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The Spectator, Volume 1 by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

Part 4 out of 19

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Crime is no less than employing them in such a Manner, as to divert the
Eyes of others from the best use they can make of them, even looking up
to Heaven.


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


Your most humble servant,

S. C.

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

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

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

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

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


* * * * *

No. 21. Saturday, March 24, 1711. [1] Addison.

'Locus est et phiribus Umbris.'


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

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

The Body of the Law is no less encumbered with superfluous Members, that
are like _Virgil's_ Army, which he tells us was so crouded, [2] many of
them had not Room to use their Weapons. This prodigious Society of Men
may be divided into the Litigious and Peaceable. Under the first are
comprehended all those who are carried down in Coach-fulls to
_Westminster-Hall_ every Morning in Term-time. _Martial's_ description
of this Species of Lawyers is full of Humour:

'Iras et verba locant.'

Men that hire out their Words and Anger; that are more or less
passionate according as they are paid for it, and allow their Client a
quantity of Wrath proportionable to the Fee which they receive from him.
I must, however, observe to the Reader, that above three Parts of those
whom I reckon among the Litigious, are such as are only quarrelsome in
their Hearts, and have no Opportunity of showing their Passion at the
Bar. Nevertheless, as they do not know what Strifes may arise, they
appear at the Hall every Day, that they may show themselves in a
Readiness to enter the Lists, whenever there shall be Occasion for them.

The Peaceable Lawyers are, in the first place, many of the Benchers of
the several Inns of Court, who seem to be the Dignitaries of the Law,
and are endowed with those Qualifications of Mind that accomplish a Man
rather for a Ruler, than a Pleader. These Men live peaceably in their
Habitations, Eating once a Day, and Dancing once a Year, [3] for the
Honour of their Respective Societies.

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

If, in the third place, we look into the Profession of Physick, we shall
find a most formidable Body of Men: The Sight of them is enough to make
a Man serious, for we may lay it down as a Maxim, that When a Nation
abounds in Physicians, it grows thin of People. Sir _William Temple_ is
very much puzzled to find a Reason why the Northern Hive, as he calls
it, does not send out such prodigious Swarms, and over-run the World
with _Goths_ and _Vandals, as it did formerly; [4] but had that
Excellent Author observed that there were no Students in Physick among
the Subjects of _Thor_ and _Woden_, and that this Science very much
flourishes in the North at present, he might have found a better
Solution for this Difficulty, than any of those he has made use of. This
Body of Men, in our own Country, may be described like the _British_
Army in _Caesar's_ time: Some of them slay in Chariots, and some on Foot.
If the Infantry do less Execution than the Charioteers, it is, because
they cannot be carried so soon into all Quarters of the Town, and
dispatch so much Business in so short a Time. Besides this Body of
Regular Troops, there are Stragglers, who, without being duly listed and
enrolled, do infinite Mischief to those who are so unlucky as to fall
into their Hands.

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

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

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


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

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

[Footnote 2: [that]

[Footnote 3: In Dugdale's 'Origines Juridiciales' we read how in the
Middle Temple, on All Saints' Day, when the judges and serjeants who had
belonged to the Inn were feasted,

'the music being begun, the Master of the Revels was twice called. At
the second call, the Reader with the white staff advanced, and began
to lead the measures, followed by the barristers and students in
order; and when one measure was ended, the Reader at the cupboard
called for another.']

[Footnote 4: See Sir W. Temple's Essay on Heroic Virtue, Section 4.

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

* * * * *

No. 22. Monday, March 26, 1711. Steele.

'Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic incredulus odi.'


The word _Spectator_ being most usually understood as one of the
Audience at Publick Representations in our Theatres, I seldom fail of
many Letters relating to Plays and Operas. But, indeed, there are such
monstrous things done in both, that if one had not been an Eye-witness
of them, one could not believe that such Matters had really been
exhibited. There is very little which concerns human Life, or is a
Picture of Nature, that is regarded by the greater Part of the Company.
The Understanding is dismissed from our Entertainments. Our Mirth is the
Laughter of Fools, and our Admiration the Wonder of Idiots; else such
improbable, monstrous, and incoherent Dreams could not go off as they
do, not only without the utmost Scorn and Contempt, but even with the
loudest Applause and Approbation. But the Letters of my Correspondents
will represent this Affair in a more lively Manner than any Discourse of
my own; I [shall therefore [1] ] give them to my Reader with only this
Preparation, that they all come from Players, [and that the business of
Playing is now so managed that you are not to be surprised when I say]
one or two of [them [2]] are rational, others sensitive and vegetative
Actors, and others wholly inanimate. I shall not place these as I have
named them, but as they have Precedence in the Opinion of their


Your having been so humble as to take Notice of the Epistles of other
Animals, emboldens me, who am the wild Boar that was killed by Mrs.
_Tofts_, [3] to represent to you, That I think I was hardly used
in not having the Part of the Lion in 'Hydaspes' given to me. It
would have been but a natural Step for me to have personated that
noble Creature, after having behaved my self to Satisfaction in the
Part above-mention'd: But that of a Lion, is too great a Character for
one that never trod the Stage before but upon two Legs. As for the
little Resistance which I made, I hope it may be excused, when it is
considered that the Dart was thrown at me by so fair an Hand. I must
confess I had but just put on my Brutality; and _Camilla's_
charms were such, that b-holding her erect Mien, hearing her charming
Voice, and astonished with her graceful Motion, I could not keep up to
my assumed Fierceness, but died like a Man.

