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The Spectator, Volume 2. by Addison and Steele

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_Your most Obedient_,

_Humble Servant_,

Stephen Courier.


I hate Writing, of all Things in the World; however, though I have
drunk the Waters, and am told I ought not to use my Eyes so much, I
cannot forbear writing to you, to tell you I have been to the last
Degree hipped since I saw you. How could you entertain such a Thought,
as that I should hear of that silly Fellow with Patience? Take my Word
for it, there is nothing in it; and you may believe it when so lazy a
Creature as I am undergo the Pains to assure you of it by taking Pen,
Ink, and Paper in my Hand. Forgive this, you know I shall not often
offend in this Kind. I am very much
_Your Servant_,
Bridget Eitherdown.

_The Fellow is of your Country, prythee send me Word how ever whether
he has so great an Estate_.

_Mr_. SPECTATOR, _Jan_. 24, 1712.

I am Clerk of the Parish from whence Mrs. _Simper_ sends her
Complaint, in your Yesterdays _Spectator_. I must beg of you to
publish this as a publick Admonition to the aforesaid Mrs. _Simper_,
otherwise all my honest Care in the Disposition of the Greens in the
Church will have no Effect: I shall therefore with your Leave lay
before you the whole Matter. I was formerly, as she charges me, for
several Years a Gardener in the County of _Kent_: But I must
absolutely deny, that tis out of any Affection I retain for my old
Employment that I have placed my Greens so liberally about the Church,
but out of a particular Spleen I conceived against Mrs. _Simper_ (and
others of the same Sisterhood) some time ago. As to herself, I had one
Day set the Hundredth _Psalm_, and was singing the first Line in order
to put the Congregation into the Tune, she was all the while curtsying
to Sir _Anthony_ in so affected and indecent a manner, that the
Indignation I conceived at it made me forget my self so far, as from
the Tune of that _Psalm_ to wander into _Southwell_ Tune, and from
thence into _Windsor_ Tune, still unable to recover my self till I had
with the utmost Confusion set a new one. Nay, I have often seen her
rise up and smile and curtsy to one at the lower End of the Church in
the midst of a _Gloria Patri_; and when I have spoke the Assent to a
Prayer with a long Amen uttered with decent Gravity, she has been
rolling her Eyes around about in such a Manner, as plainly shewed,
however she was moved, it was not towards an Heavenly Object. In fine,
she extended her Conquests so far over the Males, and raised such Envy
in the Females, that what between Love of those and the Jealousy of
these, I was almost the only Person that looked in the Prayer-Book all
Church-time. I had several Projects in my Head to put a Stop to this
growing Mischief; but as I have long lived in _Kent_, and there often
heard how the _Kentish_ Men evaded the Conqueror, by carrying green
Boughs over their Heads, it put me in mind of practising this Device
against Mrs. _Simper_. I find I have preserved many a young Man from
her Eye-shot by this Means; therefore humbly pray the Boughs may be
fixed, till she shall give Security for her peaceable Intentions.

_Your Humble Servant_,

Francis Sternhold.


[Footnote 1: [_Strenua nos exercet inertia._---HOR.]

[Footnote 2: [_but_]]

* * * * *

No. 285. Saturday, January 26, 1712. Addison.

Ne, quicunque Deus, quicunque adhibebitur heros,
Regali conspectus in auro nuper et ostro,
Migret in Obscuras humili sermone tabernas:
Aut, dum vitat humum, nubes et inania captet.


Having already treated of the Fable, the Characters, and Sentiments in
the Paradise Lost, we are in the last Place to consider the Language;
and as the Learned World is very much divided upon Milton as to this
Point, I hope they will excuse me if I appear particular in any of my
Opinions, and encline to those who judge the most advantageously of the

It is requisite that the Language of an Heroic Poem should be both
Perspicuous and Sublime. [1] In proportion as either of these two
Qualities are wanting, the Language is imperfect. Perspicuity is the
first and most necessary Qualification; insomuch that a good-natur'd
Reader sometimes overlooks a little Slip even in the Grammar or Syntax,
where it is impossible for him to mistake the Poets Sense. Of this Kind
is that Passage in Milton, wherein he speaks of Satan.

--God and his Son except,
Created thing nought valu'd he nor shunn'd.

And that in which he describes Adam and Eve.

Adam the goodliest Man of Men since born
His Sons, the fairest of her Daughters Eve.

It is plain, that in the former of these Passages according to the
natural Syntax, the Divine Persons mentioned in the first Line are
represented as created Beings; and that, in the other, Adam and Eve are
confounded with their Sons and Daughters. Such little Blemishes as
these, when the Thought is great and natural, we should, with Horace [2]
impute to a pardonable Inadvertency, or to the Weakness of human Nature,
which cannot attend to each minute Particular, and give the last
Finishing to every Circumstance in so long a Work. The Ancient Criticks
therefore, who were acted by a Spirit of Candour, rather than that of
Cavilling, invented certain Figures of Speech, on purpose to palliate
little Errors of this nature in the Writings of those Authors who had so
many greater Beauties to attone for them.

If Clearness and Perspicuity were only to be consulted, the Poet would
have nothing else to do but to cloath his Thoughts in the most plain and
natural Expressions. But since it often happens that the most obvious
Phrases, and those which are used in ordinary Conversation, become too
familiar to the Ear, and contract a kind of Meanness by passing through
the Mouths of the Vulgar, a Poet should take particular Care to guard
himself against Idiomatick Ways of Speaking. Ovid and Lucan have many
Poornesses of Expression upon this Account, as taking up with the first
Phrases that offered, without putting themselves to the Trouble of
looking after such as would not only have been natural, but also
elevated and sublime. Milton has but few Failings in this Kind, of
which, however, you may [meet with some Instances, as [3] in the
following Passages.

Embrios and Idiots, Eremites and Fryars,
White, Black, and Grey,--with all their Trumpery,
Here Pilgrims roam--

--A while discourse they hold,
No fear lest Dinner cool;--when thus began
Our Author--

Who of all Ages to succeed, but feeling
The Evil on him brought by me, will curse
My Head, ill fare our Ancestor impure,
For this we may thank Adam--

The Great Masters in Composition, knew very well that many an elegant
Phrase becomes improper for a Poet or an Orator, when it has been
debased by common Use. For this Reason the Works of Ancient Authors,
which are written in dead Languages, have a great Advantage over those
which are written in Languages that are now spoken. Were there any mean
Phrases or Idioms in Virgil and Homer, they would not shock the Ear of
the most delicate Modern Reader, so much as they would have done that of
an old Greek or Roman, because we never hear them pronounced in our
Streets, or in ordinary Conversation.

It is not therefore sufficient, that the Language of an Epic Poem be
Perspicuous, unless it be also Sublime. To this end it ought to deviate
from the common Forms and ordinary Phrases of Speech. The Judgment of a
Poet very much discovers it self in shunning the common Roads of
Expression, without falling into such ways of Speech as may seem stiff
and unnatural; he must not swell into a false Sublime, by endeavouring
to avoid the other Extream. Among the Greeks, AEschylus, and sometimes
Sophocles, were guilty of this Fault; among the Latins, Claudian and
Statius; and among our own Countrymen, Shakespear and Lee. In these
Authors the Affectation of Greatness often hurts the Perspicuity of the
Stile, as in many others the Endeavour after Perspicuity prejudices its

Aristotle has observed, that the Idiomatick Stile may be avoided, and
the Sublime formed, by the following Methods. [4]

First, by the Use of Metaphors [: Such are those of Milton. [5]]

Imparadised in one anothers Arms.

--And in his Hand a Reed
Stood waving tipt with Fire.--

The grassie Clods now calvd,--

[Spangled with Eyes--]

In these and innumerable other Instances, the Metaphors are very bold
but just; I must however observe that the Metaphors are not [so] thick
sown in Milton which always savours too much of Wit; that they never
clash with one another, which, as Aristotle observes, turns a Sentence
into a kind of an Enigma or Riddle; [6] and that he seldom has recourse
to them where the proper and natural Words will do as well.

Another way of raising the Language, and giving it a Poetical Turn, is
to make use of the Idioms of other Tongues. Virgil is full of the Greek
Forms of Speech, which the Criticks call Hellenisms, as Horace in his
Odes abounds with them much more than Virgil. I need not mention the
several Dialects which Homer has made use of for this end. Milton, in
conformity with the Practice of the Ancient Poets, and with Aristotle's
Rule, has infused a great many Latinisms, as well as Graecisms, and
sometimes Hebraisms, into the Language of his Poem; as towards the
Beginning of it.

Nor did they not perceive the evil Plight
In which they were, or the fierce Pains not feel,
Yet to their Genrals Voice they soon obey'd.--

--Who shall tempt with wandring Feet
The dark unbottom'd Infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable Obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his airy Flight
Upborn with indefatigable Wings
Over the vast Abrupt!

[--So both ascend
In the Visions of God-- Book 2.]

Under this Head may be reckon'd the placing the Adjective after the
Substantive, the Transposition of Words, the turning the Adjective into
a Substantive, with several other Foreign Modes of Speech which this
Poet has naturalized to give his Verse the greater Sound, and throw it
out of Prose.

The third Method mentioned by Aristotle is what agrees with the Genius
of the Greek Language more than with that of any other Tongue, and is
therefore more used by Homer than by any other Poet. I mean the
lengthning of a Phrase by the Addition of Words, which may either be
inserted or omitted, as also by the extending or contracting of
particular Words by the Insertion or Omission of certain Syllables.
Milton has put in practice this Method of raising his Language, as far
as the Nature of our Tongue will permit, as in the Passage
above-mentioned, Eremite, [for] what is Hermit, in common Discourse. If
you observe the Measure of his Verse, he has with great Judgment
suppressed a Syllable in several Words, and shortned those of two
Syllables into one, by which Method, besides the above-mentioned
Advantage, he has given a greater Variety to his Numbers. But this
Practice is more particularly remarkable in the Names of Persons and of
Countries, as Beelzebub, Hessebon, and in many other Particulars,
wherein he has either changed the Name, or made use of that which is not
the most commonly known, that he might the better depart from the
Language of the Vulgar.

The same Reason recommended to him several old Words, which also makes
his Poem appear the more venerable, and gives it a greater Air of

I must likewise take notice, that there are in Milton several Words of
his own coining, as Cerberean, miscreated, Hell-doom'd, Embryon Atoms,
and many others. If the Reader is offended at this Liberty in our
English Poet, I would recommend him to a Discourse in Plutarch, [7]
which shews us how frequently Homer has made use of the same Liberty.

