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

The Spectator, Volume 2. by Addison and Steele

Part 6 out of 19

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

Barrels are to a Whale, that he may let the Ship sail on without
Disturbance, while he diverts himself with those innocent Amusements.

I have been so very scrupulous in this Particular of not hurting any
Man's Reputation that I have forborn mentioning even such Authors as I
could not name without Honour. This I must confess to have been a Piece
of very great Self-denial: For as the Publick relishes nothing better
than the Ridicule which turns upon a Writer of any Eminence, so there is
nothing which a Man that has but a very ordinary Talent in Ridicule may
execute with greater Ease. One might raise Laughter for a Quarter of a
Year together upon the Works of a Person who has published but a very
few Volumes. For which [Reason [5]] I am astonished, that those who have
appeared against this Paper have made so very little of it. The
Criticisms which I have hitherto published, have been made with an
Intention rather to discover Beauties and Excellencies in the Writers of
my own Time, than to publish any of their Faults and Imperfections. In
the mean while I should take it for a very great Favour from some of my
underhand Detractors, if they would break all Measures with me so far,
as to give me a Pretence for examining their Performances with an
impartial Eye: Nor shall I look upon it as any Breach of Charity to
criticise the Author, so long as I keep clear of the Person.

In the mean while, till I am provoked to such Hostilities, I shall from
time to time endeavour to do Justice to those who have distinguished
themselves in the politer Parts of Learning, and to point out such
Beauties in their Works as may have escaped the Observation of others.

As the first Place among our _English_ Poets is due to _Milton_; and as
I have drawn more Quotations out of him than from any other, I shall
enter into a regular Criticism upon his _Paradise Lost_, which I shall
publish every _Saturday_ till I have given my Thoughts upon that Poem.
I shall not however presume to impose upon others my own particular
Judgment on this Author, but only deliver it as my private Opinion.
Criticism is of a very large Extent, and every particular Master in this
Art has his favourite Passages in an Author, which do not equally strike
the best Judges. It will be sufficient for me if I discover many
Beauties or Imperfections which others have not attended to, and I
should be very glad to see any of our eminent Writers publish their
Discoveries on the same Subject. In short, I would always be understood
to write my Papers of Criticism in the Spirit which _Horace_ has
expressed in those two famous Lines;

--Si quid novisti rectius istis,
Candidus imperti; si non, his utere mecum,

If you have made any better Remarks of your own, communicate them
with Candour; if not, make use of these I present you with.


[Footnote 1: [not to]]

[Footnote 2: [Aptness in them]]

[Footnote 3: [Fifteen images in waxwork, prepared for a procession on
the 17th November, Queen Elizabeth's birthday, had been seized under a
Secretary of State's warrant. Swift says, in his Journal to Stella, that
the devil which was to have waited on the Pope was saved from burning
because it was thought to resemble the Lord Treasurer.]

[Footnote 4: The Royal Society was incorporated in 1663 as the Royal
Society of London for promoting Natural Knowledge. In the same year
there was an abortive insurrection in the North against the infamy of
Charles II.'s government.]

[Footnote 5: [Reasons]]

* * * * *

No. 263. Tuesday, January 1, 1712. Steele.

Gratulor quod eum quem necesse erat diligere, qualiscunque esset,
talem habemus ut libenter quoque diligamus.

Trebonius apud Tull.


I am the happy Father of a very towardly Son, in whom I do not only
see my Life, but also my Manner of Life, renewed. It would be
extremely beneficial to Society, if you would frequently resume
Subjects which serve to bind these sort of Relations faster, and
endear the Ties of Blood with those of Good-will, Protection,
Observance, Indulgence, and Veneration. I would, methinks, have this
done after an uncommon Method, and do not think any one, who is not
capable of writing a good Play, fit to undertake a Work wherein there
will necessarily occur so many secret Instincts, and Biasses of human
Nature which would pass unobserved by common Eyes. I thank Heaven I
have no outrageous Offence against my own excellent Parents to answer
for; but when I am now and then alone, and look back upon my past
Life, from my earliest Infancy to this Time, there are many Faults
which I committed that did not appear to me, even till I my self
became a Father. I had not till then a Notion of the Earnings of
Heart, which a Man has when he sees his Child do a laudable Thing, or
the sudden Damp which seizes him when he fears he will act something
unworthy. It is not to be imagined, what a Remorse touched me for a
long Train of childish Negligencies of my Mother, when I saw my Wife
the other Day look out of the Window, and turn as pale as Ashes upon
seeing my younger Boy sliding upon the Ice. These slight Intimations
will give you to understand, that there are numberless little Crimes
which Children take no notice of while they are doing, which upon
Reflection, when they shall themselves become Fathers, they will look
upon with the utmost Sorrow and Contrition, that they did not regard,
before those whom they offended were to be no more seen. How many
thousand Things do I remember, which would have highly pleased my
Father, and I omitted for no other Reason, but that I thought what he
proposed the Effect of Humour and old Age, which I am now convinced
had Reason and good Sense in it. I cannot now go into the Parlour to
him, and make his Heart glad with an Account of a Matter which was of
no Consequence, but that I told it, and acted in it. The good Man and
Woman are long since in their Graves, who used to sit and plot the
Welfare of us their Children, while, perhaps, we were sometimes
laughing at the old Folks at another End of the House. The Truth of it
is, were we merely to follow Nature in these great Duties of Life,
tho we have a strong Instinct towards the performing of them, we
should be on both Sides very deficient. Age is so unwelcome to the
Generality of Mankind, and Growth towards Manhood so desirable to all,
that Resignation to Decay is too difficult a Task in the Father; and
Deference, amidst the Impulse of gay Desires, appears unreasonable to
the Son. There are so few who can grow old with a good Grace, and yet
fewer who can come slow enough into the World, that a Father, were he
to be actuated by his Desires, and a Son, were he to consult himself
only, could neither of them behave himself as he ought to the other.
But when Reason interposes against Instinct, where it would carry
either out of the Interests of the other, there arises that happiest
Intercourse of good Offices between those dearest Relations of human
Life. The Father, according to the Opportunities which are offered to
him, is throwing down Blessings on the Son, and the Son endeavouring
to appear the worthy Offspring of such a Father. It is after this
manner that _Camillus_ and his firstborn dwell together. _Camillus_
enjoys a pleasing and indolent old Age, in which Passion is subdued,
and Reason exalted. He waits the Day of his Dissolution with a
Resignation mixed with Delight, and the Son fears the Accession of his
Fathers Fortune with Diffidence, lest he should not enjoy or become
it as well as his Predecessor. Add to this, that the Father knows he
leaves a Friend to the Children of his Friends, an easie Landlord to
his Tenants, and an agreeable Companion to his Acquaintance. He
believes his Sons Behaviour will make him frequently remembered, but
never wanted. This Commerce is so well cemented, that without the Pomp
of saying, _Son, be a Friend to such a one when I am gone; Camillus_
knows, being in his Favour, is Direction enough to the grateful Youth
who is to succeed him, without the Admonition of his mentioning it.
These Gentlemen are honoured in all their Neighbourhood, and the same
Effect which the Court has on the Manner of a Kingdom, their
Characters have on all who live within the Influence of them.

My Son and I are not of Fortune to communicate our good Actions or
Intentions to so many as these Gentlemen do; but I will be bold to
say, my Son has, by the Applause and Approbation which his Behaviour
towards me has gained him, occasioned that many an old Man, besides my
self, has rejoiced. Other Mens Children follow the Example of mine,
and I have the inexpressible Happiness of overhearing our Neighbours,
as we ride by, point to their Children, and say, with a Voice of Joy,
There they go.

You cannot, _Mr_. SPECTATOR, pass your time better than insinuating
the Delights which these Relations well regarded bestow upon each
other. Ordinary Passions are no longer such, but mutual Love gives an
Importance to the most indifferent things, and a Merit to Actions the
most insignificant. When we look round the World, and observe the many
Misunderstandings which are created by the Malice and Insinuation of
the meanest Servants between People thus related, how necessary will
it appear that it were inculcated that Men would be upon their Guard
to support a Constancy of Affection, and that grounded upon the
Principles of Reason, not the Impulses of Instinct.

It is from the common Prejudices which Men receive from their Parents,
that Hatreds are kept alive from one Generation to another; and when
Men act by Instinct, Hatreds will descend when good Offices are
forgotten. For the Degeneracy of human Life is such, that our Anger is
more easily transferred to our Children than our Love. Love always
gives something to the Object it delights in, and Anger spoils the
Person against whom it is moved of something laudable in him. From
this Degeneracy therefore, and a sort of Self-Love, we are more prone
to take up the Ill-will of our Parents, than to follow them in their

One would think there should need no more to make Men keep up this
sort of Relation with the utmost Sanctity, than to examine their own
Hearts. If every Father remembered his own Thoughts and Inclinations
when he was a Son, and every Son remembered what he expected from his
Father, when he himself was in a State of Dependance, this one
Reflection would preserve Men from being dissolute or rigid in these
several Capacities. The Power and Subjection between them, when
broken, make them more emphatically Tyrants and Rebels against each
other, with greater Cruelty of Heart, than the Disruption of States
and Empires can possibly produce. I shall end this Application to you
with two Letters which passed between a Mother and Son very lately,
and are as follows.

_Dear_ FRANK,

If the Pleasures, which I have the Grief to hear you pursue in Town,
do not take up all your Time, do not deny your Mother so much of it,
as to read seriously this Letter. You said before Mr. _Letacre_,
that an old Woman might live very well in the Country upon half my
Jointure, and that your Father was a fond Fool to give me a
Rent-Charge of Eight hundred a Year to the Prejudice of his Son.
What _Letacre_ said to you upon that Occasion, you ought to have
born with more Decency, as he was your Fathers well-beloved
Servant, than to have called him _Country-put_. In the first place,
_Frank_, I must tell you, I will have my Rent duly paid, for I will
make up to your Sisters for the Partiality I was guilty of, in
making your Father do so much as he has done for you. I may, it
seems, live upon half my Jointure! I lived upon much less, _Frank_,
when I carried you from Place to Place in these Arms, and could
neither eat, dress, or mind any thing for feeding and tending you a
weakly Child, and shedding Tears when the Convulsions you were then
troubled with returned upon you. By my Care you outgrew them, to
throw away the Vigour of your Youth in the Arms of Harlots, and deny
your Mother what is not yours to detain. Both your Sisters are
crying to see the Passion which I smother; but if you please to go
on thus like a Gentleman of the Town, and forget all Regards to your
self and Family, I shall immediately enter upon your Estate for the
Arrear due to me, and without one Tear more contemn you for
forgetting the Fondness of your Mother, as much as you have the
Example of your Father. O _Frank_, do I live to omit writing myself,
_Your Affectionate Mother_, A.T.

I will come down to-morrow and pay the Money on my Knees. Pray write
so no more. I will take care you never shall, for I will be for ever
hereafter, _Your most dutiful Son_, F.T.