I am Sir,

Your most humble Servan.,

Thomas Prone."


This is to let you understand, that the Play-House is a Representation
of the World in nothing so much as in this Particular, That no one
rises in it according to his Merit. I have acted several Parts of
Household-stuff with great Applause for many Years: I am one of the
Men in the Hangings in the _Emperour of the Moon_; [4] I have
twice performed the third Chair in an English Opera; and have
rehearsed the Pump in the _Fortune-Hunters_. [5] I am now grown
old, and hope you will recommend me so effectually, as that I may say
something before I go off the Stage: In which you will do a great Act
of Charity to

Your most humble servant,

William Serene."


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

Your humble servant,

Ralph Simple."

"Drury Lane, March 24, 1710-11.


I saw your Friend the Templar this Evening in the Pit, and thought he
looked very little pleased with the Representation of the mad Scene of
the _Pilgrim_. I wish, Sir, you would do us the Favour to animadvert
frequently upon the false Taste the Town is in, with Relation to Plays
as well as Operas. It certainly requires a Degree of Understanding to
play justly; but such is our Condition, that we are to suspend our
Reason to perform our Parts. As to Scenes of Madness, you know, Sir,
there are noble Instances of this Kind in _Shakespear_; but then it is
the Disturbance of a noble Mind, from generous and humane Resentments:
It is like that Grief which we have for the decease of our Friends: It
is no Diminution, but a Recommendation of humane Nature, that in such
Incidents Passion gets the better of Reason; and all we can think to
comfort ourselves, is impotent against half what we feel. I will not
mention that we had an Idiot in the Scene, and all the Sense it is
represented to have, is that of Lust. As for my self, who have long
taken Pains in personating the Passions, I have to Night acted only an
Appetite: The part I play'd is Thirst, but it is represented as
written rather by a Drayman than a Poet. I come in with a Tub about
me, that Tub hung with Quart-pots; with a full Gallon at my Mouth. [6]
I am ashamed to tell you that I pleased very much, and this was
introduced as a Madness; but sure it was not humane Madness, for a
Mule or an [ass [7]] may have been as dry as ever I was in my Life.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient And humble servant."

"From the Savoy in the Strand.


If you can read it with dry Eyes, I give you this trouble to acquaint
you, that I am the unfortunate King _Latinus_, and believe I am the
first Prince that dated from this Palace since _John_ of _Gaunt_. Such
is the Uncertainty of all human Greatness, that I who lately never
moved without a Guard, am now pressed as a common Soldier, and am to
sail with the first fair Wind against my Brother _Lewis_ of _France_.
It is a very hard thing to put off a Character which one has appeared
in with Applause: This I experienced since the Loss of my Diadem; for,
upon quarrelling with another Recruit, I spoke my Indignation out of
my Part in _recitativo:_

... Most audacious Slave,
Dar'st thou an angry Monarch's Fury brave? [8]

The Words were no sooner out of my Mouth, when a Serjeant knock'd me
down, and ask'd me if I had a Mind to Mutiny, in talking things no
Body understood. You see, Sir, my unhappy Circumstances; and if by
your Mediation you can procure a Subsidy for a Prince (who never
failed to make all that beheld him merry at his Appearance) you will
merit the Thanks of

Your friend,

The King of _Latium_."

[Footnote 1: therefore shall]

[Footnote 2: whom]

[Footnote 3: In the opera of 'Camilla':

Camilla: That Dorindas my Name.

Linco: Well, I knowt, Ill take care.

Camilla: And my Life scarce of late--

Linco: You need not repeat.

Prenesto: Help me! oh help me!

[A wild Boar struck by Prenesto.]

Huntsman: Lets try to assist him.

Linco: Ye Gods, what Alarm!

Huntsman: Quick run to his aid.

[Enter Prenesto: The Boar pursuing him.]

Prenesto: O Heavns! who defends me?

Camilla: My Arm.

[She throws a Dart, and kills the Boar.]

Linco: Dorinda of nothing afraid,
Shes sprightly and gay, a valiant Maid,
And as bright as the Day.

Camilla: Take Courage, Hunter, the Savage is dead.

Katherine Tofts, the daughter of a person in the family of Bishop
Burnet, had great natural charms of voice, person, and manner. Playing
with Nicolini, singing English to his Italian, she was the first of our
'prime donne' in Italian Opera. Mrs. Tofts had made much money when
in 1709 she quitted the stage with disordered intellect; her voice being
then unbroken, and her beauty in the height of its bloom. Having
recovered health, she married Mr. Joseph Smith, a rich patron of arts
and collector of books and engravings, with whom she went to Venice,
when he was sent thither as English Consul. Her madness afterwards
returned, she lived, therefore, says Sir J. Hawkins,

'sequestered from the world in a remote part of the house, and had a
large garden to range in, in which she would frequently walk, singing
and giving way to that innocent frenzy which had seized her in the
earlier part of her life.'

She identified herself with the great princesses whose loves and sorrows
she had represented in her youth, and died about the year 1760.]

[Footnote 4: The 'Emperor of the Moon' is a farce, from the French,
by Mrs. Aphra Behn, first acted in London in 1687. It was originally
Italian, and had run 80 nights in Paris as 'Harlequin I'Empereur dans
le Monde de la Lune'. In Act II. sc. 3,

'The Front of the Scene is only a Curtain or Hangings to be drawn up
at Pleasure.'

