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The Spectator, Volume 2. by Addison and Steele

Part 13 out of 19

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much as any one; however, when in Company with old Men, I hear them
speak obscurely, or reason preposterously (into which Absurdities,
Prejudice, Pride, or Interest, will sometimes throw the wisest) I
count it no Crime to rectifie their Reasoning, unless Conscience must
truckle to Ceremony, and Truth fall a Sacrifice to Complaisance. The
strongest Arguments are enervated, and the brightest Evidence
disappears, before those tremendous Reasonings and dazling Discoveries
of venerable old Age: You are young giddy-headed Fellows, you have not
yet had Experience of the World. Thus we young Folks find our Ambition
cramp'd, and our Laziness indulged, since, while young, we have little
room to display our selves; and, when old, the Weakness of Nature must
pass for Strength of Sense, and we hope that hoary Heads will raise us
above the Attacks of Contradiction. Now, Sir, as you would enliven our
Activity in the pursuit of Learning, take our Case into Consideration;
and, with a Gloss on brave Elihus Sentiments, assert the Rights of
Youth, and prevent the pernicious Incroachments of Age. The generous
Reasonings of that gallant Youth would adorn your Paper; and I beg you
would insert them, not doubting but that they will give good
Entertainment to the most intelligent of your Readers.

So these three Men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous
in his own Eyes. Then was kindled the Wrath of Elihu the Son of
Barachel the Buzite, of the Kindred of Ram: Against Job was his
Wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. Also
against his three Friends was his Wrath kindled, because they had
found no Answer, and yet had condemned Job. Now Elihu had waited
till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. When Elihu saw
there was no Answer in the Mouth of these three Men, then his Wrath
was kindled. And Elihu the Son of Barachel the Buzite answered and
said, I am young, and ye are very old, wherefore I was afraid, and
durst not shew you mine Opinion. I said, Days should speak, and
Multitude of Years should teach Wisdom. But there is a Spirit in
Man; and the Inspiration of the Almighty giveth them Understanding.
Great Men are not always wise: Neither do the Aged understand
Judgment. Therefore I said, hearken to me, I also will shew mine
Opinion. Behold, I waited for your Words; I gave ear to your
Reasons, whilst you searched out what to say. Yea, I attended unto
you: And behold there was none of you that convinced Job, or that
answered his Words; lest ye should say, we have found out Wisdom:
God thrusteth him down, not Man. Now he hath not directed his Words
against me: Neither will I answer him with your Speeches. They were
amazed, they answered no more: They left off speaking. When I had
waited (for they spake not, but stood still and answered no more) I
said, I will answer also my Part, I also will shew mine Opinion. For
I am full of Matter, the Spirit within me constraineth me. Behold my
Belly is as Wine which hath no vent, it is ready to burst like new
Bottles. I will speak that I may be refreshed: I will open my Lips,
and answer. Let me not, I pray you, accept any Man's Person, neither
let me give flattering Titles unto Man. For I know not to give
flattering Titles; in so doing my Maker would soon take me away. [1]


I have formerly read with great Satisfaction your Papers about Idols,
and the Behaviour of Gentlemen in those Coffee-houses where Women
officiate, and impatiently waited to see you take India and China
Shops into Consideration: But since you have pass'd us over in
silence, either that you have not as yet thought us worth your Notice,
or that the Grievances we lie under have escaped your discerning Eye,
I must make my Complaints to you, and am encouraged to do it because
you seem a little at leisure at this present Writing. I am, dear Sir,
one of the top China-Women about Town; and though I say it, keep as
good Things, and receive as fine Company as any o this End of the
Town, let the other be who she will: In short, I am in a fair Way to
be easy, were it not for a Club of Female Rakes, who under pretence of
taking their innocent Rambles, forsooth, and diverting the Spleen,
seldom fail to plague me twice or thrice a-day to cheapen Tea, or buy
a Skreen; What else should they mean? as they often repeat it. These
Rakes are your idle Ladies of Fashion, who having nothing to do,
employ themselves in tumbling over my Ware. One of these No-Customers
(for by the way they seldom or never buy any thing) calls for a Set of
Tea-Dishes, another for a Bason, a third for my best Green-Tea, and
even to the Punch Bowl, there's scarce a piece in my Shop but must be
displaced, and the whole agreeable Architecture disordered; so that I
can compare em to nothing but to the Night-Goblins that take a
Pleasure to over-turn the Disposition of Plates and Dishes in the
Kitchens of your housewifely Maids. Well, after all this Racket and
Clutter, this is too dear, that is their Aversion; another thing is
charming, but not wanted: The Ladies are cured of the Spleen, but I am
not a Shilling the better for it. Lord! what signifies one poor Pot of
Tea, considering the Trouble they put me to? Vapours, Mr. SPECTATOR,
are terrible Things; for though I am not possess'd by them my self, I
suffer more from em than if I were. Now I must beg you to admonish
all such Day-Goblins to make fewer Visits, or to be less troublesome
when they come to ones Shop; and to convince em, that we honest
Shop-keepers have something better to do, than to cure Folks of the
Vapours gratis. A young Son of mine, a School-Boy, is my Secretary, so
I hope you'll make Allowances.
I am, SIR,
Your constant Reader, and very humble Servant,
Rebecca the Distress'd.

March the 22nd.


[Footnote 1: Job, ch. xii.]

* * * * *

No. 337. Thursday, March 27, 1712. Budgell.

Fingit equum tenera docilem cervice Magister,
Ire viam quam monstrat eques--


I have lately received a third Letter from the Gentleman, who has
already given the Publick two Essays upon Education. As his Thoughts
seem to be very just and new upon this Subject, I shall communicate them
to the Reader.


If I had not been hindered by some extraordinary Business, I should
have sent you sooner my further Thoughts upon Education. You may
please to remember, that in my last Letter I endeavoured to give the
best Reasons that could be urged in favour of a private or publick
Education. Upon the whole it may perhaps be thought that I seemed
rather enclined to the latter, though at the same time I confessed
that Virtue, which ought to be our first and principal Care, was more
usually acquired in the former.

I intend therefore, in this Letter, to offer at Methods, by which I
conceive Boys might be made to improve in Virtue, as they advance in

I know that in most of our public Schools Vice is punished and
discouraged whenever it is found out; but this is far from being
sufficient, unless our Youth are at the same time taught to form a
right Judgment of Things, and to know what is properly Virtue.

To this end, whenever they read the Lives and Actions of such Men as
have been famous in their Generation, it should not be thought enough
to make them barely understand so many Greek or Latin Sentences, but
they should be asked their Opinion of such an Action or Saying, and
obliged to give their Reasons why they take it to be good or bad. By
this means they would insensibly arrive at proper Notions of Courage,
Temperance, Honour and Justice.

There must be great Care taken how the Example of any particular
Person is recommended to them in gross; instead of which, they ought
to be taught wherein such a Man, though great in some respects, was
weak and faulty in others. For want of this Caution, a Boy is often so
dazzled with the Lustre of a great Character, that he confounds its
Beauties with its Blemishes, and looks even upon the faulty Parts of
it with an Eye of Admiration.

I have often wondered how Alexander, who was naturally of a generous
and merciful Disposition, came to be guilty of so barbarous an Action
as that of dragging the Governour of a Town after his Chariot. I know
this is generally ascribed to his Passion for Homer; but I lately met
with a Passage in Plutarch, which, if I am not very much mistaken,
still gives us a clearer Light into the Motives of this Action.
Plutarch tells us, that Alexander in his Youth had a Master named
Lysimachus, who, tho he was a Man destitute of all Politeness,
ingratiated himself both with Philip and his Pupil, and became the
second Man at Court, by calling the King Peleus, the Prince Achilles,
and himself Phoenix. It is no wonder if Alexander having been thus
used not only to admire, but to personate Achilles, should think it
glorious to imitate him in this piece of Cruelty and Extravagance.

To carry this Thought yet further, I shall submit it to your
Consideration, whether instead of a Theme or Copy of Verses, which are
the usual Exercises, as they are called in the School-phrase, it
would not be more proper that a Boy should be tasked once or twice a
Week to write down his Opinion of such Persons and Things as occur to
him in his Reading; that he should descant upon the Actions of Turnus
and AEneas, shew wherein they excelled or were defective, censure or
approve any particular Action, observe how it might have been carried
to a greater Degree of Perfection, and how it exceeded or fell short
of another. He might at the same time mark what was moral in any
Speech, and how far it agreed with the Character of the Person
speaking. This Exercise would soon strengthen his Judgment in what is
blameable or praiseworthy, and give him an early Seasoning of

Next to those Examples which may be met with in Books, I very much
approve Horace's Way of setting before Youth the infamous or
honourable Characters of their Contemporaries: That Poet tells us,
this was the Method his Father made use of to incline him to any
particular Virtue, or give him an Aversion to any particular Vice. If,
says Horace, my Father advised me to live within Bounds, and be
contented with the Fortune he should leave me; Do not you see (says
he) the miserable Condition of Burr, and the Son of Albus? Let the
Misfortunes of those two Wretches teach you to avoid Luxury and
Extravagance. If he would inspire me with an Abhorrence to Debauchery,
do not (says he) make your self like Sectanus, when you may be happy
in the Enjoyment of lawful Pleasures. How scandalous (says he) is the
Character of Trebonius, who was lately caught in Bed with another
Man's Wife? To illustrate the Force of this Method, the Poet adds,
That as a headstrong Patient, who will not at first follow his
Physicians Prescriptions, grows orderly when he hears that his
Neighbours die all about him; so Youth is often frighted from Vice, by
hearing the ill Report it brings upon others.

Xenophon's Schools of Equity, in his Life of Cyrus the Great, are
sufficiently famous: He tells us, that the Persian Children went to
School, and employed their Time as diligently in learning the
Principles of Justice and Sobriety, as the Youth in other Countries
did to acquire the most difficult Arts and Sciences: their Governors
spent most part of the Day in hearing their mutual Accusations one
against the other, whether for Violence, Cheating, Slander, or
Ingratitude; and taught them how to give Judgment against those who
were found to be any ways guilty of these Crimes. I omit the Story of
the long and short Coat, for which Cyrus himself was punished, as a
Case equally known with any in Littleton.

The Method, which Apuleius tells us the Indian Gymnosophists took to
educate their Disciples, is still more curious and remarkable. His
Words are as follow: When their Dinner is ready, before it is served
up, the Masters enquire of every particular Scholar how he has
employed his Time since Sun-rising; some of them answer, that having
been chosen as Arbiters between two Persons they have composed their
Differences, and made them Friends; some, that they have been
executing the Orders of their Parents; and others, that they have
either found out something new by their own Application, or learnt it
from the Instruction of their Fellows: But if there happens to be any
one among them, who cannot make it appear that he has employed the
Morning to advantage, he is immediately excluded from the Company, and
obliged to work, while the rest are at Dinner.

