Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The Spectator, Volume 2. by Addison and Steele

Part 2 out of 19

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 2.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

they did before: Thus they despise their old Friends, and strive to
extend their Interests to new Pretenders. By this means it often
happens, that when you come to know how you lost such an Employment, you
will find the Man who got it never dreamed of it; but, forsooth, he was
to be surprized into it, or perhaps sollicited to receive it. Upon such
Occasions as these a Man may perhaps grow out of Humour; and if you are
so, all Mankind will fall in with the Patron, and you are an Humourist
and untractable if you are capable of being sour at a Disappointment:
But it is the same thing, whether you do or do not resent ill Usage, you
will be used after the same Manner; as some good Mothers will be sure to
whip their Children till they cry, and then whip them for crying.

There are but two Ways of doing any thing with great People, and those
are by making your self either considerable or agreeable: The former is
not to be attained but by finding a Way to live without them, or
concealing that you want them; the latter is only by falling into their
Taste and Pleasures: This is of all the Employments in the World the
most servile, except it happens to be of your own natural Humour. For to
be agreeable to another, especially if he be above you, is not to be
possessed of such Qualities and Accomplishments as should render you
agreeable in your self, but such as make you agreeable in respect to
him. An Imitation of his Faults, or a Compliance, if not Subservience,
to his Vices, must be the Measures of your Conduct. When it comes to
that, the unnatural State a Man lives in, when his Patron pleases, is
ended; and his Guilt and Complaisance are objected to him, tho the Man
who rejects him for his Vices was not only his Partner but Seducer. Thus
the Client (like a young Woman who has given up the Innocence which made
her charming) has not only lost his Time, but also the Virtue which
could render him capable of resenting the Injury which is done him.

It would be endless to recount the [Tricks[3]] of turning you off from
themselves to Persons who have less Power to serve you, the Art of being
sorry for such an unaccountable Accident in your Behaviour, that such a
one (who, perhaps, has never heard of you) opposes your Advancement; and
if you have any thing more than ordinary in you, you are flattered with
a Whisper, that tis no Wonder People are so slow in doing for a Man of
your Talents, and the like.

After all this Treatment, I must still add the pleasantest Insolence of
all, which I have once or twice seen; to wit, That when a silly Rogue
has thrown away one Part in three of his Life in unprofitable
Attendance, it is taken wonderfully ill that he withdraws, and is
resolved to employ the rest for himself.

When we consider these things, and reflect upon so many honest Natures
(which one who makes Observation of what passes, may have seen) that
have miscarried by such sort of Applications, it is too melancholy a
Scene to dwell upon; therefore I shall take another Opportunity to
discourse of good Patrons, and distinguish such as have done their Duty
to those who have depended upon them, and were not able to act without
their Favour. Worthy Patrons are like _Plato's_ Guardian Angels, who are
always doing good to their Wards; but negligent Patrons are like
_Epicurus's_ Gods, that lie lolling on the Clouds, and instead of
Blessings pour down Storms and Tempests on the Heads of those that are
offering Incense to them. [4]

[Footnote 1:

Dulcis inexperta cultura potentis amici,
Expertus metuit


[Footnote 2: A son of one of the inferior gentry received as page by a
nobleman wore his lords livery, but had it of more costly materials
than were used for the footmen, and was the immediate attendant of his
patron, who was expected to give him a reputable start in life when he
came of age. Percy notes that a lady who described to him the custom not
very long after it had become obsolete, remembered her own husbands
giving L500 to set up such a page in business.

[Footnote 3: [Trick]]

[Footnote 4: The Daemon or Angel which, in the doctrine of Immortality
according to Socrates or Plato, had the care of each man while alive,
and after death conveyed him to the general place of judgment (Phaedon,
p. 130), is more properly described as a Guardian Angel than the gods of
Epicurus can be said to pour storms on the heads of their worshippers.
Epicurus only represented them as inactive and unconcerned with human

* * * * *

No. 215. Tuesday, November 6, 1711. Addison.

--Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes
Emollit mores, nec sinit esse feros.


I consider an Human Soul without Education like Marble in the Quarry,
which shews none of its inherent Beauties, till the Skill of the
Polisher fetches out the Colours, makes the Surface shine, and discovers
every ornamental Cloud, Spot, and Vein that runs through the Body of it.
Education, after the same manner, when it works upon a noble Mind, draws
out to View every latent Virtue and Perfection, which without such Helps
are never able to make their Appearance.

If my Reader will give me leave to change the Allusion so soon upon him,
I shall make use of the same Instance to illustrate the Force of
Education, which _Aristotle_ has brought to explain his Doctrine of
Substantial Forms, when he tells us that a Statue lies hid in a Block of
Marble; and that the Art of the statuary only clears away the
superfluous Matter, and removes the Rubbish. The Figure is in the Stone,
the Sculptor only finds it. What Sculpture is to a Block of Marble,
Education is to a Human Soul. The Philosopher, the Saint, or the Hero,
the Wise, the Good, or the Great Man, very often lie hid and concealed
in a Plebeian, which a proper Education might have disinterred, and have
brought to Light. I am therefore much delighted with Reading the
Accounts of Savage Nations, and with contemplating those Virtues which
are wild and uncultivated; to see Courage exerting it self in
Fierceness, Resolution in Obstinacy, Wisdom in Cunning, Patience in
Sullenness and Despair.

Mens Passions operate variously, and appear in different kinds of
Actions, according as they are more or less rectified and swayed by
Reason. When one hears of Negroes, who upon the Death of their Masters,
or upon changing their Service, hang themselves upon the next Tree, as
it frequently happens in our _American_ Plantations, who can forbear
admiring their Fidelity, though it expresses it self in so dreadful a
manner? What might not that Savage Greatness of Soul which appears in
these poor Wretches on many Occasions, be raised to, were it rightly
cultivated? And what Colour of Excuse can there be for the Contempt with
which we treat this Part of our Species; That we should not put them
upon the common foot of Humanity, that we should only set an
insignificant Fine upon the Man who murders them; nay, that we should,
as much as in us lies, cut them off from the Prospects of Happiness in
another World as well as in this, and deny them that which we look upon
as the proper Means for attaining it?

Since I am engaged on this Subject, I cannot forbear mentioning a Story
which I have lately heard, and which is so well attested, that I have no
manner of Reason to suspect the Truth of it. I may call it a kind of
wild Tragedy that passed about twelve Years ago at St. _Christopher's_,
one of our _British_ Leeward Islands. The Negroes who were the persons
concerned in it, were all of them the Slaves of a Gentleman who is now
in _England_.

This Gentleman among his Negroes had a young Woman, who was look'd upon
as a most extraordinary Beauty by those of her own Complexion. He had at
the same time two young Fellows who were likewise Negroes and Slaves,
remarkable for the Comeliness of their Persons, and for the Friendship
which they bore to one another. It unfortunately happened that both of
them fell in love with the Female Negro above mentioned, who would have
been very glad to have taken either of them for her Husband, provided
they could agree between themselves which should be the Man. But they
were both so passionately in Love with her, that neither of them could
think of giving her up to his Rival; and at the same time were so true
to one another, that neither of them would think of gaining her without
his Friends Consent. The Torments of these two Lovers were the
Discourse of the Family to which they belonged, who could not forbear
observing the strange Complication of Passions which perplexed the
Hearts of the poor Negroes, that often dropped Expressions of the
Uneasiness they underwent, and how impossible it was for either of them
ever to be happy.

After a long Struggle between Love and Friendship, Truth and Jealousy,
they one Day took a Walk together into a Wood, carrying their Mistress
along with them: Where, after abundance of Lamentations, they stabbed
her to the Heart, of which she immediately died. A Slave who was at his
Work not far from the Place where this astonishing Piece of Cruelty was
committed, hearing the Shrieks of the dying Person, ran to see what was
the Occasion of them. He there discovered the Woman lying dead upon the
Ground, with the two Negroes on each side of her, kissing the dead
Corps, weeping over it, and beating their Breasts in the utmost Agonies
of Grief and Despair. He immediately ran to the _English_ Family with
the News of what he had seen; who upon coming to the Place saw the Woman
dead, and the two Negroes expiring by her with Wounds they had given

We see in this amazing Instance of Barbarity, what strange Disorders are
bred in the minds of those Men whose Passions are not regulated by
Virtue, and disciplined by Reason. Though the Action which I have
recited is in it self full of Guilt and Horror, it proceeded from a
Temper of Mind which might have produced very noble Fruits, had it been
informed and guided by a suitable Education.

It is therefore an unspeakable Blessing to be born in those Parts of the
World where Wisdom and Knowledge flourish; tho it must be confest,
there are, even in these Parts, several poor uninstructed Persons, who
are but little above the Inhabitants of those Nations of which I have
been here speaking; as those who have had the Advantages of a more
liberal Education, rise above one another by several different Degrees
of Perfection. For to return to our Statue in the Block of Marble, we
see it sometimes only begun to be chipped, sometimes rough-hewn and but
just sketched into an human Figure; sometimes we see the Man appearing
distinctly in all his Limbs and Features, sometimes we find the Figure
wrought up to a great Elegancy, but seldom meet with any to which the
Hand of a _Phidias_ or _Praxiteles_ could not give several nice Touches
and Finishings.

Discourses of Morality, and Reflections upon human Nature, are the best
Means we can make use of to improve our Minds, and gain a true Knowledge
of our selves, and consequently to recover our Souls out of the Vice,
Ignorance, and Prejudice, which naturally cleave to them. I have all
along profest myself in this Paper a Promoter of these great Ends; and I
flatter my self that I do from Day to Day contribute something to the
polishing of Mens Minds: at least my Design is laudable, whatever the
Execution may be. I must confess I am not a little encouraged in it by
many Letters, which I receive from unknown Hands, in Approbation of my
Endeavours; and must take this Opportunity of returning my Thanks to
those who write them, and excusing my self for not inserting several of
them in my Papers, which I am sensible would be a very great Ornament to
them. Should I publish the Praises which are so well penned, they would
do Honour to the Persons who write them; but my publishing of them would
I fear be a sufficient Instance to the World that I did not deserve them.


* * * * *

No. 216. Wednesday, November 7, 1711. Steele.

Siquidem hercle possis, nil prius, neque fortius:
Verum si incipies, neque perficies naviter,
Atque ubi pati non poteris, cum nemo expetet,
Infecta pace ultro ad eam venies indicans
Te amare, et ferre non posse: Actum est, ilicet,
Peristi: eludet ubi te victum senserit.




This is to inform you, that Mr. Freeman [1] had no sooner taken Coach,
but his Lady was taken with a terrible Fit of the Vapours, which, 'tis
feared will make her miscarry, if not endanger her Life; therefore,
dear Sir, if you know of any Receipt that is good against this
fashionable reigning Distemper, be pleased to communicate it for the
Good of the Publick, and you will oblige




The Uproar was so great as soon as I had read the _Spectator_
concerning Mrs. _Freeman_, that after many Revolutions in her Temper,
of raging, swooning, railing, fainting, pitying herself, and reviling
her Husband, upon an accidental coming in of a neighbouring Lady (who
says she has writ to you also) she had nothing left for it but to fall
in a Fit. I had the Honour to read the Paper to her, and have a pretty
good Command of my Countenance and Temper on such Occasions; and soon
found my historical Name to be _Tom Meggot_ in your Writings, but
concealed my self till I saw how it affected Mrs. Freeman. She looked
frequently at her Husband, as often at me; and she did not tremble as
she filled Tea, till she came to the Circumstance of _Armstrong's_
writing out a Piece of _Tully_ for an Opera Tune: Then she burst out,
She was exposed, she was deceiv's, she was wronged and abused. The
Tea-cup was thrown in the Fire; and without taking Vengeance on her
Spouse, she said of me, That I was a pretending Coxcomb, a Medler that
knew not what it was to interpose in so nice an Affair as between a
Man and his Wife. To which Mr. _Freeman_; Madam, were I less fond of
you than I am, I should not have taken this Way of writing to the
SPECTATOR, to inform a Woman whom God and Nature has placed under my
Direction with what I request of her; but since you are so indiscreet
as not to take the Hint which I gave you in that Paper, I must tell
you, Madam, in so many Words, that you have for a long and tedious
Space of Time acted a Part unsuitable to the Sense you ought to have
of the Subordination in which you are placed. And I must acquaint you
once for all, that the Fellow without, ha _Tom!_ (here the Footman
entered and answered Madam) Sirrah don't you know my Voice; look upon
me when I speak to you: I say, Madam, this Fellow here is to know of
me my self, whether I am at Leisure to see Company or not. I am from
this Hour Master of this House; and my Business in it, and every where
else, is to behave my self in such a Manner, as it shall be hereafter
an Honour to you to bear my Name; and your Pride, that you are the
Delight, the Darling, and Ornament of a Man of Honour, useful and
esteemed by his Friends; and I no longer one that has buried some
Merit in the World, in Compliance to a froward Humour which has grown
upon an agreeable Woman by his Indulgence. Mr. _Freeman_ ended this
with a Tenderness in his Aspect and a downcast Eye, which shewed he
was extremely moved at the Anguish he saw her in; for she sat swelling
with Passion, and her Eyes firmly fixed on the Fire; when I, fearing
he would lose all again, took upon me to provoke her out of that
amiable Sorrow she was in, to fall upon me; upon which I said very
seasonably for my Friend, That indeed Mr. _Freeman_ was become the
common Talk of the Town; and that nothing was so much a Jest, as when
it was said in Company Mr. _Freeman_ had promised to come to such a
Place. Upon which the good Lady turned her Softness into downright
Rage, and threw the scalding Tea-Kettle upon your humble Servant; flew
into the Middle of the Room, and cried out she was the unfortunatest
of all Women: Others kept Family Dissatisfactions for Hours of Privacy
and Retirement: No Apology was to be made to her, no Expedient to be
found, no previous Manner of breaking what was amiss in her; but all
the World was to be acquainted with her Errors, without the least
Admonition. Mr. _Freeman_ was going to make a softning Speech, but I
interposed; Look you, Madam, I have nothing to say to this Matter, but
you ought to consider you are now past a Chicken; this Humour, which
was well enough in a Girl, is insufferable in one of your Motherly
Character. With that she lost all Patience, and flew directly at her
Husbands Periwig. I got her in my Arms, and defended my Friend: He
making Signs at the same time that it was too much; I beckoning,
nodding, and frowning over her Shoulder, that [he] was lost if he did
not persist. In this manner [we] flew round and round the Room in a
Moment, till the Lady I spoke of above and Servants entered; upon
which she fell on a Couch as breathless. I still kept up my Friend;
but he, with a very silly Air, bid them bring the Coach to the Door,
and we went off, I forced to bid the Coachman drive on. We were no
sooner come to my Lodgings, but all his Wife's Relations came to
enquire after him; and Mrs. _Freeman's_ Mother writ a Note, wherein
she thought never to have seen this Day, and so forth.

In a word, Sir, I am afraid we are upon a thing we have no Talents
for; and I can observe already, my Friend looks upon me rather as a
Man that knows a Weakness of him that he is ashamed of, than one who
has rescu'd him from Slavery. Mr. SPECTATOR, I am but a young Fellow,
and if Mr. _Freeman_ submits, I shall be looked upon as an Incendiary,
and never get a Wife as long as I breathe. He has indeed sent Word
home he shall lie at _Hampstead_ to-night; but I believe Fear of the
first Onset after this Rupture has too great a Place in this
Resolution. Mrs. _Freeman_ has a very pretty Sister; suppose I
delivered him up, and articled with the Mother for her for bringing
him home. If he has not Courage to stand it, (you are a great Casuist)
is it such an ill thing to bring my self off, as well as I can? What
makes me doubt my Man, is, that I find he thinks it reasonable to
expostulate at least with her; and Capt. SENTREY will tell you, if you
let your Orders be disputed, you are no longer a Commander. I wish you
could advise me how to get clear of this Business handsomely.


Tom Meggot.


[Footnote 1: See No. 212]

[Footnote 2: we]

[Footnote 3: he]

* * * * *

No. 217. Thursday, Nov. 8, 1711. Budgell.

--Tunc foemina simplex,
Et pariter toto repetitur clamor ab antro.

Juv. Sat. 6.

I shall entertain my Reader to-day with some Letters from my
Correspondents. The first of them is the Description of a Club, whether
real or imaginary I cannot determine; but am apt to fancy, that the
Writer of it, whoever she is, has formed a kind of Nocturnal Orgie out
of her own Fancy: Whether this be so or not, her Letter may conduce to
the Amendment of that kind of Persons who are represented in it, and
whose Characters are frequent enough in the World.


In some of your first Papers you were pleased to give the Publick a
very diverting Account of several Clubs and nocturnal Assemblies; but
I am a Member of a Society which has wholly escaped your Notice, I
mean a Club of She-Romps. We take each a Hackney-Coach, and meet once
a Week in a large upper Chamber, which we hire by the Year for that
Purpose; our Landlord and his Family, who are quiet People, constantly
contriving to be abroad on our Club-Night. We are no sooner come
together than we throw off all that Modesty and Reservedness with
which our Sex are obliged to disguise themselves in publick Places. I
am not able to express the Pleasure we enjoy from Ten at Night till
four in the Morning, in being as rude as you Men can be, for your
Lives. As our Play runs high the Room is immediately filled with
broken Fans, torn Petticoats, Lappets of Head-dresses, Flounces,
Furbelows, Garters, and Working-Aprons. I had forgot to tell you at
first, that besides the Coaches we come in our selves, there is one
which stands always empty to carry off our _dead Men_, for so we call
all those Fragments and Tatters with which the Room is strewed, and
which we pack up together in Bundles and put into the aforesaid Coach.
It is no small Diversion for us to meet the next Night at some
Members Chamber, where every one is to pick out what belonged to her
from this confused Bundle of Silks, Stuffs, Laces, and Ribbons. I have
hitherto given you an Account of our Diversion on ordinary
Club-Nights; but must acquaint you farther, that once a Month we
_demolish a Prude_, that is, we get some queer formal Creature in
among us, and unrig her in an Instant. Our last Months Prude was so
armed and fortified in Whalebone and Buckram that we had much ado to
come at her; but you would have died with laughing to have seen how
the sober awkward Thing looked when she was forced out of her
Intrenchments. In short, Sir, 'tis impossible to give you a true Notion
of our Sports, unless you would come one Night amongst us; and tho it
be directly against the Rules of our Society to admit a Male Visitant,
we repose so much Confidence in your Silence and Taciturnity,
that was agreed by the whole Club, at our last Meeting, to give you
Entrance for one Night as a Spectator.

_I am, Your Humble Servant,_

Kitty Termagant.

P. S. _We shall demolish a Prude next Thursday._

Tho I thank _Kitty_ for her kind Offer, I do not at present find in my
self any Inclination, to venture my Person with her and her romping
Companions. I should regard my self as a second _Clodius_ intruding on
the Mysterious Rites of the _Bona Dea_, and should apprehend being
_Demolished_ as much as the _Prude_.

The following Letter comes from a Gentleman, whose Taste I find is much
too delicate to endure the least Advance towards Romping. I may perhaps
hereafter improve upon the Hint he has given me, and make it the Subject
of a whole _Spectator;_ in the mean time take it as it follows in his
own Words.


It is my Misfortune to be in Love with a young Creature who is daily
committing Faults, which though they give me the utmost Uneasiness, I
know not how to reprove her for, or even acquaint her with. She is
pretty, dresses well, is rich, and good-humour'd; but either wholly
neglects, or has no Notion of that which Polite People have agreed to
distinguish by the Name of _Delicacy_. After our Return from a Walk
the other Day she threw her self into an Elbow-Chair, and professed
before a large Company, that _she was all over in a Sweat_. She told
me this Afternoon that her _Stomach aked;_ and was complaining
Yesterday at Dinner of something that _stuck in her Teeth_. I treated
her with a Basket of Fruit last Summer, which she eat so very
greedily, as almost made me resolve never to see her more. In short,
Sir, I begin to tremble whenever I see her about to speak or move. As
she does not want Sense, if she takes these Hints I am happy; if not,
I am more than afraid, that these Things which shock me even in the
Behaviour of a Mistress, will appear insupportable in that of a Wife.

_I am, SIR, Yours, &c_.

My next Letter comes from a Correspondent whom I cannot but very much
value, upon the Account which she gives of her self.


I am happily arrived at a State of Tranquillity, which few People
envy, I mean that of an old Maid; therefore being wholly unconcerned
in all that Medley of Follies which our Sex is apt to contract from
their silly Fondness of yours, I read your Railleries on us without
Provocation. I can say with _Hamlet,_

--Man delights not me,
Nor Woman neither--

Therefore, dear Sir, as you never spare your own Sex, do not be afraid
of reproving what is ridiculous in ours, and you will oblige at least
one Woman, who is

_Your humble Servant_, Susannah Frost.