I will bring down new Heads for my Sisters. Pray let all be


* * * * *

No. 264. Wednesday, January 2, 1712. Steele.

--Secretum iter et fallentis Semita vitae.


It has been from Age to Age an Affectation to love the Pleasure of
Solitude, amongst those who cannot possibly be supposed qualified for
passing Life in that Manner. This People have taken up from reading the
many agreeable things which have been writ on that Subject, for which we
are beholden to excellent Persons who delighted in being retired and
abstracted from the Pleasures that enchant the Generality of the World.
This Way of Life is recommended indeed with great Beauty, and in such a
Manner as disposes the Reader for the time to a pleasing Forgetfulness,
or Negligence of the particular Hurry of Life in which he is engaged,
together with a Longing for that State which he is charmed with in
Description. But when we consider the World it self, and how few there
are capable of a religious, learned, or philosophick Solitude, we shall
be apt to change a Regard to that sort of Solitude, for being a little
singular in enjoying Time after the Way a Man himself likes best in the
World, without going so far as wholly to withdraw from it. I have often
observed, there is not a Man breathing who does not differ from all
other Men, as much in the Sentiments of his Mind, as the Features of his
Face. The Felicity is, when anyone is so happy as to find out and follow
what is the proper Bent of this Genius, and turn all his Endeavours to
exert himself according as that prompts him. Instead of this, which is
an innocent Method of enjoying a Man's self, and turning out of the
general Tracks wherein you have Crowds of Rivals, there are those who
pursue their own Way out of a Sowrness and Spirit of Contradiction:
These Men do every thing which they are able to support, as if Guilt and
Impunity could not go together. They choose a thing only because another
dislikes it; and affect forsooth an inviolable Constancy in Matters of
no manner of Moment. Thus sometimes an old Fellow shall wear this or
that sort of Cut in his Cloaths with great Integrity, while all the rest
of the World are degenerated into Buttons, Pockets and Loops unknown to
their Ancestors. As insignificant as even this is, if it were searched
to the Bottom, you perhaps would find it not sincere, but that he is in
the Fashion in his Heart, and holds out from mere Obstinacy. But I am
running from my intended Purpose, which was to celebrate a certain
particular Manner of passing away Life, and is a Contradiction to no
Man. but a Resolution to contract none of the exorbitant Desires by
which others are enslaved. The best way of separating a Man's self from
the World, is to give up the Desire of being known to it. After a Man
has preserved his Innocence, and performed all Duties incumbent upon
him, his Time spent his own Way is what makes his Life differ from that
of a Slave. If they who affect Show and Pomp knew how many of their
Spectators derided their trivial Taste, they would be very much less
elated, and have an Inclination to examine the Merit of all they have to
do with: They would soon find out that there are many who make a Figure
below what their Fortune or Merit entities them to, out of mere Choice,
and an elegant Desire of Ease and Disincumbrance. It would look like
Romance to tell you in this Age of an old Man who is contented to pass
for an Humourist, and one who does not understand the Figure he ought to
make in the World, while he lives in a Lodging of Ten Shillings a Week
with only one Servant: While he dresses himself according to the Season
in Cloth or in Stuff, and has no one necessary Attention to any thing
but the Bell which calls to Prayers twice a Day. I say it would look
like a Fable to report that this Gentleman gives away all which is the
Overplus of a great Fortune, by secret Methods to other Men. If he has
not the Pomp of a numerous Train, and of Professors of Service to him,
he has every Day he lives the Conscience that the Widow, the Fatherless,
the Mourner, and the Stranger bless his unseen Hand in their Prayers.
This Humourist gives up all the Compliments which People of his own
Condition could make to him, for the Pleasures of helping the Afflicted,
supplying the Needy, and befriending the Neglected. This Humourist keeps
to himself much more than he wants, and gives a vast Refuse of his
Superfluities to purchase Heaven, and by freeing others from the
Temptations of Worldly Want, to carry a Retinue with him thither. Of all
Men who affect living in a particular Way, next to this admirable
Character, I am the most enamoured of _Irus_, whose Condition will not
admit of such Largesses, and perhaps would not be capable of making
them, if it were. _Irus_, tho he is now turned of Fifty, has not
appeared in the World, in his real Character, since five and twenty, at
which Age he ran out a small Patrimony, and spent some Time after with
Rakes who had lived upon him: A Course of ten Years time, passed in all
the little Alleys, By-Paths, and sometimes open Taverns and Streets of
this Town, gave _Irus_ a perfect Skill in judging of the Inclinations of
Mankind, and acting accordingly. He seriously considered he was poor,
and the general Horror which most Men have of all who are in that
Condition. _Irus_ judg'd very rightly, that while he could keep his
Poverty a Secret, he should not feel the Weight of it; he improved this
Thought into an Affectation of Closeness and Covetousness. Upon this one
Principle he resolved to govern his future Life; and in the thirty sixth
Year of his Age he repaired to Long-lane, and looked upon several
Dresses which hung there deserted by their first Masters, and exposed to
the Purchase of the best Bidder. At this Place he exchanged his gay
Shabbiness of Cloaths fit for a much younger Man, to warm ones that
would be decent for a much older one. _Irus_ came out thoroughly
equipped from Head to Foot, with a little oaken Cane in the Form of a
substantial Man that did not mind his Dress, turned of fifty. He had at
this time fifty Pounds in ready Money; and in this Habit, with this
Fortune, he took his present Lodging in St. _John Street_, at the
Mansion-House of a Taylor's Widow, who washes and can clear-starch his
Bands. From that Time to this, he has kept the main Stock, without
Alteration under or over to the value of five Pounds. He left off all
his old Acquaintance to a Man, and all his Arts of Life, except the Play
of Backgammon, upon which he has more than bore his Charges. _Irus_ has,
ever since he came into this Neighbourhood, given all the Intimations,
he skilfully could, of being a close Hunks worth Money: No body comes to
visit him, he receives no Letters, and tells his Money Morning and
Evening. He has, from the publick Papers, a Knowledge of what generally
passes, shuns all Discourses of Money, but shrugs his Shoulder when you
talk of Securities; he denies his being rich with the Air, which all do
who are vain of being so: He is the Oracle of a Neighbouring Justice of
Peace, who meets him at the Coffeehouse; the Hopes that what he has must
come to Somebody, and that he has no Heirs, have that Effect where ever
he is known, that he every Day has three or four Invitations to dine at
different Places, which he generally takes care to choose in such a
manner, as not to seem inclined to the richer Man. All the young Men
respect him, and say he is just the same Man he was when they were Boys.
He uses no Artifice in the World, but makes use of Mens Designs upon
him to get a Maintenance out of them. This he carries on by a certain
Peevishness, (which he acts very well) that no one would believe could
possibly enter into the Head of a poor Fellow. His Mein, his Dress, his
Carriage, and his Language are such, that you would be at a loss to
guess whether in the Active Part of his Life he had been a sensible
Citizen, or Scholar that knew the World. These are the great
Circumstances in the Life of _Irus_, and thus does he pass away his Days
a Stranger to Mankind; and at his Death, the worst that will be said of
him will be, that he got by every Man who had Expectations from him,
more than he had to leave him.

I have an Inclination to print the following Letters; for that I have
heard the Author of them has some where or other seen me, and by an
excellent Faculty in Mimickry my Correspondents tell me he can assume my
Air, and give my Taciturnity a Slyness which diverts more than any Thing
I could say if I were present. Thus I am glad my Silence is attoned for
to the good Company in Town. He has carried his Skill in Imitation so
far, as to have forged a Letter from my Friend Sir ROGER in such a
manner, that any one but I who am thoroughly acquainted with him, would
have taken it for genuine.


Having observed in _Lilly's_ Grammar how sweetly _Bacchus_ and
_Apollo_ run in a Verse: I have (to preserve the Amity between them)
call'd in _Bacchus_ to the Aid of my Profession of the _Theatre_. So
that while some People of Quality are bespeaking Plays of me to be
acted upon such a Day, and others, Hogsheads for their Houses against
such a Time; I am wholly employ'd in the agreeable Service of Wit and
Wine: Sir, I have sent you Sir _Roger de Coverley's_ Letter to me,
which pray comply with in Favour of the _Bumper_ Tavern. Be kind, for
you know a Players utmost Pride is the Approbation of the SPECTATOR.

_I am your Admirer, tho unknown_,
Richard Estcourt [1]

To Mr. Estcourt at his House in _Covent-Garden_.
_Coverley, December_ the 18th, 1711.

_Old Comical Ones_,

The Hogsheads of Neat Port came safe, and have gotten thee good
Reputation in these Parts; and I am glad to hear, that a Fellow who
has been laying out his Money ever since he was born, for the meer
Pleasure of Wine, has bethought himself of joining Profit and Pleasure
together. Our Sexton (poor Man) having received Strength from thy Wine
since his fit of the Gout, is hugely taken with it: He says it is
given by Nature for the Use of Families, that no Stewards Table can
be without it, that it strengthens Digestion, excludes Surfeits,
Fevers and Physick; which green Wines of any kind cant do. Pray get a
pure snug Room, and I hope next Term to help fill your Bumper with our
People of the Club; but you must have no Bells stirring when the
_Spectator_ comes; I forbore ringing to Dinner while he was down with
me in the Country. Thank you for the little Hams and _Portugal_
Onions; pray keep some always by you. You know my Supper is only good
_Cheshire_ Cheese, best Mustard, a golden Pippin, attended with a Pipe
of _John Sly's_ Best. Sir Harry has stoln all your Songs, and tells
the Story of the 5th of _November_ to Perfection.

_Yours to serve you_,
Roger de Coverley.

We've lost old _John_ since you were here.


[Footnote 1: Richard Estcourt, born at Tewkesbury in 1688, and educated
in the Latin school there, stole from home at the age of 15 to join a
travelling company of comedians at Worcester, and, to avoid detection,
made his first appearance in woman's clothes as Roxana in _Alexander the
Great_. He was discovered, however, pursued, brought home, carried to
London, and bound prentice to an apothecary in Hatton Garden. He escaped
again, wandered about England, went to Ireland, and there obtained
credit as an actor; then returned to London, and appeared at Drury Lane,
where his skill as a mimic enabled him to perform each part in the
manner of the actor who had obtained chief credit by it. His power of
mimicry made him very diverting in society, and as he had natural
politeness with a sprightly wit, his company was sought and paid for at
the entertainments of the great. Dick Estcourt was a great favourite
with the Duke of Marlborough, and when men of wit and rank joined in
establishing the Beefsteak Club they made Estcourt their _Providore_,
with a small gold gridiron, for badge, hung round his neck by a green
ribbon. Estcourt was a writer for the stage as well as actor, and had
shown his agreement with the _Spectators_ dramatic criticisms by
ridiculing the Italian opera with an interlude called _Prunella_. In the
Numbers of the _Spectator_ for December 28 and 29 Estcourt had
advertised that he would on the 1st of January open the Bumper Tavern
in James's Street, Westminster, and had laid in

neat natural wines, fresh and in perfection; being bought by Brooke
and Hellier, by whom the said Tavern will from time to time be
supplied with the best growths that shall be imported; to be sold by
wholesale as well as retail, with the utmost fidelity by his old
servant, trusty Anthony, who has so often adorned both the theatres in
England and Ireland; and as he is a person altogether unknowing in the
wine trade, it cannot be doubted but that he will deliver the wine in
the same natural purity that he receives it from the said merchants;
and on these assurances he hopes that all his friends and acquaintance
will become his customers, desiring a continuance of their favours no
longer than they shall find themselves well served.

