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The Spectator, Volume 1 by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's

Most Obedient,

Most Devoted

Humble Servant,


[Footnote 1: In 1695, when a student at Oxford, aged 23, Joseph Addison
had dedicated 'to the Right Honourable Sir George Somers, Lord Keeper of
the Great Seal,' a poem written in honour of King William III. after his
capture of Namur in sight of the whole French Army under Villeroi. This
was Addison's first bid for success in Literature; and the twenty-seven
lines in which he then asked Somers to 'receive the present of a Muse
unknown,' were honourably meant to be what Dr. Johnson called 'a kind of
rhyming introduction to Lord Somers.' If you, he said to Somers then--

'If you, well pleas'd, shall smile upon my lays,
Secure of fame, my voice I'll boldly raise,
For next to what you write, is what you praise.'

Somers did smile, and at once held out to Addison his helping hand.
Mindful of this, and of substantial friendship during the last seventeen
years, Addison joined Steele in dedicating to his earliest patron the
first volume of the Essays which include his best security of fame.

At that time, John Somers, aged 61, and retired from political life, was
weak in health and high in honours earned by desert only. He was the son
of an attorney at Worcester, rich enough to give him a liberal education
at his City Grammar School and at Trinity College, Oxford, where he was
entered as a Gentleman Commoner. He left the University, without taking
a degree, to practise law. Having a strong bent towards Literature as
well as a keen, manly interest in the vital questions which concerned
the liberties of England under Charles the Second, he distinguished
himself by political tracts which maintained constitutional rights. He
rose at the bar to honour and popularity, especially after his pleading
as junior counsel for Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Six
Bishops, Lloyd, Turner, Lake, Ken, White, and Trelawney, who signed the
petition against the King's order for reading in all churches a
Declaration for Liberty of Conscience, which they said 'was founded upon
such a dispensing power as hath been often declared illegal in
Parliament.' Somers earned the gratitude of a people openly and loudly
triumphing in the acquittal of the Seven Bishops. He was active also in
co-operation with those who were planning the expulsion of the Stuarts
and the bringing over of the Prince of Orange. During the Interregnum
he, and at the same time also Charles Montague, afterwards Lord Halifax,
first entered Parliament. He was at the conference with the Lords upon
the question of declaring the Throne vacant. As Chairman of the
Committee appointed for the purpose, it was Somers who drew up the
Declaration of Right, which, in placing the Prince and Princess of
Orange on the throne, set forth the grounds of the Revolution and
asserted against royal encroachment the ancient rights and liberties of
England. For these services and for his rare ability as a constitutional
lawyer, King William, in the first year of his reign, made Somers
Solicitor-General. In 1692 he became Attorney-General as Sir John
Somers, and soon afterwards, in March 1692-3, the Great Seal, which had
been four years in Commission, was delivered to his keeping, with a
patent entitling him to a pension of L2000 a year from the day he
quitted office. He was then also sworn in as Privy Councillor. In April
1697 Somers as Lord Keeper delivered up the Great Seal, and received it
back with the higher title of Lord Chancellor. He was at the same time
created Baron Somers of Evesham; Crown property was also given to him to
support his dignity. One use that he made of his influence was to
procure young Addison a pension, that he might be forwarded in service
of the State. Party spirit among his political opponents ran high
against Somers. At the close of 1699 they had a majority in the Commons,
and deprived him of office, but they failed before the Lords in an
impeachment against him. In Queen Anne's reign, between 1708 and 1710,
the constitutional statesman, long infirm of health, who had been in
retirement serving Science as President of the Royal Society, was
serving the State as President of the Council. But in 1712, when Addison
addressed to him this Dedication of the first Volume of the first
reprint of 'the Spectator', he had withdrawn from public life, and four
years afterwards he died of a stroke of apoplexy.

Of Somers as a patron Lord Macaulay wrote:

'He had traversed the whole vast range of polite literature, ancient
and modern. He was at once a munificent and a severely judicious
patron of genius and learning. Locke owed opulence to Somers. By
Somers Addison was drawn forth from a cell in a college. In distant
countries the name of Somers was mentioned with respect and gratitude
by great scholars and poets who had never seen his face. He was the
benefactor of Leclerc. He was the friend of Filicaja. Neither
political nor religious differences prevented him from extending his
powerful protection to merit. Hickes, the fiercest and most intolerant
of all the non-jurors, obtained, by the influence of Somers,
permission to study Teutonic antiquities in freedom and safety.
Vertue, a Strict Roman Catholic, was raised, by the discriminating and
liberal patronage of Somers, from poverty and obscurity to the first
rank among the engravers of the age.']

* * * * *

No. 1. Thursday, March 1, 1711. Addison.

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


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

I was born to a small Hereditary Estate, which [according to the
tradition of the village where it lies, [1]] was bounded by the same
Hedges and Ditches in _William_ the Conqueror's Time that it is at
present, and has been delivered down from Father to Son whole and
entire, without the Loss or Acquisition of a single Field or Meadow,
during the Space of six hundred Years. There [runs [2]] a Story in the
Family, that when my Mother was gone with Child of me about three
Months, she dreamt that she was brought to Bed of a Judge. Whether this
might proceed from a Law-suit which was then depending in the Family, or
my Father's being a Justice of the Peace, I cannot determine; for I am
not so vain as to think it presaged any Dignity that I should arrive at
in my future Life, though that was the Interpretation which the
Neighbourhood put upon it. The Gravity of my Behaviour at my very first
Appearance in the World, and all the Time that I sucked, seemed to
favour my Mother's Dream: For, as she has often told me, I threw away my
Rattle before I was two Months old, and would not make use of my Coral
till they had taken away the Bells from it.