Milton, by the above-mentioned Helps, and by the Choice of the noblest
Words and Phrases which our Tongue would afford him, has carried our
Language to a greater Height than any of the English Poets have ever
done before or after him, and made the Sublimity of his Stile equal to
that of his Sentiments.

I have been the more particular in these Observations on Milton's Stile,
because it is that Part of him in which he appears the most singular.
The Remarks I have here made upon the Practice of other Poets, with my
Observations out of Aristotle, will perhaps alleviate the Prejudice
which some have taken to his Poem upon this Account; tho after all, I
must confess that I think his Stile, tho admirable in general, is in
some places too much stiffened and obscured by the frequent Use of those
Methods, which Aristotle has prescribed for the raising of it.

This Redundancy of those several Ways of Speech, which Aristotle calls
foreign Language, and with which Milton has so very much enriched, and
in some Places darkned the Language of his Poem, was the more proper for
his use, because his Poem is written in Blank Verse. Rhyme, without any
other Assistance, throws the Language off from Prose, and very often
makes an indifferent Phrase pass unregarded; but where the Verse is not
built upon Rhymes, there Pomp of Sound, and Energy of Expression, are
indispensably necessary to support the Stile, and keep it from falling
into the Flatness of Prose.

Those who have not a Taste for this Elevation of Stile, and are apt to
ridicule a Poet when he departs from the common Forms of Expression,
would do well to see how Aristotle has treated an Ancient Author called
Euclid, [8] for his insipid Mirth upon this Occasion. Mr. Dryden used to
call [these [9]]sort of Men his Prose-Criticks.

I should, under this Head of the Language, consider Milton's Numbers, in
which he has made use of several Elisions, which are not customary among
other English Poets, as may be particularly observed in his cutting off
the Letter Y, when it precedes a Vowel. [10] This, and some other
Innovation in the Measure of his Verse, has varied his Numbers in such a
manner, as makes them incapable of satiating the Ear, and cloying the
Reader, which the same uniform Measure would certainly have done, and
which the perpetual Returns of Rhime never fail to do in long Narrative
Poems. I shall close these Reflections upon the Language of Paradise
Lost, with observing that Milton has copied after Homer rather than
Virgil in the length of his Periods, the Copiousness of his Phrases, and
the running of his Verses into one another.


[Footnote 1: Aristotle, Poetics, ii. Sec.26.

The excellence of Diction consists in being perspicuous without being

[Footnote 2:

Verum ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis
Offendar maculis, quas aut incuria fudit,
Aut humana parum cavit natura.

De Ar. Poet., II. 351-3.]

[Footnote 3: [see an Instance or two]]

[Footnote 4: Poetics, ii. Sec. 26]

[Footnote 5: [,like those in Milton]]

[Footnote 6:

That language is elevated and remote from the vulgar idiom which
employs unusual words: by unusual, I mean foreign, metaphorical,
extended--all, in short, that are not common words. Yet, should a poet
compose his Diction entirely of such words, the result would be either
an enigma or a barbarous jargon: an enigma if composed of metaphors, a
barbarous jargon if composed of foreign words. For the essence of an
enigma consists in putting together things apparently inconsistent and
impossible, and at the same time saying nothing but what is true. Now
this cannot be effected by the mere arrangement of words; by the
metaphorical use of them it may.]

[Footnote 7: On Life and Poetry of Homer, wrongly ascribed to Plutarch,
Bk. I. Sec. 16.]

[Footnote 8: Poetics, II. Sec. 26.

A judicious intermixture is requisite ... It is without reason,
therefore, that some critics have censured these modes of speech, and
ridiculed the poet for the use of them; as old Euclid did, objecting
that versification would be an easy business, if it were permitted to
lengthen words at pleasure, and then giving a burlesque example of
that sort of diction... In the employment of all the species of
unusual words, moderation is necessary: for metaphors, foreign words,
or any of the others improperly used, and with a design to be
ridiculous, would produce the same effect. But how great a difference
is made by a proper and temperate use of such words may be seen in
heroic verse. Let any one put common words in the place of the
metaphorical, the foreign, and others of the same kind, and he will be
convinced of the truth of what I say.

He then gives two or three examples of the effect of changing poetical
for common words. As, that (in plays now lost):

the same Iambic verse occurs in AEschylus and Euripides; but by means
of a single alteration--the substitution of a foreign for a common and
usual word--one of these verses appears beautiful, the other ordinary.
For AEschylus in his Philoctetes says, "The poisonous wound that eats
my flesh." But Euripides for ([Greek: esthiei]) "eats" says ([Greek:
thoinatai]) "banquets on."]

[Footnote 9: [this]]

[Footnote 10: This is not particularly observed. On the very first page
of P. L. we have a line with the final y twice sounded before a vowel,

Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song.

Again a few lines later,

That to the height of this great argument
I may assert Eternal Providence.

Ten lines farther we read of the Serpent

Stirr'd up with envy and revenge.

We have only an apparent elision of y a few lines later in his aspiring

To set himself in glory above his peers,

for the line would be ruined were the y to be omitted by a reader. The
extreme shortness of the two unaccented syllables, y and a, gives them
the quantity of one in the metre, and allows by the turn of voice a
suggestion of exuberance, heightening the force of the word glory. Three
lines lower Milton has no elision of the y before a vowel in the line,

Against the throne and monarchy of God.

Nor eight lines after that in the words day and night. There is elision
of y in the line,

That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfall.

But none a few lines lower down in

Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heaven.

When the y stands by itself, unaccented, immediately after an accented
syllable, and precedes a vowel that is part of another unaccented
syllable standing immediately before an accented one, Milton accepts the
consequence, and does not attempt to give it the force of a distinct
syllable. But Addison's vague notion that it was Milton's custom to cut
off the final y when it precedes a vowel, and that for the sake of being
uncommon, came of inaccurate observation. For the reasons just given,
the y of the word glory runs into the succeeding syllable, and most
assuredly is not cut off, when we read of

the excess
Of Glory obscured: as when the sun, new ris'n,
Looks through the horizontal misty air,

but the y in misty stands as a full syllable because the word air is
accented. So again in

Death as oft accused
Of tardy execution, since denounc'd
The day of his offence.

The y of tardy is a syllable because the vowel following it is
accented; the y also of day remains, because, although an unaccented
vowel follows, it is itself part of an accented syllable.]

* * * * *

No. 286. Monday, January 28, 1712. Steele.

Nomina Honesta praetenduntur vitiis.


York, Jan. 18, 1712.

Mr. Spectator,

I pretend not to inform a Gentleman of so just a Taste, whenever he
pleases to use it; but it may not be amiss to inform your Readers,
that there is a false Delicacy as well as a true one. True Delicacy,
as I take it, consists in Exactness of Judgment and Dignity of
Sentiment, or if you will, Purity of Affection, as this is opposed to
Corruption and Grossness. There are Pedants in Breeding as well as in
Learning. The Eye that cannot bear the Light is not delicate but sore.
A good Constitution appears in the Soundness and Vigour of the Parts,
not in the Squeamishness of the Stomach; And a false Delicacy is
Affectation, not Politeness. What then can be the Standard of Delicacy
but Truth and Virtue? Virtue, which, as the Satyrist long since
observed, is real Honour; whereas the other Distinctions among Mankind
are meerly titular. Judging by that Rule, in my Opinion, and in that
of many of your virtuous Female Readers, you are so far from deserving
Mr. Courtly's Accusation, that you seem too gentle, and to allow too
many Excuses for an enormous Crime, which is the Reproach of the Age,
and is in all its Branches and Degrees expresly forbidden by that
Religion we pretend to profess; and whose Laws, in a Nation that calls
it self Christian, one would think should take Place of those Rules
which Men of corrupt Minds, and those of weak Understandings follow. I
know not any thing more pernicious to good Manners, than the giving
fair Names to foul Actions; for this confounds Vice and Virtue, and
takes off that natural Horrour we have to Evil. An innocent Creature,
who would start at the Name of Strumpet, may think it pretty to be
called a Mistress, especially if her Seducer has taken care to inform
her, that a Union of Hearts is the principal Matter in the Sight of
Heaven, and that the Business at Church is a meer idle Ceremony. Who
knows not that the Difference between obscene and modest Words
expressing the same Action, consists only in the accessary Idea, for
there is nothing immodest in Letters and Syllables. Fornication and
Adultery are modest Words: because they express an Evil Action as
criminal, and so as to excite Horrour and Aversion: Whereas Words
representing the Pleasure rather than the Sin, are for this Reason
indecent and dishonest. Your Papers would be chargeable with something
worse than Indelicacy, they would be Immoral, did you treat the
detestable Sins of Uncleanness in the same manner as you rally an
impertinent Self-love and an artful Glance; as those Laws would be
very unjust, that should chastise Murder and Petty Larceny with the
same Punishment. Even Delicacy requires that the Pity shewn to
distressed indigent Wickedness, first betrayed into, and then expelled
the Harbours of the Brothel, should be changed to Detestation, when we
consider pampered Vice in the Habitations of the Wealthy. The most
free Person of Quality, in Mr. Courtly's Phrase, that is, to speak
properly, a Woman of Figure who has forgot her Birth and Breeding,
dishonoured her Relations and her self, abandoned her Virtue and
Reputation, together with the natural Modesty of her Sex, and risqued
her very Soul, is so far from deserving to be treated with no worse
Character than that of a kind Woman, (which is doubtless Mr. Courtly's
Meaning, if he has any,) that one can scarce be too severe on her, in
as much as she sins against greater Restraints, is less exposed, and
liable to fewer Temptations, than Beauty in Poverty and Distress. It
is hoped therefore, Sir, that you will not lay aside your generous
Design of exposing that monstrous Wickedness of the Town, whereby a
Multitude of Innocents are sacrificed in a more barbarous Manner than
those who were offered to Moloch. The Unchaste are provoked to see
their Vice exposed, and the Chaste cannot rake into such Filth without
Danger of Defilement; but a meer SPECTATOR may look into the Bottom,
and come off without partaking in the Guilt. The doing so will
convince us you pursue publick Good, and not meerly your own
Advantage: But if your Zeal slackens, how can one help thinking that
Mr. Courtly's Letter is but a Feint to get off from a Subject, in
which either your own, or the private and base Ends of others to whom
you are partial, or those [of] whom you are afraid, would not endure a

I am, Sir, your humble Servant and Admirer, so long as you tread in
the Paths of Truth, Virtue, and Honour.