Various gay masqueraders, interrupted by return of the Doctor, are
carried by Scaramouch behind the curtain. The Doctor enters in wrath,
vowing he has heard fiddles. Presently the curtain is drawn up and
discovers where Scaramouch has

'plac'd them all in the Hanging in which they make the Figures, where
they stand without Motion in Postures.'

Scaramouch professes that the noise was made by putting up this piece of

'the best in Italy for the Rareness of the Figures, sir.'

While the Doctor is admiring the new tapestry, said to have been sent
him as a gift, Harlequin, who is

'placed on a Tree in the Hangings, hits him on the 'Head with his

The place of a particular figure in the picture, with a hand on a tree,
is that supposed to be aspired to by the 'Spectator's' next

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

[Footnote 6: In the third act of Fletcher's comedy of the 'Pilgrim',
Pedro, the Pilgrim, a noble gentleman, has shown to him the interior of
a Spanish mad-house, and discovers in it his mistress Alinda, who,
disguised in a boy's dress, was found in the town the night before a
little crazed, distracted, and so sent thither. The scene here shows
various shapes of madness,

Some of pity
That it would make ye melt to see their passions,
And some as light again.

One is an English madman who cries, 'Give me some drink,'

Fill me a thousand pots and froth 'em, froth 'em!

Upon which a keeper says:

Those English are so malt-mad, there's no meddling with 'em.
When they've a fruitful year of barley there,
All the whole Island's thus.

We read in the text how they had produced on the stage of Drury Lane
that madman on the previous Saturday night; this Essay appearing on the
breakfast tables upon Monday morning.]

[Footnote 7: horse]

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

* * * * *


For the Good of the Publick.

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

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

'Venienti occurrite morbo.'

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


* * * * *

No. 23. Tuesday, March 27, 1711 [1] Addison.

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


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

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

When _Julius Caesar_ was Lampoon'd by _Catullus_, he invited him to a
Supper, and treated him with such a generous Civility, that he made the
Poet his friend ever after. [3] Cardinal _Mazarine_ gave the same kind
of Treatment to the learned _Quillet_, who had reflected upon his
Eminence in a famous Latin Poem. The Cardinal sent for him, and, after
some kind Expostulations upon what he had written, assured him of his
Esteem, and dismissed him with a Promise of the next good Abby that
should fall, which he accordingly conferr'd upon him in a few Months
after. This had so good an Effect upon the Author, that he dedicated the
second Edition of his Book to the Cardinal, after having expunged the
Passages which had given him offence. [4]

_Sextus Quintus_ was not of so generous and forgiving a Temper. Upon his
being made Pope, the statue of _Pasquin_ was one Night dressed in a very
dirty Shirt, with an Excuse written under it, that he was forced to wear
foul Linnen, because his Laundress was made a Princess. This was a
Reflection upon the Pope's Sister, who, before the Promotion of her
Brother, was in those mean Circumstances that _Pasquin_ represented her.
As this Pasquinade made a great noise in _Rome_, the Pope offered a
Considerable Sum of Mony to any Person that should discover the Author
of it. The Author, relying upon his Holiness's Generosity, as also on
some private Overtures which he had received from him, made the
Discovery himself; upon which the Pope gave him the Reward he had
promised, but at the same time, to disable the Satyrist for the future,
ordered his Tongue to be cut out, and both his Hands to be chopped off.
[5] _Aretine_ [6] is too trite an instance. Every

one knows that all the Kings of Europe were his tributaries. Nay, there
is a Letter of his extant, in which he makes his Boasts that he had laid
the Sophi of _Persia_ under Contribution.

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

I have indeed heard of heedless, inconsiderate Writers, that without any
Malice have sacrificed the Reputation of their Friends and Acquaintance
to a certain Levity of Temper, and a silly Ambition of distinguishing
themselves by a Spirit of Raillery and Satyr: As if it were not
infinitely more honourable to be a Good-natured Man than a Wit. Where
there is this little petulant Humour in an Author, he is often very
mischievous without designing to be so. For which Reason I always lay it
down as a Rule, that an indiscreet Man is more hurtful than an
ill-natured one; for as the former will only attack his Enemies, and
those he wishes ill to, the other injures indifferently both Friends and
Foes. I cannot forbear, on this occasion, transcribing a Fable out of
Sir _Roger l'Estrange_, [7] which accidentally lies before me.

'A company of Waggish Boys were watching of Frogs at the side of a
Pond, and still as any of 'em put up their Heads, they'd be pelting
them down again with Stones. _Children_ (says one of the Frogs), _you
never consider that though this may be Play to you, 'tis Death to us_.'

As this Week is in a manner set apart and dedicated to Serious Thoughts,
[8] I shall indulge my self in such Speculations as may not be
altogether unsuitable to the Season; and in the mean time, as the
settling in our selves a Charitable Frame of Mind is a Work very proper
for the Time, I have in this Paper endeavoured to expose that particular
Breach of Charity which has been generally over-looked by Divines,
because they are but few who can be guilty of it.


[Footnote 1: At the top of this paper in a 12mo copy of the _Spectator_,
published in 17l2, and annotated by a contemporary Spanish merchant, is
written, 'The character of Dr Swift.' This proves that the writer of the
note had an ill opinion of Dr Swift and a weak sense of the purport of
what he read. Swift, of course, understood what he read. At this time he
was fretting under the sense of a chill in friendship between himself
and Addison, but was enjoying his _Spectators_. A week before this date,
on the 16th of March, he wrote,

'Have you seen the 'Spectators' yet, a paper that comes out every
day? It is written by Mr. Steele, who seems to have gathered new life
and have a new fund of wit; it is in the same nature as his
'Tatlers', and they have all of them had something pretty. I
believe Addison and he club.'