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

Upon the Death of my Father I was resolved to travel into Foreign
Countries, and therefore left the University, with the Character of an
odd unaccountable Fellow, that had a great deal of Learning, if I would
but show it. An insatiable Thirst after Knowledge carried me into all
the Countries of _Europe_, [in which [3]] there was any thing new or
strange to be seen; nay, to such a Degree was my curiosity raised, that
having read the controversies of some great Men concerning the
Antiquities of _Egypt_, I made a Voyage to _Grand Cairo_, on purpose to
take the Measure of a Pyramid; and, as soon as I had set my self right
in that Particular, returned to my Native Country with great
Satisfaction. [4]

I have passed my latter Years in this City, where I am frequently seen
in most publick Places, tho' there are not above half a dozen of my
select Friends that know me; of whom my next Paper shall give a more
particular Account. There is no place of [general [5]] Resort wherein I
do not often make my appearance; sometimes I am seen thrusting my Head
into a Round of Politicians at _Will's_ [6] and listning with great
Attention to the Narratives that are made in those little Circular
Audiences. Sometimes I smoak a Pipe at _Child's_; [7] and, while I seem
attentive to nothing but the _Post-Man_, [8] over-hear the Conversation
of every Table in the Room. I appear on _Sunday_ nights at _St. James's_
Coffee House, [9] and sometimes join the little Committee of Politicks
in the Inner-Room, as one who comes there to hear and improve. My Face
is likewise very well known at the _Grecian_, [10] the _Cocoa-Tree_,
[11] and in the Theaters both of _Drury Lane_ and the _Hay-Market_. [12]
I have been taken for a Merchant upon the _Exchange_ for above these ten
Years, and sometimes pass for a _Jew_ in the Assembly of Stock-jobbers
at _Jonathan's_. [13] In short, where-ever I see a Cluster of People, I
always mix with them, tho' I never open my Lips but in my own Club.

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

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

There are three very material Points which I have not spoken to in this
Paper, and which, for several important Reasons, I must keep to my self,
at least for some Time: I mean, an Account of my Name, my Age, and my
Lodgings. I must confess I would gratify my Reader in any thing that is
reasonable; but as for these three Particulars, though I am sensible
they might tend very much to the Embellishment of my Paper, I cannot yet
come to a Resolution of communicating them to the Publick. They would
indeed draw me out of that Obscurity which I have enjoyed for many
Years, and expose me in Publick Places to several Salutes and
Civilities, which have been always very disagreeable to me; for the
greatest [pain] I can suffer, [is [14]] the being talked to, and being
stared at. It is for this Reason likewise, that I keep my Complexion and
Dress, as very great Secrets; tho' it is not impossible, but I may make
Discoveries of both in the Progress of the Work I have undertaken.

After having been thus particular upon my self, I shall in to-Morrow's
Paper give an Account of those Gentlemen who are concerned with me in
this Work. For, as I have before intimated, a Plan of it is laid and
concerted (as all other Matters of Importance are) in a Club. However,
as my Friends have engaged me to stand in the Front, those who have a
mind to correspond with me, may direct their Letters _To the Spectator_,
at Mr. _Buckley's_, in _Little Britain_ [15]. For I must further
acquaint the Reader, that tho' our Club meets only on _Tuesdays_ and
_Thursdays_, we have appointed a Committee to sit every Night, for the
Inspection of all such Papers as may contribute to the Advancement of
the Public Weal.

C. [16]

[Footnote 1: I find by the writings of the family,]

[Footnote 2: goes]

[Footnote 3: where]

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

[Footnote 5: publick]

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

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

[Footnote 8: The 'Postman', established and edited by M. Fonvive, a
learned and grave French Protestant, who was said to make L600 a year by
it, was a penny paper in the highest repute, Fonvive having secured for
his weekly chronicle of foreign news a good correspondence in Italy,
Spain, Portugal, Germany, Flanders, Holland. John Dunton, the
bookseller, in his 'Life and Errors,' published in 1705, thus
characterized the chief newspapers of the day:

'the 'Observator' is best to towel the Jacks, the 'Review' is best to
promote peace, the 'Flying Post' is best for the Scotch news, the
'Postboy' is best for the English and Spanish news, the 'Daily
Courant' is the best critic, the 'English Post' is the best collector,
the 'London Gazette' has the best authority, and the 'Postman' is the
best for everything.']

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

[Footnote 10: The 'Grecian' Coffee House was in Devereux Court, Strand,
and named from a Greek, Constantine, who kept it. Close to the Temple,
it was a place of resort for the lawyers. Constantine's Greek had
tempted also Greek scholars to the house, learned Professors and Fellows
of the Royal Society. Here, it is said, two friends quarrelled so
bitterly over a Greek accent that they went out into Devereux Court and
fought a duel, in which one was killed on the spot.]

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

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 14: pains ... are.]

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

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

* * * * *

No. 2. Friday, March 2, 1711. Steele.

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


The first of our Society is a Gentleman of _Worcestershire_, of antient
Descent, a Baronet, his Name Sir ROGER DE COVERLY. [1] His great
Grandfather was Inventor of that famous Country-Dance which is call'd
after him. All who know that Shire are very well acquainted with the
Parts and Merits of Sir ROGER. He is a Gentleman that is very singular
in his Behaviour, but his Singularities proceed from his good Sense, and
are Contradictions to the Manners of the World, only as he thinks the
World is in the wrong. However, this Humour creates him no Enemies, for
he does nothing with Sourness or Obstinacy; and his being unconfined to
Modes and Forms, makes him but the readier and more capable to please
and oblige all who know him. When he is in town he lives in _Soho
Square_: [2] It is said, he keeps himself a Batchelour by reason he was
crossed in Love by a perverse beautiful Widow of the next County to him.
Before this Disappointment, Sir ROGER was what you call a fine
Gentleman, had often supped with my Lord _Rochester_ [3] and Sir _George
Etherege_, [4] fought a Duel upon his first coming to Town, and kick'd
Bully _Dawson_ [5] in a publick Coffee-house for calling him Youngster.
But being ill-used by the above-mentioned Widow, he was very serious for
a Year and a half; and tho' his Temper being naturally jovial, he at
last got over it, he grew careless of himself and never dressed
afterwards; he continues to wear a Coat and Doublet of the same Cut that
were in Fashion at the Time of his Repulse, which, in his merry Humours,
he tells us, has been in and out twelve Times since he first wore it.
'Tis said Sir ROGER grew humble in his Desires after he had forgot this
cruel Beauty, insomuch that it is reported he has frequently offended in
Point of Chastity with Beggars and Gypsies: but this is look'd upon by
his Friends rather as Matter of Raillery than Truth. He is now in his
Fifty-sixth Year, cheerful, gay, and hearty, keeps a good House in both
Town and Country; a great Lover of Mankind; but there is such a mirthful
Cast in his Behaviour, that he is rather beloved than esteemed. His
Tenants grow rich, his Servants look satisfied, all the young Women
profess Love to him, and the young Men are glad of his Company: When he
comes into a House he calls the Servants by their Names, and talks all
the way Up Stairs to a Visit. I must not omit that Sir ROGER is a
Justice of the _Quorum_; that he fills the chair at a Quarter-Session
with great Abilities, and three Months ago, gained universal Applause by
explaining a Passage in the Game-Act.