Trin. Coll. Cantab. Jan. 12, 1711-12.

It is my Fortune to have a Chamber-Fellow, with whom, tho I agree
very well in many Sentiments, yet there is one in which we are as
contrary as Light and Darkness. We are both in Love: his Mistress is a
lovely Fair, and mine a lovely Brown. Now as the Praise of our
Mistresses Beauty employs much of our Time, we have frequent Quarrels
in entering upon that Subject, while each says all he can to defend
his Choice. For my own part, I have racked my Fancy to the utmost; and
sometimes, with the greatest Warmth of Imagination, have told him,
That Night was made before Day, and many more fine Things, tho
without any effect: Nay, last Night I could not forbear saying with
more Heat than Judgment, that the Devil ought to be painted white. Now
my Desire is, Sir, that you would be pleased to give us in Black and
White your Opinion in the Matter of Dispute between us; which will
either furnish me with fresh and prevailing Arguments to maintain my
own Taste, or make me with less Repining allow that of my
Chamber-Fellow. I know very well that I have Jack Cleveland[1] and
Bonds Horace on my Side; but then he has such a Band of Rhymers and
Romance-Writers, with which he opposes me, and is so continually
chiming to the Tune of Golden Tresses, yellow Locks, Milk, Marble,
Ivory, Silver, Swan, Snow, Daisies, Doves, and the Lord knows what;
which he is always sounding with so much Vehemence in my Ears, that he
often puts me into a brown Study how to answer him; and I find that I
am in a fair Way to be quite confounded, without your timely
Assistance afforded to,


Your humble Servant,


T. [2]

[Footnote 1: Cleveland celebrates brown beauties in his poem of the
Senses Festival. John Bond, who published Commentaries on Horace and
Persius, Antony a Wood calls a polite and rare critic whose labours
have advanced the Commonwealth of Learning very much.]

[Footnote 2: [Z.]]

* * * * *

No. 287. Tuesday, January 29, 1712. Addison.

[Greek: O philtatae gae maeter, hos semnon sphodr ei
Tois noun echousi ktaema--


I look upon it as a peculiar Happiness, that were I to choose of what
Religion I would be, and under what Government I would live, I should
most certainly give the Preference to that Form of Religion and
Government which is established in my own Country. In this Point I think
I am determined by Reason and Conviction; but if I shall be told that I
am acted by Prejudice, I am sure it is an honest Prejudice, it is a
Prejudice that arises from the Love of my Country, and therefore such an
one as I will always indulge. I have in several Papers endeavoured to
express my Duty and Esteem for the Church of England, and design this as
an Essay upon the Civil Part of our Constitution, having often
entertained my self with Reflections on this Subject, which I have not
met with in other Writers.

That Form of Government appears to me the most reasonable, which is most
conformable to the Equality that we find in human Nature, provided it be
consistent with publick Peace and Tranquillity. This is what may
properly be called Liberty, which exempts one Man from Subjection to
another so far as the Order and Oeconomy of Government will permit.

Liberty should reach every Individual of a People, as they all share one
common Nature; if it only spreads among particular Branches, there had
better be none at all, since such a Liberty only aggravates the
Misfortune of those who are depriv'd of it, by setting before them a
disagreeable Subject of Comparison. This Liberty is best preserved,
where the Legislative Power is lodged in several Persons, especially if
those Persons are of different Ranks and Interests; for where they are
of the same Rank, and consequently have an Interest to manage peculiar
to that Rank, it differs but little from a Despotical Government in a
single Person. But the greatest Security a People can have for their
Liberty, is when the Legislative Power is in the Hands of Persons so
happily distinguished, that by providing for the particular Interests of
their several Ranks, they are providing for the whole Body of the
People; or in other Words, when there is no Part of the People that has
not a common Interest with at least one Part of the Legislators.

If there be but one Body of Legislators, it is no better than a Tyranny;
if there are only two, there will want a casting Voice, and one of them
must at length be swallowed up by Disputes and Contentions that will
necessarily arise between them. Four would have the same Inconvenience
as two, and a greater Number would cause too much Confusion. I could
never read a Passage in Polybius, and another in Cicero, to this
Purpose, without a secret Pleasure in applying it to the English
Constitution, which it suits much better than the Roman. Both these
great Authors give the Pre-eminence to a mixt Government, consisting of
three Branches, the Regal, the Noble, and the Popular. They had
doubtless in their Thoughts the Constitution of the Roman Commonwealth,
in which the Consul represented the King, the Senate the Nobles, and the
Tribunes the People. This Division of the three Powers in the Roman
Constitution was by no means so distinct and natural, as it is in the
English Form of Government. Among several Objections that might be made
to it, I think the Chief are those that affect the Consular Power, which
had only the Ornaments without the Force of the Regal Authority. Their
Number had not a casting Voice in it; for which Reason, if one did not
chance to be employed Abroad, while the other sat at Home, the Publick
Business was sometimes at a Stand, while the Consuls pulled two
different Ways in it. Besides, I do not find that the Consuls had ever a
Negative Voice in the passing of a Law, or Decree of Senate, so that
indeed they were rather the chief Body of the Nobility, or the first
Ministers of State, than a distinct Branch of the Sovereignty, in which
none can be looked upon as a Part, who are not a Part of the
Legislature. Had the Consuls been invested with the Regal Authority to
as great a Degree as our Monarchs, there would never have been any
Occasions for a Dictatorship, which had in it the Power of all the three
Orders, and ended in the Subversion of the whole Constitution.

Such an History as that of Suelonius, which gives us a Succession of
Absolute Princes, is to me an unanswerable Argument against Despotick
Power. Where the Prince is a Man of Wisdom and Virtue, it is indeed
happy for his People that he is absolute; but since in the common Run of
Mankind, for one that is Wise and Good you find ten of a contrary
Character, it is very dangerous for a Nation to stand to its Chance, or
to have its publick Happiness or Misery depend on the Virtues or Vices
of a single Person. Look into the [History [1]] I have mentioned, or
into any Series of Absolute Princes, how many Tyrants must you read
through, before you come to an Emperor that is supportable. But this is
not all; an honest private Man often grows cruel and abandoned, when
converted into an absolute Prince. Give a Man Power of doing what he
pleases with Impunity, you extinguish his Fear, and consequently
overturn in him one of the great Pillars of Morality. This too we find
confirmed by Matter of Fact. How many hopeful Heirs apparent to grand
Empires, when in the Possession of them, have become such Monsters of
Lust and Cruelty as are a Reproach to Human Nature.

Some tell us we ought to make our Governments on Earth like that in
Heaven, which, say they, is altogether Monarchical and Unlimited. Was
Man like his Creator in Goodness and Justice, I should be for following
this great Model; but where Goodness and Justice are not essential to
the Ruler, I would by no means put myself into his Hands to be disposed
of according to his particular Will and Pleasure.

It is odd to consider the Connection between Despotic Government and
Barbarity, and how the making of one Person more than Man, makes the
rest less. About nine Parts of the World in ten are in the lowest State
of Slavery, and consequently sunk into the most gross and brutal
Ignorance. European Slavery is indeed a State of Liberty, if compared
with that which prevails in the other three Divisions of the World; and
therefore it is no Wonder that those who grovel under it have many
Tracks of Light among them, of which the others are wholly destitute.

Riches and Plenty are the natural Fruits of Liberty, and where these
abound, Learning and all the Liberal Arts will immediately lift up their
Heads and flourish. As a Man must have no slavish Fears and
Apprehensions hanging upon his Mind, [who [2]] will indulge the Flights
of Fancy or Speculation, and push his Researches into all the abstruse
Corners of Truth, so it is necessary for him to have about him a
Competency of all the Conveniencies of Life.

The first thing every one looks after, is to provide himself with
Necessaries. This Point will engross our Thoughts till it be satisfied.
If this is taken care of to our Hands, we look out for Pleasures and
Amusements; and among a great Number of idle People, there will be many
whose Pleasures will lie in Reading and Contemplation. These are the two
great Sources of Knowledge, and as Men grow wise they naturally love to
communicate their Discoveries; and others seeing the Happiness of such a
Learned Life, and improving by their Conversation, emulate, imitate, and
surpass one another, till a Nation is filled with Races of wise and
understanding Persons. Ease and Plenty are therefore the great
Cherishers of Knowledge: and as most of the Despotick Governments of the
World have neither of them, they are naturally over-run with Ignorance
and Barbarity. In Europe, indeed, notwithstanding several of its Princes
are absolute, there are Men famous for Knowledge and Learning; but the
Reason is because the Subjects are many of them rich and wealthy, the
Prince not thinking fit to exert himself in his full Tyranny like the
Princes of the Eastern Nations, lest his Subjects should be invited to
new-mould their Constitution, having so many Prospects of Liberty within
their View. But in all Despotic Governments, tho a particular Prince
may favour Arts and Letters, there is a natural Degeneracy of Mankind,
as you may observe from Augustus's Reign, how the Romans lost themselves
by Degrees till they fell to an Equality with the most barbarous Nations
that surrounded them. Look upon Greece under its free States, and you
would think its Inhabitants lived in different Climates, and under
different Heavens, from those at present; so different are the Genius's
which are formed under Turkish Slavery and Grecian Liberty.

Besides Poverty and Want, there are other Reasons that debase the Minds
of Men, who live under Slavery, though I look on this as the Principal.
This natural Tendency of Despotic Power to Ignorance and Barbarity, tho
not insisted upon by others, is, I think, an unanswerable Argument
against that Form of Government, as it shews how repugnant it is to the
Good of Mankind, and the Perfection of human Nature, which ought to be
the great Ends of all Civil Institutions.


[Footnote 1: [Historian]]

[Footnote 2: [that]]

* * * * *

No. 288. Wednesday, January 30, 1712. Steele

--Pavor est utrique molestus.