It is not impossible, that from these several Ways of producing
Virtue in the Minds of Boys, some general Method might be invented.
What I would endeavour to inculcate, is, that our Youth cannot be too
soon taught the Principles of Virtue, seeing the first Impressions
which are made on the Mind are always the strongest.

The Archbishop of Cambray makes Telemachus say, that though he was
young in Years, he was old in the Art of knowing how to keep both his
own and his Friends Secrets. When my Father, says the Prince, went to
the Siege of Troy, he took me on his Knees, and after having embraced
and blessed me, as he was surrounded by the Nobles of Ithaca, O my
Friends, says he, into your Hands I commit the Education of my Son; if
ever you lov'd his Father, shew it in your Care towards him; but above
all, do not omit to form him just, sincere, and faithful in keeping a
Secret. These Words of my Father, says Telemachus, were continually
repeated to me by his Friends in his Absence; who made no scruple of
communicating to me in their Uneasiness to see my Mother surrounded
with Lovers, and the Measures they designed to take on that Occasion.
He adds, that he was so ravished at being thus treated like a Man, and
at the Confidence reposed in him, that he never once abused it; nor
could all the Insinuations of his Fathers Rivals ever get him to
betray what was committed to him under the Seal of Secrecy.

There is hardly any Virtue which a Lad might not thus learn by
Practice and Example.

I have heard of a good Man, who used at certain times to give his
Scholars Six Pence apiece, that they might tell him the next day how
they had employ'd it. The third part was always to be laid out in
Charity, and every Boy was blamed or commended as he could make it
appear that he had chosen a fit Object.

In short, nothing is more wanting to our publick Schools, than that
the Masters of them should use the same care in fashioning the Manners
of their Scholars, as in forming their Tongues to the learned
Languages. Where-ever the former is omitted, I cannot help agreeing
with Mr. Locke, That a Man must have a very strange Value for Words,
when preferring the Languages of the Greeks and Romans to that which
made them such brave Men, he can think it worth while to hazard the
Innocence and Virtue of his Son for a little Greek and Latin.

As the Subject of this Essay is of the highest Importance, and what I
do not remember to have yet seen treated by any Author, I have sent
you what occurr'd to me on it from my own Observation or Reading, and
which you may either suppress or publish as you think fit.

I am, SIR, Yours, &c.


* * * * *

No. 338. Friday, March 28, 1712.

[--Nil fuit unquam
Tam dispar sibi.

Hor. [1]]

I find the Tragedy of the Distrest Mother is publish'd today: The Author
of the Prologue, I suppose, pleads an old Excuse I have read somewhere,
of being dull with Design; and the Gentleman who writ the Epilogue [2]
has, to my knowledge, so much of greater moment to value himself upon,
that he will easily forgive me for publishing the Exceptions made
against Gayety at the end of serious Entertainments, in the following
Letter: I should be more unwilling to pardon him than any body, a
Practice which cannot have any ill Consequence, but from the Abilities
of the Person who is guilty of it.


I had the Happiness the other Night of sitting very near you, and your
worthy Friend Sir ROGER, at the acting of the new Tragedy, which you
have in a late Paper or two so justly recommended. I was highly
pleased with the advantageous Situation Fortune had given me in
placing me so near two Gentlemen, from one of which I was sure to hear
such Reflections on the several Incidents of the Play, as pure Nature
suggested, and from the other such as flowed from the exactest Art and
Judgment: Tho I must confess that my Curiosity led me so much to
observe the Knights Reflections, that I was not so well at leisure to
improve my self by yours. Nature, I found, play'd her Part in the
Knight pretty well, till at the last concluding Lines she entirely
forsook him. You must know, Sir, that it is always my Custom, when I
have been well entertained at a new Tragedy, to make my Retreat before
the facetious Epilogue enters; not but that those Pieces are often
very well writ, but having paid down my Half Crown, and made a fair
Purchase of as much of the pleasing Melancholy as the Poets Art can
afford me, or my own Nature admit of, I am willing to carry some of it
home with me; and cant endure to be at once trick'd out of all, tho
by the wittiest Dexterity in the World. However, I kept my Seat
tother Night, in hopes of finding my own Sentiments of this Matter
favour'd by your Friends; when, to my great Surprize, I found the
Knight entering with equal Pleasure into both Parts, and as much
satisfied with Mrs. Oldfield's Gaiety, as he had been before with
Andromache's Greatness. Whether this were no other than an Effect of
the Knights peculiar Humanity, pleas'd to find at last, that after
all the tragical Doings every thing was safe and well, I don't know.
But for my own part, I must confess, I was so dissatisfied, that I was
sorry the Poet had saved Andromache, and could heartily have wished
that he had left her stone-dead upon the Stage. For you cannot
imagine, Mr. SPECTATOR, the Mischief she was reserv'd to do me. I
found my Soul, during the Action, gradually work'd up to the highest
Pitch; and felt the exalted Passion which all generous Minds conceive
at the Sight of Virtue in Distress. The Impression, believe me, Sir,
was so strong upon me, that I am persuaded, if I had been let alone in
it, I could at an Extremity have ventured to defend your self and Sir
ROGER against half a Score of the fiercest Mohocks: But the ludicrous
Epilogue in the Close extinguish'd all my Ardour, and made me look
upon all such noble Atchievements, as downright silly and romantick.
What the rest of the Audience felt, I cant so well tell: For my self,
I must declare, that at the end of the Play I found my Soul uniform,
and all of a Piece; but at the End of the Epilogue it was so jumbled
together, and divided between Jest and Earnest, that if you will
forgive me an extravagant Fancy, I will here set it down. I could not
but fancy, if my Soul had at that Moment quitted my Body, and
descended to the poetical Shades in the Posture it was then in, what a
strange Figure it would have made among them. They would not have
known what to have made of my motley Spectre, half Comick and half
Tragick, all over resembling a ridiculous Face, that at the same time
laughs on one side and cries o tother. The only Defence, I think, I
have ever heard made for this, as it seems to me, most unnatural Tack
of the Comick Tail to the Tragick Head, is this, that the Minds of the
Audience must be refreshed, and Gentlemen and Ladies not sent away to
their own Homes with too dismal and melancholy Thoughts about them:
For who knows the Consequence of this? We are much obliged indeed to
the Poets for the great Tenderness they express for the Safety of our
Persons, and heartily thank them for it. But if that be all, pray,
good Sir, assure them, that we are none of us like to come to any
great Harm; and that, let them do their best, we shall in all
probability live out the Length of our Days, and frequent the Theatres
more than ever. What makes me more desirous to have some Reformation
of this matter, is because of an ill Consequence or two attending it:
For a great many of our Church-Musicians being related to the Theatre,
they have, in Imitation of these Epilogues, introduced in their
farewell Voluntaries a sort of Musick quite foreign to the design of
Church-Services, to the great Prejudice of well-disposed People. Those
fingering Gentlemen should be informed, that they ought to suit their
Airs to the Place and Business; and that the Musician is obliged to
keep to the Text as much as the Preacher. For want of this, I have
found by Experience a great deal of Mischief: For when the Preacher
has often, with great Piety and Art enough, handled his Subject, and
the judicious Clark has with utmost Diligence culled out two Staves
proper to the Discourse, and I have found in my self and in the rest
of the Pew good Thoughts and Dispositions, they have been all in a
moment dissipated by a merry Jigg from the Organ-Loft. One knows not
what further ill Effects the Epilogues I have been speaking of may in
time produce: But this I am credibly informed of, that Paul Lorrain
[3]--has resolv'd upon a very sudden Reformation in his tragical
Dramas; and that at the next monthly Performance, he designs, instead
of a Penitential Psalm, to dismiss his Audience with an excellent new
Ballad of his own composing. Pray, Sir, do what you can to put a stop
to those growing Evils, and you will very much oblige

Your Humble Servant,

[Footnote 1:

[--Servetur ad imum
Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet.

Hor. ]

[Footnote 2: The Prologue was by Steele. Of the Epilogue Dr. Johnson
said (in his Lives of the Poets, when telling of Ambrose Philips),

It was known in Tonson's family and told to Garrick, that Addison was
himself the author of it, and that when it had been at first printed
with his name, he came early in the morning, before the copies were
distributed, and ordered it to be given to Budgell, that it might add
weight to the solicitation which he was then making for a place.

Johnson calls it

the most successful Epilogue that was ever yet spoken on the English

The three first nights it was recited twice, and whenever afterwards the
play was acted the Epilogue was still expected and was spoken. This is a
fifth paper for the benefit of Ambrose Philips, inserted, perhaps, to
make occasion for a sixth (No. 341) in the form of a reply to

[Footnote 3: Paul Lorrain was the Ordinary of Newgate. He died in 1719. He
always represented his convicts as dying Penitents, wherefore in No. 63 of
the Tatler they had been called Paul Lorrains Saints. ]

* * * * *

No. 339 Saturday, March 29, 1712. Addison

[--Ut his exordia primis
Omnia, et ipse tener Mundi concreverit orbis.
Tum durare solum et discludere Nerea ponto
Coeperit, et rerum pauliatim sumere formas.

Virg. [1]]

Longinus has observed, [2] that there may be a Loftiness in Sentiments,
where there is no Passion, and brings Instances out of ancient Authors
to support this his Opinion. The Pathetick, as that great Critick
observes, may animate and inflame the Sublime, but is not essential to
it. Accordingly, as he further remarks, we very often find that those
who excel most in stirring up the Passions, very often want the Talent
of writing in the great and sublime manner, and so on the contrary.
Milton has shewn himself a Master in both these ways of Writing. The
Seventh Book, which we are now entring upon, is an Instance of that
Sublime which is not mixed and worked up with Passion. The Author
appears in a kind of composed and sedate Majesty; and tho the
Sentiments do not give so great an Emotion as those in the former Book,
they abound with as magnificent Ideas. The Sixth Book, like a troubled
Ocean, represents Greatness in Confusion; the seventh Affects the
Imagination like the Ocean in a Calm, and fills the Mind of the Reader,
without producing in it any thing like Tumult or Agitation.

The Critick above mentioned, among the Rules which he lays down for
succeeding in the sublime way of writing, proposes to his Reader, that
he should imitate the most celebrated Authors who have gone before him,
and been engaged in Works of the same nature; [3] as in particular, that
if he writes on a poetical Subject, he should consider how Homer would
have spoken on such an Occasion. By this means one great Genius often
catches the Flame from another, and writes in his Spirit, without
copying servilely after him. There are a thousand shining Passages in
Virgil, which have been lighted up by Homer.

Milton, tho his own natural Strength of Genius was capable of
furnishing out a perfect Work, has doubtless very much raised and
ennobled his Conceptions, by such an Imitation as that which Longinus
has recommended.