The Gentleman next in Esteem and Authority among us, is another
Batchelour, who is a Member of the _Inner Temple_: a Man of great
Probity, Wit, and Understanding; but he has chosen his Place of
Residence rather to obey the Direction of an old humoursome Father, than
in pursuit of his own Inclinations. He was plac'd there to study the
Laws of the Land, and is the most learned of any of the House in those
of the Stage. _Aristotle_ and _Longinus_ are much better understood by
him than _Littleton_ or _Cooke_. The Father sends up every Post
Questions relating to Marriage-Articles, Leases, and Tenures, in the
Neighbourhood; all which Questions he agrees with an Attorney to answer
and take care of in the Lump. He is studying the Passions themselves,
when he should be inquiring into the Debates among Men which arise from
them. He knows the Argument of each of the Orations of _Demosthenes_ and
_Tully_, but not one Case in the Reports of our own Courts. No one ever
took him for a Fool, but none, except his intimate Friends, know he has
a great deal of Wit. This Turn makes him at once both disinterested and
agreeable: As few of his Thoughts are drawn from Business, they are most
of them fit for Conversation. His Taste of Books is a little too just
for the Age he lives in; he has read all, but Approves of very few. His
Familiarity with the Customs, Manners, Actions, and Writings of the
Antients, makes him a very delicate Observer of what occurs to him in
the present World. He is an excellent Critick, and the Time of the Play
is his Hour of Business; exactly at five he passes through _New Inn_,
crosses through _Russel Court_; and takes a turn at _Will's_ till the
play begins; he has his shoes rubb'd and his Perriwig powder'd at the
Barber's as you go into the Rose [6]--It is for the Good of the Audience
when he is at a Play, for the Actors have an Ambition to please him.

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

Next to Sir ANDREW in the Club-room sits Captain SENTRY, [7] a Gentleman
of great Courage, good Understanding, but Invincible Modesty. He is one
of those that deserve very well, but are very awkward at putting their
Talents within the Observation of such as should take notice of them. He
was some Years a Captain, and behaved himself with great Gallantry in
several Engagements, and at several Sieges; but having a small Estate of
his own, and being next Heir to Sir ROGER, he has quitted a Way of Life
in which no Man can rise suitably to his Merit, who is not something of
a Courtier, as well as a Soldier. I have heard him often lament, that in
a Profession where Merit is placed in so conspicuous a View, Impudence
should get the better of Modesty. When he has talked to this Purpose, I
never heard him make a sour Expression, but frankly confess that he left
the World, because he was not fit for it. A strict Honesty and an even
regular Behaviour, are in themselves Obstacles to him that must press
through Crowds who endeavour at the same End with himself, the Favour of
a Commander. He will, however, in this Way of Talk, excuse Generals, for
not disposing according to Men's Desert, or enquiring into it: For, says
he, that great Man who has a Mind to help me, has as many to break
through to come at me, as I have to come at him: Therefore he will
conclude, that the Man who would make a Figure, especially in a military
Way, must get over all false Modesty, and assist his Patron against the
Importunity of other Pretenders, by a proper Assurance in his own
Vindication. He says it is a civil Cowardice to be backward in asserting
what you ought to expect, as it is a military Fear to be slow in
attacking when it is your Duty. With this Candour does the Gentleman
speak of himself and others. The same Frankness runs through all his
Conversation. The military Part of his Life has furnished him with many
Adventures, in the Relation of which he is very agreeable to the
Company; for he is never over-bearing, though accustomed to command Men
in the utmost Degree below him; nor ever too obsequious, from an Habit
of obeying Men highly above him.

But that our Society may not appear a Set of Humourists unacquainted
with the Gallantries and Pleasures of the Age, we have among us the
gallant WILL. HONEYCOMB, [8] a Gentleman who, according to his Years,
should be in the Decline of his Life, but having ever been very careful
of his Person, and always had a very easy Fortune, Time has made but
very little Impression, either by Wrinkles on his Forehead, or Traces in
his Brain. His Person is well turned, and of a good Height. He is very
ready at that sort of Discourse with which Men usually entertain Women.
He has all his Life dressed very well, and remembers Habits as others do
Men. He can smile when one speaks to him, and laughs easily. He knows
the History of every Mode, and can inform you from which of the French
King's Wenches our Wives and Daughters had this Manner of curling their
Hair, that Way of placing their Hoods; whose Frailty was covered by such
a Sort of Petticoat, and whose Vanity to show her Foot made that Part of
the Dress so short in such a Year. In a Word, all his Conversation and
Knowledge has been in the female World: As other Men of his Age will
take Notice to you what such a Minister said upon such and such an
Occasion, he will tell you when the Duke of _Monmouth_ danced at Court
such a Woman was then smitten, another was taken with him at the Head of
his Troop in the _Park_. In all these important Relations, he has ever
about the same Time received a kind Glance, or a Blow of a Fan, from
some celebrated Beauty, Mother of the present Lord such-a-one. If you
speak of a young Commoner that said a lively thing in the House, he
starts up,

'He has good Blood in his Veins, _Tom Mirabell_ begot him, the Rogue
cheated me in that Affair; that young Fellow's Mother used me more
like a Dog than any Woman I ever made Advances to.'