This is the venture which Steele here backs for his friend with the
influence of the _Spectator_.]

* * * * *

No. 265. Thursday, January 3, 1712. Addison.

Dixerit e multis aliquis, quid virus in angues
Adjicis? et rabidae tradis ovile lupae?


One of the Fathers, if I am rightly informed, has defined a Woman to be
[Greek: xoon philokosmon], _an Animal that delights in Finery_. I have
already treated of the Sex in two or three Papers, conformably to this
Definition, and have in particular observed, that in all Ages they have
been more careful then the Men to adorn that Part of the Head, which we
generally call the Outside.

This Observation is so very notorious, that when in ordinary Discourse
we say a Man has a fine Head, a long Head, or a good Head, we express
ourselves metaphorically, and speak in relation to his Understanding;
whereas when we say of a Woman, she has a fine, a long or a good Head,
we speak only in relation to her Commode.

It is observed among Birds, that Nature has lavished all her Ornaments
upon the Male, who very often appears in a most beautiful Head-dress:
Whether it be a Crest, a Comb, a Tuft of Feathers, or a natural little
Plume, erected like a kind of Pinacle on the very Top of the Head. [As
Nature on the contrary [1] has poured out her Charms in the greatest
Abundance upon the Female Part of our Species, so they are very
assiduous in bestowing upon themselves the finest Garnitures of Art. The
Peacock in all his Pride, does not display half the Colours that appear
in the Garments of a _British_ Lady, when she is dressed either for a
Ball or a Birth-day.

But to return to our Female Heads. The Ladies have been for some time in
a kind of _moulting Season_, with regard to that Part of their Dress,
having cast great Quantities of Ribbon, Lace, and Cambrick, and in some
measure reduced that Part of the human Figure to the beautiful globular
Form, which is natural to it. We have for a great while expected what
kind of Ornament would be substituted in the Place of those antiquated
Commodes. But our Female Projectors were all the last Summer so taken up
with the Improvement of their Petticoats, that they had not time to
attend to any thing else; but having at length sufficiently adorned
their lower Parts, they now begin to turn their Thoughts upon the other
Extremity, as well remembring the old Kitchen Proverb, that if you light
your Fire at both Ends, the middle will shift for it self.

I am engaged in this Speculation by a Sight which I lately met with at
the Opera. As I was standing in the hinder Part of the Box, I took
notice of a little Cluster of Women sitting together in the prettiest
coloured Hoods that I ever saw. One of them was Blue, another Yellow,
and another Philomot; [2] the fourth was of a Pink Colour, and the fifth
of a pale Green. I looked with as much Pleasure upon this little
party-coloured Assembly, as upon a Bed of Tulips, and did not know at
first whether it might not be an Embassy of _Indian_ Queens; but upon my
going about into the Pit, and taking them in Front, I was immediately
undeceived, and saw so much Beauty in every Face, that I found them all
to be _English_. Such Eyes and Lips, Cheeks and Foreheads, could be the
Growth of no other Country. The Complection of their Faces hindred me
from observing any farther the Colour of their Hoods, though I could
easily perceive by that unspeakable Satisfaction which appeared in their
Looks, that their own Thoughts were wholly taken up on those pretty
Ornaments they wore upon their Heads.

I am informed that this Fashion spreads daily, insomuch that the Whig
and Tory Ladies begin already to hang out different Colours, and to shew
their Principles in their Head-dress. Nay if I may believe my Friend
WILL. HONEYCOMB, there is a certain old Coquet of his Acquaintance who
intends to appear very suddenly in a Rainbow Hood, like the _Iris_ in
_Dryden's Virgil_, not questioning but that among such a variety of
Colours she shall have a Charm for every Heart.

My Friend WILL., who very much values himself upon his great Insights
into Gallantry, tells me, that he can already guess at the Humour a Lady
is in by her Hood, as the Courtiers of _Morocco_ know the Disposition of
their present Emperor by the Colour of the Dress which he puts on. When
_Melesinda_ wraps her Head in Flame Colour, her Heart is set upon
Execution. When she covers it with Purple, I would not, says he, advise
her Lover to approach her; but if she appears in White, it is Peace, and
he may hand her out of her Box with Safety.

Will, informs me likewise, that these Hoods may be used as Signals. Why
else, says he, does _Cornelia_ always put on a Black Hood when her
Husband is gone into the Country?

Such are my Friend HONEYCOMBS Dreams of Gallantry. For my own part, I
impute this Diversity of Colours in the Hoods to the Diversity of
Complexion in the Faces of my pretty Country Women. _Ovid_ in his Art of
Love has given some Precepts as to this Particular, though I find they
are different from those which prevail among the Moderns. He recommends
a Red striped Silk to the pale Complexion; White to the Brown, and Dark
to the Fair. On the contrary my Friend WILL., who pretends to be a
greater Master in this Art than _Ovid_, tells me, that the palest
Features look the most agreeable in white Sarsenet; that a Face which is
overflushed appears to advantage in the deepest Scarlet, and that the
darkest Complexion is not a little alleviated by a Black Hood. In short,
he is for losing the Colour of the Face in that of the Hood, as a Fire
burns dimly, and a Candle goes half out, in the Light of the Sun. This,
says he, your _Ovid_ himself has hinted, where he treats of these
Matters, when he tells us that the blue Water Nymphs are dressed in Sky
coloured Garments; and that _Aurora_, who always appears in the Light of
the Rising Sun, is robed in Saffron.

Whether these his Observations are justly grounded I cannot tell: but I
have often known him, as we have stood together behind the Ladies,
praise or dispraise the Complexion of a Face which he never saw, from
observing the Colour of her Hood, and has been very seldom out in these
his Guesses.

As I have Nothing more at Heart than the Honour and Improvement of the
Fair Sex, [3] I cannot conclude this Paper without an Exhortation to the
_British_ Ladies, that they would excel the Women of all other Nations
as much in Virtue and good Sense, as they do in Beauty; which they may
certainly do, if they will be as industrious to cultivate their Minds,
as they are to adorn their Bodies: In the mean while I shall recommend
to their most serious Consideration the Saying of an old _Greek_ Poet,

[Greek: Gynaiki kosmos ho tropos, k ou chrysia.]

C. [4]

[Footnote 1: [On the contrary as Nature]]

[Footnote 2: _Feuille mort_, the russet yellow of dead leaves.]

[Footnote 3:

I will not meddle with the Spectator. Let him _fair-sex_ it to the
worlds end.

Swifts Journal to Stella.]

[Footnote 4: [T.] corrected by an erratum in No. 268.]

* * * * *

No. 266. Friday, January 4, 1712. Steele.

Id vero est, quod ego mihi puto palmarium,
Me reperisse, quomodo adolescentulus
Meretricum ingenia et mores possit noscere:
Mature ut cum cognorit perpetuo oderit.

Ter. Eun. Act. 5, Sc. 4.

No Vice or Wickedness which People fall into from Indulgence to
Desire[s] which are natural to all, ought to place them below the
Compassion of the virtuous Part of the World; which indeed often makes
me a little apt to suspect the Sincerity of their Virtue, who are too
warmly provoked at other Peoples personal Sins. The unlawful Commerce of
the Sexes is of all other the hardest to avoid; and yet there is no one
which you shall hear the rigider Part of Womankind speak of with so
little Mercy. It is very certain that a modest Woman cannot abhor the
Breach of Chastity too much; but pray let her hate it for her self, and
only pity it in others. WILL. HONEYCOMB calls these over-offended
Ladies, the Outragiously Virtuous.

I do not design to fall upon Failures in general, with relation to the
Gift of Chastity, but at present only enter upon that large Field, and
begin with the Consideration of poor and publick Whores. The other
Evening passing along near _Covent-Garden_, I was jogged on the Elbow as
I turned into the Piazza, on the right Hand coming out of
_James-street_, by a slim young Girl of about Seventeen, who with a pert
Air asked me if I was for a Pint of Wine. I do not know but I should
have indulged my Curiosity in having some Chat with her, but that I am
informed the Man of the _Bumper_ knows me; and it would have made a
Story for him not very agreeable to some Part of my Writings, though I
have in others so frequently said that I am wholly unconcerned in any
Scene I am in, but meerly as a Spectator. This Impediment being in my
Way, we stood [under [1]] one of the Arches by Twilight; and there I
could observe as exact Features as I had ever seen, the most agreeable
Shape, the finest Neck and Bosom, in a Word, the whole Person of a Woman
exquisitely Beautiful. She affected to allure me with a forced
Wantonness in her Look and Air; but I saw it checked with Hunger and
Cold: Her Eyes were wan and eager, her Dress thin and tawdry, her Mein
genteel and childish. This strange Figure gave me much Anguish of Heart,
and to avoid being seen with her I went away, but could not forbear
giving her a Crown. The poor thing sighed, curtisied, and with a
Blessing, expressed with the utmost Vehemence, turned from me. This
Creature is what they call _newly come upon the Town_, but who, I
suppose, falling into cruel Hands was left in the first Month from her
Dishonour, and exposed to pass through the Hands and Discipline of one
of those Hags of Hell whom we call Bawds. But lest I should grow too
suddenly grave on this Subject, and be my self outragiously good, I
shall turn to a Scene in one of _Fletchers_ Plays, where this Character
is drawn, and the Oeconomy of Whoredom most admirably described. The
Passage I would point to is in the third Scene of the second Act of _The
Humorous Lieutenant. Leucippe_ who is Agent for the Kings Lust, and
bawds at the same time for the whole Court, is very pleasantly
introduced, reading her Minutes as a Person of Business, with two Maids,
her Under-Secretaries, taking Instructions at a Table before her. Her
Women, both those under her present Tutelage, and those which she is
laying wait for, are alphabetically set down in her Book; and as she is
looking over the Letter _C_, in a muttering Voice, as if between
Soliloquy and speaking out, she says,

_Her Maidenhead will yield me; let me see now;
She is not Fifteen they say: For her Complexion_---
Cloe, Cloe, Cloe, _here I have her_,
Cloe,_ the Daughter of a Country Gentleman;
Here Age upon Fifteen. Now her Complexion,
A lovely brown; here tis; Eyes black and rolling,
The Body neatly built; she strikes a Lute well,
Sings most enticingly: These Helps consider'd,
Her Maidenhead will amount to some three hundred,
Or three hundred and fifty Crowns, twill bear it handsomly.
Her Fathers poor, some little Share deducted,
To buy him a Hunting Nag_--

These Creatures are very well instructed in the Circumstances and
Manners of all who are any Way related to the Fair One whom they have a
Design upon. As _Cloe_ is to be purchased with [350] [2] Crowns, and the
Father taken off with a Pad; the Merchants Wife next to her, who
abounds in Plenty, is not to have downright Money, but the mercenary
Part of her Mind is engaged with a Present of Plate and a little
Ambition. She is made to understand that it is a Man of Quality who dies
for her. The Examination of a young Girl for Business, and the crying
down her Value for being a slight Thing, together with every other
Circumstance in the Scene, are inimitably excellent, and have the true
Spirit of Comedy; tho it were to be wished the Author had added a
Circumstance which should make _Leucippe's_ Baseness more odious.