In this Book, which gives us an Account of the six Days Works, the Poet
received but very few Assistances from Heathen Writers, who were
Strangers to the Wonders of Creation. But as there are many glorious
strokes of Poetry upon this Subject in Holy Writ, the Author has
numberless Allusions to them through the whole course of this Book. The
great Critick I have before mentioned, though an Heathen, has taken
notice of the sublime Manner in which the Lawgiver of the Jews has
describ'd the Creation in the first Chapter of Genesis; [4] and there
are many other Passages in Scripture, which rise up to the same Majesty,
where this Subject is touched upon. Milton has shewn his Judgment very
remarkably, in making use of such of these as were proper for his Poem,
and in duly qualifying those high Strains of Eastern Poetry, which were
suited to Readers whose Imaginations were set to an higher pitch than
those of colder Climates.

Adams Speech to the Angel, wherein he desires an Account of what had
passed within the Regions of Nature before the Creation, is very great
and solemn. The following Lines, in which he tells him, that the Day is
not too far spent for him to enter upon such a subject, are exquisite in
their kind.

And the great Light of Day yet wants to run
Much of his Race, though steep, suspense in Heavn
Held by thy Voice; thy potent Voice he hears,
And longer will delay, to hear thee tell
His Generation, &c.

The Angels encouraging our first Parent[s] in a modest pursuit after
Knowledge, with the Causes which he assigns for the Creation of the
World, are very just and beautiful. The Messiah, by whom, as we are told
in Scripture, the Worlds were made, comes forth in the Power of his
Father, surrounded with an Host of Angels, and cloathed with such a
Majesty as becomes his entring upon a Work, which, according to our
Conceptions, [appears [5]] the utmost Exertion of Omnipotence. What a
beautiful Description has our Author raised upon that Hint in one of the
Prophets. And behold there came four Chariots out from between two
Mountains, and the Mountains were Mountains of Brass. [6]

About his Chariot numberless were pour
Cherub and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones,
And Virtues, winged Spirits, and Chariots wing'd,
From th' Armoury of Gold, where stand of old
Myriads between two brazen Mountains lodg'd
Against a solemn Day, harness'd at hand;
Celestial Equipage! and now came forth
Spontaneous, for within them Spirit liv'd,
Attendant on their Lord: Heavn open'd wide
Her ever-during Gates, Harmonious Sound!
On golden Hinges moving--

I have before taken notice of these Chariots of God, and of these Gates
of Heaven; and shall here only add, that Homer gives us the same Idea of
the latter, as opening of themselves; tho he afterwards takes off from
it, by telling us, that the Hours first of all removed those prodigious
Heaps of Clouds which lay as a Barrier before them.

I do not know any thing in the whole Poem more sublime than the
Description which follows, where the Messiah is represented at the head
of his Angels, as looking down into the Chaos, calming its Confusion,
riding into the midst of it, and drawing the first Out-Line of the

On Heavenly Ground they stood, and from the Shore
They view'd the vast immeasurable Abyss,
Outrageous as a Sea, dark, wasteful, wild;
Up from the bottom turned by furious Winds
And surging Waves, as Mountains to assault
Heavens height, and with the Center mix the Pole.

Silence, ye troubled Waves, and thou Deep, Peace!
Said then th' Omnific Word, your Discord end:

Nor staid; but, on the Wings of Cherubim
Up-lifted, in Paternal Glory rode
Far into Chaos, and the World unborn;
For Chaos heard his Voice. Him all His Train
Follow'd in bright Procession, to behold
Creation, and the Wonders, of his Might.
Then staid the fervid Wheels, and in his Hand
He took the Golden Compasses, prepar'd
In Gods eternal Store, to circumscribe
This Universe, and all created Things:
One Foot he center'd, and the other turn'd
Round, through the vast Profundity obscure;
And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,
This be thy just Circumference, O World!

The Thought of the Golden Compasses is conceived altogether in Homers
Spirit, and is a very noble Incident in this wonderful Description.
Homer, when he speaks of the Gods, ascribes to them several Arms and
Instruments with the same greatness of Imagination. Let the Reader only
peruse the Description of Minerva's AEgis, or Buckler, in the Fifth Book,
with her Spear, which would overturn whole Squadrons, and her Helmet,
that was sufficient to cover an Army drawn out of an hundred Cities: The
Golden Compasses in the above-mentioned Passage appear a very natural
Instrument in the Hand of him, whom Plato somewhere calls the Divine
Geometrician. As Poetry delights in cloathing abstracted Ideas in
Allegories and sensible Images, we find a magnificent Description of the
Creation form'd after the same manner in one of the Prophets, wherein he
describes the Almighty Architect as measuring the Waters in the Hollow
of his Hand, meting out the Heavens with his Span, comprehending the
Dust of the Earth in a Measure, weighing the Mountains in Scales, and
the Hills in a Balance. Another of them describing the Supreme Being in
this great Work of Creation, represents him as laying the Foundations of
the Earth, and stretching a Line upon it: And in another place as
garnishing the Heavens, stretching out the North over the empty Place,
and hanging the Earth upon nothing. This last noble Thought Milton has
express'd in the following Verse:

And Earth self-ballanc'd on her Center hung.

The Beauties of Description in this Book lie so very thick, that it is
impossible to enumerate them in this Paper. The Poet has employ'd on
them the whole Energy of our Tongue. The several great Scenes of the
Creation rise up to view one after another, in such a manner, that the
Reader seems present at this wonderful Work, and to assist among the
Choirs of Angels, who are the Spectators of it. How glorious is the
Conclusion of the first Day.

--Thus was the first Day Ev'n and Morn
Nor past uncelebrated nor unsung
By the Celestial Quires, when Orient Light
Exhaling first from Darkness they beheld;
Birth-day of Heavn and Earth! with Joy and Shout
The hollow universal Orb they fill'd.

We have the same elevation of Thought in the third Day, when the
Mountains were brought forth, and the Deep was made.

Immediately the Mountains huge appear
Emergent, and their broad bare Backs up-heave
Into the Clouds, their Tops ascend the Sky:
So high as heav'd the tumid Hills, so low
Down sunk a hollow Bottom, broad and deep,
Capacious Bed of Waters--

We have also the rising of the whole vegetable World described in this
Days Work, which is filled with all the Graces that other Poets have
lavish'd on their Descriptions of the Spring, and leads the Readers
Imagination into a Theatre equally surprising and beautiful.

The several Glories of the Heavns make their Appearance on the Fourth

First in his East the glorious Lamp was seen,
Regent of Day; and all th' Horizon round
Invested with bright Rays, jocund to round
His Longitude through Heavns high Road: the gray
Dawn, and the Pleiades before him danced,
Shedding sweet Influence. Less bright the Moon,
But opposite in level'd West was set,
His Mirror, with full face borrowing her Light
From him, for other Lights she needed none
In that aspect, and still that distance keeps
Till Night; then in the East her turn she shines,
Revolv'd on Heavns great Axle, and her Reign
With thousand lesser Lights dividual holds,
With thousand thousand Stars! that then appear'd
Spangling the Hemisphere--

One would wonder how the Poet could be so concise in his Description of
the six Days Works, as to comprehend them within the bounds of an
Episode, and at the same time so particular, as to give us a lively Idea
of them. This is still more remarkable in his Account of the Fifth and
Sixth Days, in which he has drawn out to our View the whole Animal
Creation, from the Reptil to the Behemoth. As the Lion and the Leviathan
are two of the noblest Productions in [the [7]] World of living
Creatures, the Reader will find a most exquisite Spirit of Poetry in the
Account which our Author gives us of them. The Sixth Day concludes with
the Formation of Man, upon which the Angel takes occasion, as he did
after the Battel in Heaven, to remind Adam of his Obedience, which was
the principal Design of this his Visit.

The Poet afterwards represents the Messiah returning into Heaven, and
taking a Survey of his great Work. There is something inexpressibly
Sublime in this part of the Poem, where the Author describes that great
Period of Time, filled with so many Glorious Circumstances; when the
Heavens and Earth were finished; when the Messiah ascended up in triumph
thro the Everlasting Gates; when he looked down with pleasure upon his
new Creation; when every Part of Nature seem'd to rejoice in its
Existence; when the Morning-Stars sang together, and all the Sons of God
shouted for joy.

So Ev'n and Morn accomplished the sixth Day:
Yet not till the Creator from his Work
Desisting, tho unwearied, up return'd,
Up to the Heavn of Heavns, his high Abode;
Thence to behold this new created World,
Th' Addition of his Empire, how it shewed
In prospect from his Throne, how good, how fair,
Answering his great Idea: Up he rode,
Follow'd with Acclamation, and the Sound
Symphonious of ten thousand Harps, that tuned
Angelick Harmonies; the Earth, the Air
Resounding (thou rememberst, for thou heardst)
The Heavens and all the Constellations rung;
The Planets in their Station listning stood,
While the bright Pomp ascended jubilant.
Open, ye everlasting Gates, they sung,
Open, ye Heavens, your living Doors; let in
The great Creator from his Work return'd
Magnificent, his six Days Work, a World!

I cannot conclude this Book upon the Creation, without mentioning a Poem
which has lately appeared under that Title. [8] The Work was undertaken
with so good an Intention, and is executed with so great a Mastery, that
it deserves to be looked upon as one of the most useful and noble
Productions in our English Verse. The Reader cannot but be pleased to
find the Depths of Philosophy enlivened with all the Charms of Poetry,
and to see so great a Strength of Reason, amidst so beautiful a
Redundancy of the Imagination. The Author has shewn us that Design in
all the Works of Nature, which necessarily leads us to the Knowledge of
its first Cause. In short, he has illustrated, by numberless and
incontestable Instances, that Divine Wisdom, which the Son of Sirach has
so nobly ascribed to the Supreme Being in his Formation of the World,
when he tells us, that He created her, and saw her, and numbered her,
and poured her out upon all his Works.


[Footnote 1: [Ovid.]]

[Footnote 2: On the Sublime, Sec. 8.]

[Footnote 3: Sec.14.]

[Footnote 4: Longinus, Sec. 9:

"So likewise the Jewish legislator, no ordinary person, having
conceived a just idea of the power of God, has nobly expressed it in
the beginning of his law. And God said,--What? Let there be Light,
and there was Light. Let the Earth be, and the Earth was." ]

[Footnote 5: [looks like]:--]

[Footnote 6: Zechariah vi. i. ]

[Footnote 7: this]

[Footnote 8: Sir Richard Blackmore's Creation appeared in 1712. Besides
this praise of it from Addison, its religious character caused Dr.
Johnson to say that if Blackmore

had written nothing else it would have transmitted him to posterity
among the first favourites of the English muse.