I am Wife to a Clergyman, and cannot help thinking that in your Tenth
or Tithe-Character of Womankind [1] you meant my self, therefore I
have no Quarrel against you for the other Nine Characters.

_Your humble Servant,_ A.B.


[Footnote 1: See No. 209.]

* * * * *

No. 218. Friday, November 9, 1711. Steele.

Quid de quoque viro et cui dicas saepe caveto.


I happened the other Day, as my Way is, to strole into a little
Coffee-house beyond Aldgate; and as I sat there, two or three very plain
sensible Men were talking of the SPECTATOR. One said, he had that
Morning drawn the great Benefit Ticket; another wished he had; but a
third shaked his Head and said, It was pity that the Writer of that
Paper was such a sort of Man, that it was no great Matter whether he had
it or no. He is, it seems, said the good Man, the most extravagant
Creature in the World; has run through vast Sums, and yet been in
continual Want; a Man, for all he talks so well of Oeconomy, unfit for
any of the Offices of Life, by reason of his Profuseness. It would be an
unhappy thing to be his Wife, his Child, or his Friend; and yet he talks
as well of those Duties of Life as any one. Much Reflection has brought
me to so easy a Contempt for every thing which is false, that this heavy
Accusation gave me no manner of Uneasiness; but at the same Time it
threw me into deep Thought upon the Subject of Fame in general; and I
could not but pity such as were so weak, as to value what the common
People say out of their own talkative Temper to the Advantage or
Diminution of those whom they mention, without being moved either by
Malice or Good-will. It will be too long to expatiate upon the Sense all
Mankind have of Fame, and the inexpressible Pleasure which there is in
the Approbation of worthy Men, to all who are capable of worthy Actions;
but methinks one may divide the general Word Fame into three different
Species, as it regards the different Orders of Mankind who have any
Thing to do with it. Fame therefore may be divided into Glory, which
respects the Hero; Reputation, which is preserved by every Gentleman;
and Credit, which must be supported by every Tradesman. These
Possessions in Fame are dearer than Life to these Characters of Men, or
rather are the Life of those Characters. Glory, while the Hero pursues
great and noble Enterprizes, is impregnable; and all the Assailants of
his Renown do but shew their Pain and Impatience of its Brightness,
without throwing the least Shade upon it. If the Foundation of an high
Name be Virtue and Service, all that is offered against it is but
Rumour, which is too short-liv'd to stand up in Competition with Glory,
which is everlasting.

Reputation, which is the Portion of every Man who would live with the
elegant and knowing Part of Mankind, is as stable as Glory, if it be as
well founded; and the common Cause of human Society is thought concerned
when we hear a Man of good Behaviour calumniated: Besides which,
according to a prevailing Custom amongst us, every Man has his Defence
in his own Arm; and Reproach is soon checked, put out of Countenance,
and overtaken by Disgrace.

The most unhappy of all Men, and the most exposed to the Malignity or
Wantonness of the common Voice, is the Trader. Credit is undone in
Whispers. The Tradesman's Wound is received from one who is more private
and more cruel than the Ruffian with the Lanthorn and Dagger. The Manner
of repeating a Man's Name, As; _Mr_. Cash, _Oh! do you leave your Money
at his Shop? Why, do you know Mr_. Searoom? _He is indeed a general
Merchant_. I say, I have seen, from the Iteration of a Man's Name,
hiding one Thought of him, and explaining what you hide by saying
something to his Advantage when you speak, a Merchant hurt in his
Credit; and him who, every Day he lived, literally added to the Value of
his Native Country, undone by one who was only a Burthen and a Blemish
to it. Since every Body who knows the World is sensible of this great
Evil, how careful ought a Man to be in his Language of a Merchant? It
may possibly be in the Power of a very shallow Creature to lay the Ruin
of the best Family in the most opulent City; and the more so, the more
highly he deserves of his Country; that is to say, the farther he places
his Wealth out of his Hands, to draw home that of another Climate.

In this Case an ill Word may change Plenty into Want, and by a rash
Sentence a free and generous Fortune may in a few Days be reduced to
Beggary. How little does a giddy Prater imagine, that an idle Phrase to
the Disfavour of a Merchant may be as pernicious in the Consequence, as
the Forgery of a Deed to bar an Inheritance would be to a Gentleman?
Land stands where it did before a Gentleman was calumniated, and the
State of a great Action is just as it was before Calumny was offered to
diminish it, and there is Time, Place and Occasion expected to unravel
all that is contrived against those Characters; but the Trader who is
ready only for probable Demands upon him, can have no Armour against the
Inquisitive, the Malicious, and the Envious, who are prepared to fill
the Cry to his Dishonour. Fire and Sword are slow Engines of
Destruction, in Comparison of the Babbler in the Case of the Merchant.

For this Reason I thought it an imitable Piece of Humanity of a
Gentleman of my Acquaintance, who had great Variety of Affairs, and used
to talk with Warmth enough against Gentlemen by whom he thought himself
ill dealt with; but he would never let any thing be urged against a
Merchant (with whom he had any Difference) except in a Court of Justice.
He used to say, that to speak ill of a Merchant, was to begin his Suit
with Judgment and Execution. One cannot, I think, say more on this
Occasion, than to repeat, That the Merit of the Merchant is above that
of all other Subjects; for while he is untouched in his Credit, his
Hand-writing is a more portable Coin for the Service of his
Fellow-Citizens, and his Word the Gold of Ophir to the Country wherein
he resides.


* * * * *

No. 219. Saturday, Nov. 10, 1711. Addison.

Vix ea nostra voco--


There are but few Men, who are not ambitious of distinguishing
themselves in the Nation or Country where they live, and of growing
considerable among those with whom they converse. There is a kind of
Grandeur and Respect, which the meanest and most insignificant Part of
Mankind endeavour to procure in the little Circle of their Friends and
Acquaintance. The poorest Mechanick, nay the Man who lives upon common
Alms, gets him his Set of Admirers, and delights in that Superiority
which he enjoys over those who are in some Respects beneath him. This
Ambition, which is natural to the Soul of Man, might methinks receive a
very happy turn; and, if it were rightly directed, contribute as much to
a Persons Advantage, as it generally does to his Uneasiness and

I shall therefore put together some Thoughts on this Subject, which I
have not met with in other Writers: and shall set them down as they have
occurred to me, without being at the Pains to Connect or Methodise them.

All Superiority and Preeminence that one Man can have over another, may
be reduced to the Notion of Quality, which, considered at large, is
either that of Fortune, Body, or Mind. The first is that which consists
in Birth, Title, or Riches, and is the most foreign to our Natures, and
what we can the least call our own of any of the three Kinds of Quality.
In relation to the Body, Quality arises from Health, Strength, or
Beauty, which are nearer to us, and more a Part of our selves than the
former. Quality, as it regards the Mind, has its Rise from Knowledge or
Virtue; and is that which is more essential to us, and more intimately
united with us than either of the other two.

The Quality of Fortune, tho a Man has less Reason to value himself upon
it than on that of the Body or Mind, is however the kind of Quality
which makes the most shining Figure in the Eye of the World.

As Virtue is the most reasonable and genuine Source of Honour, we
generally find in Titles an Imitation of some particular Merit that
should recommend Men to the high Stations which they possess. Holiness
is ascribed to the Pope; Majesty to Kings; Serenity or Mildness of
Temper to Princes; Excellence or Perfection to Ambassadors; Grace to
Archbishops; Honour to Peers; Worship or Venerable Behaviour to
Magistrates; and Reverence, which is of the same Import as the former,
to the inferior Clergy.

In the Founders of great Families, such Attributes of Honour are
generally correspondent with the Virtues of the Person to whom they are
applied; but in the Descendants they are too often the Marks rather of
Grandeur than of Merit. The Stamp and Denomination still continues, but
the Intrinsick Value is frequently lost.

The Death-Bed shews the Emptiness of Titles in a true Light. A poor
dispirited Sinner lies trembling under the Apprehensions of the State he
is entring on; and is asked by a grave Attendant how his Holiness does?
Another hears himself addressed to under the Title of Highness or
Excellency, who lies under such mean Circumstances of Mortality as are
the Disgrace of Human Nature. Titles at such a time look rather like
Insults and Mockery than Respect.

The truth of it is, Honours are in this World under no Regulation; true
Quality is neglected, Virtue is oppressed, and Vice triumphant. The last
Day will rectify this Disorder, and assign to every one a Station
suitable to the Dignity of his Character; Ranks will be then adjusted,
and Precedency set right.

Methinks we should have an Ambition, if not to advance our selves in
another World, at least to preserve our Post in it, and outshine our
Inferiors in Virtue here, that they may not be put above us in a State
which is to Settle the Distinction for Eternity.

Men in Scripture are called _Strangers_ and _Sojourners_ upon _Earth_,
and Life a _Pilgrimage_. Several Heathen, as well as Christian Authors,
under the same kind of Metaphor, have represented the World as an Inn,
which was only designed to furnish us with Accommodations in this our
Passage. It is therefore very absurd to think of setting up our Rest
before we come to our Journeys End, and not rather to take care of the
Reception we shall there meet, than to fix our Thoughts on the little
Conveniences and Advantages which we enjoy one above another in the Way
to it.

_Epictetus_ makes use of another kind of Allusion, which is very
beautiful, and wonderfully proper to incline us to be satisfied with the
Post in which Providence has placed us. We are here, says he, as in a
Theatre, where every one has a Part allotted to him. The great Duty
which lies upon a Man is to act his Part in Perfection. We may indeed
say, that our Part does not suit us, and that we could act another
better. But this (says the Philosopher) is not our Business. All that we
are concerned in is to excel in the Part which is given us. If it be an
improper one, the Fault is not in us, but in him who has _cast_ our
several Parts, and is the great Disposer of the Drama. [1]

The Part that was acted by this Philosopher himself was but a very
indifferent one, for he lived and died a Slave. His Motive to
Contentment in this Particular, receives a very great Inforcement from
the above-mentioned Consideration, if we remember that our Parts in the
other World will be new cast, and that Mankind will be there ranged in
different Stations of Superiority and Praeeminence, in Proportion as they
have here excelled one another in Virtue, and performed in their several
Posts of Life the Duties which belong to them.