This Way of Talking of his, very much enlivens the Conversation among us
of a more sedate Turn; and I find there is not one of the Company but
myself, who rarely speak at all, but speaks of him as of that Sort of
Man, who is usually called a well-bred fine Gentleman. To conclude his
Character, where Women are not concerned, he is an honest worthy Man.

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

R. [9]

[Footnote 1: The character of Sir Roger de Coverley is said to have been
drawn from Sir John Pakington, of Worcestershire, a Tory, whose name,
family, and politics are represented by a statesman of the present time.
The name, on this its first appearance in the 'Spectator', is spelt
Coverly; also in the first reprint.]

[Footnote 2: 'Soho Square' was then a new and most fashionable part of
the town. It was built in 1681. The Duke of Monmouth lived in the centre
house, facing the statue. Originally the square was called King Square.
Pennant mentions, on Pegg's authority, a tradition that, on the death of
Monmouth, his admirers changed the name to Soho, the word of the day at
the field of Sedgemoor. But the ground upon which the Square stands was
called Soho as early as the year 1632. 'So ho' was the old call in
hunting when a hare was found.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

No. 3. Saturday, March 3, 1711. Addison.

'Quoi quisque fere studio devinctus adhaeret:
Aut quibus in rebus multum sumus ante morati:
Atque in qua ratione fuit contenta magis mens;
In somnis eadem plerumque videmur obire.'

Lucr. L. 4.

In one of my late Rambles, or rather Speculations, I looked into the
great Hall where the Bank [1] is kept, and was not a little pleased to
see the Directors, Secretaries, and Clerks, with all the other Members
of that wealthy Corporation, ranged in their several Stations, according
to the Parts they act in that just and regular Oeconomy. This revived in
my Memory the many Discourses which I had both read and heard,
concerning the Decay of Publick Credit, with the Methods of restoring
it, and which, in my Opinion, have always been defective, because they
have always been made with an Eye to separate Interests and Party

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

Methoughts I returned to the Great Hall, where I had been the Morning
before, but to my Surprize, instead of the Company that I left there, I
saw, towards the Upper-end of the Hall, a beautiful Virgin seated on a
Throne of Gold. Her Name (as they told me) was _Publick Credit_. The
Walls, instead of being adorned with Pictures and Maps, were hung with
many Acts of Parliament written in Golden Letters. At the Upper end of
the Hall was the _Magna Charta_, [2] with the Act of Uniformity [3] on
the right Hand, and the Act of Toleration [4] on the left. At the Lower
end of the Hall was the Act of Settlement, [5] which was placed full in
the Eye of the Virgin that sat upon the Throne. Both the Sides of the
Hall were covered with such Acts of Parliament as had been made for the
Establishment of Publick Funds. The Lady seemed to set an unspeakable
Value upon these several Pieces of Furniture, insomuch that she often
refreshed her Eye with them, and often smiled with a Secret Pleasure, as
she looked upon them; but at the same time showed a very particular
Uneasiness, if she saw any thing approaching that might hurt them. She
appeared indeed infinitely timorous in all her Behaviour: And, whether
it was from the Delicacy of her Constitution, or that she was troubled
with the Vapours, as I was afterwards told by one who I found was none
of her Well-wishers, she changed Colour, and startled at everything she
heard. She was likewise (as I afterwards found) a greater Valetudinarian
than any I had ever met with, even in her own Sex, and subject to such
Momentary Consumptions, that in the twinkling of an Eye, she would fall
away from the most florid Complexion, and the most healthful State of
Body, and wither into a Skeleton. Her Recoveries were often as sudden as
her Decays, insomuch that she would revive in a Moment out of a wasting
Distemper, into a Habit of the highest Health and Vigour.

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

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

After a little Dizziness, and confused Hurry of Thought, which a Man
often meets with in a Dream, methoughts the Hall was alarm'd, the Doors
flew open, and there entered half a dozen of the most hideous Phantoms
that I had ever seen (even in a Dream) before that Time. They came in
two by two, though match'd in the most dissociable Manner, and mingled
together in a kind of Dance. It would be tedious to describe their
Habits and Persons; for which Reason I shall only inform my Reader that
the first Couple were Tyranny and Anarchy, the second were Bigotry and
Atheism, the third the Genius of a Common-Wealth, and a young Man of
about twenty-two Years of Age, [6] whose Name I could not learn. He had
a Sword in his right Hand, which in the Dance he often brandished at the
Act of Settlement; and a Citizen, who stood by me, whispered in my Ear,
that he saw a Spunge in his left Hand. The Dance of so many jarring
Natures put me in mind of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, in the 'Rehearsal',
[7] that danced together for no other end but to eclipse one another.

The Reader will easily suppose, by what has been before said, that the
Lady on the Throne would have been almost frightened to Distraction, had
she seen but any one of these Spectres; what then must have been her
Condition when she saw them all in a Body? She fainted and dyed away at
the sight.

'Et neq; jam color est misto candore rubori;
Nec Vigor, et Vires, et quae modo visa placebant;
Nec Corpus remanet ...'

Ov. 'Met.' Lib. 3.

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

Whilst I was lamenting this sudden Desolation that had been made before
me, the whole Scene vanished: In the Room of the frightful Spectres,
there now entered a second Dance of Apparitions very agreeably matched
together, and made up of very amiable Phantoms. The first Pair was
Liberty, with Monarchy at her right Hand: The Second was Moderation
leading in Religion; and the third a Person whom I had never seen, [8]
with the genius of _Great Britain_. At their first Entrance the
Lady reviv'd, the Bags swell'd to their former Bulk, the Piles of
Faggots and Heaps of Paper changed into Pyramids of Guineas: [9] And for
my own part I was so transported with Joy, that I awaked, tho' I must
confess I would fain have fallen asleep again to have closed my Vision,
if I could have done it.

[Footnote 1: The Bank of England was then only 17 years old. It was
founded in 1694, and grew out of a loan of L1,200,000 for the public
service, for which the lenders--so low was the public credit--were to
have 8 per cent. interest, four thousand a year for expense of
management, and a charter for 10 years, afterwards renewed from time to
time, as the 'Governor and Company of the Bank of England.']