Then he adds a complaint of the chill in their friendship. A month after
the date of this paper Swift wrote in his journal,

'The 'Spectator' is written by Steele with Addison's help; 'tis
often very pretty.'

Later in the year, in June and September, he records dinner and supper
with his friends of old time, and says of Addison,

'I yet know no man half so agreeable to me as he is.']

[Footnote 2: 'Plato's Phaedon', Sec. 40. The ridicule of Socrates in
'The Clouds' of Aristophanes includes the accusation that he
displaced Zeus and put in his place Dinos,--Rotation. When Socrates, at
the point of death, assents to the request that he should show grounds
for his faith

'that when the man is dead, the soul exists and retains thought and
power,' Plato represents him as suggesting: Not the sharpest censor
'could say that in now discussing such matters, I am dealing with what
does not concern me.']

[Footnote 3: The bitter attack upon Caesar and his parasite Mamurra was
notwithdrawn, but remains to us as No. 29 of the Poems of Catullus. The
doubtful authority for Caesar's answer to it is the statement in the Life
of Julius Caesar by Suetonius that, on the day of its appearance,
Catullus apologized and was invited to supper; Caesar abiding also by his
old familiar friendship with the poet's father. This is the attack said
to be referred to in one of Cicero's letters to Atticus (the last of Bk.
XIII.), in which he tells how Caesar was

'after the eighth hour in the bath; then he heard _De Mamurra_;
did not change countenance; was anointed; lay down; took an emetic.']

[Footnote 4: Claude Quillet published a Latin poem in four books,
entitled '_Callipaedia_, seu de pulchrae prolis habenda ratione,' at
Leyden, under the name of Calvidius Laetus, in 1655. In discussing unions
harmonious and inharmonious he digressed into an invective against
marriages of Powers, when not in accordance with certain conditions; and
complained that France entered into such unions prolific only of ill,
witness her gift of sovereign power to a Sicilian stranger.

'Trinacriis devectus ab oris advena.'

Mazarin, though born at Rome, was of Sicilian family. In the second
edition, published at Paris in 1656, dedicated to the cardinal Mazarin, the
passages complained of were omitted for the reason and with the result told
in the text; the poet getting 'une jolie Abbaye de 400 pistoles,' which he
enjoyed until his death (aged 59) in 1661.]

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

No. 24. Wednesday, March 28, 1711. Steele.

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


There are in this Town a great Number of insignificant People, who are
by no means fit for the better sort of Conversation, and yet have an
impertinent Ambition of appearing with those to whom they are not
welcome. If you walk in the _Park_, one of them will certainly joyn with
you, though you are in Company with Ladies; if you drink a Bottle, they
will find your Haunts. What makes [such Fellows [1]] the more burdensome
is, that they neither offend nor please so far as to be taken Notice of
for either. It is, I presume, for this Reason that my Correspondents are
willing by my Means to be rid of them. The two following Letters are
writ by Persons who suffer by such Impertinence. A worthy old
Batchelour, who sets in for his Dose of Claret every Night at such an
Hour, is teized by a Swarm of them; who because they are sure of Room
and good Fire, have taken it in their Heads to keep a sort of Club in
his Company; tho' the sober Gentleman himself is an utter Enemy to such


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

I am, Sir, a Batchelour of some standing, and a Traveller; my
Business, to consult my own Humour, which I gratify without
controuling other People's; I have a Room and a whole Bed to myself;
and I have a Dog, a Fiddle, and a Gun; they please me, and injure no
Creature alive. My chief Meal is a Supper, which I always make at a
Tavern. I am constant to an Hour, and not ill-humour'd; for which
Reasons, tho' I invite no Body, I have no sooner supp'd, than I have a
Crowd about me of that sort of good Company that know not whither else
to go. It is true every Man pays his Share, yet as they are Intruders,
I have an undoubted Right to be the only Speaker, or at least the
loudest; which I maintain, and that to the great Emolument of my
Audience. I sometimes tell them their own in pretty free Language; and
sometimes divert them with merry Tales, according as I am in Humour. I
am one of those who live in Taverns to a great Age, by a sort of
regular Intemperance; I never go to Bed drunk, but always flustered; I
wear away very gently; am apt to be peevish, but never angry. Mr.
SPECTATOR, if you have kept various Company, you know there is in
every Tavern in Town some old Humourist or other, who is Master of the
House as much as he that keeps it. The Drawers are all in Awe of him;
and all the Customers who frequent his Company, yield him a sort of
comical Obedience. I do not know but I may be such a Fellow as this my
self. But I appeal to you, whether this is to be called a Club,
because so many Impertinents will break in upon me, and come without
Appointment? 'Clinch of Barnet' [2] has a nightly Meeting, and shows
to every one that will come in and pay; but then he is the only Actor.
Why should People miscall things?

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


Your most obedient, Etc.

Tho. Kimbow.'

* * *

Good Sir,

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


Your obliged humble Servant,

Will. Fashion.'

[A like [3]] Impertinence is also very troublesome to the superior and
more intelligent Part of the fair Sex. It is, it seems, a great
Inconvenience, that those of the meanest Capacities will pretend to make
Visits, tho' indeed they are qualify'd rather to add to the Furniture of
the House (by filling an empty Chair) than to the Conversation they come
into when they visit. A Friend of mine hopes for Redress in this Case,
by the Publication of her Letter in my Paper; which she thinks those she
would be rid of will take to themselves. It seems to be written with an
Eye to one of those pert giddy unthinking Girls, who, upon the
Recommendation only of an agreeable Person and a fashionable Air, take
themselves to be upon a Level with Women of the greatest Merit.