When you spoke of the Jilts and Coquets, you then promised to be very
impartial, and not to spare even your own Sex, should any of their
secret or open Faults come under your Cognizance; which has given me
Encouragement to describe a certain Species of Mankind under the
Denomination of Male Jilts. They are Gentlemen who do not design to
marry, yet, that they may appear to have some Sense of Gallantry,
think they must pay their Devoirs to one particular Fair; in order to
which they single out from amongst the Herd of Females her to whom
they design to make their fruitless Addresses. This done, they first
take every Opportunity of being in her Company, and then never fail
upon all Occasions to be particular to her, laying themselves at her
Feet, protesting the Reality of their Passion with a thousand Oaths,
solliciting a Return, and saying as many fine Things as their Stock of
Wit will allow; and if they are not deficient that way, generally
speak so as to admit of a double Interpretation; which the credulous
Fair is apt to turn to her own Advantage, since it frequently happens
to be a raw, innocent, young Creature, who thinks all the World as
sincere as her self, and so her unwary Heart becomes an easy Prey to
those deceitful Monsters, who no sooner perceive it, but immediately
they grow cool, and shun her whom they before seemed so much to
admire, and proceed to act the same common-place Villany towards
another. A Coxcomb flushed with many of these infamous Victories shall
say he is sorry for the poor Fools, protest and vow he never thought
of Matrimony, and wonder talking civilly can be so strangely
misinterpreted. Now, Mr. SPECTATOR, you that are a professed Friend to
Love, will, I hope, observe upon those who abuse that noble Passion,
and raise it in innocent Minds by a deceitful Affectation of it, after
which they desert the Enamoured. Pray bestow a little of your Counsel
to those fond believing Females who already have or are in Danger of
broken Hearts; in which you will oblige a great Part of this Town, but
in a particular Manner,

SIR Your (yet Heart-whole) Admirer,
and devoted humble Servant,

Melainie's Complaint is occasioned by so general a Folly, that it is
wonderful one could so long overlook it. But this false Gallantry
proceeds from an Impotence of Mind, which makes those who are guilty of
it incapable of pursuing what they themselves approve. Many a Man wishes
a Woman his Wife whom he dares not take for such. Tho no one has Power
over his Inclinations or Fortunes, he is a Slave to common Fame. For
this Reason I think Melainia gives them too soft a Name in that of Male
Coquets. I know not why Irresolution of Mind should not be more
contemptible than Impotence of Body; and these frivolous Admirers would
be but tenderly used, in being only included in the same Term with the
Insufficient another Way. They whom my Correspondent calls Male Coquets,
shall hereafter be called Fribblers. A Fribbler is one who professes
Rapture and Admiration for the Woman to whom he addresses, and dreads
nothing so much as her Consent. His Heart can flutter by the Force of
Imagination, but cannot fix from the Force of Judgment. It is not
uncommon for the Parents of young Women of moderate Fortune to wink at
the Addresses of Fribblers, and expose their Children to the ambiguous
Behaviour which Melainia complains of, till by the Fondness to one they
are to lose, they become incapable of Love towards others, and by
Consequence in their future Marriage lead a joyless or a miserable Life.
As therefore I shall in the Speculations which regard Love be as severe
as I ought on Jilts and Libertine Women, so will I be as little merciful
to insignificant and mischievous Men. In order to this, all Visitants
who frequent Families wherein there are young Females, are forthwith
required to declare themselves, or absent from Places where their
Presence banishes such as would pass their Time more to the Advantage of
those whom they visit. It is a Matter of too great Moment to be dallied
with; and I shall expect from all my young People a satisfactory Account
of Appearances. Strephon has from the Publication hereof seven Days to
explain the Riddle he presented to Eudamia; and Chloris an Hour after
this comes to her Hand, to declare whether she will have Philotas, whom
a Woman of no less Merit than her self, and of superior Fortune,
languishes to call her own.


SIR, [1]
Since so many Dealers turn Authors, and write quaint Advertisements
in praise of their Wares, one who from an Author turn'd Dealer may be
allowed for the Advancement of Trade to turn Author again. I will not
however set up like some of em, for selling cheaper than the most
able honest Tradesman can; nor do I send this to be better known for
Choice and Cheapness of China and Japan Wares, Tea, Fans, Muslins,
Pictures, Arrack, and other Indian Goods. Placed as I am in
Leadenhall-street, near the India-Company, and the Centre of that
Trade, Thanks to my fair Customers, my Warehouse is graced as well as
the Benefit Days of my Plays and Operas; and the foreign Goods I sell
seem no less acceptable than the foreign Books I translated, Rabelais
and Don Quixote: This the Criticks allow me, and while they like my
Wares they may dispraise my Writing. But as tis not so well known yet
that I frequently cross the Seas of late, and speaking Dutch and
French, besides other Languages, I have the Conveniency of buying and
importing rich Brocades, Dutch Atlasses, with Gold and Silver, or
without, and other foreign Silks of the newest Modes and best
Fabricks, fine Flanders Lace, Linnens, and Pictures, at the best Hand:
This my new way of Trade I have fallen into I cannot better publish
than by an Application to you. My Wares are fit only for such as your
Readers; and I would beg of you to print this Address in your Paper,
that those whose Minds you adorn may take the Ornaments for their
Persons and Houses from me. This, Sir, if I may presume to beg it,
will be the greater Favour, as I have lately received rich Silks and
fine Lace to a considerable Value, which will be sold cheap for a
quick Return, and as I have also a large Stock of other Goods. Indian
Silks were formerly a great Branch of our Trade; and since we must not
sell em, we must seek Amends by dealing in others. This I hope will
plead for one who would lessen the Number of Teazers of the Muses, and
who, suiting his Spirit to his Circumstances, humbles the Poet to
exalt the Citizen. Like a true Tradesman, I hardly ever look into any
Books but those of Accompts. To say the Truth, I cannot, I think, give
you a better Idea of my being a downright Man of Traffick, than by
acknowledging I oftener read the Advertisements, than the Matter of
even your Paper. I am under a great Temptation to take this
Opportunity of admonishing other Writers to follow my Example, and
trouble the Town no more; but as it is my present Business to increase
the Number of Buyers rather than Sellers, I hasten to tell you that I
SIR, Your most humble,
and most obedient Servant,
Peter Motteux.


[Footnote 1: Peter Anthony Motteux, the writer of this letter, was born
in Normandy, and came as a refugee to England at the Revocation of the
Edict of Nantes. Here he wrote about 14 plays, translated Bayle's
Dictionary, Montaigne's Essays, and Don Quixote, and established himself
also as a trader in Leadenhall Street. He had a wife and a fine young
family when (at the age of 56, and six years after the date of this
letter) he was found dead in a house of ill fame near Temple Bar under
circumstances that caused a reward of fifty pounds to be offered for the
discovery of his murderer.]

* * * * *

No. 289. Thursday, January 31, 1712. Addison.

Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam.


Upon taking my Seat in a Coffee-house I often draw the Eyes of the whole
Room upon me, when in the hottest Seasons of News, and at a time that
perhaps the Dutch Mail is just come in, they hear me ask the Coffee-man
for his last Weeks Bill of Mortality: I find that I have been sometimes
taken on this occasion for a Parish Sexton, sometimes for an Undertaker,
and sometimes for a Doctor of Physick. In this, however, I am guided by
the Spirit of a Philosopher, as I take occasion from hence to reflect
upon the regular Encrease and Diminution of Mankind, and consider the
several various Ways through which we pass from Life to Eternity. I am
very well pleased with these Weekly Admonitions, that bring into my Mind
such Thoughts as ought to be the daily Entertainment of every reasonable
Creature; and can consider, with Pleasure to my self, by which of those
Deliverances, or, as we commonly call them, Distempers, I may possibly
make my Escape out of this World of Sorrows, into that Condition of
Existence, wherein I hope to be Happier than it is possible for me at
present to conceive.

But this is not all the Use I make of the above-mentioned Weekly Paper.
A Bill of Mortality [1] is in my Opinion an unanswerable Argument for a
Providence. How can we, without supposing our selves under the constant
Care of a Supreme Being, give any possible Account for that nice
Proportion, which we find in every great City, between the Deaths and
Births of its Inhabitants, and between the Number of Males and that of
Females, who are brought into the World? What else could adjust in so
exact a manner the Recruits of every Nation to its Losses, and divide
these new Supplies of People into such equal Bodies of both Sexes?
Chance could never hold the Balance with so steady a Hand. Were we not
counted out by an intelligent Supervisor, we should sometimes be
over-charged with Multitudes, and at others waste away into a Desart: We
should be sometimes a populus virorum, as Florus elegantly expresses it,
a Generation of Males, and at others a Species of Women. We may extend
this Consideration to every Species of living Creatures, and consider
the whole animal World as an huge Army made up of innumerable Corps, if
I may use that Term, whose Quotas have been kept entire near five
thousand Years, in so wonderful a manner, that there is not probably a
single Species lost during this long Tract of Time. Could we have
general Bills of Mortality of every kind of Animal, or particular ones
of every Species in each Continent and Island, I could almost say in
every Wood, Marsh or Mountain, what astonishing Instances would they be
of that Providence which watches over all its Works?

I have heard of a great Man in the Romish Church, who upon reading those
Words in the Vth Chapter of Genesis, And all the Days that Adam lived
were nine hundred and thirty Years, and he died; and all the Days of
Seth were nine hundred and twelve Years, and he died; and all the Days
of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty nine Years, and he died;
immediately shut himself up in a Convent, and retired from the World, as
not thinking any thing in this Life worth pursuing, which had not regard
to another.

The Truth of it is, there is nothing in History which is so improving to
the Reader, as those Accounts which we meet with of the Deaths of
eminent Persons, and of their Behaviour in that dreadful Season. I may
also add, that there are no Parts in History which affect and please the
Reader in so sensible a manner. The Reason I take to be this, because
there is no other single Circumstance in the Story of any Person, which
can possibly be the Case of every one who reads it. A Battle or a
Triumph are Conjunctures in which not one Man in a Million is likely to
be engaged; but when we see a Person at the Point of Death, we cannot
forbear being attentive to every thing he says or does, because we are
sure that some time or other we shall our selves be in the same
melancholy Circumstances. The General, the Statesman, or the
Philosopher, are perhaps Characters which we may never act in; but the
dying Man is one whom, sooner or later, we shall certainly resemble.

It is, perhaps, for the same kind of Reason that few Books, [written
[2]] in English, have been so much perused as Dr. Sherlock's Discourse
upon Death; though at the same time I must own, that he who has not
perused this Excellent Piece, has not perhaps read one of the strongest
Persuasives to a Religious Life that ever was written in any Language.