But even with the help of all his epics it has failed to secure him any
such place in the estimation of posterity. This work is not an epic, but
described on its title page as a Philosophical Poem, Demonstrating the
Existence and Providence of a God. It argues in blank verse, in the
first two of its seven books, the existence of a Deity from evidences of
design in the structure and qualities of earth and sea, in the celestial
bodies and the air; in the next three books it argues against objections
raised by Atheists, Atomists, and Fatalists; in the sixth book proceeds
with evidences of design, taking the structure of man's body for its
theme; and in the next, which is the last book, treats in the same way
of the Instincts of Animals and of the Faculties and Operations of the
Soul. This is the manner of the Poem:

The Sea does next demand our View; and there
No less the Marks of perfect skill appear.
When first the Atoms to the Congress came,
And by their Concourse form'd the mighty Frame,
What did the Liquid to th' Assembly call
To give their Aid to form the ponderous Ball?
First, tell us, why did any come? next, why
In such a disproportion to the Dry!
Why were the Moist in Number so outdone,
That to a Thousand Dry, they are but one,

It is hardly a mark of perfect skill that there are five or six
thousand of such dry lines in Blackmore's poem, and not even one that
should lead a critic to speak in the same breath of Blackmore and

* * * * *

No. 340 Monday, March 31, 1712. Steele.

Quis novus hic nostris successit sedibus Hospes?
Quem sese Ore ferens! quam forti Pectore et Armis!


I take it to be the highest Instance of a noble Mind, to bear great
Qualities without discovering in a Man's Behaviour any Consciousness
that he is superior to the rest of the World. Or, to say it otherwise,
it is the Duty of a great Person so to demean himself, as that whatever
Endowments he may have, he may appear to value himself upon no Qualities
but such as any Man may arrive at: He ought to think no Man valuable but
for his publick Spirit, Justice and Integrity; and all other Endowments
to be esteemed only as they contribute to the exerting those Virtues.
Such a Man, if he is Wise or Valiant, knows it is of no Consideration to
other Men that he is so, but as he employs those high Talents for their
Use and Service. He who affects the Applauses and Addresses of a
Multitude, or assumes to himself a Pre-eminence upon any other
Consideration, must soon turn Admiration into Contempt. It is certain,
that there can be no Merit in any Man who is not conscious of it; but
the Sense that it is valuable only according to the Application of it,
makes that Superiority amiable, which would otherwise be invidious. In
this Light it is considered as a Thing in which every Man bears a Share:
It annexes the Ideas of Dignity, Power, and Fame, in an agreeable and
familiar manner, to him who is Possessor of it; and all Men who are
Strangers to him are naturally incited to indulge a Curiosity in
beholding the Person, Behaviour, Feature, and Shape of him, in whose
Character, perhaps, each Man had formed something in common with
himself. Whether such, or any other, are the Causes, all Men have [a
yearning [1]] Curiosity to behold a Man of heroick Worth; and I have had
many Letters from all Parts of this Kingdom, that request I would give
them an exact Account of the Stature, the Mein, the Aspect of the Prince
[2] who lately visited England, and has done such Wonders for the
Liberty of Europe. It would puzzle the most Curious to form to himself
the sort of Man my several Correspondents expect to hear of, by the
Action mentioned when they desire a Description of him: There is always
something that concerns themselves, and growing out of their own
Circumstances, in all their Enquiries. A Friend of mine in Wales
beseeches me to be very exact in my Account of that wonderful Man, who
had marched an Army and all its Baggage over the Alps; and, if possible,
to learn whether the Peasant who shew'd him the Way, and is drawn in the
Map, be yet living. A Gentleman from the University, who is deeply
intent on the Study of Humanity, desires me to be as particular, if I
had Opportunity, in observing the whole Interview between his Highness
and our late General. Thus do Mens Fancies work according to their
several Educations and Circumstances; but all pay a Respect, mixed with
Admiration, to this illustrious Character. I have waited for his Arrival
in Holland, before I would let my Correspondents know, that I have not
been so uncurious a Spectator, as not to have seen Prince Eugene. It
would be very difficult, as I said just now, to answer every Expectation
of those who have writ to me on that Head; nor is it possible for me to
find Words to let one know what an artful Glance there is in his
Countenance who surprized Cremona; how daring he appears who forced the
Trenches of Turin; But in general I can say, that he who beholds him,
will easily expect from him any thing that is to be imagined or executed
by the Wit or Force of Man. The Prince is of that Stature which makes a
Man most easily become all Parts of Exercise, has Height to be graceful
on Occasions of State and Ceremony, and no less adapted for Agility and
Dispatch: his Aspect is erect and compos'd; his Eye lively and
thoughtful, yet rather vigilant than sparkling; his Action and Address
the most easy imaginable, and his Behaviour in an Assembly peculiarly
graceful in a certain Art of mixing insensibly with the rest, and
becoming one of the Company, instead of receiving the Courtship of it.
The Shape of his Person, and Composure of his Limbs, are remarkably
exact and beautiful. There is in his Look something sublime, which does
not seem to arise from his Quality or Character, but the innate
Disposition of his Mind. It is apparent that he suffers the Presence of
much Company, instead of taking Delight in it; and he appeared in
Publick while with us, rather to return Good-will, or satisfy Curiosity,
than to gratify any Taste he himself had of being popular. As his
Thoughts are never tumultuous in Danger, they are as little discomposed
on Occasions of Pomp and Magnificence: A great Soul is affected in
either Case, no further than in considering the properest Methods to
extricate it self from them. If this Hero has the strong Incentives to
uncommon Enterprizes that were remarkable in Alexander, he prosecutes
and enjoys the Fame of them with the Justness, Propriety, and good Sense
of Caesar. It is easy to observe in him a Mind as capable of being
entertained with Contemplation as Enterprize; a Mind ready for great
Exploits, but not impatient for Occasions to exert itself. The Prince
has Wisdom and Valour in as high Perfection as Man can enjoy it; which
noble Faculties in conjunction, banish all Vain-Glory, Ostentation,
Ambition, and all other Vices which might intrude upon his Mind to make
it unequal. These Habits and Qualities of Soul and Body render this
Personage so extraordinary, that he appears to have nothing in him but
what every Man should have in him, the Exertion of his very self,
abstracted from the Circumstances in which Fortune has placed him. Thus
were you to see Prince Eugene, and were told he was a private Gentleman,
you would say he is a Man of Modesty and Merit: Should you be told That
was Prince Eugene, he would be diminished no otherwise, than that part
of your distant Admiration would turn into familiar Good-will. This I
thought fit to entertain my Reader with, concerning an Hero who never
was equalled but by one Man; [3] over whom also he has this Advantage,
that he has had an Opportunity to manifest an Esteem for him in his


[Footnote 1: [an earning]]

[Footnote 2: Prince Eugene of Savoy, grandson of a duke of Savoy, and
son of Eugene Maurice, general of the Swiss, and Olympia Mancini, a
niece of Mazarin, was born at Paris in 1663, and intended for the
church, but had so strong a bent towards a military life, that when
refused a regiment in the French army he served the Emperor as volunteer
against the Turks. He stopped the march of the French into Italy when
Louis XIV. declared war with Austria, and refused afterwards from Louis
a Marshals staff, a pension, and the Government of Champagne.
Afterwards in Italy, by the surprise of Cremona he made Marshal Villeroi
his prisoner, and he was Marlborough's companion in arms at Blenheim and
in other victories. It was he who saved Turin, and expelled the French
from Italy. He was 49 years old in 1712, and had come in that year to
England to induce the court to continue the war, but found Marlborough
in disgrace and the war very unpopular. He had been feasted by the city,
and received from Queen Anne a sword worth L5000, which he wore at her
birthday reception. He had also stood as godfather to Steele's third
son, who was named after him.]

[Footnote 3: Marlborough.]

* * * * *

No. 341. Tuesday, April 1, 1712. Budgell. [1]

--Revocate animos moestumque timorem Mittite--


Having, to oblige my Correspondent Physibulus, printed his Letter last
Friday, in relation to the new Epilogue, he cannot take it amiss, if I
now publish another, which I have just received from a Gentleman who
does not agree with him in his Sentiments upon that Matter.


I am amazed to find an Epilogue attacked in your last Fridays Paper,
which has been so generally applauded by the Town, and receiv'd such
Honours as were never before given to any in an English Theatre.

The Audience would not permit Mrs. Oldfield to go off the Stage the
first Night, till she had repeated it twice; the second Night the
Noise of Ancoras was as loud as before, and she was again obliged to
speak it twice: the third Night it was still called for a second time;
and, in short, contrary to all other Epilogues, which are dropt after
the third Representation of the Play, this has already been repeated
nine times.

I must own I am the more surprized to find this Censure in Opposition
to the whole Town, in a Paper which has hitherto been famous for the
Candour of its Criticisms.

I can by no means allow your melancholy Correspondent, that the new
Epilogue is unnatural because it is gay. If I had a mind to be
learned, I could tell him that the Prologue and Epilogue were real
Parts of the ancient Tragedy; but every one knows that on the British
Stage they are distinct Performances by themselves, Pieces entirely
detached from the Play, and no way essential to it.

The moment the Play ends, Mrs. Oldfield is no more Andromache, but
Mrs. Oldfield; and tho the Poet had left Andromache stone-dead upon
the Stage, as your ingenious Correspondent phrases it, Mrs. Oldfield
might still have spoke a merry Epilogue. We have an Instance of this
in a Tragedy [2] where there is not only a Death but a Martyrdom. St.
Catherine was there personated by Nell Gwin; she lies stone dead upon
the Stage, but upon those Gentlemen's offering to remove her Body,
whose Business it is to carry off the Slain in our English Tragedies,
she breaks out into that abrupt Beginning of what was a very
ludicrous, but at the same time thought a very good Epilogue.

Hold, are you mad? you damn'd confounded Dog,
I am to rise and speak the Epilogue.

This diverting Manner was always practised by Mr. Dryden, who if he
was not the best Writer of Tragedies in his time, was allowed by every
one to have the happiest Turn for a Prologue or an Epilogue. The
Epilogues to Cleomenes, Don Sebastian, The Duke of Guise, Aurengzebe,
and Love Triumphant, are all Precedents of this Nature.

I might further justify this Practice by that excellent Epilogue which
was spoken a few Years since, after the Tragedy of Phaedra and
Hippolitus; with a great many others, in which the Authors have
endeavour'd to make the Audience merry. If they have not all succeeded
so well as the Writer of this, they have however shewn that it was not
for want of Good-will.

I must further observe, that the Gaiety of it may be still the more
proper, as it is at the end of a French Play; since every one knows
that Nation, who are generally esteem'd to have as polite a Taste as
any in Europe, always close their Tragick Entertainments with what
they call a Petite Piece, which is purposely design'd to raise Mirth,
and send away the Audience well pleased. The same Person who has
supported the chief Character in the Tragedy, very often plays the
principal Part in the Petite Piece; so that I have my self seen at
Paris, Orestes and Lubin acted the same Night by the same Man.

Tragi-Comedy, indeed, you have your self in a former Speculation found
fault with very justly, because it breaks the Tide of the Passions
while they are yet flowing; but this is nothing at all to the present
Case, where they have already had their full Course.