'I take this Way to acquaint you with what common Rules and Forms
would never permit me to tell you otherwise; to wit, that you and I,
tho' Equals in Quality and Fortune, are by no Means suitable
Companions. You are, 'tis true, very pretty, can dance, and make a
very good Figure in a publick Assembly; but alass, Madam, you must go
no further; Distance and Silence are your best Recommendations;
therefore let me beg of you never to make me any more Visits. You come
in a literal Sense to see one, for you have nothing to say. I do not
say this that I would by any Means lose your Acquaintance; but I would
keep it up with the Strictest Forms of good Breeding. Let us pay
Visits, but never see one another: If you will be so good as to deny
your self always to me, I shall return the Obligation by giving the
same Orders to my Servants. When Accident makes us meet at a third
Place, we may mutually lament the Misfortune of never finding one
another at home, go in the same Party to a Benefit-Play, and smile at
each other and put down Glasses as we pass in our Coaches. Thus we may
enjoy as much of each others Friendship as we are capable: For there
are some People who are to be known only by Sight, with which sort of
Friendship I hope you will always honour,

Your most obedient humble Servant,
Mary Tuesday.

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

[Footnote 1: these People]

[Footnote 2: Clinch of Barnet, whose place of performance was at the
corner of Bartholomew Lane, behind the Royal Exchange, imitated,
according to his own advertisement,

'the Horses, the Huntsmen and a Pack of Hounds, a Sham Doctor, an old
Woman, the Bells, the Flute, the Double Curtell (or bassoon) and the
Organ,--all with his own Natural Voice, to the greatest perfection.'

The price of admission was a shilling.]

[Footnote 3: This]

* * * * *


To prevent all Mistakes that may happen
among Gentlemen of the other End of the Town,
who come but once a Week to St. _James's_ Coffee-house,
either by miscalling the Servants,
or requiring such things from them
as are not properly within their respective Provinces;
this is to give Notice,
that _Kidney,_ Keeper of the Book-Debts of the outlying Customers,
and Observer of those who go off without paying,
having resigned that Employment,
is succeeded by _John Sowton_;
to whose Place of Enterer of Messages and first Coffee-Grinder,
_William Bird_ is promoted;
and _Samuel Burdock_ comes as Shooe-Cleaner
in the Room of the said _Bird_.


* * * * *

No. 25. Thursday, March 29, 1711. Addison.

... AEgrescitque medendo.


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


'I am one of that sickly Tribe who are commonly known by the Name of
_Valetudinarians_, and do confess to you, that I first contracted this
ill Habit of Body, or rather of Mind, by the Study of Physick. I no
sooner began to peruse Books of this Nature, but I found my Pulse was
irregular, and scarce ever read the Account of any Disease that I did
not fancy my self afflicted with. Dr. _Sydenham's_ learned Treatise of
Fevers [1] threw me into a lingring Hectick, which hung upon me all
the while I was reading that excellent Piece. I then applied my self
to the Study of several Authors, who have written upon Phthisical
Distempers, and by that means fell into a Consumption, till at length,
growing very fat, I was in a manner shamed out of that Imagination.
Not long after this I found in my self all the Symptoms of the Gout,
except Pain, but was cured of it by a Treatise upon the Gravel,
written by a very Ingenious Author, who (as it is usual for Physicians
to convert one Distemper into another) eased me of the Gout by giving
me the Stone. I at length studied my self into a Complication of
Distempers; but accidentally taking into my Hand that Ingenious
Discourse written by _Sanctorius_, [2] I was resolved to direct my
self by a Scheme of Rules, which I had collected from his
Observations. The Learned World are very well acquainted with that
Gentleman's Invention; who, for the better carrying on of his
Experiments, contrived a certain Mathematical Chair, which was so
Artifically hung upon Springs, that it would weigh any thing as well
as a Pair of Scales. By this means he discovered how many Ounces of
his Food pass'd by Perspiration, what quantity of it was turned into
Nourishment, and how much went away by the other Channels and
Distributions of Nature.

Having provided myself with this Chair, I used to Study, Eat, Drink,
and Sleep in it; insomuch that I may be said, for these three last
Years, to have lived in a Pair of Scales. I compute my self, when I am
in full Health, to be precisely Two Hundred Weight, falling short of
it about a Pound after a Day's Fast, and exceeding it as much after a
very full Meal; so that it is my continual Employment, to trim the
Ballance between these two Volatile Pounds in my Constitution. In my
ordinary Meals I fetch my self up to two Hundred Weight and [a half
pound [3]]; and if after having dined I find my self fall short of it,
I drink just so much Small Beer, or eat such a quantity of Bread, as
is sufficient to make me weight. In my greatest Excesses I do not
transgress more than the other half Pound; which, for my Healths sake,
I do the first _Monday_ in every Month. As soon as I find my self duly
poised after Dinner, I walk till I have perspired five Ounces and four
Scruples; and when I discover, by my Chair, that I am so far reduced,
I fall to my Books, and Study away three Ounces more. As for the
remaining Parts of the Pound, I keep no account of them. I do not dine
and sup by the Clock, but by my Chair, for when that informs me my
Pound of Food is exhausted I conclude my self to be hungry, and lay in
another with all Diligence. In my Days of Abstinence I lose a Pound
and an half, and on solemn Fasts am two Pound lighter than on other
Days in the Year.