It must not be thought a Digression from my intended Speculation, to
talk of Bawds in a Discourse upon Wenches; for a Woman of the Town is
not thoroughly and properly such, without having gone through the
Education of one of these Houses. But the compassionate Case of very
many is, that they are taken into such Hands without any the least
Suspicion, previous Temptation, or Admonition to what Place they are
going. The last Week I went to an Inn in the City to enquire for some
Provisions which were sent by a Waggon out of the Country; and as I
waited in one of the Boxes till the Chamberlain had looked over his
Parcel, I heard an old and a young Voice repeating the Questions and
Responses of the Church- Catechism. I thought it no Breach of good
Manners to peep at a Crevice, and look in at People so well employed;
but who should I see there but the most artful Procuress in the Town,
examining a most beautiful Country-Girl, who had come up in the same
Waggon with my Things, _Whether she was well educated, could forbear
playing the Wanton with Servants, and idle fellows, of which this Town_,
says she, _is too full_: At the same time, _Whether she knew enough of
Breeding, as that if a Squire or a Gentleman, or one that was her
Betters, should give her a civil Salute, she should curtsy and be
humble, nevertheless._ Her innocent _forsooths, yess, and't please
yous, and she would do her Endeavour_, moved the good old Lady to take
her out of the Hands of a Country Bumpkin her Brother, and hire her for
her own Maid. I staid till I saw them all marched out to take Coach; the
brother loaded with a great Cheese, he prevailed upon her to take for
her Civilities to [his] Sister. This poor Creatures Fate is not far off
that of hers whom I spoke of above, and it is not to be doubted, but
after she has been long enough a Prey to Lust she will be delivered over
to Famine; the Ironical Commendation of the Industry and Charity of
these antiquated Ladies[, these] [3] Directors of Sin, after they can no
longer commit it, makes up the Beauty of the inimitable Dedication to
the _Plain-Dealer_, [4] and is a Masterpiece of Raillery on this Vice.
But to understand all the Purleues of this Game the better, and to
illustrate this Subject in future Discourses, I must venture my self,
with my Friend WILL, into the Haunts of Beauty and Gallantry; from
pampered Vice in the Habitations of the Wealthy, to distressed indigent
Wickedness expelled the Harbours of the Brothel.


[Footnote 1: [under in]]

[Footnote 2: fifty]

[Footnote 3: [. These]]

[Footnote 4: Wycherley's _Plain-Dealer_ having given offence to many
ladies, was inscribed in a satirical _billet doux_ dedicatory To My Lady
B .]

* * * * *

No. 267. Saturday, January 5, 1712. Addison.

Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graii. [1]


There is nothing in Nature [more irksome than] [2] general Discourses,
especially when they turn chiefly upon Words. For this Reason I shall
wave the Discussion of that Point which was started some Years since,
whether _Milton's Paradise Lost_ may be called an Heroick Poem? Those
who will not give it that Title, may call it (if they please) a _Divine
Poem_. It will be sufficient to its Perfection, if it has in it all the
Beauties of the highest kind of Poetry; and as for those who [alledge
[3]] it is not an Heroick Poem, they advance no more to the Diminution
of it, than if they should say _Adam_ is not _AEneas_, nor _Eve_

I shall therefore examine it by the Rules of Epic Poetry, and see
whether it falls short of the _Iliad_ or _AEneid_, in the Beauties which
are essential to that kind of Writing. The first thing to be considered
in an Epic Poem, is the Fable, [4] which is perfect or imperfect,
according as the Action which it relates is more or less so. This Action
should have three Qualifications in it. First, It should be but One
Action. Secondly, It should be an entire Action; and, Thirdly, It should
be a great Action. [5] To consider the Action of the _Iliad_, _AEneid_,
and _Paradise Lost_, in these three several Lights. _Homer_ to preserve
the Unity of his Action hastens into the Midst of Things, as _Horace_
has observed: [6] Had he gone up to _Leda's Egg_, or begun much later,
even at the Rape of _Helen_, or the Investing of _Troy_, it is manifest
that the Story of the Poem would have been a Series of several Actions.
He therefore opens his Poem with the Discord of his Princes, and
[artfully [7]] interweaves, in the several succeeding Parts of it, an
Account of every Thing [material] which relates to [them [8]] and had
passed before that fatal Dissension. After the same manner, _AEneas_
makes his first Appearance in the _Tyrrhene_ Seas, and within Sight of
_Italy_, because the Action proposed to be celebrated was that of his
settling himself in _Latium_. But because it was necessary for the
Reader to know what had happened to him in the taking of _Troy_, and in
the preceding Parts of his Voyage, _Virgil_ makes his Hero relate it by
way of Episode in the second and third Books of the _AEneid_. The
Contents of both which Books come before those of the first Book in the
Thread of the Story, tho for preserving of this Unity of Action they
follow them in the Disposition of the Poem. _Milton_, in imitation of
these two great Poets, opens his _Paradise Lost_ with an Infernal
Council plotting the Fall of Man, which is the Action he proposed to
celebrate; and as for those great Actions, which preceded, in point of
Time, the Battle of the Angels, and the Creation of the World, (which
would have entirely destroyed the Unity of his principal Action, had he
related them in the same Order that they happened) he cast them into the
fifth, sixth, and seventh Books, by way of Episode to this noble Poem.

_Aristotle_ himself allows, that _Homer_ has nothing to boast of as to
the Unity of his Fable, [9] tho at the same time that great Critick and
Philosopher endeavours to palliate this Imperfection in the _Greek_
Poet, by imputing it in some measure to the very Nature of an Epic Poem.
Some have been of opinion, that the _AEneid_ [also labours [10]] in this
Particular, and has Episodes which may be looked upon as Excrescencies
rather than as Parts of the Action. On the contrary, the Poem, which we
have now under our Consideration, hath no other Episodes than such as
naturally arise from the Subject, and yet is filled with such a
Multitude of astonishing [Incidents,[11]] that it gives us at the same
time a Pleasure of the greatest Variety, and of the greatest
[Simplicity; uniform in its Nature, tho diversified in the Execution

I must observe also, that as _Virgil_, in the Poem which was designed to
celebrate the Original of the _Roman_ Empire, has described the Birth of
its great Rival, the _Carthaginian_ Commonwealth: _Milton_, with the
like Art, in his Poem on the _Fall of Man_, has related the Fall of
those Angels who are his professed Enemies. Besides the many other
Beauties in such an Episode, its running parallel with the great Action
of the Poem hinders it from breaking the Unity so much as another
Episode would have done, that had not so great an Affinity with the
principal Subject. In short, this is the same kind of Beauty which the
Criticks admire in _The Spanish Frier_, or _The Double Discovery_ [13]
where the two different Plots look like Counter-parts and Copies of one

The second Qualification required in the Action of an Epic Poem, is,
that it should be an _entire_ Action: An Action is entire when it is
complete in all its Parts; or, as _Aristotle_ describes it, when it
consists of a Beginning, a Middle, and an End. Nothing should go before
it, be intermixed with it, or follow after it, that is not related to
it. As on the contrary, no single Step should be omitted in that just
and regular Progress which it must be supposed to take from its Original
to its Consummation. Thus we see the Anger of _Achilles_ in its Birth,
its Continuance and Effects; and _AEneas's_ Settlement in _Italy_,
carried on thro all the Oppositions in his Way to it both by Sea and
Land. The Action in _Milton_ excels (I think) both the former in this
Particular; we see it contrived in Hell, executed upon Earth, and
punished by Heaven. The Parts of it are told in the most distinct
Manner, and grow out of one another in the most natural [Order [14]].

The third Qualification of an Epic Poem is its _Greatness_. The Anger of
_Achilles_ was of such Consequence, that it embroiled the Kings of
_Greece_, destroyed the Heroes of _Troy_, and engaged all the Gods in
Factions. _AEneas's_ Settlement in _Italy_ produced the _Caesars_, and
gave Birth to the _Roman_ Empire. _Milton's_ Subject was still greater
than either of the former; it does not determine the Fate of single
Persons or Nations, but of a whole Species. The united Powers of Hell
are joined together for the Destruction of Mankind, which they affected
in part, and would have completed, had not Omnipotence it self
interposed. The principal Actors are Man in his greatest Perfection, and
Woman in her highest Beauty. Their Enemies are the fallen Angels: The
Messiah their Friend, and the Almighty their Protector. In short, every
thing that is great in the whole Circle of Being, whether within the
Verge of Nature, or out of it, has a proper Part assigned it in this
noble Poem.

In Poetry, as in Architecture, not only the Whole, but the principal
Members, and every Part of them, should be Great. I will not presume to
say, that the Book of Games in the _AEneid_, or that in the _Iliad_, are
not of this Nature, nor to reprehend _Virgil's_ Simile of the Top [15],
and many other of the same [kind [16]] in the _Iliad_, as liable to any
Censure in this Particular; but I think we may say, without [derogating
from [17]] those wonderful Performances, that there is an unquestionable
Magnificence in every Part of _Paradise Lost_, and indeed a much greater
than could have been formed upon any Pagan System.