[Footnote 2: Magna Charta Libertatum, the Great Charter of Liberties
obtained by the barons of King John, June 16, 1215, not only asserted
rights of the subject against despotic power of the king, but included
among them right of insurrection against royal authority unlawfully

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 7: The 'Rehearsal' was a witty burlesque upon the heroic
dramas of Davenant, Dryden, and others, written by George Villiers, duke
of Buckingham, the Zimri of Dryden's 'Absalom and Achitophel,' 'that
life of pleasure and that soul of whim,' who, after running through a
fortune of L50,000 a year, died, says Pope, 'in the worst inn's worst
room.' His 'Rehearsal', written in 1663-4, was first acted in 1671. In
the last act the poet Bayes, who is showing and explaining a Rehearsal
of his play to Smith and Johnson, introduces an Eclipse which, as he
explains, being nothing else but an interposition, &c.

'Well, Sir, then what do I, but make the earth, sun, and moon, come
out upon the stage, and dance the hey' ... 'Come, come out, eclipse,
to the tune of 'Tom Tyler'.'

[Enter Luna.]

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

[Enter the Earth.]

'Orb.' Who calls Terra-firma pray?


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

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

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

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

[Footnote 9: In the year after the foundation of the Bank of England,
Mr. Charles Montague,--made in 1700 Baron and by George I., Earl of
Halifax, then (in 1695) Chancellor of the Exchequer,--restored the
silver currency to a just standard. The process of recoinage caused for
a time scarcity of coin and stoppage of trade. The paper of the Bank of
England fell to 20 per cent. discount. Montague then collected and paid
public debts from taxes imposed for the purpose and invented (in 1696),
to relieve the want of currency, the issue of Exchequer bills. Public
credit revived, the Bank capital increased, the currency sufficed, and.
says Earl Russell in his Essay on the English Government and

'from this time loans were made of a vast increasing amount with great
facility, and generally at a low interest, by which the nation were
enabled to resist their enemies. The French wondered at the prodigious
efforts that were made by so small a power, and the abundance with
which money was poured into its treasury... Books were written,
projects drawn up, edicts prepared, which were to give to France the
same facilities as her rival; every plan that fiscal ingenuity could
strike out, every calculation that laborious arithmetic could form,
was proposed, and tried, and found wanting; and for this simple
reason, that in all their projects drawn up in imitation of England,
one little element was omitted, _videlicet_, her free constitution.'

That is what Addison means by his allegory.]

* * * * *

No. 4. Monday, March 5, 1711. Steele.

... Egregii Mortalem altique silenti!


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

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

'That strange Fellow,'

and another answer,

'I have known the Fellow's Face for these twelve Years, and so must
you; but I believe you are the first ever asked who he was.'

There are, I must confess, many to whom my Person is as well known as
that of their nearest Relations, who give themselves no further Trouble
about calling me by my Name or Quality, but speak of me very currently
by Mr 'what-d-ye-call-him'.

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

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

Those who converse with the Dumb, know from the Turn of their Eyes and
the Changes of their Countenance their Sentiments of the Objects before
them. I have indulged my Silence to such an Extravagance, that the few
who are intimate with me, answer my Smiles with concurrent Sentences,
and argue to the very Point I shak'd my Head at without my speaking.
WILL. HONEYCOMB was very entertaining the other Night at a Play to a
Gentleman who sat on his right Hand, while I was at his Left. The
Gentleman believed WILL. was talking to himself, when upon my looking
with great Approbation at a [young thing [2]] in a Box before us, he

'I am quite of another Opinion: She has, I will allow, a very pleasing
Aspect, but, methinks, that Simplicity in her Countenance is rather
childish than innocent.'

When I observed her a second time, he said,

'I grant her Dress is very becoming, but perhaps the Merit of Choice
is owing to her Mother; for though,' continued he, 'I allow a Beauty
to be as much to be commended for the Elegance of her Dress, as a Wit
for that of his Language; yet if she has stolen the Colour of her
Ribbands from another, or had Advice about her Trimmings, I shall not
allow her the Praise of Dress, any more than I would call a Plagiary
an Author.'

When I threw my Eye towards the next Woman to her, WILL. spoke what I
looked, [according to his romantic imagination,] in the following Manner.

'Behold, you who dare, that charming Virgin. Behold the Beauty of her
Person chastised by the Innocence of her Thoughts. Chastity,
Good-Nature, and Affability, are the Graces that play in her
Countenance; she knows she is handsome, but she knows she is good.
Conscious Beauty adorned with conscious Virtue! What a Spirit is there
in those Eyes! What a Bloom in that Person! How is the whole Woman
expressed in her Appearance! Her Air has the Beauty of Motion, and her
Look the Force of Language.'

It was Prudence to turn away my Eyes from this Object, and therefore I
turned them to the thoughtless Creatures who make up the Lump of that
Sex, and move a knowing Eye no more than the Portraitures of
insignificant People by ordinary Painters, which are but Pictures of

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

[Footnote 1: can]

[Footnote 2: blooming Beauty]

* * * * *

No. 5. Tuesday, March 6, 1711. Addison.

'Spectatum admissi risum teneatis?'


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

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

This strange Dialogue awakened my Curiosity so far that I immediately
bought the Opera, by which means I perceived the Sparrows were to act
the part of Singing Birds in a delightful Grove: though, upon a nearer
Enquiry I found the Sparrows put the same Trick upon the Audience, that
Sir _Martin Mar-all_ [1] practised upon his Mistress; for, though they
flew in Sight, the Musick proceeded from a Consort of Flagellets and
Bird-calls which was planted behind the Scenes. At the same time I made
this Discovery, I found by the Discourse of the Actors, that there were
great Designs on foot for the Improvement of the Opera; that it had been
proposed to break down a part of the Wall, and to surprize the Audience
with a Party of an hundred Horse, and that there was actually a Project
of bringing the _New River_ into the House, to be employed in Jetteaus
and Water-works. This Project, as I have since heard, is post-poned
'till the Summer-Season; when it is thought the Coolness that proceeds
from Fountains and Cascades will be more acceptable and refreshing to
People of Quality. In the mean time, to find out a more agreeable
Entertainment for the Winter-Season, the Opera of _Rinaldo_ [2] is
filled with Thunder and Lightning, Illuminations, and Fireworks; which
the Audience may look upon without catching Cold, and indeed without
much Danger of being burnt; for there are several Engines filled with
Water, and ready to play at a Minute's Warning, in case any such
Accident should happen. However, as I have a very great Friendship for
the Owner of this Theater, I hope that he has been wise enough to
_insure_ his House before he would let this Opera be acted in it.

It is no wonder, that those Scenes should be very surprizing, which were
contrived by two Poets of different Nations, and raised by two Magicians
of different Sexes. _Armida_ (as we are told in the Argument) was an
_Amazonian_ Enchantress, and poor Seignior _Cassani_ (as we learn from
the _Persons represented_) a Christian Conjuror (_Mago Christiano_). I
must confess I am very much puzzled to find how an _Amazon_ should be
versed in the Black Art, or how a [good] Christian [for such is the part
of the magician] should deal with the Devil.

To consider the Poets after the Conjurers, I shall give you a Taste of
the _Italian_, from the first Lines of his Preface.

'Eccoti, benigno Lettore, un Parto di poche Sere, che se ben nato di
Notte, non e pero aborto di Tenebre, ma si fara conoscere Figlio
d'Apollo con qualche Raggio di Parnasso.

Behold, gentle Reader, the Birth of a few Evenings, which, tho' it be
the Offspring of the Night, is not the Abortive of Darkness, but will
make it self known to be the Son of Apollo, with a certain Ray of

He afterwards proceeds to call Minheer _Hendel_, [3] the _Orpheus_ of
our Age, and to acquaint us, in the same Sublimity of Stile, that he
Composed this Opera in a Fortnight. Such are the Wits, to whose Tastes
we so ambitiously conform our selves. The Truth of it is, the finest
Writers among the Modern _Italians_ express themselves in such a florid
form of Words, and such tedious Circumlocutions, as are used by none but
Pedants in our own Country; and at the same time, fill their Writings
with such poor Imaginations and Conceits, as our Youths are ashamed of,
before they have been Two Years at the University. Some may be apt to
think that it is the difference of Genius which produces this difference
in the Works of the two Nations; but to show there is nothing in this,
if we look into the Writings of the old _Italians_, such as _Cicero_ and
_Virgil_, we shall find that the _English_ Writers, in their way of
thinking and expressing themselves, resemble those Authors much more
than the modern _Italians_ pretend to do. And as for the Poet himself
from whom the Dreams of this Opera are taken, I must entirely agree with
Monsieur _Boileau_, that one Verse in _Virgil_ is worth all the
_Clincant_ or Tinsel of _Tasso_.

But to return to the Sparrows; there have been so many Flights of them
let loose in this Opera, that it is feared the House will never get rid
of them; and that in other Plays, they may make their Entrance in very
wrong and improper Scenes, so as to be seen flying in a Lady's
Bed-Chamber, or perching upon a King's Throne; besides the
Inconveniences which the Heads of the Audience may sometimes suffer from
them. I am credibly informed, that there was once a Design of casting
into an Opera the Story of _Whittington_ and his Cat, and that in order
to it, there had been got together a great Quantity of Mice; but Mr.
_Rich_, the Proprietor of the Play-House, very prudently considered that
it would be impossible for the Cat to kill them all, and that
consequently the Princes of his Stage might be as much infested with
Mice, as the Prince of the Island was before the Cat's arrival upon it;
for which Reason he would not permit it to be Acted in his House. And
indeed I cannot blame him; for, as he said very well upon that Occasion,
I do not hear that any of the Performers in our Opera, pretend to equal
the famous Pied Piper, who made all the Mice of a great Town in
_Germany_ [4] follow his Musick, and by that means cleared the Place of
those little Noxious Animals.

Before I dismiss this Paper, I must inform my Reader, that I hear there
is a Treaty on Foot with _London_ and _Wise_ [5] (who will be appointed
Gardeners of the Play-House,) to furnish the Opera of _Rinaldo_ and
_Armida_ with an Orange-Grove; and that the next time it is Acted, the
Singing Birds will be Personated by Tom-Tits: The undertakers being
resolved to spare neither Pains nor Mony, for the Gratification of the


[Footnote 1: Dryden's play of 'Sir Martin Mar-all' was produced in 1666.
It was entered at Stationers' Hall as by the duke of Newcastle, but
Dryden finished it. In Act 5 the foolish Sir Martin appears at a window
with a lute, as if playing and singing to Millicent, his mistress, while
his man Warner plays and sings. Absorbed in looking at the lady, Sir
Martin foolishly goes on opening and shutting his mouth and fumbling on
the lute after the man's song, a version of Voiture's 'L'Amour sous sa
Loi', is done. To which Millicent says,

'A pretty-humoured song--but stay, methinks he plays and sings still,
and yet we cannot hear him--Play louder, Sir Martin, that we may have
the Fruits on't.']

[Footnote 2: Handel had been met in Hanover by English noblemen who
invited him to England, and their invitation was accepted by permission
of the elector, afterwards George I., to whom he was then Chapel-master.
Immediately upon Handel's arrival in England, in 1710, Aaron Hill, who
was directing the Haymarket Theatre, bespoke of him an opera, the
subject being of Hill's own devising and sketching, on the story of
Rinaldo and Armida in Tasso's 'Jerusalem Delivered'. G. Rossi wrote the
Italian words. 'Rinaldo', brought out in 1711, on the 24th of February,
had a run of fifteen nights, and is accounted one of the best of the 35
operas composed by Handel for the English stage. Two airs in it, 'Cara
sposa' and 'Lascia ch'io pianga' (the latter still admired as one of the
purest expressions of his genius), made a great impression. In the same
season the Haymarket produced 'Hamlet' as an opera by Gasparini, called
'Ambleto', with an overture that had four movements ending in a jig. But
as was Gasparini so was Handel in the ears of Addison and Steele. They
recognized in music only the sensual pleasure that it gave, and the
words set to music for the opera, whatever the composer, were then, as
they have since been, almost without exception, insults to the

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

[Footnote 4: The Pied Piper of Hamelin (i.e. Hameln).