The Consideration, with which I shall close this Essay upon Death, is
one of the most ancient and most beaten Morals that has been recommended
to Mankind. But its being so very common, and so universally received,
though it takes away from it the Grace of Novelty, adds very much to the
Weight of it, as it shews that it falls in with the general Sense of
Mankind. In short, I would have every one consider, that he is in this
Life nothing more than a Passenger, and that he is not to set up his
Rest here, but to keep an attentive Eye upon that State of Being to
which he approaches every Moment, and which will be for ever fixed and
permanent. This single Consideration would be sufficient to extinguish
the Bitterness of Hatred, the Thirst of Avarice, and the Cruelty of

I am very much pleased with the Passage of Antiphanes a very ancient
Poet, who lived near an hundred Years before Socrates, which represents
the Life of Man under this View, as I have here translated it Word for
Word. Be not grieved, says he, above measure for thy deceased Friends[.
They [3]] are not dead, but have only finished that Journey which it is
necessary for every one of us to take: We ourselves must go to that
great Place of Reception in which they are all of them assembled, and in
this general Rendezvous of Mankind, live together in another State of

I think I have, in a former Paper, taken notice of those beautiful
Metaphors in Scripture, where Life is termed a Pilgrimage, and those who
pass through it are called Strangers and Sojourners upon Earth. I shall
conclude this with a Story, which I have somewhere read in the Travels
of Sir John Chardin; [4] that Gentleman after having told us, that the
Inns which receive the Caravans in Persia, and the Eastern Countries,
are called by the Name of Caravansaries, gives us a Relation to the
following Purpose.

A Dervise, travelling through Tartary, being arrived at the Town of
Balk, went into the King's Palace by Mistake, as thinking it to be a
publick Inn or Caravansary. Having looked about him for some time, he
enter'd into a long Gallery, where he laid down his Wallet, and spread
his Carpet, in order to repose himself upon it after the Manner of the
Eastern Nations. He had not been long in this Posture before he was
discovered by some of the Guards, who asked him what was his Business in
that Place? The Dervise told them he intended to take up his Night's
Lodging in that Caravansary. The Guards let him know, in a very angry
manner, that the House he was in was not a Caravansary, but the King's
Palace. It happened that the King himself passed through the Gallery
during this Debate, and smiling at the Mistake of the Dervise, asked him
how he could possibly be so dull as not to distinguish a Palace from a
Caravansary? Sir, says the Dervise, give me leave to ask your Majesty a
Question or two. Who were the Persons that lodged in this House when it
was first built? The King replied, His Ancestors. And who, says the
Dervise, was the last Person that lodged here? The King replied, His
Father. And who is it, says the Dervise, that lodges here at present?
The King told him, that it was he himself. And who, says the Dervise,
will be here after you? The King answered, The young Prince his Son. Ah
Sir, said the Dervise, a House that changes its Inhabitants so often,
and receives such a perpetual Succession of Guests, is not a Palace but
a Caravansary.


[Footnote 1: Bills of Mortality, containing the weekly number of
Christenings and Deaths, with the cause of Death, were first compiled by
the London Company of Parish Clerks (for 109 parishes) after the Plague
in 1592. They did not give the age at death till 1728.]

[Footnote 2: which have been written]

[Footnote 3: [; for they]]

[Footnote 4: Sir John Chardin was a jewellers son, born at Paris, who
came to England and was knighted by Charles II. He travelled into Persia
and the East Indies, and his account of his voyages was translated into
English, German, and Flemish. He was living when this paper appeared,
but died in the following year, at the age of 70.]

* * * * *

No. 290. Friday, February 1, 1712. Steele.

[Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba.

Hor. [1]]

The Players, who know I am very much their Friend, take all
Opportunities to express a Gratitude to me for being so. They could not
have a better Occasion of Obliging me, than one which they lately took
hold of. They desired my Friend WILL. HONEYCOMB to bring me to the
Reading of a new Tragedy; it is called The distressed Mother. [2] I must
confess, tho some Days are passed since I enjoyed that Entertainment,
the Passions of the several Characters dwell strongly upon my
Imagination; and I congratulate to the Age, that they are at last to see
Truth and humane Life represented in the Incidents which concern Heroes
and Heroines. The Stile of the Play is such as becomes those of the
first Education, and the Sentiments worthy those of the highest Figure.
It was a most exquisite Pleasure to me, to observe real Tears drop from
the Eyes of those who had long made it their Profession to dissemble
Affliction; and the Player, who read, frequently throw down the Book,
till he had given vent to the Humanity which rose in him at some
irresistible Touches of the imagined Sorrow. We have seldom had any
Female Distress on the Stage, which did not, upon cool Examination,
appear to flow from the Weakness rather than the Misfortune of the
Person represented: But in this Tragedy you are not entertained with the
ungoverned Passions of such as are enamoured of each other merely as
they are Men and Women, but their Regards are founded upon high
Conceptions of each others Virtue and Merit; and the Character which
gives Name to the Play, is one who has behaved her self with heroic
Virtue in the most important Circumstances of a Female Life, those of a
Wife, a Widow, and a Mother. If there be those whose Minds have been too
attentive upon the Affairs of Life, to have any Notion of the Passion of
Love in such Extremes as are known only to particular Tempers, yet, in
the above-mentioned Considerations, the Sorrow of the Heroine will move
even the Generality of Mankind. Domestick Virtues concern all the World,
and there is no one living who is not interested that Andromache should
be an imitable Character. The generous Affection to the Memory of her
deceased Husband, that tender Care for her Son, which is ever heightned
with the Consideration of his Father, and these Regards preserved in
spite of being tempted with the Possession of the highest Greatness, are
what cannot but be venerable even to such an Audience as at present
frequents the English Theatre. My Friend WILL HONEYCOMB commended
several tender things that were said, and told me they were very
genteel; but whisper'd me, that he feared the Piece was not busy enough
for the present Taste. To supply this, he recommended to the Players to
be very careful in their Scenes, and above all Things, that every Part
should be perfectly new dressed. I was very glad to find that they did
not neglect my Friends Admonition, because there are a great many in
his Class of Criticism who may be gained by it; but indeed the Truth is,
that as to the Work it self, it is every where Nature. The Persons are
of the highest Quality in Life, even that of Princes; but their Quality
is not represented by the Poet with Direction that Guards and Waiters
should follow them in every Scene, but their Grandeur appears in
Greatness of Sentiment[s], flowing from Minds worthy their Condition.
To make a Character truly Great, this Author understands that it should
have its Foundation in superior Thoughts and Maxims of Conduct. It is
very certain, that many an honest Woman would make no Difficulty, tho
she had been the Wife of Hector, for the sake of a Kingdom, to marry the
Enemy of her Husbands Family and Country; and indeed who can deny but
she might be still an honest Woman, but no Heroine? That may be
defensible, nay laudable in one Character, which would be in the highest
Degree exceptionable in another. When Cato Uticensis killed himself,
Cottius a Roman of ordinary Quality and Character did the same thing;
upon which one said, smiling, Cottius might have lived, tho Caesar has
seized the Roman Liberty. Cottius's Condition might have been the
same, let things at the upper End of the World pass as they would. What
is further very extraordinary in this Work, is, that the Persons are all
of them laudable, and their Misfortunes arise rather from unguarded
Virtue than Propensity to Vice. The Town has an Opportunity of doing
itself Justice in supporting the Representation of Passion, Sorrow,
Indignation, even Despair itself, within the Rules of Decency, Honour
and Good-breeding; and since there is no one can flatter himself his
Life will be always fortunate, they may here see Sorrow as they would
wish to bear it whenever it arrives.


I am appointed to act a Part in the new Tragedy called The Distressed
Mother: It is the celebrated Grief of Orestes which I am to personate;
but I shall not act it as I ought, for I shall feel it too intimately
to be able to utter it. I was last Night repeating a Paragraph to my
self, which I took to be an Expression of Rage, and in the middle of
the Sentence there was a Stroke of Self-pity which quite unmanned me.
Be pleased, Sir, to print this Letter, that when I am oppressed in
this manner at such an Interval, a certain Part of the Audience may
not think I am out; and I hope with this Allowance to do it to
Satisfaction. I am, SIR,
Your most humble Servant,
George Powell.


As I was walking tother Day in the Park, I saw a Gentleman with a
very short Face; I desire to know whether it was you. Pray inform me
as soon as you can, lest I become the most heroick Hecatissa's Rival.

Your humble Servant to command,


Dear Madam,

It is not me you are in love with, for I was very ill and kept my
Chamber all that Day.

Your most humble Servant,



[Footnote 1:

[Spirat Tragicum satis, et foeliciter Audet.


[Footnote 2: This is a third blast of the Trumpet on behalf of Ambrose
Philips, who had now been adapting Racine's Andromaque.]

* * * * *

No. 291. Saturday, February 2, 1712. Addison.

Ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis
Offendor maculis, quas aut Incuria fudit,
Aut Humana parum cavit Natura.


I have now considered Milton's Paradise Lost under those four great
Heads of the Fable, the Characters, the Sentiments, and the Language;
and have shewn that he excels, in general, under each of these Heads. I
hope that I have made several Discoveries which may appear new, even to
those who are versed in Critical Learning. Were I indeed to chuse my
Readers, by whose Judgment I would stand or fall, they should not be
such as are acquainted only with the French and Italian Criticks, but
also with the Ancient and Moderns who have written in either of the
learned Languages. Above all, I would have them well versed in the Greek
and Latin Poets, without which a Man very often fancies that he
understands a Critick, when in Reality he does not comprehend his

It is in Criticism, as in all other Sciences and Speculations; one who
brings with him any implicit Notions and Observations which he has made
in his reading of the Poets, will find his own Reflections methodized
and explained, and perhaps several little Hints that had passed in his
Mind, perfected and improved in the Works of a good Critick; whereas one
who has not these previous Lights is very often an utter Stranger to
what he reads, and apt to put a wrong Interpretation upon it.

Nor is it sufficient, that a Man who sets up for a Judge in Criticism,
should have perused the Authors above mentioned, unless he has also a
clear and Logical Head. Without this Talent he is perpetually puzzled
and perplexed amidst his own Blunders, mistakes the Sense of those he
would confute, or if he chances to think right, does not know how to
convey his Thoughts to another with Clearness and Perspicuity.
Aristotle, who was the best Critick, was also one of the best Logicians
that ever appeared in the World.

Mr. Locks Essay on Human Understanding [1] would be thought a very odd
Book for a Man to make himself Master of, who would get a Reputation by
Critical Writings; though at the same time it is very certain, that an
Author who has not learned the Art of distinguishing between Words and
Things, and of ranging his Thoughts, and setting them in proper Lights,
whatever Notions he may have, will lose himself in Confusion and
Obscurity. I might further observe, that there is not a Greek or Latin
Critick who has not shewn, even in the Style of his Criticisms, that he
was a Master of all the Elegance and Delicacy of his Native Tongue.