But _Aristotle_, by the Greatness of the Action, does not only mean that
it should be great in its Nature, but also in its Duration, or in other
Words that it should have a due Length in it, as well as what we
properly call Greatness. The just Measure of this kind of Magnitude, he
explains by the following Similitude. [18] An Animal, no bigger than a
Mite, cannot appear perfect to the Eye, because the Sight takes it in at
once, and has only a confused Idea of the Whole, and not a distinct Idea
of all its Parts; if on the contrary you should suppose an Animal of ten
thousand Furlongs in length, the Eye would be so filled with a single
Part of it, that it could not give the Mind an Idea of the Whole. What
these Animals are to the Eye, a very short or a very long Action would
be to the Memory. The first would be, as it were, lost and swallowed up
by it, and the other difficult to be contained in it. _Homer_ and
_Virgil_ have shewn their principal Art in this Particular; the Action
of the _Iliad_, and that of the _AEneid_, were in themselves exceeding
short, but are so beautifully extended and diversified by the [Invention
[19]] of _Episodes_, and the Machinery of Gods, with the like poetical
Ornaments, that they make up an agreeable Story, sufficient to employ
the Memory without overcharging it. _Milton's_ Action is enriched with
such a Variety of Circumstances, that I have taken as much Pleasure in
reading the Contents of his Books, as in the best invented Story I ever
met with. It is possible, that the Traditions, on which the _Iliad_ and
_AEneid_ were built, had more Circumstances in them than the History of
the _Fall of Man_, as it is related in Scripture. Besides, it was easier
for _Homer_ and _Virgil_ to dash the Truth with Fiction, as they were in
no danger of offending the Religion of their Country by it. But as for
_Milton_, he had not only a very few Circumstances upon which to raise
his Poem, but was also obliged to proceed with the greatest Caution in
every thing that he added out of his own Invention. And, indeed,
notwithstanding all the Restraints he was under, he has filled his Story
with so many surprising Incidents, which bear so close an Analogy with
what is delivered in Holy Writ, that it is capable of pleasing the most
delicate Reader, without giving Offence to the most scrupulous.

The modern Criticks have collected from several Hints in the _Iliad_ and
_AEneid_ the Space of Time, which is taken up by the Action of each of
those Poems; but as a great Part of _Milton's_ Story was transacted in
Regions that lie out of the Reach of the Sun and the Sphere of Day, it
is impossible to gratify the Reader with such a Calculation, which
indeed would be more curious than instructive; none of the Criticks,
either Ancient or Modern, having laid down Rules to circumscribe the
Action of an Epic Poem with any determin'd Number of Years, Days or

_This Piece of Criticism on_ Milton's Paradise Lost _shall be carried on
in [the] following_ [Saturdays] _Papers_.


[Footnote 1: Give place to him, Writers of Rome and Greece. This
application to Milton of a line from the last elegy (25th) in the second
book of Propertius is not only an example of Addison's felicity in
choice of motto for a paper, but was so bold and well-timed that it must
have given a wholesome shock to the minds of many of the _Spectators_
readers. Addison was not before Steele in appreciation of Milton and
diffusion of a true sense of his genius. Milton was the subject of the
first piece of poetical criticism in the _Tatler_; where, in his sixth
number, Steele, having said that all Milton's thoughts are wonderfully
just and natural, dwelt on the passage in which Adam tells his thoughts
upon first falling asleep, soon after his creation. This passage he
contrasts with the same apprehension of Annihilation ascribed to Eve
in a much lower sense by Dryden in his operatic version of _Paradise
Lost_. In _Tatlers_ and _Spectators_ Steele and Addison had been equal
contributors to the diffusion of a sense of Milton's genius. In Addison
it had been strong, even when, at Oxford, in April, 1694, a young man
trained in the taste of the day, he omitted Shakespeare from a rhymed
Account of the chief English Poets, but of Milton said:

_Whate'er his pen describes I more than see,
Whilst evry verse, array'd in majesty,
Bold and sublime, my whole attention draws,
And seems above the critics nicer laws_.

Eighteen years older than he was when he wrote that, Addison now
prepares by a series of Saturday Essays,--the Saturday Paper which
reached many subscribers only in time for Sunday reading, being always
set apart in the _Spectator_ for moral or religious topics, to show
that, judged also by Aristotle and the "critics nicer laws," Milton was
even technically a greater epic poet than either Homer or Virgil. This
nobody had conceded. Dryden, the best critic of the outgoing generation,
had said in the Dedication of the Translations of _Juvenal_ and
_Persius_, published in 1692,

"As for Mr. Milton, whom we all admire with so much Justice, his
Subject, is not that of an Heroick Poem, properly so call'd: His
Design is the Losing of our Happiness; his Event is not prosperous,
like that of all other _Epique_ Works" (Dryden's French spelling of
the word Epic is suggestive. For this new critical Mode was one of the
fashions that had been imported from Paris); "His Heavenly Machines
are many, and his Human Persons are but two. But I will not take Mr.
_Rymer's_ work out of his Hands: He has promised the World a Critique
on that Author; wherein, tho he will not allow his Poem for Heroick,
I hope he will grant us, that his Thoughts are elevated, his Words
sounding, and that no Man has so happily copy'd the manner of Homer;
or so copiously translated his Grecisms and the Latin Elegancies of
Virgil. Tis true he runs into a Flat of Thought, sometimes for a
Hundred Lines together, but tis when he is got into a Track of
Scripture ... Neither will I justify _Milton_ for his Blank Verse,
tho I may excuse him, by the Example of _Hanabal Caro_ and other
_Italians_ who have used it: For whatever Causes he alledges for the
abolishing of Rhime (which I have not now the leisure to examine), his
own particular Reason is plainly this, that Rhime was not his Talent;
he had neither the Ease of doing it, nor the Graces of it."

So Dryden, who appreciated Milton better than most of his critical
neighbours, wrote of him in 1692. The promise of Rymer to discuss Milton
was made in 1678, when, on the last page of his little book, _The
Tragedies of the Last Age consider'd and examined by the Practice of the
Ancients and by the Common Sense of all Ages, in a letter to Fleetwold
Shepheard, Esq_. (father of two ladies who contribute an occasional
letter to the _Spectator_), he said: "With the remaining Tragedies I
shall also send you some reflections on that _Paradise Lost_ of
Milton's, which some are pleased to call a Poem, and assert Rhime
against the slender Sophistry wherewith he attaques it." But two years
after the appearance of Dryden's _Juvenal_ and _Persius_ Rymer prefixed
to his translation of Rene Rapin's _Reflections on Aristotle's Poesie_
some Reflections of his own on Epic Poets. Herein he speaks under the
head Epic Poetry of Chaucer, in whose time language was not capable of
heroic character; or Spenser, who "wanted a true Idea, and lost himself
by following an unfaithful guide, besides using a stanza which is in no
wise proper for our language;" of Sir William Davenant, who, in
_Gondibert_, "has some strokes of an extraordinary judgment," but "is
for unbeaten tracks and new ways of thinking;" "his heroes are
foreigners;" of Cowley, in whose _Davideis_ "David is the least part of
the Poem," and there is want of the "one illustrious and perfect action
which properly is the subject of an Epick Poem": all failing through
ignorance or negligence of the Fundamental Rules or Laws of Aristotle.
But he contemptuously passes over Milton without mention. Rene Rapin,
that great French oracle of whom Dryden said, in the Preface to his own
conversion of _Paradise Lost_ into an opera, that he was alone
sufficient, were all other critics lost, to teach anew the Art of
Writing, Rene Rapin in the work translated and introduced by Rymer,
worshipped in Aristotle the one God of all orthodox critics. Of his Laws
he said,

There is no arriving at Perfection but by these Rules, and they
certainly go astray that take a different course.... And if a Poem
made by these Rules fails of success, the fault lies not in the Art,
but in the Artist; all who have writ of this Art, have followed no
other Idea but that of Aristotle.

Again as to Style,

to say the truth, what is good on this subject is all taken from
Aristotle, who is the only source whence good sense is to be drawn,
when one goes about to write.

This was the critical temper Addison resolved to meet on its own ground
and do battle with for the honour of that greatest of all Epic Poets to
whom he fearlessly said that all the Greeks and Latins must give place.
In so doing he might suggest here and there cautiously, and without
bringing upon himself the discredit of much heresy,--indeed, without
being much of a heretic,--that even the Divine Aristotle sometimes fell
short of perfection. The conventional critics who believed they kept the
gates of Fame would neither understand nor credit him. Nine years after
these papers appeared, Charles Gildon, who passed for a critic of
considerable mark, edited with copious annotation as _the Laws of
Poetry_ (1721), the Duke of Buckingham's Essay on Poetry, Roscommon's
Essay on Translated Verse, and Lord Lansdowne on Unnatural Flights in
Poetry, and in the course of comment Gildon said that

Mr. Addison in the _Spectators_, in his criticisms upon Milton, seems
to have mistaken the matter, in endeavouring to bring that poem to the
rules of the epopoeia, which cannot be done ... It is not an Heroic
Poem, but a Divine one, and indeed of a new species. It is plain that
the proposition of all the heroic poems of the ancients mentions some
one person as the subject of their poem... But Milton begins his poem
of things, and not of men.

The Gildon are all gone; and when, in the next generation after theirs,
national life began, in many parts of Europe, strongly to assert itself
in literature against the pedantry of the French critical lawgivers, in
Germany Milton's name was inscribed on the foremost standard of the men
who represented the new spirit of the age. Gottsched, who dealt French
critical law from Leipzig, by passing sentence against Milton in his
Art of Poetry in 1737, raised in Bodmer an opponent who led the revolt
of all that was most vigorous in German thought, and put an end to
French supremacy. Bodmer, in a book published in 1740 _Vom Wunderbaren
in der Poesie_, justified and exalted Milton, and brought Addison to his
aid by appending to his own work a translation of these Milton papers
out of the _Spectator_. Gottsched replied; Bodmer retorted. Bodmer
translated Paradise Lost; and what was called the English or Milton
party (but was, in that form, really a German national party) were at
last left masters of the field. It was right that these papers of
Addison should be brought in as aids during the contest. Careful as he
was to conciliate opposing prejudices, he was yet first in the field,
and this motto to the first of his series of Milton papers, Yield place
to him, Writers of Greece and Rome, is as the first trumpet note of the
one herald on a field from which only a quick ear can yet distinguish
among stir of all that is near, the distant tramp of an advancing host.

[Footnote 2: [so irksom as]]

[Footnote 3: say]

[Footnote 4: Aristotle, _Poetics_, III. Sec. I, after a full discussion of
Tragedy, begins by saying,

with respect to that species of Poetry which imitates by _Narration_
... it is obvious, that the Fable ought to be dramatically
constructed, like that of Tragedy, and that it should have for its
Subject one entire and perfect action, having a beginning, a middle,
and an end;

forming a complete whole, like an animal, and therein differing,
Aristotle says, from History, which treats not of one Action, but of one
Time, and of all the events, casually connected, which happened to one
person or to many during that time.]

[Footnote 5: _Poetics_, I. Sec. 9.

Epic Poetry agrees so far with Tragic as it is an imitation of great
characters and actions.

Aristotle (from whose opinion, in this matter alone, his worshippers
departed, right though he was) ranked a perfect tragedy above a perfect
epic; for, he said,

all the parts of the Epic poem are to be found in Tragedy, not all
those of Tragedy in the Epic poem.]

[Footnote 6:

Nec reditum Diomedis ab interitu Meleagri,
Nec gemino bellum Trojanum orditur ab ovo,
Semper ad eventum festinat, et in medias res,
Non secus ac notas, auditorem rapit--

De Arte Poet. II. 146-9.]