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

_Your Humble Servant_.'

This Letter puts me in mind of an _Italian_ Epitaph written on the
Monument of a Valetudinarian; 'Stavo ben, ma per star Meglio, sto
qui': Which it is impossible to translate. [4] The Fear of Death often
proves mortal, and sets People on Methods to save their Lives, which
infallibly destroy them. This is a Reflection made by some Historians,
upon observing that there are many more thousands killed in a Flight
than in a Battel, and may be applied to those Multitudes of Imaginary
Sick Persons that break their Constitutions by Physick, and throw
themselves into the Arms of Death, by endeavouring to escape it. This
Method is not only dangerous, but below the Practice of a Reasonable
Creature. To consult the Preservation of Life, as the only End of it, To
make our Health our Business, To engage in no Action that is not part of
a Regimen, or course of Physick, are Purposes so abject, so mean, so
unworthy human Nature, that a generous Soul would rather die than submit
to them. Besides that a continual Anxiety for Life vitiates all the
Relishes of it, and casts a Gloom over the whole Face of Nature; as it
is impossible we should take Delight in any thing that we are every
Moment afraid of losing.

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

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

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


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

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

[Footnote 3: an half]

[Footnote 4: The old English reading is:

'I was well; I would be better; and here I am.']

* * * * *

No. 26. Friday, March 30, 1711. Addison.

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


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

[Greek: Glaukon te, Medonta te, Thersilochon te]--Hom.

_Glaucumque, Medontaque, Thersilochumque_.--Virg.

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

After having thus surveyed this great Magazine of Mortality, as it were
in the Lump, I examined it more particularly by the Accounts which I
found on several of the Monuments [which [1]] are raised in every
Quarter of that ancient Fabrick. Some of them were covered with such
extravagant Epitaphs, that, if it were possible for the dead Person to
be acquainted with them, he would blush at the Praises which his Friends
[have [2]] bestowed upon him. There are others so excessively modest,
that they deliver the Character of the Person departed in Greek or
Hebrew, and by that Means are not understood once in a Twelve-month. In
the poetical Quarter, I found there were Poets [who [3]] had no
Monuments, and Monuments [which [4]] had no Poets. I observed indeed
that the present War [5] had filled the Church with many of these
uninhabited Monuments, which had been erected to the Memory of Persons
whose Bodies were perhaps buried in the Plains of _Blenheim_, or in
the Bosom of the Ocean.

I could not but be very much delighted with several modern Epitaphs,
which are written with great Elegance of Expression and Justness of
Thought, and therefore do Honour to the Living as well as to the Dead.
As a Foreigner is very apt to conceive an Idea of the Ignorance or
Politeness of a Nation from the Turn of their publick Monuments and
Inscriptions, they should be submitted to the Perusal of Men of Learning
and Genius before they are put in Execution. Sir _Cloudesly
Shovel's_ Monument has very often given me great Offence: Instead of
the brave rough English Admiral, which was the distinguishing Character
of that plain gallant Man, [6] he is represented on his Tomb by the
Figure of a Beau, dress'd in a long Perriwig, and reposing himself upon
Velvet Cushions under a Canopy of State, The Inscription is answerable
to the Monument; for, instead of celebrating the many remarkable Actions
he had performed in the service of his Country, it acquaints us only
with the Manner of his Death, in which it was impossible for him to reap
any Honour. The _Dutch_, whom we are apt to despise for want of
Genius, shew an infinitely greater Taste of Antiquity and Politeness in
their Buildings and Works of this Nature, than what we meet with in
those of our own Country. The Monuments of their Admirals, which have
been erected at the publick Expence, represent them like themselves; and
are adorned with rostral Crowns and naval Ornaments, with beautiful
Festoons of [Seaweed], Shells, and Coral.

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


[Footnote 1: that]

[Footnote 2: had]

[Footnote 3: that]

[Footnote 4: that]

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

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

* * * * *

No. 27. Saturday, March 31, 1711. Steele.

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


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

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

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

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

I have ever thought Men were better known, by what could be observed of
them from a Perusal of their private Letters, than any other way. My
Friend, the Clergyman, [1] the other Day, upon serious Discourse with
him concerning the Danger of Procrastination, gave me the following
Letters from Persons with whom he lives in great Friendship and
Intimacy, according to the good Breeding and good Sense of his
Character. The first is from a Man of Business, who is his Convert; The
second from one of whom he conceives good Hopes; The third from one who
is in no State at all, but carried one way and another by starts.


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

* * *


'I am intirely convinced of the Truth of what you were pleas'd to say
to me, when I was last with you alone. You told me then of the silly
way I was in; but you told me so, as I saw you loved me, otherwise I
could not obey your Commands in letting you know my Thoughts so
sincerely as I do at present. I know _the Creature for whom I resign
so much of my Character_ is all that you said of her; but then the
Trifler has something in her so undesigning and harmless, that her
Guilt in one kind disappears by the Comparison of her Innocence in
another. Will you, Virtuous Men, allow no alteration of Offences? Must
Dear [Chloe [2]] be called by the hard Name you pious People give to
common Women? I keep the solemn Promise I made you, in writing to you
the State of my Mind, after your kind Admonition; and will endeavour
to get the better of this Fondness, which makes me so much her humble
Servant, that I am almost asham'd to Subscribe my self
T. D.'

* * *


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


[Footnote 1: See the close of No. 2.]

[Footnote 2: blank left]

* * * * *

No. 28. Monday, April 2, 1711. Addison.

'... Neque semper arcum
Tendit Apollo.'