The Truth of it is, there is nothing more absurd, than for a Man to set
up for a Critick, without a good Insight into all the Parts of Learning;
whereas many of those who have endeavoured to signalize themselves by
Works of this Nature among our English Writers, are not only defective
in the above-mentioned Particulars, but plainly discover, by the Phrases
which they make use of, and by their confused way of thinking, that they
are not acquainted with the most common and ordinary Systems of Arts and
Sciences. A few general Rules extracted out of the French Authors, [2]
with a certain Cant of Words, has sometimes set up an Illiterate heavy
Writer for a most judicious and formidable Critick.

One great Mark, by which you may discover a Critick who has neither
Taste nor Learning, is this, that he seldom ventures to praise any
Passage in an Author which has not been before received and applauded by
the Publick, and that his Criticism turns wholly upon little Faults and
Errors. This part of a Critick is so very easie to succeed in, that we
find every ordinary Reader, upon the publishing of a new Poem, has Wit
and Ill-nature enough to turn several Passages of it into Ridicule, and
very often in the right Place. This Mr. Dryden has very agreeably
remarked in those two celebrated Lines,

Errors, like Straws, upon the Surface flow;
He who would search for Pearls must dive below. [3]

A true Critick ought to dwell rather upon Excellencies than
Imperfections, to discover the concealed Beauties of a Writer, and
communicate to the World such things as are worth their Observation. The
most exquisite Words and finest Strokes of an Author are those which
very often appear the most doubtful and exceptionable to a Man who wants
a Relish for polite Learning; and they are these, which a sower
undistinguishing Critick generally attacks with the greatest Violence.
Tully observes, that it is very easie to brand or fix a Mark upon what
he calls Verbum ardens, [4] or, as it may be rendered into English, a
glowing bold Expression, and to turn it into Ridicule by a cold
ill-natured Criticism. A little Wit is equally capable of exposing a
Beauty, and of aggravating a Fault; and though such a Treatment of an
Author naturally produces Indignation in the Mind of an understanding
Reader, it has however its Effect among the Generality of those whose
Hands it falls into, the Rabble of Mankind being very apt to think that
every thing which is laughed at with any Mixture of Wit, is ridiculous
in it self.

Such a Mirth as this is always unseasonable in a Critick, as it rather
prejudices the Reader than convinces him, and is capable of making a
Beauty, as well as a Blemish, the Subject of Derision. A Man, who cannot
write with Wit on a proper Subject, is dull and stupid, but one who
shews it in an improper Place, is as impertinent and absurd. Besides, a
Man who has the Gift of Ridicule is apt to find Fault with any thing
that gives him an Opportunity of exerting his beloved Talent, and very
often censures a Passage, not because there is any Fault in it, but
because he can be merry upon it. Such kinds of Pleasantry are very
unfair and disingenuous in Works of Criticism, in which the greatest
Masters, both Ancient and Modern, have always appeared with a serious
and instructive Air.

As I intend in my next Paper to shew the Defects in Milton's Paradise
Lost, I thought fit to premise these few Particulars, to the End that
the Reader may know I enter upon it, as on a very ungrateful Work, and
that I shall just point at the Imperfections, without endeavouring to
enflame them with Ridicule. I must also observe with Longinus, [5] that
the Productions of a great Genius, with many Lapses and Inadvertencies,
are infinitely preferable to the Works of an inferior kind of Author,
which are scrupulously exact and conformable to all the Rules of correct

I shall conclude my Paper with a Story out of Boccalini [6] which
sufficiently shews us the Opinion that judicious Author entertained of
the sort of Criticks I have been here mentioning. A famous Critick, says
he, having gathered together all the Faults of an eminent Poet, made a
Present of them to Apollo, who received them very graciously, and
resolved to make the Author a suitable Return for the Trouble he had
been at in collecting them. In order to this, he set before him a Sack
of Wheat, as it had been just threshed out of the Sheaf. He then bid him
pick out the Chaff from among the Corn, and lay it aside by it self. The
Critick applied himself to the Task with great Industry and Pleasure,
and after having made the due Separation, was presented by Apollo with
the Chaff for his Pains. [7]


[Footnote 1: First published in 1690.]

[Footnote 2: Dryden accounted among critics the greatest of his age to
be Boilean and Rapin. Boileau was the great master of French criticism.
Rene Rapin, born at Tours in 1621, taught Belles Lettres with
extraordinary success among his own order of Jesuits, wrote famous
critical works, was one of the best Latin poets of his time, and died at
Paris in 1687. His Whole Critical Works were translated by Dr. Basil
Kennett in two volumes, which appeared in 1705. The preface of their
publisher said of Rapin that

he has long dictated in this part of letters. He is acknowledged as
the great arbitrator between the merits of the best writers; and
during the course of almost thirty years there have been few appeals
from his sentence.

(See also a note on p. 168, vol. i. [Footnote 3 of No. 44.]) Rene le
Bossu, the great French authority on Epic Poetry, born in 1631, was a
regular canon of St. Genevieve, and taught the Humanities in several
religious houses of his order. He died, subprior of the Abbey of St.
Jean de Cartres, in 1680. He wrote, besides his Treatise upon Epic
Poetry, a parallel between the philosophies of Aristotle and Descartes,
which appeared a few months earlier (in 1674) with less success. Another
authority was Father Bouhours, of whom see note on p. 236, vol. i.
[Footnote 4 of No. 62.] Another was Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle.
called by Voltaire the most universal genius of his age. He was born at
Rouen in 1657, looking so delicate that he was baptized in a hurry, and
at 16 was unequal to the exertion of a game at billiards, being caused
by any unusual exercise to spit blood, though he lived to the age of a
hundred, less one month and two days. He was taught by the Jesuits, went
to the bar to please his father, pleaded a cause, lost it, and gave up
the profession to devote his time wholly to literature and philosophy.
He went to Paris, wrote plays and the Dialogues of the Dead, living
then with his uncle, Thomas Corneille. A discourse on the Eclogue
prefixed to his pastoral poems made him an authority in this manner of
composition. It was translated by Motteux for addition to the English
translation of Bossu on the Epic, which had also appended to it an Essay
on Satire by another of these French critics, Andre Dacier. Dacier, born
at Castres in 1651, was educated at Saumur under Taneguy le Fevre, who
was at the same time making a scholar of his own daughter Anne. Dacier
and the young lady became warmly attached to one another, married,
united in abjuring Protestantism, and were for forty years, in the
happiest concord, man and wife and fellow-scholars. Dacier and his wife,
as well as Fontenelle, were alive when the Spectator was appearing; his
wife dying, aged 69, in 1720, the husband, aged 71, in 1722. Andre
Dacier translated and annotated the Poetics of Aristotle in 1692, and
that critical work was regarded as his best performance.]

[Footnote 3: Annus Mirabilis, st. 39.]

[Footnote 4: Ad Brutum. Orator. Towards the beginning:

Facile est enim verbum aliquod ardens (ut ita dicam) notare, idque
restinctis jam animorum incendiis, irridere.]

[Footnote 5: On the Sublime, Sec. 36.]

[Footnote 6: Trajan Boccalini, born at Rome in 1554, was a satirical
writer famous in Italy for his fine criticism and bold satire. Cardinals
Borghese and Cajetan were his patrons. His Ragguagli di Parnasso and
la Secretaria di Parnasso, in which Apollo heard the complaints of the
world, and dispensed justice in his court on Parnassus, were received
with delight. Afterwards, in his Pietra di Parangone, he satirized the
Court of Spain, and, fearing consequences, retired to Venice, where in
1613 he was attacked in his bed by four ruffians, who beat him to death
with sand-bags. Boccalini's Ragguagli di Parnasso has been translated
into English, in 1622, as News from Parnassus. Also, in 1656, as
Advertisements from Parnassus, by H. Carey, Earl of Monmouth. This
translation was reprinted in 1669 and 1674, and again in 1706 by John
Hughes, one of the contributors to the Spectator.]

[Footnote 7: To this number of the Spectator, and to several numbers
since that for January 8, in which it first appeared, is added an
advertisement that, The First and Second Volumes of the SPECTATOR in 8vo
are now ready to be delivered to the subscribers by J. Tonson, at
Shakespeare's Head, over-against Catherine Street in the Strand.]

* * * * *

No. 292. Monday, February 4, 1712.

Illam, quicquid agit, quoquo Vestigia flectit,
Componit furlim, subsequiturque decor.

Tibull. L. 4.

As no one can be said to enjoy Health, who is only not sick, without he
feel within himself a lightsome and invigorating Principle, which will
not suffer him to remain idle, but still spurs him on to Action: so in
the Practice of every Virtue, there is some additional Grace required,
to give a Claim of excelling in this or that particular Action. A
Diamond may want polishing, though the Value be still intrinsically the
same; and the same Good may be done with different Degrees of Lustre. No
man should be contented with himself that he barely does well, but he
should perform every thing in the best and most becoming Manner that he
is able.

Tully tells us he wrote his Book of Offices, because there was no Time
of Life in which some correspondent Duty might not be practised; nor is
there a Duty without a certain Decency accompanying it, by which every
Virtue tis join'd to will seem to be doubled. Another may do the same
thing, and yet the Action want that Air and Beauty which distinguish it
from others; like that inimitable Sun-shine Titian is said to have
diffused over his Landschapes; which denotes them his, and has been
always unequalled by any other Person.

There is no one Action in which this Quality I am speaking of will be
more sensibly perceived, than in granting a Request or doing an Office
of Kindness. Mummius, by his Way of consenting to a Benefaction, shall
make it lose its Name; while Carus doubles the Kindness and the
Obligation: From the first the desired Request drops indeed at last, but
from so doubtful a Brow, that the Obliged has almost as much Reason to
resent the Manner of bestowing it, as to be thankful for the Favour it
self. Carus invites with a pleasing Air, to give him an Opportunity of
doing an Act of Humanity, meets the Petition half Way, and consents to a
Request with a Countenance which proclaims the Satisfaction of his Mind
in assisting the Distressed.

The Decency then that is to be observed in Liberality, seems to consist
in its being performed with such Cheerfulness, as may express the
God-like Pleasure is to be met with in obliging ones Fellow-Creatures;
that may shew Good-nature and Benevolence overflowed, and do not, as in
some Men, run upon the Tilt, and taste of the Sediments of a grutching
uncommunicative Disposition.

Since I have intimated that the greatest Decorum is to be preserved in
the bestowing our good Offices, I will illustrate it a little by an
Example drawn from private Life, which carries with it such a Profusion
of Liberality, that it can be exceeded by nothing but the Humanity and
Good-nature which accompanies it. It is a Letter of Pliny's[1] which I
shall here translate, because the Action will best appear in its first
Dress of Thought, without any foreign or ambitious Ornaments.