[Footnote 7: with great Art]

[Footnote 8: the Story]

[Footnote 9: _Poetics_, V. Sec. 3. In arguing the superiority of Tragic to
Epic Poetry, Aristotle says,

there is less Unity in all Epic imitation; as appears from this--that
any Epic Poem will furnish matter for several Tragedies ... The
_Iliad_, for example, and the _Odyssey_, contain many such subordinate
parts, each of which has a certain Magnitude and Unity of its own; yet
is the construction of those Poems as perfect, and as nearly
approaching to the imitation of a single action, as possible.]

[Footnote 10: labours also]

[Footnote 11: Circumstances]

[Footnote 12: Simplicity.]

[Footnote 13: Dryden's _Spanish Friar_ has been praised also by Johnson
for the happy coincidence and coalition of the tragic and comic plots,
and Sir Walter Scott said of it, in his edition of Dryden's Works, that

the felicity does not consist in the ingenuity of his original
conception, but in the minutely artificial strokes by which the reader
is perpetually reminded of the dependence of the one part of the Play
on the other. These are so frequent, and appear so very natural, that
the comic plot, instead of diverting our attention from the tragic
business, recalls it to our mind by constant and unaffected allusion.
No great event happens in the higher region of the camp or court that
has not some indirect influence upon the intrigues of Lorenzo and
Elvira; and the part which the gallant is called upon to act in the
revolution that winds up the tragic interest, while it is highly in
character, serves to bring the catastrophe of both parts of the play
under the eye of the spectator, at one and the same time.]

[Footnote 14: Method]

[Footnote 15: _AEneid_, Bk. VII. 11. 378-384, thus translated by Dryden:

_And as young striplings whip the top for sport,
On the smooth pavement of an empty court,
The wooden engine files and whirls about,
Admir'd, with clamours, of the beardless rout;
They lash aloud, each other they provoke,
And lend their little souls at every stroke:
Thus fares the Queen, and thus her fury blows
Amidst the crowds, and trundles as she goes._]

[Footnote 16: [nature]]

[Footnote 17: [offence to]]

[Footnote 18: _Poetics_, II. section 4, where it is said of the
magnitude of Tragedy.]

[Footnote 19: Intervention]

* * * * *

No. 268. Monday, January 7, 1712. Steele.

--Minus aptus acutis
Naribus Horum Hominum.


It is not that I think I have been more witty than I ought of
late, that at present I wholly forbear any Attempt towards
it: I am of Opinion that I ought sometimes to lay before the
World the plain Letters of my Correspondents in the artless
Dress in which they hastily send them, that the Reader may
see I am not Accuser and Judge my self, but that the Indictment
is properly and fairly laid, before I proceed against the

_Mr_. SPECTATOR, [1]

As you are _Spectator-General_, I apply myself to you in the
following Case; viz. I do not wear a Sword, but I often divert my self
at the Theatre, where I frequently see a Set of Fellows pull plain
People, by way of Humour [and [2]] Frolick, by the Nose, upon
frivolous or no Occasions. A Friend of mine the other Night applauding
what a graceful Exit Mr. _Wilks_ made, one of these Nose-wringers
overhearing him, pinched him by the nose. I was in the Pit the other
Night, (when it was very much crowded) a Gentleman leaning upon me,
and very heavily, I very civilly requested him to remove his Hand; for
which he pulled me by the Nose. I would not resent it in so publick a
Place, because I was unwilling to create a Disturbance; but have since
reflected upon it as a thing that is unmanly and disingenuous, renders
the Nose-puller odious, and makes the Person pulled by the Nose look
little and contemptible. This Grievance I humbly request you would
endeavour to redress.

_I am your Admirer_, &c.

James Easy.


Your Discourse of the 29th of _December_ on Love and Marriage is of so
useful a Kind, that I cannot forbear adding my Thoughts to yours on
that Subject. Methinks it is a Misfortune, that the Marriage State,
which in its own Nature is adapted to give us the compleatest
Happiness this Life is capable of, should be so uncomfortable a one to
so many as it daily proves. But the Mischief generally proceeds from
the unwise Choice People make for themselves, and Expectation of
Happiness from Things not capable of giving it. Nothing but the good
Qualities of the Person beloved can be a Foundation for a Love of
Judgment and Discretion; and whoever expects Happiness from any Thing
but Virtue, Wisdom, Good-humour, and a Similitude of Manners, will
find themselves widely mistaken. But how few are there who seek after
these things, and do not rather make Riches their chief if not their
only Aim? How rare is it for a Man, when he engages himself in the
Thoughts of Marriage, to place his Hopes of having in such a Woman a
constant, agreeable Companion? One who will divide his Cares and
double his Joys? Who will manage that Share of his Estate he intrusts
to her Conduct with Prudence and Frugality, govern his House with
Oeconomy and Discretion, and be an Ornament to himself and Family?
Where shall we find the Man who looks out for one who places her chief
Happiness in the Practice of Virtue, and makes her Duty her continual
Pleasure? No: Men rather seek for Money as the Complement of all their
Desires; and regardless of what kind of Wives they take, they think
Riches will be a Minister to all kind of Pleasures, and enable them to
keep Mistresses, Horses, Hounds, to drink, feast, and game with their
Companions, pay their Debts contracted by former Extravagancies, or
some such vile and unworthy End; and indulge themselves in Pleasures
which are a Shame and Scandal to humane Nature. Now as for the Women;
how few of them are there who place the Happiness of their Marriage in
the having a wise and virtuous Friend? one who will be faithful and
just to all, and constant and loving to them? who with Care and
Diligence will look after and improve the Estate, and without grudging
allow whatever is prudent and convenient? Rather, how few are there
who do not place their Happiness in outshining others in Pomp and
Show? and that do not think within themselves when they have married
such a rich Person, that none of their Acquaintance shall appear so
fine in their Equipage, so adorned in their Persons, or so magnificent
in their Furniture as themselves? Thus their Heads are filled with
vain Ideas; and I heartily wish I could say that Equipage and Show
were not the Chief Good of so many Women as I fear it is.

After this Manner do both Sexes deceive themselves, and bring
Reflections and Disgrace upon the most happy and most honourable State
of Life; whereas if they would but correct their depraved Taste,
moderate their Ambition, and place their Happiness upon proper
Objects, we should not find Felicity in the Marriage State such a
Wonder in the World as it now is.

Sir, if you think these Thoughts worth inserting [among [3]] your own,
be pleased to give them a better Dress, and let them pass abroad; and
you will oblige _Your Admirer_,

A. B.


As I was this Day walking in the Street, there happened to pass by on
the other Side of the Way a Beauty, whose Charms were so attracting
that it drew my Eyes wholly on that Side, insomuch that I neglected my
own Way, and chanced to run my Nose directly against a Post; which the
Lady no sooner perceived, but fell out into a Fit of Laughter, though
at the same time she was sensible that her self was the Cause of my
Misfortune, which in my Opinion was the greater Aggravation of her
Crime. I being busy wiping off the Blood which trickled down my Face,
had not Time to acquaint her with her Barbarity, as also with my
Resolution, _viz_. never to look out of my Way for one of her Sex
more: Therefore, that your humble Servant may be revenged, he desires
you to insert this in one of your next Papers, which he hopes will be
a Warning to all the rest of the Women Gazers, as well as to poor

_Anthony Gape_.


I desire to know in your next, if the merry Game of _The Parson has
lost his Cloak_, is not mightily in Vogue amongst the fine Ladies this
_Christmas_; because I see they wear Hoods of all Colours, which I
suppose is for that Purpose: If it is, and you think it proper, I will
carry some of those Hoods with me to our Ladies in _Yorkshire_;
because they enjoyned me to bring them something from _London_ that
was very New. If you can tell any Thing in which I can obey their
Commands more agreeably, be pleased to inform me, and you will
extremely oblige

_Your humble Servant_

_Oxford, Dec_. 29.


Since you appear inclined to be a Friend to the Distressed, I beg you
would assist me in an Affair under which I have suffered very much.
The reigning Toast of this Place is _Patetia_; I have pursued her with
the utmost Diligence this Twelve-month, and find nothing stands in my
Way but one who flatters her more than I can. Pride is her Favourite
Passion; therefore if you would be so far my Friend as to make a
favourable Mention of her in one of your Papers, I believe I should
not fail in my Addresses. The Scholars stand in Rows, as they did to
be sure in your Time, at her Pew-door: and she has all the Devotion
paid to her by a Crowd of Youth[s] who are unacquainted with the Sex,
and have Inexperience added to their Passion: However, if it succeeds
according to my Vows, you will make me the happiest Man in the World,
and the most obliged amongst all

_Your humble Servants_.


I came [to [4]] my Mistresss Toilet this Morning, for I am admitted
when her Face is stark naked: She frowned, and cryed Pish when I said
a thing that I stole; and I will be judged by you whether it was not
very pretty. Madam, said I, you [shall [5]] forbear that Part of your
Dress; it may be well in others, but you cannot place a Patch where it
does not hide a Beauty.


[Footnote 1: This Letter was written by Mr. James Heywood, many years
wholesale linen-draper on Fish-street Hill, who died in 1776, at the age
of 90. His Letters and Poems were (including this letter at p.100) in
a second edition, in 12mo, in 1726.]

[Footnote 2: or]

[Footnote 3: amongst]

[Footnote 4: at]

[Footnote 5: should]

* * * * *

No. 269. Tuesday, January 8, 1712. Addison.

--AEvo rarissima nostro


I was this Morning surprised with a great knocking at the Door, when my
Landlady's Daughter came up to me, and told me, that there was a Man
below desired to speak with me. Upon my asking her who it was, she told
me it was a very grave elderly Person, but that she did not know his
Name. I immediately went down to him, and found him to be the Coachman
of my worthy Friend Sir ROGER DE COVERLEY. He told me that his Master
came to Town last Night, and would be glad to take a Turn with me in
_Grays-Inn_ Walks. As I was wondring in my self what had brought Sir
ROGER to Town, not having lately received any Letter from him, he told
me that his Master was come up to get a Sight of Prince _Eugene_ [1] and
that he desired I would immediately meet him.

I was not a little pleased with the Curiosity of the old Knight, though
I did not much wonder at it, having heard him say more than once in
private Discourse, that he looked upon Prince _Eugenio_ (for so the
Knight always calls him) to be a greater Man than _Scanderbeg_.

I was no sooner come into _Grays-Inn Walks_, but I heard my Friend upon
the Terrace hemming twice or thrice to himself with great Vigour, for he
loves to clear his Pipes in good Air (to make use of his own Phrase) and
is not a little pleased with any one who takes notice of the Strength
which he still exerts in his Morning Hems.

I was touched with a secret Joy at the Sight of the good old Man, who
before he saw me was engaged in Conversation with a Beggar-Man that had
asked an Alms of him. I could hear my Friend chide him for not finding
out some Work; but at the same time saw him put his Hand in his Pocket
and give him Six-pence.