As the new Epilogue is written conformable to the Practice of our best
Poets, so it is not such an one which, as the Duke of Buckingham says
in his Rehearsal, might serve for any other Play; but wholly rises out
of the Occurrences of the Piece it was composed for.

The only Reason your mournful Correspondent gives against this
Facetious Epilogue, as he calls it, is, that he has mind to go home
melancholy. I wish the Gentleman may not be more Grave than Wise. For
my own part, I must confess I think it very sufficient to have the
Anguish of a fictitious Piece remain upon me while it is representing,
but I love to be sent home to bed in a good humour. If Physibulus is
however resolv'd to be inconsolable, and not to have his Tears dried
up, he need only continue his old Custom, and when he has had his half
Crowns worth of Sorrow, slink out before the Epilogue begins.

It is pleasant enough to hear this Tragical Genius complaining of the
great Mischief Andromache had done him: What was that? Why, she made
him laugh. The poor Gentleman's Sufferings put me in mind of
Harlequins Case, who was tickled to Death. He tells us soon after,
thro a small Mistake of Sorrow for Rage, that during the whole Action
he was so very sorry, that he thinks he could have attack'd half a
score of the fiercest Mohocks in the Excess of his Grief. I cannot but
look upon it as an happy Accident, that a Man who is so bloody-minded
in his Affliction, was diverted from this Fit of outragious
Melancholy. The Valour of this Gentleman in his Distress, brings to
ones memory the Knight of the sorrowful Countenance, who lays about
him at such an unmerciful rate in an old Romance. I shall readily
grant him that his Soul, as he himself says, would have made a very
ridiculous Figure, had it quitted the Body, and descended to the
Poetical Shades, in such an Encounter.

As to his Conceit of tacking a Tragic Head with a Comic Tail, in order
to refresh the Audience, it is such a piece of Jargon, that I don't
know what to make of it.

The elegant Writer makes a very sudden Transition from the Play-house
to the Church, and from thence, to the Gallows.

As for what relates to the Church, he is of Opinion, that these
Epilogues have given occasion to those merry Jiggs from the Organ-Loft
which have dissipated those good Thoughts, and Dispositions he has
found in himself, and the rest of the Pew, upon the singing of two
Staves cull'd out by the judicious and diligent Clark.

He fetches his next Thought from Tyburn; and seems very apprehensive
lest there should happen any Innovations in the Tragedies of his
Friend Paul Lorrain.

In the mean time, Sir, this gloomy Writer, who is so mightily
scandaliz'd at a gay Epilogue after a serious Play, speaking of the
Fate of those unhappy Wretches who are condemned to suffer an
ignominious Death by the Justice of our Laws, endeavours to make the
Reader merry on so improper an occasion, by those poor Burlesque
Expressions of Tragical Dramas, and Monthly Performances.

I am, Sir, with great Respect,
Your most obedient, most humble Servant,



[Footnote 1: Budgell here defends with bad temper the Epilogue which
Addison ascribed to him. Probably it was of his writing, but transformed
by Addison's corrections.]

[Footnote 2: Dryden's Maximin.]

* * * * *

No. 342. Wednesday, April 2, 1712. Steele.

Justitiae partes sunt non violare homines: Verecundiae non offendere.


As Regard to Decency is a great Rule of Life in general, but more
especially to be consulted by the Female World, I cannot overlook the
following Letter which describes an egregious Offender.


I was this Day looking over your Papers, and reading in that of
December the 6th with great delight, the amiable Grief of Asteria for
the Absence of her Husband, it threw me into a great deal of
Reflection. I cannot say but this arose very much from the
Circumstances of my own Life, who am a Soldier, and expect every Day
to receive Orders; which will oblige me to leave behind me a Wife that
is very dear to me, and that very deservedly. She is, at present, I am
sure, no way below your Asteria for Conjugal Affection: But I see the
Behaviour of some Women so little suited to the Circumstances wherein
my Wife and I shall soon be, that it is with a Reluctance I never knew
before, I am going to my Duty. What puts me to present Pain, is the
Example of a young Lady, whose Story you shall have as well as I can
give it you. Hortensius, an Officer of good Rank in her Majesty's
Service, happen'd in a certain Part of England to be brought to a
Country-Gentleman's House, where he was receiv'd with that more than
ordinary Welcome, with which Men of domestick Lives entertain such few
Soldiers whom a military Life, from the variety of Adventures, has not
render'd over-bearing, but humane, easy, and agreeable: Hortensius
stay'd here some time, and had easy Access at all hours, as well as
unavoidable Conversation at some parts of the Day with the beautiful
Sylvana, the Gentleman's Daughter. People who live in Cities are
wonderfully struck with every little Country Abode they see when they
take the Air; and tis natural to fancy they could live in every neat
Cottage (by which they pass) much happier than in their present
Circumstances. The turbulent way of Life which Hortensius was used to,
made him reflect with much Satisfaction on all the Advantages of a
sweet Retreat one day; and among the rest, you'll think it not
improbable, it might enter into his Thought, that such a Woman as
Sylvana would consummate the Happiness. The World is so debauched with
mean Considerations, that Hortensius knew it would be receiv'd as an
Act of Generosity, if he asked for a Woman of the Highest Merit,
without further Questions, of a Parent who had nothing to add to her
personal Qualifications. The Wedding was celebrated at her Fathers
House: When that was over, the generous Husband did not proportion his
Provision for her to the Circumstances of her Fortune, but considered
his Wife as his Darling, his Pride, and his Vanity, or rather that it
was in the Woman he had chosen that a Man of Sense could shew Pride or
Vanity with an Excuse, and therefore adorned her with rich Habits and
valuable Jewels. He did not however omit to admonish her that he did
his very utmost in this; that it was an Ostentation he could not but
be guilty of to a Woman he had so much Pleasure in, desiring her to
consider it as such; and begged of her also to take these Matters
rightly, and believe the Gems, the Gowns, the Laces would still become
her better, if her Air and Behaviour was such, that it might appear
she dressed thus rather in Compliance to his Humour that Way, than out
of any Value she her self had for the Trifles. To this Lesson, too
hard for Woman, Hortensius added, that she must be sure to stay with
her Friends in the Country till his Return. As soon as Hortensius
departed, Sylvana saw in her Looking-glass that the Love he conceiv'd
for her was wholly owing to the Accident of seeing her: and she is
convinced it was only her Misfortune the rest of Mankind had not
beheld her, or Men of much greater Quality and Merit had contended for
one so genteel, tho bred in Obscurity; so very witty, tho never
acquainted with Court or Town. She therefore resolved not to hide so
much Excellence from the World, but without any Regard to the Absence
of the most generous Man alive, she is now the gayest Lady about this
Town, and has shut out the Thoughts of her Husband by a constant
Retinue of the vainest young Fellows this Age has produced: to
entertain whom, she squanders away all Hortensius is able to supply
her with, tho that Supply is purchased with no less Difficulty than
the Hazard of his Life.

Now, Mr. SPECTATOR, would it not be a Work becoming your Office to
treat this Criminal as she deserve[s]? You should give it the severest
Reflections you can: You should tell Women, that they are more
accountable for Behaviour in Absence than after Death. The Dead are
not dishonour'd by their Levities; the Living may return, and be
laugh'd at by empty Fops, who will not fail to turn into Ridicule the
good Man who is so unseasonable as to be still alive, and come and
spoil good Company.

I am, SIR,
your most Obedient Humble Servant.

All Strictness of Behaviour is so unmercifully laugh'd at in our Age,
that the other much worse Extreme is the more common Folly. But let any
Woman consider which of the two Offences an Husband would the more
easily forgive, that of being less entertaining than she could to please
Company, or raising the Desires of the whole Room to his disadvantage;
and she will easily be able to form her Conduct. We have indeed carry'd
Womens Characters too much into publick Life, and you shall see them
now-a-days affect a sort of Fame: but I cannot help venturing to
disoblige them for their Service, by telling them, that the utmost of a
Woman's Character is contained in Domestick Life; she is blameable or
praiseworthy according as her Carriage affects the House of her Father
or her Husband. All she has to do in this World, is contain'd within the
Duties of a Daughter, a Sister, a Wife, and a Mother: All these may be
well performed, tho a Lady should not be the very finest Woman at an
Opera or an Assembly. They are likewise consistent with a moderate share
of Wit, a plain Dress, and a modest Air. But when the very Brains of the
Sex are turned, and they place their Ambition on Circumstances, wherein
to excel is no addition to what is truly commendable, where can this
end, but, as it frequently does, in their placing all their Industry,
Pleasure and Ambition on things, which will naturally make the
Gratifications of Life last, at best, no longer than Youth and good
Fortune? And when we consider the least ill Consequence, it can be no
less than looking on their own Condition as Years advance, with a
disrelish of Life, and falling into Contempt of their own Persons, or
being the Derision of others. But when they consider themselves as they
ought, no other than an additional Part of the Species, (for their own
Happiness and Comfort, as well as that of those for whom they were born)
their Ambition to excel will be directed accordingly; and they will in
no part of their Lives want Opportunities of being shining Ornaments to
their Fathers, Husbands, Brothers, or Children.


* * * * *

No. 343. Thursday, April 3, 1712. Addison.

--Errat et illinc
Huc venit, hinc illuc, et quoslibet occupat artus
Spiritus: eque feris humana in corpora transit,
Inque feras noster--

Pythag. ap. Ov.

Will. Honeycomb, who loves to shew upon occasion all the little Learning
he has picked up, told us yesterday at the Club, that he thought there
might be a great deal said for the Transmigration of Souls, and that the
Eastern Parts of the World believed in that Doctrine to this day. Sir
Paul Rycaut, [1] says he, gives us an Account of several well-disposed
Mahometans that purchase the Freedom of any little Bird they see
confined to a Cage, and think they merit as much by it, as we should do
here by ransoming any of our Countrymen from their Captivity at Algiers.
You must know, says WILL., the Reason is, because they consider every
Animal as a Brother or Sister in disguise, and therefore think
themselves obliged to extend their Charity to them, tho under such mean
Circumstances. They'll tell you, says WILL., that the Soul of a Man,
when he dies, immediately passes into the Body of another Man, or of
some Brute, which he resembled in his Humour, or his Fortune, when he
was one of us.

As I was wondring what this profusion of Learning would end in, WILL.
told us that Jack Freelove, who was a Fellow of Whim, made Love to one
of those Ladies who throw away all their Fondness [on [2]] Parrots,
Monkeys, and Lap-dogs. Upon going to pay her a Visit one Morning, he
writ a very pretty Epistle upon this Hint. Jack, says he, was conducted
into the Parlour, where he diverted himself for some time with her
favourite Monkey, which was chained in one of the Windows; till at
length observing a Pen and Ink lie by him, he writ the following Letter
to his Mistress, in the Person of the Monkey; and upon her not coming
down so soon as he expected, left it in the Window, and went about his

The Lady soon after coming into the Parlour, and seeing her Monkey look
upon a Paper with great Earnestness, took it up, and to this day is in
some doubt, says WILL., whether it was written by Jack or the Monkey.