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


'Observing that you have Thoughts of creating certain Officers under
you for the Inspection of several petty Enormities which you your self
cannot attend to; and finding daily Absurdities hung out upon the
Sign-Posts of this City, [2] to the great Scandal of Foreigners, as
well as those of our own Country, who are curious Spectators of the
same: I do humbly propose, that you would be pleased to make me your
Superintendant of all such Figures and Devices, as are or shall be
made use of on this Occasion; with full Powers to rectify or expunge
whatever I shall find irregular or defective. For want of such an
Officer, there is nothing like sound Literature and good Sense to be
met with in those Objects, that are everywhere thrusting themselves
out to the Eye, and endeavouring to become visible. Our streets are
filled with blue Boars, black Swans, and red Lions; not to mention
flying Pigs, and Hogs in Armour, with many other Creatures more
extraordinary than any in the desarts of _Africk._ Strange! that one
who has all the Birds and Beasts in Nature to chuse out of, should
live at the Sign of an _Ens Rationis!_

My first Task, therefore, should be, like that of _Hercules_, to clear
the City from Monsters. In the second Place, I would forbid, that
Creatures of jarring and incongruous Natures should be joined together
in the same Sign; such as the Bell and the Neats-tongue, the Dog and
Gridiron. The Fox and Goose may be supposed to have met, but what has
the Fox and the Seven Stars to do together? and when did the Lamb [3]
and Dolphin ever meet, except upon a Sign-Post? As for the Cat and
Fiddle, there is a Conceit in it, and therefore, I do not intend that
anything I have here said should affect it. I must however observe to
you upon this Subject, that it is usual for a young Tradesman, at his
first setting up, to add to his own Sign that of the Master whom he
serv'd; as the Husband, after Marriage, gives a Place to his
Mistress's Arms in his own Coat. This I take to have given Rise to
many of those Absurdities which are committed over our Heads, and, as
I am inform'd, first occasioned the three Nuns and a Hare, which we
see so frequently joined together. I would, therefore, establish
certain Rules, for the determining how far one Tradesman may _give_
the Sign of another, and in what Cases he may be allowed to quarter it
with his own.

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

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

When the Name gives an Occasion for an ingenious Sign-post, I would
likewise advise the Owner to take that Opportunity of letting the
World know who he is. It would have been ridiculous for the ingenious
Mrs. _Salmon_ [4] to have lived at the Sign of the Trout; for which
Reason she has erected before her House the Figure of the Fish that is
her Namesake. Mr. _Bell_ has likewise distinguished himself by a
Device of the same Nature: And here, Sir, I must beg Leave to observe
to you, that this particular Figure of a Bell has given Occasion to
several Pieces of Wit in this Kind. A Man of your Reading must know,
that _Abel Drugger_ gained great Applause by it in the Time of _Ben
Johnson_ [5]. Our Apocryphal Heathen God [6] is also represented by
this Figure; which, in conjunction with the Dragon, make a very
handsome picture in several of our Streets. As for the Bell-Savage,
which is the Sign of a savage Man standing by a Bell, I was formerly
very much puzzled upon the Conceit of it, till I accidentally fell
into the reading of an old Romance translated out of the French; which
gives an Account of a very beautiful Woman who was found in a
Wilderness, and is called in the French _la_ _belle Sauvage_; and is
everywhere translated by our Countrymen the Bell-Savage. This Piece of
Philology will, I hope, convince you that I have made Sign posts my
Study, and consequently qualified my self for the Employment which I
sollicit at your Hands. But before I conclude my Letter, I must
communicate to you another Remark, which I have made upon the Subject
with which I am now entertaining you, namely, that I can give a shrewd
Guess at the Humour of the Inhabitant by the Sign that hangs before
his Door. A surly cholerick Fellow generally makes Choice of a Bear;
as Men of milder Dispositions, frequently live at the Lamb. Seeing a
Punch-Bowl painted upon a Sign near _Charing Cross_, and very
curiously garnished, with a couple of Angels hovering over it and
squeezing a Lemmon into it, I had the Curiosity to ask after the
Master of the House, and found upon Inquiry, as I had guessed by the
little _Agreemens_ upon his Sign, that he was a Frenchman. I know,
Sir, it is not requisite for me to enlarge upon these Hints to a
Gentleman of your great Abilities; so humbly recommending my self to
your Favour and Patronage,

I remain, &c.

I shall add to the foregoing Letter, another which came to me by the
same Penny-Post.

From my own Apartment near Charing-Cross.

Honoured Sir,

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

I am, &c.


[Footnote 1: It is as follows.]

[Footnote 2: In the 'Spectator's' time numbering of houses was so rare
that in Hatton's 'New View of London', published in 1708, special
mention is made of the fact that

'in Prescott Street, Goodman's Fields, instead of signs the houses are
distinguished by numbers, as the staircases in the Inns of Court and

[Footnote 3: sheep]

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

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

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

'Face'. Abel, thou art made.

'Drugger'. Sir, I do thank his worship.]

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

* * * * *

No. 29. Tuesday, April 3, 1711 Addison

... Sermo lingua concinnus utraque
Suavior: ut Chio nota si commista Falerni est.


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

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

The only Fault I find in our present Practice, is the making use of
_Italian Recitative_ with _English_ Words.