There are many beautiful Passages in the little Apocryphal Book,
entitled, _The Wisdom of_ Solomon, to set forth the Vanity of Honour,
and the like temporal Blessings which are in so great Repute among Men,
and to comfort those who have not the Possession of them. It represents
in very warm and noble Terms this Advancement of a good Man in the other
World, and the great Surprize which it will produce among those who are
his Superiors in this. Then shall the righteous Man stand in great
Boldness before the Face of such as have afflicted him, and made no
Account of his Labours. When they see it, they shall be troubled with
terrible Fear, and shall be amazed at the Strangeness of his Salvation,
so far beyond all that they looked for. And they repenting and groaning
for Anguish of Spirit, shall say within themselves; This was he whom we
had sometime in Derision, and a Proverb of Reproach. We Fools accounted
his Life Madness, and his End to be without Honour. How is he numbered
among the Children of God, and his Lot is among the Saints! [2]

If the Reader would see the Description of a Life that is passed away in
Vanity and among the Shadows of Pomp and Greatness, he may see it very
finely drawn in the same Place. [3] In the mean time, since it is
necessary in the present Constitution of things, that Order and
Distinction should be kept in the World, we should be happy, if those
who enjoy the upper Stations in it, would endeavour to surpass others in
Virtue, as much as in Rank, and by their Humanity and Condescension make
their Superiority easy and acceptable to those who are beneath them: and
if, on the contrary, those who are in meaner Posts of Life, would
consider how they may better their Condition hereafter, and by a just
Deference and Submission to their Superiors, make them happy in those
Blessings with which Providence has thought fit to distinguish them.


[Footnote 1: Epict. Enchirid. ch. 23.]

[Footnote 2: Wisd., ch. v. 1-5.]

[Footnote 3: Ch. v. 8-14.]

* * * * *

No. 220. Monday, November 12, 1711. Steele.

Rumoresque serit varios

Virg. [1]


Why will you apply to my Father for my Love? I cannot help it if he
will give you my Person; but I assure you it is not in his Power, nor
even in my own, to give you my Heart. Dear Sir, do but consider the
ill Consequence of such a Match; you are Fifty-five, I Twenty-one. You
are a Man of Business, and mightily conversant in Arithmetick and
making Calculations; be pleased therefore to consider what Proportion
your Spirits bear to mine; and when you have made a just Estimate of
the necessary Decay on one Side, and the Redundance on the other, you
will act accordingly. This perhaps is such Language as you may not
expect from a young Lady; but my Happiness is at Stake, and I must
talk plainly. I mortally hate you; and so, as you and my Father agree,
you may take me or leave me: But if you will be so good as never to
see me more, you will for ever oblige,

Your most humble Servant,_

_Mr._ SPECTATOR, [2]

There are so many Artifices and Modes of false Wit, and such a
Variety of Humour discovers it self among its Votaries, that it would
be impossible to exhaust so fertile a Subject, if you would think fit
to resume it. The following Instances may, if you think fit, be added
by Way of Appendix to your Discourses on that Subject.

That Feat of Poetical Activity mentioned by _Horace_, of an Author
who could compose two hundred Verses while he stood upon one Leg, [3]
has been imitated (as I have heard) by a modern Writer; who priding
himself on the Hurry of his Invention, thought it no small Addition to
his Fame to have each Piece minuted with the exact Number of Hours or
Days it cost him in the Composition. He could taste no Praise till he
had acquainted you in how short Space of Time he had deserved it; and
was not so much led to an Ostentation of his Art, as of his Dispatch.

--Accipe si vis,
Accipe jam tabulas; detur nobis locus, hora,
Custodes: videamus uter plus scribere possit.


This was the whole of his Ambition; and therefore I cannot but think
the Flights of this rapid Author very proper to be opposed to those
laborious Nothings which you have observed were the Delight of the
_German_ Wits, and in which they so happily got rid of such a tedious
Quantity of their Time.

I have known a Gentleman of another Turn of Humour, who, despising
the Name of an Author, never printed his Works, but contracted his
Talent, and by the help of a very fine Diamond which he wore on his
little Finger, was a considerable Poet upon Glass. He had a very good
Epigrammatick Wit; and there was not a Parlour or Tavern Window where
he visited or dined for some Years, which did not receive some
Sketches or Memorials of it. It was his Misfortune at last to lose his
Genius and his Ring to a Sharper at Play; and he has not attempted to
make a Verse since.

But of all Contractions or Expedients for Wit, I admire that of an
ingenious Projector whose Book I have seen. [4] This Virtuoso being a
Mathematician, has, according to his Taste, thrown the Art of Poetry
into a short Problem, and contrived Tables by which any one without
knowing a Word of Grammar or Sense, may, to his great Comfort, be able
to compose or rather to erect _Latin_ Verses. His Tables are a kind of
Poetical Logarithms, which being divided into several Squares, and all
inscribed with so many incoherent Words, appear to the Eye somewhat
like a Fortune-telling Screen. What a Joy must it be to the unlearned
Operator to find that these Words, being carefully collected and writ
down in Order according to the Problem, start of themselves into
Hexameter and Pentameter Verses? A Friend of mine, who is a Student in
Astrology, meeting with this Book, performed the Operation, by the
Rules there set down; he shewed his Verses to the next of his
Acquaintance, who happened to understand _Latin_; and being informed
they described a Tempest of Wind, very luckily prefixed them, together
with a Translation, to an Almanack he was just then printing, and was
supposed to have foretold the last great Storm. [5]

I think the only Improvement beyond this, would be that which the
late Duke of _Buckingham_ mentioned to a stupid Pretender to Poetry,
as the Project of a _Dutch_ Mechanick, _viz_. a Mill to make Verses.
This being the most compendious Method of all which have yet been
proposed, may deserve the Thoughts of our modern Virtuosi who are
employed in new Discoveries for the publick Good: and it may be worth
the while to consider, whether in an Island where few are content
without being thought Wits, it will not be a common Benefit, that Wit
as well as Labour should be made cheap.

_I am, SIR, Your humble Servant, &c._


I often dine at a Gentleman's House, where there are two young
Ladies, in themselves very agreeable, but very cold in their
Behaviour, because they understand me for a Person that is to break my
Mind, as the Phrase is, very suddenly to one of them. But I take this
Way to acquaint them, that I am not in Love with either of them, in
Hopes they will use me with that agreeable Freedom and Indifference
which they do all the rest of the World, and not to drink to one
another [only,] but sometimes cast a kind Look, with their Service to,

_SIR, Your humble Servant._


I am a young Gentleman, and take it for a Piece of Good-breeding to
pull off my Hat when I see any thing particularly charming in any
Woman, whether I know her or not. I take care that there is nothing
ludicrous or arch in my Manner, as if I were to betray a Woman into a
Salutation by Way of Jest or Humour; and yet except I am acquainted
with her, I find she ever takes it for a Rule, that she is to look
upon this Civility and Homage I pay to her supposed Merit, as an
Impertinence or Forwardness which she is to observe and neglect. I
wish, Sir, you would settle the Business of salutation; and please to
inform me how I shall resist the sudden Impulse I have to be civil to
what gives an Idea of Merit; or tell these Creatures how to behave
themselves in Return to the Esteem I have for them. My Affairs are
such, that your Decision will be a Favour to me, if it be only to save
the unnecessary Expence of wearing out my Hat so fast as I do at

There are some that do know me, and wont bow to me.

_I am, SIR,


[Footnote 1:

--Aliena negotia centum
Per caput, et circa saliunt latus.


[Footnote 2: This letter is by John Hughes.]

[Footnote 3:

--in hora saepe ducentos,
Ut magnum, versus dictabat stans pede in uno.

Sat. I. iv. 10.]

[Footnote 4: A pamphlet by John Peter, Artificial Versifying, a New Way
to make Latin Verses. Lond. 1678.]

[Footnote 5: Of Nov. 26, 1703, which destroyed in London alone property
worth a million.]

* * * * *

No. 221. Tuesday, November 13, 1711. Addison.

--Ab Ovo
Usque ad Mala--


When I have finished any of my Speculations, it is my Method to consider
which of the ancient Authors have touched upon the Subject that I treat
of. By this means I meet with some celebrated Thought upon it, or a
Thought of my own expressed in better Words, or some Similitude for the
Illustration of my Subject. This is what gives Birth to the Motto of a
Speculation, which I rather chuse to take out of the Poets than the
Prose-writers, as the former generally give a finer Turn to a Thought
than the latter, and by couching it in few Words, and in harmonious
Numbers, make it more portable to the Memory.

My Reader is therefore sure to meet with at least one good Line in every
Paper, and very often finds his Imagination entertained by a Hint that
awakens in his Memory some beautiful Passage of a Classick Author.

It was a Saying of an ancient Philosopher, which I find some of our
Writers have ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, who perhaps might have taken
occasion to repeat it, That a good Face is a Letter of Recommendation.
[1] It naturally makes the Beholders inquisitive into the Person who is
the Owner of it, and generally prepossesses them in his Favour. A
handsome Motto has the same Effect. Besides that, it always gives a
Supernumerary Beauty to a Paper, and is sometimes in a manner necessary
when the Writer is engaged in what may appear a Paradox to vulgar Minds,
as it shews that he is supported by good Authorities, and is not
singular in his Opinion.

I must confess, the Motto is of little Use to an unlearned Reader, for
which Reason I consider it only as _a Word to the Wise_. But as for my
unlearned Friends, if they cannot relish the Motto, I take care to make
Provision for them in the Body of my Paper. If they do not understand
the Sign that is hung out, they know very well by it, that they may meet
with Entertainment in the House; and I think I was never better pleased
than with a plain Man's Compliment, who, upon his Friends telling him
that he would like the _Spectator_ much better if he understood the
Motto, replied, _That good Wine needs no Bush_.