Not having the Gift of Speech, I have a long time waited in vain for
an Opportunity of making myself known to you; and having at present
the Conveniences of Pen, Ink, and Paper by me, I gladly take the
occasion of giving you my History in Writing, which I could not do by
word of Mouth. You must know, Madam, that about a thousand Years ago I
was an Indian Brachman, and versed in all those mysterious Secrets
which your European Philosopher, called Pythagoras, is said to have
learned from our Fraternity. I had so ingratiated my self by my great
Skill in the occult Sciences with a Daemon whom I used to converse
with, that he promised to grant me whatever I should ask of him. I
desired that my Soul might never pass into the Body of a brute
Creature; but this he told me was not in his Power to grant me. I then
begg'd that into whatever Creature I should chance to Transmigrate, I
might still retain my Memory, and be conscious that I was the same
Person who lived in different Animals. This he told me was within his
Power, and accordingly promised on the word of a Daemon that he would
grant me what I desired. From that time forth I lived so very
unblameably, that I was made President of a College of Brachmans, an
Office which I discharged with great Integrity till the day of my
Death. I was then shuffled into another Human Body, and acted my Part
so very well in it, that I became first Minister to a Prince who
reigned upon the Banks of the Ganges. I here lived in great Honour for
several Years, but by degrees lost all the Innocence of the Brachman,
being obliged to rifle and oppress the People to enrich my Sovereign;
till at length I became so odious that my Master, to recover his
Credit with his Subjects, shot me thro the Heart with an Arrow, as I
was one day addressing my self to him at the Head of his Army.

Upon my next remove I found my self in the Woods, under the shape of a
Jack-call, and soon listed my self in the Service of a Lion. I used to
yelp near his Den about midnight, which was his time of rouzing and
seeking after his Prey. He always followed me in the Rear, and when I
had run down a fat Buck, a wild Goat, or an Hare, after he had feasted
very plentifully upon it himself, would now and then throw me a Bone
that was but half picked for my Encouragement; but upon my Being
unsuccessful in two or three Chaces, he gave me such a confounded
Gripe in his Anger, that I died of it.

In my next Transmigration I was again set upon two Legs, and became an
Indian Tax-gatherer; but having been guilty of great Extravagances,
and being marry'd to an expensive Jade of a Wife, I ran so cursedly in
debt, that I durst not shew my Head. I could no sooner step out of my
House, but I was arrested by some body or other that lay in wait for
me. As I ventur'd abroad one Night in the Dusk of the Evening, I was
taken up and hurry'd into a Dungeon, where I died a few Months after.

My Soul then enter'd into a Flying-Fish, and in that State led a most
melancholy Life for the space of six Years. Several Fishes of Prey
pursued me when I was in the Water, and if I betook my self to my
Wings, it was ten to one but I had a flock of Birds aiming at me. As I
was one day flying amidst a fleet of English Ships, I observed a huge
Sea-Gull whetting his Bill and hovering just over my Head: Upon my
dipping into the Water to avoid him, I fell into the Mouth of a
monstrous Shark that swallow'd me down in an instant.

I was some Years afterwards, to my great surprize, an eminent Banker
in Lombard-street; and remembring how I had formerly suffered for want
of Money, became so very sordid and avaritious, that the whole Town
cried shame of me. I was a miserable little old Fellow to look upon,
for I had in a manner starved my self, and was nothing but Skin and
Bone when I died.

I was afterwards very much troubled and amazed to find my self
dwindled into an Emmet. I was heartily concerned to make so
insignificant a Figure, and did not know but some time or other I
might be reduced to a Mite if I did not mend my Manners. I therefore
applied my self with great diligence to the Offices that were allotted
me, and was generally look'd upon as the notablest Ant in the whole
Molehill. I was at last picked up, as I was groaning under a Burden,
by an unlucky Cock-Sparrow that lived in the Neighbourhood, and had
before made great depredations upon our Commonwealth.

I then better'd my Condition a little, and lived a whole Summer in the
Shape of a Bee; but being tired with the painful and penurious Life I
had undergone in my two last Transmigrations, I fell into the other
Extream, and turned Drone. As I one day headed a Party to plunder an
Hive, we were received so warmly by the Swarm which defended it, that
we were most of us left dead upon the Spot.

I might tell you of many other Transmigrations which I went thro: how
I was a Town-Rake, and afterwards did Penance in a Bay Gelding for ten
Years; as also how I was a Taylor, a Shrimp, and a Tom-tit. In the
last of these my Shapes I was shot in the Christmas Holidays by a
young Jack-a-napes, who would needs try his new Gun upon me.

But I shall pass over these and other several Stages of Life, to
remind you of the young Beau who made love to you about Six Years
since. You may remember, Madam, how he masked, and danced, and sung,
and play'd a thousand Tricks to gain you; and how he was at last
carry'd off by a Cold that he got under your Window one Night in a
Serenade. I was that unfortunate young Fellow, whom you were then so
cruel to. Not long after my shifting that unlucky Body, I found myself
upon a Hill in AEthiopia, where I lived in my present Grotesque Shape,
till I was caught by a Servant of the English Factory, and sent over
into Great Britain: I need not inform you how I came into your Hands.
You see, Madam, this is not the first time that you have had me in a
Chain: I am, however, very happy in this my Captivity, as you often
bestow on me those Kisses and Caresses which I would have given the
World for, when I was a Man. I hope this Discovery of my Person will
not tend to my Disadvantage, but that you will still continue your
accustomed Favours to
Your most Devoted
Humble Servant,

P.S. I would advise your little Shock-dog to keep out of my way; for
as I look upon him to be the most formidable of my Rivals, I may
chance one time or other to give him such a Snap as he wont like.


[Footnote 1: Sir Paul Rycaut, the son of a London merchant, after an
education at Trinity College, Cambridge, went in 1661 to Constantinople
as Secretary to the Embassy. He published in 1668 his Present State of
the Ottoman Empire, in three Books, and in 1670 the work here quoted,
A Particular Description of the Mahometan Religion, the Seraglio, the
Maritime and Land Forces of Turkey, abridged in 1701 in Savages
History of the Turks, and translated into French by Bespier in 1707.
Consul afterwards at Smyrna, he wrote by command of Charles II. a book
on The Present State of the Greek and American Churches, published
1679. After his return from the East he was made Privy Councillor and
Judge of the High Court of Admiralty. He was knighted by James II., and
one of the first Fellows of the Royal Society. He published between 1687
and 1700, the year of his death, Knolless History of the Turks, with a
continuation of his own, and also translated Platinas Lives of the
Popes and Garcilaso de la Vegas History of Peru.]

[Footnote 2: [upon]]

* * * * *

No. 344. Friday, April 4, 1712. Steele.

In solo vivendi causa palato est.



I think it has not yet fallen into your Way to discourse on little
Ambition, or the many whimsical Ways Men fall into, to distinguish
themselves among their Acquaintance: Such Observations, well pursued,
would make a pretty History of low Life. I my self am got into a great
Reputation, which arose (as most extraordinary Occurrences in a Man's
Life seem to do) from a mere Accident. I was some Days ago
unfortunately engaged among a Set of Gentlemen, who esteem a Man
according to the Quantity of Food he throws down at a Meal. Now I, who
am ever for distinguishing my self according to the Notions of
Superiority which the rest of the Company entertain, ate so
immoderately for their Applause, as had like to have cost me my Life.
What added to my Misfortune was, that having naturally a good Stomach,
and having lived soberly for some time, my Body was as well prepared
for this Contention as if it had been by Appointment. I had quickly
vanquished every Glutton in Company but one, who was such a Prodigy in
his Way, and withal so very merry during the whole Entertainment, that
he insensibly betrayed me to continue his Competitor, which in a
little time concluded in a compleat Victory over my Rival; after
which, by Way of Insult, I ate a considerable Proportion beyond what
the Spectators thought me obliged in Honour to do. The Effect however
of this Engagement, has made me resolve never to eat more for Renown;
and I have, pursuant to this Resolution, compounded three Wagers I had
depending on the Strength of my Stomach; which happened very luckily,
because it was stipulated in our Articles either to play or pay. How a
Man of common Sense could be thus engaged, is hard to determine; but
the Occasion of this, is to desire you to inform several Gluttons of
my Acquaintance, who look on me with Envy, that they had best moderate
their Ambition in time, lest Infamy or Death attend their Success. I
forgot to tell you, Sir, with what unspeakable Pleasure I received the
Acclamations and Applause of the whole Board, when I had almost eat my
Antagonist into Convulsions: It was then that I returned his Mirth
upon him with such success as he was hardly able to swallow, though
prompted by a Desire of Fame, and a passionate Fondness for
Distinction: I had not endeavoured to excel so far, had not the
Company been so loud in their Approbation of my Victory. I don't
question but the same Thirst after Glory has often caused a Man to
drink Quarts without taking Breath, and prompted Men to many other
difficult Enterprizes; which if otherwise pursued, might turn very
much to a Man's Advantage. This Ambition of mine was indeed
extravagantly pursued; however I cant help observing, that you hardly
ever see a Man commended for a good Stomach, but he immediately falls
to eating more (tho he had before dined) as well to confirm the
Person that commended him in his good Opinion of him, as to convince
any other at the Table, who may have been unattentive enough not to
have done Justice to his Character.
I am, Sir,
Your most humble Servant,
Epicure Mammon.


I have writ to you three or four times, to desire you would take
notice of an impertinent Custom the Women, the fine Women, have lately
fallen into, of taking Snuff. [1] This silly Trick is attended with
such a Coquet Air in some Ladies, and such a sedate masculine one in
others, that I cannot tell which most to complain of; but they are to
me equally disagreeable. Mrs. Saunter is so impatient of being without
it, that she takes it as often as she does Salt at Meals; and as she
affects a wonderful Ease and Negligence in all her manner, an upper
Lip mixed with Snuff and the Sauce, is what is presented to the
Observation of all who have the honour to eat with her. The pretty
Creature her Neice does all she can to be as disagreeable as her Aunt;
and if she is not as offensive to the Eye, she is quite as much to the
Ear, and makes up all she wants in a confident Air, by a nauseous
Rattle of the Nose, when the Snuff is delivered, and the Fingers make
the Stops and Closes on the Nostrils. This, perhaps, is not a very
courtly Image in speaking of Ladies; that is very true: but where
arises the Offence? Is it in those who commit, or those who observe
it? As for my part, I have been so extremely disgusted with this
filthy Physick hanging on the Lip, that the most agreeable
Conversation, or Person, has not been able to make up for it. As to
those who take it for no other end but to give themselves Occasion for
pretty Action, or to fill up little Intervals of Discourse, I can bear
with them; but then they must not use it when another is speaking, who
ought to be heard with too much respect, to admit of offering at that
time from Hand to Hand the Snuff-Box. But Flavilla is so far taken
with her Behaviour in this kind, that she pulls out her Box (which is
indeed full of good Brazile) in the middle of the Sermon; and to shew
she has the Audacity of a well-bred Woman, she offers it the Men as
well as the Women who sit near her: But since by this Time all the
World knows she has a fine Hand, I am in hopes she may give her self
no further Trouble in this matter. On Sunday was sennight, when they
came about for the Offering, she gave her Charity with a very good
Air, but at the same Time asked the Churchwarden if he would take a
Pinch. Pray, Sir, think of these things in time, and you will oblige,


Your most humble servant.