Our Salutations were very hearty on both Sides, consisting of many kind
Shakes of the Hand, and several affectionate Looks which we cast upon
one another. After which the Knight told me my good Friend his Chaplain
was very well, and much at my Service, and that the _Sunday_ before he
had made a most incomparable Sermon out of Dr. _Barrow_. I have left,
says he, all my Affairs in his Hands, and being willing to lay an
Obligation upon him, have deposited with him thirty Marks, to be
distributed among his poor Parishioners.

He then proceeded to acquaint me with the Welfare of _Will Wimble_. Upon
which he put his Hand into his Fob and presented me in his Name with a
Tobacco-Stopper, telling me that _Will_ had been busy all the Beginning
of the Winter in turning great Quantities of them; and that he [made
[2]] a Present of one to every Gentleman in the Country who has good
Principles, and smoaks. He added, that poor _Will_ was at present under
great Tribulation, for that _Tom Touchy_ had taken the Law of him for
cutting some Hazel Sticks out of one of his Hedges.

Among other Pieces of News which the Knight brought from his
Country-Seat, he informed me that _Moll White_ was dead; and that about
a Month after her Death the Wind was so very high, that it blew down the
End of one of his Barns. But for my own part, says Sir ROGER, I do not
think that the old Woman had any hand in it.

He afterwards fell into an Account of the Diversions which had passed in
his House during the Holidays; for Sir ROGER, after the laudable Custom
of his Ancestors, always keeps open House at _Christmas_. I learned
from him that he had killed eight fat Hogs for the Season, that he had
dealt about his Chines very liberally amongst his Neighbours, and that
in particular he had sent a string of Hogs-puddings with a pack of Cards
to every poor Family in the Parish. I have often thought, says Sir
ROGER, it happens very well that _Christmas_ should fall out in the
Middle of the Winter. It is the most dead uncomfortable Time of the
Year, when the poor People would suffer very much from their [Poverty
and Cold, [3]] if they had not good Cheer, warm Fires, and _Christmas_
Gambols to support them. I love to rejoice their poor Hearts at this
season, and to see the whole Village merry in my great Hall. I allow a
double Quantity of Malt to my small Beer, and set it a running for
twelve Days to every one that calls for it. I have always a Piece of
cold Beef and a Mince-Pye upon the Table, and am wonderfully pleased to
see my Tenants pass away a whole Evening in playing their innocent
Tricks, and smutting one another. Our Friend _Will Wimble_ is as merry
as any of them, and shews a thousand roguish Tricks upon these

I was very much delighted with the Reflection of my old Friend, which
carried so much Goodness in it. He then launched out into the Praise of
the late Act of Parliament [4] for securing the Church of _England_, and
told me, with great Satisfaction, that he believed it already began to
take Effect, for that a rigid Dissenter, who chanced to dine at his
House on _Christmas_ Day, had been observed to eat very plentifully of
his Plumb-porridge.

After having dispatched all our Country Matters, Sir ROGER made several
Inquiries concerning the Club, and particularly of his old Antagonist
Sir ANDREW FREEPORT. He asked me with a kind of Smile, whether Sir
ANDREW had not taken Advantage of his Absence, to vent among them some
of his Republican Doctrines; but soon after gathering up his Countenance
into a more than ordinary Seriousness, Tell me truly, says he, don't you
think Sir ANDREW had a Hand in the Popes Procession---but without
giving me time to answer him, Well, well, says he, I know you are a wary
Man, and do not care to talk of publick Matters.

The Knight then asked me, if I had seen Prince _Eugenio_, and made me
promise to get him a Stand in some convenient Place where he might have
a full Sight of that extraordinary Man, whose Presence does so much
Honour to the _British_ Nation. He dwelt very long on the Praises of
this Great General, and I found that, since I was with him in the
Country, he had drawn many Observations together out of his reading in
_Bakers_ Chronicle, and other Authors, [who [5]] always lie in his Hall
Window, which very much redound to the Honour of this Prince.

Having passed away the greatest Part of the Morning in hearing the
Knights Reflections, which were partly private, and partly political,
he asked me if I would smoak a Pipe with him over a Dish of Coffee at
_Squires_. As I love the old Man, I take Delight in complying with
every thing that is agreeable to him, and accordingly waited on him to
the Coffee-house, where his venerable Figure drew upon us the Eyes of
the whole Room. He had no sooner seated himself at the upper End of the
high Table, but he called for a clean Pipe, a Paper of Tobacco, a Dish
of Coffee, a Wax-Candle, and the _Supplement_ with such an Air of
Cheerfulness and Good-humour, that all the Boys in the Coffee-room (who
seemed to take pleasure in serving him) were at once employed on his
several Errands, insomuch that no Body else could come at a Dish of Tea,
till the Knight had got all his Conveniences about him.


[Footnote 1: Prince Eugene was at this in London, and caressed by
courtiers who had wished to prevent his coming, for he was careful to
mark his friendship for the Duke of Marlborough, who was the subject of
hostile party intrigues. During his visit he stood godfather to Steels
second son, who was named, after, Eugene.]

[Footnote 2: had made]

[Footnote 3: Cold and Poverty]

[Footnote 4: The Act against Occasional Conformity, 10 Ann. cap. 2.]

[Footnote 5: [that]]

* * * * *

No. 270. Wednesday, January 9, 1712. Steele.

Discit enim citius, meminitque libentius illud,
Quod quis deridet, quam quod probat.


I do not know that I have been in greater Delight for these many Years,
than in beholding the Boxes at the Play the last Time _The Scornful
Lady_ [1] was acted. So great an Assembly of Ladies placed in gradual
Rows in all the Ornaments of Jewels, Silk and Colours, gave so lively
and gay an Impression to the Heart, that methought the Season of the
Year was vanished; and I did not think it an ill Expression of a young
Fellow who stood near me, that called the Boxes Those Beds of Tulips. It
was a pretty Variation of the Prospect, when any one of these fine
Ladies rose up and did Honour to herself and Friend at a Distance, by
curtisying; and gave Opportunity to that Friend to shew her Charms to
the same Advantage in returning the Salutation. Here that Action is as
proper and graceful, as it is at Church unbecoming and impertinent. By
the way, I must take the Liberty to observe that I did not see any one
who is usually so full of Civilities at Church, offer at any such
Indecorum during any Part of the Action of the Play.

Such beautiful Prospects gladden our Minds, and when considered in
general, give innocent and pleasing Ideas. He that dwells upon any one
Object of Beauty, may fix his Imagination to his Disquiet; but the
Contemplation of a whole Assembly together, is a Defence against the
Encroachment of Desire: At least to me, who have taken pains to look at
Beauty abstracted from the Consideration of its being the Object of
Desire; at Power, only as it sits upon another, without any Hopes of
partaking any Share of it; at Wisdom and Capacity, without any
Pretensions to rival or envy its Acquisitions: I say to me, who am
really free from forming any Hopes by beholding the Persons of beautiful
Women, or warming my self into Ambition from the Successes of other Men,
this World is not only a meer Scene, but a very pleasant one. Did
Mankind but know the Freedom which there is in keeping thus aloof from
the World, I should have more Imitators, than the powerfullest Man in
the Nation has Followers. To be no Man's Rival in Love, or Competitor in
Business, is a Character which if it does not recommend you as it ought
to Benevolence among those whom you live with, yet has it certainly this
Effect, that you do not stand so much in need of their Approbation, as
you would if you aimed at it more, in setting your Heart on the same
things which the Generality doat on. By this means, and with this easy
Philosophy, I am never less at a Play than when I am at the Theatre; but
indeed I am seldom so well pleased with the Action as in that Place, for
most Men follow Nature no longer than while they are in their
Night-Gowns, and all the busy Part of the Day are in Characters which
they neither become or act in with Pleasure to themselves or their
Beholders. But to return to my Ladies: I was very well pleased to see so
great a Crowd of them assembled at a Play, wherein the Heroine, as the
Phrase is, is so just a Picture of the Vanity of the Sex in tormenting
their Admirers. The Lady who pines for the Man whom she treats with so
much Impertinence and Inconstancy, is drawn with much Art and Humour.
Her Resolutions to be extremely civil, but her Vanity arising just at
the Instant that she resolved to express her self kindly, are described
as by one who had studied the Sex. But when my Admiration is fixed upon
this excellent Character, and two or three others in the Play, I must
confess I was moved with the utmost Indignation at the trivial,
senseless, and unnatural Representation of the Chaplain. It is possible
there may be a Pedant in Holy Orders, and we have seen one or two of
them in the World; but such a Driveler as Sir _Roger_, so bereft of all
manner of Pride, which is the Characteristick of a Pedant, is what one
would not believe could come into the Head of the same Man who drew the
rest of the Play. The Meeting between _Welford_ and him shews a Wretch
without any Notion of the Dignity of his Function; and it is out of all
common Sense that he should give an Account of himself _as one sent four
or five Miles in a Morning on Foot for Eggs._ It is not to be denied,
but his Part and that of the Maid whom he makes Love to, are excellently
well performed; but a Thing which is blameable in it self, grows still
more so by the Success in the Execution of it. It is so mean a Thing to
gratify a loose Age with a scandalous Representation of what is
reputable among Men, not to say what is sacred, that no Beauty, no
Excellence in an Author ought to attone for it; nay, such Excellence is
an Aggravation of his Guilt, and an Argument that he errs against the
Conviction of his own Understanding and Conscience. Wit should be tried
by this Rule, and an Audience should rise against such a Scene, as
throws down the Reputation of any thing which the Consideration of
Religion or Decency should preserve from Contempt. But all this Evil
arises from this one Corruption of Mind, that makes Men resent Offences
against their Virtue, less than those against their Understanding. An
Author shall write as if he thought there was not one Man of Honour or
Woman of Chastity in the House, and come off with Applause: For an
Insult upon all the Ten Commandments, with the little Criticks, is not
so bad as the Breach of an Unity of Time or Place. Half Wits do not
apprehend the Miseries that must necessarily flow from Degeneracy of
Manners; nor do they know that Order is the Support of Society. Sir
_Roger_ and his Mistress are Monsters of the Poets own forming; the
Sentiments in both of them are such as do not arise in Fools of their
Education. We all know that a silly Scholar, instead of being below
every one he meets with, is apt to be exalted above the Rank of such as
are really his Superiors: His Arrogance is always founded upon
particular Notions of Distinction in his own Head, accompanied with a
pedantick Scorn of all Fortune and Preheminence, when compared with his
Knowledge and Learning. This very one Character of Sir _Roger_, as silly
as it really is, has done more towards the Disparagement of Holy Orders,
and consequently of Virtue it self, than all the Wit that Author or any
other could make up for in the Conduct of the longest Life after it. I
do not pretend, in saying this, to give myself Airs of more Virtue than
my Neighbours, but assert it from the Principles by which Mankind must
always be governed. Sallies of Imagination are to be overlooked, when
they are committed out of Warmth in the Recommendation of what is Praise
worthy; but a deliberate advancing of Vice, with all the Wit in the
World, is as ill an Action as any that comes before the Magistrate, and
ought to be received as such by the People.