To go to the Bottom of this Matter, I must observe, that the Tone, or
(as the _French_ call it) the Accent of every Nation in their ordinary
Speech is altogether different from that of every other People, as we
may see even in the _Welsh_ and _Scotch_, [who [1]] border so near upon
us. By the Tone or Accent, I do not mean the Pronunciation of each
particular Word, but the Sound of the whole Sentence. Thus it is very
common for an _English_ Gentleman, when he hears a _French_ Tragedy, to
complain that the Actors all of them speak in a Tone; and therefore he
very wisely prefers his own Country-men, not considering that a
Foreigner complains of the same Tone in an _English_ Actor.

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

Thus the Notes of Interrogation, or Admiration, in the _Italian_ Musick
(if one may so call them) which resemble their Accents in Discourse on
such Occasions, are not unlike the ordinary Tones of an _English_ Voice
when we are angry; insomuch that I have often seen our Audiences
extreamly mistaken as to what has been doing upon the Stage, and
expecting to see the Hero knock down his Messenger, when he has been
[asking [2]] him a Question, or fancying that he quarrels with his
Friend, when he only bids him Good-morrow.

For this Reason the _Italian_ Artists cannot agree with our _English_
Musicians in admiring _Purcell's_ Compositions, [3] and thinking his
Tunes so wonderfully adapted to his Words, because both Nations do not
always express the same Passions by the same Sounds.

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

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

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

Signior _Baptist Lully_ [4] acted like a Man of Sense in this
Particular. He found the _French_ Musick extreamly defective, and very
often barbarous: However, knowing the Genius of the People, the Humour
of their Language, and the prejudiced Ears [he [5]] had to deal with he
did not pretend to extirpate the _French_ Musick, and plant the
_Italian_ in its stead; but only to Cultivate and Civilize it with
innumerable Graces and Modulations which he borrow'd from the _Italian_.
By this means the _French_ Musick is now perfect in its kind; and when
you say it is not so good as the _Italian_, you only mean that it does
not please you so well; for there is [scarce [6]] a _Frenchman_ who
would not wonder to hear you give the _Italian_ such a Preference. The
Musick of the _French_ is indeed very properly adapted to their
Pronunciation and Accent, as their whole Opera wonderfully favours the
Genius of such a gay airy People. The Chorus in which that Opera
abounds, gives the Parterre frequent Opportunities of joining in Consort
with the Stage. This Inclination of the Audience to Sing along with the
Actors, so prevails with them, that I have sometimes known the Performer
on the Stage do no more in a Celebrated Song, than the Clerk of a Parish
Church, who serves only to raise the Psalm, and is afterwards drown'd in
the Musick of the Congregation. Every Actor that comes on the Stage is a
Beau. The Queens and Heroines are so Painted, that they appear as Ruddy
and Cherry-cheek'd as Milk-maids. The Shepherds are all Embroider'd, and
acquit themselves in a Ball better than our _English_ Dancing Masters. I
have seen a couple of Rivers appear in red Stockings; and _Alpheus_,
instead of having his Head covered with Sedge and Bull-Rushes, making
Love in a fair full-bottomed Perriwig, and a Plume of Feathers; but with
a Voice so full of Shakes and Quavers that I should have thought the
Murmurs of a Country Brook the much more agreeable Musick.

I remember the last Opera I saw in that merry Nation was the Rape of
_Proserpine_, where _Pluto_, to make the more tempting Figure, puts
himself in a _French_ Equipage, and brings _Ascalaphus_ along with him
as his _Valet de Chambre_. This is what we call Folly and Impertinence;
but what the _French_ look upon as Gay and Polite.

I shall add no more to what I have here offer'd, than that Musick,
Architecture, and Painting, as well as Poetry, and Oratory, are to
deduce their Laws and Rules from the general Sense and Taste of Mankind,
and not from the Principles of those Arts themselves; or, in other
Words, the Taste is not to conform to the Art, but the Art to the Taste.
Music is not design'd to please only Chromatick Ears, but all that are
capable ef distinguishing harsh from disagreeable Notes. A Man of an
ordinary Ear is a Judge whether a Passion is express'd in proper Sounds,
and whether the Melody of those Sounds be more or less pleasing. [7]


[Footnote 1: that]

[Footnote 2: only asking]

[Footnote 3: Henry Purcell died of consumption in 1695, aged 37.

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

Handel, who had also the advantage of being born thirty years later.]

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

'Lulli being the first modern composer who caught the French ear, was
the means, to a great extent, of forming the modern French taste.'

His operas kept the stage for more than a century.]

[Footnote 5: that he]

[Footnote 6: not]

* * * * *

No. 30. [1] Wednesday, April 4, 1711. Steele.

'Si, Mimnermus uti censet, sine amore Focisque
Nil est Jucundum; vivas in amore Jocisque.'


One common Calamity makes Men extremely affect each other, tho' they
differ in every other Particular. The Passion of Love is the most
general Concern among Men; and I am glad to hear by my last Advices from
_Oxford_, that there are a Set of Sighers in that University, who have
erected themselves into a Society in honour of that tender Passion.
These Gentlemen are of that Sort of Inamoratos, who are not so very much
lost to common Sense, but that they understand the Folly they are guilty
of; and for that Reason separate themselves from all other Company,
because they will enjoy the Pleasure of talking incoherently, without
being ridiculous to any but each other. When a Man comes into the Club,
he is not obliged to make any Introduction to his Discourse, but at
once, as he is seating himself in his Chair, speaks in the Thread of his
own Thoughts, 'She gave me a very obliging Glance, She Never look'd so
well in her Life as this Evening,' or the like Reflection, without
Regard to any other Members of the Society; for in this Assembly they do
not meet to talk to each other, but every Man claims the full Liberty of

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