[Footnote 1: Charles Lillie, the perfumer, from whose shop at the corner
of Beaufort Buildings the original Spectators were distributed, left
behind him a book of receipts and observations, The British Perfumer,
Snuff Manufacturer, and Colourmans Guide, of which the MS. was sold
with his business, but which remained unpublished until 1822. He opens
his Part III. on Snuffs with an account of the Origin of Snuff-taking
in England, the practice being one that had become fashionable in his
day, and only about eight years before the appearance of the Spectator.
It dates from Sir George Rooke's expedition against Cadiz in 1702.
Before that time snuff-taking in England was confined to a few luxurious
foreigners and English who had travelled abroad. They took their snuff
with pipes of the size of quills out of small spring boxes. The pipes
let out a very small quantity upon the back of the hand, and this was
snuffed up the nostrils with the intention of producing a sneeze which,
says Lillie, I need not say forms now no part of the design or rather
fashion of snuff-taking; least of all in the ladies who took part in
this method of snuffing defiance at the public enemy. When the fleet,
after the failure of its enterprize against Cadiz, proceeded to cut off
the French ships in Vigobay, on the way it plundered Port St. Mary and
adjacent places, where, among other merchandize, seizure was made of
several thousand barrels and casks, each containing four tin canisters
of snuffs of the best growth and finest Spanish manufacture. At Vigo,
among the merchandize taken from the shipping there destroyed, were
prodigious quantities of gross snuff, from the Havannah, in bales,
bags, and scrows (untanned buffalo hides, used with the hairy-side
inwards, for making packages), which were designed for manufacture in
different parts of Spain. Altogether fifty tons of snuff were brought
home as part of the prize of the officers and sailors of the fleet. Of
the coarse snuff, called Vigo snuff, the sailors, among whom it was
shared, sold waggon-loads at Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Chatham, for not
more than three-pence or four-pence a pound. The greater part of it was
bought up by Spanish Jews, to their own very considerable profit. The
fine snuffs taken at Port St. Mary, and divided among the officers, were
sold by some of them at once for a small price, while others held their
stocks and, as the snuff so taken became popular and gave a patriotic
impulse to the introduction of a fashion which had hitherto been almost
confined to foreigners, they got very high prices for it. This accounts
for the fact that the ladies too had added the use of the perfumed
snuff-box to their other fashionable accomplishments.]

* * * * *

No. 345. Saturday, April 5, 1712. Addison.

Sanctius his animal, mentisque capacius altae
Deerat adhuc, et quod dominari in coetera posset,
Natus homo est.

Ov. Met.

The Accounts which Raphael gives of the Battel of Angels, and the
Creation of the World, have in them those Qualifications which the
Criticks judge requisite to an Episode. They are nearly related to the
principal Action, and have a just Connexion with the Fable.

The eighth Book opens with a beautiful Description of the Impression
which this Discourse of the Archangel made on our first Parent[s]. Adam
afterwards, by a very natural Curiosity, enquires concerning the Motions
of those Celestial Bodies which make the most glorious Appearance among
the six days Works. The Poet here, with a great deal of Art, represents
Eve as withdrawing from this part of their Conversation, to Amusements
more suitable to her Sex. He well knew, that the Episode in this Book,
which is filled with Adams Account of his Passion and Esteem for Eve,
would have been improper for her hearing, and has therefore devised very
just and beautiful Reasons for her Retiring.

So spake our Sire, and by his Countenance seem'd
Entring on studious Thoughts abstruse: which Eve
Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight,
With lowliness majestick, from her Seat,
And Grace, that won who saw to wish her Stay,
Rose; and went forth among her Fruits and Flowers
To visit how they prosper'd, Bud and Bloom,
Her Nursery: they at her coming sprung,
And touch'd by her fair Tendance gladlier grew.
Yet went she not, as not with such Discourse
Delighted, or not capable her Ear
Of what was high: Such Pleasure she reserved,
Adam relating, she sole Auditress;
Her Husband the Relater she preferr'd
Before the Angel, and of him to ask
Chose rather: he, she knew, would intermix
Grateful Digressions, and solve high Dispute
With conjugal Caresses; from his Lip
Not Words alone pleas'd her. O when meet now
Such Pairs, in Love and mutual Honour join'd!

The Angels returning a doubtful Answer to Adams Enquiries, was not
only proper for the Moral Reason which the Poet assigns, but because it
would have been highly absurd to have given the Sanction of an Archangel
to any particular System of Philosophy. The chief Points in the
Ptolemaick and Copernican Hypothesis are described with great
Conciseness and Perspicuity, and at the same time dressed in very
pleasing and poetical Images.

Adam, to detain the Angel, enters afterwards upon his own History, and
relates to him the Circumstances in which he found himself upon his
Creation; as also his Conversation with his Maker, and his first meeting
with Eve. There is no part of the Poem more apt to raise the Attention
of the Reader, than this Discourse of our great Ancestor; as nothing can
be more surprizing and delightful to us, than to hear the Sentiments
that arose in the first Man while he was yet new and fresh from the
Hands of his Creator. The Poet has interwoven every thing which is
delivered upon this Subject in Holy Writ with so many beautiful
Imaginations of his own, that nothing can be conceived more just and
natural than this whole Episode. As our Author knew this Subject could
not but be agreeable to his Reader, he would not throw it into the
Relation of the six days Works, but reserved it for a distinct Episode,
that he might have an opportunity of expatiating upon it more at large.
Before I enter on this part of the Poem, I cannot but take notice of two
shining Passages in the Dialogue between Adam and the Angel. The first
is that wherein our Ancestor gives an Account of the pleasure he took in
conversing with him, which contains a very noble Moral.

For while I sit with thee, I seem in Heavn,
And sweeter thy Discourse is to my Ear
Than Fruits of Palm-tree (pleasantest to Thirst
And Hunger both from Labour) at the hour
Of sweet Repast: they satiate, and soon fill,
Tho pleasant; but thy Words with Grace divine
Imbu'd, bring to their Sweetness no Satiety.

The other I shall mention, is that in which the Angel gives a Reason why
he should be glad to hear the Story Adam was about to relate.

For I that day was absent, as befel,
Bound on a Voyage uncouth and obscure;
Far on Excursion towards the Gates of Hell,
Squar'd in full Legion [such Command we had]
To see that none thence issued forth a Spy,
Or Enemy; while God was in his Work,
Lest he, incens'd at such Eruption bold,
Destruction with Creation might have mix'd.

There is no question but our Poet drew the Image in what follows from
that in Virgil's sixth Book, where AEneas and the Sibyl stand before the
Adamantine Gates, which are there described as shut upon the Place of
Torments, and listen to the Groans, the Clank of Chains, and the Noise
of Iron Whips, that were heard in those Regions of Pain and Sorrow.

--Fast we found, fast shut
The dismal Gates, and barricado'd strong;
But long ere our Approaching heard within
Noise, other than the Sound of Dance or Song,
Torment, and loud Lament, and furious Rage.

Adam then proceeds to give an account of his Condition and Sentiments
immediately after his Creation. How agreeably does he represent the
Posture in which he found himself, the beautiful Landskip that
surrounded him, and the Gladness of Heart which grew up in him on that

--As new waked from soundest Sleep,
Soft on the flowry Herb I found me laid
In balmy Sweat, which with his Beams the Sun
Soon dried, and on the reaking Moisture fed.
Streight towards Heavn my wondring Eyes I turn'd,
And gazed awhile the ample Sky, till rais'd
By quick instinctive Motion, up I sprung,
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright
Stood on my Feet: About me round I saw
Hill, Dale, and shady Woods, and sunny Plains,
And liquid lapse of murmuring Streams; by these
Creatures that liv'd, and mov'd, and walked, or flew,
Birds on the Branches warbling; all things smil'd:
With Fragrance, and with Joy my Heart o'erflow'd.

Adam is afterwards describ'd as surprized at his own Existence, and
taking a Survey of himself, and of all the Works of Nature. He likewise
is represented as discovering by the Light of Reason, that he and every
thing about him must have been the Effect of some Being infinitely good
and powerful, and that this Being had a right to his Worship and
Adoration. His first Address to the Sun, and to those Parts of the
Creation which made the most distinguished Figure, is very natural and
amusing to the Imagination.

--Thou Sun, said I, fair Light,
And thou enlighten'd Earth, so fresh and gay,
Ye Hills and Dales, ye Rivers, Woods and Plains,
And ye that live and move, fair Creatures tell,
Tell if you saw, how came I thus, how here?

His next Sentiment, when upon his first going to sleep he fancies
himself losing his Existence, and falling away into nothing, can never
be sufficiently admired. His Dream, in which he still preserves the
Consciousness of his Existence, together with his removal into the
Garden which was prepared for his Reception, are also Circumstances
finely imagined, and grounded upon what is delivered in Sacred Story.

These and the like wonderful Incidents in this Part of the Work, have in
them all the Beauties of Novelty, at the same time that they have all
the Graces of Nature. They are such as none but a great Genius could
have thought of, tho, upon the perusal of them, they seem to rise of
themselves from the Subject of which he treats. In a word, tho they are
natural, they are not obvious, which is the true Character of all fine

The Impression which the Interdiction of the Tree of Life left in the
Mind of our first Parent, is describ'd with great Strength and Judgment;
as the Image of the several Beasts and Birds passing in review before
him is very beautiful and lively.

--Each Bird and Beast behold
Approaching two and two, these cowring low
With Blandishment; each Bird stoop'd on his Wing:
I nam'd them as they pass'd--

Adam, in the next place, describes a Conference which he held with his
Maker upon the Subject of Solitude. The Poet here represents the supreme
Being, as making an Essay of his own Work, and putting to the tryal that
reasoning Faculty, with which he had endued his Creature. Adam urges, in
this Divine Colloquy, the Impossibility of his being happy, tho he was
the Inhabitant of Paradise, and Lord of the whole Creation, without the
Conversation and Society of some rational Creature, who should partake
those Blessings with him. This Dialogue, which is supported chiefly by
the Beauty of the Thoughts, without other poetical Ornaments, is as fine
a Part as any in the whole Poem: The more the Reader examines the
Justness and Delicacy of its Sentiments, the more he will find himself
pleased with it. The Poet has wonderfully preserved the Character of
Majesty and Condescension in the Creator, and at the same time that of
Humility and Adoration in the Creature, as particularly in the following

Thus I presumptuous; and the Vision bright,
As with a Smile more bright-tied, thus reply'd, &c.