Tho I am fully acquainted with the Contentment and just Moderation of
your Mind, and the Conformity the Education you have given your
Daughter bears to your own Character; yet since she is suddenly to be
married to a Person of Distinction, whose Figure in the World makes it
necessary for her to be at a more than ordinary Expence in Cloaths and
Equipage suitable to her Husbands Quality; by which, tho her
intrinsick Worth be not augmented, yet will it receive both Ornament
and Lustre: And knowing your Estate to be as moderate as the Riches of
your Mind are abundant, I must challenge to my self some part of the
Burthen; and as a Parent of your Child. I present her with Twelve
hundred and fifty Crowns towards these Expences; which Sum had been
much larger, had I not feared the Smallness of it would be the
greatest Inducement with you to accept of it. Farewell.

Thus should a Benefaction be done with a good Grace, and shine in the
strongest Point of Light; it should not only answer all the Hopes and
Exigencies of the Receiver, but even out-run his Wishes: Tis this happy
manner of Behaviour which adds new Charms to it, and softens those Gifts
of Art and Nature, which otherwise would be rather distasteful than
agreeable. Without it, Valour would degenerate into Brutality, Learning
into Pedantry, and the genteelest Demeanour into Affectation. Even
Religion its self, unless Decency be the Handmaid which waits upon her,
is apt to make People appear guilty of Sourness and ill Humour: But this
shews Virtue in her first original Form, adds a Comeliness to Religion,
and gives its Professors the justest Title to the Beauty of Holiness. A
Man fully instructed in this Art, may assume a thousand Shapes, and
please in all: He may do a thousand Actions shall become none other but
himself; not that the Things themselves are different, but the Manner of
doing them.

If you examine each Feature by its self, Aglaura and Callidea are
equally handsome; but take them in the Whole, and you cannot suffer the
Comparison: Tho one is full of numberless nameless Graces, the other of
as many nameless Faults.

The Comeliness of Person, and Decency of Behaviour, add infinite Weight
to what is pronounced by any one. Tis the want of this that often makes
the Rebukes and Advice of old rigid Persons of no Effect, and leave a
Displeasure in the Minds of those they are directed to: But Youth and
Beauty, if accompanied with a graceful and becoming Severity, is of
mighty Force to raise, even in the most Profligate, a Sense of Shame. In
Milton, the Devil is never described ashamed but once, and that at the
Rebuke of a beauteous Angel.

So spake the Cherub, and his grave Rebuke,
Severe in youthful Beauty, added Grace
Invincible: Abash'd the Devil stood,
And felt how awful Goodness is, and saw
Virtue in her own Shape how lovely I saw, and pin'd
His Loss. [2]

The Care of doing nothing unbecoming has accompanied the greatest Minds
to their last Moments. They avoided even an indecent Posture in the very
Article of Death. Thus Caesar gathered his Robe about him, that he might
not fall in a manner unbecoming of himself: and the greatest Concern
that appeared in the Behaviour of Lucretia, when she stabbed her self,
was, that her Body should lie in an Attitude worthy the Mind which had
inhabited it.

Ne non procumbat honeste
Extrema haec etiam cura, cadentis erat. [3]

Twas her last Thought, How decently to fall.

I am a young Woman without a Fortune; but of a very high Mind: That
is, Good Sir, I am to the last degree Proud and Vain. I am ever
railing at the Rich, for doing Things, which, upon Search into my
Heart, I find I am only angry because I cannot do the same my self. I
wear the hooped Petticoat, and am all in Callicoes when the finest are
in Silks. It is a dreadful thing to be poor and proud; therefore if
you please, a Lecture on that Subject for the Satisfaction of
Your Uneasy Humble Servant,


[Footnote 1: Bk. vi. ep. 32.]

[Footnote 2: Par. L., Bk. iv. 11. 844-9.]

[Footnote 3: Ovid. Fast., iii. 833.]

* * * * *

No. 293.] Tuesday, February 5, 1712. [Addison.

[Greek: Pasin gar euphronousi summachei tuchae.]

The famous Gratian [1] in his little Book wherein he lays down Maxims
for a Man's advancing himself at Court, advises his Reader to associate
himself with the Fortunate, and to shun the Company of the Unfortunate;
which, notwithstanding the Baseness of the Precept to an honest Mind,
may have something useful in it for those who push their Interest in the
World. It is certain a great Part of what we call good or ill Fortune,
rises out of right or wrong Measures, and Schemes of Life. When I hear a
Man complain of his being unfortunate in all his Undertakings, I
shrewdly suspect him for a very weak Man in his Affairs. In Conformity
with this way of thinking, Cardinal Richelieu used to say, that
Unfortunate and Imprudent were but two Words for the same Thing. As the
Cardinal himself had a great Share both of Prudence and Good-Fortune,
his famous Antagonist, the Count d'Olivarez, was disgraced at the Court
of Madrid, because it was alledged against him that he had never any
Success in his Undertakings. This, says an Eminent Author, was
indirectly accusing him of Imprudence.

Cicero recommended Pompey to the Romans for their General upon three
Accounts, as he was a Man of Courage, Conduct, and Good-Fortune. It was
perhaps, for the Reason above-mentioned, namely, that a Series of
Good-Fortune supposes a prudent Management in the Person whom it
befalls, that not only Sylla the Dictator, but several of the Roman
Emperors, as is still to be seen upon their Medals, among their other
Titles, gave themselves that of Felix or Fortunate. The Heathens,
indeed, seem to have valued a Man more for his Good-Fortune than for any
other Quality, which I think is very natural for those who have not a
strong Belief of another World. For how can I conceive a Man crowned
with many distinguishing Blessings, that has not some extraordinary Fund
of Merit and Perfection in him, which lies open to the Supreme Eye, tho
perhaps it is not discovered by my Observation? What is the Reason
Homers and Virgil's Heroes do not form a Resolution, or strike a Blow,
without the Conduct and Direction of some Deity? Doubtless, because the
Poets esteemed it the greatest Honour to be favoured by the Gods, and
thought the best Way of praising a Man was to recount those Favours
which naturally implied an extraordinary Merit in the Person on whom
they descended.

Those who believe a future State of Rewards and Punishments act very
absurdly, if they form their Opinions of a Man's Merit from his
Successes. But certainly, if I thought the whole Circle of our Being was
concluded between our Births and Deaths, I should think a Man's
Good-Fortune the Measure and Standard of his real Merit, since
Providence would have no Opportunity of rewarding his Virtue and
Perfections, but in the present Life. A Virtuous Unbeliever, who lies
under the Pressure of Misfortunes, has reason to cry out, as they say
Brutus did a little before his Death, O Virtue, I have worshipped thee
as a Substantial Good, but I find thou art an empty Name.

But to return to our first Point. Tho Prudence does undoubtedly in a
great measure produce our good or ill Fortune in the World, it is
certain there are many unforeseen Accidents and Occurrences, which very
often pervert the finest Schemes that can be laid by Human Wisdom. The
Race is not always to the Swift, nor the Battle to the Strong. Nothing
less than infinite Wisdom can have an absolute Command over Fortune; the
highest Degree of it which Man can possess, is by no means equal to
fortuitous Events, and to such Contingencies as may rise in the
Prosecution of our Affairs. Nay, it very often happens, that Prudence,
which has always in it a great Mixture of Caution, hinders a Man from
being so fortunate as he might possibly have been without it. A Person
who only aims at what is likely to succeed, and follows closely the
Dictates of Human Prudence, never meets with those great and unforeseen
Successes, which are often the effect of a Sanguine Temper, or a more
happy Rashness; and this perhaps may be the Reason, that according to
the common Observation, Fortune, like other Females, delights rather in
favouring the young than the old.

Upon the whole, since Man is so short-sighted a Creature, and the
Accidents which may happen to him so various, I cannot but be of Dr.
Tillotson's Opinion in another Case, that were there any Doubt of a
Providence, yet it certainly would be very desirable there should be
such a Being of infinite Wisdom and Goodness, on whose Direction we
might rely in the Conduct of Human Life.

It is a great Presumption to ascribe our Successes to our own
Management, and not to esteem our selves upon any Blessing, rather as it
is the Bounty of Heaven, than the Acquisition of our own Prudence. I am
very well pleased with a Medal which was struck by Queen Elizabeth, a
little after the Defeat of the Invincible Armada, to perpetuate the
Memory of that extraordinary Event. It is well known how the King of
Spain, and others, who were the Enemies of that great Princess, to
derogate from her Glory, ascribed the Ruin of their Fleet rather to the
Violence of Storms and Tempests, than to the Bravery of the English.
Queen Elizabeth, instead of looking upon this as a Diminution of her
Honour, valued herself upon such a signal Favour of Providence, and
accordingly in [2] the Reverse of the Medal above mentioned, [has
represented] a Fleet beaten by a Tempest, and falling foul upon one
another, with that Religious Inscription, Afflavit Deus et dissipantur.
He blew with his Wind, and they were scattered.

It is remarked of a famous Grecian General, whose Name I cannot at
present recollect [3], and who had been a particular Favourite of
Fortune, that upon recounting his Victories among his Friends, he added
at the End of several great Actions, And in this Fortune had no Share.
After which it is observed in History, that he never prospered in any
thing he undertook.

As Arrogance, and a Conceitedness of our own Abilities, are very
shocking and offensive to Men of Sense and Virtue, we may be sure they
are highly displeasing to that Being who delights in an humble Mind, and
by several of his Dispensations seems purposely to shew us, that our own
Schemes or Prudence have no Share in our Advancement[s].

Since on this Subject I have already admitted several Quotations which
have occurred to my Memory upon writing this Paper, I will conclude it
with a little Persian Fable. A Drop of Water fell out of a Cloud into
the Sea, and finding it self lost in such an Immensity of fluid Matter,
broke out into the following Reflection: Alas! What an [insignificant
[4]] Creature am I in this prodigious Ocean of Waters; my Existence is
of no [Concern [5]] to the Universe, I am reduced to a Kind of
Nothing, and am less then the least of the Works of God. It so
happened, that an Oyster, which lay in the Neighbourhood of this Drop,
chanced to gape and swallow it up in the midst of this [its [6]] humble
Soliloquy. The Drop, says the Fable, lay a great while hardning in the
Shell, till by Degrees it was ripen'd into a Pearl, which falling into
the Hands of a Diver, after a long Series of Adventures, is at present
that famous Pearl which is fixed on the Top of the Persian Diadem.