I have heard of a Couple of Preachers in a Country Town, who endeavoured
which should outshine one another, and draw together the greatest
Congregation. One of them being well versed in the Fathers, used to
quote every now and then a _Latin_ Sentence to his illiterate Hearers,
who it seems found themselves so edified by it, that they flocked in
greater Numbers to this learned Man than to his Rival. The other finding
his Congregation mouldering every _Sunday_, and hearing at length what
was the Occasion of it, resolved to give his Parish a little _Latin_ in
his Turn; but being unacquainted with any of the Fathers, he digested
into his Sermons the whole Book of Quae Genus, adding however such
Explications to it as he thought might be for the Benefit of his People.
He afterwards entered upon _As in praesenti_, [2] which he converted in
the same manner to the Use of his Parishioners. This in a very little
time thickned his Audience, filled his Church, and routed his

The natural Love to _Latin_ which is so prevalent in our common People,
makes me think that my Speculations fare never the worse among them for
that little Scrap which appears at the Head of them; and what the more
encourages me in the Use of Quotations in an unknown Tongue is, that I
hear the Ladies, whose Approbation I value more than that of the whole
Learned World, declare themselves in a more particular manner pleased
with my _Greek_ Mottos.

Designing this Days Work for a Dissertation upon the two Extremities of
my Paper, and having already dispatch'd my Motto, I shall, in the next
place, discourse upon those single Capital Letters, which are placed at
the End of it, and which have afforded great Matter of Speculation to
the Curious. I have heard various Conjectures upon this Subject. Some
tell us that C is the Mark of those Papers that are written by the
Clergyman, though others ascribe them to the Club in general: That the
Papers marked with R were written by my Friend Sir ROGER: That L
signifies the Lawyer, whom I have described in my second Speculation;
and that T stands for the Trader or Merchant: But the Letter X, which is
placed at the End of some few of my Papers, is that which has puzzled
the whole Town, as they cannot think of any Name which begins with that
Letter, except _Xenophon_ and _Xerxes_, who can neither of them be
supposed to have had any Hand in these Speculations.

In Answer to these inquisitive Gentlemen, who have many of them made
Enquiries of me by Letter, I must tell them the Reply of an ancient
Philosopher, who carried something hidden under his Cloak. A certain
Acquaintance desiring him to let him know what it was he covered so
carefully; _I cover it,_ says he, _on purpose that you should not know_.
I have made use of these obscure Marks for the same Purpose. They are,
perhaps, little Amulets or Charms to preserve the Paper against the
Fascination and Malice of evil Eyes; for which Reason I would not have
my Reader surprized, if hereafter he sees any of my Papers marked with a
Q, a Z, a Y, an &c., or with the Word _Abracadabra_ [3]

I shall, however, so far explain my self to the Reader, as to let him
know that the Letters, C, L, and X, are Cabalistical, and carry more in
them than it is proper for the World to be acquainted with. Those who
are versed in the Philosophy of Pythagoras, and swear by the
_Tetrachtys_, [4] that is, the Number Four, will know very well that the
Number _Ten_, which is signified by the Letter X, (and which has so much
perplexed the Town) has in it many particular Powers; that it is called
by Platonick Writers the Complete Number; that One, Two, Three and Four
put together make up the Number Ten; and that Ten is all. But these are
not Mysteries for ordinary Readers to be let into. A Man must have spent
many Years in hard Study before he can arrive at the Knowledge of them.

We had a Rabbinical Divine in _England_, who was Chaplain to the Earl of
_Essex_ in Queen _Elizabeth's_ Time, that had an admirable Head for
Secrets of this Nature. Upon his taking the Doctor of Divinity's Degree,
he preached before the University of _Cambridge_, upon the _First_ Verse
of the _First_ Chapter of the _First_ Book of _Chronicles_, in which,
says he, you have the three following Words,

_Adam, Sheth, Enosh_.

He divided this short Text into many Parts, and by discovering several
Mysteries in each Word, made a most Learned and Elaborate Discourse. The
Name of this profound Preacher was Doctor _Alabaster_, of whom the
Reader may find a more particular Account in Doctor _Fullers_ Book of
_English_ Worthies. [5] This Instance will, I hope, convince my Readers
that there may be a great deal of fine Writing in the Capital Letters
which bring up the Rear of my Paper, and give them some Satisfaction in
that Particular. But as for the full Explication of these Matters, I
must refer them to Time, which discovers all things.


[Footnote 1: Diogenes Laertius, Bk. V. ch. I.]

[Footnote 2: Quae Genus and As in Praesenti were the first words in
collections of rules then and until recently familiar as part of the
standard Latin Grammar, Lilly's, to which Erasmus and Colet contributed,
and of which Wolsey wrote the original Preface.]

[Footnote 3: Abraxas, which in Greek letters represents 365, the number
of the deities supposed by the Basilidians to be subordinate to the All
Ruling One, was a mystical name for the supreme God, and was engraved as
a charm on stones together with the figure of a human body (Cadaver),
with cats head and reptiles feet. From this the name Abracadabra may
have arisen, with a sense of power in it as a charm. Serenus Sammonicus,
a celebrated physician who lived about A.D. 210, who had, it is said, a
library of 62,000 volumes, and was killed at a banquet by order of
Caracalla, said in an extant Latin poem upon Medicine and Remedies, that
fevers were cured by binding to the body the word Abracadabra written in
this fashion:


and so on, till there remained only the initial A. His word was taken,
and this use of the charm was popular even in the Spectators time. It
is described by Defoe in his History of the Plague.]

[Footnote 4: The number Four was called Tetractys by the Pythagoreans,
who accounted it the most powerful of numbers, because it was the
foundation of them all, and as a square it signified solidity. They said
it was at the source of Nature, four elements, four seasons, &c., to
which later speculators added the four rivers of Paradise, four
evangelists, and association of the number four with God, whose name was
a mystical Tetra grammaton, Jod, He, Vau, He.]

[Footnote 5: Where it is explained that Adam meaning Man; Seth, placed;
and Enosh, Misery: the mystic inference is that Man was placed in

* * * * *

No. 222. Wednesday, November 14, 1711. Steele.

Cur alter fratrum cessare, et ludere, et ungi,
Praeferat Herodis palmetis pinguibus



There is one thing I have often look'd for in your Papers, and have
as often wondered to find my self disappointed; the rather, because I
think it a Subject every way agreeable to your Design, and by being
left unattempted by others, seems reserved as a proper Employment for
you; I mean a Disquisition, from whence it proceeds, that Men of the
brightest Parts, and most comprehensive Genius, compleatly furnished
with Talents for any Province in humane Affairs; such as by their wise
Lessons of Oeconomy to others have made it evident, that they have the
justest Notions of Life and of true Sense in the Conduct of it--: from
what unhappy contradictious Cause it proceeds, that Persons thus
finished by Nature and by Art, should so often fail in the Management
of that which they so well understand, and want the Address to make a
right Application of their own Rules. This is certainly a prodigious
Inconsistency in Behaviour, and makes much such a Figure in Morals as
a monstrous Birth in Naturals, with this Difference only, which
greatly aggravates the Wonder, that it happens much more frequently;
and what a Blemish does it cast upon Wit and Learning in the general
Account of the World? And in how disadvantageous a Light does it
expose them to the busy Class of Mankind, that there should be so many
Instances of Persons who have so conducted their Lives in spite of
these transcendent Advantages, as neither to be happy in themselves,
nor useful to their Friends; when every Body sees it was entirely in
their own Power to be eminent in both these Characters? For my part, I
think there is no Reflection more astonishing, than to consider one of
these Gentlemen spending a fair Fortune, running in every Body's Debt
without the least Apprehension of a future Reckoning, and at last
leaving not only his own Children, but possibly those of other People,
by his Means, in starving Circumstances; while a Fellow, whom one
would scarce suspect to have a humane Soul, shall perhaps raise a vast
Estate out of Nothing, and be the Founder of a Family capable of being
very considerable in their Country, and doing many illustrious
Services to it. That this Observation is just, Experience has put
beyond all Dispute. But though the Fact be so evident and glaring, yet
the Causes of it are still in the Dark; which makes me persuade my
self, that it would be no unacceptable Piece of Entertainment to the
Town, to inquire into the hidden Sources of so unaccountable an Evil.
_I am, SIR, Your most Humble Servant_.

What this Correspondent wonders at, has been Matter of Admiration ever
since there was any such thing as humane Life. _Horace_ reflects upon
this Inconsistency very agreeably in the Character of _Tigellius_, whom
he makes a mighty Pretender to Oeconomy, and tells you, you might one
Day hear him speak the most philosophick Things imaginable concerning
being contented with a little, and his Contempt of every thing but mere
Necessaries, and in Half a Week after spend a thousand Pound. When he
says this of him with Relation to Expence, he describes him as unequal
to himself in every other Circumstance of Life. And indeed, if we
consider lavish Men carefully, we shall find it always proceeds from a
certain Incapacity of possessing themselves, and finding Enjoyment in
their own Minds. Mr. _Dryden_ has expressed this very excellently in the
Character of _Zimri_. [1]

A Man so various, that he seem'd to be
Not one, but all Mankind's Epitome.
Stiff in Opinion, always in the Wrong,
Was every Thing by Starts, and Nothing long;
But in the Course of one revolving Moon,
Was Chymist, Fidler, Statesman, and Buffoon.
Then all for Women, Painting, Rhiming, Drinking,
Besides ten thousand Freaks that died in thinking;
Blest Madman, who could every Hour employ
In something new to wish or to enjoy!
In squandering Wealth was his peculiar Art,
Nothing went unrewarded but Desert.

This loose State of the Soul hurries the Extravagant from one Pursuit to
another; and the Reason that his Expences are greater than anothers,
is, that his Wants are also more numerous. But what makes so many go on
in this Way to their Lives End, is, that they certainly do not know how
contemptible they are in the Eyes of the rest of Mankind, or rather,
that indeed they are not so contemptible as they deserve. _Tully_ says,
it is the greatest of Wickedness to lessen your paternal Estate. And if
a Man would thoroughly consider how much worse than Banishment it must
be to his Child, to ride by the Estate which should have been his had it
not been for his Fathers Injustice to him, he would be smitten with the
Reflection more deeply than can be understood by any but one who is a
Father. Sure there can be nothing more afflicting than to think it had
been happier for his Son to have been born of any other Man living than

It is not perhaps much thought of, but it is certainly a very important
Lesson, to learn how to enjoy ordinary Life, and to be able to relish
your Being without the Transport of some Passion or Gratification of
some Appetite. For want of this Capacity, the World is filled with
Whetters, Tipplers, Cutters, Sippers, and all the numerous Train of
those who, for want of Thinking, are forced to be ever exercising their
Feeling or Tasting. It would be hard on this Occasion to mention the
harmless Smoakers of Tobacco and Takers of Snuff.

The slower Part of Mankind, whom my Correspondent wonders should get
Estates, are the more immediately formed for that Pursuit: They can
expect distant things without Impatience, because they are not carried
out of their Way either by violent Passion or keen Appetite to any
thing. To Men addicted to Delight[s], Business is an Interruption; to
such as are cold to Delights, Business is an Entertainment. For which
Reason it was said to one who commended a dull Man for his Application,

_No Thanks to him; if he had no Business, he would have nothing to do._


[Footnote 1: i.e. The Duke of Buckingham, in Part I. of 'Absalom and

* * * * *

No. 223. Thursday, Nov. 15, 1711. Addison.

O suavis Anima! qualem te dicam bonam
Antehac fuisse, tales cum sint reliquiae!


When I reflect upon the various Fate of those Multitudes of Ancient
Writers who flourished in _Greece_ and _Italy_, I consider Time as an
Immense Ocean, in which many noble Authors are entirely swallowed up,
many very much shattered and damaged, some quite disjointed and broken
into pieces, while some have wholly escaped the Common Wreck; but the
Number of the last is very small.

_Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto_.

Among the mutilated Poets of Antiquity, there is none whose Fragments
are so beautiful as those of _Sappho_. They give us a Taste of her Way
of Writing, which is perfectly conformable with that extraordinary
Character we find of her, in the Remarks of those great Criticks who
were conversant with her Works when they were entire. One may see by
what is left of them, that she followed Nature in all her Thoughts,
without descending to those little Points, Conceits, and Turns of Wit
with which many of our modern Lyricks are so miserably infected. Her
Soul seems to have been made up of Love and Poetry; She felt the Passion
in all its Warmth, and described it in all its Symptoms. She is called
by ancient Authors the Tenth Muse; and by _Plutarch_ is compared to
_Cacus_ the Son of _Vulcan_, who breathed out nothing but Flame. I do
not know, by the Character that is given of her Works, whether it is not
for the Benefit of Mankind that they are lost. They were filled with
such bewitching Tenderness and Rapture, that it might have been
dangerous to have given them a Reading.

An Inconstant Lover, called _Phaon_, occasioned great Calamities to this
Poetical Lady. She fell desperately in Love with him, and took a Voyage
into _Sicily_ in Pursuit of him, he having withdrawn himself thither on
purpose to avoid her. It was in that Island, and on this Occasion, she
is supposed to have made the Hymn to _Venus_, with a Translation of
which I shall present my Reader. Her Hymn was ineffectual for the
procuring that Happiness which she prayed for in it. _Phaon_ was still
obdurate, and _Sappho_ so transported with the Violence of her Passion,
that she was resolved to get rid of it at any Price.

There was a Promontory in _Acarnania_ called _Leucrate_ [1] on the Top
of which was a little Temple dedicated to Apollo. In this Temple it was
usual for _despairing_ Lovers to make their Vows in secret, and
afterwards to fling themselves from the Top of the Precipice into the
Sea, where they were sometimes taken up alive. This Place was therefore
called, _The Lovers Leap_; and whether or no the Fright they had been
in, or the Resolution that could push them to so dreadful a Remedy, or
the Bruises which they often received in their Fall, banished all the
tender Sentiments of Love, and gave their Spirits another Turn; those
who had taken this Leap were observed never to relapse into that
Passion. _Sappho_ tried the Cure, but perished in the Experiment.

After having given this short Account of _Sappho_ so far as it regards
the following Ode, I shall subjoin the Translation of it as it was sent
me by a Friend, whose admirable Pastorals and _Winter-Piece_ have been
already so well received. [2] The Reader will find in it that Pathetick
Simplicity which is so peculiar to him, and so suitable to the Ode he
has here Translated. This Ode in the Greek (besides those Beauties
observed by Madam _Dacier_) has several harmonious Turns in the Words,
which are not lost in the _English_. I must farther add, that the
Translation has preserved every Image and Sentiment of _Sappho_,
notwithstanding it has all the Ease and Spirit of an Original. In a
Word, if the Ladies have a mind to know the Manner of Writing practised
by the so much celebrated _Sappho_, they may here see it in its genuine
and natural Beauty, without any foreign or affected Ornaments.


I. _O_ Venus, _Beauty of the Skies,
To whom a Thousand Temples rise,
Gayly false in gentle Smiles,
Full of Loves perplexing Wiles;
O Goddess! from my Heart remove
The wasting Cares and Pains of Love_.

II. _If ever thou hast kindly heard
A Song in soft Distress preferr'd,
Propitious to my tuneful Vow,
O gentle Goddess! hear me now.
Descend, thou bright, immortal Guest,
In all thy radiant Charms confest_.

III. _Thou once didst leave Almighty Jove,
And all the Golden Roofs above:
The Carr thy wanton Sparrows drew;
Hovring in Air they lightly flew,
As to my Bower they wing'd their Way:
I saw their quivring Pinions play_.

IV. _The Birds dismist (while you remain)
Bore back their empty Carr again:
Then You, with Looks divinely mild,
In evry heavnly Feature smil'd,
And ask'd what new Complaints I made,
And why I call'd you to my Aid_?

V. _What Phrenzy in my Bosom rag'd,
And by what Care to be asswag'd?
What gentle Youth I could allure,
Whom in my artful Toiles secure?
Who does thy tender Heart subdue,
Tell me, my_ Sappho, _tell me Who_?

VI. _Tho now he Shuns thy longing Arms,
He soon shall court thy slighted Charms;
Tho now thy Offrings he despise,
He soon to thee shall Sacrifice;
Tho now he freeze, he soon shall burn,
And be thy Victim in his turn_.

VII. _Celestial Visitant, once more
Thy needful Presence I implore!
In Pity come and ease my Grief,
Bring my distemper'd Soul Relief;
Favour thy Suppliants hidden Fires,
And give me All my Heart desires_.

Madam _Dacier_ observes, there is something very pretty in that
Circumstance of this Ode, wherein _Venus_ is described as sending away
her Chariot upon her Arrival at _Sappho's_ Lodgings, to denote that it
was not a short transient Visit which she intended to make her. This Ode
was preserved by an eminent _Greek_ Critick, [3] who inserted it intire
in his Works, as a Pattern of Perfection in the Structure of it.

_Longinus_ has quoted another Ode of this great Poetess, which is
likewise admirable in its Kind, and has been translated by the same Hand
with the foregoing one. I shall oblige my Reader with it in another
Paper. In the mean while, I cannot but wonder, that these two finished
Pieces have never been attempted before by any of our Countrymen. But
the Truth of it is, the Compositions of the Ancients, which have not in
them any of those unnatural Witticisms that are the Delight of ordinary
Readers, are extremely difficult to render into another Tongue, so as
the Beauties of the Original may not appear weak and faded in the


[Footnote 1: Leucas]

[Footnote 2: Ambrose Philips, whose Winter Piece appeared in No. 12 of
the _Tatler_, and whose six Pastorals preceded those of Pope. Philips's
Pastorals had appeared in 1709 in a sixth volume of a Poetical
Miscellany issued by Jacob Tonson. The first four volumes of that
Miscellany had been edited by Dryden, the fifth was collected after
Dryden's death, and the sixth was notable for opening with the Pastorals
of Ambrose Philips and closing with those of young Pope which Tonson had
volunteered to print, thereby, said Wycherley, furnishing a Jacob's
ladder by which Pope mounted to immortality. In a letter to his friend
Mr. Henry Cromwell, Pope said, generously putting himself out of
account, that there were no better eclogues in our language than those
of Philips; but when afterwards Tickell in the _Guardian_, criticising
Pastoral Poets from Theocritus downwards, exalted Philips and passed
over Pope, the slighted poet took his revenge by sending to Steele an
amusing one paper more upon Pastorals. This was ironical exaltation of
the worst he could find in Philips over the best bits of his own work,
which Steele inserted (it is No. 40 of the _Guardian_). Hereupon
Philips, it is said, stuck up a rod in Buttons Coffee House, which he
said was to be used on Pope when next he met him. Pope retained his
wrath, and celebrated Philips afterwards under the character of Macer,
saying of this _Spectator_ time,

_When simple Macer, now of high renown,
First sought a Poets fortune in the town,
Twas all the ambition his high soul could feel,
To wear red stockings, and to dine with Steele._]

[Footnote 3: Dionysius of Halicarnassus.]

* * * * *

No. 224. Friday, November 16, 1711. Hughes.

--Fulgente trahit constrictos Gloria curru
Non minus ignotos generosis

Hor. Sat. 6.

If we look abroad upon the great Multitudes of Mankind, and endeavour to
trace out the Principles of Action in every Individual, it will, I
think, seem highly probable that Ambition runs through the whole
Species, and that every Man in Proportion to the Vigour of his
Complection is more or less actuated by it. It is indeed no uncommon
thing to meet with Men, who by the natural Bent of their Inclinations,
and without the Discipline of Philosophy, aspire not to the Heights of
Power and Grandeur; who never set their Hearts upon a numerous Train of
Clients and Dependancies, nor other gay Appendages of Greatness; who are
contented with a Competency, and will not molest their Tranquillity to
gain an Abundance: But it is not therefore to be concluded that such a
Man is not Ambitious; his Desires may have cut out another Channel, and
determined him to other Pursuits; the Motive however may be still the
same; and in these Cases likewise the Man may be equally pushed on with
the Desire of Distinction.

Though the pure Consciousness of worthy Actions, abstracted from the
Views of popular Applause, be to a generous Mind an ample Reward, yet
the Desire of Distinction was doubtless implanted in our Natures as an
additional Incentive to exert our selves in virtuous Excellence.

This Passion indeed, like all others, is frequently perverted to evil
and ignoble Purposes; so that we may account for many of the
Excellencies and Follies of Life upon the same innate Principle, to wit,
the Desire of being remarkable: For this, as it has been differently
cultivated by Education, Study and Converse, will bring forth suitable
Effects as it falls in with an [ingenuous] [1] Disposition, or a corrupt
Mind; it does accordingly express itself in Acts of Magnanimity or
selfish Cunning, as it meets with a good or a weak Understanding. As it
has been employed in embellishing the Mind, or adorning the Outside, it
renders the Man eminently Praise-worthy or ridiculous. Ambition
therefore is not to be confined only to one Passion or Pursuit; for as
the same Humours, in Constitutions otherwise different, affect the Body
after different Manners, so the same aspiring Principle within us
sometimes breaks forth upon one Object, sometimes upon another.