--I, with leave of Speech implor'd
And humble Deprecation, thus reply d:
Let not my Words offend thee, Heavnly Power,
My Maker, be propitious while I speak, &c.

Adam then proceeds to give an account of his second Sleep, and of the
Dream in which he beheld the Formation of Eve. The new Passion that was
awaken'd in him at the sight of her, is touch'd very finely.

Under his forming Hands a Creature grew,
Manlike, but different Sex: so lovely fair,
That what seem'd fair in all the World, seemed now
Mean, or in her summ'd up, in her contained,
And in her Looks; which from that time infused
Sweetness info my Heart, unfelt before:
And into all things from her Air inspired
The Spirit of Love and amorous Delight.

Adams Distress upon losing sight of this beautiful Phantom, with his
Exclamations of Joy and Gratitude at the discovery of a real Creature,
who resembled the Apparition which had been presented to him in his
Dream; the Approaches he makes to her, and his Manner of Courtship; are
all laid together in a most exquisite Propriety of Sentiments.

Tho this Part of the Poem is work'd up with great Warmth and Spirit,
the Love which is described in it is every way suitable to a State of
Innocence. If the Reader compares the Description which Adam here gives
of his leading Eve to the Nuptial Bower, with that which Mr. Dryden has
made on the same occasion in a Scene of his Fall of Man, he will be
sensible of the great care which Milton took to avoid all Thoughts on so
delicate a Subject, that might be offensive to Religion or Good-Manners.
The Sentiments are chaste, but not cold; and convey to the Mind Ideas of
the most transporting Passion, and of the greatest Purity. What a noble
Mixture of Rapture and Innocence has the Author join'd together, in the
Reflection which Adam makes on the Pleasures of Love, compared to those
of Sense.

Thus have I told thee all my State, and brought
My Story to the sum of earthly Bliss,
Which I enjoy; and must confess to find
In all things else Delight indeed, but such
As us'd or not, works in the Mind no Change
Nor vehement Desire; these Delicacies
I mean of Taste, Sight, Smell, Herbs, Fruits, and Flowers,
Walks, and the Melody of Birds: but here
Far otherwise, transported I behold,
Transported touch; here Passion first I felt,
Commotion strange! in all Enjoyments else
Superiour and unmov'd, here only weak
Against the Charms of Beauty's powerful Glance.
Or Nature fail'd in me, and left some Part
Not Proof enough such Object to sustain;
Or from my Side subducting, took perhaps
More than enough; at least on her bestowed
Too much of Ornament in outward shew
Elaborate, of inward less exact.

--When I approach
Her Loveliness, so absolute she seems
And in herself compleat, so well to know
Her own, that what she wills to do or say
Seems wisest, vertuousest, discreetest, best:
All higher Knowledge in her Presence falls
Degraded: Wisdom in discourse with her
Loses discountenanced, and like Folly shews;
Authority and Reason on her wait,
As one intended first, not after made
Occasionally: and to consummate all,
Greatness of Mind, and Nobleness their Seat
Build in her loveliest, and create an Awe
About her, as a Guard angelick plac'd.

These Sentiments of Love, in our first Parent, gave the Angel such an
Insight into Humane Nature, that he seems apprehensive of the Evils
which might befall the Species in general, as well as Adam in
particular, from the Excess of this Passion. He therefore fortifies him
against it by timely Admonitions; which very artfully prepare the Mind
of the Reader for the Occurrences of the next Book, where the Weakness
of which Adam here gives such distant Discoveries, brings about that
fatal Event which is the Subject of the Poem. His Discourse, which
follows the gentle Rebuke he received from the Angel, shews that his
Love, however violent it might appear, was still founded in Reason, and
consequently not improper for Paradise.

Neither her outside Form so fair, nor aught
In Procreation common to all kinds,
(Tho higher of the genial Bed by far,
And with mysterious Reverence I deem)
So much delights me, as those graceful Acts,
Those thousand Decencies that daily flow
From all her Words and Actions, mixt with Love
And sweet Compliance, which declare unfeign'd
Union of Mind, or in us both one Soul;
Harmony to behold in--wedded Pair!

Adams Speech, at parting with the Angel, has in it a Deference and
Gratitude agreeable to an inferior Nature, and at the same time a
certain Dignity and Greatness suitable to the Father of Mankind in his
State of Innocence.


* * * * *

No. 346. Monday, April 7, 1712. Steele.

Consuetudinem benignitatis largitioni Munerum longe antepono. Haec est
Gravium hominum atque Magnorum; Illa quasi assentatorum populi,
multitudinis levitatem voluptate quasi titillantium.


When we consider the Offices of humane Life, there is, methinks,
something in what we ordinarily call Generosity, which when carefully
examined, seems to flow rather from a loose and unguarded Temper, than
an honest and liberal Mind. For this reason it is absolutely necessary
that all Liberality should have for its Basis and Support Frugality. By
this means the beneficent Spirit works in a Man from the Convictions of
Reason, not from the Impulses of Passion. The generous Man, in the
ordinary acceptation, without respect to the Demands of his own Family,
will soon find, upon the Foot of his Account, that he has sacrificed to
Fools, Knaves, Flatterers, or the deservedly Unhappy, all the
Opportunities of affording any future Assistance where it ought to be.
Let him therefore reflect, that if to bestow be in it self laudable,
should not a Man take care to secure Ability to do things praiseworthy
as long as he lives? Or could there be a more cruel Piece of Raillery
upon a Man who should have reduc'd his Fortune below the Capacity of
acting according to his natural Temper, than to say of him, That
Gentleman was generous? My beloved Author therefore has, in the Sentence
on the Top of my Paper, turned his Eye with a certain Satiety from
beholding the Addresses to the People by Largesses and publick
Entertainments, which he asserts to be in general vicious, and are
always to be regulated according to the Circumstances of Time and a
Man's own Fortune. A constant Benignity in Commerce with the rest of the
World, which ought to run through all a Man's Actions, has Effects more
useful to those whom you oblige, and less ostentatious in your self. He
turns his Recommendation of this Virtue in commercial Life: and
according to him a Citizen who is frank in his Kindnesses, and abhors
Severity in his Demands; he who in buying, selling, lending, doing acts
of good Neighbourhood, is just and easy; he who appears naturally averse
to Disputes, and above the Sense of little Sufferings; bears a nobler
Character, and does much more good to Mankind, than any other Man's
Fortune without Commerce can possibly support. For the Citizen above all
other Men has Opportunities of arriving at that highest Fruit of Wealth,
to be liberal without the least Expence of a Man's own Fortune. It is
not to be denied but such a Practice is liable to hazard; but this
therefore adds to the Obligation, that, among Traders, he who obliges is
as much concerned to keep the Favour a Secret, as he who receives it.
The unhappy Distinctions among us in England are so great, that to
celebrate the Intercourse of commercial Friendship, (with which I am
daily made acquainted) would be to raise the virtuous Man so many
Enemies of the contrary Party. I am obliged to conceal all I know of Tom
the Bounteous, who lends at the ordinary Interest, to give Men of less
Fortune Opportunities of making greater Advantages. He conceals, under a
rough Air and distant Behaviour, a bleeding Compassion and womanish
Tenderness. This is governed by the most exact Circumspection, that
there is no Industry wanting in the Person whom he is to serve, and that
he is guilty of no improper Expences. This I know of Tom, but who dare
say it of so known a Tory? The same Care I was forced to use some time
ago in the Report of anothers Virtue, and said fifty instead of a
hundred, because the Man I pointed at was a Whig. Actions of this kind
are popular without being invidious: for every Man of ordinary
Circumstances looks upon a Man who has this known Benignity in his
Nature, as a Person ready to be his Friend upon such Terms as he ought
to expect it; and the Wealthy, who may envy such a Character, can do no
Injury to its Interests but by the Imitation of it, in which the good
Citizens will rejoice to be rivalled. I know not how to form to myself a
greater Idea of Humane Life, than in what is the Practice of some
wealthy Men whom I could name, that make no step to the Improvement of
their own Fortunes, wherein they do not also advance those of other Men,
who would languish in Poverty without that Munificence. In a Nation
where there are so many publick Funds to be supported, I know not
whether he can be called a good Subject, who does not imbark some part
of his Fortune with the State, to whose Vigilance he owes the Security
of the whole. This certainly is an immediate way of laying an Obligation
upon many, and extending his Benignity the furthest a Man can possibly,
who is not engaged in Commerce. But he who trades, besides giving the
State some part of this sort of Credit he gives his Banker, may in all
the Occurrences of his Life have his Eye upon removing Want from the
Door of the Industrious, and defending the unhappy upright Man from
Bankruptcy. Without this Benignity, Pride or Vengeance will precipitate
a Man to chuse the Receipt of half his Demands from one whom he has
undone, rather than the whole from one to whom he has shewn Mercy. This
Benignity is essential to the Character of a fair Trader, and any Man
who designs to enjoy his Wealth with Honour and Self-Satisfaction: Nay,
it would not be hard to maintain, that the Practice of supporting good
and industrious Men, would carry a Man further even to his Profit, than
indulging the Propensity of serving and obliging the Fortunate. My
Author argues on this Subject, in order to incline Mens Minds to those
who want them most, after this manner; We must always consider the
Nature of things, and govern our selves accordingly. The wealthy Man,
when he has repaid you, is upon a Ballance with you; but the Person whom
you favour'd with a Loan, if he be a good Man, will think himself in
your Debt after he has paid you. The Wealthy and the Conspicuous are not
obliged by the Benefit you do them, they think they conferred a Benefit
when they receive one. Your good Offices are always suspected, and it is
with them the same thing to expect their Favour as to receive it. But
the Man below you, who knows in the Good you have done him, you
respected himself more than his Circumstances, does not act like an
obliged Man only to him from whom he has received a Benefit, but also to
all who are capable of doing him one. And whatever little Offices he can
do for you, he is so far from magnifying it, that he will labour to
extenuate it in all his Actions and Expressions. Moreover, the Regard to
what you do to a great Man, at best is taken notice of no further than
by himself or his Family; but what you do to a Man of an humble Fortune,
(provided always that he is a good and a modest Man) raises the
Affections towards you of all Men of that Character (of which there are
many) in the whole City.

There is nothing gains a Reputation to a Preacher so much as his own
Practice; I am therefore casting about what Act of Benignity is in the
Power of a SPECTATOR. Alas, that lies but in a very narrow compass, and
I think the most immediate under my Patronage, are either Players, or
such whose Circumstances bear an Affinity with theirs: All therefore I
am able to do at this time of this Kind, is to tell the Town that on
Friday the 11th of this Instant April, there will be perform'd in
York-Buildings a Consort of Vocal and Instrumental Musick, for the

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