[Footnote 1: Balthasar Gracian, a Spanish Jesuit, who died in 1658,
rector of the Jesuits College of Tarragona, wrote many books in Spanish
on Politics and Society, among others the one here referred to on the
Courtier; which was known to Addison, doubtless, through the French
translation by Amelot de la Houssaye.]

[Footnote 2: Corrected by an erratum to [you see in], but in reprint
altered by the addition of [has represented].

[Footnote 3: Timotheus the Athenian.]

[Footnote 4: Altered by an erratum to [inconsiderable] to avoid the
repetition insignificant, and insignificancy; but in the reprint the
second word was changed.]

[Footnote 5: [significancy]]

[Footnote 6: [his]]

* * * * *

No. 294. Wednesday, February 6, 1712. Steele.

Difficile est plurimum virtutem revereri qui semper secunda fortuna
sit usus.

Tull. ad Herennium.

Insolence is the Crime of all others which every Man is most apt to rail
at; and yet is there one Respect in which almost all Men living are
guilty of it, and that is in the Case of laying a greater Value upon the
Gifts of Fortune than we ought. It is here in England come into our very
Language, as a Propriety of Distinction, to say, when we would speak of
Persons to their Advantage, they are People of Condition. There is no
doubt but the proper Use of Riches implies that a Man should exert all
the good Qualities imaginable; and if we mean by a Man of Condition or
Quality, one who, according to the Wealth he is Master of, shews himself
just, beneficent, and charitable, that Term ought very deservedly to be
had in the highest Veneration; but when Wealth is used only as it is the
Support of Pomp and Luxury, to be rich is very far from being a
Recommendation to Honour and Respect. It is indeed the greatest
Insolence imaginable, in a Creature who would feel the Extreams of
Thirst and Hunger, if he did not prevent his Appetites before they call
upon him, to be so forgetful of the common Necessity of Human Nature, as
never to cast an Eye upon the Poor and Needy. The Fellow who escaped
from a Ship which struck upon a Rock in the West, and join'd with the
Country People to destroy his Brother Sailors and make her a Wreck, was
thought a most execrable Creature; but does not every Man who enjoys the
Possession of what he naturally wants, and is unmindful of the
unsupplied Distress of other Men, betray the same Temper of Mind? When a
Man looks about him, and with regard to Riches and Poverty beholds some
drawn in Pomp and Equipage, and they and their very Servants with an Air
of Scorn and Triumph overlooking the Multitude that pass by them; and,
in the same Street, a Creature of the same Make crying out in the Name
of all that is Good and Sacred to behold his Misery, and give him some
Supply against Hunger and Nakedness, who would believe these two Beings
were of the same Species? But so it is, that the Consideration of
Fortune has taken up all our Minds, and, as I have often complained,
Poverty and Riches stand in our Imaginations in the Places of Guilt and
Innocence. But in all Seasons there will be some Instances of Persons
who have Souls too large to be taken with popular Prejudices, and while
the rest of Mankind are contending for Superiority in Power and Wealth,
have their Thoughts bent upon the Necessities of those below them. The
Charity-Schools which have been erected of late Years, are the greatest
Instances of publick Spirit the Age has produced: But indeed when we
consider how long this Sort of Beneficence has been on Foot, it is
rather from the good Management of those Institutions, than from the
Number or Value of the Benefactions to them, that they make so great a
Figure. One would think it impossible, that in the Space of fourteen
Years there should not have been five thousand Pounds bestowed in Gifts
this Way, nor sixteen hundred Children, including Males and Females, put
out to Methods of Industry. It is not allowed me to speak of Luxury and
Folly with the severe Spirit they deserve; I shall only therefore say, I
shall very readily compound with any Lady in a Hoop-Petticoat, if she
gives the Price of one half Yard of the Silk towards Cloathing, Feeding
and Instructing an Innocent helpless Creature of her own Sex in one of
these Schools. The Consciousness of such an Action will give her
Features a nobler Life on this illustrious Day, [1] than all the Jewels
that can hang in her Hair, or can be clustered at her Bosom. It would be
uncourtly to speak in harsher Words to the Fair, but to Men one may take
a little more Freedom. It is monstrous how a Man can live with so little
Reflection, as to fancy he is not in a Condition very unjust and
disproportioned to the rest of Mankind, while he enjoys Wealth, and
exerts no Benevolence or Bounty to others. As for this particular
Occasion of these Schools, there cannot any offer more worthy a generous
Mind. Would you do an handsome thing without Return? do it for an Infant
that is not sensible of the Obligation: Would you do it for publick
Good? do it for one who will be an honest Artificer: Would you do it for
the Sake of Heaven? give it to one who shall be instructed in the
Worship of him for whose Sake you gave it. It is methinks a most
laudable Institution this, if it were of no other Expectation than that
of producing a Race of good and useful Servants, who will have more than
a liberal, a religious Education. What would not a Man do, in common
Prudence, to lay out in Purchase of one about him, who would add to all
his Orders he gave the Weight of the Commandments to inforce an
Obedience to them? for one who would consider his Master as his Father,
his Friend, and Benefactor, upon the easy Terms, and in Expectation of
no other Return but moderate Wages and gentle Usage? It is the common
Vice of Children to run too much among the Servants; from such as are
educated in these Places they would see nothing but Lowliness in the
Servant, which would not be disingenuous in the Child. All the ill
Offices and defamatory Whispers which take their Birth from Domesticks,
would be prevented, if this Charity could be made universal; and a good
Man might have a Knowledge of the whole Life of the Persons he designs
to take into his House for his own Service, or that of his Family or
Children, long before they were admitted. This would create endearing
Dependencies: and the Obligation would have a paternal Air in the
Master, who would be relieved from much Care and Anxiety from the
Gratitude and Diligence of an humble Friend attending him as his
Servant. I fall into this Discourse from a Letter sent to me, to give me
Notice that Fifty Boys would be Cloathed, and take their Seats (at the
Charge of some generous Benefactors) in St. Brides Church on Sunday
next. I wish I could promise to my self any thing which my Correspondent
seems to expect from a Publication of it in this Paper; for there can be
nothing added to what so many excellent and learned Men have said on
this Occasion: But that there may be something here which would move a
generous Mind, like that of him who writ to me, I shall transcribe an
handsome Paragraph of Dr. Snape's Sermon on these Charities, which my
Correspondent enclosed with this Letter.

The wise Providence has amply compensated the Disadvantages of the
Poor and Indigent, in wanting many of the Conveniencies of this Life,
by a more abundant Provision for their Happiness in the next. Had they
been higher born, or more richly endowed, they would have wanted this
Manner of Education, of which those only enjoy the Benefit, who are
low enough to submit to it; where they have such Advantages without
Money, and without Price, as the Rich cannot purchase with it. The
Learning which is given, is generally more edifying to them, than that
which is sold to others: Thus do they become more exalted in Goodness,
by being depressed in Fortune, and their Poverty is, in Reality, their
Preferment. [2]


[Footnote 1: Queen Anne's birthday. She was born Feb. 6, 1665, and died
Aug. 1, 1714, aged 49.]

[Footnote 2: From January 24 there occasionally appears the

Just Published.

A very neat Pocket Edition of the SPECTATOR, in two volumes 12mo.
Printed for S. Buckley, at the Dolphin, in Little Britain, and J.
Tonson, at Shakespear's Head, over-against Catherine-Street in the

* * * * *

No. 295. Thursday, February 7, 1712. Addison.

Prodiga non sentit pereuntem faemina censum:
At velut exhausta redivivus pullulet arca
Nummus, et e pleno semper tollatur acervo,
Non unquam reputat quanti sibi gandia constent.



I am turned of my great Climacteric, and am naturally a Man of a meek
Temper. About a dozen Years ago I was married, for my Sins, to a young
Woman of a good Family, and of an high Spirit; but could not bring her
to close with me, before I had entered into a Treaty with her longer
than that of the Grand Alliance. Among other Articles, it was therein
stipulated, that she should have L400 a Year for Pin-money, which I
obliged my self to pay Quarterly into the hands of one who had acted
as her Plenipotentiary in that Affair. I have ever since religiously
observed my part in this solemn Agreement. Now, Sir, so it is, that
the Lady has had several Children since I married her; to which, if I
should credit our malicious Neighbours, her Pin-money has not a little
contributed. The Education of these my Children, who, contrary to my
Expectation, are born to me every Year, streightens me so much, that I
have begged their Mother to free me from the Obligation of the
above-mentioned Pin-money, that it may go towards making a Provision
for her Family. This Proposal makes her noble Blood swell in her
Veins, insomuch that finding me a little tardy in her last Quarters
Payment, she threatens me every Day to arrest me; and proceeds so far
as to tell me, that if I do not do her Justice, I shall die in a Jayl.
To this she adds, when her Passion will let her argue calmly, that she
has several Play-Debts on her Hand, which must be discharged very
suddenly, and that she cannot lose her Money as becomes a Woman of her
Fashion, if she makes me any Abatements in this Article. I hope, Sir,
you will take an Occasion from hence to give your Opinion upon a
Subject which you have not yet touched, and inform us if there are any
Precedents for this Usage among our Ancestors; or whether you find any
mention of Pin-money in Grotius, Puffendorf, or any other of the

I am ever
the humblest of your Admirers,
Josiah Fribble, Esq.

As there is no Man living who is a more professed Advocate for the Fair
Sex than my self, so there is none that would be more unwilling to
invade any of their ancient Rights and Privileges; but as the Doctrine
of Pin-money is of a very late Date, unknown to our Great Grandmothers,
and not yet received by many of our Modern Ladies, I think it is for the
Interest of both Sexes to keep it from spreading.

Mr. Fribble may not, perhaps, be much mistaken where he intimates, that
the supplying a Man's Wife with Pin-money, is furnishing her with Arms
against himself, and in a manner becoming accessary to his own
Dishonour. We may indeed, generally observe, that in proportion as a
Woman is more or less Beautiful, and her Husband advanced in Years, she
stands in need of a greater or less number of Pins, and upon a Treaty of
Marriage, rises or falls in her Demands accordingly. It must likewise be
owned, that high Quality in a Mistress does very much inflame this
Article in the Marriage Reckoning.

But where the Age and Circumstances of both Parties are pretty much upon
a level, I cannot but think the insisting upon Pin-money is very
extraordinary; and yet we find several Matches broken off upon this very

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