'Hamelin town's in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side.'

The old story has been annexed to English literature by the genius of
Robert Browning.]

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

* * * * *

No. 6. Wednesday, March 7, 1711. Steele.

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


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

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

While the honest Knight was thus bewildering himself in good Starts, I
look'd intentively upon him, which made him I thought collect his Mind a
little. What I aim at, says he, is, to represent, That I am of Opinion,
to polish our Understandings and neglect our Manners is of all things
the most inexcusable. Reason should govern Passion, but instead of that,
you see, it is often subservient to it; and, as unaccountable as one
would think it, a wise Man is not always a good Man. This Degeneracy is
not only the Guilt of particular Persons, but also at some times of a
whole People; and perhaps it may appear upon Examination, that the most
polite Ages are the least virtuous. This may be attributed to the Folly
of admitting Wit and Learning as Merit in themselves, without
considering the Application of them. By this Means it becomes a Rule not
so much to regard what we do, as how we do it. But this false Beauty
will not pass upon Men of honest Minds and true Taste. Sir _Richard
Blackmore_ says, with as much good Sense as Virtue, _It is a mighty
Dishonour and Shame to employ excellent Faculties and abundance of Wit,
to humour and please Men in their Vices and Follies. The great Enemy of
Mankind, notwithstanding his Wit and Angelick Faculties, is the most
odious Being in the whole Creation_. He goes on soon after to say very
generously, That he undertook the writing of his Poem _to rescue the
Muses out of the Hands of Ravishers, to restore them to their sweet and
chaste Mansions, and to engage them in an _Employment suitable to their
Dignity_. [1] This certainly ought to be the Purpose of every man who
appears in Publick; and whoever does not proceed upon that Foundation,
injures his Country as fast as he succeeds in his Studies. When Modesty
ceases to be the chief Ornament of one Sex, and Integrity of the other,
Society is upon a wrong Basis, and we shall be ever after without Rules
to guide our Judgment in what is really becoming and ornamental. Nature
and Reason direct one thing, Passion and Humour another: To follow the
Dictates of the two latter, is going into a Road that is both endless
and intricate; when we pursue the other, our Passage is delightful, and
what we aim at easily attainable.

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

Nothing ought to be held laudable or becoming, but what Nature it self
should prompt us to think so. Respect to all kind of Superiours is
founded methinks upon Instinct; and yet what is so ridiculous as Age? I
make this abrupt Transition to the Mention of this Vice more than any
other, in order to introduce a little Story, which I think a pretty
Instance that the most polite Age is in danger of being the most

'It happen'd at _Athens_, during a publick Representation of some Play
exhibited in honour of the Common-wealth that an old Gentleman came
too late for a Place suitable to his Age and Quality. Many of the
young Gentlemen who observed the Difficulty and Confusion he was in,
made Signs to him that they would accommodate him if he came where
they sate: The good Man bustled through the Crowd accordingly; but
when he came to the Seats to which he was invited, the Jest was to sit
close, and expose him, as he stood out of Countenance, to the whole
Audience. The Frolick went round all the Athenian Benches. But on
those Occasions there were also particular Places assigned for
Foreigners: When the good Man skulked towards the Boxes appointed for
the _Lacedemonians_, that honest People, more virtuous than polite,
rose up all to a Man, and with the greatest Respect received him among
them. The _Athenians_ being suddenly touched with a Sense of the
_Spartan_ Virtue, and their own Degeneracy, gave a Thunder of
Applause; and the old Man cry'd out, _The_ Athenians _understand what
is good, but the_ Lacedemonians _practise it_.'


[Footnote 1: Richard Blackmore, born about 1650, d. 1729, had been
knighted in 1697, when he was made physician in ordinary to King
William. He was a thorough Whig, earnestly religious, and given to the
production of heroic poems. Steele shared his principles and honoured
his sincerity. When this essay was written, Blackmore was finishing his
best poem, the 'Creation', in seven Books, designed to prove from nature
the existence of a God. It had a long and earnest preface of
expostulation with the atheism and mocking spirit that were the legacy
to his time of the Court of the Restoration. The citations in the text
express the purport of what Blackmore had written in his then
unpublished but expected work, but do not quote from it literally.]

* * * * *

No. 7. Thursday, March 8, 1711. Addison.

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


Going Yesterday to Dine with an old Acquaintance, I had the Misfortune
to find his whole Family very much dejected. Upon asking him the
Occasion of it, he told me that his Wife had dreamt a strange Dream the
Night before, which they were afraid portended some Misfortune to
themselves or to their Children. At her coming into the Room, I observed
a settled Melancholy in her Countenance, which I should have been
troubled for, had I not heard from whence it proceeded. We were no
sooner sat down, but, after having looked upon me a little while,

'My dear', says she, turning to her husband, 'you may now see the
Stranger that was in the Candle last Night'.

Soon after this, as they began to talk of Family Affairs, a little Boy
at the lower end of the Table told her, that he was to go into Join-hand
on _Thursday_:

'Thursday,' says she, 'no, Child, if it please God, you shall not
begin upon Childermas-day; tell your Writing-Master that Friday will
be soon enough'.

I was reflecting with my self on the Odness of her Fancy, and wondering
that any body would establish it as a Rule to lose a Day in every Week.
In the midst of these my Musings she desired me to reach her a little
Salt upon the Point of my Knife, which I did in such a Trepidation and
hurry of Obedience, that I let it drop by the way; at which she
immediately startled, and said it fell towards her. Upon this I looked
very blank; and, observing the Concern of the whole Table, began to
consider my self, with some Confusion, as a Person that had brought a
Disaster upon the Family. The Lady however recovering her self, after a
little space, said to her Husband with a Sigh,

'My Dear, Misfortunes never come Single'.