[Footnote 1: Beaumont and Fletchers. Vol. II.]

* * * * *

No. 271. Thursday, January 10, 1712. Addison.

Mille trahens varios adverso sole colores.


I receive a double Advantage from the Letters of my Correspondents,
first as they shew me which of my Papers are most acceptable to them;
and in the next place as they furnish me with Materials for new
Speculations. Sometimes indeed I do not make use of the Letter it self,
but form the Hints of it into Plans of my own Invention; sometimes I
take the Liberty to change the Language or Thought into my own Way of
Speaking and Thinking, and always (if it can be done without Prejudice
to the Sense) omit the many Compliments and Applauses which are usually
bestowed upon me.

Besides the two Advantages above-mentioned which I receive from the
Letters that are sent me, they give me an Opportunity of lengthning out
my Paper by the skilful Management of the subscribing Part at the End of
them, which perhaps does not a little conduce to the Ease, both of my
self and Reader.

Some will have it, that I often write to my self, and am the only
punctual Correspondent I have. This Objection would indeed be material,
were the Letters I communicate to the Publick stuffed with my own
Commendations: and if, instead of endeavouring to divert or instruct my
Readers, I admired in them the Beauty of my own Performances. But I
shall leave these wise Conjecturers to their own Imaginations, and
produce the three following Letters for the Entertainment of the Day.


I was last _Thursday_ in an Assembly of Ladies, where there were
Thirteen different coloured Hoods. Your _Spectator_ of that Day lying
upon the Table, they ordered me to read it to them, which I did with a
very clear Voice, till I came to the _Greek_ Verse at the End of it.
I must confess I was a little startled at its popping upon me so
unexpectedly. However, I covered my Confusion as well as I could, and
after having mutter'd two or three hard Words to my self, laugh'd
heartily, and cried, _A very good Jest, Faith_. The Ladies desired me
to explain it to them; but I begged their pardon for that, and told
them, that if it had been proper for them to hear, they may be sure
the Author would not have wrapp'd it up in _Greek_. I then let drop
several Expressions, as if there was something in it that was not fit
to be spoken before a Company of Ladies. Upon which the Matron of the
Assembly, who was dressed in a Cherry-coloured Hood, commended the
Discretion of the Writer for having thrown his filthy Thoughts into
_Greek_, which was likely to corrupt but few of his Readers. At the
same time she declared herself very well pleased, that he had not
given a decisive Opinion upon the new-fashioned Hoods; for to tell you
truly, says she, I was afraid he would have made us ashamed to shew
our Heads. Now, Sir, you must know, since this unlucky Accident
happened to me in a Company of Ladies, among whom I passed for a most
ingenious Man, I have consulted one who is well versed in the _Greek_
Language, and he assures me upon his Word, that your late Quotation
means no more, than that _Manners and not Dress are the Ornaments of a
Woman_. If this comes to the Knowledge of my Female Admirers, I shall
be very hard put to it to bring my self off handsomely. In the mean
while I give you this Account, that you may take care hereafter not to
betray any of your Well-wishers into the like Inconveniencies. It is
in the Number of these that I beg leave to subscribe my self,

_Tom Trippit._


Your Readers are so well pleased with your Character of Sir ROGER DE
COVERLEY, that there appeared a sensible Joy in every Coffee-house,
upon hearing the old Knight was come to Town. I am now with a Knot of
his Admirers, who make it their joint Request to you, that you would
give us publick Notice of the Window or Balcony where the Knight
intends to make his Appearance. He has already given great
Satisfaction to several who have seen him at _Squires_ Coffee-house.
If you think fit to place your short Face at Sir ROGERS Left Elbow,
we shall take the Hint, and gratefully acknowledge so great a Favour.

_I am, Sir,
Your most Devoted
Humble Servant,_
C. D.


Knowing that you are very Inquisitive after every thing that is
Curious in Nature, I will wait on you if you please in the Dusk of the
Evening, with my _Show_ upon my Back, which I carry about with me in a
Box, as only consisting of a Man, a Woman, and an Horse. The two first
are married, in which State the little Cavalier has so well acquitted
himself, that his Lady is with Child. The big-bellied Woman, and her
Husband, with their whimsical Palfry, are so very light, that when
they are put together into a Scale, an ordinary Man may weigh down the
whole Family. The little Man is a Bully in his Nature; but when he
grows cholerick I confine him to his Box till his Wrath is over, by
which Means I have hitherto prevented him from doing Mischief. His
Horse is likewise very vicious, for which Reason I am forced to tie
him close to his Manger with a Pack-thread. The Woman is a Coquet. She
struts as much as it is possible for a Lady of two Foot high, and
would ruin me in Silks, were not the Quantity that goes to a large
Pin-Cushion sufficient to make her a Gown and Petticoat. She told me
the other Day, that she heard the Ladies wore coloured Hoods, and
ordered me to get her one of the finest Blue. I am forced to comply
with her Demands while she is in her present Condition, being very
willing to have more of the same Breed. I do not know what she may
produce me, but provided it be a _Show_ I shall be very well
satisfied. Such Novelties should not, I think, be concealed from the
_British Spectator_; for which Reason I hope you will excuse this
Presumption in

_Your most Dutiful,
most Obedient,
and most Humble Servant_,
S. T.


* * * * *

No. 272. Friday, January 11, 1712. Steele.

[--Longa est injuria, longae



The Occasion of this Letter is of so great Importance, and the
Circumstances of it such, that I know you will but think it just to
insert it, in Preference of all other Matters that can present
themselves to your Consideration. I need not, after I have said this,
tell you that I am in Love. The Circumstances of my Passion I shall
let you understand as well as a disordered Mind will admit. That
cursed Pickthank Mrs. _Jane!_ Alas, I am railing at one to you by her
Name as familiarly as if you were acquainted with her as well as my
self: But I will tell you all, as fast as the alternate Interruptions
of Love and Anger will give me Leave. There is a most agreeable young
Woman in the World whom I am passionately in Love with, and from whom
I have for some space of Time received as great Marks of Favour as
were fit for her to give, or me to desire. The successful Progress of
the Affair of all others the most essential towards a Man's Happiness,
gave a new Life and Spirit not only to my Behaviour and Discourse, but
also a certain Grace to all my Actions in the Commerce of Life in all
Things tho never so remote from Love. You know the predominant
Passion spreads its self thro all a Man's Transactions, and exalts or
depresses [him [2]] according to the Nature of such Passion. But alas,
I have not yet begun my Story, and what is making Sentences and
Observations when a Man is pleading for his Life? To begin then: This
Lady has corresponded with me under the Names of Love, she my
_Belinda_, I her _Cleanthes_. Tho I am thus well got into the Account
of my Affair, I cannot keep in the Thread of it so much as to give you
the Character of Mrs. _Jane_, whom I will not hide under a borrowed
Name; but let you know that this Creature has been since I knew her
very handsome, (tho I will not allow her even she _has been_ for the
future) and during the Time of her Bloom and Beauty was so great a
Tyrant to her Lovers, so over-valued her self and under-rated all her
Pretenders, that they have deserted her to a Man; and she knows no
Comfort but that common one to all in her Condition, the Pleasure of
interrupting the Amours of others. It is impossible but you must have
seen several of these Volunteers in Malice, who pass their whole Time
in the most labourous Way of Life in getting Intelligence, running
from Place to Place with new Whispers, without reaping any other
Benefit but the Hopes of making others as unhappy as themselves. Mrs.
_Jane_ happened to be at a Place where I, with many others well
acquainted with my Passion for _Belinda_, passed a _Christmas_
Evening. There was among the rest a young Lady so free in Mirth, so
amiable in a just Reserve that accompanied it; I wrong her to call it
a Reserve, but there appeared in her a Mirth or Chearfulness which was
not a Forbearance of more immoderate Joy, but the natural Appearance
of all which could flow from a Mind possessed of an Habit of Innocence
and Purity. I must have utterly forgot _Belinda_ to have taken no
Notice of one who was growing up to the same womanly Virtues which
shine to Perfection in her, had I not distinguished one who seemed to
promise to the World the same Life and Conduct with my faithful and
lovely _Belinda_. When the Company broke up, the fine young Thing
permitted me to take Care of her Home. Mrs. _Jane_ saw my particular
Regard to her, and was informed of my attending her to her Fathers
House. She came early to _Belinda_ the next Morning, and asked her if
Mrs. _Such-a-one_ had been with her? No. If Mr. _Such-a-ones_ Lady?
No. Nor your Cousin _Such-a-one_? No. Lord, says Mrs. _Jane_, what is
the Friendship of Woman?--Nay, they may laugh at it. And did no one
tell you any thing of the Behaviour of your Lover Mr. _What dye call_
last Night? But perhaps it is nothing to you that he is to be married
to young Mrs.--on _Tuesday_ next? _Belinda_ was here ready to die with
Rage and Jealousy. Then Mrs. _Jane_ goes on: I have a young Kinsman
who is Clerk to a Great Conveyancer, who shall shew you the rough
Draught of the Marriage Settlement. The World says her Father gives
him Two Thousand Pounds more than he could have with you. I went
innocently to wait on _Belinda_ as usual, but was not admitted; I writ
to her, and my Letter was sent back unopened. Poor _Betty_ her Maid,
who is on my Side, has been here just now blubbering, and told me the
whole Matter. She says she did not think I could be so base; and that
she is now odious to her Mistress for having so often spoke well of
me, that she dare not mention me more. All our Hopes are placed in
having these Circumstances fairly represented in the SPECTATOR, which
_Betty_ says she dare not but bring up as soon as it is brought in;
and has promised when you have broke the Ice to own this was laid
between us: And when I can come to an Hearing, the young Lady will
support what we say by her Testimony, that I never saw her but that
once in my whole Life. Dear Sir, do not omit this true Relation, nor
think it too particular; for there are Crowds of forlorn Coquets who
intermingle themselves with other Ladies, and contract Familiarities
out of Malice, and with no other Design but to blast the Hopes of
Lovers, the Expectation of Parents, and the Benevolence of Kindred. I
doubt not but I shall be,
Your most obliged
humble Servant_,

_Wills_ Coffee-house, _Jan_. 10.

The other Day entering a Room adorned with the Fair Sex, I offered,
after the usual Manner, to each of them a Kiss; but one, more scornful
than the rest, turned her Cheek. I did not think it proper to take any
Notice of it till I had asked your Advice.
_Your humble Servant_,
E. S.

The Correspondent is desir'd to say which Cheek the Offender turned to

[Footnote 1:

Ubi visus eris nostra medicabilis arte
Fac monitis fugias otia prima meis.

Ovid. Rem. Am.]

[Footnote 2: [it]]

* * * * *


From the Parish-Vestry, _January_ 9.

_All Ladies who come to Church in the New-fashioned Hoods,
are desired to be there before Divine Service begins,
lest they divert the Attention of the Congregation._


Book of the day: