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The Spectator, Volume 2. by Addison and Steele

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No. 227. Tuesday, November 20, 1711. Addison.

[Greek: O moi ego ti patho; ti ho dussuos; ouch hypakoueis;
Tan Baitan apodus eis kumata taena aleumai
Homer tos thunnos skopiazetai Olpis ho gripeus.
Kaeka mae pothano, to ge man teon hadu tetuktai.


In my last _Thursday's_ Paper I made mention of a Place called _The
Lovers' Leap_, which I find has raised a great Curiosity among several
of my Correspondents. I there told them that this Leap was used to be
taken from a Promontory of _Leucas_. This _Leucas_ was formerly a Part
of _Acarnania_, being [joined to[1]] it by a narrow Neck of Land, which
the Sea has by length of Time overflowed and washed away; so that at
present _Leucas_ is divided from the Continent, and is a little Island
in the _Ionian_ Sea. The Promontory of this Island, from whence the
Lover took his Leap, was formerly called _Leucate_. If the Reader has a
mind to know both the Island and the Promontory by their modern Titles,
he will find in his Map the ancient Island of _Leucas_ under the Name of
St. _Mauro_, and the ancient Promontory of _Leucate_ under the Name of
_The Cape of St._ Mauro.

Since I am engaged thus far in Antiquity, I must observe that
_Theocritus_ in the Motto prefixed to my Paper, describes one of his
despairing Shepherds addressing himself to his Mistress after the
following manner, _Alas! What will become of me! Wretch that I am! Will
you not hear me? Ill throw off my Cloaths, and take a Leap into that
Part of the Sea which is so much frequented by_ Olphis _the Fisherman.
And tho I should escape with my Life, I know you will be pleased with
it_. I shall leave it with the Criticks to determine whether the Place,
which this Shepherd so particularly points out, was not the
above-mentioned _Leucate_, or at least some other Lovers Leap, which
was supposed to have had the same Effect. I cannot believe, as all the
Interpreters do, that the Shepherd means nothing farther here than that
he would drown himself, since he represents the Issue of his Leap as
doubtful, by adding, That if he should escape with [Life,[2]] he knows
his Mistress would be pleased with it; which is, according to our
Interpretation, that she would rejoice any way to get rid of a Lover who
was so troublesome to her.

After this short Preface, I shall present my Reader with some Letters
which I have received upon this Subject. The first is sent me by a


The Lovers Leap, which you mention in your 223d Paper, was
generally, I believe, a very effectual Cure for Love, and not only for
Love, but for all other Evils. In short, Sir, I am afraid it was such
a Leap as that which _Hero_ took to get rid of her Passion for
_Leander_. A Man is in no Danger of breaking his Heart, who breaks his
Neck to prevent it. I know very well the Wonders which ancient Authors
relate concerning this Leap; and in particular, that very many Persons
who tried it, escaped not only with their Lives but their Limbs. If by
this Means they got rid of their Love, tho it may in part be ascribed
to the Reasons you give for it; why may not we suppose that the cold
Bath into which they plunged themselves, had also some Share in their
Cure? A Leap into the Sea or into any Creek of Salt Waters, very often
gives a new Motion to the Spirits, and a new Turn to the Blood; for
which Reason we prescribe it in Distempers which no other Medicine
will reach. I could produce a Quotation out of a very venerable
Author, in which the Frenzy produced by Love, is compared to that
which is produced by the Biting of a mad Dog. But as this Comparison
is a little too coarse for your Paper, and might look as if it were
cited to ridicule the Author who has made use of it; I shall only hint
at it, and desire you to consider whether, if the Frenzy produced by
these two different Causes be of the same Nature, it may not very
properly be cured by the same Means.

_I am, SIR,

Your most humble Servant, and Well-wisher,_



I am a young Woman crossed in Love. My Story is very long and
melancholy. To give you the heads of it: A young Gentleman, after
having made his Applications to me for three Years together, and
filled my Head with a thousand Dreams of Happiness, some few Days
since married another. Pray tell me in what Part of the World your
Promontory lies, which you call _The Lovers Leap_, and whether one
may go to it by Land? But, alas, I am afraid it has lost its Virtue,
and that a Woman of our Times would find no more Relief in taking such
a Leap, than in singing an Hymn to _Venus_. So that I must cry out
with _Dido_ in _Dryden's Virgil_,

_Ah! cruel Heaven, that made no Cure for Love!

Your disconsolate Servant,_



My Heart is so full of Lofes and Passions for Mrs. _Gwinifrid_, and
she is so pettish and overrun with Cholers against me, that if I had
the good Happiness to have my Dwelling (which is placed by my
Creat-Cranfather upon the Pottom of an Hill) no farther Distance but
twenty Mile from the Lofers Leap, I would indeed indeafour to preak
my Neck upon it on Purpose. Now, good Mister SPICTATUR of _Crete
Prittain_, you must know it there is in _Caernaruanshire_ a fery pig
Mountain, the Glory of all _Wales_, which is named _Penmainmaure_, and
you must also know, it iss no great Journey on Foot from me; but the
Road is stony and bad for Shooes. Now, there is upon the Forehead of
this Mountain a very high Rock, (like a Parish Steeple) that cometh a
huge deal over the Sea; so when I am in my Melancholies, and I do
throw myself from it, I do desire my fery good Friend to tell me in
his _Spictatur_, if I shall be cure of my grefous Lofes; for there is
the Sea clear as Glass, and as creen as the Leek: Then likewise if I
be drown, and preak my Neck, if Mrs. _Gwinifrid_ will not lose me
afterwards. Pray be speedy in your Answers, for I am in crete Haste,
and it is my Tesires to do my Pusiness without Loss of Time. I remain
with cordial Affections, your ever lofing Friend, _Davyth ap

P. S. My Law-suits have brought me to _London_, but I have lost my
Causes; and so have made my Resolutions to go down and leap before the
Frosts begin; for I am apt to take Colds.

Ridicule, perhaps, is a better Expedient against Love than sober Advice,
and I am of Opinion, that _Hudibras_ and _Don Quixote_ may be as
effectual to cure the Extravagancies of this Passion, as any of the old
Philosophers. I shall therefore publish, very speedily, the Translation
of a little _Greek_ Manuscript, which is sent me by a learned Friend. It
appears to have been a Piece of those Records which were kept in the
little Temple of _Apollo_, that stood upon the Promontory of _Leucate_.
The Reader will find it to be a Summary Account of several Persons who
tried the Lovers Leap, and of the Success they found in it. As there
seem to be in it some Anachronisms and Deviations from the ancient
Orthography, I am not wholly satisfied myself that it is authentick, and
not rather the Production of one of those _Grecian_ Sophisters, who have
imposed upon the World several spurious Works of this Nature. I speak
this by way of Precaution, because I know there are several Writers, of
uncommon Erudition, who would not fail to expose my Ignorance, if they
caught me tripping in a Matter of so great Moment. [3]


[Footnote 1: [divided from]]

[Footnote 2: [his Life,]]

[Footnote 3: The following Advertisement appeared in Nos. 227-234, 237,
247 and 248, with the word certainly before be ready after the first

There is now Printing by Subscription two Volumes of the SPECTATORS on
a large Character in Octavo; the Price of the two Vols. well Bound and
Gilt two Guineas. Those who are inclined to Subscribe, are desired to
make their first Payments to Jacob Tonson, Bookseller in the Strand,
the Books being so near finished, that they will be ready for the
Subscribers at or before Christmas next.

The Third and Fourth Volumes of the LUCUBRATIONS of Isaac Bickerstaff,
Esq., are ready to be delivered at the same Place.

N.B. The Author desires that such Gentlemen who have not received
their Books for which they have Subscribed, would be pleased to
signify the same to Mr. Tonson.]

* * * * *

No. 228. Wednesday, November 21, 1711. Steele.

Percunctatorem fugito, nam Garrulus idem est.


There is a Creature who has all the Organs of Speech, a tolerable good
Capacity for conceiving what is said to it, together with a pretty
proper Behaviour in all the Occurrences of common Life; but naturally
very vacant of Thought in it self, and therefore forced to apply it self
to foreign Assistances. Of this Make is that Man who is very
inquisitive. You may often observe, that tho he speaks as good Sense as
any Man upon any thing with which he is well acquainted, he cannot trust
to the Range of his own Fancy to entertain himself upon that Foundation,
but goes on to still new Enquiries. Thus, tho you know he is fit for
the most polite Conversation, you shall see him very well contented to
sit by a Jockey, giving an Account of the many Revolutions in his
Horses Health, what Potion he made him take, how that agreed with him,
how afterwards he came to his Stomach and his Exercise, or any the like
Impertinence; and be as well pleased as if you talked to him on the most
important Truths. This Humour is far from making a Man unhappy, tho it
may subject him to Raillery; for he generally falls in with a Person who
seems to be born for him, which is your talkative Fellow. It is so
ordered, that there is a secret Bent, as natural as the Meeting of
different Sexes, in these two Characters, to supply each others Wants.
I had the Honour the other Day to sit in a publick Room, and saw an
inquisitive Man look with an Air of Satisfaction upon the Approach of
one of these Talkers.

The Man of ready Utterance sat down by him, and rubbing his Head,
leaning on his Arm, and making an uneasy Countenance, he began; There
is no manner of News To-day. I cannot tell what is the Matter with me,
but I slept very ill last Night; whether I caught Cold or no, I know
not, but I fancy I do not wear Shoes thick enough for the Weather, and I
have coughed all this Week: It must be so, for the Custom of washing my
Head Winter and Summer with cold Water, prevents any Injury from the
Season entering that Way; so it must come in at my Feet; But I take no
notice of it: as it comes so it goes. Most of our Evils proceed from too
much Tenderness; and our Faces are naturally as little able to resist
the Cold as other Parts. The _Indian_ answered very well to an
_European_, who asked him how he could go naked; I am all Face.

I observed this Discourse was as welcome to my general Enquirer as any
other of more Consequence could have been; but some Body calling our
Talker to another Part of the Room, the Enquirer told the next Man who
sat by him, that Mr. such a one, who was just gone from him, used to
wash his Head in cold Water every Morning; and so repeated almost
_verbatim_ all that had been said to him. The Truth is, the Inquisitive
are the Funnels of Conversation; they do not take in any thing for their
own Use, but merely to pass it to another: They are the Channels through
which all the Good and Evil that is spoken in Town are conveyed. Such as
are offended at them, or think they suffer by their Behaviour, may
themselves mend that Inconvenience; for they are not a malicious People,
and if you will supply them, you may contradict any thing they have said
before by their own Mouths. A farther Account of a thing is one of the
gratefullest Goods that can arrive to them; and it is seldom that they
are more particular than to say, The Town will have it, or I have it
from a good Hand: So that there is room for the Town to know the Matter
more particularly, and for a better Hand to contradict what was said by
a good one.

I have not known this Humour more ridiculous than in a Father, who has
been earnestly solicitous to have an Account how his Son has passed his
leisure Hours; if it be in a Way thoroughly insignificant, there cannot
be a greater Joy than an Enquirer discovers in seeing him follow so
hopefully his own Steps: But this Humour among Men is most pleasant when
they are saying something which is not wholly proper for a third Person
to hear, and yet is in itself indifferent. The other Day there came in a
well-dressed young Fellow, and two Gentlemen of this Species immediately
fell a whispering his Pedigree. I could overhear, by Breaks, She was his
Aunt; then an Answer, Ay, she was of the Mothers Side: Then again in a
little lower Voice, His Father wore generally a darker Wig; Answer, Not
much. But this Gentleman wears higher Heels to his Shoes.

As the Inquisitive, in my Opinion, are such merely from a Vacancy in
their own Imaginations, there is nothing, methinks, so dangerous as to
communicate Secrets to them; for the same Temper of Enquiry makes them
as impertinently communicative: But no Man, though he converses with
them, need put himself in their Power, for they will be contented with
Matters of less Moment as well. When there is Fuel enough, no matter
what it is--Thus the Ends of Sentences in the News Papers, as, _This
wants Confirmation, This occasions many Speculations_, and _Time will
discover the Event_, are read by them, and considered not as mere

One may see now and then this Humour accompanied with an insatiable
Desire of knowing what passes, without turning it to any Use in the
world but merely their own Entertainment. A Mind which is gratified this
Way is adapted to Humour and Pleasantry, and formed for an unconcerned
Character in the World; and, like my self, to be a mere Spectator. This
Curiosity, without Malice or Self-interest, lays up in the Imagination a
Magazine of Circumstances which cannot but entertain when they are
produced in Conversation. If one were to know, from the Man of the first
Quality to the meanest Servant, the different Intrigues, Sentiments,
Pleasures, and Interests of Mankind, would it not be the most pleasing
Entertainment imaginable to enjoy so constant a Farce, as the observing
Mankind much more different from themselves in their secret Thoughts and
publick Actions, than in their Night-caps and long Periwigs?


_Plutarch_ tells us, that _Caius Gracchus_, the _Roman_, was
frequently hurried by his Passion into so loud and tumultuous a way of
Speaking, and so strained his Voice as not to be able to proceed. To
remedy this Excess, he had an ingenious Servant, by Name _Licinius_,
always attended him with a Pitch-pipe, or Instrument to regulate the
Voice; who, whenever he heard his Master begin to be high, immediately
touched a soft Note; at which, 'tis said, _Caius_ would presently
abate and grow calm.

Upon recollecting this Story, I have frequently wondered that this
useful Instrument should have been so long discontinued; especially
since we find that this good Office of _Licinius_ has preserved his
Memory for many hundred Years, which, methinks, should have encouraged
some one to have revived it, if not for the publick Good, yet for his
own Credit. It may be objected, that our loud Talkers are so fond of
their own Noise, that they would not take it well to be check'd by
their Servants: But granting this to be true, surely any of their
Hearers have a very good Title to play a soft Note in their own
Defence. To be short, no _Licinius_ appearing and the Noise
increasing, I was resolved to give this late long Vacation to the Good
of my Country; and I have at length, by the Assistance of an ingenious
Artist, (who works to the Royal Society) almost compleated my Design,
and shall be ready in a short Time to furnish the Publick with what
Number of these Instruments they please, either to lodge at
Coffee-houses, or carry for their own private Use. In the mean time I
shall pay that Respect to several Gentlemen, who I know will be in
Danger of offending against this Instrument, to give them notice of it
by private Letters, in which I shall only write, _Get a_ Licinius.

I should now trouble you no longer, but that I must not conclude
without desiring you to accept one of these Pipes, which shall be left
for you with _Buckley_; and which I hope will be serviceable to you,
since as you are silent yourself you are most open to the Insults of
the Noisy.

_I am, SIR_, &c.


I had almost forgot to inform you, that as an Improvement in this
Instrument, there will be a particular Note, which I call a Hush-Note;
and this is to be made use of against a long Story, Swearing,
Obsceneness, and the like.

* * * * *

No. 229. Thursday, Nov. 22, 1711. Addison.

--Spirat adhuc amor,
Vivuntque commissi calores
AEoliae fidibus puellae.


Among the many famous Pieces of Antiquity which are still to be seen at
_Rome_, there is the Trunk of a Statue [1] which has lost the Arms,
Legs, and Head; but discovers such an exquisite Workmanship in what
remains of it, that _Michael Angelo_ declared he had learned his whole
Art from it. Indeed he studied it so attentively, that he made most of
his Statues, and even his Pictures in that _Gusto_, to make use of the
_Italian_ Phrase; for which Reason this maimed Statue is still called
_Michael Angelo's_ School.

A Fragment of _Sappho_, which I design for the Subject of this Paper,
[2] is in as great Reputation among the Poets and Criticks, as the
mutilated Figure above-mentioned is among the Statuaries and Painters.
Several of our Countrymen, and Mr. _Dryden_ in particular, seem very
often to have copied after it in their Dramatick Writings; and in their
Poems upon Love.

Whatever might have been the Occasion of this Ode, the English Reader
will enter into the Beauties of it, if he supposes it to have been
written in the Person of a Lover sitting by his Mistress. I shall set to
View three different Copies of this beautiful Original: The first is a
Translation by _Catullus_, the second by Monsieur _Boileau_, and the
last by a Gentleman whose Translation of the _Hymn to Venus_ has been so
deservedly admired.


_Ille mi par esse deo videtur,
Ille, si fas est, superare divos,
Qui sedens adversus identidem te,
Spectat, et audit.

Dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis
Eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,
Lesbia, adspexi, nihil est super mi_
Quod loquar amens.

_Lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus
Flamnia dimanat, sonitu suopte
Tinniunt aures, gemina teguntur
Lumina nocte_.

My learned Reader will know very well the Reason why one of these Verses
is printed in _Roman_ Letter; [3] and if he compares this Translation
with the Original, will find that the three first Stanzas are rendred
almost Word for Word, and not only with the same Elegance, but with the
same short Turn of Expression which is so remarkable in the _Greek_, and
so peculiar to the _Sapphick_ Ode. I cannot imagine for what Reason
Madam _Dacier_ has told us, that this Ode of _Sappho_ is preserved
entire in _Longinus_, since it is manifest to any one who looks into
that Authors Quotation of it, that there must at least have been
another Stanza, which is not transmitted to us.

The second Translation of this Fragment which I shall here cite, is that
of Monsieur _Boileau_.

Heureux! qui pres de toi, pour toi seule soupire:
Qui jouit du plaisir de tentendre parler:
Qui te voit quelquefois doucement lui sourire.
Les Dieux, dans son bonheur, peuvent-ils legaler?

Je sens de veine en veine une subtile flamme
Courir par tout mon corps, si-tost que je te vois:
Et dans les doux transports, ou segare mon ame,
Je ne scaurois trouver de langue, ni de voix.

Un nuage confus se repand sur ma vue,
Je nentens plus, je tombe en de douces langueurs;
Et pale, sans haleine, interdite, esperdue,
Un frisson me saisit, je tremble, je me meurs.

The Reader will see that this is rather an Imitation than a Translation.
The Circumstances do not lie so thick together, and follow one another
with that Vehemence and Emotion as in the Original. In short, Monsieur
_Boileau_ has given us all the Poetry, but not all the Passion of this
famous Fragment. I shall, in the last Place, present my Reader with the
_English_ Translation.

I. Blest as th'immortal Gods is he,
The Youth who fondly sits by thee,
And hears and sees thee all the while
Softly speak and sweetly smile.

II. Twas this deprived my Soul of Rest,
And raised such Tumults in my Breast;
For while I gaz'd, in Transport tost,
My Breath was gone, my Voice was lost:

III. My Bosom glowed; the subtle Flame
Ran quick through all my vital Frame;
O'er my dim Eyes a Darkness hung;
My Ears with hollow Murmurs rung.

IV. In dewy Damps my Limbs were child;
My Blood with gentle Horrors thrill'd;
My feeble Pulse forgot to play;
I fainted, sunk, and dy'd away.

Instead of giving any Character of this last Translation, I shall desire
my learned Reader to look into the Criticisms which _Longinus_ has made
upon the Original. By that means he will know to which of the
Translations he ought to give the Preference. I shall only add, that
this Translation is written in the very Spirit of _Sappho_, and as near
the _Greek_ as the Genius of our Language will possibly suffer.

_Longinus_ has observed, that this Description of Love in _Sappho_ is an
exact Copy of Nature, and that all the Circumstances which follow one
another in such an Hurry of Sentiments, notwithstanding they appear
repugnant to each other, are really such as happen in the Phrenzies of

I wonder, that not one of the Criticks or Editors, through whose Hands
this Ode has passed, has taken Occasion from it to mention a
Circumstance related by _Plutarch_. That Author in the famous Story of
_Antiochus_, who fell in Love with _Stratonice_, his Mother-in-law, and
(not daring to discover his Passion) pretended to be confined to his Bed
by Sickness, tells us, that _Erasistratus_, the Physician, found out the
Nature of his Distemper by those Symptoms of Love which he had learnt
from _Sappho's_ Writings. [4] _Stratonice_ was in the Room of the
Love-sick Prince, when these Symptoms discovered themselves to his
Physician; and it is probable, that they were not very different from
those which _Sappho_ here describes in a Lover sitting by his Mistress.
This Story of _Antiochus_ is so well known, that I need not add the
Sequel of it, which has no Relation to my present Subject.


[Footnote 1: The Belvidere Torso.]

[Footnote 2: The other translation by Ambrose Philips. See note to No.

[Footnote 3: Wanting in copies then known, it is here supplied by

[Footnote 4: In Plutarch's Life of Demetrius.

When others entered Antiochus was entirely unaffected. But when
Stratonice came in, as she often did, he shewed all the symptoms
described by Sappho, the faltering voice, the burning blush, the
languid eye, the sudden sweat, the tumultuous pulse; and at length,
the passion overcoming his spirits, a swoon and mortal paleness.]

* * * * *

No. 230. Friday, Nov. 23, 1711. Steele.

Homines ad Deos nulla re propius accedunt, quam salutem Hominibus


Human Nature appears a very deformed, or a very beautiful Object,
according to the different Lights in which it is viewed. When we see Men
of inflamed Passions, or of wicked Designs, tearing one another to
pieces by open Violence, or undermining each other by secret Treachery;
when we observe base and narrow Ends pursued by ignominious and
dishonest Means; when we behold Men mixed in Society as if it were for
the Destruction of it; we are even ashamed of our Species, and out of
Humour with our own Being: But in another Light, when we behold them
mild, good, and benevolent, full of a generous Regard for the publick
Prosperity, compassionating [each [1]] others Distresses, and relieving
each others Wants, we can hardly believe they are Creatures of the same
Kind. In this View they appear Gods to each other, in the Exercise of
the noblest Power, that of doing Good; and the greatest Compliment we
have ever been able to make to our own Being, has been by calling this
Disposition of Mind Humanity. We cannot but observe a Pleasure arising
in our own Breast upon the seeing or hearing of a generous Action, even
when we are wholly disinterested in it. I cannot give a more proper
Instance of this, than by a Letter from _Pliny_, in which he recommends
a Friend in the most handsome manner, and, methinks, it would be a great
Pleasure to know the Success of this Epistle, though each Party
concerned in it has been so many hundred Years in his Grave.


What I should gladly do for any Friend of yours, I think I may now
with Confidence request for a Friend of mine. _Arrianus Maturius_ is
the most considerable Man of his Country; when I call him so, I do not
speak with Relation to his Fortune, though that is very plentiful, but
to his Integrity, Justice, Gravity, and Prudence; his Advice is useful
to me in Business, and his Judgment in Matters of Learning: His
Fidelity, Truth, and good Understanding, are very great; besides this,
he loves me as you do, than which I cannot say any thing that
signifies a warmer Affection. He has nothing that's aspiring; and
though he might rise to the highest Order of Nobility, he keeps
himself in an inferior Rank; yet I think my self bound to use my
Endeavours to serve and promote him; and would therefore find the
Means of adding something to his Honours while he neither expects nor
knows it, nay, though he should refuse it. Something, in short, I
would have for him that may be honourable, but not troublesome; and I
entreat that you will procure him the first thing of this kind that
offers, by which you will not only oblige me, but him also; for though
he does not covet it, I know he will be as grateful in acknowledging
your Favour as if he had asked it. [2]


The Reflections in some of your Papers on the servile manner of
Education now in Use, have given Birth to an Ambition, which, unless
you discountenance it, will, I doubt, engage me in a very difficult,
tho not ungrateful Adventure. I am about to undertake, for the sake of
the _British_ Youth, to instruct them in such a manner, that the most
dangerous Page in _Virgil_ or _Homer_ may be read by them with much
Pleasure, and with perfect Safety to their Persons.

Could I prevail so far as to be honoured with the Protection of some
few of them, (for I am not Hero enough to rescue many) my Design is to
retire with them to an agreeable Solitude; though within the
Neighbourhood of a City, for the Convenience of their being instructed
in Musick, Dancing, Drawing, Designing, or any other such
Accomplishments, which it is conceived may make as proper Diversions
for them, and almost as pleasant, as the little sordid Games which
dirty School-boys are so much delighted with. It may easily be
imagined, how such a pretty Society, conversing with none beneath
themselves, and sometimes admitted as perhaps not unentertaining
Parties amongst better Company, commended and caressed for their
little Performances, and turned by such Conversations to a certain
Gallantry of Soul, might be brought early acquainted with some of the
most polite _English_ Writers. This having given them some tolerable
Taste of Books, they would make themselves Masters of the _Latin_
Tongue by Methods far easier than those in _Lilly_, with as little
Difficulty or Reluctance as young Ladies learn to speak _French_, or
to sing _Italian_ Operas. When they had advanced thus far, it would be
time to form their Taste something more exactly: One that had any true
Relish of fine Writing, might, with great Pleasure both to himself and
them, run over together with them the best _Roman_ Historians, Poets,
and Orators, and point out their more remarkable Beauties; give them a
short Scheme of Chronology, a little View of Geography, Medals,
Astronomy, or what else might best feed the busy inquisitive Humour so
natural to that Age. Such of them as had the least Spark of Genius,
when it was once awakened by the shining Thoughts and great Sentiments
of those admired Writers, could not, I believe, be easily withheld
from attempting that more difficult Sister Language, whose exalted
Beauties they would have heard so often celebrated as the Pride and
Wonder of the whole Learned World. In the mean while, it would be
requisite to exercise their Style in Writing any light Pieces that ask
more of Fancy than of Judgment: and that frequently in their Native
Language, which every one methinks should be most concerned to
cultivate, especially Letters, in which a Gentleman must have so
frequent Occasions to distinguish himself. A Set of genteel
good-natured Youths fallen into such a Manner of Life, would form
almost a little Academy, and doubtless prove no such contemptible
Companions, as might not often tempt a wiser Man to mingle himself in
their Diversions, and draw them into such serious Sports as might
prove nothing less instructing than the gravest Lessons. I doubt not
but it might be made some of their Favourite Plays, to contend which
of them should recite a beautiful Part of a Poem or Oration most
gracefully, or sometimes to join in acting a Scene of _Terence,
Sophocles,_ or our own _Shakespear_. The Cause of _Milo_ might again
be pleaded before more favourable Judges, _Caesar_ a second time be
taught to tremble, and another Race of _Athenians_ be afresh enraged
at the Ambition of another _Philip_. Amidst these noble Amusements, we
could hope to see the early Dawnings of their Imagination daily
brighten into Sense, their Innocence improve into Virtue, and their
unexperienced Good-nature directed to a generous Love of their

_I am_, &c.


[Footnote 1: of each]

[Footnote 2: Pliny, Jun, Epist. Bk. II. Ep. 2. Thus far the paper is by
John Hughes.]

* * * * *

No. 231. Saturday, November 24, 1711. Addison.

O Pudor! O Pietas!


Looking over the Letters which I have lately received from from my
Correspondents, I met with the following one, which is written with such
a Spirit of Politeness, that I could not but be very much pleased with
it my self, and question not but it will be as acceptable to the Reader.

Mr. Spectator, [1]

You, who are no Stranger to Publick Assemblies, cannot but have
observed the Awe they often strike on such as are obliged to exert any
Talent before them. This is a sort of elegant Distress, to which
ingenuous Minds are the most liable, and may therefore deserve some
remarks in your Paper. Many a brave Fellow, who has put his Enemy to
Flight in the Field, has been in the utmost Disorder upon making a
Speech before a Body of his Friends at home: One would think there was
some kind of Fascination in the Eyes of a large Circle of People, when
darting altogether upon one Person. I have seen a new Actor in a
Tragedy so bound up by it as to be scarce able to speak or move, and
have expected he would have died above three Acts before the Dagger or
Cup of Poison were brought in. It would not be amiss, if such an one
were at first introduced as a Ghost or a Statue, till he recovered his
Spirits, and grew fit for some living Part.

As this sudden Desertion of ones self shews a Diffidence, which is
not displeasing, it implies at the same time the greatest Respect to
an Audience that can be. It is a sort of mute Eloquence, which pleads
for their Favour much better than Words could do; and we find their
Generosity naturally moved to support those who are in so much
Perplexity to entertain them. I was extremely pleased with a late
Instance of this Kind at the Opera of _Almahide_, in the Encouragement
given to a young Singer, [2] whose more than ordinary Concern on her
first Appearance, recommended her no less than her agreeable Voice,
and just Performance. Meer Bashfulness without Merit is awkward; and
Merit without Modesty, insolent. But modest Merit has a double Claim
to Acceptance, and generally meets with as many Patrons as Beholders.
_I am_, &c.

It is impossible that a Person should exert himself to Advantage in an
Assembly, whether it be his Part either to sing or speak, who lies under
too great Oppressions of Modesty. I remember, upon talking with a Friend
of mine concerning the Force of Pronunciation, our Discourse led us into
the Enumeration of the several Organs of Speech which an Orator ought to
have in Perfection, as the Tongue, the Teeth [the Lips,] the Nose, the
Palate, and the Wind-pipe. Upon which, says my Friend, you have omitted
the most material Organ of them all, and that is the Forehead.

But notwithstanding an Excess of Modesty obstructs the Tongue, and
renders it unfit for its Offices, a due Proportion of it is thought so
requisite to an Orator, that Rhetoricians have recommended it to their
Disciples as a Particular in their Art. _Cicero_ tells us that he never
liked an Orator who did not appear in some little Confusion at the
Beginning of his Speech, and confesses that he himself never entered
upon an Oration without Trembling and Concern. It is indeed a kind of
Deference which is due to a great Assembly, and seldom fails to raise a
Benevolence in the Audience towards the Person who speaks. My
Correspondent has taken notice that the bravest Men often appear
timorous on these Occasions, as indeed we may observe, that there is
generally no Creature more impudent than a Coward.

--_Lingua melior, sedfrigida bello

A bold Tongue and a feeble Arm are the Qualifications of _Drances_ in
_Virgil_; as _Homer_, to express a Man both timorous and sawcy, makes
use of a kind of Point, which is very rarely to be met with in his
Writings; namely, that he had the Eyes of a Dog, but the Heart of a
Deer. [3]

A just and reasonable Modesty does not only recommend Eloquence, but
sets off every great Talent which a Man can be possessed of. It
heightens all the Virtues which it accompanies like the Shades in
Paintings, it raises and rounds every Figure, and makes the Colours more
beautiful, though not so glaring as they would be without it.

Modesty is not only an Ornament, but also a Guard to Virtue. It is a
kind of quick and delicate _Feeling_ in the Soul, which makes her shrink
and withdraw her self from every thing that has Danger in it. It is such
an exquisite Sensibility, as warns her to shun the first Appearance of
every thing which is hurtful.

I cannot at present recollect either the Place or Time of what I am
going to mention; but I have read somewhere in the History of Ancient
_Greece_, that the Women of the Country were seized with an
unaccountable Melancholy, which disposed several of them to make away
with themselves. The Senate, after having tried many Expedients to
prevent this Self-Murder, which was so frequent among them, published an
Edict, That if any Woman whatever should lay violent Hands upon her
self, her Corps should be exposed naked in the Street, and dragged about
the City in the most publick Manner. This Edict immediately put a Stop
to the Practice which was before so common. We may see in this Instance
the Strength of Female Modesty, which was able to overcome the Violence
even of Madness and Despair. The Fear of Shame in the Fair Sex, was in
those Days more prevalent than that of Death.

If Modesty has so great an Influence over our Actions, and is in many
Cases so impregnable a Fence to Virtue; what can more undermine Morality
than that Politeness which reigns among the unthinking Part of Mankind,
and treats as unfashionable the most ingenuous Part of our Behaviour;
which recommends Impudence as good Breeding, and keeps a Man always in
Countenance, not because he is Innocent, but because he is Shameless?

_Seneca_ thought Modesty so great a Check to Vice, that he prescribes to
us the Practice of it in Secret, and advises us to raise it in ourselves
upon imaginary Occasions, when such as are real do not offer themselves;
for this is the Meaning of his Precept, that when we are by ourselves,
and in our greatest Solitudes, we should fancy that _Cato_ stands before
us, and sees every thing we do. In short, if you banish Modesty out of
the World, she carries away with her half the Virtue that is in it.

After these Reflections on Modesty, as it is a Virtue; I must observe,
that there is a vicious Modesty, which justly deserves to be ridiculed,
and which those Persons very often discover, who value themselves most
upon a well-bred Confidence. This happens when a Man is ashamed to act
up to his Reason, and would not upon any Consideration be surprized in
the Practice of those Duties, for the Performance of which he was sent
into the World. Many an impudent Libertine would blush to be caught in a
serious Discourse, and would scarce be able to show his Head, after
having disclosed a religious Thought. Decency of Behaviour, all outward
Show of Virtue, and Abhorrence of Vice, are carefully avoided by this
Set of Shame-faced People, as what would disparage their Gayety of
Temper, and infallibly bring them to Dishonour. This is such a Poorness
of Spirit, such a despicable Cowardice, such a degenerate abject State
of Mind, as one would think Human Nature incapable of, did we not meet
with frequent Instances of it in ordinary Conversation.

There is another Kind of vicious Modesty which makes a Man ashamed of
his Person, his Birth, his Profession, his Poverty, or the like
Misfortunes, which it was not in his Choice to prevent, and is not in
his Power to rectify. If a Man appears ridiculous by any of the
afore-mentioned Circumstances, he becomes much more so by being out of
Countenance for them. They should rather give him Occasion to exert a
noble Spirit, and to palliate those Imperfections which are not in his
Power, by those Perfections which are; or to use a very witty Allusion
of an eminent Author, he should imitate _Caesar_, who, because his Head
was bald, cover'd that Defect with Laurels.


[Footnote 1: This letter is by John Hughes.]

[Footnote 2: Mrs. Barbier]

[Footnote 3: Iliad, i. 225.]

* * * * *

No. 232. Monday, November 26, 1711. Hughes [1].

Nihil largiundo gloriam adeptus est.


My wise and good Friend, Sir _Andrew Freeport_, divides himself almost
equally between the Town and the Country: His Time in Town is given up
to the Publick, and the Management of his private Fortune; and after
every three or four Days spent in this Manner, he retires for as many to
his Seat within a few Miles of the Town, to the Enjoyment of himself,
his Family, and his Friend. Thus Business and Pleasure, or rather, in
Sir _Andrew_, Labour and Rest, recommend each other. They take their
Turns with so quick a Vicissitude, that neither becomes a Habit, or
takes Possession of the whole Man; nor is it possible he should be
surfeited with either. I often see him at our Club in good Humour, and
yet sometimes too with an Air of Care in his Looks: But in his Country
Retreat he is always unbent, and such a Companion as I could desire; and
therefore I seldom fail to make one with him when he is pleased to
invite me.

The other Day, as soon as we were got into his Chariot, two or three
Beggars on each Side hung upon the Doors, and solicited our Charity with
the usual Rhetorick of a sick Wife or Husband at home, three or four
helpless little Children all starving with Cold and Hunger. We were
forced to part with some Money to get rid of their Importunity; and then
we proceeded on our Journey with the Blessings and Acclamations of these

Well then, says _Sir Andrew_, we go off with the Prayers and good
Wishes of the Beggars, and perhaps too our Healths will be drunk at
the next Ale-house: So all we shall be able to value ourselves upon,
is, that we have promoted the Trade of the Victualler and the Excises
of the Government. But how few Ounces of Wooll do we see upon the
Backs of those poor Creatures? And when they shall next fall in our
Way, they will hardly be better dress'd; they must always live in Rags
to look like Objects of Compassion. If their Families too are such as
they are represented, tis certain they cannot be better clothed, and
must be a great deal worse fed: One would think Potatoes should be all
their Bread, and their Drink the pure Element; and then what goodly
Customers are the Farmers like to have for their Wooll, Corn and
Cattle? Such Customers, and such a Consumption, cannot choose but
advance the landed Interest, and hold up the Rents of the Gentlemen.

But of all Men living, we Merchants, who live by Buying and Selling,
ought never to encourage Beggars. The Goods which we export are indeed
the Product of the lands, but much the greatest Part of their Value is
the Labour of the People: but how much of these Peoples Labour shall
we export whilst we hire them to sit still? The very Alms they receive
from us, are the Wages of Idleness. I have often thought that no Man
should be permitted to take Relief from the Parish, or to ask it in
the Street, till he has first purchased as much as possible of his own
Livelihood by the Labour of his own Hands; and then the Publick ought
only to be taxed to make good the Deficiency. If this Rule was
strictly observed, we should see every where such a Multitude of new
Labourers, as would in all probability reduce the Prices of all our
Manufactures. It is the very Life of Merchandise to buy cheap and sell
dear. The Merchant ought to make his Outset as cheap as possible, that
he may find the greater Profit upon his Returns; and nothing will
enable him to do this like the Reduction of the Price of Labour upon
all our Manufactures. This too would be the ready Way to increase the
Number of our Foreign Markets: The Abatement of the Price of the
Manufacture would pay for the Carriage of it to more distant
Countries; and this Consequence would be equally beneficial both to
the Landed and Trading Interests. As so great an Addition of labouring
Hands would produce this happy Consequence both to the Merchant and
the Gentle man; our Liberality to common Beggars, and every other
Obstruction to the Increase of Labourers, must be equally pernicious
to both.

Sir _Andrew_ then went on to affirm, That the Reduction of the Prices of
our Manufactures by the Addition of so many new Hands, would be no
Inconvenience to any Man: But observing I was something startled at the
Assertion, he made a short Pause, and then resumed the Discourse.

It may seem, says he, a Paradox, that the Price of Labour should be
reduced without an Abatement of Wages, or that Wages can be abated
without any Inconvenience to the Labourer, and yet nothing is more
certain than that both those Things may happen. The Wages of the
Labourers make the greatest Part of the Price of every Thing that is
useful; and if in Proportion with the Wages the Prices of all other
Things should be abated, every Labourer with less Wages would be still
able to purchase as many Necessaries of Life; where then would be the
Inconvenience? But the Price of Labour may be reduced by the Addition
of more Hands to a Manufacture, and yet the Wages of Persons remain as
high as ever. The admirable Sir William Petty [2] has given Examples
of this in some of his Writings: One of them, as I remember, is that
of a Watch, which I shall endeavour to explain so as shall suit my
present Purpose. It is certain that a single Watch could not be made
so cheap in Proportion by one only Man, as a hundred Watches by a
hundred; for as there is vast Variety in the Work, no one Person could
equally suit himself to all the Parts of it; the Manufacture would be
tedious, and at last but clumsily performed: But if an hundred Watches
were to be made by a hundred Men, the Cases may be assigned to one,
the Dials to another, the Wheels to another, the Springs to another,
and every other Part to a proper Artist; as there would be no need of
perplexing any one Person with too much Variety, every one would be
able to perform his single Part with greater Skill and Expedition; and
the hundred Watches would be finished in one fourth Part of the Time
of the first one, and every one of them at one fourth Part of the
Cost, tho the Wages of every Man were equal. The Reduction of the
Price of the Manufacture would increase the Demand of it, all the same
Hands would be still employed and as well paid. The same Rule will
hold in the Clothing, the Shipping, and all the other Trades
whatsoever. And thus an Addition of Hands to our Manufactures will
only reduce the Price of them; the Labourer will still have as much
Wages, and will consequently be enabled to purchase more Conveniencies
of Life; so that every Interest in the Nation would receive a Benefit
from the Increase of our Working People.

Besides, I see no Occasion for this Charity to common Beggars, since
every Beggar is an Inhabitant of a Parish, and every Parish is taxed
to the Maintenance of their own Poor. [3]

For my own part, I cannot be mightily pleased with the Laws which have
done this, which have provided better to feed than employ the Poor. We
have a Tradition from our Forefathers, that after the first of those
Laws was made, they were insulted with that famous Song;

Hang Sorrow, and cast away Care,
The Parish is bound to find us, &c.

And if we will be so good-natured as to maintain them without Work,
they can do no less in Return than sing us _The Merry Beggars_.

What then? Am I against all Acts of Charity? God forbid! I know of no
Virtue in the Gospel that is in more pathetical Expressions
recommended to our Practice. _I was hungry and [ye] [4] gave me no
Meat, thirsty and ye gave me no Drink, naked and ye clothed me not, a
Stranger and ye took me not in, sick and in prison and ye visited me
not_. Our Blessed Saviour treats the Exercise or Neglect of Charity
towards a poor Man, as the Performance or Breach of this Duty towards
himself. I shall endeavour to obey the Will of my Lord and Master: And
therefore if an industrious Man shall submit to the hardest Labour and
coarsest Fare, rather than endure the Shame of taking Relief from the
Parish, or asking it in the Street, this is the Hungry, the Thirsty,
the Naked; and I ought to believe, if any Man is come hither for
Shelter against Persecution or Oppression, this is the Stranger, and I
ought to take him in. If any Countryman of our own is fallen into the
Hands of Infidels, and lives in a State of miserable Captivity, this
is the Man in Prison, and I should contribute to his Ransom. I ought
to give to an Hospital of Invalids, to recover as many useful Subjects
as I can; but I shall bestow none of my Bounties upon an Alms-house of
idle People; and for the same Reason I should not think it a Reproach
to me if I had withheld my Charity from those common Beggars. But we
prescribe better Rules than we are able to practise; we are ashamed
not to give into the mistaken Customs of our Country: But at the same
time, I cannot but think it a Reproach worse than that of common
Swearing, that the Idle and the Abandoned are suffered in the Name of
Heaven and all that is sacred, to extort from Christian and tender
Minds a Supply to a profligate Way of Life, that is always to be
supported, but never relieved.

[Z.] [5]

[Footnote 1: Or Henry Martyn?]

[Footnote 2: Surveyor-general of Ireland to Charles II. See his
Discourse of Taxes (1689).]

[Footnote 3: Our idle poor till the time of Henry VIII. lived upon alms.
After the dissolution of the monasteries experiments were made for their
care, and by a statute 43 Eliz. overseers were appointed and Parishes
charged to maintain their helpless poor and find work for the sturdy. In
Queen Annes time the Poor Law had been made more intricate and
troublesome by the legislation on the subject that had been attempted
after the Restoration.]

[Footnote 4: [_you_] throughout, and in first reprint.]

[Footnote 5: X.]

* * * * *

No. 233. Tuesday, Nov. 27, 1711. Addison.

--Tanquam hec sint nostri medicina furoris,
Aut Deus ille malis hominum mitescere discat.


I shall, in this Paper, discharge myself of the Promise I have made to
the Publick, by obliging them with a Translation of the little _Greek_
Manuscript, which is said to have been a Piece of those Records that
were preserved in the Temple of _Apollo_, upon the Promontory of
_Leucate_: It is a short History of the Lovers Leap, and is inscribed,
_An Account of Persons Male and Female, who offered up their Vows in the
Temple of the_ Pythian Apollo, _in the Forty sixth Olympiad, and leaped
from the Promontory of_ Leucate _into the_ Ionian Sea, _in order to cure
themselves of the Passion of Love_.

This Account is very dry in many Parts, as only mentioning the Name of
the Lover who leaped, the Person he leaped for, and relating, in short,
that he was either cured, or killed, or maimed by the Fall. It indeed
gives the Names of so many who died by it, that it would have looked
like a Bill of Mortality, had I translated it at full length; I have
therefore made an Abridgment of it, and only extracted such particular
Passages as have something extraordinary, either in the Case, or in the
Cure, or in the Fate of the Person who is mentioned in it. After this
short Preface take the Account as follows.

_Battus_, the Son of _Menalcas_ the _Sicilian_, leaped for _Bombyca_
the Musician: Got rid of his Passion with the Loss of his Right Leg
and Arm, which were broken in the Fall.

_Melissa_, in Love with _Daphnis_, very much bruised, but escaped with

_Cynisca_, the Wife of _AEschines_, being in Love with _Lycus_; and
_AEschines_ her Husband being in Love with _Eurilla_; (which had made
this married Couple very uneasy to one another for several Years) both
the Husband and the Wife took the Leap by Consent; they both of them
escaped, and have lived very happily together ever since.

_Larissa_, a Virgin of _Thessaly_, deserted by _Plexippus_, after a
Courtship of three Years; she stood upon the Brow of the Promontory
for some time, and after having thrown down a Ring, a Bracelet, and a
little Picture, with other Presents which she had received from
_Plexippus_, she threw her self into the Sea, and was taken up alive.

_N. B. Larissa_, before she leaped, made an Offering of a Silver
_Cupid_ in the Temple of _Apollo_.

_Simaetha_, in Love with _Daphnis_ the _Myndian_, perished in the

_Charixus_, the Brother of _Sappho_, in Love with _Rhodope_ the
Courtesan, having spent his whole Estate upon her, was advised by his
Sister to leap in the Beginning of his Amour, but would not hearken to
her till he was reduced to his last Talent; being forsaken by
_Rhodope_, at length resolved to take the Leap. Perished in it.

_Aridaeus_, a beautiful Youth of _Epirus_, in Love with _Praxinoe_,
the Wife of _Thespis_, escaped without Damage, saving only that two of
his Fore-Teeth were struck out and his Nose a little flatted.

_Cleora_, a Widow of _Ephesus_, being inconsolable for the Death of
her Husband, was resolved to take this Leap in order to get rid of her
Passion for his Memory; but being arrived at the Promontory, she there
met with _Dimmachus_ the _Miletian_, and after a short Conversation
with him, laid aside the Thoughts of her Leap, and married him in the
Temple of _Apollo_.

_N. B._ Her Widows Weeds are still to be seen hanging up in the
Western Corner of the Temple.

_Olphis_, the Fisherman, having received a Box on the Ear from
_Thestylis_ the Day before, and being determined to have no more to do
with her, leaped, and escaped with Life.

_Atalanta_, an old Maid, whose Cruelty had several Years before driven
two or three despairing Lovers to this Leap; being now in the fifty
fifth Year of her Age, and in Love with an Officer of _Sparta_, broke
her Neck in the Fall.

_Hipparchus_ being passionately fond of his own Wife who was enamoured
of _Bathyllus_, leaped, and died of his Fall; upon which his Wife
married her Gallant.

_Tettyx_, the Dancing-Master, in Love with _Olympia_ an Athenian
Matron, threw himself from the Rock with great Agility, but was
crippled in the Fall.

_Diagoras_, the Usurer, in Love with his Cook-Maid; he peeped several
times over the Precipice, but his Heart misgiving him, he went back,
and married her that Evening.

_Cinaedus_, after having entered his own Name in the Pythian Records,
being asked the Name of the Person whom he leaped for, and being
ashamed to discover it, he was set aside, and not suffered to leap.

_Eunica_, a Maid of _Paphos_, aged Nineteen, in Love with _Eurybates_.
Hurt in the Fall, but recovered.

_N. B._ This was her second Time of Leaping.

_Hesperus_, a young Man of _Tarentum_, in Love with his Masters
Daughter. Drowned, the Boats not coming in soon enough to his Relief.

_Sappho_, the _Lesbian_, in Love with _Phaon_, arrived at the Temple
of _Apollo_, habited like a Bride in Garments as white as Snow. She
wore a Garland of Myrtle on her Head, and carried in her Hand the
little Musical Instrument of her own Invention. After having sung an
Hymn to _Apollo_, she hung up her Garland on one Side of his Altar,
and her Harp on the other. She then tuck'd up her Vestments, like a
_Spartan_ Virgin, and amidst thousands of Spectators, who were anxious
for her Safety, and offered up Vows for her Deliverance, [marched[1]]
directly forwards to the utmost Summit of the Promontory, where after
having repeated a Stanza of her own Verses, which we could not hear,
she threw herself off the Rock with such an Intrepidity as was never
before observed in any who had attempted that dangerous Leap. Many who
were present related, that they saw her fall into the Sea, from whence
she never rose again; tho there were others who affirmed, that she
never came to the Bottom of her Leap, but that she was changed into a
Swan as she fell, and that they saw her hovering in the Air under that
Shape. But whether or no the Whiteness and Fluttering of her Garments
might not deceive those who looked upon her, or whether she might not
really be metamorphosed into that musical and melancholy Bird, is
still a Doubt among the _Lesbians_.

_Alcaeus_, the famous _Lyrick_ Poet, who had for some time been
passionately in Love with _Sappho_, arrived at the Promontory of
_Leucate_ that very Evening, in order to take the Leap upon her
Account; but hearing that _Sappho_ had been there before him, and that
her Body could be no where found, he very generously lamented her
Fall, and is said to have written his hundred and twenty fifth Ode
upon that Occasion.

_Leaped in this Olympiad_ [250 [2]]

Males 124
Females 126

_Cured_ [120[3]]

Males 51
Females 69


[Footnote 1: [she marched]]

[Footnote 2: [350], and in first reprint.]

[Footnote 3: [150], corrected by an Erratum.]

* * * * *

No. 234. Wednesday, Nov. 28, 1711. Steele.

[_Vellum in amicitia erraremus_.

Hor.] [1]

You very often hear People, after a Story has been told with some
entertaining Circumstances, tell it over again with Particulars that
destroy the Jest, but give Light into the Truth of the Narration. This
sort of Veracity, though it is impertinent, has something amiable in it,
because it proceeds from the Love of Truth, even in frivolous Occasions.
If such honest Amendments do not promise an agreeable Companion, they do
a sincere Friend; for which Reason one should allow them so much of our
Time, if we fall into their Company, as to set us right in Matters that
can do us no manner of Harm, whether the Facts be one Way or the other.
Lies which are told out of Arrogance and Ostentation a Man should detect
in his own Defence, because he should not be triumphed over; Lies which
are told out of Malice he should expose, both for his own sake and that
of the rest of Mankind, because every Man should rise against a common
Enemy: But the officious Liar many have argued is to be excused, because
it does some Man good, and no Man hurt. The Man who made more than
ordinary speed from a Fight in which the _Athenians_ were beaten, and
told them they had obtained a complete Victory, and put the whole City
into the utmost Joy and Exultation, was check'd by the Magistrates for
his Falshood; but excused himself by saying, _O Athenians!_ am I your
Enemy because I gave you two happy Days? This Fellow did to a whole
People what an Acquaintance of mine does every Day he lives in some
eminent Degree to particular Persons. He is ever lying People into good
Humour, and, as _Plato_ said, it was allowable in Physicians to lie to
their Patients to keep up their Spirits, I am half doubtful whether my
Friends Behaviour is not as excusable. His Manner is to express himself
surprised at the Chearful Countenance of a Man whom he observes
diffident of himself; and generally by that means makes his Lie a Truth.
He will, as if he did not know any [thing] [2] of the Circumstance, ask
one whom he knows at Variance with another, what is the meaning that Mr.
such a one, naming his Adversary, does not applaud him with that
Heartiness which formerly he has heard him? He said indeed, (continues
he) I would rather have that Man for my Friend than any Man in
_England_; but for an Enemy--This melts the Person he talks to, who
expected nothing but downright Raillery from that Side. According as he
sees his Practices succeeded, he goes to the opposite Party, and tells
him, he cannot imagine how it happens that some People know one another
so little; you spoke with so much Coldness of a Gentleman who said more
Good of you, than, let me tell you, any Man living deserves. The Success
of one of these Incidents was, that the next time that one of the
Adversaries spied the other, he hems after him in the publick Street,
and they must crack a Bottle at the next Tavern, that used to turn out
of the others Way to avoid one anothers Eyeshot. He will tell one
Beauty she was commended by another, nay, he will say she gave the Woman
he speaks to, the Preference in a Particular for which she her self is
admired. The pleasantest Confusion imaginable is made through the whole
Town by my Friends indirect Offices; you shall have a Visit returned
after half a Years Absence, and mutual Railing at each other every Day
of that Time. They meet with a thousand Lamentations for so long a
Separation, each Party naming herself for the greater Delinquent, if the
other can possibly be so good as to forgive her, which she has no Reason
in the World, but from the Knowledge of her Goodness, to hope for. Very
often a whole Train of Railers of each Side tire their Horses in setting
Matters right which they have said during the War between the Parties;
and a whole Circle of Acquaintance are put into a thousand pleasing
Passions and Sentiments, instead of the Pangs of Anger, Envy,
Detraction, and Malice.

The worst Evil I ever observed this Man's Falsehood occasion,
has been that he turned Detraction into Flattery. He is well
skilled in the Manners of the World, and by over-looking what
Men really are, he grounds his Artifices upon what they have a
Mind to be. Upon this Foundation, if two distant Friends are
brought together, and the Cement seems to be weak, he never
rests till he finds new Appearances to take off all Remains of
Ill-will, and that by new Misunderstandings they are thoroughly


_Devonshire, Nov._ 14, 1711.


There arrived in this Neighbourhood two Days ago one of your gay
Gentlemen of the Town, who being attended at his Entry with a Servant
of his own, besides a Countryman he had taken up for a Guide, excited
the Curiosity of the Village to learn whence and what he might be. The
Countryman (to whom they applied as most easy of Access) knew little
more than that the Gentleman came from _London_ to travel and see
Fashions, and was, as he heard say, a Free-thinker: What Religion that
might be, he could not tell; and for his own Part, if they had not
told him the Man was a Free-thinker, he should have guessed, by his
way of talking, he was little better than a Heathen; excepting only
that he had been a good Gentleman to him, and made him drunk twice in
one Day, over and above what they had bargained for.

I do not look upon the Simplicity of this, and several odd Inquiries
with which I shall not trouble you to be wondered at, much less can I
think that our Youths of fine Wit, and enlarged Understandings, have
any Reason to laugh. There is no Necessity that every Squire in _Great
Britain_ should know what the Word Free-thinker stands for; but it
were much to be wished, that they who value themselves upon that
conceited Title were a little better instructed in what it ought to
stand for; and that they would not perswade themselves a Man is really
and truly a Free-thinker in any tolerable Sense, meerly by virtue of
his being an Atheist, or an Infidel of any other Distinction. It may
be doubted, with good Reason, whether there ever was in Nature a more
abject, slavish, and bigotted Generation than the Tribe of _Beaux
Esprits_, at present so prevailing in this Island. Their Pretension to
be Free-thinkers, is no other than Rakes have to be Free-livers, and
Savages to be Free-men, that is, they can think whatever they have a
Mind to, and give themselves up to whatever Conceit the Extravagancy
of their Inclination, or their Fancy, shall suggest; they can think as
wildly as they talk and act, and will not endure that their Wit should
be controuled by such formal Things as Decency and common Sense:
Deduction, Coherence, Consistency, and all the Rules of Reason they
accordingly disdain, as too precise and mechanical for Men of a
liberal Education.

This, as far as I could ever learn from their Writings, or my own
Observation, is a true Account of the _British_ Free-thinker. Our
Visitant here, who gave occasion to this Paper, has brought with him a
new System of common Sense, the Particulars of which I am not yet
acquainted with, but will lose no Opportunity of informing my self
whether it contain any [thing] [3] worth Mr. SPECTATORS Notice. In
the mean time, Sir, I cannot but think it would be for the good of
Mankind, if you would take this Subject into your own Consideration,
and convince the hopeful Youth of our Nation, that Licentiousness is
not Freedom; or, if such a Paradox will not be understood, that a
Prejudice towards Atheism is not Impartiality.

_I am, SIR, Your most humble Servant,_


[Footnote 1:

Splendide mendax.


[Footnote 2: think]

[Footnote 3: think]

* * * * *

No. 235. Thursday, November 29, 1711. Addison.

Vincentum strepitus


There is nothing which lies more within the Province of a Spectator than
publick Shows and Diversions; and as among these there are none which
can pretend to vie with those elegant Entertainments that are exhibited
in our Theatres, I think it particularly incumbent on me to take Notice
of every thing that is remarkable in such numerous and refined

It is observed, that of late Years there has been a certain Person in
the upper Gallery of the Playhouse, who when he is pleased with any
Thing that is acted upon the Stage, expresses his Approbation by a loud
Knock upon the Benches or the Wainscot, which may be heard over the
whole Theatre. This Person is commonly known by the Name of the
_Trunk-maker in the upper Gallery_. Whether it be, that the Blow he
gives on these Occasions resembles that which is often heard in the
Shops of such Artizans, or that he was supposed to have been a real
Trunk-maker, who after the finishing of his Days Work used to unbend
his Mind at these publick Diversions with his Hammer in his Hand, I
cannot certainly tell. There are some, I know, who have been foolish
enough to imagine it is a Spirit which haunts the upper Gallery, and
from Time to Time makes those strange Noises; and the rather, because he
is observed to be louder than ordinary every Time the Ghost of _Hamlet_
appears. Others have reported, that it is a dumb Man, who has chosen
this Way of uttering himself when he is transported with any Thing he
sees or hears. Others will have it to be the Playhouse Thunderer, that
exerts himself after this Manner in the upper Gallery, when he has
nothing to do upon the Roof.

But having made it my Business to get the best Information I could in a
Matter of this Moment, I find that the Trunk-maker, as he is commonly
called, is a large black Man, whom no body knows. He generally leans
forward on a huge Oaken Plant with great Attention to every thing that
passes upon the Stage. He is never seen to smile; but upon hearing any
thing that pleases him, he takes up his Staff with both Hands, and lays
it upon the next Piece of Timber that stands in his Way with exceeding
Vehemence: After which, he composes himself in his former Posture, till
such Time as something new sets him again at Work.

It has been observed, his Blow is so well timed, that the most judicious
Critick could never except against it. As soon as any shining Thought is
expressed in the Poet, or any uncommon Grace appears in the Actor, he
smites the Bench or Wainscot. If the Audience does not concur with him,
he smites a second Time, and if the Audience is not yet awaked, looks
round him with great Wrath, and repeats the Blow a third Time, which
never fails to produce the Clap. He sometimes lets the Audience begin
the Clap of themselves, and at the Conclusion of their Applause ratifies
it with a single Thwack.

He is of so great Use to the Play-house, that it is said a former
Director of it, upon his not being able to pay his Attendance by reason
of Sickness, kept one in Pay to officiate for him till such time as he
recovered; but the Person so employed, tho he laid about him with
incredible Violence, did it in such wrong Places, that the Audience soon
found out that it was not their old Friend the Trunk-maker.

It has been remarked, that he has not yet exerted himself with Vigour
this Season. He sometimes plies at the Opera; and upon _Nicolini's_
first Appearance, was said to have demolished three Benches in the Fury
of his Applause. He has broken half a dozen Oaken Plants upon _Dogget_
[1] and seldom goes away from a Tragedy of _Shakespear_, without leaving
the Wainscot extremely shattered.

The Players do not only connive at his obstreperous Approbation, but
very cheerfully repair at their own Cost whatever Damages he makes. They
had once a Thought of erecting a kind of Wooden Anvil for his Use that
should be made of a very sounding Plank, in order to render his Stroaks
more deep and mellow; but as this might not have been distinguished from
the Musick of a Kettle-Drum, the Project was laid aside.

In the mean while, I cannot but take notice of the great Use it is to an
Audience, that a Person should thus preside over their Heads like the
Director of a Consort, in order to awaken their Attention, and beat time
to their Applauses; or, to raise my Simile, I have sometimes fancied the
Trunk-maker in the upper Gallery to be like _Virgil's_ Ruler of the
Wind, seated upon the Top of a Mountain, who, when he struck his Sceptre
upon the Side of it, roused an Hurricane, and set the whole Cavern in an
Uproar. [2]

It is certain, the Trunk-maker has saved many a good Play, and brought
many a graceful Actor into Reputation, who would not otherwise have been
taken notice of. It is very visible, as the Audience is not a little
abashed, if they find themselves betrayed into a Clap, when their Friend
in the upper Gallery does not come into it; so the Actors do not value
themselves upon the Clap, but regard it as a meer _Brutum fulmen_, or
empty Noise, when it has not the Sound of the Oaken Plant in it. I know
it has been given out by those who are Enemies to the Trunk-maker, that
he has sometimes been bribed to be in the Interest of a bad Poet, or a
vicious Player; but this is a Surmise which has no Foundation: his
Stroaks are always just, and his Admonitions seasonable; he does not
deal about his Blows at Random, but always hits the right Nail upon the
Head. [The [3]] inexpressible Force wherewith he lays them on,
sufficiently shows the Evidence and Strength of his Conviction. His Zeal
for a good Author is indeed outrageous, and breaks down every Fence and
Partition, every Board and Plank, that stands within the Expression of
his Applause.

As I do not care for terminating my Thoughts in barren Speculations, or
in Reports of pure Matter of Fact, without drawing something from them
for the Advantage of my Countrymen, I shall take the Liberty to make an
humble Proposal, that whenever the Trunk-maker shall depart this Life,
or whenever he shall have lost the Spring of his Arm by Sickness, old
Age, Infirmity, or the like, some able-bodied Critick should be advanced
to this Post, and have a competent Salary settled on him for Life, to be
furnished with Bamboos for Operas, Crabtree-Cudgels for Comedies, and
Oaken Plants for Tragedy, at the publick Expence. And to the End that
this Place should be always disposed of according to Merit, I would have
none preferred to it, who has not given convincing Proofs both of a
sound Judgment and a strong Arm, and who could not, upon Occasion,
either knock down an Ox, or write a Comment upon _Horace's_ Art of
Poetry. In short, I would have him a due Composition of _Hercules_ and
_Apollo_, and so rightly qualified for this important Office, that the
Trunk-maker may not be missed by our Posterity.


[Footnote 1: Thomas Doggett, an excellent comic actor, who was for many
years joint-manager with Wilkes and Cibber, died in 1721, and bequeathed
the Coat and Badge that are rowed for by Thames Watermen every first of
August, from London Bridge to Chelsea.]

[Footnote 2: AEneid I. 85.]

[Footnote 3: That.]

* * * * *

No. 236. Friday, November 30, 1711. Steele

--Dare Jura maritis.



You have not spoken in so direct a manner upon the Subject of
Marriage as that important Case deserves. It would not be improper to
observe upon the Peculiarity in the Youth of _Great Britain_, of
railing and laughing at that Institution; and when they fall into it,
from a profligate Habit of Mind, being insensible of the [Satisfaction
[1]] in that Way of Life, and treating their Wives with the most
barbarous Disrespect.

Particular Circumstances and Cast of Temper, must teach a Man the
Probability of mighty Uneasinesses in that State, (for unquestionably
some there are whose very Dispositions are strangely averse to
conjugal Friendship;) but no one, I believe, is by his own natural
Complexion prompted to teaze and torment another for no Reason but
being nearly allied to him: And can there be any thing more base, or
serve to sink a Man so much below his own distinguishing
Characteristick, (I mean Reason) than returning Evil for Good in so
open a Manner, as that of treating an helpless Creature with
Unkindness, who has had so good an Opinion of him as to believe what
he said relating to one of the greatest Concerns of Life, by
delivering her Happiness in this World to his Care and Protection?
Must not that Man be abandoned even to all manner of Humanity, who can
deceive a Woman with Appearances of Affection and Kindness, for no
other End but to torment her with more Ease and Authority? Is any
Thing more unlike a Gentleman, than when his Honour is engaged for the
performing his Promises, because nothing but that can oblige him to
it, to become afterwards false to his Word, and be alone the Occasion
of Misery to one whose Happiness he but lately pretended was dearer to
him than his own? Ought such a one to be trusted in his common
Affairs? or treated but as one whose Honesty consisted only in his
Incapacity of being otherwise?

There is one Cause of this Usage no less absurd than common, which
takes place among the more unthinking Men: and that is the Desire to
appear to their Friends free and at Liberty, and without those
Trammels they have so much ridiculed. [To avoid [2]] this they fly
into the other Extream, and grow Tyrants that they may seem Masters.
Because an uncontroulable Command of their own Actions is a certain
Sign of entire Dominion, they wont so much as recede from the
Government even in one Muscle, of their Faces. A kind Look they
believe would be fawning, and a civil Answer yielding the Superiority.
To this must we attribute an Austerity they betray in every Action:
What but this can put a Man out of Humour in his Wife's Company, tho
he is so distinguishingly pleasant every where else? The Bitterness of
his Replies, and the Severity of his Frowns to the tenderest of Wives,
clearly demonstrate, that an ill-grounded Fear of being thought too
submissive, is at the Bottom of this, as I am willing to call it,
affected Moroseness; but if it be such only, put on to convince his
Acquaintance of his entire Dominion, let him take Care of the
Consequence, which will be certain, and worse than the present Evil;
his seeming Indifference will by Degrees grow into real Contempt, and
if it doth not wholly alienate the Affections of his Wife for ever
from him, make both him and her more miserable than if it really did

However inconsistent it may appear, to be thought a well-bred Person
has no small Share in this clownish Behaviour: A Discourse therefore
relating to good Breeding towards a loving and a tender Wife, would be
of great Use to this Sort of Gentlemen. Could you but once convince
them, that to be civil at least is not beneath the Character of a
Gentleman, nor even tender Affection towards one who would make it
reciprocal, betrays any Softness or Effeminacy that the most masculine
Disposition need be ashamed of; could you satisfy them of the
Generosity of voluntary Civility, and the Greatness of Soul that is
conspicuous in Benevolence without immediate Obligations; could you
recommend to Peoples Practice the Saying of the Gentleman quoted in
one of your Speculations, _That he thought it incumbent upon him to
make the Inclinations of a Woman of Merit go along with her Duty_:
Could you, I say, perswade these Men of the Beauty and Reasonableness
of this Sort of Behaviour, I have so much Charity for some of them at
least, to believe you would convince them of a Thing they are only
ashamed to allow: Besides, you would recommend that State in its
truest, and consequently its most agreeable Colours; and the Gentlemen
who have for any Time been such professed Enemies to it, when Occasion
should serve, would return you their Thanks for assisting their
Interest in prevailing over their Prejudices. Marriage in general
would by this Means be a more easy and comfortable Condition; the
Husband would be no where so well satisfied as in his own Parlour, nor
the Wife so pleasant as in the Company of her Husband: A Desire of
being agreeable in the Lover would be increased in the Husband, and
the Mistress be more amiable by becoming the Wife. Besides all which,
I am apt to believe we should find the Race of Men grow wiser as their
Progenitors grew kinder, and the Affection of the Parents would be
conspicuous in the Wisdom of their Children; in short, Men would in
general be much better humoured than they are, did not they so
frequently exercise the worst Turns of their Temper where they ought
to exert the best.


I am a Woman who left the Admiration of this whole Town, to throw
myself ([for [3]] Love of Wealth) into the Arms of a Fool. When I
married him, I could have had any one of several Men of Sense who
languished for me; but my Case is just. I believed my superior
Understanding would form him into a tractable Creature. But, alas, my
Spouse has Cunning and Suspicion, the inseparable Companions of little
Minds; and every Attempt I make to divert, by putting on an agreeable
Air, a sudden Chearfulness, or kind Behaviour, he looks upon as the
first Act towards an Insurrection against his undeserved Dominion over
me. Let every one who is still to chuse, and hopes to govern a Fool,


_St. Martins, November_ 25.


This is to complain of an evil Practice which I think very well
deserves a Redress, though you have not as yet taken any Notice of it:
If you mention it in your Paper, it may perhaps have a very good
Effect. What I mean is the Disturbance some People give to others at
Church, by their Repetition of the Prayers after the Minister, and
that not only in the Prayers, but also the Absolution and the
Commandments fare no better, winch are in a particular Manner the
Priests Office: This I have known done in so audible a manner, that
sometimes their Voices have been as loud as his. As little as you
would think it, this is frequently done by People seemingly devout.
This irreligious Inadvertency is a Thing extremely offensive: But I do
not recommend it as a Thing I give you Liberty to ridicule, but hope
it may be amended by the bare Mention.

Your very humble Servant,


[Footnote 1: Satisfactions]

[Footnote 2: [For this Reason should they appear the least like what
they were so much used to laugh at, they would become the Jest of
themselves, and the Object of that Raillery they formerly bestowed on
others. To avoid &c.]

[Footnote 3: [by], and in first reprint.]

* * * * *

No. 237. Saturday, December 1, 1711. Addison.

Visu carentem magna pars veri latet.

Senec. in OEdip.

It is very reasonable to believe, that Part of the Pleasure which happy
Minds shall enjoy in a future State, will arise from an enlarged
Contemplation of the Divine Wisdom in the Government of the World, and a
Discovery of the secret and amazing Steps of Providence, from the
Beginning to the End of Time. Nothing seems to be an Entertainment more
adapted to the Nature of Man, if we consider that Curiosity is one of
the strongest and most lasting Appetites implanted in us, and that
Admiration is one of our most pleasing Passions; and what a perpetual
Succession of Enjoyments will be afforded to both these, in a Scene so
large and various as shall then be laid open to our View in the Society
of superior Spirits, who perhaps will join with us in so delightful a

It is not impossible, on the contrary, that Part of the Punishment of
such as are excluded from Bliss, may consist not only in their being
denied this Privilege, but in having their Appetites at the same time
vastly encreased, without any Satisfaction afforded to them. In these,
the vain Pursuit of Knowledge shall, perhaps, add to their Infelicity,
and bewilder them into Labyrinths of Error, Darkness, Distraction and
Uncertainty of every thing but their own evil State. _Milton_ has thus
represented the fallen Angels reasoning together in a kind of Respite
from their Torments, and creating to themselves a new Disquiet amidst
their very Amusements; he could not properly have described the Sports
of condemned Spirits, without that Cast of Horror and Melancholy he has
so judiciously mingled with them.

Others apart sate on a Hill retired,
In Thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high
Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate,
First Fate, Freewill, Foreknowledge absolute,
And found no End in wandring Mazes lost. [1]

In our present Condition, which is a middle State, our Minds are, as it
were, chequered with Truth and Falshood; and as our Faculties are
narrow, and our Views imperfect, it is impossible but our Curiosity must
meet with many Repulses. The Business of Mankind in this Life being
rather to act than to know, their Portion of Knowledge is dealt to them

From hence it is, that the Reason of the Inquisitive has so long been
exercised with Difficulties, in accounting for the promiscuous
Distribution of Good and Evil to the Virtuous and the Wicked in this
World. From hence come all those pathetical Complaints of so many
tragical Events, which happen to the Wise and the Good; and of such
surprising Prosperity, which is often the Lot[2] of the Guilty and the
Foolish; that Reason is sometimes puzzled, and at a loss what to
pronounce upon so mysterious a Dispensation.

_Plato_ expresses his Abhorrence of some Fables of the Poets, which seem
to reflect on the Gods as the Authors of Injustice; and lays it down as
a Principle, That whatever is permitted to befal a just Man, whether
Poverty, Sickness, or any of those Things which seem to be Evils, shall
either in Life or Death conduce to his Good. My Reader will observe how
agreeable this Maxim is to what we find delivered by a greater
Authority. _Seneca_ has written a Discourse purposely on this
Subject[3], in which he takes Pains, after the Doctrine of the
_Stoicks_, to shew that Adversity is not in itself an Evil; and mentions
a noble Saying of _Demetrius_, That _nothing would be more unhappy than
a Man who had never known Affliction_. He compares Prosperity to the
Indulgence of a fond Mother to a Child, which often proves his Ruin; but
the Affection of the Divine Being to that of a wise Father who would
have his Sons exercised with Labour, Disappointment, and Pain, that they
may gather Strength, and improve their Fortitude. On this Occasion the
Philosopher rises into the celebrated Sentiment, That there is not on
Earth a Spectator more worthy the Regard of a Creator intent on his
Works than a brave Man superior to his Sufferings; to which he adds,
That it must be a Pleasure to _Jupiter_ himself to look down from
Heaven, and see _Cato_ amidst the Ruins of his Country preserving his

This Thought will appear yet more reasonable, if we consider human Life
as a State of Probation, and Adversity as the Post of Honour in it,
assigned often to the best and most select Spirits.

But what I would chiefly insist on here, is, that we are not at present
in a proper Situation to judge of the Counsels by which Providence acts,
since but little arrives at our Knowledge, and even that little we
discern imperfectly; or according to the elegant Figure in Holy Writ,
_We see but in part, and as in a Glass darkly_. [It is to be considered,
that Providence[4]] in its Oeconomy regards the whole System of Time and
Things together, [so that] we cannot discover the beautiful Connection
between Incidents which lie widely separated in Time, and by losing so
many Links of the Chain, our Reasonings become broken and imperfect.
Thus those Parts in the moral World which have not an absolute, may yet
have a relative Beauty, in respect of some other Parts concealed from
us, but open to his Eye before whom _Past, Present_, and _To come_, are
set together in one Point of View: and those Events, the Permission of
which seems now to accuse his Goodness, may in the Consummation of
Things both magnify his Goodness, and exalt his Wisdom. And this is
enough to check our Presumption, since it is in vain to apply our
Measures of Regularity to Matters of which we know neither the
Antecedents nor the Consequents, the Beginning nor the End.

I shall relieve my Reader from this abstracted Thought, by relating here
a _Jewish_ Tradition concerning _Moses_ [5] which seems to be a kind of
Parable, illustrating what I have last mentioned. That great Prophet, it
is said, was called up by a Voice from Heaven to the top of a Mountain;
where, in a Conference with the Supreme Being, he was permitted to
propose to him some Questions concerning his Administration of the
Universe. In the midst of this Divine [Colloquy [6]] he was commanded to
look down on the Plain below. At the Foot of the Mountain there issued
out a clear Spring of Water, at which a Soldier alighted from his Horse
to drink. He was no sooner gone than a little Boy came to the same
Place, and finding a Purse of Gold which the Soldier had dropped, took
it up and went away with it. Immediately after this came an infirm old
Man, weary with Age and Travelling, and having quenched his Thirst, sat
down to rest himself by the Side of the Spring. The Soldier missing his
Purse returns to search for it, and demands it of the old Man, who
affirms he had not seen it, and appeals to Heaven in witness of his
Innocence. The Soldier not believing his Protestations, kills him.
_Moses_ fell on his Face with Horror and Amazement, when the Divine
Voice thus prevented his Expostulation: Be not surprised, _Moses_, nor
ask why the Judge of the whole Earth has suffer'd this Thing to come to
pass: The Child is the Occasion that the Blood of the old Man is spilt;
but know, that the old Man whom thou sawst, was the Murderer of that
Child's Father [7].

[Footnote 1: Paradise Lost, B. II. v. 557-561.]

[Footnote 2: In Saturdays Spectator, _for_ reward _read_ lot.
Erratum in No. 238.]

[Footnote 3: De Constantia Sapientis.]

[Footnote 4: [Since Providence, therefore], and in 1st rep.]

[Footnote 5: Henry Mores Divine Dialogues.]

[Footnote 6: [Conference]]

[Footnote 7: No letter appended to original issue or reissue. Printed in
Addison's Works, 1720. The paper has been claimed for John Hughes in the
Preface to his Poems (1735).]

* * * * *

No. 238. Monday, December 3, 1711. Steele.

Nequicquam populo bibulas donaveris Aures;
Respue quod non es.

Persius, Sat. 4.

Among all the Diseases of the Mind, there is not one more epidemical or
more pernicious than the Love of Flattery. For as where the Juices of
the Body are prepared to receive a malignant Influence, there the
Disease rages with most Violence; so in this Distemper of the Mind,
where there is ever a Propensity and Inclination to suck in the Poison,
it cannot be but that the whole Order of reasonable Action must be
overturn'd, for, like Musick, it

--So softens and disarms the Mind,
That not one Arrow can Resistance find.

First we flatter ourselves, and then the Flattery of others is sure of
Success. It awakens our Self-Love within, a Party which is ever ready to
revolt from our better Judgment, and join the Enemy without. Hence it
is, that the Profusion of Favours we so often see poured upon the
Parasite, are represented to us, by our Self-Love, as Justice done to
Man, who so agreeably reconciles us to our selves. When we are overcome
by such soft Insinuations and ensnaring Compliances, we gladly
recompense the Artifices that are made use of to blind our Reason, and
which triumph over the Weaknesses of our Temper and Inclinations.

But were every Man perswaded from how mean and low a Principle this
Passion is derived, there can be no doubt but the Person who should
attempt to gratify it, would then be as contemptible as he is now
successful. Tis the Desire of some Quality we are not possessed of, or
Inclination to be something we are not, which are the Causes of our
giving ourselves up to that Man, who bestows upon us the Characters and
Qualities of others; which perhaps suit us as ill and were as little
design'd for our wearing, as their Cloaths. Instead of going out of our
own complectional Nature into that of others, twere a better and more
laudable Industry to improve our own, and instead of a miserable Copy
become a good Original; for there is no Temper, no Disposition so rude
and untractable, but may in its own peculiar Cast and Turn be brought to
some agreeable Use in Conversation, or in the Affairs of Life. A Person
of a rougher Deportment, and less tied up to the usual Ceremonies of
Behaviour, will, like _Manly_ in the Play,[1] please by the Grace which
Nature gives to every Action wherein she is complied with; the Brisk and
Lively will not want their Admirers, and even a more reserved and
melancholy Temper may at some times be agreeable.

When there is not Vanity enough awake in a Man to undo him, the
Flatterer stirs up that dormant Weakness, and inspires him with Merit
enough to be a Coxcomb. But if Flattery be the most sordid Act that can
be complied with, the Art of Praising justly is as commendable: For tis
laudable to praise well; as Poets at one and the same time give
Immortality, and receive it themselves for a Reward: Both are pleased,
the one whilst he receives the Recompence of Merit, the other whilst he
shews he knows now to discern it; but above all, that Man is happy in
this Art, who, like a skilful Painter, retains the Features and
Complection, but still softens the Picture into the most agreeable

There can hardly, I believe, be imagin'd a more desirable Pleasure, than
that of Praise unmix'd with any Possibility of Flattery. Such was that
which _Germanicus_ enjoyed, when, the Night before a Battle, desirous of
some sincere Mark of the Esteem of his Legions for him, he is described
by _Tacitus_ listening in a Disguise to the Discourse of a Soldier, and
wrapt up in the Fruition of his Glory, whilst with an undesigned
Sincerity they praised his noble and majestick Mien, his Affability, his
Valour, Conduct, and Success in War. How must a Man have his Heart
full-blown with Joy in such an Article of Glory as this? What a Spur and
Encouragement still to proceed in those Steps which had already brought
him to so pure a Taste of the greatest of mortal Enjoyments?

It sometimes happens, that even Enemies and envious Persons bestow the
sincerest Marks of Esteem when they least design it. Such afford a
greater Pleasure, as extorted by Merit, and freed from all Suspicion of
Favour or Flattery. Thus it is with _Malvolio_; he has Wit, Learning,
and Discernment, but temper'd with an Allay of Envy, Self-Love and
Detraction: _Malvolio_ turns pale at the Mirth and good Humour of the
Company, if it center not in his Person; he grows jealous and displeased
when he ceases to be the only Person admired, and looks upon the
Commendations paid to another as a Detraction from his Merit, and an
Attempt to lessen the Superiority he affects; but by this very Method,
he bestows such Praise as can never be suspected of Flattery. His
Uneasiness and Distastes are so many sure and certain Signs of anothers
Title to that Glory he desires, and has the Mortification to find
himself not possessed of.

A good Name is fitly compared to a precious Ointment,[2] and when we are
praised with Skill and Decency, tis indeed the most agreeable Perfume,
but if too strongly admitted into a Brain of a less vigorous and happy
Texture, twill, like too strong an Odour, overcome the Senses, and
prove pernicious to those Nerves twas intended to refresh. A generous
Mind is of all others the most sensible of Praise and Dispraise; and a
noble Spirit is as much invigorated with its due Proportion of Honour
and Applause, as tis depressed by Neglect and Contempt: But tis only
Persons far above the common Level who are thus affected with either of
these Extreams; as in a Thermometer, tis only the purest and most
sublimated Spirit that is either contracted or dilated by the Benignity
or Inclemency of the Season.


The Translations which you have lately given us from the _Greek_, in
some of your last Papers, have been the Occasion of my looking into
some of those Authors; among whom I chanced on a Collection of Letters
which pass under the Name of _Aristaenetus_. Of all the Remains of
Antiquity, I believe there can be Nothing produc'd of an Air so
gallant and polite; each Letter contains a little Novel or Adventure,
which is told with all the Beauties of Language and heightened with a
Luxuriance of Wit. There are several of them translated,[3] but with
such wide Deviations from the Original, and in a Style so far
differing from the Authors, that the Translator seems rather to have
taken Hints for the expressing his own Sense and Thoughts, than to
have endeavoured to render those of _Aristaenetus_. In the following
Translation, I have kept as near the Meaning of the _Greek_ as I
could, and have only added a few Words to make the Sentences in
_English_ fit together a little better than they would otherwise have
done. The Story seems to be taken from that of _Pygmalion_ and the
Statue in _Ovid_: Some of the Thoughts are of the same Turn, and the
whole is written in a kind of Poetical Prose.

Philopinax to Chromation.

"Never was Man more overcome with so fantastical a Passion as mine.
I have painted a beautiful Woman, and am despairing, dying for the
Picture. My own Skill has undone me; tis not the Dart of _Venus_,
but my own Pencil has thus wounded me. Ah me! with what Anxiety am I
necessitated to adore my own Idol? How miserable am I, whilst every
one must as much pity the Painter as he praises the Picture, and own
my Torment more than equal to my Art. But why do I thus complain?
Have there not been more unhappy and unnatural Passions than mine?
Yes, I have seen the Representations of _Phaedra, Narcissus,_ and
_Pasiphae_. _Phaedra_ was unhappy in her Love; that of _Pasiphae_ was
monstrous; and whilst the other caught at his beloved Likeness, he
destroyed the watery Image, which ever eluded his Embraces. The
Fountain represented _Narcissus_ to himself, and the Picture both
that and him, thirsting after his adored Image. But I am yet less
unhappy, I enjoy her Presence continually, and if I touch her, I
destroy not the beauteous Form, but she looks pleased, and a sweet
Smile sits in the charming Space which divides her Lips. One would
swear that Voice and Speech were issuing out, and that ones Ears
felt the melodious Sound. How often have I, deceived by a Lovers
Credulity, hearkned if she had not something to whisper me? and when
frustrated of my Hopes, how often have I taken my Revenge in Kisses
from her Cheeks and Eyes, and softly wooed her to my Embrace, whilst
she (as to me it seem'd) only withheld her Tongue the more to
inflame me. But, Madman that I am, shall I be thus taken with the
Representation only of a beauteous Face, and flowing Hair, and thus
waste myself and melt to Tears for a Shadow? Ah, sure tis something
more, tis a Reality! for see her Beauties shine out with new
Lustre, and she seems to upbraid me with such unkind Reproaches. Oh
may I have a living Mistress of this Form, that when I shall compare
the Work of Nature with that of Art, I may be still at a loss which
to choose, and be long perplex'd with the pleasing Uncertainty.


[Footnote 1: Wycherley's Plain Dealer.]

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