My Friend, I found, acted but an under Part at his Table, and
being a Man of more Goodnature than Understanding, thinks himself
obliged to fall in with all the Passions and Humours of his Yoke-fellow:

'Do not you remember, Child', says she, 'that the Pidgeon-House fell
the very Afternoon that our careless Wench spilt the Salt upon the

'Yes', says he, 'my Dear, and the next Post brought us an Account of
the Battel of Almanza'. [1]

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

It is not difficult for a Man to see that a Person has conceived an
Aversion to him. For my own part, I quickly found, by the Lady's Looks,
that she regarded me as a very odd kind of Fellow, with an unfortunate
Aspect: For which Reason I took my leave immediately after Dinner, and
withdrew to my own Lodgings. Upon my Return home, I fell into a profound
Contemplation on the Evils that attend these superstitious Follies of
Mankind; how they subject us to imaginary Afflictions, and additional
Sorrows, that do not properly come within our Lot. As if the natural
Calamities of Life were not sufficient for it, we turn the most
indifferent Circumstances into Misfortunes, and suffer as much from
trifling Accidents, as from real Evils. I have known the shooting of a
Star spoil a Night's Rest; and have seen a Man in Love grow pale and
lose his Appetite, upon the plucking of a Merry-thought. A Screech-Owl
at Midnight has alarmed a Family, more than a Band of Robbers; nay, the
Voice of a Cricket hath struck more Terrour, than the Roaring of a Lion.
There is nothing so inconsiderable [which [3]] may not appear dreadful
to an Imagination that is filled with Omens and Prognosticks. A Rusty
Nail, or a Crooked Pin, shoot up into Prodigies.

I remember I was once in a mixt Assembly, that was full of Noise and
Mirth, when on a sudden an old Woman unluckily observed there were
thirteen of us in Company. This Remark struck a pannick Terror into
several [who [4]] were present, insomuch that one or two of the Ladies
were going to leave the Room; but a Friend of mine, taking notice that
one of our female Companions was big with Child, affirm'd there were
fourteen in the Room, and that, instead of portending one of the Company
should die, it plainly foretold one of them should be born. Had not my
Friend found this Expedient to break the Omen, I question not but half
the Women in the Company would have fallen sick that very Night.

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

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

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


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

[Footnote 2: cleaning]

[Footnote 3: that]

[Footnote 4: that]

* * * * *

No. 8. Friday, March 9, 1711. Addison.

'At _Venus_ obscuro gradientes aere sepsit,
Et multo Nebulae circum Dea fudit amictu,
Cernere ne quis eos ...'


I shall here communicate to the World a couple of Letters, which I
believe will give the Reader as good an Entertainment as any that I am
able to furnish [him [1]] with, and therefore shall make no Apology for

'To the SPECTATOR, &c.


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

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

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

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

I am,

Your humble Servant,

And Fellow Labourer,

T. B.

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

Middle Temple, 1710-11.


When a Man has been guilty of any Vice or Folly, I think the best
Attonement he can make for it is to warn others not to fall into the
like. In order to this I must acquaint you, that some Time in
_February_ last I went to the Tuesday's Masquerade. Upon my first
going in I was attacked by half a Dozen female Quakers, who seemed
willing to adopt me for a Brother; but, upon a nearer Examination, I
found they were a Sisterhood of Coquets, disguised in that precise
Habit. I was soon after taken out to dance, and, as I fancied, by a
Woman of the first Quality, for she was very tall, and moved
gracefully. As soon as the Minuet was over, we ogled one another
through our Masques; and as I am very well read in _Waller_, I
repeated to her the four following Verses out of his poem to

'The heedless Lover does not know
Whose Eyes they are that wound him so;
But confounded with thy Art,
Enquires her Name that has his Heart.'

I pronounced these Words with such a languishing Air, that I had some
Reason to conclude I had made a Conquest. She told me that she hoped
my Face was not akin to my Tongue; and looking upon her Watch, I
accidentally discovered the Figure of a Coronet on the back Part of
it. I was so transported with the Thought of such an Amour, that I
plied her from one Room to another with all the Gallantries I could
invent; and at length brought things to so happy an Issue, that she
gave me a private Meeting the next Day, without Page or Footman, Coach
or Equipage. My Heart danced in Raptures; but I had not lived in this
golden Dream above three Days, before I found good Reason to wish that
I had continued true to my Landress. I have since heard by a very
great Accident, that this fine Lady does not live far from
_Covent-Garden_, and that I am not the first Cully whom she has passed
herself upon for a Countess.

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

I am,


Your most humble admirer,

B. L.

I design to visit the next Masquerade my self, in the same Habit I wore
at _Grand Cairo_; [2] and till then shall suspend my Judgment of this
Midnight Entertainment.


[Footnote 1: them]

[Footnote 2: See [Spectator] No. 1.]

* * * * *

No. 9. Saturday, March 10, 1711. Addison.

Tigris agit rabida cum tigride pacem
Perpetuam, saevis inter se convenit ursis.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Modern celebrated Clubs are founded upon Eating and Drinking, which
are Points wherein most Men agree, and in which the Learned and
Illiterate, the Dull and the Airy, the Philosopher and the Buffoon, can
all of them bear a Part. The 'Kit-Cat' [1] it self is said to have taken
its Original from a Mutton-Pye. The 'Beef-Steak' [2] and October [3]
Clubs, are neither of them averse to Eating and Drinking, if we may form
a Judgment of them from their respective Titles.

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

I cannot forbear concluding this Paper with a Scheme of Laws that I met
with upon a Wall in a little Ale-house: How I came thither I may inform
my Reader at a more convenient time. These Laws were enacted by a Knot
of Artizans and Mechanicks, who used to meet every Night; and as there
is something in them, which gives us a pretty Picture of low Life, I
shall transcribe them Word for Word.

'RULES to be observed in the Two-penny Club, erected in this Place,
for the Preservation of Friendship and good Neighbourhood.'

I. Every Member at his first coming in shall lay down his Two Pence.

II. Every Member shall fill his Pipe out of his own Box.

III. If any Member absents himself he shall forfeit a Penny for the

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