It cannot be doubted, but that there is as great Desire of Glory in a
Ring of Wrestlers or Cudgel-Players, as in any other more refined
Competition for Superiority. No Man that could avoid it, would ever
suffer his Head to be broken but out of a Principle of Honour. This is
the secret Spring that pushes them forward; and the Superiority which
they gain above the undistinguish'd many, does more than repair those
Wounds they have received in the Combat. Tis Mr. _Waller's_ Opinion,
that _Julius Caesar_, had he not been Master of the _Roman_ Empire, would
in all Probability have made an excellent Wrestler.

_Great_ Julius _on the Mountains bred,
A Flock perhaps or Herd had led;
He that the World subdued, had been
But the best Wrestler on the Green._ [2]

That he subdued the World, was owing to the Accidents of Art and
Knowledge; had he not met with those Advantages, the same Sparks of
Emulation would have kindled within him, and prompted him to distinguish
himself in some Enterprize of a lower Nature. Since therefore no Man's
Lot is so unalterably fixed in this Life, but that a thousand Accidents
may either forward or disappoint his Advancement, it is, methinks, a
pleasant and inoffensive Speculation, to consider a great Man as
divested of all the adventitious Circumstances of Fortune, and to bring
him down in ones Imagination to that low Station of Life, the Nature of
which bears some distant Resemblance to that high one he is at present
possessed of. Thus one may view him exercising in Miniature those
Talents of Nature, which being drawn out by Education to their full
Length, enable him for the Discharge of some important Employment. On
the other Hand, one may raise uneducated Merit to such a Pitch of
Greatness as may seem equal to the possible Extent of his improved

Thus Nature furnishes a Man with a general Appetite of Glory, Education
determines it to this or that particular Object. The Desire of
Distinction is not, I think, in any Instance more observable than in the
Variety of Outsides and new Appearances, which the modish Part of the
World are obliged to provide, in order to make themselves remarkable;
for any thing glaring and particular, either in Behaviour or Apparel, is
known to have this good Effect, that it catches the Eye, and will not
suffer you to pass over the Person so adorned without due Notice and
Observation. It has likewise, upon this Account, been frequently
resented as a very great Slight, to leave any Gentleman out of a Lampoon
or Satyr, who has as much Right to be there as his Neighbour, because it
supposes the Person not eminent enough to be taken notice of. To this
passionate Fondness for Distinction are owing various frolicksome and
irregular Practices, as sallying out into Nocturnal Exploits, breaking
of Windows, singing of Catches, beating the Watch, getting Drunk twice a
Day, killing a great Number of Horses; with many other Enterprizes of
the like fiery Nature: For certainly many a Man is more Rakish and
Extravagant than he would willingly be, were there not others to look on
and give their Approbation.

One very Common, and at the same time the most absurd Ambition that ever
shewed it self in Humane Nature, is that which comes upon a Man with
Experience and old Age, the Season when it might be expected he should
be wisest; and therefore it cannot receive any of those lessening
Circumstances which do, in some measure, excuse the disorderly Ferments
of youthful Blood: I mean the Passion for getting Money, exclusive of
the Character of the Provident Father, the Affectionate Husband, or the
Generous Friend. It may be remarked, for the Comfort of honest Poverty,
that this Desire reigns most in those who have but few good Qualities to
recommend them. This is a Weed that will grow in a barren Soil.
Humanity, Good Nature, and the Advantages of a Liberal Education, are
incompatible with Avarice. Tis strange to see how suddenly this abject
Passion kills all the noble Sentiments and generous Ambitions that adorn
Humane Nature; it renders the Man who is over-run with it a peevish and
cruel Master, a severe Parent, an unsociable Husband, a distant and
mistrustful Friend. But it is more to the present Purpose to consider it
as an absurd Passion of the Heart, rather than as a vicious Affection of
the Mind. As there are frequent Instances to be met with of a proud
Humility, so this Passion, contrary to most others, affects Applause, by
avoiding all Show and Appearance; for this Reason it will not sometimes
endure even the common Decencies of Apparel. _A covetous Man will call
himself poor, that you may sooth his Vanity by contradicting him_. Love
and the Desire of Glory, as they are the most natural, so they are
capable of being refined into the most delicate and rational Passions.
Tis true, the wise Man who strikes out of the secret Paths of a private
Life, for Honour and Dignity, allured by the Splendour of a Court, and
the unfelt Weight of publick Employment, whether he succeeds in his
Attempts or no, usually comes near enough to this painted Greatness to
discern the Dawbing; he is then desirous of extricating himself out of
the Hurry of Life, that he may pass away the Remainder of his Days in
Tranquillity and Retirement.

It may be thought then but common Prudence in a Man not to change a
better State for a worse, nor ever to quit that which he knows he shall
take up again with Pleasure; and yet if human Life be not a little moved
with the gentle Gales of Hopes and Fears, there may be some Danger of
its stagnating in an unmanly Indolence and Security. It is a known Story
of _Domitian_, that after he had possessed himself of the _Roman_ Empire,
his Desires turn'd upon catching Flies. Active and Masculine Spirits in
the Vigour of Youth neither can nor ought to remain at Rest: If they
debar themselves from aiming at a noble Object, their Desires will move
downwards, and they will feel themselves actuated by some low and abject

Thus if you cut off the top Branches of a Tree, and will not suffer it
to grow any higher, it will not therefore cease to grow, but will
quickly shoot out at the Bottom. The Man indeed who goes into the World
only with the narrow Views of Self-interest, who catches at the
Applause of an idle Multitude, as he can find no solid Contentment at
the End of his Journey, so he deserves to meet with Disappointments in
his Way; but he who is actuated by a noble Principle, whose Mind is so
far enlarged as to take in the Prospect of his Country's Good, who is
enamoured with that Praise which is one of the fair Attendants of
Virtue, and values not those Acclamations which are not seconded by the
impartial Testimony of his own Mind; who repines not at the low Station
which Providence has at present allotted him, but yet would willingly
advance himself by justifiable Means to a more rising and advantageous
Ground; such a Man is warmed with a generous Emulation; it is a virtuous
Movement in him to wish and to endeavour that his Power of doing Good
may be equal to his Will.

The Man who is fitted out by Nature, and sent into the World with great
Abilities, is capable of doing great Good or Mischief in it. It ought
therefore to be the Care of Education to infuse into the untainted Youth
early Notices of Justice and Honour, that so the possible Advantages of
good Parts may not take an evil Turn, nor be perverted to base and
unworthy Purposes. It is the Business of Religion and Philosophy not so
much to extinguish our Passions, as to regulate and direct them to
valuable well-chosen Objects: When these have pointed out to us which
Course we may lawfully steer, tis no Harm to set out all our Sail; if
the Storms and Tempests of Adversity should rise upon us, and not suffer
us to make the Haven where we would be, it will however prove no small
Consolation to us in these Circumstances, that we have neither mistaken
our Course, nor fallen into Calamities of our own procuring.

Religion therefore (were we to consider it no farther than as it
interposes in the Affairs of this Life) is highly valuable, and worthy
of great Veneration; as it settles the various Pretensions, and
otherwise interfering Interests of mortal Men, and thereby consults the
Harmony and Order of the great Community; as it gives a Man room to play
his Part, and exert his Abilities; as it animates to Actions truly
laudable in themselves, in their Effects beneficial to Society; as it
inspires rational Ambitions, correct Love, and elegant Desires.


[Footnote 1: ingenious]

[Footnote 2: In the Poem To Zelinda.]

* * * * *

No. 225 Saturday, November 17, 1711 Addison.

Nullum numen abest si sit Prudentia


I have often thought if the Minds of Men were laid open, we should see
but little Difference between that of the Wise Man and that of the Fool.
There are infinite _Reveries_, numberless Extravagancies, and a
perpetual Train of Vanities which pass through both. The great
Difference is that the first knows how to pick and cull his Thoughts for
Conversation, by suppressing some, and communicating others; whereas the
other lets them all indifferently fly out in Words. This sort of
Discretion, however, has no Place in private Conversation between
intimate Friends. On such Occasions the wisest Men very often talk like
the weakest; for indeed the Talking with a Friend is nothing else but
_thinking aloud_.

_Tully_ has therefore very justly exposed a Precept delivered by some
Ancient Writers, That a Man should live with his Enemy in such a manner,
as might leave him room to become his Friend; and with his Friend in
such a manner, that if he became his Enemy, it should not be in his
Power to hurt him. The first Part of this Rule, which regards our
Behaviour towards an Enemy, is indeed very reasonable, as well as very
prudential; but the latter Part of it which regards our Behaviour
towards a Friend, savours more of Cunning than of Discretion, and would
cut a Man off from the greatest Pleasures of Life, which are the
Freedoms of Conversation with a Bosom Friend. Besides, that when a
Friend is turned into an Enemy, and (as the Son of _Sirach_ calls him) a
Bewrayer of Secrets, the World is just enough to accuse the
Perfidiousness of the Friend, rather than the Indiscretion of the Person
who confided in him.

Discretion does not only shew it self in Words, but in all the
Circumstances of Action; and is like an Under-Agent of Providence, to
guide and direct us in the ordinary Concerns of Life.

There are many more shining Qualities in the Mind of Man, but there is
none so useful as Discretion; it is this indeed which gives a Value to
all the rest, which sets them at work in their proper Times and Places,
and turns them to the Advantage of the Person who is possessed of them.
Without it Learning is Pedantry, and Wit Impertinence; Virtue itself
looks like Weakness; the best Parts only qualify a Man to be more
sprightly in Errors, and active to his own Prejudice.

Nor does Discretion only make a Man the Master of his own Parts, but of
other Mens. The discreet Man finds out the Talents of those he Converses
with, and knows how to apply them to proper Uses. Accordingly if we look
into particular Communities and Divisions of Men, we may observe that it
is the discreet Man, not the Witty, nor the Learned, nor the Brave, who
guides the Conversation, and gives Measures to the Society. A Man with
great Talents, but void of Discretion, is like _Polyphemus_ in the
Fable, Strong and Blind, endued with an irresistible Force, which for
want of Sight is of no Use to him.

Though a Man has all other Perfections, and wants Discretion, he will be
of no great Consequence in the World; but if he has this single Talent
in Perfection, and but a common Share of others, he may do what he
pleases in his particular Station of Life.

