told her we were not married, but I did not know
what might the Event. She soon got acquainted with the Gentleman, and
was pleased to take upon her to examine him about it. Now whether a
new Face had made a greater Conquest than the old, I'll leave you to
judge: But I am informd that he utterly deny'd all Pretensions to
Courtship, but withal profess'd a sincere Friendship for me; but
whether Marriages are propos'd by way of Friendship or not, is what I
desire to know, and what I may really call a Lover. There are so many
who talk in a Language fit only for that Character, and yet guard
themselves against speaking in direct Terms to the Point, that it is
impossible to distinguish between Courtship and Conversation. I hope
you will do me Justice both upon my Lover and my Friend, if they
provoke me further: In the mean time I carry it with so equal a
Behaviour, that the Nymph and the Swain too are mighty at a loss; each
believes I, who know them both well, think my self revenged in their
Love to one another, which creates an irreconcileable Jealousy. If all
comes right again, you shall hear further from,
Your most obedient Servant,
April 28, 1712.
Your Observations on Persons that have behaved themselves irreverently
at Church, I doubt not have had a good Effect on some that have read
them: But there is another Fault which has hitherto escaped your
Notice, I mean of such Persons as are very zealous and punctual to
perform an Ejaculation that is only preparatory to the Service of the
Church, and yet neglect to join in the Service it self. There is an
Instance of this in a Friend of WILL. HONEYCOMB'S, who sits opposite
to me: He seldom comes in till the Prayers are about half over, and
when he has enter'd his Seat (instead of joining with the
Congregation) he devoutly holds his Hat before his Face for three or
four Moments, then bows to all his Acquaintance, sits down, takes a
Pinch of Snuff, (if it be Evening Service perhaps a Nap) and spends
the remaining Time in surveying the Congregation. Now, Sir, what I
would desire, is, that you will animadvert a little on this
Gentleman's Practice. In my Opinion, this Gentleman's Devotion,
Cap-in-Hand, is only a Compliance to the Custom of the Place, and goes
no further than a little ecclesiastical Good-Breeding. If you will not
pretend to tell us the Motives that bring such Triflers to solemn
Assemblies, yet let me desire that you will give this Letter a Place
in your Paper, and I shall remain,
Your obliged humble Servant,
May the 5th.
The Conversation at a Club, of which I am a Member, last Night falling
upon Vanity and the Desire of being admired, put me in mind of
relating how agreeably I was entertained at my own Door last Thursday
by a clean fresh-colour'd Girl, under the most elegant and the best
furnished Milk-Pail I had ever observed. I was glad of such an
Opportunity of seeing the Behaviour of a Coquet in low Life, and how
she received the extraordinary Notice that was taken of her; which I
found had affected every Muscle of her Face in the same manner as it
does the Feature of a first-rate Toast at a Play, or in an Assembly.
This Hint of mine made the Discourse turn upon the Sense of Pleasure;
which ended in a general Resolution, that the Milk-Maid enjoys her
Vanity as exquisitely as the Woman of Quality. I think it would not be
an improper Subject for you to examine this Frailty, and trace it to
all Conditions of Life; which is recommended to you as an Occasion of
obliging many of your Readers, among the rest,
Your most humble Servant,
Coming last Week into a Coffee-house not far from the Exchange with my
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