At the same time that I think Discretion the most useful Talent a Man
can be Master of, I look upon Cunning to be the Accomplishment of
little, mean, ungenerous Minds. Discretion points out the noblest Ends
to us, and pursues the most proper and laudable Methods of attaining
them: Cunning has only private selfish Aims, and sticks at nothing which
may make them succeed. Discretion has large and extended Views, and,
like a well-formed Eye, commands a whole Horizon: Cunning is a Kind of
Short-sightedness, that discovers the minutest Objects which are near at
hand, but is not able to discern things at a distance. Discretion, the
more it is discovered, gives a greater Authority to the Person who
possesses it: Cunning, when it is once detected, loses its Force, and
makes a Man incapable of bringing about even those Events which he might
have done, had he passed only for a plain Man. Discretion is the
Perfection of Reason, and a Guide to us in all the Duties of Life;
Cunning is a kind of Instinct, that only looks out after our immediate
Interest and Welfare. Discretion is only found in Men of strong Sense
and good Understandings: Cunning is often to be met with in Brutes
themselves, and in Persons who are but the fewest Removes from them. In
short Cunning is only the Mimick of Discretion, and may pass upon weak
Men, in the same manner as Vivacity is often mistaken for Wit, and
Gravity for Wisdom.

The Cast of Mind which is natural to a discreet Man, makes him look
forward into Futurity, and consider what will be his Condition Millions
of Ages hence, as well as what it is at present. He knows that the
Misery or Happiness which are reserv'd for him in another World, lose
nothing of their Reality by being placed at so great Distance from him.
The Objects do not appear little to him because they are remote. He
considers that those Pleasures and Pains which lie hid in Eternity,
approach nearer to him every Moment, and will be present with him in
their full Weight and Measure, as much as those Pains and Pleasures
which he feels at this very Instant. For this Reason he is careful to
secure to himself that which is the proper Happiness of his Nature, and
the ultimate Design of his Being. He carries his Thoughts to the End of
every Action, and considers the most distant as well as the most
immediate Effects of it. He supersedes every little Prospect of Gain and
Advantage which offers itself here, if he does not find it consistent
with his Views of an Hereafter. In a word, his Hopes are full of
Immortality, his Schemes are large and glorious, and his Conduct
suitable to one who knows his true Interest, and how to pursue it by
proper Methods.

I have, in this Essay upon Discretion, considered it both as an
Accomplishment and as a Virtue, and have therefore described it in its
full Extent; not only as it is conversant about worldly Affairs, but as
it regards our whole Existence; not only as it is the Guide of a mortal
Creature, but as it is in general the Director of a reasonable Being. It
is in this Light that Discretion is represented by the Wise Man, who
sometimes mentions it under the Name of Discretion, and sometimes under
that of Wisdom. It is indeed (as described in the latter Part of this
Paper) the greatest Wisdom, but at the same time in the Power of every
one to attain. Its Advantages are infinite, but its Acquisition easy; or
to speak of her in the Words of the Apocryphal Writer whom I quoted in
my last _Saturdays_ Paper, _Wisdom is glorious, and never fadeth away,
yet she is easily seen of them that love her, and found of such as seek
her. She preventeth them that desire her, in making herself first known
unto them. He that seeketh her early, shall have no great Travel: for he
shall find her sitting at his Doors. To think therefore upon her is
Perfection of Wisdom, and whoso watcheth for her shall quickly be
without Care. For she goeth about seeking such as are worthy of her,
sheweth her self favourably unto them in the Ways, and meeteth them in
every Thought_. [1]


[Footnote 1: Wisdom vi. 12-16.]

* * * * *

No. 226 Monday, November 19, 1711. [1] Steele.

--Mutum est pictura poema.

Hor. [2]

I have very often lamented and hinted my Sorrow in several Speculations,
that the Art of Painting is made so little Use of to the Improvement of
our Manners. When we consider that it places the Action of the Person
represented in the most agreeable Aspect imaginable, that it does not
only express the Passion or Concern as it sits upon him who is drawn,
but has under those Features the Height of the Painters Imagination.
What strong Images of Virtue and Humanity might we not expect would be
instilled into the Mind from the Labours of the Pencil? This is a Poetry
which would be understood with much less Capacity, and less Expence of
Time, than what is taught by Writings; but the Use of it is generally
perverted, and that admirable Skill prostituted to the basest and most
unworthy Ends. Who is the better Man for beholding the most beautiful
_Venus_, the best wrought _Bacchanal_, the Images of sleeping _Cupids_,
languishing Nymphs, or any of the Representations of Gods, Goddesses,
Demy-gods, Satyrs, _Polyphemes_, Sphinxes, or Fauns? But if the Virtues
and Vices, which are sometimes pretended to be represented under such
Draughts, were given us by the Painter in the Characters of real Life,
and the Persons of Men and Women whose Actions have rendered them
laudable or infamous; we should not see a good History-Piece without
receiving an instructive Lecture. There needs no other Proof of this
Truth, than the Testimony of every reasonable Creature who has seen the
Cartons in Her Majesty's Gallery at _Hampton--Court_: These are
Representations of no less Actions than those of our Blessed Saviour and
his Apostles. As I now sit and recollect the warm Images which the
admirable _Raphael_ has raised, it is impossible even from the faint
Traces in ones Memory of what one has not seen these two Years, to be
unmoved at the Horror and Reverence which appear in the whole Assembly
when the mercenary Man fell down dead; at the Amazement of the Man born
blind, when he first receives Sight; or at the graceless Indignation of
the Sorcerer, when he is struck blind. The Lame, when they first find
Strength in their Feet, stand doubtful of their new Vigour. The heavenly
Apostles appear acting these great Things, with a deep Sense of the
Infirmities which they relieve, but no Value of themselves who
administer to their Weakness. They know themselves to be but
Instruments; and the generous Distress they are painted in when divine
Honours are offered to them, is a Representation in the most exquisite
Degree of the Beauty of Holiness. When St. _Paul_ is preaching to the
_Athenians_, with what wonderful Art are almost all the different
Tempers of Mankind represented in that elegant Audience? You see one
credulous of all that is said, another wrapt up in deep Suspence,
another saying there is some Reason in what he says, another angry that
the Apostle destroys a favourite Opinion which he is unwilling to give
up, another wholly convinced and holding out his Hands in Rapture; while
the Generality attend, and wait for the Opinion of those who are of
leading Characters in the Assembly. I will not pretend so much as to
mention that Chart on which is drawn the Appearance of our Blessed Lord
after his Resurrection. Present Authority, late Suffering, Humility and
Majesty, Despotick Command, and [Divine] [3] Love, are at once seated in
his celestial Aspect. The Figures of the Eleven Apostles are all in the
same Passion of Admiration, but discover it differently according to
their Characters. _Peter_ receives his Masters Orders on his Knees with
an Admiration mixed with a more particular Attention: The two next with
a more open Ecstasy, though still constrained by the Awe of the Divine
[4] Presence: The beloved Disciple, whom I take to be the Right of the
two first Figures, has in his Countenance Wonder drowned in Love; and
the last Personage, whose Back is towards the Spectator[s], and his Side
towards the Presence, one would fancy to be St. _Thomas_, as abashed by
the Conscience of his former Diffidence; which perplexed Concern it is
possible _Raphael_ thought too hard a Task to draw but by this
Acknowledgment of the Difficulty to describe it.

The whole Work is an Exercise of the highest Piety in the Painter; and
all the Touches of a religious Mind are expressed in a Manner much more
forcible than can possibly be performed by the most moving Eloquence.
These invaluable Pieces are very justly in the Hands of the greatest and
most pious Sovereign in the World; and cannot be the frequent Object of
every one at their own Leisure: But as an Engraver is to the Painter
what a Printer is to an Author, it is worthy Her Majesty's Name, that
she has encouraged that Noble Artist, Monsieur _Dorigny_, [5] to publish
these Works of _Raphael_. We have of this Gentleman a Piece of the
Transfiguration, which, I think, is held a Work second to none in the

Methinks it would be ridiculous in our People of Condition, after their
large Bounties to Foreigners of no Name or Merit, should they overlook
this Occasion of having, for a trifling Subscription, a Work which it is
impossible for a Man of Sense to behold, without being warmed with the
noblest Sentiments that can be inspired by Love, Admiration, Compassion,
Contempt of this World, and Expectation of a better.

It is certainly the greatest Honour we can do our Country, to
distinguish Strangers of Merit who apply to us with Modesty and
Diffidence, which generally accompanies Merit. No Opportunity of this
Kind ought to be neglected; and a modest Behaviour should alarm us to
examine whether we do not lose something excellent under that
Disadvantage in the Possessor of that Quality. My Skill in Paintings,
where one is not directed by the Passion of the Pictures, is so
inconsiderable, that I am in very great Perplexity when I offer to speak
of any Performances of Painters of Landskips, Buildings, or single
Figures. This makes me at a loss how to mention the Pieces which Mr.
_Boul_ exposes to Sale by Auction on _Wednesday_ next in
_Shandois-street_: But having heard him commended by those who have
bought of him heretofore for great Integrity in his Dealing, and
overheard him himself (tho a laudable Painter) say, nothing of his own
was fit to come into the Room with those he had to sell, I fear'd I
should lose an Occasion of serving a Man of Worth, in omitting to speak
of his Auction.


[Footnote 1: Swift to Stella, Nov. 18, 1711.

Do you ever read the SPECTATORS? I never do; they never come in my
way; I go to no coffee-houses. They say abundance of them are very
pretty; they are going to be printed in small volumes; Ill bring them
over with me.]

[Footnote 2:

_Pictura Poesis erit_.


[Footnote 3: Brotherly]

[Footnote 4: coelestial]

[Footnote 5: Michel Dorigny, painter and engraver, native of St.
Quentin, pupil and son-in-law of Simon Vouet, whose style he adopted,
was Professor in the Paris Academy of Painting, and died at the age of
48, in 1665. His son and Vouet's grandson, Nicolo Dorigny, in aid of
whose undertaking Steele wrote this paper in the Spectator, had been
invited from Rome by several of the nobility, to produce, with licence
from the Queen, engravings from Raphael's Cartoons, at Hampton Court. He
offered eight plates 19 inches high, and from 25 to 30 inches long, for
four guineas subscription, although, he said in his Prospectus, the five
prints of Alexanders Battles after Lebrun were often sold for twenty

* * * * *


_There is arrived from_ Italy
_a Painter
who acknowledges himself the greatest Person of the Age in that Art,
and is willing to be as renowned in this Island
as he declares he is in Foreign Parts_.

The Doctor paints the Poor for nothing.

* * * * *

Book of the day: